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was like the physician's feeling the pulse of his patient before he pronounces on the degree of his danger.
Well, sir ?" cried out Spike, impatiently, as the rod reappeared.
“ All right, sir,” answered Harry, cheerfully—“ the well is nearly empty."
“Hold on a moment longer, and give the water time to find its way amidships, is there be any."
The mate remained perched up on the pump, in order to comply, while Spike and his people, who now breathed more freely again, improved the leisure to brace up and haul aft, to the new course.
“ Biddy," said Mrs. Budd considerately, during this pause in the incidents," you need n't scream any longer. The danger seems to be past, and you may get up off the deck
See, I have let go of the mast. The pumps have been sounded, and are found tight.”
Biddy, like an obedient and respectful servant, did as di. rected, quite satisfied if the pumps were tight. It was some little time, to be sure, before she was perfectly certain whe. ther she were alive or not-but, once certain of this circumstance, her alarm very sensibly abated, and she be came reasonable. As for Mulsord, he dropped the sound ing rod again, and had the same cheering report to make.
“ The brig is as tight as a bottle, sir.”
“ So much the better," answered Spike. “I never had such a whirl in her before in my life, and I thought she was going to stop and pass the night there. That's the very spot on which «The Hussar' frigate was wrecked.”
“ So I have heard, sir. But she drew so much water that she hit slap against the rock, and started a butt. We merely touched on its top with our fore-foot, and slid off.”
This was the simple explanation of the Swash's escape, and, everybody being now well assured that no harm had been done, things fell into their old and regular train again, As for Spike, his gallantry, notwithstanding, was upset for some hours, and glad enough was he when he saw all three of his passengers quit the deck to go below, Mrs. Budd's spirits had been so much agitated that she told Rose she would go down into the cabin and rest a few minutes on its sofa. We say sofa, for that article of furniture, now-a-days is far more common in vessels than it was thirty years ago in the dwellings of the country.
“ There, Mulford,” growled Spike, pointing ahead of the brig, to an object on the water that was about half a mile ahead of them, “there's that bloody boat-d'ye see? I should like of all things to give it the slip. There's a chap in that boat I do n't like.”
“I do n't see how that can be very well done, sir, unless we anchor, repass the Gate at the turn of the tide, and go to sea by the way of Sandy Hook.”
“That will never do. I've no wish to be parading the brig before the town. You see, Mulford, nothing can be more innocent and proper than the Molly Swash, as you know from having sailed in her these twelve months. You 'll give her that character, I 'll be sworn ?"
“I know no harm of her, Capt. Spike, and hope I never shall."
“ No, sir-you know no harm of her, nor does any one else. A nursing infant is not more innocent than the Molly Swash, or could have a clearer character if nothing but truth was said of her. But the world is so much given to lying, that one of the old saints, of whom we read in the good book, such as Calvin and John Rogers, would be vil. ified if he lived in these times. Then, it must be owned, Mr. Mulford, whatever may be the raal innocence of the brig, she has a most desperate wicked look."
Why, yes, sir-it must be owned she is what we sailors call a wicked-looking craft. But some of Uncle Sam's cruis. ers have that appearance, also.”
" I know it I know it, sir, and think nothing of looks myself. Men are often deceived in me, by my looks, which have none of your long-shore softness about 'em, perhaps ; but my mother used to say I was one of the most tenderhearted boys she had ever heard spoken of-like one of the babes in the woods, as it might be. But mankind go so much by appearances that I do n't like to trust the brig too much afore their eyes. Now, should we be seen in the lower bay, waiting for a wind, or for the ebb tide to make, to carry us over the bar, ten to one but some philotropic or other would be off with a complaint to the District Attorney that we looked like a slaver, and have us all fetched up to be tried for our lives as pirates. No, no,I like to keep the brig in out-of-the-way places, where she can give no offence to your 'tropics, whether they be philos, or of any other sort.”
“ Well, sir, we are to the eastward of the Gate, and all's safe. That boat cannot bring us up.”
“ You forget, Mr. Mulford, the revenue-craft that steamed up, on the ebb. That vessel must be off Sands' Point by this time, and she may hear something to our disparagement from the feller in the boat, and take it into her smoky head to walk us back to town. I wish we were well to the east. ward of that steamer! But there's no use in larnentations. If there is really any danger, it's some distance ahead yet, thank Heaven !"
“ You have no fears of the man who calls himself Jack Tier, Capt. Spike ?"
“ None in the world. That feller, as I remember him, was a little bustlin' chap that I kept in the cabin, as a sort of steward's mate. There was neither good nor harm in him, to the best of my recollection. But Josh can tell us all about him—just give Josh a call."
The best thing in the known history of Spike was the fact that his steward had sailed with him for more than twenty years. Where he had picked up Josh no one could say, but Josh and himself, and neither chose to be very communicative on the subject. But Josh had certainly been with him as long as he had sailed the Swash, and that was from a time actually anterior to the birth of Mulford. The mate soon had the negro in the council.
Josh," asked Spike, “ do you happen to remember such a hand aboard here as one Jack Tier ?"
“ Lor' bless you, yes sir—'members he as well as I do the pea soup that was burnt, and which you t’rowed all over him, to scald him for punishment.”
“I've had to do that so often, to one careless fellow or other, that the circumstance does n't recall the man. I remember him-but not as clear as I could wish. How ong did he sail with us?"
“Sebberal v’y'ge, sir, and got left ashore down on the main, one night, when’e boat were obliged to shove off in a hurry. Yes, 'members little Jack, right well I does."
" I say,
“ Did you see the man that spoke us from the wharf, and nailed for this very Jack Tier ?"
“I see'd a man, sir, dat was won'erful Jack Tier built like, sir, but I did n't hear the conwersation, habbin' the ladies to 'tend to. But Jack was oncommon short in his floor timbers, sir, and had no length of keel at all. His beam was won'erful for his length, altogedder — what you
call jolly-boat, or bum-boat build, and was only good afore'e wind, Cap'n Spike.”
“ Was he good for anything aboard ship, Josh? Worth heaving-to for, should he try to get aboard of us again ?"
• Why, sir, can't say much for him in dat fashion. Jack was handy in the cabin, and capital feller to carry soup from the gally, aft. You see, sir, he was so low-rigged that the brig's lurchin' and pitchin' could n't get him off his pins, and he stood up like a church in the heaviest wea'der. Yes, sir, Jack was right good for dat.”
Spike mused a moment—then he rolled the tobacco over in his mouth, and added, in the way a man speaks when his mind is made up
“Ay ay! I see into the fellow. He'll make a handy lady's maid, and we want such a chap just now. It's better to have an old friend aboard, than to be pickin' up strangers, 'long shore. So, should this Jack Tier come off to us, from any of the islands or points ahead, Mr. Mulford, you'll round to and take him aboard. As for the steamer, if she will only pass out into the Sound where there's room, it shall go hard with us but I get to the eastward of her, with. out speaking. On the other hand, should she anchor this side of the fort, I'll not attempt to pass her. There is deep water inside of most of the islands, I know, and we'll try and dodge her in that way, if no better offer. I've no more reason than another craft to fear a government vessel, but the sight of one of them makes me oncomfortable; that s all.”
Mulford shrugged his shoulders and remained silent, perceiving that his commander was not disposed to pursue the subject any further. In the mean time, the brig had passed beyond the influence of the bluff, and was beginning to feel a stronger breeze, that was coming down the wide opening of Flushing Bay. As the tide still continued strong in her favour, and her motion through the water was getting to be four or five knots, there was every prospect of her soon Teaching Whitestone, the point where the tides meet, and where it would become necessary to anchor; unless, indeed, the wind, which was now getting to the southward and eastward, should come round more to the south. All this Spike and his mate discussed together, while the people were clearing the decks, and making the preparations that are customary on board a vessel before she gets into rough water.
By this time it was ascertained that the brig had received no damage by her salute of the Pot Rock, and every trace of uneasiness on that account was removed. But Spike kept harping on the boat, and “the pilot-looking chap who was in her. As they passed Riker's Island, all hands expected a boat would put off with a pilot, or to demand pilotage ; but none came, and the Swash now seemed released from all her present dangers, unless some might still be connected with the revenue steamer. To retard her advance, however, the wind came out a smart working breeze from the southward and eastward, compelling her to make “long legs and short ones” on her way towards Whitestone.
“ This is beating the wind, Rosy dear,” said Mrs. Budd, complacently, she and her niece having returned to the deck a few minutes after this change had taken place. “Your respected uncle did a great deal of this in his time, and was very successful in it. I have heard him say, that in one of his voyages between Liverpool and New York, he beat the wind by a whole fortnight, everybody talking of it in the insurance offices, as if it was a miracle."
Ay, ay, Madam Budd," put in Spike, “I'll answer for that. They're desperate talkers in and about them there insurance offices in Wall street. Great gossips be they, and they think they know everything. Now just because this brig is a little old or so, and was built for a privateer in the last war, they'd refuse to rate her as even B, No. 2, and my blessing on 'em.”
“ Yes, B, No. 2, that's just what your dear unc!e used to call me, Rosy-his charming B, No. 2, or Betsy, No. 2; particularly when he was in a loving mood. Captain Spike, did you ever beat the wind in a long voyage ?"
“I can't say I ever did, Mrs. Budd," answered Spike,