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as old mariners sometimes make notes that are worth as
much as the charts themselves."

This was said very naturally and simply ; but it gave the
deacon a good deal of concern. Nor was this feeling at all
lessened by the earnest, not to say eager, manner in which
Daggett, as we shall now call this member of the family,



THESEALIONS. 69

spread the chart on the bed, and began to pry into its re
cords. The particular chart first opened in this way, was the
one including the antarctic circle, and, of course, was that
from which the deacon had been at so much pains to erase
the sealing-islands, that the deceased mariner had laid
down with so great precision and care. It was evident
that the Martha's Vineyard-man was looking for something
that he could not find, and that he felt disappointment. In
stead of looking at the chart, indeed, he may be said to have
been peering at it, in all its holes and crannies, of which
there were not a few, in consequence of the torn condition
of the paper. Several minutes elapsed ere the investigation
terminated, the stranger seeming, all that time, to feel no
interest in the remainder of his relation's wardrobe.

" This is an old chart, and of the date of 1802," ob
served Daggett, raising himself erect, as a man who has
long been bent takes the creaks out of his back. " So old
a chart as to be of little use now-a-day. Our sealers have
gone over so much of the ground to the southward of the
two capes, as to be able to do much better than this now."

" Your uncle had the appearance of an old-fashioned
sailor," coldly observed the deacon ; " and it may be that
he most liked old-fashioned charts."

" If such was the case he must have pretty well forgotten
his Vineyard schooling. There is not a woman there who
doesn't know that the latest chart is commonly the best. I
own I 'm disapp'inted somewhat ; for the master of the
sloop gave me to understand he had heard from the master
of the brig, that some valuable information was to be found
on the old gentleman's charts."

The deacon started, as here was an indication that the
deceased had talked of his knowledge to others, as well as
to himself! It was so natural for a man like Daggett to
boast of what his charts were worth, that he saw the ex
treme probability that a difficulty might^arise from this
source. It was his cue, however, to remain silent, and let
the truth develop itself in due course. His attention was
not likely to be drawn aside by the shirts and old clothes,
for the stranger began a second time to examine the chart,
and what was more, in the high latitudes at no great dis
tance from the very spot where the sealing-islands had



70 THE SEA LIONS.

been placed, and from which they had been so carefully
erased.

" It is unaccountable that a man should wear out a chart
like this, and leave so few notes on it!" said the Vineyard-
man, much as one complains of a delinquency. " Here is
white water noted in the middle of the ocean, where I dare
say no other white water was seen but that which is made
by a fish, and nothing is said of any islands. What do you
think of this, captain Gar'ner 1" laying his finger on the
precise spot where the deacon had been at work so long
that very morning erasing the islands. " This looks well-
fingered, if nothing else, eh 1"

" Its a shoal laid down in dirt," answered Roswell Gar
diner, laughing "Let's see; that's about lat. ",
and long. ". There can be i>o known land there
away, as even captain Cook did not succeed in getting as
far south. That 's been a favourite spot with the skipper
for taking hold of his chart. I 've known one of those old-
fashioned chaps put his hand on a chart, in that way, and
never miss his holding ground for three years on a stretch.
Mighty go-by-rule people are some of our whaling-masters,
in particular, who think they know the countenances of
some of the elderly fish, who are too cunning to let a har
poon get fast to 'em."

" You 've been often in them seas, I some think, captain
Gar'ner?" said the other, inquiringly.

" I was brought up in the business, and have a hanker
ing for it yet," returned the young man, frankly. "iSlor
do I care so much for charts. They are well enough when
a vessel is on her road ; but, as for whales or seals, the
man who wishes to find either, in these times, has to look
for them, as I tell my owner. According to reports, the
time has been when a craft had only to get an offing to fall
in with something that was worth putting a harpoon into ;
but those days are gone, captain Daggett ; and whales are
to be looked after, out at sea, much as money is to be looked
for ashore here."

" Is the craft I saw at the wharf fitting out for a whaler,
then?"

" She is going after luck, and will accept of it, in what
ever form it may turn up."



THE SEA LIONS. 71

" She is rather small for the whaling business, though
vessels of that size have done well, by keeping close in
upon our own coast."

" We shall know better what she will do after she has
been tried," returned Gardiner, evasively. " What do you
think of her for the Banks of Newfoundland V

The Martha's Vineyard-man gave his brother tar a quick,
impatient glance, which pretty plainly said, " tell that to
the marines," when he opened the second chart, which as
yet had been neglected.

" Sure enough," he muttered, in a low tone, though
loud enough to be heard by the keenly attentive deacon ;
"here it is a chart of the West Indies, and of all the
keys !"

By this casual, spontaneous outbreaking, as it might be,
the deacon got another clue to the stranger's knowledge,
that gave him increased uneasiness. He was now con
vinced that, by means of the masters of the brig and the
sloop, such information had been sent to the relatives of
Daggett as had prepared them to expect the very revela
tions on which he hoped to establish his own fortunes. To
what extent these revelations had been made, of course he
could only conjecture ; but there must have been a good
deal of particularity to induce the individual who had come
over to Oyster Pond to look into the two charts so closely.
Under the circumstances, therefore, he felicitated himself on
the precaution he had so early taken to erase the important
notations from the paper.

" Captain Gar'ner, your eyes are younger than mine,"
said the Vineyard-man, holding the chart up to the light
" will you be good enough to look here? does it not seem
as if that key had been noted, and the words rubbed off the
chart?"

This caused the deacon to peer over Roswell Gardiner's
shoulder, and glad enough was he to ascertain that the
stranger had placed his finger on a key that must lie se
veral hundred miles from that which was supposed to hold
the buried treasure of the pirates. Something like an
erasure did appear at the indicated point; but the chart
was so old and dirty, that little satisfaction could be had by
examining it. Should the inquirer settle down on the key
7



72 THE SEA LIONS.

he evidently had in his eye, all would be well, since it was
far enough from the spot really noted.

" It is strange that so old a seafaring man should wear
out a chart, and make no observation on it !" repeated the
stranger, who was both vexed and at a loss what to conjec
ture. " All my charts are written over and marked off, just
as if I meant to get out an edition for myself."

" Men differ in their tastes and habits," answered Ros-
well Gardiner, carelessly. " Some navigators are for ever
finding rocks, and white water, and scribbling on their
charts, or in the newspapers, when they get back ; but I
never knew any good come of it. The men who make the
charts are most to be trusted. For my part, I would not
give a sixpence for a note made by a man who passes a
shoal or a rock, in a squall or a gale."

" What would you say to the note of a sealer who should
lay down an island where the seals lie about on the beach
like pigs in a pen, sunning themselves? Would you not
call a chart so noted a treasure ?"

" That would alter the case, sure enough," returned
Gardiner, laughing ; " though I should not think of look
ing into this chest for any such riches. Most of our masters
navigate too much at random to make their charts of any
great value. They can find the places they look for them
selves, but don't seem to know how to tell other people the
road. I have known my old man lay down a shoal that he
fancied he saw, quite a degree out of the way. Now such
a note as that would do more harm than good. It might
make a foul wind of a fair one, and cause a fellow to go
about, or ware ship, when there was not the least occasion
in the world for doing anything of the sort."

"Ay, ay ; this will do for nervous men, who are always
thinking they see danger ahead; but it is different with
islands that a craft has actually visited. I do not see much
use, Deacon Pratt, in your ^ ving yourself any further trou
ble. My uncle was not a very rich man, I perceive, and I
must go to work and make rny own fortune if I wish more
than I 've got already. If there is any demand against the
deceased, I am ready to discharge it."

This was coming so much to the point that the deacon
hardly knew what to make of it. He recollected his own



THESEALIONS. 73

ten dollars, and the covetousness of his disposition so far
got the better of his prudence as to induce him to mention
the circumstance.

" Dr. Sage may have a charge no doubt has one, that
ought to be settled, but your uncle mainly paid his way as
he went on. I thought the widow who took care of him
was entitled to something extra, and I handed her ten dol
lars this morning, which you may repay to me or not, just
as you please."

Captain Daggett drew forth his wallet and discharged
the obligation on the spot. He then replaced the charts,
and, without opening the till of the chest, he shut down
the lid, locked it, and put the key in his pocket, saying
that he would cause the whole to be removed, much as if
he felt anxious to relieve the deacon of an incumbrance.
This done, he asked a direction to the dwelling of the
Widow White, with whom he wished to converse, ere he
left the Point.

" I shall have the questions of so many cousins to an
swer, when I get home," he said, smiling, " that it will
never do for me to go back without taking all the talk I
can get with me. If you will be kind enough to show me
the way, captain Gar'ner, I will promise to do as much for
you, when you come to hunt up the leavings of some old
relation on the Vineyard."

Roswell Gardiner very cheerfully complied, not observing
the look of dissatisfaction with which his owner listened to
the request. Away the two went, then, and were soon at
the widow's door. Here the young man left his companion,
having duty to attend to on board the Sea Lion. The
Widow White received her guest with lively interest, it
forming one of the greatest pleasures of her existence to
be imparting and receiving intelligence.

"I dare say you found my uncle a companionable man,"
observed the captain, as soon as amicable relations were
established between the parties, by means of a few flatter
ing remarks on one side and on the other. " The Vineyard
folks are generally quite conversable."

" That he was, captain Daggett ; and when the deacon
had not been over to perplex him, and wake up the worldly
spirit in him, he was as well inclined to preparation as any



74 THE SEA LIONS.

Bick person I ever waited on. To be sure it was different
arter the deacon had paid one of his visits."

" Was Deacon Pratt in the habit of coming to read and
pray with the sick 1"

" He pray ! I don't believe he as much as went through
a single sentence of a prayer in all his visits. Their whull
talk was about islands and seals, when they was by them
selves."

" Indeed !" exclaimed the nephew, manifesting a new
interest in the discourse. "And what could they find to
say on such subjects? Islands and seals were a strange
topic for a dying man !"

" I know it" answered the widow, sharply. " I know'd
it at the time ; but what could a lone woman do to set 'em
right ; and he a deacon of the meetin' the whull time ? If
they would talk of worldly things at such times, it wasn't
for one like me to put 'em right."

" Then this discourse was held openly in your presence
before your face, as it might be, ma'am?"

" I can't say that it was just that ; nor was it altogether
when my back was turned. They talked, and I overheard
what was said, as will happen when a body is about, you
know."

The stranger did not press the point, having been brought
up in what might almost be termed a land of listeners.
An island, that is cut off from much communication with
the rest of the earth, and from which two-thirds of the
males must be periodically absent, would be very likely to
reach perfection in the art of gossiping, which includes
that of the listener.

"Yes," he answered, "one picks up a good deal, he
doesn't know how. So they talked of islands and seals?"

Thus questioned, the widow cheerfully opened her stores
of knowledge. As she proceeded in her account of the
secret conferences between Deacon Pratt and her late in
mate, her zeal became quickened, and she omitted nothing
that she had ever heard, besides including a great deal that
she had not heard. But her companion was accustomed
to such narratives, and knew reasonably well how to make
allowances. He listened with a determination not to be
lieve more than half of what she said, and by dint of long



THE SEA LIONS. 75

experience, he succeeded in separating the credible por
tions of the woman's almost breathless accounts, from those
that ought to have been regarded as incredible, with a sur
prising degree of success. The greatest difficulty in the
way of comprehending the Widow White's report, arose
from the fact that she had altogether missed the preliminary
and most explicit conference. This left so much to be
understood and inferred, that, in her own efforts to supply
the deficiencies, she made a great deal of confusion in the
statements. Captain Daggett was fully assured that the
deacon knew of the existence of the sealing-island, at least ;
though he was in doubt whether the rumour that had been
brought to him, touching the buried treasure, had also been
imparted to this person. The purchase and equipment of
the Sea Lion, taken in connection with the widow's ac
count, were enough, of themselves, to convince one of his
experience and foresight, that an expedition after seal was
then fitting out, on the information derived from his de
ceased relative. Of this much he had no doubt ; but he
was not able to assure himself, quite so satisfactorily, that
the key was to be looked at by the way.

The interview between Captain Daggett and the Widow
White lasted more, than an hour. In that time the former
had gleaned all the information the latter could give, and
they parted on the best terms in the world. It is true that
the captain gave the widow nothing he had acquitted his
conscience on this score, by re-paying the deacon the
money the last had advanced but he listened in the most
exemplary manner to all she had to say ; and, with a cer
tain class of vehement talkers, the most favoured being in
the world is your good listener. Interest had given the
stranger an air of great attention, and the delighted woman
had poured out her torrent of words in a way that gratified,
in the highest degree, her intense desire to be imparting
information. When they separated, it was with an under
standing that letters, on the same interesting subject,
should pass between them.

That afternoon, Captain Daggett found means to remove
the chest of his late kinsman, across the bays, to Sag Har
bour, whither he proceeded himself by the same convey
ance. There, he passed an hour or two in making inqui-
7*



76 THE SEA LIONS.

ries touching the state of equipment, and the probable time
of the departure of the Sea Lion. The fitting out of this
schooner was the cause of a good deal of discourse in all
that region, and the Martha's Vineyard-man heard num
berless conjectures, but very little accurate information.
On the whole, however, he arrived at the conclusion that
the Sea Lion would sail within the next ten days; that her
voyage was to be distant ; that her absence was expected
to exceed a twelvemonth ; and that it was thought she had
some other scheme in view, in addition to that of sealing.
That night, this hardy mariner half agriculturist as he
was got into his whale-boat, and sailed for the Vineyard,
all alone, taking the chest with him. This was nothing,
however ; for quite often, before, had he been off at sea, in
his boat, alone, looking out for inward-bound vessels to
pilot



CHAPTER VI.

"Launch thy bark, mariner!

Christian, God speed thee!
Let loose the rudder-bands,

Good angels lead thee !
Set thy sails warily,

Tempests will come;
Steer thy course steadily,
Christian, steer home 1"

Mas. SOTJTHET.

THE visit of Captain Daggett, taken in connection with
all that he had said and done, while on Oyster Pond, and
at Sag Harbour, had the effect greatly to hasten the equip
ments of the Sea Lion. Deacon Pratt knew the characters
of the seamen of the island too well, to trifle in a matter
of so much moment. How much the Vineyard folk had
been told, in reference to his great secrets, he did not
know ; but he felt assured that they knew enough, and had
learned enough in this visit, to quicken all their desires for
riches, and to set them in motion towards the antarctic



THE SEA LIONS. 77

circle. With such a people, distance and difficulties are
of no account; a man who has been cradling oats, to-day,
in his own retired fields, where one would think ambition
and the love of change could never penetrate, being ready
to quit home at twenty-four hours' notice, assuming the
marlingspike as he lays aside the fork, and setting forth for
the uttermost confines of the earth, with as little hesitation
as another might quit his home for an ordinary journey of
a week. Such, did the deacon well know, was the charac
ter of those with whom he had now to deal, and he foresaw
the necessity of the utmost caution, perseverance, dili
gence, and activity.

Philip Hazard, the mate mentioned by Roswell Gardiner,
was enjoined to lose no time ; and the men engaged for the
voyage soon began to cross the Sound, and to make their
appearance on board the schooner. As for the craft her
self, she had all that was necessary for her wants below
hatches ; and the deacon began to manifest some impatience
for the appearance of two or three men of particular excel
lence, of whom Phil Hazard was in quest, and whom Cap
tain Gardiner had made it a point should be obtained.
Little did the worthy owner suspect that the Vineyard peo
ple were tampering with these very hands, and keeping
them from coming to terms, in order that they might fit
out a second Sea Lion, which they had now been prepar
ing for near a month ; having purchased her at New Bed
ford, with a view to profit by the imperfect information
that had reached them, through the masters of the brig and
sloop. The identity in the name was accidental, or, il
might be better to say, had been naturally enough sug
gested by the common nature of the enterprise ; but, once
existing, it had been the means of suggesting to the Vine
yard company a scheme of confounding the vessels, out of
which they hoped to reap some benefit, but which it would
be premature now fully to state.

After a delay of several days, Hazard sent across from
Stonington a man by the name of Watson, who had the
reputation of being a first-class sealer. This accession
was highly prized ; and, in the absence of his mates, both
of whom were out looking for hands, Roswell Gardiner, to
whom command was still novel, consulted freely with this



78 THESEALIONS.

experienced and skilful mariner. It was fortunate for the
schemes of the deacon that he had left his young master
still in the dark, as respected his two great secrets. Gar
diner understood that the schooner was to go after seals,
sea-lions, sea-elephants, and all animals of the genus^>Aoca;
but he had been told nothing concerning the revelations
of Daggett, or of the real motives that had induced him to
go so far out of his usual course, in the pursuit of gain.
We say it was fortunate that the deacon had been so wary ;
for Watson had no intention whatever to sail out of Oyster
Pond, having been actually engaged as the second officer
of the rival Sea Lion, which had been purchased at New
Bedford, and was then in an active state of forwardness in
its equipments, with a view to compete with the craft that
was still lying so quietly and unconsciously alongside of
Deacon Pratt's wharf. In a word, Watson was a spy, sent
across by the Vineyard-men, to ascertain all he could of
the intentions of the schooner's owner, to worm himself into
Gardiner's confidence, and to report, from time to time,
the state of things generally, in order that the East-enders
might not get the start of his real employers. It is a com
mon boast of Americans that there are no spies in their
country. This may be true in the every-day signification
of the term, though it is very untrue in all others. This is
probably the most spying country in Christendom, if the
looking into other people's concerns be meant. Extensive
and recognised systems of espionage exist among mer
chants; and nearly every man connected with the press
has enlisted himself as a sort of spy in the interests of
politics many, in those of other concerns, also. The
reader, therefore, is not to run away with impressions
formed under general assertions that will scarce bear in
vestigation, and deny the truth of pictures that are drawn
with daguerreotype fidelity, because they do not happen to
reflect the cant of the day. The man Watson, who had
partially engaged to go out in the Sea Lion, captain Ros-
well Gardiner, was not only a spy, but a spy sent covertly
into an enemy's camp, with the meanest motives, and with
intentions as hostile as the nature of the circumstances
would permit.

Such was the state of things on Oyster Pond for quite a



THESEALIONS. 79

week after the nephew had been to look after the effects
of the deceased uncle. The schooner was now quite ready
for sea, and her master began to talk of hauling off from
the wharf. It is true, there was no very apparent reason
why this step, preliminary to sailing, should be taken in
that port, where there were so few opportunities for her
people's running into excesses ; but it sounded ship-shape,
and captain Gardiner had been heard to express an inten
tion to that effect. The men arrived but slowly from the
main, and something like impatience was manifested by
the young commander, who had long before got all his
green hands, or youths from the neighbourhood, on board,
and was gradually breaking them in to the ways of a vessel.
Indeed, the best reason he could give to himself for ' haul
ing off,' was the practice it might give to these lads with
the oars.

" I don't know what Hazard and Green are about"
called out Roswell Gardiner to his owner, the first being
on the quarter-deck of the Sea Lion, and the last on the
wharf, while Watson was busy in the main-rigging ; " they 've
been long enough on the main to ship a dozen crews for a
craft of this size, and we are still short two hands, even
if this man sign the papers, which he has not yet done.
By the way, Watson, it's time we saw your hand-writing."

"I'm a poor scholar, captain Gar'ner," returned the
cunning mariner, " and it takes time for me to make out
even so small a matter as my name."

"Ay, ay; you are a prudent fellow, and I like you all
the better for it. But you have had leisure, and a plenty
of it too, to make up your mind. You must know the
schooner from her keel up by this time, and ought to be
able to say now that you are willing to take luck's chances
in her."

"Ay, ay, sir ; that 's all true enough, so far as the craft
is concerned. If this was a West India v'y'ge, I wouldn't
stand a minute about signing the articles; nor should I
make much question if the craft was large enough for a
common whalin' v'y'ge; but, sealin' is a different business,
and one unprofitable hand may make many an unprofitable
lay."

"All this is true enough ; but we do not intend to take



80 THE SEA LIONS.

any unprofitable hands, or to have any unprofitable laya
You know me"

" Oh ! if all was like you, captain Gar'ner, I wouldn't
stand even to wipe the pen. Your repitation was made in
the southward, and no man can dispute your skill."



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