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Old 01-27-2016, 01:32 AM
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Default Jacob Faithful by Frederick Marryat - book 3

Jacob Faithful by Frederick Marryat - Abridged and adapted from the novel. Book III.


I Help the Domine to Get over His Love. – Mr. Turnbull and I Go on a Party of Pleasure. – It Turns out to Be an Adventure

«Well, Jacob, I have paid all my bills at last, and I find that in these last five months my wife has spent quite a lot of money, so it was time to stop that.»

«I agree with you, Sir. But what does Mrs. Turnbull say now? Has she quite got over it all?»

«Pretty well. Now she sees that our so-called «friends» have quite forgotten her. They don’t answer her notes and never come to see her in her trouble. But what has impressed her most of all is the incident with Monsieur Tagliabue. I asked the judge to give me Lord Scrope’s note, and she read the police report as well. I expect she will ask me to sell this house, and go elsewhere. But at present we hardly exchange a word during the whole day.»

«I feel sorry for her, Sir. I believe she is really a very good and kind woman.»

«That’s like you, Jacob – and so she is. At present she is in a miserable state. All her fashionable friends have left her, and she is quite alone. It’s that cursed money which has made her – and me – unhappy.»

«Well, Sir, money will never make me unhappy.»

«Perhaps not, Jacob, even if you ever get any – at all events1 you may take a little tomorrow, if you need it. I cannot ask you to dine here – it would not be pleasant to you – but I should like you to come up with the boat tomorrow, and we’ll go down the river.»

«Very well, I shall be at your orders – at what time?»

«Say ten o’clock, if the weather is fine; if not, the next day.»

«Then, Sir, I’ll now wish you good-bye, as I must go and see the Domine.»

Mr. Turnbull shook my hand, and we parted. Soon I came to the Grammar School. The sight of the building called to mind6 my feelings when, years back, I had first entered it.

What a difference between the little ignorant boy, and now the tall, well-dressed young man, happy in his independence.

The door stood open, and I entered the Domine’s room so that nobody noticed me. The room was not large, but with a high ceiling. It had only one window, through which poured bright sunshine. On one side of the window was an old bookcase containing the Domine’s library. On the other stood a huge cupboard. The table was in the centre of the room, and the Domine sat at it, with his back to the window. He was reading a book. Both his elbows were on the table, his spectacles on his large nose and his hands nearly meeting on the top of his bald head. He had dropped his pipe, and it lay broken on the floor. On one side of him was a sheet of paper on which he had made some notes.

I coughed, but still he did not notice me, so interested he was in his reading. Then I stepped back to the door and shut it with a loud noise. This roused the Domine, who stood up and came to meet me.

«Welcome, my son – welcome to your old school. Sit, Jacob. I was thinking of you and yours.»

«What, Sir! Of old Stapleton and his daughter?»

«That’s right. You were all in my thoughts at the moment that you made your appearance. Are they well?»

«Yes, Sir,» replied I. «I see little of them now. The old man is always smoking, and the girl – why, the less one sees of her the better, I should say.»

«This is new to me, Jacob. She is so pleasant.»

«She is awfully light-minded, and she’ll make men unhappy, I’m sure.»

«Indeed, Jacob, I am much surprised at what you tell me.»

«I know her better, Sir.»

«Please, tell me more about her.»

«No, Sir, I had rather not. You may imagine all you please.»

«Still, she is young, Jacob. When she becomes a wife she will change.»

«Sir, if you married her tomorrow, she would run away in a week.»

«Is that your sincere opinion, Jacob?»

«It is.»
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Old 01-27-2016, 01:32 AM
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«Jacob, thank you – you have opened my eyes. You have saved me, Jacob – both from myself and from her, because know, Jacob, that I could not forget that maiden. Jacob, I thank you. Now, leave me. You have awakened me as from a dream, and I want to be alone to think it over–»

On my way back I met old Tom.

«Jacob, my boy,» he said, «I want you to come down to my old shop one of these days.6 What day will you be able to come? The lighter will be here for a fortnight, at least. I want to talk a bit with you, and ask your opinion about a good many little things.»

«Indeed,» I replied, smiling. «What, are you going to build a new house?»

«No, no – not that, but you see, Jacob, it is time for me to give up night work up and down the river. I’m not so young as I was about fifty years ago, and there’s a time for all things. I mean to give up the barge in the autumn, and go on shore for good. But I want to discuss all the details with you, so tell me what day you will come.»

«Well, then, shall we say Wednesday?»

«Wednesday is as good a day as any other day. Come to breakfast, and you shall spend the whole day with us. You shall go away after supper, if you like. If not, the old woman shall prepare a bed for you.»

«Agreed, then; but where is Tom?»

«I don’t know. I think he’s gone to see that daughter of Stapleton’s. He begins to think of the girls now, Jacob; but, as the old man, her father, says, «it’s all human nature.» They seem to make a good couple.

«How do you mean?»

«Why, they are both good-looking. Then he’s quite as clever as she is. It will be a long running fight between them. Perhaps they will drift apart after all – perhaps they may stay together for life, God knows. I only know one thing – that Tom’s sweetheart may be tricky, but Tom’s wife won’t be – he’ll keep her in order. Well, good-night. I have a long walk.»

When I returned home, I found Mary alone.

«Has Tom been here?» I asked.

«What makes you ask that question?» replied Mary.

«Please answer it.»

«Well, Mr. Jacob, Tom has been here, and we had a very good time.»

«I am glad», I replied.

«And where have you been?»

I told her about my visit to the Domine.

«So, you saw the old man,» she said smiling. «What did he say about me?»

«That I shall not tell, but I will tell you this – he will never think about you any more, and you must not expect ever to see him again.»

«Did he tell you all that passed?»

«No, he did not, but I happen to know all.»

«I cannot understand that.»

«Still, it is true. On the whole, I think that you behaved pretty well, although I cannot understand why you gave him a kiss at parting.»

«Good heavens! were you in the room? did you hear every word?

«Every word,» I replied.

«Well,» said Mary, «I never thought you could be so mean.»

«Mary, you have only yourself to blame. Anybody in the street could have heard the conversation. Ii you have love scenes in a room with the window wide open, you must not be surprised if every passer-by hears what you say.»

«Well, that’s true. I never thought of the window. I don’t care if all the world has heard me, but why did you listen?»

I made no answer. Mary sat down, turned away from me, and was also silent. I therefore took my candle, and went to my own room. It was clear that Mary’s pride was greatly wounded because I had heard her confession of love for me. To tell the truth this confession made very little impression on me, as I was sure that a month afterwards she might as easily fall in love with Tom or somebody else. But I was wrong. After that conversation she changed her attitude towards me, and began to avoid me. As for myself, I continued, as before, to be friendly and kind towards her, but nothing more.

The next morning I rose early, and was at Mr. Turnbull’s by ten o’clock, as we had agreed. He was waiting for me outside the house. The basket with our dinner was lying at his feet on the ground.

«This is a lovely morning, Jacob,» he said, «let us be off at once.»

«How is Mrs. Turnbull, Sir?»

«Pretty well, Jacob. She is now behaving more like Polly Bacon that I once married. Perhaps, after all, it is for the best that the whole thing has happened. It may bring happiness to our home. If so, Jacob, the money is well spent.»

We rowed slowly up the river as we talked; until we came to a lonely spot where we decided to stop. Landing, we fastened the boat to a tree that grew on the bank, and sat down to our meal. We had a good dinner, and sat there talking till it was late. We were on our way back, six or seven miles from Mr. Turnbull’s house, when a little boat approached us. A handsome young man was at the oars.

«I say, my lads,» he shouted, taking us both for watermen, «would you like to earn a couple of guineas, with very little trouble?»

«O yes,» replied Mr. Turnbull, «if you can show us how. A fine chance for you, Jacob,» continued he, aside.

«Well, then I shall want your services, perhaps, for an hour or a little longer, as there is a lady in question, and we may have to wait. All I ask is to row well and do your best. Agreed?»

We agreed. He told us to follow him, and we rowed to the shore.

«This looks like an adventure, Sir,» I said.

«So it seems,» replied Mr. Turnbull, «all the better. I am old now, but I am fond of adventures.»

The gentleman stopped at a little landing, fastened his boat, and then stepped into ours.

«Now we have a lot of time, just row quietly down the river.»

We did as we were told, and soon came to the brick wall of a garden that reached down to the river. There was a large house standing in the garden about fifty yards from the bank. «That will do, st–, st–, not a word,» the gentleman said, rising in the boat, and looking over. After a minute he climbed on the wall, and softly whistled a tune. All was silent. He waited for a little while, and then whistled again. No answer came from the house. He whistled the same tune several times, and at last a light appeared at an upper window.

«Be ready now,» the gentleman told us. In about two minutes a woman, in a clock, came from the house with a box in her hand.

«Oh! William, I heard your first signal, but I could not get into my uncle’s room for the box. At last he went out, and here it is.»

The gentleman seized the box from her, and handed it to us in the boat.

«Take great care of that, my lads,» said he, «and now, Cecilia, we have no time to lose. Get down into the boat, quick!»

«But how, William? she replied.

«O, nothing is more easy. Throw your cloak into the boat, get on the top of the wall, and we shall help you.»
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Old 01-27-2016, 01:32 AM
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It was not, however, quite so easy. The wall was four feet high above the boat, and it was difficult for her to climb over it. Anyhow she had nearly done it when we heard her scream. We looked up and saw another man on the wall. He was a tall, fat old man, as far as we could see in the dark. He immediately seized the lady by the arm and was dragging her away. The young gentleman came to her help, and the old man had to let go. At the same time he called out:

«Help! Help! Thieves! Thieves!»

«Shall I go to his assistance?» I said to Mr. Turnbull, «One must stay in the boat.»

«Jump up, then, Jacob – the wall is too high for me.»

I climbed up in a moment, and was about to jump to the help of the young man, when four servants with lights and with arms in their hands appeared. The lady had fainted on the grass, while the two men, struggling, fell down together, but the old man was on top of his enemy. Noticing that help was coming, he called out:

«Look to the watermen, catch them!»

I understood that not a moment was to be lost. I could be of no service to the young man now. I jumped into the boat, pushed off, and we were thirty yards away before they looked over the wall.

«Stop in that boat!» they cried.

«Fire, if they don’t,» cried their master.

We rowed as hard as we could. They fired a gun, but missed. We continued to row, and in a few moments the garden was far behind us.

«Well,» said Mr. Turnbull, «I never expected such an adventure. They even fired at us!»

«Indeed,» I replied laughing, «that’s carrying the joke too far.»

«Well, what shall we do now? Here we have a box belonging to God knows whom.»

«I think, Sir, that you must take the box to your own house, and keep it until we find out what this is all about.»

«The advice is good,» replied Mr. Turnbull, «let’s go home.»

We did so, Mr. Turnbull landed in his garden, and took with him the box and the lady’s cloak. I did not wait, but said good-bye to him, and rowed down to Fulham. As soon as I arrived, a man with a lantern came into my boat.

«Have you anything in your boat, my man?» he asked.

«Nothing, Sir,» I replied. The man examined the boat and saw that it was empty.

«Tell me, did you see a boat with two men in it as you came along?»

«No, Sir,» replied I, «nothing has passed me.»

«Where do you come from now?»

«From a gentleman’s place near Brentford.»

«Brentford. Then you were far below them. They are not down yet.»

«Have you a job for me, Sir?» said I.

«No, my man, nothing tonight. We are trying to catch two thieves. We have two boats in the river, and a man at each landing-place.»

I fastened my boat, took my oars, and departed.

«Everything is clear now,» I thought. «As soon as they saw that they could not stop us by their shots, they saddled horses and rode to Fulham, where they arrived some ten minutes before us. It was a good thing that I had landed the box. There must be something important inside it. But it is all a mystery yet.»

I was quite tired when I arrived at Stapleton’s that night. Mary was there to give me my supper. I ate it in silence, complained of a headache, and went to bed.
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I Make the Acquaintance of a Beautiful Lady and Learn News about the Box

That night I dreamed of nothing but the scene at the garden wall, and the tune the gentleman had whistled was ringing in my ears all the time. As soon as I had had breakfast the next morning, I set off to Mr. Turnbull’s, and told him what had happened.

«It was indeed lucky that I had taken the box», said he. «I don’t want to see you in prison. I am sorry that the box remains with us, but as you say, «What’s done can’t be helped». I will not give up the box until I know to whom it belongs, and I believe it belongs to the lady. Jacob, you will have to find out what this story is. Tell me, could you remember the tune which he whistled so often?»

«It rang in my ears the whole night. Hear, Sir,» and I whistled the tune.

«Quite correct, Jacob. Well, take care not to forget it. Where are you going today?»

«Nowhere, Sir.»

«Then row up the river and try to find the place where we landed together with the young man. When you have found it, see if the young man is there. In general, try to find out something – but, please, be careful.»

I promised to be careful, and started on my new adventure. I rowed up the river, and in about an hour and a quarter came to the spot. I recognized the house in the garden and the wall at the riverside. Nobody moved inside the house, yet I continued to row up and down, looking at the windows. At last one opened, and a young lady looked out. She was the same that we had seen the night before. There was no wind, and all was quiet around. She sat at the window, looking at the river. I whistled the tune. As she heard it she started up, and then waved her handkerchief and shut the window. In a few seconds she came out and walked down towards the river. I immediately rowed up to the wall.

«Who are you? who sent you?» she said looking down on me, and showing one of the most beautiful faces I had ever seen.

«No one sent me, ma’am,» I replied, «but I was in the boat last night. I am sorry you were so unlucky, but your box and cloak are quite safe.»

«You were one of the men in the boat. I hope no one was hurt when they fired at you?»

«No, ma’am.»

«And where is the box?»

«In the house of the man who was with me.»

«Can I trust him? You see – they will offer large rewards for it.»
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Old 01-27-2016, 01:33 AM
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«Certainly, ma’am,» I replied, smiling, «the gentleman who was with me is rich. He will not give up the box until he knows to whom it really belongs.»

«Good heavens! I am lucky then. Can I believe you?»

«Certainly, ma’am.»

«And what are you then? You are not a waterman?»

«Yes, ma’am, I am.»

She was silent for a little while, and then continued:

«How did you learn the tune you whistled?»

«The young gentleman whistled it six or seven times last night before you came. Can I be of any service to you, ma’am?»

«Service – yes, if I could trust you. I am watched here. They allow me only to go out into the garden, and watch me while I walk there.»

She looked round at the house anxiously, and then added:

«Stop here a minute, while I walk a little.»

She disappeared, and I still remained under the wall. In about two or three minutes she returned and said:

«It would be very cruel of you1 to deceive, me, because I am very unhappy.» The tears started in her eyes. «I will trust you. What is your name?»

«Jacob Faithful, ma’am, and I will be true to my name. I have never deceived anyone.»

«Well, Heaven itself sent you to help me, – but how am I to see you? It is dangerous for us to speak like this. If they see you they may shoot you.»

«Well, ma’am,» I replied, «if you cannot speak, you can write. Put your letter under this brick on the wall – I can take it away even in day-time. Then I shall put the answer in the same place so that you can easily find it when you come out.»
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Old 01-27-2016, 01:33 AM
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«How very clever! Good heavens, what a good idea!»

«Was the young gentleman hurt, ma’am, in the fight last night?» I asked.

«No, I believe not much, but I wish to know where he is, to write to him.»

I told her where we had met him.

«That was Lady Auburn’s house,» she replied, «he is often there – she is our cousin. But I don’t know where he lives or how to find him. His name is William Wharncliffe. Do you think you could find him?»

«Yes, ma’am, I believe I could do it. They must know where he is at Lady Auburn’s.»

«Yes, some of the servants must know; but how will you get to them?»

«That, ma’am, I must find out. I may not be able to do it in one day or two days, but if you will look every morning under this brick you will soon find some news there, I am sure.»

«You, can write and read then?»

«Certainly, ma’am,» I laughed.

«I don’t know what to think of yon. Are you really a waterman?»

«Really, and –» She turned her head round at the noise of a window opening.

«You must go – don’t forget the brick;» and she disappeared.

I pushed my boat along by the side of the wall, and then, taking my oar, rowed into the middle of the river. I looked back and saw the young lady walking with a tall man by her side. He was speaking to her, and she listened holding down her head. In another minute they were shut out from my sight.

I was so much impressed by the beauty of the lady’s face that I decided to do my best to be of service to her. In about an hour and a half I arrived at the spot where we had met the young gentleman. A few hundred yards away from the river there stood a house which, as the young lady had told me, belonged to Lady Auburn. I landed as near it as I could, fastened the boat and walked to the entrance. There was a servant’s door at one side. I pulled the bell, and an old woman answered it.
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Old 01-27-2016, 01:33 AM
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«What do you want?» she asked in an angry tone.

«I am waiting below, with my boat, for Mr. Wharncliffe. Has he come?»

«Mr. Wharncliffe! No – he’s not come, and he did not promise to come. When did you see him?»

«Yesterday. Is Lady Auburn at home?»

«Lady Auburn – no. She went to town this morning.»

«I am sure that Mf. Wharncliffe will come,» I continued, «so I must wait for him.»

«You can do just as you like,» replied the old woman, about to shut the door in my face.

«May I ask a favour of you, ma’am, before you shut the door; please, bring me a little water to drink – the sun is hot, and I have had a long pull up here,» and 1 took out my handkerchief and wiped my face.

«Yes, I’ll bring you some,» she replied, shutting the door and going away.

«This isn’t quite what I expected,» I thought to myself. The old woman returned, opened the door, and handed me a mug of water. I drank some, thanked her, and returned the mug.

«I am very tired,» said I. «I should like to sit down and wait for the gentleman.»

”Don’t you sit down when you row?» asked the old woman.

«Yes,» I replied.
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Old 01-27-2016, 01:33 AM
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«Then you must be tired of sitting, not of standing. After all, if you want to sit, you can sit in your boat.»

With these words she shut the door and left me outside. I had nothing to do but take her advice and return to my boat. I rowed down to Mr. Turnbull’s and told him my story. It was late, and he ordered some dinner in his study where we sat discussing the situation.

«Well,» said he, as we finished, «You must do all you can to find this young man. Tomorrow you go down to old Beazeley’s?»

«Yes, Sir,»

«Still I want to see you tomorrow morning before you go, and now good-night.»

I was at Mr. Turnbull’s early the next morning, and found him with a newspaper before him.

«I expected this, Jacob,» said he, «here’s an advertisement which promises a reward to those who return the box. There must be important papers in that box, Jacob, I’m sure of it. However, here they are, and here they shall remain until I know more about it; that’s certain. I want to try what I can do myself with the old woman, for the house is to be let for three months; here’s the advertisement. I shall see you tomorrow. Now you may go, Jacob.»

I walked hastily away as I had promised to be down to old Tom’s to breakfast. In an hour I safely arrived at the landing-place opposite his house.
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Old 01-27-2016, 02:04 AM
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Old Tom Discusses His Plans with Me. – I Make up an Old Quarrel

The house of old Tom Beazeley stood in a lonely place not far from the river bank. It was one storey high, built of dark red bricks. It was very clean inside, for Mrs. Beazeley was a clean person and good housewife. She was strong and healthy, and was always busy doing something about the house. A happier woman could hardly be found. She had married old Tom long before he had lost his legs, at a time when he was a sailor and the best man on the ship. She was a net-maker’s daughter, and was an excellent net-maker herself. She continued making nets when she got married, and spent all her free time on it earning money for her family.

I rowed up to the landing-place, and fastened my boat. There was no one outside the door when I landed. On entering I found the family at breakfast. There was a heap of fishbones on the table.

«Well, Jacob,» said old Tom, «you’ve come at last. I thought you had forgotten us. We always sit to breakfast at eight in the morning, you know.»

«Have you had your breakfast, Jacob?» said Mrs. Beazeley.

«No,» replied I, «I had to go up to Mr. Turnbull’s, and that detained me.»

«No more fish, Jacob,» said Tom, «father and I have eaten all!»

«Have you?» replied Mrs. Beazeley. Taking two more fishes out of the cupboard and putting them on the fire to fry. «No, no, master Tom, there’s some for Jacob yet.»

«Well, mother, you know how to use your nets, for you’ve always a fish when it’s wanted.»

I quickly ate my breakfast, and as soon as all had been cleared away by his wife, old Tom prepared to start the discussion.

«Jacob, sit down by me,» he said, «old woman, Tom, come here. You see, Jacob, I am growing old, it’s high time for me to leave the lighter and stay at home with the old woman. Now, there’s Tom, what to do with him? I think that I’ll build him a boat, and he can finish his apprenticeship with my name on the boat.»
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«That’s a good idea,» I said.

«Well,» continued old Tom,» as for myself, «I can do a good bit of work in repairing boats. I know how watermen need somebody who can repair their boats without taking as much money as the boat-builders do. The watermen will all come to me fast enough, but then there’s a difficulty: how can I make them know it? I can’t put out a board and say, Beazeley, Boat-builder, because I’m not a boat-builder.»

«Could you not say, «Boats repaired here»?» I suggested.

«Yes, but that will not exactly do. They like to go to a builder. Tom, what have you to say?»

«Why, father, it seems that you’re not a boat-builder, but you want people to think that you are – isn’t that the question?»

«That’s right, Tom, – but I shall do no harm to anybody.»

«Certainly not, it’s only the boats which will suffer. Now, get a large board, with «Boats built to order, and boats repaired, by Tom Beazeley». If any man is foolish enough to order a boat, that’s his business, you don’t say you’re a boat-builder, although you have no objection to try your hand.»

«What do you say, Jacob?» asked old Tom, turning to me.

«I think that Tom has given you very good advice – follow it.»

«Ah! Tom has a head,» said Mrs. Beazeley, fondly.

«Tom has given good advice, indeed,» said young Tom, and now he will have to leave you. «Jacob, lend me your boat for half an hour.»

I agreed and he was gone at once. After Tom’s departure our conversation continued. We began to discuss how to re-build the house for the future shop. Mr. and Mrs. Beazeley took me upstairs to show me the rooms. One of them looked especially neat and clean.

«Do you like this room?» old Tom asked.

«It is very nice indeed,» I said.

«Well, Jacob, there’s nothing certain in this world. You’re well off at present, but remember: this room is for you when you want it, and everything else we can share with you. Is it not, old lady?»

«Yes, yes, Jacob, may be you’ll never need it, but if you ever come to live with us, I’ll be your mother – always.»

I was moved with the kindness of the old couple. Old Tom warmly shook my hand, and then continued:

«But about this boat – what do you say, old woman?»
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