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taw-sail halyard-block with my own hands. I '11 tell you
what, Jim, there's been a wrack, or a nip, up yonder,
among the ice, and this schooner has been built anew out
of that there schooner You see if it don't turn out as I
35*



412 THE SEA LIONS.

tell you. Ay, and there 's Captain Gar'ner, himself, alive
and well, just comin' forrard."

A little girl started with this news, and was soon pour
ing it into the willing ears and open heart of the weeping
and grateful Mary. An hour later, Roswell held the latter in
his arms; for at such a moment, it was not possible for the
most scrupulous of the sex to affect coldness and reserve,
where there was so much real tenderness and love. While
folding Mary to his heart, Roswell whispered in her ears
the blessed words that announced his own humble submis
sion to the faith which accepted Christ as the Son of God.
Too well did the gentle and ingenuous girl understand the
sincerity and frankness of her lover's nature, to doubt what
he said, or in any manner to distrust the motive. That
moment was the happiest of her short and innocent life !

But the welcome tidings had reached the deacon, and
ere Roswell had an opportunity of making any other ex
planations but those which assured Mary that he had come
back all that she wished him to be, both of them were
summoned to the bed-side of the dying man. The effect
of the excitement on the deacon was so very great as al
most to persuade the expectant legatees that their visit
was premature, and that they might return home, to re
new it at some future day. It is painful to find it our
duty to draw sketches that shall contain such pictures of
human nature; but with what justice could we represent
the loathsome likeness of covetousness, hovering over a
grave, and omit the resemblances of those who surrounded
it? Mary Pratt, alone, of all that extensive family con
nection, felt and thought as Christianity, and womanly
affection, and reason, dictated. All the rest saw nothing
but the possessor of a considerable property, who was
about to depart for that unknown world, into which nothing
could be taken from this, but the divine and abused spirit
which had been fashioned in the likeness of God.

" Welcome, Gar'ner welcome home, ag'in !" exclaimed
the deacon, so heartily as quite to deceive the young man
as to the real condition of his owner; a mistake that was,
perhaps, a little unfortunate, as it induced him to be more
frank than might otherwise have been the case. " I
couldn't find it in my heart to give you up, and have, ali



THE SEA LIONS. 413

along, believed that we should yet have good news from
you. The Gar'ners are a reliable family, and that was one
reason why I chose you to command my schooner. Them
Daggetts are a torment, but we never should have known
anything about the islands, or the key, hadn't it been for
one on 'em !"

As the deacon stopped to breathe, Mary turned away
from the bed, grieved at heart to see the longings of the
world thus clinging to the spirit of one who probably had
not another hour to live. The glazed but animated eye,
a cheek which resembled a faded leaf of the maple laid on
a cold and whitish stone, and lips that had already begun
to recede from the teeth, made a sad, sad picture, truly,
to look upon at such a moment; yet, of all present, Mary
Pratt alone felt the fullness of the incongruity, and alone
bethought her of the unreasonableness of encouraging feel
ings like those which were now uppermost in the deacon's
breast. Even minister Whittle had a curiosity to know
how much was added to the sum-total of Deacon Pratt's
assets, by the return of a craft that had so long been set
down among the missing. When all eyes, therefore, were
turned in curiosity on the handsome face of the fine manly
youth who now stood at the bed-side of the deacon, includ
ing those of brother and sister, of nephews and nieces, of
cousins and friends, those of this servant of the most high
God was of the number, and not the least expressive of
solicitude and expectation. As soon as the deacon had
caught a little breath, and had swallowed a restorative that
the hired nurse had handed to him, his eager thoughts re
verted to the one engrossing theme of his whole life.

" These are all friends, Gar'ner," he said ; " come to
visit me in a little sickness that I 've been somewhat sub
ject to, of late, and who will all be glad to hear of our
good fortune. So you 've brought the schooner back, a'ter
all, Gar'ner, and will disapp'int the Sag Harbour ship
owners, who have been all along foretelling that we should
never see her ag'in : brought her back ha! Gar'ner?"

' Only in part, Deacon Pratt. We have had good luck
and bad luck since we left you, and have only brought
home the best part of the craft."

" The best part " said the deacon, gulping his words,



414 THE SEA LIONS.

in a way that compelled him to pause; "The best part!
What, in the name of property, has become of the rest?"

" The rest was burned, sir, to keep us from freezing tc
death." Roswell then gave a brief but very clear and in-,
telligible account of what had happened, and of the manner
in which he had caused the hulk of the deacon's Sea Lion
to be raised upon by the materials furnished by the Sea
Lion of the Vineyard. The narrative brought Mary Pratt
back to the side of the bed, and caused her calm eyes to
become riveted intently on the speaker's face. As for the
deacon, he might have said, with Shakspeare's Wolsey,

" Had I but served my God with half the zeal
I served my king, he would not, in mine age,
Have left me naked to mine enemies."

His fall was not that of a loss of power, it is true, but it
was that of a still more ignoble passion, covetousriess. As
Roswell proceeded, his mind represented one source of
wealth after another released from his clutch, until it was
with a tremulous voice, and a countenance from which all
traces of animation had fled, that he ventured again to
speak.

"Then I may look upon my ventur' as worse than
nothing?" he said. "The insurers will raise a question
about paying for a craft that has been rebuilt in this way,
and the Vineyard folks will be sartain to put in a claim of
salvage, both on account of two of their hands helping you
with the work, and on account of the materials and we
with no cargo, as an offset to it all !"

" No, deacon, it is not quite as bad as that," resumed
Roswell. " We have brought home a good lot of skins ;
enough to pay the people full wages and to return you
every cent of outfit, with a handsome advance on the ven
ture. A sealer usually makes a good business of it, if she
falls in with seals. Our cargo, in skins, can't be worth
less than $20,000 ; besides half a freight left on the island,
for which another craft may be sent."

" That is suthin', the Lord be praised !" ejaculated the
deacon. " Though the schooner is as bad as gone, and
the outlays have been awfully heavy, I'm almost afraid to
go any further. Gar'ner, did you I grow weak very



THE SEA LIONS. 415

fast did you stop Mary, I wish you would put the
question."

" I am afraid that my uncle means to ask if you stopped
at the Key, in the West Indies, according to your instruc
tions, Roswell ?" the niece said, and most reluctantly, for
she plainly saw it was fully time her uncle ceased to think
of the things of this life, and to begin to turn all his
thoughts on the blessed mediation, and another state of
being.

" I forgot no part of your orders, sir," rejoined Roswell.
" It was my duty to obey them, and I believe I have done
so to the letter "

"Stop, Gar'ner," interrupted the dying man "one
question, while I think of it. Will the Vineyard men have
any claim of salvage on account of them skins?"

" Certainly not, sir. These skins are all our own were
taken, cured, stowed, and brought home altogether by our
selves. There is a lot of skins belonging to the Vine-
yarders, stowed away in the house, which is yours, deacon,
and which it would well pay any small craft to go and
bring away. If anybody is to claim salvage, it will be
ourselves. No salvage was demanded for the loss off Cape
Henlopen, I trust?"

" No, none Daggett behaved what I call liberal in that
affair," half the critics of the day would use the adjective
instead of the adverb here, and why should Deacon Pratt's
English be any better than his neighbours ? " and so I've
admitted to his friends over on the Vineyard. But, Gar'ner,
our great affair still remains to be accounted for. Do you
wish to have the room cleared before you speak of that
shall we turn the key on all these folks, and then settle
accounts he ! he ! he !"

The deacon's facetiousness sounded strangely out of
place to Roswell ; still, he did not exactly know how to
gainsay his wishes. There might be an indiscretion in
pursuing his narrative before so many witnesses, and the
young man paused until the room was cleared, leaving no
one in it but the sick man, Mary, himself, and the nurse.
The last could not well be gotten rid of on Oyster Pond,
where her office gave her an assumed right to know all
family secrets; or, what was the same thing to lier, to



416 THE SEA LIONS.

fancy that she knew them. Among all the sayings which
the experience of mankind has reduced to axioms, there is
not one more just than that which says, " There are secrets
in all families." These secrets the world commonly affects
to know all about, but we think few will have reached the
age of threescore without becoming convinced of how
much pretending ignorance there is in this assumption of
the world. " Tot ou tard tout se scait," is a significant
saying of our old friends, the French, who know as much
of things in practice as any other people on the face of the
earth ; but " tot ou tard tout ne se scait pas."

"Is the door shut?" asked the deacon, tremulously, for
eagerness, united to debility, was sadly shaking his whole
frame. " See that the door is shut tight, Mary; this is our
own secret, and nurse must remember that."

Mary assured him that they were alone, and turned awaj
in sorrow from the bed.

" Now, Gar'ner," resumed the deacon, " open your whole
heart, and let us know all about it."

Roswell hesitated to reply ; for he, too, was shocked at
witnessing this instance of a soul's clinging to mammon,
when on the very eve of departing for the unknown world.
There was a look in the glazed and sunken eyes of the old
man, that reminded him unpleasantly of that snapping of
the eyes which he had so often seen in Daggett.

" You did n't forget the key, surely, Gar'ner?" asked the
deacon, anxiously.

" No, sir ; we did our whole duty by that part of the
voyage."

" Did you find it was the place accurately described ?"

" No chart could have made it better. We lost a month
in looking for the principal land-mark, which had been
altered by the weather ; but, that once found, the rest was
easy. The difficulty we met with in starting, has brought
us home so late in the spring."

" Never mind the spring, Gar'ner; the part that is past
is sartain to come round ag'in, in due time. And so you
found the very key that was described by Daggett?"

" We did, sir; and just where he described it to be."

"And how about the tree, and the little hillock of sand,
at its foot?"



THE SEA LIONS. 417

"Both wers there, deacon. The hillock must have
grown a good deal, by reason of the shifting sand ; but, all
things considered, the place was well enough described."

" Well well well you opened the hillock, of
course ?"

" We did, sir ; and found the box mentioned by the
pirate."

"A good large box, I'll warrant ye! Them pirates
eeldom do things by halves he ! he ! he !"

"I can't say much for the size of the box, deacon it
looked to me as if it had once held window-glass, and that
of rather small dimensions."

" But, the contents you do not mention the contents."

" They are here, sir," taking a small bag from his pocket,
and laying it on the bed, by the deacon's side. "The
pieces are all of gold, and there are just one hundred and
forty-three of them. Heavy doubloons, it is true, and 1
dare say well worth their 16 dollars each."

The deacon gave a gulp, as if gasping for breath, at the
same time that he clutched the bag. The next instant he
was dead ; and there is much reason to believe that the
demons who had watched him, and encouraged him in his
besetting sin, laughed at this consummation of their malig
nant arts! If angels in heaven did not mourn at this cha
racteristic departure of a frail spirit from its earthly tene
ment, one who had many of their qualities did. Heavy
had been the load on Mary Pratt's heart, at the previous
display of her uncle's weakness, and profound was now her
grief at his having made such an end.



418 THE SEA LIONS.



CHAPTER XXX.

4 Cit. We '11 hear the will : Read it, Mark Antony.
Cit. The will, the will ; we will hear Caesar's will.
Ant. Have patience, gentle friends, I must not read it ;
It is not meet you know how Cassar loved you.

Julius Cceaar.

THERE is usually great haste, in this country, in getting
rid of the dead. In no other part of the world, with
which we are acquainted, are funerals so simple, or so
touching ; placing the judgment and sins which lead to it,
in a far more conspicuous light than rank, or riches, or
personal merits. Scarfs and gloves are given in town, and
gloves in the country, though scarfs are rare ; but, beyond
these, and the pall, and the hearse, and the weeping friends,
an American funeral is a very unpretending procession of
persons in their best attire; on foot, when the distance is
short; in carriages, in wagons, and on horseback, when
the grave is far from the dwelling. There is, however,
one feature connected with a death in this country, that
we could gladly see altered. It is the almost indecent
haste, which so generally prevails, to get rid of the dead
Doubtless the climate has had an effect in establishing this
custom ; but the climate, by no means, exacts the pre
cipitancy that is usually practised.

As there were so many friends from a distance present,
some of whom took the control of affairs, Mary shrinking
back into herself, with a timidity natural to her sex and
years, the moment her care could no longer serve her
uncle, the funeral of the deacon took place the day after
that of his death. It was the solemn and simple ceremony
of the country. The Rev. Mr. Whittle conceived that he
ought to preach a sermon on the occasion of the extin
guishment of this " bright and shining light," and the body
was carried to the meeting-house, where the whole congre
gation assembled, it being the Sabbath. We cannot say
much for the discourse, which had already served as eulo-
giuma on two or three other deacons, with a simple subuit-



THE SEA LIONS. 419

tution of names. In few things are the credulous more
imposed on than in this article of sermons. A clergyman
shall preach the workings of other men's brains for years,
and not one of his hearers detect the imposition, purely on
account of the confiding credit it is customary to yield to
the pulpit. In this respect, preaching is very much like re
viewing, the listener, or the reader, being too complaisant
to see through the great standing mystifications of either.
Yet preaching is a work of high importance to men, and
one that doubtless accomplishes great good, more espe
cially when the life of the preacher corresponds with his
doctrine; and even reviewing, though infinitely of less
moment, might be made a very useful art, in the hands of
upright, independent, intelligent, and learned men. But
nothing in this world is as it should be, and centuries will
probably roll over it ere the "good time" shall really
come !

The day of the funeral being the Sabbath, nothing that
touched on business was referred to. On the following
morning, however, " the friends" assembled early in the
parlour, and an excuse for being a little pressing was
made, on the ground that so many present had so far to
go. The deacon had probably made a remove much more
distant than any that awaited his relatives.

" It is right to look a little into the deacon's matters
before we separate," said Mr. Job Pratt, who, if he had the
name, had not the patience of him of old, " in order to
save trouble and hard feelings. Among relatives and
friends there should be nothing but confidence and affec
tion, and I am sure I have no other sentiments toward any
here. I suppose" all Mr. Job Pratt knew, was ever on a
supposition " I suppose I am the proper person to ad
minister to the deacon's property, though I don't wish to
do it, if there 's the least objection."

Every one assented that he was the most proper person,
for all knew he was the individual the surrogate would be
the most likely to appoint.

" I have never set down the deacon's property as any
thing like what common report makes it," resumed Mr.
Job Pratt ; " though I do suppose it will fully reach ten
thousand dollars."
36



420 THE SEA LIONS.

"La!" exclaimed a female cousin, and a widow, who
had expectations of her own, "I'd always thought Deacon
Pratt worth forty or fifty thousand dollars ! Ten thousand
dollars won't make much for each of us, divided up among
so many folks !"

" The division will not be so very great, Mrs. Martin,"
returned Mr. Job, " as it will be confined to the next of
kin and their representatives. Unless a will should be
found and, by all I can learn, there is none" empha
sizing the last word with point " unless a will be found
the whole estate, real and personal, must be divided into
just five shares; which, accordin' to my calculation, would
make about two thousand dollars a share. No great fortin,
to be sure; though a comfortable addition to small means.
The deacon was cluss (Anglice, close) ; yes, he was cluss
all the Pratts are a little given to be cluss ; but I don't
know that they are any the worse for it. It is well to be
curful (careful) of one's means, which are a trust given to
us by Divine Providence."

In this manner, did Mr. Job Pratt often quiet his con
science for being as " curful" of his own as of other per
son's assets. Divine Providence, according to his morality,
made it as much a duty to transfer the dollar that was in
his neighbour's pocket to his own. as to watch it vigilantly
after the transposition has been effected.

"A body should be curful, as you say, sir," returned
the Widow Martin ; " and for that reason I should like to
know if there isn't a will. I know the deacon set store by
me, and I can hardly think he has departed for another
world without bethinking him of his cousin Jenny, and of
her widowhood."

"I'm afraid he has, Mrs. Martin really afraid he has.
I can hear of no will. The doctor says he doubts if the
deacon could ever muster courage to write anything about
his own death, and that he has never heard of any will.
I understand Mary, that she has no knowledge of any will ;
and I do not know where else to turn, in order to inquire.
Rev. Mr. Whittle thinks there is a will, I ought to say."

" There must be a will," returned the parson, who was
on the ground again early, and on this very errand ; " I
feel certain of that from the many conversations I have



THE SEA LIONS. 421

held with the deceased. It is not a month since I spoke to
him of divers repairs that were necessary to each and all
of the parish buildings, including the parsonage. He agreed
to every word I said admitted that we could not get on
another winter without a new horse-shed ; and that the east
end of the parsonage ought to be shingled this coming
summer."

"All of which may be very true, parson, without the
deacon's making a will," quietly, and we may now add
patiently, observed Mr. Job.

" I don't think so," returned the minister, with a warmth
that might have been deemed indiscreet, did it not relate
to the horse-shed, the parsonage, and the meeting-house,
all of which were public property, rather than to anything
in which he had a more direct legal interest. " A pious
member of the church would hardly hold out the hopes that
Deacon Pratt has held out to me, for more than two years
without meaning to make his words good in the end. 1
think all will agree with me in that opinion."

" Did the deacon, then, go so far as to promise to do any
thing?" asked Mr. Job, a little timidly; for he was by no
means sure the answer might not be in the affirmative, in
which case he anticipated the worst.

" Perhaps not," answered Minister Whittle, too con
scientious to tell a downright lie, though sorely tempted so
to do. " But a man may promise indirectly, as well as
directly. When I have a thing much at heart, and con
verse often about it with a person who can grant all I wish,
and that person listens as attentively as I could wish him
to do, I regard that as a promise ; and, in church matters,
one of a very solemn nature."

All the Jesuits in the world do not get their educations
at Rome, or acknowledge Ignatius Loyola as the great
founder of their order. Some are to be found who have
never made a public profession of their faith and zeal, have
never assumed the tonsure, or taken the vows.

" That's as folks think," quietly returned Mr. Job Pratt,

though he smiled in a manner so significant as to cause

Mrs. Martin a new qualm, as she grew more and more ap-

orehensive that the property was, after all, to go by the

18



422 THE SEA LIONS.

distribution law. " Some folks think a promise ought to
be expressed, while others think it may be understood.
The law, I believe, commonly looks for the direct expres
sion of any binding promise; and, in matters of this sort,
one made in writing, too, and that under a seal, and before
three responsible witnesses."

" I wish a full inquiry might be made, to ascertain if
there be no will ;" put in the minister, anxiously.

"I'm quite willing so to do," returned Mr. Job, whose
confidence and moral courage increased each instant.
"Quite willing; and am rather anxious for it, if I could
only see where to go to inquire."

" Does no one present know of any will made by the de
ceased ?" demanded Minister Whittle, authoritatively.

A dead silence succeeded to the question. Eye met eye,
and there was great disappointment among the numerous
collaterals present, including all those who did not come in
as next of kin, or as their direct representatives. But the
Rev. Mr. Whittle had been too long and too keenly on the
scent of a legacy, to be thrown out of the hunt, just as he
believed the game was coming in sight.

" It might be well to question each near relative direct
ly," he added. " Mr. Job Pratt, do you know nothing of
any will 1"

" Nothing whatever. At one time I did think the dea
con meant to make his testament ; but I conclude that he
must have changed his mind."

"And you, Mrs. Thomas," turning to the sister "as
next of kin, I make the same inquiry of you !"

" I once talked with brother about it," answered this re
lative, who was working away in a rocking-chair as if she
thought the earth might stop in its orbit, if she herself
ceased to keep in motion ; " but he gave me no satisfactory
answer that is, nothin' that I call satisfactory. Had he
told me he had made a will, and given me a full shear,
(share), I should have been content; or, had he told me
that he had not made a will, and that the law would give
me a full shear, I should have been content. I look upon
myself as a person easily satisfied."

This was being explicit, and left little more to be obtain
ed from the deacon's beloved and only surviving sister.



THE SEA LIONS. 423

"And you, Mary ; do you know anything of a will made
by your uncle?"

Mary shook her head ; but there was no smile on her
features, for the scene was unpleasant to her.

" Then no one present knows of any paper that the dea
con left specially to be opened after his death ?" demanded
Rev. Mr. Whittle, putting the general question pretty much
at random.

"A paper!" cried Mary, hastily. " Yes, I know some
thing of a paper I thought you spoke of a will."

"A will is commonly written on paper, now-a-days, Miss
Mary but, you have a paper?"

" Uncle gave me a paper, and told me to keep till Ros-
well Gardiner came back ; and, if he himself should not
then be living, to give it to him" The colour now mount
ed to the very temples of the pretty girl, and she seemed to
speak with greater deliberation and care. " As I was to
give the paper to Roswell, I have always thought it related
to him. My uncle spoke of it to me as lately as the day
of his death."

"That's the will, beyond a doubt!" cried Rev. Mr.



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