“Mercy on us! a bairn, a very pretty
A boy, a child.” SHAKESPEARE.
When Newton was landed from the cartel at Jamaica, he found the advantage of not being clad in the garb of a sailor, as all those who were in such costume were immediately handed over to the admiral of the station, to celebrate their restoration to liberty on board of a man-of-war; but the clothes supplied to him by the generosity of M. de Fontanges had anything but a maritime appearance, and Newton was landed with his portmanteaus by one of the man-of-war’s boats, whose crew had little idea of his being a person so peculiarly suited to their views, possessing as he did the necessary qualifications of youth, activity, and a thorough knowledge of his profession. Newton was so anxious to return home, that after a few days’ expensive sojourn at an hotel, frequented chiefly by the officers of the man-of-war in port, he resolved to apply to the captain of a frigate ordered home with despatches, to permit him to take a passage. He had formed a slight intimacy with some of the officers, who assured him that he would experience no difficulty in obtaining his request. His application was made in person; and after his statement that he had been released in the last cartel which had come from Guadaloupe, his request was immediately granted, without any further questions being put relative to his profession, or the manner in which he had been captured. The captain very civilly gave him to understand that he might mess with the gun-room officers, if he could arrange with them, and that he expected to sail on the evening of the ensuing day. Newton immediately repaired on board of the frigate, to ascertain if the officers would receive him as a messmate; and further, whether the amount of his mess-money would be more than he could in prudence afford. At the bottom of one of the portmanteaus he had found a bag of two hundred dollars, supplied by his generous host, and in the same bag there was also deposited a small note from Madame de Fontanges, wishing him success, and enclosing (as a souvenir) a ring, which he had often perceived on her finger; but, adequate as was this supply to his own wants, Newton did not forget that his father was, in all probability, in great distress, and would require his assistance on his return. He was, therefore, naturally anxious not to expend more than was absolutely necessary in defraying his passage. The old first lieutenant, to whom, upon his arrival on board, he was introduced as commanding officer, received him with much urbanity; and, when Newton stated that he had obtained the captain’s permission to make the application, immediately acceded to his wishes on the part of his messmates as well as of himself, when Newton followed up his application, by requesting to know the expense which he would incur, as, in case of its being greater than his finances could meet, he would request permission to choose a less expensive mess.