Perhaps Tam’s newly-found or recovered Christianity might have been put to hard shocks as to the virtues he had learnt among the Moslems. At any rate Arthur often had reason to declare in after life that the poor renegade might have put many a better-trained Christian to shame.
’From when this youth?
His country, name, and birth declare!’
‘You had forgotten this legacy, Mr. Hope,’ said Captain Beresford, taking Arthur into his cabin, ’and, judging by its weight, it is hardly to be neglected. I put it into my locker for security.’
‘Thank you, sir,’ said Arthur. ’The question is whether I ought to take it. I wished for your advice.’
‘I heard what passed,’ said the captain. ’I should call your right as complete as if you had a will made by a half a dozen lawyers. When we get into port, a few crowns to the ship’s company to drink your health, and all will be right. Will you count it?’
The folds were undone, and little piles made of the gold, but neither the captain nor Arthur were much the wiser. The purser might have computed it, but Captain Beresford did not propose this, thinking perhaps that it was safer that no report of a treasure should get abroad in the ship.
He made a good many inquiries, which he had deferred till Arthur should be in a fitter condition for answering, first about the capture and wreck, and what the young man had been able to gather about the Cabeleyzes. Then, as the replies showed that he had a gentleman before him, Captain Beresford added that he could not help asking, ’Que diable allait il faire dans cette galere?’
‘Sir,’ said Arthur, ’I do not know whether you will think it your duty to make me a prisoner, but I had better tell you the whole truth.’
‘Oho!’ said the captain; ’but you are too young! You could never have been out with—with—we’ll call him the Chevalier.’
‘I ran away from school,’ replied Arthur, colouring. ’I was a mere boy, and I never was attainted,’ explained Arthur, blushing. ’I have been with my Lord Nithsdale, and my mother thought I could safely come home, and that if I came from Sweden my brother could not think I compromised him.’
’Lord Burnside. He is at Court, in favour, they say, with King George. He is my half-brother; my mother is a Maxwell.’
‘There is a Hope in garrison at Port Mahon—a captain,’ said the captain. ’Perhaps he will advise you what to do if you are sick of Jacobite intrigue and mystery, and ready to serve King George.’
Arthur’s face lighted up. ’Will it be James Hope of Ryelands, or Dickie Hope of the Lynn, or—?’
Captain Beresford held up his hands.
‘Time must show that, my young friend,’ he said, smiling. ’And now I think the officers expect you to join their mess in the gunroom.’