The Strange Adventures of Captain Dangerous, Vol. 3 of 3
by George Augustus Sala
1  2  3  4     Next Part
Home - Random Browse






Died at last in his own House in Hanover Square.






[The right of Translation is reserved.]












* * * * *




A Narrative in Old fashioned English.



1748. I was not yet Forty years of age, Hale and Stout, Comely enough,—so said Mistress Prue and many other damsels,—with a Military Education, an approved reputation for Valour, and very little else besides. A gentleman at large, with a purse well-nigh as slender as an ell-wand, and as wobegone as a dried eel-skin. But I was never one that wanted many Superfluities; and having no Friends in the world, was of a most Contented Disposition.

Some trouble, indeed, must I have with that luckless Mistress Prue, the Waiting-Maid—sure, I did the girl no Harm, beyond whispering a little soft nonsense in her ear now and then. But she must needs have a succession of Hysterical Fits after my departure from the Tower, and write me many scores of Letters couched in the most Lamentable Rigmarole, threatening to throw herself into Rosamond's Pond in St. James's Park (then a favourite Drowning-Place for Disconsolate Lovers), with many other nonsensical Menaces. But I was firm to my Determination to do her no harm, and therefore carefully abstained from answering any of her letters. She did not break her heart; but (being resolved to wed one that wore the King's cloth) she married Miles Bandolier about three months after my Departure, and broke his head, ere the Honeymoon was over, with a Bed-staff. A most frivolous Quean this, and I well rid of her.

Coming out of the Tower, I took lodgings for a season in Great Ryder Street, St. James's, and set up for a Person of Pleasure. There were many Military Officers of my Acquaintance who honoured me with their company over a Bottle, for even as a Tower Warder I had been a kind of a Gentleman, and there was no treating me as one of base Degree. They laughed somewhat at my Brevet rank of Captain, and sometimes twitted me as to what Regiment I was in; but I let them laugh, so long as they did not go too far, when I would most assuredly have shown them, by the length of my Blade, not only what Regiment I belonged to, but what Mettle I was of. By favour of some of my Martial Friends, I was introduced to a favourite Coffee-House, the "Ramilies," in Jermyn Street ('tis Slaughter's, in St. Martin's Lane, now, that the Soldier-Officers do most use); and there we had many a pleasant Carouse, and, moreover, many a good game at cards; at the which, thanks to the tuition of Mr. Hodge, when I was in Mr. Pinchin's service, I was a passable adept, being able to hold my own and More, in almost every Game that is to be found in Hoyle. And so our card-playing did result, not only to mutual pleasure, but to my especial Profit; for I was very lucky. But I declare that I always played fair; and if any man doubted the strict probity of my proceeding, there was then, as there is now, my Sword to vindicate my Honour.

'Tis ill-living, however, on Gambling. Somehow or another the Money you win at Cards—I would never touch Dice, which are too chancy, liable to be Sophisticated, and, besides, sure to lead to Brawling, Stabbing, and cracking of Crowns—this Money, gotten over Old Nick's back, I say, never seems to do a Man any Good. 'Tis light come, and light go; and the Store of Gold Pieces that glitter so bravely when you sweep them off the green cloth seems, in a couple of days afterwards, to have turned to dry leaves, like the Magician's in the Fairy Tale. Excepting Major Panton, who built the Street and the Square which bear his name out of One Night's Profit at the Pharoah table, can you tell me of one habitual Gambler who has been able to realise anything substantial out of his Winnings? No, no; a Hand at Cards is all very well, and 'tis pleasant to win enough to pay one's Reckoning, give a Supper to the Loser, and have a Frisk upon Town afterwards; but I do abhor your steady, systematic Gamblers, with their restless eyes, quivering lips, hair bristling under their wigs, and twitching fingers, as they watch the Game. Of course, when Cards are played, you must play for Money. As to playing for Love, I would as soon play for nutshells or cheese-parings. But the whole business is too feverish and exciting for a Man of warm temperament. 'Tis killing work when your Bed and Raiment, your Dinner and your Flask, depend on the turn up of a card. And so I very speedily abandoned this line of life.

'Twas necessary, nevertheless, for something to be done to bring Grist to the Mill. About this time it was a very common practice for Great Noblemen—notably those who were in any way addicted to pleasure, and ours was a mighty Gay Nobility thirty or forty years since—to entertain Men of Honour, Daring, and Ability, cunning in the use of their Swords, and exceedingly discreet in their conversations, to attend them upon their private affairs, and render to them Services of a kind that required Secrecy as well as Courage. One or two Duels in Hyde Park and behind Montagu House, in which I had the honour to be concerned as Second,—and in one of which I engaged the Second of my Patron's Adversary, and succeeded, by two dexterous side slices, in Quincing his face as neatly as a housewife would slice Fruit for a Devonshire Squab Pie,—gained me the notice of some of the Highest Nobility, to whom I was otherwise recommended by the easiness of my Manners, and the amenity of my Language. The young Earl of Modesley did in particular affect me, and I was of Service to his Lordship on many most momentous and delicate Occasions. For upwards of Six Months I was sumptuously entertained in his Lordship's Mansion in Red Lion Square;—a Kind of Hospitality, indeed, which he was most profuse in the dispensation of:—there being at the same time in the House a French Dancing-Master, an Italian Singer, a Newmarket Horse-Jockey, and a Domestic Chaplain, that had been unfrocked for too much fighting of Cocks and drinking of Cider with clowns at his Vicarage; but to whom the Earl of Modesley was always a fast friend. Unfortunate Young Nobleman! He died of a malignant Fever at Avignon, just before attaining his Thirtieth Year! His intentions towards me were of the most Bounteous Description; and he even, being pleased to say that I was a good-looking Fellow enough, and come to an Age when it behoved me to be settled in Life, proposed that I should enter in the bonds of Wedlock with one Miss Jenny Lightfoot, that had formerly been a Milliner in Liquorpond Street, but who, when his Lordship introduced me to her, lived in most splendid Lodgings under the Piazza, Covent Garden, and gave the handsomest Chocolate Parties to the Young Nobility that ever were seen. So Boundless was his Lordship's generosity that he offered to bestow a portion of Five Hundred Pounds on Miss Lightfoot if she would become Madame Dangerous—said portion to be at my absolute disposal—and to give me besides a long Lease at a Peppercorn Rent of a Farm of his in Wiltshire. The Match, however, came to nothing. I was not yet disposed to surrender my Liberty; and, indeed, the Behaviour of Miss Lightfoot, while the Treaty of Alliance between us was being discussed, did not augur very favourably for our felicity in the Matrimonial State. Indeed, she was pleased to call me Rogue, Gambler, Bully, Led Captain, and many other uncivil names. She snapped off the silver hilt of my dress-sword (presented to me after I had fought the Second in Hyde Park), and obstinately refused to restore that gewgaw to me, telling me that she had given it to her Landlady (one Mother Bishopsbib, a monstrous Fat Woman, that was afterwards Carted, and stood in the Pillory in Spring Gardens, for evil practices) in part payment for rent-owing. Moreover, she wilfully spoilt my best periwig by overturning a Chocolate Mill thereupon; and otherwise so misconducted herself that I bade her a respectful Farewell,—she leaving the marks of her Nails on my face as a parting Gift,—and told my Lord Modesley that I would as lief wed a Roaring Dragon as this Termagant of the Piazza. This Refusal brought about a Rupture between myself and my Lord. He was imprudent enough to talk about my Ingratitude, to tell me that the very coat on my back was bought and paid for with his Money, and to threaten to have me kicked out of doors by two of his Tall Lacqueys. But I speedily let him have a piece of my Mind. "My Lord," says I, going up to him, and thrusting my face full in his, "you will be pleased to know that I am a Gentleman, whose ancestors were ennobled centuries before your rascally grandfather got his peerage for turning against the true King."

He began to murmur something (as many have done before when my blood was up, and I have mentioned Royalty) about my being "a Jacobite."

"I'll Jacobite your jacket for you, you Jackadandy!" I retorted. "You have most foully insulted me. I know your Lordship's ways well. If I sent you a cartel, you and your whippersnapper Friends would sneer at it, because I am poor, and fling Led Captain in my teeth. You won't fight with a poor Gentleman of the Sword. I am too much of a Man of Honour to waylay you at night, and give you the private Stab, as you deserve; but so sure as you are your father's son, if you don't make me this instant a Handsome Apology, I will cudgel you till there is not a whole bone in your body."

The young Ruffian—he was not such a coward as Squire Pinchin, but rather murderous—makes no more do, but draws upon me. I caught up a quarter-staff that lay handy (for we were always exercising ourselves at athletic amusements), struck the weapon from his grasp, and hit him a sounding thwack across the shins that brought him down upon his marrow-bones.

"Below the Belt!" he cries out, holding up his hands. "Foul! foul!"

"Foul be hanged!" I answered. "I'm not going to fight, but to Beat You;" and I rushed upon him, shortening the Staff, and would have belaboured him Soundly, but that he saw it was no use contending against John Dangerous, and very humbly craved a parley. He Apologised as I had Demanded, and lent me Twenty Guineas, and we parted on the most friendly terms.

This Lord essayed, notwithstanding, to do me much harm in Town, saying that I had used him with black Cruelty, had re-requited his many favours with gross Treachery, and the like Falsehoods, until I was obliged to send him a Message to this purport: that unless he desisted, I should be obliged to keep my promise as to the Cudgel. Upon which he presently surceased. So much meanness had he, even, as to fudge up a pretended debt of nineteen guineas against me as for money lent, for the which I was arrested by bailiffs and conveyed—being taken at Jonathan's—to a vile spunging-house in Little Bell Alley, Moorfields; but the keeper of the House stood my friend, and procured a Bail for me in the shape of an Honest Gentleman, who was to be seen every day about Westminster Hall with a straw in his shoe, and for a crown and a dinner at the eating-house would suddenly become worth five hundred a year, or at least swear himself black in the face that such was his estate:—which was all that was required. And when it came to justifying of Bail before the Judges, what so easy as to hire a suit of clothes in Monmouth Street, and send him into court fully equipped as a reputable gentleman? However, there was no occasion for this, for on the very night of my enlargement I won fifty guineas at the tables; and walking very Bold to my Lord's House, sends up the nineteen guineas to my Lord with a note, asking to what lawyer I should pay the cost of suit, and whether I should wait upon him at his Levee for a receipt. On the which he, still with the fear of a cudgelling before his eyes, sends me down a Receipt in Full, and the Money back to boot, begging me to trouble myself in no way about the lawyer; which, I promise you, I did not. And so an end of this troublesome acquaintance,—a profitable one enough to me while it lasted. As for Miss Jenny, her Behaviour soon became as light as her name. I have heard that she got into trouble about a Spanish Merchant that was flung down stairs and nigh killed, and that but for the Favour of Justice Cogwell, who had a hankering for her, 'twould have been a Court-Job. Afterwards I learnt that she had been seen beating Hemp in Bridewell in a satin sack laced with silver; and I warrant that she was fain to cry, "Knock! oh, good Sir Robert, knock!" many a time before the Blue-coated Beadles on court day had done swingeing of her.

There are certain periods in the life even of the most fortunate man when his Luck is at a desperately low ebb,—when everything seems to go amiss with him,—when nothing that he can turn his hand to prospers,—when friends desert him, and the companions of his sunshiny days chide him for not having made better use of his opportunities,—when, Do what he will, he cannot avert the Black Storm,—when Ruin seems impending, and Catastrophe is on the cards,—when he is Down, in a word, and the despiteful are getting ready to gibe at him in his Misfortune, and to administer unto him the last Kick. These times of Trial and Bitter Travail ofttimes strike one who has just attained Middle age,—the Halfway-House of Life; and then, 'tis the merest chance in the world whether he will be enabled to pick himself up again, or be condemned for evermore to poverty and contumely,—to the portion of weeds and out-worn faces. I do confess that about this period of my career things went very badly with me, and that I was grievously hard-driven, not alone to make both ends meet, but to discover anything that could have its ending in a Meal of Victuals. I have heard that some of the greatest Prelates, Statesmen, Painters, Captains, and Merchants—I speak not of Poets, for it is their eternal portion, seemingly, to be born, to live, and to Die Poor—have suffered the like straits at some time or another of their lives. Many times, however, have I put it on record in these pages, that Despair and I were never Bedfellows. As for Suicide, I do condemn it, and abhor it utterly, as the most cowardly, Dishonest, and unworthy Method to which a Man can resort that he may rid himself of his Difficulties. To make a loathsome unhandsome corpse of yourself, and deny yourself Christian Burial, nay, run the risk of crowner's quest, and interment at the meeting of four cross-roads with a Stake driven through your Heart. Oh, 'tis shameful! Hang yourself, forsooth! why should you spend money in threepenny cord, when Jack Ketch, if you deserve it, will hang you for nothing, and the County find the rope? Take poison! why, you are squeamish at accepting physic from the doctor, which may possibly do you good. Why, then, should you swallow a vile mess which you are certain must do you harm? Fall upon your sword, as Tully—I mean Brutus—or some of those old Romans, were wont to do when the Game was up! In the first place, I should like to see the man, howsoever expert a fencer, who could so tumble on his own blade and kill himself. 'Tis easier to swallow a sword than to fall upon one, and the first is quite as much a Mountebank's Trick as t'other. Blow your brains out! A mighty fine climax truly, to make a Horrible Mess all over the floor, and frighten the neighbours out of their wits, besides, as a waggish friend of mine has it, rendering yourself stone-deaf for life. If it comes to powder and ball, why, a Man of courage would much sooner blow out somebody else's Brains instead of his own.

I did not, I am thankful to say, want Bread during this my time of ill luck; and I never parted with my sword; but sure it is that Jack Dangerous was woundily pushed, and had to adopt many extraordinary shifts for a livelihood. Item: I engaged myself to one Mr. O'Teague, an Irishman, that had been a pupil of the famous Mr. Figg, Master of the Noble Art of Self-Defence, at his Theatre of Arms, on the right hand side of the Oxford Road, near Adam and Eve Court. Mr. Figg was, as is well known, the very Atlas of the Sword; and Mr. O'Teague's body was a very Mass of Scars and Cicatrices gotten in hand-to-hand conflicts with the broadsword on the public stage. He had once presumed to rival Mr. Figg, whence arose a cant saying of the time, "A fig for the Irish;" but having been honourably vanquished by him, even to the slicing of his nose in two pieces, the cracking of his crown in sundry places, and the scoring of his body as though it had been a Loin of Pork for the Bakehouse, he was taken into his service, and became a principal figure in all the grand gladiatorial encounters, at wages of forty shillings a week and his meat. As for Mr. Figg himself, who was as good at backsword as at broadsword, at quarter-staff as at foil, and at fisticuffs as any one of them,—to say nothing of his Cornish wrestling,—I saw him once, and shall never forget him. There was a Majesty blazed in his countenance and shone in all his actions beyond all I ever beheld. His right leg bold and firm; and his Left, which could hardly ever be disturbed, gave him the surprising advantages he so often proved, and struck his Adversary with Despair and Panic. He had that peculiar way of stepping in, in a Parry, which belongs to the Grand School alone; he knew his arm, and its just time of moving; put a firm faith in that, and never let his foe escape a parry. He was just as much as great a master as any I ever saw, as he was a greater judge of time and Measure. It was his method, when he fought in his Amphitheatre, to send round to a select number of his scholars to borrow a shirt for the ensuing combat, and seldom failed of half-a-dozen of superfine Holland from his prime Pupils. Most of the young Nobility and Gentry made it a part of their education to march under his warlike banner. Most of his Scholars were at every battle, and were sure to exult at their great master's victories; every person supposing he saw the wounds his shirt received. Then Mr. Figg would take an opportunity to inform his Lenders of the charm their Linen had received, with an offer to send the garments home; but he seldom received any other answer than "Hang you, keep it." A most ingenious and courageous person, and immeasurably beyond all his competitors, such as O'Teague, Will Holmes, Felix Maguire, Broughton, Sutton, and the like.

Many good bouts with all kinds of weapons did we have at Mr. O'Teague's theatre, which was down a Stable-yard behind Newport Market, not far from Orator Henley's chapel. The shirt manoeuvre we tried over and over again with varying success; but we found it in the end impossible to preserve order among our Patrons, the greater part of whom were Butchers; and I am fain to admit that many of these unctuous sky-blue jerkins could fight as well as we. Then Mr. O'Teague was much given to drinking, and in his potations quarrelsome. 'Twas all very well fighting on a stage for profit, and with the chance of applause, a clean shirt, and perchance a Right Good Supper given to us by our admirers afterwards at some neighbouring Tavern; but I never could see the humour of Swashbuckling for nothing, and without occasion; and as my Employer was somewhat too prompt to call in cold iron when his Head was so Hot, I shook hands with him, and bade him find another assistant. This was the Mr. O'Teague that was afterwards so unfortunate as to be hanged at Tyburn for devalising a gentleman at Roehampton. Great interest was made to save him, his very prosecutor (who knew not at the first his assailant, or that he had been driven to the road by hard times) heading the signatures to a petition for him. But 'twas all in vain. He made a beautiful end of it in a fine white nightcap fringed; and his funeral was attended by some of the most eminent swordsmen in town, who had a gallant set-to afterwards for the benefit of his widow. 'Tis sad to think of the numbers of brave men that I have known, and how many of them are Hanged.

About this time I was much with the Players, but misliked them exceedingly; and although numbers of brilliant offers were made to me, I could not be persuaded to try the sock and buskin. Hard as were the names by which my enemies would sometimes call me, I could never abide that of Rogue and Vagabond, and such, by Act of Parliament, was the player at that time. No, I said, whatever straits I am driven to, I will be a Soldier of Fortune, and Captain Dangerous to the last.

Of my Adventure with Madam Taffetas the Widow, I am not disposed to say much. Indeed, until my being finally settled, and made the Happiest Man upon earth by my union with the departed Saint who was the mother of my Lilias, it must be admitted that my commerce with the Sex was mostly of the unluckiest description. I have been used most shamefully by women; but it behoves me not to complain, seeing how much felicity I was permitted to enjoy in my latter days. This much, however, I will discreetly set down. That meeting Madam Taffetas in a side box at Drury Lane play-house, She was pleased to accept my Addresses, and to inform me that my conversation was in the highest degree tasteful to her. I entertained her very handsomely—indeed much beyond my means, for I was very heavily in debt for necessaries, and I could scarcely walk the streets without apprehensions of the grim Sergeant with his capias. Madam Taffetas was an exceedingly comely person, amazingly well dressed, and, as I was given to understand, in very prosperous circumstances. She kept an Italian Warehouse by the Sign of The two Olive Posts, in the broad part of the Strand, almost opposite to Exeter Change, and sold all sorts of Italian Silks, Lustrings, Satins, Paduasoys, Velvets, Damasks, Fans, Leghorn Hats, Flowers, Violin Strings, Books of Essences, Venice Treacle, Balsams, Florence Cordials, Oil, Olives, Anchovies, Capers, Vermicelli, Bologna Sausages, Parmesan Cheese, Naples Soap, and similar delicate cates from foreign parts. All her friends put her down as a forty-thousand-pounder. In Brief, she professed to be satisfied with my gentility and Ancient Lineage, though worldly goods I had none to offer her. All congratulated me on my Good Fortune; and not wanting to make any unnecessary bustle about the affair, we took coach one fine Monday morning down to Fleet Market, and were married by a Fleet parson—none other, indeed, than my old friend Chaplain Hodge, who had taken to this way of life and found it very profitable, marrying his twenty or thirty couple a week, when Business was brisk, at fees varying from five guineas to seven-and-sixpence, and from a dozen of Burgundy to half a pint of Geneva. But 'twas a rascally business, the venerable man said, and he sorely longed for the good old days when he, and I, and Squire Pinchin, made the Grand Tour together. Alas, for that poor little man! His Reverence told me that he had gone from bad to worse; that his Mamma had married a knavish lawyer, who so bewildered Mr. Pinchin with Mortgages, and Deeds of Gift, and Loans at usurious interest, that he got at last the whole of his property from him, brought him in many thousands in debt besides, and, after keeping him for three years locked up and half-starved in the Compter, was only forced to consent to his enlargement when the unhappy little man—whose head was never of the strongest, and his wits always going a wool-gathering—went stark-staring mad, and was, by the City charity, removed to Bedlam Hospital in Moorfields. There he raved for a time, imagining himself to be the Pope of Rome, with a paper-cap for a tiara, an ell-wand for a crosier, a blanket for a rochet, and bestowing his blessings on the other Maniacs with much force and vehemence; and there, poor demented creature, he died in the year 1740.

Much better would it have been for me, had I gone straight off my Head and had been sent to howl in Bedlam, than that I should have married that same thievish catamaran, Madam Taffetas. Surely never Madman deserved a Dark House and a Whip more than I did for that most foolishly contracted union. I defy Calumny to prove that I ever used anything approaching false Representations in this matter. I told her plainly that my Hand, Sword, and Deep Devotion were all I had to offer, and that for mere vile pounds, shillings, and pence, and other Mercantile Arrangements, I must look to her. Absolutely I borrowed ten pieces, although I was then at a very Low Ebb, to defray the expenses of the wedding Treat, which was done most handsomely at the Bible and Crown, in Pope's Head Alley, Cornhill. "Now then," I said to myself, as we came home towards the Strand (for we were resolved to have no foolish honeymooning in the Country, but to remain in town and keep an eye to Business)—"now then, Jack Dangerous, thou art at last Married and Settled, and need trouble thyself no more about the cares and anxieties of money-grubbing and bread-getting. Thou art tiled-in handsomely, Jack; thatched and fenced, and girt about with Comfort and Respectability. Thy hat is on, and thy house is covered." Alas, poor fool! alas, triply distilled zany and egregiously doting idiot! No sooner did a Hackney coach set us down at the Leghorn Warehouse in the broad part of the Strand, than we found Margery the maid and Tom the shopboy in a great confusion of tears on the threshold; and immediately afterwards we heard that during our absence to get married, Bailiffs had made their entrance, and seized all the Merchandise for a bill owing by Madam Taffetas to her Factor of Seven Hundred Pounds. The false Quean that I was wedded to was hopelessly bankrupt, and with the greatest impudence in the world she calls upon me to pay the Money; the Bailiffs adding, with a grin, that to their knowledge she owed much more than their Execution stood for, and that no doubt, so soon as it was bruited abroad that I was her Husband, the Sheriff of Middlesex would have something to say to me in the way of a capias against my person. In vain did I Rave and Swear, and endeavour to show that I could in no way be held liable for Debts which I had never contracted. Such, I was told, was the Law; and such it remains to this day, to the Great Scandal of justice, and the detriment of Gentlemen cavalieros who may be entrapped into marrying vulgar Adventuresses whom they deem Gentlewomen of Property, and who turn out instead to be not worth two-pence-halfpenny in the world. Nor were words wanting to add dire Insult to this astounding Injury; for Madam Taffetas, now Dangerous, as I groaningly remembered, must needs call me Mercenary Rascal, Shuffling Pickthank, Low-minded Fortune-hunter, and the like unkind names.

Madam Dangerous indeed! But I am thankful to Providence that the title she assumed very soon fell away from her, and that I was once more left free and Independent. For whilst we were in the very midst of Hot Dispute and violent Recrimination comes a great noise at the door as though some one were striving to Batter it down. And then Margery the maid and Tom the shop-lad began to howl and yelp again, crying out Murder and thieves, and that they were undone, the Bailiffs smoking their Pipes and drinking their Beer meanwhile, as though they enjoyed the Humours of the Scene hugely, and my wicked wife now pretending to faint, and now making at me with the avowed Design of tearing my eyes out. Presently comes lurching and staggering into the room a Great Hulking Brute of a Man that was attired like a Sea Captain; and this Roystering Tarpaulin makes up without more ado to my Precious Partner, gives her two sounding Busses on either side of her cheeks, and salutes her as his wife.

"Your wife!" I cried, starting up; "why, she's my wife! I married her this very morning, and to my sorrow, before Parson Hodge, the Couple-Beggar, at the Fleet."

"That may be, Brother," answers the Sea Captain, with drunken gravity; "but she's my wife, for all that. You married her this morning, you say. I married her five years ago, at Horsleydown, and in the Parish church. I've got the 'Stifficate to prove it; and though I say it that shouldn't, there's not a Finer woman, with a neater ankle and such a Devil of a temper, to be found 'twixt Beachy Head and Cape Horn."

"A fig for both of you," bellows Madam Taffetas, who had gone into one of her Sham Faints in the arm-chair, but was now conveniently recovered again. "If I'm married to both of you—to you, you pitiless Grampus" (this was to the Sea Captain), "and to you, Ruffian, Bully, and Stabster" (this was to me), "I'm married to somebody else, and my real Husband is a Gentleman, who, if he were here, would quoit the pair of you into the street from Exeter Change to the Fox under the Hill."

She said this in one Scream, and then Fainted, or pretended to Faint again.

"Brother," said the Sea Captain to me, staggering a little (for he confessed to having much mixed punch under hatches), but still very grave,—"brother, I think as how it's clear that we're both of us d—d fools, and d—d lucky fellows at the same time."

"Amen!" cries one of the Bailiffs, with a guffaw.

"You belay," remarked the Captain, turning towards the vermin of Law with profound disdain. "Brother" (turning to me), "is the Press out?"

"What do you mean?" I inquired. "You know that there's no warrant for press-gangs in this part of the Liberties of Westminster."

"Liberty be Hanged!" quoth the Sea Captain. "If there was any liberty, there couldn't be a press, for which I don't care a groat, for I'm a master mariner. This is what I mean. Is them landlubbers there part of a press-gang? Are you trapped, brother? Are you in the bilboes? Are you in any danger of being put under hatches?"

"Why," upspoke one of the Bailiffs, answering for me, "the truth is that we are Sheriff's Sergeants, and have made seizure, according to due writ of fi. fa. of this worthy lady's goods. We've nothing at all against the gentleman who says that he married her this morning; but as you said that you married her five years ago, it's very likely that we, or some of our mates, shall have something to say to you, in the form of parchment, between this and noon to-morrow."

"Very well," answers the Strange Seaman. "You speak like a Man o' War's chaplain, some Lies and some Lingo, but all of it d—d Larned. Have you got ere a drop of rum, brother?"

"There's nothing here but some Three-Thread Swipes," responds Mr. Bailiff; "and, indeed, we were waiting until the gentleman treated us to something better."

"Then," continues the Captain, "you shall have some rum. Younker, go and fetch these gentlemen some liquor;" and he flings a crown to the shop-lad. "You may drink your grog and blow your baccy," he went on, "as long as ever you like, and much good may it do you. And as for you, Pig-faced Nan,"—in this uncivil manner did he address the false Madam Taffetas,—"you may go to bed, or to the Devil, 'zactly as you choose, and settle your Business with the Bailiffs in the morning 'zactly as you like. And you and I, brother," he wound up, taking me by the arm in quite a friendly manner, "will just go and take our grog and blow our baccy in peace and quietness, and thank the Lord for it."

All this he said with great thickness and indistinctness of utterance, but with an immovable gravity of countenance. I never saw a Man who was manifestly so Drunk speak so sensibly, and behave himself in such a proper manner in my life.

As he turned on his heel to leave the parlour where all this took place, I saw one of the Bailiffs rise stealthily as if to follow us.

"Belay there!" the Captain cried, advancing his mahogany paw in a warning manner. "Hold hard, shipmates. I'm a peaceable man, and aboard they call me Billy the Lamb; but, by the Lord Harry, if I catch you sneaking about, or trying to find out where I and this noble gentleman be agoing, I'm blest if I don't split your skull in two with this here speaking-trumpet." And so saying the Captain produced a very long tin tube, such as Mariners carry to make their voices heard at a distance at sea, but which they generally have aboard, and do not carry with them in their walks.

The Bailiffs were sensible men, and forbore to intermeddle with us any more. So we marched out of the House, it being now about nine o'clock at night; and, upon my word, from that moment to this, I never set eyes upon Madam Taffetas, or Dangerous, or Blokes,—for the Sea Captain's name, he afterwards told me, was Blokes,—or whatever her real name was. It is very certain that she used me most scandalously, and cruelly betrayed the trusting confidence of one that was not only a Bachelor, but an Orphan.

Captain Blokes was a strange character. We had a grand Carouse that night, he paying the Shot like a gentleman; and over our flowing Bowls, he told me that he had long had suspicions of his wife's real character; and was, indeed, in possession of evidence (though he had kept it secret) to prove that she had given herself in marriage to another man before she had wedded him. And then, through the serving-lad, he had heard that very morning, on his coming into the Pool from Gravesend and Foreign Parts, that Madam, who thought him in China at least, and hoped him Dead, was about to enter into Wedlock once again; so that, determined to have Sport, he had well Primed himself with Punch, and lurked about the neighbourhood until Monsieur Tomfool and his Spouse (by which I mean myself, although no other man should call me so) had come home from the Fleet. And so all the Crying, and Lord ha' Mercies, of the Wench and the Boy, were all subterfuges; and they knew very well, the sly rogues, that the Sea Captain would soon be to the Fore.

Nothing would suit him after this but that we should have Supper at the King of Prussia's Head, in the Savoy, and, as I had given up my Lodgings as not Grand enough for me on the eve of my wedding, and the Vessel of which he was Commander was lying in the Pool, that we should have Beds—at his charges—at the same Tavern; and, indeed, your Seafaring Men, although rough enough, and smelling woundily of tar and bilge-water, are the most Hospitable Creatures breathing; and that makes Me so free with my Money when there is a treat afoot; albeit I can, without Vanity, declare myself Amphibious, for I have seen as much service by Sea as by Land, and have always approved myself a Gentleman of Courage, Honour, and Discretion, on both Elements.

The next morning, after a Nip of Aquavitae, to clear the Cobwebs out of our throats, we went down to Billingsgate, where we saw my old humorous acquaintances, Brandy Sall, the fishwife, and the humorous porter, the Duke of Puddledock; likewise a merry Wag that did porterage work for the Fish Factors in the Market, and thereby seemed to have caught somewhat of the form of the fish beneath which his shoulders were continually groaning, so that all who could take that liberty with him called him Cod's Head and Shoulders. Here we breakfasted on new Oysters and Fried Flounders, with a lappet of Kippered Salmon, for Goodman Thirst's sake, and a rare bowl of hot Coffee, which made us relish a Jug of Punch afterwards in a highly jocund manner. And then we fell to conversation; and I, who had nothing to Conceal, and nothing to be Ashamed of, did recount those of my Adventures which I deemed would be most diverting (for I forbore to tell him those which were tedious and uneventful) to Captain Blokes. And he, not to be behindhand in frank confidence, told me how many years he had been at sea; how many merchant vessels he had commanded; and what Luck he had had in his divers Trading Adventures. Likewise, that he was now under engagement with some very worthy Merchants of Bristol, to man, equip, and command a vessel called the Marquis, which, in company with two others, the Hope and the Delight, were about to undertake a Cruising Voyage round the World. Finding from my speech that I was not wholly unaccustomed to the Sea, and being made acquainted with what I had done in the West Indies and elsewhere, Captain Blokes was pleased to say that I was the very man for him, if I would join him. And at this time, in verity, it seemed as though nothing could suit me better; for my Resources were quite exhausted, and I was brought very Low. So, after some further parley, and a good Beefsteak and Onions, and a bottle of Portugee Wine for dinner, we went to the Scrivener's in Thames Street, by the name of Pritchett, that was Agent for the Company of Merchant Adventurers at Bristol; and an Agreement was drawn up, by which, for Fifty Shillings a month pay, all due rations and allowances, and a certain proportion of the profits to be divided among the Ship's Company at the termination of our Adventure, I bound myself to serve Captain Blokes as Secretary and Purser of the ship Marquis.

"Which means," says he, when we had taken a Dram and shaken hands on signing articles, "that you are to Write, Fight, Drink, and keep Accompts, play put with me in the Cabin, assist me in preserving the Discipline of the Ship, sing a good song when you are called upon, help the Doctor to take care of the sick, and see that the Steward don't steal the Grog and Tobacco; and if you'll stick to me, by the Lord Harry, Billy Blokes will stick to you. I like you because you were such a d—d fool as to go and marry that old woman."

The next day we took Coach at the Swan, by Paddington Church, for Bristol, and two days afterwards arrived at that great and flourishing Mercantile city. Nothing worthy of note on the road; the Highwaymen, that were wont to be so troublesome, being mostly put down, owing to Justice Fielding and De Vit's stringent measures. We were much beset with gangs of wild Irish coming over from their own country a-harvesting in our fertile fields; and those gentry were like to have bred a riot, quarrelling with the English husbandmen at Stow. Being at Bristol, comfortably housed at the Bible and Crown in Wine Street,—the landlord much given to swearing, but one of the best hands at making of Mum that ever I knew,—Captain Blokes had great work in settling business with the Company of Merchant Adventurers and Alderman Quarterbutt, their President. As it seems we were at war with the French and Spaniards, the Marquis (burden about 320 tons) was to carry twenty-six guns and a complement of 108 men, letters of marque being granted to us by private Commission, with secret instruction as to Prizes and Plunder, so that the disposal of both should redound to the advantage of the Mariners, the Profit of our Employers, and the honour of His Majesty's arms. We had nigh double the usual complement of officers usual in private ships, to prevent Mutinies, which ofttimes happen in long voyages, and that we might have a large provision for a succession of officers in case of Mortality. In the Marquis we had Captain Blokes, commander-in-chief of the whole Armament, a Mariner; a Second Captain, who was a Dr. of Physick, and also acted as President of our Committee (having much book-learning), and Commander of the Marines; two Leftenants; a Sailing Master; a Pilot that was well acquainted with the South Seas, having been in those latitudes twice before; a Surgeon and his Mate, or Loblolly Boy; Self as Secretary and Purser; two young lawyers, designed to act as Midshipmen; Giles Cash, as Reformado,—that was the title of courtesy given to those who were sent to sea in lieu of being hanged; a Gunner and his crew; a Boatswain, cooper, carpenter, sailmaker, smith, and armourer, ship's corporal, Sergeant of Marines, cook; a Negro that could shave and play the fiddle; and the Ship's company as aforesaid, one-third of whom were foreigners of every nation under the Sun; and of those that were His Majesty's subjects, many Tinkers, Tailors, Haymakers, Pedlars, &c.—a terribly mixed Gang, requiring much three-strand cord to keep 'em in order.

On the 2nd August, 1748, we weighed from King's Road, by Bristol, and at ten at night, having very little wind, anchored between the Holms and Minehead. Coming on a fresh gale at S.E. and E.S.E., we ran by Minehead at six in the morning. Next day the wind veered to N.E. and E.N.E.; on the 4th there was but little wind, and smooth water; on the 5th we saw Land; and finding that we had overshot our port, which was Cork, came to an anchor at noon off the two rocks near Kinsale. At eight at night we weighed, having a Kinsale Pilot on board, who was like to have endangered our safety, the night being dark and foggy, and the Pilot not understanding his Business; so that he nearly turned us into the next Bay to the westward of Cork, which provoked Captain Blokes to chastise him publicly on the quarter-deck. Our two consorts got into Cork before us, and we did not anchor in the Cove until the 7th August, at three in the afternoon. We stayed here until the 28th of the month, getting in stores and provisions, and replacing as many of our tailors and haymakers as we could with real Sailors that could work the Ship. Our crew, however, were continually Marrying while we were at Cork, to the great Merriment of Self and Captain Blokes, who had seen enough and to spare of that Game; but they would be Spliced, although they expected to sail immediately; among others, there was a Danish man coupled by a Romish Priest to an Irish woman, without understanding a word of each other's language, so that they were forced to use an Interpreter; yet I perceived this pair seemed more afflicted at separation than any of the rest. The Fellow continued melancholy for many days after we were at Sea. The rest, understanding each other and the world better, drank their cans of Flip till the very last Minute, concluded with a health to our good voyage and their next Happy Meeting, and then Departed, quite unconcerned.

We took sailing orders on the 1st of September; and then Captain Blokes discovered to the crew whither we were bound,—that is to say, on a four years' voyage,—in order that, if any Disorders should arise among us, we might exchange our Malcontents while in company with one of His Majesty's ships. But no complaint was found on board the Marquis, except from one fellow who was expected to have been Tithing man that year in his Parish, and said his wife would be obliged to pay Forty shillings in his absence; but seeing all hands satisfied, he was easily quieted, and drank with the rest to a prosperous voyage. On the 2nd September we, having cleaned and tallowed our ship's five streaks below the Water-line, the fiddler struck up "Lumps o' Pudding," and to follow that "Cold and Raw," the Ship's company joining chorus with a will, and so fell down to the Spit End by the Culloden Man of War, as our two Consorts had done the Night before. When we came to the Spit End, Captain Blokes saluted the Culloden with seven Guns, to which they returned Five in courtesy, and then we again Three for thanks. And so commenced my Journey round the World.



MEANING simply this, that I have often and often, as a little Lad, gazed upon the Great Map—very yellow, and shiny, and cracked on its canvas mounting it was—of the World, upon Mercator's Projection, and devoutly longed for the day to arrive when it might be my fortune to make a Voyage of Circumnavigation. Such a Map, I remember, hung in the Schoolroom at Gnawbit's; and I have often been cruelly beaten for gazing at it and pondering over it, instead of endeavouring to commit to memory a quantity of Words, the meaning of which I could not for the life of me understand.

Now, indeed, I had got my Desire, and was going round the World in a Ship well found with Men and Stores, occupying myself a responsible position, and one giving me some Authority, and enjoying the full Confidence of my Commander, who was, both when sober and inebriated (and he was mostly the latter), one of the most sagacious men I ever knew. He spoke seldom, and then generally with a Hiccup; but what he said was always to the Purpose. I doubt not, if Captain Blokes had been in the Royal Navy, he would by this time be flying his pendant as Admiral.

'Twould fill a volume to give you a Narrative, however brief, of our Voyage. One does not go round the World quite so easily as a Cit taking a Wherry from Lambeth Walk to Chelsea Reach. No, no, my Masters; there are Perils to encounter, Obstacles to overcome, Difficulties to surmount; and I flatter myself that Jack Dangerous was not found wanting when a Stout Heart, a Strong Hand, and a Clear Head were needed. I repeat that 'tis impossible for me to give you an exact Log of so lengthy a Cruise; and you must needs be content if I set down a few bare Items of the most notable Things that befell us.

On 11th September we chased a strange Sail, and after three hours came up with her. She proved to be a Swedishman. After firing a couple of shots at full Random at her, to show that we meant Mischief if provoked, and one of which Shots, I believe, passed over her Taffrail, and killed a Black Servant and the Captain's Monkey, Captain Blokes boarded her in his Yall; examined the Master, and searched the Ship for Contraband of War; but not finding any save a suspicious quantity of salted Reindeer's Tongues, our Committee agreed that she could not be considered a lawful Prize; and not being willing to hinder time by carrying her into any Harbour for further Examination, we let her go without the least Embezzlement. The Master gave us a dozen of his Reindeer Tongues, and a piece of dry Rufft Beef; and we presented him with a dozen bottles of Red-streak Cider. But while Captain Blokes and the Doctor of Physic and Self were aboard the Swede taking a social Glass with him, our rascally crew took it into their heads to Mutiny, their Grievance being that the vessel was a Contraband, and ought to be made a Prize of. The plain truth was, that the Rogues thirsted for Plunder. The Boatswain was one of the Mutineers. Him we caused to receive Four Dozen from the hands of his own Mates, and well laid on; about a dozen of the rest we put in Irons, after having Drubbed 'em soundly, and fed 'em upon Bread-and-Water; but at the end of a few days they begged Pardon, and, on promising Amendment, were allowed to return to their Duty.

18th September we came in sight of Pico Teneriffe, bearing S.W. by W., distant about eight leagues. This day we spied a Sail under our Lee Bow, between the Islands of Grand Canaries and Forteventura. She showed us a clean Pair of Heels; but we gave Chase, and after seven hours came up with her. She proved a Prize, safe enough: a Spanish Bark, about 25 tons, with some 45 Passengers, who rejoiced much when they found we were English, having fancied that we were Turks or Sallee Rovers. Amongst our Prisoners were four Friars, and with them the Padre Guardian of Forteventura, a good, honest old fellow, fat, and given to jollity. Him we made heartily merry, drinking the Spanish King's Health, for naught else would he Toast. After we had made all Snug, we stood to the Westward with our Prize to Teneriffe, to have her ransomed, that is to say, her Hull; for her Cargo was not worth redeeming, being extremely shabby,—one or two Butts of Wine, a Hogshead of Brandy, and other small matters, which we determined to keep for our own use. The Spanish Dons made a mighty pother about paying, pleading that the Trade of these Islands enjoyed an immunity from Privateering by arrangement between his Catholic Majesty and the King of Great Britain, and were even seconded by some English merchants of Teneriffe that were frightened at the thought of the cruel Reprisals the Dons might exercise after we went away, both on their Persons and Properties; for Jack Spaniard is one that, if he cannot have Meal, will have Malt. But we soon let 'em know that Possession was Nine Points of the Law, and that we were resolved to stick to our Prize unless we got Ransom, which they presently agreed to. At eight o'clock the next morning we stood into the Port, close to the Town, and spied a Boat coming off, which proved to be the Deputy Governor, a Spanish Don with as many names as an English pickpocket has Aliases, and one Mr. Harbottle, that was English Vice-Consul. They brought us Wine, Figs, Grapes, Hogs, and other Necessaries, as Ransom in Kind for the Bark; and accordingly we restored her, as also the Prisoners, with as much as we could find of what belonged to their Persons; although, Truth to tell, some of our wild Reformadoes had used them somewhat unhandsomely. All the Books, Crucifixes, Reliques, and other superstitious things, we carefully gave back to the Friars; to the Padre a large Cheese, at which he was much delighted; and to another Religious, who had been stripped nearly as bare as a Robin, a pair of Breeches and a Red Nightcap. And so stood off, giving Three Cheers for King George, and one, with better luck next time, for the King of Spain; and I doubt not that they cursed us heartily that same night in their Churches, for Heretics. Now we had an indifferent good stock of Liquor, to be the better able to endure the Cold when we got to the length of Cape Horn, which, we were informed, had always very Cold Weather near it.

On the 25th, according to custom, we Ducked those that had never passed the Tropic before. The manner of doing it was to reeve a Rope in the Mainyard, to hoist 'em about half-way up to the Yard, and let 'em fall at once into the Water; they being comfortably Trussed by having a Stick 'cross through their Legs, and well fastened to the Rope, that they might not be surprised and let go their Hold. This proved of great use to our Fresh-water Sailors, to recover the Colour of their Skins, which had grown very Black and Nasty. Those that we Ducked in this manner Three Times were about 60; and others that would not undergo it could redeem themselves by a Fine of Half-a-Crown, to be Levied and Spent at a Public Meeting of all the Ships' Companies when we returned to England. The Dutchmen we had on board, and some few English, desired to be Ducked, some six, others eight and ten times, to have the better title for being Treated when they came home.

On the 1st October we made St. Vincent, where our Water began to smell insufferably; so had some Coopers from the Hope and Delight to make us Casks, and take in a fresh Stock.

On the 3d we sent a boat to St. Antonio, with one of our Gunners' Crew that was a very fair Linguist, to get Truck for our Prize Goods what we wanted; they having plenty of Cattle, Pigs, Goats, Fowls, Melons, Potatoes, Limes, and ordinary Brandies, Tobacco, Indian Corn, &c. Our people were very meanly stocked with Clothes; yet we were forced to watch our men very narrowly, and Punish some of 'em smartly, to prevent their selling what Garments they had, for mere Trifles, to the Negroes.

We got all we wanted by the 8th; but our Linguist gave us leg-bail; and as he was much given to telling of Lies, we did not go to the pains of sending a party of Marines on shore after him. This is the place whither the Blacks come from St. Nicholas to make Oil of Turtle for the anointing of their Nasty Bodies withal. There was much good Green Turtle at this time of the year, which made me think of my old Jamaica days; but our men, in a body, refused to eat it, much preferring Salt Junk.

Item.—Many Flying Fish about here.

Nothing more worthy of note till the 22d October, when Mr. Page, Second Mate, made an attack on his superior officer, the Doctor of Physic, with a Marline-spike; and, but for a very large Periwig he wore, which was accounted odd in one having a Maritime Command, would have finished him. Mr. Page was had to the Forecastle and clapped in the Bilboes, and Captain Blokes was for Hanging him off-hand as an Example to the rest; but I, as Secretary, pointed out to him that there was no Power of Life and Death in our Instructions, and that it would be folly to run the risk of a Praemunire when we made Home again. With much trouble I succeeded in dissuading him from his Design: so that the Mate was only lashed to the Main-gears and soundly Drubbed. Fair, pleasant Weather, and a fresh Gale. One that had secreted a Peruke, and a pair of scarlet Stockings with silver Clocks, out of the plunder of the Spanish Bark, did also receive Rib-roasting enough (this was on a Sunday, after Prayers) to last him for a fortnight.

On the 10th of November, after a terrific Tornado and Thunder and Lightning, that frightened some of our Tailors and Haymakers half into Fits, we came to an Anchor in 22-fathom water, in a sandy bay off the land of Brazil. Caught some Tortoises for their Shells, for they have too strong a taste to be Eatable. A Portugee boat came from a Cove in the Island of Grande, on our Starboard side, and said they had been robbed by the French not long since. Captain Blokes, the Doctor, and Self went ashore to Angre de Keys, as it is called in Sea-Draughts; but, as the Portugee call it, Nostra Senora de la Concepcion, a small village about three leagues distant, to wait on the Governor, and make him a present of Butter and Cheese. As we neared the shore, the People, taking us for Mounseers, fired a few Musquetoons at us, which did us no Hurt; and when they found out who we were, they very Humbly Begged our Pardon. The Friars invited us to their Convent, and told us they had been so often stripped and abused by King Lewis's frog-eating Subjects, that they were obliged to take measures to Defend themselves; and, indeed, 'twas these said Padres who had fired at us. The Governor was gone to Rio Janeiro, a city about twelve leagues distant, but was expected back next day. We got our empty Casks ashore, and sent our Carpenter, with a friendly Portugee, to look out Wood for Trustle-trees, both our Main and Fore being broke; but the Weather was so Wet and violent Sultry, that we could do nothing. Here are abundant Graves of Dead Men; and the Portugees told us that two great French ships, homeward bound from the South Seas, that Watered in this same place about nine months before, had buried nearly Half their men here; but 'twas at the Sickly season, and the French have a marvellous foul way of Living. The people very Civil; and we offered 'em handsome Gratuities if they would catch such of our men as might run away, which they promised to do most Cheerfully.

Hearing of a Brigantine (this was some days afterwards) at the entrance of the Bay of Grande, we sent our Pinnace manned and armed to know all about her. She turned out to be a Portugee laden with Negroes, poor Creatures! for the Gold-mines. Our boat returned, and brought as presents a Roove of Fine Sugar and a Pot of Sweetmeats from the Master, who spoke a little English, and had formerly sailed with 'em. The Portugees are cautious in saying how far it is to the Gold-mines; but, I believe, the distance by water is not great; and there is certainly abundance of Gold in the country. The French took about 1200l. worth out of their boats last autumn at one Haul, which makes the Portugees hate 'em so. Some of 'em brought us a Monstrous Creature which they had killed, having Prickles or Quills like a Hedgehog, and the head and tail of a Monkey. It stank abominably, which the Portugees said was only the Skin, and that the Meat of it was very Delicious, and often used for the table; but our men not being yet on Short Commons, none of 'em had Stomach enough to try the Experiment, so that we were forced to throw it overboard to make a Sweet Ship. Our people could now hardly go ashore without being frightened, as they thought, by Tigers, and holloaing to be taken aboard again; but there was nothing more dangerous hereabouts than Apes and Baboons.

Twenty-seventh November was a grand Festival at Angre de Keys, in honour of one of their Saints. We, and most of our officers from the Hope and the Delight, went ashore and were received by the Governor, Signor Raphael da Silva Lagos, with much civility. He asked if we would see the Convent and Procession; and on our telling him our Religion differed very much from his, answered that we were willing to see it without partaking in the Ceremony. We waited on him in a Body, being ten of us, with two Trumpets and Hautboys, which he desired might play us to Church, where our Music did the office of an Organ, but separate from the Singing, which was very well chanted by the Padres. Our Trumpets and Hautboys played "Hey Boys, up go we!" and all manner of paltry noisy tunes; and, after service, the Musicians, who were by this time more than half-drunk, marched at the head of the Company: next to them an old Padre and two Friars, carrying Lamps of Incense. Then the Image of the Saint, as Fine as a Milkmaid's Garland, borne on a Bier, all spangled, on the shoulders of four men, and bedizened out with Flowers, Wax-candles, &c. After these, the Padre Guardian of the Convent, and about forty Priests in their full Habits. Next came the Governor; Captain Blokes, in a blue Navy Coat laced with Gold, a pair of scarlet-velvet Breeches, and a Military Hat; and the rest of the English officers in their very best Apparel. I was fit to die a-laughing, and whispered to our Doctor of Physic, that had I known I was fated to walk in such a Procession, I would never have sold my old Tower Warder's slashed doublet to the Frippery Man in Monmouth Street, but would have brought it round the World with me to wear at this Outlandish place. Each of us had, moreover, in Compliment to his Saintship, a long Candle, lighted, in his hand; the which gave us great Diversion, flaring the tapers about, and seeking to smoke one another. The Ceremony held about two hours, after which we were splendidly entertained at the Convent, and then by the Governor at the Guard-house, his own habitation being about three leagues off. It is to be noted, they Kneeled at every Crossway, and turning, walked round the Convent, and came in at another door, bowing down and paying their devotion to the Images and the Wax-candles, with the like superstitious observances. They unanimously told us, however, that they expected nothing from us but our Company; and, beyond the Trumpets and Hautboys, and a jolly Song or two from us, they had no more. Many Sharks were in the Road, that keep the Negro Slaves in good order, should they, poor Black Fellows, attempt Escape to any foreign ship by swimming to her. But the Portugees are not very hard with their Negroes, save up at the Gold-mines, where Mercy is quite unknown. Aqua d'oro may be a very good Eye-water; but, sure, there's nothing like it for hardening of the Heart.

On the 28th of this Month we bade farewell to our kind friends of Angre de Keys. Just before sailing we sent a Boat to the town for more Necessaries, and brought off some Gentlemen, whom we treated to the very best we could. They were very glorious, and in their Cups proposed the Pope's Health to us; but we were quits with 'em by toasting that of the Archbishop of Canterbury; and, to keep up the humour, we also proposed Martin Luther: but this fell flat, as they had never Heard of him; whereas that of his Grace at Lambeth turned out rather against us than for us; for they cried out that they knew him very well, and that he was a Catholic Saint, under the style and title of San Tomaso de Cantorberi.

December 1st, we weighed with a breeze at N.E.; but later came on a gale S.S.W., forcing us to anchor close under the Island of Grande. About 10 next morning we weighed again, and bore away and steered away S.W. Now the product of Brazil is well known to be Red Wood, Sugars, Gold, Tobaccos (of every kind, and very choice), Whale Oil, Snuff, and several sorts of Drugs. The Portugees build their best ships here. The people very Martial; and 'tis but a few years since they would be under no Government, but have now submitted to the House of Braganza, which makes a Pretty Penny out of them. Their Customs are very nasty; their Houses marvellously foul; and they are for ever smoking of Tobacco; but the Portugees are still a very friendly folk, cordial to us English, although they call us Heretics, and, but for their great love for roasting Jews, very tender-hearted. I like them much better than those Proud Paupers the Spaniards. A Beggar on Horseback is bad enough; but Goodness deliver us from a Beggar on an Andalusian Jackass!

Memorandum.—Brazil discovered by the famous Americus Vespucius, that came after Captain Christopher Colomb.

Nothing remarkable happened until December 6th, when we had close cloudy Weather, with Showers; and, after that, some pretty sharp Gales. On the 15th the colour of the water changed; and we sounded, but had no ground. On the 18th one of the Hope's men fell out of the Mizen-top on the Quarter-deck, and broke his Skull; so that he died, and was buried next day. A brisk fellow, that, from his merry ways, used to be called Brimstone Jemmy. After this, cold airy weather, and numbers of Porpoises, black on their backs and fins, with sharp white Noses. They often leaped high up in the water, showing their white bellies. Also, a plenty of seals. December 23d we saw Land, appearing first in three, and afterwards in several Islands. The Wind being westerly, and blowing fresh, we could not weather it, but were forced to bear away and run along Shore from three to four leagues distant. This we saw first was Falkland's Land, described in few Draughts, and none lay it down right, though the Latitude agrees pretty well. December 25th saw Land again; but could not get near enough to see whether it was inhabited; in truth we were too much in a hurry to think of making Discoveries; for at four in the Afternoon we sighted a Sail under our Lee-bow, gave chase, and got ground of her apace till Night came on. In the Morning we saw nothing, it being thick hazy Weather; then, as ill luck would have it, it fell Calm, and having nothing else to do we Piped all hands to Punishment, and gave the Cook three dozen for burning Captain Blokes' burgoo. Then Grog served out, and we took an Observation. Lat. 52.40.

We kept on rowing and towing with Sweeps, and our Boats ahead, until about six in the Evening; and the Chase appearing to be a large ship, we sent Boats aboard our Consorts, and agreed to engage her. A fine breeze sprang up, and we got in our Sweeps and Boats, making all possible sail; it came on thick again; but we kept her open on the Larboard, and the Hope and Delight on the Starboard bow, and it being now Short Nights, we thought it impossible to lose one another. But the Master persuaded our Commander to shorten sail, saying that we should lose our Consorts if we kept on. Another Fog, and be hanged to it; but the next morning the Yellow Curtain was lifted up, and we saw the Chase about four miles ahead, which gave us a new Life. We ran at a great Rate, it being smooth water; but it coming on to blow more and more, the Chase outbore our Consorts, and being to windward she gave off, and then came down very melancholy to us, supposing her to be a French Homeward-bound Ship from the South Seas. Thus, this Ship escaped; and left us all, from the Commander to the Cabin-boys (who had a hard time of it that night, you may be sure), in the most doleful Dumps.

Strong gales to the 1st of January. This being New-Year's Day, every officer was wished a Merry New Year by our Trumpets and Hautboys; and we had a large tub of Punch, hot, upon the Quarter-deck, where every man in the Ship had above a Pint to his share, and drank to our Owners' and Friends' healths in Great Britain, to a Happy New Year, a good Voyage, plenty of Plunder (Wo is me for that Homeward-bound Frenchman from the Southern Seas!), and a Safe Return. And then we bore down on our Consorts and gave them three Huzzas, wishing them the like.

Now, it being very raw cold Weather, we very much dreaded scudding upon Ice; so we fired Guns as Signals for the Hope and Delight to bring to, and on the 5th of January brought ourselves to, under the same reefed Topsails. We feared at one time, from our Consorts having an Ensign in their Maintopmast shrouds, as a Signal of Distress, that they had sprung their Mainmast; so we made the Large again, our Ship working very well in a mighty great sea. When we were able to get within Hail of our Consorts, we asked them how they did, and how they had come to hoist the Wretched Rag. They answered, Pretty well, but that they had shipped a great deal of Water in lying by, and being forced to put before the wind, the Sea had broke in at the Cabin Windows, filling the Steerage and Waist, and was like to have spoiled several Men; but, Heaven be thanked! all else was indifferent well with 'em; only it was intolerably Cold, and everything Wet. Captain Blokes sent me on board the Delight in our Yall, and I found them in a very disorderly Pickle, with all their Clothes a-drying: the Ship and Rigging covered with 'em from the Deck to the Maintop. They got six of their Guns into the Hold, to make the Ship lively.

Aboard the Marquis died, on the 8th, John Veale, a Landsman, having lain ill a Fortnight, and had a Swelling in the Legs ever since he left the Island of Grande. At nine at night we buried him; and this was the first we had lost by Sickness since we left England. Until the 15th, cloudy Weather with Squalls of Rain, and fresh Gales at S.W. We now accounted ourselves round Cape Horn, and so in the South Seas. The French ships that first came to trade in these seas were wont to come through the Straits of Magellan; but Experience has taught 'em since, that this is the best Passage to go round the Horn, where they have Sea Room enow, without being crushed and crowded as at a Ranelagh Masquerade; and the Straits are in many places very narrow, with strong Tides and no Anchor Ground.

On the 31st of January, at seven in the Morning, we made the Island of Juan Fernandez, bearing W.S.W., and about two in the Afternoon we hoisted our Pinnace out, and essayed to send one of our Lieutenants ashore, though we could not be less than four leagues off. As soon as it was Dark our men cried out that they saw a Light ashore; our Boat was then about a mile from the Shore, and bore away for the Ship on our firing a Quarter-deck Gun, and several Muskets, showing Lanterns in our Mizen and Foreshrouds, that the Pinnace might find us again, whilst we plied to the lee of the Island. About two in the Morning she came aboard, all safe. Next day we sent our Yall ashore about noon with the Master and Six Men, all well Armed; meanwhile we cleared all ready for Action on board the Marquis. Our Boat did not return, so we sent our Pinnace with the Crew, likewise Armed: for we were afraid that the Spaniards might have had a Garrison there, and so seized 'em. However, the Pinnace returned, and brought abundance of Crawfish, but found nothing human; so that the alarm about the Light must have been a mere superstition of the Ship's Company.

It was at this same Island of Juan Fernandez, in the year of our Lord 1708-9, that Captain Woodes Rogers, commanding the "Duke" Frigate, and with whom also Captain Dampier, that famous Circumnavigator, sailed, found a Man clothed in Goatskins, who looked wilder than they who had been the first owners of 'em. He had been on the Island four years and four months, being left there by Captain Stradling in the "Cinque Ports;" his name was ALEXANDER SELKIRK, a Scottish man, who had been Sailing Master to the "Cinque Ports;" but quarrelling with the Commander, was by him accused of Mutiny, and so Abandoned on this Uninhabited Island. During his stay he saw several Ships pass by, but only two came to an Anchor. As he went to view 'em he found they were Spaniards, and so retired, upon which they Shot at him. Had they been French, he would have submitted; but chose to risk his dying alone on the Island rather than fall into the hands of the Spaniards, because he apprehended they would Murder him, or make a Slave of him in the Mines; for he feared they would spare no Stranger that might be capable of Discovering the South Sea. He had with him when left his Clothes and Bedding, with a Firelock, some Powder, Bullets, and Tobacco, a Hatchet, a Knife, a Kettle, a Bible, some practical Pieces, and some Mathematical Instruments and Books. During the first eight months of his stay he suffered much from Melancholy and Terror; but afterwards got on pretty well. He built two Huts with Pimento Wood, which he also burnt for Fuel and Candle; and which, besides, refreshed him with its fragrant smell. He had grown very Pious in his Retreat, and was much given to singing of Psalms, having before led a very naughty life. Being a very good sailor, Captain Woodes Rogers took him away with him as Second Mate. He told 'em that he had been at first much pestered with Cats and Rats, the latter of which gnawed his feet and clothes, so that he was obliged to cherish the Cats with Goat's-flesh, and they grew so familiar with him as to lie about him in hundreds. But I cannot stay to recount half the wonderful Adventures of Mr. Selkirk. I knew him afterwards, a very old Man, lodging with one Mrs. Branbody, that kept a Chandler's Shop over against the Jews' Harp Tavern at Stepney. He was wont bitterly to complain that the Manuscript in which he had written down an Account of his Life at Juan Fernandez had been cozened out of him by some crafty Booksellers; and that a Paraphrase, or rather Burlesque, of it, in a most garbled and mutilated form, had been printed as a Children's Story-book, under the name of ROBINSON CRUSOE. This was done by one Mr. Daniel Foe, a Newswriter, who, in my Youth, stood in the Pillory by Temple Bar, for a sedition in some plaguey Church-matters. But it is fitting to let these Gentry know that they have Ears, lest they become too Saucy.



NOW, being got away from Juan Fernandez, did an unconquerable Greed and Longing for Prize and Plunder come over us; and did we sweep the Horizon hour after hour as long as it was Light, in hope of satisfaction to our long-deferred Hope. March 2d we sighted Land, and a vast high ridge of Mountains they call the Cordilleras, and are in the Country of Chili. Some parts are, I believe, full as high, if not higher, than the Pico of Teneriffe, and the tops of all of 'em covered with Snow. This day we came to an allowance of Three Pints of Water a day for each man; judging it best to be Economical, although we had a good stock of water aboard (taken in at Juan Fernandez); but Captain Blokes' reason was, to be able to keep at Sea for some time longer, and take some Prizes to keep the Deuce out of our pockets, without being discovered by Watering; for our South-Sea Pilot told us that the timorous people of these Latitudes once smelling an Enemy hovering about, will put to sea with nothing of value from one end of the Coast to the other. Much baffled by several white Rocks that looked like Ships, and Captain Blokes much incensed at continual Disappointments, takes to making the Cabin-boy weary of his life; and after drubbing him with a Rope's end three times doubled, was for sousing him in the Pickle-tub; but I dissuaded him (remembering the Torments I had myself endured as a Moose; and even now when I think of 'em I am Afraid, and Trembling takes hold of my Flesh), and so no more was Done to him, beyond a Threat that he should be Keel-hauled next time; although the poor lad had in no way misbehaved himself. We got the two Pinnaces into the water, to try 'em under sail, having fixed each of 'em with a Gun, after the manner of a Patterero, to be useful as small Privateers, hoping they'd be serviceable to us in little winds to take vessels. March 15th, Land again, and we supposed it was Lobos; and sure enough, on the 17th, we got well unto anchor off that Island, but found nobody at the place. On the 19th we determined to fit out our small Bark for a Privateer, and launched her into blue water, under the name of the Beginning. To his great pride and delight, Captain Blokes appointed the Doctor of Physic to command her. She was well built for sailing, so she was had round to a small Cove in the Southernmost part of Lobos. A small Spar out of the Marquis made a Mainmast for her, and one of our Mizen Topsails was altered to make her a Mainsail. March 21st, All being ready, and the Beginning christened by Captain Blokes emptying a Bowl of hot Punch over her bow, she was victualled from the general store; and the Doctor of Physic, who, for all his Degree, claimed to be a good Mariner, took possession of his high and important command. Twenty men from our ship, and ten from our Consorts, were put aboard her, all well Armed. We saw her out of the Harbour, and she looked very pretty, having all Masts, Sails, Rigging, and Materials, like one of those Half Galleys fitted out for his Majesty's Service in England. They gave our Ship's Company three Huzzas, and we returned them the like at parting. We told the Captain-Doctor that if we were forced out of the Road, or gave chase hence, we would leave a Glass Bottle, buried under a remarkable Great Stone agreed upon, with Letters in it, to give an Account of how it was with us at the moment of our Departure, and where to meet again. And he was to do the like. When the Beginning was gone we fell to and scrubbed Ship, getting abundance of Barnacles off her much bigger than Mussels. Seals numerous, but not so many as at Juan Fernandez. A large one seized upon a fat Dutchman that belonged to us, and had like to have pulled him into the water, biting him to the bone about the arms and legs. This Hollander was henceforth known as the Lord Chancellor, having been so very near the Great Seal. After barnacling, we gave the Marquis a good Keel, and Tallowed her low down. Another Dutchman we had died of the Scurvy. His Messmates said that it was because we had no more Cheese aboard, and that we could not catch Red Herrings by angling for them in Blue Water.

March 28th. The little Beginning came in with a Prize, called the Santa Josepha, bound from Guayaquil to Truxillo, 50 tons burden, full of Timber, with some Cocoa-nuts and Tobacco. A very paltry Spoil. There were about twelve Spaniards aboard, who told us (after some little Persuasion, in the way of Drubbing) that the Widow of the late Viceroy of Peru would shortly embark at Acapulco, with her Family and Riches, and stop at Payta to Refresh; and that about eight months ago there was a Galleon with 200,000 pieces of Eight on board, that passed Payta on her way to Acapulco. They continued, however, to Lie and Contradict themselves when questioned; and so (as they howled most dismally on deck while under Punishment) they were had down to the Cockpit, where the Boatswain and his Mates had their Will of them, and I don't know what became of them afterwards. These Spanish Prisoners give a great deal of Trouble.

April 2d. The Superstitious among us were heartily frightened at the Colour of the Water, which for several miles looked as Red as any Blood. Some fellows among the crew that were of a Preaching Turn, gave out that this unusual appearance was an Omen, or Warning to us of Judgments coming for what had been done to the Spanish Prisoners (in the which Duresse I declare I had no hand; 'twas all done by Captain Blokes' orders, and 'tis very likely that the Boatswain, who was a Rough Fellow, very ignorant, exceeded his instructions). It was explained, however, that this Sanguinary Hue in the water was a perfectly natural appearance, caused by the Spawn of Fish; and two or three of the preaching fellows being had to the Maingears and well Drubbed, Grog was served out to the rest, and an Alarm, which might have bred a Mutiny, soon subsided.

But huzza! on the 5th of April we had things more substantial to think of than Red Seawater; for we took, after a very slight Resistance, a Ship called the Ascension, built Galleon-fashion, very high, with Galleries, Burden between 400 and 500 tons, and two Brothers Commanders, both Dons of families that were Grandees 500 years before Adam was born, and of course with five-and-twenty Christian Names apiece. She had a number of Passengers and some fifty Negroes; but the former being persons of Condition, far above the Common Sort, and not poor Coasting people, such as were those in the Timber Bark, we used 'em handsomely. They, without any such persuasion as was employed to their forerunners, told us that the Bishop of Chokeaqua, a place far up the Country in the South Parts of Peru, was to have come from Panama in this vessel for Lima, but would stop at Payta to Recruit. Being near that place, we resolved to Watch narrowly, in order to catch his Lordship.

Now to the Norrard, and on the 10th of April we were off the Hummocks they call the Saddle of Payta; and being very Calm, we held a Court-Martial on one of our Midshipmen who had threatened to shoot one of our men when at Lobos, merely for refusing to carry some Crows that he had shot. The Court was held in Captain Blokes' Cabin, and consisted of the Commander, Self, First-Lieutenant, assisted in our deliberations by sundry Pipes of Tobacco and a great Jug of Punch. Found Guilty. Sentenced to be Degraded before the Mast, to have his Grog stopped for a Fortnight, and to receive Four Dozen at the Gun (for he being a kind of Officer, we did not wish to Humiliate him on deck). Half of his Punishment he endured with more doleful Squalling than ever I heard from a Penitent in my Life, although the Boatswain was very tender with him, and three Tails of the Cat were tied up. He begged pardon, and so Captain Blokes remitted him the rest of his Punishment. This Midshipman was one who sang a very good Song; and so a Cushion being brought to Ease him, we finished the Evening and the Punch jovially enough, he being before the end in high favour with the Commander, and promised his Rating back again.

April 15th. The Officers of all three Ships met on board the Marquis, and the Committee came to a Resolution to attack Guayaquil at once. The Bark we had called the Beginning by this time had come back to us, having begun nothing and found nothing, since its first prize, except a great Sea Lubber, some kind of Monster that the Doctor of Physic had caught and wanted to preserve in Rum, to make a Present of to the Royal Society when we came Home; but we forbade his wasting good Liquor for so unworthy an end, and the Monster, smelling intolerably, was thrown overboard. 'Twould have caused me no great sorrow to see the Doctor follow his Prodigy, for he was a very uncomfortable Person, and was much given to cheating at Cards.

April 20th. To our Boats off Guayaquil, a Great Company of Men and Officers all armed to the teeth. We rowed till 12 at night, when we saw Lights, which we judged to be a place called Puna. It blew fresh, with a small rolling Sea, the Boat I commanded being deep laden and crammed with men; some of us say they would rather be in a Storm at Sea than here; but, in regard we were about a charming Undertaking, we thought no Fatigue too hard. At daybreak we saw a Bark above us in the River; and, running down upon her, found it was a large Pinnace, full of the most considerable Inhabitants of Puna, escaping towards Guayaquil. Here were at least a dozen handsome genteel young Women, extremely well dressed, and from them our men got some fine Gold Chains and Earrings. Some of these Nicknacks were concealed about 'em; but the Gentlewomen in these parts being very thinly dressed in Silk and Fine Linen, they could hide but little, and our Linguist was bidden to advise them to be Wise in Time, and surrender their Valuables, which they did. And so civil were our Sailors to them, that they offered to dress some Victuals for us when we got 'em aboard; which made us hope that the Fair Sex would be kind to us when we returned to England, for our discreet behaviour to these charming Prisoners.

* * * * *

I am afraid that during the Attack on Guayaquil, which took place the next day, and continued for the three following ones, when the place Capitulated to our force, and a Treaty was signed between our Commanders and the Governor and Corregidor of Guayaquil, sundry proceedings took place that would not very well have squared with the public ideas of what is due to the Fair Sex just treated of; but I declare that I had neither Art nor Part in them, and that I am entirely Free from any Responsibility that Censure might cast on the Authors of Cruel Disturbances; for early in the Attack I was hit by a Musket-ball in the chest, and borne senseless to our Boats. That I did my Duty bravely, my Commander was good enough to say, and the whole Ship's Company to admit. I was carried away to the Marquis, and for a long time lay between Hawk and Buzzard; for a smart Fever came about the third day, like Burgundy wine after Sherris, and I was for awhile quite off my head and Raving about Old Times;—about Captain Night and the Blacks, and Maum Buckey and her Negro Washerwomen, and my Campaign against the Maroons, and some Other Things that had befallen me during those fifteen years which I have chosen to leave a Blank in my life, and which I scorn to deny did—some of them—lie heavy on my Conscience. All these were mixed up with the old Gentleman at Gnawbit's, and my Lord Lovat with his head off, and my Grandmother in Hanover Square; so that I doubt whether those who tended me knew what to make of me. There was some difficulty too as to medical attendance, for we had cashiered our Surgeon—that is to say, he had run away at Grande in the Brazils, to marry a brown Portugee woman; and the Doctor of Physic he was all for Herbal Treatment, demanding Succory, Agrimony, Asarabacca, Knights-pound-wort, Cuckoo-point, Hulver-bush, with Alehoof, and other things not to be found in this part of the World. And Captain Blokes said that he knew nothing half so good for a Gunshot Wound as cold Rum-and-Water; and between the two I had like to have died, but all were very kind to me, even to extracting the Ball with a Pair of Snuffers; and a great clumsy thing the said missile was, being, I verily believe, part of a Door-hinge which these clumsy Spanish Brutes had broken off short to cram into their Guns; and yet it might have gone worse with me had it been a smooth round cast Bullet, and drilled a clean Wound right through my Body.

As I was coming round, even to the taking of some Sangaree and Chicken Panada (for we were now very well provided with Live Stock), the Captain said to me: "You ha'n't murdered a man, Brother, have you?"

I replied, starting up, that my hands were free from the stain of Blood unrighteously spilt.

"No offence, Brother Dangerous," continued the Captain. "In our line of life we ar'n't particular. It wouldn't take very dirty weather to make our Ensign look like a Black Flag. Piracy and Privateering—they both begin with a P. I thought you had something o' that sort on your mind, because you took it so woundily about being hanged."

"I have had a strange life," I answered faintly.

"No doubt about that," says the Captain. "So have I, Brother, and not an over-good one: that's why I asked you. If the old woman hadn't been in the oven herself, she'd never have gone there to look for her daughter. But have you anything on your mind, Brother? Is there anything that Billy Blokes can do for you?"

1  2  3  4     Next Part
Home - Random Browse