|Newspaper Title||Adelaide Chronicle and South Australian Literary Record (SA : 1840 - 1842)|
|Trove Title||Maurice Chesterfield. A Tale of the Quarter Deck|
MAURICE CHESTERFIELD. ^ y
A TALE OP THE QUARTER DECK. CHAPTER IV.
" Shared each others' gladness, " And wept each others' tears." One evening Maurice and Mr Beaumont were seated together in an arbour in the garden at the back of the latter's house and conversing together. " I tell you what itis, Maurice," said Beaumont, "it is co use disguising it, there is some mystery about you, and you may as well tell it to me." Why I think, if what people say is true, I may return the same observation." Beaumont looked very black at. this, and said, " My mystery, if it is a mystery, is indeed a very sorrowful one, but is yours so too?" " Mors so than yours can be."
" Then we'll disclose to each other our se- - erets, and you shall begin." Maurice then for the second time made a "Confidant of his secret, but this time it was not received as MacScully received it. Beaumont looked at him with pity, not unmixed with displeasure, when lie learnt that his desire to repay the debt, arose from the burthen of an obligatisntoa msothat be hated, and mot from a ncble feeling of reconciliation. He pointed out to him that Caymau had done no more than bis duty in punishing him and Charley, and that the latter falling overboard was no fault of the first lieutenant's. He remarked, for a long time (too long to - be pleasantto Maurice), on the extreme cowardice of shooting at him in the dark, and most willingly believed that he must have been : nearly mad to have stooped to so low, so coldblooded a revenge. He urged Maurice when he sent met withOayrtian to do his utmost towards pi reconciliation, and to repay him the debt with gratitude for his kindness, and not from a haughty desire to be free from obligation. 411 these remarks might have made some effect os Maurice, but we are afraid they did not. Beaumont next told him his own story, which was as brief as it was sad. Be had been a widower, and had ah only child, a little son, Which one day mysteriously disappeared ; it had preyed on Itis mind for a long time, and now he had hardly recovered it, but somehow he had a conviction that Charles Beaumont was yet ali?e, and he felt great anx iety as to the life. he was leading. Maurice's thoughts reverted to,little Charley Morris, but he thought it would Indeed be useless to arouse the poor man's feelings without any possibility . of satisfying them.
Gentle reader, Mr Fotanpan had grown quite old among his pots and pans. He was now quite gTey-headed. He had for some time past left the management of his busines* entirely in Maurice's hands, and it was evident he was fast going to a land where neither saucepans nor gridirons are required. Under such circumstances Maurice, who had long been at tlie head of the establishment, felt anxious to do his best now that all the responsibility of the business fell on him. He was, at one time, disgusted with the life, and was almost giving it up, but, upon thinking on his determination, he persevered, and now he felt that it was his duty to give it his utmost attention. One day he was reading the "Jamacia Flareup," and leaning on the counter, when he came to this passage—" The frigate Ariel, Clencby is also expected here shortly with despatches." "The d—1 she is," said Maurice aloud, " They'll want a whole heap of saucepans and things," he soliloquised. I perfectly remember what a fellow that black cook was to throw them overboard when near land, that he might have new ones, and get a commission on them. And then I can't leave the shop, for
poor Potanpan is very ill to-day, and before long will be worse—Ob, Lord !" The very idea of the black cook buying saucepans of him quite unnerved poor Maurice, and he made up his mind he'd run away sooner. Just then Beaumont came in, and he asked his advice. " Why, my dear fellow, if I'm in the shop at the time, I'll say I know you, and have known you from a child, and that you were never on board a man-of-war in your life, and they'll only think you atkyastonishing likeness. All you have to do is to persist in it, and, if he will have it that your Dame's Chesterfield, why call him an impudent fellow." This was far from satisfactory to poor Maurice, but he saw it was all he could do in the case. But, however, he was not doomed to pass through the ordeal he so much dreaded. One morning Mr Beaumont was at liis breakfast, when the shop-boy from the Hardware Mart arrived with a note from Maurice, acquainting Mr Beaumont that Mr Potanpan had died in the night, and requesting his advice and assistance. He immediately set out, arrived, and Maurice and he had a long consultation. Potanpan had no relation in Jamacia, and, on opening the will, he had left all his little property to Maurice. The next Jamacia " Flare-up *' had an advertisement touching all debts due to and by Peter Potanpan, Hardware
Merchant, Jinkins-street, Jamacia; and the vessel bound for London direct, the Sea Devil, Crowther, master, had a passage taken in her for Mr Edward Maurice. Previous, however, to MB departure, he wrote a long letter to Beaumont, telling him the whole history of Charley Morris, who, he said, he could see and inquire about when the Ariel arrived. This letter he sent on shore the last thing as the Sea Devil sailed. The wind was adverse, and they were tacking, and so getting slowly out to sea, when a beautiful frigate hove in sight, coming into the port. A«-EHE rapnHy—ireared— suspicions that it was no other than the expected vessel, in which Maurice once had been senior midshipman, were confirmed, and he was just going below as she was about to pass them, when Captain Crowther began t© converse with him about the frigate, and he felt that it would be queer to go below when every one seemed so interested in the noble vessel as she bounded on. There was one figure on the quarter-deck besides the man at the wheel, and Maurice immediately saw that it was neither Clencfcy nor the first lieutenant. As she passed . them in the same beautiful way he recognised the yoong officer as a lieutenant, but though much taller than when he knew him, there was no doubt of the identity of little Charley Morris. It was not till after they had spoke each other that he saw the recognition was mutual, for the lieutenant waved his hand to him, and he could see the mixture of surprise and delight on his face as he shouted " Good bye, Maurice." Chesterfield returned his salute, and then descended his cabin in great distress. Here was little Charley Morris had been rising in the service and promoted to a lieutenant, while he had been an outcast, keeping a shop ! The Sea Devil made a long passage, and Maurice was getting low-spirited and discontented when she reached home. All danger of any interference cn account of the little affair on board the Ariel was now out of the question, and Maurice, immediately he lande reass umed liis own name. He had some difficulty in finding Lieutenant Cayman's resdence, but, after many fruitless inquiries, he put a letter in the post addressed to his sister, and
next day received one with their address, and informing him that Alfred had been long unheard of— the last news of him being what the Ariel brought previous to their sailing to Jamaica, viz., that he had been taken prisoner, and that if be were alive now he would be in some French prison. The next day Maurice called on Miss Cayman, and found her in great distress and poverty. He was glad to find be could be of use, for immediately he heard the news of his former friend's disappearance, all malevolence vanished in a moment. He merely stated that he owed Lieutenant Alfred Cayman so much money (principal and interest), and discharged it without asking for a receipt. Miss Cayman was surprised at such unexpected relief, and he took his leave with a lighter heart than be had ever felt since he left the Ariel. He had now fulfilled the resolution he had made on board her when under confinement, but in how much nobler a spirit had he fulfilled it than he had anticipated doing ? He bad determined to repay it to free himself from a debt, a heavy debt of obligation to a man he hated ; but he had now the ten times-greater delight of rendering a service to the-sister of the man he no longer hated, but loved. Yes. all his friendship, all his love for Alfred had returned when he heard he was a prisoner, and he wanted but an interview with him to ask his forgiveness—not for the act of violence itself, but for the years of bitter enmity and evil thoughts against him which had followed. The sum of money he had payed was twice as much as,he had borrowed of Cayman, but even this Chesterfield looked •Upon as nothing, and he felt he could never be at rest till he was again/the friend of Alfred. [To be continued. - ]