Chapter 2


“Well, Jack, my boy, have you any long story ready for me?” inquired the governor.

“Yes, sir,” replied Jack, “I have one or two very good ones.”

“Very well, we’ll hear them after dinner,” replied old Tom. “In the meantime find out your room and take possession.”

“That must not be for very long, governor,” observed Captain Wilson. “Mr. Easy must learn his duty, and there is a good opportunity now.”

“If you please, sir,” replied Jack, “I’m on the sick-list.”

“Sick-list,” said Captain Wilson; “you were not in the report that Mr. Wilson gave me this morning.”

“No, I’m on Mr. Pottyfar’s list; and I’m going through a course of the universal medicine.”

“What’s all this, Jack—what’s all this?—there’s some story here—don’t be afraid of the captain—you’ve me to back you,” said the governor.

Jack was not at all afraid of the captain, so he told him how the first-lieutenant had refused him leave the evening before, and how he had now given him permission to remain, and try the universal medicine; at which the governor laughed heartily, nor could Captain Wilson refrain from joining.

“But, Mr. Easy,” replied the captain, after a pause, “if Mr. Pottyfar will allow you to stay on shore, I cannot—you have your duty to learn. You must be aware that now is your time, and you must not lose opportunities that do not occur every day. You must acknowledge the truth of what I say.”

“Yes, sir,” replied Jack, “I admit it all, provided I do intend to follow the profession;” and so saying, our hero bowed, and left the veranda where they had been talking.

This hint of Jack’s, thrown out by him, more with the intention of preventing his being sent on board than with any definite idea, was not lost upon either the captain or the governor.

“Does he jib, then?” observed the governor.

“On the contrary, I never knew him more attentive, and so entirely getting rid of his former notions. He has behaved most nobly in the gale, and there has not been one complaint against him—I never was more astonished—he must have meant something.”

“I’ll tell you what he means, Wilson—that he does not like to be sent on board, nothing more. He’s not to be cooped up—you may lead him, but not drive him.”

“Yes, but the service will not admit of it. I never could allow it—he must do his duty like the rest, and conform to the rules.”

“Exactly, so he must; but look ye, Wilson, you must not lose him: it’s all easily settled—appoint him your orderly midshipman to and from the ship; that will be employment, and he can always remain here at night. I will tell him that I have asked, as a favour, what I now do, and leave me to find out what he is thinking about.”

“It may be done that way, certainly,” replied Captain Wilson, musing; “and you are more likely to get his intentions from him than I am. I am afraid he has too great a command of money ever to be fond of the ship; it is the ruin of a junior officer to be so lavishly supplied.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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