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would ' talk to Roswell ;' but the good man, though well-
enough inclined, had really so much to do in ' providing,'
that it was not a very easy matter for him to go beyond the
beaten track, in order to probe the consciences of particu
lar individuals. He promised fairly, but always forgot to
perform ; and in this he imitated closely the example set
him by his parishioners, in reference to his own salary.

Roswell Gardiner, therefore, remained in his unbelief;
or, what was tantamount to it, under the influence of a set
of opinions that conflicted with all that the church had
taught since the time of the apostles at least so thought
Mary, and so think we.

On the contrary, the pastor and the deacon were parti
cularly gay, for men of their habitual sobriety. Although
those were not the days of temperance, par excellence,
neither of the guests was what might be termed even a
moderate drinker. For a novelty in a sailor, Roswell
Gardiner seldom touched anything but water, while the
other two took their rum and water ; but it was in modera
tion, as all the gifts of God should be used. As for the
intemperate cry which makes it a sin to partake of any
liquor, however prudently, it was then never heard in the
land. On the whole, the clergy of all denominations might
be set down as brandy-and-water men, a few occasionally



58 THESEALIONS.

carrying out their principle to exaggeration. But the Rev.
Mr. Whittle was a sober man, and, though he saw no
great harm in enlivening his heart and cheering his spirits
with brandy taken in small quantities, he was never known
to be any the worse for his libations. It was the same with
the deacon, though he drank rum-and-water of choice;
and no other beverage, Mary's currant-wine and cider ex-
cepted, was ever seen on his table.

One thing may be said of liquor, whether it be in its
favour or not; it usually brings out all there is of the
facetious in a man, rendering him conversable and plea
sant ; for the time being, at least. This was apt to be
peculiarly the case with the Rev. Mr. Whittle and his
deacons. In their ordinary intercourse with their fellow-
creatures, these good people had taken up the idea that, in
order to be religious, their countenances must be sombre,
and that care and anxiety should be stamped on their faces,
just as if they had no confidence in the efficacy of the re
demption. Few, indeed, are they who vindicate their pro
fessions by living at peace with God and man ! At Oyster
Pond, it was much the fashion to imagine that the more a
person became impressed with the truths of his, and par
ticularly with those of Aer, lost condition, the more it
became the party to be cynical, and to pry into, and com
ment, on the backslidings of the entire community. This
weakness, however, was characteristic of neither the pastor
nor the deacon, each of whom regarded his professions too
much in the light of a regular " business transaction," to
descend into these little abuses. As for Mary, good crea
ture, her humility was so profound as to cause her to be
lieve herself among the weakest and least favoured of all
who belonged to meeting.

" I was sorry that my late journey into Connecticut pre
vented my seeing the poor man who was so suddenly taken
away from the house of Widow White," observed the Rev.
Mr. Whittle, some little time after he had made his original
attack on the sheepshead. " They tell me it was a hopeless
case from the first?"

" So Dr. Sage considered it," answered the deacon.
* Captain Gar'ner volunteered to go across for the doctor
in my boat " with a heavy emphasis on the possessive



THE SEA LIONS. 59

pronoun " and we had him to look at the patient. But,
if the salt-water be good for consumptive people, as some
pretend, I think there is generally little hope for seamen
whose lungs once give way."

"The poor man was a mariner, was he? I did not
know his calling, but had rather got the impression that
he was a husbandman. Did he belong to Oyster Pond?"

" No ; we have none of the name of Daggett here, which
is a tribe on the Vineyard. Most of the Daggetts are sea
faring folks (folk, Anglice) and this man was one of that
class, I believe; though I know nothing of him, or of his
pursuits, except by a word, here and there, dropped in dis
course."

The deacon thought himself safe in venturing this little
departure from the literal truth, inasmuch as no one had
been present, or he thought no one had ever been present
at his many secret conferences with the deceased mariner.
Little, however, did he understand the character of the
Widow White, if he flattered himself with hoJding any dis
course under her roof, in which she was not to participate
in its subject. So far from this having been the case, the
good woman had contrived to obtain, not only <a listening-
place, but a peeping-hole, where she both heard and saw
most of that which passed between her guest and the dea
con. Had her powers of comprehension been equal to her
will, or had not her mind been prepossessed with the no
tion that the deacon must be after herself, old Suffolk
would have rung with the marvels that were thus revealed.
Not only would an unknown seahng-island been laid before
the East-enders, but twenty such islands, and keys without
number, each of which contained more hidden treasure
than 'Gar'ner's Island,' Oyster Pond, the Plumb and
Fisher's, and all the coasts of the Sound put together; en
riched as each and all of these places were thought to he,
by the hidden deposits of Kidd.

Nothing but an accident had prevented these rumours
from being circulated. It happened that on only one occa
sion Daggett was explicit and connected in his narrative.
At all other times his discourse was broken, consisting
more in allusions to what had been previously said than m
direct and clear revelations. The widow, most unfortu
6



60 THE SEA LIONS.

nately for her means of information, was with "neighbour
Stone" when the connected narrative was given, and all
that she knew was disjointed, obscure, and a little contra
dictory. Still, it was sufficient to set her thinking intensely
and sufficient to produce a material influence on the future
fortunes of the Sea Lion, as will appear in the sequel.

" It is always a misfortune for a human being to take his
departure away from home and friends," observed the Rev.
Mr. Whittle. " Here was an immortal soul left to take its
last great flight, unsupported, I dare say, except by the
prayers of a few pious neighbours. I regret having been
absent during the time he was here. Getting home of a
Friday only, I was compelled to devote Saturday to pre
parations for the Sabbath ; and Sabbath-night, as I under
stand it, he departed."

" We are all in the hands of Divine Providence," said
the deacon, with a sober mien, " and it is our duty to sub
mit. To my thinking, Oyster Pond catches more of its
share of the poor and needy, who are landed from vessels
passing east and west, and add considerably to our bur
thens."

This was said of a spot as much favoured by Divine Pro
vidence, in the way of abundance, as any other in highly-
favoured America. Some eight or ten such events as the
landing of a stranger had occurred within the last half-
century, and this was the only instance in which either of
them had cost the deacon a cent. But, so little was he ac
customed, and so little was he disposed, to give, that even
a threatened danger of that sort amounted, in his eyes,
nearly to a loss

" Well," exclaimed the literal Roswell Gardiner, " I
think, deacon, that we have no great reason to complain.
Southold, Shelter Island, and all the islands about here, for
that matter, are pretty well off as to poor, and it is little
enough that we have to pay for their support."

"That's the idea of a young man who never sees the
tax-gatherers," returned the deacon. " However, there
are islands, captain Gar'ner, that are better off still, and I
hope you will live to find them."

" Is our young friend to sail in the Sea Lion in quest of
any such? ' inquired the pastor, a little curiously.



THE SEA LIONS. 61

The deacon now repented him of the allusion. But his
heart had warmed with the subject, and the rum-and-water
had unlocked some of its wards. So timid and nervous
had he become, however, that the slightest indication of
anything like a suspicion that his secrets were known,
threw him into a sweat.

" Not at all not at all the captain goes on well-known
and beaten ground Sam, what is wanting, now 1"

" Here is Baiting Joe corned up from the wharf, want
ing to see master," returned a grey-headed negro, who had
formerly been a slave, and who now lived about the place,
giving his services for his support.

" Baiting Joe ! He is not after his sheepshead, I hope
if he is, he is somewhat late in the day."

" Ay, ay," put in the young sailor, laughing " tell him,
Sam, that no small part of it is bound to the southward,
meaning to cross the line in my company, and that right
soon."

"I paid Joe his half-dollar, certainly you saw me pay
him, captain Gar'ner."

"I don't think it's any sich thing, master. There is a
stranger with Joe, that he has ferried across from Shelter
Island, and he's corned up from the wharf too. Yes
that's it, master."

A stranger! Who could it be 1 A command was given
to admit him, and no sooner did Mary get a sight of his
person, than she quietly arose to procure a plate, in ordei
that he, too, might have his share of the fish.



62 THE SEA LIONS.



CHAPTER V.

" Stranger ! I fled the home of grief,

At Connocht Moran's tomb to fall ;
I found the helmet of my chief,

His bow still hanging on our wall."
CAMPBELL.

" AMPHIBIOUS !" exclaimed Roswell Gardiner, in an
aside to Mary, as the stranger entered the room, following
Baiting Joe's lead. The last only came for his glass of
rum-and-water, served with which by the aid of the negro,
he passed the back of his hand across his mouth, napkin-
fashion, nodded his " good-day," and withdrew. As for
the stranger, Roswell Gardiner's term being particularly
significant, it may be well to make a brief explanation.

The word " amphibious" is, or rather was, well applied to
many of the seamen, whalers, and sealers, who dwelt on the
eastern end of Long Island, or the Vineyard, around Sto-
nington, and, perhaps we might add, in the vicinity of New
Bedford. The Nantucket men had not base enough, in
the way of terra firma, to come properly within the cate
gory. The class to which the remark strictly applied were
sailors without being seamen, in the severe signification
of the term. While they could do all that was indispensa
bly necessary to take care of their vessels, were surpassed
by no other mariners in enterprise, and daring, and hardi
hood, they knew little about " crowning cables," " carrick-
bends," and all the mysteries of " knotting," " graffing,"
and " splicing." A regular Delaware-bay seaman would
have turned up his nose in contempt at many of their ways,
and at much of their real ignorance ; but, when it came to
the drag, or to the oar, or to holding out in bad weather,
or to any of the more manly qualities of the business, he
would be certain to yield his respect to those at whom it
had originally been his disposition to laugh. It might best
describe these men to say that they bore some such relation
to the thorough-bred tar, as the volunteer bears to the
regular soldier.



THESEALIONS. 63

As a matter of course, the stranger was invited to take
his seat at the table. This he did without using many
phrases; and Mary had reason to believe, by his appetite,
that he thought well of her culinary skill. There was very
little of the sheepshead left when this, its last assailant,
shoved his plate back, the signal that he could do no more.
He then finished a glass of rum-and-water, and seemed to
be in a good condition to transact the business that had
brought him there. Until this moment, he had made no
allusion to the motive of his visit, leaving the deacon full
of conjectures.

" The fish of Peconic and Gar'ner's is as good as any 1
know," coolly observed this worthy, after certainly having
established some claim to give an opinion on the subject.
" We think ourselves pretty well off, in this respect, on the
Vineyard "

" On the Vineyard !" interrupted the deacon, without
waiting to hear what was to follow.

" Yes, sir, on Martha's Vineyard for that 's the place
I come from. Perhaps I ought to have introduced myself
a little more particularly I come from Martha's Vineyard,
and my name is Daggett."

The deacon fairly permitted the knife, with which he was
spreading some butter, to fall upon his plate. " Daggett"
and the " Vineyard" sounded ominously. Could it be that
Dr. Sage had managed to get a message so far, in so short
a time ; and had this amphibious inhabitant of the neigh
bouring island come already to rob him of his treasure?
The perceptions of the deacon, at first, were far from clear ;
and he even imagined that all he had expended on the Sea
Lion was thrown away, and that he might be even called
on to give some sort of an account, in a court of chancery,
of the information obtained from the deceased. A little
reflection, however, sufficed to get the better of this weak
ness, and he made a civil inclination of his head, as much
as to tell the stranger, notwithstanding his name and place
of residence, that he was welcome. Of course no one but
the deacon himself knew of the thoughts that troubled him,
and after a very brief delay, the guest proceeded with his
explanations of the object of his visit.

" The Daggetts are pretty numerous on the Vineyard,"
6*



64 THESEALIONS.

continued the stranger, " and when you name one of them
it is not always easy to tell just what family he belongs to.
One of our coasters came into the Hull (Holmes' Hole was
meant) a few weeks since, and reported that she spoke an
inward-bound brig, off New Haven, from which she heard
that the people of that craft had put ashore, at Oyster Pond,
a seafaring man, who belonged to the Vineyard, and who
was bound home, arter an absence of fifty years, and whose
name was Thomas Daggett. The word passed through
the island, and a great Btir it made among all us Daggetts.
There 's plenty of our Vineyard people wandering about
the 'arth, and sometimes one drops in upon the island, just
to die. As most of them that come back bring something
with them, it 's gen'rally thought a good sign to hear of
their arrival. After casting about, and talking with all the
old folks, it has been concluded that this Thomas Daggett
must be a brother of my father's, who went to sea about
fifty years since, and has never been seen or heard of since.
He 's the only person of the name for whom we can't ac
count, and the family have got me to come across to look
him up."

" I am sorry, Mr. Daggett, that you are so late," an
swered the deacon, slowly, as if unwilling to give pain.
" Had you come last week, you might have seen and con
versed with your relation ; or had you come early this
morning, only, you might have attended his funeral. He
came among us a stranger, and we endeavoured to imitate
the conduct of the good Samaritan. I believe he had all
the comforts that Oyster Pond can give ; and, certainly,
he had the best advice. Dr. Sage, of Sag Harbour, at
tended him in his last illness Dr. Sage, of the Harbour :
doubtless you have heard him mentioned ?"

"I know him by reputation, and make no doubt all was
done that could be done. As the sloop I named lav by the
brig some time, in a calm, the two captains had a long talk
together; and ours had prepared us to hear of our kins
man's speedy dissolution. He was in a decline when he
landed, and we suppose that no human skill could have
saved him. As he had so skilful a physician, and one who
came so far, I suppose my uncle must have left pro
perty ?"



THE SEA LIONS. 66

This was a home-thrust ; but, fortunately lor the deacon,
he had already prepared himself with an answer.

" Sea-faring men, that are landed on points and capes,
from inward-bound vessels, are not very apt to be over
loaded with worldly goods," he said, smiling. " When a
man prospers in that calling, he usually comes ashore at a
wharf, in some large place, and gets into his coach, to ride
up to some grand tavern ! I have remarked, pastor, that
eea-faring men love comforts and free-living, unaccount
ably, when they can fairly get a chanee at 'em."

" That is natural, deacon quite natural j and what is
natural, is very likely to happen. The natural man loves
all sorts of indulgences, and these among others."

As there was no gainsaying this commonplace commen
tary on the species, it was permitted to pass unanswered.

" I hope my kinsman has not been a burthen to any on
Oyster Pond ?" said the nephew, inquiringly.

" 1 cannot say that he has," returned the deacon. " He
was at little cost, at first, and got along by selling a few
odd things that he owned. As Providence had placed him
in the dwelling of a poor widow, I thought it might be
pleasing to the friends and every man has some friends, I
suppose to settle with her. This I did, this very morn
ing, taking her receipt in full, as you can see," passing the
paper to the stranger. " As a sort of security for my ad
vances, I had the chest of the deceased removed to this
house ; and it is now up-stairs, ready to be examined. It
feels light, and I do not think much silver or gold will be
found in it."

To own the truth, the Vineyard seaman looked a little
disappointed. It was so natural that a man who has been
absent fifty years should bring back the fruits of his labour,
that he had expected some slight reward for the trouble he
was now taking, to be bestowed in this particular form.
This, however, was not the specific object of his visit, as
will appear as we proceed. Keeping in view his real mo
tive, the nephew continued his inquiries, always putting
his questions a little indirectly, and receiving answers that
were as evasive and cautious as his own interrogatories.
All this was characteristic of the wary people from which
both had sprung, who seldom speak, in a matter of busi-



66 THE SEA LIONS.

ness, without bearing in mind all the possible constructions
of what they are saying. After a discourse of some fif
teen minutes, in which the history of the chest, in its out
lines, was fully given, and during which the stranger pro
duced written evidence of his right to interfere, it was de
termined to make an inventory, on the spot, of the property
left by Daggett, for the benefit of all who might have any
interest in it. Accordingly, the whole party, including
Mary, was soon assembled in the deacon's own room, with
the sea-chest placed invitingly in the centre. All eyes
were fastened on the lid, in curious anticipations of the
contents; for, the deacon excepted, all supposed that those
contents were a profound secret. The Widow White could
have told them better, she having rummaged that chest a
dozen times, at least, though without abstracting even a
pin. Curiosity had been her ruling motive, far more than
cupidity. It is true, the good woman had a prudent regard
to her own interests, and felt some anxiety to learn the
prospects of her receiving the stipulated price for board
only $1 50 per week but the sales of the needles, and
palms, and carved whale-bone, having kept her accounts
reasonably square, solicitude on this particular interest was
not at is height. No: curiosity, pure female curiosity, a
little quickened by the passion which is engendered among
the vulgar by the possession of a slight degree of instruc
tion, was really at the bottom of her researches. Not only
had she handled every article in the chest, but she had
read, and re-read, every paper it contained, half-a-dozen
letters included, and made her own surmises on their na
ture. Still, the good woman was very little the wiser for
her inquiries. Of the great secret she knew absolutely
nothing, unless the broken hints collected in her many
listenings, could be so considered. But, here her igno
rance ceased. Every hole in a shirt, every patch in a pair
of trousers, and every darn in a stocking, had been ex
amined, and its probable effect on the value of the garment
duly estimated. The only thing that had escaped her scru
tiny was a small till, that was locked. Into that she could
not look, and there were moments when she would have
parted with a finger in order to overhaul it.

" This jacket might sell for a dollar," had the Widow



THESEALIONS. O7

White calculated, "but for the hole in the elbow; and,
that well patched, would bring seventy-five cents. Them
trowsers must have cost two dollars, but they ar'n't worth
half price now. That pee-jacket is the best article in the
chest, and, sent across to the Harbour, about the time the
ships are going out, it would bring enough to maintain
Daggett a month !"

Such had been the character of the widow's visitations
to the chest, though no one knew anything of her disco
veries, not even her sister-relict, neighbour Stone.

" Here is the key," said the deacon, producing that in
strument from the drawer of a table, as if he had laid it
carefully aside for some such moment. " I dare say it will
be found to fit, for I remember to have seen Daggett use it
once or twice myself."

Roswell Gardiner, as the youngest man, and the one on
whom the labouring oar ought to fall, now took the key,
applied it to the lock, turned it without difficulty, and then
lifted the lid. Disappointment appeared on every face but
that of the deacon, at the meagre prospect before the com
pany. Not only was the chest more than half empty, but
the articles it did contain were of the coarsest materials ;
well worn sea-clothes that had seen their best days, and
which had never been more than the coarse common attire
of a foremast hand.

" There is little here to pay a man for crossing from the
Vineyard," observed Roswell Gardiner, a little drily ; for
he did not half like the appearance of cupidity that shone
through the nephew's tardy concern for the fate of the
uncle. " The last voyage has not been prosperous, I fear,
or the owners failed before the vessel got in ! What is to
be done with all this dunnage, deacon?"

" It would be best to take out the contents, article by
article," answered the other, " and examine each and all.
Now that we have made a beginning with the inventory, it
is best to go through with it."

The young man obeyed, calling out the name of each
article of dress, as he raised it from its receptacle, and
passing it over to him who stood there in the character of
a sort of heir-at-law. The last gave each garment a sharp
look, and prudently put his hand into every pocket, in



68 THE SEA LIOHS.

order to make sure that it was empty, before he laid the
article on the floor. Nothing was discovered for some
time, until a small key was found in the fob of a pair of old
' go-ashore' pantaloons. As there was the till to the chest
already mentioned, and a lock on that till, the heir at-law
kept the key, saying nothing touching its existence.

" The deceased does not appear to have been much
afflicted with this world's wealth," said the Rev. Mr.
Whittle, whose expectations, to own the truth, had been a
little disappointed. " This may have been all the better for
him, when the moment of departure drew near."

" I dare say he would have borne the burthen cheerfully,"
put in Roswell Gardiner, " to have been a little more com
fortable. I never knew a person, seaman or landsman, who
was ever the worse for having things snug about him, and
for holding on to the better end of his cheer, as long as he
could."

" Your notion of what is best for man as he draws near
to his end, captain Gar'ner, is not likely to be of the most
approved nature. The sea does not produce many very
orthodox divines.".

The young sailor coloured, bit his lip, cast a glance at
Mary, and began a nearly inaudible whistle. In a moment
he forgot the rebuke he had received, and laughingly went
on with the inventory.

"Well," he cried, "this is rather a poorer outfit than
Jack is apt to carry ! /nfit, I suppose it should be called,
as the poor fellow who owned it was inward bound, when
he brought up on Oyster Pond. You '11 hardly think it
worth while, captain Daggett, to take this dunnage across
to the Vineyard."

"It is scarce worth the trouble, though friends and rela-
tipns may set a value on it that strangers do not. I see a
couple of charts there will you hand them this way, if
you please? They may have a value with a sea-faring man,



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