Love and murder make a pretty mixture, although as antithetical as the sweet and acid in punch,—a composition which meets the approbation of all sensible, discriminating people. But I shall leave the reader to imagine all he pleases, and finish the chapter by informing him that, when the sun again made his appearance, the corvette was not to be discovered from the mast-head. The guns were therefore properly secured; the decks washed; a jury mizen-mast stuck up abaft; Captain Oughton, and the gallant fellows who had fallen in the combat, committed to the deep with the usual ceremonies; the wounded made as comfortable as possible in their hammocks; the carpenters busied with the necessary repairs; and the Windsor Castle, commanded by Newton Forster, running before a spanking breeze, at the rate of eight knots per hour.
“Ships are but boards, sailors but
There be land rats, and water rats, water thieves,
And land thieves; I mean pirates.”
Most prophetical was the remark made by Newton Forster to Isabel, previous to the action: to wit, that it would make or mar him. The death of Captain Oughton, and the spirited defence of the Windsor Castle, were the making of Newton Forster. As a subordinate officer, he might have been obliged to toil many years before he could have ascended to the summit of the ladder of promotion; and during the time which he remained in that situation, what chance had he of making an independence, and proposing for the hand of Isabel Revel? But now that, by a chain of circumstances peculiarly fortuitous, he was in command of an East Indiaman, returning home after having beat off a vessel of equal if not superior force, and preserved a cargo of immense value, he felt confident that he not only would be confirmed to the rank which he was now called upon to assume, but that he had every prospect of being employed. As a captain of an Indiaman, he was aware that reception into society, wealth, and consideration awaited him; and what made his heart to swell with gratitude and exultation, was the feeling that soon he would be enabled to aspire to the hand of one to whom he had so long been ardently attached.
As the Windsor Castle plunged through the roaring and complaining seas, with all the impetus of weight in motion, Newton’s eyes were radiant with hope, although his demeanour towards Isabel was, from the peculiar circumstances attending their situation, more delicately reserved than before.
When the Windsor Castle touched at St Helena, Newton had the good fortune to obtain a supply of able seamen, more than sufficient for the re-manning of his ship. They had been sent there in an empty brig by a French privateer, who had captured many vessels, and had been embarrassed with the number of her prisoners. Having obtained the stores which were required, Newton lost no time in prosecuting his voyage to England.