Chapter 15


The two lateen vessels proved of considerable value, being laden with copper, hides, and cochineal. The galliot was laden with sweet oil, and was also no despicable prize. At daylight they were all ready, and, to the mortification of the good people of Malaga, sailed away to the eastward without interruption.

“Me tink we do dat job pretty well, Massa Easy,” observed Mesty, as he laid the breakfast table.

“Nothing like trying,” replied Gascoigne; “I’m sure when we stood into the bay I would have sold all my prize-money for a doubloon. How do I share, Jack?”

“Only as one of the crew, Ned, for you are a supernumerary, and our articles and agreement for prize- money were signed previous to our sailing.”

“I ought to share with Mr. Oxbelly’s class by rights,” replied Gascoigne.

“That would be to take half my prize-money away. I shall want it all, Mr. Gascoigne, to pacify my wife for giving her the slip.”

“Ah, very well; I’ll get all I can.”

For ten days they ran down the coast, going much too fast for the wishes of the crew, who were anxious to make more money. They seized a fishing boat and put on board of her the four prisoners, which they had found in the vessels, and arrived off Barcelona, without falling in with friend or foe. The next morning, the wind being very light, they discovered a large vessel at daylight astern of them to the westward, and soon made her out to be a frigate. She made all sail in chase, but that gave them very little uneasiness, as they felt assured that she was a British cruiser. One fear, however, came over them, that she would, if she came up with them, impress a portion of their men.

“As certainly as I’m here, and Mrs. Oxbelly’s at Southsea,” said Oxbelly, “they’ll take some of the men— the more so as, supposing us to be a Spanish convoy, they will be disappointed.”

“They will hardly take them out of the prizes,” observed Easy.

“I don’t know that; men must be had for his majesty’s service somehow. It’s not their fault, Mr. Easy— the navy must be manned, and as things are so, so things must be. It’s the king’s prerogative, Mr. Easy, and we cannot fight the battles of the country without it.”

“Yes,” replied Gascoigne, “and although, as soon as the services of seamen are no longer wanted, you find that there are demagogues on shore who exclaim against impressment, they are quiet enough on the point when they know that their lives and property depend upon sailors’ exertions.”

“Very true, Mr. Gascoigne, but it’s not our fault if we are obliged to take men by force; it’s the fault of those who do not legislate so as to prevent the necessity. Mrs. Oxbelly used to say that she would easily manage the matter if she were Chancellor of the Exchequer.”

“I dare say Mrs. Oxbelly would make a very good Chancellor of the Exchequer,” replied Gascoigne, smiling; “one thing is certain, that if they gave the subject half the consideration they have others of less magnitude, an arrangement might be made by which his majesty’s navy would never be short of men.”

“No doubt, no doubt, Mr. Gascoigne; but nevertheless, the king’s prerogative must never be given up.”

“There I agree with you, Mr. Oxbelly; it must be held in case of sudden emergency and absolute need.”

  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.