An hour later, all the officers, Harry and Rose, were assembled in what might be termed the light-house parlour. The Rev. Mr. Hollins had neither band, gown, nor surplice; but he had what was far better, feeling and piety. Without a prayer-book he never moved; and he read the marriage ceremony with a solemnity that was communicated to all present. The ring was that which had been used at the marriage of Rose’s parents, and which she wore habitually, though not on the left hand. In a word, Harry and Rose were as firmly and legally united, on that solitary and almost unknown islet, as could have been the case, had they stood up before the altar of mother Trinity itself, with a bishop to officiate, and a legion of attendants. After the compliments which succeeded the ceremony, the whole party sat down to breakfast.
If the supper had been agreeable, the morning meal was not less so. Rose was timid and blushing, as became a bride, though she could not but feel how much more respectable her position became under the protection of Harry as his wife, than it had been while she was only his betrothed. The most delicate deportment, on the part of her companions, soon relieved her embarrassment however, and the breakfast passed off without cause for an unhappy moment.
“The ship’s standing in toward the light, sir,” reported the cockswain of the cutter, as the party was still lingering around the table, as if unwilling to bring so pleasant a meal to a close. “Since the mist has broke away, we see her, sir, even to her ports and dead-eyes.”
“In that case, Sam, she can’t be very far off,” answered Wallace. “Ay, there goes a gun from her, at this moment, as much as to say, `what has become of all of my boats?’ Run down and let off a musket; perhaps she will make out to hear that, as we must be rather to windward, if anything.”
The signal was given and understood. A quarter of an hour later, the Poughkeepsie began to shorten sail. Then Wallace stationed himself in the cutter, in the centre of one of the passages, signalling the ship to come on. Ten minutes later still, the noble craft came into the haven, passing the still burning light, with her topsails just lifting, and making a graceful sweep under very reduced sail, she came to the wind, very near the spot where the Swash had lain only ten hours before, and dropped an anchor.
1. In the palmy days of the service, when Robert Smith was so long Secretary of the Navy, the ship’s whisky went by this familiar sobriquet.
The gull has found her place on shore;
The sun gone down again to rest;
And all is still but ocean’s roar;
There stands the man unbless’d.
But see, he moves—he turns, as asking where
His mates? Why looks he with that piteous stare?