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The Mysterious Sailor

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I was in a whaleman just frora Nanuoktt. Wblle the ship was in the gulf irenm I observed, as I stuod at the lelm, that nuich coDversution passed beween ihe captain and mate iu regard to he owner of the v-essel. "He looked miserable the last lime ie came down to the wharf,"' said the )ate ; ''T think liis voyage is pretty near Up - won'l hardly weather it till we get back." The captain turncd partly around to give me an order, and theu said to lis chief officer : "Du you kuow anything about that son of bis ?" "I only know. sir, that he's just from he college; he's buen off the island to school ever si nee he was knee high to a oad, and must bi; chuck full of larning )y this time. Them that's seen hiui saya he's a fine, stout, wel! built young nan, thit looks more like a granj-dear than a collfge-bred " '■It's likfly the business will fall into lis hands very soon," observed the cap tain, musingly. ' Yes, sir ; the old man can't hold out mucli longer. I heard that as soon as ie came to the islund he was to have the business." "Indeed !" cried tb a cnptain. "But you know, sir," answered the nate, "that these youngsters are never so striet as the old ones - " ' What's that to me ?" interrupted the captain, in so captious a manner that tüe mate looked up as if he thought it was a great deal to the passionate man. The mate knew tbat Captain Johnson bad got a ship under the utmost difficulty. There had been such reporta of his cruelty and violent temper that it was lot easy to ship crews for the vessels which he commauded. But the owner of our sbip was an easy old man, disposed to be lenient to the captain's faults, and ;he lattsr had, after repeated efforts, succeeded in gettiug oomoiand of the ship. It is oot difficult, therelore, to comprehend the staie of the captain'e mind wnen he contemplated the substitution of the son for the father. The son might discharge him imraediately on the return of the ship to Nanlucket There was nothing sgreeable, therefore, to Captain Johnson, in change of owners. The mate well understood thsi he had disturbed the captain's miud by speaking of the old man's ithdrawal from busi nesa, and he hastened to chango the subject. V' "Tbere rpustbe discipline on board of the vessel." said he, "and I'ra thinking we've got some pretty tougb sticks to hand Ie. There's that Alpheus Bailey bas a lurking rfevil in the corner of bis eye- " "A rnutinous dog, Mr. Barney - a m.utinous dog! Why don't you apeak out?" "And thatV ütrange, too, in a green band," added the mate. Now, if he was an old man o'war's man it would have been as nat'ral as a ctiaw of pig tail." "There's much talk of that kind in the forecastle, Mr. Barney; but give mean old salt in preference to these raw jonniee, that don't know a marhnspiko from the fly jibboom, and grumble because thev don't have their muffins served up hot rvery inorning." " They ïnustn't grumble to mo," said Barney, noddinf his head tiireateningly. ''Well, I think we can kwpthom from spilting iu our feoeo," eried the cap'ain. "Take a pull on the lee bracee, Mr Barney. Keep her off a little - thero ! - stc-ady s she goes." This discouise between the captain and mate sounded very uiucb like a declaration of war against the crew, and where hoiti!e feelings exist without a cause, a small spark is su$.cíolí t.o kindie a great fire From that time fnrward it waa ensy to porceive that he young man called Alpheus B:iiley was regarded mj-picious y by tlie captain and bolh his mates; yet it would be difficul to teil why, unIe8n it was because he was a strapping fellnw and mighi bo adangerous castoroer in coming to blnwg. It was not difficult however, to account for the fact tbat the crew generally looked witli bd evi} eye üpon tbat young novice ; for he was not only ignorant of peamanship, ho was also disinclined to work, and took matters very easy Even tho reproachcs of his sliipmates seemea not to move him. Ele had little to say to any of us, and yet ho scenied to see and Iiear everything that passed on board. Evory movenxuit, whether of the crew or of the ofBcers, was watched with the closest scrutiiiy. "Take the sluh-bucket and go and slush down all three topoiasts," said tho mate to Alplieus one morning, just as we hove in sight of Juan Fernnndt-z. AlpheuM took the bueket and proceeded to work in the most leisurely marnier. It was night bef'ore he hud liuished the job. ' Now, ain't you a skulk - a lubberly hound f" said the officcr, as Alpheus carne down from aloft. Alpheus said r.othing. though of the crew grinned at him as if they coineided entirely with tho mate. Befóte we had reached the Sandwich Islauds however, the continued ill usage on board thesbip had served to combine the crew tnore closely togethor and even the hauteur and laziuess of Alpheus were forgotten. Yet a hearty kugh was raised at the tiie expense ol the young man vvhen, one of the crew expectiig punishment. Al pheus promised to use his influence in favor of his downcast shipmate. M'e were lying at Honolulú ; a sailor had run away and had been caught and bnuht on board the ship by several natives em ployed to ferret out deserters among the mouiitains. The poor fel'ow was in irons, and as the captain had promised to flog him within au inch of his life, the prospect was not quite so ambrosial as a poet's dream "Never mind, Bob," said Alpheus, consolingly; lI will do whut I can for yu." Thero was a general roar, and poor Büb bimself could not help nuiiling, as he knew that Alpheus was the last man in the ship whose word would have any value with the captain, or indeed anybody else on board. Alpheus showed no more emotion than a porpoise at a camp meeting. Nobody was Burprised at that. We had become accustomed to his peculianties ; but when, ou th next morning, the captain came on board in a towering passion and roared hke a buil for the offending Bob, and ordered him to be seized up m the rigging and tiogged, we all turned our eyes upon Alpheus, wondering whnt his temerity might attempt Bob was stripped to the buff :md seized up in the inain rigging by the mates. The captain stepped forward with a piece of rattliiig iu his hand to commenco the flogging To our amnzement, Alihens walked bodly up to the captain, snatched the rope from his h:nd, ind drawing out his sheatli knife, bgan to cut the marlings by which Bob's limbs were bouud. Captain Johnsin stepped back one ce, and fairly frothed ai. the mouth, while the mates rau up to collar the audacious youth, " Lay a finger nn me if you dare !" c.ied Alpheus to the officers, in a tone of haughty defiance, which would have done credit to JForrest or Macready in Oorioiauus. The mates heitated. '■Seize the mutinous scoundrel!" shouted Captain Johnson. ' Knock him down with a cleaver ! Break his skull 1" "Stand back, you impertiiipnt varletsf' Exclaimed the youth, and taking a strip of paper from his bosom, he handed it to tb captain. The latter glnnoed over it and turned as pale as death. He glared at Alpheus as if he had been a ghost. "I iorgive your ofiences this titne,1' said Alpheus ; but remeji ber ! The captain looked down, but made n motion to his mates to cut down Bob from the riggine;. The umtes as well as the crew seemed to be u a dreaiti Bob was cut down, but he could not keep his eyes from Alpheus, who had suddenly become "the observed of i!l observers " Aipheus descended into the cabin with the captain, and neither "f thera appeared on deck during the d:iy. Three days afterwards Alpheus went on boiird a homeward bound vessel and sailed for the United States The oonduct of the captain underwent a change from that hour. The rest ot' the voynge was bofh pleasant and succefsful, while every one wondered who was Alpheuf Bailey, an.d boy he had contrived to effect so great a changeV We never heard bil real name mentioned, but when the ship reached home he came on board of us at the wharf, and shakinsr hands with the crew huled us as his pld ship mates. As I had overheard the conversation betwren the captain nd the mate in the Gulf, 1 found little difficulty in recognizing in Alpheus the young collegian - the son of the owner - who had taken a romantic DOtion to ship as a cinnmon cailor, and see for himself how the men were treated by Captain Johnson. Hav ing learned from us that the Captain had really become an altered man, our voung owner continued him iu commaud np tho allí n


Old News
Michigan Argus