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slip as he crossed the iron floor of the Stoke-hole directly after me. I tried to fling open the door of the companion, and gain the deck-I thought that my escape was certain. But oh, sir, I had no sooner touched the door than I found that it was closed, fastened on the outside. I looked down. The chief was standing on the platform at the foot of the ladder; he held a revolving pistol in his hand, and was then in the act of cocking it! There was no time for hesitation, and I flung myself right off the ladder upon him. He fired, but without having time to take aim, and I was not hit. With the force of my fall, we both rolled off the platform into the passage between the engines, the pistol being at the same time dashed from his hand. How we both escaped being crushed by the machinery I scarcely know; but so it was, and directly we were both on our feet again, and struggling through the passage on to the slippery stoke-hole floor.
Here, still grasping each other's throats, we paused to take breath; and I saw then that Macpherson and the stokers, and trimmers of the watch were lying either dead or dead drunk about the side platforms and stoke-hole. I shouted as well as I could, but without avail; and then a thought flashed across me-the steam whistle! There was a handle by which it could be sounded from the engine-room. If I could but reach that, I must alarm all the ship, and we might yet be saved! But at that moment the companion was opened, and the youth, the chief's accomplice, descended. He came down the ladder hastily; but he had no sooner turned and seen what was going on than he paused, as if frightened and irresolute how to act. The chief saw him as soon as I did, and sung out to him"The pistol! the pistol! There, between the engines!"
"The youth picked up the pistol, and coming forward, presented it at me; but I could see, even in that moment, that he had omitted to cock it. He pulled at the trigger, but of course without avail. The chief saw, as I did, the cause of the failure. "Cock it, d-n you-cock it!" he cried out; and then I heard the click as the hammer was drawn back, and the chamber revolved. It was now or never for me. I am a Cornishman, sir; and, like most from that country, a little bit of a wrestler. I had regained my strength a little, and skill took the place of what was wanting. It was my only chance. So, quick as lightning, I gave the chief the "toe," as we call it in our
country, and turned him over like a top towards the side on which the youth was standing. He fired at the same instant; but the sudden turn I gave my antagonist changed our positions, and the bullet, after inflicting a flesh wound in my arm. entered his body instead of mine. The youth gazed for a moment with a look of horror, and then, with a scream, threw herself on the body. At that same instant I saw who it was. It was no youth, but a woman, and our captain's new wife. But I did not wait to speculate on this, for I saw that the fires must be drawn at once, and I had no strength left. I sprang to the handle and sounded the whistle. There was the well-known shrill shriek which could not fail to be heard throughout the ship; and I fell down fainting on the stoke-hole floor.
'I remember little more that passed until I found myself in the hospital at Panama. The events of that nightmy wound, and the want of medical attendance, for we carried no surgeonhad brought on an attack of fever, and I had been dangerously ill. I had been delirious, and when I did regain my consciousness, the events which had really happened were so mingled in my brain with the extravagant fancies of my delirium, that I found it difficult to distinguish the one from the other. I soon discovered, however, that people had been told I had been guilty of gross insubordination towards the chief engineer, and that he had been so maddened by passion as to fire his revolver at me; and that I, having gained possession of the weapon in the struggle which ensued, had shot him, to save my own life. Of course I denied this; but my ideas, and, no doubt my talk, were still so incoherent, that but little notice was taken of what I said. Soon the captain of the steamer came to my bedside, and begged and entreated me in the most earnest, the most piteous manner, to allow this version of the story to be believed. He said he had been bewitched by the charms and arts of that woman; and, believing that none of the crew knew he was already married, he had agreed to give her a passage, and had taken her on board with him as his wife. She had obtained from him, by pretending a playful womanish curiosity, a knowledge of where the gold on board was stowed, and how it could be got at; and this vile woman, with her accomplice and paramour (the villain whom he had foolishly engaged, at her recommendation, as chief engineer), and another man, also shipped at San Francisco, had
between them conceived and attempted to carry out that atrocious project in which they had been so nearly successful. The engineer's hurt had not been serious; and the captain said that he had connived at his escape with his accomplices as soon as the ship got into port. The woman, indeed, had not been seen in her disguise by any one but himself; for he had been first in the engine-room when the whistle sounded the alarm, and had managed somehow to get her out of the way unseen. "It would be useless now," he said, "to attempt to capture them;" and he implored me not to contradict the account he had caused to be circulated, and so cause his ruin, which would be sure to follow, should his owners learn the real truth of the story. He made the most solemn vows of repentance and amendment, and I believe he was truly sorry for his fault, as well as its consequences; but I was deaf to all
until he spoke of his sweet wife and his dear little girl, whom I had seen, as I have said, at New York. He said that his wife was near her confinement, and that he was sure, if she learnt the truth, the blow would kill her. Well, sir, at length I yielded, and agreed to confirm the account he had given. You may be sure that the crew, and especially Macpherson and the rest of the watch in the engine-room and on deck-who had been drugged by some liquor which the chief had given them-were not altogether imposed upon, and a hundred different versions of the story were flying about. But no one ever knew the rights of the affair-we were not in England, you know, sir, and it was a lawless time and a lawless part of the world. I returned to Europe as soon as I had recovered, and from that time to this I have never told anybody but you how it all happened.'
E. T. LIDDELL.
THE MAGIC PITCHER.
was once on a time, as the story-books There lived in the Schwarzwald a Baron so gay, So jovial and hearty, so fond of good cheer, And he passed all his days there in hunting
His evenings he spent at his Schloss, where, I'm thinking,
But little went on besides eating and drinking: ⚫ And old chroniclers tell us-and they ought to know
That the 'carryings-on' there were not comme il faut.
It was long, long ago-at a most remote dateWhen the matter occurred which I have to relate;
It was long before days of madness and worry Engendered by railways with Bradshaw and Murray;
Long before there were tables at which you might bet,
Or could lose half a fortune each day at roulette
Or they made cuckoo-clocks and those horrid cigars,
Or the Führer' was written by Dr. Car! Schnars;
In short, long before we arrived at that line
By moderns whenever they talk of refine
The depths of the forest were marshy and sodden,
The trees were unhewn, and the grass was untrodden;
There was scarcely a hut or a human abode, There was hardly a pathway, and much less a road!
Whilst the glades were so haunted with spirits of evil,
Or good little fairies, who played such vaga
With sprites ever tricksy, and brownie and pixie
Who could not be quiet, but made such a riot
That the forest itself was a forest primeval!
And lived in a castle ancient and bold,
"Twas hunting one day, that the Baron so gay,
As sweetest music her approach then heralded, She looked like a picture Mr. Fitzgerald did, With her long fair hair all rippling down, Soft gauzy wings and a jewelled crown; With eyes so blue and so wondrous bright, They made Fritz wink with their brilliant light!
(The Baron tried hard then his fears to whistle down,
As light she swung on the finest of thistledown.)
'I'm good Fairy Ripple,' she sang with a laugh;
And bring you my pitcher and ask you to quaff;
Baron Fritz, after drinking, hung the cup by a chain
Round his neck, in case e'er he should want it again.
And he very soon did so, for homewards he rolled,
With his lips always touching that pitcher of gold.
Said he, 'I'll amuse my guests over their tipple
With the wondrous tale of the good Fairy Ripple.'
(He found all the time to himself he'd been talking,
O'er shoes, in the water so cold, he'd been walking.)
Then he wished that his castle was somewhat nigher,
A gnarled old face, a barky nose, Branches for fingers, tendrils for toes; Out of his forehead growing two trees, To nod and sway in the evening breeze. He shouted at Fritz, and then fiercely he frown did
'Put down that pitcher, or you're sure to be drownded!'
O horror! Fritz started, for 'neath the moongleam,
From his pitcher he saw there was flowing a stream;
Then he felt that his blood was beginning to freeze,
As the water came rippling up to his knees! He tugged at the pitcher, 'twas piteous to see, For the chain was entangled, he could not get free!
Then reeling and staggering over the boulders, He found that the water was up to his shoulders.
In a moment he tripped in the current so fleet, Next he stumbled and fell, and was borne of! his feet.
Sure a sturdy swimmer like Fritz cannot drown,
But that pitcher is heavy, and weighs him down.
The water closed o'er him and swept him away,
As he thought he heard voices seeming to
CHRISTMAS EVE IN THE LONDON MARKETS.
LOSE observers of the habits and customs of the lower order of English workmen have recorded the singular facts that, as a rule, the Sunday is by them regarded not as an entire, but as a half holiday. Nay, cleanliness being a kindred virtue with godliness, it is indisputable that, as regards the forepart of Sunday, he is guilty of desecration, not out of neglect and carelessness, but deliberately and by design, for, whereas all the working days of the week he sits down to breakfast with a visage the brighter for acquaintance with soap and water, and a head of hair reclaimed from nocturnal tangle, the sabbath breakfast-time finds him at his own hearth grimy and unkempt. He can afford to be untidy. His time is his own, and he may do just what he pleases with it. Not that it pleases him to wear a dirty face (no man can accuse him of that: he washes his face, and arms, and hands, every day, his feet once a fortnight, or oftener, if a cold necessitates their immersion in
hot water, and never a summer passes but he has a dip in the Serpentine or the fourpenny swimming baths); but, the fact is, his every-day matutinal ablutions are in a degree compulsory. It is one amongst the shop' rules, and an infringement of it is visited by a fine of twopence and yesterday's smut on his nose and yesterday's stubble still adorning his chin, are indubitable symptoms, that to-day he calls no man his master. Through the Sunday forenoon -although, if his every-day employer was to say, 'Jones, if you like to bring that parcel up to the house, there's half a crown for your trouble,' he would reject it with scorn-he employs himself domestically, and works like a nigger. He will sole-and-heel Polly's boots, put in broken windows, make good defective drainage in the rear of his premises, 'set' a copper, or dig whole rods and perches of garden ground until his blue-ribbed shirt reeks with perspiration, and all with the completest cheerfulness, and until it is notified to him that dinner will be ready in twenty minutes.
From that moment he is a changed man. In that announcement breaks on him the first glimmering of Sunday dawning. With a face growing each moment more sober he puts away his tools, and straight retires to the privacy of his chamber, from which he emerges just in time to sharpen the carvingknife for an attack on the shoulder of mutton that Joe, the eldest born, has fetched from the bakehouse. But how changed a man is he from the cobbler, or the digger, or the copper-setter of half an hour ago! His blue-ribbed shirt is exchanged for a white one with a rigorous stand-up collar; his face is clean and shiny, his chin is as smooth as a baby's, and he has oil on his hair. The time of day has begun when he should
bring up his children in the way they should go,' and he sets about it with an uncompromising air, that would have won for him a name in the bygone times of Praise-God-Barebones. With strictest impartiality, as regards crackling and gravy, he charges the seven plates ranged on either side of the table, and behind each of which appears a wistful face and a pair of eyes that by anticipation have already eaten up every scrap of the smoking ration, and then he father Jones that is-raps the table with the buckhorn haft of the carving-knife, and seriously commands Joe to say grace; and glibly as one who has it already at his tongue's tip, and whose mouth waters for what is to follow, Joe complies. His ejaculation
of the last syllable of the word' thankful,' that concludes the prayer, is like the application of the match to the touch-holes of a row of cannon as regards the dumb waiters behind the charged plates, and instantly they fire away. Father, too, he fires away, but still preserves a severe eye for the proprieties of the Sunday dinner-table. Is it proper to eat your Sunday dinner with your fork wrong side up'ards, Maria?' Is that the manners they learn you at Sunday-school, John! keep your elbows off the table, sir.' 'If I have to tell you about that chawing noise again, Amelia Mary, you go into the back kitchen, miss. I must send to your Sunday-school, and tell 'em to set you a text to learn against such awful manners.' Dinner over, Joe, the grace-sayer, returns thanks. The children go to Sunday-school, and father turning down his shirt-sleeves (which have been tidily tucked back behind his elbows during the carving process), puts on his Sunday black coat, charges his Sunday long pipe, and composes himself clean and Christianly to smoke, while Joe reads the latest murders, forgeries, and bigamies, out of Lloyd's 'penny weekly.'
The Jones above quoted, who is but a type of ten thousand, is equally eccentric in his observation of other high holidays and festivities. Christmas Eve, for instance. His Christmas purchases must be sanctified by season in the extremest sense of the term. It is idle your preaching to Jones that daylight is the time for markettingthat cheats thrive by lamplight-that hurrying, and crowding, and squeezing are fatal to bargaining, that yellow cow-meat looks ruddy and fair as the best, seen by the light of flaming gas. He is ready enough to believe it on ordinary occasions, but on this special occasion he turns a deaf ear. It may be endeavoured to explain this apparent eccentricity of Jones's by the fact that Christmas Eve is, as a rule, a wagesreceiving time, and that it is really dusk and eve' before Jones reaches home. This is true as far as it goes, but really it applies scarcely at all to the case. Jones does not depend on the earnings of the previous few days for his annual banquet of banquets. He saves up' for it by means of a shop money-club or otherwise, and has the cash in hand in good time, to make his purchases two days previous to Christmas if he had a mind.
But he has no mind; Christmas Day falling on a Tuesday, he would no more think of laying in his stock of Christ