At the same time, every East India ship should be compelled to take on board her whole complement of English seamen, and not be half manned by Lascars and Chinamen.
But I presume I must be careful how I attempt to legislate for that country, or I shall have two tame elephants sent after me by the man what puts his hair in papers!
“What singular emotions fill
Their bosoms, who have been induced to roam,
With flattering doubts, if all be well or ill,
With love for many, and with fears for some!”
The China fleet arrived without encountering any further danger; the commodore and commanders of the several ships composing the fleet received that praise from their countrymen to which their conduct had so fully entitled them. As soon as the Bombay Castle had entered the basin of the East India docks, Newton requested, and easily obtained, permission to leave the ship. He immediately directed his steps to Greenwich, that he might ascertain if his father was in existence; for he had received no letters since his departure, although he had taken several opportunities to write. It is true that he had not expected any; he knew that his father was too absent ever to think about writing to him, and his uncle much too busy to throw away any portion of his time in unnecessary correspondence.
When we approach the dwelling containing, or supposed to contain, an object of solicitude, of whose existence we are uncertain, what a thrill of anxiety pervades the frame! How quickened is the throbbing of the heart! how checked the respiration! Thus it was with Newton Forster as he raised his hand to the latch of the door. He opened it, and the first object which delighted his eyes was his father seated upon a high stool smoking his pipe, in the company of two veterans of the hospital, who had brought their old bones to an anchor upon a large trunk. They were in earnest conversation, and did not perceive the company of Newton, who waited a little while, holding the door ajar, as he contemplated the group.
One of the pensioners was speaking, and continued:—“May be, or may not be, Mr Forster, that’s dubersome; but if so be as how he is alive, why you’ll see him soon, that’s sartain—take my word for it. A good son, as you say he was, as soon as he can get over the side of the ship, always bears up for his parent’s house. With the help of your barnacles, I worked my way clean through the whole yarn, and I seed the report of killed and wounded; and I’ll take my affidavy that there warn’t an officer in the fleet as lost the number of his mess in that action, and a most clipping affair it was; only think of mounseer turning tail to marchant vessels! Damn my old buttons! what will our jolly fellows do next?”
“Next, Bill! why there be nothing to do, ’less they shave off the beard of the grand Turk to make a swab for the cabin of the king’s yacht, and sarve out his seven hundred wives amongst the fleet. I say, I wonder how he keeps so many of them craft in good order?”