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THE SAILOR.

From Chrysal; or, the Adventures of a Guinea.
In one of the cells of the Inquisition, there was confined an English seaman, who had been seized, and secretly conveyed thither, for some disrespectful expressions against the divinity of St Dominick.

The manly, modest resolution, with which he had refused to own the authority of their tribunal, and his firmness under the first torture, marked him out to the Inquisitor as the person proper for his design of escaping with the fair Ilissa; for he would not trust any one of his own countrymen, not even his brother, whose treachery he abhorred.

As soon as he opened the door of his cell, the sailor, whose soreness prevented his sleeping very sound, perceived him, and imagining it was a summons to a repetition of the torture, he sprung up as far as his chains would admit him, and cried, ‘Hollo! who comes there?’—The inquisitor advancing, answered, ‘A friend.’—’Aye! damn all such friends, (replied the sailor,) I suppose you are come to give me another toasting; but if my hands were out of the bilboes, I’d send you off with a salt eel for your supper.’

‘Moderate your rage a moment, my friend; I come to set you free, if you desire, and will deserve it.’—’Avaust hauling, brother! I do not understand you!’—’Why, do not you desire to be free?’—’Desire! aye, that I do! but I may whistle for that wind long enough before it will blow.’—’Perhaps not; perhaps that wind, as you say, is nearer blowing than you imagined: what would you do to be free?’—’Do! I’d burn the Inquisition, and cut the inquisitor’s throat! I’d do any thing but turn papist, or fight against Old England.’—’Honest Briton! But suppose I should set you free; would you serve me faithfully in one thing that is neither against your country nor your religion?’ ‘Belay that, and I’ll warrant you, if I say it, I’ll do it without more words. I’m no landsman nor Portuguese.’—’Well then, I’ll take your word, and so come with me.’—’The sailor was surprised, he scarce knew whether he was asleep or awake; however, as soon as the Inquisitor had unlocked his chains, he shrugged his shoulders, and followed him without more questions.

When they were come into my master’s apartment, he made the sailor sit down, and giving him some wine to cheer his spirits, ‘You are now at liberty, my friend, (said he) without any farther condition, and may go where you please; but if you will serve me in an affair I shall mention to you, you shall have reason to think of this night with pleasure as long as you live.’—’Serve you, master! (replied the sailor) that I will! name but what you would have me do; that is, as I said before; you understand me; and I’ll do it; tho’ it was to hand the main-top-gallant-sail in a storm at midnight, when the yard was broke in the slings, and it was not my watch, do you see; it would be but my duty, and there is no merit in a man’s doing his duty; I am no flincher, I never say aye when I mean no: though I say it, I am a gentleman; my father was lieutenant of a man of war, and I have been at sea these five-and-thirty years, man and boy, and never once brought to the gangway in all that time. If the noble captain, that rated me a midshipman twenty years ago, had lived to be an admiral, I should have been an officer before now.

The honest openness of heart, that appeared in the sailor’s giving his own character, made my master hear him with pleasure, and place an entire confidence in him. As soon as he had finished, therefore, he opened his scheme to him; and the sailor undertook to go to London, buy a good ship, and freight her for Alexandria, and to call at Lisbon in his way, and take my master and his friends on board; to do which, he gave him money and jewels to a great amount; the latter he was to dispose of in London, and account with the Inquisitor for the surplus, after the purchase of the ship and cargo, which were to be his own, in reward for his trouble, as soon as he had made this voyage.

All things being thus settled, the sailor was just departing, when, on a sudden thought, he turned short on the Inquisitor; ‘Steady, (said he) steady; so far we go right before the wind, and all’s well. But whom do you mean to clap aboard me when I come? If it is the Pretender, or the French king, here take back your trinkams; I’ll be damned before I’ll help either of them to make his escape.’—’Never fear, my friend, (replied the Inquisitor, scarce able to contain his laughing at the strangeness of such a thought,) I promise you it is neither of these; I promise you not to do any thing against your king or your religion.—’But shall we not have one dash at this damned place? (added the sailor) shall we not set it on fire, and cut the Inquisitor’s throat? I’ll bring a set of jolly boys, that would shoot the gulph of hell, to have a stroke at the Devil Dominick; shall we not set the Inquisition on fire, and cut the Inquisitor’s throat?’—’We will consider about those things: but you had better lose no time; and let me once more caution you, not to be seen in Lisbon at present; and to be as expeditious as possible in your return.’—’Never fear, master; never fear,’ replied the sailor; and, shaking him heartily by the hand, away he went.

I here quitted the service of the Inquisitor, being amongst the money which he gave to the sailor.

My new master no sooner found himself at liberty, than he hasted away to the seaside, without ever stopping to look behind him, and luckily finding the packet just ready to sail, he was out of sight of Lisbon before morning.

Never was a heart so intent upon executing a commission faithfully as his; he thought of nothing else all the passage; and the moment he arrived in London, he sold the jewels, bought a ship, manned her well, and, having laid in a proper cargo, set sail for Lisbon, and was there before his employer imagined he was arrived in London.

I had been an idle spectator of these transactions, for young Aminadab had made such depradations on me, that no one in London would accept of me at my original value; and my master’s honour would not think of parting with me for less, without acquainting the person from whom he received me.—The moment he arrived in Lisbon he gave notice to his friend, whose joy at his fidelity and expedition is not to be expressed. He immediately had the treasures, which he designed to take with him, conveyed secretly aboard; and as soon as the wind served, embarked himself with his friends in the night, and obliged my master to sail directly, though greatly to his dissatisfaction, because he would not consent to his firing the prison of the Inquisition, and cutting the Inquisitor’s throat.

Heaven seemed to approve of the undertaking, sending a fair wind, which soon carried us out of the fear of our enemies.

It is impossible to conceive an happier company than were now together; nor did the blunt festivity of my master add a little to the pleasure of their voyage, which met but one cloud that seemed at first to threaten a good deal, but soon blew over.

When we were about half our voyage, my master entered the cabin hastily one morning, and with a kind of fierce delight flashing in his eyes, said to the Inquisitor, whom he always called owner, ‘Well, owner, you shall now see what English boys can do: there is a large Frenchman bearing down upon us; but if you do not see him sheer off as short as if he had got foul of a lee-shore; I will never take the helm again, if he is not obliged to drop anchor to bring him up along-side of us; and as I expected some such thing, I took out a letter of marque, so that you need not fear being hanged for a pirate, if the worst should happen.

But delighted as my master was, his passengers did not seem so well pleased with the news, especially his owner, who was not used to fighting, and besides was too anxious for his escape with his fair prize, to think of any thing with pleasure, which could possibly deprive him of her.

They all, therefore, went directly upon the deck, and seeing the ship really coming towards them, the Inquisitor went into the cabin that he might not be observed by the men, and sending for my master, accosted him thus; ‘Surely, my friend, you cannot mean to wait for that ship, (for we are lying to) she certainly means to attack you.’—’And so let her, owner, (replied my master) I’ll warrant she gets as good as she brings.’—’But consider, my friend, (replied the Inquisitor) consider we are on board you.’—’Well, owner, and what then? you are not afraid: the lady may be stowed safe below! and you’ll stand as good a chance as another; you are not afraid.’—’My good friend, I have not time to explain my reasons to you; but if you have any regard for me, you will instantly crowd all the sail you can, and get clear of this affair; I desire it; I beg it.’—’Why, look you, owner, what needs all these words; if so be you order us, we must put about to be sure, for the ship is yours; but then the honour of Old England, consider that; the honour of Old England.’—’O my friend, I can consider nothing, but my desire to avoid this danger; so once more I beg.’—’Enough said, enough said.’ Then going upon deck, ‘Well, my lads, our owner does not chuse this brush, while the lady is on board; so we must about ship; but as we come back, Soup Maigre shall pay for it.’—And saying this, he obeyed the desire of his owner as faithfully as if it had been his own, only not with the same appearance of pleasure, not being able to avoid ejaculating, damn fear, at every turn of the tune he whistled, as he walked the deck the rest of the day.

He had so punctually observed his owner’s instructions in getting a good ship, that we were soon out of sight of the Frenchman; nor did we meet with any thing disagreeable the remainder of the voyage.

The day after this affair, when they had all recovered their good humour, my master addressed his owner thus—’Now, owner, while the sky is clear, and we have nothing else to do, I had better give you an account of your money. Here is the log-book, which you may overhaul at your leisure, though the sooner the better. This is the time; there is no taking a good observation in a storm, as may happen by and by; you’ll find all as fair as a new cable; but I must give you one point to direct your reckoning by, and that is this; you bade me buy a ship, and freight her, and so forth, and she and the cargo should be my own, after I had done your job this trip. Now, owner, it is very true, that a less vessel than this might have made the run; but then you seemed so desirous to be safe, that I thought it best to take a bargain of this stout ship, which I knew to be as good a sea-boat as ever turned to windward, and able to go, hank for hank, with any thing that swims the sea, as we shewed when we run the Frenchman out of sight yesterday; though it went against my heart to do it; but no matter for that now; the ship is yours, and you have a right to be obeyed. However, there is the account, and here is the rest of your money, of which I did not lay out one shilling that I could avoid, but one guinea, which I gave to my old messmate, Will Crosstree, whom I met on Tower-hill in distress; and one I gave Black Moll of Wapping to heave down; and I could not well avoid those either, for Will was an old messmate, and I owed Moll for many a good turn in her way; but all this signifies nothing to you; they can be stopped on account; and here is a damned guinea too, that would not go; I believe it has been in the hospital till it was fluxed off its legs.

‘And now, owner, as you may think this ship costs too much, and that the cargo is too good, I will not keep you to your bargain; she is your own, and all that is in her, only pay the men; as for me, I am satisfied with having got out of that damned Inquisition, and leave the rest to yourself. If you think that I have deserved any thing, well and good; if not, I do not fear bread, while the sea flows round Old England: all that grieves me is, that you would not let us set fire to the Inquisition, and cut the Inquisitor’s throat.’ If my master’s bluntness in the affair of the French ship gave offence to his owner, the honesty of this speech restored him to his warmest esteem; and made Pheron, who was present, cry out in rapture, ‘Thank heaven, there is still some honesty among mankind.’—’Honesty! aye, (replied my master) a little among the tars of Old England! a little.’

The Inquisitor having by this time recovered from the astonishment, into which such nobleness of soul threw him, returned the account unopened, with these words: ‘I am convinced your account must be just; and I freely make you a gift, not of this ship and cargo, for they are justly your own already, but of the rest of the money which is in your hands.’—’What all, owner! all!’—’All, my friend; if it were as many times so much, you justly merit it.’—’But then, owner, had not you better sign the account if you please, for fear of after reckonings with your executors; for I hate the law damnably, ever since I lost a year’s pay for hindering our boatswain’s mate’s brother to beat his wife. The brimstone swore I beat her husband, and so I paid for meddling; but it was the lawyer’s fault that set her on. Damn all lawyers, say I.’—’Well, then, my honest worthy friend, there is a receipt; and I wish you success equal to your merit; and you cannot have more.’—’Enough said, owner; enough said; I thank you; I thank you.’

The remainder of our voyage was one continued scene of happiness. My master landed his passengers at Alexandria, from whence they soon set out for Pheron’s country; and at his taking leave of them, advised them to be careful how they ventured in any of the ships of those countries, which he assured them were not better than bum-boats, nor did their mariners know any more of the sea than a Thames waterman.

Having finished this, his first business, he proceeded to dispose of his cargo, for which he met so good a market, and made so profitable a return from thence home, that as soon as he arrived, his landlady’s daughter at Gosport, whom he had been in love with for many years, but never dared to speak so till now, readily consented to marry him. One thing though I must not omit, and that was, that he kept a constant look out all the voyage home, for the Frenchman whom he had fled from so sore against his will; and was greatly concerned that he could not meet him, to have a brush for the honour of Old England.

I did not remain with him to be a witness of his happiness; he gave me to a Jew pedlar for a pair of fine sleeve buttons, to present to his mistress the morning before his marriage.

HOW IT CAME TO BE

 

“A Trip Around the World with DWIGHT L. ELMENDORF, Lecturer and Traveler.”

Venice is built on a group of little islands. At a depth of from ten to fifteen feet there is a firm bed of clay; below that a bed of sand or gravel, and then a layer of peat. Artesian wells dug to the depth of sixteen hundred feet have shown a regular succession of these beds. On this base, piles, where they have been used for the foundation, have become petrified. So the city may be described actually as having been built up from the bed of the sea. In its physical aspect it may be summed up by saying that Venice stands on 117 small islands formed by something like 150 canals and joined together by 378 bridges.

 

 

illus03a
THE GRAND CANAL BY MOONLIGHT

There is but little in the way of sidewalks. Occasional narrow paths of stone skirt the canals; but in many places the water laps the very walls of the buildings, and transportation is to be had only by boat. Of course there are many lanes and passages among the houses; but the general effect is such as would make an impression on the traveler of a city set in the sea, and the people live, move, and have their being on either stone or water. They are strangers to groves, shady lanes, and country places. Some of the inhabitants of Venice have never seen a horse or a cow.

illus02A GONDOLA

These black-painted craft take the place of cabs in Venice. They are propelled by a gondolier, who stands at the rear.

The city is divided into two parts by the Grand Canal, which is nearly two miles in length and varies from 100 to 200 feet in width. It makes a fine curve like the letter S, and by this it displays to advantage the magnificent residences that line it. There on its gleaming surface are to be seen the brilliant pageants of the city,—gondolas and autoboats in great number, gay parties, chatting and laughing and tossing flowers, and the whole stretch a blaze of intoxicating color. Some of the most attractive views of Venice are to be had not from within the canal, but from some point out in the lagoon. Your map of Venice will show you the city not literally situated in the Adriatic Sea, but located within the lagoon and protected from the outer sea by long sand hills strengthened by bulwarks of masonry. From the strip to the mainland, across the lagoon, where Venice is situated, the distance is about five miles, and in this stretch of water you will see many striped posts called “pali.” These mark the navigable channels about the city.

illus04VENICE AND THE ADRIATIC SEA

A panorama of the beautiful “Island City.”