« PreviousContinue »
week; but we must all get on dry rigging as fast as possible, and then you shall have the story of our cruise."
In a few minutes we had changed our wet clothes and were seated at the cabin-table, eating our supper and narrating our adventures to the old man. Tommy, poor fellow, had his share, and now lay snoring at our feet, as the bottles and pannikins were placed upon the little table.
"Come, Jacob, a drop will do you good," said old Tom, filling me one of the pannikins. "A'ter all, it's much better being snug here in this little cabin, than shivering with fear and cold under old Abershaw's gallows; and Tom, you scamp, if ever you go gunning again, I'll disinherit you."
"What have you got to leave, father, except your wooden legs ?" replied Tom. "Your's would be but a wooden leg-acy."
"How do you know but what I can post the coal?""
"So you will, if I boil a pot o' 'tatoes with your legacy-but it will only be char-coal."
"Well, I believe you are about right, Tom; still, somehow or other, the old woman always picks out a piece or two of gold when I'm rather puzzled how to raise the wind. I never keeps no 'count with her. If I follow my legs before she, I hope the old soul will have saved something; for you know when a man goes to kingdom come, his pension goes with him. However, let me only hold on another five years, and then you'll not see her want; will you, Tom ?"
"No, father, I'll sell myself to the king, and stand to be shot at, at a shilling a day; and give the old woman half.”
66 Well, om,
'tis but natural for a man to
wish to serve his country; so here's to you,
my lad, and may you never do worse! Jacob,
you think of going on board of a man-of
"I'd like to serve my apprenticeship first, and then I don't care how soon.'
"Well, my boy, you'll meet more fair play on board of a king's ship, than you have from those on shore."
"I should hope so,” replied I bitterly.
"And I hope to see you a man before I die, yet, Jacob. I shall very soon be laid up in ordinary-my toes pain me a good deal lately!" "Your toes!" cried Tom and I, both at
Yes, boys; you may think it odd, but sometimes I feel them just as plain as if they were now on, instead of being long ago in some shark's maw. At nights I has the cramp in them till it almost makes me halloo out with pain. It's a hard thing, when one has lost
the sarvice of his legs, that all the feelings should remain. The doctor says as how it's narvous. Come, Jacob, shove in your pannikin. You seem to take it more kindly than you did."
"Yes," replied I, "I begin to like grog now." The now, however, might be comprehended within the space of the last twenty-four hours. My depressed spirits were raised with the stimulus, and for the time I got rid of the eternal current of thought which pressed upon my brain.
"I wonder what your old gentleman, the Domine, as you call him, thought, after he got on shore again," said old Tom. "He seemed to be mighty cut up. I suppose you'll give him a hail, Jacob?"
"No," replied I, "I shall not go near him, nor any body else, if I can help it. Mr. Drummond may think I wish to make it up again.
I've done with the shore. I only wish I knew what is to become of me; for you know I am not to serve in the lighter with you."
Suppose Tom and I look out for another craft, Jacob? I care nothing for Mr. Drummond. He said t'other day I was a drunken old swab-for which, with my sarvice to him, he lies. A drunken fellow is one who can't, for the soul of him, keep from liquor, when he can get it, and who's overtaken before he is aware of it. Now that's not the case with me;
I keep sober when there's work to be done; and when I knows that every thing is safe under hatches, and no fear of nothing, why then I gets drunk like a rational being, with my eyes open 'cause why-'cause I chooses."
"That's exactly my notion of the thing,"
observed Tom, draining his pannikin, and handing it over to his father for a fresh supply.