LA TARANTULA. BY GIDDINGS H. BALLOU. THE GOLDSMITH OF PARIS. BY H. W. LORING. MISS HENDERSON'S THANKSGIVING DAY. BY HORATIO ALGER, JR. THE FIREMAN. BY MISS M. C. MONTAIGNE.
LET the reader peruse the following story with the same spirit in which it was written, and not conceive that it is either a pro slavery or anti slavery tale. The "peculiar institution" which is herein introduced, is brought forward simply as an auxiliary, and not as a feature of the story.
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Maturin Murray Ballou was a 19th century writer and publisher. The Sea-Witch is a story of love, intrigue and betrayal set among the happy, romantic slave coast of Africa. Two brothers raised in an English estate go in two very separate routes when their father falls into financial hardship and the estate is encumbered. The older brother, raised with the expectation of inheritance, naturally grows up to be an uncaring, evil S.O.B. His brother is the exact opposite, friendly,charismatic, and empathetic. The scene that sums up their relationship is from some of the background info Ballou interjects into the story from time to time: older bro is enjoying a day at the pond drowning puppies while younger brother saves the pooch and as a reward gets a beatdown from not only his brother, but from his dad, for daring to spoil his brother's fun.Naturally, then, the evil older brother rises to captain of a ship in the Royal Navy, while little bro is contracted to run a clipper from the slave coast of Africa to Cuba filled with human cargo. Changing his name, Captain Ratlin is what you would expect Johnny Depp to be if the POTC movies focused on slave trade rather than piracy. Meanwhile, an East India Company ship founders in a storm heading back to England, a mother and daughter are saved by the dashing Captain Ratlin who takes them to Sierra Leone, where they would be able to find passage back to England. The captain and the daughter fall for each other, meanwhile, the port master's daughter, who was harboring a thing for Ratlin, goes psycho, first blowing up the Sea-Witch (he wasn't among those on-board at the time), and arranging for him to get arrested by a Royal Naval officer, who turns out, naturally, to be the older brother. And they lived happily ever after. Oh, there's a few more intrigues, murders, and other drama, but I don't want to tell the whole story!