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the little teapot, which did, indeed, resemble tea, but which smelt
marvellously like hot rum and water.

"Enough, enough. Come on, Macduff! Ah! Minnie, this is prime Jamaica;
it's got such a - but I forgot; you don't understand nothin' about
nectar of this sort."

The captain smoked in silence for a few minutes, and then said, with
a sudden chuckle -

"Wasn't it odd, sister, that we should have found it all out in such
an easy sort o' way? If criminals would always tell on themselves as
plainly as Big Swankie did, there would be no use for lawyers."

"Swankie would not have spoken so freely," said Minnie, with a laugh,
"if he had known that we were listening."

"That's true, girl," said the captain, with sudden gravity; "and I
don't feel quite easy in my mind about that same eavesdropping. It's
a dirty thing to do - especially for an old sailor, who likes
everything to be fair and above-board; but then, you see, the natur'
o' the words we couldn't help hearin' justified us in waitin' to hear
more. Yes, it was quite right, as it turned out A little more tea,
Minnie. Thank'ee, lass. Now go, get the case, and let us look over it
again."

The girl rose, and, going to a drawer, quickly returned with a small
red leather case in her hand. It was the identical jewel case that
Swankie had found on the dead body at the Bell Rock!

"Ah! that's it; now, let us see; let us see." He laid aside his pipe,
and for some time felt all his pockets, and looked round the room, as
if in search of something.

"What are you looking for, uncle?"

"The specs, lass; these specs'll be the death o' me."

Minnie laughed. "They're on your brow, uncle!"

"So they are! Well, well - - "

The captain smiled deprecatingly, and, drawing his chair close to the
table, began to examine the box.

Its contents were a strange mixture, and it was evident that the case
had not been made to hold them.

There was a lady's gold watch, of very small size, and beautifully
formed; a set of ornaments, consisting of necklace, bracelets, ring,
and ear-rings of turquoise and pearls set in gold, of the most
delicate and exquisite chasing; also, an antique diamond cross of
great beauty, besides a number of rings and bracelets of considerable
value.

As the captain took these out one by one, and commented on them, he
made use of Minnie's pretty hand and arm to try the effect of each,
and truly the ornaments could not have found a more appropriate
resting-place among the fairest ladies of the land.

Minnie submitted to be made use of in this, way with a pleased and
amused expression; for, while she greatly admired the costly gems,
she could not help smiling at the awkwardness of the captain in
putting them on.

"Read the paper again," said Minnie, after the contents of the box
had been examined.

The captain took up a small parcel covered with oiled cloth, which
contained a letter. Opening it, he began to read, but was interrupted
by Mrs. Brand, who had paid little attention to the jewels.

"Read it out loud, brother," said she, "I don't hear you well. Read
it out; I love to hear of my darling's gallant deeds."

The captain cleared his throat, raised his voice, and read slowly: -

"'LISBON, _10th March_, 1808.

"'DEAR CAPTAIN BRAND, - I am about to quit this place for the East in
a few days, and shall probably never see you again. Pray accept the
accompanying case of jewels as a small token of the love and esteem
in which you are held by a heart-broken father. I feel assured that
if it had been in the power of man to have saved my drowning child
your gallant efforts would have been successful. It was ordained
otherwise; and I now pray that I may be enabled to say "God's will be
done". But I cannot bear the sight of these ornaments. I have no
relatives - none at least who deserve them half so well as yourself.
Do not pain me by refusing them. They may be of use to you if you are
ever in want of money, being worth, I believe, between three and four
hundred pounds. Of course, you cannot misunderstand my motive in
mentioning this. No amount of money could in any measure represent
the gratitude I owe to the man who risked his life to save my child.
May God bless you, sir."


The letter ended thus, without signature; and the captain ceased to
read aloud. But there was an addition to the letter written in pencil,
in the hand of the late Captain Brand, which neither he nor Minnie had
yet found courage to read to the poor widow. It ran thus: -


"Our doom is sealed. My schooner is on the Bell Rock. It is blowing a
gale from N.E., and she is going to pieces fast. We are all standing
under the lee of a ledge of rock - six of us. In half an hour the tide
will be roaring over the spot. God in Christ help us! It is an awful
end. If this letter and box is ever found, I ask the finder to send
it, with my blessing, to Mrs. Brand, my beloved wife, in Arbroath."


The writing was tremulous, and the paper bore the marks of having
been soiled with seaweed. It was unsigned. The writer had evidently
been obliged to close it hastily.

After reading this in silence the captain refolded the letter.

"No wonder, Minnie, that Swankie did not dare to offer such things
for sale. He would certainly have been found out. Wasn't it lucky
that we heard him tell Spink the spot under his floor where he had
hidden them?"

At that moment there came a low knock to the door. Minnie opened it,
and admitted Davy Spink, who stood in the middle of the room
twitching his cap nervously, and glancing uneasily from one to
another of the party.

"Hallo, Spink!" cried the captain, pushing his spectacles up on his
forehead, and gazing at the fisherman in surprise, "you don't seem to
be quite easy in your mind. Hope your fortunes have not sprung a
leak!"

"Weel, Captain Ogilvy, they just have; gone to the bottom, I might
a'most say. I've come to tell ye - that - the fact is, that the
press-gang have catched us at last, and ta'en awa' my mate, Jock
Swankie, better kenn'd as Big Swankie."

"Hem - well, my lad, in so far as that does damage to you, I'm sorry
for it; but as regards society at large, I rather think that Swankie
havin' tripped his anchor is a decided advantage. If you lose by this
in one way, you gain much in another; for your mate's companionship
did ye no good. Birds of a feather should flock together. You're
better apart, for I believe you to be an honest man, Spink."

Davy looked at the captain in unfeigned astonishment.

"Weel, ye're the first man that iver said that, an' I thank 'ee, sir,
but you're wrang, though I wush ye was right. But that's no' what I
cam' to tell ye."

Here the fisherman's indecision of manner returned. "Come, make a
clean breast of it, lad. There are none here but friends."

"Weel, sir, Ruby Brand - - "

He paused, and Minnie turned deadly pale, for she jumped at once to
the right conclusion. The widow, on the other hand, listened for more
with deep anxiety, but did not guess the truth.

"The fact is, Ruby's catched too, an' he's awa' to the wars, and he
sent me to - ech, sirs! the auld wuman's fentit."

Poor Widow Brand had indeed fallen back in her chair in a state
bordering on insensibility. Minnie was able to restrain her feelings
so as to attend to her. She and the captain raised her gently, and
led her into her own room, from whence the captain returned, and shut
the door behind him.

"Now, Spink," said he, "tell me all about it, an' be partic'lar."

Davy at once complied, and related all that the reader already knows,
in a deep, serious tone of voice, for he felt that in the captain he
had a sympathetic listener.

When he had concluded, Captain Ogilvy heaved a sigh so deep that it
might have been almost considered a groan, then he sat down on his
armchair, and, pointing to the chair from which the widow had
recently risen, said, "Sit down, lad."

As he advanced to comply, Spink's eyes for the first time fell on the
case of jewels. He started, paused, and looked with a troubled air at
the captain.

"Ha!" exclaimed the latter with a grin; "you seem to know these
things; old acquaintances, eh!"

"It wasna' me that stole them," said Spink hastily.

"I did not say that anyone stole them."

"Weel, I mean that - that - - "

He stopped abruptly, for he felt that in whatever way he might
attempt to clear himself, he would unavoidably criminate, by
implication, his absent mate.

"I know what you mean, my lad; sit down."

Spink sat down on the edge of the chair, and looked at the other
uneasily.

"Have a cup of tea?" said the captain abruptly, seizing the small pot
and pouring out a cupful.

"Thank 'ee - I - I niver tak' tea."

"Take it to-night, then. It will do you good."

Spink put the cup to his lips, and a look of deep surprise overspread
his rugged countenance as he sipped the contents. The captain nodded.
Spink's look of surprise changed into a confidential smile; he also
nodded, winked, and drained the cup to the bottom.

"Yes," resumed the captain; "you mean that you did not take the case
of jewels from old Brand's pocket on that day when you found his body
on the Bell Rock, though you were present, and saw your comrade
pocket the booty. You see I know all about it, Davy, an' your only
fault lay in concealing the matter, and in keepin' company with that
scoundrel."

The gaze of surprise with which Spink listened to the first part of
this speech changed to a look of sadness towards the end of it.

"Captain Ogilvy," said he, in a tone of solemnity that was a strong
contrast to his usual easy, careless manner of speaking, "you ca'd me
an honest man, an' ye think I'm clear o' guilt in this matter, but
ye're mista'en. Hoo ye cam' to find oot a' this I canna divine, but I
can tell ye somethin' mair than ye ken. D'ye see that bag?"

He pulled a small leather purse out of his coat pocket, and laid it
with a little bang on the table.

The captain nodded.

"Weel, sir, that was _my_ share o' the plunder, thretty goolden
sovereigns. We tossed which o' us was to hae them, an' the siller
fell to me. But I've niver spent a boddle o't. Mony a time have I
been tempit, an' mony a time wad I hae gi'en in to the temptation,
but for a certain lass ca'd Janet, that's been an angel, it's my
belief, sent doon frae heeven to keep me frae gawin to the deevil
a'thegither. But be that as it may, I've brought the siller to them
that owns it by right, an' so my conscience is clear o't at lang
last."

The sigh of relief with which Davy Spink pushed the bag of gold
towards his companion, showed that the poor man's mind was in truth
released from a heavy load that had crushed it for years.

The captain, who had lit his pipe, stared at the fisherman through
the smoke for some time in silence; then he began to untie the purse,
and said slowly, "Spink, I said you were an honest man, an' I see no
cause to alter my opinion."

He counted out the thirty gold pieces, put them back into the bag,
and the bag into his pocket. Then he continued, "Spink, if this gold
was mine I would - but no matter, it's not mine, it belongs to Widow
Brand, to whom I shall deliver it up. Meantime, I'll bid you good
night. All these things require reflection. Call back here to-morrow,
my fine fellow, and I'll have something to say to you. Another cup of
tea?"

"Weel, I'll no objec'."

Davy Spink rose, swallowed the beverage, and left the cottage. The
captain returned, and stood for some time irresolute with his hand on
the handle of the door of his sister's room. As he listened, he heard
a sob, and the tones of Minnie's voice as if in prayer. Changing his
mind, he walked softly across the kitchen into his own room, where,
having trimmed the candle, refilled and lit his pipe, he sat down at
the table, and, resting his arms thereon, began to meditate.




CHAPTER XXVIII

THE LIGHTHOUSE COMPLETED - RUBY'S ESCAPE FROM TROUBLE BY A DESPERATE
VENTURE

There came a time at last when the great work of building the Bell
Rock Lighthouse drew to a close. Four years after its commencement it
was completed, and on the night of the 1st of February, 1811, its
bright beams were shed for the first time far and wide over the sea.

It must not be supposed, however, that this lighthouse required four
years to build it. On the contrary, the seasons in which work could
be done were very short. During the whole of the first season of
1807, the aggregate time of low-water work, caught by snatches of an
hour or two at a tide, did not amount to fourteen days of ten hours!
while in 1808 it fell short of four weeks.

A great event is worthy of very special notice. We should fail in our
duty to our readers if we were to make only passing reference to this
important event in the history of our country.

That 1st of February, 1811, was the birthday of a new era, for the
influence of the Bell Rock Light on the shipping interests of the
kingdom (not merely of Scotland, by any means), was far greater than
people generally suppose.

Here is a _fact_ that may well be weighed with attention; that might
be not inappropriately inscribed in diamond letters over the lintel
of the lighthouse door. Up to the period of the building of the
lighthouse, the known history of the Bell Rock was a black record of
wreck, ruin, and death. Its unknown history, in remote ages, who
shall conceive, much less tell? _Up_ to that period, seamen dreaded
the rock and shunned it - ay, so earnestly as to meet destruction too
often in their anxious efforts to avoid it. _From_ that period the
Bell Rock has been a friendly point, a guiding star - hailed as such
by storm-tossed mariners - marked as such on the charts of all
nations. From that date not a single night for more than half a
century has passed, without its wakeful eye beaming on the waters, or
its fog-bells sounding on the air; and, best of all, _not a single
wreck has occurred on that rock from that period down to the present
day!_

Say not, good reader, that much the same may be said of all
lighthouses. In the first place, the history of many lighthouses is
by no means so happy as that of this one. In the second place, all
lighthouses are not of equal importance. Few stand on an equal
footing with the Bell Rock, either in regard to its national
importance or its actual pedestal. In the last place, it is our
subject of consideration at present, and we object to odious
comparisons while we sing its praises!

Whatever may be said of the other lights that guard our shores,
special gratitude is due to the Bell Rock - to those who projected
it - to the engineer who planned and built it - to God, who inspired
the will to dare, and bestowed the skill to accomplish, a work so
difficult, so noble, so prolific of good to man!

* * * * *

The nature of our story requires that we should occasionally
annihilate time and space.

Let us then leap over both, and return to our hero, Ruby Brand.

His period of service in the Navy was comparatively brief, much more
so than either he or his friends anticipated. Nevertheless, he spent
a considerable time in his new profession, and, having been sent to
foreign stations, he saw a good deal of what is called "service", in
which he distinguished himself, as might have been expected, for
coolness and courage.

But we must omit all mention of his warlike deeds, and resume the
record of his history at that point which bears more immediately on
the subject of our tale.

It was a wild, stormy night in November. Ruby's ship had captured a
French privateer in the German Ocean, and, a prize crew having been
put aboard, she was sent away to the nearest port, which happened to
be the harbour of Leith, in the Firth of Forth. Ruby had not been
appointed one of the prize crew; but he resolved not to miss the
chance of again seeing his native town, if it should only be a
distant view through a telescope. Being a favourite with his
commander, his plea was received favourably, and he was sent on
board the Frenchman.

Those who know what it is to meet with an unexpected piece of great
good fortune, can imagine the delight with which Ruby stood at the
helm on the night in question, and steered for _home_! He was known
by all on board to be the man who understood best the navigation of
the Forth, so that implicit trust was placed in him by the young
officer who had charge of the prize.

The man-of-war happened to be short-handed at the time the privateer
was captured, owing to her boats having been sent in chase of a
suspicious craft during a calm. Some of the French crew were
therefore left on board to assist in navigating the vessel.

This was unfortunate, for the officer sent in charge turned out to be
a careless man, and treated the Frenchmen with contempt. He did not
keep strict watch over them, and the result was, that, shortly after
the storm began, they took the English crew by surprise, and
overpowered them.

Ruby was the first to fall. As he stood at the wheel, indulging in
pleasant dreams, a Frenchman stole up behind him, and felled him with
a handspike. When he recovered he found that he was firmly bound,
along with his comrades, and that the vessel was lying-to. One of the
Frenchmen came forward at that moment, and addressed the prisoners in
broken English.

"Now, me boys," said he, "you was see we have konker you again. You
behold the sea?" pointing over the side; "well, that bees your bed
to-night if you no behave. Now, I wants to know, who is best man of
you as onderstand dis cost? Speak de trut', else you die."

The English lieutenant at once turned to Ruby.

"Well, cast him loose; de rest of you go b'low - good day, ver' moch
indeed."

Here the Frenchman made a low bow to the English, who were led below,
with the exception of Ruby.

"Now, my goot mans, you onderstand dis cost?"

"Yes. I know it well."

"It is dangereoux?"

"It is - very; but not so much so as it used to be before the Bell
Rock Light was shown."

"Have you see dat light?"

"No; never. It was first lighted when I was at sea; but I have seen a
description of it in the newspapers, and should know it well."

"Ver goot; you will try to come to dat light an' den you will steer
out from dis place to de open sea. Afterwards we will show you to
France. If you try mischief - _voilà!_"

The Frenchman pointed to two of his comrades who stood, one on each
side of the wheel, with pistols in their hands, ready to keep Ruby
in order.

"Now, cut him free. Go, sare; do your dooty." Ruby stepped to the
wheel at once, and, glancing at the compass, directed the vessel's
head in the direction of the Bell Rock.

The gale was rapidly increasing, and the management of the helm
required his undivided attention; nevertheless his mind was busy
with anxious thoughts and plans of escape. He thought with horror of
a French prison, for there were old shipmates of his who had been
captured years before, and who were pining in exile still. The bare
idea of being separated indefinitely, perhaps for ever, from Minnie,
was so terrible, that for a moment he meditated an attack,
single-handed, on the crew; but the muzzle of a pistol on each side
of him induced him to pause and reflect! Reflection, however, only
brought him again to the verge of despair. Then he thought of
running up to Leith, and so take the Frenchmen prisoners; but this
idea was at once discarded, for it was impossible to pass up to
Leith Roads without seeing the Bell Rock light, and the Frenchmen
kept a sharp lookout. Then he resolved to run the vessel ashore and
wreck her, but the thought of his comrades down below induced him to
give that plan up.

Under the influence of these thoughts he became inattentive, and
steered rather wildly once or twice.

"Stiddy. Ha! you tink of how you escape?"

"Yes, I do," said Ruby, doggedly.

"Good, and have you see how?"

"No," replied Ruby, "I tell you candidly that I can see no way of
escape."

"Ver good, sare; mind your helm."

At that moment a bright star of the first magnitude rose on the
horizon, right ahead of them.

"Ha! dat is a star," said the Frenchman, after a few moments'
observation of it.

"Stars don't go out," replied Ruby, as the light in question
disappeared.

"It is de light'ouse den?"

"I don't know," said Ruby, "but we shall soon see."

Just then a thought flashed into Ruby's mind. His heart beat quick,
his eye dilated, and his lip was tightly compressed as it came and
went. Almost at the same moment another star rose right ahead of
them. It was of a deep red colour; and Ruby's heart beat high again,
for he was now certain that it was the revolving light of the Bell
Rock, which shows a white and red light alternately every two
minutes.

"_Voilà!_ that must be him now," exclaimed the Frenchman, pointing
to the light, and looking enquiringly at Ruby.

"I have told you," said the latter, "that I never saw the light
before. I believe it to be the Bell Rock Light; but it would be as
well to run close and see. I think I could tell the very stones of
the tower, even in a dark night. Anyhow, I know the rock itself too
well to mistake it."

"Be there plenty watter?"

"Ay; on the east side, close to the rock, there is enough water to
float the biggest ship in your navy."

"Good; we shall go close."

There was a slight lull in the gale at this time, and the clouds
broke a little, allowing occasional glimpses of moonlight to break
through and tinge the foaming crests of the waves. At last the light,
that had at first looked like a bright star, soon increased, and
appeared like a glorious sun in the stormy sky. For a few seconds it
shone intensely white and strong, then it slowly died away and
disappeared; but almost before one could have time to wonder what had
become of it, it returned in the form of a brilliant red sun, which
also shone for a few seconds, steadily, and then, like the former,
slowly died out. Thus, alternating, the red and white suns went round.

In a few minutes the tall and graceful column itself became visible,
looking pale and spectral against the black sky. At the same time the
roar of the surf broke familiarly on Ruby's ears. He steered close
past the north end of the rock, so close that he could see the rocks,
and knew that it was low water. A gleam of moonlight broke out at the
time, as if to encourage him.

"Now," said Ruby, "you had better go about, for if we carry on at
this rate, in the course we are going, in about an hour you will
either be a dead man on the rocks of Forfar, or enjoying yourself in
a Scotch prison!"

"Ha! ha!" laughed the Frenchman, who immediately gave the order to
put the vessel about; "good, ver good; bot I was not wish to see the
Scottish prison, though I am told the mountains be ver superb."

While he was speaking, the little vessel lay over on her new course,
and Ruby steered again past the north side of the rock. He shaved it
so close that the Frenchman shouted, "_Prenez garde_", and put a
pistol to Ruby's ear.

"Do you think I wish to die?" asked Ruby, with a quiet smile. "Now,
captain, I want to point out the course, so as to make you sure of
it. Bid one of your men take the wheel, and step up on the bulwarks
with me, and I will show you."

This was such a natural remark in the circumstances, and moreover so
naturally expressed, that the Frenchman at once agreed. He ordered a
seaman to take the wheel, and then stepped with Ruby upon the
bulwarks at the stern of the vessel.

"Now, you see the position of the lighthouse," said Ruby, "well, you
must keep your course due east after passing it. If you steer to the
nor-ard o' that, you'll run on the Scotch coast; if you bear away to
the south'ard of it, you'll run a chance, in this state o' the tide,
of getting wrecked among the Farne Islands; so keep her head _due
east_."

Ruby said this very impressively; so much so, that the Frenchman
looked at him in surprise.

"Why you so particulare?" he enquired, with a look of suspicion.

"Because I am going to leave you," said Ruby, pointing to the Bell
Rock, which at that moment was not much more than a hundred yards to
leeward. Indeed, it was scarcely so much, for the outlying rock at
the northern end named _Johnny Gray_, lay close under their lee as
the vessel passed. Just then a great wave burst upon it, and, roaring
in wild foam over the ledges, poured into the channels and pools on
the other side. For one instant Ruby's courage wavered, as he gazed
at the flood of boiling foam.

"What you say?" exclaimed the Frenchman, laying his hand on the
collar of Ruby's jacket.


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