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everywhere," cried Spiers." Ay, ay,
On the first Sunday that occurred after we had set sail, the weather was calm, sunny, and delightful. The emigrants strolled about the deck in groups, or sat in different parts of the vessel reading their Bibles; and the seamen, having no duty to perform, participated in the general inactivity. About mid-day, a man who had often before attracted my attention, came up from the steerage, and began to look around him, as if desirous of ascertaining if all the passengers were present; he then mounted a large cask, and gave out a text from the Scriptures, and proceeded to expound it. A general commotion took place among the emigrants, most of whom seemed too much astonished to think of interrupting him; however, they soon became quiet again, and listen ed with undivided attention. The enthusiasm of the preacher became greater the longer he spoke, and he
dealt in a species of eloquence that
whom, notwithstanding their aversion to the tenets he had inculcated, offered to share their provisions with him; however, the mate succeeded in appeasing the Captain, and all further altercation ceased.
After this was adjusted, those who had stationed themselves in the rigging began to descend to the deck, but on getting a certain way down the shrouds, they were astonished to find their farther progress impeded by three seamen who stood in a line, and occupied all the foot-ropes. On requesting permission to pass, they were informed that it would not be granted, unless they agreed to pay the forfeit of a bottle of rum, which it was usual to exact from each person when he went aloft the first time. They all declared they had no rum, but the seamen informed them that the Captain would sell as much as they chose. Being unwilling to part with their money, they were puzzled how to act, and began to exclaim against the justness of the demand that was made upon them; however, their fellow-passengers, instead of attending to these complaints, laughed at their embarrassment, and encouraged the sailors to persist in requiring the customary tribute. Those who had ignorantly exposed themselves to its exaction, would not consent to pay it, and remained on the shrouds, exposed to the jeers and taunts of the spectators below, for nearly half an hour. At length a breeze sprung up, the sea became agitated, and the ship began to roll; their terror was then so great, that they seemed willing to agree to any terms rather than be forced to remain aloft, and therefore promised the sailors all they wanted. They were then permitted to descend to the deck, which they soon reached, amidst the derisive scoffings of their fellow-passengers.
The place in which the seamen slept and took their meals, was close to the bows of the vessel, and on a level with the steerage, from which it was separated by a wooden partition. The hold lay under all, but neither the crew nor the emigrants had any access to it except through the main hatch. About a week after we left port, the former began to complain that they were often disturbed during the night by noises which they could not account for, as they took place in that part of the ship where the cargo was stowed, and where no person could possibly be. A sailor
asserted, that one dark morning, while at the helm, he had seen a white figure standing upon the bowsprit, and that he called to the people of the watch, who were lying about the deck half asleep, but before he could rouse them, the spectre had vanished. Another said, he sometimes heard voices whispering beneath him when he lay in his birth, but could neither tell what they uttered, nor from whom they proceeded, though he believed that the thing that made such noises was at least a fathom below the steerage floor.
The superstitious alarm produced among the seamen by these circumstances, was speedily communicated to the passengers, and the subject underwent so much discussion, that it soon reached the Captain's ears. He affected to treat the matter lightly, saying, there was no room for ghosts in a ship so crowded as ours, and at the same time remarked, that if the stories told by the sailors had any foundation, they were to be accounted for by supposing that some of the emigrants had been playing tricks upon their credulity. The mate, however, did not seem to be satisfied with this explanation, and he took me aside, and stated, that as a strange figure had been seen near the bows of the vessel the preceding night, he intended to watch for its reappearance, and hoped I would second his purpose.
About twelve o'clock we took our station near the companion; all the emigrants had retired to their births, and the helmsman and five of his comrades alone remained upon deck. The latter had laid themselves down apparently half asleep, and every thing was silent except the waves, which made noise enough to render our voices undistinguishable at the other end of the vessel. We therefore talked without fear of being overheard by the mysterious visitor whom we expected to see, and as our conversation turned chiefly upon sailors' superstitions, my companion related a story in illustration of the subject. "After making three voyages to the West Indies, said he," in the capacity of a common seaman, I was discharged, the vessel having changed its owners. I could find no employment for some time, but at last got myself appointed to take charge of a large ship that had been laid up and dismantled during several years. My duty consisted in washing
her decks, keeping her clean, and repairing any thing that went wrong about her works. She lay in a retired part of the harbour, and far from the rest of the shipping, and no one lived on board of her but myself. For the first few days, things went quietly enough, though I must confess I felt rather lonesome at night, particularly when the weather was bad, and often wished that some of the boats which I heard passing and repassing at a distance, would come alongside and leave me a companion. One morning, when in the hold, I observed an old rudder wheel lying among some rubbish. I took it up, and was shocked and astonished to find the skeleton of a man's arm, as far as the shoulder, bound to it with a rope. The flesh had completely decayed, but the sinews and bones remained entire, and the hand still grasped one of the spokes of the wheel, as if in the act of steering. A cold shivering came over me, and I threw the whole into a dark corner, and went about my usual occupations; however, my mind felt unsettled and uneasy, and I was continually thinking of the human remains I had seen, and wondering how they could have come there. The night that succeeded all this was a very tempestuous one, and the ship being crank and indifferently moored, laboured dreadfully. I lay down in my birth soon after dark, but the more I tried to sleep, the less did I feel inclined to do so; the wind made a wild and dreary sound among the old shrouds and dismantled masts, that was far more terrifying than its fiercer roarings round a ship in full trim would have been. At length I got tired of lying awake, and went upon deck to see how the weather looked. The moon was in the top of the heavens, but gave almost no light, in consequence of the immense layers of broken black clouds that swept along before her; however, they sometimes opened for a few moments, and then she suddenly blazed forth like a flash of lightning, and shewed every object around. The second time this happened I thought I saw a man standing at the helm; I shouted with terror, but no one replied, and I began to suspect that fancy had deceived me; how ever, on looking again, I was convinced of the reality of the appearance. He was dressed like a sailor, and stood close to the wheel, having his hands
upon the spokes, and remained mo, tionless, notwithstanding the violent and sudden labourings of the vessel. He had a pale and dejected countenance, and kept his eyes fixed upon the topmasts, like a careful and experienced steersman; and though I called out several times, he neither changed his position nor appeared to notice me. I took my station within a few yards of him, not daring to approach any nearer, and became, as it were, entranced by fear and curiosity. I gradually thought we were in the middle of a wide ocean, and scudding along before a gale of wind so tremendous, that the dismantled masts rung under its violence. The most terrible seas seemed to swell and burst around us, but the mysterious helmsman brought the ship safely through them all; and when I looked astern, I saw every thing bright, sunny, and tranquil, though black clouds, lightnings, and a hurricane frowned, flashed, and raged before us. On regaining my recollection, I found myself standing in the very place where I had first lost it, but the spectre had vanished, and no trace of him remained.
"I spent the next day in dreary expectation of again encountering my supernatural visitor; however, I was agreeably disappointed, and a week passed away without my having once seen him, though I regularly watched for his appearance. At length a gale of wind again occurred, and when midnight arrived, I observed him take his station at the helm in the same way as before, though I could not discover from whence he came, or how he got on board. I soon had a vision similar to the one already described, and on awaking from it, found myself alone. All this took place every night while the storm lasted. You may be sure I rejoiced in the return of fine weather, and subsequently dreaded a wild horizon as much as if I had been at sea.
"After this, the fear of the apparition made me so miserable, that I resolved to look out for another birth. One morning, while full of such thoughts, I saw a boat coming towards the ship, and soon recognized my old friend, Bill Waters, tugging an oar, in company with several other seamen. They soon got alongside, and asked how I did, and were just pushing off again, when I requested Bill to come on board; and spend the day with me,
and take share of my cot at night, for I knew he had sailed in the vessel I then had charge of, and therefore supposed he would be able to tell me something of her history. He readily accepted my invitation, and, in the course of the day, I related all I had seen, and told him how anxious I was to change my quarters. He seemed very much astonished, and remained silent a few minutes, and then asked for a sight of the rudder-wheel and bones. I immediately conducted him to the hold, and he examined the withered arm with great attention, and, on discovering a small ring on one of its shrunken fingers, exclaimed, As I live, this limb once belonged to an old comrade of mine, called Henley ! Now, I can tell you all about this business.—Oh that our captain were here! -What an infernal devil!—An angel couldn't have steered a whole watch in such weather as we had that night! But I will explain every thing. He now proceeded to inform me, that, about five years before, he had gone a voyage in the ship we were then on board of, Henley being one of the crew. Immediately after making land, they encountered tremendous weather, and had every thing washed off the deck by the waves. The gale continued almost a week without intermission, and the seamen at length became so much exhausted that they were hardly able to do duty. One night, when the vessel was scudding under bare poles, Henley, after steering her the usual time, gave the helm to the man whose turn it was to relieve him. The captain thought the former an admirable pilot, but had a pique at him for some cause or other; therefore, when he saw him abandoning his post, he ordered that he should immediate ly return to it. Henley protested against this; however, the captain becaine furious, and swore he would be obeyed, and the poor fellow, though worn out with fatigue, was obliged to take the rudder in his hands again. Meanwhile, the merciless tyrant got drunk, and stood watching lest any one should relieve Henley, who soon grew so weak that we were obliged to tie him to the tiller wheel, that he might not fall down, or be pitched overboard. However, an immense wave struck us a-stern, and the shock was so violent that he lost command of the belma sudden jerk of the wheel
tore off his arm, and he got entangled among the ropes, and received various injuries, of which he soon died. Next day they got into port, and shortly set about preparing for sea again; but when every thing was almost ready, the captain declined taking charge of the vessel, and her owners gave the command of her to another person, who made one voyage, and then resigned also. She was afterwards laid up, and they had always found great difficulty in getting any one to keep her, as those who undertook the charge usually begged to be clear of it before the lapse of many weeks, though they invariably refused to give a reason for such inexplicable conduct."
Here the story was interrupted by one of the seamen who came hurriedly towards us, and said he had been awakened by groans and loud noises, which seemed to proceed from some one beneath the place where he slept. The mate immediately procured a lighted lantern, and we all went down into the hold, and examined almost every part of it, without discovering any person, and were on the point of returning to the deck, when the candle flashed on a narrow recess between two rows of water-casks, and shewed a man sitting in it. We started back with horror at the sight of him. He was pale, cadaverous, and emaciated, and his countenance had a frighful expression of villainy and terror. His clothes hung around him in rags, and were marked with blood in several places, while his matted hair and disordered looks combined to render his whole aspect truly horrible." In the name of Heaven!" cried the mate," who are you?-What do you do here?" The figure to whom these questions were addressed made no reply, but sat scowling at us in sullen silence, and we were in the act of advancing towards him, when the seaman who carried the lantern stumbled, and dropt it from his hand, and the candle was immediately extinguished. As none of us felt very willing to remain in the hold amidst total darkness, we all went up the hatch, and waited till our attendant procured another light, and then returned and resumed our investigations.
We found the mysterious intruder in the very spot where we had left him, and would have forced him to give an account of himself, had not our attention been attracted by the
sudden appearance of another being
thanked Heaven that they had not been killed and robbed by such despe peradoes, and congratulated themselves that this was the first time they had ever been in the same place with mur derers.
However, when the Captain appear. ed upon deck every one became silent, and listened attentively to what he said. The men being placed before him, he scrutinized them from head to foot, and then asked their names, and inquired what countrymen they were. “I am called Isaac Hurder," answered the one we had first discovered, "And who is that behind" and was born in Ireland."-" My name is Michael Willans," said the other; "but I don't know any thing about my native place."-" And how have you lived since you came on board this vessel ?" demanded the Captain."Just as well as we could, please your honour," returned Hurder. "We took all we found, and helped ourselves to any thing that was in the way.”— "Did you intend to remain concealed till we reached Quebec ?" inquired the Captain." No, no," replied the former, "we would have come up from our hiding place, and begged your par don long ago, but we were afraid to do so till the ship had got out of sight of land; for you might have sent us a shore again in the boat."-" And what have you to say?" cried the Captain to Willans, who skulked behind his com panion; "how came you by that wound upon your cheek ?"-" May my soul be eternally damned," returned he, " if Hurder didn't give it me this very night!-I was nearly murdered by him. When we first came on board, we agreed to divide equally all the provisions that fell into our hands; but my friend there, curse him! stole two biscuits to-day, and refused to give me one of them. I was half dead with hunger, and so resolved to have my share right or wrong-We fought about it, and he struck me on the face, curse him! and brought the blood, as you see, and would have killed me, hadn't them men with the lantern stopped him. But may I be in hell to-morrow if we don't try another bout before long."—" Silence, bruta wretch!" cried the Captain. "What were your reasons for leaving Scotland -answer this instant."-"Why, be cause we couldn't live there," replie Willans. "My friend, curse him persuaded me to go with him to Ame
He now hastened to the cabin, and roused the Captain, who, as soon as he was made acquainted with the affair, gave directions that the two men should be brought upon deck, where he would shortly attend, and oblige them to give an account of themselves. Meanwhile, the noise of our voices in the hold had awakened some of the emigrants. They easily learned the cause of the disturbance, and of course communicated it to their fellow-passengers, and the whole steerage was soon in a state of commotion. Both men and women got out of their births, and dressed themselves and hurried upon deck; and before the Captain made his appearance there, an anxious and gazing crowd had lined the bulwarks, and surrounded the two prisoners, who surveyed the whole assemblage with an expression of hardened indifference. A large lantern was placed in such a manner as made its light fall chiefly upon them; and different groups of passengers could be seen successively coming within the influence of its blaze, as they crowded forward to catch a distinct view of the disturbers of the public peace. Whis perings, surmises, and exclamations, passed from mouth to mouth, and every one seemed to exceed another in the uncharitableness of his opinions respecting the characters of the mysterious persons before them; while some