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now, almost as useful as almanacs. Read what it saya
about the seasons, child."

" It says, sir, that the changes in the seasons are owing
24*



280 THE SEA LIONS.

to 'the inclination of the earth's axis to the plane of its
orbit.' I do not exactly understand what that means, uncle. 1

*' No, it 's not as clear as it might be. The declina
tion"

"Jnclination, sir, is what is printed here."

"Ay, inclination. I do not see why any one should have
much inclination for winter, but so it must be, I suppose.
The ' 'arth's orbit has an inclination towards changes,' you
say."

" The changes in the seasons, sir, are owing to ' the in
clination of the earth's axis to the plane of its orbit.' It
does not say that the orbit has an inclination in any parti
cular way."

Thus was it with Mary Pratt, and thus was it with her
uncle, the deacon. One of the plainest problems in natu
ral philosophy was Hebrew to both, simply because the ca
pacity that Providence had so freely bestowed on each had
never been turned to the consideration of such useful stu
dies. But, while the mind of Mary Pratt was thus obscured
on this simple, and, to such as choose to give it an hour of
reflection, perfectly intelligible proposition, it was radiant
as the day on another mystery, and one that has confounded
thousands of the learned, as well as of the unlearned. To
her intellect, nothing was clearer, no moral truth more
vivid, no physical fact more certain, than the incarnation
of the Son of God. She had the " evidence of things not
seen," in the fulness of Divine grace; and was profound
on this, the greatest concern of human life, while unable
even to comprehend how the " inclination of the earth's
axis to the plane of its orbit" could be the cause of the
change of the seasons. And was it thus with her uncle?
he who was a pillar of the " meeting," whose name was
often in men's mouths as a *' shining light," and who had
got to be identified with religion in his own neighbourhood,
to a degree that caused most persons to think of Deacon
Pratt, when they should be thinking of the Saviour ? We
are afraid he knew as little of one of these propositions as
of the other.

" It 's very extr'or'nary," resumed the deacon, after ru
minating on the matter for a few moments, " but I suppose
it is so. Wasn't it for this ' inclination' to cold weathei,



THE SEA LIONS. 281

our vessels might go and seal under as pleasant skies as we
have here in June. But, Mary, I suppose that wasn't to
be, or it would be."

" There would have been no seals, most likely, uncle, if
there was no ice. They tell me that such creatures love
the cold and the ice, and the frozen oceans. Too much
warm weather would not suit them."

" But, Mary, it might suit other folks! Gar'ner's whole
ar'nd isn't among the ice, or a'ter them seals."

" I do not know that I understand you, sir. Surely
Roswell has gone on a sealing voyage."

" Sartain ; there 's no mistake about that. But there
may be many stopping-places in so long a road."

" Do you mean, sir, that he is to use any of these stop
ping-places, as you call them?" asked Mary, eagerly, half-
breathless with her anxiety to hear all. " You said some
thing about the West Indies once.''

" Harkee, Mary just look out into the entry and see if
the kitchen door is shut. And now come nearer to me,
child, so that there may be no need of bawling what I've
got to say all over Oyster Pond. There, sit down, my dear,
and don't look so eager, as if you wanted to eat me, or my
mind may misgive me, and then I couldn't tell you, a'ter
all. Perhaps it would be best, if I was to keep my own
secret."

" Not if it has anything to do with Roswell, dear uncle ;
not if it has anything to do with him ! You have often
advised me to marry him, and I ought to know all about
the man you wish me to marry."

" Yes, Gar'ner will make a right good husband for any
young woman, and I do advise you to have him. You are
my brother's da'ghter, Mary, and I give you this advice,
which I should give you all the same, had you been my
own child, instead of his'n."

" Yes, sir, I know that. But what about Roswell, and
his having to stop, on his way home?"

" Why, you must know, Mary, that this v'y'ge came al
together out of that seaman who died among us, last year.
I was kind to him, as you may remember, and helped him
to many little odd comforts," odd enough were they, of a
verity, " and he was grateful. Of all virtues, give me



282 THE SEA LIONS

gratitude, say I ! It is the noblest, as it is the most cincom*
mon of all our good qualities. How little have I met with,
in my day! Of all the presents I have made, and gifts be
stowed, and good acts done, not one in ten has ever met
with any gratitude."

Mary sighed ; for well did she kntow how little he had
given, of his abundance, to relieve the wants of his fellow-
creatures. She sighed, too, with a sort of mild impatience
that the information she sought with so much eagerness,
was so long and needlessly delayed. But the deacon hac
made up his mind to tell her all.

" Yes, Gar'ner has got something to do, beside sealing,"
he resumed of himself, when his regret at the prevalence
of ingratitude among men had exhausted itself. " Suthin' "
for this was the way he pronounced that word " that is
of more importance than the schooner's hold full of ile. He
is ile, I know, child; but gold is gold. What do you think
of that?"

" Is Roswell, then, to stop at Rio again, in order to sell
his oil, and send the receipts home in gold?"

" Better than that much better than that, if he gets
back at all." Mary felt a chill at her heart. " Yes, that is
the p'int if he gets back at all. If Gar'ner ever does
come home, child, I shall expect to see him return with a
considerable sized keg almost a barrel, by all accounts
filled with gold !"

The deacon stared about him as he made this announce*
ment, |ike a man who was afraid that he was telling too
much. Nevertheless, it was to his own iiiece, his brother's
daughter, that he had confided thus much of his great se
cret and reflection re-assured him.

" How is Roswell to get all this gold, uncle, unless he
sells his cargo?" Mary asked, with obvious solicitude.

"That's another p'int. I'll tell you all about it, gal,
and you '11 see the importance of keeping the secret. This
Daggett not the one who is out in another schooner, an
other Sea Lion, as it might be, but his uncle, who died
down here at the Widow White's well, that Daggett told
more than the latitude and longitude of the sealing islands
he told me of a buried treasure !"



THE SEA LIONS. 283

" Buried treasure ! Buried by whom, and consisting of
what, uncle?"

" Buried by seamen who make free with the goods of
others on the high seas, ag'in the time when they might
come back and dig it up, and carry it away to be used.
Consisting of what, indeed ! Consisting principally, ao
cordin' to Daggett's account, of heavy doubloons ; though
there was a lot of old English guineas among 'em. Yes, I
remember that he spoke of them guineas three thousand
and odd, and nearly as many doubloons !"

" Was Daggett, then, a pirate, sir ? for they who make
free with the goods of others on the high seas are neither
more nor less than pirates."

"No; not he, himself. He got this secret from one who
was a pirate, however, and who was a prisoner in a gaol
where he was himself confined for smuggling. Yes; that
man told him all about the buried treasure, in return for
some acts of kindness shown him by Daggett. It's well
to be kind sometimes, Mary."

"It is well to be kind always, sir; even when it is mis
understood, and the kindness is abused. What was the
redemption but kindness and love, and god-like compassion
on those who neither understood it nor felt it? But money
collected and buried by pirates can never become yours,
uncle ; nor can it ever become the property of Roswell
Gardiner."

" Whose is it, then, gal ?" demanded the deacon, sharply.
" Gar'ner had some such silly notion in his head when I
first told him of this treasure ; but I soon brought him to
hear reason."

" I think Roswell must always have seen that a treasure
obtained by robbery can never justly belong to any but its
rightful owner."

"And who is this rightful owner, pray? or owners, I
might say ; for the gold was picked up, here and there, out
of all question, from many hands. Now, supposing Gar'ner
gets this treasure, as I still hope he may, though he is an
awful time about it but suppose he gets it, how is he to
find the rightful owners ? There it is, a bag of doubloons,
say all looking just alike, with the head of a king, a Don
Somebody, and the date, and the Latin and Greek now



284 THE SEA LIONS.

who can say that ' this is my doubloon ; I lost it at such a
time it was taken from me by such a pirate, in such sea ;
and I was whipped till 1 told the thieves where I had hid
the gold 1' No, no, Mary ; depend on\ no action of 'plevy
would lie ag'in a single one of all them pieces. They are
lost, one and all, to their former owners, and will belong
to the man that succeeds in getting hold on 'em ag'in; who
will become a rightful owner in his turn. All property
comes from law; and if the law won't 'plevy money got in
this way, nobody can maintain a claim to it."

" I should be very, very sorry, my dear uncle, to have
Roswell enrich himself in this way."

" You talk like a silly young woman, and one that doesn't
know her own rights. We had no hand in robbing the folks
of their gold. They lost it years ago, and may be dead
probably are, or they would make some stir about it or
have forgotten it, and couldn't for their lives tell a single
one of the coins they once had in their possession ; and
don't know whether what they lost was thrown into the
sea, or buried in the sand on a key Mary, child; you
must never mention anything I tell you on this subject !"

" You need fear nothing, sir, from me. But I do most
earnestly hope Roswell will have nothing to do with any
such ill-gotten wealth. He is. too noble-hearted and gener
ous to get rich in this way."

" Well, well, say no more about it, child ; you 're romantic
and notional. Just pour out my drops; for all this talking
makes me breathe thick. I 'm not what I was, Mary, and
cannot last long; but was it the last breath I drew, I would
stand to it, that treasure desarted and found in this way
belongs to the last holder. I go by the law, however; let
Gar'ner only find it well, well, I'll say no more about it
now; for it distresses you, and that I don't like to see.
Go and hunt up the Spectator, child, and look for the
whaling news perhaps there may be suthin' about the
sealers too."

Mary did not require to be told twice to do as her uncle
requested. The paper was soon found, and the column
that contained the marine intelligence consulted. The
niece read a long account of whalers spoken, with so many
hundred or so many thousand barrels of oil on board, but



THE SEA LIONS. 285

could discover no allusion to any sealer. At length she
turned her eyes into the body of the journal, which being
semi-weekly, or tri-weekly, was crowded with matter, and
started at seeing a paragraph to the following effect :

" By the arrival of the Twin Sisters at Stonington, we
learn that the ice has been found farther north in the
southern hemisphere this season, than it has been known
to be for many years. The sealers have had a great deal
of difficulty in making their way through it; and even
vessels bound round the Cape of Good Hope have been
much embarrassed by its presence."

"That's it! Yes, Mary, that's just it!" exclaimed the
deacon. "It's that awful ice. If 'twasn't for the ice,
sealin' would be as pleasant a calling as preachin' the gos
pel ! It is possible that this ice has turned Gar'ner back,
when he has been on his way home, and that he has been
waiting for a better time to come north. There 's one good
p'int in this news they tell me that when the ice is seen
drifting about in low latitudes, it 's a sign there 's less of it
in the higher."

" The Cape of Good Hope is certainly, in one sense, in
a low latitude, uncle ; if I remember right, it is not as far
south as we are north ; and, as you say, it is a good sign
if the ice has come anywhere near it."

" I don't say it has, child ; I don't say it has. But it may
have come to the northward of Cape Horn, and that will
be a great matter; for all the ice that is drifting about
there comes from the polar seas, and is so much taken out
of Gar'ner's track."

" Still he must come through it to get home," returned
Mary, in her sweet, melancholy tones. "Ah ! why cannot
men be content with the blessings that Providence places
within our immediate reach, that they must make distant
voyages to accumulate others !"

" You like your tea, I fancy, Mary Pratt and the sugar
in it, and your silks and ribbons that I 've seen you wear ;
how are you to get such matters if there 's to be no going
on v'y'ges? Tea and sugar, and silks and satins don't
grow along with the clams on ' Yster Pond' " for so the
deacon uniformly pronounced the word ' oyster.'

Mary acknowledged the truth of what was said, but



THE SEA LIOSS.

changed the subject The journal contained no mote that
related to sealing or sealers, and it was soon laid aside.

** it may be that Gar'ner is digging for the buried trea
sure all this rime," the deacon at length resumed. " That
may be the reason he is so late. If so, he has nothing to
dread from ice."

" I understand yon, sir, that this money is supposed to
be buried on a key in the West Indies, of coarse."

Don't speak so loud, Mary there's no need of letting
all ' Yster Pond know where the treasure is. It may be in
the West Ingees, or k may not; there's keys all over the
'arth, I take it."

" Do yon not think, uncle, that Roswell would write, if
detained long among those keys!"

"You wouldn't hear to post-offices in the antarctic
ocean, <and now yon want to put them on the sand-keys of
the West Ingees 1 Woman's always a sailin' ag'in wind
and tide."

" I do not think so, sir, in this case, at least. There
must be many vessels passing among the keys of the West
ladjer, and nothing seems to me to be easier than to send
iUlai* by them. I am quite sure Roswell would write, if
in a part of the world where he thought what he wrote
would reach us."

" Not he not he Gar'ner's not the man I take him for,
if he let any one know what he is about in them keys, until
he had done up all his business there. No, no, Mary. We
shall never hear from him in that quarter of the world. It
may be that Gar'ner is a digging about, and has difficulty
in finding the place; for Daggett's account had some weak
spots in h."

Mary made no reply, though she thought it very little
likely that RosweU would pass months in the West Indies
employed in such a pursuit, without finding the means of
letting her know where he was, and what he was about.
The intercourse between these young people was somewhat
peculiar, and ever had been. In listening to the suit of
Roswell, Mary had yielded to her heart ; in hesitating about
accepting him, she deferred to her principles. Usually, a
mother not a managing, match-making, interested parent,
but a prudent, feminine, weQ-pt incipied mother is of the



THE SEA LIOSS.

bat Importance to the character and weft-being of a
woman. It aomrtimfa happens, however, that a female
who has no parent of her own sex, and who is earl j made
to be dependent on herself, if the bias of her mind is good,
becomes as careful and prodent of herself and her condact
as the advice and solicitude of the most tender mother
could make her. Such had been the case with Mary Pratt.
Perfectly conscious of her own deserted situation, high
principled, and early awake to the defects in her ancle's
character, she had laid down severe rules far the govern
ment of her own conduct; and from these rules she never
departed. Thus it was that she permitted Roswefl to write,
though she iiever answered his letters. She permitted him
to write, because she had promised not to shut her ears to
his suit, so long as he practised towards her his native and
manly candour; concealing none of his opinions, and con
fessing his deficiency on the one great point that farmuu 1
the only obstacle to their union.

A young woman who has no mother, if she escape the
ills attendant on the privation while her character is farm
ing, is very apt to acquire qualities that are of great use in
her future life. She learns to rely on herself, gets accus
tomed to think and act like an accountable being, and
far more likely to become a mnnmmj and useful head of a
family, than if brought up in dependence, and under the
control of even the bent maternal fincrnmcnt In a word,
the bias of the mind is sooner obtained in such circum
stances than when others do so much of the thinking;
whether that bias be in a right or in a wrong direction.
But Mary Pratt had early taken the true direction in all
that relates to opinion and character, and had never been
wanting to herself in any of the iinlincliir and discreet
deportment of her sex.

Our heroine hardly knew whether or not to seek far
consolation in her uncle's suggestion of RosweDTs being
detained among the keys, in order to look far the hidden
treasure. Tne more she reflected on the subject, the more
did it embarrass her. Few persons who knew of the exist
ence of such a deposit would hesitate about taking posses
sion of it; and, once reclaimed, in what way were the best
to be satisfied with the ilimrimhnu of the goldf
25



288 THE SEA LIONS.

To find the owners would probably be impossible ; and a
question in casuistry remained. Mary pondered much on
this subject, and came to the conclusion that, were she the
person to whom such a treasure were committed, she would
set aside a certain period for advertising ; and failing to
discover those who had the best claim to the money, that
she would appropriate every dollar to a charity.

Alas ! Little did Mary understand the world. The fact
that money was thus advertised would probably have brought
forward a multitude of dishonest pretenders to having been
robbed by pirates ; and scarce a doubloon would have found
its way into the pocket of its right owner, even had she
yielded all to the statements of such claimants.

All this, however, did not bring back the missing Ros-
well. Another winter was fast approaching, with its chill
ing storms and gales, to awaken apprehensions by keeping
the turbulence of the ocean, as it might be, constantly be
fore the senses. Not a week now passed that the deacon
did not get a letter from some wife, or parent, or sister, or
perhaps from one who hesitated to avow her relations to
the absent mariner; all inquiring after the fate of those
who had sailed in the Sea Lion of Oyster Pond, under the
orders of Captain Roswell Gardiner.

Even those of the Vineyard sent across questions, and
betrayed anxiety and dread, in the very manner of putting
their interrogatories. Each day did the deacon's appre
hensions increase, until it was obvious to all around him
that this cause, united to others that were more purely
physical, perhaps, was seriously undermining his health,
and menacing his existence. It is a sad commentary on
the greediness for gain, manifested by this person, that ere
the adventure he had undertaken on the strength of Dag-
gett's reluctant communications was brought to any appa
rent result, he himself was nearly in the condition of that
diseased seaman, with as little prospect of being benefited
by his secrets as was the man himself who first communi
cated their existence. Mary saw all this clearly, and
mourned almost as much over the blindness and worldli-
ness of her uncle as she did over the now nearly assured
fate of him whom she had so profoundly loved in her heart's
core.



THE SEA LIONS. 289

Day by day did time roll on, without bringing any tidings
of either of the Sea Lions. The deacon grew weak fast,
until he seldom left his room, and still more rarely the
house. It was now that he was induced to make his will,
and this by an agency so singular as to deserve being men
tioned. The Rev. Mr. Whittle broached the subject one
Jay, not with any interested motive of course, but simply
oecause the " meeting-house" wanted some material re
pairs, and there was a debt on the congregation that it
might be a pleasure to one who had long stood in the rela
tion to it that Deacon Pratt filled, to pay off, when he no
longer had any occask>n for the money for himself. It is
probable the deacon at length felt the justice of this re
mark ; for he sent to Riverhead for a lawyer, and made a
will that would have stood even the petulant and envious
justice of the present day ; a justice that inclines to divide
a man's estate infinitesimally, lest some heir become a
little richer than his neighbours. After all, no small por
tion of that which struts about under the aspects of right,
and liberty, and benevolence, is in truth derived from some
of the most sneaking propensities of human nature!



CHAPTER XXI.

" I, too, have seen thee on thy surging path

When the night-tempest met thee ; thou didst dash

Thy white arms high in heaven, as if in wrath,
Threatening the angry sky ; thy waves did lash
The labouring vessel, and with deadening crash

Rush madly forth to scourge its groaning sides ;
Onward thy billows came, to meet and clash
In a wild warfare, till the lifted tides

Mingled their yesty tops, where the dark storm-cloud rides."

PKHCIVAI.

THE first movement of the mariner, when his vessel has
been brought in collision with any hard substance, is to
sound the pumps. This very necessary duty was in the act
of performance by Daggett, in person, even while the boats



290 THE SEA LIONS.

of Roswell Gardiner were towing his strained and roughly
treated craft into the open water. Theiresult of this exami
nation was waited for by all on board, including Roswell,
with the deepest anxiety. The last held the lantern by
which the height of the water in the well was to be ascer
tained ; the light of the moon scarce sufficing for such a
purpose. Daggett stood on the top of the pump himself,
while Gardiner and Macy were at its side. At length the
sounding-rod came up, and its lower end was held out, in
order to ascertain how high up it was wet.

" Well, what do you make of it, Gar'ner?" Daggett de
manded, a little impatiently. "Water there must be; for
no craft that floats could have stood such a squeeze, and
not have her sides open. 5 '

" There must be near three feet of water in your hold,"
answered Roswell, shaking his head. " If this goes on,
Captain Daggett, it will be hard work to keep your schooner
afloat !"

"Afloat she shall be, while a pump-break can work.
Here, rig this larboard pump at once, and get it in mo
tion."

" It is possible that your seams opened under the nip, and
have closed again, as soon as the schooner got free. In such
a case, ten minutes at the pump will let us know it."

Although there is no duty to which seamen are so averse
as pumping none, perhaps, that is actually so exhausting
and laborious it often happens that they have recourse to
it with eagerness, as the only available means of saving
their lives. Such was now the case, the harsh but familiar
strokes of the pump-break being audible amid the more
solemn and grand sounds of the grating of ice-bergs, the
rushing of floes, and the occasional scuffling and howling
of the winds. The last appeared to have changed in their
direction, however; a circumstance that was soon noted,
there being much less of biting cold in the blasts than had
been felt in the earlier hours of the night.

" I do believe that the wind has got round here to the
north-east," said Roswell, as he paced the quarter-deck
with Daggett, still holding in his hand the well wiped and
dried sounding-rod, in readiness for another trial. " That
last puff was right in our teeth !"



THE SEA LIONS. 291

" Not in our teeth, Gar'ner ; no, not in my teeth," an
swered Daggett, " whatever it may be in your'n. I shall
try to get back to the island, where I shall endeavour to
beach the schooner, and get a look at her leaks. This is
the most I can hope for. It would never <lo to think of
carrying a craft, after such a nip, as for as Rio, pumping
every foot of the way !"

"That will cause a great delay, Captain Daggett," said
Roswell, doubtingly. " We are now well in among the
first great body of the ice ; it may be as easy to work our
way to the northward of it, as to get back into clear water



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