“This is excessively strange!” replied Captain L——. “Do me the favour to sit down, my lord; the letters from the ship will probably explain the affair.”
There was, however, no explanation, except from young Malcolm. The captain read his letter, and put it into the hands of Lord Aveleyn, who entered into a detail of the whole.
Captain L—— produced the letter from the trustees, and, desiring his lordship to command him as to any funds he might require, requested the pleasure of his company to dinner. The boy, whose head wheeled with the sudden change in his prospects, was glad to retire, having first obtained permission to return on board with young Malcolm’s pardon, which had been most graciously acceded to. To the astonishment of everybody on board, young Aveleyn came alongside in the captain’s own gig, when the scene in the midshipmen’s berth and the discomfiture of the first lieutenant may be imagined.
“You don’t belong to the service, Frank,” said the old master’s mate; “and, as peer of the realm, coming on board to visit the ship, you are entitled to a salute. Send up and say you expect one, and then W—— must have the guard up, and pay you proper respect. I’ll be hanged if I don’t take the message, if you consent to it.”
But Lord Aveleyn had come on board to pay a debt of gratitude, not to inflict mortification. He soon quitted the ship, promising never to forget Malcolm; and, unlike the promises of most great men, it was fulfilled, and Malcolm rose to be a captain from his own merit, backed by the exertions of his youthful patron.
For the next week the three mast-heads were so loaded with midshipmen, that the boatswain proposed a preventer backstay, that the top-masts might not go over the side; but shortly after, Captain L——, who was not pleased at the falsehood which Mr W—— had circulated, and who had many other reasons for parting with him, succeeded in having him appointed to another ship; after which the midshipmen walked up and down the quarter-deck with their hands in their pockets, as before.
Adeline determined Juan’s wedding
In her own mind, and that’s enough for woman;
But then with whom? There was the sage Miss Redding,
Miss Raw, Miss Flaw, Miss Showman and Miss Knowman,
And the two fair co-heiresses Giltbedding.
She deem’d his merits something more than common.
All these were unobjectionable matches,
And might go on, it well wound up, like watches.”
The young Lord Aveleyn returned to the hall of his ancestors, exchanging the gloomy cockpit for the gay saloon, the ship’s allowance for sumptuous fare, the tyranny of his messmates and the harshness of his superiors for adulation and respect. Was he happier? No. In this world, whether in boyhood or riper years, the happiest state of existence is when under control. Although contrary to received opinion, this is a fact; but I cannot now stop to demonstrate the truth of the assertion.