Howard Pyle.

The story of Jack Ballister's fortunes online

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Rl ■rmC!-!'







This BOOK may be kept out TWO WEEKS
ONLY, and is subject to a fine of FIVE
CENTS a day thereafter. It is DUE on the
DAY indicated below:









Copyright. 1894. 189,5, by
Thk Century Co.

The de vinne press.


Chapter Page

I The America Merchant 5

II Jack Ballister 9

III Jack and his Uncle 26

IV Captain Butts 31

V Kidnapped 38

VI Aboard the Arundel 43

VII Across the Ocean 47

VIII To the End of the Voyage 57

IX In Virginia 65

X Into Bondage 77

XI Marlborough 85

XII Down the River 92

XIII The Roost 97

XIV In England 102

XV Life at the Roost 109

XVI Jack's Master in the Toils 116

XVII Jack Rides on a Mission 124

XVIII Miss Eleanor Parker 130

XIX The Visitor Again 135

XX The Wild Turkey 146

XXI The Struggle 154

XXII The Escape 161

XXIII A Meeting 168

XXIV At Marlborough 179

XXV In Captrtity 190

XXVI The Pirate's Lair 198

XXVII At Bath Town 203



Chapter Page

XXVIII In North Carolina — In Virginia 211

XXIX An Expedition 221

XXX The Attempt 229

XXXI The Return 237

XXXII A Scene 243

XXXIII How Jack resolved 253

XXXIV The Escape 265

XXXV The BEGmNiNG of the Voyage 272

XXXVI A Stop over Night 280

XXXVII The Second Day 287

XXXVIII The Third Day 296

XXXIX The Fourth Day 305

XL Fiat Justitia 319

XLI The Boat Adrift 327

XLII The Next Day 336

XLIII The Eeturn 346

XLIV Rising Fortunes 353

XLV Preparation 362

XL VI The Fight 373

XL VII In the New Life 385

XL VIII Jack meets some Old Friends 391

XLIX The Departure 404

L The Return 412


"'Speak up, Boy, speak up,' said the Gentleman" Frontispiece


" ' He 'll come to by and by ; he 's only stunned a Trifle,'
SAID THE Captain 42

" ' Now, THEN, Gentlemen, how much do you bid for this
Boy ? ' SAID THE Auctioneer " 82

" Mr. Parker stood looking steadily at his Visitor '' . . . 122

" ' I don't want to be Anttbody's Servant, Lady, and

WOULD n't if I could HELP IT ' " 132

" He picked up the Bird and held it out at Arm's

Length " 152

"He led Jack up to the Man who sat upon a Barrel". 174
"Jack followed the Captain and the Young Lady up



Jack and Dred rescue Eleanor — The Start 272

The Pirates fire upon the Fugitrt^s 316

" Colonel Parker reached and laid his Hand upon Jack's

Shoulder. ' Ay,' said he, "T is a good, honest Face ' " 348
"The Combatants cut and slashed with savage Fury".. 384
" ' Then I will come,' said he " 408






ONE of the most important problems that confronted
the Virginia jDlantations in the earher colonial days
was the question as to how to obtain sufficient labor to
till the soil and to raise tobacco for the English market.

Some of the colonial planters of Virginia owned thou-
sands of acres of the richest tobacco land in the world
— whole tracts of virgin earth where the priceless loam
lay open to the rain, the air, and the warm sky; boun-
tifully fruitful loam, only waiting for tillage to be coined
into vast tobacco fortunes for the princely owners.
All that was needed was human lal3or to dig the earth,
to plant, to hoe, to cultivate, and to prepare the to-
bacco for market, for there was not a hundredth part
enough labor to turn the waiting soil, that lay ready to
yield at any time its thousands of hogsheads of tobacco,
and the question was, where and how labor was to be

The easiest and quickest solution of the question ap-
peared to be the importation of negro slave labor from

The introduction of such slave labor began almost in
the earliest days of the provinces. Hundreds of ship-
loads of African negroes were brought across the ocean
and set to work digging and hoeing in the tobacco


fields, and slave trade became a regular traffic between
the west coast of Africa and the Americas.

But the African slaves, when imported, were found
only fit to do the very rudest and simplest sort of la-
bor. They were poor, ignorant savages, who, until they
were set to work on the plantations, knew almost noth-
ing at all about such labor as was practised by civilized
mankind. When they were told to dig the earth, they
dug, but they labored without knowing either why they
worked or wherefore. They did just as their masters
or their overseers bade them, and nothing more. Be-
yond this they could be taught little or nothing, for not
only were those earlier savages like children, incapable
of learning much of anything ; but, in most instances,
they could not even speak a single word of the language
of their masters, and so could not understand what their
owners wanted of them. They were of use onlj^ to work
as a dumb animal might work, and not as white men
could work.

So the Virginia plantations were still without that in-
telligent labor which white men alone could bring to
the tilling of the soil ; labor that knew what it was about
when it dug the earth, and which, when told to do so,
could turn its hand to other things that might be re-
quired of it. And so it was that every means was used
to bring English men and women to the Virginia plan-

Even in the last part of the seventeenth century those
immigrants who afterward developed our great coun-
try into what it now is, were beginning to pour into
the colonies. But, of this immigrant labor, the best
and the most intelligent did not come to Virginia or
other of the southern provinces. It drifted to the New
England or the Pennsylvania provinces rather than to
those in the South. There, in the North, any man
could obtain a farm for himself by hewing it out of the


wilderness. In Virginia the land was nearly all owned
by the great tobacco planters. Hence it was that only
the poorest and least ambitious of these white men
and women could in the earlier provincial days be
induced to go thither, and hence white labor was so
much more in demand in the South than in the North.

A certain class of the immigrants of that time were
called "redemptioners" or "redemption servants."
They were so called because they had to redeem by
their labor the cost of their passage across the ocean
from England to America. Upon their arrival in the
New World they were sold for a term of years — seven,
eight, nine, ten, as the case might be — and the money
received from such sale was paid to the ship captain
or the merchant who transported them from the Old
World to the New. Thus their debt was redeemed,
and hence their name.

Those who came thus as redemption servants from
England were generally the poorest and most wi'etched
of its people — paupers, outcasts, criminals — unfortu-
nates who were willing to do almost anything to get
away from their surroundings into a new life, where
they hoped something better might be in store for them
than that wi-etchedness which they had had to endure
at home.

Thousands of such people were sent across the ocean
to the Virginia and other plantations, where, poor and
miserable as they often were, the demand for them grew
ever gi-eater and greater as the wilderness became more
and more open to cultivation.

Every year higher and higher prices were paid for
such servants, until, at last, a ship-load of redemptioners
(provided the voyage across the ocean had been speedy
and no contagious disease had developed aboard the
vessel) became almost the most profitable cargo exported
from England.


When the transportation of servants became thus so
remunerative, the crimps who supplied them to mer-
chants or to ship captains were oftentimes tempted,
when other means failed, to resort to kidnapping, or
man-stealing, to supply the demand.

During the earlier fifty years of the last century,
thousands of men, women, and even children were
stolen from England and sent away to the Americas,
perhaps never to retm-n, perhaps never even to be heard
of again. In those days — "The kidnapper will catch
you!" were words of terror to frighten children and
gadding girls on all the coastways of England.



HEZEKIAH TIPTON had been a merchant in the
America trade for upwards of forty years. He
had shipped hundreds of servants to the Americas;
they were as much a part of his cargo as tea or broad-
cloth or books or silk stuffs.

Maybe he was not always scrupulously careful to
know whence came some of the servants he thus trans-
ported. He was reasonably honest in his dealings, as the
times went, and he would not often buy a servant from a
crimp if he knew positively that the crimp had kid-
napped the man. But if he was not positively sure, he
would not go out of his way to inquire into things that
did not concern him. He would either take the servant
offered for sale, or else he would not take him; but he
would not trouble himself to ask how the crimp ob-
tained the man, or whether the man himself was or was
not really willing to emigrate to the colonies.

There was, for instance, a good deal of talk at one
time about three men whom Hezekiah had sent to South
Carolina. A Dutchman had brought them into the har-
bor in his lugger. He said that the men desired to
emigrate, and Hezekiah, who at that time had a ship
just clearing for Charleston, expressed his willingness
to pay the captain something for them, if he did not
demand too much. Two of the men were stupefied with
drink, and the third had a bloody clout wrapped around


his head, and was cut and bruised as though he had
been beaten with a club or a belaying-pin. It was an
evident case of kidnapping, but nevertheless Hezekiah
paid the Dutch captain for the men, and had them sent
directly aboard the ship. One of the three men was
sober the next morning. Hezekiah had come aboard
the ship, and as he was rowed away toward the shore
the man leaned over the rail above, shouting out curses
after the old merchant, swearing that he would cer-
tainly come back to England some time and muixler
him. " You think you 're safe," bawled the man after
the departing boat, — "you think you 're safe! Wait
till you feel my knife in your back this day twelve-
month — d' ye hear! — then you won't feel so safe.'^
The men rowing the boat to the shore grinned and
winked at one another. Old Hezekiah sat immovably
in the stem, paying no attention to the man's threats
and imprecations, which continued until the captain of
the ship knocked him down, and so silenced his outcries.
This affair created, as was said, a good deal of talk
at the time.

In the year 1719, beginning in February and ending
in November, Hezekiah Tipton sent away to the Ameri-
can colonies or plantations in all over five score servants.

One day early in March, a company of nineteen men
who had volunteered to emigrate to the Virginias was
brought up from London to meet the brig Arundel at
Southampton. They were quartered at the Golden Fish
Inn, and during the morning the old America mer-
chant went to look them over. The men were ranged in
a row along by the wall of the inn yard, and the old man
walked up and down in front of the line, peering at
each man with half-shut eyes and wi'inkled face, while
a few people from the inn stood looking on with a sort
of inert interest. He did not seem very well pleased


with the appearance of the servants. There were only
nineteen, and there should have been one and twenty.
The agent explained that there had been twenty-one of
them when he wi'ote from London, but that one of them
had run away during the night, and that another would
not sign the papers. "'T was," said he, "as fine, good
a young lad of sixteen or eighteen as ever you see.
But his mother, methinks it was, comes in crjdng at
the last minute and takes him away from under our
werry noses, so to speak." Hezekiah grunted a reply
as he walked up and down along the row of grinning,
shuffling men, looking them over. The big knotted
joints of the old man's fingers gripped the cracked and
yellow ivory head of his walking-stick, which he every
now and then tapped, tapped on the stones of the court-
yard. " That man," said he, in his cracked, querulous
voice, poking his walking-stick as he spoke at a lean
little man standing in the line — "that man — why did
ye bring him ? How much d' ye think he '11 fetch in
the Virginias ? I 's warrant me not fifteen guineas."

" Why, Master Tipton," said the agent, referring to a
slip of paper which he held in his hand, "there you
are mightily mistook. Maybe, like enough, that man is
worth more than any of 'em. He 's a skilled barber and
leecher, and a good man he is, and knows his trade,
to be sure, and that werry well. Just you think. Master
Tipton, how much he might be worth as a vally or
body-servant to one of them there Virginia planters."

" Humph ! " grunted the old man, and he shook his
lean head slowly from side to side. " I '11 tell you what
it is, Master Dockray," he said agaiu, after a while,
"they be not nigh so good as those I had last — and
only nineteen where there should have been one and
twenty." The agent made no answer and the old man
continued his inspection for a while. He did not say
anything further, and by and by he tuxned away and,


with the agent at his heels, entered the inn to receipt the
papers, and with his going the insi)ection came to an end.
Finally, in making you acquainted with old Hezekiah
Tipton, it may be said that he was a notable miser of his
time. To see him hobbling along the street in his snuff-
colored coat, threadbare at the seams, and here and
there neatly patched and darned, one might take him,
perhaps, for a poor decent school-teacher of narrow
means, but certainly not for one of the richest men in
the county, as he was reputed to be. There were a
great many stories concerning him in Southampton,
many of them doubtless apocrj^^hal, some of them
based u^^on a foundation of truth. One such story was
that every Sunday afternoon the old man used to enter
into his own room, bolt the door, and spread gold money
out on the floor ; that he would then strip himself and
roll in the yellow wealth as though taking a bath. An-
other story was that he had three iron chests in the
garret of his home, each chest bolted to the floor with
iron bolts. That the one chest was full of Spanish
doubloons, the second full of French louis d'ors, the
third full of English guineas. The Southampton trades-
men used to say that it was more difficult to collect
theii" bills from Hezekiah Tipton than from almost
any one in the town.



JACK BALLISTER at this time was a little over
sixteen years old, and had now been living with his
nncle Tipton something over two years.

Jack's father at the time of his death had been vicar
of Stalbridge for nearly nineteen j^ears, so that Jack,
nntil he had come to Southampton, had never known
anything but that part of Wiltshire which immediately
surrounded Stalbridge and Stalbridge vicarage. The
only other inmates of the vicarage were old Janet, the
housekeeper, and a farmer's daughter who helped about
the house, and old Giles Cobb, who came up now and
then to work in the garden.

There was, by the way, always a singular charm to
Jack in the memories of this garden. Some of his
earliest recollections were of playing out in the tangled
sunny reaches while old Giles bent, with stooping
shoulders and rounded back, over his work, digging
and planting and picking about at the weeds in the
brown, loamy beds. There was a yew hedge, and two
bee hives that stood under a cherry tree, and a row of
two or three cucumber frames that lay bright and
shining, reflecting in their glassy surface the clouds
and the warm sky above. There was always an asso-
ciation of flowers, of birds, and of warm yellow sunlight
about the tangled, flowery space, and in the years after-
wards, when Jack visited the old ^'icarage, one of the

10 JACK ballistee's foetunes

first places he went to was the garden. It looked
strangely familiar yet strangely unfamiliar. It seemed
more nnkempt and nncared for. The birds were sing-
ing in the trees over beyond the hedge, but the two
straw-thatched bee hives were gone. Nevertheless he
could almost fancy that old Giles with his hunched
shoulders and his smock frock might at any moment
come in through the gate, trundling his squealing wheel-
barrow before him.

Jack was not quite four years old when his mother
had died. It seemed to him that he could remember
her, yet the image he held in his mind might not have
been an actual memory, but only some strong associa-
tion connected with things that Janet had told him
about her. Yet it seemed to him that he really did hold
a mental impression of her in his memory of early things,
an impression of a large, tender, shadowy figui'e, dressed
in black, and with a white kerchief or shawl around her
shoulders. He could almost fancy that he could re-
member a peculiar fragrance that lingered about the
folds of her dress — a fragrance like that of the old
lavender chest where Janet kept the house linen. This
recollection of his mother might have been only an
image conjured up out of what had been told him con-
cerning her, but, as was said, it always seemed as though
it were a real and living memory. It is sometimes
difficult to tell where fancy ends and memory begins in
those broken fragments of recollections of early child-

It seemed to him that the same figm*e was present in
the memory of a certain time when he, as a little, little
boy, had fallen down the steps and cut his chin. It
seemed to him that it was she who had comforted him,
singing to him while she scraj^ed a crisp half-apjDle and
fed him with the pulp from the point of a knife. Janet
had said that that fall had not happened until the year


after his mother's death, but it seemed to Jack that it was
his mother's presence that had filled the memory of the
accident, and he always felt that mayl^e it was Janet
who was mistaken, and not his own recollections of the
trivial event.

He often thought of his mother, as a motherless boy
is apt to think of that missing presence, and it seemed
to him that if she had only lived he would have loved
her very much, and that his life would have been much
sweeter to him.

Janet often talked to him about her. His grand-
mother, Janet told him, had adopted her as a little
girl, and had brought her up with her own daughter, who
was now Lady Arabella Sutton. She had been, Janet
said, more of a companion than a waiting-maid. Of
these stories of by- gone times, that children so delight
to have told to them, Jack would make Janet tell him
most often of the great family quarrel that had hap-
pened when his father had told the others that he
and Anne Tipton were going to be married. Janet
always made the most out of the story, embelhshing
it more and more as the years passed by, and as her
imagination suggested new details. " Indeed," she would
maybe say, "you should ha' seen him stand up before
your grandmother, as grand as you please, with his arms
folded so. ' A Ballister, madam,' says he, ' can marry
where he chooses.' "

Jack could not imagine his father as the hero of any
such scene, still less could he image him as riding post-
haste to Southampton when his mother had been sent
away home from Grampton Hall.

He often heard people say that his father was a
great scholar. The vicar was always silent and pre-
occupied, sometimes deep in his books, sometimes
scribbling away with a busy pen, a litter of papers scat-
tered all over the floor about him, and his wig pushed


back awry from Ms smooth, round forehead ; sometimes
walking up and down the garden paths with his hands
clasped behind his back, his head bent forward, and
his eyes fixed on the ground. He used especially to
walk thus while he was formulating in his mind the
outlines of one of the pamphlets he used to write. Jack
could not imagine that any one so absorbed in his
books and his studies could ever have been the hero of
such romance. And then he always seemed so very,
very old to Jack. It was hard to imagine that such a
dry and sapless life could ever have had the ichor of
romance flowing through it.

Before Janet had come to Stalbridge she had been
one of the dependents of the other Ballisters. " They
be grand, grand folks," she would sometimes say, " and
hold their heads as high as ever the Duke of Newcastle
himself." She sometimes told Jack that if his father
had not set his family all against him, he might have
been a bishop as like as not. " I 'd never come to Stal-
bridge only for your mother, poor soul," said she.
" But she was fond of me, and I was fond of her, and so
I came."

It seemed to Jack that he could hardly remember the
time when his father did not teach him Latin and
Greek. One of his first recollections as a little, little
boy was of his father teaching him the Greek alphabet.
He learned little or nothing else than the two languages,
and it is not likely that his father thought anything
else was worth learning. Jack once overheard the vicar
say to old Sir Thomas Harding, " Sir, I will make the
boy the best scholar in England." The words remained
fixed in Jack's memory as such fragmentary speeches do
sometimes fix themselves, for no especial reason, in the
mind of boyhood. The promise of great scholarship was,
however, never to be fulfilled, for Jack was only four-
teen years old when the ^dcar died, and in the neglected


two years at Southampton he never went to school a
day, or studied six words of a lesson, or read a page of
Greek or Latin, except one or two times when Mr. Stet-
son made him read a passage or two of Cfreek as a
matter of curiosity.

Jack's father never said anything to him about his
mother or his relations. His uncle Tipton had come
up from Southampton just before his father's death,
but that was the only time that Jack had ever really
seen one of his own kindi'ed.

During the fall of the year in which Jack's father had
died, a messenger on horseback, with gi-eat jackboots and
a suit of green livery turned up with scarlet, rode up to
the vicarage and delivered a packet to Janet, who pres-
ently brought it in to the vicar, where he sat in the sag-
ging wainscoted study, wi-iting in the midst of a litter
of papers scattered on the floor. The vicar set his pen
in his mouth and took the letter, and Jack watched
him as he broke the great red seal and began reading
the packet, now and then frowning, either in the effort
of reading the wiitten words or else at the purport of
the words themselves. When he had finished the letter
he laid it to one side and resumed his writing where it had
been interrupted. The messenger who had brought the
letter did not immediately go away. Jack could hear
now and then the jingle of his bridle or spurs, and now
and then the sound of his whistling, as he lounged in
the warm sunlight outside. Then there was the noise
of voices talking together — the voices of Janet and the
messenger — and presently the housekeeper came into
the study to say that the man wanted to know when he
could have his answer. The vicar looked up with the
bewildered air he always wore when he was interrupted.
"Eh!" he said, "eh! what d' ye say! Answer! Who
wants an answer?" Then remembering, "oh, ave,
there 's no answer to send. You may tell him, there 's


no answer." And then j)resently the messenger rode
clattering away whence he had come.

The letter lay where the vicar had left it until the
next afternoon, and Jack, impelled by curiosity, managed

Online LibraryHoward PyleThe story of Jack Ballister's fortunes → online text (page 1 of 30)