The Sea Fight by Anon

“Britannia needs no bulwarks,
No towers along the steep
Her march is o’er the mountain wave,
Her home is on the deep.”

It was on the close of a sultry day in August, about the end of the French war, that a carriage was slowly wending its way down one of the principal streets of the town of Berwick. The dust with which it was covered, and the jaded appearance of the horses, seemed to betoken that it came from a distance. The postilion, a pursy little man, whose rosy face bore the indubitable marks of a worshipper at the shrine of Bacchus, drew up at the first inn which presented itself to view. Out of the carriage stepped a young man who was plainly dressed in the garb of a sailor. He had nothing particular about his dress to distinguish him from the common run of seamen; but his upright figure, and that indescribable something which is peculiar to a “certain class,” and which serves to distinguish them from those in humbler situations in life, at first sight shewed that he belonged to the former. He appeared to be about twenty-six years of age, while his weather-beaten face, and a slight scar on his left cheek, shewed that he had borne both “the battle and the breeze.” He was accompanied by a squat muscular-looking fellow, who seemed to act in the capacity of servant; although his sea jargon and hard horny hands shewed him to be more accustomed to the duty of a sailor than that of a lacquey. After seeing that their baggage was properly taken care of, they retired together to a private room.

“Well, Bill,” said he who seemed the superior to his companion, “how do you feel after your ride? For my part, I would sooner sail round the world in a gale of wind, and the ship pitching bows under all the time, than be again jammed up and jostled in that infernal cage.”

“Why, sir,” rejoined his companion, “I am as sore as if I had been soundly thrashed with a handspike; but, howd-soever, that doesn’t matter—we must look out for squalls on land as well as on sea, till we are fairly housed either under ground or in Davy Jones.”

“Take my spy-glass,” said the young officer, “walk down to the shore, and see if our little hooker is appearing in sight yet.”

“As I take it,” replied Bill, “she can’t be far astarn of us, for she has had a spanking breeze all day.”

So saying, snatching up his hat, he was preparing to quit the room, when the officer bawled out—

“’Vast there, my lad—I’ll accompany you.” And they both descended together.

Turning down the arch which leads to the pier, they strolled along till they overtook four or five men who were lounging at that part where the pier turns outward at an obtuse angle. Below them lay a longboat, apparently intended for piloting the ships into the harbour. One of them was a man about sixty years of age, whose small head and piercing eye, slouched under a broad-brimmed hat, were strangely contrasted with the bluff and muscular appearance of his body. His face was covered with a thick shaggy beard, which seemed not to have been in the hands of the barber for a month at least. The rest of the men had nothing remarkable in their appearance; but all of them seemed to be at least twenty years younger than the old fellow just mentioned.

“Well, my lads,” said the officer, “any ships in sight?”

“Never a one,” replied the old fellow, in a gruff voice; “we may stand here all the day blowing our fingers, and whistling to Molly Jackson, long enough before she send us that windfall.”

“Perhaps that windfall may happen sooner than you expect,” replied the officer. “I expect a vessel soon; she cannot be far distant.”

“Which direction does she come?” eagerly asked the old man. But no sooner were the words out of his mouth than a square-rigged vessel was observed doubling St Abb’s, which had before concealed her from their view. In a minute the blue-jack flew up to her foretopmast head.

“There comes the little Hawk,” cried Bill, rubbing his hands for joy; “there comes the Hawk, as tight a little craft as ever fought her guns on one deck.”

The sudden appearance of the brig seemed to act like an electric shock upon the men. In an instant, hands were seen disappearing from the flaps of their dirty canvass trousers; and each scrambling down the pier as best he could, seized hold of their respective oars, and, in a moment, the longboat was under way, the men pulling as if it had been for life or death.

“Stop!” cried the officer; “take me on board with you.”

“Give way, my hearties,” roared out the old man, without attending to him. “Give way—there is Hoby Elliot will be at our heels directly.”

“I am commander of that vessel,” cried the officer, running along the pier to keep up with the boat; but the men were too eager to get at the vessel to attend to him.

“Well, Bill,” said he, turning to his companion, “see it is no go with these fellows; so you will just step up to the inn, get our luggage down, and here is some money to discharge our reckoning.”

“Ay, ay, sir,” said Bill, and moved off.

The brig, by this time, had neared the harbour considerably with the wind, from the north-north-west, blowing right upon her quarter. The young officer could not help a feeling of pride and satisfaction as he fondly gazed upon his little vessel scudding before the breeze, while her taut masts and long, slight yards, literally covered with canvass, seemed to bend beneath their load. There is a sympathy which the sailor feels for his ship, which it is difficult to describe. It is not that love which a parent feels for his child—nor yet the love of a child to its parent; it is not that which a brother feels for his sister. No; it is something stronger than this: it is the affection which an ardent lover feels for his mistress—it is a love riveted by the strongest links of attachment; in it he has weathered many a tough gale; in it are contained his jovial shipmates, bound together by mutual hardships and perils.

The prospect which at this moment presented itself to the officer’s view was beautiful in the extreme. To the south, beyond the long, flat sands of Holy Island, were seen the old castle and abbey of Lindisfern, hallowed by so many sacred associations; beyond them, were seen rising, in the distance, the castles of Bamburgh and Dunstanburg; to the west, were the fields yellow with corn ready for the sickle; to the north, was the bold promontory of St Abb’s, the finest headland in Europe, jutting into the sea; to the east, was the German Ocean, stretching away till the view was bounded by the clouds in the distant horizon, which seemed level with the sea; and, what to the officer was dearer than all these, there was his little vessel, the pride of his heart, skimming, like a thing of life, over the blue waters.

Before proceeding farther with our present story, it may not be amiss, first, to give the reader some insight into the history of the hero of our tale.

Harry Fenwick was the son of a small landed proprietor in the south-west of England, who, having unfortunately embarked his whole fortune in a mercantile speculation, was, by a sudden loss, reduced to poverty. The distress occasioned by this misfortune was increased by the sudden death of his wife, which so preyed upon his spirits that he soon after died of a broken heart, leaving poor Harry and his little sister Susan unprotected in the world. But Providence, who watches over the orphan and the destitute, soon raised them up a protector in the person of a maternal uncle, who, having been abroad for a number of years, had amassed a handsome fortune, but arrived in England too late to close the eyes of his sister. Having no children, he determined to adopt his nephew and niece, who, from that day, became as his own. Harry was fourteen years old on the death of his parents; and his uncle, Benjamin Davis, determined to bring him up to his own profession—that of a sailor. He was accordingly entered as a midshipman on board the Ranger, a fifty-gun ship, where his conduct was such, that he rose from one degree to another, till, at length, in an engagement with a ship of superior metal, he so distinguished himself, that, in reward for his bravery, he was promoted to the command of the brig Hawk, mounting eight twelves and two short carronades, with a crew of eighty hands, as smart fellows as ever sailed on salt water. At the time when our story begins, Harry had left his ship at Leith, to visit an old friend of his uncle’s, at whose house he was a frequent visiter. Certain it is, that however much Harry loved the yarns and company of the old tar, yet there was another no less powerful attraction, in the person of his gentle and lovely daughter Maria. Maria Everet was not what most people would call a beauty; but the grace and symmetry of her slight figure, her sweet, pensive manners, and the melodiousness of her voice, threw around her a charm which captivated much more effectually than those whose beauty dazzles at first sight.

Often would Maria listen, in silent wonder and admiration, to the conversations between her father and Harry, of hairbreadth escapes, of storms and battles; and, stealing a timid glance at the young and hardy sailor, she would sigh, and, like Desdemona, would desire him to repeat again what he had been relating. Harry, on the other hand, felt interested in the lovely girl. At first he esteemed her for her father’s sake, but a better acquaintance made him love her for her own; and it was with secret joy and inward gratification that the old father observed the growing attachment between Harry and his daughter. Often would Harry, when cruising on the coast, think of the peaceful home of the old sailor, where dwelt she whom he loved above all the world; and, however far absent, his thoughts, like the needle in his compass, always reverted to the north. Great, then, was his disappointment, when, on arriving at Everet’s house, he found that Maria had gone to England to visit his uncle Ben and sister Susan. Without stopping longer than to take a night’s rest, he set out for Berwick, where his ship was to wait till his arrival; and, as he was bound for Plymouth, after an eighteen months’ cruise, he determined to call on his uncle, who dwelt on the sea coast. But to return to our story.

By the time the vessel had reached the mouth of the harbour, our old friend, Bill Curtis, was hurrying along the pier, blowing like a porpoise, and bawling out to the porter who accompanied him—

“Come, bear a hand, my lad—I see they are just manning the six-oared gig!”

On the approach of the gig, Harry leaped down to the landing-place, and stepped on board. In a moment, the caps of the sailors were doffed in salutation to their commander; and a smile of pleasure lighted up their weather-beaten countenances as he addressed them in a kindly manner.

Harry was received on the quarter by his first and second lieutenants; when the sailors, no longer restrained by the presence of their commander, and bursting with impatience, asked all at once—

“Well, Bill, what’s brought the captain and you so soon back?—has the bird flown?”

“Avast a bit,” cried Bill—“I must first fill up a hole in my stomach, big enough to hold a hogshead.” So, bursting past, he descended the companion-ladder, and straightway betook himself to the galley, where the cook, an old tar who had got his larboard fin carried away by a cannon ball, was serving, out of a monstrous ladle, a mess of beef and greens to the old pilot and his boat’s crew, who were already devouring with their eyes the promised feast—“Shiver my tafferel, if I don’t think I could swallow a shark, bones and all, for sheer hunger!” roared Bill. So saying, he slapped his knife into the beef, and ate as heartily as if he had not tasted meat for a week.

At this instant, the boatswain’s whistle was heard piping up all hands.

“What’s the matter now?” said the cook.

“Oh,” said Bill, “they are going to get the ship under way, I suppose.”

“The ship under way!” said the old pilot, rising from a dark corner where he was sitting. “Is the captain not going to enter the harbour?”

“No, no,” replied Bill; “he is in too great a hurry to see his sweetheart for that.”

“Where is she?” asked the old cook.

“On the coast of Norfolk,” said Bill, “where we are to stop on our passage. But I must not stand speechifying here while the rest are busy.”

So saying, he sprung on deck, followed by the old pilot.

When Bill and his companion came upon deck, they found Harry there, giving orders. The old pilot went up to him, and doffing his hat, said—

“Sir, I hope you are not going to get the ship under way to-night.”

“Why not?” asked Harry.

“Look, sir,” exclaimed the pilot, turning to the northeast, “do you not see how the sky is lowering over yonder? and do you not feel what a roll of the sea there is?—a sure sign of a coming storm, if there has not been a gale before. Take an old man’s advice for once, and one who has weathered many a tough gale—keep not to sea to-night, but enter the harbour, where you will be safe from every wind that blows.”

“Thank you, my old boy,” said Harry; “but a seaman must not be frightened with every capful of wind that may blow.” So saying, he moved off to give directions.

By this time the ship was again under way; but, although Harry had disregarded the advice of the old pilot about entering the harbour, yet he determined to make the ship snug for what might happen. So, seizing a speaking-trumpet, he bawled out to some men aloft—

“Send down the royals and topgallantmasts there.”

“Ay, ay, sir,” shouted half a dozen voices from the clouds; and in a minute down they came.

Harry, coming up to Archer, the second lieutenant, asked him what he thought of the weather.

“I believe we are going to get a stiff north-easter,” replied Archer; “and, by the Lord Harry, there it comes!” said he, pointing to the east.

“Well, then,” said Harry, “get the topsails double-reefed, new lash the guns, and send the carpenter and his mate to secure the boats and batten down the hatchways. What course do you steer?” asked Harry at the man at the wheel.

“South-east and by south,” said the man.

“Then keep her head two more points to the east; we must stand without the Fern Islands, as the wind seems inclined to eastern upon us.”

At this instant, a heavy squall struck the ship, and almost laid her on her beam-ends. “Luff, my lad—luff!” roared out Harry to the man at the wheel.

Seeing the ship much pressed, a midshipman with six men, were sent to take in the staysails, by which the ship was eased considerably. The wind, by this time, had risen to a perfect hurricane; the rain fell in torrents, and the sea-birds were screaming and fluttering about the rigging, as if seeking for shelter from the wind; the sea, likewise, had risen prodigiously, and the ship, groaning and weltering at every plunge, seemed to be cracking at every timber, whilst the creaking of the guns and the rattling of the blocks greatly increased the uproar and confusion.

“Surely some hag is dead to-night, it blows so desperately,” said Clark, coming aft to where Harry was standing; “but, as the ship makes good weather on this reach, as she is nearly bow on to the sea, it may be as well to keep her on this tack during the night.”

“O sirs,” said the carpenter, coming up with a face as long as his arm, “the ship is sinking, and we shall all go to the bottom.”

“What’s the matter?” said Harry.

“The ship has sprung a leak in the powder-magazine, and the water is pouring in like a sluice.”

“Hang your long phiz!” said an old grim fellow of a quartermaster, standing by the main-chains; “why don’t you go and stop it, then?”

“Do you, Clark,” said Harry, “go down and see what is the matter; and do you, carpenter, get your crew and man the weather pump.”

“There is a leak, indeed,” said Clark, returning; “but nothing to make a work about.”

“An ugly sea that!” said the old quartermaster; “that greenhorn at the helm has wet me into the skin. You rascal, why don’t you ease the ship into the sea? If you carry on in that manner, you will soon send us all to another place of worship.”

“Do you intend, sir,” said he, addressing himself to Harry, “to stand long on this tack?”

“Yes,” replied Harry; “the ship will labour less on this tack than on the other; and besides, it is best to get as much sea-room as possible.”

“Had we not better run into the Fairway?” said the quartermaster; “we are sure of getting shelter under the Big Fern; and I know the coast well, for I was brought up in these parts.”

“That’s a good idea,” observed Harry.

“But a lee-shore is a dangerous place in a stormy night,” added Clark.

“Oh, never fear the lee-shore—I’ll pilot you in safety; besides, the lights will direct us.”

“Very well,” said Harry; “as the wind does not at all seem inclined to take off, we had better do as you say; and do you, Clark, take some men and clew up the foresail. Keep her away, my lad,” shouted he to the man at the wheel. “So, so—steady. Ready there with the boom-foresail halyards.”

“All ready, sir.”

“Then boom away, my lads; get the trysail down too, and we’ll run under double-reefed topsails alone.”

The ship was much eased by this diminution of canvass, and ran much steadier than might have been expected, only occasionally shipping a little sea over the weather bow.

“A bit of a gale,” muttered the quartermaster to himself, as he descended to the midshipman’s mess. “Humph,” said he, observing the middies seated over a bowl of punch, “you seem to be enjoying yourselves upon the strength of it.”

“Ay, and would have you to do the same,” exclaimed a little mid, pushing him a glass of grog; “come douse your sou’-wester and join us.”

Little invitation was needed on the part of the quartermaster, who was one of those characters so emphatically termed, by seamen, “wet lads,” and who, perhaps, very philosophically reason, that, as they are exposed to so much fluid of a cold nature without, so a proportionable degree of fluid of a hot nature within, is necessary to preserve their equilibrium.

Notwithstanding this frailty, there was not a braver nor a kinder heart in the British navy than that of the old quartermaster. The middies he called his children; and they, in turn, were accustomed to call him Daddy, although some of the tricks which they played him savoured of anything but the respect which children owe to their parents. Having fallen asleep in the midst of a song, with his pipe in the one hand, and his glass in the other, this was too good an opportunity for a lark to be slipped. As his head had fallen back upon his seat, the middies slyly tied a cracker to his pigtail, and were preparing to ignite it, when the quartermaster suddenly awoke, and perceiving the trick they were about to play him, he seized hold of a rope’s-end and soon made the middies seek shelter from his fury under the table, where, being unable to get at them, he sung out—

“Blow me, but you small craft have got into too shoal water for me to follow you now; but if I get my big guns to bear upon you, I will blow you out of the water.”

A sailor at this moment entering to tell the quartermaster that he was required on deck, put an end to the joke, and relieved the midshipmen from their confinement.

When the quartermaster came on deck, the Fern lights were right a-head; and, by his directions, the vessel was soon moored under the lee of the island, in safety from the tempest. Here, after stopping two days, they again set sail, and had already got off the coast of Norfolk, when, in the grey of the morning, a man at the mast-head called out—

“On deck there, ahoy!”

“Well, my lad?” cried Archer, whose watch it was on deck.

“A large ship with French colours, on the weather bow.”

“Call up the captain and first lieutenant,” said Archer to a midshipman.

“Mast-head again, ahoy!—what more do you make of her?”

“She looms large, and seems coming down upon us right before the wind.”

Harry and Clark now came upon deck, followed by the old quartermaster, who, rubbing his eyes, exclaimed—

“Why what’s the matter now?”

Archer pointed out the vessel, which was still at a great distance, but evidently nearing them.

“All hands upon deck there!” shouted Harry; “boatswain, pipe up all hands; and do you, Clark, go up aloft and see what you can make of her.”

“She is a large vessel,” exclaimed Clark, looking through his spy-glass, “with French colours and ship rig. There, I see her side—all black, and white ports; there is one, two, three—I cannot count them, they are so thick.”

“Ay, let her come,” cried Harry—“I warrant her she gets as good as she brings. Up with the British ensign, my lads, and let the Frenchman see what we are.”

“And I’ll take good care that it shall not come down in a hurry, with your honour’s leave,” exclaimed the old quartermaster. So saying, he mounted the rigging, and nailed the ensign to the mast. “Now, Mr Frenchman, when that comes down, we’ll strike, but not till then.”

All hands were now on deck, and straining their eyes with looking at the strange sail.

“Get the ship clear for action,” roared out Harry; “run out the guns there; pull down the studding-sails. Port!” to the man at the helm. “So.”

The deck of the brig at this moment presented a most interesting sight—all hands as busy as possible making arrangements for the engagement. Powder-boxes, sponges, and buckets were strewed along the deck—while some were loading the guns, others securing the boats along the booms, and all in high glee at the thoughts of having a peppering match at the Frenchman. The brig was soon cleared, with the guns loaded and double-shotted on both sides, and every man at his post stripped to his shirt.

There is perhaps no scene more awfully solemn than that which is presented by a ship going into action. The utmost stillness everywhere prevails, only occasionally broken by the commands of the officers, delivered in a suppressed tone, or the whispers of the sailors delivering to each other little commissions to their wives or relations, if any of them should fall in battle. ’Tis then that the sailor’s heart beats high with hope and expectation, mingled with that undefined emotion of anxiety and dread which the approach of danger always excites. But let the action once begin, and let him hear the guns thundering over his head ’tis then that the sailor forgets his hopes and his fears in his ardour for the conflict. But to return. The breeze had now freshened; and the Frenchman, scudding before it under a press of sail, was now almost within gunshot.

“Hang your impudence, you French lubber!” mumbled the old quartermaster to himself, as he paced up and down the deck with a quick unsteady pace—“do you think to run our little vessel under water? But, big as you are, Mr Monsieur, if the little Hawk does not make you sheer off as if you had run foul of a lee-shore, my name is not Jack Scroggins.”

The Frenchman seemed inclined to confirm the opinion of the old tar; for on he came, without altering his course, till, on coming within hail of the brig, he bawled out—

“Pull down your colours and bring to, or else I’ll sink you.”

“Keep your ship away, then,” shouted Harry, “that I may bring her alongside.”

The Frenchman accordingly did so; but passed so near as almost to carry away the brig’s toppinglift.

“Now, luff my lad, and fire away, my hearties!” shouted Harry, whilst the brig shot up to the wind, and a broadside, accompanied with three hearty cheers, told the success of the skilful manœuvre.

The Frenchman was now left far behind, when she and the brig stayed almost at the same instant—the Frenchman to get at the brig, and the brig to get her other broadside to bear upon the Frenchman. The brig was worked to perfection, and came round in fine style. Not so, however, with the Frenchman; for the sudden broadside of the brig had put him in such confusion that, when staying his ship, he had forgot to loose the lee yard-arm of the foresail, by which the vessel hung in the wind, and finally missed stays. Up once more came the little Hawk, and saluted him with another broadside, which increased the confusion of the Frenchman; but, being now on the same tack with the brig, he soon came up with her, when bringing his whole broadside to bear upon the Hawk, he poured in such a tremendous volley as to threaten entire dissolution to the frame of the little vessel.

The guns of the contending vessels had now roused the inhabitants of the seacoast, and, by this time, the shore was lined with spectators, who were watching the engagement with intense anxiety. Amongst these, was no less a personage than Harry’s uncle, Benjamin Davis, with whom Maria was at that time staying. The old tar, as was his constant practice, was taking his morning walk along the beach, with his spy-glass in his hand, and he had witnessed the engagement from the beginning; and there he was, giving orders, as if he had been on board the vessel.

The brig was, at this moment, passing close under the stern of the Frenchman.

“Now, give it home, my lads,” shouted old Ben on the shore; and, as if in obedience to his command, the brig opened her guns, one after the other, upon the Frenchman, as she passed, which raked him fore and aft, and did much execution.

The Frenchman, however, was not long behind; for, keeping his ship away, he soon came up to the brig; when, opening upon her another broadside, he would inevitably have sent the little vessel to the bottom, had not the steersman, by a dexterous movement of the helm, avoided part of the shock. The shot took effect principally upon the stern of the brig, tore away the quarter-boards, killed the man at the helm and three other men standing near.

As soon as the smoke cleared away, the people on the shore were dismayed to find the little brig sheering off right before the wind, but still keeping up a running-fire with her stern chasers, at the Frenchman, who was pursuing her under a press of canvass.

“Curse upon you, for a cowardly rascal, who ever you are, to run away from a Frenchman!” shouted out old Ben on the shore, whilst the sweat trickled down in large drops from his forehead. But both he and the Frenchman were mistaken, in thinking that the brig was endeavouring to get off; for this was only a feint on the part of Harry, who, finding that the enemy was so much superior in his weight of metal, saw that his only chance was in close quarters, when he trusted the bravery of his tars would prove victorious over the number of the French. Calling, therefore, all his men on the quarter-deck, he told them that their only chance of victory lay in close quarters.

“Are you ready, my brave fellows,” he added, “to follow your commander to the Frenchman’s deck? They are three to one of us; but you know what the intrepidity of a handful of British seamen can achieve.”

Three cheers followed these words, which were heard by the people on the shore; and, ignorant of the cause, they anxiously awaited the result.

“Get the boarding pikes ready there!” shouted Harry; “and every man arm himself with a cutlass and brace of pistols; and when the Frenchman comes up, lash her to us, and then to it, yard-arm and yard-arm.”

“All ready, sir,” shouted the men—“all ready.”

The Frenchman was now again up to the brig, which she already considered as her prize, when suddenly the Hawk tacked right athwart her bows, and in a moment was lashed alongside.

“Ay, that is something like,” cried Ben, rubbing his hands for joy—“oh, that I was on board of you, to lend you a helping hand!”

“Hurrah, my hearties! and old England for ever!” shouted Harry, springing on the Frenchman’s deck, followed by thirty of his crew.

“Old England for ever!” shouted his men, rushing after him, like so many hungry tigers.

The scene which followed was terrific, each party fighting like furies, and disputing inch for inch—the deck swimming with blood. Two fellows set upon Harry at once. One of these, the lieutenant of the Frenchman, he quickly dispatched with a shot from his pistol; but the other, a strong thick-set seaman, with a black bushy beard, was just firing his musket at his head, when a tremendous thwack from a cutlass behind, severed the stock in pieces, and the next moment the weapon was sheathed in the Frenchman’s breast. Harry, on turning round to observe his deliverer, recognised in him our old friend, Bill Curtis, who, covered with blood and powder, and wounded as he was, was again in the thickest of the fray, dealing death at every blow. There was no time for congratulation, however, for the enemy was pressing them on every side; for, although Harry had been nobly supported by Clark and Archer, with thirty more men, yet the enemy had, by their numbers, hemmed them in on every side, and would soon have cut them all to pieces, had not an unexpected attack from behind suddenly changed the fortunes of the day. This was no other than the old quartermaster, who had been left in charge of the brig, with the remainder of the crew, with strict injunctions not to leave her, happen what might. He had, accordingly, for some time, impatiently looked on the struggle, when, no longer bearing to remain inactive, he sung out that the ship might go to the devil, but he would be hanged if he would stand still any longer and see his shipmates cut to pieces by lubberly Frenchmen. So saying, he jumped upon the Frenchman’s deck, followed by the rest of the crew, who were all as eager as himself; and so sudden and furious was the attack, that the Frenchmen, quite dispirited by this unexpected assault, were glad to seek shelter from their fury, some in the rigging, others down the hold, while those who remained were fain to cry for quarter, which was readily given them. The men in the rigging had fled to the tops for shelter, but, seeing their comrades obtain quarter, they also surrendered themselves at discretion. The next minute the British ensign was waving proudly in the breeze at the topmast of the Frenchman, and three long and hearty cheers, which were responded to by the people on the shore, told the success of the engagement.

The loss on both sides was great, though that of the French greatly exceeded that of the British. Harry, fearing that the French might take it in their heads to set upon him again, as they were still so much superior in number, ordered them below, and battened down the hatches upon them all, except the surgeon and his mate, whom he kept to assist his own in dressing the wounds of the men. On looking amongst the slain of his crew, Harry observed amongst them the stiffened corpse of poor Bill Curtis. Harry could not help shedding a tear to the memory of this brave fellow, who had so nobly seconded him in the time of need. Bill was covered with gore; but an air of defiance was still seated upon his countenance, and his hand still firmly grasped his cutlass, which had that day been wielded with so much success against the enemies of his country. The old quartermaster came up at this moment, and Harry, shaking him by the hand, said to him, “I believe we must have you tried by court-martial, for disobedience of orders. However,” he added, more seriously, “I believe, had it not been for your disobedience of orders, we should have all been in the state of that poor fellow,” pointing to Bill.

“Ay,” said the old quartermaster with a sigh, “a braver fellow never stepped in a black leather shoe. However, it’s a road we must travel once; and where die better than fighting for one’s country? For my part, I would sooner die on a ship’s deck, with the thunder of the cannon sounding in my ears, than on a bed of the finest down.”

The people on the shore, seeing that the danger was over, and that the British had gained the victory, had now manned several boats, and were approaching the ships. In the foremost of these was old Ben, who, being the proprietor of the village in which he lived, took upon himself, on all expeditions by sea, the office of commodore of the fleet.

“A noble fellow the captain of that there little craft,” exclaimed Ben, as he approached the Hawk; “he deserves to be made an admiral, whoever he is. Gracious Heaven, there is my own nephew, Harry!” cried he, springing up the fore chains.

“My own uncle, Ben!” exclaimed Harry, springing forward to embrace him. Cordial, indeed, was the meeting of the uncle and nephew; and perhaps it were difficult to tell which was the greater—the joy of the nephew, or the pride of the uncle.

“But you are all blood, Harry,” said the uncle—“you must be wounded.”

“A mere scratch,” said Harry; “but some of my poor fellows have suffered; but, as the wind favours, we had better get the vessels into the harbour.”

The news of the engagement had spread like wildfire through the country; and, as the vessels approached the harbour, crowds of people were waiting to cheer the gallant fellows who had fought so nobly. The wounded were immediately conveyed on shore and distributed among the inhabitants, who were eagerly striving which should receive them; whilst those who had fallen, both French and English, were decently interred, side by side, in that narrow house where all feuds and animosities are buried in oblivion.

The rest of our story is soon told. Harry, soon after the engagement, was united to Maria, with the consent of all parties. For some time after his marriage, he still went to sea; but, on the decease of Maria’s father, his property devolving upon him, he retired to enjoy the society of his amiable wife, and that domestic repose to which his toils and labours so well entitled him. Clark, the first lieutenant, having fallen in battle, on Harry’s giving up the service, Archer was promoted to the command of the Hawk, and he soon after married Susan, Harry’s sister. As for the old quartermaster, who had borne so distinguished a part in the engagement, he was at last prevailed upon by Harry to take up his abode in a beautiful cottage upon his estate. A clear stream runs by the cottage door, and the situation commands a fine view of the sea; and the old man may still frequently be seen sitting at his cottage door, on a summer evening, enjoying the beauties of the scene; or, if you rise soon enough, you may perhaps see him taking his morning walk along the beach, with his spy-glass in his hand. His chief delight, however, is in Harry’s house, where he is quite at home. He is particularly attached to Harry’s children, who are his inseparable companions; and the old man may frequently be seen with one on each knee, recounting to them the exploits of his former days, some of which we may, at some future period, communicate to the reader.

As for the French prisoners, a peace with England soon put a period to their captivity; but, when their release came, so much had the people of the place endeared themselves to them by their kindness, that many of them resolved to marry and settle in the neighbourhood. And to this day may still be seen, in the village of C——, some remnants of the victory of the Hawk.