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sir !” he said, “I have been a mad fool when we fairly bubble over, like a full enough already in this business—I bottle of champagne with the cork out; should have been a double-dyed scoun- and this was one of them for our drel, like enough, by this time but for hero, who, however, be it remarked, your son, and I've quarrelled with him was neither self-contained nor sober by for stopping me at the pit's mouth. nature. When they got back to his Favour! If God will, I'll prove some- rooms, he really hardly knew what to do how where the favour lies, and what I to give vent to his lightness of heart ; owe to him; and to you, sir, for coming and Hardy, though self-contained and to me to-night. Stop here two minutes, sober enough in general, was on this sir, and I'll run down and bring him occasion almost as bad as his friend. over.”
They rattled on, talking out the thing Tom tore away to Hardy's door and which came uppermost, whatever the knocked. There was no pausing in the subject might chance to be; but, whether passage now. “ Come in."
grave or gay, it always ended after a the door but did not enter, and for a minute or two in jokes not always good, moment or two could not speak. The and chaff, and laughter. The poor caprush of associations which the sight of tain was a little puzzled at first, and the well-known old rickety furniture, and made one or two endeavours to turn the the figure which was seated, book in talk into improving channels. But very hand, with its back to the door and its soon he saw that Jack was thoroughly feet up against one side of the mantel- happy, and that was always enough for piece, called up, choked him.
him. So he listened to one and the “May I come in ?” he said at last. other, joining cheerily in the laugh
He saw the figure give a start, and the whenever he could ; and, when he book trembled a little, but then came couldn't catch the joke, looking like a the answer, slow but firm
benevolent old lion, and making as much “I have not changed my opinion." belief that he had understood it all as
“No; dear old boy, but I have,” and the simplicity and truthfulness of his Tom rushed across to his friend, dearer character would allow. than ever to him now, and threw his The spirits of the two friends seemed arm round his neck; and, if the un- inexhaustible. They lasted out the English truth must out, had three parts bottle of sherry which Tom had unof a mind to kiss the rough face which corked, and the remains of a bottle of was now working with strong emotion. his famous port. He had tried hard to
"Thank God!” said Hardy, as he be allowed to open a fresh bottle, but grasped the hand which hung over his the captain had made such a point of shoulder.
his not doing so, that he had given in “And now come over to my rooms ; for hospitality's sake. They lasted out your father is there waiting for us.” the coffee and anchovy toast; after
“What, the dear old governor ? That's which the captain made a little effort what he has been after, is it? I couldn't at moving, which was supplicatingly think where he could have hove to, as stopped by Tom. he would say."
"Oh, pray don't go, Captain Hardy. Hardy put on his cap, and the two I haven't been so happy for months. hurried back to Tom's rooms, the lightest Besides, I must brew you a glass of hearts in the University of Oxford. grog. I pride myself on my brew.
Your son there will tell you that I am CHAPTER XXI.
a dead hand at it. Here, Wiggins, a
lemon!” shouted Tom. CAPTAIN HARDY ENTERTAINED BY
“Well, for once in a way,
Eh, Jack ?" said the captain, looking at THERE are moments in the life of the most self-contained and sober of us all, “Oh yes, father. You mayn't know
it Brown, but, if there is one thing “I wonder that you ever began it at harder to do than another, it is to get all, sir," said Tom. an old sailor like my father to take a in “You wouldn't wonder if you knew glass of grog at night.”
how an uneducated man like me feels, The captain laughed a little laugh, when he comes to a place liko Oxford.” and shook his thick stick at his son, who “Uneducated, sir!" said Tom. “Why went on.
your education has been worth twice as “ And as for asking him to take a much, I'm sure, as any we get here.” pipe with it,"
No, sir ; we never learnt anything “Dear me," said Tom, “I quite for- in the navy when I was a youngster, got. I really beg your pardon, Captain except a little rule-of-thumb matheHardy ;” and he put down the lemon matics. One picked up a sort of smathe was squeezing, and produced a box tering of a language or two knocking of cigars.
about the world, but no grammatical “It's all Jack's nonsense, sir," said knowledge, nothing scientific. If a boy the captain, holding out his hand, doesn't get a method, he is beating to nevertheless, for the box.
windward in a crank craft all his “Now, father, don't be absurd,” inter- life. He hasn't got any regular place rupted Hardy, snatching the box away to stow away what he gets into his from him. “ You might as well give brains, and so it lies tumbling about in him a glass of absinthe. He is church- the hold, and he loses it, or it gets warden at home, and can't smoke any- damaged and is never ready for use. thing but a long clay."
You see what I mean, Mr. Brown?” "I'm very sorry I haven't one here, “Yes, sir. But I'm afraid we don't but I can send out in a minute." And all of us get much method up here. Do Tom was making for the door to shout you really enjoy reading Thucydides now, for Wiggins.
Captain Hardy?" “No, don't call. I'll fetch some from Indeed I do, sir, very much,” said my rooms."
the Captain “ There's a great deal in When Hardy left the room, Tom his history to interest an old sailor, you squeezed away at his lemon, and was know. I dare say, now, that I enjoy preparing himself for a speech to Cap- those parts about the sea-fights more tain Hardy full of confession and grati- than you do.” The Captain looked at tude. But the captain was before him, Tom as if he had made an audacious and led the conversation into a most remark. unexpected channel.
“I am sure you do, sir,” said Tom, “I suppose, now, Mr. Brown,” he smiling. began, "you don't find any difficulty in “ Because you see, Mr. Brown,” said construing your Thucydides?”
the Captain, « when one has been in "Indeed I do, sir," said Tom, laugh- that sort of thing oneself, one likes to ing. “I find him a very tough old cus- read how people in other times managed, tomer, except in the simplest narrative." and to think what one would have
"For my part," said the captain, “I done in their place. I don't believe can't get on at all, I find, without a trans- that the Greeks just at that time were lation. But you see, sir, I had none of very resolute fighters, thcugh. Nelson the advantages which you young men or Collingwood would have finished that have up here. In fact, Mr. Brown, I war in a year or two.” didn't begin Greek till Jack was nearly “ Not with triremes, do you think, ten years old.” The captain in his sir ?" said Tom. secret heart was prouder of his partial Yes, sir, with any vessels which victory over the Greek tongue in his old were to be had," said the Captain. age, than of his undisputed triumphs “ But you are right about triremes. over the French in his youth, and was It has always been a great puzzle to not averse to talking of it.
me how those triremes could have been you allow
worked. How do you understand the “Certainly. That height at least three banks of oars, Mr. Brown ?” do any good,” said Hardy.
“Well, sir, I suppose they must have “ Not that I think Jack's opinion been one above the other somehow." worth much on the point," went on his
“ But the upper bank must have had father. oars twenty feet long and more in that “ It's very ungrateful of you, then, to case," said the Captain. “You must say so, father," said Hardy, " after all allow for leverage, you see."
the time I've wasted trying to make it “Of course, sir. When one comes
all clear to you.” to think of it, it isn't easy to see how “ I don't
that Jack's is not a good they were manned and worked,” said opinion on most things, Mr. Brown," Tom.
said the Captain ; " but he is all at sea “Now my notion about triremes—” about triremes. He believes that the began the Captain, holding the head of men of the uppermost bank rowed his stick with both hands, and looking somehow like lightermen on the Thames, across at Tom.
walking up and down.” “Why, father!” cried Hardy, re- “I object to your statement of my turning at the moment with the pipes, faith, father," said Hardy. and catching the Captain's last word, “Now you know, Jack, you have said “ on one of your hobby horses already! You're not safe !-I can't leave you “I have said they must have stood for two minutes. Here's a long pipe up to row, and so— for you. How in the world did he get “ You would have had awful conon triremes ?”
fusion, Jack. You must have order be“I hardly know," said Tom, “but I tween decks when you're going into action. want to hear what Captain Hardy thinks Besides, the rowers had cushions.” about them. You were saying, sir, that “That old heresy of yours again.” the
upper oars must have been twenty "Well, but Jack, they had cushions. feet long at least.”
Didn't the rowers who were marched “My notion is—" said the Captain, across the Isthmus to man the ships taking the pipe and tobacco-pouch from which were to surprise the Piræus, his son's hand.
oars, thongs, and cushions ?" “ Stop one moment,” said Hardy; “If they did, your conclusion doesn't “I found Blake at my rooms, and follow, father, that they sat on them to asked him to come over here. You row." don't object ?"
“You hear, Mr. Brown," said the Object, my dear fellow! I'm much Captain ; "he admits my point about obliged to you. Now, Hardy, would the cushions.” you like to have any one else? I can “Oh father, I hope you used to fight send in a minute.”
the French more fairly,” said Hardy, “ No one, thank you."
“But, didn't he ? Didn't Jack admit “ You won't stand on ceremony now,
my point?” will you, with me?” said Tom.
“Implicitly, sir, I think," said Tom, “ You see I haven't.”
catching Hardy's eye, which was danc“ And you never will again ?"
ing with fun. No, never. Now, father, you can “Of course he did. You hear that, heave ahead about those oars."
Jack. Now my notion about triremes—" The Captain went on charging his A knock at the door interrupted the pipe, and proceeded : “ You see, Mr. captain again, and Blake came in and Brown, they must have been at least was introduced. twenty feet long, because, if
“Mr. Blake is almost our best scholar, the lowest bank of oars to have been father ; you should appeal to him about three feet above the water-line, which the cushions." even Jack thinks they must have been" “I am very proud to make your
acquaintance, sir," said the captain; “I who were loitering in quad on the lookhave heard my son speak of you often.” out for something to do. Drysdale and
"We were talking about triremes," the Captain recognised one another, and said Tom ; “ Captain Hardy thinks the were friends at once.. And then Hardy oars must have been twenty feet long." sang. “Tom Bowling,” in a style which
“Not easy to come forward well with astonished the rest not a little, and as that sort of oar," said Blake; "they
“they usual nearly made his father cry ; and must have pulled a slow stroke.”
Blake sang, and Drysdale, and the other "Our torpid would have bumped the And then the captain was called best of them," said Hardy.
on for his yarn ; and, the general voice “I don't think they could have made being for “something that had happened more than six knots," said the captain; to him," " the strangest thing that had * But yet they used to sink one another, ever happened to him at sea," the old and a light boat going only six knots gentleman laid down his pipe and sat couldn't break another in two amid- up in his chair with his hands on his ships. It's a puzzling subject, Mr. stick and began. Blake."
THE CAPTAIN'S STORY. " It is, sir," said Blake; “if we only had some of their fo'castle songs we It will be forty years agı next month should know more about it. I'm afraid since the ship I was then in came home they had no Dibdin.”
from the West Indies station, and was "I wish you would turn one of my paid off. I had nowhere in particular father's favourite songs into anapæsts to go just then, and so was very glad to for him," said Hardy.
get a letter, the morning after I went " What are they ? ” said Blake. ashore at Portsmouth, asking me to go ** Tom Bowling,' or 'The wind that down to Plymouth for a week or so. blows, and the ship that goes, and the It came from an old sailor, a friend of lass that loves a sailor.""
my family, who had been Commodore of "By the way, why shouldn't we have the fleet. He lived at Plymouth ; he à song ?” said Tom.
“ What do you
was a thorough old sailor-what you say, Captain Hardy ? "
young men would call 'an old salt'-and The captain winced a little as he saw couldn't live out of sight of the blue his chance of expounding his notion as sea and the shipping. It is a disease to triremes slipping away, but answered, that a good many of us take who have
"By all means, sir ; Jack must sing spent our best years on the sea. I have for me, though. Did you ever hear him it myself-a sort of feeling that we must sing Tom Bowling'?"
be under another kind of Providence, “No, never, sir. Why, Hardy, you
when we look out and see a hill on this never told me you could sing.”
side and a hill on that. It's wonderful “ You never asked me," said Hardy, to see the trees come out and the corn laughing; “but, if I sing for my father, grow, but then it doesn't come so home he must spin us a yarn.
to an old sailor. I know that we're all "Oh yes; will you, sir ?”
just as much under the Lord's hand on "I'll do my best, Mr. Brown; but I shore as at sea; but you can't read in a don't know that you'll care to listen to
haven't been used to, and they my old yarns. Jack thinks everybody that go down to the sea in ships, they must like them as well as he, who used see the works of the Lord and His to hear them when he was a child." wonders in the deep. It isn't their
"Thank you, sir; that's famous—now fault if they don't see His wonders on Hardy, strike up."
the land so easily as other people. " After you. You must set the ex- But, for all that, there's no man enjoys ample in your own rooms."
a cruize in the country more than a So Tom sang his song. And the noise sailor. It's forty years ago since I started orought Drysdale and another man up, for Plymouth, but I haven't forgotten the road a bit, or how beautiful it was; own younger brother; and, for that all through the New Forest, and over matter, so were all the crew, from our Salisbury Plain, and then on by the captain to the cook's boy. He was such mail to Exeter, and through Devonshire. a gallant youngster, and yet so gentle. It took me three days to get to Ply- In one cutting-out business we had, he mouth, for we didn't get about so quick climbed over the boatswain's shoulders, in those days.
and was almost first on deck; how he The Commodore was very kind to me came out of it without a scratch I can't when I got there, and I went about with think to this day. But he hadn't a bit him to the ships in the bay, and through of bluster in him, and was as kind as the dock-yard, and picked up a good a woman to any one who was wounded deal that was of use, to me afterwards. or down with sickness. I was a lieutenant in those days, and After we had been out about a year had seen a good deal of service, and I we were sent to cruise off Malta, on the found the old Commodore had a great look-out for the French fleet. It was a nephew whom he had adopted, and had long business, and the post wasn't so set his whole heart upon. He was an
good then as it is now. We were someold bachelor himself, but the boy had times for months without getting a letter, come to live with him, and was to go to and knew nothing of what was happensea; so he wanted to put him under ing at home, or anywhere else. We had some one who would give an eye to him a sick time too on board, and at last he for the first year or two.
He was a
got a fever. He bore up against it like light slip of a boy then, fourteen years a man, and wouldn't knock off duty for old, with deep set blue eyes and long a long time. He was midshipman of my eyelashes, and cheeks like a girl's, but as watch ; so I used to make him turn in brave as a lion and as merry as a lark. early, and tried to ease things to him as The old gentleman was very pleased to much as I could; but he didn't pick see that we took to one another. We up, and I began to get very anxious used to bathe and boat together; and about him. I talked to the doctor, and he was never tired of hearing my stories turned matters over in my own mind, about the great admirals, and the fleet, and at last I came to think he wouldn't and the stations I had been on.
get any better unless he could sleep out Well, it was agreed that I should
of the cockpit. So, one night, the 20th apply for a ship again directly, and go of October it was—I remember it well up to London with a letter to the Ad- enough, better than I remember any miralty from the Commodore, to help day since; it was a dirty night, blowing things on. After a month or two I was half a gale of wind from the southward, appointed to a brig, lying at Spithead; and we were under close-reefed topsailsand so I wrote off to the Commodore, I had the first watch, and at nine o'clock and he got his boy a midshipman's berth I sent him down to my cabin to sleep on board, and brought him to Ports- there, where he would be fresher and mouth himself, a day or two before we quieter, and I was to turn into his hamsailed for the Mediterranean. The old mock when my watch was over. gentleman came on board to see his boy's I was on deck three hours or so after hammock slung, and went below into he went down, and the weather got the cockpit to make sure that all was right. dirtier and dirtier, and the scud drove He only left us by the pilot-boat, when by, and the wind sang and hummed we were well out in the Channel. He
through the rigging-it made me melanwas very low at parting from his boy, choly to listen to it. I could think of but bore up as well as he could; and we nothing but the youngster down below, promised to write to him from Gibraltar, and what I should say to his poor old and as often afterwards as we hada chance. uncle if anything happened. Well, soon
I was soon as proud and fond of little after midnight I went down and turned Tom Holdsworth as if he had been my into his hammock. I didn't go to sleep