Captain Frederick Marryat
Part 1 out of 9
Or, The Dog Fiend
_The dog fiend, or Snarleyyow_ is the earliest of the three novels, _The
Phantom Ship_ and _The Privateersman_ being the other two, in which
Marryat made use of historical events and attempted to project his
characters into the past. The research involved is not profound, but the
machinations of Jacobite conspirators provide appropriate material for
the construction of an adventure plot and for the exhibition of a
singularly despicable villain. Mr Vanslyperken and his acquaintances,
male and female, at home and abroad, are all--except perhaps his
witch-like mother--thoroughly life-like and convincing: their conduct is
sufficiently probable to retain the reader's attention for a rapid and
The numerous escapes of the vile cur, after whom the novel is
christened, and of his natural enemy Peter Smallbones are not all
equally well contrived, and they become a little wearisome by
repetition; but a general atmosphere of _diablerie_ is very effectively
produced by their means. Some such element of unreality is absolutely
demanded to relieve the sordid and brutal details by which the main plot
is worked out; and it must be admitted that in certain passages--the
death-struggle between Smallbones and the lieutenant's mother, the
discovery of the woman's body, and the descriptions of kisses between
Corporal Van Spitter and the Frau Vandersloosh--Marryat's habitual
literalness becomes unpleasantly coarse. The offensive touches, however,
are incidental, and the execution of the two villains, Vanslyperken and
Snarleyyow, with its dash of genuine pathos, is dramatic and
impressive:--"They were damnable in their lives, and in their deaths
they were not divided."
As usual the interest of the novel depends almost entirely upon men, but
on the character of Mrs Corbett, _nee_ Nancy Dawson, Marryat has
expended considerable care with satisfactory results. Barring the
indecorous habit of regretting her past in public, which is not perhaps
untrue to nature, she is made attractive by her wit and sincere
repentance, without becoming unnaturally refined. The song in her honour
referred to on p. 107 is not suitable for reproduction in this place.
She was an historic character in the reign of William III., but must not
be confounded with her more celebrated namesake (1730-1767) of Sadler's
Wells, Covent Garden, and Drury Lane, who danced a horn-pipe in _The
Beggar's Opera_ to the air of "Nancy Dawson," which is mentioned in the
epilogue of _She Stoops to Conquer_, and survives in our nurseries as
"Here we go round the Mulberry Bush."
The greater part of _Snarleyyow_ was first printed in _The Metropolitan
Magazine_, 1836 and 1837; but on reaching Chapter xl., just as the novel
had appeared in book form, the editor--not then Marryat himself--told
his readers that it was not his intention to give an extended review of
this work, as they had already "ample means of forming their own opinion
of its varied merits:"--"We shall therefore content ourselves with a few
remarks, in announcing its publication and giving a brief outline of the
termination of the story from our last number." At the close of the said
extracts he writes:--
"And so ends Snarleyyow, with as much quaintness, spirit, and character
as it commenced."
The book was evidently written in haste, and few of the minor characters
retained one Christian name throughout its pages. It is here reprinted,
with the corrections of such slips as those just mentioned, from the
first edition in three volumes. Henry Colburn, 1837.
Introduction of divers parties and a red-herring.
It was in the month of January, 1699, that a one-masted vessel, with
black sides, was running along the coast near Beachy Head, at the rate
of about five miles per hour. The wind was from the northward and blew
keenly, the vessel was under easy sail, and the water was smooth. It was
now broad daylight, and the sun rose clear of clouds and vapour; but he
threw out light without heat. The upper parts of the spars, the hammock
rails, and the small iron guns which were mounted on the vessel's decks,
were covered with a white frost. The man at the helm stood muffled up in
a thick pea-jacket and mittens, which made his hands appear as large as
his feet. His nose was a pug of an intense bluish red, one tint arising
from the present cold, and the other from the preventive checks which he
had been so long accustomed to take to drive out such an unpleasant
intruder. His grizzled hair waved its locks gently to the wind, and his
face was distorted with an immoderate quid of tobacco which protruded
his right cheek. This personage was second officer and steersman on
board of the vessel, and his name was Obadiah Coble. He had been
baptised Obadiah about sixty years before; that is to say if he had been
baptised at all. He stood so motionless at the helm, that you might have
imagined him to have been frozen there as he stood, were it not that
his eyes occasionally wandered from the compass on the binnacle to the
bows of the vessel, and that the breath from his mouth, when it was
thrown out into the clear frosty air, formed a smoke like to that from
the spout of a half-boiling tea-kettle.
The crew belonging to the cutter, for she was a vessel in the service of
his Majesty, King William the Third, at this time employed in protecting
his Majesty's revenue against the importation of alamodes and
lutestrings, were all down below at their breakfasts, with the exception
of the steersman and lieutenant-commandant, who now walked the
quarter-deck, if so small an extent of plank could be dignified with
such a name. He was a Mr Cornelius Vanslyperken, a tall, meagre-looking
personage, with very narrow shoulders and very small head. Perfectly
straight up and down, protruding in no part, he reminded you of some
tall parish pump, with a great knob at its top. His face was gaunt,
cheeks hollow, nose and chin showing an affection for each other, and
evidently lamenting the gulf between them which prevented their meeting.
Both appeared to have fretted themselves to the utmost degree of tenuity
from disappointment in love: as for the nose, it had a pearly round tear
hanging at its tip, as if it wept. The dress of Mr Vanslyperken was
hidden in a great coat, which was very long, and buttoned straight down.
This great coat had two pockets on each side, into which its owner's
hands were deeply inserted, and so close did his arms lie to his sides,
that they appeared nothing more than as would battens nailed to a
topsail yard. The only deviation from the perpendicular was from the
insertion of a speaking-trumpet under his left arm, at right angles with
his body. It had evidently seen much service, was battered, and the
clack Japan worn off in most parts of it. As we said before, Mr
Vanslyperken walked his quarter-deck. He was in a brown study, yet
looked blue. Six strides brought him to the taffrail of the vessel, six
more to the bows, such was the length of his tether--and he turned, and
But there was another personage on the deck, a personage of no small
importance, as he was all in all to Mr Vanslyperken, and Mr Vanslyperken
was all in all to him; moreover, we may say, that he is the hero of the
TAIL. This was one of the ugliest and most ill-conditioned curs which
had ever been produced:--ugly in colour; for he was of a dirty yellow,
like the paint served out to decorate our men-of-war by his Majesty's
dock-yards:--ugly in face; for he had one wall-eye, and was so far
under-jawed as to prove that a bull-dog had had something to do with his
creation:--ugly in shape; for although larger than a pointer, and
strongly built, he was coarse and shambling in his make, with his
forelegs bowed out. His ears and tail had never been docked, which was a
pity, as the more you curtailed his proportions, the better looking the
cur would have been. But his ears, although not cut, were torn to
ribbons by the various encounters with dogs on shore, arising from the
acidity of his temper. His tail had lost its hair from an inveterate
mange, and reminded you of the same appendage to a rat. Many parts of
his body were bared from the same disease. He carried his head and tail
low, and had a villanous sour look. To the eye of a casual observer,
there was not one redeeming quality that would warrant his keep; to
those who knew him well, there were a thousand reasons why he should be
hanged. He followed his master with the greatest precision and
exactitude, walking aft as he walked aft, and walking forward with the
same regular motion, turning when his master turned, and moreover,
turning in the same direction; and, like his master, he appeared to be
not a little nipped with the cold, and, as well as he, in a state of
profound meditation. The name of this uncouth animal was very
appropriate to his appearance, and to his temper. It was Snarleyyow.
At last, Mr Vanslyperken gave vent to his pent-up feelings. "I can't, I
won't stand this any longer," muttered the lieutenant, as he took his
six strides forward. At this first sound of his master's voice the dog
pricked up the remnants of his ears, and they both turned aft. "She has
been now fooling me for six years;" and as he concluded this sentence,
Mr Vanslyperken and Snarleyyow had reached the taffrail, and the dog
raised his tail to the half cock.
They turned, and Mr Vanslyperken paused a moment or two, and compressed
his thin lips--the dog did the same. "I will have an answer, by all
that's blue!" was the ejaculation of the next six strides. The
lieutenant stopped again, and the dog looked up in his master's face;
but it appeared as if the current of his master's thoughts was changed,
for the current of keen air reminded Mr Vanslyperken that he had not yet
had his breakfast.
The lieutenant leant over the hatchway, took his battered
speaking-trumpet from under his arm, and putting it to his mouth, the
deck reverberated with, "Pass the word for Smallbones forward." The dog
put himself in a baying attitude, with his forefeet on the coamings of
the hatchway, and enforced his master's orders with a deep-toned and
measured bow, wow, wow.
Smallbones soon made his appearance, rising from the hatchway like a
ghost; a thin, shambling personage, apparently about twenty years old--a
pale, cadaverous face, high cheek-bones, goggle eyes, with lank hair
very thinly sown upon a head, which, like bad soil, would return but a
scanty harvest. He looked like Famine's eldest son just arriving to
years of discretion. His long lanky legs were pulled so far through his
trousers, that his bare feet, and half way up to his knees, were exposed
to the chilling blast. The sleeves of his jacket were so short, that
four inches of bone above his wrist were bared to view--hat he had
none--his ears were very large, and the rims of them red with cold, and
his neck was so immeasurably long and thin, that his head appeared to
topple for want of support. When he had come on deck, he stood with one
hand raised to his forehead, touching his hair instead of his hat, and
the other occupied with a half-roasted red-herring. "Yes, sir," said
Smallbones, standing before his master.
"Be quick!"--commenced the lieutenant; but here his attention was
directed to the red-herring by Snarleyyow, who raised his head and
snuffed at its fumes. Among other disqualifications of the animal, be it
observed, that he had no nose except for a red-herring, or a post by the
way side. Mr Vanslyperken discontinued his orders, took his hand out of
his great coat pocket, wiped the drop from off his nose, and then roared
out, "How dare you appear on the quarter-deck of a king's ship, sir,
with a red-herring in your fist?"
"If you please, sir," replied Smallbones, "if I were to come for to go
to leave it in the galley, I shouldn't find it when I went back."
"What do I care for that, sir? It's contrary to all the rules and
regulations of the service. Now, sir, hear me--"
"O Lord, sir! let me off this time, it's only a _soldier_," replied
Smallbones, deprecatingly; but Snarleyyow's appetite had been very much
sharpened by his morning's walk; it rose with the smell of the herring,
so he rose on his hind legs, snapped the herring out of Smallbones'
hand, bolted forward by the lee gangway, and would soon have bolted the
herring, had not Smallbones bolted after him and overtaken him just as
he had laid it down on the deck preparatory to commencing his meal. A
fight ensued; Smallbones received a severe bite in the leg, which
induced him to seize a handspike, and make a blow with it at the dog's
head, which, if it had been well aimed, would have probably put an end
to all further pilfering. As it was, the handspike descended upon one of
the dog's fore toes, and Snarleyyow retreated, yelling, to the other
side of the forecastle, and as soon as he was out of reach, like all
curs, bayed in defiance.
Smallbones picked up the herring, pulled up his trousers to examine the
bite, poured down an anathema upon the dog, which was, "May you be
starved, as I am, you beast!" and then turned round to go aft, when he
struck against the spare form of Mr Vanslyperken, who, with his hands in
his pocket, and his trumpet under his arm, looked unutterably savage.
"How dare you beat _my_ dog, you villain?" said the lieutenant at last,
choking with passion.
"He's a-bitten my leg through and through, sir," replied Smallbones,
with a face of alarm.
"Well, sir, why have you such thin legs, then?"
"'Cause I gets nothing to fill 'em up with."
"Have you not a herring there, you herring-gutted scoundrel? which, in
defiance of all the rules of the service, you have brought on his
Majesty's quarter-deck, you greedy rascal, and for which I intend--"
"It ar'n't my herring, sir, it be yours--for your breakfast--the only
one that is left out of the half-dozen."
This last remark appeared somewhat to pacify Mr Vanslyperken.
"Go down below, sir," said he, after a pause, "and let me know when my
breakfast is ready."
Smallbones obeyed immediately, too glad to escape so easily.
"Snarleyyow," said his master, looking at the dog, who remained on the
other side of the forecastle; "O Snarleyyow, for shame! Come here, sir.
Come here, sir, directly."
But Snarleyyow, who was very sulky at the loss of his anticipated
breakfast, was contumacious, and would not come. He stood at the other
side of the forecastle, while his master apostrophised him, looking him
in the face. Then, after a pause of indecision, he gave a howling sort
of bark, trotted away to the main hatchway, and disappeared below. Mr
Vanslyperken returned to the quarter-deck, and turned, and turned
Showing what became of the red-herring.
Smallbones soon made his re-appearance, informing Mr Vanslyperken that
his breakfast was ready for him, and Mr Vanslyperken, feeling himself
quite ready for his breakfast, went down below. A minute after he had
disappeared, another man came up to relieve the one at the wheel, who,
as soon as he had surrendered up the spokes, commenced warming himself
after the most approved method, by flapping his arms round his body.
"The skipper's out o' sorts again this morning," said Obadiah, after a
time. "I heard him muttering about the woman at the Lust Haus."
"Then, by Got, we will have de breeze," replied Jansen, who was a Dutch
seaman of huge proportions, rendered still more preposterous by the
multiplicity of his nether clothing.
"Yes, as sure as Mother Carey's chickens raise the gale, so does the
name of the Frau Vandersloosh. I'll be down and get my breakfast, there
may be keel-hauling before noon."
"Mein Got--dat is de tyfel."
"Keep her nor-east, Jansen, and keep a sharp look out for the boats."
"Got for dam--how must I steer the chip and look for de boats at de same
"That's no consarn o' mine. Those are the orders, and I passes them--you
must get over the unpossibility how you can." So saying, Obadiah Coble
We must do the same, and introduce the reader to the cabin of Lieutenant
Vanslyperken, which was not very splendid in its furniture. One small
table, one chair, a mattress in a standing bed-place, with curtains made
of bunting, an open cupboard, containing three plates, one tea-cup and
saucer, two drinking glasses, and two knives. More was not required, as
Mr Vanslyperken never indulged in company. There was another cupboard,
but it was carefully locked. On the table before the lieutenant was a
white wash-hand basin, nearly half full of burgoo, a composition of
boiled oatmeal and water, very wholesome, and very hot. It was the
allowance, from the ship's coppers, of Mr Vanslyperken and his servant
Smallbones. Mr Vanslyperken was busy stirring it about to cool it a
little, with a leaden spoon. Snarleyyow sat close to him, waiting for
his share, and Smallbones stood by, waiting for orders.
"Smallbones," said the lieutenant, after trying the hot mess before him,
and finding that he was still in danger of burning his mouth, "bring me
"Red-herring, sir?" stammered Smallbones.
"Yes," replied his master, fixing his little grey eye sternly on him,
"It's gone, sir!" replied Smallbones, with alarm.
"If you please, sir, I didn't a-think that you would have touched it
after the dog had had it in his nasty mouth; and so, sir--if you
"And so what?" said Vanslyperken, compressing his thin lips.
"I ate it myself--if you please--O dear--O dear!"
"You did, did you--you gluttonous scarecrow--you did, did you? Are you
aware that you have committed a theft--and are you aware of the
punishment attending it?"
"O sir--it was a mistake--dear sir," cried Smallbones, whimpering.
"In the first place, I will cut you to ribbons with the cat."
"Mercy, sir--O sir!" cried the lad, the tears streaming from his eyes.
"The thief's cat, with three knots in each tail."
Smallbones raised up his thin arms, and clasped his hands, pleading for
"And after the flogging--you shall be keel-hauled."
"O God!" screamed Smallbones, falling down on his knees, "mercy--mercy!"
But there was none. Snarleyyow, when he saw the lad go down on his
knees, flew at him, and threw him on his back, growling over him, and
occasionally looking at his master.
"Come here, Snarleyyow," said Mr Vanslyperken. "Come here, sir, and lie
down." But Snarleyyow had not forgotten the red-herring; so in revenge,
he first bit Smallbones in the thigh, and then obeyed his master.
"Get up, sir," cried the lieutenant.
Smallbones rose, but his temper now rose also; he forgot all that he was
to suffer, from indignation against the dog: with flashing eyes, and
whimpering with rage, he cried out, as the tears fell, and his arms
swung round, "I'll not stand this--I'll jump overboard--that I will:
fourteen times has that ere dog a-bitten me this week. I'd sooner die at
once, than be made dog's-meat of in this here way."
"Silence, you mutinous rascal, or I'll put you in irons."
"I wish you would--irons don't bite, if they hold fast. I'll run away--I
don't mind being hung--that I don't--starved to death, bitten to death
in this here way--"
"Silence, sir. It's over-feeding that makes you saucy."
"The Lord forgive you'" cried Smallbones, with surprise; "I've not had a
"A full meal, you rascal! there's no filling a thing like you--hollow
from top to bottom, like a bamboo."
"And what I does get," continued Smallbones, with energy, "I pays dear
for; that ere dog flies at me, if I takes a bit o' biscuit. I never has
a bite without getting a bite, and it's all my own allowance."
"A proof of his fidelity, and an example to you, you wretch," replied
the lieutenant, fondly patting the dog on the head.
"Well, I wish you'd discharge me--or hang me, I don't care which. You
eats so hearty, and the dog eats so hearty, that I gets nothing. We are
only victualled for two."
"You insolent fellow! recollect the thief's cat."
"It's very hard," continued Smallbones, unmindful of the threat, "that
that ere beast is to eat my allowance, and be allowed to half eat
"You forget the keel-hauling, you scarecrow."
"Well, I hope I may never come up again, that's all."
"Leave the cabin, sir."
This order Smallbones obeyed.
"Snarleyyow," said the lieutenant, "you are hungry, my poor beast."
Snarleyyow put his forepaw up on his master's knee. "You shall have your
breakfast soon," continued his master, eating the burgoo between his
addresses to the animal. "Yes, Snarleyyow, you have done wrong this
morning--you ought to have no breakfast." Snarleyyow growled. "We are
only four years acquainted, and how many scrapes you have got me into,
Snarleyyow!" Snarleyyow here put both his paws upon his master's knee.
"Well, you are sorry, my poor dog, and you shall have some breakfast;"
and Mr Vanslyperken put the basin of burgoo on the floor, which the dog
tumbled down his throat most rapidly. "Nay, my dog, not so fast; you
must leave some for Smallbones, he will require some breakfast before
his punishment. There, that will do;" and Mr Vanslyperken wished to
remove the basin with a little of the burgoo remaining in it. Snarleyyow
growled, would have snapped at his master, but Mr Vanslyperken shoved
him away with the bell mouth of his speaking-trumpet, and recovering a
portion of the mess, put it on the table for the use of poor Smallbones.
"Now then, my dog, we will go on deck." Mr Vanslyperken left the cabin,
followed by Snarleyyow; but as soon as his master was half way up the
ladder, Snarleyyow turned back, leaped on the chair, from the chair to
the table, and then finished the whole of the breakfast appropriated for
Smallbones. Having effected this, the dog followed his master.
A retrospect, and short description of a new character
But we must leave poor Smallbones to lament his hard fate in the fore
peak of the vessel, and Mr Vanslyperken and his dog to walk the
quarter-deck, while we make our readers a little better acquainted with
the times in which the scenes passed which we are now describing, as
well as with the history of Mr Vanslyperken.
The date in our first chapter, that of the year 1699, will, if they
refer back to history, show them that William of Nassau had been a few
years on the English throne, and that peace had just been concluded
between England with its allies and France. The king occasionally passed
his time in Holland, among his Dutch countrymen, and the English and
Dutch fleets, which but a few years before were engaging with such an
obstinacy of courage, had lately sailed together, and turned their guns
against the French. William, like all those continental princes who have
been called to the English throne, showed much favour to his own
countrymen, and England was overrun with Dutch favourites, Dutch
courtiers, and peers of Dutch extraction. He would not even part with
his Dutch guards, and was at issue with the Commons of England on that
very account. But the war was now over, and most of the English and
Dutch navy lay dismantled in port, a few small vessels only being in
commission to intercept the smuggling from France that was carrying on,
much to the detriment of English manufacture, of certain articles then
denominated alamodes and lutestrings. The cutter we have described was
on this service, and was named the _Yungfrau_, although built in
England, and forming a part of the English naval force.
It may readily be supposed that Dutch interest, during this period, was
in the ascendant. Such was the case: and the Dutch officers and seamen
who could not be employed in their own marine were appointed in the
English vessels, to the prejudice of our own countrymen. Mr Vanslyperken
was of Dutch extraction, but born in England long before the Prince of
Orange had ever dreamt of being called to the English throne. He was a
near relation of King William's own nurse, and even in these days, that
would cause powerful interest. Previous to the revolution he had been
laid on the shelf for cowardice in one of the engagements between the
Dutch and the English, he being then a lieutenant on board of a
two-decked ship, and of long standing in the service; but before he had
been appointed to this vessel, he had served invariably in small craft,
and his want of this necessary qualification had never been discovered.
The interest used for him on the accession of the Dutch king was
sufficient for his again obtaining the command of a small vessel. In
those days, the service was very different from what it is now. The
commanders of vessels were also the pursers, and could save a great deal
of money by defrauding the crew; and further, the discipline of the
service was such as would astonish the modern philanthropist; there was
no appeal for subordinates, and tyranny and oppression, even amounting
to the destruction of life, were practised with impunity. Smollett has
given his readers some idea of the state of the service a few years
after the time of which we are now writing, when it was infinitely
worse, for the system of the Dutch, notorious for their cruelty, had
been grafted upon that of the English: the consequence was, a
combination of all that was revolting to humanity was practised without
any notice being taken of it by the superior powers, provided that the
commanders of the vessels did their duty when called upon, and showed
the necessary talent and courage.
Lieutenant Vanslyperken's character may be summed up in the three vices
of avarice, cowardice, and cruelty. A miser in the extreme, he had saved
up much money by his having had the command of a vessel for so many
years, during which he had defrauded and pilfered both from the men and
the government. Friends and connections he had none on this side of the
water, and, when on shore, he had lived in a state of abject misery,
although he had the means of comfortable support. He was now fifty-five
years of age. Since he had been appointed to the _Yungfrau_, he had been
employed in carrying despatches to the States-General from King William,
and had, during his repeated visits to the Hague, made acquaintance with
the widow Vandersloosh, who kept a Lust Haus, a place of resort for
sailors, where they drank and danced. Discovering that the comfortably
fat landlady was also very comfortably rich, Mr Vanslyperken had made
advances, with the hope of obtaining her hand and handling her money.
The widow had, however, no idea of accepting the offer, but was too wise
to give him a decided refusal, as she knew it would be attended with his
preventing the crew of the cutter from frequenting her house, and,
thereby, losing much custom. Thus did she, at every return, receive him
kindly and give him hopes, but nothing more. Since the peace, as we
before observed, the cutter had been ordered for the prevention of
[Footnote 1: Pleasure House.]
When and how Mr Vanslyperken had picked up his favourite Snarleyyow
cannot be discovered, and must remain a secret. The men said that the
dog had appeared on the deck of the cutter in a supernatural way, and
most of them looked upon him with as much awe as ill-will.
This is certain, that the cutter had been a little while before in a
state of mutiny, and a forcible entry attempted at night into the
lieutenant's cabin. It is therefore not unreasonable to suppose that
Vanslyperken felt that a good watch-dog might be a very useful appendage
to his establishment, and had procured one accordingly. All the
affection he ever showed to anything living was certainly concentrated
on this one animal, and, next to his money, Snarleyyow had possession of
his master's heart.
Poor Smallbones, cast on the world without father or mother, had become
starved before he was on board the cutter, and had been starved ever
since. As the reader will perceive, his allowance was mostly eaten up by
the dog, and he was left to beg a precarious support from the good-will
and charity of his shipmates, all of whom were equally disgusted with
the commander's cruelty and the ungainly temper of his brute companion.
Having entered into this retrospect for the benefit of the reader, we
will now proceed.
Mr Vanslyperken walked the deck for nearly a quarter of an hour without
speaking: the men had finished their breakfasts, and were lounging about
the deck, for there was nothing for them to do, except to look out for
the return of the two boats which had been sent away the night before.
The lieutenant's thoughts were, at one minute, upon Mrs Vandersloosh,
thinking how he could persuade her, and, at another, upon Smallbones,
thinking how he could render the punishment adequate, in his opinion, to
the magnitude of the offence. While discussing these two important
matters, one of the men reported the boats ahead, and broke up the
"How far off?" demanded Mr Vanslyperken.
"About two miles."
"Pulling or sailing?"
"Pulling, sir; we stand right for them."
But Mr Vanslyperken was in no pleasant humour, and ordered the cutter to
"I tink de men have pull enough all night," said Jansen, who had just
been relieved at the wheel, to Obadiah Coble, who was standing by him on
"I think so too: but there'll be a breeze, depend upon it--never mind,
the devil will have his own all in good time."
"Got for dam," said Jansen, looking at Beachy Head, and shaking his own.
"Why, what's the matter now, old Schnapps?" said Coble.
"Schnapps--yes--the tyfel--Schnapps, I think how the French schnapped us
Dutchmen here when you Englishmen wouldn't fight."
"Mind what you say, old twenty breeches--wouldn't fight--when wouldn't
"Here, where we were now, by Got, you leave us all in the lurch, and not
"Why, we couldn't come down."
"Bah!" replied Jansen, who referred to the defeat of the combined Dutch
and English fleet by the French off Beachy Head in 1690.
"We wouldn't fight, heh?" exclaimed Obadiah in scorn, "what do you say
to the Hogue?"
"Yes, den you fought well--dat was good."
"And shall I tell you why we fought well at the Hogue--you Dutch
porpoise--just because we had no Dutchmen to help us."
"And shall I tell you why the Dutch were beat off this Head?--because
the English wouldn't come down to help us."
Here Obadiah put his tongue into his right cheek. Jansen in return threw
his into his left, and thus the argument was finished. These disputes
were constant at the time, but seldom proceeded further than words--
certainly not between Coble and Jansen, who were great friends.
The boats were soon on board; from the time that the cutter had been
hove-to, every stroke of their oars having been accompanied with a
nautical anathema from the crews upon the head of their commander. The
steersman and first officer, who had charge of the boats, came over the
gangway and went up to Vanslyperken. He was a thickset, stout man, about
five feet four inches high, and, wrapped up in Flushing garments, looked
very much like a bear in shape as well as in skin. His name was Dick
Short, and in every respect he answered to his name, for he was short in
stature, short in speech, and short in decision and action.
Now when Short came up to the lieutenant, he did not consider it at all
necessary to say as usual, "Come on board, sir," for it was self-evident
that he had come on board. He therefore said nothing. So abrupt was he
in his speech, that he never even said "Sir," when he spoke to his
superior, which it may be imagined was very offensive to Mr
Vanslyperken: so it was, but Mr Vanslyperken was afraid of Short, and
Short was not the least afraid of Vanslyperken.
"Well, what have you done, Short?"
"Did you see anything of the boat?"
"Did you gain any information?"
"What have you been doing all night?"
"Did you land to obtain information?"
"And you got none?"
Here Short hitched up the waistband of his second pair of trousers,
turned short round, and was going below, when Snarleyyow smelt at his
heels. The man gave him a back kick with the heel of his heavy boot,
which sent the dog off yelping and barking, and put Mr Vanslyperken in a
great rage. Not venturing to resent this affront upon his first officer,
he was reminded of Smallbones, and immediately sent for Corporal Van
Spitter to appear on deck.
In which there is a desperate combat.
Even at this period of the English history, it was the custom to put a
few soldiers on board of the vessels of war, and the _Yungfrau_ cutter
had been supplied with a corporal and six men, all of whom were
belonging to the Dutch marine. To a person who was so unpopular as Mr
Vanslyperken, this little force was a great protection, and both
Corporal Van Spitter and his corps were well treated by him. The
corporal was his purser and purveyor, and had a very good berth of it,
for he could cheat as well as his commandant. He was, moreover, his
prime minister, and an obedient executor of all his tyranny, for
Corporal Van Spitter was without a shadow of feeling--on the contrary,
he had pleasure in administering punishment; and if Vanslyperken had
told him to blow any man's brains out belonging to the vessel, Van
Spitter would have immediately obeyed the order without the change of a
muscle in his fat, florid countenance. The corporal was an enormous man,
tall, and so corpulent, that he weighed nearly twenty stone. Jansen was
the only one who could rival him; he was quite as tall as the corporal,
and as powerful, but he had not the extra weight of his carcass.
About five minutes after the summons, the huge form of Corporal Van
Spitter was seen to emerge slowly from the hatchway, which appeared
barely wide enough to admit the egress of his broad shoulders. He had a
flat foraging cap on his head, which was as large as a buffalo's, and
his person was clothed in blue pantaloons, tight at the ankle, rapidly
increasing in width as they ascended, until they diverged at the hips to
an expanse which was something between the sublime and the ridiculous.
The upper part of his body was cased in a blue jacket, with leaden
buttons, stamped with the rampant lion, with a little tail behind, which
was shoved up in the air by the protuberance of the parts. Having gained
the deck, he walked to Vanslyperken, and raised the back of his right
hand to his forehead.
"Corporal Van Spitter, get your cats up for punishment, and when you are
ready fetch up Smallbones."
Whereupon, without reply, Corporal Van Spitter put his left foot behind
the heel of his right, and by this manoeuvre turned his body round like
a capstern, so as to bring his face forward, and then walked off in
that direction. He soon re-appeared with all the necessary implements
of torture, laid them down on one of the lee guns, and again departed to
seek out his victim.
After a short time, a scuffle was heard below, but it was soon over, and
once more appeared the corporal with the spare, tall body of Smallbones
under his arm. He held him, grasped by the middle part, about where
Smallbones' stomach ought to have been, and the head and heels of the
poor wretch both hung down perpendicularly, and knocked together as the
corporal proceeded aft.
As soon as Van Spitter had arrived at the gun he laid down his charge,
who neither moved nor spoke. He appeared to have resigned himself to the
fate which awaited him, and made no resistance when he was stripped by
one of the marines, and stretched over the gun. The men, who were on
deck, said nothing; they looked at each other expressively as the
preparations were made. Flogging a lad like Smallbones was too usual an
occurrence to excite surprise, and to show their disgust would have been
dangerous. Smallbones' back was now bared, and miserable was the
spectacle; the shoulder-blades protruded, so that you might put your
hand sideways under the scapula, and every bone of the vertebrae, and
every process was clearly defined through the skin of the poor skeleton.
The punishment commenced, and the lad received his three dozen without a
murmur, the measured sound of the lash only being broken in upon by the
baying of Snarleyyow, who occasionally would have flown at the victim,
had he not been kept off by one of the marines. During the punishment,
Mr Vanslyperken walked the deck, and turned and turned again as before.
Smallbones was then cast loose by the corporal, who was twirling up his
cat, when Snarleyyow, whom the marine had not watched, ran up to the
lad, and inflicted a severe bite. Smallbones, who appeared, at the
moment, to be faint and lifeless--not having risen from his knees after
the marine had thrown his shirt over him, roused by this new attack,
appeared to spring into life and energy; he jumped up, uttered a savage
yell, and to the astonishment of everybody, threw himself upon the dog
as he retreated, and holding him fast with his naked arms, met the
animal with his own weapons, attacking him with a frenzied resolution
with his teeth. Everybody started back at this unusual conflict, and no
Long was the struggle, and such was the savage energy of the lad, that
he bit and held on with the tenacity of a bull-dog, tearing the lips of
the animal, his ears, and burying his face in the dog's throat, as his
teeth were firmly fixed on his windpipe. The dog could not escape, for
Smallbones held him like a vice. At last, the dog appeared to have the
advantage, for as they rolled over and over, he caught the lad by the
side of the neck; but Smallbones recovered himself, and getting the foot
of Snarleyyow between his teeth, the dog threw up his head and howled
for succour. Mr Vanslyperken rushed to his assistance, and struck
Smallbones a heavy blow on the head with his speaking-trumpet, which
stunned him, and he let go his hold.
Short, who had come on deck, perceiving this, and that the dog was about
to resume the attack, saluted Snarleyyow with a kick on his side, which
threw him down the hatchway, which was about three yards off from where
the dog was at the time.
"How dare you strike my dog, Mr Short?" cried Vanslyperken.
Short did not condescend to answer, but went to Smallbones and raised
his head. The lad revived. He was terribly bitten about the face and
neck, and what with the wounds in front, and the lashing from the cat,
presented a melancholy spectacle.
Short called some of the men to take Smallbones below, in which act they
readily assisted; they washed him all over with salt water, and the
smarting from his various wounds brought him to his senses. He was then
put in his hammock.
Vanslyperken and the corporal looked at each other during the time that
Short was giving his directions--neither interfered. The lieutenant was
afraid, and the corporal waited for orders. So soon as the men had
carried the lad below, Corporal Van Spitter put his hand up to his
foraging cap, and with his cat and seizings under his arm, went down
below. As for Vanslyperken, his wrath was even greater than before, and
with hands thrust even further down in his pockets than ever, and the
speaking-trumpet now battered flat with the blow which he had
administered to Smallbones, he walked up and down, muttering every two
minutes, "I'll keel-haul the scoundrel, by heavens! I'll teach him to
bite my dog."
Snarleyyow did not re-appear on deck; he had received such punishment as
he did not expect. He licked the wounds where he could get at them, and
then remained in the cabin in a sort of perturbed slumber, growling
every minute as if he were fighting the battle over again in his sleep.
A consultat on in which there is much mutiny.
This consultation was held upon the forecastle of his Majesty's cutter
_Yungfrau_, on the evening after the punishment of Smallbones. The major
part of the crew attended; all but the Corporal Van Spitter, who, on
these points, was known to split with the crew, and his six marines, who
formed the corporal's tail, at which they were always to be found. The
principal personage was not the most eloquent speaker, for it was Dick
Short, who was supported by Obadiah Coble, Yack Jansen, and another
personage, whom we must introduce, the boatswain or boatswain's mate of
the cutter; for although he received the title of the former, he only
received the pay of the latter. This person's real name was James
Salisbury, but for reasons which will be explained he was invariably
addressed or spoken of as Jemmy Ducks. He was indeed a very singular
variety of human discrepancy as to form: he was handsome in face, with a
manly countenance, fierce whiskers and long pigtail, which on him
appeared more than unusually long, as it descended to within a foot of
the deck. His shoulders were square, chest expanded, and, as far as
half-way down, that is, to where the legs are inserted into the human
frame, he was a fine, well-made, handsome, well-proportioned man. But
what a falling off was there!--for some reason, some accident, it is
supposed, in his infancy, his legs had never grown in length since he
was three years old: they were stout as well as his body, but not more
than eighteen inches from the hip to the heel; and he consequently
waddled about a very ridiculous figure, for he was like a man _razeed_
or cut down. Put him on an eminence of a couple of feet, and not see his
legs, and you would say at a distance, "What a fine looking sailor!" but
let him get down and walk up to you, and you would find that nature had
not finished what she had so well begun, and that you are exactly half
mistaken. This malconformation below did not, however, affect his
strength, it rather added to it; and there were but few men in the ship
who would venture a wrestle with the boatswain, who was very
appropriately distinguished by the cognomen of Jemmy Ducks. Jemmy was a
sensible, merry fellow, and a good seaman: you could not affront him by
any jokes on his figure, for he would joke with you. He was indeed the
fiddle of the ship's company, and he always played the fiddle to them
when they danced, on which instrument he was no mean performer; and,
moreover, accompanied his voice with his instrument when he sang to them
after they were tired of dancing. We shall only observe that Jemmy was a
married man, and he had selected one of the tallest of the other sex: of
her beauty the less that is said the better--Jemmy did not look to that,
or perhaps, at such a height, her face did not appear so plain to him
as it did who were to those more on a level with it. The effect of
perspective is well known, and even children now have as playthings,
castles, &c., laid down on card, which, when looked at in a proper
direction, appear just as correct as they do preposterous when lying
flat before you.
Now it happened that from the level that Jemmy looked up from to his
wife's face, her inharmonious features were all in harmony, and thus did
she appear--what is very advantageous in the marriage state--perfection
to her husband, without sufficient charms in the eyes of others to
induce them to seduce her from her liege lord. Moreover, let it be
recollected, that what Jemmy _wanted_ was _height_, and he had gained
what he required in his wife, if not in his own person: his wife was
passionately fond of him, and very jealous, which was not to be wondered
at, for, as she said, "there never was such a husband before or since."
We must now return to the conference, observing, that all these parties
were sitting down on the deck, and that Jemmy Ducks had his fiddle in
his hand, holding it with the body downwards like a bass viol, for he
always played it in that way, and that he occasionally fingered the
strings, pinching them as you do a guitar, so as to send the sound of it
aft, that Mr Vanslyperken might suppose that they were all met for
mirth. Two or three had their eyes directed aft, that the appearance of
Corporal Van Spitter or the marines might be immediately perceived; for,
although the corporal was not a figure to slide into a conference
unperceived, it was well known that he was an eavesdropper.
"One thing's sartain," observed Coble, "that a dog's not an officer."
"No," replied Dick Short.
"He's not on the ship's books, so I can't see how it can be mutiny."
"No," rejoined Short.
"Mein Got--he is not a tog, he is te tyfel," observed Jansen.
"Who knows how he came into the cutter?"
"There's a queer story about that," said one of the men.
Tum tum, tumty tum--said the fiddle of Jemmy Ducks, as if it took part
in the conference.
"That poor boy will be killed if things go on this way: the skipper will
never be content till he has driven his soul out of his body--poor
creature; only look at him as he lies in his hammock."
"I never seed a Christian such an object," said one of the sailors.
"If the dog ain't killed, Bones will be, that's sartain," observed
Coble, "and I don't see why the preference should be given to a human
individual, although the dog is the skipper's dog--now then, what d'ye
say, my lads?"
Tum tum, tum tum, tumty tumty tum, replied the fiddle.
"Let's hang him at once."
"No," replied Short.
Jansen took out his snickerree, looked at Short, and made a motion with
the knife, as if passing it across the dog's throat.
"No," replied Short.
"Let's launch him overboard at night," said one of the men.
"But how is one to get the brute out of the cabin?" said Coble; "if it's
done at all it must be done by day."
Short nodded his head.
"I will give him a launch the first opportunity," observed Jemmy Ducks,
"only--" (continued he in a measured and lower tone) "I should first
like to know whether he really _is_ a dog or _not_."
"A tog is a tog," observed Jansen.
"Yes," replied one of the forecastle men, "we all know a dog is a dog,
but the question is--is _this_ dog a dog?"
Here there was a pause, which Jemmy Ducks filled up by again touching
the strings of his fiddle.
The fact was, that, although every one of the sailors wished the dog
was overboard, there was not one who wished to commit the deed, not on
account of the fear of its being discovered who was the party by Mr
Vanslyperken, but because there was a great deal of superstition among
them. It was considered unlucky to throw any dog or animal overboard;
but the strange stories told about the way in which Snarleyyow first
made his appearance in the vessel, added to the peculiarly diabolical
temper of the animal, had often been the theme of midnight conversation,
and many of them were convinced that it was an imp of Satan lent to
Vanslyperken, and that, to injure or to attempt to destroy it would
infallibly be followed up with terrible consequences to the party, if
not to the vessel and all the crew. Even Short, Coble, and Jansen, who
were the boldest and leading men, although when their sympathies were
roused by the sufferings of poor Smallbones they were anxious to revenge
him, had their own misgivings, and, on consideration, did not like to
have anything to do with the business. But each of them kept their
reflections to themselves, for, if they could not combat, they were too
proud to acknowledge them.
The reader will observe that all their plans were immediately put an end
to until this important question, and not a little difficult one, was
decided--Was the dog a dog?
Now, although the story had often been told, yet, as the crew of the
cutter had been paid off since the animal had been brought on board,
there was no man in the ship who could positively detail, from his own
knowledge, the facts connected with his first appearance--there was only
tradition, and, to solve this question, to tradition they were obliged
"Now, Bill Spurey," said Coble, "you know more about this matter than
any one, so just spin us the yarn, and then we shall be able to talk the
matter over soberly."
"Well," replied Bill Spurey, "you shall have it just as I got it word
for word, as near as I can recollect. You know I wasn't in the craft
when the thing came on board, but Joe Geary was, and it was one night
when we were boozing over a stiff glass at the new shop there, the
Orange Boven, as they call it, at the Pint at Portsmouth--and so you
see, falling in with him, I wished to learn something about my new
skipper, and what sort of a chap I should have to deal with. When I
learnt all about _him_, I'd half-a-dozen minds to shove off again, but
then I was adrift, and so I thought better of it. It won't do to be nice
in peace times you know, my lads, when all the big ships are rotting in
Southampton and Cinque Port muds. Well, then, what he told me I
recollect as well--ay, every word of it--as if he had whispered it into
my ear but this minute. It was a blustering night, with a dirty
southwester, and the chafing of the harbour waves was thrown up in
foams, which the winds swept up the street, they chasing one another as
if they were boys at play. It was about two bells in the middle watch,
and after our fifth glass, that Joe Geary said as this:
"It was one dark winter's night when we were off the Texel, blowing
terribly, with the coast under our lee, clawing off under storm canvas,
and fighting with the elements for every inch of ground, a hand in the
chains, for we had nothing but the lead to trust to, and the vessel so
flogged by the waves, that he was lashed to the rigging, that he might
not be washed away; all of a sudden the wind came with a blast loud
enough for the last trump, and the waves roared till they were hoarser
than ever; away went the vessel's mast, although there was no more
canvas on it than a jib pocket-handkerchief, and the craft rolled and
tossed in the deep troughs for all the world like a wicked man dying in
despair; and then she was a wreck, with nothing to help us but God
Almighty, fast borne down upon the sands which the waters had disturbed,
and were dashing about until they themselves were weary of the load; and
all the seamen cried unto the Lord, as well they might.
"Now, they say, that _he_ did not cry as they did, like men and
Christians, to Him who made them and the waters which surrounded and
threatened them; for Death was then in all his glory, and the foaming
crests of the waves were as plumes of feathers to his skeleton head
beneath them; but he cried like a child--and swore terribly as well as
cried--talking about his money, his dear money, and not caring about his
more precious soul.
"And the cutter was borne down, every wave pushing her with giant force
nearer and nearer to destruction, when the man at the chains shrieked
out--'Mark three, and the Lord have mercy on our souls!" and all the
crew, when they heard this, cried out--'Lord, save us, or we perish.'
But still they thought that their time was come, for the breaking waves
were under their lee, and the yellow waters told them that, in a few
minutes, the vessel, and all who were on board, would be shivered in
fragments; and some wept and some prayed as they clung to the bulwarks
of the unguided vessel, and others in a few minutes thought over their
whole life, and waited for death in silence. But _he_, he did all; he
cried, and he prayed, and he swore, and he was silent, and at last he
became furious and frantic; and when the men said again and again, 'The
Lord save us!' he roared out at last, "Will the _devil_ help us, for--'
In a moment, before these first words were out of his mouth, there was a
flash of lightning, that appeared to strike the vessel, but it harmed
her not, neither did any thunder follow the flash; but a ball of blue
flame pitched upon the knight heads, and then came bounding and dancing
aft to the taffrail, where _he_ stood alone, for the men had left him to
blaspheme by himself. Some say he was heard to speak, as if in
conversation, but no one knows what passed. Be it as it may, on a sudden
he walked forward as brave as could be, and was followed by this
creature, who carried his head and tail slouching, as he does now.
"And the dog looked up and gave one deep bark, and as soon as he had
barked the wind appeared to lull--he barked again twice, and there was a
dead calm--he barked again thrice, and the seas went down--and _he_
patted the dog on the head, and the animal then bayed loud for a minute
or two, and then, to the astonishment and fear of all, instead of the
vessel being within a cable's length of the Texel sands in a heavy gale,
and without hope, the Foreland lights were but two miles on our beam
with a clear sky and smooth water."
The seaman finished his legend, and there was a dead silence for a
minute or two, broken first by Jansen, who in a low voice said, "Then te
tog is not a tog."
"No," replied Coble, "an imp sent by the devil to his follower in
"Yes," said Short.
"Well, but," said Jemmy Ducks, who for some time had left off touching
the strings of his fiddle, "it would be the work of a good Christian to
kill the brute."
"It's not a mortal animal, Jemmy."
"True, I forgot that."
"Gifen by de tyfel," observed Jansen.
"Ay, and christened by him too," continued Coble. "Who ever heard any
Christian brute with such a damnable name?"
"Well, what's to be done?"
"Why," replied Jemmy Ducks, "at all events, imp o' Satan or not, that
ere Smallbones fought him to-day with his own weapons."
"And beat him too," said Coble.
"Yes," said Short.
"Now, it's my opinion, that Smallbones ar'n't afraid of him," continued
Jemmy Ducks, "and devil or no devil, he'll kill him if he can."
"He's the proper person to do it," replied Coble; "the more so, as you
may say that he's his _natural_ enemy."
"Yes, mein Got, de poy is de man," said Jansen.
"We'll put him up to it at all events, as soon as he is out of his
hammock," rejoined Jemmy Ducks.
A little more conversation took place, and then it was carried
unanimously that Smallbones should destroy the animal, if it was
possible to destroy it.
The only party who was not consulted was Smallbones himself, who lay
fast asleep in his hammock. The consultation then broke up, and they all
In which, as often happens at sea when signals are not made out, friends
Notwithstanding all the precautions of the party on the forecastle, this
consultation had been heard by no less a person than the huge Corporal
Van Spitter, who had an idea that there was some mystery going on
forward, and had contrived to crawl up under the bulwark, and throw
himself down on the forestaysail, which lay between two of the guns.
Having so done without being perceived, for it was at the very moment
that the party were all listening to Bill Spurey's legend of the dog's
first appearance on board, he threw a part of the sail over his fat
carcass, and thus remained undiscovered during the remainder of the
colloquy. He heard them all descending below, and remained still quiet,
till he imagined that the forecastle was clear. In the meantime Mr
Vanslyperken, who had been walking the deck abaft, unaccompanied by his
faithful attendant (for Snarleyyow remained coiled up on his master's
bed), was meditating deeply how to gratify the two most powerful
passions in our nature, love and revenge: at one moment thinking of the
fat fair Vandersloosh, and of hauling in her guilders, at another
reverting to the starved Smallbones and the comfort of a keel-hauling.
The long conference on the forecastle had not been unperceived by the
hawk's eye of the lieutenant, and as they descended, he walked forward
to ascertain if he could not pick up some straggler who, unsupported by
his comrades, might be induced by fear to acquaint him with the subject
of the discussion. Now, just as Mr Vanslyperken came forward Corporal
Van Spitter had removed the canvas from his body, and was about to rise
from his bed, when he perceived somebody coming forward. Not making it
out to be the lieutenant, he immediately dropped down again and drew the
canvas over him. Mr Vanslyperken perceived this manoeuvre, and thought
he had now caught one of the conspirators, and, moreover, one who showed
such fear as to warrant the supposition that he should be able to
extract from him the results of the night's unusually long conference.
Mr Vanslyperken walked up to where the corporal lay as quiet, but not
quite so small, as a mouse. It occurred to Mr Vanslyperken that a little
taste of punishment _in esse_ would very much assist the threats of what
might be received _in posse_; so he laid aside his speaking-trumpet,
looked round, picked up a handspike, and raising it above his head, down
it came, with all the force of the lieutenant's arm, upon Corporal Van
Spitter, whose carcass resounded like a huge kettle-drum.
"Tunder and flame," roared the corporal under the canvas, thinking that
one of the seamen, having discovered him eavesdropping, had thus wreaked
his revenge, taking advantage of his being covered up, and pretending
not to know him. "Tunder and flame!" roared the corporal, muffled up in
the canvas, and trying to extricate himself; but his voice was not
recognised by the lieutenant, and, before he could get clear of his
envelope, the handspike had again descended; when up rose the corporal,
like a buffalo out of his muddy lair, half-blinded by the last blow,
which had fallen on his head, ran full butt at the lieutenant, and
precipitated his senior officer and commander headlong down the
Vanslyperken fell with great force, was stunned, and lay without motion
at the foot of the ladder, while the corporal, whose wrath was always
excessive when his blood was up, but whose phlegmatic blood could not be
raised without some such decided stimulus as a handspike, now turned
round and round the forecastle, like a bull looking for his assailants;
but the corporal had the forecastle all to himself, and, as he
gradually cooled down, he saw lying close to him the speaking-trumpet of
his senior officer.
"Tousand tyfels," murmured Corporal Van Spitter, "but it must have been
the skipper. Got for damn, dis is hanging matter!" Corporal Van Spitter
was as cool as a cucumber as soon as he observed what a mistake he had
made; in fact, he quivered and trembled in his fat. "But then," thought
he, "perhaps he did not know me--no, he could not, or he never would
have handspiked _me_." So Corporal Van Spitter walked down the hatchway,
where he ascertained that his commandant lay insensible. "Dat is good,"
thought he, and he went aft, lighted his lanthorn, and, as a _ruse_,
knocked at the cabin-door. Receiving no answer but the growl of
Snarleyyow, he went in, and then ascended to the quarter-deck, looked
round him, and inquired of the man at the wheel where Mr Vanslyperken
might be. The man replied that he had gone forward a few minutes before,
and thither the corporal proceeded. Of course, not finding him, he
returned, telling the man that the skipper was not in the cabin or the
forecastle, and wondering where he could be. He then descended to the
next officer in command, Dick Short, and called him.
"Well," said Short.
"Can't find Mr Vanslyperken anywhere," said the corporal.
"Look," replied Dick, turning round in his hammock.
"Mein Got, I have looked de forecastle, de quarter-deck, and de
cabin,--he not anywhere."
"Overboard," replied Dick.
"I come to you, sir, to make inquiry," said the corporal.
"Turn out," said Dick, suiting the action to the words, and lighting
with his feet on the deck in his shirt.
While Short was dressing himself, the corporal summoned up all his
marines; and the noise occasioned by this turn out, and the conversation
overheard by those who were awake, soon gave the crew of the cutter to
understand that some accident had happened to their commander. Even
Smallbones had it whispered in his ear that Mr Vanslyperken had fallen
overboard, and he smiled as he lay in the dark, smarting with his
wounds, muttering to himself that Snarleyyow should soon follow his
master. By the time that Short was on the quarter-deck, Corporal Van
Spitter, who knew very well where to look for it, had, very much to the
disappointment of the crew, found the body of Mr Vanslyperken, and the
marines had brought it aft to the cabin, and would have laid it on the
bed, had not Snarleyyow, who had no feeling in his composition,
positively denied its being put there.
Short came down and examined his superior officer.
"Is he dead?" inquired the corporal with alarm.
"No," replied Short.
"Vat can it be then?" said the corporal.
"Stunned," replied Short.
"Mein Got! how could it happen?"
"Tumbled," replied Short.
"What shall we do, sir?" rejoined the corporal.
"Bed," replied Short, turning on his heel, and a minute after turning
into his hammock.
"Mein Got, the dog will not let him go to bed," exclaimed the corporal.
"Let's put him in," said one of the marines, "the dog won't bite his
So the marines lifted up the still insensible Mr Vanslyperken, and
almost tossed him into his standing bed-place, right on the body of the
snarling dog, who, as soon as he could disengage himself from the
weight, revenged himself by making his teeth meet more than once through
the lanthorn cheek of his master, and then leaping off the bed,
retreated growling under the table.
"Well, you _are_ a nice dog," exclaimed one of the marines, looking
after Snarleyyow in his retreat.
Now, there was no medical assistance on board so small a vessel. Mr
Vanslyperken, was allowed a small quantity of medicine, unguents, &c.,
but these he always sold to an apothecary, as soon as he had procured
them from the authorities. The teeth of the dog had, however, their
effect, and Mr Vanslyperken opened his eyes, and in a faint voice cried
"Snarleyyow." Oh, if the dog had any spark of feeling, how must he then
have been stung with remorse at his ingratitude to so kind a master! But
he apparently showed none, at least, report does not say that any
symptoms were manifest.
After a little burnt oakum had excoriated his nose, and a certain
quantity of the cold salt-water from alongside had wetted through his
bedclothes, Mr Vanslyperken was completely recovered, and was able to
speak and look about him. Corporal Van Spitter trembled a little as his
commandant fixed his eyes upon him, and he redoubled his attention.
"Mein Got, Mynheer Vanslyperken, how was this happen?" exclaimed the
corporal in a pathetic tone. Whereupon Mr Vanslyperken ordered every one
to leave the cabin but Corporal Van Spitter.
Mr Vanslyperken then communicated to the corporal that he had been
knocked down the hatchway by one of the men when he went forward; that
he could not distinguish who it was, but thought that it must have been
Jansen from his size. Corporal Van Spitter, delighted to find that his
skipper was on a wrong scent, expressed his opinion in corroboration of
the lieutenant's: after which a long consultation took place relative to
mutiny, disaffection, and the proper measures to be taken. Vanslyperken
mentioned the consultation of the men during the first watch, and the
corporal, to win his favour, was very glad to be able to communicate the
particulars of what he had overheard, stating that he had concealed
himself for that purpose.
"And where did you conceal yourself?" said Vanslyperken with a keen
inquiring look: for it immediately occurred to him that, unless it was
under the sail, there could be no concealment for such a huge body as
that of the corporal; and he had his misgivings. But the corporal very
adroitly observed, that he stood at the lower step of the fore-ladder,
with his head level with the coamings; and had, by this means, overheard
the conversation unperceived, and had only walked away when the party
broke up. This restored the confidence of Mr Vanslyperken, and a long
discussion took place, in which it was agreed between them, that the
only way to prevent Snarleyyow from being destroyed, was to try some
means to make away quietly with poor Smallbones. But this part of the
conversation was not carried to any length: for Mr Vanslyperken,
indignant at having received such injury in his face from his ungrateful
cur, did not, at that moment, feel the current of his affection run so
strong as usual in that direction. After this, the corporal touched his
hat, swung round to the right about in military style, and left
In which Mr Vanslyperken goes on shore to woo the Widow Vandersloosh.
Three weeks of comparative calm now passed away, during which Mr
Vanslyperken recovered of his wounds and accident, and meditated how he
should make away with Smallbones. The latter also recovered of his
bites, and meditated how he should make away with Snarleyyow. Smallbones
had returned to his avocations, and Vanslyperken, intending mischief,
treated him more kindly, as a blind. Snarleyyow also, not forgetting his
defeat on the quarter-deck, did not renew his attacks, even when the
poor lad helped himself to biscuit.
The _Yungfrau_ anchored in the Downs, and Mr Vanslyperken received
despatches for the Hague; King William having written some letters to
his friends, and sent over to them a little English money, which he knew
would be acceptable; for continental kings on the English throne have
never appeared to have a clear sense of the honour conferred upon them.
England, in their ideas, has always been a _parvenue_ kingdom; her
nobles not able to trace farther back than the Conquest; while, in their
country, the lowest baron will prove his sixteen quarters, and his
descent from the darkest ages. But, nevertheless, upon the same
principle that the poor aristocracy will condescend to unite themselves
occasionally to city wealth, so have these potentates condescended to
reign over us.
Mr Vanslyperken received his despatches, and made the best of his way to
Amsterdam, where he anchored, delivered his credentials, and there
waited for the letters of thanks from his Majesty's cousins.
But what a hurry and bustle there appears to be on board of the
_Yungfrau_--Smallbones here, Smallbones there--Corporal Van Spitter
pushing to and fro with the dog-trot of an elephant; and even Snarleyyow
appears to be unusually often up and down the hatchway. What can it all
be about? Oh! Mr Vanslyperken is going on shore to pay his respects, and
continue his addresses, to the widow Vandersloosh. His boat is manned
alongside, and he now appears on the cutter's quarter-deck.
Is it possible that this can be Mr Vanslyperken? Heavens, how gay! An
uniform certainly does wonders with some people: that is to say, those
who do not look well in plain clothes are invariably improved by it;
while those, who look most like gentlemen in plain clothes, lose in the
same proportion. At all events Mr Vanslyperken is wonderfully improved.
He has a loose pair of blue pantaloons, with boots rising above his
knees pulled over them: his lower parts remind you of Charles the
Twelfth. He has a long scarlet waiscoat, with large gilt buttons and
flap pockets, and his uniform coat over all, of blue turned up with red,
has a very commanding appearance. To a broad black belt over his
shoulder hangs his cutlass, the sheath of which is mounted with silver,
and the hilt of ivory and gold threads; and, above all, his small head
is almost dignified by being surmounted with a three-cornered turned-up
and gold-banded cocked hat, with one corner of the triangle in front
parallel with his sharp nose. Surely the widow must strike her colours
to scarlet, and blue, and gold. But although women are said, like
mackerel, to take such baits, still widows are not fond of a man who is
as thin as a herring: they are too knowing, they prefer stamina, and
will not be persuaded to take the shadow for the substance.
Mr Vanslyperken was, nevertheless, very well pleased with himself, which
was something, but still not quite enough on the present occasion, and
he strutted the deck with great complacency, gave his final orders to
Dick Short, who, as usual, gave a short answer; also to Corporal Van
Spitter, who, as usual, received them with all military honour; and,
lastly, to Smallbones, who received them with all humility. The
lieutenant was about to step into the boat, when a doubt arose, and he
stopped in his advance, perplexed. It was one of no small
importance--was Snarleyyow to accompany him or not? That was the knotty
question, and it really was a case which required some deliberation. If
he left him on board after the conspiracy which had been formed against
him, the dog would probably be overboard before he returned; that is, if
Smallbones were also left on board; for Mr Vanslyperken knew that it had
been decided that Smallbones alone could and should destroy the dog. He
could not, therefore, leave the dog on board with safety; and, as for
taking him on shore with him, in that there was much danger, for the
widow Vandersloosh had set her face against the dog. No wonder: he had
behaved in her parlour as bad as the dog Crab in the Two Gentlemen of
Verona; and the Frau was a very clean person, and had no fancy for dogs
comparing their legs with those of her polished mahogany chairs and
tables. If Mr Vanslyperken's suit was to be decided according to the old
adage, "love me, love my dog," he certainly had but a poor chance; for
the widow detested the cur, and had insisted that it should never be
brought into her house. Take the dog on shore, therefore, he could not;
but, thought Mr Vanslyperken, I can take Smallbones on shore, that will
do as well. I have some biscuit to dispose of, and he shall go with it
and wait till I come off again. Smallbones was, therefore, ordered to
put on his hat and step into the boat with two half bags of biscuit to
carry up to the widow's house, for she did a little business with Mr
Vanslyperken, as well as allowing him to make love to her; and was never
so sweet or so gracious, as when closing a bargain. So Mr Vanslyperken
waited for Smallbones, who was soon ready, for his best consisted only
in a pair of shoes to his usually naked feet, and a hat for his
generally uncovered head. And Mr Vanslyperken, and Smallbones, and the
biscuit, were in the boat, when Snarleyyow intimated his intention to
join the party; but this was refused, and the boat shoved off
As soon as Mr Vanslyperken had shoved off, Dick Short, being in command,
thought he might as well give himself leave, and go on shore also. So he
went down, put on his best, and ordered the other boat to be manned, and
leaving Obadiah Coble on board as the next officer, he took with him
Jansen, Jemmy Ducks, and four or five others, to have a cruise. Now, as
Snarleyyow had this time made up his mind that he would go on shore, and
Short was willing to indulge him, for he knew that Smallbones, if he
fell in with him, would do his best to launch him into one of the
canals, so convenient in every street, the cur was permitted to get into
the boat, and was landed with the rest of the party, who, as usual,
repaired to the Lust Haus of the widow Vandersloosh; where we must leave
them for the present, and return to our friend, Mr Vanslyperken.
In which the Widow lays a trap for Mr Vanslyperken, and Smallbones lays
a trap for Snarleyyow, and both bag their game.
The widow Vandersloosh, as we have informed the reader, was the owner of
a Lust Haus, or pleasure-house for sailors: we will describe that
portion of her tenements more particularly by-and-bye: at present, we
must advert to her own private house, which stood adjoining, and had a
communication with the Lust Haus by a private door through the party
wall. This was a very small, snug little habitation, with one window in
each front, and two stories high; containing a front parlour and kitchen
on the basement, two small rooms on the first, and two on the second
floor. Nothing could be better arranged for a widow's residence.
Moreover, she had a back-yard running the whole length of the wall of
the Lust Haus in the rear, with convenient offices, and a back-door into
the street behind.
Mr Vanslyperken had arrived, paid his humble devoirs to the widow, more
humble, because he was evidently pleased with his own person, and had
been followed by Smallbones, who laid the biscuit by the scraper at the
door, watching it as in duty bound. The lieutenant imagined that he was
more graciously received than usual. Perhaps he was, for the widow had
not had so much custom lately, and was glad the crew of the cutter were
arrived to spend their money. Already had Vanslyperken removed his sword
and belt, and laid them with his three-cornered laced hat on the
side-table; he was already cosily, as of wont, seated upon the widow's
little fubsy sofa, with the lady by his side, and he had just taken her
hand and was about to renew his suit, to pour forth the impromptu
effusions of his heart, concocted on the quarter-deck of the _Yungfrau_,
when who should bolt into the parlour but the unwelcome Snarleyyow.
"O that nasty brute! Mynheer Vanslyperken, how dare you bring him into
my house?" cried the widow, jumping up from the sofa, with her
full-moon-face red with anger.
"Indeed, widow," replied Vanslyperken, "I left him on board, knowing
that you were not fond of animals; but some one has brought him on
shore. However, I'll find out who it was, and keel-haul him in honour of
"I am fond of animals, Mr Vanslyperken, but I am not fond of such
animals as that--such a filthy, ugly, disagreeable, snarling brute; nor
can I think how you can keep him after what I have said about it. It
don't prove much regard, Mr Vanslyperken, when such a dog as that is
kept on purpose to annoy me."
"I assure you, widow--"
"Don't assure me, Mr Vanslyperken, there's no occasion--your dog is your
own--but I'll thank you to take him out of this house; and, perhaps, as
he won't go without you, you had better go with him."
Now the widow had never spoken so indignantly before: if the reader
wishes to know why she did so now, we will acquaint him; the widow
Vandersloosh had perceived Smallbones, who sat like Patience on a
monument, upon the two half bags of biscuit before her porch. It was a
query to the widow whether they were to be a present, or an article to
be bargained for: it was therefore very advisable to pick a quarrel,
that the matter might be cleared up. The widow's ruse met with all the
success which it deserved. In the first place, Mr Vanslyperken did what
he never would have believed himself capable of, but the wrath of the
widow had worked him also up to wrath, and he saluted Snarleyyow with
such a kick on the side, as to send him howling into the back-yard,
followed him out, and, notwithstanding an attempt at defence on the part
of the dog, which the lieutenant's high boots rendered harmless,
Snarleyyow was fairly or unfairly, as you may please to think it, kicked
into an outhouse, the door shut, and the key turned upon him. After
which Mr Vanslyperken returned to the parlour, where he found the widow,
erect, with her back turned to the stove, blowing and bristling, her
bosom heaving, reminding you of seas mountains high, as if she were
still under the effect of a just resentment for the affront offered to
her. There she stood waiting in all dignity for Mr Vanslyperken to
repair the injury done, whether unintentional or not. In few words,
there she waited, for the _biscuit_ to be presented to her. And it was
presented, for Vanslyperken knew no other way of appeasing her wrath.
Gradually the storm was allayed--the flush of anger disappeared, the
corners of the scornfully-turned-down mouth, were turned up
again--Cupid's bow was no longer bent in anger, and the widow's bosom
slept as when the ocean sleeps, like "an unweaned child." The biscuit
bags were brought in by Smallbones, their contents stored, and harmony
restored. Once more was Mr Vanslyperken upon the little sofa by the side
of the fat widow, and once more did he take her melting hand. Alas! that
her heart was not made of the same soft materials.
But we must not only leave Short and his companions in the Lust Haus,
but the widow and the lieutenant in their soft dalliance, and now occupy
ourselves with the two principal personages of this our drama,
Smallbones and Snarleyyow.
When Smallbones had retired, with the empty bread-bags under his arm, he
remained some time reflecting at the porch, and then having apparently
made up his mind, he walked to a chandler's shop just over the bridge of
the canal opposite, and purchased a needle, some strong twine, and a
red-herring. He also procured, "without purchase," as they say in our
War Office Gazettes, a few pieces of stick. Having obtained all these,
he went round to the door of the yard behind the widow's house, and let
himself in. Little did Mr Vanslyperken imagine what mischief was
brewing, while he was praising and drinking the beer of the widow's
Smallbones had no difficulty in finding out where Snarleyyow was
confined, for the dog was very busy gnawing his way through the door,
which, however, was a work of time, and not yet a quarter accomplished.
The place had been a fowl-house, and, at the bottom of the door, there
was a small hatch for the ingress and egress of these bipeds, the
original invention of some thrifty spinster, to prevent the maids from
stealing eggs. But this hatch was closed, or Snarleyyow would have
escaped through it. Smallbones took up his quarters in another outhouse,
that he might not be observed, and commenced his operations.
He first took out the bottom of one bread-bag, and then sewed that on
the other to make it longer; he then ran a string through the mouth, so
as to draw it close when necessary, and cut his sticks so as to support
it and keep it open. All this being arranged, he went to where
Snarleyyow was busy gnawing wood with great pertinacity, and allowed him
not only to smell, but to tear off the tail of the red-herring, under
the door; and then gradually drew the herring along until he had brought
it right under the hatch in the middle, which left it at the precise
distance that the dog could snuff it but not reach it, which Snarleyyow
now did, in preference to gnawing wood. When you lay a trap, much
depends upon the bait; Smallbones knew his enemy's partiality for
savoury comestibles. He then brought out his bag, set up his supporters,
fixed it close to the hatch, and put the red-herring inside of it. With
the string in one hand, he lifted up the hatch with the other.
Snarleyyow rushed out and rushed in, and in a moment the strings were
drawn, and as soon as drawn were tied tight round the mouth of the bag.
Snarleyyow was caught; he tumbled over and over, rolling now to the
right and now to the left, while Smallbones grinned with delight. After
amusing himself a short time with the evolutions of his prisoner, he
dragged him in his bag into the outhouse where he had made his trap,
shut the door, and left him. The next object was to remove any
suspicion on the part of Mr Vanslyperken; and to effect this, Smallbones
tore off the hatch, and broke it in two or three pieces, bit parts of it
with his own teeth, and laid them down before the door, making it appear
as if the dog had gnawed his own way out. The reason for allowing the
dog still to remain in prison, was that Smallbones dared not attempt
anything further until it was dark, and there was yet an hour or more to
wait for the close of the day.
Smallbones had but just finished his work in time; for the widow having
been summoned to her guests in the Lust Haus, had left Vanslyperken
alone, and the lieutenant thought this a good opportunity to look after
his four-footed favourite. He came out into the yard, where he found
Smallbones, and he had his misgivings.
"What are you doing here, sir?"
"Waiting for you, sir," replied Smallbones, humbly.
"And the dog?" said Vanslyperken, observing the strewed fragments of the
"He's a-bitten himself out, sir, I believe."
"And where is he, then?"
"I don't know, sir; I suppose he's gone down to the boat."
Snarleyyow hearing his master's voice, had commenced a whine, and
Smallbones trembled: fortunately, at that moment, the widow's ample form
appeared at the back-door of the house, and she called to Mr
Vanslyperken. The widow's voice drowned the whine of the dog, and his
master did not hear it. At the summons, Vanslyperken but half convinced,
but not daring to show any interest about the animal in the presence of
his mistress, returned to the parlour, and very soon the dog was
But as the orgies in the Lust Haus increased, so did it become more
necessary for the widow to make frequent visits there; not only to
supply her customers, but to restrain them by her presence; and as the
evening wore away, so did the absences of the widow become more
frequent. This Vanslyperken well knew, and he therefore always pressed
his suit in the afternoon, and as soon as it was dark returned on board.
Smallbones, who watched at the back-door the movements of his master,
perceived that he was refixing his sword-belt over his shoulder, and he
knew this to be the signal for departure. It was now quite dark, he
therefore hastened to the outhouse, and dragged out Snarleyyow in the
bag, swung him over his shoulder, and walked out of the yard-door,
proceeded to the canal in front of the widow's house, looked round him,
could perceive nobody, and then dragged the bag with its contents into
the stagnant water below, just as Mr Vanslyperken, who had bidden adieu
to the widow, came out of the house. There was a heavy splash--and
silence. Had such been heard on the shores of the Bosphorus on such a
night, it would have told some tale of unhappy love and a husband's
vengeance; but, at Amsterdam, it was nothing more than the drowning of
"Who's there--is it Smallbones?" said Mr Vanslyperken.
"Yes, sir," said Smallbones, with alarm.
"What was that noise I heard?"
"Noise, sir? Oh, I kicked a paving-stone into the canal."
"And don't you know there is heavy fine for that, you scoundrel? And
pray where are the bread-bags?"
"The bread-bags, sir? Oh, Mr Short took them to tie up some vegetables
"Mr Short! O, very well. Come along, sir, and no more throwing stones
into the canal; why you might have killed somebody--there is a boat down
there now, I hear the people talking." And Mr Vanslyperken hastened to
his boat, which was waiting for him; anxious to ascertain if Snarleyyow,
as he fully expected, was in it. But to his grief and disappointment he
was not there, and Mr Vanslyperken sat in the stern sheets, in no
pleasant humour, thinking whether it was or was not a paving-stone
which Smallbones had thrown into the canal, and resolving that if the
dog did not appear, Smallbones should be keel-hauled. There was,
however, one more chance, the dog might have been taken on board.
A long chapter, in which there is lamentation, singing, bibbing, and
It may readily be supposed, that the first question asked by Mr
Vanslyperken, on his gaining the quarter-deck, was, if Snarleyyow were
on board. He was received with the military salute of Corporal Van
Spitter, for Obadiah Coble, having been left commanding officer, had
given himself leave, and, with a few men, had joined Dick Short and the
first party at the Lust Haus, leaving the corporal as the next senior
officer in charge. The answer in the negative was a great mortification
to Mr Vanslyperken, and he descended to his cabin in no very good
humour, and summoned Smallbones. But before Smallbones was summoned, he
had time to whisper to one or two of the conspirators--"_He's gone_." It
was enough; in less than a minute the whisper was passed throughout the
cutter. "He's gone," was sibilated above and below, until it met the
ears of even Corporal Van Spitter, who had it from a marine, who had it
from another marine, who had it from a seaman, who--but it was, however,
soon traced up to Smallbones by the indefatigable corporal--who
considered it his duty to report the report to Mr Vanslyperken.
Accordingly he descended to the cabin and knocked for admission.
In the meantime Vanslyperken had been venting his ill-humour upon
Smallbones, having, as he took off from his person, and replaced in his
drawers, his unusual finery, administered an unusual quantity of kicks,
as well as a severe blow on the head with his sheathed cutlass to the
unfortunate lad, who repeated to himself, by way of consolation, the
magic words--"_He's gone_."
"If you please, sir," said Corporal Van Spitter, "I've discovered from
the ship's company that the dog _is gone_."
"I know that, corporal," replied Vanslyperken.
"And, sir, the report has been traced to Smallbones."
"Indeed!--then it was you that said that the dog is gone--now, you
villain, where is he?"
"If you please, I did say that the dog was gone, and so he is; but I
didn't say that I knew where he was--no more I don't. He's runned away,
and he'll be back to-morrow--I'm sure he will."
"Corporal Van Spitter, if the dog is not on board again by eight o'clock
to-morrow morning, you will get all ready for keel-hauling this
"Yes, mynheer," replied the corporal, delighted at having something to
do in the way of punishment.
Smallbones made up a lachrymal face.
"It's very hard," said he; "suppose the dog has fallen into the canal,
is that my fault? If he's a-gone to the bottom of the canal, that's no
reason why I'm to be dragged under the bottom of the cutter."
"Yes, yes," replied Vanslyperken, "I'll teach you to throw paving-stones
off the wharf. Leave the cabin, sir."
Smallbones, whose guilty conscience flew into his pallid face at the
mention of the paving-stones, immediately made a hasty retreat; and
Vanslyperken turned into his bed and dreamt of vengeance.
We must now return to the Lust Haus, and the party on shore; and our
first task must be, to give the reader an idea of what a Lust Haus may
be. It is, as its name imports, a resort for pleasure and amusement; and
in this respect the Dutch are certainly very much in advance of the
English, who have, in the pot-houses and low inns resorted to by seamen,
no accommodation of the kind. There is barely room for Jack to foot it
in a reel, the tap-room is so small; and as Jack is soon reeling after
he is once on shore, it is a very great defect. Now, the Lust Haus is a
room as large as an assembly-room in a country-town, well lighted up
with lamps and chandeliers, well warmed with stoves, where you have room
to dance fifty reels at once, and still have plenty of accommodation at
the chairs and tables ranged round on each side. At the end of the room
is a raised chair, with a protecting railing, on which the musicians, to
the number of seven or eight, are posted, and they continue during the
evening to play when requested. The people of the Lust Haus furnish wine
and spirits of every description, while cakes, nuts, walnuts, oranges,
&c, are supplied from the baskets of numerous young women who hand them
round, and press their customers to purchase. Police officers
superintend these resorts to remove those who are violent, and interfere
with the amusements of others. On the whole, it is a very gay scene, and
is resorted to by seamen of all nations, with a sprinkling of those who
are not sailors, but who like amusement, and there are plenty of females
who are ready to dance with them, and to share their beer or grog. Be it
further known, that there is a great deal of decorum in a Lust Haus,
particularly among the latter sex; and altogether it is infinitely more
rational and less debasing, than the low pot-houses of Portsmouth
Such was the place of amusement kept by the Frau Vandersloosh, and in
this large room had been seated, for some hours, Dick Short, Coble,
Jansen, Jemmy Ducks, and some others of the crew of his Majesty's cutter
The room was now full, but not crowded, it was too spacious well to be
so. Some sixteen couples were dancing a quadrille to a lively tune
played by the band, and among the dancers were to be seen old women, and
children of ten or twelve: for it was not considered improper to be seen
dancing at this humble assembly, and the neighbours frequently came in.
The small tables and numerous chairs round the room were nearly all
filled, beer was foaming from the mouths of the opened bottles, and
there was the ringing of the glasses as they pledged each other. At
several tables were assemblages of Dutch seamen, who smoked with all the
phlegm of their nation, as they gravely looked upon the dancers. At
another were to be seen some American seamen, scrupulously neat in their
attire, and with an air _distinguee_, from the superiority of their
education, and all of them quiet and sober. The basket-women flitted
about displaying their stores, and invited every one to purchase fruit,
and particularly hard-boiled eggs, which they had brought in at this
hour, when those who dined at one might be expected to be hungry.
Sailors' wives were also there, and perhaps some who could not produce
the marriage certificates; but as these were not asked for at the door,
it was of no consequence. About the centre of the room, at two small
tables joined together, were to be seen the party from the _Yungfrau_:
some were drinking beer, some grog, and Jemmy Ducks was perched on the
table, with his fiddle as usual held like a bass viol. He was known by
those who frequented the house by the name of the Manikin, and was a
universal object of admiration and good-will. The quadrille was ended,
and the music stopped playing.
"Come now," said Coble, tossing off his glass, "spell oh!--let's have a
song while they take their breath. Jemmy, strike up."
"Hurrah for a song!" cries Jemmy. "Here goes."
Jemmy then tuned one string of his fiddle, which was a little out, and
accompanying his voice, sang as follows: all those who were present
immediately keeping silence, for they were used to Jemmy's melody.
Twas on the twenty-fourth of June, I sailed away to sea,
I turned my pockets in the lap of Susan on my knee;
Says I, my dear, 'tis all I have, I wish that it was more,
It can't be helped, says Susan then, you know we've spent galore.
You know we've spent galore, my Bill,
And merry have been we,
Again you must your pockets fill,
For Susan on your knee.
"Chorus, my boys--"
For Susan on my knee, my boys,
With Susan on my knee.
The gale came on in thunder, lads, in lightning, and in foam,
Before that we had sail'd away three hundred miles from home;
And on the Sunday morning, lads, the coast was on our lee,
Oh, then I thought of Portsmouth, and of Susan on my knee.
For howling winds and waves to boot,
With black rocks on the lee,
Did not so well my fancy suit,
As Susan on my knee.
_Chorus_.--With Susan on my knee, my boys,
With Susan on my knee.
Next morning we were cast away upon the Frenchman's shore,
We saved our lives, but not our all, for we could save no more;
They marched us to a prison, so we lost our liberty,
I peeped between the bars, and sighed for Susan on my knee.
For bread so black, and wine so sour,
And a son a-day to me,
Made me long ten times an hour,
For Susan on my knee.
_Chorus_--For Susan on my knee, my boys,
For Susan on my knee.
One night we smashed our jailer's skull and off our boat did steer,
And in the offing were picked up by a jolly privateer;
We sailed in her the cruise, my boys, and prizes did take we,
I'll be at Portsmouth soon, thinks I, with Susan on my knee.
We shared three hundred pounds a man,
I made all sail with glee,
Again I danced and tossed my can,
With Susan on my knee.
_Chorus_.--With Susan on my knee, my boys,
With Susan on my knee.
"That's prime, Jemmy. Now, my boys, all together," cried Obadiah Coble.
_Chorus_.--Very good song, and very well sung,
Jolly companions every one;
We are all here for mirth and glee,
We are all here for jollity.
Very good song, and very well sung,
Jolly companions every one;
Put your hats on to keep your heads warm,
A little more grog will do us no harm.
"Hurrah! now, Bill Spurey, suppose you tip us a stave. But I say,
Babette, you Dutch-built galliot, tell old Frank Slush to send us
another dose of the stuff; and d'ye hear, a short pipe for me, and a
paper o' baccy."
The short, fat Babette, whose proportions all the exercise of waiting
upon the customers could not reduce, knew quite enough English to
require no further explanation.
"Come, Jemmy, my hearty, take your fingers off your fiddle, and hand in
your pot," continued Coble; "and then if they are not going to dance,
we'll have another song. Bill Spurey, wet your whistle, and just clear
the cobwebs out of your throat. Here's more 'baccy, Short."
Short made no reply, but he shook out the ashes and filled his pipe. The
music did not strike up again, so Bill Spurey sang as follows:--
Says the parson one day, as I cursed a Jew,
Do you know, my lad, that we call it a sin?
I fear of you sailors there are but few,
St Peter, to heaven, will ever let in.
Says I, Mr Parson, to tell you my mind,
No sailors to knock were ever yet seen,
Those who travel by land may steer 'gainst wind,
But we shape a course for Fidler's Green.
For Fidler's Green, where seamen true,
When here they've done their duty,
The bowl of grog shall still renew
And pledge to love and beauty.
Says the parson, I hear you've married three wives,
Now do you not know, that that is a sin?
You sailors, you lead such very bad lives,
St Peter, to heaven, will ne'er let you in
Parson, says I, in each port I've but _one_,
And never had more, wherever I've been;
Below I'm obliged to be chaste as a nun,
But I'm promised a dozen at Fidler's Green.
At Fidler's Green, where seamen true,
When here they've done their duty,
The bowl of grog shall still renew,
And pledge to love and beauty.
Says the parson, says he, you're drunk, my man,
And do you not know that that is a sin?
If you sailors will ever be swigging your can,
To heaven you surely will never get in.
(_Hiccup_.) Parson, you may as well be mum,
'Tis only on shore I'm this way seen;
But oceans of punch, and rivers of rum,
Await the sailor at Fidler's Green.
At Fidler's Green, where seamen true,
When here they've done their duty,
The bowl of grog shall still renew,
And pledge to love and beauty.
"Well reeled off, Billy," cried Jemmy Ducks, finishing with a flourish
on his fiddle, and a refrain of the air. I don't think we shall meet
_him_ and his dog at Fidler's Green--heh!"
"No," replied Short, taking his pipe from his lip.
"No, no, Jemmy, a seaman true means one true in heart as well as in
knowledge; but, like a blind fiddler, he'll be led by his dog
"From vere de dog did come from," observed Jansen.
The band now struck up again, and played a waltz--a dance new to our
country, but older than the heptarchy. Jansen, with his pipe in his
mouth, took one of the women by the waist, and steered round the room
about as leisurely as a capstern heaving up. Dick Short also took
another, made four turns, reeled up against a Dutchman who was doing it
with _sang froid_, and then suddenly left his partner and dropped into
"I say, Jemmy," said Obadiah Coble, "why don't you give a girl a twist
"Because I can't, Oby; my compasses arn't long enough to describe a
circle. You and I are better here, old boy. I, because I've very little
legs, and you, because you havn't a leg to stand upon."
"Very true--not quite so young as I was forty years ago. Howsomever I
mean this to be my last vessel. I shall bear up for one of the London
dock-yards as a rigger."
"Yes, that'll do; only keep clear of the girt-lines, you're too stiff
"No, that would not exactly tell; I shall pick my own work, and that's
where I can bring my tarry trousers to an anchor--mousing the mainstay,
or puddening the anchor, with the best of any. Dick, lend us a bit
Short pulled out his box without saying a word. Coble took a quid, and
Short thrust the box again into his pocket.
In the meantime the waltz continued, and being a favourite dance, there
were about fifty couples going round and round the room. Such was the
variety in the dress, country, language, and appearance of the parties
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