He had remarked, too, the way in which Ralph had assisted the youngster without neglecting his proper duty. The master and his assistants, with the rest of the midshipmen, had taken their instruments below when he went aft to where Ralph was standing. "I see, Michelmore, you know how to take a meridional observation," he observed. "Do you understand much of navigation?"

"Nol Hedger says he marked a prime seaman go in there not two hours ago," answered another. It at once occurred to Dick that they were speaking of Ralph Michelmore. "Poor fellow! It's where the young girl lives he's going to marry. If they get hold of him they'll not mind her tears and prayers, but will carry him off, like the rest of us, to serve the king.

He did his utmost, however, to get them into efficient order, and every day that the weather permitted they were exercised at the guns, as well as at making and shortening sail, and taught the use of the small arms. Ralph Michelmore was fully occupied, and had but little time to think of his bitter disappointment at not returning home in the Eagle.

Ralph had proceeded a few paces after landing, when he heard steps behind him and felt a hand placed on his shoulder. Turning round he saw a sailor-like man, who exclaimed, "What, Ralph Michelmore, old chum! Don't you know me? I am Dick Bracewell.

"If you like, I shall be happy to show you how to take an observation, and the way to work it out," said Ralph, touching his hat, though he felt more compassion than respect for the youngster. "I wish you would, Michelmore," answered young Chandos, in a grateful tone; "I have been bothering away day after day and haven't liked to ask any one."

"You are hurt, Michelmore," he said, in a friendly tone; "I must look to you at once;" and by the light of a lantern he dressed Ralph's arm, which greatly needed care.

As soon as Ralph Michelmore was in the road, though he had offered no resistance, he was roughly thrust into the midst of the press-gang, who again closed round their prisoners. The officer called off the men on the watch at the other side of the house, and gave the order to proceed back to the boats.

Down here, too, where I stand, each separate function of the thresher has its appointed slave. Here Cedric rakes the chaff pouring from the side down into the chaff-shed. Carting the straw that streams from the thresher bows, are Michelmore and Neck the little man who cannot read, but can milk and whistle the hearts out of his cows till they follow him like dogs.

"The boat brought off the master of the brig to which I belong, with my protection, and I could easily have slipped through a port had I wished it." "And I can say, sir, that Ralph Michelmore speaks the truth. He's an old shipmate of mine, and I never heard him tell the shadow of a lie," said Dick Bracewell, stepping aft and doffing his hat.

She had no pilot on board; indeed, her crew averred that the old craft could find the way in and out of the harbour by herself; at all events, her master knew it better than most men trading from the port, as did his young mate, Ralph Michelmore.