Whaling Log of the Nimrod, 1844-1846

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William Harrison

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Romance and Reality

Out Two Squires

The Story of a Long Feud

Chapter I.

It was Christmas morning, a genuine old-tashioned Christmas, sharp and clear and cold. The meadows were covered, far and wide, with crisp white snow, and the hedge-rows sparkled with crystal frostwork. The rustie monuments in the village churchyard assumed forms of quaint indefiniteness under their fleecy covering, and the ancient yew trees, dark and gloomy in summer when all else was gay, seemed now like fairy fountains, springing upward in the winter sunshine. Within the church was gathered well-nigh the whole population of our Cornish chapel, and with tender elequence our good old vicar, bowed with age and infirmity, but still earnest, still eloquent, once more preached the message of peace and good will. Not an eye wandered among the earnest up-turned faces; not a sound broke the quiet hush of wrapt attention as he spoke his concluding words.

" And now, my brethren - nay, rather my children, for my journey has been long, and most of those who started with me have gone one by one to their rest - for well-nigh forty years have I labored among you, and the time is at and when I, too, shall rest. and when you will hear my voice no more. It is but a little while, and the silver cord must be loosed and the golden bowl be broken. God has been very good to me; yet one gift more, and only would I ask of Him, that, ere I go to my long home, every soul in this my little flock shall have blotted out all memory of former feud or ancient grievance, and shall, with love and fellowship to all mankind, be able to join in the Christmas song of the angels: 'On earth peace, good will among men.' "

All knew for whom these last words were especially intended, for the feud between my uncle, Richard Polwhele, and the only other large landowner in the parish, [[Sir Philipp Trefusis]], was a matter almost of country history. It had originated many years back, when both were young men fresh from Oxford. At school and college they had been bosom friends, nay, almost brothers, but (so the story ran) both young men had been fascinated by the wiles of the same village beauty. Neither would yield to the other. A violent quarrel arose, and in a moment of passionate excitement on both sides Trefusis struck Polwhele with his riding whip across the face. Polwhele raised his hands to return the blow, but checked himself or it would habe gone hard with Trefusis, for he was slight and undersized, while Polwhele's strength and daring were proverbial throughout the country side.

"If you value your life," he said controlling himself by a mighty effort, "get out of my sight."

Trefusis read aright the warning of the white face and flashing eyes, and, already dreading the consequences of the rash act fled away. Richard Polwhele spent the rest of the day alone in the woods, and four-and-twenty hours afterward was stricken with brain fever. Ere he had completely recovered his rival had left the country, [?] and

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O Sabbath I needed for a world of innocence, we salute thee, as thou comest in the name of the Lord, radiant in the sunshine of that dawn which broke over creation's achieved work, marching downward in the track of time, a pillar of refreshing cloud and of guiding flame interweaving with thy light new beams of discovery and promise! - Dr, Hamilton

The Lover's Victory. By Helen Forest Graves. The afternoon sun was drawing long, level bars of light across the velvet grass which sloped down to the silver ridges of sand along the sea-shore; the curling fringes of snow-white foam broke with a soft, mumurous sound on the beach, and Pennie Wingate, sitting with her book on the lap, under the shadow of a low-branched cedar tree, could just detect, through the sweet medley of deamy summer sound, a firm, free footstep on the rocky ledge beyond, a footstep whose echo brought the colour to her cheek and the dery sparkles to her eye. Penelope Wingate was very pretty; just eighteen, with large, dark-blue eyes. Brown, shining shair, and skin soft and translucent as mother-of-pearl. She was slightly above the medium size, with that graceful swaying motion of every limb that must necessarily be born with one, for art never can imitate its supple ease. Yes, she was very pretty, and so Hugh Barton thoughtm as he approached and saw her unconscious tableau in herself. He himself was a fit mate for her, in his tall, vigourous manhood, dark and brilliant, with a certain Castilian style of beauty. No wonder that Pennie Wingate had learned to love him with all the earnestness of her noble, womanly nautre. "Alone, Pennie." he said, pausing as his shadow fell across the pages of her book. "I did not anticipate so good an opportunity to ask you to go with me on the beach picnic tomorrow. Will you allow me the pleasure of becoming your escort?" The question, asked with playful formaility, was answered at once: "Of course I will, Hugh. Major Truefitt asked me two hours ago, and I said I was engaged; for of course," she added, with that pretty rotal way of taking things for granted that belongs of right to beauty, "I knew you would want me to go with you." "That's a good little Pennie. Then I will have the boat ready at ten precisely." "Are we going in boats?" she asked. "To be sure. The distance by carriage is altogether too great; the boats shall take us there in half the time." "But are you a good oarsman?" "Capital. You shall have an opportunity to-morrow of judging." he answered, gravely. "But, Hugh-" She hesitated. "Now, then what is coming?" laughed he. "Yoy look as solemn as a judge." "So will you when you hear Uncle Percy is going with me." "Going with you?" "Yes; some odious nonsence or other about studying to conchology of the beach, but I know it's only to prevent a tete-a-tete between you and me. For you know he's determined I shall marry Charlie Allston." Mr. Barton but his lip and contracted his brows; the prospect of stout Uncle Percy in the prow of his little boat was by no means alluring. "Can't we give him the slip?" he said, discontentedly. "I'm afraid not; he is my legal guardian, you know." Pennie answered, softly sighing. Hugh Barton whistled under his breath. "well, cara amica, what must be, must be. I would prefer Uncle Percy in his arm-chair at home, or in the dome of St. Peter's, or anywhere he pleases, so long as it is not with us; but as you say, he has a right to accompany you, and we must just make the best of it." Pennie looked up in astonishment. Hugh Barton was not in the general habit of submitting so resignedly to the decrees of fate. She scarcely knew what to make of it. "You'll be sure to be ready at ten - Uncle Percy and all?" "Yes, we will be ready." And Mr. Barton and Miss Wingate strolled along homeward, in the level radiance of sunset, enjoying the fragrant quiet and silence, broken only by their own low voices, until they came in sight of the huge, barn-like, sea-side hotel, where people cramped themselves up in even-by-nine rooms all day for the pleasure and privilage of salt-bathing and fashionable society, during the meridian glow of the summer months. Uncle Percy was on the qui vive for them - a stout old gentleman, with a red face and a shining bald head - and a very ungracious glance he cast on Mr. Hugh Barton as that young gentleman bowed a polite adieu to Miss Wingate at the foot of the piazza steps. Evidently there was no love lost between these two gentlemen. The sunshine of the next day lay like a morning vail of gold over the gently rippling surface of the great deep, as Mr. Barton's little boat, lightly rocking close to the shore, creaked beneath the weight of Uncle Percy Wingate. "Gently, sir, if you pleaase; keep exactly in the middle of the seat." mischeviously counseled Hugh Barton, as the old gentleman looked nervously from side to side. "The least deviation from an exact equilibrium would probably consign us to a watery [?] [--e."] "Perhaps - perhaps we had better turn back," [?] [fal--] the old man, looking anxiously toward the [?] [--ding] shores. "I cannot swim, and-" £[?] by no means sur; it's all right," cried Hugh, [?] [--ing] vigourously at the oars, and looking contentedly at the blue eyes of Pennie, who sat directly opposite to him. "Don't allow yourself to be worried; we will soon be there." And then by way of cheering up his companion's spirits, we [?] [--ated] a variety of anecdotes concerning deaths by drowning, shipwreck, etc. while Pennie's concealed smiles contrasted oddly with Uncle Percy's look of open-mouthed horror. "Here we are, sir." said Barton, at length, as the keel of the little boat grated on the sand at the rocky point which was the rendezvous of the various picnickers, "I hope you've enjoyed your sail!" Uncle Percy tried to smile, and said: "Oh, yes, he had, very much indeed!" But he didn't look like it. As soon as the impromptu lunch, eaten under the shadow of a beetling cliff of dazzling white rock was over, Mr. Barton and Miss Wingate strolled casually off, followed closely by Uncle Percy. "We are going toward Clyndale Point," carelessly observed Mr. Barton. "I think, Mr. Wingate, you would be apt to find a finer variety of water shells on the Crooked Mills shore!" "Oh, it doesn't matter," said Uncle Percy, " I dare say I shall find enough at Clyndale!" And he eyed the two yound lovers with a glance which was, to say the least of it, malicious. Clyndale Point was a superb mass of rocks, belted here and there with crags and rifts - a broad stretch, or floor, over which, at high tide the waters swept like a flood, but which was now a bright surface of rock or sand with tiny shells, and trails of dark seaweed strewn here and there. "Here is a delicious shady spot under these rocks." said Mr. Barton. "Shall we sit down and rest?" "Certainly," interposed Uncle Percy, before Pennie could answer; "certainly! I'm tired to death climbing over these uneven crags!" So Hugh Barton spread his plaid on the rock to form a convenient seat for Uncle Percy, while he and PEnnie picked up shells, and gathered strange, shining pebbles and bits of seaweed, conscious the while that the old gentleman's gray eyes were on them keen and unwearying as the gaze of a falcon. "Don't go out of sight, Penelope!" sharply cried he, as Hugh Barton evinced a desire to pass beyond his ken, and , unwillingly enough, both turned back. "I'll fix 'em!" thought Uncle Percy, chuckling gleefully to himself. But man is only human after all, and Uncle Percy was very much fatigued by his long walk to say nothing of the fervid heat of the August day, and by degrees he felt himself growing drowsy, his eyelids drooping lower and lower, and a delicious sense of torpor gradually insinuating itself into every crevice of his being. "This won't do!" thought Uncle Percy, "this will never do!" and he straightened himself up, and stared very fiedly as the two figures on a ledge of cliff a little below; but in a minute the somnolent influence again overpowered him and he leaned back, fitting his spinal column into a convenient niche of roack, and, spite of his resolutions to the contrary, fell fast asleep! When he awoke the sun had, by some celestial hocus-pocus or other, turned itself directly around, and, indtead of shining on the rocky headland back of him was poking its burning beams directly into his half-p[ened eyes, reflecting itself, in a dazzling ribbon of fire, from the ocean, until earth, sea and sky seemed alike one glare of white, blinding light. "Dear me! quote Uncle Percy, rubbing his dazzled optic orbs, "where am I? How came I here?" Then, with the torment of returning recollection, came almost apprehension. Where was his niece? and where, in athe name of all the fates and furies combined, was the young scoundrel. Barton? Uncle Percy sprang to his feet in an instant - but to his horror and dismay, he found himself in a modern Robinson Crusoe, rather advances in years, on an extremely limited desert island - in other words the tide advancing twith a sullen, rushing sound that boded all manner of evil in his ears, had literally surrounded him, and was momentarily circumscribing the limits of his safe-abiding. The cold perspiration broke out in globules on his face, hot as was the afternoon. "Heavens and earth!" groaned Uncle Percy, wildly clasping both hands over his eyes, "am I to perish here all alone? I can't swim, and there's no boat in sight. How came I to be so rash as to go to sleep? Why didn't I stay at home, when I was well off?! And he broke into a groan, low and hollow as the reverberating echo of the thunderous mass of water that circles him round. "Hallo-o-o-o!" shouted Uncle Percy, putting both hands to his mouth after the manner of a speaking-trumpet. "Hallo-o-o-o!" came back a faint sound-faint but still something more tangible than the echoes sent back by the rocky cliffs beyond - and in a minute or two, as Uncle Percy strained his eyes and ears in wild, breathless expectation, a little boat swept lightly round the headland. A little boat with Pennie in the prow and Hugh Barton propelling it, by long, vigorous strokes. "We were just coming after you, sir," said Hugh, as Uncle Percy bawled forth an incomprehensible medley of welcome, reproach, and vituperation. "Just coming after me! I think it was high time," roared the irate old gentleman. "Row up nearer. I am not the Colossus of Rhodesm to span half the Atlantic Ocean. Quick - I can feel the water splashing against me." Hugh leaned lazily on his oars. Pennie sat there, serence and lovely as a sea-nymoth. "Do you want to get off, sir?" questioned Mr. Barton. "Of course I do." "I shall be most happy to assist you," observed Mr. Barton witht he utmost courtest, "but I've a little bargain to make first." "A bargain, sir!" jerked forth Uncle Percy, "What do you mean, sir?" "I mean that you have had your turn all along, sir, and that mine has come now. Before I row up a foot nearer, I must have your unconditional promise to marry your niece." "I will never grant any such permission!" cried Uncle Percy, growing scarlet in his indignation. Hugh wheeled the head of the boat round. "Oh, very well, sir, if you prefer to be drowned, I haven't a word to say." "Drowned!" faltered Uncle Percy. "Stop a moment! Hold on! You would never allow me to - Hall0-0-0-0! I say!" For the boat was slowly moving off, while a sudden wave, higher and stronger than its brothers, sprinkled Uncle Percy's feet with its salt spray. "Come back!" roared Uncle Percy. "Yes or no - have I your permission? I am determined to marry Pennie, and she will not consent without." "Yes - yes - yes!" shouted Uncle Percy, each affirmative monosyllable louder than the last, jerked from him in mortal terror of his life. "I am am much obliged to you, sir," said Hugh, polietely. "Hold on [?] alongside directly." [?] [page ripped] point of rock, and Uncle Percy stumbled rather than stepped into it, dropping like a duge doll upon the seat. "I hope you're not very wet, uncle [?] Pennie, sweetly. "We haven't the least idea [?] [tid--] was rising so fast when we went to get [?] those beautiful star-fish for my aquiarim." Pennie might have spoken the truth so [?] [--garded] herself, but Uncle Percy knew from the twinkle in Hugh Barton's eye that he at [?] not been so very innocent of all cognizane[?] affair. The homeward voyage was very silent. [?] and Hugh were too happy to talk - Uncle Percy miserable, what with wet feet, acute twin rheumatism, and sharp consciousness of [?] Charles Allston met them at the hotel, but [?] Allston's day and generation were over. "It's no use, Charley," said Uncle Percy, [?] "I've promised her to Hugh Barton." For Hugh had won the victory, and [?] slender forefinger already bore the diamond proclaimed to all the world her happy [?] [--ment] Youth had outgeneraled age. Cupid had [?] day.

Easter Lilies. By E. Norman Gunnison. Before the alter of our Lord The Easter lilies sweetly bloom; The richness of their rare perfume Through nave and isle is shed abroad.

A solemn hush is on the place, As if the Lord himself were there; Within the outer courts of prayer We see the shining of His face.

We know His presence by our faith, Upon his resurrection morn; We know the Christ-Child newly born, And listen to the words He saith.

Not now, as then, in mortal guise His form is seen by beds of pain; And yet, our hearts grow glad again Beneath His glad immortal eyes.

And through the stillness which o'er broods, We hear a rustling, as of wings Bearing the sweet and holy things Which dwell in His Beatitudes.

We keep the Easter lilies white, And by our altars wait for Him, For when the lamp of life burns dim, Our Easter morn shall lie in light.

A Real Friend. By Mrs. M. A. Kidder. No blessing can a man receive, No good can Heaven send So precious in itself, as one, One true and real friend.

In health or sickness, good or ill, In sunshine of in storm, The hand is openm and the heart, The generous heart, is warm.

Though summer friends are plentiful While Fortune smiles to-day, "A friend in need is a friend indeed" When fortune flies away.

This real friend may be wife, A mother, or a son, Or one in whom the coursing blood Of kin has never run.

They ask not what our lot may be - How lengthy is our purse; They love us for ourselves, indeed, For better or for worse."

No blessing can a man receive, No good can HEaven bestow, So precious in itself as one, One true and real friend.

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WHERE I FOUND VIOLA BY HERO STRONG. It was drawing toward nine o'clock of a dull drizzly evening, and my horse was leg-weary. I am one of those persons who ought to be president of a society for the prevention of cruelty to animals, and of course, my horse was more to be considered than myself. I drew rein before long, low frame-house, the back buildings of which seemed to extend indefinitely, and asked for shelter. I had stumbled upon the right place, for the house was a tavern, the stout, red-faced man who came forth to meet me, was the landlord. Red seemed to be a favorite color with mine host, for his face was red, his hair and eyebrows ditto, and his beard and eyes were determined not to be outdone by anything else, and were more brilliant than the shining end of his olfactory. which, by the way, had an upward incli-nation, and resembled a full-blown flower of the cockscomb species. A negro appeared and led away my horse, and the landlord conducted me into the bar-room. This was a low-ceiled, ill-smelling place, the atmosphere redolent with thesmoke of about a score of pipes, all of which were in full blast; and rising triumph-ant over all other odors, the pungent fumes of very bad whisky assailed my nose. The only pleasant feature of the room, was an immense wood fire on a stone hearth, and when one has ridden fifty miles over the exeerable roads of the Old Dominion in the month of November, he knows how to appreciate a fire. The men gathered around this fire were even rougher looking than ordinary country tavern loungers, and when I entered they each and all re-moved their pipes and favored me with a prolonged stare. Probably they did not often see strangers, and were disposed to make the most of this opportu-nity, for Bruxel was a long way off from the traffic routes, and I had been led thither only by a sum-mons from my aunt. Catherine Axtell, my sole remaining relative, who was lying at the point of death, in a mountain village twenty miles farther west. By the time I got thawed, supper was announced. Hot corn pome, corn bread, broiled beef, eggs and bacon, coffee, and cold venison pie. I ate heartily, smoked a cigar, for I am sorry to say that I am a victim of the abominable habit of smoking, and then I signified to mine host my readiness for bed. While Waiting in the hall for chamber candles to be brought, I overheard a brief consultation be-tween the landlord and an old, sinister-faced female domestic. What I heard was not much, yet still sufficient to rouse for the moment my curiosity. "You're never going put him in that part of the building?" said the woman, in a tone of evident dismay. "Can't do any otherways." said the landlord; "this confounded court has filled every room. No danger, she is quiet now." This woman said something more, which I did not understand, and then the landlord came to take me to my room. We met his son on the landing, lighting up an-other party. I should have recognized the young man by his likeness to his father - only if anything there was more of the brute about the younger man. I had never seen him before, and yet I would not have liked to meet him in a lonely place if I had been unarmed and possessed of any valuables. He stopped his father, and spoke to him in a low voice. Perhaps it was my imagination, but I thought he was remonstrating with him. The old man laughed mockingly, and we passed on. He led me a long way from the main part of the house into a wing of the building, which was fast falling into decay. At the first door he stopped and applied a rusty key to the still rustier lock. The room into which we had entered had once been well furnished, but now the carpet was in rags, dust had settled every-where, and the fire which had been kindled on the hearth had filled the whole place with smoe of its frantic struggle for life, and then gone out entirely. The landlord punched the blackened logs with the poker, and swore an oath or two over the situa-tion, and then apologized to me in a rude way for the lack of conveniences in my quarters. "Court's a settin' here now," said he, "and we've got the lawyers, and all that kind of trash. Hope you'll be comfortable, captin, though the room hain't been used no great deal lately. Been give over to the rats and ghosts. Hope you ain't afraid of ghosts?" and he nudged me facetiously. I assured him that I stood in no awe of shadowy risitants, and he bade me good-night. I was tired and sleepy, and I did not investigate the capabilities of my apartment. I threw off my boots and coat and tumbled into bed, rightly judging that though my other garments were soiled they would not in-dure the still dirtier bed clothers. My bones ached from the effects of my rough ride, or let land speculators put the matter as they may in their efforts to induce people to come and settle on this land of bankrupt plantations and broken lown gentry, the roads are horrible, and there is no getting over the facts any more than there is getting over the roads themselves. At last I fell asleep, and was dreaming of falling over a precipice thousands of feet high into the Red sea, when something aroused me suddenly. I sat up in bed and felt for my pistol. All right. But there was nothing to fire at. The moon had risen- was on its last quarter now, and gave very little light, but I could see every object in the room dis-tently. Nothing was amiss. I began to feel ashamed myslef, and lay down again. Presently there wa a faint rustling sound at the head of my bed and then I heard the sweetest voice in all the world call faintly: "Fidele! Fidele!" and then something white glided across the floor of my chamber, and disappeared under the bed. and then the same sweet voice - it was full of now-exclaimed: "Oh, my poor little Fidele! Would to Heaven you understand the need of your unhappy mis- and then send someone to her rescue!" then followed a sound of suppressed sob- mingled with the loud purr and the occasional meowing of a cat. was young and not a little romantic. I slipped.

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