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THE GENTLEMAN
A ROMANCE OF THE SEA


BY ALFRED OLLIVANT

AUTHOR OF "BOB, SON OF BATTLE" AND
"REDBOAT CAPTAIN"

1908


TO
THE NAVY




CONTENTS


JULY 1805


BOOK I _THE LITTLE TREMENDOUS_


I
THE DEATH OF BLACK DIAMOND

Chap.
I. THE MAN ON THE GREY

II. THE GALLOPING GENT

III. THE GUNNER OF THE SLOOP

IV. OLD DING-DONG

V. REUBEN BONIFACE'S STORY

VI. THE LUGGER _KITE_

VII. THE MAN IN THE LUGGER

VIII. THE SCENT-BOTTLE


II
MAGNIFICENT ARRY

IX. THE TWO PRIVATEERS

X. THE MAIN-DECK

XI. COMMODORE MOUCHE

XII. BOARDERS

XIII. AFTER THE FIGHT


III
UNDER THE CLIFF

XIV. SUNDAY EVENING

XV. THE VOICE FROM THE POWDER-MAGAZINE

XVI. MAGNIFICENT ARRY GOES ALOFT

XVII. THE GRAVE OF THE LITTLE _TREMENDOUS_

XVIII. OLD DING-DONG'S REVENGE

XIX. OLD DING-DONG HOMEWARD-BOUND


BOOK II

_BEACHY HEAD_

I
THE GAP GANG

XX. THE LAST OF A BRITISH SEAMAN.

XXI. KIT STARTS ON HIS MISSION

XXII. FAT GEORGE & CO

XXIII. THE CLIMB

XXIV. THE CLIMB


II
THE MAN ON THE CLIFF

XXV. THE GENTLEMAN BOWS

XXVI. THE DEAD WOMAN

XXVII. THE HOLLOW IN THE COOMBE

XXVIII. ON THE TOP OF THE WORLD


III
ABERCROMBY'S BLACK COCK

XXIX. THE FLAG OF HIS COUNTRY

XXX. AN OLD SONG

XXXI. THE MAN WITH THE SWORD

XXXII. THE BROKEN SQUARE

XXXIII. FIGHTING FITZ

XXXIV. THE FACE ON THE WALL


IV
THE GARRISON

XXXV. THE SOLDIER'S MOTHER

XXXVI. THE FIGHTING MAN

XXXVII. THE SAINT

XXXVIII. THE SIMPLETON

XXXIX. THE FLAP OF A FLAG.


V
THE BOARDING OF THE PRIVATEER

XL. THE SWIM IN THE DARK

XLI. PIGGY, THE PRIVATEERSMAN

XLII. THE MAN IN THE BOAT

XLIII. A BLACK BORDERER TO THE RESCUE


BOOK III _FORT FLINT_


I
BESIEGED

XLIV. THE ENGLISHMAN

XLV. THE PARSON AT HOME

XLVI. THE PARSON'S STORY

XLVII. THE DESPATCH-BAG

XLVIII. THE DOXIE'S DAUGHTER


II
THE SALLY

XLIX. MAKING READY

L. IN THE DRAIN

LI. VOICES OF THE LOST

LII. HARE AND HOUND

LIII. OLD TOADIE

LIV. THE PARSON'S AGONY

LV. PRETTY POLLY-KISS-ME-QUICK

LVI. THE RACE FOR THE COTTAGE


III
THE SHADOW OF THE WOMAN

LVII. THE PARLEY

LVIII. THE PLANK CAPONIER

LIX. MISS BLOSSOM

LX. THE TWO PRAYERS

LXI. KNAPP'S RETURN

LXII. THE PARSON MUSES


IV
THE GENTLEMAN'S LAST CARD

LXIII. NELSON'S TOPSAILS

LXIV. RUMBLINGS OF THUNDER

LXV. THE DOINGS IN THE CREEK

LXVI. BUGLES

LXVII. THE ACE OF TRUMPS


V
THE FORLORN HOPE

LXVIII. THE BLESSING

LXIX. THE PARSON'S SORTIE

LXX. THE LAST OF OLD FAITHFUL

LXXI. ON THE SHINGLE-BANK

LXXII. THE RACE FOR THE LUGGER

LXXIII. _NOBLESSE OBLIGE_


BOOK IV _NELSON_


I
H.M.S. _MEDUSA_

LXXIV. NATURE, THE COMFORTER

LXXV. ON THE DECK OF THE _MEDUSA_

LXXVI. IN THE CABIN OF THE _MEDUSA_

LXXVII. THE _MEDUSA_ GOES ABOUT

LXXVIII. NELSON'S HEART

LXXIX. IN THE CABIN AGAIN

LXXX. THE _MEDUSA_ DIPS HER ENSIGN


II
KNAPP'S STORY

LXXXI. THE RETURN

LXXXII. BACK TO THE DOOR

LXXXIII. PIPER PRAYS

LXXXIV. IN THE COTTAGE


III
THE WISH AT EVENING

LXXXV. THE SANCTUARY

LXXXVI. TWILIGHT

LXXXVII. HIS CAUSE

LXXXVIII. THE ADVENTURER

LXXXIX. THE LAST POST

SEPTEMBER 1805




The introductory poem appeared originally in the _Pall Mall
Magazine_, and is re-published by permission of the Editor.




OUR SEA

The Sea! the Sea!
Our own home-land, the Sea!
'Tis, as it always was, and still, please God, will be,
When we are gone,
Our own,
Possessing it for Thee,
Ours, ours, and ours alone,
The Anglo-Saxon Sea.

The stripped, moon-shining, naked-bosomed Sea.

No jerry-building here;
No scenes that once were dear
Beneath man's tawdry touch to disappear;
Always the same, the Sea,
Th' unstable-steadfast Sea.
'Tis, as it always was, and still, please God, will be,
When we are gone,
Our own,
Vice-regents under Thee,
Ours, ours, and ours alone,
The Anglo-Saxon Sea.

The mighty-furrowed, moody-minded Sea.

New suns and moons arise;
Perish old dynasties;
For ever rise and die the centuries;
Only remains the Sea,
Our right of way, the Sea.
'Tis, as it always was, and still, phase God, will be,
When we are gone,
Our own,
Our heritage from Thee,
Ours, ours, and ours alone,
The Anglo-Saxon Sea.

Our good, grey, faithful, Saxon-loving Sea._




JULY 1805


"Succeed, and you command the Irish Expedition," said the squat fellow.

"My Emperor!" replied the tall cavalry-man, saluted, and clanked away
in the gloom.

* * * * *

A sweet evening, very fresh, the tide crashing at the foot of the cliff.

In the twilight, above Boulogne, a man was standing, hands behind him.

The moon lay on the water, making a broad white road that led from
his feet across the flowing darkness West.

The dusk was falling. About him the earth grew dark; above him all
was purity and pale stars.

Only the tumble of the tide, white-lipped on the beach beneath, stirred
the silence; while one little dodging ship, black in the wake of the
moon, told of some dare-devil British sloop, bluffing the batteries
upon the cliff.

The rustle of the water beneath, its crashing rhythm and hiss as of
breath intaken swiftly, soothed him. He fell into a waking dream.

It seemed to his wide eyes that the sea rose, heavenward as a wall;
its foot set in foam, its summit on a level with his face. Against
it a silver ladder leaned. He had but to mount that ladder to pluck
the island-jewel, the desire of his heart these many years.

He reached a hand into the night as though to realise his wish; and
even as he did so, the sloop barked.

A mortar hard by boomed; the sea splashed; the sloop scudded seaward,
laughing; and the dreamer awoke.

Behind him, hutted on the cliffs, lay the Army of England: [Footnote:
The Army of England was Napoleon's name for the Army of Invasion.]
such a sword, now two years a-tempering, as even he, the Great
Swordsman, had never wielded.

Beneath him in the dimming basin huddled 3000 gun-vessels, waiting
their call.

Before him, across the moon-white waste, under the North star, lay
that stubborn little land of Bibles and evening bells, of smoky cities,
and hedge-rows fragrant with dog-rose and honeysuckle, of apple-cheeked
children, greedy fighting-men, and still-eyed women who became the
mothers of indomitable seamen--that storm-beaten land which for so
long now, turn he where he would, had risen before him, Angel of the
Flaming Sword, and waved him back.

Between him and it ran a narrow lane of sea, the moon-road white across
it: so narrow he could almost leap it; so broad that now after years
of trying he was baffled still.

Could his Admirals only stop the Westward end of that narrow lane for
six hours, that he and his two-hundred-thousand might take the moon-road
unmolested, he was Master of the World.

But--they could not.

In his hand, fiercely crumpled, lay the despatch that told him
Villeneuve was back in Vigo, shepherded home again.

And by whom?

That little one-eyed one-armed seaman, who for ten years now had stood
between him and his destiny.

One man, the man of Aboukir Bay. [Footnote: On August 1, 1798, Nelson
destroyed the French fleet in Aboukir Bay at the Battle of the Nile.]




BOOK I

_THE LITTLE TREMENDOUS_




I

THE DEATH OF BLACK DIAMOND




CHAPTER I


THE MAN ON THE GREY

The man on the grey was in a hurry.

The stab of his backward heels; the shake and swirl of his bridle-hand;
the flog of his arm in time with the horse's stride, told their own tale.

A huge fellow, his face was red and round as a November sun. Hat and
wig were gone; and his once white neck-cloth was soaked with blood.

He came over the crest of the Downs at a lurching gallop; down
the ragged rut-worn lane, the dusty convolvuluses glimmering up at
him in the dusk; past the squat-spired Church in the high Churchyard
among the sycamores; down the rough and twisted Highstreet of Newhaven
in the chill of that August evening, as no man had ever come before.

A bevy of smoke-dimmed men in the bar of the Bridge, discussing in
awed whispers last night's affair of the Revenue cutter off Darby's
Hole, hushed suddenly at the clatter and rushed out as he stormed past.
He paid no heed.



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