JACK LEAVES THE SERVICE, IN WHICH HE HAD NO BUSINESS, AND GOES HOME TO MIND HIS OWN BUSINESS
On the fourth day they arrived at Malta, and our two midshipmen, as soon as they had settle with the padrone of the vessel, went up to the government house. They found the governor in the veranda, who held out both his hands, one to each.
Glad to see you, my lads. Well, Jack, hows the leg, all right? dont limp. And your arm, Gascoigne?
All right, sir, and as sound as ever it was, replied they both.
Then youre in luck, and have made more haste than you deserve, after your mad pranks; but now sit down, and I suppose, my friend Jack, you have a story to tell me.
Oh yes, Sir Thomas, and a very long one.
Then I wont have it now, for I expect people on business; well have it after dinner. Get your things up and take possession of your rooms. The Aurora sailed four days ago. Youve had a wonderful recovery.
Wonderful, sir! replied our hero; all Palermo rigs with it.
Well, you may go now I shall see you at dinner. Wilson will be delighted when he hears that you have got round again, for he was low-spirited about it, I can tell you, which is more than you deserve.
Hes right there, said our hero to Gascoigne, as they walked away.
When dinner was over, Jack narrated to the governor the adventures of Mesty, with which he was much interested; but when they were quite alone in the evening, the governor called our two midshipmen into the veranda, and said,
Now, my lads, Im not going to preach, as the saying is, but Ive been long enough in the world to know that a compound fracture of the leg is not cured in fourteen or sixteen days. I ask you to tell me the truth. Did not you deceive Captain Wilson on this point?
I am ashamed to say that we did, sir, replied Easy.
How did you manage that, and why?
Jack then went into further details relative to himself and his amour, stating his wish to be left behind, and all that had passed.
Well, theres some excuse for you, but none for the surgeons. If any surgeon here had played such a trick, I would have hung him, as sure as Im governor. This affair of yours has become serious. Mr. Easy, we must have some conversation on the matter to-morrow morning.
The next morning the packet from England was reported off the harbours mouth. After breakfast the letters were brought on shore, and the governor sent for our hero.
Mr. Easy, here are two letters for you; I am sorry to say, with black seals. I trust that they do not bring the intelligence of the death of any near relative.
Jack bowed without speaking, took the letters, and went to his room. The first he opened was from his father.
My dear John,
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