Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

sible to successfully imitate. The seal | where I have to take in some cargo; and bore a coat-of-arms, consisting of an eagle meanwhile you are heartily welcome to flying with a double-edged sword in its share my cabin, and we shall have time to beak, above a ship in full sail. A motto become better acquainted, and to overhaul in Danish encircled these emblems, and our old logs together. I'm going on deck, Captain May inquired its meaning.

now." “It refers to the emblems, and means

" And I will go with you!” in English : The ship must sail swiftly, They ascended together, and Vonved, lest the eagle drop the sword on her after looking aloft, and keenly scanning deck !! »

the horizon in every quarter, and glanc“Well, that's past a plain seaman's ing at the compass to ascertain the ship's comprehension; its mysterical to me!" course, courteously thanked the mate for exclaimed the simple-minded captain. the share the latter had taken in his own

“It has a secret meaning, Captain marvelous preservation over-night, and May !"

then requested to see the look-out man "So it must, Herr Vonved! And I who had first perceived him floating helpsuppose that is your family arms ?" less on the spar. The man was called,

"Not so: it is the private symbol I and Vonved spake a few kindly words to have myself assumed.”

him expressive of his gratitude, and gave “Do you know, Herr Vonved,” confi- him all the money in bis pocket, wbich indentially observed the honest veteran ship- cluded a Frederick d'or, and two or three master," that I myself have sometimes other gold pieces. The bluff English seathought of getting a seal cut with em- man did not wish to accept them, but the blems, as you call them, of my own inven- Dane insisted that he should. tion or choosing."

Several vessels were in sight, all at a “ Indeed, Captain May; and what do considerable distance. One of them, eviyou propose to have engraved ?” said dently a very small craft, by and by atVonved, very blandly.

tracted the especial notice of Lars Vonved. “Why, what do you say to a compass His gaze was intently riveted on her, and in the center, and and a marlingspike on at length he said : one side, and an anchor on the other for “I think I know that Danish jægt !" supporters, and waves at the bottom, “ A Danish jægt, is she ?” cried Captain with C. M.' for my name? Ship-shape, May. “You have keen eyes, Herr Voneh! Nothing mysterical about that was ved; I could not swear whether she is a

Capital, sir! A better and more ap- Danish jægt or an English sloop at this propriate device could not be desired I” distance, by the naked eye.” responded the Dane, with a look of arch Vonved eagerly seized a telescope, but amusement.

hardly bad he leveled it ere he lowered “Ay, ay! Heer Vonved, I say nothing it again, and coolly slapped the joints toabout your own affair, though it is a little gether, whilst a smile of singular meaning too high flown and hieroglyphical to my fitted over his features. fancy; but let an old sea-dog like me Do

you

know her ?” alone for inventing a real mariner's seal.” " You shall see, Captain May !” and

“ And what is to be your motto ?” springing on the quarter-deck bulwark,

“My motto? What - ay — what do where he steadied himself against the you think of the three Ls ?"

spanker - boom, Vonved untwisted his “ The three Ls !"

crimson silk sash, and held it fluttering “Ay, Latitude, Lead, and Lookout! out as a signal. This sash was about a We seamen call them the three Ls,' you dozen feet long by two or three in breadth, know, and a ship would be badly naviga- and in the center were three large white ted were they not all attended to.” stars, horizontally disposed.

“Excellent, Captain May! I admire Captain May leveled his telescope at your taste, sir.”

the strange vessel, to curiously watch The old captain smiled complacently, whether the signal would be noticed or and placing Vonved's autograph between answered, and in a couple of minutes, to the leaves of his log-book, he cordially his astonishment, he beheld a group of cried :

four or five men hurriedly gatherir; to“Well, Herr Vonved, I hope to safely gether on the quarter-deck of the little land you at your own port of Copenhagen, I craft, one of whom was gazi:g with a

LARS VONVED.

telescope at the bark. It was obvious filling away, went off in a direction tothat the signal had already attracted tally opposite to its former course, and notice. All doubt was exchanged for soon was a mere speck on the horizon. certainty, for the flash of a gun was immediately seen, and the Danish jægt put forth every stitch of canvas, and stood

CHAPTER III. towards the bark.

“Well, this beats Marryatt's signals hollow !” exclaimed the astonished old captain, as Vonved leaped on to the deck,

In a week's time—having had headand deliberately folded his sash, and roll winds--the Camperdown put into Copened it round his waist again, belt fashion. hagan to ship some goods, and Captain “They keep a sharp look-out in that May waited as usual on the British consul. craft.”

After transacting the customary business,

the consul said : “ It is their duty to do so,” calmly rejoined Vonved.

“By-the-by, did you pass near BornThe little jægt overhauled the bark holm this homeward passage » 80 rapidly that it was evident she must

“Yes, sir, a dozen miles or so to the be a wonderfully fast craft, and when she

eastward."

“ When was that ?” reached within a few cables' length hoveto, and a Norwegian pram-a small and

“ About seven days ago.” peculiarly shaped light skiff that will live

“Indeed. Well, it was just about that in the heaviest seas-put off from her side, time a very extraordinary and awful ocmanned by two seamen, who swiftly pull currence took place, intelligence of which ed to the bark. In a few minutes the has reached Copenhagen, and is causing pram was alongside, and holding on by a count given in Fedrelandet - a daily

immense excitement. Here is the acboat.hook at the mizzen-chains.

Lars Vonved, in a tone of prompt com- paper — of this morning, which I will mand, hailed the men in the

translate to you.”. pram,

who both took off their caps in respectful

The consul took up Foedrelandet, and salute to him.

read as follows: “Hvorledes gaaer det ?" (How is it?)

“Advices just received from Bornholm, said he.

communicate intelligence of an appalling “Redt godt, Capitain Vonved !” (All

nature, The public is aware that for is right, Captain Vonved !) responded some months past all trace has been lost they.

of the renowed fredlos, * Lars Vonyed. It Vonved turned round to the master of was believed either that he had perished,

or that he and his reckless crew had bethe Camperdown, and pointing significantly to the pram and to the jægt, he taken themselves to another part of the grasped his hand, and wrung it warmly, ashore on the island of Bornholm about

world. We now learn that Vonved was saying: “I

must now leave you, Captain May, ten days ago, and that one of his own men and believe me that I shall never forget betrayed him by giving information to that my life has been saved by your ship!

the commander of the troops stationed at Some day or other I

Ronne. A plan was immediately arrang. may have an opportunity to prove my gratitude !"

ed to capture him, and this was effected Never mind that; but good-by; and the same night without any resistance; I wish you well!” heartily responded the for as soon as Vonved saw that it would captain, who began to feel like a man in be madness to defend himself-he being a dream.

alone, and surrounded by armed menVonved lightly swung himself into the he quietly surrendered. He was conveyed pram, and as it pushed off, he stood erect, which

had just arrived,

and placed in a

on board the Falk (Hawk) the brig-of-war, and laying his right hand on his heart, bowed gracefully, and exclaimed, with strong room in the hold; but by what seems deep emphasis :

a fatal oversight on the part of the unfor"Preserve what I wrote for you, Cap

tunate commander of the brig, the destain May, it will be of use hereafter !”

perate prisoner was not ironed. In a brief interval, Vonved was on board the jægt, which fired a farewell gun, and * Fredlos-that is, outlaw; proscribed man.

Have yon

“ The Falk lay at anchor a mile or not be much above thirty when he thus two from the shore, and shortly after closed his fearful career.” sunset on the 27th—the evening of the “But his crimes, sir ? Was he really a outlaw's capture—a horrible explosion rover ?” took place, and the vessel was blown to " What, Captain May ! pieces. Of all on board, only one man really never before heard of Lars Vonved, escaped. He was picked up by a boat the Baltic Rover ?» from the shore; and he states his belief “No, sir, I have not; but it is a dozen that Lars Vonved, knowing the doom years since I was last up the Baltic.” that awaited him at Copenhagen, by some “Ah! that accounts for your ignorance. means broke through the bulkhead that Why he was a smuggler, pirate, and soseparated him from the powder-magazine, forth; dyed in the guilt of a thousand and crowned his long list of crimes by de- crimes ! Such at least is the story, though liberately blowing up the vessel, prefer- some people affect to disbelieve the greater ring to perish in this manner rather than portion of his alleged misdoings. All I on the wheel. The single survivor is know is, that he has been repeatedly capalso of opinion that, through some culpable tured, but always escaped, either through negligence of the officers, Vonved was not bribing his guards, or by the dexterity even searched; therefore, supposing he and dauntless courage, and tremendous had a dagger or strong knife concealed personal strength, he is alleged to possess. on his person, he might soon cut his way I think it must be nearly five years since into the powder-magazine: and this is he was condemned to work in chains a probably the plan he adopted.

slave for life, but he escaped the first time “Many mangled bodies of the hapless he was set to work on the roads. Subsecrew have been washed ashore, but no quently he was recaptured, and many remains of the arch-monster himself have additional attrocious crimes being laid to hitherto been identified. Doubtless he his charge, he was then condemned to be was blown to atoms when he applied the broken alive on the wheel; but the very fatal match.”

night before the day appointed for his exCaptain May listened to this narrative ecution he escaped from the Tughthuus with feelings of extreme perturbation, in a marvelous manner. What is stranger which was increased when the consul than all, although a very heavy price was said :

set on his head, dead or alive, none of the “Did you hear the explosion ? ”

outcasts with whom he was more or less “No, sir, we neither heard nor saw it. connected ever betrayed him, and his own Probably we were too distant, and it was crew were said to be thoroughly devoted a stormy night too. What had this out- to him. It would seem, however, if this law done, sir ?”

newspaper account is correct, that one of “Rather ask what he hadn't done !" them has proved a traitor at last.” answered the consul. “If only half that “After all, the rogue must have had his is said of him be true, he was a very in- good points, then,” bluntly observed the carnation of mischief and subtlety. For captain. the last half-dozen years his name has "Yes, I believe such was really the case, struck terror in the hearts of his country- and very romantic stories have been told men—that is, if they really are his coun- of his generosity, and songs have been trymen; for although he spoke Danish written and are popularly sung about his like a native, and resembled à Dane per- exploits." sonally, there is, I believe, a mystery "And what sort of a fellow was he, sir ?" about his birth; for the authorities were The consul gave an accurate description never able to satisfactorily learn whence of Vonved, explaining that he had never he came, por who were his relatives. The seen him, but that the Danish authorities name itself-provided it be genuine--is had caused lithographed portraits of the rather Swedish than Danish; but the man outlaw, with a fac-simile of his autograph, himself always avowed he was a Dane, to be extensively circulated to aid in his and it has even been strongly rumored identification and arrest. that he is of a most noble and ancient “ You would know his handwriting then, family. He must have begun his rover's sir ?" profession betimes, for, I think, he could “Undoubtedly; but why do you ask?"

By way of reply, the captain opened his | agine. To give you some idea of what pocket-book, and handed a paper to the this desperate outlaw is capable, read this consul.

English version of a popular ballad, de. " Camperdown of Leith, June 28th scriptive of his escape from the doom I -Lars Vonved,'” read the latter. “Good before mentioned as pronounced against heavens ! how came you by this ?” him."

Captain May related the whole adventure.

“Lars Vonved in strong dungeon lay, The man bears a charmed life !" cried Condemned to die at dawn of day: the amazed consul. “He is proof to fire

A black-robed priest he came to pray and steel, and so he will ever be till the

At midnight with Lars Vonved. thread of his destiny is reeled off. And “Outlaw, repent !' the holy man you say that he eat and drank with you, His ghostly counsel thus began; and expressed his gratitude ?”

“Confess ! repent! for short's the span “He did, sir."

Allotted thee, Lars Vonved.' “Well, then, depend upon it that he and his lawless crew will never harm you nor

“We all must die-Heaven's will be done!

And yet I hope to see the sun yours. He never was known to break his word to friend or foe, and so far from in

Rise many a day ere my race be run!'

Undaunted cried Lars Vonved. juring any one who ever served him, even unconsciously, he will risk his life to repay “Oh! clasp thy guilty hands and pray them. Take back your precious auto That outraged heaven in mercy may graph, Captain May—it is a sort of pass Pardon e'en thee--for at dawn of day bearing the sign-manual and seal of a po

Thou'lt surely die, Lars Vonved !' tent rover-and preserve it carefully, rest

“More merciful than man is heaven! ing assured that if Lars Vonved scuttles

And by all my hopes to be forgiven, half the ships that sail on the Baltic, your I tell thee, priest, thou oft hast shriven bark will never be of the number. Ah!

Worse sinners than Lars Vonved.' had you only known who was your guest, and had clapped him in irons, and brought " That can not be,' the priest replied, him to Copenhagen, I verily think the 'For guiltier wretch yet never died king_would have made you a night of

Than thou, who'lt perish in thy pride, the Dannebrog! You have missed both

At dawn o' day, Lars Vonved!' money and honor.”

“Lars Vonved gave a laugh of scorn“And I'm not sorry for it,” burst from

*Think not, good priest, the coming morn the honest British tar. “Like any honest Will see the fearless heart out-torn God-fearing mariner, I hate and abhor a From the bosom of Lars Vonved !' rover, and heartily wish him a short shrift and a hempen necklace to swing him like “Farewell

, thou boasting fool! I go a jewel-block at the yard-arm, as he merits.

And leave thee to eternal woe!' But, sir, it was God's will that we should

Nay, good priest, do not leave me so !'

Softly cried Lars Vonved. save his life, and I would not have given the man up under such circumstances, even “The priest turned round, and ere he knew had I suspected him to be what you de Was pinioned and his mouth gagged too, scribe. A miscreant he may be, ay, must His robe stripped off, and his hood of blue, be, if he is really a rover—and he did By the outlaw, bold Lars Vonved. throw dust in my eyes with his yarn about losing his craft on the Jomfru reef-but

“Sir priest, I must make free to borrow

Your dress awhile but do not sorrow; somehow I can't think he's half so black

They'll set you free at dawn to-morrow, as they paint him.”

So farewell!' cried Lars Vonved “Well, perhaps not; but let me give you a bit of earnest advice, Captain May. “The watchful guards as they let him pass, Keep your agency in letting him loose on Said : ‘Holy man, has he ta'en the mass ? the world again a profound secret, for I

Does he repent?' "Ah! no, alas! can assure you that the Danish govern

Too hardened is Lars Vonved !" ment would look very black if they heard

“At dawn of day, the dungeon door of it. And what they will say or do when

Was open flung, and on the floor he suddenly turns up again, all ripe and They found the true priest groaning sore, ready for mischief, is more than I can im But flown away, Lars Vonved !"

“Is this ballad founded on fact, sir ?" fame; yet the heavy blöd-penge (bloodinquired the captain. “Can it be true money) tempted many to watch every that Vonved really escaped in the way it opportunity of achieving his capture, or relates ?"

of obtaining information that would lead “Such is the popular belief; and I never to it. Besides this, so far as the sailors of heard any other version of the escape that the navy and the landsoldats and officers he undoubtedly effected.”

of justice were concerned, it was their es“Well, sir, I am quite taken aback by pecial duty to hunt him down, independthe whole affair. To think that a rover ent of the reward, and that duty they has been in my ship—that he has slept in were all anxious to perform. So extremo my berth—that he has eat and drunk with was the official activity now displayed at me at my table !” and the worthy old cap- every Danish port, and along all the coasts tain flushed with mingled feelings of amaze- of the mainland and islands, and so strong ment, indignation, and incredulity, at the the assurance of the governments of the recollection.

different countries bordering on the Bal. Although Captain May kept a discreet tic, that they would use their utmost vigisilence concerning the outlaw's preserva- lance to arrest the outlaw if he ventured tion, some of his crew, hearing of the ex- to land on their territories, that the pros. plosion of the Danish brig. of war, naturally pect of Vonved's final escape seemed in. related the circumstance of having rescued dced slight. It mnst be borne in mind a man floating on a piece of wreck in the that the Baltic is a large inland sea, and locality where the catastrophe happened. that passports are most strictly required to This speedily reached the ears of the au. enable the bearer to land, or to travel thorities, and the whole truth was wrung through the countries bordering upon it. from the reluctant captain.

What likelihood was there of Vonved ob. Proclamations were immediately issued taining one, even under false pretenses? in Copenhagen, and distributed all over | And even if he did, he would almost cerDenmark Proper, and the Danish Islands tainly be recognized from the description and Schleswig and Holstein, denouncing of his remarkable person, ere he had the new and crowning enormity that Lars traveled many leagues. Vonved was positively accused of hay Wagers were freely laid in Copenhagen ing committed, and relating his own mar- that the Baltic Rover would be seized, velous escape.

So important was his dead or alive, within thirty days. capture deemed, that the government increased the price on his head to the sum of two thousand five hundred specie-dalers,

CHAPTER IV. (£562 10s. sterling,) and offered a free pardon to any accomplices who would be.

“THE LITTLE AMALIA." The Danish people, generally, were di

The vessel which received Lars Vonved, vided between horror of the alleged atro- when he bade adieu to his kind preservers cities of the outlaw, and of a species of of the Camperdown, was one of the smallsuperstitious admiration of the almost est of that kind of Danish sea-going craft superhuman manner in which he had called jægts, and she was a beautiful spehitherto escaped paying the forfeit of his cimen of her class. Her length was deeds. By an idiosyncrasy of human na- thirty-five feet; her breadth of beam ture, the most detestable and monstrous eleven feet; her depth of hold five feet. criminals, if renowned for feats of brilliant In her present trim, she drew four feet of and successful daring, rarely fail to excite water forward, and five aft, and, thereinterest and fearful sympathy in the fore, had not much dry side amidships, breasts of the majority of their country- but as she had a considerable shear, of men. Even the philosopher, who justly course her bows and stern rose comparacondemns the immorality of this morbid tively high. Her symmetrical bows were feeling, often himself feels its influence. pretty full above the water, but below, Thus it was that the last reputed exploit of their lines were hollow and tapered finely. the greatest modern outlaw of all Scandi- The stern had a clean run, and the counnavia, the renowned Baltic Rover, added ter was a flat oval, broken by two small thousands to the ranks of those who half slightly-projecting windows, each consistadmired, half-shuddered at his name and ing of a square of thick plate-glass set in

tray him.

« ZurückWeiter »