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Nic Revel - A White Slave's Adventures in Alligator Land

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Nic Revel, by George Manville Fenn This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: Nic Revel A White Slave's Adventures in Alligator Land Author: George Manville Fenn Illustrator: W.H.C. Groome Release Date: May 8, 2007 [EBook #21357] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK NIC REVEL *** Produced by Nick Hodson of London, England George Manville Fenn "Nic Revel" Chapter One. Captain Revel is Cross. “Late again, Nic,” said Captain Revel. “Very sorry, father.” “Yes, you always are ‘very sorry,’ sir. I never saw such a fellow to sleep. Why, when I was a lad of your age—let’s see, you’re just eighteen.” “Yes, father, and very hungry,” said the young man, with a laugh and a glance at the breakfast-table. “Always are very hungry. Why, when I was a lad of your age I didn’t lead such an easy-going life as you do. You’re spoiled, Nic, by an indulgent father.—Here, help me to some of that ham.—Had to keep my watch and turn up on deck at all hours; glad to eat weavilly biscuit.—Give me that brown bit.—Ah, I ought to have sent you to sea. Made a man of you. Heard the thunder, of course?” “No, father. Was there a storm?” “Storm—yes. Lightning as we used to have it in the East Indies, and the rain came down like a waterspout.” “I didn’t hear anything of it, father.” “No; you’d sleep through an earthquake, or a shipwreck, or— Why, I say, Nic, you’ll soon have a beard.” “Oh, nonsense, father! Shall I cut you some bread?” “But you will,” said the Captain, chuckling. “My word, how time goes! Only the other day you were an ugly little pup of a fellow, and I used to wipe your nose; and now you’re as big as I am—I mean as tall.” “Yes; I’m not so stout, father,” said Nic, laughing. “None of your impudence, sir,” said the heavy old sea-captain, frowning. “If you had been as much knocked about as I have, you might have been as stout.” Nic Revel could not see the common-sense of the remark, but he said nothing, and went on with his breakfast, glancing from time to time through the window at the glittering sea beyond the flagstaff, planted on the cliff which ran down perpendicularly to the little river that washed its base while flowing on towards the sea a mile lower down. “Couldn’t sleep a bit,” said Captain Revel. “But I felt it coming all yesterday afternoon. Was I—er—a bit irritable?” “Um—er—well, just a little, father,” said Nic dryly. “Humph! and that means I was like a bear—eh, sir?” “I did not say so, father.” “No, sir; but you meant it. Well, enough to make me,” cried the Captain, flushing. “I will not have it. I’ll have half-a-dozen more watchers, and put a stop to their tricks. The land’s mine, and the river’s mine, and the salmon are mine; and if any more of those idle rascals come over from the town on to my grounds, after my fish, I’ll shoot ’em, or run ’em through, or catch ’em and have ’em tied up and flogged.” “It is hard, father.” “‘Hard’ isn’t hard enough, Nic, my boy,” cried the Captain angrily. “The river’s open to them below, and it’s free to them up on the moors, and they may go and catch them in the sea if they want more room.” “If they can, father,” said Nic, laughing. “Well, yes—if they can, boy. Of course it’s if they can with any one who goes fishing. But I will not have them come disturbing me. The impudent scoundrels!” “Did you see somebody yesterday, then, father?” “Didn’t you hear me telling you, sir? Pay attention, and give me some more ham. Yes; I’d been up to the flagstaff and was walking along by the side of the combe, so as to come back home through the wood path, when there was that great lazy scoundrel, Burge, over from the town with a long staff and a hook, and I was just in time to see him land a good twelve-pound salmon out of the pool—one of that half-dozen that have been lying there this fortnight past waiting for enough water to run up higher.” “Did you speak to him, father?” “Speak to him, sir!” cried the Captain. “I let him have a broadside.” “What did he say, father?” “Laughed at me—the scoundrel! Safe on the other side; and I had to stand still and see him carry off the beautiful fish.” “The insolent dog!” cried Nic. “Yes; I wish I was as young and strong and active as you, boy. I’d have gone down somehow, waded the river, and pushed the scoundrel in.” He looked at his father and smiled. “But I would, my boy: I was in such a fit of temper. Why can’t the rascals leave me and mine alone?” “Like salmon, I suppose, father,” said the young man. “So do we—but they might go up the river and catch them.” “We get so many in the pool, and they tempt the idle people.” “Then they have no business to fall into temptation. I’ll do something to stop them.” “Better not, father,” said Nic quietly. “It would only mean fighting and trouble.” “Bah!” cried Captain Revel, with his face growing redder than usual. “What a fellow to be my son! Why, sir, when I was your age I gloried in a fight.” “Did you, father?” “Yes, sir, I did.” “Ah! but you were in training for a fighting-man.” “And I was weak enough, to please your poor mother, to let you be schooled for a bookworm, and a man of law and quips and quiddities, always ready to enter into an argument with me, and prove that black’s white and white’s no colour, as they say. Hark ye, sir, if it was not too late I’d get Jack Lawrence to take you to sea with him now. He’ll be looking us up one of these days soon. It’s nearly time he put in at Plymouth again.” “No, you would not, father,” said the young man quietly. “Ah! arguing again? Why not, pray?” “Because you told me you were quite satisfied with what you had done.” “Humph! Hah! Yes! so I did. What are you going to do this morning—read?” “Yes, father; read hard.”
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