Captain Frederick Marryat
Part 9 out of 9
Now where he went to seek the Lord, I can't at all suppose,
'Twas not on deck for there I'm sure, he never show'd his nose.
He would not read the Bible, it warn't good enough for him,
The course we steered by that he said, would lead us all to sin;
That we were damn'd and hell would gape, he often would us tell,
I know that when I heard his jaw, it made me gape like hell.
A storm came on, we sprung a leak, and sorely were we tired,
We plied the pumps, 'twas spell and spell, with lots of work beside;
And what d'ye think this beggar did, the trick I do declare,
He called us all to leave the pumps and join with him in prayer.
At last our boatswain Billy, who was a thund'ring Turk,
Goes up to him and says, "My man, why don't you do your work?"
"Avaunt you worst of sinners, I must save my soul," he cried,
"Confound your soul," says Billy, "then you shall not save your hide."
Acquaintance then he made soon with the end of the fore-brace,
It would have made you laugh to see his methodisty face;
He grinn'd like a roast monkey, and he howl'd like a baboon,
He had a dose from Billy, that he didn't forget soon.
"Take that," said Billy, when he'd done, "and now you'll please
I read the Bible often--but I don't my duty shirk,
The pumps they are not choked yet, nor do we yet despair,
When all is up or we are saved, we'll join with you in player."
"And now we'll have one from the other side of the house," said Moggy,
as soon as the plaudits were over.
"Come then, Anthony, you shall speak for us, and prove that we can sing
a stave as well as honester men."
"With all my heart, William;--here's my very best."
The smuggler then sang as follows:
Fill, lads, fill;
Fill, lads, fill.
Here we have a cure
For every ill.
If fortune's unkind
As the north-east wind,
Still we must endure,
Trusting to our cure,
In better luck still.
Drink, boys, drink;
Drink, boys, drink.
The bowl let us drain
With right good will.
If women deceive
Why should we grieve?
Forgetting our pain,
Love make again,
With better luck still.
Sing, lads, sing;
Sing, lads, sing.
Our voices we'll raise;
Be merry still;
If dead to-morrow,
We brave all sorrow.
Life's a weary maze--
When we end our days,
'Tis better luck still.
As the wounded men occupied the major part of the lower deck, and there
was no accommodation for the numerous party of men and women on board,
the carousing was kept up until the next morning, when, at daylight, the
cutter was run into Cherbourg. The officers who came on board, went on
shore with the report that the cutter belonged to the English
government, and had been occupied by Sir Robert and his men, who were
well known. The consequence was, an order for the cutter to leave the
port immediately, as receiving her would be tantamount to an aggression
on the part of France. But this order, although given, was not intended
to be rigidly enforced, and there was plenty of time allowed for Sir
Robert and his people to land with their specie and baggage.
Ramsay did not forget his promise to the corporal. He went to the French
authorities, stated the great importance of his forwarding a letter to
Amsterdam immediately, and that the way it might be effected would be
very satisfactory. That, aware that King William was at the Hague, they
should write a letter informing him of the arrival of the cutter; and
that his Majesty might not imagine that the French government could
sanction such outrages, they had sent her immediately on to him, under
the charge of one of their officers, to wait upon his Majesty, and
express their sentiments of regret that such a circumstance should have
occurred. The authorities were aware that, to obey Sir Robert would not
be displeasing to the court of Versailles, and that the excuse for so
doing could only be taken as a compliment to the English court,
therefore acted upon this suggestion. A French officer was sent on board
of the cutter with the despatch, and Ramsay's letter to Mynheer Krause
was committed to the charge of the corporal.
Before the sun had set, the _Yungfrau_ was again at sea, and, on the
third morning, anchored in her usual berth off the town of Amsterdam.
In which we trust that everything will be arranged to the satisfaction
of our readers.
The French officer who was sent to explain what had occasioned the
arrival of the cutter in the port of Cherbourg, immediately set off for
the Hague, and was received by Lord Albemarle.
As soon as his credentials had been examined, he was introduced to his
Majesty, King William.
"It appears," said his Majesty to Lord Albemarle, after the
introduction, "that these Jacobite conspirators have saved us one
trouble by hanging this traitor, Vanslyperken."
"Yes, your Majesty, he has met with his deserved punishment," replied
Then addressing himself to the officer, "We will return our
acknowledgments for this proof of good will on the part of the French
government," said his Majesty, bowing. "My Lord Albemarle, you will see
that this gentleman is suitably entertained."
The officer bowed low and retired.
"This is an over politeness which I do not admire," observed his Majesty
to Lord Albemarle. "Let that person be well watched, depend upon it the
letter is all a pretext, there is more plotting going on."
"I am of your Majesty's opinion, and shall be careful that your
Majesty's commands are put in force," replied his lordship, as King
William retired into his private apartments.
The cutter had not been half-an-hour at anchor, before Obadiah Coble
went on shore with the corporal. Their first object was to apply to the
authorities, that the wounded men might be sent to the hospital, which
they were before the night; the next was to deliver the letter to
Mynheer Krause. They thought it advisable to go first to the widow
Vandersloosh, who was surprised at the sight of her dear corporal, and
much more enraptured when she heard that Mr Vanslyperken and his cur had
"I'll keep my word, corporal," cried the widow, "I told you I would not
marry until he was hung, I don't care if I marry you to-morrow."
"Mein Gott, yes, to-day."
"No, no, not to-day, corporal, or to-morrow either, we must wait till
the poor fellows are out of the hospital, for I must have them all to
"Mein Gott, yes," replied the corporal.
The widow then proceeded to state how she had been thrown into a
dungeon, and how she and Mynheer Krause, the syndic, had been released
the next day, how Mynheer Krause's house had been burnt to the ground,
and all the other particulars with which the reader is already
This reminded the corporal of the letters to the Mynheer Krause, which
he had for a time forgotten, and he inquired where he was to be found;
but the widow was too prudent to allow the corporal to go himself--she
sent Babette, who executed her commission without exciting any
suspicion, and made Mynheer Krause very happy. He soon made his
arrangements, and joined his daughter and Ramsay, who had not, however,
awaited his arrival, but had been married the day after they landed at
Cherbourg. Mynheer Krause was not a little surprised to find that his
son-in-law was a Jacobite, but his incarceration and loss of his
property had very much cooled his loyalty. He settled at Hamburgh, and
became perfectly indifferent whether England was ruled by King William
or King James.
Ramsay's marriage made him also less warm in the good cause; he had
gained a pretty wife and a good fortune, and to be very loyal a person
should be very poor. The death of King James in the year following,
released him from his engagements, and, as he resided at Hamburgh, he
was soon forgotten, and was never called upon to embark in the
subsequent fruitless attempts on the part of the Jacobites.
As it was necessary to write to the Admiralty in England, acquainting
them with the fate of Mr Vanslyperken, and demanding that another
officer should be sent out to take the command of the _Yungfrau_, a
delay of three or four weeks took place, during which the cutter
remained at Amsterdam; for Dick Short and Coble were no navigators, if
they had wished to send her back; and, moreover, she had so many of her
crew at the hospital, that she was weak-handed.
It was about a month after her arrival at Amsterdam, that every soul
belonging to the cutter had gone on shore, and she was left to swing to
the tide and foul her hawse, or go adrift if she pleased, for she had to
take care of herself. This unusual disregard to naval instructions arose
from the simple fact, that on that day was to be celebrated the marriage
of widow Vandersloosh and Corporal Van Spitter.
Great, indeed, had been the preparations; all the ingenuity and talent
of Jemmy Ducks, and Moggy, and Bill Spurey, for he and all the others
were now discharged from the hospital, had been summoned to the
assistance of the widow and Babette, in preparing and decorating the
Lust Haus for the important ceremony, which the widow declared King
William himself should hear of, cost what it might. Festoons of flowers,
wreaths of laurel garlands from the ceiling, extra chandeliers, extra
musicians, all were dressed out and collected in honour of this
The whole of the crew of the cutter were invited, not, however, to feast
at the widow's expense; neither she nor the corporal would stand
treat;--but to spend their money in honour of the occasion. And it must
be observed, that since their arrival in port, the _Yungfrau_ had spent
a great deal of money at the widow's; which was considered strange, as
they had not, for some time, received any pay. And it was further
observed, that none appeared so wealthy as Smallbones and Corporal Van
Spitter. Some had asserted that it was the gold of Mr Vanslyperken,
which had been appropriated by the crew to their own wants, considering
themselves as his legitimate heirs. Whether this be true or not, it is
impossible to say; certain it is, that there was no gold found in Mr
Vanslyperken's cabin when his successor took possession of it. And
equally certain it was, that all the _Yungfraus_ had their pockets full
of gold, and that the major part of this gold did ultimately fall into
the possession of the widow Vandersloosh, who was heard to say, that Mr
Vanslyperken had paid the expenses of her wedding. From these facts
collected, we must leave the reader to draw what inference he
The widow beautifully dressed;--a white kersey petticoat, deep blue
stockings, silver buckles in her shoes, a scarlet velvet jacket, with
long flaps before and behind, a golden cross six inches long, suspended
to a velvet ribbon, to which was attached, half-way between the cross
and her neck, a large gold heart, gold ear-rings, and on her head an
ornament, which, in Holland and Germany, is called a _zitternabel_,
shook and trembled as she walked along to church, hanging on the arm of
her dear corporal. Some of the bridges were too narrow to admit the
happy pair to pass abreast. The knot was tied. The name Vandersloosh was
abandoned without regret, for the sharper one of Van Spitter; and
flushed with joy, and the thermometer at ninety-six, the cavalcade
returned home, and refreshed themselves with some beer of the Frau Van
Spitter's own brewing.
Let it not, however, be supposed, that they dined _tete-a-tete_; no,
no--the corporal and his wife were not so churlish as that. The dinner
party consisted of a chosen set, the most particular friends of the
corporal. Mr Short, first officer and boatswain, Mr William Spurey, Mr
and Mrs Salisbury; and last, although not the least important person in
this history, Peter Smallbones, Esquire, who having obtained money
somehow, was now remarkable for the neatness of his apparel. The fair
widow, assisted by Moggy and Babette, cooked the dinner, and when it
was ready came in from the kitchen as red as a fury and announced it:
and then it was served up, and they all sat down to table in the little
parlour. It was very close, the gentlemen took off their jackets, and
the widow and Moggy fanned themselves, and the enormous demand by
evaporation was supplied with foaming beer. None could have done the
honours of the table better than the corporal and his lady who sat
melting and stuck together on the little fubsy sofa, which had been the
witness of so much pretended and so much real love.
But the Lust Haus is now lighted up, the company are assembling fast;
Babette is waddling and trotting like an armadillo from corner to
corner: Babette here, and Babette there, it is Babette everywhere. The
room is full, and the musicians have commenced tuning their instruments;
the party run from the table to join the rest. A general cheer greets
the widow as she is led into the room by the corporal--for she had asked
many of her friends as well as the crew of the _Yungfrau_, and many
others came who were not invited; so that the wedding day, instead of
disbursement, produced one of large receipt to the happy pair.
"Now then, corporal, you must open the ball with your lady," cried Bill
"Mein Gott, yes."
"What shall it be, Madam Van Spitter?"
"A waltz, if you please."
The musicians struck up a waltz, and Corporal Van Spitter, who had no
notion of waltzing, further than having seen the dance performed by
others, seized his wife by the waist, who, with an amorous glance,
dropped her fat arm upon the corporal's shoulder. This was the signal
for the rest--the corporal had made but one turn before a hundred couple
more were turning also--the whole room seemed turning. The corporal
could not waltz, but he could turn--he held on fast by the widow, and
with such a firm piece of resistance he kept a centrifugal balance, and
without regard to time or space, he increased his velocity at a
prodigious rate. Round they went, with the dangerous force of the two
iron balls suspended to the fly-wheel which regulate the power of some
The corporal would not, and his better half could not, stop. The first
couple they came in contact with were hurled to the other side of the
room; a second and a third fell, and still the corporal wheeled on; two
chairs and a table were swept away in a moment. Three young women, with
baskets of cakes and nuts, were thrown down together, and the contents
of all their baskets scattered on the floor; and "Bravo, corporal!"
resounded from the crew of the _Yungfrau_--Babette and two bottles of
ginger beer were next demolished; Jemmy Ducks received a hoist, and
Smallbones was flatted to a pancake. Every one fled from the orbit of
these revolving spheres, and they were left to wheel by themselves. At
last, Mrs Van Spitter finding that nothing else would stop her husband,
who, like all heavy bodies, once put in motion, returned it in
proportion to his weight, dropped down, and left him to support her
whole weight. This was more than the corporal could stand, and it
brought him up all standing--he stopped, dropped his wife, and reeled to
a chair, for he was so giddy that he could not keep his legs, and so out
of breath that he had lost his wind.
"Bravo, corporal!" was shouted throughout the room, while his spouse
hardly knew whether she should laugh, or scold him well; but, it being
the wedding night, she deferred the scolding for that night only, and
she gained a chair, and fanned and wiped, and fanned and wiped again.
The corporal, shortly afterwards, would have danced again, but Mrs Van
Spitter having had quite enough for that evening, she thanked him for
the offer, was satisfied with his prowess, but declined on the score of
the extreme sultriness of the weather; to which observation, the
corporal replied, as usual,
"Mein Gott, yes."
The major part of the evening was passed in dancing and drinking. The
corporal and his wife, with Babette, now attending to the wants of their
customers, who, what with the exercise, the heat of the weather, and the
fumes of tobacco, were more than usually thirsty, and as they became
satisfied with dancing, so did they call for refreshments.
But we cannot find space to dwell upon the quantity of beer, the variety
of liquors which were consumed at this eventful wedding, with which we
wind up our eventful history; nor even to pity the breathless, flushed,
and overheated Babette, who was so ill the next day, as to be unable to
quit her bed; nor can we detail the jokes, the merriment, and the songs
which went round, the peals of laughter, the loud choruses, the antic
feats performed by the company; still more impossible would it be to
give an idea of the three tremendous cheers, which shook the Lust Haus
to its foundations, when Corporal and Mistress Van Spitter, upon their
retiring, bade farewell to the company assembled.
The observation of Jemmy Salisbury, as he waddled out, was as correct as
it was emphatic:
"Well, Dick, this _has been_ a spree!"
"Yes," replied Dick Short.
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