Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

puts me on a level with my crew. Good pirates, I had no connexion with such night, good-night. Go to sleep.” persons and that my object in intruding

About two hours after sun set, I re. upon them was to offer my professional tired to my birth ; but the events of the services to Mr.R- The young lady day had made such a strong impression sprung from her chair, and expressed that I could not sleep, and I rose at mid- her gratitude in the warmest manner, night and went upon deck. It was clear while her father's flushed countenance moonlight, and perfectly calm. On and beaming eyes evinced that hopes of looking for the brig, I perceived, to my life began to revive in his heart. astonishment, that she lay within a mile When Manuel had carried away as of us, and had heeled over so much that much of the cargo as his vessel could she seemed almost on her beam-ends. conveniently contain, he informed us I immediately informed Manuel of this, that the boat was ready to take us all on and he looked at her thro’his night-glass, board the schooner ; we accordingly and said she was aground upon a sand- embarked, placing Mr. R. upon a maibank. “ What is to be done?” cried I; trass, and rowed away from the brig, to“ you surely will not allow those on wards which the Captain and his crew board to perish?"-" Tomorrow's dawn directed many anxious and regretful shall determine that,” returned he.. looks. On getting on board the schoon

At day-break we found that the brig er, our first business was to contrive acwas still in the situation already descri- commodations for so many new passenbed, and Manuel, accompanied by me gers. I resigned my birth to Mr.RS and several of the crew, went towards and Manuel allowed the young lady and her in the boat. The Captain seemed her attendant to occupy his state-room. at a loss how to receive us, being doubt. The Captain and his crew reposed upon ful whether our intentions were hostile deck, but the latter were so indignant or friendly ; but when we had satisfied at the familiarity with which the negroes him on this point, he informed us, that treated them, that they would have rehis vessel having become quite unman- sented it by force, had not the fear of ageable, in consequence of the loss of being overcome by superior numbers her rudder, had drifted away towards a restrained their fury. However, the sand-bank, and run hard aground the two parties poured out torrents of abuse preceding night. We soon ascertained against each other; and the clamour of that her bottom was a good deal dam- their tongues, the groans of Mr.Raged, and that she could not be got off. the agonies of his daughter, and the con" This brig will go to pieces the first finement of a crowded vessel, all comtime there is a heavy sca," said Manuel bined to render the day and succeeding to the Captain ; “ and those who remain night insupportably tedious and distresin her must perish. I will take you all sing to me. on board my schooner, and put you In about 40 hours, we made the Pan ashore about 40 miles above Matanzas, of Matanzas, and Manuel told the Capseeking no compensation but part of the tain and the white crew to hold themcargo, which you of course have no selves in readiness, as he soon intended means of preserving.” After some de- to put them ashore. At sunset we were liberation, this proposal was acceded to scarcely two leagues from the coast of by all parties, and Manuel's crew again Cuba. The negroes lowered a small began to unload the brig.

boat, and stowed a quantity of water While they were thus engaged, I went and provisions in her; and Manuel down to the cabin,and found Mr.R- came down to the cabin, and informed and his daughter there. The former Mr

R a nd his daughter that it was had a look of ghastliness which gave me time for them to embark. “Where?an unfavourable idea of the nature of What do you mean?” cried the young his wound; and the latter sat beside lady." _ Why, madam," returned his bed, and seemed at once hopeless Manuel, "didn't I say that all the peo and resigned. On seeing me, they ple belonging to the brig were to put both started, but said nothing. I told ashore here?"_" Oh, thanked be them, that altho' I came along with the Heaven," exclaimed she; “then we

VOL. 10.]

The Florida Pirate.

185

UTILITAIRE 1

bled.

are near a harbour and a town ?-My closeness of the cabin, and begged to dear father !"-"No, no, interrupted be lifted upon deck. We immediately Manuel, “ the coast opposite is unin- complied with his wishes, and spread habited.”—“What do you tell me ?” a mattrass for him near the stern of cried she, bursting into tears ; “you the vessel. Elizabeth, his daughter, surely cannot be so barbarous-my seated herself beside his couch, and the father is dying ;-have a little pity. Mulatto woman waited behind. · I It is indeed dreadful to be here, to be threw myself upon a ceroon at a little among such people ;- but what will distance, and felt so fatigued, that I become of my parent, if you send us gradually began to slumber, although away : I have no more money to give within hearing of the sick man's feeble you, but perhaps~" Here she cover- groans and hurried inspirations. ed her face with her hands, and sobbed I was suddenly awakened by the so violently, that her whole frame trem- sound of light footsteps. I opened my

eyes and saw Elizabeth. “My father Manuel began to pace about the ca. is" - She could say no more. I bin; I saw that he was affected, and rose and followed her. Mr. R therefore did not venture to speak. lay upon his back with half-closed eyes,

“Well, lady," said he, after a pause, and seemed scarcely sensible of our ap"you may remain here. I will pro- proach ; but in a little time he turned tect you and your father-yes, even his face towards me, and tried to smile. though I shouid bring myself into diffi. He then took hold of his daughter's culty by doing so." He then went upa hand, and attempted to greet her in the on deck and ordered the Captain and same way, but it was impossible ; his his crew, who had already seated them- lips trembled, and some tears rushed selves in the boat to row away. The down his cheeks. None of us uttered clashing of their oars, which at first a word, or even ventured to sigh. broke upon the stillness of the night, It was the finest moonlight, and the gradually became fainter, and soon sub- whole heavens were covered with one sided into almost undistinguishable continuous expanse of dappled white murmurs.

clouds. The celestial net work, exIn the course of the evening, Manu- tending from horizon to horizon, floatel asked me if I thought Mr.

R

e d in motionless repose, and the stars would recover from his wound. I told could be seen twinkling faintly through him that I feared he would soon be re- its apertures. The calm was such that lieved from the inconvenience of having our sails scarcely even flapped upon such a passenger on board. “So I the masts, and our vessel lay as still as suspect," returned he ; " but what is if she had been imbedded in a field of to become of his daughter and the Mu- crystal. The balmy murmurings of latto woman ? I wish I had sent them the little surges upon the distant beach, off in the boat to-night." _“It would swelled upon the ear, and died away have been unmerciful,” said I; 6 per- again with a caprice that seemed in haps the seamen themselves may per- unison with the irregular motions of a ish.”_" Don't fear, don't fear," cried tall cocoa-nut tree, which stood alone he; “I treated them very generously. upon a projecting rock, and was waMost pirates would have left the whole ved in a melancholy manner by a landparty to drown in the brig, and been breeze too feeble and unsteady to reach glad of such an opportunity of getting or affect us. them out of the way. I gave them a Elizabeth knelt silently beside her good boat and plenty of provisions ; father, with clasped hands, and had they will easily reach Matanzas. My that frozen look of condensed despair, crew are enraged at my conduct in this which is almost too terrible for an inaffair. I must be on my guard ; and, habitant of this world. Her face and listen to me, be you also on yours !" lips were colourless, and she seemed

A short time before midnight, Mr. like a spirit waiting for a departing R- complained of the oppressive soul. None of us knew the exact mo

2 ATHENEUM VOL, 10.

ment at which Mr. R- died. I cured the door of the apartment which soon after took his daughter by the contained the arms. He then appear. hand, and conducted her to the cabin. ed upon deck, with a brace of pistols She neither spoke a word nor made in his girdle, a dagger by his side, and the least resistance, and I began to fear a naked scymitar in his hand, and that grief had bewildered her percep- took his station beside the companion tions. Her attendant followed us, and door. I left them together.

The boldness of his deportment I did not attempt to sleep any that seemed to increase the fury of the night. I was occupied in thinking of blacks; some of whom called out, Elizabeth, who had soon awakened to “ Down with him ! down with him! a full sense of her misery, and whose he has betrayed us." Manuel paid no sobs haunted my ears wherever I went. attention to their cries, but ordered In the morning she sunk into a gentle them, in a voice of thunder, to load slumber, which, after continuing two the guns, and rushed forward, waving hours, left her in a state of compara- his sword in the air. They became tive rationality and composure. I re- intimidated, and hastened to obey him ; quested to see her, and we had an in- and, while they were engaged in doing terview. I offered myself as a protec- so, I ran down to the cabin, and arntor, and promised to do every thing in ed myself as well as possible, at the my power to extricate her from her same time comforting Elizabeth, and present unhappy situation, and said I bidding her remain in her state-room. would escort her to a place of safety When I went upon deck again, 1 whenever I had the good fortune to ef- found that the negroes had openly mufect this. I then told who I was, and tinied. They were ranged round the related the circumstances that had in- foremast, and stood glaring at Manuel, duced me to seek an asylum among and at each other, like a set of demons. the pirates. In return, she thanked “Hell curse you, captain !" cried one me for my upremitting attentions to her of them, what right had you to bring father, and declared that she fully be- us here? Were we all to be sent to the lieved me to be what I professed. devil, that you might put ashore them

The calım continued during the damned whites that you picked out of whole of that day, and Manuel exhibit- the brig?"_“Ay, ay, it was mercy ed many signs of impatience at its long that made him do so," said another; duration ; and the more so, as the cur- « but see if we'll get any mercy from rent was gradually carrying us towards the tyrants that are in chase of us. Matanzas, a place which he wished Ha, Mr. Manuel ! I would almost be anxiously to avoid. Next morning a hanged myself, to have the satisfaction gentle breeze sprung up, and we had of seeing you swing by the throat !"scarcely begun to profit by it, when we « They couldn't get him hanged," vodiscovered a small brig of war, with ciferated a third, “ for he would always American colours, bearing towards us, untie the rope with his right hand. under full sail. Manuel ordered his Oh, captain, may the devil scorch your men to crowd all canvass, and tried soul for bringing us here !” “He various nautical manauvres, in the thinks us a set of niger slaves," cried hope of escaping her ; but she gained the first speaker, “ who haven't spirit upon us every moment.

to do any thing but what he bids usThe negroes, when they perceived but we'll shew him another story. that we could not get out of her reach, Come on,-let us have revenge! Down were thrown into a state of consterna- with him, and his companion !" tion and totally neglected their duty. Several of the crew now rushed toThey assembled together in groupes, wards us with threatening gestures. and conversed with outrageous looks Manuel fired a pistol among them, and and violent gesticulations, occasionally wounded one with his scymitar, and I throwing baleful glances at Manuel. struck down another with the butt-end He saw that a storm was gathering, of a blunderbuss, and then acted upon and immediately went below, and se- the defensive. They were repelled ;

but would apparently have made a se- lowed him, and found Elizabeth and cond attack, had not a shot from the her maid nearly speechless with terror. brig raked us fore and aft, and carried Manuel tore open the hatch in the away the binnacle. « Now, now," floor, and pulled up a small cask, the shouted Manuel, "if you are worth head of which he knocked in with his any thing, fight for your lives! The hand. It was full of gunpowder. He enemy is close upon us; we shall be placed it upon the table.--I grew blown out of the water !-Here is the breathless. He put a steel between key of the armoury-go and equip his teeth, and then seizing a flint, beyourselves, and shew some real spirit." gan to strike the one against the other.

The negroes were almost instanta. The pulsations of my heart ceased, neously animated by a new feeling. and my eyes became dim. Manuel Some provided themselves with mus- seemed suddenly to dilate into fearful kets and cutlasses, and others took and gigantic size, and to pour torrents their station at the guns. They all of fire upon the gunpowder. My had a look of savage and determined senses were suddenly recalled by a resistance; which shewed that they loud crash, and by the appearance of would rather perish in battle, than run water rushing down upon us through the risk of terminating their lives upon the sky-light. I thought we were goa scaffold.

ing to the bottom, and started up and The brig had now come nearly along- pulled the fainting Elizabeth towards side of us, and her captain command- the gangway. There we encountered ed us to heave-to, if we desired any an American officer; he gave us a quarter. He was answered by the look of astonishment, and hastening discharge of four cannon, and by a towards Manuel, seized his arm, and shower of musket-balls. They gave said, “ Surrender yourself—you are a broadside in return, which carried my prisoner.” away our mainmast, and then bore Manuel did not attempt any resistdown upon the schooner, with the in- ance, but followed the officer upon tention of boarding her. The smoke deck. Having left Elizabeth, whose prevented the helmsman of the brig recollection was now pretty well refrom steering justly, and he suddenly stored, with her maid, I went there brought her so close to us, that she also. Every thing had become quiet. swept away our chains, and stove in The American seainen were in possesour bulwarks, and dragged us through sion of the schooner, and the negroes the water a considerable distance. had been removed on board the brig of The fight now became very desperate. of war. Her captain ordered Manuel The bayonet and cutlass had usurped to be put in irons, and directed that the place of fire-arms, and the negroes, Elizabeth and I should have accommowho were not provided with weapons dations in his own vessel. of any kind, attacked the American I was a good deal astonished to meet seamen with their fists, beating them with several of the crew that had bedown, attempting to choak them, and longed to the brig we had plundered, pushing them overboard. They all and to hear them say that they were the while animated each other with the means of capturing the schooner. shouts, execrations, and blasphemous Having been fortunate enough to reach cries, and rushed furiously to the com- Matanzas the day after Manuel ad set bat, half-naked, and covered with dust, them adrift in the boat, they found an and sweat, and blood. . . American brig of war there, which had

I kept as near Manuel as possible. run into the harbour that she might reHe sometimes fought vigorously for a pair some damage she had sustained few moments, and then stood idle, ap- while on her voyage from Jamaica to parently irresolute what to do. At Charleston. They immediately gave last he cried out, “ It is easy to see her captain information respecting the how this day will end, but I must hast. pirate, and he set out in pursuit of en its termination," and then hurried them, making the seamen warp his down to the cabin. I instinctively fol- brig along, till a breeze sprung up

which enabled him to come in sight of cept in the way of flogging them.'the schooner. During the battle, a “ You do not deserve to die,” said I, young officer who boarded her along after a pause." Oh, perhaps not,” with the American crew, happened to returned he; “but law-law-law, observe Manuel's attempts to blow you know-However, 'tis better I them up, and with great presence of should. I had a weary life of it. I mind, dashed his foot through the sky- was chased from the land, and took light, and averted the danger by pour- refuge upon the sea; but, notwithing down a large quantity of water up- standing that, I could not escape the on the gunpowder.

blood-bounds of the Southern States of A few hours after the capture of the America. But here I have written schooner, we set sail for Charleston, out something for you. Take this letwhere the brig was bound. We reach- ter to Gustavus H- , and accept ed that port in ten days. The pirate what he gives you in return, as a recrew were immediately lodged in jail. membrance of me. But don't tell him I underwent an examination, and was that I am sentenced to death." He then taken into custody, it being evi- then presented me with a paper, and dent, from my own confession, that I having given directions where I should had not been forced on board the find the person to whom it was adschooner. Elizabeth, to whom I had dressed, bid me farewell. hourly become more devoted during I immediately proceeded in search the voyage, found an asylum in the of Manuel's acquaintance, and after house of a distant relation, who resided some time, reached his house, which in Charleston, and was summoned as a was situated in the most obscure part witness against the negroes. In three of a narrow and dirty alley. The weeks their trial came on, and Manuel door was opened by an old negro, and and seven others were condemned to I enquired if Gustavus H- lived death. No evidence appearing against there. “I am the man," returned he; me, I was liberated from confinement " walk in, master.” I entered, and at an early period, by the intercession gave him the letter, and at his request of several persons who appeared to seated myself upon an old stool in one take an interest in my fate. I sup- corner of the apartment until he read plied myself with means of support, by it. “ Strange-very strange," mutdisposing of some valuables I had in tered he, gazing on me intently. “How my possession.

is Mr. Manuel ?"-" Well enough at I was filled with sorrow when I present,” returned I; “but” — He heard that Manuel was condemned to stood still a moment, as if waiting the death, aware that he deserved a better conclusion of my reply, and then went fate. I visited him in jail, the day af- out of the room, but soon came back, ter he had received his sentence. He carrying a bag, which he immediately was loaded with fetters, and occupied a put into my hands. Its weight was small cell by himself, through which immense.That's all,” said he, “I he paced as quickly as the weight of guess Manuel don't intend that I should his irons would permit; though he had be his bankeer long. Good morning, a subdued look, the expression of his sir.” countenance was neither abject nor When I returned to my lodgings, 1 sorrowful.

opened the bag, and, to my astonishAh, is it you, sir ?” cried he, ad- ment, found it full of doubloons. I vancing towards me, as I entered; could not believe that Manuel intended “ you are the person I most wished to leaving me such a legacy, and went to see. How kind it is in you to visit a the prison in the afternoon, that I might poor negro ! For I am no more now. see him, and converse with him upon I am glad to be treated as a rational the subject; but I arrived there too creature by at least one white man. I late; he had anticipated the law by wonder they have let you escape. In putting a period to his existence. this country it is a crime for a man to Fortune had now bestowed upon me have any thing to do with blacks, ex- the means of returning to my native

« AnteriorContinuar »