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in a gale of wind, at least when its fury is directed landward, the assault of the waves is tremendous. The noise, as they strike against the cliff, resembles the discharge of artillery; and on a dark and wintry night, the traveller in this storm-land has often been known to pause aghast, and turn his straining eyes towards the sea, in the idea that a naval engagement was in progress, either between men or fiends. It may be mentioned also, as something curious, that the “ voice of the cove,” as it is called, is usually heard before the coming of the tempest, or imagined to be so, and that at the ominous sound, even when skies are clearest, the mariners in a neighbouring village haul their boats far up on the dry beach.
The cliffs, as if worn and scooped out by the action of the tide, present at a distance the appearance of a large segment of a circle hanging over the water. The outline of their lofty summits, when seen at sea, is singularly picturesque; and so rugged and uneven are the sides, that no one has been known to attempt either to descend or scale the ridge, except an unfortunate peasant, many years ago, who taking fright in the middle of the adventure, loosed his hold, and reached the bottom, a dead
When the tide is completely out, however, the natives of the district frequently pass round the base of the rocks, along a tract of hard, fine sand; and this, too, is the time chosen for landing goods by stealth, when a small smuggling vessel, so steep is the beach, can run her bows upon the dry sand, while her stern floats in deep water.
The fact will perhaps not be sufficiently adverted to by readers whose experience has lain exclusively inland, that in maritime places, where the free trade is habitually carried on, there is by no means attached to the profession, the stigma which elsewhere classes its followers with the most desperate of the rogues and vagabonds of society. Surprising as the circumstance may be thought, and lamentable as it really is, there are more places than one, in both kingdoms, where the known and professed smuggler is received with as much consideration as any other individual in the place; and the writer of this narrative has frequently met, in apparently respectable houses, with persons who owed a great part of the estimation in which they were held, to the daring courage and skill with which they set at defiance the laws of their country.
It matters not, however, what station they may hold in society. The same inevitable circumstances produce the same form of character; and the same moral cycle goes round with the captain and the meanest of his crew. A consciousness of crime at length hardens, by habit, into desperation ; and animal courage, unrefined by sentiment, acquires the characteristics of ferocity. They deny, and yet feel, that their trade is robbery. Familiar, both in imagination and reality, with blows, imprison
ment, and the other casualties of war, they at length even dip their hands in blood, without shrinking. Their enemies, however, are their countrymen : their object is not honour, but gain. The shameful character of their profession is burned, as it were, into that of their minds, and the mark of outlawry is written upon their foreheads.
What length in the scale of moral degradation had been gained by the young man who was a principal actor in the following circumstances, cannot perhaps be ascertained with much accuracy; but he was a professed smuggler, noted for his daring courage and successful adventures ; and yet, in the midst of all, when he could hardly be said to have reached the prime of youth, and when his winnings, recklessly squandered as they were recklessly acquired, offered no security from dependence, he formed the resolution of abandoning his disgraceful trade. The cause of this determination, singular in all its circumstances, was a passion, which sometimes—though very rarely-works the wonders in real life that are so liberally ascribed to it in romance.
Francis Hardy was the only son of a half-pay officer, who had resided many years near the Cove. He was brought up to be a gentleman, and at his father's death, found himself a beggar. With little of that steadiness of principle which is the most distinguishing trait in the character of a gentleman, he was yet a fine, high-spirited youth, and perhaps engaged at first in the scenes from which he was not destined speedily to emerge, from a
mere boyish love of adventure. The master and owner of a smuggling cutter had been his father's intimate associate, and Frank had been accustomed from childhood to listen with delight to his stories of adventure and vicissitude. It is not surprising, therefore, that when suddenly thrown loose upon the world, he should have had some desire to see with his own eyes, the wonders so familiar to his imagination.
His first trip to Holland, which might be considered as nothing more than one of the pranks of thoughtless and wayward youth, proved fatal to his prospects of honourable employment. The steady and respectable class of his friends threw him off, not as one who had dishonoured himself, but as one who was likely to do no good in regular business ; while the young, the gay, and the careless, admired his spirit and applauded his success. Half proud, and half ashamed of his notorietyhalf impelled by necessity, and half seduced by inclination-Frank plunged deeper and deeper into the profession, to which his evil stars had introduced him, till at length, from his wild adventures, daring courage, handsome person, and romantic generosity, he became quite the popular hero of the little town, and around the Cove.. It was not likely that the young ladies should scrutinise very closely the morality of a profession patronised by their parents; and the outlaw, who in an inland town would have been shunned as a vagabond, was here esteemed the principal attraction either at the ball or the dinner.
But Frank's good fortune went no further. As soon as, in the common process of years, the young ladies laid down their novels and took to reading history and cookery books, it was discovered that, although he might be a hero, he was not the hero. Some of them wished, with a sigh, that Frank was not a smuggler, and turning away their heads, looked sharply out for a husband and an establishment; others married officers in the preventive service; and others, dissatisfied with the field, went abroad in search of adventures, leaving their admiration of the handsome outlaw with their virgin aunts and little sisters.
There was an exception, however, to this inconstancy. The father of Jane D'Arcy, although in reduced circumstances, was one of the first men in the neighbourhood. He lived in the family seat— almost the only part of the family possessions he had inherited; and as he had never soiled his hands with traffic, considered himself somewhat superior in rank to the mercantile and trading inhabitants of the neighbouring town. The elder Hardy, however, in his quality of an army officer, could not be looked down upon even by this scion of a line of esquires, and the two gentlemen became intimate and habitual associates. Jane D'Arcy and Frank were thus very early and closely acquainted; and when the latter first abandoned his claims to respectability, and began to herd with the desperate and depraved, Jane was so mere a girl, as to listen with admiration and delight to his tales of peril