The admiral was walking up and down the lawn before the house, and looking up at the windows every now and then; and turning to Jack Pringle, he said,—
“Jack, you dog.”
“Mind you convoy these women into the right port; do you hear? and no mistaking the bearings; do you hear?”
“Ay, ay, sir.”
“These crafts want care; and you are pilot, commander, and all; so mind and keep your weather eye open.”
“Ay, ay, sir. I knows the craft well enough, and I knows the roads, too; there’ll be no end of foundering against the breakers to find where they lie.”
“No, no, Jack; you needn’t do that; but mind your bearings. Jack, mind your bearings.”
“Never fear; I know ’em, well enough; my eyes ain’t laid up in ordinary yet.”
“Eh? What do you mean by that, you dog, eh?”
“Nothing; only I can see without helps to read, or glasses either; so I know one place from another.”
There was now some one moving within; and the admiral, followed by Jack Pringle, entered the Hall. Henry Bannerworth was there. They were all ready to go when the coach came for them, which the admiral had ordered for them.
“Jack, you lubber; where are you?”
“Ay, ay, sir, here am I.”
“Go, and station yourself up in some place where you can keep a good look-out for the coach, and come and report when you see it.”
“Ay—ay, sir,” said Jack, and away he went from the room, and stationed himself up in one of the trees, that commanded a good view of the main road for some distance.
“Admiral Bell,” said Henry, “here we are, trusting implicitly to you; and in doing so, I am sure I am doing right.”
“You will see that,” said the admiral. “All’s fair and honest as yet; and what is to come, will speak for itself.”
“I hope you won’t suffer from any of these nocturnal visits,” said Henry.
“I don’t much care about them; but old Admiral Bell don’t strike his colours to an enemy, however ugly he may look. No, no; it must be a better craft than his own that’ll take him; and one who won’t run away, but that will grapple yard-arm and yard-arm, you know.”
“Why, admiral, you must have seen many dangers in your time, and be used to all kinds of disturbances and conflicts. You have had a life of experience.”
“Yes; and experience has come pretty thick sometimes, I can tell you, when it comes in the shape of Frenchmen’s broadsides.”
“I dare say, then, it must be rather awkward.”
“Death by the law,” said the admiral, “to stop one of them with your head, I assure you. I dare not make the attempt myself, though I have often seen it done.”
“I dare say; but here are Flora and my mother.”
As he spoke, Flora and her mother entered the apartment.
“Well, admiral, we are all ready; and, though I may feel somewhat sorry at leaving the old Hall, yet it arises from attachment to the place, and not any disinclination to be beyond the reach of these dreadful alarms.”