Charles Dickens.

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my hand. He dropped the stone and shrank back at the sight
of it. When he was close to the sea he stopped, and screamed
out at me, ''The ship's coining I The ship's coming t The ship
■hall nerer find you /" That notion of the ship, and that other
notion of killing me before help came to us, seemed never to
have left him. When he turned, and went back by the way he
had come, he was still shouting out those same words. For a
qoftrter of an hour or more I heard him, till, the silence swal*
lowed ap his ravings, and led me back again to my thoughts
of home.

Those thoughts kept with me till the moon was on the wane
It was darker now, and stiller than ever. I had not fed the
signal-fire for half an hour or more, and had roused myself np,
at the mouth of the cavern, to do it, when I saw the dying
gleams of moonshine over the sea on either side of me change
color and turn red. Black shadows, as from low-flying clouds,
swept after each other over the deepening redness. The air
grew hot — a sound came nearer and nearer, from above me
and behind me, like the rush of wind and the roar of water,
both together, and both far off. I ran out on to the sand and
looked back. The island was on fire !

Od fire at the point of it opposite to me — on fire in one
great sheet of flame that stretched right across the island,
and bore down on me steadily before the light westerly wind
which was blowing at the time. Only one hand could have
kindled that terrible flame — ^^the hand of the lost wretch who
had left me, with the mad threat on his lips and the murderous
notion of burning me out of my refuge, working in his crasy
brain. On his side of the island (where the fire had begun),
the dry grass and scrub grew all round the little hollow in the
earth which I had left to him for his place of refuge. If he
had had a thousand lives to lose he would have lost that thou«
sand already I

Having nothing to feed on but the dry scrub, the flame
•wept forward with such a frightful swiftness that I had barely
time, after mastering my own scattered senses, to turn back
into the cavern to get my last drink of water and my last
mouthful of food, before I heard the fiery scorch crackling



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M8 4 MESSAaB PROM THB 8BiU

OTer the thatch^ roof which toy own bands had raised. I nM
across the beach to the spar of roek which jotted oat late the
sea, and there crouched down on the furthest e6fg;e I could
reach to. There was nothing for the fire to lay hold of be-
tween me and the top of the island bank. I was fur enough
away to be oat of the Hck of the flames, and low enouprh down
to get air under the sweep of the smoke. Ton may well wonder
why, with death by 8tar?ation threatening me close at band, I
should hare schemed and stru^^led as I did to save myself
from a quicker death by suffocation in the smoke. I can only
answer to that, that I wonder too — but so it was.

The flames ate their way to the edge of the bank, and lapped
over it as if they longed to lick me up. The heat scorched
nearer than I had thought, and the smoke poored lower and
thicker. I lay down sick and weak on the rock, with ray
face close over the calm, cool water. When I ven tired to lift
myself up again, the top of the island was of a raby red, the
smoke rose slowly in little streams, and the air above was qniv*
ering with the heat. While I looked at it I felt a kind of
surging and singing in my head, aiid a deadly faintness and
coldness crept all over me. I took the bottle that held the
Message from my pocket, and dropped it iato the sea — then
crawled a little way back over the rocks, and fell forward on
them before I could get as far as the sand. The last I re-
member was trying to say my prayers — losing the words-
losing my sight — losing the sense of where I was — losing every
thing.

The day was breaking agsin when I was roused op by feel-
ing rough hands on me. Naked savages^-^ome on the roek^
some in the water, some in two long canoes — were clamoring
and crowding about on all sides. They bound roe and took ae
off at once to one of the canoes. The other kept company—
and both were paddled back to that high land which I had
seen in the south. Death had passed me by once mere— and
Captivity had come in its place.

The story of my life among the savages having no concern
with the matter now in hand, may be passed by here In f^w
words. They had seen the fire on the island; and paddliaf



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A MBSSAQE FROM THE SBA. ^^^

over to reconnoitre, had fonnd me. Not one of them had ever
set eyes on a white man before. I was taken away to be shown
about among them for a curiosity. When they were tired of
showing me, they spared my life, finding my knowledge and
general handiness as a eivilised man vseful to them in various
ways. I lost all count of time in my captivity — and can only
guess now that it lasted more than one year and less than two.
I made two attempts to escape, each time in a canoe, and
was balked in both. Nobody at home in England would ever,
as I believe, have seen me again if an outward bound vessel
had not touched at the little desert island for fresh water.
Finding none there, she came on to the territory of the savages
(which was an island too). When they took me on board I
looked little better than a savage myself, and could hardly talk
my own language. By the help of the kindness shown to me
I was right again by the time we spoke the first ship home*
ward bound. To that vessel I was transferred ; and In her ]
worked my passage back to Falmouth.



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CHAPTER T.

THE RESTITUTION.

Captain Jorgan, np and ont betimes, had pat the whole
village of Lanrean nnder an amicable cross-examination, and
was returning to the King Arthur's Arms to breakfast, none
the wiser for his tronble, when he beheld the jroang fisherman
advancing to meet him. accompanied bj a stranger. A glance
at this stranger assured the captain that be could be no other
than the Sea-faring Man ; and the captain was about to hail
him as a fellow-craftsman, when the two stood still and sileat
before the captain, and the captain stood still, silent, and won-
dering before them.

''Why, what's this?" cried the captain, when at last be
broke the silence. ** You two are alike. You two are much
alike! What's this?"

Not a word was answered on the other side, until after the
8ea« faring brother had got hold of the captain's right hand,
and the fisherman brother had got hold of the captain's left
hand ; and if ever the captain had had his fill of hand-shaking,
from his birth, to that hour, he had it then. And presently
up and spoke the two brothers, one at a time, two at a time,
two dozen at a time for the bewilderment into which tbey
plunged the captain, until he gradually had Hugh Raybruck'i
deliverance made clear to him, and also unraveled the fact that
the person referred to in the half-obliterated paper was Tregar-
then himself.

** Formerly, dear Captain Jorgan," said Alfred, •* of Lan-
rean, you recollect? Kitty and her father came to live at
Steepways afier Hugh shipped on his last voyage."

** Ay, ay I" cried the captain, fetching a breath. •• iVbwyoa
have me in tow. Then your brother here don't know his mv&f^
in-law that is to be so much as by name f"
(850)



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A MESSAGE FROM THE SEA. 861

" Never saw her ; never heard of her I"

" Ay, ay, ay I" cried the captain. " Why then we every one
go back together — paper, writer, and all — and taice Tregarthen
into the secret we kept from him ?"

" Sorely," said Alfred. " we ceu't help it now. We must
go through with our duty.'-

" Not a doubt," returned the captiiin. ** Give me an arm
apiece, and let us set this ship-shape."

So walking op and down in the shrill wind on the wild moor,
while the neglected breakfast cooled within, the captain and
the brothers settled their course of action.

It was that they should all proceed by the quickest means
they could secure to Barnstaple, and there look over the fa-
ther's books and papers in the lawyer's keeping : as Hugh had
proposed to himself to do if ever he reached home. That,
enlightened or unenlightened, they shonld then return to Steep-
ways and go straight to Mr. Tregarthen, and tell him all they
knew, and see what came of it, and act accordingly. Lastly,
that when they got there they should enter the village with
all precautions against Hugh's being recognized by any
chance ; and that to the captain should be consigned the task
of preparing his wife and mother for his restoration to this life.

"For yon see," quoth Captain Jorgan, touching the laf(t
bead, 'Mt requires caution any way, great Joys being as dan-
gerous as great griefs — if not more dangerous, as being more
aneomraon (and therefore less provided against) in this round
world of ours. And besides, I should like to free my name
witli the ladies, and take you home again at your brightest and
hickiest ; so don't let's throw away a chance of success."

The captain was highly lauded by the brothers for his kind
interest and foresight.

*' And now stop I" said the captain, coming to a stand-
gtill, and looking from one brother to the other, with quite a
aew rigging of wrinkles about each eye ; "you are of opinion,"
to the elder, "that you are ra'ather slow ?"

" I assure you 1 am very slow," said the honest Hugh,

" Wa'al," replied the captain, " I assure you that to the best
of my belief I am ra'ather smart. Now, a slow man ain't good
at q[uick business, is he?"



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168 A MESSAaB FROM THB BBA.

That was clear to both.

" YoQ,'' said the captain, tarniog to the younger brother,
"are a little in ]o?e ; ain't joa ?"

" Not a little, Captain Jorgan."

'' Mnoli or little, you're sort preoccapied ; ain't yon ?"

It was impossible to be denied.

'* And a sort preoccupied man ain't good at quick boBineia
is he 7" said the captain.

Equally clear on all sides.

"Now," said the captain^ ''I ain't in love myself, and Pfe
made many a smart run across the ocean, and I should like te
carry oa and go ahead with this affair of yours and make a mo
slick through it. Shall I try ? Will you hand it over to roe f*

They were both delighted to do so, and thanked him heartily.

<'Oood," said the captain, taking out his watch. "This is
half past eight ▲.]«., Friday morning. PU jot that down, and
we'll compute how many hours we've been out when we nw
into your mother's post-oflOce. There 1 The entry's made, and
now we go ahead."

They went ahead so well that before the Barnstaple lawyer^
office was open next morning the captain was sitting wkiit-
Hng on the step of the door, waiting for the derk to eoae
down the street with his key and open it. But instead of tka
clerk there came the master, with whom the captain frater*
nized on the spot to an extent that utterly confounded hifls.

As he personally knew both Hugh and Alfred, there was
no difficulty in obtaining immediate access to such of the fa-
ther's papers as were in his keeping. These were chieOj oM
letters and cash accounts : from which the captain, wita a
shrewdness and dispatch that left the lawyer far behind, es-
tablished with perfect cleaniess, by noon, the following partica-
lars:

That, one Lawrence Clissold had borrowed of the deceased,
at a time when he was a thriving young tradesman in the town
of Barnstaple, the sum of five hundred pounds. That, he bad
borrowed it on the written statement that it was to belaid cot
in furtherance of a speculation which he expected wouhi raise
him to iudependence ; he being, at the time of writing tliat
letter, no more than a clerk in the house of Dringworth Br9



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A MESSAGB PROM TUB SBA. ^^

tbera, America Square, Loudon. That, the money was bor*
rowed for a stipulated period ; but thnt when the terra was out
the aforesaid speculation failed, and Clissold was without
means of repayment That, hereupon, he had written to hit)
creditor, in no very perBuasi?e terms, ?a^nely requesting fur-
ther time. That, the creditor had refused this concession, de-
claring that he could not afford delay. That, Clissold then
paid the debt, accompanying the remittance of the money with
an angry letter describing it as having been advanced by a
relative to save him from rain. That, in acknowledging the
receipt, Ray brock had cautioned Clissold to seek to borrow
money of him no more, as he would sever so risk money again.

Before the lawyer the captain said never a word in reference
to these discoveries. But when the papers had been put back
in their box, and he and his two companions were well oat of
the office, his right leg suffered for it, and he said :

"So far this run's begun with a fair wind and a prosperous;
for don't you see that all this agrees with that dutiful trust in
his father maintained by the slow member of the Raybroek fa-
mily ?"

Whether the brothers bad seen it before or no, they saw
it now. Not that the captain gave them much time to con-
template the state of things at their ease, for he instantly
whipped them into a chaise again, and bore them off to Steep-
waya. Although the afternoon was but joat beginning to de-
ctioe when they reached it, and it wm broad daylight, still they
had uo difficulty, by diut of Muffling the returned sailor up,
and ancendiug the viilnge rather than descending it, in reach-
ing Tregartheu'a eottage unobserved. Kitty was not visible,
and they ivpriiied Tregarthen sitting writing in the small bay-
window of his little room.

" Sir," said the captain, instantly shaking bands with him,
)>en and all, " I'm glad to see you, sir. How do you do, sir 1
I told you you'd think better of me by-and-by, and I congra-
tulate you on going to do it."

Here the captain's eye fell on Tom Fettifer Ho, engaged iu
preparing some cookery at the fire.

" That critter," said the captain, smiting his leg, '* is a bora
"teward, and never ought to have beeu io any other way of



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SM A MESSAQE FROM THE SEA.

life. Stop where you are, Tom, and make yoorself oaef^
Now, Tregarthen, Pm going to try a chair."

Accordingly, the captain drew one close to him, and went on:

" This loving member of the Ray brock family yoo know,
sir. This slow member of the same family, yon don't know,
sir. Wa'al, these two are brothers — fact! Hugh's come to
life again, and here he stands. Now, see here, my friend I
Ton don't want to be told that he was east away, but yon do
want to be told (for there's a purpose in it) that be was cast
away with another man. That roan by name was Lawrence
Clissold."

At the mention of this name Tregarthen started aid
changed color. " What's the matter 7" said the captain.

" He was a fellow-clerk of mine, thirty — five-and-tbirty—
years ago."

'' Trae," said the captain, immediately catching at the dew:
" D ring worth Brothers, America Square, London City.'*

The other started again, nodded, and said, "That was the
House."

*' Now," pursued the captain, ** between those two men ctat
away there arose a mystery concerning the round suno of five
hundred pound."

Again Tregarthen started, and changed color. Again the
captain said, '* What's the matter ?"

As Tregarthen only answered, — ** Please to go on," the cap-
tain recounted, very tersely and plainly, the nature of Clissold^
wanderings on the barren island, as he had condensed then it
his mind from the sea-faring man. Tregarthen became greatJv
agitated during this recital, and at length exclaimed :

** Clissold was the man who ruined me ! I have suspected
it for many a long year, and now I know it."

"And how," said the captain, drawing his chair still closer
to Tregarthen, and clapping his hand upon his shoulder, " how
may you know it ?"

"When we were fellow-clerks," replied Tregarthen, "i«
that London House, it was one of my duties to enter daily in a
certain book an account of the sums received that day by tlie
firm, and afterward paid into the banker's. One nieniorablr



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A MESSAGE FROM TOE SBiL ^^

daj — a Wednesday, the black day of my life — among the sums
I so entered was one of five hundred pounds."

" I begin to make it out," said the captain. " Yes ?"

'* It was one of Clissold's duties to copy from this entry ^
memorandum of the sums which the clerk employed to go to
the bankers paid in there. It was my di»ty to band the mone>
to Clissold ; it was Clissold's to hand it to the clerk, with that
memorandum of his writing. On that Wednesday 1 entered a
Bora of five hundred pounds received. I handed that sum, as
I handed the other sums in the day's entry, t^ Clissoid. I
was absolutely certain of it at the time ; I have been absolutely
certain of it ever since. A sum of five hundred pounds was
afterward found by the House to have been that day wanting
from the bag, from Clissold's memorandum, and from the entries
in my book. "Clissold, being questioned, stood upon his
perfect clearness in the matter, and emphatically declared that
he asked no better than to be tested by * Tregarthen's book.*
My book was examined, and the entry of five hundred pounds
was Dot there."

"How not there," said the captain, "when you made il
yourself?"

Tregarthen continued :

" I was then questioned. Had I made the entry ? Certainly
I had. The House produced my book, and it was not there*
I could not deny my book ; I could not deny my writing. I
knew there must be forgery by some one; but the writing was
wonderfully like mine, and I could impeach no one if the House
coald not. I was required to pay the money back. I did so ;
and I left the House, almost broken-hearted, rather than re-
main there — even if I could have done so — with a dark shadow
of suspicion always on me. I returned to my native place,
Lianrean, and remained there, clerk to a mine, until I was ap-
pointed to my little post here."

" I well remember," said the captain, " that I told you that
if you had had no experience of ill-judgments on deceiving ap-
pearances, you were a lucky man. You went hurt at that,
and I see why. I'm sorry."

'* Thus it is," said Tregarthen. " Of my own innocence I
baye of course been sure ; it has been at once my comfort and



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856 A MESSAGB FROM tHB SEA.

my trial. Of Clissold I hare always had suspicions ahio^
amoanting to certainty ; but they have never been confimed
until now. For my daughter's sake and for my own I bare
Carried this subject in my own heart, as the only secret of wt
life, and have long believed that it would die with me."

" Wa'al, my good •sir," said the captain, cordially, "the pit-
ient question is, and will be long, I hope, conceniing livinj;
and not dying. Now, here are our two honest friends, tk
loving Raybrock and the slow. Here they stand, agreed on
one point, on which Pd back 'em round the world, and rifrbt
across it from north to south, and then again from east to
west, and through it, f\rom your deepest Cornish mine to China.
It is, that they will never use this same 8o-often-meniioncd nni
of money, and that restitution of it must be made to yon.
These two, the loving member and the slow, for the sake of
the right and of their father's memory, will have it ready for
you to-morrow. Take it, and ease their minds and mine, aixl
end a most unfort'nate transaction."

Tregarthen took the captain by the hand, and gave his hard
to each of the young men, but positively and finally answered
No. He said, they trusted to his word, and he was jHad of ii.
and at rest in his mind ; but there was no proof, and the rootieT
must remain as it was. All were very earnest over this ; itni
earnestness in men, when they are right and true, is so ho-
pressive, that Mr. Pettifer deserted his cookery and looked on
quite moved.

"And 80," said the captain, "so we come — as that lawyer-
crittur over yonder where we were thi^ morning, might— to
mere proof; do we? We must have it; must we ? How?
Prom this Clissold's wanderings, and from what yon say it m\
hard to make out that there was a neat forgery of yonr writin?
committed by the too smart Rowdy that wa« prea?e and ashe«
when I made his acquaintance, and a snbstitntion of a forp^
leaf in your book for a real and trne leaf torn out. Now, wu
that real and true leaf then and there destroyed ? No — for nrs
he, in his drunken way, he slipped It fnlo a crack in his own
desk, because you came into the office before there was time to
burn it— and eonld npver get back to it Afterwards, Wait i



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A HBSSAGE FROM THE SEA. 8^7

bit. Wher« is that desk now ? Do j<m consider it likely to
be in America Square, London City ?"

Tregarthen shook his head.

" The House has not, for years, transacted business in that
place. I have heard of it and read of it, as removed, enlarged,
every way altered. Things alter so fast in these times."

*'Yoa think so," returned the captain, with compassion;
*'bat you should come over and see me afore you talk about
ihat. Wa'al, now. This desk, this paper — ^this paper, this
desk," said the captain, ruminating and walking about, and
looking, in his uneasy abstraction, into Mr. Pettifer's hat on a
Htble, among other things. ''This desk, this paper — this paper,
this desk," the captain continoed, musing and roaming about
the room, '* Pd give — "

However, he gave nothing, bnt took up his steward's hat
instead, and stood looking into it, as if he had just come into
Church. After that he roamed again, and again said, ** This
desk, belonging to this House of Dringworth Brothers, Ame-
ene^ Square, London City — "

Mr. i'ettifer still strangely moTed, and now more moved
tban before, cut the captain off as he backed across the room,
and bespake him thas :

** Captain Jorgan, I have been wishfnl to engage your at-
tention, bat I couldn't do it. I am unwilling to interrupt, Cap-
taio Jorgan, but I must do it. / know something about that
house."

The captain stood stock-still, and looked at him — with his
(Mr. Pettifer's) hat under his arm.

"You're aware," pursued his steward, "that I was once in
the broking business, Captain Jorgan ?"

"I was aware," said the captain, "that you had failed in
ihat calling, and in half the businesses going, Tom."

" Not quite so. Captain Jorgan ; but I failed in the broking
business. I wns partners with my brother, sir. There was a
sale of old office furniture at Dringworth Brothers when the
house was moved from America Square, and me and my bro-
ther made what we call in the trade a Deal there, sir. And III
make bold to say, sir, that the only thing I ever had from my
brother, or ft-om any relation — for my relations have mostly



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358 ji MBSSAGB FROM THB 8BA.

taken property from me instead of^giying me anj — ^was an old
desk we bought at that same sale, with a crack in it. My bro-
ther wonldn't ha?e given me even that, when we broke partner*
ship, if it had been worth any thing."

** Where is that desk now ?" said the captain.

*' Well, Captain Jorgan," replied the steward, " I conldDt
say for certain where it is now ; bat when I saw it last — which
was last time we were outward bound— it was at a very aiee
lady's at Wapping, along with a little cbest of mine which wu
detained for a small matter of a bill owing."

The captain, instead of paying that rapt attention to bis
steward which was rendered by the other three persons present,
went to Church again, in respect of the steward's hat And a
most especially agitated and memorable face the captain pro-
duced from it, after a short pause.

" Now, Tom," said the captain, " I spoke to yoa, when we
first came here, respecting your constitutional weakness on the
subject of spn-stroke."

"You did, sir."

'* Will my slow friend," said the captain, ** lend me his ana,
or I shall sink right backwards into this blessed steward's cook*
ery 7 Now, Tom," pursued the captain, when the required af-
sistance was given, " on your oath as a steward, didn't yon take
that desk to pieces to make a better one of It^ and pat it
together fresh — or something of the kind ?"

" On my oath I did, sir," replied the steward.

'* And by the blessing of Heaven, my friends one and aH,"
cried the captain, radiant with joy — "of the Heaven that pat
it into this Tom Pettifer's head to take so much care of hv
head against the bright sun — be lined his hat with the origiaal
leaf in Tregarthen's writing — and here it is!"

With that the captain, to the utter destruction of Mr. Pet-
tifer's favorite hat, produced the book-leaf, very mnch won,



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