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bottom falling even on the ice outside of her ; but that hand
which had so benevolently stayed various other evils, was
Btretched forth to save, and nothing touched the schooner



THE SEA LIONS. 401

of a size to do any injury. These escapes made a deep
impiession on Roswell. Until the past winter he had been
accustomed to look upon things and events as matters of
course. This vacant indifference, so common Jo men in
prosperity, was extended even to the sublimest exhibition
of the Almighty power; our hero seeing nothing in the
firmament of heaven, of a clear night, but the twinkling
lights that seemed to him to be placed there merely to gar
nish and illumine the darkness of this globe. Now, how
differently did he look upon natural objects, and their
origin ! If it were only an insect, his mind presented its
wonderful mechanism, its beauty, its uses. No star seemed
less than what science has taught us that it is; and the
power of the Dread Being who had created all, who go
verned all, and who was judge of all, became an insepara
ble subject of contemplation, as he looked upon the least
of his works. Feelings thus softened and tempered by
humility, easily led their subject to the reception of those
leading articles of the Christian faith which have been con
secrated by the belief of the church catholic since the ages
of miraculous guidance, and which are now venerable by
time. Bold and presuming is he who fancies that his in
tellect can rectify errors of this magnitude and antiquity,
and that the church of God has been permitted to wallow
on in a most fatal idolatry for centuries, to be extricated
by the pretending syllogisms of his one-sided and narrow
philosophy !

The people of the Sea Lion were less affected by what
they saw than their young commander. Their hearts were
light with the prospect of a speedy release from the hard
ships and dangers they had undergone; and, at each explo
sion of the volcano, as soon as out of reach of the falling
stones, they laughed, and asserted that the mountain was
firing a salute in honour of their departure. Such is the
difference between men whose hearts and spirits have sub
mitted to the law of faith, and those who live on in the
recklessness of the passing events of life !

The schooner was racing past a rocky islet, beginning
to haul more on a wind, as she made the circuit of the
bay, just as Hazard came to the conclusion that the field
had drifted home on the outer island of the group, and



402 THE SEA LIONS.

that it would be impossible to pass into clear water by
going on. Turning his head in quest of some bay, or other
secure place in which the craft might wait for a favourable
change, ha saw a narrow opening to leeward of the islet he
had passed but a minute before ; and, so far as he could
perceive, one that led directly out to sea.

It was too late to keep away for the entrance of the
passage, the ice being too close at hand to leeward ; but,
most fortunately, there was room to tack. A call to Ros-
well soon caused the schooner to be close on a wind ; down
went her helm, and round she came like a top. Sail was
shortened in stays, and by the time the little craft was
ready to fall off for the passage, she had nothing on her
but a foretopsail, jib, and a close-reefed mainsail. Under
this canvass she glided along, almost brushing the rocks
of the islet, but without touching. In twenty minutes
more she was clear of the group altogether, and in open
water !

That night some embarrassment was encountered from
broken field-ice, of which the ocean was pretty full ; but
by exercising great vigilance, no serious thump occurred.
Fortunately the period of darkness was quite short, the
twilight being of great length both mornings and evenings;
and the re-appearance of the sun cast a cheerful glow on
the face of the troubled waters.

The wind held at south-west for three days, blowing
heavily the whole time. By the second night-fall the sea
was clear of ice, and everything was carried on the schooner
that she could bear. About nine o'clock on the morning
of the fourth day out, a speck was seen rising above the
ragged outline of the rolling waves; and each minute it
became higher and more distinct. An hour or two later,
the Sea Lion was staggering along before a westerly gale,
with the Hermit of Cape Horn on her larboard beam, dis
tant three leagues. How many trying scenes and bitter
moments crowded on the mind of young Roswell Gar
diner, as he recalled all that had passed in the ten months
which intervened since he had come out from behind the
shelter of those wild rocks! Stormy as was that sea, and
terrible as was its name among mariners, coming, as he
did, from one still more stormy and terrible, he now re-



THE SEA LIONS. 403

garded it as a sort of place of refuge. A winter there, he
well knew, would be no trifling undertaking, but he had
just passed a winter in a region where even fuel was not
to be found, unless carried there. Twenty days later the
Sea Lion sailed again from Rio, having sold all the sea-
elephant oil that remained, and bought stores ; of which,
by this time, the vessel was much in want. Most of the
portions of the provisions that were left had been damaged
by the thawing process ; and food was getting to be abso
lutely necessary to her people, when the schooner went
again into the noble harbour of the capital of Brazil.
Then succeeded the lassitude and calms that reign about
the imaginary line that marks the circuit of the earth, at
that point which is ever central as regards the sun, and
where the days and nights are always equal. No inclina
tion of the earth's axis to the plane of its orbit affected the
climate there, which knew not the distinctions of summer
and winter ; or which, if they did exist at all, were so
faintly marked as to be nearly imperceptible.

Twenty days later the schooner was standing among
some low sandy keys, under short canvass, and in the
south-east trades. By her movements an anchorage was
sought; and one was found at last, where the craft was
brought up, boats were hoisted out, and Roswell Gardiner
landed.



CHAPTER XXIX.

" If every ducat in six thousand ducats
Were in six parts, and every part a ducat,
I would not draw them ; I would have my bond.

SHAKSPEAHB.

THE earth had not stopped in its swift race round the
sun at Oyster Pond, while all these events were in the
course of occurrence in the antarctic seas. The summer
had passed, that summer which was to have brought back
the sealers ; and autumn had come to chill the hopes as
well as the body. Winter did not bring any change. No-



404 THE SEA LIONS.

thing was heard of Roswell and his companions, nor could
anything have been heard of them short of the intervention
of a miracle.

Mary Pratt no longer mentioned Roswell in her prayers.
She fully believed him to be dead ; and her puritanical
creed taught her that this, the sweetest and most endearing
of all the rites of Christianity, was allied to a belief that it
was sacrilege to entertain. We pretend not to any distinct
impressions on this subject ourselves, beyond a sturdy pro-
testant disinclination to put any faith in the abuses of pur
gatory at least ; but, most devoutly do we wish that such
petitions could have the efficacy that so large a portion of
the Christian world impute to them. But Mary Pratt, so
much better than we can lay any claim to be in all essen
tials, was less liberal than ourselves on this great point of
doctrine. Roswell Gardiner's name now never passed her
lips in prayer, therefore ; though scarce a minute went by
without his manly person being present to her imagina
tion. He still lived in her heart, a shrine from which she
made no effort to expel him.

As for the deacon, age, disease, and distress of mind,
had brought him to his last hours. The passions which had
so engrossed him when in health, now turned upon his na
ture, and preyed upon his vitals, like an ill-omened bird.
It is more than probable that he would have lived some
months, possibly some years longer, had not the evil spirit
of covetousness conspired to heighten the malady that
wasted his physical frame. As it was, the sands of lift
were running low; and the skilful Dr. Sage, himself, had
admitted to Mary the improbability that her uncle and pro
tector could long survive.

It is wonderful how the interest in a rich man suddenly
revives among his relatives and possible heirs, as his last
hour draws near. Deacon Pratt was known to be wealthy
in a small way ; was thought to possess his thirty or forty
thousand dollars, which was regarded as wealth among the
east-enders thirty years since ; and every human being in
Old Suffolk, whether of its overwhelming majority or of its
more select and wiser minority, who could by legal possi
bility claim any right to be remembered by the dying man,
crowded around his bed-side. At that moment, Mary Pratt,



THE SEA LIONS. 405

who had so long nursed his diseases and mitigated his suf
ferings, was compelled to appear as a very insignificant and
secondary person. Others who stood in the same degree
of consanguinity to the dying man, and two, a brother and
sister, who were even one degree closer, had their claims,
and were by no means disposed to suffer them to be for
gotten. Gladly would poor Mary have prayed by her uncle's
bed-side; but Parson Whittle had assumed this solemn
duty, it being deemed proper that one who had so long
tilled the office of deacon, should depart with a proper at
tention to the usages of his meeting. Some ofjthe relatives
who had lately appeared, and who were not so conversant
with the state of things between the deacon and his divine,
complained among themselves that the latter made too
many ill-timed allusions to the pecuniary wants of the con
gregation ; and that he had, in particular, almost as much
as asked the deacon to make a legacy that would enable
those who were to stay behind, to paint the meeting-house,
erect a new horse-shed, purchase some improved stoves,
and reseat the body of the building. These modest re
quests, it was whispered for all passed in whispers then
would consume not less than a thousand dollars of the dea
con's hard earnings; and the thing was mentioned as a
wrong done him who was about to descend into the grave,
where nought of earth could avail him in any way.

Close was the siege that was laid to Deacon Pratt, during
the last week of his life. Many were the hints given of the
necessity of his making a will, though the brother and
sister, estimating their rights as the law established them,
said but little on the subject, and that little was rather
against the propriety of annoying a man, in their brother's
condition, with business of so perplexing a nature. The
fact that these important personages set their faces against
the scheme had due weight, and most of the relatives began
to calculate the probable amount of their respective shares
under the law of distribution, as it stood in that day. This
excellent and surpassingly wise community of New York
had not then reached the pass of exceeding liberality to
wards which it is now so rapidly tending. In that day, the
debtor was not yet thought of, as the creditor's next heir,
and that plausible and impracticable desire of a false phi



406 1HE SEA LIONS.

lanthropy, which is termed the Homestead Exemption Law
impracticable as to anything like a just and equitable
exemption of equal amount in all cases of indebtedness
was not yet dreamed of. New York was then a sound and
healthful community; making its mistakes, doubtless, aa
men ever will err ; but the control of things had not yet
passed into the hands of sheer political empirics, whose
ignorance and quackery were stimulated by the lowest pas
sion for majorities. Among other things that were then
respected, were wills; but it was not known to a single
individual, among all those who thronged the dwelling of
iDeacon Pratt, that the dying man had ever mustered the
self-command necessary to make such an instrument. He
was free to act, but did not choose to avail himself of his
freedom. Had he survived a few years, he would have
found himself in the enjoyment of a liberty so sublimated,
that he could not lease, or rent a farm, or collect a common
debt, without coming under the harrow of the tiller of the
political soil.

The season had advanced to the early part of April, anJ
that is usually a soft and balmy month on the sea-shore,
though liable to considerable and sudden changes of tem
perature. On the day to which we now desire to transfer
the scene, the windows of the deacon's bed-room were
open, and tne soft south wind fanned his hollow and pallid
cheek, jjeath was near, though the principle of life strug
gled hard with the King of Terrors. It was now that that
bewildered and Pharasaical faith which had so long held
this professor of religion in a bondage even more oppressive
than open and announced sins, most felt the insufficiency
of the creed in which he had rather been speculating than
trusting all his life, to render the passing hour composed
and secure. There had always been too much of self in
Deacon Pratt's moral temperament, to render his belief as
humble and devout as it should be. It availed him not a
hair, now, that he was a deacon, or that he had made long
prayers in the market-places, where men could see him, or
that he had done so much, as he was wont to proclaim, for
example's sake. All had not sufficed to cleanse his heart
of worldly-mindedness, and he now groped about him, in



THE SEA LIONS. 407

the darkness of a faith obscured, for the true light that was
to illumine his path to another world.

The doctor had ordered the room cleared of all, but two
or three of the dying man's nearest relatives. Among
these last, however, was the gentle and tender-hearted
Mary, who loved to be near her uncle, in this his greatest
need. She no longer thought of his covetousness, of his
griping usury, of his living so much for self and so little
for God. While hovering about the bed, a message reached
her that Baiting Joe wished to see her, in the passage that
led to the bed-room. She went to this old fisherman, and
found him standing near a window that looked towards the
east, and which consequently faced the waters of Gardiner's
Bay.

" There she is, Miss Mary," said Joe, pointing out of
the window, his whole face in a glow, between joy and
whiskey. " It should be told to the deacon at once, that
his last hours might be happier than some that he has
passed lately. That's she though, at first, I did not
know her."

Mary saw a vessel standing in towards Oyster Pond, and
her familiarity with objects of that nature was such, as to
tell her at once that it was a schooner ; but so completely
had she given up the Sea Lion, that it did not occur to her
that this could be the long-missing craft.

"At what are you pointing, Joe?" the wondering girl
asked, with perfect innocence.

" At that craft at the Sea Lion of Sterling, which has
been so long set down as missing, but which has turned
up, just as her owner is about to cast off from this 'arth,
altogether."

Joe might have talked for an hour : he did chatter away
for two or three minutes, with his head and half his body
out of the window, uninterrupted by Mary, who sank into
a chair, to prevent falling on the floor. At length the dear
girl commanded herself, and spoke.

" You cannot possibly be certain, Joe," she said ; " that
schooner does not look, to me, like the Sea Lion."

" Nor to me, in some things, while in other some she
does. Her upper works seem strangely out of shape, and
there's precious little on 'em. But no other fore-taw-sail
35



408 THE SEA LIONS.

schooner ever comes in this-a-way, and I know of none
likely to do it. Ay, by Jupiter, there goes the very blue
peter I helped to make with my own hands, and it was
agreed to set it, as the deacon's signal. There 's no mis
take, now !"

Joe might have talked half an hour longer without any
fear of interruption, for Mary had vanished to her own
room, leaving him with his head and body still out of the
window, making his strictures and conjectures for /some
time longer ; while the person to whom he fancied he was
speaking, was, in truth, on her knees, rendering thanks to
God ! An hour later, all doubt was removed, the schooner
coming in between Oyster Pond and Shelter Island, and"
making the best of her way to the well-known wharf.

" Isn't it wonderful, Mary," exclaimed the deacon, in a
hollow voice, it is true, but with an animation and force
that did not appear to have any immediate connection with
death " is n't it wonderful that Gar'ner should come back,
after all ! If he has only done his duty by me, this will
be the greatest ventur' of my whole life; it will make the
evening of my days comfortable. I hope I've always been
grateful for blessings, and I'm sure I'm grateful, from the
bottom of my heart, for this. Give me prosperity, and I'm
not apt to forget it. They've been asking me to make a
will, but I told 'em I was too poor to think of any such
thing ; and, now my schooner has got back, I s'pose I shall
get more hints of the same sort. Should anything happen
to me, Mary, you can bring out the sealed paper I gave
you to keep, and that must satisfy 'em alj. You '11 remem
ber, it is addressed to Gar'ner. There is n't much in it,
and it won't be much thought of, 1 fancy ; but, such as it
is, 'tis the last instrument I sign, unless I get better. To
think of Gar'ner's coming back, after all ! It has put new
life in me, and I shall be about, ag'in, in a week, if he has
only not forgotten the key, and the hidden treasure !"

Mary Pratt's heart had not been so light for many a
weary day, but it grieved her to be a witness of this linger
ing longing after the things of the world. She knew that
not only her uncle's days, but that his veiy hours, were
numbered ; and that, notwithstanding this momentary
flickering of the lamp, in consequence of fresh oil being



THE SEA LIONS. 409

poured into it, the wick was nearly consumed, and that it
must shortly go out, let Roswell's success be what it might.
The news of the sudden and unlooked-for return of a vessel
so long believed to be lost, spread like wildfire over the
whole point, and greatly did it increase the interest of the
relatives in the condition of the dying man. If he was a
subject of great concern before, doubly did he become so
now. A vessel freighted with furs would have caused
much excitement of itself; but, by some means or other,
the deacon's great secret of the buried treasure had leaked
out, most probably by means of some of his lamentations
during his illness, and, though but imperfectly known, it
added largely to the expectations connected with the un
looked-for return of the schooner. In short, it would not
have been easy to devise a circumstance that should serve
to increase the liveliness of feeling that, just then, prevailed
on the subject of Deacon Pratt and his assets, than the
arrival of the Sea Lion, at that precise moment.

And arrive she did, that tempest-tossed, crippled, ice
bound, and half-burned little craft, after roaming over an
extent of ocean that would have made up half a dozen or
dinary sea voyages. It was, in truth, the schooner so well
known to the reader, that was now settling away her main
sail and jib, as she kept off, under her fore-topsail alone,
towards the wharf, on which every human being who could,
with any show of propriety, be there at such a moment,
was now collected, in a curious and excited crowd. Alto
gether, including boys and females, there must have been
not less than a hundred persons on that wharf; and among
them were most of the anxious relatives who were in at
tendance on the vessel's owner, in his last hours. By a
transition that was natural enough, perhaps, under the cir
cumstances, they had transferred their interest in the dea
con to this schooner, which they looked upon as an inani
mate portion of an investment that would soon have little
that was animate about it.

Baiting Joe was a sort of oracle, in such circumstances.
He had passed his youth at sea, having often doubled the
Horn, and was known to possess a very respectable amount
of knowledge on the subject of vessels of all sorts and sizes,
rig and qualities. He was now consulted by all who could
17



410 THE SEA LIONS.

get near him, as a matter of course, and his opinions were
received as res adjudicata, as the lawyers have it.

" That 's the boat," said Joe, affecting to call the Sea
Lion by a diminutive, as a proof of regard; "yes, that's
the craft, herself; but she is wonderfully deep in the water I
I never seed a schooner of her tonnage, come in from a
v'y'ge, with her scuppers so near awash. Don't you think,
Jim, there must be suthin' heavier than skins, in her hold,
to bring her down so low in the water?"

Jim was another loafer, who lived by taking clams, oys
ters, fish, and the other treasures of the surrounding bays.
He was by no means as high authority as Baiting Joe ;
still he was always authority on a wharf.

"I never seed the like on't," answered Jim. "That
schooner must ha' made most of her passage under water.
She 's as deep as one of our coasters comin' in with a load
o' brick !"

" She 's deep ; but not as deep as a craft I once made a
cruise in. I was aboard of the first of Uncle Sam's gun
boats, that crossed the pond to Gibraltar. When we got
in, it made the Mediterranean stare, I can tell you ! We
had furrin officers aboard us, the whull time, lookin' about,
and wonderin', as they called it, if we wasn't amphibbies."

"What 's that 1" demanded Jim, rather hastily. " There 's
no sich rope in the ship."

" I know that well enough ; but an amphibby, as I un
derstand it, is a new sort of whale, that comes up to breathe,
like all of that family, as old Dr. Mitchell, of Cow Neck,
calls the critturs. So the furrin officers thought we must
be of the amphibby family, to live so much under water,
as it seemed to them. It was wet work, I can tell you,
boys; I don't think I got a good breath more than once an
hour, the whull of the first day we was out. One of the
furrin officers asked our captain how the gun-boat steered.
He wasn't a captain, at all only a master, you see, and
we all called him Jumpin' Billy. So Jumpin' Billy says,
' Don't know, sir.' ' What ! crossed the Atlantic in her,
and don't know how your craft steers !' says the furrin offi
cer, says he and well he might, Jim, since nothin' that
ever lived could go from Norfolk to Gibraltar, without
some attention to the helm but Jumpin' Billy had another



THE SEA LIONS. 411

story to tell. ' No, sir ; don't know/ he answered. * You
see, sir, a nor-wester took us right aft, as we cleared the
capes, and down she dove, with her nose under and her
starn out, and she come across without having a chance to
try the rudder.' "

This story, which Joe had told at least a hundred times
before, and which, by the way, is said to be true, produced
the usual admiration, especially among the crowd of lega
tees-expectant, to most of whom it was quite new. When
the laugh went out, which it soon did of itself, Joe pursued
a subject that was of more interest to most of his auditors,
or rather to the principal personages among them.

" Skins never brought a craft so low, that you may be
sartain of!" he resumed. " I 've seed all sorts of vessels
stowed, but a hundred press-screws couldn't cram in furs
enough to bring a craft so low ! To my eye, Jim, there 's
suthin" unnat'ral about that schooner, a'ter all."

The study is scarce worthy of a diploma, but we will
take this occasion to say, for the benefit of certain foreign
writers, principally of the female sex, who fancy they repre
sent Americanisms, that the vulgar of the great republic,
and it is admitted there are enough of the class, never say
" summat" or " somethink," which are low English, but
not low American, dialect. The in-and-in Yankee says
" suth-in." In a hundred other words have these ambi
tious ladies done injustice to our vulgar, who are not vul
gar, according to the laws of Cockayne, in the smallest
degree. " The Broadway," for instance, is no more used
by an American than "the Congress," or "the United
States of North America."

" Perhaps," answered Jim, " 'tisn't the Sea Lion, a'ter
all. There 's a family look about all the craft some men
build, and this may be a sort of relation of our missin'
schooner."

"I'll not answer for the craft, though that's her blue
peter, and them's her mast-heads, and I turned in that



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