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The Plough Boy Journals

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19th Century American Whaling

Bonin Islands

Pitcairn's Island

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No. 7.

W. H. Macy

Ballou's Monthly Magazine
Vol. LXVI, No. 1 (Jul 1887)
pp. 46-54.


. . . .



No. 7.

Progress of Our Beach Work. – A Dreadful Mystery. – Murder or Accident? – Life or Death? – Rafting Off. – A Council Displaying More Zeal for Justice than Legal Knowledge. – On a Wrong Scent.

      The "Garrick's" boat was already pushing off the beach, when all hands were mustered the next morning, and no one was sorry to get a rear view of her troublesome commander, lessening gradually in the distance. He had kept everything and everybody in hot water since he landed, and, as Bryant jocosely expressed it, "he could be spared without a pang."

      Martin had been left on the beach, but he was not likely to have much authority or influence with the "Daphne's" crew; and McDougal, now thoroughly roused to a sense of how much devolved upon him, had shaken off the incubus under which he had seemed to struggle for two days past, and took charge of matters with a stronger hand. There was no liquor on the island, save what little was locked up in the officers' chests, and held under strict control, and the duties were now carried on with regularity and despatch.

      A good business was done by all for the time being; but as each party strove to outdo the others in the work of slaughter, nothing was spared, old or young. The haul of elephants grew less and less every day, and it soon came to be evident that this system of general massacre would, in a short time, make a desert of the north beach, and compel us to seek our prey in more distant haunts. This result would much retard our progress and increase our labor, owing to the necessity of transporting the blubber a great distance over land.


      Before the end of "young bull season," we had collected more than a cargo for the schooner, and had the greater part of it "made off," as the Greenlandmen term the process of mincing and packing into casks. Scouts were kept on the shore night and day, and the labor of all hands was incessant from daylight until sundown, except when the gales were so furious as to make work impracticable. But. even then, the men detailed as hunters must be on the alert, for this was the very time when the animals seemed most inclined to seek the shore.

      But we were warmly housed and liberally fed, and our evenings, after the day's toil was over, were spent in pleasant recreation, or in visiting each other's houses. Captain McDougal and his daughter sometimes made us a call at the Nest, while many a delightful hour was spent by Dave and myself at Daphne Cottage or at the Wreck; for Carrie still kept up her little boudoir in the brig's cabin, and often passed the night on board with her father, when the weather was fine. My shipmate was more and more fascinated at each successive interview with her, and, circumspect as the girl was in her intercourse with us all, my close observation of the two satisfied me that the interest was mutual. There was always a slight flutter to be detected at his approach, a slight embarrassment on her part when conversing with him, a ripple, as it were, upon the calm surface of her habitual self-composure, which I could not fail to contrast with her perfectly free and unconstrained manner towards poor me.

      I was pleased at the discovery, both on my chum's account and my own; as it placed me on the very footing where I wished to stand, that of a sufficiently agreeable, but harmless old friend, of no particular importance, but feeling myself, to a certain extent, in the confidence of both parties.

      We had filled all the casks that we had then on hand, and rolled them near the water-side, in readiness for rafting. The weather was fine, and the " Woodlark " was expected down at the Point the next day to receive them on board, as well as a large quantity of blubber in "strings," to be stowed in bulk. She would also land a further supply of empty casks and provisions, and make sail for Desolation, to report to the Admiral, and discharge cargo.

      I had the first watch on the beach, Dave Bryant and I having arranged to divide the night between us, he relieving me at one o'clock. I saw him go on board the brig in the early part of the evening, in company with Fielding, and knowing that the captain and Carrie were on board, I rather envied him the social pleasure which I knew he would enjoy so highly, while 1, in pursuance of my duty, was tramping the beach-sand on my long and lonely beat.

      The time wore slowly away, till I judged it to be nearly midnight, and I had killed but few elephants, for they were more scarce than usual, and my competitors from the other vessels, whom I encountered now and then in their rounds, had been no more fortunate than I. But, on extending my walk further than before towards the end of the Point, I came upon a fine bull, just crawling up the slope, and was not long in letting out his life-blood, and putting our W in his hide with my butcher-knife.

      Seeing nothing more in that direction, I turned in my tracks, and, soon after, met and passed a little, dark man. whom I recognized as one of the crew of the "Argyle," having seen him at work among her party. We exchanged a simple "good-night" in passing, and I went on a mile or more up the beach, then turned and retraced my steps, calculating that one more cruise down as far as the Galley and back, would about use up my time.

      As I was again passing my recent prize, I stopped to look at him with much satisfaction, for he was a specimen of unusual size, and in very plump condition. I thought my mark loomed wonderfully large upon him, and stooping to examine it, found that the cuts forming my W had been extended by some other knife, so as to make it a XX. This, as I well knew, was the mark of the Cape-Towners, for their initial letter A was already used by Warner, of the "Adelaide," before they arrived.

      I was at no loss to divine who had been guilty of so mean a trick, for the hunter's mark is, by common consent, held sacred by all men of any pretensions to honor, and there was no more deadly sin among us than to tamper with it, or, in any way, to appropriate the prize of another party.

      Hastening up my pace, I soon overtook the dark man whom I had greeted on my upward march, and at once charged him with having altered my mark. He spoke but little English, but I was satisfied that he understood me well enough, and that he was


guilty. He, at first, denied having seen any elephant, and afterwards declared that he had killed one there himself; though I knew there was no other one of that night's killing within half a mile each way.

      A few hard words passed between us; he gave me the lie, and I retorted with a severe rap over his head with the pole of my lance. He appeared to consider it a losing game on his part, and went his way, muttering what I supposed to be threats of vengeance, in a foreign tongue unknown to me. I returned to my elephant, skinned off a patch of the hide, so as to obliterate his mark, and again scored my own in a fresh place.

      I was lucky enough to kill two more on my return route to the Nest, and was tired enough then not to mention the affair to Dave, who turned out to relieve me. I told him I had killed a very large elephant nearly abreast of the Galley, and reserved the rest of the story for the next day. I remember his saying to me, as he took his peajacket from where it was hanging near the stove:—

      "Joe, I got wet through last night, and my jacket isn't more than half dry now. Suppose I put on yours?"

      "All right," I answered, half asleep even then.

      My slumber was too sound for dreams. I had little idea how long I had been in my bunk, when I was rudely jerked into a sitting posture by Fielding, in a manner which sufficiently indicated that there was no time to waste in more gentle measures to wake me.

      "The boat, Joe!" he cried. "Take the gang to the beach and launch the boat! Quick, for dear life! Pull up to the Bight, board the ' Garrick,' and tell Proctor to send his surgeon ashore. Down to the beach, boys, as fast as you can get on your jackets!"

      "What's the matter?" I asked, as my feet touched the floor.

      "Look, man! Don't stop to ask questions!"

      I did look, and one look was sufficient to paralyze me, for a moment, with horror. On the floor of the outer, or large apartment, lay the inanimate body of my dearly loved friend, Bryant; but whether already dead, or only insensible, I knew not. A red rivulet running from under it across the floor, told a fearful tale; while Fielding, Warner, and another of the "Adelaide's" men, who had brought him in, were^ stripping the jacket from him—my jacket, saturatedlntE his blood.

      Our own men, with pallid faces, and putting incoherent questions, were hurrying on their clothes to obey Fielding's order. My heart stood still for a moment; then, recovering my speech, I gasped:—

      "My God, Dave! How did this happen?"

      "He can't answer you, Joe," said Warner. True enough, but I had forgotten this. "Don't ask questions, but go bring the surgeon, if you value his life."

      "Off with you boys, all of you, down to the beach!" said Fielding. "Pick your men for a boat's crew, Joe, and bear a hand! Tell the doctor there's a man bleeding to death from a wound in the side. He'll know what to bring."

      It seemed to me that we were an hour in getting the boat ready to launch, though, probably, it was never done so quickly during the voyage as then. I spoke the names of the men whom I selected from the eager crowd of volunteers; they jumped in as the boat entered the roller, the rest, seizing the gunwales, pushed Ub through it, and, the next moment, I was heaving desperately at the stroke oar with one hand, while with the other I guided the light boat through the darkness, with the sombre shadow of the sea face of the Glacier for a landmark.

      No words were spoken among the oarsmen, as they bent nobly to their work; and I, myself, was in no mood for talking, while the life of my dear friend was suspended, as it were, upon a hair. This was all we knew of the matter, for, of course, no one had the remotest idea how it happened. I had no thought at the time that it was other than an accidental wound from his own lance or sheath-knife, but how inflicted, I could not even conjecture.

      From the " Woodlark's " Nest to the anchorage in the Bight, was not less than three miles, but I do not think we consumed more than twenty minutes in making this distance. The English bark was easily distinguished in the darkness from the rest of the fleet, by her superior size and different rig; and we were soon shooting alongside, answering the hail of the anchor-watch by the peremptory order, for there was no time for ceremony:—

      "Call your captain and the surgeon!"

      The order was instinctively obeyed to the letter, so that, by the time I jumped in on


the bark's quarter-deck, the surgeon himself, half dressed, was waiting to know what was wanted.

      "Man bleeding to death from a wound in the side, unless something can be done very quick!" said I.

      "Is it gunshot, incision, or punctured wound?" he demanded, instantly.

      "I've told you all I know. He was insensible when found. He can't tell us, and I did not wait to examine the wound."

      "All right," said he. "I'll be with you in a moment."

      He vanished below, passing Aleck Proctor on the stairs.

      "Eh! eh!" said that magnate, who had got an inkling of the matter. "Who is it that's hurt? What vessel does he belong to?"

      "To the schooner 'Woodlark,' " I replied.

      "And why don't you Yankee vessels have doctors of your own?"

      "I've no time to discuss the matter now," I said. "At present I want yours."

      "I don't see why I should furnish a surgeon for the whole fleet."

      "Present your bill to Captain Comstock."

      At this moment the doctor reappeared, with a case of instruments, and such matters as he thought might be needed.

      "Man the boat!" he hailed, as soon as he stepped his foot on deck.

      "Here, Doctor Churchill!" said Proctor, blustering up to him. "jT'd like to be consulted when anybody is going out of my ship. You are under my orders, I believe."

      "Bother your orders! Get out of my way, will you? I'm acting, now, under the orders of common humanity."

      "The man don't belong to my ship, I suppose you know."

      "No, I don't know. No one but a brute would ask what ship he belonged to," he continued, as he descended the man-ropes. "Out oars, boys! Pull ahead!"

      The same old stroke, long, strong, and regular, carried us past the Glacier, and down again to the Point, in even less time than we had taken to come up. Scores of strong arms were ready at the water-side, to seize the boat and run her up high and dry. We jumped out, and rushed up to the house, the doctor and myself keeping close together. Fielding met us at the door.

      "Is he alive yet?" I inquired.

      "Yes," was the reply; "and we have partly stopped the flow of blood. But you are none too soon, doctor, and it is a load off my mind to see you coming. We have done what we could, so far as we knew."

      "You have done well," said the surgeon, at the first glance. "If you have checked the bleeding at all, there is hope."

      He made his way through the group to the side of the insensible man, who had been raised upon a rude table, and laid upon his side, so as to expose the wound to view. Warner, who seemed to have more presence of mind and instinctive knowledge of what to do in such cases, than any one else present, stood by his side, stanching the hemorrhage, which was not so violent as at first. He at once gave up his place to the surgeon, who had already thrown his coat into one of the bunks, and went promptly to work, at the same time directing me how to prepare some restoratives which he had brought. McDougal stood a little in shadow, peering anxiously into the doctor's face. But it was not until I turned away to do what I had been directed, that I became aware of another presence which completed the impressive tableau.

      Seated in a corner of the room, with her wealth of beautiful hair flying loosely in the draught from the half-open door, the highlaud bloom of her cheeks faded to the paleness of death, with lips parted, and head inclined forward to catch any sound that might fall from the surgeon's lips, sat Carrie McDougal, suffering more keenly than any one in that group; though no one but myself, as I then thought, knew why. Her conduct might have been attributed by some of those present, to the natural sympathy of a sensitive female towards a suffering fellow-being; by others, perhaps, to mere womanly curiosity. I know that a thought flashed even through my mind, that her behavior was, to say the least, strange; perhaps, that she was a little wanting in that delicate pride which impels a woman to keep her feelings a secret, even from the object of her affection, until certain that they are reciprocated.

      But I had no time, then, to analyze the thought, or to sit in judgment upon a matter where a woman's heart was concerned. I handed the restoratives to the doctor, who ordered the patient to be carried into the little room, and shut the door upon us all but Fielding and Warner, who remained to assist him. He had, thus far, expressed no opinion upon the case, and the time we remained in suspense seemed an age to us.


      The girl did not speak to me, nor even recognize me by a look, and I pitied her, and respected her feelings too much to intrude. Her father took his stand by her side with folded arms, anxious and grave, but exchanged no word with her. The hum of conversation among the crowd outside upon the tussocks, was the only sound that broke the stillness.

      It was daybreak when the door opened, and the doctor came out. All eyes were directed to his countenance, which, however, was far from being a transparent one. He was a man of austere aspect, with more than half his face hidden by a beard which might have excited the envy of a French sapeur. We waited a moment for him to speak, fearing to ask the question. The. young girl was the first to break the silence. Her bloodless lips shaped the words:—

      "Life or death?"

      As the doctor looked into the sweet, upturned face, all trace of sternness vanished from his own rough one.

      "Life! my dear young lady," he answered. "Life, by all means!"

      He spoke heartily, and in tones of great confidence.

      "And this, I presume, is Miss McDougal, of whom I have heard, but whom I have not, until now, had the pleasure of meeting?"

      But no answer, further than a grateful look, was returned. The bright head was bowed upon the fair hands, and the overcharged heart found relief, for the first time, in tears. I hastened to introduce Captain McDougal to the surgeon, and, as they conversed aside, Carrie touched me lightly on the arm.

      "Can I see you a moment outside— alone?" she asked.

      "Certainly, if you wish it," I replied, a little coldly, I am afraid.

      We passed out and round the rear of the house, to a retired spot.

      "He will need watching—nursing," she said. "I must be with him, must go and come at any and all times. I want you to arrange it with Mr. Fielding that I have permission to do so."

      "But would it be right?" I asked, with a shade of the thought which I before spoke of.

      "It would. It would be my right; and, under the peculiar circumstances of our position here, I desire to claim it as such. I cannot say what I wish to say to Mr. Fielding, but I have always felt that I could trust Joe Gordon; that he would understand my heart rightly."

      God forgive me! I am afraid I had failed to do so that very night.

      She held out her little hand, and on her finger sparkled a ring that I knew and recognized at once as having belonged to Dave Bryant.

      "Do you understand me?" she asked, without raising her face.

      "I do."

      Daylight was breaking, in a double sense. But I had not known, until now, that the words of love had been spoken. Probably the very evening before, while I was on duty. And the inclined plane of the "Daphne's" deck had been the strange trysting-place of these two fond, young hearts. I had only one other matter to clear up.

      "Are you doing right to make this engagement?" I asked. "Have you not duties to others besides to him?"

      She looked up now, and her eyes met mine boldly, even proudly.

      "My father knows all," she said.

      "Forgive my doubts," I faltered. "I ought to have known that he did. All shall be as you desire it, and may Heaven spare Dave Bryant to us, for he is worthy, even of you!"

      With the rising of the sun, the schooners were moored off the Point, and the operation of " rafting off " superseded all other duties for the day. We had no time to devote to the investigation of the dreadful mystery of the night; for smooth weather was not to be depended upon for any length of time, and our work must be pushed forward with the utmost despatch.

      The process of hauling off casks of oil and blubber from a surf-bound shore is one that can only be performed under the most favorable circumstances, and even then, requires much care in preparation, as well as severe labor in its execution. A strong rope, a hundred and twenty fathoms long, was made ready to string a raft of twenty casks, by splicing into it tails of smaller rope, at intervals of six fathoms. Strong beckets are driven under the hoops of the casks, and being rolled in tiers on the slope of the beach, twenty of them are bent to the raft rope, and a line is run from the schooner to the shore. This line is hauled taut when the first cask is rolled into the breakers, and is


kept taut by those on board, during the whole operation. When the second cask touches the water, the first is outside of the roller, and thus being kept always six fathoms apart, they cannot possibly strike each other while in the surf. In this manner the whole cargo of the "Woodlark" was floated off and hoisted on board. The shades of evening were upon us before our arduous toil was finished, and tired, drenched and hungry, we returned to the Nest. The schooner again went back to the Bight to complete her stowage, and make everything snug for sea.

      We found our shipmate comfortable, and all the symptoms favorable for his recovery, Dr. Churchill, who, as has beenjalready seen, did not hesitate, in the cause of humanity, to set (Captain Proctor openly at defiance, had determined to remain on shore for a few days, that he might be near his patient. Brave hearts on every side beat in sympathy for their suffering comrade; and rough, but willing hands, were not wanting wherever they could be useful, while the devoted young girl was at hand, ready with the hundred little services and attentions that only woman thinks of in such cases.

      "He is doing well," said the surgeon, after his final examination for the night, '' and I see nothing to prevent his recovery, if we are careful of him. It was an ugly stab, though, and a slight change of direction would have put him beyond the reach of my art."

      "Has he been able to give any account of how the accident happened?" inquired Fielding. Only he and I were listening to the doctor at the moment, for we had stood talking together outside when he came out.

      "It was no accident," replied Dr. Churchill, in a suppressed voice. "There's an assassin somewhere among us. But perhaps it is as well to keep the matter quiet for the present, as we have but a slight clue to his identity."

      "How do you know this?" I asked, in astonishment.

      "From his own statement, which he made to me and Miss McDougal only. I was well enough satisfied of it before, from the circumstantial evidence."

      He then informed us that Dave's lance had been found near the spot where he had fallen, and was brought in soon after we had gone to our work in the morning. It had no stain of blood upon it; and, furthermore, the doctor was positive that the wound had been made with a knife. As Bryant's own knife was also clean, and still in its sheath when he had been found by Warner and his companion, the theory of accidental injury was effectually set aside in the surgeon's mind. When the patient was able to talk a little during the day, he had stated that he had been stabbed by a small man closely muffled in a dark monkey-jacket and slouched sou'wester, who had risen fron behind a hillock of sand, and rushed upon him unawares. He had no chance to recognize his assailant, who struck but one blow, and disappeared in the darkness, running in the direction of the Rookery.

      A small man, in a dark jacket and sou'wester! My adventure in the first watch came back to my mind for the first time since its occurrence. I had not thought of the possibility of murder, and the affair had been dismissed from memory almost as soon as it occurred.

      "Say nothing," said I, as soon as the thought flashed upon me; "I know the man."

      "Is it one of our crew?" demanded Fielding.

      "No, I am glad to say it is not."

      "I did not think Dave Bryant had any enemy on the beach," he said, musingly.

      "Nor do I think so yet," I answered. "The blow was intended for me. You remember that he had relieved me at one o'clock, and that he wore my jacket and hat." And I proceeded to relate my affair with the little, dark foreigner from the "Argyle," whom I had rapped on the head with my lance-pole.

      "I will make sure of it to-morrow morning," I continued, when I had finished my story. "I have only to show myself to him, he supposing me, of course, to be dead, and he cannot help showing signs of guilt."

      "That's true," said the doctor. "A guilty conscience will need no accuser, but if you don't object, I would like to accompany you in the morning."

      "All right," I replied. "Come with me, and I will show you the murderer. In the meantime we'll say nothing of our suspicions in-doors."

      We communicated our intentions to McDougal, Warner and Burdick, under strict injunctions of secrecy. They had all called during the evening to make inquiries after the wounded man, and we thought it well


that, as leaders of the other parties, they should be made acquainted with all that we knew. Burdick, of course, was for making a raid upon the Cape Towners that very night, and thus securing the murderer before we slept; but so hasty a measure was at once overruled by the rest of us.

      "A question arises," said Dr. Churchill, "which may as well be considered now, as at any other time. What shall be done with him after he is secured?"

      "Hang him, of course," said Warner, who appeared to see no difficulties in the way. "The law must take its course."

      "Just so. That's easily said; but what law? Under what law is he to be tried, or who is to try him?"

      "Lynch law, to be sure," put in Burdick. "We must organize a court and try him ourselves."

      "There are great difficulties in the way of . getting justice done. Hanging would be a fit punishment for murder; but if Bryant recovers, as I now think he will, the crime will be simply 'assault, with intent to kill,' and what shall be the penalty for that offence in the Hurd's Island code?"

      "Hanging, I should say," replied Burdick. "The crime is the same, if he meant to kill the man; and it's plain enough that he did."

      "Perhaps," said Fielding, speaking now for the first time, "It would be as well to fix the penalty after having convicted the prisoner of a murderous assault; for, situated as we are, the court and jury must also be the legislators. I see no other way to get justice except by taking the law into our own hands, as Burdick has already suggested. I've been thinking it over, and there's an intricate question of jurisdiction. If this man be really guilty, he belongs to an English vessel, and the victim to an American one; while the assault is committed, as one might say, nowhere; for it is neither under any particular flag, nor is it on the high seas. We couldn't very well kidnap him and take him to the Stales for trial, and if he goes back in the "Argyle" to Cape Colony, thereMl be nothing done about it."

      "Just so," observed the astute Warner. "What's everybody's business is nobody's, and if we are to get any satisfaction we must take it ourselves. As for the degree of punishment, I should be willing, for one, to leave that to Bryant himself, as he has been the sufferer, and it might be a satisfaction to him to fix the sentence."

      "Or, why not to me ?" said I, " since the blow was meant for me, and he only received it through mistake?"

      "Well, that's true," returned he of the "Adelaide," seeming to be forcibly struck by this luminous idea. "That would do just as well. I don't know as I'd care, either way."

      "Captain McDougal," said Fielding, "as the oldest officer on the beach, I presume you will not refuse to sit as judge of the court?"

      "I should not, if called upon to do so; but should certainly decline fixing the penalty myself. That should be done, I think, by a jury, drawn from a full list of all the men on shore, so that the criminal's own shipmates would stand an equal chance with the rest of us, of serving upon it. No punishment, in my opinion, could be too severe for the cowardly assassin, for such he is, whether Bryant lives or dies; but the sole responsibility of fixing it ought not to rest upon any one man. But suppose we discover and capture the man before we discuss this, matter further; for here comes Caroline, and it is time for me to be going. We shall stay on board the 'Daphne' to-night," he added, in an undertone, to Fielding and myself. "We shall be much nearer at hand, in case of any change; and, besides, the dear girl has a wonderful attachment for her seaside residence, as she terms it."

      The surgeon and I were early astir in the morning, and after a hasty breakfast, set forth on our mission as detectives. The air was cold and raw, but there was but little surf on the shore, as the wind was still from the south-west quarter. Our*route took us up the beach towards the anchorage of the fleet, and as we rose upon an elevation, we had a fair view of the three schooners, which had taken advantage of the fayoring breeze, and were already under sail for Desolation. The gaff-topsail of one of them was still fluttering, in the act of being hoisted, while the other two were nearly hull down in the northern board.

      The Argyle Arms, as the shanty of the Cape party had been christened, stood on a hill, but a short distance below the Glacier, which, overtopping it, served to protect the situation, in some measure, from the effects of a violent norther. It commanded a clear prospect to seaward, and a view of the vessels in the Bight, without going out of doors, but was neither so convenient to the work


on the Point, nor so well sheltered as the others, nestled among the tussocks on the lowlands. They had not chosen the site with a view of wintering there, as they expected to fill the schooner and leave in March, if not sooner.

      As we ascended the hill-path which led up to the house, we encountered a party, with lances and backing-poles, coming down to their day's work. The little man of whom we were in search was among them, and, pointing him out to Dr. Churchill, I managed to place myself in his way. As his eyes met the searching gaze of mine, he averted his face with a sheepish laugh, as if a little ashamed of his conduct at our last meeting, and plodded on without taking any notice of us. There was nothing vindictive in his looks, nor could the slightest sign of terror be detected, or even of surprise at meeting me, alive and well.

      "Are you sure that's your man?" the doctor asked.

      "I am sure that's the man that I rapped for tampering with my elephant's marks, and telling me I lied. I know him well enough, and he knows me, but"

      "You are on a wrong scent," he interrupted. "The man is as innoceut as I am."

      "So I think, myself," I replied. "It's quite impossible that he could carry it off in that manner, if he thought he had killed me, and he could have no motive for attacking Bryant, knowing who he was. I confess that I've got as far as puzzled. But let's keep on to the shanty and see Morgan. Perhaps we may make some discoveries that will throw light on the affair."

      We met Morgan at the door, just preparing to follow his gang to the beach. I was less acquainted with him than with the beach-headers, but had formed a good estimate of him from his bluff, honest appearance.

      "Good-morning," said he, heartily. "I am glad to see you up our way. Come in and sit down. How is Bryant, who got the ugiy wound the other night?"

      "He is doing well, thus far," I replied; "thanks to the care and skill of Doctor Churchill, here. The surgeon of the ' Garrick,' " I added, by way of introduction.

      "Glad to see you, doctor. So you think his life can be saved, eh? Have you any idea," he inquired, turning to me again, how it happened? Is he able to tell you anything?"

      "Yes," said I," we know that it was done intentionally, and I am sorry to say that our suspicions point to one of your men."'

      "One of my men!" he answered, in astonishment. "Well, you wouldn't say so, of course, without good cause. Who is he, and what are the grounds of suspicion?"

      "I don't know his name. A small, dark man, who looks like a cross between a Parsee and a Portuguee."

      "That's the little Cholo, Pedro," he answered, at once. "But why do you think he is guilty ? M

      I then related the particulars of our dispute on the memorable night, and all the circumstances up to our meeting him as we approached the house. And here, I confessed, that I was baffled by his behavior, and was now inclined to believe the man innocent.

      "I think he is," said Morgan, without hesitation. "But you shall have every chance, so far as I am concerned, to sift this matter to the bottom. Let's punish the murderer, by all means, if we can find him out; and if Pedro is not guilty, we'll have him triumphantly cleared."

      "Of course we will," we both answered, in a breath.

      "Now," demanded Morgan, "Can you tell at what time of the night, or morning, Bryant was stabbed?"

      "Not very exactly," I replied. "He relieved me at a few minutes after one, and it must have been about three when he was found by Warner on the beach."

      "That gives two hours to veer and haul upon."

      "Yes; but I hope to-day he will be able to tell us more about it," said the surgeon. "We can get his own estimate as to how long he had been out, if it is important."

      "It may be," returned Morgan, in a meditative way. "If I'm not mistaken, your shipmate was thought to be rather attentive to Captain McDougal's daughter 1"

      "I think he was," said I guardedly; "though I don't see what that has to do with the matter."

      "Perhaps nothing—perhaps much," he said, his honest eyes meeting mine as he spoke. "I don't ask to be impertinent, but it may be of some importance to know this. She liked him, too?" he went on.

      "Yes, I have reason to think she did."

      I felt that I ought to give true answers to his questions, but did not see the necessity


of telling how far the attachment had progressed.

      "Had they met that night?"

      "Yes," said I, " in the evening, while I was on the beach."

      "But I mean after he relieved you?"

      "I presume not, though it's not impossible."

      "She passed the night with her father, at the Wreck, I believe?"

      "Yes, she did," I replied, more and more mystified at each inquiry.

      Morgan ruminated a minute, then suddenly rising, he said: --

      "Find out all you can from Bryant, if he is able to talk to-day, and come here to-night when my party are at supper. I will detain Pedro, and we can then arrest and hold him for trial. I am satisfied that he is innocent, but it may be difficult to show it. Say nothing about my catechism," he added, with a laugh, " or forget it all, if you like."

      He shouldered his lance, and we all three descended the hill together. We conversed on general subjects, but no further allusion was made to the matter which had occasioned our visit. Morgan soon left us, striding on down the Point to overtake his own party, while we returned to the Nest and made our rep"brt to Fielding, suppressing, however, the strange questions of Morgan, as he had requested.


Author: Macy, William Hussey
Title: Beyond Desolation - No. 7.
Publication: Ballou's Monthly Magazine.
Vol/No/Date: Vol. 66, No. 1 (Jul 1887)
Pages: 46-54