Chapter 7


The day after the funeral, H.M. ship Aurora sailed for Malta, and on her arrival the acting captain sent our two midshipmen on board the Harpy without any remark, except “victualled the day discharged,” as they had been borne on the ship’s books as supernumeraries.

Mr. James, who was acting in the Aurora, was anxious to join the admiral at Toulon, and intended to sail the next day. He met Captain Wilson at the governor’s table, and stated that Jack and Gascoigne had been put in irons by order of Captain Tartar; his suspicions, and the report that the duel had in consequence taken place; but Gascoigne and Jack had both agreed that they would not communicate the events of their cruise to anybody on board of the Aurora, and therefore nothing else was known, except that they must have made powerful friends somehow or another; and there appeared in the conduct of Captain Tartar, as well as in the whole transaction, somewhat of a mystery.

“I should like to know what happened to my friend Jack, who fought the duel,” said the governor, who had laughed at it till he held his sides; “Wilson, do bring him here to-morrow morning, and let us have his story.”

“I am afraid of encouraging him, Sir Thomas—he is much too wild already. I told you of his first cruise. He has nothing but adventures, and they all end too favourably.”

“Well, but you can send for him here and blow him up just as well as in your own cabin, and then we will have the truth out of him.”

“That you certainly will,” replied Captain Wilson, “for he tells it plainly enough.”

“Well, to oblige me, send for him—I don’t see he was much to blame in absconding, as it appears he thought he would be hung—I want to see the lad.”

“Well, governor, if you wish it,” replied Captain Wilson, who wrote a note to Mr. Sawbridge, requesting he would send Mr. Easy to him at the governor’s house at ten o’clock in the morning.

Jack made his appearance in his uniform—he did not much care for what was said to him, as he was resolved to leave the service. He had been put in irons, and the iron had entered into his soul.

Mr. Sawbridge had gone on shore about an hour before Jack had been sent on board, and he had remained on shore all the night. He did not therefore see Jack but for a few minutes, and thinking it his duty to say nothing to him at first, or to express his displeasure, he merely observed to him that the captain would speak to him as soon as he came on board. As Gascoigne and our hero did not know how far it might be safe, even at Malta, to acknowledge to what occurred on board the speronare, which might get wind, they did not even tell their messmates, resolving only to confide it to the captain.

When Jack was ushered into the presence of the captain, he found him sitting with the governor, and the breakfast on the table ready for them. Jack walked in with courage, but respectfully. He was fond of Captain Wilson, and wished to show him respect. Captain Wilson addressed him, pointed out that he had committed a great error in fighting a duel, a greater error in demeaning himself by fighting the purser’s steward, and still greater in running away from his ship. Jack looked respectfully to Captain Wilson, acknowledged that he had done wrong, and promised to be more careful another time, if Captain Wilson would look over it.

“Captain Wilson, allow me to plead for the young gentleman,” said the governor; “I am convinced that it has only been an error in judgment.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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