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Harper's Weekly 05/07/1864


THE DEVIL'S FRYING-PAN.

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 state-
ly Sound of Altamaha, and close abeam rose Little
St. Simon's Island, while a dark cloud upon the hori-
zon showed where Sapelo lay.


“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 don't you get yourself up in an `olo-
gy, Benton, and astonish our fair friends in Bos-
ton by your erudition when we return?”


“H'm. A fellow that has seen service as I have
doesn't need any erudition to recommend him to the
fair sex nowadays, Doctor,” responded the Lieuten-
ant, 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, Ben-
ton?” asked he, carelessly, after a moment or two
of silence.


“Why, no, I can't 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 con-
sciousness 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,


“Boat ahoy!”

“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, “re-
marked the officer, forgetting his momentary an-
noyance. “It will be a contraband, I suppose.”


“Running the blockade. Now is the Dragon-
Fly's
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 heard 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.


“It's a boy—no it's a dwarf—or a monkey!
What is it, Doctor?”


“One of Count Monboddo's humans in an early
stage of the transformation from baboon to man, I
should say.”


“Well, here he is. Hallo there! Range along-
side 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, mas'r, 'tain't noffin but me!”

“And who are you, and what do you want?”

“I's Ban, mas'r, dat's short for Caliban, an' I's
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 sud-
denly upon the quarter-deck and presently devel-
oped 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 surmount-
ed this singular frame, and the crisp wool curled
about a face inscrutable as to age, ugly in its linea-
ments, and expressive of mirth and cunning, good-
nature and violent passions.


The surgeon and Lieutenant gazed in silent as-
tonishment at this strange figure, and he in turn
rolled his large eyes over their persons, the cluster-
ing group of sailors amid-ships, and the novel ob-
jects that surrounded him.


“Be you mas'r cap'n ?” asked the stranger, sud-
denly, his eyes reverting to the Lieutenant.


“Lord, Sirs! can it talk?” quoted the surgeon,
in an under-voice, while Lieutenant Benton an-
swered, good-naturedly,


“No, Ban; but I can serve your turn as well as
if I were. What is it?”


“Reck'n I'll wait an' see mas'r cap'n, mas'r,”
returned Ban, after a little hesitation.


“The old man wouldn't want to be called up for
any thing this creature can have to say, think?”
inquired the Lieutenant aside of the surgeon.


“That depends on what it is,” oracularly re-
turned the surgeon.


“Well, you try him, Doctor. You're 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 Cali-
ban 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 curi-
ously down at him from the altitude of his six feet
two inches.


“Where do you come from, Ban?” asked he, at
length.


“De Debbil's Fryin'-Pan, mas'r.”

“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 Devil's Frying-Pan!”

“Yis, mas'r, dats whar we lib.”

“Who lives there besides you?”

“Dad an'mam, an'lots o' pickaninnies.”

“And how did you get here?”

“In de dug-out, mas'r.”

“I know. But where is the Devil's Frying-Pan?
and how far from here?”


“Right up in de Soun', mas, 'bout two mile
from dis, I reckon.”


“Is it an island?”

“Yis, mas'r.”

“And who gave it that name?”

“Donno, mas'r, I's sure. Reckon it alluz had
it.”


And who named you Caliban?”

“Oh, mas'r! my mammy, she brung up on de ole
plantation, an' daddy he 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 Devil's Frying-Pan to live?”


“Yis, mas'r. It don't b'long to no one in 'ticlar,
an' so we jis libs dere.”


“And how old are you, Caliban?”

“Donno, mas'r. Didn' nebber ask,”

“And how do your father and you live? How
do you earn money, I mean?”


“We ketches fish, mas'r, an'isters, an' lobsters,
an' we raises some truck in de gardin, an' w'en 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 w'at I kin.”


“You fiddle!”

“Yis, mas'r.”

“Well now, Ban, what did you come here 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 don't like to
disturb him without necessity.”


Ban, in whose mind the surgeon's magnificent
proportions had inspired a much greater degree of
reverence than he was inclined to accord to the ju-
venile Lieutenant, drew confidentially close to his
side, before he replied,


“Yis, mas'r, 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', ain't she?”


“All that belong to the rebels, or are trying to
trade with them. Why do you ask?”


“Cause dere's a big schooner in here, hidin' away
'mongst de islan's, all loaded down wid cotton, an'
dey's gwine to git out sure dey says, fer all de dam
Yankees kindo to hender 'em.”


“When will they sail?” asked the surgeon,
hastily.


“Jes' arter moonset 'morrer night. Jes 'bout
dis time.”


“How do you know?”

“De ossifers an' some ob de gen'lemen dat's
gwine passinger in her come ashore dis arternoon to
look roun' at de Debbil's Fryin'-Pan, cause its kind
o' curus dere, an' I heerd 'em talk. Den dey tole
dad to kitch a right smart chance o' fish an' git
some isters or lobsters to-morrer, an' mam's gwine
to cook a supper fer 'em, an' I tole 'em I could fid-
dle fust-rate ef they'd a mind fer a dance. Dey
liked dat tip-top, an' 'greed to come jes' arter sun-
down, an' den I heerd 'em say dey couldn' sail till
nigh two 'clock in de mornin'.”


“And they are to be at your house after sunset?”

“Yis, mas'r. So den I 'flected dat ef de Yan-
kees wanted fer ter kitch 'em all, dere'd be a fus'-
rate chance, an' mabbe mas'r Cap'n 'd gib a pore
nigger suffin fer de news.”


“And what do you think the Captain, or which-
ever 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 negro's face.


“'Spec's you'd shoot me jès' 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 examiner.


“You are right. Whatever happened to us, your
own life would be the price of treachery. Remem-
ber 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, mas'r. Ef de folks aboard de Sword-
Fish
sights de ole dug-out, an' 'spects whar she's
ben, it's all day wid dis nigger, an' wid yore plans
too, mas'r.”


“Very well. Stay just here till you are called.”

The visit of the dwarf was reported to the Cap-
tain, and Caliban was soon summoned to the cabin
to repeat his story, which he did with the utmost
steadiness, unshaken by the somewhat severe 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 informa-
tion.


It was finally decided that two boats' crews under
charge of the two Lieutenants should, early in the
ensuing night, quietly land at the Devil's 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 assist-
ance was gratefully accepted.


The next question was of a guide. It was obvi-
ous that the absence of Caliban after his engage-
ment 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
Devil's Frying-Pan or of the contraband schooner.


Under these circumstances Ban was recalled to
the council, and the difficulty stated.


“'Twon't nebber do for dis chile to be mongst
de missin',” said he, thoughtfully, “nor dad n'ither.
But Nep 'd do fus-rate. He knows de chan'l an'
all jes same's I do. I'll fotch ye Nep.”


“Who is Nep?” demanded the Captain, cau-
tiously.


“He one o' mammy's young uns. He smart
chile, Nep is.”


“How old is he?”

“Lord, mas'r, 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?”


“Ain't got time to go home an' back 'fore day,
nohow,” considered Ban. “But Nep he'll take de
dug-out roun' back side o' de Pan, an'jes paddle off
easy arter dey gits dere. Den he tell mas'r cap'n
how many of 'em come, an' p'raps hark roun' an'
fin' out suffin 'bout how many's lef aboard de Sword-
Fish
.”


“And can he find his way out to the Dragon-Fly
alone and in season?”


“Lord, yis, mas'r. 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 mas'r cap'n tinks I's lyin' to him he no need
to come. I's tryin' to 'blige him, an' he talks 'bout
shootin' an' hangin' me an' my brother as ef we was
tryin' to do him all de bad we could.” And Cali-
ban, half-sulky, half-hurt, left the cabin abruptly,
and laboriously climbed on deck.


“He's honest, Captain, take my word for it, and
I have no doubt his information is perfectly relia-
ble,” said Dr. Fenwick, earnestly. And the Cap-
tain, who depended very much upon his friend's
judgment, ordered the steward to regale Ban with
another glass of grog, and then to bring him to the
cabin to receive his final directions.


The dwarf's 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 ap-
proaching expedition full of busy preparation and
anticipation, while the unfortunate remainder either
watched their comrades in envious silence, or in-
dulged 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 Captain's threats,
would not dare to pursue the matter, and that no
pilot would appear. This suggestion, however, was
speedily negatived by the hail of


“Boat ahoy!”

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
announcement,


“He' I is.”

“Oh, you're Nep, are you?” inquired Lieutenant
Benton, who had been anxiously waiting for his
appearance.


“Yis, mas'r.”

“Own brother to the fellow who was here last
night?”


“Dunno, mas'r; 'spec' so, dough.”

The question was pardonable; for this second
envoy from the Devil's Frying-Pan presented as
great a contrast to the first as can well be con-
ceived in members of the same family. Tall,
straight, and finely proportioned in figure, his feat-
ures were regular and lofty, his eyes large and
clear, and his expression bold and intelligent. In
fact, 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 the
subject.


Ordered to the cabin for examination, Nep ac-
quitted himself very satisfactorily, and after a brief
interview the Captain dismissed him, and proceed-
ed 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 o'clock, the boat from the Sword-Fish hav-
ing been ordered to return for its passengers at
twelve, and the schooner expecting to sail at two,
or soon after. Nep brought the additional inform-
ation that the passengers mentioned by Ban as form-
ing part of the proposed fish party were the officers
of a brig just purchased by the rebels from the En-
glish Government, and now awaiting its armament
and crew at Nassau, N. P.


The schooner was expecting to escape the block-
ade by running some distance South among the
numerous islands and intricate channels of that part
of the coast, and finally making out to-sea through
some one of the innumerable inlets and sounds,
offering a ready egress whenever the blockading
squadron should be momentarily absent.


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 fore-
most 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-Fish—a danger little to be feared, how-
ever, as Nep, pursuing a devious and intricate course,
kept his charge concealed behind the islands and
high rocks whenever practicable.


“Now, mas'r, here we is,” announced he, sudden-
ly, 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
menace.


No appearance of life or even vegetation was
visible, and the first lieutenant demanded, in an in-
credulous whisper,


“Is this the place?”

“Yis, mas'r. Dis de Fryin'-Pan, and dat's 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, mas'r;” and, under Nep's 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 noise-
lessly inland, still under guidance of Nep.


Passing through the rocky gap they found them-
selves 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 win-
dows streamed a ruddy light, while the shrill notes
of a violin, mingled with roars of laughter, gave
evidence that the inmates of the Devil's Frying-Pan
were in a very jovial mood.


“Stop here, mas'r, w'ile 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 re-
treated.


“All right, mas'r,” whispered he in a gleeful tone,
“Dey's 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' he's settin'
in de doorway wid he gun on de floor 'side ob him,
an' Ban he fiddlin' away fit to t'ar de ole fiddle to
bits, an' rollin' he eyes dis way an' dat lookin' arter
de comp'ny he axed to de breakdown fer hisself.”


“He sha'n't 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 reconnoitred the interior, and cau-
tiously 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 be-
low 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 Sally's highest style of art, and around it were
seated twelve men, smoking, drinking, and watch-
ing with much amusement the exertion of two of
their comrades, who had undertaken to give the
company a specimen of the genuine Spanish fan-
dango.


None of the negroes were visible except Ban,
who, perched upon the top of a heavy bureau or
chests of drawers, with his stunted legs coiled be-
neath 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 mo-
ment 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 shout-
ed, clearly,


“Now, lads!”

And through the opposite door rushed a crowd
of blue jackets, overpowering the sentry before he
could even recover his musket, and grappling fierce-
ly with the revelers, who, although taken by sur-
prise, drew their revolvers and knives in an in-
stant, 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 col-
lar of a stout fellow in the uniform of a naval com-
mander, 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, dis-
armed him, and bound his arms behind his back
with a bit of rope snatched from the surgeon's ready
pocket.


“You're safe, my fine fellow,” muttered the vic-
tor, 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 Doctor's eye fell
upon him 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 scream-
ing with all his might, alighted full upon the head
of the Lieutenant's assailant, and bore him heavily
to the ground.


“Now, Mas'r Doctor! Pitch in wid de knife.
Ban hole him steddy fer yer.”


“Hold hard, then, Ban.” But much to the negro's
disappointment, the Doctor, 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 proceed-
ed to bind his second captive as securely as the first.


This done, and the fight being now well-nigh
over, the surgeon turned his attention to the wound-
ed Lieutenant, and was relieved 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 Ban's ready aid, “that's 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 Ban's arms.


“Poor lad! poor, brave boy!” murmured the
grim surgeon in woman-soft tones. “It is his first
experience. Ban, you must get some pillows and
coverings, and make him comfortable here till morn-
ing, 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 outwit-
ted 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 surgeon's 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.


“Mas'r Doctor, I wants to 'peak a lilly word to
you den,” whispered Ban, mysteriously, as the
party were about to leave the cabin.


“Speak quickly, then, as we go down to the boat.
There is no time to spare.”


“Mas'r Doctor, dere's a gal in dah 'long o' my
mammy dat's wantin' to git Norf powerful bad.
How's we gwine to fix it?”


“A girl! What girl!”

“Name's Livy. She 'mos' white, an' she mighty
pooty; do you eye good ter look at her. Too pooty
to stay roun' dese parts, mas'r, 'less she one o' dem
no 'count gals dat don' keer wot dey does. Livy
ain't one o' dem sort, mas'r. She mighty good, an'
so she run'd away from her ole mas'r, an' dad an'
me fotcht her down here 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 vir-
tuous?” asked the Doctor.


“Yis, mas'r, dem's 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 Nep's clothes. Pretty young girls, es-
pecially 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 morn-
ing, 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 Devil's Fry-
ing-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 dis-
cipline, 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 Devil's
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 serve
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 that any body looked at him.


No sooner were the three aboard than Ban drew
the Doctor aside.


“Mas'r,” asked he, anxiously, “what dey gwine
to do wid de prize—dem Sword-Fish?”


“Send her to New York, Ban, under a prize-
master and crew.”


“An' w'y couldn' dis yer boy—Tom's his name,
mas'r—why couldn' he an' me go long wid 'em?”


“You can, I suppose. But why are you going,
Ban; your family are all free, why do you care to
go North?”


“Now, mas'r, dat am powerful hard question fer
to answer; but I's tell ye honest, an' then yer kin
laugh ef yer o' mineter. De truf is, mas'r, dat dis
chile can't help—”


“Well, Ban?”

“Mas'r, ain't she powerful harnsum?”

“What, this boy Tom?”

“Hi, hi! mas'r,” chuckled the negro, nervously.
Dey don' pull de wool ober you eyes berry easy.
Well now, ain't she a picter?”


“She is very handsome certainly,” assented the
Doctor, wondering more and more what all this
should come to.


“Well, mas'r, dough I's dat ugly dat I nebber
dare to look down in de water w'en it still, I's got
eyes, an' I knows dat Livy mighty nice gal to look
at, an' got awful pooty ways too, an' de sof'est leetly
v'ice dat eber you hear, mas'r. 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 mas'r she's dat good an' kin' to ebery one dat
she nebber showed she t'ought Ban look any dif'ent
from Nep, fac' she olluz seemed 'o like Ban de bes',
an' so, mas'r, I's gwine to foller she wharsumebber
she goes, trew de worl', an' 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,
w'y 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 Nep's 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 drooped 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, mas'r,” 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 conver-
sation 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 kind-
ly 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 grace-
ful and happy lovers.


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, no-
thing but deep despair struggling with a love that
could not be crushed but would be purified and ele-
vated 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, mas'r,” said Ban, in a choked voice.

“If I can help you, Ban, in this or any thing
else, remember I am your friend.”


“T'ank you berry kin'ly, mas'r,” said the negro,
in the same tone, but never moving his eyes from
those two graceful figures.


“What do you mean to do now, Ban?” asked the
Doctor again after a little pause.


“Folly her trew do worl', an' sarve her faith-
ful, an'—an' him fer her sake,” said Ban, and the
Doctor humbly said,


“Shake hands with me, Ban. You are stronger
than I.”



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