|Chapter Title||THE PROMISE.|
|Newspaper Title||The Macleay Chronicle (Kempsey, NSW : 1899 - 1952)|
|Trove Title||The Last of the Pirates; Or Doom Driven. A Romance of the End of Ocean Outlawry|
the Last of the Pirates; aOOOSflC DBXVBKT.
A. Romance of the Eiid of Ocean Outlawry.*
? ? — . ? .. _ ?. -u By Col. Prentiss I nor ah am, Author of .' Merle the Mutineer ,' &c, &c.
j CHAPTER XXJX (Continued). I THE PROMISE.
[ He had halted, and she did not i move. ' | Both gazed at each other as i though they would read the secrets of the other's heart. . ' Isabel, will you bid me welcome after long years of exile from you V
He spoice the words in low, touching earnestness. ' Welcome, Don Andrea.' .She held forth her hand like a shy school-girl as she spoke. He stepped forward, took it, caressed it for a moment, bent over and kissed it with marked respect. When he looked up her face was . crimson. * A cruel fate divided us, Isabel.* ' Yes, a most cruel fate.' ' Do you remember our last meeting, Isabel f ' * Can I ever forget it, Andrea.' * I left you then, supposing that when next we met you were to fly with me and become my bride.' ' I remember.' * You were but seventeen yean of age then, Isabel.' * I am twenty-eight now.' * And the same?' * In all things.' * I left you then with a happy heart. I was twenty-four then ; now I am thirtj-five, and have passed through the experience of a hundred years.* ' I have heard ot your sufferings, Andria,' 1 1 was -seised that night, carried away to an Algerian corsair, sold into slavery, and then it was that I suffered, /or never expected I, Isabel,^ to see your loved face again. I dare not tell you what I went through. Let it be as a sealed book, never to be re opened. But through all I have loved you, been true to you, by the Allah of the Mohammedan, by the God of the Christian, I swear it. Fortune favoured me with this world's riches, Isabel, and I came back here. 'I am rich, vastly more so than men here believe, and X shall use my wealth for the good of humanity. I came back, and face to face I met you, with him, across an open grave. He came to call upon me, knew me, and the end came as I intended that it should. He made me what I was, he robbed me of my bride, for I have heard how you became his wife, after two years of waiting for my return, after giving me up for dead, that you might, ' with his riches* give your patents a happy, luxurious old age. * I have avenged you, Isabel — I have avenged myself. He lies in his grave, and by my hand. I tear from between us the phantom of that man, I bury his grim spectre in the grave of forgetfulness, and, Isabel, when one year has passed from the day of his death, I shall ask you to become my wife. What will your answer be, Isabel?' ' Come, Andrea, and ask me, for I, too, shall let no grim spectre come between us.' ' Bless you, Isabel, and adios.' He raised his hat with courtly grace, turned, and mounting his horse rode away. Arriving at home he said to Basila, who. had also returned : ' I have seen her.' 'Well?1 ' When one year rolls away, from the day that I killed her husband, she will become niy wife.' ' I congratulate you, my dear Andrea ; and now I will bid you farewell, for the world is before me yet— my fortune is yet to be made.' ' Upon one condition I let you depart.' * Name it.' 'Grant it unknown.' 1 1 do.' ' Come here just ten months from to-day to see Isabel become my wife.' 'I will do so, if alive.' ' You will be alive, Basila, for you were not bom to be hanged — at least so soon.' . 'Then it is a compact.' Two days alter they parted, the slaver captain to become the very idol of the people among whom he dwelt, and who little dreamed of what had been his past life, whit a monster he had been, and the American to return to t.is own country to carve out a career of intamy for himself hardly second to that of the slaver captain. CHAPTER XXX. THE WANDERER'S RETURN. -The scene of my story is shifted from Spain to America, and upon the shores of a Southern State. Around a cheerful log fire, that made the shadows dance merrily upon the wall, sat three persons. Two had begun to descend the hill of life, for their hair was whitening under the snows of half a century of years. The one was an elderly man of majestic presence and a kindly face. The other was a matron whose face proved her noble nature, for it was all kind c ness and love. The third occupant of the room was a young man. Per haps thirty years of age, he had a face thoughtful and intelligent. Dignity and nobility of soul sat upon his countenance, stamping every feature indelibly. Upon the rug at his feet lay curled up a large Newfoundland dog, while on the hearth, purring away in blissful
? „ .-? * contentment, was a large cat. It was a lovely home picture, and one would not dream that sorrow or sin could enter there. Upon the wall over the high mantel hung a portrait. It was of a youth upon the very threshold of manhood. He resembled the elderly couple and the young man. But his face wore a stamp of recklessness rather than of nobleness. -,....? I Eight years to-night it is, husband, since our noble 'Basil bade us good bye'ttfgo to college/ said the devoted woman. 'Yes, wife, eight years; and now he must be quite a man/ the father answered. j; ' It has been a year since we heard from him, and the last letter came from Spain,' remarked Loyd Barton, who had become the rising physician of the little town in the outskirts of which the old homestead was situated. I 1 hope he is doing well and wants for nothing,' said the mother. ' Oh, Basil will prosper, wife, no fear of that; and he has done so, or he could never have -sent us the handsome presents that he has.' 'Yes, mother, Basil is all right, and has sown his wild oats, you may de pend upon it, and will come back to us a splendid man. I only wish I knew where to reach him with a letter, for in four months I am to marry, you know, and I would so like to have him at my wedding ; and Celeste would too, for she often asks nie about my wandering brother.' 1 Yes, and the other day when she was here she sat for a long time gazing up at his portrait, and said that he had such a handsome, fascinating face. I wonder if my boy looks like that now?' And the mother sighed, while the eyes of(.the three turned upon the port' ait hanging over the mantel. Then the door slowly opened, and noiselessly. A tall form, clad in sailor garb, stood there gazing upon the three and unseen by them. Up lo his head went his hat, and he doffed it, as with respect for the presence in which he stood. Bronzed to the hue of a West Indian, but with his large, glorious eyes and perfect features, the stamp of evil which had marred his beauty seemed to fade away before those who held him so dear, those who were pure and noble, and the bosom of Basil Barton, the outcast, the slaver, the pirate, heaved with an emotion that almost choked him. As he stood there he had heard their words. As he stood there he saw the picture of his boyhood, only his grand noble brother grown to manhood, and the heads of his parents were bowed, their hair whitened by the years that had gone by. And such was the home which he had left. Those were the parents, the brother, whom he had deserted, to become a wanderer, an outcast, a slaver, and, last, a pirate. What would he not have given, in that awful moment to recall his past life of evil ! All that he had been came before him in its most appalling forms, and he felt almost crushed beneath the grim spectres that trooped before his vision, haunting him with his misdeeds. 1 Mother I' The word broke from his lips in almost despairing tones. The three occupants of the room were upon their feet in an instant, and the wanderer felt his mother's arms about his neck, her kiss upon his brow, and he almost shrunk back when he knew his unworthiness. ' Then, too, his father and brother grasped his hands, he was led to a seat before the fire, and the family circle was complete, for the wanderer had returned. CHAPTER XXXI. A WOLF IN THE FOLD. How glad were the father, mother, and brother of Basil Barton, at his return, can only be imagined, not told, for words would hardly be adequate to express their joy. The sailor had come back after long years of absence. Each year a letter had come from him, with some souvenirs for all, not forgetting the old family servants. This bad been proven that he had not ceased to remember those dear to him, and his gifts were such as to show that he was far beyond want. Where he had been, what he had seen, what he was doing, all wished to learn. He had told them such of his wanderings as he had cared for them to know. He had told them how he had risen to the command of a vessel, and owned the craft, too, having made most fortunate voyages in her. While she was being refitted in a distent port he had come home to visit those he loved. He had brought almost princely gifts too. There were silks, satins, and laces for his mother, with handsome jewellery too, such as had never been seen before in that part of the country. There was an elegant watch and chain, and a gold-headed cane for his father, while his brother also came in for a watch and a case of surgical instruments such as he had never dreamed of purchasing, although his means were by no means straitened. Had those to whom these presents
? -.-.??_ ?'/?. .-?.?*; '?;?''' ?'? were brought .only known that lhey were purchased with gold earned in the slave trade, and by piracy, now fearful would have been the know ledge. Then there were curiosities from many lands for his brother's office, and when be learned that Dr. Loyd Barton was engaged to a beautiful maiden, a diamond ring worthy a princess was brought forth and pre sented to the lovely girl. Ah I had she but known the history of that gem, how much of: sorrow, 3t, would have saved her in the, future ! „ ? Riding about with bis brother, ac companying his father in his walks; or sitting upon the spacious piazza talk ing 4o his mother, Basil: Barton seemed to dream away bis days. All his old friends had given him glad welcome, willing to forget how wild a boy he had been, and many wondered that the runaway youth had turned out so well. - Anxious to have bis .brother, meet his intended wife; Dr. Barton had soon taken him out to the plantation of her father, Major Mortimer. Basil gazed upon the beautiful girl with undisguised admiration, and she, too, seemed impressed with the dark faced wanderer. As he. was to remain but a short while,' and she was engaged to his brother, no one thought aught of the fact that Basil Barton passed about half his time with the maiden. They rode horseback together, sailed together upon the bay, and seemed to be very happy in each other's com-., pany. ' ' Among his accomplishments Basil Barton sung well. He possessed av rich, pathetic voice, full of music, and sung Spanish and French songs to the maiden. Then; he performed *ell upon the mandolin, and was a most brilliant conversationalist, ' His manners were most winning, and he had a way about him that fairly fascinated all with whom he came in contact. Then, too, he had travelled the world over, and was familiar with foreign lands, ° He had met with perils by sea and land, and, though reluctant to tell of his deeds, it was felt by many that his life had been a strange romance. Loyd Barton, noble in nature, honest in heart, and suspecting no evil, was happy that his brother so constantly sought the society of Celeste. He could be little with her, as his professional duties kept him constantly busy. At times he thought that Celeste seemed less glad to see him, and now and then she said things tliat cut him. Still he suspected not the cause, until one mon ing he awoke to the truth, and a rude awakening it was. Basil Barton had left home. But he had not gone alone, for Celeste had accompanied him. A note left upon her table had simply said that she was mistaken in believing that she had loved Loyd Barton. Basil Barton was her beau ideal, her idol, and she had gone with him to become his wife. This was all she said. But the blow fell heavily upon her old father, who had never particularly liked the wanderer. But Loyd Barton? He was crushed to the earth in almost despair,- and then revenge seized upon his breast, and he started, in pursuit of the fugitives. Not only did he have to mourn a lost love, and that Celeste had been false to him, but he had to hug to the heart that his brother had proven himself a snake in the grass. The brave man overtook the guilty ones, to fall from his horse severely wounded by a pistol-shot fired by his brother. He was borne back to his home, and for a long time his life was despaired of. But day and night bis parents hung over him, and their de voted nursing saved him from death. They had to hide their own grief, for bis sake, and it told heavily upon them, and they never wholly rallied after the severe tax upon their strength. Whither the runaway couple had gone no one knew. But the old couple and their son had the sympathy of all. Thus a year or more went by, and ugly rumours began-, to circulate through the town that a bold and merciless buccaneer was scouring the seas, and that his name was Basil ! Could it be that this bold sea-rover was Basil Barton ? Before long the truth came out, for a sailor from a little port, who had known him well, had been on a vessel-of-war which had attacked Basil the Buccaneer. The two vessels had been within pistol range, and, though the pirate had beaten off the cruiser, he had recognised the outlaw chief none other than Basil Barton. And by his side, the sailor had said, stood a woman, and as he had also known Celeste, he said that it was she. This bitter blow was too much for old Mr. Barton and his wife to hear, and those who knew them best felt that they would not last many years. The father went first, and a year after Dr. Barton buried his mother, and was left alone in the old home stead; and it was there that his wicked brother sought htm, as has been told in the earlier chapters of my story, to go on board his vessel and save his innocent child from death. He who had proven a wolf in the fold had ? dared to go back to the brother whom he had so deeply, wronged and beg him to save bis child's life 1 CHAPTER XXXII. THE PIRATE'S BRIDE. As Basil Barton had told his noble brother, the doctor, when he carried him on board the schooner Spiteful to see his sick boy, he had warped the feelings of Celeste Mortimer against him. He had fascinated her fairly, and so gotten her under his influence
that the feeling which she had believed love, when felt for Loyd Barton, she felt little deserved the name of affection even/'' '??:.:' ' ._,, .; \:j When heiiadtbld her of %i» low for her, and asked. her to fly with him, poor Celeste, charmed ai a bird by a snake, could not say nay. He painted glowing pictures of his vessel, of the pleasure, she, would haw in seeing foreign lands, of his deep love for her, end she yielded to his almost com mand and fled with him. Her first awakening had'ibeen *ben she had seen Basil -Barton deliberately fire upon hit brother,, and that brother fell from his hotse. *; - In her horror, she almost fled from him, back to the wounded man. * I have but stunned him, Celeste, to save your, life and mine! for be surely meant to kill us. I am a .dead shot, and merely fired to slightly wound him,' Basil had said. And she had believed him. But did he love her I . . / --,''-.' ??-,-.? liet'the sforjf reveal whether he did or not. .... Together they reached a small village, and. were there married by a good old 'clergyman, who knew ' not the sacrilege instead of sacrament he -was performing bj uniting those two in the bonds of wedlock. Driving on their way in haste, by nightfall they came in sight of the sea, and there, in a secluded retreat, hidden by forest-lined shores, lay a vessel at anchor. It was a beautiful craft, the schooner which'Basil Barton had himself drawn a model/)?, and. which had been a gift to Kim from Andrea De Costa, the slaver captaih, * Leaving'Spain, he had returned to America to rind his vessel ready for him. He had Selected his own crew, and then 'set sail for Cuba, where the armament of his vessel awaited him. There be had trebled hit crew, and,, with as wild a- set of cut-throats under his command is ever trod a. deck, he boldly hoisted the black flag, and began his infamous career as Basil the Buccaneer.^ It was soon after that his vessel was badly handled in a fight with - an American cruiser, and seeking a secure retreat, where he could refit,' he bad taken that opportunity to go to his home- And with Celeste as his bride, he returned to his vessel, which was in perfect ship-shape once more and ready for sea. Little did she know, as she went on board the beautiful vessel and was ushered into the luxuriously furnished cabin, that she had become a pirate's bride. She noted the guns and the large crew as she went on board, and spoke oi them to her husband, who quickly returned: . ' Do you not know, my child, that in these days of piracy, a vessel, trading as mine does in every sea, is allowed to go armed ?' Celeste did not know it, but the explanation satisfied her, „ Then the craft set sail and the young wife was happy, in spite of the haunting memory that '.she had wounded deeply one noble heirt, and had left her father to mourn over her act in running away. .; : ;-,.. '. After a few days at sea, Basil Barton felt that he could no longer hide from Celeste his real character. (le knew she must be told/ and belter that he should break the news to her than that she should discover it otherwise, for the shock would be great. He loved her in bis way, and was happy in having her with him. But his nature was as fickle as the wind, where a woman was concerned, and another face might cause him to tire of Celeste he well knew. Several times he made up his mind to the confession, and then felt that he dared not do so. At last he decided that the time was near at hand for him to keep his appointment with. Don Andrea De Costa, and he was glad of a chance to procrastinate, and gave orders to put away for .the. coast of Spain, . It was night when the pirate schooner ran into the port, and while poor Celeste slept below a. complete change was made in the vessel. Her guns were sent, down into the hold, her _pj-rts sealed up, and about two-thirds of her crew were compelled to go into hiding. To Be Continued