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this way!-Holloa, there ! maintop men, bear a-hand ! clear-a-way that boat on the quarter!".
By this time the ship, reeling till she fell almost on her beam ends, came up to the wind with a mighty sweep; but miles were traversed in her speed, from the spot where the poor fellow had lost his hold, before her way could be stopped; the rumour too had now spread below, and his companions, from the starboard berth, came hurrying upon deck. Gallant and daring, but rash as they were brave, they heeded not the danger-they looked not on the raging sea—they thought not of the space to be traversed against a furious wind-of the impossibility of seeing an object in the water, through darkness, mist, and spray :--they only thought of saving their messmate-their friend; he whom they loved like a brother-they sprung into the boat in a moment, to the number of five or six, and fierce demands for oars and rudder, were mingled with cries of “ Cast loose, men ; cast loose, and lower away-lower away, and be dd to ye-the poor fellow will be gone." But the top-men and quarter-masters, more experienced and less excited than the young midshipmen, perceived the full peril, or rather the certainty of destruction, in an attempt which must be fruitless ; and they were slowly and reluctantly obeying these repeated and peremptory orders, when the voice of the captain was heard, in tones of grave authority, rising above the tumult and the roar of the winds.
“Keep all fast, men-keep all fast, I say : what-areye mad ?-Would ye wantonly add to this night's loss? what boat could live a moment in that sea ?-what hands could pull her to windward a single fathom if she floated ? secure the boat, men, and return to your stations.”_ “Lieutenant G.” said he, addressing the officer of the watch, as soon as the men had left the quarter-deck, “this attempt should not have been permitted : I reckoned more upon you, as an officer of trust and experience. On duty, sir, feeling should never overpower the judgment; and who, in the exercise of his judgment, would have committed the lives of men to the mercy of such a sea ? Young men, the motives of your thoughtless conduct excuse you from my censure ; but let the peril you have so narrowly escaped, be a lesson for the future;
- learn to distinguish between the resolute courage, which beseems a man, and the blind fool-hardihood, which fruitlessly exposes the lives of others with our own : if ye seek to become officers, this is a point of the first importance. No one of you regrets the fate of young Connoly more than I do, but the hand of God was plainly in the matter ; and were ye to strive against His might? Return to your duties or your berths.Mr. G. get the ship before the wind again, and keep your regular course.”
The frigate once more pursued her rapid way; and on the morrow, poor Connoly's sea chest, and his little property, were brought up, according to custom, to be
examined and inventoried ;-as is frequently the case on such occasions, an auction was made, of such articles of common use as were not likely to be valued by his mother and sisters; the produce of which was held for their behoof. At this sale, each of his messmates purchased some little memorial of their unfortunate comrade, without paying much attention to the price they gave; for they knew well, how much it would be needed, and yet how poorly the whole amount, were it ten times as great, could compensate for a loss so irreparable. Their good-will did not stop here: a collection was set on foot, to which every one contributed his mite-and the officers of the ship, desirous of testifying their regard for the deceased, added each what he could spare, for the benefit of the bereaved widow.
Many a glance was directed at the vacant seat of poor Connoly, as the young men assembled at the usual hour at their scanty meal ;-their customary mirth was clouded ; and much, and most sincere regret was expressed for the loss of so true-hearted a messmate. But the next day, his seat was occupied by some other member of the mess ;-allusions to their lost friend were less frequent ;- other events occurred, and afforded fresh topics of conversation ;-and in less than a week, the name of Connoly ceased to be mentioned : he had passed as it seemed from their memories, as he had from their presence-like a bubble on the current of human life, which dances gaily and sparkles for a while, then bursts, and is seen no more.
Yet, marked I when the bolt of Cupid fell,
It fell upon a little western flower,
And maidens call it love in idlings:
Like some fair bird, that, 'mid the leaves and flowers,
And the musk-roses utter sigh on sigh,
No mortal eye may gaze upon that bower !—