A Strange Letter to the Countess of Selkirk
And the good south wind still blew behind, But no sweet bird did follow, Nor any day for food or play Came to the mariners' hollo!
FROM aboard the Ranger at Brest Jones wrote two letters in conspicuous contrast. He liked to write letters, and his secretaries, at times, must have been more busy than his gunners. The first communication was to Lady Selkirk. It was a strange mixture of autobiography, pleading for sympathy, and poetized rhetoric. He had chosen to appoint this woman, whose house his men had just robbed, his mother confessor; and to her he described his history, his heart-wound, his viewpoint as a warrior, and his feelings as an occasional sentimentalist. Your man of action is capable of overawing the hardiest of his fellows, but when he is finished with making faces, he will creep to a woman's knees like a child. The letter follows in full:
"Madam, -- It cannot be too much lamented, that, in the profession of arms, the officer of fine feelings and real sensibility should be under the necessity of winking at any action of persons under his command, which his heart cannot approve; but the reflection is doubly severe, when he finds himself obliged, in appearance, to countenance such actions by his authority. This hard case was mine, when, on the 23d of April last, I landed on St. Mary's Isle. Knowing Lord Selkirk's interest with his King, and esteeming as I do his private character, I wished to make him the happy instrument of alleviating the