Chapter 9


We must leave the reader to imagine the effect of the next morning’s dénouement. Every one was in a fury except Jack, who did nothing but laugh. The captain wanted to return to obtain Miss Hicks, Gascoigne to obtain Azar, and the vice-consul to obtain his liberty—but the wind was foul for their return, and Jack soon gained the captain on his side. He pointed out to him that, in the first place, if he presumed to return, he would forfeit his charter bond; in the second, he would have to pay for all the bullocks which died; in the third, that if he wished to take Miss Hicks as his wife, he must not first injure her character by having her on board before the solemnity; and lastly, that he could always go and marry her whenever he pleased; the brother could not prevent him. All this was very good advice, and the captain became quite calm and rational, and set his studding-sails below and aloft.

As for Gascoigne, it was no use reasoning with him, so it was agreed that he should have satisfaction as soon as they could get on shore again. Mr. Hicks was the most violent; he insisted that the vessel should return, while both Jack and the captain refused, although he threatened them with the whole foreign office. He insisted upon having his clothes, but Jack replied that they had tumbled overboard as they pulled from the shore. He then commanded the mate and men to take the vessel back, but they laughed at him and his woman’s clothes. “At all events, I’ll have you turned out of the service,” said he to our hero, in his fury. “I shall be extremely obliged to you,” said Jack—and Captain Hogg was so much amused with the vice-consul’s appearance in his sister’s clothes, that he quite forgot his own disappointment in laughing at his intended brother-in-law. He made friends again with Jack, who regained his ascendency, and ordered out the porter on the capstern-head. They had an excellent dinner, but Mr. Hicks refused to join them, which, however, did not spoil the appetite of Jack or the captain: as for Gascoigne, he could not eat a mouthful, but he drank to excess, looking over the rim of his tumbler as if he could devour our hero, who only laughed the more. Mr. Hicks had applied to the men to lend him some clothes, but Jack had foreseen that, and he was omnipotent. There was not a jacket or a pair of trousers to be had for love or money. Mr. Hicks then considered it advisable to lower his tone, and he applied to Captain Hogg, who begged to be excused without he consented to his marriage with his sister, to which Mr. Hicks gave an indignant negative. He then applied to Gascoigne, who told him in a very surly tone to go to h—ll. At last he applied to our hero, who laughed, and said that he would seehim d—d first. So Mr. Hicks sat down in his petticoats, and vowed revenge. Gascoigne, who had drunk much and eaten nothing, turned in and went to sleep—while Captain Hogg and our hero drank porter on the capstern. Thus passed the first day, and the wind was famously fair—the bullocks lowed, the cocks crew, the sheep baa’d, and the Mary Ann made upwards of two hundred miles. Jack took possession of the other berth in the cabin, and his majesty’s representative was obliged to lie down in his petticoats upon a topsail which lay between decks, with a bullock on each side of him, who every now and then made a dart at him with their horns, as if they knew that it was to him that they were indebted for their embarkation and being destined to drive the scurvy out of the Toulon fleet.

We cannot enter into the details of the passage, which, as the wind was fair, was accomplished in ten days without the loss of a bullock. During this time Mr. Hicks condescended to eat without speaking, imagining that the hour of retribution would come, when they joined the admiral. Gascoigne gradually recovered himself, but did not speak to our hero, who continued to laugh and drink porter. On the eleventh morning they were in the midst of the Toulon fleet, and Mr. Hicks smiled exultingly as he passed our hero in his petticoats, and wondered that jack showed no signs of trepidation.

The fleet hove-to, Jack ran under the admiral’s stern, lowered down his boat and went on board, showed his credentials, and reported his bullocks. The general signal was made, there was a fair division of the spoil, and then the admiral asked our hero whether the master of the transport had any other stock on board. Jack replied that he had not; but that having been told by the governor of Malta that they might be acceptable, he had bought a few sheep and some dozen of fowls, which were much at his service, if he would accept of them. The admiral was much obliged to the governor, and also to Jack, for thinking of him, but would not, of course, accept of the stock without paying for them. He requested him to send

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