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MILES WALLINGFORD.

CHAPTER I.

-"But I'll not chide thee;
Let shame come when it will, I do not call it;
I do not bid the thunder-bearer shoot,
Nor tell tales of thee to high-judging Jove;
Mend when thou canst-

Lear.

It is almost as impossible to describe minutely what occurred on the boat's reaching the Wallingford, as to de. scrihe all the terrific incidents of the struggle between Drewett and myself in the water. I had sufficient percep. tion, however, to see, as I was assisted on board by Mr. Hardinge and Neb, that Lucy was not on deck. She had probably gone to join Grace, with a view to be in readiness for meeting the dire intelligence that was expected. I after. wards learned that she was long on her knees in the aftercabin, engaged in that convulsive prayer which is apt to accompany sudden and extreme distress in those who appeal to God in their agony.

During the brief moments, and they were but mere particles of time, if one can use such an expression, in which my senses could catch anything beyond the horrid scene in which I was so closely engaged, I had heard shrill screams from the lungs of Chloe; but Lucy's voice had not mingled in the outcry. Even now, as we were raised, or aided, to the deck, the former stood, with her face glistening with tears, half convulsed with terror and half expanding with delight, uncertain whether to laugh or to weep, looking first at her master and then at her own admirer, until her feel. ings found a vent in the old exclamation of “ der feller!”

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It was fortunate for Andrew Drewett that a man of Post's experience and steadiness was with us. No sooner was the seemingly lifeless body on board, than Mr. Hardinge ordered the water-cask to be got out; and he and Marble would have soon been rolling the poor fellow with all their might, or holding him up by the heels, under the notion that the water he had swallowed must be got out of him, before he could again breathe ; but the authority of one so high in the profession soon put a stop to this. Drewett's wet clothes were immediately removed, blankets were warmed at the galley, and the most judicious means were resorted to, in order to restore the circulation. The physician soon detected signs of life, and, ordering all but one or two assistants to leave the spot, in ten minutes Drewett was placed in a warm bed, and might be considered out of danger.

The terrific scene enacted so directly before his eyes, produced an effect on the Albon-ny man, who consented to haul aft his main-sheet, lower his studding-sail and top-sail, come by the wind, stand across to the Wallingford, heave-to, and lower a boat. This occurred just as Drewett was taken below; and, a minute later, old Mrs. Drewett and her two daughters, Helen and Caroline, were brought alongside of

The fears of these tender relatives were allayed by my report; for, by this time, I could both talk and walk; and Post raised no objection to their being permitted to go below. I seized that opportunity to jump down into the sloop's hold, where Neb brought me some dry clothes ; and I was soon in a warm, delightful glow, that contributed in no small degree to my comfort. So desperate had been my struggles, however, that it took a good night's rest completely to restore the tone of my nerves and all my strength. My arrangements were barely completed, when I was summoned to the cabin.

Grace met me with extended arms. She wept on my bosom for many minutes. She was dreadfully agitated as it was; though happily she knew nothing of the cause of Chloe's screams, and of the confusion on deck, until I was known to be safe. Then Lucy communicated all the facts to her in as considerate a manner as her own kind and gen. tle nature could dictate. I was sent for, as just stated, and caressed like any other precious thing that its owner had

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supposed itself about to lose. We were still in an agitated state, when Mr. Hardinge appeared at the door of the cabin, with a prayer-book in his hand. He demanded our attention, all kneeling in both cabins, while the good, simpleminded old man read some of the collects, the Lord's Prayer,

and concluded with the thanksgiving for “a safe return from sea”! He would have given us the marriage ceremony itself, before he would have gone out of the prayer-book for any united worship whatever.

It was impossible not to smile at this last act of pious simplicity, while it was equally impossible not to be touched with such an evidence of sincere devotion. The offering had a soothing influence on all our feelings, and most especially on those of the excited females. As I came out into the main-cabin, after this act of devotion, the excellent divine took me in his arms, kissed me just as he had been used to do when a boy, and blessed me aloud. I confess I was obliged to rush on deck to conceal

my

emotion, In a few minutes I became sufficiently composed to order sail made on our course, when we followed the Orpheus up the river, soon passing her, and taking care to give her a wide berth; a precaution I long regretted not having used at first. As Mrs. Drewett and her two daughters refused to quit Andrew, we had the whole family added to our party, as it might be, per force. I confess to having been sufficiently selfish to complain a little, to myself only, however, at always finding these people in my way, during the brief intervals I now enjoyed of being near Lucy. As there was no help, after seeing all the canvass spread, I took a seat in one of the chairs that stood on the main-deck, and began, for the first time, coolly to ponder on all that had just passed. While thus occupied, Marble drew a chair to my side, gave me a cordial squeeze of the hand, and began to converse. At this moment, neatly tricked out in dry clothes, stood Neb on the forecastle, with his arms folded, sailor-fashion, as calm as if he had never felt the wind blow; occasionally giving in, however, under the influence of Chloe's smiles and unsophisticated admiration. In these moments of weakness the black would bow his head, give vent to a short laugh, when, suddenly recovering himself, he would endeavour to appeur dignified. While this pantomime was in the course of exhibition forward, the discourse aft did not flag.

“ Providence intends you for something remarkable, Miles," my mate continued, after one or two brief expressions of his satisfaction at my safety ; “ something uncom. monly remarkable, depend on it. First, you were spared in the boat off the Isle of Bourbon; then, in another boat off Delaware Bay; next, you got rid of the Frenchman so dex. terously in the British Channel; after that, there was the turn-up with the bloody Smudge and his companions; next comes the recapture of the Crisis ; sixthly, as one might say, you picked me up at sea, a runaway hermit; and now here, this very day, seventhly and lastly, are you sitting safe and sound, after carrying as regular a lubber as ever fell overboard, on your head and shoulders, down to the bottom of the Hudson, no less than three times! I consider you to be the only man living who ever sank his three times, and came up to tell of it, with his own tongue.”

“ I am not at all conscious of having said one word about it, Moses,” I retorted, a little drily.

“Every motion, every glance of your eye, boy, tells the story. No; Providence intends you for something remarkable, you may rely on that. One of these days you may go to Congress—who knows?"

By the same rule, you are to be included, then ; for in most of my adventures you have been a sharer, besides hav. ing quantities that are exclusively your own. Remember, you have even been a hermit.”

“Hu-s-h—not a syllable about it, or the children would run after me as a sight. You must have generalized in a remarkable way, Miles, after you sunk the last time, without much hope of coming up again ?"

“Indeed, my friend, you are quite right in your conjecture. So near a view of death is apt to make us all take rapid and wide views of the past. I believe it even crossed my mind that you would miss me sadly.”

Ay,” returned Marble, with feeling; “ them are the moments tɔ bring out the truth! Not a juster idee passed your brain than that, Master Miles, I can assure you. Missed you! I would have bought a boat and started for Marble Land, never again to quit it, the day after the funeral. Bui

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there stands your cook, fidgeting and looking this way, as if she had a word to put in on the occasion. This expl'ite of Neb's will set the niggers up in the world; and it wouldn't surprise me if it cost you a suit of finery all round.”

"A price I will cheerfully pay for my life. It is as you say-Dido certainly wishes to speak to me, and I must give her an invitation to come nearer."

Dido Clawbonny was the cook of the family, and the mother of Chloe. Whatever hypercriticism might object to her colour, which was a black out of which all the gloss had fairly glistened itself over the fire, no one could deny her being full blown. Her weight was exactly two hundred, and her countenance a strange medley of the light-heartedness of her race, and the habitual and necessary severity of a cook. She often protested that she was weighed down by

responserbility;" the whole of the discredit of over-done beef, or under-done fish, together with those which attach themselves to heavy bread, lead-like buckwheat-cakes, and a hundred other similar cases, belonging exclusively to her office. She had been twice married, the last connection having been formed only a twelvemonth before. In obedi. ence to a sign, this important lady now approached.

“ Welcome back, Masser Mile,” Dido began with a curt. sey, meaning " Welcome back from being half-drowned;"> ebbery body so grad you isn't hurt !"

“ Thank you, Dido-thank you with all my heart. If I have gained nothing else by the ducking, I have gained a knowledge of the manner in which my servants love me.”

“Lor bless us all! How we help it, Masser Mile? As if a body can posserbly help how lub come and go! Lub jest like religion, Masser Mile—some get him, and some don't. But lub for a young masser and a young missus, sah—dat jest as nat'ral, as lub for ole masser and ole mis

I t'ink nutin' of neider." Luckily, I was too well acquainted with the Clawbonny dialect to need a vocabulary in order to understand the meaning of Dido. All she wished to express was the idea that it was so much a matter of course for the dependants of the family to love its heads, that she did not think the mere circumstance, in itself, worthy of a second thought.

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