Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XV / The Ship of Fire >> Page 341

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Page 341

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THE MIDNIGHT ASSASSINS. 341
casioned no such respectful concern or consideration among the
pious as they command in ours.
" The devil, accordingly, found nothing to obstruct his machi-
nations in the hearts of our captain and. his subordinates. They
determined upon possessing the goods and chattels of the poor
emigrants, about whose fate the government was hardly likely
to inquire. Hence the sudden purpose of drawing off from the
shore, at the very moment of landing, to the mortification and
final defeat of the hopes of our simple and unsuspecting Pala-
tines.
It was not found difficult to convince these ignorant people,
that the safety of the vessel required these precautions´┐Żthat
they had erred somewhat in their reckoning that they were
still short of their promised port, and that a progress farther
west was necessary. No matter what the plea, it was sufficient
to silence complaint or murmuring. They were at the mercy
of the master, whether be were pirate or honest mariner, and re-
signed themselves, with what philosophy they might, to the de-
cree that told them of rolling a few days longer on the deep.
They did not linger on deck after night, and when the shores
were no longer visible. The hope deferred which maketh the
heart sick, drove the greater part of them to their hammocks.
Their baggage, with the unhappily exposed wealth, was again
restored to the interior of the ship. But a few of the young men
sat upon the deck, watching the faint lines of the land, until
swallowed up in darkness ; even then, with eyes straining in the
direction of the shore for which they yearned, conversing to-
gether, in their own language, in hope and confident expectation
of their future fortunes.
While thus employed, the captain and his crew, in another
part of the vessel, were concocting their fearful scheme of vil-
lany.
The hour grew late, the night deepened ; the few Germans
who remained on deck, stretched themselves out where they
were, and were soon composed in slumber.
While thus they lay under the peaceful cope and canopy of
heaven, in a slumber, which the solemn starlight, looking down
upon, seemed to hallow, the merciless murderers, with cautious foot-
step and bared weapon, set upon them. The cabin-door of the