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THE PETER PAN
THE STORY OF PETER PAN
RETOLD BY DANIEL O'CONNOR
FROM THE PLAY BY J. M. BARRIE
WITH 28 FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS IN COLOUR BY
ALICE B. WOODWARD
" Miss Woodward's pictures are really delightful.
The whimsical flavour of the fairy play is faithfully
reflected, while for rich and harmonious colouring and
decorative quality of design they would be difficult to
surpass. " Athenaeum.
" It would be difficult to imagine anything more
dainty. The pictures are exquisitely beautiful, and to
follow the story in Mr. Daniel O'Connor's version is
almost as fascinating as it was to see Mr. Barrie's
quaint creation on the stage." Glasgow Herald.
LONDON: GEORGE BELL AND SONS
LONDON : GEORGE BELL AND SONS
PORTUGAL ST. LINCOLN'S INN, VV.C.
CAMBRIDGE : DEIGHTON, BELL & CO.
NEW YORK: THE MACMILLAN CO.
BOMBAY: A. H. WHEELER & CO.
RALPH RACKSTRAW IN THE RIGGING
(See p. 1 6)
xJ-N ^Syjl ,-t^
CH1SWICK PRESS: CHARLES WHITTINGHAM AND CO.
TOOKS COURT, CHANCERY LANE, LONDON.
TO MY YOUNG READERS
1HAVE been asked to explain to you how it
comes to pass that this, the story of a well-
known Play, is now placed before you in the form
of a Tale. In the first place, many very young
ladies and gentlemen are never taken to the Theatre
at all. It is supposed by certain careful Papas and
Mamas that very young ladies and gentlemen
should go to bed at an early hour, and that it is
very bad for them to sit up as late as half past
eleven or twelve o'clock at night. Of course, this
difficulty could be overcome by taking them to
Morning Performances, which are so called because
they invariably take place in the afternoon; but
there are drawbacks even to Morning Performances.
Unless you are seated in the front row of the stalls
(where the band is sure to be too loud), or in the
front row of the dress circle (which is a long way
off), the enjoyment of very young ladies and gentle-
TO MY YOUNG READERS
men is pretty nearly sure to be interfered with by
the o-jcrantic cart-wheel hats, decorated with huge
bunches of wobbling feathers that ill-bred and selfish
ladies clap upon their heads, nowadays, whenever
they go to a theatre in the daytime. A third reason
(and perhaps the best of them all) is that very
young ladies and gentlemen find it rather difficult
to follow the story of a play, much of which is told
in songs set to beautiful music, and all of which is
written in language which is better suited to their
Papas and Mamas than to themselves. A fourth
reason (but this is not such a good one as the other
three) is that the Opera upon which this book is
founded is, unhappily, not played in every town
every night of the year. It should be, of course,
but it is not, and it may very well happen that
some poor people have to go so long as two or
three years without having any opportunity of im-
proving their minds by seeing it performed. When
we get a National Theatre, at which all the best
plays will be produced at the expense of the Public
(who will also enjoy the privilege of paying to see
the Plays after they have defrayed the cost of pro-
TO MY YOUNG READERS
ducing them), " Her Majesty's Ship Pinafore " will,
no doubt, be played once or twice in every fortnight
for ever; but as some years must elapse before this
happy state of things can come to pass, and as those
who are very young ladies and gentlemen now may
be very middle-aged ladies and gentlemen then, it
was thought that it would be a kind and considerate
action to supply them at once with a story of the
Play, so as not to subject them to the tantalizing
annoyance of having to wait (possibly) many years
before they have an opportunity of learning what it
is all about.
As I would not for the world deceive my young
readers, I think it right to state that this story is
entirely imaginary. It might very well have hap-
pened but, in point of fact, it never did.
The extracts from Sir Arthur Sullivan s music
to "If. M.S. Pinafore" are reproduced by permis-
sion of the publishers, Messrs. Metzler and Co., Ltd.
CHAPTER I .... l
II .. . -22
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
RALPH RACKSTRAW IN THE RIGGING . Frontispiece
IN SHORT, HE DID EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO MAKE EVERY-
BODY ON BOARD THOROUGHLY ILL AND HAPPY 2
" I KNOW WHO TAKES SUGAR- PLUMS TO BED WITH HIM " 14
SIR JOSEPH PORTER WAS ONE OF THE MANY PEOPLE WHO
HAD FALLEN A VlCTIM TO THE BEAUTY OF MlSS
JOSEPHINE CORCORAN . . 24
" MY GALLANT CREW, GOOD MORNING ! .28
THE GOOD CAPTAIN WAS DISTRESSED TO SEE HIS DEAR
DAUGHTER IN THIS BILIOUS FRAME OF MIND . 34
LUNCHEON IN THE WARDROOM . . -5
So SHE CAME ON DECK TO INDULGE IN A REVERIE ALL
ALONE ...... 58
So SAYING, WITH TELL-TALE TEARS STREAMING DOWN
HER FACE, SHE STRODE MAGNIFICENTLY TO HER
CABIN ...... -64
HER SHORT AND SNAPPISH REPLIES TO SlR JOSEPH'S
PRETTY SPEECHES AT DINNER . 72
LITTLE BUTTERCUP AND THE CAPTAIN . So
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
"WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO?" SAID SlR JOSEPH . 90
" DEADEYE!" SAID THE CAPTAIN, "You HERE? DON'T!" 100
A COUPLE OF MARINES MARCHED HIM OFF UNDER THE
COMMAND OF THE SMALLEST MIDSHIPMAN IN THE
" I MIXED THOSE CHILDREN UP" . . . .118
CORCORAN PRESENTED BLUSHING LITTLE BUTTERCUP TO
SIR JOSEPH, WHO GAVE HER SIXPENCE ON THE SPOT 126
ILLUSTRATIONS IN THE TEXT
HEADPIECE TO CHAPTER I . . i
LITTLE BUTTERCUP ....... 9
HEADPIECE TO CHAPTER II . . . . .22
SIR JOSEPH PORTER AND HIS FEMALE RELATIONS . 38
" I POLISHED UP THE HANDLE OF THE BIG FRONT DOOR" 42
HEADPIECE TO CHAPTER III . . . . -57
DICK DEADEYE DIPPED INTO THE FLOUR-BIN . . 67
HEADPIECE TO CHAPTER IV ..... 70
" MADAM, IT HAS BEEN REPRESENTED TO ME THAT YOU
ARE APPALLED AT MY EXALTED RANK " . . . 9/
" NAUGHTY DAUGHTER OF MINE, I INSIST UPON KNOWING" 107
CAPTAIN RACKSTRAW TRIES TO CATCH SIGHT OF HIS
EPAULETTES . . . . . . .122
THE END . i T.I
REAT BRITAIN is (at present) the most
V_T powerful maritime country in the world ; she
possesses a magnificent Fleet, superb officers and
splendid seamen, and one and all are actuated by
an intense desire to maintain their country's reputa-
tion in its highest glory.
One of the finest and most perfectly manned ships
in that magnificent Fleet was Her Majesty's Ship
Pinafore, and I call the ship " Her Majesty's "
because she belonged to good Queen Victoria's
time, when men-of-war were beautiful objects to
look at, with tall tapering masts, broad white sails,
and gracefully designed hulls; and not huge slate-
coloured iron tanks without masts and sails as
they are to-day. She was commanded by Captain
Corcoran, R.N., a very humane, gallant, and dis-
tinguished officer, who did everything in his power
to make his crew happy and comfortable. He had
a sweet light baritone voice, and an excellent ear
for music, of which he was extremely fond, and
this led him to sing to his crew pretty songs of his
own composition, and to teach them to sing to him.
To encourage this taste among his crew, he made
it a rule on board that nobody should ever say any-
thing to him that could possibly be sung a rule
that was only relaxed when a heavy gale was blow-
ing, or when he had a bilious headache. Harmless
improving books were provided for the crew to
read, and vanilla ices, sugar-plums, hardbake and
raspberry jam were served out every day with a
liberal hand. In short, he did everything possible
(consistently with his duty to Her Majesty) to make
everybody on board thoroughly ill and happy.
Captain Corcoran was a widower with one daugh-
ter, named Josephine, a beautiful young lady with
whom every single gentleman who saw her fell head-
over-ears in love. She was tall, exquisitely grace-
ful, with the loveliest blue eyes and barley-sugar
coloured hair ever seen out of a Pantomime, but
her most attractive feature was, perhaps, her nose,
which was neither too long nor too short, nor too
narrow nor too broad, nor too straight. It had the
IN SHORT, HE DID EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO
MAKE EVERYBODY ON BOARD THOROUGHLY
ILL AND HAPPY
Sr* ^*?2c: & ,'
slightest possible touch of sauciness in it, but only
just enough to let people know that though she
could be funny if she pleased, her fun was always
gentle and refined, and never under any circum-
stances tended in the direction of unfeeling practical
jokes. It was such a maddening little nose, and
had so extraordinary an effect on the world at large
that, whenever she went into Society, she found it
necessary to wear a large pasteboard artificial nose
of so unbecoming and ridiculous a description that
people passed her without taking the smallest notice
of her. This alone is enough to show what a kind-
hearted and self-sacrificing girl was the beautiful
One of the smartest sailors on board Her Majesty's
Ship Pinafore was a young fellow called Ralph
Rackstraw, though, as will be seen presently, that
was not his real name. He was extremely good-
looking, and, considering that he had had very little
education, remarkably well-spoken. Unhappily he
had got it into his silly head that a British man-of-
war's man was a much finer fellow than he really is.
He is, no doubt, a very fine fellow indeed, but per-
haps not quite so fine a fellow as Ralph Rackstraw
thought he was. He had heard a great many songs
and sentiments in which a British Tar was de-
scribed as a person who possessed every good quality
that could be packed into one individual, whereas
there is generally room for a great many more good
qualities than are usually found inside any sailor.
A good packer never packs anything too tight; it is
always judicious to leave room for unexpected odds
and ends, and British Tars are very good packers
and leave plenty of room for any newly acquired
virtues that may be coming along. So, although
Ralph had gathered up many excellent qualities,
there were still some that he had not yet added
to his collection, and among these was a proper
appreciation of the fact that he hadn't got them
all. In short, his only fault was a belief that he
Ralph Rackstraw was one of the many who loved
Josephine to distraction. Nearly all the unmarried
members of the crew also loved Josephine, but they
were older and more sensible than Ralph, and
clearly understood that they could never be accepted
as suitable husbands for a beautiful young lady of
position, who was, moreover, their own Captain's
daughter. They knew that their manners were
quite unsuited to polite dining and drawing-rooms,
H. M.S. '"PINAFORE"
and indeed they would have been very uncomfort-
able if they had been required to sit at table with
gentlemen in gold epaulettes, and ladies in feathers
and long trains ; so they very wisely reasoned them-
selves into a conviction that the sooner they put
Josephine out of their heads the better it would be
for their peace of mind.
There is a time, between four and six in the after-
noon, when the men-of-war sailors are allowed to
cease their work and amuse themselves with cheer-
ful songs and rational conversation. It is called the
" dog-watch " (why, I can't imagine), and at that
time all who are not engaged upon any special duty
meet on the forecastle (which is the front part of the
upper deck) to sing pretty songs and tell each other
those harmless but surprising anecdotes which are
known in the Royal Navy as " yarns." One of the
most popular subjects of conversation during the
dog-watch on board the Pinafore was the kindness
and consideration shown by their good Captain
Corcoran towards the men under his command, and
another was the agreeable fact that the Pinafore
was one of those jolly ships that never pitched and
rolled, and consequently never made any of the
sailors sea-sick. The crew, who had been carefully
trained by Captain Corcoran to sing more or less
in tune, always opened the dog-watch with this
We sail the ocean blue,
And our saucy ship's a beauty!
We're sober men and true
And attentive to our duty.
When the balls whistle free o'er the bright blue sea,
We stand to our guns all day ;
When at anchor we ride on the Portsmouth tide
We've plenty of time to play!
VT r TTT = ' = ^
J i^_tTX- E- - ^ -
We sail the o - cean blue, And our sau cy ship's a
i: l-*=3 :
-^ m m-
beau-ty; We're so -ber men and true, And at - ten-live to our du-ty.
By special permission of the publishers, Metzler & Co., Ltd.
This they used to sing as they sipped their ices,
and ate their rout-cakes and almond toffee. The
song might strike you at first as rather too com-
plimentary to themselves, but it was not really so,
as each man who sang it was alluding to all the
others, and left himself out of the question, and so it
came to pass that every man paid a pretty compli-
ment to his neighbours, and received one in return,
which was quite fair and led to no quarrelling.
As the sailors sat and talked they were joined by
a rather stout but very interesting elderly woman
of striking personal appearance. She was what is
called a " bum-boat woman," that is to say, a person
who supplied the officers and crew with little luxu-
ries not included in the ship's bill of fare. Her real
name was Poll Pineapple, but the crew nick-named
her " Little Buttercup," partly because it is a pretty
name, but principally because she was not at all like
a buttercup, or indeed anything else than a stout,
quick-tempered, and rather mysterious lady, with a
red face and black eyebrows like leeches, and who
seemed to know something unpleasant about every-
body on board. She had a habit of making quite
nice people uncomfortable by hinting things in a
vague way, and at the same time with so much mean-
ing (by skilful use of her heavy black eyebrows),
that they began to wonder whether they hadn't done
something dreadful, at some time or other, and for-
gotten all about it. So Little Buttercup was not
really popular with the crew, but they were much
too kind-hearted to let her know it.
Little Buttercup had a song of her own which
she always sang when she came on board. Here
I'm called Little Buttercup dear Little Buttercup,
Though I could never tell why,
But still I'm called Buttercup poor Little Buttercup,
Sweet Little Buttercup, I.
call'd lit tie
But - ter cup,
Dear lit - tie
P : o ;
. * ...L . _|
But ter - cup,
fU ^ . =\
Though I could
nev - er tell
1 = ^
B i i
By special permission of the publishers, Metzler & Co., Ltd.
I've snuff and tobaccy and excellent "jacky,"
I've scissors and watches and knives,
I've ribbons and laces to set off the faces
Of pretty young sweethearts and wives.
I've treacle and toffee and very good coffee,
" Soft Tommy " and nice mutton chops,
I've chickens and conies and dainty polonies
And excellent peppermint drops.
Then buy of your Buttercup dear Little Buttercup,
Sailors should never be shy
So, buy of your Buttercup poor Little Buttercup-
Come, of your Buttercup buy!
"Thank goodness, that's over!" whispered the
sailors to each other with an air of relief. You see,
Little Buttercup always sang that song whenever
she came on board, and after a few months people
got tired of it. Besides not being really popular on
account of her aggravating tongue, she sold for the
most part things that the liberal Captain provided
freely for his crew out of his own pocket-money.
They had soup, fish, an entree, a joint, an apple
pudding, or a jam tart every day, besides eggs and
ham for breakfast, muffins for tea, and as many
scissors, pocket-knives, and cigars as they chose to
ask for. So Little Buttercup was not even useful to
them, and they only tolerated her because they were
gallant British Tars who couldn't be rude to a lady
if they tried. In point of fact they liad tried on
several occasions to say rude and unpleasant things
to ladies, but as they had invariably failed in the
attempt they at last gave it up as hopeless, and
determined to be quietly polite under all possible
circumstances. So they asked her to sit down, and
take a strawberry ice and a wafer, which she did
rather sulkily as no one seemed to want any of the
things she had to sell.
"Tell us a story, Little Buttercup," said Bill
Bobstay. Bill was a boatswain's mate, who, be-
sides being busily occupied in embroidering his
name in red worsted on a canvas " nighty case,"
generally took the lead in all the amusements of
the dog-watch. "You can if you try, I'm sure,
"You're quite right," said Little Buttercup; " I
could tell you stories about yourselves which would
make you all wish you had never been born. /
know who takes sugar-plums to bed with him "
(looking at one), " and who doesn't say his prayers "
(looking at another), "and who sucks his thumb in
his hammock" (looking at the third), "and who
makes ugly faces at his Captain when his back's
turned" (looking at a fourth), "and who does his
front hair with patent curlers" (looking at a fifth),
"and who puts raspberry jam into his messmates'
boots " (looking at a sixth).
All the sailors referred to looked very hot and
uncomfortable, for their consciences told them that
Little Buttercup had hit off their various weak-
nesses with surprising accuracy.
" Let's change the subject," said Bill Bobstay (he
was the one who ate sugar-plums in bed), "we all
have our faults. But, after all, we're not so bad as
poor Dick Deadeye that's one comfort! "
Now this was very unjust on the part of Mr. Bob-
stay. Dick Deadeye, who sat apart from the others,
busy manicuring his nails, was one of the ugliest
persons who ever entered the Navy. His face had
been so knocked about and burnt and scarred in
various battles and from falling down from aloft,
that not one feature was in its proper place. The
wags among the crew pretended that his two eyes,
his nose, and his mouth, had been playing " Puss in
the Corner," and that his left eye, having been un-
able to find a corner that was unoccupied, was con-
sequently left in the middle. Of course this was
only their nonsense, but it shows what a very plain
man he must have been. He was hump-backed, and
bandy-legged, and round-shouldered, and hollow-
chested, and severely pitted with small-pox marks.
He had broken both his arms, both his legs, his two
collar-bones, and all his ribs, and looked just as if he
had been crumpled up in the hand of some enormous
"I KNOW WHO TAKES SUGAR-PLUMS TO BED
giant. He ought properly to have been made a
Greenwich Pensioner long ago, but Captain Cor-
coran was too kind-hearted to hint that Dick Dead-
eye was deformed, and so he was allowed to con-
tinue to serve his country as a man-o'-war's man as
best he could. Now Dick Deadeye was generally
disliked because he was so unpleasant to look at,
but he was really one of the best and kindest and
most sensible men on board the Pinafore, and this
shows how wrong and unjust it is to judge un-
favourably of a man because he is ugly and deformed.
I myself am one of the plainest men I have ever
met, and at the same time I don't know a more
agreeable old gentleman. But so strong was the
prejudice against poor Dick Deadeye, that nothing
he could say or do appeared to be right. The worst
construction was placed upon his most innocent re-
marks, and his noblest sentiments were always at-
tributed to some unworthy motive. They had no
idea what the motive was, but they felt sure there
was a motive, and that he ought to be ashamed
Dick Deadeye sighed sadly when Mr. Bobstay
spoke so disparagingly of him. He wiped a tear from
his eye (as soon as he had found that organ), and
then continued to manicure his poor old cracked
and broken nails in silence.
" What 's the matter with the man?" said Little
Buttercup; " isn't he well?"
"Aye, aye, lady," said Dick, " I'm as well as ever
I shall be. But I am ugly, ain't I?"
" Well," said little Buttercup, "you are certainly
"And I'm three-cornered, ain't I?" said he.
"You are rather triangular."
"Ha! ha!" said Dick, laughing bitterly. "That's
it. I'm ugly, and they hate me for it!"
Bill Bobstay was sorry he had spoken so un-
" Well, Dick," said he, putting down his em-
broidery, " we wouldn't go to hurt any fellow crea-
ture's feelings, but, setting personal appearance on
one side, you can't expect a person with such a name
as ' Dick Deadeye' to be a popular character now,
" No," said Dick, sadly, " it 's asking too much.
It's human nature, and I don't complain!"
At this moment, a beautiful tenor voice was heard
singing up in the rigging:
Loved the pale moon's bright ray
And told his tale
In his own melodious way,
He sang, " Ah, Well-a-day!"
The lowly vale
For the mountain vainly sighed ;
To his humble wail
The echoing hills replied,
They sang, "Ah, Well-a-day!"
" Who is the silly cuckoo who is tweetling up
aloft?" asked Little Buttercup, rather rudely, as she
scooped up the last drops of her ice.
"That?" said Bobstay, "Why, that's only poor
Ralph Rackstraw who's in love with Miss Jo-
"Ralph Rackstraw!" exclaimed little Buttercup,
" Ha! I could tell you a good deal about him if I
chose. But I won't not yet!"
At this point Ralph descended the rigging and
joined his messmates on deck.
"Ah, my lad," said one of them, "you're quite
right to come down for you've climbed too high.
Our worthy Captain's child won't have nothing to
say to a poor chap like you."
All the sailors said " Hear, hear," and nodded
their heads simultaneously, like so many china
mandarins in a tea-shop.
" No, no," said Dick Deadeye, " Captains' daugh-
ters don't marry common sailors."
Now this was a very sensible remark, but coming
from ugly Dick Deadeye it was considered to be in
the worst possible taste. All the sailors muttered,
" Shame, shame!"
"Dick Deadeye," said Bobstay, "those sentiments
of yours are a disgrace to our common nature."
Dick shrugged his left eyebrow. He would have
shrugged his shoulders if he could, but they wouldn't
work that way; so, always anxious to please, he did
the best he could with his left eyebrow, but even
that didn't succeed in conciliating his messmates.
" It 's very strange," said Ralph, " that the daugh-
ter of a man who hails from the quarter deck may
not love another who lays out on the fore-yard arm.
For a man is but a man, whether he hoists his flag
at the main-truck, or his slacks on the main deck."
This speech of Ralph's calls for a little explana-
tion, for he expressed himself in terms which an
ordinary landsman would not understand. The
quarter deck is the part of the ship reserved for
officers, and the fore-yard arm is a horizontal spar
with a sail attached to it, and which crosses the
front mast of a ship, and sailors are said to "lay
out" on it when they get on to it for the purpose
of increasing or reducing sail. Then again, the
main-truck is the very highest point of the middle
mast, and it is from that point that the Captain flies
his flag, while a sailor is said to " hoist his slacks"
when he hitches up the waist-band of his trousers
to keep them in their proper place. Now you know
all about tJiat.
"Ah," said Dick Deadeye, " it's a queer world!"
" Dick Deadeye," said Mr. Bobstay, " I have no
desire to press hardly on any human being, but
such a wicked sentiment is enough to make an
honest sailor shudder."
And all his messmates began to shudder violently
to show what honest sailors they were and how
truly Bobstay had spoken ; but at that moment the
ship's bell sounding four strokes gave them notice
that the dog-watch had come to an end. So the
crew put away their manicure boxes and em-
broidered " nighty cases" and dispersed to their
NE of the most
ages in the Gov-
ernment of that day was Sir Joseph Porter, the
First Lord of the Admiralty. You would naturally
think that the person who commanded the entire
Navy would be the most accomplished sailor who
could be found, but that is not the way in which
such things are managed in England. Sir Joseph
Porter, who had risen from a very humble position
to be a lawyer and then a Member of Parliament,
was, I believe, the only man in England who knew
nothing whatever about ships. Now, as England is
a great maritime country, it is very important that
all Englishmen should understand something about
men-of-war. So as soon as it was discovered that
his ignorance of a ship was so complete that he didn't
know one end of it from the other, some important
person said " Let us set this poor ignorant gentleman
to command the British Fleet, and by that means
give him an opportunity of ascertaining what a
ship really is." This was considered to be a most
wise and sensible suggestion, and so Sir Joseph
Porter was at once appointed " First Lord of the
Admiralty of Great Britain and Ireland." I daresay
you think I am joking, but indeed I am quite
serious. That is the way in which things are
managed in this great and happy country.
Now Sir Joseph Porter was one of the many
people who, having accidentally seen her without
her nose, had fallen a victim to the extraordinary
beauty of Miss Josephine Corcoran. He quite
recognized the fact that his position as First Lord
of the Admiralty of this mighty country rendered
it undesirable that he should marry so obscure a
lady as the daughter of a mere captain in the Navy,
but Josephine's charm was so overpowering that
he determined to put his pride in his pocket and
condescend to bestow his hand upon her. So one
day he announced to Captain Corcoran that it was
his intention to visit Her Majesty's Ship Pinafore
in order to propose for his daughter's hand.
Now most people would think that Josephine
would have gladly accepted so great a man as Sir
Joseph, but it so happened that that young lady
was not at all impressed by the honour which he
proposed to confer upon her. She did not object to
him personally (indeed she had never seen him)
but she was a girl of spirit with a will of her own,
and had no idea of being handed over, without her
consent, to any gentleman, however important a
person he might be. Moreover (and this was a
profound secret) she had been greatly struck with
the many good qualities of Ralph Rackstraw, who
never lost a chance of distinguishing himself in her
eyes. Whenever he saw her looking in his direc-
tion, he assumed a series of the most graceful and
captivating attitudes ever seen, and Josephine was
never tired of watching him as he gradually moved
from one beautiful pose to another each more
graceful and more truly artistic than the last. His
lovely tenor voice also charmed her greatly, and
his performances on a penny jews' harp appeared
to her to excel any music that the most expensive
instruments could produce. At the same time, she
was much too proud and too well-behaved to allow
Ralph to know that she admired him. So it was a
secret between her and herself, and neither was so
dishonourable as to violate the other's confidence.
SIR JOSEPH PORTER WAS ONE OF THE MANY
PEOPLE WHO HAD FALLEN A VICTIM TO THE
BEAUTY OF MISS JOSEPHINE CORCORAN
THE SEW YO
On the eventful morning of Sir Joseph's intended
visit, Captain Corcoran came on deck as soon as
he had finished his breakfast. Captain Corcoran
had arranged a pretty little musical method of
greeting his crew, and the crew practised it with
him until they were perfect. This was how he
greeted his crew every day :
My gallant crew, good morning!
And they would reply:
Sir, good morning!
Then he would say:
I hope you're all quite well!
And they would answer:
Quite well, and you, Sir?
And he would reply :
I am in reasonable health, and happy
To see you all once more.
And they would sing:
You do us proud, Sir!
Of course, when he was not quite well he would
alter the words to suit his condition, like this:
I have a dreadful toothache, yet I'm happy
To see you all once more!
I have a housemaid's knee, yet I am happy
To see you all once more!
And so forth, for Captain Corcoran never inten-
tionally said anything that was not strictly true.
After this introduction he used to tell them
something about himself:
THE CAPTAIN. I am the captain of the Pinafore\
THE CREW. And a right good captain too!
THE CAPTAIN (politely).
You're very, very good.
And be it understood,
I command a right good crew!
THE CREW (to each other}.
We're very, very good,
And be it understood,
He commands a right good crewr!
THE CAPTAIN. Though related to a peer 1
I can hand, reef, and steer, 8
And ship a selvagee.
I am never known to quail
At the fury of a gale,
And I'm never, never sick at sea!
THE CREW (who know better). What, never?
THE CAPTAIN (mere forgetful-ness). No, never!
THE CREW (who remember one instance). What, never?
1 I'm afraid this was rather snobbish on Captain Corcoran's part.
But as the least little bit of snobbishness was his only fault (and I
am sorry to say that a great many highly respectable people are
afflicted with it) I think we may forgive him this once. But if he
does it again we shall have to take serious notice of it.
2 These are various simple nautical operations which your kind
papa will explain to you.
'MY GALLANT CREW, GOOD MORNING!'
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By special permission of the publishers, Metzler & Co., Ltd.
THE CAPTAIN (who now recollects the occasion they are referring
to). Hardly ever!
THE CREW (delighted at having caught him tripping).
He's hardly ever sick at sea!
Then give three cheers and one cheer more
For the hardy Captain of the Pinafore !
THE CAPTAIN. I do my best to satisfy you all!
THE CREW. And with you we're quite content
THE CAPTAIN. You're exceedingly polite,
And I think it only right,
To return the compliment!
THE CREW (to each other).
We're exceedingly polite
And he thinks it only right
To return the compliment!
THE CAPTAIN. Bad language or abuse
I never, never use,
Whatever the emergency;
" How tiresome!" I may
But I never use a big, big B! '
THE CREW (who remember a certain occasion). What, never?
THE CAPTAIN (the circumstance had slipped his memorv). No,
THE CREW (who don't mean to let him off). What, never?
THE CAPTAIN (the incident suddenly occurring to him). Hardly
THE CREW (who have scored).
Hardly ever says a big, big B!
Then ;_;:ve three cheers and one cheer more
For the well-bred Captain of the Pinafore]
1 He meant " Bother!" a vulgar expression that only the
strongest provocation can excuse.
And they gave three of the heartiest cheers you
ever heard. After this pretty little ceremony (which
might with advantage be more generally adopted
throughout the Navy), the officers and sailors
employed themselves with a variety of easy little
tasks suited to rather lazy people on a very fine
warm day. Captain Corcoran (who was never idle)
was about to retire to his cabin to arrange the
figures of a minuet which he intended to teach his
men to dance, when his attention was arrested by
Josephine, who at that moment came on deck. The
poor young lady was very sad, and sang a remark-
ably beautiful song of her own composition.
It ran like this:
Sorry her lot who loves too well,
Heavy the heart that hopes but vainly,
Sad are the sighs that own the spell
Uttered by eyes that speak too plainly!
Heavy the sorrow that bows the head
When Love is alive and Hope is dead!
The good Captain was distressed to see his dear
daughter in this bilious frame of mind.
" My child," said he, " I grieve to see that you
are a prey to melancholy."
"There's another verse, Papa," said Josephine,
who rather resented interruption.
" Don't sing it, my child; your music depresses
us both. I want you to look your best to-day, for
Sir Joseph Porter will arrive presently to claim your
" Nay, father," said Josephine, " I can esteem,
reverence, even venerate Sir Joseph, for I shouldn't
be surprised if he is a great and good man, but I
cannot love him, for, alas! my heart is given!"
"Given!" exclaimed her father, "and to whom?
Not to some gilded lordling?" l
" No, Papa," said she, " the object of my affection
is no lordling. Oh, pity me, for he is but a humble
sailor on board your own ship!"
"Impossible!" said Captain Corcoran.
"Yet it is true," replied Josephine, "too true!"
"A common sailor!" exclaimed the Captain,
" I quite feel the ' fie,' " said she, "but he's any-
thing but common."
" Come, my child," said her father, " let us talk
this over. In a matter of the heart I would not con-
trol my daughter. I attach little value to rank or
wealth, but the line must be drawn somewhere. A
1 I should have thought he would have liked a gilded lordling,
but you never can tell.
THE GOOD CAPTAIN WAS DISTRESSED TO SEE
HIS DEAR DAUGHTER IN THIS BILIOUS
FRAAIE OF MIND
man in that lowly station may be brave and worthy,
but at every step he would make dreadful blunders
that Society would never pardon. He would drop
his h's, and eat peas with his knife."
Captain Corcoran's sentiments upon this point
were so right and just that one is more sorry than
ever that he should have boasted, in his song, of
being related to a peer. It is just one of those un-
fortunate little slips that one never can quite get out
of one's mind. Personally, I hope he did it only
because he wanted a rhyme to " steer," but, after all,
that 's a very poor excuse.
"All that you say is true," replied Josephine,
" but fear not, Papa; I have a heart, and therefore
I love; but I am your daughter, and therefore I am
proud. Though I carry my love with me to the
tomb he shall never, never know it!"
Poor girl, she thought so at the time, but as the re-
sult will show, she sadly over-estimated her strength
of mind, and the consequence was a pretty kettle of
fish, I promise you!
At this point a message was brought to the Cap-
tain by Lieutenant Hatchway, that the ship's barge
was approaching with Sir Joseph on board, accom-
panied by his two plain sisters, his three ugly aunts,
and ever so many pretty cousins, their daughters.
Sir Joseph was a gentleman of great refinement,
who was very easily shocked, and as he knew that
the society of charming ladies had the effect of
making everybody polite and considerate, he never
travelled any great distance without them.
"Pipe the side and man ship," said the Captain,
which meant that he wished all the officers to stand
in a row to salute the First Lord, and all the crew
to stand upright on the various spars that crossed
the three masts, which is the way in which superior
persons were always received on a man-of-war. The
Captain of Marines (who are a kind of military
sailors or nautical soldiers) brought up his men that
they might "present arms" with their rifles at the
word of command, and the ship's band were ready
with all their instruments to play " God save the
Queen" at the proper moment.
All these preparations were ready by the time the
ship's barge (which is a very large and handsome
boat rowed by twelve sailors, seated two and two)
was alongside, and in a few moments Sir Joseph
Porter and his female relations stepped on board.
The Officers saluted, the Marines presented arms,
the drums rattled, the band struck up the National
Anthem, and nine-pounder guns were fired from
the middle deck.
Sir Joseph, who was quite as fond of music as
Captain Corcoran, had composed these remarkable
verses which he always sang whenever he went on
board a man-of-war.
I'm the monarch of the sea,
The ruler of the Queen's Navee,
Whose praise Great Britain loudly chaunts!
And the Ladies sang:
And we are his sisters, and his cousins, and his aunts!
When at anchor here I ride
My bosom swells with pride,
And I snap my fingers at a foeman's taunts!
ALL THE LADIES.
And so do his sisters, and his cousins, and his aunts!
But when the breezes blow
I generally go below,
And seek the seclusion that a cabin grants!
ALL THE LADIES.
And so do his sisters, and his cousins, and his aunts.
His sisters and his cousins,
Whom he reckons up by dozens,
And his aunts!
Then Sir Joseph (who was proud of his lowly
origin, and who thought that a short sketch of his
career would afford a useful example to ambitious
persons in a humble rank of life) was so good as to
sing the following song:
When I was a lad I served a term
As office-boy in an attorney's firm ;
SIR J. PORTER.
I am the mon - arch of the sea,
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By special permission of the publishers, Metzler & Co., Ltd.
I cleaned the windows and I swept the floor,
And I polished up the handle of the big front door.
I polished up that handle so successfullee
That now I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navee.
As office-boy I made such a mark
That they gave me the post of a junior clerk;
I served the writs with a smile so bland,
And I copied all the letters in a big round hand.
I copied all the letters in a hand so free
That now I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navee,
In serving writs I made such a name,
That an articled clerk I soon became;
I wore clean collars and a bran-new suit
For the pass-examination at the Institute.
That pass-examination did so well for me
That now I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navee.
Of legal knowledge I acquired such a grip,
That they took me into partnership,
And that junior partnership I ween
Was the only ship that I had ever seen.
But that same ship so suited me
That now I am the Ruler of the Queen's Navee.
I grew so rich that I was sent
To the House as a Member of Parliament,
I always voted at my party's call, 1
And I never thought of thinking for myself at all.
I thought so little they rewarded me
By making me the Ruler of the Queen's Navee.
Now landsmen all, whoever you may be,
If you want to rise to the top of the tree
If your soul isn't fettered to an office-stool
Be careful to be guided by this golden rule
Stick close to your desks and never go to sea,
And you all may be rulers of the Queen's Navee.
1 This means that he always did exactly as he was told by those
who knew better than he did. I hope my readers will all imitate
his example, and then, perhaps, when they grow up they will also
be rewarded by being placed at the head of an important Public
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(Between ourselves, I think this last suggestion
was rather silly, for he was addressing people who
had already gone to sea, and consequently could
not possibly act on his advice. But I'm afraid that
Sir Joseph, though a very distinguished man, was,
like a good many other very distinguished men, a
bit of a goose.)
"You've a remarkably fine crew, Captain Cor-
coran," said Sir Joseph when he had finished his
song, and was quite sure that they didn't want him
to sing it again.
" It is a fine crew," said Captain Corcoran.
" I hope you treat them kindly, Captain Cor-
" Indeed, I hope so, Sir Joseph."
" No bullying, I trust ; no strong language of
any kind? "
" Oh never, Sir Joseph! "
" What, nevert " said Sir Joseph, who had heard
rumours to the contrary.
The Captain's eye met those of some of his crew,
who shook their fingers significantly at him.
"Well, hardly ever," said the Captain, "they are
an excellent crew, and do their work thoroughly
Sir Joseph was one of those people whom it is
extremely difficult to satisfy, for you never quite
knew whether what you said would please him or
make him angry, and it generally did the latter. He
was very fond of popularity, and as there were five
hundred sailors on board the Pinafore, and only
one Captain, he thought it a good plan to snub the
Captain in order to make friends of the crew. It is
true that he was in love with the Captain's daughter,
but he felt sure that the Captain was so anxious to
have such a great and powerful man as the First
Lord of the Admiralty for a son-in-law, that a few
snubs more or less might be safely indulged in. So
when Captain Corcoran praised his crew so highly,
Sir Joseph Porter said to him, very angrily:
" Don't patronize them, sir. That you are their
Captain is a mere accident of birth. I cannot per-
mit these noble fellows to be patronized because an
accident of birth has placed you above them, and
them below you."
Poor Captain Corcoran turned very red and felt
extremely tingly down the back at being so publicly
rebuked. It is always a mistake to rebuke people in
the presence of those who have to obey them, if it
can possibly be avoided.
" I am the last person to insult a British sailor,
Sir Joseph," said he.
"You are the last person who did," said Sir Joseph,
I feel quite sorry for Captain Corcoran, who really
meant as well as possible. He was a much truer
gentleman than Sir Joseph, though I can't quite
forget that unfortunate remark of his about being
related to a Peer.
During this conversation, Ralph Rackstraw had
assumed in succession several of his choicest atti-
tudes, and these naturally attracted Sir Joseph's
"Captain Corcoran," said he, "desire that splendid
seaman to step forward."
"Rackstraw," said the Captain, "three paces to
the front, march! "
Sir Joseph pretended to be greatly shocked at
this abrupt command.
" If what?" said Sir Joseph very sternly.
The Captain was puzzled.
" I beg your pardon," said he, " I don't quite
"If you please" said Sir Joseph, with a very strong
emphasis on the " please."
Now it is not usual in the Navy to say " if you
please " whenever you give an order. It would take
up too much time. But Captain Corcoran was bound
to obey the great man, though you will observe that
the great man never said " if you please " when he
addressed Captain Corcoran.
The Captain, looking as if he had just bitten a
pill, said " Oh yes, of course. If you please"
And accordingly, Ralph Rackstraw took three
paces to the front, and if ever a Captain in the Navy
said " Bother " under his breath, Captain Corcoran
was that man.
"You're a remarkably fine fellow," said Sir Joseph,
" Yes, your honour," replied Ralph, who was too
well acquainted with his duty to presume to differ
from the First Lord of the Admiralty.
"And a first-rate seaman, I'll be bound."
"There's not a smarter sailor in the Navy, your
honour,"said Ralph, "though I say it who shouldn't."
This sounds rather conceited of Ralph, but he had
learnt from Captain Corcoran to speak the exact
truth on all occasions. Besides, he wanted to con-
vince Sir Joseph how right he was in the opinion
he had formed.
" Now tell me, Ralph don't be afraid how does
your Captain treat you ? "
"A better Captain don't walk the deck, your
And all the rest of the crew said " Hear, hear! "
This was not quite what Sir Joseph wanted. He
would rather that Ralph had said, "Well, he does
his best, poor chap," or something of that half com-
plimentary kind. However, he managed to conceal
"Good," said he, " I like to hear you speak well
of your commanding officer. I dare say he doesn't
deserve it, but it does you credit. Now, Captain
Corcoran, a word with you in private."
" Certainly, Sir Joseph," replied the Captain,
"Boatswain," said he, turning towards Mr. Bobstay,
" in commemoration of Sir Joseph's visit, see that an
extra tub of raspberry jam is served out to the ship's
" Beg pardon," said Mr. Bobstay, who hadn't
forgotten Sir Joseph's lesson in politeness, "ifw/iaf,
Captain Corcoran could scarcely believe his ears.
"'If what?'" said he, "I don't I really don't
think I understand you! "
" If you please, your honour! "
The Captain looked thunderstruck, when Sir
" The gentleman is quite right. If you. please."
The Captain had almost let out another " Bother! "
but he gulped it down with a great effort.
" If yo\\ please\ " said he, and Sir Joseph entered
the cabin with Captain Corcoran, followed by his
two plain sisters, his three ugly aunts, and all his
pretty cousins. Refreshments had thoughtfully been
provided for them in the ward-room, (which is the
apartment assigned to the lieutenants on board a
man-o'-war), and they enjoyed a delightful luncheon
in the agreeable society of the junior officers in gilt
buttons and gold epaulettes, who paid even more
attention to Sir Joseph's plain sisters and ugly aunts
than they did to his younger and more attractive
relations ; which shows what thoroughly well-bred
gentlemen British naval officers are. Plain elderly
people are just as hungry as young and pretty ones;
and nobody ought to make any distinction between
them. While Sir Joseph communicated his matri-
monial intentions at great length to Captain Corcoran
in his private cabin, the crew broke up and withdrew
to the forecastle to discuss the events of the morning.
LUNCHEON IN THE WARD-ROOM
"Ah!" said Mr. Bobstay, "Sir Joseph 's a true
gentleman; courteous and considerate to the very
" Well spoke! Well spoke! " they all cried. (They
should have said " spoken," and would have done so
if their education had been properly attended to.)
You see, these poor ignorant sailors were not
shrewd enough to understand that Sir Joseph had
his reasons for flattering them so outrageously. He
longed for " popularity," and determined to acquire
it at any price, and it is quite clear that, as far as
the crew of the Pinafore was concerned, he had fully
achieved his object.
"Hold hard!" said another of the crew, Bill
Bowling by name, " we are not as humble as all that.
Sir Joseph has explained our true position to us,
and if he says that a British sailor is any man's
equal, why it's our duty to believe him! "
"That's right enough! " muttered all the sailors,
except Dick Deadeye, who knew better.
"You're on the wrong tack," said he, "and so's
Sir Joseph. He means well, but he don't know.
\Vhen people have to obey other people's orders,
equality's out of the question."
I really believe that if the crew had not been re-
strained by humane consideration, they would have
pulled Dick Deadeye's hair.
"Dick Deadeye," said Mr. Bobstay, " if you go
for to infuriate this here ship's crew too far, 1 won't
answer for being able to hold them in. I'm shocked,
that's what I am, shocked."
" Messmates," said Ralph, who had been greatly
impressed by what Sir Joseph had said, " my mind's
made up. I'll speak to the Captain's daughter, and
tell her, like an honest man, of the honest love I
have for her! "
The crew cheered loudly.
" Is not my love as good as another's?" continued
Ralph, " Is not my heart as true as another's ?
Have I not hands and eyes and ears and limbs like
" You've got as pretty an outfit of them useful
articles as any man on board," said Mr. Bobstay.
"True," said Ralph, rather despondently, " I lack
Here Bill Bowling interfered with a rather silly
" Not a bit of it," said Bill, "you've got a berth
on board this very ship! "
" Well said," replied Ralph, who, sailor-like,
jumped at any argument, however ridiculous, that
he thought would help his case, " I had forgotten
that. Messmates, don't you approve my determin-
There was a general murmur of "Aye, aye," "we
do," and " right you are."
"I don't no, I do not\ "
Of course it was Dick Deadeye who said this.
Bill Bobstay was in despair.
"What is to be done with this here hopeless
chap ? " said he. " Suppose we sing him the official
Admiralty song that Sir Joseph wrote and caused
to be distributed through the Fleet? It may bring
this here miserable creetur to a proper state of
Ralph gave the key-note on his jews' harp, and
they all struck up in chorus. Notwithstanding
Ralph's thoughtful precaution, they began on seven
different notes, but by the time they had finished
the third line they had wobbled into something
like an agreement as to the key in which it was to
A British Tar is a soaring soul
As free as a mountain bird ;
His energetic fist should be ready to resist
A dictatorial word.
His nose should pant and his lip should curl,
His cheeks should flame and his brow should furl,
His bosom should heave and his heart should glow,
And his fist be ever ready for a knock-down blow.
His eyes should flash with an inborn fire,
His brow with scorn be wrung ;
He never should bow down to a domineering frown
Or the tang of a tyrant tongue.
His foot should stamp and his throat should growl,
His hair should twirl and his face should scowl,
His eyes should flash and his chest protrude,
And this should be his customary attitude.
And as they sang the last line, they all, except
Ralph, assumed fighting attitudes as if they were
inviting the whole world to " come on." Ralph stood
apart in the pose of Ajax defying the lightning, for
it was his strict rule to assume classical attitudes
H E ward-room lunch
\va.s finished, and all the
ladies were playing
"Bridge" for nuts with
the officers, except Jose-
phine, whose thoughts
were too much occupied
with other and more im-
portant matters. So she came on deck to indulge in
a reverie all alone.
" It is useless," said she to herself; "Sir Joseph's
attentions disgust me. I know that he is a truly
great and good man, for he told me so himself, and
of course he would know; 1 but to me he seems
tedious, fretful, and dictatorial. Yet his must be a
mind of no common order, or he would not dare to
1 Sir Joseph was mistaken, but, to do him justice, he believed
that he was telling the truth. Josephine's estimate of his character
was much nearer the mark.
teach my dear Father to dance a hornpipe on the
It was Sir Joseph's firm belief that if Great Britain
were to retain her proud position as the most power-
ful naval country in the world, it was essential that
all her sailors should learn to dance hornpipes. It
was all he knew about the Navy, and he had been
three years learning that.
As Josephine soliloquized, she saw Ralph Rack-
straw advancing towards her with an undulating
swan-like motion that teemed with unspeakable
" Ralph Rackstraw!" she exclaimed, withdrawing
from her pocket the false nose which she always
put on when she thought she was going to be too
" Nay, lady," said he, "put away yon pasteboard
mockery. The matchless beauty of the real one is
so deeply graven in my memory that I can see it
even through that hollow absurdity."
" In that case," said she, " it is of course useless
to wear it, for it is uncomfortable wear on a warm
day." And she returned it to her pocket.
" Lady," said Ralpji, " I have long wished to
meet you alone."
SO SHE CAME ON DECK TO INDULGE IN A
REVERIE ALL ALONE
"That's nonsense," she replied, "you can't be
alone if I am here, you know."
" An unworthy quibble," said he. " You know
perfectly well what I mean. It is unladylike to sneer
at a poor sailor-man because his education has been
"It is true," she replied. " I beg your pardon."
" Granted," said he, with the ready urbanity of
one of Nature's noblemen.
Poor Josephine was much touched by this gener-
ous and freely accorded forgiveness, and the affec-
tion that she had long entertained for him struggled
with her sense that it would never do to unite her-
self with a humble and illiterate sailor. Moreover,
she had promised her papa that no consideration
should induce her to let Ralph Rackstraw know her
real sentiments towards him, soshedrewa" Diabolo" 1
from her pocket and pretended to be \vholly absorbed
in the game. She usually played it with great skill,
throwing the Diabolo as high as the mast head and
1 " Diabolo " was not publicly played at the date of my story.
The game was invented by Josephine, and she reserved it at first
for her own entertainment; but eventually Messrs. Ayres of Alders-
gate Street were induced to make it public, with considerable
pecuniary results, all of which she handed over, like a good girl,
to the Sailors' Institute.
catching it on the string with her eyes shut ; but
so great was her agitation that she missed it every
time, to the serious damage of her renowned nose.
" Nay, lady," said Ralph, " I see that my presence
has unsettled you I will withdraw."
" No, Ralph, you may remain," she said. She did
not like him to go away with the impression that
she was but a clumsy player after all. And again
she tossed the "Diabolo" high into the air, and
again it came down on her beautiful little nose.
" Lady," said he, " put aside that silly toy and
listen. I am a poor uneducated fellow who has
dared to love you, but before you dismiss me with
contempt, do not forget that I am a British sailor.
It is important to bear that in mind."
Josephine was much moved, and though she was
a girl of great strength of mind she would not trust
herself to speak. So she merely exclaimed " Pooh!"
and again threw up the toy, with the same painful
" Nay, lady," said he, " I feel that this indiffer-
ence is assumed. I distinctly see a tear trembling
in your left eye."
" It it was the Diabolo," she said (not quite
truthfully), " it hurt."
" Then you reject me?" said he.
" Sir," said she, " you forget the disparity in our
" I forget nothing, haughty girl," said Ralph.
" Give me hope, and what I lack in education and
polite accomplishments, I will endeavour to acquire.
Drive me to despair, and in death alone I shall
look for consolation. I am proud, and cannot
stoop to implore. I have spoken and I await your
As he finished, he assumed an attitude of such
extraordinary dignity that Josephine was on the
point of saying "Take me and be happy," but the
noble girl called all her resolution to her aid, and
"You shall not wait long your proffered love I
contemptuously reject. Go, sir, and learn to cast
your eyes on some village maiden in your own poor
rank they should be lowered before your Captain's
And so saying, with the tell-tale tears streaming
down her face, she strode magnificently to her cabin,
where she almost sobbed her little heart out. Poor
Ralph Rackstraw was furious. In defiance of all
ship-rules he loudly summoned all the crew to the
"Why! what 'sail this?" said Mr. Bobstay. "Is
the ship on fire, or have they made you Port Ad-
" Neither," gasped Ralph. "I have told Josephine
of my love, and she has scornfully rejected me!"
"Ah! what did I tell you!" said the crew, as
" Well, Ralph," said Bobstay, " I was afraid you
were over sanguine."
" Aye, aye," said Dick Deadeye, " it was too much
"Will somebody, please, take this chap away and
put his head in the flour-bin," said Mr. Bobstay.
" His sentiments are simply disgraceful."
And two brawny sailors took poor Dick away
(kicking meekly) and dipped his head into the flour-
bin until he assured them that he would behave
better in future.
" Life is no longer worth living," said Ralph.
" Has anybody got such a thing as a pistol
Mr. Bobstay was overcome with emotion, for he
loved Ralph rather better than his own mother;
SO SAYING, WITH TELL-TALE TEARS STREAMING
DOWN HER FACE, SHE STRODE MAGNIFICENTLY
TO HER CABIN
and the crew, quite unmanned, sobbed on each
" Come," says Ralph, " a pistol!"
Mr. Bobstay, who was one of the most tender-
hearted creatures living, could never refuse anything
to the friend of his heart. So the good fellow re-
luctantly produced a full-sized horse-pistol and pro-
ceeded to load it as quickly as his hiccupping sobs
would allow him, while Ralph was taking an affec-
tionate leave of his beloved ship-mates.
" Here you are, Ralph," he said, handing him the
loaded pistol. " Bless you, my boy. Be cool and
aim straight. It it'll be soon over!"
And the brawny seaman fairly sobbed like a girl.
" My friends," said Ralph, " for the last time,
farewell! And when I am dead convey my respect-
ful compliments to Miss Josephine and tell her that
she's done it and I hope she likes it."
So saying, he placed the pistol to his head w r hile
all the crew stopped their ears, for if there was one
thing they hated more than another, it was the bang
of an exploding fire-arm.
But you will be surprised to hear that Ralph was
not to die just then. Josephine, who had been
watching all this through her cabin window- (which
looked on to the quarter deck), couldn't stand it any
longer. Forgetting her family pride, her brilliant
prospects, and even her promise to her papa, she
rushed out and flung herself into Ralph's arms with
a shriek in which devoted love, acute anguish, hum-
bled pride, w r ild determination, and maidenly reserve
were perceptibly blended. She had often practised
this shriek, so as to have it ready for emergerucies,
and it was much admired by her family and
Ralph, visibly moved, flung away the pistol,
which exploded as it fell, making all the crew jump
and cutting off poor Deadeye's only remaining little
toe. Ralph embraced Josephine rapturously as the
crew danced, shouted, and flung up their caps for
very joy. It was arranged that the happy pair,
accompanied by the ship's company, should steal
away that very night at twelve, in order to be
married without a moment's delay, and as they all
knew a chorus which happened to fit the situation
exactly, they sung it as loud as they could :
Let 's give three cheers for the sailor's bride,
Who casts all thoughts of rank aside,
Who gives up home and fortune too,
For the honest love of a sailor true!
All this time Sir Joseph, in the Captain's cabin,
was so busily occupied in explaining to Captain
Corcoran, at great length, how tremendous a sacri-
fice he was making in condescending to marry
Josephine, and the Captain was listening to him so
attentively, that neither of them heard anything of
the noisy rejoicings I have just described.
T was night, and a beautiful cres-
cent moon was shining over the
placid blue waters of Portsmouth
Harbour. All the hammocks had
been taken from the receptacles
on deck called hammock-nettings
in which they were kept during the day, carried
below, and hung up from hooks in the beams of the
lower decks. The sailors who were not required on
deck were supposed to be fast asleep in them, but
I'm afraid they slept with one eye open, because it
would soon be time for them to escape secretly from
the ship in order to accompany Ralph Rackstraw
and the beautiful Josephine to Portsmouth Town
to be married. Josephine did not go to bed at all,
but was busily occupied in packing up a few indis-
pensable necessaries (not forgetting her paste-board
nose) in a small handbag, and in writing an affeo
tionate farewell letter to her kind Papa. Now I
want it to be distinctly understood that Josephine
was very much to be blamed for the step she was
about to take. In the first place, a young lady
should, under no circumstances, fall in love with a
young man greatly beneath her in social rank, and
in the second place, no young lady should ever take
such an important step as getting married without
her Papa's express approval. In this case, Josephine
had distinctly promised her Papa that she would
never, under any circumstances, let Ralph Rackstraw
know even that she had fallen in love with him,
whereas here she was, actually preparing to leave
the ship with him secretly in order that they might
be married! It is true that it is some excuse for her
that she revealed her affection for Ralph as the only
means of preventing him from killing himself, but,
having done that, she should have gone to her Papa
without a moment's delay, and explained to him the
dreadful circumstances under which she had felt
bound to disclose her secret. Captain Corcoran had
shown himself to be a most affectionate and sym-
pathetic father, and he would, no doubt, have made
every allowance for the distressing situation in which
she found herself. He might even have gone so far
(and I think he would) as to have provided masters
for Ralph who would have taught him to spell and
dance, drink soup without gobbling, eat peas with a
fork, play bridge, and, in short, make him fit to take
his place creditably among ladies and gentlemen.
Poor Captain Corcoran had also been greatly
worried by the events of the day. He had been
severely rebuked by Sir Joseph, in the presence of
his crew, for not having said " if you please" when
he gave them an order; he had been greatly up-
set by his daughter's determination to decline Sir
Joseph's handsome offer (and also by her short and
snappish replies to Sir Joseph's pretty speeches at
dinner that evening) and, to crown everything, Sir
Joseph had threatened to have him placed under
arrest and tried by Court Martial because he did
not rebuke Josephine for her rudeness to him at
dinner. Of course, if the First Lord of the Admiralty
had known anything whatever about the Navy, he
would have been aware that no Court Martial would
have punished Captain Corcoran for his daughter's
rudeness; but he knew nothing at all about the
Navy, having, as we know, been brought up in a
So instead of going to bed at his usual hour
HER SHORT AND SNAPPISH REPLIES TO SIR
JOSEPH'S PRETTY SPEECHES AT DINNER
Captain Corcoran brought his banjo on deck and
began to sing to the moon, as sentimental people
will do who find themselves in such low spirits that
they cannot sleep. He had written and composed
the song in his cabin (after Sir Joseph had retired
to rest) and when he had practised it until he knew
it by heart, he came up on deck to sing it. The
moon was behind a cloud at the time but as soon
as she became aware that a gentleman was going to
sing to her, she politely blew the cloud aside and
listened to hear what he had to say.
This was the pretty song that he sang :
1 Fair moon, to thee I sing
Bright regent of the heavens,
Say, why is everything
Either at sixes or at sevens?
I have lived hitherto
Free from the breath of slander,
Beloved by all my crew
A really popular commander.
But now my kindly crew rebel,
My daughter to a Tar is partial,
Sir Joseph storms, and, sad to tell,
He threatens a Court Martial!
Fair moon, to thee I sing,
Bright regent of the heavens,
Say, why is everything
Either at sixes or at sevens?
The moon not being in the position to give him
the required information, withdrew behind her cloud,
and was seen no more.
Captain Corcoran had no idea that anyone except
the moon was listening to him, as he sang, but in
point of fact, Little Buttercup, who was concealed
by the mizen-mast, had heard his beautiful light-
baritone voice, and her attention was arrested by
the charm of the dainty melody.
Now I must tell you something about Little
Buttercup, who had had a very adventurous career.
At the time of my story, she was a buxom, well
preserved person, about sixty-five years of age.
She had known Captain Corcoran all his life, and
when he was a handsome young lieutenant of twenty
five I am sorry to say she fell hopelessly in love
with him, although the old goose was at least twenty
years older than he. Lieutenant Corcoran (as he was
then) commanded a little gun-boat called the Hot
Cross Bun, and I should explain that a gun-boat,
in those days, was a very small vessel, rigged some-
thing like a miniature ship, and was armed with
one, two, or three big guns. Lieutenant Corcoran
was then in the very flower of manly beauty, and
all the young ladies of Portsmouth were quite as
much in love with him as Little Buttercup was. Of
course, Lieutenant Corcoran scarcely noticed Little
Buttercup she used to wash for the ship, and he
only saw her now and then, when she brought his
linen aboard. At length the Hot Cross Bun
was ordered to make ready to go to sea, and Little
Buttercup, who couldn't bear the thought that she
might never see him again, dressed herself in sailor's
clothes, and presented herself on board, as a (not
very) young man who wanted to go to sea. Captain
Corcoran, who, as a matter of course, did not re-
cognize her in this disguise, accepted her as a mem-
ber of his crew, and when the Hot Cross Bun
sailed Little Buttercup sailed with it. She was
extremely clumsy as a sailor, but the kind-hearted
Lieutenant, who couldn't bear to hurt anybody's
feelines, overlooked her awkwardness in considera-
tion of the eager alacrity with which she endeavoured,
however unsuccessfully, to obey all his commands.
Indeed the crew, generally, were much more re-
markable for gentle politeness and cheerful goodwill
than for mere pulling and hauling. They were,
without exception, most amiable and well-behaved
young persons, with beautiful complexions, very
dainty white hands, small delicate waists, and a
great quantity of carefully dressed back-hair. Lieu-
tenant Corcoran was bound to admit that as sailor-
men they were not everything that could be desired,
(being all very sea-sick when it was not quite calm),
but, in his opinion, they more than compensated for
this drawback by their singularly polite and refined
demeanour when they were quite well.
One day (and it was a terrible day for Little
Buttercup) he went on shore for a couple of hours,
and returned with a beautiful young lady, whom he
presented to his crew as his newly-wedded wife;
upon which, to his intense discomfiture, all the crew
gave a gurgle, and fell down in so many separate
fainting fits, and he then discovered that, without a
single exception, they were Portsmouth maidens
who had dearly loved him and who had taken the
very steps that Little Buttercup herself had taken,
in order that they might not be separated from their
adored Lieutenant ! Of course they were all dis-
charged at once (his bride insisted on that), and
Little Buttercup did not see him again for twenty
long years. By this time he had been promoted to
be Captain of the Pinafore ; his wife had died, and he
was left a widower with one daughter, the beautiful
Josephine, who is the heroine of my story.
From the moment that Little Buttercup learnt
that Lieutenant Corcoran was a married man she
determined, as a matter of course, to think of him no
more, and, by a tremendous effort, she succeeded
in banishing him altogether from her mind; but,
now that he was a widower and again free to marry,
all her old affection revived. By this time, as you
know, she was a bum-boat woman, and in that
capacity she enjoyed many opportunities of seeing
and talking to Captain Corcoran, who hadn't the re-
motest idea that she had formerly been one of the
lady-like crew of the Hot Cross Bun, and Little
Buttercup never mentioned the circumstance, as, to
tell the plain truth, she was not particularly proud of it.
As the Captain sang his song, Little Buttercup
wondered what was the matter with him.
" How sweetly he carols forth his melody to the
listening moon," said she to herself. " Of whom is
he thinking? Of some high-born beauty? It may
be ! Who is poor Little Buttercup that she should
expect his thoughts to dwell on one so lonely ? "
" Ah, Little Buttercup," said Captain Corcoran, as
he caught sight of her, " still on board? That is not
quite right, little one all ladies are requested to
go on shore at dusk."
" True, dear Captain," she replied, " I tried to go,
but the recollection of your pale and sad face seemed
to chain me to the ship. I would fain see you smile
before I leave."
" I will try," said he.
He endeavoured to smile, but it was little more
than a creaky mechanical grin.
" Not good enough, Captain," replied Little
Buttercup, "don't be faint-hearted; try again,
because I want to go home."
Again he tried to smile, but without success.
"Ah, Little Buttercup," said he, "I fear it will
be long before I recover my accustomed cheerful-
ness, for misfortunes crowd upon me, and all my
old friends seem to have turned against me! "
"Do not say 'all,' dear Captain," exclaimed
Little Buttercup. " That were unjust to one, at
"True," said Captain Corcoran, "for you are
staunch to me. Good old Buttercup! "
At this point poor Little Buttercup's resolution
gave way. With a bitter cry she knelt at his feet,
and sobbed loudly as she kissed his hand.
"Little Buttercup," said Captain Corcoran, "it
would be affectation to pretend that I do not under-
LITTLE BUTTERCUP AND THE CAPTAIN
stand your meaning. I am touched to the heart by
your innocent regard for me, and were we differ-
ently situated, I think I could have returned it.
As it is, I regret to say that I can be nothing to
you but a friend."
Little Buttercup, who always knew more about
people than anybody else, knew a good deal or
Captain Corcoran 's history, as will presently appear.
He was not really Captain Corcoran, and she knew
it. More than that, she knew who he really was,
but it did not suit her to tell him just then. I
believe that this mysterious Little Buttercup was
able to prove, from the hidden depths of her
miscellaneous information, that every human being
alive was somebody else, and that no human being
alive was what people really supposed him to be.
Fortunately, she only revealed her knowledge bit
by bit as it suited her, but it is terrible to think
what an amount of confusion she might have
created in highly respectable families if she had
chosen to disclose all she knew at once.
Knowing who Captain Corcoran was, and how
little reason he really had to plume himself on his
superior position as a Captain in the Navy, Little
Buttercup's naturally hasty temper began to sim-
iner. The gipsy blood that ran in her veins gave
her a curious power of prophesying backwards. I
mean that she could foretell what you were, and
remember what you will be, which is quite unlike
the usual kind of fortune-telling that comes of
crossing a gipsy's hand with a sixpence. She also
possessed a remarkable power of expressing herself
in rhyme without ever having to hunt for the last
words of her lines, which gave a peculiar force and
emphasis to her words, and convinced everybody
that what she said was supernatural, and conse-
So, getting gradually more and more angry with
Captain Corcoran for despising her, as she called
it (though he was the last person in the world to
despise anybody) she summoned her remarkable
rhyming ability to her aid in the following utter-
Things are seldom what they seem (said she)
Skim-milk masquerades as cream;
High-lows pass as patent leathers;
Jackdaws strut in peacocks' feathers.
Rhyming is rather infectious, so Captain Corcoran,
catching the disease, replied (rather puzzled)
So they do!
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(It was an easy rhyme, suited to a mere be-
Black sheep dwell in every fold; (said she)
All that glitters is not gold;
Storks turn out to be but logs;
Bulls are but inflated frogs.
The captain thought lie could do as well as this,
but he considered that it was best to confine himself
at present to quite easy rhymes, so he said :
So they be
Drops the wind and stops the mill ;
Turbot is ambitious brill;
Gild the farthing if you will,
But it is a farthing still.
The Captain replied :
Yes, I know
That is so.
Then, beginning to feel his feet, as the saying is, he
ventured into deeper water:
Though to catch your drift I'm striving,
It is shady it is shady.
(He repeated "it is shady" to give him time to
think of the next rhyme, though he pretended that
the repetition was part of the structure of the verse.)
I don't see at what you're driving,
Mystic lady mystic lady!
Having discovered that this sort of rhyming was
much easier than it appeared at first sight to be, he
determined to show her that other people were just
as smart as she was, and (if you come to that) even
a little bit smarter.
So he began:
Though I'm anything but clever,
I could talk like that for ever.
Once a cat was killed with care:
Only brave deserve the fair.
So they do.
said Little Buttercup (mimicking his own way of
replying to her). The Captain continued:
Wink is often good as nod ;
Spoils the child who spares the rod;
Thirsty lambs run foxy dangers;
Dogs are found in many mangers.
Here he paused to consider what he should say
next, and Little Buttercup (to give him time) said,
just as before:
By this time the Captain had thought of something
Paw of cat the chestnut snatches ;
Worn-out garments show new patches ;
Men are grown-up " catchy-catches."
Yes (said Little Buttercup) I know
That is so.
Then she sang, under her breath, so that nobody at
all should hear her.
Though to catch my drift he's striving,
I'll dissemble I'll dissemble-
When he sees at what I'm driving
Let him tremble let him tremble!
and, muttering to herself in a fashion which might
be described, musically, as a triumph of pianissimo,
she disappeared mysteriously into the fonvard part
of the ship.
Captain Corcoran though very uneasy at her
portentous utterances was rather disposed to pat
himself on the back for having tackled her on her
own ground in the matter of stringing rhymes, and
(as he thought) beaten her at it. But in this he
was wrong, for if you compare her lines with his,
you will see that whereas her lines dealt exclusively
with people and things who were not so important
as they thought themselves to be, his lines were
merely chopped-up proverbs that had nothing to
do with each other or with anything else. Still it
wasn't bad for a first attempt, and although we
must give her the prize, I think he deserves a
" highly commended."
Now although Sir Joseph had gone to bed, he
was so worried about Josephine that he couldn't
get a wink of sleep. So as it was a beautiful warm
night, and everybody (as he supposed) asleep, he
thought he would go on deck in his pyjamas, and
console himself with a cigar. Accordingly he went
on deck, but finding that the Captain was in close
conversation with a lady, he very properly retired
to his cabin to put on the beautiful and expensive
uniform of a Cabinet Minister which he had worn
during the day, and which were the only clothes he
had brought with him. He had completed his toilet
and returned to the deck just as Captain Corcoran
was endeavouring to pat himself on the back for
his cleverness in stringing rhymes with Little
"What are you trying to do?" said Sir Joseph,
as he noticed that the Captain had some difficulty
in reaching the exact part of the back which he
wished to pat. "Can I help you? "
" Thank you, Sir Joseph," replied the Captain,
" I have a particular reason for wishing to pat my-
self between the two shoulder blades, and and it's
not easy to get at."
" Allow me, Captain Corcoran," and he obligingly
patted him on the very spot.
" Thank you, Sir Joseph, that is capital," said
Captain Corcoran, much relieved, " but I am sorry
to see your Lordship out of bed at this hour. I
hope your crib is comfortable."
" Pretty well," said Sir Joseph, who made it a
rule never quite to approve of anything that was
done for him, " the fact is I am worried about your
daughter. I am disappointed with her. To tell the
plain truth, I don't think she'll do."
" I'm sorry to hear that, Sir Joseph," replied the
Captain, "Josephine is, I am sure, sensible of your
" She naturally would be," said Sir Joseph, who
was really too conceited for words.
" Perhaps your exalted rank dazzles her," re-
marked Captain Corcoran.
Here again we become conscious of that nasty
irritating little blot on the good Captain's character.
He attached so much importance to mere rank that
I am afraid we must put him down as just a teeny-
weeny-wee bit of a sn-b.
"WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO?" SAID
" Do you really think it does? " asked Sir Joseph.
" Well, she is a modest girl, and, of course,
her social position is far below that of a Cabinet
Minister. Possibly she feels that she is not worthy
Captain Corcoran knew better than that, but
his natural kindness of heart would not allow him
to tell Sir Joseph the plain truth that Josephine
looked upon him as a conceited donkey, because he
was afraid that, being a touchy old gentleman, he
might not like that.
"That is really a very sensible suggestion," said
"See," said the Captain, "here she comes. If
you would kindly reason with her and assure her
officially, that it is a standing rule at the Admiralty
that love levels all ranks, her respect for an official
utterance might induce her to look upon your offer
in its proper light."
" It is not unlikely," said Sir Joseph, "and I am
glad I am not wearing my pyjamas. Let us with-
draw and watch our opportunity."
So they withdrew behind the mast, as Josephine
stepped upon deck.
Poor Josephine was very uneasy and conscience-
stricken at the unjustifiable step she was going to
take that night. As the moment for her flight ap-
proached, she became more and more uncomfortable ;
and as her cabin was hot, and the night lovely, she
thought she would wait more comfortably on deck
until the fatal moment for her departure.
Naturally a good and honourable young laay, snc
felt that she was doing an unpardonable thing in
leaving her good Papa secretly in order to marry a
man of whom she knew that he disapproved. In
common fairness, however, it should be explained
that it was the first time she had ever left her father
in order to be secretly married to anybody, and she
resolved that, after this once, nothing on earth
should ever induce her to do so again.
Josephine had a neat literary turn, and it was her
practice to express, in poetical form, the various
arguments for and against any important step that
she contemplated taking. She had amassed quite a
large amount of these effusions, which she was in
the habit of singing, on appropriate occasions, to
any airs that would fit them. So, finding herself
quite alone (as she supposed) it occurred to her to
sing, in subdued tones, a composition which had
direct reference to her misguided affection for Ralph.
This was the song:
The hours creep on apace,
My guilty heart is quaking;
Oh, that I might retrace
The step that I am taking!
Its folly it were easy to be showing;
What am I giving up, and whither going?
On the one hand, papa's luxurious home,
Hung with ancestral armour and old brasses,
Carved oak, and tapestry from distant Rome,
Rare " blue and white," Venetian finger glasses,
Rich oriental rugs and sofa pillows,
And everything that isn't old, from Gillows'.
And, on the other, a dark dingy room
In some back street, with stuffy children crying,
Where organs yell and clacking housewives fume,
And clothes are hanging out all day a-drying:
With one cracked looking-glass to see your face in,
And dinner served up in a pudding basin.
Oh, god of Love and god of Reason say
Which of you twain shall my poor heart obey?
But the two potentates, so pathetically appealed
to, declined to undertake the responsibility of ad-
vising her. I expect they both thought that she was
quite old enough to judge for herself.
Poor Josephine was greatly distracted at the ugly
prospect of love in a back street that she had con-
jured up for herself, and her resolution began to
waver. The social difference between her and her
chosen husband was so enormous, and the discom-
forts that she would be obliged to endure in the
humble surroundings that awaited her presented
themselves to her mind so vividly, that she had
almost resolved that instead of eloping with Ralph,
she would unpack her dressing-bag, put her hair
up in Hinde's curlers, and go to bed like a good
girl. I regret to think that, in contemplating this
step, she was influenced solely by the fact that if she
married Ralph she would have to surrender all the
luxuries she was accustomed to, and that remorse
for being about to break the heart of her affectionate
and indulgent father did not appear to influence her
in the least. I am very partial to Josephine, but I
cannot regard her in the light of a thoroughly estim-
able young lady.
Sir Joseph endeavoured in vain to catch the words
of Josephine's song, but she had been taught the
Italian method of singing, which consists in " la-la-
ing " all the vowels and allowing the consonants to
take care of themselves, and consequently the words
of her song were quite unintelligible to him indeed
they might have been Hebrew for anything he
could tell. So when she had finished, he and Cap-
tain Corcoran approached her.
" Madam," said he, " it has been represented to
me that you are appalled by my exalted rank. I
desire to convey to you, officially, my deliberate
assurance that if your hesitation is attributable to
that circumstance, it is unequivocally uncalled for."
It is a rule at the Admiralty that when a person
in authority has to make an announcement he is
bound to use all the longest words he can find that
will express his meaning.
"Oh, indeed," replied Josephine; "then your
Lordship is of opinion that married happiness is
not inconsistent with discrepancy in rank?"
This was artful on Josephine's part, for if Sir
Joseph agreed, he would practically be admitting
that there was no reason why Josephine should not
condescend to marry a common sailor if she had a
mind to do so.
" Madam," said Sir Joseph, loftily, " I am officially
of that opinion," and he took a pinch of snuff with
an air that suggested that he had finally settled the
question once for all.
" I thank you, Sir Joseph," she replied, with a
low curtsey. " I rt'/V/ hesitate, but I will hesitate no
longer." And with another curtsey she retired to
her own cabin, muttering to herself, " He little thinks
how successfully he has pleaded his rival's cause! "
The Captain, who shared Sir Joseph's impression
that Josephine had made up her mind to accent him,
" Sir Joseph," said he, " I cannot express to you
my joy at the happy result of your eloquence. Your
argument was unanswerable."
"Captain Corcoran," replied Sir Joseph, "it is one
of the happiest characteristics of this inexpressibly
fortunate country that official replies to respectfully
uttered interrogatories are invariably regarded as
And Sir Joseph, having discharged this mouthful
of long words, withdrew to complete his night's
Captain Corcoran could not conceal his exulta-
tion. Indeed, there was no reason why he should
as he was entirely alone. He clasped his hands,
smiled broadly, took a long breath of relief and had
just begun to dance the hornpipe that Sir Joseph
had taught him (to see if he remembered the steps)
when he was interrupted by the unexpected appear-
ance of poor deformed Dick Deadeye, who approached
him with the irregular jerky action of a triangle that
is being trundled like a hoop.
" Captain," whispered he, " I want a word with
you!" And he placed his hand impressively on the
" Deadeye! " said he, "you here? Don't! "
"Ah, don't shrink from me, Captain!" replied
Deadeye. " I'm unpleasant to look at and my name's
agin me, but I ain't as bad as I look! "
"What do you want with me at this time of
night? " said Captain Corcoran.
Deadeye looked round mysteriously to make quite
sure that they were unobserved.
" I've come," said he, " to give you warning! "
" Indeed ! " exclaimed the Captain, who was de-
lighted to think that there was a chance of getting
rid of Deadeye without hurting his feelings. " Do
you propose to leave the Navy, then?"
"No, no," said Deadeye, "I don't mean that.
The Captain was disappointed, but he listened,
And in accordance with the standing rule that
no one was ever to say anything to the Captain
that could be sung, Dick Deadeye struck up as
Kind Captain, I've important information
(Sing hey, the kind Commander that you are),
About a certain intimate relation
(Sing hey, the Merry Maiden and the Tar!).
The Captain (who had his book of rhymes handy,
consulted it for a moment and then replied :
"DEADEYE!" SAID THE CAPTAIN, "YOU HERE?
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Good fellow, in conundrums you are speaking
(Sing hey, the mystic sailor that you are),
The answer to them vainly I am seeking
(Sing hey, the Merry Maiden and the Tar!).
Of course the Captain was completely puzzled, having
no idea what Deadeye was alluding to. So Dick
Kind Captain, your young lady is a sighing
(Sing hey, the simple Captain that you are),
This very night with Rackstraw to be flying
(Sing hey, the Merry Maiden and the Tar!).
Captain Corcoran was dreadfully distressed at this
piece of information, but he pulled himself together
with an effort and replied (after a moment with his
Good fellow, you have given timely warning
(Sing hey, the thoughtful sailor that you are),
I'll talk to Master Rackstraw in the morning!
(Sing hey, the cat-o'-nine-tails and the Tar!)
And, so singing, Captain Corcoran produced from
his pocket a beautifully inlaid little presentation
"cat-o'-nine-tails," and, as he flourished it, he brought
it down accidentally (but heavily) on poor Dick's back.
Dick, grateful for any attention, pulled his fore-lock
respectfully and trundled off into the fore-part of
I ought to explain that the cat-o'-nine-tails is a
cruel kind of whip with nine thongs, which was, at
that time, commonly used in the Navy to punish
badly behaved seamen, but Captain Corcoran was
much too humane a man to use it. It happened to
be in his pocket because it was a present from his
dear old white-haired apple-cheeked grandmama
which had only arrived that day.
Dick Deadeye had warned the Captain just in
time; for as Dick crept off, the Captain saw a large
body of the crew, with Ralph among them, advanc-
ing on tip-toe towards the boats which were hanging
from irons, called davits, in the ship's side, and at
the same time Josephine came out of her cabin with
her hand-bag in her hand, and crept silently to where
Ralph was standing. It was more than flesh and
blood could stand, and, in the anger of the moment,
the Captain exclaimed " Bother! " and brought the
cat-o'-nine-tails down on the breach of a gun which
happened to be handy.
All the crew were dreadfully startled.
"Why! what was that?" said Bob Buntline, one
of the sailors who had not yet spoken.
" It was only the cat," said Bill Boom.
Bill Boom was perfectly right. It was the
As Josephine met Ralph, and while the crew
were mustering on the quarter-deck, the Captain
glanced hastily through his rhyming dictionary,
and, having found what he wanted, revealed himself,
exclaiming " Hold! "
Much alarmed and greatly astonished to find
their Captain among them, they all held.
Captain Corcoran advanced and seizing his
daughter by the hand twirled her away from Ralph
Rackstraw, who looked like the Apollo Belvedere
Naughty daughter of mine (sang the Captain}
I insist upon knowing
Where you may be going
With these sons of the brine?
For my excellent crew,
Though foes they could thump any,
Are scarcely company
For a lady like you! "
Ralph wasn't going to stand this. He had been
taught by the First Lord of the Admiralty that
a British sailor is the finest fellow in the world, and
if you can't believe a First Lord, whom can you
believe? So, pulling himself together he began:
" Haughty Sir, when you address "
" Poetry, please," said Captain Corcoran, " I
allow no sailor to address me in prose."
Ralph thought for a moment, and then declaimed
(in the key of G):
Proud officer, that haughty lip uncurl! (the Captain un-
curled his haughty upper lip as desired]
Vain man, suppress that supercilious sneer! (he stip-
pressed it at once)
For I have dared to love your matchless girl
A fact well known to all my mess-mates here!
I, humble, poor, and lowly born,
The meanest in the port division
The butt of epauletted Scorn '
The mark of quarter-deck derision
Have dared to raise my wormy eyes
Above the dust to which you'd mould me ;
In manhood's glorious pride to rise,
I am an Englishman behold me!
The idea of Scorn wearing epaulettes is rather a fine figure of
speech. I do not remember to have met it before.
And at once all the crew, carried off their feet with
enthusiasm, shouted their own domestic National
Anthem, led by the energetic Mr. Bobstay:
He is an Englishman!
For he himself hath said it,
And it's greatly to his credit
That he is an Englishman!
For he might have been a Rooshian
A French, or Turk, or Prooshian,
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Or perhaps I-tal-i-an!
But, in spite of all temptations
To belong to other nations,
He remains an Englishman!
And when they had finished, all the crew wiped
their eyes (which were full of manly tears), and
shook hands with each other until their emotion
had in some degree subsided. Indeed three or four
of them were carried off in hysterics, and had to be
revived with eau-de-Cologne, a tub of which always
stood on the forecastle. Speaking for myself, I do
not quite see that Ralph Rackstraw deserved so
very much credit for remaining an Englishman,
considering that no one seems ever to have pro-
posed to him that he should be anything else, but
the crew thought otherwise and I daresay they were
Captain Corcoran hardly knew how to act, for he
so seldom got into a tearing rage that he didn't
know what it was considered usual for a man in
tearing rage to do. He was anxious not to overdo
it, and at the same time he felt that it was necessary
to let them know that a tearing rage was what he
was in. After some reflection, and a glance at his
dictionary, he concluded that the best way was to
depart from his usual calm correct way of speaking,
and horrify them by introducing some really unpar-
donable language. So he exclaimed:
In uttering a reprobation
To any British Tar,
I try to speak with moderation,
But you have gone too far.
I'm very sorry to disparage
A humble foremast lad,
But to seek your Captain's child in marriage,
Why, hang it, it's too bad!
Yes, hang it, it's too bad!
(I don't care, I will say it, and risk the consequences)
Yes, hang it, it's too bad!
The crew were awestruck, for they had never, in all
their experience of Captain Corcoran, known him to
forget himself as far as to use an expression of this
description. Three times too not once, but three
times, as if he revelled in his wickedness! And
what made the circumstance more impressive was
that as their amazement and agitation subsided,
they saw the First Lord of the Admiralty standing,
apparently thunder-struck, in their midst!
" I am appalled," said Sir Joseph, as soon as he
could control his tongue. " Simply appalled ! "
There was no mistake about it he was quite
white with the shock that the Captain's language
had given him. He was no longer a First Lord
he was a Monument of Pathetic Imbecility.
" To your cabin, Sir," said he, trembling with
emotion, "and consider yourself under the strictest
" Sir Joseph," said Captain Corcoran, "pray hear
" To your cabin, Sir ! "
And a couple of marines marched him off under
the command of the smallest midshipman in the
Sir Joseph had by this time somewhat recovered
" Now tell me, my fine fellow," said he, addressing
Ralph Rackshaw, " How came your Captain so far
to forget himself?"
" Please your honour," said Ralph, pulling respect-
fully at his forelock, " it was thus wise. You see
I'm only a topman a mere fore-mast hand
" Don't be ashamed of that," said Sir Joseph,
"a topman is necessarily at the top of everything."
This, of course, was not the case, but Sir Joseph,
having been a solicitor, did not know any better.
" Well, your honour," said Ralph, " love burns
as brightly on the forecastle as it does on the quarter-
deck, and Josephine is the fairest bud that ever
blossomed on the tree of a poor fellow's wildest
Sir Joseph could scarcely believe his ears.
"Are you referring to er Miss Josephine
Corcoran ? " gasped Sir Joseph.
"That's the lady, Sir," said Ralph, "in fact here
she is, bless her little heart ! "
And Josephine rushed into Ralph's outstretched
" She 's the figure-head of my ship of life the
bright beacon that guides me into the port of happi-
ness the rarest, the purest gem that ever sparkled
on a poor but worthy fellow's trusting brow."
The crew burst into tears at this lovely speech
and sobbed heavily. It had quite a different effect
on Sir Joseph who, forgetting all his dignity,
danced about the deck in a blind fury.
" You you impertilent presumtiful, disgracious,
audastical sommon cailor," exclaimed Sir Joseph,
chopping up and transposing his letters and syl-
lables in a perfectly ridiculous manner, "/'//teach you
to lall in fove with your daptain's caughter! Away
with him to the barkest bungeon on doard!" Of
course he meant to say " the darkest dungeon on
A COUPLE OF MARINES MARCHED HIM OFF UNDER
THE COMMAND OF THE SMALLEST MIDSHIPMAN
IN THE SHIP
board" and would have said it if he had had his
temper under proper control.
Josephine clung to Ralph and declared that as he
was to be shut up in a cell, she would go with him,
but they were violently torn asunder, and, a pair of
handcuffs having been placed on Ralph's wrists by
the serjeant of 'the marines, he was taken away in
custody. At this point Sir Joseph became calm and
" And as for you, Miss Corcoran " he began,
but before he could say what he was going to say
(whatever it was) Little Buttercup came forward,
and exclaimed " Hold ! "
"Why?" Sir Joseph asked, not unnaturally.
" Because I have a tale to unfold," she replied.
"We are all attention," said Sir Joseph. "Pro-
And Little Buttercup proceeded thus:
A many years ago,
When I was young and charming,
As some of you may know,
I practised baby-farming,'
The crew were most interested in this piece of
1 By ' baby-farming ' she meant that she earned her living by
taking in little children to nurse, while their Papas and Mamas
were travelling on the Gontinent.
news, and, expecting that she was about to reveal
something that would entirely alter the aspect of
affairs, they muttered to each other:
Now this is most alarming
When she was young and charming
She practised baby-farming
A many years ago!
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Little Buttercup continued:
Two tender babes I nussed,
One was of low condition,
The other " upper crust," l
A regular patrician!
Again the crew said to each other, by way of ex-
plaining how the case stood:
Now this is the position
One was of low condition,
The other a patrician,
A many years ago!
This having been made quite clear to them, Little
Buttercup continued the story:
Oh, bitter is my cup,
However could I do it?
/ mixed tliosf children up,
And not a creature knew it !
This was quite an inexcusable piece of carelessness
on the part of Little Buttercup. If she had any
doubt which was which, she could so easily have
tied a bit of blue ribbon round the neck of one, and
a luggage-label round the neck of the other. The
1 A vulgar expression intended to imply that one of them be-
longed to a family of some social importance. It is not an expres-
sion that I can recommend for general use, but Little Buttercup
wanted a rhyme for ' nussed,' and there was no other word handy
that would do.
sailors were surprised at this culpable neglect of
duty and replied:
However could you do it?
Some day no doubt you'll rue it,
Although no creature knew it
So many years ago!
Little Buttercup, not heeding their interruption,
concluded her confession thus:
In time each little waif
Forsook his foster-mother, 1
The well-born babe was Ralph
Your Captain was the other! ! !
Again the crew explained the situation to each
other, that there might be no mistake about it:
They left their foster-mother;
The one was Ralph, our brother,
Our Captain was the other,
A many years ago ! ! !
Here was a pretty kettle of fish! Ralph was, pro-
perly speaking, a Captain in the Navy, and Captain
Corcoran was only a common sailor!
"Am I really to understand," said Sir Joseph,
" that during all these years, each has been occupy-
ing the other's position?"
1 That is to say, when their respective parents returned to
England and reclaimed them.
'I MIXED THOSE CHILDREN UP'
"That," said Little Buttercup, "is the idea I
intended to convey."
"And you've done it very well," said Sir Joseph,
and all the crew applauded so vigorously that Little
Buttercup thought they wished to hear it all over
again, and had actually got so far as "A many years
ago," when Sir Joseph interrupted her:
" Let them both appear before me at once," said
And immediately Ralph appeared dressed in
Captain Corcoran's uniform as a captain in the
navy, and Captain Corcoran in Ralph's uniform as
a man-o'-war's man!
This had been carefully arranged by Little
Buttercup herself. Knowing that the time had come
when it would be necessary that she should reveal
her secret, she had previously caused one of Captain
Corcoran's uniforms to be conveyed to Ralph's
quarters, and one of Ralph's uniforms to be placed
in Captain Corcoran's cabin, with a note, pinned to
each bundle, explaining the condition of affairs.
Now we see what Little Buttercup meant when she
sang those mysterious lines to Captain Corcoran
about things being seldom what they seem, skim-
milk masquerading as cream, and so forth. Oh,
she was a knowing one, I can tell you, was Little
As Corcoran (no longer a captain) stepped for-
ward, Josephine rushed to him in amazement.
" My father a common sailor! " she exclaimed.
"Yes," said Corcoran, "it is hard, is it not, my
During this time Ralph was too much occupied
in trying to catch sight of the two epaulettes which
glistened on his shoulders, to attend to anything else.
"This," said Sir Joseph, "is a very singular
occurrence, and, as far as I know, nothing of the
kind has ever happened before. I congratulate you
Then, turning towards Captain Rackstraw, as
we must now call him, he said (indicating
Corcoran), " Desire that remarkably fine seaman to
" Corcoran," said Captain Rackstraw, " three
paces to the front march!" just as Corcoran,
when he was a captain, had said to Ralph.
Corcoran, however, knew his rights, and wasn't
going to stand being spoken to in this abrupt
" If 7t'//<7/?" said Corcoran, touching his cap.
" I don't understand you," said Captain Rackstraw
" If you please" said Corcoran, with a strong
emphasis on the "please."
" Perfectly right," said Sir Joseph, " if you
"Oh, of course," said Captain Rackstraw, "if
And Corcoran stepped forward and saluted, like
the smart man-o'-war's man that he was.
" You're an extremely fine fellow," said Sir Jo-
seph, turning him round as he inspected him.
"Yes, your Honour," said Corcoran, who was
still too good a judge to contradict a First Lord of
" So," observed Sir Joseph, " it seems that you
were Ralph and Ralph was you."
" So it seems, your Honour," said Corcoran, with
a respectful pull at his forelock.
" Well," said Sir Joseph, " I need not tell you
that, after this change in your condition, a marriage
with your daughter will be out of the question."
" Don't say that, your Honour," replied Corcoran,
" Love levels all ranks, you know! "
Sir Joseph was rather taken aback by being con-
fronted with his own words. But, having been a
solicitor, he was equal to the occasion.
" It does to a considerable extent," said Sir Jo-
seph, " but it does not level them as much as that.
It does not annihilate the difference between a First
Lord of the Admiralty and a common sailor, though
it may very well do so between a common sailor
and his Captain, you know."
" I see," said Corcoran; "that had not occurred
" Captain Rackstraw," said Sir Joseph, "what is
your opinion on that point?"
"I entirely agree with your Lordship," said
Ralph, whose love for Josephine overcame all other
considerations. " If your Lordship doesn't want
her, I'll take her with pleasure."
He said this because, fine fellow as he was, and
deeply as he loved Josephine, he considered that it
was his duty, as an officer in the Navy, to give Sir
Joseph the first choice.
" Then take her, sir, and mind you make her
And Captain Rackstraw arranged with Josephine
that they would go on shore at once and be married
at once. Fortunately the clergyman was still waiting
for them, although he had become rather impatient
at the delay.
During this conversation, Corcoran had a word
or two with Buttercup, who took that opportunity
of revealing herself to him as one of the maidenly
crew of the Hot Cross Bun of twenty years ago.
He was greatly touched at the story of her faithful
devotion to him, and determined to repay it.
" My Lord," said he to Sir Joseph, " I shall be
quite alone when Josephine marries, and I should
like a nice little wife to sew buttons on my shirt
and mend my socks."
"By all means," said Sir Joseph. "Can you
Corcoran presented blushing Little Buttercup to
Sir Joseph, who gave her sixpence on the spot as a
wedding present. Little Buttercup was so touched
by Sir Joseph's liberality that she burst into tears.
Corcoran, overjoyed, at once broke into song,
adapting, on the spur of the moment, the well-known
and familiar words with which he used to greet his
crew every morning, thus:
I was the Captain of the Pinafore !
And all the crew chorused :
And a right good Captain too!
CORCORAN. And though before my fall
I commanded of you all,
I'm a member of the crew!
I shall marry with a wife
In my humble rank of life,
And you, my own, are she!
[Indicating LITTLE BUTTERCUP.
I must wander to and fro,
But, wherever I may go,
I shall never be unkind to thee!
CORCORAN" PRESENTED BLUSHING LITTLE
BUTTERCUP TO SIR JOSEPH, WHO GAVE
HER SIXPENCE ON THE SPOT
And the crew sang, rather slyly:
What, never ?
The crew, more slyly still :
And the Captain, whose experience of his former
wife had taught him that even the most amiable
married people will fall out occasionally, replied:
Hardly ever be unkind to thee!
And they all sang:
Then give three cheers and one cheer more
For the hardy seamen of the Pinafore!
For he is an Englishman,
And he himself hath said it,
And it's greatly to his credit
That he is an Englishman !
For he might have been a Rooshian,
A French, or Turk, or Prooshian,
Or perhaps I-tal-i-an!
But, in spite of all temptations
To belong to other nations,
He remains an Englishman!
In short, there were general rejoicings all round.
Lemon ice, shoulders of mutton, ginger-beer and
meringues-fc-la-crhne were served out in profusion,
and Sir Joseph, who happened to know a number
of surprising conjuring tricks, brought a rabbit
smothered in onions out of his left boot, to the
intense delight of the crew. All the sisters and
cousins and aunts of Sir Joseph tumbled out of
bed as soon as they heard the news, and came on
deck after a hasty toilette. A general dance fol-
lowed in which Ralph and Josephine particularly
distinguished themselves, and then they all went on
shore that the clergyman (who had nearly grown
tired of waiting and wanted to go home to his
breakfast bacon) might join the happy couple in
matrimony. Corcoran was married at the same
time to Little Buttercup, and Captain Rackstraw
most kindly gave him a week's leave that he and
his wife might go and enjoy some sea-bathing at
Captain Rackstraw proved to be a most excellent
Commander, and was just as much beloved as Cap-
tain Corcoran had been, while Corcoran took up
Ralph's duties with enthusiasm, and became one of
the smartest top-men on board. It is an excellent
test of a man's character when he resigns himself
with cheerfulness to a sudden change from dignified
affluence to obscure penury, and I can't help think-
ing that, on the whole, he was a very fine fellow.
But still I do wish he had not made that very
unfortunate remark about being related to a peer.
CHISWICK PRESS: CHARLES WHITTINGHAM AND co.
TOOKS COURT, CHANCERY LANE, LONDON.