The Annotated "Privateersman"/Chapter XI

I cause myself to be dismissed from my Owner’s Service—Am arrested—Conveyed to London, and confined in the Tower—Am visited by a Romish Priest, and through his interference obtain my Liberation—Set off to Liverpool, and find my Owner and Captain Levee—Their surprise—Miss Trevannion.

When I called upon our owner, which I did as soon as I had dropped my anchor and furled sails, he embraced me, and then led me into the back room next to his counting-house.

“My dear Elrington,” said he, “well as you managed to get off the Jacobite gentlemen, there is a strong suspicion on the part of the government that they were on board of your vessel, and that I was a party to their escape. Whether they will take any measures now that you have returned I know not; they may have gained some intelligence, or they may worm out something, by their emissaries, from those who compose your crew, and if so we must expect their vengeance. Now tell me where you landed them, and all the events of your cruise, for I have heard but little from those who brought in the prizes taken by the Arrow. Captain Levee is too busy with his own vessel and the prize to come on shore for these two hours, and I wish to talk with you alone upon this affair.”

After I had narrated all that had passed, and the manner in which the French privateer had been captured, the owner said—

“If the government spies, and there are plenty of them about, find out from your crew that you landed passengers at Bordeaux, depend upon it you will be arrested and examined, without you get out of the way till the affair has blown over. Now the men will narrate in the taverns the curious history of this French privateer, and in so doing cannot fail to state that you were on shore in France. Now, Elrington, you have run the risk to oblige me, and I must keep you out of difficulty; and, if you feel inclined to hide yourself for a time, I will of course pay all your expenses.”

“No,” I replied; “if they find out what has taken place, and wish to get hold of me in consequence, I think it will be better to brave it out. If I hide away, it will make them more anxious to have me, and will confirm their suspicions that I am what they are pleased to call a traitor; a reward will be offered for my apprehension, and at any time that I do appear the reward will cause me to be taken up. If, on the contrary, I brave it out, and, if I am asked, say at once that I did land passengers, at all events they will not make it high treason; so, with your leave, I will stay. I hardly need say that I shall take the whole responsibility on myself, and declare that I took them on board without your knowledge; that you may rest assured of.”

“On consideration, I think that your plan is the best,” replied my owner. “I am grateful for your offer of screening me, which I would not permit, were it not that I shall be useful to you if any mischance takes place, and, if in prison, could be of no service.”

“Then, Sir,” I replied, “the wisest course will be for you at once to dismiss me from the command of the privateer, in consequence of your having been informed that I carried passengers and landed them in France. That step will prove you a friend to the government, and will enable you, after a time, to get me out of my scrape more effectually.”

“You are sacrificing yourself; Elrington, and all for me.”

“Not so, Sir. I am only securing a friend in case of need.”

“That you certainly are,” replied my owner, squeezing my hand. “Well, it will be the best plan even for you, and so let it be.”

“Then I will now return on board, and tell the officers that I am dismissed. There is no time to be lost; and here comes Captain Levee; so for the present, Sir, farewell.”

On my return on board, I called up the officers and men, and told them that I had offended the owner, and that he had dismissed me from the command of the privateer. One of the officers inquired what I had done: and I said, before the men, that it was for landing the passengers in France. They all condoled with me, and expressed their sorrow at my leaving them, and I believe they were sincere. It was fortunate that I did as I had done, for I found that the government emissaries were on board at the time that I made the communication, and had already gained the information from some of my crew. I ordered my chest and bedding to be put into the boat, and, as soon as they were ready, I gave up the command to the first officer, and bidding them all farewell went down the side, and pulled on shore, repairing to my former lodgings.

I had not been there two hours before I was arrested and taken to prison. I was, however, very comfortably lodged, because I was a state-prisoner, and I presume that more respect is paid to a man when he is to be drawn and quartered, and his head set above the Tower gates, than a petty malefactor. The next day I was summoned before what was called the Commission, and asked whether I had not landed some people in France? I replied immediately that I had done so.

“Who were they?” was the next inquiry.

“They stated themselves to be Roman Catholic priests,” replied I, “and such I believed them to be.”

“Why did I do so?”

“Because, in the first place, they paid me one hundred guineas each; and, in the second, because I considered them mischievous, dangerous men, conspiring against the government, and that the sooner they were out of the country the better.”

“How did I know that they were traitors?”

“All Roman priests were traitors in my opinion, and I hated them as bad as I did the French; but it is difficult to deal with a priest, and I thought that I was performing a good service in ridding the country of them.”

“Who else was privy to the affair?”

“No one; I had made the arrangement with them myself; and not an officer or man on board knew anything about it.”

“But my owner, Mr. Trevannion, was he a party to it?”

“No, he was not; and on my return he dismissed me from the command of the privateer, as soon as he found out that I had landed the priests in France.”

A great many more questions were put to me, all of which I answered very cautiously, yet without apparent hesitation; and, after an examination of four hours, the president of the Commission told me that I had been, by my own acknowledgment, aiding and abetting the escape of malignant traitors, and prevented them meeting their just fate on the scaffold. That, in so doing, I had been guilty of treason, and must abide the sentence of the supreme Commission in London, whither I should be sent the following day. I replied that I was a loyal subject; that I hated the French and Romish plotters, and that I had done what I considered was best; that if I had done wrong, it was only an error in judgment; and any one that said I was a traitor lied in his throat.

My reply was taken down, and I was sent back to prison.

The following afternoon the gaoler came into my room, accompanied by two persons, one of whom informed me that I was delivered over to their custody to be taken to London. I was led out, and at the door I found three horses, upon one of which I was desired to mount. As soon as I was in the saddle, a rope was passed from one leg to the other under the horse’s belly, so as to prevent my escape; and my horse was led between the other two, upon which my keepers rode, each having a hand-rein made fast from my horse’s bridle to his own. A crowd was assembled round the entrance of the gaol, and among the lookers-on I perceived Captain Levee and my owner; but of course I thought it imprudent to take any notice of them, and they did not make any recognition of me.

I hardly need say, my dear Madam, how very revolting it was to my feelings to be thus led away like a felon; but at the same time I must acknowledge the courtesy of my conductors, who apologised for being compelled to take such measures of security, and on the way showed great kindness and good-feeling.

Everything being arranged, we proceeded on our journey: but it was late when we set off, owing to one of my conductors being sent for by the commissioner, and having to wait for letters for nearly three hours. As it may be supposed, we could not travel at speed, and we seldom went faster than a walk, which I was sorry for, as I was anxious that the journey should be over and my fate decided as soon as possible.

Almost an hour after dark, a party of men rushed from the side of the road, and some seizing the bridles of the horses the others threw the two conductors off their saddles by taking them by the leg and heaving them over on the other side. This was done so quickly, that the two men, who were well armed, had not time to draw out a pistol or any other weapon of defence; and as soon as they were on the ground they were immediately seized and overpowered. The faces of the men who had thus assailed the king’s officers were blackened so as to disguise them, but from their voices I knew them to be the men and officers of the privateer. “Now then, Captain Elrington,” said one of them, “be off with you as fast as possible, and we will take care of these fellows.”

I still remained in my saddle, and, although somewhat flurried with the surprise of the attack, I had had time to recover myself; and had decided upon my mode of behaviour. I felt, as I had said to the owner when we consulted together, that an escape now would be only putting off the evil day, and that it was better to meet the case boldly at once; so I rose in my stirrups, and said to the men in a loud voice, “My good fellows, I am much obliged to you for your exertions in my behalf; as it proves your good-will, but I cannot and will not take advantage of them. By some mistake I am accused of being a traitor, when I feel that I am a true and loyal subject, which I have no doubt will be fully established upon my arrival in London. I cannot, therefore, take advantage of this opportunity to escape. I respect the laws of my country, and I beg you to do the same. Oblige me by releasing the two gentlemen whom you have made your prisoners, and assist them to remount their horses, for I am resolved that I will go to London and be honourably acquitted. Once more, my lads, many thanks for your kind intentions; and now I wish you farewell; and if you would do me a great favour, you will disperse peaceably, and leave us to proceed on our journey.”

The men perceived that I was in earnest, and therefore did as I requested, and in another minute I was again alone with my two keepers.

“You have behaved honourably, Sir, and perhaps wisely,” observed one of my conductors, as he was about to remount his horse. “I will not ask you who those people were, although I have no doubt but you recognised them yourself.”

“No,” I replied, “I did not. I guessed from whence they came, but I did not recognise any one individual.”

I gave this cautious answer, although I had recognised Captain Levee and one of my own officers.

“Well, Captain Elrington, you have proved to us that you may be trusted, and therefore, on your pledging your word that you will not escape, we shall have a great pleasure in removing all unpleasant precautions.”

“I certainly have proved that I would not escape, and will readily give you my assurance that I will not alter my mind.”

“That is sufficient, Sir,” replied the officer; and he then cut away the rope which bound my legs, and also took off the two leading reins attached to the other horses. “We shall now,” he said, “proceed not only more pleasantly, but more rapidly.”

My conductors then mounted their horses, and we set off at a good trot, and in an hour arrived at the place where we were to put up for the night. We found supper prepared for us, and good beds. My conductors now left me free of all restraint, and we retired to our beds. The next day we continued our journey in the same manner. My companions were pleasant and gentlemanlike men, and we discoursed freely upon every topic; no one could have imagined that I was a state-prisoner.

We arrived, at London on the fifth day, and I was then delivered over to the keeper of the Tower, according to the instructions that my conductors had received. They bade me farewell, and promised that they would not fail to represent my conduct to the authorities, and gave me hopes of a speedy release. I had the same idea, and took possession of the apartments prepared for me (which were airy and well ventilated) with almost cheerfulness.

On the third day of my arrival a Commission was sent to the Tower to examine me, and I gave the same replies as before. They were very particular in obtaining the descriptions of the persons of those whom I had landed in France, and I answered without disguise. I afterwards found out that I had done a very foolish thing. Had I misrepresented their persons, it would have been supposed that they really were four Catholic priests, but from my exact description they discovered that I had rescued the four traitors (as they termed them) that they were the most anxious to secure and make an example of; and their annoyance at this discovery had so angered them against me that my subsequent conduct could not create any feeling favourable towards me.

Three weeks elapsed, and I was wearied of confinement. My gaoler told me that he feared my case was a bad one; and, after another week had passed, he said that I was condemned as aiding and abetting treason. I must say that I little expected this result, and it quite overthrew me. I asked my gaoler what was his authority. He said that so many people had assisted and effected the escape of the rebels without one having been convicted of having so done except myself on my own avowal, that they deemed it absolutely necessary that an example should be made to deter others from aiding those who were still secreted in the country; and that in consequence it had been decided by the Privy Council that I should be made an example of. He told me much more which I need not repeat, except that it proved the malignant feeling that was indulged by the powers in authority against those who had assisted their defeated opponents, and I felt that I had no chance, and prepared my mind to meet my fate.

Alas, my dear Madam, I was but ill prepared to die,—not that I feared death, but I feared what must be my condition after death. I had lived a reckless, lawless life, without fear of God or man; all the religious feelings which had been instilled into me by my good tutor (you know my family history, and I need say no more) during my youth had been gradually sapped away by the loose companionship which I had held since the time that I quitted my father’s house; and when I heard that I was to die my mind was in a state of great disquiet and uncomfortable feeling. I wished to review my life, and examine myself; but I hardly knew where to begin.

All was chaos and confusion. I could remember many bad actions, but few good ones. I felt that I was like a vessel without a rudder, and without a pilot; and after hours and hours of deep thought I would give up the task of examination in stern despair, saying to myself, “Well, if it must be so, it must.” I felt an inclination to defy that Heaven which I felt would never be opened to me. This was the case for more than a week after I heard of my condemnation, until I began to reflect upon the nature of our creed, and the terms of salvation which were offered; and as I thought over them I felt a dawn of hope, and I requested the gaoler to furnish me with a Bible. I read it day and night, for I expected every morning to be summoned to execution. I felt almost agony at times lest such should be the case; but time passed on, and another fortnight elapsed, during which I had profited by my reading, and felt some contrition for my many offences and my life of guilt, and I also felt that I could be saved through the merits of Him who died for the whole world. Day after day my faith became more lively, and my mind more at ease. One morning the gaoler came to me, and said that there was a priest who wished to see me. As I understood he was a Roman, I was about to refuse; but on consideration I thought otherwise, and he was admitted. He was a tall, spare man, with a dark Spanish countenance.

“You are, I believe,” said he, “Captain Elrington, who effected the escape of some of our poor friends, and who are now condemned for your kind act?”

“I am, Sir,” replied I.

“I am aware,” said he, “that your profession of faith is not mine, and do not, therefore, come to talk with you on serious points, without you should wish it yourself; my object is, being indebted as we are to you for saving our friends, to offer to be of any use that I can to you, in executing any wishes, or delivering any messages, which you may wish to give, should you suffer for your generous conduct, and you may trust anything to me with safety, that I swear to you;” and he took a crucifix from the folds of his garment, and kissed it, as he said so.

“I thank you for your kind offer, Sir,” replied I, “but I have nothing to trouble you with. I have long quitted my family, who know not whether I am alive or dead, for reasons that I need not explain. I am under an assumed name, and it is my intention to suffer under that name, that my family may not be disgraced by my ignominious death, or be aware that I have perished on the scaffold.”

“Perhaps you are right,” replied the priest; “but let us talk upon another point; have you no friends that could exert themselves in your favour so as to procure your pardon and release?”

“None,” replied I, “except those who, I am sure, are exerting themselves to the utmost of their power, and to whom no message from me is necessary.”

“Do you know nobody at court,” said the priest, “no person of rank in the government—or I may say opposed to the government—for people now-a-days are not what they seem or pretend to be?”

“I have no knowledge of any titled person,” replied I; “when I parted with one of the gentlemen whom I landed at Bordeaux he gave me the name of a lady of quality at Paris, desiring me, if in difficulty, to apply to him through her; but that was if in difficulty in France; of course she could do nothing for me in this country.”

“Have you the name of the lady?”

“Yes,” replied I; “it is on the first leaf of my pocket-book. Here it is.”

The priest read the name, and then said—

“You must write immediately a few words, acquainting her with your position. I will see the letter safely delivered before the week is over.”

“What good can she possibly do me?” replied I.

“I cannot say; but this I know, that if anything is to be done, it will be. Write immediately.”

The priest called the gaoler and requested writing materials, which were brought, and in a few minutes I had done as he requested.

“There, Sir, I have written to please you; but I candidly state that I consider it a useless attempt.”

“Were I of your opinion, I should not have advised you to write,” replied he. “There are wheels within wheels that you have no conception of; in these troubled times. What I most fear is that it may arrive too late.”

The priest took his leave of me, and I was left to my own thoughts. When I considered that the address of this lady had been given to me by the very man whom they were so anxious to secure as a traitor, I at once decided that no benefit could arrive from any interference on her part; and I therefore, after a quarter of an hour, dismissed the whole subject from my thoughts, and commenced my reading of the sacred writings. The following morning, when the gaoler came in, I could not help observing to him, that as I had been condemned so many days I felt much surprise at the delay of my execution. His reply was, that he heard that others were in custody upon the same charge, and that they waited for their convictions, that we might all suffer at the same time; for the order for my execution had come on the Friday last, but had been countermanded on the afternoon of the same day. Although this satisfied me that I had no hopes of escape, yet I was pleased that I had obtained more time for preparation, and I renewed my reading with ardour. Another week passed, when the gaoler, with a solemn face, and much apparent concern, came in, and informed me that the other parties arrested had been tried before the Commission, and had been condemned, and that it was expected that the execution would take place either on the morrow or the day after. The announcement did not affect me much. I had made up my mind that I should suffer, and had to a degree weaned myself from life. I considered how all hopes of my ever enjoying the delight of my family and kindred ties had flown away, and I looked with disgust upon my career as a privateersman—a career of recklessness and blood, so denounced by the sacred writings which I had before me. I reflected, that if I were to leave the prison I should have no other means of sustenance, and should probably return to my former life, and load my soul with a still heavier weight of crime; and, although I felt an occasional bitter pang at the idea of leaving the world so young—a world which I could not hate—still I was, after a few hours’ communing and reflection, resigned to my fate, and exclaimed with sincerity, “Thy will be done.” I think, Madam, you may have observed that, sinful as I was, my whole career proved that I was not a hardened sinner. Good was not driven entirely out of me, but was latent, notwithstanding all my excesses, and the bad company which had influenced me.

I now prayed, and prayed earnestly, and I thought that my prayers were heard. Such was my state of mind on the day before the one appointed for my execution, when the gaoler and one of the sheriff’s officers came into my cell, accompanied by the Roman Catholic priest whom I have before mentioned. I perceived by the countenance of the gaoler, who was a humane man, that he had no unpleasant news. The sheriff’s officer delivered to him an order for my liberation, and to my astonishment I was told by the gaoler that my pardon was signed, and that I was free. I was stupified with the intelligence, and I stood without making any reply. The priest waved his hand to them as a hint to leave the room, which they both did. As they left, my eyes followed them, and then I cast them down upon the Bible which lay before me on the table, and, slipping down from the bench upon my knees, I covered up my face and prayed. My prayers were confused—I hardly knew what I said—but I knew that they were intended to be grateful to Heaven for my unexpected preservation from an ignominious death. After a time, I rose up, and perceived the priest, whose presence I had till then forgotten. He had been kneeling at the other side of the table praying with me, and I am sure for me—and he was rising up just after I had.

“I trust, Captain Elrington,” said he, after a pause, “that the peril you have been in will influence your future life; and that this severe trial will not be thrown away upon you.”

“I trust not, Sir,” replied I. “I feel that it has been good for me to have been afflicted, I believe that I have been indebted to your exertions for my deliverance.”

“No further than having seen your letter duly and speedily delivered. I could do no more, for with all will I have no power; and that was little to do for one who so generously assisted our friends in their distress.”

“Am I then to believe that I am indebted to the interest of a French lady, residing at the court of Versailles, for my deliverance?”

“Even so—this may appear strange to you, Captain Elrington, but such is the case. Understand, that in these troubled times the ruling monarch of this country cannot distinguish his friends from his enemies. He can only trust to professions, and they are not always sincere. There are many in the council at this time who, if the Pretender, as he is called, had succeeded, would long before this have joined him, and who had wished him success, although they dared not venture to assist him. The interest of the lady in question with these people has prevailed over the true adherents of the Hanoverian king, and thus through this lady have you obtained your release. I state this to you in confidence; to publish what I have told you would be to betray your friends. Can I be of any further service to you? For you can leave your prison as soon as you please.”

“None, I thank you, good Sir,” replied I; “I have money more than sufficient to reward my gaoler, and to defray my expenses to Liverpool.”

“You have my best thanks and sincere wishes for your happiness. Then I will not intrude upon you any more, except to give you my address in case of need. You have made warm friends by your conduct, and if ever you require their assistance it will not be withheld.”

The priest gave his address upon a piece of paper and then came to me.

“Our creeds are not exactly the same, but you will not, my son, refuse my blessing?” said he, putting his hand upon my head.

“Oh, no,” said I, dropping on my knees, “I receive it all in thankfulness.”

“May God bless you, my son,” said he; with emotion—and he then quitted the cell.

What with the previous excitement when my liberation was announced, and the parting with the kind priest, my feelings were so powerful, that, as soon as I was alone, I gave vent to them in a flood of tears. As soon as I was more composed, I rose from the bench, put my necessaries into my valise, and summoned the gaoler, to whom I made a handsome present, thanking him for his kindness during my incarceration. I then shook hands with him, feed the turnkey who had attended upon me, and in a minute more I was clear of the Tower gates. How my heart heaved when I was once more in the open air.

I looked around me, and perceived that many men were busy in erecting a scaffolding. My heart sank as I beheld them, as I felt certain what it was for; but, to verify my opinion, I turned to an old woman who had a sort of stall from which she dispensed mead to the populace, and inquired of her for what the scaffold was being erected.

“It’s for the men who are to be executed to-morrow for aiding the Jacobites to escape,” said she. “Won’t your worship take a glass of mead this morning?”

“I am not thirsty,” I replied, as I walked hastily away with my valise upon my shoulders.

A stranger to this part of London, I hardly knew where to direct my steps; I walked past the square before the Tower, until I came into a street called Catherine Street, where a tavern met my view, and into it I entered immediately,—glad, as it were, to hide myself; for I felt as if all the world looked upon me as a person just discharged from prison. I obtained good entertainment there, and slept there that night. The next morning, the host having provided me two good horses, and a youngster to take them back, I set off for Liverpool, and after five days’ travel without adventure I arrived at the town, and proceeded direct to the house of Mr. Trevannion, my owner. I took my valise off the boy’s horse, and having paid him for his attendance I knocked at the door, for it was late in the evening, and dark, when I arrived. The door (for it was at his private house door, which was next to the counting-house door, that I knocked) was opened; and the woman who opened it shrieked, and let drop the candle, exclaiming, “Help, O God—a ghost, a ghost!” for it appeared that the news had arrived at Liverpool from a messenger who had been sent express after I had been condemned, stating that there was no hope, and that I was to suffer on the Monday previous; and this was the Saturday evening on which I had arrived. Mr. Trevannion’s clerk, hearing a noise in the passage, came out with another candle, and, seeing me, and the woman lying on the floor in a swoon, stared, staggered to the door of the room where his master was sitting, and the door being a-jar he fell back with great force into the room, dropping under the table between Mr. Trevannion and Captain Levee, who was sitting with him, smoking, as was very often their wont. This brought out Captain Levee with one of the table-candlesticks, who, upon seeing me, ran to me, and embracing me warmly, cried out, as the clerk made his escape

“Here is Elrington alive and well, Sir!”

At this announcement Mr. Trevannion came out, and threw himself into my arms, saying—

“I thank God for all his mercies, but, above all, that I have not been the cause of your death, my dear Elrington. Come in,” he exclaimed, in a faltering voice; and as soon as he gained his seat he laid his head down and sobbed with excitement and joy.

I followed Captain Levee into the room, and was taking a chair, when I perceived there was another person present besides Captain Levee and Mr. Trevannion, which was the daughter of the latter; that is, I presumed as much, for I knew that he was a widower, and had one daughter living, out of a family of three children. She appeared to be about seventeen years of age, and had just come from a Protestant convent, as they called establishments where young women were educated at Chester. Mr. Trevannion was still with his face covered, and not yet recovered from his burst of feeling, when this young gentlewoman came up to me, and said—

“Captain Elrington, you have behaved nobly to my father; accept my hand and my friendship.”

I was so dazzled from coming out of the dark, and so excited from what had just passed, that I was almost bewildered; but I accepted the offered hand, and bowed over it, although I declare that at the time I could not distinguish her features, although I perceived that her person was slight and elegant. As she retreated to her seat, Mr. Trevannion, who had recovered from his emotion, said—

“I thought that at this moment your head was exhibited over the gates of Temple-bar. The idea, as Captain Levee will tell you, has haunted me; for I felt, and should always have felt, that I was the cause of your death. God bless you, my dear Sir, and may I have an opportunity of showing you my gratitude and regard for your noble conduct towards me, and the sacrifice which you would have made. You need not tell me, for I know too well, that you took all the onus and blame of the affair upon your own shoulders, and preferred death to impeaching me.”

“My dear Elrington,” said Captain Levee, “I told our crew, and you have proved me a true prophet, that you never would peach, but die game. We were talking of you, supposing you dead, when you came in. I must tell you, that more than once Mr. Trevannion had made up his mind to deliver himself up, and acknowledge the truth, but I prevented him, as it would have been a useless sacrifice.”

“You did; but, nevertheless, it was so heavy on my conscience, that had it not been for your perseverance, and the thoughts of leaving my poor girl here an orphan in the world, I certainly should have so done, for I felt life to be a burden.”

“I am very glad that you did not, Sir,” I replied; “my life is of little value; I have no one to support, no one to love, and no one to lament me if I fall. A shot from the enemy may soon send me out of the world, and there will only be a man the less in it, as far as people are interested about me.”

“That is not the case now, at all events,” replied Mr. Trevannion; “but pray tell us how it is that you have escaped.”

“I have not escaped,” I replied; “here is my pardon, with the sign-manual.”

“And how was it obtained?” exclaimed Captain Levee; “all intercession made through some of the strongest friends of the government was in vain,—that I can assert; for you must not suppose that we have been idle down here. We did not leave London till after you were condemned, and every entreaty to see you, or to communicate by letter, was denied to us.”

“I had better, then, begin at the beginning, and state all that occurred. I will first thank you, my dear Levee, for your kind assistance, which I would not avail myself of; as I calculated (wrongly, I own) that it would be wiser to remain a prisoner; and I considered that my very refusal to escape would be admitted by the government as a proof of my innocence. I did not know that I had to deal with such malignant people.”

I then commenced my narrative, which occupied the remainder of the evening, and, having received their congratulations, we had a pipe or two, and, as I was fatigued, we retired to bed. I slept little on this, I may say, first night of rest and quiet, after my liberation. I was happy, and yet perplexed. During the time of my imprisonment, it had occurred to me that the life of a privateersman was not one which I could follow up with a good conscience; and I had, on my journey down to Liverpool, made up my mind that I would give it up. I knew this might annoy Mr. Trevannion, and that I should have to meet with the ridicule of Captain Levee, and I was thinking whether it were possible, in the first place, that I could give some well-grounded excuse; and, in the next, what other means of gaining my livelihood I could substitute in its stead. My restlessness induced me to get up earlier than usual, and I went out for an hour’s walk upon the wharfs. I saw my little schooner riding on the stream, and, as she gently rose and dipped to the swell which ran in with the tide, she looked so beautiful that my resolutions were already giving way. I would look at her no longer; so I turned from the river, and walked back to the owner’s house. It was still early when I went into the eating-hall, where I found Miss Trevannion alone.