his letters had by some means miscarried. We never allowed ourselves to suppose for a moment that the ship had been lost, or that any other misfortune had occurred, still less that Alfred himself was ill or had died. None of us, it seemed, could have borne that thought. At last my father became really anxious and wrote to the captain. He waited for a long time for a reply, and at last he got one, not from the former captain, who had died from fever, but from the officer who had been first lieutenant when my brother sailed, saying that Mr Marsden had thought fit to quit his ship without leave; he could not be considered as belonging to the navy, and that, therefore, he had no further charge over him. He did not say where Alfred had left the ship, or when, or why, allowing us to remain most cruelly in a dreadful state of suspense. My father instantly wrote again to make further inquiries, but during the time we were waiting for the reply to the second letter, we saw it stated in the papers that the gallant frig
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