“By de soul of my fader, but it all for true, Massa Easy—he larrap um, sure enough—for all noteing, bad luck to him—I tink,” continued Mesty, “he hab debelish bad memory—and he want a little more of Equality Jack.”

“And he shall have it too,” replied our hero; “why, it’s against the articles of war, ‘all quarrelling, fighting, etc.’ I say, Mr. Gossett, have you got the spirit of a louse?”

“Yes,” replied Gossett.

“Well, then, will you do what I tell you next time, and trust to me for protection?”

“I don’t care what I do,” replied the boy, “if you will back me against the cowardly tyrant.”

“Do you refer to me?” cried Vigors, who had stopped at the door of the berth.

“Say yes,” said Jack.

“Yes, I do,” cried Gossett.

“You do, do you?—well then, my chick, I must trouble you with a little more of this,” said Vigors, drawing out his colt.

“I think that you had better not, Mr. Vigors,” observed Jack.

“Mind your own business, if you please,” returned Vigors, not much liking the interference. “I am not addressing my conversation to you, and I will thank you never to interfere with me. I presume I have a right to choose my own acquaintance, and, depend upon it, it will not be that of a leveller.”

“All that is at your pleasure, Mr. Vigors,” replied Jack, “you have a right to choose your own acquaintance, and so have I a right to choose my own friends, and, further, to support them. That lad is my friend, Mr. Vigors.”

“Then,” replied Vigors, who could not help bullying even at the risk of another combat which he probably intended to stand, “I shall take the liberty of giving your friend a thrashing;” and he suited the action to the word.

“Then I shall take the liberty to defend my friend,” replied Jack; “and as you call me a leveller, I’ll try if I may not deserve the name”—whereupon Jack placed a blow so well under the ear, that Mr. Vigors dropped on the deck, and was not in condition to come to the scratch, even if he had been inclined. “And now, youngster,” said Jack, wresting the colt out of Vigors’ hand, “do as I bid you—give him a good colting —if you don’t I’ll thrash you.”

Gossett required no second threat—the pleasure of thrashing his enemy, if only for once, was quite enough —and he laid well on, Jack with his fists doubled ready to protect him if there was a show of resistance, but Vigors was half stupefied with the blow under the ear, and quite cowed; he took his thrashing in the most passive manner.

“That will do,” said Jack, “and now do not be afraid, Gossett; the very first time he offers to strike you when I am not present, I will pay him off for it as soon as you tell me. I won’t be called Equality Jack for nothing.”

When Jolliffe, who heard of this, met our hero alone, he said to him, “Take my advice, boy, and do not in future fight the battles of others, you’ll find very soon that you will have enough to do to fight your own.”

Whereupon Jack argued the point for half an hour, and then they separated. But Mr. Jolliffe was right. Jack began to find himself constantly in hot water, and the captain and first—lieutenant, although they

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