Admiralty were also pleased to grant the discharge of Mesty, on the sum required for a substitute being paid in.

The gipsies were routed out of their abodes, and sent once more to wander. The gamekeepers were restored, the preserves cleared of all poachers, and the gentry of the country were not a little pleased at Jack’s succession, for they had wished that Mr. Easy’s neck had been broken long ago. The societies were dissolved, since, now that Mr. Easy paid no longer for the beer, there was nothing to meet for. Cards and compliments were sent from all parts of the country, and every one was anxious that our hero should come of age, as then he would be able to marry, to give dinners, subscribe to the fox-hounds, and live as a gentleman ought to do.

But during all these speculations, Jack had made Dr. Middleton acquainted with the history of his amour with Agnes de Rebiera, and all particulars connected therewith, also with his determination to go out to bring her home as his wife. Dr. Middleton saw no objection to the match, and he perceived that our hero was sincere. And Jack had made inquiries when the packet would sail for Malta, when Mesty, who stood behind his chair, observed,—

“Packet bad vessel, Massa Easy. Why not go out in man-of-war?”

“Very true,” replied Jack; “but you know, Mesty, that is not so easy.”

“And den how come home, sar. Suppose you and Missy Agnes taken prisoner— put in prison?”

“Very true,” replied Jack; “and as for a passage home in a man-of-war, that will be more difficult still.”

“Den I tink, sar, suppose you buy one fine vessel— plenty of guns— take out letter of marque— plenty of men, and bring Missy Agnes home like a lady. You captain of your own ship.”

“That deserves consideration, Mesty,” replied Jack, who thought of it during that night; and the next day resolved to follow Mesty’s advice. The Portsmouth paper lay on the breakfast-table. Jack took it up, and his eye was caught by an advertisement for the sale of the Joan d’Arc, prize to H.M. ship Thetis, brigantine of 278 tons, copper-bottomed, armed en flute, with all her stores, spars, sails, running and standing rigging, then lying in the harbour of Portsmouth, to take place on the following Wednesday.

Jack rang the bell, and ordered post-horses.

“Where are you going, my dear boy?” inquired Dr. Middleton.

“To Portsmouth, Doctor.”

“And pray what for, if not an impertinent question?”

Jack then gave Dr. Middleton an insight into his plan, and requested that he would allow him to do so, as there was plenty of ready money.

“But the expense will be enormous.”

“It will be heavy sir, I grant; but I have calculated it pretty nearly, and I shall not spend at the rate of more than my income. Besides, as letter of marque, I shall have the right of capture; in fact, I mean to take out a privateer’s regular licence.”

“But not to remain there and cruise?”

“No, upon my honour; I am too anxious to get home again. You must not refuse me, my dear guardian.”

“As a lady is in the case, I will not, my dear boy; but be careful what you are about.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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