|Chapter Title||A GUEST AT RANDOLPH RANGE.|
|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;
DOOM DRIVEN, y ? ? ?: — —rr-. '/'??' ..'.'' A Romance of the End of Ocean Outlawry.* — — ' - ' ? . ?
By Col. Prentiss Ingraham, Author of ' Merle the Mutineer,' &c, &c.
CHAPTER XLI. A GUEST AT RANDOLPH RANGE.
' It was towards the close of a lovely day, forty-eight hours after leaving Baltimore, when Basil a Bartona's sloop came in sight of the plantation hpme of Rodney Randolph. It was a beautiful place, with grounds
sloping down to the edge of the little basin, or cove, which wag called 'The Harbour,' and about it were flower gardens, lawns, and many rustic arbours inviting repose. The mansion was large, rambling, and almost encircled by verandahs, while.a beautiful beach of sand wound for miles along the shore as a framing to the home-like picture. ; ? Suddenly there came into view, dashing swiftly along a lane towards the road that wound up to the man sion, a party on horseback. It was a gentleman and two ladies, and they all sat their horses with the ease of those who are reared in the saddle. They halted as the lane turned in from the fields to the carriage-drive, and their gaze fell at ^mce upon the little sloop. The course that she was steering showed that the Plantation Harbour was het point of destination, and as the eyes of the ladies' escort fell upon the sloop, be cried in a joyful tone : ' There comes my Peruvian cap tain, for I recognise the sloop I came over in, and there he stands at the helm!' It was Lieutenant RandolDh. and
taking off his hat he waved it, while he hailed in his splendid voice : * Don Bartona, ahoy !' 1 Ahoy, Lieutenant Randolph !' came back in mellow tones of the pirate. ' What a superb voice I' said Rate Randolph, who was a beautiful girl with splendid black eyes, and a tall, exquisite form. - ?? ' Yes, he has just the voice for a hero,' added Luline Leslie, a lovely blonde, who. was equally of as perfect a form as the other. ' And the face and bearing of a hero too, girls, as you will say when you meet him. But there is that in his face which I cannqt understand, and I wish you to read it for me ;' and raising his voice, Rodney Ran dolph called out : ' Thrice welcome you are, my dear friend. Head for the pier, and we will meet you there.' 'Ay, ay, sir, promptly came the response ; and the party on horseback rode on, while the sloop, glided along on her course towards the Harbour. She was yet a mile away, and as she sped along, the buccaneer left the helm to one of the crew, and stood with iolded arms watching the riders. 1 Both have exquisite forms, and their seat in the saddle is perfect.
They doubtless have handsome faces, for all the fair Marylanders, I have heard, are lovely. Well, we will see which I prefer, for I am heart-free since I hanged that revengeful Cuban girl and buried poor Celeste.1 With this heartless remark, the red handed outlaw calmly surveyed the scenery along the shore, and admired the lovely home of Randolph Range. A few moments more, and the bloop glided alongside of the little pier, and, springing out, the hand of Basil Barton was grasped by the man who owed him his life. The three had dismounted, and a negro had been -called to lead the horses to the stables, while the maidens awaited to welcome the guest of Rodney Ran dolph. ' Oh, what a splendid-looking man!' whispered Luline Leslie. ' A man to love, a man to fear,' was Kate Randolph's response ; and then she stepped forward with un gloved hand, as her brother pre sented — 'Captain Basila Bartona, of the
Peruvian Navy, and my friend. 1 Luline Leslie also extended her ungloved hand as she was introduced by Rodney Randolph, and the four walked slowly towards the mansion. There, upon the piazza, awaited Colonel Randolph and his wife to welcome their son's friend, and the Voice of the old soldier trembled as he told him how glad he was to greet one to whom his son owed his life. Such was the welcome of the false hearted Basil Barton as a guest at Randolph Range. CHAPTER XLII. BAD NEWS. — ONCE MORE AFLOAT. The days glided swiftly by at Ran dolph Range, and, Basil Barton had been persuaded to extend his visit to four weeks', where he had only in tended to remain for one-fourth that
time. ?What is the name of your craft, Captain Bartona?' asked Luline Leslie, who spent about half her time at Randolph Range. ' The Sea Venus, Miss Luline.' ? ' What a pretty name I' ' At last the day came when he was compelled to depart, and sad farewells were said, and the little sloop headed out of the harbour on her way to Baltimore. He was greatly missed after his departure, and Rodney Ran dolph saw that he carried with him thtt love of his beautiful sister Kate, though not a word had been spoken to her of her having won his heart.
Several days after the packet vessel that plied between a little town on the eastern shore and Baltimore brought a paper which contained a piece of startling intelligence, Colonel Ran dolph read the head-lines as they were at dinner that day, and hastily handed it to his son. ' Read it aloud, brother,' urged Kate, earnestly, while Luline, who was present, glanced up nervously. ' * It is about Bartona, so I will do so,' said Rodney Randolph ; and he read aloud as follows : Duels to the Death I— A Peruvian, Not a Pirate?— The Courage of his Opinions 1 —An Insult and the Result I — Don Bartona, a Peruvian Captain, and English Naval Officers Meet on the Field of .Honour, '—Bartona Fights, and Kills Two English Officers /' . But before he could read further, a negro ran up to tie window that looked out upon the lawn, and cried : * Mars' Rod', dar's a big war-ship a-comin', sah 1' All sprung to their feet, and great was the relief of the interruption to Kate, while at one glance Rodney Randolph recognised the vessel and cried : ' The Sea Venus ! by the gods of war 1' * ? * * « It was the Sea Venus— as Basil Barton had chosen to call bis schooner Spiteful, as he had himself Don Basila Bartona — which was seen coming over the waters towards the little harbour. As she entered the little harbour, ihe nimble crew began to take in sail, and when she rounded to to drop anchor, the last bit of canvas came down with a run, presenting a most beautiful sight, and causing Rodney Randolph to cry out : ' I never saw anything more beauti fully done 1' Then the buccaneer landed, and warm was the greeting given him.
Up to the mansion they went, and all took seats upon the piazza, where the buccaneer picked up the paper which Rodney Randolph had thrown down when going to meet his friend. * Ah, you have the paper of yester day, I see ! May I ask it it contains a notice of an affair which it was my misfortune to be a participant in ?' All looked at each other and then at Rodney, who said, quickly : ? Yes, Bartona ; I had just finished reading the announcement of your affair with the British officers when your vessel was sighted. Here it is, so see if it is correct.' All eyes were upon the buccaneer as he glanced down the head-lines. Not a muscle of his face changed, for
it was as though carved in bronze. ' Yes, it is more nearly correct than such reports usually are ;' and, turn ing to Mrs. Randolph, he continued : ' My dear madam, I hope I have not fallen from grace in your eyes by this unfortunate occurrence ; but it was an affair pot of my seeking, nor could I avoid 'it with honour to myself.1 ' I regret the necessity, Captain Bartona, for duelling, but I must say. in this affair you cannot be censured,' was the reply. ' I thank you, madam ;' and, as if ignoring the matter further, he turned to other topics, and stated that he wished them all to dine with him on board bis vessel the next day, as he should then have to sail. ' I have been a long time idle, and must be cruising ; but I wish you to see my ocean home,' he said, with a smile. The next day all went on board the schooner to dinner, and the two maidens were in raptures over the beamy of the cabin, and many a pretty souvenir of their visit did they re ceive. ? Here, Rodney, I wish to ask your acceptance of this sword and belt,' he said, handing to the lieutenant a
superb blade with a hilt that was set in precious stones. Each and all received a reminder of their dining on board the Sea Venus, and as the sun neared the horizon farewells were said and the guests departed. Then the well-trained crew set sail, got up the anchor, and bending gracefully to the breeze, the beautiful schooner, whose master was certainly a chevalier corsair, with all his crimes, went flying away like a race-horse to again redden her decks with human blood, to again flaunt her sable flag upon the seas, and to add still greater dread and infamy to the name of Basil the Buccaneer.
CHAPTER XLI1I. A SPECTRE BETWEEN THEM. Back to his vessel went Rodney Randolph when the three months' leave was up. His face wore not the happy look which it had when he had gone home, for a shadow was upon it. That shadow had been brought there because his bright anticipations had not been wholly realised as to winning the love of Luline Leslie. When he returned home he felt that she did love him, and he was happy. Then it seemed that a shadow fell between them. What that shadow was he did not know. Ever kind to him, she yet seemed not to feel the.joy in his presence that she once had. He tried to reason over the matter, and could find no solution. However, the day before tbe one set
for his departure, he asked Luline io take a row with him upon the waters; There was almost a dead calm, the sun was setting in a piled-up mass of gold and' crimson, and all nature seemed at rest. She accepted: the invitation, and soon Rodney Randolph was lazily rowing over the waters silvered by the lasi rays of the setting sun. 'Luline.' . ?Well, Rod?' , ... * Do you know why I asked you to come out for a row with me ?' 'To enjoy the sunset from the water, I suppose.' ' ' ??!. .'-. ' There was another reason.' .. ?' She drummed nervously with her hand upon the -gunwale of the boat, and remained silent. ' ' '' ' ' ' ' Don't you wish to know ?' . ' If you wish to tell me.' ' It was to tell you that which you already know.1 ' Why tell it, then ?' she said, almost impatiently. . - ' It was to tell you, Luline, that I love you, and I ask you to be my wife. Now you know why I asked you to come with me. here upon the water.' Her face was pale now, and be saw tears steal forth from beneath the long lashes^ Her lips quivered, and she seemed to be trying to control her. emotion- At last she said, and her voice was law and earnest.: ' Heaven bless you, Rodney Ran dolph, and guard you, will ever be my prayer; but, oh, do not ask me now to answer you 1 Wait until you come again. Then you - shall - have my
answer.' ' I shall hope, Luline.' ., ' ' Yes. Good-bye, Rod ; kiss me.' He almost started at her words., but she threw her arms about his neck, kissed him, and was gone. ; And yet, as he walked back home in the moonlight, the shadow upon his heart seemed to deepen; and when he turned his back upon the old plantation, to return to his duties as an officer, he felt that some grim spectre stood between Luline Leslie and himself. .
CHAPTER XLIV. WITHOUT MERCY. Months passed away, after the de parture of the Sea Venus, and the return of Rodney Randolph to go back to his vessel, which was to be stationed at Boston. Letters came from him as before, but not as before were they filled with messages to Luline Leslie. There was always ' my love to Luline ' in them, but no more. He had told . her he would wait for her answer, and he meant to do so, and not a word would he say to prejudice him in her favour for good or bad. At Randolph Range matters went on as usual, though the colonel and his good wife could not but see that there was not the same happy spirit in Kate and Luline that there had been. The two maidens were seated in the arbour one afternoon, when a sail came rapidly up the bay. It was a schooner, and they knew that but one vessel which they had ever seen in those waters carried that vast spread of canvas. They looked for a long time at the schooner without speak
ing, and then their eyes met. ? It is the Sea Venus !' and the face of Kate Randolph turned crimson- as she spoke. On the vessel came, and half an hour after Basil Barton stepped out upon the pier, and Colonel Randolph was there to meet him. 1 And Lieutenant Rodney ?' asked the pirate, as the two walked together towards the mansion. . ?? ' Has gone back to his vessel, which is stationed at Boston, as you know he expected it to be.' ' And your wife and Miss Kate ?' ' Are well, and waiting to welcome you.' ' I hope Miss Luline is also well ?' 'Oh, yes, and was here when your vessel was sighted, but had to return home, she said.'
1 he colonel did not see the bucca neer frown at this piece of informa tion. They had now reached the mansion, and Mrs. Randolph and Kate came forward to greet him. He told of his cruise, spoke indifferently ol several engagements he had had, and said that he could remain but a few days, as he must again to sea. As Luline did not come over to the Range the next morning, Captain Bartona, as he was still called, said he would go over and pay his respects to her. The parents of Luline were away from home, the negro butler said, on a visit for the day ; but Miss Luline was in the arbour on the shore. Thither he went. Luline was seated there in silent meditation. She heard not his ap proach, for he advanced with' cat-like tread, and stood gazing into the little window just behind her. Moved by some thought that flashed through her mind, she stamped her little foot impatiently, and then from
her lips broke the words : 1 Oh, why did he come back here, just as I had made up my mind to forget him, and to become the wife of Rodney Randolph ! I could bury my secret in my heart, and no one would ever suspect, and I alone would be the one to suffer, for I would make Rodney happy, and he (Basil) would love and marry Kate, and she would be so happy. As it is, if he does not, poor Kate's heart will break, I fear, for she loves him to idolatry almost. And yet she does not love him more than I do.' 'Heaven bless you, Luline, for those words !' She uttered a cry of alarm, and seemed almost about to swoon away with the emotion that rushed upon her. But he sprung' into the arbour and caught her in his arms. She struggled to free herself, and as he did not release her, she pillowed her
head upon his heart and burst into tears. He had heard her words, she had betrayed her secret to him/and she was almost overwhelmed. * ' And you love me, my poor little frightened girl,' he said, softly.: ?Yes.' She spoke the word almost fiercely. Then she raised her head and looked him in the.face. , 7 , ' I will not utter a falsehood, and aoyr, say that I do not loye^ou^that I do not mean what I said. I do love vpu, and Moved you the moment l*aw*ypu.:'BuViJ»id1iny love from .every eye, and I meant to keep it hidden. Before : Rodney Randolph left home he asked me to love him— to become his wife. I told him to wait, and I would give him my answer upon our next meeting. I meant to subdue my love for you, and to accept him, for he is a man whom unrequited love kills or drives mad. ' I had loved him, too, since my girlhood. Well, he departed, and I set about tny task of conquering my love for you. ' I had another motive, too, and I tell it in all kindness. It was because I had seen that, you were Joved by Kate Randolph. She loves you with her whole soul, heart, and being. She is as noble a woman as her brother is a man, and if I, 'by sacrificing self, could make her happy, could make Rodney happy, I felt that you would be with Kate Randolph for a wife. I had laid my plans, and to-day I was. going over to the. Range and carry; out my good resolves. But see, you came upon me unawares.' -.,- ??-'? He stood with folded- arms before her, leaning against the arbour post. His face was earnest, and he kepi his bright, fascinating eyes upon her, and she met their gaze unflinchingly. He heard her through in silence. Then he said: ' Luline, I have never loved Kate Randolph, but you I loved the moment our eyes met. I admire Miss Randolph immensely and I love Rodney as a brother ; but why, when I love you, and I have your own words for it that you love me, should we makeourselves unhappy to give others happiness ? I would never ask Miss Randolph to marry me. Had I not known you I might have done so. For you to marry Rodney, loving me,
would be sacrilege and sin. 1 ask you to be my wife. To remain here and make you my wife would be to bring gloom upon all. Let us go far away from here. If you love me, as you say, you will fly with me, and time will heal the wounds of those we leave behind. I will set sail at sun set, and when I have run down the bay a league I will return in tny boat for you. I will meet you at this very spot. Will you be here, Luline 7 Will you become my wife, Luline ?' ?Yes.' He smiled, and it was a smile of triumph, for Basil Barton was without mercy for any roan or woman. ^ CHAPTER XLV,
'ONE MORE UNFORTUNATE.' At last the time .came when the Sea Venus was to sail. Away sailed the schooner in the gathering gloom, while poor Kate threw herself down on her knees by the open window, and gazed after the departing vessel, while her heart seemed almost crushed with bitter, silent grief. Away sailed the pirate vessel, until the shadows of night enveloped it, and then she was stripped of canvas and lay motionless upon the waters of the Chesapeake. Then a boat was lowered, the oars were muffled, and the two oarsmen pulled slowly back towards the Leslie homestead, while in the stern sat Basil Barton, grim and silent. A landing was made, and up to the arbour went the outlaw lover. There Luline awaiteS him, but she was not alone. ' Basila, this is my old nurse, Mam' Priscilla, whom you remember. She will go with me, for I have told her just what I intend to do.' Basil Barton smothered a curse,
but he said : ' Certainly, Luline, I am more than glad that you have a protectress, until we reach a part when you can be made my wife. My cabin shall be wholly at the service of yourself and Main' Priscilla. But come, we must catch all of this good breeze that we can. Are you ready ?' ' Yes, I am ready,' she said in a low voice. The two men were called and bore her luggage, which she and Mam' Priscilla had smuggled out of the home down to the boat, and taking her hand, the buccaneer led her to the beach. ' I left a letter for my parents, another for poor Kate,' she said, as the boat pulled away. At last the schooner was reached, the young girl and Priscilla were ushered into the cabin, the boat was hauled up to the davits, sail was set, and away sped the beautiful craft, with 'one more unfortunate' upon her decks to wilt under the shadow of the black flag that was to make known to her that she was a buccaneer's bride. To Be Continued.