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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesDick Cheveley: His Adventures And Misadventures - Chapter 8
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Dick Cheveley: His Adventures And Misadventures - Chapter 8 Post by :headdreamer Category :Long Stories Author :William H. G. Kingston Date :May 2012 Read :488

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Dick Cheveley: His Adventures And Misadventures - Chapter 8

CHAPTER EIGHT

My reception at home--Aunt Deb again gives her advice--My father and I pay another visit to Leighton Hall--Our guard--Interview with Sir Reginald--A score that was not settled to my satisfaction--My awkward position--My father receives a threatening letter--Aunt Deb decides on action--Preparations for my departure--The journey in the coach--Our fellow-travellers--A false alarm--My aunt's character further comes out--Our arrival at Liverpool--Our reception--Mr Butterfield--I explore Liverpool--My first visit to the "Emu"--I gain some information--I lose my way--Aunt Deb's anxiety on my account--A small difficulty well got out of--I pay another visit to the "Emu"--My ideas as to officers and seamanship receive a somewhat rude check--I make the acquaintance of Gregory Growles--I lose my cutter--"Thief! Thief!"--I speak to Mr Butterfield as to my going to sea--His opinions on the subject--He makes me a kind offer--Matters still unsettled--A reference to Aunt Deb.

My father supported me as we walked home; for, now that the excitement was over, I felt so exhausted that without his assistance I could not have got along. Before we had got far, however, we fortunately fell in with some of the people who had been sent by my father to look for me. They, taking me in their arms, saved me from the necessity of making further exertions. As we went on we met several seafaring men, boatmen and others, who I thought scowled at me as I passed.

The news of the capture of the goods having got abroad, it had been reported that I had given the information. My mother and sisters received me affectionately. To my satisfaction I found that Aunt Deb was out in the village. On her return, having heard some account of my adventures, looking at me sternly she said--

"Well, Master Richard; and so you have been continuing your foolish pranks, and throwing us all out of our wits. Depend upon it, nephew, you'll come to a bad end if you don't manage to act with more discretion during your future course in life."

I felt too tired just then to reply to Aunt Deb's remarks as I should have liked to do. I merely said--

"I could not help being carried off by the smugglers; and as I have been the means of getting a good many of them captured, and also of enabling the revenue-men to seize their stores, I hope that Sir Reginald will now feel anxious to reward me by obtaining for me the appointment I have so long wished for."

"If it suits Sir Reginald's convenience he may do so," said my aunt. "We shall see; we shall see."

I had to give an account of my adventures to every one in the house, and I was very thankful when I was able to go to bed, feeling no inclination to put myself in the way of going through any fresh adventures.

Next morning, after breakfast, I asked my father if he would accompany me to Leighton Park, that I might make another appeal to Sir Reginald.

"You'll only get a flea in your ear, John," remarked Aunt Deb. "Sir Reginald will just consider you troublesome. You are much more likely to succeed if you let him alone."

My father, however, for a wonder, ventured to differ with Aunt Deb, and agreed to take me to see the baronet. He had become, I found, very anxious about my safety, being convinced that the smugglers would, if they had the opportunity, punish me severely for having interfered in their affairs. This made him more than ever anxious to get me away from home. Not satisfied that even during the walk to Leighton Park we might not be attacked, he directed old Thomas, the gardener, to arm himself with a blunderbuss and a brace of pistols, and to follow, keeping us always in sight. He didn't think it would become him as a minister of the gospel to carry fire-arms through his own parish, and he was afraid to entrust them to me.

"Remember, Thomas, that if you see any smugglers come near, you are to march up and point your blunderbuss at their heads."

"You may be sure, sir, as I'll do that," answered Thomas. "I have been a man of peace all my life, but I'm ready to fight in your cause, and I believe the Lord will forgive me if I kill any one."

"I don't think there is much chance of that," said my father. "Your appearance with your blunderbuss loaded up to the muzzle will be sufficient to deter any of the ruffians from attacking us."

We set out together. Thomas gradually dropped behind to the required distance. As we walked along I looked every now and then over my shoulder to be sure that he was following, for I had an uncomfortable feeling that the smugglers would be on the watch for me. We, however, reached the park without any adventure.

Sir Reginald kept us waiting longer than usual before we were admitted into his presence.

"Well, Mr Cheveley, we have succeeded at last in giving a blow to the smugglers which will put a stop to their proceedings for some time to come at all events. Though the 'Saucy Bess' got off, we captured some of her crew and several of the men assisting them."

"I congratulate you, Sir Reginald," said my father; "and I ventured to call on you to explain that my son Richard has rendered considerable service to the cause. It was through him that information of the intended run the other night was obtained, and he also discovered one of the smugglers' hiding-places, 'Grime's Mill,' and was the means of enabling the revenue-men to capture a considerable store of their contraband goods."

Sir Reginald smiled.

"I'm glad to hear this," he observed; "for to say the truth, I have had strong doubts as to your son's connexion with the smugglers. He is intimate, I find, with an old sailor, Roger Riddle, who though too cunning to be caught is known to aid and abet them in their proceedings. By his means young Mark Riddle, who is both smuggler and poacher, made his escape from my lock-up room only last week. Had it not been for my respect for you, I could not have passed the matter over, and I am happy now to be able to set the services you say he has rendered against his former conduct. I am the more willing to do this as young Riddle was taken just as he landed from the 'Saucy Bess,' and we shall now get rid of him, as he will be either committed to prison for two years or sent off to sea to serve his Majesty for seven years."

I was very sorry when I heard this, but of course did not express my feelings to Sir Reginald. My father looked rather uncomfortable; he was a nervous man, and Sir Reginald always awed him. He, however, mustered courage to proceed.

"I hope, Sir Reginald, that my son's good conduct will induce you to interest yourself in his favour, and that you will forward his views by exerting yourself to obtain the appointment he so greatly desires. I am very anxious to get him away from the neighbourhood, as I am afraid the smugglers, who are aware that he has been instrumental in the capture of their friends and goods, will revenge themselves on his head. I dare not let him leave the house alone, and even coming here I was obliged to bring an armed attendant for his protection."

"I have told you, Mr Cheveley, that I consider his late conduct is a set-off against his unpardonable proceeding. I will, however, remember his wish; and, should an opportunity occur, will forward his views. I must now wish you good morning, for my time is much occupied with my magisterial and parliamentary duties, and you must excuse me."

The baronet prepared to bow us out of the room. He shook hands with my father, who took the hint and backed towards the door, and gave me only a formal nod, without allowing a smile to irradiate his features.

We found old Thomas waiting at the hall door with his blunderbuss on his shoulder. My father walked on with hurried steps some distance, not uttering a word. At last he said--

"To what did Sir Reginald allude when he talked of your connexion with young Riddle?"

I told him how Mark had been seized and locked up and how I had unintentionally assisted him to escape.

"I believe what you say, Richard; but you can't be surprised at the baronet being annoyed, and I'm afraid from his tone that we must not expect much from him."

We had got about two-thirds of the way home when we saw three men coming towards us, one of whom I recognised as Burden. I had not yet told my father that I believed him to be one of the men who had shut me up in the old mill. He started as he saw me, and then scanned me narrowly, as if uncertain whether it could really be myself.

Though I knew that old Thomas and his blunderbuss were close behind us, I felt very uncomfortable, as I could not tell how the men might be inclined to act. Mustering courage at last, I looked Burden in the face. My father nodded to him and the other men, as he was accustomed to do to his parishioners. They hesitated for a moment, and then passed on. I looked back and saw them watching old Thomas, but they didn't speak to him, and he trudged sturdily after us without paying them any attention.

"I wonder what was the matter with Burden?" asked my father, as we got to some distance.

I then told him it was my belief that he was one of my captors.

"We can't prove it, even if he were," said my father. "He deserves punishment, but the law is expensive and uncertain, and I should prefer letting him alone."

As far as I could tell the matter was likely to rest here. I lost a jacket and waistcoat, but was not otherwise the worse for my adventure. The next day, however, a letter came by the post addressed to my father, at the top of which was a death's head and cross-bones, very rudely drawn, and beneath it the words:--

"Informers must look out for what informers deserve. The young master who got off t'other day must look out for squalls. He has been and dug his own grave, and in it he'll lie before long; so he had better say his prayers. He won't have long to say them. This comes from one who knows him. John Grimes."

My father turned pale when he read the letter. Aunt Deb insisted on seeing it, and then my mother wished to read the contents. She almost fainted.

"This is terrible," she exclaimed. "Yet, surely, the smugglers will not have the barbarity to injure a mere boy like Dick."

"I'm not so certain of that," said Aunt Deb. "Warnings ought not to be neglected. I have long been contemplating paying a visit to my second cousin, Godfrey Butterfield, who is now a flourishing merchant at Liverpool. I'll write and say that I am coming, and bringing with me one of my nephews. I shall not wait for an answer, but will set off immediately; for I'm certain I shall be welcome."

When Aunt Deb said this I saw a smile on the countenance of my elder sisters and brothers, who had not been so much affected by the threatening letter as the rest of the family.

"I'll post the letter at once, and we will set off this evening. What do you say, John?"

My father at once agreed to Aunt Deb's proposal.

"Thank you!" exclaimed my mother. "I shall be much more at my ease when Dick is out of the reach of these terrible men."

Aunt Deb wrote and despatched her letter, and the rest of the morning was employed in making preparations for the journey. Ned had to give up one of his jackets and waistcoats, which exactly fitted me, and my other things were quickly packed in a small chest. I also unrigged and did up the cutter which Roger Riddle had given me, as I fancied I should have an opportunity of sailing it at Liverpool. I made Ned also promise to go and call on the old man, and to tell him how sorry I was to hear that Mark had been sent off to sea, and how much I regretted not being able to wish him good-bye before I went.

We had some distance to drive before we reached the town at which the coach stopped. My father at once sent off for a postchaise, and old Thomas went on the box, armed as before with a blunderbuss and a couple of horse-pistols. As we drove through the village Aunt Deb made me sit back, while she leant forward as if there was no one else inside. Whether or not this precaution was necessary I don't know; but at all events we reached our destination without being stopped by highwaymen.

There were two places vacant in the coach, and although I should have preferred going outside, Aunt Deb insisted on my remaining with her. The other passengers were fat old women, who eat apples and drank gin-and-water for supper, and then snored, and sneezed, and groaned all night long. I know that I wished myself anywhere but where I was. The old ladies talked of highwaymen, coaches stopped, and passengers murdered, till they talked themselves into a state of nervous fear. One or the other was constantly poking her head out of the window, and declaring that she saw a man galloping after the coach with a blunderbuss over his shoulder. However, as the guard gave no signal, I was very sure that their imaginations had conjured up the robber.

"Pray, ladies, do sit quiet," at length exclaimed Aunt Deb, who being a strong-minded woman was not influenced by similar fears. "It will be time enough to cry out if a highwayman does come to demand our purses, and we'll hope that the guard will shoot him dead before he has had time to open the door."

"Oh! How dreadful!" shrieked out one of the ladies. "I would sooner let him have everything he asked for than see a handsome highwayman shot."

"Fiddle-de-dee about a handsome highwayman," said Aunt Deb, in a scornful tone. "They're ugly ruffians, and miserable arrant cowards to boot. If one does venture to stop the coach, I'll not give him any of my property as long as I have hands to defend it."

Notwithstanding Aunt Deb's remarks, our fellow-travellers continued in the same state of alarm the greater part of the night, and to comfort themselves took further sips of gin; until, becoming perfectly fuddled, they dropped off to sleep.

I almost wished that a highwayman would appear, to see how Aunt Deb would behave; but morning at length dawned, and I fell asleep, nor did I wake till the coach stopped for breakfast. We travelled on all day with the same unpleasant companions, and I was glad to find that we were to go no farther that night. I remember that I dropped off to sleep before supper was over, and was very unwilling to get up the next morning when Aunt Deb called me. The fear of offending her, notwithstanding, made me jump out of bed and hurry on my clothes, and I was in time to take my seat in the coach, which came up soon after breakfast. She still refused to let me go outside, and I had to endure another day's misery, shut up with her and a lady and a fat gentleman, who took snuff and snored, and nearly tumbled over me in his sleep, and a young woman with a baby, who at intervals kept up a chorus of squalls, which considerably aggravated my respected aunt; and I really thought that, if she had given way to her feelings, she would have tossed it out of the window.

As sublunary troubles always do, the journey came to an end, and the coach deposited us at the door of Mr Butterfield, Aunt Deb's cousin. The worthy merchant--a bald-headed, rosy-faced gentleman, of large proportions, who wore brown cloth knee-breeches, large silver buckles, a flowered waistcoat of ample length, with a snowy neckcloth, and a frilled shirt, a coat of the same hue as his unmentionables--received us, as he descended the steps, with a cordiality I little expected.

"Glad to see you, Cousin Deb, though times have changed since you and I played hide-and-seek in our great-aunt's garden. You have shot up in one direction and I have grown in the other considerably. And this is John Cheveley's boy, is he? You are welcome to Liverpool, lad. We'll see what we can make of you here. Plant you on a high stool, and set you quill-driving. Are you a good hand at figuring? We don't value the Latin and Greek most lads have crammed into their heads to the exclusion of all other useful knowledge. Pounds, shillings, and pence are what we have to do with in our commercial city."

Thus the old gentleman ran on without even waiting for me to answer. He then conducted us to our bedchambers; and as soon as we had washed our hands we descended to the supper-room, where the board was amply spread. He did not again allude to the high stool and quill-driving, but his remark had made a deep impression on my mind. There was nothing I hated so much as the thought of being shut up in a counting-house. He asked me if I was accustomed to go out alone, and satisfied on that score from what Aunt Deb and I said, he told me that I might amuse myself the next morning by exploring Liverpool, provided I took good note of the way home. This was just what I thought of doing, and to my relief Aunt Deb said she would be too tired to go out.

Accordingly the next morning, after breakfast, I got ready to sally forth. Mr Butterfield had gone to his office, and did not see me. I in reality cared very little for exploring the town, and accordingly inquired my way to the river. Instead of the stream I expected to find I saw a broad expanse of water, with vessels of all rigs and sizes in spacious docks, or moored alongside the quays. I was going along the quay when I saw a large ship taking in cargo. Making my way on till I got astern of her, I observed that she was called the "Emu." I walked up and down admiring her amazingly.

"Now if I can't go on board a man of war, and wear a cockade and a dirk by my side, I should like to take a voyage in a ship like that. What a magnificent craft! What proud fellows the captain and officers must be to belong to that ship. I wonder whether the captain would like me as a midshipman? The crew--I can fancy how they sit on the forecastle and sing 'Rule Britannia,' 'Poor Tom Bowling,' 'One night it blew a hurricane.' Happy chaps! I should like to belong to her. I think I'll go on board and ask the captain to take me.

"Mr Butterfield evidently intends that I should go into his counting-house. Dreadful work to have to set on a high stool, to dot and carry one, and to scribble away all day. I could not stand it. It would kill me. It was bad enough to have to go to school, and then we had a good many play-hours; but in these stuffy, musty, dark offices, I have heard that they have only half-an-hour for dinner, and work away till ten o'clock at night. That sort of life would never suit me.

"Yes, I'll go and see the captain, and I'll tell him that I was intended for the navy, that I should have become an admiral some day, and that will make him treat me with consideration."

Such were my cogitations as I stood, with my hands in my pockets, gazing at the "Emu." When it came to the point I felt somewhat nervous about going to speak to the captain. Perhaps he would not treat me with the respect I should desire. He might not have a vacant berth, and I could scarcely expect a stranger to make a place for me. At last, after walking backwards and forwards very often, I ascended a plank which led me to the gangway in the after part of the ship, and stepped on board.

For some time, all the men being occupied in hoisting in cargo, no one took notice of me. I was thinking that I must go and speak to the captain if I were to speak to him at all, when one of the men coming aft asked me what I wanted.

"I wish to see the captain of this ship," I said.

"He is not on board, and is not likely to be until she sails," he replied. "Do you bring any message for him? If you do, you had better see the second mate."

"No thank you," I replied; "I want to see the captain," in as important a tone as I could command.

"Well, then, you may find the captain at the ship-broker's in Dale Street."

This threw me out, for I knew that the second mate would not have power to receive me on board, and I did not like the thought of having to confront the captain in an office full of clerks. I therefore, losing courage, turned round and walked on shore again. Still I could not tear myself from the ship, but continued pacing backwards and forwards, now taking a look at her lofty masts and spars, now at her hull freshly painted, now at the men working at the cranes and tackles hoisting in cargo.

While I was thus engaged a sailor-like man, who I supposed was an officer, stopped near me.

"Please, sir," I said, "could you tell me where that ship is going to?"

"Yes, my lad. She's bound out by Cape Horn into the Pacific, and up the west coast of America, and perhaps to go across to Australia, and may be away for two or three years."

"Thank you, sir," I said. "She's a very fine ship."

"As to that there are many finer, but she's a tidy craft in her way," remarked the seaman, turning on his heel.

"Now that is just the sort of voyage I should like to make. To double great Cape Horn. What a grand idea! And visit the country of the Incas and Peruvians, and the wonderful coral islands of the Pacific. I am much inclined to ask Mr Butterfield if he can get me on board her. Perhaps she's one of his ships, and I shall then very likely come back as a mate. I might have to remain a long time in the navy before I became a lieutenant, and after all perhaps one might enjoy a much more independent life in the merchant service.

"Yes, I'll ask the old gentleman; but then I'm afraid Aunt Deb will interfere. She doesn't want me to go to sea, and she'll say all sorts of things to prevent him doing what I wish. There's nothing like trying, however; and if he agrees, I must get him to obtain Aunt Deb's consent to my going. I'm sure my father won't make any objection."

Having arrived at this conclusion, I was now eager to get back to have a talk with Mr Butterfield. I forgot that he was not likely to leave his office till much later in the day. I had become desperately hungry also, and as I had come out without any money in my pocket, I was unable to buy a bun or a roll to appease my appetite. I set off, fancying that I should have no difficulty in finding my way, but I wandered about for a couple of hours or more before I succeeded in getting back to Mr Butterfield's house.

Aunt Deb received me with a frown.

"Now where have you been all this time?" she asked. "I've had luncheon an hour or so, or more. I suppose the servant has cleared the things away, and you can't expect her to bring them up again for your pleasure."

"Thank you, Aunt Deb," I answered. "But I'll just run and see."

To my infinite satisfaction, on going into the parlour I found the table still covered with roast beef, and pies, tarts, and puddings; for Mr Butterfield liked the good things of this life, and wished his friends to enjoy them also. Didn't I tuck in. I often afterwards thought of that luncheon; it presented itself to me in my dreams; I recollected it with longing affection during my waking hours. I helped myself to two or three glasses of wine to wash down the food. With a sigh of regret I felt that I could eat no more. I then stowed myself away in a comfortable arm-chair in the corner of the room, and very naturally fell fast asleep. I had a dim recollection of seeing Aunt Deb come into the room to look for me, but as I didn't speak, she left the room supposing that I had gone out of the house to take another walk. When I awoke Martha was laying the things for dinner.

"Why, Master Cheveley, Miss Deborah has been asking for you for ever so long," she said. "You had better go and see her, for she's in a dreadful taking, I can assure you."

I knew Aunt Deb too well to venture into her presence under the circumstances if I could avoid it, so I ran into my room, washed my hands, and brushed my hair, so as to present myself in a respectable state before Mr Butterfield. I watched for him till he went into the drawing-room, and then followed. Aunt Deb had not yet come down. I was thinking of asking him about my going to sea on board the "Emu." He didn't give me the opportunity, but he at once questioned me as to what I had seen in the city.

"You think Liverpool a very fine place?" he remarked.

"Yes, sir, a very fine place indeed," I answered boldly.

But when he came to inquire where I had been, and what part I admired most, I was nonplussed, and had nothing to say about the matter. My thoughts had been entirely occupied with the docks and the shipping.

"Ah, yes, Liverpool has become an important port; superior to Bristol, or Hull; and some day we shall be equal to London, we flatter ourselves."

I thought this would be a good opportunity of telling him how fond I was of the sea, and that I hoped he would let me go on board one of his ships, when just at that moment Aunt Deb entered. She began scolding me for having absented myself so long from her, but Mr Butterfield interfered.

"The lad naturally wishes to see a new place, where he may spend some time perhaps. So don't be too hard on him, Cousin Deborah."

We soon went down to dinner, and Aunt Deb said no more. I ate as many of the good things as I could, but after so large a luncheon I had less room than usual. Mr Butterfield placed my moderation to the score of my modesty.

"Come, come, lad, eat away," he said. "These things were given to us for our benefit, and can't fail to do us good."

I at last had to give in, letting Martha take away my plate with a large portion of its contents untasted. I should have liked to have remained to talk to Mr Butterfield when Aunt Deb retired, but she insisted on my coming up, afraid that the old gentleman in his hospitality would be giving me more wine than would be good for me. I had thus no opportunity of talking to him alone. The following morning I begged leave to go out again. Mr Butterfield willingly consented, though Aunt Deb observed that I should be better employed at home summing and writing.

"He'll have enough of that by-and-by. In the meantime he can learn his way about the city," said the old gentleman.

I thanked him very much, and he went away to his office.

Going into my room, I bethought me that I would take my cutter down to the river and give her a sail. It took me some time, however, to step the mast and set up the rigging. As soon as this was done, not thinking it necessary to see Aunt Deb first, I started off, carrying the little vessel under my arm. The boys in the streets, I thought, admired her exceedingly. It made me feel that I was a nautical character amid the seafaring population. Though I didn't exactly recollect the way, after making various turnings, I found myself at the quay where the "Emu" lay. "Now," I thought to myself, "I'll go on board, and if I can't see the captain, I'll have a talk with the crew. They'll perceive by my cutter that I'm not a greenhorn, and I can offer to show them what I know by explaining how I sail her." With more confidence than I had felt on the previous day, I walked up the plank. I could nowhere see the captain, nor any other officer, and therefore turned towards the spot where the men were at work taking in the cargo.

"Well, boy, what do you want?" inquired a rough, surly-looking old seaman, who was handling a large case?

"I have come to see the ship; and as I like her, I think of getting the captain to take me as an officer," I answered, with as much confidence as I could assume.

"Officer!" the old sailor answered, with a hoarse laugh. "You an officer, jackanapes; why we should want a cow on board to give you milk."

"What is your name?" I asked, determined not to be put down.

"Gregory Growles," answered the seaman.

"Well, look, Gregory Growles, if that's your name, I understand sailing this cutter as well as you do," and I began to explain how I was wont to navigate her according to Riddle's instructions. I then announced the names of the ropes and sails.

Gregory Growles, with his arms akimbo, and several of the other seamen, stood listening to me, evidently highly amused. When I had finished, they all laughed in chorus.

"You know the ABC, maybe, of seamanship; but, look here, just tell us the names of some of the ropes and spars of this ship."

I looked about exceedingly puzzled, for I could not give the name of one of them.

"I thought so," said Growles. "You had better go to school again, and learn a little more before you think of topping the officer over us."

"I only want to become a midshipman," I said; "I could soon learn when I got to sea."

"We have no midshipmen on board the 'Emu,'" said Growles.

"Come, youngster, clear out of this, for we have to go on working, and you're in the way."

Abashed, I retired to the after part of the deck, followed by the derisive laughter of the seamen, who went on, as before, hauling and hoisting in the cargo. I walked about, examining various things on the deck, and looking into the cabin, and thinking what a fine place it was, for it was handsomely furnished, and how I should like to be its occupant. No one took any further notice of me, and at last I unwillingly returned on shore. I looked out for a place to sail my vessel, but the landing-place was crowded with boats, and it struck me that if I let her go I should find it impossible to recover her. I had, therefore, to carry her about all day without any advantage, and my arms ached, though I held her sometimes under one arm and sometimes under another, and occasionally placed her on my shoulder. Several boys asked me what I would take for her, and one or two begged that I would let them examine her. At last one biggish fellow snatched her off my shoulder. I tried to recover her, but another tripped me up. Getting up, I made chase, but the thief, turning sharp round the corner, disappeared. I shouted in vain for him to come back. My cutter was gone. There was no one to whom I could appeal for help--no watchman, no constable. Some persons I met said it was a great shame, but they didn't help me. Others only laughed, and observed that such things were very common. I waited about. A number of boys joined me and shouted "Thief! Thief!" but, as may be supposed, I could not find him, and had to return home very disconsolate at my loss. That evening, much to my satisfaction, Aunt Deb had a bad headache, and could not make her appearance at dinner. This gave me an opportunity of speaking to Mr Butterfield.

"I should be happy to further your views, my lad, but I have promised your Aunt Deborah to take you into my counting-house, and I have only been waiting a day or two until a boy has left, whose place I intend you to fill. You'll begin low down, but by perseverance and industry you will, in the course of a few years, rise to a respectable position. Many lads fancy they would like to go to sea, and bitterly repent it afterwards. You will have a far more comfortable life on shore, and the position of an English merchant is as honourable a one as a man could desire to follow."

These remarks didn't at all suit my taste. I thanked Mr Butterfield, but told him that my heart had long been set on going to sea, and that I didn't expect to be happy in any other calling.

"That's what many lads say, but afterwards find out that they have made a very great mistake," he remarked.

"But they don't all do that, or we should have no sailors," I argued. I then told him that I had been on board the "Emu," which, I concluded, would sail in a few days, and that I should much like to go in her.

"She's not my vessel," he answered, "though I know something of the captain. He is a good sailor, though he is not the man under whom I should wish to place a lad. However, when your aunt is better, I'll talk the matter over with her; and should she consent, then I'll see what can be done."

I fancied that I had made some way; and, in spite of the loss of my cutter, I went to bed more contented in my mind than I had been for some time.

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Dick Cheveley: His Adventures And Misadventures - Chapter 9 Dick Cheveley: His Adventures And Misadventures - Chapter 9

Dick Cheveley: His Adventures And Misadventures - Chapter 9
CHAPTER NINE Mr Butterfield's office--My future prospects--I again visit the "Emu"--Aunt Deb's good advice--I rebel--All sailors are not beggars-- My next visit to the "Emu"--Shall I stow myself away?--Conflicting ideas--Looking over the ship, I meet with an accident--Once more a prisoner--The hold of the "Emu"--Not a stowaway--My possible fate--No bones broken--"The blue above and the blue below"--Perseverance conquers all difficulties--On the high seas--Sea-sick--On the kelson-- I give way to despair--"Help! Help!"--The yarn of Sam Switch's ghost--I feel the pangs of hunger--I review my past life--Never say die--Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink--My efforts meet with some success.
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Dick Cheveley: His Adventures And Misadventures - Chapter 7 Dick Cheveley: His Adventures And Misadventures - Chapter 7

Dick Cheveley: His Adventures And Misadventures - Chapter 7
CHAPTER SEVEN A prisoner in the vault--The headless miller--I continue my explorations--My perilous position--My further attempts at escape--The recess--An unexpected shower-bath--A glimpse of light--I escape from the vault, but not from prison--A lower chamber in Old Grime's mill-- The result of my further endeavours to escape--My signal of distress-- The Revenue-men--My rescue--The search for the smugglers' goods--My hunger relieved--On guard--Meeting with my father--The last of old Grime's mill. Strange as it may seem, I fell asleep. How long my eyes had been closed I could not tell. I fancied I heard the voices of people coming down through the
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