Chapter 8


A few days after the arrival of the Harpy at Port Mahon, a cutter came in with despatches from the admiral. Captain Wilson found that he was posted into the Aurora frigate, in which a vacancy had been made by the result of our hero’s transgressions.

Mr. Sawbridge was raised to the rank of commander, and appointed to the command of the Harpy. The admiral informed Captain Wilson that he must detain the Aurora until the arrival of another frigate, hourly expected, and then she would be sent down to Mahon for him to take the command of her. Further, he intimated that a supply of live bullocks would be very agreeable, and begged that he would send to Tetuan immediately.

Captain Wilson had lost so many officers that he knew not whom to send: indeed, now he was no longer in command of the Harpy, and there was but one lieutenant, and no master or master’s mate. Gascoigne and Jack were the only two serviceable midshipmen, and he was afraid to trust them on any expedition in which expedition was required.

“What shall we do, Sawbridge? shall we send Easy or Gascoigne, or both, or neither? —for if the bullocks are not forthcoming, the admiral will not let them off as we do.”

“We must send somebody, Wilson,” replied Captain Sawbridge, “and it is the custom to send two officers, as one receives the bullocks on board, while the other attends to the embarkation.”

“Well, then send both, Sawbridge, but lecture them well first.”

“I don’t think they can get into any mischief there,” replied Sawbridge; “and it’s such a hole that they will be glad to get away from it.”

Easy and Gascoigne were summoned, listened very respectfully to all Captain Sawbridge said, promised to conduct themselves with the utmost propriety, received a letter to the vice-consul, and were sent with their hammocks and chests in the cabin on board the Eliza Ann, brig, of two hundred and sixteen tons, chartered by government—the master and crew of which were all busy forward heaving up their anchors.

The master of the transport came aft to receive them: he was a short red-haired young man, with hands as broad as the flappers of a turtle; he was broad-faced, broadshouldered, well-freckled, pug-nosed; but if not very handsome he was remarkably good-humoured. As soon as the chests and the hammocks were on the deck, he told them that when he could get the anchor up and make sail, he would give them some bottled porter. Jack proposed that he should get the porter up, and they would drink it while he got the anchor up, as it would save time.

“It may save time mayhap, but it won’t save porter,” replied the master; “however, you shall have it.”

He called the boy, ordered him to bring up the porter, and then went forward. Jack made the boy bring up two chairs, put the porter on the campanion hatch, and he and Gascoigne sat down. The anchor was weighed, and the transport ran out under her fore-topsail, as they were light-handed, and had to secure the anchor. The transport passed within ten yards of the Harpy, and Captain Sawbridge, when he perceived the two midshipmen taking it so very easy, sitting in their chairs with their legs crossed, arms folded, and their porter before them, had a very great mind to order the transport to heave-to; but he could spare no other officer, so he walked away, saying to himself, “There’ll be another yarn for the governor, or I’m mistaken.”

As soon as sail was made on the transport, the master, whose name was Hogg, came up to our hero, and asked him how he found the porter. Jack declared that he never could venture an opinion upon

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.