Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

pestilent bullets. But I promise you I will give them no time to aim at me, for I will presently get into the midst of them, and commence slashing away at such a rate, now here, now there, and now in another place, that they shall be glad to take more heed of themselves than me. Would the time were come! I shall rest but little till the fighting commence. Indeed, I be ever a dreaming of the storming of towns, the taking of ships, or the like, whereof I find excellent entertainment in hearing of the clashing, and groaning, and shouting, and seeing heads flying this way, and arms that, and other pleasant pastime of the same sort, that when I wake and find I have killed none, I be monstrous down at heart at it."

* Be not out of patience, messmate,” replied the veteran, “you shall take your own course in time, depend on't. There be no making a ship sail faster than she will, unless perchance you shall have dealings with those who have power over the elements, which I take to be both dishonest and unlawful."

“ Think you there be any such?” enquired the boy, earnestly

6 There's no doubt on't, messmate," replied Simon Mainsail; “there be certain old hags as familiar with the devil and his imps, as am I with the breech of this gun. And having sold themselves body and soul to him, they be allowed for some period of time to do as they list; to command

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

what wind shall blow-raise a storm--sink ships, and work such mischief as they have a mind to; and if you put not a horse-shoe on the mast, or carry not a child's caul aboard, it be a thorough certainty that, when these witches choose it, the ship and all hands shall go to the bottom.”

What horrible villainy !” exclaimed Harry Daring; “but methinks I have knowledge of some of these old hags. Hast heard whether any be ever troubled with a raging tooth, or ride on a high horse between two panniers of eggs? For then have I known some; and exquisite fine fun I have had of them too.” And then he laughed heartily at the remembrance of how he had served the two old women, as hath been already described.

“O' my life it be no laughing matter, if you have angered any,” remarked the gunner; “they be desperate in the doing of some terrible mischief.”

“ I care not,” cried the boy; “I marrant you I will give them as good as they send, they ever so familiar with the devil and his imps. Indeed, I care as little for the best devil that wears a head."

“ Hush, Harry, it be exceeding wicked to say so; how know you not the old fellow be a list

ening ?”

“Let him listen and be hanged to him," exclaimed Harry Daring, fearlessly; “I say my prayers nights and mornings, and therefore will i take heed of none such. By Gog and Magog, if

VOL. II.

K

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

it comes to that, I would as soon kill a devil as a Spaniard, they be both such thorough going villains.”

“I would on no account have you say so," observed the veteran, looking timidly round him ;for, though brave as a lion, he was as superstitious as the rest of his class; "he be ever stealing alongside of some of us, and giveth us a broadside if we be not on the watch.”

“ Then up and have at him again,” cried the
boy, quickly; "it be not the part of an honest
man to give in to a scurvy devil. For mine own
part, I know not what his weapon may be; but
sword or dagger, pistol or harquebus, I am for him
at any time."
66'Slife

you
will
anger me if

you go on so," exclaimed Simon Mainsail, with a countenance somewhat disturbed; “it be as easy for him to sink this ship, as for me to walk the deck. Now on that point I have made an entry in my log, which, mayhap, it shall do you good to know of:-and this be it. You must know that there was a messmate of mine once, by name Jack Buntline, who was just such another dare-devil as yourself, only he had been launched many years before, and he had no more religion in him than you shall find in a shark's belly. Well, he was always a blowing great guns about what monstrous things he would do with the arch enemy of all true mariners, if peradventure

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Ni wa her

170 fire

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

he could have the weather-gage of him; and he often said he should like to get sight of the devil for a few minutes or so, he would soon make him mighty glad to sheer off. Now it so happened, that one night whilst he was upon watch, something he had got in the hold made him wonderful drowsy, and he was just a casting of his anchor in snooze harbour, when he felt a queer sort of a something a grappling of him on the lee quarter; at the which he opened his daylights pretty quickly, and there he saw what was enough to cast him on his beam ends in no time."

6 And what did Jack Buntline see?” enquired his companion, unconcernedly.

“He saw Old Nick himself !” replied the old mariner, with a look of exceeding horror and alarm; “there he stood afore him with twosaucer eyes flashing fire and smoke; a huge pair wif horns growing out of his head; a long tail that hung abaft, with a sting to it; two uglý hoofs instead of feet; monstrous claws, by way of hands; and all over him flames of blue, and red, and yellow. Now Jack hadn't a word to throw away upon a dog ; he was as dumb as a fish; he hadn't fight enough in him to have killed a cockroach ; but he sat stern on, with his jaw-port open, and his eyes a winking at the rate of fifty knots an hour, Thereupon Old Nick flew upon him, blazing away like a fire ship, and was for taking of him up in his

er:

me sink

that

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

claws; when Jack had sense enough to mutter a bit of a prayer his mother had taught him when he was a babby—albeit ’twas a long time since he had been on his marrow bones; and at that Master Beelzebub vanished like a flash o’lightning, leaving behind such a smell of brimstone there was scarce breathing for it. After this Jack Buntline made no more boasting on that liead, as you may suppose."

“ For all that, I would as soon kill a devil as a Spaniard,” said Harry Daring, and then walked himself away, to have speech with his true friend, Master Francis.

In the mean time Sir Walter Raleigh and his secretary were pursuing their studies quite as vigorously as if they were on land; for it was the practice of the former to devote so many hours a day to his books, whether he were on sea or on shore; and on all his voyages he failed not to take with him a choice collection of volumes. From this habit of his Master Francis profited much, for it did enable him to keep storing of his mind with useful lore; and the conversations he was eyer having with his patron were usually of that instructive character which was the most fit to assist in the like object. Indeed, Sir Walter, not only of such things as he thought properest for him to have, helped him in the acquisition of those languages as seemed the profitablest to learn; but

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »