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yet' quite awake; and black dogs, tain; but it was a most intense cona and Nancies, were making a strange sciousness of self and of the premedley of it in my brain.
sent moment. I felt I scarce knew “ There's no time for talking--but how, nor even at this distance of time clap on your rags as quick as may can I well make out what were my be." —And I set about dressing my feelings; to be thus suddenly dragged self almost mechanically, while he from warm sleep to deal with blows paced up and down the room, as if and death on the midnight shingle, he had been walking the quarter- was enough to stupify any man of deck, whistling a very popular, but peaceful habits, and such mine had not very elegant tune in all manner been for years. At this moment, a of times, now fast, and now slow, voice seemed to whisper close to my according to the rise and fall of his ear, “ Mary!” So perfect was the fits of impatience. In a few minutes, illusion,-if it was illusion,—that I the last tie was tied, and the last involuntarily echoed, “ Mary!” and button buttoned.
looked up for the speaker. Yet no “ All ready, lad ?-Here's your Mary was there-how, indeed, could cutlass then, and your barkers. And she be?-Still it was her voice; I now we'll clap on all sails and be up was neither drunk, nor dreaming, nor with them in a jiffy.”
lunatic, and yet I heard it as clearly I was by this time fully awake and as ears could hear it, and at the sound conscious of our business, for the my heart swelled, and I felt that I night-air, that blew on me as we left could dare any thing. In an instant the cottage, sobered down the fumes I was in the very midst of the fray, of sleep in an instant. The wind was dealing my blows right and left with cold and boisterous, rolling the clouds all the fury of a maniac. As I learnt along in dark broken masses over the afterwards, my death had been cersky, where neither moon nor stars tain twenty times in the course of the were shining, but there was a dull scuffle, if it had not been for Frank, grey light that just served to make and still more for poor Harry, who the darkness visible. Frank was in- was fighting among the smugglers, cessantly urging me to speed, though yet could not forget his young friend, we were going at a brisk rate, and as though his hand was against him. we went along communicated to me Many a blow that was meant for me the whole matter, as an additional was parried by their watchfulness; stimulus to my tardiness. This was but of all this I knew nothing: when precisely what I anticipated; a smug- all was over,--and it had scarcely gling boat had long been expected on lasted ten minutes, I had only a this very night, according to his infor- confused recollection of having strugmation from the other side of the water; gled stoutly for life amidst swordand some fishermen, bribed to his cuts and pistol-shots, and men droppurpose, had kept a sharp look-out ping as if struck by some invisible from their smack, and had thus been power. It is difficult to make any able to give him timely warning of body understand this, who never has its approach. This story was told been in danger, or who has so often with great glee by my friend, but I faced it, that the circumstance has must honestly confess that, “I had lost its novelty; these are sensations no devotion to the business." While that belong only to the first time of all was dark, and still, and nothing periling life, and are totally indeannounced that the fray was near, and pendent of fear or courage; they can I had reason to believe that it was at not occur a second time. least a mile from us, I only felt anxious The fray ended by the seizure of and bewildered; but when a sudden all the goods, the death of five smugshout burst on us, followed by a rapid glers, and the capture of two, who discharge of fire-arms, and the turn afterwards contrived to get away. of the cliff showed us the battle that As to the rest, they all escaped, as I moment begun and not a hundred then imagined, by favour of the dykes yards from us—what a change then and their better knowledge of the came over me!-It was not fear, for country, with the exception of one it had none of the palsy of fear ; my poor wretch, who was desperately hand was firm and my eye was cer- wounded; him they bore into a pettir
boat-house, which was nothing more formed. She actually succeeded in than a rude shed, pitched and tarred, dragging him up a low bank, and even and covered with dry seaweed, as'a a few yards beyond it, but there her sort of shelter for the nets and skiffs strength failed; she could go no farwhen not employed. Hither I went ther, and it was only by an almost with the rest, and looked upon a scene superhuman exertion that she held that I shall not easily forget; the him from falling. poor creature was lying on the ground, “ It won't do, Nance; this shot in pale and dripping with blood ; his the thigh wont let me move an inch neckcloth had been taken off, and his farther—so here I must be caught, clothes were torn to tatters. As the and I suppose they'll hang me for betorches glared on his eyes, they seem- ing found in arms against the King's ed blue and glassy, and as if fixed in officers. Sink the customs! They their sockets; he was evidently dy- sha'nt tie a noose about my neck, ing, and though I had often looked however. We'll blow up the ship on death in hospitals, I could not sooner than she shall fall into the stand this sight. The visitations of hands of the enemy. So give us a nature may be even more painful to kiss, my girl-God bless you. And the sufferer, but there is something now-hey for Dunkirk !" soothing in the idea that they are vi- And I saw him hold a pistol to his sitations of nature; the sick one is breast, which Nancy seized with a struck by the hand of the Deity him- suppressed scream. Poor thing! her self; he is only undergoing the com- gestures at that moment would have mon doom: but a violent death is al. wrung pity from a heart of stone. ways connected with the idea of « For God's sake, father-for your crime or of unusual suffering ; it is an poor Nancy's sake-there is yet hope. end that might have been avoided; Some of our friends may return beand as I gazed on this poor creature, fore the king's-men leave the boatmy very heart was sick; every thing house." was beginning to swim before me, “ Not much likelihoods of that, when I rushed out into the open air, Nance: they'll hardly slip their own and even there I was forced to lean a necks into a halter to save mine." few moments for support against the And I stood listening to all this, shed.
like a fool! I must have been beAs I began to breathe more freely wildered – stunned by what had in the night-wind, my attention was passed. But I was now awake again, caught by the sound of voices, and and, cursing my own dullness that on looking round, I saw on the shin- could waste so many precious mogles below, on the other side of the ments, I dashed down into the dyke, dyke, where the fight had first taken waded knee-deep through the mud place, a young girl
, supporting a and water, and with infinite difficulty wounded smuggler in her arms; it clambered up, the opposite bank, was too dark to distinguish their where I was instantly observed by faces with any degree of precision, the old smuggler. but their voices soon betrayed them
« Sink the customs! They are to me. My blood ran cold as I list. here, Nance." ened to the following short dialogue, In another moment I was at his for I was in the shadow and could side, but in that moment the pistol - not be seen by the speakers.
was discharged, and he dropped into “ Sink the customs ! It's of no use, my arms mortally wounded, exclaimNance; I'm fairly a-ground, and you ing :ha'n't strength enough to shove me
« Sink the customs! You are too off again. So here I must lie, old late to hang me, messmate. Nance, rotten hullas I am, till they find me, my girl, they cannot say your father and then I swing for it.”
was hung; you're a wife now for any “ But try, father; only try; lean man,- the best in the land, let him on me."
be who he will.-Sink the customs !" Again she endeavoured to drag or “ 'Tis I, Harry — your friend, rather support the old man forwards, George Seymour." and her efforts were really wonderful • What, the Master !-Give us før a creature so slim and lightly, your hand-dan you !You're a brave lad, Master-fought better than ing that such a case was something any six of the King's blue jackets, beyond the usual range of her practhof it was against myself.-But, tice, begged the ship-surgeon might Master,"
be sent for, and willingly sank into He tried to go on, but could not, the subordinate situation of nurse, to and was evidently bleeding apace in- the sore displeasure of Frank, who ternally, though one little drop of hated the very sight of a doctor. blood upon his lips was the only out- Yet neither the skill of the one, nor ward sign of injury.
the more than sisterly attention of “ Master-you'll think of”- the other, availed any thing. The
Again the words were as if stifled morning came, and she was evidently in his breast as he pointed with a mad; a second, and a third day folshivering hand to Nancy. But I re- lowed, and still she was no better ; plied to the sign, for I understood it the idea that her father lived, and well-too well.
was to be hung, had got firm hold “ She shall not want a home, of her mind, and nothing could root Harry, while I have one."
it out. All we could say was in vain; “ God bless you, Master. Nancy, she brooded on this one thought my girl, where are you?- The night with a sullen silence, much worse grows so dark-or something is com- than any violence of frenzy could ing over my eyes-kiss me, Nance." have been ; and I now began to feel
And Nancy moved towards him myself placed in a most awkward with a calmness that was truly situation by my promise, so unwitfrightful. As she stooped to kiss him, tingly given, to the father. It could something like a smile passed over not be expected that Frank would her blue lips.-May I never see such trouble himself many days longer a smile again!—In the same moment with a maniac, and what was I to Harry was slightly convulsed, and do with her ? One moment I wished with a groan that was scarcely audi- the poor thing might die, and in the ble he expired in my arms.
next was angry with myself for my By this time, the Lieutenant and selfishness:— then again, I cursed his party, who had been alarmed by the hour that brought me on such the report of the pistol, came up to an unlucky visit; when, as if all this us, and explanations were asked and was not enough, I was summoned given in less time than it has taken to the coroner's inquest, sitting on me to write or my readers to peruse the body of Henry Woodriff. I was them. Frank carefully minuted down not a little surprised at such a call, every thing in his pocket-book, and, but it seems I might have spared my having given the dead body in charge wonder; for however the smugglers to a party of his seamen, attempted may perish, this ceremony is never in his rude way to comfort Nancy. omitted, and the inquest had already The poor girl, however, was not in a sate on the others who were found state to need, or listen to, comfort; dead near the beach. the blow had stunned her into insen- Internally vowing to leave this sibility, and there she stood a thing abominable place within the next of life, but without its functions. four-and-twenty hours-never to reAfter many fruitless attempts at con- turn, I set off in obedience to the solation, he exclaimed in a tone that summons of the law, and found the under any other circumstances had inquest assembled in the parlour of a been ludicrous,
little public-house, divided only by “By Gd! the poor thing has a field from the village. Here too gone mad or stupid ! I tell you what, was Frank, with a party of his sailGeorge, we'll have her home with us, ors, either as witnesses or accesand put her in Bet's hands ; she's a sories. The foreman of the inquest better doctor than half our old women was a short stout man, with a round in the navy.”
face, and a short nose turned up as This was no sooner said than done, if in scorn of the two thick lips that and without either thanks or oppo- opened beneath it, and a pair of yelsition from Nancy, who seemed to low, flaring eyes, though destitute have lost all powers of volition.- of all expression. He looked full of The Lieutenant's wife, however, feel the dignity of his office, and, as I
entered, was in the high tide of disa Why, as you say, Lieutenant cussion with a stout young smuggler, E. I am not hard-hearted, andwho by his tone and manner seemed Oh, Mr. Seymour, I beg your pardon to care very little for any body pre- for detaining you. We want your sent. This proved to be the son of evidence as to this business, merely poor Harry; and he spoke out his as a matter of form. You were premind as plainly as his father would sent when Harry Woodriff shot himhave done, though not quite so coolly. self.-- Administer the oath to Mr.
“ Then, I'll be dd if you do. Seymour.” Gentlemen, as you call yourselves, The oath was accordingly admithere's ne'er a Crowner of you all nistered in due form, and I was reshall drive a stake through the old luctantly compelled to tell the whole man's corpse, while there's a hand to business, which still farther authothis body."
rized the little foreman in his darling “ Respect the dignity of the court, scheme of burying a man in the meetyoung man. Your father, being ing of four roads, and driving a stake compos, did make away with him through his body. I do not believe self. I take it, gentlemen, the evi- he was really of a bad disposition, dence is sufficient to that effect; but but this ceremony flattered his imwe'll presently examine Mr. Sey- portance, besides that it gratified the
appetite for horror so common to all My name is Seymour.”
vulgar minds. To have been pre“ Pray be seated, Mr. Seymour; sent at such a sight, under any I'll speak to you directly. Your circumstances, would have delighted father, I say, being compos, did him, merely as a spectator; but to make away with himself, and the have it take place under his own imlaw, in that case made and provided, mediate auspices, was too great a says,"
treat to be given up for any conside“ Damn the law. I say, whoever ration that Frank or myself could
a stake through my father's offer. In addition to the mere pleabody, I'll send a bullet through his sure of the thing itself, his persishead. So now you all know my tency gave him in his own eyes all mind, and let him try it who likes the dignity of a man resolute in the it."
performance of his duty, however With this he burst out of the court, unpleasant, and in spite of the most to the great dismay of the foreman, powerful solicitations.
We were, who, when he recovered from his therefore, obliged to yield the point, surprise, said in a tone of grave im- and leave the field to the little foreportance :
man, who instantly selected half a “ This is contempt of the court, dozen stout peasants to keep watch and must be punished.”
over the body. The Lieutenant, however, put in In coming out we saw a knot of his veto ; for with all his roughness smugglers in earnest conversation at he did not want for feeling, and the the end of the street, about fifty gallantry of the young smuggler had yards from us. Among them was evidently won his heart.
young Woodriff, whose gestures “Psha! the poor fellow only speaks spoke pretty plainly that the council up for his father, and he has a right was not a peaceful one, and the to do so.”
Lieutenant was not slow in guessing “ Yes, but with your leave, Lieu- their purpose. tenant E
“Do you see them, George? Just “Come, come, Master Denton, I as I thought :-they'll have a haul know you are too kind-hearted to now at the old smuggler's body behurt the lad for such a trifle.” fore night is over, and I'll not stand
“ Tritle! Do you call it a tritie to in their way for any coroner's quest damn the court.'
of them all--not I. It's no seaman's “ Well, call it what you will, but duty to look after corpses." let the poor fellow go scot-free. He As he said this, we came close has enough of it already, I think; upon the little party, who were sudhis goods have been taken, his father denly silent, eyeing us with looks of killed, and his sister is run mad.” scorn and sullen hatred, that made
me expect a second fray; Frank, thies : it was in vain that I tried to however, was too brave to be quar- give myself up to it-my mind was relsome.
out of tune for such things. Still I “ You need not scowl so, lads; I sate there, gazing on the sea,-when have only done my duty, and may- my attention was diverted by a gentle hap I may be sorry to have it to do, tap at the door, and ere I could well but still it was my duty, and I did answer, it swung slowly back on its it, and will do it again, if the same hinges, and Nancy stood before me, thing happens again. But that's with a lamp in one hand, and a large neither here nor there. All I case-knife in the other. I thought meant to say was, that I shall keep she was asleep, for her eyes, though a sharp look-out on the water to- wide open, were fixed; and her voice, night for any boat that may be coming when she spoke, was subdued and over; and, in case of the worst, I broken, exactly like one who talks in shall have all hands aboard. So, his slumbers. Something, however, good bye to you."
may be attributed to the excited state “ The Lieutenant's a brave fellow of my fancy. after all,” said one, as we walked I must pass through your winoff.
dow, it opens upon the lawn--for the “ I never thought worse of him," front door is locked and the key taken replied young Harry; “but if I find away by the Lieutenant, who is out out the scoundrel who first shot my at sea to-night on the watch for father, but my soul, but he's as smugglers." dead a man as any that lies in the As she muttered this indistinctly, church-yard."
she glided across the room to the “ Come on, George," cried the window, and, undoing the button Lieutenant; “if I seem to hear what that held it, walked slowly out. Still these fellows say, I must notice it, impressed with the idea of her being and I don't wish that, if I can help asleep, I made no opposition, fearing it-poor devils ! ”
that she might be seriously affected It may be easily supposed, that the in health or mind by any sudden atday did not pass very pleasantly, with tempt to wake her. At the same me at least, who was not used to the time I resolved not to lose sight of her trade of murder, though on Frank lest she should come into peril from the whole business made very little the cliffs or the dykes, and accordimpression; he was too much accus- ingly I followed her steps at a short tomed to such things to be much af- distance till we came to the publicfected by them,-for a sailor's life is house. Late as the hour was, the one of occurrences, while that of a people had not yet gone to bed, for studious man flows on so equally, lights were shining through the kitchthat a simple thunder-storm is to en-window, and from the room imhim a matter of excitement. My mediately over it came the glimmer brain seemed to reel again, and I of a solitary lamp that stood on a was heartily glad when eleven o'clock table by the casement. Hitherto gave me an excuse for retiring, for I Nancy had gone on without taking was wearied out-mind and body, and the least notice of my presence, which wished for nothing so much as to be had served to confirm me in the idea alone.
that she walked in her sleep,-but It was a dark and stormy night, now she turned round upon me-though as yet no rain fell; the thun- “ The Lieutenant's wife told me der too rolled fearfully, and the truly; he is here; but not a word; lightning leapt along the waters, that follow me softly,-as though you were almost as black as the clouds feared to wake the dead." above them. I was too weary for I saw now that she was really sleep, and feeling no inclination to awake, and my first impulse was toss about for hours in bed, placed either by force or persuasion to take myself at the window to enjoy the her back. And yet to what purpose ? sublimity of the tempest. At any
At any If her madness should grow violent other time this splendid scene would I could always overpower her, and have been delightful to me, but now at any rate we were going to, and it awoke none of its usual sympa, uot from, assistance. I did therefore