Captain Frederick Marryat
Part 4 out of 9
"Gammon, for why?" replied Jemmy Ducks.
"That's the question," rejoined Spurey.
"It appears to me that he must have had a touch of conscience," said
"Or else he must have seen a ghost," replied Smallbones.
"I've heard of ghosts ashore, and sometimes on board of a ship, but I
never heard of a ghost in a jolly-boat," said Coble, spitting under
"'Specially when there were hardly room for the corporal," added Spurey.
"Yes," observed Short.
"Well, we shall know something about it to-night, for the corporal and I
am to have a palaver."
"Mind he don't circumwent you, Jimmy," said Spurey.
"It's my opinion," said Smallbones, "that he must be in real arnest,
otherwise he would not ha' come for to go for to give me a glass of
grog--there's no gammon in that;--and such a real stiff 'un too,"
continued Smallbones, who licked his lips at the bare remembrance of the
"True," said Short.
"It beats my comprehension altogether out of nothing," observed Spurey.
"There's something very queer in the wind. I wonder where the corporal
has been all this while."
"Wait till this evening," observed Jemmy Ducks; and, as this was very
excellent advice, it was taken, and the parties separated.
In the despatches it had been requested, as important negotiations were
going on, that the cutter might return immediately, as there were other
communications to make to the States General on the part of the King of
England; and a messenger now informed Vanslyperken that he might sail as
soon as he pleased, as there was no reply to the despatches he had
conveyed. This was very agreeable to Vanslyperken, who was anxious to
return to the fair widow at Portsmouth, and also to avoid the Frau
Vandersloosh. At dusk, he manned his boat and went on shore to the
French agent, who had also found out that the cutter was ordered to
return, and had his despatches nearly ready. Vanslyperken waited about
an hour; when all was complete he received them, and then returned
As soon as he had quitted the vessel, Corporal Van Spitter went to
Jemmy Ducks, and without letting him know how matters stood on shore,
told him that he was convinced that Vanslyperken had sent him into the
boat on purpose to lose him, and that the reason was, that he, Van
Spitter, knew secrets which would at any time hang the lieutenant. That
in consequence he had determined upon revenge, and in future would be
heart and hand with the ship's company, but that to secure their mutual
object, it would be better that he should appear devoted to Vanslyperken
as before, and at variance with the ship's company.
Now Jemmy, who was with all his wits at work, knew that it was
Smallbones who cut the corporal adrift; but that did not alter the case,
as the corporal did not know it. It was therefore advisable to leave him
in that error. But he required proofs of the corporal's sincerity, and
he told him so.
"Mein Gott! what proof will you have? De proof of de pudding is in de
"Well, then," replied Jemmy, "will you shy the dog overboard?"
"Te tog?--in one minute--and de master after him."
Whereupon Corporal Van Spitter went down into the cabin, which
Vanslyperken, trusting to his surveillance, had left unlocked, and
seizing the cur by the neck, carried him on deck, and hurled him several
yards over the cutter's quarter.
"Mein Gott! but dat is well done," observed Jansen.
"And he'll not come back wid de tide. I know de tide, Mein Gott!"
observed the corporal, panting with the exertion.
But here the corporal was mistaken. Snarleyyow did not make for the
vessel, but for the shore, and they could not in the dark ascertain what
became of him, neither was the tide strong, for the flood was nearly
over; the consequence was, that the dog gained the shore, and landed at
the same stairs where the boats land. The men were not in the boat, but
waiting at a beer-shop a little above, which Vanslyperken must pass when
he came down again. Recognising the boat, the cur leapt into it, and
after a good shaking under the thwarts, crept forward to where the men
had thrown their pea-jackets under the bow-sheets, curled himself up,
and went to sleep.
Shortly afterwards the lieutenant came down with the men, and rowed on
board but the dog, which, exhausted with his exertion, was very
comfortable where he was, did not come out, but remained in his
The lieutenant and men left the boat when they arrived on board, without
discovering that the dog was a passenger. About ten minutes after the
lieutenant had come on board, Snarleyyow jumped on deck, but, as all the
men were forward in close consultation, and in anticipation of Mr
Vanslyperken's discovery of his loss, the dog gained the cabin,
unperceived not only by the ship's company, but by Vanslyperken, who was
busy locking up the letters entrusted to him by the French agent.
Snarleyyow took his station under the table, and lay down to finish his
nap, where we must leave him for the present in a sound sleep, and his
snoring very soon reminded Vanslyperken of what he had, for a short time
unheeded, that his favourite was present.
"Well, it's very odd," observed Spurey, "that he has been on board
nearly half-an-hour, and not discovered that his dog is absent
"Yes," said Short.
"I know for why, mein Gott!" exclaimed the corporal, who shook his head
"The corporal knows why," observed Jemmy Ducks.
"Then why don't he say why?" retorted Bill Spurey, who was still a
little suspicious of the corporal's fidelity.
"Because Mynheer Vanslyperken count his money de guineas," replied the
corporal, writhing at the idea of what he had lost by his superior's
"Ho, ho! his money, well, that's a good reason, for he would skin a
flint if he could," observed Coble; "but that can't last for ever."
"That depends how often he may count it over," observed Jemmy
Ducks--"but there's his bell;" and soon after Corporal Van Spitter's
name was passed along the decks, to summon him into the presence of his
"Now for a breeze," said Coble, hitching up his trousers.
"Yes," replied Short.
"For a regular _shindy_," observed Spurey.
"Hell to pay and no pitch hot," added Jemmy, laughing; and they all
remained in anxious expectation of the corporal's return.
Corporal Van Spitter had entered the cabin with the air of the
profoundest devotion and respect--had raised his hand up as usual, but
before the hand had arrived to its destination, he beheld Vanslyperken
seated on the locker, patting the head of Snarleyyow, as if nothing had
happened. At this unexpected resuscitation, the corporal uttered a
tremendous "Mein Gott!" and burst like a mad bull out of the cabin,
sweeping down all who obstructed his passage on the lower deck, till he
arrived to the fore-ladder, which he climbed up with tottering knees,
and then sank down on the forecastle at the feet of Jemmy Ducks.
"Mein Gott, mein Gott, mein Gott!" exclaimed the corporal, putting his
hands to his eyes as if to shut out the horrid vision.
"What the devil is the matter?" exclaimed Coble.
"Ah! mein Gott, mein Gott!"
As it was evident that something uncommon had happened, they all now
crowded round the corporal, who, by degrees, recovered himself.
"What is it, corporal?" inquired Jemmy Ducks.
Before the corporal could reply, Smallbones, who had been summoned to
the cabin on account of the corporal's unaccountable exit, sprang up the
ladder with one bound, his hair flying in every direction, his eyes
goggling, and his mouth wide open: lifting his hands over his head, and
pausing as if for breath, the lad exclaimed with a solemn sepulchral
voice, "By all the devils in hell he's come again!"
"Who?" exclaimed several voices at once.
"Snarleyyow," replied Smallbones, mournfully.
"Yes--mein Gott!" exclaimed Corporal Van Spitter, attempting to rise on
"Whew!" whistled Jemmy Ducks--but nobody else uttered a sound; they all
looked at one another, some with compressed lips, others with mouths
open. At last one shook his head--then another. The corporal rose on his
feet and shook himself like an elephant.
"Dat tog is de tyfel's imp, and dat's de end on it," said he, with alarm
still painted on his countenance.
"And is he really on board again?" inquired Coble, doubtingly.
"As sartin as I stands on this here forecastle--a-kissing and slobbering
the lieutenant for all the world like a Christian," replied Smallbones,
"Then he flare fire on me wid his one eye," said the corporal.
"Warn't even wet," continued Smallbones.
Here there was another summons for Corporal Van Spitter.
"Mein Gott, I will not go," exclaimed the corporal.
"Yes, yes, go, corporal," replied Smallbones; "it's the best way to face
"Damn the devil!--and that's not swearing," exclaimed Short--such a long
sentence out of his mouth was added to the marvels of the night--some
even shrugged up their shoulders at that, as if it also were
"I always say so," said Jansen, "I always say so--no tog, no tog, after
"No, no," replied Coble, shaking his head.
Corporal Van Spitter was again summoned, but the corporal was restive as
"Corporal," said Smallbones, who, since the glass of grog, was his
sincere ally, and had quite forgotten and forgiven his treatment, "go
down and see if you can't worm the truth out of him."
"Ay, do, do!" exclaimed the rest.
"Smallbones--Smallbones--wanted aft," was the next summons.
"And here I go," exclaimed Smallbones. "I defy the devil and all his
works--as we said on Sunday at the workhouse."
"That lad's a prime bit of stuff," observed Spurey, "I will say that."
"Yes," replied Short.
In a few seconds Smallbones came hastily up the ladder.
"Corporal, you must go to the cabin directly. He is in a devil of a
rage--asked me why you wouldn't come--told him that you had seen
something dreadful--didn't know what. Tell him you saw the devil at his
elbow--see if it frightens him."
"Yes, do," exclaimed the others.
Corporal Van Spitter made up his mind; he pulled down the skirts of his
jacket, descended the ladder, and walked aft into the cabin. At the
sight of Snarleyyow the corporal turned pale--at the sight of the
corporal, Mr Vanslyperken turned red.
"What's the meaning of all this?" exclaimed Vanslyperken, in a rage.
"What is all this about, corporal? Explain your conduct, sir. What made
you rush out of the cabin in that strange manner?"
"Mein Gott, Mynheer Vanslyperken, I came for orders but I no come keep
company wid de tyfel."
"With the devil!--what do you mean?" exclaimed Vanslyperken, alarmed.
The corporal, perceiving that the lieutenant was frightened, then
entered into a detail, that when he had entered the cabin he had seen
the devil sitting behind Mr Vanslyperken, looking over his shoulder, and
grinning with his great eyes, while he patted him over the back with
his left hand and fondled the dog with his right.
This invention of the corporal's, "whom Mr Vanslyperken considered as a
stanch friend and incapable of treachery, had a great effect upon Mr
Vanslyperken. It immediately rushed into his mind that he had attempted
murder but a few days before, and that, that very day he had been a
traitor to his country--quite sufficient for the devil to claim him
as his own.
"Corporal Van Spitter," exclaimed Vanslyperken with a look of horror,
"are you really in earnest, or are you not in your senses--you
really saw him?"
"As true as I stand here," replied the corporal, who perceived his
"Then the Lord be merciful to me a sinner!" exclaimed Vanslyperken,
falling on his knees, at the moment forgetting the presence of the
corporal, and then recollecting himself, he jumped up--"It is false,
Corporal Van Spitter; false as you are yourself--confess," continued the
lieutenant, seizing the corporal by the collar, "confess, that it is
all a lie."
"A lie," exclaimed the corporal, who now lost his courage, "a lie,
Mynheer Vanslyperken! If it was not the tyfel himself it was one of his
imps, I take my Bible oath."
"One of his imps," exclaimed Vanslyperken; "it's a lie--an infamous lie,
confess," continued he, shaking the corporal by the collar--"confess
At this moment Snarleyyow considered that he had a right to be a party
in the fray, so he bounded forward at the corporal, who, terrified at
the supernatural beast, broke from Vanslyperken's grasp, and rushed out
of the cabin, followed, however, the whole length of the lower deck by
the dog, who snapped and bayed at him till he had gained the
Once more did the corporal make his appearance on the forecastle,
frightened and out of breath.
"Mein Gott! de man is mad," exclaimed he, "and de tog is de tyfel
himself." The corporal then narrated in broken English what had passed.
For some time there was a confused whispering among the men; they
considered the dog's reappearance on this occasion even more wonderful
than on the former, for the men declared positively that he never came
off in the boat, which, had he done, would have unravelled the whole
mystery; and that a dog thrown overboard, and swept away by the tide
should be discovered shortly after perfectly dry and comfortable, not
only on board of the cutter, which he could not have got on board of,
but also in his master's cabin, which he could not get into without
being seen, proved at once that the animal was supernatural. No one was
now hardy enough to deny it, and no one appeared to have the least idea
of how to proceed except Smallbones, who, as we have shown, was as full
of energy as he was deficient in fat. On all occasions of this kind the
bravest becomes the best man and takes the lead, and Smallbones, who
appeared more collected and less alarmed than the others, was now
listened to with attention, and the crowd collected round him.
"I don't care for him or for his dog either," exclaimed Smallbones, with
a drawling intrepid tone; "that dog I'll settle the hash of some way or
the other, if it be the devil's own cousin. I'll not come for to go to
leave off now, that's sartain, as I am Peter Smallbones--I'se got
"Let's hear Smallbones,--let's hear Smallbones!" exclaimed some of the
men. Whereupon they all collected round the lad, who addressed the crew
as follows. His audience, at first, crowded up close to him, but
Smallbones, who could not talk without his arms, which were about as
long and thin as a Pongo's are in proportion to his body, flapped and
flapped as he discoursed, until he had cleared a little ring, and when
in the height of his energy he threw them about like the arms of a
windmill, every one kept at a respectable distance.
"Well, now, I considers this, if so be as how the dog be a devil, and
not a dog, I sees no reason for to come for to go for to be afraid; for
ar'n't we all true Christians, and don't we all fear God and honour the
king? I sartainly myself does consider that that ere dog could not a
have cummed into this here vessel by any manner of means natural not by
no means, 'cause it's very clear, that a dog if he be as he be a dog,
can't do no more than other dogs can; and if he can do more than heither
dog or man can, then he must be the devil, and not a dog--and so he
is--that's sartain. But if so be as he is the devil, I say again, I
don't care, 'cause I sees exactly how it is,--he be a devil, but he be
only a sea-devil and not a shore-devil, and I'll tell you for why.
Didn't he come on board some how no how in a gale of wind when he was
called for? Didn't I sew him up in a bread-bag, and didn't he come back
just as nothing had happened; and didn't the corporal launch him into a
surge over the taffrail, and he comes back just as if nothing had
happened? Well, then, one thing is clear; that his power be on the
water, and no water will drown that ere imp, so it's no use trying no
more in that way, for he be a sea-devil. But I thinks this: he goes on
shore and he comes back with one of his impish eyes knocked out clean by
somebody or another somehow or another, and, therefore, I argues that he
have no power on shore not by no means; for if you can knock his eye
out, you can knock his soul out of his body, by only knocking a little
more to the purpose. Who ever heard of any one knocking out the devil's
eye, or injuring him in any way?--No; because he have power by sea and
by land: but this here be only a water-devil, and he may be killed on
dry land. Now, that's just my opinion, and as soon as I gets him on
shore, I means to try what I can do. I don't fear him, nor his master,
nor anything else, 'cause I'm a Christian, and was baptised Peter; and I
tells you all, that be he a dog, or be he a devil, I'll have a shy at
him as soon as I can, and if I don't, I hope I may be d--d, that's all."
Such was the oration of Smallbones, which was remarkably well received.
Everyone agreed with the soundness of his arguments, and admired his
resolution, and as he had comprised in his speech all that could be said
upon the subject, they broke up the conference, and everyone went down
to his hammock.
In which Mr Vanslyperken finds great cause of vexation and satisfaction.
In the meanwhile Mr Vanslyperken was anything but comfortable in his
mind. That Corporal Van Spitter should assert that he saw the devil at
his shoulder, was a matter of no small annoyance any way; for either the
devil was at his shoulder or he was not. If he was, why then it was
evident that in consequence of his having attempted murder, and having
betrayed his country for money, the devil considered him as his own, and
this Mr Vanslyperken did not approve of; for, like many others in this
world, he wished to commit every crime, and go to heaven after all. Mr
Vanslyperken was superstitious and cowardly, and he did believe that
such a thing was possible; and when he canvassed it in his mind, he
trembled, and looked over his shoulder.
But Corporal Van Spitter might have asserted it only to frighten him. It
was possible--but here again was a difficulty: the corporal had been his
faithful confidant for so long a while, and to suppose this, would be to
suppose that the corporal was a traitor to him, and that, upon no
grounds which Vanslyperken could conjecture, he had turned false: this
was impossible--Mr Vanslyperken would not credit it; so there he stuck,
like a man between the horns of a dilemma, not knowing what to do; for
Mr Vanslyperken resolved, had the devil really been there, to have
repented immediately, and have led a new life; but if the devil had not
been there, Mr Vanslyperken did not perceive any cause for such an
At last, an idea presented itself to Mr Vanslyperken's mind, which
afforded him great comfort, which was, that the corporal had suffered so
much from his boat adventures--for the corporal had made the most of his
sufferings--that he was a little affected in his mind, and had thought
that he had seen something. "It must have been so," said Mr
Vanslyperken, who fortified the idea with a glass of scheedam, and then
went to bed.
Now, it so happened, that at the very time that Mr Vanslyperken was
arguing all this in his brain, Corporal Van Spitter was also cogitating
how he should get out of his scrape; for the Corporal, although not very
bright, had much of the cunning of little minds, and he felt the
necessity of lulling the suspicions of the lieutenant. To conceal his
astonishment and fear at the appearance of the dog, he had libelled Mr
Vanslyperken, who would not easily forgive, and it was the corporal's
interest to continue on the best terms with, and enjoy the confidence of
his superior. How was this to be got over? It took the whole of the
first watch, and two-thirds of the middle, before the corporal, who lay
in his hammock, could hit upon any plan. At last he thought he had
succeeded. At daybreak, Corporal Van Spitter entered the cabin of Mr
Vanslyperken, who very coolly desired him to tell Short to get all ready
for weighing at six o'clock.
"If you please, Mynheer Vanslyperken, you think me mad last night 'cause
I see de tyfel at your shoulder. Mynheer Vanslyperken, I see him twice
again this night on lower deck. Mein Gott! Mynheer Vanslyperken, I
"Saw him again twice!" replied the lieutenant.
"Yes, Mynheer Vanslyperken, I see twice again--I see him very often
since I drift in de boat. First, I see him when in de boat--since that I
see him one time, two times, in de night."
"It's just as I thought," said Mr Vanslyperken, "he has never got over
his alarm of that night.--Very well, Corporal Van Spitter, it's of no
consequence. I was very angry with you last night, because I thought you
were taking great liberties; but I see now how it is, you must keep
yourself quiet, and as soon as we arrive at Portsmouth, you had better
lose a little blood."
"How much, Mynheer Vanslyperken, do you wish I should lose?" replied the
corporal, with his military salute.
"About eight ounces, corporal."
"Yes, sir," replied the corporal, turning on his pivot, and marching out
of the cabin.
This was a peculiarly satisfactory interview to both parties. Mr
Vanslyperken was overjoyed at the corporal's explanation, and the
corporal was equally delighted at having so easily gulled his superior.
The cutter weighed that morning, and sailed for Portsmouth. We shall
pass over the passage without any further remarks than that the corporal
was reinstated into Mr Vanslyperken's good graces--that he appeared as
usual to be harsh with the ship's company, and to oppress Smallbones
more than ever; but this was at the particular request of the lad, who
played his own part to admiration--that Mr Vanslyperken again brought
up the question of flogging Jemmy Ducks, but was prevented by the
corporal's expressing his fears of a mutiny--and had also some secret
conference with the corporal as to his desire of vengeance upon
Smallbones, to which Van Spitter gave a ready ear, and appeared to be
equally willing with the lieutenant to bring it about. Things were in
this state when the cutter arrived at Portsmouth, and, as usual, ran
into the harbour. It may be supposed that Mr Vanslyperken was in all
haste to go on shore to pay his visit to his charming widow, but still
there was one thing to be done first, which was to report himself to
On his arrival at the admiral's, much to his dissatisfaction, he was
informed that he must hold himself ready for sailing immediately, as
despatches for the Hague were expected down on the next morning. This
would give but a short time to pay his addresses, and he therefore made
all haste to the widow's presence, and was most graciously received. She
almost flew into his arms, upbraided him for being so long away, for not
having written to her, and showed such marks of strong attachment, that
Vanslyperken was in ecstasies. When he told her that he expected to sail
again immediately, she put her handkerchief up to her eyes, and
appeared, to Vanslyperken at least, to shed a few bitter tears. As soon
as she was a little more composed, Vanslyperken produced the packet with
which he was entrusted, which she opened, and took out two letters, one
for herself, and the other addressed to a certain person in a house in
"This," said the widow, "you must deliver yourself--it is of
consequence. I would deliver it, but if I do, I shall not be able to
look after my little arrangements for dinner, for you dine with me of
course. Besides, you must be acquainted with this person one time or
another, as it will be for OUR advantage."
"OUR advantage!" how delightful to Mr Vanslyperken was that word! He
jumped up immediately, and took his hat to execute the commission, the
injunction of the widow to be soon back hastening his departure.
Vanslyperken soon arrived at the door, knocked, and was admitted.
"Vat vash you vant, sare?" said a venerable looking old Jew, who opened
the door to him.
"Is your name Lazarus?" inquired the lieutenant.
"Dat vash my name."
"I have a letter for you."
"A letter for me!--and from vare?"
"Shee! silence," said the Jew, leading the way into a small room, and
shutting the door.
Vanslyperken delivered the letter, which the Jew did not open, but laid
on the table. "It vas from my worthy friend in Billen Shaaten. He
"Quite well," replied Vanslyperken.
"Ven do you sail again, mynheer?"
"Dat is good. I have the letters all ready; dey come down yesterday--vil
you vait and take them now?"
"Yes," replied Vanslyperken, who anticipated another rouleau of gold on
his arrival at Amsterdam.
"An den I will give you your monish at de same time."
More money, thought Vanslyperken, who replied then, "With all my heart,"
and took a chair.
The Jew left the room, and soon returned with a small yellow bag, which
he put into Vanslyperken's hand, and a large packet carefully sealed.
"Dis vas of de hutmost importance," said the old man, giving him the
packet. "You will find you monish all right, and now vas please just put
your name here, for I vas responsible for all de account;" and the Jew
laid down a receipt for Vanslyperken to sign. Vanslyperken read it over.
It was an acknowledgment for the sum of fifty guineas, but not
specifying for what service. He did not much like to sign it, but how
could he refuse? Besides, as the Jew said, it was only to prove that the
money was paid; nevertheless he objected.
"Vy vill you not sign? I must not lose my monish, and I shall lose it if
you do not sign. Vat you fear--you not fear that we peach; ven peoples
pay so high, they not pay for noting. We all sall hang togeder if de
affair be found."
Hang together! thought Vanslyperken, whose fears were roused, and he
"You are vell paid for your shervices--you vas vell paid at doder side
of de vater, and you are now von of us. You cannot go back, or your life
vill be forfeit, I can assure you--you vill sign if you please--and you
vill not leave dis house, until you do sign," continued the Jew. "You
vill not take our monish and den give de information, and hang us all.
You vill sign, if you please, sare."
There was a steadiness of countenance and a firmness in the tone of the
old man, which told Vanslyperken that he was not to be trifled with, and
assured him that he must have help at hand if requisite. If left to
himself, the Jew would have been easily mastered by the lieutenant, but
that such was not the case, was soon proved, by the old man ringing a
small silver bell on the table, and shortly afterwards there was a
rustling and noise, as if of several persons, heard in the passage.
Vanslyperken now perceived that he was entrapped, and he also felt that
it was too late to retreat. Actuated by his fear of violence on the one
hand, and his love of gold on the other, he consented to sign the
voucher required. As soon as this was done, the old Jew was all
civility. He took the paper, and locked it up in a large cabinet, and
"It is for your own shafety, sare lieutenant, dat we are obliged to do
dis. You have noting to fear--we are too much in want of good friends
like you, to lose them, but we must be safe and shure; now you are von
of us--you cannot tell but we can tell too--we profit togeder, and I
vill hope dat we do run no risk to be hang togeder. Fader Abraham! we
must not think of that, but of de good cause, and of de monish. I am a
Jew, and I care not whether de Papist or de Protestant have de best of
it--but I call it all de good cause, because every cause is good which
brings de monish."
So thought Vanslyperken, who was in heart a Jew.
"And now, sare, you vill please to take great care of de packet, and
deliver it to our friend at Amsterdam, and you vill of course come to me
ven you return here."
Vanslyperken took his leave, with the packet in his pocket, not very
well pleased; but as he put the packet in, he felt the yellow bag, and
that to a certain degree consoled him. The old Jew escorted him to the
door, with his little keen gray eyes fixed upon him, and Vanslyperken
quailed before it, and was glad when he was once more in the street. He
hastened back to the widow's house, full of thought--he certainly had
never intended to have so committed himself as he had done, or to have
positively enrolled himself among the partisans of the exiled king; but
the money had entrapped him--he had twice taken their wages, and he had
now been obliged to give them security for his fidelity, by enabling
them to prove his guilt whenever they pleased. All this made Mr
Vanslyperken rather melancholy--but his meditations were put an end to
by his arrival in the presence of the charming widow. She asked him what
had passed, and he narrated it, but with a little variation, for he
would not tell that he had signed through a fear of violence, but, at
the same time, he observed, that he did not much like signing a receipt.
"But that is necessary," replied she; "and besides, why not? I know you
are on our side, and you will prove most valuable to us. Indeed, I
believe it was your readiness to meet my wishes that made me so fond of
you, for I am devotedly attached to the rightful king, and I never would
marry any man who would not risk life and soul for him, as you have
The expression "life and soul," made Vanslyperken shudder, and his flesh
crept all over his body.
"Besides," continued the widow, "it will be no small help to us, for the
remuneration is very great."
"To us!" thought Vanslyperken, who now thought it right to press his
suit. He was listened to attentively, and at last he proposed an early
day for the union. The widow blushed, and turned her head away, and at
last replied, with a sweet smile, "Well, Mr Vanslyperken, I will neither
tease you nor myself--when you come back from your next trip, I consent
to be yours."
What was Vanslyperken's delight and exultation! He threw himself on his
knees, promised, and vowed, and thanked, kissed hands, and was in such
ecstasies! He could hardly imagine that his good fortune was real. A
beautiful widow with a handsome fortune--how could he ever have thought
of throwing himself away upon such a bunch of deformity as the Frau
Vandersloosh? Poor Mr Vanslyperken! Dinner put an end to his
protestations. He fared sumptuously, and drank freely to please the
widow. He drank death to the usurper, and restoration to the King James.
What a delightful evening! The widow was so amiable, so gentle, so
yielding, so, so, so--what with wine and love, and fifty guineas in his
pocket, Mr Vanslyperken was so overcome with his feelings, that at last
he felt but so so. After a hundred times returning to kiss her dear,
dear hand, and at last sealing the contract on her lips, Mr Vanslyperken
departed, full of wine and hope--two very good things to lay in a
But there was something doing on board during Mr Vanslyperken's absence.
Notwithstanding Mr Vanslyperken having ordered Moggy out of the cutter,
she had taken the opportunity of his being away to go on board to her
dear, darling Jemmy. Dick Short did not prevent her coming on board, and
he was commanding officer, so Moggy once more had her husband in her
arms; but the fond pair soon retired to a quiet corner, where they had a
long and serious conversation; so long, and so important, it would
appear, that they did not break off until Mr Vanslyperken came on board,
just before dark. His quick eye soon perceived that there was a
petticoat at the taffrail, where they retired that they might not be
overheard, and he angrily inquired who it was, his wrath was not
appeased when he heard that it was Salisbury's wife, and he ordered her
immediately to be put on shore, and sent for Corporal Van Spitter in his
cabin, to know why she was on board. The corporal replied, "That Mr
Short had let her in; that he had wished to speak on the subject, but
that Mr Short would not speak," and then entertained his superior with a
long account of mutinous expressions on the lower deck, and threats of
doing him (Mr Vanslyperken) a mischief. This conversation was
interrupted by a messenger coming on board with the despatches, and an
order to sail at daylight, and return immediately without waiting for
The reader may wish to know the subject of the long conversation between
Jemmy Ducks and his wife. It involved the following question. Moggy had
become very useful to Nancy Corbett, and Nancy, whose services were
required at the cave, and could not well be dispensed with, had long
been anxious to find some one, who, with the same general knowledge of
parties, and the same discrimination, could be employed in her stead. In
Moggy she had found the person required, but Moggy would not consent
without her husband was of the same party, and here lay the difficulty.
Nancy had had a reply, which was satisfactory, from Sir Robert Barclay,
so far as this. He required one or two more men, and they must be
trustworthy, and able to perform the duty in the boats. Jemmy was not
very great at pulling, for his arms were too short as well as his legs,
but he was a capital steersman. All this had been explained to Nancy,
who at last consented to Jemmy being added to the crew of the smuggler,
and Moggy had gone off to the cutter to persuade Jemmy to desert, and to
join the smugglers.
Now, as to joining the smugglers, Jemmy had not the least objection: he
was tired of the cutter, and being separated from his wife had been to
him a source of great discontent; but, as Jemmy very truly observed, "If
I desert from the vessel, and am ever seen again, I am certain to be
known, and taken up; therefore I will not desert, I will wait till I am
paid off, unless you can procure my discharge by means of your friends."
Such had been the result of the colloquy, when interrupted by the
arrival of Vanslyperken, and the case thus stood, when, on the next
morning, at daylight, the cutter weighed, and steered her course for
In which Mr Vanslyperken has nothing but trouble from the beginning to
So soon as the cutter had sailed, Moggy hastened to the pretended widow
to report the answer of her husband. Nancy considered that there was
much sound judgment in what Jemmy had said, and immediately repaired to
the house of the Jew, Lazarus, to whom she communicated her wishes. At
that time, there were many people high in office who secretly favoured
King James, and the links of communication between such humble
individuals as we are treating of, with those in power, although
distant, were perfect.
In a few days, an order came down for the discharge of James Salisbury
from the cutter _Yungfrau_, and the letter the same day was put into the
hands of the delighted Moggy.
Mr Vanslyperken made his short passage to the Zuyder Zee, and anchored
as usual; and when he had anchored, he proceeded to go on shore.
Previously, however, to his stepping into the boat, the ship's company
came aft, with Jemmy at their head, to know whether they might have
leave on shore, as they were not very well pleased at their liberty
having been stopped at Portsmouth.
Mr Vanslyperken very politely told them that he would see them all at
the devil first, and then stepped into his boat; he at once proceeded to
the house of the Jesuit, and this time, much to his satisfaction,
without having been perceived, as he thought, by the widow Vandersloosh
and Babette, who did not appear at the door. Having delivered his
despatches, and received his customary fee, Mr Vanslyperken mentioned
the difficulty of his coming to the house, as he was watched by some
people opposite, and inquired if he could have the letters sent under
cover to himself by some trusty hand, mentioning the ill-will of the
parties in question. To this the Jesuit consented, and Vanslyperken took
his leave; but on leaving the house he was again annoyed by the broad
form of the widow, with Babette, as usual, at her shoulder, with their
eyes fixed upon him. Without attempting a recognition, for Vanslyperken
cared little for the opinion of the Frau Vandersloosh, now that he was
accepted by the fair widow of Portsmouth, Mr Vanslyperken walked
"Ah, very well, Mr Vanslyperken--very well," exclaimed the Frau
Vandersloosh, as he pursued his way at a rapid rate; "very well, Mr
Vanslyperken--we shall see--three times have you entered those doors,
and with a fifty guineas in your pocket, I'll be bound, every time that
you have walked out of them. Treason is paid high, but the traitor
sometimes hangs higher still. Yes, yes, Mr Vanslyperken, we shall
see--we are evidence, Mr Vanslyperken--and I'll not be married before I
see you well hanged, Mr Vanslyperken. Deary me, Babette," exclaimed the
widow, altering her tone, "I wonder how the corporal is: poor dear man,
to be ruled by such a traitorous atomy as he."
"Perhaps he will come ashore, madam," replied Babette.
"No, no, he will never let him; but, as you say, perhaps he may. Put
half a dozen bottles of the best beer to the stove--not too near,
Babette--he is fond of my beer, and it does one's heart good to see him
drink it, Babette. And, Babette, I'll just go up and put on something a
little tidier. I think he will come--I know he will if he can."
We must leave the widow to decorate her person, and follow Vanslyperken
down to the boat, and on board. On his arrival, he went down into the
cabin to lock up his money. When Corporal Van Spitter went to the
cabin-door, the corporal heard the clanking of the pieces as
Vanslyperken counted them, and his bile was raised at the idea of
Vanslyperken possessing that which should have been his own. The
corporal waited a little, and then knocked. Vanslyperken put away the
rest of his money, shut the drawer, and told him to come in.
The corporal saluted, and made a request to be allowed to go on shore
for an hour or two.
"Go on shore! _you_ go on shore, corporal? why you never asked to go on
shore before," replied the suspicious Vanslyperken.
"If you please, sir," replied the corporal, "I wish to pay de people
who gave me de board and de lodging ven I vas last on shore."
"Ah, very true, I forgot that, corporal. Well, then, you may go on
shore; but do not stop long, for the people are much inclined to mutiny,
and I cannot do without you."
The corporal quitted the cabin and was put on shore by two of the men in
the small boat. He hastened up to the widow's house, and was received
with open arms. Seated on the squab sofa, with a bottle of beer on the
table, and five others all ready at the stove, the widow's smiles
beaming on him, who could be more happy than the Corporal Van Spitter?
The blinds were up at the windows, the front door fast to prevent
intrusion, and then the widow and he entered into a long colloquy,
interrupted occasionally by little amorous dallyings, which reminded you
of the wooings of a male and female elephant.
We shall give the substance of the conversation. The widow expressed her
indignation against Vanslyperken, and her resolution not to be married
until he was hanged. The corporal immediately became an interested
party, and vowed that he would assist all in his power. He narrated all
that had passed since he had left the widow's, and the supernatural
appearance of the dog after he had thrown it overboard. He then pointed
out that it was necessary that Vanslyperken should not only be blinded
as to the state of matters between them, but that, to entrap him still
more, the widow should, if possible, make friends with him. To this the
widow unwillingly consented; but as the corporal pointed out that that
was the only chance of her occasionally seeing him, and that by his
pretending to be in love with Babette, Vanslyperken might be deceived
completely, she did consent; the more so, that the greater would be his
disappointment at the end, the more complete would be her vengeance.
Their plans being arranged, it was then debated whether it would not be
better to send some message on board to Vanslyperken, and it was agreed
that it should be taken by the corporal. At last all was arranged, the
six bottles of beer were finished, and the corporal having been
permitted to imprint as many hearty smacks upon the widow's thick and
juicy lips, he returned on board.
"Come on board, Mynheer Vanslyperken," said the corporal, entering the
"Very well, corporal; did you do all you wanted? for we sail again at
"Yes, mynheer, and I see somebody I never see before."
"Who was that, corporal?" replied Vanslyperken, for he had been feasting
upon the recollections of the fair Portsmouth widow, and was in a very
"One fine Frau, Mynheer Vanslyperken--very fine Frau. Babette came up to
me in the street."
"Oh, Babette--well, what did she say?"
Hereupon the corporal, as agreed with the widow, entered into a long
explanation, stating his Babette had told him that her mistress was very
much surprised that Mr Vanslyperken had passed close to the door, and
had never come in to call upon her; that her mistress had been quite
satisfied with Mr Vanslyperken's letter, and would wish to see him
again; and that he, the corporal, had told Babette the dog had been
destroyed by him, Mr Vanslyperken, and he hoped he had done right in
"No," replied Vanslyperken, "you have done wrong; and if you go on shore
again, you may just give this answer, that Mr Vanslyperken don't care a
d--n for the old woman; that she may carry her carcass to some other
market, for Mr Vanslyperken would not touch her with a pair of tongs.
Will you recollect that, corporal?"
"Yes," replied the corporal, grinding his teeth at this insult to his
betrothed, "yes, mynheer, I will recollect that. Mein Gott! I shall not
"Kill my dog, heh!" continued Vanslyperken, talking to himself aloud.
"Yes, yes, Frau Vandersloosh, you shall fret to some purpose. I'll
worry down your fat for you. Yes, yes, Madam Vandersloosh, you shall
bite your nails to the quick yet. Nothing would please you but
Snarleyyow dead at your porch. My dog, indeed!--you may go now,
"Mein Gott! but ve vill see as well as you, Mynheer Vanslyperken."
muttered the corporal, as he walked forward.
After dark, a man came alongside in a small boat, and desired to see Mr
Vanslyperken. As soon as he was in the cabin and the door shut, he laid
some letters on the table, and without saying a word went on deck and on
shore again. At daybreak the cutter weighed, and ran with a fair wind to
With what a bounding heart did Mr Vanslyperken step into the boat
attired in his best! He hardly could prevail upon himself to report his
arrival to the admiral, so impatient was he to throw himself at the fair
widow's feet, and claim her promise upon his return. He did so, however,
and then proceeded to the house in Castle Street.
His heart beat rapidly as he knocked at the door, and he awaited the
opening with impatience. At last it was opened, but not by the widow's
servant. "Is Mrs Malcolm at home?" inquired Vanslyperken.
"Malcolm, sir!" replied the woman; "do you mean the lady who was living
here, and left yesterday?"
"Left yesterday!" exclaimed Vanslyperken, hardly able to stand on his
"Yes, only yesterday afternoon. Went away with a gentleman."
"A gentleman!" exclaimed Vanslyperken, all amazement.
"Yes, sir; pray, sir, be you the officer of the king's cutter?"
"I am!" exclaimed Vanslyperken, leaning against the door-jamb for
"Then, sir, here be a letter for you." So saying, the woman pulled up
her dirty apron, then her gown, and at last arrived at a queer fustian
pocket, out of which she produced the missive, which had been jumbled in
company with a bit of wax, a ball of blue worsted, some halfpence, a
copper thimble, and a lump of Turkey rhubarb, from all of which
companions it had received a variety of hues and colours. Vanslyperken
seized the letter as soon as it was produced, and passing by the woman,
went into the dining-parlour, where, with feelings of anxiety, he sat
down, brushed the perspiration from his forehead, and read as follows:
"_My dear, dear, ever dear Mr Vanslyperken,_
"Pity me, pity me, O pity me! Alas! how soon is the cup of
bliss dashed from the lips of us poor mortals. I can hardly
write, hardly hold my pen, or hold my head up. I cannot bear
that, from my hand, you should be informed of the utter
blight of all our hopes which blossomed so fully. Alas! alas!
but it must be. O my head, my poor, poor head--how it swims!
I was sitting at the fireside, thinking when you would
return, and trying to find out if the wind was fair, when I
heard a knock at the door. It was so like yours, that my
heart beat, and I ran to the window, but I could not see who
it was, so I sat down again. Imagine my surprise, my horror,
my vexation, my distress, my agony, when who should come in
but my supposed dead husband! I thought I should have died
when I saw him. I dropped as it was, down into a swoon, and
when I came to my senses, there he was hanging over me;
thinking, poor fool, that I had swooned for joy, and kissing
me--pah! yes, kissing me. O dear! O dear! My dear Mr
Vanslyperken, I thought of you, and what your feelings would
be, when you know all this; but there he was alive, and in
good health, and now I have nothing more to do but to lie
down and die.
"It appears that in my ravings I called upon you over and
over again, and discovered the real state of my poor bleeding
heart, and he was very angry: he packed up everything, and he
insisted upon my leaving Portsmouth. Alas! I shall be buried
in the north, and never see you again. But why should I, my
dear Mr Vanslyperken? what good will come of it? I am a
virtuous woman, and will be so: but, O dear! I can write
"Farewell, then, farewell! Farewell for ever! Dear Mr
Vanslyperken, think no more of your disconsolate, unhappy,
"_P.S._--For my sake you will adhere to the good cause; I
know you will, my dearest."
Mr Vanslyperken perused this heart-rending epistle, and fell back on his
chair almost suffocated. The woman, who had stood in the passage while
he read the letter, came to his assistance, and pouring some water into
his mouth, and throwing a portion of it over his face, partially revived
him. Vanslyperken's head fell on the table upon his hands, and for some
minutes remained in that position. He then rose, folded the letter, put
it in his pocket, and staggered out of the house without saying a word.
O Nancy Corbett! Nancy Corbett! this was all your doing.
You had gained your point in winning over the poor man to commit
treason--you had waited till he was so entangled that he could not
escape, or in future refuse to obey the orders of the Jacobite
party--you had seduced him, Nancy Corbett--you had intoxicated him--in
short, Nancy, you had ruined him, and then you threw him over by this
insidious and perfidious letter.
Vanslyperken walked away, he hardly knew whither--his mind was a chaos.
It did so happen, that he took the direction of his mother's house, and,
as he gradually recovered himself, he hastened there to give vent to his
feelings. The old woman seldom or ever went out; if she did, it was in
the dusk, to purchase in one half-hour enough to support existence for a
She was at home with her door locked, as usual, when he demanded
"Come in, child, come in," said the old beldame, as with palsied hands
she undid the fastenings. "I dreamt of you, last night, Cornelius, and
when I dream of others it bodes them no good."
Vanslyperken sat down on a chest, without giving any answer. He put his
hand up to his forehead, and groaned in the bitterness of his spirit.
"Ah! ah!" said his mother "I have put my hand up in that way in my time.
Yes, yes--when my brain burned--when I had done the deed. What have you
done, my child? Pour out your feelings into your mother's bosom. Tell me
all--tell me why--and tell me, did you get any money?"
"I have lost everything," replied Vanslyperken, in a melancholy tone.
"Lost everything! then you must begin over again, and take from others
till you have recovered all. That's the way--I'll have more yet, before
I die. I shall not die yet--no, no."
Vanslyperken remained silent for some time. He then, as usual, imparted
to his mother all that had occurred.
"Well, well, my child; but there is the other one. Gold is gold, one
wife is as good--to neglect--as another. My child, never marry a woman
for love--she will make a fool of you. You have had a lucky escape--I
see you have, Cornelius. But where is the gold you said you took for
turning traitor--where is it?"
"I shall bring it on shore to-morrow, mother."
"Do, child, do. They may find you out--they may hang you--but they shall
never wrest the gold from me. It will be safe--quite safe, with me, as
long as I live. I shall not die yet--no, no."
Vanslyperken rose to depart; he was anxious to be aboard.
"Go, child, go. I have hopes of you--you have murdered, have you not?"
"No, no," replied Vanslyperken, "he lives yet."
"Then try again. At all events, you have wished to murder, and you have
sold your country for gold. Cornelius Vanslyperken, by the hatred I bear
the whole world, I feel that I almost love you now;--I see you are my
own child. Now go, and mind to-morrow you bring the gold."
Vanslyperken quitted the house, and walked down to go on board again;
the loss of the fair widow, all his hopes dashed at once to the ground,
his having neglected the widow Vandersloosh and sent her an insulting
message, had only the effect of raising his bile. He vowed vengeance
against everybody and everything, especially against Smallbones, whom he
was determined he would sacrifice: murder now was no longer horrible to
his ideas; on the contrary, there was a pleasure in meditating upon it,
and the loss of the expected fortune of the fair Mrs Malcolm only made
him more eager to obtain gold, and he contemplated treason as the means
of so doing without any feelings of compunction.
On his arrival on board, he found an order from the Admiralty to
discharge James Salisbury. This added to his choler and his meditations
of revenge. Jemmy Ducks had not been forgotten; and he determined not to
make known the order until he had punished him for his mutinous
expressions; but Moggy had come on board during his absence, and
delivered to her husband the letter from the Admiralty notifying his
discharge. Vanslyperken sent for Corporal Van Spitter to consult, but
the corporal informed him that Jemmy Ducks knew of his discharge.
Vanslyperken's anger was now without bounds. He hastened on deck, and
ordered the hands to be turned up for punishment, but Corporal Van
Spitter hastened to give warning to Jemmy, who did not pipe the hands
"Where is that scoundrel, James Salisbury?" cried Vanslyperken.
"Here is James Salisbury," replied Jemmy, coming aft.
"Turn the hands up for punishment, sir."
"I don't belong to the vessel," replied Jemmy, going forward.
"Corporal Van Spitter--where is Corporal Van Spitter?"
"Here, sir," said the corporal, coming up the hatchway in a pretended
"Bring that man, Salisbury, aft."
"Yes, sir," replied the corporal, going forward with assumed eagerness.
But all the ship's company had resolved that this act of injustice
should not be done. Salisbury was no longer in the service, and although
they knew the corporal to be on their side, they surrounded Jemmy on the
forecastle, and the corporal came aft, declaring that he could not get
near the prisoner. As he made this report a loud female voice was heard
"So, you'd flog my Jemmy, would you, you varmint? But you won't though;
he's not in the service, and you sha'n't touch him; but I'll tell you
what, keep yourself on board, Mr Leeftenant, for if I cotches you on
shore, I'll make you sing in a way you don't think on. Yes, flog my
Jemmy, my dear darling duck of a Jemmy--stop a minute--I'm
Suiting the action to the word, for the sailors had beckoned to Moggy to
come on board, she boldly pulled alongside, and skipping over, she went
up direct to Mr Vanslyperken. "I'll just trouble you for my husband, and
no mistake," cried Moggy.
"Corporal Van Spitter, turn that woman out of the ship."
"Turn me, a lawful married woman, who comes arter my own husband with
the orders of your masters, Mr Leeftenant!--I'd like to see the man. I
axes you for my Jemmy, and I'll trouble you just to hand him here--if
not, look out for squalls, that's all. I demand my husband in the king's
name, so just hand him over," continued Moggy, putting her nose so close
to that of Mr Vanslyperken that they nearly touched, and then after a
few seconds' pause, for Vanslyperken could not speak for rage, she
added, "Well, you're a nice leeftenant, I don't think."
"Send for your marines, Corporal Van Spitter."
"I have, Mynheer Vanslyperken," replied the corporal, standing erect and
saluting; "and if you please, sir, they have joined the ship's company.
You and I, mynheer, are left to ourselves."
"I'll just trouble you for my little duck of a husband," repeated Moggy.
Vanslyperken was at a nonplus. The crew were in a state of mutiny, the
marines had joined them--what could he do? To appeal to the higher
authorities would be committing himself, for he knew that he could not
flog a man who no longer belonged to the vessel.
"I wants my husband," repeated Moggy, putting her arms a-kimbo.
Mr Vanslyperken made no reply. The corporal waited for orders, and Moggy
waited for her husband.
Just at this moment, Snarleyyow, who had followed his master on deck,
had climbed up the small ladder, and was looking over the gunnel on the
side where the boat lay in which Moggy came on board. Perceiving this,
with the quickness of thought she ran at the dog and pushed him over the
side into the boat, in which he fell with a heavy bound; she then
descended the side, ordered the man to shove off, and kept at a short
distance from the cutter with the dog in her possession.
"Now, now," cried Moggy, slapping her elbow, "hav'n't I got the dog, and
won't I cut him up into sassingers and eat him in the bargain, if you
won't give me my dear darling Jemmy and all his papers in the bargain?"
"Man the boat," cried Vanslyperken. But no one would obey the order.
"Look here," cried Moggy, flourishing a knife which she had borrowed
from the man in the boat. "This is for the cur; and unless you let my
Jemmy go, ay and directly too--"
"Mercy, woman!" exclaimed Vanslyperken, "Do not harm the poor dog, and
your husband shall go on shore."
"With his papers all ready to receive his pay?" inquired Moggy.
"Yes, with his papers and everything, if you'll not harm the poor
"Be quick about them, for my fingers are itching, I can tell you,"
replied Moggy. "Recollect, I will have my Jemmy, and cut the dog's
throat in the bargain if you don't look sharp."
"Directly, good woman, directly," cried Vanslyperken, "be patient."
"Good woman! no more a good woman than yourself," replied Moggy.
Vanslyperken desired the corporal to see Jemmy Ducks in the boat, and
went down into the cabin to sign his pay order. He then returned, for he
was dreadfully alarmed lest Moggy should put her threats in execution.
Jemmy's chest and hammocks were in the boat. He shook hands with his
shipmates, and receiving the papers and his discharge from Corporal Van
Spitter, and exchanging an intelligent glance with him, he went down the
side. The boat pulled round the stern to take in Moggy, who then ordered
the waterman to put the dog on board again.
"My word's as good as my bond," observed Moggy, as she stepped into the
other boat, "and so there's your cur again, Mr Leeftenant; but mark my
words: I owe you one, and I'll pay you with interest before I have done
Jemmy then raised his pipe to his lips, and sounded its loudest note:
the men gave him three cheers, and Mr Vanslyperken in a paroxysm of
fury, ran down into his cabin.
In which Mr Vanslyperken proves that he has a great aversion to cold
Mr Vanslyperken had been so much upset by the events of the day, that he
had quite forgotten to deliver the letters entrusted to him to the care
of the Jew Lazarus; weighty indeed must have been the events which could
have prevented him from going to receive money.
He threw himself on his bed with combined feelings of rage and
mortification, and slept a feverish sleep in his clothes.
His dreams were terrifying, and he awoke in the morning unrefreshed. The
mutiny and defection of the ship's company, he ascribed entirely to the
machinations of Smallbones, whom he now hated with a feeling so intense,
that he felt he could have murdered him in the open day. Such were the
first impulses that his mind resorted to upon his awaking, and after
some little demur, he sent for Corporal Van Spitter, to consult with
him. The corporal made his appearance, all humility and respect, and was
again sounded as to what could be done with Smallbones, Vanslyperken
hinting very clearly what his wishes tended to.
Corporal Van Spitter, who had made up his mind how to act after their
previous conference, hummed and ha'ed, and appeared unwilling to enter
upon the subject, until he was pushed by his commandant, when the
corporal observed there was something very strange about the lad, and
hinted at his being sent in the cutter on purpose to annoy his superior.
"That on that night upon which he had stated that he had seen the devil
three times, once it was sitting on the head-clue of Smallbones'
hammock, and at another time that he was evidently in converse with the
lad, and that there were strange stories among the ship's company, who
considered that both Smallbones and the dog were supernatural agents."
"My dog--Snarleyyow--a--what do you mean, corporal?"
The corporal then told Mr Vanslyperken that he had discovered that
several attempts had been made to drown the dog, but without success;
and that among the rest, he had been thrown by Smallbones into the
canal, tied up in a bread-bag, and had miraculously made his
"The villain!" exclaimed Vanslyperken. "That then was the paving-stone.
Now I've found it out, I'll cut his very soul out of his body."
But the corporal protested against open measures, as, although it was
known by his own confession to be the case, it could not be proved, as
none of the men would tell.
"Besides, he did not think that any further attempts would be made, as
Smallbones had been heard to laugh and say, 'that water would never hurt
him or the dog,' which observation of the lad's had first made the
ship's company suspect."
"Very true," exclaimed Vanslyperken; "he floated out to the Nab buoy and
back again, when I--" Here Mr Vanslyperken stopped short, and he felt a
dread of supernatural powers in the lad, when he thought of what had
passed and what he now heard.
"So they think my dog--"
"De tyfel," replied the corporal.
Vanslyperken was not very sorry for this, as it would be the dog's
protection; but at the same time he was not at all easy about
Smallbones; for Mr Vanslyperken, as we have observed before, was both
superstitious and cowardly.
"Water won't hurt him, did you say, corporal?"
"Then I'll try what a pistol will do, by heavens!" replied Vanslyperken.
"He threw my dog into the canal, and I'll be revenged, if revenge is to
be had. That will do, corporal, you may go now," continued Vanslyperken,
who actually foamed with rage.
The corporal left the cabin, and it having occurred to Vanslyperken that
he had not delivered the letters, he dressed himself to go on shore.
After having once more read through the letter of the fair widow, which,
at the same time that it crushed all his hopes, from its kind tenour,
poured some balm into his wounded heart, he sighed, folded it up, put it
away, and went on deck.
"Pipe the gig away," said Mr Vanslyperken.
"No pipe," replied Short.
This reminded Mr Vanslyperken that Jemmy Ducks had left the ship, and
vexed him again. He ordered the word to be passed to the boat's crew,
and when it was manned he went on shore. As soon as he arrived at the
house of Lazarus, he knocked, but it was some time before he was
admitted, and the chain was still kept on the door, which was opened two
inches to allow a scrutiny previous to entrance.
"Ah! it vash you, vash it, good sar? you may come in," said the Jew.
Vanslyperken walked into the parlour, where he found seated a young man
of very handsome exterior, dressed according to the fashion of the
cavaliers of the time. His hat, with a plume of black feathers, lay upon
the table. This personage continued in his careless and easy position
without rising when Vanslyperken entered, neither did he ask him to
"You are the officer of the cutter?" inquired the young man, with an air
of authority not very pleasing to the lieutenant.
"Yes," replied Vanslyperken, looking hard and indignantly in return.
"And you arrived yesterday morning? Pray, sir, why were not those
letters delivered at once?"
"Because I had no time," replied Vanslyperken, sulkily.
"No time, sir; what do you mean by that? Your time is ours, sir. You
are paid for it; for one shilling that you receive from the rascally
government you condescend to serve and to betray, you receive from us
pounds. Let not this happen again, my sir, or you may repent it."
Vanslyperken was not in the best of humours, and he angrily replied,
"Then you may get others to do your work, for this is the last I'll do;
pay me for them, and let me go."
"The last you'll do; you'll do as much as we please, and as long as we
please. You are doubly in our power, scoundrel! You betray the
government you serve, but you shall not betray us. If you had a thousand
lives, you are a dead man the very moment you flinch from or neglect our
work. Do your work faithfully, and you will be rewarded; but either you
must do our work or die. You have but to choose."
"Indeed!" replied Vanslyperken.
"Yes, indeed! And to prove that I am in earnest, I shall punish you for
your neglect, by not paying you this time. You may leave the letters and
go. But mind that you give us timely notice when you are ordered back to
the Hague, for we shall want you."
Vanslyperken, indignant at this language, obeyed his first impulse,
which was to snatch up the letters and attempt to leave the room.
"No pay, no letters!" exclaimed he, opening the door.
"Fool!" cried the young man with a bitter sneer, not stirring from his
Vanslyperken opened the door, and to his amazement there were three
swords pointed to his heart. He started back.
"Will you leave the letters now?" observed the young man.
Vanslyperken threw them down on the table with every sign of
perturbation, and remained silent and pale.
"And now perfectly understand me, sir," said the young cavalier. "We
make a great distinction between those who have joined the good cause,
or rather, who have continued steadfast to their king from feelings of
honour and loyalty, and those who are to be bought and sold. We honour
the first, we despise the latter. Their services we require, and
therefore we employ them. A traitor to the sovereign from whom he
receives his pay, is not likely to be trusted by us. I know your
character, that is sufficient. Now, although the government make no
difference between one party or the other, with the exception that some
may be honoured with the axe instead of the gibbet, you will observe
what we do: and as our lives are already forfeited by attainder, we make
no scruple of putting out of the way any one whom we may even suspect of
betraying us. Nay, more; we can furnish the government with sufficient
proofs against you without any risk to ourselves, for we have many
partisans who are still in office. Weigh now well all you have heard,
and be assured, that although we despise you, and use you only as our
tool, we will have faithful and diligent service; if not, your life is
Vanslyperken heard all this with amazement and confusion: he immediately
perceived that he was in a snare, from which escape was impossible. His
coward heart sank within him, and he promised implicit obedience.
"Nevertheless, before you go you will sign your adherence to King James
and his successors," observed the young cavalier. "Lazarus, bring in
writing materials." The Jew, who was at the door, complied with
The cavalier took the pen and wrote down a certain form, in which
Vanslyperken dedicated his life and means, as he valued his salvation,
to the service of the exiled monarch. "Read that, and sign it, sir,"
said the cavalier, passing it over to Vanslyperken.
The lieutenant hesitated. "Your life depends upon it," continued the
young man coolly; "do as you please."
Vanslyperken turned round; the swords were still pointed, and the eyes
of those which held them were fixed upon the cavalier awaiting his
orders. Vanslyperken perceived that there was no escape. With a
trembling hand he affixed his signature.
"'Tis well:--now, observe, that at the first suspicion, or want of zeal,
even, on your part, this will be forwarded through the proper channel,
and even if you should escape the government, you will not escape
us:--our name is Legion. You may go, sir;--do your work well, and you
shall be well rewarded."
Vanslyperken hastened away, passing the swords, the points of which were
now lowered for his passage. Perhaps he never till then felt how
contemptible was a traitor. Indignant, mortified, and confused, still
trembling with fear, and, at the same time, burning with rage, he
hastened to his mother's house, for he had brought on shore with him the
money which he had received at Amsterdam.
"What, more vexation, child?" said the old woman, looking Vanslyperken
in the face as he entered.
"Yes," retorted Vanslyperken, folding his arms as he sat down.
It was some time before he would communicate to his mother all that
happened. At last the truth, which even he felt ashamed of, was drawn
out of him.
"Now may all the curses that ever befell a man fall on his head!"
exclaimed Vanslyperken as he finished. "I would give soul and body to be
revenged on him."
"That's my own child--that is what I have done, Cornelius, but I shall
not die yet awhile. I like to hear you say that; but it must not be yet.
Let them plot and plot, and when they think that all is ripe, and all is
ready, and all will succeed--then--then is the time to revenge
yourself--not yet--but for that revenge, death on the gallows would
Vanslyperken shuddered:--he did not feel how death could in any way be
sweet;--for some time he was wrapped up in his own thoughts.
"Have you brought the gold at last?" inquired the old woman.
"I have," replied Vanslyperken, who raised himself and produced it. "I
ought to have had more,--but I'll be revenged."
"Yes, yes, but get more gold first. Never kill the goose that lays the
golden egg, my child," replied the old woman, as she turned the key.
So many sudden and mortifying occurrences had taken place in forty-eight
hours that Vanslyperken's brain was in a whirl. He felt goaded to do
something, but he did not know what. Perhaps it would have been suicide
had he not been a coward. He left his mother without speaking another
word, and walked down to the boat, revolving first one and then another
incident in his mind. At last, his ideas appeared to concentrate
themselves into one point, which was a firm and raging animosity against
Smallbones; and with the darkest intentions he hastened on board and
went down into his cabin.
What was the result of these feelings will be seen in the ensuing
In which Mr Vanslyperken sees a ghost.
Before we acquaint the reader with the movements of Mr Vanslyperken, we
must again revert to the history of the period in which we are writing.
The Jacobite faction had assumed a formidable consistency, and every
exertion was being made by them for an invasion of England. They knew
that their friends were numerous, and that many who held office under
the ruling government were attached to their cause, and only required
such a demonstration to fly to arms with their numerous partisans.
Up to the present, all the machinations of the Jacobites had been
carried on with secrecy and dexterity, but now was the time for action
and decision. To aid the cause, it was considered expedient that some
one of known fidelity should be sent to Amsterdam, where the projects
of William might be discovered more easily than in England: for, as he
communicated with the States General, and the States General were
composed of many, secrets would come out, for that which is known to
many soon becomes no longer a secret.
To effect this, letters of recommendation to one or two of those high in
office in Holland, and who were supposed to be able to give information,
and inclined to be confiding and garrulous, had been procured from the
firm allies of King William, by those who pretended to be so only, for
the agent who was about to be sent over, and this agent was the young
cavalier who had treated Vanslyperken in so uncourteous a manner. He has
already been mentioned to the reader by the name of Ramsay, and second
in authority among the smugglers. He was a young man of high family, and
a brother to Lady Alice, of course trusted by Sir Robert and his second
in command. He had been attainted for non-appearance, and condemned for
high treason at the same time as had been his brother-in-law, Sir Robert
Barclay, and had ever since been with him doing his duty in the boat and
in command of the men, when Sir Robert's services or attendance were
required at St Germains.
No one could be better adapted for the service he was to be employed
upon. He was brave, cool, intelligent, and prepossessing. Of course, by
his letters of introduction, he was represented as a firm ally of King
William, and strongly recommended as such. The letters which
Vanslyperken had neglected to deliver were of the utmost importance, and
the character of the lieutenant being well known to Ramsay, through the
medium of Nancy Corbett and others, he had treated him in the way which
he considered as most likely to enforce a rigid compliance with
Ramsay was right; for Vanslyperken was too much of a coward to venture
upon resistance, although he might threaten it. It was the intention of
Ramsay, moreover, to take a passage over with him in the _Yungfrau_, as
his arrival in a king's vessel would add still more to the success of
the enterprise which he had in contemplation.
We will now return to Mr Vanslyperken, whom we left boiling with
indignation. He is not in a better humour at this moment. He requires a
victim to expend his wrath upon, and that victim he is resolved shall be
Smallbones, upon whom his hate is concentrated.
He has sent for the corporal, and next ordered him to bring him a pistol
and cartridge, which the corporal has complied with. Vanslyperken has
not made the corporal a further confidant, but he has his suspicions,
and he is on the watch. Vanslyperken is alone, his hand trembling as he
loads the pistol which he has taken down from the bulkhead where it
hung, but he is nevertheless determined upon the act. He has laid it
down on the table, and goes on deck, waiting till it is dusk for the
completion of his project. He has now arranged his plan and descends;
the pistol is still on the table, and he puts it under the blanket on
his bed, and rings for Smallbones.
"Did you want me, sir?" said Smallbones.
"Yes, I am going on shore to sleep a little way in the country, and I
want you to carry my clothes; let everything be put up in the blue bag,
and hold yourself ready to come with me."
"Yes, sir," replied Smallbones; "am I to come on board again to-night?"
"To be sure you are."
Smallbones put up as desired by his master, whose eyes followed the
lad's motions as he moved from one part of the cabin to the other, his
thoughts wandering from the recollection of Smallbones having attempted
to drown his dog, to the more pleasing one of revenge.
At dusk, Mr Vanslyperken ordered his boat to be manned, and so soon as
Smallbones had gone into it with the bag, he took the pistol from where
he had hid it, and concealing it under his great-coat, followed the lad
into the boat.
They landed, and Vanslyperken walked fast; it was now dark, and he was
followed by Smallbones, who found difficulty in keeping pace with his
master, so rapid were his strides.
They passed the half-way houses, and went clear of the fortifications,
until they had gained five or six miles on the road to London.
Smallbones was tired out with the rapidity of the walk, and now lagged
behind. The master desired him to come on. "I does come on as fast as I
can, sir, but this here walking don't suit at all, with carrying a bag
full of clothes," replied Smallbones.
"Make haste, and keep up with me," cried Vanslyperken, setting off again
at a more rapid pace.
They were now past all the buildings, and but occasionally fell in with
some solitary farmhouse, or cottage, on the road side; the night was
cloudy, and the scud flew fast; Vanslyperken walked on faster, for in
his state of mind he could feel no bodily fatigue, and the lad
At last the lieutenant found a spot which afforded him an opportunity of
executing his fell purpose. A square wall, round a homestead for cattle,
was built on the side of the footpath. Vanslyperken turned round, and
looked for Smallbones, who was too far behind to be seen in the
obscurity. Satisfied by this that the lad could not see his motions,
Vanslyperken secreted himself behind the angle of the wall so as to
allow Smallbones to pass. He cocked his pistol, and crouched down,
waiting for the arrival of his victim.
In a minute or two he heard the panting of the lad, who was quite weary
with his load. Vanslyperken compressed his lips, and held his breath.
The lad passed him; Vanslyperken now rose from behind, levelled the
pistol at the lad's head, and fired. Smallbones uttered a yell, fell
down on his face, and then rolled on his back without life or motion.
Vanslyperken looked at him for one second, then turned back, and fled
with the wings of the wind. Conscience now appeared to pursue him, and
he ran on until he was so exhausted, that he fell; the pistol was still
in his hand, and as he put out his arm mechanically to save himself, the
lock of the pistol came in violent contact with his temple.
After a time he rose again, faint and bleeding, and continued his course
at a more moderate pace, but as the wind blew, and whistled among the
boughs of the trees, he thought every moment that he beheld the form of
the murdered lad. He quickened his pace, arrived at last within the
fortifications, and putting the pistol in his coat-pocket, he somewhat,
recovered himself. He bound his silk handkerchief round his head, and
proceeded to the boat, which he had ordered to wait till Smallbones'
return. He had then a part to act, and told the men that he had been
assailed by robbers, and ordered them to pull on board immediately. As
soon as he came on board he desired the men to assist him down into his
cabin, and then he sent for Corporal Van Spitter to dress his wounds. He
communicated to the corporal, that as he was going out in the country as
he had proposed, he had been attacked by robbers, that he had been
severely wounded, and had, he thought, killed one of them, as the others
ran away; what had become of Smallbones he knew not, but he had heard
him crying out in the hands of the robbers.
The corporal, who had felt certain that the pistol had been intended for
Smallbones, hardly knew what to make of the matter; the wound of Mr
Vanslyperken was severe, and it was hardly to be supposed that it had
been self-inflicted. The corporal therefore held his tongue, heard all
that Mr Vanslyperken had to say, and was very considerably puzzled.
"It was a fortunate thing that I thought of taking a pistol with me,
corporal, I might have been murdered outright."
"Yes, mynheer," replied the corporal, and binding the handkerchief round
Vanslyperken's head, he then assisted him into bed. "Mein Gott! I make
no head or tail of de business," said the corporal, as he walked
forward; "but I must know de truth soon; I not go to bed for two or
three hours, and den I hear others."
It is needless to say that Mr Vanslyperken passed a restless night, not
only from the pain of his wound, but from the torments of conscience;
for it is but by degrees that the greatest villain can drive away its
stings, and then it is but for a short time, and when it does force
itself back upon him, it is with redoubled power. His occasional
slumbers were broken by fitful starts, in which he again and again heard
the yell of the poor lad, and saw the corpse rolling at his feet. It was
about an hour before daylight that Mr Vanslyperken again woke, and found
that the light had burnt out. He could not remain in the dark, it was
too dreadful; he raised himself, and pulled the bell over his head. Some
one entered. "Bring a light immediately," cried Vanslyperken.
In a minute or two the gleams of a light were seen burning at a distance
by the lieutenant. He watched its progress aft, and its entrance, and he
felt relieved; but he had now a devouring thirst upon him, and his lips
were glued together, and he turned over on his bed to ask the corporal,
whom he supposed it was, for water. He fixed his eyes upon the party
with the candle, and by the feeble light of the dip, he beheld the pale,
haggard face of Smallbones, who stared at him, but uttered not a word.
"Mercy, O God! mercy!" exclaimed Vanslyperken, falling back, and
covering his face with the bedclothes.
Smallbones did not reply; he blew out the candle, and quitted the cabin.
In which Mr Vanslyperken is taught a secret.
We are anxious to proceed with our narrative, but we must first explain
the unexpected appearance of Smallbones. When Corporal Van Spitter was
requested by Vanslyperken to bring a pistol and cartridge, the corporal,
who had not forgotten the hints thrown out by Vanslyperken during their
last consultation, immediately imagined that it was for Smallbones'
benefit. And he was strengthened in his opinion, when he learnt that
Smallbones was to go on shore with his master after it was dusk. Now
Corporal Van Spitter had no notion of the poor lad's brains being blown
out, and when Mr Vanslyperken went on deck and left the pistol, he went
into the cabin, searched for it, and drew the bullet, which
Vanslyperken, of course, was not aware of. It then occurred to the
corporal, that if the pistol were aimed at Smallbones, and he was
uninjured, it would greatly add to the idea, already half entertained by
the superstitious lieutenant, of there being something supernatural
about Smallbones, if he were left to suppose that he had been killed,
and had reappeared. He, therefore, communicated his suspicions to the
lad, told him what he had done, and advised him, if the pistol were
fired, to pretend to be killed, and when left by his master, to come on
board quietly in the night. Smallbones, who perceived the drift of all
this, promised to act accordingly, and in the last chapter it will be
observed how he contrived to deceive his master. As soon as the
lieutenant was out of hearing, Smallbones rose, and leaving the bag
where it lay, hastened back to Portsmouth, and came on board about two
hours before Vanslyperken rang his bell. He narrated what had passed,
but, of course, could not exactly swear that it was Vanslyperken who
fired the pistol, as it was fired from behind, but even if he could
have so sworn, at that time he would have obtained but little redress.
It was considered much more advisable that Smallbones should pretend to
believe that he had been attacked by robbers, and that the ball had
missed him, after he had frightened his master by his unexpected
appearance, for Vanslyperken would still be of the opinion that the lad
possessed a charmed life.
The state of Mr Vanslyperken during the remainder of that night was
pitiable, but we must leave the reader to suppose, rather than attempt
to describe it.
In the morning the corporal came in, and after asking after his
superior's health, informed him that Smallbones had come on board, that
the lad said that the robbers had fired a pistol at him, and then
knocked him down with the butt end of it, and that he had escaped but
with the loss of the bag.
This was a great relief to the mind of Mr Vanslyperken, who had imagined
that he had been visited by the ghost of Smallbones during the night: he
expressed himself glad at his return, and a wish to be left alone, upon
which the corporal retired. As soon as Vanslyperken found out that
Smallbones was still alive, his desire to kill him returned; although,
when he supposed him dead, he would, to escape from his own feelings,
have resuscitated him. One chief idea now whirled in his brain, which
was, that the lad must have a charmed life; he had floated out to the
Nab buoy and back again, and now he had had a pistol-bullet passed
through his skull without injury. He felt too much fear to attempt
anything against him for the future, but his desire to do so was
stronger than ever.
Excitement and vexation brought on a slow fever, and Mr Vanslyperken lay
for three or four days in bed; at the end of which period he received a
message from the admiral, directing him to come or send on shore (for
his state had been made known) for his despatches, and to sail as soon
Upon receiving the message, Mr Vanslyperken recollected his engagement
at the house of the Jew Lazarus, and weak as he was, felt too much
afraid of the results, should he fail, not to get out of bed and go on
shore. It was with difficulty he could walk so far. When he arrived he
found Ramsay ready to receive him.
"To sail as soon as possible:--'tis well, sir. Have you your
"I sent to the admiral's for them," replied Vanslyperken.
"Well, then, be all ready to start at midnight. I shall come on board
about a quarter of an hour before; you may go, sir."
Vanslyperken quailed under the keen eye and stern look of Ramsay, and
obeyed the uncourteous order in silence; still he thought of revenge as
he walked back to the boat and re-embarked in the cutter.
"What's this, Short?" observed Coble: "here is a new freak; we start at
midnight, I hear."
"Yes," replied Short.
"Something quite new, anyhow:--don't understand it: do you?"
"No," replied Dick.
"Well, now Jemmy's gone, I don't care how soon I follow, Dick."
"Nor I," replied Short.
"I've a notion there's some mystery in all this. For," continued Coble,
"the admiral would never have ordered us out till to-morrow morning, if
he did not make us sail this evening. It's not a man-of-war fashion, is
"No," replied Short.
"Well, we shall see," replied Coble. "I shall turn in now. You've heard
all about Smallbones, heh! Dick?"
Short nodded his head.
"Well, we shall see: but I'll back the boy 'gainst master and dog too,
in the long run. D--n his Dutch carcass, he seems to make but small
count of English subjects, heh!"
Short leant over the gunwale and whistled.
Coble, finding it impossible to extract one monosyllable more from him,
walked forward, and went down below.
A little before twelve o'clock a boat came alongside, and Ramsay stepped
out of it into the cutter. Vanslyperken had been walking the deck to
receive him, and immediately showed him down into the cabin, where he
left him to go on deck, and get the cutter under way. There was a small
stove in the cabin, for the weather was still cold; they were advanced
into the month of March. Ramsay threw off his coat, laid two pair of
loaded pistols on the table, locked the door of the cabin, and then
proceeded to warm himself, while Vanslyperken was employed on deck.
In an hour the cutter was outside and clear of all danger, and
Vanslyperken had to knock to gain admittance into his own cabin. Ramsay
opened the door, and Vanslyperken, who thought he must say something,
"We are all clear, sir."
"Very good," replied Ramsay; "and now, sir, I believe that you have
despatches on board?"
"Yes," replied Vanslyperken.
"You will oblige me by letting me look at them."
"My despatches!" said Vanslyperken with surprise.
"Yes, sir, your despatches; immediately, if you please--no trifling."
"You forget, sir," replied Vanslyperken angrily, "that I am not any
longer in your power, but on board of my own vessel."
"You appear not to know, sir, that you are in my power even on board of
your own vessel," replied Ramsay, starting up, and laying his hand over
the pistols, which he drew towards him, and replaced in his belt. "If
you trust to your ship's company you are mistaken, as you will soon
discover. I demand the despatches."
"But, sir, you will ruin me and ruin yourself," replied Vanslyperken,
"Fear not," replied Ramsay; "for my own sake, and that of the good
cause, I shall not hurt you. No one will know that the despatches have
been ever examined, and----"
"And what?" replied Vanslyperken, gloomily.
"For the passage, and this service, you will receive one hundred
Vanslyperken no longer hesitated; he opened the drawer in which he had
deposited the letters, and produced them.
"Now lock the door," said Ramsay, taking his seat.
He then examined the seals, pulled some out of his pocket, and compared
them; sorted the letters according to the seals, and laid one
corresponding at the heading of each file, for there were three
different government seals upon the despatches. He then took a long
Dutch earthen pipe which was hanging above, broke off the bowl, and put
one end of the stem into the fire. When it was of a red heat he took it
out, and applying his lips to the cool end, and the hot one close to the
sealing-wax, he blew through it, and the heated blast soon dissolved the
wax, and the despatches were opened one after another without the
slightest difficulty or injury to the paper. He then commenced reading,
taking memorandums on his tablets as he proceeded.
When he had finished, he again heated the pipe, melted the wax, which
had become cold and hard again, and resealed all the letters with his
During this occupation, which lasted upwards of an hour, Vanslyperken
looked on with surprise, leaning against the bulk-head of the cabin.
"There, sir, are your despatches," said Ramsay, rising from his chair:
"you may now put them away; and, as you may observe, you are not
"No, indeed," replied Vanslyperken, who was struck with the ingenuity of
the method; "but you have given me an idea."
"I will tell you what that is," replied Ramsay. "You are thinking, if I
left you these false seals, you could give me the contents of the
despatches, provided you were well paid. Is it not so?"
"It was," replied Vanslyperken, who had immediately been struck with
such a new source of wealth; for he cared little what he did--all he
cared for was discovery.
"Had you not proposed it yourself, I intended that you should have done
it, sir," replied Ramsay; "and that you should also be paid for it. I
will arrange all that before I leave the vessel. But now I shall retire
to my bed. Have you one ready?"
"I have none but what you see," replied Vanslyperken. "It is my own, but
at your service."
"I shall accept it," replied Ramsay, putting his pistols under his
pillow, after having thrown himself on the outside of the bedclothes,
pulling his roquelaure over him. "And now you will oblige me by turning
that cur out of the cabin, for his smell is anything but pleasant."
Vanslyperken had no idea of his passenger so coolly taking possession of
his bed, but to turn out Snarleyyow as well as himself, appeared an
unwarrantable liberty. But he felt that he had but to submit, for Ramsay
was despotic, and he was afraid of him.
After much resistance, Snarleyyow was kicked out by his master, who then
went on deck not in the very best of humours, at finding he had so
completely sold himself to those who might betray and hang him the very
next day. "At all events," thought Vanslyperken, "I'm well paid for it."
It was now daylight, and the cutter was running with a favourable
breeze; the hands were turned up, and Corporal Van Spitter came on deck.
Vanslyperken, who had been running over in his mind all the events which
had latterly taken place, had considered that, as he had lost the
Portsmouth widow, he might as well pursue his suit with the widow
Vandersloosh, especially as she had sent such a conciliating message by
the corporal; and perceiving the corporal on deck, he beckoned to him to
approach. Vanslyperken then observed, that he was angry the other day,
and that the corporal need not give that message to the Frau
Vandersloosh, as he intended to call upon her himself upon his arrival.
Van Spitter, who did not know anything about the Portsmouth widow, and
could not imagine why the angry message had been given, of course
assented, although he was fully determined that the widow should be
informed of the insult. The question was now, how to be able to go on
shore himself; and to compass that without suspicion, he remarked that
the maid Babette was a very fine maid, and he should like to see
This little piece of confidence was not thrown away. Vanslyperken was
too anxious to secure the corporal, and he replied, that the corporal
should go ashore and see her, if he pleased; upon which Corporal Van
Spitter made his best military salute, turned round on his heel, and
walked away, laughing in his sleeve at having so easily gulled
On the third morning the cutter had arrived at her destined port. During
the passage Ramsay had taken possession of the cabin, ordering
everything as he pleased, much to the surprise of the crew. Mr
Vanslyperken spoke of him as a king's messenger, but still Smallbones,
who took care to hear what was going on, reported the abject submission
shown to Ramsay by the lieutenant, and this was the occasion of great
marvel; moreover, they doubted his being a king's messenger, for, as
Smallbones very shrewdly observed, "Why, if he was a king's messenger,
did he not come with the despatches?" However, they could only surmise,
and no more. But the dog being turned out of the cabin in compliance
with Ramsay's wish, was the most important point of all. They could have
got over all the rest, but that was quite incomprehensible; and they all
agreed with Coble, when he observed, hitching up his trousers, "Depend
upon it, there's a screw loose somewhere."
As soon as the cutter was at anchor, Ramsay ordered his portmanteau into
the boat, and Vanslyperken having accompanied him on shore, they
separated, Ramsay informing Vanslyperken that he would wish to see him
the next day, and giving him his address.
Vanslyperken delivered his despatches, and then hastened to the widow
Vandersloosh, who received him with a well-assumed appearance of mingled
pleasure and reserve.
Vanslyperken led her to the sofa, poured forth a multitudinous compound
composed of regret, devotion, and apologies, which at last appeared to
have melted the heart of the widow, who once more gave him her hand
Vanslyperken was all rapture at so unexpected a reconciliation; the name
of the cur was not mentioned, and Vanslyperken thought to himself, "This
will do,--let me only once get you, my Frau, and I'll teach you to wish
my dog dead at your porch."
On the other hand the widow thought, "And so this atomy really believes
that I would look upon him! Well, well, Mr Vanslyperken, we shall see
how it ends. Your cur under my bed, indeed, so sure do you never--. Yes,
yes, Mr Vanslyperken."
There is a great deal of humbug in this world, that is certain.
In which we have at last introduced a decent sort of heroine, who,
however, only plays a second in our history, Snarleyyow being
But we must leave Mr Vanslyperken, and the widow, and the _Yungfrau_,
and all connected with her, for the present, and follow the steps of
Ramsay, in doing which we shall have to introduce new personages in our
As soon as Ramsay had taken leave of Vanslyperken, being a stranger at
Amsterdam, he inquired his way to the Golden Street, in which resided
Mynheer Van Krause, syndic of the town, and to whom he had obtained his
principal letters of introduction. The syndic's house was too well
known not to be immediately pointed out to him, and in ten minutes he
found himself, with the sailors at his heels who had been ordered to
carry up his baggage, at a handsomely carved door painted in bright
green, and with knockers of massive brass which glittered in the sun.
Ramsay, as he waited a few seconds, looked up at the house, which was
large and with a noble front to the wide street in face of it, not, as
usual with most of the others, divided in the centre by a canal running
the whole length of it. The door was opened, and led into a large paved
yard, the sides of which were lined with evergreens in large tubs,
painted of the same bright green colour; adjoining to the yard was a
small garden enclosed with high walls, which was laid out with great
precision, and in small beds full of tulips, ranunculuses, and other
bulbs now just appearing above the ground. The sailors waited outside
while the old gray-headed servitor who had opened the gate, ushered
Ramsay through the court to a second door which led into the house. The
hall into which he entered was paved with marble, and the staircase bold
and handsome which led to the first floor, but on each side of the hall
there were wooden partitions and half-glass doors, through which Ramsay
could see that the rest of the basement was appropriated to warehouses,
and that in the warehouse at the back of the building there were people
busily employed hoisting out merchandise from the vessels in the canal,
the water of which adjoined the very walls. Ramsay followed the man
upstairs, who showed him into a very splendidly-furnished apartment, and
then went to summon his master, who, he said, was below in the
warehouse. Ramsay had but a minute or two to examine the various objects
which decorated the room, particularly some very fine pictures, when
Mynheer Van Krause made his appearance, with some open tablets in his
hand and his pen across his mouth. He was a very short man, with a
respectable paunch, a very small head, quite bald, a keen blue eye,
reddish but straight nose, and a very florid complexion. There was
nothing vulgar about his appearance, although his figure was against
him. His countenance was one of extreme frankness, mixed with
considerable intelligence, and his whole manner gave you the idea of
precision and calculation.
"You would--tyfel--I forgot my pen," said the syndic, catching it as it
fell out of his mouth. "You would speak with me, mynheer? To whom have I
the pleasure of addressing myself?"
"These letters, sir," replied Ramsay, "will inform you."
Mynheer Van Krause laid his tablets on the table, putting his pen across
to mark the leaf where he had them open, and taking the letters begged
Ramsay to be seated. He then took a chair, pulled a pair of hand-glasses
out of his pocket, laid them on his knees, broke the seals, and falling
back so as to recline, commenced reading. As soon as he had finished the
first letter, he put his glasses down from his eyes, and made a bow to
Ramsay, folded the open letter the length of the sheet, took out his
pencil, and on the outside wrote the date of the letter, the day of the
month, name, and the name of the writer. Having done this, he laid the
first letter down on the table, took up the second, raised up his
glasses, and performed the same duty towards it, and thus he continued
until he had read the whole six; always, as he concluded each letter,
making the same low bow to Ramsay which he had after the perusal of the
first. Ramsay, who was not a little tired of all this precision, at last
fixed his eyes upon a Wouvermann which hung near him, and only took them
off when he guessed the time of bowing to be at hand.
The last having been duly marked and numbered, Mynheer Van Krause turned
to Ramsay, and said, "I am most happy, mynheer, to find under my roof a
young gentleman so much recommended by many valuable friends; moreover,
as these letters give me to understand, so warm a friend to our joint
sovereign, and so inimical to the Jacobite party. I am informed by these
letters that you intend to remain at Amsterdam. If so, I trust that you
will take up your quarters in this house."
To this proposal Ramsay, who fully expected it, gave a willing consent,
saying, at the same time, that he had proposed going to an hotel; but
Mynheer Van Krause insisted on sending for Ramsay's luggage. He had not
far to send, as it was at the door.
"How did you come over?" inquired the host.
"In a king's cutter," replied Ramsay, "which waited for me at
This intimation produced another very low bow from Mynheer Van Krause,
as it warranted the importance of his guest; but he then rose, and
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