“Certainly; but the privilege ought not to be abused. Besides, broken heads and smashed faces are the realities, and not the accessories of the picture.”
“Oh, I see. If it is night, the moon should be introduced; and if it is day, the sun—and so on?”
“Of course; and, if the circumstances are of a pleasing nature, you must leave horrors and terrors on your pallette; change gusts into zephyrs, snow into roses and violets, and the weathercocks into golden vanes glittering in the sunshine.”
“You want to color a popular outbreak, do you not?”
“Then you should introduce a tempest howling, the waves roaring, the lightning flashing, and discord raging in the air as well as on the earth.”
“Well, to continue my story. Although it was midnight, the disturbance began to wake up the villagers, and a crowd was collecting, so we hurried off our prisoners to the boats as speedily as we could. Some five and twenty able bodied men were thus added to his Majesty’s fleet. The object of our visit to the Irish coast was accomplished, and the Norfolk continued her voyage to the West Indies. Now you know what is meant by the word pressed, and likewise the nautical signification of the word press-gang.”
“And you say that Bill Stubbs has been trapped on board this ship by such means?”
“Yes, at New Orleans.”
“According to your story, then, that does not say very much in his favor?”
“No, not a great deal; still, that proves nothing—the fact of his calling himself Bob is a worse feature. A man does not generally change his name without having good, or rather bad, reasons for it.”
“What appears to me,” remarked Fritz, “as the most singular feature of your press-gang adventure is, that you are alive to tell it.”
“Because I think it ought to end thus: ’The victims of the press-gang strangled Willis a few days after,’”
“Aye, aye, but you do not know what a sailor is; our recruits had not been a fortnight at sea before they entirely forgot the trick I had played them.”
Just as Willis concluded his narrative, the man at the mast-head called out, “Sail ho!”
“Where away?” bawled the captain.
“Right a-head,” replied the voice.
The Hoboken had hitherto pursued her voyage uninterruptedly, and the Yankee captain now prepared to signalize himself by a capture.
A SEA FIGHT—ANOTHER IDEA OF THE PILOT’S—THE BOUDEUSE.
The captain of the Hoboken was rather pleased than otherwise when the look-out reported the strange sail to show English colors. He looked rather glum, however, half an hour afterwards, when the same voice bawled that she was a bull-dog looking craft, schooner-rigged, and pierced for sixteen guns. The Yankee had hoped to fall in with a fat West Indiaman, instead of which he had now to deal with a man-of-war, carrying, perhaps, a larger weight of metal than himself.