Newton Forster eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 397 pages of information about Newton Forster.
from the waves against the side of the vessel, told him that the danger was imminent, even if escape were possible.  He drew on his trousers, and rushed to the door of his cabin.  Merciful Heaven! what was his surprise, his horror, to find that it was fastened outside.  A moment’s thought at the malignity of the wretch (for it was indeed Jackson, who, during the night, had taken such steps for his destruction) was followed by exertions to escape.  Placing his shoulders against his sea-chest, and his feet against the door, his body in nearly a horizontal position, he made a violent effort to break open the door.  The lock gave way, but the door did not open more than one or two inches; for Jackson, to make sure, had coiled down against it a hawser which lay a few yards further forward in the steerage, the weight of which the strength of no five men could remove.  Maddened with the idea of perishing by such treachery, Newton again exerted his frantic efforts—­again and again, without success.  Between each pause, the voices of the seamen asking for the oars and other articles belonging to the long-boat, proved to him that every moment of delay was a nail in his coffin.  Again and again were his efforts repeated with almost superhuman strength; but the door remained fixed as ever.  At last, it occurred to him that the hawser, which he had previously ascertained by passing his hand through the small aperture which he had made, might only lay against the lower part of the door, and that the upper part might be free.  He applied his strength above, and found the door to yield:  by repeated attempts he at last succeeded in kicking the upper panels to pieces, and having forced his body through the aperture, Newton rushed on deck with the little strength he had remaining.

The men—­the boat—­were not there:  he hailed, but they heard him not; he strained his eyes—­but they had disappeared in the gloom of the night; and Newton, overcome with exhaustion and disappointment, fell down senseless on the deck.

Chapter XVII

     “Paladore—­I have heard,
  Have read bold fables of enormity,
  Devised to make men wonder, and confirm
  The abhorrence of our nature; but this hardness
  Transcends all fiction.”
     “Law of Lombardy.”

We must now relate what had occurred on deck during the struggle of Newton to escape from his prison.  At one o’clock Jackson had calculated that in an hour, or less, the brig would strike on the reef.  He took the helm from the man who was steering, and told him that he might go below.  Previous to this, he had been silently occupied in coiling the hawser before the door of Newton’s cabin, it being his intention to desert the brig, with the seamen, in the long-boat, and leave Newton to perish.  When the brig dashed upon the reef, which she did with great violence, and the crew hurried upon deck, Jackson,

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Newton Forster from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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