When he and Martin met again, and were alone, he was in high spirits, and evidently had something to communicate, in which he gloried very much.
'I've done Mr Bevan, sir,' said Mark.
'Done Mr Bevan!' repeated Martin.
'The cook of the Screw went and got married yesterday, sir,' said Mr Tapley.
Martin looked at him for farther explanation.
'And when I got on board, and the word was passed that it was me,' said Mark, 'the mate he comes and asks me whether I'd engage to take this said cook's place upon the passage home. "For you're used to it," he says; "you were always a-cooking for everybody on your passage out." And so I was,' said Mark, 'although I never cooked before, I'll take my oath.'
'What did you say?' demanded Martin.
'Say!' cried Mark. 'That I'd take anything I could get. "If that's so," says the mate, "why, bring a glass of rum;" which they brought according. And my wages, sir,' said Mark in high glee, 'pays your passage; and I've put the rolling-pin in your berth to take it (it's the easy one up in the corner); and there we are, Rule Britannia, and Britons strike home!'
'There never was such a good fellow as you are!' cried Martin seizing him by the hand. 'But what do you mean by "doing" Mr Bevan, Mark?'
'Why, don't you see?' said Mark. 'We don't tell him, you know. We take his money, but we don't spend it, and we don't keep it. What we do is, write him a little note, explaining this engagement, and roll it up, and leave it at the bar, to be given to him after we are gone. Don't you see?'
Martin's delight in this idea was not inferior to Mark's. It was all done as he proposed. They passed a cheerful evening; slept at the hotel; left the letter as arranged; and went off to the ship betimes next morning, with such light hearts as the weight of their past miseries engendered.
'Good-bye! a hundred thousand times good-bye!' said Martin to their friend. 'How shall I remember all your kindness! How shall I ever thank you!'
'If you ever become a rich man, or a powerful one,' returned his friend, 'you shall try to make your Government more careful of its subjects when they roam abroad to live. Tell it what you know of emigration in your own case, and impress upon it how much suffering may be prevented with a little pains!'
Cheerily, lads, cheerily! Anchor weighed. Ship in full sail. Her sturdy bowsprit pointing true to England. America a cloud upon the sea behind them!
'Why, Cook! what are you thinking of so steadily?' said Martin.
'Why, I was a-thinking, sir,' returned Mark, 'that if I was a painter and was called upon to paint the American Eagle, how should I do it?'
'Paint it as like an Eagle as you could, I suppose.'
'No,' said Mark. 'That wouldn't do for me, sir. I should want to draw it like a Bat, for its short-sightedness; like a Bantam, for its bragging; like a Magpie, for its honesty; like a Peacock, for its vanity; like a ostrich, for its putting its head in the mud, and thinking nobody sees it--'
'And like a Phoenix, for its power of springing from the ashes of its faults and vices, and soaring up anew into the sky!' said Martin. 'Well, Mark. Let us hope so.'
ARRIVING IN ENGLAND, MARTIN WITNESSES A CEREMONY, FROM WHICH HE DERIVES THE CHEERING INFORMATION THAT HE HAS NOT BEEN FORGOTTEN IN HIS ABSENCE
It was mid-day, and high water in the English port for which the Screw was bound, when, borne in gallantly upon the fullness of the tide, she let go her anchor in the river.
Bright as the scene was; fresh, and full of motion; airy, free, and sparkling; it was nothing to the life and exultation in the breasts of the two travellers, at sight of the old churches, roofs, and darkened chimney stacks of Home. The distant roar that swelled up hoarsely from the busy streets, was music in their ears; the lines of people gazing from the wharves, were friends held dear; the canopy of smoke that overhung the town was brighter and more beautiful to them than if the richest silks of Persia had been waving in the air.