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A Roving Commission by G. A. Henty

Glover had one advantage which


"Those

are great advantages, no doubt, Doyle; but, you see, Glover had one advantage which, I have no doubt, counted with the lady more than all those you have enumerated. He had saved her life at the risk of his own, he had carried her, and her mother, through terrible dangers."

"Yes, yes, there is something in that," Doyle said, shaking his head; "if the poor young fellow is satisfied with gratitude I have nothing more to say. At any rate, I have lost my chance. Now, perhaps, as you know all about this, you might put me up to some other lady in similar circumstances, but with a heart free to bestow upon a deserving man."

"I should not be justified in doing so, Doyle. After what you have been saying about building a baronial castle, and keeping open house, it is clear that you would soon bring a fortune to an end, however great it might be; and, therefore, I should not feel justified in aiding you in any way in your matrimonial adventures."

"It's a poor heart that never rejoices," the doctor said. "The tumblers are empty. Sam, you rascal, bring us another bottle of that old Jamaica, fresh limes, and cold water. It is one of the drawbacks of this bastely climate that there is no pleasure in taking your punch hot."

One of the negroes brought in the materials.

"Now, doctor," Turnbull said, "I know that in spite of

this terrible disappointment you will drink heartily the toast, 'Nat Glover and Mademoiselle Duchesne, and may they live long and happily together!'"

"That is good," Doyle said as he emptied his tumbler at a draught; "nothing short of a bumper would do justice to it. Hand me the bottle again, Lippincott, and cut me a couple of slices off that lime. Yes, I will take two pieces of sugar, please, Turnbull. Now I am going to propose a toast, 'The new commander of the _Agile_, and may she, in his hands, do as well as she did in those of Nat Glover.'"

Three days later the _Agile_ started on another cruise. Nat spent his time in the dockyard, where he was so well known to all the officials that they did everything in their power to aid him to push matters forward, and a week after the brigantine had left the _Spartane_ was ready for sea. Nat had seen the admiral several times, but had heard nothing from him as to who were the officers who were to take the _Spartane_ home, nor whether he was to sail as a passenger bearing despatches or as one of the officers. When he went on board the flag-ship to report that all was ready for sea, the admiral said:

"Mr. Winton, first lieutenant of the _Onyx_, is invalided home. He is a good officer, but the climate has never agreed with him, and, as his father has lately died and he has come into some property, he will, I have no doubt, go on half-pay for a time until he is thoroughly set up again. I shall therefore appoint him as first lieutenant of the _Spartane_; Mr. Plumber, second lieutenant of the _Tiger_, will go second.

"I have decided, Mr. Glover, to give you the rank of acting commander. You captured the ship, and it is fair that you should take her to England. Mind, I think it probable enough that the authorities at home may not be willing to confirm your rank, as it is but little over two years since you obtained your present grade. I feel that I am incurring a certain responsibility in giving you the command of a thirty-six-gun frigate, but you have had opportunities of showing that you are a thorough seaman, and can fight as well as sail your ship."


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