"'Well, my brave boy,' said the commodore, 'so you got out
of the clutches of mounseer, eh ?' "-p. 48.
A SAILOR BOY
tles. of the British 4abg.
AUTHOR OP "CHIMNEY CORNER STORIES," "TIHE HOLIDAY KEEPSAKE."
ji o nb ion:
GALL AND INGLIS, 25 PATERNOSTER SQUARE;
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY ... ...
STORY OF THE SEA KINGS ... ...
ADMIRAL DRAKE ... .....
THE DESTRUCTION OF THE SPANISH ARMADA
A STORY OF THE BUCCANEERS-DAMPIER ...
THE BATTLE OF CAMPERDOWN ... .
THE BATTLE OF THE NILE ... ...
DEFEAT OF THE COUNT DE GRASSE BY A
RODNEY ... ... ... ...
COCHRANE AT BASQUE ROADS ... .
THE MUTINY AT THE NORE ...
THE "CHESAPEAKE" AND THE "SHANNON"
THE SIEGE OF ACRE ... ... ...
THE BATTLE OF NAVARINO ......
THE PRIVATEER ...... ...
"Oh a sweet little cherub sits smiling aloft,
To keep watch for the life of poor Jack."--DIBDIN.
SArLOR Boys who does not love to hear of sailor
boys? Old England always was and always will be
proud of them. They are the real Young England of
our times the men in embryo of the next gene-
ration; for it is to them that we look to keep our
country going a-head" in the world's great sailing
match. Iron-clad frigates and Armstrong guns are
well enough, but they must have brave hearts to
man them, and these are to be found in Englisl
The history of one such boy is in these pages. The
hero of my tale was one John Roden. His father
was a ship-chandler in the port of Yarmouth about
fifty years ago. He, however, was seized with illness
and died when Jack was only three years of age. He
was rather rich, and in his will left an annuity to
Jack's mother, the bulk of his property he willed
to Jack when he came of age; but should he die
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
before that time then his wealth was to go to his
brother, Richard Roden, captain of a gun-brig, and
who was, of course, Jack's uncle.
It is not very common for sailors to have hard and
wicked hearts, but Roden's heart was such. He often
wished little Jack dead; for then he would have come
into possession of his property.
Jack could not touch a farthing of his money before
he was twenty-one years of age, and his poor mother
had little to support him with; she was therefore
glad to see him taken notice of by his uncle, who
pretended to be very fond of him. This was pure
hypocrisy, for he wished in his heart to make away
So he set about scheming how he should get rid
of his young nephew; and one day, when he came
from off a voyage, he went to little Jack's mother's
house, and entered into conversation with her about
Said he, The boy is old enough now to go to sea:
he ought to be fond of a seafaring life; why do you
not bring him up to it ?" His mother said, Why,
brother-in-law, he is but twelve years old; there is
plenty of time to think of that; let him go to school."
School! pshaw," said the old man; "it is all
nonsense. School spoils boys; they are never
good for anything after they have been cut and
hacked about by a schoolmaster-it breaks their
spirit, and makes them timid. However, to give you
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
a taste for the sea, Jack, I have got a sailing boat for
you, and will send it up to the creek to-morrow, and
you can amuse yourself with it in the river, and
make yourself a sailor."
The boat which uncle Roden had prepared for his
little nephew was barely large enough to carry two
such little boys as himself, and was fitted up with
sails rigged with the greatest exactness.
The reason why Jack's uncle gave him this boat,
was not because he loved him, or designed to please
him, but because he thought that, like other children,
he might be tempted to get into it and have a sail;
and then he might stand a chance of being drowned.
The boat was duly at the creek the next morning,
as uncle Roden had promised, and little Jack was
delighted with it beyond measure. He thought his
uncle one of the kindest of all gentlemen in the
world; and his mother said, "You see, my dear,
although your uncle does snarl at you sometimes,
he is very fond of you; and I hope you love him
Oh, that I do, mamma," said Jack; "he is a
dear, good, kind uncle, I know, or else he would
never have given me such a beautiful boat. I do not
mind his rough words; I have heard people say his
bark is worse than his bite."
The next day Jack went to sail his vessel: his
mother told him to be very careful, and not get into
the water; and, above all, not to think of putting up
10 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
the sail while he was in the boat; "for should you
do so," said she, "you might stand a chance of
Jack was off earlyto sail his boat. It wasa finewarm,
sunny morning, and everything looked so bright and
happy, that Jack seemed as if he could have jumped
up to the sky, he was so light-hearted.
So away he went, but before he had gone far
a schoolfellow met him. It was Henry Roebuck.
"Let me go with you," said Henry. "Yes, if you
like," said Jack; come along, come along."
Away went the two boys, direct towards the
river, to a place called Martlesham Creek, and in a
pretty, quiet spot the Decoy Duck, for that was the
boat's name, was launched.
Both the boys then got into her to have a row.
At last Roebuck said, "Let me hoist her sail; I am
sure I can manage her."
Jack said to himself, Mother told me not to put
the sail up, for fear I should be drowned. But
ought I to let anybody else do it? that is the
question." His conscience told him he ought not.
But he said, "I don't see why I should prevent
anybody else having a sail: there is no harm in it."
But there was harm in it, and little Jack's heart
told him so; it was not right to risk another boy's
life any more than his own. But he did not do
what he ought to have done. You shall know the
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
Henry put up the sail, and put the helm round;
and she went so beautifully down the stream that
Jack shouted with delight. Then Henry turned her
head, and sailed across; then he made her tack again
and again from side to side. At last Henry called
out, Why don't you try her, Jack ?"
I should like to have a try," thought Jack; al-
though his mother's injunction seemed to say no. But
then, said he to himself, there is no danger, and
that makes it quite different. "There is no danger,
is there, Henry ?" said he.
"Not a bit," said Henry. "I would not mind
sailing her quite down to the water-mill." This
was nearly a mile off.
"Well," said Jack, if you sail her down to the
water-mill, Ill sail her down to Kyson." This was
a place a mile below the water-mill.
So away went the boys, boat and all. The wind
was fair, and Jack had much to do to keep up with her,
as he ran on the banks of the river down the stream.
In less than half-an-hour both reached the water-
mill; and if Jack had been before delighted with his
boat, he was much more so now. Eager indeed was
he to try his skill, and take the helm.
Without thinking of what his mother had said to
him, he jumped in with Henry, laid hold of the tiller,
and away they went as fast as the wind and tide could
carry them, onwards towards the sea, in fine style.
When they reached the place called Kyson, he
12 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
tried to guide his ship towards the shore, but found
that his rudder had been broken off, and he could
not make her turn in the way he wished; so away
she drifted towards the sea, Henry all the while
calling out, Stop, stop !" But the boat would not
stop. Henry, being very much frightened, fell over-
board, and with great difficulty reached the shore,
leaving Jack to his fate.
Glad indeed would Jack have been to stop, but he
could not. The boat went on; and, as he found the
danger increase, he lost his presence of mind; and
in less than another half-hour he heard the sea
roaring. The wind seemed to blow, too, fresher
Away went the little craft, and away went Jack,
calling out loudly for assistance, but to no purpose.
The boat danced upon the waters-she rocked again
-she was out at sea.
Jack tried to make her turn towards the shore,
and she did bend her course a little and hove round.;
but just as Jack began to have hope, she capsized,
and overboard he went; and his pretty boat was
Jack had learned to swim, and he buffeted the
billows for some time. Now he was lifted up upon
the waves, and saw the land; and then he sank
down again, and all was dark. His heart failed
him-his hands grew stiff-it was the cramp.
At this moment he felt the sharp teeth of some-
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
thing at his neck; he gave a scream-and saw and
heard no more. What do you think it was? It
was the gripe of a Newfoundland dog, which had
been sent out after him by a gentleman walking on
the beach. The noble creature seized him by the
collar, and in a few minutes bore him safely to land.
There was never such a fine fellow! He looked
the glory of his species. He reached the shore
safely, and laid his exhausted burden on the sand.
Poor Jack was some time before he recovered-
but he was not dead; and by the exertions of the
gentleman to whom the dog belonged, and the people
at the cottage on the beach, and the clergyman of
the parish, he was restored to life. His first inquiry,
poor fellow, was for his mother; and the half hear-
broken widow was soon standing by his side.
Jack was taken home and put to bed, and atten-
tively watched for several days. His uncle Roden
came to see him, and pretended to be very sorry for
what had occurred. He was, however, only sorry
that the poor boy was not drowned.
It was a long while before the young shipwrecked
sailor went into a boat again, and perhaps he would
never have done so, had it not been for his uncle,
who, when he came from his next voyage, endeavoured
to persuade Jack's mother to send him to sea.
"Look you, Sarah," said he (for that was the
widow's name), if you coddle the boy in this way,
he will never be good for anything; money or no
14 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
money, he ought to rough it. Look at the son of
our King George, the young Duke of Clarence. He
may be a king, like his father, some day, and
he goes to sea, just like the poorest boy in the
"I cannot part with him yet," said the good
woman. How do you think I should feel when I
heard the November gales beating the tiles about
the house, and the chimneys falling, and the inn
signs creaking, and the black night coming on?
How could I sit at my fireside? how could I sleep
in my bed ? I should go mad, brother Roden."
You will be worse than mad not to let your son
have a good chance. Here is the good ship Grampus,
as tight a ship as ever crossed the bar of our river;
she sails like a swan in the water, and dips her nose
into the foaming billows as if she cared no more for
the storm than she did about her christening. A
brave ship, and will make a mint of money, I'll
warrant. The man who built her has always been
uncommonly lucky with his ships."
"Luck, or no luck," said John's mother, "the
boy shall not part from me. I would not let him
go for the world."
"Then you are- "
His mother," interrupted the woman; and at
this moment Jack rushed into her arms, and she
almost smothered him with kisses, and pressed him
to her heart.
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
Old Roden turned away at this, as if he was quite
disgusted. His heart was as hard as a piece of flint.
However, as he walked home, he said to himself,
There are more ways than one to kill a drake. This
youngster shall not baffle me, or my name is not
So he pondered and pondered, and thought and
thought, as he walked along; and many a time his
fingers gave his wig a hitch up behind as he went.
He schemed and schemed till he seemed quite angry
with himself at not hitting on a plan likely to suit
his purpose, by which he might get his young nephew
out of the way.
Satan very often comes to people pretty readily
when they want to do anything wrong. In this
case, however, it was otherwise, and the old captain
went mumbling along till he reached the churchyard.
The moon was rising over the "ivy-mantled" tower,
and everything looked quiet and serene.
"I have got it," said he, and struck his stick
upon the stile which led to the church; I have got
it! The young rogue shall go to sea in spite of his
mother. Yes, yes, he must be got off somehow; let
me see, how shall it be ?-take him off by night, send
him aboard a man-of-war, and then-umph !-ha !"
He might well pause and say umph and ha, for
at that very moment the moonbeams fell upon a
gravestone, on which was written, Sacred to the
Memory of John Roden." It was his brother's.
16 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
"Woo whoop-woo!" said the old owl in the
steeple top; and then the jackdaws fluttered and
cawed; and then the clock struck twelve.
What a stupid old fool I am," said he, and made
his way out of the churchyard as quickly as possible.
I declare I am." And here he took a sip from his
brandy-bottle, which seemed to revive him.
So he went home, but he slept little that night;
he plotted and plotted till his head ached; at last
lie determined that Jack should be kidnapped and
sent to sea.
When the old captain's vessel got under weigh
a few days after, the old man bribed two of the
sailors to go and seize Jack and bring him on board,
while the ship waited at a small creek about three
miles down the river.
The sailors came up to a spot near the dwelling of
Jack, and loitered about, thinking they might see him.
It was in the evening, and most boys have a game
of play in the evening; besides, it was moonlight.
The moonlight danced among the green leaves,
and chequered the field paths with a flickering light.
Jack had been to visit a sick schoolfellow, and was
coming home with his heart not very merry. "Thank
God," he said, at last, "that I am not sick; I should
not like to lie on a sick bed from week's end to week's
end. Poor Arthur it is very hard for him. I wish
I had taken him another orange or two; and I will
in the morning, fair or foul."
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
One of the sailors whispered to the other, as they
stood behind a tree-"That is he! shall we give
him a knock at once?"
"Stop a minute," said the other, till I take the
gag out of my pocket."
Jack walked on, little thinking of the danger that
was near him; for he was thinking of his mother.
"I wonder what thing my mother would like for
her supper. I have got sixpence in my pocket, and
I think I shall go and buy her a lobster; she is fond
of lobsters-and I will, too."
"No, you wont," said one of the sailors. "You
wont, indeed, young gentleman," said the other,
and both seized him rudely by the collar.
"Oh, do not harm me! What have I done?
Oh! pray let me go. Oh, pray!"
Hold your tongue, or I will half murder you,"
said the first. Yes, hold your tongue, you rascal,"
said the other, and squeezed his throat as if he would
choke him. He then placed the gag over or in his
mouth, and blindfolding him, they both dragged the
poor boy away towards his uncle's ship.
He was put into a place in the forecastle, and
kept below for several days, till the ship was far out
at sea. At last, he was brought on deck, and there
he saw his hard-hearted and cruel uncle.
"Oh uncle," said the little boy, "wont you
punish these naughty men for ill-using me as they
have done ?"
18 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
"Not I, boy," said the uncle. "Wont you be a
cabin-boy?-you must be, and therefore you have
nothing to do but mind what I say to you. There,
go aloft, and help to furl that sheet yonder."
Jack was not used to going aloft, but his uncle
looked so cross that he seemed afraid to disobey him,
so he did as he was bidden. When he came down,
his uncle said he was an awkward young scoundrel.
They sailed for several days without anything
particular happening, and it grew warmer and
warmer every day. At last, Jack heard some one
say they were getting near the coast of Africa, and
that they had entered the Gut of Gibraltar.
Soon after, several dark-looking fellows came on
board and held consultation with his uncle. They
were Algerines, and came on board to purchase some
English knives, swords, and fire-arms. After the
bargain was concluded, Jack was ordered to come on
deck, and found that he was sold with the other
"Take him along with you," said Roden, "and
the sooner the better; he will do well for the Dey,
and will make his fortune, I dare say." The wicked
old man had sold him for a slave.
Jack fell on the deck, and clung to his uncle's
knees-" Oh I pray save me-save me from those
ugly men! Oh dear uncle, let me go back again
to my poor mother."
Hand him over his hammock," said the captain;
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
" don't stand long about it-away with him I" and so
one of the men hauled his hammock on deck, and,
giving it a swing, passed it over the ship's side, while
he still kept imploring his uncle for mercy.
The old man said nothing, but beckoned to the
Algerines to come and take him. So Jack was
taken, more dead than alive, and forced over the
ship's side into the boat of the Algerines.
Jack still called out to his uncle while the boat
pushed off, but to no purpose. The old man turned a
deaf ear to him: he looked once over the side of the
ship, and then turned abruptly away, and put the
helm down, and the ship went about.
Forced now to lie down at the bottom of the boat
by the Algerines, Jack cried till he was quite spent.
The boat hoisted a sail, and drew rapidly towards
the shore. There was a storm rising, and it looked
very black overhead; there was, however, no wind.
The sail was lowered, and the Algerines took to
their oars, and after about an hour's hard pulling,
the boat reached a low sandy coast, and went boldly
All hands now got out, and took Jack with them.
They then sat down on the sand to take some food,
of rice, bread, and dried fruit.
Jack had a morsel thrown to him; and having
drawn the boat up high and dry on the sands, they
all departed in an easterly direction. As they
travelled on, the country became more bold and
20 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
rocky; and mounting one of the hills, Jack turned
his eyes towards the sea, and there, like a dim speck
in the horizon, was his uncle's ship, sailing, to
appearance, towards England. The poor boy burst
He was made to leave off crying by some heavy
blows dealt upon him by one of the ruffians, and forced
to move on at a quicker rate; and now the winds began
to blow, and the thunder was heard in the distance;
presently vivid lightning ran upon the tops of the
waves, and the sea was in convulsions.
The rain now descended in torrents, and the party
crept into a cleft of one of the rocks facing the sea.
The storm continued for an hour or two; some of
the men slept; at last, however, the report of a gun
They rushed forward on the rock. The report
had proceeded from a ship in distress, setting head-
long towards the shore. The Union Jack was hoisted
on a piece of the broken mast; the sails were torn
to ribands, and the starboard bow completely carried
away by the violence of the waves.
Bang again went the cannon, and a dreadful cry
was heard on board. The sea rolled over the ship,
for she was now among the breakers of a ledge of
rocks jutting out to sea. Jack looked-it was his
Presently a boat was lowered, into which several
of the sailors crowded; it went a little distance
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY. 21
from the ship, but an overwhelming wave of surge
and foam swallowed it up like a nutshell.
Another boat beat off from the ship; in it was
Jack's uncle. He waved his hand to the shore: in
a moment he was carried to the top of a mountain of
wave-the next minute he and the boat and all in it
The ship soon broke up, and came on shore piece
by piece. The Algerines rejoiced, and stayed for
several days on the spot, picking up the wreck.
Three days afterwards, as they were all wandering
along to see what they could find, Jack discovered
stretched on the shore the body of his uncle, which
the Algerines rifled.
Jack wished to give his relation a burial-place, and
made signs to the men that he should like to dig a
grave for him; and Jack was allowed to go and try
to scratch a hole in the sand with a bit of old plank
and a cutlass.
It was towards evening when he went to this
service; and he had not been long at work before he
heard a strange noise. He looked behind him, and
there stood an immense lion, with his head crouch-
ing, just about to make a dreadful spring.
Jack shrieked out wildly and ran off. The lion
seemed rather surprised, and, instead of following
him, walked very deliberately to the body, and, taking
it up by the neck, dragged it along, with apparent
ease, to a small clump of trees, at a little distance.
22 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
The Algerines laughed at Jack's fright, and seemed
more kind to him. They were upon good terms with
themselves, from the spoils of the wreck and the
wealth they had obtained, and seemed disposed to
be very merry.
After a while, several casks of spirits were washed
up, and these were received by the savage fellows
with great delight; they started the bungs, and in a
very short time obtained access to the liquor.
Drunkenness followed, and two of the four began
to quarrel; at last one struck the other a blow with
his short crooked sword, when in a moment the
person struck stabbed his foe to the heart with a
short knife; before, however, he had fallen, another
blow told upon his assailant, and both fell, never to
Jack was now alone with two men only; where, he
knew not. Both of his kidnappers, or whatever else
we may call them, were still intoxicated; they seemed
scarcely conscious of what was going on, and sunk
in slumber. Jack now formed the design of escaping.
But where was he to fly to? he knew not the
country, and he feared the lions and other wild
beasts; but, said he to himself, Wild beasts cannot
be worse than these men;" and so taking as much
provision as he could, from that washed ashore, in a
bag upon his shoulder, and cramming his pockets
with biscuit and dried meat, putting a cutlass by his
side, a brace of pistols, and a little powder and shot
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
in his bosom, he darted off as fast as his legs could
Jack determined to keep as near as possible to the
seacoast, that he might take advantage of any British
ship that hove in sight. He travelled all that day
and all the next night without seeing or meeting
with any living thing; and now, thinking he was too
far for pursuit, he sat himself down on the hot sands,
and, after taking a plentiful meal, fell asleep.
When Jack awoke, he found that he had slept an
entire afternoon and night. The sun was rising on
the hills behind him; he looked around, but all was
barren; he listened, but nothing was to be heard
except the gentle dashings of the great sea along
the shore, and the lonely scream of a few sea-birds
fluttering about the rocks.
He continued his course as close to the seaside
as possible; sometimes, however, he had to go a
considerable distance out of his way, owing to the
sea breaking close under the rocks. He travelled
the whole of the day; at last his progress was stopped
by the course of a considerable river, which fell into
the sea at the spot he had reached.
To cross this river was impossible; so he turned
round the point, determined to trace his way along
its banks. After walking for several miles, he found
the tide returning. He had some thoughts of en-
deavouring to make himself a sort of boat of the
gigantic rushes which grew near the spot, but was
24 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
deterred from attempting it by observing, at a little
distance, some people fishing.
They appeared to be Africans, for their skin was
dark, and they were nearly naked. He drew near
to them with great caution; and when he came close
enough to get a full sight of them, he was so
frightened at their fierce looks, that he dashed away
as quickly as possible.
The Barbary men (for Jack was on the coast of
Barbary without knowing it) continued their sport
on the water, without noticing Jack; but just as he
was struggling through a little thicket, he suddenly
came to two women, engaged in picking rice, who
immediately uttered a loud cry, and ran off to the
men. In a moment the fishing was suspended, and
all ran like so many bloodhounds after Jack.
The poor lad dashed along the side of the river at
full speed. His pursuers, however, came near him,
and discharged their long fishing spears at him,
happily without effect. Again they pursued, gaining
upon him at every step. Jack's breath was almost
spent, and he gave himself up for lost. The spears
were again hurled, and one inflicted a wound on his
The savages were now within about twenty yards
of Jack, but at this moment he discovered a canoe
lying at the edge of the water: the rising tide had
caused it to float: in a moment Jack jumped into it,
and before either of the men could get up to him, by
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
a dexterous push with his cutlass, he was floating on
The savages gave a loud yell, and again discharged
their spears, without effect, however; for they were too
much excited and out of breath with running, to take
deliberate aim. There were paddles in the canoe,
and Jack plied them so skilfully that, in a few minutes,
he was in the middle of the river.
Jack now made way with the tide as fast as he
could, keeping near the opposite side of the stream.
He heard the halloo of the savages for some time, but
at last they died away. When he thought himself out
of danger, he began to refresh himself; and it was a
lucky thing that he had taken the precaution to stuff
his pocket with beef and biscuit, for his bag of pro-
visions had been dropped at the onset of the chase.
The boat went on with the tide, and Jack now
looked about him. It was a noble river, about a mile
and a half wide, and in some parts broad-leaved and
lofty trees stood close to the water's edge. At last,
however, the tide began to recede, and it was neces-
sary for the young adventurer to row against it, or
As it was drawing towards evening, he preferred
the latter, and drew his forest canoe on shore, into a
little copse which overhung a small creek of the river.
Here he determined to rest for the night; and
having made some rude rope of the long tough grass
that grew on the spot, he bowsed the canoe up to
26 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY
the branches of a tree which hung there very con-
Again he slept as sound as a top. In the morning
when he awoke he heard thousands of birds singing
all about him-some were of the most beautiful hues.
He ate sparingly of his provisions, for he did not know
how long he might be a fugitive ; and having taken
down his canoe bed, again launched it on the unknown
Our young adventurer continued to proceed up
the stream, not knowing whither he went. He
thought it likely that it would lead to some inhabited
place, as streams usually do; nor was he long dis-
appointed; for, towards evening of the next day, he
beheld in the distance the glittering house-tops of a
town or city, and his heart beat high with hope.
The tide had fallen, and Jack was obliged to pull
away lustily, to keep his canoe going ahead. He
now rounded a small point of land, and a town broke
upon his view. He drew near the shore; and under
the brows of a craggy cliff, he beheld two grave-
looking men, who appeared to be Turks or Arabs,
sitting. The younger of the two had a map or plan
in his hand, and he seemed to be consulting it with
When they saw Jack approach, the elder rose up
and looked at him steadfastly; he then cast his quick
piercing eyes up and down the stream; then he
listened-spoke to his companion, and, in the end,
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
drew his sabre, and came close to the water's edge.
Jack rowed his boat ashore, and, leaping out, fell
down on his knees before the Arab, who said some-
thing to his companion, and beckoned him to
approach. He did so. The Arabs looked at Jack's
boat, then at him: at last one said, "English?"
"Yes, I am a poor English boy," said Jack.
"The ship in which I was has been wrecked; and I
have come many miles up the stream, and want to go
back to England."
The Arabs did not seem to understand him; but
they beckoned him to sit down, which he did. One
of them then took from his bosom a bottle contain-
ing a sweet strong liquor, which he gave Jack to
This was a welcome draught, and seemed to revive
him: and he showed his gratitude by gestures. They
also gave him some food, but as they could not under-
stand each other they soon left Jack once more alone.
JACK JOINS THE "SPITFIRE."
I TOLD you how Jack determined to keep to the sea-
coast, that he might take advantage of any British
ship that hove in sight. So, after he had received the
hospitality of the Arabs, he made the best of his way
to the sea-coast, which was within sight, although at a
great distance. When he at last reached it he was
gratified at beholding a fine ship-of-war close on shore,
and within hail too. This made Jack's heart leap
for joy. So he pulled out his pocket-handkerchief and
hoisted it on a bit of stick, and presently a boat came
on shore manned by six stout rowers and a midship-
man who was steering. After a few words, the
history of Jack's fate was soon learned, so the young
midshipman ordered him at once to jump into the
boat, and then rowed back immediately to the ship,
and he was presently on board. When Jack
arrived he was presented to the first lieutenant,
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
who looked at him with some curiosity and no little
interest; at last he said-
Can you bite a biscuit ?" to which Jack replied
"Can you go to the masthead ?" Jack said he
Can you box the compass ?" he asked. Jack said
Then you will do very well, my lad, for us. A
competent powder-monkey, Mr. Quartermaster. Will
you join the Spifire," said the lieutenant, again ad-
dressing Jack, "andgo and fight the French, andreturn
in a year or two with pockets full of prize-money ?"
Jack said he would go and fight the French if he
had the chance.
Give him some salt junk and plenty of grog, and
rig him out with a new monkey."
That was a monkey-jacket, which the purser soon
brought, and Jack was then told to go below to salt
junk himself, and when he got to the lower deck
the men flocked round him; some gave him bread and
some cheese, one gave him a knife, another gave him
grog. Sailors are the kindest fellows in the world,
you know. So after Jack had been on board half-
an-hour he felt himself quite at home, and one of
the happiest lads in the world.
Such was Jack's reception on board the Spitfre.
But where he was bound to he could not tell. The
ship was a fine frigate of thirty-six guns, well-manned.
30 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
and seemed to be fit for anything, and her captain,
officers, and men seemed quite brave enough to take
the moon by the horns, scale the pyramids, or knock
down the great wall of China.
But Jack wanted to know where he was going to,
so in the morning when he was at breakfast,
happening to sit next to the boatswain, who was
captain of his mess-he said to him, "Pray, Mr.
Boatswain, can you tell me where we are bound to ?"
What is that to you, young spanker?" he replied.
"That is the business of your superiors. Don't
trouble your head about things of that sort. All that
you have to think of is to learn your duty and do it."
Jack thought it was very strange that no one
should know where he was going to, but he
supposed that they were sure to go somewhere or
other, and so without puzzling his brains about it,
which would have been of no use, as soon as the
boatswain piped up, Jack went on deck.
He looked towards the quarter-deck, and there he
saw several of the young officers, with the first lieu-
tenant, looking at the sun through a machine like
the bladebone of a shoulder of mutton-as he
thought then; for he did not know that it was a
"What are they looking at the sun for ?" said he
to the cook-boy, who was kneeling down before the
caboose and poking a piece of coal into the fire-
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
"Why, looking to see where we are. Don't you
see we are going by the sun, and all that ?"
Well, thought Jack, who had yet a good deal
to learn, that is a pretty story Going by the sun !
why we shall all be burned up I and he said, "I
wish I had never come on board this ship: our
captain must be mad, I am sure."
Why, you don't understand; they are looking
at the sun to tell how far we are got."
"Then I think they are all as mad as the captain.
But, however, here I am: and if we go into the sun,
I hope we shall take the sea with us, for we shall
want some water there."
The truth was, although Jack did not know it at
the time, the captain had orders from his government
at home to sail to a certain latitude: and when he
reachedit, he was to open his despatches, and proceed
to an appointed place.
They did not reach this certain latitude till two or
three days afterwards, and then the command was
given to put about ship, and to steer for the Spanish
main, where they were to meet with some other
So away they went like lightning through the
water-nothing but sea and sky, sea and sky-till
Jack was quite tired of it: at last, however, a small
white cloud was seen on the horizon, not larger than
a man's hand.
The telescopes were all turned to it, and the mid-
32 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BO.
shipmen aloft seemed to pore their eyes over it as if
they had never seen a cloud before. The old men
shook their heads; and the boatswain blew his shrill
whistle, and piped all hands to double-reef the top-
The decks were now cleared, the topmasts were
lowered, and the wind seemed to slacken till at last
it died away into a calm, and the sea was as smooth
as a piece of glass.
The little cloud seen arising so far off had by this
time covered a great part of the heavens, and was
beginning to stand over the ship like the black tilt-
cloth of a large waggon. All looked aloft, for the
cloud stood scowling over them, threatening to fall.
Everybody was very silent: except the captain,
who said, Stand by-we shall have it presently."
Everybody was busy stowing things away; and so
nicely was everything secured, that there was not
a single thing on the deck out of its place.
Jack looked along the water at a great distance,
and there saw the white foaming waves rising up
against the black sky, although the water close to
the ship was quite smooth and tranquil. Over the
quarters were seen several little birds of the duck
kind, which the sailors call "storm breeders." They
were of the breed called the Stormy Petrel.
Presently the clouds were high arched over head,
and were smeared about the sky, lying as lumps,
and daubs, and patches. Jack never saw such a sky.
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
The billows heaved heavily under it, and the swell
made the ship pitch as if she had been tipsy, although
there was no wind.
Again the boatswain's whistle shrilled through
the sultry air-" All hands upon deck !" and in a
moment every man was at his post. Before, how-
ever, a word could be spoken, the wind rushed wildly
by and whistled through the ratlines most awfully;
it seemed to scream over the ship in its rage.
The ship made a luff, and spanked along at such
a rate as is rarely seen. In a few minutes the sea
rolled mountains high, and dashed over her quarter;
but she bore it bravely, and did not flinch a bit.
The captain, who had been seeing that everything
was in order, was now upon deck, his keen eye watch-
ing every spar, and looking intently on every rope
The spars bent and creaked, but did not crack ; the
cordage thrummed again, but did not fly. Well
done, old girl!" said he; "grin at them again!
-Port there Port! port!"
I wish we were in port, thought Jack to himself;
and yet he felt a pleasure in there being a little
danger, for it was a noble sight to see a large ship
brave the blast as she did.
Presently, however, she had more to do: the
lightning flashed-and such a clap of thunder! It
was as if a thousand pieces of artillery had all gone
off at once. Jack was deaf for some seconds after;
and the first thing he heard was the voice of one of
34 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
the officers, who said as he passed, "This is the way
to let us know we are not in the Pacific !"
Crack and roll again and again; and then the
rain descended, and then the lightning ran on the
tops of the waves like fiery serpents. Gust followed
gust of wind, till at 'last the foremast went by the
board, and the ship lurched over on her larboard side.
In a minute twenty stout fellows ran with their
hatchets, and in a twinkling the mast was cut away,
which swung overboard, and the ship righted.
"Easy, my hearts, easy !" said the lieutenant;
and the sails of the mainmast were in a moment
clewed up as taut as the yard-arms on which they
were bent. The wind, however, increased, and with
it the sea, which rose higher a great deal than the
mast of the ship.
Sometimes a wave at a great distance could be
seen towering over the rest; coming on ana on, like
a great mountain, till it either broke over the ship,
or elevated it to its top, from which it let her down
with a swoop that seemed to take the breath out of
the bodies of all on board.
One of these waves came on and on, and broke
over the starboard quarter, throwing the vessel com-
pletely out of her course, and carrying away the
All was now consternation. The sails were loosed,
and the endeavour was made to steer the vessel by
them, but to no purpose. After several vain
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
attempts to control her, she drove, at the mercy of
the wind and waves, and Jack gave himself up for
The night came on, and the waves rolled over the
ship; she swung, and rolled, and pitched, and drifted
no one knew whither. A great number of the men
were washed from the deck; and at last, about the
middle of the night, the Spitfire struck, and the
poor boy was washed at the same moment from her
bows into the sea, and thought he felt the arm of
death raised up to strike him.
What became of the ship Jack knew not; but in
the morning he found himself stretched on a rock,
and was awakened to consciousness by a bird
hovering over him: it was an eagle, a sea eagle,
which took him for a dead body. Jack raised his
arm, and it flew off. He rose on his knees, and then
on his feet. The eagle fluttered around him; he
took up several large stones and hurled at the bird,
which flew screaming away.
Jack looked now around him. There were high
rocks above him. To the top of one of these he
mounted, and, from the elevation he was at, got a
glimpse of the country. It seemed to extend a great
distance, but was rocky and barren. There was not
a blade of grass to be seen, nor anything to give
evidence of the spot being inhabited.
He looked for the ship, but could see nothing of
her. Jack supposed she was lost. He then felt very
36 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
hungry, and went down to the beach to see what he
could pick up.
He soon found plenty of shell-fish, which he
devoured. Some of them- were like our common
whelks, only longer: these seemed most agreeable
to his palate; Jack would, however, have been glad
of a little bread to have eaten with them.
After recruiting himself in this way, Jack
wandered along the shore, thinking he should come
to some town or village. But the night soon came
on, and so Jack crept into one of the sea-beat
holes in the rock to pass the night, and collected
a large quantity of dry sea-weeds for a bed;
and a very good one it was.
"Well," said Jack, "I once thought I should like
a Robinson Crusoe sort of life, and I have got it to
my heart's content;" and then he thought of his
adventure in the boat. He began to feel very
thirsty, and at last found a small hole, in which the
rain water from the late storm had collected.
Jack wandered this way for several days, but met
with nothing to afford him any tidings of being
in a civilized place; and at last determined to travel
inland, to see what could be discovered.
So he turned aside through a cleft in the moun-
tains, and proceeded for several miles, but all was
rocky and barren. At last he thought he saw some-
thing like a flag flying at a great distance.
He walked in this direction, but the day closed
-: ~. -C -- -- T - -
"Jack sprang forward, and in a moment found himself seized by
two soldiers. "-p. 37.
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY. 87
upon him before Jack could distinguish what it was.
On he went, however, in the same direction: and
at last, just when he did not expect it, heard some
strange voice, and saw the glare of a lighted torch.
Jack sprang forward, and in a moment found him-
self seized by two soldiers-Frenchmen, as he after-
wards knew-who commanded him to stand, on
pain of death: so he stood.
As he waited wondering what would become of
him-he saw two of the soldiers apply their torch
to some gunpowder in one of the clefts of the rock:
and after about eight or nine minutes had passed, the
report of a terrible explosion was heard, and Jack was
dragged away by the soldiers in an opposite direction.
HOW JACK HELPED TO CAPTURE THE FRENCH FLEET.
I TOLD you how Jack was dragged away from the
spot where the explosion took place; I must now
tell you what happened to him after this.
lie and the soldiers walked and walked, as quick
as their legs could cairy them, for several miles; and
if Jack did not walk so fast as the soldiers thought
he ought to do, he got a prick with the bayonet.
At last, however, they came to a spot among the
rocks, in which a number of soldiers were collected,
who received the company that bore Jack along with
them, with great joy. But, from not understanding
their language, Jack could not tell what they had
been doing, nor who and what they were.
All that he could find out was, that they were at
war with the English. This inspired Jack with
some hope; as he thought, if that were the case, the
English could not be far off; so he determined to
make his escape as soon as he could. He then
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
bethought himself of the flag he had seen in the
distance, and had no doubt but it was an English
flag: whether it had been blown up by the explosion
he had heard, he did not know; but he was deter-
mined to find out, if possible.
The next day there was a grand muster, and a
reinforcement of above a thousand men came and
pitched their tents on the spot on which they were;
they brought with them four pieces of cannon; and
the whole of the day after was spent in warlike pre-
parations, as the object was to attack the English fort.
Jack now, by paying great attention, began to
pick up a few words of the French language; and as
there happened to be a Frenchman who knew a little
English, he thought if he could get a few words
from him, they would be of service. Jack found
this, however, to be a difficult task; but an accident
threw him into this man's way.
He had been assisting to get one of the large guns
on its carriage, when, by some means or other, a
portion of the tackle slipped, and he had the mis-
fortune to break his leg. As nobody else could be
spared, Jack was sent to attend him-to be his
nurse, as it were. On his part, he was to shoot
Jack if he attempted to leave the tent where he lay.
Jack did all he could for the poor fellow, and won
his esteem; and by being very attentive and kind,
he began to converse with him in his own language.
He had been in England; and told Jack a story
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
of his being taken before the Lord Mayor, after
escaping from an English prison, and that the
Mayor, instead of ordering him into confinement,
gave him some money out of his own pocket, and
dismissed him. So, by thinking, I suppose, of this
kindness, he resolved to be kind to Jack, and soon
put his gun up on one side of the tent.
The preparations for war went on, and Jack soon
learned that he was on the island of Martinique, at
that time in the hands of the English, and that a
French squadron, of three frigates and two brigs,
had landed these forces, with a determination to
attack the fort; that the party of soldiers who cap-
tured him had been out, and endeavoured, but
without effect, to blow up a part of the fort, having
drilled a hole upwards of five hundred yards through
the mountain. Jack learned also that the fort was
only about nine miles off, and that the forces there
were very much straitened for provisions.
He determined, therefore, if possible, to do his
countrymen all the service in his power, although at
the risk of his life. The squadron that brought the
troops had anchored in a little creek, about four
miles to the west of the hollow in the mountains in
which they were encamped. On the next night it
was arranged that the greater number of the sailors of
the ships, the ships' artillery, and marines, should
join these forces, and proceed to take the fort by
storm, before daybreak.
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
If I could only tell the governor of the English
fort this, Jack thought, I should save it from falling
into the hands of the French;-but how to do this
was the great difficulty.
About noon the same day, an order came for all
the sick and wounded to go on board the ships.
This Jack considered fatal to his wishes; and five
men, a little boy, and the broken-legged grenadier,
went down together with him, to go on board one of
the French frigates.
On their way over the mountains they were forced
to mount a somewhat high peak, upon the top of
which they rested for a few moments, screening
themselves behind the large masses of jagged stones.
On this spot the soldier pointed out the fort:
"There," said he, "are your countrymen-would
you not like to be with them ?"
"Not if they are all about to be slaughtered,"
said Jack: who was glad to find, however, that the
fort stood close to the sea-coast, and appeared to be
guarded by tolerably-sized lines.
They soon reached the creek in which the French
ships were anchored, and went on board of them;
Jack was quite astonished to find the small number
of persons on board. They were put below in the
starboard bow, and, after supping, were glad to get
to sleep, for they were fatigued with the journey.
Jack awoke about midnight with a horrible dream.
He thought he was being cut to pieces by the
42 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
French. He called out, but nobody answered:
everybody in the berth was sound asleep.
Jack looked out at the starboard port. It was an
agreeably warm night, and the moon shone as bright
as the day. How he wished to be ashore, and on
the mountains he had a great mind to let himself
down from the port-hole into the sea, and swim
ashore; but Jack thought of the sharks, with which
all the islands of the West Indies are infested.
He hesitated, and yet longed to be off. The
thought of regaining his liberty-the probability of
giving warning to the English of the force preparing
to attack them-all incited him; and so, taking in
his hand a French cutlass, he slid down by means of
a rope from the port-hole, and committed himself to
He suffered the tide to take him to the east, for it
was fast running out; and when he got about a
quarter of a mile from the ship, he struck out boldly
towards the shore.
The tide, however, ran very stiff against him;
but in the course of half an hour, he had the joy to
find his feet touch the ground, and soon stood on
terra firma. He immediately ran along the sands
and shelving rocks, till he had weathered the peak
that formed one head of the cove. This, however,
took him nearly two hours, for it ran out eight or
nine miles into the sea.
The moon now shone more brilliantly than ever;
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
and what was Jack's surprise, when he had doubled
the cape, to see the English fort lying in the centre
of a capacious bay, into which he had now turned,
and apparently not more than a few miles distant!
He determined to keep along the coast, and some-
times had to plunge into the water and swim round
the jutting rocks; at others he had to climb up to
their tops; and soon found the exertion extremely
severe. However, by dint of perseverance and
courage, he at last came so near the fort as plainly
to distinguish the British flag.
If ever Jack felt overjoyed in his life, it was when
he saw the red cross of England flaunting in the
moonlight. His heart seemed to leap towards it;
and he set off in a run, although his feet were
bleeding, from being cut with the sharp points of
the rocks over which he had climbed.
Everything was as silent as the grave-even the
waters scarcely rippled in the distance, for the tide
was down, and had left a large expanse of weed and
sand between him and the ocean. He found no
difficulty now in coming directly under the rock
upon which the fort was built.
So he walked and walked, looking every way he
could to discover a human being; but no one was
to be seen-not even a sentinel was discernible : at
last, however, as he came towards what appeared to
him to be a high sand-bank, he thought he heard
44 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
The wind was blowing from the quarter in which
the persons were who spoke. Jack looked towards
the spot, and saw the British picquet of four soldiers
and a corporal walking along the beach towards its
He immediately quickened his pace, and at last
reached what he had supposed to be a sand-bank. It
was, however, a long kind of pier, partly natural and
partly artificial, upon which, at the other side, guns
were planted to defend the entrance to the river,
which he now saw ran directly into the land.
The picquet by this time had reached the guard-
house, and were on the return. There was, how-
ever, a deep fosse or ditch between him and them,
so that it was impossible for him to get over; there-
fore he determined to wait till they came past, and
then to call out as loudly as he could.
Just as the picquet were on the point of passing,
they stopped, and in a moment every gun was
levelled at the boy, who felt certain that he should
be shot dead.
"Old England for ever !" he sang out, and this
saved his life-they did not fire. I have just run
away from the French ships, and have news for you."
Come round, then," said the corporal; but if
you attempt to go back, we will blow your brains out."
"Well! that is a civil reception," thought Jack,
"for an Englishman who has run the hazard of
being eaten by sharks, to bring you word what's
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
going on. But never mind-it will be better
So the picquet and Jack paced along towards the
rocks, each man with his musket at his side, ready
to bring it to his shoulder if Jack should go out of his
course. In a few minutes they reached a battery,
and shortly afterwards a moveable bridge was turned
over to Jack, and he stood on Fort George.
He immediately desired to be conducted to the
officer on guard, to whom he related his adventure,
and told him how the fleet were left, and how totally
unprovided they were. He said, This is a good
service, my lad.-Keep him in custody, and wait
till I return."
So Jack waited and waited; at last he was sent
for, and conducted to the citadel, and there he saw
a grey-headed old gentleman in his dressing-gown.
He questioned Jack about his adventures since he
was cast ashore, and particularly about his connexion
with the French, their number, ships, and present
state. He then retired into another room, and Jack
was taken back to the guard-house, and a good mess
of turtle set before him; for this was all the soldiers
had had for a long time, as they were very short
The tide had just turned, and before Jack had
finished his turtle, he heard the plash of oars and
the stifled voices of sailors. He looked out to see
what it was, and beheld ten boats full of armed men,
46 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
with a howitzer at the head of each, and the old
governor of the fort, just as he was, in his dressing-
gown, coming down and giving directions for the
"Well !" thought Jack, this is quick work-I
suppose they are going to make sure of the ships."
And sure enough they were; and away they went,
as fast as their oars could move, or the tide would
The guard now made Jack up a bed with some
coats and matting, and he fell asleep. He was
awakened just after daybreak, about five o'clock, and
told to look out. He saw several of the officers and
men running down to the point, and he followed them.
It was to see the French frigates, all captured; and
when they came near the fort, cheer after cheer was
given. The old governor was now seen coming down,
full-dressed, and immediately went on board the ships.
When he came on shore, he sent for Jack, and
told him that he had performed a duty to his country
in a very praiseworthy manner, and that he should
send his name home in his despatches. "Besides
which," said he, you shall have an officer's share in
the prizes obtained."
Thank you, your honour," said Jack; "but
there is a poor Frenchman with a broken leg in the
Black frigate, that I was in; would your honour
think of him, and let him be well treated ? for he
behaved very well to me while I was a prisoner."
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
Go to him, and make what provision for him you
like," said the old man; "but you must be answer-
able for his safe custody."
He can't run away, your honour," said Jack, for
he has but one leg." So, making his bow, Jack
soon found his way on board, and reached the berth
of his old grenadier.
You will wonder what became of the Spitfire.
She got off the rock on which she had struck while
Jack lay insensible on the shore; for you know he
had been washed off the starboard-bow by the vio-
lence of the sea.
Jack heard from the sailors of Fort George that
she had put in to St. Christopher's to refit, having
been terribly damaged; and that she would be ready
for sea again in a week or tw o.
Jack desired to see his old messmates again, for
he liked the Spitfire; and the governor determined
to meet his wishes, and sent him round to her, with a
letter to the captain.
So Jack was put on board the fort cutter, and had
the honour of communicating the news of the capture
of the French squadron. The Captain, whose name
was Bowline, ordered him into the cabin : My lad,"
said he, you have performed a valuable service to
your king and country, and have met with the
approbation of Governor Goring. I shall represent
your conduct to our commodore."
In a few days after, the commodore came on
48 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
board, and Jack was had up. He was an old, rough-
looking man, and seemed to dart his clear grey eyes
through him. Well, my brave boy," said he; so
you got out of the clutches of Mounseer, eh ? I am
glad to find you knew your duty to the service and
the king. What can I do for you, eh ?"
I should like you to send part of my prize money
sir, when I get it," said Jack, "to my good mother
who brought me up in England. Her name is Roden,
and she thinks I am at the bottom of the sea."
"Prize money, eh ? Ay, to be sure; there will
be a good round sum for you. That's very proper
conduct, my boy. Would you like to be a midship-
man, and wear a coat with long tails ?"
Oh yes, sir," said Jack; I should like to be a
midshipman, but I am not learned enough for that."
Then you must go under the rough touch of our
schoolmaster, and he shall teach you;-and so for
the future, captain, you take charge of the lad."
So from that day Jack went to school, and began
to learn navigation, and a great many other things.
There were several of the young middies who were
lords' sons; but they did not take much notice of
him, except to play him many a sad trick.
Jack made up his mind never to be out of temper,
and to take nothing amiss; and so it turned out
that the young fellows were tired of teasing him
before he was tired of bearing it.
The ship after this sailed up the Straits of Malacca,
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
and being very short of provisions, the crew were
forced to land on one of the islands there to find out
the fishing places of the natives, and to take away
the fish that they had caught, as it would save the
time otherwise necessary in catching them.
Jack thought this was very wrong, but was
forced to obey orders; and so into the island the
sailors went, a whole boat's crew of them. After a
while, they came to a very splendid waterfall, at the
bottom of which were seen several of the native
tribes, spearing the fish when they rose after having
come down the fall.
The sailors immediately rushed upon them, and
took away all the fish they had got. The poor crea-
tures tried to jabber out some sort of expostulation,
and fell on their knees; but the sailors only laughed,
and walked off with the fish.
When the boat's crew got back to the Spitfire,
they found she had grounded while they were on
shore, and that it was impossible to get her off till the
next tide; but this did not give them much anxiety.
They, however, soon found out the evil of it; for
towards dusk they beheld on the shore several
hundreds of the natives, half savages as they were,
whooping and yelling in a great fury.
They no doubt thought our people had done them
great injury in stealing their fish, and they came
down to the shore to revenge it.
All hands were called up, and preparation was
50 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
made for firing upon them, if they endeavoured to
approach the ship. They seemed to be quite aware
of the force of cannon-balls, and stood off.
At last, however, some of them came close to the
vessel, bearing a great number of large fish, which
they appeared willing to barter; and the captain said,
"Better to buy fish, than steal them;" and signals
were made, by which they were to understand they
A large number came close to the ship, and an
officer and about thirty men went on the sands to
trade. At first several large fish were thrown down,
and for these, knives, a little looking-glass or two,
and some beads, were offered in exchange.
One of the natives, after having taken up a small
hatchet and a couple of spoons, which had been
offered in exchange for some fish carried by himself
and a female with him, ran away, taking his fish with
him. He thought he had a right to be paid for the fish
taken from him before. This was no more than just.
The boatswain's mate, seeing this, ran after him
with his cutlass, and wounded him severely in the
arm. And in a moment the whole of the Indians
turned round and discharged their arrows at the
men; above a t'lousand, at the same instant, rushed
down from the woods skirting the beach, and dis-
charged their arrows at the ship.
Two struck Jack-one in the throat, the other in
the breast-and he immediately fell into the arms
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY. 51
of a messmate who was standing close behind him.
Directly after Jack fell, the guns were brought to
bear on the savages, and shot after shot flew amongst
them, till they all retired into the woods.
The boatswain's mate was killed, and several of
the crew. Jack was taken below, and it was thought
that his wounds would not be dangerous, unless the
arrows were poisoned; in which case, the wound
they make is fatal.
Luckily, the arrows were not poisoned, and in a
few days Jack regained his health; the Spitfire
weighed her anchor, and made off; not, however,
before the crew had been ashore, and destroyed
several of the Malacca villages, and carried away
everything of value the poor creatures had.
THE CAPTURE OF THE "ACHILLES."
We ne'er see our foes but we wish them to stay;
They never see us but they wish us away;
If they run, why we follow, and run them ashore,
And if they won't fight us, we cannot do more."
-BEARTS OF OAK.
WE left Jack pierced with the arrows of the savages;
he was taken below, and in a few hours the brave
ship got under weigh again, and stood out to sea,
and away she went under close-reefed topsails as
much as she could stagger under, while heavy seas
kept dashing over the weather bow.
Just at this moment, a man who had been on the
fore-top-mast-head, and who had altered his posi-
tion to the main-top-mast-head, cried out, a sail
on the lee-bow." Every eye was turned towards it.
In a moment the captain was in the fore-top with
his telescope, and after having taken a sight" cried
out to the first lieutenant, 'tis the lee ship of the
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
French squadron, the old Achilles, let's walk into
her at once; take out your reefs, set another fore-
top-gallant-mast;" and in a few minutes she was
under as much canvas as she could carry to a
quarter's wind, which she now had. The drum beat
to quarters; the decks were cleared; every gun was
run out, chests of wads in readiness, and the fire-
screens hung up. Captain Bowline visited every part
of the decks to see that the officers and men were
properly stationed, giving all the same directions
not to fire till within pistol-shot; and now the
boarders were armed, pikes, tomahawks, and cutlasses
distributed, an abundant supply of ball cartridges
were handed to the mariners, principally by the
agency of Jack, who found himself elevated to the
important rank of powder-monkey.
The wind had fallen, but there was still a stiffish
breeze at play, and the sea wafted about in fine style;
the frigate soon began to overhaul her chase, and as
she neared it, beheld beyond her seven sail of the
line, all of whom had tacked and were beating up.
The captain never looked abaft to see if any of his
squadron were in sight, but pressed forward, deter-
mined to sink, take, burn, or destroy the first ship
he could get at, and then to fight his way out of
danger as well as he could, trusting to the bravery
of his crew and the fine sailing qualities of his
At about seven o'clock in the evening they came
54 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
up so hand over hand with the chase, that she did
not like it, and stuck out more canvas, to enable
her to get to her own squadron. She was a noble
three-decker of eighty guns; the Spitfire was only
sixty-four, but that was nothing in the way of odds.
As they pressed on, the Achilles did not like it, so
she ran up the tri-colour at her mizen, and fired in
quick succession her long stern chasers, which being
double-shotted, knocked away the binnacle, and killed
one of the men at the wheel. Steady, boys," said
the captain, and held the wheel till another man had
taken the place of the one who had fallen. Steady
was the word, and not a shot did the English ship
think of returning till they closed upon the weather
quarter, when putting the helm hard up, the vessel
stretched across the stern of the enemy, till our
broadside bore upon her gingerbread work abaft, and
then she had the contents of our guns, which were
double-shotted. This evidently astonished her, and
as the smoke blew off, it was found that her mizen-
top-mast had been knocked away, and was hanging
over the side; this was a fortunate accident of which
advantage was taken; and now about thirty yards
from her stern, the English ship bore up, and gave
her another broadside, as hot as the Frenchman
could take it.
This was warm work, and poor Jack scarcely
knew what to make of it; he had been employed
running to and fro the hatchway leading to the
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
magazine with powder, so what with the noise,
the confusion, the smoke, the hurrahing, and splin-
ters flying, he was not a little bewildered; he how-
ever felt that he was a Briton, and that "England
expected every man to do his duty," so he worked
away cheerfully. Many a fine fellow did he see
cut in two by shot, some terribly mangled by
splinters, some with legs shot off, some with their
heads blown away and their brains scattered upon
the stauncheons, while the blood trickled down the
scuppers; at last, something struck poor Jack on
his legs, and down he went; a loud cheer arose from
the upper deck, and the last sounds he heard were
that the French were trying to board.
The frigate had run in under the lee quarter of the
French ship; at the instant of the contact the
French captain, with about fifty very ferocious
fellows, dashed down from the bulwarks; but they
had a warm reception, the bold fellows of the Sp)it-
fire met them hand to hand, killed their captain,
and in return poured into the ship so quickly, that
in a few minutes the greater part of her crew were
killed or driven below, and the English Jack waved
proudly at the main-mast-head-the Achilles was
Poor Jack, who had not been much hurt, was
ordered up to the mizen-mast-head during the engage-
ment to nail up the English flag, which had been shot
away; he had no sooner performed this heroic exploit
56 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
than the mast to which he had nailed the flag was shot
away also, and fell down by the run over Jack's head.
The spar struck him on the head, and he was sent head-
long upon the deck of the ship terribly bruised; he
lay in his berth the whole of the night quite insen-
sible, and when he returned to consciousness in the
morning, he felt very faint, and as he lay in a dark
corner of the forecastle, he could not see things very
distinctly. Soon, however, he saw two black balls
glaring upon him, surrounded by white rings in a
dark hemisphere of something, which after opening
his eyes to their full extent, he discovered to be a
face-a black one it is true-an ugly one, but still
a face, and what was better, ugly as it was, it had a
smile upon it-an ugly grin-with large tush teeth
glaring at him, and a horrid capacity of mouth, which
looked as if it would swallow him; at last something
came out of the aforesaid mouth, not very musical,
but still very sweet.
How do, picaninny? Not dead me see. How
do, pic ?"
How do, pic," said Jack. I don't understand."
Picninny get leg broke; picninny get well;
picnin eat, trink, laffe, dance, jump him bout like
Jack moved his leg and attempted to sit up, but it
gave him such pain he called out Oh !"
"De dear picninny soul, let I rub de bone, it no
broke, doctor say only smash a bit-leetle crack like."
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
Jack found his leg bound up with splinters, and it
seemed to him quite as bad as if broken, and so he
groaned again, but before he had quite got his groan
over, he found a bottle pressed heartily to his mouth
by the old black woman.
"Dere swallof, swallof, it make oo man agen; it
is de raal tuff, de tuff what stick all de bones of de
body together like de carpenter glue; make oo well,
make oo well, quick as litning."
Jack therefore supped at the bottle again and
again, and it seemed to do him good, but what it was
he knew not.
"It is de modder milk," said the old woman;
"try him gen."
So Jack tried "him gen," and in a short time
found himself revived and in a condition to ask
So the old woman told him exactly how the matter
stood, that his ship had beaten the French, how
many had been killed, and all the whole particulars,
not forgetting a most lamentable account of the
death of her husband the cook, who had his head
blown off by a cannon shot, which she ended by a
deep sigh and ejaculation, Ay, poor massy, him
nebber hold him head up gen."
I should think not, poor fellow," said Jack, if
he had it blown off his shoulders."
Him nebber cookee, nebber no more."
Jack thought this a very queer way for the poor
58 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
woman to talk of her husband, but supposed hei
English not very good.
"Him gone to Davy Jones," she said again,
with shrugged up shoulders, and a melancholy
look. "Dead him door nail; him gone for eber; oh
deare me, deare me," and then the poor old
creature howled with anguish, while the hot tears
seemed to pour from her eyes, as she bemoaned her
Just as this colloquy was proceeding, Jack heard
an unusual noise upon deck, running and scamper-
ing, bolts hammering, ropes falling, presently a gun
was fired, then a crackling, a bawling, a crash,
another gun, and a tremendous rush to the ship's
The old woman rushed up the forecastle ladder, and
as quickly rushed down again, calling out, "The
ship is all in a blaze !"
Again a gun fired-again the crackling of the
spars-and Jack thought he could hear the voice of
the flames among the sails like the roaring of the
sea, which roared but little. The old woman stood
below looking piteously on Jack, thumping her
closed hands together in an agony of alarm; at last
a most horrid crash was heard, the ship seemed to
shrink at it. The mainmast had fallen, and the
whole of the midships were in a blaze, so that it was
quite impossible for those in the stern of the ship to
come to the aid of those forward.
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
We shall soon be blown up sky high," said the
Not while I'm alive," said Jack, leaping up
on one leg, and creeping round the sides of the fore-
castle towards the ladder.
"Me do wid you," said the old woman, and
clasped Jack round the neck; "me nebber part
"Carry me up the ladder then," said Jack, and
leaped upon her back.
The old woman was quite ready, and crawled up
the ladder with Jack holding on behind as well as
he was able. When he got upon deck an awful sight
presented itself; the ship was completely in flames
from the fore-mast to the mizen; the prize was
some little distance behind, and a well-manned boat
was pulling up lustily, over the side from which the
boats had been launched, and officers and men were
dropping into them. The old woman went to the
forecastle gangway with Jack on her back, and turn-
ing her head round over her shoulder, said, Shall
me jump in de worra, massa ?"
"No, no, no," said Jack. What for goodness
is the use of that ?"
"Me swim beauful-me swim like de alligator-
me swim wid four picaninny. Hold him fast behind,
Stop a bit, pray stop a bit," said Jack; only
while I say my prayers."
60 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
Him no time to pray much; tink it, think it, it
will do just as well. Here we go; hold fast behind."
Stop, stop, for goodness, stop i" cried Jack, and
he clung to the bulwarks.
"De magazine burst and we go up to de very tip
top of the moon," said the old woman, "come down
whack, break you de oder leg; hold him up stiff
behind; here go. Got bless all the world."
And so without saying another word, the old
woman jumped into the sea, Jack and all.
What became of them I shall relate in my next
A FIGHT IN THE BAY OF BISCAY.
I LEFT poor Jack and the old black woman leaping
into the sea from the burning ship, and you would of
course like to hear what became of them.
Well, it was a lucky thing that Spitfre
had a prize; and boats were coming from hei
to the blazing ship when the old black woman,
with Jack at her back, leaped overboard. Jack
as soon as he felt fairly in the water struck out
right and left; as for the old woman she put
her arms akimbo and kept herself afloat by
treading water, and this she seemed to do with ease,
calling out every now and then to Jack to "keep
him picker up."
But soon a picker up was found in the approach
of a boat from the prize, which first took the old
woman and then Jack on board the French prize.
Here they counted up their savings and losses, and
it was found that more than thirty British sailors
had perished in the Spitfire, which went to the
bottom hissing and cracking and spitting fire till
62 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
Well, Jack was in a good ship even now, and in a
short time the dreadful catastrophe was almost for-
gotten. Fine weather came, the French ship made
good way with a fair wind. At last, however, the
weather grew very hot and there was often a scorching
day; the little wind they had lulled to a perfect calm,
and all was fair and bright, serene and quiet.
Jack was placed still on the sick list, and not to
be idle was put into the hands of the schoolmaster,
and in a few weeks he wrote a rapid running hand.
It was then that he thought of keeping his own
journal, and thus it is that I relate the rest of his
adventures in his own words. There is a great
charm in doing this at times, which it is right to
avail oneself of. So resuming the tale in Jack's own
words, he says,-
When the sun went down into the ocean, as it
seemed, to the far west, I cast my eyes thitherward,
and thought of my native land and when I should
see it again. "Yes, there she lies," thought I,
"perhaps never more to be seen by me." And then
I thought of my native town, and my poor mother,
and of everybody who had been good and kind to
me, and the tears came into my eyes. I brushed
them on one side with the hard sleeve of my jacket,
and said to myself, Providence will take care of
me." And then I put my hand upon my Bible,
and looked around to see if anybody could observe
me, for I always make it a point to read one chapter
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
before nightfall. So I stole up into the fore-top, for
there was as usual a great deal of noise below, and
sat myself down. There was nothing but sea and
sky around me; the former was spread out like a
broad mirror, and a ray of light along its bosom,
from the setting sun, seemed like a pathway into
heaven; I looked along the line of light, and
thought of that bright and glorious place. I
watched, and watched, till at last the lower rim of
the sun kissed the water, and his full round orb sunk
like a dying saint into his rest.
While I was musing and thinking of a thousand
things, almost too great for thought, the deep boom
of the gun fired at sunset, awoke me from my
reverie. I was called back to the world again. But
the stars now began to glimmer, and to show their
twinkling in the quiet sea.
The ship was in the Bay of Biscay. I had often
heard of this place, and had been told many stories
of it; I had supposed it to be a terrible, stormy part
of the ocean, where shipwrecks commonly occurred;
I had heard of waves running mountains high, but
here all was as placid and quiet as an inland lake.
As the evening drew on, however, there was a
perceptible swell from the north-west; and, as the
moon rose, then in her last quarter, a dim haze sur-
rounded her. Before morning the clear sky was
obscured by clouds, which, at daybreak, wore an
angry purple tint. The sun rose-but no one saw
64 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
him; the wind began to blow a stiff breeze, and,
meeting the tide, soon got up a bit of a sea.
The boatswain's whistle was heard loud and
frequently; as to myself, I was obliged to be as
active and as nimble as a cat. The ship was trimmed
-every line secured, every sail ready to clew up for
reefing-and she scudded away bravely, meeting the
bold sea and bursting through it like a thing of life.
The wind blew stronger and stronger, and at last
with such fury, that sail after sail was first reefed,
and then taken in, but still it continued to blow. A
sudden squall came on, at one time, and away went
the main-top-gallant-mast; it fell with a crash-the
ship quivered, but dashed onwards.
The gale now blew so furiously, that every sail was
not only taken in, but slewed away from the yard-
arms. We scudded under bare poles; and the tide
having turned, we were running through the sea at
the rate of sixteen knots an hour.
During the whole of the time that this gale was
blowing, and I never had any notion that wind could
blow with such violence, I never saw a single person
on board but seemed to enjoy it. Everybody was
cheerful and merry, and flew about with such alacrity
and good-will as to banish fear even from me, young
as I was ; and I began to like a sailor's life more than
The sea now ran indeed mountains high; and our
good ship was either on the top of an immense billow
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
from which we could see the horizon all around us,
or sunk into a deep gulf, in which we could see
nothing but the dark waters standing like walls, on
either side; but away we went. The captain stood
near the wheel on the quarter-deck, and every time
the sea broke over the frigate's bows, and carried all
before it as far as the main chains, he would say,
"Well done, old girl, dip your nose into it again."
And then the rigging would quiver, and the wind,
passing through it, made a noise as shrill as the boat-
A sail on the larboard bow !" uttered the watch
at the foretop ; and so there was, but at a great dis-
tance. The lieutenant ran up the rigging, and, point-
ing his telescope towards her, soon discovered the
vessel to be French-a large frigate; and as soon as
he came down, the word was given to clear for action.
Fight in such a gale of wind as this," thought I,
"that is impossible !" So I said to one of the men,
" We are not going to fight, are we ?"
I should hope we are, my lad," said he, and I
hope we shall teach 'em, that's all, and get some
We were going at such a rapid rate through the
water, that in a very few minutes we were within
clear view of the vessel before us. She was a much
larger ship than ours, and was endeavouring to lay to,
under double-reefed top-sails. As the wind had not
increased, we bent a couple of sails, to enable us to
66 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
near the ship, being determined, notwithstanding the
gale, to attack the enemy.
At last we came within pistol-shot, and, hoisting
our colours, we fired a shot ahead of her, as we rose
upon the waves. To this she replied, and immediately
ran up the French flag.
Before the white rag was at the mast-head, crack
went four or five of our guns, as we could get them
to bear. To this she poured forth a broadside; and
three or four of our men, whom I was serving with
powder at one of the guns, fell covered with blood.
I should have been terribly frightened at this, I
dare say, had not I been so busily employed; but I
had no time to be afraid. Presently crack went
another volley from the Frenchmen, and several
others fell around me; among the rest, a little boy,
about the same age as myself, was cut in two by a
cannon-shot, the upper part of his body being taken
as clean away from the lower part as if cut through
with a knife.
Our men were now quite furious, for the French-
men seemed to be getting the best of it, and we
fired away so rapidly, as to silence in part the enemy's
fire; the sea, too, lulled, although there was still a
heavy swell. The battle went on, but with what
success I knew not, for I could now neither hear nor
see. The noise of the cannon had stunned my ears,
and the clouds of smoke kept me from seeing anything
but those about me.
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
At last, I heard a loud hurrah; the firing ceased
for a moment; it went on again from the forward
guns; another shout; then all was still for a
moment. Several of the crew rushed on deck; I
followed; and what a sight !-the French ship was in
We had ceased firing, and stood looking at the
havoc we had made. Our captain had ordered the
boats out, but the sea ran too high. As the smoke
cleared away, we observed the French frigate had
not struck her colours, which still streamed proudly
from the mast-head. The flames were bursting from
the quarter-deck and running up the mizen rigging.
The crew gathered forward, and, bringing eight or
nine guns to bear upon our ship, poured a volley of
grape-shot into us, that killed a number of our bravest
We returned this compliment with a broadside, so
well directed, that I saw the Frenchman reel as she
received it. The crew gave a wild cheer, Vivm la
Republique," in the midst of the flames. We fired
again; and another cheer broke from the wretched
crew. We were just preparing for another discharge
when, all in a moment, the French ship blew up with
a tremendous explosion, her masts, timbers, and
spars flying over us, flaming and burning as they
were; some fell in our rigging, some on our deck.
As soon as we had got rid of them, we looked again
for the ship-she was gone.
68 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
Yes, and who she was, or what she was, I never
knew to this day, for, after the fight, the wind rose
again, and we were borne away with its violence.
The French ship we saw no more-she had sunk in
the depths of the sea.
As soon as the fight was over, and the decks washed
from the blood, and the dead thrown overboard, I
took the first opportunity of opening my Bible, being
desirous of thanking God for my safety, when, what
was my astonishment to find it perforated by a bullet,
which lay embedded in its leaves, and thus was my
JACK VISITS HOLLAND.
OnU ship was now ordered up to the British Channel.
We had a fair wind, and passed the Scheld in fine
style. We then hove to, and a party of us were
ordered into a lugger, to make observations on the
coast: I was appointed to steer, and away we went.
A hurricane now came on, and raged with tremen-
dous fury. Once or twice our lugger was nearly
laid on her beam ends; however she righted again,
and we bore up under the storm for several hours.
At dawn of day we found ourselves in the Texel;
but our helm was so much injured that we dared not
risk it to the end of our voyage.
So towards evening we ran into a little harbour,
to the north of Amsterdam, and stopped for repairs.
For myself, I left the strained and leaky vessel, and
ordered supper and a bed at a little inn near us on
About an hour and a half after I left the
lugger, I found that with the rising tide the gale
70 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
had again increased. Shortly it became so violent,
that the people themselves became greatly alarmed,
and began to assemble. You have heard of the
famous dykes of Holland, I dare say: they are great
banks thrown up along the sea-shore, to prevent
the water, when it suddenly rises, from overflowing
the country, for Holland is a very low country.
Sometimes, however, a heavy sea breaks through
these dykes, or banks, and lays the whole of this
portion of the country under water. The Dutch call
the breaches which are thus made in the dykes,
Now it was that the frightened inhabitants began
to talk seriously of a door-braak, for the fury of the
waves was terrible. Every precaution was taken to
prevent the danger: the engineers and officers went
out to examine the dykes, and, if possible, strengthen
them. The whole village was in commotion; and
such was the terror, that without tasting any supper
I went with them to the dykes.
As I walked at the foot of this mighty rampart,
which the industry of that wonderful people, the
Dutch, had raised, I heard the waves, almost over
my head, dashing against it. We were, in fact,
below the ocean, which had now risen, and was
striving to force a passage through the bank into the
flat country on the other side of it. I soon
mounted on the top of the dyke, to take a view from
thence. There I beheld the fierce waves flinging
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
themselves with merciless power against the bank on
which, as on a terrace, I stood. The new moon
and the tremendous gale had united to raise the
vast body of waters much above its usual height,
and now threatened to destroy the labour of ages;
for nothing was plainer than that, if the dyke should
prove too weak, and what we dreaded should happen,
the whole of West Friesland would be under water.
This frightful state of alarm continued till about
midnight. The bells of the church were tolling, and
lights were seen flaring in all directions. Fuel was
heaped upon the beacon fires, and the flame gather-
ing strength streamed wildly along, amidst the dull
red smoke, towards the devoted country.
The blue lightning now became terrible, and the
roar of the thunder absolutely deafening; the breakers
became higher and higher, and the gusts of wind
louder and fiercer. But all was now over: the yells
and shrieks of a group of persons, not fifty yards
from me, announced the dismal tidings that the
work was done; and a double flash of lightning at
the same time showed me the savage billows over-
topping the bank, and the immense fabric yielding
to their fury. By the light of the next flash I saw
the whole mass of waters pouring upon the village,
and dashing among the houses. The consternation
was awful, and the scene was dreadful beyond the
power of description.
The door-braak became wider and wider every
instant; the sea poured through it like a large cata-
72 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
ract, and huge blocks of granite were washed about
by it like so many pebbles. The sides of the houses
were beaten in, and trees were torn up and carried
forward by the flood, increasing the havoc.
But dangerous as my situation was on the trembling
dyke, it was more dangerous still to descend into the
village; and although I expected every moment to
see the bank giving way under me, I maintained
my post. At last I had the comfort of finding that
the billows struck the dyke less forcibly, and that the
gale was abating. Many more hours of terror and
misery, on the part of the wretched villagers, wore
away, however, while searching and shrieking for
their relatives in the dark desolations of the village.
With the dawn of day the sky became clear and
the stars shone out. As the light grew stronger
I descended to the village; and what a wide waste
of water stretched out before me on either side !
Fields just ploughed, and planted with corn, and rich
pastures which but yesterday were crowded with well-
fed cattle, were now covered with water. Hay and
corn stacks, beams and timbers of houses, furniture
and wrecks of vessels, were floating about in every
direction. To the south, as the sun rose over the
surface of the Zuyder Zee, the distant spires of
Amsterdam appeared glittering above the waters of
the flood like another Venice.
I found the condition of the village, and of the
country generally, wretched almost beyond descrip-
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY. 73
tion. The damage done was immense. Hundreds
of human beings were destroyed, besides vast numbers
of cattle and sheep. Thousands of families, before
wealthy, or at least comfortable, were reduced to
poverty. In short, it was such a calamity as I had
never seen before, and I could not help letting fall
a tear, and silently thanking Heaven that my own
dear mother was far away from the dreadful scene.
Such is a brief account of this terrible devastation,
which will long be remembered in the annals of
JACK GOES ON TO RUSSIA.
I WENT on to Amsterdam, the chief city of
the Netherlands, or Holland: it is situated at the
mouth of the Amstel, where it falls into an arm of
the sea, sixty-five miles from Antwerp.
I spent some days in this city, and was greatly
pleased with the Dutch people, who are patterns of
cleanliness and honesty.
But orders now came for our lieutenant who
commanded the lugger to travel to St. Petersburg
for an important object, and I was selected to
In three days more I was on the road to St.
Petersburg, which you know is the northern capital
of Russia. The weather continued open and mild
till I reached Riga, which is situated between the
two countries of Russia and Poland.
After waiting a few days at Riga, for the weather
to become clear, after the first heavy fall of snow,
that I might enjoy my novel journey, I once more
started onward. Imagine to yourself, now, a man
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
wrapped up in furs, and, under a clear frosty sky,
skimming along over the smooth surface of the
ground on a sledge, accompanied by about twenty
others, some of whom were carrying frozen provisions
to the market at Petersburg: imagine all this, and
you have a tolerable picture of my condition.
Who, you will say, but just such an odd rambling
fellow as myself would have ever thought of facing
polar bears, sleeping in snow-blankets, and eating
frozen raw fish?
I was much struck with the city of St. Petersburg.
You know it is situated at the eastern extremity of
the Gulf of Finland. I wandered, filled with admi-
ration, through the broad regular streets, surrounded
with the most magnificent palaces, churches with
gilded towers, and other massive and colossal edifices.
On entering the imperial gardens, on the Neva,
the majestic stream presents a magnificent prospect,
with its ships, boats, and bridges. On both banks
are rich palaces and beautiful gardens. Each side
of the river is lined with a broad quay, for the
distance of nearly three miles, and the custom-house
is a remarkably handsome building.
The place with which I was most delighted during
my stay at St. Petersburg, was a small place called
the Hermitage. It contains a rich collection of
works of art, and attached to it is a garden and con-
servatory, in which reigns a perpetual spring, and a
most beautiful artificial lake.
76 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
Some hundred paces distant from this place is the
splendid street called the Great Million, and in it is
the marble palace, of colossal dimensions, which was
given by the Empress Catherine to Count Orloff.
On the other side of the river, exactly opposite, is a
walk planted with beautiful lime trees, and near it
are situated some of the finest buildings of the city,
particularly St. Isaac's church, built entirely of
marble. Not far off is the equestrian statue of
Peter the Great, which stands in a spacious square,
on an immense block of granite about the size of a
small house, and weighing above eight hundred tons.
But I have not told you the exact import of our
journey into this country; it was to find a noted
swindler, who had defrauded the lieutenant's father
of some valuable jewels. On our arrival at St.
Petersburg we found, after a few days' search, that
he had gone forward into Siberia.
I therefore procured a stock of clothes to protect
me from the severe cold I was going to experience-
such as bear-skin boots with the fur turned inwards;
and we hired another sledge, with a driver, to take us
to a small village, the first hundred miles on the
road to Zarenski.
Before we reached this miserable place, I must
own that I began to feel the effect of a Russian
winter. A piercing wind, and a driving sleet, which
froze as it fell, cut my eyes and cheek-bones-the
only parts of my body that were exposed-so that
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
I was obliged to put my fur cap quite down to my
nose, to keep it from freezing.
Now I am going to tell you a story which you will
hardly believe, and yet it is as true as anything I ever
told in my life. When we reached the village, off
went the driver to a public vapour-bath, whither out
of curiosity I followed him.
It was a large wooden building, situated in the
midst of the hamlet, having seats ranged round the
walls, raised one above the other, till the top seat
reached within four feet of the ceiling. In the
middle of the room were placed large stoves, which
had been made red hot, and on these water was con-
stantly poured, sending up volumes of steam, which
filled the building. The people could sit on higher
or lower benches, according to the temperature they
wished to be exposed to, for the coolest air was at
My driver, stripping off his clothes, crawled as
high as he could: there were in the same room with
him about two hundred other persons. In a quarter
of an hour they came rushing out, looking more like
raw beef than like men, all parboiled as they were,
and away they ran naked, and tumbled over and
over in the snow.
On the following morning I hired a separate sledge
and a driver, to carry me towards Siberia. Furnished
with provisions, we set forward, stopping every night
at some wretched hovel dignified by the name of an
78 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
inn, till we came within sight of the Ural mountains,
where I got a sight of the first bear I had met with.
At every village I used to inquire if any travellers
had passed that way before me. I was generally
told that a sledge went the day before.
I liked this guide much better than my former
one. His name was Goskoi. I found he was a
native of Siberia, and, like most of his countrymen,
more honest and hospitable than the Russians. I
soon acquired enough knowledge of his native tongue
to enable me to converse with him very freely.
I had now arrived at the last resting-place before
crossing the Ural mountains. Hitherto I had slept
every night under a roof of some sort; for, although
the villages are at a great distance from one another,
there are post-houses at a day's journey apart, where
the postmen and other travellers pass the long hours
of darkness. Goskoi gave me one piece of informa-
tion about his countrymen, which was quite new as
well as acceptable to me; that they never take any-
thing from travellers by way of payment; and I
found it so.
We now began our ascent among the mountains.
The country was barren and dismal; but beneath
the surface are said to be inexhaustible mines of
gold, silver, iron, lead, copper, &c., as well as coal.
Owing to the thin population, however, the barbarous
ignorance of the natives, and the severity of the
climate, these mines are none of them worked.
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
By noon we were quite shut in among the hills;
but instead of a boundless tract of level snow,
patched with leafless birch woods, and the deep
melancholy hue of pine forests, which had been our
usual prospect for some weeks past, we were enclosed
between dreary walls of iron-stone covered with
drifted snow. The silence of this savage wild, too,
was unbroken except now and then by the howlings
of a hungry wolf. While driving along we were sur-
prised and alarmed to behold, at a turn of the road,
a horse riderless, dashing along at full speed, and a
pack of wolves following him with horrid yells. We
paused awhile to let this horrid cavalcade go far
ahead of us, and then in fear resumed our journey.
Our progress now became slow, owing to the
thickness of the drifted snow, and the heaviness of
the sledge. As night approached we halted at a turn
of the mountain, which projected like a shoulder,
and served to screen us from the biting north-east
wind. We fed our dogs-for, since we came on the
confines of Siberia our team consisted of six dogs-
with some of the frozen fish we had brought with us,
and, lighting our fire, we cooked a white hare that I
had shot about an hour before, but which in that
short time had become frozen as hard. and as stiff as
Having finished our repast, we wrapped ourselves
up well in our furs, and lay down on the snow, with
our feet to the cheerful blaze. Although I had
80 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
smoked an extra pipe, and taken some brandy (for 1
had not then learned that brandy only makes people
colder after the strength of it is gone), I suffered
extremely from the intense cold; and I verily
believe that if I had gone to sleep I never should
have waked again. Fortunately, however, I never
slept for a moment during the night.
Well, as I lay there sleepless, thinking of the con-
trast of my present situation with what it had been
during the many hot nights that I passed in the
torrid zone, and wondering how many of the French
soldiers escaped, who were exposed, during their
return from Moscow, to the fierce rigours of a snowy
winter-I thought I heard a low breathing near me.
I listened, but it was not Goskoi, for the noise
sounded on my right hand, and he was snoring on
my left, while the six dogs lay curled close to the
fire on the opposite side.
I raised myself cautiously, and looking keenly
through the midnight gloom, I saw a large figure
moving along the ledge of the rocks within a few
yards of me. By the flickering light of the fire I
watched this white moving mass; and as I was
wondering what it could be, it disappeared, having
lost its footing and slipped off the edge of the rock,
carrying with it a quantity of frozen snow, which
rattled and tinkled as it fell.
The noise roused the dogs, who would have made
their escape had they been at liberty; but being
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
fastened all together to a crag of our rugged walls,
for safety, they could not run from the danger which
threatened them. So they all set up such a dismal
howling that Goskoi awoke, and in astonishment
asked me what the matter was. I told him that I
had seen something moving. He was on his feet
in an instant, exclaiming, It is a bear; and if you
do not wish to be hugged to death you must defend
I arose, but not quite so nimbly as Goskoi had
done, and seizing our muskets, we prepared for our
shaggy foe. Soon he came round the shoulder of
the rock with a sullen determined look, and made
towards us. It was evident he was pressed by
hunger, or he would not thus have braved our fire.
His object seemed at first to be to get hold of one of
our dogs. I was between them and him, however.
"Fire! fire !" exclaimed Goskoi, at the same time
presenting his gun at the bear, but it only flashed in
the pan. Unused to midnight adventures in these
frozen regions, my hands, in spite of my fur gloves,
were so benumbed with the cold, that I could not
distinguish the trigger of my gun. In the mean
time the bear still made towards us; the dogs howled
and barked; Goskoi shouted, and flung his arms
about, to frighten the animal; while I pointed my
gun towards the slow moving savage, but all in vain,
for, my hands being so benumbed, I could not
manage to fire it off.
82 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
Goskoi now became half frantic, and rushing
forward he wrenched the gun out of my hand-
having flung his own weapon at the animal's
head-and in a moment he fired, and hit the animal
in the side of the neck. The blow checked him but
for an instant, and he came on more furiously than
ever. Roused by our increasing danger, I adopted a
new method of defence. Seizing the burning brands
from the fire, I flung them at him as fast as I could
pick them up. This new mode of attack both enraged
and terrified him; and turning round as if to make
his escape, Goskoi, who had reloaded the gun as
quick as thought, fired a second time, and wounded
him near the breast.
My exercise among the warm embers had restored
the use of my hands. I now ran and picked up the gun
of my companion, which he had thrown at the bear.
and re-primed it instantly. By this time the bear
had gone round to the fire, and was just seizing one
of the terrified dogs. The noise was now absolutely
deafening. The poor victim yelled, the other five
joined in the cry, Goskoi shouted, and the bear
Approaching close behind the furious animal, I
fired, and had the fortune to wound him in the neck,
just as he had despatched the dog. I then laid hold
of the barrel of the gun, and began to beat upon his
hard skull. Now he turned upon me with all his
fury; but Goskoi seeing my danger rushed up, and
"Seizing the burning brands from the fire, I flung them at him as fast as I could pick them up."-p. 82.
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
took aim so well that he brought him to the ground,
and with our knives we soon despatched him.
A new trouble now arose. Our fire was out, and
we were exceedingly cold, and the wintry dawn had
not yet appeared. But remembering how the French,
during their campaign in Russia, sometimes killed
their horses and used their skins and warmth of their
bodies, to preserve for a little while their own lives,
we had recourse to a similar wretched expedient.
With the skin and carcase of the bear we contrived
to keep ourselves warm till daybreak; and now for
a short time, strange as it may seem to you, I
When I awoke, the five dogs were harnessed and
eating their breakfast, and their poor dead companion
was hanging without his skin at the back of the
sledge, with the provender. While I slept, Goskoi,
who could endure the cold better than I, had been
preparing for our journey. All things ready, we again
Returning at last from this expedition we were ordered
to proceed to Greenland, andto make reports of the for-
tresses there. So we engaged a Russian brig, and took
our departure for Greenland, to have a talk with the
Seals and Greenlanders, and to learn something con-
cerning their fisheries, especially of the Seal fishery.
All the preparations made by the Greenlanders
for this fishery prove that it requires considerable
reflection, time, and experience, to discover the
84 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
surest way of taking these animals. If you look at
a Greenland fisherman, you cannot help admiring
the ingenuity and singular contrivances by which he
arms himself beforehand against such dangers as he
cannot entirely avoid. His very dress is precisely
what it ought to be for this pursuit, and could not
be better adapted to the purpose; it is made of seal
skins, and is fastened together with bone buttons.
His canoe, or boat, is likewise suited to the nature of
the spot to which the Greenlander is confined. Rocks
of ice being very frequent in the sea that washes those
coasts, a large vessel would find it difficult to pass
between them; for which reason the Greenlandec
makes use of a very narrow and extremely light
boat, that he may be able to penetrate everywhere,
and steer it as he pleases. This boat is composed of
very thin straight laths, joined together with whale-
bone, and covered on the outside with seal skins:
it will hold but one person.
These boats, which they call "kayaks," are five
or six yards long, and terminate at each end in a
point; in the middle they are not at most a yard in
width, and their depth does not exceed half a yard.
The two points are protected with whalebone and
strong knobs, to prevent their being broken against
the ice or rocks.
Having provided himself with an oar, a quantity
of arrows, a harpoon fastened to a long cord, and a
bladder filled with air, the fisherman carries his boat
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
to the shore, gets into it, covers himself with skins,
and sets out on his expedition. The boat, from its
lightness, shoots swiftly over the waves, with which
it rises and falls: sometimes a tremendous billow
overwhelms it, but this accident excites no fear in
the bosom of the navigator, who dexterously balances
the boat by means of the oar, which he passes from
one hand to the other: nay, even if he is upset by
the force of the wave, he can right himself again
with the aid of his oar.
As soon as he perceives a seal, he softly approaches,
and suddenly throws his harpoon at the animal with
one hand, while he holds a cord which is tied to it
in the other. The seal, finding itself wounded,
instantly dives; the cord follows, and the bladder
of air floating on the surface marks the place to
which the animal retires. It is soon obliged to rise
again to the surface for breath, when the fisherman
despatches it with his spear, tipped with very sharp
and hooked points. When the seal is dead, the
Greenlander tows his prey to the shore, turns the
boat upside down on the beach, drags the seal after
him, and returns home. His wife cuts it up: they
eat part of the flesh, and bury the rest in the earth
for winter. I have mentioned the uses that are made
of the skin and of the other parts of this animal.
That the fisherman is not always successful, and
must have to encounter very great dangers, may
easily be imagined. In a climate so inclement as
86 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
that of Greenland, the sea, which is at all times
dangerous, presents numberless obstacles to the
fisherman, how intrepid soever he may be. We
are almost frightened to think that a single individual
ventures to penetrate into places rendered almost
inaccessible by tremendous tempests and prodigious
barriers of ice; where he cannot expect any assis-
tance; where dreary solitude prevails; where, finally,
he has to contend alone against the elements, which
seem to be let loose upon him, and to conspire his
destruction. This situation, which to us appears so
terrific, has no other effect on the Greenlander than
to render him more capable of contending with
success against the obstacles which nature throws in
his way. He knows that it is of importance to
him to keep his body supple, and to exercise all his
limbs, that he may be able to extricate himself from
the perilous situations in which he is liable to be
involved. To this end, the Greenlanders have in-
vented various kinds of exercises, intended to give
their youth agility and address. They frequently
exercise themselves in preserving, by the motions of
the body, the equilibrium of a boat, which is made
to incline in every direction. They even learn to
keep themselves in the boat, and to seize the oar,
if they happen to let it go, at the moment when
they are turning topsy-turvy; for, as I have already
told you, it sometimes happens that a wave upsets
the boat when out at sea, and woe be then to the
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
poor fellow who loses his presence of mind, and does
not endeavour to right the boat again, and keep fast
hold of his oar, for this is one of the implements
which he cannot do without. Sometimes, too, he
is entangled in the cord, which the seal, when struck
with the harpoon, draws down with it. He must
then contrive to balance himself in such a manner
that his boat may not be overset, or himself even
drawn under water.
When the cold is so intense as to prevent the
Greenlanders from going to sea, they seek their prey
upon the ice; and as the seals cannot remain long
under water, for want of breath, they make holes in
the ice, by which they ascend to take the air and
lie down, and frequently drop asleep, and fall easy
victims to their imprudence; for the Greenlander is
at hand, and when he hears them snore he softly
approaches and kills them with a club, or of late
years with a gun. When, on the other hand, the
seal happens to be awake, its enemy is obliged to
employ a stratagem to take it. Covered from head
to foot with a seal skin, imitating the cry of the
animal, and creeping upon his belly on the ice, he
bears no small resemblance to his intended victim;
at least, the creature commonly takes him for one of
its own species, and suffers him to approach without
mistrust. Scarcely has the supposed animal reached
the real seal, when he pierces it with a lance con-
cealed under his disguise, becomes a Greenlander
88 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
again, and secures his pri'e. At other times several
persons surround holes made in the ice, and when
one or more seals make their appearance, they
despatch them with spears.
In the peninsula of Kamtschatka the seal-fishery
is likewise an important occupation. There is no
danger so great as to deter them when in pursuit
of these animals; nothing can frighten, nothing can
daunt these intrepid adventurers." The mere de-
scription of this fishery is enough to excite terror in
us, whereas these people look upon all the circum-
stances attending it as perfectly simple and natural.
They commonly choose the darkest nights of winter
for their expeditions. Figure to yourselves what a
winter's night must be in the midst of the Frozen
Ocean, when fields of ice, frequently a league in
length, borne furiously along by the waves, dash
against each other with a tremendous noise, which
alone is sufficient to appal the boldest heart in these
dreary solitudes: when the snow, driven about by
hurricanes, falls in large flakes; when, in short,
everything seems to announce a general convulsion
of the elements, and the end of the world. Well, it
is exactly at the moment when all these circum-
stances are combined, that the inhabitants of Kamt-
schatka undertake their expedition, and expose their
frail lives a thousand and a thousand times again to
apparently inevitable destruction.
Often, too, these unfortunate creatures fall victims
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
to their audacity, and are entombed in the billows
which they so boldly brave. Sometimes it happens -
that the wind, which at their departure blew from
the sea to the shore, suddenly shifts, and drives the
fields of ice which they are upon farther and farther
out to sea; in this case it requires their utmost
efforts to save their lives. Notwithstanding the
most intense cold, they are obliged to throw them-
selves into the water that they may reach the shore
by swimming: those who are less expert, tie them-
selves with cords to their dogs, which drag them
faithfully to the land, and thus become the saviours
of their masters.
There are less dangerous methods of catching
seals, but they are of course uncertain, and never
so successful as when the fishermen go in quest of
these animals on their native element. From time
to time, for instance, a general search is made along
the coast, by women as well as men, armed with
clubs, with which they knock on the head the seals
that appear on the beach, and when once surrounded,
they have no means of escaping: or, if they find
none on the shore, they set up such a shout, that
the seals which are under water, terrified by the
noise, raise their heads, and are instantly struck by
very sharp spears.
The Danish merchants frequently equip vessels to
fish for seals near Spitzbergen, an island situated in
the Frozen Ocean, and belonging, as you know, to
90 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
the King of Denmark. On their arrival in the
neighbourhood of this island, the sailors make excur-
sions on the ice, and surprise the seals, which often
lie asleep there in herds; they fi st stun the animals,
by striking them on the nose with sticks, and after-
wards despatch them.
The Russian merchants do the same at the Kurile
Islands, situated near the peninsula of Kamtschatka.
The crew of each of their ships generally consists of
from fifty to seventy men, who divide themselves
into several detachments, to go in quest of the seals;
they, moreover, induce the islanders, by force or
presents, to assist them in their expedition, and when
they have collected a great number of skins they
return to Russia, to dispose of them there or to
send them off to China.
Greenland, where, as I have told you, seals are
found in great numbers, is indebted to these animals
in particular, and to the trade in their skins, for
having at present much more intercourse than
formerly with Europeans
THE SHETLAND ISLANDS.
WE were now ordered back to England, to join our
ship at Spithead, to which place she had repaired
after our leaving her. Our directions were to take
soundings in some of the principal ports of the
Shetland Isles, and to report upon the general state
of the country and inhabitants, and especially to
make ourselves acquainted with their creeks, harbours,
So putting our good brig, the Betsy, into good
repair, we set sail from a Greenland port, and bade
adieu to the seals and Greenlanders.
We passed the Orkney Islands, and after a rough
passage, reached those called the Shetlands. They
are about eighty-six in number, of which forty are
inhabited. The others are small holms or rocky
islets only used for pasturage. The principal inha-
bited islands are the Mainland, with the capital
Lerwick, Yell, Unst, Wallsey, Fitlar, and Brassa,
92 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
The climate is not agreeable, the winds are tempes-
tuous, and the rains heavy. The sea rages and
swells in such a manner, that for five or six months
the ports are inaccessible. There is a great diversity
of soil. The general appearance is a scene of rugged-
ness and sterility: some patches of miserably cul-
tivated soil relieve the eye of the traveller, but no
tree or shrub is to be seen. The western parts are
particularly wild, dreary, and desolate, consisting
of grey rocks, stagnant marshes and pools, broken
and precipitous coasts, excavated by the sea into
vast natural arches and deep caverns; and the inha-
bitants live among these rugged rocks, and support
themselves either by fishing or bird-catching.
One of the most important tribe of birds, which
hold common right with man in these districts, are
the skuas (Lestres), commonly called gulls by the
ignorant, but yet very distinct from them, both in
their structure and habits. In their breeding places,
in the Shetland, the larger ones repel all intruders
with great resolution, and are formidable even to
man himself. In this they differ from all other sea-
birds, many of which are very clamorous when their
nesting places are invaded; as, for instance, gannets,
cormorants, and all the species of rock-building
gulls. With these, however, it is alF clamour, but
the larger skuas can make forminable attacks, and
their numbers overcome the sea-eagles themselves.
Indeed, in Orkney and Shetland, where they are
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
called by some sea eagles' and various other formid-
able names, they are accused of attacking lambs,
rabbits, and other animals.
The skuas breed both on the moors and in the
rocks, and some of them are on the alert at all times,
ready to give notice of the appearance of an enemy.
No sooner is the signal of danger given, than it is
answered by the sound of a hundred wings, and the
skuas immediately surround the intruder, and drive
at him on all sides: they shoot themselves like
javelins at the enemy, and, from their weight, the
strength of their make, the firmness of their bill, and
the rapidity of their flight-a single stroke taking
effect would kill a child-even man himself does not
visit the habitations of these birds without danger,
because they attack him as readily as any other
enemy; and it is customary to guard against them
by a sharp-pointed stick, or one with an iron spike,
rising above the head, upon which the birds are said
to descend and transfix themselves.
So much for the wild birds of Shetland; and now
a word or two for the inhabitants, who are, for the
most part, poor in the extreme, but at the same
time both honest and industrious. They procure
their living, principally, by the burning of kelp and
collecting of sea-weeds, and with fishing, and bird-
catching; and a large proportion of their food is the
eggs of the various birds which visit their coast.
Devoted to this business, was once a family named
94 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
Kirwan, the father of which was Michael Kirwan, a
good father indeed; for, notwithstanding the desolate
situation in which he lived, in a hut enclosed on all
sides by inhospitable rocks, he took care to supply
all his children with the wholesome means of instruc-
tion, and to bring them up to deeds of daring and
bravery, and in the nurture and admonition of the
Lord." He was a Scotchman by birth, and had
emigrated to Shetland, with the view of supplying
his country with the breed of Shetland ponies, on
which young persons are so fond of riding.
One day in surly March, when the wind blows
and the sea roars in those parts with extraordinary
force, old Kirwan set off with his rope, long pole
and crowbar, and his son Edmund, a boy eight or
nine years old, for the purpose of obtaining a supply
of eggs from the rocks and cliffs which frowned
around them. The usual manner of proceeding in
this enterprise, is to fasten a crowbar deep in the
earth, at the top of the cliff, and then to suspend
from it a rope, with a crowbar of wood at the end,
and knots at intermediate distances; upon the rope,
as it hangs, the adventurer descends till he is
opposite those places of the rocks in which the birds
lay, and then he takes the eggs from the nest, which
he puts into a basket slung by his side. When this
is full, it is taken up to the top of the cliff, by means
of a line, and then the gatherer ascends in the same
manner in which he descended.
JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
Of course this is a task of great hazard, and not
unfrequently accidents, truly distressing, occur. In
the present instance, I have to relate one of a some-
what extraordinary character, which I was told by
one of the Shetlanders.
Old Kirwan and his son set out about midday to
a promontory about three miles from their dwelling,
called "Lion's Head Pike," from the bold face of
the rock in some degree resembling the head of a
lion. It is a high rugged rock, which juts out about
a half-mile into the sea, and is nearly perpendicular
above it: at low water there is but a very narrow
beach below; at half-tide the sea washes the base of
the rocks, and from this to high-water, and for some
time afterwards, the whole of the space underneath is
covered by the sea, to the depth of twenty or thirty
feet, so that it is quite impossible to walk on the
beach or to pass round the rock, except at low-water.
The father and son having reached the scene of
their labours, the crowbar was speedily driven into
the head of the cliff, and the rope lowered. Old
Kirwan as speedily descended, and Edmund stood
leaning over the top of the cliff, watching his father
as he put his hands into the holes, and rejoiced
amazingly every time he heard his father say "here
they are, boy," and reach the eggs forth to put them
into his basket. It was Edmund's place to hoot and
halloo as loud as he could, to drive away the birds,
who by no means liked this violation of their terri-
96 JACK RODEN THE SAILOR BOY.
tory. The smaller gulls contented themselves with
making an uproar; but the larger ones, the skuas,
fell upon him with great fierceness. The old man
had been used to these attacks, and succeeded in
giving a few of the boldest a rap on the head, which
toppled them down the rocks below; but with one
of a more gigantic size, he seemed to have no little
annoyance, and becoming irritated at this bird's
constant attack upon him, he lost his temper, and
after losing his temper, as is often the case, he lost
his balance, and, by a strange mishap, tumbled over
the cross stick that supported him, down the sides of
the cliff, on to the beach, where he lay apparently dead.
Edmund beheld the catastrophe from the top of
the rock with a wild scream, which was answered by
a thousand birds, on every side, who seemed
conscious of the destruction of the invader of their
homes, and appeared to rejoice over it. The poor
boy, for awhile, stood aghast and paralysed, but
calling to mind his father's oft-taught precepts, to
trust in God in the hour of danger," and "bestir
himself like a man," he, young as he was, imme-
diately resolved to descend after his parent; and so
lengthening the line till it reached the place where
his father's body lay still and motionless, he took
his long staff in his hand, and swung off to the
rescue. As soon, however, as the courageous child
had descended about half way, the birds came upon
him thickly and furiously, and he had sturdy work