Frederick Marryat.

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nodded at the helm.

I was in a melancholy reverie, when I thought that I perceived, as the
clouds on the horizon occasionally opened, something that had the
appearance of the summit of a precipice. They closed again; I watched
them with anxiety until they gradually rolled away, and discovered a
lofty island, covered with trees and verdure down to the water's edge.
I shouted with delight, and pointed it out to Rosina, who answered my
exultations with a faint smile. My blood curdled at the expression of
her countenance: for many hours she had been in deep thought; and I
perceived that the smile was forced to please me, the intelligence I had
imparted affording her but little pleasure. I ascribed it to weariness
and exhaustion; and hoping soon to be able to relieve her, I steered
direct for the only part of the shore which promised us a safe descent.
In an hour I was close to it: and, anxious to land before dark, I
steered the boat, with the sail hoisted, through the surf, which was
much heavier than I expected. As soon as her bow struck the beach, the
boat was thrown on her broadside, and it required all my exertion to
save my beloved, which I did not effect without our being completely
washed by the surf, which, in a few minutes, dashed the boat to pieces.
I bore her to a cave at a short distance from where we landed; and,
wrapping her up in a cloak which I had saved from the boat, took away
her nun's attire, and exposed it to dry in the powerful rays of the sun.
I went in search of food, which I soon obtained: banana and cocoa-nuts
grew in profusion and in beauty, and fresh water ran down in noisy
rills. I bore them to her, and congratulated her that we were now
beyond all pursuit, and in a spot which promised to supply us with all
that we required. She smiled languidly; her thoughts were elsewhere.
Her clothes were dry, and I brought them to her: she shuddered at the
sight of them, and seemed to muster up her resolution before she could
put them on. Night closed in upon us, and we remained in the cave: our
bed was formed of the cloaks and the sail of the boat; and, locked in
each other's arms, separated from all the world, and living but for each
other, we fell asleep. The morning broke: not a cloud was to be seen
through the blue expanse. We walked out, and dwelt in silent admiration
upon the splendour of the scene. The island was clothed in beauty; the
sun poured his genial rays upon the wild fertility of nature; the birds
were warbling forth their notes of joy; the sea was calm and clear as a
mirror, reflecting the steep hills which towered above each other.
"Here then, Rosina," cried I, at last, with rapture, "we have all that
we require, blessed in each other's love."

Rosina burst into tears: "All - all, Henrique, except an approving
conscience, without which I feel that I cannot live. I love you - love
you dearly - dote upon you, Henrique: you cannot doubt it after all that
has occurred: but now that the delirium of passion has subsided,
conscience has been busy - too busy, for it has embittered all; and I
feel that happiness is flown for ever. I wedded myself to God; I chose
my Saviour as my spouse; I vowed myself to him - was received by him at
the altar; and I abandoned this world for that which is to come. What
have I done? - I have been unfaithful to him - left him, to indulge a
worldly passion, sacrificed eternity for perishable mortality, and there
is a solemn voice within that tells me I am an outcast from all heavenly
joys. Bear with me, dear Henrique! I mean not to reproach you, but I
must condemn myself; - I feel that I shall not long remain here, but be
summoned before an offended Lord.

"Merciful Saviour!" cried she, falling on her knees, with imploring eyes
to heaven, "punish him not - pardon him his faults; for what are they,
compared to mine? he made no vows, he has committed no infidelity, he is
not the guilty one. Spare him, O Lord, and justly punish her who has
seduced him into crime!"

My heart smote me; I threw myself on the ground, and wept bitterly. I
felt that it had been my duplicity which had destroyed her virtuous
resolutions; my selfishness which had ruined her peace of mind and had
plunged her into guilt. She knelt by me, persuading me to rise, curbing
her own feelings as she kissed the tears from my cheeks, promising never
to wound my peace again. But it was gone - gone for ever; my crime burst
on me in all its magnitude; I felt that I had been guilty of a grievous
and unpardonable sin, and had ruined the one I loved as well as myself.
She was still on her knees; kneeling by her side, I prayed to offended
Heaven for mercy and forgiveness. She joined me in my fervent
aspirations; and, with the tears of repentance flowing down our cheeks,
we remained some time in the attitude of supplication. At last we rose.
"Do you not feel happier, Rosina?" inquired I; Rosina smiled mournfully
in reply, and we returned to the cave.

For many hours we spoke not, but remained in sad communion with our own
thoughts. The night again closed in, and we lay down to repose; and, as
I clasped her in my arms, I felt that she shuddered, and withdrew. I
released her, and retired to the other side of the cave, for I knew her
feelings and respected them. From that hour she was no more to me than
a dear and injured sister; and, although her frame hourly wasted away,
her spirits seemed gradually to revive. At the expiration of a
fortnight, she was too much reduced to rise from her bed, and I passed
day and night sitting by her side in repentance and in tears, for I knew
that she was dying. A few hours before she breathed her last she
appeared to recover a little, and thus addressed me: -

"Henrique, within this hour a balm has been poured into my breast, for a
voice tells me we are both forgiven. Great is our crime; but our
repentance has been sincere, and I feel assured that we shall meet in
heaven. For your kindness - for your unceasing love, you have my thanks,
and an attachment which Heaven does not forbid - for now it is pure. We
have sinned, and we have pleaded, and obtained our pardon together:
together shall we be, hereafter. Bless you, Henrique! pray for my soul,
still clinging to its earthly love, but pardoned by him who knows our
imperfection. Pure Mother of God, plead for me! Holy Saviour, who
despised not the tears and contrition of the Magdalen, receive an
unfaithful, but repentant spouse unto your bosom; for when I made my
vow, thou knowest that my heart - "

With what agony of grief did I hang over the body! with what bitter
tears did I wash the clay-cold face, so beautiful, so angelic in its
repose! In the morning, I dug her grave; and cleansing my hands, which
were bleeding, from the task, returned to the corpse, and bore it, in
its nun's attire, to the receptacle which I had prepared. I laid it in;
and, collecting the flowrets which blossomed round, strewed them over,
and watched till sunset: when I covered her up, laying the earth, in
small handfuls, as lightly on her dear remains, as the mother would the
coverlid upon her sleeping babe. Long it was before I could prevail on
myself to soil that heavenly face, or hide it from my aching eyes. When
I had, I felt that Rosina was indeed no more, and that I was indeed
alone.

For two years I remained in solitude. I erected a rude chapel over her
grave, and there passed my days in penance and contrition. Vessels
belonging to other nations visited the island, and returning home with
the intelligence, it was taken possession of and colonised. To their
astonishment, they found me; and, when I narrated my story and my
wishes, allowed me a passage to their country. Once more I embarked on
the trackless wave, no longer my delight; and as the shore receded, I
watched the humble edifice which I had raised over the remains of my
Rosina: it appeared to me as if a star had settled over the spot, and I
hailed it as an harbinger of grace. When I landed, I repaired to the
convent to which I now belong; and, taking the vows of abstinence and
mortification, have passed the remainder of my days in masses for the
soul of my Rosina, and prayers for my own redemption.

Such is the history of Henrique; and may it be a warning to those who
allow their reason to be seduced by passion, and check not the first
impulse towards wrong, when conscience dictates that they are straying
from the paths of virtue!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

"Holy Allah!" exclaimed the pacha, yawning; "is this the bulbul singing
to the rose? - What is it all about, Mustapha? or what is it written for,
but to send one asleep? Murakhas, you are dismissed," continued the
pacha to the Greek slave, who retired.

Mustapha, who perceived that the pacha was disappointed in the
entertainment of the evening, immediately addressed him: - "The soul of
your sublime highness is sad, and the mind is wearied. - What says the
sage? and are not his words of more value than large pearls? `When thou
art sick, and thy mind is heavy, send for wine. Drink, and thank Allah
that he has given relief.'"

"Wallah thaib! - it is well said," replied the pacha: "Is not the
`fire-water' of the Franks to be obtained?"

"Is not the earth, and what the earth contains, made for your sublime
highness?" replied Mustapha, drawing from his vest a bottle of spirits.

"God is great!" said the pacha, taking the bottle from his mouth, after
a long draught, and handing it to his vizier.

"God is most merciful!" replied Mustapha, recovering his breath, and
wiping down his beard with the sleeve of his kalaat, as he respectfully
passed the bottle over to his superior.



VOLUME TWO, CHAPTER TWO.

"Hham d'illah! Praise be to God!" exclaimed the pacha, as the divan
closed. "This is dry work, hearing petitions for three hours, and not a
sequin to my treasury. Mustapha, has the renegade come back?"

"The kafir waits to kiss the dust of your sublime feet," replied the
vizier.

"Let him approach, then, Mustapha," said the pacha joyfully; and the
renegade immediately made his appearance.

"Kosh amedeid! you are welcome, Huckaback. We have had our ears
poisoned since you quitted us. I forget where it was that you left
off."

"May it please your highness, at the ending of my second voyage, in
which - "

"I remember - when the Frankish woman god, stopped the leak. You may
proceed."

The renegade bowed; and commenced his third voyage, as follows - "I
believe that I stated to your highness, at the end of my second voyage,
I determined to go to Toulon, and make some inquiry after my dear
Cerise."

"I recollect you did," interrupted the pacha, "but I tell you again, as
I told you before, that I want to know nothing about her. Have the
goodness to skip all that part, or it will be five sequins out of your
girdle."

"Your highness shall be obeyed," replied the renegade; who, after musing
a short time, continued: -

THIRD VOYAGE OF HUCKABACK.

I was so affected at the intelligence of Cerise having destroyed
herself, that I found it impossible to remain on shore. Having met with
the captain of a whaler, who expatiated on the fortune which might be
realised by embarking in the speculation, I purchased a large ship, and
fitted it out for a voyage to Baffin's Bay. This consumed all the money
I had left, but as I expected to return with ten times the sum, I made
no scruple of parting with it.

My crew consisted of about thirty men, all strong fellows: ten of them
Englishmen, and the remainder from my own country. We stood to the
northward, until we reached the ice, which floated high as mountains,
and steering in between it, we at last came to a fine open water, where
a large quantity of whales were blowing in every direction. Our boats
were soon hoisted out, and we were extremely fortunate, having
twenty-three fish on board, and boiled down before the season was over.

I now considered my fortune made; and the ship being full up to the
beams, we made all sail to return home. But a heavy gale came on from
the southward, which drove all the ice together, and our ship with it,
and we were in great danger of being squeezed to atoms. Fortunately, we
made fast in a bight, on the lee side of a great iceberg, which
preserved us, and we anxiously awaited for the termination of the gale,
to enable us to proceed. But when the gale subsided, a hard frost came
on, and we were completely frozen up, where we lay - the ice formed round
to the depth of several feet, and lifted the ship, laden as she was, out
of the water.

The English, who were experienced fishermen, told us, that we had no
chance of being released until next spring. I ascended to the
mast-head, and perceived that for miles, as far as the eye could scan
the horizon, there was nothing but one continued succession of icebergs
and floes inseparably united. Despairing, therefore, of any release,
until the cold weather should break up, I made all arrangements for
remaining during the winter. Our provisions were very short, and we
were obliged to make use of the whale oil, but it soon produced such
dysenteries, that it was no longer resorted to.

After two months, the cold became intense, and our fuel ran short. At
the end of three months the crew complained of scurvy, and could not
move about the decks. At the end of the fourth month, they had all died
except the chief harpooner, a fat porpoise of an Englishman, and myself.

The bodies remained on the deck, for the cold was so intense that they
would not have been tainted for centuries; and, as at the end of five
months, the provisions were all expended, we were again obliged to
resort to the whale oil.

The whale oil produced a return of our complaints, and having no other
resource, we were forced by imperious hunger to make our repasts from
one of the bodies of our dead shipmates. They were so hard, that it was
with difficulty that we could separate a portion with an axe, and the
flesh broke off in fragments, as if we had been splitting a piece of
granite; but it thawed before the fire, which we had contrived to keep
alight, by supplying it from the bulwarks of the quarter-deck, which we
cut away as we required them. The old harpooner and I lived together on
the best terms for a month, during which we seldom quitted the cabin of
the vessel, having now drawn down the third dead body, which we cut up
as we required it with less difficulty than before, from the change in
the weather.

The ice continued breaking up, and all day and night we were startled at
the loud crashing which took place, as the icebergs separated from each
other. But my disgust at feeding upon human flesh produced a sort of
insanity. I had always been partial to good eating, and was by no means
an indifferent cook; and I determined to try whether something more
palatable could not be provided for our meals; the idea haunted me day
and night, and at last I imagined myself a French restaurateur; I tied a
cloth before me as an apron, put on a cotton nightcap instead of my fur
cap, and was about to make a trial of my skill, when I discovered that I
had no lard, no fat of any kind except train oil, which I rejected as
not being suitable to the "_cuisine Francaise_." My messmates who lay
dead, were examined one by one, but they had fallen away so much
previous to their decease, that not a symptom of fat was to be
perceived. Without fat I could do nothing; and as I thought of it in
despair, my eye was caught by the rotundity of paunch which still
appertained to the English harpooner, the only living being besides
myself out of so many. "I must have fat," cried I, fiercely, as I
surveyed his unwieldy carcase. He started when he observed the rolling
of my eyes; and perceiving that I was advancing towards him, sharpening
my knife, he did not think it prudent to trust himself longer in my
company. Snatching up two or three blankets, he ran on deck, and
contrived to ascend to the main-top before I could follow him. There he
held me at bay, and I continued watching him from below with my large
carving knife in my hand, which I occasionally whetted. He remained
aloft all night, and so did I on deck, to get possession of him when he
should descend. I was so eager in my frenzy to obtain him, that I felt
neither cold nor hunger; the weather during the day was now warm enough
to be pleasant, but the nights were piercing. My fat shipmate remained
in the top for three days and nights, during which period I never
removed from my post. At the close of the third day he looked over the
top brim, and implored my mercy. When he showed himself I hardly knew
him, so much had he wasted away, and it then struck me, that if he
remained aloft much longer he would have no more fat than the others,
and would not serve my purpose. I therefore pledged him my honour, that
I would not attempt his life for ten days; and as he was perishing with
the cold, he agreed to the armistice, and once more descended to the
deck. But I was saved the crime of murder, for he was so ravenous when
he came down, that he ate nearly the whole of a man's leg, and died from
repletion during the night. I cannot express to your highness the
satisfaction that I felt at finding that the carcase of the harpooner
was in my possession. I surveyed my treasure over and over again with
delight. I could now cook my French dishes. He was soon dissected, and
all his unctuous parts carefully melted down, and I found that I had a
stock which would last me as long as the bodies which I had remaining to
exercise my skill upon. The first day I succeeded admirably - I cooked
my dishes; and when they were ready I took off my night-cap and apron,
passed my fingers through my hair, and fancied myself a garcon at a
restaurateurs. I laid the cloth, put the dishes on the table, and when
it was complete, went on deck and then returned as the _bon vivant_ who
had ordered the dinner.

Never was any meal so delicious to my insane fancy. I devoured every
thing which I cooked, and drank water for champagne. I meditated upon
what I should have for dinner on the ensuing day, and then retired to my
bed. In the meantime the ice had separated, and the ship was again
afloat; but I cared not: all my ideas were concentrated in the pleasures
of the table - and the next morning I went on deck to obtain a piece of
meat, when I was astonished at a terrific growl. I turned my head and
perceived an enormous white bear, who was making sad depredations in my
larder, having nearly finished the whole body of one of my dead
shipmates. He was as large as an ox, so large that when he made a rush
at me, and I slipped down the ladder, he could not follow me. I again
looked up, and perceived that he had finished his meal. After walking
round the decks two or three times, smelling at every thing, he plunged
overboard and disappeared.

Glad to be rid of so unpleasant a visitor, I came up, and cutting off
the meat I required, again exerted my cookery, was again satisfied, and
went to sleep. I never felt so happy as I then did in my insane
condition. All I thought of, all I wished, I could command - my
happiness was concentrated in eating my fellow-creatures, cooked in a
proper manner, instead of the usual method of bolting them down to
satisfy the cravings of imperious hunger. I woke the next morning as
usual, and when I crawled on deck, was again saluted with the angry
growl of the bear, who was busy making a repast upon another body - when
he had finished he plunged into the sea as before.

I now thought it high time to put an end to these depredations on my
larder, which in a few days would have left me destitute. My invention
was called into action, and I hit upon a plan, which I thought would
succeed. I dragged all the bodies to the after part of the quarterdeck,
and blocked it up before the cabin-hatch with swabs and small sails, so
as to form a sort of dam about eight inches high. I then went below and
brought up forty or fifty buckets of train oil, which I poured upon the
deck abaft, so that it was covered with oil to the height of several
inches. On the ensuing morning the bear came as I expected, and
commenced his repast: I had stationed myself aloft, in the mizen-top,
with several buckets of oil, which I poured upon him. His fur was
otherwise well saturated with what he had collected when he lay down on
the deck to devour one of the bodies more at his ease. When I had
poured all my buckets of oil over him but one, I threw the empty buckets
down upon him. This enraged him, and he mounted the rigging to be
revenged. I waited until he had arrived at the futtock shrouds, when I
poured my last bucket upon him, which quite blinded him, and then gained
the deck by sliding down the back stays on the opposite side.

A bear can climb fast, but is very slow in his descent - the consequence
was that I had plenty of time for my arrangements. I ran below, and
lighting a torch of oakum, which I had prepared in readiness, placed it
to his hinder quarters as he descended. The effect was exactly what I
had anticipated; his thick fur, covered in every part with oil, was
immediately in a blaze, and burnt with such rapidity, that before he
could recover his feet on deck, he was like an immense ball of fire. I
retreated to the companion-hatch to watch his motions. His first act
was to return to the quarter-deck and roll himself in the oil, with an
idea of quenching the flames, but this added fuel to them, and the
animal roaring in his agony at last jumped into the sea and disappeared.

Having thus rid myself of my intruder I returned to my cooking. The
ship was now clear of ice, the weather was warm, the bodies of my
shipmates emitted a fetid smell, but I saw and smelt nothing; all that I
observed was that the barley which had been scattered on the deck by the
fowls, had sprung up about the decks, and I congratulated myself upon
the variety it would give to my culinary pursuits. I continued to cook,
to eat, and to sleep as before, when a circumstance occurred, which put
an end to all my culinary madness. One night I found the water washing
by the side of my standing bed-place in the cabin, and jumping out in
alarm to ascertain the cause, I plunged over head and ears. The fact
was, that the ship, when lifted by the ice, had sprung a-leak which had
gradually filled her without my perceiving it. My fear of drowning was
so great, that I ran into the very danger which I would have avoided. I
darted out of the cabin windows into the sea, whereas had I gone upon
deck I should have been safe: for a little reflection might have told me
that a vessel laden with oil could not have sunk - but reflection came
too late, and benumbed with the coldness of the waters, I could have
struggled but a few seconds more, when I suddenly came in contact with a
spar somewhat bigger than a boat's mast. I seized it to support myself,
and was surprised at finding it jerked from me occasionally, as if there
was somebody else who had hold of it, and who wished to force me to let
it go; but it was quite dark, and I could distinguish nothing. I clung
to it until daylight appeared, when what was my horror to perceive an
enormous shark close to me. I nearly let go my hold and sunk, so
paralysed was I with fear, I anticipated every moment to feel his teeth
crushing me in half, and I shut my eyes that I might not add to the
horrors of my death by being a witness to the means. Some minutes had
elapsed, which appeared to me as so many hours, when surprised at being
still alive, I ventured to open my eyes. The shark was still at the
same distance from me, and on examination I perceived that the boat's
mast or spar, to which I was clinging, had been passed through his nose
in a transverse direction, being exactly balanced on either side. The
shark was of the description found in the North Seas, which is called by
the sailors the blind shark. I now perfectly understood that he had
been caught and _spritsail yarded_, as the seamen term it, and then
turned adrift for their diversion. The buoyancy of the spar prevents
the animal from sinking down under the water, and this punishment of
their dreaded enemy is a very favourite amusement of sailors.

I summoned up all my courage, and being tired of holding on by the spar,
resolved to mount upon his back, which I accomplished without
difficulty, and I found the seat on his shoulders before the dorsal fin,
not only secure but very comfortable. The animal, unaccustomed to carry
weight, made several attempts to get rid of me, but not being able to



Online LibraryFrederick MarryatThe Pacha of Many Tales → online text (page 13 of 32)