May 7, 1864, pages 294 (2) 295 (3)
The United States sloop of war Dragon-Fly swung
lightly to her anchor in the soft west wind, and the officers and men of the
larboard-watch lounged idly about the decks or slept beneath the bulwarks dreaming of
their Northern homes and waiting sweet-hearts.
Astern stretched broad leagues of moonlit waters, ahead
gleamed among his countless islands the stately Sound of Altamaha, and close abeam rose
Little St. Simons Island, while a dark cloud upon the horizon showed where Sapelo
"Dull work this blockading, Fenwick," yawned
Lieutenant Benton, to Dr. Fenwick the surgeon, who had come on deck to enjoy the beauty of
the night, and now stood lounging against the taffrail close beside the young officer.
"Rather so. But these long days are grand for study.
Why dont you get yourself up in an ology, Benton, and astonish our fair
friends in Boston by your erudition when we return.
"Hm. A fellow that has seen service as I have
doesnt need any erudition to recommend him to the fair sex nowadays, Doctor,"
responded the Lieutenant, foppishly twisting his little mustache.
"True. I forgot that." And the surgeon pulled
away at his cheroot with a merry twinkle in his dark eyes.
"Have you ever been seriously wounded, Benton?"
asked he, carelessly, after a moment or two of silence.
"Why, no, I cant say that I have. You see I
never was actually in action, but then"
"But then you might have been. I see. Well, we none
of us can improve the opportunities that are not given to us."
Lieutenant Benton, with a disagreeable consciousness of
being very young and inexperienced left off pulling his mustache and walked up the
quarter-deck, casting a scrutinizing glance aloft, and sternly bidding the look-out man to
"mind his eye."
The seaman thus exhorted suddenly restored his attention
from the stars to things terrestrial, or rather maritime, and immediately shouted,
"There it is," remarked the surgeon, as Benton
sprang to the side and looked over, and pointed to a small black object slowly approaching
the sloop down the broad wake of the setting moon.
"Dug-out ahoy!" he might have hailed,
"remarked the officer, forgetting his momentary annoyance. "It will be a
contraband, I suppose."
"Running the blockade. Now is the Dragon-Flys
chance for distinguishing herself."
"Perhaps it is a fetich-man come off to compare notes
on the healing art with you, Doctor."
"Or some dusky maiden who has hear of your mustache,
Lieutenant," laughed the surgeon.
"Bother!" ejaculated the young man, and leaned
farther over the rail to scrutinize the clumsy little craft now within hail of the sloop.
"Its a boyno its a dwarfor a
monkey! What is it, Doctor?"
"One of Count Monboddos humans in an early
stage of the transformation from baboon to man, I should say."
"Well here he is. Hallo there! Range alongside and
give me your name and business."
The dug-out was, after many awkward attempts, placed in
the required position; and a voice from the lumpish heap of clothes, arms, legs, and close
curled wool, responded:
"Lor, masr, taint noffin but
"And who are you, and what do you want?"
"Is Ban, masr, dats short for
Caliban, an Is come to tell yer sumfin."
"Well, Ban, make fast your dug-out to the cable there
and come aboard."
A few moments after a dark ball alighted suddenly upon the
quarter-deck and presently developed into a human form about four feet in height, and
nearly as much in shoulder-girth, with the shortest and crookedest of legs, and the
longest and most muscular of arms. A bullet-head surmounted this singular frame, and the
crisp wool curled about a face inscrutable as to age, ugly in its lineaments, and
expressive of mirth and cunning, good nature and violent passions.
The surgeon and Lieutenant gazed in silent astonishment at
this strange figure, and he in turn rolled his large eyes over their persons, the
clustering group of sailors amid-ships, and the novel objects that surrounded him.
"Be you masr capn?" asked the
stranger, suddenly, his eyes reverting to the Lieutenant.
"Lord, Sirs! Can it talk?" quoted the surgeon,
in an under-voice, while Lieutenant Benton answered, good-naturedly,
"No, Ban; but I can serve your turn as well as if I
were. What is it?"
"Reckn Ill wait an see masr
capn, masr," returned Ban, after a little hesitation.
"The old man wouldnt want to be called up for
any thing this creature can have to say, think?" inquired the Lieutenant aside of the
"That depends on what it is," oracularly
returned the surgeon.
"Well, you try him, Doctor. Youre older than I,
and perhaps he will be more willing to confide his secret sorrows to your ear, if indeed
my first guess is not the right one after all, and he is the fetich man."
"We will see." And the Doctor bidding Caliban
follow him, led the way to a secluded part of the deck, where he placed the negro full in
the light of the waning moon, and stood looking curiously down at him from the altitude of
his six feet two inches.
"Where do you come from, Ban?" asked he, at
"De Debbils Fryin-Pan, masr."
"And a very likely specimen of his cookery you
are," mentally ejaculated the Doctor, but the only audible response was a wondering
repetition of the name,
"The Devils Frying Pan!"
"Yis, masr, dats whar we lib."
"Who lives there besides you?"
"Dad an mam, an lots o
"And how did you get here?"
"In de dug-out, masr."
"I know. But where is the Devils Frying-Pan?
And how far from here?"
"Right up in de Soun, masr, bout
two mile from dis, I reckon."
"Is it an island?"
"And who gave it that name?"
"Donno, masr, Is sure. Reckon it alluz
"And who named you Caliban?"
"Oh, masr! my mammy, she brung up on de ole
plantation, an daddy he a free nigger. So he bought mammy an me, an de
rest of de young uns has come along since."
"And your father brought your mother and you to the
Devils Frying-Pan to live?"
"Yis, masr. It dont blong to no one
in ticlar, an so we jis libs dere."
"And how old are you, Caliban?"
"Donno, masr. Didn nebber ask."
"And how do your father and you live? How do you earn
money, I mean?"
"We ketches fish, masr, an isters,
an lobsters, an we raises some truck in de gardin, an wen we wants
money we totes a load o fish an sarce up to town an trades it off. Den I
fiddles for de dancin sometimes an gits wat I kin."
"Well now, Ban, w hat did you come her for to-night?
You had better tell me, and if I judge it of sufficient importance I will send to ask the
Captain to see you. He is asleep now, and we dont like to disturb him without
Ban, in whose mind the surgeons magnificent
proportions had inspired a much greater degree of reverence than he was inclined to accord
to the juvenile Lieutenant, drew confidentially close to his side, before he replied,
"Yis, masr, I tell you all bout it. Dis
yer ship am sot to cotch all dem dat tries to go in an out dis yer Soun,
"All that belong to the rebels, or are trying to
trade with them. Why do you ask?"
"Cause deres a big schooner in her, hidin
away mongst de islans, all loaded down wid cotton, an deys gwine
to git out sure dey says, fer all de dam Yankees kin do to hender em."
"When will they sail?" asked the surgeon,
"Jes arter moonset morrer night. Jes
bout dis time."
"How do you know?"
"De ossifers an some ob de genlemen
dats gwine passinger in her come ashore dis arternoon to look roun at de
Debbils Fryin-Pan, cause its kind o curus der, an I heerd em
talk. Den dey tole dad to kitch a right smart chance of o fish an git som
isters or lobsters to-morrer, an mams gwine to cook a supper fer em,
an I tole em I could fiddle fust-rate ef theyd a mind fer a dance. Dey
liked dat tip-top, an greed to come jes arter sundown, an den I
heerd em say dey couldn sail till nigh two clock in de
"And they are to be at your house after sunset?"
"Yis, masr. So den I flected dat ef de
Yankees wanted fer ter kitch em all, dered be a fus-rate chance,
an mabbe masr Capn d gib a por nigger suffin fer de news."
"And what do you think the Captain, or whichever of
us got hold of you first, would give you if you led us into a trap, and sold us to the
rebels, just as you now offer to sell them to us?" demanded Fenwick, sternly, as he
fixed his penetrating eyes upon the negros face.
"Specs youd shoot me jes like
dog. Sarve um right too," returned Ban emphatically, and with such unflinching
steadiness of voice and eye as set at rest the momentary suspicion in the keen mind of his
"You are right. Whatever happened to us, your own
life would be the price of treachery. Remember that, my boy, and draw back even now if you
are not sure of yourself."
"I wish I was as sure ob ten dollars as I is o
de truve ob what I sez." remarked Ban, tranquilly.
"Very well. I will ask Lieutenant Benton to report
your errand to the Captain. I suppose you want to return before morning."
"Lordy, yis, masr. Ef de folks aboard de Sword-Fish
sights do ole dug-out, an spects whar shes ben, its all day wid
dis nigger, an wid yore plans too, masr."
"Very well. Stay just here till you are called."
The visit of the dwarf was reported to the Captain, and
Caliban was soon summoned to the cabin to repeat his story, which he did with the utmost
steadiness, unshaken by the somewhat sever cross-examination of the astute commander.
This over, Ban was dismissed under charge of the steward
to refresh himself, and a hasty council was held as to the best manner of using his
It was finally decided that two boats crews under
charge of the two Lieutenants should, early in the ensuing night, quietly land at the
Devils Frying-Pan, surround the house and secure the merry-makers, and then proceed
to capture the schooner, it not being thought advisable to involve the sloop in the
intricate channels and dangerous reefs of that portion of the Sound.
Dr. Fenwick volunteered to accompany his young friend,
Lieutenant Benton, and his powerful assistance was gratefully accepted.
The next question was of a guide. It was obvious that the
absence of Caliban after his engagement as musician would cause suspicion in the minds of
the guests, and might defeat the whole plan, and yet no one on board the Dragon-Fly
could boast the slightest knowledge of the locale of the Devils Frying-Pan or
of the contraband schooner.
Under these circumstances Ban was recalled to the council,
and the difficulty stated.
"Twont nebber do for dis chile to be
mongst de missin," said he, thoughtfully, "nor dad nither. But
Nepd do fus-rate. He knows de chanl an all jes sames I do.
Ill fotch ye Nep."
"Who is Nep?" demanded the Captain, cautiously.
"He one o mammys young uns. He smart
chile, Nep is."
"How old is he?"
"Lord, masr, we don none ob us know
noffin bout dat. We jes grows same as de grass, nebber mindin when we begun.
Nep he good big boy."
"Well, you may bring him off, and we will see what we
think of him. When will you be here?"
"Aint got time to go home an back
fore day, nohow," considered Ban. "But Nep hell take de dug-out
roun back side o de Pan, an jes paddle off easy arter dey gits dere. Den
he tell masr capn how many of em come, an praps hark
roun an fin out suffin bout how mans lef aboard de Sword
"And can he find his way out to the Dragon-Fly
alone and in season?"
"Lord, yis, masr. Nep he smart fellow."
"We will judge of that before we trust him as a
pilot; and remember that the first sign of treachery will be his death-warrant, and yours
too, if we lay hold of you," said the Captain, sternly.
"Ef masr capn tinks Is lyin
to him he no need to come. Is tryin to blige him, an he talks
bout shootin and hangin me an my brother as ef we was
tryin to do him all de bad we could." And Caliban, half-sulky, half-hurt, left
the cabin abruptly, and laboriously climbed on deck.
"Hes honest, Captain, take my word for it, and
I have no doubt his information is perfectly reliable." said Dr. Fenwick, earnestly.
And the Captain, who depended very much upon his friends judgment, ordered the
steward to regal Ban with another glass of grog, and then to bring him to the cabin to
receive his final directions.
The dwarfs injured feelings were easily pacified by
this attention, and half an hour later he paddled away from the Dragon-Fly in the
fullest amity with all its inmates.
Sunset of the following day found such of the crew of the
sloop as had been detailed for the approaching expedition full of busy preparation and
anticipation, while the unfortunate remainder either watched their comrades in envious
silence, or indulged in open complaints of their own inactivity. Some few croakers found
pleasure in intimating that the whole affair was a trap, and that those who were so
"precious green" as to walk into it with their eyes open deserved no better than
the fate probably awaiting them. Another party held that the negro, terrified by the
Captains threats, would not dare to pursue the matter, and that no pilot would
appear. This suggestion, however, was speedily negatived by the hail of
And the next moment the dug-out once more ranged alongside
the Dragon-Fly, and a tall young fellow leaped nimbly to the deck, with the brief
"He I is."
"Oh, youre Nep, are you?" inquired
Lieutenant Benton, who had been anxiously waiting for his appearance.
"Own brother to the fellow who was here last
"Dunno, masr; spec so, dough."
The question was pardonable; for this second envoy from
the Devils Frying-Pan presented as great a contrast to the first as can well be
conceived in members of the same family. Tall, straight, and finely proportioned in
figure, his features were regular and lofty, his eyes large and clear, and his expression
bold and intelligent. In face, could his bright brown skin have been changed for Saxon red
and white, Nep would have ranked indisputably as an uncommonly fine-looking fellow. In age
he appeared to be about eighteen years old, but like Ban he had no ideas of his own upon
Ordered to the cabin for examination, Nep acquitted
himself very satisfactorily, and after a brief interview the Captain dismissed him, and
proceeded to give his formal orders, as he had not yet done, for the expedition.
It was not considered expedient to set out until about ten
oclock, the boat from the Sword-Fish having been ordered to return for
its passengers at twelve, and the schooner expecting to sail at two, or soon after. Nep
brought the additional information that the passengers mentioned by Ban as forming part of
the proposed fish party were the officers of a brig just purchased by the rebels from the
English Government, and now awaiting its armament and crew at Nassau, N. P.
Punctual to the appointed hour the two boats silently
parted from the side of the Dragon-Fly, and guided by Nep, who crouched in the
stern of the foremost one, steered by the first lieutenant, they struck out into the broad
waters of the Sound.
The moon, slightly obscured by vapory clouds, gave just
sufficient light to allow Nep to distinguish the various islands and other landmarks by
which he directed his course, but not sufficient to reveal distant objects with any degree
of certainty. This point it will readily be seen was much in favor of our adventurers,
should they come within eye-range of the Sword-Fisha danger little to be
feared, however, as Nep, pursuing a devious and intricate course, kept his charge
concealed behind the islands and high rocks whenever practicable.
"Now, masr, here we is," announced he,
suddenly, in a whisper, pointing ahead to a small round island, around whose entire
circumference rose a low ridge of naked rocks, while a long reef of the same extended
straight out into the Sound, whose waters broke over it in loud reiteration of angry
No appearance of life or even vegetation was visible, and
the first lieutenant, demanded, in an incredulous whisper,
"Is this the place?"
"Yis, masr. Dis de Fryin-Pan, and
dats de handle," said Nep, pointing to the low reef, over which and a small
intervening island the upper part of the masts and rigging of a large topsail schooner
were dimly visible.
"And how do you get ashore?"
"Jis in here, masr;" and, under Neps
directions, the boats were laid close inshore, at a spot where a break in the natural
fortifications of the little island afforded access to its interior.
With as much expedition and as little noise as possible,
the two boats crews, well armed and full of eager anticipation, were now landed upon
the narrow beach, the boats anchored off, under charge of a small guard, and the party,
numbering twenty stout fellows besides the officers, proceeded noiselessly inland, still
under guidance of Nep.
Passing through the rocky gap they found themselves in a
large level area, comprising perhaps a dozen acres, divided into field and pasturage, with
a somewhat neglected garden-patch surrounding a cabin of considerable extent, from whose
low windows streamed a ruddy light, while the shrill notes of a violin, mingled with roars
of laughter, gave evidence that the inmates of the Devils Frying-Pan were in a very
"Stop here, masr, wile I go an peek
roun a lilly bit," suggested Nep, and the party were accordingly halted while
he crept softly up, peered through the windows for a moment, and then noiselessly
"All right, masr" whispered he in a
gleeful tone, "Deys hard at it , singin, an dancin, an
drinkin like de berry ole Nick. De feller dey sot to watch roun de house has
got a mug o likker, an hes settin in de doorway wid he gun on de
floor side ob him, an Ban he fiddlin away fit to tar de ole fiddle
to bits, an rollin he eyes dis way an dat lookin arter de
compny he axed to de breakdwon fer hisself."
"He shant have long to look, then.
Forward men, and remember no noise till the word is given."
With stealthy tread the party approached the house and
surrounded it. Dr. Fenwick, foremost of the line, paused at the same window through which
Nep had reconnoitered the interior, and cautiously peered in.
It was a large low room occupying nearly the whole area of
the cabin, and generally used by the numerous family as kitchen, parlor, and hall. Now,
however, it had been cleared of much of its usual disorder, including the countless tribe
of sooty youngsters, who, having been packed into the loft with terrific threats of what
should befall them in case of their becoming visible, were now regaling themselves with an
airy view of the festivities below through the chinks in the floor.
In the centre of the room stood a table covered with the
remnants of a savory supper, prepared in old Sallys highest style of art, and around
it were seated twelve men, smoking, drinking, and watching with much amusement the
exertion of two of their comrades, who had undertaken to give the company a specimen of
the genuine Spanish fandango.
None of the negroes were visible except Ban, who, perched
upon the top of a heavy bureau or chests of drawers, with this stunted legs coiled beneath
him, and his long arms writhing sinuously in the vehemence of his exertions, was dragging
from the bowels of a battered old violin a perfect storm of sound, with no particular
reference to either melody or harmony, but very expressive of his own condition of nervous
excitement, ever since the moment when his wildly-rolling eyes had encountered those of
his brother peering in at the window.
The surgeon had barely had time to master these details
when the voice of the first lieutenant shouted, clearly,
And through the opposite door rushed a crowd of blue
jackets, over powering the sentry before he could even recover his musket, and grappling
fiercely with the revelers, who, although taken by surprise, drew their revolvers and
knives in an instant, and were ready for resistance.
The surgeon applying his shoulder to the frail sash, burst
it in, and throwing himself through the aperture, laid an irresistible grasp upon the
collar of a stout fellow in the uniform of a naval commander, and ordered him to yield
himself prisoner. The Captain, who had just aimed his revolver at the curly head of
Lieutenant Benton on the opposite side of the room, drew the trigger, but missed his mark,
and with a furious oath turned upon his new antagonist, drawing a formidable bowie-knife,
and thrusting savagely at his breast.
Seizing the uplifted wrist in his left hand, the Doctor
suddenly shifted his right from the collar to the waist of his antagonist, and tripping
him at the same instant, brought him heavily to the floor, disarmed him, and bound his
arms behind his back with a bit of rope snatched from the surgeons ready pocket.
"Youre safe, my fine fellow," muttered the
victor, coolly, as he rose to his feet and looked about for another antagonist. In a
corner he saw little Benton grappling with a muscular rebel, whose brawn and muscle were
evidently an overmatch for the stripling strength of the Lieutenant, even backed as it was
by an illimitable amount of pluck. Both had lost their weapons, and the rebel (who,
dressed in plain clothes, gave no indication of his rank) had succeeded in throwing his
antagonist, and with one knee upon his chest, and one hand fiercely griping his throat,
was at the moment the Doctors eye fell upon reaching after his knife.
Fenwick sprung across the room, but, slipping in a pool of
blood, fell forward; and although he recovered himself almost immediately, the instant
thus gained sufficed for the stalwart rebel to reach his weapon and raise it, with a
fearful oath, over the heart of his prostrate victim. At this moment Fenwick, recovering
his feet, threw himself upon the uplifted arm; but, although he diverted, he was too late
to arrest the blow, and it fell, inflicting a long flesh wound upon the cheek and shoulder
of the almost insensible lad.
"Coward!" shouted Dr. Fenwick, roused for the
first time from his usual phlegmatic calm at seeing the blood of his young favorite, and
wrenching the knife from the hand of the astonished rebel, he was about to inflict summary
vengeance, when Ban, springing like a cat from the perch where he had crouched throughout
the fray, shouting and screaming with all his might, alighted full upon the head of the
Lieutenants assailant, and bore him heavily to the ground.
"Now, Masr Doctor! Pitch in wid de knife. Ban
hole him steddy fer yer."
"Hold Hard, then, Ban." But much to the
negros disappointment, the Doctore, instead of the knife, merely armed himself with
another bit of rope, of which it may be as well to confess he had prepared a small private
stock for this very use, and proceeded to bind his second captive as securely as the
This done, and the fight being now well-nigh over, the
surgeon turned his attention to the wounded Lieutenant, and was relived at finding his
wound far from serious.
"There, my boy," said he, after rapidly dressing
it, with the help of his pocket-case of instruments and Bans ready aid,
"thats all over; and, if it smarts a little for a few days, console yourself by
remembering how much better an honorable scar is than the stiffest of ologies."
The brave young fellow smiled gayly, in spite of the
stinging pain of his wound, and was beginning to declare his determination of accompanying
the party in the attack upon the schooner, when his lips suddenly turned white, his eyes
rolled wildly, and he fell back insensible in Bans arms.
"Poor lad! Poor, brave boy!" murmured the grim
surgeon in woman-soft tones. "It is his first experience. Ban, you must get some
pillow and coverings, and make him comfortable here till morning, and then bring him off
to the Dragon-Fly. Any other wounds to attend to?"
There were a few, but none very serious. The contest had
been so brief and so close that it had been more of a hand-to-hand struggle than a fight,
and few of the combatants had found time for more than one blow before the outnumbered and
outwitted rebels had yielded themselves prisoners. These, being carefully bound, were now
secured in the shanty to await the event of the attack on the schooner.
The surgeons arrangements for the wounded Lieutenant
were approved by the officer in command of the party, who, moreover, stimulated Ban to
faithfulness and zeal by promises and threats, which the surgeon, with more tact, had
omitted to employ.
"Masr Doctor, I wants to peak a lilly
word to you den," whispered Ban, mysteriously, as the party were about to leave the
"Speak quickly, then, as we go down to the boat.
There is no time to spare."
"Masr Doctor, deres a gal in dah
long o my ammy dats wantin to git Norf powerful bad. Hows we
gwine to fix it?"
"A girl! What girl!"
"Names Livy. Shes mos white,
and she mighty pooty; do you eye good ter look at her. Too pooty to stay roun
dese parts, masr, less she one o dem no count gals dat don
keer wot dey does. Livy aint one o dem sort, masr. She mighty good,
an so she rund away from her ole masr, and dad an me fotcht
her down her las week. But she sot on gwine Norf."
"She is nearly white, very pretty, and has run away
from her master because she wants to be virtuous?" asked the Doctor.
"Yis, masr, dems um."
"Well, she must be helped. But she had better cut off
her hair, pretty though it may be, and slip on a suit of Neps clothes. Pretty young
girls, especially if they are not white, are somewhat out of place in a man-of-war. Let
her come off with you when you bring Lieutenant Benton to-morrow morning, and I will see
what can be done."
They had now reached the strip of beach, and Ban was
placed in one boat and Nep in the other to guide the helmsman in avoiding numerous rocks
and shoals, rendering the vicinity of the Devils Frying-Pan a very dangerous one to
the uninitiated mariner.
The drowsy watch on board the schooner had scarcely
recognized the cautious dip of oars as the two boats rapidly approached when they were
alongside, and the crews swarming up the sides. Taken entirely by surprise, without
officers or discipline, the rebel crew made but slight resistance, and the schooner was
captured and its astonished inmates secured below hatches before many of them had fully
understood their position.
The boats were next dispatched to the Devils
Frying-Pan for the prisoners and wounded, and no sooner were they aboard than sail was
made upon the schooner, the rebel pilot consenting to service his new masters as
faithfully as he had done his old under temptation of a handsome reward in posse,
and a loaded pistol in esse. And so well did he perform his task that, when the sun
next morning shot his first rays across the blue Atlantic, they glanced aside in
astonishment from the white sails and brilliant bulwarks of a large top-sail schooner
anchored under the guns of the jubilant little sloop of war Dragon-Fly.
Not long after sunrise the clumsy old dug-out appeared
creeping slowly across the sunny Sound, and on its nearer approach was found to contain
Ban, the Lieutenant, already convalescent, and a smart-looking lad of quadroon caste, with
great shadowy eyes and cheeks, where the color came and went each time any body looked at
No sooner were the three aboard than Ban drew the Doctor
"Masr," asked he, anxiously, "what
dey gwine to do wid de prizedem Sword-Fish?"
"Send her to New York, Ban, under a prize-master and
"An wy couldn dis yer
boyToms his name, masrwhy couldn he an me go long wid
"You can, I suppose. But why are you going, Ban; your
family are all free, why do you care to go North?"
"Now, masr, dat am powerful hard question fer
to answer; but Is tell ye honest, an then yer kin laugh ef yer o
mineter. De truf is, masr, dat dis chile cant help"
"Masr, aint she powerful harnsum?"
"What, this boy Tom?"
"Hi, hi! Masr," chuckled the negro,
nervously. "Dey don pull de wool ober you eyes berry easy. Well now, aint
she a picter?"
"She is very handsome certainly," assented the
Doctor, wondering more and more what al lthis should come to.
"Well, masr, dough Is dat ugly dat I
nebber dare to look down in de water wen it still, Is got eyes, an I
knows dat Livy mighty nice gal to look at, an got awful pooty ways too, an de
sofest leetly vice dat eber you hear, masr. Now I don
spec," and here Ban sighed deeply, "dat dis pooty leetly gal gwine
to look at a pore ugly creter like dis yer, dough masr shes dat good an
kin to ebery one dat she nebber showed she tought Ban look any difent
from Nep, fac she olluz seemed o like Ban de bes, and so,
masr, Is gwine to foller she wharsumbber she goes, trew de worl,
and take keer ob her, an work fer her, an see dat no one do she harm,
an den ef she take up wid some good feller by-an-by, wy Ban will be de
fus to say, All right."
"Poor Ban," said the Doctor, softly, his dark
eyes shining as he looked down upon the misshapen form that had so unexpectedly developed
a heart romantic and delicate as that of a poet.
"Boat ahoy!" hailed the look-out, and the Doctor
turned to see Neps agile form suddenly appear over the rail. He respectfully doffed
his torn hat to the Captain upon the quarter-deck, but his eyes eagerly ranged forward
until they fell upon the form of the disguised quadroon girl, and the Doctor saw with a
real pang of grief and dismay that as Livy met this gaze her own eyes dropped suddenly,
and she blushed intensely.
"Poor Ban!" murmured the Doctor again, and went
aft to hear Nep offering his services as seaman on board the prize into whatever Northern
port she might be bound for.
"All right boy! Your brother and that other fellow
have just shipped as passengers, and you can work your passage and theirs too."
"Yis, masr," joyfully assented Nep, and
hastened forward to Livy, who shyly welcoming him, soon allowed herself to be drawn aside
to the bows, where leaning over the rail, a long and whispered conversation ensued.
Dr. Fenwick returned to Ban.
The dwarf was squatted in a coil of rope, his arms
grotesquely crossed upon his knees and his chin resting upon them. But the deep eyes of
the kindly surgeon saw no grotesquerie, no deformity in the soul that dimly struggled up
and looked out in the gaze that the dwarf so steadily fixed upon the graceful and happy
Had Ban shown jealousy, anger, revenge, the Doctor would
have consoled him with money, and turned away with his habit of cynicism a shade more
firmly fixed upon him. But the uncouth features and great eyes showed none of these,
nothing but deep despair struggling with a love that could not be crushed but would be
purified and elevated by its very hopelessness.
Dr. Fenwick took his hand out of his pocket, and sat down
in another coil of rope, close beside him.
"Ban, you are a man. Now is the time to show
it," said he, quietly.
"Yis, masr," said Ban, in a choked voice.
"If I can help you, Ban, in this or any thing else,
remember I am your friend."
"Tank you berry kinly, masr,"
said the negro, in the same tone, but never moving his eyes from those two graceful
"What to you mean to do now, Ban?" asked the
Doctor again after a little pause.
"Folly her trew de worl, an sarve her
faithful, anan him fer her sake," said Ban, and the Doctor humbly
"Shake hands with me, Ban. You are stronger than