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ap. Long before they had been thus parted, he would not have had a chance of winning her affections had he had then to make the attempt. But he did see that she was infinitely beyond him, infinitely better than-to use a common phrase he could have deserved if he had been as worthy as he fancied himself. I say a common phrase, because no man can ever deserve a woman. Gradually-by what gradations he could not have told—the truth, working along with his self-despising, showed him something of all this; and it was the first necessity of a nature like his to be taught to look down on himself. As long as he thought himself more than somebody, no good was to be expected of him. Therefore, it was well for him that the worthlessness of his character should break out and show itself in some plainly worthless deed, that he might no longer be able to hide himself from the conviction and condemnation of his own conscience. Hell had come at last; and he burned in its fire.
He was very weary and went to bed in a berth in the cabin. But he was awaked while it was yet quite dark by the violent rolling and pitching of the vessel, and the running to and fro overhead. He got up at once, dressed in haste, and clambered up the companion-ladder. It was a wild scene. It had come on to blow hard. The brig was under reefed topsails and jib; but Thomas knew nothing of sea affairs. She was a good boat, and rode the seas well. There was just light enough for him to see the water by the white rents in its darkness. Fortunately, he was one of those few favoured individuals in whose nerves the motions of a vessel find no response, I mean he did not know what sea-sickness
And that storm came to him a wonderful gift from the Father who had not forgotten his erring child--so strangely did it harmonize with his troubled mind. New strength, even hope invaded his weary heart from the hiss of the wind through the cordage as it bellied out from the masts ; his soul rejoiced in the heave of the wave under the bows and its swift rush astern ; and though he had to hold hard by the weather shrouds, not a shadow of fear crossed his mind. This may have partly come from lite being to him now a worthless thing, save as he had some chance of-he did not know what ; for although he saw no way of recovering his lost honour, and therefore considered that eternal disgrace was his, even if God and man forgave him, there was yet a genuine ray of an unknown hope borne into him, as I say, from the crests of those broken waves. But I think it was natural to Thomas to fear nothing that merely involved danger to himself. In this respect he possessed a fine physical courage. It was in moral courage-the power of looking human anger and contempt in the face, and holding on his own way-that he was deficient. I believe that this came in a great measure from his delicate, sensitive organization. He could look a storm in the face; but a storm in a
face he could not endure ; he quailed before it. He would sail evet a smooth human sea if he might : when a wind rose there, he would be under bare poles in a moment. Of course this sensitiveness was not in itself an evil, being closely associated with his poetic tendencies, which ought to have been the centre from which all the manlier qualities were influenced for culture and development; but he had been spoiled in every way, not least by the utterly conflicting discords of nature, objects, and character in his father and mother. But although a man may be physically brave and morally a coward --a fact too well known to be insisted upon-a facing of physical danger will help the better courage in the man whose will is at all awake to cherish it; for the highest moral courage is born of the will, and not of the organization. The storm wrought thus along with all that was best in him. In the fiercest of it that night, he often found himself kissing Lucy's ring, which, as soon as he began to know that they were in some danger, and not till then, he had, though with a strong feeling of the sacrilege of the act, ventured to draw once more upon his unworthy hand.
The wind increased as the sun rose. If he could only have helped the men staggering to and fro, as they did on the great sea in the days of old! But he did not know one rope from another. Two men were at the wheel. One was called away on some emergency aloft. Thomas sprang to his place.
“I will do whatever you tell me," he said to the steersman ; “ only let me set a man free."
Then he saw it was the captain himself. He gave a nod, and a squirt of tobacco-juice, as cool as if he had been steering with a light gale over a rippling sea. Thomas did his best, and in five minutes had learned to obey the word the captain gave him as he watched the binnacle. About an hour after the sun rose, the wind began to moderate : and before long the captain gave up the helm to the mate, saying to Thomas,
“We'll go and have some breakfast. You've earned your rations anyhow. Your father ought to have sent you to sea. It would have made a man of you."
This was not very complimentary. But Thomas had only a suppressed sigh to return for answer. He did not feel himself worth defending any more.
THOMAS RETURNS TO LONDON.
AFTER this Thomas made rapid progress in the favour of Captain Smith. He had looked upon him as a land-lubber before, with the contempt of his profession; but when he saw that, .clerk as he
was, he was yet capable at sea, he began to respect him. And as Thomas wakened up more and more to an interest in what was going on around him, he did not indulge in giving him fool's answers to the questions he asked, as so many seafarers would have been ready to do; and he soon found that Thomas's education, though it was by no means a first-rate one, enabled him to ask more questions with regard to the laws of wind and water and the combination of forces than he was quite able to solve. Before they reached the end of the voyage, Thomas knew the rigging pretty well, and could make himself useful on board. Anxious to ingratiate himself with the captain-longing almost unconsciously for the support of some human approbation, the more that he had none to give himself-he laid himself out to please him. Having a very good head, he soon found himself able to bear a hand in taking in a reef in the fore-topsail; and before long he could steer by the course with tolerable steadiness. The sailors were a not unsociable set of men, and as he presumed upon nothing, they too gave himn what help they could, not without letting off a few jokes at his expense, in the laughter following on which he did his best to join. The captain soon began to order him about like the rest, which was the best kindness he could have shown him; and Thomas's obedience was more than prompt-it was as pleasant as possible. He had on his part some information to give the captain ; and their meals in the cabin together were often merry enough.
“Do you think you could ever niake a sailor of me?" asked Tom one day.
“Not a doubt of it, my boy,” the captain answered. "A few voyages more, and you'll go aloft like a monkey."
“Where do you think of making your next voyage, sir ?” asked Tom.
“Well, I'm part owner of the brig, and can do pretty much as I like. I did think of Dundee."
“ I should have thought they had coal enough of their own thereabouts."
“A cargo of English coal never comes amiss. It's better than theirs by a long way."
“Would you take me with you ? "
“ You'll soon be worth your wages. I can't say you are yet, you know."
“Of course not. You must have your full crew besides."
"We're one hand short this voyage; and you've done something to fill the gap."
“ l'ın very glad, I'm sure. But what would you advise me to do when we reach Newcastle? It will be some time before you get off again."
“ Not long. If you like to take your share in getting the cargo on board, you can make wages by that.”
“ With all my heart," said Thomas, whom this announcement greatly relieved.
* It's dirty work," said the captain.
When they came to Newcastle, Thomas worked as hard as any of them, getting the ballast out and the new cargo in. He had never known what it was to work before; and though it tired him dreadfully at first, it did him good.
Amongst the men was one whom he liked more than the rest. He had been in the merchant service, and had sailed to India and other places. He knew more than his shipmates, and had only taken to the coasting for a time for family reasons. With him Thomas chiefly consorted when their day's work was over. With a growing hope that by some means he might rise at last into another kind of company, he made the best he could of what he had, knowing well that it was far better than he deserved, and far better than what of late he had been voluntarily choosing. His hope, however, alternated with such fits of misery and despair, that if it had not been for the bodily work he had to do, he thought he would have lost his reason. I believe not a few keep hold of their senses in virtue of doing hard work. I knew an earl's son and heir who did so. And I think that not a few, especially women, lose their senses just from having nothing to do. Many more, who are not in danger of this, lose their health, and more still lose their purity and rectitude. In other words, health-physical, mental, moral, and spiritual-requires for its existence and continuance, work, often hard and bodily labour.
This man lived in Newcastle, and got Thomas a decent room near his own dwelling, where he slept. One evening they had been walking together about the place till they were tired. It was growing late, and as they were some distance from home, they went into a little public-house which Robins knew to get a bit of bread and cheese and some ale. Robins was a very sober man, and Thomas felt no scruple in accompanying him thus, although one of the best things to be said for Thomas was, that ever since he went on board the Raven” he had steadily refused to touch spirits. Perhaps, as I have hinted before, there was less merit in this than may appear, for the very smell was associated with such painful memories of misery that it made him shudder. Sometimes a man's physical nature comes in to help him to be good. For such a dislike may grow into a principle which will last after the dislike has vanished.
They sat down in a little room with coloured prints of ships in full sail upon the walls, a sanded floor, in the once new fashion which superseded rushes, and an ostrich egg hanging from the
ceiling. The landlady was a friend of Robins, and showed them this attention. On the other side of a thin partition was the ordinary room, where the ordinary run of customers sat and drank their grog. There were only two or three in there when our party entered. Presently, while Thomas and Robins were sitting at their supper, they heard two or three more come in. A hearty recogni. tion took place, and fresh orders were given. Thomas started and listened. He thought he heard the name Ningpo.”
Now, from Thomas's having so suddenly broken off all connexion with his friends, he knew nothing of what had been going on with regard to the property Mr. Boxall had left behind him. He thought, of course, that Mrs. Boxall would inherit it. It would not be fair to suppose, however, that this added to his regret at having lost Lucy, for he was humbled enough to be past that. The man who is turned out of Paradise does not grieve over the loss of its tulips, or if he does, how came he ever to be within its gates ? But the very fact that the name of Boxall was painful to him, made the name of that vessel attract and startle him at once.
“What's the matter?” said Robins.
“ Didn't you hear some one in the next room mention the 'Ningpo'p" returned Thomas. “ Yes. She was a barque in the China trade.”
Lost last summer on the Cape Verdes. I knew the captainat least, I didn't know him, but I knew his brother and his family. They were all on board, and all lost.”
“Ah !” said Robins, “ that's the way of it, you see. People oughtn't to go to sea but them as has business there. Did you say the crew was lost as well ? "
“ So the papers said.”
Robins rose, and went into the next room. He had a suspicion that he knew the voice. Almost the same moment a rough burst of greeting came to Thomas's ear; and a few minutes after, Robins entered, bringing with him a sailor so rough, so hairy, so brown, that he looked as if he must be proof against any attack of the elements-case-hardened against wind and water. “ Here's the gentleman," said Robins, as knew your captain,
Do, sir ?” said Jack, touching an imaginary sou'wester. “What'll you have ?" asked Tom.
This important point settled, they had a talk together, in which Jack opened up more freely in the presence of Robins than he would have felt interest enough to do with a stranger alone who was only a would-be sailor at best-a fact which
could not be kept a secret from an eye used to read all sorts of signals. I will not atttempt to give the story in Jack's lingo. But the certainty was that he had been on board the “Ningpo » when she went to pieces
that he had got ashore on a spar, after sitting through the