Jack Tier eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 654 pages of information about Jack Tier.

“Why, then, has he not let us know that the brig was coming?  For more than an hour has he been aloft, on the look-out, and here are we taken quite by surprise.  Rely on it, Rose, he has seen the approach of the brig, and might have sooner put us on our guard.”

“Ay, ay, lay it on, maty,” said Jack, coolly, neither angry nor mortified, so far as appearances went, at these expressions of dissatisfaction; “my back is used to it.  If I did n’t know what it is to get hard raps on the knuckles, I should be but a young steward.  But, as for this business, a little reflection will tell you I am not to blame.”

“Give us your own explanations, for without them I shall trust you no longer.”

“Well, sir, what good would it have done, had I told you the brig was standing for this place?  There she came down, like a race-horse, and escape for you was impossible.  As the wind is now blowin’, the Molly would go two feet to the boat’s one, and a chase would have been madness.”

“I do n’t know that, sirrah” answered the mate.”  The boat might have got into the smaller passages of the reef, where the brig could not enter, or she might have dodged about among these islets, until it was night, and then escaped in the darkness.”

“I thought of all that, Mr. Mulford, but it came too late.  When I first went aloft, I came out on the north-west side of the lantern, and took my seat, to look out for the sloop-of-war, as you bade me, sir.  Well, there I was sweepin’ the horizon with the glass for the better part of an hour, sometimes fancyin’ I saw her, and then givin’ it up; for to this moment I am not sartain there is n’t a sail off here to the westward, turning up toward the light on a bowline; but if there be, she’s too far off to know anything partic’lar about her.  Well, sir, there I sat, looking for the Poughkeepsie, for the better part of an hour, when I thought I would go round on t’ other side of the lantern and take a look to windward.  My heart was in my mouth, I can tell you, Miss Rose, when I saw the brig; and I felt both glad and sorry.  Glad on my own account, and sorry on your’n.  There she was, however, and no help for it, within two miles of this very spot, and coming down as if she despised touching the water at all.  Now, what could I do?  There was n’t time, Mr. Mulford, to get the boat out, and the mast stepped, afore we should have been within reach of canister, and Stephen Spike would not have spared that, in order to get you again within his power.”

“Depend on it, Harry, this is all true,” said Rose, earnestly.  “I know Jack well, and can answer for his fidelity.  He wishes to, and if he can he will return to the brig, whither he thinks his duty calls him, but he will never willingly betray us—­least of all, me.  Do I speak as I ought, Jack?”

“Gospel truth, Miss Rose, and Mr. Mulford will get over this squall, as soon as he comes to think of matters as he ought.  There ’s my hand, maty, to show I bear no malice.”

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Jack Tier from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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