Read CHAPTER XXXV of Dulcibel A Tale of Old Salem , free online book, by Henry Peterson, on ReadCentral.com.

Captain Tolley and the Storm King.

The next day furnished with a brief note of introduction, Master Raymond, with the aid of a skiff, put himself on the deck of the Storm King. Captain Tolley received him with due courtesy, wondering who the stranger was. The Captain was a well-built, athletic, though not very large man, with a face naturally dark in hue, and bronzed by exposure to the southern sun. As Master Raymond ascertained afterwards, he was the son of an English father and a Spanish mother; and he could speak English, French and Spanish with equal facility. While he considered himself an Englishman of birth, his nationality sat very loosely upon him; and, if need be, he was just as willing to run up the French or Spanish colors on the Storm King, as the red cross of St. George.

After reading the note of introduction, Captain Tolley gave a keen look at his visitor. “Yes, the Storm King is a bird and a beauty,” said he proudly. “Look at her! See what great wings she has! And what a hull, to cut the seas! She was built after my own plans. Give me plenty of sea-room, and a fair start, and I will laugh at all the gun frigates of the royal navy.”

“She looks to be all you say,” said his visitor admiringly but rather surprised that not an oath had yet fallen from the lips of the Captain. He had not learned that Captain Tolley, to use his own language, “never washed his ammunition in port or in mild weather.” When aroused by a severe storm or other peril, the Captain was transformed into a different man. Then, in the war of the elements, or of man’s angry passions, he also lightened and thundered, and swore big guns.

“Let us go down into the cabin,” said the Captain. Reaching there, he filled a couple of glasses with wine and putting the decanter on the table, invited his visitor to be seated. Then, closing the door, he said with a smile, “nothing that is said inside this cabin ever is told anywhere else.”

There was that in the speech, bearing and looks of Captain Tolley which inspired Master Raymond with great confidence in him. “I feel that I may trust you, Captain,” he said earnestly.

“I have done business for a great many gentlemen, and no one ever found me untrue to him,” replied Captain Tolley, proudly. “Some things I will not do for anybody, or for any price; but that ends it. I never betray confidence.”

“Do you believe in witches, Captain?”

“Indeed I do.”

“Well I suppose that settles it,” replied the young man in a disappointed tone, rising to his feet.

“I know a little witch down in Jamaica, that has been tormenting me almost to death for the last three years. But I tell you she is a beauty as pretty as, as the Storm King! She doesn’t carry quite as many petticoats though,” added the Captain laughing.

“Oh! That is the kind of witch you mean!” and Master Raymond sat down again.

“It is the only kind that I ever came across and they are bad enough for me,” responded the Captain drily.

“I know a little witch of that kind,” said Master Raymond, humoring the Captain’s fancy; “but she is now in Boston prison, and in danger of her life.”

“Ah! I think I have heard something of her very beautiful, is she not? I caught a glimpse of her when I went up to see Captain Alden, who the bigoted fools have got in limbo there. I could not help laughing at Alden the idea of calling him a witch. Alden is a religious man, you know!”

“But it may cost him his life!”

“That is what I went to see him about. I offered to come up with a party some night, break open the jail, and carry him off to New York in the Storm King.”

“Well?”

“Oh, you know the better people are not in the jail, but in the jailer’s house having given their promise to Keeper Arnold that they will not try to escape, if thus kindly treated. And besides, if he runs off, they will confiscate his property; of which Alden foolishly has a good deal in houses and lands. So he thinks it the best policy to hold on to his anchor, and see if the storm will not blow itself out.”

“And so you have no conscientious scruples against breaking the law, by carrying off any of these imprisoned persons?”

“Conscientious scruples and the Puritan laws be d !” exclaimed the Captain; thinking perhaps that this was an occasion when he might with propriety break his rule as to swearing while in port.

“Your language expresses my sentiments exactly!” responded the young Englishman, who had never uttered an oath in his life. “Captain, I am betrothed to that young lady you saw when you went to see Captain Alden. If she is ever brought to trial, those Salem hell-hounds will swear away her life. I mean to rescue her or die with her. I am able and willing to pay you any reasonable price for your aid and assistance, Will you help me?”

The Captain sprang to his feet. “Will I help you? The great God dash the Storm King to pieces on her next voyage if I fail you! See here,” taking a letter out of a drawer, “it is a profitable offer just made me. But it is a mere matter of merchandise; and this is a matter of a woman’s life! You shall pay me what you can afford to, and what you think right; but, money or no money, I and the Storm King, and her brave crew, who will follow wherever I lead, are at your service!”

As Captain Tolley uttered these words, in an impassioned, though low voice, and with a glowing face and sparkling blue eyes, Master Raymond thought he had never seen a handsomer man. He grasped the Captain’s extended hand, and shook it warmly. “I shall never forget this noble offer,” he exclaimed. And he never did forget it; for from that moment the two were life-long friends.

“What is your plan?” said the Captain.

“A peaceable escape if possible. If not, what you propose to Captain Alden.”

“I should like the last the best,” said the Captain.

“Why, it would expose you to penalties and keep your vessel hereafter out of Boston harbor.”

“You see that I have an old grudge of my own,” replied the Captain. “These Puritan rascals once arrested me for bringing some Quakers from Barbados good, honest, innocent people, a little touched here, you know,” and the Captain tapped his broad, brown brow with his finger. “They caught me on shore, fined me, and would have put me in the stocks; but my mate got word of it, we were lying out in the storm, trained two big guns to bear upon the town, and gave them just fifteen minutes to send me on board again. That was twenty years ago, and I have not been here since.”

“They sent you on board, I suppose?”

“Oh, the Saints are not fools,” replied the Captain, laughing. “As for being shut out of Boston harbor hereafter, I do not fear that much. The reign of the Saints is nearly over. Do you not see that the Quakers are back, and the Baptists, and the prayer-book men, as they call the Episcopalians! and they do not touch them, though they would whip the whole of them out of the Province, at the cart’s tail, if they dared. But there are Kings in Israel again!” and the Captain laughed heartily. “And the Kings are always better shepherds to the flock than the Priests.”

“You may have to lie here idle for a while; but I will bear the expense of it,” said Master Raymond. “Have the proper papers drawn up, and I will sign them.”

“No, there shall be no papers between you and me,” rejoined the Captain stoutly. “I hate these lawyers’ pledges. I never deal with a man, if I can help it, who needs a signed and sealed paper to keep him to his word. I know what you are, and you ought to be able to see by this time what I am. The Storm King shall lie here three months, if need be and you shall pay me monthly my reasonable charges. But I will make out no bill, and you shall have no receipt, to cause any trouble to anybody, hereafter.”

“That will suit me,” replied Master Raymond, “I shall be in the bar-room of the Red Lion every morning at ten. You must be there too. But we will only nod to each other, unless I have something to tell you. Then I will slip a note into your hand, making an appointment for an interview. I fear there may be spies upon my movements.”

Captain Tolley assenting to these arrangements, Master Raymond and he again shook hands, and the latter was put ashore in one of the Storm King’s boats. It was a little curious that as the young man reached the wharf, ascending a few wooden steps from the boat, whom should he see at a little distance, walking briskly into the town, but one who he thought was Master Thomas Putnam. He could not see the man’s face, for his back was toward him; but he felt certain that it was the loving and obedient husband of Mistress Ann Putnam.