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daunt felt disposed to be offended with Captain Cleveland, both for taking notice of his embarrassment, and intruding upon him his own opinion; and he replied, therefore, somewhat sharply, " that Captain Cleveland's sentiments were only suited to such as had the art to become universal favourites wherever chance happened to throw them, and who could not lose in one place more than their merit was sure to gain for them in another.”
This was spoken ironically; but there was, to confess the truth, a superior knowledge of the world, and a consciousness of external merit at least about the man, which rendered his interference doubly disagreeable. As Sir Lucius O’Trigger says, there was an air of success about Captain Cleveland which was mighty provoking. Young, handsome, and well assured, his air of nautical bluntness sate naturally and easily upon him, and was perhaps particularly well fitted to the simple manners of the remote country in which he found himself; and where, even in the best families, a greater degree of refinement might have ren
dered his conversation rather less acceptable. He was contented, in the present instance, to smilegood-humouredly at the obvious discontent of Mordaunt Mertoun, and replied, “ You are angry with me, my good friend, but you cannot make me angry with you. The fair hands of all the pretty women I ever saw in
life would never have fished me up out of the roost of Sumburgh. So pray do not quarrel with me; for here is Mr Halcro witness that I have struck both jack and topsail, and should you fire a broadside into me, cannot return a single shot.”
Ay, ay,” said Halcro, “you must be friends with Captain Cleveland, Mordaunt. Never quarrel with your friend, because a woman is whimsical. Why, man, if they kept one humour, how the devil could we make so many songs on them as we do? Even old Dryden himself, glorious old John, could have said little about a girl that was always of one mind—as well write verses upon a mill-pond. It is your tides and your roosts, and your currents and eddies, that come and go, and ebb and flow, (by Heaven ! I run
into rhyme when I so much as think upon them,) that smile one day, rage the next, flatter and devour, delight and ruin us, and so forthit is these that give the real soul of poetry. Did you never hear my adieu to the Lass of Northmaven that was poor Bet Stimbister, whom I call Mary for the sound's sake, as I call myself Hacon after my great ancestor Hacon Goldemund, or Haco with the golden mouth, who came to the island with Harold Harfager, and was his chief Scald ?-Well, but where was I --O ay-poor Bet Stimbister, she, and partly some debt, was the cause of my leaving the isles of Hialtland, (better so called than Shetland, or Zetland even,) and taking to the broad world, I have had a, tramp of it since that time I have battled my way through the world, Captain, as a man of mold may, that has a light head, a light purse, and a heart as light as them both-fought my way, and paid my way--that is, either with money or wit-have seen kings changed and deposed, as you would turn a tenant out of a scatholdknew all the wits of the age, and especially the glorious John Dryden-what man in the islands can say as much, barring lying-I had a pinch out of his own snuff-box--I will tell you how I came by such promotion.”
“ But the song, Mr Halcro,” said Captain Cleveland.
“ The song ?” answered Halcro, seizing the Captain by the button,- for he was too much accustomed to have his audience escape from him during recitation, not to put in practice all the usual means of prevention-" The song ? Why I gave a copy of it, with fifteen others, to the immortal John. You shall hear it-you shall hear them all, if you will but stand still a moment; and you too, my dear boy, Mordaunt Mertoun, I have scarce heard a word from your mouth these six months, and now you are running away from me." So saying, he secured him with his other hand.
Nay, now he has got us both in tow," said the seaman;
“ there is nothing for it but hearing him out, though he spins as tough a yarn as ever an old man-of-war's-man twisted on the watch at midnight.”
Nay, now be silent, be silent, and let one
of us speak at once,” said the poet imperatively; while Cleveland and Mordaunt, looking at each other with a ludicrous expression of resignation to their fáte, waited in submission for the well-known and inevitable tale. will tell you all about it,” continued Halcro. “ I was knocked about the world like other young fellows, doing this, that, and t’other for a livelihood; for, thank God, I could turn my hand to any thing--but loving still the Muses as much as if the ungrateful jades had found me, like so many blockheads, in my own coach and six. However, I held out till my cousin, old Lawrence Linklutter, died, and left me the bit of an island yonder; although, by the way, Cultmalindie was as near to him as I was ; but Lawrence loved wit, though he had little of his own. Well, he left me the wee bit island - it is as barren as Parnassus itself. What then, I have a penny to spend, a penny to keep my purse, a penny to give to the poor -ay, and a bed and a bottle for a friend, as you shall know, boys, if you will go back with me when this merriment is over. - But where was I in my story ?”