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G.A. Henty
In Greek Waters
A Story of the Grecian War of Independence (1821-1827)
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Preface • 200 Words
ORDER IT NOW

My dear Lads,

The struggle known as the Greek War of Independence lasted for six years (1821-27), and had I attempted to give even an outline of the events this would have been a history and not a story. Moreover, six years is altogether beyond the length of time that can be included in a book for boys. For these reasons I have confined the story to the principal incidents of the first two years of the war; those of my readers who may wish to learn the whole history of the struggle I refer to Finlay’s well-known History of Greece, which I have followed closely in my narration.

As a rule in the stories of wars, especially of wars waged for national independence, the dark side of the struggle is brightened by examples of patriotism and devotion, of heroic bravery, of humanity to the wounded, of disinterestedness and self-sacrifice. The war of Greek independence is an exception. The story is a dark one with scarcely a gleam of light. Never during modern times has a struggle been disgraced by such deeds of cruelty and massacre as those which prevailed on both sides. Such being the case, I have devoted less space than usual to the historical portion of my tale, and this plays but a subordinate part in the adventures of the Misericordia and her crew.

Yours sincerely,

G. A. HENTY.

Chapter I • A Greek Student • 6,800 Words

THE people of the little fishing village of Seaport were agreed on one subject, however much they might differ on others, namely, that Mr. Beveridge was “a wonderful learned man.” In this respect they were proud of him: learned men came to visit him, and his name was widely known as the author of various treatises and books which were precious to deep scholars, and were held in high respect at the universities. Most of the villagers were, however, of opinion that it would have been better for Seaport had Mr. Beveridge been a trifle less learned and a good deal more practical. Naturally he would have been spoken of as the squire, for he was the owner of the whole parish, and his house was one of the finest in the county, which some of his ancestors had represented in parliament; but for all that it would have been ridiculous to call a man squire who had never been seen on horseback, and who, as was popularly believed, could not distinguish a field of potatoes from one of turnips.

It was very seldom that Mr. Beveridge ventured outside the boundary-wall of his grounds, except, indeed, when he posted up to London to investigate some rare manuscript, or to pore over ancient books in the reading-room of the British Museum. He was never seen at the meetings of magistrates, or at social gatherings of any kind, and when his name was mentioned at these, many shrugged their shoulders and said what a pity it was that one of the finest properties in the county should be in the hands of a man who was, to say the least of it, a little cracked.

Mr. Beveridge’s father, when on a tour in the East as a young man, had fallen in love with and, to the intense indignation of his family, married a Greek lady. Upon coming into possession of the property, two years later, John Beveridge settled down with his beautiful wife at the Hall, and lived in perfect happiness with her until her death.

She had had but one child, a boy, the present owner of the Hall, who was twelve years old when she died. Happy as she was with her husband, Mrs. Beveridge had never ceased to regret the sunny skies of her native land. She seldom spoke of it to her husband, who hunted and shot, was a regular attendant at the board of magistrates, and attended personally to the management of his estate. He was a man of little sentiment, and had but a poor opinion of the Greeks in general. But to Herbert she often talked of the days of her childhood, and imbued him with her own passionate love of her native country. This led him at school to devote himself to the study of Greek with such energy and ardour that he came to be considered as a prodigy, and going up to Oxford he neglected all other branches of study, mixed but little with other undergraduates, made no friends, but lived the life of a recluse, and was rewarded by being the only first-class man of his year, the examiners declaring that no such papers had ever before been sent in.

Unfortunately for Herbert his father died a few months before he took his degree. He had neither understood nor appreciated his son’s devotion to study, and when others congratulated him upon the reputation he was already gaining at the university, he used to shrug his shoulders and say, “What is the good of it? He has not got to work for his living. I would rather see him back a horse over a five-barred gate than write Greek like Homer.” He had frequently declared that directly Herbert took his degree he would go with him first for a few months up to London, and they would then travel together for a year or two so as to make him, as he said, a bit like other people.

Left to his own devices at the death of his father Herbert Beveridge did not even go home after taking his degree, but, writing to the steward to shut up the house, started a week later for Greece, where he remained for three years, by the end of which time he was as perfectly acquainted with modern as with ancient Greek. Then he returned home, bringing with him two Greek attendants, turned the drawing-room into a library, and devoted himself to his favourite study. Three years later he married, or rather his aunt, Mrs. Fordyce, married him. That lady, who was the wife of a neighbouring squire, came over and, as she said, took him in hand.

“This cannot go on, Herbert,” she said; “it is plainly your duty to marry.”

“I have never thought of marrying, aunt.”

“I daresay not, Herbert, but that is no reason why you shouldn’t marry. You don’t intend, I suppose, that this place, after being in the hands of our family for hundreds of years, is to be sold to strangers at your death. It is clearly your duty to marry and have children.”

“But I don’t know anyone to marry.”

“I will find you a wife, Herbert. I know half a dozen nice girls, any one of whom would suit you. You want a thoroughly good, sensible wife, and then, perhaps, there would be some chance of your becoming like other people.”

“I don’t want to become like other people, I only want to be let alone.”

“Well, you see that is out of the question, Herbert. You shirk all your duties as a large land-owner; but this duty, at least, you cannot shirk. Let me see, to-day is Monday; on Wednesday our gig shall be over here at half-past twelve, and you shall come over and lunch with me. I will have Miss Hendon there; she is in all respects suitable for you. She is fairly pretty, and very bright and domesticated, with plenty of common sense. She won’t have any money; for although her father’s estate is a nice one, she has four or five brothers, and I don’t suppose Mr. Hendon lays by a penny of his income. However, that matters very little. Now you must rouse yourself for a bit. This is an important business, you know, and has to be done. After it is over you will find it a great comfort, and your wife will take all sorts of little worries off your hand. Of course if you don’t like Mary Hendon when you see her, I will find somebody else.”

Herbert Beveridge resigned himself quietly, and became almost passive in this matter of his own marriage. He liked Mary Hendon when he had got over the shyness and discomfort of the first visit, and three months later they were married. He then went back to his library again, and his wife took the management of the estate and house into her capable hands. During her lifetime Herbert Beveridge emerged to a certain extent from his shell. He became really fond of her, and occasionally accompanied her on her drives, went sometimes into society, and was generally considered to be improving fast.

Ten years after marriage she died, and her husband fell back into his old ways. His life, however, was no longer quite solitary, for she had left him a boy eight years of age. He had been christened Horace, which was a sort of compromise. Mr. Beveridge had wished that he should have the name of some Greek worthy—his favourites being either Themistocles or Aristides. His mother had called in Mrs. Fordyce to her assistance, and the two ladies together had succeeded in carrying their point. Mrs. Fordyce had urged that it would be a misfortune for the boy to bear either of these names.

“He will have to go to school, Herbert, of course, and the boys would make his life a burden to him if he had either of the names you mention. I know what boys are; we have plenty of them in our family. If he were Aristides he would get the nickname of Tidy, which would be hideous. The other name is worse still; they would probably shorten it into Cockles, and I am sure you would not want the boy to be spoken of as Cockles Beveridge.”

“I hate common names,” Mr. Beveridge said, “such as Jack, Bob, and Bill.”

“Well, I think they are quite good enough for ordinary life, Herbert, but if you must have something classical why not take the name of Horace? One of Mary’s brothers is Horace, you know, and he would no doubt take it as a compliment if you gave the boy that name.”

And so it was fixed for Horace. As soon as the child was old enough to go out without a nurse, Mr. Beveridge appointed one of his Greek servants to accompany him, in order that the child should pick up a knowledge of Greek; while he himself interested himself so far in him as to set aside his books and have him into the library for an hour a day, when he always talked to him in Greek. Thus at his mother’s death the boy was able to talk the language as fluently as English. In other respects he showed no signs whatever of taking after his father’s tastes. He was a sturdy boy, and evinced even greater antipathy than usual to learning the alphabet, and was never so happy as when he could persuade Marco to take him down to the beach to play with the fisher children. At his mother’s death he was carried off by Mrs. Fordyce, and spent the next six months with her and in the houses of his mother’s brothers, where there were children about his own age. At the end of that time a sort of family council was held, and Mrs. Fordyce went over to Seaport to see her nephew.

“What were you thinking about doing with the boy, Herbert?”

“The boy?” he asked vaguely, being engaged on a paper throwing new light on the Greek particles when she entered.

“Naturally, Herbert, the boy, your boy; it is high time he went to school.”

“I was thinking the other day about getting a tutor for him.”

“Getting fiddlesticks!” Mrs. Fordyce said sharply; “the boy wants companionship. What do you suppose he would become, moping about this big house alone? He wants to play, if he is ever to grow up an active healthy man. No harm has been done yet, for dear Mary kept the house bright, and had the sense to let him pass most of his time in the open air, and not to want him always at her apron-string. If when he gets to the age of twenty he develops a taste for Greek—which Heaven forbid!—or for Chinese, or for any other heathen and out-of-the-way study, it will be quite time enough for him to take it up. The Beveridges have always been men of action. It is all very well, Herbert, to have one great scholar in the family; we all admit that it is a great credit to us; but two of them would ruin it. Happily I believe there is no record of a great scholar producing an equally great son. At any rate I do hope the boy will have a fair chance of growing into an active energetic man, and taking his place in the county.”

“I have no wish it should be otherwise, aunt,” Herbert Beveridge said. “I quite acknowledge that in some respects it would be better if I had not devoted myself so entirely to study, though my work has not been without fruit, I hope, for it is acknowledged that my book on the use of the digamma threw an entirely new light upon the subject. Still I cannot expect, nor do I wish, that Horace should follow in my footsteps. Indeed, I trust, that when I have finished my work, there will be little for a fresh labourer to glean in that direction. At any rate he is far too young to develop a bent in any direction whatever, and I think therefore that your proposal is a good one.”

“Then in that case, Herbert, I think you cannot do better than send him with Horace Hendon’s two boys to school. One is about his own age and one is a little older. The elder boy has been there a year, and his father is well satisfied with the school.”

“Very well, aunt. If you will ask Horace to make arrangements for the boy to go with his sons I am quite content it should be so.”

So Horace Beveridge went, a week later, by coach with his cousins to a school at Exeter, some forty miles from Seaport, and there remained until he was fourteen. He passed his holidays at home, never seeing his father until dinnertime, after which he spent two hours with him, a period of the day to which the boy always looked forward with some dread. Sometimes his father would chat cheerfully to him, always in modern Greek; at others he would sit silent and abstracted, waking up occasionally and making some abrupt remark to the boy, and then again lapsing into silence. When about the house and grounds Marco was his constant companion. The Greek, who was a mere lad when he had come to England, was fond of Horace, and having been a fisherman as a boy, he enjoyed almost as much as his charge did the boating and fishing expeditions upon which he accompanied him.

At this time Horace had a strong desire to go to sea, but even his Aunt Fordyce, when he broached the subject to her, would give him no hope or encouragement.

“If it had been ten years ago, Horace, it would have been another matter. The sea was a stirring life, then; and even had you only gone into the navy for a few years you would have seen lots of service, and might have distinguished yourself. As to staying in it, it would have been ridiculous for you as an only son. But now nothing could be more wretched than the position of a naval officer. All the world is at peace, and there does not appear to be the slightest chance of war anywhere for many years. Hundreds and hundreds of ships have been paid off and laid up, and there are thousands of officers on half-pay, and without the smallest chance of ever getting employment again. You have arrived too late in the world for sailoring. Besides, I do not think in any case your father would consent to such a thing. I am happy to say that I do not think he has any idea, or even desire, that you should turn out a famous scholar as he is. But to a man like him it would seem terrible that your education should cease altogether at the age at which boys go into the navy, and that you should grow up knowing nothing of what he considers the essentials of a gentleman’s education. No, no, Horace, the sea is out of the question. You must go up to Eton, as arranged, at the end of these holidays, and from Eton you must go through one of the universities. After that you can wander about for a bit and see the world, and you will see as much of it in six months that way as in twice as many years were you in the navy in these times of peace.”

Horace looked a little downcast.

“There is another thing, Horace,” his aunt said; “it would not be fair for you to go into the navy, even if there was nothing else against it.”

“How is that, aunt?”

“Well, Horace, when there are hundreds of officers on half-pay, who can scarcely keep life together on the few pounds a year they get, it would be hard indeed for young fellows with money and influence to step into the places and keep them out.”

“Yes, aunt, I did not think of that,” Horace said, brightening up. “It certainly would be a beastly shame for a fellow who can do anything with himself to take the place of a man who can do nothing else.”

“Besides, Horace,” his aunt went on, “if you like the sea so much as you do now when you have done with college, there is no reason why you should not get your father to let you either hire or buy a yacht and go where you like in her, instead of travelling about by land.”

“That would be very jolly!” Horace exclaimed. “Yes, that would be really better than going to sea, because one could go where one liked.”

And so at the end of the holidays Horace went up to Eton. On his return home in the summer his father said: “Your aunt was over here the other day, Horace, and she was telling me about that foolish idea you have of going to sea. I was glad to hear that you gave it up at once when she pointed out to you the absurdity of it. Her opinion is that as you are so fond of the water, and as Marco can manage a boat well, it would be a good thing for you to have one of your own, instead of going out always with the fishermen; the idea seemed to me a good one, so I got her to write to some one she knows at Exmouth, and he has spoken to the revenue officer there. They have been bothering me about what size it should be, and as I could not tell them whether it should be ten feet long or fifty, I said the matter must remain till you came home, and then Marco could go over with you to Exmouth and see the officer.”

“Oh, thank you very much, father!”

“It is only right that you should be indulged in a matter like this, Horace. I know that you don’t care about riding alone, and I am sorry I can’t be more of a companion to you, but I have always my hands full of important work, and I know that for a boy of your age it must be very dull here. Choose any boat you like. I have been talking to Marco, and he says that she can be hauled up on the beach and lie there perfectly safe when you are away. Of course if necessary he can have a young fellow or two from the village to help while you are at home. He seems to think that in that way you could have a boat of more comfortable size. I don’t know anything about it, so I have left the matter entirely to him and you. The difference of cost between a small boat and a large one is of no consequence one way or the other.”

Accordingly, the next morning Marco and Horace started directly after breakfast in the carriage to catch the coach, which passed along the main road four miles from Seaport, and arrived at Exmouth at two. They had no difficulty in finding the house of Captain Martyn, whose title was an honorary one, he being a lieutenant of many years’ service.

“Is Captain Martyn in?” Horace asked the servant who opened the door.

“No, sir; he is away in the cutter.” Horace stood aghast. It had never struck him that the officer might not be at home.

“His son is in, Mr. William Martyn, if that will do,” the servant said, seeing the boy’s look of dismay.

“I don’t know,” he said; “but at any rate I should like to see him.”

“I will tell him, sir, if you will stay here.”

A minute later a tall powerfully-built young fellow of two or three-and-twenty came to the door.

“Well, youngster, what is it?” he asked.

“I have come about buying a boat, sir. My name is Beveridge. I believe Captain Martyn was kind enough to say that he would look out for a boat for us.”

“Oh, yes, I have heard about it; but whether it was a dinghy or a man-of-war that was wanted we couldn’t find out. Do you intend to manage her single-handed?”

“Oh, no, sir! I have done a lot of sailing with the fishermen at Seaport, but I could not manage a boat by myself, not if there was any wind. But Marco was a sailor among the Greek isles before he entered my father’s service.”

“Want a comfortable craft,” the Greek, who had learned to speak a certain amount of English, said. “Can have two or three hands.”

“Oh, you want a regular cruiser! Well, you are a lucky young chap, I must say. The idea of a young cub like you having a boat with two or three hands to knock about in! Do you want a captain, because I am to let?”

“No, sir, we don’t want a captain, and we don’t want a great big craft. Something about the size of a fishing-boat, I should say. Are you a sailor?”

“Yes, worse luck, I am a master’s mate, if you know what that is. It means a passed midshipman. I have been a master’s mate for four years, and am likely to be one all my life, for I have no more chance of getting a berth than I have of being appointed a post-captain to-morrow. Well, I will put on my cap and go with you. I have been looking about since my father heard about a boat being wanted. The letter said nothing about your age, or what size of boat was wanted; it gave in fact no useful information whatever. It was about as much to the point as if they had said you wanted to have a house and did not say whether it was a two-roomed cottage or a country mansion. But I think I know of a little craft that would about suit you. Does your father sail himself?”

Horace could not help smiling at the idea. “No,” he said. “My father cares for nothing but studying Greek. I am at Eton, but it is very slow in the holidays, and as I generally go out with the fishermen the best part of the time I am at home, he thought it would be a good thing for me to have a boat of my own.”

William Martyn looked quietly down at the lad, then went in and got his cap, rejoined them, and sauntered down towards the river. He led the way along the wharfs, passed above the town, and then pointed to a boat lying on the mud.

“That is the craft I should choose if I were in your place,” he said. “She is as sound as a bell, and I wouldn’t mind crossing the Bay of Biscay in her.”

“But she is very large,” Horace said, looking at her with some doubt in his face.

“She is about fifteen tons burthen,” he said, “built of oak, and is only eight years old, though she looks battered about and rusty as she lies there. She was built from his own designs by Captain Burrows, as good a sailor as ever stepped. She is forty feet long and fifteen feet beam. She is fast, and a splendid sea-boat, with four foot draft of water. He died three years after he built her, and she has been lying there ever since. Her gear has been all stowed away in a dry place, and the old sailor in charge of it says it is in perfect order. The old captain used to knock about on board of her with only a man and a boy, and she is as easy to handle as a cock-boat. I was out in her more than once when I was at home on leave, and she is a beauty. Of course you can’t judge of her as she lies there; but she has wonderfully easy lines, and sits the water like a duck. She is a dandy, you see; that is, she carries a small mizzen mast. She was rigged so because a craft like that is a good deal easier to work short-handed than a cutter.”

She seemed as she lay there so much larger than anything Horace had had the idea of possessing that he looked doubtfully at Marco.

“I think she will do,” the Greek said; “just the sort of boat for us. See her when tide comes up, and can go on board. How much cost?”

“They only want eighty pounds for her,” William Martyn said. “They asked a hundred and fifty at first; but everything is so dull, and there have been such a lot of small craft sold off from the dockyards, that she has not found a purchaser. If I had two or three hundred a year of my own there is nothing I should like better than to own that craft and knock about in her. Her only fault is she wants head-room. There is only five foot under her beams, for she has a low freeboard. That prevents her from being sold as a yacht. But as one does not want to walk about much below I don’t see that that matters. She has got a roomy cabin and a nice little stateroom for the owner, and a fo’castle big enough for six hands.”

“It would be splendid,” Horace said. “But do you think, Marco, my father meant me to have such a large boat as this?”

The Greek nodded. “Master said buy a good big safe boat. No use getting a little thing Mr. Horace tire of in a year or two. Can always get a man or two in the holidays. I think that is just the boat.”

“Tide has nearly reached her,” William Martyn said. “We shall be able to get off to her in an hour. We will go and overhaul the gear now. I will get the key of the cabins.”

It took them a good hour to get out the sails and inspect them, and examine the ropes and gear. All were pronounced in good order.

“The sails are as good for all practical purposes as the day they were turned out,” Martyn said. “They may not be quite as white as the fresh-water sailors about here think necessary for their pleasure craft, but they are sound and strong, and were well scrubbed before they were put away. And you may be sure Burrows used none but the best rope money could buy. Now we will go on board. She will look a different craft when her decks are holy-stoned, and she gets two or three coats of paint,” the young officer went on as they stepped on board. “A landsman can never judge of a boat when she is dismantled, and he can’t judge much at any time. He thinks more of paint and polish than he does of a ship’s lines.”

But Horace had seen enough of boats to be able to appreciate to some extent the easy lines of her bow and her fine run, and the Greek was delighted with her. Below she was in good order, except that she wanted a coat of paint. The cabins were of course entirely dismantled, but Horace was surprised at their roominess, accustomed as he was to the close little fo’castles of the fishing-boats.

“She was fitted up in a regular man-of-war fashion,” Martyn said. “This was just a captain’s cabin on board a frigate, but on a small scale, and so was the state-room. We did not see the furniture, but it is all upstairs in an attic of the cottage we went to.”

“How long would it take to get her ready?” Horace asked.

“About ten days. Most of her ballast is out of her, but the rest ought to come out so as to give her a regular clean down, and a coat of whitewash below, before it is all put in again. If you like, young ’un, I will look after that. I have got nothing to do, and it will be an amusement to me. I am looking for a berth at present in a merchantman, but there are such a number of men out of harness that it isn’t easy to get a job. Look here, if you really want to learn some day to be fit to take charge of this craft yourself, you could not do better than persuade your father to let you come over here and see her fitted up, then you will know where every rope goes, and learn more than you would sitting about on deck in the course of a year. There will be no difficulty in getting a couple of rooms ready for you and your man in the town.”

“Can we get home to-night, sir?”

“Yes, the coach goes through here at six o’clock.”

“My father will write to-morrow, at least I expect he will,” Horace said. “It isn’t very easy to get him to do things, but I expect I shall manage.”

“He will write,” Marco said confidently; and as the boy knew that the Greek had far more opportunities of getting at his father than he had, he felt sure that he would manage it.

“We are very much obliged to you, Mr. Martyn,” he said.

“All right, young sir. If your father decides to take the boat get him to write to me; or if he is bad at writing, write to me yourself after settling it with him, and I will put on men and see that she is ready for sea in a fortnight.”

“Do you feel sure father will let me have the boat, Marco?” Horace said as soon as they were alone.

“It is done,” the Greek said with a wave of his hand. “He said to me, ‘Go and buy a proper boat, see that everything is right about it, but don’t worry me.’ So when I say, ‘I have bought the boat; it is just the thing we want; it will cost a hundred pounds by the time it is ready for sea,’ he will say he is glad to hear it, and there will be an end of it. Mr. Beveridge never troubles.”

“And will you tell him that it would be a good thing for me to go over and see her fitted up?”

“I will tell him. He will be glad to know that you have got something to do.”

It was half-past ten o’clock when they got home. The other Greek opened the door.

“Is the master in bed yet, Zaimes?”

“He went upstairs ten minutes ago. I think he had forgotten all about Horace not being at home. He did not mention his name to me.”

“What a nuisance!” Horace said. “Now I shall have to wait till morning before I know about it, and I am so anxious to hear what he says.”

“It will be all the pleasanter when you hear,” Zaimes said quietly.

The two men were brothers, Zaimes being ten years senior. He was Mr. Beveridge’s valet, his brother being a sort of general assistant, waiting at meals except when Horace was at home, when he was considered specially told off to him. They lived apart from the other servants, having a room of their own where they cooked their meals in their own fashion. Both were extremely attached to their master, and would have given their lives for him.

“Marco will tell me all about it, and I will talk to the master while I am dressing him. You are making Marco again a boy like yourself, Horace. He is as eager about this boat as you are”; and he smiled indulgently at his brother, whom he still regarded as a boy, although he was now nearly forty.

“That will be the best plan, Zaimes. I shall be glad for him to know all about it before breakfast time, for I am sure I should not like to tell him that we had fixed on a boat like that.”

Horace was a long time before he got to sleep. He had never dreamt of anything bigger than an open boat, and the thought of having a craft that he could sail anywhere along the coast, and even sleep on board, seemed almost too good to be true. He woke an hour before his time, dressed hastily, went out into the garden, and stood there looking over the sea. The fishing-boats were going out, and he pictured to himself the boat he had seen, gliding along among them, bigger and ever so much handsomer than any of them; and how he would be able to take out his cousins, and perhaps some day have a school friend to spend the holidays with him and cruise about. So deep was he in his thoughts that he was surprised when he heard the bell ring for breakfast.

“Now, then,” he said to himself as he walked back to the house, “I shall know. Of course it will be a horrible disappointment if he says no, but I sha’n’t show it, because it is too much to expect him to do this. I should never have dreamt of such a thing if it had not been for Marco. Well, here goes”; and he walked into the parlour.

“Good morning, father!”

“Good morning, Horace. I am glad to hear that Marco has found just the boat that he thinks will suit the place. He tells me you want to go over and see her fitted out. I think that that will be a very good plan. When you do a thing, Horace, do it well if it is worth doing at all. Marco will go back with you by the coach this morning.”

“Oh, thank you, father; it is awfully kind of you!”

“I wish you to enjoy yourself,” his father said; “it is no more than the price of another horse. It is a fine sport and a healthy one, and I don’t know that it is more dangerous than galloping about the country on horseback. I have told Marco to make all arrangements, and not to worry me about things. At the beginning of each holiday he will say how much he will require for provisions on board, and the payment of the wages of a man and a boy. I shall give him a cheque, and there will be an end of it as far as I am concerned. I shall be much more at my ease knowing that you are enjoying yourself on board than wondering what you will do to amuse yourself from day to day.”

Thinking that all that was necessary had been said, Mr. Beveridge then opened a Greek book that lay as usual beside his plate, and speedily became absorbed in it. When he himself had finished, Horace slipped away. He knew that his father would be at least two hours over the meal, which he only turned to when Zaimes made a movement to attract his attention, everything being kept down by the fire, which was lit specially for that purpose, even in summer.

“It is all settled, Marco; think of that! Won’t it be glorious?”

“It will be very good, Horace. I shall like it almost as much as you will. I love the sea, even this gray ugly sea of yours, which is so different from the blue of the Ægean. I too mope a little sometimes when you are not at home, for though I have the kindest and best of masters, one longs sometimes for change. I told you your father would agree. It is just what I told him we should want. An open boat is no use except when the weather is fine, and then one must always keep close to port in case the wind should drop, and when it comes calm you have to break your back with rowing. Oh, we will have fine sails together, and as you grow older we can go farther away, for she should be safe anywhere. When you become a man I daresay he will get for you something bigger, and then perhaps we can sail together to Greece, and perhaps the master will go with you, for he loves Greece as much as we do.”

There was a fortnight of hard work. William Martyn was in command, and kept Horace at work as if he had been a young midshipman under his orders; while Marco turned his hand to everything, singing snatches of sailor songs he had sung as he fished when a boy, chattering in Greek to Horace, and in broken English to the two men.

“You are going to be skipper, I hear,” William Martyn said to him one day.

“Going to skip!” Marco repeated vaguely. “I know not what you mean.”

“Going to be captain—padrone.”

Marco shook his head. “No, sir. Can sail open boat good, but not fit to take charge of boat like this. Going to have man at Seaport, a good fisherman. He sailed a long time in big ships. Man-of-war’s man. When war over, came back to fish. I shall look after young master, cook food for him, pull at rope, steer sometimes; but other man be captain and sail boat.”

William Martyn nodded. “Quite right, Marco; these fishermen know the coast, and the weather, and the ports and creeks to run into. It is all very well in fine weather, but when you get a blow, a craft like this wants a man who can handle her well.”

Horace’s pride in the craft increased every day. As she lay weather-beaten and dismantled on the mud she had seemed to him larger but not superior in appearance to the fishing craft of Seaport, which were most of them boats of ten or twelve tons; but each day her appearance changed, and at the end of ten days—with all her rigging in place, her masts and spars scraped, her deck fairly white, and her sides glossy with black paint—she seemed to him a thing of perfect beauty. It was just the fortnight when the paint and varnish of the cabins were dry, the furniture in its place, and everything ready for sea. Horace’s delight culminated when the anchor was got up, sail set on her, and William Martyn took the helm, as with a light wind she ran down through the craft in the harbour for a trial trip.

“She is a wonderfully handy little craft,” the mate said approvingly, as she began to rise and fall on the swell outside; “the old captain knew what he was doing when he laid down her lines. She is like a duck on the water. I have been out in her when big ships were putting their noses into it, and she never shipped a pailful of water. I can tell you you are in luck, youngster. How are you going to take her round?”

“I was going to write to-night for Tom Burdett—that is the man Marco spoke about—to come over by coach.”

“I will tell you what I will do, youngster; I will take her over for you. I shall enjoy the trip. If you like we will start to-morrow morning.”

“I should like that immensely,” Horace said; “we shall astonish them when we sail into the port.”

“Very well, then, that is agreed; you had better get some stores on board; I mean provisions. Of course if the weather holds like this we should be there in the evening; but it is a good rule at sea never to trust the weather. Always have enough grub and water for a week on board; then, if you happen to be blown off shore, or anything of that sort, it is of no consequence.”

Chapter II • A Yacht • 6,800 Words

MARCO, who acted as banker and appeared to Horace to be provided with an unlimited amount of money, was busy all the evening getting crockery, cooking-utensils, knives and forks, table-cloths, towels, and other necessaries.

“Why, it is like fitting out a house, Marco.”

“Well, it is a little floating house,” the Greek said; “it is much better to have your own things, and not to have to borrow from the house every time. Now we will get some provisions, two or three bottles of rum for bad weather, or when we have visitors on board, and then we shall be complete. Mr. Martyn said he would see to the water. Now, we will go to bed soon, for we are to be down at the wharf at six o’clock; and if we are not there in time you may be sure that you will get a rating.”

“There is no fear of my being late, Marco. I don’t think I shall sleep all night.”

“Ah! we shall see. You have been on your feet since seven this morning. I shall have to pull you by your ear to wake you in the morning.”

This, however, was not necessary. The boy was fast asleep in five minutes after he had laid his head on the pillow; he woke soon after daylight, dropped off to sleep several times, but turned out at five, opened the door of the Greek’s room, and shouted:

“Now, then, Marco, time to get up: if you do not, it is I who will do the ear-pulling.”

They were down at the wharf at a quarter to six. As the clock struck the hour William Martyn came down.

“Good-morning, youngster! you are before your time, I see. You wouldn’t be so ready to turn out after you had had a year or two on board ship. Well, it looks as if we are going to have a grand day. There is a nice little breeze, and I fancy it will freshen a good bit later on. Now, then, tumble into the dinghy, I will take the sculls; the tide is running out strong, and you might run her into the yacht and damage the paint; that would be a nice beginning.”

As soon as they were on board, the mate said:

“Now, off with those shoes, youngster. You can go barefoot if you like, or you can put on those slippers you bought; we have got the deck fairly white, and we must not spoil it. You should make that a rule: everyone who comes on board takes off his boots at once.”

The Greek made the dinghy fast, and then took off his shoes and stockings. Horace put on the slippers, and the mate a pair of light shoes he had brought on board with him.

“Now, then, off with the sail-covers; fold them up and put them down under the seat of the cockpit. Knot up the tyers loosely together, and put them there also. Never begin to hoist your sails till you have got the covers and tyers snugly packed away. Now, Marco, get number two jib out of the sail-locker. I don’t think we shall want number one to-day. Now, hook on the halliards. No; don’t hoist yet, run it out first by the outhaul to the end of the bowsprit. We won’t hoist it till we have got the mainmast and mizzen up. Now, Marco, you take the peak halliards, and I will take the main. Now, then, up she goes; ease off the sheet a bit. Horace, we must top the boom a bit; that is high enough. Marco, make fast; now up with the mizzen; that is right. Now, Horace, before you do anything else always look round, see that everything is right, the halliards properly coiled up and turned over so as to run freely, in case you want to lower or reef sail, the sheets ready to slacken out, the foresail and jib sheets brought aft on their proper sides. There is nothing in our way now; but when there are craft in the way, you want to have everything in perfect order, and ready to draw the moment the anchor is off the ground. Otherwise you might run foul of something before you got fairly off, and nothing can look more lubberly than that. Now you take the helm, and Marco and I will get up the anchor. The wind is nearly dead down the river; don’t touch the tiller till I tell you.”

Horace stood by the helm till the mate said:

“The chain is nearly up and down; now put the tiller gently to starboard.”

As he spoke he ran up the jib, and as the boat’s head payed off, fastened the sheet to windward.

“Now, Marco, round with the windlass; that is right, the anchor is clear now; up with it.”

As he spoke he ran up the foresail. “Slack off the main sheets, lad, handsomely; that is right, let them go free; slack off the mizzen sheets.”

The wind had caught the jib now, and, aided by the tide, brought the boat’s head sharply round. The jib and foresheets were hauled to leeward, and in less than a minute from the time the anchor had left the ground the boat was running down the river with her sheets well off before the wind.

“Helm a-port a little, Horace, so as to give us plenty of room in passing that brig at anchor. That is enough. Steady! Now keep as you are. Marco, I will help you get the anchor on board, and then we will get up the topsail and set it.”

In ten minutes the anchor was stowed, topsail set, and the ropes coiled down. Then a small triangular blue flag with the word “Surf” was run up to the masthead.

“Properly speaking, Horace, flags are not shown till eight o’clock in the morning; but we will make an exception this time. Gently with the tiller, lad; you are not steering a fishing-boat now; a touch is sufficient for this craft. Keep your eye on the flag, and see that it flies out straight ahead. That is the easiest thing to steer by when you are dead before the wind. There is more care required for that than for steering close-hauled, for a moment’s carelessness might bring the sail across with a jerk that would pretty well take the mast out of her. It is easy enough now in smooth water; but with a following sea it needs a careful helmsman to keep a craft from yawing about.”

Marco had disappeared down the forecastle hatch as soon as he had finished coiling down the topsail halliard, and a wreath of smoke now came up through the stove-pipe.

“That is good,” the mate said. “We shall have breakfast before long.”

They ran three miles straight out, so as to get well clear of the land; then the sheets were hauled in, and the Surf’s head pointed east, and lying down to her gunwale she sped along parallel with the shore.

“We are going along a good seven knots through the water,” the mate said. “She has got just as much sail as she wants, though she would stand a good deal more wind, if there were any occasion to press her; but as a rule, Horace, always err on the right side; there is never any good in carrying too much sail. You can always make more sail if the wind drops, while if it rises it is not always easy to get it in. Give me the helm. Now go down to Marco and tell him to come up a few minutes before breakfast is ready. We will get the topsail off her before we sit down, and eat our breakfast comfortably. There is no fun in having your plate in your lap.”

By half-past seven the topsail was stowed and breakfast on the table. Marco took the helm, while the mate and Horace went down to breakfast. Horace thought that it was the most delightful meal he had ever taken; and the mate said:

“That Greek of yours is a first-rate cook, Horace. An admiral could not want to sit down to a better breakfast than this. There is not much here to remind me of a midshipman’s mess. You would have had very different food from this, youngster, if you had had your wish and gone to sea. That father of yours must be a trump; I drink his health in coffee. If he ever gets a bigger craft, and wants a captain, I am his man if he will send your Greek on board as cook. Does he care for the sea himself?”

“I think he used to like it. I have heard him talk about sailing among the Greek islands; but as long as I have known him he has never been away from home except for short runs up to London. He is always in his library.”

“Fancy a man who could afford to keep a big craft and sail about as he likes wasting his life over musty old books. It is a rum taste, youngster. I think I would rather row in a galley.”

“There are no such things as galleys now, are there?”

“Oh, yes, there are in Italy; they have them still rowed by convicts, and I fancy the Spanish gun-boats are rowed by prisoners too. It is worse than a dog’s life, but for all that I would rather do it than be shut up all my life in a library. You seem to talk Greek well, youngster.”

“Yes; Marco has always been with me since I was a child, and we have another Greek servant, his brother; and father generally talks Greek to me. His mother was a Greek lady, and that is what made him so fond of it at first. They say he is the best Greek scholar in England.”

“I suppose it differs a lot from the Greek you learn at school?”

“Yes, a lot. Still, of course, my knowing it helps me tremendously with my old Greek. I get on first-rate at that, but I am very bad at everything else.”

“Well, now we will go up and give Marco a spell,” the mate said. Marco was relieved and went below. Horace took the helm; the mate lit a pipe and seated himself on the weather bulwark. “We shall be at Seaport before eleven if we go on like this,” he said.

“Oh, do let us take a run out to sea, Mr. Martyn; it is no use our going in until four or five o’clock.”

“Just as you like, lad; I am in no hurry, and it is really a glorious day for a sail. Put up the helm, I will see to the sheets.”

As they got farther from the protection of the land the sea got up a bit, but the Surf went over it lightly, and except that an occasional splash of spray flew over her bow, her decks were perfectly dry.

“Have you heard of a ship yet, Mr. Martyn?”

“Yes, I heard only yesterday of a berth as first-mate in a craft at Plymouth. The first-mate got hurt coming down channel, and a friend of my father’s, learning there was a vacancy, spoke to the owners. She belongs there, and I am to join the day after to-morrow. She is bound up the Mediterranean. I shall be very glad to be off; I have had a dull time of it for the last four months except for this little job.”

“I am afraid you won’t get any vehicle to take you back to-night,” Horace said.

“No, I didn’t expect that; the coach in the morning will do very well. I have nothing to do but just to pack my kit, and shall go on by coach next morning. I was thinking of sleeping on board here, if you have no objection.”

“I am sure my father will be very glad to see you up at the house,” Horace said eagerly.

“Thank you, lad, but I shall be much more comfortable on board. Marco said he would get dinner at two, and there is sure to be plenty for me to make a cold supper of, and as there is rum in the locker I shall be as happy as a king. I can smoke my pipe as I like. If I were to go up with you I should be uncomfortable, for I have nothing but my sea-going togs. I should put your father out of his way, and he would put me out of mine. So I think, on all accounts, I had much better remain in good quarters now I have got them. How far is it to the place where I catch the coach?”

“About four miles. We will send the carriage to take you there.”

“Thank you, I would much rather walk. I have nothing to carry but myself, and a four miles’ walk across the hills will be just the thing for me.”

At four o’clock the Surf entered the little harbour of Seaport; Horace was delighted with the surprise of the fishermen at the arrival of the pretty craft.

“You are sure you won’t change your mind and come up with me to the house?”

“Quite certain, thank you, lad. Marco has put out everything I can possibly require. He offered to come down to get breakfast for me, but I prefer to manage that for myself, then I can have it at any time I fancy. I will lock up the cabin before I land. He will be there to take the key.”

“I shall come down with him, of course, Mr. Martyn. I can’t tell you how much I am obliged to you for what you have done for me, and I hope that some day we may have another sail together.”

“If I am at home any time when you may happen to put in at Exmouth I shall be glad to take a cruise with you, Horace.”

As the lad and Marco went up the hill to the house, Horace, to his surprise, met his father coming down with Zaimes.

“Well, Horace, so you have brought your yacht home. Zaimes routed me out from my work to come and look at her, and she really looks a very pretty little vessel.”

“She is not little at all, father.”

“Perhaps not in comparison, Horace; but did you and Marco bring her back by yourselves?”

“No, father; William Martyn, the officer who has seen to her fitting up, and who recommended her, you know, said he would come with us. So, of course, he has been in command, and Marco and I have been the crew. He has been teaching me lots of things, just the same, he says, as if I had been a newly joined midshipman.”

“But where is he now, Horace?”

“He is on board. He is going home by the coach to-morrow. I said that I was sure you would be glad if he would come up to the house; but he said he should feel more comfortable on board. Were you coming down to look at her, father?”

“Yes, Horace, I was. It is quite a wonderful event my being outside the grounds, isn’t it?”

“It is indeed, father. I am so glad you are coming down. I am sure you will like her, and then, perhaps, you will come sailing sometimes; I do think, father, that you would enjoy such a sail as we had to-day, it was splendid.”

“Well, we will see about it, Horace. Now I have once come out I may do so again; I am not sure that a good blow might not clear my brain sometimes.”

There was quite an excitement in the village when Mr. Beveridge was seen coming down. Occasionally during his wife’s lifetime he had come down with her to look into questions of repairs or erection of new cottages in lieu of old ones, but since that time he had never entered the village. Personally his tenants did not suffer from the cessation of his visits, for his steward had the strictest injunctions to deal in all respects liberally with them, to execute all necessary repairs, to accede to any reasonable request; while in case of illness or misfortune, such as the loss of a boat or nets, the rent was always remitted. That Mr. Beveridge was to a certain extent mad to shut himself up as he did the villagers firmly believed, but they admitted that no better landlord was to be found in all that part of the country.

Mrs. Beveridge had been greatly liked, and the people were pleased at Horace being down so much among them; but it was rather a sore subject that their landlord himself held so entirely aloof from them. Men touched their hats, the women curtsied as he came down the street, looking almost with pity at the man who, in their opinion, so terribly wasted his life and cut himself off from the enjoyments of his position.

Mr. Beveridge returned their salutes kindly. He was scarce conscious of the time that had passed since he was last in the village; the years had gone by altogether unmarked save by the growth of Horace, and by the completion of so many works.

“I suppose you know most of their names, Horace?”

“All of them, I think, father.”

“That is right, boy. A landlord ought to know all his tenants. I wish I could find time to go about among them a little more, but I think they have everything they want as far as I can do for them; still, I ought to come. In your mother’s time I did come sometimes. I must try to do it in future. Zaimes, you must see that I do this once a fortnight. I authorize you to bring me my hat and coat after lunch and say to me firmly, ‘This is your afternoon for going out.’”

“Very well, sir,” the Greek said. “I will tell you; and I hope you will not say, as you always do to me when I beg you to go out: ‘I must put it off for another day, Zaimes, I have some work that must be done.’”

“I will try not to, Zaimes, I will indeed. I think this is a duty. You remind me of that, will you?”

By this time they had reached the little port, where a number of the fishermen were still lounging discussing the Surf, which was lying the picture of neatness and good order among the fishing-boats, with every rope in its place, the sails in their snow-white covers, and presenting the strongest contrast to the craft around her.

“She is really a very pretty little yacht,” Mr. Beveridge said with more animation than Horace ever remembered to have heard him speak with. “She does great credit to your choice, Marco, and I should think she is a good sea-boat. Why, Zaimes, this almost seems to take one back to the old time. She is about the size of the felucca we used to cruise about in; it is a long time back, nearly eighteen years, and yet it seems but yesterday.”

“There is no reason why you should not sail again, master; even I long to have my foot on the planks. One never loses one’s love of the sea.”

“I am getting to be an old man now, Zaimes.”

“No one would say so but yourself, master; you are but forty-three. Sometimes, after being shut up for days, you look old—who would not when the sun never shines on them—but now you look young, much younger than you are.”

A stranger indeed would have had difficulty in guessing Mr. Beveridge’s age. His forehead was broad, his skin delicate and almost colourless, his light-brown hair was already of a silvery shade, his face clean shaven, his hands white and thin. His eyes were generally soft and dreamy, but at the present moment they were bright and alert. His figure was scarcely that of a student, for the frame was large, and there was at present none of the stoop habitual to those who spend their lives over books; and now that he was roused, he carried himself exceptionally upright, and a close observer might have taken him for a vigorous man who had but lately recovered from an attack of severe illness.

“We shall see, Zaimes, we shall see,” he said; “let us go on board. You had better hail her, Horace.”

Surf ahoy!” Horace shouted, imitating as well as he could William Martyn’s usual hail. A minute later the mate’s head appeared above the companion. “My father is coming on board, Mr. Martyn. Will you please bring the dinghy ashore.” The mate hauled up the dinghy, got into it, and in a few strokes was alongside the quay.

Mr. Beveridge descended the steps first. “I am glad to meet you, Mr. Martyn, and to thank you for the kindness you have shown my son in finding this craft for him and seeing to its being fitted out.”

“It has been an amusement, sir,” the mate said. “I was knocking about Exmouth with nothing to do, and it was pleasant to be at work on something.”

“Get in, Horace,” Mr. Beveridge said, “the dinghy won’t carry us all. You can bring it back again for the others.”

The party stayed for half an hour on board. Mr. Beveridge was warm in his approval of the arrangements.

“This is a snug cabin indeed,” he said. “I had no idea that such a small craft could have had such good accommodation. One could wish for nothing better except for a little more head-room, but after all that is of no great consequence, one does not want to walk about below. It is a place to eat and to sleep in, or, if it is wet, to read in. I really wonder I never thought of having a sailing-boat before. I shall certainly take a sail with you sometimes, Horace.”

“I am very glad of that, father, it would be very jolly having you out. I don’t see much of you, you know, and I do think it would do you good.”

William Martyn was not allowed to carry out his intention of staying on board, nor did he resist very earnestly Mr. Beveridge’s pressing invitation. His host differed widely from his preconceived notions of him, and he saw that he need not be afraid of ceremony.

“You can smoke your pipe, you know, in the library after dinner, Mr. Martyn. I have no objection whatever to smoke; indeed, I used to smoke myself when I was in Greece as a young man—everyone did so there, and I got to like it, though I gave it up afterwards. Why did I give it up, Zaimes?”

“I think you gave it up, master, because you always let your cigar out after smoking two or three whiffs, and never thought of it again for the rest of the day.”

“Perhaps that was it; at any rate your smoking will in no way incommode me, so I will take no denial.”

Accordingly the cabins were locked up, and William Martyn went up with the others to the house and there spent a very pleasant evening. He had in the course of his service sailed for some time in Greek waters, and there was consequently much to talk about which interested both himself and his host.

“I love Greece,” Mr. Beveridge said. “Had it not been that she lies dead under the tyranny of the Turks I doubt if I should not have settled there altogether.”

“I think you would have got tired of it, sir,” the mate said. “There is nothing to be said against the country or the islands, except that there are precious few good harbours among them; but I can’t say I took to the people.”

“They have their faults,” Mr. Beveridge admitted, “but I think they are the faults of their position more than of their natural character. Slaves are seldom trustworthy, and I own that they are not as a rule to be relied upon. Having no honourable career open to them, the upper classes think of nothing but money; they are selfish, greedy, and corrupt; but I believe in the bulk of the people.”

As William Martyn had no belief whatever in any section of the Greeks he held his tongue.

“Greece will rise one of these days,” Mr. Beveridge went on, “and when she does she will astonish Europe. The old spirit still lives among the descendants of Leonidas and Miltiades.”

“I should be sorry to be one of the Turks who fell into their hands,” William Martyn said gravely as he thought of the many instances in his own experiences of the murders of sailors on leave ashore.

“It is probable that there will be sad scenes of bloodshed,” Mr. Beveridge agreed; “that is only to be expected when you have a race of men of a naturally impetuous and passionate character enslaved by a people alien in race and in religion. Yes, I fear it will be so at the commencement, but that will be all altered when they become disciplined soldiers. Do you not think so?” he asked, as the sailor remained silent.

“I have great doubts whether they will ever submit to discipline,” he said bluntly. “Their idea of fighting for centuries has been simply to shoot down an enemy from behind the shelter of rocks. I would as lief undertake to discipline an army of Malays, who, in a good many respects, especially in the handiness with which they use their knives, are a good deal like the Greeks.”

“There is one broad distinction,” Mr. Beveridge said: “the Malays have no past, the Greeks have never lost the remembrance of their ancient glory. They have a high standard to act up to; they reverence the names of the great men of old as if they had died but yesterday. With them it would be a resurrection, accomplished, no doubt, after vast pains and many troubles, the more so since the Greeks are a composite people among whom the descendants of the veritable Greek of old are in a great minority. The majority are of Albanian and Suliot blood, races which even the Romans found untamable. When the struggle begins I fear that this section of the race will display the savagery of their nature; but the fighting over, the intellectual portion will, I doubt not, regain their proper ascendency, and Greece will become the Greece of old.”

William Martyn was wise enough not to pursue the subject. He had a deep scar from the shoulder to the elbow of his right arm, and another on the left shoulder, both reminiscences of an attack that had been made upon him by half a dozen ruffians one night in the streets of Athens, and in his private opinion the entire extirpation of the Greek race would be no loss to the world in general.

“I am very sorry you have to leave to-morrow morning,” Mr. Beveridge said presently. “I should have been very glad if you could have stayed with us for a few days. It is some years since I had a visitor here, and I can assure you that I am surprised at the pleasure it gives me. However, I hope that whenever you happen to be at Exmouth you will run over and see us, and if at any time I can be of the slightest service to you I shall be really pleased.”

The next morning William Martyn, still refusing the offer of a conveyance, walked across the hills to meet the coach, and as soon as he had started Horace went down to the yacht. Marco had gone down into the village early, had seen Tom Burdett, and in his master’s name arranged for him to take charge of the Surf, and to engage a lad to sail with him. When Horace reached the wharf Tom was already on board with his nephew, Dick, a lad of seventeen or eighteen, who at once brought the dinghy ashore at Horace’s hail.

“Well, Dick, so you are going with us?”

“Ay, Master Horace, I am shipped as crew. She be a beauty. That cabin is a wonderful lot better than the fo’castle of a fishing-lugger. She is something like a craft to go a sailing in.”

“Good morning, Tom Burdett,” Horace said as the boat came alongside the yacht; “or I ought to say Captain Burdett.”

“No, no,” the sailor laughed; “I have been too long aboard big craft to go a captaining. I don’t so much mind being called a skipper, cos a master of any sort of craft may be called skipper; but I ain’t going to be called captain. Now, Dick, run that flag up to the mast-head. That is yachting fashion, you know, Master Horace, to run the burgee up when the owner comes on board. We ain’t got a burgee, seeing as we don’t belong to a yacht-club; but the flag with the name does service for it at present.”

“But I am not the owner, Tom, that is nonsense. My father got it to please me, and very good of him it was; but it is nonsense to call the boat mine.”

“Them’s the orders I got from your Greek chap down below, Mr. Horace. Says he, ‘Master says as how Mr. Horace is to be regarded as owner of this ’ere craft whenever he is aboard;’ so there you are, you see. There ain’t nothing to be said against that.”

“Well, it is very jolly, isn’t it, Tom?”

“It suits me first-rate, sir. I feel for all the world as if we had just captured a little prize, and they had put a young midshipmite in command and sent me along with him just to keep him straight; that is how I feel about it.”

“What sort of weather do you think we are going to have to-day, Tom?”

“I think the wind is going to shift, sir, and perhaps there will be more of it. It has gone round four points to the east since I turned out before sunrise.”

“And where do you think we had better go to-day, Tom?”

“Well, as the wind is now it would be first-rate for a run to Dartmouth.”

“Yes, but we should have a dead-beat back, Tom; we should never get back before dark.”

“No sir, but that Greek chap tells me as your father said as how there were no occasion to be back to-night, if so be as you liked to make a cruise of it.”

“Did he say that? That is capital. Then let us go to Dartmouth; to-morrow we can start as early as we like so as to get back here.”

“I don’t reckon we shall have to beat back. According to my notion the wind will be somewhere round to the south by to-morrow morning; that will suit us nicely. Now then, sir, we will see about getting sail on her.”

As soon as they began to throw the sail-covers off, Marco came on deck and lent a hand, and in the course of three minutes the sails were up, the mooring slipped, and the Surf was gliding past the end of the jetty.

“That was done in pretty good style, sir,” Tom Burdett said as he took up his station by the side of Horace, who was at the tiller. “I reckon when we have had a week’s practice together we shall get up sail as smartly as a man-of-war captain would want to see. I do like to see things done smart if it is only on a little craft like this, and with three of us we ought to get all her lower sail on her in no time. That Greek chap knows what he is about. Of course he has often been out with you in the fishing-boats, but there has never been any call for him to lend a hand there, and I was quite surprised just now when he turned to at it. I only reckoned on Dick and myself, and put the Greek down as steward and cook.”

“He used to work in a fishing-boat when he was a boy, Tom.”

“Ah, that accounts for it! They are smart sailors, some of them Greeks, in their own craft, though I never reckoned they were any good in a square-rigged ship; but in those feluccas of theirs they ain’t easy to be beaten in anything like fine weather. But they ain’t dependable, none of those Mediterranean chaps are, whether they are Greeks or Italians or Spaniards, when it comes on to blow really hard, and there is land under your lee, and no port to run to. When it comes to a squeak like that they lose their nerve and begin to pray to the saints, and wring their hands, and jabber like a lot of children. They don’t seem to have no sort of backbone about them. But in fine weather I allow they handle their craft as well as they could be handled. Mind your helm, sir; you must always keep your attention to that, no matter what is being said.”

“Are you going to get up the topsail, Tom?”

“Not at present, sir; with this wind there will be more sea on as we get further out, and I don’t know the craft yet; I want to see what her ways are afore we try her. She looks to me as if she would be stiff under canvas; but running as we are we can’t judge much about that, and you have always got to be careful with these light-draft craft. When we get to know her we shall be able to calculate what she will carry in all weathers; but there is no hurry about that. I have seen spars carried away afore now, from young commanders cracking on sail on craft they knew nothing about. This boat can run, there is no mistake about that. Look at that fishing-boat ahead of us; that is Jasper Hill’s Kitty; she went out ten minutes afore you came down. We are overhauling her hand over hand, and she is reckoned one of the fastest craft in Seaport. But then, this craft is bound to run fast with her fine lines and shallow draft; we must wait to see how she will do when there is lots of wind.”

In a couple of hours Horace was glad to hand over the tiller to the skipper as the sea had got up a good deal, and the Surf yawed so much before the following waves that it needed more skill than he possessed to keep her straight.

“Fetch the compass up, Dick,” the skipper said; “we are dropping the land fast. Now get the mizzen off her, she will steer easier without it, and it isn’t doing her much good. Do you begin to feel queer at all, Mr. Horace?”

“Not a bit,” the boy laughed. “Why, you don’t suppose, after rolling about in those fishing-boats when they are hanging to their nets, that one would feel this easy motion.”

“No; you would think not, but it don’t always follow. I have seen a man, who had been accustomed to knock about all his life in small craft, as sick as a dog on board a frigate, and I have seen the first lieutenant of a man-of-war knocked right over while lying off a bar on boat service. One gets accustomed to one sort of motion, and when you get another quite different it seems to take your innards all aback.”

The run to Dartmouth was quickly made, and to Horace’s delight they passed several large ships on their way.

“Yes, she is going well,” Tom Burdett said when he expressed his satisfaction; “but if the wind was to get up a bit more it would be just the other way. We have got quite as much as we want, while they could stand a good bit more. A small craft will generally hold her own in a light wind, because why, she carries more sail in proportion to her tonnage. When the big ship has got as much as she can do with, the little one has to reef down and half her sails are taken off her. Another thing is, the waves knock the way out of a small craft, while the weight of a big one takes her through them without feeling it. Still I don’t say the boat ain’t doing well, for she is first-rate, and we shall make a very quick passage to port.”

Running up the pretty river, they rounded to, head to wind, dropped the anchor a short distance from a ship of war, and lowered and stowed their sails smartly. Then Horace went below to dinner. It had been ready for some little time, but he had not liked leaving the deck, for rolling, as she sometimes did, it would have been impossible to eat comfortably. As soon as he dined, the others took their meal in the fo’castle, Marco having insisted on waiting on him while at his dinner. When they had finished, Marco and Dick rowed Horace ashore. The lad took the boat back to the yacht, while the other two strolled about the town for a couple of hours, and then went off again.

The next day the Surf fully satisfied her skipper as to her weatherly qualities. The wind was, as he had predicted, nearly south-east, and there was a good deal of sea on. Before getting up anchor, the topmast was lowered, two reefs put in the main-sail and one in the mizzen, and a small jib substituted for that carried on the previous day. Showers of spray fell on the deck as they put out from the mouth of the river; but once fairly away she took the waves easily, and though sometimes a few buckets of water tumbled over her bows and swashed along the lee channels, nothing like a green sea came on board. Tom Burdett was delighted with her.

“She is a beauty and no mistake,” he said enthusiastically. “There is many a big ship will be making bad weather of it to-day; she goes over it like a duck. After this, Mr. Horace, I sha’n’t mind what weather I am out in her. I would not have believed a craft her size would have behaved so well in a tumble like this. You see this is more trying for her than a big sea would be. She would take it easier if the waves were longer, and she had more time to take them one after the other. That is why you hear of boats living in a sea that has beaten the life out of a ship. A long craft does not feel a short choppy sea that a small one would be putting her head into every wave: but in a long sea the little one has the advantage. What do you think of her, sir?”

“She seems to me to heel over a long way, Tom.”

“Yes, she is well over; but you see, even in the puffs she doesn’t go any further. Every vessel has got what you may call her bearing. It mayn’t take much to get her over to that; but when she is there it takes a wonderful lot to bring her any further. You see there is a lot of sail we could take off her yet, if the wind were to freshen. We could get in another reef in the main-sail, and stow her mizzen and foresail altogether. She would stand pretty nigh a hurricane with that canvas.”

It was four o’clock in the afternoon before the Surf entered the harbour. Horace was drenched with spray, and felt almost worn out after the struggle with the wind and waves; when he landed his knees were strangely weak, but he felt an immense satisfaction with the trip, and believed implicitly Tom Burdett’s assertion that the yacht could stand any weather.

Chapter III • The Wreck • 7,100 Words

THOSE were glorious holidays for Horace Beveridge. He was seldom at home; sometimes two of his cousins, the Hendons, accompanied him in his trips, and they were away for three or four days at a time. Three times Mr. Beveridge with Zaimes went out for a day’s sail, and Horace was pleased to see that his father really enjoyed it, talking but little, but sitting among some cushions Zaimes arranged for him astern, and basking in the bright sun and fresh air. That he did enjoy it was evident from the fact that, instead of having the yacht laid up at the end of the holidays, Mr. Beveridge decided to keep her afloat, and retained Tom Burdett’s services permanently.

“Do you think, Tom, we shall get any sailing in the winter holidays?”

“We are sure to, sir, if your father has not laid her up by that time. There are plenty of days on this coast when the sailing is as pleasant in winter as it is in summer. The harbour is a safe one though it is so small, and I don’t see any reason why she shouldn’t be kept afloat. Of course we shall have to put a stove in the cabin to make it snug; but with that, a good thick pea-jacket, warm gloves, and high boots, you would be as right as a nail.”

And so at Christmas and through the next summer holidays Horace enjoyed almost constant sailing. He was now thoroughly at home in the boat, could steer without the supervision of the skipper, and was as handy with the ropes as Dick himself.

“This is the best job I ever fell into, Mr. Horace,” Tom Burdett said at the end of the second summer. “Your father pays liberal; and as for grub, when that Greek is on board a post-captain could not want better. It is wonderful how that chap does cook, and he seems downright to like it. Then you see I have got a first-rate crew. Dick is as good as a man now; I will say for the Greek, he is a good sailor as well as a good cook; and then you see you have got a deal bigger and stronger than you were a year ago, and are just as handy either at the tiller or the sheets as a man would be, so we are regular strong-handed, and that makes a wonderful difference in the comfort on a craft.”

That summer they sailed up to Portsmouth, and cruised for a week inside the Isle of Wight, and as Horace had one of his school-fellows spending the holidays with him, he enjoyed himself to the fullest of his capacity. During the holidays Horace did not see much of his father, who, quite content that the boy was enjoying himself, and gaining health and strength, went on in his own way, and only once went out with him during his stay at home, although, as Marco told him, he generally went out once a week at other times.

The first morning after his return, at the following Christmas, Horace did not as usual get up as soon as it was light. The rattle of the window and the howl of the wind outside sufficed to tell him that there would be no sailing that day. Being in no hurry to move, he sat over breakfast longer than usual, talking to Zaimes of what had happened at home and in the village since he last went away. His father was absent, having gone up to town a week before, and Horace had, on his arrival, found a letter from him, saying that he was sorry not to be there for his return, but that he found he could not get through the work on which he was engaged for another two days; he should, however, be down at any rate by Christmas-eve.

After breakfast Horace went out and looked over the sea. The wind was almost dead on shore, blowing in such violent gusts that he could scarce keep his feet. The sky was a dull lead colour, the low clouds hurrying past overhead. The sea was covered with white breakers, and the roar of the surf, as it broke on the shore, could be heard even above the noise of the wind. Putting on his pea-jacket and high boots, he went down to the port. As it had been specially constructed as a shelter against south-westerly winds, with the western pier overlapping the other, the sea did not make a direct sweep into it; but the craft inside were all rolling heavily in the swell.

“How are you, Tom? It is a wild day, isn’t it?”

“Don’t want to see a worse, sir. Glad to see you back again, Mr. Horace. Quite well, I hope?”

“First-rate, Tom. It is a nuisance this gale the first day of coming home. I have been looking forward to a sail. I am afraid there is no chance of one to-day?”

“Well, sir, I should say they would take us and send us all to the loonatic asylum at Exeter if they saw us getting ready to go out. Just look at the sea coming over the west pier. It has carried away a bit of that stone wall at the end.”

“Yes. I didn’t really think of going out, Tom, though I suppose if we had been caught out in it we should have managed somehow.”

“We should have done our best, in course,” the sailor said, “and I have that belief in the boat that I think she might weather it; but I would not take six months’ pay to be out a quarter of an hour.”

“What would you do, Tom, if you were caught in a gale like this?”

“If there weren’t land under our lee I should lay to, sir, under the storm-jib and a try-sail. Maybe I would unship the main-sail with the boom and gaff, get the top-mast on deck and lash that to them; then make a bridle with a strong rope, launch it overboard, lower all sail, and ride to that; that would keep us nearer head on to the sea than we could lie under any sail. That is what they call a floating anchor. I never heard of a ship being hove-to that way; but I was out on boat service in the Indian Ocean when we were caught in a heavy blow, and the lieutenant who was in charge made us lash the mast and sails and oars together and heave them overboard, and we rode to them right through the gale. We had to bale a bit occasionally, but there was never any danger, and I don’t think we should have lived through it any other way. I made a note of it at the time, and if ever I am caught in the same way again that is what I shall do, and what would be good for a boat would be good for a craft like the Surf.”

This conversation was carried on with some difficulty, although they were standing under the lee of the wall of a cottage.

“She rolls about heavily, Tom.”

“She does that, sir. It is lucky we have got our moorings in the middle of the harbour, and none of the fishing-boats are near enough to interfere with her. You see most of them have got their sails and nets rolled up as fenders, but in spite of that they have been ripping and tearing each other shocking. There will be jobs for the carpenter for some time to come. Five or six of them have torn away their bulwarks already.”

After waiting down by the port for an hour Horace returned to the house. When luncheon was over he was just about to start again for the port, when Marco said to him:

“Dick has just been in, sir. There is going to be a wreck. There are a lot of fishermen gathered on the cliff half a mile away to the right. They say there is a ship that will come ashore somewhere along there.”

“Come on, then, Marco. Did you hear whether they thought that anything could be done?”

“I did not hear anything about it. I don’t think they know where she will go ashore yet.”

In a few minutes they reached the group of fishermen standing on the cliff. It was a headland beyond which the land fell away, forming a bay some three miles across. A large barque was to be seen some two miles off shore. She was wallowing heavily in the seas, and each wave seemed to smother her in spray. Tom Burdett was among the group, and Horace went up to him at once.

“What’s to prevent her from beating off, Tom? She ought to be able to work out without difficulty.”

“So she would at ordinary times,” the skipper said; “but she is evidently a heavy sailer and deep laden. She could do it now if they could put more sail on her, but I expect her canvas is all old. You see her topsails are all in ribbons. Each of them seas heaves her bodily to leeward. She is a doomed ship, sir, there ain’t no sort of doubt about that; the question is, Where is she coming ashore?”

“Will it make much difference, Tom?”

“Well, it might make a difference if her master knew the coast. The best thing he could do would be to get her round and run straight in for this point. The water is deeper here than it is in the bay, and she would get nearer ashore before she struck, and we might save a few of them if they lashed themselves to spars and her coops and such like. Deep as she is she would strike half a mile out if she went straight up the bay. The tide is nearly dead low, and in that case not a man will get ashore through that line of breakers. Then, again, she might strike near Ram’s Head over there, which is like enough if she holds on as she is doing at present. The Head runs a long way out under water, and it is shallower half a mile out than it is nearer the point. There is a clump of rocks there.”

“I don’t remember anything about them, Tom, and we have sailed along there a score of times.”

“No, sir, we don’t take no account of them in small craft, and there is a fathom and a half of water over them even in spring-tides. Springs are on now, and there ain’t much above nine foot just now; and that craft draws two fathom and a half or thereabouts, over twelve foot anyhow. But it don’t make much difference; wherever she strikes she will go to pieces in this sea in a few minutes.”

“Surely there is something to be done, Tom?”

“Some of us are just going down to get ropes and go along the shore, Mr. Horace; but Lor’ bless you, one just does it for the sake of doing something. One knows well enough that it ain’t likely we shall get a chance of saving a soul.”

“But couldn’t some of the boats go out, Tom? There would be plenty of water for them where she strikes.”

“The fishermen have been talking about it, sir; but they are all of one opinion; the sea is altogether too heavy for them.”

“But the Surf could go, couldn’t she, Tom? You have always said she could stand any sea.”

“Any reasonable sort of sea, Mr. Horace, but this is a downright onreasonable sort of sea for a craft of her size, and it is a deal worse near shore where the water begins to shallow than it would be out in the channel.”

But though Tom Burdett spoke strongly, Horace noticed that his tone was not so decided as when he said that the fishing-boats could not go out.

“Look here, Tom,” he said, “I suppose there must be thirty hands on board that ship. We can’t see them drowned without making a try to save them. We have got the best boat here on the coast. We have been out in some bad weather in her, and she has always behaved splendidly. I vote we try. She can fetch out between the piers all right from where she is moored; and if, when we get fairly out, we find it is altogether too much for her, we could put back again.”

Tom made no answer. He was standing looking at the ship. He had been already turning it over in his mind whether it would not be possible for the Surf to put out. He had himself an immense faith in her sea-going qualities, and believed that she might be able to stand even this sea.

“But you wouldn’t be thinking of going in her, Mr. Horace?” he said doubtfully at last.

“Of course I should,” the lad said indignantly. “You don’t suppose that I would let the Surf go out if I were afraid to go in her myself.”

“Your father would never agree to that if he were at home, sir.”

“Yes, he would,” Horace said. “I am sure my father would say that if the Surf went out I ought to go in her, and that it would be cowardly to let other people do what one is afraid to do one’s self. Besides, I can swim better than either you or Dick, and should have more chance of getting ashore if she went down; but I don’t think she would go down. I am nearly sixteen now; and as my father isn’t here I shall have my own way. If you say that you think there is no chance of the Surf getting out to her there is an end of it; but if you say that you think she could live through it, we will go.”

“I think she might do it, Mr. Horace; I have been a saying so to the others. They all say that it would be just madness, but then they don’t know the craft as I do.”

“Well, look here, Tom, I will put it this way: if the storm had been yesterday, and my father and I had both been away, wouldn’t you have taken her out?”

“Well, sir, I should; I can’t say the contrary. I have always said that the boat could go anywhere, and I believe she could, and I ain’t going to back down now from my opinion; but I say as it ain’t right for you to go.”

“That is my business,” Horace said. “Marco, I am going out in the Surf to try to save some of the men on board that ship. Are you disposed to come too?”

“I will go if you go,” the Greek said slowly; “but I don’t know what your father would say.”

“He would say, if there was a chance of saving life it ought to be tried, Marco. Of course there is some danger in it, but Tom thinks she can do it, and so do I. We can’t stand here and see thirty men drowned without making an effort to save them. I have quite made up my mind to go.”

“Very well, sir, then I will go.”

Horace went back to Tom Burdett, who was talking with Dick apart from the rest.

“We will take a couple of extra hands if we can get them,” the skipper said. “We shall want to be strong-handed.”

He went to the group of fishermen and said:

“We are going out in the Surf to see if we can lend a hand to bring some of those poor fellows ashore. Young Mr. Beveridge is coming, but we want a couple more hands. Who will go with us?”

There was silence for a minute, and then a young fisherman said:

“I will go, Tom. My brother Nat is big enough to take my place in the boat if I don’t come back again. I am willing to try it with you, though I doubt if the yacht will get twice her own length beyond the pier.”

“And I will go with you, Tom,” an older man said. “If my son Dick is going, I don’t see why I should hang back.”

“That will do, then, that makes up our crew. Now we had best be starting at once. That barque will be ashore in another hour, and she will go to pieces pretty near as soon as she strikes. So if we are going to do anything, there ain’t no time to be lost. The rest of you had better go along with stout ropes as you was talking of just now; that will give us a bit of a chance if things go wrong.”

The six hurried along the cliff and then down to the port, followed by the whole of the fishermen. A couple of trips with the dinghy took them on board.

“Now, then,” Tom Burdett said to Dick’s father, “we will get the fore-sail out and rig it as a try-sail. Dick, you cut the lashings and get the main-sail off the hoops. We will leave it and the spars here; do you lend him a hand, Jack Thompson.”

In five minutes the main-sail with its boom and gaff was taken off the mast and tied together. A rope was attached to them and the end flung ashore, where they were at once hauled in by the fishermen, who crowded the wharf, every soul in the village having come down at the news that the Surf was going out. By this time holes had been made along the leach of the sail, and by these it was lashed to the mast-hoops. The top-mast was sent down to the deck, launched overboard, and hauled ashore; the mizzen was closely reefed, but not hoisted.

“We will see how she does without it,” Tom said; “she may like it and she may not. Now, up with the try-sail and jib, and stand by to cast off the moorings as she gets weigh on her; I will take the tiller. Marco, do you and Mr. Horace stand by the mizzen-halliards ready to hoist if I tell you.”

As the Surf began to move through the water a loud cheer broke from the crowd on shore, followed by a dead silence. She moved but slowly as she was under the lee of the west pier.

“Ben, do you and the other two kick out the lower plank of the bulwark,” Tom Burdett said; “we shall want to get rid of the water as fast as it comes on board.”

The three men with their heavy sea-boots knocked out the plank with a few kicks.

“Now, the one on the other side,” Tom said; and this was done just as they reached the entrance between the piers. She was gathering way fast now.

“Ease off that jib-sheet, Dick,” the skipper cried. “Stand by to haul it in as soon as the wind catches the try-sail.”

Tom put down the helm as he reached the end of the pier, but a great wave caught her head and swept her half round. A moment later the wind in its full force struck the try-sail and she heeled far over with the blow.

“Up with the mizzen!” Tom shouted. “Give her more sheet, Dick!” As the mizzen drew, its action and that of the helm told, and the Surf swept up into the wind. “Haul in the jib-sheet, Dick. That is enough; make it fast. Ease off the mizzen-sheet a little, Marco! That will do. Now lash yourselves with lines to the bulwark.”

For the first minute or two it seemed to Horace that the Surf, good boat as she was, could not live through those tremendous waves, each of which seemed as if it must overwhelm her; but although the water poured in torrents across her deck it went off as quickly through the hole in the lee bulwark, and but little came over her bow.

“She will do, sir!” Tom, close to whom he had lashed himself, shouted. “It will be better when we get a bit farther out. She is a beauty, she is, and she answers to her helm well.”

Gradually the Surf drew out from the shore.

“Are you going to come about, Tom?”

“Not yet, sir; we must get more sea-room before we try. Like enough she may miss stays in this sea. If she does we must wear her round.”

“Now we will try,” he said five minutes later. “Get those lashings off. Mr. Horace, you will have to go up to the other side when she is round. Get ready to go about!” he shouted. “I will put the helm down at the first lull. Now!”

The Surf came round like a top, and had gathered way on the other tack before the next big wave struck her.

“Well done!” Tom Burdett shouted joyously, and the others echoed the shout. In ten minutes they were far enough out to get a sight of the ship as they rose on the waves.

“Just as I thought,” Ben muttered; “he thinks he will weather Ram’s Head, and he will go ashore somewhere on that reef of rocks to a certainty.”

In another five minutes the course was again changed, and the Surf bore directly for the barque. In spite of the small sail she carried the water was two feet up the lee planks of her deck, and she was deluged every time by the seas, which struck her now almost abeam. But everything was battened down, and they heeded the water but little.

“What do you think of her now?” Tom shouted to his brother-in-law. “Didn’t I tell you she would stand a sea when your fishing-boats dare not show their noses out of the port?”

“She is a good ’un and no mistake, Tom. I did not think a craft her size could have lived in such a sea as this. You may brag about her as you like in future, and there ain’t a man in Seaport as will contradict you.”

They were going through the water four feet to the barque’s one, and they were but a quarter of a mile astern of her when Horace exclaimed, “She has struck!” and at the same moment her main and foremast went over the side.

“She is just about on the shallowest point of the reef,” Ben Harper said. “Now, how are you going to manage this job, Tom?”

“There is only one way to do it,” the skipper said. “There is water enough for us. Tide has flowed an hour and a half, and there must be two fathoms where she is lying. We must run up under her lee close enough to chuck a rope on board. Get a light rope bent on to the hawser. They must pull that on board, and we will hang to it as near as we dare.”

“You must go near her stern, Tom, or we shall get stove in with the masts and spars.”

“Yes, it is lucky the mizzen is standing, else we could not have gone alongside till they got rid of them all, and they would never do that afore she broke up.”

Horace, as he watched the ship, expected to see her go to pieces every moment. Each wave struck her with tremendous force, sending cataracts of water over her weather gunwale and across her deck. Many of the seas broke before they reached her, and the line of the reef could be traced far beyond her by the white and broken water.

“Now, then,” the skipper shouted, “I shall keep the Surf about twice her own length from the wreck, and then put the helm hard down and shoot right up to her.”

“That will be the safest plan, Tom. There are two men with ropes standing ready in the mizzen-shrouds.”

“I shall bring her in a little beyond that, Ben, if the wreck of the mainmast isn’t in the way; the mizzen may come out of her any moment, and if it fell on our decks it would be good-bye to us all.”

A cheer broke from the men huddled up under shelter of the weather bulwark as the little craft swept past her stern.

“Mind the wreck!” a voice shouted.

Tom held up his hand, and a moment later put the helm down hard. The Surf swept round towards the ship, and her way carried her on until the end of the bowsprit was but five or six yards distant. Then Tom shouted:

“Now is your time, Dick;” and the rope was thrown right across the barque, where it was grasped by half a dozen hands.

“Haul in till you get the hawser,” Dick shouted; “then make it fast.” At the same moment two ropes from the ship were thrown, and caught by Marco and Ben. Tom left the tiller now and lowered the try-sail. By the time the hawser was fast on board, the Surf had drifted twice her own length from the ship. “That will do, Ben; make the hawser fast there.” Two strong hawsers were hauled in from the ship and also made fast.

“Now you can come as soon as you like,” Tom shouted. As the hawsers were fastened to the weather-side of the vessel, which was now heeled far over, it was a sharp incline down to the deck of the Surf, and the crew, throwing their arms and legs round the hawsers, slid down without difficulty, the pressure of the wind on the yacht keeping the ropes perfectly taut. As the men came within reach, Tom Burdett and Ben seized them by the collars and hauled them on board.

“Any woman on board?” he asked the first.

“No, we have no passengers.”

“That is a comfort. How many of a crew?”

“There were thirty-three all told, but four were killed by the falling mast, and three were washed overboard before we struck, so there are twenty-six now.”

In five minutes from the ropes being thrown the captain, who was last man, was on board the yacht. The Surf’s own hawser had been thrown off by him before he left, drawn in, and coiled down, and as soon as he was safe on board the other two hawsers were thrown off.

“Haul the jib a-weather, Dick,” Tom Burdett shouted as he took the helm again. “Slack the mizzen-sheet off altogether, Marco; up with the try-sail again.”

For a short distance the yacht drifted astern, and then, as the pressure of the jib began to make itself felt, her head gradually payed off. “Haul in the try-sail and jib-sheets. Let go the weather-sheet, Dick, and haul in the other. That is it, now she begins to move again.”

“You are only just in time,” the captain said to Tom; “she was just beginning to part in the middle when I left. You have saved all our lives, and I thank you heartily.”

“This is the owner of the yacht, sir,” Tom said, motioning to Horace. “It is his doing that we came out.”

“Oh, that is all nonsense, Tom! You would have come just the same if I hadn’t been there.”

“Well, sir, it has been a gallant rescue,” the captain said. “I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw your sail coming after us, and I expected every moment to see it disappear.”

“Now, captain,” Tom said, “make all your men sit down as close as they can pack under the weather bulwark; we ain’t in yet.”

It was an anxious time as they struggled through the heavy sea on the way back, but the Surf stood it bravely, and the weight to windward enabled her to stand up more stiffly to her canvas. When they were abreast of the port half the men went over to the other side, the helm was put up, and she rushed towards the shore dead before the wind. The extra weight on deck told on her now, and it needed the most careful steering on Tom’s part to keep her straight before the waves, several of which broke over her taffrail and swept along the deck, one of them bursting out her bulwarks at the bow.

“Get ready to haul in the sheets smartly,” Tom shouted as they neared the pier.

He kept her course close to the pier-head, and as the Surf came abreast of it jammed down the tiller, while Ben and Dick hauled in the mizzen-sheet. A moment later she was shooting along under the shelter of the wall, while a loud shout of welcome rose above the howling of the wind from those on shore.

“Now, sir, I will see about getting her moored,” Tom said, “if you will run down and get some rum bottles out of the locker; I am pretty well frozen and these poor fellows must be nigh perished, but it would never have done to open the hatchway in that sea.”

“Come down, men,” Horace cried, as he dived below. “We had no time to light the fire before starting, but a glass of spirits will do you good all round.”

Two or three of the fishermen rowed out as soon as the yacht was moored, and in a few minutes all were ashore.

“Now you had better run up to the house and change, Mr. Horace,” Tom Burdett said. “We will look after the men here and get them some dry things, and put them up amongst us. We have done a big thing, sir, and the Surf has been tried as I hope she will never be tried again as long as we have anything to do with her.”

“All right, Tom! Will you come up with me, captain? There is no one at home but myself, and we will manage to rig you up somehow.”

The captain, however, declined the invitation, saying that he would rather see after his men and put up himself at the public-house on the beach.

“I will come up later, sir, when I have seen everything all snug here.”

Horace had some difficulty in making his way up through the crowd, for both men and women wished to shake hands with him. At last he got through, and, followed by Marco, ran up through the village to the house. Zaimes had been among the crowd assembled to see the Surf re-enter the port; and when Horace changed his things and came down stairs he found a bowl of hot soup ready for him.

“You have given me a nice fright, Mr. Horace,” the Greek said as he entered the room. “I have been scolding Marco, I can tell you.”

“It was not his fault, Zaimes. I made up my mind to go, and told him so, and he had the choice whether he would go or stay behind, and he went.”

“Of course he went,” Zaimes said; “but he ought to have come and told me. Then I should have gone too. How could I have met your father, do you think, if you had been drowned?”

“Well, you would not have been to blame, Zaimes, as you knew nothing about it until after we had started.”

“No, you had been gone half an hour before someone from the village came up and told them in the kitchen. Then one of the servants brought me the news, and I ran down like a madman, without even stopping to get a hat. Then I found that most of the men had gone up to the cliff to keep you in sight, and I went up there and waited with them until you were nearly back again. Once or twice, as you were running in to the pier, I thought the yacht was gone.”

“That was the worst bit, Zaimes. The sea came tumbling over her stern, and I was washed off my feet two or three times. I almost thought that she was going down head-foremost. Well, I am glad I was at home this morning. I would not have missed it for anything.”

“No, it is a good thing, now it is done, and something to be proud of. I am told very few of the fishermen thought that you would ever come back again.”

“They didn’t know the boat as we did, Zaimes. I felt sure she would go through anything; and, besides, Tom kicked out the lower plank of the bulwarks on each side, so as to help her to free herself from water as it came on board, and flush-decked as she is, there was nothing to carry away; but she hasn’t taken a cupful of water down below.”

In the evening the captain of the barque came up, and Horace learned from him that she was on her way from New Orleans laden with cotton.

“The ship and cargo are insured,” the captain said; “and, as far as that goes, it is a good thing she is knocked into match-wood. She was a dull sailer at the best of times, and when laden you could not get her to lay anywhere near the wind. She would have done better than she did, though, hadn’t her rudder got damaged somehow in the night. She ought to have clawed off the shore easy enough; but, as you saw, she sagged to leeward a foot for every foot she went for’ard. I was part-owner in her, and I am not sorry she has gone. We tried to sell her last year, but they have been selling so many ships out of the navy that we could not get anything of a price for her; but as she was well insured, I shall get a handier craft next time. I was well off shore when the storm began to get heavy last night, and felt no anxiety about our position till the rudder went wrong. But when I saw the coast this morning, I felt sure that unless there was a change in the weather nothing could save her. Well, if it hadn’t been for the loss of those seven hands, I should, thanks to you, have nothing to complain of.”

Fires had been lit on the shore as night came on; but except fragments of the wreck and a number of bales of cotton nothing was recovered. In the morning the captain and crew left Seaport, two hands remaining behind to look after the cotton and recover as much as they could. Two days later Mr. Beveridge returned home.

“I saw in the paper before I left town, Horace, an account of your going out to the wreck and saving the lives of those, on board. I am very glad I was not here, my lad. I don’t think I should have let you go; but as I knew nothing about it until it was all over, I had no anxiety about it, and felt quite proud of you when I read the account. The money was well laid out on that yacht, my boy. I don’t say that I didn’t think so before, but I certainly think so now. However, directly I read it I wrote to the Lifeboat Society and told them that I would pay for a boat to be placed here. Then there will be no occasion to tempt Providence the next time a vessel comes ashore on this part of the coast. You succeeded once, Horace, but you might not succeed another time; and knowing what a sea sets in here in a south-westerly gale, I quite tremble now at the thought of your being out in it in that little craft.”

The news that Mr. Beveridge had ordered a lifeboat for the port gave great satisfaction among the fishermen, not so much perhaps because it would enable them to go out to wrecks, as because any of their own craft approaching the harbour in bad weather, and needing assistance, could then receive it.

Horace became very popular in Seaport after the rescue, and was spoken of affectionately as the young squire, although they were unable to associate the term with his father; but the latter’s interest in the sea, and his occasionally going out in the yacht, seemed to have brought him nearer to the fishing people. There had before been absolutely nothing in common between them and the studious recluse, and even the Greeks, who had before been held in marked disfavour in the village as outlandish followers, were now regarded with different eyes when it was learned that Marco had been a fisherman too in his time, and his share in the adventure of the Surf dissipated the last shadow of prejudice against them.

The weather continued more or less broken through the whole of the holidays, and Horace had but little sailing. He spent a good deal of his time over at his cousins’, rode occasionally after the hounds with them, and did some shooting. A week after coming home his father had again gone up to town, and remained there until after Horace had returned to Eton. He was, the lad observed, more abstracted even than usual, but was at the same time restless and unsettled. He looked eagerly for the post, and received and despatched a large number of letters. Horace supposed that he must be engaged in some very sharp and interesting controversy as to a disputed reading, or the meaning of some obscure passage, until the evening before he went away his father said:

“I suppose, Horace, you are following with interest the course of events in Thessaly?”

“Well, father, we see the papers of course. There seems to be a row going on there; they are always fighting about something. From what I could understand of it, Ali Pasha of Janina has revolted against the Sultan, and the Turks are besieging him. What sort of a chap is he? He is an Albanian, isn’t he?”

“Yes, with all the virtues and vices of his race—ambitious, avaricious, revengeful, and cruel, but brave and astute. He has been the instrument of the Porte in breaking down the last remnants of independence in the wide districts he rules. As you know, very many of the Christian and Mussulman villages possessed armed guards called armatoli, who are responsible not only for the safety of the village, but for the security of the roads; the defence of the passes was committed to them, and they were able to keep the numerous bands of brigands within moderate bounds. This organization Ali Pasha set himself to work to weaken as soon as he came into power. He played off one party against the other—the Mussulmans against the Christians, the brigands against the armatoli, one powerful chief against another. He crushed the Suliots, who possessed a greater amount of independence, perhaps, than any of the other tribes, and who, it must be owned, were a scourge to all their neighbours. He took away all real power from the armatoli, crippled the Mussulman communities as well as weakened the Christian villages; inspired terror in the whole population by the massacre of such as resisted his will, and those whom he could not crush by force he removed by poison; finally, he became so strong that it was evident his design was to become altogether independent of the Sultan. But he miscalculated his power, his armies fled almost without striking a blow; his sons, who commanded them, are either fugitives or prisoners; and now we hear that he is besieged in his fortress, which is capable of withstanding a very long siege.”

“He must be a thorough old scoundrel, I should say, father.”

“Yes,” Mr. Beveridge assented somewhat unwillingly. “No doubt he is a bad man, Horace; but he might have been—he may even yet be, useful to Greece. When it first became evident that matters would come to a struggle between him and the Porte he issued proclamations calling upon the Christians to assist him and make common cause against the Turks, and specially invited Greece to declare her independence of Turkey, and to join him.”

“But I should say, father, the Albanians would be even worse masters than the Turks.”

“No doubt, Horace, no doubt. The Turks, I may own, have not on the whole been hard masters to the Christians. They are much harder upon the Mussulman population than upon the Christian, as the latter can complain to the Russians, who, as their co-religionists, claim to exercise a special protection over them. But, indeed, all the Christian powers give protection, more or less, to the Christian Greeks, who, especially in the Morea, have something approaching municipal institutions, and are governed largely by men chosen by themselves. Therefore the pashas take good care not to bring trouble on themselves or the Porte by interfering with them so long as they pay their taxes, which are by no means excessive; while the Mussulman part of the population, having no protectors, are exposed to all sorts of exactions, which are limited only by the fear of driving them into insurrection. Still this rebellion of Ali Pasha has naturally excited hopes in the minds of the Greeks and their friends that some results may arise from it, and no better opportunity is likely to occur for them to make an effort to shake off the yoke of the Turks. You may imagine, Horace, how exciting all this is to one who, like myself, is the son of a Greek mother, and to whom, therefore, the glorious traditions of Greece are the story of his own people. As yet my hopes are faint, but there is a greater prospect now than there has been for the last two hundred years, and I would give all I am worth in the world to live to see Greece recover her independence.”

Chapter IV • A Startling Proposal • 7,100 Words

AFTER Horace returned to Eton, remembering the intense interest of his father in the affairs of Greece, he read up as far as he could everything relating to late events there. That he should obtain a really fair view of the situation was impossible. The Greeks had countrymen in every commercial city in the world; they were active and intelligent, and passionately desirous of interesting Europe in their cause. Upon the other hand the Turks were voiceless. Hence Europe only heard the Greek version of the state of affairs; their wrongs were exaggerated and events distorted with an utter disregard for truth, while no whisper of the other side of the question was ever heard.

At that time the term Greek was applied to persons of Greek religion rather than of Greek nationality. The population of European Turkey, of pure Greek blood, was extremely small, while those who held the Greek form of religion were very numerous, and the influence possessed by them was even greater. The Christians were in point of intelligence, activity, and wealth superior to the Turks. They were subservient and cringing when it suited their purpose, and were as a rule utterly unscrupulous. The consequence was that they worked their way into posts of responsibility and emolument in great numbers, being selected by the Porte in preference to the duller and less pushing Turks. In some portions of European Turkey they were all-powerful: in the Transylvanian provinces of Moldavia and Wallachia every post was held by Greeks, and there were but a few small and scattered Turkish garrisons. Yet here the population were incomparably more cruelly fleeced and ground down by their Greek masters than were the Christians in the more Turkish provinces.

In Servia and parts of Bulgaria the numbers were more even, but here also the Greeks held most of the responsible posts. In Greece proper the Christians vastly predominated, while in Northern Thessaly the numbers of the Christians and Mussulmans were about the same.

The Greek metropolitan of Constantinople and his council exercised a large authority by means of the bishops and priests over the whole Christian population, while for some time a secret society named the Philike Hetaireia had been at work preparing them for a rising. It was started originally among the Greeks at Odessa, and was secretly patronized by Russia, which then, as since, had designs upon Constantinople.

The first outbreak had occurred in March, 1821, when Prince Alexander Hypsilantes, who had been an officer in the Russian service, crossed the Pruth, and was joined by the Greek officials and tax-gatherers of the Transylvanian provinces. He was a vain, empty-headed, and utterly incompetent adventurer. A small band of youths belonging to good families enrolled themselves under the title of the Sacred Band, and the army also joined him, but beyond the cold-blooded massacre of a considerable number of Turks and their families he did absolutely nothing. The main body of the population, who bitterly hated their Greek oppressors, remained quiescent. Russia, seeing his utter incapacity, repudiated him, and after keeping alive the hopes of his followers by lying proclamations Hypsilantes secured his own safety by flight across the Austrian frontier when the Turkish army approached. The five hundred young men of the Sacred Battalion fought nobly and were killed almost to a man; but with the exception of a band of officers who refused to surrender, and shut themselves up in Skulani and in the monastery of Seko and there defended themselves bravely until the last, no resistance was offered to the Turks, and the insurrection was stamped out by the beginning of June. But in the meantime Greece proper was rising, and though the news came but slowly Horace saw that his father’s hopes were likely to be gratified, and that the Greeks would probably strike a blow at least for national independence, and he more than shared the general excitement that the news caused among educated men throughout Europe.

The summer holidays passed uneventfully. Horace took long cruises in the Surf. He saw but little of his father, who was constantly absent in London. August came, and Horace returned from his last trip and was feeling rather depressed at the thought of going back to school in two days’ time. He met Zaimes as he entered the house.

“Is my father back from town, Zaimes?”

“Yes, Mr. Horace, and he told me to tell you as soon as you returned that he wished you to go to him at once in the library.”

It was so unlike his father to want to see him particularly about anything, that Horace went in in some wonder as to what could be the matter. Mr. Beveridge was walking up and down the room.

“Is your mind very much set on going back to Eton, Horace?” he asked abruptly.

“I don’t know, father,” Horace said, taken somewhat aback at the question. “Well, I would very much rather go back, father, than be doing nothing here. I am very fond of sailing as an amusement, but one would not want to be at it always. Of course if there is anything really to do it would be different.”

“Well, I think there is something else to do, Horace. You know my feeling with regard to this insurrection in Greece.”

“Yes, father,” Horace, who was indeed rather tired of the subject, replied.

“Well, you see, my boy, they have now resisted the Turks for some five months and have gained rather than lost ground. That seems to show decisively that this is no mere hasty rising, but that the people are in earnest in the determination to win their liberty. Now that I am thoroughly convinced of this my course is clear, and I have determined upon going out to give such assistance as I can.”

Horace was astounded. “Going out to fight, father?”

“Yes, if necessary to fight, but I can be of more use than in merely fighting. I have never, since I came into the property some twenty-four years ago, spent anything like a third of my income. Indeed, since my return from Greece my expenses here have been but a few hundreds a year. I have always hoped that I should have the opportunity of devoting the savings to help Greece to regain her independence. That moment has come. At first I feared that the movement would speedily die out; but the letters that I receive show that it is increasing daily, and indeed that the Greeks have placed themselves beyond the hope of forgiveness by, I am sorry to say, the massacre of large numbers of Turks. It is, of course, to be regretted that so glorious a cause should have been sullied by such conduct; but one cannot be surprised. Slaves are always cruel, and after the wrongs they have suffered, it could hardly be expected that they would forego their revenge when the opportunity at last came. However, the important point of the matter is, that there can be no drawing back now.

“For better or for worse the revolution has begun. Now, Horace, you are but sixteen, but you are a sensible lad, and I have stood so much apart from other men from my boyhood that I am what you might call unpractical; while I take it that you from your temperament, and from being at a great public school, are eminently practical, therefore, I shall be glad to hear your opinion as to how this thing had best be set about. I take it, of course, that you are as interested in the struggle as I am.”

“Well, not so interested perhaps, father. I feel, of course, that it is a horrible thing that a people like the Greeks, to whom we all owe so much, should be kept in slavery by the Turks, who have never done any good to mankind that I know of, and I should certainly be glad to do everything in my power to help; but of course it all comes so suddenly upon me that just at present I don’t see what had best be done.”

“I heard from my friends in London that many young men are already starting to assist the Greeks. What they will need most is not men, but arms and money, so at least my Greek friends write me.”

“Well, father,” Horace said bluntly; “I should say you had much better give them arms than money. I have been reading the thing up as much as I could since it began, and as far as I can see the upper class Greeks, the men who, I suppose, will be the leaders, are a pretty bad lot—quite as bad, I should say, as the Turkish pashas.”

“Yes, I quite agree with you there, Horace. You see in a country that is enslaved, political and other careers are closed, and the young men devote themselves to making money. You see that in the history of the Jews. All through the middle ages they were everywhere persecuted, every avenue to honourable employment was closed to them, consequently they devoted themselves to making money, and have been the bankers of kings for hundreds of years. No doubt it is the same thing with the Greeks; but the mass of the people are uncorrupted, and with the deeds of their great forefathers always before them they will, I am sure, show themselves worthy of their name.”

“No doubt, father; I think so too.”

“You don’t mind my spending this money on the Cause, Horace,” his father asked anxiously, “because, though it is my savings, it would in the natural course of things come to you some day.”

“Not at all, father; it is, as you say, your savings, and having at heart, as you have, the independence of Greece, I think it cannot be better laid out than assisting it. But I should certainly like it to be laid out for that, and not to go into the pockets of a lot of fellows who think more of feathering their own nests than of the freedom of Greece. So I should say the best thing would be to send out a cargo of arms and ammunition, as a beginning; other cargoes can go out as they are required. And you might, of course, take a certain amount of money to distribute yourself as you see it is required. I hope you mean to take me with you.”

“I think so, Horace. You are young to do any fighting at present, but you will be a great support and comfort to me.”

Horace could scarcely resist a smile, for he thought that if there was any fighting to be done he would be of considerably more use than his father.

“Well, I suppose the next thing, Horace, will be to go up to town to inquire about arms. My Greek friends there will advise me as to their purchase, and so on.”

“Yes, father,” Horace said a little doubtfully; “but as it is late now I think, if you don’t mind, I will get some supper and turn in. I will think it over. I think we had better talk it over quietly and quite make up our minds what is best to be done before we set about anything; a few hours won’t make any difference.”

“Quite so, Horace; it is no use our beginning by making mistakes. It is a great comfort to me, my boy, to have you with me. At any rate I will write to-night to your headmaster and say that circumstances will prevent your return to Eton this term.”

Horace went into the next room, had some supper, and then went thoughtfully up to bed. The idea of going out to fight for the independence of Greece was one which at any other time he would have regarded with enthusiasm, but under the present circumstances he felt depressed rather than excited. He admired his father for his great learning, and loved him for the kindness of his intentions towards him; but he had during the last two or three years been more and more impressed with the fact that in everything unconnected with his favourite subject his father was, as he said himself, utterly unpractical. He left the management of his estate to the steward, the management of the house to Zaimes, both happily, as it chanced, honest and capable men; but had they been rogues they could have victimized him to any extent. That his father, who lived in his library and who was absorbed in the past, should plunge into the turmoil of an insurrection was an almost bewildering idea. He would be plundered right and left, and would believe every story told him; while as for his fighting, the thing seemed absolutely absurd. Horace felt that the whole responsibility would be on his shoulders, and this seemed altogether too much for him. Then the admission of his father that abominable massacres had been perpetrated by the Greeks shook his enthusiasm in the Cause.

“I should be glad to see them free and independent, and all that,” he said, “but I don’t want to be fighting side by side with murderers. Among such fellows as these, my father, who is a great deal more Greek than any Greek of the present day, I should say, would be made utterly miserable. He admits that the upper class are untrustworthy and avaricious. Now he says that the lower class have massacred people in cold blood. It does not affect him much in the distance, but if he were in the middle of it all it would be such a shock to him that I believe it would kill him. Besides, fancy his going long marches in the mountains, sleeping in the wet, and all that sort of thing, when he has never walked half a mile as far back as I can remember.”

He lay tossing about for a couple of hours, and then sat suddenly up in bed. “That’s it,” he exclaimed, “that is a splendid idea. What a fool I was not to think of it before! If William Martyn is but at home that would be the thing above all.”

Then he lay down, thought the matter over for another half-hour, and then went quietly off to sleep.

“Well, Horace, have you been turning the matter over in your mind?” his father asked as soon as they sat down to breakfast.

“I have, father, and I have hit upon a plan that seems to me the very best thing possible in all ways.”

“What is it, Horace?”

“Well, father, it seems to me that if we take out war material to Athens it will very likely get into wrong hands altogether, and when arms are really wanted by the people of the mountains, and I expect that it is they who will do the fighting and not the people of the towns, there won’t be any to give them. The next thing is, if we go to Athens, and people know that you are a rich Englishman, you will get surrounded by sharks, and before you have time to know who is to be trusted, or anything about it, all your money will be gone. Then I am sure that you could not in that way take any active part in helping to free Greece, you never could stand marches in the mountains and sleeping in the open air, bad food, and all that sort of thing, after living the quiet indoor life you have for so many years. I know you would stick to it, father, as long as you could, but it seems to me you would be sure to get knocked up.”

“Yes, I ought to have prepared for this, Horace. It would have been better for me to have taken regular exercise every day, even if I did get through a little less work. Still I am stronger than you think. I am only forty-four, and a man at forty-four ought to be able to do nearly as much as he ever could do.”

“Yes, father, if he had lived an active life and exercised his muscles. I have no doubt you are just as strong in many things as other men; I never remember your being ill for a day; but I am sure you are not fit for knocking about among the mountains. What I have been thinking of is this. If you approve of it I will go over to Exmouth this morning and see if William Martyn is there. He is likely to be at home if his vessel is in port. If he is not, I will get his father to recommend some one. There must be lots of young lieutenants on half-pay who would jump at the idea. First I should engage with Martyn if he is there, or go to the man whom his father recommended to me at Plymouth, and get him to buy for you a fast schooner or brig—one that had either been an English privateer or a captured Frenchman would be about the thing—arrange with him to be the captain and engage officers and crew, and get him to arm her with as many guns as she will carry. He would be able probably to put us into the best way of buying muskets. As such immense numbersof soldiers have been paid off, no doubt there have been great sales of muskets by government, and we might get them at a quarter the price we should have to pay for new ones. Of course we should take in ammunition in large quantities. All these mountaineers have no doubt got guns, and ammunition will be the thing most wanted of all. We could also pick up some cannon. No doubt they are to be bought for scrap iron. The Greeks will want them to arm their ships and batteries. In that way you see, father, you would have everything under your own hands. Nobody would know how many muskets you have got on board, and you could serve them out when or how they were required.

“The same with money. We could cruise about and pop into quiet places, and send arms and ammunition up into the hills. Of course directly you got out there you would put the ship under the Greek flag, and by harassing the Turks at sea we might do a hundred times more good than we could by land. There would be no fatigue and no discomfort. You would always be comfortable on board, and could take Zaimes and Marco with you. We would take Tom Burdett as boatswain. He was boatswain in the navy, you know. If he goes I daresay Dick will also go with us.”

“That is an excellent plan, Horace. It seems to meet all the difficulties, and I was really feeling uncomfortable at the thought of being mixed up in all the confusion and excitement there will, no doubt, be at Athens. It is a most happy idea. We will not lose a moment about it. I like that young fellow Martyn, and I hope you will be able to get hold of him. Let him name his own terms. I have not the least idea whether the captain of a vessel of that sort is paid five pounds a week or twenty-five. Of course it will be dangerous service, and should be liberally paid for. Well, you had better pack up your bag directly we have finished breakfast. You may be away for a week or ten days.”

“I can’t start to-day, father, surely.”

“No! why not, Horace?”

“Because, you know, you arranged we should both go over to dine at aunt’s.”

“Of course, Horace; I quite forgot that. It is very annoying, but I suppose it can’t be helped.”

Horace laughed. “A day won’t make much difference, father. I am sure aunt would be very vexed if we did not turn up. Do you mean to tell her anything about it?”

Mr. Beveridge was silent for a minute. “I don’t think there is any occasion; do you, Horace?” he said doubtfully. “She might raise objections, you know; though that, of course, would make no difference; arguments are always to be avoided, and your aunt was always a very positive woman.”

“I think it is just as well to say nothing about it,” Horace said with a slight smile, for he felt sure that his aunt would oppose the project tooth and nail if she were aware of it, and that she would be backed by the whole strength of his mother’s family. He did not say this, but went on, “It is a nuisance being asked a tremendous lot of questions about things, especially when you don’t know much about them yourself. No, I think, father, we had better keep it quite quiet. It will be time enough to write a line to aunt and tell her that we are off, the last thing before we get up anchor.”

“I agree with you, Horace, so we will say nothing about this trip of ours. Well, as it seems you can’t go to-day, you had better make your arrangements to catch the coach to-morrow morning. I will sign a dozen blank cheques, which you can fill up as required. Of course whoever accepts the post of captain will know all that will be wanted for the ship, and if he doesn’t know himself about the arms and ammunition he may be able to introduce you to some officer who does. Will you take Marco with you?”

“No, I don’t think so, father. I don’t see that he would be any use, and having a man going about with you looks as if one was being taken care of.”

Horace caught the coach and alighted at Exmouth, and hurried to the revenue officer’s house.

“Is Mr. William Martyn in?” he asked the servant who opened the door.

“He is not in just at present, sir; I think he went down to the river.”

“How long has he been home?” Horace asked, delighted at the news.

“He only got in last week, sir; his ship got wrecked, and Mr. William turned up without any clothes, or anything except just what he stood up in.”

“Hurrah!” Horace exclaimed, to the astonishment of the woman, and then without another word ran down to the wharfs. He soon saw the figure he was in search of talking to two or three old sailors.

“Hullo, youngster!” Martyn said in surprise, as Horace came up, “where have you sprung from?”

“Off the top of the coach.”

“I suppose so. I have been having a bit of bad luck and lost my ship. We were wrecked off St. Catharine’s Point, at the back of the Isle of Wight, and there were only seven of us saved among a crew of thirty-five all told.”

“Yes, I heard from your servant you had been wrecked,” Horace said. “She didn’t say that any lives had been lost; but I must have astonished her, now I think of it, for I said ‘Hurrah!’ when she told me.”

“What did you say hurrah for?” the mate asked gruffly.

“Because I wanted to find you here, and was so pleased that you were not going to sail away again directly.”

“No,” Will Martyn said gloomily, “it is bad enough to have lost one’s kit and everything, and now I shall have to look about for another berth, for I think the vessel was only partly insured, and as the owners only have one or two ships I expect it will hit them rather hard, and that they won’t have another craft ready for some time, so it will be no use my waiting for that.”

The sailors had moved away when Horace came up, so that he was able at once to open the subject of his visit to the mate.

“Well, that was just what I was hoping when I heard that you were wrecked, Will, for I had come over on purpose to see if you were disengaged and disposed to take a new berth.”

“What! is your father going in for a big yacht instead of the Surf, Horace?”

“Well, not exactly, but something of that sort. You know I told you how enthusiastic he was about Greece and everything connected with it. Of course he is tremendously excited about this rising out there, and he is going to send out a lot of arms and ammunition. So we have talked it over and agreed that the best thing to do would be to buy a fast schooner or brig, fit her up as a privateer, fill her with arms and ammunition, and go out, hoist the Greek flag, and do what we can to help them against the Turks. Of course we thought at once of you to carry out the thing, and to act as captain. What do you say to it?”

“The very thing I should like, Horace; nothing could suit me better. Mind I am not giving any opinion as to whether it is a wise thing on the part of your father; that is his business. But as far as I am concerned I am your man.”

“My father said you were to name your own terms. He didn’t know anything about what the pay should be, but he particularly said that as it would be a service of danger it ought to be paid for liberally.”

“Of course there will be danger,” the mate said, “but that adds to the pleasure of it. If I were a married man of course I should have to look at it in a different light; but as I ain’t, and have no idea of getting spliced, the danger does not trouble me. I have been getting eight pounds a month as third mate, and I should have got ten next voyage, as I was going second. As I shall be skipper on board this craft of yours, suppose we say twelve pounds a month.”

“My father expected to pay more than that a good deal,” Horace said; “and as everything will depend upon you it would not be at all fair to pay the same sort of pay as if you were merely sailing in a merchant’s ship. However, he will write to you about it. There will be a tremendous lot to do before we start, and we want to be off as soon as possible. There is a ship to buy and fit out, and officers to get, and a crew. Then we want to find out where we can buy muskets. It seemed to me that as government must have been selling great quantities, we should be able to get them pretty cheap.”

“I could find out all about that at the port where we fit out,” Will Martyn said. “As for cannon, they can be had almost for taking away. There are thousands and thousands of them to be had at every port. Five years ago every vessel went to sea armed. Now even the biggest craft only carry a gun or two for firing signals with, unless, of course, they are going to sail in Eastern waters. Well, this is a big job—a different sort of order altogether to buying the Surf for you. I hope it will turn out as well.”

“Of course Plymouth will be the best port to go to.”

“I don’t know. During the war certainly either that or Portsmouth would have been the best. Vessels were constantly coming in with prizes; but now, I should say either London or Liverpool would be the best for picking up the sort of craft we want. Still, as Plymouth is so much the nearest here, I should say we had best try there first. Then if we can’t find what we want we will take a passage by coaster to Portsmouth, if the wind is favourable; if not, go by coach. But how are you off for money, because I am at dead low-water? I have got a few pounds owing to me, but I can’t handle that till I get to London.”

“I have twenty pounds,” Horace said. “We didn’t think, when I started, of going farther than Plymouth; but I have some blank cheques for paying for things.”

“Twenty pounds ought to be ample; but if we find at Plymouth we want more I can easily get one cashed for you. I know plenty of people there.”

“Well, when can you start, Will? My father is anxious not to lose a moment.”

“I can start in ten minutes if my father is at home. I should want to have just a short chat with him; but I can do that while they are getting the chaise ready. Our best plan would be to drive to Exeter and take the evening coach going through there. There is one comes through about six o’clock. I have come down by it several times. It will take us into Plymouth by twelve o’clock; so we should gain nothing if we started earlier.”

“Well, I will go to the inn,” Horace said.

“No; that you won’t, Horace. You come round with me. I expect dinner is ready by this time. We generally dine at one. My father went out in the cutter to look after a wreck four or five miles along the coast, and he said he did not expect to be back till between two and three; so we settled to dine at three. There is the cutter coming up the river now.”

“But you would rather be with your father alone,” Horace said.

“Not a bit of it. I have got nothing private to say to him, except to get him to let me draw twenty pounds from his agent to get a fresh rig-out with. He would like to see you again, especially as I am going to sail with you, and he maybe able to put us up to a few wrinkles as to getting our powder on board, and so on. Of course I have been accustomed to seeing it got in from government powder hulks. We will just walk up to the house now if you don’t mind, to tell the girl to put an extra knife and fork on the table, then we will go down and meet my father when he lands.”

The servant looked with such strong disapprobation upon Horace when she opened the door that he burst into a fit of laughter. “You are thinking about my saying hurrah when I heard Mr. Martyn was wrecked?” he said. “Well, I did not exactly mean that, only I was very glad, because I thought if he had not been wrecked he could not have shipped just at present, and I wanted him very badly.”

“Yes, I am off again, Hesba,” the mate said. “Going right away this afternoon. That is a bit of luck, isn’t it? I have just come back to tell you to put another knife and fork upon the table, as Mr. Beveridge is going to dine with us; and if you have time to kill a fatted calf, or anything of that sort, do so.”

“Lor’, Mr. William, you know very well there ain’t no fatted calf, and if there was it would take ever so long to kill it and get some meat cooked, if it was only cutlets.”

“Well,” Martyn laughed, “never mind the calf, Hesba; but if dinner is short run straight down to the butcher’s and get a good big tender steak, and look sharp about it, for my father will be here in a quarter of an hour.”

As Horace had seen Captain Martyn (as he was by courtesy called, being in command of a revenue cutter, although only in fact a lieutenant) several times while fitting out the Surf the officer knew him as he saw him standing at the top of the stairs with his son.

“Well, Master Beveridge,” he said as he climbed up the stairs, “I haven’t seen you since you sailed away in that little craft. I hear you did a brave deed in her, going out in that gale to rescue the crew of the Caledon. It is lucky you caught Will in.” He was by this time ashore and shaking hands heartily with Horace.

“He has come to take me away, father,” Will said. “Mr. Beveridge is going to get a fast craft to carry out arms and ammunition to the Greeks, and he has offered me the command.”

“I should not mind going myself, Will. I am sorry you are off so soon; but you are likely to see some stirring scenes over there. When are you going?”

“We are going to start directly we have had some dinner, father. We will order a chaise as we go along. We intend to catch the six-o’clock coach at Exeter, so as to get to Plymouth to-night. I am going to see if we can pick up a likely craft there. If not, I shall try Portsmouth and Southampton, and if they won’t do, London.”

“Well, that is sharp work, Will. But you have no kit to pack, so there is no difficulty about it. However, there is no time to be lost.”

At a quarter to four the post-chaise was at the door, and Will Martyn and Horace started. The horses were good, and they were in plenty of time for the coach, and arrived duly in Plymouth. As soon as they had breakfasted next morning they started out and went first to the shipping office of a firm known to Will Martyn, and there got a list of ships lying for sale in the port.

“What sort of craft are you looking for, Martyn?” the shipping agent said. “We have a dozen at least on our own books, and you may as well give us a turn before you look at any others.”

“I want a schooner or a brig—I don’t much care which it is—of about a couple of hundred tons. She must be very fast and weatherly; the sort of craft that was used as a privateer in the war; or as a slaver; or something of that kind.”

“I have only one craft that answers to that description,” the agent said; “but I should say that she was what you want. She was sent home from the west coast of Africa six months ago, as a prize. Of course she was sold, and was bought by a man I know. After he had got her he found she had not enough carrying power for his business. She never was built for cargo, and would be an expensive vessel to work, for she has a large sail spread, and would want so strong a crew to work her that she would never pay. He bought her cheap for that reason, and will be glad to get the price he gave for her, or if the point were pressed even to make some loss to get her off his hands. They call her a hundred and fifty, and she looks a big vessel for that size. But if she had eighty tons in her hold it would be as much as she could carry with comfort.”

“That sounds promising,” Martyn said. “At any rate we will begin by having a look at her. Where is she lying?”

“About three miles up the river. Tide is making; so we could run up there in a sailing boat in half an hour. I will go with you myself. There is a care-taker on board. Are you buying her for yourself, Martyn?”

The mate laughed.

“As I have not captured an heiress I am not likely to become a ship owner. No; Mr. Beveridge’s father is fond of the sea, and has commissioned me to buy a comfortable craft that shall be at once fast and seaworthy, and I am going to command her.”

“Well, I don’t think you would find anything that would suit your purpose better than the Creole. She would make a splendid yacht for a gentleman who had a fancy for long cruises.”

“What is her age?” the mate asked.

“Well, of course we can’t tell exactly; but the dockyard people thought she couldn’t be above four or five years old. That is what they put her down as when they sold her. At any rate she is sound, and in as good condition as if she had just come off the stocks. She had been hulled in two or three places in the fight when she was captured, but she was made all right in the dockyard before she was put up for sale. All her gear, sails, and so on are in excellent condition.”

“Where are they?”

“They are on board. As we had a care-taker it was cheaper to leave them there and have good fires going occasionally to keep them dry than it would have been to stow them away on shore.”

There was a brisk breeze blowing, and in less than the half hour mentioned by the agent he said: “That’s her lying over on the farther side.”

“She looks like a slaver all over,” Martyn said as he stood up to examine the long low craft. “I suppose they caught her coming out of a river, for she would show her heels, I should guess, to any cruiser that was ever built, at any rate in light winds. If she is as good as she looks she is just the thing for us.”

When they reached the vessel they rowed round her before going on board.

“She is like a big Surf,” Will said to Horace; “finer in her lines, and lighter. She ought to sail like a witch. I see she carried four guns on each side.”

“Yes, and a long pivot-gun. They are down in the hold now. She was sold just as she stood; but I suppose they will be of no use to you.”

“Some of them may be,” Martyn said carelessly. “If we go cruising up the Mediterranean it is just as well to have a gun or two on board. Now let us look at her accommodation.

“Yes, she is a very roomy craft on deck,” he went on as he stepped on board. “She has a wonderful lot of beam, much more than she looks to have when you see her on the water, owing to her lines being so fine.”

“She has lots of head-room here,” Horace said as they went below. “I thought that slavers had very low decks.”

“So they have,” the mate said. “I expect when she took a cargo on board they rigged up a deck of planks here so as to have two tiers for the slaves; that would give them about three foot three to each tier.”

They spent over two hours on board. Will Martyn examined everything most carefully, prodding the planks and timbers with his knife, going down into the hold and prying into the state of the timbers there, getting into the boat, to examine the stern-post and rudder, and afterwards overhauling a good deal of the gear. The inspection was in all respects satisfactory.

“She will do if the price will do,” he said. “How much do they want for her?”

“He paid fifteen hundred at the dockyard sale,” the agent said; “that is ten pound a ton, with all her gear, fittings, and so on, thrown in. As you see, there is the cabin furniture, and so on, all complete, except the paint. There needn’t be a penny laid out on her.”

“Well, how much will he take off?” Martyn said. “Fifteen hundred was anyone’s price, and as she don’t suit him, she won’t suit many people. If he is likely to have her on his hands any time, eating her head off and losing value, he ought to be glad to take anything near what he gave for her. Well, frankly, how much will he take off? Business is business. I have admitted the boat will suit me; now what is the limit you are authorized to take?”

“He will take two hundred less. It is a ridiculously low price.”

“Of course it is,” Will agreed. “But shipping at present is a drug in the market, and this ship is practically fit for nothing but a yacht or the Levant trade. I expect I could get her a couple of hundred pounds cheaper if I held off. What do you think, Horace?”

“I don’t think it would be fair to knock down the price lower than that,” Horace said.

“It is fair to get a thing as cheap as you can. If you try to get it for less than he will sell it for you don’t get it, that is all. He is not obliged to sell, and you are not obliged to buy. Still, the price is a very reasonable one, and we will take her at that. You have full authority to sell, I suppose, without reference to your principal?”

“Yes.”

“Very well, then, we will go to your office. Mr. Beveridge will give you a cheque for thirteen hundred pounds, and you shall hand over possession.”

“Good. It is eleven o’clock now, Johnson,” he said to the care-taker. “Here is your money up to to-night, but from twelve o’clock to-day Mr. Martyn takes possession as agent for the owners, so you will take your orders from him.”

“You can go on as usual,” Will said. “We will pay you from twelve o’clock, so you will make a half-day’s pay by the change.”

Chapter V • Fitting Out • 8,500 Words

“THE cheque for the payment of the Creole was filled up and handed over, the agent giving a formal receipt and possession of the vessel, and undertaking to sign the necessary papers as soon as they could be drawn out.

“You are evidently lucky about ships,” William Martyn said as he left the agent’s office with Horace. “You have got a little wonder in the Surf, and there is no doubt about the Creole being a bargain. When the war was going on she would have been snapped up at double the price, and would have been cheap at that. Now the first thing to do is to get first and second mates. Directly I have got them I can put a gang of riggers on board. I will go to the Naval Club, and see the list of the officers on board the ships here. I am pretty sure to know some of them, and shall find out from them whether there are any of my old messmates down here. If they don’t know of any, we might hear of men to suit at the Club. There are always plenty of men here and at Portsmouth waiting about on the chance of meeting some officer they have served under and getting him to put in a word for them at the Admiralty.”

“I will walk down with you to the Club, but I won’t go in with you; one is only in the way when people who know each other are talking. And besides, Martyn, don’t you think before you do anything you ought to see about your clothes?”

“Of course I ought; I never gave the matter a thought before. But I certainly could not put my foot on the quarter-deck of one of His Majesty’s ships in this turn-out. No. The first thing to do is to drop into my father’s agent to draw some money. Then I will go into a slop-shop and get a suit. I know a place where they keep really decent togs. A man often has to join in a hurry, and wants a fit-out at half an hour’s notice. Then I can order the rest of the things at the tailor’s I used to get my clothes from. ’Pon my word, now you speak of it, I am ashamed to be going out in these things. They were an old suit that I put on when bad weather set in, and they have shrunk so that the sleeves don’t come half-way down to the wrists, and the trousers are up to the ankles. As a master’s mate it didn’t matter so very much, for masters’ mates are very often out at elbows, but as commander of the Creole it is a different thing altogether.”

Martyn was lucky in picking up the undress uniform of a lieutenant that just fitted him.

“I can let you have it at that price, because I got it a bargain,” the man said. “The owner came in here a few weeks ago with a man beside him. He had just come down to join his ship, which was to sail in a few hours, and as he stepped off the coach was served with a writ by a Jew he had borrowed money of two or three years before. It was only a few pounds, but to make up the sum he had to sell some of his things, and this suit was among them.”

“And nicely you ground him down in the price, I have no doubt,” Martyn growled. “However, I have got the benefit of it. Now, Horace, I can show at the Club. Just take your knife out and cut this strap off the shoulder. I can’t go about as a full-fledged lieutenant, though I have passed.”

They were walking up the main street when a voice exclaimed:

“Hullo, Martyn! is that you?” and a young officer shook him warmly by the hand.

“Why, Dacent, this is luck. I am glad to see you indeed. It is three years since we ran against each other last; five since we served together in the Nonpareil. What are you doing?”

“I am third in the flagship here. What are you doing? I met O’Connor the other day; he told me he had run across you at Malta, and that you had gone into the merchant service like so many other of our old friends.”

“That was so, Dacent. It was of no use kicking my heels on shore when I hadn’t the ghost of a chance of getting appointed to a ship. So I had to swallow my pride and ship in a merchantman. We were wrecked at the back of the Wight in the storm last week, and I have had the luck to get a fresh appointment, and that is what I am here for. I was just on my way to the Club to see if I could find any of my old chums. You are just the fellow to help me. But first let me introduce Mr. Beveridge. He is the son of my owner. Half an hour ago he completed the purchase of the craft that I am to command. She is a beauty. I don’t know whether you know her. She is called the Creole, a schooner of a hundred and fifty tons. She is lying up the river.”

“I know her well enough,” Dacent said, as he shook hands with Horace. “She was brought in here the week after I joined. I thought she was as pretty a looking craft as I ever set eyes on. I congratulate you, old fellow. There are not many things that you won’t be able to show your heels to. But what line is she going to be in? She would make a fine craft for the Levant trade.”

“That is just where we are going, Dacent, but not to trade. I will tell you what we are going to do, but it must be kept dark. I don’t know whether they might not look upon it as a breach of the neutrality laws. Mr. Beveridge is an enthusiast for the cause of Greece, and we are going to take out a cargo of guns and ammunition, and then we shall hoist the Greek flag, and do a little fighting on our own account with the Turks as a Greek privateer.”

“By Jove, I envy you, Martyn. That is a thousand times better than sticking in Plymouth Sound with nothing to do but to see the men holy-stone the deck, and fetching and carrying messages. Now, what is it I can do for you?”

“Well, in the first place, I want a couple of officers; for choice, I would have one who has passed, and could take the command in case anything happened to me. I don’t care whether the second is a mate or a midshipman who has pretty nearly served his time.”

“I know just the man for you, for your first. There is Miller—you remember him?”

“Of course; I was with him in the Minerva frigate in the West Indies. He was a capital fellow. Is he to be had?”

“Yes; I saw him only yesterday. He has been two years out of a berth, and no chance of getting a ship, and he was looking out for a berth on board a merchantman, but he had not heard of one when I saw him. He gave me his address; here it is—the Anchor Inn; it is a little place not far from the dock gates. I expect Jim has no money to spare. His father is a clergyman near Falmouth. I asked him why he didn’t look for a ship there. He laughed, and said he didn’t mind shipping into the merchant service anywhere else; but he shouldn’t like to do it so near home, after swaggering about there in the king’s uniform.”

“I will go down at once. It is just one o’clock, and we are likely to catch him in.”

“Well, will you and your friend dine with me at the Club at six o’clock, Martyn? We can chat there better than we can on board, and we have lots to tell each other since we last parted.”

The invitation was accepted, and then Martyn and Horace set off to find the Anchor.

“There is one thing I have not asked you,” the former said, as they went along. “How about prize-money, because you know that makes a good deal of difference. I don’t suppose there will be much to be got, because there are not many craft flying the Turkish flag, and the seas will be swarming with Greek craft who are half-pirates even in time of peace. Still we may capture a Turkish man-of-war brig or something of that sort, and she may have treasure on board such as pay for the troops. I suppose we should share according to the ordinary privateer scale.”

“Certainly,” Horace said. “My father has no idea of making money by the thing, and I can certainly promise that he will agree to the usual scale whatever it is.”

“That is right. I thought that it would be so, and, indeed, although officers might go without, you would hardly get men to risk their lives unless there was a chance of prize-money.”

“It would not be fair to ask them to do so,” Horace said. “Of course that would be understood. All these sort of arrangements are in your hands. My father particularly said so; he really knows nothing about these matters. You must make all these arrangements just as if you were the owner, and please arrange what you consider liberal terms to everyone. My father has made up his mind to spend a certain sum of money which he has long laid by for the purpose, and I am sure we are more likely to succeed in helping the Greeks if everyone on board is quite contented and happy. Oh, there is the Inn; I won’t go in with you. You had much better talk it over with him by yourself.”

Ten minutes later Martyn came out with a short square-built young fellow of about his own age, with a good-humoured merry face, which was at present beaming with satisfaction.

“That is all settled,” Martyn said. “Mr. Beveridge, let me introduce to you Mr. James Miller, first lieutenant of your father’s schooner, the Creole.”

“It is a perfect godsend,” Miller said, as he shook hands with Horace. “I began to despair of getting a ship here, and I am precious glad now I didn’t, for I should have been mad if I had met Martyn, and found I had missed this chance. It will be glorious fun, and it looked as if one were never going to have a chance of that sort of thing again.”

“And he knows of a young fellow who will suit us for our second,” Martyn said, “Jack Tarleton. He was with us in the Minerva. I remember him only as a jolly little mid. I had just passed then, and he was the youngest; but he lives close to Miller, and he says he has grown up into a fine young fellow. He is about nineteen now. He has not passed yet, for he was laid on the shelf four months before his time was up, and not having passed, of course he is even worse off than either of us. Not that it matters so much to him, for his father has an estate; but as Jack is the second son, and loves his profession, he is so anxious to be afloat again that he told Miller the other day he would ship before the mast if he could not get a berth before long. Miller will write to him this afternoon, and he will be here to-morrow night or next morning. I have asked him to come round and have lunch with us at the Falcon. Mr. Beveridge and his father sail with us, Miller, in the double capacity, as I understand, of owners and fighting men.”

Horace laughed. “In the first place, I am not going to be called Mr. Beveridge or Mr. Anything,” he said. “I shall be regarded as a sort of third officer, and do my work regularly while we are at sea. I know a little about sailing already,” he said to Miller, “so I sha’n’t be quite a green hand.”

“No, indeed,” Martyn said. “Horace, if I am to call him so, has got a fifteen-ton yacht I picked up for him, and a first-rate little craft she is. He went out in a big gale last winter, and rescued the crew of a wreck, the Celadon.”

“I saw it in the paper,” Miller said warmly, “and thought what a plucky thing it was. That is capital. Then you will be like one of ourselves. Well, what are you going to do first, Martyn?”

“First we are going to lunch. Then you will write your letter to Tarleton and post it. After that we will charter a boat and go up and look at the Creole again. You haven’t seen her yet, and we haven’t seen her since the purchase was concluded, and a craft always looks different when you know she is yours. After making an overhaul we will go ashore to the nearest yard and arrange for her to be docked, and her bottom cleaned and scrubbed; I expect it wants it pretty badly. That will be enough for to-day. As soon as she is in the water again we will set a gang of riggers at work. I shall take charge of that part of the business, and I will leave it to you to hunt up a crew. We have got a boatswain. At least I have no doubt we have.”

“How many men are you going to take, Martyn?”

“She mounts four guns each side and a long Tom—I don’t know what the metal is yet—and she is heavily sparred. Of course she hasn’t got her topmasts in place, but her masts are very long, and I have no doubt she shows a good spread of sail; those craft always do. We shall want a strong crew, for, if we fight at all, it will be against craft a good deal bigger than ourselves. There is any amount of room on the main deck, where they carried the slaves. Of course we needn’t settle at present, but I should say we ought to carry from forty to fifty men.”

“I think we ought certainly to have a strong crew,” Horace said, “so as to be able to land a strong party if we wanted to; the extra expense would be of no consequence.”

“We must pick our men, Miller—smart active fellows, and, of course, men-of-war’s for choice. If we can’t get enough here, we will sail her round to Portsmouth and fill up there. There ought to be plenty of prime seamen to be had. They would jump at the chance of sailing in such a craft as ours.”

Miller was delighted with the ship, and they now especially examined the cabin arrangements. The saloon ran across the stern of the ship. It was handsomely fitted up in mahogany. Leading off this, on the port side, was a large cabin that had evidently been the captain’s. This, of course, would be Mr. Beveridge’s. On the starboard side were three cabins. Next to these was the steward’s pantry and cabin; and facing this, on the port side, two other state-rooms.

“It could not have been better if it had been built for us,” Miller said. “There are three cabins on the starboard side. Horace will take one of the three, I suppose, and that will leave a spare cabin in case we take a passenger we are likely to want.”

“What are you thinking of, Miller?”

“I was thinking that as we are going to fight, it is not by any means impossible that some of us or the men may be wounded.”

“I should certainly say it was quite possible,” Martyn laughed.

“Well, you see as long as it is only a clip from a cutlass or a flesh wound through the arm, I fancy we might patch it up between us with a bit of plaster and a bandage; but if it comes to an amputation or getting a bullet out of the body, or anything of that sort, who is going to do it?”

“By Jove! you are right, Miller. I had not thought of that. I am afraid we shall have to take a surgeon with us. It would never do to go into action in the Levant, where there is no chance of finding an English doctor, without having at least a surgeon’s-mate on board.”

“Of course not,” Horace agreed; “that is an absolute necessity. Will you see about it at once, please.”

“There is no difficulty in getting surgeons,” Martyn said. “Of course young fellows who have just done walking hospitals are as plentiful as peas; but we had better get hold of a man who has been knocking about for a few years in the navy, and who has had some experience in gunshot wounds. There must be plenty of good men about, for they have suffered just as we have by the reduction. I will speak to Dacent about it this evening, and get him to ask one of the naval surgeons here if he knows a man. One or other of them is almost sure to do so. Well, the spare cabin will be for him. So now we are fixed completely.”

“We shall have to take off a little bit from the main deck, because my father’s two Greeks will certainly come with us. Only one can sleep in the steward’s cabin, so we shall want a small cabin for the other and a place for cooking. They are first-rate cooks, both of them; and I expect they will undertake the cooking altogether for us.”

“That can very easily be managed,” Martyn said. “We can knock a door through this bulkhead, and run another bulkhead up across the deck, seven or eight feet farther forward. I have not forgotten that Greek’s cooking; and if we live on board this craft as you did on the Surf, I can tell you, Miller, we needn’t envy an admiral.”

“Well, I like a good dinner, I must own, Martyn, though I can do with salt-horse if necessary.”

“But are you sure, Horace,” Martyn said, “that your father wouldn’t prefer having the cabin astern all to yourselves? When we are about it we could put the bulkhead farther forward, and make a ward-room for us.”

“No, I am sure he would not wish that,” Horace said. “I will write to him when we get ashore and ask him; but I am sure he would find it more pleasant our being all together, and it would be much better for him than being by himself. My father is a great scholar,” he explained to Miller, “and is always poring over books. I am sure it will do him a lot of good getting away from them altogether and being with people. Besides, that private cabin of his is a good size, and there will be plenty of room for him to have a table and an easy-chair in it whenever he is disposed to shut himself up. However, I will hear what he says.”

After leaving the ship a visit was paid to one of the shipbuilding yards, and arrangements made for the Creole to be brought into dock at high-tide. On getting back to the inn Horace wrote to his father on the various questions that had arisen, and then to Marco, telling him to come over by coach, and to bring Tom Burdett with him. They then went to dine at the club with Dacent, who entered with great zest into their arrangements.

“I can’t tell you what is your best way of setting about getting the arms; but I should say go to Durncombe’s. They are by far the largest ship-chandlers here, and I should say that they could supply anything from an anchor to a tallow-dip. They must have fitted out innumerable privateers, and bought up the stores of as many prizes. They may not be able to supply you with as many small-arms as you want; but if you give them an order for a thousand cannon, I have not a doubt they could execute it in twenty-four hours, and that at the price of old iron. As to the muskets, they could no doubt collect a big lot here, and get more still from Portsmouth. Those of course would be principally ship’s muskets, no longer wanted or taken from prizes. I don’t suppose they would get enough, and of course you would want them in fair condition; but they would put advertisements for them in the Birmingham papers, or, likely enough, would know firms in Birmingham who had bought up muskets sold out of the army.”

“What do they buy them for?” Horace asked.

“Oh, they contract for the supply of those South American States, for trade in Africa and the East, or for the supply of the armies of native princes in India. I think, if I were you, I would not go to him direct, but would get the agent you got the Creole from to undertake it, and get the terms settled. He would get them a good bit cheaper than you could.”

“No doubt he would,” Martyn agreed, “especially if we agreed to pay him so much for getting it, instead of so much commission. When a man gets a commission he has no interest in keeping the price down; just the contrary. I will ask him casually, to begin with, what is the cost of muskets in fair condition, and at what price we could pick up guns—say six, eight, and twelve pounders—complete, with carriages.”

“I don’t know about the carriages, Martyn; but I know the guns fetch less by a good bit than their weight of old iron. They cost more to break up, in fact, than they are worth; and they are using them for posts, and things of that sort, for the sake of getting rid of them. I should say that you could get a couple of hundred guns of those sizes to-morrow for a pound apiece, and I believe that you might almost get them for the trouble of carting away, for they are simply so much lumber. Powder is a glut in the market too. I should say hundreds of tons have been emptied into the sea in this port alone, for when the merchant skippers found they no longer required to carry it, it was cheaper for them to throw it overboard than to get rid of it in any other way.”

When they returned to the Falcon that evening they found Miller had shifted his quarters there from the little inn in which he had been staying, and two days later Jack Tarleton also arrived there. He was a good-looking young fellow, nearly six feet in height, slight at present, but likely to fill out, with a somewhat quiet manner, but, as Horace soon found, a quick appreciation of the humorous side of things and a good deal of quiet fun. On the same day Marco arrived with Tom Burdett, who was delighted when Horace disclosed the project to him.

“I should think I would like to go, Mr. Horace. Why, bless you, I have been feeling almost as if I was rusting out at Seaport, except when you were at home. Why, it will be like giving one a fresh lease of life to get at one’s own work again.”

He was at once installed on board the Creole, which on that day had been let out of the dock again with her copper scrubbed until it shone like gold. Miller had as yet had no time to see about the men, and Tom at once undertook this part of the business.

“I know every tavern down by the waterside and the places where men are likely to be found. I will soon pick you up some prime hands. If I can’t get enough of them here, I will take a run to Bristol. There is a big trade there, and there will be plenty of men-of-war’s-men to be had for the asking for such a job as this.”

“How about Seaport, Tom?” Horace asked.

“Well, we will take Dick; but there are not many I would care about having from there. They are good enough in their fishing-boats, but I would rather have men who are accustomed to bigger craft. Besides, though fishermen are good sailors in some ways, they are not accustomed to discipline, and are always slovenly in their way of doing things. Besides, if I persuaded young fellows to come from there, and any of them got killed, their fathers and mothers would look black at me when I got back. No, I don’t think I will have anyone but Dick.”

By this time a letter had come from Mr. Beveridge in answer to Horace’s letter.

“I quite agree with you,” he said, “that the officers should be paid fairly. I see that, as you say, it is not a thing that you could very well arrange with them. Will you tell Mr. Martyn, from me, that the terms I propose are twenty guineas a month for him, eighteen for the second officer, and fifteen for the third; and that, in case of any of them losing a limb or being disabled, I shall settle upon them a pension the same as that to which they would have been entitled at their rank in the navy in the same case. The ship appears to me to be wonderfully cheap. I knew nothing about it, but quite expected that it would cost three times as much. Certainly I should not wish for them to have a separate cabin. It will be much more pleasant for me, if not disagreeable to them, for us to live together. As for what you say about prize-money, tell Mr. Martyn to arrange as he proposes, according to the ordinary usage in privateers. It is a matter to which I have given no thought, but he shall give me the particulars when we meet. As you know, I have no intention of making profit out of the enterprise.”

Two days later Martyn told Horace that Dacent had introduced him to one of the surgeons, who knew a young doctor who would, he thought, suit. “His name is Macfarlane; he is, of course, a Scotchman—most of the naval doctors are either Irish or Scotch. He sailed with him as surgeon’s-mate in a large frigate, where they had a good deal of experience in wounds, and he has a high idea of his skill. He is a very quiet sort of fellow, but a pleasant messmate. He has been full surgeon for some time now. His ship was paid off a fortnight ago, and the man who told me of him had a letter from him a few days since, saying that, as he had no interest he thought that he had but little chance of getting afloat again, and asking him to let him know if he heard of any opening, either ashore or in an Indiaman. He thought he would suit us very well, so I said that I would speak to you about it.”

“I should think that will be just the thing, Martyn.”

“Very well, then, I will see the surgeon to-morrow, and get him to write and offer him the berth at the regular naval rate of pay. Of course we sha’n’t want him to join till we are ready to sail.”

Some days later a reply was received, accepting the berth.

For the next fortnight work proceeded rapidly. Stores of all kinds for the voyage were brought on board and stowed away. Sixty cannon were stowed down in the hold, with thirty carriages for them, the latter taking up too much room to be carried for the whole of the guns. Eight twelve-pounders, in place of the eight-pounders before carried by her, and a long eighteen-pounder were placed in the hold in readiness to mount on deck when they reached the Levant. The riggers and painters had finished their work, the decks had been planed and holy-stoned until they were spotlessly white, and the tall spars and gear were all in their place. The guns had cost only about as much as Miller had said, and they could have obtained any number at the same price. The agent had made a contract with the ship’s chandlers for five thousand muskets complete with bayonets, in good order, and delivered on board, at ten shillings each. Some five hundred of these had been collected, and—after passing muster, by an armourer sergeant Martyn engaged for the purpose—put on board. The rest were to be sent by canal from Birmingham to Liverpool, and thence shipped round to Plymouth. Five tons of gunpowder in barrels, twenty tons of shot for the cannon, and two hundred thousand rounds of ammunition for the muskets were also arranged for. These were to be shipped at the last moment from magazines at the mouth of the Sound.

Below, everything had been done to make the cabins as comfortable as possible, and Dacent declared that she was altogether too neat and comfortable for anything but an admiral’s yacht. Tom Burdett had picked up at Plymouth twenty-five smart sailors, all of whom had served in king’s ships; and then, going to Bristol, had brought as many more from there. Uniforms, closely resembling those of men-of-war sailors, had been served out to them, but instead of the straw hat they wore red woollen caps. The officers had only to exchange their navy buttons for others with an anchor to be complete; Horace had donned similar attire.

It was just three weeks after Horace left home that he wrote to his father saying that all was now in readiness, and that they could sail within an hour of his arrival. They were at once going out to take their powder on board, and would remain at anchor off the magazines, and that he himself should be at the Falcon when it was time for the first coach to arrive after the receipt of his letter, and should remain there until his father came. Mr. Macfarlane, the surgeon, arrived by the coach that evening, and was put down at the Falcon. Martyn and Horace went out when they heard the coach stop.

“That is the doctor, for a guinea,” Martyn said, as a tall bony man climbed down from the roof, and began very carefully to look after his luggage.

“I think you must be Doctor Macfarlane?” he said, going up to him. “My name is Martyn.”

“I am very glad to see you, Captain Martyn,” the doctor said; “I take it as a sign that I shall have a pleasant time that my commander should meet me as I get off the coach.”

“I am captain only by courtesy, and shall hardly consider that I have got my brevet rank till we hoist the flag to-morrow. This is Mr. Beveridge, the owner’s son, he will sail with us as third officer. I have ordered a room for you, doctor. Boots will carry your things up.”

“Thank you; I will see to them myself, and join you in the coffee-room. I am not fond of trusting to other folk;” and he followed the servant upstairs with his baggage.

Martyn laughed as he went into the coffee-room with Horace. “Cautious you see, Horace, and right enough to be so; I think we shall like him. There is a pleasant tone in his voice, and I have no doubt he will turn out a good fellow, though, perhaps, rather a character.”

The doctor soon came down.

“Eh, man,” he said, “but it is weary work sitting with your legs doubled up all those hours on a coach. Four-and-twenty hours it is since I got up at Salisbury. And so, Mr. Beveridge, we are going out to fight for the Greeks. I misdoubt, sir, if they will do much fighting for themselves. I was three years east of Malta. There is good in them, we may take it that there is good in them, but it is very difficult to get at; at least that was my experience.”

“They have not had much chance, I think, doctor, so far.”

“And how large is your ship, Captain Martyn?” the doctor said, changing the subject suddenly.

“They call her a hundred and fifty, but she has a light draft of water and would not carry that, yet she has excellent accommodation below, as you will say when you see her to-morrow.”

The conversation then turned on naval matters, and the stations and ships that both Martyn and the doctor knew; and when they separated for the evening Martyn and Horace agreed that the doctor was likely to be a pleasant acquisition to their party.

Marco had been intrusted with the entire charge of laying in stores for the cabin, and these had arrived in such profusion that Will Martyn had demanded whether he was victualling the ship with cabin stores for a voyage round the world.

It had been given out that the ship was bound for Lisbon, but the news of her destination had gradually leaked out, although pains had been taken to get the military stores on board as quietly as possible. Sympathy with Greece was general, however, and although the young officers were quietly joked by their naval acquaintances as to their cargo for Portugal, no official inquiries were made on the subject.

“I sha’n’t be sorry, Horace,” Will Martyn said, as they were rowed off in the gig for the last time before getting up anchor, “when we get some of our heavy stuff out of her. One way or another she will have a hundred and twenty tons of stuff on board when we have taken in our powder, and though I don’t at all say that she will be overladen she will be a foot too low in the water to please me, and she wouldn’t be able to do her best if she were chased in her present trim.”

“The little difference in speed won’t matter much on our way out,” Horace said.

“No, not as to time, of course, a day more or less is no matter; still, one always likes to get all one can out of one’s ship, Horace, and it is a triumph to slip past other craft. If you have a slow craft you don’t mind whether other things leave you behind in an hour or two hours; you jog along and you don’t worry about it; you are like a man driving a heavy cart. But when you are in a crack schooner you are like a man on the road with a fast horse and a light gig, you expect to go past other things, and you like to do it in good style.”

“Well, nothing will beat her in looks, I think, Will.”

“No, that is quite certain. She is a picture.”

Everything was done on board the Creole in man-of-war fashion. Tarleton stood at the top of the ladder to receive the captain as he came on board. He touched his cap to Martyn, who touched his in return.

“Everything ready for getting under weigh, Mr. Tarleton?”

“Everything quite ready, sir.”

“Then shorten the chain a bit; man the capstan.”

Jack Tarleton gave the order. Tom Burdett’s boatswain’s whistle rang out loudly; the capstan-bars were already fixed, and a dozen men ran merrily round with it till the whistle sounded again.

“The anchor is short, sir,” Tarleton sang out to Martyn.

“Very well, leave her so, Mr. Tarleton. Will you make sail, Mr. Miller?”

The orders were given, the mainsail, foresail, and fore-staysail hoisted, and the jibs run out on the bowsprit. As soon as the halliards were belayed and coiled down, the capstan-bars were manned again, and the anchor weighed. The tide had just turned to run out, there was a gentle breeze blowing, and as the two jibs were run up the Creole began to steal through the water.

“Port your helm!” Martyn said to the man at the wheel; “let her come round easy. Slack off the main-sheet; that will do now. Get her topsails on her, Mr. Miller.”

Horace looked up with a feeling of pride and delight at the cloud of white sail and at the smart active crew, all in duck trousers, blue shirts, and red caps. Once out of the river the sheets were hauled in, the yards of the fore-topsail were braced as much fore and aft as they would stand, and the Creole turned her head seaward, looking, as Martyn said, almost into the wind’s eye. The red ensign was flying from the peak of the mainsail, and from the mast-head a long pennant bearing her name.

“She is slipping through the water rarely, Miller,” Will Martyn said, as he looked over the side.

“Yes, she is going six knots through it, and that, considering how close-hauled she is and that the wind is light, is wonderful.”

“She would go a good knot faster,” Martyn said, “if she had fifty tons of that stuff out of her. Those slavers know how to build, and no mistake, and I don’t think they ever turned out a better craft than this.”

It was not until late in the afternoon that the Creole dropped anchor off the magazine, where she was to take in her powder, as Martyn ran her out twenty miles to sea and back again to stretch her ropes and, as he said, let things shape down a bit. When the trip was over there was not a man on board but was in the state of the highest satisfaction with the craft. Both close-hauled on the way out and free on her return they had passed several vessels almost as if these had been standing still, going three feet to their two; and although there was but little sea on, there was enough to satisfy them that she had no lack of buoyancy, even in her present trim.

As soon as the anchor was down and the sails stowed Marco announced that dinner was ready, for all had been too much interested in the behaviour of the schooner to think of going down for lunch. It was the first meal that they had taken on board beyond a crust of bread and cheese in the middle of the day, and as they sat down, Will Martyn taking the head of the table, Horace, as his father’s representative, facing him, and the others at the sides, Miller said with a laugh, as he looked at the appointments, all of which had been sent over from the house two days before by Zaimes: “This is rather a contrast, Martyn, to the cockpit of a man-of-war.”

“Rather. I never did dine with an admiral, but this is the sort of thing that I have always fancied it would be if it had entered into the head of one to invite me. What do you think, Tarleton?”

“I feel shy at present, sir, and as if I oughtn’t to speak till spoken to.”

“You will be spoken to pretty sharply if you say ‘sir’ down below. On deck, as we agreed, we would have things in man-of-war fashion; but we are not going to have anything of that sort when we are below together.”

The dinner was an excellent one, and though the expectations of Miller and Tarleton had been raised by Martyn’s encomiums of the Greek’s cooking they were far surpassed by the reality. “It is a dinner fit for a king,” Martyn said when the cloth was cleared away and a decanter of port placed on the table.

“There is one misfortune in it. If this sort of thing is going to last we shall never be fit for service in an ordinary craft again, we shall become Sybarites. Is this the sort of dinner you always have at home, Horace?”

“About the same, I think,” Horace laughed. “My father takes no exercise and has not much appetite, and I think he likes nice things; and it is one of the Greek’s great aims in life to tempt him to eat. We always have a very good cook, but Zaimes insists on having a few little things of his own cooking on the table, and as he is generally at war with the cook, and they leave in consequence about every three or four months, he often has the dinner altogether in his hands till a fresh one arrives, and I am amused sometimes to see how Zaimes fidgets when my father, which is often the case, is so occupied with his own thoughts that he eats mechanically and does not notice what is before him. Zaimes stands it for a minute or two and then asks some question or makes some observation that calls my father’s attention back to what he is doing. They have both been with him for two-and-twenty years and are devoted to him. They are hardly like English servants, and talk to him in a way English servants would not think of doing. They are always perfectly respectful, you know, but they regard themselves, as he regards them, as friends as well as servants.”

“Well, gentlemen, we will drink the usual toast, ‘The King, God bless him;’ that is duty. Now fill up again, here is ‘Success to the Creole.’” When the toast was drank Martyn went on:

“How did your father pick them up, Horace?”

“It was just after he went out to Greece, which was directly after he left college. He was at Samos, and got leave from the Turkish governor to visit the prison. In one of the cells were Zaimes and Marco, who was then a boy about sixteen. They were condemned to death; they had been smuggling, and a Turkish boat had overhauled them. They had resisted. Four of the men with them had been killed in the fight, and several of the Turks. These two had been both severely wounded and made prisoners. My father was new to that sort of thing then. After he had been a year or two in Greece he knew that it would take a king’s fortune to buy out all the prisoners in the Turkish jails, but being only out there a month or two he was touched at the sight of the two prisoners. They were both very handsome, though, of course, pale and pulled down by their wounds and imprisonment, and Zaimes, who was the spokesman, had that courteous gentle manner that my father says all the Greeks have when they are not excited.”

“At any rate he was very much interested and went off to the governor again, and the Turk was glad enough for a bribe of a hundred pounds to give him an order for the release of the two prisoners, on condition that they were to be let out after dark and at once put on board a craft that was sailing at daybreak next morning. My father went with them, and after that they absolutely refused to leave him, and travelled with him in Greece for some time and fought very pluckily when some Klepts once tried to carry him away into the mountains. Then he bought a small craft and established his head-quarters at Mitylene, and for a year lived there and cruised about the islands. When he came home he offered the felucca to them, but they refused to take it, and begged so hard for him to take them home with him that he agreed to do so, and they have proved invaluable to him ever since.”

“Your father is lucky in having got hold of two such men,” Martyn said. “I believe the lower order of Greeks are fine fellows in their way. They are quarrelsome and passionate, no doubt, and apt to whip out their knives at the smallest provocation, and there is no trade they take so kindly to as that of a bandit; otherwise I believe they are honest hardworking fellows. But as for the upper class of Greeks, the less I have to do with them the better. When they get a chance they grind down their countrymen a deal worse than the Turks do. They are slippery customers and no mistake. I would rather take a Turk’s simple word than a solemn oath from a Greek.”

“No; veracity is hardly one of their conspicuous virtues,” the doctor put in quietly. “I take it that the ancients were so accustomed to swear by their gods, even after they had ceased to believe in them, that they came to consider that an oath by them was not binding, and so got into the way of lying generally, and their descendants have never amended their ways in that particular since. On more than one occasion, when there was trouble between our sailors and the Greeks, I attended their courts, and for good downright hard swearing I never heard them approached. I don’t wonder that the Turks refuse to allow Christians to give evidence in their courts. We shall see when we get out, but I have grave doubts whether there has been any revolution at all, and whether it is not a got-up thing altogether, just to see what the rest of the world says to it.”

The others laughed.

“There is one thing, doctor,” Miller said; “we have heard from Europeans who are out there of what has been done, it does not come from the Greeks only.”

“That is a confirmation, certainly, but it is well known that travellers’ tales must always be received with caution. It has been so since the days of Herodotus. When a man gets away from his own country he is apt to get a certain looseness of the tongue. We will wait until we get out there before we form any strong opinion about it.”

By this time they had finished their coffee, and Martyn, rising, said: “Mr. Tarleton, I shall be glad if you will go along the main-deck and see that the men are making themselves comfortable; to-morrow we will divide them into watches and tell them off to their stations and get things into working order.”

Accordingly, in the morning the crew were divided into two watches, and the boat’s crews told off, and then the work of getting the powder and small ammunition on board began; the latter did not take long, as it was already in a flat into which it had been discharged three days before from the coaster that had brought it from Liverpool. The flat had therefore only to be towed alongside and the cases swung on board and lowered into a portion of the hold that had been divided off from the rest by thick bulkheads to form a magazine. The ammunition and powder were all on board and stowed away, the ship was washed down, and the men piped to dinner by eight bells. The officers went down and divided the men into messes, examined the food, and saw that everything was comfortable.

“More room here than there was on board the Surf, Dick,” Horace said as he stopped a moment on his rounds to speak to the young sailor.

“Yes, sir, one can stand upright here. But the Surf was a good boat too.”

After dinner the men were told off to their various duties and divided into crews for the guns, when these should be in place. The first lieutenant (for it was agreed that they should be called lieutenants and not mates) and Horace took the starboard watch, Tarleton and the boatswain the port watch. The men were formed up, inspected, and put through cutlass drill for an hour, after which the watches by turns were exercised in setting sail, reefing, lowering, and furling, so that each man should know his place and duty. Then they were dismissed.

“They will be a first-rate crew when they have worked together for a few days,” Martyn said. “I could not wish for a smarter set of men. If we meet anything about our own size I shall have no fear of giving a good account of her. I have no opinion whatever of the Turks as sailors; they are good soldiers, and have always proved themselves so, but more lubberly sailors never went to sea.”

“Well, we are not likely to meet anything else,” Horace said.

“I don’t know, lad. The Greeks at the best of times are pirates at heart, and just at present they are not at all likely to be particular who they lay hands on. I saw in the paper only yesterday, they had attacked and plundered an Austrian craft, and it is probable that they may have done the same to a dozen others, only as a rule they scuttle any ship they may seize and nothing is ever known about her. Ships can’t be too careful when they are in Greek waters, and a vessel wrecked on any of the islands is looked upon as a lawful prize. There is no fear of our being taken by surprise by the Turks, but I shall take precious good care that we are never caught napping when we are anchored anywhere in the Greek Archipelago. After dinner, Horace, I will go ashore with you in the gig. I don’t think it likely your father will be down by the night coach, as he would only get your letter this morning, but he may come; at any rate you have got to wait now at the Falcon till he turns up.”

Chapter VI • Under Weigh • 7,700 Words

AFTER seeing to a few matters that had been left till the last moment, Will Martyn returned on board again. Horace dined at the club, of which he had been made an honorary member, and then went back to the Falcon. To his surprise Zaimes was standing at the door.

“Why, Zaimes, how on earth did you get here? Why, the coach does not get in till twelve o’clock.”

“No, Mr. Horace, but we had everything ready to start this morning. Of course your letter did not come in time for us to get over to the early coach, but we were expecting it after what you wrote yesterday, and your father had concluded that it would be much more comfortable to post. He does not like being crowded, and it was doubtful whether there would be room for the two of us; and there was the luggage, so we had arranged for a post-chaise to come for us anyhow, and we started half an hour after your letter came in, and have posted comfortably. Your father is in the coffee-room. He would not have a private room, as he did not know whether you would be taking him on board this evening.”

Mr. Beveridge was sitting at a table by himself, and had just finished his dinner when Horace came in. He looked up more briskly than usual.

“I am sorry I was not here to meet you, father,” Horace said; “but I did not think you could be here until the night coach.”

“No; I did not expect to find you here, Horace, so it was no disappointment. Well, you look bronzed and well, my boy, you and your friends seem to have done wonders in getting everything done so soon. I am quite anxious to see the ship. Are we to go on board this evening?”

“If you don’t mind, father, I would much rather you didn’t go off till morning. I said that if you came we would breakfast early and be ready for the gig at half-past eight. They won’t be expecting us to-night, and I am sure Martyn and the others will like to have everything in the best possible order when you go on board. We have been expecting those boxes of books you wrote about a week ago, but they haven’t turned up. It will be a horrible nuisance if, after the way we have been pushing everything forward, we should be kept waiting two or three days for them.”

“Well, Horace, the fact is I changed my mind. The four boxes were packed and in the hall. They really were very large boxes, and Zaimes said: ‘Well, master, what you are going to do with all those books I can’t imagine. Where are you going to put them? Why, they would fill your cabin up solid. If I were you, sir, I would not take one of them. Just give yourself a holiday. Don’t take a pen in your hand while you are away. You will have plenty to see about and to think about, and I am sure it would do you a deal of good to give it up altogether for a time, and you will take it up freshly afterwards. Besides, you will have people coming on board, and your advice will be asked, and you will have to decide all sorts of things, and you know you won’t be able to bring your mind out of your books if you have them on board.’ He said something like it when I first began to talk of packing, but it seemed to me impossible that I could give up work altogether; but the sight of those four great boxes staggered me. Then I said: ‘Zaimes, this is not like that little cabin on board the yacht. This is quite a large vessel in comparison.’ ‘Yes, sir,’ he replied, ‘but your cabin won’t be larger than the main cabin in the Surf, not so large I should fancy.’ This surprised me altogether, but he assured me it was so, and pressed me so much on the matter that I at last agreed to leave them all behind.”

“That is a capital thing, father. Zaimes was quite right. Your state-room is a very nice cabin, but except that it is a good deal more lofty, it is certainly not so large by a good deal as the main cabin in the Surf; besides, if you had your books you would be always shut up there, and what I thought of all along, from the time you first spoke about coming out, was what a good thing it would be for you to have a thorough holiday, and to put aside the old work altogether.”

“You don’t think it valuable, Horace?” Mr. Beveridge asked wistfully.

“I do, father. I think it most valuable, and no one can be prouder than I am of your reputation, and that all learned men should acknowledge the immense value of your works to Greek students. But, father, after all, the number of men who go into all that is very small, and I can’t see why your life should be entirely given up to them. I think that at any rate it will be a first-rate thing for you, and extremely pleasant for me, that you should be like the rest of us while we are out on this expedition. As Zaimes says, you will have a lot of things to decide upon, and we are going to lead an active, stirring life, and it is new Greece we shall have to think about, and not the Greece of two thousand years ago. It is your aim to raise, not the Greeks of the time of Miltiades, but a people who in these two thousand years have become a race, not only of slaves, but of ignorant savages, for these massacres of unarmed people show that they are nothing better; and not only to free them, but to make them worthy of being a nation again. I think, father, there will be ample scope for all your thoughts and attention in the present without giving a thought to the niceties of the language spoken by Demosthenes, so I am truly and heartily glad you decided to leave your books behind you.”

“I think you are right, Horace; I am sure you are right; but it is a wrench to me to cut myself loose altogether from the habits of a lifetime.”

“And now, father, what are you going to do about clothes?” Horace said, looking at him closely.

“About clothes!” his father repeated vaguely. “I have brought two large boxes full with me.”

“Yes, father, no doubt you have clothes, but I am sure that on board ship—and you will be always living there, you know—it will be much more comfortable for you to have clothes fit for the sea. Frilled shirts, and ruffles, and tight breeches, and high-heeled Hessian boots, and short-waisted tail-coats are all very well on shore, but the first time you are out in a good brisk gale, you would wish them anywhere. What you want is a couple of suits, at least, of blue cloth like mine, with brass buttons, and a low cloth cap like this that will keep on your head whilst it is blowing, in fact the sort of suit that the owner of a big yacht would naturally wear. Of course when you go ashore to see any of the Greek leaders, you might like to go in your ordinary dress; but really for sea you want comfortable clothes, and a good thick pea-jacket for rough weather.”

“Perhaps you are right, Horace, and I did remark that my heels left marks upon the deck of the Surf.”

“Certainly they did, father; and it would be agony to Will Martyn to have the beautiful white deck of the Creole spoiled.”

“But it is too late now, it is half-past eight o’clock.”

“Oh, I can take you to a shop where they keep this sort of thing. Besides, there are twelve hours before we start, and by paying for it one can get pretty nearly anything made in twelve hours.”

Mr. Beveridge suffered himself to be persuaded. Fortunately the outfitter had a couple of suits ordered by one of the officers of a ship of war in harbour nearly completed. These he agreed to alter to fit Mr. Beveridge by the morning, and to put on extra hands to turn out fresh suits for the person for whom they were intended. The gold lace, white facings, and other distinguishing marks would be removed, and plain brass buttons substituted for the royal buttons. Two or three pairs of shoes with low heels were also obtained. The clothes came home at seven in the morning, and Mr. Beveridge came down to breakfast looking like the smart captain of a merchantman.

“I feel as if I were dressed for a masquerade, Horace,” he said with a smile.

“You look first-rate, father, and a lot more comfortable than usual, I can tell you.”

It was at Martyn’s suggestion that Horace had urged his father to make a change in his attire.

“It would be a good thing if you could get him to put on sea-going togs,” the sailor had said. “He is the owner of as smart a craft as ever sailed out of British waters, and he will look a good deal more at home on the deck of his own ship in regular yachtsman’s dress than he would rigged up in his ruffles and boots.”

With this Horace had agreed heartily, for his father’s appearance on occasions when he had gone out with him in the Surf had struck him as being wholly incongruous with the surroundings.

At half-past eight they went down to the steps, two porters carrying the luggage under the watchful eye of Zaimes. As they were seen, the smart gig with its six rowers, which was lying a short distance off, rowed in to the steps. Tarleton was steering. He stepped out to hand Mr. Beveridge into the boat.

“This is Mr. Tarleton, father, our second lieutenant.”

“I am glad to meet you, sir,” Mr. Beveridge said, shaking hands with the young officer. “I hope that we shall have a pleasant cruise together.”

“I feel sure we shall, sir. If one couldn’t be comfortable on board the Creole, one couldn’t be comfortable anywhere.”

Tarleton took his seat in the centre to steer, with Mr. Beveridge and Horace on either side of him, Zaimes and the luggage were placed in the bow. The bowman pushed the boat off with the boat-hook. The oars, which had been tossed in man-of-war fashion, fell with a splash into the water, and then with a long steady stroke the gig darted away from the steps.

“This is certainly very pleasant,” Mr. Beveridge said as they threaded through the anchored craft and made their way seaward. “I begin to wish I had taken up yachting twenty years back.”

“Well, it is not too late, father. When we have done with Greece, you can go in for amusement if you like.”

“I should never find time, Horace.”

“Oh, you could make time, father. You could spare three months in the year and be all the better for it. When you have once had a break, you will find how pleasant it is.”

Half an hour’s row and Horace said: “That is the Creole, father, lying in there near the farther point.”

“She doesn’t look as large as I expected, Horace, though her masts seem a great height.”

“She is heavily sparred for her length,” Tarleton said, “but she has great beam; besides she is rather low in the water now, and of course that makes the spars look big in proportion. She will be a bit higher by the time we get out. Fifty men consume a considerable weight of stores and water every week. You will be pleased with her, sir, when we get alongside. We all think she is as handsome a craft as we ever set eyes on. She will astonish the Turks, I warrant, when it comes to sailing.”

Another twenty minutes they were alongside. According to naval etiquette Horace mounted the ladder first, then Tarleton, and Mr. Beveridge followed. Martyn and Miller received him at the gangway, the former introducing the first officer and the surgeon to him.

“She is a fine-looking vessel,” Mr. Beveridge said, “and you have certainly done marvels with her, Captain Martyn, for my son wrote me that she had nothing but her lower masts in her when you took possession, and now she is wonderfully bright and clean, and these decks look almost too white to walk on.”

“I hope that we shall always keep her in equal order, sir. We have a capital crew, and no one could wish for a better craft under his feet.”

Mr. Beveridge was now conducted round the ship, and expressed himself highly gratified with everything.

“Is it your wish that we should make sail at once, sir?” Martyn asked. “We have been expecting some heavy luggage on board, but it has not arrived.”

“I changed my mind about it, and there is nothing coming, Captain Martyn. I am perfectly ready to start if you have everything on board.”

“There is nothing to wait for, sir; we are perfectly ready.”

They returned to the quarter-deck, and as Martyn gave the orders there was a general movement on the part of the crew. Some of the men clustered round the capstan, while others prepared to make sail, and Mr. Beveridge felt a keen sense of pleasure as he watched the active fellows at their work. In five minutes the sails were set, the anchor at the cat-head, and the Creole moving through the water under the light breeze off shore.

They had favourable winds across the Bay and down the coast of Portugal. Everything from the start had gone as smoothly as if the Creole had been six months in commission—officers and men were alike pleased with the ship; the provisions for the sailors were of the best quality; the duties were very light, for the sails had not required altering from the time they had been set, although each day the men practised for an hour at lowering and setting them, in order to accustom them to work smartly together.

There was half an hour’s cutlass drill, and for the rest of the day, beyond cleaning and polishing, there was nothing to be done. Mr. Beveridge spent the greater part of his time in a comfortable deck-chair on the quarter-deck, for there was no poop, the deck being flush from end to end. Horace attended to his duties as third officer regularly, and the nights were so warm and pleasant that the watches did not appear long to him. There was no stiffness in the cabin when they gathered to their meals, or in the evening, and Mr. Beveridge proved in no way a wet blanket on their fun, as the three officers had rather anticipated he would be. He talked but little, but was thoroughly amused at their yarns and jests, all of which were as strange to him as if he had lived in another world.

“You will certainly have to cut off our rations a bit, Mr. Beveridge,” Will Martyn said one day as they finished dinner. “We shall be getting as fat as porpoises if we go on like this. I can feel my togs filling out daily; and as for Tarleton, he will have to have all his things let out by the time we arrive in the Levant. For the credit of the ship I shall have to give orders for us to be supplied with the same rations as the men, and go in for luxuries only on Sundays. We are not accustomed to be tempted in this way at every meal. It is all very well for you who do not eat much more than a sparrow to have such nice things always put before you; but to us who have been accustomed to a steady diet of salt junk, except when we put into port and are able to get fresh meat for a change, these things are beyond our power of resistance.”

“I eat a great deal more than I did on shore,” Mr. Beveridge said. “I find, indeed, a wonderful improvement in my appetite. It was quite an infliction to Zaimes that I cared so little for the good things he provided me with. I can assure you I really begin to look for my meals now, and it is a pleasure for me to see you all eat with good healthy appetites, and I am sure that it must be a great gratification to the Greeks to see their efforts appreciated at last.”

“It is Tarleton I am thinking of principally, sir; as for Miller, nature made him square, and it would be no disadvantage if he became round; while as to the doctor, food is simply wasted on him, he will never do credit to your cooks. But Tarleton, with those dark eyes of his and his gentle sort of way, was what the ladies would consider an interesting youth, and he would, I am sure, forfeit the good opinion of the ladies altogether if he were to return looking like a mildly animated sausage.”

Tarleton joined in the laugh. “I do think I have gained a lot in weight the last week,” he said; “but we won’t always go on in this quiet sort of way. As for what Martyn says, I believe it is only jealousy on his part at seeing that my angles are filling out.”

On arriving at the Straits they put in at Ceuta and obtained a supply of fresh meat and vegetables. In the Mediterranean they fell in with dead calms and were a fortnight in getting to Gozo, where they again replenished their stock. They abstained from putting in either at Gibraltar or Malta in order to avoid being questioned as to the cargo and destination of the Creole.

“Now, sir,” Will Martyn said when they were within two days’ sail of Greece, “it is quite time to decide what port we shall make for, but we can’t decide that until we know how matters are going on. When we left England there were very conflicting accounts of the progress of the revolution, and whether Corinth, Patras, Nauplia, or Athens are in the hands of the Greeks or Turks. Well, I should say, sir, that our best plan would be to put in at Zante, where, as it is English, and therefore neutral ground, we shall learn all about the state of affairs, and may meet some of our own people or foreigners who have been fighting by the side of the Greeks. Half an hour’s talk with one of them would give us a better idea how everything stands than a week’s talk with Greeks.”

“I think that will be a very good plan,” Mr. Beveridge agreed. “Flying the English flag we might go in or out of any of the harbours as neutrals; but if by any chance it leaked out what our cargo is the Turks would probably consider themselves justified in laying hands on us.”

“At any rate it is well not to run the risk, Mr. Beveridge, as there is no object to be served by it. I will take the bearings of Zante and lay our course for it.”

There was, indeed, no spot where they were more likely to obtain accurate news of what was going on than Zante, lying as the island does at a short distance from the mouth of the Gulf of Corinth, upon which were three of the most important towns in Greece—Patras, Corinth, and Missolonghi. Here, too, the fugitives from the Morea, of either party, would naturally make their way.

It was the 8th of October when the Creole, flying the English flag at her peak, dropped anchor in the port. As soon as she did so a custom-house officer came on board.

“What ship is this?” he asked the first officer, who was on deck.

“This is the Creole, a private yacht belonging to Mr. Beveridge. The owner is below if you wish to see him.”

“You have no merchandise on board?”

“I tell you that it is a yacht,” Miller said. “An English gentleman doesn’t bring out merchandise for sale in his yacht. The captain will show you her papers.”

Will Martyn came on deck.

“This is the captain,” Miller said. “You had better address him.”

On hearing what was required Martyn took the officer below and showed him the ship’s papers.

“I see it is mentioned here that you were bound from England to Lisbon,” the officer observed.

“Yes. We did not put in there, as Mr. Beveridge was anxious to get into a warmer climate.”

“I see you are strongly armed,” the officer said when he came on to deck again, for after leaving Malta the eight twelve-pounders and the pivot-gun had been got up from the hold and mounted.

“Yes, we are armed, as you see. I imagine you would hardly recommend anyone to be cruising about in these waters without means of defence.”

“No, indeed,” the officer laughed. “The Greeks are pirates to the core. You would be all right with the Turks, although from your appearance I should not think they would ever get near enough to trouble you.”

Half an hour later Mr. Beveridge and Horace were rowed ashore. As, except at Ceuta, Horace had never set foot ashore out of England, he was much amused and interested by the varied population. Mingled with the native population of the island were Greeks from the mainland; Albanians in their white pleated petticoats, bristling with arms mounted in gold and silver; a few English soldiers walking about as unconcernedly as if in a garrison town at home; and sailors of several nationalities from ships in harbour.

“I should think, father, the proper thing would be to call upon the English officer in command here and invite him to dinner. We shall get a general idea of the state of things from him.”

Asking a soldier, they found that the small detachment there was under the command of Captain O’Grady, whose house, at the entrance to the barrack, was pointed out to them. The officer was in, and on Mr. Beveridge sending in his card they were at once shown in.

“I am the owner of a schooner-yacht, the Creole, that dropped anchor an hour ago,” Mr. Beveridge said. “I know very little about the etiquette of these things, but it seemed to me the proper thing was to call at once upon His Majesty’s representative here.”

“A very right and proper thing to do, Mr. Beveridge. I have been wondering what that craft could be, and where she had come from. If it hadn’t been for the flag and the tidiness of her I should have put her down as a Greek pirate, though they don’t often rig up their crafts as schooners.”

“She has been something like a pirate in her time,” Mr. Beveridge said, “for she was a slaver, captured and sent home as a prize. I bought her at Plymouth and fitted her out.”

“And a mighty nice way of spending money too, Mr. Beveridge. She is the biggest thing in the way of yachts I ever saw. I don’t at all see why a gentleman shouldn’t buy a big ship and cruise about the world in her if he can afford it.”

“Well, Captain O’Grady, I won’t occupy your time now, but shall be glad if you will come off and dine with me at six o’clock to-day. I have come straight from England, and have heard nothing as to how matters stand out here. If you will bring any of your officers off with you I shall be very glad to see them.”

“I have only two here. Mr. Lester, my lieutenant, will be on duty, and I have no doubt that Plunket will be very glad to come off with me if he has no special engagement, which is not likely, for it is a mighty dull life here, I can tell you, and it is glad I shall be when the order comes to rejoin the regiment at Corfu.”

Mr. Beveridge and Horace walked about for some time, and then returned on board. They met their two Greeks in the town shopping, and told them that there would be guests at dinner. They met also Will Martyn and Tarleton, who had come ashore a short time after them, Miller remaining on board in charge; a good many of the men were also ashore.

“I have warned them solemnly,” Martyn said, “against drink and quarrels, but I am afraid that to-night and to-morrow night we shall have a good many of them coming off noisy. Wine is cheap, and as they haven’t set foot ashore for five weeks it is not in the nature of an English sailor to resist temptation. I don’t care much as long as they don’t get into rows with the Greeks. I have told them the boats will be ashore at nine o’clock to fetch them, and that any who are not down there by that hour will have their allowance of grog stopped for a fortnight.”

It had been arranged with Captain O’Grady that the boat should be at the steps for him at a quarter to six. Horace went in charge of it, and brought off the two officers.

“You have comfortable quarters here, indeed,” Captain O’Grady said when Mr. Beveridge had introduced his officers to him and his companion. “Sure I would like nothing better than to travel about in a craft like this. It is like taking a floating palace about with you.” But if the officers were surprised at the fittings of the cabin they were still more so at the excellence of the dinner. Up to the time the dessert was placed on the table they chatted as to the incidents of the voyage; but when the wine had gone round Mr. Beveridge began questioning them.

“Of course you hear everything that goes on on the mainland, Captain O’Grady.”

“Everything, do you say? It is well content I would be if that was all I heard; but the thundering lies that are told by those Greek rapscallions are enough to take one’s breath away. To hear them talk you would not think that such valiant men had ever lived since the days of Noah; and yet, with the exception of a little skirmish, all that they have done is to starve out those unfortunate heathens the Turks, and then after they have surrendered on promise of good treatment, to murder them in cold blood with their women and children.”

“I hope that there has not been much of that,” Mr. Beveridge said gravely.

“It depends upon what you call much of it. At the very lowest estimate there have been thirty thousand murdered in cold blood since the troubles began; and some accounts put it much higher. There has not been a single exception; nowhere have they spared a Mussulman. The poor beggars of farmers and villagers were killed; man, woman, and child, in hundreds of villages the whole of them were destroyed without resistance; and it has been the same in all the large towns. The Greeks began the work at Kalamata, which surrendered under a solemn promise of their lives to the Turks; but every soul was slain. And so it has been all along. In the district of Laconia there were fifteen thousand Mussulmans, and of these two-thirds at least were slain. At Missolonghi there are not twenty Turks alive.

“At Navarino every soul was murdered. Tripolitza surrendered only a week ago, and I saw by a letter from Colonel Raybonde, a French officer, who commanded the Greek artillery during the siege, that forty-eight hours after they entered the city they collected about two thousand persons, principally women and children, and drove them up a ravine and murdered them there; and altogether eight thousand Mussulmans were killed during the sack. I have heard of massacres till I am sick of listening to the stories; and though at the beginning I hoped that the Greeks would drive the old Turks out, faith I have come to think that if I were to hear that the whole race were utterly exterminated I should feel more comfortable in my mind than I have been for some time. Not content with murdering the poor creatures, in many cases the villains tortured them first. I have heard fellows who came over here boast of it. One Albanian ruffian who told me that he had done this, told me, sir, as if it were a thing to be proud of. I had the satisfaction of taking him by the scruff of his neck and the tail of his white petticoat and chucking him off the pier into the sea. When he scrambled out I offered him the satisfaction of a gentleman, seeing that he was a chief who thought no small beer of himself. There was a deal of difficulty in explaining to him how the thing was managed in a civilized country, and I never felt more satisfaction in my life than I did next morning when I put a bullet into the scoundrel’s body.”

A wet blanket seemed suddenly to fall over the party in the cabin as Captain O’Grady was speaking. Horace saw that Miller, who was sitting opposite to him, was undergoing an internal convulsion in restraining himself from bursting into a laugh; and Will Martyn, who was facing Mr. Beveridge at the bottom of the table, looked so preternaturally grave that Horace felt that he too was struggling to repress a smile. The doctor nodded, as if to signify that it was exactly what he had expected. Mr. Beveridge looked deeply concerned.

“I have heard something of this in England, Captain O’Grady, though of course the Greek agents there suppress all news that would tell against their countrymen, but I did not think it was as bad as this. Yet although I do not for a moment attempt to defend such atrocities, you must remember how long the Greeks have been oppressed by the Turks. A people who have been in slavery for hundreds of years to strangers, aliens in blood and in religion, and themselves in a very primitive state of civilization, except in the cities, would be almost certain in the first rising against their oppressors to commit horrible excesses. The same thing happened, although, happily, on a much smaller scale, in your own country, Captain O’Grady, in ’98, and that without a hundredth part of the excuse that the Greeks had.”

“True for you, Mr. Beveridge,” Captain O’Grady admitted. “There’s no denying that you have turned the tables on me there. It is mighty difficult, as you say, to hold a savage peasantry in hand.”

“It was the same thing in the French Revolution. That again was practically a revolt of slaves, and they behaved like fiends; and the number of persons murdered—men of their own race and religion, remember—was at least as great as that of those who have been massacred here. The revolt called the Jacquerie, in the middle ages, was equally ferocious, and the number of victims would probably have been as great had not the revolt been nipped in the bud. I regret deeply the conduct of the Greeks; but I think it was only what was to be expected from a people naturally fierce and revengeful under the circumstances.”

“Maybe you are right, Mr. Beveridge, though I did not look at it in that light before.”

“And who are their leaders now?”

“Faith they are all leaders. One day one hears one man’s name mentioned, that is hard enough to crack one’s jaw; the next day he is upset and another has taken his place. Every dirty little chief of brigands sets himself up as a leader, and as they are about the only chaps who understand anything about fighting they come to the front. If they only spent a twentieth part of the time in preparing for war which they do in quarrelling among themselves as to their share of the spoil, it seems to me they would make a much better fight than they are likely to do. There is a fellow called Odysseus, which is their way of pronouncing Ulysses; he used to command the Mohammedan Albanians under Ali Pasha. Now he has turned round, and fights against his old master. He is one of the chief of them. Then there are Kolokotronis and Mavrocordatos. I should say they are the two principal men just at present. Then there is a chap called Prince Demetrius Hypsilantes. He is the brother of a fellow who got up the rising up in the north of the Danube, and pretends to be the head of all the Greeks. Demetrius says he is invested by his brother with a sort of viceroyalty over Greece, and wants to have it all his own way. Then there are the Greek bishops and priests. They are pretty well against all the rest, and want to keep the peasantry under their thumb. Then there are the primates; they have got a big lot of power.”

“Do you mean archbishops?” Captain Martyn asked.

“Not a bit of it. The primates are a sort of half-and-half officers. They are supposed to be chosen by the people of their own district, and of course they are always the big-wigs; the chaps with most power and influence. Once chosen they became Turkish officers, collected the taxes, and were each accountable for the money and for the doings of their district. Nicely they ground the people down and feathered their own nests. Naturally, when the Turks went they became the local leaders. The people had no one else to look to but them and the priests. In the Morea these two classes have all the power in their hands. North of that we don’t hear much of the primates. I don’t think they had any of them there. It’s the Albanians, and the Klephts, that is the brigands, and some of the fighting clans, such as the Suliots and the bands of armatoli, which are a sort of village militia, who are the backbone of the rising.

“All the chiefs are jealous of each other, and if one fellow proposes a plan all the others differ from him; or if there is one of the big leaders there, and his plan is adopted, the others either march away to their homes or do what they can to prevent it from succeeding. The great thing with all the chiefs is to get spoil. The people are different; they really want to fight the Turks and to win their freedom; and it is because they see that not one of their leaders is honest, that their jealousies keep them from any common actions, and that they will not unite to form any central government, that the people have no confidence in them, but just follow one man until they get disgusted with him, and then go off to join another.

“Everything is wasted. The spoil they have taken has been enormous; but the people are little the better for it; it is all divided among the chiefs, and not a penny of it has gone to form a fund for defence. They have captured enormous quantities of ammunition, but they have fired it away like children, just to please themselves with the noise. At one place I was told by an Englishman who was there that the two million cartridges they captured were all wasted in what they called rejoicings in the course of three days. What they want is a big man—a fellow who will begin by hanging a hundred politicians, as many chiefs, bishops, and primates; who would organize first a government and then an army; and would insist that every halfpenny taken as spoil from the Turks should be paid into the public treasury. Then, sir, I believe that the Greeks would polish off these sleepy Turks in no time, with the advantage they have in knowing every foot of the mountains, in being as active as goats, and in possessing the idea that they are fighting for freedom. Mind I don’t say that the Turks will beat them even as they are. The Turkish pashas are as incapable as the Greek leaders. Their soldiers are good, but as the Greeks have no regular army, and no idea of standing up to fight fair, the Turks can’t get at them, and the Greeks can move about quickly and fall upon them at their own time; and besides they will bring them to a standstill by starvation. They don’t care about attacking the Turkish troops, but they are down like a pack of wolves on a baggage train, and if the Turks venture any distance from the sea-coast they will be harassed out of their lives.”

“Have the Turks still the command of the sea? There the Greeks ought to be their match anyhow.”

“Yes, the Turks still send their store-ships escorted by their men-of-war frigates and corvettes. The Greeks hover round them and among them, but they take care to keep pretty well out of range of the Turkish guns, and their only idea of fighting seems to be to launch fire-ships at them. A man-of-war was burnt while at anchor a short time back by Knaris, who is the best sailor the Greeks have got. Still, at present the Turks are so far masters of the sea that they take their convoys where they like and can revictual their fortresses whenever they have the energy to do so. On the other hand, the Greeks scour the seas in all directions, and not a single merchant ship flying the Turkish flag dare show her nose outside the Dardanelles.”

“Is the cruelty all on one side?” Horace asked.

“Not a bit of it. Of course the Turks have not had much chance yet, but when they have had they have naturally paid the Greeks in their own coin. In Thessaly they have put down the rising ruthlessly. But when the troops go into a place and find that the whole of their people have been murdered it is not to be wondered at that they set to to play the same game on those who began the work of massacre. The Greeks hate the Turks, and their object is to root them out altogether. The Turks despise the Greeks, but they don’t want to root them out by any means, because if they did there would be no longer any revenue to collect. The Turks seem to strike more at the leaders. They have strung up a lot of Greeks living in Constantinople, and as the whole affair was got up there, and the Greeks were, most of them, taking the Sultan’s pay while they were plotting against him, it is only just that if anyone was to suffer they should be the men. What I am afraid of is that when the news of this horrible massacre of eight thousand people at Tripolitza gets known, the Turks in Asia Minor will everywhere retaliate upon the Greeks settled among them.

“They can’t do much in Greece, for most of the people can take to the mountains; but there are almost as many of them settled in Asia Minor as there are here, for they are the traders and shopkeepers in every port, and I am afraid it will go mighty hard with them everywhere when the Turks come to know the atrocities that have been perpetrated over here. If the Greeks had thought for a moment when they began they would have seen that it was a game two could play at, and for every Turk they could murder the Turks had in their hands three Greeks at least that they could put an end to. To my mind it is a bad business altogether. Plunket will tell you that I have not put it a bit too strongly.”

“Not in the least,” the young officer said. “The tales these fellows tell are ghastly. We have them over here by dozens. A man is a leader one day and a fugitive the next; and they run over here till they see a chance of landing again and getting together a fresh band, and they actually make a boast of the horrible massacres they have taken a part in. If the islanders here saw their way to it they would rise against us, and as it is, it has been as much as we can do more than once to prevent their going on board neutral vessels that put into harbour with a few wretched Turkish fugitives, and murdering them. The fact is, the Greeks believe that they are Christians, but they are just as much pagans as they were two thousand years ago. My sympathies are altogether with them in their struggle for liberty, and I try to make every allowance for their actions; and I do believe that if what O’Grady says could be carried out and all their leaders, and politicians, and bishops, and primates hung, the people themselves would carry on the struggle with ten times the chances of success they have at present, for they would then be forced to form a strong central government and might find some honest man to put at its head. They regard it in the light of a religious war rather than one for national freedom, and I suppose that at least half the Mussulmans who have fallen are of Greek blood, for, especially in the north, nearly half the tribes have changed their religion and become Mohammedans since their conquest.”

“Are there many Europeans fighting with them? You mentioned a French colonel commanding the Greek artillery in the siege of Tripolitza.”

“A good many. There are some Austrians, Frenchmen, Italians, and a few of our own people. Among the last is a General Gordon and a naval lieutenant; but although the Greeks know nothing whatever of military matters, they are jealous in the extreme of any interference or even advice from foreigners. I believe there are altogether thirty or forty foreign officers who came over to fight for them, and only two or three of these have got employment of any sort. As to any attempt to introduce military discipline, or raise anything like a body of regular soldiers, it seems impossible. They believe entirely in fighting in their own way and dispersing when they choose, just as the Spanish guerilla bands did during the Peninsular War. In fact it seems to me that the Greek character resembles the Spanish very much, the peasantry in both countries being brave and animated by a patriotic hate of their enemies, while the upper class are equally vain, cowardly, given to boasting, and absolutely faithless to their promises. If we had the Duke of Wellington here with a couple of hundred good officers he would make the Greeks into as good soldiers as he did some of the Portuguese, and would as likely as not wind up the war by driving the Turks out of Europe altogether.”

At half-past ten o’clock the officers went ashore. When they had left the ship, the others returned to the cabin.

“I should not take it to heart, Mr. Beveridge,” Will Martyn said cheerfully, seeing how depressed his employer looked at the news he had heard. “Of course the Greeks have behaved badly—horribly badly; but you see it is because the poor beggars are not much better than savages, and never will be better as long as they are kept down by the Turks. All these things will right themselves in time. As you said, they are no worse than the French when they rose, or than the Spanish peasantry whenever they got a chance, or the Irish peasantry, and we must not look at it from our own standpoint; once they are free they will get a settled government and become a nation again, and that is what we have got to help them to do. We are not going to land and take part in massacres. All we have got to do is to look out for a Turkish ship of war, and pull down her colours whenever we get a chance. But even more than that, what I want specially to do as soon as we can is to get rid of some of that cargo in our hold. That is what is bothering me at present.”

“Thank you, Martyn,” Mr. Beveridge said, holding out his hand to him. “It is trying to hear of a glorious cause being disgraced by such horrible atrocities, but the cause remains the same, and the atrocities are, as you say, such as have occurred among other peoples when their blood has been heated to boiling point. This will not shake my determination to aid Greece in her struggle for freedom.”

Chapter VII • A Change of Name • 6,600 Words

THE next two days Mr. Beveridge and Horace spent entirely on shore. Speaking modern Greek fluently, they were able to converse with people of all classes from the mainland, and they learned from their reports that Captain O’Grady’s account of the utter confusion existing from end to end of the country was in no way exaggerated. As soon as the Greeks perceived that Mr. Beveridge was a well-wisher to their cause, and judging him from his possession of a large yacht to be a wealthy man, innumerable schemes were proposed to him, all involving his placing himself in the hands of the proposer and advancing him a considerable sum of money. These projects Mr. Beveridge resolutely turned a deaf ear to, his resolution being greatly strengthened by Horace, who distrusted all these plausible adventurers profoundly.

“We must wait, father,” he said, “until we see something like a stable government in power. When it has been at work a bit, and you find that it makes its authority respected, restores order, and unites the people in a common effort, it will be time enough for you to let them have money. To give it now would simply be to waste it, and, indeed, worse than waste it, for it would only add to the struggle for power on which the Greeks are wasting their strength. From all we learn the sailors of Hydra, Spetzas, and Psara are the only men who at present are acting with any common object. As everything depends upon crippling the Turks at sea, I should think we could not do better than get rid of some of our guns and ammunition by giving them to them. If we could get rid of twenty or thirty tons of our cargo it would put us in first-rate sailing trim, and at any rate get something off our minds. Then from there we could sail to Athens and get the papers we require authorizing us to act as a Greek privateer. Of course that would be no protection to us if we fell into the hands of the Turks; but we could do nothing until we get them without acting as pirates and rendering ourselves liable to be hung by any European man-of-war that might overhaul us.”

This course was determined upon, to the great satisfaction of William Martyn; and after a stay of three days at Zante sail was again set, and the Creole left the anchorage. It was well that she did so, for the next day all their Greek sympathies would have been insufficient to prevent their fighting on the other side. An Algerine barque that had separated from the Turkish fleet, which had just captured Galaxidhi and had taken possession of thirty-four Greek brigs, was attacked by eighteen Hydriot ships. She refused to surrender, and made such a gallant resistance that the Hydriots did not venture to run alongside and carry her by boarding. The Algerines, knowing that if their spars were shot away they would all be killed, ran her ashore near the southern cape of Zante.

The fight had been witnessed by thousands of refugee Moreots and Zanteot peasants, who opened fire upon the Algerines when they landed. Two English officers with twenty men had gone down from the town to enforce obedience to the quarantine regulations, which were very strict. They ordered the Greeks to retire, but these refused, and continued to attack the Turks. The officer commanded his men to fire over the heads of the crowd, when the Zanteots at once turned their muskets against them. One soldier was killed, and the rest retired into a house with the Turks and defended themselves until a stronger body of English troops came down from the town and rescued them. For firing upon the troops and killing one of them five Zanteots were afterwards tried and executed, and the lord high-commissioner issued a proclamation forbidding the entry of any Turk or Greek men-of-war into any Ionian port.

The Greek commercial navy, before the outbreak of the revolution, consisted to a large extent of the shipping of the four little islands Hydra, Spetzas, Psara, and Cazos. These islands, which were small and barren, had sprung into importance by the wise policy of the sultans at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Seeing that the exactions of their own officials rendered it impossible for the Greek and Mussulman sailors to compete with those of other nations, they had exempted from all taxes and other burdens persons settling on these islands, and had allowed to them perfect self-government. The result had answered their expectations. Colonies of Albanian sailors had established themselves at Hydra and Spetzas, while Greek seamen had settled in Psara and Cazos, and all four islands became populous and flourishing, owning among them nearly three hundred craft of from sixty to four hundred tons.

The contrast between the population and manners of the four islands was very marked. The two Albanian islands were governed by twelve primates, elected by the wealthy, while in the Greek islands the government was purely democratic. The Albanians were by far the more sincere and honest, while the people of the two Greek islands were the more courteous. All had early thrown in their lot with the revolution. The Peace of 1815 had caused a great reduction in the price of grain on the Continent and a fall of freights. Consequently many ships remained unemployed, the prosperity of the islands diminished, and the sailors became discontented and clamorous for employment. Spetzas had been the first to declare for the revolution, and had at once sent off some ships, which had captured a Turkish corvette of twenty-six guns and a brig of sixteen, which, with small crews, were waiting at Milos to receive the contingent of sailors from the Albanian islands. The Turks, expecting no attack, were taken by surprise; but the first Greek naval success was dimmed by the Mussulman prisoners being all carried to Spetzas, where some were at once murdered and the rest put to death with horrible tortures.

Psara quickly followed the example of Spetzas, but Hydra was some time before it raised the Greek flag. The people were in favour of the revolution, but the wealthy ship-owners, who possessed all the power, were averse to fitting out their vessels for unprofitable service, and opposed the revolution until a popular insurrection broke out and their authority was set aside. The united fleet of the three islands, instead of attacking the Turkish fleet, which was occupied in conveying store-ships to the besieged garrisons, swept the seas of merchantmen, and attacked and plundered an Austrian vessel. Two Hydriot brigs captured a Turkish ship, with a very valuable cargo, carrying, among other passengers, a recently-deposed sheikh El-Islam, or Patriarch of the Mussulmans, and all his family. These and all on board were murdered by their captors; but the affair in the end benefited the Turks, for the captors refused to conform to the regulation that had been laid down, that all booty should be the common property of the fleet. Quarrels began between the sailors of the different islands, so that the fleet broke up, and was for a long time useless for any concerted action against the Turks.

The Creole visited the three islands in succession, handing over to the authorities in each ten guns, with a considerable amount of powder and shot, a thousand muskets, and ten thousand rounds of ammunition. There was a large amount of shipping in each of the harbours, and Will Martyn had the Creole’s guns all loaded and double shotted before entering.

“There is no saying what these fellows may be up to,” he remarked to Horace. “Seeing us giving away so large a quantity of valuables, they may think that we have got a gold mine on board. I don’t mean to close an eye while we are in harbour, I can tell you.”

Mr. Beveridge, personally, was received with much honour at these islands, and the guns, which Will Martyn had taken care should be the largest of those in the hold, were dragged up by the people and placed in the batteries.

The Creole then crossed to the Piræus. The Acropolis of Athens was still held by the Turks, who were closely besieged there. Will Martyn landed with Mr. Beveridge. Horace told his father that he would rather not accompany him.

“You will be going about and seeing people, father,” he said, “and, as you say, you may have to go to other places to find some of the nominal authorities to sign documents, and so on, authorizing us to hoist the Greek flag, and giving us the usual papers carried by privateers. This may take time, for you and Martyn think that as the Greeks themselves have no such formalities, but fight the Turks just as they find them, it may be difficult for you to persuade them that letters of marque are really required authorizing the vessel, as a Greek ship, to capture, burn, and destroy all Turkish vessels she may meet.”

“It is a mere formality, Horace.”

“Well, father, I don’t think that Martyn or the others look at it at all in that light, and I know they consider it absolutely necessary that we should have papers of that sort. Even with such papers they say they expect there will be a lot of difficulty, if they take any prizes, in disposing of them, and that, unless they have papers signed by the central government, the chances are that the moment a Turkish prize is brought into port, the Greeks will seize it as public property, and want to cut the throats of any Turks prisoners. Certainly we should not stand that, and we should be in the position of having to fight the Turks at sea and the Greeks in port. So I should not be surprised at all if you are ten days, or a fortnight, before you can get all the papers you want. Of course Martyn’s signature will be necessary to all sorts of things, and as there is no humbugging him he will be wonderfully useful to you in all sorts of ways.”

“But why should you not go with us too, Horace?”

“I would very much rather not, father. Of course I am quite with you in wishing to see Greece independent, but I am so disgusted with all these stories of the horrible atrocities they have been guilty of, and at the way in which, instead of joining together to fight the Turks, they are all bent only on getting power or spoil, and of behaving more like a collection of bands of brigands than a united people, that I would rather not see any more of them at present, or I shall get regularly to hate them. In a short time, I have no doubt, we shall hear of a lot of things done by the other side. We may be sure that the Turks will avenge the eight thousand Mussulmans who were murdered at Tripolitza. We heard at Zante that they had begun it, and then one thing will balance the other and I may get enthusiastic about the Greeks again; but at present, father, what I should like to see is this, that the Creole should be employed as a rescue ship.”

“How do you mean, Horace?”

“I mean, father, that we should try to save as many of these wretched Turks, and their women and children, from massacre as we can; and on the other hand, that we should try to save as many Greeks as possible from the vengeance of the Turks. There ought to be lots of opportunities both ways. If we are with the Greeks when they capture a Turkish vessel we can buy off the prisoners. The Greeks are fonder of money than even of blood, and the money will be a deal better spent that way than if wasted among the politicians, the captains of brigands, or primates, and would do good to the cause of Greece by saving it from dishonour. When the Greeks make a descent upon a Turkish island we could send our boats ashore and take off a lot of the inhabitants, and we could do the same thing when the Turks attack a Greek place or island; and if either Greeks or Turks interfere with us at the work, I should say let us thrash them whoever they are. I consider that would be a glorious mission, and would be a credit to the flag we fly whether it is Greek or English; and if I were you I should speak out to Kolokotronis, or any other leader you may meet, and tell him frankly that you have come out to help the Greeks with arms and money, but that these massacres will turn all Europe against them; and that unless you are provided with an authority to take and hold all Turkish prisoners, and to protect them both from the populace and the sailors, you will withdraw altogether, and will do your best to prevent such atrocities, even if it comes to firing upon Greek vessels engaged in them.”

“I will do so, Horace,” his father said in a tone of decision. “We are a match, I fancy, for half a dozen of the Greek ships. They will find us a very different vessel to deal with than those slow-sailing Turks. I quite approve of what you say. For the first outburst of vengeance when they rose I am willing to make every allowance; but the revenge taken by the Turks at Kydonia should have reminded them that there are at least a million of their fellow-countrymen in Asia Minor whose lives have been endangered by their atrocities. Henceforth I will, as you propose, devote myself to saving life, and part of the money that I had intended for the Greeks shall go to make up to the crew for any loss they may sustain by missing the chance of taking prizes. I will hoist the Greek flag as I intended, and we, at least, will keep it unsullied.”

Horace repeated the substance of the conversation to Will Martyn and the other two officers, who cordially agreed; for although they had, of course, heard less at Zante of the details of the massacres than their employer and his son had done, they had heard enough to fill them with indignation, and to disgust them with the cause that they had come out to defend.

“That will be first-rate,” Martyn said, “and I can foresee we shall have lots of fun, and are likely to end by fighting both parties. There will be plenty for us to do. We will see if we can’t cut off some of the Turkish vessels laden with Greek captives for sale as slaves in the markets of Alexandria; while, as for the Greeks, if we slip in and save their captives they will be like a pack of wolves after their prey. If I am to go with your father, Horace, you may be sure I will take any opportunity I may get of speaking out, and I reckon I will open the eyes of some of these Greek swells by the way I will give it them. I tell you what, Miller: While I am away do you get up eight of those eighteen-pounders from the hold and mount them instead of the twelves. Now that she has got so much of her weight out of her she can carry them well enough, and I fancy we are likely to want as heavy metal as we can mount before we have done.”

At dinner that day Horace said: “Are you thinking of changing her name, father, when you change your nationality?”

“I wasn’t thinking of changing her name at all, Horace,” Mr. Beveridge said in surprise.

“Well, I thought, father, the Greeks wouldn’t understand the name of the Creole at all. It was a good name for a slaver and did well enough for a yacht, and if we ever take her back to England I should like her to be the Creole; but I think it would be better to have some name that the Greeks will understand.”

“What name would you propose, Horace?”

“Well, father, I have been thinking of it, and if you have no objection I should like to call her the Misericordia, ‘the Pity.’ We came out here because we pitied the Greeks, and now we pity the unfortunate people, both Turks and Greeks, and you have agreed that our mission shall be to save both of them from slaughter.”

“I think it would be a very good name, Horace. The Misericordia it shall be. What do you say, Captain Martyn?”

“I think it would be a capital name, Mr. Beveridge,” Martyn said, “and the crew will fight all the better when they know what the name means and what we intend to do. Sailors have no particular love for the Greeks—they always regard them as treacherous beggars; and they have no particular hostility against the Turks, who fought pluckily enough on our side in Egypt, and have always been friendly with us. I am sure that when our fellows understand that what we are going in for is to save women and children from being murdered, whether they happen to be Greeks or Turks, you will find them ready to do anything.”

The next day Mr. Beveridge and Will Martyn landed, and Miller set the crew at work to mount eighteen-pounders in place of the twelves, and to get the ammunition for them into the fighting magazines in place of that of lighter calibre. Zaimes had accompanied Mr. Beveridge. Marco remained on board, but had leave every morning to go on shore the first thing after breakfast, and to remain there until late in the afternoon, when he came off in time for dinner. He brought news that it was believed the Turks in the Acropolis could not hold out much longer, as their provisions were running very short. After an absence of ten days the party on shore returned, and an hour after they did so the English flag was lowered and that of Greece was hoisted, while a flag with the word Misericordia replaced that of Creole at the masthead. Captain Martyn called the crew together.

“My lads,” he said, “you all knew that when we arrived here we were going to hoist the Greek flag instead of our own, and that we were going to act as a Greek privateer against the Turks. That, you see, is done, and we are authorized by the Greek government to capture or destroy any Turkish vessels we may meet. You see we have changed her name, and I will tell you why Mr. Beveridge has done this. We are going to fight for Greece, but at the same time, as British sailors, we are not going to stand by and see men, women, and children murdered in cold blood, whether they are Turks or anyone else. There has been a great deal too much of this sort of thing done on both sides, and we mean to stop it as much as we can. We are going to prevent the massacre of Greeks by Turks, and I hope we shall manage to lay hands on some of the Turkish vessels carrying Greek women and children captive to sell them as slaves; but on the other hand we intend to save as many Turks as we can from being massacred by the Greeks, and that is the reason why Mr. Beveridge has renamed his craft the Misericordia, which means ‘the Pity.’ I am sure, my lads, that there is not a British sailor who would not risk his life to save those of women and children, and that is what we mean to make our first object, although we hope to lower some Turkish flags before we have done with them; but in any case we mean to save life whether it is Greek or Turk we have to fight in doing so. It is a work, my lads, in which we may all be proud to take part, and in which, whether we fight under the English flag or the Greek, we shall be doing a duty dear to every British sailor. Now, my lads, we will give three cheers for the Misericordia.”

Three hearty cheers rang out from the sailors. They had all been on shore at Zante, and had heard enough from the soldiers they fraternized with there to fill them with disgust and indignation at the conduct of the Greeks, and this announcement that they would henceforth put a stop to such cruelty, even if they had to fight for it, filled them with satisfaction.

“We had hard work of it,” Martyn said to Horace, talking over his visit ashore. “In the first place they wanted us to hand over all prisoners we took, and half the plunder and value of the prizes, to their miserable government. We told them that we would see them at the bottom of the sea first. I was with your father at a meeting with the fellows they call Kolokotronis and Odysseus, and half a dozen other of their leaders, and you should have seen how your father spoke out. He got upon his legs and he just poured it out. I did not know, of course, what he was saying, but he told me a little about it afterwards, and I could see by their faces that it was hot and strong.

“He told them that their countrymen had disgraced their cause by conduct worthy only of the lowest savages, and that if they did not give him the authority he demanded, to interpose to save Turks from massacre, he would sail on to Constantinople, hoist the Turkish flag, and fight against the ships that behaved like bloodthirsty pirates rather than Greek patriots, and that they would find his ship a very different opponent to the Turks. I did not think your father had it in him. It was splendid, I can tell you, and the faces of those fellows were worth seeing. I don’t expect they ever had such a straight talking to before. I believe altogether he spent about a thousand pounds in bribing a dozen of them; anyhow he got what he wanted. In the first place we are authorized to hoist the Greek flag, and to capture and destroy Turkish vessels; and in the second, to dispose as we please of all prisoners. We may take on board Turkish fugitives and dispose of them at our pleasure, free from all interference from any Greek authorities or Greek ships. We are to pay a quarter of the value of all prizes and booty into the treasury of the central government, and are to send ashore to-morrow five thousand muskets and twenty rounds of ammunition for each.

“Your father has had a hard time of it. I don’t believe there has been a single Greek politician or leader who hasn’t called upon him privately, to what they call borrow money from him. At last I had to regularly mount guard over him and set Zaimes at his door to tell all comers that he was too unwell to see anyone, which was not far from the truth, for he was regularly upset at the meanness and trickery of the people he had come to spend his fortune to assist. However, thank goodness it is all over. I am precious glad that I am back, I can tell you, for I believe if I had stayed there much longer I should not have been able to have prevented myself from walking into some of them. Your father has been trying to find out whether they have got any general plan of defence; but they have no more plan than a lot of children would have if they got up a rebellion. Everyone wants to be a leader; everyone complains of everyone else. They scarcely seem to give the Turks a thought. All their energies are occupied by their own miserable squabbles and rivalry. Well, I don’t want to set foot on shore again as long as we are out here, unless it is on some real expedition.”

“What about the Turks in the Acropolis, Martyn?”

“They are negotiating, but the poor beggars know there is no faith to be placed in the Greeks, and that so far there is not a single instance in which they have kept their promises for the safety of garrisons who have surrendered. They want the guarantee of the European consuls for their safety, but they can’t give it, as they have no force here to protect them. I told our consul that we would lend him the whole of our crew if he liked, and that I thought we could pretty well clear out the town; but he said that that would be well enough if there was no one to protect. But that as there are something like two thousand men, women, and children up in the citadel, fifty men could never protect them against the mob. However, I hope the Turks will be able to hold out for some time yet. The Greeks only guess that their provisions are running short, and if a man-of-war, French, or English, or Austrian, comes into the harbour the consuls will ask its commander to protect the Turks, and will then guarantee their safety.”

“When are we going to sail?” Horace asked.

“To-morrow. The two Greeks will go ashore the first thing in the morning to lay in a fresh stock of meat and vegetables. As soon as all are on board we will get up anchor. I have heard lots of shocking stories on shore from Greeks who have escaped from Asia Minor and the Turkish islands. There have been massacres in almost every city where there were Greeks; at Smyrna, Adrianople, Salonika, Cos, Rhodes, in Crete and Cyprus, and as far as I can hear the Turks have altogether massacred nearly as many men, women, and children as the Greeks have done. I saw General Gordon, who is a warm friend of the Greeks, and he said that it was impossible to justify the ferocity of the Greeks, or to deny that a comparison between them and the Turks would give the latter the palm of humanity; that is, if the term humanity could be employed to either.

“We went up and saw some of the troops, as they call them, active, hardy-looking fellows. They seem in earnest enough, and are ready, as a French officer said to me, to submit to anything but discipline. He said that the Klephts and armatoli are as fine material for mountain warfare as one could wish to see; one day honest, hard-working peasants, the next engaged in partisan war, or in raids on their neighbours; frugal, hardy, active, and in their way brave; men who would never storm a position or stand against the attack of Turkish infantry or cavalry, as the war has everywhere shown so far; but who would defend a hillside or hold a ravine against good troops, and when driven out, make another stand at the first position they came to. Anyhow they are worth a lot more than the townspeople, who brag and vapour and go about armed to the teeth, but who take precious good care never to get within range of a Turkish musket.”

Early the next morning some large boats came off, and the muskets and ammunition were transferred to them, and at noon the two Greeks brought off a boat-load of fresh meat, vegetables, fowls, eggs, fruit, and other stores. As soon as these were slung on board, the anchor was got up, and the Misericordia, under a gentle breeze, stole out to sea.

“That is better, Miller,” Will Martyn said as he looked over the side. “She has not gone like that since we shook out our sails for the first time. I should say she is just about in her right trim now, and is ready to fight or sail anything of her size afloat. How easily she goes through the water. There is scarcely a ripple in her wake. She is a beauty.”

“Which port now, Martyn?”

“I was talking it over last night with Mr. Beveridge, and as soon as we get well off land I am going to shape a course that will take us down between Cyprus and Alexandria. It is of no use cruising about here. The Turks only move about under a convoy of their men-of-war, and it would not be much better across on the other side, for the Greek vessels are everywhere on the look-out. But they don’t like going far from home, and if we cruise well to the south we shall have a good chance of falling in with craft bound for Alexandria from Cyprus, Crete, and Syria, and any or all of them will be likely to be carrying Greeks captives to the slave-markets at Alexandria, Tunis, or Tripoli.”

“Those are the sort of craft to meet with,” Miller said. “I suppose they are sure to be armed. Of course one would be glad to rescue captives and save them from their horrible fate. But there will be much more satisfaction in doing it if we have a bit of a fight first.”

“Yes, I should say they were certain to be armed. No Turk would venture to sea at present unless he thought himself strong enough to beat off the attack of at least two or three of these Greek vessels. After cruising about for a bit we intend to dodge about Cyprus and the other Turkish islands, keeping near the coast so as to give Greek fugitives a chance of coming on board. We know that there have been massacres at all these islands, and may be again, and there must be thousands of unfortunate creatures who would give anything for such a chance of getting away. We can anchor in quiet bays, for we need have no fear of any boat attack; and if the Turks come out in force we have always the option of running away or fighting.”

“That is a very good programme, Martyn. We are not likely, as you say, to find any Greek craft cruising about between Cyprus and Alexandria. Turkish vessels going up towards the Dardanelles, or coming down from there, are prizes worth taking, for they may have pashas and rich officials on board; but down there they would be less likely to have anything that would repay the Greeks for the risks of a fight. As for risking anything to save their countrymen, Mr. Beveridge was saying he heard that at the massacre of the Greeks at Kydonia, although the Greek fleet, under Tombazes, was close at hand, and their launches went on shore and rescued four thousand of their countrymen, they compelled them all to purchase their passage to the nearest Greek island by giving up the greater part of the property they had saved.”

“Brutes!” Martyn exclaimed with great emphasis. “How these fellows can be descendants of the old Greeks beats me altogether.”

“The old Greeks were pretty cruel,” Horace, who had just joined them, said. “They used to slaughter their captives wholesale, and mercy wasn’t among their virtues. Besides, my father says that except in the Morea very few indeed are descendants of the Greeks; the rest are Bulgarian or Albanian, neither of whom the Greeks of old would have recognized as kinsmen.”

“It is a case of distance lending enchantment to the view,” Miller laughed; “our illusions are gone.”

“Never mind, we must make the best of them, Miller; they are not Greeks, but at any rate they are all that is left of the Greeks. Their actions show that their Christianity is a sham, but at the same time they are an intelligent race capable of some day becoming a great people again, and they are struggling to throw off the yoke of a race intellectually their inferiors and incapable of progress in any sort of way. That is what my father said to me as we were walking up and down the deck this morning. That is the light I mean to look at it in the future. It is a capable people struggling with an incapable one, and if they are savage and vindictive and debased it is the faults not of themselves but of those who have so long been their masters.”

“Good,” Martyn said; “that is the most satisfactory view of the thing, and we will stick to it and shut our ears as much as possible in future against all stories to the Greeks’ disadvantage.”

In the afternoon a fleet of vessels were seen standing out from the land.

“There is one of the Greek fleets,” Captain Martyn said. “Now we will try her rate of sailing with them. Stand on for a little bit longer and then haul her wind on the same tack they are sailing.”

The trial was perfectly satisfactory. By nightfall the Greek fleet were far behind, and the Misericordia again shaped her course for Cyprus. For a week they cruised backwards and forwards under easy sail about midway between Cyprus and Alexandria, without meeting with a single craft flying the Turkish flag. Half a dozen vessels were overhauled, but these were all Austrian, Italian, or British. The appearance of the schooner evidently excited profound distrust in the minds of the masters of all these vessels, for they all hoisted every rag of sail they could set and did their best to escape from her, but Captain Martyn had no difficulty in overhauling them and satisfying himself of their nationality. The astonishment of the masters when the smart gig manned by six English sailors rowed alongside was unbounded, and was only equalled by their satisfaction.

“You have given us a nice fright,” the master of one of the English ships said to Miller, who, accompanied by Horace, had boarded him. “What on earth are you flying that Greek flag for? We took you for a pirate, for half these fellows are no better when they get the chance.”

“We are a Greek privateer.” Miller said, “and carry letters of marque issued by the Greek government. We only wanted to assure ourselves that you were not Turks.”

“Turks be jiggered!” the master said angrily. “I should have thought anyone with half an eye could have seen that we weren’t one of those lubberly Turks.”

“Quite so, captain, we made that out some time ago, and we have only overhauled you to ask whether you know of a Turkish ship likely to be sailing from any of the Eastern ports. Our object is to rescue Greek women and children on their way to the slave-markets.”

“Then give us your flipper,” the master said; “that is a business an English sailor needn’t be ashamed of, though, as for sailing under a Greek flag, I would almost as lief sail under the skull and cross-bones, for nine cases out of ten it means pretty nearly the same thing. I have known many a ship sail in among those Greek islands and never be heard of again when there had been no storm to account for her disappearance. I would as lief anchor a ship near land in the Malay Archipelago as among the Greek islands. Still the women and children ain’t to blame for that. I was at Broussa two months ago and the slave-market was chock-full of Greek girls and children, and I thought then what a burning shame it was that Europe didn’t interfere to put down such villainous doings. Well now, as to Turkish ships, I don’t think you are likely to meet with any hereabouts. The Greeks have given them a bad scare, and I fancy that all the ships from Cyprus and from Aleppo and the other Syrian ports will run down due south till they sight land, and will hug that as near as they dare go till they get within shelter of the batteries of Alexandria. If you are after Turkish vessels you must stand south and anchor as close inland as the water will let you. Get down those lofty spars of yours. You don’t want them. That craft of yours sails like a witch. We think the Scarborough is a fast brig. You went through the water three feet to our two, so you can do without your topsails. I can tell you the look of your craft is enough to frighten one fifteen miles away; a more rascally-looking vessel I never saw, she looks like a pirate all over.”

“She was a slaver at one time,” Miller said.

“Ah! that accounts for it. I thought that long low hull and those lofty spars were never put together for an honest purpose. You seem to carry mighty heavy metal,” he went on, looking at the Misericordia, which lay with her head sails aback a few hundred yards away. “Four each side and a pivot; they look like eighteens.”

“They are eighteens,” Miller said. “You see we have got to keep a sharp eye on friends as well as foes.”

“I should think so. Well, I have just come out from Larnaca. I heard from our consul that there were bad doings in the north of the island, and that the Christians were having a very rough time of it all through Cyprus. I have no doubt there are a lot of Christians hiding there who would give every stiver they have got in the world to be on board this craft.”

“And you say there were some massacres going on when you were there?”

“Yes, and I heard that the Turks were attacking one of the Christian villages on the north-western corner of the island. It was some way up on Mount Olympus, a few miles from the coast. Morphou Bay is the nearest point to it. I hear it is naturally a strong place, and Christians from other villages round have gone in there. The people attacking it are not troops, who I fancy have nothing to do with these massacres, but the natives of the Mussulman villages. Some of the poor devils may have got down to the coast, and you might pick some up if you were to cruise along there.”

“Perhaps we might,” Horace said; “at any rate it would be worth a try. We will go on board again at once.”

“Will you have a glass of wine first? I got hold of some good stuff at Larnaca. Good wine is cheap there now.”

“No, thank you, we will be off at once,” Miller said.

“Well, good-bye, gentlemen, and good luck to you! There is nothing I would like better than to be going for a cruise with you for a few months, for no vessel can do better work than that which you are engaged on.”

Miller and Horace dropped down into their boat, and were rowed back to the schooner.

Chapter VIII • A Besieged Village • 6,600 Words

AS soon as they gained the deck of the Misericordia Miller reported the advice the skipper of the English brig had given as to their taking their station near the southern coast, to pick up vessels hugging the shore on their way to Alexandria and the west.

“I have no doubt he is right,” Will Martyn said; “that accounts for our not having seen a single craft flying the Turkish flag. Well, Mr. Beveridge, I think we can’t do better than take his advice.”

“There is something else though,” Horace broke in; and he then told them what the captain had said about the fighting among the villagers on Mount Olympus.

“Don’t you think, father, we might go there first? With this wind we should not be much more than twenty-four hours getting there, and we might pick up a lot of fugitives in hiding and possibly bring off the people from that village. It would not be a great loss of time anyhow.”

“I think we might, Horace; hearing of it in the way you did, it seems almost like a call to help them. What do you say, Captain Martyn?”

“Just as you like, sir. As Horace says, it is no great loss of time anyhow, and we certainly may do some good.”

The order was given and the schooner was headed for Cyprus with a brisk wind on her beam that heeled her well over and sent her through the water at nine and a half knots an hour. The news was soon known through the vessel that there were massacres going on in Cyprus, and that there might be some work to be done, so there was an air of increased activity and animation among the crew. The wind held steadily, and next morning the mountains of Cyprus could be seen lying like a cloud in the distance, and by eleven o’clockthe north-westerly point of the island was but five or six miles away. Rounding the point they entered the great indentation known as Morphou Bay. Martyn now ordered the topsails to be lowered.

“We will run along about a mile off shore,” he said; “they can make out the flag then. We will go along as far as the other end of the bay and then come back again. If there are any people in hiding in the woods they will keep an eye on us, and as we come back will come off in boats if they have got them, or will come down to the shore and signal. We can send our boats in for them.”

As they were still going through the water faster than they wished the foresail was also lowered, and they then went quietly along the coast, keeping a sharp look-out with their glasses on the shore. They passed several villages and could see that their appearance created much excitement, and that the population at once deserted their houses and made off.

“They are evidently all Mussulman villages,” Mr. Beveridge said.

“They are Mussulman villages at present, Mr. Beveridge,” Martyn agreed, “but the chances are they were Christian a short time ago. You see they have all got fishing boats either riding at anchor or hauled up, and I fancy that most of the fishing is done by the Greek inhabitants. I expect the Turks have cleared them out. What do you say, Mr. Beveridge, to our firing a shot or two at each of the villages as we pass? That will act as a warning to the Turks to keep out of range. If there are any Christians left they may take the opportunity of seizing the boats and coming off. We might lie-to for half an hour opposite each village to give them a chance of doing so.”

“That would be a very good plan, I think, Captain Martyn.”

As they were passing a village at the moment the Misericordia was at once brought round. Two of the broadside guns were loaded, and two shots were sent over the village. Then the craft was hove-to, and waited for half an hour. As there were no signs of life, she again proceeded on her way. Three more villages were fired at with the same result. Half a mile beyond the furthest Tarleton exclaimed: “There is someone swimming off, Captain Martyn; he has just put off from that point! There, do you see that black spot a little way off the point?”

Martyn turned his glass in that direction. “I see him,” he said. “Lower the small gig, Mr. Tarleton; take four hands, row off, and pick him up. You had better go too, Horace. The chances are he won’t speak anything but Greek.”

In a couple of minutes the boat left the side of the schooner and rowed in the direction of the swimmer, the vessel being again thrown up into the wind. Horace stood up while Tarleton took the tiller lines.

“Can you see him, Horace?” he asked.

“No, not yet. There is too much ripple on; but if you keep her head as it is now I shall make him out before long.” Three or four minutes later he exclaimed: “I see him, he is dead ahead!”

Five minutes later the swimmer was alongside. He was a lad of about Horace’s age.

“Are you Greek?” he asked in surprise and in some alarm, as he looked at the uniforms of the crew as Horace helped him on board.

“We are fighting for Greece,” Horace said, “although we are all English. We heard that there was some trouble here, and came to see if we could save any fugitives.”

“I saw the flag,” the lad said, “and heard you fire twice at the village. My mother and sisters, and twenty or thirty others, are hidden in the wood there. The Mussulmans came down from the mountain villages three days ago and killed all they could find; but we were expecting it, for they had gone to the next village first, and a man from there brought the news just before they arrived. We lived on the outskirts and had time to get away, but I think my father and brothers have been killed. Do go on shore and take them off.”

“We must go back to the ship first,” Horace said. “This boat is too small to be of any use; besides, we must send a stronger crew. No doubt the Turks are watching us, and will come down if they see us landing.”

The schooner had filled again and was following the boat, so that in two or three minutes they were on board. Horace lent the young Greek some of his clothes, and the schooner stood in towards the point, with a man in the chains sounding as they went.

“Ask him whereabouts they are, Horace.”

“Just on the other side of the point; but they will see us coming.”

“I see no signs of them yet,” Tarleton said when, having got within three hundred yards of shore, the anchor was let go.

“It is likely enough,” said Martyn, “that some of the Turks may have been coming down through the wood, and if the poor beggars heard them they would not dare show themselves. Now, Mr. Miller, you take charge of the long-boat with ten men. We will cover your landing.”

The four broadside guns were loaded with grape, and their crews mustered to quarters, while the rest, armed with muskets, lined the side.

“Take the boy with you, Mr. Miller, he can lead you to where his friends are hiding. Don’t stop to fire as you make for shore. We will dispose of any Turks there may be about.”

The boat had not rowed more than fifty yards before five or six musket shots were fired from the bushes near the edge of the water.

“Give them a round with the aftermost gun,” Captain Martyn said; and in a moment the water near the bushes was torn up with a shower of grape. “Give the next gun more elevation, boatswain. Send the shot well into the wood. That’s it. The same with the other two guns. That will clear them all out.”

There was no further firing at the boat. As soon as it touched the shore Miller jumped ashore with eight of the men, while the other two pushed the boat off a few yards. Led by the Greek boy, the party ran along the shore and were lost to view round the point. Two more rounds were fired into the wood, but everything was quiet there, and in five minutes Miller’s party made their appearance round the point with a number of fugitives. No time was lost in getting them into the boat, which at once rowed off to the schooner. There were but three men among them, the rest were women and children. Most of them were completely exhausted.

Horace, after asking them a question or two, said to Zaimes: “You had better prepare some soup, Zaimes, as quickly as you can. They have had nothing to eat for three days.”

While this was being done, a sip of wine and a mouthful of bread were given to each. In the meantime some sailors were rigging up a partition with sail-cloth across the main deck, and here hammocks were slung for the use of the women and children. As soon as the poor creatures had taken a basin of hot soup they revived a good deal and poured out expressions of profuse gratitude to their rescuers. They had passed a terrible three days crouching among the bushes, and expecting every moment to be discovered. A few of the women had snatched up their jewels before taking to flight, but most of them were absolutely destitute. Mr. Beveridge and the two Greeks persuaded them to go below and take the sleep they so much needed. As soon as the deck was clear the anchor was got up, and the schooner proceeded on her way. She reached the farthest headland of the bay just as night began to fall, and Martyn decided to anchor there till morning. From the Greek lad who had first swum off, they learned that the village among the mountains still resisted.

“They say there are two or three hundred there who have taken refuge from the villages round. There are some rich men among them, and that is the reason why the Mussulmans are so anxious to take the place.”

“How many men are besieging it?”

“That I don’t know,” the boy replied. “I should think four or five hundred.”

“But you have heard nothing for the last three days? The place may have fallen since then.”

“No, I went last night to the village in hopes of finding bread in some of the houses, but there were too many Turks about. I was near enough to hear them talking. Some of them were going up to-day to join in the siege.”

“How far is the place from the sea?”

“It is ten miles from this north shore, but it is not more than four or five from the western coast.”

“Is there any road?”

“Not from that side. The roads from the mountain villages all lead down to the bay.”

“Is it too steep to climb from the other side?”

“Not too steep to climb on foot. Donkeys and mules could get up there.”

The matter was talked over in the cabin that evening, and it was agreed that if a guide could be obtained an attempt should be made to carry off the occupants of the village. During the night a boat with twelve fugitives came off from the shore and as the Misericordiasailed slowly along the coast on the following day several parties of from three to ten people came out from the trees and waved white handkerchiefs and scarfs. All these were brought off, and four or five boats full of people were picked up during the day. Their occupants had seen the schooner passing on the previous day, and had at night, when the Mussulmans in the village were asleep, stolen down to the beach, launched boats, and put out to sea in the hope that the schooner would return next day. All were overwhelmed with joy at finding themselves under the Greek flag, although the greater portion of them had lost everything they possessed. The women and children were, like the first batch, provided for below, while the men and boys were told they must sleep on deck, which was no hardship in that balmy climate.

Among those in the last boat picked up near the west point of the bay was a young man who was a native of a village lying a short distance from the one that was besieged. He happened to be down in the coast village when the Turks commenced hostilities there, and hearing that the village to which he belonged had been destroyed, he had remained in hiding near the coast. Marco and his brother, who mingled with the fugitives, had learned this, and at once took the news to the cabin. “He says he has been a goat-herd, and knows all the paths among the mountains.”

“Then he is the very fellow we want to get hold of,” Will Martyn said. “We had better have him in here and question him.”

The young Greek was brought in. He knew of several paths from the village down to the western shore.

“Now what sort of place is this village?” Captain Martyn asked.

“It stands at the top of rocky ground that slopes away all round it. There are vineyards and gardens among the rocks. Since the trouble in Greece began, the people have been frightened, and have built a wall five or six feet high round the village, and the Christians in all the villages round decided that if there was trouble from the Mussulmans they would go there to help defend it.”

“Is there high ground round the village?”

“Yes, the hills rise very high on three sides, but they are too far away for guns to do much harm; besides, the houses stand thickly together. My people will fight till the last, but I don’t know how long the provisions will last. I know they all made up their minds that if they were besieged and saw no hope of succour, they would at last kill all the women and children to prevent their being made slaves by the Turks, and then they would march out to fight until the last man was slain.”

“How long would it take us to get up from the shore to the village?”

“One can come down in an hour, but it takes three hours’ hard work to get up.”

“Could you after dark take us close to the point where one of these paths comes down to the shore?”

“Oh, yes, I could do that easily.”

“Very well, that will do for the present. Now, Mr. Beveridge, it is for you to decide,” Martyn said. “Of course the affair is a risky one; but it seems to me that forty well-armed English sailors ought to be able to make their way into the village without very much difficulty, for of course the Turks will be scattered about all round it. The difficulty is not in getting in, but in getting out. We should have to bring perhaps two or three hundred women and children, and cover their retreat down to the water. Of course the men would help us, but still it would be a stiff job in the face of four or five hundred of the enemy. These Turks may know nothing of soldiering, but they are mountaineers and are used to arms, and for irregular fighting like this, would be quite as formidable as the best troops. If we knew anything about the ground we should be able to give a more decided opinion. What of course we should want, if possible, would be some post, either a defile or a steep eminence that we could hold for half an hour and keep the Turks back until the women and children are well on their way down the mountain. After that we could make a bolt for it, and might get down without much loss; but if there is no place where we could make a stand anywhere along the road, we should be in an awkward fix, especially if the path is a bad one, as I expect it is. You see the whole party would have to go in single file, and if there are four or five hundred of them, it would be next to impossible to guard the flanks and keep the Turks off if they made a rush, while every shot they fired would tell on such a long line. You understand, Mr. Beveridge, I am putting the matter to you in the worst light so that we should all understand the sort of business it is likely to be.”

“I see that it is a very serious affair, Martyn; but at the same time, when we know that there are so many lives at stake, I think that we must run the risk, however great.”

“Very well, then, that is settled, Mr. Beveridge, and I am sure we are all glad that you have decided so. The next question is, who shall go, and who shall remain behind.”

“I shall certainly go,” Mr. Beveridge said. “I am not going to allow others to take risks that I do not share myself.”

“We ought to be as strong a party as possible,” Martyn said. “At the same time we must leave enough to sail the schooner, if not to fight her. It is probable that yesterday morning, as soon as our flag was seen, messengers were sent off at once to Limasol and Larnaca to tell them that a Greek vessel was in the bay; and if there are any Turkish vessels of war in either of these harbours, we shall be having them coming round.”

“That is likely enough,” Miller said. “We must certainly be ready to get up our anchor and be off at a minute’s notice.”

“Well, Miller, then you must remain on board with ten men. We will load all the guns before we go. Ten men are enough to get up sail and to fight the pivot-gun. You had better not waste any time in getting up the anchor, but buoy and then slip the cable. We can recover it, if we like, afterwards. If you should be driven off the coast while we are away, lower a sail under her fore-foot so as to deaden her way and encourage the Turks with the hope that they are going to catch you. Lead them a dance for seven or eight hours, then cut the drag adrift, set every stitch of sail, and run back again. You will be here in plenty of time to get us all on board before they can come up again. Of course if we see that you are gone we shall choose some position where we can make a stout defence, and shall hold it until you come back to the anchorage.”

“All right, sir. I will obey orders. Of course I would rather have gone with the expedition ashore; but someone must stay on board, and if you are going I must take the command in your absence. Ten men will be quite enough for me. We can leave the main and foresail standing when we anchor, so that will be plenty of strength.”

“Well, as that is all settled, we will bout ship and cruise east again. It will be dark in an hour, and it is well they should think on shore that we are off again to the east. I daresay they can make us out from points on the mountains not far from the village. If they see us sailing away, it will never enter their heads that we have any intention of interfering in their little game up there.”

Accordingly the schooner was again put about, and retraced her course along the shore until it became quite dark; then she stood out to sea until well out of sight of land, when she was headed west again. The news had already got about through the ship that there was to be a landing party to rescue a number of Christians besieged by the Turks among the mountains, and the sailors were in the highest spirits, cutlasses were ground, pistols and muskets served out to those who were to land, and the disappointment of those who were to remain behind was mitigated by Horace mentioning to them that not improbably they might have a brush with the Turks on their own account.

Cartridges, muskets, and pistols were served out, and the arms carefully examined. Each man was ordered to take with him a water-bottle filled with weak grog, and two pounds of bread in his haversack, and a hearty supper was served out. Once round the point of the bay the schooner was kept close in shore. The Greek kept a sharp look-out on the hills looming high above them, and about nine o’clock announced that they were now near the place where a track from the mountain came down to the shore. The anchor was at once dropped and the headsails lowered. Then the sailors took their places in three boats, two of the men who were to stop behind going in each to bring them back to the schooner when the landing had been effected. Zaimes was to accompany the party, while Marco remained with Mr. Miller on board.

Ten of the fugitives, active young men, had begged to be allowed to accompany the expedition, but the offer had been declined, and they were told that they might be more useful helping to work the guns of the schooner should a Turkish ship-of-war come round. When the arms had been purchased a dozen good rifles had been among them, and after Mr. Beveridge, Zaimes, and the three officers had each armed themselves with one of these, the rest were divided among the best shots of the party. Tom Burdett, much to his disappointment, was left on board to assist the first lieutenant.

As soon as the boats reached the shore the men were formed up. Tarleton was to lead the advance party of ten men, having with him the guide. Close behind these were the main body, twenty strong, led by Martyn; behind them Mr. Beveridge, with Zaimes and the surgeon, who was also accompanying the party, had their place. Horace commanded the rear-guard of ten men. Although this nominal division was made, the whole party kept closely together, as the night was so dark that they might otherwise have missed each other. None of the fire-arms were loaded, lest an accident should occur by a gun being discharged by a fall, by striking against a rock, or by the trigger catching in a bush.

After a few hundred yards’ walk along the shore the Greek struck upon the track and led the way up, the rest following in single file. The climb seemed interminable to Horace. At times it was so steep it was difficult to scramble up, and in the darkness there were many falls. There were frequent stops, to enable the men to get their breath; but after three hours’ climbing they at last reached comparatively level ground, and the guide told them they were within half a mile of the ridge from which they could look down upon the village.

“Well, we will move slowly forward until we come either to some bushes or a bit of a hollow where we can get some shelter, for it is quite sharp up here, and as soon as the men begin to cool down a bit they will feel it. I wish we had brought blankets now, but it never struck me that it would be cold. Mr. Tarleton, let your ten men scatter. Don’t let them wander too far, but let them search about for some place where we can get shelter. We will remain here; and if any of the men find a place, send one back to bring us up. We have got another four hours to wait before daylight.”

In ten minutes one of the men came back with news that they had found a patch of bush large enough for them to take shelter in. In a short time they all arrived at the spot. The bushes were sweet smelling and free from thorns, and the men soon crushed their way into them and lay down.

“You will remain in charge, Mr. Tarleton. I shall go on and take a look down at the village. I don’t suppose we shall see much, but we may be able to make out whether they are still holding out. Will you go on with me, Mr. Beveridge, or stay here?”

“I will go on with you. I find it bitterly cold here; for not being accustomed to hard work, as your men are, I found that climb almost too much for me; and hot as I have been, I should not like to stop still in this keen air, even with the shelter of the bushes.”

“Well, we will take it easy this last bit, Mr. Beveridge. Come along, Horace.”

Again preceded by the guide, and followed by Zaimes, they ascended the shoulder of the hill. It was a steep pull, but in a quarter of an hour they reached the crest. Just as they did so they heard the report of a gun, followed at once by several others. An exclamation of satisfaction broke from them. Their climb had not been in vain; the village was still holding out. Fifty yards farther the ground fell away suddenly in front of them, and they stood at the edge of a deep descent. Extending round the foot of the hills that formed the amphitheatre in the centre of which the village lay, was a line of fires; some blazing brightly, others dim red spots. Another chain of fires, much closer together, extended across the mouth of the valley. The village, lying in the black shadow of the hills, was invisible to them, and not even a single light indicated its position.

“That is where it is,” the guide said, pointing down to the centre of the hollow.

As he spoke a flash of flame, followed a second or so later by a report, shot out from the spot towards which he was pointing.

“They are keeping a sharp look-out,” Martyn said; “they are not to be caught napping. Now the point is, which is our best side for going down on the village without being seen?”

“The best point,” the guide said, “would be from the head of the valley. Orchards extend from the village to the foot of the hill, and a ravine runs some distance up there. If we could get into that, we might get some distance through the orchards before we are noticed.”

“Could you lead us along the side of the hill to this ravine in the dark?”

“I think so. I am sure I could lead you. The danger would be from setting stones in motion and so calling the attention of the enemy. The hillside is very steep, and a stone set rolling would go right down to their fires.”

“We must risk that,” Martyn said. “It would be a great thing to be able to take them by surprise. Don’t you think so, Mr. Beveridge?”

“I should say it was well worth trying. But it is the getting out, not the getting in, that seems to me the difficult part of the business.”

“There is no doubt about that,” Martyn agreed. “Will you ask him if this part we are standing on goes straight down to the village? The slope looks to me almost too steep.”

Mr. Beveridge put the question to the guide.

“He says the road zigzags. Olive-trees grow up for some distance—about a third of the distance, he says.”

“That is good,” Martyn said, “because if we get the people with a sudden rush across the open we can defend the lower edge of these trees, and the women and children will be hidden from below till they get up above the trees, where they would be pretty well out of danger except from a chance shot. I think, Mr. Beveridge, it would be a good thing to leave Tarleton with fifteen men here. If we can take them by surprise five-and-twenty of us ought to be quite enough to make our way in. Even if there are six hundred of them they must be scattered pretty thinly round this circle, and are probably thickest down at the mouth of the valley. The rear-guard here will of course be concealed until we sally out. Then if the Turks from the other side and the end of the valley try to climb the hill on either side of the path so as to cut us off, our fellows here could open fire and prevent them doing so, and as the enemy would not be able to see how many men there are, it would stop them a bit.”

“I think that would be a very good plan, Captain Martyn.”

“Very well, then. Horace, do you go back to the bushes, bring Mr. Tarleton and the men up. Tell them to move as quietly as they can when they get near this point.”

The men got up willingly when Tarleton gave the word, for although the bushes afforded some shelter, they were already feeling very chilled, and were pleased to be in motion again. They met Martyn a short distance from the spot where Horace had left him. The men were halted.

“Now, Mr. Tarleton, you are to take the fourteen men who came ashore with you in the gig. For the present you had best return with them to the bushes and wait there till daylight. Then you will come back to this point. Post the men where they cannot be seen from below. Be sure that not a head is shown. Take your own post at a point whence you can see down into the valley without being seen yourself. You will remain in hiding while we fight our way into the village. As soon as you see the sortie begun get your men ready for action, and let them lie down without showing themselves more than they can help at the edge of the brow from which they can fire down into the valley. Your duty is to prevent any parties of the enemy working along the side of the hill to take the fugitives and us in flank as we come up the path. As the women and children arrive tell them to push on along the path as fast as they can, without stopping or paying attention to any fire that may be opened upon them. They will be told before they start that the schooner is in readiness to take them off. Still, you may as well hurry them along. You will remain here until the last and form the rear-guard. But we shall all make a stand here as long as we can so as to give the women and children plenty of a start. Do you quite understand?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Shall I go with you or wait here?” Macfarlane asked.

“I think you might as well stay here, doctor. There won’t be any time for you to be dressing wounds till we are back here again.”

Tarleton called out the men who had landed with him, and marched off with them.

“Now, my lads,” Martyn said to the others, “we are going to work along the side of the hill so as to come down behind them. But I fancy it will be very steep in places. Sling your muskets behind you so as to have both hands to hold on by. If you once begin to roll you go right down to the bottom, and then there is an end to our chance of surprising them. Be careful, above all things, how you walk, for if you set a stone rolling it will put them on their guard. We have to go as quietly as mice. Now follow me in single file, and keep as close as you can to each other, yet so far off that if you stumble you won’t touch the man in front of you.”

The men fell in, and Horace took his place at the rear. A few steps and they halted. The guide then went on in front of Martyn, and Mr. Beveridge and Zaimes fell in behind him. The hill rose so abruptly on the right that it was necessary to keep along on its slope, and very cautiously the men made their way along the hillside. Each step had to be felt before they put their weight down. Sometimes it was slippery grass, and so steep that they were obliged to crawl on all-fours to make their way along it. Sometimes they passed patches of bare rock and sometimes slides of loose stones. They had gone but a short distance when Martyn passed the word along in a whisper for them to sit down, pull off their shoes, and fasten them round their necks. Indeed, had it not been for this precaution, there were places across which it would have been impossible to pass. As it was, it took them a full hour to traverse the half-mile between the point from which they had started and the head of the valley. At last a sharp fall told them that they were at the edge of the ravine. As soon as they descended into it there was a short halt to allow Mr. Beveridge to rest.

“I am sorry I came,” he said as he sat down faint and exhausted. “I did not reckon on this sort of thing, Captain Martyn. If I had done so I would have remained with Tarleton.”

“It is all right now, Mr. Beveridge. We have done our climbing, and it is a marvel that we have done it without alarming those fellows below, for some small stones rolled down once or twice. But if they noticed them, no doubt they thought that it was some sheep or goats on the hillside. Now, my lads, before you go any further, you had better take a drink from your bottles. You will have to be careful in going down the ravine, for there are sure to be loose stones lying about.”

After a halt of five minutes they proceeded cautiously down, and at last, to their great satisfaction, stood on level ground, and soon entered a grove of fruit-trees, where they halted and lay down. There was a short consultation whether their guide should try and make his way into the village to inform the besieged of the help that was near in order that they might assist by opening a fire upon the besiegers as soon as the sailors made their attack. The idea was, however, abandoned, because, were he seen by the Turks, it would put them on the alert; and because, in the second place, he might be shot by the besieged as he approached the village. It did not seem to Martyn that there could be any difficulty in their getting in. It was not likely that more than fifty of the enemy at the outside could interpose between them and the village, and these, taken by surprise, and ignorant of the number of their assailants, could offer no effectual resistance, and they would be up under shelter of the guns of the defenders of the village before the Turks could rally from their first surprise.

Another two hours and daylight began to appear. Martyn waited until it was light enough to make their way through the trees without difficulty. Then the men, most of whom had fallen asleep as soon as they lay down, were roused.

“Now, my lads, you are to keep together. Keep your muskets slung, and use cutlass and pistol. I don’t expect there will be any serious resistance, but, at any rate, don’t straggle. Of course we don’t want any prisoners. Shoot or cut down any one who opposes you, and follow me straight on. Now, load your pistols.”

As soon as this was done they proceeded through the wood. The guide, as before, led the way. His instructions were that directly they were through the Turks he was to run on at the top of his speed, shouting to the villagers not to fire, as those approaching were friends. Martyn, Mr. Beveridge, Horace, and Zaimes, followed close behind the guide, the line of seamen extending behind them. They were nearly through the orchard when a shout was given and they saw a dozen figures leap up from the ground.

“Come along, lads!” Martyn shouted.

The sailors gave a cheer, and at a run the party rushed forward. The Turks, astounded at the appearance of this body of sailors, snatched up their muskets, one or two fired at random, and then the whole fled when their assailants were still thirty yards away. A few pistols were emptied at the fugitives, and then, paying no further attention to them, the party kept straight on. When they emerged from the trees the village was but some three hundred yards away. The Greek, waving his red sash and shouting “Friends, friends, do not fire!” dashed forward at full speed across the gardens that intervened between the orchard and the rocky knoll upon which the village stood. A row of heads appeared above the wall and a line of musket-barrels pointed outward. As the Greek approached shouts of welcome and triumph broke from the besieged, which swelled more and more loudly as the party of sailors were seen running in a compact body towards the wall.

A few straggling shots were fired by the Turks, but these passed harmlessly overhead, and the party reached the wall without a single casualty, and were soon helped over. The delight of the Greeks was only equalled by their astonishment at the approach of this body of foreign sailors. All hope of either escape or rescue had left them, and they had thought only of fighting to the last. As soon as they understood from the guide, Zaimes, Horace, and Mr. Beveridge that there was a ship in readiness to take them off, and that there was a chance of fighting their way through the besiegers, the village was the scene of the wildest delight. The men shouted, screamed, danced, laughed, and wept by turns. The women seized the sailors’ hands and kissed them, to the confusion of the tars, threw themselves on their knees, and poured out passionate ejaculations of thanksgiving that a hope of rescue should be afforded them, and it was some time before anything like order was restored. By this time the alarm had spread round the circle of the besiegers, and their anger was exhibited by shots being fired into the place, many of them pressing forward so threateningly that the defenders manned the walls, and opening fire upon the Turks drove them back out of range of their guns.

Chapter IX • Rescued • 6,600 Words

AS soon as the excitement subsided a little, Mr. Beveridge assembled the heads of the families in the village church. “You must prepare to leave at once,” he said. “Our landing will be shortly known, and it will be guessed that we intend to take you off in our ship. The consequence is, in addition to the enemies now round you others will gather, and it will be no longer possible to cut our way through. What we propose to do is to make a rush out, the women and children following us. As soon as we have gained that wood and driven the Mussulmans out the women and children will hurry up the path, while all the fighting men will hold the wood and keep the Turks at a distance. There are some more of my men at the top of the hill there; these will keep off any parties of the enemy who try to scale the hillside at other points. As soon as the women are fairly at the top the men will fall back gradually. The sailors will cover the retreat. We shall hold the top of the hill till we know that the women have got nearly down to the sea-shore, and then fall back. We are risking our lives here to save you, and we shall expect all the men to fight valiantly and to obey our orders. It is only by working well together that we can hope to beat off the Turks as we retreat, and to get safely on board ship. You must not load yourselves with baggage; of course each man can take anything he can carry wrapped in his sash, and the women can take bundles such as they can carry on their heads, but they must beware not to take too great weights. Anyone who lags behind will have her bundle taken off and thrown away.”

“Would it not be better to wait till night?” one of the elders of the village asked.

“No. The captain of the ship says that in the dark we should not be able to keep off the enemy nor to travel fast. We may lose rather more in the first rush in daylight, but after that the light will be all in our favour. How many men have you armed with muskets?”

“There are a hundred and forty-six men, and all have guns.”

“How many women?”

“There are about two hundred women and girls, and a hundred and eighty children of all ages.”

“Very well, I leave it to you to make preparations. You must tell the women that they are to keep together, and to follow about a hundred yards behind the men as they advance. As soon as the wood is taken they are to hurry through it, mount the hill by the path, and then without stopping a minute go on at the top of their speed to the sea-shore. It is just possible that some Turkish ships-of-war may have driven our vessel away, but if that is so she will be back again this evening. If they find she has gone they must sit down under shelter of the rocks near the shore, and we will keep the Turks at bay till the ship arrives. Make your preparations and get your valuables together, for in an hour from the present time we shall sally out.”

While this was going on Martyn had formed up the villagers, for the firing had now ceased. The besiegers had before shrunk from attacking the wall, relying upon famine to compel the defenders to surrender, and the addition, small as it was, to the garrison rendered any idea of assault more formidable than before. Horace acted as Martyn’s interpreter.

“Now,” he said, “I expect we shall have no difficulty in carrying the wood, for the enemy can have no idea that we intend to escape in that direction, or that we mean to sally out at all; therefore it is not likely that they will have more than fifty or sixty men at that point. In the first place I want forty determined men who can be trusted to obey orders.”

One of the leaders of the defence chose out that number of men. Martyn divided them into two parties and told off five sailors to each.

“Horace, you will take command of one of these bands, and you, Jones,” he said to the coxswain of his gig, “will take command of the other. Your bands will fall in behind the main body, which I shall lead. We shall go straight at the wood. You will follow us till you are half-way across the open, and will then take post, one to the right and the other to the left, fifty yards from the line we take. Your work will be to check any of the Turks who may come running down from the ends of the valley, and to cover the passage of the women. As soon as they have all passed along you will both run in and join us in the wood. Now, lads, I want the wall undermined for a width of ten yards or so, so that when we push it it will all fall together and leave a wide front for us to pour out. It is not above three hundred and fifty yards or so to the wood, and we shall be half-way across before the Turks can pull themselves together, and they won’t have time for much more than a shot each before we are upon them.”

In an hour the whole of the villagers were gathered. There were five or six wounded men unable to walk. These were laid on doors, and four Greeks were told off to each. The children were told off, one to each woman. Twenty of the Greeks were to form a special escort for the women, and Martyn’s order to their leader was, “See that each woman takes along the child told off to her. If she doesn’t help it along, take off her bundle and throw it away; force her to look after the child. Not a single child shall be lost if we can help it. Life first, property next.”

Martyn was well pleased with the bearing of the Greeks. The men looked ready and eager for the fight; the women, stern and determined. All of them had knives or daggers in their sashes. Some, in addition, had their husbands’ or fathers’ pistols. Their bundles were poised on their heads, and each, with the exception of a few of the old women, had an infant in her arms or held a child by the hand. The twenty English sailors formed the first line; behind these came the main body of the Greeks. Horace’s and Jones’ parties were drawn up three or four paces in their rear, and behind these were gathered the women.

“Now,” Martyn said to the Greek fighting men, “on one point my orders are distinct. Not a shot is to be fired until we reach the trees. Firing would be no good whatever; it would be a loss of time, and your guns would be empty just when you want them; besides, you would be as likely to shoot those in front of you as the enemy. All you have got to do is to follow me closely until you get into the olive grove, then scatter and clear it of the Turks; but don’t go a foot beyond them in pursuit. Directly it is clear let each man take up his station behind a tree at its edge, and defend himself there until the order is given to fall back.”

Zaimes translated the order, then the sailors advanced to the wall, from which the lower stones had been removed as far as was safe. “Now put your shoulders to it, my hearties, and heave all together. One, two, three; now!”

The walls shook as the sailors flung themselves against it. “It is going. Now another try.” There was a shout as the wall toppled over. Then with a cheer the sailors sprang forward, led by Martyn, dashed over the fragments of the wall and down the steep rock, the Greeks pouring after them in a confused mass, and then the whole dashed across the flat cultivated ground towards the olive grove. As Martyn had foretold, not a shot was fired until they were nearly half-way across, though loud shouts of alarm were heard, then a straggling fire was opened; but the enemy were evidently too flurried and alarmed to take aim. Without a check the sailors ran on, cutlass in hand, but the Turks did not await the attack. Outnumbered and surprised they had no sooner fired than they dashed away among the trees to join their companions right and left, and the olive grove was deserted when the sailors entered.

“That will do, lads!” Martyn shouted. “Leave the Greeks to hold the wood. Sheath your cutlasses and unsling your rifles. Come back with me to help the others; keep back the enemy in the open.”

There was, however, no occasion for assistance. The women, instead of waiting, had followed close behind the flanking parties, and were already coming into the wood. By the time Martyn joined the flanking parties the women had all passed, while Horace and Jones were just beginning to fall back with their commands. By this time the valley rang with shouts and cries, and guns were being aimlessly discharged, but the sailors were back in the olive grove before the Turks had mustered strongly enough to think of advancing. The sailors lay down in the intervals between the trees, and as soon as the enemy began to advance a heavy fire was opened upon them, the twelve rifles telling with deadly effect. The Turks on the opposite side of the valley instead of advancing at once to the assistance of their comrades, made a rush at the village as soon as they perceived that it was no longer defended, thinking for the moment much more of plunder than of attacking the retiring Greeks, while the parties who had begun to advance towards the wood rapidly retired again before the heavy fire opened upon them.

“Go round and stop those Greeks firing, Horace; the fools are simply wasting their ammunition,” Martyn said savagely as the Greeks continued to blaze away when the enemy were already out of range of their guns. Horace hurried off one way and Zaimes the other, and in a minute or two the firing ceased. As it did so the report of guns could be heard on the hill above them.

“That is Tarleton’s party at work,” Martyn said to Mr. Beveridge. “Of course the Turks have seen the women mounting the hill, and I suppose some of them were beginning to climb up to cut them off. Tarleton’s fire will stagger them a bit.” From the shouts in the valley it was evident that the enemy were gathering for a serious attack. Horace had returned to Martyn’s side.

“Now, Horace, do you take ten of the men and ascend the path half-way up the hill. Post five of them on each side of it to act as flanking parties. Zaimes, do you tell your countrymen it is time for us to be off. We must get well up the hillside before these fellows make their rush. Mr. Beveridge, will you make your way up the path at once. These Greeks are as active as goats, and I should recommend you to be pushing on to get a start of them.”

In a couple of minutes the entire party had left the wood and were mounting the path, Martyn and his sailors forming the rear-guard. The Greeks sprang up the path with such speed that the sailors, active as they were, had hard work to keep near them. Mr. Beveridge was speedily overtaken.

“Jones, you take Mr. Beveridge’s rifle; and do you, Hawkins and Baldock, help him along. Make haste, lads! we shall have a storm of bullets coming up after us in no time;” for as soon as the fugitives appeared on the path above the level of the tree-tops a loud shout had broken from the enemy, and it was certain they would soon be upon them. So rapidly, however, was the ascent made that Martyn and the sailors reached the spot where Horace with his party had taken up his position before a shot rang out from below. There was a slight shoulder on the hillside at this point, and lying down here the men were sheltered from the fire below.

“Wait here, my lads, until you get your wind. Their guns will hardly carry this height, and there is no fear of their showing themselves above the trees, at any rate for the present.”

Mr. Beveridge threw himself down on the grass, and even the sailors were glad of a pause, for in the five minutes that had elapsed since they left the wood they had climbed half-way up the hill and were fully three hundred feet above the olive grove. A roar of musketry broke out from below, and some of the Mussulmans dashed out from the trees, waving their guns and calling upon the others to follow them; but as soon as they showed themselves the sailors under Horace opened fire. Some of the others would have joined them, but Martyn forbade them.

“It is no use trying to take aim, lads, just after such a run as that. You must wait until your breath comes quietly, and your hands get steady again. You would be only throwing away powder and ball, and we shall probably want all we have got before we are on board the schooner again.”

The firing above still continued, and looking along the hillside men could be seen straggling up in considerable numbers on either side.

“Forward, lads! we must move on again. Horace, you may as well bring your men straight up. There is no fear of their venturing on an attack up this path. Bring your father on with you. There is no occasion for haste; we will push straight up now. Forward! Don’t run, but go at a steady pace that you can keep up till we reach the top.”

Horace followed with the rear-guard at a leisurely walk wherever the inequalities of the ground sheltered the path from the bullets that still came singing out from below, and stepping out briskly whenever they were exposed to fire. The coxswain was waiting with orders when they reached the top.

“The captain’s orders are, Mr. Beveridge,” he said to Horace, “that your party is to remain here for the present with these twenty Greeks. You are to spread along the edge here for a bit and keep up a fire, if the Turks try to climb the hill hereabouts. The captain is with a party away there on that high ground back on the left, and Mr. Tarleton with the rest back there on the right, so as to prevent the varmint working round in front of us. You are to let them know if you see any large bodies of men climbing the hill, either right or left of you.”

Horace divided his party in two, telling Jones with five sailors and ten Greeks to take post a hundred yards to the left of the path, while he with the others went the same distance to the right.

“Don’t let them waste their ammunition, Jones. My father and Zaimes will go with you, and as you three have rifles you may do something to check those fellows from climbing up away to the left. It is no use the others firing, their guns won’t carry half the distance. Of course if the Turks try to come straight up from the wood your party will all open fire upon them.”

As soon as he got to his station Horace lay down, and with one of the sailors with him who had a rifle, opened fire upon the stream of men ascending the hillside near the head of the valley. After firing three or four rounds he told the sailor to desist.

“We are only wasting our ammunition, Frost,” he said. “They are seven or eight hundred yards away, and the rifles are of no real use at more than half that distance.”

Ten minutes later he sent off sailors to Martyn and Tarleton, to tell them that the Turks continued to climb the hill in large numbers, and that he should think that at least two hundred men must have gone up on each flank, that flames had broken out in the village, and numbers of men were pouring out from there, and would probably join in the attack. A few minutes later a message came from Martyn:

“The captain says, sir, that now the women have got half an hour’s start we shall fall back. Your party are to retire by the path. He and Mr. Tarleton will work down the hill on your flanks. You are to keep your eye on them, and regulate your pace by theirs, keeping about a hundred yards in their rear, unless you are pressed, when you can double on till you are in line with them. He has sent orders to Mr. Tarleton, sir.”

Horace was expecting the order. A sharp fire had broken out on either side, and he knew that the Turks were trying to work round to cut them off.

“Run on,” he said to the sailor, “and tell the other party over there to join me in the path.”

In three minutes the united body was marching to the rear. The crackle of musketry was now incessant, and Horace soon caught sight of the two flanking parties making their way down the hill at a distance of a hundred yards or so on either side of the path. They were in scattered order, loading as they retired, crouching behind rocks to take a steady aim, and then retiring again; going at a run when the ground permitted it, hanging to the rocks and bushes when they afforded shelter. On the higher ground, to the left of Martyn’s party, were a number of Mussulmans. They were pursuing similar tactics to those of their opponents—at times crouching behind rocks, and then bounding forward with loud yells.

“Get ready to fire, lads,” Horace said. “The next time those fellows make a rush give them a volley. They are not thinking of us yet, and we shall take them by surprise. Take steady aim; don’t hurry. Halt; drop on one knee. They will be crossing that open space in a minute.” He repeated the order to the Greeks. “There they come,” he said a moment later. “Get ready! Now fire!”

Thirty guns rang out; several of the Turks fell, and the rest, with a shout of surprise, bounded back into the bushes.

“Now retire briskly for a bit, and load as you go.”

After a hundred yards’ running they again fell into a walk. Horace kept his eye upon Tarleton’s party. They did not seem so severely pressed, and had the advantage that their foes were on somewhat lower ground than they were. Presently a sailor came in from the left.

“Captain Martyn’s orders are that the two flanking parties are to fall back quickly to the path, then to double down the hill to that shoulder a mile below. You are to act as rearguard, and to follow close behind them.”

In two or three minutes the two flanking parties, taking advantage of cover which concealed them from the enemy, made a rush to the path. The body under Tarleton gained it first, and at once started down at the top of their speed. Martyn’s party were but a minute later. He himself paused till Horace came up at a run.

“We can go faster down this path,” he said, “than they can follow over the rough ground, and there are such a lot of them that they will jostle each other on the path, and won’t get along as fast as we shall. How are you feeling, Mr. Beveridge?”

“I am all right now we are going downhill, Martyn. It is only the climbing I can’t stand. This is really very exciting work, though I don’t like running away.”

“We will make another stand presently, but I wanted to be getting on. They will get stronger every minute, and we shall have to fight hard presently. Do you see that the schooner has gone?”

An exclamation broke both from Mr. Beveridge and Horace. In the excitement of the fight neither of them had thought of the schooner.

“There she is, five-and-twenty miles away to the northwest, with two Turkish frigates lumbering after her.”

The firing had ceased; the yells of the Turks rose loudly in the air, but they were fully two or three hundred yards in the rear.

“We are in plenty of time,” Martyn said. “We will line the other side of that flat step when we reach it. We can keep them back there for some time.”

There was no attempt at keeping in order, the path was too steep and broken; but they went down running and leaping, each as he best could. Down the path, in front, was a long straggling line of Greeks, with the sailors, keeping in two distinct bodies, among them. As soon as the head of the line came down on to the flat step in the hill they spread out right and left, and in less than ten minutes from the issue of the order to retreat the hundred and eighty men were lying down along the lower edge of the level ground, which was some forty yards across, the centre of the position being left vacant for the last party that arrived. The instant the rear-guard threw themselves down they opened a heavy fire upon the Turks, who were crowding down the path. Horace was lying next to his father.

“Do keep your head lower, father,” he said, as the Turks left the path and bounded in among the rocks and shrubs and opened fire.

“But I can’t take aim if I don’t see, Horace.”

“No, father, that is right enough; but you might move a foot or two back, so as to be in shelter while you are loading. Then, if you push your rifle up before you, you would only have to raise your head to look along the barrel and fire. Some of these mountain fellows are good shots.”

The firing in front of them increased every moment as the Turks poured down and took up their positions, until puffs of smoke seemed to dart out from every bush and rock. Martyn now went along the line posting the men. Horace’s party were left lying thickly opposite the path, in case the Turks should attempt a rush. The rest were disposed two yards apart, the sailors being placed at regular intervals among the Greeks. Fortunately the ground fell sharp away from the flat, so that even from the higher ground those lying behind it were completely sheltered, except when raising their heads to fire. This, by Martyn’s orders, they did but seldom.

“Let them blaze away as much as they like,” he said, “they do us no harm. The great thing is to have every musket loaded in case they make up their minds to try a rush, and I don’t think they will do that. The more smoke they make the better, for it prevents them taking aim. We can stop them here for hours, as long as they don’t work round our flanks.”

Satisfied that all was going on well, Martyn returned to Mr. Beveridge.

“We have stopped them for the time effectually, sir.”

“Yes, this is a capital position, Martyn.”

“Capital as far as it goes, sir. Of course if these fellows were soldiers they would either gather and make a rush, or march away and work round our flanks; but being only peasants, there is no one to command, and every man fights for himself. Macfarlane is at work with the wounded.”

“Did you lose many men in your retreat, Martyn?”

“No; three of the Greeks were killed and half a dozen of them were wounded, fortunately not severely. Two of our own fellows were hit, but neither of them badly. I have sent them and the Greeks on ahead to join the women on the shore. Tarleton lost two Greeks, killed, and had about as many wounded as I had. One poor fellow was so badly hit that he could not keep up with the others on the retreat. Two of our men tried to carry him; but it hurt him so much that he begged them to put him down; and as soon as they did he drew his pistol and shot himself. So, altogether, we have lost six, which is little enough, considering we are more than half-way down to the shore.”

“If they do try to outflank us, I suppose we must fall back again?”

“Yes, if they succeed we must do so. Of course we shall try to prevent it. Directly I see any signs of their trying it on, I shall make a strong effort to drive them back; but I don’t think they will try it at present, the sole object of each man seems to be to fire away his ammunition as quickly as he can. I have just been giving orders to the Greeks and our fellows to shove their caps up in front of them on the ends of their ramrods, so as to encourage the Turks to keep on firing, and to push a musket up and fire occasionally, without raising their heads to take aim. The smoke hanging about along the line will hide the trick of the caps, and the shots will keep the Turks blazing away.”

For two hours the firing continued; but towards the end of that time it slackened considerably.

“I expect a good many of them are running short of ammunition,” Martyn said. “Now they have done firing they will have time to talk a bit, and may arrange to march off somewhere, and come down between us and the shore; so I think it is time for us to be making a move. I will go along and tell every third man to fall back at once. I think, Mr. Beveridge, it would be as well that you should go with them. I shall send Tarleton in command, and tell him to pick out a spot, from a hundred to three hundred yards from the shore, and place the men in position there. Five minutes later you shall pick out every second man, Horace, and go down and join them. We will keep up a more rapid fire now, so that they sha’n’t have any idea we are falling back. Of course, when you join Tarleton, you will take up your position with him. I shall be down five minutes after you. When we are all there we can form a semicircle, with the ends resting on the sea, and there will be an end of this constant fear of being outflanked.”

Five minutes later Tarleton, with a third of the men, went off at the double down the path. Those left behind renewed their fire, taking aim among the rocks and bushes, and this at once provoked a fresh outburst of firing on the part of the Turks. In a short time Martyn told Horace to get his men together and be off, and in twenty minutes he joined Tarleton, who had taken up his post at a little more than a hundred yards from the shore. The men were slashing down bushes with their cutlasses, and piling them and stones so as to make a low breastwork. The party Horace had brought at once joined in the work.

“It is a screen we want more than a defence,” Tarleton said. “You see we are commanded everywhere from the hill, but these bushes will hide us, and they will only be able to fire into them at random; besides, we want them cut down in front of us to be able to use our guns.”

They were soon joined by the rear-guard.

“The Turks must be some distance behind,” Martyn said. “We could hear them blazing away when we were nearly half a mile on the road. That is a good work, Mr. Tarleton; we shall get it finished by the time they come.”

So strong a party made quick work of it, and in another quarter of an hour the screen of bushes was completed down to the shore on either side, the sweep being some three hundred yards in length, and the breastwork in most places three feet high.

“It won’t keep out bullets,” Martyn said; “but from the distance they won’t see how thin it is. At any rate it is a good screen.”

The whole of the Greeks and twenty of the sailors were placed at intervals of about six feet apart behind the screen, and each man was told to dig up the soil with a knife or cutlass in front of him, and with that and a few rocks to make a protection for himself against stray bullets. The other twenty sailors Martyn retained under his own command to carry to the assistance of the defenders at any point against which a serious attack might be made. Mr. Beveridge had gone down at once to the women and children who were sitting under shelter of the bank by the sea-shore, and cheered them by assurances that the schooner would be sure to return some time during the night. It was not until a quarter of an hour after the screen had been completed that parties of Turks could be seen descending the side of the hill. They did not seem to be hurrying.

“They think they have got us in a trap, Horace,” Tarleton said, “and that they have only to wait a bit to starve us out. Perhaps it is just as well the schooner made off, for it would have been hot work all getting on board under their fire, whereas now we shall be able to slip off in the dark almost without their knowing it.”

When the Turks approached to within a distance of three or four hundred yards of the breastwork, the party with the rifles opened fire upon them, and they at once fell back some little distance. For half an hour nothing was done, and then a party of fifty or sixty men were seen reascending the hill.

“They are going to make a siege of it,” Martyn said. “They don’t like the look of this breastwork.”

“But what are they sending the men away for, Martyn?” Horace asked.

“Because it is just as necessary for them to eat and drink, Horace, as it is for us. We have got our water-bottles and biscuits, and the Greeks have all brought something with them; they were warned to do so before they started. But those gentlemen all came off in a hurry. I don’t expect any of them had breakfast, and in the excitement not one in twenty is likely to have caught up as much as a gourd of water, so I have no doubt those men you see going up the hill are on their way to their villages for a supply of food and water, and perhaps to get some more ammunition if they can find any. I will warrant half those fellows in front of us have fired away their last shot. You will see they won’t disturb us any more to-day.”

A few shots only were fired from either side during the course of the day, this apparently being done on the part of the Turks from pure bravado, as they generally showed themselves conspicuously, brandished their long guns over their heads, and shouted defiantly before firing. One of them, however, having been shot by a sailor armed with a rifle, the amusement ceased, and during the afternoon all was quiet. An anxious look-out was kept seaward all day. At five in the afternoon one of the sailors sang out, “Sail, ho!”

“Where away, Baldock?”

“About west-north-west I should say, sir, though I ain’t sure of my bearings here.”

Martyn went up to where the man was standing on a rock that projected eight or ten feet above the surrounding ground, a position which would have been dangerous had not the Turks been almost out of range.

“There, sir, do you see just under that streak of white cloud? it is a little black patch.”

“I see it, Baldock.”

“I believe it is the schooner’s gaff top-sail, sir; it is too narrow for a square sail.”

“I think you are right, Baldock. It might be the peak of one of the native lateen sails, but I think it is too far away for that. It is about the direction we might expect the schooner to come from. She was more to the north-west when we saw her last, but to get round the Turks she would have to bear either one way or the other, and if she ran to the south that is just about where she would be on her way back. Hullo! that was a near shave; we had better get off this, Baldock.”

“Are you hit, sir?”

“Yes, but I don’t think it is of any consequence; it is in the arm, but as I can move it all right, it is only through the flesh.”

Half a dozen guns had flashed out in reply to the shot, which had been fired from a distance of less than a hundred yards, the man having crept through the bushes unseen. Martyn’s coat was taken off and his arm bandaged at once.

“It is rather foolish to expose yourself like that, Captain Martyn,” Mr. Beveridge said as he came up. “Your life is too valuable to us all to be risked in that way.”

“It was rather foolish,” Martyn laughed; “but I thought the fellows were out of range, and did not give them credit for enterprise. Anyhow there is no great harm done. I think we have made out the schooner, sir, and it is worth getting a ball through one’s arm to know that she is on her way back.”

“Do you feel sure it is her?”

“Well, I can say that it is not a square top-sail; that is certain, and it must either be her gaff top-sail or the peak of a lateen sail of one of these native craft; but I think it is the schooner. If it is, we sha’n’t be long before we can make out her fore-top gallant-sail. No native craft carries a lateen and anything like a square sail.”

“If it is the schooner, how far is she off, do you think?”

“Five-and-twenty miles, I should say. There is not much breeze, but that is all the better, for she will be slipping along now at least two knots to the Turks’ one, while in a strong breeze she would not go more than five to their four. It is five o’clock now, and though we can’t feel any wind here, I expect she is making five or six knots an hour. Anyhow she ought to be here between ten and twelve.”

A quarter of an hour later Baldock said: “May I take another squint from the look-out, sir?”

“Yes, but don’t stand there long, Baldock. I expect that fellow has moved off again if he was not hit by any of our shots. Still it is as well not to give him another chance.”

Baldock stood on the rock shading his eyes from the light of the western sun, which was now getting near the horizon. For a minute or two he stood uncertain, and then said:

“It is the schooner, sir, sure enough. I can just make out a black line below the sail; that must be her fore-top gallant-sail just showing.”

A cheer broke from the sailors lying along the shelter of the screen of bushes.

“That is good news, Baldock,” Martyn said. “Come down now; another half-hour will settle it anyhow, and there will be light enough till then.”

The next observation settled the question. It was certainly a square sail underneath the sharp peak of a gaff top-sail. The joy of the Greeks was extreme when they heard that the vessel that was to carry them away was in sight.

“The schooner will be in a nice mess,” Martyn grumbled to Tarleton. “With what there are on board now, and all these, there will be something like six hundred of them; a nice cargo that.”

“There is one thing,” Horace laughed, “I expect she has carried as many before.”

“Yes, I daresay she has taken six hundred slaves, but we can’t pack these Greeks as they pack slaves. There will be no moving on board, and as to fighting the guns if we fall in with a Turk, it will be well-nigh impossible. Why, she will be as deep in the water as she was when we sailed out of Plymouth. What is the weight of them all, Horace, do you suppose?”

“Not very great, Captain Martyn. I don’t suppose there are a dozen of the men weigh over ten stone. I suppose the women average seven, and the children, counting babies, say four. As there are as many children as there are men, that would make the average seven stone all round, but even if you said eight stone, which is a hundredweight, and they are certainly not that, or anything near it, that would make thirty tons, and it won’t be over that if you throw in all the bundles. You calculated that you got fifty tons out of her hold.”

“Oh, well, that is not so bad. If it comes on to blow we will make shifting ballast of them, and pack them all up to windward on both decks; that ought to make her as stiff as a church. It will be a big job getting them all on board tonight. There is one thing, I don’t suppose the Turks have made her out. Of course they don’t know that we are expecting a vessel, or anything about her rig. We must make a fire down on the shore as soon as it gets dark, and keep a sharp look-out for her, putting the fire out as soon as she is near enough for the light to begin to show on her sails. Then we will open fire all along the line as if we thought we heard them creeping up towards us, and that will cover the rattling of the anchor chain. I will hail Miller to muffle the oars, and in that way we may manage to get most of them on board at any rate before the Turks have an idea of what is going on. By firing an occasional shot we shall keep their attention fixed, and gradually withdraw from the line as we did from that place we held up there.”

Chapter X • A Daring Exploit • 6,400 Words

SOON after nine o’clock Will Martyn took his post on the shore at the northern end of the position. A dropping fire was kept up all round the semicircle, as if the defenders feared that the assailants might be trying to crawl up towards them. Martyn continued to listen intently for half an hour, then he thought he heard a sound on the water. In another minute or two he could make out the sound of voices.

“Miller has got his head screwed on the right way,” he said to himself. “He is showing no lights.” Another five minutes and he could dimly make out the outline of the schooner.

Misericordia ahoy!” he shouted.

“Ay, ay,” came across the water.

“I am going to put out the fire so that the light won’t show on your sails, and in a minute or two I am going to open fire heavily to cover the rattle of the chains. Directly you hear us begin let go the anchor; don’t answer.”

Horace was standing by the fire, and he at once scattered the brands and threw sand over them. Martyn ran up to the front of the position and shouted, “Open fire!” and the rattle of musketry broke out all round the screen. The Turks, surprised at the sudden din, and fearing that a sortie was going to be made, replied briskly, and for four or five minutes the fire was maintained. Horace down on the shore heard the rattle of the anchor chain and the creaking of the blocks, followed shortly by the sound of the tackle as the boats were lowered.

“Please muffle the oars, Mr. Miller!” he shouted, and the answering hail came across the water. Twelve of the sailors came down from their posts to assist with the boats, and in three or four minutes there was a slight splash of oars, and the four boats of the schooner ran gently ashore.

“All well, I hope?” Tom Burdett asked as he jumped out.

“All well, Tom, with the exception of about half a dozen slightly wounded.”

“Thank God!” the boatswain said. “I tell you we felt mighty sore at having to run away and leave you just at daybreak this morning, and you can’t tell how glad we were when we caught sight of the fire first and then made out the popping of the guns. Have you got the Greeks out, Mr. Horace?”

“Yes, there are over five hundred of them here.”

“My eye!” the sailor said, “that is something like a cargo.”

“I have got twelve men here, Tom. That will give you four and a helmsman to each boat with what you have got. Has Marco come ashore with you?”

“Yes, Mr. Horace. I thought I might be useful if you had got the Christians with you.”

“Yes, that is what I wanted you for, Marco. Now, then,” he said to the women who were clustered behind him, “take your places in the boats. Help them in, lads; there are lots of children among them. You need not be afraid of packing them closely so long as you leave yourselves room to row, for there is not a ripple on the water. Father, would you mind going off with the first lot?” he said as Mr. Beveridge came up. “Marco has come ashore to help here, and Mr. Miller does not talk their language. If you take Zaimes with you he can help settle them down as they come on board. Mind, lads, you are to make as little noise as you can. There are six hundred of those Turks lying round us, and if they got a notion of what was going on they would be coming on us like a pack of wolves, and in the dark they would be among us before we knew that they were coming, and your first boatload would be your last. Impress upon the Greeks, father, when they get on board, that not a word must be spoken.”

“Mr. Miller will see to that, sir, no doubt,” the boatswain said. “He has got the whole lot of them down between decks, and he and Bill Scoons have got the deck to themselves.”

The women and children were crowded into the boats, which were first backed stern on shore to allow them to enter. The sailors lifted the children, and wading into the water put them in. The smaller boats pushed off as soon as they were filled, and they were back again just after the two larger ones started. The schooner was but a hundred yards away, and so quickly did the work go on that in little more than a quarter of an hour the last batch of women and children left the shore. Horace directed Marco to see that the wounded were carefully lifted into the next boat, and to go on board with them; he then ran up to Martyn. The continuous fire had ceased now, but dropping shots were kept up all round the position.

“The last batch has gone on board, Captain Martyn,” he reported.

“Thank God for that, Horace! That is a load off one’s mind. It is a smart piece of work to have got them on board so soon. I did not expect you for some time yet. I have been listening sharply. Of course I heard sounds, but even here they were faint, while the Turks, being twice as far away, can hardly have heard them, and if they did would not have made them out, knowing nothing of what is going on. Now do you and Tarleton go off, one each way, and send every third man down to the boats; but if the third man is a sailor send the next Greek to him. When you get down to the shore go along to the boats and see the men off. As soon as they are in the boats start back again, sending the rest of the Greeks down to the shore. Then when you join me here I shall know that there are only our own men to draw off. Tell them all to keep up a pretty sharp fire when the Greeks have left.”

In a very few minutes they were beside him again. “The boats took the first batch off in one trip, sir,” Tarleton reported, “and they will be back again by the time the last fellows we have sent down get to the shore.”

“We will give them five minutes and then be off.”

“Mr. Miller sent word by the boatswain, sir, that he had got the guns loaded with grape, and blue lights ready, so that if they should at the last moment press you he will sweep the hillside as soon as you bring the men down to the shore.”

“I hope we shall not want it,” Martyn said; “but it is well to be on the safe side. I am sure we don’t want to kill any more of these poor beggars than we can help. Of course they wanted to massacre the Christians, but as they know their own people have been massacred in tens of thousands by the Greeks, it is only human nature they should take revenge. Anyhow I am glad there has not been much bloodshed. The only time we got fairly at them was when they first gathered for a charge at that olive grove, and again when they came down the path to that place where we stopped them. Of course a few fell while we were falling back, but I should say that from forty to fifty would be quite the outside; and likely enough it may not have been half that. It has been a much easier business than I expected. I must say, when we first got into the village and I saw what a crowd of women and children there were there I thought we were going to have a very tough job before we got on board the schooner again. Now I think we can fall back. Go down to the shore again, please, and start the men from that end, so that we can keep on firing from here up to the last moment.”

In a very few minutes the last of the defenders stepped into the boats and rowed off to the ship.

“All safe, Captain Martyn?” Miller’s voice asked as the boats came alongside.

“All safe, Mr. Miller.”

“Then we will give a hearty cheer, sir. They will know in a few minutes that you have gone, and it will make no difference. Now, lads, all together.”

And three hearty cheers broke from the English sailors, swelled by shouts and yells from the Greeks clustered on deck. As they stepped on to the deck Miller shook hands heartily with Martyn, Tarleton, and Horace.

“Thank Heaven you are all back safe again!” he said, “and, as I hear, without the loss of a single life. We have had an anxious time of it, as you may guess, since you have been away. I suppose we may as well get the boats up, sir?”

“Certainly. We sha’n’t want to go ashore again, Miller.” The boatswain’s whistle rang out, the falls were hooked on, and the boats run up to the davits.

“Don’t swing them in at present,” Martyn said. “We want all our room on deck. What have you done about the Greeks, Miller?”

“The cook had a big copper of soup ready, and they each had a basin as they came on board. We have given up the whole of the lower deck to the women and children. Our fellows and the men sleep on deck.”

“I thought that was how you would manage, Miller; indeed I don’t see any other way that it could be done.”

“I have got all the scuttles open down below,” Miller said, “and the hatchways off, so I think they will manage. It will be pretty close, no doubt, but none of these people are particularly fond of fresh air.”

“You have got supper ready for the men, I hope, Miller. They had something to eat in the village at daybreak, and they have had the biscuits they took with them; but I expect they are all ready for a regular meal. Of course they will have a ration of grog all round.”

“I have seen to all that, sir, and Marco came up just before you came alongside, to say that supper would be ready for us in five minutes. How he managed it I don’t know, for he, Mr. Beveridge, and Zaimes have been busy settling the women below ever since they came on board. How did the chief get through it?”

“As well as anyone, except in the climbing. There is a lot more in him than we thought, Miller. I watched him when he was loading and firing, and he was just as cool and quiet as if he was sitting here on the quarter-deck, and what was better, he always fell in with what I suggested without any talk or argument, and if I were asked I should say that he really enjoyed the whole business. I have never seen him look so bright and animated. Well, I am quite ready for supper; at least I shall be when I have had a wash.”

In a short time the party in the cabin was seated at supper. All were in the highest spirits. Their enterprise had been a complete success in every respect, and they were the more pleased that it had been accomplished without the loss of a single life on the part of the crew. The supper was not quite so varied as usual, and Marco apologized for its shortcomings.

“There is no occasion to say a word, Marco. It is excellent,” Martyn said. “I don’t know how on earth you have managed it.”

“I had most of it ready before we dropped anchor, Captain Martyn,” he said, “but I went ashore with the boats and have been helping with the women until a few minutes ago, so I have not had time to finish the things properly; but I thought you would rather have them so than wait.”

“Much rather, Marco. Now, Miller, let us hear your report. I have not had time to ask you a single question since I came on board. We made you out from the top of the hill twenty-five miles away, with two Turkish frigates after you.”

“Yes,” Miller said, “we were as near as possible caught in a trap. It was lucky I had had the anchor buoyed and the chain ready to slip. Of course we kept a sharp watch all night; I was on deck half an hour before day began to break, for I knew that that was the dangerous time. It was very dark then.”

“Yes, we know that,” Martyn put in. “We pretty nearly broke our necks scrambling along the face of a hill nearly as steep as a wall.”

“Just as the first gleam of daylight came,” Miller went on, “I made out two large craft coming along about a mile and a half from shore. They were not quite abreast of us, perhaps half a mile south. You may guess we lost no time in slipping the chain and getting up our head sails. Fortunately there was enough breeze even in here to fill our sails. I knew they could not make us out as yet, lying in here under the shadow of the land, and, indeed, I was half inclined for a moment to lower the sails and trust to their not making us out at all, but as it would soon be light, and no doubt they would be keeping a sharp look-out for us, I saw it wouldn’t do. It was not long before I saw that, though, of course, they had a good deal more wind than we had, we were holding our own with them.

“Ten minutes after we got under weigh they made us out and changed their course, steering so as to cut us off before we were clear of the northern point, while I stood a little more out so as to get farther from the shelter of the land and catch a little more breeze. They closed a bit with us, and one of them began to try the distance with his bow-guns, but though we were not quite out of range, the shot went altogether wide of us. I never saw such lubberly shooting. We were better than a mile ahead when we came out beyond the point and got the true wind. As soon as I felt her beginning to walk along I got a couple of sails overboard to deaden her way and stood for the north-west. The Turks got out stun-sails and did their best to come up to us, and as the wind was pretty fresh they walked along faster than I should have given them credit for, and I had to get one of the sails on board again to keep my distance. They fired occasionally, but as I kept them in line they could only bring a couple of bow-chasers to bear.

“I don’t think we altered our distance by a ship’s length for six hours, by which time we were a good thirty miles away from the island, and nearly dead to leeward; so I thought it was about time to begin to have some amusement. Directly we had started I had got the cook to make a tremendous fire in the galley, and had put six eighteen-pounder shot in it. I kept coal heaped on, and stuck a couple of extra lengths on to the chimney to make it draw, and by this time the balls were red-hot. We did not begin with them at first, but having got the second sail out of water we luffed a little so as to get the pivot to bear, and Tom Burdett sent the first shot smack into the frigate’s fore-foot. She yawed a bit, and let us have four or five of her forward guns on the starboard side, and this time a couple of shot went through our sails. As I did not want to run any risks I held on till I put another half-mile between us; then I began again with the pivot.

“The boatswain is a capital shot and hulled the leading frigate every time. Evidently she did not like it. I expect she had no idea that a craft of this size carried such heavy metal, and she came up into the wind and gave us a broadside. I put the helm down at the same moment as she did and returned the compliment. We trained the guns high, and as good luck would have it one of the shots struck the maintop-mast and down it came bringing the fore and mizzen-topgallant masts down with it. We gave a cheer, and the Greeks yelled like fiends. I had sent the women and children down into the hold, but the men were on deck, and they danced about like lunatics when they saw the top hamper of the Turk go over her side. We wore round and gave her the other broadside, then I set the Greeks to work to load the broadside guns, while our fellows went to the pivot again.

“Now was the time to try the red-hot shot while she was lying broadside on to us, and we plumped the whole six into her, one after the other; then we stood off again, for the other frigate had come up and was joining in the game. If we had had a spar knocked out of us it would have been all up, for they each carried something like forty guns. As soon as they got pretty well out of range I hauled my wind and stood south. The first frigate was still in complete confusion. With my glass I could make out the men trying to cut away the wreck, but it was not long before I saw a thin wreath of smoke rising from her forward hatchway, and presently I saw her ensign half hauled down as a signal of distress to her consort, which at once gave up the chase, which she must have already seen was useless, and bore down to her. Thinking I had done enough, and being in such a stew about you all, I left them to settle matters as best they could and began to beat back to the island. When we were five miles away a pillar of smoke was rising from the frigate, and with the glass I could make out boats passing backwards and forwards between her and her consort, which was lying-to near her; and the last we could make out of her was that she was in flames from keel to truck.”

“Capital, Miller, that was splendidly done!” Martyn exclaimed. “Fancy a schooner with ten men on board destroying a forty-gun frigate. That was a capital idea of yours of heating the shot.”

“The cook is in a great way,” Miller laughed, “for we pretty well melted the galley, and we shall have to get a fresh one next time we put into port. And now tell me about your share of the day’s work.”

“Well, we have done very well,” Martyn said; “but you have quite taken down any conceit we may have felt. I quite envy you.”

“You need not do that, Martyn,” Mr. Beveridge said; “one may be as proud of saving five hundred lives as of destroying a frigate, admirable as the action was. I will tell you about our doings. I have no doubt Martyn will be too modest to do justice to himself. Ah! what is that?” He broke off as he heard the report of a gun, followed by several others.

“The Turks venting their dissatisfaction,” Martyn said. “I expected it before this. Of course they heard our cheer, but at the distance they were they may not have made out it came from the water, and I expect they were some time before they crawled forward and found out that our lines were deserted. We will fire a round of grape over their heads as a hint to them that they had better clear off, and as there is no hope of either plunder or blood they will not care about risking their lives for nothing. Will you go up, Mr. Tarleton, and just touch off one of the port guns. Don’t fire in the direction they are shooting from. We only want to frighten and not to hurt them.”

In a couple of minutes the vessel quivered as an eighteen-pounder sent its contents rattling among the rocks. Tarleton soon rejoined the party, and Mr. Beveridge proceeded to relate to Miller the events of the day.

“The next time I land, Mr. Miller,” he concluded, “I shall take good care to ascertain the nature of the ground we have to cross. I have never been accustomed to active exercise, even as a boy I never cared for it; but I could not have believed that human lungs could have failed in their action so completely, or human heart bump as mine did in going up that hill. As for the scramble along it in the dark, it was a sort of nightmare. Martyn and Zaimes hauled me along like a helpless bundle. I was only conscious of my feet continually slipping from under me, of grasping at the grass, of having my knees bruised against rocks, and of thinking every moment that my coat collar must give way and that I must roll to the bottom of the hill. Zaimes had hold of that, and Martyn of my arm, and I should say that my flesh will be black and blue for weeks. I mentally registered a vow that though I was ready to fight for the Greeks I was not ready, and never would again undertake to climb among mountains for them. There is a limit to the endurance of human nature, and the limit was very distinctly passed upon that occasion. Moreover, my dignity as a man suffered. I was humiliated at my own helplessness, and was deeply impressed with the thought that my whole life had been a mistake when it resulted in my being hauled along by Zaimes, who is a year or two older than I am, I believe. I made a resolution to practise athletic exercises, but I am afraid that, like many other good resolutions, it will be dropped with the memory of that terrible hour.”

“Where are you thinking of landing all these people, Mr. Beveridge?”

“I have not the least idea, Martyn. Where do you think?”

“So that we get rid of them as quickly as possible, sir, it doesn’t matter in the slightest. There is one thing certain, it will be weeks before we shall get the decks white again, and I should say that a thorough fumigation of her from stem to stern will be advisable. I don’t suppose the British authorities would be grateful to us if we were to dump them all down in Zante or Corfu, because it is certain they would have to feed the greater portion of them for a considerable time. On the other hand, if you land them at any Greek port there is a very strong risk of their all dying of starvation; the new government have other things to think about.”

“It is very awkward, Captain Martyn, very awkward,” Mr. Beveridge said seriously. “However, it is evident that now we have rescued them they can’t be allowed to starve.”

“There is one thing, father,” Horace put in. “I think that money would be much better laid out in feeding them than in enabling the politicians and the Klephts to spend it in gaudy dresses and in keeping bands of armed ruffians round them.”

“Certainly it would, Horace. As to where they had better be landed, I should say that we might give them their choice of say four or five places. It would be much better that they should be divided, as they would in that way be more likely to get employment than if they were all turned out at one place. Some might be landed at some of the Greek islands, some in the Morea, others at Athens, and some, perhaps, in the Ionian Islands, where they would be under the British flag.”

“I think they would be a deal better off there, father, than in Greece or the Greek islands, where at present everyone is thinking of war, and the fields are going out of cultivation. They certainly would do a great deal better in Corfu, Cephalonia, and the other islands than they would elsewhere; and if they were landed in small batches they might find work. I expect most of them have got a little money, and as living is very cheap, if you were to give them a couple of pounds a head it would enable them to live a long time while they are looking for work. Besides, there are committees on those islands for helping refugees; so I do think it would be better to land all those who have no friends in Greece, or any particular wish to go there, in our islands. I should say Zaimes and Marco might go round among them in the morning and ask if any of them have friends in the Greek islands or the mainland, and to put it to the others, that though they can be landed in Greece if they like, they will probably be better off and certainly much more free from anxiety and danger, in the Ionian Isles.”

“I think that that would be a very good plan,” Mr. Beveridge said. “When are you going to get under sail again, Captain Martyn?”

“As soon as I have finished this cup of coffee, Mr. Beveridge, we will get a boat lowered and find the buoy and pick up the anchor Miller slipped this morning. I don’t want to lose that, and the chain. As soon as we have got it on board we will be off. There is not much breeze here after dark, but we may as well get what benefit we can from it. I have no fear of the other Turkish frigate looking in here on her way back; and if she did, now that we have got all our crew on board, I have no doubt we could give a good account of her. But I want to be under weigh. There will be no comfort on board till we have got rid of our passengers. Whereabout do you think the buoy is lying, Miller?”

“I fancy we were anchored a couple of hundred yards or so farther out, and a quarter of a mile astern. You know where you landed last night. You had to march along the beach some little distance before you came to the path on the hills.”

“That is so, Miller. I am afraid we shall have some little trouble in finding it. However, we will have a try. It is just eight bells now, and it won’t be light for another six hours. I don’t want to waste that time if I can help it.”

“Well, I will take one of the gigs, and Tarleton can take the other. We will take some blue lights with us, and I expect we shall soon find it.”

“Very well. Directly you do, hang on to the buoy-rope and get the end of the chain into your gig. Hail me, and send Tarleton back. We will get up her anchor at once, and the gig and the long-boat shall tow the schooner up to you. Then you can pass the end of the chain on board, and we will get it round the capstan and have the anchor up in no time. Now, Mr. Beveridge, if you will take my advice you will turn in at once. You only got a couple of hours’ sleep last night in that orchard, and have had twenty-four hours’ really hard work.”

“I will take your advice, Martyn;” and Mr. Beveridge touched the hand-bell beside him. “Marco, you must help me to my cabin, for I am so stiff I don’t think I could get out of my chair by myself.”

“We will help you in, sir,” Martyn said; and he and Miller raised Mr. Beveridge from his chair and almost carried him into his cabin. Then they lit their pipes and went on deck.

The buoy was found after a few minutes’ search, and in another ten minutes the schooner was under-weigh and stealing out from the land.

“I will take the watch,” Miller said. “You had better all turn in. I will put a couple of the hands who remained with me at the wheel, and let all the rest lie down. As they will be on deck one can rouse them up in a minute if they are wanted.”

The next day the two Greeks went among the fugitives and questioned the heads of each family as to the number of their party, the means they possessed, and whether they had any friends in Greece. Most of them possessed a little money, the proceeds of their last harvest and vintage, and some eight or ten had sums varying from a hundred to four hundred pounds, besides the jewels of their females, which, in their cases, were of considerable value. Some of the poorer ones had literally nothing beyond the clothes in which they stood and a few almost worthless trinkets. There were not half a dozen of the whole number who had friends or connections in Greece. Some thirty of the unmarried men expressed their desire to join the Greek army and fight against the Turks; the rest thankfully embraced the offer of being landed on islands under the protection of the British flag. It took a whole day to ascertain all these particulars, and on the following day the exiles were asked to divide themselves into parties according to the villages from which they came, in order that acquaintances and relations should be landed together.

When this had been done, Zaimes distributed, in the name of Mr. Beveridge, to the head of each family a sum amounting to two pounds for each of its members, except to those whose resources were sufficient to maintain them for a considerable time.

The wind was very light, and it was six days after they weighed anchor before they entered the port of Zante. Another week was spent in landing the fugitives among the Ionian Islands, each party being in proportion to the size of the island and the facilities of obtaining employment there. The gratitude of the poor people to Mr. Beveridge, and indeed to all on board the schooner, was very great, but they were all much depressed on landing. At first their delight at having escaped with their lives was unbounded. But as the days went on, and the feeling that they had lost all else, were separated for ever from their birthplace and home, and were in future to live among strangers, overwhelmed them.

Mr. Beveridge went a great deal among them, and endeavoured to cheer them with the assurance that the war could not last very long, and that at its termination, whenever that might be, there would certainly be a general amnesty, and that all fugitives would then be permitted to return to their homes. He therefore advised them to keep this always in mind, and to lay by every penny they could spare of their earnings, so that they would eventually be able to return to Cyprus and resume their former life. When the Misericordia left Cyprus there remained on board only some half a dozen families who had friends in Greece, and the young men who intended to join the Greek army. Never did a vessel undergo a more thorough washing and cleaning up than the schooner on her voyage round to Athens. The deck was scrubbed and holy-stoned twice a day; the lower deck was equally cleaned, and, in addition, the woodwork received two coats of fresh paint, after having been thoroughly fumigated.

“The Greeks may have their virtues,” Martyn remarked to Miller, “but cleanliness on board ship is marked by its absence.”

“There is no doubt about that,” Miller agreed. “I have always heard that a cargo of Mohammedan pilgrims to Mecca was about the most painful experience a sailor could have; but I back the Greeks against them. I don’t think the schooner herself liked it. She seemed to have lost all her liveliness and to be depressed at being turned into a human pig-stye. I don’t believe it was worse between decks when she had a cargo of slaves on board.”

“Mr. Beveridge has just told me,” Martyn said, “that I am to tell the crew that at the next pay he shall give three pounds a head to each man as a reward for their work at Cyprus and the inconveniences they have been since put to.”

“They will appreciate that,” Miller said. “They certainly have been put about a good deal, and they will be pleased at the recognition of it as much as with the money. Besides, the same thing may happen again, and it is a good thing to keep them all in a good humour, especially as at present there hasn’t been any chance whatever of prize-money.”

“What are the next orders, sir?” Martyn asked Mr. Beveridge when they had finished supper.

“There will be nothing particular going on for some time, I should imagine, Captain Martyn. The Turkish army does not seem to be ready to advance, and the Greeks are not troubling themselves to get up an army at all. After the last affair every man made off with the booty he had gathered to his own village; and there, I am afraid, they are all likely to stay till a Turkish army invades them. Athens and Nauplia may hold out for some time longer—for weeks, perhaps, possibly for months. Therefore, for the present I leave it entirely with you to cruise where you think best.”

“Then, sir, we will go south. Since we have come out we have not taken a prize worth having; and I think that as prize-money was certainly one of the inducements held out to the sailors when they joined, we might as well try to pick up a few Turkish merchantmen. There is no doubt that the ships from Smyrna and all the Syrian ports, as well as from the islands, keep near land, and that even those bound for Alexandria and the African ports coast round there also. Some of these no doubt carry rich cargoes, and many will be taking Greek slaves to Alexandria and Tunis; so we shall be carrying out your object by releasing them, as well as picking up some prize-money. I think the men well deserve a little indulgence in this way. Their work has not been altogether pleasant for some time. They have been turned out of their quarters, and have had to sleep under the awning forward. I have heard no grumbling among them, for I am sure they were glad to do all they could to help the poor creatures we have had on board. Still, they will be glad of a chance of what they would consider legitimate business.”

“Very well, Captain Martyn, let it be so. I quite agree with you as to the excellent conduct of the men. They have certainly had a good deal of hardship to put up with, for everything has been very uncomfortable since our visit to Cyprus.”

In a few minutes the boatswain’s whistle was heard, followed by the tramp of the men round the capstan and the stir of getting up sail. Then the watch was set, and the schooner sped along under a gentle breeze towards the south.

For the next two months the Misericordia cruised on the coast of Syria. Scarce a day passed without some vessel being overhauled. Many of these were small coasters laden only with grain or other cargoes of small value. These were permitted to proceed on their way without interference. Of the larger vessels some contained mixed cargoes. In the cases where no Greek captives were on board, the valuable portion of the cargo was transferred to the schooner, and the ship was then permitted to proceed on her voyage. Where Greek slaves were found on board, the captain was given the choice of having the vessel burned, or giving a bond for an amount equal to half her estimated value and that of the cargo, signed by himself, the representative of the owners, if there was one on board, and the principal passengers.

These bonds could not, perhaps, have been enforced in any court; but Mr. Beveridge had confidence in the honesty of the Turks, and in every case the amounts were duly forwarded to the agents he named. Seven ships contained valuable cargoes of silks, tobacco, and wine. These were all bound for Alexandria and Tunis, and carried a considerable number of Greek women and children, the survivors of massacres in towns in Asia Minor. In these cases the Turks were all placed in their boats within two or three miles of land, and the vessels with prize crews on board were consigned to Greeks at Corinth and Athens, who had undertaken to act as Mr. Beveridge’s agents, and who were to dispose of them and their cargoes to Greek merchants.

Chapter XI • In the Hands of the Turks • 6,400 Words

TOWARDS the end of the cruise the schooner had just returned to the coast of Asia Minor after having run across to Athens and taken on board the officers and men who had sailed the last prizes taken there. On the day after they took up their place on their cruising ground they fell in with a large polacca brig. The vessel mounted ten small guns, and fought with some obstinacy, and it was not until Martyn placed the schooner so that she could rake the brig’s decks, which were crowded with men, that she hauled down her flag.

“Lower two boats, Miller. You take charge of one and Tarleton the other. By the look of those fellows I don’t believe they are Turks at all. I believe they are from Algiers or Tunis; pirates at ordinary times, but who have come here to pick up slaves cheap. They are treacherous beggars, so be on your guard. There is a very strong crew. Don’t row alongside till I lay the schooner broadside on.”

In five minutes Miller hailed from the deck of the prize, “You are right, sir, they are Algerines, and as cut-throat a looking lot as ever I came across. She is crowded below with Greek women and girls, and as far as I can see at present she has no cargo of any sort. I have sent one of the boats for Marco. He can speak to the women, who are making a fearful hubbub down below.”

“Have you disarmed the crew, Mr. Miller?”

“Mr. Tarleton has just finished that. We have had to knock a good many of the scoundrels down. They are as savage as wildcats.”

The schooner was brought alongside the polacca and lashed there. The deck of the prize showed that the fire of the schooner had been terribly destructive. Over twenty bodies lay scattered about, principally round the guns.

“Are they all dead?” Martyn asked as he stepped on board.

“They are all dead now, but they were not when we boarded her. But as they lay there they fired their pistols among us. Two or three pretended to be dead, and then sprang up, knife in hand, and several of the men have got nasty cuts; so that was soon put a stop to. Some of the fellows below made quite a fight of it, and the men had to use their cutlasses pretty freely. However, they are all disarmed and bound now. I have no doubt they are Algerine pirates, and deserve to be hung to the yard-arm every man-jack of them.”

“Have you overhauled the hold yet?”

“Yes, sir. It is filled with these unhappy slaves. She evidently came merely in ballast, with money to buy them.”

“Well, no doubt these fellows have been pirates, Mr. Miller, but as we have no means to prove it we must let them go as we have the others, though it is a nuisance, for they only warn the people at the ports against us. We won’t put them on the mainland this time, but land them on one of the little islands. They may be some time in getting a craft to take them to the mainland, and then they will find it rough work making along the coast. However, we can settle upon that later. The first thing to do is to get the decks roughly cleaned and the dead bodies thrown overboard.”

A dozen men were set to work with mops and buckets, while others fastened shot to the feet of the Algerines and dropped them overboard. As soon as this was done Marco was sent below to tell the captives that they could come on deck.

As the women poured up, looking almost dazed at their sudden release, and at the bright sunlight after the stifling atmosphere of the dark hold in which they had been confined for six days, Horace saw one of them, a woman of some five-and-thirty years of age, to whose side a girl of fifteen was clinging, looking round with an air of excitement, in strong contrast to the comparative apathy of the others. She glanced round at him and the men engaged in tidying up the deck, and then with a cry sank fainting on the deck. He hurried up to her, and partly raised her, when he was struck by the cry of the girl, “Oh, mother, mother!” He looked at her in astonishment.

“Are you English?” he exclaimed.

“Yes,” she cried, “we are English; but we have been seized and carried away by these horrid Turks. Mother said she fancied she heard some shouts in English, but she thought she must have been mistaken, as only a Greek came down and spoke to us in the hold, and she did not think it possible that it could be English. And have you rescued us out of the hands of the Turks, sir? Mother said they were taking us away to sell us as slaves.”

“Yes, we have rescued you,” Horace said. “You are free now. If you will hold your mother’s head for a moment I will fetch the doctor; we have one on board.”

“If you would get a little water, sir, she will soon come round. She has fainted several times since we were captured.”

Horace, however, caught sight of Macfarlane.

“Doctor, here is an English lady among the captives. She has fainted. Please see to her. I will run to get some water;” and he sprang over the bulwark on to the deck of the schooner.

“Bring some brandy with you too,” Macfarlane said as he hurried to the side of the fainting woman.

Horace rushed down to the cabin, and returned with a jug of water, a decanter of brandy, and a tumbler. The doctor sprinkled some water on the lady’s face, poured a few drops of spirits between her lips, and in a minute or two she opened her eyes.

“It is all right now, madam,” he said as she looked round in a confused way. “You are safe among friends and British sailors.”

“Thank God for His mercies!” she murmured, while tears fell down her cheeks. “It seems almost too great happiness to be true.”

In a few minutes she was well enough to be assisted down to the cabin of the schooner, where she was left to the care of her daughter for a time. Half an hour later she was able to relate her story to Mr. Beveridge. She was, she said, the wife of an English merchant at Smyrna. They lived a short distance out of the town, and had, since the troubles began, gone but little abroad, for although it was only the Greeks who had been involved in the massacre that had taken place there some months before, there was a good deal of hostility upon the part of the lower class of the population against all Christians. One evening she had been with her daughter in the garden, her husband being engaged till late at his business in the town. It was just getting dark, and she was about to re-enter the house, when five or six ruffians of the lowest class rushed into the garden, seized her and her daughter in spite of their shrieks, threw thick cloths over their heads, and then carried them away. They were taken for some distance, when they stopped, and she heard an animated conversation and the clink of money. Then they were placed in a boat, and presently carried up on to the deck of a ship and taken below.

When their mufflings were removed they found they were in the hold of a vessel with a large number of Greek captives. She endeavoured in vain to make herself understood by the sailors who came below, and who, she perceived at once, were not Turks. She told them that she was English, and that her husband would pay a large sum if she and her daughter were set on shore unharmed. No attention was paid to her entreaties, but on her persisting she was brutally knocked down, and in a short time a man, who was evidently an officer, came down and forced them both to take off their European dresses and put on others that some of the Greek women were ordered to hand over to them. It was now evident to her that they had been seized by some of the ruffians of the town and sold to the Algerines, who were in no way particular as to the nationality of their slaves, and that they were destined to be sold in the slave-market of either Tunis or Algiers.

A few hours after they were taken on board they heard the anchor run up, and could soon tell by the ripple of the water against the planks that they were under weigh. All hope now left them, and they had passed a terrible six days, overcome by despair, and half suffocated by the foul air of the hold. Hope had again sprung up when a gun was fired overhead, and it was soon evident that the vessel was engaged in an encounter with an enemy. At last the firing ceased, then there was a sound of shouting and the clashing of swords on the deck above their heads. Presently the hatchways had been opened and a Greek had come down and told them that the vessel had been captured from the Turks, and that they were free. She fancied that she heard English voices, but until she had reached the deck and saw the faces and uniforms of the sailors, she thought that she must be mistaken. After that she remembered no more until she heard the doctor’s voice.

“I am rejoiced indeed that I have been enabled to save you and your daughter from the horrors of slavery,” Mr. Beveridge said. “We have had the pleasure of rescuing many hundreds of Greek women and children from the hands of the Turks, but I never expected to find a countrywoman among them. This cabin will be at your disposal, except that we must, I fear, take our meals here. The cabin adjoining will be wholly yours. In the course of a week I hope to land you at Corfu, thence you will be able to write to your husband and arrange either for joining him again at Smyrna, or taking a passage for England, which would, I should think in the present state of things, be the wisest course. My purse will be entirely at your disposal. I am the owner of this schooner, which is called the Misericordia, and although we fight under the Greek flag, and have come out to assist them to obtain their independence, we are principally devoting ourselves to saving the unhappy victims of this war.”

The lady, whose name was Mrs. Herbert, expressed her deep gratitude, and Mr. Beveridge at once took possession of Miller’s cabin, as the lieutenant would, he had no doubt, remain in charge of the prize. When the capture was made, the schooner was some eighty miles to the east of Rhodes, and after talking the matter over with Miller, Martyn decided to land the Algerines on Caxo, an islet lying some fifty miles to the south-west of Rhodes. Miller and Tarleton were for the present to continue on board the prize. The prisoners, forty-eight in number, were transferred into the schooner. The next evening they arrived off Caxo, where the Algerines were landed in boats. Martyn then went on board the polacca.

“I have been thinking, Miller, that as we seem to have frightened all the Turks into remaining in port for the present, I will leave you and Tarleton on board the polacca, and give you twenty men and let you cruise on your own account, while we take these women and children round to the Ionian Isles. We will shift two of the eighteen-pounders on board this craft. No one will suspect you, and you will have a good chance of picking up some more prizes, while the sight of our white sails sends everything running into port as far off as they can be seen. We can rendezvous here again this day fortnight.”

“I should like that very much,” Miller said, “and I think it is a capital plan. I must ask Mr. Beveridge to let me have Marco, or I shall have no means of making myself understood either by Turk or Greek.”

A fortnight later the schooner returned to the island. She had had rough weather for the last three days of her voyage, but the sky had now cleared again.

“There is the island,” Martyn said, as Horace came up at six o’clock in the morning to take charge of the watch, for he had now command of the starboard watch, and Tom Burdett had the port. “There is the island, but there is no sign of the polacca yet. I wonder Miller is not here first. If we had been having calms I should not have been the least surprised at his not turning up, but with this strong southerly wind there is no reason why he should not have been here. Go up to the main-top, Horace, and take a look round.”

But Horace could see no sail in sight.

“You are not uneasy about Miller surely,” Mr. Beveridge said at breakfast, seeing that Martyn was not in his usual spirits.

“Well, I am rather uneasy, sir. Miller would be more likely to be a day too soon than too late, and with the wind from the south he could have calculated his time here from wherever he happened to be, within an hour or two. The wind has been strong with us, and for aught I know it may have been blowing a gale more to the east. We don’t know much about the sailing qualities of the polacca, certainly she was very light in ballast, and if she has been caught off a lee shore in a heavy gale she may not have been able to claw off, especially if she happened to be embayed when it came on. Of course we must give him twenty-four hours more, but if he does not come then we will shape our course north-east and cruise along the coast; as we get eastward we may pick up some fishing craft or small coaster and hear what the weather has been there, possibly even get news of the polacca. If Miller gets here after we have left, he will guess what course we have taken. Very likely he will land a boat and learn that we have been here, and the course we took when we sailed away, and would then be guided by circumstances. At any rate, if nothing has happened to him, we are sure to meet sooner or later.”

“Do just as you think best, Captain Martyn. I most sincerely trust that there are no grounds for your uneasiness. Hitherto everything has gone well with us, and it would be terrible indeed if anything should have happened to our two friends and so many of our brave fellows.”

The day passed slowly. A look-out was kept in the top, but until the sun went down no sail was seen above the horizon. The crew shared the anxiety of their captain, and gathering in groups, discussed what could have occurred to prevent their consort arriving at the rendezvous.

“I don’t believe as the Turks have caught them,” one of the sailors said. “You won’t never gammon me into taking in such a yarn as that. I don’t believe as there is a Turk living would get the weather gauge of Lieutenant Miller. As to tempests, that is different. We don’t care for tempests one way or the other on board the schooner, but then she is a craft such as you don’t see twice in a v’yage round the world. If they had been in her I shouldn’t have felt noways uneasy; but seeing as how they are in a outlandish brig whose ways they don’t understand, it may be that if they was caught off a lee shore by a heavy gale, even the first lieutenant with our men at his back couldn’t get her out of the mess.”

“I said all along,” another sailor put in, shaking his head, “as there was bad luck coming. Three days ago I dreamed of a black cat, and everyone as knows anything knows as there ain’t nothin’ more unlucky to dream about than a black cat.”

“Surely, Bill,” another said, shaking his head gravely.

“Well, mates, it is my opinion,” Tom Burdett said gruffly, “as there is something in dreams, but in nine cases out of ten it is something as has gone afore and not what comes after. I know once when I came back from a v’yage I had written a letter to tell my old woman what time I should arrive. I reckoned to be in to dinner. Well, the coach broke down and I did not get in till nine o’clock. The old woman had made a plum-duff pretty nigh as big as my head, knowing as I was fond of it, and she was in such a taking at my not having been in to eat it at dinner that I sat down and I finished that there pudding cold for supper. Well, I dreamt of about ten million black cats and about as many sharks mixed up together, but if you will believe me nothing came of it; and ever since that I have held to the opinion that when you have a bad dream, what you have got to think about when you wake ain’t what it means in the future, but what you have been having for supper.

“Now, I expect if Bill there was to turn his mind back he would remember that the night as he had that dream, he had been filling hisself up with fruit or such like trash afore he turned in. I don’t say as nothing has happened to Lieutenant Miller and our mates, but I am cocksure as that black cat Bill said he dreamt on hadn’t nothing to do with it either way. Why, bless me, in my village there is hundreds of women as thinks of nothing but dreams and tokens. It is no matter what you dream of, they have got a ’terpretation of it, and if the ’terpretation happens to be a bad one they bother their husbands and brothers and sons, as the case may be, not to put to sea, and there is many a good fisherman whose cupboard is bare half the year, through listening to them. I may have my ideas as to whether harm are come to that polacca or not, but if every seaman on board the ship was to dream of a black tom-cat and his wife and family, it wouldn’t make not so much as a shade of difference, in my opinion.”

Martyn did not wait for daylight, but when the middle watch was relieved sail was made, and the schooner bore away to the north-east. Land was sighted about four o’clock, and by nightfall they were coasting along at the distance of about a mile. When it became dark they stood on and off the shore, as Martyn wished to examine every inlet and bay as they went on. As soon as it was daylight the schooner proceeded on her way. The sails of several craft were made out seaward during the course of the day, but none of these resembled the canvas of the polacca, and attention was concentrated upon the shore, every rock being closely scanned with glasses, and a sharp look-out kept for signals of any kind.

In the evening a small fishing-boat was overhauled as it made its way into a village. The fishermen were interrogated by Zaimes, who understood a little Turkish. They had seen nothing of any craft answering to a description of the polacca. Interrogated about the weather, they replied that the storm four days before had been an exceptionally severe one, coming on very suddenly and blowing with tremendous force for some hours.

The next morning they were at the mouth of the Gulf of Adalia.

“If Miller has gone to grief anywhere,” Martyn said to Horace, “it is as likely as not to be somewhere in this bay. He might very well have been cruising about in here to pick up anything coming out of Adalia, which is the principal port along this part of the coast. It is a large bay, you see, and if he happened to be well up it when he was caught in that sudden gale it is probable enough that he would not be able to beat out in that craft. I see on the map there are three or four small towns between this Cape and Adalia. I don’t want to show ourselves inside the cape, for the probability is the schooner would be recognized directly. What I think will be the best plan would be for you and Zaimes to take one of the boats and coast along close in to the cape. There is a place called Grambusa a mile or two around the corner, and another place called Yanar a little farther on. I want you either to board a fishing-boat and find out whether they have news of a wreck between this and Adalia, or have heard of any Greek or European prisoners being brought there from farther east. If you can’t succeed in getting hold of a fishing-boat, Zaimes might land and try to pick up the news at some cottage in the outskirts of the village. There are Greeks in all these sea-side villages, for most of the fishing is in their hands, and though in the towns there were massacres I don’t suppose they would be disturbed in quiet villages where they had been settled for generations.”

Zaimes was summoned, and agreed at once to land, as both Martyn and Horace were of opinion that there was more probability of their getting trustworthy information that way than from fishermen, who would be scared at finding their boat suddenly overhauled. Accordingly, taking a gig with six men Horace and Zaimes started for the shore, while the schooner turned her head west.

“I shall cruise backward and forward,” Martyn said. “I sha’n’t go more than four miles from the cape; so when you come out again you will only have to lie on your oars till I come back for you.”

They rowed direct to shore, crept along close to it till they saw the village half a mile ahead, and then rowed in and landed Zaimes. He was absent an hour, and his walk assured Horace that he had bad news even before he reached the side of the boat.

“I am afraid you have bad news, Zaimes.”

Zaimes shook his head. “Very bad; it could hardly be worse. There are several Christians in the village, and I learned from them that four days ago a brig that was caught in the storm was driven ashore close to Adalia. It was found that she was a Turkish vessel which had been captured by pirates. The people would have torn them to pieces, but the pasha, who had come down to the shore with a body of troops to try and save those on board the ship when she was seen to be driving ashore, protected them from the mob and lodged them in prison. They say that he has sent off to Smyrna, where the governor of Anatolia resides, to ask for instructions, and it is expected that orders will come for their execution in a day or two.”

“Stretch to your oars, men,” Horace said. “The others have been wrecked and captured by the Turks, and the sooner we are on board with the news the better.”

The men bent to their oars and made the boat fly through the water, and when they rounded Cape Khelidonia they saw the schooner a quarter of a mile away in the act of going about. They were seen almost as soon as they caught sight of her, and she remained thrown up in the wind until they got alongside. Martyn and Mr. Beveridge were both on deck, and as soon as Zaimes had told his story they went down into the cabin for a consultation.

“What on earth is to be done?” Martyn said; “Adalia is a large town. Zaimes says there are troops there, likely enough a whole regiment. It would be hopeless to try to attack it with thirty men. The only thing I can see at present would be for us to sail right in, anchor off the town, and threaten to bombard it with red-hot shot if they don’t give up the prisoners. The objection is that they are likely to have some batteries there, and in that case we might get the worst of it. Besides, it is likely enough that they might hang Miller and the rest of them at the first shot we fired.”

“No, that is not to be thought of,” Mr. Beveridge said. “It seems to me that we might anchor within sight of the place, send a boat ashore with a white flag, and offer to pay any ransom they might fix for the prisoners. I would rather pay ten thousand pounds than that harm should come to them. What do you think, Horace?”

“If we could have got at the pasha before he sent off to Smyrna that might have done, father; but having once referred the case to Smyrna, I am afraid he might consider it too risky to let them go. But we might try that if everything else fails.”

“But what else is there, Horace?”

“Well, I should say, father, the best thing would be to land Zaimes and myself again. He has already made some acquaintances in the village here, and no doubt they could rig us both up in dresses like their own. Then we could go boldly on to Adalia, find out exactly how things stand, what sort of a place they are imprisoned in, how strong is the guard, and how close the barrack of the troops is to the prison. I should suggest that you sail away west, so that if, as it is likely enough, the schooner has been noticed by any of the peasants in the villages scattered about among the hills and word sent to Adalia, the report may also go that it has sailed right away. Then you should capture a small Turkish craft; a large fishing-boat would do. Leave ten men on board the schooner, and sail in the prize nearly up to Adalia. If you anchor, say a couple of miles this side of the town, and hoist a little flag, say a red flag over a white, to your mast-head we should recognize you and come down to the beach.

“If it is in the daytime you will make us out with your glasses easily enough, and send a boat ashore for us. If it is nighttime we will empty out a little powder, moisten it, and flash it off; then you can send ashore for us. I should order the schooner to come every night, keeping three or four miles off shore, sailing up nearly to Adalia, and then returning so as to be round the cape again before daylight. In that way we could communicate with her and go on board again when we liked. Till we examine the place there is no saying whether there is a possibility of rescue or not. If we find that there is no possibility of anything being done in that direction we can embark on board the schooner again, and carry out the plan you suggested: anchor off Adalia, and send in to offer a ransom, with the alternative that if it is not accepted we will bombard the place about their ears. In that way, you see, we shall anyhow lose nothing by this expedition of Zaimes and myself ashore.”

“I think your plan is an excellent one, Horace,” Martyn said, and Mr. Beveridge equally approved of it.

“I don’t think there will be any great danger about it, Martyn. There seems no reason why any suspicion should fall upon him and Zaimes if they are dressed in the same way as the Greeks in these villages.”

“No, I don’t see why there should. Of course they will only speak with other Greeks. I certainly think the plan of our getting hold of a small native craft and anchoring near the town is a capital one. It will save a great deal of time, for it is somewhere about fifty miles from the cape to the town, and it would, in fact, save a whole day, as, if they come off to us in the evening we could do what there is to do that night, whereas, if they had to walk all the way down the coast to the cape and come on board there it would be too late to do anything that night, and we should have to wait until the next.”

Zaimes was called in, and eagerly embraced the proposal when it was explained to him. He was passionately fond of his brother, from whom he had never been separated, and was ready to dare anything to attempt his rescue. It was agreed they had better wait till dark before they landed. Accordingly the schooner sailed west for some hours and did not return to the cape until after darkness had fallen. Then Zaimes and Horace were landed, and as soon as the boat returned the schooner again sailed away. Before leaving the ship Horace had dressed himself as a Greek, and on landing they walked to the village.

“You had best remain outside for a few minutes, Mr. Horace,” Zaimes said, “while I see the man I conversed with this morning. I told him then that my brother was on board the polacca that was wrecked, and that I should endeavour to get the ear of some person of importance at Adalia. He said that he was sure that I could do nothing, but anything he could do to help me he would, for his people came years ago from Naxos, which, as you know, is our native place. I will just go in first to see if he is alone and to tell him that I have a friend with me. As soon as I see that he is in the same mood I will call you in.”

In three or four minutes the door of the cottage opened again and Horace was called in.

“This is the young friend who accompanies me,” Zaimes said to the man. “He is not a relation, but he has been with my brother ever since he was born, and is willing to join me in the effort to save him.”

“It is quite hopeless,” the peasant said. “You are only risking your lives. Still, that is your business. You are ready, you say, to buy of me two suits of our clothes. I have one suit belonging to my son, who is at present away in a coasting ship, and I have a suit of my own that I can let you have.”

Zaimes and Horace had both brought on shore a considerable amount of gold stowed in belts beneath their clothes, in case they should find any opportunity of bribing a prison official, and had in their pockets an ample sum for any ordinary expenditure. As the peasant only asked about three times the amount which the clothes would cost new, they paid for them without bargaining, and at once put them on.

“I have a brother at Adalia,” the man said, well pleased with the bargain he had made; “and if you go to him and say that you come from me, his brother Alexis, of this village, I am sure he will be glad to lodge you, especially when you tell him that you too belong to Naxos.”

After receiving instructions as to how to find the man’s brother in Adalia they started at once upon their journey. They lay down for three hours in the middle of the night in a wood, and entered Adalia at eight o’clock in the morning. They went straight to the address the peasant had given them. It was a small house with but two rooms, and its master was a cobbler. As soon as Zaimes mentioned his brother’s name, and said that they were ready to pay for the accommodation, the shoemaker agreed at once to receive them. He was a chatty fellow, and was very anxious to hear news about affairs in Greece, when they told him that they had but lately arrived from there.

“Now,” he said, “what is your business? Of course I can see that you do not belong to us. You are from Naxos, as you say; I notice a few turns of speech such as my father used to use. But what have you come here for? and why have you bought my brother’s clothes from him, for I recognized them directly you came in? I like to know things, not because I am inquisitive, but because I do not want to have the pasha’s executioner suddenly coming in at the door and taking off my head, without even explaining the reason why.”

“I am what I told you, a Greek of Naxos,” Zaimes said; “and as I explained to your brother, I have a brother who is one of the crew of that ship that was wrecked here six days ago; and I have come to see whether, by greasing the palms of some of the officials, I can manage to get him out.”

“That you can’t,” the man said decidedly. “If he were in the civil prison it might be done; but the pasha, guessing perhaps that many of us Christians would sympathize with them, or possibly having an idea that the mob might rise, handed them over to the soldiers, and they are confined in a room in the military prison in the centre of the barracks, where there are lots of sentries. The gates have been closed since they were taken there, and no civilian is allowed to enter under any pretence. So you see there is no bribing to be done. Of course the sentries are changed frequently. There is no knowing what officer has the prisoners specially under his charge. And even if he were bribed, there would be no getting them past the sentries. So you can give up the idea altogether of getting your brother out.”

“How long does it take for a messenger to go from here to Smyrna?” Zaimes asked, with a slight glance at Horace to show that he was changing the conversation purposely.

“By ordinary travelling some two weeks; but a mounted messenger, with relays of horses, can do it in four days.”

“Then in another three days the answer may come from Smyrna?”

“That is so. I wonder myself that the pasha took the trouble of sending to the governor of Anatolia, instead of hanging the prisoners at once.”

“I suppose he thought that the governor might like to have them sent to him, so that he could forward them to Constantinople.”

“Are you thinking of delaying the messenger’s return? That might be done, you know.” And the man drew his finger across his throat significantly.

“I don’t see that the delay would be of any use,” Zaimes replied. “If there is no chance of getting my brother out, it matters not whether the messenger arrives to-day or a fortnight hence. However, it is a matter that may be worth thinking over later. At any rate we will go out and have a look at the barracks. Will you go with us? I am not without money, and can make it well worth your while to aid us by your advice.”

“I am ready enough,” the man said. “Trade is dull, and a man must live; and besides, I would gladly save a Christian and a native of my own island from the Turks.”

“I would not trust him too far,” Zaimes said in an undertone to Horace when the man went into the apartment behind to speak to his wife. “He is now inclined to help us, especially if he thinks that he will be well paid for it. But we had better not let him know anything of our plans. When he saw there was danger, what with fear as to his own safety and the hope of a bigger reward than he could expect to get from us, he might decide to turn traitor. We had better let him suppose that we have given up all hope.”

“I agree with you, Zaimes. His hint about the messenger may be a useful one. I don’t mean, of course, that we should cut the poor beggar’s throat; but we might bind him and fasten him up for a few days if we find there is need of time to make our preparations.”

“I am afraid time will not help us,” Zaimes said. “The fellow can have no motive for lying; and if what he says is a fact, I don’t see a shadow of a chance of our getting them out, even if we had all the crew of the schooner here.”

“We shall know more about it when we have seen the place, Zaimes. I expected they would be securely locked up, and it is not much worse than I looked for. It is hard if we can’t hit on some plan for getting them out.”

Chapter XII • Planning a Rescue • 4,500 Words

EVEN Horace was obliged to admit, when he with Zaimes and their guide had walked round the barracks, that he saw no chance whatever of being able to get the prisoners out by force. The barracks consisted of an old castle, a portion of which was, as the shoemaker told them, now used as a military prison; and round this at some distance ran a strong wall some fifteen feet high, loopholed for musketry. The troops were lodged in huts between this wall and the castle.

“There you see,” the guide said, “what I said was true. You could not get a bird out of that place, much less a man.”

“That is so,” Zaimes agreed. “Well, what cannot be done, cannot. However, we will talk it over this evening at your house. Now let us walk about and view the city. Truly it is a fine one.”

Few towns, indeed, have a finer situation than Adalia, standing as it does at the head of a noble bay, a great portion of which is fringed with lofty and precipitous cliffs. The town, which at that time contained some ten thousand inhabitants, stands on ground sloping upwards from the sea in terraces rising one above another. It was surrounded by a ditch and a double wall of massive construction, with square towers every fifty yards. Beyond the walls stretched gardens and groves of orange, lemon, and mulberry trees. Ten mosques with their domes and minarets reared themselves above the houses, and there were several churches belonging to the Christian population, which was, the guide told them, about two thousand in number, the great proportion of whom spoke only the Turkish language. “I can talk equally well in both, for it is but fifty years since my father settled here, and we always talked Greek in the family as long as he lived. Now I always speak Turkish; it is safer, and does not remind the Turks continually that we are of Greek race.”

“Where does the pasha reside?” Horace asked presently.

“I will show you his place; it is at the lower corner of the north wall. His gardens stretch down to the wall by the water, and another high wall on this side separates them from the town.”

Passing through several streets they arrived opposite the residence of the pasha of the sanjak of Tekeh, of which Adalia is the chief town. The residence itself stood at the angle of the two walls dividing the garden from the town. It was a massive building. Some soldiers sat on benches at either side of the gate that opened into the court-yard, and townspeople and officials passed in and out.

“The public offices are in the court-yard,” the guide said. “The pasha’s private dwelling and his harem lie behind it.”

“I suppose we can walk in?”

“Certainly,” the guide said; and they passed through the gates into the court-yard. On one side was a guard-room, stables, and other offices; on the other were the rooms of the secretaries and officials and that in which the pasha transacted business and received visitors. The portion of the house facing the gates was blank on the basement story, except that a door faced the gateway. Above were a line of windows, all closed with jalousies. “That is the dwelling-house,” their guide said. “I believe all the apartments of the family face the garden. Those windows you see there are only those of the apartments of the servants and slaves.”

After leaving the pasha’s they walked down to the bottom of the town, where two gates with strong flanking powers opened upon the port, which was smaller than Horace had expected to find it. However, he was glad to see that there were several craft anchored in the roadstead, some near the port, some at a distance, showing that vessels did not come in unless for shelter in bad weather or to discharge heavy cargoes. Whatever the craft, then, in which the crew of the schooner might arrive, it would not attract attention by anchoring outside the port, as arranged. They returned with their guide to his house and had a meal there. Zaimes was profoundly discouraged. He saw no prospect whatever of rescuing his brother or the other prisoners, and the strength of the walls and the guns that were mounted upon them—a step which, the host told him, had been taken a few months before to defend the town against the Greek fleet, should it make its appearance there—showed that there was no prospect of the Turks being alarmed by the appearance or threats of a craft like the schooner.

“It seems altogether hopeless,” Zaimes said to the Greek.

The latter shook his head, “I can see no possible way,” he replied. “If it had been an ordinary prisoner in the jail it could be managed without difficulty. I could have got one of our countrymen of some influence to have approached the prison officers, or I myself could have worked with the warders; a small sum of money would have done it. But now it seems to me hopeless, and even if we stop the messenger and gain another eight days while the pasha sends again to Smyrna, we should only run some risk and gain nothing.”

Zaimes assented mournfully.

“You had better make the man a present, Zaimes,” Horace said when they were alone for a minute after the meal was finished. “Tell him that it seems to us to be hopeless, and that we shall probably go right away; but that if, thinking it over, we can hit upon any possible plan we will be back again this evening and sleep here.”

Zaimes carried out the suggestion, gave their host a gold coin, and said that they saw no use in staying longer, but would think it over in every way and might return that evening.

“If you go outside the town you must be back by sunset,” the man said; “the gates are closed at that hour.”

“We will not forget, but I do not think you will see us again.”

“Even if our people don’t arrive this evening, Zaimes, I think it will be just as well not to go back into the town,” Horace said as they issued out through the gates into the country. “I don’t say for a moment that the man is not honest, but it is just as well not to put temptation in his way. He knows that we are friends of the prisoners, and he, no doubt, guesses that we belong to the craft that captured the polacca that was wrecked. No doubt he would not openly betray us; that would bring him into discredit with all the Christians in the town. But a few words whispered to some Turk, and an agreement to share any reward that may be given for our capture, would answer the purpose just as well. I don’t say he would do it, you know, but it would be just as well not to run the risk.”

On issuing from the gate, Horace saw that there was a narrow road running between a deep dry ditch at the foot of the city walls and the outlying gardens and orchards.

“This will be our shortest way down to the water, Zaimes, let us follow it.”

The Greek turned without question. When they had gone half-way down between the gate and the bottom of the hill, Horace stopped. “Now, let us have a good look at this place. On the other side of that wall is the garden of the pasha’s house. I counted the number of steps up from the house to the cross-road leading to the gateway, and I have counted them coming down again; we are about fifty yards below the upper wall of the garden.”

“I daresay it is so,” Zaimes replied listlessly.

“This ditch is about ten feet deep, and from the bottom of the ditch to the top of that first wall is from five-and-twenty to thirty; between that wall and the higher one inside it is about fifteen feet; and the inner wall is about fifteen feet higher than the outer one; those square towers form junctions between the two walls. Now, we may be quite sure that there are no sentries either on the wall or on the square towers. I don’t suppose there are sentries anywhere except in the batteries on the water-face, but there certainly won’t be here, for they would command a view down into the pasha’s garden; so we may quite conclude that except for the trouble of scaling the walls there is nothing to prevent our getting over. A couple of rope-ladders and one or two twenty-foot planks with bits nailed across them to give a foothold would take us on to the inner wall; then we should need another long ladder to get down into the garden. That would be about thirty-five feet, I should say.”

“Yes, I see all that,” Zaimes, whose face had again become animated as he listened, agreed; “but what would be the good of getting into the pasha’s garden?”

“No good at all, if we were by ourselves, Zaimes, but with Martyn and twenty men from the schooner a good deal of good, I should say. We have only got to make a sudden rush into the house, which will, of course, be open to the garden, seize the pasha, and carry him and some of his wives and children off to the craft that our fellows come in, and then on to the schooner. Then we can send ashore to say that unless the prisoners are sent off in a boat to us by twelve o’clock in the day we shall hang the pasha. Maybe when we get hold of the pasha there will be no occasion to carry him and his women off; the mere threat of it might be enough. We can tell him that it will be painful to us to have to hoist them up to the top of the wall in sacks, but that we shall be obliged to do it unless he signs an order for the prisoners’ release, and sends it off at once by an officer to the jail. A handsome bribe that will enable him to make his peace with his superior at Smyrna may help to quicken his perception.”

Zaimes seized Horace’s hand with fervour, shook it wildly, clasped his hands on his breast, raised them to heaven, and poured forth a stream of exclamations of delight. The quiet habits of many years had been thrown to the winds in a moment, and the excitable Greek nature burst through all restraints. “You have given me new life,” he exclaimed as soon as he had calmed down a little. “Just now there did not seem even a shadow of hope. Now there is a chance that once again I may clasp my brother in my arms. Your plan is difficult, it is dangerous, and yet we may succeed. It is a desperate undertaking, but what is that? I would give my life for my brother, and your sailors would all risk theirs for their comrades.”

“Let us sit down here quietly for a few minutes, Zaimes, and take a good look at these walls. It is evident by the look of this road that it is very little used, and even if anyone did come up they would only think that we had been working in the orange groves behind us and were taking a quiet smoke. It is lucky that there is a moon to-night; it would be an awfully difficult job to get over those walls and into a place we know nothing of if it were a dark night. There will be no difficulty in throwing up a grapnel and getting on to the first wall. The greatest difficulty will be in crossing from that one to the one behind it. Of course with a regular gangway it would be easy enough, but we should not be able to get materials for making one. However, with a couple of stout spars put up a foot apart with ropes between them a foot from each other so as to make ratlings, we could get up, though it wouldn’t be a very easy job passing women down. Still, I hope it won’t come to that. I should think if we capture the pasha and his children, if he has any—and I suppose with half-a-dozen wives he will be sure to have some—we might leave the women alone, though, of course, we should threaten to take them. But I’ll tell you what we shall want, and that is a man who can speak Turkish well, so as to explain exactly to the pasha the fix he is in.”

“Yes, we shall want such a man,” Zaimes agreed.

“Very well, Zaimes, then I think you had better go back to our friend at once. Even if he did mean treachery, he would have taken no steps yet, as he won’t expect us back till the evening if we come at all. Tell him that you want a service of him in which he will run no personal danger—for you know we can dress him up in some of our things, and put a bit of black cloth as a mask half over his face—and that he will be paid twenty pieces of gold for a night’s work. That will be a fortune to him.”

“That will be the best plan,” Zaimes said. “Where shall we meet you?”

“I will go down the hill to the bottom to see what sort of a road there is along the sea, and I will wait there for you. If the road is exposed to the view of the sentries on the batteries at the sea wall we must make our way through the orchards to this point; if not, we will move along there.”

“Do you think that Captain Martyn is sure to be here this evening?”

“He is quite certain to be. He knows that every hour is of importance, and he will get hold of some craft or other early this morning even if he has to go into a fishing port to get it.”

Zaimes retraced his steps up the hill, while Horace sauntered down until he came out on to the road leading to the port along the shore. A good many small houses were scattered along by its side, and some fishing-boats drawn up on the beach. At the angle of the wall there was a battery. Three guns pointed along the road and the Turkish sentry was leaning against the parapet by the side of them.

“We shall have to make our way through the orchards,” he said to himself. “There will be no getting along this road with the moon up. The sentry would notice us a quarter of a mile away. Besides, the tramp of so many feet would be certain to bring people to their doors. And we must come early if we can, so as to catch the pasha before he goes to bed.”

In half an hour Zaimes and the cobbler came up.

“It is agreed,” the former said in English; “twenty pounds will make him what he considers rich, and he declares he is ready to run any risk for a single night’s work in order to gain it. I think he is an honest fellow. I watched him closely when I went in, and if he had any thought whatever of betraying us, I think I should have seen it in his face.”

It was now four o’clock in the afternoon, and they soon made out a small brigantine anchored a quarter of a mile out, and about a mile and a half along the shore.

“I expect that is her,” Horace said. “She has only just come in, for there are some men upon the yards stowing away the sails, and that is just the position we agreed she should take up.”

When they had gone a mile farther they could see that she had small red and white flags at her mast-head. When they got opposite to her they went down to the water’s edge. Horace waved a white handkerchief for a moment and then sat down. A minute later the boat towing behind the brigantine was hauled up. Two men got into her and rowed leisurely to the shore. They were dressed as Turkish sailors, but Horace recognized them as they came close as two of the crew. They stepped in at once, and the boat rowed out again.

“Have you any news of Mr. Miller and the others, Mr. Horace,” one of them said, “if I might make so bold as to ask?”

“Certainly you may. They are in prison, and there is no possibility of getting them out with the strength we have got; it would need three or four hundred men at least. But we have another plan, which we hope will be successful.”

“You will find the captain down in the cabin with your father, Mr. Horace. Everyone is keeping below except three or four of our chaps, who are got up, like us, in the clothes of the crew of the craft.”

“Come along, Zaimes,” Horace said as he stepped on board. “You had better come with me. This man is going to help us, Davidson, so make him as comfortable as you can till Zaimes comes out again.”

Horace found his father, Martyn, and the doctor in the little cabin. He was heartily welcomed back, and eagerly questioned as to his news. He first told them of the impossibility of doing anything to effect the rescue of the prisoners, guarded as they were; and then explained the position of the pasha’s house and garden, and his own plan.

“Well, it is a bold scheme, Horace, but I should think it might succeed,” Martyn said when he concluded. “We ought certainly to be able to get hold of the pasha before an alarm is given, and if we do we might manage to make terms with him without the women knowing anything about it. That would be a great point, if it could be managed, for if they begin screaming they will bring the whole town upon us. You say there is one door from that part of the house into the court-yard on the other side, and of course there is a communication from the public rooms into the house. The first thing to do when we get in will be to post a couple of men at each of these doors to prevent anyone from running out and giving them the alarm. After that we can tackle the pasha quietly. As you say, though we may threaten, there would be no getting women up over those walls; they would have to be slung up like bales, and if the alarm were given we should have the town upon us before we had half finished the job. We could bundle the pasha off, tied up if he would not walk, and take a dozen children if there are as many, for the sailors could carry them if they were small; if not, they could be gagged and made to walk with a pistol at their heads; but with women, and especially Turkish women, it would be an awful business. Many of them are fat, and some of them I suppose would faint. If we can get the pasha himself and some of his children that will be enough; but as you say, I expect he will give in when he finds himself in our hands, and we tell him that we are going to carry him and his whole family off. Your idea of a bribe in addition is a very good one. Of course, as you say, if we were sure the men at Smyrna would send an order for them to be sent to him, we should be all right, for we could attack their guard at some lonely spot along the road; but the betting is ten to one that he orders them to be hung at once, and if the pasha here writes in return describing how he has been obliged to give them up, and sending a handsome present, he will hear nothing more about it. What time do you think we had better start, Horace?”

“About nine o’clock, I should say. It will take us a good hour getting from here and scaling the walls. It is not likely the pasha will be turning in before eleven, but it is as well to give a good margin.”

“I should recommend you not to go, Mr. Beveridge,” Martyn said. “You are not accustomed to climb rope-ladders. It is a job that is only fit for sailors.”

“I do not think I should be of much use,” Mr. Beveridge replied. “If I did, I would go gladly; but after the hindrance I was to you all at Cyprus, I will take your advice and stay here.”

“I will leave a couple of men with you.”

“No, Captain Martyn, you may want every man. Zaimes will remain with me. If you were going to attack the prison no doubt he would wish to be there and help to rescue his brother; but as it is, someone must stay here as we have eight prisoners down in the hold, and as he is no more accustomed to climbing ropes than I am, it is better that he should remain here.”

“Very well, sir, then I will see about getting the things we shall want made.”

The crew were at once set to work to prepare the ladders.

“We had better not make regular rope-ladders,” Martyn said. “They are well enough for us; but if we have to get people over the wall, we had better put in wooden rungs.”

Accordingly some spare oars were sawn up into lengths, and with these and four ropes, two ladders each forty feet long were manufactured. Then two spars twenty-five feet long were chosen. Cross-pieces were nailed to these a foot apart, and a long piece of canvas was nailed under this gangway, so that, as Martyn said, if any of the captives made a false step in going across it, they would not fall through. A single block was fastened to a grapnel, and a long rope attached for getting up the ladder to the top of the first wall. All this was but an hour’s work for twenty men. The doctor had been asked whether he would prefer staying on board or going with the party. He decided upon staying.

“If you were going to fight I would certainly go with you, Martyn; but I am no more accustomed to climbing up ropes than Mr. Beveridge is, and I should only be in your way, so I will stay with him and Zaimes and keep watch on board.”

“I think that is the best plan, doctor. It is sailors’ work. We shall have trouble as it is in hoisting that fellow Horace brought on board over the walls.”

The cobbler had turned pale with fright when Zaimes explained to him that they were going to take the pasha a prisoner, and that he would be wanted to interpret to him, and he protested that nothing could tempt him to undertake such a business.

“Nonsense, man!” Zaimes said. “You will run no more risks than the others. Look at them laughing and joking. They don’t look like men who are about to embark on a perilous expedition. However, I promised you twenty pounds, but if you do your work well and speak out boldly and firmly what you are told, you shall have another five.”

“It is a big sum for a poor man,” the cobbler replied. “I will do it, but I won’t answer for speaking out loud and bold; my teeth chatter at the very thought of it. If he should ever recognize me again, he would chop me up into mince meat.”

“How can he recognize you? You can either fasten a piece of black cloth over your face, or what will do just as well, get a cork and burn it, and rub it over your face till you are as black as coal. Your own brother wouldn’t know you then, and the pasha will have enough to think about without staring at you.”

“I like that better than the cloth,” the man said. “If there is a scuffle the black cloth may come off.”

“We will rig you up in the clothes of one of the sailors here. You can put them on over your own if you like, and then you will have nothing to do but to throw them away, wash your face, and walk boldly into the town in the morning.”

The brigantine had two boats. These were, as soon as it became dark, lowered, and a quarter before nine the landing party mustered. The men had already torn up some blankets and old sail-cloth, and wrapped them round their cutlasses and muskets so as to deaden the sound should these strike against the wall. The guns were not loaded, but each man carried thirty rounds of ammunition and a brace of pistols, which were to be loaded as soon as they got down into the garden, Martyn, however, giving the strictest orders that whatever happened not a shot was to be fired without his permission.

“I do not think it is likely that we shall meet with any resistance, lads,” he said before they stepped down into the boats. “If there is, knock them down with your fists; or if there is anything serious, use your cutlasses. Mr. Horace will place the four men told off for the doors, at their posts. These will follow him through the house regardless of anything that is going on around. Everything depends upon our preventing anyone from leaving the house and giving the alarm. I shall myself post men at all the lower windows before we enter. Their duty will be to prevent anyone from coming out into the garden. If there is yelling or shrieking in the garden it will alarm the town. As long as they only shriek in the house there is no fear of its being heard. Now you each know what you have got to do. As to scaling the wall, this must be done as quietly as if you were making sail on board a smart frigate.”

Chapter XIII • The Pasha of Adalia • 6,500 Words

PACKED closely in the two boats of the Turkish craft the landing party rowed for the shore. As soon as they reached it the boats were drawn up on the strand, and in silence Martyn led his men across the road. Then he struck off into the orchard on the other side, so as to escape the notice of any of the people in the houses by the road. The cobbler and Horace went first, Martyn and the men followed a short distance behind. Half an hour’s walking took them to the edge of the ditch, and after a short search they found a bough that Horace and Zaimes had cut off and thrown down by the side of the path, to mark the spot where they were to make the ascent.

Two sailors were posted on the path, at fifty yards above and below them, in case anyone should come along, although the risk of this was exceedingly small. There was no difficulty in scrambling down into the ditch. As soon as they did so the sailor who carried the grapnel advanced to the foot of the wall, and at the second attempt succeeded in getting it to hold on the parapet. Another, with one of the rope-ladders, went forward, fastened the rope to it, and the two of them hauled the ladder up to the block, and kept the rope taut while Martyn mounted. He found, as he had expected, that there was a platform behind the wall for men to stand on while firing. Taking his place on it he took hold of the ladder rope and told the men below to loosen their end. Holding it partly up he fastened it at the block. Then two men joined him, hauled the wooden gangway up, and planted it against the top of the inner wall. The rest of the men followed, and Martyn led the way across. The others soon stood beside him, all stooping down on the platform as soon as they had crossed, so that their heads should not show above the skyline, should anyone happen to be looking out from the windows of the house.

Two sailors helped the cobbler across the gangway. Horace was the last to mount, with the exception of the two sentries, whom he summoned with a low whistle as soon as the others were up. When they reached the top they hauled the rope-ladder after them, and laid it ready for lowering again. By the time Horace crossed to the inner wall Martyn and most of the men had already descended to the garden by the second rope-ladder.

“That has all been managed well,” Martyn said when Horace joined him below. “Now, you and I will go forward and reconnoitre a bit.”

The house was seventy or eighty yards away. There were lights in several windows on the ground-floor, and at almost all the windows on the flat above it.

“We had better take off our shoes, Horace. It is no use running any risks. Shove them in your sash beside your pistols.”

They stole noiselessly up to the house and looked in at the windows. In one room were a group of servants sitting round a brazier, smoking; another room was empty; but in the third, which was much the largest, four Turkish officials were seated on a divan, and a Nubian slave was handing them coffee.

“That old chap is the pasha, no doubt,” Martyn whispered. “He is evidently master of the house. You see he is giving some order or other to the slave. Here is the garden door into a hall; let us see if it is open. Yes; that is all right. Well, I think now we will bring up the men. Now, as soon as we are in, Horace, you take four men; go in first and post them at the doors leading out of the house. I will take six men and seize the pasha and his friends. Other four will pounce upon the servants. Your cobbler fellow had better go with them to tell the servants that if they make the least row they will have their throats cut. The other men will scatter about in the passages and down stairs, and pounce upon anybody who may come along. As soon as you have posted your men, go to the room where the servants are, and bring the interpreter in to me. Tell the sailors to bind the fellows and lay them down, and put a couple of guards over them.”

They returned to the men and told them off to their several duties. All were ordered to take their shoes off, and put them in their belts.

“Now, you can draw your cutlasses, lads,” Martyn said. “Have you all loaded your pistols?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Well, mind they are not to be used; a pistol-shot might destroy all our plans. I hope to manage it so that there shall not be any noise whatever.”

They made their way quietly up to the house. Horace opened the door and led the way in, followed by his four men. They passed through the hall and a long passage, from which several rooms opened; and he was sure, by the direction in which he was going, that this must lead to the offices. At the end was a strong door; only one bolt was shot, as doubtless the officers would be leaving by this way. He put up a heavy bar that was standing beside it, stationed two of the sailors there, and then retraced his steps with the others. Just as he reached the hall again a sailor came up to him.

“This is the way to the big door, your honour;” and turning down another passage they arrived at a double door, which Horace had no doubt was the one that he had seen in the court-yard. Posting the men there he hurried back, and soon found the room where the servants had been sitting. The work had already been done. The sailors had all been provided with short lengths of rope, and the Turks were lying bound upon the floor. Telling the cobbler to accompany him, he went into the next room. Two sailors, with drawn cutlasses, were standing by the side of the pasha. The three officers had been bound, and were lying on the divan, with a sailor standing over each, while the other sailor stood over the attendant, who cowered on the ground in an attitude of abject terror. Martyn was standing facing the pasha.

“Now, Horace,” he said, “tell your man what to say to the pasha.”

This had been arranged between them, and Horace at once addressed the pasha.

“Do you speak Greek?”

The pasha shook his head.

“Tell him,” Horace said in that language to the interpreter, “that we belong to the ship to which the officers and sailors he has in his prison also belong, and that we have come here to fetch them away. We are fighting under the flag of Greece; but we are Englishmen by blood, and we shall do no harm to him or his family. The prisoners, however, we will have; and unless he sends at once, with an order for their delivery from the prison, and hands them over to us, we shall be obliged to carry him, the three officers here, and the ladies of his family and his children, off on board our ship as hostages; and if a hair of the prisoners’ heads is touched, we shall be forced to hang him and the whole of his family to the yard-arms of the ship.”

The interpreter translated his words sentence by sentence. The Turk had at first looked perfectly impassive; but at the threat to carry off his women and children his expression changed, the veins stood out of his forehead, and his face flushed with fury.

“Tell him,” Horace went on, “that we should deeply regret to have to take such a step, and that we sincerely trust that he will see the necessity for his yielding to our demands. There is no possibility of assistance reaching him, we are a well-armed body of determined men, his servants have been secured, and all the doors are guarded, as also the windows outside—he is completely in our power. As we came in noiselessly and unobserved, so we shall depart. If he refuses to comply with our demands we shall, of course, be compelled to bind and gag all our captives, and to carry the ladies and children.”

When the last sentence had been translated, Horace said to Martyn, “I think, Captain Martyn, you had better get those officers carried into the next room, so that we can touch upon the money side of the question.”

Martyn gave the order, and the officers and the attendant were removed.

“Now, pasha,” Horace went on, “let us look at this thing reasonably. On the one side is the certainty that you and the ladies of the household and your children will be carried away; and that unless the prisoners are given up to us in exchange for you, you will be all put to death. On the other hand, you have but to surrender prisoners whom you did not even capture in war, but who were wrecked on your shore. We know that you have sent to Smyrna for directions concerning them. Were it not for that you would have handed them over to us without difficulty; but as the pasha there, who is your superior, now knows of it, you think that he will be angry when he hears of their escape, and that you might fall into disgrace. But I don’t think that the pasha of Anatolia, if he were placed in the same position as you are, would hesitate a moment in giving up a score of captives of no great importance
one way or the other; and that if the matter were placed by you in the proper light before him, accompanied, perhaps, by a present, nothing more would be heard about it. In any case we are ready to pay you the sum of one thousand pounds as a ransom for them. We have sent your officers out of the room that they should not hear this offer, which will be entirely between ourselves. It is not meant as a bribe to you, but as a ransom, which, if you choose to send it to Smyrna, will doubtless assist the pasha there to perceive that being, with your whole family, at our mercy, you had no resource but to comply with our commands. We will give you five minutes to make up your mind.”

When this was translated, the pasha asked:

“How am I to know that, if the captives are restored to you, you will not still carry me and my family away?”

“You have simply the word of English gentlemen,” Horace said when the question was translated to him. “You see we are acting as considerately as we can. Your ladies upstairs are still unaware that anything unusual is going on. Our men have touched nothing belonging to you. We are neither robbers nor kidnappers, but simply men who have come to save their comrades from a cruel death.”

“I will write the order,” the pasha said firmly. “Had I been in the house by myself I would have died rather than do so. Being as it is, I cannot resist.”

“Who will you send with the order?” Horace asked.

“One of the officers you have taken away is the colonel of the regiment. He will take it and bring the prisoners here. He is the oldest of the three.”

Horace went into the next room and ordered the officer to be unbound and brought in by two of the sailors.

“You have heard, Colonel Osman, the terms that these strangers have laid down, and that unless the prisoners are surrendered, you, the two bimbaches, myself, and the members of my family, will be carried off as hostages and hung if the prisoners are not delivered up.”

“I heard that, pasha.”

“What is your opinion, colonel?”

“My opinion is that you have no course but to give up the prisoners. No one would expect you to sacrifice the lives of the ladies of your family and your children, to say nothing of your own and ours, merely for the sake of twenty shipwrecked sailors. It seems to me that it were madness to hesitate, pasha.”

“That is also my opinion,” the pasha said. “Therefore, colonel, I will now write you an order to fetch them from prison and bring them under an escort here. You will understand that it will be better that absolute silence should be observed about this affair. The less it is talked of the better. If the officer in special charge of them asks any questions you can intimate that, without knowing it, you believe that the messenger may have arrived from Smyrna with instructions as to their disposal. Dismiss the escort at the outer gate and bring the prisoners yourself here.”

The pasha wrote the order, which he handed to the colonel, who at once hurried off with it.

“You are sure that he will faithfully obey the order, pasha?” Horace asked through the interpreter.

The pasha nodded.

“One of the bimbaches here is his own brother, and he would be sure that his life would be sacrificed were there any treachery.”

At this moment there was a little shriek heard.

“I am afraid,” Horace said, “that one of the ladies’ attendants has come downstairs and has been seized. Perhaps you will like to go upstairs and assure them that there is no cause for alarm. In the meantime I will hand you this bag, which contains the amount of the ransom in gold.”

“You Englishmen act nobly,” the pasha said as he took the bag. “You had us in your power, and need have paid nothing, and you treat me as a friend rather than as an enemy. It is a pity that you fight for the Greeks. When I was a young man I fought in Egypt by the side of your troops.”

Horace escorted him through the sailors in the passages to the foot of the stairs and there left him.

“Your scheme is turning out trumps and no mistake,” Martyn said as he returned to the room. “There is no fear, I hope, of that Turkish colonel bringing all his men down on us.”

“I don’t think so.” And Horace then repeated what the pasha had said as to one of the officers in his hands being the colonel’s brother.

“That is good, Horace. I don’t think he would venture on it anyhow. Evidently the pasha has no fear. If he had he would not have sent him, because he must have known that his treachery jeopardized his own safety and that of his family.”

“How long do you think they will be before they are back?”

“Not much above half an hour, I should think. I don’t think the Turkish soldiers do much in the way of undressing, and certainly our fellows won’t. Now we will leave five men to look after the prisoners here, and we will put all the others in the offices you say look into the court-yard, so that if by any chance this fellow does bring troops down with him we can give them a hot reception.”

“If he does, Horace, do you take the five men in the house, rush upstairs, let one man put a pistol to the pasha’s head, and let the others snatch up any children they can find there and take them away over the wall—pasha and all—and march them straight down to the boat and get them on board ship. Let me know when you are off with them. We will defend the place as long as we can, and then make a bolt through the garden to the ladder and follow you.”

The men loaded their muskets and took their places at the windows of the offices. Horace and Martyn stood at the door leading from the house into the court-yard. The interpreter stood with them. Presently they heard the tramp of feet approaching. Then they heard a word of command, followed by silence, and the interpreter said:

“He has ordered the soldiers to halt. The prisoners alone are to enter the court-yard. When the gates close behind them the soldiers are to march back to barracks.”

The gates that had been left ajar by the officer as he went out opened, and in the moonlight they saw him enter, followed by Miller, Tarleton, and the sailors. The officer himself closed and barred the gate as the last entered. Then Martyn and Horace rushed forward and grasped the hands of their friends. These were for a time speechless with astonishment, but the men burst into exclamations and then began to cheer. Martyn checked them at once.

“Hush, lads! Come in silently and quietly. We will talk and cheer when we get away. Pass the word inside, Horace. Tell the men to file out at once. Form up in the garden. I will wait here till you have cleared the house.”

The greetings were hearty indeed when the two parties met in the garden.

“March to the ladder, lads,” Martyn said, “but don’t begin to climb it till we join you. Now, Horace, we will say good-bye to the old pasha. Bring the interpreter in with you.”

The pasha had returned to his room again where he had been joined by the three officers, the colonel having already liberated the other two.

“Tell the pasha that Captain Martyn wishes to thank him for the promptness with which the arrangement has been carried out, and also to express to him his very great pleasure that this incident should have terminated without unpleasantness. Captain Martyn wishes also to say, that although, in order to rescue his officers and men, he was obliged to use threats, yet that, as far as the ladies of the pasha’s family were concerned, they were threats only; for that, even had he refused, he should have respected the privacy of his apartments; and although he would have been obliged to carry off the pasha himself, his children, and these officers as hostages, he would have retaliated for the murder of the prisoners only upon the adults. No English officer would use disrespect to ladies, and no English officer would avenge the murder even of his dearest friends upon children.”

When this was translated to the pasha, he replied: “The courtesy that the captain and his sailors have exhibited since they entered the house is in itself sufficient to show me that his words are true, and that the ladies of my household would have been respected. I feel myself humiliated by thus having my prisoners carried off from the midst of the town, but I have no reason to complain. It is the will of Allah, and I shall always remember these English officers as gallant gentlemen. There are not many who would risk their lives to save a few of their countrymen.”

A few more words were exchanged, and then Martyn and his companions joined the sailors at the wall. Miller and Tarleton had by this time gathered from the men a short account of how their rescue had come about.

“Now,” Martyn said briskly when he reached them, “the sooner we are off the better. Horace, do you lead the way with ten of the men who came with us; let the last two of that party help your interpreter over. Mr. Miller, you with your party will follow. I will bring up the rear with the other ten men.”

In five minutes all were over the walls. The last party had pulled up the ladder from the garden after them, then removed and lowered down the gangway; and after Martyn, who came last, reached the ditch, the grapnel was shaken from its hold on the wall.

“It wouldn’t do to leave these things here,” he said to Horace. “There is no saying what yarn the pasha may set afloat. It is quite on the cards that if he gets an order from Smyrna to execute the prisoners, he will have it given out that they were marched to the court-yard of his house and there executed. At any rate our taking away the ladders will leave it open to him to give his own account of the matter. Now, my lads, you will all follow me. It is of no use forming up in order, as we are going through orchards; but keep closetogether, don’t straggle and don’t talk. You will have plenty of time to compare notes when you are once on board.

“Now, Miller,” he said as he started, “we are fairly out of it. I am delighted, indeed, to see you and Tarleton again. I thought at one time it was all up with you.”

“So did we,” Miller said, “and I can hardly believe we are free even now.”

“It is due to Horace and Zaimes, Miller, though it is to Horace entirely that the credit of hitting upon the plan by which we have got you out belongs. However we will talk all about that when we get on board. You will have to tell your yarn to the chief; besides, as I have told the men not to talk, I don’t want to set a bad example.”

Horace had greeted Marco warmly in the court-yard, and as soon as they started he fell behind with him, chatting with him in low tones.

“Zaimes couldn’t come with us, Marco, for he and the doctor had to stay on board with my father to look after some prisoners there, but he was here with me this morning and made all the arrangements for the escape. We landed at the mouth of the bay and walked here last night, both disguised in peasants’ dresses we got hold of. I know it was a great privation to him not to be able to come himself and aid in your rescue.”

Here Martyn, catching the murmur of voices, passed the word for silence, and nothing more was said until they reached the boats which they had drawn up on the shore. A few minutes later they were alongside the brigantine. Mr. Beveridge hailed them as they approached.

“Is that you, Martyn?”

“Yes, sir. Horace’s plan has worked perfectly, and we have got them all out. The boats can only carry half. He is waiting with the rest on the beach.”

“Thank God for that, Martyn! No one hurt at all?”

“No one, not even a Turk has been knocked down. The only scrimmage has been with one of the pasha’s wives’ maids, who fought like a wild-cat before two of our men could make her a prisoner.”

Directly the rest of the party came off the anchor was weighed and sail made on the brigantine, and she was headed from the land. In half an hour a look-out in the bow called out: “I think I can make out the schooner away on our beam, sir.”

“I think it is her,” Martyn said after going forward to have a look. “Light that red flare-up we brought with us, Horace.”

As soon as the red flame broke out, a similar signal was shown by the craft in the distance. The brigantine was headed for her, and the two vessels rapidly approached each other. Presently a hail from Tom Burdett came across the water.

“Captain Martyn ahoy!”

“Ay, ay, Tom! We have got them all. Everyone is safe and well.”

A cheer broke out from the schooner, which was answered by a louder one from the brigantine.

“Throw her up in the wind, Tom,” Martyn shouted, “and we will bring this craft alongside.”

In two or three minutes the vessels lay side by side. Before leaving the brigantine its crew were released. Mr. Beveridge, in his delight at the success of the plan, made them each a handsome present for the inconvenience they had suffered. The cobbler of Adalia had not come aboard with the boats, Horace having given him his reward of twenty-five pounds before embarking. As soon as the crew of the schooner were all on board the head-sails were filled, and she rapidly drew away from the brig. The boatswain was ordered to serve out a ration of grog all round, and the officers then assembled in the cabin, where the Greeks placed some cold meat and wine on the table, to which all, especially Miller and Tarleton, fell to with a good appetite. When they had done, Martyn told the story of the steps that had been taken for their rescue.

“You see, Miller, it was entirely Horace’s plan; he made the whole arrangements, and we had only to carry them out, which was the simplest thing in the world. Now let us have your account.”

“We were not very lucky,” Miller said. “We overhauled five or six craft, but for the most part they contained little of value. One or two of them had some silk and other goods on board, and these were transferred to the polacca. The weather kept fine, and thinking that our rig would not alarm the Turks we sailed in within three miles of Adalia. I was intending to go right into the roads and anchor there, when we saw the clouds banking up to the south. I had no barometer on board, but it looked so bad that we headed out again for the mouth of the gulf.

“We had not gone far when the gale struck us, blowing like fury right into the bay. We did everything we could, but the old tub drifted to leeward two feet for every one we worked out. The wind got higher and higher till it was blowing a hurricane. As soon as the water shallowed sufficiently to anchor, I let both anchors go; but the gear was all rotten, and the cables snapped like packthread. Finally we drove ashore about half a mile to the east of the town.

“There was a mob there waiting us, and the pasha with a lot of troops. We tied a line to a keg and it floated on shore. They hauled on it, and then we sent a hawser and swarmed along it. The Turks behaved very pluckily, joining hands and rushing into the breakers to get us ashore. As soon as they saw by our uniform who we were there was a regular hubbub, and I thought we should all have been killed then and there. However the pasha made the troops form up round us, and marched us into the town, and there we were stowed away in a room in that old castle. The prospect didn’t look good, for as we went in we saw that the troops were in huts all round us, and that there was besides a high wall outside them. The window of the place we were shut up in was about eight feet from the ground and very strongly barred, and in addition they kept four soldiers always on guard in the room.

“Two or three fellows came to us and spoke in different lingoes, of which we could neither make head nor tail. Then a chap came who spoke Italian. I don’t know much of it, but enough to make out what he meant when he spoke very slowly. The upshot of it was that they had sent to Smyrna for orders as to what was to be done, and that it would take five or six days for the messenger to go there and back. It did not seem to make much odds to us what the answer was. Knowing how they go on on both sides it was a moral certainty that we should be hung either here or at Smyrna, and it did not seem to us that there was much choice between the two places.

“Of course we often talked about you. We knew you would do everything you could, and that when you found we did not turn up at the rendezvous you would sail along the coast till you got news of us; but it did not seem likely that you could do anything to help us. We knew that you could not land more than twenty men, and with twenty men you could do nothing at all against about a thousand Turks with that strong wall in front of them. Besides, the old castle itself was capable of defence, and there were lots of them stationed in it. Things looked about as black as they could be. We were not starved; the Turks gave us plenty of bread and a sort of thin broth.

“This evening we stretched ourselves out as usual about nine o’clock. We were all asleep when the outer gates of the castle were opened, then there was a loud trampling of feet, then our door was unlocked. When an officer came in, followed by a lot of soldiers, we thought that it was all up with us. The officer made signs that we were to go with him, and I made so certain that we were being taken out either to be shot or hung that I said a few words to the men, telling them that the end had evidently come, and that we must die as Christians and British sailors. We were led out, and about a hundred Turkish soldiers closed round us. We were surprised when they marched us out of the place, but as we went on through the streets of the town we supposed they were taking us to some quiet spot outside the walls. Then we turned in through that gateway, and then you know the rest, Martyn. I don’t think that I am a coward, or that I felt afraid to die; but when you and Horace rushed out to speak to us, you could have knocked me over with a feather. It was not until I got out into the garden and found your party formed up there that I was quite sure it was not all a dream.”

When they had talked over the rescue Mr. Beveridge said: “Well, we have had enough of cruising for the present; we will make for Athens at once, Captain Martyn; by this time probably something will be going on there.”

It was late in February when anchor was dropped in the harbour of the Piræus. Mr. Beveridge at once went on shore with Martyn, and returned the next morning.

“Any news of importance, father?” Horace asked as they came on board.

“Yes, Hypsilantes is likely to be succeeded by his rival Mavrocordatos. A Samian adventurer named Lykourgos has got together a fleet and has proposed a landing at Chios; there can be no doubt that his intention is simply plunder, for even if he could drive the Turks out of Chios he could not possibly hold the island, as a large Turkish fleet will very shortly be ready to sail out of the Dardanelles. The worst of it is that the Chiots are utterly opposed to any movement of the kind. They are an agricultural people, and the island has always been mildly governed and lightly taxed; their municipal administration is already in their own hands, and their taxes collected by themselves. When Admiral Tombazes appeared off Chios with the Greek fleet during its first cruise, the inhabitants turned a deaf ear to his invitation to them to rise. In fact there is no doubt that the people of Chios have everything to lose and nothing to gain by becoming a part of Greece.

“They have sent urgent remonstrances against the landing of any Greek troops on the island, pointing out that there is a strong body of Turkish troops there; that the citadel could not be captured, and that the attempt would only inflame the passions of the Mohammedan population and end in ruin and disaster to the Christian inhabitants. Hypsilantes has written a mild letter to Lykourgos suggesting that it would at any rate be prudent to defer the enterprise. It is feared, however, that, like Greek commanders in general, the fellow will pay no attention to this, but will proceed on his own account. Martyn agrees with me that it would be as well for us to cruise about the island and see how matters go on, and endeavour to rescue some of the Turks from the fury of the Greeks, or some of the Greeks from the fury of the Turks.”

“I should say the best thing to do, father,” Horace said indignantly, “would be to attack the ship of this fellow Lykourgos and to hang him at his own yard-arm.”

“It would be a good action, no doubt, Horace; but as he has with him a fleet of seventy or eighty vessels it is probable that if we made the attempt we should decorate the yard-arms and not Lykourgos. At any rate we will stop here for two or three days, and give the men a run on shore. Just at present, owing to the fact of our having destroyed that Turkish frigate, they will be very popular characters, and are not likely to get into any serious row. They have still got the money I paid them for their conduct at Cyprus, and when sailors have got money in their pockets they are never happy until they have got a chance of spending it.”

Accordingly, the crew had twelve hours on shore, a third of their number going each day. On the fourth day the vessel sailed for Chios. They cruised round the island for a fortnight and frequently overhauled fishing-boats and had conversations with the crews. They learned that fresh troops had lately arrived at Chios, and that as these bands were principally composed of volunteers, Vehid Pasha, the governor, had great difficulty in maintaining order among them. He had persuaded the Christians to raise a monthly contribution of thirty-four thousand piastres to give regular pay and rations to the troops and so keep them in a good temper.

On the 22d of March the schooner made out a large fleet of vessels approaching the island. They kept away until they saw them anchor, and then themselves cast anchor at a short distance from them. A boat at once put off from the ship flying the flag of Lykourgos, to demand who they were and with what intentions they were there.

“We fly, as you see, the flag of Greece,” Mr. Beveridge replied to the officer, “and we have the authority of the Greek government to fight against its enemies. I do not, however, recognize any authority on the part of your commander, unless he is acting at the present time under the explicit orders of Prince Mavrocordatos, who is now President of Greece, and shall therefore consult only my own feelings as to whether or not I take any part in the proceedings on shore.”

“Our admiral will know how to make you obey orders,” the officer said angrily.

“Is he an admiral?” Mr. Beveridge asked, as if for information. “I was not aware that he had received any commission that would authorize him to use that title either from the last president or from the present one. When I am well assured that this is the case it will naturally modify my views; as to compelling me, you can look round at the armament of this craft. Three months ago we destroyed a Turkish frigate, and I fancy that if we were interfered with we could give a good account of many of those vessels anchored there. If, therefore, Lykourgos is really bent upon the capture of Chios, I should advise him to set about it without wasting his time in meddling with us. You may mention to him that I am an English gentleman who has fitted up this vessel for the purpose of aiding Greece to achieve her independence, and that in all honourable warfare I am ready to take my part. If I see that the object of your expedition is honourable warfare I shall lend all assistance in my power. If I find that it is merely plunder and destruction, I shall also do all in my power to prevent the Greek flag from being disgraced by acts only worthy of pirates; and, moreover, I will take care that my countrymen and the various nations of Europe shall obtain a fair account of what has been done here.”

The Greek was completely cowed by the calmness and confidence of the owner of the schooner, and returned to his boat without any of the swagger with which he had quitted it. Horace translated his father’s speech to Martyn and the other two officers as soon as Mr. Beveridge had returned to his cabin.

“The chief is a perfect brick,” Martyn said enthusiastically. “Fancy sending off such a message as that from this schooner to a fellow commanding sixty or seventy sail. Sir Richard Grenville could hardly have sent from the deck of the Revenge a more defiant message to the Spanish fleet.”

Miller rubbed his hands. “Shall I get the men in readiness for making sail and casting off the guns, Captain Martyn?”

“There will be time enough,” Martyn said, “when we make out a movement among them. We can get up sail in half the time they can. I should not be surprised if this fellow Lykourgos knuckles down. Did you see how his officer came down from his stilts? If this fellow had any pluck he would be sailing to meet the Turkish fleet instead of landing to pillage here, for, from what Mr. Beveridge said, that can be his only motive. Still, we will keep a sharp look-out on them. If we see the flag-ship signalling to the others, or her boats putting off to them, we shall know what to expect. You may as well get a buoy on the anchor-chain and have everything ready to slip. We are too near them to be pleasant if they open fire. Once under way and out of close range we can talk to them as we like.”

Chapter XIV • Chios • 5,900 Words

A QUARTER of an hour after the Greek officer left the schooner Miller said: “They are lowering a large boat from the Greek flag-ship, sir.”

Martyn brought his glass to bear upon it.

“There is a stir on board,” he said. “It looks as if the commander were going on shore.”

“Yes, there is some officer of importance being handed down the ladder. Now she is putting off. By Jove! I believe she is coming here; at any rate she is heading straight for us. Perhaps Lykourgos himself is coming to blow us out of the water.”

“Quite as likely he is coming to pay his respects,” Miller said. “The betting is ten to one the fellow is a coward; and that if the officer gave the message as he got it, he is impressed with the idea that the chief is an Englishman of great importance, possessed, perhaps, of unknown powers of destruction.”

“Horace,” Martyn said, “you had better tell your father. I can make out that the fellow in the stern is got up in gorgeous uniform. I expect it is Lykourgos himself.”

Mr. Beveridge came up on to the quarter-deck just as the boat came alongside. Martyn went to the gangway as a Greek officer came up and announced that Admiral Lykourgos had come to pay a visit to the English lord. Lykourgos mounted to the deck.

“I am the commandant of this craft, sir,” Martyn said. “This is Mr. Beveridge, the owner.”

Lykourgos advanced with an air of great pleasure and with outstretched hand.

“I am delighted to make the acquaintance of an English friend of Greece,” he said.

Mr. Beveridge bowed and shook hands with the Greek.

“What a contrast there is between them!” Miller whispered to Horace. “This theatrical-looking Greek with his oily manners, and your father in his quiet blue serge! Ah! he is asking him to go down into the cabin.”

The interview lasted about ten minutes, and then the two men returned on deck. Lykourgos entered his boat and rowed away.

“Well, sir, is it peace or war?” Martyn asked.

“Peace, as far as we are concerned,” Mr. Beveridge said. “The fellow made no allusion to my message to him, paid me a large number of absurd compliments, expressed boundless admiration at the result of Miller’s action with the frigate, of which he had heard, and hoped that he would have our assistance against the Turks. I told him what I thought of his enterprise, and that he was bringing destruction upon the heads of the unfortunate Christians. He assured me that I had been misinformed, that the Christians would join him to a man, and that he should make short work of the Turks, and should at once besiege them in their citadel. I said that I wished him success in that part of his undertaking, and that there would be no time to waste, as the Turkish fleet might, I understood, appear any day. But that, if he undertook siege operations, and his own force proved inadequate, we would land a party to assist him. He hinted that money might be required to support the siege. I told him that I had arranged with the central government that any assistance I had to give in that way should be given through them; but that, if the people of the island really did rise, I should be happy to furnish a thousand muskets and ammunition for their use. Seeing that nothing was to be got out of me he took his leave. He said the landing was to take place in half an hour.”

“Shall we send a party on shore with him, Mr. Beveridge?” Martyn asked.

“No, Martyn. He says he has got two thousand five hundred fighting men ready to land, and that being the case we should be powerless to interfere in any way. Besides, for the present I think it would be best to keep the men on board. I don’t trust the fellow in the slightest; and if he thought the vessel was left weak-handed, he is perfectly capable of making a sudden attack on her. No doubt he thinks we have money untold below, and I should say a great proportion of his vessels are no better than pirates, who have merely joined him in the hope of booty. I know that he has none of the Psara ships with him, for Chios lies so near their island that they would have no wish to draw the vengeance of the Turks upon themselves; and I know that they, as well as the Chiots, sent to Corinth to protest against the expedition. I don’t think he has any of the Hydriot ships with him either. They only sail under their own admirals, and do, to a certain extent, respect the orders of the central government. His ships, I fancy, all belong to the smaller islands, and are the sort of craft that are honest traders one day and pirates the next if they see a chance—the riffraff of the islands, in fact. If they really do besiege the Turks in the citadel, and I see that we can be of any assistance, we will land a party; but at any rate we will take matters quietly until we see how things go.”

“The vessels are all lowering their boats, Captain Martyn,” Tarleton reported.

“Very well, Mr. Tarleton. Let the men go to their quarters, unloose the guns and load with grape. It is quite upon the cards that these fellows may make a sudden dash upon us, thinking to catch us napping.”

The boatswain’s whistle was heard, and then Tom Burdett shouted out: “All hands to quarters! Cast loose the guns and load with grape!” And in a moment a scene of animated bustle succeeded the quiet that had reigned on board the schooner since her anchor had been dropped. In a few minutes, however, the crowded boats left the ships and rowed towards shore.

“That will do, boatswain; you can call the men away from the guns,” said Martyn.

“Shall we take the cartridges out, sir?”

“No, leave them as they are. Put a fold or two of sailcloth over the touch-holes. It is just as well to be on guard as long as we are in the neighbourhood of these slippery gentry. Horace, you take my glass and go aloft, and see if you can make out any Turks in the neighbourhood. It is four or five hours since the Greek fleet first hove in sight, and there is ample time for the Turks to have come down to oppose their landing if they thought themselves strong enough to fight in the open.”

Horace ascended the shrouds, and sitting on the cap of the mainmast examined the shore.

“There are half a dozen horsemen riding about, a short distance from the shore, sir,” he called down, “but I can see no signs of troops anywhere.”

“Then it is evident they don’t mean to fight,” Martyn said to the first lieutenant. “Between ourselves, Miller, I am very glad they are not here to oppose a landing; for if they had been, no doubt the chief would have wanted to fire a few shots to help cover the operations, and I should be sorry to lift even a finger to help in this wretched business. It is like a landing from one of the old buccaneer fleets on the Spanish Main. They used to pretend they went to attack the Spaniards, while in reality they simply fought for plunder. Still, those fellows had courage—plenty of it, which is more, I fancy, than these Greeks are likely to exhibit when they once get in front of the Turks.”

Lykourgos, with his twenty-five hundred men, marched without opposition into the town of Chios, where they burnt the custom-houses, destroyed two mosques, and plundered generally the houses of the inhabitants. They occupied the houses nearest the citadel, and placing riflemen in them opened fire, while a party began to throw up a battery on a commanding position known as Turloti.

The following morning Mr. Beveridge landed, and, accompanied by Miller and Horace, and a party of twenty sailors armed with rifle, cutlass, and pistol, proceeded to Chios. He found the streets of the town in disorder, the troops—or rather the armed men, for they were under neither discipline nor control—were wandering about, occasionally going within sight of the citadel, and discharging their muskets two or three times in that direction. They looked with surprise at the orderly little party of British sailors; but as they supposed these had come to help them, they received them with exclamations of good-will. They visited Turloti, where a score or two of men were working lazily, and then went down to the port, where another battery had also been begun.

“What on earth are they putting up a battery here for?” Miller said. “At this distance they might as well fire potatoes at the citadel. Ask that officer, Horace, what they are up to?”

The Greek replied that they were going to run their trenches forward against the citadel from this point.

“Well, then, they are fonder of work than I gave them credit for,” Miller said when he understood the reply. “If the whole of them were to set to work in earnest, it would take them a month to run their trenches from here up to the citadel, and, at the rate at which they are working now, it would take them a couple of years.”

Returning to the town Mr. Beveridge called upon Lykourgos, who had taken up his quarters in the bishop’s palace. The Greek received him with an air of much greater pomposity than he had shown at their first meeting. He evidently believed that the work was almost accomplished, and that he was already the conqueror of the island.

“I have been doing some good work this morning,” he said. “I have deposed the Demogeronts (the Municipal Council). You know they were poor creatures and lukewarm, and I have appointed a Revolutionary Committee.”

“Indeed!” Mr. Beveridge said gravely. “And what military work have you in hand? It seems to me that the men would be much better employed in working at the batteries than in idling about the streets.”

“The citadel will soon fall,” Lykourgos said loftily. “Cut off from all succour and surrounded by my army they must speedily surrender.”

“Undoubtedly they must, if they were so situated,” Mr. Beveridge said; “but, so far as I see, there is nothing whatever to prevent the Turks from sending reinforcements from the mainland.”

“I am writing to ask the government at Corinth to order the fleet here to blockade the island and oppose the Turkish fleet when they come in sight.”

“That would be excellent,” Mr. Beveridge said; “but the central government are not famous for speed, nor are the ships of Hydra and Psara very apt to obey orders unless these happen to suit their own views. Could you not send a few of those vessels of yours to prevent the Turks from sending reinforcements?”

“That would be quite impossible,” Lykourgos said decidedly. “In the first place, they are mere transports, the greater proportion carrying no guns, and those that do have guns of such light calibre that they could not oppose the Turkish cruisers that would no doubt convoy any vessels bringing Turkish troops across. In the second place, I could not spare a ship, for, were the Turkish fleet to arrive before the Greek fleet comes to my assistance, I should have to re-embark my army at once. I shall soon be in a position to press the siege more vigorously. I have already received messages saying the peasantry among the hills are about to join me.”

Mr. Beveridge, seeing that there was no prospect of any vigorous efforts to restore discipline among the Greeks, returned to the schooner. Day after day passed and nothing whatever was done. A few soldiers, when the fancy took them, worked for an hour or two at the batteries, or fired away their ammunition in the direction of the citadel. Neither Lykourgos nor his committee made any attempt to introduce either discipline among the troops or order in the town.

No news came from Corinth as to the movements of the Greek fleet, but a vessel arrived with a few heavy guns for siege purposes, and also brought several Philhellenes—as foreigners who had come to assist the Greeks were called—to direct the service of the guns.

In consequence of the disorder in the town the position of the better class of Christians became intolerable. Mr. Beveridge landed but seldom. He saw that nothing could be done, and that the expedition must certainly end in disaster, and accordingly preferred to remain on board and await events.

Two of the officers generally landed every day. Some of the men were also allowed to go on shore, but were forbidden to approach the neighbourhood of the town lest they should become involved in quarrels with the Greeks. One day, when Horace was ashore with Tarleton, he spoke sharply to a drunken Greek soldier who ran against him. Presently Tarleton said:

“There has been a Greek following us since you spoke to that drunken man, Horace. He looks a respectable old card. I fancy he wants to speak to you, having heard you talking Greek.”

“Why doesn’t he speak then?” Horace said.

“Perhaps he wants to talk to you in quiet, Horace.”

“Very well. Let us turn down this narrow street. There is no one about, and that will give him a chance of speaking if he wants to.”

The Greek, indeed, quickened his steps as soon as they turned down, and was soon alongside of them.

“You speak Greek, sir?” he said to Horace. “I have been wanting to speak to some of you officers, but this is the first time I have heard one of you speaking Greek.”

“Yes, I speak the language. Is there anything I can do for you, sir?”

“Do you belong to an English ship-of-war, may I ask?”

“No; I belong to an armed ship, which is the property of my father, who is a Philhellene, and has fitted it out at his own expense for the service of Greece, whose flag we now fly.”

“Your sailors are taking no part in the siege of the citadel?”

“No, sir. My father does not think the expedition a useful one, and we are only remaining here to see what takes place, and perhaps to give assistance to any who may need it.”

“We all need it, sir,” the man said eagerly. “We have been robbed and plundered by these ruffians, who call themselves our friends, and when they run away, which they will do directly the Turks come, we shall be held responsible for all their misdeeds, and a terrible vengeance will fall upon us. I was a wealthy man, sir, a fortnight ago; now I would give all I possess to save the lives of my family and myself, and there are eight or ten of my friends in the same position. We have jewels and money, and are ready to pay any sum to be taken off the island before the Turks come. You have but to name a price, and if it is within our means we shall be happy to pay it.”

“We are not Greeks,” Horace said angrily, “to make money out of the miseries of others.” And then, seeing the depressed look of the merchant, he went on more mildly: “We do not wish to make money out of your misfortune, sir; but I will speak to my father, and I think I can answer for him that he will be ready to afford you and your friends and families shelter on board his ship. We lately took five hundred Christians off from Cyprus and landed them on the Ionian Isles. We came out to fight, but my father has since named his ship the Misericordia, and his desire is to help persons in distress, whether they be Turks or Christians. I will speak to him when I return on board, and if you will be here to-morrow at eleven o’clock in the morning I will give you his answer.”

The merchant overwhelmed Horace with thanks.

“What is the old chap so excited about, Horace?” Tarleton asked as they resumed their walk.

Horace repeated the conversation.

“Poor beggars!” Tarleton said. “A nice position they are in! I wish we had the crew of a man-of-war here; we would clear out the town pretty sharply of these ruffians who call themselves soldiers, and send these peasants who are swarming about the streets back to their mountains. I see they have got the muskets your father sent on shore yesterday. Much good will they do them! The men had far better be at home looking after their vineyards and orchards.”

Mr. Beveridge agreed at once to afford shelter to the merchants and their families.

“I thought it would come to this,” he said, “and expected some of them would come off and ask to be taken on board before; but I suppose they did not know our real character. We shall have plenty more applying before this matter is concluded; but I doubt whether Lykourgos and his crew will allow them to come on board so long as they have a penny left to be wrung out of them. The scoundrel ought to be hung, if it was only for being named as he is. It is downright profanation to hear such names as Ulysses, Lycurgus, Leonidas, and Miltiades applied to men who do not seem to possess one single good quality, not even that of courage. Tell them, Horace, that we will carry out any arrangements for getting them off that they may suggest, and that at any hour by night or day the boats shall be at the spot they appoint, and that a strong body of men shall be sent on shore to cover their embarkation.”

Martyn himself accompanied Horace the next morning to shore, as he thought it would be better that he should hear what were the plans of the merchant, and might be able to make suggestions as to their being carried out. The Christian merchant was awaiting them. When they approached he entered the house by the door of which he was standing, and invited them also to enter.

“I know the owner of this house,” he said, “and arranged with him to have a room where we could speak undisturbed. Did any of the officers or soldiers happen to come down the lane when I was speaking to you, suspicion would be at once roused that some plot or other was on foot. Well, sir, what is your father’s answer?”

“He cordially invites you and your friends and their families to take refuge on board his vessel, and he will land you at Athens, Corinth, or in the Ionian Isles, as you may desire.”

The Greek clasped his hands in delight. “Oh, sir, you cannot tell what a load you have taken off my mind, or what we have been suffering of late, with the certainty that ere long the Turks will return.”

“This is Captain Martyn, who commands the vessel,” Horace said; “he has come ashore to concert measures for getting you on board, that is, if you think that there will be any obstacle in the way of your coming off openly.”

“Certainly there will. I am sure they would not allow us to leave. Three of my friends went to Lykourgos yesterday and said they desired to go with their families on board the Greek ships. He got into a fury and threatened to have them thrown into prison as traitors, fined them a thousand piastres each, and said that anyone leaving the island would be deemed a traitor to the cause of Greece and all his property confiscated.”

Horace translated this to Martyn.

“Then they must get off quietly, Horace; ask him if they have formed any plans. Tell him that I will land thirty men and bring them up close to the town, if they can slip off and join us.”

Horace put the question.

“We were talking it over last night,” the merchant said; “it is not easy, because we all have men who call themselves officers quartered in our houses. We think that the best way will be for our daughters and servants, with the exception of one or two, to slip off as soon as it becomes dark, going in pairs and carrying with them all the valuables they can. We ourselves and our wives will remain for two or three hours, so that the men seeing us will suspect nothing. Some of our servants, after escorting the ladies and children beyond thetown, can return and take with them another load. It would not do to take large bundles, but the men can carry casks or barrels on their shoulders filled with valuable clothes and stuffs, and as there would be nothing unusual in a man carrying a cask of wine or a barrel of flour, they might pass without exciting suspicion. Then, at the moment agreed, we ourselves might slip away and join the rest.”

“That seems a likely plan,” Martyn said when he understood the details. “Now it is for them to name some spot where we can be awaiting them.”

“We have arranged that,” the Chiot said. “One of my friends has a large farm-house where he and his family take up their residence in summer; it stands half a mile from the town, on the brow looking down upon the sea; it is a white house with two large store-houses for wine and produce standing behind it.”

“I know the house,” Horace said; “the road passes a hundred yards behind it.”

“That is the house, sir. It will be dark by seven o’clock, and at that hour our servants will begin to start. It is probable that most of the children will be sent on there during the day. This could certainly be done without exciting attention. We ourselves will leave our houses as the clock strikes ten.”

“I should think, Martyn,” Horace said when he had translated this, “that we might manage to make things more easy for them if we send Marco on shore with half a dozen men directly we get back to the ship. We can tell him to hire a couple of carts and then to come to these people’s houses. At one they could take into the carts a dozen barrels of wine, that is to say, wine barrels filled with valuables; at another a dozen barrels of flour, at another a cask of currants or olives, and so on. I will go round with them, and it will merely seem as if we were buying stores for the ship. These rich merchants are certain to have the best of everything, and it will be natural that we should choose a time like the present to lay in a stock, and that they would be glad to sell cheaply. Marco and half the men could go with one cart and I could go with the rest with the other. That way we should attract less attention than by both going about in a crowd.”

“I think that is a capital plan, Horace; explain it to him, and get the names and addresses of the people who are going and the houses that each cart should go to, so that they may not cross each other on the way.”

Horace explained the matter to the merchant.

“That is kind indeed,” he exclaimed, “and will enable us to save all our most precious goods without fear of detection. I will go round at once to my friends and tell them to pack up their things. There are ten of us who have agreed to make the attempt together, which will make five houses for each cart to call at.” And taking out his pocket-book he wrote the addresses on two slips of paper.

There was nothing more to arrange.

“It will take us an hour and a half to get on board,” Horace said. “That will be one o’clock. At two we will start, and you may expect the carts to be at the houses somewhere about four.”

He and Martyn walked briskly back to the landing-place, where a boat met them, having put off as soon as they were seen approaching. Mr. Beveridge warmly approved of the plan, and at two o’clock ten sailors were landed. Zaimes as well as Marco accompanied them, and Miller also went to take charge of one party, as it was thought that they were less likely to be questioned if an officer went with them. They stopped at a farm-house by the way and hired two carts. It was arranged that the two Greeks should purchase in the town several carcasses of sheep and a quantity of fruit and vegetables to place on the carts with the other goods, so as to carry out more completely the idea that they were laying in stores for consumption on board, and on their way Zaimes suggested they should also get a small cask or two of currants and a cask of wine for each cart. In packing the goods these should be placed most conspicuously, so that if necessary they could knock in the head of the cask with currants, or bore holes in that with the wine, and show that the contents were what they seemed to be.

The operation was carried out without difficulty. At each place they visited, casks and barrels were at once rolled out from the warehouses and placed in the carts. There had evidently been an arrangement between the various families as to quantity, and by the time the last houses were visited the carts were filled to their full capacity, and the meat, vegetables, and fruit piled on the top of all. There was some joking from the soldiers as the carts passed down the streets, but the sight of the meat and vegetables dispelled any suspicions, and the Greeks joked back in return. Neither party knew how the other was getting on, as they had not caught sight of each other after separating before entering the town. Horace was first to reach the spot, a mile out, where they had agreed that whichever came first should await the other. In ten minutes the second party was seen coming in the distance, and when it arrived within a quarter of a mile Horace moved forward again.

Tarleton with the three largest boats was awaiting their coming on the beach abreast of the schooner, and by the time the contents of the first cart were transferred to the boats the second arrived. As soon as everything was on board the drivers of the carts were paid the sum agreed upon, and the boats rowed off to the schooner.

“Have you had any difficulty?” Mr. Beveridge asked as they came alongside.

“Not the slightest, father,” Horace replied. “We were chaffed a little about our stores, but no one had the least suspicion that they were not what they seemed.”

The casks were soon got on board and were slung down into the hold.

“What do you suppose they contain, father?” Horace asked.

“Well, of course all their jewels and money are in them, and no doubt all their valuable dresses. I expect that the bulk is made up of silk and brocades, most of which is extremely costly. Then there will be embroidered stuffs, some of the more valuable of which are worth almost a fortune in themselves. Chios is an extremely rich island and its revenues are a special appanage of the Sultan and his harem, and doubtless the merchants here supply the ladies of the court with many of their most valued robes and embroideries.”

While the boats had been ashore the sailors had again rigged up the screen across the main-deck for the use of the ladies and children, and had also made a smaller compartment for the use of the merchants. “There is one comfort,” Miller said, “as these people are swells they are not likely to turn the ship into such a pig-stye as that last lot did. How many do you suppose there will be, Horace?”

“I suppose they will run seven or eight to a family, that is seventy-five, and likely enough they may bring five or six men and women servants with each family; so I suppose you may calculate on a hundred and fifty, Miller.”

“Ah! well, we can manage that. I should like to see the face of that fellow Lykourgos to-morrow morning when he finds that some of the men out of whom he had expected to make most money have slipped through his fingers.”

As soon as it became dark thirty men were landed, armed to the teeth. Miller took command, and Horace accompanied him with the two Greeks to assist to look after the fugitives. When they reached the farm-house they found about thirty young children with their nurses assembled there with some eight or ten older girls. They were evidently in a state of great alarm, but their spirits rose when Horace and the Greeks entered and told them that a guard of English sailors were without and that there was no longer a fear of their being discovered by any straggling soldiers who might chance to visit the house. In a short time the servants, accompanied by young women and boys, began to arrive. Most of them carried bundles, and their bulky appearance suggested that they had put on a large quantity of clothes under the plain dresses they wore. The men all carried barrels or boxes. These all returned to the town and came back by half-past nine with another load.

Some excellent wine was served out to the sailors by the man who was in charge of the house, who told Horace that he had received orders from his master that the sailors were to carry away as many barrels of wine as they could take for the use of the schooner; and as it was certain that its owner would never have an opportunity of drinking it, Horace did not hesitate to accept the present, and thirty barrels of wine, each containing about five gallons, were brought out and placed in readiness for the sailors to take up.

“What are you going to do about your loads?” Horace asked one of the servants.

“We have orders, sir, to carry one of them as we go with you, and then when the others go off to the ship to return here for the second, if you will consent to our doing so.”

“Certainly,” Horace said. “There can be no possible objection to that, providing we all get down to the beach without any alarm being given, and of that I do not think there is any likelihood. The soldiers will have all returned to their quarters before this. The only chance is of our coming across parties of sailors returning to their ships. None of these would be strong enough to interfere with us, and even if they reported the matter when they got on board, I should say that none of the captains would feel sufficient interest in the news to take any steps about it.”

Soon after ten o’clock the merchants with their wives and grown-up sons began to arrive, and by half-past the last of the party were in. No further time was lost. Fifteen of the sailors, each with a barrel of wine on his shoulder, led the way under Lieutenant Miller. The merchants and their families followed, then came the servants with Horace and the rest of the sailors as rear-guard. The road was entirely deserted, and they reached the shore without encountering a single person. As soon as they did so, Horace told the servant men to set down their burdens and start back at once. The merchants with their wives and families were first transferred to the schooner, the sailors on shore taking charge of the rest of the fugitives and the baggage. Another trip conveyed the remaining Chiots to the vessel. When the boats returned the casks and barrels of wine were placed on board, and the sailors then took their places and rowed off. Horace found that the first party had already retired. Hammocks had been slung for the women and children, the female attendants sleeping on the deck. The merchants and their sons occupied a compartment screened off for them. The men-servants coiled themselves away between the guns on deck.

The two Greeks had gone off in the first boat, and already prepared some supper, to which Martyn and Horace sat down.

“I did not wait for you,” Mr. Beveridge said, “as I knew that it must be half-past eleven by the time you reached the shore, and another good half-hour before you were off. Poor people! their gratitude was quite distressing; the men considered that it was certain they would be massacred by the Turks, and their women carried off as slaves. I was obliged at last in self-defence to pack them off to bed. The women all wanted to kiss my hand, which would have been well enough for you young fellows, for some of the girls are lovely. The Chiots are celebrated for their good looks; but for a man my age it would have been simply embarrassing.”

“Perhaps they will renew the demonstrations to-morrow,” Miller laughed. “If so, I shall get Horace to explain to them delicately that our English custom is to salute on the face and not on the hand. I did not see any of the girls. I left it to Horace to do the polite indoors, while I kept a lookout with the men outside. I don’t know whether he came in for any kisses; if so, he kept it to himself.”

“No,” Horace laughed. “They were all too anxious about their parents’ safety to think of doing the civil thing to me; but, as you say, Martyn, there will be time enough to-morrow when we see what they are like. I expect to-morrow we shall have Lykourgos or some of his officers off here to protest.”

“That we sha’n’t,” Martyn said, “for we will get up the anchor at daybreak and be off before anyone knows what has happened. Your father agrees with me that the best plan will be to get rid of this cargo at once, and then we can come back again for another.”

“I have asked them where they would like to be landed,” Mr. Beveridge said, “and they had already agreed among themselves to go to Corfu. In the first place they have no love for the Greeks of the mainland, with whom they are furious for bringing destruction upon the island by coming here without a sufficient force to hold the citadel even if they captured it, and they would vastly rather be landed under the protection of the British flag. They will have time to settle afterwards where they will make their homes.”

Chapter XV • A White Squall • 6,600 Words

ALL hands were called at five o’clock, when daylight was beginning to break in the east; the anchor was got up, sail set, and the decks washed down, the usual scrubbing being for once omitted in order to avoid disturbing their passengers.

“What are we going to do about feeding them, Miller?” Horace asked. “It was all very well for the people we had on board before to get their meals anyhow they could, but these have been accustomed to wealth and luxury, and, as the leading merchants of Chios, were people of importance.”

“Your father and the two Greeks were talking it over yesterday evening before you landed, Horace. Of course it is out of the question that they could all take their meals in the cabin, which your father at first proposed to give up to them. Marco suggested that a table should be rigged on the quarterdeck. We reckoned that there would be about fifty grown up or nearly so, that was allowing five for each family. Of course the children would have their meals with their nurses below.”

“That would certainly be the pleasantest way, Miller. There is plenty of room for two tables, and as far as length goes twelve or fourteen could sit on each side easily enough without the tables extending forward of the mainmast. I see Tarleton is getting the awning rigged up already. But the tables will want to be cleared away after each meal, or there will be no room for anything.”

“Oh, yes, five minutes will be enough for that. The men will bring up all their mess tables, they can be rigged and unshipped in no time. The order is that the men are all to get into their white ducks at eight bells, as your father means to show these Greeks what an English yacht is. Your men have rigged up another stove in their cooking place, and have borrowed a couple of the sailors, I suppose to wash and cut up vegetables, and to act as kitchen-maids.”

At seven o’clock the Chiots began to come up. Mr. Beveridge was already on deck, and requested Horace to assist him to set them at their ease. The men were all of the best Greek type, courtly and gentle in manner, with refined faces. The older women were all more or less inclined to corpulence, while some of the young ones fully deserved the terms of praise in which Mr. Beveridge had spoken of them the evening before. At first they looked timid at finding themselves in scenes so strange to them, but they were soon chattering and laughing with each other. They were immensely astonished at the exquisite neatness and cleanliness of the vessel and her fittings.

“Are all English ships as white and clean as this?” one of them asked.

“All ships of war and yachts. A yacht is a vessel kept by a gentleman simply for his own amusement and not for trade. This is a yacht, though we have mounted guns, and have come out prepared to fight.”

“It would be a great pity to fight and spoil everything,” the girl said.

“Oh, we can fight without spoiling everything; though of course sometimes a shot may knock things about a bit, the damage would soon be repaired.”

“But you can’t have been fighting yet,” one of the younger men said, looking round.

“We have only had one fight, and that was when most of us were ashore. That officer, whom you see there, was on board, and he only had ten men with him; but for all that he engaged two Turkish frigates, and destroyed one of them.”

There was an exclamation of astonishment, mingled with a little incredulity, from the group round Horace, some of whom thought he was trying to make fun of them.

“I can assure you that it is a fact,” Horace said. “He first crippled her, and then set her on fire by firing red-hot balls into her.”

“Was that near Cyprus?” one of the young men asked.

“Yes; the rest of us were on shore there, and we brought off five hundred Christians from a village that was besieged by the Turks.”

“Yes, that is true,” the young fellow said. “I was told about it by one of the officers who lodged in our house. He said it was wonderful, and so it was; and the men you have here all look so quiet too.”

“They are on their best behaviour now,” Horace laughed; “but they are all picked men, and have all served in British men-of-war.”

As eight bells rang out a party of sailors came along to the quarter-deck, bringing with them half a dozen mess tables, which they arranged together, according to the direction of Zaimes.

“But these are nothing like enough, Zaimes,” Horace said, going over to him.

“We are not going to sit down, Mr. Horace. We shall have two meals—one at eleven and one at six. We shall put things on the table now, and let them eat standing.”

The cloth was soon spread, and upon it were placed fruit, bread and butter, and eggs, a great tureen filled with coffee, and another with hot milk; the whole of the cabin tea and coffee cups, and a score of the men’s mugs.

“Now, ladies and gentlemen,” Mr. Beveridge said, “you must help yourselves. I am sorry to say that our breakfast service is quite insufficient for our needs, and that the gentlemen will have to put up with the sailors’ mugs.”

Everyone seemed to enjoy the meal; the women sat about on the deck in little groups, and the men waited upon them, the three officers making themselves very busy in this work.

“It is disgusting, Horace,” Miller said, “to hear you jabbering away with these girls, while we poor beggars can’t say a word to them.”

“But you speak a little Italian, don’t you, Miller?”

“Yes, I picked up a little when I was on the Mediterranean station.”

“Oh well, a little will go a long way sometimes, Miller, and some of them are sure to know something of Italian. I will soon find out which they are, and introduce them specially to you.”

Five or six of the girls knew a little Italian, and most of the young men could speak it, Italian being the general language of commerce in the Mediterranean, and Miller was soon engaged in conversation with some of them. Martyn had broken the ice for himself with a mixture of French and Italian; but Tarleton, who knew no language but his own, kept away from the quarter-deck.

“What’s the odds,” he said, when Horace tried to induce him to go aft. “If they were going to be on board for a year, I would try to get hold of a few Greek words, and do what I could; but as it is, it is not worth while bothering one’s self. It is no use my trying to make myself agreeable to girls when I haven’t a word to say to them. On the whole I am rather glad I can’t talk, to them. I never had any practice at that sort of thing; and if I ever do fall in love, I hope it will be with an Englishwoman. Look at Miller there,” he laughed, “jawing away with five or six girls at once, and I don’t believe one of them has the least idea of what he is saying, though they all try to look interested.”

“They understand he is trying to make himself agreeable, Tarleton, and I have no doubt they are grateful and pleased. I daresay some of them don’t understand any more Italian than he does. Still they are just as much amused, if not more, as if they understood him perfectly.”

After the meal was over some chairs and benches were brought up, but the ladies all preferred sitting on the deck, and were much pleased when a number of the men’s hammocks were brought up, unrolled, and laid down for them to sit upon. Mr. Beveridge chatted with the merchants, the younger men smoked and lounged about, Martyn and Miller and Horace devoting themselves to the ladies, until eleven o’clock, when two long tables were set. Zaimes arranged them tastefully with flowers and silver, and a very excellent meal was served. After the meal was finished, and the decks cleared, the men were exercised at cutlass drill and in getting down and setting the sails, and the Chiots were astonished at their discipline and activity.

“I have seen vessels get up sail at Chios hundreds of times,” one of the young men said to Horace, “and everyone shouts and bustles about; but with all the noise they take five or six times as long to get them up as your men do, and, except when the officer gives orders, there is no more sound than there would be if they were all dumb.”

“Captain Martyn says that he will have gun drill to-morrow,” Horace said, “and you will see that they are just as quiet at their work then as now. You see the three officers have all served in our navy as well as the men, and we have just the same discipline as there would be in a king’s ship.”

“One would scarcely think,” Horace remarked to his father that evening as they were standing together looking at the groups scattered about the deck, “that these people were fugitives who have just left their native land, probably for life.”

“I don’t think they quite realize that at present, Horace. One or two of the men have been telling me what anxiety they have suffered at Chios since the revolution broke out. When the news came of some of the massacres of the Greeks, they were in constant fear of a retaliation upon them by the Mussulmans, and they made sure that sooner or later, if the war went on, Chios would become involved in it. Of course they did not suppose that such a mad-brained expedition as that of Lykourgos would be undertaken, but supposed that a sufficient force would be sent to ensure the capture of the island, accompanied by a fleet that would protect it from that of the Turks; but even that was greatly dreaded by them.

“They knew that the Turkish provinces governed by Greek officials were much more heavily taxed and oppressed than those in which the Turks collected the taxation, and knew that the change would be, for them, very much for the worse. Except that they have the same religion, they have little in common with the Greeks in the mainland, and dreaded the thought of the Albanians, who would be sure to send over armed bands, who would harass and oppress them. Of course they have been for centuries under Turkish rule, and the island has certainly flourished exceedingly under it. Their trade has been almost entirely with Constantinople, and all their connections are Turkish. I can quite understand, therefore, their repugnance to a change which would ruin their trade and vastly increase their burdens; while, as to masters, I should imagine that no one in their senses could prefer Albanians to Turks.

“Seeing the storm coming, most of the wealthy Chiots have prepared in some way for it by sending much of their available capital, for safety, to correspondents abroad, or by investing in foreign securities. I believe that all these merchants have done so; and as the greater part of their money and valuables that remained are at present down in the hold, they will be able to live, if not in as great luxury as before, at any rate in comfort at Corfu, or wherever they may settle themselves; while several of them have told me that they intend again to embark in trade, and, if possible, under our flag. They have been asking me a good many questions about ourselves, and don’t seem at all able to comprehend the interest that the Greek revolution has created in Europe; still less that an Englishman like myself, who could live comfortably at home, should come out here to take part in a struggle that in no way concerns him.”

“What did you answer, father?” Horace asked with a slight smile.

“I told them that I was but half an Englishman, and that my mother was Greek, and that I was devoted to the study of the language and customs of the ancients.”

“I suppose they knew nothing about the ancients, father?”

“No,” Mr. Beveridge admitted reluctantly. “They had heard of the name of Homer, and had a vague sort of knowledge of the early history of Greece—about as vague as the ordinary Englishman has of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. An English school-boy of twelve knows more about ancient Greece than do nineteen Greeks out of twenty; though, seeing the interest felt by civilized Europe in the matter, it is the fashion among them now to pretend to feel great enthusiasm on the subject. No; I am not surprised at these poor people being cheerful, Horace. They have escaped the risk of a terrible fate; and as to patriotism, it is a feeling of which people who have been under foreign masters hundreds of years know absolutely nothing. They may regret their easy, quiet life in Chios; but beyond that, I think they have little feeling in the matter.”

The next morning, after breakfast, the sailors were exercised at the guns, three rounds being fired from each piece. Scarcely were the men dismissed from their quarters, and the guns secured, before the boatswain went up to Martyn.

“I beg your pardon, captain, but look over there. Do you see that white cloud?—how quick it rises. I know these seas, sir; and that is a white squall, or I am a Dutchman. We sha’n’t have more than three or four minutes before it is on us.”

“By Jove, you are right, Tom! All hands get off sail. Look smart, my lads; there is a bit of a squall coming down on us. Down topsails; in jibs. Miller, take six hands and get this awning off. Horace, get the ladies below at once.”

As Martyn began to give his orders, Tarleton had run forward to see them carried out; but Miller and Horace had continued their conversation without paying much attention to them, believing that he was only giving the orders as an exercise to the crew, and to show the passengers how quickly they could get off sail. His sharp, decided tone, however, soon showed them that he was in earnest. Horace looked round almost bewildered, for there was scarcely a breath of wind; the sky was a deep blue overhead. Miller’s experience in the Mediterranean, however, told him which way to look.

“White squall, by Jove!” he muttered, as his eye fell on the cloud that had attracted the boatswain’s attention. Springing forward he called six of the men, and ran aft with them again. Horace, still in ignorance of the reason for the order given him, at once proceeded to carry it out.

Calling out in Greek, “Please go below at once, ladies;” and then to the men, “Escort the ladies below as quickly as you can, please.” Then, running forward, he shouted to the Greek servants, “All below, all below! Take the children with you; you are in the way here. Hurry down.”

His orders on the quarter-deck were more quickly obeyed than he had expected, for the Chiots, accustomed to these sudden and tremendous squalls of the Ægean, glancing round when they heard the order, perceived the reason for it at once, and hurried the ladies below with all speed.

With so strong a crew it took but a minute to lower the gaff topsail from the mainmast and to get the foretop gallant sail and topsail down on the caps, and almost before the halliards had been let go a dozen men were aloft furling the sails. The foresail came down with a run, and the jibs flew in from the bowsprit. Martyn himself saw to the lowering of the mainsail.

“Belay there!” he called when it was half-way down. “Reef it down fully, Mr. Tarleton,” as the young officer, with twenty men, sprang to the reef-points. “Now haul on the reef-earing. That is it. Well together, lads. Harden it down; that will do. Now a pull on the main halliards; that is enough. Belay. Lower the peak a bit more; that will do. Now we are ready for it. Boatswain!”

“Ay, ay, sir,” came from forward.

“Lower that fore-staysail down, and reef it fully.”

He looked to windward. A white bank of clouds extended half-way up the sky, in front of which were white streamers blown out ahead of it. The schooner had already been brought round with her head in the direction of the wind, and an extra hand had been placed at the wheel.

“Starboard a little,” Martyn cried to the men at the wheel. “Slack off the mainsheet a bit, Mr. Miller. I don’t want to be taken aback.”

A minute later a white line was seen approaching them on the water with the speed of a race-horse, and then with a shriek the squall was upon them. Stripped as the vessel was of all her canvas, save the diminished fore-staysail, the mainsail being too far over to draw, she lay down until the water poured in over the lee gunwale from the pressure of wind on her masts and rigging. Her head payed off.

“Now haul on the mainsheet,” Martyn shouted to a dozen sailors who had hold of it, and dragged it in hand over hand. As the sail fluttered in her head again came up into the wind. “That will do. Belay there! keep her at that, lads,” Martyn said, taking his place by the side of the men at the helm. “Keep the staysail full, but nothing more.”

The schooner had now begun to move fast through the water as close-hauled to the wind as her sails would stand. Though still heeling over, her deck was now free of water, as that which she had taken on board had rushed out through the port-holes.

“She will do nicely now,” Martyn said to his first lieutenant. “You can get the peak up again, Mr. Miller; she will stand it now.”

The schooner was now retracing the course she had before been sailing on.

“It is lucky it came when it did, Miller. Another couple of hours and we should have been in the thick of the islands. As it is now, we have clear water, and at any rate, if we are obliged to change our course, we can run down south comparatively clear of everything. It is lucky we saw it coming in time. It was the boatswain warned me. If we had not got the sail off her we should have lost our spars, and perhaps been dismasted, and with all these islands down to leeward we should have been in an awkward fix.”

“Yes, indeed;” Miller agreed. “We are all right now. Of course we shall get some sea soon, but these squalls don’t last many hours. It is only the first blow that is to be feared.”

“Do you think, Miller, you could get that pivot-gun sent down below? It is a big weight on deck, and when the sea gets up she will feel it.”

“I think so, sir. There is no sea on yet to speak of.”

The gun was amidships, half-way between the fore and mainmasts, and there was a hatchway just beyond the framework on which it travelled. Calling the crew together, Miller got tackles on the mainmast, and these with the blocks of the throat halliards of the foresail were hooked on to strops round the gun. Ropes were attached to it and manned to prevent it from swinging away to leeward when hoisted from the carriage.

“Now all ready,” Miller said. “Hoist on the falls handsomely, inch by inch. Stand fast to those stay-ropes; that is right. Now haul her aft. Lower away a little forward and let her swing gradually aft; that does it. Now she is over the hatchway. Lower away a little aft. Let her go down, breech foremost; that will do. Now a dozen of you go down to the main deck. You go down with them, Mr. Tarleton, and steer her clear through the lower hatchway.”

Gradually the muzzle of the heavy gun sank below the deck, and in five minutes it was safely stowed in the bottom of the hold. Then the hatches were put on again and battened down securely, and Miller went aft.

“That is a good job, Miller,” Martyn said. “The sea is getting up fast, and in another five minutes it would not have been safe to do it. It will make all the difference to us in such a short choppy sea as we shall be having.”

For six hours the wind blew with unabated force. A heavy sea got up, and, buoyant as she was, the schooner shipped water heavily over the bow, the seas being too short to give her time to rise and fall regularly over them. At the end of that time the wind fell almost as suddenly as it had risen, and half an hour later the schooner was on her course again, with all her lower sails set. It was not until evening that the sea had gone down sufficiently for the passengers to begin to make their appearance again on deck, looking worn out and exhausted by sea-sickness.

By this time the schooner was among the islands, and was passing through the Mykonos Channel, between the island of that name and Tenos. Syra rose above the water almost ahead, while Rhenea and Delos lay on her beam to the south. Her topsails were set now, and she was running fast through the water, her course being laid to pass between Seriphos and Siphnos, beyond which it was a straight course to Cape Malea, at the southern point of the Morea. A sharp look-out was kept at night for Anti-Melos on the one hand, and Falconera on the other. The former was made out, the land being high; but Falconera, a mere rock, was passed unobserved. In the morning the schooner was running through the Cervi Channel, between Cythera and Cervi, which island almost touches the mainland. A quiet night’s rest had completely restored the passengers, who came on deck early, and watched with interest the rocky shore of the Morea as they coasted along it.

Three days later the Misericordia dropped her anchor in the harbour of Corfu.

Mr. Beveridge was again overwhelmed with thanks by the grateful Chiots. Upon the way they had inquired of him if he had a wife or daughters, and were quite disappointed at hearing that he had no near female relatives, as they had intended to send a consignment of choice stuffs and embroideries to them in token of their gratitude. Before landing they handed to Martyn a hundred pounds to be divided among the crew, and on the day after landing sent off a very handsome case of pistols to each of the officers. As their goods were being got up from the hold they pointed out four barrels which were to remain behind.

“We brought them off specially for you, Mr. Beveridge,” they said. “They are the very choicest vintage of Chios, and we do hope that though you have refused to accept any substantial proof of our gratitude, you will not refuse to take these.”

The decks of the Misericordia seemed curiously still and deserted after the departure of their guests. It had been a very pleasant week while the Chiots had been on board, and Martyn and Miller both looked out of spirits, having temporarily lost their hearts to two of the Greek girls.

“We have the best of it now,” Tarleton laughed to the doctor. “What is the use of a week’s flirtation? Look at the parting at the end of it. The girls were pretty enough, no doubt; but what good would it be to take home a wife who did not speak your language, who was ignorant of English ways, and would be miserable in our climate, besides being of a different religion. I think it is just as well that the voyage was not longer; as it is, they will soon get over it.”

The captain and first officer had indeed but little time to think over it, for on the evening of the day after their arrival sail was again set on the schooner, and she started on her return to Chios, where, as Mr. Beveridge said, they were likely to find plenty more opportunities for doing good. The wind held steady, and they made a quick passage. Scarcely had they dropped anchor when a boat came off to them bearing an angry message from Lykourgos.

“You have assisted deserters to escape from the island,” he said, “and if any of you set foot on shore you will at once be arrested.”

They learned shortly afterwards from a boat that came alongside to sell fish that many of the richer inhabitants had been arrested and very heavily fined upon the accusation that they also intended to desert, and that all who had property had been compelled to pay considerable sums for protection against the excesses of the troops who had come, as they pretended, to deliver them. The officers were furious at the message from Lykourgos, and proposed going ashore with a strong party of armed sailors. Mr. Beveridge, however, decided that no steps should be taken for a day or two.

“We don’t want to become actually embroiled with these people unless it is necessary,” he said. “The Turkish fleet is expected here every day now, and Lykourgos and his crew will, we may be sure, take flight as soon as they appear, and we shall then have plenty of scope for our work. At any rate we will wait two or three days and see how matters turn up. If necessary we can then do as you propose, seize half a dozen of the ships, and tell the rest we will sink them if they don’t put to sea; that will bring the fellow to his senses at once. I don’t want to do it if I can help it, because we should afterwards be liable to attack at any of the islands we might happen to put into.”

A few hours later a fast Greek felucca came up and anchored between the schooner and the other vessels. A boat was lowered and rowed at once towards the transports.

“I fancy that fellow must have brought some news,” Martyn said. “Horace, will you go on board of him and find out where he comes from, and whether he has heard anything of the Turkish fleet?”

In ten minutes Horace reported:

“The Turks are only a few miles from the north of the island. The felucca has been watching them for the last week. They have been taking troops on board at all the ports on the mainland as they came down.”

Already the fleet had diminished by at least two-thirds since Lykourgos landed; but a small proportion of the plunder had fallen to the sailors, and as it was for this alone that the craft had taken part in the expedition, the greater portion soon became discontented and sailed away. As the Turkish fleet approached the island, a Turkish sloop, which had gone on ahead to ascertain the position of the Greeks, ran ashore and fell into the hands of the Greeks, who at once put to death every soul on board—the fate that had befallen every prisoner they had taken. Having thus done their utmost to exasperate the Turks, and to imperil the safety of the Christian inhabitants of the island, the Greeks made no effort to oppose the landing of the Mussulmans, but retired precipitately on their approach, and the Turks entered Chios, plundering the town of everything that had escaped the bands of Lykourgos, the irregulars who formed part of the army murdering every Christian they met.

Lykourgos had retreated to the village of St. George, whence, after a feeble attempt at defence, he escaped with his followers on board some Psarian ships that had, fortunately for him, arrived. These islanders had strongly opposed the expedition to Chios, and had taken no part in it, fearing to bring down the Turkish fleet upon themselves, as Psara lay but a short distance north of Chios. They maintained their fleet in port to aid in its defence should the Turks attack them. As soon, however, as they saw the Turkish fleet sail past Psara on its way to Chios they at once put to sea with the intention of harassing the Turks and rendering some assistance to the Christians.

The vengeance of the Turks now fell upon the unfortunate Chiots, who had been perfectly innocent of all share in the proceedings of Lykourgos, and who had already suffered so heavily at the hands of him and his robber bands. In the city the wealthier class generally succeeded in purchasing the protection of Turks in authority by paying large sums of money, but the rest were either slaughtered or seized to be sold into slavery. Three thousand Chiots, mostly the peasantry that had come down from the hills, retired to the monastery of Aghios Minas, five miles south of the city. The Turks surrounded them and summoned them to surrender. They refused to surrender, and the building was carried by storm, and all within it put to death. Two thousand persons were similarly slain at the capture of the monastery of Nea Mone; most of them were put to death by the sword, and the rest perished in the conflagration of the monastery.

Kara Ali, the capitan-pasha, did all in his power to save the island from being laid waste, knowing that the loss of the revenue derived from the island would greatly vex the sultan and his seraglio, to whom this revenue was specially appropriated. The regular troops were kept fairly in order, but the Bashi-Bazouks, that is the volunteers who had flocked to his standard, scattered over the island, plundering and slaying, but more especially carrying off women and children for sale in the slave-markets. The sultan, determined to strike terror into the hearts of the Greeks of the island, executed at Constantinople some Chiot hostages that had been sent there, and ordered the archbishop and seventy-five other Chiots to be executed by the capitan-pasha. During the whole time Lykourgos had been there the vessels from Psara they had been carrying off the Chiots from small ports and quiet bays round the island, and it was estimated that some fifteen thousand had been taken off in this way either before the arrival of the Turks or during the continuance of the massacres by them. The work was carried on with great vigour by the Psarians who reaped a rich harvest from their operations, demanding and receiving all the valuables of the unfortunate fugitives as the price for their passage to another island. Thus large numbers of wealthy Chiots were reduced to the most abject poverty by the avarice and extortion of those who professed to save them.

The Misericordia was very busy during the three weeks that followed the Turkish re-occupation of the island. Cruising round and round she carried off large numbers of fugitives, conveying them across to the nearest Greek islands. After making three such trips, and carrying over some twelve hundred fugitives, she left the work of rescue to the Psarians, and took up her station between the island and the mainland to cut off the craft that were, as they learned, conveying the women and children to the slave-markets of Smyrna. As speed was here of the greatest utility, vessel after vessel was overhauled and compelled to bring to by her guns. Then the boats went alongside, forced the Turkish sailors and Bashi-Bazouks to take to their boats, and then after transporting the rescued women and children to the schooner, set fire to the ships.

No less than eighteen were overhauled and destroyed in the course of a week—fourteen hundred women and children being rescued, the first two batches being landed at Psara as the nearest Greek island, while the last batch was taken to Athens. On returning from that trip they found that the destruction they caused had so alarmed the ship-owners of Smyrna that the traffic by sea had almost entirely ceased, and that the slaves were now carried across in boats or small vessels to the mainland opposite the island, which was but six or seven miles away. Here it was difficult to interrupt it, for the Turkish fleet lay off the town of Chios, and the smaller ships cruised about in the channel.

Trusting to her superior sailing power, the Misericordia entered by the southern, which was the broader end of the straits, and kept hovering about between the island and the mainland. She was frequently chased by the Turks, and several times engaged their cruisers at a distance, the superior rapidity of her fire, and the ease with which she manœuvred, giving her a great advantage over her clumsy opponents. Two of the Turkish corvettes were so severely handled that they had to retire under the shelter of the guns of the fleet. Over a score of small craft were intercepted and destroyed, and two hundred and fifty more slaves rescued. At night she generally ran across and anchored in some indentation on the Turkish side, going in after nightfall, knowing that the Turkish cruisers always retired before dark to their anchorage off Chios.

One night they were at anchor in a deep bay near the narrow and northern mouth of the straits. At about three in the morning Horace was on the watch with Miller, and was walking up and down the quarter-deck with him, when one of the quarter-masters came aft.

“It seems to me, sir,” he said to the first lieutenant, “that I can hear some sort of noise out seaward.”

Miller stopped in his walk and listened intently. “There is some sort of noise, sure enough, quarter-master.”

It was a quiet night, not a breath of wind was stirring, but a confused sound was audible like that of small waves breaking on a stony beach. “What do you make it out to be?” he asked the quarter-master. “It is too irregular and confused for oars.”

“I don’t know, sir; it ain’t the sound of the oars of one boat or of two, but I should say that it might be the sound of a dozen.”

“I think you are right,” Miller said after listening for a while. “I don’t see what else it can be. Go down and call Captain Martyn.”

In two or three minutes Martyn was on deck. “You make out oars, I hear, Miller?”

“I am not sure that it is the sound of oars, but it may be.”

Martyn listened attentively.

“I have very little doubt it is that,” he said. “It is possible some boat may have gone over from this side with the news that we are here, or they may have arranged some fire signal and given notice in that way, and they have sent the boats of the fleet across to cut us out. Well, if so, we have got to fight; there is not a breath of wind. Call the other watch on deck, quarter-master.”

The men soon tumbled up.

“Will you see to getting the boarding nettings up, Mr. Miller. Mr. Tarleton, get a boat put in the water, ship a light anchor, and drop it a cable length of her quarter. Get springs into both cables, so that we can work her round and keep her broadside on to an attack. Horace, will you call up your father in the first place, and go down with the two Greeks to the lower deck and get all that mob of women and children down into the hold. Call the men to quarters, boatswain; open the magazine, get up canister and grape; let the men muster with muskets and boarding-pikes.”

The guns were run in and loaded, and when everything was in readiness a dead silence reigned fore and aft. The noise was now much louder, and there could be no doubt any longer that it was caused by the approach of a large number of boats; then Martyn spoke in a clear voice that could be heard from end to end of the schooner.

“As you can hear for yourselves, men, it is evident that we are about to be attacked by a flotilla of boats. Well, we have got to beat them off. You know, without my telling you, that there is no mercy to be expected at the hands of the Turks if they become the masters of this ship, so we have got to beat them off; and as it is a choice between doing so and of being murdered afterwards, I am sure I need not tell you that we must fight to the last, and I for one have very little fear of what the result will be. We have done good work as British sailors in saving life up to this point, and now we have got to show them what British sailors can do when they are fighting for their own lives. Don’t cheer, lads, they might hear it across the water, and they may as well think they are going to take us by surprise; we will cheer when we have beaten them off.”

A hum of approval ran round the ship, and then the men stood to their guns with their pistols in their belts, and their muskets and boarding-pikes ready at hand. Mr. Beveridge with the two Greeks had taken their positions, armed with rifles, near the wheel.

“They must be coming very slowly, Tarleton,” Miller muttered impatiently. “They must be a mile away still.”

“I expect the boats are crowded with troops, Miller, and I daresay they are rowing easily so as to keep well in a body.”

“I suppose that is it; but I wish the beggars would make haste. I hate this waiting.”

“So do I,” Tarleton agreed. “Well, we shall give them a hot reception when they do come. If it were anyone but Turks, I should say we were going to have very hot work of it. The Turks are good fellows to fight on shore, but they are no good on the water, and I expect they will attack us pell-mell without the least plan or order. Well, we shall soon know; another ten minutes, and they will be near enough to begin.”

Chapter XVI • Fire-Ships • 6,300 Words

THE time passed slowly as they were waiting for the attack by the Turkish boats. The men muttered and growled to each other at the delay. In order to give them something to do, Miller sent all those who were not stationed at the guns down below to fetch up a number of 32-pound shot and place them in the racks, and some of the men were told off to jump up on to the rail as soon as the boats came alongside, and to throw the shot over the top of the boarding-netting down into the boats.

“I wish it was not so confoundedly dark, Miller, and that we could make the fellows out,” Martyn said.

“I have got rockets and blue lights, sir. Shall I send a rocket up? They are sure to find us, so we lose nothing by showing them where we are.”

“Yes, they are sure to find us. I don’t like their being such a long time in getting to us.”

“They do come wonderfully slow,” Miller agreed.

“Do you know, Miller, I have been thinking for some time that there must be some cause for it, and the only reason I can see is that they may be towing.”

“By Jove, so they may! I did not think of that. It will be awkward if we have got a ship to fight as well as the boats.”

“Very awkward. Send up a rocket, we may as well settle the question. Pass the word round for the men to train their guns as nearly as they can in the direction in which we can hear the oars, and to fire when they get light.”

A minute later a rocket shot up in the air. As it burst a number of boats were seen crowded together, towing behind them two large brigs. There was a moment’s pause while the men at the guns adjusted their aim, then the pivot-gun roared out, and the four on the broadside followed in quick succession. The distance was about six hundred yards, and the crashing of wood, followed by a chorus of shouts and cries, arose as the storm of grape swept down upon the boats.

“Load again, lads, as quick as you can,” Martyn shouted. “Show a couple of blue lights, quarter-master. Boatswain, load the pivot with ball, and fire as fast as you can at the brigs; never mind the boats, we will attend to them.”

The blue lights were lit and a rocket sent up, so as to burst over the enemy, and again a broadside of grape was poured in, while a shot from the pivot-gun crashed into the bows of one of the brigs; these had apparently been lashed together, so that the boats could tow them on a broad front. A confused din came across the water; shouts, cries, and orders mingled together. As far as could be seen everything was in confusion. Some of the boats had sunk, and the occupants were being pulled on board of the others. Some had thrown off their tow-ropes and were heading for the schooner, others lay helpless in the water.

“Keep the rockets going, quarter-master,” Martyn said; “the more light we have the better. Horace, tell the men at the aft and forward guns to aim at the boats rowing towards us; let the two midship guns keep on at the crowd in front of the brigs. They have sent a pretty strong force against us. There must have been fully twenty of these boats at first; there are about sixteen of them now, and they are all large ones. Depress the guns on the other broadside as far as they will go, Mr. Tarleton, we shall have some of them round on that side presently. Cant them down as much as you can.”

Two more of the boats towing were disabled by the next broadside, and the rest, throwing off the ropes, rowed straight for the schooner.

“Aim steadily, men!” Martyn shouted. “Pick out your boats before you fire.”

Two of the boats were sunk as they approached, three others fell behind crippled; but the others, with loud shouts, made straight at the vessel. As they approached her they opened a fire of musketry, which was answered by the rifles and muskets of the sailors. As they swept up alongside shots were heaved down into them, and the crashing of planks told that they had done their work. The guns on the starboard side were silent at first, as the first boats came up so close alongside that they could not reach them; but those that followed were further out, and two were instantly sunk.

As the Turks strove to climb up the side and cut their way through the boarding-netting, they were shot down by pistols or run through by boarding-pikes. A few managed to climb
over or force their way through the netting, but these were cut down before they could obtain a footing on deck. For ten minutes the fight went on by the flare of the blue lights, and then eight Turkish boats, which alone floated, rowed away, crowded with the survivors from the others. A loud cheer broke from the schooner.

“Never mind them, my men,” Martyn shouted; “load with ball now and aim at the brigs.”

These had taken no part whatever in the fight. Left by the boats head on to the schooner, and almost without steerage-way, they had in vain endeavoured to get broadside on so as to bring their guns to bear. The lashings had been cut, and the rudders been put in opposite directions; they had drifted a little apart with their heads outwards, and as the boats rowed away from the schooner they opened fire with their bow-guns. The boatswain, with the men working the pivot-gun, had from the first continued steadily at their work regardless of the din around them, Horace taking his place beside them, in order to call them off to aid in repelling the Turks should they gain a footing anywhere on the deck. When the boarding-netting had been triced up, a gap had been left opposite the gun, and the fire at the brigs had been kept up without intermission, every shot raking one or other of them fore and aft.

As soon as the boats were fairly away, the guns from the starboard side were run across, the spare ports being thrown open, and the eight guns all brought into play to aid the pivot-gun. As soon as the boats reached the brigs they took shelter behind them, and in a short time both craft began to swing round, their guns firing as they were brought to bear.

“Eight guns a side,” Miller said; “but it would not matter if there were twenty, if they did not aim better than that;” for not a single shot had struck the schooner. One or two passed overhead, but the rest went wide.

Instead of the brigs being left broadside on as they had expected, their heads swept round until they were stern on to the schooner, then they began slowly to glide away.

“They have had enough of it,” Miller exclaimed, and another cheer broke from the schooner.

“Cease firing!” Martyn said. “If they leave us alone we are content to leave them alone; they must have suffered tremendously as it is.”

An examination was now made as to the casualties. Four men had been killed, all were shot through the head, as they had fired over the bulwark at the boats as they came alongside; six others were wounded more or less seriously, by pistol shots that had been fired by the Turks as they tried to climb on board—a small total indeed, considering the nature of the attack. When morning dawned the brigs could be made out near the opposite shore, they were still being towed by the boats; but as they were looking at them, sail was made as a light breeze sprang up. When the wind reached them, the mainmast of one was seen to go over the side, having doubtless been wounded by the raking fire, and carrying in its fall the fore top-gallant mast and topmast. A quarter of an hour later the breeze reached the schooner. The decks had been already washed down, and everything had resumed its ordinary aspect, and before getting up the anchor the four men who had fallen, and who had already been sewn up in hammocks, were committed to the sea, Mr. Beveridge reading the funeral service over them. Mr. Macfarlane reported that the wounded were all likely to do well.

As soon as the fight was over the women and children, who had been suffering agonies of terror while it had been going on, had been brought out from the hold and allowed to sleep as usual on the lower deck, which had been entirely given up to them; and when the schooner got under weigh they were permitted to come up on deck. Although they had been assured by Zaimes and his brother that all danger was over, their first action on coming up was to look round timidly, and they were evidently greatly relieved when they saw that the sea was clear of enemies. They looked much surprised at seeing everything going on as usual, and at the absence of any signs of the terrible conflict they had heard raging round them the night before—the bullet marks in the bulwarks being the only evidences of what had passed. It had already been decided to sail for Greece in the course of a day or two, as they had as many fugitives on board as they could carry, and it was now determined to do so at once. As they sailed west they made out a large number of ships approaching, and were soon running through the Greek fleet.

“I am sorry we left now,” Miller said; “we shall miss a fight.”

“I expect we shall be back in time,” Macfarlane remarked; “the Greeks are in no great hurry to fight. It is two months since they were sent for, when the landing was made at Chios; and after taking all this time to make up their minds about it, they are likely to take a few days before they make up their minds to have a tussle with the Turks. The Greek mind, I observe, is full of contradictions; sometimes, especially if there is plunder to be got, their eagerness is just wonderful; but when it is a question of fighting, their caution is very remarkable.”

Miller laughed. “I daresay you are right, doctor, and I don’t feel at all confident that there will be a fight. So far the Greek fleet has done nothing, and their only idea of fighting a Turkish ship has been to launch a fire-ship against it.”

“Fire-ships are no good against enemies who know what they are doing,” Martyn said. “A couple of boats can always tow a fire-ship clear; but the Turks are lubberly sailors, and these fire-ships seem almost to paralyse them.”

“I can’t make it out,” Miller put in, “why the Turks should manœuvre their vessels so badly, considering that their sailors are for the most part Thessalians, drawn from the Mohammedan sea-side villages, Albanians by blood, just as the Hydriots are.”

“They want British officers,” the doctor said. “Officers are always the weak point with the Turks. There are no braver soldiers in the world when they are well led. But they never are well led now; their pashas seem to be chosen for stupidity and obstinacy. It is a great pity that we did not make up our minds to take Turkey instead of India. Eh, man! we should have made a grand country of it when we had once got it into order.”

“We shall make a grand country of India some day, doctor. I have never been out there; but there is no doubt that just what you say about the Turks is true of the natives there, and they make very good soldiers when they have British officers to lead them.”

“So they say, Captain Martyn: but you must remember that they have only fought against other natives without British officers to lead them. We must wait till we see them fighting against European troops of some other nation before we can say that they are fine soldiers.”

“If we wait till then, we are likely to wait a long time, doctor. Besides, you must remember they did fight well against the French troops under Dupleix.”

“So they did, but not till they got the idea that our soldiers were better than the French. But, as you say, it will be a long time before they get the chance again. The French are no longer a power in India; nor are the Dutch; and the distance is too long for either ever to send out an army big enough to wrest India from us; and as to marching by land—well, it could not be done.”

“The next day they reached the port of Athens, and got rid of their cargo of passengers, and then, with every sail set, hurried back to Chios, touching at Psara on the way, as, from the direction in which the Greeks were steering, they thought it probable they might have made a stay there. A small Psariot vessel had just come in from the fleet, and Horace, who had gone ashore with Marco, learned that Miaoulis, the Greek admiral, had coasted along the north of Chios, and that the Turks had at once weighed anchor and gone out to engage him. The Greeks, not caring to fight in the narrow waters, where their power of manœuvring would be thrown away, had stood out, and an engagement had taken place at the mouth of the Gulf of Smyrna.”

“We fought most valiantly,” the Greek said, “and it was a drawn battle.”

“But what was done?” Horace asked. “How many vessels were sunk on each side?”

“Oh, there were no vessels sunk. They fired at us, and we fired at them.”

“Were there many killed and wounded?”

“No; I don’t think there were any killed and wounded. You see we manœuvred round the Turks. We could not go near, because their guns were much heavier than ours. We sent down a fire-ship among them; but unfortunately they evaded it, and some of our most daring captains ventured so close that their ships were struck by the Turkish shot. Yesterday the combat was renewed again. The cannonading was like thunder, and this morning we again fought. Then we needed rest, and to get fresh meat we sailed back.”

Horace had difficulty in restraining his expressions of disgust at the conduct of the fleet that had, after two months’ delay, at last sailed to annihilate the Turks; and as they walked back to their boat Marco poured out, in an undertone, volumes of execrations in choice Greek.

As they reached the schooner the doctor looked over the side. “We are not too late, Horace; there’s the Greek fleet rounding the point. As we can’t make out with our glass a shot-hole in their sails or a splinter on their bulwarks, it is evident that I was right, and that we are in plenty of time to see the engagement.”

“You are mistaken, doctor,” Horace said as he reached the deck. “There has been a great naval battle, lasting three days. There are no killed or wounded; but one or two ships, commanded by daring captains, ventured within gun-shot of the Turks, and were struck. That is the exact history of the affair, as I learned it from one of the heroes.”

“Is that really the story you have heard, Horace?” Mr. Beveridge asked.

“It is, father; almost in the words that it was told to me.”

“I really think,” Martyn said, seeing how depressed Mr. Beveridge looked at the news, “that much more could hardly be expected from the Greeks. Their ships are for the most part small, and their metal very light. They have not the slightest idea of discipline or of working in concert. A Turkish broadside would sink half a dozen of them if they ventured to close quarters; and of course their superior seamanship is not of the slightest avail as long as they fight at a distance.”

“It would avail if they had pluck,” Horace said bitterly. “The English ships that went out to engage the great galleons of the Spanish Armada were as inferior in tonnage and in weight of metal as the Greeks are; but for all that they gave a good account of them.”

“Yes, Horace; but you must remember that the English sailors had been fighting and thrashing the Spaniards for years before, and had come almost to despise them; while the Greeks have never fought before, have no confidence in themselves, and hold the Turks in high respect.”

“You can’t expect,” the doctor put in, “that bulldogs are going to be manufactured out of mongrels in one generation, Horace. A fighting race grows up little by little. The Greeks fought just as pluckily in the old days, against big odds, as we ever did, and may do it again in time; but they have got to be built up to it.”

“Thank you, doctor,” Mr. Beveridge said. “We keep on forgetting that the Greeks have been slaves, and that slaves lose all their military virtues. It was just the same thing with the Britons. Their valour excited the admiration of Cæsar; but after being under the domination of the Romans for generations, they completely lost all their manhood, and fell easy victims to the Saxons. We must not be too hard on the Greeks, Horace, or expect them to behave as men whose fathers have been free and independent.”

In the evening Miller went ashore with Mr. Beveridge and had a talk with some Philhellenes who had joined the expedition. They all agreed that Miaoulis had manœuvred his ships well, always keeping the weather-gauge of the Turks; but there was no shadow of discipline among the ships, and their fire was as wild and inefficient as that of the Turks, the men loading and firing as quickly as they could, quite regardless of the direction or distance of their shot, the great part of which entered the sea half-way between the combatants.

“Kanaris is here,” they said, “and you will see that he at least will attempt something against the Turks before he is done.”

It was not, however, until fifteen days later that any move was made. Kanaris had paid a visit to the Misericordia, and was greatly struck by the order and discipline that prevailed.

“Our men will not submit to it, Mr. Beveridge. It is in vain to assure them that nothing can be done unless we can introduce discipline such as prevails on ships of war of other nations. Unfortunately they have been accustomed to another state of things. The sailors are always paid by a share in the profits of our voyages, and everyone has a say as to the ports to be visited and the course to be steered. Before any change is made there is always a general council of all on board, and the matter is decided by vote. Such being the habit, you can understand the difficulty of getting these men to submit to anything like discipline. Another thing is, that the ships belong to private persons, and not to the state, although they may receive pay from government. They are therefore very chary of exposing their vessels to the risk of loss, for which, more likely than not, they would never receive a penny from the central government, which has plenty of objects of much greater interest to its members to spend its money upon. Until some total change takes place in the organization and manning of our fleet, I can see no hope of any improvement.”

On the 18th of June two ships got up anchor and sailed. On board the schooner their progress was watched with interest. Kanaris had confided to Mr. Beveridge that the ships were loaded with combustibles, and that he was going to attempt to set fire to the Turkish fleet. The wind was contrary, and the two craft tacked backwards and forwards off the north of Chios as if intending to beat up the Gulf of Smyrna. Four hours after they had started the schooner also got under way, as all were anxious to see what would take place, and Mr. Beveridge had told Kanaris that he would go within a short distance of the Turkish fleet and burn a blue light, so that the boats on leaving the fire-ships could row off to him and be taken back to Psara.

It was the last day of the Ramazan, and a number of the principal officers of the Turkish fleet had been invited by the Capitan Pasha to dine with him on board his flag-ship to celebrate the feast of Bairam. The night was a dark one, but the whole of the Turkish vessels were illuminated in honour of the festival, and their outlines were clearly visible. The Misericordia had entered the northern passage an hour after nightfall; the two Greek ships being, when last seen, about three miles ahead. The schooner lay to a couple of miles distant from the anchorage. They had scarcely done so when they made out the sails of two vessels between them and the lines of light on the Turkish war-ships.

“There they go,” Martyn said, “steering straight in. One of them is making straight for the Capitan Pasha’s own ship. No doubt that is Kanaris himself. The other is making for that seventy-four that carries the flag of the Reala Bey. You can tell them by the variegated lamps along their yards. The Turks evidently have not caught sight of them yet or they would open fire. On such a dark night as this I don’t suppose they will make them out till they are close alongside.”

Kanaris, a man of the greatest calmness and courage, was himself at the helm of his craft. Running straight before the wind, he steered down upon the eighty-gun ship of the Capitan Pasha. Not until he was within a ship’s length was he observed, when a startled hail sounded from the deck of the Turkish ship. Steering straight on he ran his bowsprit through one of her port-holes. The sailors instantly threw some grapnels to retain her in her position, and then jumped into their boat lying alongside. As soon as they did so Kanaris fired his pistol into the train. The fire flashed along the deck, there were a series of sharp explosions, and then the flames ran aloft, the riggings and sails being soaked with turpentine; and Kanaris had scarcely stepped into his boat before the ship was in a mass of flames.

Lying to windward of the Turk the flames were blown on to her, and pouring in at the open port-holes at once set fire to a quantity of tents stowed on the lower deck, rushed up the hatches, and, mingling with the flames from the sails which had ignited the awning extending over the deck, ran up the rigging and spars of the man-of-war. The most terrible confusion instantly prevailed throughout the ship. The few boats alongside were sunk by the crowds who leapt into them. The crews of the ships lying round at once began to haul them farther away from the blazing vessel, and the boats that were lowered feared to approach it because of the falling spars and the flames that poured from the lower port-holes.

In addition to her crew, the soldiers on board, and the Pasha’s guests, were a great number of prisoners who had been brought off from the island to be taken to Constantinople, and the shrieks and cries as they were caught by the flames, or sprang overboard to evade them, were terrible. Kara Ali himself sprang from the ship into a boat that approached near enough for the purpose of saving him; but before it could put off a blazing spar fell on it, and the Capitan Pasha was so severely wounded that he died shortly after being carried on shore.

His loss was a severe one for the Turks, for he was their most skilful naval officer. A few of those who leapt overboard were picked up by boats, or swam to the other ships; but with these exceptions the whole of those on board the vessel perished. The other fire-ship had been less calmly and skilfully managed. In his haste and excitement the commander, after running her alongside the ship of the Reala Bey, fired the train and made off without attaching her to it, consequently the fire-ship drifted away without the flames communicating to the Turk, and burned out harmlessly.

As soon as it was seen that Kanaris had succeeded, a blue light was burned on board the schooner, and in twenty minutes the two boats rowed alongside. Not a shot had been fired at either, the Turks being too much occupied with the danger of fire to pay any attention to them. Kanaris was heartily congratulated on his success when he reached the schooner, which at once set sail and was back at Psara in the morning, where the news of the destruction of the Turkish man-of-war was received with the wildest enthusiasm.

The Turkish vessels, leaving a strong garrison on the island, sailed north a few days later. They were pursued by the Greek fleet, which, however, did not venture to interfere with them, although they stopped at two ports on the way, and finally anchored under the guns of the forts of the Dardanelles. The Misericordia took no part in harassing the Turkish fleet. Martyn had asked Mr. Beveridge’s opinion upon the subject, he himself being in favour of doing so.

“I think we could give the Greeks a lesson or two in this sort of thing, sir, and show them what can be done, even against a fleet, by a craft that means business.”

“I am sure you could do all that, Martyn, but I do not think we should be justified in running the slightest risk of loss of life among the men merely for that purpose. We could do no more than the Greeks do unless we were willing to expose ourselves more. You could not hope either to capture or sink one of the Turkish ships in the face of their whole fleet. I know you would give them a great deal of trouble, but more than that you could not do. When the Greeks show themselves willing to fight we will fight by their side, but not before.”

They were indeed glad that they so decided, for on the evening before the Greeks set sail a boat arrived at Psara with six fugitives from Chios. They reported that the destruction of the Capitan Pasha’s ship with all on board had brought fresh misfortunes upon the Christians, for that the Mussulmans, infuriated by the details of the disaster, had fallen upon the Christians all over the island, even in the villages where hitherto there had been no trouble.

The second massacre was indeed far more fatal than the first, the women and children being, as before, spared as slaves, many thousands being carried away. Small craft from Psara hovered round the island and succeeded in taking off numbers of fugitives, while the schooner returned to her cruising grounds between the island and the mainland, or up the Gulf of Smyrna, where she captured and burnt large numbers of small craft laden with slaves. They had to make four trips to the islands to clear her crowded decks of the hapless Chiots.

The news of the massacres of Chios, which, unlike those committed by themselves, the Greeks spread sedulously over Europe, excited deep and general horror and indignation. The numbers of those killed or sold into slavery were never known. The estimates varied considerably, some putting them down at twenty thousand while others maintained that those figures could be doubled without exaggeration. It is probable, however, that they really exceeded thirty thousand.

The details of the terrible massacres, which they learnt from the women they rescued, aroused among the officers and crew of the Misericordia a far deeper feeling of enthusiasm for the cause of Greece than they had hitherto felt. Since they came out their interest in the cause had been steadily waning. The tales of wholesale and brutal massacre, the constant violation of the terms of surrender, the cowardice of the Greeks in action and their eagerness for plunder, the incessant disputes between the various parties, and the absence of any general attempt to concert measures for defence, had completely damped their sympathy for them; but the sight of these hundreds of women and children widowed and orphaned, and torn away from their native land and sold into slavery, set their blood boiling with indignation. The two Greeks took care to translate the narratives of the weeping women to the sailors, and these excited among them a passionate desire to punish the authors of these outrages; and had any of the craft they overhauled made an active resistance little mercy would have been shown to the Turks. As it was they were bundled headlong into their boats with many a hearty kick and cuff from the sailors, and the destruction of their vessels was effected with the alacrity and satisfaction of men performing an act of righteous retribution.

“The poor creatures seemed terribly cast down,” Martyn said one day at dinner as they sailed with the last batch of Chiots for Corfu. They had transported the three previous cargoes to the Ionian Islands, as the former ones had been most unwillingly received in the Greek ports, the authorities saying that they had no means of affording subsistence to the fugitives who were daily arriving. In the Ionian Islands committees had been formed, and these distributed money sent out from England for their support, while rations were issued to them by the British authorities of the islands.

“One can’t wonder at that,” Miller said. “Still, I must say that the women even at first don’t seem as delighted as one would expect at getting out of the hands of the Turks.”

“I am not so very sure, Miller, that they are delighted at all,” Macfarlane said quietly. “You think you are doing them the greatest service possible, but in my opinion it is more than doubtful whether they see it in the same light.”

“What! not thankful at being rescued from being sold as slaves to the Turks?”

“That sounds very terrible, and no doubt it would not be a pleasant lot for you, seeing that they would set you to work, and your life would be worse than a dog’s. But you have got to put yourself in the position of these unfortunate women and girls, and then you would see that you might think differently about it. To begin with, till now there has been no animosity between them and the Turks. It is admitted that the Turks have been gentle masters to Chios, and the people have been happy, contented, and prosperous. Their misfortunes have been brought upon them, not by the Turks, but by the Greeks, who came to the island contrary to their entreaties, plundered and ill used them, and then left them to the vengeance of the Turks. So if they have any preference for either, it will certainly not be for the Greeks.

“As to their being sold as slaves, I do not suppose they view it at all in the same way we do. They are not going to be sold to work in the fields, or anything of that sort, and the Turks treat their domestic slaves kindly. To one of these Chiot girls there is nothing very terrible in being a slave in the household of a rich Turk. You know that the Georgian and Circassian girls look forward to being sold to the Turks. They know that the life at Constantinople is vastly easier and more luxurious than that at home. I do not say for a moment that these women would not prefer a life of ease among their own people and friends. But what is the life before them now?—to have to work for their own living in the fields, or to go as servants among Greek and Italian families. A dark and uncertain future. I tell you, man, we think we are doing them a mighty service, but I doubt whether there is one of them that thinks so. The Chiots are celebrated for their docility and intelligence, and these women and children would fetch high prices in the market, and be purchased by wealthy Turks, and their lot would be an enviable one in comparison to that which awaits most of them.

“The word slavery is hateful to us, but it is not so many years since we were sending people out in hundreds to work as slaves in the plantations of Virginia. The word slavery in the East has not the same terror as it has with us, and I doubt if the feelings of a Chiot peasant girl on her way to be sold are not a good deal like those of a girl who goes up from a Scotch or English village to Edinburgh or London, to go into service in a grand family. She thinks she is going to better herself, to have fine clothes, and to live among fine people; and, as it turns out, maybe she is better off than she was before, maybe she is worse.”

“You are a most disagreeable man, Macfarlane,” Martyn said after a pause. “Here have we been thinking that we have been doing a good action, and you put us altogether out of conceit with ourselves.”

“We have been doing a good action,” the doctor said. “We have been acting according to our lights. To us it is an abominable thing that a Greek woman or child should be sold as a slave to the heathen Turk. I am only pointing out to you that from their point of view there is nothing so terrible in their lot, and that we have no reason to expect any very lively gratitude from them; and that, looking at the matter only from a material point of view, they are not likely to be benefited by the change. I know that, if I were a Greek woman, I would rather be a slave in the family of a rich Turk than working as a drudge, say, in the family of a Maltese shopkeeper, though, if I were a Scotch girl, I should certainly choose the other way.”

They all sat silent for a minute or two. The idea was a wholly new one to them, and they could not deny that, according to the point of view of these Chiot captives, it was a reasonable one. Mr. Beveridge was the first to speak.

“What you say has certainly given me a shock, doctor, but I cannot deny that there is some truth in it. Still, you know there is something beyond mere material advantages.”

“I do not deny it, sir, and, as I say, we, as Britons and Christians, feel that we are doing a good work. Still, we can hardly be surprised that these Chiots naturally view it differently. Their Christianity is, like that of all Eastern Christians, of a very debased form; and living so long among the Turks, they have no very great horror of Mohammedanism. You know, on the mainland, tens of thousands of the Albanians have become Mohammedans. We think that we are justified in inflicting what one cannot but see is, from the material point of view, a distinct injury to these people, because, as Christians, we feel it is for their moral advantage; but then, that is just the same feeling that caused the Spaniards to exterminate the natives of the West Indian Islands who declined to become Christians.”

“Oh, I say, doctor, that is too strong altogether,” Miller exclaimed indignantly.

“Well, prove it by argument,” the doctor replied calmly. “I am not saying that from our point of view we are not more than justified. I am simply explaining why these Chiots do not feel any extraordinary gratitude to us. We are benefiting them, if they did but know it. We are saving them, body and soul; but that is not the light in which they see it.”

“You are right, doctor,” Mr. Beveridge said. “And now you put it before us, I am really not surprised that these poor creatures do not feel any very lively gratitude. They are fond of ease and comfort, and have been accustomed to it, and to them the utter uncertainty of their life among strangers is not unreasonably more terrible than the prospects of an easy life as a favoured slave in a Turkish household. It is sad that it should be so; but it is human nature. Still, the consideration must not weigh with us in carrying out what we know to be a good work. We have saved in all more than three thousand souls from Turkish slavery, and can only trust that in the long run most of them will recognize the inestimable service we have rendered them.”

Chapter XVII • Rescuing the Garrison of Athens • 6,400 Words

“I TELL you what it is, Mr. Beveridge,” the governor said when the latter went up to call as usual upon his arrival at Corfu, “I quite begin to dread the appearance of that smart schooner of yours; during the last five weeks you have added a thousand mouths to my anxieties. What we are to do with all these poor creatures I have not the slightest idea. We can’t go on feeding them for ever; and what with the voluntary fugitives and those brought over to us, there are at present some forty or fifty thousand strangers in the islands, and of these something like half are absolutely dependent on us for the means of living.”

“It is a very difficult problem,” Mr. Beveridge said. “Of course, when the war is over the great proportion of them will return to their homes in Greece; but the fugitives from the Turkish islands and mainland are in a different position. Doubtless, when peace is made, there will be some arrangement by which those families which have men among them can also return to their homes without being molested; but those consisting only of women and children could not do so. Some of the women and girls can find employment in Greek families, and I suppose the rest will finally become absorbed as servants in the towns on the Adriatic.”

“I see nothing else for it, Mr. Beveridge; unless you choose to continue your good work, and transport them in batches across the Atlantic. I believe there is a great dearth of women in Canada and the United States.”

“You will have to set up schools and teach them English first, sir,” Mr. Beveridge laughed, “or they would not be welcomed there. When they can all speak our language I will think over your suggestion.”

“Do you think that Greece ever will be free, Mr. Beveridge?”

“I think so. Certainly I think so. These terrible massacres on both sides seem to render it absolutely impossible that they should return to their former relations. The Turks have not yet made their great effort, and I believe that when they do they will reconquer Greece. But I do not think they will hold it. The hatred between the races is now so bitter that they can never live together in peace; and I believe that the Greeks will continue their resistance so long that Europe at last will come to their assistance, and insist upon a frontier line being drawn. This terrible affair of Chios, dreadful as it is, will tend to that. The Christian feeling of Europe will become more and more excited until, if the governments hold back, the people will force them forward, and England and France at least will, if necessary, intervene by force. I believe that they would do so now were it not for jealousy of Russia. It is Russia who fomented this revolution for her own purposes, and it is solely the fear that she will reap the whole benefit of their action that causes England and France to look on this struggle with folded arms.”

“I fancy you are right, and that that will be the end of it,” the governor said. “I need not say how earnestly I wish the time would come. I can assure you I have a very anxious time of it. What with providing for all these people, what with preventing breaches of neutrality by the Greeks, and what with the calumnies and complaints that the Greeks scatter broadcast against us, I can assure you that my task is not an enviable one.”

“I can quite imagine that. The Greeks make it very hard for their well-wishers to assist them; indeed, if they were bent upon bringing obloquy upon their name they could hardly act otherwise than they are doing. The one man they have hitherto produced who goes his way regardless of intrigue and faction, fighting bravely for the country, is Constantine Kanaris, who has destroyed two Turkish ships with his own hand. A hundred of such men as he is, and Greece would have achieved her independence without foreign assistance;and yet, even in his own ship, he is unable to maintain even a shadow of what we should consider discipline. He himself acknowledged as much to me at Psara.”

“I hear you took him off after he had burned the Turkish war-vessel.”

“Yes; we were lying off the port and saw it. I am glad we were not nearer, for it was a terrible business. It is a barbarous war altogether.”

“Then why do you mix yourself up in it, Mr. Beveridge?”

“My mother was a Greek, and I have always lived in Greek thought rather than in English. I desire not only the independence but the regeneration of the Greeks. They have lost all the virtues of their ancestors save their intelligence; but once free they will, I hope and trust, recover their lost virtues and become, if not a great people—which they can hardly do, their numbers being comparatively so few—at least a worthy one.”

“I hope they may. They certainly have enthusiastic friends. Only a week or two since, a young fellow named Hastings, a lieutenant of our navy, came out. He has a fortune of some seven or eight thousand pounds, which he intends to devote to buying and fitting out a ship for their service. There are scores of English and French officers kicking their heels at Corinth, vainly asking for employment. And I hear they are organizing a corps, composed entirely of foreign officers, who will fight as private soldiers without pay, simply for the purpose of endeavouring to shame the Greeks into a feeling of patriotism.

“Where are you thinking of sailing now? If you have no fixed plans, I should advise you to go round to Athens. They say the Turkish garrison is at the last extremity. I have had a message from the consulate there, asking me to send a British ship of war round to insist upon the conditions of surrender being observed; but unfortunately the insane rage for retrenchment at home has so diminished the strength of our fleet that we haven’t a single ship in these waters at a time like this. I hear that the French consul has also sent urgently asking for ships of war. At any rate, your influence might do something.”

“I fear not,” Mr. Beveridge said gravely. “However, my men and guns might have some weight, and at any rate I will go round at once and do my best. If possible, I am even more anxious to save Turks from massacre by Greeks, than Greeks from massacre by Turks.”

“I can understand that,” the governor said cordially. “Well, I wish you every good fortune, Mr. Beveridge; but I say honestly that I do not wish to see your saucy schooner again unless she comes in with empty decks. Give them a turn at Malta next time, my dear sir, and I shall feel really grateful towards you.”

Four days after leaving Corfu the schooner dropped anchor in the port of Athens. Learning from the first boat that put off to them that the capitulation of the Turks was to be signed on the following morning, Mr. Beveridge determined to land at once, in order that he might see as many of the leading officials as possible, and urge upon them the necessity of preventing any repetition of the breaches of faith which had brought such disgrace to the Greek name.

“I shall take Zaimes with me,” he said to Martyn, “and should I see any signs of an intention upon the part of the populace to commence a massacre of the Turks I will send him off instantly. In that case, Captain Martyn, you will at once land the whole of the crew fully armed, with the exception, say, of five men, and march them to the British consulate in Athens. You know where it is. Take a Greek flag with you, for two reasons; in the first place, if you were to go without it the Greeks would spread the report that the crew of an English ship of war had landed; and in the second place, it may quieten and appease the mob if they see that we are in the service of Greece.”

“Very well, sir, I will carry out your instructions. I don’t think that rascally mob will venture to interfere with us.”

“I hope not, Martyn; but at any rate we must risk that. Any other message I may have to send off to you I shall send by an ordinary messenger; but if you are wanted, I shall trust no one but Zaimes.”

Late in the evening a Greek came off with a letter. All would, Mr. Beveridge hoped, be well. The Turks had agreed to surrender their arms, and the Greeks had bound themselves to convey them to Asia Minor in neutral ships. By the terms of capitulation the Turks were to be allowed to retain one-half of their money and jewels, and one-half of their movable property.

“I have every hope that the treaty will be respected,” Mr. Beveridge wrote. “I am happy to say that the Bishop of Athens, who is a man of high character, and President of the Areopagus, has insisted upon all the civil and military authorities taking a most solemn oath to observe strictly the terms of capitulation, and so far to redeem the good faith of the nation, which has been so deeply stained by the violation of so many previous treaties.”

The next morning the Mussulmans marched out from the Acropolis. Out of the 1150 remaining only 180 were men capable of bearing arms, so stoutly and obstinately had they defended the place, yielding only when the last drop of water in the cisterns was exhausted. They were housed in some extensive buildings in the town. Three days passed quietly. Two ephors, who had been ordered by the Greek government to hasten the embarkation of the Turks, took no steps whatever to do so. On the morning of the fourth day, Horace, who had been twice on shore to see his father, saw a boat rowing off to the ship. He turned a glass upon it and exclaimed:

“There is Zaimes on board that boat, Captain Martyn. I am sure my father would not send him on board unless there is trouble in the town.”

Martyn did not wait for the boat to arrive, but instantly mustered and armed the crew, and the boats were in the water by the time Zaimes arrived alongside. He handed a note to Martyn; it contained only the words:

“Land instantly, they are murdering the Turks.”

With a hearty execration upon the Greeks, Martyn ordered the men to take their places in the boats, and gave his final orders to Tarleton, who was to remain in charge.

“Get all the guns loaded with ball, Mr. Tarleton. For aught I know we may have to fight our way down to the beach. Fire the first shot over their heads. If that does not frighten them, plump the others into them.”

The three boats pushed off, the doctor taking his place by the side of Horace, who was in command of one of them.

“Have you got your instruments, doctor?” Horace asked smiling.

“I have got these instruments,” Macfarlane said, tapping the butts of a heavy pair of pistols. “Just for once I am going as a combatant. I thought there was a limit to everything, but there really doesn’t seem to be any limit to the faithlessness of the Greeks. I should like very much to help to give them a little lesson as to the sanctity of an oath.”

The sailors marched in a compact body from the port to the town. They had been told the errand upon which they had come, and from the pace at which they marched, and the expression of angry determination on their faces, it was evident that they entered thoroughly into the business. They were met at the entrance to the town by Mr. Beveridge.

“It is of no use going to the British consulate,” he said; “there are no English officials there, the place is simply in charge of a Greek, who dare not, if he would, move in the matter. The Turks are taking refuge in the French, Austrian, and Dutch consulates. It is more than doubtful whether the flags will be respected. You had better place say eight men at each, with orders to defend the places till the last if the mob attacks them; while with the rest of the men you can endeavour to escort the fugitive Turks to the consulates. Don’t let the men use their arms till the last extremity, Martyn.”

“Very well, sir. Where will you be?”

“I will go to the French consulate and aid them there in pacifying the mob. My son had better go to one of the others. Harangue them from the windows, Horace; point out to them that they are disgracing Greece in the eyes of all Europe, and implore them not to bring Austria on their backs by insulting her flag. At the same time see that all the lower shutters are barred, and be ready to sally out with your men to bring in any fugitives who may approach.”

“Mr. Miller, do you take eight men to the Dutch consulate,” Martyn said, “and follow the instructions Mr. Beveridge has given to his son.”

“Zaimes shall go with you, Mr. Miller.”

“Thank you, Mr. Beveridge; if he will do the haranguing I will look after the fighting if there is any to be done.”

The three parties, each of eight men, at once started for the consulates. Martyn waited till they had gone, and then turned to the remainder. “Boatswain, you take ten men and go one way, I will go another way with the rest. You heard Mr. Beveridge’s instructions, that the men were not to use their arms unless absolutely attacked. At the same time, if you come upon any of the Greeks engaged in murdering women and children you will remember there are no orders against your using your hands, and that there are windows as well as doors by which a Greek can be made to leave a house.”

“Ay, ay, sir!” Tom Burdett replied with a grin; “we will be as gentle with them as possible.”

Martyn had provided several small Greek flags which had been fastened to boat-hooks, and each party, taking one of these, proceeded on its way. They had gone but a little distance when shrieks and cries were heard, and, bursting into the houses from which they proceeded, the sailors came upon Greeks engaged in the diabolical work of torturing women and children. With a cheer they fell upon them, striking right and left with their fists, and levelling the astonished Greeks to the ground. Then the Turks were placed safely intheir midst, and with a few hearty kicks at the prostrate ruffians they marched out. The scene was repeated again and again; the punishment inflicted upon the Greeks being more and more severe each time.

When some twenty fugitives had been collected they were marched through a yelling rabble to one or other of the consulates, to which a large number of fugitives had made their way when the massacre began. Several times the leaders of both bands had to call upon their men to present arms, the mob falling back and flying the moment they did so. After a time the two bands joined, Martyn considering it imprudent to venture out among the enraged populace in smaller force. The aspect of the crowd became more and more threatening, but it still confined itself to execrations and curses, being overawed by the determined attitude of the men with their muskets, cutlasses, and pistols, and with the apparent fact that the sailors were only prevented from using their arms by the exertions of the two officers, for the doctor kept close by Martyn’s side. At two o’clock the boom of a cannon was heard from the port; again and again it sounded at regular intervals.

“That is a ship of war saluting,” Martyn said.

The crowd fell away rapidly, many of them hurrying down to the port, and Martyn, taking advantage of it, was able to bring in a good many more fugitives to the consulates, the sailors from within rushing out when they approached, and clearing the way through the crowd with the vigorous use of their elbows and sometimes of their fists.

“We shall have help up soon,” Mr. Beveridge said, the first time Martyn brought in a party of fugitives after the guns fired.

An hour later a strong party of French sailors and marines with loaded muskets and fixed bayonets marched up to the French consulate from two French vessels, a corvette and a schooner, which had come from Syra in response to the consul’s earnest appeals for assistance. They placed in their midst three hundred and twenty-five Turkish fugitives who had found refuge there, escorted them down to the port, and placed them on board their ships. On the way they were surrounded by a menacing crowd of Greek soldiers and by a great mob, yelling, shouting, and brandishing their arms; but their valour went no further, and the fugitives were taken off in safety. The sailors of the Misericordia were now divided between the Austrian and Dutch consulates, and their appearance at the windows with loaded muskets intimidated the mob from making an attack. During the night the bishop and some of the better class exerted themselves to the utmost in calming the passions of the mob; and they themselves in the morning accompanied the crew of the Misericordia, who, guarding the fugitives, were allowed to proceed down to the port and embark on board the schooner without molestation from the people. Some seven hundred and fifty persons were saved by the French and the crew of the schooner. Four hundred were massacred in cold blood by the Greeks.

The French vessels had sailed away during the night, and the question arose what was to be done with the rescued Turks. Of these there were some forty soldiers, ten or twelve Turks of superior rank, military and civil officials; the rest were women and children. Two or three of the Turks spoke Italian, and four or five of them Greek. Mr. Beveridge held a consultation with these, and it was finally agreed that they should be landed at the Isle of Tenedos close to the mouth of the Dardanelles, as from thence they would have no difficulty in making their way to Constantinople.

“If there are no ships of war in the port we will hoist the white flag and sail straight in; but if there are, we must land you in the boats somewhere on the island. We have been in action with your ships of war and would at once be recognized, and the white flag would not be respected.”

“We owe you our lives, sir, and the lives of all these women and children,” a bimbashi or major of the Turkish garrison, a fine soldierly-looking man, said earnestly; “for had it not been for you and your brave crew even the flags of the consulates would not have sufficed to protect us. Assuredly my countrymen would never fire at you when engaged in such a work of mercy.”

“They might not in cold blood,” Mr. Beveridge said; “but we have just been saving Chiot prisoners as cruelly treated, and for every Turk who has been massacred in Athens, well-nigh a hundred Chiots have been murdered. I do not defend them for breaking their pledged faith to you, but one cannot be surprised at their savage thirst for vengeance.”

Martyn had got up the anchor and set sail on the schooner directly the fugitives were on board, and as soon as he learned that Tenedos was their destination her course was laid north. Then came the work, to which they were now becoming accustomed, of stowing away the unfortunate passengers. The screened partition was allotted to the women and children of the officers and officials, most of whose husbands had fallen during the siege, and the rest of the women and children were stowed down on the main-deck, while the male passengers stayed on deck, where the women remained for the most part during the day. Those who had been rescued from the hands of the Greeks had been plundered of everything; but those who had at the first alarm fled to the consulates had carried with them jewels and money. The women of the upper class were all closely veiled, but the rest made but little attempt to conceal their faces, and all evinced the deepest gratitude to the crew of the schooner; murmuring their thanks whenever an officer or sailor passed near them, and trying to seize their hands and press them to their foreheads.

The fugitives of the upper class, both men and women, were more restrained, but there was no mistaking the expression with which their eyes followed their protectors. Many of the women and children were worn out with the sufferings they had sustained during the last days of the siege, and some of the soldiers were so weak as to be scarce able to stand. The doctor attended to many of the children, while the Greeks and the ship’s cook were kept busy all day in preparing nourishing soups. The next day they were off Tenedos. No Turkish ship of war was lying near the town. A boat was lowered, and Miller, accompanied by Horace as interpreter, took his place in her with one of the Turkish officers. A white flag was hoisted in her stern, and six men rowed her ashore.

Their movements had been watched, and a body of Turkish soldiers were drawn up at the landing-place with several officials. The Turkish officer mounted the steps and explained to the governor of the island, who was among those at the landing-stage, the purpose for which the Misericordia had arrived at the port. There was a rapid conversation as the officer, frequently interrupted by exclamations of indignation, and questions from the Turks, narrated what had taken place. Then the governor and his officers ran forward, seized Miller and Horace by the hand, patted them on the shoulder with the liveliest demonstrations of gratitude and friendship. The Turk who had come ashore with them translated to Horace, in Greek, the governor’s earnest request that the owner of the ship and his officers would come ashore to visit him.

“The governor says that he himself would at once come off to visit the ship and return his thanks, but that, as she is flying the Greek flag, he cannot do so, much as he desires it; but that if the flag were lowered, and a white flag substituted, he would come off instantly. He has heard of the fight between the Greek ship with an English crew and the boats of the Turkish fleet, and of the many craft she has taken and destroyed, always sparing the crews and sending them ashore, and he has great esteem for so brave an enemy; now he cannot view them but as friends after their noble rescue of so many of his countrymen and women and children.”

Horace in reply said that he would give the governor’s message to his father, and that the fugitives should at once be landed.

“Do you think that he really meant that he would come on board if we hoisted the white flag, Horace?”

“I think so, father. He and the officers with him certainly seemed thoroughly in earnest. What do you think, Martyn? There can be no objection to our lowering the Greek flag, I should think, while acting as a neutral.”

“I should think not,” Martyn said, “and I should not care a snap of the fingers if there was. The Greek flag is all well enough, Mr. Beveridge, when we see an armed Turk of superior size in sight, but at other times I don’t feel proud of it.”

“We will lower it down then, Martyn.”

The Greek flag was lowered from the peak and a white one run up. Then the work of debarkation commenced, the Turks insisting upon shaking hands with Mr. Beveridge and the officers, thanking them in the most fervent way, and calling down the blessing of Allah upon them; while the women, many of them weeping, threw themselves on their knees and poured out their thanks, some of them holding up their infants to gaze on the faces of those to whom they owed their lives. The sailors came in for their share of thanks, and were quite embarrassed by the warmth with which they were greeted. Just as the first batch left the ship, a large boat flying the Turkish flag was seen putting out from the shore, and in a few minutes the governor with seven or eight civil and military officials came on board.

They brought with them a merchant who spoke English to act as interpreter. Martyn drew up the whole of the crew who were not engaged in boat service as a guard of honour to receive them, while he, with Mr. Beveridge, met the governor as he mounted the gangway. The governor, who was a tall and dignified Turk, expressed to them his warmest thanks in the name of the Sultan for the rescue of so many of his subjects from the fury of the populace of Athens. Mr. Beveridge, through the interpreter, explained to the pasha that, although an Englishman he had Greek blood in his veins, and had therefore joined them in their attempt to achieve independence, and was prepared to fight on their side but that, as an Englishman, he revolted against the barbarity with which the war was carried on by both combatants; that his vessel was named the Misericordia, and that while he had saved a great number of Christian fugitives on the one side, he was equally ready and pleased at being able to render the same service to Mussulman fugitives on the other side.

“Your errand is a noble and merciful one,” the Turk said, “and must have the approval of Allah as well as of the God of the Christians. We have heard of your terrible vessel, how she destroyed a frigate off Cyprus, beat off the boats of our fleet at Chios, and played havoc among the shipping from Smyrna. We knew her when we saw her, for we had heard of her white sails and tall masts; but we had heard too that no prisoner was injured by you. I never thought to set foot on the deck of the ship that had become the dread of the traders of Smyrna and other ports, but I am glad to do so since those who sail her, although our enemies in battle, have proved themselves indeed our friends in the time of distress.”

When this had been translated, Mr. Beveridge invited the governor and his companions into the cabin, where coffee and chibouks were served; then they were conducted round the ship. The governor conversed for some little time with two or three of the principal Turks from Athens, and learned the full details of the surrender and the subsequent events as he watched the debarkation of the fugitives; and then, after obtaining a promise from Mr. Beveridge that he and his officers would come on shore at sunset to dine with him, he entered his boat and was rowed back.

At sunset Mr. Beveridge and all the officers, with the exception of Tarleton, who remained in charge of the ship, went ashore. They were received at the landing-place by a guard of honour of Turkish soldiers in charge of one of the principal officers of the governor, and were conducted to his house through a crowd of people cheering and shouting.

The governor received them at his door. The dinner was served in Turkish fashion, all sitting on cushions round a table raised about a foot from the floor. A band of music
played without, and a great number of dishes, of most of which Horace could only guess at the ingredients, were served; and after the meal, which was of great length, was concluded, slaves brought round ewers of water, in which all dipped their fingers, wiping them on embroidered towels. A variety of sweetmeats were then handed round, followed by coffee. Three or four interpreters had stood behind the guests, who were all placed between Turks, and thus conversation was rendered possible. At ten o’clock they took their leave with many cordial expressions on both sides, and were again escorted by a party of soldiers to their boats.

“There is no gainsaying,” Macfarlane said as they rowed off, “that there seems to be a good deal livelier feeling of gratitude among the Turks than there is among the Greeks. We have come all the way out from England to fight for the Greeks; we have sunk a Turkish ship, beaten off their boats with very heavy loss, and rescued nearly three thousand women and children from their hands, and yet there isn’t a Greek official who has said as much as thank you. They seem to consider that it is quite sufficient reward for us to have been of service to so great a people as they are. Upon the other hand, here are these Turks, though we have done them a great deal of damage, putting aside all enmity and treating us like gentlemen because we have saved a ship-load of their people. He was a very fine old heathen that governor.”

“The Turks, too, were a deal more grateful than any of the Greeks have been, except that batch from Cyprus,” Horace said.

“They were in better heart for being thankful, Horace,” Mr. Beveridge replied. “We have taken them back to their native land, and they will soon rejoin their friends and families; whereas the Chiots were going into exile and had lost everything that was dear to them, and the lot before them was, as the doctor pointed out, little if anything better than that we had saved them from. Still, I will do them the justice to say that the Turks were really grateful to us; and though we are not working for the purpose of obtaining gratitude, it is pleasant to see that people do feel that one has done something for them.”

“I suppose you won’t get up sail until morning, Martyn?” Mr. Beveridge said as they went down into the cabin.

“Yes, sir, if you have no objections I shall get up the anchor as soon as we are on board. You see we are not many miles from the mouth of the Dardanelles, and with a good glass they could make out our colours from the mainland; and if word were sent to their admiral that a Greek craft is at anchor here, he might send two or three ships out to capture us. I don’t give the Turks credit for such enterprise, but it is just as well not to run any risk. What is to be our course next, Mr. Beveridge?”

“There is likely to be a regular battle in a short time between the Greek army and the Turks. Indeed the Greeks will have to fight if they really mean to gain their independence. Dramali Pasha has some twenty thousand men collected on the banks of the Spercheus. Of these they say eight thousand are cavalry drawn from the Mussulman clans of Macedonia and Thrace, and he may move forward any day to reconquer the Morea and relieve Nauplia. If he is suffered to do this there is virtually an end of the war. I have not a shadow of faith in any of the Greek leaders, or in the Areopagus, but I still do believe in the vast bulk of the people. The Morea consists almost wholly of hilly and broken country, just the ground where an armed peasantry, knowing every pass and place of advantage, ought to be able to render the passage of a regular army with their wagons and baggage well-nigh impossible.

“In such a country the Turkish cavalry would be of little use, and there are only the infantry to cope with. The artillery would probably have to be left behind altogether. If ever an effort is to be made by the Greeks it must be made now. I propose therefore, Martyn, to sail down to Nauplia and to land there. The Turks, of course, still command the harbour with their guns, but the Greek vessels land supplies and ammunition for the besiegers, so there can be no difficulty about that. We have still a good many thousand muskets in the hold, and ammunition for them. I shall see what spirit prevails among the peasantry, shall issue arms to all who need them, and help with money if required. The peasantry will not want it, but the patriotism of their primates and captains may be a good deal strengthened by a little judicious expenditure of money. The Morea is the key of the whole position, and the present will be the critical moment of the revolution. If the Turks succeed, Greece is at their feet; if the Turkish army is defeated, Greece may conquer. Now, therefore, is the time for me to do my utmost to aid them.”

“Very well, sir; then I will lay her course to-morrow morning for the south-eastern point of Eubœa.”

On the voyage down Mr. Beveridge discussed with the others the course that he intended to take. He had quite determined himself to leave the coast and go into the interior, where, if the Turkish army was to be checked, the decisive battle must be fought. It was decided that Horace and the two Greeks should accompany him. The question most at issue was whether he should take with him any portion of the crew of the schooner; he himself was somewhat averse to this.

“I need hardly say, Martyn, that I have no intention whatever of mixing myself up in any fighting that may take place. I go simply to rouse the enthusiasm as much as possible of the peasantry, and to get the small local leaders to stir. If I can do nothing I shall simply come back to the schooner again. If the Greeks dispute the passage of the Turks I shall, if I can, take up my position where I can see what takes place, and if the Greeks are beaten, retire across the hills. What good then would it be for me to take any of the sailors with me? You may want them all on board, for it is possible, indeed it is probable, that the Turkish fleet will come round to Nauplia with supplies for the Turkish army when it arrives there.”

“Well, sir, I shouldn’t require the whole crew to get up sail and make off if I see them coming, and I do think that it would be very much better for you to have some men with you. In the first place, your having a guard of that sort would add to your importance in the eyes of the Greeks, and give more weight to your counsels. In the second place, if you are going to take arms and money on shore you will certainly require a guard for them, or run the risk of getting your throat cut. And lastly, if there should be a fight, and the Greeks get beaten, if you have fifteen or twenty men with you your chance of getting off safely would be very largely increased, for they could beat off any small party of horsemen that happened to overtake you. What do you think, Horace?”

“I certainly think so too. After what we have seen of the Greeks, father, I do think it would be better in every way to have a party of sailors with us. If it were known that you were going about the hills with a considerable sum of money you might be safe enough among the peasants, but I should say there were any number of these miserable primates and captains who would think nothing of cutting our throats to get it.”

Mr. Beveridge gave way at once, and it was arranged that a party of fifteen men, under the command of Miller, should land from the schooner and accompany him.

“Don’t you think, Mr. Beveridge,” Macfarlane said, “that it would be as well for you to take your medical attendant with you?”

Mr. Beveridge smiled. “I have scarcely regarded you hitherto, doctor, in the light of my medical attendant, but as the attendant of the ship’s company, and I don’t think that Horace or I, or any of the landing party, are likely to take any fever among the hills of the Morea.”

“I hope not, sir, but you see there may be some preliminary skirmishes before the regular battle you expect will take place, and I don’t suppose the Greeks will have any surgeons accustomed to gunshot wounds or capable of amputations among them, and therefore, you see, I might be of some service.”

“In addition to which, doctor,” Martyn laughed, “you think you would like a ramble on shore a bit.”

“Well, what do you think, Martyn?” Mr. Beveridge said; “it is for you to decide. The doctor may be, as he says, useful on shore; but then again his services may be required on board.”

“We are not likely to do any fighting, sir, and if he will mix up a gallon or two of jalap, and such other medicines as he thinks might be useful for ordinary ailments on board, I daresay Tarleton will see to their being administered as required.”

“Oh, yes, I will see to that,” Tarleton said. “Make them as nasty as you can, doctor, so that I sha’n’t have any unnecessary applications for them.”

And so it was settled that Dr. Macfarlane should form one of the landing party.

Chapter XVIII • A Turkish Defeat • 6,200 Words

THE town of Nauplia stood on a projecting point at the head of the gulf which was in old times known as the Gulf of Argos, but was now more generally known as the Gulf of Nauplia, that town being the most important port in Greece, carrying on a large trade in sponges, silk, oil, wax, wines, and acorns. It was the seat of government of the Venetians at the time they were masters of the Morea, and had been very strongly fortified by them. The Acropolis, or citadel, stood on a craggy hill where the point on which the town stood joined the mainland. The Venetians had taken the greatest pain in fortifying this rock, which was well-nigh impregnable, and was considered the strongest position in the Morea.

The Turks had long been besieged here. Negotiations had at one time been carried on with a view to its surrender, and had the Greeks acted in good faith they could have gained possession of the place before Dramali advanced to its relief. Six weeks before, the Turks, having entirely consumed their provisions, signed the capitulation. The Turks had little faith in the Greeks observing its conditions, but were of opinion that it would be better to be massacred at once than to slowly die of hunger. By the terms of capitulation the Turks were to deliver up their arms and two-thirds of their movable property, while the Greeks were to allow them to hire neutral vessels to transport them to Asia Minor; and bound themselves to supply them with provisions until the vessels arrived to take them away.

The Greek government at once sent some of its members to Nauplia to register the property of the Turks. These immediately pursued the usual course of endeavouring to enrich themselves by secretly purchasing the property of the Turks, and by selling them provisions. The Greek ministers took no steps to charter neutral vessels, professing that they were unable to raise money for the purpose, but really delaying to enable their secretaries at Nauplia to make larger gains by bargaining with the wealthy Turks there. The Turks having now got provisions enough to enable them to hold on, were in no great hurry to conclude the surrender, as they knew that Dramali was advancing. Such was the state of things when the schooner arrived in the Gulf of Argos, and landed the party on the opposite side of the gulf.

They at once proceeded into the interior, stopping at every village. At each place they came to messengers were sent out to summon the peasantry of the neighbourhood to come in. When they had assembled Mr. Beveridge harangued them, pointing out that now or never was the time to win their independence; that if the Turkish invasion were rolled back now they might hope that the enemy would see that such a country could not be conquered when the inhabitants were determined to be free, for that if they thoroughly established their hold of it, and occupied all the fortresses, there would be no chance of their ever again shaking off the yoke. He said that he himself, an Englishman and a stranger, had come to aid them as far as possible, and that all unprovided with arms, or lacking ammunition, would receive them on going down to the ship anchored in the bay.

At each place, previous to addressing the assembly, he had distributed money among the local leaders and priests. These seconded his harangues, and numbers of the men went down to the coast and obtained guns and ammunition.

While Mr. Beveridge was travelling over the country the army of Dramali was advancing unopposed. The troops which the central government had placed to defend the passes fled without firing a shot, and Dramali occupied Corinth without resistance. The Acropolis there was impregnable, but the commander, a priest named Achilles Theodorides, in spite of his Christian name and the fact that the citadel was amply supplied with provisions, murdered the Turkish prisoners in his hands, and fled with the garrison as soon as Dramali approached the place.

The ease with which the Turkish general had marched through Eastern Greece and possessed himself of Corinth, raised his confidence to the highest point. It had been arranged that the Turkish fleet should meet him at Nauplia, and he therefore determined to march with his whole army there, obtain possession of the stores brought by the fleet, relieve the town, and then proceed to the conquest of the Morea. Two of his officers alone disagreed with him. Yussuf Pasha and Ali Pasha, the latter of whom was a large land-owner of Argos, and both of whom knew the country well, proposed that Corinth should be made the head-quarters of the army, and great magazines be formed there; that the army should be divided into two divisions, one of which, under Dramali, should march to Nauplia and then recover Tripolitza, while the other should march along the Gulf of Corinth to Patras, recovering possession of the fertile province of Achaia. Dramali, however, confident in his power to overcome any opposition that might be made, determined to carry out his own plan, and started with his own army for Nauplia.

Owing to the fact that Dramali had met with no opposition, and had advanced with much greater rapidity than was expected, the preparations for resistance were altogether incomplete at the time he moved forward from Corinth, though the people were firmly determined to resist his advance from Nauplia. Accordingly, to the great disappointment of Mr. Beveridge, he moved without opposition through the narrow defile of Dervenaki, where a few hundred men could have successfully opposed the advance of an army, and arrived without firing a shot at Argos, almost within sight of Nauplia, sending forward Ali Pasha with five hundred cavalry to take the command at Nauplia.

Had the Turkish fleet now arrived with supplies, as had been arranged, it is probable that Dramali would have overrun the Morea, and that the revolution in Greece would have been stamped out; but instead of doing this it passed round the Morea to Patras in order to take on board Mehemet, who had just been appointed Capitan Pasha. Dramali therefore found himself at Argos without provisions, as, relying upon obtaining supplies from the fleet, he had not encumbered himself with a baggage train.

The members of the Greek government whose head-quarters had been at Argos, had fled precipitately at the approach of Dramali. Argos had been crowded with political leaders and military adventurers who had gathered there in hopes of sharing in the plunder of Nauplia. All these fled in such haste that the national archives and a large quantity of plate that had just been collected from the churches and monasteries for the public service, were abandoned. A wild panic had seized the inhabitants, whose numbers had been vastlyincreased by refugees from Smyrna, Chios, and other places, and thousands deserted their houses and property, and fled in frantic terror. As soon as they had left, the town was plundered by bands of Greek klephts, who seized the horses, mules, working oxen, and carts of the peasantry round and loaded them with the plunder collected in the city, and the Turks, when they entered Argos, found that it had already been sacked.

While, however, the ministers, senators, and generals of Greece were flying in panic, the spirit of the people was rising, and a body of volunteers took possession of the ruined castle where the ancient Acropolis of Argos had stood, and defended the position successfully against the first attack of the Turks. Of all the Greek leaders, Prince Demetrius Hypsilantes alone showed courage and presence of mind. Hastening through the country he addressed energetic harangues to the people, who responded enthusiastically to his impassioned words, and took up arms without waiting for the call of their nominal leaders. The work of the little English party now bore fruit, and the peasants, with arms in their hands, some without leaders, some commanded by their captains and primates, flocked from all parts of the Morea towards the scene of action.

Having seen the work well begun, Hypsilantes hastened back to Argos, and, accompanied by several young chiefs, threw himself with some eight hundred men into the ruined castle, raising the force there to a thousand men. The place was, however, badly supplied with provisions and water, and the Turks closely invested it. The object with which the first volunteers had occupied the place had been gained: the advance of the Turks had been arrested, and time had been given to the people of the Morea to rise. Hypsilantes and the greater portion of the garrison accordingly withdrew during the night; but a small band held it for three days longer, cutting their way out when their last loaf was finished on the 1st of August, having occupied it on the 24th of July.

By this time the Greeks had five thousand men assembled at Lerna, the port of Argos, where the cowardly leaders had embarked, and they held a very strong position where the ground rendered it impossible for the Turkish cavalry to act. Other large bodies of Greeks occupied all the mountains surrounding the plain of Argos. Had Dramali, when he first found that the fleet had gone past with the supplies, returned to Corinth, he could have done so without a shot being fired; but it was not until the 6th of August, after wasting a fortnight, that he prepared to move. He had brought with him from Corinth ten thousand men, of whom half were cavalry, and already much greater numbers of Greeks were gathered round him. Kolokotronis was nominally in command, but the villagers obeyed their local leaders, and there was no order or system among them. Had there been, they could have occupied strong positions on the various roads leading up to the hills, and compelled the surrender of the whole Turkish army. Instead of doing this, each of the local chiefs took up the position that seemed to him to be best.

The advance guard of the Turkish army consisted of a thousand Albanians, trained and seasoned troops. These were allowed to go through without even a skirmish. A body of cavalry were then sent forward along the road by which they had come, and ordered to occupy the Dervenaki defile, which Dramali had left unguarded behind him. They found the Greeks intrenched there. The first Turkish division therefore moved by another pass. Niketos, one of the bravest of the Greek commanders, with two thousand men barred the valley and fell on their left flank, while another body of Greeks, under Hypsilantes and Dikaios, attacked them on the right. The Turkish cavalry charged forward and tried to clear the valley, but a picked body of marksmen, on a low hill overlooking a ravine, shot them down and blocked the ravine with the bodies of the horses and their riders.

The pressure from behind increased, and a body of well-mounted horsemen managed to dash through and reach Corinth in safety. Behind them the slaughter was terrible. The Turks were shot down in numbers, and fled in every direction. Many were killed, but more succeeded in escaping, for the Greeks directed their whole attention to plundering the great baggage-trains, consisting of mules and camels laden with the valuables of the pashas and the rich spoil that had been gathered in their advance. The news of the destruction of the first division of his army astounded Dramali; but it was impossible for him to remain at Argos, and the following day he moved forward by another road up the steep hill known as Kleisura. Dikaios opposed them in front; Niketos and Hypsilantes fell on their left flank.

As on the previous day, the baggage-train proved the salvation of the Turkish soldiers. The Greeks directed their entire attention to it; and while they were occupied in cutting it off, a brilliant charge by a chosen band of Turkish horsemen cleared the road in front, and Dramali, with the main body of his cavalry, was enabled to escape to Corinth. His military chest, and the whole of the Turkish baggage, fell into the hands of the Greeks. The troops under the immediate command of Kolokotronis took no part whatever in either day’s fighting, the whole of which was done by the two thousand men under the command of Niketos, under whom Dikaios and Hypsilantes acted. As Kolokotronis, however, was the nominal commander, the credit of the defeat of Dramali was generally ascribed to him.

The Moriots returned to their native villages, enriched by the spoil they had gathered. The party from the schooner had been spectators of the fight. They had scarcely expected so good a result, for the disorder, the want of plan, the neglect of any attempt to seize and occupy the roads, and, above all, the utter incapacity of Kolokotronis, seemed to render success almost hopeless; and, indeed, out of the fourteen thousand Greeks assembled but two thousand fired a shot.

Fortunately the brunt of the Turkish attack fell upon the one little division that was ably commanded. Had the main body aided them, not a soldier of Dramali’s army would have escaped. As it was, their loss in men was comparatively small; but the total destruction of their baggage-train, and, still more, the disorganization and depression which followed the disaster, inflicted upon them by an enemy they despised, completely paralyzed them, and no forward move was again attempted. Dramali himself was utterly broken down by the humiliation, and died at Corinth two months later.

Mr. Beveridge was well contented with the success, which was due partly to his efforts. He had expended upwards of five thousand pounds, and eight thousand muskets and a large quantity of ammunition had been distributed from the schooner to the peasants. The victory ought, he felt, to have been much more conclusive; but the spirit awakened among the Moriots, and the confidence that would be engendered throughout Greece at this victory over an army that had expected to overrun the whole country without difficulty, immensely improved the chances that Greek independence would be finally established.

There was, however, one unfortunate consequence of the affair. The success of these armed peasants at Argos confirmed the Greeks in their idea that discipline was wholly unnecessary, that regular troops were a mistake, and that all that was needed to conquer the Turks was for the people to muster under their local leaders whenever danger threatened. This absurd idea was the cause of many heavy disasters which subsequently occurred. When the second day’s fighting was over the English party made their way back to the schooner.

“I congratulate you heartily, sir, on the success the Greeks have gained,” Martyn said; for the news of the victory had already reached him.

“Thank you, Martyn. It might and ought to have been a great deal better. Still, I am very thankful that it is as good as it is. I can feel now that, come what may, my mission out here has not been altogether a failure. We have done much good work in the cause of humanity. My work during the last three weeks has been exactly what I pictured it would be before I left home. By my personal efforts I did a good deal to arouse the enthusiasm of the peasants. My money increased my influence, and the arms we brought out contributed largely to the success of the fight. I am pleased and gratified.”

“What sort of time have you had, Miller?” Martyn asked his comrade as they walked up and down the quarter-deck together, as Mr. Beveridge descended to his cabin.

“It has been good enough, for we have done a lot of tramping up hill and down. The chief bought a horse the day he landed, or I am sure he never could have stood it; it was pretty hard work even for us. You should have seen him, day after day, haranguing crowds of villagers. Of course I could not understand a word he said; but I can tell you he worked them up into a regular frenzy; and the way they shouted and waved their hands, and, as I imagine, swore terrible oaths that they would kill and eat every Turk they saw, was something tremendous. It quite electrified our fellows, who have been accustomed, I suppose, to consider the chief as a quiet, easy-going gentleman, and they cheered and shouted as loudly as the Greeks. Zaimes and his brother went off on expeditions, on their own account, to villages we could not spare time to go to. We were all right as to quarters and grub. The primates and captains, or whatever the leaders call themselves, naturally made a lot of us—and no wonder, considering how the chief scattered his money among them all. The mule that carried the money was pretty heavily laden when he went up, but the boxes were emptied before we returned. The food, of course, was pretty rough, though it was the best they had; but one has been spoiled for roughing it by our living here.”

“I found a difference, I can tell you, Miller, since you went, and I am heartily glad that Marco is back again. How has the doctor got on?”

“I think he has found it harder than he expected,” Miller laughed. “He confided to me to-day that he shall not volunteer for another expedition. But I was very glad he was with us; for Horace, of course, was always in the thick of it, with his father, jawing away with the village notables, and I should have had a dull time of it if it had not been for the doctor, whose remarks upon the real enthusiasm of the peasantry and the bought enthusiasm of their leaders were very amusing. The doctor does not say much when we are all together; but he is not at all a bad companion, and there is a lot of dry humour about him. And now I sha’n’t be sorry when supper is ready, for we have been on our legs since daybreak, and I have had nothing to eat but some bread we carried with us and some wine with which we had all filled our water-bottles.”

After this, for a time, the Misericordia had a quiet time of it cruising idly about among the Ionian Islands, and then crossing to Venice, where they stayed for three weeks. Then they crossed the Adriatic again, and put in at the port of Missolonghi. Mr. Beveridge was very anxious to hear the result of the battle that was expected between the Greek army, under Mavrocordatos, and the Turks advancing south. He had himself strongly wished to go with the Greek army, but had been dissuaded by Horace.

“My dear father, if we do any fighting at sea, we assuredly do our share without taking part in fighting on shore. When we have once seen the Greeks make a successful stand it will surely be time enough for us to take any share in the matter. The Philhellenes will fight, that is quite certain; but I think the odds are all against the Greeks doing so. Besides, as you have often said, Mavrocordatos is no more fit to command an army than any old woman in the streets of Athens would be. He knows nothing whatever of military matters, and will take no advice from those who do. I think there would be a tremendous risk in joining the Greek army, and no advantage to be gained from it. Of course, if you wish to go I will go with you, and we can take some of the men if you like; but I certainly think we had better keep away from it altogether.”

And so, instead of joining the Greek army, they had sailed to Venice. As soon as they dropped anchor off Missolonghi Horace was rowed ashore to get the news. He returned in an hour.

“It is lucky indeed, father, that we went to Venice instead of with Mavrocordatos.”

“What, have the Greeks been beaten?”

“Completely smashed up, father. I have been talking to two or three of the Philhellenes who were lucky enough to escape. Mavrocordatos sent the army on to Petta, and established himself some twenty miles in the rear. His chief of the staff, General Normann, felt the position was a very bad one, but could not fall back when the Turks advanced, as he had no orders. The regular troops, that is, the one regular regiment, the hundred Philhellenes, and a body of Ionian volunteers, were stationed in a position in front. The Greek irregulars, two thousand strong, were placed some distance in the rear, and were to cover the regulars from any attack from that direction. Two leaders of the irregulars were in communication with the Turks; when these advanced, the eight hundred men in front, who had two guns with them, repulsed them; but Reshid Pasha sent round six hundred Albanians, who advanced against a strong position in the rear. The whole body of the Greek irregulars bolted like rabbits, and then the Turks in front and the Albanians from the rear attacked the front division on all sides. They fought gallantly. Of the hundred Philhellenes, seventy-five were killed, the other twenty-five broke their way through the Turkish ranks. The Greek regiment and the Ionians were cut up by the Turkish infantry fire, followed by charges of their cavalry. Half of them were killed, the others broke their way through the Turks. So out of the eight hundred men over four hundred were killed. They say that not one surrendered. So I think, father, it is very well that we did not go up to see the fight, for you would naturally have been somewhere near the Philhellenes.”

“This is bad news indeed, Horace.”

“It is, father; but how the Greeks could suppose that it was any use getting up a regular army, consisting of one regiment of six hundred men, to fight the Turks, is more than I can imagine. As to their irregulars, except for fighting among the mountains, I do not see that they are of the slightest good.

“I am awfully sorry for the foreign officers. After coming here, as they did, to fight for Greece, and then forming themselves into a corps to encourage the natives to fight, to be deserted and left to fight a whole army is shameful. Those I spoke to are terribly cut up at the loss of three-quarters of their comrades. The Turks are advancing against Missolonghi. The Suliots have made terms, and are to be transported to the Ionian Islands. The British consul at Prevesa guarantees that the terms shall be honourably kept on both sides.”

Mr. Beveridge went ashore later, and returned completely disheartened by his conversation with the leading inhabitants. He learned that, so far from the defeat at Petta convincing the Greeks that it was only by submitting to discipline and forming regular regiments that they could hope to oppose the Turks, they had determined, on the contrary, that there was no hope of fighting in that way, and that henceforward they must depend entirely upon the irregulars.

“Their blindness is extraordinary,” he said. “They saw that, few as the disciplined men were, they repulsed the attack of the Turkish troops in front, and were only crushed when totally surrounded; while, on the other hand, two thousand five hundred irregulars were unable even to attempt to make a stand against six hundred Albanians, but deserted their comrades and fled after scarcely firing a shot; and yet in the future they intend to trust solely to these useless bands.

“At present everyone is quarrelling with everyone else. While Reshid Pasha is preparing to invade Greece the captains and primates, instead of uniting to oppose them, are quarrelling and fighting among themselves for their share of the national revenues. The district of Agrapha is being laid waste by civil broils; the province of Vlochos is being devastated by the bands of two rival leaders; Kravari is pillaged alternately by the bands of two other scoundrels; Gogos and half a dozen other captains have openly gone over to the Turks. There is only one hope I can see,” he added bitterly.

“What is that, Mr. Beveridge?” Martyn asked.

“It is, that the Greeks will continue their civil broils until they make their country a complete desert; and that the Turks, finding that they can obtain no food whatever, will be obliged by starvation to quit the country. One thing I am resolved upon, and that is, that until the Greeks fight for themselves I will do nothing further whatever in the matter. I will still try to save women and children, but I will do nothing else. I will neither interfere with Turkish commerce nor fire a gun at a Turkish ship of war. We will lower our long gun and four of the others down into the hold, Captain Martyn, and we will cruise about and enjoy ourselves for a bit.”

“Very well, sir. It is just a year since we arrived out here, and a little peace and quiet and amusement will do us no harm. I don’t know how it would be with our flag, and whether we can sail into Malta or into the Italian ports with it, or whether we can hoist our own again.”

“The papers are all right, I believe,” Mr. Beveridge said. “You see, she was nominally sold to the agent here of a Greek firm in London, and is therefore registered as the property of a Greek subject. I have papers signed by them selling the vessel again to me, with blanks for the dates, which can be filled in at any time; but these, of course, I could only fill in and use in the event of my deciding to leave Greece altogether and return to England. So that, at present, we are simply a Greek ship, owned by natives of that country, and holding letters of marque from the Greek government to act as a privateer. I do not think that the transaction would be recognized by any European power in the case of two European belligerents; but this is an exceptional case, as the sympathies of all the Christian powers are with the Greeks. As far as the Turks are concerned, it makes no difference; whether Greek or English, they would hang us if they caught us. But I don’t think any very close inquiries are likely to be made in any European port. Our Greek papers are all correct, and as we know that the account of our having saved large numbers of fugitives from Chios has been in the English papers, and doubtless our interference to save the Turks at Athens has also been published, I think that we should be received well by the sympathizers of either party.”

The next morning they sailed to Corinth, where they remained a few days. John Iskos, Mr. Beveridge’s agent at Athens, came across to see him. He informed him that he had sold but a very small portion of the goods consigned to him in the prizes, but had shipped the great bulk in neutral vessels and consigned them to the firm in London; the vessels themselves he had disposed of to Hydriot merchants. He recommended Mr. Beveridge to hand over to him the store of silks and other valuables that had been retained on board the schooner, and he would put them at once on board an Italian ship at present in the port, and consign them to a Greek house in Genoa, as he certainly would not obtain anything like fair prices for them in Greece.

The operation occupied two days, but all the most valuable goods were retained, as the prizes might have been recaptured by Turks on their way to Athens. The prizes had been brought in by Miller and Tarleton alternately, Marco or Zaimes accompanying them to interpret, the crews being taken back in native boats to Naxos, to which island the schooner had made several trips to pick them up.

For the next two months the schooner cruised in Italian waters, from Venice round to Genoa, putting in to many ports, making a circuit of Sicily, and paying a short visit to Malta; then learning that the Turks were about to besiege Missolonghi, and that the town was going to resist until the last, they crossed over there in the second week in November. They found that the port was blockaded by some Turkish ships from Patras, but that some Hydriot vessels were expected to arrive shortly. Mavrocordatos was himself in the town organizing the defence, and taking really vigorous measures for holding out to the last.

A week later seven Hydriot brigs arrived; the Misericordia, which had again mounted all her guns, joined them; but as they approached the port the Turkish vessels got up all sail and made for Patras, and the Greeks entered the port. Missolonghi was protected by a low mud wall, with a ditch six feet deep by sixteen feet wide. It contained but a foot of water, but at the bottom was a deep clay, rendering it quite impassable. There were eight guns mounted on the ramparts, and Mr. Beveridge landed at once six more of those still lying in the hold, with a supply of ammunition for the whole.

As soon as the port was open a thousand men crossed over from the Morea under the command of partisan chiefs, and from time to time others came in, until the garrison, originally but six hundred strong, was increased to two thousand five hundred. For some weeks nothing was done; but on the eve of the 6th of January, which was the Greek Christmas-day, a Greek fisherman brought in news that the Turks were preparing to assault the next morning at daylight, when they believed the Christians would generally be in their churches. Forty men were landed from the schooner to take part in the defence. At daybreak the defenders were all in their places, hidden behind the rampart or concealed in the houses near.

The storming party was led by eight hundred Albanian volunteers. One division was intended to scale the wall on its eastern flank, while another was to endeavour to penetrate the town by wading through a shallow lagoon at its eastern extremity. The whole Turkish army turned out, and suddenly opened a tremendous fire of musketry against the ramparts, while the storming parties moved forward. The defenders remained in their concealment until the Albanians were close at hand, and then, leaping up, poured their fire into them. Expecting to take the defenders by surprise, the Albanians were astounded at the sudden and heavy fire poured into them, and at once broke and fled in confusion. For some hours the Turks kept up a heavy fire, but did not renew their attack in earnest. Tons of ammunition were fired away on both sides, and then the Turks fell back to their camps, and on the following day raised the siege.

The wildness of the fire was evidenced by the fact that only four Greeks were killed. The blue-jackets from the schooner joined in the fire upon the storming parties, but when it was evident that the Turks had no idea of renewing the attack they returned on board ship. Their remarks upon the combatants were the reverse of complimentary.

“It is well-nigh enough to make a man sick, Tom,” one man said to another in Horace’s hearing. “To see them both blazing away good powder and lead like that, I reckon to be downright sinful.”

“You are right there, mate. It is a downright waste of the gifts of Providence. Why, there was powder and ball enough to have killed a good five thousand Englishmen and Frenchmen thrown away in accounting for four or five of them yelling fellows. It is more like play-acting than fighting. Why, if you was to arm a couple of gals’ schools and put ’em to fire at each other they would do ever so much better than that. And to think them Greeks calls themselves Christians and don’t know how to aim a musket no better than that; they might just as well be heathen.”

While Missolonghi had been resisting successfully, the Turkish garrison of Nauplia had at last surrendered. After Dramali’s army had abandoned it the only hope that remained to them was that the fleet might return. The Greeks retained possession of a small fort that had been given up to them at the time that the first negotiations for surrender were going on. From this fort combustible missiles were fired into the town, and a brisk cannonade kept up with its defences, but without much damage being done on either side. On the 20th of September the Turkish fleet appeared off the entrance to the gulf, and the Greek fleet from the islands of Hydra and Spetzas stood out to meet them.

Unfortunately Admiral Kanaris was not present. For four days the two fleets remained in sight of each other, firing at such distances that no harm was done on either side. There was nothing to have prevented the Turkish admiral relieving Nauplia and landing the troops and provisions in his transports; but he feared to enter the gulf, while the Greeks shrank equally from an attack upon him. After thus exhibiting for four days his cowardice and incapacity, the Turkish capitan-pasha abandoned Nauplia to its fate. The resistance only continued because the Turks could put no reliance upon the oaths of the Greeks. Women and children dropped dead from hunger in the streets; the soldiers were so weak from starvation that but few were able to carry their arms. The citadel was at last abandoned simply because the soldiers who went down into the town to fetch the scanty rations for its defenders were too weak to climb the hill again; and the Greeks, as soon as they learned that it was abandoned, occupied the position. Kolokotronis and a number of other leaders, attracted by the prospect of booty, hurried to the spot like vultures round a carcass.

Negotiations were again opened, and the Turks surrendered on the terms of the Greeks engaging to transport them to Asia Minor, allowing each to retain a single suit of clothes, a quilt for bedding, and a carpet for prayer. As soon as the terms were signed, Kolokotronis and the captains entered the town with their personal followers and prevented all others from entering. The soldiers assembled before the gates, declaring that they would not allow the chiefs to appropriate to themselves everything valuable, threatening to storm the place, murder the Turks, and sack the town. Greece was saved from fresh dishonour by the timely arrival of the English frigate Cambrian, commanded by Captain Hamilton. He was a strong friend of Greece, and was known to many of the Greek leaders.

He at once held a conference with them, and in the strongest language urged upon them the necessity of taking measures for the execution of the capitulation, for that another breach of faith, another foul massacre, would render the name of Greece despicable in civilized Europe and ruin the cause of the country. Hamilton’s character was greatly respected, and his words had their effect. He insisted upon their chartering ships to embark the Turks. He himself took five hundred of them on board the Cambrian, and nine hundred were embarked in the Greek transports. This interference of Captain Hamilton excited great anger in Greece.

The Turkish fleet did not escape absolutely scathless after its inglorious departure from Nauplia. Although unmolested by the Greeks, it sailed north, and anchored inside the island of Tenedos.

Kanaris persuaded the people of Psara to fit out two fire-ships. He took the command of one, and both sailed for the Turkish fleet, which they approached at daybreak. Two line-of-battle ships were anchored to windward of the rest of the fleet. Kanaris undertook the destruction of the ship to leeward, that being the most difficult operation. He succeeded as well as he had done on two previous occasions. He ran the enemy aboard to windward, lashed the fire-ship there, and fired the train. The Turk was at once enveloped in flames, and the whole of the crew, eight hundred in number, perished.

But Kanaris seemed to be the only Greek naval officer who had the necessary courage and coolness to manœuvre successfully with fire-ships. The other captain ran his fire-ship alongside the man-of-war which carried the flag of the capitan-pasha. The position of the fire-ship was, however, ill chosen, and after being set on fire it drifted away without doing injury to the Turk. The rest of the Turkish fleet cut their cables and made for the Dardanelles, while one corvette ran ashore on Tenedos. Another was abandoned by her crew. Kanaris and the crews of the two fire-ships returned safely to Psara in their boats.

Chapter XIX • Prisoners • 6,800 Words

ONE day, after cruising along the coast inside the island of Eubœa or Negropont, the Misericordia entered the Gulf of Zeitouni, the Sinus Maliacus of the ancients. When they were nearly at the head of the gulf Horace asked Captain Martyn to let him go ashore to a little village at the water’s edge to get some vegetables and fruit, of which the supply had run out.

“Just as you like, Horace. A boat-load of green stuff of some sort or other would be very welcome, and if you can pick up half a dozen kids so much the better.”

“I am thinking I will go with you, Horace,” Macfarlane said; “it does a man good to stretch his legs ashore once in a way.”

The gig was at once lowered, and on Horace and the doctor taking their seats in the stern, four sailors rowed them ashore.

“I sha’n’t take the trouble to anchor,” Martyn said as they left the ship. “I expect you will be back in an hour, and I shall keep her standing off and on till I see you put out.”

Leaving two of the men in charge of the boat, Horace told the other two to take some of the baskets they had brought ashore and follow him. Some women looked out timidly at the doors of the houses, but no men were to be seen about.

“We are friends,” Horace said; “do you not see we are flying the Greek flag? Where are all the men?”

“They have gone away with Vriones. He came with an armed band and said that every man must go with him to fight.”

“Who have they gone to fight?”

“Ah! that we don’t know. He talked about fighting the Turks, but we think it more likely that he is going to fight Rhangos. They are at war with each other. Oh, these are bad times! What with the war with the Turks, and the war of one captain with another, and what with bands of klephts who plunder everyone, there is no peace nor quiet. They say Rhangos is going to join the Turks, as many other klepht leaders have done. To us it makes little difference who are masters, so that we know who they are. In the time of the Turks we had peace; we had to pay taxes, but we knew what they were. Now everybody wants taxes. These are evil days.”

“We want some vegetables and some fruit,” Horace said. “We do not wish to rob you, and are ready to pay a fair price for everything.”

“Those we can sell you,” the woman said, “it is nearly all we have left. There are vegetables everywhere, and they are not worth stealing.”

The news soon spread, and the women and children of the village were soon engaged in gathering and tying up vegetables. The sailors made several trips backwards and forwards to the boats with laden baskets, while the doctor and Horace, seated upon a low wall, watched the women at work in the gardens, and paid the sum agreed upon for each basketful that was carried off. Suddenly, without the slightest warning, there was a rush of men behind them, and before they could draw their pistols they were seized, thrown down, and bound.

“What is the meaning of this?” Horace asked indignantly. “We are officers of that ship there, which is in the service of Greece. As you are Greeks, what do you mean by molesting us?”

No reply was given. There was a sudden outburst of firing down by the boat, and the screams of women rose in the air. The men who had bound them moved away at the order of an officer, leaving two with muskets standing over the prisoners.

“This is a nice business, doctor; I expect we have fallen into the hands of Rhangos, the fellow the women were speaking about, and the men of this village have gone out with some other scoundrel to fight. I suppose he had spies about, and came down to plunder the place in their absence. She said she heard Rhangos was going to join the Turks; his capturing us certainly looks as if at present he was hostile to the Greeks. If he takes us away and hands us over to the Turks it is a bad look-out.”

“He will have to be quick about it,” the doctor said, “they are still firing occasional shots down by the water. That looks as if the boat has got away, and you may be sure Martyn won’t be long before he sends as many men as he can spare ashore to find us. There, do you hear?” and as he spoke there was the deep boom of a gun, followed by the rush of a shot overhead.

Orders were shouted angrily directly afterwards. Some men ran up, cut the cords that bound the prisoners’ legs, and then, seizing them by the arms, hurried them away, threatening them with instant death if they did not keep up with them. As they mounted the high ground behind the village Horace glanced round. Three boats were just leaving the schooner. A blow from one of the Greeks that, bound as he was, nearly threw him down, compelled him to turn his head and hurry forward again. For hours they hastened along. When about a mile from the village a sharp fire was heard to break out in that direction. As they had only eight men with them, they doubted not that Rhangos was with the main body opposing the landing.

“Our fellows will soon clear them out of the village,” Horace said to the doctor. “I only hope that, as they retire, the Greeks will follow us, for you may be sure that Martyn and Miller will press hard on them, and may perhaps overtake us.”

Up to nightfall, however, none of the band came up. The country had been getting more and more hilly, and at sunset they halted far up on the side of a mountain. Here a fire was lit, and some portions of a kid that had evidently been part of the plunder of the village were put over it to roast. The fire was kept blazing, and the doctor and Horace agreed that it was probably intended as a signal to their comrades. A lump of meat was thrown to each of the captives, their cords being loosed sufficiently to enable them to use their hands, their legs being tightly bound again as soon as they had halted. At eight o’clock a sound of voices was heard, and presently a party of Greeks, fully a hundred strong, came up. They were evidently in an ill temper, and replied sulkily to the questions of the guard of the prisoners. Horace gathered from their answers that they had fired a volley upon the boats as they approached; then, seeing they came on without a pause, had at once run from the village and scattered, reuniting some miles on.

“We lost everything we had taken,” one of the men said. “We had it all packed and ready to carry away, when those confounded sailors came. Some of us did start with our bundles, but they came so fast up to us that we had to throw everything away, and even then we had a lot of difficulty in keeping away from them. I expect they caught some. It was lucky we started off when we did; if we had waited till they landed very few would have got away.”

“Didn’t they shoot?” one of the guards asked.

“No, they never fired a shot. I don’t know whether they came ashore without powder, but from first to last they never fired.”

“They knew we had these two in our hands,” the guards said, “and they were afraid if they killed any of us we should take it out of our prisoners, and I think they were about right. Ah! here comes Rhangos. He had to take to a farmhouse before he had gone half a mile, and I suppose if any of them looked in they would have seen him feeding pigs or something of that sort, with his finery and arms hidden away.”

The klepht had now come up to the fire. He was a spare man, some fifty years old, with a keen hungry face.

“Are all here?” he asked briefly.

“We are six short of our number,” a man, who by his dress had evidently the rank of an officer among them, replied.

“Killed?”

“No, there was no firing; I expect those sailors ran them down.”

“Then we must march in half-an-hour, they will make them lead them here. Now, then, who are you?” he asked the doctor as the elder of the prisoners.

“My friend does not speak Greek,” Horace replied. “As you must be well aware we are officers of that schooner that was lying off the village. This is the doctor, I am third lieutenant. We are friends of Greece, we have been in action against the Turkish ships of war, we have saved great numbers of Greek fugitives from the Turks, now this is the treatment that we receive at the hands of the Greeks.”

Horace’s reticence as to the fact that he was the son of the owner of the schooner was the result of a conversation with the doctor.

“These scoundrels have no doubt carried us off either for the purpose of getting a ransom for us or of handing us over to the Turks as an acceptable present. I expect the idea of ransom is at the bottom of it. We have heard of this fellow Rhangos before. He is a noted klepht, and more Albanian than Greek. Whatever you do, Horace, don’t you let out you are the owner’s son. If you do there is no saying how much ransom they might ask for you. They think that an Englishman who fits out a ship at his own expense to come out here must be rolling in money. As long as they think that they have only got hold of a doctor and a third lieutenant they cannot ask a high price for them, but for an owner’s son there is no saying what figure they might put him at. Have you got a second name?”

“Yes, I am Horace Hendon Beveridge. Hendon was my mother’s name.”

“That is lucky; you can give them Horace Hendon. It is likely they may know your father’s name, for the Misericordia and her doings have been a good deal talked about. I am not in favour of anyone telling a lie, Horace, but as it is no lie to give your two first names without giving your third, I cannot see that there is harm in it.”

“The ship belongs to the Lord Beveridge?” Rhangos asked next.

“Yes, that is his name,” Horace replied.

“What is your name and that of your companion?”

Horace gave his two Christian names and the name of his companion.

“Have you paper?” the klepht said.

“I have a note-book in my pocket.”

“That will do. Now write in Greek: My Lord Beveridge, This is to give you notice that—now write the two names—‘Donald Macfarlane and Horace Hendon,’” Horace repeated as he wrote them, “surgeon and third lieutenant of your ship, are captives in my hands, and that unless three hundred pounds in gold are paid to me as ransom for them they will be put to death. If there is any attempt to rescue the prisoners they will at once be shot. The messenger will arrange with you how and where the ransom is to be paid.”

The klepht added his own name in scrawling characters at the bottom of the note, then called one of the men and gave him instructions as to where and how the ransom was to be paid, and then sent him off. As soon as the band had satisfied their hunger the march among the mountains was continued for another two hours. Then they threw themselves down by the side of a stream in a valley surrounded on all sides with craggy hills, and two men with muskets were placed as sentries over the prisoners.

“Well, this is not so bad,” Horace said. “It is certainly very lucky you gave me that hint about my name. Three hundred is not very much to pay to get out of such a scrape as this. I suppose there is no fear about their giving us up when they get the money.”

“I think not,” the doctor replied. “They would never get ransoms if they did not keep their word. I only hope that no one may let out before the messenger who you are. If they do, there will be a very serious rise in prices.”

“Fortunately none of them speak Greek but my father, and probably he would read the note before he would ask any questions.”

“Maybe yes, and maybe no,” the doctor said. “He is as like as not to say when he sees a messenger, ’Is my son alive and well?’ and then the cat would be out of the bag. Still, your father is a prudent man, and may keep a still tongue in his head, especially when he sees that the note is in your own handwriting. However, we will hope for the best.”

Morning had dawned some time before there was any movement among the band. Then their fires were lighted and breakfast cooked.

“Will the English lord pay the ransom for you, do you think?” Rhangos asked, sauntering up to Horace.

Horace shrugged his shoulders.

“It is a large sum to pay for two officers,” he said.

“He is rich, it is nothing to him.”

“He is well off, no doubt,” Horace said; “but it is not everyone who is well off who is disposed to part with money for other people.”

“Well, it will be bad for you if he doesn’t pay,” the klepht said significantly.

Three hours later the messenger was seen coming up the valley. Horace looked at him anxiously as he approached, and was pleased to see that, as he spoke to Rhangos, there was no expression of surprise or exultation in the latter’s face. He nodded when the other had finished, and then went to the fire where two or three of his lieutenants were sitting, saying briefly to Horace as he passed him, “He will pay.” Horace could hear what he said to the others.

“Demetri says the Englishman did not like paying the money. There was a good deal of talk between him and his officers before he came back to him and said, that though the demand was extortionate he would pay it. He said he should complain to the central government, and should expect them to refund it and settle with you.” There was a general laugh among his hearers.

“I ought to have asked more,” the klepht went on; “but I don’t know these English. Of course if any of you were taken, my dear friends, I would give all I have to ransom you.” The assertion was received with mocking laughter, as he went on calmly: “But you see other people are not animated by the same generous feeling as we Greeks, and I don’t suppose this milord sets any particular value on the lad, or on that long-shanked doctor. He can hire more of them, and I expect he only agreed to pay the money because his other officers insisted on it. They are rolling in wealth these English, but they are mean; if not, how is it that our pockets are not filled with English gold when we are fighting for a sacred cause?”

His hearers were highly tickled by this sentiment.

“When are they to be delivered up, Rhangos?”

“At mid-day to-morrow at Pales, the village halfway between the foot of the hills and the sea. Four men are to take them down to within a quarter of a mile of the village; then Demetri will go in and get the gold; then when he returns with it to the others the prisoners will be freed.”

“I should have thought the matter might have been arranged to-day,” one of the men said.

“So it might have been,” the klepht replied; “but I could not tell that. I thought that Demetri would not be able to go off to the ship this morning. He had six hours’ walking, and would not be there until two hours past midnight; then he would have to rest for an hour or two after he had seen them, and then six hours to walk back. It would have been too late to deliver them up before dark, and I should never think of sending them in the dark—their guards might fall into an ambush. As it was, Demetri found them in the village. They had not returned, as I thought they would do, on board their ship. He walked in, thinking the place was empty, when two of those sailors jumped out on him with cutlasses. Thinking that they were going to cut his throat he showed them the letter. They led him to the principal house in the village, and one went in while another held him fast outside. He heard a great talking and excitement in the house, and presently he was taken in. Then, as I told you, there was a great talk, and at last they agreed to pay the ransom. As soon as he got his answer he started on his way back, lay down for an hour or two in an empty cottage, and then came on here. We will stay where we are until to-morrow morning; then, Kornalis, you shall start with four men, and Demetri and the captives, and we will go on our way. We will deal another blow to Vriones, and then we will be off. We will fix on some place where you can join us after you have got the ransom.”

“It could not have happened better for us,” Horace said to his companion after he had translated the klepht’s story. “As it turned out, you see, my father got the note before he could say a word to the messenger. That was a capital move their pretending to hesitate about paying the ransom. If they had jumped at it this scoundrel is perfectly capable of raising his terms. As it is, he thinks he was clever enough to hit upon just the maximum sum that could be got for us. Well, it is all right now.”

“It will be all right when we are among the others, Horace; there is never any saying what may happen in this country. Some of the peasants these fellows have been robbing may fall on us, seeing we are but a small party. This Vriones with his bandits, who I daresay are just as bad as these fellows, may happen to meet us. No, we won’t calculate too confidently. Things have gone on very well so far. We will just hope they will go on to the end.”

Now that the affair was considered to be settled, but little attention was paid to the prisoners. Their cords were taken off, and they were permitted to move about, two men keeping an eye upon them, but not following them closely. They congratulated themselves that the sailors had withheld their fire, for undoubtedly their position would have been very different had some of the brigands been killed. So far from bearing any animosity now, the men chatted with them in a friendly manner, asked questions about their ship, and their encounters with the Turks.

“We would rather fight for the Greeks than the Turks,” one said: “but we follow our captains. There is neither pay nor plunder to be obtained with the Greeks; and as Odysseus and all the other chiefs play their own game, and think only of making money, why should poor devils like us be particular? All Albanian tribes have had their wars against each other as long as we or our fathers can remember. We know nothing about the Greece that they talk so much of now. There were the Morea and other provinces, and so there have always been so far as we know, and it is nothing to us whether they are ruled by Turks or by their own captains. As to religion, many of our tribes are Mussulmans, many are Christians. We do not see that it makes any difference.

“Everyone plunders when he gets a chance. Why should I want to cut a man’s throat because he is a Mussulman? His father was a Christian before him; my son may be a Mussulman after me. What does it matter? Since the fight at Petta many chiefs have gone over to the Turks, and if the Greeks win a battle most of them will go back again. The affair is nothing to us. On the mountains we hunt where we are most likely to get game. You like to hunt for amusement, and so you have come out here on a matter which does not at all concern you. We hunt to live, and don’t much care whether we take a sheep out of one flock or another.”

Horace smiled at the man’s avowal of the want of any principle whatever.

“I was a schoolmaster,” one of the lieutenants of the band, who was stretched at full length smoking and listening to the conversation, remarked. “I know about the old time, but I don’t know anything of this Greece you speak of. Where was it? What did it do? It was just then as it is now. There were a number of little tribes under their own captains. Athens, and Corinth, and Sparta, and Argos, and Thebes, and the rest of them always fighting against each other just as our Albanian clans do; not even ready to put aside their own quarrels to fight against an invader. Pooh! There never was a Greece, and I neither know nor care whether there ever will be. Why should we throw away our lives for a dream?”

“Yes; but at any rate the Greeks have a common language, which shows they are one people.”

“Families fall out more than strangers,” the man replied with a laugh. “You English and the Americans have a common language, and yet you have been fighting against each other, and they refuse to remain one nation with you. These things signify no more than the smoke of my pipe. A Christian’s money, and a Christian’s goods and cattle, are worth just as much to me as a Turk’s; and my captain, who pays me, is more to me than either Mavrocordatos or the Sultan. I daresay that English milord is a worthy man, though he must be a fool, and yet the wine I shall buy out of my share of his money will be just as good as if it had grown in my father’s vineyard.”

Horace laughed. He was not skilled in argument, even had he any inclination to indulge in it at the present time; and he sauntered off and sat down by the doctor, who, not being able to talk with the Greeks, found the time hang heavy on hand. Horace repeated to him his conversation with the two brigands.

“I own I did not know how to answer the last fellow, doctor.”

“There is no answer to be made, Horace. To argue, men must have a common ground to start from. There is no common ground between you and him. His argument is the argument of the materialist everywhere, whether he is Briton, Frenchman, or Greek. To a man who has neither religion nor principles there remains only self-interest, and from that point of view there is no gainsaying the arguments of that Albanian scamp any more than it would have been of use for a lowland merchant carried off by Highland caterans to urge upon them that their conduct was contrary to the laws both of morality and political economy. They would have said that they knew nothing about either, and cared less, and that unless his goodwife or fellow citizens put their hands in their pockets and sent the ransom they demanded, his head would be despatched to them in a hamper with small delay. He certainly had you on the hip with what he said about ancient Greece, for a more quarrelsome, cantankerous, waspish set of little communities the world never saw, unless it were the cities of Italy in the middle ages, which at any rate were of a respectable size, which was, by the way, the only respectable thing about them. Religion and principle and patriotism are the three things that keep men and nations straight, and neither the Greek nor Italian communities had the least glimmering of an idea of either of them, except a love for their own petty states may be called patriotism.”

“A good deal like your Highland clansmen, I should say, doctor,” Horace laughed. “The head of the clan was a much greater man in the eyes of his followers than the King of Scotland.”

“That is so, Horace; and the consequence was, that while there was peace and order and prosperity in the lowlands, the Highlands scarcely made a step forward until the clans were pretty well broken up after Culloden. It was a sore business at the time, but no one can doubt that it did good in the long run. And now, lad, I think that I will just take a sleep. It was not many hours we got of it last night, and you see most of these fellows have set us an example.”

The next morning they started at daybreak. The main body of the band had moved off hours before, leaving the Lieutenant Kornalis, Demetri, and four of the men. Three hours’ walking took them out of the mountains. There was little talking. The Greeks would have preferred going with their leader to plunder another village, for although the booty taken was supposed to be all handed over to the chief for fair distribution, there were few who did not conceal some trinket or money as their own special share of the plunder. Theywere but a mile or two beyond the hills, when, from a wood skirting the road, four or five shots rang out.

Two of the Greeks fell; the rest, throwing away their guns, fled at the top of their speed. Before the prisoners had time to recover from their surprise a number of men rushed out, and with the butts of their muskets and pistols struck them to the ground. When they recovered their senses a group of men were standing round them, while at some little distance they could hear the sound of firing, showing that the pursuit of their late captors was being closely maintained. By this time they had become sufficiently accustomed to the various costumes to know that they had now fallen into the hands of men of one of the Albanian tribes, probably Mussulmans acting as irregulars with the Turkish army, engaged upon a raiding expedition. One of them asked Horace a question, but the dialect was so different to that of the Greeks of Athens and the Morea that he was unable to understand it. Presently the men who had gone in pursuit returned, and the whole party set off to the north, placing their prisoners in their midst, and warning them by pointing significantly to their knives and pistols that they had better keep up with them.

“Eh! man,” the doctor said; “but it is dreadful. Just as we thought that everything was settled, and that in another couple of hours we should be with our own people, here we are in the hands of a pack of villains even worse than the others.”

“You said that we should not shout until we were out of the wood, doctor, and you have turned out a true prophet; but at present I am thinking more of my head than of anything else, I am sure I have got a couple of lumps on it as big as eggs.”

“It shows the folly of man,” the doctor said philosophically. “What good could they expect to get from knocking us down? We were neither fighting nor running away. We had not our wits about us, lad, or we should have just taken to our heels.”

“I expect they would have caught us if we had. We have neither of us had much walking lately, and those fellows are always climbing among their mountains. Do you think it is of any use trying to make them understand that if they will take us a few miles farther they will find three hundred pounds waiting for them?”

“You might try, Horace; but I don’t think that it will be of any use. I expect they are just skirting along at the foot of the hills to see what they can pick up. There are not above thirty of them, and they would not like to go far out upon the plains; besides, I don’t know that it would turn out well. If they were to go on in a body, Martyn would as likely as not fire at them, and then they would think that we had led them into an ambush, and shoot us without waiting to ask any question. Still, you can try if you like; we might be sorry afterwards if we didn’t.”

But when Horace tried to speak to the men he was threatened roughly, and he lapsed into silence. For three hours they ascended a great range of hills running east and west. When they gained the crest they could see stretched away far in front of them a flat and fertile country.

“The plains of Thessaly,” the doctor said; “the fairest and richest portion of the Greece of old. There is little chance of its forming part of the Greece of the future, at least not until a complete overthrow of the Turkish Empire. If Greece attains her independence the frontier line will be somewhere along the crest of these hills, for Thessaly, although there was some slight trouble there at first, has not joined the movement. There are no mountains and fortresses where they can take refuge, and a troop of Turkish cavalry could scour the whole country. There is where we are bound for, I expect;” and he pointed to a large clump of white tents far out on the plain. “I expect that is the camp of the Pasha of the province. I suppose he is going to operate on this side when the main force advances to the west.”

It took them another four hours’ walking before they approached the camp. When within a short distance of it their captors turned off and entered a village where numbers of their countrymen were sitting in the shade smoking or dozing. The band went on until they reached the principal house in the village, and four of them entering took their prisoners into a room where a tall old chief was sitting on a divan. They talked for some minutes, evidently explaining the circumstances of their capture. When they had done, the chief asked the prisoners in Greek who they were.

“We are Englishmen,” Horace replied; “we belong to a ship lying off a village whose name I don’t know. We had landed to buy fruit and vegetables, and then we were suddenly seized and carried away to the mountains by some Greek brigands led by a fellow named Rhangos. We had arranged for a ransom and were on our way under a guard to the village where the money was to be paid when your band put the Greeks to flight and made us prisoners.”

“How much ransom was to be paid?” the Albanian asked.

“Three hundred pounds, and if you will send us there now our friends will be glad to pay it to your people. I tried to explain that to them on the way, but they would not listen to me.”

“They are fools,” the chief said decidedly; “and besides, they don’t speak Greek. It is too late now. I must take you to the Pasha, who will deal with you as he chooses.” Then rising, and followed by a group of his officers and the prisoners in charge of four men, he walked across to the Turkish camp.

“They are a picturesque-looking set of cut-throats,” Macfarlane said.

“That they are. People at home would stare to see them with their white kilted petticoats and gaudy sashes, with their pistols inlaid with silver, and their embroidered jackets and white shirt sleeves. Well, what are we to say if we are asked about the ship?”

“We must tell the truth, lad; I doubt not they have had news before now that the schooner is cruising about on the coast; and even if we were disposed to tell a lie, which we are not, they would guess where we had come from. No English merchantman would be likely to be anchored off the coast here to buy vegetables; and, indeed, there are very few British vessels of any sort in these waters now. You need not just tell them that the schooner is the craft that has been playing the mischief over on the other coast and robbed them of their Chiot slaves; nor is it precisely necessary to enter into that affair near Cyprus. We need simply say, if we are asked, that we are Englishmen in the naval service of Greece; I don’t expect they will ask many questions after that, or that we shall have any occasion to do much more talking.”

“You think they will hang us, doctor.”

“It may be hanging, Horace, or it may be shooting, and for my part I am not very particular which it is. Shooting is the quickest, but then hanging is more what I may call my family way of dying. I should say that as many as a score of my ancestors were one way or another strung up by the Stuarts on one miserable pretence or other, such as cattle-lifting, settling a grudge without bothering the law-courts, and trifles of that sort.”

Horace burst into a fit of laughter, which caused the Albanian chief to look round sharply and inquiringly.

“It is all right, old chap,” Macfarlane muttered in English; “we are just laughing while we can, and there is no contempt of court intended.”

The Pasha was in a tent considerably larger than those that surrounded it. The Albanian went in, leaving the prisoners in charge of their guard. In five minutes he came out and signed to them to follow him in. The Pasha was an elderly man with a snow-white beard. He looked at the prisoners with some interest.

“I hear that you are Englishmen,” he said in Greek.

“That is so, sir.”

“And that you are in the Greek service.”

“We were in the Greek service, but after being carried off by Greek brigands I do not know that we shall have any inclination to remain in it.”

“If you had been taken fighting against us I should have ordered you to be shot,” the Pasha said; “but as it is I do not know. Do you belong to that schooner with white sails that has been cruising off the coast some days?”

“We do,” Horace admitted.

“I am told,” the Pasha went on, “that she is the ship that did us much harm at Chios.”

“We were attacked, and we beat off the boats,” Horace said. “That is fair warfare. Our principal object has been to rescue people in danger or distress, whether Christian or Turk. We rescued numbers of Chiot slaves. And on the other hand we saved numbers of Turks at the surrender of the Acropolis at Athens, and conveyed them safely to Tenedos, where we landed them; and the governor there recognized our service to his countrymen, and came off to the ship and invited us on shore to dine with him.”

“Yes, I have heard about that,” the Pasha said. “We have all heard of the white schooner. She has been a dangerous enemy to us, and has done us more harm than the whole of the Greeks together; but after your humanity at Athens I cannot feel animosity against you. It was a noble deed and worthy of brave men. Thus it is that nations should fight, but the Greeks began by massacre, and have been false to the oaths they swore twenty times. How can you fight for men who have neither courage nor faith, and who are as cruel as they are cowardly?”

“There have been cruelties on both sides,” Horace said, “though I own that the Greeks began it; but in England we love freedom, and it is not long since we drove the French out of Egypt and preserved it for you. Our sympathies are with the Greeks, because they were oppressed. We have never killed a Turk save in fair fight, and the crews of every ship we have taken we have permitted to return to shore in their boats without injuring one of them.”

“This also I have heard,” the Pasha said, “and therefore I will do you no harm. I will send you to Constantinople, where the Sultan will decide upon your fate. He has given orders that all foreigners taken in arms against us shall at once be put to death for interfering in a matter in which they have no concern; but as you were not taken in arms I do not feel that the order applies to you, and will therefore take upon myself to send you to him.”

“I thank you, sir,” Horace said, “though I fear it will only be a reprieve.”

“I cannot say,” the pasha replied gravely. “The Sultan strikes hard when he wishes to give a lesson. You see, his people were massacred wholesale by the Greeks, and at Chios he taught them that he could retaliate; but he is not cruel by choice. He is unswerving when his mind is made up. Whether he will make an exception in your case or not is more than I can say. I can only send you to him, and hope that he will be as merciful in your case as I would be had I the power.”

Then he ordered one of his officers to take charge of the prisoners, to see that they had a comfortable tent and were well cared for, and that none molested them. Four soldiers were to be always on guard at the tent, and to answer for the safety of the prisoners with their lives. In a short time they were placed in a tent among those allotted to the officers, and four sentries were placed round it. After sunset two soldiers brought large trays with meat, vegetables, and sweets from the pasha’s own table, and also a bottle of raki.

“The Turk is a gentleman, Horace,” the doctor said as, after having finished dinner, he mixed himself some spirits and water. “I am not saying, mind you, that I would not have mightily preferred a bottle of good whisky; but I am bound to say that when one has once got accustomed to it, raki has its virtues. It is an insinuating spirit, cool and mild to the taste, and dangerous to one who is not accustomed to it. What do you think of it, Horace?”

“I don’t care for it, but then I don’t care for any spirits,” Horace said; “but I thoroughly agree with you that the pasha is a good fellow, only I wish he could have seen his way to have let us go. The Sultan is a terrible personage, and the way he has hung up hostages at Constantinople has been awful. If he has made up his mind that he will deter foreigners from entering the Greek service by showing no mercy to those who fall into his hands, I have no very great hope that he will make any exception in our case.”

Chapter XX • At Constantinople • 6,500 Words

UPON the following morning horses were brought round and they were ordered to mount. An officer with twelve Turkish troopers took charge of them. The pasha came out from his tent.

“I am sending a letter to the Porte saying what I know of the doings of your ship, and of the service you rendered by saving our countrymen at Athens. I have also given directions that the vessel conveying you shall touch at Tenedos, and have written to the governor there asking him also to send on a letter in your favour.”

After an hour’s riding they reached the town of Larissa, and then followed the river on which it stands down to the sea.

“What a lovely country!” Horace exclaimed as he looked at the mountains to the right and left.

“We are travelling on classical ground,” the doctor replied. “This is the vale of Tempe, that hill to the right is Mount Ossa, that to the left is Mount Olympus.”

“They are grand,” Horace said, “though I should certainly enjoy them more under other circumstances. Fancy that being the hill that Jove used to sit on. It would be a grand place to climb, wouldn’t it?”

“I should be quite content to look at it comfortably from the deck of the schooner, Horace, and should have no desire whatever to scale it.”

“Where is the schooner now, do you think, doctor?”

“Where we left her. They would wait at the village where they expected us to be handed over to them till late in the afternoon, and then most likely march back to the shore. This morning they will be trying to get news of us. It is possible that one of the Greeks has taken down the news of our capture by the Turks, in hopes of getting a reward. He would not know whether we were killed or captured—they bolted too fast for that; but if a fellow does take news of the fight he will probably offer to show the spot. Martyn will take out a strong party, and when he finds the bodies of the two Greeks and no signs of us, he will arrive at the conclusion that we have been carried off. The Greeks probably recognized the men who attacked them as being a band of Albanians. The white petticoats alone would tell them that; and as the Christian Albanians would certainly not be likely to be plundering on this side at the present time, they will be sure they are Mohammedans either raiding on their own account or acting with the Turkish forces in Thessaly.

“No doubt they will offer a reward for news of us, and will probably learn from some peasant or other that a party of Albanians crossed the range into Thessaly about mid-day. Then when they hear that the pasha’s force was lying in the plain, not far from the foot of the hills, they will arrive at the truth that we were taken there. What their next step will be I cannot say, but I should fancy they will sail round the promontory and try and open communication with some small village, and get someone to visit the camp and try and pick up news of what has become of us. It must be days before they can do all this, and by the time they find we have been put on board ship we shall be at Constantinople.

“At any rate, Horace, I regard the idea of there being a chance of their rescuing us as out of the question. What they will do is, of course, beyond guessing. It is vexing to think that if they did but know at the present moment we were being put on board ship, they might cut us off at the mouth of the Dardanelles. It is little farther from the Gulf of Zeitouni than it is from the mouth of this river, and the schooner would probably sail twice as fast as any craft we are likely to be put on board. It is annoying, but it is of no use being annoyed. They don’t know we are going to be embarked, and they can’t learn it for four or five days at the very earliest, so don’t let us worry about that. We have reasonable cause for worry in knowing that we are going to be taken to Constantinople, for not improbably we will be executed when we get there.”

“You think that it is probable, doctor?”

“I do, indeed. The Sultan is not the man to stand on niceties. He has decided not to give quarter to foreigners who fight against him, and as a matter of policy he is perfectly right. We knew all along what our fate would be if we fell into the hands of the Turks. We have done them an immense amount of mischief: we have destroyed a frigate and beaten off their boats; we have taken a lot of prizes, and delivered some two or three thousand valuable slaves from their hands. The only set-off to this is that we assisted to save some three hundred Turkish women and children, as to whose fate the Sultan was probably perfectly indifferent. The balance is very heavy against us.”

Horace could not but admit that this was so, but in this beautiful valley, and with Constantinople still in the distance, the idea that ere long a violent death might befall him there was not sufficiently vivid to depress his spirits greatly.

After four hours’ riding they came down upon the little port at the mouth of the river. Two or three craft were lying there under the guns of the battery.

“That is our vessel, you will see, Horace. It is a man-of-war brig. I expect she is placed here on purpose to enable the pasha to communicate direct with Constantinople, instead of having to send up through the passes to Salonika.”

Leaving the prisoners under charge of the guard, the officer took a boat and rowed off to the brig. In a few minutes a large boat lying beside her was manned by a dozen sailors and rowed ashore. The officer was on board of her. Two of the men who had brought their valises strapped behind their saddles had already removed them, and stepped into the boat forward, while their comrades took charge of their horses. The officer then signed to Horace and the doctor to step on board, and they were rowed out to the brig. Half an hour later the anchor was got up, the sail set, and the vessel left the port.

There was no attempt at restraint of the prisoners. A young lieutenant who spoke Greek informed them, in the name of the captain, that the orders of the pasha were that they were to be treated as ordinary passengers, and he requested them to take their meals with him in the cabin. They would be entirely at liberty, except that they would not be allowed to land at Tenedos, or at any other port at which the vessel might touch.

The brig proved a fairly fast sailer; the wind was favourable, and late on the afternoon of the day after they had sailed they dropped anchor off Tenedos, and the officer in charge of the captives at once went ashore with the pasha’s letter to the governor. He returned late at night, after the prisoners had turned in in one of the officers’ cabins that had been vacated for their use. There was not a breath of wind in the morning, and the captain accordingly did not attempt to weigh anchor.

“It would be a fine thing if this calm would last for a fortnight,” the doctor said as they came on deck in the morning.

“Yes, but there is no chance of that, doctor. We have never had a dead calm for more than three days since we came out.”

“Well, we might do equally well with a light breeze from the north. That would help the schooner across the gulf, and at the same time would not enable the brig to work up the Dardanelles; there is a strongish current there. Still, I am not at all saying it is likely; I only say that I wish it could be so.”

When the officer came on deck he informed them, through the lieutenant, that the governor had given him a strong letter to the Porte speaking in the highest terms of the humanity they had shown towards the Turks they had rescued from Athens. An hour later two or three boats came off. Among those on board them were several women. When these saw the doctor and Horace leaning over the bulwark, they broke into loud cries of greeting.

“I expect they are some of those poor creatures we brought over,” Horace said. “I don’t remember their faces, we have had too many on board for that, and I don’t understand what they are saying, but it is evidently that.”

Some of the boatmen understood both Greek and Turkish, and these translated the expressions of the women’s gratitude, and their regret at seeing him a prisoner. They were not allowed to set foot on the brig, but they handed up baskets of fruit and sweetmeats. One of the women stood up in the boat and in Greek said in low tones to Horace, as he leant over the rail:

“There are but few of us here, and we are poor. Our hearts melted this morning when the news spread that you were prisoners on board a ship on her way to Constantinople. We can do nothing but pray to Allah for your safety. My husband was one of the soldiers you brought over, the one who had lost his arm, and who was tended by the hakim. As he was of no more use they have discharged him, and he has remained here, as I am a native of the island and have many friends. He will start in an hour with some fishermen, relations of mine. They will land him above Gallipoli, and he will walk to Constantinople. Then he will see the bimbashi and his former comrades, and find out Osman and Fazli Beys, who were with us, and tell them of your being prisoners, so that they may use their influence at the Porte, and tell how you risked your lives for them, and all—May Allah protect you both, effendis!”

Her story terminated abruptly, for the captain at this moment came up and ordered the boat away from the side.

“What is all that about, Horace?” Macfarlane asked as Horace returned the woman’s last salutation with two or three words of earnest thanks. “Why, what is the matter, lad? there are tears in your eyes.”

“I am touched at that poor woman’s gratitude, doctor. As you can see by her dress she is poor. She is the wife of a discharged soldier, that man who lost his arm. You dressed the stump, you may remember. I know you said that it had been horribly neglected, and remarked what a splendid constitution the Turk had; you thought that had he been an Englishman the wound would probably have mortified long before.”

“Of course I remember, Horace. And has he got over it?”

“He has.” And Horace then told him what the woman had said.

“It does one good to hear that,” Macfarlane said when he had finished. “Human nature is much the same whether it is in the wife of a Turkish soldier or of a Scottish fisherman. The poor creature and her husband are doing all they can. The bimbashi and the beys were great men in their eyes, and they doubtless think that they are quite important persons at Constantinople. Still, it is pleasant to think that the poor fellow, whose arm must still be very far from healed, is undertaking this journey to do what he can for us. It minds me of that grand story of Effie Deans tramping all the way from Scotland to London to ask for her sister’s pardon.

“I don’t say that anything is like to come of it, but there is no saying. If these Turks are as grateful as this soldier and his wife they might possibly do something for us, if it were not that the Sultan himself will settle the matter. An ordinary Turkish official will do almost anything for money or favour, but the Sultan is not to be got round; and they say he is a strong man, and goes his own way without asking the advice of anyone. Still it is, as I said, pleasant to know that there are people who have an interest in us, and who are doing all in their power to help us.”

An hour later a small boat was seen to put out from the port and to row away in the direction of the mainland.

For three days the brig lay at her anchorage. Then a gentle breeze sprang up from the south. Making all sail, the brig was headed to the entrance of the Dardanelles.

“Unless there is more wind than this,” Horace said, “I should hardly think she will be able to make her way up, doctor. She is not going through the water more than two knots an hour.”

“No, she will have to anchor again as soon as she is inside the straits unless the wind freshens, and I don’t think it is likely to do that. To my mind it looks as if it would die out again at sunset.”

This proved to be the case, and before it became dark the brig was anchored in a bay on the Asiatic side a short distance from the entrance.

The next morning the breeze again blew, and somewhat fresher than before. All day the captain strove to pass up the straits. Sometimes by keeping over out of the force of the current he made two or three miles, then when they came to some projecting point the current would catch the vessel and drift her rapidly down, so that when the breeze again sank at sunset they had gained only some four miles. Next day they were more fortunate and passed the castle of Abydos, and the third evening came to anchor off Gallipoli. On the following morning the wind blew briskly from the east, and in the afternoon they dropped anchor off Constantinople.

“Eh, man, but it is a wonderful sight!” Macfarlane said, as they looked at the city with the crenellated wall running along by the water’s edge, the dark groves of trees rising behind it, and the mosques with their graceful minarets on the sky-line. Ahead of them was Pera with its houses clustering thickly one above the other, and the background of tall cypress. Across the water lay Scutari, with its great barracks, its mosques, and the kiosks scattered along the shore. Caiques were passing backwards and forwards across the water; heavy boats with sailors or troops rowing between the ships of war and the shore; native craft with broad sails coming up astern from Broussa and other places on the Sea of Marmora; pleasure boats, with parties of veiled women rowing idly here and there; and occasionally a long caique, impelled by six sturdy rowers, would flash past with some official of rank.

“I have seen many places,” the doctor went on, “but none like this. Nature has done more for Rio, and as much perhaps for Bombay, but man has done little for either. We may boast of our western civilization, and no doubt we can rear stately buildings; but in point of beauty the orientals are as far ahead of us as we are ahead of the South Sea Islanders. Who would think that the Turks, with their sober ways, could ever have even dreamed of designing a thing so beautiful as that mosque with its graceful outlines. See how well those dark cypresses grow with it; it would lose half its beauty were it to rise from the round heads of an English wood.

“Just compare the boats of light-coloured wood all carved and ornamented with their graceful lines, and the boatmen in their snow-white shirts, with their loose sleeves and bare arms, and their scarlet sashes and fezzes with the black tub of an English or Scottish river. Look at the dresses of the peasants in that heavy boat there, and compare them with those of our own people. Why, man, we may be a great nation, intelligent, and civilized, and all that; but when it comes to an appreciation of the beautiful we are poor bodies, indeed, by the side of the Turk, whom we in our mightiness are accustomed to consider a barbarian. I know what you are going to say,” he went on, as Horace was going to speak. “There is tyranny and oppression, and evil rule, and corruption, and other bad things in that beautiful city. I grant you all that, but that has nothing to do with my argument. He may be a heathen, he may be ignorant, he may be what we call uncivilized; but the Turk has a grand soul or he never would have imagined a dream of beauty like this.”

As the sun set half an hour after the anchor was dropped the officer sent with them by the pasha did not think it necessary to land until the following morning, as the offices would all be shut. At eight o’clock he was rowed ashore and did not return until late in the evening. Business was not conducted at a rapid rate in the offices of the Porte. The lieutenant interpreted to the prisoners that the letter of the governor of Tenedos had been laid before the grand vizier, who would deliver it with that of the pasha to the Sultan at his audience in the evening.

“Did he see the grand vizier himself?” Horace asked.

The answer was in the affirmative.

“Did he gather from him whether it was likely that the Sultan would regard the matter favourably?”

The two Turks spoke together for some time. “I am sorry to say,” the lieutenant replied when they had done, “that the vizier was of opinion that the Sultan would be immovable. He has sworn to spare none of those who have stirred up his subjects to rebellion, and who, without having any concern in the matter, have aided them against him. He regards them as pirates, and has resolved by severity to deter others from following their example. The vizier said that he would do his best, but that when the Sultan’s mind was once made up nothing could move him; and that having himself received the reports of the destruction of one of his war-ships, and the very heavy loss inflicted on the boats of the fleet at Chios, and having, moreover, received memorials from the merchants at Smyrna as to the damage inflicted on their commerce by what was called the white schooner, he felt that he would be deaf to any appeal for mercy to two of her officers.”

At eight o’clock next morning a boat with twelve soldiers and an officer came off to the brig. The officer, mounting on the deck, handed to the captain an order for the delivery to him of the two prisoners sent from Thessaly.

“Things look bad, I am afraid,” Horace said as they stepped into the boat. “I saw the officer exchange a word or two with the cavalry man who brought us here and the captain, and I am sure, by the expression of their faces, that the news was bad. I am sure, too, from the way they shook hands with us at parting.”

“Some of these men’s faces seem familiar to me,” the doctor said as they were being rowed towards a landing to the east of the palace gardens. “I can’t say that they were among the men we brought from Athens, but I have a strong idea that two or three of them were. Do you recognize them?”

“I can’t say that I do. You see they were only on board one day, and I thought more of the women and children than of the soldiers and sailors.”

“I am almost sure of them, Horace; yet it is curious, that if they are the men we saved they did not make some sign of recognition when we came down the ladder. Turkish discipline is not very strict. They did not seem to look up much. They were all sitting forward of the six oarsmen, and I noticed, that till we pushed off they seemed to be talking about something together, and were so intent on it that they did not look up until after we had pushed off. I did notice that the oarsmen looked a little surprised when the officer, as we pushed off, gave an order to the man steering, and they saw which way the boat’s head was turned.

“I don’t suppose they knew that we were prisoners, Horace, and were expecting to go back to the place they came from. I suppose the landing they are taking us to is the nearest one to the prison.”

There were no boats lying at the broad steps alongside which the boat drew up. Six of the soldiers took their places in front of them, the officer marched between them, and the other six soldiers followed behind. The road, which was a narrow one, ran between two very high walls, and rose steeply upward.

“Evidently this landing-place is not much used,” the doctor said. “I suppose it leads to some quiet quarter.”

A hundred yards from the landing-place the officer gave the word to halt, and then another order, upon which one of the men, who carried a bag, began to open it.

“Quick, gentlemen!” the officer said in Greek; “you must change here. Quick! there is not a moment to lose.”

Astonished at the order, the doctor and Horace obeyed it.

“I suppose,” the former muttered, “they don’t want it known they have got two European prisoners. I don’t see what else they can be up to.”

The change was quickly made. Two long baggy Turkish trousers were pulled over their own, their jackets were thrown into the bag, and they were enveloped in Turkish robes. Their caps were thrown beside their jackets, and turbans placed on their heads, while their shoes were pulled off and their feet thrust into Turkish slippers. The officer and two of the soldiers aided in the work, and in a couple of minutes the metamorphosis was complete.

“Allah be praised!” the officer exclaimed fervently; and the words were echoed by the soldiers. These for a moment, regardless of discipline, gathered round the prisoners. One after another seized their hands, and bending over them pressed them to their forehead; then the officer gave an order, and one or two at a time—the soldiers carried only their side-arms—left the group and hurried on ahead, until the officer remained alone with the astonished Englishmen.

“What does this all mean?” Horace asked the officer in Greek.

“It means that you are free, my friends,” he said, shaking each of them cordially by the hand; “at least, so far free. Now let us follow the others.”

Still, almost thinking they were dreaming, the doctor and Horace accompanied their companion up the narrow lane, and emerged into a quiet street behind a great mosque; skirting the wall of this, they entered a wider street.

“Be careful,” the officer said in Greek; “walk along carelessly, and seem to be conversing with me.”

Horace translated the remark to the doctor.

There were not a great many people about, but as they went along the number increased. They crossed a busy street, turned down a lane on the other side, and then walked for upwards of half an hour, turning frequently, and as far as Horace could guess, making a wide detour, and again approaching the busy part of the town. Presently the officer stopped near the corner of a lane in a quiet street, and began to talk in an animated tone about the size of the town and other matters, until he saw that the street was for a moment empty; then he turned sharply down the lane, which ran between the backs of two sets of houses, went for a hundred yards, and then stopped at a door in the wall; opened it with the key, hurried them in, and locked the door behind him.

“Allah be praised!” he again said; “you are safe thus far. Now come in, they are anxiously expecting us.”

He entered the house, which stood in a small inclosure, and led the way into a room. They were received at the door by a Turk, whom both recognized at once as Osman Bey, one of the principal Turks they had carried from Athens. He repeated the officer’s pious exclamation:

“Allah be praised for his mercies!” and then in Greek he said, “Truly I am rejoiced, my friends, that Allah has granted me an opportunity of showing that I am not ungrateful, and that as you saved me and mine from death, so have I been able to save you; and I am doubly glad in seeing, what I knew not before, that one of you is the son of the Englishman to whom principally we owed our escape.”

“We are grateful, indeed,” Horace said; “but at present we understand nothing. This officer has told us nothing whatever.”

“This officer is my son, and is only an officer for the occasion,” Osman Bey said. “But come into the next room; my wife and daughters are eagerly expecting you.”

Three ladies rose from a divan on which they were sitting when the bey entered the room. They were lightly veiled, but the bey said:

“Lay aside your veils. These are as my sons, and you can unveil as if they were members of the family.”

The ladies unveiled. Horace had not seen their faces before on board ship, for the women of the upper class had remained closely veiled. The mother was a stout, elderly woman, with a kindly face. Her daughters were girls of fourteen or fifteen, with dark hair, somewhat colourless faces, and lovely eyes. The bey’s wife expressed her pleasure at the arrival of the Englishmen. The girls shrank rather timidly behind her, embarrassed at being thus unveiled before strangers.

“Now sit down,” the bey said. “Zuleika, do you bring in coffee and sweetmeats yourself. I do not wish your attendant to enter while these gentlemen are here.”

“I have sent her down the town on a message,” the bey’s wife said, while the younger girl rose and left the room. “She is faithful, but girls will chatter. Mourad, we know, we can trust.”

The girl soon returned with a tray with coffee, cakes, and sweetmeats. Then the bey said:

“Now I will tell you all about this. Ahmed, the sooner you get rid of that uniform the better. Give it to Mourad at once, and let him take it back to its owner, he may want it.”

The young man left the room.

“Now this is how it happened,” the bey began. “Three days ago came the messenger from Tenedos. Did you know of his being sent hither?”

“Yes; his wife told us he was leaving—a soldier who had lost his arm.”

“That was the man. He went to Hassan Bimbashi, who brought him first to Fazli Bey, and then to me. We had a consultation. It was clear to us all that it would be intolerable that men who had behaved with such humanity to us should be put to death, if we could possibly save them. It took us a long time to arrange the matter, and we three sat in the next room there debating the matter all night. We took Ahmed into our council at once, for he was, of course, as anxious to aid the men who had saved his parents and sisters from massacre as we were. Naturally, we at first thought of getting you out of prison by bribing the guards; but though this would have been comparatively easy, it was doubtful whether there would be time to carry it out. There are several prisons here, and there was no saying which you might be sent to, or who would be the men in charge of you; therefore, time would be needed after you arrived here, and we saw that it was probable that no time would be given us. The Sultan might, of course, view your case favourably; but, on the other hand, if he ordered you to execution, there would be no delay.

“When a thing has to be done, especially when foreigners are in the case, it is better to do it at once; otherwise, the Porte would be pestered by the foreign representatives. It was agreed, therefore, that if you were to be rescued, it must be done between the time of your arrival and your being put in prison. We divided the work into four parts. Fazli, who has most interest at the Porte, was to try all in his power to influence the ministers, and to get the grand vizier to represent the matter favourably to the Sultan. He was to give us the earliest news of whatever decision might be arrived at, and above all, he was to get some minor official there to follow the officer to whom the order for bringing you ashore should be given.

“The soldier who had brought the message from Tenedos was to find out a dozen of those who had been rescued with us, and to enlist them in the business. The bimbashi undertook the work of seizing the officer bearing the order. He could not very well take the command of the soldiers. Their faces would not be noticed by the sailors in the dockyard boat, nor by those on board the ship; but Hassan’s would be fully seen by both. My son, therefore, volunteered to undertake this part of the affair, dressed in Hassan’s uniform. He was to meet the twelve men at some spot agreed upon, near the dockyard gate; to march in with them, produce the order, and go out in one of the dockyard boats to the vessel; bring you ashore, and lead you here. My part of the business was to conceal you as long as necessary, and to arrange for your escape from Constantinople. Thus, you see, the risk was slight in each case. Fazli would be suspected, because he had urged your case at the Porte; but nothing could be proved against him. His servants might be examined, and his house searched. He would be able to prove that he spent the evening with several of his friends, to whom he gave an entertainment; and this morning, at the time the boat came for you, he was to be at the ministry again, trying what could be done on your behalf.

“None of the soldiers would know that the bimbashi was mixed up in the affair at all. Their one-armed comrade was to be furnished with money in case their gratitude required stimulating. My son ran no risk, because it is among the officers of the garrison that the search will be made for the man who commanded the party. As for myself, there is nothing to connect me in any way with it. Ahmed will take you off this evening to a small kiosk of mine ten miles away on the coast. The bimbashi’s share was the most dangerous. He was to take three men of his regiment on whom he could thoroughly rely. They would be three of those he had commanded at Athens and who had wives and children who had been rescued by you. He was much loved by his soldiers, for he lived and starved as they did, and did all in his power for their comfort.

“It is always dangerous to trust anyone, but in this case there was the men’s loyalty to him and their gratitude to you to bind them. He would learn from Fazli the hour when the Sultan’s decision would be given, and he and the three soldiers were to be upon the spot and to watch for the coming out of an officer followed by the man Fazli was to appoint. The officer was sure to go to one or other of the barracks for some soldiers to accompany him to the vessel. It would depend upon the hour and the orders he received whether to go direct on board or to do it in the morning. It was certain the hour would be late, for the conferences with the Sultan are invariably in the evening. Whether he went to one of the barracks or to his own lodging, he was to be followed until he got to some quiet spot, then seized, bound, and gagged, put into a large basket two of the soldiers were to carry, and taken to some quiet spot outside the walls. To-night, after it is dark, Hassan will go up and loose his bonds sufficiently to enable him to work himself free after a time.

“That was the arrangement at which we arrived after talking it over for hours. It was the work of the bimbashi and Ahmed. I am sure that Fazli and I would never have thought of it at all by ourselves. Ever since then we have kept a sharp look-out for the vessel. Everything had been got ready. The one-armed soldier had got the twelve men ready to go off. Hassan said he had made his arrangements, and had found a ruined hut half a mile out of the town beyond the walls, where there was little chance of anyone looking in in the course of the day, and, indeed, if anyone did so after eight o’clock, it would make little matter, as you would be ashore by that hour. After the brig arrived I had messages from Fazli every hour. He told us of the strong letters that had been sent by Ali Pasha and the governor of Tenedos, and he brought all his influence to bear to aid the representations made by them and by the officer who brought you down.

“The ministers and the grand vizier were all agreed that the kindness shown by those on board the English ship should suffice to save your lives, but the Sultan decides for himself, and he was known to be so enraged at foreigners joining the Greeks in their rebellion against him that they feared nothing would move him. Everything, therefore, was prepared for the attempt. The twelve soldiers were directed to be at a spot near the dockyard at seven in the morning; and the bimbashi, with his three men, took up his post near the entrance to the ministry. I had nothing to do. At twelve o’clock last night Hassan came here, bringing the official letter and a suit of his uniform. Everything had gone well. The messenger had been seized in a lonely street leading to one of the barracks, and was overpowered and silenced before he had time to utter a sound. Hassan accompanied the men carrying the basket in case by any accident they should be questioned, and saw the officer placed, securely bound, in the hut. As he had been blindfolded the instant he had been seized he could not have seen that his assailants were soldiers. Ahmed can tell you the rest.”

“There is nothing to tell,” the young man said. “I found the soldiers waiting at the spot agreed upon, and gave them the arranged sign. We went into the dockyard. I showed the order, and demanded a large boat, which was at once given me. Then I went off to the vessel, where our friends were handed over to me without a question; rowed to the wharf; the clothes were changed in the lane; and here we are.”

“I cannot thank you sufficiently for your kindness, Osman Bey, on behalf of myself and my friend here, and express our gratitude also to your son, to Hassan Bimbashi, and to Fazli Bey. You have indeed nobly repaid the service that my father and all of us were glad to have been able to render you.”

“Do not talk about gratitude,” the bey said. “You saved not only us, but our wives and families, and that at the risk of your lives, for I expected that the Greeks would fall upon you for interfering in their butchery. What you did for us was done for strangers against whom you were in arms. What we have done for you has been done for our benefactors. Therefore let no more be said. My wife and daughters would have despised me had I not done all in my power to rescue their preservers. Now let us return to the next room, where we will have a meal. I think it would be as well, Ahmed, to send Mourad at once down to the bridge to hire a caique there, and tell him to take it to the next landing to that at which you disembarked, and there wait for you. What do you say?”

“I think, father, it would be better to go boldly down to the bridge and take the boat there. I am sure to see some of the men we generally employ, and it will seem natural to them that I should be going with two friends up to our kiosk; whereas the other way would be unusual, and when inquiries are made, as there are sure to be, they might speak of it. But I agree with you that it will be as well not to wait until the evening. Directly the officer gets free there is sure to be a great stir, and there may be janissaries placed at the various landings, as it might be supposed the escaped prisoners would try to get on board a neutral ship.”

“Perhaps that would be better, Ahmed. I think they might boldly go through the crowd with a little more attention to their dress.”

Chapter XXI • The “Misericordia” Again • 7,200 Words

BEFORE starting, the disguises of Horace and the doctor were perfected. They were so bronzed by the sun and air that their skin was no fairer than that of many Turks of the better class; but it was thought as well to apply a slight tinge of dye to them, and to darken the doctor’s eyelashes and eyebrows with henna. The hair was cut closely off the nape of the neck, below the line to which the turban, properly adjusted, came down, and the skin was stained to match that of their faces. The garments they wore formed part of Ahmed’s wardrobe, and only needed somewhat more careful adjustment than they had at first received. The ladies came up to bid them farewell; but, as it had been arranged that in the course of a few days, when inquiry should have ceased, the bey, with his wife and daughters, should also proceed to their country residence, they would meet again ere long. Mourad was to accompany them, and putting a large box on his shoulders, filled with changes of clothes and other necessaries, he followed them down the street.

In a short time they were in a busy thoroughfare, the number of people becoming larger and larger as they went down towards the water. Janissaries in their showy uniform swaggered along, soldiers of the line, merchants, and peasants, while hamals staggering along under enormous burdens swung from bamboo poles, made their way, keeping up a constant shout to the crowd to clear the road. State functionaries moved gravely along on their way to the offices of the Porte. Veiled women, with children in their arms or clinging to them, stopped to talk to each other in the streets or bargained with the traders at the little shops. Military officers and Turks of the upper class rode along on showy horses, prancing and curvetting and scattering the foot passengers right and left.

Ahmed and his companions kept straight on, paying apparently no attention to what was going on around them, Ahmed occasionally making a remark in Turkish, the others keeping silent.

When they reached the water-side a number of boatmen surrounded Ahmed, who soon found two men whom he had frequently employed. The caique was brought alongside. Ahmed had already told Horace to step in without hesitation with his companion, and to take their seats at the bottom of the boat in the stern, while he and Mourad would sit between them and the boatmen. The latter took their places, and each seized a pair of the sculls. These, which were much lighter than the sculls of an English boat, were round with a long broad blade. They were not in rollocks, but in a strap of leather fastened to a single thole-pin; inside this they thickened to a bulk of three or four inches in diameter, narrowing at the extremity for the grip of the hand. This thick bulge gave an excellent balance to the sculls, and was rendered necessary by the fact that the boats were high out of water, and the length of the sculls outboard disproportionately large to that inboard.

A few vigorous strokes by the rowers sent the boat out into the open water. Then the forward oarsman let his sculls hang by their thongs alongside, took out four long pipes from the bottom of the caique, filled and lighted them, and passed them aft to the passengers, and then again betook himself to his sculls. Bearing gradually across they reached the other side below Scutari, and then kept along the shore at a distance of a hundred yards from the land. Ahmed chatted to the oarsman next to him, and to Mourad, occasionally making some remark to the others in Turkish in reference to the pretty kiosks that fringed the shore; enforcing what he said by pointing to the objects of which he was speaking. They assumed an appearance of interest at what he was saying, and occasionally Horace, who was next to him, talked to him in low tones in Greek, so that the boatman should not catch the words, Ahmed each time replying in Turkish in louder tones.

No class of boatmen in the world row with the vigour and strength with which those of the Bosphorus—who are for the most part Albanians—ply their sculls, and both Horace and the doctor were struck with surprise and admiration at the steady and unflagging way in which the men rowed, their breath seeming to come no quicker, though the perspiration stood in beads on their brown faces and muscular arms, and streamed down their swarthy chests, which were left bare by the open shirts of almost filmy material of snowy whiteness. Once only in the two hours’ journey did they cease rowing and indulge for five minutes in a smoke; after which they renewed their labours with as much vigour as when they first started.

“That is the kiosk,” Ahmed said at last, pointing to one standing by itself near the water’s edge on a projecting point of land, and in a few minutes the caique swept in to the stairs. Ahmed had quietly passed a few small silver coins into Horace’s hand, whispering in Greek:

“Give them these as you land; an extra tip is always welcome.”

Then he paid the men as he got out, saying to them:

“I expect the ladies in a few days. You had better go up each morning to the house, and then you can secure the job.”

Horace dropped the coins into the boatman’s hand, with a nod, as he stepped out, and then they walked up to the house. The boatmen again lighted their pipes for a smoke before starting back on their long row. The kiosk was shut up. Mourad opened the door with a key, and threw the shutters open.

“I wonder you leave the place entirely shut up,” Horace said.

“There is nothing to steal,” Ahmed laughed. “A few mats for the floors and cushions for the divans. The cooking pots and crockery are locked up in a big chest; there is little else. There are a few vases for flowers and other ornaments stowed away in a cupboard somewhere, but altogether there is little to tempt robbers; and, indeed, there are very few of them about. The houses are always left so, and it is an almost unknown thing for them to be disturbed. You see everything is left clean and dusted, so the place is always ready when we like to run down for a day or two. The house has not been used much lately, for my parents and sisters have been two years at Athens, and I have been frequently away at our estates, which lie some fifteen miles west of Constantinople. Now we will take a turn round, while Mourad is getting dinner ready.”

The latter had brought with him, in addition to the box, a large basket containing charcoal, provisions, and several black bottles.

“There is a village half a mile farther along the shore, where he will do his marketing to-morrow,” Ahmed had explained as he pointed to the basket.

The garden was a rough triangle, two sides being washed by the water, while a high wall running across the little promontory formed the third side. It was some sixty or seventy yards each way; the house stood nearly in the middle; the ground sloped down on either side of it to the water, and was here clear of shrubs, which covered the rest of the garden, interspersed with a few shady trees. There were seats placed under these, and a small summer-house, surrounded on three sides by high shrubs but open to the water, stood at the end of the point.

“It is a little bit of a place, as you see,” Ahmed said; “but my mother and the girls are very fond of it, and generally stay here during the hot season. It is quite secluded, and at the same time they have a good view of everything going up and down the Sea of Marmora; and if there is any breeze at all, it sweeps right through the house.”

“It is charming,” Horace said. “With a boat here, one could not want anything better.”

“We always have a boat, with two men, while we are here,” Ahmed said. “The two men who rowed us have been with us two or three seasons. My father often wants to go into Constantinople, and I generally go when he does. We usually sleep at our house there, and come back the next evening. If the ladies want to go out while we are away, they can get a caique at the village.”

After they had taken a turn round the garden they went into the house again. The principal room on the ground-floor was at the end of the house, and occupied its full width. The windows extended entirely round three sides of it, a divan, four feet wide, running below them.

“You see, on a hot day,” Ahmed said, “and with all these windows open, it is almost like being in the open air; and whichever way the wind is, we can open or close those on one side, according to its strength.”

The ceiling and the wall on the fourth side of the room were coloured pink, with arabesques in white. The windows extended from the level of the divan up to the ceiling, and were of unpainted wood varnished, as was the wood-work of the divan. The floor was very carefully and evenly laid, and the planks planed and varnished. Beyond two or three little tables of green-painted wood, there was no furniture whatever in the room. Outside the windows were jalousies or perforated shutters, which could be closed during the heat of the day to keep the room dark and cool.

Mourad had already got out the cushions and pillows and spread them on the divan; had placed a small iron bowl full of lighted charcoal in a low box full of sand in the centre of the room, and a brass casket full of tobacco on one of the tables. Half a dozen chibouks, with amber mouthpieces and cherry or jasmine-wood stems, leant in a corner.

Three of the pipes were soon filled, and a piece of glowing charcoal, taken from the fire with a pair of small tongs lying beside it, was placed on each bowl. A few puffs were taken to get the tobacco alight, then the pieces of charcoal were dropped into the fire again, and shaking off their slippers they took their seats on the cushions of the divan.

“It is very unfortunate that your friend does not speak Greek,” Ahmed began.

“Yes, it is unfortunate for him,” Horace said as he translated the remark to Macfarlane.

“If I had known that my lot was going to be cast out here,” the doctor said, “I would have insisted on learning modern Greek instead of ancient at school—that is, if I could have got a dominie who could have taught me. It is a very serious drawback, especially when you know that people are talking of things that may or may not mean that you are going to get your throat cut in an hour or so. For the last two days I seem to have been just drifting in the dark.”

“But I always translate to you as much as I can, doctor.”

“You do all that, Horace, and I will say this that you do your best; but it is unsatisfactory getting things at second hand. One likes to know precisely how things are said. However, as matters have gone there is nothing to grumble at, though where one’s life is concerned it is a natural weakness that one should like to have some sort of say in the matter, instead of feeling that one is the helpless sport of fate.”

Horace laughed, and Ahmed smiled gravely, when he translated the doctor’s complaint.

“It comes all the harder to me,” the doctor went on, “because I have always liked to know the why and the wherefore of a matter before I did it. I must confess that since I have been in the navy that wish has been very seldom gratified. Captains are not in the habit of giving their reasons to their surgeons, overlooking the fact altogether that these are scientific men, and that their opinion on most subjects is valuable. They have too much of the spirit of the centurion of old. They say ‘Do this,’ and it has to be done, ‘You will accompany the boats, Dr. Macfarlane,’ or ‘You will not accompany the boats.’ I wonder sometimes that, after an action, they don’t come down into the cockpit and say, ‘You will cut off this leg,’ or ‘This arm is not to be amputated.’ The highness-and-mightiness of a captain in His Majesty’s navy is something that borders on the omnipotent. There is a maxim that the king can do no wrong; but a king is a poor fallible body in comparison with a captain.”

“Well, I don’t think you have anything to complain of with Martyn,” Horace laughed.

“Martyn is only an acting-captain, Horace, and it is not till they get the two swabs on their shoulders that the dignity of their position makes itself felt. A first lieutenant begins, as a rule, to take the disease badly, but it is not till he gets his step that it takes entire possession of him. I have even known a first lieutenant listen to argument. It’s rare, lad, very rare, but I have known such a thing; as for a captain, argument is as bad as downright open mutiny. Well, this is a comfortable place that we have got into, at least in hot weather, but I should say that an ice-house would be preferable in winter. These windows don’t fit anyhow, and there would be a draft through them that would be calculated to establish acute rheumatism in the system in the course of half an hour.”

“The house is not used at all in winter,” Ahmed said, when he understood the nature of the doctor’s criticisms. “Almost all the kiosks along here belong to people in the town, and are closed entirely for four months of the year. We are fond of warmth, and when the snow is on the ground, and there is a cold wind blowing, there would be no living here in any comfort.”

Six days passed. Ahmed went once to Constantinople to learn what was going on. He brought back news that the escape of the two English prisoners had caused a great sensation at the Porte, that all the officers in the regiments there had been paraded in order that the boatmen and the officers of the brig might pick out the one who had brought off the order, but that naturally no one had been identified. The soldiers had also been inspected, but as none of these had been particularly noticed by the boatmen, the search for those engaged had been equally unsuccessful. Fazli Bey had been severely interrogated, his servants questioned, and his house searched, but nothing had been found to connect him in any way with the escape. A vigilant watch had been set upon every European ship in port, and directions had been sent that every vessel passing down the straits was to bring-to off the castles, and to undergo a strict search.

Ahmed said that his father had heard from Fazli Bey that while the Sultan was furious at the manner in which the prisoners had been released, it was against those who had taken part in it that his anger was principally directed, and that it was thought he was at heart not altogether sorry that the two men who had befriended the Turks at Athens had got off, although he would not have wavered in his own expressed determination to put to death without exception all foreigners who had aided the Greeks. “My father has not at present thought of any plan for getting you away,” Ahmed said. “The search is too rigorous, and no master of a vessel would dare to carry you off; but in a short time the matter will be forgotten, and the search in the port and in the Dardanelles will be slackened. It causes a great deal of trouble and inconvenience, and the officials will soon begin to relax their efforts. It is one of our national characteristics, you know, to hate trouble. My father will be here with the others in a couple of days, and then we will hold a council over it.”

The next day a boat arrived with carpets and hangings for the rooms upstairs, which were entirely devoted to the females of the household; and on the following evening Osman Bey, with his wife and daughters, arrived in the same caique that Ahmed had come in, two female servants with a quantity of luggage coming in another boat. The next few days passed very pleasantly. The ladies took their meals apart upstairs, but at other times sat in the room below, treating Horace and the doctor as if they were members of the family. There were many discussions as to the best method of effecting their escape, and Ahmed went twice to Constantinople to ascertain whether the search for them was being relaxed.

At last he and his father agreed that it would be the best plan for them to go to Izmid, and to take a passage from there if some small craft could be found sailing for Chios, or one of the southern ports or islands. Ahmed was to accompany them, and was first to go to Izmid to make the necessary arrangements. He knew many merchants in the port, and as some of these were intimate friends they would probably be disposed to assist those who had rendered so great a service to Osman Bey and his family, but at the same time Ahmed said: “You must not be impatient. The news of your being carried off by sham soldiers, as they say, after their having assaulted and robbed the officer who was bearer of the order for your delivery, has made a great talk, and I shall have to be very careful as to how I open the subject.”

“Pray run no risks,” Horace said. “You have all done so already, and we should be unhappy, indeed, were any ill-fortune to befall you or your family for what you have done for us. We are very comfortable here. I would much rather wait for some really favourable opportunity than hazard your safety, to say nothing of our own, by impatience. It is but a fortnight since we made our escape.”

“I am going up the Bosphorus to-morrow,” Ahmed said. “I have to see a bey whose property adjoins ours, and who has a kiosk some distance above Scutari. It is only a question of business, and I shall not be many minutes. I shall be glad if you will go with me; you can remain in the boat. The rowers are so accustomed to see you that they can have no curiosity about you; besides, now that they are regularly in our service, and sleep and live here, there is no one for them to gossip with, and, indeed, as we are good patrons of theirs I do not think they would say anything about you, whatever they might suspect.”

“I suppose you can take us both, Ahmed?”

“Certainly I meant that, of course. Your friend would find it dull indeed alone here.”

Accordingly the next morning they started. When they neared Scutari they saw on the other side of the water a brig making her way in from the Dardanelles.

“That is a slovenly-looking craft, doctor, with those dirty ill-fitting sails; rather a contrast that to our schooner. I wonder where she is and what she is doing. That brig is about her size too, and the hull is not unlike hers, looking at it from here.”

The doctor gazed at the craft intently. “Eh, man,” he said in low tones, grasping his companion’s arm tightly, “I believe that it is our craft, Horace.”

“What, that dirty looking brig, doctor, with her sides looking as rusty as if she had not had a coat of paint for the last year!”

“It’s the schooner disguised. It is easy enough, lad, to alter the rig, and to get hold of dirty sails and to dirty the paint, but you can’t alter the shape. No Greek, or Turk either, ever turned out the hull of that brig.”

“It is marvellously like the schooner,” Horace said. “I should almost have sworn that it was her.”

“It is the schooner, lad. How she got there, and what she is doing, I don’t know, but it is her.”

“What is it?” Ahmed asked. “What is there curious in that brig that you are so interested in her?”

“We both think it is our schooner, Ahmed; the one in which we took your father and mother from Athens in.”

“That!” Ahmed exclaimed incredulously; “why, my sisters were always saying what a beautiful vessel it was, with snow-white sails.”

“So she had, Ahmed; but if it is the schooner she is disguised altogether. They have taken down her top-masts and put those stumpy spars in instead; they have put up yards and turned her into a brig; they have got sails from somewhere and slackened all her ropes, and made her look dirty and untidy; still we both think that it is her. Please tell the boatmen to cross to the vessel and row alongside.”

Ahmed gave the order, and as the caique shot away from the shore said: “But how could it be your ship? Do you think that she has been captured? If not, she could not have ventured up here.”

“She has not been captured,” Horace said confidently, “and if she had been her captors would not have taken the trouble to spoil her appearance. If that is the schooner they have come up to make inquiries about us, and to try to rescue us if possible.”

It was fully two miles across, and as they approached the brig the doctor and Horace became more and more convinced that they were not mistaken.

“Please tell the men to pull in behind her,” Horace said, “so that we can see her better. There can be no mistake about her if we can catch a sight of her fore and aft.”

When they fell into the brig’s wake they were some three hundred yards astern of her, and the last vestige of doubt disappeared as they saw her great breadth and fine run.

“That is my father’s craft, Ahmed, I could swear to her now. Will you tell the men to row up alongside.”

There were only four or five men visible on deck in the ordinary dress of Turkish sailors. As the caique came alongside a man put his head over the rail and asked in Turkish “what they wanted?”

“We want to come on board,” Ahmed said; “we have business with the captain.”

“I am the captain,” the man said; “are you one of the port officers?”

“Drop astern to the chains,” Ahmed said to the boatmen, who were hanging on by a boat-hook. They let the caique fall aft her own length, and then, seizing the shrouds, the doctor and Horace sprang up on to the chains and then leapt on board, Ahmed following them more slowly. There was no doubt that it was the schooner, though her decks were covered with dirt and litter, and the paint of her bulwarks discoloured as if they had been daubed with mud which had been allowed to dry. The sailors looked up as if in surprise at the sudden appearance of the strangers on their deck. Horace glanced at them. He knew none of their faces.

“Well, sir,” the captain said, coming up, “may I again ask what you want with us?”

“You talk to him, Ahmed,” Horace said in Greek. “We will run below;” and at a bound he was at the top of the companion and sprang down into the cabin. “Father,” he shouted, “are you here?”

The door of the main cabin opened, and a Turk with a flowing white beard made his appearance.

“My dear father, is it you?”

“Why, Horace, Horace, my dear boy, where do you come from, what miracle is this?” And in a moment they were clasped in each other’s arms. A moment later a tall Nubian rushed out and seized Horace’s hand.

“Why, Martyn, you don’t mean to say it is you in this disguise?”

“It is indeed, Horace. I am delighted to see you, lad; and you too, doctor. I had never thought to clap eyes on you again;” and he shook hands heartily with Macfarlane, as also did Mr. Beveridge.

“I seem to be in a dream,” the latter said; “how do you come here, what has happened?”

“I may say the same, father; but first, where are Miller, Tarleton, and the crew?”

“They are all down in the hold,” Martyn said; “they are all in hiding.”

“I have a friend on deck, father; he is the son of one of the Turks we saved at Athens. He and his friends saved our lives, and have been concealing us since they got us away. I expect he is having some difficulty with the man who calls himself captain.”

“Come up with me then, Horace, and we will fetch him down; and I will tell Iskos that it is all right.”

As soon as they reached the deck Mr. Beveridge explained to the supposed captain that these were the friends he had come to find, and that all was well.

Martyn had also come up. “What had we better do now, Martyn?”

Martyn looked up at the sails, and at the water, “Fortunately the wind is dying out fast,” he said. “I don’t think we are making way against the current now, and we shall certainly not do so long. Hold on a few minutes longer, Iskos, and then anchor. It will seem as if we could not get up against the stream to the other shipping. If you see a boat coming off, let us know. They will probably be sending off to look at our papers; but perhaps they may not trouble about it till we get up to the regular anchorage. Now, Mr. Beveridge, we will go down below and gladden their hearts there.”

The main-deck was filled with casks, bales, and merchandise of all sorts, and the hatchways of the hold covered with sacks of flour. Macfarlane joined them, and aided Martyn and Horace in removing the sacks. Horace saw as he did so that what appeared a solid pile was really hollow, and that the hatchway was only partially closed so as to allow a certain amount of air to pass down below. The bags were but partly removed when there was a rush from below, Miller and Tarleton with their cutlasses in hand, followed by the sailors with boarding-pikes dashed through the opening. They paused in astonishment upon seeing only Martyn, Mr. Beveridge, and three Turkish gentlemen, but as they recognized Horace and the doctor, the officers threw down their swords and with a shout of joy seized them by the hand. The sailors close behind them broke into a cheer which swelled into a roar as the men below gathered the news that their two officers had returned.

“The men can come up between decks, Miller,” Martyn said. “Let them have a stiff ration of grog all round. Boatswain, see that the sacks are piled again as before, leaving two or three out of their place to allow the men to go down again if necessary. If the word is passed that a boat is coming off, let them hurry back again and replace the sacks carefully after them as they go down.”

The sailors continued pouring up through the hatchway, and behind them came the two Greeks, whose joy at seeing Horace was excessive.

“Now,” Mr. Beveridge said, “let us adjourn to the cabin and hear all about this wonderful story.”

On entering the main cabin Horace found that its appearance, like that of the rest of the ship, had been completely altered, all the handsome fittings had been removed, and the whole of the woodwork painted with what he thought must have been a mixture of white paint and mud, so dirty and dingy did it appear.

“Now, father, in the first place I must properly introduce my friend Ahmed to you all. He is the son of Osman Bey, who was one of the principal Turks of the party we took to Tenedos, as no doubt you remember; it is to him and his father, aided by Fazli Bey, and the bimbashi who was in command of the troops, and some of the soldiers, that we owe our lives.”

This was said in Greek, and while Mr. Beveridge was expressing his gratitude to Ahmed, Horace repeated the same in English to the three officers, who warmly shook hands with the young Turk. Marco and his brother placed refreshments of all kinds on the table.

Ahmed partook of them sparingly, and then said to Horace: “Of course you will not be returning with me now. I think I had better be going on, it will be dark before I have done my business and get back again; and besides, the boatmen will be wondering at my long stay here.”

“I am afraid your father will think us horribly ungrateful if we go off without thanking him and your mother for all their kindness to us,” Horace said; “but of course we must be getting out of this as soon as we can.”

“My father and mother will be delighted to hear that you have so suddenly and unexpectedly got out of your difficulties,” Ahmed said, “and that in a manner from which no suspicion can possibly arise to us. What we have done has been but a small return for the service you rendered us.”

Mr. Beveridge added his warmest thanks to those of Horace, and Ahmed then went up with the others on to the deck and took his place in the caique; Horace making a present of a small gold piece to each of the boatmen. Ahmed said good-bye to him and the doctor in Turkish, expressing the hope that when they got back to Cyprus they would write to him, a message that Iskos afterwards translated to Horace. As soon as he had rowed away the rest of them returned to the cabin.

“And now for the story,” Mr. Beveridge said as they took their places round the table.

“The doctor shall tell it,” Horace said. “He has had no chance of talking for the last fortnight, and it is only fair he should have his turn now.”

The doctor accordingly, in his slow and deliberate way, related the whole story of their adventures from the time they landed from the schooner until their return on board, a narration which lasted nearly two hours.

Then Martyn related what had happened on board since. “You know,” he said, “that directly we heard the firing on shore and saw the boat rowing off we began to get ready to send a strong party off. You can imagine how horrified we were when, on the boat coming alongside, we found you were both missing. The beggars fired away at us as we rowed ashore, but they bolted before we reached it, and when we made a rush into the village, it was empty. We could find no one to ask questions of, for, as we found afterwards, they had all made off while the brigands were firing at us. However, as there were no signs of you it was evident the only thing to do was to follow the ruffians, and off we set. We chased them four miles, but they scattered directly they left the village and we only came up with two of them. Unfortunately they showed fight, and the sailors cut them down before we could come up.

“After searching about for some time we thought the best plan was to go back to the village. There we quartered ourselves among the houses, and, as you have been telling us, the man came with a letter. We noticed how you had worded it and had underscored the names, and we saw the fellows did not know that you were the son of the owner, so your father pretended to hang back for a bit. As soon as the man had gone off with the message we thought that it was all right, and everyone was in the highest spirits. Of course there was nothing to do next day, but the following morning Mr. Beveridge and Miller went off with thirty men, as the time named for giving you up was one o’clock.

“We began to expect them back at four, and as the hours went on I was in a regular stew. I did not like to land, and as I had only twenty men I was afraid of weakening her further, as we should have been in an awkward fix if a Turkish man-of-war had come along; however, at nine o’clock I sent Tarleton ashore with five men to see if he could gather some news from the villagers, who had all come back again soon after the brigands had left. It was not till after eleven o’clock that he came off, with the news that the party had returned and had heard nothing of you.

“Next morning one of the boats came off with Mr. Beveridge. Half an hour before a Greek had come in and stated that he was one of the party bringing you down to the place agreed upon when they were suddenly fired upon from a wood. Two of the party fell dead and the rest ran and were hotly pursued for some distance. He was unable to say what had become of you, nor did he know who the men were who had attacked them, except that they were certainly Albanians. We held a council, and then I started off with Tarleton and ten men and Marco. Mr. Beveridge wanted to go, but I persuaded him not to, for it was morally certain that we should not find you, and all we could hope for was to get some sort of clue, and if the Albanians were still in the neighbourhood Marco would have opened negotiations with them for a ransom. The man who had brought the news acted as guide. We found the bodies of his comrades who had been killed, but no signs of you, which was a comfort in one way. It was pretty evident that you had both been carried off.

“We had taken with us a dozen men from the village to which you were to have been sent, and we offered what to them must have been a big reward for news as to these Albanians. So after finding the bodies we sent them off in different directions, and went back to their village. Late in the evening they straggled in. They had done their work well, spreading all over the country and getting hold of shepherds and charcoal-burners and wood-cutters; and they were able to tell us for certain that the Albanians had come over the range of hills between us and Thessaly. They had been doing a good deal of plundering and some murdering, had destroyed two small villages at the foot of the mountains, and had been seen soon after the hour at which you must have been captured making their way back. They assured us that the troops of Ali Pasha lay in the plain beyond the hills, and that, doubtless, the Albanians had taken you to him. We had a good long rest in the afternoon, and as I knew what a state of anxiety your father was in we started at once and got on board at four o’clock in the morning. We had a long talk over what was the best thing to be done, and resolved at any rate to sail out of the bay and round the Cape, and then keep along the coast until we were off Thessaly.

“As soon as it was daylight we weighed anchor. The wind was so light that it took us two days to get there, and half that time at least, I should say, the men were in the boats towing. Marco had volunteered to land and make his way to the Turkish camp to try to find out what had become of you. We landed him at night; he bought from some of the villagers a suit of their clothes, and in twenty-four hours came down again to the boat we had sent ashore for him with the news that you had been sent to Constantinople; that you had been taken by an escort of cavalry down to the little port at the mouth of the river that flows in between Ossa and Olympus; that he had seen some of the soldiers who formed your escort, who told him that they had seen you go on board a Turkish brig-of-war with their officer and two of their comrades who had accompanied you.

“This was horrible news, and as the brig had got four days’ start there was little chance of our catching her. For another three days we were almost becalmed. We had every stitch of canvas set and yet most of the time we had not even steerage-way. The men behaved splendidly, and all the time, day and night, we had two boats out ahead towing; and on the fourth day we arrived off Tenedos. Then we got a breeze again, and soon afterwards picked up a fishing-boat. From them we learned that the brig had lain becalmed two days off the town, that some of the people that we brought from Athens had gone out with little presents of fruit to you and had seen you.

“We anchored that night a short distance from the town, for there were no Turkish ships of war there. At night a boat came off with a woman whom we had brought from Athens, and she told us that her husband, a discharged soldier, had gone to Constantinople to tell some of the people whom we brought from Athens that two of our officers had been captured, and to ask them to do what they could to save your lives. We did not think anything of it, though of course it was pleasant to see that some of the people were grateful, and Mr. Beveridge made her a handsome present, which I will do her the justice to say she refused until he almost had to force it upon her. Knowing how bitter the Sultan is against foreigners in the Greek service, and that after the harm we had done he was not likely to be specially well disposed towards us, the thing seemed almost hopeless. The two Greeks volunteered if we would put them ashore to the west of the straits to make their way to Constantinople, but as it did not seem to us that they could do any good that idea was given up.

“At last Tarleton proposed that we should disguise the schooner and go up ourselves. He admitted that the betting was a hundred to one against our being able to help you in any way, especially as it was almost certain you would have been hung a few hours after you got there. Still, if that had been put off, and you should be in a prison, there was just the possibility we might land at night, make our way to the prison, blow in the gate, get you out, and make our way across the country to some place where the boats would be waiting for us, and be on board before daylight. It was certainly a desperate undertaking, but as none of us could think of any other plan, we agreed it would be well to try it, so we sailed at once to Athens.

“We had a great debate whether it would not be better to buy some Turkish brig that had been brought in as a prize; but we finally agreed to stick to the schooner, for if we were discovered on the way, or if we did get you on board, we should have to sail, and we knew that nothing the Turks have got could outsail the schooner. We worked hard at Athens. We sent down the tall spars, got those clumsy poles up in their place, got up yards, and turned her into a brig. Then we bought a lot of old sails, and, as you see, turned her into as lubberly-looking a craft as you will meet even in these seas. Then we filled her up between decks with goods we bought out of some prizes brought in by the Hydriots, dirtied her decks, threw acid down her sides to take off the paint, took down the cabin fittings, as you see, and daubed over the woodwork with dirty paint. It was enough to make one cry to see the Misericordia spoilt. It was like disguising a girl of fashion as a dirty gipsy.

“While we had been at this work the two Greeks had been on shore, and had gathered up eight men who spoke Turkish as well as Greek. The most intelligent we made captain, with two officers under him. We got the papers from a Turkish prize, a brig about the same size which had been captured by the Hydriots on her way from Rhodes to Constantinople. Then it was agreed that your father should disguise himself as a Turk, a respectable land-owner of Rhodes, going as a passenger to Constantinople, with myself as his Nubian servant. That way we could stay on deck. When all was ready we started. The crew kept on deck till we got near the Dardanelles, and then stowed themselves away in the hold as you saw. We were stopped at the castle, but as the papers were all right there was no suspicion excited, and nothing happened till Iskos came down and told us a caique was coming alongside, and then a minute or two later we heard your voice.”

Chapter XXII • All Ends Well • 9,200 Words

THE hours passed on. It was still a dead calm, and, as Martyn had thought likely, no visit was paid by the Turkish port officials, as the brig was lying a good mile below the usual anchorage, and would no doubt move up to the wharves as soon as she got the wind. Horace went to the main deck and gave a sketch of his adventures to Tom Burdett, who he knew would retail them to the crew.

“Well, Mr. Horace,” the boatswain said, “you are certainly a good one at getting out of scrapes.”

“I had nothing to do with getting out of it, Tom; it was all done without any effort on my part.”

“It was mighty well done, sir, and I would not have given them Turks credit for putting such a plan together. I always liked the chaps myself when I served with them as a young fellow in that Egyptian business under Abercrombie. Good-natured sort of coves they was, and wonderful good-tempered considering what shocking bad grub they had; but I never looked upon them as sharp. Still, there you are; you see, one never knows what a chap can do till he is pushed. Well, there is one thing, Mr. Horace, I don’t care how many Turkish fugitives we may take on board this ship in future, they will be heartily welcome by every man Jack on board for the sake of what these fellows did for you. I wish I had known it when you first came on board. I should have liked to have given that young Turk a hearty shake of the hand, and the men would have given him as good a cheer as ever you heard come from fifty British sailors.”

“It is just as well you didn’t know, Tom, for if they had given a cheer together on deck it would have been heard from shore to shore, and everyone who heard it would have known that it never came from Turkish throats.”

As soon as it was dark the anchor was weighed, and the vessel drifted down with the current, a boat towing ahead so as to give her steerage-way, while the rest of the crew set to work to unbend her sails.

“You are not going to put up her own sails, are you, Captain Martyn?” Horace asked, for as soon as it got dusk Martyn had removed the stain from his skin, and exchanged the Nubian attire for his uniform.

“No, Horace, the white sails would tell their tale at once. We got two suits at Athens, one that miserable lot you saw on us to-day, the other we had cut up to fit us as we are sparred now. They are not very clean, but that won’t affect her sailing, and though I don’t mean to say she will walk along as she would under her proper canvas, I fancy she is likely to sail as fast as anything we shall meet. I shall only get her foresail, a jib, and that square top-sail on her, as we want to go along as slowly as possible. I want to manage to anchor below Gallipoli after sunset; or if I can’t manage that I shall anchor a mile or two this side of the town, so as not to be visited by any of the port officers. Then when it gets quite dark we will get up all sail and run down the straits. It is against the rules to pass through at night, and if the forts catch sight of us no doubt they will send a few shots after us, but we must risk that. It is not easy to hit a moving mark when it is so dark that you can scarcely see her outline. There are half a dozen of their ships-of-war lying abreast of the forts. We must keep as far as we dare over on the other shore. I am not afraid of the ships. We shall be a mile away before the crews wake up and load, but I expect they keep a pretty sharp look-out in the forts, though most likely their attention is chiefly directed below them.”

It took a couple of hours’ work to unbend all the sails and bend on fresh ones. Horace spent the evening in the cabin chatting with his father, and when the others came down at ten o’clock for a glass of grog he heard that the boat had been run up and housed, and that the brig was now under easy sail.

“There is very little wind,” Martyn said, “but there is enough to give steerage-way. I shall not count you in for duty until to-morrow.”

“Oh, I am ready to take my watch as usual. I have been living a very lazy life for the last three weeks, and shall be very glad to be on duty again.”

“I shall get the guns up the first thing in the morning, Miller. We will throw a tarpaulin over them when we get into the narrow part of the straits.”

“Will you have the pivot-gun up too?”

“Yes, I think so; if we have to fight, we may as well fight as hard as we can. When we get it mounted we can put a few barrels along each side of it, cover the whole over with a sailcloth, and stow one of the gigs at the top of all. No one would have a suspicion that there was a gun there then, and if we wanted to use it we could clear it in a minute.”

“The Turkish custom-house officers will stare in the morning when they see the brig gone,” Miller said, “and will wonder what has become of her.”

“If they think of her at all, Miller, they will think she has got up sail at daylight and gone up the Bosphorus on her way to Varna or one of the Black Sea ports.”

“It would require a good deal more breeze than there is now.”

“Yes, I did not think of that. Well, then, perhaps they will suppose that we made a try to go up to the anchorage as soon as the day began to break, but simply drifted back. You see another half a mile astern would take us round that point there and out of sight of them. However, we don’t care much what they think. They are not likely to be interested enough in the matter to bother themselves about it one way or the other, and certainly not likely to do the only thing that would be of any consequence to us, I mean send down a messenger to Gallipoli telling them to overhaul us if we came down the straits. Now, then, the watch on deck; the others turn in. I am sure, Mr. Beveridge, you will be all the better for a quiet night’s rest. You have certainly not slept much for the last month, and you have been getting thinner and thinner daily, while you have also long arrears in the way of food to make up. It has been quite pitiful to see the faces of the Greeks as you sent away plate after plate untouched.”

“I shall soon be myself again, Martyn, and even one good night’s rest will, I am sure, do wonders for me.”

“We have been getting quite uneasy about your father,” Miller said as he and Horace went up on deck for the middle watch.

“Yes, he looks sadly broken down, Miller. Directly he had taken off that beard I was quite shocked; he looks years older.”

“We have been really anxious about him. He would turn up three or four times during the night watches and walk the deck for an hour or two talking to one or other of us as if he could not stop alone in his cabin. Neither Martyn nor I ever had the slightest idea of finding you were alive when we got here, and still less of getting you out. But when Tarleton proposed disguising the schooner and coming up, he caught at the idea so eagerly that we fell in with it at once. It seemed to us both rather a mad sort of business, but we should not have cared what it was so that it would but rouse him up; for from the time when we first got word that you had been taken to the Turks, till Tarleton made that proposal at Tenedos, he had scarcely spoken a word. He cheered up for an hour or two when Marco brought news that at any rate you had not been killed at Ali Pasha’s camp, but had been sent on to Constantinople; but that lasted for a very short time, for he soon saw that so far from improving your chances, it had lessened them. Ali might have taken a handsome sum for your ransom, or your guards might have been bribed; anyhow, there would have been a much better chance of getting you away from his camp than from a prison in Constantinople.

“Of course we did all we could to cheer him, and, I am afraid, told some awful crammers as to the easy job it would be to get you out. Still, the plan did do him good. It gave him something to think about, as at Athens we were constantly thinking of something or other that he could go ashore and see about. Since we sailed from there he has been in a sort of fever, walking restlessly about the deck, going down to the cabin and coming up again twenty times every hour, worrying about the wind, and complaining at the boat’s loss of speed. He took to Tarleton most, because he was nearest your age, I think. He talked to him several times about you as a child, and seemed specially unhappy because he had seen so little of you up to the time when he bought you that first craft you had. The two Greeks were terribly concerned about him. They are two fine fellows those. They were as gentle as women. Well, it has been an anxious time for us all. Even the men have felt for him, and it was quite curious to see how silent the ship became when he was on deck. They seemed to speak almost in whispers, and I have not heard a laugh forward from the hour that you and the doctor were missed. I was glad he was taken with you, for he is a good fellow, and it was a comfort to know that you were together.”

“It was a great pull,” Horace agreed. “He was just the same all the time as he is on board, quiet and slow in his talk, but with an occasional gleam of humour. It has been rather hard on him, too, because, from the day we first landed, there has always been someone with us who could speak Greek, and it is very slow for a man sitting listening to talk that he can’t understand, waiting for bits to be translated to him. Still, he never showed that he minded.”

“Yes, that must have been very annoying,” Miller agreed, “especially when the talk was about matters that concerned his life. It makes you feel so helpless and baby-like to have everything managed for you and to be able to do nothing yourself. I don’t think he took kindly to that Turkish dress. He slipped away and changed it before he had been on board five minutes, while you kept yours on till you turned in for a nap two hours ago.”

“I was comfortable enough, and never gave the clothes a thought after I had worn them an hour or two,” Horace laughed. “Of course one felt very baggy about the legs, and I certainly should not like to go aloft in the things. No wonder the Turks are such clumsy sailors with their legs in bags like that; but I did notice that the doctor never seemed to move about naturally. I expect if he could have talked away as I did he would not have thought of them so much. The wind is heading us a bit.”

“Yes, it is;” and Miller gave the orders for the sheets and braces to be hauled aft.

“I should not be surprised if it is in the south by morning.”

“That would be all the better, for then we could choose our own time for getting off Gallipoli. We must get up all our sail when it is daylight and make a show of doing our best; but when one is tacking backwards and forwards one can always manage either to keep a little off the wind or so close into it as pretty well to deaden one’s way through the water.”

Horace turned in at four o’clock, and an hour and a half later heard a trampling of feet on deck, and knew that the watch was making sail. When he went up at eight o’clock the wind was blowing briskly from the south-east, and the schooner was making a long leg out from the land. He was now able to see the set of the sails that had been bent on the evening before. The lower sails were of the same size as the schooner’s original suit, and fitted her well. The upper sails contained less than half the canvas of her old ones, but her spread was sufficient to lay her over well and to send her through the water at an encouraging rate of speed.

“She is not going along so badly, is she, Horace?” Martyn asked.

“No, indeed. Of course in a light wind the loss of all that upper canvas will tell, but at present she is doing well enough for anything, quite well enough for anything we are likely to meet.”

“We have been holding our own for the last two hours with that felucca on the other tack, and we have been purposely sailing her a good bit off the wind. We could overhaul her soon enough if we liked, and most of those boats are fast; but we don’t want to get along too quickly. If the wind freshens any more I shall tow a sail alongside to deaden her way a bit. I want to arrive off Gallipoli about half an hour after sunset.”

Two of the broadside guns had just been brought up and put in position, and by midday the other six and the pivot-gun were in place, and the latter hidden by a screen of barrels and one of the gigs, bottom upwards, laid over it. The decks had been scrubbed, but, as Martyn said mournfully, it would take weeks to get them back to their former colour. The ropes still hung slackly, and although the schooner looked a good deal more ship-shape than when Horace had first seen her on the previous day, she was still as untidy as the average of vessels in Eastern waters. Her course was timed well, and the sun had already sunk some time, when she dropped anchor a short distance outside the craft lying off Gallipoli.

“I see some of their ships of war have come up from below since we passed three days ago. However, there is no fear of their sending a boat off to-night,” Martyn said as they gathered in the cabin for dinner, “and they will naturally suppose that we anchored so far out because we were going on down the straits the first thing in the morning.”

Mr. Beveridge had remained in his berth all day. The reaction after the long excitement and anxiety told severely upon him. Although he had got up the first thing, he had been obliged to lie down again, being too weak to stand. The doctor, however, told Horace that this was only to be expected.

“He will want a week’s quiet and plenty of nourishment to set him on his legs again. He has been fairly worn out. But there is no fever about him, and we can trust the Greeks to feed him up. It is just as well that he should keep perfectly quiet to-day and sleep as much as he can. To-morrow I hope I shall be able to get him up on deck. Then chatting with you and taking an interest in things will rouse him.”

At nine o’clock sail was again made and the anchor weighed. The wind had gone down very much, and had veered round to the south, which enabled them to lay their course through the greater part of the straits. Two men were placed in the chains with lead-lines. The lights were all extinguished, with the exception of the binnacle. The tarpaulins were removed from the guns and the barrels and gig from around the pivot-gun. The watch off duty was sent below, and two of the keenest-eyed men on board placed as look-outs at the bow. The European shore, which was comparatively high, could be made out as a dark bank, but the Asiatic shore, which was low, could scarcely be seen. The chart was laid on the cabin table, the port-holes having all been carefully covered with curtains, and a tarpaulin laid over the skylight.

The men in the chains kept on taking soundings, Horace going backwards and forwards between them and the quarterdeck with the news as to the depth of water. Miller was in charge of the deck, while Martyn paid frequent visits to the cabin to determine their position on the chart according to the depth of the soundings. There was no fear of their meeting with any craft until they approached the forts; but in the darkness it was necessary to be very careful, as the water was shallow on the eastern side, and were they to run on to a shoal, going as they were with the force of the current, there would be little chance of getting off again, unless by lightening the ship. There was just wind enough to give her steerage-way. Men were stationed in readiness to let go the anchor instantly, should it be necessary; while ten men, in the longboat, paddled gently ahead of her, just keeping a tow-rope taut in readiness to tow her instantly in any direction that might be required. None of them were acquainted with the set of the current, and Martyn had only the depth of water and the dim outline of the banks to direct his course by. Several times, when the water shoaled, the crew of the boat were directed to row vigorously in the direction of the right bank; and once or twice there were but a few feet under the keel, and a keen feeling of anxiety was experienced on board until the leads-man announced that the water was deepening. At last, according to Martyn’s calculations they could not be far away from the formidable forts.

The boat was directed to fall astern and hang on to the rope, in readiness either to come on board or to carry out any orders that might be given. The crew on deck were told to take axes and capstan-bars, so that should they drive down against one of the Turkish ships they could fend the schooner off as much as possible, or cut away any rope that might catch. They were directed to stand perfectly still, and not a word was to be spoken whatever happened. The greatest danger lay in the fact that most of the ships of war were lying above the forts, and that, consequently, should an alarm be given by them, the gunners at the batteries would be in readiness to pour in their fire upon her as she passed.

“The ground to our right looks much higher than it did, Miller. I think we must have been drifting a good deal over towards that side.”

“I think so too,” Miller agreed. “I have been fancying that we were getting over that way ever since we stopped sounding.”

“At any rate we must take our chance,” Martyn said. “I daren’t sound again; the splash would attract attention half a mile away on a quiet night like this. Besides, we could not tow her the other way now; we must take our chance. It is not likely they are keeping much of a look-out on board. We might pass within twenty yards of a vessel without being noticed on such a night as this. I will stay at the helm, Miller. Her sails are still full, and we have got steerage-way. Do you go up into the bow. Let two of the men take their boots off, and if they make out anything ahead, let one of them run to me like lightning with orders whether to port or starboard the helm.”

The conversation was carried on in the lowest tone. Miller stole lightly forward; Tarleton and Horace were already there, one on each bow, straining their eyes into the darkness.

“We are a long way over on this side, Miller, I don’t believe that high ground over there is more than two or three hundred yards away.”

“That is just what I have been saying, Tarleton. The current must have set us across tremendously. Martyn is at the helm, and you see we are heading off that shore, but I don’t think we are going more than a couple of knots through the water.”

In five minutes Tarleton whispered:

“I think there is something dark just over the cathead.”

At the same moment Horace stepped from the other side.

“There is a ship a short way ahead, Miller, unless I am mistaken.”

“By Jove, so there is!” Miller said, looking out. “We shall never be able to clear her with the current taking us down.”

He had kicked off his own shoes when he reached the bow, thinking it better himself to carry any message.

“Port your helm, Martyn,” he said as he ran up. “There are two craft ahead, and we can never clear the outside one in this current. Our only chance is to run between them.”

Martyn had jammed the helm down as Miller spoke.

“Keep it there,” Martyn said to the helmsman, and sprang to the bulwark to look out himself. “That is enough,” he said; “straighten her now, just as she is. You con her from the other side, Miller.”

All on board saw the two vessels now. By their height and bulk they were evidently large frigates or men-of-war. They were not fifty yards away, and were about the same distance apart. Martyn pulled off his jacket and threw it over the binnacle, as its light would have been at once noticed by anyone looking down from the lofty hulls. Noiselessly the schooner passed into the gap between the ships; not the slightest sound was heard from her decks. The two officers looked anxiously up at the sails, for had one of these flapped, or a block rattled, the sleepiest look-out must have noticed it. The silence on the decks of the Turkish ships was as profound as that on the schooner. Rapidly the latter slid between them, the current taking her along faster than the wind. A minute more and she was beyond them; still no hail was heard. Another minute and they loomed dark and indistinct behind her.

“Thank God for that!” Miller said in a whisper as he crossed the deck to Martyn.

“Yes, indeed; it was touch and go. I expect they have only an anchor watch. Most likely they are asleep; they would know that nothing could come up the straits with this light breeze. I think, Miller, those are the two eighty-gun ships we noticed as we came up. They were moored a good bit outside the others; in which case we have a clear course before us.”

“Yes; I have no doubt those are the two,” Miller agreed.

“Now we have only the forts; they are about a quarter of a mile further down. Go forward, please, and tell the men not to move till they get orders.”

Another quarter of an hour passed, and Martyn felt sure that they were now well beyond the forts. For a few minutes longer he held on, and then passed the word along the deck that the danger was over. Now that they knew their exact position there was no longer any occasion for sounding. The men in the boat were called up, and the watch off duty ordered below, and when morning broke the land was far behind them. A brisk wind had sprung up from the south-east, and the vessel was just able to lay her course for Athens.

The doctor had remained below during their passage through the straits.

“I should only have been in the way if I had been on deck,” he said when Horace chaffed him for taking matters so easily. “When a man can do no good, it is always better for him to get out of the way; and after all there is no great pleasure in standing for hours afraid to move, and without any duty to perform; so I just chatted for a bit with your father, and directly I saw the sleeping draught I had given him was beginning to take effect I turned in myself, and had as comfortable a sleep as ever I had in my life. After sleeping on sofas for three weeks, in that heathen sort of way, it was a comfort to get between sheets again.”

“Well, but you went to bed the night before, doctor?”

“That was so,” the doctor agreed. “But a good thing is just as good the second time as it is the first—better, perhaps. The first time the novelty of a thing prevents you altogether enjoying it. I knew very well that if we ran into any of the Turkish ships, or the forts opened fire at us, I was like to hear it plainly enough.”

“And would you have lain there then, doctor?”

“No, lad. I would have had my duties to perform; and I would have dressed and gone into the main deck at once, with my instruments ready to do anything I could for those that required it.”

“Have you seen my father this morning, doctor?”

“Yes; and I am glad to say that he is all the better for his two nights’ sleep. His pulse is stronger, and I shall get him up here after breakfast. The news that we were fairly out to sea, and that all danger was over, was better for him than any medicine. Well, lad, we did not think eight-and-forty hours ago that we would be racing down the Ægean again, on board the Misericordia, by this time. We have had a wonderful escape of it altogether, and I would not like to go through it again for enough money to set me up for life in Scotland. When we were on board that Turkish brig, on our way to Constantinople, I would not have given a bawbee for our chances.”

When they arrived at Athens the Greek sailors who had personated Turks were landed. Mr. Beveridge was unequal to the exertion of going ashore; but day after day he was visited by politicians, military leaders, and others. After a fortnight spent there, Dr. Macfarlane said to him:

“It is no use, sir, my giving you medicines and trying to build you up, if you are going on as you are now doing. You are losing strength, man, instead of gaining it. Each morning you seem a little better; each evening you are fagged and worn out by these importunate beggars. I can see that it worries and dispirits you. It is all very good to wish well to Greece, Mr. Beveridge; but unless you have a desire to be buried in Greek soil, the sooner you are out of this the better. It is not so much change of air as change of thought that you require. Go anywhere, so that it is to some place where you will never hear the name of Greece.”

“I think you are right, doctor. The worry and disappointment has, I know, been telling on me for months. Yes, I will definitely decide to go away, at any rate for a time. Will you ask Captain Martyn to come down?”

“Captain Martyn,” he went on when the latter entered the cabin, “the doctor tells me I must absolutely get away from here.”

“I am quite sure that he is right, sir. You have been gradually wearing yourself out ever since you came here.”

“I think we will go back to England in the first place, Martyn. I have no doubt more bracing air will do me good. Then we can see how events go on here.”

“Very well, sir. I think we shall be all heartily glad to be on our way back.”

“You had better go ashore at once, Martyn. Take Horace with you, and go to my agents. You know they have always kept the papers in readiness for a re-sale of the vessel back to me. Go with them to the consulate and have the sale formally registered. I will write a note for you to take to my agent.”

Ten minutes later the gig took Martyn and Horace ashore. They returned four hours later. There was a little move of excitement among the crew as they stepped on deck again, for through the Greeks, who had heard the news from Mr. Beveridge, it had spread forward. On reaching the deck Martyn went to the signal locker. “Now, Miller,” he said, “down with that flag.”

The Greek flag fluttered down from the peak, and as the British ensign was run up in its place Martyn took off his cap and shouted: “Three cheers for the old flag, lads!” and the shout, given with all the strength of the lungs of officers and crew, showed how hearty was the pleasure that was felt at the change. As soon as the cheers had subsided orders were given to get down the awnings and prepare to make sail. In a few minutes the clank of the anchor chain was heard, and by the evening the schooner was running down past the shores of the Morea.

A month later they anchored in Portsmouth. Here half the crew were paid off, and as during their absence from England they had had but small opportunities of spending money, they had nearly two years’ pay coming to them, together with £30 a head, being their share of the prize-money. The remainder of the crew also received their pay and prize-money and two months’ leave of absence. Mr. Beveridge and Horace had had many discussions on the subject, and it had been agreed that the Misericordia (now again, since she re-hoisted the English flag, the Creole) should for a time be kept up as a yacht, with a complement of two officers and twenty men. Martyn, having been consulted, had chatted the matter over with Miller and Tarleton. Although both these had enjoyed their trip greatly, and had made a comfortable sum in pay and prize-money, both preferred to return to the Royal Navy, if they could do so, rather than remain in a yacht; and Mr. Beveridge promised to use his influence as soon as he returned to get them appointed to ships. This promise he was able to fulfil a few weeks after his arrival at home.

For home cruising as a yacht, Martyn considered that Tom Burdett would be sufficient for him. If she again went out to Greece there would be no difficulty in obtaining other officers and making up the crew to its full strength. Portsmouth had been chosen instead of Plymouth as their point of arrival, because from there Mr. Beveridge could much more easily get up to town, Dr. Macfarlane insisting that he should go up to obtain the best medical advice.

“But there is nothing the matter with me,” Mr. Beveridge had urged.

“That is just it, sir. If you had anything the matter with you I might have a chance of curing it. It is because I can’t see any reason why you do not gain strength that I want other opinion about you.”

The doctor had frequently talked it over with Horace during the voyage.

“I can see nothing bodily the matter with your father, Horace. I wish I could. There is nothing to account for his being in this feeble state. All that he says is that he feels tired. My opinion is that really this is a sort of reaction after mental excitement, just as there is reaction after great bodily fatigue. Your father has lived a smooth, easy, tranquil life, and the change, the excitement, the worry, and his utter disappointment with the Greeks themselves, have had the same sort of effect upon him as a climb up to the top of Ben Nevis might have on a man who did not stir out of his house for months together. As for that being the cause I have no doubt whatever. It is as to the cure that I want to consult with some big-wig. I don’t know whether quiet or movement would be the best for him. He could have had no quiet more complete than that he has had on the way home, and yet it has done him no good. If he were to go down home the inducement to arouse himself would be still less. But what sort of change would really suit him is more than I can say.”

Horace thoroughly agreed with the doctor. If even the cheerful society on board the yacht did not rouse his father, he dreaded what it would be when he was at home, with no one to stir him up in any way. There were two or three consultations in town with some of the leaders of the profession. After hearing the whole circumstances they were unanimous in agreeing that there seemed no serious disease of any kind, but at the same time his condition gave cause of anxiety.

“Your patient is evidently a man of highly nervous organization, and at present his nerves are a wreck. We quite agree with you that were he to go down to a lonely house in the country he would probably sink into the grave in a few months at the outside. If you could get him to go in that yacht of his on some expedition in which he feels what I may call a healthy interest, it might do him good. I should say a cold climate would be better for him than a warm one. He has had more than enough of that enervating work in Greek waters. Try and interest him in Polar expeditions. There have been a great many of them just lately. Ross and Parry and Franklin have all been trying their best to find the North-west Passage, which is not likely to be of any good if they do find it; but that is nothing to the point. Get him interested in the matter, and let him go and poke about for a bit among the icebergs. If you can get him to do that we see no reason why in time his mind should not recover its tone.”

The matter had to be done cautiously. Horace professed a vast interest in the recent expeditions; the doctor was full of interesting facts, and little by little they kindled an interest on the subject in Mr. Beveridge’s mind; and when Horace broke out one day, as if the idea had only just struck him, “My dear father, why shouldn’t we go up north in the yacht for a few months and become explorers? It would be glorious to see the icebergs and to shoot bears and seals, and would be a splendid change for us all. I am sure you would find it frightfully dull going back to Seaport,”—he did not entirely repudiate the idea, but said that he should not like to go away when things were looking so dark for Greece. Fortunately, a week later the news came that all the immense preparations the Sultan had been making for an invasion of Greece with a great army had been arrested by a tremendous fire, supposed to be the work of the janissaries, who did not like the prospect of leaving Constantinople. The fire had destroyed all the vast stores collected, the artillery, baggage-trains, and munitions of war of all kinds, and it was probable that at least a year would pass before a fresh effort could be made.

This news evidently relieved Mr. Beveridge’s mind, and when Horace, backed by Macfarlane, returned to the charge, he at once consented. Martyn was written to by Horace the same day. He at once came up to town, and saw some of the officers who had been out with Franklin and Parry. Returning to Plymouth, where the Creole was lying, a body of shipwrights were at once set to work to strengthen her by a network of timber below, and to sheath her with thick planking outside. The captain of a whaler was engaged as first officer. He was to come on board at Dundee, and to bring with him twelve picked hands accustomed to the Polar Seas. With great exertion the schooner was got ready in a month.

By this time the enthusiasm expressed by Horace and the doctor in the matter had infected Mr. Beveridge, who read up everything that had been written on the subject, and was visibly very much better by the time they went down with him to Portsmouth to join the Creole there. They were away from England eighteen months. They made no discoveries of the slightest importance, but they had numerous exciting adventures, had many narrow escapes of being nipped by icebergs, and passed a winter frozen up in Baffin’s Bay. The voyage achieved the object for which it was undertaken. The subject of Greece was a forbidden one, and Mr. Beveridge came to take a lively interest in the new scenes with which he was surrounded, joined in the hunting parties, took a prominent part in all the amusements got up for keeping the crew in good spirits and health through the winter, and returned to England a more healthy and vigorous man than Horace had ever before seen him. The Creole had taken out with her barrels and all other appurtenances for whaling, and having been fairly successful in that way, returned with sufficient oil and seal-skins to pay the greater part of her expenses.

“I feel another man, Horace, to what I was when I started,” Mr. Beveridge said as he stepped ashore at Plymouth.

“You look a different man, father—a different man altogether to what you have been since I first remember you. I don’t suppose you have grown, but you are so much more upright that you look as if you had, and you walk differently, and even your voice seems changed. Now, you know, you must not go back again.”

“I don’t mean to, my boy. It seems to me that I have thrown away twenty years of my life, and what there is remaining to me shall be spent differently. Now we have got a long arrear of news to get up.”

Horace felt at first uneasy when his father obtained a complete file of the newspapers from the time they had left England, and read up the history of affairs in Greece. There was, however, little to learn. Two civil wars had taken place, some large loans had been raised in England, but had been entirely frittered away and wasted; and when in June, 1824, the Turkish fleet had at last sailed, the Greeks had been as unprepared for resistance as they were when they first took up arms. Kasos and Psara had both been captured and their inhabitants either massacred or carried away into slavery, while the sailors of Hydra and Spetzas had not moved a hand to succour their countrymen.

Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt had sent an army to Greece, and had besieged Navarino and Pylos. The Greek army had advanced to relieve them, but being attacked by half their number of Egyptian troops were routed without the least difficulty at Krommydi. They were beaten again at Sphakteria, and Pylos and Navarino were forced to surrender; the Egyptians observing faithfully the terms they granted, and allowing the garrisons to depart in neutral ships. Dikaios was defeated and killed at Maniaki, having been deserted by all his troops but fifteen hundred. These fought splendidly although attacked by six thousand men. A thousand of them died on the field after having killed four hundred of their assailants. This was by far the most gallant affair throughout the war. Kolokotronis assembled ten thousand men, but was defeated with the greatest ease with the loss of over two hundred men, most of whom were killed in their flight.

When the Creole returned to England the siege of Missolonghi had begun. Reshid Pasha’s army, ten thousand strong, sat down before it. It was defended with extreme gallantry and resisted for many months, while the rest of Greece did little to assist it. After six months’ siege Reshid retired, being straitened for provisions and suffering from the vigorous sorties of the besieged; but in a short time Ibrahim arrived with his army and again besieged the place; throwing up formidable batteries and works against it. Several times terms were offered to the garrison, but were contemptuously refused, and several attacks were beaten off with great loss. At last the provisions were absolutely exhausted.

The brave defenders of the town resolved upon a step almost unexampled in history, namely, that the whole of the men should sally out, placing the women and children in their centre, and cut their way through the enemy. There were still nine thousand persons in the town, of whom only three thousand were men capable of bearing arms, two thousand men, women, and children were too weak from starvation and disease to join the movement; the rest were divided into three divisions. Most of the women dressed themselves in men’s clothing and carried arms, and even the children had loaded pistols. Unfortunately the Turks had been informed by a deserter that the attempt was about to be made.

The three divisions, in spite of the opposition of the Turks, attacked with such fury that they made their way through the lines of the enemy; but the people of Missolonghi itself, who were to form the fourth division and follow the others, were seized with a panic and fell back into the town. Had the Greeks outside fulfilled their promise, and moved forward a body of troops stationed a short distance away to receive the defenders of the place when they reached the open country, all the rest would have been saved; but instead of the fifteen hundred who were to have met them, but fifty were there. The Turkish cavalry and the Albanians harassed and cut them up, and even those who gained the shelter of the hills received no assistance from the irregulars, and many perished from hunger and disease, and finally only fifteen hundred escaped. The soldiers left behind in Missolonghi either by wounds or sickness intrenched themselves in stone buildings, and there defended themselves till the last, blowing up the magazines and dying in the ruins when they could no longer hold out. Four thousand Greeks were killed, three thousand were taken prisoners, chiefly women and children, and two thousand altogether escaped. The Acropolis of Athens resisted stoutly for a long time, but at last fell. The Greeks were defeated in almost every action upon which they entered, and affairs went from bad to worse, until the European governments at last determined to interfere; and their united fleets destroyed that of the Turks at the battle of Navarino, and forced Turkey to grant the independence of Greece.

As these events happened Mr. Beveridge followed their course with interest, but it was only with the interest shown by Englishmen in general. His personal feeling in the matter had entirely left him. During the last four years of the struggle there was no sign whatever that misfortune and disaster had had any effect in inducing the Greeks to lay aside their personal jealousies and ambitions, or to make any common effort against the enemy. The large sums they had received from the loans raised for the most part in England were spent in the most unworthy uses. They covered their uniforms with gold lace, and the dress of the men on foot often cost fifty pounds; those of horsemen ten times that amount. They affected all through to despise the Turks, and yet, except the fifteen hundred men under Dikaios and the defenders of Missolonghi, they never once opposed anything like an obstinate resistance to them, and the last show of resistance was almost crushed out when the intervention of Europe saved them.

The Creole had been laid up after her return from the Arctic Seas. Mr. Beveridge had purchased a large share in a fine East Indiaman, making the proviso that Martyn should be appointed to the command, he himself buying a share in her with the money he had earned during the four years’ service on board the schooner. Mr. Beveridge had, to the immense satisfaction of his aunt, Mrs. Fordyce, entirely abandoned the study of Greek, devoted himself to the affairs of his estate, became an active magistrate, and had, three years after his return, stood for Parliament as member for the county, and had won the seat. Horace was twenty when they returned from the north. He had a long talk with his father as to his future prospects and career. He was too old now to take up the thread of his studies again or to go to the university, and he finally determined, at the advice of his father, to study for the bar.

“You will never have any occasion to practise, Horace, but a few months every year in London will make a pleasant change for you; and as you may look to be a county magistrate some day you will find a knowledge of the law very useful to you. You will be in London five or six months every year, then you will have your shooting and hunting in the winter, and we will have two or three months’ cruise together in the Creole. I find that our expedition in Greece cost me, one way and another, just fifteen thousand pounds, which is a good deal less than I should have thrown away if it had not been for your advice. I hear that it is likely that Sir James Hobhouse’s estate will be in the market before long, and I think, as it almost adjoins ours, I shall buy it. I fancy that I shall get it for about thirty thousand pounds. That I should settle on you at once. I am not fifty yet, and feel that I have more life in me than I ever had, and I don’t want you to be waiting another twenty or thirty years to step into my shoes. Its management will be an occupation for you, and then you can marry whenever you feel inclined.”

This happened four years later; it arose out of a meeting at a dinner party in London. Horace had taken down a very pretty girl to whom he had just been introduced. He thought that she looked at him rather curiously when his name was mentioned. They chatted on all sorts of subjects during dinner, and when the ladies arose to go she said: “Please find me out when you come upstairs. I have a question I particularly want to ask you, but I could not very well do it here. Please do not forget, for it is important.” A good deal puzzled Horace made his way upstairs as soon as he could and saw that the girl was with another lady sitting in a quiet corner of the drawing-room. He crossed to them at once. “Mother,” the young lady said, “this is Mr. Beveridge.”

“You are right, Ada,” the lady said, rising and holding out her hand, “I recognize him at once now I see him. Oh, Mr. Beveridge, you do not know how we have longed to see you again, and you don’t know us, do you?”

“No, I can’t say that I do, madam,” Horace replied, more and more astonished.

“I am the lady you saved from being sold as a slave at Algiers when you captured the ship we were in off the coast of Asia Minor. This is my daughter. No wonder you don’t remember us for I was a strange-looking creature in that Greek dress, and Ada was but a child.”

“I remember you now, Mrs. Herbert,” Horace exclaimed. “I ought to have done so before, as we were four or five days on board together.”

“You must have thought us so ungrateful,” Mrs. Herbert said; “but we were not so; we never knew where to write to when you were out in Greece. Then two or three years afterwards we heard from someone who had been out there that you had returned, and my husband, who left Smyrna and came back to England after we got back, made all sorts of inquiries, and found out at last that you had gone away again on an Arctic expedition. Then he went out to Malta, where we have been living for the last three years, and only returned a month ago to England. My husband had to return to Smyrna; he had large business connections there that could not be broken off suddenly. Nothing could induce me ever to return there, but it was an easy run for him to Malta, and he was able to come and stay with us for a week or so every two or three months. For the last year he was training the son of the senior partner of the house to take his place at Smyrna, and he himself has now come back altogether, as Mr. Hamblyn has now retired, and he is the head of the firm. He is not here to-night, but will be delighted to hear that we have found you.”

“We have been back three years,” Horace said.

“Of course we did not know that you were in England. It has been a great grief to us. It seemed so extraordinary that after being saved by you from the most awful of all fates you should have disappeared out of our life as suddenly as you came into it. Of course it was not much to you—you who saved so many hundreds, we heard afterwards thousands of women and girls from slavery; but to us it was everything. And your father, Mr. Beveridge, is he quite well?”

“Yes, he is far better than I have ever known him to be. I am going down next week to help him; he is going to stand for our part of the county for Parliament. There is a vacancy there, and I fancy that he has a very good chance.”

“Is he, indeed? He did not give me the idea of being a man who would have cared for that sort of thing. Of course we only saw him just for those four days.”

“I am happy to say that he has changed very much since then. He came home very ill from Greece, but our eighteen months among the ice entirely set him up and made a new man of him. I am sure he will be very pleased when he hears that I have met you. And did you recognize me at once, Miss Herbert?”

“The name helped me,” the girl said. “When I heard it I felt sure it was you at once. It was very hard work sitting there talking to you as if you were a stranger.”

“Why did you not tell me at once?” Horace asked smiling.

She did not answer, but her mother said for her: “You can’t tell how we felt about you and your father, Mr. Beveridge, or you would not ask the question. The chances are that if Ada had told you who she was she would have burst out crying. She told me it was as much as she could do to restrain herself; and I think we have both had a quiet cry in this corner since we came upstairs. Now, please give me your address in town?”

“I have chambers in Mitre Court Temple, No. 3.”

“My husband will call to see you the first thing in the morning, I am sure. Mr. Beveridge and you must dine with us quietly to-morrow, so that we can talk it all over. You are not, I hope, engaged.”

Horace was not engaged, but if he had been he would probably have thrown it over.

Under these circumstances it was not very much to wonder at that a few months later the Morning Post contained this announcement:—“We understand that a marriage has been arranged between Mr. Horace Beveridge, the son of Mr. H. Beveridge, M. P., and Ada, only child of Mr. Herbert, of Bedford Square, the head of the firm of Herbert & Sandeson, the well-known firm of Levant merchants. We understand the acquaintance of Mr. Beveridge with the young lady he is now about to lead to the altar commenced under singularly romantic circumstances in the Levant six years ago.”

On the day after their marriage Horace and his wife sailed to spend their honeymoon among the fiords of Norway and in the Baltic on board the Creole. She was commanded by Miller, whose ship had been paid off a month previously, and Tarleton, whose frigate belonged to the Channel squadron, obtained three months’ leave to sail in her as first officer. Macfarlane was with them for a fortnight, not being able to get away for a longer time from the practice in which he had purchased a partnership at Plymouth. Tom Burdett went, of course, in his old capacity; but this was his last trip in her though he long remained the commander of the Surf, which was always kept in commission at Seaport, and in which Horace’s boys and girls learned to love the sea as much as did their father.

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