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A Roving Commission by G. A. Henty

With whom the mulattoes are now friends


"We

do not want to go there at all, but my husband will go to wind up his affairs, and sell his house there. We have been talking it over, and agree that we should never like to go back to the estate again. Even if things did quiet down the memories are too terrible; and, besides, having once broken out, the blacks might do so again at any time."

"I think you are perfectly right, madame; but I am afraid you will not get much for your estate."

"My husband thinks that, although no white man would buy it, there are plenty of mulattoes who would give, not its real value, but a certain amount, for it. Many of them are rich men who have already large plantations. Ours was one of the most valuable on the island, and with the title from us a purchaser would not be afraid of being disturbed when the soldiers arrive and put down the insurrection; while, even if this should never be done, the negroes, with whom the mulattoes are now friends, would not interfere with him. My husband thinks that perhaps he will get a third of its value, which would be sufficient to keep us all comfortably in France, or wherever we may settle; but our best resource is that we have the whole of last season's produce stored in our magazines at Port-au-Prince."

It was not until the next afternoon that the absolutely necessary repairs to the three vessels were completed, the holes near the water-line covered by

planks over which pitched canvas was nailed, the ropes shot away replaced by new ones, and the brigantine's gaff repaired. Then sail was hoisted again, and the three vessels set sail for Kingston, where they arrived on the evening of the third day after starting. No little excitement was caused in the harbour when the _Arrow_, with her sails and sides bearing marks of the engagement, sailed in, followed by the brigantine flying the British ensign over the black flag, and the _Thames_ with the same flags, but with the addition of the merchant ensign under the black flag, following her. There were two or three ships of war in the port, and the crews saluted the _Arrow_ with hearty cheers. The flag-ship at once ran up the signal for her commander to come on board, and, leaving Lippincott to see to the operation of anchoring, Nat ordered the gig to be lowered, and, taking his place in it, was rowed to the flag-ship.

CHAPTER XIV

THE ATTACK ON PORT-AU-PRINCE

On mounting to the deck Nat was at once taken to the admiral's cabin.

"So you have been disobeying orders, Lieutenant Glover," he said gravely.

"I hope not, sir. I am not conscious of disobeying orders."

"I fancy you were directed not to engage more heavily-armed craft than your own."


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