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Full text of "The Water-witch, Or, The Skimmer of the Seas: A Tale"

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BY THE AUTROK OF THE PILOT, KED KOVKK.fa. *• kt. 



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IN TWO VOLUME8/<^>l^fJiJ^>^ 
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PHILADELPHIA: 
LEA & BLANCH A RD, 

1848. 



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XHXHBWTOBK 
PUBLIC IIBBARY 
296369B 

"ASTOB, U5N0X AND 



Eastern DittriU t^ Ptnimylvanta, |o wit : 
,.«ooeo«Kvt B^ I'T REMEMBERED, That on the thirtieth day of Octo- 
i r q 3 ^^ i° t^ fifty-third year of the Independenoe. of the United 
8 ii. o. g Slates of America, A. D. 1830, Caret & Lka, of the said district, 
* -Booo u eooJ have deposited in this oSIm the-fitle of a boolc, the right whereof 
they claim as proprietors in the words following, to wit : 

" The Water- Witch, or the Skimmer of the Seas. A Tale ; by the authot 
of the Bitot, Red Rover, ice. Slc JM. 

* Mais, que diuble alloit-il faire dans cette galdre V ** 

In conformity to the Act of the Congress of the United States, entitled, " An 
Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by securing the copies of Maps, 
Charts, and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of such Copies, during 
the tiroes theteia mentioned:*" And also to an Acf, entitled, ** An Act sup- 
plementary to an Act, entitled. ' An Act for the Encouragement of Learn- 
ing, by aecuriag the copiea of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the Anthors and 
Proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned^* and extend 
ing the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching Ms 
torical and other prints." 

D CALDWELL, Ckrk tf the 

Eastern DUtriet qf Pefihsyhania. ' 



rrSKKOTTPID Vt i, ROWS. 



rKllfTED By T. K. A; p. O. OOLLHlQ. VHILA. 



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PREFACE. 



CBBtBTBiax)u is gradually extricating itself from the igno 
ranee, fei-ocity, and crimes of the middle ages. It is no longer 
subject of boast, that the hand which wields the sword^ never 
held a pen« and men have long since ceased to be ashamed of 
knowledge. The multiplied means of imparting principles 
atid fkjctSi and a more general diftusion of intelligence, have 
conduced to establish sounder ethics and juster practices^ 
throughout the whole civilized world. TbUs, he who adroits 
the conviction, as hope declines with his years, that pnan de- 
teriorates, is probably as far from the truth, as the visionary 
who sees the dawn of a golden age, in the commencement of 
the nineteenth century. That we have greatly improved on 
the opinions and practices of our ancesters, is quite as certain 
as that there will be occasion to meliorate the legacy of moral* 
which we shall transmit to posterity. 

When the prepress of civilization compelled Europe to ecH*- 
rect the violence and injustice which were so openly pmctwsdt 
until the art of printing became known, the other hemisphere 
made America the scene of those acts, which shame prevented 
her from exhibiting nearer home. There was little of a law- 
less, mercenary, violent, and selfish nature, that the ael^yled : 
'masters of the continent hesitated to conupriit, when removed 
from the immediate responsibilities of the societynn whieh 
they had been educated. The Drakes, Rogers', and Dampiers 
of that day, though enrolled in the list of naval heroe% 



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FRSFACK. 

were no other than pirates, acting under the sanction of com* 
miasions ; and the scenes that occurred among the marauders 
of the land, were often of a character to disgrace human na- 
ture. 

That the colonies which formed the root of this republic 
escaped the more serious evils of a corruption so gross and so. 
widely spread, can only be ascribed to the characters of those. 
by whom tliey were peopled. 

Perhaps nine-tenths of all the white inhabitants of the 
Union are the direct descendants of men who quitted Europe, 
in order to worship God according to conviction and con- 
science. If the Puritans of New-England, the Friends of 
Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, the Catholics of Mary- 
land, the Presbyterians of the upper counties of Virginia and 
of the Carolinas, and the Huguenots, brought with them the 
exaggeration of their peculiar sects, il was an exaggeration 
that tended to correct most of their ordinary practices. Still 
the English Provinces wore not permitted, altogether, to escape 
ftom the moral dependency that seems nearly inseparable 
from colonial government, or to be entirely exempt from the 
wide contamination of the times. 

The State of New*York, as is well known, was originally a 
c<^ony of the United Provinces. The settlement was made 
in the year 1613 ; and the Dutch East India Company, un^er 
whose authority the establishment was made, claimed the 
whole country between the Connecticut and the mouth of 
Delaware-bay, a territory which, as it had a corresponding 
depth, equalled the whole surface of the present kingdom of 
France. Of this vast region, however, they never occupied 
imt a narrow belt on each side of the Hudson, with, here and 
there, a settlement on a few of the river fiats, more inland.' 



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V 

l*ftfcrAOA. ^ u n ■ v ^^^ V 
l%ere id a |»OVide&ce in the destiny of nationB, that sets at 
nought tfaa iBdfeft profound of humati calculations. Had thtt 
dominion of ^6 Dutch continued a century longer, there 
would have existed in the very h^art of the Union a people 
opposed to its establishment, by their language, origin, and 
habits. The conquest of the English in 1663, though unjust 
and iniquitoiis in itself, removed the danger, by opening the 
way for the introduction of that great community of character 
which now so imppfly prevails. 

Though the English, the French, the Swedes, the Dutch, 
the Danes, the Spaniards, and the Norwegians, all had colonies 
within the country^ which now composes the United States, 
the people of the latter are more homogeneous in character, 
language^ and opinions, than those of any other great nation 
that is familiarly known. This identity of character is owing to 
the early predominance of the Engl»h, and to the circumstance 
that New-England and Virginia, the two great sources of inter- 
nal emigration, were entirely of English origin. Still, New- 
York retains, to the present hour, a variety of usages that were 
obtained from Holland. Her edifices of painted bricks, her 
streets lined with trees, her inconvenient and awkward stoops, 
and a large proportion of her names, are equally derived from 
the Dutch. Until the commencement of this century, even 
language of Holland prevailed in the streets of the capital, 
dnd though a nation of singular boldness and originality in all 
that relates to navigation, the greatest sea-port of the country 
betrays many evidences of a taste which must be referred to 
the same origin. 

The reader will find in these facts a sufficient explanation 
of most of the peculiar customs, and of some of the pecu- 
liar practices, that are exhibited in the coarse of the fol- 
A2 



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lowing Ule. Slavery, a divided langiiaget «9d a disfinct 
people, are no longer to be foand, wit|iin the fiur regions of 
New-York; and, witboat pretending to any peculiar exemp- 
tion from the weaknesses of humanity, it may be permitted as 
to hope, that these are not the only features of the narrative, 
which a better policy^ and a more equitable administration q€ 
power, have made purely historical. 

Early released from the fetters of the middle ages, fetters 
that bound the mind equally with the person, America faas^ 
preceded rather than followed Europe, in that march of im- 
provement which is rendering the present era so remarkable. 
Under a system, broad, liberal, and just as hers, though she 
may have to contend with rivalries that are sustwned by a 
more concentrated competition, and which are as absurd by 
their pretension of liberality na they are offensive by their 
monopolies, there 'is nothing to fear, in the end. Her political 
motto should be Justice, atid her first and greatest care to see 
it administered to her own citizens. 

The reader is left to make the application. - 



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THE WATER-WrrCH. 



CHAPTER 1. 

** What, aball this speech be spolte for our excuse 1 
Or shall we on without apology.*' 

ROMKO 4MO JULIXT. 

/ • . 

The fine estuary which penetrates the American 
coast; between the fortieth- and forty-first degrees of . 
latitude, is formed by the confluence of the Hudson, 
the Hackensack, the Passaic, the Raritan, and a niul* 
titude o{ smaller streams ; all of which pour their 
tribute into the ocean, within the space named. The 
islands of Nassau and Staten are happily placed to 
exclude the tempests of the open sea, while the deep 
and broad arms of the latter ofier every desirable 
facility for foreign trade and internal intercourse. 
To this fortunate disposition of land and water, with 
a temperate climate, a central position, and an im- 
mense interior, that is now penetrated, in every di- 
rection, either by artificial or by natural streams, the 
city of New- York is indebted for its extraordinary 
prosperity. Thoughs not wanting in beauty, there 
are many bays that surpass this in the charnns of 
acenery ; but it may be questioned if the world pos- 
sesses another site that unites so many natural ad- 
vantages for the growth and support of a widely 
extended commerce. As if never wearied with hei 
kindness. Nature has placed the island of Manhattan 
at the precise point that is most desirable for the 
position of a town. 3iiHions might inhabit the spot, 
and yet a ship should load near every door; and 
while the surface of the land just possesses the ine- 
qualities that are required for health and cleanliness, 
its hisom is filled with the material roost needed in 
«m)SVructiofi. 



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THE WATBR-WITOH. d 

embrasure of a^small fortress, that stood on the point 
of land where the river and the bay mingle their 
waters. The explosion was followed by the appear- 
ance of a flag, which, as it rose to the summit of its 
staff and unfolded itself heavily in the light current 
of air, showed the blue field and red cross of the 
English ensign. At the distance of several miles, the 
dark masts of a ship were to be seen, faintly relieved 
by the verdant back-ground of the heights of Staten 
Island. A little cloud floated jover this object, and 
then an answering signal came dull and rumbling to 
the town. The flag that the cruiser set was not 
visible in the distance. 

At the precise moment that the noise of the first 
gun was heard, the door of one of the principal 
dwellings of the town opened, and a man, who might 
have been its master, appeared on its stoop^ as the 
ill-arranged entrances of the buildings of the place 
are still termed. He was seemingly prepared for 
some expedition that was likely to consume the day. 
A black of middle age followed the burgher to the 
threshold; and another negro, who had not yet reach- 
ed the stature of manhood, bore under his arm a 
small bundle, that probably contained articles of th^ 
first necessity to the comfort of his master. 

"Thrift, Mr. Euclid, thrift is your true philoso- 
pher's stone ;" commenced, or rather continued in a 
rich full-mouthed Dutch, the proprietor of the dwell- 
ing, who had evidently been giving a leave-taking 
charge to his principal slave, before quitting the 
house— "Thrift hath made many a man rich, but it 
never yet brought any one to want. If is thrift 
which his built up the credit of my house, and, 
though it is said by myself, a broader back and firmer 
base belongs to no merchant in the colonies. You 
are but the reflection of your master's prosperity, 
you rogue, and so much the greater need that you 
look to his interests. If the substance is wasted, what 



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1§ TBa WATWl- WITCH. 

MiU beooone of the shadow 1 When I get deficate. 
you will sicken : when I am a-hungered, you will be 
famiahed ; when I die, you may be— ahem — Euclid. 
I leave thee in charge with goods and chattels, house 
and stable, with my character in the neighborhood. 
I am going to tte Lust in Rust, for a mouthful of 
better air. Plague and fevers ! I believe the people 
will continue to come into this crowded town, until 
it gets to be as pestilent as Rotterdam in the dog-days. 
You have now come to years when a man obtains 
his reflection, boy, and I expect suitable care and 
dkcretioQ about the premises, while my backis turn- 
ed. Now, harkee, sirrah : I am not entirely pleased 
with the character of thy company. It is not alto- 
gether aa respectable as becomels the confidential 
servant of a man of a certain station in the world. 
There are thy two cousins, Brom and Kobus, 
who are no better than a couple of blackguards; 
and as for the English negrb, Diomede — he is a 
devil's imp ! Thou hast the other locks at disposal, 
and," drawing with visible reluctance the instrument 
from his pocket, " here is the key of the stable. Not 
a hoof is to quit it, but to go to the pump— and see 
that each animal has its food to a minute. The 
devil's roysterers 1 a Manhattan negro takes a Flem- 
ish gelding for a gaunt hound that is never out of 
breath, and away he goes, at night, scampering along 
the highways like a Yankee witch switching through 
the air on a broomstick — but mark me, master 
Euclid, I have eyes in my head, as tliou knowest by 
bitter ejcperience 1 D'ye remember, ragamuffin, the 
time when I saw thee, from the Hague, riding the 
beasts, as if the devil spurred them, along the dyke 
of Leyden, without remorse as without leave ?" 

" I alway b'rieve some make-mischief tell Masser 
dat time ;^' returned the negro sulkily, though not 
without doubt. 

<< His own ey^ were the tell-tales. If masters had 



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THE WATER- WItCtt. }1 

no eyes, a pretty world would the negroes inftke of 
it ! I have got the measure of every black heel, on 
the island, registered in the big book you see rae so 
6ften looking into, especially on Sundays; and, if 
either of the tire-legs I have named dares to enter 
my grounds, let him expect to pay a visit to the city 
Provost, yi^hat do the wild-cats mean? Do they 
think that the geldings were bought iii Holland, 
with charges for breaking in, shipment, insurance,- 
freight, and risk of diseases, to have their flesh melt- 
ed from their ribs like a cook's candle?" 

" Ere no'tin' done in all *e island, but a color' man 
do hini ! He do a mischief, and he do all a work, 
too ! I won'er what color Masser t'ink war? Captain 

Kidd.r 

" Black or white, he was a rank rogue ; and you 
see the end he came to. I warrant you, now, that 
water-thief began his iniquities by riding the neigh- 
bors' horses, at night. His fate should be a warning 
to every negro in the colony. The imps of darkness ! 
The English have no such scarcity of rogues at home, 
that they could not spare us the pirate to hang up 
oil one of the islands, as a scarecrow to the bkcks 
of Manhattan." 

'* Well, I t'ink 'e sight do a white man some good, 
too ;" returned Euclid, who had all the pertinacity 
of a spoiled Dutch n^o, singularly blended with 
affection for him in whose service he had teen bora. 
«* I hear ebbery body say, 'er'e war' but two color' 
man in he ship, and 'em hot' war' Guinea-bom." 

" A modest tongue, thou midnight scamperer ! look 
to my geldings — Here-^here are two Dutch florins,, 
three stivers, and a Spanish pistareen- for thee; one 
of the florins is for thy old mother, and with the 
others thou canst lighten thy heart in the Pans mer- 
rymakings — ^if I hear that either of thy rascally cou- 
sins, or the English Diomede, has put a leg across 
beast of miD«, it wiU be th« worsa for all Africa i 



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12 THE WATKH-WITCH. 

Famine and skeletons ! here have I been seven yiearg 
trying to fatten the nags, and they still look nibre like 
weasels than a pair of solid geldings." 

The close of this speech was rather muttered in 
the distance, and by way of soliloquy, than actually 
administered to the namesake of the great mathema« 
tician. The air of the negro had been a little equivo- 
cal, during the parting admonition. There was an 
evident struggle, in his mind, between an innate love 
of disobedience, and a secret dread of his master's 
means of information. So long as the latter contin- 
ued in sight, the black watched his form in doubt ; 
and when it had turned a corner, he stood at gaze, 
for a moment, with a negro on a neighboring stoop ; 
then both shook their heads significantly, laughed 
aloud, and retired. That night, the confidential ser- 
vant attended to the interests of his absent master, 
with a~fidelity and care which proved he felt his ovm 
existence identified with that of a man who claimed 
so close a right in his person ; and just as the clock 
struck ten, he and the negro last mentioned mounted 
the sluggish and over-fattened horses, and galloped, 
as hard as foot could be laid to the earth, several 
miles deeper into the island, to attend a frolic at one 
of the usual haunts of the people of their color' and 
condition. ^ 

Had Alderman Myndert Van Beverout suspected 
the calamity which was so soon to succeed his ab- 
sence, it is probable that his mien would have been 
less composed, as he pursued his way from his (lAvn 
door, on the occasion named. That he had confidence 
in the virtue of his menaces, however, may be in- 
ferred from the tranquillity which immediately took 
possession of features that were never disturbed, 
without wearing an appearance of unnatural effort. 
The substantial burgher was a little turned of fifty ; 
and an English wag, who had imported from the 
mother country a love for the humor of his nation, 



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Jkad once, in a confliql of wits before th^'city coqh^ 
described him' to be ja m^n of alliteratipDa. Wbeji 
called upon to explain away this breach of parlia* 
BUentar^ decoruxn, the punster had gotten rid of the 
inattf r, by describing h^ opponent to be '^ short, soU4 
and. sturdy, in stature; full, fluabed and funny, in 
(Eace; and proud^ ponderous and pragmatical, in pro*> 
pen&itie&" But, as is usual, in all sayings of enorti 
there was more smartness than truth in t)us descrip^ 
tion ; though, after making a trifli^ allowanqe for 
ihe coloring of political jrivalry, the reader may re* 
ceive ika physical portion as sufficiently descriptive 
to answer all the necessary purposes of .this tale. If 
we add, that he was a trader of great wealth and 
shrewdness, and a bachelor, we need say no mote ia 
this stage, ohT the narrative. 

Notwithstanding the early hour at which this in* 
dustrious and flourishing mercliant quitted his abode, 
his movement along the narrow streets of liis native 
town was.measured 'And dignified. More than once, 
he stopped to speak to some favorite family-servant, 
invariably, terminating his inquiries after the health 
of the master, by some facetious observation adapted 
to the habits and capacity of the slave. From thiSi 
it would seem, that, while he had so exa^erated 
notions .of domestic discipline, the worthy burgher 
was far froto being one who indulged, by inclination, 
in the menaces he has been heard to utter. He had 
just dismissed one of these loitering negroes, when, 
or turning a corner, a man of his own color, for thi^ 
ti* 9t time that morning, suddenly stood before him* 
The startled citizen made an involuntary movement 
to avoid , the unexpected interview, and then, per 
ceiving the difficulty of such a step, he submitted, 
with as good a grace as if it had been one of his owtt 
decking. 

" The orb of day — the morning gun — and Mr. 
Alderman Van Beverout !" exclaimed the individual 

Vol. {. B 



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14 THE WATXR*WTTGH. 

encountered. ^ Such is the order <rf* eirenti, at tfais 
early hour, on each successive revolution of our 
earth." 

The countenance of the Alderman had barelyr 
time to recover its composure, ere he was required 
to answer to this free and somewhat facetious saluta 
tion. Uncovering his head, he bowed so cereoioni 
ously as to leave the other nO reason to exult in his 
pleasantry, as he answered — 
" " The colony has reason to regret the services of 
a governor who can quit his bed so soon. That we 
of busine^ habits stir betimes, is quite in reason; but 
there are those in this town, who would scarce be- 
Keve their eyes did they enjoy my present happi- 
ness." 

" Sir, there are many in this colony who have 
great reason to distrust their senses, though none can 
be mistaken in belie%ang they see Alderman Van 
Beverout in a well-employed man. He that deal^th 
in the produce of the beaver must have the animal's 
perseverance and forethought ! Now, were I a king* 
at-arms, there should be a concession made in thy 
favor, Myndert, of a shield bearing the animal mor- 
dant, a mantle of fur, with two Mohawk hunters for 
supporters, and the motto, * Industry.' " 

" Or what think you, my Lord," returned the 
other, who did not more than half relish the plea- 
.«antry of his companion, ** of a spotless ^iekl for a 
clear conscience, with an open hand for a crest, and 
the motto, * Frugality and Justice?" 

" I like the open hand, though the conceit is pre- 
tending. I see you would intimate that the Van 
Beverouts have not need, at this late day, to search 
a herald's office^ for honors. I remember, now I be- 
think me, on some occasion to have seen their bear- 
ings; a windmill, courant ; dyke, coulant ; field, vert, 
sprinkled with black cattle — No I then, memory is 



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TBS WATSR-WITOH* 1# 

teeachercms; the momiiig airk pr^sgna&t ilrilb iood. 
fer. the imaginatbn 1" 

*^ Which is not a coin to satisfy a creditor, my 
Lord," ss^d the caustic Myndert 

^'Therein has truth been, pithily, ^^etL Thia 
-As an iimiK%«d st^ Alderman Van Beverout, tha 
lets a g^dtleman out by night, like the ghost in Ham-, 
let, to flee into the narrow house with the crowing 
of the cock. The ear of mj royal cousin hath been 
pme»ed, worse than was the ear of ' murdered Den« 
mark,-, or the partisans of this Mister Hunter woulr 
have little cause to triumph." 

<^Isit not possible to give such pledges to those 
who have turned the key, as will enable your lord- 
ship to apply the antidote." 

The question stuck a chord that changed the 
wh<de manner of the other. His air, which had 
home the character of a genteel trifler, became 
more grave and dignified ; and notwithstanding there 
was the evidence of a reckless dispo^tion in his fea- 
tiires, dress and carriage, his tall and not ungraceful 
form, as he walked skxwly onward, by the side of the 
compact Alderman, was not without much of that 
in^mating ease and blaudi^hinent, which long femili- 
arity with good company can give even to the lowest 
moral wortL 

'*Yoarque8tiQn,worthySir,manifests great goodness 
of heart, and corroborates- that reputation ior gene- 
rosity, the world so freely gives. It is true that the 
Queen has been persuaded to sign the mandate of 
my recall, a^d it ifr certain that Mr. Hunter has the 
government of the coliHiy ; but these are facts that 
might h^ reversed, w^e I once in a position to ap- 
proach my kinswoman- I do not disclaim certain 
iiidiscretions^ Sir; it would ill become me to deny 
them, in prefeace of one whose virtue is as severe as 
that of Alderman Van Bevnertnit I hiave my failing ; 
perhaps, 88 ypu have just be§n pleased to intimate^. 



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iiivdiMhare beew better had my motto been fru** 
galitj ; but the open hand, dear Sir, la a part of the' 
d^ii you will' not deny riie; eithefr/ If I -have weak-, 
nesses, my enemies cabnot refuse to say that I never^ 
yiit des€*ted a friend.'* ' 

** Not hating had Occasion to tax your fiiendslifip-,- 
r^all fiot be the first to make tho charge." 

** Yotit impartiality has conhe to be a proverb ! * Aa * 
honest £^ Alderman Va:n Beverbut ;* * as geiierotis ak 
Alderman Vati Beverout,* are tferms in entYi man^s ' 
mouth; some say *as rich;* (tb^ snhiaH bli^ eye of 
the bui^her twinkled.) But hdnesty, and richesv 
atid gendrosity, are? of littlei value, without infttient'e. 
Men should have theii' natural consideration in so^ 
ciety. Now is this colony rather Dtttch thah Erig- 
lisli, and yet, • ybti see, how few ifames arc* found in 
the list of the- Council, that have beeh known in tfie' 
proViiice half a century ! Here are your Alfexfeindersr 
and Heathcfotes, your Morris's and Kennedies, de 
Lanceys and Livingstons, filliftg the? Ctowitdl and the- 
legislative halls; but we fei'd tew of the Van Reriss^ 
laers. Van Courtlandts, Van Scbuylers,StuyvieSatits, 
Van fi^ekmiin^, and Van Beverbuts, in their natural 
stations. AH nations' and religions have preeedeftCy, 
iii the^ m&l fti^^T, otfer the children of thfef Patrii 
archs. The Bohemian Felipses; the Huguenot d^ 
Lancey^, and Bayards^ and Jays ; the Kirtg-hatiHg 
M(»rrises and Ludlotvs— in- short, all haVe greater 
e^imation in the eyes of government; than the most' 
ancient Palrooti!" 

**Th» has long and truly beefn the casei t cannot^ 
remebiber when it wai othferwi^ 1 " 

" It may notbd dftiied: But it v^oiiMlittle bedomci^ 
pblitical discretion to aflfect pr^i^itatftcy in the judgi 
nteiit of charaCcter. If my oWh adtninistrdtibn can; 
bef stigniiBPtiaited with the saiiie apparent pr<ejudice, it 
proves trie'clearer how strong ismisrepreseijtation'at 
hdme.XTime^ ^^^ wdtltmg'' to ^filigbtfeii my Bttnd, 



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«8d that time has imm refused me. In amtiiar yeiu% 

my worthy Sir, the CkNitidJ should have heen fiUeil 
with Van's I" 

*^ In such a case, my Lord, the unha^y conditicai 
in which you are now placed might indeed have 
been avmded." 

<^Is it too late to arrest the evil ? It is time Anne 
hod been undecdyed, and her mind r^ained» TheM 
wanteth nothing to such a c<H)summatHHi of justteey 
Sir, but opportunity. It touches me to the heart, to 
think that this disgrace should be£sillone so near ttie 
royal blood ! 'Tis a spqt on the escutcheon of the 
crown, that all loyal subj^sts must fed desirous to 
efi&ce, and so small an em>rt would efiect the objed^ 
too, with certain — Mr. Alderman Mymiert Van Beve- 

rout V . - 

- "My Lord, late Governor," returned the otlier," 
observing that his companion hesitated. 

" What think you of this Hanoverian settlanent? — ^ 
Shall a German wear the crown of a Plantagenet?" 

" It hath been worn by a Hollander." 

"Aptly answered! Worn, and ,wom worthily! 
There is affinity between the people, and there is 
reason in that reply.- How have I failed in wisdom, 
in not seeking earlier the aid of thy advice, eiKcdlent 
Sir 1 Ah, Myndert, there is a blessing on the enter-* 
prises of all who come of the Low CcwTntries !" 

" They are industrious to earn, and slow to squan- 
der." 

"That expenditure is the ruin of many a worthy 
subject! And yet accident-^chance— fortune*— <»* 
whatever you may choose to call it, interferes nefe*- 
liously, at> times, with a gentleman's prosperity. I 
am an adorer of constancy in friendsbip,^ Sir, and 
hold the principle that men should aid each other 
tfare^ this dark vale of lif&^Mr. AJderman Van 
Bevttroot^r— .?" 

B2 



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18 VB 

/ ^l wBi ai)ou£ to- say, timfcdMNild I quit the Piter^ 
Ivee^ without «]q>reaBOg part of the r^ret. I fed, all 
Bot itaving sooner ascertained the merits of it&origiiiv 
«1 own^^, and your o^n in particular, I should do 
injustice to sensibilities, that ace only too acute for 
the peace of him who endures them." 

^Is there then hope that your lordship's creator 
will relent, or has tihie Earl furnished, nueans to open 
the priscm-door?'' 

** lou use the pleasantest terms. Sir! — ^but I love 
directness of language, above ail other qualiti^. No 
dwbt the prison-door, as you have so clearly express- 
ed it, might be opened, and lucky would be the man 
who should turn the key. I am pained when I think 
of the displeasure of the Queen, which, sooner or 
later, will surely visit my luckless persecutors. On 
the other hand, } find relief in thinking of the favor 
she will extend to those who have proved my friends^ 
in such a- strait. They that wear crowns love, not to 
see disgrace befall the meanest of their blood, fi>r 
something of the taint may sully even the ermine of 
Majesty. — Mr. Aldermjm*— !" 

"My Lord?" 

"—How fare the Flemish ge Wings?" 

" Bravely, and many thanks, my Lord ; tlie rogues 
are fat as butter ! Ttiere is hope of a little rest for 
the innocents, since business caiils me to the Lust in: 
B^ist. There should be a law, Lord Governor, to gibbet 
the black that rides a beast at night." 

"I bethought ^f some condign punishment for so 
lieardess a crime, but there is little hope for it under 
the administration of this Mr. Hunter. Yes, Sir, 
were I once more in the presence of my royal cousk^,. 
Aere would quickly be an end to^ this delusion, and. 
the colony should be once more restored to a health? 
fid state. The men of a generation should oease to: 
lord it over the men of a century. But we must be 
wary of letting our defiigQ» a)iy.'dipii:Si^|B|KlLw 



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is'« tfuly Dtttth idiea, aftd'the pn^ta^ lioifli pctmritfrj' 
and political, should- belong to the gentlem^ of that 
deseent — My dear Van Beverout— •?" 

**My good Lord?" 

" Is the blooming Alida obedient ? Trust me, there 
has no family event occurred, during my residence 
.in the colony, in which I have taken a nearer in- 
teresty than in tiiat desirable connexion. The woo- 
ing of the young. Pa troon of Kinderhook'is an affitir 
of Concern to the province. It i& a meritorious 
youth!" 

« With an excellent estate, my Lord !" 

" And a gravity beyond his years." 

" I would give a guarantee, at a risk, Aat two^ 
thirds of his income gx>es to increase the capital^ at 
the beginning of each season !" 

** He seems a man to live on air !" 
^ " My oH flriend, the last Patroon, left noble assets,'* 
continued the Alderman,, rubbing his hands ; " be* 
sides the manor." 

" Which is no paddock !" 

"It reaches from the Hudson to the line of Massa- 
chusetts. A hundred thousand acres* of hill and bot- 
tom, and well peopled by frugal Hollanders." 

" Respectable in possession, and a mine of gold in 
reversion ! Such men^ Sir, should be dieriahed. We 
'owe it to his station to admit him to a share of this, 
our project to undeceive the Queen. How superior 
are the claims of such a gentleman to the empty 
pretensions of your Captain Ludlow!" 
" *♦ He has truly a very good and an improving es- 
tate!" 

** These Eudlows, Sir, people that fled the realm 
for plotting against the crown, are ofiensive to a loyal 
subject indeed, too much of this objection may be 
imputed to many in the province, that come of Eng** 
lish blood. I am sorry to say, that they are foment* 
et«^0f iSmmif 4iUsthm^ of tiic^ public aii&fl# ax4 



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so tBM WATXR-WITCB. 

Captious disputants aboat prerogatives and vested 
rights. But there is a repose in^he Dutch character 
which lends it dignity ! The descendants of the Holr 
landers are men to be counted on ; where we leave 
them to-day, we see them to-morrow. As we say in 
politics, Sir, we know where to iSnd them.- Does it 
not seem to you particularly offensive that this Cap- 
tain Ludlow should command the only royal cruiser 
on the station?" 

" I should like it better, my Lord, were he to serve 
in Europe," returned^ the Alderman, glancing a look 
behind him, and lowering his voice. " There waa 
lately a rumor that his ship was in truth to be sent 
among the islands." 

" Matters are getting very wrong, most worthy 
Sir ; and the greater the necessity there should be 
one at court to undeceive the Queen. Innovators 
should be made to give way to men whose names 
are historical, in the colony." 

" 'Twould be no worse for Her Majesty's credit." 

" 'T would be another jewel in her crown ! Should 
this Captain Ludlow actually marry your niece, the 
family would altogether change its character — I 
have the worst memory — thy mother, Myndert, was 
.a— a—"' - 

" The pious woman was a Van Busser." 

" The union of thy sister with the Huguenot then 
reduces the fair Alida to the quality of a half-blood. 
The Ludlow connexion would destroy the leaven oi 
the race J Ithink the man is penniless !" 

" I cannot say that, my Lord, for I would not will- 
ingly injure the credit of my worst enemy ; but, 
though wealthy, he is far from having the estate o* 
the young Patroon of Kinderhook." 

" He should indeed be sent into the Indies-^Myn- 
dert V 

"My Lord?" 

'' It would be unjust to my sentimeals io ia^ of 



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THE WATER- WITCH. ^ H 

Mr.' OloflT Van Staats, were we to exclude him from 
the advantages of our project. This niuch shall I" 
exact from your friendship, in his favor ; the neces- 
sary sum diay be divided, in moieties, between you ;; 
a common bond shall render the affair compact j and- 
then, as we shall be masters of our own secret, there 
*an be little doubt of the prudence of our nieasures. 
The anioantls written in this bit of paper." 

** Two'thotlsand pounds, my Lord !" 

" Pardon me, dear Sir ; not a penny more than 
one for each of yoii. Justice to Van Starts requires' 
that you let him into the affair. Werie it not for the 
suit with your niecfe, I should take the young gentle- 
man with me, to push his fortunes at court '^ 

" Truly, my Lord, this greatly exceeds my means. 
The high prices of furs the past season, and delays 
ifa returns have placed a seal upon our silver " 

" The prenfiium would be high." 

"'G(Mn is getting so scarce, daily, that the facfe of* 
arCarolus is almost as great a strabger, a$ the face 
of a debtor " 

" The returns certain." 

" Whik one's creditors meet him, at every cor* 
ner— — " 

"The concern wt)uld be altogether Dutch." 

" And last advices from Holland tell us to r€fserv6' 
our gold, for some- extraordinary niovements in the-^ 
commercial world." 

" Mr. Alderman Myndert Van Beverout!" 

" My Lord Viscount Cornbury ;" 

" Plutus preserve thee. Sir — but have a care ! 
though! scent the morning air, and must return, it 
is not forbid to tell the secrets of my prison-house. 
There is one, in yonder cage, who whispers that the 
* Skimmer of the Seas' is on the coast! Be wary, 
worthy burgher, or the second part of the tragedy 
of Kidd may yet be enacted in these seas." 



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22 THE WATER- WITCH. 

I leave such transactions to my superiors/* retorted 
the Alderman, with another stiff and ceremonious 
bow. " Enterprises that are said to have occupied 
the Earl of Bellamont, Governor Fletcher, and my 
Lord G>mbur J, kre above the ambition of an humble 

erchant" 

" Adieu, tenacious Sir ; quiet thine impatience for 
the extraordinary Dutch movements ! ** said Corn- 
hury, affecting to laugh, though he secretly felt the 
sting the other had applied, since common report 
mfipTicated not only him, but his two official prede- 
cessors, in several of the lawless proceedings of the 
American Buccaneers : " Be vigilant, or la demoiselle 
Barbaric will give another cross to the purity of the 
stagnant pool ! " 

The bows that were exchanged were strictly in 
character. The Alderman was unmoved, rigid, and 
formal, while his companion could not forget bis ease 
of manner, even at a moment of so much vexation. 
Foiled in an effort, that nothing but his desperate 
condition, and nearly desperate character, could have 
induced him to attempt, the degenerate descendant 
of the virtuous Clarendon walked towards his place 
of confinement, with the step of one who assumed a 
superiority over his fellows, and yet with a nrind so 
mdurated by habitual depravity, as to have left it 
scarcely the trace of a dignified or virtuous quality 



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1 

* - 

J 

CHAPTER II. 

• ** His words are boadt, his oaths are oracles ; - 

His loye sincere, his thoughts immaculate ;—** 

Two Gbmtlxmbv or Vekomju 

The philosophy of Alderman Van Beverout was 
not easily disturbed. Still there was a play of the 
nether muscles of the face, which might be construed 
into self-complacency at his victory, while a certain 
contraction of those which controlled the expression 
d the forehead seemed to betray a full consciousness 
of the imminent risk he had Vun. 'The left hand was 
thrust into a pocket, where it diligently fingered the 
provision of Spanish coin without which the mer- 
chant never left his abode ; while the other struck 
the cane it held on the pavement, with the force of 
a resolute and decided man. In this manner he pro- 
ceeded in his walk, for several minutes longer, shortly 
quitting the lower streets, to enter one that ran alorijg 
the ridge, which crowned the land, in that quart€fr 
of the island. Here he soon stopped before the door 
of a house which, in that provincial town, had alto- 
gether the air of a patrician dwelling. . 

Two fake gables, each of which was surmaunted 
by an iron weathercock, intersected the roof of this 
building, and the high and narrow stoop was built of 
the red free-stone of the country. The material of 
the edifice itself was, as usual, the small, hard brick 
of Holland, painted a delicate cream-color. 

A single blow of the massive glittering knocker 
brought a servant to the door. The promptitude with 
which this summons was answered showed that, not- 
withstanding the early hour, the Alderman was an 
expected guest. The countenance of him who acted 
as porter betrayed no surprise when he saw the per- 
son who applied for admission, and every movement 
of the black denoted preparation and readiness for 



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V 



26 fHS WATVR'VnTCB* 

busied himself affectionately about tbe person of his 
nia«5tpr. " T t'l^^l^^.U aHvRv better to travel on 'e land, 
V .^ . >.i - • , H. inurh as Masser Oloff! Der' 
war' e time a I'erry-boat go down, wid crowd of peo- 
ple ; and nobody ebBer come up again to say how he 
feel." 

" Here is some mistake!" interrupted the Alder 
man, throwing an uneasy glance at his young fi-iend. 
** I count four-and-fifty years, and remember ifo such 
calamity." 

" He'm werry sing'lar how a young folk do forget ! 
'Ere x^ar' drown six people in dat werry-boat. A two 
Yankee, a Canada I'renchman, and a poor wonnan 
from a Jarseys. Ebbery body war' werry sorry for 
a poor woman from a Jarseys!" 

" Thy tally is- false. Master Cupid," promptly re- 
joined the Alderman, who was rather expert at 
figures. "Two Yankees, a Frenchman, and your 
iersfiy woman, make but four." 

** Well, den I s'pose 'ere war' one Yankee ; but I 
know all war' drown, for 'e Gubbenor lose he fine 
coach-horses in dat werry-boat." '. 

"The old fellow is rignt, sure enough; for I re- 
member the calamity- of the horses, as if it were but 
yesterday. But Death is monarch of the earth, and 
none of us may hope to escape his scythe, when the 
appointed hour shall come I Here are no nags to lose, 
to-day ; and we may commence our voytige, Patroon ' 
with cheerful faces and light hearts. Shall we pro 
ceed?" 

Oloff* Van Staats, or the Patroon of Kinderhook, 

as, by the courtesy of the colony, he was commonly 

ermed, did not want for personal firmness. On the 

ontrary, like most of those who were descended 

rom the Hollanders, he was rather distinguished for 

steadiness in danger, and obstinacy in resistance. The 

little skirmish which had just taken place, between 

1^3 friend aad hh slave, had proceed^ from their 



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TK8 'WATSlt-WIl^ffb 91 

several ^.pprehensions ; the one feeling a aort of pa- 
rental interest in his safet^t and the other hai^ji^ 
particular reasons for wishuig him to persevere in 

• oia intention, to embark, instead of any justitiable 
cause in the character of the yoiwg proprietor him- 
self. A si^n to the boy who bore a portmanteau, 
settle^ the controversy; and then Mr. Van Staats 
intimated his readiness to move. 

Cupid lingered on the stoop, until his master had 
lurned a corner^ then, shaking his head with aU the 
D^isg^vings of an igporant and superstitious mind, he 
drove the young fry of blacks, who thronged the door^ 
into the house, closing all after him with singular and 
. ^rupuloii^ care. How &r the presentiment of the 
black was warranted by the event, will be seen in 
the course of the narrative. 

The wide avenue, in which Okxff Van Staats 
dwelt, was but a few hundred yards in length. It 
terminated, at one. end, with the fortress ; and at the 
o^r, it was^cros^d by a high stockade, which bore 
tlie name of the city walls ; a defence that was pro- 
vided against any sudden irruption of the Indians, 
. ^ho .then hunted,, and even dwelt in some numbers, 
ih.the lower counties of the colony. 

It requires great familiarity with the growth of» 

* the tawR, to recognize* in this description, the noble 
street that now runs for a league through the c<»actre 
of the island. From this avenue, which was then, as 
itr is still, cali^ the Broadway, oht adventurers de- 
scended into a lower quarter. of the town, holding 
fisee converse by the way.. ** 

" That Cupid is a negro to keep the roof on a. 
house, iu its masler's absence, Patroon," observed the 
Alderman, soon after they had left the stoop. '* He 
looks like a padlock, and one might sleep, without a 
dream, with such a guardian near his dwelling, x 
wish I had brought the honest fellow the key of ray 
itilbter. . ,;. .. ... .. 



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^ I hk^ft haird my ftlther sAf, iikt •. lh« k^i of Mi 
own were alix^ay^ better near his om /< pUIow," coolfj^ 
returned the proj^etol- o^ a hundre f thousand acres* 

" Ah, the curse of Cain ! It is ne tdless to look for 
the far of a matted oti the ba^k of h c^t. B«it, Mr. 
Vim Staats, i^^hile walking to yDur v^obr thl^ morning^,* 
t wiui my fortund to mee^ th^ lati* ^H^ernon wtie id 

C^rmitted by his creditoM to take ih^ Air, tat ai^ h6U# 
hen he thinks ih« eyed of the impeHiaehi Vr91 be 
AnK i believe, Patroon, you were *> hi<sky lis 16 g^f 
back your moneys, beibre tbe rdyal <iispleas^#i& visif^ 
ed the man?" 

** I was 80 lucky as nerer to ttissi himJ** 

•* That was better ^11, (of it Would hate b;6en' * 
barren investment — great jeopardy lo principal, and 
no return. But we had discourse ^ various iateredtd,- 
and, SLwan^ others, something was hazarded coticern- 
itlg your amatory preten^ons to my nieee." 

** Neither the wishes of Oloff Van Staats^ nor the' 
inclinations of la belle Barbaric, are^li subject (at th^' 
Governor it Council/' said the Pat^oon df Kihdei^ 
book, stiffly. 

" Nor was it thus treated. The Visedunt spoke *i6 * 
fair, and, had he not ptished the matt*^ beyond Ai^ 
cretion, we might have come to happier conclusions.'* 

'' I am glad that there wai ^me nessti^fit in th6 
discourse.'' ' 

" Thd man cerfetiniy exceeded reasoB, ftr h^ left 
the conference into personalities that no prudent mlia 
could relish. Still he said it waft possible tb^t %W 
Coquette might yet be ordered for service an/k^dg fti^' 
i&iands!" 

It has been said, that Oloff Van Staats Wa^ a Mf 
oersonaWe young man of vast stature, and vwth mucM 
.>f the air of a gentleman of his country ; for, though 
a British subject, he was rather a Hollander in fefet- 
ings, habits, and opinions. He cdored ^t the alhision 
to the presence of his known rival, though his com*' 



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TO8 WATS^WITOai OT 

pairioQ was at a loss to discover whetbeif prMe or 
vtixatioB was at the bottom of bis emotion. 

" If Captain Ludlow prefe** a cruise in the Indies, 
to d«ity on this coast, I hope-he may obtain his wish/* 
' wa^ the .cautious answer « 

<* Your liberal man enjoys a ^punding name, and 
mi empty cofier>" observed the Alderman, drily. '* To 
me it seems that a petition' to the admiral to send so 
meritorious an officer on service where he may ^ 
tii^guisb himaell^ should deserve his thanks. The free- 
booters are playing the devil's game with the sugai^ 
trade, and pven the French are getting troublesomet 
further south," 

<'He has certainly the . reputation of an active 
cruiser."- 

'VSlixum and philosophy ! If y^ou wieh to succeed 
with Alida, Tatroon, you mu$t put moi^e briskness 
into the adventure. The girl has a cross of the 
Frenchman in her temper, and none of your delib- 
erations and taciturnities will gain tl>e day. This 
visit to the Lust in Rust is Cupid's own handy work^ 
and I hope to see you both return to town as ami- 
cable as tlie Stadtholder and the States General, 
after a sharp struggle for the year's subady has been 
settled by a compromise." 

"The success of this suit is th^aflair nearest my 

" The young man paused as if surprised at his 

own communicativeness; and, taking advantage of 
the haste in*whicb his toilette had been made, he 
thrust a hand into his v€^t, covering with its broad 
palm a portion of the human frame which poets do 
not describe as the seat of the passions. • 

"If you mean stomach, Sir, you will not bav 
reason to be disappointed," retorted the Alderman, a 
little more severely than was usual with one so caii-^ 
tious. " The heiress of Myndert Van Beverout will 
i)ot-be a penniless bride, and Monsieur Bar bene did 
not dose. the hooksof life without takii^.good cace 
C2 



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ferrymen quitting the wharf without USi S^camper 
ahead, Brutus, and tell them to wait thfe legal minute. 
The rogues are nev^r exact ; som^thnes starling be^ 
fore I am ready, and sometiAned keeping me wahing^ ' 
in the sufi, aslf l,w«re no bt5<ite^ thafl a dried dun- 
Ssh. Punctuality is the soul of btisiitess, lind one-t^ 
my habits does not like ib be aheisid, tior behind hU^ 
time." 

In this mknner the worthy bBrgl^r, who WottM 
faaye been glad to regulate themovetnentsof dtiiens, 
on all occasions, a good deal by his own, vetited hi^ 
complaints, while he and his companion IvarHed on 
to overtake the slow-moving boat in which rtiey were 
to embark. A brief description of the scene will not 
be without inter^t, to a generation that liiay be 
termed modern in reference to tile time of wbicH 
we write. 

A deep narrow creek penetrated the island^ at thh 
point, for the distsmce df a quarter of a mile. £acil 
of its banks had a row of buikiings^ ad the housed 
line a canal in the cities of Holland. As the naturat 
course of the inlet wats necessarily respected, the 
street had taken a curvature not unlike 4:hat of a 
new moon. The houses were ultra^Dutch, being low, 
angular^ fastidiously neat', and all erected with their 
gables to the street. Each had its uglj and incom 
venient entrance, termed a stoop, its vane or weather* 
cock, its dormer-windows, and its graduated battle^ 
ment- walls. Near the apex of one of the latter, a 
Kttle iron crane projected into the street. A small 
boat, of the same metal, swung from its end, — a sign 
that the building to which it was appended was the 
ferry-house. 

An hiherent love of artificial and confined navi 
gation had prc^ably induced the burghers to select 
thiB spot, as the place whence so many craft depart- 
ed iiMi tbP Mflfrai uooe, it is mi«uiI, that tb^ tM 



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iivei*s could have furnished divers Jpditits mor6 favot*- 
aMe for ^uch an object, itia^mtich as thejr possess the 
advantage of wide and unobstructed channels. 

Fifty bkcks were already in the street, dipping 
their brooms into the creek, and flourishing water 
over the ^ide-tvalks, and on the* fronts of the low 
edifices. This light but daily duty was relieved b^ 
d^rhoroTis collisions of ^it, ^nd by shoitts of mern- 

\nient, iti which the whole street would join, as with 
one joyous and reckless movement of the spirit. 

The langiTage of this light^hiearted and noisy race 
was Dutch, already corrupted by English idioms, and 

• occasionally by English words ; — b, system of change 
that has probably given rise to an opinion, ^mong 
some of the descendants of the earlier colonists, that 
the latter tongue is merely a patois of the formeh 

' This opinion, which 5«o much resembtes that certain 
well-read English scholars etitertain of the plagiarisms 
of the Continental writers, when they first begin to 
dip into their works, is not strictly true ; since the 
language of England ha* probably bestowed as much 
on the dialect of which we speak, as it has ever re- 
ceived from the purer sources of the school of Hol- 
land. Here and there, a grave burgher, still in his 
night-cap, might be seen with a head thfust out of 
an upper window, listening to these barbarisms 6f 
speech, and taking note of all the merry jibes, that 
flew from mouth to mouth with an indomitable 
gravity, that no levity of those beneath could under- 
mine. -- 

As the movement of the ferry-boat was necessarily 
dow, the Alderman and his companion were enabled 
to step into it, before the fasts were thrown aboard. 
The periagua, as the craft was called, partook of a 
European and an American character. It possessed 
the length, narrowness, and clean bow, of the canoe, 
from which its name was derived, with the Bat bot- 
tom and lee-boards of a b6al ^cotttlticted for the 



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92 TRB WATER-WlTCa. 

shallow waters pf the Low Countries. Twenty years 

ago, vessels of this descxiptbn abounded in our rivers; 
and even now, their two long and unsupported masts, 
and high narrow-headed sails, are daily seen bending 
like reeds to the breeze, and dancing lightly over the 
billows of the bay. There is a variety of the class 
of a size and pretension altogether superior to tha 
just mentioned, which deserves a place among the 
most picturesque and -striking boats that float He 
who has had occasion to navigate the southern shore 
of the Sound must have often seen the vessel to which 
we allude. It is distinguished by its great length, aod 
masts which, naked of cordage, rise from the huJJ 
like two tall and faultless trees. When the eye ruus 
over the daring heightof canvas, the noble confidence 
of the rig, and sees the comparatively vast machine 
handled with ease and ^race by the dexterity of i^^o 
fearless and expert mariners, it excites some such 
admiration as that which springs from the view of a 
severe temple of antiquity. The nakedness and sim- 
plicity of the construction, coupled with the boldness 
and rapidity of its movements, impart to the craft 
an air of grandeur, that its ordinary uses would not 
give reason to expect. 

Though, in some respects, of singularly aquatic 
habits, the original colonists of New- York were far 
less adventurous, as mariners, than tlieir present de- 
scendants. A passage across the bay did not often 
occur in the tranquil lives of the burghers; and it is 
still within the memory of man, that a voyage be- 
tween the .two principal towns of the State was an 
event to excite the solicitude of friends,'and the anxi- 
ety of the traveller. The perils of the Tappaan Zee, 
as one of the wider reaches of the Hudson is still 
termed, was often dealt with by the good wives ©f 
the colony, in their relations of marvels; and she 
who had oftenest encountered them unliarmed, was 
deemed a sort of marine ama^on. 



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THB WATteR-V^TTOifc ^9 



CHAPTER IIL 

- *«^T twM gfeat tammtt thm mn fe»^w: lOetliiAlttte Jiathiuvdniwalr 
mark upon hiin t liii wmfH^uou. is f&ctdci ^ aUows," 

* It "has be6n s^id that the periagna w^s iii inotion« 
tbefore our two adventurers succeeded in stepping on 
board. ' The arrival of the Patroon of Kinderhook 
^nd of Alderman Van Beverout was expected, an(| 
the schipper had taken his departure at the precise 
moment of the turn in the current, in order to show, 
with a sol-t of pretending independence which has a 
peculiar charm for men in his situation, that < time 
knd tide wait for ho man.* Stiil there were limits to 
hfs decision ; for, while he put the boat in motion, 
especial care was taken that the circumstance should 
fibi subject a customer so important and constaht a« 
the Alderman, to any serious inconvenience. When 
he and his friend had embarked, the painters \Vere 
thrown aboard, and the crew of the ferry-boat begati 
to set their vessel, ki earnest, towards the mouth of 
the i:reek. During these movements, a young negro 
was seated in the bow of the periagua, with nislegs 
Wangling, one on each side of the cut-water, forming 
Ho Ddd apology for a figure-head. He held a concn 
to his mouth, and with his two glossy cheeks inflated 
like those 6f Eolus, and his dark glittering eyes ex- 
pressing the delight he found in dra^ng sounds from 
the shell, he continued to give forth the signal for 
departure. 

"Put up the conch, thou bawler!** cried the Al 
derman, giving the yotinker a rap on his naked poll, 
in passing, with the end of his can^, that might have 
disturbed the harmony of one less bent on clamor.- 
"A thousand windy trumpeters ^ould be silence it- 
tytf, edtapar^d tb tuth a pair t>£ famgrf How cow, 



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84 JBB WATBR-WITCH. 

Master Schipper, is this your punctuality, to start 
before your passengers are ready I" 

The undisturbed boatman, without removing the 
pipe from his moutH, pointed to the bubbles on the 
water which were ah-eady floating outward, a cer- 
ain evidence that the tide was on the ebb. 

'' I care nothing for your ins and outs, your ebbs 
and floods," returned the Alderman, in beat, t* There 
is no better time-piece than the leg and eye of a 
punctual man. It is no more pleasant to go before 

S\e h ready^ than to tarry when al) business is done. 
arkee, Master Schipper, you are not the only navi- 
gator in thfe bay, nor is your craft the swiftest that 
was ever launched. Have a care ; though an acqui- 
escing man by nature, I know how to encourage 
an opposition, when th&. public good seriously calls 
for my support." 

To the attack on hknself, the schipper was stoic- 
9,lly indifferent, but to impeach the qualities of the 
periagua was to attack one who depended solely on 
his cloqucnre for vindication. Removing his pipe^ 
therefore, he rejoined on the Alderman, with that 
sort of freedom, that the sturdy Hollanders never 
failed to use to all offenders, regardless alike of rank 
or personal qualities. 

"Der wind-gall and Aldermen I" he growled, in 
the dialect of the country ; " I should be glad to see 
the boat in York-bay that can show the Milk-Maid 
her stern ! The Mayor and council-ujen had better 
order the tide to turn when they please ; aod then, 
as each man will think of his own pleasure, a pretty* 
set of whirlpools they will give us in the harbor!" 

The schipper^ having delivered hunself of hb sen- 
timents, to this eflect,. resumed his pipe, like a man 
who felt he deserved the meed of victory, whether 
he were to receive it, or not. 

'* It is useless to dispute' with an obstinate man,*^ 
muttered the Alderjxian, ?^^^g ^ ^^Y through 



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Tq^ble baskets, butier*tubfl,aiid all the garcititre 
of a market-boat, to the place occiqpaed by his Diece, 
in the stern-sheets. ^Good morrow to thee Alida 
dear; eariy rising wUi make a flower-garden of thy 
cheeks, and the fresh air of the Lust in Aiist will 
give even thy roses a deeper bloom." 

The mollified burgher then saluted the cheek 
whose bloQija had been deepened by his reiriarkf with 
a warmth that siiowed he was.not without natural 
aiiection ; touched his hat, in return for a low bow 
thathe received ftxHn an aged white man-servant, 
in a clean but ancient livery ; and nodded to a 
young negress, whose second-hand finery sufficiently 
showed she was a personal attendant of the heiress. 

A second glance at Alida de Barbaric was scarcely 
necessary to betray her: mixed descent. From her 
Norman father, a Huguenot of the petite noblesse,, 
she liad inherited her raven hair, the large, bnlliant, 
ooal-black eyes, in which wildness was singularly re- 
lieved by sweetness, a classical and faultless profile, 
and a form which was both taller and more flexible 
than commonly fell to the lot of the damsels of Hol- 
land, From her mother, la belle Barb^rie> as the 
maiden was often playfully termed, had received a 
skin, fair and. spotless as the flower^ of France, and 
a bloom which rivalled the rich tints of an evening 
sky in her native land. Some of the em bon point, 
for which the sister of the Alderman had been a 
little remarkable* had descended also to her fairer 
daughter. In Alida, however, this peculiarity did 
not exceed the fullness which became her years, 
rounding her person and softening the outlines of her 
form, rather than diminishing its ease and grace 
These personal advantages were embellished by a 
neat but modest trav^elling habit, a little beaver that 
was shaded by a cluster df drooping feathers, and a 
mien that, under the embarrassment cf her situationi 



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preserve^ iiie' happiest mediwii betiwseen waodesty and 
perfect self-poasepBicnu 

Wheif Alderman Van Beverout joined this fitir 
creatare, in whose future happiness he was fiiliy jus* 
lified in taking the deep interest which he has be 
trayed in some of the opemng series of this volume 
he found her engaged ia a courteous discourse with 
the young man, who vras generally considered as the 
one, among the Aumerous pretenders to her fitvor, 
who was 'Hiost hkely to socoeed. Had other caitse 
been wanting, this «gbt alone would have been 
sufficient to restore his goodi-humor ; and, making a 
place for himself, by quietly dispossessing Fran<^ois, 
th^ domestic of his niece, the persevering burgher 
endeavored to encourage an intercourse, that he had 
reason to think must ^^tninate in the result he both 
Koeditated and desired. 

In the present efibrt,^ however, the Alderman 
failed. There is a feeling which universally per- 
vades landsmen and landswomen, when they first 
embark on an element to which they are strangers,, 
that ordinarily shuts their mouths and renders them 
meditative. In. the older and more observant travel-* 
lers, it is observiatiion and comparison ; while wijii 
the younger and more susc^tible, it is very apt to 
take the character of sentiment Without stopping 
to analyze the cause, or the consequences, in the in*' 
stance of the Patroon and la belle fiarb^rie, it wiU 
be sufficient to state, that in spitejof ail the efibrts 
of the worthy burgher, who had navigated ^the slug- 
gish creek too often to be the subject of any new^ 
emotions, his youthful companions gradually grevr 
silent and thoughtful. Though a oelibite in his. own 
person^ Myndert had not now to learn that the in&nt 
god as often does Ins mischief through this quiet 
agency, as in any other manner. He became, there- 
fore, mute in his turn, watching the slow movement 



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df the peristgna with as t»u^ eiiSduJtj'ttsif he sawn 
Ws own iinage-t)B the Water. 

. A qiwirter of an hour of this characteristic^ and' 
it is to he inferred agreeable navigation, brought the; 
boat to the mouth of the inlet. Here a powerful- 
tSott §>rced her into th6 tideVway, and she inigkt- 
he said to pit forth on her voytige. But whil^ tiiQi 
black crew wer^ trimming the sails,; and making ther 
olther necessary preparations for departure, a A^oice. 
was heard hailing them from the shore, with an order . 
rather than a request, that they would stay their 
naovementa - 

." Hilloa^ the periagua!" it cried. "Haul pter 
your head-sheet, and jam the tiller down into the. 
lap ofthat comfortable-looking old gentleman. Come; 
bear a hand, my hummers ! or yourrace-h<yrse.of a. 
craft will get the hit into its Mkouth, and run 2|way: 
with you." 

This summons produced a pause in the movements: 
of the crew. After regarding each other, in surprise 
and admiration, the watermen drew the head-sheet, 
over, put the helm a-lfee, without however invading, 
the lap of the Aldernjan, and the boat became sta*' 
tionaty, at the distance of a few rods from the shore,. 
While the new passenger was preparine^o come oiT 
in a yawl, those wIm) awaited his moWhcients had 
leisure to examine his appearance, and to form their- 
different surmises concerning his character. 
. It is scarcely necessary to say, that tl>e strange, 
was a son of the ocean. He was of a 6rmly knit . 
and active frame, standing exactly six fe^t in his 
stocking. The «houlder^ though square were com 
pact, the chejst full and high, the limbs round, neat . 
and muscular, — the whole indicating a form in which 
strength and activity were apportioned with the 
greatest accuracy/ A small buHet head was set 
firmly on its broad foundation, and it was thickly 
covered with a mass of brown hair that was already. 

Vol. I. D 



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58 TUB vfATmL^vrnta: 

a Kttte grizzled. Thre face was that of a man of 
thirty, and it was worthy of the frames being manly^ 
bold, decided, and rather handsome ; though it ex- 
pressed little more than high daring, perfect coolness, 
some obstinacy, and a certain degree of contempt 
for others, that its owner did not always take th^ 
trouble to conceal. The color was a rich, deep, and 
uniform red> such as much exposure is apt to give to ' 
men whose complexions are, by nature, light and 
florid. 

The dress of the stranger was quite as remarkable 
as his person. He wore a short pea-jacket, cut tight 
and tastefully ; a little, low, and rakish cap, and full 
bell-mouthed trowsers, al! in a spotlessly white duck ; 
a material well adapted to the season and the cli- 
mate. The first was made without buttons, affording 
an apology for the o^#of a rich Indian shawl, that 
belted his body and kept the garment tight to his- 
frame- Faultlessly clean linen appeared through the 
opening above, and a collar, of the same material, 
fell over the gay bandanna, which was thrown, with ' 
a single careless turn, around his throat. ,The latter 
was a manufacture then little known in Europe, and ' 
its use was almost entirely confined to seamen of the 
long voyage^ One of its ends was suffered to blow 
about in thWvind, but the other was brought down 
with care over the chest, where it was confined, by 
springing the blade of a small knife with an ivory 
handle, in a manner to confine the silk to the linen ; 
a sort of breast-pin that is even now much used by 
mariners. If we add, that light, canvas slippers, 
with foul-anchors worked in worsted upon their in- 
steps, covered his (eet, we shall say all that is neces-, 
sary of his attire. 

The appearance of one, of the air and dress we 
have jiist described, excited a strong sensation among 
the blacks who scrubbed the stoops and pavements. 
He was olo&ely attended to the place wb^e he hailed 



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THE WATER-WITCBk TO 

the periagua, by four or live loungers* ^h» studied 
hk manner and movementa«with tbe admiration tiisit 
men oC their clasg seldom, fail to bestow- on those 
who bear about them the evidence of having passed 
lives of adventure, and perhaps of. hardship and 
daring. Beckoning. to <>ne^f these idiers to follow 
hiou the hero of the India^«hawl stepped into an 
^mpty boat, and casting loose its fast, he sculled the 
light yawl towards the craft which was awaiting his 
arrival. There was, in truth, something in the reck- 
less airi the decision, and the manly attitudes of so 
tine a specimen of a seaman, that might have at-* 
tracted notice fronv those who were more practised 
in the world than the little crowd of admireie he 
left behind him. With an easy play of wrist and 
elbow, be caused the yawl to glide ahead like some 
indolent marine animal swimming through its ele- 
ment, and as he stood, firm as a planted statue, with 
a foot on each gunwale, there was much of that con- 
fidence created by bis steadiness, that one aci]uires 
by viewing the repeated and successful efforts of a 
skilful rope-dancer. When the yawl reached the 
side of the periagua, he dropped a small Spanish 
eoin into the open palm of the negro, and sprang on 
the side of the latter, with an exertion of muscle 
that sent the, httle boat he quitted half-way back to- 
wards the shore, leaving the frightened black to 
steady himself, in his rocking tenement, in the best 
tmnner he could. 

The tread and posture of the stranger, when he 
«^ined the half-deck of the periagua, was finely 
nautical, and confident to audacity. He seemed to 
analyze the half-maritime character of the crew 
^nd passengers, at a glance, and to feel that sort of 
superiority over his companions, which men of his 
profession were then a little too wont to entertain 
tpwards those whose ambition could be bounded by 
terra-firmau. Hia sje taai6d.upward, at the simple 



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40 TBB WATER-WITCH4 

rig^ and mbtle^ aaib ci the periagua, while his upper 
bp eurled with the ktiowitig expression of a critic. 
Then kicking the fore-sheet ciear of its cleet, and 
miferipg the sail to fill, he stepped from one butter- 
tubs to another, making a stepping-stone of the lap 
of a countryman by the way, and alighted in the 
stern-sheets in the midst of the party of Alderma* 
Van Beverout, with the agility and fearlessness of a' 
feathered Mercury. Wifli a coolness that did infinite 
credit to his powers for commandirg, his next act* 
was to dispossess the amazed schipper of the behn, 
taking the tiller into bis own^ hands, with as much- 
composure as if he were the every-day occupant of 
the ^lost. When he saw that the boat was begin-^ 
ning to move through the water, he feund leisure ti> 
bestow some observation on his fellow-voyagers. The- 
first that met his bold and reckless eye was Frant^iS) 
the domestic of Alida« 

" If it come to blow in squalls, Commodore,'^ ob-»- 
senhBfl the intruder, with a gravity that half deceived 
tlie attentive Frenchman, while he pointed to the 
bag in which the latter wore his hair, " you *1I be 
troubled to carry your broad pennant. But So expe* 
vienced an officer has not put to sea without having- 
a storm-cue in readiness for foul weather.** 

The valet did not, or afiected not to understand 
the allusion, maintaining an air of d%nified but silent 
superiority. 

** The gentleman is in a foreign service, and doe» 
Eiot understand an English mariner ! The worst that 
can come, after all, of too much top-hamper, is to 
cut away, and let it drift with the scud. May I 
make bold to ask, judge, if the courts have done 
any thing, of late, concerning the freebooters among 
the islands?" - . 

" I have not the honor to bear Her Majesty^s com- 
mission," coldly returned Van Staats of Kinder hook, 
to whom Chi&queatk}ahad.iiedn. hardily put 



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.THE WAT£ft-WITOH. '41 

^'The best navigator is sometimes puanded by a 
hazj obsi^vation, and many stn okl seaman baa taken 
a fog-bank for sdiid groimd. Since you are not in 
the courts, Sir, I wish you joy; for it is running 
among shoak to be cruising there, whether as 
judge or suitor. Ckio is never fairly snug and* land- 
locked, while in company of a lawyer, and yet the 
devil himself cannot always give the sharks a good 
offing. A pretty sheet of water, friends, and one as 
snug as rotten cables and foul winds can render desi- 
rable, is this bay of York 1 ** 

♦* You are a mariner of the loi^ voyage," returned 
the Patroon, unwilling that Alida should not believe 
him equal to bandying wits with the stranger. • 

'^ Long, or short ; Calcutta, cm: Cape Cod ; dead 
reckoning, eye-^ht, or «tar*gazing, all's one to your 
real diJphin. The shape of the coast between Fundy 
and Horn, is as familiar to my eye, as an admirer to 
this pretty young lady ; and as to the other shore, I 
have run it down oftener than the Commodore, here, 
has ever set his pennant,- blow high or blow low. A 
cruise like this is a Sunday in my nav^stion ; though 
I dare say, you took leave of the wife, blessed the 
ehildreo, overhauled the will, and sent to ask a good 
word from the priest, b^re you came aboard ?" 

"Had these ceremonies been observed, the dan^or 
.would not have been inereaaed," said the young ra* 
troon, anxious to steal a glance at la beik Barb^ri^ 
though his timidity causjed him, in truth, to feok the 
(Other way. " One is never nearer danger, for being 
!(>repared to meet it.*? 

*^ True ; we must all cUe, when the reckoning is 
out. Hang or drown — gibbet or bullet clears the 
world of a great deal of cubbish, or the decks would 
get to be so littered that ibe vessel could not be 
^workied. The last cruise is the iDngest^ >af all ; and 
honest papers, with a clean bill of health, may help 
a man into' port, wtien lie'it p«st ke<^ing the. open 
D2 



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42 TBB WAXXaL-WITCH* 

aea. Hoir mofw^ schipper ! what, lies are floattog about 
4h6 docks this loocning? when did the last Albany* 
man get his tub down the rvreTf or whose gelding lias 
been ridden to death in chase of a witach." 

'^The devil's babes!" muttered the Alderman 
* there is no want of roisterers to> torment such inno 
cents!" 

** Have the buccaneers taken to praying, or does 
their trade thrive in this heel of the war ? " continued 
ibe mariner of the India-^aw], disregarding the com^ 
plaint of the burgher. " The times are getting heavy 
lor. men of metal, as may be seen by the manner in 
which yon cruiser wears put her- groand-tackle, in- 
stead of trying the open sea. May I spring every 
Bpatt 1. carry, but I would have the boat out and give 
her an airing, before to-morrow, if the Queen would 
condescend to put your humble servant in charge of 
the ciafl ! The man Ues there, at Ms anchors, aes if 
he had a good freight of real Hollands in his hold, 
and was waiting for a few bales of beaver^kins to 
bartei 'for his strong waters.*' 

As the stranger coolly expressed this opinion of Her 
Majesty's ship Coquette, he rolled his glance over the 
fiersons of his companions, suffering it to rest, a moi» 
ment, with a secret significance, on the steady- ef e of 
the burgher. 

' " Weli — '" he continued, ** the doq> answers for a 
floating vane to tell which way the tide is running, 
tf she does nothing better ; and that must be a great 
assistance, Schipper, in the navigation of one who 
keeps a^s bright a look-out on the manner in which 
die world whirls round, as a gentleman of your saga- 
•ityl« 

^ " If die news in the creek he true," riejoined the 
moffended owtier of the periagua, "there will be 
bther business for Captain Ludlow and the Coquette, 
before many days I" 

^f Ah:! faavi^ eaten all Ms meat 9irA breads the 



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THE. WATSR-WITCB, 43 

man ymA be obtiged to yictual Us ship mew i * 'Twere 
a pity 60 active a gentleman sfaoiiM keep a Ast, in a 
Iprisk tideVway. And wben his cx^spers are once 
more filbed^and the dinner is fairly eaten, what doit 
thdnk.will be hia next duty V 
. '^ There* 18 a report, among the boatmen of the 
South Bay, that something was seen, yester'hight, off 
the outer side of Long Island !" 

^* I'll answer for the truth of that rumor, for hay- 
ing come up yrUh the eyening fiood, I saw it my- 
self." 

** Der duyyePs luck 1 and what dost take it to be.!" 

** Th<tf Atlantic Ocean ; if yen doubt my word, I 
•appeal to this well-ballasted old gentleman, Who, 
•being a schoolmaster, is able to give you latitisde and 
kngitude for its tnstfa." 

**I am Alderman Van Beverout," muttered the 
object of this new attack, between his tecth^ though 
ajqiarently but half-disposed to notice one who set 
8o tittle bounds to his discourse. 

" I beg a thousand pardons !" returned the stBange 
seaman, with a graye inclination of his body« ** The 
stolidity of your worship's countenance deceived me. 
It may be, indeed, mireasonable to expect any Akier« 
man to know the position of the Atlantic: Oceaa! 
And yet, gentlemen, on the honor of a man who has 
seen much salt water in his time, I do assure yto the 
sea, I speak of, is actaaBy there. If there h« anjr 
thing on it, or in it, that should not in reason be so, 
4his worthy commander of fhe periagua wiU let- us 
-know the rest" 

^^ A wood-boat from the in]«t says, the > Skimmer 
jof the Seas^ was lately seen standing along the coast,''. 
eturned the ferry-man, in the tone of one who ss 
' ertain of delivering matlrer of general interest 

M^our tme sea»-dogy who runs in atid out of inlefSy 
JB a n)an for marvels !^ coolly obseryed the stranger, 
• * They know the color a£ the seat at oi^t^ and are 



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44 THK WATKR-WITCB. 

for ever steeisig in the ^rind's eye in search of advent- 
ture& I wonder, more of them are not kept at making 
almanacB ! There was a mistake, C4»ceming a than^- 
der-storm, in the last I bought, and all for the want 
of proper sdence. And pray, friend, who is this 
'Skimmer c£ the Seas,' that is said to be running after 
his needle, like a tailor who has found a hole in hia 
neighbor's coat?" 

** The witches may tell 1 I only know that such a 
rover th^e is, and that he is here to-day. and there 
to-morrow. Some say, it is only a craft of mist, that 
skims. the top of the seas, like a sailing water-fowl; 
and others think it is the sprite of a vessel that was 
rifled and burnt by Kidd, in the Indian Ocean, look- 
ing for its gold and the killed. I saw him once, my- 
self, but the distance was so great, and his- manoeu- 
vres so unnatural, that I could hardly give a good 
account of his hull, or rig." 

*♦ This is matter that don't get iiAo the log every 
watch ! Whereaway, or in what seas, di<bt meet 
the thing?" 

** 'Twasoff the Branch. . We were fishing in thick . 
weather, and when the mist lifted, a little, there waei 
a craft seen standing in-shore, running like a race- 
horse; but while we got our anchor, she had made 
a league of offing, on the other tack I" - 

" A certain proof of either her, or your, activity ! 
But what might have been the form and shape of 
your fly-away?" 

** Nothing determined. To one she seemed a fuH- 
rigged and booming ship ; another took her for a Ber- 
mc^ian scudder, while to me dbe had the look of 
twenty periaguas built into a single craft. It is weH 
-known, however, that a We^-Indiaman w^at to sea 
^hat night, and, though it is no^ three years, no 
tidings of her, or her crew, have ever come to «^ any 
m York. I have never gone upon the banks to iLili, 
-iiace that day, in thick weather." 



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" You have done well," observed the stranger, " 1 
have seen many wonderful sights, myself, on the roll- 
ing ocean; and he, who$e business it is to lay be- 
tween wind and water, like you, my friend, should 
never trust himself within reach of one of those devil's 
flyers. I cou(jl tell you a tale of an afiair in the 
•.aim latitudes, under the burning sun, that would be , 
^a..le$^o. tQ ^li,of over-bold ciiriosity! Qommiteion 
'and ch^§€|«r ^f Oiiot alfa^rs for yo^f m-^hovQ coaslh 
er," " . ■ ■• 

*' We have time to hear it,'^ obseryed the PatPOOQ, 
whose attention had bqen excited by the disoourso, 
and who read, in the dark eye of Atida tbat tshe fek' 
.^n interest in the expected narrative.. 

But the countenance of the stranger suddealy 
grew serious. He shook his bead, like one who baii 
.sufficient reasons for h^ silence; imd^ rc^quishing 
the tiller, be quite coolly obliged a gaping* eovnlrj- 
wan, in the centre of the boat,^ to yield hiB plaeo, 
where, he la^d his own athletic form, at fuH fei^tfiy 
.folded his arms on bis breast, aQd shut bia «ye& In 
less than five minutes^ all within hearing had. audible 
evidence that this extraordi^a^ 9oa>of -the xKeom 
«ras in Si sound sleep» 



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46 THE WATSR^WITOn. 



CHAPTER IV. 

f 

» ''—Bepatient^fortlMiirizerUlniDgtkMta. 

I Sball hoodwink this mischance — .** 

f TEJCPurr. 

Tro air, audacity, and language of tte ttnknoinm 
mariner, had produced a marked sensation atnong 
the passengers of the periagua. It was plain, by the 
.playfulness that lurkeo about the coal-Uack eye of 
Ja belle Barbaric, that she had beetr amused by Jbis 
sarcasms, though the boldness c^ his manner had 
caused her to maintain the reserve which she believ- 
ed necessary to her sex and conation. The Patroon 
istodied the countenance of his mistress, and, though 
half offended by the freedom of the intruder, he had 
believed it wisest to tolerate his liberties, as the natu- 
ral excesses of a spirit that had been lately released 
from the monotony of a sea-life. The repose which 
usually reigned in the countenance of the Alderman 
had beein a little troubled ; but he succeeded in eon- 
ceaKng his discontent from any impertinent observa- 
tion. When the chief actor in .the foregoing scene, 
therefore, saw fit to withdraw, the usual tranquillity 
was restored, and his presence appeared to be for- 
gotten. 

An ebbing tide and a freshening breeze quickly 
carried the periagua past the smaller islands of the 
bay, and brought the cruiser called the G>quette 
more distinctly into view. This vessel, a ship of twenty 
guns, lay abreast of the hamlet on the shores of Stat- 
en Island, which was the destination of the ferry- 
boat. Here was the usual anchorage of outward- 
bound ships, which awaited a change of wind ; and 
it was here, that vessels then, as in our times, were 
subject to those examinations and delays which are 
imposed Sor the safety of the inhabitants of the city 



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THS WATBR-WITGB. 47 

The Oxjuette was alone, however ; for the airival 
of a trader, from a distant port, was an event of 
unfrequent occurrence, at the commencement of the 
eighteenth century. 

The course of the periagua brought her within 
fifty feet of the sloop-of-war. As the former ap- 
proached, a movement of curiority and interest oc- 
curred among those she contained. 

".Take more room for your mil)c-maid/' grumbled 
the Alderman, observing that the schipper was will- 
ing to gratify his passengers, by running as near as 
possible to the dark ^des of the cruiser* '^ Seas and 
oceans! is not York-bay wide enough, that you must 
brush the dust out of the muzzles of the guns pf yom 
lazy ship ? If the Clueen knew how her money was^ 
eaten and drunk, by the idle knaves aboard hfr, she 
would send them all to hunt for freebooters am<»ig 
the islands. Look at the land, Aiida, child, and you'll 
think no more of the fright the gaping dunce is giv- 
ing thee ; he only wishes to show his skill in steering." 

But the niece manifested none of the terror that 
the uncle was willing to ascribe to her fears. Instead 
of turning pale, the color deepened en h^er cheeks, as 
the periagua came dancing along, under the lee of 
the cruiser ; and if her respiration became quicker 
than usual, it was scarcdy produced by the agitation 
of alarm. The near sight of the tall mastsi apd of ; 
the maze of cordage that hung nearly above their 
heads, however, prevented the change from being 
noted. A hundred curious eyes were already peep- 
ing at them, through the ports, or over the bulwarks 
of the ship, when suddenly, an officer, who wore the 
undress of a naval captain of that day, sprang iuto 
the main rigging of the cniiser, and saluted the pai ty 
in the periagua, by waving his hat, hurriedly, hke 
one who was agreeably taken by surprise. 

** A fair sky and gentle breezes to each and al} !" 
he €;ri^ with tiie I^rtj maimer of a seafAan. . " I 



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4lf THIB WATiR-'WifcH. 

tiss my hand to the fair Alida ; and the Alderman 
\fi\\ take a «aildt-'9 good wishes ; Mr. Van Staats, I 
salute you." 

"Ay," muttered the hurgher, "your idlers have 
nothing better to do, than to make words answer'for 
deeds. A lazy war and a distant enemy make yoti 
seamen the lords of the land, Captain Ltwinow:" '^ 

Alida blushed still deeper, hesitated, and then, by ' 
a movement that was half involuntary, she waved 
her handkerchief. The young Patroon arose, and 
answered the salutation by u courteous bow. By 
this time the ferry-boat was nearly past the ship, and 
the scowl was quitting the face of the Alderman, 
when the mariner of the India-shawl sprang to his 
feet, and, in a moment, he stood again in the centfe 
of their party. 

** A pretty sea-boat, and a neat show aloft !" he 
said, as his understanding eye scanned the rigging of 
the royal cruiser, taking the tiller at the same time, 
with all his former indifference, from the hands of the 
schipper. ** Her Majesty should have good service 
from such a racer, and no doubt the youth in her 
rigging is a man to get most out of his craft. We'll 
take another observation. Draw away your head- 
sheet, boy.'* 

The stranger had put the helm a-lee, while speak- 
ing, and by the time the order he had grven was 
uttered, the quick- working boat was about^ and 
nearly filled on the other tack. In another minute, 
she was again brushing along the side of the sloop- 
of-war. A common complaint against this hardy in- 
terference with the regular duty of the boat, was 
about to break out of the lips of the Aldernnan and 
the schipper, when he of the India-shawl lifted his 
cap, and addressed the officer in the rigging, with all 
the self-possession he had matiifested in the inter- 
tiourse with those nearer his person. 

" Has Her Majesty need of a man in her servioe. 



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vAio h^ eeen, in ha tune» more blae water than Var^ • 
gr0and4 «u is .th^e.oo empty berth in so gallant a^^ 
cruiseft for one who must do a seaman's duty, or 
starve?" - 

The descendant of the ktng-hattng Ludlows, as 
the: Lord Comhnry hadntyled the race of the com- 
mander of the Goqaetta, was quite as n^uch su^pris^d 
by the appearance of him who put this question, as 
be was by the coolness with which a mariner of 
ordinary condition presttnied to address an officer who 
bore so iiigh a commission as his own. He had, how- 
ever* ' sui&ient time to recollect in whose presence 
be stood, ere he replied, for the stranger had again 
placed the helm a'}ee; and caused the foresail to be 
thrown abaek9^-*a change that made the periagua 
stationary* 

• ^ The Qneen will always receive a bold mariher 
in her pay, if he come prepared to serve with skill ' 
and fidelity,'* he said; *<ad«a proof of which, let a 
rope be thrown the periagua ; we shall treat more 
at our ease under tier Majesty's pennant. I shall- 
be proud to entertain Alderman van Beverout, in ' 
the mean time : and a cutter will always be at his ' 
command, when he shall have occasion to quit us.*' 

" Your land-loving Aldermen find their way from 
a Queen's cruiser to the shore, more easily than a 
seaman of twenty years' experience ;** returned the • 
other, without giving the burgher time to express hi 
thanks for the polite ofier of the other. " You hav ' 
gone through the Gibraltar passage, without doubt, 
noble captain, being a gentleman that has got so fine * 
a boat under his orders?" 

^ Duty has-taken me into the Italian seas, more 
than once," answered Ludlow, half disposed to re- 
sent this familiarity, though too anxious to keep the 
Eeriagua near, to quarriel with him who so evidently 
ad produced the unexpected pleasure* 

Vol. L E 



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\ " Then yeir kmmi thttt4 thongba ladynnf^ftii ar^ 

ship through the straits^ eaMwurdt U iH^Bik'a Levant: 
hr^e;^ to bring her out again. Her Majesty's pen* 
nants are long, and when they get foul around the 
limbs of a thorcAighly*hped $ea-dog, it {ns8e» all bis 
art to clear the jaio. U Is orvx^: worthy of remaric, 
that the better the soaBaaii, the leas bk power to caat 
loose the knot!" 

" If the peanant be 80 long^ it may reach farther 
than you wi^l) !--*-But.a bold Yolunteer has ao ooca-- 
sion to dre^d a press*" 

"I fear the berth I wish- i« fiUed," returnadthe 
other, curling his lip: "let draw the fore««heet> lad; 
we will take our departure^ leaving, the fly of thie^ 
pennant well under our lee; Adieu» brave Captain ; 
when you have need of a thorough rover, and dream - 
of stern-chases and wet S9]J», tlunk of faifn who vlsH-"^ 
ed your ship at her lazy nioorings." 

Ludlow bit his lip, and though his fine face reddai* 
ed to the temples, he nmt the arch glance of Alid^y 
and laughed. But he who had so hardily braved Ihe^ 
resentment of a man, powerful as the conunender 
of a royal cruiser in a British colony, appeared tof 
understand the hazard-of his situation. The permgna 
whirled round on her heel, and the next miiiate it 
was bending to the breeze, and dashii^ through the- 
little waves towards the shore. Three boats Idl the 
cruiser at the same moment. One, which evidently 
contained her captain, advanced with the usual dig* 
nified movement of a «barge landing an ofBcar of ranky 
but the others were urged ^ahead with all the ear* 
nestness of a hot chase. 

" Unless disposed to serve the Queen, you have 
not done well, my friend, to brave one of her con^» 
manders at the muzzles of his guns," observed the 
Patroon, so soon as the state of the case became too 
evident to doubt Qf tb^ intentioos of the .man^^'WQtr'i 
men. 



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ttflB Mr*TlBR-WlTC». 51 

^♦« SWt Ca:{);t&itt Lufflow wotfld ^ihf ^take «onMft of 
us out of this iKMit, by fair means dr' by foul, is a fact 
tlekr as a brigM«lar in a" cloudless titght; and, well 
teiowmg^ a ^seamaki's duty to h» superiors, I shall 
leave him to 1^ <;hek^e.'^ 

^<«ItiA)rhidh-e«i9eyo»WiU'sbi&rHy«atHer IVfajettj' - 
bread," pithily returned the Alderman. 

"1^6 food is unpalatable, and I reject it— and , 
iw* -here is a boat^ whose crew seemdeternfiinedto 
make one swallow worse &ure.*' / 

. The unknown mariner cekaed 'speaking, -for the 
titwilifeiii t>f the "periagua, was truly getting to be a 
little critical. At least so it seemed to the less-in- 
Mrudled landBmen, who were . witnesses of this un- 
etpe^t^d^reitexMitre. As the ferry-boat had drawn in 
with the isttfnd, the wind hauled more through the 
^eus^hi^h ^eammuaieates with the outer bay, and 
it became necessary to heave about, twice, in order 
to fetch to 'KviUdward of the usual landing-place. 
Tbi» ftrsflt of ^Ibese manQ^tiVres had* been executed, 
tfndas^tnieieeesarily changed their course, the passen- 
gcrfe saW'that the oortter to which 'the stranger al- 
luded "wtis enabled to -gelt withihHghore of them; or 
tfiearer to the whatf, where they ought to land, than 
they wwe ^faemselveSi Instead of sufiering himself 
i^ 'be led off'by a pursuit, that he knew might easily 
be^petd^rM Usdess, the officer who commanded this 
hewt cheered 4iis m^, and pulled swiftlyto the point 
iif debarkaf^n. On the-eth^ hand^ a second eutter« 
which' had-6ltMdf reached l^e Hneof*the|>eriagua^ 
course, lay on its oars, and awarted its approach. 
Vhe ankno>wsn marinier 'manifested no intention to 
avoid the interview. He stSf held the tiller, and s» 
^lietii^uilly' commanded the little vessel as if bis au- 
tfiortty were of a more regular character. The au- 
^tbcity and dedsion of his air and<»nduct, aided by 
the Consummate manner in which he worked the 
Ualf =aSfjtd vA^fEte have 'achieved -ibk -momentary 



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<8 TBS WATBa-wmak 

vsttrpation, had not tbe^neral ieeUng against \ 
pressmen t been so much in hie favor. 

" The devirs fangs!" grumbled the 8<^pper. ** If 
you should keep the Milk-Maid awi^, we shall lape 
a little in distance, though 1 think the Doianrof-war's 
men will be puzzled to catch her» with a Qawhig 
sheet!" 

" The Queen has sent a message bj the gentle- 
man," the mariner rejoined : *' it would be uoaiaD* 
nerly to refuse to hear it" 

''Heave-to9 the periaeua!" shouted 4be yoiin^ 
of&cer, in the cutter, 'i In Her Majesty's Baaie» I 
command you, obey." 

** God bless the royal lady!" returned hi^of the 
foul anchors and gay shawl, while th^ swift ferry- 
boat continued to dash ahead* *^ We ow^ ^r duty* 
and are glad to see so proper a gentleman employ ed 
in her behalf." 

By this time the boi^ts were £^i(y. /eel a&iinder* 
No sooner was there rooofi, than the periagua wce 
more flew round, and commenced anewi^.couise^ 
dashing in again towards the shore. It waa n^[:essary, 
however, to ventui:e within an oar's^engtb of the 
cutter, or to keep away, — a lo^ of groupd to which 
he who controlled her moyements showed no dispodn 
tion to submit. The office^ ajeope, and, as the pefiagu» 
drew near, it was evrdent his hand held a' piato}; 
though he seemed reluctant to exhibit the weapoiiM 
The mariper stepped aside* in a manner to on^ ^ 
full view of all in his group, as he sarcastically oh-r 
sOrved — * 

*' Choose your object^ Sir ; in such a party, a mati 
of sentiment may have a preference." 

The young man colored, as much with ^ame at. 

he degrading, duty he had been commissioned to 

perform, as with vexation at his failure. Recoverinig 

lus seIf-con>po5ure, however, he lifted his hat to la 

belle Barb^ic!, and the .periagua daihed oa»^.in jtd ^ 



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^here 4t^so(>n iu*riv«!^, flie crew lying on their oar*^ 
^t'llie endx>f flw w^hai»f, in efidcnt expectation of 
the arrival 4{)f^h€if€rry^.bcfet. At this *ight, the seiiip- 
^r '^ti0pk ''\m head, aftd lodked-u^ m the hold face 
ofhh ]i>afsset)ger, in a matiftertk)' betray how miuh 
hife frand m^giav^ ti»e result. But the tall marfr:ef 
maintained hift^ coolness, and t>ega» td mafe<j meirj 
aliusfods^O'tke service svlii<5h he had Graved witit sb 
much temetityi and (t(m whic-h no a|te 'believed he 
^a» yet likety to^ercape. By the former manoeuvres, 
the periagua had cained«,|K)ation well to windward 
of the wiiapf ; and she w>^ now steered ctese upon 
the wi*d, "directly for ^e shore. AgaJrtst the consc- 
iences of a perseverance in this ^oour^e, however; 
the ^i|>per ^«^ fit to reniofistrate. 

** Silk) wrecks ftfed rocky bottom's T" iftjtciaimed the 
alarmed w^atermaii. «-A rHolknd galliot Would go to 
pieces, if you should run her in among thosie stepping- 
stones, Wi^ thiis breelrfel No honest boatman loves to 
me a man -st^oweii in k cruiser^s hold, like a thief 
eaged in liJs ^prison-; bat when 4t ^oftie^ to breaking 
the nose rf tfee Jifilk-Maid, it is asking-tooimurli of 
her owner, to stand by and look on." 

" There shall not be a dimple of her lovely coun- 
tenance deranged," answered his cool passenger. 
"Now, lower away your sails, and we'll run along 
the shore, down to yon wharf. 'T would be an un- 
gallant act to treat the dairy-girl with so little cere- 
mony, gentlemen, after the lively foot and quick evo« 
lutions she has shown in our behalf. The best dancer 
in the island could nOt have better played her part,- 
though ji^iDg under the music of a three-stringed 
fiddle!" 

By this time the sails were lowered, and the pe.-i- 
agua was gliding down towards the place of land- 
ing, running always at the distance of some fifty feet 
mm the slxtre.^ 

E2 



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<* Every craft has its allotted time; like a mcM^a};'' 
continued the inexplicable mariner c£ the Indian 
shawl. << If bhe is to die a sudden death, there is 
your beam-end and stern-way, which takes her . into 
the grave without funeral service, or parish prayers; 
your dropsy is being water-logged ; gout and rheuma- 
tism kill like a broken back and loose joints ; iodi" 
eestiori is a shifting cargo, with guns adrift; the gal- 
lows is a bottomry-bond, with lawyers' fees; ivbiie 
fire, drowning, death by religious melancbolyy and 
suicide, are a careless gunner, sunken rocks, false 
lights, and a lubberly captain/' 

Ere any were apprized of his intention, this 
singular being then sprang from the boat on the cap 
of a little rock, over which the waves were washii^y 
whence he bounded, from stone to stone, by vigorous 
ei£>rts, till he fairly leaped to land In another 
minute, he was lost to view, among the dwellings of 
the hamlet. 

The arrival of the periagua, which immediatiely 
after reached the wharf, the disappointment of the 
cutter's crew, and the return of both the boats to 
their ship, succeeded as matters of course. 



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-tax vunnnvnacB' fiS 



CHAPTER V. 

0li9. *'Didlie write tluf?** 
Cio. **Ay, Madam.** 

What tod wxz^ 

Ir we flay that Alida de Barbae did not cast a 
glance behind her, as the party quitted the. wharf, 
in order to see whether the boat that contained the 
commander of the cruder fallowed the example of 
the others, we shall probably portray the maiden 

' as one that was less subject to the influence of co- 
quetry than the truth would justify. To the great 
discontent of the Alderman, whatever might have 
been the feelings of his niece, on the occasion, the 
barge continued to approach the shore, in a manner 
which showed that the youne seaman betrayed no 
visible interest in the result of the chase. 

The heights of Staten Island, a century ag(^ were 
covered, much as they are at present, with a growth 
of dwarf^trees. Foot-paths led amoi^ this meagre 
vegetation, in divers directions; and as. the hamlet at 
the Quarantine-Ground was the point whence they 
all diverged, it require^ a practised guide to thread 
their mazes, without a loss of both time and distance. 
It would seem, however, that the worthy burgher 
was fully equal to the office; for, moving with more 
than his usual agility, he soon led his companions into 

- the wood, and, by frequently altering his course, so 
completely confounded their sense of the relative 
bearings oi places, that it is not probable one of them 
all could very readily have extricated himself from 
the labyrinth. 

"Qouds and shady. bowers!" exclaitined Myndert, 
when he had achieved, to his own satisfaction, this 
t^aaion of the pursuit he 'wished to avoid; ''little 
oaks and green pines are pleasant on a June morn- 



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'<06 -SUIC 'WJESEHUWCIUI* 

ing. You shall have mountain air and a sea-breeze 
Patroon, to quicken the appetite at the Lust in Rust. 
If Alida will speak, the girl can -'say that a mouth fui 
of the elixir is better for a rosy check, than ail the 
concoctions and washes that were ever invented to 
give a man a heart-ache." 

" If the place be as much changed as the road 
that leads to it," returned la belle Barbaric,, glancing 
her dark eye, in vain, in the direction of the bstj 
they had quitted, f^I should scarcely venture an 
opinion on a subject of which I am obliged to confess 
utter ignorance." 

" Ah, woman is nought hut vanities! To see and 
to he seen, is the delight of the 3ex. Though we ace 
-a thousand times more comfortable in this wood than 
we should be in walking along the water-side, why, 
the seagulls and snipes lose the benedt of our com- 
pany ! The salt water, and all who live on it, are to 
be avoided by a wise man, Mr. Van Staats, except 
as they both serve to cheapen freight and to render 
trade brisk. You'll thank me for this care, niece of 
mine, when you peach the bluiT, cool as a package 
of furs free from moth, and fresh and beautiful as/a 
Holland tulip, with the dew on it" 

" To resemble the latter, one n\ight consent to walk 
hlindfbld, dearest uncle ; and so we dismiss the «ub- 

i'ect. Francois, fais moi le plaisir de porter ce petit 
ivre; malgre la fraicbeur de la fotet, j'ai beaoia de 
m'evanter." 

The valet took the book, with an empressement 
that defeated the more tardy politeness of the Pa- 
troon ; and when he saw, by the vexed eye and flush- 
ed cheek of his young mistress, that she was idcoid- 
moded rather by an internal than by the external 
heat, he whispered considerately,— 

" Que ma cb^re Mademoiselle Alide ne se iache " 
pas ! £lle ne manquenut jamais d' admirateursi dais 



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THE WATBR-yriTCH* 67 

un d^ert Ah 1 si Mam'selle allait voir la patrie de 
ses anc^res I-r-r" 

" 'Merci bien, mon cher ; gardez les feuilles, forte- 
ment ferm^ea^ H y a des papiers dedans.^' 
. " Monsieur Francois," said the Alderman, separa- 
ting his niece, with little ceremony, from her nearly 
parental attendant, by the interposition of his own 
Bulky person, and motioning for the others to proceed, 
** a word with thee in confidence. I have noted, in 
the course of a busy and I hope a profitable life, that 
a faithful servant is an honest counsellor. Next to 
Holland and jSngland, both o( which are great com- 
mercial nations, and the Indies, which are necessary 
to these colonies, together with* a natural preference 
for the land in which 1 was born, I have always been 
of opinion, that France is a very good sort of a coun- 
try. I think, Mr; Francis, that dislike to the seas. 
has kept you from returning thither; since the decease 
ftf;niy late brother-in-law?" 

" wid like for Mam'selle Alide, Monsieur, ivec 
yotre permission." 

" Your aifection for rtiy niece, honest FraiK^s, is 
fot to be doubted. It is as certain as the payment 
of a good draft, by Crommeline, Van Stopper, and 
Van Gelt, of Amsterdam. Ah ! old valet ! she. is fresh 
and blooming as a rose, and a girl of excellent quali* 
ties ! 'Tis a pity that she is a little opinionated ; a 
defect that she doubtless inherits from her Norman 
ancestpfs; since all of my family have ever been re- 
markable for listening to reason. The Normans were 
an obstinate race, as witness the siege of Rochelle, 
by which oversight real estate in that city must 
have lost much in value !" 

" Mille excuses, Monsieur Bevre' ; more beau 

tifiil as de rose, aiid no opin^tre dti tout. Mon Dieu i 
pp^r sa qualit^t o'est.une famille tres ancienne." 

'*That was a weak p(Hnt with my brother Barb^rie, 
and, after all, it did not add a cipbtr to the som^total 



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58 (fHR Mtatbr-witch. 

of the ^9&tSi The best blood, Mr. Francois, is that 
which has been best fed. . The line of Hugh Cape* 
himself would fall, without the butcher; and the 
butcher would certainly fail, without costomers that 
can pay, Francois, thou art a man who understands 
the value of a sure footing in the world ; would it 
not be a thousand pities, that such a girl as Alida 
should throw herself away on one whose best found- 
ation is no better than a rolling ship ?" 

** Certainement, Monsieur ; Mam'selle be too good 
to roll in de ship.*' 

" Obliged to follow a husband, up and down ; 
among freebooters and dishonest traders; in fair 
-weather and foul ; hot and cold ; wet and dry ; bilge* 
water and salt-water; cramps and nausea; salt -junk 
and no junk ; gales and calms, — and all for a hasty 
judgment formed in sanguine youth." 

The face of the valet had responded to the Al- 
derman's enumeration of the evils that would at- 
tend so ill-judged a step in bis niece, as faithfully as 
if each muscle had been a mirror, to reflect the con- 
tortions of one suffering under the malady of the sea. 

"tParbleu, c'est horrible cettemer ! ** he ejaculated; 
wh^n the other had done. " It is grand malhcut, 
dere ^ould be watair but for drink, and for la pro- 

£ret6, avec fosse to keep de carp rotlnd le chslteau. 
[ais, Mam'selle be no haste jugement, and sheshaH 
have mari on la terre solide." 
'• "'Twould be better, tliat th6 estate of my bro- 
ther-in-»law should be kept in sight, judicioifs Fraft- 
Qois, than to be sent adpilt on the high seas." 

"Dere vas .marin dans la famille de Barbaric, 
nevair." 

** Bonds and balances ! if die savings of one I could 

arae, frugal Francis, were added in current coin 

the sum-total would ^ink a common shi^. You know, 

it is my intention to remember Aiida, in 'tetcli&g ^ 

l»Uilto adl^ilbo world.". . 



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■MB W5lflK-'^»|T6fl. 6^ 

** HT M6tt9l4ur de Barb^rie vas *liv^, litonsieur 
Ahleranan, he should say des choses convenables;. 
maisy nialheureusement, nfion cher, maitre est mort; 
and, sair, I shall be bold to rcmercier pour lui, et 
pour toute sa famille." 

*' Women ^re perverse, and sometimes they have 
pleasure in doing the very thing they are desired' 
DK>t to do." 
" Ma foi, oui !" 

** Prudent men should manage them with soft 
words and rich gifts; with these, they become or- 
derly as a pair of well-broke geldings." 

** Monsieur know," said the old valet, rubbing his 
hands^ and laughing with the subdued voice of a 
well-bred domestic, though he could not conceal a 
jocular wink ; " pourtant il est ganjon ! Le cadeau 
be good for de demoiselles, and bettair as for de 
dames." 

" Wedkxrk and blinkers ! it is we gassons, as you 
call us, who ought to know. Your hen-pecked hus- 
band has no time to generalize among the sex, in 
order to understand the real quality of the article. 
Now, here is Van Staats of Kinderhook, faithful 
Fran<^.ois; what think you of such a youth for a 
husband for Alida?" 

" Pourtant, Mam'selle like de vivncit^ ; Monsieur 
le Patroon be nevair trop vif." 

" The more likely to be sure — Hist, I hear a foot- 
step. We are followed— -chased, perhaps, I should 
say, to speak in the language of these sea-gentry. 
Now is the time to show this Captain Ludlow, how 
a Frenchman can wind him round his finger, on 
terra-firma. Loiter in the rear, and draw our navi- 
gator on a wrong course. When he has run into a 
fog, come yourself, with all speed, to the oak on the 
bluff There we shall await you." 

Flattered by this confidence, and really persuaded 
that he was furthering the happiness pf her he 



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60. THE WATBH-WfTOH. 

served, the old valet nodded, in reply to the Aiacr- 
man's wink and chuckle, and Immediately relaxed 
his speed. The former pushed ahead; and, in a 
rainu4e, he and those who followed had turned short 
to the left, and were out of sight. 

Though faithfully and even affectionately attached 
to Alida, ner servant had many of the qualifications ■ 
of an European domestic. Trained in all the ruses 
of his profession, he was of that school which be- 
lieves civilization is to be measured by artifice ; and 
fiuccess lost some of its value, when it had been ef- 
fected by the vulgar machinery of truth and common 
sense. No wonder then the retainer entered into 
the views of the Alderman, with more than a usual 
relish for the duty. He heard the cracking of the 
dried twigs beneath the footstep of him who followed ; 
and in order that there might be no chance of miss- 
ing the desired interview, the valet began to hum a 
French air, in so loud a key, as to be certain the 
sounds would reach any .ear that was nigh. The 
twigs snapped more rapidly, the footsteps seemed 
nearer, and then the hero of the India-shawl sprang 
to the side of the expecting Francois. 

The disappointment seemed mutual, and on the. 
part of the domestic it entirely disconcerted all his . 
pre-arranged schemes for misleading the commander 
of the Coquette. Not so with the bold mariner. So ' 
far from his self-possession being disturbed, it would 
have. been no easy matter to restrain his audacity, 
even in situations far more trying than any in which 
he has yet be^n presented to the reader. 

" What cheer, in thy woodland cruise, Monsieur 
Broad-Pennant?" he said, with infinite coolness, the 
instant his steady glance had ascertained they were 
alone. " This is safer navigation for an officer of thy ; * 
draught of water, than running about the bay, in a 
periagua. What may be the longitude, and where- 
a-way did you part company from the consorts ?"^ 



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. ^'S^ir, I valk in de vood for de plaisir, and | go 
oh do- bay for d^-— parbleu, non ! 'tis to follow ma 
jeune maitresse I go on de bay; and, jsair, I wish dey 
who do love de bay and de sea, would not come into 
de yood, du tout" 

" Well spoken, and with ample spirit ; — wh^t, ^ 
tudent too ! one in a wood should* glean something 
from his labors. Is it the art of furling a main cue^ . 
that is taught in this pretty volume?" 

As the mariner put his question, he very delibe- 
rately took the book from Francois, who, instead of 
resenting the liberty, rather offered the volume, in 
exultation. 

"^o, sair, it is not how to furl la queue, but how 
to touch de soul ; not de art to haul over de calm, 
but — oui, c'est plein de connoissance et d' esprit ! , 
Ah ! ha! you know de Cid ! le grand homme I I'homme 
de g<$nie ! If you read, Monsieur Marin, you shall 
see la vraie po^ie ! Not de big book and no single 
rhyme — Sair, I do not vish to say vat is penible, mais 
it is not one book widout rhyme ; it was not 6cnt on 
de sea. Le diable ! que le vrai g^nie, et les nobles 
sentiments, se trouvent dans ce livre, la !" 

" Ay, I see it is a log-book, for every man to note 
\\\s mind in. I return you Master Cid, with his fine' 
sentiments, in the bargain. Great as was his genius, 
it would seem he was not the man to write all that 
I find between the leaves," 

" He not write him all ! Yes, sair, he shall writ ■ 
him six time more dan all, if la France a besoin. 
Que Pen vie de ces Anglais sc decouvre quand on parle 
des beaux ^^nies de la France ! " . 

" I will only say, if the gentleman wrote the whole . 
that is in the book, and it is as fine as you would 
make a plain seafaring man believe, he did wrong 
not to print it." 

" Print!" echoed Francois, opening his eyes, anc 

Yqu I. F 



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62 THE WATBR-WITCH. 

the volume, by a common impulse. " Imprime ! ha >. 
here is papier of Mam'selle Aiid^ assur^iiiient"' 

" Take better heed of it then," interrupted the 
seaman of- the shawl. " As for your Cid, to me it is 
an useless volume, since it teaches neither the lati 
tude of a shoal, nor the shape of a coast*' 

" Sair, it teach de morale ; de rock of de passion 
et les grands mouvements de Tame! Oui, Sair; it 
teach all, un Monsieur vish to know. Tout le monde 
read him in la France ; en province, comme en villa. 
If sa Majesty, le Grand Louis, be not so mal avis^, 
jis to chasser Messieurs les Huguenots from his roy- 
aumc, I shall go to Paris, to hear le Cid, moi-meme I" 

" A good journey to you. Monsieur Cue. We may 
meet on the road, until which time I take my de- 
parture. The day may come, when we shall con- 
verse with a rolling sea beneath us. Till then, brave 
cheer!" 

" Adieu, Monsieur," returned Fran<jois, bowing 
with a. politeness that had become too familiar to be 
forgotten. " If we do not meet but in de sea, we 
shall not meet, nevair. Ah, ha, ha ! Monsieur le ' 
Marin n'aime pas a entendre parler de la gloire de 
la France ! Je voudrais bien savoir Kre ce f— e Shak- 
a-spear, pour voir, combien I'immortel Corneille lui 
est sup^rieur. Ma foi, oui ; Monsieur Pierre Corneille 
est vraiment un homme illustre !" 

The faithful, self-complacent, and aged valet then 

imrsued his way towards the large oak on the bluff; 
or as he ceased speaking, the mariner of the gay 
sash had turned deeper into the woods, and left him 
alone. Proud of the manner, in which he had met 
*he audacity of the stranger, prouder still of the 
eputation of the author, whose fame had, been 
nown in France long before his own departure from 
Europe, and not a little consoled with the reflection 
*hat he had contributed his mite to support the honor 
of his distant and vvell-bek)ved country, the honest 



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THE WATER'WITCH. 68 

Francois pressed the volume affectionately beneath 
bis aFin^j^^d hastened -on after his mistress. 

Though the position of Staten Island and its sur* 
rounding bays is so familiar to the Manhattanese, an 
explanaticNfi of the localities may be "agreeable to 
readers who dwell at a distance from the scene of 
the tale. 

It has already been said, that the principal com- 
munication between the bays of Raritan and York, 
is called the Narrows. At the month of this passage^ 
the land on Staten Island rises in a high bluff, which 
overhangs the water, not unlike the tale-fraught 
cape of Misenum. From this elevated point, the 
eye not only commands a view of both estuaries and 
the city, but it looks far beyond the point of Sandy- 
Hook, into the open sea. It is here that, in our own 
days, ships are first noted in the offing, and whence 
the news of the approach of his vessel is communi- 
cated to the expecting merchant by means of the 
telegraph. In the early part of the last century, 
arrivals were too rare to support ' such an establish- 
ment. The bluff \i'as therefore little resorted to, ex- 
cept by some occasional admirer of scenery, or by 
those countrymen whom business, at long intervals, 
drew to the spot. It had been early cleared of its 
wood, aind the oak already mentioned was the only 
tree standing in a space of some ten or a dozen 
acres. 

It has been seen that Aldennan Van Be«erout had 
appointed this solitary oak, as the place of rendez- 
vous with Fran<jois. Thither then he took his way 
on parting from the valet, and to this spot we must 
now transfer the scene. A rude seat had been placed 
around the root of the tree, and here the whole 
party, with the exception of the absent domestic, 
were soon seated. In a minute, however, they were 
joined by the exulting Fran9ois, who immediately 



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64 THE WAT£R-WITCB« 

related th^ particulats of Jiis recent interview with 
the stranger. 

** A clear conscience, with cordial friends, aod a 
(air balance-sheet, may keep a man warm in Janu-- 
ary, even in this climate," said the Alderman, willing 
to turn the discourse ; " but what with rebellious 
blacks, hot streets, and spoiling furs, it passeth mortal 
powers to keep cool in yonder overgrown and 
crowded town. Thou seest, Patroon, the i^pot ^of 
-« white OQ the opposite side of the bay. — Breezes and 
fanning ! that is the Lust in Rust, where cordial en- 
ters the mouth at every breath, and where a man 
has room to cast up the sum-total of his thoughts, 
^ any hour in the twenty-four." 

" We seem quite as efiectually alone on this hill, 
with the advantage of having a city in the view," 
remarked Alida, with an emphasis that showed she 
meant even more than she expressed. 

" We are by ourselves, niece of mine," returned 
the Alderman, rubbing his hands as if he secretly 
felicitated himself that the fact were so. " That 
truth cannot be denied, and good company we are, 
though the opinion comes from one who is not a 
cipher iii the party. Modesty is a poor man's wealth, 
but as we grow substantial in the world, Patroon, 
one can afiford to begin to speak truth of himself, as 
well as of his neighbor." 

" In which case, little, but good, will be uttered 
from the mouth of Alderman Van Bevermit," said 
Ludlow, appearing so suddenly from behind the root 
of the tree, as efiectually to shut the mouth of the 
burgher. " My desire to offer the services of the 
ship to your party, has led to this abrupt .intrusion, 
and I hope will obtain its pardon." 

" The power to forgive is a prerogative of the 
Governor, who represents the Queen," drily returned 
the Aldernoan. " If Her Majesty has so little em- 
ployment for her cruisers, that their captains can 



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tHE WATER-WITCH. 65 

'libpose of them, in behalf of old men and young 
maidens — why, happy is the age, and commerce 
Bhould-towfehl" 

" If the two duties are compatible, the greater the 
reason why a commander should felicitate himself 
that he may be of service to so many. You are 
bound to the Jersey Highlands, Mr. Van Beverout?'*' 

" I am bound to a comfortable and very private 
abode, called the Lust in Rust, Captain Cornelius 
Van Cuyler Ludlow." 

The young man bit his lip, and his healthful but 
brown cheek flushed a deeper red than common, 
though he preserved his composure. 

" And I am bound to sea,'* he soon said. " The 
wind is getting fresh, and your boat, which I see, at 
this moment, standing in for the islands, will find it 
difficult to make way against its force. The Co- 
quette's anchor will be aweigh, in twenty minutes ? 
and I shall find two hours of an ebbing tide, and a 
top-gallant breeze, but too short a time for the plea- 
sure of entertaining such guests. I am certain that 
the fears of la Belle will favor my wishes, whichso- 
ever side of the question her inclinations may happen 
to be." 

** And they are with her uncle ;" quickly returned 
Alida. " I am so little of a sailor, that prudence, if 
not pusillanimity, teaches me to depend on the expe- 
rience of older heads." 

** Older I may not pretend to be," said Ludlow, 
coloring ;"xbut Mj^ Van Beverout will see no preten- 
sion in believing myself as good a judge of wind and 
tide, as even he himself can be." 

" You are said to command Her Majesty's sloop 
with skill. Captain Ludlow, and it is creditable to 
the colony, that it has produced so good an officer; 
though I believe your grandfather came into the 
province, so lately as on the restoration of King 
fcharlestheSecimdr' 

F2 



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^ 06 THB WATBR-WITQ^ 

** We cannot claim descent from the Vmted Ptcft- 
inces, Alderman Van Bevcarout, <m the paternal side ; 
but whatever may have been the political ^^iniaoa 
of my grandfether, those of bis descendant liaive 
never been questioned. Let me entreat the iair 
Alida to take counsel of the apprehension I am sure 
she feek, and to persuade her uncle that the Coquette 
is safer than bis periagua.'* 

*' It is said to be easier to enter than to quit your 
ship," returned the laughing Alida. " By certain 
symptoms that attended our passage to the island, 
your Coquette, like others, is fond of conquest One 
IS not safe beneath so malign an influence." 

" This is a reputation given by our enemiesw J 
had hoped for a diiferent answer from la belle Bar* 
b^rie." 

The close of the sentence was uttered with ao 
emphasis that caused the blood to quicken its move- 
ment in the veins of the maiden. It was fortunate 
that neither of their companions was very observaot, 
or else suspicions might have been excited, that a 
better intelligence existed between the young sailor 
and the heiress^ than would have comported with 
their wishes and intenticMis. 

'< I had hoped for a different answer frosn la belle 
Barbdrie," repeated Ludlow, in a lower voice, but 
with even a still more emphatic tone than before. 

There was evidently a struggle in the mind of 
Alida. — She overcame it, before her confusion could 
be noted ; and, turning to the valet, she said, with 
the composure and grace that became a gentle- 
woman — 

« Rends moi le livre, Franijois." 

" Le voici — ah 1 ma chere Mam'selle Alide, que 
ce Monsieur le marin se fachait a cause de la gioire^ 
et des beaux vers de notre illustre M. Pierre Cor* 
neaie !" 

*' Here is an English sailor, that I am sure will not 



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9PHS WATSa-WITGH. 67 

deny the merit of an admired writers even thougli 
he come oC a nation that is commonly thought hos^ 
tile, Fjcant^ois," returned his mistress, smiling. '* Cap- 
tain Ludlow, it is now a month since I am your 
dehtor, by promise, for a volume of Corneille, and I 
here acquit myself of the obligation. When you 
faave perused the contents of this book, wiUi the at- 
tention they deserve, I may hope " 

"'for ^ speedy opinion of their merits." 

" I was about to say, to receive the volume again, 
asr it is a l^acy from my father ,'* steadily rejoined 
AUda. ' 

'' Legacies and foreign tongues I " muttered the 
Alderman. " One is well enough ; hut for the other, 
English and Dutch are all that the wisest man need 
learn. I never could understand an account of profit 
and loss in any other tongu^r Patroon ; and even a 
favorable balance never appears so great as it is, 
•unless the account be rendered in one or the other 
of these rational dialects. Captain Ludlow, we thank 
you for your politeness, but here is one of my fel- 
lows to tell us tnat my own periagua is arrived ; and, 
wishing you a happy and a long cruise, as we say of 
lives, I bid you, adl^." 

The young seaman returned the salutations of the 
party, with a better grace than his previons solici- 
tude to persuade them to enter his ship, might have 
given reason to expect He even saw them descend 
the hill, towards the water of the outer bay, with 
entire composure; and it was only afte^ they had 
entered a thicket which hid them from view, that 
he permitted his feelings to have sway. 

Th^n indeed he drew the volume from his pocket 
and opened its leaves with an eagerness he could n 
longer control. It seemed as if he expected to read 
more, in the pages, than the auth^ had caused to 
l)e placed there ; but when his eye caught sight oi 
f^ sealed b^lety ^be legacy of M. de BarJ^rie iell at 



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68 THE WATER-WITCH. 

his feet ; and the paper was torn asunder, with all 
the anxiety of one who expected to find in its con* 
tents a decree of life or death. 

Amazement was clearly the first emotion of the 
young seaman. He read and re-read ; struck his 
nrow with his hand ; gazed about him at the land 
"and at the water ; re-perused the note ; examined 
the superscription, which was simply to • Capt. 
Ludlow, of Her Majesty's ship G)quette :' smiled ; 
muttered between his teeth ; seeded vexed, and yet 
delighted ; read the note again, word by word, and 
finally thrust it into his pocket, with the air of a 
man who had found reason for both regret and satis 
faction in its contents. 



CHAPTER VL 

M ^wJuit, bw tiiis thing appearad again, to-night T* 

Ham L£T. 

" The face of man is the log-book of his thoughts, 
and Captain Ludlow's seems agreeable," observed a 
voice, that came from one, who was not far from 
the commander of the Coquette, while the latter 
was still enacting the pantomime described in the 
close of the preceding chapter. 

"Whd' Speaks of thoughts and log-books, or who 
dares to pry into my movements?" demanded the 
young sailor, fiercely. 

" One who has trifled with the first arid scribbled 
in the last too often, not to know how to meet a 
squall, whether it be seen in the clouds or only on 
the face of ma!n. As for looking into your move- 
I ments. Captain Ludlow, I have watched too many 
big ships in my time, to turn aside at each hgtit 



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THE WATJER-WITCH. 69 

cruiser that happens to cross my course. I hope. Sir, 
you hstye an answer;,^ very hail has its right to a 
civil reply." 

Xiudiow could scarce Ibelieve his senses, when, oa 
turning to face the intruder, he saw himself confront 
ed by the audacious eye and calm mien of the 
mariner who had, once before that morning, brayed 
his resentment Curbing his indignation, however, 
the ybui^ man endeavored to emulate the coolness 
which, notwithstd^nding his inferior condition, impart- 
ed tp the air of the other something that was imposing 
-if it were not absolutely authoritative. Perhaps the 
singularity of the adventure aided in effecting all 
object, that was a little difficult of attainment in one 
accustomed to receive so much habitual deference 
Xrom most of those who made the sea their home. 
Swallowing his resentment, the young commander 
answered — 

" He that: ktiows bow to face his enemies with 
spirit, may be accounted sufficiently bold; but be 
who braves the anger of his friends, is foolhardy." 

"And he .who does neither, is wiser than both,?' 
rejoined the reckless hero of the sash. <* Captain 
Ludlow, we meet oa equal terms, at present, and 
the parley may be managed with some freedom." 

" Equality is a word tlwit ill applies to men of sta«- 
tions so dtfierent." 

'^ Of our stations and duties it i$ not necessary to 
speak. I hope that, when the proper tim<^ shall oome, 
both may be found ready to be at the first, and equal 
to discharge the last, but Captain Ludlow, backed 
by the broadside of the Coquette and the cross-fire 
j)f his marines, is not Captain Ludlow alone, on a sea 
bluff, with a crutch no better than his own arm, and 
a stout heart. M the first, he is like a spar support- 
ed by backstays and forestays, braces and standing 
rigging; white* as the latter* he is the stick,- which 
ke^ps }t9 hfind. aloft by^tii^ souijidndai atd quality ^ 



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70 THE WATEIl-WITCfl. 

its timber. You have the appearance of one i^ho 
r^n go alone, even though it blew heavier than a.t 
present, if one may judge of the force of the bree^ase, 
by the manner it presses on the sails of yonder boat 
in the bay.'* 

" Yonder boat begins to feel the wind, truly ! " 
said Ludlow, suddenly losing all other interest in the 
appearance of the penagua which held Alida and 
her friends, and which', at that instant, shot out from 
beneath-the cover of the hill into the broad opening 
of Raritan bay. " What think you of the time, my 
friend ? a man of your years should speak with kQo\ir- 
ledge of the weather." 

" Women and winds are only understood, when 
fairly in motion,*^ returned he of the sash ; " now, 
any mortal who consulted comfort and the skies, 
would have preferred a passage in Her Majesty's 
ship G)quette, to one in yonder dancing periagua ; 
and yet the fluttering silk we see, in the boat, tells 
us there is one who has thoi^t otherwise." 

" You are a man of singular intelligence," cried 
Ludlow, again facing the intruder ; " as well as one 
/Of singular " 

«* EflFrontery," rejoined the other, observing that 
the commander hesitated. Let the commissioned 
officer of the Queen speak boldly ; I am no better 
than a top-man, or at most a quarter-master." 

" I wish to say nothing disagreeable, but I find 
your knowledge of my offer to convey the lady and 
her friends to the residence of Alderman Van Bevo- 
rout, a little surprising." . 

" And I see nothing to wonder at, in your offer to 
convey the lady anywliere, though the liberality t^ 
her friends is not an act of so clear explanation. 
When young men speak from the heart, their words 
are not uttered in whispers." 

" Which would imply that you overheard our ocm- 
versatioQ. I believe it, for here is cover at hai|d to 



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TAB WATER-WITCH* tl 

conceal you. It may be, Sir, that you have eyes, as 
well as ears." 

** I confess to have seen your countenance, chang- 
ing sides, like a member of parliament turning to a 
new leaf in his conscience, at thfe Minister's signal 
while you overhauled a bit>)f paper " 

" Whose contents you could not know!" 

"Whose contents I took to be some private orders, 
given by a lady who is too much of a coquette her- 
self, to accept your offer to sail in a vessel of the 
same name." 

•* By Heavens, the fellow has reason in his inex- 
plicable impudence !" muttered Ludlow, pacing back- 
ward and forward beneath the shadow of the tree, 
" The language and the acts of the girl are in cott- 
tradiction ; and I am a fool to be trifled with, like a 
midshipman fresh broken loose from his mother's 
apron-striug. Harkee, Master-a-a — You've a name I 
suppose, like any other straggler on the ocean." 

** Yes. When the hail is loud enough to be heai'd, 
I answer to the call of Thomas Tiller." 

"Well then. Master Tiller, so clever a seaman 
should be glad to serve the Queen." 

'*Were it not for duty to another, whose claim 
comes first, nothing could be more agreeable than to 
lend a lady in distress a helping hand." 

" And who is he, who may prefer a claim to your 
services, in competition with the majesty of these 
realms?" demanded Ludlow, with a little of the 
pretension that, when speaking of its privileges, is 
apt to distinguish the manner of one who has been 
a<icustomed to regard royalty with reverence. 

" Myself, When our affairs call us the same way 
no one can be readier than I, to keep Her Majesty's 
company; but " 

" This is presuming too far, on the trifling of a 
moment," interrupted Ludlow ; " you know, sirrah, 
that I have the right to command your setvices. 



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78 TBS WATBR-WITCH. 

wUbout enteriDg into a parley for them ; end which, 
notwithstanding your gay appearance* may, after all, 
be little worth the trouble." 

" There is no need to push matters to extremity, 
between us, Captain Ludlow," resumed the stranger 
who had appeared to muse for a moment, " If I have 
baffled your pursuit once to-day, it was perhaps to 
make my merit in entering the ship freely, less un- 
deniable. We are here alone, and your Honor will 
account it no boasting, if I say that a man, well 
limbed and active, who stands six feet between plank 
and Cafllne, is not likely to be led against his will, 
like a yawl towing at the stern of a four-and-forty, 
I. am a seaman, Sir; and though the ocean is my 
home, I never venture on it without sufficient footing. 
Look abroad from jthis hill, and say whether there 
is ^ny craft in view, except the cruiser of the Queen, 
which would be likely to suit the taste of a mariner . 
of the long voyage?" 

** By which you would have me understand, you 
are here in quest of service?" 

" Nothing less ; and though the opinion of a fore- 
mast Jack may be of little value, you will not be dis- 
pleased to hear, that I might look further without 
finding a pYettier sea-boat, or a swifter, than the one 
which sails under your own orders. A seaman' of 
your station, Captain Ludlow, is not now to learn, 
that a man speaks differently, while his name is his 
own, and after he has given it away to the crown ; 
and therefore I hope my present freedom will not be 
long remembered." 

" I have met men of your humor before, my friend, 
and I have not now to learn, that a thprough man- 
of-war's nian is as impudent on shore, as he is obe* 
dient afloat. — Is that a sail, in the offing, or is it the 
wing of a sea-fowl, glittering in the sun ?" 

"It may be either," observed the audacious mar- 
i^fi ti^rniogbis eye leisurely towards t\y^ gpen ocear^ 



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*ftr wsdam a wHb lool&^ut fimh tiiis ^rilndf bhiff 
Here >SKre jgalls sportiiig above the wav^ that turn 
their £eatheDs towards the tight'' 

** Look fldoce^seaward That spot of shioing white 
sboittld he the canvas of some craft, hovering in the 
affing !'' 

^* Nothing more probable, in, so light a breease* 
Yoar eoofitersare Jn aad out,, like water*rats on a 
wharf, at .any hour of the twenty-four-f^and yet to 
me it vseems &e oomb of a breakiiig sea." 

" 'Tis snow-white duck ; such as your swift rover 
^I'^ears «& his loftier spars !" 

*^ A duck that is flown," returned the strangei 
diily* ^ Car It is no kniger to be seen. Tiiese fly^ way^^ 
Captain Ludlofw,.give. us seamen many sleepless night? 
andidk chaaes. I wa8t>nce running down the coast 
of Italy, hetwaaa the idaind of Corsica and the main, 
when one of these delunons beset the crew, in a 
maaner that hath taught me to put little faith in 
eyes, imless backed by a clear horizon and a cool 
head." 

•* rU tear 4lie circumstance," said Ludlow, with- 
drawing his .ga^e from the xlistant ocean, like one 
who was satisfied lus senses had been deceived. 
. «* What ef this marvel of the 1-talian sj^as ?" 

•* A marvel truly, as your Honor will confess, wlien 
I read you the atfair, much in the words I had it 
logged, for the knowledge of all corpeerned. It w:.i 
the last hour of the second dog-watch, on Eas^ter- 
Fiiinday, with the wind here at south-east, easier y. 
A light air filled the upper canvas, and just gave us 
oemmand of the shq). The mountains of (x>rsica, 
w^ Monte Christo and Elba, had all been sunk 
some hoars, and ive were on the yards, keeping a 
look*out ibr.a laad^fall on the Roman coast A low, 
thick bank of drifting fog lay along the sea, in-shofc 
of us, which all believed to be the sweat of Uie laitd, 
and thought .na more o£; ^thoti^ mn&.mshed tO| 

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d^t^ if, Ibr ibat is a a}ast where foul ainr rise, and 
through i^hich the gUlls aitd hmd-hirds refuse to fly. 
Weil, here we lay, the mainsail in the brails, the 
topsails beating the mast-heads, likeamaideD fanning 
bcrseif when she sees her lover, and nothing futf 
but the upper duck, with the sun fairly below the 
water in th6 western board. I was thwi yoiibg, and 
quick of eye, as of foot, and therefore among the 
first to see the sight 1 " 

"Which Was ?" said Ludlow, interested in. 

spite of his assunned air of iodiiTerence. 

••Why, here just above the bank of foul air, that 
ever rests on thnt coast, there was seen an object, 
that looked like ribs of bright light, as if .a thousand 
stars had quitted their usual berths in the heaveA, to 
warn us otf the land, by a supeniaturaJ beacon. The 
sight was in itself altogether out of nature and. sur* 
prising. As the night thickened, it grew brighter 
arid more glowing, as if 'twere meant in earnest to. 
warn us from the coast But when the word wa*- 
passed to send the glasses aloft, there was seen a glit- 
tering cross on l*igh, and fer above the spars on which 
earthly sliips carry their private signals." 
- " This was indeed extraordiiiaiy I and what did 
you, to come at tlie character of the heavenly 
symlx)!?" 

" We wore off shore, and left it a clear berth for 
bolder mariners. Glad enough was I to see, with the 
morning sun, the snowy hills of Cwsica, again I" 

•• And the appearance of that object was never 
explained?" 

"Nor ever will be. I have since spoke with the 
mariners of that sea concerning the sight, but never 
found any who could pretend to harve seen it; There 
was indeed one bold enough to say, there is a church, 
far inland, of height and magnitude sufficient to be 
seen some leagues at sea, arid that, favored by our 
position imd tbe mists that hung above the low 



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Ti9 WATSR^WtTfAr . Ti^ 

glands, we haAseen its upper works^- loomisg iibove 
the fogSy and I^hted for some brilliant ceremooy ; 
but we were all too old in seaman's experience to 
credit so wild a tale. I know not but" a church may 
loom, aa well as a hill or a ship; but he, who pretends 
(6 say, that the hands of man can thu? piie stones 
among the ck)uds» should be certain of believers, 6re. 
^e pushes the tale too far." 

** Your narrative is extraordinary, and the marvel 
riiouid have beed looked into closer. It may truly 
have been^ a church, for there stands an edifice at 
{lome^ which towers to treble the height of a cruiser's 
viasts." 

"Having rarely troubled churches^ I know not 
why a church should trouble me," said the mariner 
of the sash, while he turned his back on the ocean, 
as if indisposed to regard the wast« of water longer. 
^ It is now twelve years since that sight was seen, 
and though a seaman of many voyages, my eyes 
have not looked upon the Roman coast, from that 
hour to this. Will your Honor lead the way from 
tke blufT, as becomes your rank?" 

"Yout.tale of the burning cross and looming* 
diurch, Master Tiller, had almost caused me to forget 
to watch the movements of yon periagua," returned 
Ludlow, who still continued to face the bay. " That 

obstinate old Dutchman 1 say. Sir, that Mr. 

Alderman Van B^erout has greater confidence in 
this, description of craft than I feel myself. I like 
npt tbe. looks qt yonder cloud, which is rising from 
ojii the mouth of Raritan^^ and here, seaward, we . 
have a gloomy horizon.— -By Heaven ! there is a sail 
playing in the ojSSing, or my eye hath lost its use and 
judgment." 

" Your Hongr sees the wing of the sporting gull, 
again; it had been nigh to deceive my si^ht, whicL. 
wojuild be tgi. chqat the look-out.of aman that has the 
adv^l^tsig^.df ftcu»e teaor.fiftefia. years? .ixuure pracv 



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ft 'fm W}i^ifflR^#ifcM; 

tiee in imildi^ sippmtmceA, I r^ttkettb^t onfce, wh^ 
beating in among the islands of the^ China seas, with 
the trades here at south-eas t ' ■■ ' ^ ^ 

** £nough of your iriarvelSr friewf ; the church kf 
^ much as I can Swallow, Ih one mortiiitg^^t mny 
have been a gull ! for I confess the^ object smaH; ye¥ 
it had the steac^ne^ and sizedf a distant ^11 ! Theri^ 
is some reason to expect on^ on our costeti fot wliofi¥ 
a bright' arid seaitian*s watch must be had/' 

^« This may then leave rtie a (5h<rice of sfeij^*^ 
isejoined TiWer. « I thank* your Honor for haVihg; 
^oken, before I had^ given my^f away to the Quifeen-r 
who is a lady that is much more apt to receive, giftd^ 
of this nature, than to return them*'* 

" If your respect aboard shall bear arty.prbp^wHort' 
to your hardihood on shore, you may be accounted 
a model of civiliiy ! But a mariner of your pre- 
tension should have some regard to the chafaefer of 
the vessel in which he takes service.** 

" That of which your Honor spoke, is then A hue* 
caneerl" 

"If not a buccaneer, orte but Kttle better. A 
lawless trader, under the most favorable view ; sihd 
there are those who thi4)k that he, who has gone so- 
far, has notrStopt short of the end. But the reputa- 
tion of the ' Skimmer of tho Seas ' must be kno^vn ta^ 
one who has^ navigated the-ocean, long as you^** 

*' Yott >viU overlook the curiosity ^f a ateafa^r^* 
man, in a matter of hid profes^n,** returned the - 
marinr^ of the sash, with strong and ^idenl interest* 
in hU manner. '* I am lately from a distfttfC doea«. • 
and though many tales of the bu<^aneers^of the isl- 
ands have been narrated, I do not remember to have 
heard of that rover, before his name came into th« 
discourse between me and the schipper of the boat, 
that pies between this landing and the oit^. I am- 
not, altogether, what I seem, Captain Ludlow ; and 
when tiuiibet acyi>iiitattc» attd ba«l MrVi^shaU- 



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fai^ve bpought me more before the eyes of my 6omf 
mander, he may not repent having induced a th- 
rough seamaA to enter his ship, by a little condcscer^ 
rion and good-nature shown while the man was stiU 
his own master. Your Honor will take no offence at 
my boldness, when I tell you, I should be glad t^ 
km)w BfK>Fe of this unlawful trader*" 

Ludlow riveted his eyes on the unmoved and 
manly countenance of his companion. There was 
a vague and undefined suspicion in the look ; but it 
vanished, as the practised organs drank in the as* 
surance, which so much physical promise afibrded, 
. of the aid of a bold and active mariner. Rather 
amused than offended by the freedom of the request, 
he turned upon his heel, and as they descended the 
bluS*, on their way towards tlie place of landing, he 
continued the dialogue* 

"You are truly from a distant ocean*" said the 
young captain of the Coquette, smiling like a man 
who a^oli^izes to himself for an act of what he 
thought undue pondescension, " if the exploits of a 
brig^ntine known by the name of the ' Water- Witch,' 
and of him who commands her, under the fit appel- 
lation of the * Skimmer of the Seas,' have not yet 
reached your ears. It is now five summers, since 
orders have been in the colonies for the cruisers to 
be on the alert to hunt the picaroon ; and it is even 
said, the daring smuggler has often braved the pen- 
nants of the narrow seas, 'T would be a bigger ghip, 
if not knighthood, to the lucky officer who should 
catch the koavei" 

"He must drive a money-gaining trade, to run 
these risks, and to brave the efforts of so many skilfu. 
gentlemen ! May I add to a presumption that your 
Honor already finds too bold, if. one may judge by. a 
displeased eye, by asking if report speaks to the f&oe 
and other particulars of the persQiii of this — free-. 
G2 



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-J: 



78 WC WiA.MiMKrifM: 

«fadeP, dno ittti^t 6a!I Mm, t^dn^ fr^trddtl^)^ sUbitl^ 
' (i a better word.'* 

*' What matters the per serial «drtdftlo!V<rf a Hogu^?* 
«aid Captain Ludlow, who perhaps re^ffiembered^ 
that the freedom of their intercourse had been car 
'ried as far as comported with prudence. 

" What matter, truly ! I asked because the de 
scription answers a little to that of a man I tance 
knew, in the seas of farther India, and who has long 
since disappeared, though no one can say whither \i6 
has gone. But this * Skimmer of the &ea&* is some 
Spaniard of the Main, or perhaps a Dutchman come 
from the country that is awash, in order to taste a. 
terra-firma?" 

" Spaniard of the southern coast ncvef carried so 
bold a sail in these seas, nor was there ever knowti 
a Dutchman with so light a heel. The fellow id 
said to laugh at the swiftest cruiser out of England ! 
As to his figure, I have heard little good of if. • FH 
said, he is some soured officer of better days, who 
has quitted the intercourse of honest men, because 
roguery is so plainly written on his face, that he 
vainly tries xo hide it." 

•* Mine was a proper man, and one that need not 
have been ashamed to show his countenance among 
his fellows," said he of the sash. " This cannot be 
the same, if indeed there be any on the coast— -Is*! 
known, your Honor, that the man is truly here?" 

" So goes a rumor ; though so many idle tales hav€ 
led me before to seek the smuggler where he was 
not, that I^ve but little faith to the report. — ^I'he 
periagua has the wind more at w€st, and the cloud 
i ) the mouth of the Raritan is breaking into scud 
The Alderman will have a lucky run of it!" 

•' And the gulls have gone more seaward-^a cer-* 
tain sign of pleasant weather ;" returned the other, 
glancing a quick but keen look ever the horizoEiy 



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t«a wATtfR-wrteft. 7D 

in' fhe offing. •* I believe our rover, vtith laa %fit 
Aick, has taken flight among them F*' 

*' We' will then go in pursuit. My ^Mp* fe bound 
to ilea ; and it is time, Master Tilier, that I know in 
what berth you are willing to serve the Queen." 

" Go<J bless her Majesty ! Anne is a royal lady 
and she had a Lord High Admiral for her husband. 
'A^ for a berth, Sir, one always wishes to be eaptain, 
even though he may be compelled to eat his rations 
in the lee-scuppers. I suppose the first-lieutenancy 
is filled, to your Honored liking?" 

" Sirrah, this is trifling ; one of your years and 
experience need not be told> that' commissions are 
obtained by service." 

•* Under favor; — I confess tbe error. Captain 
JLrHdlow, you are a man of honor, and will not de- 
ceive a sailor who puts trust in your word." 

" Sailor, or landsman, he is safe who has the 
gage." 

" Then, Sir, I ask it. Suffer me to enter your 
ship-; to look into my future messmates, and to judge 
of their characters ; to see if the vessel suits my 
humor ; and then to quit her, if I find it convenient." 

** FelJow," said Ludlow, ** this impudence ahnost 
surpasseth patience!" 

"The request is reasonable, as can be showuf 
gravely returned the unknown mariner. " Now, 
Captain Ludlow of the Coquette would gladly tie 
himself, for better for worse, to a fair lady who is 
lately gone on the water, and yet there are thou- 
sands who might be had with less difficulty." 

** Still deeper and deeper in thy effrontery — and 
what if this be true ?" 

"Sir, a ship is a seaman'^ mistress — nay, when 
fairly under a— pennanF, with a war declared, he 
may be said to be wedded to her, lawfiilly or not. 
He becomes * bone of her bone, and flesh of her 
fiesh, until de^tb dotk thwi part/ To sucb t^ long 



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80 THE WATER-WITCH. 

compact, there should be liberty of choice. Has not 
your mariner a taste, as well as your lover ? The 
narpings and counter of his ship are the waist and 
shoulders ; the rigging, the ringlets ; the cut and fit 
of the sails, the fashion of the millinery ; the guns 
are always called the teeth^, and her paint is the 
blush and bloom ! Here is matter of choice, Kr ; 
and, without leave to make it, I must wish your 
Honor a happy cruise, and the Queen a better ser- 
vitor." 

"Why, Master Tiller," cried Ludlow, laughing, 
** you trust too much to these stunted oaks, if y(Ai - 
believe it exceeds my power to hunt you out oi 
their cover, at pleasure. But I take you at your 
word. The Coquette shall receive you on these con- 
ditions, and with the confidence that a first-raj^e city 
belle would enter a country ball-room." 

** t follow in your Honor's wake, without more 
words," returned he of the sash, for the first time 
respectfully raising his canvas cap to the young com- 
mander. " Though not actually married, consider 
me a man betrotlied." 

It is not necessary to pursue the discourse between 
the two seamen any further. It was maintained, 
and with sufficient freedom on the part of the infe- 
rior, until they reached the shore, and came in full 
view of the pennant of the Queen; when, with the 
tact of an old man-of-war's man, he threw into his 
manner all the respect that was usually required by 
the difference of rank. 

Half an hour later, the Coquette was rolling at a 
anchor, as the puffs of wind came off the hills 
on her^tttfoetopsails ; and shortly after, .she was seen 
standing througlMbe Narrows, with a fresh south- 
westerly breeze.' TiTltii^iese movements, there 
was nothing to attract attentiojQ. Notwithstanding 
the sarcastic allusions of Alderniair-4^ Bfeverout, 
the cruiser was far from being idle ; ancritaL.^.8sage 



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TBB WAlSa-WISQK U 

mtward was a circumstance of so coixmimi occur- 
rence, that it excited no comment among the boat^ 
men of the bay, and the coasters, who alone ^it- 
Qesied her departure. 



CHAITER VIL 

***^I am no pilot ; yet. tmrt thoa as Ihr v 

" As that vaAt shore wash'd with the farthest seSx 

I would adventuro for such merchandise." 

BOMEO AlVB JCLST. 

A HAPpr mixture of land and water, seen by a 
bright moon, and beneath the sky of the foitieth de- 
gree of kititude, cannot fail to make a pleasing pic« 
Uir& Such was the landscape whkh the reader 
must DOW endeavor to present to his mind. 

The wide estuary of Raritan is shut in from the 
winds aral billows of the open sea, by a long, low, 
and Ila^row cape, or point, which, by a metddey 06 
the Dutch and English languages, that is by na 
means rare in the names of places that Ke within 
tte former territories of the United Provinces 61 
UoDand, is known by the name of Sandy-Hook; 
This tongue of land appears to have been made by 
the unremitting and opposing actions of the waves, 
Gki one side^ and of the currents of the different 
r*v«Ts, that empty their waters into the bay, on the 
Qthec. It is commonly connected with the km coast 
pf New- Jersey, to the south ; but there are periods, 
of many years in succession, during which there 
exists an inlet from the sea, between what may be 
termed Che inner end of the cape, and the main-land. 
Daring these periods, Sandy- Hook, of course, be* 
^^i^aofss an island. Sbch was the fact at the time of 
^^MckiL]K(wr buakn^.to wote. 



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83 THE WATBU'WITCH. 

The outer, (k* ocean side of this low and narrow 
hank of sand, is a smooth and regular heach, like 
that seen on most of the Jersey coast, while the inner 
is indented, in a manner to form ^e\'eral convenient 
anchoring-grounds, for ships that seek a shelter from 
easterly gales. One of the latter is a circular and 
pretty cove, in which vessels of a light draught arc 
completely embayed, and where they may, in safety, 
ride secure from any winds that bk)w. The harbor, 
or, as it is always called, the Cove, lies at the point 
where the cape^ joins the main, and the inlet just 
named communicates directly with its waters, when- 
ever the passage is open. The Shrewsl)ury,*a river 
of the fourth or fifth class, or in other words a stre^im 
of a few hundred feet in width, and of no great 
length, comes from the south, running nearly parallel 
with the coast, and becomes a tributary of the Bay, 
also, at a point near the Cove. Between the Shrews-, 
bury and the sea, the land resembles that on tbe 
cape, being low and sandy, though not entirely with- 
out fertility. It is covered with a modest growth of 
Eines and oaks, where it is not either subject to the 
ibors of the husbandman, or in natural meadow^ 
But the western bank of the river is an abrupt and 
high acclivity, which rises to the elevation of a moun- 
tain. It was near the base of the latter that Alder- 
man Van Beverout, for reasons that may be more 
fully dereloped as we proceed in our tale, had seeit 
fit to erect his villa, which, agreeably to a usage of 
Holland, he had called the Lust in Rust ; an appel- 
lation that the merchant, who had read a few of the 
clashes in his boyhood, was wont *to say meant nothing^ 
more nor less tluin * Otium cum dignitate.' 

If a love of retirement and a pure air had its in , 
fluence in determining the selection of the burgher 
of Manhattan, he could not have made a i>etter 
diioice. The adjoining lands had been occiKoedy 
early in the previoiu» ccnturfy.by a respectable fajiK. 



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Jij of the oanie tit Hartshorne, which continued 
seated at the place, to the present hour. The extent 
of their possessions served, at that day, to keep others 
at a distance. If to this fact be added the formation 
and quality of the gioand, which was, at so early a 
period, of trifling value for agricultural purposes, it 
will be seen there was as little motive, as there was 
opportunity, for strangers to intrude. As to the air, 
it was refreshed by the breezes of the ocean, which 
was scarcely a inile distant ; while it had nothing to 
render it unhealthy, or impure. With this sketch 
of the general features of the scene where so many 
of our incidents occurred, we shall proceed to de- 
scribe the habitation of the Alderman, a little more 
in detail. 

The villa of the Lust in Rust was a low, irregular 
edifice, in bricks, whitewashed to the color of the 
driven snow, and in a taste that was altogether Dutch. 
There were many gables and weather-cocks, a dozen 
small and twisted chimneys, with numberless facilities 
that were intended for the nests of storks. These 
airy sites were, however, untenanted, to the great 
admiration of the honest architect, who, like many 
others that bring with them into this hemisphere 
habits and opinions that are better suited to the 
other, never ceased expressing his surprise on the 
subject, though all the\ negroes of the neighborhood 
united in affirming there was no such bird in America. 
In front of the house, there was a narrow but an 
exceedingly neat lawn, encircled by shrubbery ; 
while two old elms, that seemed coeval with the 
mountain, grew in the rich soil of which the base of 
the latter was composed. Nor was there a want of 
shade on any part of the natural terrace, that was 
occupied by the buildings. It was thickly sprinkled 
. with fruit-trees, and here and there was a pine, or 
, an oak, of the native growth. A declivity that was 
rather rapid fell away in front, to the level of the 



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mouth of the river. In 'shprtj it was ro aifiple* bftt 
an unpretending country-house, in which oq dotnestjc 
convenience Jiad been forgotten ; while it ha4 little 
to boast of in the way of architecture, except 13(31 
rusty vanes and twisted chimneys. A few out-hou0Qa» 
for the accommodation of the n^roes^ were nigb 
and nearer to the river, there were barns tod stabie«« 
of dimen^ons and niaterials altc^th^sr superior to 
those that the appearance of the ars^ble land, or the 
condition of the small farm, would seena to rj^nder 
* necessary. The perjagua, in which the proprietor 
had made his passage across the ojuter bay, lay at » 
small wooden wharf immediately below. 

For the earlier hours^ of the evening, the flashing 
of candles, and a general and noisy movement among 
the blacks, had denoted the presence of the master 
of the villa. But the activity had gradually subsided? 
and before the clock struck nine, the oianoer io 
which the lights were distributed, and the general 
silence, showed that the party, most probably fatigued 
with their journey, had already separated for thflj 
night. The clamor of the negroes had ceased, arwi 
the quiet of deep sleep was already prevailing amc^ig 
their humble dwellings. 

At the northern extremity of the villa, which, il. 
will be remembered, leaned against tlie mountain^, 
and facing the east, or fronting the river and tlm 
sea, there stood a little wing, even more deeply eai- 
bowered in shrubbery and low trees, than fhe other 
parts of the edifice, and wjiich was constructed a»lt(H 
gether in a different style. This was a pavili<H)y 
erected for the particular accommodation, and at the. 
cost, of la belle Barberie. Here the heiress of the 
wo fortunes was accustomed to keep her own little 
menage, durii^g the weeks passed in the country ; 
and here she amused herself, in those pretty ^and . 
feminine employments that suited her years and. 
tastes. In coniplinaent to the b^uty ^nd Qici^u fd 



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Tim WATSB^inTOH. 85 

its inhabitant* the gallant Francois had christened 
this particular pco^tioa of the villa, la Cour des F^es 
a nanrie that had gotten into general use, though 
somewhat corrupted in sound. 

On the present occasion, the blinds of the principal 
apartment of the pavilion were open, and its nriis- 
tress \vaB still to be seen at one of the windows. Alida 
vias at an age when the sex is most sensible of lively 
impres»ons, and she looked abroad on the loveliness 
of the landscape, and on the soft stillness of th€i 
night, with the pleasure that such a mind is wont to 
receive from objects of natural beauty. 

There was a young moon, and a firmament glow- 
ing with a myriad of stars. The light was shed 
softly on the water, though, here and there, the 
ocean glittered with its rays. A nearly impercepti- 
ble, but what s^imen call a heavy air came off the 
sea, bringing with it the refreshing coolness of the 
hour. The surface of the immense waste was per- 
fectly unruffled, both within and without the barrier 
of sand that forms the cape ; but tlie body of the 
element was heaving and setting heavily, in a man- 
ner to resemble the sleeping respiration of son>e being 
of huge physical frame. The roar of the surf, which 
rolled up in long and white curls upon the sands, 
was the only audible sound ; but that was heavy and 
incessant, sometimes swelling on the air, hollow and 
threatening, and at others dying, in dull and distan 
murmurs, on the ear. There was a charm in thefe 
varieties of sound, and in the solemn stillness of such 
a night, that drew Alida into her little balcony ; and 
she leaned forward, beyond its shadow of jsweet-brier, 
to gaze at a part of the bay that was not visible, in 
the front view, from her windows. 

La belle Barberie smiled, when she saw the dim 
masts and dark hull of a ship, which was ancnored 
i^ear the end of the cape, and within its protection. 
Theie was the look ot womanly pride in her dark 

Vot. 1. H 



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80 ^ THUS WATER'WITCH. 

eye, and haply some consciousness of womanly power 
in the swell of her rich Kp, while a taper finger beat 
the bar of the balcony, rapidly, and without con- 
sciousness of its employment. 

" The loyal Captain Ludlow has quickly ended his 
cruise !" said the maiden aloud, for she ^poke under 
the influence of a triumph that was too natural to 
be suppressed. " I shall become a convert to my 
uncle's opinions, and think the Queen badly served." 
' "He who serves one mistress, faithfully, has no 
light task," returned a voice from among the shrub- 
bery that grew beneath and nearly veiled the win- 
dow ; ** but he, who is devoted to two, may well de- 
spair of success with both ! " 

Alida recoiled, and, at the next instant, she saw 
her place occupied by the commander of the Co- 
quette. Before venturing to cross the low barrier 
that still separated him from the little parlor^ the 
young man endeavored to read the eye of its occu- 
pant ; and then, either mistaking its expression, or 
bold in his years and hopes, he entered the room. 

Though certainly unused to have her apartment 
scaled with so little ceremony, there was neither ap- 
prehension, nor wonder, in the countenance of the 
fair descendant of the Huguenot. The blood man- 
tled more richly on her cheek ; and the brightness 
of an eye, that was never dull, increased, while her 
fine form became firm and commanding. 

" I have heard that Captain Ludlow gained much 
of his renown by gallantry in boarding," she said, in 
a voice whose meaning admitted of no misconcep- 
tion ; "but I had hoped his ambition was satisfied 
with laurels so fairly won from the enemies of his 
country!" 

"A thousand pardons, fairest Alida," interrupted 
the youth ; " you know the obstacles that the jealous 
watchfulness of your uncle opposes to iny desire to 
fipeak with you." 



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THE WATER-WITGH. 87 

" They are then opposed m vain, fiw Alderman 
Van Beverout has weakly believed the sex and con- 
dition of his ward would protect her from these 
coups-de-main.-' 

. " Nay, Alida ; this is being more capricious than 
the winds! You know, too well,. how far my suit is 
itnpleasant to your gardian, to torture a slight de- 
parture from cold observances into cause of serious 
complaint I had hoped — perhaps, I should say, I 
have presumed on the contents of your letter, for 
which I return a thousand thanks ; but do not thus 
cruelly destroy expectations that have so lately been 
raised beyond the point, perhaps, which reason may 
justify." 

The'glow, which had begun to subside on the face 
of la belle Barb^rie, .'\gain deepened, and for a mo- 
ment it appeared as if her high self-dependence was 
a little weakened. After an instant of reflection, 
however, she answered steadily, iLough not entirely 
without emotion. 

'' Reason, Captain Ludlow, has limited female 
propriety within narrow limits," she said. " In an- 
swering your letter, I have consulted good-nature 
more than prudence ; and I find that you are not 
alow in causing me to repent the error." 

" If I ever cause you to repent confidence in me, 
sweet Alida, may disgrace in my profession, and the 
distrust of the whole sex, be my punishment ! But, 
have I not reason to complain of this inconstancy, on 
your part ? Ought I to expect so severe a repri- 
mand — severe, because cold and ironical — for an 
oiience, venial as the wish to proclaim my gratitude?" 

*' Gratitude I " repeated Alida, and this time her 
wonder was not feigned. " The word is stroqg. Sir ; 
and ib expresses more than an act of courtesy, so 
simple ajB that which may attend the lending a vol- 
ume of fjopular poetry, can have any right to claim.' 

** 1 have strangely ixuscooceived the meaiiing of 



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88 THE WATER-WITCH* 

the letter, or this has been a day of folly!'* said 
Ludlow, endeavoring to swallow his discontent " But, 
no ; I have your own words to refute that averted 
eye and cold look ; and, by the faith of a sailor ! 
Alida, I will believe your deliberate and well-reflect- 
ed thoughts, before these capricious fancies, whicb 
are unworthy of your nature. Here are the very 
words; I shall not easily part with the flattering 
hopes they convey I " 

La belle Barbaric now regarded the young man 
m open amazement. Her color changed; for of the 
indiscretion of writing, she knew she was not guilt- 
less, — but of having written in terms to justify the con- 
fidence of the other, she felt no consciousness^ The 
customs of the age, the profession of her suitor, and 
the hour, induced her to look steadily into his face, 
to see whether the man stood before her in all the 
decency of his reason. But Ludlow had the reputa- 
tion of being exempt from a vice that was then but 
too common among seamen, and there was nothing 
in his ingenuous and really handsome features, to 
cause her to distrust his present discretion. She 
touched a bell, and signed to her companion to be 
seated. 

" Francois," said his mistress, when the oW vaiet, 
but half awake, entered the apartment, *^ fais moi le 
plaisir de m'apporter de cette eau de la fontaine da 
bosquet, et du vin — ^le Capitaine Ludlow a soif ; et 
rapelle-toi, bon Fran9ois, ii ne faut pas d^ranger n<m 
oncle a cette heure ; il-doit dtre bi^Q fatigud de soq 
voyage." 

When her respectful and respectable servitor had 
received his commission and departed, Alida took a 
seat herself, in the confidence of having deprived the ^ 
visit of Ludlcwv of its clandestine character, and at 
the same time having employed the valet on an 
errand that would leave her sufficient leisure, to in« 
vestigate theineicplioaUemeaoii^ of her companion. 



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TBI! WATfiR-WITOa. 89 

^ You have my word, Captaia Ludlow, that this 
unseasonable appearance in the paviiion, is indiscreet, 
not to call it cruel," she said^ so soon as they were 
again aioQ« ; '* but that you have it, in any manner, 
to justify your imprudence,.! must continue to doubt 
until confronted by proof." 

" I had thought to have made a very different ure 
of this," returned Ludlow, drawing a letter, — we 
admit it with some reluctance in one so simple and 
so manly, — ^from his bosom : *' and even now, I take 
shame in producing it, though at your own orders." 

** Some magic has wrought a marvel, or the scrawl 
has no such importance," observed Alida, taking a 
billet that she now began to repent having ever 
written. '* Theianguage of politeness and female re- 
serve must admit of strange perversions, 'or all who 
read are not the best interpreters." 

La bejile Barberie ceased speaking, for the instant 
her eye fell on the paper, an absorbing and intense 
curiosity got the better of her resentment. We shall 
give the contents of the letter, precisely in the words 
which caused so much amazement, and possibly some 
little uneasiness, to the fair creature who was pe- 
rusing it. 

" 1 he life of a seaman," said the paper, in a deli- 
cate and beautiful female hand," is one of danger 
and exposure. It inspires confidence in woman, by 
the frankness to which it gives birth, and it merits - 
indulgence by its privations. She who writes this, is 
not insensible to the merit of men of this bold catling. 
Admiration for the sea, and for those who live on it, 
has been her weakness through life ; and her visions 
of the future, like her recollections of the past, are 
not entirely exempt from a contemplation of its 
pleasures. The usages of different nations — ^glory iu 
ttrms**K:hange of scene — with constancy in the affec- 
tions, ail sweetened by affluence, are temptations too 
strong for a female imagination, and they should not 
H2 



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90 inVi WATBR-WITC8; 

be without their iafluence on the jndgmeiit of man 

Adieu." 

This note was read, re-perused, and for the third 
time conned, ere Aiida ventured to raise her. eyes to 
the face of the expectant young man. 

''And this indelicate and unfeminine rhapsody. 
Captain Ludlow has seen pr<^r to ascribe to me !" 
she said, while her voice trembled between pride and 
mortification. 

" To whom else can I impute it ?" No other, level j 
Alida, could utter language so charming, in words se 
properly chosen." 

The long lasheS of the maiden played quickly 
above their dark organs, and then, conquering feel- 
ings that were strangely in contradiction to each 
other, she said with dignity, turning to a little ebony 
Escritoire which lay b^ide her dressing-box—- 

"My correspondence is neither very important, 
nor very extensive ; but such a? it is, happily for the 
reputation of the writer's taste, if not for h^* sanity, 
I believe it is in my power to show the<trifle I 
thought it decorous to write, in reply to^your own- 
letter. " Here is a copy," she added, caning what 
in fact was a draught, and reading aloud. 

" I thank Capt Ludlow for his attenticMi in aj9brd- 
ing me an opportunity of reading a narrative of the 
cruel deeds of the buccaneers. In addition to the 
ordinary feelings of humanity, one cannot but regret, 
that men so heartless are to be found in a profession 
that is commonly thought to be generous and tender, 
of the weak. We will, however, hope, that the very 
wicked and cowardly, among seamen, exist CMily as 
foils to render the qualities of the very hold and 
manly more conspicuous.. No one can be more sen^ 
cdble of this truth than the friends of Captain Lud«- 
low," tlie voice of Alida fell a little, as ^e caine to 
this sentence,." who has not now to earn a reputa*. 
lion for merc^. In return, I send the.copy of tb^ CSd» 



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THE WATBR-WITW 91 

^blch honest Frao^b affinos to be tupmor to aU 
t>ther poemsy not even excepting H<Hner — a book* 
which I believe he is innocent of calumniating, from 

?' Tiorance of its contents. Again thanking Capt. 
udiow for this instance of his repeated attentions 
I beg he will keep the volume^ until he shall return 
fr^ni 1ms intended cruise." 

^ This note' is but a copy of the one you have, or 

ought to have}" said the niece of the Alderman, as 

. the raised her glowing face from leaning over the 

rpaper, <* though it is not signed, like that, with the 

name of Alida de Barbaric." 

When thifi explanation was over, both parties sat 
looking at each other, in silent amazement. Still 
Alida saw, or thought she saw, that, notwithstanding 
the previous professions of her admirer, the young 
man rejoiced he had been deceived. Respect for 
delicacy and reserve in the other sex is so general 
and 80 natural among men, that they who succeed 
the most in destroying its barriers, rarely fail to 
regret their triumph; and he who truly loves can 
never long exult in any violation of propriety, in the 
object of his affections, even though the concession 
be made in his own favpr. Under the influence of 
this commendable and healthful feeling, Ludlow, 
while he was in some respects mortified at the turn 
affairs bad taken, felt sensibly relieved from a k>ad 
of doubt, to which the extraordinary language of the 
letter, he believed his mistress to have written, had 
given birth. His "companion read the state of his 
mind, -in a countenance that was frank as face of 
sailor could be ; and though secretly pleased to gain 
her former place in his respect, slie was also vexed 
and wounded that he had ever presumed to distrust 
her reserve. She still held the inexplicable billet, 
and her eyes naturally sought the lines. A sudden 
thought seemed to strike her miqdi apd returning the 
p»per» s^e s^id coldly — 



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« Captain Ludlow should know his corresjxmdeiit 
better; I much mistake if this be the first, of her 
communibations." 

The young man colored to the temples, and hid 
his face, for a moment, in the hollow of his hands. 

" You admit the truth of my suspicions," continued ♦ 
la belle Barb^rie, " and cannot be insensible of my 
justice, when I add, that henceforth ^* 

"Listen to me, Alida," cried the youth, half breath- 
less in his haste to interrupt a decision thatiie dread- 
ed ; " hear me, and as Heaven is my judge, you sball^ 
hear only truth. I confess this is not the first of the 
letters, written in the same hand — ^perhaps I should 
say in the same spirit — but, on the honor of a loyal 
officer, I affirm, that until circumstances led me to 
think myself so happy — so— very happy, — ^" 

" I understand you, Sir : the work was anonymous, ^ 
until you saw fit to inscribe my name as its author. 
Ludlow ! Ludlow ! how meanly have you thought of 
the woman you profess to love !" 

" That wei;^ impossible ! I mingle little with those 
who study the finesse of life ; and loving, as I do, my 
noble profession, Alida, was it so unnatural to believe 
that another might view it with the same eyes ? But 
since you disavow the letter — -tiay, your disavowal is 
unnecessary- — I see my vanity has even deceived me 
in the writing — ^but since the delusion is over, I con- 
fess that I rejoice it is not so." 

La belle Barbaric smiled, and her countenance 
. grew brighter. She enjoyed the triumph of knowing 
that she merited the respect of her suitor, and it was 
a triumph heightened by recent mortification. Then 
succeeded a pause of more than a minute. The em 
barrassment of the silence was happily interrupted . 
by the return of Francois. 

" Mam'selle Alide, voici de I'eau de la fontaine," 
said the valet; "mais Monsieur votre oncle s'est 
couch^, et il a mis la cl^f de la cave au vin desaous 



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raz wATCK-wcroB. 99 

«>n orein^. Ma foi, ce n'est pas facile d'avoir du boti 
via du tout, en Amerique, mais apr^ que Monsieiir 
le maire s'est couch^, c'est toujoura ionposfiible; 
voilal" 

- *^ N'importe, moii cher ; le capitaine va partir, et 
il D'a Tphss aoif." 

^^Dere is assezdeiiD," continued the valet, who 
felt for the captain's disappointmeDt, '^mais, Monsienff 
Loodle, have du gout, an' he n'aime pas so stroilg 
liqueur." 

*' He has swallowed already more than was neces- 
sary for one occasion/' said Aiida, smiling on her 
admirer, in a manner that left him doubtful whethcor 
be ought most to repine, or to rejoice. '^Thaaik you^ 
good Francois; your duty for the night shall end 
with lighting the captain to the door." 

Then saluting the young commander, in a manner 
that would not admit of denial, la belie Barb^rie 
Dismissed her lover and the valet, together. 

*> You have a pleasant office, Monsieur Fran^ab,^' 
said the former, as he was %hted to. the outer door 
of the pavilion; ''it is one that many a gallant gen- 
tleman would envy." 

" Oui, Sair. It be grand plaisir to serve Mam'selle 
Alide. Je porte de fan, de book, mais quant au vin, 
Monsieur le Capitaine, parole d'honneur, c'est tou- 
jours impossible apres que I'Aldermain s'est couch^" 

" Ay — ^the book — t think you had the agreeable 
duty, to-day, of carrying the book of la Belle ? " 

" Vraiment, oui ! 'Twas ouvrage de Monsieur 
Pierre Corneille. On pretend, que Monsieur Shak-a- 
spear en a emprunt6 d'assez beaux sentiments!" 

^* And the paper between the leaves? — you were 
, charged also with that note, good Francois?" 

The valet paused, shrugged his shoulders, and 
laid one of his long yellow fingers on the plane of 
an enormous aquiline nose, while he seemed to muse. 
Then shaking his bead perpendicularly, he preceded 



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•04 THE WATER-WITC5B* - 

the caplafn, as before, muttering, as usual, half in 
French and Aialf in Engliih, — 

" For le papier, I know, rien du tout ; c'est bien 

SKSsible, parceque, voyez vous, Monsieur le Capitaine, 
am'seile Alide did say, prenez-y garde; but I no 
see him, depuis. Je suppose 'twas beaux ^compliments 
6cnta on de vers of M. Pierre Corneille. Quel g^nie 
que celui de cet homme la! — ^n'est ce.pas, Monsieur ?" 
'* it is of no consequence, good Fran^^ois," said 
Ludlo\v, slipping a guinea into the hands of the valet. 
" If you should ever discover what became of that 

Eaper, however, you will oblige me by letting me 
now. Good night ; mes devoirs k la Belle !" 
" Bon soir. Monsieur le Capitaine ; c'est un brave - 
Monsieur que. celui-la, et de tres bonnefamiilel H 
n'a pas de si grandes terres^ que Monsieur le Patte- 
roon, pourtant, on dit, qu'il doit avoir de jolies maisons 
et assez de rentes publiques ! J'aime it servir ua si 
g^n^reux et loyal maitre, mais, malheureusement, il 
est marin ! M. de Barb^rie n'avait pas trop d'amiti6 
pour les gens de cette professitm la.? 



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CHAPTER VIIL 

•• ^Wftll, Jessica, go in ; 

Perbaps, I will retura imi^kediately ; 

Do as I bid you, 

Shut doors after you: Fast bind, fast find ; 

A proTerb never stale, in thrifty mind." 

MfiacBAxr or VsltxcBb 

The decision, with which la demoiselle Barb^rle 
nad dismissed her suitor, was owing to some con* 
sciousness that she had need of opportunity to reflect 
on the singular nature of the events which had just 
happened, no less than to a sense of the impropriety 
of his visiting her at tha( hour, and in a manner so 
equivocal. But, like others who act from feverish 
impulses, when alone the maiden repented of her 
precipitation; and she remembered fifty questions 
which might aid m clearing the affair of its mystery, 
that she would now gladly put. It was too late, 
however, for she had heard Ludlow take his leave, 
and had listened, in breathless silence, to^his footstep, 
as he passed the shrubbery of her little lawn. Fran- 
cois reappeared at the door, to repeat his wishes for 
her rest and happiness, and then she believed she 
was finally alone for the night, since the ladies of 
that age and country, were little apt to require the 
assistance of their attendants, in assuming, or in di* 
vesting themselves of, their ordinary attire. 

It was still early, and the recent interview had 
deprived Alida of all inclination for sleep. She 
placed the lights in a distant corner of the apart- 
ment, and .approached a. window. The moon had 
10 far changed its position, as to cast a diiTerent light 
upon the water. The hollow washing of the surf, 
the dull but heavy breathing of the air from the 
sea, and the soft shadows of the trees and nu>untain 



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9ft TO» WATW- WTWr 

approachifig a «ar( ttuit/io its moel H'an^I ibo^ 
mentS) was dangerous to &ich a &ibEic» and that he 
steered, uneooscious of hazard, directly upan the 
land. Even the moveoa^it was mysterfoitt and una- 
suaL Sails tharf^ were nooe ; and yel the li^t and 
lofty spars were soon hid behind a thipket that oo« 
vered a knoll near the margin of the sea- Alida 
expected, ^ach moioeot, to hear the cry of marineips 
in distress, and thep, as the minutes passed and no 
such fearful sound interrupted the stilioess of the 
night, sbe began to bethink her o[ ti\<5ae lawless ro* 
vers, who were known to abound aroong the Carri- 
bean isles, and who were said sonietimes even to 
enter and to refit, in the smaller and more secret 
inlets of the American continent. The tales, coupled 
with the deeds, character, and fate of the notorioua 
Kidd, were then still recent, and although magnified 
and colored by vulgar exaggerations, as all such 
tales are known to be, enough was believed, )^ the 
better instructed, to makje his life, and death the 
subject of many curious and mysterious rumors. At 
this moment, she^ would have gladly recalled the 
young commander of the Coquette, to apprize him 
of the enemy that was nigh;, and then, ashamed of 
terrors that she was fain to hope savored more of 
woman's weakness than of. truth, she endeavored to 
believe the whole some ordinary movement of a 
coaster, who, familiar with his situation, could not 
possibly be either in want of aid, or an object of 
alarm. Just as this natural and consoling conclusion 
crossed her mind, she very audibly heard a step in 
her pavilion. It seemed near the door of the room 
he occupied. Breathless, mor^ with the excitement 
f her imagination, than with any actual fear ere- . 
ted by this new cause of alarm, the maiden quitted 
the balcony, and stood motionless to listen. The door, 
in truth, was opened, with singular caution, and, for 
an instant^ Alida saw nothing but a confused areat 



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TUB WATiR-WlTCA 99 

In the cetitie of which appeared the figure of a 
menacing and rapacious freebooter. 

''Northern Hghts and moonshine f* growled Al- 
derman Van Beverout, for it was no other than the 
ttnclc of the heiress, whose untimely and unexpected 
visit had caused her so much alarm. ''This sky- 
l^atching, and turning of night into day^ will be the 
destruction of thy beauty, niece ; and then we shall 
*e hbw plenty I^ttroons are for husbands ! A bright 
^e and a blooming cheek are thy stock in trade, 
gnrl ; and she is a sbendthrift of both, who is out of 
her bed when the clock hath struck ten." 

** Your discipline would deprive many a beauty 
of the means of using her power/' returned la de- 
moiselle, smiling, as much at the folly of her recent 
fears, as with afiection for her reprover. " They 
tell me, that ten is the witching time of night, for the 
necromancy of the dames of Europe.'* 

* Witch me no witches ! The name reminds one 
of the cunning Yankees, a. race that would outwit 
Lucifer himself, if left to set the conditions to then: 
bargain. Here is the Patroon, wishing to let in a 
ftimily of the knaves among the honest Dutchmen of 
bis manor ; and we have just settled a dispute be- 
tween us, on this subject, by making the lawful 
trial.*^ 

** Which, it may be proper to hope, dearest uncle, 
Was- not the trial by battle?'' 

^ Peace. and oKve-branches, no! The Patroon ot 
KinApriiook is the last man in the Americas, that is 
Mkcly to sufifer by the blows of Myndert Van Bever- 
out. I challenged the hoy to hold a fine eel, that 
the blacks have brought out of the river to help in 
breaking out morning fasts, that it might be seen if 
he were fit to deal with the slippery rogues. By the 
merit of the peaceable St. Nicholas ! but the son of 
otd Hetdrick Van Staats had a busy time of itl 
flte hd-griped tht fah, as the iflicient tradltioif ha^ 



296369IT 



100 TSS WATVBL^yriT&U 

it that thy uncle clenched^ the Holland florin, when 
my father put it between mj fingers, within the 
month, in order to see if the true saving grace was 
likely to abide in the family for another generatioii. 
My heart misgave me for a moment ; for young Oloif 
has the fist of a vice, and I thought the ^xxllj 
names of the Harmans, and Rips, G:>rneliuses, and 
Dircks of the manor rent-roll were likely to be coa- 
taminated by the company of an Increase or a^ 
Peleg ; but just as the Patroon thought he bad the 
watery viper by the throat, the fish gave an unex- 

[lected twist, and slid through his fingers by the tail, 
'laws and loop-holes ! but that experiment has as 
much wisdom as wit in it !" 

" And to me, it seemeth better, now that Provi- 
dence has brought all the colonies under one govern- 
ment, that these prejudices should be forgotten. We 
are a people, sprung from many nations, and our 
efibrt should be to preserve, the liberality and intelli- 
gence, while we forget the weaknesses, of all." 

" Bravely said, for the child of a Huguenot ! But 
I defy the man, who brings prejudice to my door. I 
like a merry trade, and a quick calculation. Let' 
me see the man in all New-England, that can tell 
the color of a balance-sheet quicker than one that 
can be named, and PU gladly hunt up the satchel 
and go to school again. I love a man the better for 
looking to his own interests, I; and, yet conunon 
honesty teaches us, that there should be a conven- 
tion between men, beyond which none of reputation 
and character' ought to go." 

" Which convention shall be understood, by every 
man, to be the limits of his own faculties ; by which 
means the dull may rival the quick of thought I 
fear me, uncle, there should be an eel kept on every 
coast, to which a trader comes!" 

" Prejudice and conceit, child, acting on a drowsy 
bead; 'ti& time thou seekest thy piUow, andin tiifi 



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tVfS' ^kltWA'^^^lcA 101 

mKnaogyrR gkatl 96e it young Oloff o^ the Manor 
daM iiave better gniCGi^ss with thy favor, than with 
tile prototype of the Jonathans. Here, put out these 
flaring candles, and take a mode^ lamp to light thee 
to thy bed* Glaring windows, so near midnight. 

Sire a boisse an extravagant naihe, in the neighbor- 
ood.'* 

''Our reptttatiod for sobriety may safBsr m the 
opmioa of die eels," returned Allda=, laughing, <* but 
liere are few others, I believe, to call us dissipated." 

" One never knows — one never knows — " muttered 
the Alderman, extinguishing the two^ large candles 
of his niece, and substituting his own Httlc hand-^ 
lamp ki their place, " This broad light only invites 
to wakefuliKSs, while the dim taper I leave is good 
as a sleeping draught Kiss me, wilful one, and draw 
thy cud^ins close, for the negroes will soon rise id 
ioad the periagua, that they may go up with the 
tide to the city,- The nofSe of the chattering black- 
goards may disturb thy slumbers !" 

** Truly, it would seem there was little here td 
iiivHe such active navigation," returned Alida, salut- 
iijg the cheek of her uncle at his order, ♦* The love 
of trade must be strong, when it finds the materials 
of commerce, m a solitude like this." 

** Thou hast divined the reason, chikL Thy father 
Monsieilir de Barb^ie had his pcculisrr opinions ori 
the subject, and doubtless he did not fail to trai^mit 
«ome of them to his offspring. And yet, when thc^ 
Huguenot was driven from his chateau and his clayey 
Norman lands, the man had no dista^e, himself, for 
an account-current, provided the balance was in hi* 
own favor. Nations and characters ! I find but iittief 
difieretice, after all, in trade ; whether it be driven 
with a Mohawk for his pack of furs, or with a Seig* 
neur, who has beeh (kiven from his lands^ Each 
sferivf^ to get the profit on his owii »de of the ac- 
^mttttfiud tha lass 4»a that of htS'iieighber^ Sorest 
12 



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103 TBS WATXH-WXTOli 

thee well, ^1 ; and remeinber that matrimony is Bf» 
more than a capital bargain^ on whose success de» 
pends the sum-total of a woman's comfort-^^^nd so 
once more, good night" 

La belle Barb^rie attended her uncle, dutifully, 
to the door of her pavilion, whicn she bolted after 
him ; and then, finding her Uttle apartment gloomy 
by the light of the small and feeble lamp be had left, 
she was pleased to bring its jQame in contact with the 
wicks oi the ^ two candles he had just extinguished. 
Placing the three, near each other, on a table, the 
maiden again drew nigh a window. The unexpected 
interview with the Alderman had consumed several 
minutes, and she was curious to know more of the 
unaccountable movements of the mysterious vessel. _ 

The same deep silence reigned about the villa, 
and the slumbering ocean was heaving and setting 
as heavily as before. Alida again looked for the boat " 
of Ludlow ; but her eye t€Hi over the whole distance 
of the bright and broad streak, between her and the 
cruiser, in vain. There was the slight ripple of the 
water in the glittering of the moon's rays, but no 
speck, like that the barge would make, was visible. 
The lantern still shone at the cruiser's peak. Once» 
indeed, she thought the sound of oars was again to 
be heard, and much nearer than before; and yet 
no efioHt of her quick and roving sight could detect 
the position of the boat. But to all these doubts suc<» 
ceeded an alarm which sprang from a new and very 
difierent source. 

The existence- of the inlet, which united the 
ocean with the waters of the Cove, was but little 
known, except to the few whose avocations kept ^ 
them near the spot The pass being much more than 
half the time closed, its varying character, and the 
little use that could be made of it under any circum« 
stances, prevented the place from being a subject of 
general interest, with the coasters. Even when open. 



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THE WATiai-WITCH. lOS 

the depth of its water was uncertain, ^nce a week 
or two of calms, or of westerly winds, would permit 
the tides to clean its channel, while a single easterly 
gale was sufficient to choke the entire inlet with 
sand. No wonder, then, that Alida felt an aipazement 
which was not .quite free from superstitious alarm, 
when, at that hour and in such a scene, she saw a 
vessel gliding, as it were unaided by sails or sweeps, 
- out of the thicket that f^jinged the ocean side of the 
Co^e, into its very centre. 

The strange and mysterious craft was a brigantine 
of that mixed construction, which is much used, even 
in the nibst ancient and classical seas of the other 
hemisphere, and which is supposed to unite the ad- 
vantages of both a square and of a fore-and-aft rigged 
vessel, but which is nowhere seen to display the 
same beauty of form,, and symmetry of equipment, 
as on the coasts of this Union. The first and smallest 
^f its masts had all the complicated machinery of a 
ship, with its superior and inferior spars, its wider 
reaching, though light and manageable yards, and 
its various sails, shaped and arrianged to meet every 
vicissitude and caprice of the winds; while the latter, 
or larger of the two, rose lite .the straight trunk of 
a pine from the hull, simple in its cordage, and 
spreading a single sheet of canvas, that, in itself, was 
sufficient to drive the fabric with vast velocity 
through the water. The hull was low, graceful in 
its outlines, dark as the raven's wing, and so modelled 
as to float on its element like a sea-gull riding the 
billows. There were many delicate and attenuated 
lines among its spars, which were intended to spread 
broader folds of canvas to the light airsi when neces 
sary ; but these additions to the tracery of the ma- 
chine, which added so much to its beauty by day, 
were now, seen as it was by^ the dimmer and more 
treacherous rays of the moon, scarcely visible. In 
sboit, as the vessel had entered the Cove ioating 



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104 tflB WATER-'^ITCa, 

with the tide, and it was so singularly graceful and 
fairy-like in form, that Alida, at first, was fain to cfis- 
cFedit her senses, and to believe it no more than some 
illusion of the fancy. Like most others, she was igno- 
rant of the temporary inlet, and, under the circumt 
stances, it was not difficult to lend a momentary 
credence to so pleasing an idea. 

But the delusion was only momentary. The brig- 
antine turned in its cour8e,»and; gliding into the part 
of the Cove where the curvatui'e of the shor^ 
offered most protection from the winds and waves,' 
and perhaps from curious eyes, its motion ceased. A 
heavy plunge in the water was aucBble even at the 
vilk, and Alida then knew that an anchor had fallen 
into the bay. 

Although the coast of North America offered little 
to invite lawless depredation, and it was in general 
believed to be so safe, yet the possibility that cupidity 
might be invited by the retired situation of her uncle's 
villa, did not fail to suggest itself to the mind of the 
young heiress. Both she and her guardian were 
reputed to be wealthy ; and disappointment, on the 
open sea, might drive desperate men to tlie commis- 
sion of crimes that in more prosperous moments 
would not suggest themselves. The freebooters were 
said to have formerly visited the coast of the neigh- 
boring island, and men were just then commencing 
those excavations for hidden treasures and secreted 
ibooty, which have been, at distant intervals, con- 
tinued to our own time. 

There are situations in which the mind insensibly " 
gives credit to impressions, that the reason in common 
disapproves. The present was one in which Alida 
de Barberie, though of a resolute and even a mascu- 
ine understanding, felt disposed to believe there 
might be truth in those tales, that she had hitherto 
heard, only to deride. Still keeping her eye on the 
mati)0&..f4d' vessel, she dc&w ioick mto h&r wiacbw. 



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THE WATER-WITCH. 105 

an3 wrapped the curtain round her form, undecided 
whether to alarna the family or not, and acting under 
a vague impression that, though so distant, her person 
nnight be seen. She was hardly thus secreted, before 
the shrubbery was violently agitated, a footstep was 
heard in the lawn beneath ^her window, and then 
one leaped so lightly into the balcony, and from the 
balcopy into the centre of the room, that the passage 
of the figure seemed like the flitting of swnc creature 
of supernatural attributes. 



CHAPTER IX. 

" Why look you, how you ttare ! 

I would<>be frieads with you, and have your love.** 

Shylocx. 

. The first impulse of Alida, at this second invasion 
of her pavilion, was certainly to flee. But timidity 
was not her weakness, and as natural firmness 
gave her time to examine the person of the indi- 
vidual who had se unceremoniously entered, curidfeity 
aided in inducing her to remain. Perhaps a vague, 
but a very natural, expectation that she was again 
to dismiss the commander of the Coquette, had its 
influence on her first decision.^ In order that the 
reader may judge how far this boldness was excusa- 
ble, we shall describe the person of the intruder. 

The stranger was one in the very bud of young 
and active jnanhood. His years could not have'ex- 
ceeded two-and-twenty, nor would he probably have 
been thought so old, had not his features been shadea 
by a rich, brown hue, that in some degree served as 
a foil to a natural complexion, which, though never 
f^f was atiU clear aiul bloooung. A pair of darli^ 



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106 tiftf WAtfiR-tHTCft. 

bushy, and jet-black, silken whiskers, that were m 
singular contrast ta eye-lashes eaid brows of almost 
feminine beauty and softness, aided also in giv^ing a 
decided exin-ession to a face that might otherwise 
have been wanting in some of that character which 
is thought essential to comeliness in man. The fore- 
head was smooth and low ; the nose, though promi- 
nent alid bdkJ in outline, of exceeding delicacy in 
detail ; the mouth and lips full, a little inclined to be 
arch, though the former appeared as if it might at 
times be pensive ; the teeth were even and unsullied; 
and the chin was small, round, dimpled, and so care- 
fully divested of the distinguishing mark of the «ex, 
that one could fancy nature had contributed all its 

?rowth to adorn the neighboring cheeks and temples, 
f to these features be tidded a pair of full and 
brilliant coal-black eyes, that appeared to vary their 
expression at their master's will, the reader will at 
once see^ that the privacy of Alida had been invaded 
by one whose personal attractions might, under other 
circumstances, have been dangerous to the imagina- 
tion of a female, whose taste was in some degree 
influenced by a standard created by hcF own lovC'- 
liness. 

The dress of the stranger was as unique as his 
personal attractions were extraordinary. The fashion 
of the garments resembled that of those already de- 
scribed as worn by the man who has announced 
himself as Master Tiller; but the materials were 
ait<^ether richer, and, judging only from the ex- 
terior, more worthy of the weawjr. 

The l^ht frock Was of a thick purpl^ silk, of an 
Indian manufacture, cut with exceeding care to fit 
the fine outlines of a form that was rather round« 
than square ; active, than athletic. The loose trow- 
fters were of a fine white jean, the cap of scarlet 
velvet, ornamented with gold, and the body was 
baited witl^ a Iar|^ cord of secu-let ailk^ twisted kt 



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Ae ibrtB of a ddp's cable. At the end&of the latter, 
little anchors, wrought ia bullioo» were attached as 
gay and fitting appendages. 

In contrast to an attire so whimsical and uncom* 
mon, however, a pair of small and richly-mounted 
pistols were .at the stranger's girdle; and the haft 
of a curiously-carved Asiatic dagger was seen pro^ 
jecting, rather ostentatiously, from between the folds 
of the upper garment. 

" What cheer ! what cheer L'#cried a voice, that 
was more in harmony with the appearance of the 
speaker, than with the rough, professional salutation 
be uttered, so soon as he had fairly landed in the 
centre of Alida's little saloon. " C6me forth, my 
dealer in the covering of the beaver, for here is one 
who brings gold to thy cofiers. Ha ! now that thb 
trio of lights hath done its office, it may be extin* 
guishcd, lest it pilot others to the forbidden haven!" 

*< Your pardon, Sir," said the mistress of the pa- 
vilion, advancing from behind the curtain, with an 
air of coolness that her bating heart had nigh be- 
trayed to be counterfeit ; " having so unexpected a 
guest to entertain, the additional candles are neces- 
sary." . - 

The start, recoil, and evident alarm of the intru- 
der, lent Alida a little more assurance ; for courage 
b a -quality that appears to gain force, in a degree 
proportioned to the amqunt in which it is abstracted 
fiom the dreaded object. Still, when she saw a hand 
on a pistol, the maiden was again about to flee ; nor 
was her resolution to remain confirmed, until she 
met the mild and alluring eye of the intruder, as, 
quitting his hold of the weapon, he advanced with 
an air so mild and graceful, as to cause curiosity to 
take the place of Jear. 

" Though Alderman Van Reverout be not punctual 
to hia appointment," said the gay young stranger, 
'^he has more than atoned for his absence by the 



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substitute fae sends. I hope she comes authorized to 
arrange the whole of our treaty t" 

" I claim no right to hear, or to dictate, in matters 
not my own. My utmost powers extend to express- 
ing a desire, that this payilion may be exempt from 
the discussbn of afiairs, as much beyond my know 
'edge as they are separated from my interests.'* 

** Then why this agnal?" demanded the stranger, 
pointing, with a serious air, to the lights that still 
burned near each olifer in face of an open window. 
" It is awkward to mblead, in transactions that are 
so delicate ! " . 

"Your allusion. Sir, is not understood. These 
lights are no more than what are usually seen in my 
apartment at this hour — with, indeed, the addition 
of a lamp^ l^ft by my uncle. Alderman Van Berer- 
out" • 

" Your uncle !" exclaimed the other, advancing so 
near Alida, as to cause her to retire a step, his- coun- 
tenance expressing-B deep and newly-awakened in- 
terest — " your uncle ! — This, then, is one far-famed 
and justly extolled ; la belle Barbdrie ! " he added, 
gallantly lifting his cap, as if he had just discovered 
the condition and the unusual, personal attractions of 
his companion. 

It was not in nature for Alida to be displeased. 
All her fancied causes df terror were forgotten ; for^ 
in addition to their improbable and uncertain nature, 
the stranger had sufficiently given her to understand, 
that he was expected by her uncle. If we add, 
that the singular attraction and softness of his face 
and voice aided in quieting her fears, we shall proba- 
bly do no violence either to the truth or to a ^ery 
natural feeling. Profoundly ignorant of the detaib 
of commerce, and accustomed to hear its mysteries 
extolled as exercising the keenest and best faculties 
of man, she saw nothing extraordinary in those who 
were actively engaged in the pursuit having teasom' 



dbyGoQgle. 



jbr GORcealkig their movi^maEitsr frixd ifae jesLhmsy 
and rivalry of competitiirs. Liire most of ber selE, 
she hatd great 'dependence on the characters of those 
Bbe lored; and, though nature, education^ and habit, 
had created a striidng difference between the guar . 
dian and his i^rd, their harmony had never beea 
interrupted by any breach of afiection. 

**Thia then is la bdle Barbaric!" repeated the 
young sailor, for such his dress denoted him /to be, 
studying her features with an expression of face, in 
which pleasure vied with evident and touching meU 
ancholy. " Fame hath done no injustice, for here ia 
all that nriigbt justify the folly or madness of man I" 

**This is femiliar dialogue for an utter stranger;" 
returned Alida, blushing, though the quick dark eye 
that seemed to fathom all her thoughts, saw it was 
not in anger. ** I do not deny that the partiaEty of 
fiiends, coupled with my origin, have obtained the . 
appellation, which is given, however, more in play- 
fulness than in any serious opinion of its being mer- 
ited — and now, as the hour is getting late, and this 
visit is at least unusual, you will permit me to seek 
my uncle." 

"Stay !" interrupted the stranger — ^**it 's long*— 
very long, »ince so soothing, so gentle a pleasure has 
been mine ! This is a life of mysteries, beautiful 
AHda, though its incidents seem so vulgrr, and of 
erery-day occurrence. There is mysterj in its be 
ginning and its end ; in its impulses ; its f ympathies 
and all its discordant passions. No, do riot quit me. 
I am from off the sea, where none but coarse and 
vulgar-minded men have long been n.y associates; 
and thy presence is a balm to a brui«ed and wounded 
spirit." 

Interested, if possible, more by the touching and 
melanchoFj tones of the speaker, ' Uian J^y his extra- 
ordinary language, Aiida hesitated. Her reason told 
ber that propriety, and even prudence, required she 

Vol. I. K 



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irO THK WATBR-WITCir. ' 

fihofilcl apprise her tiiicle of the strLDgerV presence , ' 
but propriety and prudence lose much of their inftu- 
ence, when female curiosity is sustained by a secret 
and powerful sympathy. Her own eloquent eye met 
the open arid imploring look of organs, that seemed 
endowed with the fabled power to charm ; and while 
her judgment told her there was so much to alarm, 
her senses pleaded powerfully in behalf of the gentle 
mariner. 

** An expected guest of my uncle will have leisore 
to repose, aft^ the privations and hardships of so 
weary a voyage," she said. " This is a house whose 
door is never closed against the rites of hospitality." 

"Jf there is aught about my person or attire, to 
alarm you," returned the stranger, earnestly, ** speak, 
that it may be cast away — These arms — these foolish 
arms, had better not have been here," he added, 
casting the pistols and da^er indignantly, through a 
window, into the shrubbery ; « Ah ! if you knew how 
unwillingly I would harm any — and, least of all, a 
woman — you would not fear me !" 

" I fear you not," returned la Belle, firmly. ** I 
dread the misconceptions of the world." 

" What world is here to disturb us ? Thou livest 
in thy pavilion, beautiful Alida, remote from towns 
and envy, like some favored damsel, over whose * 
happy and charmed life presides a benignant genius. 
See, here are all the pretty materials, with which 
thy sex seeks innocent and happy amusement. Thou 
touchest this lute, when melancholy renders thought 
pleasing ; here are cok>rs to mock, or to eclipse, the 
beauties of the fields and the mountain, the flower, 
and the tree; and from these pages are culled 
thoughts, pure and rich in imagery, as tl^y spirit is 
spotless, and thy person lovely ! " 

Alida listened in amazement ; for, while he spoke, 
the young mariner touched the different articles he 
named, with a melancholy interest, which seemed to 



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"V. 115 

lay how deeply he regretted that fort?hw^ 

him in a profession, in wliich their use wSt™?*^ 

denied. 

" It is not Gommon for those who live on the 
to feel this interest in the trifles which constitute a 
woman's pleasure," she said, lii^ering, spite of he. 
better resolution to depart. 

" The spirit of our rude and boisterous trade is 
then known to you?" 

" It were not possible for the relation of a mer- 
chant, so extensively known as my uncle, to be ig- 
norant altogether of mariners." 

"Ay, here is proof of it," returned the stranger, 
speaking so quick as again to betray 1k>w sensitively 
his mind was constructed. "The History of the 
American Buccaneers is a rare book to be found in 
a lady's library 1 What pleasure can a mind likb 
that of la belle Barbdrie find in these recitals of 
bloody violence?" ^ 

"What pleasure, truly!" returned Alida, half 
tempted, by the wild and excited eye of her com- 
panion, notwithstanding all the contradictory evidence 
which surrounded him, to believe she was addressing 
one of the very rovers in question, " The boqk was 
lent me by a brave seaman, who holds himself in 
readiness to repress their depredations; and while 
reading of so much wickedness, I endeavor to recall 
' the devotion of those who risk their lives, in order 
to protect the weak and innocent — My uncle will be 
angered, should I longer delay to apprize him of 
your presence." 

"A single moment ! It is long — very long, since I 
have entef ed a sanctuary like this ! Here is music 
and there the frame for the gaudy. tambour — these 
windows look on a landscape, soft as thine own na- 
ture; and yonder ocean can be admired without 
dreading its terrific power, o| feeling disgust at its 
coarser sceaes. Thou shouldst be bdppy» here T' 



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no 

but 






-jperceiyed that lie was 

^ strongly painted on his 

^€here was time for seccmd 

Vas heard grumbling at the 



.■•^ 



;^aties I What, in the name of 

ight thee hither ? Is this the way 

A our movements ? or dost suppose 

x». ^ill knight me, for being known as 

thyi^ int?"^ 

<* Laniv. and fal^-beacons ! " returned the other, 
mimicking tne voice of the disconcerted burgher, and 
pointing to the lights that still stood where last de- 
scribed. " Can the port be entered without respect- 
ing the land-marks and signals?" 

" This comes of moonlight and sentiment ! When 
the girl should have been asleep, she is up, gazing at 
the stars, and disconcerting a burgher's speculations 
— But fear thee not, Mastei^Seadrift ; my niece has 
"discretion, and if we have no better pledge for her 
silence, there is that of necessity ; since there is no 
one here for a confidant, but her old Norman valet^ 
and the Patroon of Kinderhook, both of whom are 
dreaming of other matter than a little gainful traffic.** 

"Fear thee not, Alderman;" returned the other, 
gtill maintaining his air of mockery. ** We have the 
pledge of character, if no other ; since the uncle 
cannot part with reputation, withouf the niece shar- 
ing in the loss." 

"What sin is there in pushing commerce a step 
beyond the limits of the 'law? These English are a 
nation of monopolists ; and they make no scruple of 
^ tying us of the colonies, hand and foot, heart and 
soul, with their acts of Parliament, saying * with us 
shalt thou trade, or not at all.' By the character of 
the best burgomaster of Amsterdam, and they came 
by the province, too, tn no such honesty, that we 
should lie down and obey !" 



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THE WATER- WlTCl^ 115 

•* Wherein there is much comfort 
the contraband. Justly reasoned, my-\; 
man. Thy logic will, at any time, make a sn 
pillow, especially if the adventure be not without its^ 
pro&t And now, having so commendably disposed 
of the moral of our bargain, let us approach its le- 
gitimate, if not its law&i, conclusion. There," he 
added, drawing a small bag from an inner pocket of 
his frock, and tossing it carelessly on a table ; ** there 
Is thy gold. Eighty broad Johannes is no bad return 
for a few packages of furs; and even avarice itself 
will own, that six months is no long investment for 
the usury." 

"That boat of thine, most lively Seadrift, Is a 
marine hijmming-bird!** returned Myndert, with "a 
joyful tremor of the voice, th^t betrayed his deep 
and entire satisfaction. " Didst say just eighty T But 
spare thyself the trouble of looking for the memo-, 
randum; I will tell the gold myself, to save thee 
the trouble. Truly, the adventure hath not been 
bad ! A few kegs of Jamaica, with a little powder 
and lead, and a blanket or two, with now and then 
a penny bauble for a chief, are knowingly, ay! and 
speedily transmuted into the yellow metal, by thy 
good aid. — ^This affair was managed on the French 
coast?" 

"More northward, where the frost helped the bar- 
gain. Thy beavers and martens, honest burgher, 
will be flaimting in the presence of the Emperor, at 
the next holidays. - What is there in the face of the 
Braganza, that thou studiest if so hard ?" 

"The piece seems none of the heaviest — but, luck- 
ily, I have scales at hand, " 

"Hold!" said the stranger, laying his hand, which 
according to a fashion of that day, was clad in a 
delicate and scented glove, lightly on the arm of the 
other : " No scales between us, Sir ! That was taken 
iiLr€luni.£>r thy adventure; heavy. or lights it must 

Digitized by LjOOQ iC 



iro 

shoaM 



/ 

WIUCH. 



J^ 
.^\^ 

'^^ 



to rna*., 
us to wast 



^Dce, and iUs heatatton 
li^l doubt of my integri^^, 

/deplore, <]uite or aearij as 
vUrned Mjndert, affecting to 
/ipped the suspected doubloon 
/<f in a manner that at once re 
'Of contention from view. ** A little 
^he balance part of conmierce serves 
^ndships. But a trifle shall not cause 
le precious time. — ^Hast brought goods 
guited to the colonies!" 
** In plenty." 

*^ And ingeniously assorted? Colonies and monopo- 
.*> ^~^^^ tliere is a two-fold satisfaction in this cjan- 
destine traffic ! I never get the notice of thy arrival. 
Master Seadrift, but the heart within me leapeth of 
gladness ! There is a double pleasure in circumvent-- 
' ing the legislation of your London wiseacres 1" 

"The chiefest of which is ?" 

" A goodly return for the investment, truly — I de- 
sire not to deny the agency of natural causes; but, 
trust mc, there is a sort of professional glory in thus 
defeating the selfishness of our rulers. What ! are 
we born of woman, to be used as the instruments of 
their prosperity ! Give us equal legislation, a right to 
decide on the policy of enactments, and then, like a 

loyal and obedient subject, " 

"Thou wouldst still deal in the contraband 1" 
" Well, well, multiplying idle words is not multi 
plying gold. The list of the articles introduced can 
be forthcoming ?" 

" It is here, and ready to be examined. But there 
is a fancy come over me. Alderman Van Beverout, 
which, like others of my caprices, thou knowestnmat 
have its way. There should be a witness to our 
nargain*" 
^ Jvdgee and. jwkiJ Thoaidi^ttest, xxmir^&atA 



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THE WATBR-WITCH. 115 

cltmi^.^dliot could eaSi tbrotigfa the t%httet clauap 
of tbeie extra-legal compiMts. The courtB receivcL 
the evidence of this sort of traffic, as the grave re- 
ceived the dead; to gwbllow all, and be forgotten." 

** I care not for the courts, and little desire do I 
feel to enter there. But the presence of la belle 
Barb^rie may terve to prevent. any naisconceptions, 
ths^t ni^ht bring our connexion to a premature close. 
Let her be summoDed.'^ 

^ The girl is altogether ignorant of traiBc, and it 
might unsettle her opinions of her uncle's stability. 
If a man does not maintain credit within his own 
doors, how can he expect it in the streets?" 

" Many have credit on the highway, who receive 
none at home. But thou knowest my humor; no 
niece — no traffic." 

*' Alida is a dutiful and affectionate child, and I 
would not willingly disturb her slumbers. Here is 
the Patroon of Kinderhook, a man who loves Eng- 
lish legislation as little as myself; — he will be less 
reluctant to see an honest shilling turned into gold. 
I will awake him: no man was ever yet o0ended at 
an offer to shar§ in a profitable adventure." 

"Let him sleep on. I deal not with your -lords of 
manors and mortgages. Bring forth the lady, for 
there will be matter fit for her delicacy." 

" Duty and the ten commandments ! You never 
had the charge of a child, Master Seadrift, and can- 
not know the weight of responsibility " 

"No niece — ^no traffic!" interrupted the wilful 
dealer in contraband, returning his invoice to his 
pocket, and preparing to rise from the table, where 
he had already seated himself. — *^ The lady knows 
of my presence ; and it were safer for us both, that 
she entered more deeply into our confidence." 

" Thou art as despotic as the English navigation- 
law I I hear the foot of the child still pacing her 
chamber, and she shall come. But there need be no 



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116 THE WATBR-WITCH. 

explanatbtiSy to recall old intercourse*— The afikk 
can pass as a bit of accidental specutation-^-a b]^ 
play, in the traffic of life." • 

*' As thou pleasest. I shall deal les9 in words than 
in busmess. Keep thine own secre<$, burgher, and 
they are safe. Still, I would have the lady, for there 
IS a presentiment that our c(»inexion is in danger.** 

"I like not that word presentim^t/' grumbled 
the Alderman, taking a light, and snuffing it with 
deliberate care ; " drop but a single letter, and one 
drieams of the pains and penalties of the Exchequer. 
— ^Remember thou art a trafficker, who conceals hb 
appearance on account of the cleverness of his spec- 
ulations." 

"That is my calling, to the letter. Were all 
others as clever, the trade would certainly cease. — 
Go, bring the lady." 

The Alderman, who probably saw the necessity of 
making some explanation to his niece, and who, it 
would seem, fully understood the po^tive character 
of his companion, no longer hesitated ; but, first cast- 
ing a suspicious glance out of the still open window, 
he left the room. 



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TUB WAtfiH-WlTCH. 117 

CHAPTER X. 

**— Alack, what lieinoui 0in » it in ma, . 
TO to ashamed, to be my Ather't cbrld I 
But tb(Higb I am a daugbter to bit bloM, 
I am not to bit maiinen.^" 

Mekchamt or VsmcB. 

Ths moment the stranger was again alone, the 
-entire expression of his countenance underwent a 
change* The reckless and bold expression deserted 
- his eye, which once more became soft, if not pensive, 
as it wandered over the difierent elegant objectd that 
served to amuse thfe leisure of la belle JBarb^rie. 
He arose, and touched the strings of a lute, and then, 
like Fear, started back, as if recoiling at the sound 
he had made. All recollection of the object of Us 
visit was evidently forgotten, in a new and livelier 
interest ; and had there been one to watch his move- 
ments, the last motive imputed to his presence would 
probably have been the one that was true. There 
was so little of that vulgar and common character, 
which is usually seen in men of his pursuit, in the gen- 
tle aq>ect and subdued air of his feie features, that 
it might be fancied he was thus Angularly endowed 
by nature, in -order that deception might triumph. 
If there were moments when a disr^ard of opinion 
was seen in his demeanor, it rather appeared aik 
mimed than easy ; and even when most disposed to 
display lawless indifference to the ordinary reguk- 
tiond of society, in his interview with the Alderman, 
't had been bii^nded .with a reserve of manner tha 
was strangely in contrast with his humor. 

On the oth^ hand^ it were idle to say that Alida 
de Barb^ie had no unpleasant suspicions concerning 
the cfaatacter of her uncle's guest That banc^l 
inflii«DC«, wiikb teo€Hftr^ txcrt» iti^lf Mmt aik 



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vll8 THE w\ti:r*witcii. 

irresponsible power^xoupled with the natural tn^A 
ference with- which the principal regards the de- 
pendant, had caused the £n^ii;^ Ministry to fill too 
many of their posts of honor and profit, in the colo- 
nies, with needy and dissolute men of rank, or of 
high political connexions at home. The Province of 
New-i ork had, in this respect, been particularly un- 
fortunate. The gift of it by Charles to his brother and 
successor, had left it jvithout the protection of those 
charters and other privileges that had been granted 
to most of the governments of America. The con- 
nexion with the crown was direct, and, for a kwg 
. period, the majority of the inhabitants were oxisid- 
ered as of a different race, and of course as of <Hie 
lees to be considered, than that of their conquerors. 
Such was the laxity of the times on the subject of 
injustice to the people of this hemisphere, that the 
predatory expeditions of Drake and others against 
the wealthy occupants of the more southern coun- 
■ tries, seem to have left no spots on their escutcheons ; 
and the honors and favors of Que^d Elizabeth had 
been liberally extended to men who would now be 
deemed freebooters. In short, that system of vio- 
lence and specious morality, which commenced with 
the dfts of Ferdinand and Isabella, and the bulls of 
the Popes, was continued, with more or less of modi- 
.fication, until the descendants of those single-minded 
and virtuous men who peopled the Union, took the 
powers of government into their own hands, and 
proclaimed political ethics that were previously as 
little practised as understood. 

Alida knew that both the Earl of Bellamont and 
the unprincipled nobleman who has been introduced 
in- the earlier pages of this tale» had not escaped the 
imputation oC conniving at acts on the sea, far more 
flagrant than any of an unlawful trade ; and it will 
.therefore create little surj^ise, that she »w reason 
.t0 diiteust Ibft Icfftlity of wmes^ l^r u&cle'a qpecu- 



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^ 



laiioiis, with less pain than imght be (kit bj one of 
her sex and opinions at the present hour. Her suspi* 
cion^ however, fell far short of the truth ; for it were 
scarce possible .to have presented a mariner, who 
bore about him fewer of those sgns of his rude call 
ngf than he whom she had so unexpectedly met. 

Perhaps, too, the powerful charm, that existed in 
the voice and countenance of one so singularly gifted 
by nature, had its influence in persuading Alida to 
reappear. At all events, she was soon seen to enter 
the room, with an air, that manifested more of curi- 
osity and wonder, thaa4>f displeasure. 

" My niece has heard that thou comest from the 
old countries, Master Seadrift,*' said the wary Alder- 
man, who preceded Alida, *' and the woman is upper- 
most in her heart. Thou wilt never be forgiven^ 
should the eye of any maiden in Manhattan get sight 
of thy finely before she has passed judgment on its 
merit." 

** I cannot wish a more impartial or a fairer judge;" 
returned the other, doffing his cap in the gallant and 
careless manner of his trade. V Here are siiks from 
the loon>s of Tuscany, and Lyonnois brocades, that 
apy Lombard, or dame of France, might envy. Rib- 
Ixpns of every hue and dye, and laces that seem to 
copy the fret-work of the richest cathedral of your 
Fleming 1" 

** Thou hast journeyed much, in thy time. Master 
Seadrift, and speakest of countries and usages with 
understanding," said the Alderman. •* But how stand 
the prices of these precious goods ? Thou knowest 
the long war, and the moral certainty of its continu- 
ance ; this German succession to the throne, and the 
late earthquakes in the country, too, have much un- 
settled prices, and cause us thoughtful burners Jo 
be wary in our traffic. — Didst inquire the cost of 
geldings, when. last in Holland?" 
^ The aittmals go a^-fa^gging 1— *As to the value ol 



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1M> THS WATSR-WIT€«. 

my goods, that you know is fixed ; for I admit of no 
parley between friends.'* 

" Thy obstinacy is unreasonable, Master SeadrHl. 
A wise merchant will always look to the state of the 
market, and one so practised should know that a 
nimble dxpence multiplies fester than a slow-moving 
shilling. 'Tis the constant rolling of the ball that 
causes the snow to cleave ! Goods that come light 
should not go heavy, and quick settlements follow 
sudden bargains. Thou knowest our York saying, 
that * first offers are the best' " 

" He that likes may purchase, and he that prefers 
his gold to fine laces, rich silks, and stiff brocades, 
has only to sleep with his money-bags under his pil- 
low. There are others who wait, with im|)atieBce, 
to see the articles ; and 1 have not crossed the Atr 
lantic, with a freight that scarcely ballasts the brig- 
antine, to throw away the valuables on the lowest 
bidder." 

" Nay, uncle," said Alida,' in a little trepidation, 
" we cannot judge of the quality of Master Sea- 
drift's articles, by report. I dare to say, he has not 
landed without a sample of his wares?" 

"Custom and friendships!" muttered Myndert; 
" of what use is an established correspondence, if it 
is to be broken on account of a little cheapening ? 
But producer thy stores, Mr. Dogma tisnri ; I warrant 
me the fa^io'ns are of some rejected use, or that 
the color of the goods be impiired by the usual negli- 
gence of thy careless mariners. We wll, at^least, 
pay thee the compliment to look at the eflfects." 

•* 'Tis as you please," returned the other. " The 
bales are in the usual place, at the wharf, undef the 
nspection of honest Master Tiller — but if so inferior 
n qualitv, they will scarce repay the trouble of the 
walki" 

^^,,-ltPirgo^ril go," said the Alderman, adjusting his 
' wig and removing his spectacles ; " 'twould not be 



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stt his «atnpiel>^--thou m\t 6>tlow, Master Seadiift, 
and ^ I will paj thee the complifnent t6 examine' 
the effeets'-^lMtogh the teng w^r, the glut of furt 
the 6v€r=ahundance ©f the last year's harvests, afad 
the perfect xjuiot in the mining districts, havfe thrown: 
all cdntn^ree flat <mi its back. I'll go, however j 
Ifest thou dhonldst say, thy interests were neglected. 
Thy Master Tiller is an indiscreet &gent; he gave 
me a fright to-day, that exceeds any alarim I have 
felt 6inte the feilure of Van Halt, Balance, and 
Diddle/' 

The jj»oicfe of Myndert became inaudible, for, in 
hh hali^not to negject the interests of his guest, 
the tenacious trader had already quitted the room^ 
and half of his parting speech was uttered ih the 
ante^han^ber df Che pavilion. 

** 'T would scarce comport with the propriety of 
Ehy seXi to i^ingle with the seamen, and the other^ 
who cb^tlesa surround the bales," said Alida, in 
who^e face there was a marked expression of hesila- 
tion and curiosity. 

">It will not be necessary," returned her com- 
panion. " I have, at hand, specimens of all that you 
would see.^ — feut, why this haste ? We are yet in 
the eariy hours t)f the night, and the Alderman will 
be occupied long, ere he comes to the determination 
to pay the prices my people are sure to ask. I am 
lately from off the sea, beautiful Alida, and tho 
canst not know the pleasure I find in breathing even 
the atmosphere ^{ a woman's presence." 

La bdle Barbdrie retired a step or two, she knew 
not why ; and her hand was placed upon the cord of 
the bell* before she was aware of the manner in 
which she betrayed her alarm, 

*• To me it does not seem that I am a creature so 

terrific, that thovi need'st dread my presence," con- 

^ tinned the gay mariner, with a smile tliat expressed 



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as much of secret ironj, oi^s of that pensive charac^ 
ter which had again taken poBaemon of his counte- 
nance ; " but ringi and bring your attendants to re- 
lieve fears that are natural to thy seic, and therefore 
seducing to mine. Shall I pull the cord 1— for this 
pretty hand trembles too much, to do its office." 

" 1 know not that any would answer, for it is pagt 
the hour of attendance ; — it is better that I go to the 
examination of the bales." 

The strange and singularly-attired being, who oc- 
casioned so much uneasiness to Alida, r^arded her a 
moment with a kind and melancholy solicitude. 

" Thus they are all, till altered by too ipuch in- 
tercourse with a cold and corrupt world [".t^^ralher 
whispered, than uttered aloud. "Wou3d that thus, 
they might all continue ! Thou art a singular com- 

Kund of thy sex's weakness, and of manly resolution. 
He Barbaric ; but trust me," and he laid his hand 
on his heart with an earnestness that spoke well for 
his sincerity ; " ere word, or act, to harm or to ofiend 
thee, should proceed from any who obey will of 
mine, nature itself must undergo a change. Start. 
not, for I call one to show the specimens you would 
see.'* 

He then applied a little silver whistle to his lips, 
and drew a low signal from the instrument, motioning 
to Alida to await the result, without alarm. In half 
a minute, there was a rustling among the leaves of 
the shrubbery, a moment of attentive pause, and 
i^en a dark object entered the window, and r^led 
"nea\^ly to the centre of the floor. 

" Here are our commodities, and trust me the 

Gice shall not be dwelt on, between us," resumed 
aster Seadrift, undoing the fastenings of the little 
)bale, that had entered the saloon, seemingly without, 
the aid of hands. " Tnese goods are so many gages 
of neutrality, between us ; so approach, and ex- 



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THE WATER- WW'Ch! 123 

amine, without fear. You will find some among 
them to reward the hazard/* 

• The hale was now open, and as its master appeared 
to he singularly expert in suiting a female fancy, it 
became impossible for Alida to resist any loBger. - She 
gradually lost her reserve, as the examination pro- 
ceeded ; and before the owner of the treasures nad 
got into the third of his packages, the hands of the 
heiress were as actively employed as his own, in 
gaining access to their view. 

** This is a stuff of the Lombard territories," said, 
(he vender of thie goods, pleased with the confidence 
he had succeeded in establishing between his beauti- 
fol customer and himself. " Thou seest, it is rich, 
flowery, and variegated as the land it came from. 
One might fancy the vines and vegetation of that 
deep soil were shooting from this labor of the loom 
■^— nay, the piece is sufficient for any toilette, hqjrever 
ample ; see, it is endless as the plains that reared the 
Bttle animal who supplies the texture. I have parted 
id that fabric to many dames of England, who have 
not disdained to traffic with one that risks much in 
fteir behalf.'* 

" I fear there are many who find a pleasure in 
these stuffi, chiefly because their use is forbidden." 

•* Twould not he. but of nature ! Look ; this'box 
contains ornaments of the elephant's tooth, cut by a 
cunning artificer in the far Eastern lands ; they do 
not disfigure a lady's dressing-table, and have a 
BM>ra!, for" they remind her of countries where the 
*x is less happy than at home. Ah ! here is a 
treasure of Medhlin, wrought in a fashion of my own 



' Tis beautifully fancied, and might do credit to 
one who professed the painter's art" 

*• My youth was much employed in these conceits," 
i^eturfaed 4he trader,- unWding the rich and delicate 
lace, in a manner to show that he bad still pleasure 



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in cont^Dnplatiog' its t^xUnp and qusiEly. ** TfacFt 
was a compact between me and the maker, that 
euQUgh should be furmslied to reach from the high 
church-tower of his town, to the pavement beneath} 
and yet, ypu sec how little remain^ ! The Londoni 
dame$ found it to their taste^ and it wa« Qot easy ^ 
taring even tl^is triflf^ into the oploniijs.'* 

**Tou chose a reuaarjc^ble pneasi^r^ Spt imi artifJa 
that was to vi$it so many diQ*^reptdc^tri,e8» wi^VTiMi 
the formalities of lawl" 

" We thought to start in ihe fa'wr qF the chvivhy 
which rarely frowns on those who respect i^ privi-^ 
l^es. Und^r the sanction of such authority, I will 
lay aside all that remains, certain it will be needed 
for tliy use." 

*< So rare a manufacture should be costly 1**^ 

La belle IBi^rb^rie spoke hesitatingly, ^d as she 
raised her eyes, they met the dark oirgan& of hec. 
compabion, nxed on her face, in a manner that 
seemed to express a consciousness of the ascendencj 
he was gaining. Startled, at she M^&k not what* 
the maiden again added hastily-^i«^ 

" This may be fitter for a court lady, than lu gi|i 
of the colonies." 

" None who have yet worn of i^ sq well becom^: 
it ; — I lay it here, as a make- weight in my bargain 
with the Alderinan.-*-This iaf satin of Tus(:any } ^ 
country where nature ^hifoits its extren^, and oop 
whose merchants wer^ princes. Yo^ir ^Ic^iCi^nt^ 
vrsi^ subtly in hifi fa,bric^, ^pd happgr ip his fop(:^W 
of i^ri^ fiid Qolorsi fi>r which b^ ^ood ind^t#d:t(p 
tb^ richer pf hi* own cii?nate, Ob^)?ve*r-the hm ^. 
this glossy surface is scarcely so delicate as I h^v0^ 
spen th/91 rosy Mdit, at evien^ playhag OQ. tbi? sides-oi 
his Apennines ! - 

^ " Xou have then visited the regionsy ii^ whose 
tehm yw4^1" ^44U^r«ufei'Ji^ tllf wtiWto- 



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t9.&ll fisom harlmiid, in. the stooger intensst she 
began to feel m their o^raien 

♦*/T» mj vhabit Here bare we a cbadia from the 
^ citjof the Iste& 7he haml of a Venetian could aloa« 
form these delioaute and nearly insensible Unka. I re^ 
fused a sbsmg of spotless pearls for that same golde 
web." 

** It was indiscreet^ in one who trades at sk> much 
hazard." . . 

** I kept the. bauble for my pleasure !~Whim is 
fiOB^times stronger tbam the thirst of gain; and thi$ 
cham does not quit me, tiU I bestonv it on the ladj 
of my love." 

" One so actively emfdoyed can scarcely spare 
time to seek a fitting object for the gift" 

'^ Is liierk^nd loveliness in the sex, 60 rare ? La 
belle Barb^iie speaks in the security of many con- 
quests, CO- she would not deal thus lightjy, in a matter 
that is so serious with most fehiales." 

*' Among other countries your vessel hath visited 
a land of witchcraft, or you would not pretend to a 
knowledge of things, that, in their very nature^ must 
be hidden from, a stranger, — ^Of what value may be 
those beautiful feathers of the ostrich?" 

** They came of swarthy Africa, though so spotless 
themselves^ The bunch was bad, by secret traffic, 
from a Moorish man, in exchange for a few skins of 
Lachrymie Christ^, that he swaJtowed with Ws eye« 
shut I dealt with the fellow, only in pity for his 
thirst, and do not pride myself on the value of the 
coQunodity. It shall go, too, to quicken love between 
me and thy uncle." 

AUda could not object to this liberality, though she 
was not without a secret opinion that the gifts wrere 
no more than delicate and well-concealed ofierings 
to herself. The eflfect of this, suspicion was two-fola; 
it caused tlie maiden to become more reserved in the. 
expresskai of hec tastes, though it la ood^gr^Oi les^ 
L2 



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fSS 

tetied her ebnfideiioe in, ami a^mfasiLtioii i^Hie vn^f 
ward and remarkable tnider* 

^ My wide will have cause to awti m eiiA thy gen- 
erous spirit,^' said the heirew, beftdiag her h&aA a 
little coldly, at this repeated dedarmtion of her eonH 
paDioD's intentions, *' though it vioiild seem that, in 
trade, justice is as nauch to be desired as generosity; 
«-^his se^neth a curioua design* wrought with the 
needle 1" 

*^ It is the labor of many a day, fashioned by the 
band of a recluse. I boij^ht it of a nun, in Fraace» 
who passed years in toil, upon the conceit, which 13 
of more value than the material. The meek dauglt^ 
ter of solitude wept when she parted with the fabric, 
for, in her eyes, it had the tie of association and 
habit. A companion might be lost to one who lives 
in the confusion of the world, and it should noi 
cause more r^l sorrow, than parting from the pro* 
duct of her needle, gave that mild resident of tba 
cknsters I" 

<' And is it. permitted for your sex to visit those 
places (^ religious retirement?" asked Alida. *' I 
come of a race that pay^ littk deference to monastic 
life, for we are refugees from the severity of Louis; 
but yet I never heard my father charge these fe- 
males with being so regardless of their vows.'^ 

^ The fact was so repeated to me ; for, siu^, my 
lex are not admitted to traffic, directly, with tha 
tnodest asters ; " (a smile, that Alida was half-disposed 
to think bold, played about the handsome moi^ of 
the speaker) ** but it was so reported. What is your 
opinion of the merit of woman, in thus seeking ref- 
uge from the cares, and haply from the sins, of the 
world, in institutions of this order." 

" Truly the question eXceedeth my knowledge. 
This is not a country to immure females, and Ihe 
custom caudes us of America littb thought." 

M Th^ utage hath it| ahttsetf^^^^ontiMed tto dftar- 



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TUB wttrtsuwg^GH* 137 

ifi CQtitrabatid, speakt&g .ftoogkkAd] j ; > l^t it k not 
without its good. There are many of the weak and 
vaiQy that wdttM be happier ia the cloisters, than if 
> kfl to the seduotioRS and IbHies of life. — Ah ! here is 
work of English hand& I scarcely know how the 
articles found their way into the company of the 
products of the foreign looin& My hales contain, in 
general, little that is vulgarly sanction^ by the law. 
Speak me, frankly, belle Alida, and say if you share 
in the prejudices against the character of us fvee- 
tra^rs?" 

" I pretend not to judge of regulations that eicceed 
the knowledge and practices of my sex," returned 
the maiden, with commendable reserve. ** There 
are some who think the abuse of power a justifica- 
tion of its resistance, while others deem a breach of 
law to be a breach of morals." 

** The latter is the doctrine of your man of in- 
vested moneys and established fortune 1 He has en- 
trenched his gains behind acknowledged barriers, 
and he preaches their sanctity, because they favor 
his selfi^ness. We skimmers of the sea-« ^" 

Alida started so suddenly, as to caxise her com- 
panion to cease speaking. 

" Are my words frightful, that you pale at their 
sound?" 

^ I hope they were used rather in accident, than 
with their dreaded meaning. I would not have it 
said — no! 'tis but a chance that springs from some 
resembknce in your callings. One, like you, can 
never be the n^n tihose name has grown into. a 
proverb!" 

<' One like tne, beautiful Alida, is much as fortune 
wills. Of what man, or of what name, wouldst 
speak?" 

** 'Ti» nothing," returaed la belle Barb^He, gazing 
uncon&cioudyat the polished and graceful features 
'jd tb& sttti^fiE^ loD£^.-iti|^ was. wsoat iu maiden. 



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138 7^6 wATBR-wrroB. 

"* Proceed tritb ymur explanstion ;^--tbese are lASa 

velvets!" 

" They ccHne of Ve»ic^, too ; bot ccMnroerce ia 
like the favor which attefids the rich, and the^lueeu 
of the Adriatic is already far on the dectine. That 
which causes the increase of the husbandman, occa- 
sions the downfall of a city. The lagunes are filling 
with fat soil, and the keel of the trader is less fre- 
quent th^re than of old. Ages hence, the plow may 
trace furrows where the Bucentaur has floated ! 
The outer India passage has changed the current of 
prosperity, which ever rushes in tiie widest and 
newest track. 'Nations might learn a moral, by 
studying^ the sleepy canals and instructive magnifi- 
cence of that fallen town ; but pride fattens on its 
own lazy recollections, to the last 1 — ^As I was saying, 
we rovers deal little in musty maxians, that are made 
by the great and prosperous at home, and are trum- 
peted abroad, in order that the weak and unhappy 
should be the more closely riveted in their fetters." 

'' Methinks you push the priooiple further than is 
necessary, for one whose greatest offence against 
establislted usage is a little hazardous commerce. 
These are opinions, that might unsettle the workL" 

" Rather settle it, by referring all to the rule of 
right. When governments shall lay their foiindatioiis 
tn natural justice, when their object shall be to re- 
move the temptations to err, instead of creating 
them, and when bodies of men shall feel and ac- 
knowledge the responsibilities of individuals — ^why, 
then the Water- Witch, hefi&lf, niight become a 
revenue-cutter, and her owner an oflicer of the 
customs!" 

' The velvet fell from the hands of la belle Bar- 
berie, and she arose from her seat with precipitation- 

'' Speak plainly," said AUda, with all her natural 
firnmess. " With whom am I about to traffic ? " 

'' An outcast of spciety^^-a ix^an coD^enoed in tine 



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ojpltaioil9 of the worid — the outlaw — ^the flagrant 
wanderer of the ocean — the lawless * Skimmer of 
tb3 Seas 1' " cried a voice, at the open window. 

In another minute, Ludlow was in the room 
Alida uttered a shrtek, veiled her face m her robe» 
^nd rubbed from the apartnent 



CHAPTER xi;, 

<*•— Troth wni come to light; 
Mmsder cnuiot be ki4 loiif , a maii*! son nuf ; 
, Ihit i^ the ^d4, tfttth wiU.outr^" 

liAUirCKLOS 

Thb officer of the dueen had leaped into the pa- 
yffiflin,^with the flashed features and all the hurry of 
ah exeited man. The exchimations and retreat of 
la belle Barberie, for a single moment, diverted hi* 
atteiiticHi ; antd tHbn he turned, suddcnlj, not to say 
fiercd jy towards her companion. It is not necessary 
to repeat the description of the stranger's person, in 
order to 'render the change, which instantly occorredi 
in the countenance of Lu^ow, intdligibie io th^ 
reader. His eye, at iirst, refused to believe there 
was BO other present ; and when it had, again and 
s^ain, searched :the whole apartment, it returned to 
the face and form of the dealer in contraband, with 
an expression of incredulity and wonder. 

1< mre is sonne mistake 1'' exclaimed the command- 
Of of the Coquette, after time had' been given for a 
ftorough examination of the room. 

"Your gentle manner of entrance," returned the 
stranger, aceoss whos^ face ttierc- h»d passed a glow, 
that might have come equally of anger or of sur- 
fnae^ ^ has driven the lady from the room: But as 
you wear Ibe livery of the Qaeeo* I preuund you 



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1 30 TH&. WATBIi- WlttJfif* 

have authority for invaditig the dwelling of the sub- 
ject?" 

"I had. believed — ^nay, there was reason to be 
certain, that one whom all of proper loyaity execrate, 
was to be found here;'* fitammered the still-confused 
Ludlow. "There can. scarce be a deception, for i 
plainly heard the discourse of my captors, — and ye 
here is none I" 

" I thank you for the' high tfo'nsideration you bestow 
on my presence." 

The manner, rather than the words, of the 
speaker, induced Ludlow to rivet another look on 
his countenance. There was a milced expression of 
doubt, admiration j and possibly of uneasiness, if not 
of actual jealousy, in the eye, which slowly read all 
bb lineaments, though the former seemed the stronger 
sensation of the three. 

"We have never met before!" cried Ludlow, 
when the oi^^ began to grow dim, with the length 
and steadiness of its gaze. 

" The ocean has .many paths^ arid men may jour- 
ney on them, long, without crossing each other." 

" Thou hast served the dueen, though I see .thee 
in this doubtful situatioir?" 

" Never. I am not one to bind myself to the ser- 
vitude of any woman that lives," returned the free- 
trader, while a mild smile played about his lip, 
" though she wore a thoii^and diadems I Anne never 
bad an hour of my time, nor a single wish of my 
heart" 

" This, is bold language. Sir, for the ear of her 
officer. The arrival of an unknown brigantine, cer- 
tain incidents which have occurred to myself this 
Bight, your presence here, that bale of articles for 
bidden by the Jaw, eceate suspicions that must b6 
satisfied. Whaare?you?" 

^^ The flagrant wnuderer of the ocean<-^tbe outcast 



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ram wAtam^wiTc^ 181 

of society — the condemned in the opinions of the 
world — the lawless • Skimmer of the Seas I* '* 

** This cannot be 1 The tongues of men speak of 
the personal ^efomiity of that wanderer, no less than 
of his bold disregard of ^ law. You would deceive 
me." 

<< If then ^n err so much in that which is visible 
and unimportant," returned the other, proudly, " is 
there not reason to doubt their accuracy in matters 
of more weight. I am surely what I seem, if I am 
not what I say." 

" I will not credit so improbable a tale ; — give me 
some proof that what I hear is true." 

" Look at that 'brigantine, whose delicate spars 
are almost confounded with the back-ground of 
trees," said the other» approaching the window, and 
directing the attention of his companion to the Cove: 
" Tis the bark that has so often foiled the efibrts of 
all thy cruisers, and which transports me and my 
wealth whither I will, without the fetters of arbi- 
trary laws, and. the meddling inquiries of venal hire- 
lings. The scud, which floats above the sea, is not 
freer than that vessel, and scarcely more swift. Well 
is she named the Water- Witch 1 for her perform- 
ances on the wide ocean have been such as seem to 
exceed all natural means. The froth of the sea does 
not dance more lightly above the waves, than yonder 
graceful fabric, when driven by the breeze. She is 
a thing to be loved, Ludlow ; trust me, I never yet 
set afiections on woman, with the warmth I feel for 
the faithful and beautiful machine 1" 

"This is little more than any mariner could say, 
in praise of a vessel that he admii-ed." 

" Will you say it, Sir, in favor of yon lumbering 
sloop of Queen Anne 7 Your Coquette is none of the 
fairest, and there was more of pretenstoii than of 
truth, at her christening." 



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189 fM''Wi!?niiMKn90?» 

•* By tfie 6tte of mf royal tiifetress, jrmag Udr4^ 
less, but there i? «diI itls^k«H!e in this language, thut 
Aii^t become him you i^i^h to represent! My ship, 
heavy or light of feot) as she may^be, ia &ted to bring 
yonder Ifalae traidef to^he jadgrrieht" ' 

" By the craft and qualities of the Water-Witch ! 
biit this is language thiit ihight bec6me't>ne who was 
at liberty to act his pleasure," returned thiB sfratoger, 
tauntingly imitating the tone, in Which hfe "atigry 
companion had sj^okeii. "You would have proof of 
my identity : listen. There is one who vatmts his 
power, that fot-gets he is a dupe of tiij agent, arid 
that even while his wotds are 00 ^11 t^f boldness, he 
is a captive!'* 

The brown cheek of Ludlow reddctaed, and he 
turned tov^'ard the lighter and far leSs vigorous frame 
of his cothp^nion, as if about to strike him to ifie 
earth, when a door €f>ened, and Alida appeared in 
the saloon. 

The meeting, betwefen the eonrirmander of the Co- 
quette and liis mistress^ was- not without embarrass- 
ment. The anger of the former and the confusion 
of the latter, for a moment, kept both silent ; but as 
la belle Barb^rie had not returned without an object, 
she was quick to speak. 

" I know not whether to approve, or to eondemn, 
the boldsesd that has prompted Captain Ludlow to 
enter my pavilion, at this unseasonable hour, and in 
80 unceremoBioiis a manner,-' she said, " ftn* I am 
still ignorant of his motive. When he shall please to 
let me hear it, I may ju^e better of the merit of 
the excuse." 

" True, we wiH hear fais explaoatbn before con- 
demnation," added the stranger^ oHbring a seat to 
Alida^ whfeh she coldly declined. " Beyond a doubt, 
the geademan has ^ motive." 

If looks could j;iave destroyed, the speaker would 
have been annihilated. But as the lady seemed in* 



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TUB 'WkTW^'^^TSSfi' IM 

diferent to the last iresiarky Ludbw pr ep ar ed tb 

enter on his vindication. 

^I shall not attempt to coneeal tioat an artifice 
h^s beeci practised," he said» ^^ which is^accon^nied 
by consequences that I find awkward*. The air and 
manner of the seaman, whose bold cendlict you wit- 
nessed in die boat, induced nte to confide~in bun 
mere liian was prudent^ and I have been rewarded 
by deception." 

" In other words. Captain Ladlow is not as saga- 
cious as he had reason to believe," said an ironical., 
voice, at his elbow. 

''In what manner am I to blame, or why is my 
privacy to be interrupted, because a wandering sea- 
man has deo^ved the commander of the Coquet e?'^ : 
rejoined Alida. *' Not only that audacious mariner, 

but this this personf she added, adopting a word 

that use has appropriated to the multitude, " is a 
stranger to me. There is no other connexion between 
us, than that you see." 

." It is not necessary to say why I landed," con- 
tinued Ludlow; "but I was weak enough to allow 
that unknown mariner to quit my ship, in my com- 
pany ; and when I would return, he found means to 
disarm my men, and make me a prisoner." 

"And yet, art thou, for a captive, tolerably free!" 
added the ironical voice. 

"Of what service is this freedom, without the 
means of using it ? The sea separates me from my 
ship, and my faithful boat's-crew are in fetters. I 
have been little watched, myself; but though forbid- 
den to approach certain points, enough has been seen 
to leave no doubts of the character of those whom 
Alderman Van Beverout entertains." 

" Thou woiildst also say, iind his niece, Ludlow 1" 

" I would say nothing harsh to, or disrespectful t)f, 
Alida de Barb^rie. I will not deny that a harrowing 



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184 THB t^TStU Wt'V(M» 

idea possessed me,-«*but I see my error, and repent 
having been so hasty." 

** We may then resume our commerce," said the 
trader, coolly seating himself before the open bale, 
while Ludlow and the maiden stood regarding each 
other in mute surprise. ** It is pleasant to exiiibi 
these forbidden treasures to an officer of the Queen" 
It may prove the means of gaining the rcy^al pat^ 
ronage. We were last among the velvets, aiwl on 
the lagunes, of Venice. Here is one of a color and 
quality to form a bridal dress for the D<^e himself, 
in his nuptials with the sea I We men of the ocean 
look upon that ceremony as a pledge Hymen will 
not forget us, though we may wander from his altars. 
Do I justice to the faith of the craft, Captain Lud- 
low?— K)r are you a sworn devotee of Neptune, and 
content to breathe your sighs to Venus, when afloat? 
Well, if the damps and salt air of the ocean rust the 
golden chain, it. is tbe fault of cruel natur^ ! — ^Ah ! 
here is " 

A shrill whistle sounded among tbe shrubbery, and 
the speaker became mute. Throwing his cloths 
carelessly on the bale, he arose again, and seemed to 
hesitate. Throughout the interview with Ludlow, 
the air of the free-trader had been mild, though, at 
times, it was playful ; and not for an instant had he 
seemed to return the resentment which the other 
had so plainly manifested. It now became per- 
plexed, and, by the workings of his features, it would 
seem that he vacillated in his opinions. The soundf 
of the whistle were heard, again. 

"Ay, ay. Master Tom !" mutt€*-ed the dealer in 
contraband. "Thy note is audible, but why this 
haste ? Beautiful Alida, this shrill summons is to say, 
that the moment of parting is arrived ! " 

" We met with less of preparation," returned la 
belle Barbaric, who preservedall the distant reserve 
of b*r sex, under the jealous eyes of her admirer. 



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" We met without a waraieg, but shall bur sepa^ 
ration be without a memorial? Am I to return with 
all these valuables to the brigantine, or, in their 
place. mu3t I take the customary golden tribute ? " 
. " I know not that I dare make a tratfic which 
is not sanctioned by the law, in presence of a ser- 
vitor of the Queen," returned Alida, smiling. " 1 
will not deny that you have much to excite a wo- 
man's envy ; but our royal mistress might forget her 
sex, and- show little pity, were she to hear of my 
weakness." 

. "No fear of that, lady. — 'Tis they who are roost 
stern in creating these harsh regu}ati(xi6, that shew 
most frailty in their breach. By the virtues of hon-' 
est Leadenhall itself, but I should like to tempt the 
royal Anne, in her closet, with such a display of 
goodly laces and heavy brocades!" 

" That might be more hazardous than wise 1 " 

" I know not. Though seated on ^ throne, she is 
but woman. Disguise nature as thou wilt, she b a 
universal tyrant, and governs all alike. The head 
that we^s a crown dreams of the. conquests of the 
sex, rather than of the conquests of states; the 
hand that wields the sceptre is fitted to display its 
prettiness, with the peaicil, or the needle ; and though 
words and ideas may be taught and sounded fcrth 
with the pomp of royalty, the tone is still that of 
wonian." 

" Without bringing into question the merits of our 
present, royal mistress," said Alida, who was a little 
apt to assert her sex's rights, "there is the example 
of the glorious Elizabeth, to refute his charge." 

"Ay, we have had our Cleopatras in the sea-fight 
and fear was found stronger than love ! The sea ha 
monsters, and so may have the land. He, that made 
the earth gave it laws that 'tis not 'good to break. 
We m^n are jealous of our qualities, and little like 
to see them usurped; and trust me, lady, she that 



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186 THX WATER-WltCUL 

fi>rgets the means tbat nature bestows, may mottrn 
in sorrow over the fatal error. — But, shall we deal in 
velvet, or is your taste more leaning to brocade ]" 

Alida and Ludlow listened in admiration to the 
capricious and fanciful language of the unaccount- 
able trader, and both were equally at a loss to esti^ 
mate his character. The equivocal air was in gene- 
ral well maintained, though the commander of the 
Coquette had detected an earnestness and feeling in 
his manner, when he more particularly addressed la 
belle Barberie, that excited an uneasiness he was 
ashamed to admit, even to himselfl That tbie maid- 
en herself observed this change, might also be in- 
ferred, from a richer glow which diffused itself ovei* 
her features, though it is scarce probable tiiat she 
was conscious of its effects. When questioned as to 
her determination concerning his goods, she again 
regarded Ludlow, doubtingly, ere she answered. 

" That you have not studied woman in vain,'' she 
laughingly replied, '' I must fain acknowledge. And 
yet, ere I make a decision, suffer me to consult those 
who, being more accustomed to deal with the laws, 
are better judges of the propriety of the purchases.'* 

" If this request were not reasonable in itself, it 
were due to yx)ur beauty and station, lady, to grant 
it. I leave the bale in your care ; and, before to- 
morrow's sun has set, one wilL await the answer. 
Captain Ludlow, are we to part in friendship, or 
does your duty to the Queen proscribe the word." 

" If what you seem," said Ludlow, " you are a 
being inexplicable 1 If this be some masquerade, as 
I half suspect, 'tis well mainlined, at least, though 
not' worthily assumed." 

" You are not the first who has refused. credit to 
his senses, in a manner wherein the Water- Witch 
and her^ommander have been concerned. — ^Peace, 
~ -thy whistle will not hasten Father 



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THE -wATja-wnnH. 187 

Tiiiie! Eriendy or not, Captain Ludlow need not be 
told he is my prisoner." 

" That i have fallen into the power of a mis- 
creant- " 

"Hist! — if thou hast love of bodily ease ano 
whole bones. Master Thomas Tiller is a man -of 
rude humor, and he as little likes contumely as an- 
other. Be»des, the honest mariner did but obey my 
orders, and his character is protected by a superior 
responsibility." 

** Thy orders ! " repeated Ludlow, with an expres- 
sion of eye and lip that might have offended one 
more disposed to take offence than him he addressed. 
" The fellow who so well succeeded in his artifice, is 
one much more likely to command than to obey. If 
any here be the 'Skimmer of the Seas,' it is he." 

" We are no more than the driving spray, which 
goes whither the winds list. But in what hath the 
man offended, that he finds so little favor with the 
Queen's captain? He has not had the boldness to 
propose a secret traffic with so loyal a gentleman !" 

** 'Tis well, Sir ; you choose a happy occasion for 
this pleasantry. I landed to maWest the respect 
that I feel for this lady, and I care not if the world 
knows the object of the visit 'Twas no silly artifice 
that led me hither." 

** Spoken with the frankness of a seaman !" said 
the inexplicable dealer in contraband, though his 
color lessened and his voice appeared to hesitate. 
"I admire this loyalty in man to woman; for, as 
custom has so strongly fettered them in the expres- 
sion of their inclinations, it is due from us to leave as 
little doubt as possible of our intentions. It is difii- 
cult to think that la belle Barb^rie can do wiser than 
to' reward so much manly admiration !" 

The stranger cast a glance, which Alida fancied 
betrayed solicitude, as he spoke, at the maiden, and 
he appeared ta expect she would reply^ . . . 
' M2 

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1S8 tRC Vf^rzti'VfmniL 

*Wheft the fim^ s^ll cdirle for a deoiiion/' re- 
turned the half-pleased and yet half-offended sabject 
^f his silluskm, *^ h may be necessary it call upon 
very different counsellors for advice. I hear the 
«tep of my uncle. — Captain Ludlow, I kave it to 
your discretion to meet him, or not." 

The heavy footstep was approaching through the 
outer rooms of the pavilion. Ludlow heatated ; cast 
a reproachful look at his mistress ; and then he ifih 
stantly quitted the apartment, by the place through 
^hich he had entered. A noise in the shrubbery 
sufficiently proved that his return was expected, and 
that he was closely watched. 

"Noah's Ark, and our grandmothers!" exclaimed 
Myndert, appearing at the door with a face red with 
his exertions. "You have brought us the C£ist-off 
finery of our ancestors, Master Seadrift. Here are 
st\i& of an age that is past, and they should be barr- 
iered for gold that hath been spent" 

"What now! what now!" responded the free- 
trader, whose tone and manner seemed to change, at 
will, in order to suit the humor of whomsoever he was 
brought to speak with. " What now, pertinacious 
burgher, that thou shouldst cry down wares that are 
but too good for these distant regions I Many is the 
English duchess who pines to possess but the tithe of 
these beautiful stufis I ofier thy niece« and, faith — 
rare is the English duchess that would become theiA 
half so well!" 

" The girl is seemly, and thy velvets and brocades 
are passable, but the heavy articles are not fit to 
offer to a Mohawk Sachem. There must be a re- 
duction of prices, or the invoice cannot pass." 

"The greater the pity. But if sail we must, sail 
we will I The brigantine knows the channel over the 
Nantucket sands ; and, my life on it ! the Yankees 
will find others than the Mohawks for chapmen." 

''Thou suei ^^vifik ia thy lagtiftB^ Mtater Soa^. 



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drift; a» the bodt itself. WI16 daid that a coiMprd* 
mlse might not be mad^, v^hen distussiOTi was pru- 
dently and fairly exhafistedl Strike (^ the odd 
florink, leave the balance in round tboieaDids, and thy 
trade is done for the season !" 

" Not a stiver. Here, count roe back the faces 
of the Braganz^ ^ throw enough of thin ducats hito 
the scales tK> make up the sum, and let thy daves push 
inland with the articles, before the morning light 
cotnes to tell the story. Here has. been one among 
us, who may do mischief, if he will ; though I know 
not how far he is master of the main secret" 

Alderman Van Beverout stared a little .wildly 
about him, adjusted his wigy like one fully conscious 
of the value of appearances in this wosld, and then 
cautiously drew the curtains before the windows. 

" I know of none more than common, my niece 
excepted ;" he said, when all these precautions had 
been observed. ** Tis true the Patroon of Kinder- 
nook is in the house, but as the man sleeps, he is a 
witness in our favor. We have the testimony of his 
presence, while his tongue is silent." 

** Well, be it so;" rejoined the free-trader,' read- 
ing, in the imploring eyes of Alida, a petition that 
he would say no more. *^ I knew by instinct there 
was one unusual, and it was not for me to discover 
that he sleeps. There are dealers on the coast, who, 
^r the sake of insurance, would charge his presence 
m their bilk" 

** Say no more, worthy Master Seadrift, and take 
the gold. To confess the truth, the goods are in the 
periagua and fairly out of the river. I knew w 
should come to conclusions in the matter, and tim 
U precious; as there is a cruiser of the Queen so 
nigh. The rogues Will pass the pennant, like inno- 
cent market-people, and I'll risk a Flemish gelding 
against a Virginia nag, that they in<)ulr« if the cap- 
teiah»n».^Md jtf tegelttfeM-6^ hfe tQftp.1 Ah! 



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140 TUB WATSRxWITOH. 

ha-ifaa-hal That LuiBow is a simfrf^ton) niece of 
mine, and he is not yet &t to deal with men of ma- 
ture years. You'll think better of his qualities, one 
day, and bid him be gone like an unWekome dun." 

*' I hope these proceedings may be legally sanct- 
ioned, uncle?" 

*^ Sanctioned ! Luck sanctions aU.^ It i^ in trade 
as in war: success gived character and booty, in 
both. Your rich dealer is sure to be your honest 
dealer. Plantations and Orders in Council I What 
are our rulers doiag at home, that they need be so 
vociferous about a little contraband ? The rogues 
will declaim, by the hour, concerning bribery and 
corruption, while more than half of them get their 
seats as clandestinely — ^ay, and as illegally, as you 
get these rare Mechlin laces. Should the Qiieen 
take offence at our dealings. Master Seadrift, bring 
me another season, or two, as profitable as the last, 
and rU be your passenger to London, go on 'change, 
buy a seat in Parliament, and answer to the royai 
displeasure fronumy place, as they call it By the 
responsibility of the States G^ieral! but I should 
expect, in such a case, to return Sir Myndert, ani 
then the Manhattanese might hear of a Lady Va6 
Beverout, in which case, pretty- Alida, thy assess 
would be sadly diminished ! — bo go to thy bed, child, 
and dream of fine laces, and rich velvets, and duty 
to old uncles, and discretion, and all manner of agree- 
able things — kiss me, jade, and to thy pillow." . - 

Alida obeyed, and was preparing to quit the room, 
when the free*tradeT presented himself before her 
with an air at once so gallant and respectful, that 
he could scarce take offence at the freedom. 

" I should fail in gratitude," he said, " were I to 
part from so generous a customer, without thanks 
for her liberality. The hope of meeting again, will 
hasten my return*" 

,*" I k'^ow wi .tl^. you ^q mjM^ S» these 



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THB WATBB'^WlTCa. I4l 

tlianks^'^ returned A&da, though she saw that the 
Alderman was carefully cdlecting the coatents of 
the bale, and that he had already placed three or 
four of « the most tempting of its articles on her dress- 
iog-tahle, '^ We cannot be said to h»ye bargained." 

^^ I have parted with more than is visible to vulgar 
eyes," returned the stranger, dropping his vmce, an 
ipeakiog with an earnestness that caused his auditor 
to start '^ Whether there will be a return for the 
gift, or perhaps I had better call it lo6s,-^time and 
my stars mu^ show !" 

He then took her hand, and -raised it to bis lips, 
by an action so graceful and so gentle, as not to 
alarm the maiden, until the fireedom was done. La 
belle Barbae reddened to her forehead, seemed 
disposed to coodenm the liberty, frowned, sonled, and 
curtsying in confusion, withdrew. 

Several minutes passed in profound silence, after 
AMda had disappeared. The stranger was thoughtful, 
though Iiis bright eye kindled, as if merry thoughts 
were uppermost; and he paced the room, entirely 
heedless of the existence of the Alderman. The 
latter, however, soon took occasion to remind his 
companion of his presence* 

"No fear of the girl's prating," exclaimed the 
Alderman, Vfh&i his task was ended. " She is an 
excellent and dutiful niece ; and here, you see, is a 
balance on her side of the account, that would shut 
the mouth of the wife of the First Lord of the Trea- 
sury. I ^liked the manner in which you would 
have the child introduced ; (or, look you^ I do not 
think that either Monsieur Barberie, or my late 
sister, would altogether approve of her enteril^ into 
traffic, so very young ; — but what is done,* is done ; 
and the Norman himself oould not deny that I have 
made a fair set-off, of very excellent commodities, 
for his daughter's benefit — When dost meaa ta sail« 
UaitvrfiMkift?" 



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142 THS WATE&*WX!XICH. 

" With the morning tide. I little Uke the neigb- 
borfaood of these meddling guarda^costas." 

<' Bravely answered ! Prudence is a carcUnal quaU 
. it J in a private trader ; and it is a quality that i 
esteem in Master Skimmer, next to his puncta^ty. 
Dates and obligations ! I wish half of Uie firms, oi 
three and four names, without countii^ the Co.'s, 
were as much to be depended on. Dost not think 
it safer to repass the inlet, under favor of the dark- 
ness?" 

" 'Tis impossible. The flood is entering it likae 
water rushing through a race-way, and we have the 
wind at east. But, fear not ; the iH*igantine carHes 
no vulgar freight, and your commerce has given us 
a swept hold. The Queen and the Braganza, with 
Holland ducats, might show their faces even in the 
Royal Exchequer itself! We have no want of passes, 
and the MillerVMaid is just as good a name to hail 
by, as the * Water-witch,' We begin to tire of this 
constant runmng, and have half a mind to taste the 
pleasures of your Jersey sports, for a week. Th«?e 
should be shooting on the upper plains?" 

" Heaven forbid ! Heaven forbid ! Master SeadrifL 
—I had all th^^eer taken for the skins, ten years 
ago ; — and as to birds, they deserted us, to a pigeon, 
when the last tribe of the savages went west of the 
Delaware, Thou hast discharged thy brigantine 
to better efiect, than thou couldst ever discharge thy 
fowling-pieces. I hope the hospitality of the Lust 
in Rust is no problem — but, blu^es and curiosity ! I 
could wish to keep a fair countenance, among my 
neighbors. Art sure the impertinent masts of tte 
brigantine will not be seeir above the trees, when 
. the day com^ ? This Captain Ludlow is no laggard, 
when he thinks his duty actually concerned." 

«< We ^all endeavor to keep him quiet The 
cover of the trees, and the berth of the boat, make 
all snugt as respects his people. I leavfi wortby 



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Tilier to Sietile balances between ns ; and so^ I take 
my leave. Master Alderman— « word at parting. 
Do^ the Viscount Q>rnbury still tarry in the Prov- 
inces?" 

** Likera fixture 1 There is not a mercantiie house 
io'the colony more firmly established." 

''There are imsettled affiiirs between us.«-«-A 
wiall premuim would buy the obligati<Mis " 

'' Heaven keep thee» Master Seadrift, and pleasant 
voyages, back and forth ! As for the Viscount's re- 
sponsibility — ^the Queen may trust him with another 
Province, but Myndert Van Beverout would not give 
him credit for the tail of a marten ; and so, again, 
Heaven preserve thee-!" 

The dealer in contraband appeared to tear him- 
self from the sight. of all the little elegancies that 
adorned' the apartment of la belle Barbaric, with 
reluctance. His adieus to the Alderman were rather 
cavalier, for he still maintained a cold and abstracted 
air; but as the other scarcely observed the forms of 
decorum, in his evident desire to get rid of his guest, 
the latter was finally obliged to depart. He disap- 
peared by the low balcony, where he had entered. 

Whem Myndert Van Beverout was alone, he shut 
the windows of the pavilion of his niece, and retired 
to his own part of the dwelling. Here the thrifty 
burgher first busied himself in making sundry calcu- 
lations, with a zeal that proved how much his mind 
was engrossed by the occupation. After this pre- 
liminary «tep, he gave a short but secret conference 
to the mariner of the India-shawl, during which there 
was much clinking of gold pieces. But when the 
atter retired, the master of the villa first k>oked to 
the trifling securities which were then, as now, ob- 
served in the fastenings of an American country- 
house ; when he walked forth upon the lawn, like 
one who felt the necessity of breathing the open air. 
He cast SBore than one inquhring^ glance at Uie wia^ 



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1#4 TSC ' W ATm^^MTITdll* 

doV^s of tiie room which ^as occufAeA by Oloff 'Van 
Staats, where all was happily dlent; at the equally 
immovable brigantuie in the 'Core; and at the more 
distant and still motionless hull of the cruiser of the 
crown* All around him was in the quiet of midnight 
Even the boats, which he knew to be plying between 
tbe land and the little vessel at anchor, were invisi 
ble ; and he re-entered hjs habitation, with the se- 
curity one would be apt to feel, under ^milar cir- 
cumstances, in a region so little tenanted, and s< 
liitle watched, as that in which he lived. 



CHAPTER XIL 

" Come on, Nerissa ; I have work in hand. 
That you, yet, know not of. " 

MCKCHANT OF VbIHGB. 

Notwithstanding the active movements which 
had taken place in and around the buildings of the 
Lwst in Rust, during the night which ended wiih 
our last chapter, none but the initiated were in the 
smallest degree aware of their existence. Oloff Van 
Staats was early afoot; and when he appeared on 
the lawn, to scent the moniing air, there was nothing 
visible, to give rise to a suspicion that anght extra- 
ordinary had occurred during his slumbers. La Cour 
des F6es was still closed, but the person of the faith- 
ful Fran<jQis was seen, near the abode of bis young 
mistress, busied in some of those pretty little offices, 
that can easily be imagined would be agreeable to a 
maiden of her years and station. Van Staats of Kin- 
derhook had as little of romance in his compo^tion, 
as could well be in a youth of five-and4wenty, who 
w^ commonly thought to be emtmoored, and who 



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TOS yrATBBrwntsu 1451 

WB9 not aKogether ignorant of the couventional sym- 
paiUiies of the passicm. Tbe man was mortal, and as 
tbe personal lUtraotkms of la belle Barb^rie were 
sufficiently obvi^iffi; he had not entirely escaped the 
&tte, which seems nearly inseparable fpom young 
fancy, when excited by beauty. He drew nigh to ' 
the pavilion, and,, by. a guarded but decisivtt ma-^ 
nceuvijer he managed to come so close to the valet, as 
to render a verbal .communication not only natural, 
but nearly unay(^i4able. ' 

'<A &ir moiming.and a healthful air, Monsieur 
Francis;" commenced the young Patro<Hi, acknow- 
ledging the low salute of the domestic, by gravely 
lifiting bis own beaver. '^ lliis is a comfortable abode 
for the warm months, and one it might be well to 
visit oftener." 

"When Monsieur le Patteron shall be de lor' of 
ce manoir, aussi, he shall come when he shall have 
la volcMit^," returned Francois, who knew that a 
pleasantry of his ought not to be construed into an 
engagement on the part of her he served, while it 
could not fail to be agreeable to him who heard it. 
" Monsieur de Van Staats, est grand propri^taire sur 
la riviere, and one day, peut-dtre, he diall be pro- 
pri^taire sur la mer 1" 

"I have thought of imitating the example of the 
Alderman, honest Francis, and of building a villa on 
the coast ; but there will be time for that, when ^ 
shall find myself more established in life! You, 
young mistress is not yet moving, Francis?" 

" Ma foi, non — Mam'selle Alide sleep I — 'tis good 
symptome. Monsieur Patteron, pour les jeunes per- 
sonnes, to tres bien sleep. Monsieur, et toute la 
amille de Barbaric sleep k merveille! Oui, c'est 
toujours une famille remarquable, pour lesommeil!" 

" Yet one would wish to breathe this fresh and 
inv%orating air, which comes frogi oif the sea, like 
a balm, in the early hours of the day.". 

Vol. I. N 



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^^Sain* dottte, Monkieiir.' C^est nn iidnicle; bafr- 
Mam'selle love de air! Persetme do not love air 
more,, as Mairi'sdle Alide.* Bah!~It -was grand 
plaiiir to see how Monsiear de BarMm lore de air !'' 

" Perhaps^' Mir. Franeis^ yoor young lady »igo6 
rant of the beur* It mi^bt be weK to knock atthe 
deor, or pierfaaps at the window. L confess, tshoulit 
mu€h ^idmire to see her bright ffiicie, sndling from thai 
window,, on diisi soft' morning scene.'' 

It is not probable that the imagination of the 
Patroon of Kinderhook ever befoi^e took so hi^ a 
flight; and there was reason to suspect, by the wa- 
vering and alarmed glance that he c&^t around him 
after so unequivocal an expression of \i^eaknes»» thirt 
he already i*epented his temerity. Frati^ifi, w^o 
would not willingly disoblige a man that wa» known 
to possess a hundred thousand acres of land* with 
manorial rights, besides personals of no mean amount, 
fek embarrassed by the request; but was cabled 
to recollect in tune, that the heiress Was known to 
possess a decision of charactier that might choose to 
control her own pleasures. 

" Well, I shall be too happy to knock ; mais, Mon- 
sieur sais, dat sleep est si agreable, pour les jeunes 
Kersonnes ! On n'a jamais knock, dans la famiile de 
lonsieur de Barbaric, and je suis sur, que Mam'selle 
Alide, do not love to hear de knock — pourtant, si 
Mbnsieur le Patteron te veut, I shall consult ses-— 
Voila! Monsieur Bevre, qui vient sans knock a la 
fenetre. J'ai I'honneur de vous laisser avec Monsieur 
Al'ermEm." 

And so the complaisant but still considerate valet 
bowed nidfiself out of a dilemma, that he found; as he 
muttered to himself, while retiring, *tant soit pen 
ennuyant.' 

The air and manner of the Alderman, as he ap- 
proached hi& guest, were, like the character of the 
man,, hale, hearty, and a little occupied with his own 



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THE WAcTBRmWITOH. 147 

-^laj^fm&^ts ^nd feeiiiigs. He Jieinmed .thrice, ere he 
Nwas near enough to speak ; and each of the strong 
teicpis^artions seemed to invite the admiration of the 
Patroop, for the strength of his lungs, and fqr the 
e{»«i*ify4>f the atmosphere around a villa which ,ac 
4E«o«v4edged him for its owner. 
• >'^Ze]^rs and Spas! but this.is the abode df tiealth 
•i^atitxMjP' cried the burgher, as soon as these, de- 
4iio&^TatioBs of his own bodily conation had been 
sufficiently repeated. **' One sometimes feels in, this 
^ir equal to holding a discourse ^cross the Atlantic, 
<^ith his friends at Scheveling, or the Helder. A 
^jpoad and deep chesty air like this from the sea, with 
-^^glear conscience, and a lucky hit in the way of 
4ra^ cause the lungs of a man to nla^ as .easily 
'and as imperceptibly as the wipgs oi a humming- 
•^lirdv'-^Lfet ine see ; there are few four-score men ip 
'fiiy stock. The 'last Patroon closed the books at 
«xty-six; and hfe father went but a little beyond 
seventy, l wonder, there ha3 never been an ii\ter- 
-tnarriage, amcmg you, vrith the Van .Courtle^ndts ; 
that blood is as good as an insurance to four-score 
and ten, of itself.** 

"I find the air of your villa, ]\Ir. Van Beverout, 
«. cordiaMiiat one could wish to take often," returned 
"tibe 0ther, who had far less of the brusque manner 
of the ti'a^r, than his comp^inion. " It is a pity 
tiiat all who have the choice, do not profit by their 
opportunities to tbreathe it" 

** You aHude to the lazy mariners pi yon vessel ! 
iler -Majesty^ servants are seldqm in a hurry ; and 
^foT'tUis brigantine in the Cove, the fellow seems to 
have gotten in by magic ! I warrant me, now, th^ 
rogue is there for no gopd^ and that the Clueen's Ex- 
chequeritill be none the richer for his visit. Harkee, 
vou Btom^'" calKng to an aged blacky who was work- 
li^'dt no;great d^tance from the dwelling, and who 
i^dec^ia his ma^te^^i confidence, ^' h^t seen apy 



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148 THK WATEH-WiXCH. 

boats plying between yonder rogoish-lQokiBg birigan* 
tine and the land?" 

The negro shook his head, like the earthen image 
of a mandarin, and laughed loud and heartily. 

" I b'rieve he do all he mischief amopg a i aiikee» 
an' he only come here to take he breat'/' said the 
wily slave. " Well, I wish, wid all a heart, dere 
would come free-trader, some time, along our shore. 
Dat gib a chance to poor black man, to ^ make aa 
honest penny !" 

" You see, Patroon, human nature itself riaes 
against monopoly ! That was the voice of instinctt 
speaking with the tongue of Brom ; aad it is no easy 
task, for a merchant, to keep hb dependants obedieat 
to laws, which, in themselves, create so constant a 
temptatioh to break them. Well, well ; we will 
always hope for the best, and endeavor to act like 
dutiful subjects. The boat is not amiss, as to form 
and rig, let her come from where she will. — ^Dost 
think the wind will be off the land this .morning]" 

" There are signs of a change in the Qlouds. One 
could wigh that all should be out in the air, to taste 
this pleasant sea-breeze while it lasts." 
.^ "Come, come," cried the Alderman, who had for 
a moment studied the state of the heavens with a 
..solicitude, that he feared might attract his coo^pan- 
ion's attention. " We will taste our breakfast. This 
is the spot to show the use of teeth ! The negroes 
have not been idle during the night, Mr. Van Staats 
— he-e-em — I say. Sir, they have not been idle: — 
and we shall have a choice among the daintier of the 
river and bay. — ^That cloud above the mouth of the 
Raritan appears to rise, and we may yet have a 
breeze at west!" 

" Yonder comes a boat in the direction of the 
city," observed the other, reluctantly obeying a 
motion of the Alderman to retire to the apartment 
where they were accustomed to break their f^i^ta^ 



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TBS WATSRrWlTCB. 149 

'^^^ me, it seems to approach widi iDore tiian ordi- 

4»aiy.qpwL" 

*^ Tlkem are stout asms at its oars! Can it be a 
'0)6fl9«nger for the cruiser ? xio*^k rather GOteera more 
fof our own laudiDg. These Jersey <mei) are often 
•overtaken by the night, between York and their own 
doors. And now, Patroon, we will- to our knives and 
forks^ ^kf^ men-jwho^have taken the best sfomachics.^' 
^AndiareiM^ to refresh ourselves aione^?** demanded 
.ibe yov^i^.iiian, who ever and aium ca^ a sidelong 
^md wistful ^ance at the doeed and immovabie shut- 
ters of la Gour des F^es. 

** Thy mother hath spoilt thee, young Oloff; unless 
the coifee comes from a pretty female hand, it losqs 
its savor. I take thy meaning, and think ncMie the 
worse of tjbee; fcr the weakness is natural at thy 
years. Celibs^cy and independence ! A man must 
get beyond forty, bdore he is ever sure of being his 
own piaster* Come hither, Master Francis. It is 
time my niece had shaken off this laziness, and 
^howA her bright &ce to the sun. AVe wait for her 
J&iir service^ at the table. — I see nothing x}{ tha.t.l?izy 
hussy, Dinah, any more than of her mistress." 

" AssUrement non, Monsieur," returned the valet, 
** Mam'selle Dinah do not love trop d'activite. Mais, 
Monsieur Al'erman, elles sont jeunes, toutes les deux4 
Le sommeil est bien ealutaire, pour la jeunesse." 

'" The girl is no longer in her cradle, Francis, and 
it is time to r?ittle at the windows. As for the black 
minx, who should have been up and at her duty this 
hour, there will be a balance to settle between us. 
Come, Patroon >—tlie appetite will not await the 
Jaziness of a .wilful girl ; we will to the table. — ^Dost 
think the wind will stand at west this morning ?" • 
Thus saying, the Alderman led the way into^the 
little parlor, where a neat and comfortable service 
invited them to break their morning fast He was 
ibUowed by 0]o#* Vw ;Staats« with a ^ngenng stepi 

Na 



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150 THE WATSSl<-WITOH. 

for tbe young maxk really longed to see the windows 

of the pavilion open, and the fair face of Alida Smil- 
ing amid the other beautiful objects of the scene. 
Francois proceeded to take such measures to arouse 
his mistress, as he believed to comport with his duty 
to her uncle» and his own ideas of biens^nce« After 
some little delay, the Alderman and lus guest took 
their seats at the table ; the fonner loudly protest- 
ing against the necessity of waiting for the idle, and 
throwing in an occasional moral concerning the par- 
ticular merit of punctuality in domestic economy, as 
well as iir the affairs of commerce. ^ 

** The ancients divided time,*' said the somewhat 
pertinacious commentator, ^ into years, months, 
weeks, days, hours, minutes, and moments, as they 
divided numbers into units, tens, hundreds, thousands, 
and tens of thousands ; and both with an object. If 
we commence at the bottom, and employ well the 
moments, Mr. Van Staats, we turn the minutes into 
tens, the hours into hundreds, and the weeks and 
months into thousands — ay! and when there is a 
happy state of trade, into tens of thousands 1 Miss- 
ing an hour, therefore, is somewhat like dropping an 
important iSgure in a complex calculation, and the 
whole labor may be useless, for want of punctuality 
in one, as for want of accuracy in the other. Your 
. father, the late Patroon, was what may be called a 
minute-man. — He was as certain to be seen in his 
pew, at church, at the stroke of the clock, as to pay 
a biU, when its items had been properly examined. 
Ah ! it was a blessing to hold one of his notes, though 
they were far scarcer than broad pieces, or bullion. - 
I have heard it said, Patroon, that the manor is 
backed by plenty of Johannes and Dutch ducats !'* 

" The descendant has no reason to reproach his 
ancestors with want of foreaght" 

*< Priidefttly answered ; — not a word too much, nor 
loa little--^ principle on which all honest men settle 



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• THE WATBR-WITOH. 151 

tBeir accounts. By proper management, such a foun- 
dation might be made to uphold an estate that should 
count tibousands with the best of Holland or Eng- 

' land. Growth and majority ! Patroon ; but we of the 
colonies must come to man's estate in time, like our 
cousins on the dykes of the Low Countries, or our 

- rulers among the smithies of England. — Erasmus, 
look at that cloud over the Rslritan, and tell me if it 

' rises." 

The negro reported that the vapor was stationary; 
and, at the same time, byway of episode, he told his 
master that the boat which had been seen approach- 
ing the land had reached the wharf, and that some 

• of its crew were ascending the hill towards the Lust 
in Rust 

" Let them come of aH hospitality," returned the 
Alderman, heartily; "I warrant me, they are honest 
farmers from the interior, a-hungered with the toil 
of the night. Go tell the cook to feed them with the 
best, and bid them welcome. And harkee, boy ; — 
if there be among them any comfortable yeoman, 
bid the man enter and sit at our table. This is not 
a country, Patroon, to be nice about the quality of 
the cloth a man has on his back, or whether he wears 
a wig or only his own hair. — What is the fellow 
gaping att" 

Erasmus rubbed his eyes, and then showing his 
teeth to the full extent of a double row, that glitter- 
ed like pearls, he gave his master to understand, that 
the negro, introduced to the reader under the name 
of Euclid, and who was certainly his own brother 
of the half-blood, or by the mother's side, was en- 

. tering the villa. The intelligence caused a sudden 
cessation of the masticating process in the Alderman, 
who had not, however, time to express his wonder, 
ere two doors simultaneously opened, apd Francois 
presented himself at the one, while the shining and 

^ubting face «of .the slave froo^towB darifieQ6«l4l|f 



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152 ^nan WATBR-wiTQB. 

t>ther. The eyes of Myndert roUed first to-tiiis' si3e, 
and then to that, a certain nusgiving of the heart 
preventing him from speaking to either ; for he saw, 
m the disturbed features of each, omens that bade 
him prepare himself for unwelcome tidings. The 
reader will perceive, by the description we shall give 
. that there was abundant reason for the sagacious 
burcher's alarm. 

The visage of the valet, at all times meagre asd 
long, seemed extended to far more than its usual di- 
mensions, .the under jaw appearing fallen and treWy 
attenuated. The light-blue protruding eyes were 
open to the utmost, and they expressed a certain 
confused wildness, that was none the less striking, for 
the painful expression of mental suffering, with which 
it was mingled. Both hands were raised, with the 
palms outward ; while the shoulders of the poor fel- . 
low were elevated so high, as entirely to destroy the 
little symmetry that Nature had bestowed on that 
particular part of his frame. 

On the other hand, the look of the negro was 
guilty, dogged, and cunning. His eye leered askance, 
seeming to wish to play around the person of his 
master, as, it will be seen, his language endeavored 
to play around bis unda^standing. The hands crushed 
the crown of a woollen hat between their fingers, 
and one of tis feet described semicircles with its toe, 
by performing nervous evolutions on its heel. 

"Well!" ejaculated Myndert, regarding each in 
turn. "What news from the CanadasT — Is the 
Queen dead, or has she restored the colony to the 
United Provinces?" 

" Mam'selle Alide !" exclaimed, or rather groaned, 
Fran<jois. 

" The poor dumb beast ! — " muttered Euclid. 

The knives and the forks fell from the hands of 
Myndert and his guest, as it were by a simuUaneoijs 
pai^ljttfl* Tlie ktter kiY(dwt^y.^0S!Qi while t^ 



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1BR WAT£R-WIT.<;iH. 15S 

former planted his solid person still aK>re firmly in its 
s^aty like one who was preparing to meet some se- 
vere and expected shock, with all the physical reso- 
lution he could muster. 

" — ^What of my niece ? — ^What of my geldings ?— 
Yon have called upon Dinah ?" 

" Sans doute, Monsieur I" 

" — ^And you kept the keys of the stable ?" 

" I nebber let him go, at all !" 

" — ^And you bade her call her mistress?" 

"She no make answair, de tout." 

" — ^The animals were fed and watered, as I or* 
dered?" 

" 'Em nebber take he food, better ! " 

" — ^You entered the chamber of my niece, your- 
self, to awake her?" 

" Monsieur a raison." 

" What the devil has befallen the innocent ?" 

" He lose he stomach quite, and I t'ink it great 
time 'fore it ebber come back." 
J. " — Mister Frapcis, I desire to know the answer of 
Monsieur Barb^rie's daughter." 

" Mam's^lle no r^pond, Monsieur ; pas ^n syllabe ! " 

" — ^Drenchers and fleams! The beauty should 
- have been drenched and blooded — " 

" He'm too late for dat, Masser, on honor." 

" — The obstinate hussy ! This comes of her Hu- 
guenot breed, a race that would quit house and 
lands rather than change its place of worship ! " 

** La famille de Barb^rie est honorable. Monsieur, 
mais le Grand Moharque fut un peu trop exigeant 
Vraiment, la dragonade 6tait mal avis^e, pour faire 
. des Chretiens !" ^ 

" Apoplexies and hurry ! you should have sent foi 
the farrier to administer to tne sufferer, thou black 
hound!" 

, " 'Em go for a butcher, Masser, to save he skin • 
for he war' too soon dead." 



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154 *THB WATER- WITCH. 

The word dead produced a sudden pause. The 
-preceding dialogue had been so rapid, and question 
and answer, no less than the ideas of the principal 
speaker, had got so confused, that, for a moment, he 
-was actually at a loss to understand, whether the 
last great debt of nature had been paid by la belle 
Barb^rie, or one of the Flemish geldings. Until now, 
consternation, as well as the confusion of the inter- 
view, had constrained the Patroon to' be silent, but he 
profited by the breathing-time to interpose. 

"It is evident, Mr. Van IfeMerout," he said, speak- 
ing -with a tremor in the voice, which betrayed his 
own uneasiness, ?*that some untoward event has oc- 
curred. Perhaps the negro and I had better retire, 
that you may question Francis concerning that which 
hath befallen Mademoiselle Barberie, more at your 
leisure." 

The Alderman was recalled from a profound stu- 
por, by this gentlemanlike and considerate proposal, 
lie bowed his acknowledgments, and permitted Mr. 
Van Staats to quit the room ; but when Euclid wouljJ 
have followed, he signed to the negro to remain. 

** I may have occasion to question thee farther," 
he said, in a voice that had lost most of that compass 
and depth for which it was so remarkable. ** Stand 
there, sirrah, and be in readiness to answer. And 
-now, Mr. Francis, I desire to know why my niece de- 
clines taking the breakfast with myself and my 
guest?" 

" Mon Dieu, Monsieur, it is not possible y r^pondre. 
Les sentimjents des demoiselles are neyair decides !" . 

" Go then, and say to her, that my sentiments are 
decided to curtail certain bequests and devises, which 
have consulted her interests more than strict justice 
to others of my blood — ay, and even of my name| 
might dictate." 

• " Moneieup y p^^chira. Mam-selle AUde be sq 
young personnel" 



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m 

"Old Or youBg; my mind b snadeup; and sb to- 
your Cour des F^es, and tell the lazy minx as much. 
-^Thcm hast ridden that innoQent^.thcMi scowling imp 
of darkness !" 

" Mais, pensf^z-y, je vous en prie, Monsieur. 
Mam'selle shall nevair se sauver encore ; jamais^ je. 
vous en repond." 

" What is the fellow jabbering about T" exclaimed 
the Alderman, whose mouth fdl nearly to the degree 
that rendered the countenance of the valet so singu- 
larly expressive of distress. " Where is my niece, 
Sir i — and what means this alluaon to her absence 1" 

" La fille de Monsieur de Barbaric n'y est pas ! " 
cried Francois, whose heart was too full to utter 
more. The aged and affectionate domestic laid his 
hand on his breast, with an air of acute suffering ; 
and then, remembering the presence of his superior, 
he turned, bowed with a manner of profound condo- 
lence, struggled manfully with his own emotion, and 
succeeded in getting out of the room with dignity 
and steadiness. 

It is.due to the character of Alderman Van Bevej 
out, to say, that the blow occasioned by the sudden 
death of -the Flemish gelding, lost some of its force, 
in consequence of so unlooked-for a report concern- 
ing the inexplicable absei){e of his niece. Euclid 
was questioned, menaced, and even anathematized, 
niore than once, during the next ten minutes; but 
the cunning slave succeeded in confounding himself 
so effectually with the rest of his connexions of the 
half-blood, during the search which instantly fol- 
lowed the report of Francois, that his crime was 
partially forgotten. 

On entering la Cour des F^es, it was, in truth, 
found to want her whose beauty and grace had lent 
its chief attraction. The outer rooms, which were 
small, and ordinarily occupied during 4.he day by 
Francois and the ^egress called Dinah, and in the 



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IM TAB WATSa-WITCEU 

mght by Ae latter <mly, were in the «tate in whidi 
they might be expected to be seen. The apartment . 
of the attendant furnished evidence that its occupant- 
had quitted it in haste, though there was every ap* * 
pearance of her having retired to rest at the usual 
hour. Qothes were scattered carelessly about ; and 
though most of her personal efiects had disappeared 
enough remained to prove that her departure had 
been hurried and unforeseen. 

On the other hand, the little saloon, with the 
dressing-room and bed-room of la belle Barbaric, 
were in a state of the most studied arrangement. 
Not an article of furniture was displaced, a door 
ajar, or a window open. The pavilion had evidently 
been quitted by its ordinary passage, and the door- 
had been closed in the customary manner, without 
using the fastenings. The bed had evidently not 
been entered, for the linen was smooth and untouched. 
In short, so complete was the order of the place, 
that, yielding to a powerful^ natural feeling, the Al- 
derman called aloud on his truant niece, by name, 
as if he expected to see her appear from some place, 
in' which she had secreted her person, in idle sport. ' 
But this touching expedient was vain. The voice 
sounded hollow through the deserted roolns; and 
though all waited long to Jisten, there came no play- 
ful or laughing answer back. 

" Alida!" cried the burgher, for the fourth and 
last time, " come forth, child ; I forgive thee thy idle 
sport, and all I have said of disinheritance was but a 
jest. Come forth, my sister's daughter, and kiss thy 
old uncle!" 

The Patroon turned aside, as he heard a man so 
Known for his worldliness yielding to the power of 
nature ; and the lord of a hundred thousand acres 
forgot his own disappointment, in the force of sym- 
pathy. 

" Let us retire," he said, gently urging the burgher 



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TBS WATER* wrrcB. ' 1S7 

td qtiit the place. " A little reflection will enable us 
to decide what should be dtwie.** 

The Alderman complied. Before quitting the 
place, however, its closets and drawers were ex- 
amined ; and the search left no further doubts of the 
step which the young heiress had taken. Her clothes, , 
books, utensils for drawing, and even the lighter in- 
struments of music, had disapp^red. 



CHAPTER Xm. 

•* —Ay, that way goes the game. 
Now I perceive that she hath made compare 
Between our ttatures " 

MlDSUMMER-NlOBT'S DRBAK. 

The tide of existence floats downward, and with 
it go, in their greatest strength, all those aflections 
that unite families and kindi ed. We learn to know 
our parents in the fullness of their reason, hnd com- 
monly in the perfection of their bodily strength.. 
Reverence and respect both mingle with our love ; 
but the affection, with which we watch the help- 
lessness of infancy, the interest with which we see 
the ingenuous and young profiting by our care, th 
pride of improvement, and the magic of hope, create 
an intensity of sympathy in their favor, that almost 
equals the identity of self-love. There is a mysteri- 
ous and double existence, in the tie that binds the 
parent to the chil^* With a volition and passions of ' 
its own, the latter bas power to plant a sting in the 
bbsom of the former, that shall wound as acutely as 
the errors whidi arise from mistakes, almost trom 
crimes, of its own. But, when the misconduct of the 
descendant can be traced to neglect, or to a vicibuft 

Voi^L O 



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158 THU WATJ&R-WITCfl. 

instructioDy then, indeed, even the pang of a woimded 
conscience may be added to the sufferings of those 
who have gone before. Such, in some measure, was 
the nature of the pain that Alderman Van Beverout 
was c(»idemned to feel, when at leisure to reflect on 
the ill-judged measure that had been taken by la 
belle Barb^rie. 

" She was a pleasant and coaxing minx, Patroon," 
said the burgher, pacing the room they occupied, 
with a quick and heavy step, and speaking uncon- 
sciously of his niece, as of one already beyond the 
interests of life ; '^ and as wilful and headstrong as an 
unbroken colt. — Thou hard-riding imp ! I shall never 
find a match for the poor disconsolate survivor. — 
Buf the girl had a thousand agreeable and delight- 
ful ways with her, that made her the delight of my 
old days. She has not done wisely, to desert the 
friend and guardian of her youth, ay, even of her 
childhood, in order to seek protection from stran- 
gers. This is an unhappy world, Mr. Van Staats I 
All our calculations come to nought ; and it is in the 
power of fortune to reverse the most reasonable and 
wisest of our expectations. A gale of wind drives 
the. richly-freighted ship to the bottom; a sudden 
fall in the market robs us of our gold, as the Novem- 
ber wind strips the oak of its leaves ; and bankrupt- 
cies and decayed credit often afflict the days of the 
oldest houses, as disease saps the strength of the 
body : — Alida ! Alida ! thou hast wounded one that 
' never harmed thee, and rendered my age misera- 
ble!" 

." It is vain to contend with the inclinations," re- 
turned the proprietor of the manor, sighing in a man- 
ner that did no discredit to the sincerity of his re- 
mark. " I could have been happy to have placed 
your niece in the situation thatmy respected mother 
filled with so much dignity and credit, but it is now 
too late '' 



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TH» WATBIt-WITCH. 159 

"We don't know-^hat; — ^we don*t know that;** 
interrupted the Alderman, who still clung to the 
hope of effecting the first great wish of his heart, 
with the pertinacity with which he would have 
chtng to the terms of any other fortunate bargain. 
** We should never despair, Mr. Van Staats, as long 
as tfee transaction is left open." 

^*The manner in which Mademoiselle Barb^rie 
has expressed her preference, is so very decided, that 
I see no hope <rf completing the arrangement." 

**Mere coquetry, Sir, mere coquetry! The girl 
has disappeared in order to enhance the value of her 
future submission. One should never regard a treaty 
at an end, so long as reasonable hopes remain that 
it may be productive to the parties." 

" I fear, Sir, there is more of the coquette in this 
step of the young lady, than a gentleman can over- 
look," returned the ratroon a little dryly, and with 
for more point than he was accustomed to use. " If 
the commander of Her Majesty's cruiser be not a 
happy man, he will not have occasion to reproach 
his mistress with disdain ! " 

« I am not certain, Mr. Van Staats, that in the 
actual situation of our stipulations, I ought to over- 
look an innuendo that seems to reflect on the discre- 
tion of my ward. Captain Ludlow^* well, sirrah ! 

what is the meaning of this impertinence?" 

" He'm waiting to see Masser," returned the gap- 
ing Erasmus, who stood with the door in hh hand, 
admiring the secret intelligence of his nmster, who 
had so readily anticipated his errand. 

"Who is waiting? — What does the simpleton 
mean?" 

" I mean 'a gentle'um Masser say." 

"The fortunate man is here to remind us of his 
success," haughtily observed Van Staats of Kinder- 
hook. " There can be no necessity of nriy presence 



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160 THE WATBR-WITCB. 

at an interview between Alderman Van Bcverouf 
and his nephew." 

The justly-mortified Patroon bowed ceremoniousij 
to the equally disappointed bnrgher, and left the 
room the m(Hnent he bad done speaking. The negra 
took his retreat as a favorable symptom for one who 
was generally known to be his rival ; and he ha^a 
ed to inform the yomig captain, that the coast was 
clean 

The meeting, that inst^itly succeeded, was suffi* 
ciently constrained and awkward. Alderman Van 
Beverout assumed a manner of oflfended autfaDrity 
and wounded affection; while the officer of. the 
Q,ueen wore an air of compelled submission to a dutj 
that he found to be disagreeable. The introduction 
of the discourse was consequently ceremonious, and 
punctiliously observant of courtesy. 

" It has become my office," continued Ludlow, 
after the preliminaries had been observed, to express 
the surprise I feel, that a vessel of the exceedingly 
equivocal appearance of the brigantine, that is 
anchored in the Cove, should be found in a situation 
to create Unpleasant suspicions concerning the com- 
mercial ^propriety of a merchant so well knoWm at 
Mr. Alderman Van Beverout." 

" The credit of- Myndert Van Beveroot is too well 
established, Captain Cornelius Ludlow, to be affected 
by the accidental position of ships and bays. I see 
two vessds anchored near the Lust in Rust, and if 
called up€itn to give my testimony before the Queen 
in Council, I should declare that the one which wean 
her royal pennant had done more wrong to her sub- 
jects than the stranger. But what harm is known 
of the latter?" 

**I shaM not conceal any of the facts; for I feel 
that this is a case, in which a gentleaism t)f your 
statbn has the fullest right to the baiefit of expla* 
nalionar— •" 



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THB WATBR-WlTCa 161 

'*HEra — ^^ interrupted the burgher, who dWiked 
the manner m wbicbhis companion had opened the 
^tei^ew, and who thought he saw the commence- 
ment ot a forced comprcMnise in the turn it was 
taking ;•— **Hem— I commend your moderation. Cap- 
*takk Ludk>w. Sir, we are flattered in having a native 
of the Province in so honorable a command on the 
coast. Be seated, I praj you, young gentleman, that 
3we may converse more at leisure. The Ludlows are 
an anci^Qit and well-establbhed family in the colonies; 
and though they were no friends of King' Charles, 
why — ^we have others here in the same predicament 
There are few crowns in Europe that might not trace 
Bcxae of their discontented subjecte to these cdonies; 
and the greater the reason, say I, why we should not 
be too hasty in giving faith to the wisdom of this 
European legislation. I do not pretend, Sir, to admire 
all the commercial regulations which flow from the 
wisdom of Her Majesty's counsellors. Candor forbids 
that I should deny this truth : but — what of the brig- 
antine in theOove V* 

" It is not necessary to tell one so familiar with 
the afiairs of commerce, of the character of a vessel 
called the Water-Witch, nor of that of its lawless 
commander, the notorious * Skimmer of the Seas.'" 

" Captain Ludlow is not about to accuse Alderman 
Van Beverout of a connexion with such a man I" ex- 
claimed the burgher, rising as it were involuntarily, 
and actually recoiling a foot or two, apparently under 
the force of indignation and surprise. 

" Sir, I am not commissioned to accuse any of the 
Queen's subjects. My duty is to guard her interests 
on the water, to oppose her open enemies, and to up- 
hold her royal prerogatives." 

" An honorable employment, and one I doubt not 

that is honorably discharged. Resume your seat. Sir; 

f&pl fepeseetbat the conference is likely to end as it 

should, between a son of the late very respectable 

02 



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163 ffiS WATI^-WITG^ 

Kingfs cMQseUor and hh father's friendL Yw have 
reason th^n for thinking that this bri^uatiae» which 
has so suddenly appeared in the Cove, has soime r€^ 
mote connexion with the Skimmer of the Seas?" 

" I believe the ves^l to be the famous Water- 
Witch itself, and her commander to be» of x^owse, 
that well-known adventurer." 

** Well, Sir — well. Sir — this may be sa It is im- 
possible for me to deny it — >but what should such a 
reprobate l^e doing here, under the guns of a Qnee^'s 
cruiser?" 

'* Mr. Alderman, my admiration of your niece is 
not unknown to you." 

" I have suspected it, Sir;" returned the burghei^ 
who believed the tenor of the compromise was get- 
^ ting clearer, but who still waited to know the exact 
value of the concessions the other party would make, 
before he closed a bargain, in a hurry, of which he 
might repent at his leisure — ** Indeed, it has even 
been the subject of some discourse between us." 

'^ This admiration induced me to visit your villa^ 
the past night, — — "' >> -^ 

" This is a fact too well established, young gentle^ 
man," 

" Whence I took away— — " Ludlow hesitated, ai 
i£ anxious to select his words — 

"Alida Barb^rie." 

« Alida Barberie !" 

"Ay, Sir; my niece, or perhaps I should say my 
heiress, as well as the heiress of old Etienne de Bar- 
berie. The cruise was short. Captain Cornelius 
Ludlow ; but the prize-money will be ample — unlesst 
indeed, a claim to neutral privileges should be es« 
t^blished in favor of part of the cargo!" 

" Sii, your pleasantry is amusing, but I have little 
leisure for its enjoyment* That I visited the Coui 
4es.Fc^ shall not be^ denied. I t^ii:^ la h^ B^r* 



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7IH& WATBR-^ITO^. 168 

JMrie w3I nU be offended, under tbis cirGiimstftiice^ 
with ihk aGknowledgment." 

*^ If she hf the jade has a rare squeavn^hoesS) after 
what lias phased I" 

" I prete»d not to ju4ge of more than my dutj 
The desire to serve my royal mistress had induced 
xne, Mr« Van BeveFOut» to cause a seaman of odd 
attire and audacious deportment to enter the 0> 
quette. You will know the man, when 1 tell you 
that he waayour companion in the idand ferry-boat" 

" Yies, yes, I confess there was a mariner of the 
bng voyage there, who caused much surprise, and 
some uneasiness, to myself and niece, as well as to 
Van Staats of Kinderhook." 

Ludlow smiled, like one not to be deceived, a» he 
continued. 

" WeH, Sir, this roan so far succeeded, as to tempt 
me to suffer him to land, under the obligation of some 
half-extorted promise — ^we came into the river to- 
gether, and entered your grounds in company." 

Alderman Van Beverout now b^an to listen like 
a man who dreaded, while he desired to catch, each 
sylla^ble. Observing that Ludlow paused, and 
watched his countenance with a cool and steady eye, 
he recovered his self-command, and affected a mere 
ordinary curiosity, while he signed to him to proceed. 

"I am not sure I tell AMernmn Van Beverout 
any thing that is new," resumed the young oflicer, 
" when I add, that the fellow suffered me to visit the 

tavilion, and then contrived to kad me into an am- 
ush of lawless men, having previously succeeded in 
making captives of my boat's-crew." 

" Seizures and warrants !" exclaimed the burgher, 
in his natural strong and hasty manner of speaking. 
" This is the first I have heard of the afiair. It was 
ill-judged, to call it by no other 4erm." 

Lufiow seemed relieved, when he s^w, by fee un*- 
di3guised amazement of his companion, that the Ui 



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164 tHE WATER-WITCH. 

ter was, in truth, ignorant of the matter m which 
he had been detained. 

. " It might not have been. Sir, had our watch been 
as vigilant as their artifice was deep," he continued. 
** But I was little guarded, and having no means to 
reach my ship, I " 

"Ay, ay. Captain Ludlow; it is not necessary to 
be so circumstantial ; you proceeded to the wharf, 
and " 

" Perhaps, Sir, I obeyed my feelings, rather than 
my duty," observed Ludlow, coloring high, when he 
perceived that the burgher paused to clear his throat 
" I returned to the pavilion, where " 

" You persuaded a niece to forget her duty to her 
uncle and protector." 

" This is a harsh and most unjustifiable charge, 
both as respects the young lady and myself. I can 
distinguish between a very natural desire to possess 
articles of commerce that are denied by the laws, 
and a more deliberate and mercenary plot against 
the revenue of the country. I believe there are few 
of her years and sex, who would refuse to purchase 
the articles I saw presented to the eyes of la belle 
Barbaric, especially when the utmost hazard could 
be no more than their loss, as they were already in- 
troduced into the country.?' 

" A just discrimination, and one likely to render 
the arrangement of our little afl^rs less difficult ! I 
was sure that my old friend the counsellor would not 
have left a son of his ignorant of principles, more 
especially as he was about to embark in a profession 
of so much responsibility. — And so, my niece had the 
imprudence to entertain a dealer in contraband?" 

"Alderman Van Beverout, there were boats in 
^notion on the water, between this landing and the 
brigantine in the Cove. A periagua even left the 
river for the city, at the extraordinary hour of mid- 
aightr . - 



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THB WATIBR-WITCH. 165 

"Sbr, boats will, move on th^ water, when the 
hands of man set them in motion ; but what have I 
to answer for in the tnatter? If goods have entered 
the Province, withbut license, why, they must be 
found and condemned; and if free traders are on the 
coast, th^ fiholild be catlght. Would it not be well 
to procefea to town,, and lay the fact of this strange 
brigan tine's presence before the Governor, without 
delay?" 

" 1 have other inrteritions. If, as yon say, goods 
have gone up the bay, it is too late for me to stop 
them ; but it is not too late to attempt to seize yon 
brigantine. Now, I would perform this duty in a 
makmer as little likely to ofiend any of reputable 
uame, as my allegiance will admit" 

'* Sr, I extol thasdiscretion-^^not that tJifere is any 
testimony to implicate more than the crew, but credit 
is a delicate flower, and it should be handled ten- 
derly. I see an. opening for an arrangement^but, 
we will, as in duty bound, bear ybur propositions 
first, since you may be said to speak with the au- 
thority of the Queen. I will merely surmise that 
terms should be moderate, between friends ;-^pef- 
haps I should say, between connexions. Captain Cud- 
low." 

. " I am flattered by the word, Sir," returned the 
young sailor, snuling with an expression of delight. 
"First suffer me to be admitted to the charming 
Oour des F<5es, but for a moment" 

" That is a favor which can hardly be refused you, 
who may be said to have a right, now, to enter the 
pavilion at pleasure," returned the Alderman, un- 
hesitatingly leading .the way through the long passage 
to the deserted apartments of his niece, and continu- 
ing the blind aUusiona to the afiairs of the preceding 
n%ht, in the same i^irect mannet* as had distin- 
.guisbed the dialogue di»ring the whale interview. " I 
shall oot be uiuMiaBabk> yonog gentlcm^i ^od 



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166 THE WATER-WITCH. 

here is the paviKo^ of my niece; I wish I could add, 
and here also is its mistress I" 

' " And is la belle Barb^rie no longer a tenant of la 
Cour des Fees !" demanded Ludlow, in a surprise too 
natural to be feigred. 

Alderman Van Beverout regarded the young man 
in lyonder ; pondered a moment, to consider bow fai 
denying a knowledge of the absence of his niece 
might benefit the officer, in the pending negotiaticni; 
and then he dryly observed, ** Boats passed on the 
water, during the night. If the men of Captain Lud- 
low were at first imprisoned, I presume they were 
set at liberty at the proper time." 

•' They are carried I know not whither— the boat 
itself is gone, and I am here alone." 

" Am I to understand. Captain Ludkw, that Alida 
Barb^rie has not fled my house, during the past night, 
to seek a refuge in your ship ?" 

"Fled!" echoed the young man, in a voice of 
horror. " Has Alida de Barberie fled from the house 
of her uncle, ai all ? " 

" Captain Ludlow, this is not acting. On the honor 
ef a gentleman, are you ignorant of my niece's ab- 
sence?" 

The young commander did not answer ; but, strik- 
ing his head fiercely, he smothered words that were 
unintelligible to his companion. When this moment- 
ary burst of feeling was past, he sunk into a chair, 
and gazed about him in stupid amazement All this 
pantomime was inexplicable to the Alderman, who, 
however, began to see that more of the conditions 
of I be arrangement in hand were beyond the control 
of his companion, than he had at first believed. Still 
the plot thickened, rather than grew clear ; and he 
was afraid to speak, lest he might utter more than 
was prudent. The silence, therefore, continued for 
quite a minute ; during which time, the parties sat 
(|PA^in^at.eachoth^in dttll.iaoDQiklec. n . . . 



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THE WATBR-WITCfi. 167 

'* I shaU not 4imj, Captam Ludlow, that I believed 
you had prevailed on ixijr niece to fly aboard the 
Coquette ; for, though a man who has always kept 
his feelings in his own command, as the safest man- 
ner of managing particular interests, yet I am not 
to learn that rash youth b often guilty of folly. I am 
now equally at a^loss with yourself, to know what 
has become of hei*, since here she is not." . 

"Hold!" eagerly interrupted Ludlow. "A boat 
left your wharf, for the city, in the earlier hours of 
the morning. Is it not possible that she may have 
taken a passage in it ? " 

" It is not possible. I have reasons to know — in 
short. Sir, she i^ not there." 

"Then is the unfortunate^ — the lovely — the indis* 
creet girl for ever lost to herself and usl" exclaimed 
the young sailor, actually groaning under his mental 
agony. ** Rash, mercenary man ! to what an act of 
madness has this thirst of gold driven one so fair — 
would I could say, so pure and so innocent !" 

But while the distress of the lover was thus vio- 
lent, and caused him to be so little measured in his 
terms of reproach, the uncle of the fair oiiender ap- 
peared to be lost in surprise. Though la belle Bar- 
bdrie had so well preserved the decorum and reserve 
of her sex, as to leave even her suitors in doubt of 
the way her inclinations tended, the watchful Alder- 
man hadiong suspected that the more ardent, open, 
and manly commander of the.Q)quette was likely to 
triumph over one so cold in exterior, and so cautious 
in his advances, as the Patroon of Kinderhook. When, 
therefore, it became apparent Alida had disappear- 
ed, he quite naturally inferred that she had taken 
the simplest manner of defeating all his plans llbr 
favoring the suit of the latter, by throwing herself, 
at once, into the arms of the young sailor. The laws 
of the colonies offered few obstacles to the legality 
of their union ; and when Ladlow appeared tliat . 



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168 THU WATBR-^TCH. 

looming, he firmly believed that he btheld one, who, 
if he were not so already, was inevitably soon to be- 
come bis nephew. But the suffering of the disap- 
pointed youth could not be counterfeited ; and, pre- 
vented from adhering to his first opinion, the per- 
plexed Alderman seemed utterly at a loss to conjec- 
ture what could have become of his niece. Wonder, 
rather than pain, possessed him ; and when he suf- 
fered his ample chin to repose on the finger and 
thumb of one hand, it was with the air of a man 
that revolved, in his mind, all the plausible points of 
some knotty question. 

"Holes and comers!" he muttered, after a long 
silence ; " the wilful minx cannot be playing at hide- 
and-seek with her friends ! The hussy had ever too 
much of la famille de Barberie, and her high Norman 
blood about her, as that silly old valet has it, to stoop 
to such childish trifling. Gone she certainly is," he 
continued, looking, again, into the empty drawers 
and closets, " and with her the valuables have disap- 
peared. The guitar is missing — the lute I sent across 
the ocean to purchase, an excellently-toned Dutch 
lute, that cost every stiver of one hundred guilders, 
is also wanting, and all the — hem — ^the recent acces- 
sions have disappeared. And there, too, are my 
sister's jewels, that I persuaded her to bring along, 
to guard against accidents while our backs are turn- 
ed they are not to be seen. Francois! Francois 1 
Thou long-tried servitor of Etienne Barberie, what 
the devil has become of thy mistress?" 

" Mais, Monsieur," returned the disconsolate valet, 
whose decent features exhibited all the signs of une- 

Juivocal suffering, ** she no tell le pauvre Francis ! 
In supposant, que Monsieur ask le capitaine, be 
shall probablement know." ' 

The burgher cast a quick suspicious glance at 
Ludlow, and shook his head, to express his belief 
that the young man was true. 



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tHB WATEB-WITCH. 169 

•*Goi desire Mr. Van Staats of Kinderhook to 
favor us with his company." 

** Hold,'V cried Ludlow, motioning to the valet to 
withdraw. " Mr. Beverout, an uncle should be tender 
of the errors of one so dear as this cruel, unreflect- 
ing girl. . You cannot think of abandoning her to so. 
frightful a fortune !" 

" I am not addicted to abandoning any thing, Sir, 
to which my title is just and legal. But you speak 
in enigmas. If you are acquainted with the place 
where my niece is secreted, avow it frankly, and 
permit me to take those measures which the case 
requilres." 

Ludlow reddenfed to his forehead, and he struggled, 
powerfully with his pride and his regrets. 

" It is useless to attempt concealing the step which 
Alida Barberie has been pleased to take," he said, a 
smile so bitter passing over his features, as to lend 
them the expression of severe mockery; **she has 
chosen more worthily than either of us could have 
believed ; she has found a companion more suited to 
her station, her character, and her sex, than Van 
Staats of Kinderhook, or a poor commander of a 
Queen's ship!'* 

" Cruisers and manors ! What in the name of mys- 
teries is thy meaning ? The girl is not here ; you de- 
clare she is not on board of the Coquette, and there 
remains only " 

"The brigantine!" groaned the voung sailor 
uttering the word by a violent effort of the will. 

" The brigantine !" repeated the Alderman, slowly. 
" My niece can have nothing to do aboard a dealer 
in contraband. That is to say, Alida Barberie is not 
a trader." 

" Alderman Van Beverout, if we wish to escape 
the contamination. of vice, its society must be avoid- 
ed. There was one in the pavilion, of a mien and as- • 
lurance, the paf»t night, that might delude an angel 

V<«.L P 



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Ah ! vfomasi !• wooqian ! th j imod is composed of yaai- 
ties, and thy imagination is thy bitterest foe!^ 

''Women apd yanities !" echoed tiie amazed bark- 
er. "My niece, the heiress of old Eti^enne Marie 
de Barb^rie, and the spught of so many of bcM^orable 
names aQd respectable professions, to be a refugee 
with a rover !— always supposing your opinions ol 
the character of the brigantine to be just This is a 
conjecture too improbable to be true." 

" The eye of a lover, Sir, may be keener than: 
that of a ^ardian — call it jealousy, if you will, — 
would to Heaven my suspicions were untrue 1 — ^but 
if she be not there, where is she?" 

The opinion of the Alderman seemed staggered* 
If la belle Barbaric had not yielded to the fascina- 
tions of that wayward, but seductive, eye and smile, 
to that singular beauty of iace^ and to the secret and 
often irresistible charm that encircles eminent per- 
sonal attractions, when aided by mystery, to what, 
had she yielded, and whither haa she fled ? 

These were reflections that now began to pass 
through the thoughts of the Alderman, as they had 
already planted stings in the bosom of Ludlow. With 
reflection, conviction began slowly to assert its power- 
But the truth did not gleam upon the mind of the 
calculating and wary merchant, with the same in- 
stinctive readiness that it had flashed upon the jealous 
faculties of the lover. He pondered on each circum-i 
stance of the interview between the dealer in contra- 
band and his niece ; recalled the manner and dis- 
course of the former ; drew certain general and 
vague conjectures concerning the power which nov-. 
elty, when coupled with circumstances of romance, 
might exercise over a female fancy ; and dwelt long 
and secretly on some important facts that were alone 
known to himself, — before his judgment finally settled- 
down into the same opinion, as that which his com- 



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fnt 1?VATER-WlTCfr. 171 

panion had formed, wi^ all the sensitiveness of 
jealous alarm. 

" Women and vagaries I ** muttered the burgher, 
after his study was ended. " Their conceits are as 
uncertain as the profits of a tn^ialing voyage, or the 
hiek of a sportsman. Captain Ludlow, your assist- 
ance will be needed in stibis a£&ir; ^and, as it may 
not be too late, '^ since there are few priests in the 
^rigantine — always supposing her character to be 
t<?iiat you affirni — ^my niece may yet see her error, 
and be disposed to reward so much assiduity and 
Attachrtieht^* 

" My services diall always be reiady, so long as 
(hey can be useful to Alida Barb^rie," returned the 
young officer with haste, and yet a little coldly. ^* It 
tvill be time enough to speak of the reward, when 
we shall hav€j succeeded." ,. 

" The less noiste that is niade about a little domes-r 
He inconvenience like this, the better; and 1 would 
therefore suggest the propriety of keeping our suspi- 
cions of the character of the vessel a secret, until 
we shall be better informed." 

The captain bowed his assent to the proposal. 

" And now that we are of the same mind in the 
preliminaries, we will seek the Patroon of Kinder- 
hook, who has a claim to participate in our confi- 
dence.*' 

Myndert then led the way from the empty and 
ffifel&ncholy Cour des F6es, with a step that had re- 
fined it9 busy and firm tread, and a countenance 
^at expressed far more of vexati(«i and wearmesi, 
dian of real sorrow. 



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173 . THE WATER-WITCH* 



CHAPTER XIV. 

**^I'1I give tliee « wind. 

*'— Thou art kind. 

"— And I anotlier. 

**— X mytelf haw aUthe otter." 

AUCBBTB* . ^ 

The cloud above the moutli of the Raritan had 
not risen. On the contrary, the breeze still came 
from off the sea ; and the brigantine in the Cove, 
with the cruiser of the Queen, still lay .at their 
anchors, like two floating habitations that were not 
intended to be removed. The hour was that at 
which jthe character of the day becomes fixed ; and 
there was no longer any expectation that a land- 
wind would enable th^ vessel of the free-trader . to 
repass the inlet, before the turn of the tide, which 
was again running swiftly on the flood. 

The windows of the Lust in Rust were open, as 
when its owner was present ; and the menials were 
employed, in and about the villa, in their customary 
occupations; though it was evident, by the manner 
in which they stopped to converse, and by the fre- 
quent conferences which had place in secret corners, 
that they wondered none the less at the unaccount- 
able disappearance of their young mistress. In all 
other respects, the villa and its grounds were, as 
usual, quiet and seemingly deserted. 

But there was a group collected beneath the shade 
of an oak on the margin of the Cove, and at a point 
where it was rare for man to be seen. This little 
party appeared to be in waiting for some expected 
communication from the brigantine ; since they had 
taken post on the side of the inlet, next the cape, 
and in a situation so retired, as to be entirely hid 
fi-om any passing observation of those who might 



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TfHlB WATBR-WlTCff, 173 

ei^Bt or leave the moiith of the Shrewsbury. Ini 
shcMrt, they were on the long; low, and narrow barrier 
6f aattd, thkt hdw forms the projection of the Hook^ 
tod Wliich, 1^ the temporary breach that the Cov6 
had made between its own waters and that of ih^ 
oceail, wa^ flien an island, 

« Smig should he the motto of a merchant," oK 
served one of these individuals, whose opinions will 
saffici^Hy aniiounCe his name to the reader, " He 
Should he snug in hiis dealings, and snug ih his maiineif 
of cohlutting them; -snug in his cremts, and, abov^ 
all, sm^ in his speculations. There is as little need, 
geritlfemen, in calling in the aid of sL posse-comitatu^ 
for a sensible man to keep his household in order, as 
Chat a discreet trader should go whistling through 
the public markets, with the history of his opera-, 
lions. I gladly court two so worthy assistants, a^ 
Captain Coroelius Ludlow and Mr. Oloff Van Staats ; 
for I know there will be no useless gossip concerning 
the trifling derangement that hath occurred. Ah! 
the black hath had communications with the free-; 
trader — always supposing the opinion of Mr. Lud]o\V 
concerning the character. of the vessel to be just — 
and, he is quitting the brigan tine," 

Neither of the companions of the Alderman made 
any tephf. Each watched the movement of the skiff 
that contained their me&senger, and each seemed to 
feel ah equal interest in the result of his errand. In-; 
stead, however, of approaching the spot where hi^ 
master and his two friends expected him, the negro, 
fliough he knew that his boat was necessary to en- 
able the party to recross the inlet, pulled directly for 
the mouth of the river, — a course that was exactly 
contrary to the one he was expected to take. 

"Rank disobedience!" grumbled the incensed, 

master, " The irreverent dog is deserting us, on this* 

neck of barren sand, where we are cut off from all 

C0mmamcation with the interior, and are as com- 

P2 



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174 THJB WATER-^YITCEE* 

pletely without in teUlgence of the Uaifiot the par* 
ket, and other necessaries, as men in a desert 1" 

'^ Here comes one that seenps disposcfd to bring ha 

to a parley,^' observ£:d Ludlow, whose practised eye 

had first detected a boat quittii^ the side of the brig- 

ntine, as well as the direction it was about to ateer. 

The young conunander was not deceived; for a 
Cght cutter, that played like a bubble on its elementy 
was soon approachit^ the shore, where the three ex-. 
pectants were seated. ^Vhen it was near enough to 
render sight perfectly distinct, and speech audible 
without an efiort, the crew ceased rowing, and per- 
mitted the boat to Jie in a state of rest. The mari- 
ner of the India-shawl then arose in the stern-sheets, 
and examined the thicket behind the party, with a 
curious and suspicious eye. After a sufficient search, 
he signed to his crew to force the cutter still nigheT 
to the land, and spoke : 

"Who has aflFairs with any of the brigantine?" 
he coolly demanded, wearing the air of one who had 
no reason to anticipate the object of their visit. " She 
has little left that can turn to profit, unless she parts 
with her beauty." 

" Truly, good stranger," returned the Alderman, 
laying a sufficient emphasis on the latter word, " here 
are none disposed to a traffic, which might not be 
pleasing to the authorities of the country, were its 
nature known. We come with a desire to be admit- 
ted to a conference with the commander of the ve^ 
sel, on a matter of especial but private concern." 

" Why send a public officer on the duty ? I see 
one, there, in the livery of Queen Anne. We are 
no lovers of Her Majesty's servants, and would not 
willingly form disagreeable acquaintances." 

Ludlow nearly bit through his lip, in endeavoring 
to repress his anger, at the cool confidence of one 
who had already treated him with so little ceremony, 
and then momentarily forgetting hia object, m pro- 



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TlfB WATBR-WrTflp. 176 

feasbnal pride» and perhaps we might add in the 
habits of his i:ank, he interrupted the dialogue — 
• " If you see the liyery ot the royal authority," 
he said, haughtily, '^ you must be sensible it is worn 
by one who is commissiooied to cause its rights to be 
respected I demand the name and character of yon 
brigantinel" 

** As for character, she is, like any other beauty, 
something yituperai;ed ; nay, some carry their envy 
so fer as to call it cracked 1 But we are jolly mari- 
ners that sail her, and little heed crazy reports at 
the expense of our mistress. As ibr a name, we an- 
swer any hail that is fairly spoken, and well meant. 
Call us * Honesty j' if you wUl, for wait of the reg- 
ister." 

**^ There is much reason to suspect your vessel of 
illegal practices ; and, in the name of the Queen, I 
demand access to her papers, and the liberty of a free 
search into her cargo and crew. Else will there be 
necessity to bring her under the guns of the cruiser, 
which Ues at no great distance, waiting only for or- 
ders." 

" It takes no scholar to read our documents, Cap- 
tain Ludlow ; for they are written by a light keel 
on the rolling waters, and he who follows in our wake 
may guess at their authority. If you wish to over- 
haul our cargo, you must look sharply into the cuffi 
and aprons, the negligees and stomachers of the Gov- 
ernor's lady, at the next ball at the fort ; or pry into 
the sail that is set above the farthingales of the wife 
and daughters of your Admiralty Judge! We are no 
cheesemongers, to break the shins of a boarding offi- 
cer among boxes and butter-tubs." 

" Your brigantine has a name, sirrah ; and, in He^ 
Majesty's authority, I demand to know it." 

, " Heaven forbid that any here should dispute the 
Queen's right ! You are a seaman. Captain Ludlow, 
and have ap eye for comeliness in a craft, as well as 



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176 THE WJtTER'WITOH. 

in a woman. Look aft those barpings! There h nb 
fall of a shoulder can equal that curve, in gtace or 
richness ; this sheftr surpasses the justness and deli- 
cacy oif any waist ; and there you see the transoms, 
swelling and rounded Kke the outlines of a Venus. 
Ah! she is a bewitching creature; and no wonder 
that, floating as she does, on the seas, they shovikl 
have called her— — ^ 

<« Water- Witch!" said Ludlow, findBng that thfe 
other paused. 

" You deserve to be one of the sisterhood yourself. 
Captain Ludlow, for this readiness in divination !" 

"Amazement and surprise, Patroon!" exclaimed 
Myndert, with a tremendous hem " Here is a dis- 
covery to give a respectable merchant more uneasi- 
ness than the undutiful conduct of fifty nieces ! This 
vessel is then the famous brigantine of the notorious 
* Skimmer of the Seas ! ' a man whose misdeeds in 
commerce are as universally noted, as the stoppagfe 
of a general dealer I Pray, Master Mariner, do not 
distrust our purposes. We do not come, sent hy any 
authority of the country, to pry into your past trans- 
actions, of which it is quite unnecessary for you to 
speak ; and far less to indulge in any unlawful thirst 
of gain, by urging a traffic that is forbidden by the 
law. We wish solely to confer with the celebrated 
free-trader and rover, who must, if your account be 
true, command the vessel, for a few minutes, on aft 
affkir of common interest to the three. This officer 
of the Queen is obliged, by his duty, to make certain 
klemands of you, with which you will comply, or not, 
at your own good discretion ; and since Her Majesty's 
cruiser is so far beyond reach of bullet, it cannot be 
expected you will do otherwise ; but further than 
what, he has t)o present intention to proceed. Parleys 
and civilitiesi Captain Ludlow, we must speak the 
man fair, or he will leave us to get over the inlet, 
and back to tb^ Lmit in Rust, as we may ; and tbat» 



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THE WATER- WITCH. 177 

too, as empty-handed as we came. Remember our 
stipulations, without observing which I shall with* 
draw from the adventure, altogether.'* 

Ludlow bit his lip, and continued ^lent The sea- 
man of the shawl, or Master Tiller, as he has been 
more than oi\ce called, again narrowly examined 
the back-^ound, and caused his boat to abroach so 
near the land, that it was possible to step into it, by 
the stern. 

" Enter," he said to the Captain of the Coquette, 
who needed no second invitation ; " enter, for a val- 
uable hostage is a safe-pledge, in a truce. The 
Skimmer is no enemy to good company ; and I have 
done justice to the Queen's servitor, by introducing 
him already, by name and character." 

" Fellow, the success of your deception may cause 
you to triumph for a time ; but remember that the 
Coquette — : — " 

**Is a wholesome boat, 'whose abilities I have 
taken, to the admeasurement of her moment-glass;" 
observed Tiller, very coolly taking the words out of 
the other's mouth. *' But as there is business to be 
done with the Skimmer, we will speak more of this 
anon," 

. The mariner of the shawl, who had maintained 
his former audacious demeanor, now became grave; 
and he spoke to his crew with authority, bidding 
them pull the boat to the side of the brigantine. 

The exploits, the mysterious character, and the 
daring of the Watep-Witch, and of him who sailed 
her, were, in that day, the frequent subjects of an- 
ger, admiration, and surprise. Those who found 
pleasure in the marvellous, listened to the wonders 
that were recounted of her speed and boldness, with 
pleasure ; they who had been so often foiled in their 
attempts to arrest the hardy dealer^ in ccsitraband» 
reddened at her name ; and all wondered at the suc- 
cess and intelligence with which her movements 



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178 THE WATER-WITCH. 

were controlled. It will, therefore, create no as- 
tonishment when we say, that Ludlow and the Pa- 
troon drew near to the light and graceful fabric, 
with an interest that deepened at each stroke of the 
oars. So much of a profession which, in that agei 
was particularly marked and apart from the rest of 
mankind in habits and opinions, had been interwoven 
into the character of the former, that he could not 
see the just proportions, the graceful outlines of th6 
hull, or the exquisite symmetry and neatness of the 
spars and ri^mg, without experiencing a feeling 
somewhat allied to that which undeniable superiority 
excites in the heart of even a rival. There was also 
a taste in the style of the merely ornamental parts 
of the delicate machine, which caused as much sur- 
prise as her model and rig. 

Seamen, in all glges, and in every state of their 
art, have been ambitious of bestowing on their float- 
ing habitations, a style of decoration which, whil^ 
appropriate to their element, should be thought 
somewhat analogous to the architectural ornaments 
of the land. Piety, superstition, and national usages, 
affect these characteristic ornaments, which are still 
seen, in different quarters of the world, to occasion 
broad distinctions between the appearances of ves-. 
«els. In one, the rudder-head is carved with the 
resemblance of some hideous monster; another shows 
goggling eyes and lolling tongues from its cat-heads ; 
this has the patron saint, or the ever-kind Marie, 
embossed upon its mouldings or bows ; while that is 
covered with the allegorical emblems of country and 
duty. Few of these eflforts of nautical art are suc- 
cessful, though a better taste appears to be gradu 
ally redeeming even this branch of human bdustry 
from the rubbish of barbarism, and to be elevating 
k to a state which shall do ho violence to the more 
festidious opinions of the age. But the vessel of 
which we write, though constructed at so remote a 



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periodi would have done credit to the improvements 
of our own time. 

It has heen'said that the hull of this celebrated 
smuggler was low, dark, moulded with exquisite art, 
and so justly balanced as to ride upon its element 
like a sea-fowt For a little distance above the wa-. 
ter, it showed a blue that vied with the color of the 
deep ocean, the use of copper being then unknown ; 
while the more superior parts were of a jet black, 
delicately relieved by two lines, of a straw-color, 
that were drawn, with mathematical accuracy, par- 
allel to the plane of her upper works, and conse- 
quently converging slightly towards the sea, beneath 
her counter. Glossy hammock-cloths concealed the 
persons of those who were on the deck, while the 
close bulwarks gave the brigantine the air of a ves- 
sel equipped for war. Still the eye of Ludlow ran 
curiously along the whole extent of the two straw- 
colored lines, seeking in vain some evidence of the 
weight and force of her armament. If she had 
ports at all, they were so ingeniously concealed as to 
escape the keenest of his glances. The nature of 
the rig has been already described. Partaking of 
the double character of brig and schooner, the sails 
and spars of the forward-mast being of the former, 
while those of the after-mast were of the latter con- 
struction, seamen have given to this class of shipping 
the familiar name of Hermaphrodites. But, though 
there might be fancied, by this term, some want of 
the proportions that constitute seemliness, it will be 
remembered that the departure was only from some 
former rule of art, and that no violence had been 
done to those universal and permanent laws which 
constitute the charm of nature. The models of 
glass, which are seen representing the machinery of 
a ship, are not more e:^ct or just in their lines than 
' were the cordage and spars of this brigantine. Not 
a rope varied from its true direction ; not a sail, but 



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180 THE WATER-WltCH. 

it resembled the neat folds of some prudent house- 
wife ; not a mast or a yard was there, but it rose into 
the air, or stretched its arms, with the most fastidious 
attention to symmetry. All was airy, fanciful, and 
full of grace, seeming to lend to the fabric a charac 
ter of unreal lightness and speeds- As the boat drew 
near her side, a change of the air caused the buoy 
ant bark to turn, like a vane, in its current ; and as 
the long and pointed proportions of her head-gear 
came into view, Ludlow saw beneath the bowsprit 
£tn image that might be supposed to make, by means 
of allegory, some obvious allusions to the character 
of the vessel. A female form, fashioned with the 
carver's best skill, stood on the projection of the cut- 
water. The figure rested lightly on the ball of one 
foot, while the other was suspended in an easy atti- 
tude, resembling the airyposture of the famous Mer- 
cuiy of the Bolognese. The drapery was fluttering, 
scanty, and of a light sea-green tint, as if it had im- 
bibed a hue from the element beneath. The face 
was of that dark bronzed color which human in- 
genuity has, fr6m time immemorial, adopted as the 
best medium to portray a superhuman expression. 
The locks were dishevelled, wild, and rich ; the eye, 
full of such a meaning as might be fancied to glitter 
in the organs of a sorceress ; while a smile so strangely 
meaning and malign played about the mouth, that 
the young sailor started, when it first met his view, 
as if a living thing had returned his look. 

" Witchcraft and necromancy ! " gi umbled the Al- 
derman, as this extraordinary image came suddenly 
on his vision also. " Here is a brazen-looking hussy ! 
and one who might rob the Queen's treasury, itself, 
without remorse! Your ejres are young, Patroon; 
what is that the minx holds so impudently above her 
head?" 

" It seems an open book, with letters of red, writ- 



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THIS WArTKR-WITCB* 181 

ten on its paged. One peed not be ^ cotjUxoTf to di- 
vine it is no extract from the Bible." 

'' Nor from the statute-books of Queen Anne. I 
warrant me, 'tis a leger of profit gained in her many 
wanderings. Goggling and leers 1 the bold air of the 
confident creature is enough to put an honest, man 
out of countenance!" 

"Wilt read the motto of the witch?" demanded 
he of the India-shawl, whose eye had been studying 
the detail of the brigantine's equipment, rather than 
attending to the object which so much attracted the 
looks of his companions. " The night air has taut'ned 
the cordage of that fiying-jib-boora, fellows, until it 
begins to lift its nose like a squeamish cockney, 
when he holds it over salt-water ! See to it^ and 
bring the spar in line ; eke shall, we have a reprooif 
from the sorceress, who little Hkes to have any of her 
limbs deranged. Here, gentlemen, the opinions of 
the lady may be read, as clearly as woman's mind 
can ever be fathomed." 

While speaking to his crew. Tiller had changed 
the direction of the boat ; and it was soon lying, in 
obedience to a motion of his hand, directly beneath 
the wild and significant-looking image, just described. 
The letters in red were now distinctly visible; and 
when Alderman Van Beverout had adjusted his spec- 
tacles, each of the party read the following sen- 
tence ; — 

** Albeit, I neither lend nor Jkarow, 

By taking, nor by giving of excess, 

Yet td supply the ripe wants of my friend, 

ril break a custom." 

Merchant op Venice. 

*• The brazen !" exclaimed Myndert, when he ha 
got through this quotation from the immortal bard. 
'* Ripe or green, one could not wish to be the friend 
of so impudent a thing ; and then to impute such 
sentiments to any respectable commercial man. 

Vol. I. Q 



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wfaether df VetiU^e or of Amsterdam ! Let m h6hrd 
the brigantine, friend mariner, and<end the connexion, 
ere Ibul mc^ths begin to traduce our motives for the 
visit." 

" The over-driven ship plows the s6as too deep 
for speed ; we shall get into port, in better season ' 
without this haste. Wilt take another look into the 
dark lady'« pages 1 A woman's mind is never known, 
at the first answer !" 

, The speaker raised the rattan he still carried, and 
caused a page of painted metal to turn on hinges 
that were so artfully concealed as not to be visible. 
A new surface, with another extract, was seen. 

** What is it, what Js it, Patroon ?" demanded the 
burgher, who appeared greatly to distrust the discre- 
tion of the sorceress. " Follies and rhymes ! but this 
is the way of the whole sex; when nature has 
denied them tongues, they invent other means of 
speech." 

" Porters of the sea and land, 
Thus do go about, about ; 
Thrice to thine, and thrice to thine, 
And thrice again to make up nine." 

"*Ilan'k nonsense !" continued the burgher ! " It ii 
well for those who can, to add thrice and thrice to 
their rfores ; but look you, Patroon — ^it is a thriving 
trade that can double the value of the adventure, 
and that with reasonable risks, and months of patient 
watching." 

" We have other pages," resumed Tiller, " but our 
affairs drag for want of attending to them. One maj 
read much good matter in the book of the sorceress, 
when there is leisure and opportunity. I often take 
occasion, in t^e calms, to look into her volume; and 
it is fare to find the same moral twice told, as these' 
brave seamen can swear." 
' The mariners at the oars confirmied this assertion^ 



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TBX. WATXRr WITCSI* ISfil 

fty their grave and believkig faces ; while their ra* 
perior caused the boat to quit the place, and the 
image of the Water- Witch was left floating in aaii* 
tude above her proper element. 

The arrival o( the cutter produced no sensation 
among those who were found on the deck of the hrig* 
antine. The mariner of the shawl welcomed his 
companions, frankly and heartily ; and then he left 
them for a minute to make their observations, while 
he discharged some duty in the interior of the vessel. 
The moments were net lost, as powerful curiosity 
imJuced all the visiters to ga>ze about them, m the 
manner in which men study the appearance of any 
eelebrated olnect, that has long been known only by 
reputation. It was quite apparent that even Alder<« 
i^ban Van Beverout had penetrated farther into the 
mysteries of the beautiful brigantine, thas he had 
ever before been. But it was Ludlow who gadiered 
most from this brief opportunity, and whose under- 
standing glances ao rapidly and eagerly ran over all 
that, a seaman could wish to examine. 

An admirable neiatness reigned in every part. The 
planks of the deck resembied the work of the cabinet- 
ma ke<r, rather than the coarser labor which is gene- 
sally seen in such a place ; and the same excellence 
of material, and exactness iix the finish, were visible 
iH the .ceilings of the light bulwarks, the railings, 
and ail the other objects which necessarily came 
oonspicuoMsly into view, in the construction of such 
a fabric Brass was tastefully rather than lavi^ly 
uaed, on many of those parts where metal was neces- 
sary ; and the paint of the interior was everywhere 
a light and delicate straw-^olcN*. Armament there 
was none, or at least none visible ; nor did the fifteen 
or twenty grave-looking seamen, who were silently^ 
lounging, with folded arms, about the vessel, appear 
to be tlK)se who would find pleasure in scenes of vio- 
tence. They were, with^mt an excfiptioni raen who 



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184 - THK WATER-WITCH. 

had reached the middle age, of weather-worn and 
thoughtful countenances, many of them even show^ 
ing heads that had begun to be grizzled more by time 
than even by exposure. Thus much Ludlow had 
been enabled to ascertain, ere they were rejoined by 
Tiller. When the latter again came on deck, he 
showed, however, no desire to conceal any of the 
perfections of his habitation. 

" The wilful sorceress is no niggard in accommo- 
dating her ibllowcrs," said the mariner, observing 
the manner in which the Queen's officer was em« 
ployed. " Here, you see, the Skimmer keeps room 
enough for an admiral, in his cabins ; and the fellows 
are berthed aft, far beyond the foremast ; — ^wilt step 
to the hatch, and look below?" 

The captain and his companions did as de^red, 
and to the amazement of the former, he perceived 
that, with the exception of a sort of room fitted with 
large and water-tight lockers, which were placed in 
full view, all the rest of the brigantine was occupied 
by the accommodations of her officers and crew. 

"The world gives us the reputation of free-traders," 
continued Tiller, smiling maliciously; "but if th«- 
Admiralty-Court were here, big wigs and high stafis, 
judge and jury, it would be at a loss to bring us t^ 
conviction. There is iron to keep the lady on h^ 
feet, and water, with some garnish of Jamaica, and 
the wines of old Spain and the islands, to cheer the 
hearts and cool the mouths of my follows, beneath 
that deck ; and more tiian that, there is not We 
have stores for the table and the breeze, beyond yon 
bulk-head ; and here are lockers beneath you, that 
are — empty! See, <Mie is open; it is neat as any 
drawer in a lady's bureau. This is noplace for your 
Dutcliman's strong waters,.or the coarse skins of your 
tobacconist Odd's my life ! He who would go on 
the scent of the Water- Witch's lading, must follow 
your beauty jn her satins, or your parson in his band 



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TBS WATBE-WITOS. 186 

and gown. There would be mudi lainetitatioo iii 
the church, and many a heavy-hearted l»shop, wer« 
k known tkat the good craft had come to harm!" ^ 

** There must be an end to this audacious triin^ 
with the law/' said Ludlow j " and the time may be 
nearer than you suppose." 

** I look at the pages of the lady's book, in the 
pride of each morning ; for we have it aboard here, 
that when she intends to serve us foul, she will at 
least be honest enough to give a warning. The 
mottoes often change, but her w^rds are ever true. 
Tis hard to overtake the driving mist, Captain Lud- 
low, and he must hold good way with the wind itself, 
who wishes to stay long in our company." 

" Many a boastful sailor has been caught. The 
breeze that is good for the light of draught, and the 
breeze that is good for the deep keel, are diflerent 
You may live to learn what a stout spar, a wide 
arm, and a steady hull, can do." 

" The lady of the wild eye and wicked smile proj. 
tect me I I have seen the witch buried fathoms deep^ 
in brine, and the glittering water fatting from her 
tresses like golden stars; but never have I read an 
untruth in her pages. There is good intelligence 
between her and some on board ; and, trust me, she 
knows the paths of the ocean too well, ever to steer 
a wrong course. But we prate like gossiping river* 
men. — Wilt see the Skimmer of the^Seas?" 

" Such is the object of our visit," returned Lud- 
low, whose heart beat violently at the name of the 
"redoubtable rover. ^* If you are not he, bring us 
where he is." 

"Speak bwer; if the lady under the bow^ri 
hear such treason against her favorite, I'll not an^ 
swer for her good- will If I am not he !" added the 
hero of the India-shawl, laughing freely. "Welt 
an ocean is bigger than a sea^ and a bay is not a 
pAL You shaU have an opportunity of judging bof 
C12 



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186 THE WATER-WITGS. 

tween us, noble captain, and then I leave opinions to 
each omn's wisdom. Fellow." 

He quitted the hatchway, and led his compan- 
ions toward the accommodations in the stern of the 
vessel. 



CHAPTER XV, 

" God save you, Sir ! " 

" And you, Sir; you are welcome. 

" Travel you, Sir, or are you at the furthest 7" 

Tamixo op ths Sbkkw. 

If the exterior of the brigantine was so gracefoi 
in form and so angular in arrangement, the interior 
was still more worthy of observation. There were 
two small cabins benedth the main«deck, one op each 
side off andimmediately adjmning, the limited space 
that was destined to receive her light but valuable 
cargoes. It was into one of these that Tiller had 
descended, like a man who freely entered into his 
own apartment ; but partly above, and nearer to the 
stern, were a suite of little rooms that were fitted 
and furnished in a style altogether difierent. The 
equipments were those of a yacht, rather than those 
which might be supposed suited to the pleasures of 
even the most successful dealer in contraband. 

The principal deck had been sunken several feet, 
commencing at the aftermost bulk-head of the t;abins 
of the subordinate officers, in a manner to give the 
necessary height, without interfering with the line 
of the brigantine's shear. The arrangement was 
consequently not to be seen, by an observer who 
was not admitted into the vessel itself. A descent 
of a step or two, however, brought the visiters to the 



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THE WATBSR-WITOR. 187 

level otibe cabin^oor and into an ante«-room that 
was evidently fitted for the amveftience of the do- 
mestiGS. A small silver hand^bell laj on a table, and 
Tiller rung it lightly, like one whose ordinary man- 
ner was restrained by respect It was answered by 
the appearance of a boy, whose years could n(^ ex 
ceed ten, and whose attire was so whimsical as to 
merit description. 

The maj:erial of the dress of this young servitor of 
Neptune, was a light rose-colored silk, cut in a fash- 
ion to resemble the habits formerly worn by pages 
of the great. His body was belted by a band of 
gold, a collar of fine thread lace floated on his neck 
and shoulders, and even his feet were clad in a sort 
of buskins, that were ornamented with fringes of 
real lace and tassels of bullion. The form and fea- 
tures of the child were delicate, and his air as un- 
like aft possible to the coarse and brusque manner of 
a vulgar ship-boy 

** Waste and prodigality!" muttered the Alder- 
man, when this extraordinary little usher presented 
himself, in answer to the summons of Tiller. *' Tlus 
is the very wantonness of cheap goods and an unfet- 
tered commerce ! There is enough of Mechlin, Pa- 
troon, on the shoulders of that urchin, to deck the 
stomacher of the Queen. 'Fore George, goods were 
cheap in the market, wfaai the young scoundrel had 
his livery!" 

The Surprise was not confined, however, to the ob- 
servant and frugal burgher. Ludlow and Van Staats 
of Kinderhook manifested equal amazement, though 
their wonder was exhibited in a less characteristic 
manner. The former turned short fo demand the 
~ meaning of this masquerade, when he perceived that 
the hero of the India-shawl had disappeared. They 
were then alone with the fantastic page, and it be- 
came necessary to irust to his intelUgence for direc- 
tions how to proceed. 



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18d THB WATBR-WITOSi 

**Who art thou, child? — and who has sent fliee 
hither t'' demanded Ludlow. The boy raised a cap 
of the same rose-^colored silk, and pointed to an im* 
age of a female, with a swarthy face and a nialign 
smile, painted, with exceeding art, on its front. 

** I serve the sea-green lady, with the otiiers of th« 
brigantine." 

" And who is this lady of the color of shallow wa^ 
ter, and whence come you, in particular ?" 

** This is her likeness — ^if you would speak with 
her, she stands on the cut-water, and rarely refuses 
an answer." 

" 'Tis odd that a form of wood should have the 
gift of speech!" 

"Dost think her then of wood?" returned the 
child, looking timidly, and yet curiously, up into the 
face of Ludlow. ** Others have said the same ; but 
those who know best, deny it. She does not answer 
with a tongue, but the book has always something to 
say." 

** Here is a grievous deception practised on the so- 
perstition of this boy ! I have read the book, and can 
make but little of its meaning." 

" Then read again. 'Tis by many reaches that 
the leeward vessel gains upon the wind. My master 
has bid me bring you in — ^" 

<*Hold — ^Thou hast both master and mistress?— 
You have told us of the latter, but we would know 
something of the former. Who is thy master?" 

The boy smiled and looked aside, as if he hesi- 
tated to answer. 

** Nay, refuse not to reply. I come with the au- 
thority of the Queen." 

" He tells us that the sea-green lady is our Queen, 
and that'we have no other." 

"Rashness and rebellion!" muttered Myndert; 
" but this foolhardiness will one day bring as pretty 
a brigantine as ever sailed in the narrow seas, to 



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THE WATER- WITCH, 189 

condeimiation ; and thi^ will there be rumors abroad, 
•and characters cracked, till every lover of gossip i& 
the Americas shall be tired of defamation." 

"It is a bold subject, that dares say this!" re- 
joined Ludlow, who heeded not the by-play of the 
Alderman ; " Your master has a name '(" 

*• We never hear it. When Neptune boards us, 
-under the tropics, he always hails the 'Skimmer of 
the Seas,' and then they answer. The old God 
knows us well, for we pas^ his latitude often^ than 
other ships, they say.'* 

" You are then a . cruiser of some service, in the 
brigantine — ^no doubt you have trod many distant 
shores, belonging to so swift a craft." 
~ «* 1 1 — ^I never was on the land !" returned the boy, 
thoughtfully. " It must be droll to be there ; they 
say, one can hardly walk, it is so steady ! I put a 
question to the sea-green lady before we came to 
this narrow inlet, to know when I was to go ashore." 

" And sb^ answered t" 

«*It was some time, first. Two watches Were 
past before a word was to be seen ; but at last I got 
the lines. I believe she ipocked me, though I have 
never dared show it to my master, that he might 
say." 

" Hast the words, here ? — ^perhaps we might assist 
thee, as there are some among us who know most of 
the sea-paths." 

The boy looked timidly and suspiciously around^ 
•and thrusting a hand hurriedly into a j)ocket, he 
drew forth two bits of p^per, each of which con- 
tained a scrawl, and both of which had evidently 
been much thumbed and studied. 

" Here," he said, in a voice that was suppressed 
nearly to a whisper. " This was on the first page. I 
was so frightened, lest the lady should be angry, that 
I did not look again till the uext watch ; and then,** 
turning the leaf, ** I found this." 



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190 .TH£ WATBR-WfTOH. 

LulcHow teok the bit of paper &i8k btkfsei^ and 
jteskdt writt^i io a cluld's hand, the following esikact-: 

" I pray thee 
Remember, 1 have done thee worthy service ; 
Told thee no lies, made no mistakings, served 
Wi^out or grudge or grumblmgs.'* 

<" I thought that 'twaa in mcckery," contmied the 
hixy, when he saw by the eye of the yauog captain 
that he bad read the quotation; ** kx 'twas very- 
like, though more prettily wo:ded, than that which 
I bad said, myself ! " 

*' And that wa9 the second inswer ?" 

<* This was found in the fir{>t morning*wa4;cb," the 

child returned, reading the second extract huaoaeif : 

->> 
" Thou think'st 
It much to tread the ooze of the 'salt deep. 
And run upon the sharp wind of the north !** 

" I never dared to-ask again. But what matters 
that? They say, the ground is rough and difficult 
to W£^lk on ; that earthquakes shake it, and make 
holes to swallpw cities; that men slay each, other on 
the highways for mopey, and that the boi^s I see 
on the hills must always remain in the same spot. It 
must be very melancholy to live always in the same 
spot ; bujt then it must be odd, nev^r to feel a mo- 
tion!" 

'' Except the. occasional rocking of an earthquake i 
Thou art better afloat, child ; — ^but thy master* thi^ 
Skimmer of the Seas -" 

" — ^Hist !" whispered the boy, raising a finger foi 
silence. " He has come up into the great cabin. Ip 
a moment, we shall haye his signal to enter." 

"A few light touches on the strings of a guitar 
followed, and then a symphcmy was rapii^y and 
beautifully executed, by one in the adjoining apart 
ment. 



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TSK WArSRHWItOll. 161 

** AKda» tu^rselfy is not Hiore tiinilife-Shgered,'' 
tirhi^peped the Alderm^a; ** and I never heard, the 
girl touch the Dutch lute, that cost a hundred Hol- 
land guilderis, with a livelier movement!" 

Ludlow signed for silence. A fine, manly voice, 
of great richness and depth, was soon heard, singing 
to an accompaniment on the same instrument. The 
air was grave, and altogether unusual for the social 
character of one who dwelt upon the ocean, heing 
chiefly in recitative. The words, as near as might 
be distinguished, ran as folbws: 

My brigantine ! 
Just in thy mould, and beauteous in thy form. 
Gentle in roll, and buoyant on the surged 
Light OS the sea-fowl, rocking in the storm, 
In breeze and gale, thy onward course we urge; 

My Water-Queen ! 

Lady of mine t 
More light and swifl than thou, none thread the sea. 
With surer keel, or steadier on its path ; 
We brave each waste of ocean-mystery, 
And laogh to hear the howling tempest's wrath ! 

For we are thine ! 

My-brigantine! 
Trust to the mystic power that points thy wsf, 
Trust to th« eye that pierces from afar. 
Trust the red meteors that sroond thee play, 
Ajid fearless trust the sea-green lady's star.; 

Thou bark divine I 

" He often sings thus," whispered the hey, when 
the song was ended ; " for they say, the sea-green 
ady loves music that tells of the ocean, and of her 
power. — Hark ! he has hid ine enten" 

" He did but touch the strings of the guitar, againj - 
boy." 



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J i^^. hissizMA ^^the wind, and the roar of 






^ ,i,^^er is fair. Whtn 



'•^'tTferr^^;j'^/^ve giadly listened longer; but 
'^'lii'^^^''*' ''ed « ^'*' ^"^' pointing the way to 
.bof ^^ictedf he silently vanished himself, be • 

l^A .1 ^')^^ more partictilarly the young com 
Tbc / t/ie Cbquette, found new subjects of admi- 
'^P^^^od winder, on entering the main cabin of 
'^^^^' tontine. The apartment, considering the size 
^r^^he vessel, was spacious and high. It received 
V \ t from a couple of windows in the stern, and it 
s evident that two smaller rooms, one on each of 
ibe quarters, shared with it in this advantage. The 
space between these state-rooms, as they are called 
ifl nautical language, necessarily formed a deep -al- 
cove, which might be separated from the outer por- 
tion of the cabin, by a curtain of crimson damask, 
that now hung in festoons from a beam fashioned 
into a gilded cornice. A luxuriously-looking pile of 
cushions, covered with red morocco, lay ak)ng the 
transom, in the manner of an eastern divan; and 
against the bulk-head of each state-room, stood an 
agrippina of mahogany, that was lined with the 
same material. Neat and tasteful cases for books 
were suspended, here and there; and the guitar 
which had so lately been used, lay on a small table 
of some precious wood, that occupied the centre of 
the alcove. There were also other implements, like 
those which occupy the leisure of a cultivated but 
perhaps an effeminate rather than a vigorous mind, 
scattered around, some evidently long neglected, and 
others appearing to have been more recently in 
favor^ 

The outer portion of the cabin was fiirnished in a 
similar style, though it contained many more of the 
articles that ordinarily belong to domestic economy. 



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It lad itBkglipf^Uk piles of cuiAiions, its chairs of 
beautiful wood, its cases for books, and its neglected 
iasiruinetttSy intermixed ^th fixtures of a more solid 
and p^roianetit appearance, which were arranged to 
meet the violent motion that was often unavoidable 
in &b small a bark. There was a slight hanging of 
crimson diifnas^ around the whole apartment ,' and, 
bene and* tib^!^, a small mirror was let into the bulk- 
heads and ceilings. AH the other parts were of a 
rich tnahogany, i^Meved by panels of rose- Wood, th?it 
^ve^n appmrffl^e rf exquisite finish to the cabin. 
The floor was covered with a mat of the finest tex- 
twe, and <tf a fragrance that announced both its fresh- - 
neffi, and the fact that the grass had been the growth 
of a warm and luxuriant climate. The place, as w^s 
indeed tke whole vessel, so far as the keen eye 6C\ 
Ludiow eoiild detect, was entirely destitute of arms, 
not even a {nstol, or a sword, being suspended in 
those plaices wti^e weapons of that description . are 
BSoaUy^een, in all vessels employed either in war 
or in a trade that might /oblige thosp who sail them 
te deal in violence. 

In the centre of the alcove stood the youthful^ . 
looking and extraordinary person who, in so uncere- 
monious a manfier, had visited la Cour des F^es the 
ptiecedkig ni^t His dress was much the same, in 
fashion and rnaterial, as when last seen ; still, it had 
been changed ; for on the breast of the silken frock . 
was painted an image of the sea-gceen lady, done 
with exquisite skifl, and in a manner to preserve the 
wfade of the wild and unearthly character of the.. 
expresbioft. The wearer of this singular ornament 
leaned li^tly against the little table, and as he bow- 
ed with entire selApossession to his guests, his face , 
was lighted with a smile, that seemed to betray mel- 
ancholy, no less than courtesy. At the same time he 
raised bis cap, and stood in the rich jet-black locks 

Vol. I R 



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194 T0B WATBR-WITQR« 

with which Nature bad so exuberantly ebaded liifi 
forehead. 

The manner of the visiters was less.eoAj* The; 
deep anxiety with which both Ludlow and the Pa- 
troon had undertaken to board the notorious smuggler, 
had given place to an amazement and a curiosity 
that caused them nearly to forget their errand ; while 
Alderman Van Beverout appeared shy and suspicious, 
nxanifestly thinking less of his niece, than of the con*- 
sequence&of so remarkable an interview. They all 
returned the salutation of their host, though each 
waited for him to speak, 

" They tell me I have the phsasure to receive a 
commander of Queen Anne's service, the wealthy 
and honorable Patroon of Kinderhook, and a most 
worthy and respectable member of the city corpora^^ 
tion, known as Alderman Van Beverout," commenced 
the individual who did the honors of the vessd on 
this occasi(»i. << It is not often that my po(Mr brigan- 
tine i^ thus favored, and, in the name of my mistress, 
I woidd express our thanks." 

As he ceased speaking, he bowed again with cere* 
monious gravity, as if all were equally strangers to 
him ; ^ though the young men saw plainly that a 
smothered smile played about a mouth that even 
they could not refuse the praise of being of rare atiid 
extraordinary attraction. 

" As we have but one mistress," said Ludlow, " it 
is our common duty to wish to do her pleasure." 

" I understand you. Sir. It is scarce, necessary to 
say, however, that the wife of George of Denmark 
has little authority here. Forbear, I pray you," he 
added quickly, observing that Ludlow was about to 
answer. " These interviews with the servants of that 
lady are not unfrequent ; and as I know other mat- 
ters have sent you hither, we will imagine all said 
that a vigilant officer and a most loyal subject could 
utter, to an outlaw and a triiSer with the regulations 



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THIS WATSaEl-WlTCH. 196 

of ^ customs. That controversy must be settled 
between us under our canvas, and by vktue of our 
Speed, or other professional qualities, at proper time 
and in a. proper place. We will now touch on dif- 
ferent matters;'* 

** I think the gentleman is right, Patroon. When 
matters are ripe for the Exchequer, there is no use 
in worrying the lungs with summing up the testimony, 
Kke a fee'd advocate. Twelve discreet men, who 
have bowels of compassion for the vicissitudes of 
trade, and who know how hard it is to earn, and how 
feasy it is to spend, will deal with the subject better 
than all the idle talkers in the Provinces." 

** When confronted to the twelve disinterested Dan- 
iels, I shall be fain to submit to their judgment,*' re- 
Jmned the other, still suffering the wilful smile to 
linger round hts lips. " You, Sir, I think, are called 
Mc. Myndert Van Beverout. — ^To what fall in peltry, 
or what rise in markets, do I owe the honor of this 
visit t" 

^« It is said that some from this vessel were so bold 
as to land on my grounds, during the past night, 
without the knowle<%e and consent of their owner — 
you will observe the purport of our c&course, Mr. 
Van Staats, for it may yet come before the authori- 
ties — ^as I said, 8Sr, without their owner's knowledge, 
and that there were dealings in articles that are- 
contraband of law, unless they enter the provinces 
purified and embellished by the air of the Queen's 
European dominions — God bless Her Majesty !" 

" Amen.— That which quitteth the Water-Witch 
commonly cc«nes purified by the air of many different 
i^ions. We are no la^ards in movement, here; 
and the winds of Europe scarcely cease to blow upon 
our sails, before we scent the gales of America. jBut 
tbis' i» rs^ther Exchequer matter, to be discussed 
before the twelve merciful burghers, than entertain* 
tte&t for mch a visit" 



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I99v THJ9 WAXJBR'WIVCp. 

<' I open mth the facts^ th^t there ma; W fita 
errors. But in addition to so jfoul an imputatioa oH 
the credit of a merchant, there has a great <:alatautv. 
befallen me and my household, during the past nighi 
The daughter and heirea>s of old £tienn# ie B^rb^n^ 
has left her abode, and we have rewxi to thiidc that 
she has been deluded so far as to come hith^n Fak^ 
and correspondence! Master Seadrifl; but I H^k 
this is exceeding the compass of even a tm^p id 
contraband ! J can make allowances ibr sobm^ esroc^ 
in an account ; hut women cap hfi esp^t^d afi4 
Imported without duty^ and wl^en 9^d wbeve om^ 
pleases, 'and therefore the less necessity fov luiming 
them out of their old upcle's habitatiooy in-sq secret 
a manner.'* 

*^ An undeniable position, and a feelings oonclu^iofit 
I admit the demand to he made in ali foPBAy and I 
suppose these two gentlemen are^to be Gonsidered aa 
witnesses of its legality." 

'^ We have come to aid a wronged and distre^^^ 
relative and guardian^ in se^rchii^g lor his mi^juided 
ward," Ludlow answered. 

The free-trader turned his eyes on the Patrooii^ 
who signified his assent by a silent bow. 

'< 'Tis well, gentlemen ; I also admit the tofsliaionf • 
But though in common believed so worthy s^ aub^ 
ject for justice, I have hitherto had but little d^xmi 
communication with the blind deity. Do the author* 
ities usually give credit to these charger without 
some evidence of their truth?" 

"Is it denied?^' 

'^ You are still in possession of your a^nfi^Captalp 
(iudlow, and may ireely use thepi. B^t this is as 
artifice to divert pursuit. There are^ other- vessel 
beside the brigantine, and a capricious fair may have 
sought a protector, even under a peons^t^^f Qtu^eo 
Anne!" 

^' This is a truth that has been but top abv|9i)9-t9. 



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fHE WATBtt-WITOH. 197 

my rnind^ Mr. Van Beverout,*' observed the senten- 
tteus Patrotffi. « It would have been well to have 
aEdc^rtained whether she we seek has not taken some 
less exceptionable course than this, before we hastily 
believe that your niece would so easily become the 
wife of a stranger." 

" Has Mr. Van Staats any hidden meaning in his 
words, that he speaks ambiguously?" demanded 
LudJow. 

** A man, conscious of his good intentions, has little 
occasion to speak equivocally. I believe, with this 
rqputed smuggler, that la belle Barb^rie would be 
more likely to fly with one she has long known, and 
whom I fear she has but too well esteemed, than 
with ah utter stranger, over whose life there is cast 
a shade of so dark mystery." 

"If the impression that the lady could yield her 
esteem with too little discretion, be any excuse for 
suspick>ns, then may I advise a search in the manor 
of Kinderhook!" 

,** Consent and joy ! The girl needliot have stolen 
to church to become the bride of Oloff Van Staats !" 
interrupted the Alderman. " She should have had 
my benediction on the match, and a fat gift to give 
it unction." 

"These suspicions are but natural, between men 
bent on the same object," resumed the free-trader. 
" The oflicer of the Queen thinks a glance of the 
6ye, from a wilful fair, means admiration of broad 
lands and rich meadows ; and the lord of the manor 
distrusts the romance of warlike service, and the 
power of an imagination which roams the sea. Still 
may I ask, what is there here, to tempt a proud And 
courted beauty to forget station, sex, and friends'?" 

*» Caiprice and vanity ! There is no answering for 
a woman's mind ! Here we bring articles, at great 
risk and heavy charges, from the farther Indies, to 



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}98 ftm WATfoi-^n^vofL 

easier thao the beaver caftt» bis c^^t, T}|^ cw« 
celts sadly unsettle ti^de, and I knew jboI vf}ff th^ 
may not cause a wilful ^rl to do aay e&er act eC 
fclly." 

** This reasoning seems conclusive with ibe luncle. 
Do the suitors assent to its justice?" 

The Patroon of Kinderhook had ^x>od gazing, long 
and earnestly, at the countenance of the .extra* 
ordinary being who asked this question. A move^ 
ment, Avhich bespoke, equally^ his coDviction attd his 
regret, escaped him, but he continued silent Not so 
Ludlow. C5f a more ardent temperament, though 
equally sensible of the temptation which had caused 
Alida to err, and as keenly alive to all the conse<- 
quences to herself, as well as to others, there was 
something of professional rivalry, and of an official 
right to investigate, which still mingled with his 
feelings. He had found time to examine more closefy 
the articles that the cabin contained, and when their 
singular host put his question, he pointed, with an 
ironical but mournful smile, to a ibotstool richly 
wrought in flowers of tints and shades so just as to 
seem natural. 

"This is no work of a sail-maker's needle I" s^d 
the captain of the Coquette. " Other beauties have 
been induced to pass an idle hour in your gay resi- 
dence, hardy mariner ; but, sooner or later, judgment 
will overtake the light-heeled craft" 

<< On the wind, or off, she must some day lag, as 
-we seamen have it ! Captain Ludlow, I excuse some 
harshness of construction, that your language might 
imply ; for it becomes a commissioned servant of the 
crown, to use freedom with one who, like the lawless 
companion of the princely Hal, is but too apt to 
propose to ' rob me the King's Exchequer.' But, 8ir, 
this brigantine and her character are little known to 
you. We have no need of truant dam^els^ to let u^ 
k^ t^e mj^lfiff of tbie se9:'ft ti^j^ Ay .%, f§wito 



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i^fit guides all our faunuwa, and inipaarts scanBthiog 
of fa^ deticacy to all our acts, even though it be 
<he fe^on amdng huj^hers to call them lawlesB. 
See," thrtming a curtain carelessly aside, and ex- 
hibiting, behind it, various articles of womanly em- 
ployment, '^here are the offipring of both pencil and 
Bieectte. The sorceress," touching the image on his 
breast, ^ will not be entertained, without some defer- 
ence to her sex." 

** This afiair must be arranged, I see, by a com- 

proQUse," observed the Alderman. " By your leave; 

gentlemen, I will make proposals in private to this 

bold trader, who perhaps will listen to the offers I 

ihaye to propose." 

"Ah! This savors mote of the spirit of trade 
than of that of the sea-goddess I serve," cried the 
other, causing his fingers to run lightly over the 
strings of the guitar. " Compromise and offers are 
sounds that become a burgher's lips. My tricksy 
spirit, commit these gentlemen to the care of bold 
Thomas Tiller, while I confer with the merchant. 
The character of Mr. Van Beverout, Captain Lud- 
low, will protect us both from the suspicion of any 
designs on the revenue!" 

Laughing at his own alludon, the free-trader 
signed to the boy, who had appeared from behind a 
curtain, to show the disappointed suitors of la belle 
Barb^rie into another part of the vessel. 

"Foul tongues and calumnies! Master Seadrift, 
this unlawful manner of playing round business, after 
accounts are settled and receipts passed, may lead 
to other loss besides that of character. The com- 
mander of the Coquette is not more than half satis- 
fied of my ignorance of your misdoings in behalf of 
die customs, already; and these jokes are like so 
many punches into a smouldering fire, on a dark 
iiight They only give lights and cause pegple to see 
the clearer : — ^though, I leaven knows, no man has 



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200 THB WJLrVXb^'VnTGSU 

l&A reason to dread an inquiry into his afi&jtrs than 
myself! I challenge the best accountant in the.colo* 
. nies to detect a false footing, or a doubtful entry, in 
any book I have, from the Memorandum to the 
Leger." 

" The Proverbs are not more sententious, nor the 
Psalms half as poetical, as your library. But why 
this secret parley? — ^The brigantine has a swept 
hold." 

*• Swept ! Brooms and Van Tromp 1 Thou hast 
swept the pavilion of my niece of its mistress, no less 
than mj purse of its Johannes, This is carrying a 
little innocent barter into a most forbidden commerce, 
and I hope the joke is to end, before the afiair gets 
to be sweetening to the tea of the Province gossips. 
Such a tale would affect the autumn importation of 
sugars ! " 

" This is more vivid than clear. You have my 
laces and velvets ; my. brocades and satins are already 
in the hands of the Manhattan dames ; and your furs 
and Johannes are safe where no boarding officer fronj 
. the Coquette " 

"Well, there is no need of speaking-trumpets^ to 
tell a man what he knows already, to his cost ! I 
should expect no less than bankruptcy from two or 
three such bargains, and you wish to add loss of 
character to loss of gold. Bulk-heads have ears in 
a ship, as well as walls in houses. I wish no more 
said of the trifling traffic that has been between us. 
If I lose a thousand florins by the operation, I shall 
know how to be resigned. Patience and afflictions ! 
Have I not buried as full-fed and promising a gelding 
this morning, as ever paced a pavement, and has any 
man heard a complaint, from my lips? I know how 
to meet losses, I hope ; and so m) more of an unlucky 
purchase." 

« Truly, if it be not for trade, there is little in 



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pommoQ between the mariners of the hi^antine and 
Alderman Van Beverout" 

" The greater the necessity thou shouldst end this 
siBj joke, and restore his niece. I am not sure the 
aSair can be at all settled with either of these hot- 
headed young men, though 1 should even offer to 
throw ia a- few thousands more, by way of make- 
weight* When female reputation gets a bad name 
in the market, 'tis harder to dispose of than falling 
stock ; and your young lords of manors and com-^ 
m^dexs of cruisers have stomachy like usurers ; no 
per centage will satisfy them ; it must be all, or no* 
thing I There was no such foolery in the days of thy 
worthy father! The honest trafficker brought his 
cutter into port, with as, innocent a look as a mill- 
boat We had our discourses on the qualities of his 
wares, when here was his price, and there was my 
gold. Odd or even 1 It was all a chance which had 
the best cf the bargain. I was a thriving man in 
those days, Master Seadrift ; but thy spirit seems the 
spirit of extortion itself!" " 

There was momentarily contempt on the lip of 
thQ handsome smuggler, but it disappeared in an ex- 
pression of evident and painful sadness. 

"Thou hast softened my heart, ere now, most 
liberal burgher," he answered, " by these allusions 
to my parent ; and many is the doublobn that I have 
paid for his eulogies." 

" I speak as disinterestedly aa a parson preach^ ! 
What is a trifle of gold between friends ? i es, there 
was happiness in trade during the time of thy prede- 
<5essor. He had a comely and a deceptive craft, 
that might be likened to an untrimmed racer. There 
tVas motion in it, at need, and yet it had the air o* 
a leisurely Amsterdamnaer. I have known an Ex- 
Chequer cruiser hail him, and a^ the news of the 
famous free-trader, with as little suspicion as he 
would Bave in ispeaking^ the Ij^4 High Admirals 



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200 



r 



. '^ in bta time ; no unseemly 

^ vrere ''^f his ^^sprit, to put an honest 

^^!^ stuck ^I'l^sDce; no high-fliers in sail and 

^"'t%t ^/'^?'^'^;ij;uting— but all was rational and 

^nt;^^''f Then, he was a man to ballast his 

^^/'''(^^^etijing valuable. I have known him 

bo»i ^%{iy ankers of gin, without a farthing for 

' ^{^^^heii a bargain has been struck for the finer 

^^Se^-^/' and finish by landing them in England, 

/ sm^i^ premium, when the gift was made !" 

t^He deserves thy praise, grateful Alderman ; but 
^ wbs^ concluaon does this opening tend ?" 
. « Well, if more gold must pass between us," con- 
^ued the reluctant Myndert, " we shall not waste 
time in counting it ; though. Heaven knows. Master 
geadrift, thou hast already drained me dry. Losses 
have fallen heavy on me, of late. There is a gelding, 
dead, that fifty Holland ducats will not |;eplace on 
the bo(Mn-key of Rotterdam, to say nothing of freight 

and charges, which come particularly heavy " 

" Speak to thy oflTer !'^ interrupted the other, who 
evidently wished to shorten the interview. 

" Restore the girl, and take five-and-twenty thin 
pieces." 

" Half-price for a Flemish gelding! La Belle would 
blush, with honest pride, did she know her value in 
the market I " 

" Extortion and bowels of compassion ! Let it be 
a hundred, and no further words between us." 

" Harkee, Mr. Van Beverout ; that I sometimes 
trespass on the Queen's earnings, is not to be denied, 
and least of all to you ; for 1 like neither this manner 
of ruling a nation by deputy, nor the principle which 
says that one bit of earth is to make laws for another 
'Tis not my humor, Sir, to wear aq English cotton 
when my taste is for the Florentine ; nor to swallow 
beer, when I more relish the delicate wines of Gas- 
cony. Beyood this, thou knowest I do not triflei 



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V 



^yen with fancied rights ; and had I fifty of thy 
nieces, sacks of ducats should not purchase one !" 

The Alderman stored, in a manner that might 
have induced a spectator to believe he was listen- 
ing to an incomprehensible proposition. Still his 
companion spoke with a warmth that gave him no 
small reason to believe he uttered no more than he 
felt, and, inexplicable as it might prove, that he 
valued treasure less than feeling. 

"Obstinacy and extravagance!" muttered Myn- 
dert ; " what use can a troublesome girl be to one of 
thy habits ? If thou hast deluded " 

" I have deluded none. The brigantine is not an 
Algerine, to ask and take ransom." 

" Then let it submit to what I believe it is yet a 
stranger. If thou hast not enticed my niece away, by. 
Heaven knows, a most vain delusion ! let the vessel be 
searched. This will make the minds of the young 
men tranquil, and keep th^ treaty open between us, 
und the value of the article fixed in the market." 

" Freely : — but mark I If certain bales containing 
worthless furs of martens and beavers, with other 
articles of thy colony trs|^, should discover the char- 
acter of my correspondents, I stand exonerated of all 
breach of faith." 

" There is prudence in that. — ^Yes^ there must be 
no impertinent eyes peeping into bales and packages. 
Well, I see. Master Seadrift, the impossibility of im- 
mediately coming to an understanding ; and there- 
fore I will quit thy vessel, for truly a merchant of re- 
putation should have no unnecessary connexion with 
one so suspected." 

The free-trader smiled, partly in scorn and yet 
much in sadness, and passed his fingers over the 
strings of the guitar. 

" Show this worthy burgher to his friends, Zephyr," 
he said ; and, bowing to the Alderman, he dismissed 
him in a manner that betrayed a singular compound 



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/ 



of feeling. One quick to discover the traces of hu* 
man passion, might have fancied, that regret, and" 
even sorrow, were powerfuUy hlended'with the natu- 
ral or assumed recklessness of the smuggler*s air and 
language. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

** This will prove a brave kingdon to me ; 
Where I aball bave my music, for nothing!'* 

TBMPKtfr. 

During the tinje past in the secret conference dT 
the cabin, Ludlow and the Patroon were held in dis- 
course on the quarter-deck, by the hero of the India- 
shawl. The dialogue was professional, as Van Staats 
maintained his ancient reputation for taciturnity- 
The appearance of Myndert, thoughtful, disappointed, 
and most evidently perplexed, caused the ideas of atl^ 
to take a new direction. \Tk is probable that the 
burgher believed he had not yet bid enough to 
tempt the free-trader t6 restore his niece ; for, by 
his air, it was apparent his mind was far from being 
satisfied that she was not in the vessel. Still, when 
questioned by his companions concerning the resuk 
of his interview with the free-trader, for reasons best 
understood by himself, he was fain to answer eva- 
s'tvely. 

" Of one thing rest satisfied," he said ; ** the mis- * 
conception in this affair will yet be explained, and 
Alida Barbdrie return unfettered, and with a char- 
acter as free from blemish as the credit of the Van 
Stoppers of Holland. The fanciful-looking person in 
the cabin denies that my niece is here, and I am in- 
cKned to think the balance of truth is on his side. 



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THE WATER-WITCk. 205 

I confess, if one could just look into the cabins, with- * 
out the trouble of rummaging lockers and cargo, the 
statement would give more satisfaction; but — hem — 
gentlemen, we must take the assertion on credit, for 
want of more suflScient security. 

Ludlow looked at the cloud above the mouth of . 
the Raritan, and his lip curled in a haughty smile. 

" Let the wind hold here, at east," he said, " and 
we shall act our pleasure, with both lockers and 
cabins.** 

_ *• Hist ! the worthy Master Tiller may overhear 
this threat — and, after all, I do not know whether 
prudence does not tell us, to let the brigantine 
depart." . 

" Mr. Alderman Van Beverout," rejoined the Cap- 
tain, whose cheek had reddened to a glow, " my duty 
must not be gauged by your affection for your niece. 
Though content that Alida Barb^rie should quit the 
country, like an article of vulgar commerce, the 
comnnander of this vessel must get a passport of Her 
Majesty's cruiser, ere she again enter the high sea." 

" Wilt say as much to the sea-green lady ? " asked 
the mariner of the shawl, suddenly appearing at his 
elbow. 

The question was so unexpected and so strange, 
that it caused an involuntary start ; but, recovering 
his recollection on the instant, the young sailor 
haughtily replied — 

" Or to any other monster thou canst conjure !" 

"We will take you at the word. There is no 
more certain method of knowing the past or the 
future, the quarter of the heavens from which the 
winds are to come, or the season of the hurricanes, 
than by putting a question to our misrress. She who 
knows so much of hidden matters, may tell us what 
you wish to know. We will have her called, by the 
usual summons." 

Thus saying, the mariner of the shawl gravely 

Vol. I. 8 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 



206 ' TOE, WATilR-WITCIJU 

quitted his guests, and deBcended in^to the inferior 
cabins of the vessel. It was but a mpment, before 
there arose sounds from some secret though not dis- 
tant quarter of the brigantine, that caused, in some 
measure, both surprise and pleasure to Ludlow and 
the Patroon. Their companion had his motives for 
being insensible to either of these emotions. 

After a short and rapid symphony, a wind-instru- 
ment took up a wild strain, while a hunoan voice was . 
again heard chanting to the music, words which 
were so much involved by the composition of the air, 
as to render it impossible to trace more than that . 
their burthen was a sort of mysterious incantation oi 
some ocean deity. 

"Squeaking and flutes!" grumbled Myndert, ere 
the last sounds were fairly ended. *^This is down- 
right heathenish ; and a plain-dealing man, who does 
business above-board, has good reason to wish him- 
self honestly at church. What have we to do with 
land-witches, or water-witches, or any other witch- 
craft, that we stay in the brigantine, now it is known 
that my niece is not to be found aboard her ; and, 
moreover, even admitting that we were disposed to 
traffic, the craft has nothing in her that a man of 
Manhattan should want. The deepest bog of thy 
manor, Patroon, is safer ground to tread on, than the 
deck of a vessel that has got a reputation like that 
of this craft" 

The scenes of which he was a witness, had pro* 
duced a powerful effect on Van Staats of Kinderhook. 
Of a slow imagination, but of a powerful and vast 
frame, he was not easily excited, either to indulge in 
fanciful images, or to suffer personal apprehension. 
Only a few years had passed since men, who in other 
respects were enlightened, firmly believed in the ex- 
istence of supernatural agencies in the control of the 
allairs of this life ; and though the New-Netherland- 
ers had escaped the infatuation which prevailed so 



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THE WATBR-WITCH. 207 

generally in the religious provinces of New-England, 
a credulous superstition, of a less active quality, pos- 
sessed the minds of the most intelligent of the Dutch 
colonists, and even of their descendants so lately a$ 
tn our own times. - The art of divination was par-^ 
ficularly in favor ; and it rarely happened, that any 
inexplicable event atTected the fortunes or comforts 
of the good provincialisls, without their having re^ 
tourse to some one of the more renowned fortune- 
tellers' of the country, for an explanation. Men o( 
slow faculties love strong excitement, because they 
are insensible to less powerful impulses, as men of 
hard heads find most enjoyment in strong liquors* 
The Patroon was altogether of the sluggish cast ; and 
io him there was consequently a secret, but deep 
pleasure, in his present situation. 

" What important results may flow from this ad-i 
venture, we know hot, Mr. Alderman Van Beverout," 
teturned OloflT Van Staats ; " and I confess a desire 
to See and hear more, before we land. This * Skim- 
mer of the Seas' is altogether a different man fronn 
what our rumors in the city have reported ; and, by 
ihemaining, we may set public opinion nearer to the 
truth. I have heard my late venerable aunt " 

** Chimney-corners and traditions ! The good lady; 
Was no ba;d customer of these gentry, Patroon; and 
it is lucky that they got no more of thy inheritance, 
in the way of fees. You see the Lust in Rust against 
fhe mountain there ; well, all that is meant for the 
public is on the outside, and all that is intended for 
fny own private gratification is kept within-doors. 
But here is Captain Ludlow, who has matters of the 
Q,ueen on hi^" hands, and the gentleman will find i 
disloyal to waste the moments in this juggling." 

"I confess the same desire to witness the end," 
dryly returned the commander of the Coquette. 
"The state of the wind prevents any immediate 
change' Iti the positions of the two vessels; and why 



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208 THE WATER-WITCH, 

not get a farther insight into the extraordinary char- 
acter of those who belong to the brigantine V^ 

" Ay, there it is!" muttered the Alderman be- 
tween his teeth. " Your insights and outsights lead 
to all the troubles of life. One is never snug with 
these fantastics, which trifle with a secret, like a fly- 
fluttering round a candle, until his wings get burnt." 

As his companions seemed resolved to stay, how- 
ever, there remained no alternative for the burgher, 
but patience. Although apprehension of some indis- 
creet exposure was certainly the feeling uppermost 
in his mind, he was not entirely without some of the 
weakness which caused Oloif Van Staats to listen 
and to gaze with so much obvious interest and secret 
awe. Even Ludlow, himself, felt more affected than 
be would have willing owned, by the extraordinary 
situation in which he was placed. No man is en- 
tirely insensible to the influence of sympathy, let it 
exert its power in what manner it will. Of this the 
young sailor was the more conscious, through the 
effect that was produced on himself, by the grave 
exterior and attentive manner of all the mariners 
of the brigantine. He was a seaman of no mean 
accomplishments ; and, among other attainments that 
properly distinguish men of his profession, he had 
learned to kpow the country of a sailor, by those 
general and distinctive marks which form the prin- 
cipal difference between men whose common pursuit 
has in so great a degree created a common charac- 
ter. Intelligence, at that day, was confined to nar- 
row limits among those who dwelt on the ocean. 
Even the officer was but too apt to be one of rude 
and boisterous manners, of limited acquirements^ 
and of deep and obstinate prejudices. No wonder 
then, that the common man was, in general, igno- 
rant of most of those opinions which gradually en- 
lighten society. Ludlow had seen, on entering the 
vessel, that her crew was composed of men ot dif 



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itrecft iSoiinfrie^. A^e and personal character seemed 
to have' be^ morfe consulted, in their selection, than 
national distinctions. There ^Vas a Finlander, with 
A crednlotiB and oval physiognomy, sturdy hut short 
frame, and a light vacant eye ; and a dark-skinned 
^aman of the Mediterranean, whose classical out- 
line of feature was often disturbed by uneasy and 
^nritive glances at the horizon. These two men had 
come and placed themselves near the group on the 
quarter-deck, when the last music was heard ; and 
Ludlow had ascribed the circumstance to a sensibility 
to melody, when the child Zephyr stole to their side, 
m a manner to show that more was meant by th^ 
movement than was apparent in the action itself 
The appearance of Tiller, who invited the party to 
re-enter the cabin, explained its meaning, by show- 
ing that these men, like themselves, had business 
with the being, who, it was pretended, had so great 
an agency in controlling the fortunes of the brigan- 
tine. 

The party, who now passed into the little ante- 
room, was governed by very different sensations. 
The curiosity of Ludlow was lively, fearless, and a 
little mingled with an interest that might be termed 
professional ; while that of his two companions was 
not without some inward reverence for the myste^ 
rious power of the sorceress. The two seamen mani- 
fested dull^ dependence, while the boy exhibited, iA 
his ingenuous and half-terrified countenance, most 
unequivocally the influence of childish awe. The 
mariner of the shawl was grave, silent, and, what 
was unusual in his deportment, respectful. . After 
a moment's delay, the door of the inner apartment 
was opened by ^adrift himself, and he signed for the 
whole to enten 

A material change had been made in the arrange- 
ment of the principal cabin. The light was entirely 
eaicltided from the stern, and the erimson curtain had 
S2 



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21i) THE VVATBR-WITOH, 

been lowered before the alcove. A small wmdow, 
whose effect was to throw a dim obficuritj witlmi, 
had been opened in the side. The objects on which 
its light fell strongest, received a soft coloring from 
the hues of the hangings. 

The free-trader received his guests with a chaft- . 
tened air, bowing silently, and with less of levity in 
his mien than in the former interview. Still Lud- 
.low thought there lingered a forced but sad smile 
about his handsome mouth ; and the Patroon gazed 
at his fine features, with the admiration that one 
might feel for the most favored of those who were 
believed to administer at some supernatural shrine. 
The feelings of the Alderman were exhibited only by 
some half-suppressed murmurs of discontent, that 
from time to time escaped him, notwithstanding a 
pertain degree of reverence, that was gradually pre« 
vailing over his ill-concealed dissatisfaction. 

" They tell me, you would speak with our mis- 
tress," said the principal personage of the vessel, in 
a subdued vpice. " There are others, too, it would 
seem, who wish to seek counsel from her wisdom. 
It is now many months since we have had direct 
converse with her, though the book is ever open to 
all applicants for knowledge. You have nerves for 
ihe meeting?" 

" Her Majesty's enemies have never reproached 
me with their want," returned Ludlow, smiling in- 
credulously. " Proceed with your incantations, that 
we may know." 

•* We are not necromancers, Sir, but faithful pnarif 
ners, who do their mistress's pleasure. I know that 
you are sceptical ; but bolder men have confessed 
their mistakes, with less testimony. Hist ! we are 
not alone. I hear the opening and shutting of the 
brigantine's transoms." ' 

The speaker then fell back nearly to the line in 
which the others had arranged themselves, and await- 



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THB WATCHtWITCH. SU 

^ the result iasifeiice. Th^» curtain rose to a loiv 
air on the same wind->instf umeot ; and even Ludlow 
felt an enotion-more powerful than interest, as be 
gazed on the object that was revealed to view. 

A female form, attired, as near as might he, like 
the figure-head of the vessel; and standing in a simi- 
lao* attitude, occupied the centre of the alcove. As 
in the image, one hand held a book with its page 
turned towards the spectatws, while a finger of the 
otther pointed ahead, as if giving to the brigantine its 
course. The sea-green drapery was floating behind, 
as if it felt the. influence of the air ; and the face had 
the same d^{{: and unearthly hue, with its malign 
and remarlrlfole smile. 

• When the start and the first gaxe of astonishment 
were over, the Alderman and his companions glanced 
their eyes at each other, in wonder. The smile on 
the look of the free-trader became less hidden, and 
it partook of triumph. 

" If any here has aught to say to the lady of our 
bark, let him now declare it. She has come far, at 
our call, and will not tarry long." 
r " I would then know," said Ludlow, drawing a 
heavy breath, like one recovering from some sudden 
and powerful sensation, " if she I seek be within the 
brigantine ?" 

He who acted the part of mediator in this extra- 
ordinary ceremony, bowed and advanced to the book, 
which, with an air of deep reverence, he consulted, 
reading, or appearing to read, from its pages. 

** You are asked here, in return for that you in- 
quiry, if she you seek is sought in sincerity ?" 

Ludlow reddened ; the manliness of the professio 
to which he belonged, however, overcame the re 
tuctance natural to self-esteem; and he answered, 
firmly — 

"Sh^is." 
^. *'But you ace a mariner; men of the sea place 



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$13 vBzv^A^fOi'Wiwa. 

thciir siffecty}i», oft)en^ott the fe^irie iiii;«riifch fhef 
dwell. Is the atlaGbmeiit for her you seek, ^rcmger 
tfaiati love of wsmderi^, of your nhip^ yotBe^y<$uthfuJ 
expeGtatiODSy and the giory th^it forms a young sok 
dier's dreams?" 

The commander o( the Coquette hesitated^ Aftei 
a moment of pause, like that of self-examination^ h 
said — ' 

** As much so, as may become a man." 

A cloud crossed the brow of his intern^tor, who 
advanced and again consulted the pages of the boofe 

" You are required to say, if a recent eveftt has 
not disturbed your confidence in her y^g; seek?" 

"Disturbed — but not destroyed." '^*i" 

The sea-green lady moved, and the pages of the 
mysterious volume trembled, as if eager to deliver 
their oracles. 

" And could you repress curiosity, pride, and alk 
the other sentiments of your sex, and seek Her fevori 
without asking explanati6n, as before Hie occurrence 
of late events?" ^ 

" I would do much to gain a kind look from Alida 
de Barbaric ; but the degraded spirit, of which you 
^eak, wotild render me unworthy of her e^eemL 
If I found her as I lost her, my life should be devoted 
to her happiness ; and if not, to mourniilg that ob« 
80 fair should have fatten !" 

" Have you ever felt jealousy?" 

"First let me know if I hav^ cause?" cried the 
young map, advancing a step towards the motionlesi 
form, with an evident intent to look closer into its 
character. , 

The hand of the mariner of the shawl arrested 
Urn, with the strength of a giant. 

" None trespass on the respect due our mistress," 
coolly observed the vigorous seaman,, while he mo- 
tioned to the>>ther to retreat. 

A fierce glance shot fnMn his eye; amd. thea the 



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T ■" 



TH£ WiLTfiR-WJtCH. 313 

recollection of his present helplessness came, in sea- 
son, to restrain the resentment of the ofiended officer. 

"jflave you ever felt jealousy ?" continued his un- 
disturbed interrogator, 

"Would any love, that have not?" 

A gentle respiration was heard in the cabin, duriu 
the short pause that succeeded, though none coul 
tell whence it came. The Alderman turned to re- 
gard the PaJtroon, as if he believed the sigh was his; 
while the startled Ludlow looked curiously around 
him, at a loss to know who acknowledged, with so 
much sensibility, the truth of his reply. 

" Your answers are well," resumed the free- trader, 
after a pause longer than usual. Then, turning to 
Oloff Van Staats, he said, " Whom, or what, do you 
seek?"' 

" We come on a common errand," 

" And do you seek in all sincerity ?" 

"I could wish to find." 

"You are rich m lands and houses; is she you 
seek, dear to you as this wealth ?" 

" I esteem them bothj since one could not wish to 
tie a woman he admired to beggary." 

The Alderman hemmed so loud us to fill the cabin, 
and then, startled at his own interruption, he invc^- 
untarily bowed an apology to the motionless form in 
•the alcove, and regained his composure. 

"There is more of prudence than of ardor in 
your answer. Have you ever felt Jealousy ?" 

"That has he!" eagerly exclaimed Mynderi 
" I've known the gentleman raving as a bear that 
hag lost its cub, when my niece has smiled, in church, 
for instance, though it were only in answer to a nod 
from an old lady. Philosophy and composure, Pa- 
troon ! Who the deviji knows, but Alida may hear of 
this questioning ? — and then her French blood will 
boil, to find that your love has always gone as regu- 
Urly^aan town-clock." 



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314 THE-WATSR-WITCH. 

"Could you receive ber, without inquiring into 
past events?" 

"That would he — ^that would he!" returned the 
Alderman. " I answer for it, that Mr. Van Staafs 
complies with all engagements, as punctually as the 
best house in Amsterdam, itself." 

The book again trembled, but it was with a 
waiting and dissatisfied motion. 

" W^t is thy will with Our mistress?" demanded 
the free-trader, of the fair-haired sailor. 

" I have bargained with some of the dealers of my 
country, for a wind to bairy the brigantine thtouga 
the inlet." 

« Go.— The Water-Witch will sail when there is 
need ;-^and you ?" 

" I wish to know whether a few skins I bought 
last night, for a private venture, will turn to good 
account?" 

" Trust the sea-green lady for your profits. When 
did she eVer let any fail, in a bargain. Child, what 
has brought thee hither ?" 

The boy trembled, and a little time elapsed before 
he found resolution to answer. 

"They tell me it is so queer to be upoti the land l** 

" Sirrah ! thou hast beeh answered. Wb6n others 
go, thou shalt go with them." 

" They say *tis pleasant to taste the fruits from off 
ttie very trees " 

" Thou art answered. Gentlemen, our mistress 
depaiis. She knows that one among you had threat- 
6ned her favorite brigantine with the anger of an 
earthly Queen ; but it is beneath her office to reply 
to threats so idle. Hau'k! her attendants are in 
waiting!" 

The wind-instrument was once more heard, and 

'the curtain slowly fell to its strains. A sudden and 

violent noise, resembling the ppenmg'Smd shutting 61 

looie masaive door, succeeded^anti Ihi^n uB t^« still 



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THS Wj^TJB&^-WITOII. 2)5 

Vn^utb^ sorceress had disappeared, the firee-trader 
/esumed his former ease of manner, seeming to speak . 
and act more naturally. Alderman Van Beverout 
drew a long breath, like one relieved ; and even the 
mariner of the gay shawl stood in an easier and more 
reckless attitude than while in her presence. The 
two seamen and the child withdrew. 

"Few who wear that livery have ever before . 
$den the lady of our-brigantine," continued the free- . 
trader, addressing. himself to Ludlow; "and it is , 
proof that she has less aversion to your cruiser, than 
she in common feels to most of the long pennants 
that are abroad on the water." 

" Thy mistress^ thy vessel, and thyself, are alike 
amusing !" returned the young seaman, again smiling 
incredulously, and with some little official pride, " It 
will be well, if you maintain this pleasantry much . 
longer, at the expense of Her Majesty's customs." 

" We trust to the power of the Water- Witch. 
She has adopted our brigantine as her abode, given 
it her name, and guides it with her hand. 'T would 
be weak to doubt, when thus protected." 

" There may be occasion to try her virtues. Were 
she a spirit of the deep waters, her robe would be 
blue. Nothing of a light d^iught can escape the 
Coquette!" 

" Dost not know that the color of the sea difiers 
in different climes ? We fear nt)t, but you would . 
have answers to your questions. Honest Tiller will 
carry you all to the land, and, in passing, the book 
may again be consulted. I doubt not she will leave 
us some further memorial of her visit" 

The free-trader then bowed, and retired behind 
the curtain, with the air of a sovereign dismissing 
bis visiters from an audience ; though his eye glanced 
curiously behind him, as he disappeared, as if to 
trace the ^/fect which had been produced by the in- 
terview. Alderman Van Beverout and his. iriendi 



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216 THE WATER-WITCH. 

were in the boat again, before a syllable wag ex 
changed betweeh them. They had followed the 
nmriner of the shawl, hi obedience to his signal ; and 
they quitted the side of the beautiful briganfine, 
like men who pondered on what they had just wit 
nessed. 

Enough has been betrayed, in the course of the 
narrative, perhaps, to show that Ludlow distrusted, 
though he could not avoid wondering at, what he 
had seen. He was not entirely free from the super- 
stition that was then so common among seamen; 
bat his education and native good sense enabled 
him, in a great measure, to extricate his imagination 
from that love of the marvellous, which is more ojr 
less common to all. He had fifty conjectures con- 
cerning the meaning of what had passed, and not 
one of them was true; though each, at the instant, 
seemed to appease his curiosity, while it quickened 
his resolution to pry further into the affair. As for 
the Patroon of Kinderhook, the present day was one 
of rare and unequalled pleasure. He had all the 
gratification which strong excitement can produce 
in slow natures ; and he neither wished a solution of 
his doubts, nor contemplated any investigation that 
might destroy so agreeJPble an illusion. His fancy 
was full of the dark countenance of the sorceress; 
and when it did not dwell on a subject so unnatural, 
it saw the handsome features, ambiguous smile, and 
attractive air, of her scarcely less admirable min- 
ister. 

As the boat got to a little distance from the ves- 
sel. Tiller stood erect, and ran his eye complacently 
over the perfection of her hull and rigging. 

"Our mistress has equipped and sent upon the 
wide and unbeaten sea, many a bark," he said; 
" but never a lovelier than our own ! — ^Captain Lud- 
low, there has been some double-dealing between us ; 
but that which is to follow, shall depend on our skill, 



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IBS wMm^item. ^V7 

seanM^Mhipi aad the merits of the two crafts. You 
serve Queen Anne, and I the sea-green lady. Let 
each be true to his mistress, and Heaven plreserve 
the deserving ! — WiH see the book, before we make 
the trial?" 

Ludlow intimated his assent, aiid the boat ap 
proacbed the £gure-*head. It was impossible fo pre 
veoit the f<^ifig» which each of our three adyen* 
tiir<ers» aot excepting the Alderman, felt when they 
c^b^ ia full view of the motionless image. The mya^ 
terious coUjntenaoce appeared endowed with thought^ 
apd the malign smile seemed still more ir<»iical than 
before- 

" The first question was yours, and yours must be 
the fir^t answer," said Tilkr, motioning for Ludlow to 
consult the page which was open. '< Our mistress deab 
chiefly m verses from the old writer, whose thoughts 
are almost as common to us ajl, as to human nature.'' 

" What means this?" said Ludlow, hastily — 

"* She, CI»udio, that you wrong'd, look, you restore, 

— love her Angelo; 
I have confessed her, and 1 know her virtue." 

** These are plain words ; but I would rather that . 
atiother priest should shrive her whom I love !" 

" Hist ! — Young blood is swift and quickly heated. 
Our lady of the bark will not relish hot speech, over 
her oracles.— 4IJome, Master Patroon, turn the pag« 
^ with the rattan, and see what fortune will give." 

Oloff Van Staats raised his powerful arm, with 
the hesitation, and yet with the curiosity, of a girL 
It was easy to read in his eye, the pleasure his heavy 
nature felt in the excitement ; and yet it was easy 
to detect the misgivings of an erroneous education, 
by the seriousness of all the other members of his 
countenance. He read aloud — 

** I have a motion much imports your good ; 
Whereto, if you 'U a willing ear jnolinei 
Vol. I T 



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218;. THE WATER-WITCH.' 

What's mine is yoars, and whut is yours is mine : — 
So bring us to^our palace, whore we ^11 shoi^. 
What's yet behind, that's meet you all should Imdw.** . 

Measuee for Measure. . 

" Fair-dealing, and fairer speech ! * What's your 
is mine, and what is mine is yours,' is Measure for 
Measure, truly, PatroonI" cried the Alderman. "A 
more equitable bargain cannot be niade, when the 
assets are of equal value. Here is encouragement, 
in good sooth ; and now, Master Mariner, we will 
land and proceed to the Lust in Rust, which must be 
the place meant in the verses. * What's yet behind,* 
must be Alida, the tormenting baggage ! who has 
been playing hide-and-seek with us, for no other 
reason than to satisfy her womanish vanity, by show- 
ing how uncomfortable she-could make three grave 
and responsible men. Let the boat go, Master Tiller, 
since that is thy name; and many thanks for thy 
civilities." 

** Twould give grave ofience to leave the lady, 
without knowing all she has to say. The answer 
now concerns you, worthy Alderman ; and the rattan 
will do its turn, in your hand, as well as in that of 
another." 

" I despise a pitiful curiosity, and content myself 
with knowing what chance and good luck teach," 
returned Myndert. " There are men in Manhattan 
ever prying into their neighbors' credit, like frogs 
lying with their noses out of water ; but it is enough 
for me to^ know the state of my books, with some 
insight into that of the market." 

" It will not do. — This may appease a quiet con- 
science, like your own, Sir; but we of the brigantine 
may not trifle with our mistress. One touch ol* the 
rattan will tell you, whether these visits to the Water- 
Wiich are likely to prove to your advantage." 

Myndert wavered. It has been said, that, like 
most others of his origin in the colony, he had a se- 



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THE WATER-X^TTCH. 219 

cret leaning to the art of divination : and the words 
of the hero of the shawl contained a flattering allu- 
sion to the profits of his secret commerce. He took 
the ofiered 0li»k, and, by the time the page was 
turned, his eyes were ready enough to consult its con 
tents. There was but a line, which was also quoted 
as coming from the well-known comedy of * Measure 
for Measure.' 

" Proclaim it, Provoet, round about the city." 

In his eagerness Myndert read the oracle aloud, 
and then he sunk into his seat, affecting to laugh at 
the whole as a childish and vain conceit. 

" Proclamation, me, no proclamations ! Is it a time 
of hostilities, or of public danger, that one should go 
shouting with his tidings through the streets ? Mea- 
sure for Measure, truly ! Harkee, Master Tiller, this 
sea-green trull of thine is no better than she should 
be ; and unless she mends her manner of dealing, no 
honest man will be found willing to be seen in her 
company. I am no believer in necromancy — though 
the inlet has certainly opened this year, altogether 
in an unusual manner — and tfierefore I put little 
faith in her words ; but as for saying aught of me 
or mine, in town or country, Holland or America, 
fliat can shake my credit, why I defy her ! Still, I 
would not willingly have any idle stories to contra- 
dict ; and I shall conclude by saying, you will do well 
to stpp her mouth.** 

" Stop a hurricane, or a tornado ! Truth will come 
in her book, and he that reads must expect to see it 
— Captain Ludlow, you are master of your move- 
ments, again ; for the inlet is no longer between you 
and your cruiser. Behind yon hillock is the boat and 
crew you missed. The latter expect you. And how, 
gentlemen, we leave the rest to the green lady's 
guidance, our own good skill, and the tvinds! I salute 
you.*' 



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TBS WAT8I^WITC«» 



The moment his c(Hiipaiiioiis were on the flbore^ 
the hero of the shawl caused his boat to quit it ; aD4 
in less than five minutes it was seen swingingy by ill 
tackles* at the stern of the briganti; 



CHAPTER XVIL 

•« ^likft Aridn 6n the doIphin^s back. 

I'sjw tdm hold aequsintanee with tbtf WSvet, 
60 loHf M I oottld aee.** 

Tbkpsbt. 

There was one curious thoush half-confounded 
observer of all that passed in and around the Cove» 
on the morning in question. Thds personage was no 
other than the slave called Bonnie, who was the 
factotum of his master, over the demesnes of the 
Lust in Rust, during the time when the presence of 
the Alderman was required in the city ; whkh was^ 
in truth, at least four-fifths of the year. Responsi- 
bility and CiMifidence had produced their efiect on 
this negro, as on more cultivated minds. He had 
been used to act in situations of care ; and practice 
had produced a habit of vigilance and observation,, 
that was not common in men of his unfcMrtunate con« 
dition. There is no moral truth more certain, tha^ 
that men, when once accustomed to this species of 
domination, as readily submit their minds, as theur 
bodies, to the control of others. Thus it is, that w^ 
see entire nations maintaining so many erroneous 
iliaxims, merely because it has suited the interests of 
those who do the thinking, to give forth these fallacies 
to their followers. Fortunately, however, for the 
improvement of the race and the advancement of 
truth, it is only necessary to give a man an opp^ff- 



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tmiity to exercise his natural facultie:!, in order to 
make him a reflecting, and, in some degree, an inde- 
pendent being. Such, though to a very limited ex- 
tent, certainly, had been the consequence, in the 
instance of the slave just mentioned* 

How for Bonnie had been concerned in the pro- 
ceedings between his master an J the mariners of the 
brigantine> it is unnecessary to say. Little passed at 
the villa, of which he was ignorant ; and as curiosity, 
once awakened, increases its own desire for indul- 
gence, could he have had his wish, little would have 
passed anywhere, near him, without his knowing 
something of its nature and import. He had seen, 
while seemingly employed with his hoe in the garden 
of the Alderman, the trio conveyed by Erasmus 
across the inlet ; had watched the manner in which 
they feilowed its margin to the shade of the oak, and 
had seen thi&m enter the brigantine, as related. That 
this extraordinary visit on board a vessel wliich was 
in common shrouded by so much mystery, had given 
' rise io much and unusual reflection in tlie mind of 
the black, was apparent by the manner in which he 
so often paused in his labor, and stood leanirtg on the 
handle of his hoe, like one who mused. He had 
never known his master so far overstep his usual 

• caution, as to^juit the dwelling, during the occasional 
. visits of the free-trader ; and yet he had now gone 

as it were into the very jaws of the lion, accompanied 
by the commander of a royal cruiser himself. No 
wonder, then, that the vigilance of the negro became 
still more active, and that not even the slightest 
circumstance was sufiered to escape his admiring 
eye. During the whole time consumed by the visit 
" related in the preceding chapter, not a minute had 
been suffered to pass, without an inquiring look in 
the direction, either of the brigantine, or of the 
adjacent shore. 

it is scarcely necessary to say bow keen the atten* 

• *T2 



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tioD of th^ daTe bdcame, when UU am^t ftoA liip 
fiompanioDS were seen to return to the laod. They 
immediately ascended to the foot of the oak, wa4 
then there was a long and apparently a s^dous ^oQr 
ference between them. During this consultatiofi, ik^ 
negro dropped the end of his hoe, and never auffered 
bis gaze, for an instdnt, to alter its direction. Indeed 
he scarcely drew breath, until the whole party quitted 
the spot t(^ether, and buried themselves in the tbickejt 
that covered the cape, taking the direction of iU 
outer or northern extremity, instead of retiring bj 
"^the shore of the Cove, towards the inlet. Then 
Bonnie respired heavily, and began to look about 
him at the other objects that properly belonged i0 
the interest of the scene. 

The brigantine bad run up her boat, and ^e now 
lay, as when first seen, a motionless, beautiful, and 
exquisitely graceful fabric, without the smallest sign 
about her of an intention to move, or indeed without 
exhibiting any other proof, except in her admirable 
order and symmetry, that any of human powerf 
dwelt within her hull. The royaJ cruiser, though 
larger and of far less aerial mould and fashion, pre- 
sented the same picture of repose. The distance be^ 
tween the two was about a league ; and Bonnie was 
sufficiently familiar with the formation of the land 
and of the position of the vessels, to be quite aware 
that this inactivity on the part of those whose duty 
it was to protect the rights of the Queen, proceeded 
from their utter ignorance of the proximity of their 
neighbor. The thicket which bounded the Cove* 
and the growth of oaks and pines that stretched 
along the narrow sandy spit of land quite to its ex 
tremity, sufficiently accounted for the fact The 
negro, therefore, after gazing for several miautes at 
the two immovable vessels, turned his eye askance 
on the earth, shook his head, and then burst into % 

Imsji^ wl^icb w«^f |o noisy t^ it ii^mA i^ §9ii» 



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partner to thrust her-vdcant and fSFCnlar cooDte- 
baoce through an opea wmdow of the scuileiy of 
the villa, to demand the reason of a merrim^it that 
to her faitiiful feelings appeared to he a little un- 
social. 

" Hey ! jnou.alway' keep 'e queer fing to heself, 
Bonnie, but !" cried the vixen. " I'm werry glad lo 
sec (Jd bones like a hoe ; an' I wonner dere ar' time 
to laugh, wid 'e garden full of weed 1" 

** Graeh !" exclaimed the Ji^ro, stretchii^ out an 
arm in a forensic attitude; "what a black woman 
know of politic ! If a hab time to talk, better cook 
a dinner. Tell one t'ing, Phyllis, and that be dis ; 
vy 'e diip of Captain Ludbw no liP 'e anchor, an' 
come take dis rogue in 'e Cove 2 can a tell dat much, 
or no? — If no, let a man, who understand heself, 
laugh much as he-Kke. A little fun no harm Quee» 
Anne, nor kill 'e Gubbenor ! " 

<^ All work and no sleep make old bone ache, Bon- 
nie, but!" returned the consort. "Ten o'clock — 
twelve o'clock — free o'clock, und no bed; veil I see 
'e sun afore a black fool put 'e head on a pillow ! — 
An' now a hoe go all 'e same as if he sleep a ten 
houn Masser Myn'ert got a heart, and he no wish 
to kill he people wid work, or old Phyllis war' dead, 
fifty year, next winter." 

" I t'ink a wench's tongue nebber satisfy ! What 
for tell a whole world, when Bonnie go to bed ? He 
sleep for heself, and he no sleep for 'e neighbor- 
hood ! Dere 1 A man can't t'ink of ebery t'ing, in a 
minute. Here a ribbon long enough to hang he- 
self — take him, and den remem'er, Phyllis, dat you 
be 'e wife of a man who hab care on he shoul'er." 

Bonnie then set up another laugh, in which hi 
partner, having quitted her scullery to seize the gift, 
which in its odors resembled the skin of a garter- 
make, did not fail to join, through mere excess of 
animal deligiit The ewct of the gift, howev^, was 



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234 THfi WATfiR<>WITOtf. 

to leave the negro to make liis observsdioDs, withoat 
any further interraption from one who was a little 
too apt to xlisturb his solitude. ~ 

A boat was now seen to pull out from among the 
bushes that lined the shore ; and Bonnie was enabled 
to distinguish, in its stern-sheets, th^ persons of his 
master, Ludlow, and the Patroon. He had been ac- 
quainted with the seizure of the Coquette's barge, 
the preceding uight, and of the confinement of the 
crew. Its appearance in that place, therefore, occa- 
sioned no new surprise. But the time which . past 
while the men were rowing up to the sloop-of-war, 
was filled with minutes of increasing interest. The 
black abandoned his hoe, and took a position on the 
side of the mountain, that gave him a view of the 
whole bay. So long as the mysteries of the Lust in 
Rust had been confined to the ordinary combinations 
of a secret trade, he had been fully able to compre- 
hend them ; but now that there apparently existed 
an alliance so unnatural as one between his master 
and the cruiser of the crown, he felt the necessity 
of double observation and of greater thought. 

A far more enlightened mind than that of the slave, 
might have been excited by tbe expectation, and the 
objects which now presented themselves, especially 
if sufficiently prepared for events, by a knowledge of 
the two vessels in sight. Though the wind still hung 
at east, the cloud above the mouth of the Raritan 
had at length begun to rise. The broad fleeces of 
w^hite vapor, that had lain the whole morning over 
tbe continent, were rapidly uniting ; and they formed 
already a dark and dense mass, that floated in the 
bottom of the estuary, threatening shortly to roll 
o\'er the whole of its wide waters. The air was 
getting lightei;, and variable ; and while the wash of 
the surf sounded still more audible, its roll upon the 
beach was less regular than in the earlier hours of 
the day. Such was the^ state of the two element!, 



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i 



TBS WATSR-WITCH* 

• 

when the boat touched the side of the ship. In a 
tninute it was hanging by its tackles, high in the air ; 
and then it disappeared, in the bosom of the dark 
mass. 

It far exceeded the intelligence of Bonnie to de» 
tect, now, any further signs o? preparation, in either 
of the two vessels, which absorbed the whole of hii 
attention. They appeared to him to be alike with* 
out motion, and equally without people. There were, 
it is true, a few specks in the rigging of the G)quette, 
which might be men; but the distance prevented 
him from being sure of the fact ; and, admitting them 
to be seamen busied aloft, there were no visible con- 
sequences of their presence, that his uninstntcted 
eye could trace. In a minute or two, even these 
scattered specks were seen no longer; though the 
attentive black thought that the mast-heads and the 
rigging beneath the tops thickened, as if surrounded 
by more than their usual mazes of ropes. At that 
moment of suspense, the cloud over the Raritan 
emitted a flash, and the sound of distant thunder 
rolled along the water. This seemed to be a signal 
for the cruiser ; for when the eye of Bonnie, which 
had been directed to the heavens, returned towards 
the ship, he saw that she had opened and hoisted her 
three topsails, seemingly with as little exertion as an 
eagle would have spread his wings. The ship ntlW 
became uneasy ; for the wind came in puffi, and the 
vessel rolled lightly, as if struggling to extricate it- 
self from the hold of its anchor ; and then, precisely 
9ki the moment when the shift of wind was felt, and 
the breeze came from the cloud in the west, the 
cruiser whirled away from its constrained position 
and appearing, for a short space, restless as a steed 
that had broken from its fastenings, it came up hea- 
vily to the wind, and lay balanced by the action of 
its sails. There was another minute, or two, of seem* 
vig inactivity, after which the broad suriaces of the 



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226 rtHE WATBR-WITCH. 

topsails were brought in parallel lines. One white 
sheet was spread after another, upon the fabric ; and 
Bonnie saw that the Coquette, the swiftest cruiser 
of the crown in those seas, was dashing out from the 
land, under a cloud of canvas. ^ 

All this time, the brigantine, in the Cove, lay qui- 
etly at her anchor. When the wind shifted, the light 
h\jill swang with its currents, and the image of the 
sea-green lady was seen offering her dark cheek to 
be fanned by the breeze. But she alone seemed to 
watch over the fortunes of her followers; for no 
other eye could be seen, looking out on the danger 
that began so seriously to threaten them, both from 
the heavens, and from a more certain and intelligi- 
ble foe. 

As the wind was fresh, though unsteady, the Co- 
quette moved through the water with a velocity that 
did no discredit to her reputation for speed. At first, 
it seemed to be the intention of the royal cruiser to 
round the cape, and gain an offing in the open sea ; 
for her head was directed northwardly; but no sooner 
. had she cleared the curve of the little bight which 
from its shape is known by the nam6 of the Horse- 
Shoe, than she was seen shooting directly into the 
eye of the wind, and falling off with the graceful and 
easy motion of a ship in stays, he^^ead looking to- 
w^ds the Lust in Rust. Her design on the notorious 
dealer in contraband was now too evident to admit 
of doubt. 

Still, the Water- Witch betrayed no symptoms of 
alarm. The meaning eye of the image seemed to 
study the motions of her adversary, with all the un- 
derstanding of ari intelligent being ; and oocasionally 
the brigantine turned slightly in the varying currents 
of the air, as' if volition directed the movements of 
the little fabric. These changes resembled the quick 
and slight movements of the hound, as he lifts his 



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THE WATSR-imTGH. 227 

head in his lair; to listen to some distant sound, or to 
scent some passing taint in the gale. 

In the mean time, the approach of the ship was 
so swift as to cause the negro to shake his head, with 
a meaning that exceeded even his usually important 
ook. Every thing was propitious to her progress ; 
nd, as the water of the Cove, during the periods 
that the inlet remzuned open, was known to be of a 
sufficient depth to admit of her entrance, the faith- 
ful Bonnie began to anticipate a severe blow to the 
future fortunes of his master. The only hope, that 
he could perceive, for the escape of the smuggler, 
was in the changes of the heavens. 

Although the threatening cloud had now quitted 
the mouth of the Raritan, and was rolling eastward 
with fearful velocity, it had not yet broken. The air 
had the unnatural and heated appearance which pre- 
cedes a gust ; but, with the exception of a few large 
drops, that fell seemingly from a clear sky, it was as 
yet what is called a dry squall. The water of the 
bay was occasionally dark, angry, and green ; and 
there were moments when it would appear as if 
heavy currents of air descended to its surface, wan- 
tonly to try their power on the sister element. Not- 
withstanding these sinister omens, the Coquette stood 
on her course, without lessening the wide surfaces of 
her canvas, by a #igle inch. They who governed 
her movements were no men of the lazy Levant, 
nor of the mild waters of the Mediterranean, to tear 
their hair, and call on saints to stand between Iheir 
helplessness and harm; but mariners trained in a 
boisterous sea, and accustomed to place their first de- 
pendence on their own good manhood, aided by the 
vigilance and skill of a long and severely-exercised ^ 
experience. A hundred eyes on board that cruiser 
watched the advance of the rolling cloud, or looked 
upon the play of light and shade, that caused the 
color of the water to vary ; but it was steadily, and 



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99S 7BK WA«&-Wlt6tt. 

with an entire dependence on the diecretioii <tf the 

young officer who controlled the movements of the 
ship. 

Ludlow himself paced the deck, with all his usual 
composure, so far as might he seen hy external signs $ 
though, in realitj, his mind was agitated by feeting 
that were foreign to the duties of his station. He 
too had thrown occasional glances at the approach- 
ing squall, hut his eye was far oftener riveted on the 
motionless bngantine^ which y/as now distinctly to be 
seen from the deck of the Coquette, still riding at her 
anchor. The cry of * a stranger in the cove 1' which, 
a few moments before, came out of one of the tops, 
caused no surprise in the commander; while the 
crew, wondering but obedient, began, for the first 
time, to perceive the object of their strange manoeu- 
vres. Even the officer, next in authority to the cap- 
tain, had not presumed tq make any inquiry, though, 
now that the object of their search was so evidently 
in view, he felt emboldened to presume on his rank, 
and to venture a remark. 

" It is a sweet craft !" said the staid lieutenant, 
yielding to an admiration natural to his habits, ^ and 
one that might serve as a yacht for the Queen ! 
This is some trifler with the revenue, or perhaps a 
buccaneer from the islands. The fellow shows no 
ensign ! " ^ 

" Give hinn notice. Sir, that he has to do with one 
who bears the royal commission," returned Ludlow, 
speaking from habit, and half-unconscious of what 
he said. " We must teach these rovers to respect a 
pennant." 

The report of the cannon startled the absent man, 
and caused him to remember the order. 

** Was that gun shotted ?" jbe asked, in a tone that 
sounded like rebuke. 

" Shotted, but pointed ^yide, Sir ; merely a broad 



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TUB WATER-WITOH." Sftd 

hint We a*e no dealers iii dumb show, m the Co- 
quette,- Captain Ludlow." 

" I would not injure the vessel, even should it proVe 
a; buccaneer. Be careful, that nothing strikes her, 
without an order." 

" Ay, 'twill be well to take the beauty alive, Sir ; 
86 pretty a boat should not be broken up, like an old 
hulk. Ha \ there goes his bunting, at last ! He shove's* 
a white field— can the fellow be a Frenchman, after 
all?" 

The lieutenant took a glass, and for a moment ap- 

Elied it to his eye, with the usual steadiness. Then 
e suffered the instrument to fall, and it would seem 
that he endeavored to recall the diflerent flags that 
he had seen during the experience of many years. 

" This joker should come from some terra incog- 
nita ;" he said. " Here is a woman in his field, with 
an ugly countenance, too, unless the glass play me 
false — as I live, the rogue has her counterpart for a 
figure-head! — ^Will you look at the ladies, Sir?" 

Ludlow took the glass, and it was not without 
curiosity that he turned it toward the colors the 
hardy smuggler dared to exhibit, in presence of a 
cruiser. The vessels were, by this time, sufficiently 
near each other, to enable him to distinguish the 
swarthy features aqjj malign smile of the sea-green 
lady, whose form was wrought in the field of the 
ensign, with the same art as that which he had seen 
so often displayed in other parts of the brigantine 
Amazed at the daring of the free-trader,, he returned 
the glass, and continued to pace the deck in silence. 
There stood near the two speakers an officer whose 
head and form began to show the influence of time, 
and who, from his position, had unavoidably been an 
auditor of what passed. Though the eye of this 
person, who was the sailing-master of the sloop, was 
rarely oflT the threatening cloud, except to glance 

Vol. I. U 



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along ibe wide diow of canvas. that wa& spread* 'he 
found a moment to take a look at the stranger. 

"A half-rigged brig, with her fore-tpp-gallant- 
ma8t fidded abaft, a double martingale, and a stand- 
ing gaft;" observed the methodical and technical 
mariner, as another would have recounted the pe« 
culiarities of complexion, pr of feature, in some in^' . 
dividual whp wa^ the subject of a personal descrip- 
tioii. " The rog4ie has no need of showing his brazen- 
faced trull to be known ! I chased him, for six-aodr 
thirty hours, in the chops of St. George's, no .later 
than the last season ; and the fellow ran about us, 
like a dolphin playing under a ship's, ibre-foot. We 
had him, now on our weather bow, and now cross^ 
ing our course, and, once in a while, in our wake, as 
if he had been a Mother Carey's chicken looking for 
our crumbs. He seems snug enough in that cove, to. 
be sure, and yet I'll wager the pay of any month in 
the twelve, that he gives us the slip. Captain Lud*. 
low, the brigantine under our lee, here, in Sperma- 
ceti, is the well-known Skimmer of the Seas I" 

"The Skimmer of the Seas!" echoed twenty 
voices, in a manner to show the interest created by 
the unexpected information. 

" I'll swear to his character before any Admiralty, 
Judge in England, or even in France, should the/e. 
be occasion to go into an outlandish court — but no 
need of an oath, when here is a written account I 
took, with my own hands, having the chase in plain 
view, at noon-day." While speaking, the sailing- 
master drew a tobacco-box from his pocket, and re- 
moving a coil of pig-tail, he came to a deposit of 
memorandums, that vied with th% weed itself in 
colors. "JVow, gentlemen," he continued, "you shall 
have her build, as justly as if the master-carpenter 
had laid it down with his rule. * Remember to brii^ 
a muff of marten's fur from America, for Mrs. Try- 
sail — buy it in London, and swear' — this is not the 



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TftE WATER-WITeH/ Sfel 

paper — ^I Jet your boy, Mr. hntf, stow away the laet 
entry of tobacco for me, and the young dog has dis- 
turbed every document I own. This is the way the 
government accounts get jammed, when Parliament' 
Wants to overhaul them. But I suppose young Mood 
Will have its run ! 1 let a monkey into a church of a 
Satafday night «nysetf, ^ben a youngster, and he 
made such stowage of the prayer-books, that the 
ttrhole parish was by the ears, for six months; and 
there is one quarrel between two old ladies, that has 
Hot been made up to this hour. — Ah ! here we have 
it:— * Skimmer of the Seas. — ^FuU-rigged forward, 
IKritb fore-and-aft mainsaiK abaft; a gaff-top^ail; 
latit in his qmrs, with light top-hamper; neat in his 
gear, as any beauty— Carries a ring-tail in light 
weather; main-boom like a frigate's top-sail-yard, 
with a main-top-mast-stay-satl as big as a jib. Low 
ib the water, with a woman figure-beau; carries 
sail more like a devil than a hnman being, and lies 
within five points, when jamnned up hard on a wind.' 
Here are marks by which one oi Queen Anne's 
mai^ of honor might know the rogue; and there 
you see them all, as plainly as human natare can 
show them in a ship !" 

*« The Skimmer of the Seas !" repeated the young 
officers, who had crowded round the veteran tar, to 
hear this characteristic description of the notorious 
free-trader. 

" i^kimmer or flyer, we have him now, dead under 
(Rir lee, with a sandy beach on three of his sides, and' 
the wind in his eye!" cried the first-lieutenant 
** Yon shall have an opportunity, Master Trysail, of 
correcting your account, by actual measurement." 

The sailing-master shook his head, like one who 
doubted, and again turned his eye on the approach- 
iog cloud. 

The Coquette, by this time, had run so &r as to 
kav« &» ^slraiiM of t|)e Cove opc^^ and she mn 



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282 THB WATBR-WITOB. 

separated from her object, oMly by a dktatce of^ 
few cables'-length. In obedience to an order given 
by Ludlow, all the light canvas of the Eihip wa» 
taken in, and the vessel was left under her three 
topsails and gib. There remained, however, a ques* 
lion as to the channel; for it was not us^al for 9hips 
of the Coquette's draught, to be seea in that quarter 
of the bay, and the threatening state of the weather 
rendered, caution doubly necessary. The pilot shrunkr 
from .a responsibility which did not properly belong 
to his office, since the ordinary navigation had no 
concern with that secluded place ; and even Ludlow, 
stimulated as he -was by so many powerful motives^ 
hesitated to incur a risk which greatly exceeded his 
duty. There was something so remarkable in the 
apparent security of the smuggler, that it naturally^ 
led to the belief he was certain of being protected 
by some known obstacle, and it was decided to sound 
before the ship was hazarded. An offer to carry the 
free-trader with the boats, though plausible in itself, 
and perhaps the wisest course of all, was rejected 
by the commander, on an evasive plea of its being 
of uncertain issue, though, in truth, because he felt 
an interest in one whom he believed the brigantine 
to contain, which entirely forbade the idea of makiug 
the vessel the scene of so violent a struggle. A yawl 
was therefore- lowered into the water, the main-top* 
sail of the ship was thrown to the m^t ; and Lud- 
low himself, accompanied by the pilot and the mas- 
ter, proceeded to ascertain the best approach to the 
smuggler. A flash of lightning, with one of those 
thunder-cfaps that are wont to be more terrific on 
this continent than in the other hemisphere, warned 
the young mariner of the necessity of haste, if he 
would regain his ship, before the cloud, which still 
threatened them, should reach the spot where she 
lay. The boat pulled briskly into the Cove, both the 
nmter and the pilot spondiog on eachiide».a0 iait u 



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&e leaA could be caat (torn Vbeir hattds and recoV- 
isred. 

*' This ^1 do;" said Ludlow, when they had as- 
certained that thej could enter. *^ I would lay the 
«htp as dose as possible to the brigantine, for I dis . 
trust her quiet We will go nearer." 

" A brazen witch, and one whose saucy eye and 
pert figure might lead any honest mariner into con- 
trabaiid, or even into a sea-robbery I" half-whispered 
Trysail, perhaps afraid to trust his Voice, within 
hearing of a creature that seemed almost endowed 
with the faculties of life. ** Ay, this is the hussy ! I 
know her by the book, and her green jacket ! But 
•where are her people? The vessel is as quiet as the 
royal vault on a coronation-day, when the last king, 
and those who went before him, commonly have the 
place to themselves. Here would be a pretty occa- 
sion to throw a boat*s-crew on her decks, and haul 
down yon impudent ensign, which bears the likeness 
of this wicked lady, so bravely in the air, if " 

"If what?" asked Ludlow, struck with the plau- 
sible character of the proposal. 

" Why, if one were sure of the nature of such a 
minx. Sir; for to own the truth, I would rather 
deal vrith a regularly-built Frenchman, who showed 
his guns honestly, and kept such a jabbering aboard 
that one might tell his besurings in the dark. — ^The 
creature spoke!" 

Ludlow did not reply, for a heavy crash of thunder 
succeeded the vivid glo^ of a flash of lightning, and 
glared so suddenly across the swarthy lineaments as 
to draw the involuntary exclamation from Trysail, 
The intimation that came from the cloud, was not 
to be disregarded. The wind, which had so long 
varied, began to be heard in the rigging of the silent 
brigantine; and the two elements exhibited une- 
quivocal evidence, in their menacing and fitful colors 
of the near appi^oach cf the gust Tboyowgsaikr 



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tJE94 T«» WATKR-WtTCH. 

.wilh an abeo^ikig bterest^ turned his eyes on hs 
ship. The yards were on the caps, the bellying can^' 
vas was fluttering (as: to leeward, and twenty or 
thirty human forms on each spar, showed that the 
nimble-fingered topmen were gathering in and knot^ 
ting the sails down to a close reef. 

"Give way, men, for your lives!" cried the ex- 
cited Ludlow. 

A single dash of the oars was heard, and the yawl 
was already twenty feet from the mysterious image. 
Then followed a desperate struggle to regain the 
pruiser, ere the gust should strike her. The sullen 
murmur of the wind, rushing through the rigging of 
the ship, was audible some time before they reached 
her side ; and the struggles between the fabric and 
the elements, were at moments so evident, as to 
cause the young commander to fear he would be too 
late. 

The foot of Ludlow touched the deck of the Co- 
quette, at the instant the weight of the squall fell 
upon her sails. He no longer thought of any interest 
but that of the moment ; for, with all the feelings of 
a seaman, his mind was now full of his ship. 

" Let run every thing !" shouted the ready oflScer, 
ai a voice that made itself heard above the roar of 
the wind. *t Clue down, and hand ! Away aloft, you 
topmen ! — lay out ! — furl away ! " 

These orders were given in rapid succession, and 
without a trumpet, for the youne man could, at need, 
speak loud as the tempesR They were succeeded 
by one of those exciting and fearful minutes that are 
so familiar to mariners. Each man was intent on his 
duty, while the elements worked their will around 
him, as madly as if the hand by which they are 
oi dinarily restrained was for ever removed. The bay 
was a sheet of foam, while the rushing of the gust 
resembled the dull rumbling of a thousand chariots. 
Tj2§^shij^ ji^d^ to the pressu£e» until the water 



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TBS WAT£E*WITGB« S85 

liras seen gushing through ber lee^u^^rs, an^ hor 
tall line c» masts inclined towards the plane of the 
bay, as if the ends of the yards were about to dip 
into the water. But this was no nwre than the first 
submission to the shbck. The well-moulded fabric 
recovered its balance, and struggled through its ele- 
ment, as if conscious that there was security only in 
motion. Ludlow glanced his eye to leeward. The 
opening of the Cove was favorably situated, and he 
caught a'glimpse of the spars of the brigantine, rock- 
ing violently in the squall. He spoke to demand if 
the anchors were clear, and then he was heard, 
shouting again from his station in the weather gang- 
way-^ 
' " Hard a-weather !— " 

The first eiforts of i;he cruiser to obey her helm, 
stripped as she was of canvas, were labored and slow. 
But when her head began to fall ofi) the driving 
scud was scarce swifter than her motion. At that 
moment, the sluices of the cloud opened, and a torrent 
of rain mingled in the uproar, and added to the con- 
fusion. Nothing was now visible but the lines of the 
falling water, and the shfiet of white foam through 
which the ship was glancing. 

**Here is the land, Su*!" bellowed Trysail, from 
a cat-head, where he stood resembling some venera- 
ble sea-god, dripping with his native element. ** We 
are passing it, like a race-horse ! " 

"See your bowers clear!" shouted back the 
captain. 

" Ready, Sir, ready — " 

Ludlow motioned to the men at the wheel, to 
bring the ship to the wind ; and when her way was 
sufficiently deadened, two ponderous anchors dropped, 
at another signal, into the water. The vast fabric 
was not checked without a further and tremendous 
struggle. When the bows felt the restraint, the ship 
swung -head ta wind».3iid hOxm after iatbom. <^ the 



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Has WATIOUWI'JDCH* 

enormous ropes vrere extracted, bj sufges so vicdent 
As to cause the hull to quiver to its centre. But tht 
first-lieutenant and Trysail were no novices in thei^ 
duty, and, in less than a minute, they had secured 
the vessel steadily at her anchors. When this im* 
portant service was performed, officers and crew 
stood looking at each other, like men who had jus 
made a hazardous and fearful experimenL The 
view again opened, and objects on the land became 
visible through the still falling rain. The change 
was like that from night to day. M^i who had passed 
their lives on the sea drew long and relieving breaths, 
conscious that the danger was happily passed. As the 
more pressing interest of their own situation abated, 
they remembered the object of their search. All 
eyes were turned in quest of the smu^ler ; but, by 
some inexplicable means, he had disappeared. 
^_ ' The Skimmer of the Seas ! ' and « What has 
become of the brigantine?* were exclamations that 
the discipline of a royal cruiser could not repress. 
They were repeated by a hundred mouths, while 
twice as many eyes sought to find the beautiful 
fabric. All looked in vain. The spot where the 
Water- Witch had so lately lain, was vacant, and no' 
vestige of her wreck lined the shores of the Cove. 
During the time the ship was handing her sails, and 

1)reparing to enter the Cove, no one had leisure to 
ook for the stranger ; and after the vessel had 
anchored, until that moment, it was not possible to 
see her length, on any side of them. There was 
still a dense mass of falling water nwving seaward ; 
but the curious and anxious eyes of Ludlow made 
fruitless efibrts to penetrate its secrets. Once indeed, "* 
more than an hour after the gust had reached his 
own ship, and when the ocean in the offing was clear 
and calm, he thought hie could distinguish, far to 
seaward, the delicate tracery of a vessel's spara» 
<draw& -against 4h6 hondK^n^wtbout any cauyas set 



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THS WATfiR-WlTCiL 237 

But a second look did not aasurc bim of the truth'of 
the conjecture. 

There were many extraordinary talea related thai 
night, on board Her Britannic Majesty's ship Co- 
quette. The boatswain affirmed that, while piping 
below in order to overhaul the cables, he had heard 
a screaming in the air, that sounded as if a hundred 
devils were mocking him, and which he told the 
gunner, }n confidence, he believed was no more than 
the winding of a call on board the brigantine, who 
had taken occasion, when other vessels were ejad to 
anchor, to get under way, in her own fashion. There 
was also a iore-top-man named Robert Yam, a fellow 
whose faculty for story-telling equalled x that of 
Scheherazade, and who not only asserted, but who 
confirmed the declaration by many strange oaths, 
that while he lay on the lee-fore-top-sail*yard-ann, 
stretching forth an arm to grasp the leech of the 
sail, a dark-looking female fluttered over his. head, 
and caused her long hair to whisk. into his face, in a 
manner that compelled him to shut his eyes, which 
gave occasion to a smart reprimand from the reefer 
of the top. There was a feeble attempt to explain 
this assault, by the man who lay next to Yam, who 
affected to think the hair was no more than the end 
of a gasket whipping in the wind ; but his shipmate, 
who had pulled one of the oars of the yawl, soon , 
silenced this explanation, by the virtue of his long- 
established reputation for veracity. Even Trysail 
ventured ^veral mysterious conjectures concerning 
the fate of the brigantine, in the gun-room ; but, on 
returning from the duty of sounding the inlet, whither 
he had been sent by his captain, he was less commu- 
nicative and more thoughtful than usual. It ap- 
peared, indeed, from the surprise that was manifested 
by every officer that heard the report of the quarter- 
master, who had given the casts of the lead on this 
•erviQe, that no oim in th« ibip« with the fxception 



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1 



38S ^fiffi WAtlBft-^ITOK. 

of AldennaD Van Beverout, was at all aware that 
there was rather more than two fathoms df water 
in that secret passage. 



CHAPTER XVm. 

^' SirA Uke yQof plaoet, and be vigitant.** 



HsiniT r^. 



The succeeding day was one in which the weather 
had a fixed character. The wind, was east, and,^ 
tfaougb lights not fliictuating. The air had that thick 
and hazy appearance, which properly belongs to the 
Autumn in this climate, but which is sometimes seen 
at midsummer, when a dry wind blows from the 
,oceam The roll of the surf^ on the ^kore, was 
regular and monotonous, and the. currents of the air 
were so steady as to remove every apprehension of 
a change. TJbe moment to which the action of the 
tale is transferred, was in the earlier hours of the 
afiemo(». * 

At that ikm the Coquette lay again at her 
anchors, just within the shelter of the cape. Thetie 
were a few small sails to be seen passing up the bay ; 
but the scene, as was common at that distant day, 
presented little of the activity of our own times, to 
tlie eye. The windows of the Lust in Rust were 
again open, and the movement of the slaves, in and* 
about the villa, announced the presence of its master. 

The Alderman was in truth, at the hour named, 
passing the little lawn in front of la Cour des F^s, 
accompanied by Oloff Van Staats and the commander 
of the cruiser. It was evident, by the frequen 
glances which the latter threw in the direction of 
-the pavilion, that be still thoi^ht of her who was 
absent ; while the faculties of the two others were 
fojiwtift tetter iubjeQtioQ, ar kiittimiitoJM by twi- 



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T9fi WiiTSR-imiX^r^ 289 

ietj. One who widerstood tbe chajracter f>f the iq*. 
dividaial, aad who was acquainted with tbe past, 
might have suspected, by this indifference on the 
part of the Patroon, placed as it was in such a singu- 
lar contrast to a sort of mysterious animation which 
enlivened a countenance whose ordineiry expression 
was placid content, that the young" suitor thought 
less than formerly of the assets of old Etienne, and 
more of the secret pleasure he found in the singular' 
incidents of whicH he had been a witness. 

" Pr<^riety and discretion !" observed the burgher, 
in reply to a remark of one of the young men — " I 
say again, for the twentieth time, that we shall have 
Alida Barberie back among us, as handsome, as in- 
nocent, ay, and as rich, as ever ! — ^perhaps I should 
also say, as wilful. A baggage, to worry her old 
uncle, aad two honorable suitors, in so thoughtless a 
manner 1 Circumstances, gentlemen," continued the 
wary merchant, who saw that the value of the hand 
of which he had to dispose, was somewhat reduced 
in the noarket, " have placed you on a footing, in my 
esteem. Should my niece, after all, prefer Captain - 
Ludlow for a partner in her worldly aifairs, why it 
should not weaken friendship between the son of 
old Stephanus Van Staats and Myndert Van Bever- 
out Our grandmothers were cousins, and there 
should be charities in the same blood." 

" I could not wish to press my suit," returned the 
Patroon, *^ when the lady has given so direct a hint 
that it is disagreeable " 

'* Hint me no hints I Do you call this caprice of a 
moment, this trifling, as the captain here would call 
it, with the winds and tides, a faint 1 The girl has 
Norman blood in her veins, and she wishes to put 
animation into the coyrtship. If bargains were to 
be interrupted by a little cheapening of the buyer, 
and some affectation of waiting for a better market 
ia thejeller. Her Maje^y ought ^s weli or^er he? 



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840 T&S WATBH-WITOR. 

custom-houses to be closed at once, and look to other 
sources for revenue. Let the girl's fancy hare its 
swing, and the profits of a year's peltry against thy 
rent-roll, we shall see her penitent for her folly, and 
willing to hear reason. My sister's daughter is no 
witch, to go journeying for ever about the woi Id, on 
a broonDstick!" 

> " There is a tradition in our family," said Oloft 
Van Staats, his eye lighting with a mysterious ex- 
citement, while he affected to laugh at the folly he 
uttered, " that the great Poughkeepsie fortune-teller 
foretold, in the presence of my grandmother, that a 
Patroon of Kinderhook should intermarry with a 
witch. So, should I see la Belle in- the position you 
imme, it would not greatly alarm me." 

"The prophecy was fulfilled at the wedding of 
thy father!" muttered Myndert, who, notwithstand- 
ing the outward levity with which he treated the 
subject, was not entirely free from secret reverence 
for the provincial soothsayers, some of whom con- 
tinned in high repute, even to the close of the last 
century. ** His son would, not else have been so * 
clever a youth ! But here is Captain Ludlow look- 
ing at the ocean, as if he expected to see my niece 
rise out of the water, in the shape of a mermaid." 

The commander of the Coquette pointed to the 
object which attracted his gaze, and which, appear- 
ing as it did at that moment, was certainly not of a 
nature to lessen the faith of either of his companions 
in supernatural agencies. 

It has been said that the wind was dry and the 
air misty, or rather so pregnant with a thin haze, as 
to give it the appearance: of a dull, smoky light. In" 
such a state of the weather, the eye, more especially 
of one placed on an elevation, is unable to distinguish 
what is termed the visible horizon at sea. The two 
elements become so blended, that our organs cannot 
tell where the water ends, or where the void of the 



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beaVens commeni^es. it is a conscquiBnce of tliis in- 
dSstiootness, Ibat any object «een beyond the appa- 
nent boundary of water, has the appearance of float- 
ing in the air. It is rare ibr the organs of a lands- 
man to penetrate beyond the apparent limits of the 
ca, wfien the atmosphere exhibits this peculiarity, 
though the practised eye of a mariner often detects 
vessels, which are hid from others, merely because 
they are not sought in the proper place. The de- 
ception ^may also be aided by a slight degree of re- 
fraction. 

*^ Here ;*' said Ludlow, pointing in a line that 
would have struck tht water some two or three 
leagues in the offing. " First bring the chimney of 
yonder low building on the plain, in a range with 
the dead oak on the shore, and then raise your eyes 
slowly, till they strike a sail." 

" That ship is navigating the heavens !*' exclaimed 
Myndert ! ^ Thy grandmother ^as a sensible wo- 
man, Patroon ; she was a cousin of my pious progeni- 
tor, and there is no knowing what two clever old 
ladies, in their time, may have heard and seen, 
when such sights as this are beheld in oUr own !" 

"I am as little disposed as another, to put faith in 
incredible tWngs," gravely returned Oloff Van Staats; 
** and yet, if required to give my testimony, I should 
be reluctant to say, that yonder vessel is not floating 
in the heavens!" 

" You might not give it to that effect, in safety ; 
said Ludlow. "It is no other than a half-rigged 
brigantine, o , a taut bowline, though she bears no 
great show of canvas. Mr. Van Beverout, Her Maje3- 
ty*s cruiser is about to put to sea." 

Myndert heard this declaration in visible dissat* 
isfaction. He spoke of the virtue of patience, and 
of the comforts of the solid ground ; but when he 
found the intentimi of the Queen's servant was not 
to be shaken, he reluctantly pro^ssed an intention of 

Vot.1. ^ V 



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943 TBS WATSR^mrcff. 

repeating the personal experiment of the preceding 
day. Accordingly, within half an hour, the whole 
party were on the banks of the Shrewsbury, and 
about to embark in the barge of the Coquette. 

"Adieu, Monsieur Francois;" said the Alderman, 
nodding his head to the ancient valet, who stood with 
a disconsolate eye on the shore. " Have a care of 
the movables in la Cour des F^es ; we may have fur- 
ther use for them." 

" Mais, Monsieur Beevre, mon devoir, et, ma foi, 
suppose la mer was plus agr^able, mon di^sir shall be 
to suivre Mam'selle Alide. Jamais personne de la 
famille Barbaric love de sea ; mais, Monsieur, com- 
ment fairel I shall die sur la mer de douleur ; and I 
shall die d'ennui, to rester ici, bien sAr!** 

"Come then, faithful Francois," said Ludlow. 
" You shall follow your young mistress ; and perhaps, 
on further trial, you may be disposed to think the 
lives of us seamen more tolerable than you had be^ 
lieved." 

After an eloquent expression of countenance, in 
which the secretly-amused though grave-looking 
boat's-crew thought the old man was about to rive 
a specimen of his powers of anticipation, the anec- 
tionate domestic entered the barge. Ludlow felt for 
his distress, and encouraged him by a look of appro- 
batbn. The language of kindness does not always 
need a tongue ; and the conscience pf the valet smote 
him with the idea that he might have expressed 
himself too strongly, concerning a profession to which 
the other had devoted life and hopes. 

" La mer, Monsieur le Capitaine," he said, with an 
acknowledging reverence, " est un vaste th^tre de 
a gloire. VoiU Messieurs de Tourville et Dougay 
Trouin; ce sont des hommes, vraiment remarqua- 
bles ! mais Monsieur, quant a toute la famille de 
Barb^rie, we have toujours un sentiment plus favora^ 
We pour la t^rcu" ^ 



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** I wxA your whimsical jade of a mistress, Master 
Francis, had found the same sentiment," dryly ob- 
served Myndert : " for let me tell you, this cruising 
about in a suspicious vessel is as little creditable to 
her judgment as — cheer up» Patroon ; the girl is only 
putting thy mettle to the trial, and the sea air will 
do no damage to her complexion or her pocket A 
little predilection for salt water must raise the girl 
in your estimation, Captain Ludlow!" 

'< If the predilection goes no further than to the 
element, Sir ;" was the caustic answer. ^ But, de- 
hided or not, erring or deceived, Alida Barb^rie is 
■ot to be deserted, the victim of a villain's arts. I 
did love your niece, Mr. Van Beverout, and — ^puU 
with a wUl, men; fellows, are you sleeping on the 
ears?" 

The sudden manner in which the young man in- 
terrupted himself, and the depth of tone in which he 
nK)ke to the boafs-crew, put an end to the discourse. 
it was apparent that he wished to say no more, and 
that be even regretted the weakness which had in- 
duced him to say so much. The remainder of the 
distance, between the shore and the ship, was passed 
in silence. 

When Queen Anne's cruiser was seen doubling 
Sandy-Hook, past meridian on the 6th June (sea- 
time) in the year 17 — , the wind, as stated in an an- 
cient journal, which was kept by one of the midship- - 
men, and is still in existence, was light, steady at 
aouth, and by-west-half-west It appears, by the 
name document, that the vessel took her departure 
at seven o'clock,,?. M., the point of Sandy-Hook 
bearing west-half-south, distant three leagues. On 
the same page which contains these particulars, it is 
observed, under the head of remarks — *' Ship under 
starboard steerm^-sedls, forward and aft, making six 
knots. A suspicious half-ri^ed brigantine lying-to 
ii^ tb^ eastsm board, jooddr^ pmio8»l^.wit)|.iar^' 



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M4 WB mAnm^wmm 

topsail to the mast ; light and lofty sails »nfl jib 
loose; foresail in the hrails. Her starboard steering 
sail-booms appear to be r^ged out, and the gear rove^ 
ready for a run. This vessel is supposed to be the 
celebrated hermaphrodite, the Water- Wilch, com* 
inanded by the notorious^ Skimmer of the Seas,' and 
the same fellow who gave us so queer a slip, ycster^ 
day. The Lord send us a cap^fuU of wind, and we 'U 
try his heels, before morning !-^Paaslengen^ Alder* 
man Van Beverout, of the second ward of the City 
of Now- York, in Her Majesty's province of the sanie 
namo; OlofTVan Staats, Esq. comnionly cadied the 
Patroon of Kinderhook, of the same cotony ; and a 
'qualmish»Iooking old chap, in a sort of marine's jack*- 
et, who answers when hailed as Francis. A rum 
set taken altogether, though they seem to suit the 
Captain's^ fancy. Mem. — -Each Upper of a wave 
works like tartar emetic on the lad in oiaiihe gear." 

As no description of ours can give a more grapliic 
atccount of the position of the two testels in questioOi 
at the time named, than that which is contained iii 
the foregcMng extract, we shall take up the narratire 
at that moment, which the reader will see must, iii 
the 43d degree of latitude, and in the month of June^ 
have beto diortly after the close of the day. 

The young votary of Neptune, who6e opinions 
have just been quoted, had indeed presumed on h]§ 
knowledge of the localities, in affirming the distance 
and position of the cape, since the low sandy point 
was DO longer visible from the deck. The lun faftd 
sett as seen from tlie vessel, jpribcisely in the mootii 
of the Raritan; and Uie shadows from Navesink, or 
Neversink as the hills are vulgarly called, were 
thrown far upon the sea. In short, the night was 
gathering round the mariners, with every appear* 
ance of seittled and mild weather, but of a darknesir 
deeper thaa is comtnoo on the ocean. Under such 
gJwiiirtltegfM tbagreet eig^rt lw» t^JMtp 4» <ii» 



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iras wnsa-fv lams. {MS 

trade at tiie chase, during the time when she must 
necessarily be hid from their sight. 

Ludlow walked into the lee-gangway of his ship, 
and, leaning with his elbow on the empty hammock- 
cloths, he gazed long and in silence at the object of 
his pursuit The Water- Witch was lying in the 
quarter of the horizon most favorable to being seen. 
The twitight, which still fell out of the heavens, was 
without glare in that direction ; and for the first time 
that day, he saw her in her true proportions. The 
admiration of a seaman was blended with the other 
sensations of the young man. The brigantine lay in 
the position that exhibited her exquisitelv-moulded 
hull and rakish rig to the most advantage. The head, 
having come to the wind, was turned towards her 
pursuer ; and as the bows rose on some swell that 
was heavier than common, Ludlow saw, or fancied 
be saw, the mysterious image still perched on her 
cut-water, holding the book to the ciurious, and ever 
pointing with it§ finger across the waste of water. A 
movement of the hammock-cloths caused the young 
sailor to bend his head aside, and he then saw that 
the master had drawn as near to his person as dis* 
ciphne would warrant. Ludlow had a great respect 
for the professional attainments that his inferior un- 
questionably possessed ; and he was not without some 
consideration for the chances of a fortune, which had 
not done much to reward the privations and the ser- 
vices of a seaman old enough to be his father. The 
recollection of these facts always disposed him to be 
indulgent to a, man who had little, beyond his sea 
man-like character and long experience, to recom 
mend him. 

" We are likely to have a thick night, Master Try 
sail," said the young captain, without deeming it ne- 
cessary to change his look, ^and we may yet be 
brought on a bowline, before yonder insdeat is ovei^ 
Wuled." ■ 

V2 



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The master smiled^ like one who kdew mftpe Ihaft 
he expressed, and gravely shook bis head. 

" We may have many pulls on our bowlini^ Und 
some squaring of y^rds, too, before the Coquette (the 
figure-head of the sloop-of-war was also a female) 
gets near enough to the dark-faced woman, under 
the bowsprit of the brigantine, to whisper her mind. 
You and I have been nigh enough to see the white 
of her eyes, and to count the teeth she shows, in that 
cunning grin of hers, — and what good has come of 
our visit T I am but a subordinate. Captain Ludlow, 
and I know my duty too well not to be silent in a 
squall, and I hope too well not to know how to speak 
when my commander wishes the opinions of his offi* 
cers at a council ; and therefore mine, just now, i» 
perhaps different from that of some others in this 
ship, that I will not name, who are good men, too^ 
though none of the oldest." 

" And what is thy opinion. Trysail ? — the ship is 
doing well, and she carries her canvas bravely." 

" The ship behaves like a well-bred young woman 
in the presence of the dueen ; modest, but stately — 
but, of what use is canvas, in a chase where witch- 
craft breeds squalls, and shortens sail in one vessel, 
while it gives flying kites to another ! If Her Majes* 
ty, God bless her I should be ever persuaded to do 
60 silly a thing as to give old Tom Trysail a ship, and 
the said ship lay, just here-a-way, where the Coquette 
is now getting along so cleverly, why then, as in duty 
boimd, I know very well what her commander would 
do " 

" Which would be ?" 

''To, in all studding-sails, 'iand bring the vessel on 
tlie wind." 

" That would be to carry you to the 80uthward» 
while the chase lies here in the eastern board !" 

" Who can say, how long she will lie there ? They 
told «s, in York, that there was a Frencbo^i qf 



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our burthen and m^tal, rttimnagiiig about asiebg the 
fsbermen, lower down on the coast. Now, Sk^ bo 
man knows that the war is half over better than my- 
self, for Dot a ha'penny erf* pri^e-monej has warmed 
my pocket, these three years ; — bilt, as I was saying, 
if h Frenchman will come off his ground, and will run 
his ship into troubled water, why — whose fault is it 
but his own ? A pretty a£^r might be made out of 
such a mistake. Captain LiidJow; whereas runnii^ 
after yonder brigantine, is flapping out the Queen's 
canVas for nothing. The viessel's bottom will want 

.nisw sheathing, in my poor opinion, before you catch 
him." 

*^ I know not, Trysail,** returned his captain, 
glancing an eye aloft ; *' every thing draws, and the 
ship never went along with less trouble to herself. 
We shall not know which has the longest legs, till 
the trial is made*" ^ 

" You may judge of the rogue's speed by his im- 
pudence. There he lies, waiting for us, like a line- 
of-battle ship lying-to for an enemy to come down. 
Though a man of some experience in my way, I 
haye never seen a lord's son more sure of promotion, 
than that same brigantine seems to be of his heels I 

. If this old Frenchman goes on with his faces much 
longer, he will turn himself inside-out, and ihen we 
shall get an honest look at him, for these fellows 
never carry their true characters above-board, like 
a fair-dealing Englishman. Well, Sir, as I was re- 
marking, yon rover, if rover he be, has more faith in 
his canvas than in the church. I make no doubt, 
Giptain Ludlow, that the brigantine went through 
the inlet, while we were handing our topsails yes 
terday ; for I. am none of those who are in a hurry 
to give credit to any will-o'-the-wisp tale ; besides 
which, I sounded the passage with my own hands, 
^nd know the thing to be possible, with the wind 
Mowing Isoavy over the tefintil; <tiUt Sir* humft^M- 



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'.T8S .WAXEIUWITUB* 

ttireis hnmaii nature, and what is the oldest seaman, 
after all, bat a man ? — ^And so to conclude, I would 
rather any day chase a Frenchman, whose disposi* 
tion is known to me, than have the credit of making 
traverses, for eight-and-forty hours, in the wake of 
one of thesie flyers, with little hope of getting hur 
within haik" 

" You forget, Master. Trysail, that I have been 
aboard the chase, and know something of his build 
and character." 

^ They say as much aboard, here,*' returned the 
old tar, drawing nearer to the person of his captain, 
under an impulse of strong curiosity ; '* though none 
presume to be acquainted with the particulars. I 
am not one of those who ask impertinent questions, 
mor» especially under Her Majesty's pennant : for the 
worst enemy I have will not say 1 am very womanish. 
One would think, however, that there was neat work 
on board a craft that is so prettily moulded about her 
water-lines ?" 

'* She is perfect as to construction, and admirable 
in gear." 

" I thought as much, by instinct ! Her commander 
need not, however, be any the more sure of keeping 
her off the rocks, on that account The prettiest 
young woman in our pari^ was wrecked, as one 
might say, on the shoals of her own good looks, hav- 
ing cruised once too often in the company of the 
squire's son. A comely wench she was, though she 
lulled athwart all her old companions, when the 
young lord of the manor fell into her wake. Well, 
she did bravely enough, Sir, as long as she could 
carry her flying kites, and make a fair wind of it 5 
but when the squall of which I spoke, overtook her, 
what could she do but keep away before it ? — and 
as others, who are snugger in th^ir morals hove-to as 
it were, under the storra^sails of religion and such 
•aoattecs as they had pkked up in the catechism, she 



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THB WATBlUwiTB& 8M 

drifted to leeward of all hoeest society ! A neatly** 
built and clean-heeled hussy was^ that girl ; and I am 
pot certain, by any means, that Mrs. Trysail woul4 
this day call herself the lady of a Queen's officery 
had the other known how to carry sail ia the com 
pany of her betters." 

Ihe worthy master drew a long breath, whkl 
possibly was a nautical sigh, but which certainly had 
mcM-e of the north wind than of tiie zephyr in its 
breathing^; and he had recourse to the little box of 
iron, whence he usually drew consolation* 

'' I have heard of this accident before ;" returned 
Ludlow, who had sailed as a midshipman in the same 
vessel with, and indeed as a subordinate tO| his pres- 
et inferior. *' But, from all accounts, you have little 
reason to regret the change, as I hear the best char* 
acter of your present worthy partner." 

" No doubt, Sir, no doubt. — I defy any man in the 
ship to sny tbAt I am a backbiter, even against my 
wife^ with whom I have a sort of lawful righ.t to d^al 
candidly* I make no complaints, and am a happy man 
at sea, and I piously hope Mrs. Trysail knows bow to 
submit to her duty at borne. — I suppose you see, Siri 
that the chase has hauled his yards^ and is getting bis 
fore-tack aboard?" Ludlow, whose eye did not often 
turn from the brigantine, nodded asisent; and the 
master, bavins satisfied himself, by actual inspectioui 
that every sau in the Coquette did its duty, continued 
*^^* The night is coming on thick, and we shall hav« 
OCi^asioQ for all our eyes to keep the rogue in view^ 
when be begins to change his bearings — ^but, as I wap 
sayiog, if the commander of yonder half-rig is too 
vain of her good looks, he may yet wreck her, in hii 
pride! The rogue has a desperate character as a 
smuggler, though, for my own part, I cannot say that 
I look on such men with as unfavorable an eye as 
some^th^rB. This businoss of trade sewns to be a 



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4 



S50 THE WATBR-WITOH. 

man's wits, and the dullest goer must be content to 
fall io leeward. When it comes to be a question oi 
revenue, why, he who goes free is lucky, and he who 
is caught, a prize. I have known a flag-officer look 
the other way, Captain Ludlow, when his own effects 
were passing duty-free ; and as to your admiral's lady, 
she is a great patroness of the contraband. 1 do not 
deny. Sir, that a^ smuggler must be caught, and when 
caught, condemned, after which there must be a fair 
distribution among the captors ; but all that I mean 
to say is, that there are worse men in the world 
than your British smu^ler — such, for instance, as 
your Frenchman, your Dutchman, or your Don." 

" These are heretodox opinions for a Queen's ser- 
vant;" said Ludlow, as much inclined to smile as 
to frown. 

" I hope I know my duty too well to preach them 
to the ship's company, but a man may say that, in a 
philosophical way, before his captain, that he would 
not let run into a midshipman's ear. Though no 
lawyer, I know what is meant by swearing a wit- 
ness to the truth and nothing but the truth. I wish 
the Queen got the last, God bless her ! several worn- 
out ships would then be broken up, and better ves- 
sels sent to sea in their places. But, Sir, speaking 
in a religious point of view, what is the difference 
between passing in a trunk of finery, with a duch- 
ess's name on the brass plate, or in passing in gin 
enough to fill a cutter's hold ?'» - 

" One would think a man of your years, Mr. Tnr- 
sail, would see the difierence between robbing the 
revenue of a guinea, and robbing it of a thousand 
pounds." 

" Which is just the diiierence between retail and 
wholesale, — and that is no trifle, I admit. Captain 
Ludlow, in a commercial country, especially in gen- 
reel life. StBl, Sir, revenue is the country's right, 
and flMrafere I aUow« gaHig;kr to be % b«d man 



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T9X VATXH-VITeB* 9&1 

yoij not so bad as those I have jiist nanied, particu* 
larl J your Dutchman 1 The Queen is right to make 
those rogues lower their flags to her in the narrow 
seas, which are her lawful property ; because Eng- 
land, being a wealthy island, and Holland no tnore 
than a bit of bog turned up to dry, it is reasonable 
that we should have the command afloat No, Sir, 
though none of your outcriers against -a man, be* i 
cause he has had bad luck in a chase with a reve- 
nue^utter, I hope I know what the natural rights 
of an Englishman are. We must be masters, here, 
Captain Ludlow, will-ye-nill-ye, and look to the main 
chances of trade and manufacture^!'' 

*< I had not thought you so accomplished a states- 
man. Master Trysail I" 

" Though a poor man's son, Captain Ludlow, I am 
a free-born Briton, and my education has not been 
entirely overlooked. I h6pe I know something of 
the cbnstitution, as well as my betters. Justice and 
honor being an Englishman's mottoes, we must look 
manfully to the main chance. We ^re none of your 
flighty talkers, but a reasoning people, and there is 
no want of deep thinkers on the little island ; and 
therefore. Sir, taking all together, why England 
must stick upibr her rights ! Here is your Dutchman, 
for instance, a ravenous cormorant ; a fellow with a 
throat wide enough to swallow all the gold of the 
Great Mogul, if he could get at it ; and yet a vaga- 
bond who has not even a fair footing on the earth, if 
the truth must be spoken ! Well, Sir, shall England 
dve up her rights to a nation of such blackguards ? 
No, Sir; our vene'^able constitution and mother 
church itself forbid, and therefore I say, dam'me, lay 
them aboard, if they refuse us any of our natural 
rights, or show a wish to bring us down to their own 
dirty level!" - 

'* Reasoned like a countryman of Newton, and 
with an eloquence that would do credit to Qcero 1 I 



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ass wv WAvrnk'^mimu 



^i^eaTi^ to digest your idefts at myleisiiret 
skice they are itiuch too solid food to be disposed of 
m a minute* At present we will look to the chase, 
for I see, by the aid of my ^ass, that he has set his 
studdfng-sailsT, and is beginning to draw ahead/' 

This remark closed the diak)gue, between tii 
aptain and his subordinate. The latter quitted the 
gangway with that secret and pleasurable sensation 
which communicates itself to all who have reason 
to think they have delivered themselves creditably 
of a train of profound thought. 

It was, in tri^th, time to lend every faculty to the 
movements of the brigantjne; for there was great 
reason to apprehend, that by changing her direction 
in the darkness, she might elude them. The night 
was fast closing or the Coquette, and at each mo- 
ment the horizon i/ctrrowed around her, so that it 
was only at uncei^tain intervals the men aloft could 
distinguish the position of the chase. While the two 
vessels were thus situated, Ludlow joined his guests 
on the quarter-deck. ' 

" A wise man will trust to his wits, what cannot 
be done by force ;" said the Alderman. ** I do not 
pretend to be much of a mariner. Captain Ludlow, 
though I once spent a week in London, and I have 
crossed the ocean seven times to Rotterdam, We 
did little in our passages, by striving to force nature. 
When the nights came in dark, as at present, the 
honest schippers were content to wait for better 
times; by which means we were sure not to miss 
our road, and of finally arriving at the destined port 
in safety." 

"You saw that the brigantine was opening his 
canvas, when last seen; and he that would move 
fast, must have recourse to his sails." 

" One never knows what may be brewing, up there 
in the heavens, when the eye cannot see the color 
of a cloud I have little knowledge of the charar ter 



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wjLTm^vnftm. 9S3 

of the * Skimm^ of the Seas,' hej^mi Aat wMdi 
conunQQ &aie^ve8ldm ; but, in the poor jodgm^t of 
a landsman, we should do better bj showing lantemd 
in ctifferent parts of the ship, lest some homeward- 
bound vessel do OS an injury, and waiting until the 
morning, for further movements," 

^ We are spared the trouble, for look, the insolent 
has set a l%ht himself, as if to invite us to follow ] 
This teniCTitj exceeds belief! To dare to trifle thus 
with one of the swiftest cruisers in the English fleet I 
See that every thing draws, gentlemen, and take a 
pull at all the- sheets. Hail the tops. Sir, and make 
sure that every thing is home." 

The order was succeeded by the voice of the 
officer of the watch, who inquired, as directed, if 
each sail was distended to the utmost. Force wa« 
applied to some o{ the ropes, and then a general 
quiet succeeded to the momentary activity. 

The brigantine had indeed showed a light, as if 
in mockery of the attempt of the royal cruiser. 
Though secretly stung by this open contempt of their 
speed, the officers of the Coquette found themselves 
relieved from a painful and anxious duty. Before 
this beacon was seen, they were obliged to exert 
their senses to the utmost, in order to get occasional 
glimpses of the position of the chase ; while they 
now steered in confidence for the brilliant little spot, 
that was gently rising and falling with the waves. 

" I think we near him," half-whispered the eager 
captain ; " for, see, there is some design visible ou 
the sides of the lantern. Hold ! — Ah ! 'tis the face of 
a woman, as I live !" 

" The men of the yawl report that the rover shows 
this symbol in many parts of his vessel, and we know 
•he had the impudence to set it yesterday in our 
presence, even on his ensign." 

" True— rtrue ; take you the glass, Mr. I^flP, and 
tell me if there be not a woman's face sketched in 
Vol. I W 



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254 THB WATKE-WITOI. 

front of fbat Hight'^we certainly near him fast»-lef 
there be silence, fore and aft the sh^)* The rog«»!8 
mistake our bearings 1" 

^' A saucy-looking jade, as one might wish to see !" 
returned the lieutenant '^ Her impudent, laugh is 
visible to the naked eye." 

<< See all clesfr for laying him aboard ! Get a party 
to throw on his decks, Sir 1 I will lead them myself." 

These orders were given in an under tone, and 
rapidly. They were promptly obeyed. In the mean 
time, the Coquette continued to glide gently ahead, 
her sails thickening with the dew, and every breath 
of thQ heavy air acting with increased power on 
their surfaces. The hoarders were stationed, orders 
were given for the most profound silence, and as the 
ship drew nearer to the light, even the oflicers were 
commanded not to stir. Ludlow stationed himself in 
the mizen channels, to cun the ship ; and his direc- 
tions were repeated to the quarter-master, in a loud 
whisper. 

" The night is so-dark, we are certainly unseen !" 
observed the young man to his second in command, 
who stood at his elbow. " They have unaccountably 
mistaken our position. Observe how the face of the 
painting becomes more distiact — one can see even the 
curls of the hair. — Luff, Sir! luif—we will run him 
aboard ! on his weather-quarter." 

"The fool must be lying-to!" returned the lieu- 
tenant. ** Even your witches fail of common sense, 
at times ! Do you see^ which way he has his head, 
Sir?" ^ 

" I see nothing but the light. It is so dark that 
our own sails are scarcely visible — and yet I think 
here are his yards, a little forward of our lee beam." 

" 'Tis our own lower boom. I got it out, in readi- 
ness for the other tack, in case the knave should 
ware. Are we not running too full ?" 



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** Luff you may, a little, — hiS, op we dmll cresb 
him!" 

As thk order was given, Ludlow passed swiftly 
forward* He found the boarders ready for a spring, 
and he rapidly gave his orders. The men were told 
to carry the brigantine at every hazard, but not to 
iier violence, unless serious resistance was made. 
They were thrice enjoined not to enter the cabins, 
and the young man expressed a generous wish that, 
b every case, the *Skimmer of the Seas' might be 
taken alive. By the time these directions were given, 
the light was so near that the malign countenance 
of the sea-green lady was seen in every lineament. 
Ludbw looked, in vain, for the spars, in order to 
ascertain in which direction the head of the brigan- 
tine lay; but, trusting to luck, he saw that the 
deci^ve moment was come. 

" Starboard, and run him aboard !— Away there, 
you boarderSj away! Heave with your grapnels; 
heave, men, with a long^ swing, heave! Meet her, 
with the helm — hard down— -meet her — steady !" — 
was shouted in a clear, full, and steady voice, that 
seemed to deepen at each mandate which issued 
from the lips of the young captain. 

The boarders cheered heartily, and leaped into 
the rigging. The Coquette readily and rapidly 
yielded to the^powei* of her rudder. First inclining 
to the light, and then sweeping up towards the wind 
again, in another instant she wa« close upon the 
chase. The irons were thrown, the men once more 
sliOttted, and all on board held their breath?' in ex- 
pectation of the crash of the meeting hulls. At that 
moment of high excitement, the wonnan's face rose a 
short distance in the air, seemed to smile in derision of 
their attempt, and suddenly disappeared. The ship 
passed steadily ahead, while no noise but the sullen 
wash of the waters was audible. The boarding-irons 
were heard falling heavily into the sea ; and the Co- 



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1B®6 T8B WATfiR^WIVCSS. 



quette rap%^ overrun the qiot where the light had 
been seen, without sustawing any shock. Though the 
clouds lifted a little, and the eye might embrace a 
circuit of a few hundred feet, th^e certainly was 
nothing to be seen, within its range, but the unquiet 
element, and the stately cruiser a[ Queen Anne iloat 
ing on its bosSm* 

Though its effects were different oa the differ 
ently-constituted minds of those who witnessed the 
singular incident, the disappointment was general. 
The cotnmen impression was certainly unfavorable 
to the earthly character of the brigantine ; and when 
opinions of this nature once get possession of the ie- 
norant, they are not easily removed. Even Trysail, 
though experienced in the arts of those who trifle 
with the revenue-laws, was much inclined to believe 
that this was no vulgar case of floating lights or false 
beacons, but a manifestation that others, besides 
those who had been regularly trained to the sea, 
were occasionally to be found on the waters. If 
-Captain Ludiow thought differently, he saw no suffi- 
cient reason to ent(^ into an explanation with those 
who were bound silently to obey. He paced the 
quarter-deck, for many minutes ; and then issued his 
orders to the equally -disappointed lieutenants. The 
light canvas of the Coquette was taken, in, the stud- 
ding-sail-gear unrove, aiui the booms secured. The 
ship was then brought to the wind, and her courses 
having been hauled up, the fore-topsail was throswn 
to the mast. In this position the cruiser lay, wadting 
for the morning light, in order to^ive greater cer 
tainty to her movements. . 



END OF VOUh 



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THE 



WATER-WITCH, 

- OS THB 
ftY THE AUTHOR OF THE PILOT. RED ROVER. *& Ae. JU. 



- * Mate, qae aaUe' alloit • il ftiire dans eette gtitve r 



IN TWO VOLUMES 

VOL. n. 

A NEW EDITION. 

^ PfflLADELPmA: 

LEA & BLANCHARD, 

1843. 



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Eastern Diatfiet uf Pennsylvania, to wit : 
roooonnon g BE IT REMEMBERED, That on the thirtieth dty of Octo- 
I • r i ber, in the fifty -third year of the Independence of the United 
s ij. 9. I states of America, A. D. 183tf, Carbt k, Lea, of the said district, 
("MOMOMi have deposited in tbi^ofieethe UOe of a boolc,the right wtemof 
they claim as proprietors in the wmwdt following, to wit : 

*' The Water- Witch, or the Skimmer of the Seas. A Tale ; by the anthol 
of the Pilot, Red Rover, ice. kc Sec 

* Mais, que diable alloit-il Aire dans cette galtoer ** 

In confbrmlty to the Act of the Oongress of the United States, entitled, " An 
Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by securing the copies of Maps. 
Charts, and Booics, to the Authors and Proprietors m such Copies, during 
the times therein mentioned:" And also to an Act, entitled, ** An Act sup- 

Sen^ntary to an Act, entitled, ' An Act for the Encouragement of Learn* 
ig, by iecnring the copies of M&ps, Charts, and BookSr to the Authors and 
Proprietors of such copies, during the times therein uKantioned.* and extend 
ing the benefits thereof to the arts of designing, engraving, and etching his 
torical and other prints." * 

D CALDWELL, Clerk <(f the 

EaaUm JHstriet <f PeniwylMmfa. 



STBasoTmn bt j. mows. 



raiNTBD BT T. K. ft P. (I. COLLINS, FBILA* 



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THE WATER-WITCH. 



CHAPTER L 

•* I, John Turner, 

Am master and owner « .^ 

Of a Utb-deck'dscliooBer, 
TJaat's bound.;4> Carolina^** 
etc. etc. etc. etc 

CoABTfifa Boira. 

It m not necessary to say, with how mnch interest 
Alderman Van Bevenmt, and his friend the Patroon, 
had wilaesaed all the proceedings on board the Co- 
quette. Something very like an exclamation of 
pleasure escaped the former, when it was known 
tliat the $t^ had missed tiie brigantane, and that 
tl^re was now little probability of overtaking her that 
n^ht 

..*< Of what use is it to chase your fire-flies, about 
the ocean, Fatroontf' muttered the Alderman, in the 
ear of Okiff Van Staats. "I have no further know- 
le^e of this ' Skimmer of the Seas,' than is decent 
in the principal of a commercial house, — ^but reputa- 
tion is like a sky-rocket, that may be seen from afar ! 
Her Majesty has no ship that can overtake the free- 
trader, and why fatigue the innocent vessel for no* 
thing?" 

'^Captain Ludlow has other desires than the mere 
capture of the brigantine ;" returned the laconic and 
sententious Patroon. **The opinion that Alida de 
Barb^rie is in her, has great influence with that 
gentl^nan." 

'* This is strange apathy, Mr. Van StaatF, in one 
who is as good as enes^ed to my niece, if he be rkd 
actually married Alida Barbl^e has great influ- 
ence .witii that gentleman ! And prar* with whom, 
t)utt knows W» has she not influcAce c** 



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4 THE WATER-WITCH. 

^ The sentiment in favor of the young lady, in 
general, is favorable.*' 

*' Sentiment and favors ! Am I to understand, Sir, 
by this coolness, that our bargain is broken ? — ^that 
the two fortunes are tiot to be brought togetter, ami 
that the lady is not to be your wife?" 

" Harkee, Mr. Van Beverout ; ^ne who *fa saving 
of his income and sparing of his words, can have no 
pressing necessity for the money of others ; and, on 
occasion, he may afford to speak plainly. Your niece 
has shown so decided a preference for another, that 
it has materially lessened the livelmess of thy regard' 

^ It were a pity that so much animation should 
fail of its object ! It would be a sort of stoj^ge in 
the a&irs of Cupid! Men should deal candidly, in 
all business transactions, Mr. Van Staats; and you 
will permit me to ask, as for a final settlement, if 
your mind is changed in regard to the daughter of 
old Etienne de Barberie, or not?" 

** Not changed, but quite decided ;** returned the 
young Patroon. " I cannot say that I wish the suc- 
"cessor of my mother to have iseen so much of the 
world. W^e are a family that is content with our situa- 
tion, and new customs would derange my household." 

" I am no wizard. Sir ; but for the benefit of a son 
of my old friend Stephanus Van Staats, I will ven- 
ture, for once, on a prophecy. Yo«i will marry, Mr. 
Van Staats — yes, marry — and you will wive. Sir, 
with — ^prudence prevents me from saying with whom 
you wiH wive ; but you may account yourself a lucky 
man, if it be not with one who will cause you to 
forget house and home, lands and friends, manors 
and rents, and in short all the solid comforts of life. 
It would not surprise me to hear that the prediction o 
tile Poughkeepsie fortune-teller should be fii^filted!" 

** And what Ss your real opinion, Alderman Van 
Beverout, of the different mysterious events we have 
witnessed?" demanded the ratroon, ui a manner to 



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preve thatt the interest be took in &k€ sQljeel; com* 
pletely tm^hered any ilispleuure he might olbep- 
wise have felt at ao harsh a proj^^y. ** This «ea« 
^reon lady is no €oiiu»on womaii !" 

'^Sea-^eesi and sky-blue 1'^ int^nqpted tibe un 
patient hurgher. ''The biis^ is jbiit too commoa 
Sir ; and there is the eabauty. Had ^e been satis 
.fied with transacting her concerns in a snij^ and 
reaiovahle manner, and to have gone upcm the high 
4ea9 agaiiiy we tdimtld have had none of this foolery, 
to <&tob aocounts which ought to have been cooh 
fiidered settled. Mr. Van Staats, will you aUow-me' 
to ask a few direct questions, if you can find lei^re 
for their answer T" 

The'Patroon nodded his bead, in the affirmative. 

'* What do you suppose, Sir, to have beaime of 
,i0y niece f" 
t. ** Eloped." ^ * 

"Ab4 with whom?" 

Van Staats of Kinderhocds stretiched an arm to- 
wajrds the open ocean, and again nodded The Aiders . 
loan mused a moment ; and th^ he chuckled, as if 
some amusing idea had at once gotten the better of 
his ill-humor. 

'' Gnne, come, JPatroon," he said, in his wcmted 
amicable tone, when addressing the lord of a hun<- 
dred thousand acres, '' this. business is like a complin 
eated account, a little difficult till one gets acquaint^ 
ed with the books, and then all becomes plain ai 
your hand. There were referees in the settlement 
of the estate of Kobus Van Klinck, whom I will not 
name; but what between the handwriting of the 
old. grocer, and some inaccuracy in the figures, they 
had but a Wind time of it until they discovered 
which way the balance ought to come; and then by 
working backward and forward, which is the true 
^rit€i your jurt referee, they got all straight in the 
^mU K^im^k was not very lui^id in his jitaterafints, 
A2 



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S THS WATER-WIT6B. 

and be wlus a little apt to be careless of ihk. Ift 
Jeger might be called a book of the blaek art ; fin* it 
was little else than fly-tracks and blots, though the 
last were found of great assistance in rendering the 
statements sati^actorjr. By calling three of the big- 
gest of them sttgar-hogsheadsy a very fair baianos 
was struck between him and a peddling Yankee who 
was breeding trouble for the estate ; and I chaUei^ 
even at this distant day, when all near interests ia 
the results may be said to sleep, any re^KMisible matt 
•to say that they did not look as mudli like tiiose 
articles as any thing else. Something they must 
have Been, and as Kobus dealt lai^ely in sugar, there 
was also a strong moral probability that they were 
the said h(^sheaas. G>me, come, Patroon ; we AM 
have the jade back again, in pn^per time. Thy ardor 
gets the better of reason ; but this is the way wi& 
' true love, which is none the worse for a little delay.' 
Alida is not one to balk thy merriment ; these Nor- 
man wenches are not heavy of foot at a dance, or 
apt to go to sleep when the fiddles are stirring !" 

With this consolation, Alderman Van Beverout saw 
fit to close the dialogue,- for the moment. How far 
he succeeded in bringing back the mind <^ the Pa- 
troon to its allegiance, the result must show ; though 
.we shall take this occasion to observe again, that the 
young proprietor found a satisfaction in the excite^- 
ment of the present scene, that, in the course of a 
short and little diversified life, he had never before 
experienced. 

While others slept, Ludlow passed most of the 
night on deck. He laid himself down in the ham« 
mock-cloths, for an hour or two, towards morning; 
though the wind did not sigh through the ngging 
louder than comm<niy without arousing him from his 
slumbers. At each low call of the officer of the watch 
to the crew, his head was raised to glance around th^ 
Darraw horizoD ; and the ship ne«ier roUed h6aviiy» 



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without caust!^ him to awake. He bdieVed that 
the brigantiiie was near, and, for the first watch, he 
was not without expectation that the two vessds 
might unexpectedly meet in the obscoritj. When 
tfak hope faiied, the young s^man had recourse to 
artifice, in his turn, in or^r to entrap one who ap ' 
feared so practised and so expert in the devices of 
&e sea« 

Abolit midnight, when the watches were changed, 
and the whole crew, with the excepti^i of the idlers, 
were en deck, orders were given to hoist out the 
boats. This operation, one of exceeding toil and diffi* 
culty in ]ightly4nanned ships, was soon performed on 
.board the^ Queen's cruiser, by the aid of yard and 
stay-tackles, to which the force of a hundred seamen 
was applied. When four of these little attendants 
on the ship were in the water, they were entered by 
their crtws, prepared for serious service. Officers, 
on whom Ludlow could rely, were put in command 
of the three smallest, while he took charge of the 
fourth in person. When all were jeady, and each 
inferior had received his especial instructions, they 
quitledthe side of the vessel, pulling^off, in diverging 
lines, into the gloom of the ocean. The boat of Lud- 
low had not gone fifty fathoms, before he was per- 
fectly conscious of the inutility of a chase ; for the 
obscurity of the night was so great, as to rasder the 
spars of his own ship nearly indistinct, even at that 
short distance. Aftejc pulling by compass some ten 
oc fift^ofH^, minutes, in a direction that carried him to 
windward of the Coquette, the young man com- 
manded the crew to cerise rowing, and prepared him- 
self to await, patiently, f»>r the result <rf his under- 
taking. 

There was nothing to vary the m<»M)tony of such 
a scene* for an hour, but the regular rolling of a sea 
that was but little agitated, a few occasional strokes <rf 
tb<^ Qors, that wero^ven in ord^ to keep the bisbrga' 



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8 tTfE WATER-WITCH. 

in its j^ace, or ihe heavy breathing of some smaller 
fish or the cetaceous kind, as it rose to the surface 
to inhale the atmosphere. In no quarter of the hea* 
vens was any thing visible ; not even a star was peep- 
ing out, to cheer the solitude and silence of that soli* 
tary place. The men were nodding on the thwarts 
and our young sailor was about to relinquish his de 
sign as fruittess, when suddenly a noise was heard, at 
no great distance from the spot where they lay. It 
was one of these sounds which would have been in^ 
explicable to any but a seaman, but which conveyed 
a meaning to the ears of Ludlow, as plain as that 
which could be imparted by speech to a landsman. 
A moaning creak was followed by the low rumbling 
«f a ropej as it rubbed on some hard or distended 
substance ; and then succeeded the heavy Jap of can- 
vas, that, yielding first to a powerful impulse, was 
suddenly checked. 

**■ Hear ye that V exclaimed Ludk)w, a little above 
a whisper. « Tis the brigantine, gybing his main- 
boom ! Give way, men — see all ready lo lay him 
aboard!" 

The crew started from their lumbers ; the plash 
of oars was heard, and, in the succeeding moment* 
the sails of a vessel, gliding through the obscurity, 
nearly across their course, were visible. 

"Now spring to your oars, men !" continued Lud- 
low, with the eagerness of one engaged in chase. 
•* We have him to advantage, and he is ours ! — a long 
pull and a strong pull — steadily, boys, afid t<^her'!'' 

The practised crew did their duty. It seemed but 
« moment, before they were close upon the chase. 
. " Another stroke of the oars, and she is ours !" 
cried Ludlow. — " Grapple ! — to your arms ! — ^away, 
boarders, away !*• 

These orders came on the ears of the men wiA 
the eflfect of martial blasts. The crew shouted, the 
d^iUng of arms wa9 heard, and the tramp of feet 



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THE WATER-WITCH. ^ 

on the deck of the vessel announced the success oi 
the enterprise. A minute of extreme activity and 
of noisy confusion followed. The cheers of the board- 
ers had been heard, at a distance ; and rockets shot 
into the air, from the other boats, whose crews an- 
swered the shouts with manful lungs. The whote 
ocean appeared in a momentary glow, and the roar 
of a gun from the Coquette added to the fracas. The 
ship set several lanterns, in order to indicate her po- 
sition; while blue-lights, and other marine signals 
were constantly burning in the approaching boats, as 
if those who guided them were anxious to intimidate 
the assailed by a show of numbers. 

In the midst of this scene of sudden awakening 
from the ilnost profound quiet, Ludlow began to look 
about him, in order to secure the principal objects of 
the capture. He had repeated his orders about en- 
tering the -Cabins, and concerning the person of the 
* Skimmer of the Seas,' among the other instructions 
given to the crews of the different boats; and the in- 
stant they found themselves in quiet possession of the 
|»rize, the young man dashed into the private re- 
cesses of the vessel, with a heart that throbbed even 
more violently than during the ardor of boarding. 
To cast open the door of a cabin, beneath the high 
quarter-deck, and to descend to the level of its floor, 
were the acts of a moment. But disappointment and 
mortification succeeded to triumph. A second glance 
was not necessary to show that the coarse work and 
foul smells he saw and encountered, did not belong 
to the commodious and even elegant accommodations 
of the brigantine, 

" Here is no W^ter- Witch T* he exclaimed aloud 
under the impulse of sudden surprise. 

" God be praised ! " returned a voice, which was ' 
sucteeded by a frightened face from out a state-room. 
"We were told the rover was in the offing, and 
thought the yells could come from nothing human i* 



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1# THS WAT1»l-WITOir. 

The blood, -Much had been rushiiig through the 
arteries and veins of Ludlow ko tumultaouslyy now 
crept into his cheeks, and was felt tingling at his fin- . 
gers'-ends. He gave a hurried order to his men to 
re-enter their boat, leaving every thing as they found 
it A short conference between the comnntnder o 
Her Majesty's ship Coquette, and the seaman of the 
state-room, succeeded ; and then the former hastened 
on deck, whence his passage into the barge occupied 
\ but a moment. The boat pulled away from the fan-* . 
cied prize, amid a iSilence that was uninterrupted by 
any other sound than that of a song, which, to all 
appearance, came from one who by this time had 
placed himself at the vessel's hebn. All that can be 
said of the music is, that it was suited to the words, 
and all that could be heard of the latter, was a p(M*- 
tion of a verse, if verse it might be called, which had 
exercised the talents of some thoroughly nautical 
mind. As we depend, for the accuracy of the quota- 
tion, altogether on the fidelity of Uie journal of the 
midshipman already named, it is possible that some 
injustice may be done the writer ; but, according to 
that document, he sang a strain of the coasting song, 
which we have prefixed to this chapter as its motta 
The papers of the coaster did not give a more de- 
tailed description of her character and pursuits, than 
that which is contained in this verse. It is certain 
that the log-book of the Coquette was far less expli- 
cit The latter merely said, that * a coaster called 
the Stately Pine, John Turner, master, bound from 
New- York to the Province of North Carolina, was 
boarded at one o'clock, in the morning, all well.' But 
this description was not of a natur^to satisfy the sea 
men of the cruiser. Those who had been actually 
engaged in the expedition were much too elcclted to 
see things in their true colors; and,, coupled with 
the two previous escapes of the Water- Witch, the 
event just related had no small share in confirming 



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Ihetr former opimoDe cono^ttiing her character. The. 
sauling-master was not now ak^e, in believing that 
all parauit of the hrigantine was perfectly useless. 

But these wece cocieLusions that the people of the. 
Coquette made at their leisure, rather than those 
whicb^u^ested themselves on the instant. The boats, 
ed by the flashes of light, had joined each other, 
and were rowing fast towards the ^ip, before the 
pulses of the actors beat with sufficient calmness to 
allow of serious reflection ; nor was it until the ad- 
venturers were below, and in their hammocks, that 
they found suitable occasion to relate what had oc- 
curred to a wondering auditory. Robert Yarn, the 
fore-top-man who had felt the locks of the sea-green 
lady blowing in lus face during the squall, took ad- 
vantage of the circumstance to dilate on his expe- 
riences ; and,, after having advanced certain positicms 
that particularly favpred his own theories, he ^pro- 
duced one of the crew of the barge, who stood ready 
to affirm, in any court in Christendom, that he ac- 
tually saw the process of changing the beautiful and 
graceful lines that distii^uished the hull of the smug- 
gler, into the coarser and more clumsy model of the 
coaster. ^ " 

'^ There are know-nothings," continued Robert, 
after he had fortified his- position by the testimony in 
question, ^* who would deny that the water of the 
ocean is blue, because the stream that turns the 
parish-mill, happens to be muddy. But your real 
mariner, who has lived much in foreign parts, is a man 
who understands the philosophy of life, and knows 
when to believe a truth and when to scorn a lie. As 
for a vessel changing her character when hard pushed 
in a chase, there are many instances; thoueh having 
one so near us, there is less necessity to be roving 
over distant seas, in search of a case to prove it Mv 
own opinion concerning this here hrigantine, is much 



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^2 THE WATER- WITCH, 

as follows; — ^that is to say, I do suppose there was 
once a real living hermaphrodite of her I>uild and rig, 
and that she might be employed in some such tra<^ 
as Urn craft is thought to be in ; and that, m some 
unlucky hour, she and her people met with a mishap^ 
that has condemned her ever smce to appear on this 
coast at stated times. She has, however, a natur^ 
dislike to a royal cruiser ; and no doubt the thing is 
now sailed by those who have little need of compass 
or observation! All this being h-ue, it is not wonder- 
ful that when the boat's-crew got on her decks, they 
found her different from what they had exacted. 
Thb much is certam, that when I lay within a boat- 
hook's length of her spritsail-yard-arm, she was a half- 
rig, with a woman figure-head, and as pretty a show 
of gear aloft, as ^ye ever looked upon ; while every 
thing below was as snug as a tobacco-box with the 
lid down : — ^and here you all say that she is a h^- . 
decked schooner, with nothing ship-shape about her! 
What more is wanting to prove the truth of what 
has been stated 1 — If any man can gainsay it, let him 
speak," 

As no man did gainsay it, it is presumed that the 
reasoning of the top-man gained many proselytes. 
It is scarcely necessary to add, how much of mystery 
and fearful interest was thrown around the redoubt- 
able ' Skimmer of the Seas,' by the whole kaasac- 
tion. 

There was a different feeling on the quarter-deck. 
'The two lieutenants put their heads together, and 
looked grave ; while one or two of the midshipmen, 
who had been in the boats, were observed to whisper 
with their messmates, and to indulge in smothered 
laughter. As the captain, .however, maintained his 
ordinary dignified and authoritative mien, the mer 
riment went no farther, and was soon entirely re- 
pressed. 

While on this subject, it may be proper to add 

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THB WATER-WTCH. ' W 

that, in course of time, the Stately Pine reached the 
capes of North Carolina, in safety; and that, having' 
efltected her passage over Edenton bar, without 
striking, she ascended the river to the point of her 
destination. Here the crew soon began to throw out 
hints, relative to an encounter of their schooner 
Tilth a French cruiser. As the British empire, even 
in its most remote corners, was at all times alive to 
its nautical glory, the- event soon became the dis- 
course in more >distant parts of the colony ; and in 
less than six months, the London journals contained 
a very glowing account of an engagement, in which 
the names of the Stately Pine, and of John Turner, 
made some respectable advances towardsimmortality. 

If Captain Ludlow ev^r gave any further account/ 
of the transaction than what was stated in th6 log-' 
bdbk of his ship, the biens^nce, observed by the 
Lords of the Admiralty, prevented it from becoming 
gublic. 

• Returning from this digression, which h^s no other 
connexion with the immediate thread of the narra-" 
tive, than that which arises from a reflected interest, 
we shall revert to the further proceedings on board* 
the cruiser. . 

Wheii the Coquette had hoisted in her boats, that' 
portion of the crew which did not belong to the ' 
watch was dismissed to their hammocks, the lights 
were lowered, and tranquillity once more reigned in 
the ship. Ludlow sought his rest, and although there '' . 
is reason to think that his slumbers were a little dis- 
turbed by dreams, he remained tolerably quiet in the 
hanimocK^loths, the place in which it has already. 
been said he saw fit to take his repose, until the * 
morning watch had been callei 

Although the utmost vigilance was observed among 
the officers and lookouts, during the rest of the 
night, there occurred nothing to aroujse the crew 
from their usual recumbent attitudes between the 

Vol. IL B 



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]|4 T8I; WATJI»-WIT€S& 

guns. The vfmA continued light but steady, tbe sea 
smooth, and the heavens clouded, a3 daring tbe first 
hours of darkness. 



CHAPTER IL 

** Th»:iiiouflB ne'er sbuiuied tlie eat, as tikay did had§p 
JlMin fiMaltf wone titan ibey^." 

ComoLAwa* 

Day dawned on the Atlantic, with its pearly light,, 
tttcceeded bj the usual flushing of the skies, and the 
stately rising of the sun from out the water. The 
iustant the vigilant officer, who commahdtB^ the 
morning watch, caught the first glimpses of the re- 
tuning brightness, Ludlow was awakened. A finger 
laid on bis arm, was sufficient to arouse one who* 
slept with the responsibility of his station ever pres- . 
eot to his mind. A minute did not pass, before the 
Toung man was on the quarter*deck, closely exam- 
ming the heavens and the horizon. His first question 
was to ask if nothing had been seen during* the 
watch. The answer viras in &€ negative. 

*^ I like this opening in the north-west," observed 
the captain, after his eye had thoroughly scanned 
tbn whole of the still dusky and mnited view, 
" Wind will come out of it. Give us a cap-fuU, and 
w;e shall try the speed of this boasted Water- Witch ! 
— ^Do I not see a sail, on our weatiier-beam t— <Mr is 
it. the crest of a wave?" 

" The sea is getting irregular, and I have often 
been thus deceived, since the light appeared." 

" Get more sail on the ship. Here is wind, iu- 
sl^ore of us; We will be ready for it See every 
tting clear, to show all our canvas." 



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The lieotientnt tecdvcd Aese orders Mrfthflie cos* 
tomaiy deference and conranunicated them to his in^ 
feriors again, ividi the promptitude that distingnishes 
disctplitie. Tfae Coquette, at the moment, wad 
ig under iset three tdpsaiis, ofne of which was 
b'^rtk against Its mast, m a manner to tioM iht 
veauA as ^^atrly sl«lionsary as her diift an^ flie ife^A 
^&e 'wa9«& vimM albw. So soon, hower^,^ the 
officer of the watch summoned the people to exer« 
fion, the massive yards ii^ere swung f several light 
^Boht that served to balance the feibrtc as well as to 
Iti^e it ahead, were hoisted or opened; and the ship 
immediatelj begaji to rtio^e through the water. 
While the men of.tiie watcli were Sius employedi 
tile dappling of the canvas announced the approach 
^f a new breeee« 

The coast of Noith Ameraca is liable to sudden 
asid dangerous trattsitiotis, in the currents of the air. 
It IB A cif eiunstance of no unusual occurrence, for a 
^aJe 4o alter its direction with so little wariung, as 
greatJy to jeopard tibe safety of a ship, or even to 
^^renndielm ben It has been often said, that the 
cdebrated Ville de Paris was lost through one of 
fliese violent changes, her captain having inadver- 
tetxtly hove^-to the vessel tinder too much after-sail, 
a mistake by odiich he lost the command of his ship 
dttong ibe pressing emergency that ensued. What* 
ever may Iwive been the tact as regards Jlhat ill-fated 
j^rilse, it is certain that Ludlow was perfectly aware 
of tilie faazai^ diat sometime^ accompany the first 
' ltla«to of a tiorth«west wind on his native coa^t, and 
tbat he never forgot to be prepared for the danger. 

When tikt wind from the land struck ^te Coquette, 
(^ streak of ligl^, which announced the appearance 
of the sun, had been visible several minutes. As the 
broad sheets of vapor, that had veiled the heavens 
during the prevalotce of the south-easterly breeze, 
wcv» jroUad ii|> jaito dcMe mattes of clouds, like some 



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M 1W8 WA:3iBR-4viTCC^ 



i 



ipsonme curtain that id ^bdrawn fronr h^kre its 
scene) the water, no less than the sky, became inr 
Itantly visible, in every quarter* It is scarcely ne- 
cessary to say, how. eagerly the gaze ci our young 
teaman ran over the hprizon, in ^rder taobserve thi 
objects which might come within its rang^. At first 
clisappointment was plainly painted in his counter 
nance, and then succeeded the ammaled .^e and 
flushedcheek of success. t 

**' I had thought her gone !" be said to hifi'immei^ 
diate subordinate in autbin-ityi ** Wnt here she is^ 
to leeward, just within the edg!^ j&f that drii^g mist; 
and as dead under our lee as a kind fortune couM 
place her. Keep the ^hip away. Sir, and cover her 
with canvas, from her trucks down. <3aH the people 
from their hammocks, and show yon insolent what 
Her Majesty's sloop can do^ at need !" 

This command was the commencement cf a genef- 
ral and hasty movement, in which every seaman iri 
the ^p exerted his powa^ to the utmost. All' hands 
were no sooner called, than the depths of the vessel 
gave up their tenants, who, joining their force to 
that of the watch on deck, quickly covered the 
spars of the Coquette with a snow-white ckmSd. Noit 
content to catch the breeze on such surfaces as the 
ordinary yards could distend, long booms were thrust 
out over the water, and sail was set beyond saiT, 
until the bending masts would bear no more. The low 
bull, which supported this toweribg and comf^licaied 
mass of ropes, spars, and sails, yielded to the jpow^ful 
impulse, and the fabric, which, in addition to its crowd 
of human beings, sustained so heavy a load of artillery^ 
with all its burthen of stores and ammunition, began to 
divide the waves, with the steady and impoang forc^ 
of a vast momentum* The seas curled and broke 
against her sides, like water washing the rocks, the 
steady ship feeling, as yet, no impression firom their 
feeble eiferU. As the wind incrisas^ however, and 



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94TSa^mf9H. If 

tile vmA wmt (nrUm ftpia I3m bvod* Hm mrfitf^tf 

11^ MeMi gm^ually grew more ^itated, iifitiT tte 
i)igfal4i»4$, which lity i»ver the vill» of th^ Luil; if 
RuKy fioally aiMik ioia the aea; ; wbeji the top-gailiiQl^ 
r^yaU.of the ship were.deen (les^iliifig wid« mo- 
ia^nte of drcle^ «^infi4; the ho^veafip «i)d her danc 
^es QccasioQally rose* fr^»i» a loiig and deep p^ 
^Uttering with ihf eleinent that sustained her. 

' When Ludlaw iirat descried the object v/^h hm 
^Ueyod tQ hetbe cha^e* it seemed a naotioxiless speck 
qm tii« margin of the sea* It ha4 now grown Into aM 
the magail:ude and symmetry of the well^knowA 
hri^antino* Her slight aad attenuated spars went 
plainly to be seen* rolling, easily hut wide» with the 
teonstant aiovea^ent of the hull« and with no saul 
upreadf hut that which was necessary to keep the 
vessel in command on the billows. But whef^ the 
Coquette was just within the range of a cannon, the 
canvas begaa to unfold; and it was sow apparent 
tbi^t th^ ^Sktmm^ of the Seas' was preparing for 
jfli^t 

The first oiaposuvre of the Water-witch was wk 
attempt to gain thewind of her pursuer. A short 
fxperiipent appeared to satisfy those who governed 
ihe bfigaitfiw that the efibrt was rain, while thsk 
wind was sp fresh and the water so rough. She won^ 
^d crowded i^l on the opposite tack, in orier ta 
try her speed with the cruiser ; nor was it until the 
rf^t suffigiently showed the danger of permitting 
Ihe other to get any nigher, that she finally put h^ 
helm aweather, and ran off, like a sea-fowl resting 
on its wing, with the wind over her taffirail. 
. The two vessels now presented the spectacle of a 
stern chase. The hrigantine also opened the folds 
of all her sails, and there arose a pyramid of canvas, 
over the nearly ii^perceptihle hull, that res^iibled a 
fantastic cloud driving above th^ sea» with a velocity 

4i9t mmfii to rival Ibe p^^p q[ iitti v^por that 



Jigitized by CjO'OQ iC 



1« 

Aootod in Ae upper av. As equal ddU directed Urn 
movements of the tivo veaeels, and the saoie breeae 
pressed upon their sails, it was loi^ befere there was 
any perceptible diflference iu their progress. Bow 
passed after hour, and were it not fcnr &e she^s.of 
wUte foam that were dashed from the bows of the 
Coquette, and the raaDuer in which die ev^i out- 
stripped the caps of the combing waves, her com- 
mander m%ht have iancied his vessel ever in tbe 
same spot While the ocean presented, on every 
side, the same monotonous and rdling picture, there 
lay the chase, seemingly neither a foot nearer, nor 
a foot farther, than when the trial of speed began. 
A dark line would rise on the crest of a wave, and 
then, sinking again, leave nothing visible, but the 
yielding and waving cloud of canvas, that danced 
along the sea. 

'< I had hoped for better things of the shjp* Master 
Trysail ! " said Ludlow, who had long been seated on 
a night-head, attentively watching the progress of the 
chase. '^ We ar^ buried to the bob-stays ; and yet, 
there yon fellow lies, nothing plainer than when he 
first showed hi& studding-sails!" 

<' And there he will lie, Captain Ludlow, while the 
light lasts. I have chased the rover in the narrow 
seas, till the clifis of England melted away like the 
cap of a wave ; and we bad raised the sanid-banks d[ 
Holland high as the sprit-sail-yard, and yet what 
good came of it ] The rogue played with us, as your 
qiortsman trifles with the entangled trout ; and when 
we thought we had bim, he would shoot without the 
range of our guns, with as little exertion as a ship 
lides into the water, after the spur shears are knock^ 
rom under her bows." 

'' Ay, but the Druid had a little of the rust of an* 
tiquity about her. The Coquette has never got a 
chase under her lee, that she did not speak." 

'' I disparage no ^p» Sir, for character is ^larai - 



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ter, and none should speak lightly of their feltew-crea- 
tUres, and, leadt of alt, of any thing which fi)llow3 the 
-sea. I allow the Coqu^te to he a Hvely hoat on a 
"wind, and a real scudder going large ; but one should 
know the wi-ight that fashioned yonder brigantine, 
before he ventures to say that any vessel in Her 
Majesty's fleet can hold way tvttb her, when she is 
driven hard." 

** These omnions. Trysail, are fitter for the tales of 
a top, than ror the mouth of one who waUcs the quar- 
ter-deck." 

" I should have lived to little purpose, Captain 
Ludlow, not to know that what was philosophyin my 
young days, is not philosophy now. They say the 
world is round, which is my own opinion-r— first, be- 
cause the glorious Sir Francis Drake, and divers 
other Englishmen, have gone in, as it w«re, at One 
end, arid out at the other ;^ no less than several sea- 
men of other nations, to say nothing of one Magellan, 
who pretends to have been the first man to m^ke the 
passage, which I take t& bet neither more nor less 
than a Portuguee lie, it being altogether unreason- 
able to suppose that a Portuguee should do what an 
Englishman had not yet thought of doing ; — secondly, 
tf the world were not round, or some such shape, why 
riiould we see the small sails of a ship before her 
courses, or why should her truck heave up into the 
horizon before the hull ? They say, moreover, that 
the world turns round, which is no doubt true; and 
it is just as true that its opinions turn round with it, 
which brings me to the object of my remark-— yon 
fellow shows more of his broadside. Sir, than com- 
monl He is edging in for the land, which must lie, 
hereaway, on our larboard beam, in order to get into 
smoother water. This tumbling about is not favorable 
to your light craft, let who will build them." 

" I had hoped to drive him off the coast. Could 
'VM get bun &k]y kto the Gulf Stream* he iwoald be 



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0111*9, fer he )ft t0d bw 1|» the water t<» escape «|8 in 
the short aeaa. We m^t force him iato blue water* 
though our upper spars crack in the struggle ! Qp 
aft, Mr. Hopper, and tell the officer q( the watch to 
hiitig tho ship's head up, a peipt and a half, to the 
northward, and to give a slighit puU on the bra^ces.'* 

** What a mainiBaU the rogue carries ! It is as 
broad as the instructions of a roving comnuss^on, with 
a faoi^ like the pronaotioQ of an adorural's son! How 
every thiog pulls aboard him 1 A thorough-bred saija 
that brigantine, let him come whence he may !" 

** I think we near him I The rough water is help* 
ing us, and we are ck)siDg. Steer small, fellow; steer 
smalU You see the color of bis mpuldings begins to 
show, when he lifts on the seas." 

" The suji touches his sidor—and yet, Captain Lu4- 
low, you may be right — for here is a man in his fore- 
top, plainly ^KMigh to be seen. A shot, or two, among 
his spars and faik, might now do service." 

Ludlow affected not to he^r ; but the first-lieute- 
nant having come on th% forecastle, seconded this 
opinion, by remarking that their position would ia- 
deed enable them to use the chase-gun, without losing 
any distance. As Trysai} ^ustain^d his former asscr* 
tion by truths th^ were too obvious to be refuted, 
the commander of the cri^iser reluctantly issued a|i 
order to clear away the forward gun, ^nd to shift it 
into the bridle-port. The interested and attentive 
seamen were not long in performing this service ; and 
a report was quickly made to the captain, that the 
fiece was ready. 

Ludlow then descended from his post on the night* 
head, a^d pointed the cannon himself. 

/< Knock away the quoin, entirely;" he said to the 
capt^n of the gun, when he had got the range; 
** now mind her when she lifts, forward; keep the 
ship steady, Sir-^fire!" 

The«^ gfQtligW ' w^ Uvf; at bog)9 ^t^a^' e^e 



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often surprised to read of combats, in vvliieh soFimiell 
powder, and hundreds and even thousands of shot^ 
are expended, with so little loss of human life ; while 
a struggle on the land, of less duration, and seenungly 
of less obstinacy, shall sweep away a multitude. Th« 
ecret of the difference Ees in - the uncertainty iof 
im, on an element as restless as the sea. The largest 
ship is rarely quite motionless, when on the open 
ocean ; and it is not necessary to tell the reader, 
that the smallest vfiri^tipn in the directiM of a gun 
at its muzzle, becomes magnified to many yards at 
the distance of a few hundred feet Marine gunnery 
has no little resemblance to the skill of the fowler; 
since a caUSnlation for a change in the position o( the 
objeK^t must commonly be made in both cases^ with 
the additional embarrassment on the part of the sea* * 
man, of an allowance for a complicated movement 
in the piece itself. 

How far the gun of the Coquette was subject 
to the influence of these causes, or how far the desire 
of her captain to protectHhose whom he believed to 
be on board the brigantine, had an efiect on the di« 
irection taken by its shot, will probably never be 
known. It is certain, however, that when the stream 
of fire, followed by its curling cloud, had gushed out 
upon the water, nfty eyes sought in vain to trace 
the course of the iron messenger among the sails 
and rigging of the Water- Witch. The symmetry of 
her beautiful rig was undisturbed, and tibe ilnccmscious 
fabric still glided over the waves, with its customary 
ease and velocity. Ludlow had a reputationr among 
his crew, for some skill in the direction of a gun« 
fh^ failure, therefore, in no degree aided in changing 
the opinions of the common men concerning the char« 
acter of the chase. Many shook their heads, and 
more than <Hie veteran tar, as he paced his narrow 
limits with both hands thrust into the boscMn of his 
jacket, was. heard to mtterhis bdief of the i^effieacy 



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of iMndinarj ^Mt, m brtngiog-to ftmt brig^stine. It* 
was necessaiy, however to rep^t the expetiHieiif; 
for the flake of appearances. The giin was Beteral 
times discharged, and always with the same want 
of success. 

^There is little use in wasdng oar powder, at Ais 
istance, and with so heavy a sea," said Ludlow, 
quitting the cannon, after a fifth and fruitless essay. 
^ I shall fire no more. Look at your sails, gentlemen, 
and sec that every thing draws. We must conquer 
with our heels, and let the artillery rest — Secure 
the gwn*** 

** The piece is ready, Sir ;** observed its captain, 
presuming on his known favor vrith the ^bnunander, 
though he qualified the boldness by taking off his 
hat, in a sufficiently respectful manner — ^ T^is a pity 
tobalkit!'» 

« Fire it, yourself, then, and return the piece to 
its port ;" carelessly returned the captain, willing to 
show that others could be as unlucky as himself. 

The men quartered at the gun, left alone, busied 
ihemsehres in executing the order. 

''Run in the quoin, and, blast the brig, ^ve her 
a point-blanker 1" said the gruff old seaman, who 
was intrusted with a local authority over that par- 
ticular piece. * None of your geometry calculations, 
for me!** 

The crew obeyed, and the match was instantly 
applied. A rising sea, however, aided the object of 
the directly-minded old tar, or our narration of tiie 
exploits or the piece would end with the discharge, 
since its shot wou Id otherwise have inevitably plunged 
bito a wave, within a few yards of its muzEie. The 
hows of the ship ros^ ^ith the appearance of the 
ttnoke, the usual brief expectation followed, and then 
fragments of wood were seen flying above the top* 
MMtst-studding-'sail^soom of the brigantine, which, at 
tjbm^taat time, flew forward, carrying with it, and eft* 



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799 Wii-^ni-wxicnk fHk 

Uteij Aersmffmg, tfie tvmlmpovtajitsaifeflKttd^eitd* 
ed on the ^par for support 

<' So much for plaki filing!" cried the deUgfated^ 
tar, slapping the breach of the gun, aifectiosately. 
^ Witch or no witch, there go two of her jackets at 
mc^'r and, by the, captaii»'s^K>d-will, we shaU shortly 
take off some more of her clothes ! In spun ge " 

" The order is to run the gun aft, anisecure it;" 
said a merry midshipman, lesq^ing on the heel of -the 
bowsprit to gaze at the confusion on board the chase* 
'< The rogue is lumble enough, in saving his canvas !'- 

There was, in truth, necessity for exertion,, on the 
part of those who governed the movements c^ the 
brigantine. The two sails that were rendered tem- 
porarily usele^, were of great importance^ with the 
wind over the taifraiL The distance between the 
two vessels did not exceed a mile, a:&d the danger of 
lessenh:^ it was now too obvious to admit of delay. 
The ormoary naovements of seamen, in critical mo- 
ments, are dictated by a quality that Vesembl^ in- 
stinct,, more than thought. The eoustant hazards of 
a dangerous and delicate {^ofession, in whici^ dielay 
may prove fatal, and in which life, charact^, and 
psropertj are so often depen<jeat on the self-possession 
and resources of him who commands, beget, in time^ 
so keen a knowledge of the necessary expedients, as 
to cause it *to approach a natural quality. 

The studding-sails of the Water- Witch were no 
sooner flattering in the air, than the brigantine 
slightly chaoged her coarse, like aiHne bird whose 
wing has been touched by the fowler ; and her head 
was seen inclining asr-much to the sou^, as the mo- 
ment before it- had pointed northward* -The varia- 
tion, trifling as it was, brought the wiad on the oppo- 
site quarter, and caused the ^oom that dist^dedher 
mainsail to gybe. At the same instant, the studding-* 
sails, whi^h had been flapping uaider the lee of this 



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94 TIK. WATfiR-WltOH: I 



vart dheet.of canvag, swelled to their utoost tenrion; 
and the vessel lost little, if any, of the power which 
Ur^d her through the water. Eveti while this evo- 
lution was aonijttdly performed,*Bien were seen aloft, 
nimbly employed, as it has been already expressed 
by the observant little midshipmaa, in securing the' 
crippled sails. . 

"A rogue has. a quick wit," said-Trysail, whose 
critical eye suifered no movement of the chaae to 
escape him ; ** and he has need of it, sail from what 
haven he may ! Yon brigantine Is prettily handled 1 
Little have we gained by our fire, but the gunner's 
account of ammunition expended ; and little has the 
free-trader lost, butti studding-sail-boom, which will 
work up very well, yet, into top-galkmt-yards, and 
other light spars, for such a cockle-^ell." 

" It is something gained, to force him off the land 
into rougher water;" Ludlow mildly answered. " I 
think we see his quarter-pieces more plainly, than 
before the gui was used." 

. " No doubt, Sir, no doubt. I got a glimpse of his 
lower dead-eyes, a minute ago ; but I have been 
near enough to see the saucy look of th^ hussy under 
his bowsprit ; yet there goes the brigantine, at^ 
largei" 

" I am certain that we are closing;" tljoughtfnlly 
returned Ludlow. " Hand me a glass, quarter- 
master." 

Trysail watched the countenance of his young 
commander, as he examii^ed the chase with the aid 
of the instrument ; and he thought he read strong 
discontent in his features, when the other laid it' 
aside. - . 

" Does he show no signs of coming back to his 
allegiance. Sir? — or does the rogue hold out in obsti- 
nacy?" 

^ The figure on bis poop is the bold naan who ven- * 
tured on board the Coquette, and who now seems 



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}utte a9 QAUch at hb ease as wbeo be exhibited hb 
eifrontery here!" 

** There is a look of deep vrater alioiit that rogue ; 
and I thoiight H^r Majesty had gained a prize, vvhen 
he first put foot on our decks. Ymi are right ^ough, 
SiT) io caUiDg him a bold one ! jL'he fellow's impu- 
dence would unsettle the discipline of a ^hole ship'« 
Gonipapy> though every other man Vfere an officer, 
and all the rest priests. He took up as much room 
in v^alking the quarter-deck, as a ninety in waring ; 
and the truck is not driv^i on the head of that top- 
gallant-mast* half as hard as the hat is riveted to 
bis 4»)ead. The fellow has no reverence for a pen-- 
nant ! I nia0aeed> in shifting pennants at sunset, to 
tpake the fly oi the one that came down flap in li^is' 
impudent countenance, by way of hint ; and he took 
it a? a Dutchman minds a signal-^that is, as a ques- 
tion to be answered in the next watch. A litjtte 
polish q/ot on the quarter-deck of a man-of-war, 
would niake a philosopher of the rogue, and fit him 
for any company, shorj of heaven !" 

*♦ Th^re goes a new boom, aloft !" cried Ludlow, 
interrupting the discursive discourse of the master. 
•* He is bent on getting in with the shbre.'* 

" If these puffi come much heavier," returned the 
ntmster, whose opink>ns of tlie chase vacillated with 
his professional feelings, «'we shall have him at our 
own play, and try the qualities of his brigantine 
The sea has a green spot to windward, and ther 
are strong symptoms of a squall on the water. One 
can almost see into the upper world, with an air 
clear as this. Your northers sweep the mists of! 
America, and leave both sea and land bright as a 
schooirboy's face, before the tears have dimmed it, 
after the first flogging. You have sailed in the 
southern seas. Captain Ludlow, I know ; for we 
were shipmates among the islands, years that are 
past : but I never heard whether you have run the 

VoulL C 



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95 TBS WATSIl-WITOH. 

Gibralter passage, and seen the blue watar that Hes 
among the Italy mountains?*' 
< ^ I made a cruise against the Barbary states, 
when a lad ; and we had business tteit took us to 
the northern shore/' 

" Ay ! Tis your northern shore, I mean t Ther^ 
is not a foot of it all, from the rock at the entrance 
^o the Fare of Mes^na, that eye of mine hath not 
seen. No want of look-outs and land-n)ark& in that 
quarter 1 Here we are close aboard of America, 
which lies some eight or ten leagues there-away to 
the northward of us, and some forty astern ; and yet, 
if it were not for our departure, with the coIot of 
the water, and a knowledge of the soundings, one 
might believe himself in the middle of the Atlantic. 
Many a good ship plumps upon America before she 
knows where she is going; while in yon sea, you 
may run {or a mountain, with its side in full view, 
four-and-twenty hours on a stretch, befiare you see 
the town at its foot." 

"Nature has compensated for the difference, in 
defending the approach to this coast, by the Gulf 
Stream, with its floating weeds and different tempe- 
rature ; while the lead may feel its way in the dark- 
est night, for no roof of a house is more gradual than 
the ascent of this shore, from a hundred fathoms to 
a sandy beach." 

" I said many a good ship. Captain Ludlow, and 
not good navigator. — No — hq — ^your thorough-bred 
krfovvs the difference between green water and bhie, 
as well as between a hand-lead and the deep-sea. 
But I remember to have missed an observation, once, 
when running for Genoa, before a mistrail. There 
was a likelihood of making our land-fall in the night, ' 

nd the greater the need of knowing the ship's po- 
sition. I have often thought, Sir, that the ocean was * 
like human life, — ^a blind track 'for all that is ahead, 
and none of the clearest- as respects that which has 



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TBfi VTATBR-WITCB. 27 

been passed over. Many a man runs headlong to his 
own destruction, and many a ship steers for a reef 
under a press of canvas. To-morrow is a fog, into 
which none of us can see ; and even the present time 
is little better than thick weather, into which we 
k)ok without getting much information. Well, as I 
was observing, here lay our course, with the wind as 
near aft as need be, blowing much as at present ; for 
your French mistrajl has a family likeness to the 
American norther. We had the main-top*gallant-sail 
set, without studding-sails, for we began to think of 
the deep bight in which Genoa is stowed, and the 
sun had dipped more than an hour. As our good 
fortune would have it, clouds, and mistrails do not 
agree long, and we got a clear horizon. Here lay a 
mountain of snow, northerly, a little west, and there 
lay another; southerly with easting. The best ship 
in Queen Anne's navy could not have fetched either 
in a day^s run, and yet there we saw them, as plainly 
as if anchored under their lee ! A kx>k at the chart 
soon gave utf'ao insight into our situation. The first 
were the Alps, as tl^y call them, being as I suppose 
the French for apes, of which there are no doubt 
plenty in those regions ; and the other were the high- 
mnds of G)rsica, both being as white, in midsummer, 
as the hair of a man of fourscore. You see. Sir, we 
bad only to set the ti^o, by compass, to know^ within 
a league or two, where we were. So we ran till 
midnight, and hove-to; and in the morning we took 
tiie VStkt to feel for our have n ■'* 

'' The brigantine is gybing, again !" eried Ludlow. 
''He is determined to shoal his water!" 

The master glanced an eye around the horizoa, 
and then pointed steadily towards the north. Lud- 
low observed the gesture^ and, turning his head, he 
was at no loss to read its meaning. 



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nSi WATSR^WXTOSr 



CHAPTER lIL 

**— I am gone. Sir, 

And, anon, Sir, 

t*U be with you afaln/* 

Cu>wH iti Twi^rra Viar. 

Although it is contrary to the apparent eyidence 
o[ our senses, there is no truth mor6 certain tba6 
that the course of most ^ales of wind comt& from 
the leeward. The effects of a tempest shall be feif^ 
for hours, at a point that is seemingly near its terini- 
nation, before they ar^ witnessed at another, that ap* 
pears to be nearer its source. Experience has also 
shown that a storm is more destructive, at or near its 
place <^ actual commencement, than at that whence 
it may se^m to come. The easterly gajes that sa 
often visit the coasts of the republic, comitiit tl^eir 
ravages in the bay^ of Pennsylvania and VirginLi, or 
along the sounds of the Caroiinas, hours^efore their 
existence is known in the states further east ; and 
the same wind, which is a tempest at Hatteras, be- 
comes softened to a breeze, near the Penbb^ot 
There is, howfever, little oiystery in this apparent^ 
phenomenon. The vacuum which has been created 
in the air, and which is the Origm of all windSi must 
be filled first flrom the nearest stores of the atnlo^ 
Sphere ; and as each region contributes to phxhide. 
the equilibrium, it must, in return, receive c^r iwp* 
plies froln those which lie b^ond. WercT a given 
quantity of w^ter to be suddenly abstracted from tHef 
sea» the em{Jty space would be replenished by^ tor 
rent from the nearest surrounding fluid, whose level • 
would be restored, in succession, by supplies that 
were less and less violently contributed. Were the* 
abstraction made on a shoal, or near the land, the 
4ow woui4 be greatest from that quarter where the 



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THE WATIBR-WITO!!; 39 

fluid had the greatest force, and with it would con* 
Beouently come the current 

But while there is so close an affinity between 
the two fluids, the workings of ^he viewless winds 
are, in their nature, much less subject to the powers 
of human comprehension than those of the sister ele- 
ment. The latter are frequently subject to the 
direct and manifest influence of the former, while the 
efiects produced by the ocean on the air are hid from 
our knowledge by the subtle character of the agency* 
Vague and erratic currents, it is true, are met in the 
waters of the ocean ; but their origin is easily referred 
to the action of the winds, while we often remain in 
uncertainty as to the immediate causes which give 
birth to the breezes themselves. Thus the mariner, 
even while the victim of the irresistible waves, studies 
the heavens as the known source from whence the 
danger comes ; and while he struggles fearfully, amid 
the strife of the elements, to preserve the balance of 
the delicate and fearful machine be governs, he well 
knows that the one which presents the most visible, 
and to a landsman much the most formidable object 
of apprehension, is but the instrument of the unseen 
and powerful agent that heaps the water on his path. 

It is in consequence of tWs diflerence in power, 
and of tiie mystery that envelops the workings of the 
atmosphere, that, in^l ages, seamen have been the 
subjects of superstition, in respect to the winds. 
There is always more.or less of the dependency of 
ignorance, in the manner with which they have re^ 
garded the changes of that fickle element Even the 
mariners of our own tiroes are not exempt from this 
weakness. The thoughtless ship-boy is reproved if 
his whistle be heard in the howling of the gale, and 
tlie o&Cer sometimes betrays a feeling of uneasine8S» 
if lat such a moment he should witaess any violatioa 
of the received opinions of bis profession. He finds 
Uipself in tb^ «ituatixHU>f one wfaofliofiaii hug^^iimk 



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in legends of supernatural appearances, wb&h a Be& 
ter instruction has taught hun to condcsnn, and wbai 
when placed in situations to awaken thm veCoUec- 
tion, dnds the necessity of drawing upon his reiisoni 
to quiet emotions that he might hesitate to acknow* 
edge. 

When Trysail directed the attention of his ytmng 
commander to the heavens, however, it was more 
with the intelligeDCe of an experienced mariner, than 
with any of the sensations to which aUusion has jusi 
been made. A cloud had suddenly appeared on the 
^ater, and long ragged portions of the vapor were 
pointing from it, in a manner to give it what seamen 
term a windy appearance. 

" We shall have more than we want, with this 
canvas !" said the master, after both he and hiscora« 
mander had studied the appearance of the mist, for 
a sufficient time. ^ That fellow b a mortal enemy 
of lofty sails ; he likes to see nothing but naked sticks, 
up in his neighbourhood !" 

**I should think his appearance will force the 
brigantine to shorten sail;'' returned the Captain^ 
*^ We will hold-on to the last, while he must begin to 
take in soon, or the squall vnW come upon him too 
fast for a light-handed vessel." 

" *Tis a cruiser's advantage ! And yet the rogoe 
shows jio signs of lowering a siqgle cloth!" 

w We will look to our own spars;" said Ludlow^ 
turning to the lieutenant of the watch. ^ Call the 
people up, Sir, and see all ready, for yonder cloud.'* 

The order was succeeded by the customary hoarse 
summons of the boatswain, who prefaced the eflbrt 
of his lungs by a long, shrill winding of his call, above 
the hatchways of the ship. The cry of ^ all handa 
shorten sail, ahoy 1" soon brought the crew frona tiie 
depths of the vessel to her upper deck* Each tra)h- 
#d seaman silently took his station; and after the 



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4ions mad^t aiU Itood ki iitt€otive«Uei)to»'aindtiii$ the 
founds that might next proceed from the tnimp^ly 
which the first-lieutenant had now assumed in person., 
; The suptrioritj of sailing, which a ^ip fitted, for 
.war possesses over one employed in commerce^ pro- 
ceeds from a variety of causes. The first is in the 
construction of the hull, which in the (»ie is as justly 
fitted, as the art of naval architecture will allow, to 
the double purposes of speed and buoyancy ; while in 
the other, the desire of gain induces great sacrifices 
.of these important objects, in order that the vessel 
may be burthensome. Next comes the difference in 
the rig, which is not only more square, but more 
lofty, in a ship of war than in a trader ; because the 
greater force of the crew of the former enables them 
to manage both spars and sails that are far heavier 
than any ever used in the latter. Then comes the 
greater ability of the cruiser to make and shorten 
sail, since a ship manned by one or two hundred men 
may safely profit by the breeze to the last moment, 
while one manned by a dozen often loses hours of 
a favorable wind, from the weakness of her crew. 
This explanation will enable the otherwise uninitia- 
ted reader to understand the reason why Ludlow 
had hoped the coming squall would aid his designs 
,0B the chase. 

To express ourselves in nautical language, ^the 
Coquette held cn^to the last.' Ragged streaks of 
vapor were whirling about in the air, within a fear- 
ful proximity to the lofty and light sails, and the 
foam on the water had got so near the ship, as al- 
ready to efface her wake ; when Ludlow, who had 
watched the progress of the cloud with singular cool 
ness, madQ a sign to his subordinate that the proper 
instant had arrived. 

"In, of all!" shouted through the trumpet, was 
the only command necessary ; for oiEcers aod crew 
were well instructed in their duty. 



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32 THfi WATER-WITCa. 

The words had no sooner quitted the lips of the 
lieutenant, than the steady roar of the sea was 
drowned in the flapping of canvas. Tacks, sheets, 
and halyards, went together; and, in less than a 
minute, tlie cruiser showed naked spars and whistling 
ropes, where so lately had been seen a cloud of 
snow-white cloth. All her steering-sails came in to- 
gether, and the lofty canvas was furled to her top- 
sails. The latter still stood, and the vessel received 
the weight of the little tempest on their broad sur- 
faces. The gallant ship stood the shock nobly ; but, 
as the wind came over the taffrail, its force had far 
less influence on the hull, than on the other occasion 
already described. The danger, now, was only for 
her spars ; and these were saved by the watchful, 
though bold, vigilance of her captain. 

Ludlow was no sooner certain that the cruiser felt 
the force of the wind, and to gain this assurance 
needed but a few mora.ents, than he turned his eager 
look on the brigantine. To the surprise of all who 
witnessed her temerity, the Water- Witch still showed 
all her light sails. Swiftly as the ship was now 
driven through the water, its velocity was greatly 
outstripped by that of the wind. The signs of the 

Eassing squall were already visible on the sea, for 
alf the distance between the two vessels ; and still 
the chase showed no consciousness of its approach. 
Her commander had evidently studied its efiects on 
the Coquette ; and he awaited the shock, with the 
coolness of one accustomed to depend on his own re- 
sources, and able to estimate the force with which 
he had to contend. 

** If he hold-on a minute longer, he will get more 
than he can bear, and away will go all his kites, like 
smoke from the muzzle of a gun!** muttered Try- 
sail. " Ah ! there come down his studding-sails — ha 1 
settle away the mainsail — ^in royal, and top-gallant- 



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TfiS WATCR-WITOH. 88 

6ail, with topsail on the cap!— The rascals are niin^ 
ble as pickpockets in a crowd!" - 

The honest master has sufficiently described the 
precautions taken on board of the brigantine. No- 
thing was furled; but as every thmg was hauled 
up, or lowered, the squall had little to.wa^te its fury 
on. The diminished surfaces of the sails protected 
the spars, while the canvas was saved by the aid of 
cordage. After a few moments of pause, half-a-dozen 
men were seen busied in more efiectualiy securing 
the few upper and lighter sails. 

But though the boldness with which the * Skimmer 
of the Seas' carried sail to the last, was justified by 
the result^ still the efTccts of the increased wind and 
rking waves on the progress of the two vessels, grew 
more sensible. While the little and low brigantine 
began to labor and roll, th^ Coquette rode tl^ ele- 
ment with buoyancy, and consequently with less re« 
sbtance from the water. Twenty minutes, during 
which the force of the wind was but little lessened, 
brought the cruiser so near the chase, as to enable 
her crew to distinguish most of the smaller objects 
that were visible above her ridge-ropes. 

" Blow winds, and crack your cheeks!" said Lud* 
low, in an under tone, the excitement, of the chase 
growing with the hopes of success. " I ask but one 
half-hour, and then shift at your pleasure!" 

" Blow, good devil, and you shall have the cooki'^ 
muttered Trysail, quoting a very diflfercnt author; 
^' Another glass will bring us within hail." 

** The squall is leaving us !" interrupted the cap 
tain. ** Pack on the ship, again, Mr. Lufl^ from, her 
trucks to her ridge-ropes !" 

The whistle of the boatswain was again heard 
at the hatchways, and the hoarse summons of ' all 
hands make sail, ahoy !' once more called the people 
to their stations. The sails were set, with a rapidity 



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had been tdcen in ; and the violence of the breeze 
was scarcely off the ship, before its complicated vol- 
utnes of. canvas were spread, to catch what remain- 
ed. On the other hand, the chase, even more hardy 
than the cruiser, did not wait for the »id of the 
aquaU; but, profiting by the notice given by the 
latter, the ' Skimmer of the Seas' began to sway 
his yards aloft, while the sea was still white with 
foam. 

" The qttkk-fiighted rogue knows we are done 
with it," said Trysail ; " and he is getting ready for 
lus own turn. We gain but little of him, nolwith- 
staoding our muster of hands/' 

The fact was too true to be denied, f<^ the brigan 
tine was again under all her canvas, before the ship 
bad sensibly profited by her superior physical force. 
It was at this moment, when, perhaps, in consequence 
of the swell on tlie water, the Coquette might have 
possessed some small advantage, that the wind sud- 
denly failed* The squall had been its expiring efibrt; 
and, within an hour. after the two vessels had again 
made sail, the canvas was flapping against the masts, 
in a manner to throw back, in eddies, a force as great 
as that it received. The sea fell fast, and ere the end 
of the last or forenoon watch, thesurface of the ocean 
was agitated only by those long undulating swells, 
that seldom leave it entirely without motion. For 
some little time, there were fickle currents of air 
playing in various directions about the ship, but al- 
' ways in sufficient force to urge her slowly through the 
water; and then, when the equilibrium of the ele- 
ment teemed established, there was a total calm. 
During the half-hour of the baffling winds, the brig 
antine had been a gainer, though not enongh to carry 
her entirely beyond the reach of the cruiser's giins. 

" Haul up the courses ! " said Ludlow, when the 
last breath of wind had been felt on the ship, and 
foittijo^ tb^ f^ wfafiTci b# bad Umg stoodi wateUng 



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ttie maveooents of the dmae. ** Get Ae bonts^to the 
wateFy Mr. Lufi) and arm their crews.'' 

The young commander issued this order, which 
needed no interpreter to explain its object, firnnlj, 
but ia sadness. His face was thoughtful, and his whole 
air was that of a man who yielded to an imperative 
but an unpleasant duty. When he had spoken, he 
signed to the attentive Alderman and his friend to 
Ibliow, and entered his cabin. 

** There is no alternative," continued Ludlow, as 
he laid the glass, which so often* that morning had 
been at his eye, on the table, and threw himself into 
a chair. " This rover must be seized at every haz- 
ard, and here is a favorable occasion to carry him 
by boarding. Twenty minutes will bring us to his 
side, and &ve more will put us in poiaesdon ; but ** 

" You think the Skimmer is not a man to receive 
such visiters with an old woman's welcome ;'' pithily 
observed Myndert. 

" I much mistake the man, if he yield so beautiful 
a vessel, peacefully. Duty is imperative on a sea- 
man. Alderman Van Beverout ; and, much as I la* 
m^nt the circumstance, it must be obeyed." 

" I understand you. Sir. Captain Ludlow has two 
mistresses, Queen Anne and the daughter of old 
Etienne de Barbaric. He fears both. When the 
debts exceed the means of payment, it would seem 
wise to offer to compound ; and, in this case^ Her 
Majesty and my niece may be said to stand in the 
case of creditors." 

"You mistake my meaning, Sir;" said Ludlow, 
proudly. '^ There can be no composition between a 
faithful officer and his duty, nor do I acknowledge 
more than one mistress in my ship— but seamen are 
little to be trusted in the moment (^ success, and 
with thqir passions awakened by resistance. — ^Alder- 
man Van beverout, wii^jMHi accompany the party 
aiid serve as iXH^4iator?" 



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mounting the sides en a smu^ler, with a hroadsi^ord 
between oiy teeth I If you will put me into the 
smallest and most peaceable of your boats, with a 
crew of two boys, that I can control with the author 
ky of a magistrate, and covenant to remain hem 
with your three topsails aback, having always a flag 
of truce at each mast, I will bear the olive-branch td 
the brigantine, but not a word of menace. If report 
speaks true, your * Skimmer of the Seas' is no lover 
qf threats, and Heaven forbid that I should do vio* 
lence to any man's habits ! I will ^ forth as ymir 
turtle-dove, Captain Ludlow ; but not one foot will I 
proceed as your Goliath." 

, ^ And.you equally refuse endeavoring to avert hos^ 
tilities?" coQtimMd Ludlow^ turmng his look on the 
Patroon of Kioderhook. 

" I am the Queen's subject, and ready to aid in 
supporting the laws;" quietly returned Oloff Van 
Staats. 

** Patroon 1" exclaimed his watchful friend ; «* you 
know not what you say ! If thare were question of 
an inroad of Mohawks, or an invasion from the Cana- 
das, the case would differ; but this is only a trifling 
diflerence, concerning a small balance in the revenue 
duties, which had better be left>to your tide-waiter, 
and the other wild*cats of the law. If Parliament 
will put temptation before our eyes, let the sin light 
on their own heads. Human nature is weak, and 
the vanities of our system are so, many inducements 
to overlook unreasonable regulations. I say, there- 
fore, it is better to remain in peace, on board this 
ship, where our characters will be as safe as our 
bones, and trust to Providence for what will hap* 
pen." 

'^ I am the Queen's subject, and ready to uphold 
her dignity ;" repeated Oii^ flrmly. 

^I will trust you, Sir;" said Ludlow, taking Jbis 



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TfiE WATSSR-VriTCH. Sf 

rriral by tb^ arm, and leading himaiito his owti state^ 
room. 

The conference was soon ended, and a midshipman 
shortly after reported that the boats^ were ready for 
service. The master wds next sumfmoned to the cabin 
and admitted to the private apartment of his com* 
mander. Ludlow then proceeded to the deck, where 
he made the final dispositions for the attacl^ The 
ship was left in charge of Mr. Luff,* with an injunc- 
tion to profit by any breeze that might oflfer, to draw 
as near as possible to the chase. Trysail was placed 
in the launch, at the head of a strong party of board- 
ers. Van Staats of Kinderhook was provided with 
the yawl, manned only by its customary crew ; while ' 
Ludlow entered his own barge, which contained its 
usual complement, though the arms that lay in the 
stern-sheets sufficiently showed that they were pre- 
pared for service. 

The launch, being the soonest ready, and of much 
tile heaviest movement, was the first to quit the side_ 
of the Coquette. The master steered directly for the 
becalmed and motionless brigantine. Ludlow took 
a more circuitous course, apparently with an inten- 
tion of causing such a diversion as might distract the 
attention of the crew of the smuggler, and with the 
view of reaching the point of attack at the same 
moment with the boat that contained his principal 
force. The*yawl also inclined from the straight line, 
steering as much on one side as the barge diverged 
on the other. In this manner the men pulled in si- 
lence for some twenty minuses, — the motion of the 
larger boat^ which was heavily charged, b^ing slow ■ 
aad difficult. At the end of this period, a signal was ' 
made from the barge, when all the men ceased row- 
ing and prepared themselves for the struggle. The 
launch was within pistol-shot of the brigantine, and 
directly on her beam ; the yawl had gained her head 
where Vaa Sta^^of -Kinderho^ was studying the 

Vou U. D 



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89 vm WA5»>^aaT«r 

tiiat seemed to increase as his sluggidi nature be-, 
came excited; aad Ludlow, on the quarter oppcote 
tO: the launch) was exan^ine &e coQ4itioii of the 
chase by the aid of a glass. Trysail profited by th 
pause, to address his followers: 

'< This is au expedition ia boats," commenced tb 
accurate^ and circumstantial master, '^ made in smooth 
water, with little, or one may say no wmd, in the 
month of June, and on the coast of North America. 
You are not such a set of know-nothings, men, as to 
suppose the launch has been hoisted out, and two of 
the oldest, not to say best seamen, on the quarter- 
deck of Her Majesty's ship, have gone in boats* with- 
out the intention of doing something more than to 
ask the name and character of the brig in sight The 
smallest of the young gentlemen might have done 
that duty, as well as the captain, or myself* It is the 
belief of those who are best informed, that the s4raa- 
ger, who has the impudence to lie quietly within long 
range of a royal cruiser, without showing his colors^ 
IS neither more nor less than the famous ^ Skimmter 
of the Seas;' a man against whose seamanship I will 
say nothing, but who has none of the best reputation 
for honesty, as relates to the Queen's revenue. No 
doubt you have heard many extraordinary aici^unts 
of the exploits of this rover, some of which seem ti> 
insinuate, that the fellow has a private understand* 
ing with those who manage their transactions in a 
less rel%ious manner than it may be supposed is done 
by the bench of bishops* But what of that ? You 
are hearty Englishmen, who know what belongs to 

church and state ; and, d e, you aire not the boys 

to be frightened by a little witchcraft [a cheer] Ay, 
that is intelligible and reasonable language, and such 
as satisfies me you understand the subject I shall 
say no more, than just to add, that Captain Ludlow 
d^^ then^ a^. b^^ uq indefr^i l^l^^Of dop^ for 



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tt^tinatter, a^y rotigh tr&ttnetit of.tbte people df 
ibe brigantine, over and above the knocking on the 
head, and cutttiig of throats, that may be necessary 
to take her. In tiiis particular yen wiil take exam« 
ph by xne, Mrho,'beiiig older, have more experience 
than most of you, afvd who, in all rea^n, should bet" 
ter know wh€»i and where to'sfadw bis manhood. Lay 
yKHit y0U Hke men, so ioiig as the free-traders staiid 
to their quarters — but remember mercy, in the hour 
of victory I You will on no account enter the cabins; 
•n thiis head my orders are explicit, and I shall make 
tto more of throwing the man into the sea, who dares 
to transgress them, than if he were a dead French- 
man ; anid, as we now dearly understand each other, 
and know our tluty sojvell, there remains no more 
llian to do it I have said nothing of the priKe-money, 
[a cheer] seeing you are men that love the Queen 
and her honor, more than lucre, [a cheer] ; but this 
wach I can SEifely promise, that there will be the 
usual division, [a cheer] and as there is little doubt 
but the rogues have, driven a profitable trade, why 
the 9iim4otal is likely to be no trifle." [Three hearty 
l:beet-&} 

The report of a pistol from the barge, which was 
immediately fdbwed by a gun from the cruiser, 
whose «hot came whistling between the masts of the 
Watet^Wkch, was the signal to resort to the ordinary 
rmeans of victoiy. The master cheered, in his turn ; 
atid m a full, steady, and deep voice, he gave th# 
ord^ io * pull away ! ' At the same instant, the barge 
and yawl Were iseen advancing towards the object 
of their common attack, with a velocity that prom- 
ised to bring the event to a speedy bsue. 

Throughout the whole of the preparations in and 
abcfut the Coquette, since the moment when she 
breeze faMed, nothing had been seen of the crew of 
tibe brigaatiDe 'Die beautiful fabric lay rollit^ on 



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49 THS WATBm-WITOH. 

appeared to control her movementsy or to make tiie 
arrangements that seemed so necessary for her de* 
fence. The sails continued hanging as they had been 
left by the breeze, and the hull was floating at the 
vfi\\ of the waves. This deep quiet was undisturbed 
by the approach of the boats ; and if the-^esperate 
individual, who was known to cojamand the free* 
trader, had any intentions of resistance, they had 
been entirely hid from the long and anxious gaze of 
Ludlow. Even the shouts, and the iiasbiiig of the 
oars on the water, when the boats commenced their 
final advance, produced no change on the decks (^ 
the chase ; though the commander of the Coquette 
saw her head-yards slowly and steadily changing 
their direction. Uncertain of the object of this 
movement, he rose on the seat of his boat, and, 
waving his hat, cheered the men to greater exert]on4 
The barge had got within -k hundred feet of the 
broadside of the brigantine, when the whole of her 
wide folds of canvas were seen swelling outwards. 
The exquisitely-ordered machinery of spars, sails, 
and rigging, bowed towards the barge, as in &e act 
of a graceful leave-taking, and then the light hull 
glided ahead^ leaving the boat to plow through the 
empty space which.it had just occupied. There 
needed no second look to assure Ludlow of the ineffi- 
cacy of further pursuit, since the sea was already 
ruffled by the breeze which had so opportunely come > 
lo aid the smuggler. He signed to Trysail to desist^ 
and both stood looking, with disappointed eyes, at the 
white and bubbling streak which was left by the 
wake of the fugitive. 

But while the Water- Witch left the boats, com- 
0ianded by the captain and master of the Queen's 
cruiser, behind her, she steered directly on the course 
that was necessary to bring her soonest- in conlact 
Viiith the. yawl. .For a few moments, the crew of the 



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•ffSis ^^A+fet-^iViH. 41 

Chem so rapidly near their object; and when the 
midshipman who steered the boat discovered his 
error, it was only in season to prevent the, swift brig- 
antine from passing over his little bark. He gave 
the yawl a wide sheer, and called to his men to pull 
for their lives OloflF Van Staats had placed himself 
at the head of the boat, armed with a hanger, and 
with every faculty too intent on the expected attack, 
to heed a danger that was scarcely intelligible to one 
of his habits. As the brigantine glided past, he saw 
her low channels bending towards the water, and, 
with a powerful effort, he leaped into them, shouting 
a sort of war-cry, in Dutch. At the nef t instant, he 
threw his large frame over the bulwarks, and disap- 
peared on the deck of the smuggler. 

When Ludlow had caused his boats to assemble 
on the spot which the chase had so lately occupied, 
he saw that the fruitless expedition had been attended 
by no other casualty than the involuntary abduction 
of the Patroon of Kinderhook. 



D2 

Digitized by LjOOQ IC 



,4) TBS WATSa-wniQ|L 



CHAPTER IV. 

" What country, Ariends, is tbitr* 
" — Illyria, lady." 

What too will. 

Men are as much indebted to a forttiitous concur 
rence of circumstances, for the charac tears they sus- 
tain in this world, as to their personal quaMlits. The 
same truth is applicable to the reputations of ships. 
The properties of a vessel, like those of an individual, 
may have tl^ir influence on her good^r evil fortune; 
still, something is due to the accidents of life, in both. 
Although the breeze, which came so opportunely to 
the aid of the Water- Witch, soon filled the saite of 
the G>quette, it caused no change in the opinions of 
her crew concerning the fortunes of that ship ; while 
it served to heighten the reputation which the 'Skim- 
mer of the Seas' had already obtained^ as a mariner 
who was more than favored by happy chances, in 
the thousand emergencies of his hazardous profession. 
Trysail, himself, shook his head, in a manner that 
expressed volumes, when Ludlow vented his humor 
on what the young man termed the luck of the smug- 
gler; and the crews of the boats gazed after the 
retiring brigantine, as the inhabitants of Japan would 
now most probably regard the passage of some vessel 
propelled by steam. As Mr. Luff was not neglectful 
of his duty, it was not long before the Coquette ap- 
proached her boats. The delay occasioned by hoist- 
ing in the latter, enabled the chase to increase the 
space between the two vessels, to such a distance, as 
to place her altogether beyond the reach of shot 
Ludlow, however, gave his orders to pursue, the mo- 
ment the ship was ready ; and he hastened to conceal 
bis disappointment in his own cabin. 

^Luck is a mercbact's surplus, while a living 



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frofit is the reward of bis wits !" •bBery^d Aldercpan 
an Beverout, who could scarce conceal the sati^ 
faction he felt, git the unexpected and repeated es- 
capes of the brigantine. " Many a man gains doub- 
loons, when he only looked for dollars ; and many a 
market falls, while the goods are in the course of 
clearance. There are Frenchmen enough, Captain 
Ludlow to keep a brave officer in good-humor ; and 
&e less reason to fret about a trimng mischance in 
overhauliDg a smu^ler." 

" I know not how highly you may prize your niece, 
Mr. Van Beverout ; but were I the uncle of such a 
woman, the idea that she had become the infatuated 
victim of the arts of yon reckless villain, would mad- 
den me!" 

"Paroxysms and straight-jackets! Happily you 
are not her uncle, Captain Ludlow, and therefore 
the less' reason to be uneasy. The girl has a French 
fancy, and she is rummaging the smuggler's silks and 
laces ; when her choice is made, we shall have her 
back again, more beautiful than ever, for a little 
finery." 

" Choice ! Oh, AUda, Alida ! this is not the election 
that -we had reason to expect from thy cultivated 
mind and proud sentiments!" 

« The cultivation is my work, and the pride is an 
inheritance from old Etienne de Barb^rie;" dryly 
rejoined Myndert. " But complaints never lowered 
a market, nor raised the funds. Let us send for the 
Patroon, and take counsel coolly, as to the easiest 
manner of finding our way back to the Lust in Rust^ 
before Her Majesty's ship gets too fer from the coast 
of America." 

. " Thy pleasantry is unseasonable. Sir. Your Pa- 
troon is gone with your niece, arid a pleasant pas- 
sage they arc likely to enjoy, in such company ! We 
lost him, in the expedition with our boats**' 
. Thp jUdcorman stood aghast. 



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44 *tt» WAMit-^^ntWt 

♦*L6st!— Oloff Van Staats lost, in tlie feljqpeditioft 
of the boats I Evil betide the day When that dis- 
creet and affluent youth should be test to the colony! 
Sir, you know not what you utter when you hazard 
so rash an opinion. The death of the young Patroon 
of Kinderhook would render one of the best and 
most substantial of our families extinct, and leave 
the third best estate in the Province without a direct 
heir!" 

** The calamity is not so overwhelming ;'* returned 
the captain, with bitterness. ** The gentleman has 
boarded the smuggler, and gone with la belle Bar- 
baric to examine his silks and laces!" 

Ludlow then explained the manner in which the 
Patroon had disappeared. When perfectly assured 
that no bodily harm had befallen his fnend, the 
satisfaction of the Alderman was quite aS vivid, as 
his consternation had been apparent but the moment 
before. 

** Gone with la belle Barbaric, to examine silks 
and laces!" he repeated, rubbing his hands together, 
in delight Ay, there the blood of my old friend, 
Stephanus, begins to show itself! Your true Hollander 
is no mercurial Frenchman, to beat his head and 
make grimaces at a shift in the wind, or a woman's 
frown ; nor a blustering Englishman (you are of the 
colony yourself, young gentleman) to swear a big oath 
aiid swagger; but, as you see, a quiet, persevering, 
and, in the main, an active son of old Batavia, who 
Watches his opportunity, and goes into the very pres- 
ence of— — *' 

"WhomT" — demanded Ludlow, perceiving that 
the Alderman had paused. 

" Of his enenly ; seeing that all the enemies of the 
Queen are necessarily the enemies of every loyal 
subject Bravo, young Oloff! thou art a lad after 
my own heart, and no doubt — ^no doubt — fortune 
wU] fyroc the brave! &lA a Hdlander a proper 



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THE WAT£E<WlTCa. 45 

feotiog oa tbis earth. Captain Corndius Ludlow, we 
should hear a different tale concerning the right to 
the Narrow Seas, and indeed to most other questions 
of commerce" 

Ludlow arose with a bitter smile on his face, 
though with no ill feeling towards the man wbofe 
exultation was so natural. 

" Mr* Van Staats may have reason to congratulate 
himself on bis good fortune," he said, ''though I 
.much mistake if even his enterprise will succeed, 
against the wiles of one so artful, and of an. appear- 
ajice. so gay, as the man whose guest he has now be- 
come. Let the caprice of others be what it may, 
4-lderman V^n Beverout, my duty must be done. 
The smugglej, aided by chance and artifice, has 
thrice escaped me; the fourth time, it may be our 
fortune. If this ship possess the power to destroy 
the lawless rover, let him look to his fate 1 " 

With this menace on his lips, Ludlow quitted the 
cabin, to resume his station on the deck, and to renew 
his .unwearied watching of the movements of the 
chase. 

• The change in the wind was alt<^ether in favor 
:of the biigantine. It brought her to windward, and 
wpis the means of placing the two vessels in positions 
that enabled the Water-Witch to profit the most by 
her peculiar construction. Consequently, when Lud- 
low reached his post, he saw that the swift and l^ht 
craft had trimmed every thing close upon tho wind, 
and that she was already so far ahead, as to render 
the chances of bringing her again within range of 
his guns almost desperate ; unless, indeed, some of 
the many vicissitudes, so common on the ocean, should 
interfere in his behalf. There remained little else to 
be done, therefore, but to crowd •venr sail on the 
Coquette that the ship would bear, and to endeavor 
to Keep within sight of the cbase^dumng the hours 
of dafimm wlnw au9t ftb.dnortly lUQCMdL But be* 



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46 +HE WATfiR^WltCai. 

fore the sun had Mien to the level 6f the Simter, fire 
hull of the WaterrWitch had disappeared; and 
when the day closed, bo part of her airy outline 
was visible, but that which was known to belong tb 
her upper and lighter spafrs. In a few minutes af- 
terwards* darkness covered the ocean ; and the sea- 
men of the royal cruiser were left to pursue their 
object, at random. 

How far the Coquette had run during the night 
does not appear, but when her commander ttoade his 
appearance on the icdiowing morning, his long and 
anxious gk^e met no other reward than a naked 
horizon. On eveiy side, the sea presented the same 
waste of watfer. No object was visible, but the sea- 
fewl wheeling €fa his wide wing, alid the summits of 
the irregpaiar and green billows. Throughout that 
and many succeeding d%g^^ the cruiser continued to 
plow the ocean, sometimes running large, with every 
thing opened to the breeze that th^ wide booms 
would spread, and, at others, pitching and laboring 
with adverse triads, as k* bent <m prevailing over the 
obstacles which even nature ^presented to her pro- 
gress. The bead of the worthy AMerman had got 
completely turned; and though he patiently a^waited 
the result, before the week was ended, be knew mi 
even the, direction in which the ship was steering. 
At length he had reason to believe that the end of 
their cruise approached. The e^rts of the seamrn 
were observed to relax, and the ship was permitted 
to pursue her course, under easier sail. 

It was past Aieridian, on one of thoise days of mod- 
erate exertion, tteit Fmncois was seen stealing from 
below, and staggering firom gun to gun, to a place in 
the centre of tl^ ship, where he habitually took the 
air, in good weather, and where he might dispose of 
his pei^on^ equally without presuming too far on thfe 
good-nature of lus superiors, a^ wmtout conitiDg 



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top^ imtcb ifUimacy vfith ih» coanMor herd who com- 
posed th^ commoQ crew. 

** Ah 1 " exclaimed the valet, addressing his remark 
to the midshipman who has already been mentioned 
by the name of Hopper — ^**Voiia la terre! Quel 
Donheur ! I shall be so hq.ppy — le batiment be trop 
agreablc, mais vqus savez. Monsieur Aspirant ; que 
je ne suis point marin — What be le nom du pays?" 

" They call it, France/' returned the boy, who 
understood enough of the other's language to com- 
prehend his meaning ; ** and a very good country it 
IS— for those that like it" 

"Ma foi, nonl" — exclaimed Francois, recoiling a 
pace, between amazement and delight 

" Call it Holland, then, if you prefer that country 
most." 

"Dites-moi, Monsieur Hoppair," continued the 
valet, laying a trembling finger on the arm of the 
remorseless young rogue ; " est-ce la France t" 

" One would think a man of your observation could 
tell that for himself. Do you not see the church- 
tower, with a chateau in the back-ground, and a 
village biuilt in a heap, by its side. Now look into 
yon wood! There is a walk, straight as a ship's 
wake in smooth water, and one — ^two— three — ay, 
eleven statues, with just one nose among them all !" 

" Ma foi — dere is not no wood, and j||j^hateau, 
and no village, and no statue, and no no nose, — ^mais 
Monsieur, je suis ag(^ — est-ce la France!" 

" Oh, you miss nothing by having an indifierent 
sight, for I shall explain it all, as we go along. You 
see yonder hill-side, looking like a pattern-card, of 
green and yellow stripes, or a signal-book, with the 
Sags of all nations, placed side by side — well, that 
is — ^les champs; and this beautiful wood^with all the 
branches trimmed till it looks like so many raw ma- 
rines at drill, is — la foret " 

The credulity of the warm-heaxted valet <;ould 



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48 TffiD WAtBR»WiTe& 

swallow no more ; but, a«suming a look of commisera- 
tion and dignity, he drew back, and left the young 
tyro of the sea to enjoy his joke with a companion 
who just then joined him. 

In the mean time, the Coquette ccmtinued to ad- 
vance. The chateau, and churches, and villages, o 
the midshipman, soon changed into a low sandy 
beach, with a back-ground of stunted pines, relieved, 
here and there, by an opening, in w)iich appeared 
the comfortable habitation and numerous out>build- 
ings of some substantial yeoman, or occasionally em- 
bellished by the residence of a country proprietor. 
Towards noon, the crest of a hill rose from the sea ; 
and, just as the sun set behind the barrier of moun- 
tain, the ship passed the sandy cape, and anchored 
at the spot that she had quitted when first joined by 
her commander after his visit to the brigantine. The 
vessel was soon moored, the light yards were struck, 
and a boat was lowered into the water. Ludlow 
and the Alderman then descended the side, and pro- 
ceeded towards the mouth of the Shrewsbury. Al- 
though it was nearly d'^rk before they had reached 
the shore, there remj'jned light enough to enable the 
former to discover un object of unusual appearance 
floating in the bay, and at no great distance from the 
direction of his barge. He was led by curiosity to 
steer for i^^ 

" Cruisers and Water- Witches ! " muttered Myn- 
dert, when they were near enough to perceive the 
nature of the noating object " That brazen hussy 
haunts us, as if we had robbed her of gold ! Let us 
set foot on land, and nothing short of a deputation 
from the City Council shall e\ter tempt me to wander 
from my own abode, again !" 

Ludlow shifted the helm of the boat, and resumicd 
his course towards the river. He required no ex- 
planation, to tell him more of the nature of the arti- 
fice, by which lio had been duped. The nicely* 



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bfiliiliced tjath, fee tipri^t spar, ^nd the exlii^i^efl 
tentern, 'VrHh the feat«»^ of the female of the malign 
Bttiike tthistii bh it6 faok^n faces, renihided him, at once, 
«f Ae false li^t %f whkh the Coquette had been 
hired frM^ her course, on the night she sailed in pur* 
sfttt of the ^InigaMine. 



CHAPTER V, 

«* -uitti dMiiiler, ani tlie lielr of bis feinldMti, 
— haih K&riied hertftlf 
Unto a poor bat worthy fentleman :— " 

WwEN Alderman Van Beverotrt and Ltrdlow drew 
©ear 4k) the Lust in Rust, it was already dark. Night 
bad 'bverfcaken them, at some distance ifrom tibe 
place of landing; and the mountain already threw 
its shadow across the river, the narrow strip of land' 
that separated it from the sea, and far upon the 
ocean itself. Neither had an opportunity of making 
his observations on the condition of things in and 
about the villa, until they had ascended i^arly to its 
level, and had even entered the narrow^k fragrant' 
lawn in its front Just before they arrived at the 
gate which opened on the latter, the Alderman 
paused^ and addressed his companion, with more of' 
the raafwier of their ancient confidence, than he had* 
manifested during the few preceding days of their* 
intercourse. 

'* You must have obsen^ed, that the events of this* 
little excuraon on the water, have been rather of 
a domestic than of a public character;" he "said. 
"Thy father was a very ancient and much-esteemed' 
tfiend of minet and I arn far fn»n certaia that there 

Vol. II E 



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M THS WATinuwnpcB*- 

k not eome affinity between us, in the waj of ail^r-! 
marriages. Thy worthy mother, who k a thrifty 
woman, and a small talker, had some of the blood €» 
. my own stock. It would grieve me to see the good 
understanding, which these recollections have ere* 
ated, in any manner interrupted. I admit. Sir* tha 
revenue is to the state what the soul is jo the body, 
— ^the moving and governing principlej and that, as 
the last would be a tenantless house without its in- 
habitants, so the first would be an exacting and trou- 
blesome master without its proper products. But 
there is no need of puihbg a principle to extremi- 
ties ! If this brigantine be, as you appear to suspect, 
and indeed as we have some reason from various 
causes to infer, the vessel called the Water-Witch 
she might have been a legal prize had she fallen into 
your power ; but now that she has escaped, I cannot 
say wha.t may be your intentions ; but were thy ex- 
cellent father, the worthy member of the King's 
Council, living, so discreet a man would think much 
before he opened his lips, to say more than is dis- 
creet, on this or any other subject" 

" Whatever course I may believe my duty dictates, 
you may safely rely on my discretion concerning the 
— the remarkable- — the very decided step which 
your niece has seen proper to take ; *' returiied the 
young ma^^ho did not make this allusion to Alida 
without betraying, by the tremor of his voice, how 
great was her influence still over him. "I see no 
necessity of violating the domestic feelings to which 
you aUude, by aiding to feed the ears of the idly 
curious, with the narrative of her errors." 

Ludlow stopped suddenly, leaving the uncle to 
infer what he would wish to add. 

<* This is generous, and manly, and like a loyal-— 
k)ver, Captain Ludlow," rettfrned the Alderman; 
'' though it is not exactly what I intended to suggest 
We will not, however^ multiply words, in the night 



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THB WATER*WITCB. 61 

air-^ha ! when the cat is asleep, the mice are seen to 
play I Those night-riding, horse-racing blacks have 
taken possession of Alicia's pavilion ; and we may be 
Ihasnkutl the poor girl's rooms are not as large as 
Harlaem Common, or we should hear the feet of 
Mome hard-driven beast galloping about in them." 

The Alderman, in his turn, cut short his speech, 
and started as if one of the spukes of the colony had 
suddenly presented itself to his eyes. I£s language 
had drawn the look of hLs companion towards la Coiir 
des F^es; and Ludlow had, at the same moment as 
Qke uncle, caught an unequivocaF view of la belle 
Barb^rie, as she moved before the open window of 
her apartment The latter was about to rush for- 
ward, but the hand of Myndert arrested the impetu- 
cius movement 

^ Here is more matter for our wits, than ouf legs ; 'V 
observed the cool and prudent burgher. " That was 
tbe form of my ward and niece, or the daughter' of 
oU Etienne Barb^rie has a double. — Francis! didst 
thou not see the image of a woman at, the window of 
the pavilion, or are we deceived by our wishes T I 
have sometimes been deluded in an unaccountable 
manner. Captain Ludlow, when my mind has been 
thoirougMy set on the bargain, in the quality of the 
goods; for the most liberal of us all are subject to 
mental weakness of this nature, when h^g^ is alive !" 

^* Certainement, ouil" exclaimed the ^ger valet 
^(ftttel malheur to be oblige to go on la mer, when 
Mam'seile AJide nevair quit la maison ! P^tais sdr,, 
me' nous nous trompions, ear jamais la famille de 
Barb^rie bve to be marins!" 

** Enoaigfa, good Francis ; the family of Barb^rie is 
as earthy as a fox. Go and notify the idle rogues in 
my kitchen, that their master is at hand ; and re- 
member, that there is no necessity for speaking of all 
the wonders we have seen on the great deep. Cap- 



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5ft THS W^TSR-W^TCR* 

talu Ludlow, we will now jom mj dutifuraidce^ wiHn 
as little fracas as possible." 

Ludlow eagerly accepted the invitatioB, and iii-> 
fitantlj followed the dogmatical a«d seeifiinglj' uzh 
moved Alderman towards the dwelling. A9 the lawH 
was crossed, they involuntarily paused, a laoBQ^iity ^ 
ook in at the open windows of the pavilioo. 

La belle Barbaric bad ornamented la Cour das 
F^es, with a portion of that national taste^ whkh she 
inherited from her father. The heavy maeni&celice 
that distinguished the reign of Lc^is AIV. had 
scarcely descended to one of the middling rank of 
Monsieur de Barb^ie, whb had consequently brought 
with him to the place of his exile, merely those tasteful' 
usages which appear almost exclusively the property 
of the people from whom he had sprung, without the 
encumbrance and cqist of Hhe more pretending beh- 
bns of the period. These usages h^ becomie Mend* 
ed with the more domestic and coaifortable babitsef 
English, or what is nearly the same thing, of Ameri^ 
can life — an union which, when it ip found, peibapa. 
produces the most just and happy mediuDit of the 
useful and the agreeable. Alida was seated by a 
small table of mahogany, deeply absorbed in the 
contents of a little vcMume that lay before her. liy. 
her side stood a tea-service, the cups and the vessels of 
which waQ|||of the diminutive Az^ the& UBed> though 
exquisitely wrought* and of the most liieautifol ma- 
teriaL Her dress was a^ neglig^ suited to h^rv^Mi f 
and her whoW figure breathed that air c/'qwi*. 
fort, mingled with grace, which se^napi U> h^: ib0\' 
proper quality of the sex, and. wh^ ire|)d<^ tbe 
privacy of an el^ant woman so attractive a^dpec^ 
liar. Her mind was intent on the book, and th^ 
little silver urn hissed a^t her elbow, apysire^tly vat* 
heeded. 

'* This is the picture I have lov^d to dra\f ,!' hatf* 
whispered Ludlow, " when gales and storms have 



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itepi me OQ the deck, throughottt many a dreary atid 
tempestuous night I When body and mind have be^i 
Impatient o[ fatigue, this is the- repose I have most 
coveted, and for which I bavfit-even dared to hope !*• 

" The €3iina trade will come to something, in time* 
and you are an excellent judge of comfert, Master 
Ludlow;" returned the Alderman. " That girl noW 
has a warm glow on lier cheek, which would seem 
to swear she never faced a breeze in her life; and 
it is not easy to fancy, that one who kx)ks so^ com- 
fortable has lately been frolicking among the dol* 
phins. — ^Let us enter," 

Alderman Van Beverout was not accustomed to 
use much ceremony in his visits to his liiece. With- 
out appearing to think any announcement necessary, 
therefore, the dc^matical burgher coolly opened a 
door, and ushered his companion into the pavilion. 

If the meeting between la belle Alida and her 
guests was distinguished by the afiected indifierencei 
of the latter, their seeming ease was quite equalled 
by that of the lady. She laid aside her book, with 
a cakpness that might have been expected had they^ 
parted but ah hour before, and which sufficiently 
.assured both Ludlow and her uncle that their return 
was known and their presence expected. She simj^y 
arose at tiieir en^trance, atid with a smile that beto-.' 
kened breeding, rather than feeling, she request^ 
them to be seated. The composure of Mb' niece ftarf 
the eflect to throw the Alderman into a brown study, 
while the young sailor scarcely knew which to ad- 
mire the most, the exceeding loveliness of a woman 
who was always so beautiful, or her admirable self- 
possesdeon in a scene that most others would have 
found sufficiently embarrassing. Alida, herself, ap- 
peared to feel no necesaty for any explanation ; for, 
when her guests were seated, she took occasion to 
say, while busied in pouring out the tea — ^^ 

^ You find me prepared to offer the refreahAient 
E2 



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^ aoupci'.-ddi^usbdbea. I thbik^.iitjrtiiidie iiroft 
U the tea: of the Caernarvon Castle." - 
> ** A liiicky 8bap,*both in ber passages* and her 
wareal Yes, it is the article yoQ name; and I can 
recommend it to aJU who wish to parduue. But 
niece of naney will you condeacend to ac({uaint ihk 
commander in Her Majesty's aenrice, and a poor 
Alderman of her good city of New^York, how long 
you may hare been expecting our company?'? 

Alida felt at her gkdle» and, drawing out a smaU 
und richlyi^mamented watch, she coolly examined 
its hands, as if to learh the hour. 

'^ We are nine* I think it was past the torn of 
the day, when Dinah first menticmed that this 
pleasure nught be expected But, I should also tell 

{ou, that pacl^ges which seem to contain letters 
ave arrived from town.'* 

This was giving a new and sudden direction to 
Uie thoughts of &e Alderman. He had refrained 
from enterii^ on those explanati6ns which the cir- 
^mstances «eemed to require, because he well knew 
that he stood on dangerous ground, and that more 
Height be said than he wished his companicm to hear, 
no less than from amazement at the composure of 
bis ward. He was not sorry, therefore, to have an 
excuse to delay his inquiries, that appe^ed do much 
In character as that of reading the communlcati<»is 
of bis business correspondents. Swallowing the coo- 
tents of the tiny cup he ^held, at a gulp, the eager 
merchant seized the packet that Alida now ofiered ; 
and, muttering a few words of apology to Ludlow,* 
he left the pavilion. 

Until now, the commander of the Coquette had. 
not spoken, Wonder, mingled with indignation, 
sealed his mouth, though he had endeavored to pen- 
etrate the veil whicli Alida had drawn around her 
conduct and mptiyes, by a diligent use of hia eyob 
]|m^JDg the first few moments of the ioteevkm^ he 



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. • ■ • - /• 

:tfu9Bgbt: tiMft be -could detect, in t6& O^A^f^of her 
studied calmness, a melancholy smile struggling 
jo^outid her b64u!tiful siotilh ; bu4» oi>ly on«e bad their 
'looks met, as she turned her full, rich, ajpd dark eycfe 
fertivelyoii kk ikee, as if she vntee curious to know 
Hke e^t produced by her numner on 1^ mind oi 
the young sailor. 

^Har^ Ae enemies of th* Queeftmasoft to regret 
the cruise of the Cbquette?" said la Belle, hHi^iedly, 
wfe«n she faand her glance detected; «*jor hate they 
dreaded to ena>i2titer a prowess that has already 
proved ibeir inferiority V* » * 

** F^r, or prudence, of perhaps I might say con- 
fldenee, has- made them wary;'* returned Ludlovr, 
pdnte^y emphasizing the latter word« *^ We have 
run from the Hook to the edge of the Graikl^ Bank, 
ai^ returned without success.'* 

" 'Tis unhtcky. But, though the French escaped, 
.have nobe of the hwlesS' met with punishment ? 
There is a rumor among the slaves, that the brigan- 
tine which visited us is an object of suspicibn'to'the 
Government?" 

" SospickMi l-^ut I may apply to la belle Barb^ 
lie, t6 kmw whether the character her coimnander 
has <ifetaiiied be merited V* 

Alida smiled, and, her admirer thought, sweetly as 

** It would be a sign of extraordinary complaisance, 
were Captain Ludlow to apply to the girls of the 
colony for instruction in his duty ! We may be secret 
encouragers of the contraband, but surely we are 
not to be suspected of- any greater fansiliarity with 
"their movements. These hints may compel me to 
bandon the pleasures of the Lust in Rust, and to 
seek air and health in some less exposed situation. 
Happily the banks of the Hudson ofier many, that 
ene seed be tetidioiis indeed to reject." 



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56 TBB WAWR-^WITOR. 

*< AoMHlg which you count the Manor-Houae of 
Kinderhookl" 
AgaiD Alida smUed, and Ludlow thought it was 

triumphanUy. 

<< The dwelling of Obff Van Staats is said to he 
commodious, and not badly placed. I have .seea 
it, " 

'< In your iouiges of the future ?" said the young 
man, .observing she he»tated. 

AUda laughed downright But, immediatdy re- 
covering her self^-command, .she replied — 

** Not so fancifully. My knowledge of the beau- 
ties of the house of Mr. Van Staats, is confined to 
very uopoetical glimpses from the river, in passii^ 
and repassing. The chimneys are twisted ia the 
most approved style of the Dutch Brabant, and, 
although wanting the stork's nests on thear summits, 
it seems jas if there might be that woman's tempter, 
comfort, around the hearths beneath. The offices, 
too, have an enticing air, for a thrifty housewife!" 

«< Which office, in compliment to the worthy Pa- 
troon, you intend shall not long be vacant 1" 

Alida was playing with a spoon, curioittiy wrought 
to represent the stem and leaves (^a tea-plant She 
started, dropped the implement, and raised her ey€s 
to the f€fcce of her companion. The lode was steady, 
and not without an interest in the evident com^m 
betrayed by the young man. 

'** It will never be filled by me, Ludlow;" was the 
answer, uttered solemnly, and with a decisbn that 
denoted a resolution fixed. 

" That declaration removes a mountain l-^— Oh 1 
Alida, if you could as easily " . •* 

'* Hush !" whispered the other, rising and stanfding 
for a moment in an attitude of intense expectati<»i. 
Her eye became brighter, and the bloom on har 
cheek even deeper than before, white pleasure and 
hope were both strongly depicted on her beautiful 



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THE WATER-WITOH. CT 

&ce — ^**HiiJah!" she continued, moliofting to^Ludtew 
to represr Im feelings. . *^ Did joa- hear iKFthing T'^ 

The di^ppointed and yet adtmring yaung man 
was silent, though he watched her singularly inter- 
Opting air» and lovely features, with ati. the intense- 
ness that seemed to characterize her own d^ort^ 
meat Aa nosomid followed that wych Alida had 
hjeaxd or fancied she bad heard, she resumed hef 
se^t, and appnared to lend her attention once more 
to her Gompanieo* 

"You were speaking of mountains f* she said, 
dcaxce knowing what g£e uttered. ** The passage 
bfilw^en the hays of Newburgh and Tappan, has 
scarce a rivml, as I have heard from travelled men.** 

'*I was indeed speaking of a mountain, but it was 
of oae that wd^s me to the earth* Your inexplica* 
yie cqnduct amd cruel indi&renee have heaped it on 
my feelings, Alife. You have said that there is na 
b(^Q for Okxff Van Staats; and one syllable, spoken 
uriib your native ii^miousness and sincerity, has 
had the efiect to blow all mv apprehensions from 
tbit. qunrteff to the winds. There rem£iins only to 
account for your absence, to resume the whole (A' 
your power over one. who is but too rea<fily disposed 
to confide in aUr you say or do." 

.La belle Barb^ie seemed touched^ Her glance 
at the young saSor was kinder, and her voice wanted 
some of its ordinary steadiness, in the replv. 

^ Thaii power has then been weakened r' 

** You will despise me, if I say no ; — ^you will dis- 
tfu«tme,.if I say y^cV* 

<^ Th&n stedee seans the course best adapted to 
makftain our present amity .-^-Surely I heard a blow 
stiruck,. iigt^ly^ on the shutter of that window ?" 

*^ Hope sometimes dfe66lve& us. This repeated belief 
wouidsemnt^say that jcsm expect a visiter ?"^ 
..Adistiiict tafion the shutter eonfiftited the impres- 
sion of the mistress of the pavilion. Alida looked at 



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38 THS WATICR-WITOH. 

ber cofn(^ani<»i» and appeared embarrassed. Her 
color varied, and she seemed anxious to utt^ some- 
thing that either her feelings or her prudence sup- 



*' Captain Ludlowy you have once before been an 
unexpected witness of an interview in la Cour des 
F^es, that has, I fear, subjected me to unfavorable 
surmises. But one manly and generous as yourself 
cun42ave indulgence for the littk vanities of woman; 
I expect a visit, that perhaps a Queen's officer should 
not countenance." v* 

'< I am no exciseman, to pry into wardrobes and 
secret repositories, but one whose duty it is to act 
only on the high seas, and against the more open vio- 
lators of the law. If you have any without, whose 
presence you desire, let them enter without dread of 
my office. When we meet in a more suitable place, 
I shall know how to take my revenge.'* . 

His companion looked grateful, and bowed her ac- 
knowledgments. She then made a ringing sound, by 
using a spoon on the interior of one of the vessels of 
the tea equipage. The shrubbery, which shaded a 
window, stirred ; and presently, the young stranger,* 
already so weU known in the former pages of this 
work, and in the scenes of the brigaatine, appeared 
in the low baleony. His person was scarcely seen, 
before a light bale of goods was tossed past him, into 
the centre of the room. 

•** I send my certificate of character t» an avant- 
courier;" said the gay dealer in contraband, or Mas- 
ter Seadrift, as he was called by the Alderman/ 
touchmg his cap, gallantly, to the mistress of la Cour 
das F^es, and then, somewhat more ceremoniousiy' 
to her companion ; after which he returned the gold 
bound covering to its seat, on a bed of rich and glossy 
curls, and sought lus package. Here is one more cus- 
tomer than I bargained for, and I look to more than 



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THE WATBE-WITOH. 69 

comm<Hi gain! We have met before, Captain Lud- 
low." 

" We have, Sir Skimmer of the Seas, and we shall 
meet agaiD. Winds Inay change, and fortune yet 
favor the right!" 

" We trust to the sea-green lady's care ;" returned 
the extraordinary smuggler, pointing, with a species 
bf reverence, real or affected, to the image that was 
beautifully worked, in rich colors, on the velvet of 
his cap. What has been will be, and the past ^ves 
a hop^for the future. We meet, here, on neutral 
ground, 1 trust" 

" I am the commander of a royal cruiser, Sir;" 
haughtily returned the other. 
. " Queen Anne may be proud of her servant I — 
but we neglect our affairs. A thousand pardons, 
lovely mistress of la Cour des F^es. This meeting of 
two rude mariners does a slight to your beauty, and 
little credit to the fealty due the sex. Having done 
with all compliments, I have to offer certain articles 
that never failed to cause the brightest eyes to grow 
more brilliant, and at which duchesses have gazed 
with many longings." 

" You speak with confidence of your associations, 
' Master Seadrift, and rate noble personages among 
your customers, as familiarly as if you dealt in offices 
of state." 

" This skilful servitor of the Queen will tell you, 
lady, that the wind which is a gale on the Atlantic, 
may scarce cool the burning cheek of a girl on tfie 
land, and that the links in life are as curiously inter- 
locked as the ropes of a ship. The Ephesian temple, 
and the Indian wigwam, rested on the same earth." 

" From which you infer that rank does not alter 
nature. We must admit, Captain Ludlow, that Mas- 
ter Seadrift imderstands a woman's heart, when he 
tempts her with stores of tissues gay as these!" 

Ludlow bad watched the speakers in silence. The 



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66 f Hte. WATEIl*t\nTOH. 

maimer of. AHda was far less embarrassed, tham tvlieit 
he had before seen her in the smuggler's company ; 
and his bloiod fired, when he saw that their eyes 
met /rith a secret and friendly intelligence. He had 
remained, however, with a resolution to be cahn, 
and to know the worst. Conquering the expression of 
his feelings by a great efl&rt, he answered with an 
exterior w composure, though not without some rf 
that bitterness in his emphasis, which he felt at bk 
hea% • 

"If Master Seadrifl has this knowledge, .be ma^ 
value himself on his good fortune; ".was the reply. 

" Much intercourse with the sex, who are ray best 
customers, has something helped me;" returned the 
pavalier dealer in contraband. " Here is a brocadcj 
whose fellow is worn openly in the presence of eur 
royal mistress, though it came from the forbidden 
k>oms of Italy ; and the ladies of the court return 
from patriotically dancing, in the fabrics of home, to 
please the public eye, once in the year, to wear these 
more agreeable inventions, all the rest of it, to please 
themselves. Tell me, why does the Englishman, with 
his pale sun;^ spend thousands to force a sickly imita* 
tion of the gifts of the tropics, but because he pines 
for forbidden fruit? or why does your Paris gourmand 
roll a fig on his tongue, that a Lazzarone of Naples 
would cast into his bay, but because he wishes to en- 
joy the bounties of a low latitude, under a watery 
sky ? I have seen an individual feast on the eau sucr6 
of an European pine, that cost a guinea, while his 
palate would have refused the same fruit, with its 
delicious compound of acid and sweet, mellowed to 
ripeness under a burning sun, merely because he 
could have it for nothing. This is the secret of our 
patronage ; and as the sex are most liable to its in- 
fluence, we owe them most gratitude." 

" You have travelled. Master Seadrift," returned 
la Belle smiling, while §he tossed the rich contents 



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THE vTATBu^vrnxsm 61* 

of ^le bale on the carpet, "anici treat of usages as < 
familiarly as you speak of dignitie&'* 

•* The lady df the sea-green mantle does not per- • 
mit an idle senraHt. We follow the direction of her 
guiding hand ; ^sometimes it points oar course among 
the isles of the Adriatic, and at others on* your 
stormy American coasts. There is little of Europe: 
between Gibrikitar and the Catt^at, that I have not 
visited." 

'• But Italy has been the favorite, if one may judge 
by the number of her fabrics that you produce." 

*' Italy, France, and Wanders, divide my custom; 
though you are right, in believing the former most- 
id favcar* Many years of early life did I pass oh the 
noble cdasts of that romantic region^ One who pro- 
tected and guided my infency and youtfi, even left 
me for a time, under instruction, on the little plain 
of Sorrento." 

** And where can this plain be found ?— for the 
residence of so famous a rover may, one day, become 
the theme of song, and is likely to occupy the leisure 
of the curious." 

, *' The gi-ace of the speaker may well excuse the « 
irony ! Sorrento is a village on the southern shore of 
the renowned Naples bay. Fire has wrought many 
changes in that soft but wild country, and if, as reli- 
gionists believe, the fountains of the great deep were 
ever broken up, and the earth's crust disturbed, to 
permit its secret springs to issue on th6 surface, this 
may have been one of the spots chosen by him whose 
touch leaves marks that are indelible, in which to 
show his power. The bed of the earth, itself, in all 
that region, appears to have been but the vomitings 
of volcanoes ; and the Sorrentine passes his peaceable 
life m the bed of an extinguished crater. 'Tis cu- 
rioiK to see in what manner the men of the- middle 
ages have built their town, on the margin of the sea, 
where the element has swallowed one-half the ragged 

Vol. II. F 



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6S THE WATBR-WITCH. 

iNiSiD, and 1k>w they have tak^i the yawning ere- 
vices of the tufo, for ditches to protect their walls \ 
I have visited many lands, and seen nature in nearly 
every cUme ; but no spot has yet presented, in a sin- 
gle view, so pleasant a c<Hnbination of natural ob« 
lects, mingled with mighty recollections, as that 
tovely abode on the Sorrentine cliffil" 

** Recount me these pleasures, that in memory 
seem so agreeable, while I examine further into the 
contents of the bale." 

The gay young free- trader paused, and seemed 
lost in images of the past Then, with a melancholy 
smile, he soon cwitinued. " Though many years are 
gone," he said, «< I can recall the beauties of that 
scene, as vividly as if they still stood before the eye. 
Our abode was on the v^rge of the cliffi. In front 
lay the deep-blue water, and on its further shore 
was a line of objects such as accident or design 
rarely assembles in one view. Fancy thyself, lady, 
at my side, and follow the curvature of the northern • 
shore, as I trace the outline of that glorious scene ! 
That high, mountainous, and ragged island, on the 
extreme left, is modem Ischia. Its origin is unknown, 
though piles of lava lie along its troast, which seems 
fresh as that thrown from the mountain yesterday. 
The long, low bit of land, insulated like its neighbor, 
is called Procida, a scion of ancient Greece. Ite 
people still preserve, in dress and speech, marks of 
their crigin. The narrow strait conducte you to a 
high and naked bluff That is the Misenum, of old. 
Here Ene^ came to land, and Rome held her fleets, 
and thence Pliny took the water, to get a nearer 
view of the labors of the volcano, after its awaken- 

. ng from centuries of sleep. In the hdlow of the 
idge, between that naked bluff and the next swell ' 
of the mountain, lie the fabulous Styx, the Elysian 

'fields, and the place of the dead, as fixed by the 
Mantuan. More axi the height and near^ to the 



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T;.^ 



THB WAHm^-WlTGOi SS 

sea, lie, buried in the earth, the vast vaults of th^ 
Piscina Mirabile — and the gloomy caverns of the 
Hundred Chambers ; places that equally denote the 
luxury and . the despotism of Rome. Nearer to the 
vast pile of castle, that is visible so many leagues, is 
the graceful and winding Baiasn harbor ; and against 
the side of its sheltering hills, once lay the city of 
villas. To that sheltered hill, emperors, consuls, 
poets, and warriors, crowded from the capita], in 
quest of repose, and to breathe the pure air of a spot 
in which pestilence has since noade its abode. The 
earth is still covered with the remains of their mag- 
nificence, and ruins of temples and baths are scat-* 
tered freely among the olives and fig-trees of the ' 
pea^nt. A fainter bluff limits the north-ea$tera 
boundary of the little bay. On it, once, stood the 
dwellings of emperors. There Caesar sought retire- 
ment, and the warm springs on its side are yet called 
the batfhs of the bloody Nera That small ocmtcal 
hill, which, as you see, possesses a greener and fresher 
look than the adjoining land, is a cone ejected by the 
caldron beneath, but two brief centuries since; I^ 
occupies, in part, the site of the ancient Lucrine 
lake. All that remains (^ that famous receptacle of 
the epicure, is the small and shallow sheet at its base, 
which is separated from the sea by a mere thread^of 
sand. More in the rear, and surrounded by dreary 
hills, lie the waters of Avernus. On their banks stiU 
StaQ<} the ruins of u temple, in which rites were cele« 
brated to the infernal deities. The grotto of the 
Stybil pierces that ridge on the left, and theCumaean 
passage is nearly in its rear. The town, which is 
seen a mile to the right, is Pozzuoli — ^a port of the 
ancients, and a spot now visited for its temples of 
Jupiter and Neptune, its mouldering amphitheatre, 
and its half-buried tombs. Here Caligula attempted 
his an>hitious bridge; and while crossing thence to 
BfUae, the vile Nero bad &e. life of bis .owu moCber 



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64 TBB WATER-WITCH^ 

ftssailed. It was thece, too, that holy Paul came to 
land, when journeying a prisoner to Rome. The 
small but high island, nearly in its front, is Nisida» 
the place to which Marcus Brutus retired after the 
deed at the foot of Pompey's statue, where he pos- 
sessed a villa, and whence he and Cassius sailed to 
meet the shade and the vengeance of the murdered 
Caesar, at Philippi. Then comes a crowd of sites 
more known in the middle ages ; though just below 
that mountain, in the back-ground, is tne famous 
subterranean road of which Strabo-and ^neca are 
said to speak, and through which the peasant stiU 
Jaily drives his ass to the markets of the modem 
city. At its entrance is the reputed tomb of Virgil, 
and then commences an amphitheatre of white and 
terraced dwellings. This is noisy Napoli itself, crown- 
ed with its .rocky castle of St. Elmoi The vast plain, 
to the right, is that which held the enervating Capua 
and so many oihtr cities on its bosom. To this sue* 
ceeds the insulated mountain of the volcano, with 
its summit torn in triple tops. 'Tis said that vUlaa 
and villages, towns and cities^ lie buried beneath the 
vineyards and palaces which crowd its base. The 
ancient and unhappy city of Pompeii stood on that 
luckless plain, which, following the shores of the bay, 
comes next ; and then we take up the line of the 
ipountain promontory, which forms the Sorrentine 
aide of the water!" 

^* One who has had such schooling, should know 
better how to tucn it to a good account ;" i^id Ludkw, 
sternly, when the excited smuggler ceased to speak. 

** In (Tther lands, men derive their learning trom 
books ; in Italy, children acquire knowledge by the 
study of visible things :'' was the undisturbed answer 

**Some from this country are fond of believing 
Hiat our own bay, these, summer skies, and the cli*'. 
mate in general, should have a strict resemblance to 
tbose of a region which ties precisely in our own latin 



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T*Hfi WATER-WITCH* C5 

.tilde;** (^served Alida, so hastily, as to betray a de- 
sire to preserve the peace between her guests. 

" That your Manhattan and Raritan waters are 
broad and pleasant, hone can deny, and that lovely 
beings dwell Qp their banks, lady," returned Seadrift, 
.gallantly lifting his cap, •* my own senses have wit- 
nessed. But 'twere wiser to select some other point 
of your excellence, for comparison, than a competi- 
tion with the glorious waters, the fantastic arid moun- 
tain isles, and the sunny hill-sides of modern Napoli ! 
/Tis certain the latitude is even in your favor, and 
that a beneficent sun does not foil of its office in one 
region more than in the other. But the forests of 
America are still too pregnant of vapors and exhala- 
tions, not to impair the purity of the native air. If I 
have seen much of the Mediterranean, neither am. I 
a stranger to these coasts. While there are so many 
points of resemblance' in their climates, there are 
also many and marked causes of difference." 

" Teach us, then, what forms these distinctions, 
that, in speaking of our bay and. skies, we may not 
be led into error." 

** You do me honor, lady ; I am of no great school- 
ing, and of humble powers of speech. Still, the little 
that observation may have taught me, shall not b^ 
churlishly withheld. Your Italian atmosphere, taking 
the humidity of the seas, is sometimes hslzy. Still 
water in large bodies, other than in the two seas, is 
little kijown in those distant countries. Few objects 
in nature are drier than an Italian river, during 
those months when the sun has most influence. The 
effect is visible in the air, which is in general elastic, 
dry, and obedient to the general laws of the climate. 
There floats less exhalation, in the form of fine and 
nearly invisible vapor, than in these wooded regions. 
At least, so he of whom I spoke, as one who guided 
ipy youth, was wont to say." 
F2 



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09 THB WATBR->WITC»» 

'* Yott he^ate to tell us of Mr-sU^ out evetmg 

light, aod of our bay ?^* 

'' It shall be said, aod said siAcerely — Of the bays, 
each aeenas to have been apiprppriated to that for 
which nature most intended it. — The one is poetic, ' 
indolent, and full of graceful but glorious beauty; 
more pregnant of enjoyment than of usefulne^ The 
other will, one day, be the mart of the world!" • 

" You still shrink from pronouncing on Hmr beaih 
ty;" said Alida, disappolnte(j, in spite of an afiected 
indiflerence to the subject. 

** It is ever the common fault of old communities 
to overvalue themselves, and to undervalue new act- 
ors in the great drama of nations, as men long sue? 
cessful disregard the efibrts of new aspiraats for 
favor ;" said Seadrift,^while he looked with amaze- 
ment at the pettish eye of the frbwniqg beauty. " In 
this instance, however, Europe has not so greatly 
erred. <rhey who see much resemblance between 
the bay of Naples and this of Manhattan, have fer- 
tile brains; since it rests altogetlier on the circuna- 
stance that there is much water in both, and a pad- 
sage between an island and the main-land, in one, to 
resemble a passage between two islands in the other. 
This is aix estuary, that a gulf; and while the former 
has the greea and turbid water of a shelving shore 
and of tributary rivtrs, the latter has the*"blue and 
limpid element of a deep sea. In these distincti<Hi9, 
I take no account of ragged and rocky mountains, 
with the indescribable play of golden and rosy light 
upon their broken surfaces, nor of a coast that teems 
with the recollections of three thousand years !" 

''I fear to question more. But surely our skies 
may be mentioned, even by the side of those you 
vaunt?" 

" Of the skies, truly, you have more reason to be 
confident I remember that standing on the Capo di 
Monte, which overlooks the little, picturesque, anS 



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i^OTvded ])0ach of the Mariiia OratktqG^ asd SMnento, 
it spot that teems wiih all that is poetic in the fisher- 
man's liib, he of wboEQ I have spoken, once pointed 
;to the traimmrent vault above, and said, ' There is 
the moon of America!* The colors of the rocket 
were not more vivid than the stars that night, for a 
T.ramontana had swept every impurity from the. air, 
iar upon the neighboring sea. But nights like that 
are rsune, indeed* in. any ciknel The infaabkants of 
low latitudes enjoy them occasionally; those pf higher, 
never." 

" And then our flatterfag belief, that these west- 
ern sunsets rival those of Italy, is delusion?" 

" Not so, lady. They rival, without resembling. 
The color of the ^tui^ on which so fair a hand Is 
resting, is not softer than the hues one sees in the 
heavens of Italy. But if your evening sky wants the 
pearly light, the rosy clouds, and the soft tints which, 
at that hour, melt into each other, across the entire 
vatdt of Napoti, it far excels in the vividness of the 
glow, in the depth of the transitions, and in the ricl> 
neaa of colore Those are only more delicate, while 
these are mofe goi^eous! When there shall be less 
exhalation fronf your forests, the same causes may 
produce tbe^saaie effects. Until then, America must 
be a»itent to pride herself on an exhibition of na- 
ture's beauty, in a new, though scarcely in a less 
pleasing, form." 

" Then they who come among us from Europe, 
xre but half right, when they deride the pretensions 
of our bay and heavens?" « 

" Which is much nearer the truth than they are 
wont to be, on the subject of this continent. Speak 
of the many rivers, the double outlet, the numberless 
basins, and the unequalled facilities ^ your Manhat- 
ian harbor ; for in time, they will conae to render all 
4fae beauties of the unrivalled bay of Naples vain : 
httt tempt not the stranger to push the comparison 



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m Stm WATBa-WTPGH. 

beyond. Be ^tefiil Ibr jour skies, lady, fer few 
live under fairer or more beseficent — But I tire 70& 
with these opinions) when here are colors that have 
more charms for a young and lively imagination^.thaa 
even the tints of nature ! " 

La belle Barb^rie smiled on the dealer in contra 
band, with an interest that sickened Ludlow ; and 
she was about to reply, in better humor, when the 
voice«of her uncle announced ius near approach* 



CHAPTER VL 

*' There shall be, in England, seven half-penny loaves sold /br a penny. TUb 
three-hooped pot shall have ten hoops; and I will make it felony, to drink 
•mall beer.'*-— *Jack Cadb. 

Had Alderman Van Beverout been a party in the 
preceding dialogue, he could not have uttered words 
" more apposite, than the exclamation with which he 
.first saluted the ears of those in the pavilion. 
. "Gales and climates!" excfeiinl^ the merchant, 
entering with an open letter in his hand. " Her^ 
are advices received, by way of Cura^oa, and the 
coast of Africa, that the good ship Musk-Rat mdt 
with foul winds off the Azores, which lengthened 
her passage home to seventeen weeks — this is too 
much /precious time wasted between markets, Cap^- 
tarn Cornelius l^udlow, and 'twill do discredit to the 
good chsfracter of the ship, which has hitherto al- 
ways maintained a sound reputation, never needing 
more than the regular seven months to make the 
voyage nome and out again. If our vessels fall into 
this lazy train, we shall never get a skin to Bristol, 
•till it is past use. What have we here, niece ? Mer- 
.ehandise! and of a suspicious fabric! — ^who has the 



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THE WATBH-'WITCH. 69 

invoice of these goods, and in what vessd were they 
shipped ?'' 

*^ These are questions that maj he better answered 
by their owner;" returned la Belle, pointing grave- 
ly, and not without tremor in her voice, towards the 
dealer in contraband, who, at the approach of the 
Alderman, had shrunk back as £u^ as posable from 
view. 

Myndert cast an uneasy glance at the unnooved 
eountenance of the commander of the royal cruiser, 
.after having bestowed a brief but understanding 
jook at the contents of the bale. ** Captain Ludlow, 
the chafer is chased !" he said, f* After sailing about 
the Adaotic, for a week or more, like a Jew broker^ 
clerk running up and down the Bocon Key at Rottep- 
dam, to get off a consignment of damaged tea, we 
4^re fiiirly caught ourselves 1 To what fsSl in prices, 
or change m the sentiments of the Board of Trade, 
am I indebted for the honor of this visit, Master a-^ 
n — a— rgay dealer in green ladies and bright tis- 
sues ?*' 

The confident and gallant manner of the free- 
trader had vanished. In its place, there appeared a 
he^tatiog and embarrciased air, that the individual 
was not wont, to exhibit, Mended with scmie apparent 
■indecision, on the subject of his reply. 

>^<It is the business of Uiose who hazard much, 
in order to minister to the wants of' Ufe," he said, 
after ^ pause that was. sufficientty expressive of the 
entire cfaatige in bis demeanor, ** to seek customers 
where there is a rq>tttatioii for UberaJity. J hope 
my boldness will be overlo<Aed, on account of its 
motive, and that you will aid the lady in judging of 
the value of niy iirticles, and of their r^^onableneas 
as to price, with your own superior .experience." 

Myndert wi^ 4|ii^ as much ast^oiihed, by this 
Mogui^e,and th? aubdued manner of the smugger, 
«% iuudlow bw3«itt& Whi^he expected the heaviest 



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70 THE WATER-WITCH. 

demand on his addresS) in order to check the usual 
forward and reckless familiarity of Seadrift, In order 
.that his connexion with the * Skimmer of the Seas' 
might be as much as possible involved in. aml^oity, 
to his own .amazement, he found his purpose more 
than aided by the sudden and extraordinary r^pect 
with which he was treated. Emboldened, and per- 
haps a little elevated in his own esteem, by this un- 
expected deference, which the worthy Alderman, 
shrewd as he was in <^mmon, did not fail, Uke other 
meni to impute to some inherent quality of his own, 
he answered with a greater depth of voice, and a 
more protecting air, than he might otherwise have 
deemed it pru(tent to assume to one wlio bad so fre* 
qhently given him proofs of his own f^^rless manner 
of viewing things. 

^' This is being more eager as a trader, than pru- 
dent as one who should know the value of crecMt;^ 
he said, miaki!^, at the same time, a lofty gesture to 
>be token indulgence for so venial an error. "We 
must overlook the mistake, Captain Ludlow ; sin<^ 
es flie young man truly observes in his defence, gain 
acquired in honest traffic is a commendable and 
wholesome pursuit. One who appears as if he mighft 
not be ignorant of the laws, should know that our 
virtuous Queen and her wise counsellors have de- 
cided that Mother England can produce most that a 
colonist can consume ! Ay ! and that she can con- 
Bume, too, most that the colonist can produce!'' 

** I pretend not to this ^oranoe, Sir 5 but, in pu^ 
fl«ing my humble barter, i merely follow a princi(^€ 
of miture, by endeavoring to provide for my own 
interests. We of the contraband do hnt play at 
hazard widi the authorities. When we pass the 
gauntlet unharmed, we gain ; and when we kise, the 
servants ^of the crown find their profit The stakes 
are equal, and the game should not be stigmatized 
«s vumir^ Would ^ rulers ef the world once t6* 



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moye the unnecessary shackles tbej unfioge on com- 
merce^ our caliihg would disappear, and the name 
of free-tmder would then belong to the richest- aUd 
most esteemed houses." 

The Alderman drew a loqgy low wMistle* Motion* 
ing to his companions to be seated, he fdaced his 
own compact jperson in a chair, crossed his legs with 
an air of seli-compiacency, and resumend the dis^ 
cpurse. 

"These are very pretty sentiments, Master — a— ra 
— a — , you bear a worthy name, no doubt, my inge- 
nious commentator on commerce?" 

" They call me Seadrift, when they q>are a harsh- 
er term;" returned the other, meekly declining to 
be seated. 

" These are pretty sentiments. Master Seadrift,^ 
and they much become ^ g^ntlems^i who lives by 
practical comments on the revenue-laws. This is a 
wise world. Captain Cornelius Ludlow, and in it 
there are many men whose heads are tilled, like bales 
of goods, with a general assortment of ideas. — Horn- 
books and primers ! Here have Van Bummel, Schoen-^ 
broeck, and Van der Donck, just sent me a very 
neatly-folded pamphlet, written in good Leydei> 
Dutch, to prove that trade is an exchange of what . 
the author calls equivalents, and that nations have 
nothing to do but to throw open their ports, in order 
to make a niillennium among the merchants ! " 

" There* are many ingenious men who entertain 
Jthe same opinions;" observed Ludlow, steadjr in his 
resolution to be merely a quiet observer of all that 



"What cannot a cunning head devise, to sjhjU 
paper with ! Trade is a racer, gentlemen, and mer- 
chants the jockeys who ride. He who carries most 
weight may lose ; but then nature does not give ail - 
men the same dimensionsy and judges are as necessary 
to the struggles of the mart as to tboseof th^ course. 



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7ft tBttJ ^ATWi-wrrca. 

Gks ftiount your gelding, if you are Itickj etioiigli' 
to have one that has not been melted into a weasel 
bg*the heartless blacks, and ride ont to Haflaem' 
Flats, on a fine October day, and witness the manner 
in which the trial of speed is made. The rogues of . 
nders cut in here, and over there ; how the whip 
and now the spur; and though they start feir, which' 
is more than can always be said of trade, somis one 
is sure to win. When it is neck and neck, then tlie 
bdat is to be gone over, "until the best bottom gains 
the prize." 

" W hy is it then that men of deep reflection so 
often think thai <(^ommerce fiourkhes most when teast 
encumbered?" 

" Why is one man born to make laws, and another 
to break them ? — ^Does not the horse run faster with 
his four Jegs free, than when in hopples t But in trade. 
Master Seadrift^ and Captain Cornelius I^udlow, each 
of us is his own jockey ; and putting the aid of cus- 
tdoi-house laws out of the question, just as nature 
has happened to make him. Fat or lean, big bones 
or fine bones, he nmst get to the goal as well' as he 
can. Therefore your heavy wi^ights call out for sand- 
bags and belts, to make all even. That the steed 
may be crushed with his load, is no proof that his 
chance of winning will not be better by bringing all 
the riders to the same level." 

" But to quit these similies," continued Ludlow, 
" if trade be but an exchange of equivalents — ^** 

" Beggary and stoppages!" interrupted the Alder- 
man, who was far more dogmatical than courteous ' 
in argument " This is the language of men who . 
have read all sorts of books, but legers. Here have 
X advices from Tongue and Twaddle, of London, 
which state the nett proceeds of a Kttle Jidrenture, 
shipped by the brig Moos^, that beached the riveir 
on the Ifkh of April, uhimo. The history of the 
whole tran^cliob can be put in a child's mufl^you 



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T«0 WMMtf-^PfT^ 7ft r 

area ^Hisireet youdi, Captain Cornelias; aiid ail to 
yciu, MastoP Seadrift, ti[ie affair is altogether out of 
your Hoe — therdbi^, ad I was ebsemng, here are^ 
the ttemSy mafde out cmly a fortnight since, in the- 
shape of a n^eittdrandumj" while speaking, the Al- 
dermaa' had' placed his spectacles and drawn fais^^ 
tablets from a pocketr Adjusting bimsdf to thef. 
light, he continued : ^< Paid t»}l of Sand, Furnace, and 
Gla8$, for beads, L. 8. 2. 6. — Package and boit, 1. 
10j— Shipping charges, and freight, 11.4. — ^Insur*' 
aftce, averaged at, I. 5. — ^Freight, charges^ and' 
comnussion of agent among Mohawks, L. 10. — ^Da ' 
do. do. of riilpment and sale of furs, in England, 
L^ 7. 2. Total of costs and charges, L. 20. 18. S^, all'^ 
in sterling money. Note, sale Of Airs, U Frost and 
Rich^ nett avails, L. 19ek 11. S. — ^Balanei^, cts pef^' 
contra, L. 175. 12. &|.— « very satisfectory equiva- 
lent this, Master Cornelius, to appear on the books 
of Tongue and Twaddle, where I stand charged with ' 
the original investment of L. 20. 19. 8^ ! How much 
the Bmpres8 of Germany may pay the firm of Frost 
and Rioh (or the articles, does not appear." 

** Ndr does it appear that more was g<*t for your 
beads, m the Mohawk country, than they were valued 
at there, or was paid for the skins than they were 
worth where they were produced." 

^•Wbe — ^w — w — wl" whistled tfte merchant, as 
he returned the tablets to his pock^. 

" One would think that thou hadst been studjring 
the Lieyd^ pamphleteer, son of my old friend! If 
the savage thinks so little of his skinS, and so much 
of my beads, I shall never take the pains to set hifa 
right ; else, always by permission of the Board of 
Trade,. we shall see him, one day, turning his bark' 
canoe into a good ship, and going in quest of his own 
ornaments. Enterprise and voyages! WKb. knows 
but l^at the rogue would see fit to stop at London, ' 
even ; in which ca«e the Mother Coua^ might lose 

Vol. IL G 



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74 THB wATn-wireH. 

the profit of the $ale at Vienna^ aad the Ifohatrk set* 
up^his carriage, on the difierenoe in the vahie of mar- 
kets ! Thus, you see» in order to run a fair race^ the 
horses must start eyeo, carry equal weights, ^nd, 
after all, one commonly wins. Your^ metaphysics 
are no better than so much philosophical gold leaf, 
.which a cunning reasoner beats out into a sheet as 
large as the broadest American lake, to make-dunces 
believe the earth can . be trannnuted into the pre- 
cious material ; while a plain practical man puts th» 
value of the metal into his pockeiC in good current 
coin." 

" And yet I hear you complain that Parliament 
has legislated more than is good for trade, and speak 
in a manner of tlie proceedings at home, that, you 
will excuse me for sayings would better became a 
Hollander than a subject of the crown." 

*'HaveI not told you, that the horse will run 
faster without a rider, than with a pack-saddle ou 
his back ? Give your own jockey as little, and your 
adversary's as much weight as you can, if you wish , 
to win. I complain of the borough-men, because 
they make laws for us, and not for themselves. As 
I often tell my worthy friend, Alderman Gulp» eat 
ii^ is good for life, but a surfeit makes a will neces-^ 
sary." 

'^ From all which I infer, that the opinions of your 
Leyden correspondent are not those of Mr. Van Be- 
verout" 

The Alderman laid a finger on his nose, and look* 
ed at Kis companions^ for a momentv without answer- 

" Those Leydeners are a sagacious breed ! If the 
United Provinces had but ground to stand on, they 
would, like the philosopher who boasted of his lever, 
move the world ! The sly rogues thmk that the Am- 
sterdammers have naturally an easy seat, and they 
vfkh to persuade all oCheirs to ride. Wetback. I 



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THE WATER-WITCH. 75 

flimll send the painphlet up into the Indian country, 
and pay some scholar to have it translated into the 
Mohawk tongue, in order that the famous chief 
Schendoh, when the missionaries shall have taught 
him to read, may entertain right views of equiva- 
lents! I am not certain that I may not make the 
"worthy *vines a present, to help the good fruits to 
tipeti.'* 

The Alderaian leered round upon his auditors, and,^ 
folding his hands meekly on his breast, he appeared 
to leave his eloquence to work its own effects. 

" l^ese opinions favor but little the occupation of 
Ihe— ^the gentleman — ^who now honors us with his 
company,'* said Ludlow, regarding the gay-looking 
smuggler with an eye that showed how mucn he was 
embarrassed to find a suitable appellation for one 
whose appearance was so much at variance with his 
pursuits. ^' If restrictions are necessary to commerce, 
the lawless trader is surely left without an excuse for 
bis caWing." 

**I as much admire your discretion in practice, as 
fee justice of your sentiments in theory. Captain Lud- . 
low;" returned the Alderman. " In a rencontre on 
the high seas, it would be your duty to render cap- 
five the brigantine of this person ; but, in what may 
be called the privacy of domestic retirement, you 
are content to ease your mind in moralities ! I feel it 
my duty, too, to speak on this point, and shall take 
9o favorable an occasion, when all is pacific, to dis- 
burthfen myself of some sentiments that suggest them- 
selves, very naturally, under the circumstances.** 
Myndert then turned himself towards the dealer in 
contraband, and continued, much in the manner of 
a city magistrate, reading a lesson of propriety to 
some disturber of the peace of society. " You ap- 
pear here. Master Seadrift," he -said, " under what, 
to borrow a figure from your profession, may be called 
fiilse eoSm. rou bear the countenance of osie who 



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76 xm WATJQIV' WHJP^ 

m^t be a ueeiul subject^ ^ yet ^re you eiMjpeejbed 
of being addicted to certain pir^tices which — I wil| 
not say they are dishoaest, or ^v^n ^screditabJie — ^for 
Qn that head tjbe opioipas of mi^n ar/e m^cifk divided, 
but which certainly h^ve no tendency to a^s^t Her 
Majesty, in briimng her wars to a. glorious isfue« by 
securing to her European dominions that Q(iq^|C3gx>Ij 
of trade, by which it is her greatest desire to ease ^ 
of the colonies of looking afiw £ur.tber after our far- 
ticular interests, than beyond the doors of l|er own 
custom-house^ This is an indiscretion, to. gpiye tbf 
Qct its gentlest appellation ; and I r^^ret to a^^ it is 
accompanied by certain circuno^taoc^ which mtb&i^ 
heighten than las^n the deiinquenoy*" This Ald^r^ 
man paused a moment, to observe the e^ct vof bia 
admonition, and to judge, by the ey^ pf the. free? 
trader, ho\y much farther he might push his artifice; 
but perceiving, to his own surprise, t^at the:oU;^ 
bent his face to the^flqor, and 3tq!od like one xeb}ik(^ 
he took courage to proceed. ^* You have introduced ' 
into this portion, of my dw^ag, which Js^clusiv^ly 
inhabited by my niece, who is neither of a sex w» 
of years to be legally arraigned for any ovenpght of 
this nature, sundries of which it is the ple^^suce of 
the Queen's advisers that her sub^ts in the ccdoniea 
should not know the i|se, since, in the nature of fabr 
rications, they cannot be submitted tathe fupervisii^^ 
care of the ingenious artisans of th^ fnotlier isla^ 
Woman, Master Seadrift, is a cre^ure liaUf^ to tl^ 
influence oi* temptation, ^nd in few tbi|^ is ^^ 
\i^eaker than i^ her effi>rts to resist the ^Uu^ra^ti. 
of articles whicb m^ aid in adorning b^r persoo* 
My niecef the daughter of £tienn<B Barb^ri^, may 
also have an hereditary weakness on this beady mupe, 
the females of France study these inventions naora. 
than those of $ome other countries. It is not my in- 
tention, however^ to manifest any unreasom^ble.ser- 
v^ty; ,$Pfe»..if old ^ti^puf b^ o m^u nigf i^ ^ 



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1»K Wi?rSR-Wl9GIt a 

feeblenett 6d the subject of fancy, be hai 
also left bis daughter the means of paying for itL 
Hand in yeur accoanty therefore, and the debt shall 
l»e cyschargedy if debt has been incurred* And this 
AiingB Me to the last and the gravest of your of- 

^* Capital is no doubt the- foundation ^on which a 
flserchant bvilds his edifice of character," continued 
Myadorty aftar taking another jealous survey of the 
countenance of him he addressed ; ** but credit is the 
ornament of its front* This is a corner-stone ; that 
Ab pilasters and carvings, by which the building is 
rendered pleasant; sometintes, Avben age has underr 
oiin^ the basenient, it is the columns on which the 
avperstructure-rests, or even the roof by which th^ 
occu^nt is sheltered. It renders the rich nmn safe, 
the deader of moderate means active and respecta- 
ble, and it causes even the poor mati to hold up his 
head in hope: though I admit th^ buyer and seller 
need both be wary, when it stands unsupported by 
any substantial base. This being the value of credif, 
Master Seadrift, hone should assail it without suffi- 
cient cause, fm- its quality is of a nature too tender 
6ff rude treatment I learned, when a youth, in my 
timyeis In HoHand, throiigh Which country, by means 
of the Trekschuy ts, I passed with sufficient delibera- 
Hon to proit by what was seen, the importance of 
avoidixig, on all occasions, bringing credit into disre- 
pute. Jim one event that occurred ofiers an apposite 
parallel to what I have now to advance, I shall make 
a tend^ of the fatits in the way of illustration. The 
circumstances show the awful uncertainty of things 
in ^is transitory life, Captain Ludlow, and forewarn 
the nnost vigorous an4 youthful, that the strong of arm 
may be out down, in his pride, like the tender plant 
of the fields 1" The banking-house of Van Gelt and 
¥an Stopper^ in Amsterdam, had dealt lai^ely in se- 
Guritic» fasiie4 by the Ssnpeior for the support of his 



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wm^ h bam^ied» ^ the tiiM# t^bat F^tnift Jwi 
^vored the Ottomfiaf who w^ tbw prasug ;the «itr 
f>f Belgrade, witb spivie pro^^to of AUfifiw. . WeU, 
Sirs, a headstrong aiid iUnadvised lai4idjr«8^d takcft 
possession of an elevated tejqrat::^ in. the eeoke^ltiife 
town, in order to dry her clothes. This woras^ vnA 
^ the/ act of conunenctpg the disilributiOQ of her 
iinens and musUns, with the In'eak'of day, when ibt 
Mussulmans awoke the garrison by a nide vaaxM, 
Some, who had been ported in a pofikion Ihat peiw 
mitted of retreat, having seen eert^n bmidlet of 
crimson, s^nd green, and yellow, on an eleraledpaFa^ 
pet, mistook ibem for ^tbe heads of .so many Turk?;; 
and they ^read the report, far and near, that. a 
countless band of the Infidels* led on by a vaisi nm»' 
ber of sherrifies in green turbans, had jgained the heaH 
of the place^ beK»re they were iadmcediara&ew 
The rumor soon took the shape ^f a dicnmstant^ 
detail, and, having reached Amsterdam, it caused the 
funds of the Imperialists to look down. There was 
much question^ on the Ejcchaiige^ ooncenung the 
probable .loss of Van Gdt and Van Stcf^r in con- 
fequence. Just as speculation was at its. greatest 
height on this bead, the monkey of a Savnylifd £& 
caped from its string, and concealed himself in aim^ 
shop, a few doors d^nt fr<8» the hanking»houaB <^ 
the firm, where a crowd of Jew boys collected l» 
witness its antics. Men of reflection^ seeing w^iat 
they mistook for a demonstration on tii^ part of the 
children of the Israelites, bc^an to feel uneasiness &r 
their own property. Drafts multiplied; and the 
worthy bankers, in order tp prove their solidity, dfa* 
dained to shut their doors at the usual hour. Mon^ 
was paid throughout the night; and before noon, on 
the following day, Van Gelt had cut his throat, m a 
^ummer-house that stood <m the banks o{ tiie Utrecht 
l^al;^nd Van Stopper was s^n smoldng a pip^ 
|kp[KMjg strox^ bofes O^t w^^ ffitiri^y Mi^« Al 



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tm G^ekok, the poet bsMght the itit^%eBee tliat 
the Mussdmais w^re repnbcd, Mid that the lamt<ke8s 
was hanged ; &ai^ I never knew exactly for what 
crime, as she 4>ertainly was not a debtor of the na- 
happy firm. These are'soone of the warning events 
of i£fe, gentiemen; and as I feel sure of addressing 
those who are capable of making the -appttcatton, 1 
riiall now conclude by. advising all who hear me to 
great discretiiNi of i^eech on every matt^ ocmnected 
with cemniercial character." « 

When Myndert ceased speaking, he ih^ew another 
glance aroimd him^ in order to note the efiect his 
words bad produced, and more particularly to ascer* 
tain whether he had not drawn a draft on tiie for- 
bearance of the free-trader, which might still meet 
vn^ a protest He was at a loss to account for the 
marked and unfusual deference with which he was 
treated, by one who, while he was never coarse, 
seldom exhibited much complaisance for the opinions 
iOf a man he was in the habit of meeting 50 familiar- 
ly, on matters of pecuniary interest During the 
whole of the. foregoing harangue^ the^odi^ mariner 
of the brigantioe had maintained the same attitude 
of modest attention; and when bis eyes. were per- 
initted to rise, it was only to steal uneasy looks at 
. &e face of Alida. La belie Barb^ie bad abo listened 
to. her unde's elequ^Ge,'With a mom thou^tful air 
that} common. She met the occasional glances of the 
dealer in contraband, with answering sympathy ; 
and,, in short, the most indilfer^t obs^vo* of their 
deportment m^ht htfve seen that circumstances had 
created between them a confid^ice and intelligence 
which, if it'were not absolutely of the most tender, 
was unequivocally of the most intimate, character, 
AU this Ludlow pktinly saw, thou^ the burgher had 
been too much engrossed with the ideas he had so 
fiomnhcfiatly dealt out, to note the &ct 
. ''Illosr that iiqriiamdift 'SO well stored with maxims 



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80 . TBS WATBR^WITOB* 

on commerce, which I shsit esteem as so many com 
mentaries on the uistructions of my Lords of the 
Admiralty," observed the Captain, after a brief in- 
terval of silence, ^* it may be peroatted to turn our 
attention to things less meta(Aiy8ical. The present 
occasion is favorable to inquire after the%te of tte 
shipmate we lost in the last cruise ; and it ought not 
to be neglected." 

" You q>eak -truth, Mr. Cornelius— The Patrooo 
of Kinderhook is not a man to fall into the sea, like 
an anker of forbidden liquor, and no ftiestions asked. 
Leave this matter to my discretion, Sir; and trust 
me, the tenants of the third best estate in the colony 
shall not long be without tidings of their landlord. 
If you will accompany Master Seadrift into the <^her 
part of the villa for a reasonable time, I shall possess 
myself of all the facts that are at all pertinent to 
the right understanding of the case." 

The commander of the royal cruiser, and the 
young mariner of the brigantine, appeared to think 
that a compliance with this invitation would bring 
about a singular association. The hesitation of the 
latter, howevery^as far the most visible, since Lud- 
low had coolly determined to maintain his neutral 
tiiaraeter, until a proper moment to act, as a faithful 
servitor of his royal mistress, should arrive. He 
-knew, or firmly believed, that the Water- Witch 
again lay in the Cove, concealed by the shadows of 
the surrounding wood ; and as he had once before 
suffered by the superior address of the smug^rs, he 
was now resolved to act with sb much caution, as to 
enable him to return to his ship in time to proceed 
against her with decision, and, as he hoped, with 
eiTect In addition to this motive for artifice, there 
was that in the n^mner and language of the contra- 
band dealer to place him altogether above the ordi- 
ua;*y men of his pursuit, and indeed to create in his 
ciavor a cartaia-iiegree of interest, which the officer 



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TBS vTM'snrm'im' SI 

of Hie croxm -was compelled to a^it. He therefor^ 
bo^ed with sufficient cour^e^, and profeieed hj^ 
jreadiness to follow the suggestions of the Aldennan. 

"We have met op neutral ground, Master Sea- 
drift/' said Ludlow to his gay €Oinpani<»a, as they 
quitted the saloon of la Cour des F6es; *^ and though 
bent pQ different ol^eets, we may discourse amiqabiy 
of the past The * Skimmer of the Seas' has a repu- 
ll^tioa ill Ipos way V that ahno&t raises bim ti> the level 
lof a seaman distinguished in a better semce. I wiU 
ever t^tify to his skiH and coolness as a marine* 
Jiowever much I may lament that those fine qualities 
l^ve received so unhappy a direction^" 

** Thi& is speaking with a becoming reservation for- 
the rights of the crown» and with meet refspect for 
the Barons of the Exchequer!" retorted Seadrift, 
whose former, and we may say natural, spirit seemed 
to' i^urn, as he left the presence of the burghen 
^> We follow 4he pursuit^ Captain Ludlow, in which 
accident has cast our fortunes. You serve a Queen 
you never saw, and a nation who will use you in ^er 
Pie^ and despise you in her prosperity ; and I serve 
myself. L^t reasop decide between us." 

'* I 'admire th& frankness* Sir, and have hopes of 
a better understanding between us, now that you 
have done with the nnystifications of your aea^^reen 
woman. The farce has been well enacted ; though* 
with the exception of Oloff Van Staats and those 
enlightened spirits you lead about the ocemi, it. has 
not fliiade m^oy converts to netromajjcy," 

The free-trader permitted his handsome mouth lo 
relax fai a smile. 

Y We have our mistress, too," he said ; **}3ut she 

xacts no tribute. All that is gained g6es to enrich 

|ker subjects, whije all that sl^ knows is cheerfully 

imparted for their use. If we are obedient, it is be-^ 

f^qsf^ we havi^ experienced her. justice and wisdom* 



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83 TH£ WATBR-XVITCH'. 

I hope Queen Anne deals as kindly by tlkne who 
risk life and limb in her cause t** 

" Is it part of the policy of her you follow, to re- 
veal the fate of the Patroon; for though rivals in 
one dear object— or rather I should say, once rivals 
in that object — I cannot see a guest quit my ship 
with so little ceremony, without an interest in his 
welfare." 

**You make a just distinction," returned Sea drift, 
smiling still more meaningly — ** Once rivals is indeed 
the better expression. Mr. Van Staats is a brave 
man, however ignorant he may be of the seaman's 
art. One who has showed so much spirit wifl be 
certain of ^ protection from personal injury, in the 
care of the • Skimmer of the Seas.' " 

" I do not constitute myself the keeper of Mr. Van 
Staats; still, as the commander of the ship whence 
he has been — what shall I term the manner of his 
abduction? — for I would not willingly use, at ^his 
moment, a term that may prove disagreeable— " 

** Speak freely, ^r, and fear not to offend. We of 
the bngantine are accustomed to divers epithets that 
might startle less' practised ears. We are not to 
learn, at this late hour, that, in order to become 
respectable, roguery must have the sanction of gov- 
ernment. You were pleased. Captain Ludlow, to 
name the mystifications of the Water- Witch ; but 
you seem indiflerent to those that are hourly prac- 
tised near you in the world, and which, without the 
pleasantry of this of t)urs, have not half its inno- 
cence." 

" There is little novelty in the expedient of seek- 
mg to justify the delinquency of individuals, by the 
tailings of society." 

" I coTifess it is rather just than original. TritenesB 
and Truth appear to be sisters ! And yet do we find 
ourselves driven to this apology, since the rc^nement 
of uf of the brigantine has not yet attained to the 



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pofa:fct of uoderstsiQdiijg all the e^el|@nci6 (£ ws^Mj^. 
in morals." 

/* I believe there is a mandate of sufficient aati* 
quiiy, which bids us to render unto Caesar the things 
which are Caesar's." 

** A mandate which our modern Caesars have most 
iberally construed ! 1 am a poor casuist. Sir ; nor do 
I think the loyal commander of the Coquette would 
wi3h to uphold all that sc^histry can invent on. such 
a subject. If we begin with potentates, for instance, 
we shall find the Most Christian King- bent on ap- 
propriating as many of his neighbors' goods to his 
own use, as ambition, under the name of glory, can 
covet ; the Most Catholic, covering with the mantle 
of his Catholicity, a greater multitude of enormities 
on this, very continent, than even charity itself could 
conceal; and our own gracious Sovereign, whose 
virtues and whose mildness are celebrated in verse 
and prose, causing rivers of blood to run, in order 
that the little island over which she rules may swell 
out, like the frog in the fable, to dimensions that na- 
ture has denied, and which will one day inflict the 
unfortunate death that befell the atnbitious inhabit- 
ant of the pool. The gallows awaits the pickpocket*; 
but your robber uoder a pennant is dubbed a knight! 
The man who amasses wealth by gainful industry is 
ashamed of his origin ; whiles he who^as stolen from 
churches, laid villages under contribution, and cut 
throats by thousands, to divide the spoils of a galleon 
or a militaij chest, has gained gold on the highway 
of gk>ry 1 Europe has reached an exceeding pass of 
civilization, it may not be denied ; but before society 
inflicts so severe censure on the acts of individuals, 
notwithstanding the triteness of the opinion, I must 
say it is bound to look more closely to the example 
it sets, in its collective character." 

"These are points on which our difference of 
opinion, is likely to be lasting ;" said Ludlow, assuming. 



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9m 9tm^Jm9Si^wntmi 

the «6i<€re afi^ o( o&e who bad the vr6A4 on his n^^ 
" We will defer the discussion to a momect of greater 
IcoMre, Sir. Am I to learn nioi« of Mr. Van Starts, 
or is the question of his fate to become the subject 
of a serious official inquiry?" 
- " The Patroon of Kinderhook is a bold boarder P 
returned the free-trader, laughing. ** He has carried 
the residence of the lady of the brigantine by a 
coupi^e-main ; and he reposes on his laurek i We of 
the contraband are merrier in our privacy than is 
thought, and those who join our mess seldom wish to 
quit it" 

** There may be occasion to look further into ib 
mysteries — ^until when, I wi^h you adieu." 

**H(Jd!" gaily cried the other, obserring that 
Ludlow was about to quit the room — ** Let the time 
of our uncertainty be short, I pray thea Our mis- 
tress is tike the insect, which takes thecolor of the 
leaf on which it dwells. You have seen her in her 
sea-green robe, which she never fails to wear ^when 
roving over the soundings of your American coast ;^ 
but in the deep waters, her mantle vies with the 
bhie of tlte ocean's depths. Symptoms of a change, 
wtuch always denote an intended excursion far be- 
yond the influence of the land, have been seen 1" 

" Harkee, Master Seadrif t ! This foolery may do, 
while you possess the po^er to maintain it. But re- 
member, that though the laiv only punishes the ille- 
gal trader by confiscation of his goods when taken, 
it- punishes the kidnapper with personal pains, and 
sometimes with — death ! — ^And, more — remember 
that the line which divides smuggling from piracy is 
asily past, while the return Ivecomes impossible." 

" For this generous counsel, in my mistress's name, 

thank thee;" the gay mariner repliecl, bowing 
with a gravity that rather heightened than concealed 
his irony — ** i our Coquette is broad in the reach of 
her booms, and swift on the water, Captain Ludlow i 



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TBS Wkt9Bb^Wft€Bt r, 85 

but let hei**be eapiieioas, vnifaif detdtfii^ nay pow- 
erful, a3 she may, she shaU find a woanan in the brig- 
aiitine equal to all her arts, and far superior to eUl 
her threats 1" 

With this prophetic warning, on the part of the 
Queen's officeri and cool reply on that of the dealer 
in contraband, the two sailors separated. The lat- 
ter took a book, and threw himself into a chair, wit^ 
a well-mainta^ed indifiereiMre ; while the other left 
the house, in a haste that was not di^uised. 

In the .mean time, the interview between Ald^r- • 
man Van Beverout and his niece still continued. " 
Minute passed after minute, and yet there was no 
summons to the pavilion. The gay young seaman 
of tbeiirigaritiiie had continued his studies for some 
time after ' the disappearance of Ludlow, and he 
now evidently awaited an intimation that his presence 
was required in la Cour des Fdes. During these mo- 
meints of anxiety, the air of the free-trader was sor- 
rowful rather than impatient; and when a footstep 
was heard at the door of the room, he betrayed 
symptoms of. strong and uncontrollable agitation. It 
was tile female attendant of Alida, who entered, 
presented' a slip of paper, and retired. ' The eager 
expectant read the following words, hastily written 
in pencil; — ? 

" I have evaded all hi^questions, and he is more 
than half-disposed to believe in necromancy. This 
is i^ot the moment to confess the truth, for.be is no 
in a condition to hear it, being already much dis- 
turbed by the uncertainty of what may follow the 
appearance of the brigantine on the coast, and so 
near his own villa. But, be assured, he shall and 
will acknowledge claims that I know how to support, 
and which, should I fail of establishing, he would 
not.dare to refuse to the redoubtable * Skimmer of 
the Seas.' Come hither, the moment you hear his 
foot in the passage.'* 

Vol. II. H 



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8t T»B 

The kit ilijliiictidii was sodn obeyed. Hie Alder- 
man entered by one door, as the active fugitive re- 
treated by another ; and where the weary bui^her 
, expected to see his guests, he found -an empty apart- 
ment This last circumstonce, however, gave Myn- 
dert Van Beverout but little surprise and no concern, 
as would appear by the indiiTerence with which he 
noted the circumstance. 

''Vagaries and womanhood !" thought, rather than 
muttered, the Alderman. '' The jade turns like a fox 
in his tracks, and it would be easier to cc«tvict a 
merchant who values his reputation, of a false in- 
vmce, thaja this minx of nineteen of an indi^retioii ! 
There is so much of old Etienne and his Norman 
blood in her eye, that one does not Hke to provoke 
extremities; but here, when I expected Van Staats 
had profited by his 9pp(H*tunity, the girl looks like a 
nun, at the mention of his nanne. The Patroon is no 
Cupid, we must allow ; or, in a week at sea, he wonid 
have woo the heart of a mermaid !— Ay — and here 
are more perplexities, by the return of tbe Skimmer 
and his brig, and the notions that young Ludk>w has 
of his duty. Life and mortality! One ntust quit #ade, 
at some time or other, and- begin to dose the bodes 
of life. I must seriously think of striking a final bal- 
ance. If the sum-total was a little more in my favor, 
it should be gladly done to^Aorrow !" 



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vm wAtmrwmaiL 



CHAPTER VIL 



Mad<t me neglect i^y studies, lose my time« 

War with good counsel, set the world at nought '* 

Two Gbntlkxxji or Vbroita. 

LuDEAW quittjag the Lust in Rust with a wavering 
purpeM. Throughout the whole of the preceding in- 
temeWy he had iealouslj watched the eye and fea- 
tures of la belle barb^rie ; and he had not failed to 
dwiw his CfDchisk>ns from a mien that too plainly 
expreflBed a deep interest in the free-trader. For a 
time, oiily> had he been induced, by the calmness 
and self-poasesdon with which she received her uncle 
and hiiniielf, to believe that she had not visited the 
Water- Witch at all; but when the gay and reckless 
being who governed the movements of that extra- 
ordinary vessel, appeared, he could no longer flatter 
hinmelf with this hope. He now believed that her 
choice for life had been made ; and while he deplored 
the infatuation which could induce so gifted a woman 
to forget her station and character, he was himself 
too frank not to see that the individual who had in 
so short a time gained this ascendency over the fecl- 
iags of Alida, was, in many respects, fitted to exer** 
cise a powerful influence over the imagination of a 
Tfouthfui and secluded female. ' 

There was a struggle in the mind of the young 
commander, between ius duty and his feelings. Re** 
membering the artifice by which he had formerly 
fallen into the power of the smugglers, he had taken 
bk precautions so well in the present visit to the 
villa, that he firmly believed he had the person of 
his lawless rival at his mercy. To avail himself of this 
advantage, or to retire and leave him in ponettion of 
toiniatffess and kis liberty, was tb^ pwit aaooted- ki' 



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his thoughts. Though* direct and mmple in his habits, 
like most of the seamen of that age, Ludlow had all 
the loftier sentiments that become a gentleman. He 
felt keenly for Alida, and he shrunk, with sensitive 
pride, from incurring the imputation of haring acted 
under the impulses of disappointment To these 
motives (^ forbearance, was also to be added the 
inherent reluctance which, as an officer of rank,, 
he felt to the degradation of being employed in a 
duty that mere properly belongs to men of kss ele« 
vated ambition. He looked on himself as a defender 
of the rights and glory of his sovereign, and nc^ as 
a mercenary instrum^it of those who ooUected heff 
Customs ; and though he would not have hesitated 
to incur any rational hazard, in captuiine the vessel 
of the »nuggler, or in making captives of all or any 
of her crew on their proper element, he dishked the 
appearance of seeking a solitary individual on the 
land. In addition to this feeling, there waahis own 
pledge that he met the proscribed dealer in contra-* 
band on neutral ground. Still the officer of the Queen 
had his orders, and he could not ^ut his eyes to the 
general obligations of duty. The brigantine was 
known to inflict so much loss on the revenue t^ the 
crown, more particularly in the other hemisphere, 
that an especial o]:der had been issued by the Ad* 
miral of the station, for her capture. Here, then was 
an opportunity of depriving the vessel of that master- 
spirit which, notwithstanding the excellence of iti 
construction, had alone so long enabled it to run the 
gauntlet of a hundred crubers with impunity. Agi- 
tated by these contending feelings and refiecti<»i8, 
the young sailor left the door of the villa, and cam 
upon its little lawn, in order to reflect with less in 
terruptk>n, and, indeed, to breathe more freely. 

The night had advanced into the first watch of 
the seamaa The shadow of the mountain, however, 
still.coYerfd the grounds of the villa, Hie rivers aad^ 



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the flfaorm df ihe Atkntic, with a darknew that was 
deeper than the obscurity which dimmed the surface 
of the BoUiDg ocean btqrood. Objects were so indis- 
tiuct as to require close and steady looks to ascertain 
their character, while the setting of the scene might 
be faibtly traced by its hazy and indistinct outlines. 
The curtains of ia Cour des F^es had been drawn, 
aBd^ though the lights were still shining within, the 
ere could not penetrate the pavilion. Ludlow gazed 
aooat hini, and then held his way reluctantly toward 
the water* 

In endeavonDg to conceal the interior of her 
apartment from the eyes of those without, Alida had 
svkiered a comer' of the drapery to remain open,' 
When Ludlow reached the gate that led to the 
landing, he turned to take a last look at the villa ; 
and, favored by his new position, he caught a glimpse, 
through the opening, ot the person of her who was 
still uppermost in his thoughts. 

La belle Barb^rie was seated at the little table, 
by whose idde she had been found, earlier in the 
evening. An elbow rested on the precious wood, and 
!oQe fair hand supported a brow that, was thoughtful 
fiu* beyond the usual character of its expression, if 
QOt Bielancholy. The commander of the Coquette 
felt the bk>od rushing to his. heart, for he fancied that 
the beautiful and pensive countenance was that of a 
petiit&nt It is probable that the idea quickened his 
drooping hopes ; for Ludlow believed it might not 

iret be too late to rescue the woman, he so sincerely 
oved, from the precipice over which she was su»> 
pended. The seemingly irretrievable step, already 
taken> was forgotten ; and the eenerous young sailor 
was about to rush back to la Cour des F^s, to im- 

{>k>re its mistress to be just to herself, when the hand 
ell from her polished brow, and Alida raised her 
fece, with a look which denoted that she was no 
H2 



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90 TBt WATSR-rWlTCH. 

l<»)ger alone. The captain drew back, to wfttefa ihe 
issue. 

When Alida lifted her eyes, it waa is kindness, 
and with that frank ingenuoosness with which an 
unperver ted female greeb the eountenance of tbeee 
who have her confidence. She smiled, though still 
in sadness rather than in pleasure ; and she spoke, 
but the distance prevented her words from being 
audible. At the next instant, Seadrift moved into 
the space visible through the half-drawn drapery, 
and took her hand. Alida made no efibrt to with- 
draw the member ; but, on the contrary, she looked 
up into his face with still less equivocal interest, and 
appeared to listen to his voice with an absorbed at- 
tention. The gate was swung violently open, and 
Ludlow had reached the mai-gin of ike river before 
he again paused. 

The barge of the Coquette was found where her 
comniander had ordered liis people to lie concealed, 
and he was about to enter it, vAien the wise of the 
little gate, again shutting with the wind, induced him 
to cast a look behind. A human form was distinctly 
to be seen, a^nst the light walls of the villa, 
descending towards the river. The men were com^ 
manded to keep close, and, withdrawing within the 
shadow q{ a fence, the captain waited the approach 
of the new-comer. 

As the unknown person passed, Ludlow rec^^ized 
the agile form of the free-trader. The latter ad- 
vanced to the mai^in of the river, and gazed warily 
about him for several minutes. A low but distinct 
note, on a common ship's-call, was then heard. The 
summons was soon succeeded by the appearaiice of 
a smalt skiff, which glided out of the grass on the 
opposite side of the stream, and approached t1 .e spot 
where Seadrift awaited its arrival. The free-trader 
fiprang lightly into the little boat, which imiiiiediately 
began to glid^ out of the river. As the skiif passed 



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ih& qyot where he stood, Ludlow saw that it wa9 
pulled by a single seaman ; and, as his own boat was 
mamied by six lusty rowers, he felt that the' person 
t)f the man whom he so much envied was at length 
fairly and honorably in his power. We shall not at- 
tempt to analyze the emotion that was ascendant in 
•the mind of the young officer. It is enough for our 
•purpose to add, that he was soon in his boat and in 
fall pursuit. 

As the course to be taken by the barge was diago- 
nal rather than direct, a few powerful strokes of 
the oars brought it so near the skiff, that Ludlow, 
by placing his hand on the gunwale of the latter, 
could arrest its progress. 

** Though 80 lightly equipped, fortune favors you 
less in boats than in larger craft. Master Seadrilt j" 
8aid Ludlow, when, by virtue of a strong arm, he 
. had drawn his prize so near, as to find himself seated 
within a few feet of his prisoner. " We meet on our 
proper element, where there can be no neutrality 
between one of the contraband and a servant of the 
■Queen.'* 

The start, the half-repressed exclamation, and the 
momentary silence, showed that the captive had been 
taken completely by surprise. 

** I admit your superior dexterity,'* he at length 
•aid, speaking low and not without agitation. '* I 
am your prisoner. Captain Ludlow ; and I would now 
wish to know your intentions in disposing of my per- 
son." ' 

" That is soon answered. You must be content to 
take the homely accorftmodations of the Coquette, 
for the night, instead of the more luxurious cabin of 

J^our Water- Witch. What the authorities of the 
Province may decide, to-morrow, it exceeds the 
knowledge of a poor commander in the navy to say.!' 

• •• The lord Cornbury has retired to ?** 

** A gad,*' said Ludlow, observing ^at the other 



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M THE' WATStU^STOS. 

spoke more like one who mused than Ufce onei: wlio 
asked a question. **The kinsman of oin* gracious 
Queen speculates on the chances of hHman fortune^ 
within the walls of a prison. His successor, the 
hrigadier Hunter, is thought to have less syrapa-tfajr 
for the moral infirmities of human nature T' 

" We deal lightly with dignities!" exclaimed the 
captive, with all his former gaiety of tone and man^ 
ner. "You have your revenge for some personid 
liberties that were certainly taken, not a tortnight 
since, with this boat and her crew ; still, I have muck 
mistaken your character, if unnecessary severity 
-forms one of its features. May I communicate witih 
the brigantine?" 

" Freely — when she is once in the care of a 
Queen's officer." 

" Oh, Sir, you disparage the qualities of my mis^ 
tress, in supposing there exists a parallel with your 
own I The Water- Witch will go at large, till a far 
different personage shall become your captive. — May 
I communicate with the shore ?" 

" To that there exists no objection — ^if you iwH 
point out the means." 

** I have one, here, who will prove a faithful iii«h 
senger." 

** Too faithful to the delusion which governs all 
your followers ! Your man must be your companioK 
in the Coquette, Master Seadrift, though ;" and Lud- 
low spoke in melancholy, " if there be any on the 
land, who take so near an interest in your welfare 
as to find more sorrow in uncertainty than in the 
truth, one of my own crew* in any of whom con6» 
dence may be placed, shall do your errand." 

" Let it be so ;" returned the free-trader, as if 
satisfied that he could, in reason, expect no more. 
" Take this ring to the lady of yonder dwtelliiig," he 
continued, when Ludlow had selected the messenger, 
«< and say that he viho sends it is about to visit the 



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THS-WATBR-WITCA v3 

€niser of Queen Amie in company with her com- 
mander. Should there be question of the motive^ 
you can spe^k to the manner of my arrest*' 

'^Andr mark me, fellow — " added his captain; 
**' that duly done, look to the idlers on the shore, and 
see that no boat quits the river, to apprize the smug 
glers of their loss." 

The man, who was armed in the fashion of a sea- 
man on boat duty, received these orders with the 
customary deference ; and the barge having drawn 
to the shore f(Hr that purpose, he landed. 
. ^ And now, Master Seadriift, having thus far com- 
plied with your wishes, I inay expect you will not be 
deaf to mine.> Here is a seat at your service in my 
bai^, and I confess it wil] please me to see it occu- 
picd.^ 

As the captain spoke, he reached forth an arm, 
partly ia natural complaisance, and ps^rtly wift a 
carelessness that denoted some consciousness of the 
difierence in their rank, both to aid the other to 
comply with his request,^ and, at need, to enforce it^ 
But the free-trader seemed to repel the familiarity ; 
for he drew back, at first, like one who shrunk sen- 
ntively from the contact, and then, without touching 
the arm that*was extended with a purpose so equivo- 
^ cal, he passed lightly*from the skiff into the barge, 
declining assistance. The movement was scarcely 
made, before Ludlow quitted the latter, and occu- 
pied the place which Seadriflt had just vacated. He 
commanded one of his men to exchange with the 
seaman of the brigantine; and, having made the^ 
preparations, he again addressed his prisoner. 

** I commit you to the care of my cockswain and 
fliese worthy tars. Master Seadrift. We shall steer 
different ways: You will take possession of my cabin, 
where all will be at your disposal ; ere the middle 
watch is called, I shall be there to prevent the pen 



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M 7HB WATSa-WlTOH. 

nant {torn coining down, and jour sea-green flag 
.tuniiag the people's headis from their allegiance.** ' 

Ludloiv then whispered ius orders to Ihs cockswalii, 
and they separated. The barge proceeded to the 
mouth o£ the river, with the long and stately sweep 
of the oara, that marks the prepress of a man-of 
war's boat; while the skiff followed, noiseless] j 
and, aided by its cdor and dtmendons, neariy invisi- 
ble. 

When the two boats entered the waters of the 
bay, the barge held on its course towards the distal 
slup ; while the skiff inclined to the right, and steer- 
ed directly, for the bottom of the Gove. The precav- 
tioQ of the dealer in contraband had. provided his 
.UtUa boat with muffled sculb; and Ludlow, when 
he was enabled to discover the fine tracery of the 
lofty and light spars of the Water- Witch, as they 
rooe above the tops of the dwarf trees that Hned 
the shore, had no reason to think his approach was 
known. Once assured of the presence and position 
.of the brigaatine, be was enabled to make his ad- 
vatices with all the caution that might be necessary. 

Some ten or fifteen minutes were required to bring 
the skiff bem^th the bowsprit of the beautiful crai^ 
, without givine the alarm to those who doubtless were 
watching on her decks. The ^success of our advent 
turer, however, appeared to be complete; for he 
was sooa holding by the cable, and not the smallest 
sound, of any kmd, had been heard in the brigantine. 
Ludlow now regretted he had not entered the Cove 
with bis barge; for, so profound and unsuspecting 
was the quiet of the vessel, that he doubted not « 
his ability to have carried her by a cbup-de-main. 
Vexed by his oversight, and incited by the prospects 
of succe«9, hq. began to devise those expedients which 
would naturally suggest themselves to a seaman in 
bijs situation. 

The wind was southerly^ and, though not strongs 



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TBS wAixa^wiTca^ 90 

it was charged with the dampness and heaviness of 
the night air. As the brigantine lay protected from^ 
the influence of the tides, she obeyed the currents 
of the other ^element ; and, while her bows looked 
outward, her stern pointed towards the bottom of 
the basin«. The distance from the l^d was not fifty 
fathoms, and Ludlow did not fail to perceive that 
the vessel rode by a kedge, and that her anchors, 
of which there was a good provision, were all snugly 
stowed. These facts induced the hope that he might 
separate the hawser that alone held the brigantine, 
which, in the event of his succeeding, he had every 
reason to believe would drift ashore, before the alarm 
could be given to her crew, sail set, or an anchor let 
go. Although neither he nor his companion possessed 
any other implement to eflfect this object, than the 
large seaman's knife of the latter, the temptation 
was too great not to make the trial. The project 
was flattering ; for, though the vessel in that situa- 
tion would receive no serious injury, the unavoidable 
delay of heaving her o^F the sands would enable his 
boats, and perhaps the ship herself, to reach the 
place in time to secure their prize. The bargeman 
was asked for bis knife, and Ludlow himself made 
the first cut upon the solid and difficult mass. The 
isteel had no sooner touched the compact yams, than 
a dazzling glare of light shot into the face of him 
who held it. Recovering from the shocks and rub- 
bing his eyes, our startled adventurer gazed upwards, 
with that consciousness of wrong which assails us 
when detected in any covert act, however laudable 
may be its motive; — a sort of homage that nature, 
under every circumstance, pays to loyal dealings. 

Though Ludk>w felt, at the instant of this inter- 
ruptioQy that he stood in jeopardy of his life, the con- 
c^n it awakened Nwas momentarily lost in the spec- 
tacle before him. The bronzed and unearthly features 
of the im^^e were brightly illominaied ; aad, while 



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06 Tttfi WATER- WITOH, 

her eyes looked on him steadiiy, as if watching his 
smallest movement, her malign and speaking smile 
appeared to turn his futile effort into scorn ! There 
yvas no need to bid the seaman at the oars to do his 
duty. No sooner did he catch the expression of that 
mysterious face, than the skiff whirled away from 
the spot, like a sea-fowl taking wing under alarm 
Though Ludlow, at each moment, expected a shot, 
even the imminence of the danger did not prevent ' 
him from gazing, in absorbed attention, at the image. 
The light by whichit was illumined, though condensed, 
powerful, and steadily cast, wavered a little, and 
exhibited her attire. Then the captain saw the 
truth of what Seadrift had asserted ; for, by some 
process of the machine into which he had not leisure 
to inquire, the sea-green mantle had been changed 
for a slighter robe of the azure of the deep waters. 
As if satisfied with having betrayed the intention 
of the sorceress to depart, the light imnnediately 
vanished. 

"This mummery is well maintained!" muttered 
Ludlow, when the skiff had reached a distance that 
assured him of safety. " Here is a symptom that the 
rover means soon to quit the coast. The change of 
dress is some signal to his superstitious and deluded 
crew. It is my task to disappoint his mistress, as he 
terms her, though it must be confessed that she does 
not sleep at her post." 

During the ten succeeding minutes, our foiled ad- 
venturer had leisure, no less than motive, to feel how 
necessary is success to any project whose means ad- 
mit of dispute. Had the hawser been cut and the 
brigantine stranded, it is probable that the under- 
taking of the captain would have been accounted 
among those happy expedients which, in all pursuits, ' 
are thought to distinguish the mental efforts of men 
particularly gifted by Nature ; while, under the ac- 
tual circumstances, he who would have reaped all 



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mefm^mrmL: Wan 

fhlt oredM^crf'iK^felkMcNiseLii idea, w&f ntentadlyrQfastflhg 
v?ith ihe ^"ppretiensioD that his unlucky design mighv 
beGoni& kiH>wii, Hid companioH was n& otiker than; 
Rohert Yarn, the Ibre-top-man, who, on a former oe^ 
casbn, ha4 bean beard to aJlrm, that he had: alread^f 
enj(^4ed so singular a view (${ the lady of the htlg"* 
ahtine, whSe asristing to furl the ibre-top-sail of the 
Co<j[uette* 

^ This has been a false board, Ma^er Yarn,?' ob- 
servbd thecaptaiii, when the skiff was^ past the en-> 
trance of the Cove, and some distance down the bay |^ 
*^ for the credit of our cruise, we wiU not ^iter tb^ 
occurrence in the k^. You understand me, Sir : t 
trust a Word is Mifflciait for so shrewd a wit?" 

** I hope I kftow my duty, your Honor, which is to^ 
obey orders, though it may break owners,'* retume<{ 
the top-man. "Cutting a ha^er with a knife is b«t> 
slow work in the best of times; but though one who> 
has little right to speak in the presence of a gentte-'^ 
man so well taught, it is my opinion that the steel is^ 
not yet sharpened which is to part atiy rope aboard- 
yon rover, without the consent of the black4ooking' 
woman under her bowsprit." 

"And what is the opinion of the berth-deck con- 
c&rmng this strange brigantine, that we have so long< 
been following^without success?" 

*' That we shall follow her till the last biscuit is- 
eaten, aind the scuttle-butt shall be dry, with no bet 
jter icHTtune* It is not my business to teach your 
Honor j but there is not a man in the ship, who ever 
expects to be a farthing the better for her capture. 
Men are of many minds concerning the 'Skimmer 
of the Seas ;' but all are agreed that, unless aided 
by some uncomnson luck, which may amount to th^ 
same thing as being helped by him who seldom lends 
a hand to any honest undertaking, that he is alto- 
gether such a seaman as another like him does not 
sail the oi;;jean!" 

Vol. IL I 



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<<I am sorrj that my people ahould have reaaon to 
think so meanly of our own^ skill. The ship has not 
yet had a fair chance. Give her an open sea, and a 
cap-full of wind, and she '11 defy all the black wo« 
men that the brigantine can stow. As to your 'Skim^ 
mer of the Seas,' man or devil, he is our prisoner." 

<< And does your Honor believe that the trim-built, 
and light*sailing gentleman wc overhauled in this skiC 
is in truth that renowned rover ]" asked Yarn, resting 
on his sculb) in the interest of the moment <* There 
are some on board the ship, who maintain that the 
man in question is taller than the big tide-waiter at 
Plymouth, with a pair of shoulders—'* 

** I have reason to know they are mistaken. If we 
are more enlightened than our shipmates, Master 
Yarn, let us be close-mouthed, that others do not steal 
our knowledge — hold, here is a crown witb the face 
of King Louis ; he is our bitterest enemy, and you 
may swallow him whole, if you please, or take him 
in morsels, as shall best suit your humor. But re- 
member that our cruise in the d^iflf is under secret 
orders, and the less we say about the anchor- watch 
of the brigantine, the better." 

Honest Bob took the piece of silver, with a gusto 
that no opinion^ of the marvellous could diminish ; 
and, touching his hat, he did not fail to make the 
usual protestations ot discretion. That night the 
messmates of the fore-top-man endeavored, in vain, 
to extract from him the particulars of his excursion 
with the captain ; though the direct answers to their 
liome questions were only evaded by allusions so dark 
and ambiguous, as to give to that superstitious feel- 
'ng of the crew, which Ludlow bad wished to lull, 
wice its original force. 

Not long after this short dialogue, the skiff reached 
the side of the Coquette. Her commander found his 
prisoner in possession of his own cabin, and, though 
grave if not sad in demeanor, perfectly self-possessed 



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Bm arrival had podiic^ a deep effect on the offi- 
cers and men, though, like Yarn, most of both classes 
refused to b^Heve that the handsome and gayly-at« 
tired youth they had-bcfen summoned to receive, was 
ihe nptorions dealer in contraband. 
. Light observers of the forms under which human 
qualities are exhibited, too often mistake their out« 
ward signs. Though it is quite in reason to believe, 
tbat he wik> mingles much in rude and^ violent scenes 
riiould imbibe some of their roi^h and repelling as- 
pects, still it would seem that, as the stillest waters 
commonly c<Hiceal the deepest currents, so the powers 
jbD awaken extraordinary events are not unfrequent* 
]y cloaked under a chastened, and sometimes under 
a cold, ex.terior. It has often happened, that the 
most desperate ^nd self-willed men are those whose 
mien and manners would give reason to expect the 
mildest and most tractable dispositions ;^ while he who 
has seemed a lion sometimes proves, in his real na- 
ture, to be little better than a lamb. 

Ludfow had reason to see that the incredulity of 
his top-man had extended to most on board ; and, as 
he could not conquer his tenderness on the subject of 
Alida and all that concerned hor, while on the other 
hand'l^re existed no motive jbr immediately declar- 
9^ the truth, he rather favored the general im- 
pression by his silence* First giving some or<fers of^ 
the last importance at that moment, be passed into 
the cabin, and sought a private interview^^ith his 
captive. 

' ^ That vacant state-room is at your service, Maa»' 
ter Seadrift," he observed, pointing to the little* 
apartment opposite to the <me he occupied himsel£ 

* We are likdy to be shipmates several days, unless 
you choose to shorten the time, by entering into a ca- : 
pitulation for the Water- Witch ; in which case—*' 
'* You had a proposition to. make/' 
Ludlow. hjBsitat^d, cast an.ey^ bahini Unit io ba> 

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MO 

certain tbey ivrere alone, ^oid inevr Msfrar to Hi 
capti^e^ 

^^ Sir» I wiU «teal with yon aa becomes a seainan. 
La helle BarMde is dearer to tne Chan ^ver woman 
was before ;-Hlearer9 1 fear, than «yer woman will 
be again. You need aot learn that eircvmstances 
have tKCurred/^Do you love the iady t '^ 

"I do." 

^ And ahe-Hfear not to trast the secret to^ne who 
will not abuse tfaetniBt^-^Teturns riie your aifecfion f* 

The mariner of the brigantine drew back with 
dignity ; and then, instantly recovering hid ease, ae if 
fearful he mi^t forget himself) he «aid with warmth, 

** This trifling with woman's weakness is the be^ 
setting siaof roan! None may speak of her incHna^ 
tions, Captain Ludlow, but herself. It never shall 
be said, that any of the sex had aught but fitting 
revere&ce lor their dependent slate, their constanS 
and confiding love, their faithfulness in all the worlds 
trials, and their singleness of heart, from me.** 

'^ These sentiments do you honor; and I could 
wish, for your own sake, as well as that ef others, 
there was less of contrariety in your character. One 
cannot but griev e - ■ ■ * ' 

'' You had a propostlion, for the brigalitine t^' 

^ I would have said, that were the vessel yielded 
without further pursuit, means might be found to 
soften the Uow to those who Will otherwiae hie most 
wounded Iby her captura^ 

The face of the dealer in contraband h^ 'ktit 
seraeof its usual brightness «nd animation; <be color 
of the cheek was not aa rich, and the eye was less at 
ease^ than in his former interviews with Ludlow 
But a snule of security crossed his &ne features, when 
the other spoke of tlie fate of the brigantine. 

^* Tbe keel of the ship that is to-capture the Water* 
Witch is not yet laid," he said, firmly; "nor. is the 
cadvaft tiaid iaio^fiwMer tht«u|^4be w*ter»'Wve I 



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Ourikna^rees is not so heedless as to deep*, when there 
k most occasion for her services." 

^ This BiUKmierj of a supernatural aid may be of 
«se in boldiiig the minds of the ignorant beings who 
. follow your foo'tunesy in subjection, but it is lost when 
addressed to me* I have ascertained the poeitk>n of 
the brigantine — ^ney, I have been under her very 
bowsprit, and so near her cut-water, as to have ex^ 
acnined b^ moorii^s. Measures are now taking to 
iiiiiM*ove ihy knowledge, and to secure the prize." ' 

The free-trader heard him without exhibiting 
aJaroi* though he listened with an ^tention that 
rendered his breathing audible. 

" You found my people vigilant!" he rather care- 
lessly observed, than asked. 

** So much so, that I have said the skiff was pulled 
beneath her martingale, without a hail ! Had there 
been means, it would not have required many mo^ 
ments to cut the hawser by which she rides, and to 
have kiid your beauteous vessel ashore I" , 

The gleam of Seadrift's eye was like the glance 
jof an eagle. It seemed to inquire, and to resent, in 
the same instant. Ludlow shrunk from tlie piercing 
look, and reddened to the brow, — whether with his 
reeoHectioBS, or not, it is unnecessary to explain. 

" The worthy device was thought of! — -nay, it was 
attempted 1" exclaimed the other, gathering confirm-^ 
ation in the consciousness of his companion. — ^' You 
did not — you could not succeed ! " 

" Our success will be proved in the result" 

" The lady of the brigantine forgot not her charge! 
You saw her bright eye — ^her dark and meaning 
&Ge ! Light shone on that mysterious countenance—'' 
my words are true, Ludk)W ; thy tongue is silent, but 
that honest countenance confesses alii" 

The gay dealer in contraband turned away, an^ 
bs^hed m^ bis memest msnner* 

** I kn^w it would be so»" he continued; '^ what 
12 



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iifttbe AtaeOiCejtfKiDebiiinUe aeteifiiMB >1iiHr iraMI 
Trust me, you will fiad her cojr as ieirer» mnd ^idk' 
"^osed to Mi eoovevao ytkh a tfujaer Mho qpeaka 
iP rudely .througli his caitBOD. Ha I^-^-^mm afe audi- 
tors!" 

An .oj£cer» to anaoimce ibe near approaeh of a 
boat, entered. Both Ludkyw and im pnaoBier starised 
at this intelligence, and it was not difficalt to haocj 
both believed that a message from the Water-Wkdi 
might be expected The former hastened on deck ; 
^lule the latter, notwithstanding a sel&possession that 
^as so much practised, could not remain entirely at 
his ease. He passed into the state*room, and it is 
jBHore than probable that he availed himself of the 
window of its quarter-gallery, to reconnoitre those 
*who were so unexpectedly coming to the shsn. 

But after the usual hail and teplj, l<uak>w no 
lc»)ger anticipated any proposal from die brigantine. 
Tl^ answer had been what a seaman woald cali 
lubberly ; or it wanted that attic purity that men of 
fthe profession rarely fail to use on all occasions, and 
by the means of which they can tell a pretender to 
^eir mysteries, with a quickness that is almost in^ 
ftinctive. When the diort, quick ^boat-ahoy!" of 
the sentinel on the gangway, was answered by the 
'^virhatdo you want?" of a startled respondent in 
the boat, it was received anxmg the crew of the 
Coquette with such a sneer as the tyro, who has 
taken two steps in any particular branch of know* 
ledge, is apt to bestow on the blunders oi him who 
has taken but one. 

A de^ silence reigned, while a party consisting 
of two men and as many females mounted the side 
of the ship, leaving a sufficient number of forms 
behind them in the boat to man its oars. Notwith- 
ilwidii^ more than one light was held in such a 
fiianner as would have diattvend ibe laces of tha 



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strangers had they not all been closely muffled, the 
party passed into the cabin without recognition. 

** Master Corneiiiur Ludlow, one might as well put 
on the dueen's livery at once» as to be steering m 
this uncertain manner, between the Coquette and 
the land, :like ft protested note sent from endorser to 
endorser, to be paid," commenced Alderman Van 
'Beyerovt, imcasing* hidf»elf in the great cabin with 
the coolest deliberation, while his niece sunk into a 
chaH' uiibidd^, her two attendants standing near in 
submissive silence. ** Here is Aiida, who has insisted 
on paying so unseasonable a visit, and, what is worse 
still, on dragging me in her train, though I am past 
the day of following a woman about, merely because 
she happens to have a pretty lace. The hour is un- 
seasonable, and as to the motive — ^why, if Master 
.fieadrift has got a litde out of his course, no great 
harm can come of it, while the affiiir is in <i>e hands 
of so discreet and axniiable an dfficer as yourself." 

The Alderman became suddenly mute; for the 
idoor of the state-room opened, and the individual he 
had named entered in person. 

Lttdlow needed no other explanation than a 
knowledge o( the persons of his guests, to understand 
the motive of their visit. Turning to Alderman Vaa 
Beverout, he said, with a bitterness Jie could not 
.repress — 

"My presence may be intrusive. Use the cabin 
as freely as your own house, and rest assured that 
while it is thus honored, it shall be sacred to its 
present uses. My duty calls me to the deck." 

The young man bowed gravely, and hurried from 
the place. As he passed Alida, he caught a gleam 
of her dark and ekquent eye, and he construed the 
glance into an expression of gratitude. 



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104 nX WATXE-'WRQI 



CHAPTER VIIL 

" If it were done wImr *tifl done, Umb *t were welt 
It were done quickly—" 



Ths words of the immortal poet, with which, in 
deference to an ancient usage in the literature of the 
Language, we have prefaced the incidents to be re- 
lated in this chapter, are in perfect conformity with 
that governing maxim, of a vessel, which is common- 
ly found embodied in its standing orders, and which 
prescribes the necessity of exertion and activity in 
the least of its operations. A strongly-manned, ship, 
like a strong-armed man, is fond of showing its phys- 
ical power, for it is one of the principal secrets of 
its efficiency.. In a profession in which there is an 
unceasing contest with the wild and fickle winds, 
and in which human efforts are to be manifested in 
the control of a delicate and fearful machinery on 
an inconstant element, this governing principle be- 
comes of the last importance. Where * dekiy may so 
easily be death,' it soon gets to be a word that is ex- 
punged from the language ; and there is perhaps no 
truth more necessary to be known to all young aspi- 
rants for naval success, than that, while nothing 
should be attempted in a hurry, nothing should be 
done without the last degree of activity that is com- 
patible with precision. 

The commander of the Coquette had early been 
impressed with the truth of the foregoing rule, and 
he had not neglected its application in the discipline 
of his crew. ' When he reached the deck, therefore, 
after relinquishing the cabin to bis visiters, he found 
those preparations which he had ordered to be com- 
menced when he first returned to the ship, already 
far advanced towards their execution* As theie 



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T^Sm WATSR-WITGHi 105 

Aiovements are closely connected wiMi the ftitnra 
events it is our duty to explain, we shall relate them 
with some particularity. 

Ludlow had no sooner given his orders to the offi- 
cer in charge of the deck, than the whistle of the 
boatswain was heard summoning all bands to their 
duty. When the crew had been collected, tackles 
were booked to the large boats stowed in the centre 
of the ship, and the whole of them were lowered 
into the water. The descent of those suspended on 
the quarters, was of course less difficult and nnuch 
sooner effected. So soon as all the boats, with the 
exception of one at the stern, were otit, the order 
was given to * cross top-gallant-yards.' This duty had 
been, commenced while other things were in the 
course of performanfce, and a minute had scarcely 
passed before the upper masts were again in posse^- 
sioa of their light sails. Then was heard the usual 
summons of, * all hands up anchor, ahoy f* and the 
rapid orders of the young officers to * man capstan- 
bars,' to * nipper,' and finally to * heave away.' Tiie 
businesa of getting the anchor on board a cruiser^ 
and on board a ship engaged in commerce, is of very 
difiererit degrees of labor, as well as of expedition. 
In the latter, a dozen men apply their powers to a 
slow-moving and reluctant winalass, while the un- 
tractable cable, as it enters, is broken into coils by 
the painful efiferts of a grumbling cook, thwarted, 
perhaps^ as much as be is aided by the waywardness 
of some wilful vrchin who does the service of the 
cabija; On the other hand, the upright and con* 
stantly-moving capstan knows no delay. The revolv- 
ing ' messenger' is ever ready to be applied, and skil- 
ful petty officers are always in the tiers, to dispose 
of the otassive rope, that it may not encumber the 
decks, ' 

Ludlov^ appeared anrK>ng his peqile, while they 
were thus employed. £re he had made one has^ 



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106 THB WATER-WITCH. 

tiirn on the quarter-deck, he was met by the busy 
first-lieutenant. 

" We are short, Sir," said that agent of all work. 

" Set your topsails.*' 

The can /as was instantly permitted to fall, and it 
was no sooner stretched to the yards, than force was 
applied to the halyards, and the sails were hoisted. 

" Which way. Sir, do you wish the ship cast ?" 
demanded the attentive Luff. 

« To seaward." 

The head-yards were accordingly braced aback 
in the proper direction, and it was then reported to 
the captain that all was ready to get the ship under 
way. 

« Trip the anchor at once. Sir ; when it is stowed, 
and the decks are cleared, report to me." 

This sententious and characteristic communication 
between Ludlow and his second in command, was 
sufficient for all the purposes of that moment. The 
one was accustomed to issue his orders without ex- 
planation, and the other never hesitated to obey, 
and rarely presumed to inquire into thefr motive. 

" We are aweigh and stowed, Sir ; every thing 
clear," said Mr. Luff, after a few minutes had been 
allowed to execute the preceding commands. 

Ludlow then seemed to arouse himself from a deep 
reverie. He had hitherto spoken mechanically, 
rather than as one conscious of what he uttered, or 
whose feelings had any connexion with his words. 
But it was now necessary to mingle with his officei^ 
and to issue mandates that, as they were less m rou- 
tine, required both thought and discretion. The 
crews of the different boats were * called away,' anS 
arms were placed in their hands. When nearly or 
quite one-half of the ship's company were in the 
boats, and the latter were all reported to be ready, 
officers were assigned to each, and the particular 



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service expected at their hands was distinctly ex- 
plained. 

A master's mate in the captain's barge, with the 
crew strengthened by half-a-dozen marines, was or- 
dered to pull directly for the Cove, into which he 
was to enter with muffled oars, and where he was to 
await a ^gnal from the first-lieutenant, unless he met 
the brigantine endeavoring to escape, in which case 
his orders were imperative to board and carry her 
at every hazard. The high-spirited youth no sooner 
received this charge, than he quitted the ship and 
steered to the southward, keeping inside the tongue 
of land so often named. 

Luif was then told to take command of the launch. 
With this heavy and strongly-manned boat, he was 
ordered to proceed to the inlet, where he was to 
give the signal to the barge, and whence he was to 
go to the assistance of the latter, so soon as he was 
assured the Water- Witch could not again escape by 
the secret passage. 

The two cutters were intrusted to the command 
of the second-lieutenant, with orders to pull into the 
broad passage between the end of the cape, or the 
' Hook,' and that long narrow island which stretches 
from the harbor of New- York for more than forty 
leagues to the eastward, sheltering the whole coast 
of Connecticut from the tempests of the ocean. Lud- 
low knew, though ships of a heavy .draught were 
obliged to pass close to the cape, in order to gain the 
open sea, that a light brigantine, like the Water- 
Witch, could find a sufficient depth of wate^ for her 
purposes further north. The cutters were, therefore, 
sent in that direction, with orders to cover as Tiuch 
of the channel as possible, and to carry the smuggler 
should an occasion offer. Finally, the yavvl was to 
occupy the space between the two channels, with 
orders to repeat signals, and to be vigilant in recon- 
noitring. 



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108 fBV WA«»*Wltt!ffi ^ 

While the different ofRcet^ ititrwted Witk tb^ 
duties were receiving their instructions, the ship* 
under the charge of 1 ryBail, began to move towards 
the oape. Wh«a off the point of the Hook, the two' 
cutters and the yawl * cast off/ and took to their 
ears, and when fairly without the buoys, the launch 
did the same, each boat taking it» pr^cribed direc- 
tion. 

If the reader retains a distinct recollection of the 
scene described in one of the earlier page».of this' 
work, he will understand the grounds on which Lud^ 
k)w based his hopes of success. By sending the launch 
into the inlet, he believed he should inclose the hrig^ 
antine on every side ; since her escape through either 
of the ordinary channels would become impossibles 
while he kept the Coquette in the offing. The ser- 
vice he expected from the three boats sent to the> 
northward, was to trace the movement of the smug* 
gler, and, should a suitable opportunity offer, to at 
tempt to carry him by surprise. 

When the launch parted from the ship, the Co- 
quette came slowly up to the wind, and with her fore- 
topsail thrown to the mast, she lay, waiting to alk)w 
her boats the time necessary to reach their several* 
stations. The different expeditions had reduced the* 
force of the crew quite one-half, and as both the lieu- 
tenants were otherwise employed, there now re- 
mained on board no officer of a rank between those- 
of the captain and Trysail. Some time after the ves- 
sel had been stationary, and the men had been or- 
dered to keep close, or, in other woVds, to dispose of 
their persons as they pleased, with a view to permit 
them to catch * cat's naps,' as some compensation for 
the loss of their regular sleep, the latter approached 
Iris superior, who stood gazing over the hammock- 
cioths in the direction of the Cove, and spoke. 

" A dark night, smooth water, and fresh hands, 
make boating agreeable duty !" he said. " T-hegea 



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^ Tim wATTER-wrrcat ' 10f 

tleoien are in ^iie heart, and fuD of y^ting men's 
hopes ; but he who lays that brigantioe aboard^ wiil, ^ 
in tny poor judgment, have more work to do th»n 
merely getting up her side. I was in the foremost 
boat that boarded a Spamard in the Mona, last war ; 
and though we went into her with light heeh, some 
of us were brought out with broken heads; — I think 
the fbre-top>gallant-mast has a better set» Captain 
Ludk>w, since we gave the last pull M the rigging V' 

" It stands well i" returned his half-attentive com- 
ffiander. **Give it the other drag, if you think best" 

^ Just as you please, Sir ; ' tis all one to me. I 
care not If the mast is hove all of one side, like the 
hat on the bead of a country buck ; but when a thing 
is as it ought to be, reason would tell us to let it 
alone. Mr. Luff was of opinion, that by altering the 
slings of the main-yard, we should give a better set 
to the topsail sheets ; but it was little that could be 
done with the stick aloft, and I am ready to pay Her 
Majesty the difference between the wear of the 
sheets as they stand now, and as Mr. Luff would 
have them, out of my own pocket, though it is often 
as empty as a parish church in which a fox-hunting 
parson preaches. I was present, once, when a real 
tally-bo was reading the service, and one of your god- 
less squires got in the wake of a fox, with his hounds, 
within hail of the church-windows ! The cries had 
some such efiect on my roarer, as a puff of wind would 
have on this ship ; that is to say, he sprung his luff, 
and though he kept on muttering something I never, 
knew what, his eyes were in the fields the whole 
time the pack was in view. But this wasn't the 
worst of it; for when he got fairly back to his work 
again, the wind had been blowing the leaves of Im 
book about, and he plumped us into the middle oi • 
the marriage ceremony. I am no great lawyer, but 
there were those who said it was a god-send that hall 

Vou. IL K 



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110' TSB WATKE-WN^CED. 

the young men in the parbh weren't married to their * 
own grandmothers I'' ~ 

** I hope the match was agreeable to the family;" 
said Ludlow, relieving one elbow by resting the 
weight of his head on the other. 

** Why, as to that, I will not take upcm me to say 
ince the clerk corrected the parson's reckonii^. be 
fore the mii^chief was entirely done. There has been 
a little dispute between me and the first-lieutenant. 
Captain Ludlow, concerning the trim of the ship. 
He maintains that we have got too much in forward, 
of what he calls the centre of gravity ; and he is of 
opinion that had we been less by the head, the smug- 
gler Would never have had the heels of us, in the 
chase ; whereas I invite any man to lay a craft on 
her water-line ^" 

" Show our light !" interrupted Ludlow. " Yonder 
goes the signal of the launch !" 

Trysail ceased speaking, and, stepping on a gun, 
he also began to gaze in the direction of the G&ve. 
A lantern, or some other bright object, was leisurely 
raised three times, and as often hid from view. The 
signal came from under the laud, and in a quarter 
that left no doubt of its object. 

"So far, well;" cried the Captain, quitting his 
stand, and turning, for the first time, with conscious- 
ness, to his officer. " 'Tis a sign that they are at 
the inlet, and that the offing is clear. I think, Master 
Trysail, we are now sure of our prize. Sweep the 
horizon thoroughly with the night-glass, and then 
we will close upon this boasted brigantine." 

Both took glasses, and devoted several minutes to 
this duty. A careful examination of the margin of 
the sea, from the coast of New-Jersey to that of . 
Long-Island, gave them reason to believe that no- 
thing of any size was lying without the cape. The 
sky was more free from clouds to the eastward than 
under the land, and it was not difficult to make cer- 



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THfi-WATSR-WITC^ 111 

tain of this important fact. It gave them the assu- 
rance that the Water- Witch had not escaped by the 
secret passage, during the time lost in their own 
preparations. 

" This is stiil well ;" continued Ludlow. « Now 
he cannot avoid us— show the triangle." 

Three lights, disposed in the form just nareted 
were then, hoisted at the gaff-end of the Coquette. 
It was an order for the boats in the Cove to proceed. 
The signal was quickly answered from the ^unch, 
and then a small rocket was seen sailing over the 
trees and shrubbery of the shore. All on board the 
Coquette listened intently, to catch some sound that 
should denote the tumult of an assault. Once Ludlow 
and Trysail thought the cheers of seamen came on 
the thick air of the night ; and once, again, either 
fancy or their senses told them they heard the menac- 
ing hail whicjb commanded the outlaws to submit 
Many minutes of intense anxiety succeeded. The 
whole of the hammock-cloths on the sidS of the ship 
iiearest to the land were lined with curious faces, 
tibough respect left Ludlow to the sole occupation of 
the short and light deck which covered the accom- 
modatioos ; whither he had ascended, to command a 
more perfect view of the horizon. 

"^Tis time to hear their musketry, or to see the 
signal of success ! " said the young man to himself; so 
intently occupied by his interest in the undertaking, 
as to be unconscious of having spoken. 

** Have you forgotten to provide a signal for fail- 
ure ? " said one at his elbow. 

" Ha ! Master Seadrift ; — I would have spared 
you this spectacle.*' 

" 'Tis one too often witnessed, to be singular. A 
life passed on the ocean has not left me ignorant of 
the effect of night, with a view seaward, a dark 
coast, and a back-ground of mountain!" 

" You have confidence in him left in cba^e o( 



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113 THBS WATBR-WITOH* 

Jrour brigantine I I dball have faith in yoHr sea-green 
ady, myself, if he escape my boats, this time." 

" See ! — there is a token of her fortune;" retuni- 
ed the other, pointing towards three lanterns that 
were shown at the inlet's nwuth, and over which - 
many lights were burnt in rapid succession. 

" 'Tis of failure 1 Let the ship fall-of, and square 
away the yards ! Round in, men, round in. We wiH 
run down to the entrance of the bay, Mr. Trysail. 
The knaves have been aided by their lucky star!" 

Ludlow spoke with deep vexation in his tones, but 
always with the authority of a superlw and the 
promptitude of a seaman. The motionless being, 
near him, maintained a profound silence. No excla^ 
mation of triumph escaped him, nor did he open hfe 
lips either in pleasure or in surprise; It appeared as 
if confidence in his vessel rendered him'as much su- 
perior to exultation as to apprehension. 

" You look upon this exploit of your brigantine, 
Master Seadrift, as a thing of course;* Ludlow ob- 
served, when his own ship was steering towards the 
extremity of the cape, again. "Fortune has not 
deserted you, yet; but with the land on three sides, 
and this ship and her boats on the fourth, I do not 
despair yet of prevailing over your bronzed goddessi" 

"Our mistress never sleeps;" returned the dealer 
m contraband, drawing a long breath, like one who 
had struggled long to repress his interest. 

" Terms are still in your power. I shall not coa* 
ceal that the Commissioners of Her Majesty^ customs 
set so high a price on the possession of the Waters- 
Witch, a« to embolden me to assume a responsibility 
from which I might, on any other occasion, shrink. 
i>eliver the vessel, and I -pledge you the honor of au 
officer that the crew shall land without question. — 
Leave her to us, with empty decks and a swept 
hold, if you will, — but, leave the swift boat in our 



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•TttB WATiai-WlTOB* 1 13 

^ ♦^The lady of the bngantine tlmiks otherwise. 
She wears her mantle of tne deep waters, and, trust 
me, spite of all your nets, die will lead her followers 
beyond the offices of the lead, and far from sound- 
ings ; — ay ! spite of all the navy of Queen Anne I" 

*^ I hope that others may not repent this obstinacy! 
But this is no time to bandy words ; the duty of the 
ship requires my presence." 

Seadrift took the hint, and reluctantly retired to 
the cabin. As he left tiie poo^, the moon rose above 
the line of water in the eastern board, and shed its 
light along the whole horizon. The crew of the 
Cbquette were now enabled to see, with sufficient 
distinctness, from the sands of the Hook to the dis- 
tance of many leagues to seaward. There no lon- 
ger remained a doubt that the brigantine was still 
within -the bay. Encouraged by this certainty, Lud- 
k)w endeavored to forget all motives of personal 
feeling, in the discharge of a duty that was getting 
to be more and more interesting, as the prospect of 
its successful accomplishment grew brighter. 

It was not long before the Coquette reached the 
channel which forms the available mouth of the 
'^estuary. Here the ship was again brought to the 
wind, and men were sent upon the yards and all her 
more lofty spars, in order to overlook, by the dim 
and de<%itful light, as much of the inner water as 
the eye could s^ach ; while Ludlow, assisted by the 
master, was engaged in the same employment on the 
deck. Two or three midshipmen were incbded, 
among the common herd, aloft. 

" There is nothing visible within," said the captain 
after a long and anxious search, with a glass. <* The 
shadow of the Jersey mountains prevents the sight 
fin that direction, while the spars of a frigate might 
be confounded with the trees of Staten Island, here, 
m the Qortbem board. — Ooss*jack»yard, tbere i**^ 
K 2 



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X14 TfiB WATUa-WCTCJI. 

The dirMl vbiee of a middbipman mnswered to the 

ixail. 
. "^ Wkat do jKKL mnke within the Hook, Sir?'' 

<' Nothing risible. Our teurge is pulling nkxig ifae 
land, and the launch appears to be lying^off the in 
let ; ay-— here is die yawl, resting on its oars with 
out the Romar ; but we can find nothing winch look 
like the cutter, in the range of CSoney." 

'' Take another sweep of the glass more w^ward, 
and look well into the mouth of the Raritan, — mark 
you any thing in that quarter?" 
'" Ha 1-— here is a speck on our lee quarter !'' 

" What do you make of it C 

" Unless sight deceives me greatly, Sir, there is a 
light boat pidling in for the ship, about three cables?- 
length dktant." 

liudbw raised his own glass, and swept die watar 
in the direction named. After one or two unsuccees- 
ful trials, his eye caught the object ; and as the moon 
had now some power, he was at no loss to dktinguish 
its character. There was evidently a boat, and one 
that, by its movements, had a design of holding com- 
munication with the cruiser. 

The eye of a seaman is acute on his element, and 
bis mind is quick in forming opinions on all things 
that properly appertain to his profession. Ludlow 
saw instantly, by the construction, that the boat was 
not one of those sent from the ship ; that^t approach- 
ed in a direction which enabled it to avoid the Co- 
quette, -by keeping in a part of the bay where the 
water was not sufficiently deep to admit of her pas- 
sage ; and that its movements were so guarded as to 
fdenote gr^at caution, while there was an eviden 
wish to draw as near to the cruiser as prudence migh 
render advisable. Taking a trumpet, he hailed in 
&e well-known and customary mana^. 

The acBwer caaie up faintly against tfae ur, hot 



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it i^a« uttered viib fsmA praetide in the impIeDieiily 
and with fcn exceeding oompaas of vmse^ 

^ i^y, ay !" a»d, " a fxurley :&im the terigacntiBe I" 
'Were tte only words that were dfstmctiy ^iidii^le. 

For a minute or two, .the young man paced the 
deck in cdleboe. Then he suddenly conunanded the 
nly hoat whidh the cruiser now possessed, to be low- 
ered and manned. . 

<^ Throw an ensign into the stem-sheets," he said, 

.wh^i these orders were executed; ** and let there be 

- «rms beneath it. We will keep feith while faith is 

observed, but there are reasons for caution in this 

•interview," _ . 

Trysail was directed to keep the ship stationary, 
land after givii^ to hk subordinate private instruc- 
tions *of importance in the event of treachery, Lud- 
,k)W went into the boat in person. A very few min- 
utes sufficed to bring the jolly-boat and the stranger 
so near each other, that the means of communica- 
tion w^e both easy and sure. The men of the for- 
mer were then commanded to cease rowing, and, 
jaising his glass, the ccunmander of the cruiser took 
.a more certain and nunute survey of those who 
awaited his coming. T^e strange boat was dancing 
'On the waves, like a light shell that iSoated so buoy- 
antly as scarce to touch the element which sustained 
Jt, while four athletic seamen leaned on the oars 
which lay ready to urge it ahead. In the stem- 
'Sheets stood a form, whose attitude and mien could 
not readily be mistaken. In the admirable steadi- 
ness of the figure, the folded arms, the fine and 
;manly proportions, and the attire, Ludttow recognized 
the mariner of the India-shawl.^ A wav« ^ thp 
liand induced him to venture nearer. 

^< What is asked of the royal cruiser?" demanded 
the :captain of the vessel named, when the two boats 
were ap near ead;L oittkBr as seemed expedient 

"Confidenoej'Vtv tte£ymjrepiy.-«r^'GaBiejQ««MB, 



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116 r'^ ^^ 

r^nt^kk Ludhx^' I*" ^^ ^^^ naked hands! Out 

2Kce iie«i not he maintained with trumpets." 

Ashtoied that a boat belonging to a ship of war 
should betray doubts, the people of the yawl were 
ordered to go within reach of the oars* 

f WeUf Sir, you have your wish. I have quitted 
0y ship* and come to the parley, with the smallest 
of my boats." 

<< It is unnecessary to say what has* been done with 
tbe others!*' returned Tiller, across the firm muscles 
of whose face there passed a smile that was scarcely 

f)erceptible. " You hunt us hard, Sir, and give bat 
ittle rest to the brigantine. But again are you 
foiled!" 

"We have a harbinger of better fortune, in a 
lucky blow that has been struck to-night" 

" xou are understood. Sir; Master Seadrift has 
fallen into the hands of the Queen's servants — but 
take good heed ! if injury, in wbrd or deed, befall 
that youth, there live those who well know how to 
resent the wrong!" 

" These are lofty expressions, to come from a pro- 
scribed man ; fiut we will overlook them, in the mo- 
tive. Your brigantine, Master Tiller, lost its master » 
spirit in the * Skimmer of the Seas,' and it may be 
wise to listen to the suggestions of moderation. If 
yoa are disposed to treat, I am here with no disposi^ 
• tion to extort." 

•* We meet in a suitable spirit, then ; for I come 
prepared to o£fer terms of ransom, that Queen Anne, 
if she love her revenue, need not despise ; — ^but, as. 
in duty to Her Majesty, I will first listen to her royal 
pleasure." 

" First, then, as a seaman, and one who is not ig- 
norant of what a vessel can perform, let me direct 
ycMtr attention to the situation of the parties. I am 
certain that tbe Water* Witch, though for the mo- 
.aneat concealed by the shadowt of &e hilb» or la* 



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THB wATsai-wirap. 117 

V red perhaps by di$tsu»ce aiKJ the f<iebleil6s« o( this 
li^hty is in the waters of the bay^ A force, a^aimt 
which she has no power of resistance, watches the 
inlet ; you see the cruiser ia readiness to meet her 
>fr the Hook. My boats are so stationed as to pr^ 
elude the possibility of escape, without sufficient no- 
tice, by the northern chanoel ; and^ in short, the out- 
Jets are all closed to your passage. With the mommg 
tight, we shall Ipiow your poi^tion, ^ad act accpr4- 

"No chart can show the dangers of roclcs and 
shoals more clearly i — and to<avoid ttiese dangers-i— ? " 

" Yield the brigantine, and depart. Though out- 
lawed, we shall content ourselves Vvith the possession^ 
of the remarkable vessel in which you do your mis- 
chief, and hope that, deprived of the means to err, 
you will return to better courses." 

" With the prayers of the church for our aiQend- 
ment ! Now listen. Captain Ludlow, tp what I olfer. 
You have the person of one much loved by all who 
Jbllow the lady of the sea-green mantle, in your 
power ; and we have a brigantine that does much 
injury to Queen Anne's supremacy in the waters of 
this hemisphere; — ^yield you the captive^ aiid vHe 
promise to quit this coast, never to return/' 

" This were a worthy treaty, truly, fer jcme whpse 
habitation is not a mad-house 1 Relinquish my right 
over the ;principal doer of the evil, and receive the 
unsupported pledge of a subordinated word ! Your 
happy fortune, Master Tiller, has troubkd jKHir rea- 
son. What I offer, was ofiered because I would not 
drive an unfortunate and remarkable man, like hipi 
we have, to extremities, and — there may be other 
motives, but do not mistake my lenity. Should force 
become necessary to put yoiM* v^sel into our hands; 
the law may view your offences with a still hairsher 
eve. Deeds which the Imty of o^r sypt^ni now €<m- 
«id«Ei 1^1 v^^UjiJ^ lOHr. ^W% 



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118 THE WATER- WITCH. 

" I ought not to take your distrust, sts other than 
excusable,** returned the smuggler, evidently sup- 
pressing a feehng of haughty and wounded pride. 
." The word of a free-trader should have little weight 
'in the ears of a'queen's officer. We have been train- 
ed in difier^nt schools, and the same objects are seen 
in different colors. Your proposal has been heard, 
and, with some thanks 'fot its fair intentions, it is re- 
fused without a hope of acceptation. Our brigantine 
is, as you rightly think, a remarkable vessel ! Her 
equal. Sir, for beauty or speed, floats not the ocean. 
By heaven ! I would sooner slight the smiles of the 
-fairest woman that walks the earth, than entertain 
a thought which should betriay the interest I feel in 
tliat jewel of naval skill! lou have seen her, at 
many times. Captain Ludlow — ^in squalls and calms ; 
with her wings abroad, and her pinions shut ; by day 
and night; near and far; fair and foul ;^— and I ask 
you, with a seaman's frankness, is she not a toy to 
fill a seaman's heart ?" 

** I deny not the vessel's merits, nor her beauty — 
'tis a pity she bears no better reputation." 

" I knew you could not withhold this praise ! But 
[ grow childish when there is question of that brig- 
antine! Well Sir, each has been heard, and now 
comes the conclusion; I part with the apple of my 
eye, ere a stick of that lovely fabric is willingly de- 
serted. Shall we make other ransom for the youth 1 
— What think you of a pledge in gold, to be forfeited 
i^ould we forget our word." 

*• You ask impossibilities. In treating thus at all, 
I quit the path of proud authority, because, bs has 
been said, there is that about the * Skimmer of the 
Seas* that raises him above the coarse herd who in 
common traffic against the law. The brigantine, or 
nothmg!" 

" My life, before that brigantine I Sir, you forget 
our fiirtua«i ate proteeted by om who laughs at thr 



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THB WATBR-WITOH. 119* 

efforts of your fleet. You think that we are inclosed, 
and that, when light shall return, there will remain 
merely the easy task to place • your iron-mounted 
cruiser on our beam, and drive us to seek mercy. 
Here are honest mariners, who could tell you of the 
hopelessness of the expedient The Water- Witch 
nas run the gauntlet of all your navies, and shot has 
never yet defaced her beauty." 

" And jet her limbs have been known to fall be* 
fore a messenger from my ship !"- 

**The stick wanted the commission of our mistress,'* 
interrupted the other, glancing his eye at the credu 
lous and attentive crew of the boat. ** In a thought* 
less moment, 'twas taken up at sea, and fashioned to 
Sur purpose without counsel from the book. Nothing 
that touches our decks, under fitting advice, comes 
to harm. — You look incredulous, and 'tis in character 
to seem so. If you refuse to listen to the lady of the 
brigantine, at least lend an ear to your own laws. Of 
what offence can you charge Master Scadrift, tliat . 
you hold him captive?" 

" His redoubted name of * Skimmer of the Seas' 
were warranty to force him from a sanctuary," re- 
turned Ludlow, smiling. ^* Though proof should fail 
of any immediate crime, there is impunity for the 
arrest, since the law refuses to protect hinu" 

" This is your boasted justice 1 l^gues in authority 
combine to condemn an absent and a silent man« 
But if you think to do your violence with impunity, 
know there are those who take deep interest in the 
welfare of that youth." 

'' This is foolish bandying of menaces," said the 
captain, warmly. '^ If you accept my ofiers, speak;, 
and if you reject them, abide the consequences." , 

^ I abide the consequences But since we cannot 
come to terms, as victor and the submitting party, > 
we may part in amity. Touch my hand, Captain 
Ludlow, as one brave man should salute another* 



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120 Tint WATBR-WIfOH. 

though the next miiiute they are to grapple at the 
throat." 

Ludlow hesitated. The proposal was made with 
80 frank and nnanly a mien, and the air of the free- 
trader, as he leaned beyond the gunwale of his boat, 
Ayas so superior to his pursuit, that, unwilling to seem 
churlish, or to be outdone in courtesy, he reluctantly 
consented, and laid his palm within that the other 
oifered. The smuggler profited by the junction to 
draw the boats nearer, and, to the amazement of all 
who witnessed the action, he stepped boldly into the 
yawl, and was seated,, face to face, with its oflScer 
in a moment. 

" These are matters that are not fit for every ear,** 
said the decided and confident mariner, in an under' 
tone, when he had made this sudden change in the 
position of the parties. " Deal with me frankly. Cap- 
tain Ludlow : — is your prisoner left to brood on his 
melancholy, or does he feel the consolation of know- 
ing that others take an interest in his welfare 1 " 

" He does not want for sympathy, Master Tiller . 
— since he has the pity of the finest woman in 
America." 

" Ha 1 la belle Barb^rie owns her esteem I — ^is the 
conjecture right ? " 

" Unhappily, you are too near the truth. The in- 
fatuated girl seems but to live in his presence. She 
has so for forgotten the opinions of others, as to follow 
him to my ship 1" 

Tiller listened intently, and, from that instant^ all 
concern disappeared from bis countenance. 

« He who is thus favored may, for a monient, even 
forget the brigantine!" he exclaimed, with all his' 
natural recklessness of air. "And the Alderman 1^- 

" Has more discretion than his niece, since he did 
not permit her to come alone." 

" Enough. — Captain Ludlow, let what will Jbllow, 
\0e part ae frieads. Fear not, Sir, to touch the hafitd 



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THE WATCE'WITCAfe . 131 

of a proscribed man, again ; it is honest after its own 
fashion, and many is the peer and prince who keeps 
Dot so clean a palm. Deal tenderly with that gay and 
rash young sailor; he wants the discretion of an 
ilder head, but Hie heart is kindness itself — I would 
hazard life, to shelter his — but at every hazard the 
brigantine must be saved. — Adieu !" 
- There was strong emotion in the voice of the 
mariner of the shawl, notwithstanding his high bear* 
ing. Squeezing the hand of Ludlow, he passed back 
into his own barge, with the ease and steadiness of i 
one who made the ocean his home, 

" Adieu !" he repeated, signing to his men to pull 
in the direction of the shoals, where it was certain 
the^ip could not follow. " We may meet again; 
flntil then, adieu.'' 

« We are sure to meeU with the return of light'* 

** Believe it not, brave gentleman. Our lady will 
thrust the spars under her girdle, and pass a fleet un- 
seen. — ^A sailor's blessing on you — fair winds and a 
plenty ; a safe landfall^ and a cheerful home ! Deal, 
kindly by the boy, and, in all but evil wishes to my 
vessel, success light on your ensign 1" 

The seamen of both boats dashed their oars into 
the water at the same instant, and the two parties 
fwere quickly witliout the hearing of the voice. 



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IS2 1P598 WAf flMfrl^P^ 



CHAPTER K. 

"•^DMItelltliifc. 

^Vho would believe me ?'* 

Mkasurs for bIkasvrs. 

Tnte time of the interview related in the close of 
~the preceding chapter, was in the early watches of 
the night, "it now becomes our duty to transport the 
reader to another^ that had place several hours later, 
and after day had dawned on the industrious burgh- 
e(b of Manhattan. 

There stodd, hear one of the wooden wharVes 
which Hiied the arm of the sea on which the city is 
80 happily placed, a dwelling around which therd 
Was every sign that its owner was engaged in a retail 
cbmmerce, that was active and thriving, for that age 
find Country. Notwithstanding the earliness of the 
hour, the windows of this hoiise were open ; and art 
ihdividual, of a busy-looking face, thrust his bead so 
often from one of the casements, as to show that he 
already expected the appearance of a second party, 
in the af&ir that had probably called him from 
has bed, even sooner than common. A tremendous 
rap at the door relieved his visible uneasiness ; and, 
hastening to open it, he received his visiter, with 
much parade of ceremony, and many protestations 
of respect, in person. 

" This is an honor, my lord, that does not often 
befall men of my humble condition," said the master 
of the house, in the flippant utterance of a vulgar 
cockney ; " but I thought it would be more agreea- 
ble to your lordship, to receive the a — ^a — here, than 
in the place where your lordship, just at this mo- 
ment, resides. Will your lordship please to rest 
yourself, after y6ur lordship's walk?" 

-*" I tiiank you, Carnaby/^ jrfitoco^ the oAtiv tak» 



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ma ihe oflbr^d seat, vrith an air of easy supeviority. 
f^Yio^ judge with your usual discretion, as pespecls 
the place, tli<^h 1 doubt the prudence of seeing him 
at all. Has the man come?" 

«fDoubtte^ my krd; fae would hardly presume to 
keep your lordship waiting, ^md much lefis would i 
cfloifitenahce him in so gross a dtsrespect He will 
If e most hap^ to wait on you, ray lor^ whenever 
imtr krdsbip shall please." 

f^ Le^ him wait : tfiere is no neeessity for haste. He 
has prohahly commoinicated some d* the objects o# 
this exiraerdinaxy call on my time, Carnahy; and 
you caa break them, in the intervening moments." 

.. ^* I am soriy to say, my lord, that the fellow is as 
obatinate as a nuiie. I felt the impropriety of intro- 
iusAof him, personally, ix> your lorfi^p ; but as he 
insisted he had af&irs that would deeply interest you, 
my krd, I could not take upon me to say, what 
would fae agreeable to your lordship, or what not; 
^nd so I was bold enough to write the note.'^ 

^Afi^ a very properly expressed note it was. 
Master Cainaby. I have not received a better 
worded eommunicatioa, since my arrival in this col- 
ony." 

** I an sure the approbation of your lordship might . 
Justly make any man proud ! It is the ambition of my 
ii£e, Bwjr lord, to do the duties of my station in a prop- 
er manner, ati4 to treat ali above me with a suita* 
Vie respect, mf lord, and ail bek»w me as in reason 
bound. If i miglit presume to think in such a mat- 
te^, my lord, I should say, that these colonists are no 
l^eat judges of propriety, in their coftespondeuce, or 
mdeea in any thing else." 

The noble visiter shrugged bis i^oulder, and threw 
ap expression into his locJc, that encouraged the re- 
tailer to proceed. 

^ It is just what I think myself, my lord," he con« 
tinuedy simpering s " but then/' be added, with a coo 



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124 TH8 WA1BIU>WITGB. 

dtdiDg and patronizing air, *^ how should they knovi 
any better i England is but an island, after all; and 
the whole world cannot be born and educated cm 
the same bit of earth." 

_ ** 'T would be inconvenient, Camaby, if it led to no 
other unpleasant consequence." - 

<< Almost, word for word, what I said to Mis. Car 
naby myself, no later than yesterday, my lord, only 
vastly better expressed. 'T would be inconvenient, 
said I, Mrs., Carnaby, to take in the other lodger, for 
every body cannot live in the same house; which 
covers, as it were, the ground taken in your lord- 
shtp's sentiment I ought to add, in behalf of the 
poor woman, that she expressed, on the same occa- 
sion, strong regrets that it is reported your lordship 
will be likely to quit us soon, on your ret^im to ola 
England." 

'* That is really a subject on which there is more 
cause to reioice than to weep. This imprisoning, or 
placing witninjimits, so near a relative of the crown, 
IS an afiair that must have unpleasant consequences, 
and which oflends sadly against all propriety." - 

*' It is awful, my lord ! If it be not sacrilege by the 
law, the greater the shame of the opposition in Par- 
liament, who defeat so many other wnolesome regu- 
lations, intended for the good of the subject" 

'< Faith, I am not sure I may not be driven to join 
them myself, bad as they are, Carnaby ; for this ne- 
glect of ministers, not to call it by a wors^name, 
might goad a man to even a more heinous measure." 
. *< I am sure nobody could blame your lordship^ 
were your lordship to join any body, or any things 
but the French ! 1 have often told Mrs. Carnaby a». 
much as that, in our frequent conversations concern 
ing the unpleasant situation in which your lordshif 
is just now placed." 

" I had not thought the awkward transaction at 



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Irectoi 60 msA nolice," ckbservjed <tfiei ^ufter^t^inir 
dently wineing ttuder the a>lu6i<Hi, 

<•* u attmcte it oob^ in apvopfir and rcqiecr&i wnf, 
piy lord. N^dMr Mis. Camahy, Mr io^l( &v^ 
indulges in any of these remarks, but in the mofit 
proper and tridy En^«h mofiner.'^ 

*'Tiie reservsrijon niigbt palliate a greatjer ervi^t 
That word proper is a pruifent term, and expresi^ 
all one could iFvish. I had not thought you' so intelr 
iig^set aad ^oewd a man, Master Car^^hy : clever in 
4he way of business, I always krfew you to be ; bu't ^ 
apl in reason, and so matured in principle, is what { 
will confess I had not expected. Cam you form m 
f[!pnjectune of the business of this manl*' 

** Not in the least, my lord- I pressed the impri^ 
fxriety of a personal interview ; for, though he alluded 
to saocie bu^an^ or other, I scarcely know wh'^U 
with ^hich he appeared to think your lordship b94 
some connexion, I did not understand him, dud we 
had like to have parted without an explduajtiofu'^ 

'^ I wiU not see the fellow." 

** Just as your lordship pleasiA — I vtm sure thafc 
lifter so many little affairs have pas9ed through my 
bands, I might be safely trusted with this; and I saj4 
as mach,--^but as he positively refused to make mf 
an agent, and he insisted that it was so much to your 
lordship's intfiTBsls— why, I thought, my lord, th^ 
perhapsr!— just now — r-r-" 

** Show him io«" 

Ga^naby bowed low and submi^ively, and aftcMT 
busying himself in placing the chairs aside, and ^ 
4u6fdng the tabfe more conveniently for the elbow of 
his guesit, he left the room. 

** Where is the man I bid you kftep in the shop ?- 
demanded the retailer, in a coarse, authoritativie 
voice, when withoait ; addresweg a meek and liiwible- 
hiokii^ lad, who liid Iha duty (U derk. ^' I ^vftrini^ 
m/^ ha tit left m ithe l^iteheBu Jind jm ^^^ ttj^- 
L2 



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136 TBS WAnft*^WITOB> 

idliog about on the walkl A more beeAen and 
inattentive lad than yourself b not to be found in 
America, and the Bun never rises but I repent having , 
signed your indentures. You dhall pay {ost thia^ 
you—" 

The appearance of the person be sought, cut short 
the denunciations of the obsequious groc^ abd the 
dcHnestic tyrant. He opened the door, and, having 
again closed it, left his two visiters together. 

Though the degenerate descendant of the great 
Clarendon had not hesitated to lend his officii to 
cloak the irregular and unlawful trade that was then 
so prevalent in the American seas, he had paid the 
sickly but customary deference to virtue, of refusing, 
on ail occasions, to treat personally witii its agents. 
Sheltered behind his official and personal rank, he 
had soothed his fedings, by tacitly believing that cu- 
pidity is less venal when its avenues are hidden, and 
that in protecting his station from an immediate 
contact with its ministers, he had discharged an im- 
portant, and, for one in his situation, an imperative, 
duty. Unequal to' the exercise of virtue itself, he 
thought he had done enough in preserving some of 
its seemliness. Though far from paying even this 
slight homage to decency, in his more ordinary 
habits, his pride of rank had, on the subject of so 
coarse a failing, induced him to maintain an appear- 
ance which his pride of character would not have 
suggested. Carnaby was much the most degraded 
and the lowest of those with whom he ever conde- 
scended to communicate directly; and even with 
him there might have been some scruple, had not his 
necessities caused him to stoop so far as to accept 
pecuniary assistance from one he both despised and 
detested. 

When the door opened, therdbre, the lord Corn- 
bury rose, and, determined to bring the interview to 
1^ spoedy isant, be turned to &€€ the indhidual who 



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TBS WATfitl-WITCB. 127 

entered) with a mien, into which he threw all the 
distance and hauteur that he thought necessary for 
such an object But he encountered, in the mariner 
of the India-^shawl, a very different man from the 
flattering and obsequious grocer who had just quitted 
him. Eye met eye'; his gaze of authority receiving 
a look as steady, if not as curiousj as his own. It was 
evident, by the composure of the fine manly frame 
he saw, that its owner rested his claims on the aristoc- 
racy of nature. The noble forgot his acting under 
the influence of surprise, and his voice expressed 
as much of admiration as command when he said — 

" This, then, is the Skimmer of the Seas !" 

" Men call me thus : if a life passed on oceans 
gives a claim to the title, it has been feirly earned." 

" Your character — I may say that some portions 
of your history, are not unknown to me. Poor Car- 
; naby, who is a worthy and an industrious man, with 
a growing family dependent on his exertions, has 
entreated me to receive you, or there might be less 
apology for this step than I could wish. Men of a 
certain rank. Master Skimmer, owe so much to their 
station, that I rely on your discretion." 

•* I have stood in nobler presences, my lord, and 
found so little change by the honor, that I am not 
apt to boast of what I see. Some of princely rank 
have found their profit in my acquaintance." 

" I do not ^eny your usefulness. Sir ; it is only the 
necessity of prudence, I would urge. There has 
been, I believe, some sort of implied contract between 
us — at least, so Carnaby explains the transaction, for 

• I rarely enter into these details, myself — ^by which 
' you may perhaps feel some right to include me in 

* the list of your customers. Men in high places must 
respect the laws, and yet it is not always convenient, 
or even useful, that they should deny themselves 
every indulgence, which policy would prohibit to 
the XMB6. 0»e who has seen as mudi of life as 



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15)8 -TH^ ^ATESif^fntOfU 

youn^U*) Ji0ed6 no eKplaQations w ti^U h^d^ aiicI I 
eannot doubt, but our pre^nt iaterview w^ll have a 
satisfactory ternui[ia-|tioii.*' 

The Skimmer scarce deemed it neceiis^'y to con* 
^ ceai the contempt that caused his tip to curi, while 
the other wa3 endeavoring to myatify hi^ cupidity ; 
and when the speaker was done, he merely express^ 
an assent by a alight inclination of the head. The 
ex-governorVw th^t his attempt was fruitless, and, 
by relinquishing his masquerade, and yielding more 
to his natural propensities arid tastes, he succeeded 
better. 

** Carnaby has been a faithful agent," he continu- 
ed, ''and by his reports, it would seem that our con- 
fidence has not been mi^laced. If fame speaks true, 
there is not a more dexterous navigator of the nar- 
row seas than thyself, Master Skiqimer. It is to be 
supposed that your correspondents on tys coast, top, 
are as lucrative as I doubt not they are numerous.'' 

*^ H^ who sells cheap can never want a purcb^.- 
ser. I think your lordship has no reaispn to complain 
of prices." 

** As pointed as his Qompass ! Welt, Sir, as I am 
no longer master here, may I ask the object of this 
interview?" 

** I have come to seek your interest in behalf of 
one who has fallen into the grasp of the Queen's 
officers." 

" Hum — the amount of which is, that the cruiser 
in the bay has entrapped some careless smuggler. 
We are none of us immortal, and an arrest is b^t 
a legal death to men of your persuasion in commercj^ 
Interest is a word of many meanings. It is the in- 
terest of one man to lend, and of another to borrow ; 
of the creditoi to receive, and of the debtor to 
avoid paynxent. Then there is interest-at court, ao^ 
interest in cpu,rt-~r-in $h<Nrt, yoiji must deal more franl^- 
i^» care 1 pw .^qde m Him puf j^ gt 7<m F»^** 



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THB WATBR-WITCB 129 

"I am not ignorant that the Queen has been 
pleased to name another governor over this colony, 
or that your creditors, my lord, have thought it pru- 
dent to take a pledge for their dues, in your person. 
Still, I must think, that one who stands so near the 
Queen in blood, and who sooner^ or later must enjoy 
both rank and fortune in the mother country, will 
not solicit so slight a boon as that I ask, without suc- 
cess. This is the reason I prefer to treat with ybu." 

"As clear an explanation as the shrewdest casuist 
could desire! I admire your succinctness. Master 
Skimmer, and confess you for the pink of etiquette. 
When your fortune shall be made, I recommend the 
court circle as your place of retirement Governors, 
creditors, Queen, and imprisonment, all as compactly 
placed, in the same sentence, as if it were the creed 
written on a thumb-nail ! Well, Sir, we will suppose 
my interest what you wish it. — Who and what is the 
delinquent r* 

" One named Seadrift, — a useful and a pleasant 
youth, who passes much between me and my cus- 
tomjers; heedless and merry in his humors, but dear 
to all in my brigantinc, because of tried fidelity and 
shrewd wij:. We could sacrifice the profits of th& 
voyage* that he were free. To me he is a necessary 
agent, for his skill in the judgment of rich tissues, f 
and other luxuries that compose my traffic, is ex- / 
ceeding ; and I am better fitted to giude the vessel ' 
to her haven^ and to look to her safety amid shoals 
and in tempests, than to deal in these trifles of female 
vanity.*' 

" So dexterous a. go-between should not have mis- 
taken a tide-waiter for a customer — how befell the 
accident?" 

" He met the barge of the Coquette at an unlucky 
moment, and as we had so lately been chased off* the 
coast by the cruisery there was no choice but to ar 
rest him." 



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1 



The diiemma h not without emhRrrasament 
When once his mind is settled, it is no trifle that wiil 
amuse this Mr. Ludlow. 1 do not know a more 
literal constnier of his orders in the fleet ; — ^a Riai.. 
Sir, who thinks words have but a ^iii^le set of nuiu- 
i igs, and who knows as tittle as can be imagined of 
the difference between a sentiment and a practice." 

'* He is a seaman, my lord, and he reads his In- 
structions with a seaman^s simplicity. I think none 
the worse of him, that he cannot be temptefl from 
his duty ; for, let us understand the right as we will, 
our service once taken, it becomes us all to do it 
faithfully." 

A small red spot came and went on the cheek of 
the profligate Cornbury. Ashamed of his weakness, 
he affected to laugh at what he had heard, and con* 
tin\ied the discourse. 

"Your forbearance and charity might adorn a 
churchman, Master Skimmer !" he answered. ** No- 
thing can be more true, for this is an age of moral 
truths, as witness the Protestant succession. Men 
are now expected to perform, and not to profess. Is 
the fellow of such usefulness that he nnay^not be 
abandoned to his fate?*' 

** Much as I dote on my brigantine, and few men 
set their affections on woman with a stronger love, i 
would see the beauteous craft degenerate to a cutter 
for the Queen's revenue, before I would entertain the 
thought ! But I will not anticipate a long and painful 
imprisonment for the youth, since those who are not 
altogether powerless already take a deep and friendly 
concern in his safety." ' 

*^You have overcome the Brigadier i'^ cried the 
other, in a burst of exultation, that conquered the 
Kttle reserve of manner he bad thought it neccs- 
flary to maintain; <Uhat immaculate and reform- 
ing representative of my royal cousin baa bitten of 



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TBS WATfiR-WITG0. 191 

the golden bait> and proves a true colony governor 
after all!" 

" Lord Viscount, no. What we have to hope or 
what we have to fear from your successor, is fo me 
a secret.*' 

** Ply him with promises, Master Skimmer — set 
golden hopes Before his imagination ; set eold itself 
before his eyes, and you will prosper. I will pledge 
my expected eJirldom that he yields ! "Sir, these dis- 
tant situations are like so many half-authorized mints, 
in which money is to be coined ; and the only coun- 
terfeit is your mimic representative of Majesty. Ply 
him with golden hopes; if mortal, he will yield!" 

" And yet, my lord, I have met men who preferred 
poverty and their opinions, to gold and the wishes of 
others." 

** The dolts were lusus natures !*' exclaimed the 
dissolute Cornbury, losing all his reserve in a manner 
that better suited his known and confirmed charac* 
ter. " You should have caged them, Skimmer, and 
profited by their dullness, to lay the curious under 
contribution. Don't mistake me. Sir, if I speak a 
little in confidence. I hope I know the dinerence 
between a gentleman and a leveller, as well as an- 
other ; but trust me, this Mr. Hunter is human, and 
he will yield if proper appliances are used j — and 
you expect from me i" 

" The exercise of that influence which cannot fail 
of success ; since there is a courtesy between men 
of a certain station, which causes them to overlook 
rivalry, in the spirit of their caste. The cousin of 
Queen Anne can yet obtain the liberty of one whose 
heaviest crime is a free trade, though he may not be 
able to keep his own seat in the chair of the gov- 
ernment." 

*^Tlius far, indeed, my poor influence may yet ex- 
tend, provided the fellow be not named in any act 
<^ outlawry. I would gladly enough Mr. Skimmer* 



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133 THB WATKB-WITCH. 

end my deeds in this hemisphere^ with some act of 
graceful mercy, if — indeed — I saw — the means ** 

"They shall not be wanting. I know the law is 
like any other article .of great price ; some think that 
Justice holds the balance, in order to weigh her fees. 
Though the profits of this hazardous and sleepless 
trade of mine be much overrated, I would gladly line 
her scales with two huiidred broad pieces, to have 
that youth again safe in the cabin of the brigaotine.'* 

As the 'Skimmer of the Seas' thus spoke, he 
drew, with the calmness of a man who saw no use 
in, circumlocution, a heavy bag of gold from beneath 
his frock, and deposited it, without a second look at 
the treasure, on the table. When this offering was 
made, he turned aside, less by design than by a care- 
less movement of the body, and, when he faced his 
companion s^ain, the bag had vanished. 

"Vour aflfection for the lad is touching, Master 
Skimmer," returned the corrupt Cornbury; "it were 
a pity such friendship should be wasted. Will there 
be proof to insure his condemnation?" 

" It may be doubted. His dealings have only been 
with the higher dass of my customers, and with but 
few of them. The care I now take is more in ten- 
derness to the youth, than with any great doubts of 
the result. I shall count you, my lord, among his 
protectors, in the event that the affair is noisedl" 

" I owe it to your frankness— but will Mr. Ludlow 
content himselt with the possession of an inferior, 
when the principal is so near ? and shall we not have 
a confiscation of the brigant^ine on our hands 1" 

" I charge myself with the care of all else. There 
was indeed a lucky escape, only the last night, as we 
lay at a light kedge, waiting for the return of him 
who has been arrested. Profiting by ^he possession 
of our skiff, the commander of the Coquette, him- 
self, got within the sweep of my hawse — nay, he was 
ID the act of cutting the very fa^i^ngs, when the 



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dungeroQs design was discovered. 'TwotiM have 
been a feite unworthy of the Water- Witch, to be 
ci^t on shore like a drifting log, and to check Jier 
noble career by some such a sdzure as that of a 
tranded waif!" 

" You a vcttded the mischance?" 

** My eyes are seldom shut, ford Viscount, when 
danger is nigh. The skiff was seen in time, and 
watched ; for I knew that one in whom I trusted was 
ai>road. — ^Wheh the movement grew suspicious, we 
had our means of frightening this Mr. Ludlow from 
bis enterprise, without recourse to violence." 

** I iiad not thought him one to be scared frotn fol- 
lowing up a business like this." 

** You iudged hfm rightly — I may say we judged 
him rightly. But when his boats sought us at our an- 
cfaorage^ the bird had flown." 

"You got the brigantine to sea, in season?" ob- 
served Cornbuiy, not sorry to believe that the vessel 
Was already off the coast. 

" I had other business. My agent could not be thus 
deserted, and there were arairs to finish in the city. 
Gur course lay up the bay." 

<^ Ha ! Master Skimmer, 'twas a bold step, and one 
that says little for your discretion ! " 

** Lord Viscount, there is safety in courage," calmly 
and perhaps ironically returned the other. " While • 
the Queen's captain closed all the outlets, my little 
craft was floating quietly under the hills of Stateh. 
Before the morning watch was set, she passed these 
wharves ; and she now awaits her captain, in the 
broad basin that lies beyond the bend of yonder' 
head-land." 

"This is a hardiness to be condemned ! A failure 
of wiod, a change of tide, or any of the mishaps com- 
non to. the sea, may throw you on the mercy of the" 
law, and will greatly embarrass all who feel an in-^ 
terest in youc^nfety." 

Vol, II. M 



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'< So far 06 this apprebensbn ia coimected vnOx my 
welfare, I thank you much, my lord ; but, trust me, 
many hazards have left me but little to learn in this 
particular. We shall run the Hell-Gate, and gain 
the* open sea by the Connecticut Sound." 

" Truly, Master Skimmer, one has need of nerves 
to be yoiqf ccmfidant ! Faith in a compact consti 
tutes the beauty of social order ; without it, there is 
no security for interests, nor any repose for charac- 
ter. But faith may be implied, as well as expressed ; 
and when men in certain situations place their de* 
pendence on others who should have motives f(W 
being wary, the first are bound to respect, even to 
the details of a most scrupulous construction, the con- 
ditions of the covenant. Sir, I wash my hands of this 
transaction, if it be understood that testimony is to 
be accumulated against us, by thus putting your 
Water- Witch in danger of trial before the Admi- 
ralty." ' 

" I am sorry that this is your decision," returned 
the Skimmer. " What is done, cannot be recalled, 
though I still hope it may be remedied. My brigan* 
tine now lies within a league of this, and 'twould be 
treachery to deny it. Since it is your opinion, my 
lord, that our contract is not valid, there is little use 
in its seal — the broad pieces may still be serviceable, 
in shielding that youth from harm." 

" You are as literal in constructions, Master Skim- 
mer, as a school-boy's version of his Virgil. There is 
an idiom in diplomacy, as well as in language, and 
one who treats so sensibly should not be ignorant ot 
i^ phrases. Bless me. Sir ; an hypoth^is is not a con- 
lusion, any more than a promise is a performance. 
That which is advanced by way of supposition, is but 
he ornament of reasoning, while your gold has the 
more solid character of demonstration. Our bargain 
i&made." 

The unsophisticated mariner rc^gai4e4 the noble 



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THE WATER-WITCH, ^ 185 

•casuist a moment, in doubt whether to acquiesce in 
this conclusion, or not ^ but ere he had decided on 
his course, the windows of the room were shakt* n vio- 
lently, and then came the heavy roar of a piece of 
ordnance. 

" The morning gun !" exclaimed Corn bury, who 
tarted at the explosion, with the sensitiveness of one 
unworthily employed. — ^•*No! 'tis an hour past the 
rising of the sun!" 

The Skimftner showed no yielding of the nerves, 
though it was evident, by his attitude of thought and 
the momentary fixedness of his eye, that he foresaw 
danger was near. Moving to the window, he looked 
out on the water, and instantly drew back, like one 
who wanted no further evidence. 

" Our bargain then is made," he said, hastily ap- 
proaching the Viscouiit, whose hand he seized and 
wrung in spite of the other's obvious reluctance to 
allow the familiarity; "our bargain then is made. 
Deal fairly by the youth, and the deed wiU be re- 
membered — deal treacherously, and it shall be re- 
venged!" 

For one instant longer, the Skimmer held the 
member of the effeminate Cornbury imprisoned ; and 
then, raising his cap with a courtesy that appeared 
more in deference to himself than his companion, he 
turned on his heel, and with a firm but quick step 
he left the house. 

Carnaby, who entered on the instant, found his 
guest in a state between resentment, surprise, and 
alarm. But habitual levity soon conquered other feel- 
ings , and, finding himself freed from the presence of 
a man who had treated him with so little ceremony 
the ex-governor shoolc his head, like one accustomed 
to submit to evils he could not obviate, and assumed* 
the ease and insolent superiority he was accustomed 
to maintain in the presence of the obsequious grocer. 

^ This may be a coral or a pearli or any other 



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precious gem of the ocean, Master Cainaab j," he said, 
unconscious himself that he was in a manner emka- 
voring to cleanse his violated hand from the touch it 
had endured, bj the use of his handkerchief, " but it 
is one on which the salt water hath left its crust. 
Truly it is to be hoped that I am never agaio to be 
blockaded by such a monster, or I may b^ter say, 
harpooned; for the familiarity of the boatswain 19 
more painful than any inventions of his brethren <rf 
the deep can prove to theii^ relative the leviathan. 
Has the clock told the hour?" 

" Tis not 'yet six, my lord,- and there^ is abundant 
leisure for your lordship to return in season to your 
lordship's lodgings, Mrs. Carnaby has dared to flat- 
ter herself, that your lordship ^ill condescend Uk 
honor us so far as to tastq a dish of bohea under our 
humble roof." 

** What is the meaning of that gun, Master Car- 
naby ? It gave the alarm to the smuggler, as if it 
had been a summons from Execution Dpek, or a groan 
from the ghost of Kidd." 

" I never presumed to think, my lord. I suppose 
it to be some pleasure of Her Majesty's officers in the 
fort ; and when that is the case, one is quite certain 
that all is proper, and very English^ my lord." 

" Tore George, Sir, English or Dutch, it -had the 
quality to frighten this sea-fowl — this curlew — ^tbis 
albatross, from his perch!" 

•• Upon my duty to your lordship, your lordship 
has the severest wit of any gentleman in Her Maje9^ 
ty's kingdom ! But all the nobility and gentry are so 
witty, that it is quite an honor and an edification to 
hear them ! If it is your lordship's pleasure, I will 
look out of the window, my lord, and see if there be 
any thing visible." 

" Do so, Master Carnaby — I confess a little curi» 
ofiity to know what has given the alarm to my sei^ 



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TBS WATSR-tVtTCH. 137 

Uon-^ha ! do I not see the masts of a ship, moving 
above the roofs of yonder line of stores ? " 

" Well, your lordship has the quickest eye ! — and 
the happiest way of seeing things, of any nobleman 
in England ! Now I should have stared a quarter of 
an hour, before I thought of looking over the roofs 
of those stores, at all ; and yet your lordship looks 
there at the very first glance." 

** Is it a ship or a brig, Master Camaby — you have 
the advantage of position, for I would not willingly 
be seen — speak quickly, dolt ; — is it ship, or brig V* 
#** My lord— r'tis a brig — or a ship— really I must 
ttsk your lordship, for I know so little of these 
things—-—" 

"Nay, complaisant Master Carnaby — have an 
opinion of your own for one moment, if you please 
— there is smoke curling upward, behind those 
ntasis " 

^Another rattling of windows, and a second report, 
removed all doubts on the subject of the firing. At 
the next instiant, the bows of a vessel of war ap- 
peared at the op^iing of a ship-yard, and then came 
gun after gun in view, until the whole broadside and 
frowning battery of the Coquette were visible. 

The Viscount sought no further solution of the 
reason why the Skimmer had left him so hurriedly. 
Fumbling a moment in a pocket, he drew forth a 
band filled with broad pieces of gold. > These he ap^ 
peared about to lay upon the table ; but, as it were 
by forgetfulness, he kept the member closed, and 
bidding the grocer adieu, he left the house, with as 
firm a resolution as was ever made by any man, 
conscious of having done both a weak and a wicked 
action, of never again putting himself in familiar 
contact with so truckling a miscreant. 



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186 TBS WATl»-VItC& 

/ 

CHAPTER X 

**<*What care these roareni fbr the name of kipg?** 



The Manhattanese will readily comprehend the 
situation of the two vessels ; but tboae of ow* coun- 
trymen who live in distant parts of the Uoiony npiay 
be glad to have the localities explained. 

Though the vast estuary, which received the Hud^ 
son and so many minor streams, is chiefly made by 
an indentation of the continent, that portion of it 
which forms the port of New- York is separated from 
the ocean by the happy position of its islands. Of 
the latter, there are two, which give the general 
character to the basin, and even to a long liae <^ 
coast ; while several, that are smaller, serve a3 use- 
ful and beautiful accessories to the haven and to the 
landscape. Between the bay of Karitan aiMi that of 
New- York there are two communications, one h6- 
tween the islands of Staten and Nassau, called the 
Narrows, which is the ordinary ship-channel of the 
port, and the other between Staten and the D[iain, 
which is known, by the name of the Kilns. It is by 
fifieans of the latter, that vessels pass into the neigh^ 
boring waters of New- Jersey, and have access to so 
many of the rivers of that state. But while the island 
bf Staten does so much for the security and facilities of 
the port, that of Nassau produces an efiect on a great 
extent of coast After sheltering one-half of the har* 
bor from the ocean, the latter approaches so near 
the ccmtinent as to narrow the passage between them 
to the length of two cables, and. tbeo stretching away 
eastward for the distance of a hundred miles, it forms 
a wide and beautiful sound. After passing a clustet 
of islands, at a point which lies forty leagues iiom 



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fbe diff hj aae^otber passage, vessels can gain the 
open sea. 

The seaman will at once understand, that the 
tide of flood must necessarily flow into these vast 
estuaries from different directions. The current, 
which enters by Sandy-Hook (the scene of so much 
of this tale) flows- westward into the Jersey rivers, 
northward into the Hudson, and eastward along the 
iarm of the sea that lies between Nassau and the 
Main» The current, that comes by the way of 
Mootauk, or the eastern extremity of Nassau, raises 
the vast bai^ of the Sound, fills the streams of Con- 
neeticutt and meets the western tide at a place called 
Tbrogmorton, and within twenty miles of the city. 

As the size of the estuaries is so great, it is scarcely 
necessary to explain that the pressure of so wide 
sheets of water causes the currents, at all the narrow 
passes, to be exceedingly rapid ; since that equal diffu-v 
•ion of the dement, which depends on a natural law, 
must, wherever there is a deficiency of space, be ob- 
tained by its velocity. There is, consequently, a 
quick tide throughout the whole distance between 
the harbor and Tbrogmorton ; while it is permitted 
to poetic license to say, that at the narrowest part of 
the channel, the water darts by the land like an ar- 
row parting from its bow. Owing to a sudden bend 
in the course of the stream, which makes two right- 
angles within a short distance, the dangerous posi- 
tion of many rocks that are visible and more that 
are not, and the confusion produced by currents, 
counter-currents, and eddies, this critical pass has 
received the name of " Hell-Gate." It is memora- 
ble for causing many a gentle bosom to palpitate with 
a terror that is a little exaggerated by the boding 
isame, though it is constantly the cause of pecuniary 
losses, and has in many instances been the source 
of much personal danger. It was here» that a 
firitiib irigiite ^ J^Bt, during th$ ivar of the lU^vo- 



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140 tHK WATER-WITCH. 

lation, in consequence of having struck a rock ^led 
* the Pot,' the blow causing the ship to fill and to 
founder so suddenly, that even some of her people 
are said to have been drowned. A similar Jjut a 
greatly lessened efiect is produced in the passage 
among the islands, by which vessels gain the ocean a 
the eastern extremity of the sound ; th<^ugh the mag-^ 
nitude of the latter sheet of water is so much greater 
than thatof Raritan-bay and the harbor of New- York, 
that the force of its pressure is diminished by a corre- 
sponding width in the outlets. With thiese explana- 
tions, we shall return to the thread of the narrative. 

When the person, who has so long been known ia 
our pages by the nom de guerre of Tiller, gained the 
open street, he had a better opportunity of under- 
standing the nature of the danger which so immi'- 
nently pressed upon the brigantine. With a single 
glance at the symmetrical spars and broad yards of 
the ship that was sweeping past the town, he knew 
her to be the Coquette. 1 he little flag at her fore- 
top-gallant mast sufliciently explained the meaning 
of the pin ; for the two, in conjunction with tlie di- 
rection the ship was steering, told him, in language 
that any seaman could comprehend, that she de- 
manded a Hell-Grate pilot. By the time the Skim- 
mer reached the end of a lone wharf, where a light 
and swift-rowing boat awaited his return, the sec- 
ond report bespoke the impatience of his pursuers 
to be furnished with the necessary guide. 

Though the navigation in this Republic, coastwise, 
now employs a tonnage equalling that used in all the 
commerce of any other nation of Christendom, Eng-^ 
and alone excepted, it was of no great amount at 
he commencement of the eighteenth century. A 
single ship, lying at the wharves, and two or three 
brigs and schooners at anchor in the rivers, composed 
the whole show of sea vessels then in port To these 
were to Wadded some tw^ty smaller eoastes «ad 



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TUB WATISR-WITGfl. 141 

fiver-crafty niost of whom w^re the ^apeless mid 
slow-moving masses which then plied, in voyages of a 
month's duration, between the two principal towns 
of the coloay. The «i^ppeal of the Coquette, there- 
:fore9 at that hour and in that age» was not likely to 
be quiqkly s^qswered. 

The 9^ip had got fairly into the arm of the sefi 
which separates the island of Manhattan from that 
of Nassau, and though it was not then, as now, nar- 
rowed by artificial means, its i\de was so strong as, 
aided by the breeze, to float her swiftly onward. A 
third gun diook the windov^'s of the city, caui^g 
many a worthy burgher to thrust his head through 
his casement ; and yet no boat was seen pulling from 
the land, nor was there any other visible sign that 
the s^al would be speedily obeyed. Still the royal 
cruiser stood steadily on, with sail packed above sail, 
and every sheet of canvas spread, that the direction 
of a wind, which blew a little forward of the beam* 
would allow* 

" We must pull for our own safety, and that of the 
Imgantiiie, my men;" said the Skimmer, springing 
Into his boat and seizing the tiller — *^ A quick stroke, 
aod a strong ! — ^here is no time for holiday feathering, 
or your man-of-war jeik ! Give way, boys ; give way, 
with a will, and t<%ether !" 

These were sounds that had often saluted the ears 
pf men engaged in the hazardous pursuit of his crew. 
The oars fell into the water at the same moment, 
.and, quick a$ thought, the light bark was in the 
strength of the current. 

The short range of wharves was soon passed, and, 
ere maQy minutes, the boat was gliding up with the 
tide, between the bluffs of Long Island and the pro- 
jectioa which forms the angle on that part of Man- 
hattan* Here the Skimmer was induced to shear 
mofe into the centre of tl^ passage, in order to avoid 
.il» «ddlit fom^ l>7 tb^ »oi^k ^ t9 pir^9terye tl^e 



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142 THE WATER-WITCH, 

whole benefit of the current. As the boat approach- 
ed G>erlaBr's, his eye was seen anxiously examining 
the wider reach of the water, that began to open 
above, in quest of his brigantine. Another gun was 
heard. A moment after the report, there followed 
the whistling of a shot ; and then succeeded the re- 
bound on the water, and the glittering particles ot 
the spray. The ball glanced a few hundred feet 
further, and, skipping from place to place, it soon 
sunk into the element. 

'^ This Mr. Ludlow is disposed to kill two birds with 
the same stone>" coolly observed the Skimmer, not 
even bending his head aside, to note the position ot 
the ship* " fie wakes the burghers of the town with 
his noise, while he menaces our boat with his bullets. 
We are seen, my friends, and have no dependence 
but our own nianhood, with some assistance from the 
lady of the sea-green mantle. A quicker stroke, and 
a. strong I You have the Queen's cruiser, befwe you, 
Master Coil ; does she show boats on her quarters, oi 
are the davits empty?" 

The seaman addressed pulled the stroke-oar of the 
boat, and consequently he faced the Coquette. With- 
out in the least relaxing his exertions, he rolled bis 
eyes over the ship, and answered with a steadiness 
that showed him to be a man accustomed to situa- 
tions of hazard. 

''His boat-falls are as loose as a mermaid's locl<8, 
your Honor, and he shows few men in his tops; there 
are enough of the rogues left, however, to give us 
another shot." 

" Her Majesty's servants are early awake, this 
morning. Another stroke or two, hearts of oak, and 
we throw them behind the land r' 

A second shot fell into the water, just without the 

blades of the oars ; and then the boat, obedient to its 

bek*), whirled round the point, and the ship was no 

.loDj;er visible* As .tb« cmiier.wad fibut «» bj the 



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ram wiLTER*wiTGH, 143 

formation of the land, the brigantine came into view 
on the opposite side of Coerlaer's. Notwithstand- 
ing the calmness that reigned in the features of the 
Skimmer, one who studied his countenance closely 
might have seen an expression of concern shadowing 
his manly face, as the Water- Witch first met his eye. 
Still he spoke not, concealing his uneasiness, if in 
truth he felt any, from those whose exertions were 
at that moment of tlie last importance: As the crew 
of the expecting vessel saw their boat, they altered 
their course, and the two were soon together. 

"Why is that signal still flying?" demanded the 
Skimmer, the instant his foot touched the deck of his 
brigantine, and pointing, as he spoke, at the little flag 
that Juttered at the head of the forward mast. 

." We keep it aloft, to hasten off the pilot," was 
the answer. 

" Has not the treacherous knave kept faith?" ex- 
claimed the Skimmer, half recoiling in surprise. " He 
has my gold, and in return I hold fifty of his worth- 
less promises — ^ha ! — the laggard is in yon skiif; ware 
the brig round, and meet him, for moments are as 
precious now as water in a desert." 

The helm was a-weather, and the lively brigantine 
had already turned more than half aside, when an- 
other gun drew every eye towards the point. The 
smoke was seen rising above the bend of the land, 
and presently the bead-sails, followed by all the hull 
and spars of the Coquette, came into view. At that 
instant, a voice from forward announced that the 
pilot had turned, and was rowing with all his powers 
towards the shore. The imprecations that were 
heaped on the head of the delinquent were many 
and deep, but it was no time for indecision. The two 
vessels were not half a mile apart, and now was the 
moment to show the qualities of the Water- Witch. 
Her helm was shifted ; and, as if conscious herself of 
the danger that tbreateaed her liberty, the beautiful 



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144 TItIB WATfiR-WlTCti. 

fobric came sweeping up to her course, and, inclining 
to the breeze, with one heavy flap of the canvas, she 
glided ahead with all her wonted ease. But, the 
royal cruiser w^s a ship of ten thousand 1 For twenty 
minutes, the nicest eye might have been at a loss to 
say which lost or which gained, so equally did the 

Eursuej and the pursued hold on their way. As the 
rigantine was the first, however, to reach the nar- 
row passage formed by Blackweli's, her motion was 
favored by the increasing power of the stream. It 
would seem that this change, slight as it was, did not 
escape the vigilance of those in the Coquette; for 
the gun, which had been silent so long, againt sent 
forth its flame and smoke. Four discharges, in less 
than so many minutes, threatened a serious disad- 
vantage to the free-traders. Shot after shot passed 
among their spars, and opened wide rents in the can- 
vas. A few more such assaults would deprive them 
of their means of motion. Aware of the crisis, the 
accomplished and prompt seaman who governed her 
movements needed but an instant to form his de- 
cision. 

The brigantine was now nearly up with the head 
of BlackwelPs. It was half-flood, on a spring tide. 
The reef that projects from the western end of the 
island far into the reach below, was nearly covered ; 
but still enough was visible to show the nature of 
the barrier it presented to a passage from one shore 
to the other. There was one rock, near the island 
itself, which lifted its black head high above the 
water. Between this dark mass of stone and the 
land, there was an opening of some twenty fatfaoifts 
in width. The Sfcinuner saw, by the even and un- 
broken waves that rolled through the passage, that 
the bottom lay less near to the surface of the water» 
in that opening, than at any other point along the 
line of reef. He commanded the helm a-weatfaer» 
ODce AKtre, aod caimly trusted to ^tbe knie. 



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.N()t a^man on board that bxi^uitine Mia^ aw^^riSj 
that the shot of .the royal cruiser was whistling^ 
between their masts, and. damaging their gear, as 
the little vessel glided into the narrow opening. A; 
single blow on the rock would have been destruction,^ 
and the lesser danger was entirely absorbed in the] 
greater. But, when, the passage was cleare^, 9fia^ 
the true stream in the other channel gained, a conj-. 
nion shout proclaimed both the weight of* their ap-, 

Erehension and their relieC In another minute, <ihe 
ead of Black well's protected them from the shot qf^ 
their pursuers, 

The length of the reef prevented the Coquette,, 
from changing her direction, and her draught of. 
>yatier closed ttfe passajge between the rock and the 
island! Biit the deviation from the straight course? ; 
and the passage of the eddies, had enabled the ship^ , 
which came steadily on, to range up nearly abeam 
of her chase. Both vessels, though separated by the 
long narrow island, were now fairly in the force of 
those currents which glide so swiftly tbrpugh the 
confined passages, A sudden thought glanced on the 
mind of the Skimmer, and he lost no time in blU 
tempting to execute its suggestion. Again the helm 
was put up, and the image of the sea-green lady 
was seen struggling* to stem the rapid waters. Had 
this effort been crowned with success, the triumph 
of her followers would have been complete; sine 
the brigantine might have reached some of the eddie 
pt the reach below, and leaving her heavier pursuer 
to contend with the strength of the tide, she would 
have gained the open sea, by the route over which 
he had so lately passed. But a single minut,e of trial 
convinced the bold mariner that bis decision came, 
too late. The wind was insufficient to pass the gorge, 
and, environed by the land, with a tide that grew 
stronger at each moment, he. saw that delay would 
be destructu>n. Once more the light vessel yielded 



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146 ' THE WATER-"WtTCH- 

to the helm, and, with every thing set to the best ad- 
vantage, she darted along the passage. ^ 

In the mean time, the Coquette had not been idle. 
Borne on by the breeze, and floating with the cur- 
rent, she had even gained upon her chase ; and a 
her lofty and light sails drew strongest over the land 
there was every prospect of her first reaching the 
eastern end of Blackwell's. Ludlow saw his advan- 
^ tiige, and made his preparations accordingly. 

There needs little explanation to render the cir- 
cumstances which brought the royal cruiser up to 
town, intelligible to the reader. As the morning ap- 
proached, she had entered more deeply into the bay; 
and when the light permitted, those on board her 
had been able to see that no vessel lay beneath the 
hills, nor in, any of the more retired places of the 
estuary. A fisherman, however, removed the last of 
their doubts, by reporting that he had seen a vessel, 
whose description answered that of the Water- 
Witch, passing the Narrows in tiie middle watch. 
He added that a swiftly-rowing boat was, shortly 
after, seen pulling in the same direction. This clue 
had been sufficient. Ludlow made a signal for his 
own boats to close the passages of the Kilns and the 
Narrows, and then, as has been seen, he steered di 
rectly into the harbor. 

When Ludlow found himself in the position just 
described, he turned all his attention to the double 
object of preserving his own vessel, and arresting 
that of the free-trader. Though there was still a 
possibility of damaging the spars of the brigantine 
by firing across the land, the feebleness of his own 
crew, reduced as it was by more than half its num- 
bers, the danger of iioing injury to the farm-houses 
that were here and there placed along the low cHfls, 
and the necessity of preparation to meet the critical 
pass ahead, united to prevent the attempt. The 
^hip was na soQner j^idy enter^ into the pass^ b^ 



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THB WATXB-WITCRk ^ 14*7 

tween Blackwell's and Nassau, than he issued an 
order to secure the guns that bad been used, and to 
clear away the anchors. 

" Cock-bill the bowers, Sir,*' he hastily added, in 
his orders to Trysail. " We are in no condition to 
sport with stock-and-fluke ; have every thing ready 
to let go at a word ; and see the grapnels ready,— « 
we will throw them aboard the, smuggler as we close, 
and take him alive. ^ Once fast to tb^ chain, we are 
yet strong enough to h ml bim in under our scuppers, 
and to captui'e him with the pumps ! Is the signal 
still abroad, for a pilot 1 *' 

" We keep it flying, Sir, but 'twill be a swift boat 
that overhauls us in this tide's-way. The Gate be- 
giils at yonder bend in the land. Captain Ludlow I" 

** Keep it abroad ; the lazy r(^ues are sometimes 
loitering in the cove this side the rocks, and chancfe 
may throw one of them aboard us, as we pass, See 
to the anchors. Sir; the ship is driving through this 
channel, like a race-horse under the whip !" 

The men were hurriedly piped to this duty, while 
their young commander took his station on the poop, 
now anxiously examining the courses of the tides 
and the positions of the eddies, and now turning his 
eyes towards the brigantine, whose upper spars and 
white sails were to be seen, at the distance of two 
hundred fathoms, glancing past the trees of the isl- < 
and. But miles and minutes seemed like rods and 
moments, hi that swift current. Trysail had just re- 
ported the' anchors ready, when the ship swept up 
abreast of the cove, where vessels often seek an an- 
chorage, to await favorable moments for entering 
the Gate. Ludlow saw, at a glance, that the place 
was entirely empty. For an instant he yielded to 
the heavy responsibility — a responsibility before 
which a seaman sooner shrinks than before any 
other — that of charging himself with the duty of 
the pilot ; and he tk^ught of running into the an« 



dbyGoogle"^ 



14S nOD WJKtVIUWif tift. 

chorage for shelter. But ario<)ier glimpse at the'spaA 
of the brigantine caused him to waver. 

"We are near the Gate, Sir!*' cried Trysail, in a 
Voice that was full of warning. 

" Yon daring mariner stands on !** 

** The rogue sails his vessel without the Queen^ 
permission. Captain Ludlow. They tell me, Uiis is a 
passage that has been well named !'' 

" I have been through it, and will vouch ^or ifi 
character — ^he shows no signs of anchoring !" ** 

"If the woman who points his Course can carry 
him through safely, she deserves her title. We arc 
passing the Cove, Captain Ludlow !" 

"We are past it!" returned Ludlow, hreathiiig 
heavily. " Let there be no whisper in the ship- 
pilot or no pilot, we now sink or swim I" 

Trysail had ventured to remonstrate, while there 
was a possibility of avoiding the dangler^ but, lite 
his commander, he now saw thkt all <lepended on 
the;ir own coolness and care. He passed busily among 
the crew; saw that each brace and howline was 
manned ; cautioned the few young officers who con« 
timied on board to vigilance, and then awaited the 
orders of his superior, with the composure that is so 
necessary to a seaman in the moment of trial. Lud- 
low himself, while he felt the load of responsibility 
» he had assumed, succeeded equally well in main- 
tiining an outward calm. -The ship was irretriev- 
ably in the Gatefand no human power could retrace 
the step- At such moments of intense arijtiety, thfe 
human mind is wont to seek support in the opinions 
of others. Notwithstanding the increasing velocity 
and the critical condition of his own vessel, Ludlow 
cast a glance, in order to ascertain the determination 
of the * Skimmer of the Seas.' Blackwell's was al- 
ready behind them, and as the two currents were 
&gain united, the brigantine had luffed up into the 
wtrftnee^ tbe^danseroua passage, «nd&oi^fcilQi;i^ 



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i' 



THE WATSH'WITCS. 149 

vdtbm two hundred feet of the G>qaett€^ directly in 
her wake. The bold and manly-looking marinert 
who controlled her, stood between the night-head^ 

J'ust above the image of his pretended mistress, whe^ 
e examined theibaming reefs, the whirling eddie^^ 
and the varying currents, with folded arms and a 
nveted eye. A glance was exchanged between the 
two officers, and the free-trader raised his sea-cap. 
Ludlow was too courteous not to return the saluta- 
tion, and then all his senses were engrossed by the 
care of his ship. A rock lay before them, over 
which the water broke in a loud and unceasing roar. 
Tor an ipstant it seemed that the vessel could ^jot 
avoid the danger, and then it was already past. 

" Brace up !*' said Ludlow, in the calm tones that 
denote a forced tranquillity. 

"Luff!" called out J:he Skimmer, so quickly as to 
show that he took the movements of the cruiser for 
bis.guide. The ship came closer to the wind, but 
the sudden bend in the stream no longei: permitted 
her to steer in a direct line with its course. Though 
drifting to windward with vast rapidity, her way 
through the water, which was greatly increased by 
the contrary actions of the wind and tide, cauaed the 
cruiser to shoot across the current; while a reefe 
over which the water madly tumbled, lay immedi- 
ately, in her course. The danger seemed too immi- 
nent for the observances of nautical etkjuette, and 
.Trysail railed aloud that the ship must be thrown 
aback, or she was lost. 

" Hard-a-lee ! " shouted Ludlow, in the strong 
voice of authority. — " Up with every thing — tacks 
and sheets ! — main-top-sail haul ! " 

The slii^j seemed as conscious of her danger as any 
on her decks. The bow* whirled away from the 
foaming rc^f, and as tlie sails caught the breeze on 
their opposite ^iirfaces, they aided in bringing her 
heajiia the .xmtrary direction. A uunute h94.icaj^Qfi^ 
N2 ' 



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fly pa^ed ere she t\ras aWk, arrd in itie fiext'^ 
%<ras about and full again. The hitenrity of the brid 
'Cxertjon kept Trysail fiilly enfployed; but no ^ddfiigr 
-had he leisure to look ahead, than be £ig^in called 
•aloud — 

"Here is another roarer under her bowa; — ^luflT 
Sir, luff, or we. are upon it 1*' 

**Hard down your helm!" once again came in 
-deep tones from Ludlow—" Let fly your sheets — 
'throw all aback, forward and aft — away with the 
'yards, with a will, men !" 

There was need for all of these precautions. 
Though the ship had so happily escaped the dan- 
gers of the first reef, a turbulent and roaring cal-, 
'dron in the water, which, as representing the ele- 
ment in ebullition, is called * the Pot,' lay so directly 
^before her, as to render the danger apparently inevi- 
table. But the power of the canvas was not lost on 
this trying occasion. The forward motion of the ship 
diminished, and as the current still swept her swiftly 
to windward, her bows did not enter the rolling 
waters until the hidden rocks which caused the com- 
motion had been passed. The yielding vessel rose 
Bpd fell in the agitated Avater, as if in homage to 
the whirlpool ; but the deep keel was unharmed. 

" If the ship shoot ahead twice her length more, 
her bows will touch the eddy !" exclaimed ^he vigi- 
lant master. 

Ludlow looked around him, for a single moment, 
in indecision. The waters were whirling and roaring 
"jtm every side, and the sails began to lose their power, 
as the ship drew near the bluff which forms the 
second angle in >this critical pass. He saw, by ob- 
jects on the land, that he still approached the shore, 
^nd he had recourse to the seaman's Is^st expedient 
• " Let go both anchors !" was the final order. 

-The &U of the massive iron into the water, Wa« 



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Tim WATERrWlTCiH, 161 

iellbrt tb ch^ck the progt^ss of the vessel, appeared 
to threaten dissolution to the whole fabric, which 
trembled tinder the shock from its mast-heads to the 
keel. But the enormous rope again yielded, and 
smoke was seen rising round the wood which held it. 
The ship whirled with the sudden check, and sheered 
wildly in towards the shore. Met by the helm, and 
again checked by the efforts^ of the crew, she threat- 
ened t6 defy restraint. There was an instant when 
all on board eicpected to hear the cable snap ; but 
the upper sails filled, and as the wind was now 
brought over the taffrail, the force of the current 
was in a great degree met by that of the breeze. 

The ship answered her helm and became station- 
ary, while the water foamed against her cut-water, 
as if she were driven ahead with the power of a brisk 
breeze. 

The tinrte, from the moment when the Gxjuette 
entered the Gate, to that when she anchoi'ed below 
* the Pot,' though the distance was near a mile, seemed 
but a minute. Certain however that his ship was 
now checked, the thqughts of Ludlow returned 'to 
their other duties with the quickness of lightning. 

"Clear away the grapnels!" he eagerly cried — 
" Stand by to heave, and haul in ! — heave !" 

But, that the reader may better comprehend the 
motive of this sudden order, he must consent to re- 
turn to the entrance of the dangerous passage, and 
accompany the Water-Witch, also, in her hazardous 
experiment to get through without a pilot 

The abortive attempt of the brigantine to stem 
the tide at the western end of Blacl^elPs, will be 
remembered. It had no other effect than to place 
her pursuer more in advance, and to convince her 
own commander that he had now no other resource 
than to continue his course ; for, had he anchored, 
boats would have insutcjd his capture. When the 
'tNfto?^»^aiela^j^feaf^otf the'oa g to io eod^iheislftit'd. 



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152 TRfi WATER-VHTCH. 

the Coquette wa» ahead, — a fact that the experienced 
free-trader did not at all regret He profited by the 
circumstance to foUow her movements, and to make 
a favorable entrance into the uncertain currents. To 
him, Hell-Gate was known only by its fearful repu- 
tation among naariners ; and unless he might avail 
himself of the presence of the cruiser, he had no 
other guide than his own general knowledge of the 
power of the element. 

When the Coquette had tacked, the cakn and ob- 
servant Skimmer was satisfied with throwing hi3 
head-sails flat to the mast. From that Instant, the 
brigantine lay floating in the current, neither advan- 
cing nor receding a foot, and always keeping her 
position at a safe distance from the ship, that was so 
adroitly made to answer the purposes of a beacon. 
The sails were watched with the closest care ; and 
so nicely was the delicate machine tended, that it 
would have been, at any moment, in her people's 
power to have lessened her way, by turning to the 
stream. The Coquette was followed till she anchored, 
and the call on board the cruiser to heave the grap- 
nels had been given, because the brigantine' was ap- 
parently floating directly down on her broadside. 

When the grapnels were hove from the royal 
cruiser, the free-trader stood on the low poop of his 
little vessel, within fifty feet of him who had issued 
the order. There was a smile of indifference on his 
firm mouth, while he silently waved a hand to his 
own crew. The signal was obeyed by bracing round 
their yards, and suffering all the canvas to fill. The 
brigantine shot quickly ahead, and the useless irons 
fell heavily into the Water. 

*' Many thanks for your pilotage, Captain Lud- 
low !" cried the daring and successful mariner of the 
shaw', as his vc-^scl, borne on by wind and current, 
receded rapidly from the cruiser — ^**You will find 
&c off Montaiiki ibr aSkin &tiU ke^ U3 on the- 



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.THE WATER-tnTck. 15^ 

coast. Our lady has, however, put on the blue 
Tuantle; and ere many settings of the sun, we shall 
look for deep water. Take good care of Her Majes- 
ty's §hip, I pray thee, for she hcis neither a more 
beautiful nor a faster !" 

One thought succeeded another with the tumult 
»f a torrent, in the mind of Ludlow. As the brigan- 
tine lay directly under his broadside, the first impulse 
was to use his guns ; but at the next moment he was 
conscious, that before they could be cleared, distance 
;would render them useless.' His lips had nearly 
parted with intent to order the cables cut, but he 
remembered the speed of the brigantine, and hesi- 
tated. A sudden freshening of the breeze decided 
his course. Finding that the ship was enabled to 
- keep her station, he ordered the crew to thrust the 
whole of the enormous ropes through the hawse- 
holes ; and, freed from the restraint, he abandoned 
the anchors, until an opportunity to reclaim thetn 
should offer. 

The operation of slipping the cables consumed 
several minutes ; and when the Coquette, with 
every thing set, was again steering in pursuit, the 
Water-Witch was already beyond the reach of her 
guns. Both vessels, however, held on their way, 
keeping as near as possible to the centre of the 
Stream, and trusting more to fortune, than to any 
knowledge of the channel, for safety. 

When passing the two small islands that lie at no 

great distance from the Gate, a boat was seen moving 

towards the royal cruiser. A man in it pointed to 

Ihe signal, which was still flying, anxi oflered his 

$rvices. 

" Tell me," demanded Ludlow eagerly, " has yon 
der brigantine taken a pilot?" , 

" By her movements, I judge not. She brushed 
the sunken rock, off the mouth of Flushing-bay ; 
ftfid-^^ihie mssed, 'Mieard*tfa(s iK>ng of the I^d. I 



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154 THE WATER-WITCH. 

should have gone on hoard niyself, hut the fellow 
rather flies than sails; and as Tor signals, he seems 
to nnipd none but his own !" 

** Bring us up with hini, and fifty guuieas is thy 
reward!" 

The slow-moving pilot, who in truth had just awoke 
from a refreshing sleep, opened his eyes, and seemed 
to gather a new impulse from the promise. When 
his questions were asked and answered, he hegan 
deliberately to count on his fingers all the chances 
that still existed of a vessel, whose crew was igno- 
rant of the navigation, falling into their hands. 

" Admitting that, by keeping mid-channel, she 
goes clear of White Stone and Frogs," he said, giving 
to Thrc^morton's its vulgar name, " he must be a 
wizard, to know that the Stopping-Stones lie directly 
across his course, and that a vessel must steer away 
northerly, or bring up on rocks that will as surely 
hold him as if fie were built there. Then he runs 
his chance for the Executioners, which are as pret- 
tily placed as needs be, to make our trade flourish ; 
besides the Middle Ground further east, though 1 
count but little on that, having often tried to find it 
myself, without success. Courage, noble captain I if 
the fellow be the man you say, we shall get a nearer 
look at him before the sun sets ; for certainly he who 
has run the Gate without a pilot in safety, has had 
as much good luck as can fall to his share in one 
day." 

The opinion of the East River Branch proved er- 
roneous. Notwithstanding: the hidden perils by which 
she was environed, the Water- Witch, continued her 
course, with a speed that increased as the wind rose 
with the sun, and with an impunity from harm that 
amazed alt who were in the secret of her situation, 
^Off Throgmorton's there was, in truth, a danger that 
might even have baflfled the sagacity of the followers 
of the mysterious lady, had they not been aided by 



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THE WATSSR-WITOB. 155 

accident This is the point where the straitened 
arm of the sea expands into the basin of the Soun^. 
A broad and inviting passage lies directly before the 
navigator, while, like the flattering prospects of life, 
numberless hidden obstacles are in wait to arrest the 
unheeding and ignorant. 

The * Skimmer of the Seas* was deeply practised 
in all the intricacies and dangers of the shoals and 
rocks. Most of his life had been passed in threading 
the one, or in. avoiding the other. So keen and quick 
had his eye become, in detecting the presence of any 
of those signs which forewarn the mariner of danger, 
that a ripple on the surface, or a deeper shade in the 
color of the water, rarely escaped his vigilance. 

• Seated on the topsail-yard of his brigantine, he had 
overlooked the passage from the moment they were 
through the Gate, and issued his mandates to those 
below with a precision and promptitude that were 
not surpassed by the trained conductor of the Co- 
quette himself. But when his sight embraced the 
wide reach of water that lay in front, as his little 
vessel swept round the head-land of Throgmorton, 
he believed there no longer existed a reason for so 
much care. Still there was a motive for hesitation. 
A heavily-moulded and dull-sailing coaster was going 
ea-itward not a league ahead of the brigantine, while 
one of the light sloops of those waters was coming 
westward still further in the distance. Notwithstand- 
ing the wind was favorable to each alike, both vessels 
had deviated from the direct line, and were steering 
towards a common centre, near an island that was - 
placed more than a mile to the northward of the 
straight course. A mariner, like^him of the India- 
shawl, could not overlook so obvious an intimation of 

♦ a change in the channel. The Water-Witch was 
kept away, and her lighter sails were lowered, in 
order to. allow the royal cruiser, whose lofty canvas 
was plainly viaible above t)ie land^ to draw near. 



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154 %m^ lyAom-wiTf^ 

When the Coquette was seen, also to.diyerge» thero; 
t)o loDg^r rems^i^ed a doubt of the directien n^cess^r; 
to be taken ; and every thing was quickly set upo^. 
the brigantine, even to her studding-sails. Long, 
ere she reached th6 island, the two coasters had met 
and each again changed its coui-se, reversing tha 
on which tkie other had: just been sailing. There 
was, in these movements, as plain an explaoation s^ 
a seaman could desire, that the pursued were right 
On reaching the island, therefore, they again lulled, 
into the wake of the schooner ; and having nearly 
crossed the sheet of water, they passed the coast^i*, 
receiving an assurance, in words, that all was now, 
plain sailing, before them. 

Such was the famous passage of the * Skiinmer of- 
the Seas' through the multiplied and hidden dangers 
of the eastern channel. .To those who have thus ac- 
companied him, step by step, though its intricacies 
and alarms, there may seem nothing extraordinary 
in thp event ; but, coupled as it was with the char- 
acter previously earned by that bold mariner, and 
occurring, as it did, in an age when men were more, 
disposed than at present to put faith in the marveU 
lous, the reader will not be surprised to learn that it 
greatly increased his reputation for daring, and had 
no small influence on an opinion, which was by no 
means uncommon, that the dealers in contraband 
were singularly favored by a power w^hich greatly 
exceeded that of Queen Anne and all her servants. 



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THE WATfiS^WlTOll* 167 



CHAPTER XL 

**— Tbon Shalt aee me at Philippi." 

SHAXsnABB. 

The commander of Her Britannic Majesty's ship 
Coquette slept that night in the hammock-cloths. Be- 
fore the sun had set, the light and swift brigantine, 
by following the gradual bend of the land, had dis- 
appeared in the eastern board ; and it was no longer 
a question of overtaking her by speed. Still, sail 
was crowded on the royal cruiser ; and, long ere the, 
period when Ludlow threw himself in his clothes be- 
tween the ridge-ropes of the quarter-deck, the vessel 
^ had gained the broade?t part of the Sound, and was 
already approaching the islands that form the * Race.' 

Throughout the whole *of that long and anxious 
day, the young sailor had held no communication 
with the inmates of the cabin. The servants of the 
ship had passed to and fro ; but, though the door sel- 
dom opened that he did not bend his eyes feverishly 
in its direction, neither the Alderman, his niece, the 
captive, nor even Francois or the negress, made their 
appearance on the deck. If any there felt an in- 
terest in the result of the chase, it was concealed in 
a profound and almost mysterious silence. Deter 
mined not to be outdone in indifference, and goaded 
by feelings which with all his pride he could not 
overcome, our young seaman took possession of the 
place of rest we have mentioned, without using any 
measures to resume the intercourse. 

When the first watch of the night was come, sail 
was shortened on the ship, and from that moment till 
the day davirned again, her captain seemed buried 
in sleep. With the appearance of the sun, however, 
he arosie, and commanded the canvas to be spreac^ 

Voi^U. O 



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I5S: THE WA^SBi^WirCU. 

once more, and every exertion made to drive the 
vessel forward to her object. 

The Coquette reached the Race early in the day, 
and, shooting through the passage on an ebb-tide, she 
was off Montauk at noon. No sooner had the ship 
drawn past the cape, and reached a point where she 
felt the breeze and the waves of the Atlantic, than 
men were sent aloft, and twenty eyes were curiously 
employed in examining the offing. Ludlow remember- 
ed the promise of the Skimmer to meet him at that 
spot, and, notwithstanding the motives which the latter 
might be supposed to have for avoiding the interview 
so great was the influence of the free-trader's mat 
ner and character, that the young captain enter- 
tained secret expectations the promise would be kept. 

"The offing is clear!" said the young captain, in 
a tone of disappointment, when he lowered his glass; 
"and yet that rover does not seem a man to hide his 
head in fear " 

** Fear — that is to say, fear of a Frenchman — and 
a decent respect for Her Majesty's cruisers, are vety 
different sorts of things," returned the master. " I 
never got a bandanna, or a bottle of your Cogniac 
ashore, in my life, that I did not think every man 
that I passed in the street, could see the spots in the 
one, or scent the flavor- of the other; but then I 
never supposed this shyness amounted to more than 
a certain suspicion in my own mind, that other peo- 

Fle know when a man is running on an illegal course, 
suppose that one of youj rectors, who is snugly an- 
chored for life in a good warm living, would call this 
conscience;, but, for my own part, Captain Ludlow,, 
though no great logician in matters of this sort, I 
have always believed that it was natural concern ot 
mind lest the articles should be seized. If this • Skim- 
mer of the Seas' comes out to give us another chase, 
in rough water, he is by no means as good a judge 
«f the difference between a large aiHl a small veasd. 



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THE WATER-WITCH, 1&9 

as I had thought hhn — and I confess, Sir, I should 
have more hopes of taking him, were the woman 
under his bowsprit fairly burnt." 

" The offing is clear !" 

" That it is, with a show of the wind holding here 
at south-half-sottth. This bit of water that we have 
passed, Jbetween yon island apd the main, is lined 
with bays ; and while we are here looking out for 
them on the high seas, the cunning varlets may be 
trading in any one of the fifty good basins that lie 
between the cape and the place where we lost him. 
For aught we know, he may have run westward? 
again in the night-watches, and be at this moment 
laughing in his sleeve at the manner in which he 
dodged a cruiser." 

" There is too much truth in what you say, Try- 
sail ; for if the Skimmer be now disposed to^ avoid us, 
he has certainly the means in his power." 

"Sail, ho!" cried the look-out on the main-top- 
gallant-yard. 

" Where-a-way t " 

** Broad on the weather-beam. Sir; herej, in a range 
with the light cloud that is just lifting from the. 
water." 

" Can you make out the rig ? " 

" 'Fore George, the fellow is right!" interrupted 
the master. " The cloud caused her to be unseen ; 
b^t here she is, sure enough,— a full-rigged ship, un- 
der easy canvas, with her head to tlie westward !" ^ 

The. look of Ludlow through the glass was longi 
attentive, and grave. 

"We are weak-handed to deal with a stranger;" 
he said, when he returned the instrument to Trysail 
* You see he has nothing but his topsails set, — a show 
of canvas that would satisfy no trader, in a breeze 
like this!" ^ 

The. master, was silent, but his look was even Ion* 
gerdadizior&jcriUcal.lbauibat4atf.bis.£a|pt&iQ#. Wbea 



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IdO THE WATER- WITCH. 

it had ended, he cast a cautious ^ance towards the 
dimioisbed crew, who were curiously regarding the 
vessel that had now become sufficiently distinct by a 
change in the position of the cloudy and then an- 
swered, in an under tone : — 

" 'Tis a Frenchman, or I am a whule ! One may 
see it, by his short yar^s, and the hoist of his sails 
ay, and 'tis a cruiser, too, for no man who had a 
profit to make on his freight, would be lying there 
under short canvas, and his port within a day's run." 

" Your opinion is my own ; would to Heaven our 
people were all here ! This is but a short comple- 
ment to take into action" with a ship whose force 
seems equ^l to our own. What number can we 
count?" 

" We are short of seventy, — a small muster for 
four-and-twenty guns, with yards like these to han- 
dle." 

" And yet the port may not be insulted I We are 
known to be on this coast " 

" We are seen!" interrupted the master — ^**The 
fellow has worn ship, and he is already setting his 
top-gallant-sails." 

There no longer remained any choice between 
downright flight and preparations for combat. The 
former would have been easy^ for. an hour would 
have taken the ship within the cape ; but the latter 
was far more in consonance with the spirit of the 
service to which the Coquette belonged. The order 
was therefore given for " all hands to clear ship jor 
action !" It was in the reckless nature of sailors, to 
exult in this summons ; for success and audacity gc 
hand in hand, and long familiarity with the first had, 
even at that early day, given a confidence that often 
approached temerity to the seamen of Great Britain 
and her dependencies. The mandate to prepare for 
battle was received by the feeble crew of the Co- 
quette, as it bad often been received before, wbeu 



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TUZ WAtSR-WITCfiU 161 

Ker decks were filled with the number neeessarj to 
give fall efficiency to her armament $ though a few 
of the <dder and more experienced of the manners^ 
men in. whon» confidence had been diminished hy 
lime, were seen to shake their heads, as if they 
doubted the prudence of the intended contest. 

Whatever might have been the secret hesitation 
of Ludlow when the character and force of his ene- 
my were clearly established, he betrayed no signs 
of irresolution from the moment when his decision 
appeared to be taken. The necessary orders were 
issued calmly, and with the clearness and readiness 
that perhaps constitute the greatest merit bf'a naval 
captain. The yards were slung in chains ; the booms 
were sent down ; the lofty sails were furled^ and, in 
short, all the preparations that were then customary 
were made with the usual promptitude and skill. 
Then the drum beat to quarters, and when the peo- 
ple were at their stations, their young commander 
had a better opportunity of examining into the true 
efficiency of his ship. Calling to the master, he as- 
cended the poop, in order that they might confer to- 
gether with less risk/of being overheard, and at the 
same time better observe the manoeuvre's of the 
enemy. 

The stranger had, as Trysail perceived, suddenly 
worn round on his heel, and laid his head to the 
northward. The change in the course brought him 
before the wind, and, as he immediately spread all 
the canvas that would draw, he was approaching 
fast. During the time occupied in preparation on 
board the Coquette, his hull had risen as it were from 
ojttt of the water; and Ludlow and his companion 
had not studied his appearance long, from the poop, 
before the streak of white paint, dotted with ports* 
which marks a vessel of war, became visible to the 
imk^deye; As the cruiser of Queen Anne continued 
ftiaOjta slecxxflrthe direction of ti^ ch&sGf half an 
08 



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162 THS WATSR*>VnTCH. 

hour more brotight them, sufficiently near to each 
other, to remove all doubts of their respective char- 
acters and force. The stranger then came to the 
wind, and made his preparations for combat 

**The fellow shows a stout heart, and a warm 
battery," observed the master, when the broadside 
of their enemy, became visible, by this change in his 
position. " Six-and-twenty teetn, by my count I 
though the eye-teeth must be wanting, or he would 
never be so fool-hardy as to brave Queen Anne's 
Coquette in this impudent fashion ! A prettily tomed 
boat, Captain Ludlow, and one nimble enough in 
her movements. But look at his topsails 1 Just like 
his character, Sir, all hoist ; and with little or no 
head to them. Til not deny but that the hull is well 
enough, for that is no more than carpenter's work ; 
but when it comes to the rig, or trim, or cut of a sail, 
how should a I'Orient or a Brest man understand 
what is comely? There is no equalling, after all, a 
good, wholesome, honest English topsail; which is 
neither too narrow in the head, nor too deep in the 
hoist ; with a bolt-rope of exactly the true size, ro- 
bands and earings and bowlines that look as if they 
grew there, and sheets that neither nature nor art 
could alter to advantage. Here are these Americans^ 
now, making innovations in ship-building, and in the 
sparring of vessels, as if any thing could be gained 
by quitting the customs and ophiions of their ances* 
tors 1 Any man may see that all they have about 
them, that is good for any thing, is &)glish; while 
all their nonsense, and new-fangled changes, come 
from their own vanity." 

** They get along. Master Trysail, notwithstand 
ing," returned the captain, who, though a sufficient- » 
ly loyal subject, could not forget his birth-place; 
'* and many is the time this ship, one of the finest 
models of Plymouth, has been bothered to overhaul 
the Qoaj^tei^ of these deas. Here is ^e Jw^aatiiiG^ 



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THE WATSa-WITO^. 1*68 

(hat has laughed at us, on our best tack, and with 
our choice of wind." 

" One cannot say where that brigantine was built, 
Captain Ludlow. It may be here, it may be there ; 
for I look upon her as a nondescript, as dd Admiral 
Top used to call the galliots of the north seas — ^but, 
concerning these new American fashipns, of what use 
are they, I would ask, Captain Ludlow ? In the first 
place, they are neither English nor French, which 
is as much as to confess they are altogether outland- 
ish; in the second place, they disturb the harmony 
and established usages among wrights and sail- 
makers, and, though they may get along well enough 
noW; sooner or later, take my word for it, they will 
come to harm. It is unreasonable^o suppose that a 
new people can discover any thing in the construc- 
tion of a ship, that has escaped the wisdom of sea- 
men as old — the Frenchman is cluhig up his top- 
gallant-sails, and means to let them hang ; which is 
jnuch the- same as condemning them at once, — and, 
thesefore, I am of opinion that all these new fashions 
will come to no good." 

" Your reasoning is absolutely conclusive, Master 
TrysaiL" returned the captain, whose thoughts were 
differently employed. " I agree with you, it would 
be safer for the stranger to send down his yards." 

" There is something manly and becoming in see- 
ing a ship strip herself, as she comes into action, Sir ! 
It is like a boxer taking off his jacket, with the in- 
tention of making a fair stand-up fight of it. — That 
fellow is filling away again, and means to manoeuvre 
before he comes up fairly to his work." 

The eye of Ludlow had never quitted the stranger. 
He saw that the moment for serious action was not 
distant; and, bidding Trysail keep the vessel on her 
course, he descended to the quarter-deck. For a 
single instant, the youns commander paused, with Iiis 



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164 mC WATSR-WITCH. 

hand o& the door of the cahin, and then, overeon^^ 
his reluctance;, he entered the apartment 

The Coquette was built after a fashion much in 
vogue a century since, and which, by a fickleness 
that influences marine architecture as "well as less 
important things, is again coming into use, for vessels 
of her force. The accommodations of the command- 
er were on the same deck with the batteries of the 
ship, and they were frequently made^ contain two 
or even four guns of the armament. When Ludlow 
entered his cabin, therefore, he found a crew station^ 
ed around the gun which was placed on the side next 
the enemy, and all the customary arrangements 
made which precede a combat. The state-rooms 
abaft, however, as well as the little apartment which 
lay between them, were closed. Glancing his eye 
about him, and observing the carpenters in readi- 
ness, he made a signal for them to knock away the 
bulk-heads, and lay the whole of the fighting part of 
the ship in common. While this duty wal going cm, 
he entered the after-cabin. 

Alderman Van Beverout and his companions were 
found together, and evidently in expectation of the 
visit they now received. Passing coolly by the for- 
mer, Ludlow approached his niece, and, taking her 
hand, he led her to the quarter-deck, making a siga 
for her female attendant to follow. Descending into 
the depths of the ship, the captain conducted his 
chaise into a part of the berth-deck, that was below 
the water line, and as much removed from danger 
as she could well be, without encountering a foul 
air, or sights that might be painful to one of her sex 
and habits. 

«* Here is as much safety as a vessel of war a^rds, 
in a moment like this," he said, when his companion 
was silently seated on a mess-chest "On no' ac- 
count quit the. spot, till I-— or some otilGFf advise joa 
it may be done without hazard." 



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THE WATER-WITCH, 166 

Alida had Submitted to be led thither, without a 
question. Though her color went and came, she 
saw the little dispositions that were made for her 
comfort, and without which, even at that moment, 
the young sailor could not quit her, in the ScTine 
silence. But when they were ended, and her con- 
ductor was about to retire, his name escaped her 
lips, by an exclamation that seemed hurried and in- 
voluntary. 

" Can I do aught else to quiet your apprehen-- 
sions T" the young man inquired, though he studiously 
avoided her eye, as he turned to put the question. 
" I know your strength of mind, and that you have a 
resolution which exceeds the courage of your sex ; 
else I would not venture so freely to point out the 
danger which may beset one, even here, without a 
self-command and discretion that shall restrain all 
«udden impuFses of fear.'* 

"Notwithstanding your generous interpretation 
of my character, Ludlow, I am but woman after 
alL" 

". I did not mistake you for an amazon," returned 
the young man smiling, perceiving that she checked 
her words by a sudden effort. " AIKI expect from 
you is the triumph of reason over female terror. 1 
shall not conceal that the odds — ^perhaps I may say 
that the chances, are against us ; and yet the enemy 
mast pay for my ship, ere he has her! She vnll be 
none the worse defended, Alida, from the conscious^ 
ness that thy liberty and comfort depend in some 
measure on our exertions. — ^Would you say more?'* 

La belle Barbaric struggled with herself, and she. 
became calm, at least in exterior. 

" There has been a singular misconception be 
tween us, and yet is this no moment for explana- 
tions I Ludlow, 1 would not have you part with me, 
at such a time as this, with that cold oad reproachful 



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J 60 THJC WATER-WITCII. 

She paused. When the young man ventured to 
raise his look, he saw the beautiful girl standing with 
a hand extended towards him, as if offering a pledge 
of amity ; while the crimson on her cheek, and her 
yidding but half-averted eye, spoke with the elo- 
<{uence of maiden modesty. Seizing the hand, he 
answered, hastily — 

' " Time was, when this action would have made 
me happy " 

The young man paused, for his gaze had uncon- 
sciously become ri^reted on the rings of the hand he 
held. Alida understoijd the look, and, drawing one 
of the jewels/ she ofiered it with a smile that was as 
attractive as her beauty. . 

" One of these may be spared," she said. " Take 
it, Ludlow ; and when thy present duty shall be per- 
formed, return it, as a gage that I have promised 
thee that no explanation which you*n?ay have a 
right to ask shall be withheld." . 

The young man took the ring, and forced it on the 
smallest of his fingers, in a mechanical manner, and 
with a bewildered look, that seemed to inquire if 
some one of those which remained was not the token 
of a plighted faith. It is probable that he might 
have continued the discourse, had not a gun been 
fired from the enemy. It recalled him to the more 
serious business of the hour. Already more than 
half disposed to believe all he could wish, he raised 
the fair hand, which had just bestowed the boon, to 
fais lips, and rushed upon deck. 

" The Monsieur is beginning to bluster ;" said Try- 
flail, who had witnessed the descent of his rommand- 
er, at that moment and on such an errand, with 
great dissatisfaction. " Although his shot fell short, 
it is too much to let a Frenchman have the credit of 
the first word." 

'^ {le has merely gi vian the weather gem, the signal 



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THE WATXE-WITO^ > 147 

of defiance* Let him come down, and be will not 
find U9 in a hurry to leave him T' 

"No, no: as for that, ^ye are snug enough!" re- 
turned the master, chuckling as he surveyed the 
half-naked spars, and the light top-hamper,- to which 
he had himself reduced the ship. " If running is to 
be our play, we have made a false movie at the be- 
ginning of the game. These topsails, spanker, and 
jib, make a show that says more for bottom than for 
speed. Well, come what will of this affair, it will 
leave me a master, though it is beyond the power of 
the best duke in England to rob me of my share of 
the honor !" 

With this consolation for his perfectly hopeless 
condition as respects promotion, the old seaman 
walked forward, examining critically into the state 
of the vessel ; while his young commander, having 
cast a look about him, motioned to las prisoner and 
the Alderman to follow to the poop. 

** I do not pretend to inquire into the nature of the 
tie which unites you with some in this ship," Ludlow 
commenced, addressing his words to Seadrift, though 
he kept his gaze on the recent gift of Alida ; " but, 
that it must be strong, is evident by ;the interest they 
have taken in your fate. One who is thus esteemed 
should set a value on^ himself. How far yi>u have 
trifled with the laws, I do not wish to say ; but here 
is an opportunity to redeena some of the public favor. 
You are a seaman, and need not be told that my ship 
is not as strongly manned as one could wish her at 
this moment, and that the services of every English- 
man will be welcome. Take charge of these six 
guns, and depend on my honor that your devotion to 
the^flag shall not go unrequited." 

" You much mistake my vocation, noble captain f" 
returned the dealer in contraband, faintly laughing. 
" Though one of the seas, I am one more used to the 
caUxrlatitudestbai^tothm whirlvviQd»of w^ You 



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168 THE WATER-WITCH. 

have visited the brigantine of our mistress, and must 
tiave seen that her temple resembles that of Janus 
more than that of Mars. The deck of the Wf.ter- 
Witch has none of this frowning garniture of artil- 
lery." 

Ludlow listened in amazement. Surprise, incre- 
dulity, and scori), were each, in turn, expressed in 
his frowning countenance. 

"This is unbecoming language for one of your 
calling," he said, scarce deeming it necessary to con- 
ceal the contempt he felt " Do you acknowledge 
fealty to this ensign — are you an Englishman ?" 

•* 1 am such as Heaven was pleased to make me — 
fitter for the zephyr, than the gale — ^the jest, than 
the war-shout^ — the merry moment, than the angry 
mood." 

" Is this the man whose name for daring has passed 
into a proverb? — the dauntless, reckless, skilful • Skim- 
mer of the Seas!'" 

" North is not more removed from souths than I 
from him in the qualities you seek ! It, was not my 
duty to undeceive you as to the value of your cap- 
tive, while he whose services are beyond price to our 
mistress was still on the coast. So far from being 
him you name, brave captain, I claim to be no more 
than one of his agents, who, having some experience 
m the caprices of woman, he trusts to recommend 
his wares to female fancies. Though so useless in 
inflicting injuries, I may make bold however to rate 
myself as excellent at consolation. Sufier that I ap- 
pease the fears of ki belle Barberie during the com- 
ing tumult, and you shall own that one more skilful 
in that merciful office is rare indeed !" 

" Comfort whom, where, and what thou wilt, nws- . 
erable effigy of manhood 1 — but hold, th^re is less 
of terror tlian of artifice in that lurking smile and 
reacherouseye!" 

** Discredit both, generctus captain ! On the faith 



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rf one who can be ^ncere at need, a wholesome feai* 
is uppermost, whatever else the disobedient members 
may betray. I eould fain weep rather than be 
thouglft nraiiant, just nowT* 

Ludlow listened in wonder. He had raised an 
tmn to arrest the retreat <rf the young mariner, and 
by a natural movement his hand slid along the limb 
it had grasped, until it held that of* Seadrift. The 
instant "he touched the soft and ungloved palm, an 
idea, as novel as it was sudden, crossed hi^ brain. 
Retreating a step or two, he examined the light am! 
agile form of the other, from head to feet. Thfe 
frowii of displeasure, which had clouded his brow, 
changed to a look of unfeigned surprise ; and for the 
first time, the t^nes of the voice came over his recoW 
iecti^n as being softer and more melodious than 13 
wont in man. 

'* Truly, thou art not the < Skimmer of the Seas ! ' "^ 
he exclaimed, when his short examination was endedw 

** No* truth more certain. I am one of little ac- 
count in this rude encounter, though, were that' 
gallant seaman here," and the color deepened on the 
cheeks of Seadrift as he spoke, *• his arm and counsel 
might prove a host ! Oh 1 I have seen him in scenes 
far more trying than this, when the elements have 
conspired with other dangers. The example of his 
steadiness and spirit has given courage even to the 
feeblest heart in the brigantine I Now, suffer me t 
offer consolation to the timid Alida." 

"I should little merit her gratitude, were the.request 
refused," returned Ludlow. "Go, gay and gallant 
Mf^er Seadrift 1 if the enemy fears thy presence 
on the deck as little as I dread it with la belle Bar- 
bate, thy services here will be useless !" 

Seadrift colored to the temples, crossed his armS 
^ meekly on his bosonv sunk in an attitude of leave- 
taking, that was so equivocal as to cause the attentive * 



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170 ^ THa WATiOl^WITCR. 

and critical yoting captain to smile, and then glUbd 
past him and disappeared through a hatchway. 

The eye of Ludlow followed the active and graces 
ful form, while it continued in sight ; and when it 
was no longer visible, he faced the Alderman with a 
look which seemed to inquire how far he migfat.be 
acquainted with the true character of the individual 
who' had been the cause of so much pain to himself. 

'*Have I done well, Sir, in permitting a^ubject 
of Queen Anne to quit us at this emei^ency?" he 
demanded, observing that either the phlegm or the 
8^f-command of Myndert rendered him proof to 
scrutiny. 

" The lad may be termed contraband 6{ war," re- 
turned the Alderman, without moving a muscle; *'aD 
article that will command a better price in a quiet 
than in a turbulent .market. In short. Captain Cor- 
nelius Ludlow, this Master Seadrift will not answer 
thy purpose at all in combat." 

" And is this example of heroism to go any farther, 
or may I count on the assistance of Mr. Alderman 
Van Beverout ? — He hgis the reputation of a loyal 
citizen." 

" As for loyalty," returned the Alderman, " so far 
as saying God bless the Queen, at city feasts, will go, 
none are more sa *A wish is not an expensive return 
for the protection of her Seeis and armies, and I 
wish her and you success against the enemy, with 
all my heart But I never admired the manner in 
which the States General were dispossessed of their 
territories on this continent, Master Ludlow, and 
therefore I pay the Stuarts little more than I owe 
hem in law." 

•• Which is as much as to say, that you will joio 
he gay smuggler, in administering consolation to one 
whoso spirit places her above the need of such suc- 
cor." 

*' Not saiastf young gentleouu).^— We mercsurfib 



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THE WATSR-WITOH. ^ 171 

men like to see offiets in our books, before thej are 
balanced. Whatever may be my opinion of the 
reigning family, which *I only utter to you in confi- 
dence, and not as coin that is to pass from one to an- 
other, my k>ve for the Grand Monarque is still less. 
Louis is at loggerheads with the United Provinces, 
as well as with our gracious Queen ; and I see no 
harm in opposing one of his cruisers, since they cer- 
tainly annoy trade, and render returns for invest- 
ments inconveniently uncertain. I have heard artil- 
lery in my time, having in my younger days led a 
band of city volunteers in many a march and coun- 
termarch around the Bowling-Green ; and for the 
honor of the second ward of tiie good town of Man* 
haitan, I am now ready to undertake to show, that 
ail knowledge of the art has not entirely departed 
from me." 

" That is a manly answer, and, provided it be sus- 
tained by a corresponding countenance, there shall 
be no impertinent inquiry into motives. 'Tis the 
officer that makes the ship victorious ; for, when he 
sets a good example and understands his duty, there 
is little fear of the men. Choose your position among 
any of these guns, and we will make an effort to dis- 
appoint yon servants of Louis, whether we do it as 
Englishmen, or only as the allies of the Seven Prov- 
iaces." 

Myndert descended to the quarter-deck, and hav- 
ifig deliberately deported his coat on the capstan, 
replaced fats wig by a handkerchief, and tightened the 
buckle that did the office of suspenders, he squinted 
ak>ng the guns, with a certain air that served to as- 
ure the spectators he had at least no dread of the 
ecoil. 

Alderman Van Beverout viras a personage far too 
important, not to be known by most of those who 
frequented the goodly town of which he was a civic 
ofiBCf* Hit>p rw i nciv lh«»ftvei amoi^ the men, not 



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a few ot whom were natives of the colooy, bad a sala* 
tary efTcct ; some yielding to the sympathy which id 
natural to a hearty and encouraging example, while 
it is possible there were a few that argued le^ of the 
danger, in consequence of the indifference of a man 
. who, being so rich, had so many motives to take good 
care of his person. Be this as it might, the burgher 
was received by a cheer which drew a short but 
pithy address from him, in which he exhorted his 
companions in arms to do their duty, in a manner 
which should teach the Frenchmen the wisdom of 
leaving that coast in future free from annoyance;' 
while be wisely abstained from all the commonplac^ 
allusions to king and country, — a subject to which he 
fclt his inability to do proper justice. 

" Let every. man remember that cause for courage^ 
which may be most agreeable to his own habits and 
opinions," concluded this imitator of the Hannibals 
and Scipios of old ; *' for that is the surest and the 
briefest method of bringing his mind into an obsti* 
nate state. In my own case, there is no want of mo* 
tive ; and I dare say each one of you may find some 
sufficient reason for entering heart and hand into 
this baflle. Protests and credit! what would become 
of the affairs of the best house in the colonies, were 
its principal to be led a captive to Brest or l^Orient ? 
It might derange the business of the whole city.. I'll 
not oSend your patriotism with such a supposition, 
but at once believe that your minds are reA>lved» 
like my own, to resist to the last ; for this is an inter* 
est which is general, as all questions of a coounercial 
nature become, through their influence on tibe hap* 
piness and prosperity of society." 

Having terminated his address in so apposite and 
public-spirited a manner, the worthy burgher hem- 
med loudly, and resumed his accustomed silence, per- 
fectly assured of his own applause. If the matter of 
^ Ai^ndert'ft discourse weacstoa much the air oiT ail 111^ 



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TSB WAX19^WI1!I0& ITS 

vided attention to his own interests, the reader will 

not forget it is by this concentration of individuality 
that most of the mercantile prosperity of the world 
is achieved. The seamen listened with admiration, 
for they understood no part of. the appeal ; and, next 
to a statement which shall be so lucid as to ipduce 
every hearer to believe it is no more than a happy 
explanation of his own ideas, that which is unintelli- 
gible is apt to unite most suffrages in its favor. 

** You see your enemy, and you know your work !" 
said the clear, deep, manly voice of Ludlow, who, as 
be passed among the people of the Coquette, spoke 
to them in that steady unwavering tone which, in 
moments of danger, goes to the heart " I shall not 
pretend that we are as strong as I could wish ; but 
the greater the necessity for a strong pull, the rea- 
dier a true seaman will be to give it There are no 
nails in that ensign. When 4 am dead, you may pull 
^ it down if you please ; but, so k)ng as I live, my men,- 
there it shall fly 1 And now, one cheer to ^ow your 
humor, and then let the rest of your noise come from 
the guns." 

The crew complied, with a full-mouthed and 
hearty hurrah !— Trysail assured a young, laughing, 
careless midshipman, who even at that moment could 
enjoy an uproar, that he had seldom heard a prettier 

!)iece of sea-eloquence than that which had just' 
alien from the captain; it being both 'neat and 
gentleman-like.* 



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174 



CHAPTER XIL 

•*6ir.iti« 
A cl)aiv« too htavy Tor my ftrength; but jrM 
WrMI Btrive to bear it for your woitby sake. 
To the extreme edge of hazard.** 

All*! well «ut mni^WKLL, 

The vessd, which appeared bo inopportunely for 
ibe safety of the iii-manned British cruiser, was, in 
truth, a ship that had roved from among the islands 
of the Caribean sea, in quest of some such adventure 
as that which now presented itself. She was called 
la belie Fontange, and her commander, a youth of 
two*and*twenty, was already well known in the 
salons of the Marais, and behind the walls of the 
Rue Basse des Remparts, as one of the most gay and 
amiahle of those who frequented the former, and 
one of the most spirited and skilful among the ad- 
venturers who sometimes trusted to their address in 
the latter. Rank, and influence at Versailles, had 
Procured for the young Chevalier Dumont de la 
HochefOTtc a command to which he could lay nky 
claim either by his experience or his services. Hvi 
mother, a near relative of one of the beauties of the 
oourt, bad been c<»nmanded to use sea-bathing, as a 
preventive against the consequences of the bite of a 
rabid lap-dog. By way of a suitable episode to the 
long descriptions she was in the daily habit of writing 
to those whose knowledge of her new element was 
limited to the constant view of a few ponds and 
ditches teeming with carp, or an occasional glimpse 
of some of the turbid reaches of the Seine, she had 
vowed to devote her youngest child to Neptune ! In 
due time, that is to say, while the poetic sentiment 
vas at the access, the young chevalier was duly en* 
loUod» afid, m a tioae that greatly a&tidpated all 



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r^ular and jt^ciou» preferment, he ^sM- placed in 
command of the corvette in question, and sent to 
• the Indies to gain gkn^y for him^lf and his country. 

The Chevalier Dumont - de la Rocheforte was 
hrave, but his courage was not the calm and silent 
self-posse^on of a seaman. Like himself, it was 
lively, buoyant, thoughtless, bustling, and full of 
animal feeling. He had all the pride of a gentleman, 
and, unfortunately for the duty which he had now 
for the first time to perform, one of its dictates taught 
him to despise that species of mechanical knowledge 
which it was, just at this moment, so important to 
the commandar of la Fontange to possess. He could 
dance to admiration, did the honors of his cabin with 
faultless elegance, and had caused the death of an 
excellent mariner, who had accidentally fallen over- 
board, by jumping into the sea to aid him, without 
knowing bow to swim a stroke himself, — a rashness 
-that had diverted those exertions which might have 
saved the - unfortunate sailor, from the assistance of 
the subordinate to the ^fety of his superior. He 
wrote sonnets prettily, and had some ideas of the 
new philosophy which was just beginning to dawn 
upon the world ; but the cordage of his ship, and the 
lines of a mathematical prdbiem, equally presented 
labyrinths he had never threaded. 

It was perhaps fortunate for the safety of all in 
her, that la~ belle Fontange possessed an inferior ofi>- 
cer, in the person of a native of Boulogne^snr-Mer, 
who was quite competent to see that ^ k^t, tht 
proper coui^e, and that she displayed none of the 
top-gallants of her pride, at unpropitious moments. 
The ship itself was sufficiently and findy moulded 
of a light and airy rig, and of established reputation 
for speed. If it was defective in any thing, it had 
the fault, in common with its commander, of a want 
oC suffickat solidity to leiist the vhrfajtaito ud 



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176 TH8 WATSa^ WITCH* 

dangers of the turbulent element on which it waa 
destined to acL 

The vessels were now within a mile of each other. 
The breeze was steady, and sufficiently fresh for all 
the ordinary evolutions of a naval combat ; while the 
water was just quiet enough to permit the ships to 
be handled with confidence and accuracy. La Fon 
tange was running with her head to the eastward, 
and, as she had the advantage of the wind, her tall 
tracery of spars leaned gently hi the direction* of her 
adversary. The Coquette was standing on the other 
tack, and necessarily inclined from her enemy. Both 
vessels were stripped to their topsails, spankers, and 
jibs, though the lofty sails of the Frenchman were flut- 
-terin^ in the breeze, like the graceful folds of some 
fanciful drapery. 'No human being was distinctly 
visible in either fabric, though dark clusters around 
each mast-head showed that the ready top-nrien were 
prepared to discharge their tluties, even in the con- 
fusion and dangers of the impending contest Once 
pr twice, la Fontange inclined her head more in the 
direction of her adversary ; and then, sweeping iip 
again to the wind, she stood on in stately beauty. 
The moment was near when the ships were about 
to cross each other, at a point where a musket would 
readily send its messenger across the water that lay 
between them. Ludlow, who closely watched each 
change of position, and every rise and fail of the 
breeze, went on the poop, and swept the horizon with 
his glass, for the last time before his sUp should be 
enveloped in smoke. To his surprise, he discovered- 
a pyramid of canvas rising above the sea^ in the di« 
recttOD of the wind. The sail was clearly visible to 
the naked eye, and had only escaped earlier observa« 
tion in the duties of so urgent a moment. Calling 
the master to his side, he inquired his opinion con> 
cerning the cbaractec of the second strainer. But 
Trysail confessed it esu^eeded even bis long-tried pow^ 



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TUB WjtTSSeMSntOBk ti^ 

ers of observation, to say more than that it was a 
ship running before the wind, with a cloud of sail 
spread. After a second and a longer look, however, 
the experienced rnaster ventured to add that the 
stranger had tlie squareness and symmetry of a cruiser 
but of what size he would not yet presume tg de 
clare* 

. " It may be a light ship, under her top-gallant and 
studding-sails, or it may be, that we see only the lofty 
duck of some heavier vessel, Captain Ludlow; — ha! 
be has caught the eye of the Frenchman, for the cor- 
yette has signals abroad 1" 

*• To your glass ! — If the stranger answer* we have 
BO choice but our speed." 

There was another keen and anxious examina- 
tion of the upper spars of the dbtant ship, but the 
direction of the wind prevented any signs of her 
cotnmifnicating with the corvette from being visible. 
La Fontange appeared equally uncertain of the char- 
acter of the stranger, and for a moment there was 
some evidence of an intention to change her course. 
But the moment for indecision had past. The ships^^ 
were already sweeping up albreast of each other, 
under the constant pressure of the breeze. 

"Be ready, men ! " said Ludlow, in a low but firm 
voice, retaining his elevated post on the poop^ while 
hei motioned to his companion to return to the main-' 
decki " Fire at his flash ! " # 

Ii) tense expectation succeeded. The two graceful 
fabrics sailed steadily on, and came within hail. So. 
profound wasihe stillness in the Cbquette, tiiat the 
rushing sound of the water die heaped under hxsr 
bows was distinctly audible to all on board, and might 
be likened to the deep breathii^ of some vast animal, 
that Was collecting its physical energies for some un- 
usual exertion. On the other hand, tongues w^e loud 
and clamorous among the cordage of la Fontange. 
Imt earjixe sfaipa ivertt &kif a^MUtt, tbe^ vdce of 



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178 rum wATi»-wiTCB. 

young Dumont was heard, shouting throogh a trum- 
pet, for his men to fire. Ludlow smiled, in a seaman's . 
scorn. Raising his own trumpet, with a quiet gcsttire 
to his attentive and ready crew, the whole discharge 
of their artillery broke out of the dark side of the 
ship, as if it had been by the volition of the fabric. 
The answering broadside was received almost as soon 
as their own had been given, and the two vessels 
passed swiftly without the line of shot 

The wind had sent back their own smoke iipon the 
English, and for a time it floated on their decks, 
wreathed itself in the eddies of the sails, and passed 
away to leeward, with the breeze that succeeded to 
the counter-current of the explosions. The whistling 
of shot, and the crash of wood, had been heard amid 
the din of the combat Giving a glance at his enemy, 
who still stood on, Ludlow leaned from the poop, and, 
with all a sailor's anxiety, he endeavored to sc^n the 
gear aloft. 

" What b gone. Sir ?" he asked of Trysail, whose 
earnest face just then became visible through the 
driftingr smoke. " What sail is so heavily flapping T" 

" Li'ttle harm done. Sir — little harm — bear a hand 
\with the tackle on that fore-yard-arm, you lubbers ( 
jeq move like snails in a minuet ! The fellow has 
shot^way the lee fore-top-sail-sheet, Sir; but we 
shall soon get our wings spread again. Lash it down, 
bo3jfi, as if it M^ere butt-bolted ; — so ; igteady out your 
bowline, forward. — ^Meet her, you can; meet her, 
you may-— meet her I" 

The emoke had disappeared, and the eye of the 
captain rapidly scanned the whole of his ship. Three 
or four top«men had already caught the flapping 
canvas, and were seated on the extremity of the 
fore-yard, busied in securing their prize. A hole or 
two was visible in the other sails, and here ano 
there an unimportant rope was dangling in a manner 
t» sha^r 4faat it bid been est bj dtot Furtiier tbor 



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this» the damage aloft was not of a nature to attract 
his attention. 

There was a different scene on deck. The feeble 
crew were earnestly occupied in loading the gnnsy 
and rammers and spunges were handled, with all 
the in tenseness which men would manifest in a mo* 
ment so exciting. The Alderman was never more 
absorbed in his leger than he now appeared in his 
duty of a cannoneer; and the youtlis, to whom the 
command of the batteries had necessarily been con« 
fided, diligently aided him with their greater author- 
ity and exprrience. Trysail stood near the capstan, 
coolly giving the orders which have been related, 
and gating upward with an interest so absorbed as 
to render him unconscious of all that passed around 
his person. Ludlow saw, with pain, that 1>lood dis- 
colored the deck at his feet, and that a seaman lay 
dead within reach of his arm. The rent plank and 
shattered ceiling showed the spot where the destruc- 
tive missile had entered. 

Compressing his lips like a man resolved, the com- 
mander of the Coquette bent further forward, and 
glanced at the. wheel. The quarter-master, who 
held the spokes, was erect, steady, and kept his eye 
on the leech of the head-sail, as unerringly as the 
! ( edie points to the pole. 

These were the observations of a single minute. 
The different circumstances related had been ascer- 
tained with so many rapid glances of the eye, and 
they had even been noted without losing for a mo- 
ment the knowledge of the precise situation of la 
Fontange. The latter was already in stays. It He- 
came necessary to meet the evolution by another as 
prompt. 

The order was no sooner given, than the Coquette, 
as if conscious of the hazard she ran of being raked, 
whirled away from the wind, and, by the time her 
ailversarj wa» ready to deliver her other booad sid e 



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199 VRS WASVBi'^^rntMm 

At 'VP'as in a pcdtion io i^eceive and to return it 
Again the ships approached each other, and one^ 
more th^ exchanged their streams of fire when 
fibeam. 

Ludlow now. saw, through the fimoke, the ponder 
ous yard of la Fontange swinging heavily agains 
'the breeze, and the main-topsail come flapping 
against her mast. Swii^ing on from the poop by a 
backstay that had been shot away a moment before, 
he alighted on the quarter-deck by the side of the 
master* 

" Touch all the braces !" he said, hastily, but stil! 
Speaking low and clearly ; " give a drag upon the 
bowlines — ^luff, Sir, luff; jam the ship tip hard 
against the wind!" 

The clear, steady answer of the quarter-master, 
and the manner in which the Coquette, still vomiting 
her sheets of flame, inclined towards the breeze, an- 
nounced the promptitude of the subordiwates. In 
another minute, the vast volumes of smoke which 
enveloped the two ships joined, and formed one 
white and troubled cloud, which was rolling swiftly 
before the explosions, over the surface o{ the sea, 
but which, as it rose higher in the air, sailed grace, 
fully to leeward. 

Our young commander passed swiftly through the 
batteries, spoke encouragingly to his people, and re- 
sumed his post on the poop. The stationary position 
of la Fontange, and his own efforts to get to wind- 
ward, were already proving advantageous to Queen 
Anne's cruiser. There was some indecision on the 
part of the other ship, which instantly caught (he 
tive of one whose readiness in his profession so much 
resembled instinct. 

The Chevalier Dumont had amused his leisure by 
running his eyes over the reccwds of theiaaval history 
of his country, where he had found this and that 
commam^ ^Pfkoided tar tbvo^ing their tfpauls to. 



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tbe mast, abreast of theur enemies* Ignorant of the 
dtffereace between a ship in line and one engaged 
singly, he had determined to prove himselC equal to 
a similar display of spirit At the moment when 
Ludlow was standing alone on the poop, watching 
with vigilant eyes the progress of his own vessel, and 
the position of hi^< enemy, indicating merely by a 
look or a gesture to the attentive Trysail beneath, 
what he wished done, there was actually a wordy 
discussion on the quarter-^leck of the latter, between 
the mariner of Boulogne-sur-Mer, and the gay fa- 
vorite of the salons. They debated on the expedi- 
ency of the step which the latter had taken, to 
prove the existence of a quality that no one doubted. 
The time lost in this difference of opinion was of the 
last importance to the Britisli cruiser. Standing gal- 
lantly on, she was soon out of the range of her ad- 
versary's fire ; and, before the Boulognois had suc- 
ceeded in convincing his superior of his error, their 
antagonist was on the other tack, and luffing ajcross 
the wake of la Fontange. The topsail was then tar- 
dily filled, but before the latter ship had recovered 
her motion, the sails of her enemy overshadowed her 
dieck. There was now ev^ry prospect of the G)quette 
passing to windward. At that critical moment, the 
fair-setting topsail of the British cruiser was nearly 
rent in two by a shot. The ship fell off, the yards 
interlocked, and the vessels were foul. 

The Coquette had all the advantage of position. 
Perceiving the important fact at a glance, Ludlow 
made sure of its continuance by throwing his grap- 
nels. When the two ships were thus firmly lashed 
together, the young Dumont found himself relieved 
from a mountain of embarrassment. SuflSciently jus- 
tified by the fact that not a single gun of his own 
would bear, while a murderous discbarge of grape 
had just swept along his decks, he issued the order to 
board* But Ludlow, with his weakened crew, had 

Vol. II Q 



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1S9' THE llVATXR-WITCtf. 

not decided on so hazardoys an evolation as that' 
which brought him in absolute contact with his- 
enemy, without foreseeing the means of avoiding all 
the consequences. The vessels touched each other 
only at one point, and this spot was protected by a 
row of muskets. No sooner, therefore, did the im 
petuous young Frenchman appear; on the tafirail of 
nis own ship, supported by a band of followers, than 
a close and deadly fire swept them away to a man. 
Young Dumont alone remained. For a single mo- 
ment, his eye glared wildly ; but the active frame, 
still obedient to the governing impulse of so impetu- 
ous a spirit, -leaped onward. He fell, without life, on * 
the deck of his enemy. 

Ludlow watched every movement, with a calm- 
ness that neither personal responsibility, nor the up- 
roar and rapid incidents of the terrible scene, could 
discompose. 

" Now is our time to bring the matter hand to 
hand!!' he cried, making a gesture to Trysail to 
descend from the ladder, in order that he might pass. 

His arm was arrested, and the grave old master 
pointed +o windward. 

" There is no mistaking the cut of those sails, or 
the lofty rise of those spars ! The stranger is another 
Frenchman!" 

One glance told Ludlow that his subordinate was 
right ; another sufficed to show what was now neces- 
sary. 

"Cast loose the forward grapnel — cut it — away 
with it, clear!" was shouted, through his trumpet, 
in a voice that rose commanding and clear amid the 
roar of the combat. 

Released forward, the stern of the Coquette yield- 
ed to the pressure of her enemy, whose sails were all 
drawing, and she was soon in a position to enable her 
head^yards to be braced sharp aback, in a direction 
opposite to the one in which she had so lately laiiw- 



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THE WATER-WITCH. 183 

The whole broadside was then deKvered into the 
stern of la Fontange, the last grapnel was released, 
and the ships separated. 

The single spirit which presided over the evolu-. 
tions and exertions of the Coquette, still governed her 
movements. The sails were trimmed, the ship was 
got in command, and, before the vessels had been 
asunder five minutes, the duty of the vessel was in 
its ordinary active but noiseless train. 

Nimble top-men were on the yards, and bioad 
folds of fresh canvas were flapping in the breeze, as 
the new sails were benl^nd set. Ropes were spliced, 
or supplied by new rigging, the spars examined j^ and 
in fine all that watchfulness and sedulous care were 
observedj which are so necessary to the efficiency and 
safety of a ship. Every spar was secured, the pumps 
were sounded, and the vq^sel held on her way, as 
steadily as if she had never fired nor received a shot. 

On the other hand, la Fontange betrayed the in- 
decision and confusion of a worsted ship. Her torn 
canvas was blowing about in disorder, many import- 
ant ropes beat against her masts unheeded, and the 
vessel itself drove before the breeze in the helpless- 
ness of a wreck. For several minutes, there seemed 
DO controlling mind in the fabric ; and when, after so 
much distance was lost as to give her enemy all the 
advantage of the wind, a tardy attempt was made 
to bring the ship up again, the tallest and most im- 
portant of her masts was seen tottering, until it final- 
ly fell, with all its hamper, into the sea. 

Notwith$tandh)g the absence of so many of his 
people, success would now have been certain, had not 
the presence of the stranger compelled Ludlow to 
abandon his advantage. But the consequences to his 
own vessel were too sure, to allow of more than a 
natural and manly regret that so favorable an occa- 
sion should escape him. The character of the stran 
ger could DO longer be mistaken. The eye of every 



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184 THB WATER-WITCH* 

seaman in the Coquette as well understood the coun- 
try of the high and narrow-headed sails, the tall 
taper masts and short yards' of the frigate whose 
hull was now distinctly visible, as a landsman recog- 
nizes an individual by the distinguishing marks of 
his featurs^^ or attire. Had there been any lingering 
doubts on the subject, they would have all given 
place to certainty, when the stranger was seen ex- 
changing signals with the crippled corvette. 

It was now time for Ludlow to come to a speedy 
determination on his future course. The breeze still 
held to the southward, but it was beginning to lessen, 
with every appearance that it would fail before 
nightfall. The land lay a few leagues to the north- 
ward, and the whole horizon of the ocean, with the 
exception of the two French cruisers, was clear. De- 
scending to the quarter-rfieck, he approached the 
master, who was seated in-a chair, while the surgeon 
dressed a severe hurt in one of his legs. Shaking 
the sturdy veteran cordially by the hand, he express- 
ed his acknowledgments for his support in a moment 
80 trying. 

" God bless you ! God bless you ! Captain Ludlow ;'* 
returned the old sailor, dashing his hand equivocally 
across his weatherbeaten brow. " Battle is certainly 
the place to try both ship and friends, and Heaven 
be praised! Clueen Anne has not failed of either 
this day. No man has forgotten his duty, so far as 
my eyes have witnessed ; and this is saying no triiBe, 
with half a crew and an equal enemy. As for the 
ship, she never behaved better I I had my misgiv- 
ings, when I saw the new main-topsail go, which it 
did, as all here know, like a bit of rent muslin be- 
tween the fingers of a seamstress. Run forward, Mr. 
Hopper, and tell the men in the fore rigging to take 
another drag on that swifter, and to be careful and 
bring the strain equal on all the shrouds. — A lively 
yOHtb^ Captain Ludlow, and one who only wairts a 



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TBB ^ATBR-^mtGB. 185 

Httle rejection, with some more experience, and a 
small dash of modesty, tc^ether with the seiamanship 
be will naturally get in timet to make a very toiera* 
ble officer." 

"The boy promises well; but I have come to ask 
thy advice, my old friend, concerning our next move- 
ments. There is no doubt that the fellow who is 
coming down upon us is both a Frenchman and a 
frigate." 

" A man might as well doubt the nature of a fish- 
Jiawk, which b to pick up all the small fry, and to 
let the big ones go. We might show him our canvas 
and try the open sea, but I fear that fore-mast b too 
weak, with tnree such holes in it, to bear the sail 
we should need ! " 

"What think you of the wind?" said Ludlow, 
affecting an indecision he did not feel, in order 
to soothe the feelings of his wounded companion. 
" Should it hold, we might double Montauk, and re- 
turn for the rest of our people ; but should it fail, is 
there no danger that the frigate should tow within 
shot ! — We have no boats to escape her." 

" The soundings on this coast are as regular as the 
roof of an out-house," said the master, after a mo- 
ment of thought, " and it is my advice, if it is your 
pleasure to ask it. Captain Ludlow, that we shoal 
our water as much as possible, while the wind lasts. 
Then, I think, we shall be safe from a very near 
visit from the big one: — as for the corvette, 1 am of 
opinion, that, like a man who has eaten his dinner, 
flhe has no. stomach for another slice." 

Ludlow applauded the advice of his subordinate 
for it was precisely what he had determined on 
doing ; and after again complimenting him on his cool 
ness and skill, he issued the necessary orders. The 
helm of the Coquette was now placed hard a-weather, 
the y£urds were squared, and the ship was put be- 
fece the wind* After runningtin this directioQ &»^^9k 



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KB YU WATU^i^naeB. 

few hours, the wind graduaUjr lesscDingythe tend an- 
nounced that the keS was quite as near the bottoni 
^aa the time (tf the tide, and the dull hssmng and set- 
ting of the element, rendered at all pnid^pt The 
breeze aoon after hU^ and theaxmr young command 
er ordered an anchor to be dropped into the sea. 

His example, in the latter respect, was imitaled 
by the hostile cruisers. They had soon joined, and 
boats were seen passing from one to the other, so 
long as there was light When the sun fell behind 
the western margin of the ocean, their dusky out- 
lines, distant about a league, gradually grew less and 
less distinct, until the darkness of night enveloped 
sea and land in its gloom. 



CHAPTER XIIL 



**Now; the business!'* 

Otbb£lo. 



Three hours later, and every noise was hushed 
on board the royal cruiser. The toil of repairing 
damages had ceased, and most of the living, with 
the dead, lay alike in common silence. The watch- 
fulness necessary to the situation of the fatigued 
mariners, however, was not forgotten, and though so 
many slept, a few eyes were still open, and afiecting 
to be alert Here and there, some drowsy seaman 
paced the deck, or a solitary young officer endea- 
vored to keep himself awake, by humming a low 
air, in his narrow bounds. The mass of the crew 
slept heavily, with pistols in- their belts and cutlasses 
at ti.eir sides, between the guns. There was one 
%ure extended upon the quarter-deek, with the bead 
mimg m a jahaMxg.^ The dbep breathing* oC 4^ 



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m 

ficraan lieROted the unquiet shmilMm of a poweHal 
fiame, in which weariness contended witii siiflbring. 
It was the woaoded and feverish master, who had 
^ced himself in that position to catch an h(mr of 
the repose that was necessary to his sitaation. Oa 
an arm-chest, which had been emptied ot its conh 
tents, ]ay another but a niotionless human fiMin, with 
the limbs composed in decent order, and with the 
fece tunied towards the melancholy stars* This was 
the body of the young Dumoht, which had been 
kept, with the intention of consigning it to conse- 
crated earth, when the ship should return to port 
Ludlow, with the delicacy of a generous and chiv- 
alrous ^necny, had with his own hands spread the 
sl^inless ensign of his country over the remains of 
the inexperienced but gallant young Frenchman. 

There was one little group on the raised deck in 
the stern of the vessel, in which the ordinary inter- 
ests of life still seemed to exercise their influence. 
Hither Ludlow had led Alida and her companions, 
after the duties of the day were over, in order that 
they might breathe an air fresher than that of the 
interior of the vessel. The negress nodded near her 
young mistress; the tired Alderman sate with his 
back supported against the mizen-mast, giving audi- 
ble evidence of his situation; and Ludlow stood 
erect, occasionally throwing an earnest took on the 
surrounding and unruffled waters, and then lending 
his attention to the discourse of his companions. 
Alida and Seadrift were seated near eaclrbther, on 
chairs. The conversation was low, while the mel- 
ancholy and the tremor in the voice of la belle Bar- 
baric denoted how much the events of the day had 
' shaken her usually firm and spirited mind. 

" There is a mingKng of the terrific and the beau** 
tifu), of the grand and the seducing, in this unquiet 
professioaof youcs!" obs^Tvedy or ratter continued 
Alida, rGpl;j^g to a previous Misark^ ol tfaa^ P«&S 



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188 WB W4TBR^WIT€& 



Bailor. '^That traiiqiiU«ea — &e holIdW sound of the 
fturf on the shore — and this soft canopy above us» 
form objects on which even a girl might dwell in 
admiration, were not her ears still ringii^ with the 
roar and cries of the combat Did you say the com- 
mander of the Frenchman was but a youth]" 

'' A mere boy in appearance* and one who doubt- 
less owed his rank to the advantages of birtn and 
family. We know it to be the captain, by his dress, 
no less than by the desperate effort he made to re- 
cover the felse step taken in the earlier part of the 
action." 

" Perhaps he has a mother, Ludlow ! — sl sister — a 
wife — or " 

Alida paused, for, with mTiiden diffidence, she 
hesitated to pronounce the tie which was uppermost 
in her thoughts. 

*' He may have had one, or all ! Such are the sail- 
or's hazards, -end—" 

" Such the hazards of those who feel an interest 
in their safety!" uttered the low but expressive 
voice of Seadrift. 

A deep and eloquent silence succeeded. Then the 
voice of Myndert was heard muttering indistinctly, 
'} twenty of beaver, and three of marten — ^as per 
invoice." The smile which, spite of the train of his 
thoughts, rose on the lips of Ludlow, had scarcely 
passed away, when the hoarse tones of Trysail, ren- 
dered still hoarser by his sleep, were plainly heard 
in a stifled cry, paying, " Bear a hand, there, with 
your stoppers ! — the Frenchman is coming round 
upon us, again." 

" That is prophetic 1" said one, aloud, behind the 
listening group. Ludlow turned, quick as the flag 
fluttering on its vane, and through the darkness he 
recognized, in the motionless but manly form that 
stood niear him on the poop* the fine ^person, of the 
^.Sy^iisiiaer of. tb^.Sea^' . 



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tvm wikTisti-wiixm.' 1S9 

•'Callaway 1" 

"Call none!" — ^interrupted Tiller, grtopping the 
hurried order which involuntarily broke frcwn the 
•lips of Ludlow. " Let thy ship feign the silence of a 
wreclP, but, in truth, let there be watchfulness and 
preparation even to her store-rooms ! You have done 
well, Captain Ludlow, to be on the alert, though I 
have known sharper eyes than those of some of your 
look-outs." 

" Whence coine you, audacious man, and what 
mad errand has brought you again on the deck of ^ 
my shipt" 

" I come from my habitation on the sea. My busi- 
ness here is warning !" 

** The sea !" echoed Ludlow, gazing about him at 
the narrow and empty view. " The hour for mock- 
ery is past, and you would do well to trifle no more 
with those who have serious duties to discharge." 

** The hour is indeed one for serious duties— duties 
more serious than any you apprehend. But before 
I enter on explanation, there must be conditions 
between us. You have one of the sea-green lady's 
servitors, liere ; I claim his liberty, for my secret." 

"The error into which I had fallen exists no 
loiter;" returned Ludlow, looking for an instant to- 
wards the shrinking form of Seadrift. "My con- 
quest is worthless, unless you come to supply his 
place." 

• "I come for other purposes — here is one who 
knows I do not trifle when urgent affairs ar^ on 
hand. Let thy companions retire, that I may speak 
openly." ^ 

Ludlow hesitated, for he bad not yet recovered 
from the surprise of finding the redoubtable free- 
trader so unexpectedly on the deck of his ship. But 
Alida and her companion arose, like those who had 
more confidence in their vidter, ^;nd, arousing the 
«agr«ai fimn bev ileept tfaey deteenited tlM ladder 



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190 TBS WATER- wrrcH. 

and entered the cabin. When Ludlow found him- 
. self alone with Tiller, he demanded an explanation. 

** it shall not be withheld, for time presses, and 
that which is to be done must be done with a sea^ 
man's care and coolness;" returned the c^er. — 
" You have had a close brush with one of Louis's ro- 
vers, Captain Ludlow, and prettily was the ship of 
Queen Anne handled ! Have jour people suffered, 
and are you still strong enough to make good a de- 
fence worthy of your ponduct this morning?'* 

" These are facts you would have me utter to the 
car of one who may be false ;— even a spy !" 

" Captain Ludlow — but circumstances warrant thy 
sujspicions!" 

" One whose vessel and life I have threatened — 
an outlaw!" 

" This is too true," returned the * Skimmer of the 
Seas,' suppressing a sudden impulse of pride and re- 
sentment '* I am threatened and pursued — I am a 
smuggler and an outlaw : still am I human ! You see 
that dusky object, which borders the sea to the 
northward!" 

** It is too plainly land, to be mistaken." 

" Land, and the land of my birth ! — the earliest, 
perhaps I may say the happiest of my" <lays, were 
passed on that long and narrow island." 

** Had I known it earlier, there would have been 
a closer look among its bays and inlets." 

" The search might have been rewarded. A can- 
non, would easily throw its shot from this d^k to the 
spot where my brigantine now lies, snug at a single 
anchor." ^ 

" Unless you have swept her near since the setting 
of the son, that is impossible ! When the night drew 
on, nothing was in view but the frigate and corvette 
of the enemy." 

^* We have not stirred a fathom ; and yet, true as 
ibe wocd of a £sarless mant tbere Ikt im v«neL«r 



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TBB WATBiHWITOfb' iM* 

the sea-green lady. You see the place where the . 
beach falls — here, at the nearest point of the land — 
the island is nearly severed hy the water at that 
spot, and the Water- Witch is safe in the depths of 
the bay which enters from the northward. There 
s not a mile between us. From the eastern hill^ I 
witnessed your spirit this day. Captain Ludlow, and 
though ^condemned in person, I felt that the heart 
could never be outlawed. There is a fealty here, 
that can survive even the persecutions of the custom** 
houses !" 

" You are happy in your terms, Sir. I will not 
conceal that I think a seaman, even as skilful as 
yourself, must allow that the G>que tte was kept 
prettily in command ! '^ 

"No pilot-boat could have been more sure, or 
more lively. I knew your weakness, for the absence 
of all your boats wasjio secret to me; and I confess 
I could have spared some- of the profits of the voyage, 
to have been on your decks this day with a dozen of 
my truest fellows I" 

" A man who can feel this loyalty to the. flag, 
should find a more honorable occupation for his usual 
life." 

" A country that can inspire it, should be cautious 
not to estrange the afTec lions of its children, by mo« 
nppolies and injustice. But these are discussions un- 
suited to the moment I am doubly your country- 
man in this strait, and all the past is no more than 
the rough liberties which friends take with each 
other. Captain Ludlow, there is danger brooding 
in that dark void which lies to seaward !" 

" On what authority do you speak thus?" 

" Sight. — I have been among your enemies, and 
have seen their deadly preparations. I know the 
caution is given to a brave man, and nothing shall be 
ejttenuated You have need of all your resolution 



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I6i TffB WATER-'WITCH. 

and of every arm — for they will be upon you, in 
overwhelming numbers ! " 

"True or false, thy warning shall not be neg- 
lected." 

"Hold!" said the Skimmer, arresting a forward 
movement of his companion, with his hand. " Let 
them sleep to the last moment. You have yet an 
hour, and rest will renew their strength. You may 
trust the experience of p. seaman who has passed 
half of the life of man on the ocean, and who has 
witnessed all its most stirring scenes, from the con- 
flict of the elements to every variety of strife that 
man has invented to destroy his fellows. For another 
hour, you will be secure. — After that hour, God pro- 
tect the unprepared ! and God be mercifti! to him 
whose minutes are numbered !" 

"Thy language and manner are those of one who 
deals honestly;" returned Ludlow, struck by the ap-^ 
parent sincerity of the free-trader's communication. 
" In every event, we shall be ready, though the man- 
ner of your having gained this knowledge is as great 
a mystery as your appearance on the deck of my 
ship." 

" Both can be explained," returned the Skimmer, 
motioning to his companion to follow to the taffrail. 
Here he pointed to a small and nearly imperceptible 
skiff, which floated at the bottom of a stern-ladder, 
and continued — ^** One who so often pays secret vitsUs 
to the land, can never be in want of the- means. This 
nut-shell was easily transported across the narrow 
sBp of land that separates the bay from the ocean, 
and though the surf moans' so hoarsely, it is easily 
passed by a steady and dexterous oarsman. I have 
been under the martingale of the Frenchman, arid 
you see that Lam here. If your, look-outs are less 
alert than usual, you will remember that a low gun- 
wale, a dusky side, and a muffled oar, are not readily 
detected, when the eye is heavy dnd the body wea- 



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vn ymnat^mneB: IMF 

fidd* I must now quit ycm-'^nnless jon tfainl; it more 
prudent to eend those who can be of no service, out 
of th^Aipf bdbre the trial shall come?" 

Ludlow hesitated A strong desire to put Alida in 
a place of aafetj, was met by bis distrust of the 
smuggler's faith. He reflected a moment^ ere he an- 
swered. 

^' iTour cockle^sbeU is not sufficiently secure for 
more than its owiaen^'^o* and as you prove loyal, - 
may you prosper ! " 

*^ Abide the blow 1*^ said the Skimmer, graspir^g hj«t 
hand. He th^i stepped carelessly on the dangling^' 
ropes, and desceuded into the boat beneath. Ludlow' 
watched his movements, with an intense and possibly' 
with a distrustful curiosity. . When seated at the* 
sculk, the person of the free-trader was nearly indis-*^ 
tinct; andas the boat glided noiselessly away, the- 
young commander no longer felt disposed to censure 
those who had permitted its approach without a Warn-' 
i{ig. lo less than a minute, the dusky object was con- 
founded with the surfa(!ce of the sea. 

Left to himself, the young commander of the Co** 
quette seriously reflected on what had passed. Thd* 
maAner of the Skimmer, the voluntary character of 
his i:ommuuicatioa, its probability, and the means by 
which his knowledge had been obtained, united to' 
confirm his truth. Instances of similar attachment 
tp their flag, in seamen whose ordinary pursuits wer 
opposed to its interests, were not uncommon. Their, 
misddeds resemble the errors of passion and tempta- 
tion, while the momentary return to better things i* 
like the inextinguishable impulses of nature. 

The admonition of the free-trader, who had en* 
joined the captain to allow htk people to sleep, watf 
remembered. Twenty times, within as many mih- 
uir% did our young sailor examine hu watch, to n6t6' 
the tardy passage of the time ; and as often did h# 
return it to bis pocket, with a determination to for« 

vofc. n. R 



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bear. At length he descended to the quarter-deck, 
and drew near the only ibrm that was erect. The 
watch was commanded by a youth of sixteen, whose 
regular period of probationary service had not passed, 
but who, in the absence oi' his superiors, was in* 
trusted with this delicate and important duty. He 
stood leaning against the capstan, one hand support- 
ing his cheek, while the elbow rested against the 
drum, and the body was without motion. Ludlow 
regarded him a moment, and then lifting a lighted 
battle-lantern to his face, he saw that he slept. With- 
out disturbing the delinquent, the captain replaced 
the lantern and passed, forward. In the gsingway 
there stood a marine, with his musket shouldei'ed, in 
an attitude of attention. As Ludjow brushed within 
a few inches of his eyes, it was easy to be seen that 
they opened and shut involuntarily, and without con- 
sciousness of what lay before them. On the top-gal- 
lant-forecastle was a short, square, and well-balanced 
figure, that stood without support of any kind, with 
both arms thrust into the bosom of a jacket, and a 
head that turned slowly to the west and south, as if 
it were examining the ocean in those directions. 

Stepping lightly up the ladder, Ludlow saw that 
it was the veteran seaman who was rated as the 
captain of the forecastle. 

<' I am glad, at last, to find one pair of eyes open, 
in my ship," said the captain. ** Of the whole watch; 
you alone are alert" 

" I have doubled cape fifty, your Honor, and the 
seaman who has made that voyage, rarely wants the 
second call of the boatswain. Young heads have 
young eyes, and sleep is next to food, after a heavy 
drag at gun-tackles aud lanyards." 
- **And what draws your attention so steadily in 
that quarter ? There is nothing visible but the haze 
of the sea.'* 



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THE WATER-WITCH. 193 

« *Tis the direction of the Frenchmen, Sir — does 
your Honor hear nothing f" 

"Nothing;" said Ludlow, after intently listening 
for half a minute. "*< Nothing, unless it be' the wash 
of the surf on the beach." 

" It may be only fancy, but there came a sound 
Mke the fall of an oar-blade on a thwart, and His but 
natural, your Honor, to expect the mounsheer will 
be out, in this smooth water, to see what has become 
of us. — ^There went the flash of a light, or my name 
fc not Bob Cleet 1" 

• lAidlow was «ilent A light was certainly visible 
in the quarter where the enemy was known to be 
anchored, and it canm and disappeared like a moving 
lantern. At length it was seen to descend slowly, and 
vanish as if it were extinguished in the water. 

" That lantern went into a boat. Captain Ludlow, 
though a hibb6r carried it!" said the positive old 
forecastle-man, shaking his head and beginning to 
pace act-oBS the deck, with the air of a man who 
needed no further confirmation of his suspicions. 

Ludlow returned towards the - quarter-deck,^ 
thoughtful but calm. He passed among his sleeping 
crew, without'awaking a man, and even forbearing 
to touch the still motionless midshipn>an, he entered 
his cabin without speaking. 

The commander of the Coquette was absent but 
H'few minutes. When he again appeared on deck, 
tfiere was more of decision and of preparation in his 
manner. 

** 'Tis time to call the watch, Mr. Reef;" he whis- 
pered at the elbow of the drowsy officer of the deck, 
without betraying his consciousness of the youth's 
%rgetfulness of duty. "The glass is out." 

•• Ay, ay, Sir. — Bear a hand, and turn the glass!" 
muttered the young man. ** A fine night, Sir, and 
very smooth water. — I was just thinking of " 

** Home and thy mother! ^h the way with us att 



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I9l TW WATW*wnp^ 

ia youth. Well, we have now sometlang ulse to -oc- 
cupy the thoughts. Muster all the gentlemen, here» 
on the quarter-deck, Sir." 

'^ Whqn the half-sleeping midshipmar quitted hiA 
captain to obey this order, the fetter drew pear th© 
spot where Trysail still lay in an unquiiet sleep. A 
light touch of a single finger was sufficient to ra^Q 
the master on his feet. The first look of the veteran 
tar was aloft, the second at the.h^vens, dnd th^ la#t 
at his captain. 

" I fear thy wound stiffens, and th^it the night a^ 
has added to the pain?" observed the latter, 9peiik* 
ing in a kiiid and considerate twe, 

'' The wounded spar cannot be trussed like a:»>iind 
stick, Captain Ludlow ; but as I am no foot^aoldier 
on a march, the duty of the ship may go on without 
my calling for a horse." 

" I rejoice in thy cheerful spirit, mj old friend, for 
here is serious work likely to fall upon our hands. 
The Frenchmen are in their boats, and we shall 
shortly be brought to close quarters, or prognostics 
are false." 

" Boats !" repeated the master. " I hsd rather it 
were under our canvas, with a stiff breeze I Thfj 

Elay of this ship is a lively fopt, and a touching leech; 
ut, when, it comes to boats, a marine is nearly a9 
good a man as a quarter-master 1" 

" We must take fortune as it offers. — ^Here is o^Y 
council ! — It is composed of young heads, but <>f 
hearts that might do credit to gray hairs." 

Ludlow joined the little group of officefs that was 
by this time assembled near the capstan. Here, in 9 
few words, he e>(plained the reason why bo hnd sui^ 
moned them from their sleep. When each of the 
youths understood his orders, and the nature of the 
new danger that threatened the ship,.they separated* 
and began to enter with activity, but in gnttrded 
fiHeaftB, on the neoe^ajry preparatiq?ja^ TM *?«Bi 



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TBE vfjaaskf^vntOR* 197 

of footsteps awoke a dozen of the older seameo, who 
immediately joined their officers. 

Half an boar passed like a moment, m such aa 
occupation. At the end of that ttme, Ludlow deemed 
bis ship ready. The two forward guns Ifed been run 
in, and the shot having been drawn, their places 
were supplied with double charges of grape and 
canister. Several swivels, a species of armament 
much used in that age, were loaded to the muzzles, 
and placed in situations to rake the deck, whiie the 
fore-top was plentifully stored with arms and ammu- 
nition. The matches were prepared, and then the 
whole of the crew was mustered, by a particular 
call of each man. Five minutes sufficed to issue the 
necessary orders, and to see each post occupied. 
After this, the low hum ceased in the ship, and the 
silence again became so deep and general, that the 
wash of the receding surf was nearly as audible as 
the plunge of the wave on the sands. 

Ludlow stood on the forecastle, accompanied by 
the master. Here he lent all his senses to the ap- 
pearance of the elements, and to the signs of the 
moment. Wind there was done, though occasionally 
a breath of hot air came from the land, like the first 
efibrts of the night-breeze. The heavens were 
clouded, though a few thoughtful stars glimmered 
between the masses of. vapor. 

"A calmer night never shut in the Americas !•* 
said the veteran 1 rysail, shaking his head doubtingly, 
and speaking in a suppressed and cautious tone. '* I 
am one of those. Captain Ludlow, who think more 
than half the virtue is out of a ship when her anchor 
is down 1" 

" With a weakened crew, it may be better for us 

that the people have no yards to handle, «nor any 

bowlines to steady. All our care can be given to 

defence." , ; . •' - - ' >- ♦ - 

.^''Thkis nuifih like teUiqglbd^hawkliacanfiebt* 



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<the better witii a clipped yring^ «nce ht h»» Hoi lift 
trouble of flying ! The nature of a ship i^ motion, 
Aod the merit of a seaman is jodkiousand lively 
liandling ;->--but of what use is complaining, since it 
will neitheiPlift an anchor nor fill a sail ? What is 
▼our opinion. Captain Ludlow, concerning an after 
life, and of all those matters one occasionally beam 
of if he happens to drift in the way of a church ?" 

" The question is broad as the ocean> my good 
friend, and a fitting answer might lead us into ab- 
strusities deeper than any problem in bur trigonome«- 
try. — Was that the stroke of an oar ?" 

^* 'Twf^.a land noise. Well, I am no great navi- 
gator among the crooked channels of religion. Every 
new ai^ument is a sand-bar, or a shoal, that obliges 
me to tack and stand off again ; else J might have 
been a bishop, for any thing the world knows to the 
contrary. 'Tis a gloomy night. Captain Ludlow, and 
one that is sparing of its stars. I never knew luck 
come of an expeditk)n on which a natural light did 
not fall!" 

" So much the worse for those who seek to harm 
us. — I surely heard an oar in the row-lock !" 

'' It came from the ^ore, and had the sound of 
the land about it ;" quietly returned the master, who 
still kept Jiis look riveted on the heavens. ** This 
world, in which we live, Captain Ludlow, b one of 
extraordinary uijes ; but that, to w^hich we are 
steering, is still more unaccountable. They say that 
worlds are sailing abc^^e us, like ships in a clear sea; 
imd there are people who believe, that when we 
take our departure from this planet, we are only- 
bound to another, in which we are to be rated ac»* 
cording to our own deeds here ; which is much the 
same as, being drafted for a new ship, with a certifi* 
cate of service io me'i pocket" . 

" The' resemblance is perfect;" returned the 



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maltet sound that might come fram the onean. 
** That was 00 more than the hlowing of a por* 

*' It was strong enough for the puff of a whale. 
There is no scarcity of big fish cm the icoast of this 
Sslandy and bold harpooners are the men v/bo are 
scattered about on ihe sand j downs, here-away, to 
• the ix>rthward. I once sailed with an officer who 
knew the name of every star in the heavens, and 
often have I passed hours in listening to his history 
of their magnitude and character, during the middle 
watches. It was his opinion, that there is but one 
navigator for all the rovers of the air, whether me- 
teoi^ comets, or planets." 

" No doubt he must be right, having been there." 

*' No, that is more than J can say for him, though 
few men have gone deeper into the high latitudes 
on both sides of our own equator, than he. One 
surely spoke — ^here, in a line with yonder low star I" 

" Was it not a water-fowl ?" 

" Na gull — ^ha 1 here we have the object, just 
within the starboard jib-boom-guy. There comes 
the Frenchman in his pride, and Uwill be lucky for 
him wlio lives to count the slain, or to boast c^ his 
deeds I" 

The master descended from the forecastle, and 
. passed among the crew, with every thought recalled 
from its excursive flight to the duty of the moment 
Ludlow continued on the forecastle, alone. There 
was a low, whispering sound in the ship, like that 
which is made by the murmuring of a rising breeze, 
^**and then all was still as death. 

The G)quette lay with her head to seaward, the 
item necessarily pointing towards the land. The 
distance from, the latter was less than a mile, and 
the direction of the ship's hull was caused by the 
.course of the heavy ground-swell, whkh incessantlv 



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900 TBS WATSR-WITCB. 

The bead-gear lay in the way of -the dim view, and 
Ludlow walked out on the bowsprit, in order that 
nothing should lie between him and the part of the 
ocean he wished to study. Here he had not stood 
a minute, when he caught, first a confused and then 
a more distinct glimpse of a line of dark objects, ad 
vancing slowly towards the ship. Assured of th 
position of his enemy, he returned in- board, and de- 
scended among his people. In another moment he 
was again on the forecastle, across which he paced 
leisurely, and, to all appearance, with the calmness 
of one who enjoyed the refreshing coolness of the 
night. 

At the distance of a hundred fathoms, the dusky 
tine of boats paused, and began to change its order 
At that instant the first putfs of the land breeze 
were felt, and the stern of the ship made a gentle 
inclination seaward. 

"Help her with the mizen ! Let fall the topsail !** 
whispered the young captain to those beneath him. 
Ere another moment, the flap of the loosened sail 
was heard. The ship swung still further, and Ludlow 
stamped on the deck. 

A round fiery light shot beyond the martingale, 
and the smoke rolled along the sea, outstripped by a 
crowd of missiles that were hissing across the water. 
A shout, in which command was mingled with shrieks, 
followed, and then oar-blades were heard dashing the 
water aside, regardless of concealment The ocean 
lighted, and three or four boat-guns returned the 
fatal discharge from the ship. Ludlow had not spoken. 
Still alone on his elevated and exposed post, he 
wjitcbed the efiects of both fires, with a commander' 
coolness. The smile that struggled about his com- 
pressed mouth,'wben the momentary Confusion among 
the boats betrayed the success of his own attack, 
bad been wild and exulting; but wiien he heard. the 
4^6odia£iif the pla^ beneath him, the hea¥7 |p«M» 



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t}\fit succeeded, and the rattling of fighter objects 
that were scattered by the shot, as it passed with 
lessened force along the deck of bis ship, it became 
fierce and resentful 

"Let them have it!" he shouted, in a clear ani- 
mating voice, that assured the peojrfe of his presence 
and his care. " Show thcRi the humor of an Eng* 
{ishman's sleep, my ladsl Speak to them, tops and 
decks!" 

, The <i)rder was obeyed. The remaining bow-gun 
was fired, and the discharge of all the Coquette's 
ITiusketry and blunderbusses followed, A crowd of 
boats came sweeping under the bowsprit of the ship 
fit tb^ same moment, and then arose the clamor aiul 
shouts of the boarders, ^ 

The succeeding minutes were full of confusion, 
and of devoted exertion. Twice were the head and 
bowsprit of the ship filled with dark groups of men, 
whose grim vi&iges were only visible by the pistol's 
flash, and as often were they cleared by the pike 
and bayonet. A third effort was nwre successful, and 
the tread of the assailants was heard on the deck of 
the forecastle. The struggle was but momentary, 
though many fell, and the narrow arena was sooi) 
slippery with blood. The Boulognese mariner was 
foremost among his countrymen, and at that despe- 
rate emergency Ludlow and Trysail fought in the 
Common herd. Numbers prevailed, and it was for.i 
tunate for the commander of the Coquette, that the 
sudden recoil of a human body that fell upon him» 
drove him from his footing to the deck beneath. 

Recbvering from the fall, the young captain cheer* 
d his men by his voice, and was answered by the 
leep-moutlied shouts, which an excited seaman it 
^ver ready to deliver, even to the death. 

"'Rally in the gangways, and defy them.!*' was the 
aninmted cry—" Rally in the gangways, hearts of 
wkt" wsss flunked J^Sf T^ysisiSi, m » xmiy hut vrfsak-* 



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202 mX WAT&R-WITCR. 

ened voice. The men obeyed, and Ludlow saw that 
he could still muster a force capable of resistance. 

Both parties for a moment paused. The fire of the 
top annoyed the boarders, and the defendants hesi- 
tated to advance. But the rush from both ^as com- 
mon, and a fierce encounter occurred at the foot of 
the foremast. The crowd thickened in the rear of 
the French,^ and one of their number no sooner fell 
than another filled his place. The English receded, 
and Ludlow, extricating^ himself from the mass, re- 
tired to the quarter-deck. 

" Give way, men !** he again shouted, so clear and 
steady, as to be heard above the cries and execra- 
tions of the fight. " Into the wings ; down, — between 
the guns — down — to your covers !*' 

The English disappeared, as if by magic. Some 
leaped upon the ridge-ropes, others sought the pro- 
tection of the guns, and many went through the 
hatches. At that moment Ludlow made his most 
desperate effort. Aided by the gunner, he'applied 
matches to the two swivels, which had been placed 
in readiness for a last resort. The deck was envelop- 
ed in smoke, and, when the vapor lifted, the forward 
part of the ship was as clear as if man had never 
trod it. All who had not fallen, had vanished. 

A shout, and a Joud hurrah ! brought back the 
defendants, and Ludlow headed a charge upon the 
top-gallant-forecastle, again, in person. A few of 
the assailants showed themselves from behind covers 
on the deck, and the struggle was renewed. Glaring 
balls of fire sailed over the heads of the combatants, 
and fell among the throng in the rear. Ludlow saw 
the danger, and he endeavored to urge his people 
on to regain the bow-guns, one of which was known 
to be loaded. But the explosion of a grenade on 
deck, and in his rear, was followed by a shock in the 
hold, that threatened to force the bottom out of the 
vesaeL Tb«[ alarmed and weakened crew began to 



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Pfaver^ and as a fresh attack ^f grenades was fol- 
lowed by a fierce rally, in which the assailants 
brought up fifty men in a body from their boats, 
Ludlow found liimself compelled to retire amid the 
retreating mass of his own crew. 

The defence now assumed the character of hope* 
less but desperate resistance. The cries of the enemy 
were more and more clamorous ; and they succeeded 
^n nearly silencing the top, by a heavy hre of mus- 
ketry established on the bowsprit and sprit-sail-yard. 

Events passed much faster than they can be re- 
lated. The enemy were in possession of all the for- 
ward part of the ship to her fore-hatches, but into 
tliese young Hopper had thrown himself, with half- 
a-dozen men, and, aided by a brother midshipman in 
the launch, backed by a few followers, they still held 
the assailants at bjjj'. Ludlow cast an eye behind 
him, and began to think of selling his life as dearly 
us possible in the cabins. 'I'hat glance was arrested 
by the $]ght of the malign smile of the sea green 
laly^ as the gleaming face rose above the taliirail. 
A dozen dark forms leaped upon the poop, and then 
arose a voice that sent every tone it uttered to his 
heart. 

. "Abide the 8lH)ckr' was the shout of those who 
came to the succor; and "abide the shock!'' was 
echoed by the crew. The mysterious image glided 
along the deck, and Ludlow knew the athletic frame 
that brushed through the throng at its side. 

There was little noise in the onset, save the groans 
of the sutlerers. It endured but a moment, but it 
was a moment that resembled the passage of a whirl- 
wind. The defendants knew that they were succored, 
and the assailants recoiled before so unexpected a 
foe. The few that were caught beneath the fore- 
castle were mercilessly slain, and those above were 
swept from their post like chaff drifting in a gale. 
The living and th^ .dead w^e iieard iaUiog aJike 



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into the sea, aad in an uncdBceivabl j ihort ^)dce of 
time, the decks of the Coquette were (tee. A solitarf 
eoemy still hesitated on the boiivsprit A powerful 
and active frame leaped aloog the spar, and tliough 
the blow was not seen« its effects were visiblei as the 
victim tumbled helplessly into the ocean. 

The hurried dash of oars followed, and before tke 
defendants had time to 'assure themselves of the 
completeness of their success, the gloomy void of the 
surrounding ocean had swallowed up Uie boats. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

** That faob of bis I do remember well ; 
Yet, when I caw it last, it was besmearM 
Aa black at Vulcan, in the anloke of war.** 

Wbat too wn.b 

Feom the moment when the Coquette fired her 
first gun, to the moment when the retiring boats be- 
came invisible, was just twenty minutes. Of this 
time, less than half bad been occupied by^ the inci- 
dents related, in the ship. Short as it was in truth, 
it seemed to all engaged but an instant The alarm 
was over, the sound of the oars had ceased, and still- 
the survivors stood at their posts, as if expecting the 
attack to be renewed. Then came those personal 
thoughts, which had been suspended in the fearful 
exigency of such a stru^le. The wounded b^n 
to feel their pain, and to be sensible of the danger 
of their injuries; wlule the few, who had escaped 
unhurt^ turned a friendly care on their shipmates. 
Ludlow, as often happens with the brayest and most 
expend, bad escaped without a scratch ; but he saw 



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TUB WATSK-WITCII^ 205 

longer ra^ained by the exoitement of battle^ that 
his triumph was dearfy purchased. 

♦* Send Mr. -Trysail to me j" he said, in a tone that 
had little of a victor's exaltation. *^ The land hreeze 
has made, -and we will endeavor to improve it, and 
get inside the cape, lest the m<»rning light give us 
more of these Frenchmen.'' 

-The order for * Mr. Trysail!' *the captain calls 
the master!' passed in a low call from mouth to 
mouth, but it was unanswered. A s^iman toM the 
expecting young commander, that the surgeon de- 
sired his presence forward. A gleaming of lights and 
a little group at the foot of the foremast, was a beacon 
not to be mistaken. The weatherbeaten master 
was in the agony ; and his medical attendant had just 
risen from a fruitl^s examination of his wounds, as 
Ludlow approached. 

"I hope the hurt is not serious?" hurriedly whis- 
pered the alarmed young sailor to the surgeon, who 
was coolly collecting his implements, in order to ad- 
minister to some more promising subject. ** Neglect 
nothing that your aft can suggest." 

" The C9SC is desperate, Captain Ludlow," return- 
ed the phlegmatic surgeon ; " but if you have a taste 
for such things, there is as beautiful a case for am- 

Eutation promised in the for^-topman whom I have 
ad sent below, as ofiers once in a whole life of ac- 
tive practice!" 

"Go, go—" interrupted- Ludlow, half pushing the 
unmoved man of blood away, as he spoke ; " go, then, 
where your services are needed." 

The other cast a glance around him, reproved his 
attendant, in a sharp tone, for unnecessarDy exposing 
the blade of some ferocious-looking instrument to the 
dew, and departed. 

** Would to God, that some portion of these in- 
juries had befallen those who are younger and 
sti:pnser i" ouioMied.ihejQulwnt «» be kaned ov^ 

Vol. IL S 



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2M TtBn wM'AMfrrffit * 

the iying mAsler. '^ Can 1 de aught t6 reKevcf fliy 
mind, my old and worthy sbipmatet" 

** I have had my misgivings, since we have dealt 
with witchcraft!" returned Trysaili whose voice the 
rattling of the throat bad already nearly silenced. 
" I have had misgivings — ^hat na matter. Take care 
of the ship— -I have been thinking of our people — 
you'll have tacut— ^they can never lift the anchor— • 
the wind is here at north.'* 

*' All this is ordered. Trouble thyself no further 
about the vessel ; she shall be taken care oC I prom- ' 
ise you. — Speak of thy wife, and of thy wishes in Eng- 
knd." 

" God bleas Mrs. Trysail ! She'll get a pension', and 
I hope contentment ! i ou must give the reef a good, 
berth, in rounding Montauk-^-and you'll naturally 
wish to find the anchors again, when the coast is 
clear — if you can find it in your conscience, say a 
good word of poor old Ben Trysail, in the dis- 
patches :— " 

The voice of the master sunk to a whisper, and 
became inaudible. Ludlow thought he strove to 
speak again, and he bent his ear to his mouth. 

" I say — the wcather-main*s¥rifter and both back- 
stays are gone ; look to the spars, for— *for — there are 
sometimes — heavy puffi at night — ^in the Americas!" 

The last heavy respiration succeeded, after which 

came the long silence of death. The body was re*- 

, moved to the poop, and Ludlow, with a saddened 

heart, turned to duties that this accident rendered 

s^till more imperative. 

Notwithstanding the heavy loss, and the or%ina11y 
weakened state of her crew, the sails of the Ccxfuette 
were soon spread, and thejship moved away in silence, 
as if sorrowing for those who had fallen at her an- 
chorage. When the vessel was fairly in motion, her 
captain ascended to the poop, in order to command 
a|jgMR|i.iaaw^JLttftiwWl^^ 



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by the ffltuation to arrange hie plans for the future. 
He found he had been anticipated by the free-trader. 

<• I owe my ship — I may say my life, since in such ^ 
a conflict they would have gone together, to thy 
succor !" said the. young commander, as he approach- 
d the motionless ibrm of the smuggler. " Witliout 
i':. Queen Anne would have test a cruiser, and tbe 
/lag of England a portion of its well-earned glory." 

" May thy royal mistress prove as ready to remem- 
ber her fHends, in emergencies, as mine. In good 
truth, there was little time to lose, and trust me, we 
well understood the extremity. If we were tardy, 
it was because whale-boats were to be brought from 
a distance; for the land lies between my brigantine 
and the sea." 

** He who came so opportunely, and acted so well, 
needs no apology." 

"Captain Ludlow, are we friends?"' 

"It cannot be otherwise. AH minor considera- 
'tions must be lost in such a service. If it is your in- 
tention to push this illegal trade further, on the coast, 
I must seek another station." 

" Not so. — ^Remain, and do credit to your flrtg, an^ 
the land of your birth. I have long thought that 
this is the last time the ked of the Water- Witch 
will ever plow the American seas. Before I quit 
you, I would have ah interview with the merchant, 
A worse man might have fallen, and just now even a 
better man might be spared. I hope no harm haf 
come to him ?" 

** He has shown the steadinen of his Holland liite" 
age, fo-day. I>ttriag the boarding, he was useful and 
. cool." 

" It is well. Let the Alderman be summoned to 
the deck, for my time is limitedrand I have much to 
say — r-" 

The Skimoier paused, for at that moment a fierce 
%btfbMri>m»B rtic oeBOTi aw- slap» aodali in 41, 



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9M THB WATER'WtTCB. 

The two seamen gazed at eacb other in eOence, and 
both' recoiled, as men recede, before an unexpected 
and fearful attack. But a bright and wavering light, 
which rose out of the forward hatch of the vessel, 
explained all. At the same moment, the deep still* 
ness which, since the bustle of making sail had ceased, 
pervaded the ship, was broken by the appalling cry 
of "Fire I" 

The alarm which brings the blood in the swiftest 
current to a seaman's heart, was now heard in the 
depths of the vessel. The smothered sounds below, 
the advancing uproar, and the rush on deck, with the 
awful summons in the open air^ succeeded each^otber 
with the rapidity of lightning. A dozen voices re* 
pea ted the word 'the grenade!' proclaiming in a 
breath both the danger and the cause. But an in- 
stant before, the swelling canvas, the dusky spars, 
and the faint lines of the cordage, were only- to be 
traced by the glimmering light of the stars ; and now 
the whole hamper of the ship was tlie more conspicu* 
ous, from the obscure back-ground against which it 
was drawn in distinct lines. The sight was fearfully 
beautiful ;-^bcautiful, for it showed the symmetry 
and fine outlines of the vessel's rig, resembling the 
effect of a group of statuary seen by torch-light,— 
and fearful, since the dark void beyond seemed to de- 
clare their isolated and helpless state. 

There was one breathless, eloquent moment, in 
which all were seen gazing at the grand spectacle m 
mute ^ awe,-— and then a voice rose, clear, distinct, 
and commanding, above the sullen sound of the tor- 
rent of fire, which was roaring among the avenues 
of the ship. 

"Gill all hands to extinguish fire ! Gentlemen, to 
your stations. Be cool, men ; and be siletit !" 

There was a calmness and an authority in the . 
' tones of the young commander, that eorbed tbe*^ im- 
p^uouft iieelM^ w ^ Mactkd crew. AfiM^om^ 



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-to joWdteiMS, and traioad to order, each^imQ broke 
out of his trance, and eagerly commenced the dil- 
charge of his aUotted duty. At that instant, an erect 
and unmoved form stood on the combings of the mam- 
hatch. A hand was raised in the air, and the caH, 
which came from the deep chest, was like -that of 
.one used to speak in the tempest. 

"Wiiere are my brigantines ? " it said — ^*Come 
away there, my sea^gs; wet the light sails, and 
follow!" 

A group of grave and submissive maiiners gath- 
ered about the * Skimmer of the Seas,' at the sound 
of his voice. Glancing an eye over them, as if to 
scan their quality and number, he smiled, with a look 
in which high daring and practised self-command 
was blended with a constitutional gait^ ^ coour. 

" One deck, or tw,o !" — he added ; " what avails a 
plank, more or less, in an explosion 'J^-FoUow !" 

The free-trader and his people disappeared in the 
interior of the ship. An interval of great and reso- 
lute exertion succeeded. Blankets, sails, and every 
tfaii:^ which odered, and which promised to be of 
use, were wetted and cast upon the flames. The 
engine was brought to bear, and the ship was deluged 
with water. But the confined space, with the heat 
and smoke, rendered it impossible to penetrate to 
those parts of the vessel where the conflagration 
raged. The ardor of the men abated as hope lessened, 
and after half an hour of fruitless exertion, Ludlow 
saw, with pain, that his assistants began to yield to 
the inextinguishable principle of nature. The ap- 
pearance of the Skimmer on deck, folbwed by all 
his people, destroyed hope, and every efibrt ceased 
.as suddenly as it had coouneaced. 

"Think of your wounded;" whispered the fre<h 
trader, with a steadiness no danger could disturb 
* Wa^staad on a xagioff volcano 1 " 



Dig^itized 



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«. ** I have ordered the gunner to drovm the omgaU 

frine." 

'< He was too late. The hold of the ship is a fiery 
furnace. I heard him fall among the store*rooms, 
. and it surpassed the power of man to give the wretch 
succor. The grenade has fallen near some combus- 
tibles, and, painful as it is to part with a ship so loved, 
Ludlow, thou wilt meet the loss like a man! Think 
of thy wounded; my boats are still hanging at the 
stern." 

Ludlow reluctantly* but firmly, gave the order to 
bear the wounded to the boats. This was an ardu- 
ous aiid delicate duty. The smallest boy in the ship 
knew the whole e;^tent of the danger, and that a 
moment, by the explosion of the powder, might pre- 
cipitate them all into eternity. The deck forward 
was getting too hot to be endured, and there were 
places even in which the beams had given symptoms 
of yielding. 

But the poop, elevated still above the fire, offered 
a momentary refuge.' Thither all retired, while the 
weak and wounded were lowered, with the caution 
circunDstances would permit, into the whale-boats of 
the smugglers. 

Ludlow stood at one ladder and the freetrader at 
the other, in order to be certain that none proved 
recreant in so trying a moment. Near them were 
Alida, Seadrift, and the Alderman, with the attend- 
ants of the former. 

It seemed an age, before this hun^ane and tender 
duty was performed. At length the cry of ** all in !" 
was uttered, in a manner to betray the extent of 
the self-command that had been necessary to effect it 

" Now, Alida, we may thmk of thee !" said Lud- 
low, turning to the ^ot occupied by the silent heiress. 

<* And you J ".she said, hesitating to move. • 

*' Duty demands that I should te tlm last-.^^'' 

A 9barp expkfiion beoeatbt and fragmeafci of fire 



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Afit^ opwards through a hatdi, inlermpted bis 
words, r lunges into the sea, aqd a rush of the people 
to the boats, followed All order and authority were 
.completely lost, in the instinct of life. In vain did 
Ludlow call on his ihen to be cool, and to wait for 
those who were still above. His words were lost, in 
the uproar of clamorous voices., For a moment, it 
seemed, however, as if the Skimmer of the Seas would 
overcome the confusioo. Throwing himself on a 
ladder, he glided into the bows of one of the boats, 
and, holding Iw the ropes with a vigorous arm, he 
resisted the el&rts of all the oars and boat-hooks, 
while he denounced destruction on him who dared to 
quit the ship. Had not the two crews been mingled, 
the high authority and determined mien of the free- 
trader would have prevailed ; but while some were 
disposed to obey, others raised the cry of " throw the 
dealer in witchcraft into the sea ! " — Boat-hooks were 
already pointed at his breast, and the horrors of the 
fearful moment were about to be increased by the 
violence of a mutinous contention, when a second ex- 
plosion nerved the arms of the rowers to madness, 
vfith a common and desperate eSbrt, they overcame 
all resistance* Swinging off upon the ladder, the 
furious seaman saw the boat glide from his grasp, 
and depart. The execration that was uttered, be- 
neath the stern of the G)quettey was deep and pow- 
erful ; but, in another moment, the Skimmer stood 
on the poop, calm and undejected, in the centre of 
the deserted group. 

" The explosion of a few of the officers' pistols has 
frightened the miscreants;" he said, cheerfully 
/*But hope is not yet lost!— they linger in the dis 
tance, and may return !" 

The sight of the helpless party on the poop, and 
the consciousness of being less exposed themselves, 
had indeed arrested the progress of ^he fugitives. 
Still, sdfisbnciffl predoaiinatea; ipd MxbU^ m^J4lr 



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felt TRS Wilffn-WftCH. 

^retted their daeger, nene \mt the Toung ^niS iib- 
needed mid^ipmen, Vho were neither of an age nor 
of a rank to wield flnfficient authority, proposed to 
return. There- was little argument necessary to 
show that the perils increased at each moment ; and 
finding that no other expediejtit remained, the gallan 
youths encouraged the men to pull towards the land 
mtending themselves to return instantly to the as- 
sistance of their commander and his friends. The 
oars dashed into the water again, and the retiring 
boats were soon lost to view in the body of darkness. 

While the fire had been raging within, another 
element, without, had aided to lessen hope for those 
who were abandoned. The wind from the land had 
continued to rise, and^ during the time lost in useless 
exertion, the ship had been permitted to run nearly 
before it When hope was gone, the helm had been 
deserted, and as all the lower sails had been hauled 
up to avoid the flames, the vessel had drifted, many 
minutes, nearly dead to- leeward. The mistaken 
youths, who had not attended to these circumstances, 
were already miles from that beach they hoped to 
reach so soon ; and ere the boats had separated from 
the ship five minutes, they were hopelessly asund^. 
Ludlow had early thought of the expedient of strand- 
ing the vessel, as the means of saving her people; 
but his better knowledge of their position, soon showed 
him the utter futility of the attempt. 

Of the progress of the flames beneath, the mari* 
ners could only judge by circumstances. The Skim- 
mer glanced his eye about him, on regaining the 
poop, and appeared to scan the amount and quality 
of the physical force that was still at their disposal. 
He saw that the Alderman, the faithful Francois, 
and two of his own seamen, with four of the petty 
'Officers of the ship, remained. The six latter; even 
•in ^hat moment of desperation, had cabntjrrefitt^ to 



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TH8 ^ATim-WITCO* 91S 

<^Tfae flames are in the state-^roofss!'' he whis- 
pered to Ludlow. 

*♦ Not further aft, I think, than the berths of the 
midshipmen-^Ise we ^ould hear more pistols/' 

** True — they are fearful signals to let us^ knovv 
the progress of the fire ! — our resource is a raft" 

Ludlow looked as if he despaired of the means 
but, concealing the discouraging fean he answered 
cheerfully in the afiSirmative. The orders were in- 
stantly given, and all on board gave themselves to 
the task, heart and hand. The danger was one that 
admitted of no ordinaiy or half-conceived expedi- 
ents; but, in such an emergency, it required all the 
readiness of their art, and even the greatness of that 
conception which is the property of genius. All dis- 
tinctions of rank and authority had ceased, except 
as deference was paid to natural qualities and the 
intelligence of experience. TJnder such circum- 
stances, the ' Skimmer of the Seas' took the lead ; 
and though Ludlow caught his ideas with professional 
quickness, it was the mind of the free-trader that 
controlled, throughout, the succeeding exerticms of 
that fearful night 

The cheek of AKda was blanched to a deadly 
paleness; but there rested about the bright and wiU 
- eyes of Seadrift, an expression of supernatural reso- 
lution. 

When the crew abandoned the hc^e of extin- 
guishing the flames, they had closed all the hatches, 
to retard the crisis as much as possible. Here and 
there, however, little torch-like lights w^are banning 
to show themselves through the planks, and the whole 
•deck, forward of the main-mast, was already in a 
critical and sinking state. One or two of the beams 
s had failed, but, as yet, the form of the construction 
was preserved. Still the seamen distrusted the 
^eacherous footing, and, had the heat permitl»d the 
experiment, tbey would hftye ahmafe fimft i^iilk 



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814 VHE WATSft^WITCH. 

which at anj unexpected nomeDt OMght coimnif 
them to the fierj furnace beneath. 

The smoke ceased, and a clear, powerful Kghi 
illuminated the ship to bertrucks. In consequence 
of the care and exertions of her people, the sails 
and masts were jret untouched ; and as the graceful 
canvas swelled with the breeze, it still ui^ed the 
blazing hull trough the water. 

The forms of the Skimmer and his assistants were 
Tisifole, in the midst of the gallant ge^r, perched on 
the giddy yards. Seen by that light, with his pecu- 
liar attire, his firm and certain step, and his resolute 
air, the free<»trader resembled some fancied sea-god, 
who, secure m his inunortal immunities, had come to 
act his part in that awful but exciting trial of hardi- 
hood and skill. Seconded by the common men, he 
was employed in cutting the canvas from the yards. 
Sail after sail fell upon the deck, and, in an incredi- 
bly short space of time, the whole of the fore-mast 
was naked to its spars and ri^ng. 

In the mean time, Ludlow, assbted by the Alder- 
man and Francois, bad not been idle below. Passing 
forward between the empty ridge-ropes, lanyard after 
lanyard parted under the blows of their little board- 
ing-axes. The mast now depended on the strength 
of the wood and the support of a single back-stay. 

" Lay down !" shouted Ludlow. " All is gone aft, 
but this stay!'' 

The Skimmer leaped up<xi the firm rope, ibUowed 
bj all aloft, and, gli<&)g downwards, be was instantly 
in the hammock^Iotbs. A crash followed their de- 
scent, and an explosion, which caused the whole of 
the burning fabric to tremble to its centre, seemed 
to announce the end of all* Even the free-trader 
recoiled before the horrible din ; but when be stood 
near Seadrift and the heiress again, there was cheer- 
fuioesp in his tones, and a look of hight and even of 



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. TRU WATEtUWlTCU; 5^15' 

»* The deck has failed forwards," he said, •* and our 
artillery is beginning to utter fearful signal-guns !* Be 
of cheer I — ^the magazine of a ship lies deep, and 
many sheathed bulk-heads still protect us." 

Another discharge from a heated gun, however 

Eroclainied the rapid progress of the flames. The 
re broke out of the interior anew, and the fore 
mast kindled. 

"There must be an end of this!" said Alida, 
clasping her hands in a terror that could not be con- 
trolled. ** Save yourselves, if possible, you who have 
strength and courage, and leave us to the mercy of 
him whose eye is over all !" 

** Go ;" added Seadrift, whose sex could no l<>nger 
be concealed. " Human courage can do no more : 
leave us to die!" 

The looks, that were returned to these sad re- 
quests, were melancholy but unmoved. The Skim- 
mer caught a rope, and still holding it in bis hand, 
he descended to the quarter-deck, on which he at 
first trusted his weight with jealous caution. Then 
looking up, he smiled encoufagingly, and said, — 
" Where a gun still stands, there is no danger for the 
weight of a man!" 

" It is our only resource ;" cried Ludlow, imitating 
his example. " On, my men, while the beams will 
still hold us." 

In a moment, all were on the quarter-deck, though 
the excessive heat rendered it impossible to remain 
stationary an instant. A gun on each side was run 
in, its tackles loosened, and its muzzle pointed to- 
wards the tottering, unsupported, but still upright 
foremast. 

" Aim at the elects !" said Ludlow to the Skimmer 
who pointed one gun, while he did the same office at 
the other. 

« Hold I" cried the latter « Throw in shot— it is 



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216 THE WATCR-VITCB. 

but the chance between a bursting gun and a light- 
ed magazine!" 

Additional balls were introduced into each piece, 
and then, with steady hands, the gallant mariners . 
applied burning brands to the prinving. The dis 
charges were simultaneous, and, for an instant, vol 
umes of «smoke rolled along the deck and seemed to 
triumph over the conflagration. The rending of 
wood was audible. It was followed by a sweeping 
noise in the air, and the fall of the fore-mast, with 
all its burden of spars, into the sea. The motion of 
the ship was instantly arrested, and, as the heavy 
timbers were still attached to the bowsprit by the 
forward stays, her head came to the wind, when 
the remaining topsails flapped, shivered, and took ' 
aback. 

The vessel was now, for the first time during the 
fire, stationary. The common mariners profited by • 
the circumstance, and, darting past the mounting 
flame along the bulwarks, they gained the top- 
gallant-forecastle, which though heated was yet un- 
touched. The Skimmer glanced an eye about him, 
and seizing Seadrift by the waist, as if the mimic • 
seaman had been a child, he pushed forward between 
the ridge-ropes. Ludlow followed with Alida, and 
the others intimated their example in the best man- ' 
ner they could. All reached the head of tlie ship in 
safety ; though Ludlow had - been driven by the 
flames into the fore-channels, and thence nearly into 
the sea. 

The p^^tty officers were already on the floating 
spars, separating them from each other, cutting away 
the unnecessary weight of ^ rigging, bringing the , 
several parts of the wood in parallel lines, and lash- 
*ng them anew. Ever and anon, these rapid move- 
ments were quickeneii by one of those fearful signals 
from the ofUcers* berths, which, by announcing the 
j^ogress of the Barnes beneath, betrayed their io* 



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THE VfATmSL-VmCM. m?'^ 

crea^i^g prosnimty to the still-slutnbering volcana > 
The boats had been gone an hour, aird yet it seeme<^ 
to all in the ship, but a minute. The conflagration 
had, for the last ten minutes, advanced with renewed 
fury ; and the whole of the confined flame, winch 
bad been so long pent in the depths of the vessel 
now dared high in the open ain 

<^ Ihis heat can no longer be borne," said Ludlow; 
** we mu3t to our raft, for breath/' 

"To the raft then!" returned the cheerful voice 
of the free-trader. ** Haul in upon ydUr fasts, men, 
and stand by to receive the precious freight" 

The seamen obeyed. Alida and her companions 
were lowered safely to the pjace prepared for their 
reception. The fore-mast had gone over the side, with 
all its^ spars aloft; for preparation bad beeo made» 
before the fire commenced, to carry sail to the ut- 
most, in order to escape the enemy. The skilful and 
active seamen, directed and aided by Ludlow and 
the Skimmer, had made a simple but happy disposi- 
tion of those boyant materials on which their all 
now depended. In settling in the water, the yards, 
still crossed, had happily fallen uppermost. The 
booms and all the light spars had been floated near 
the top, and laid across, reaching from the lower to 
the topsail-yard. A few light spars, stowed outboard, 
had fayeea cut away and added to the number, and 
the whole >vere secured with the readiness and in 
genaity of seamen. On the first alarm of fire, some 
of the crew had seized a few light articles that 
would float, and rushed to the head, as tlv^ place 
most remote from the magazine, in the bliii^ hope 
of saving life by swimming. Most of these articles 
had been deserted, when the people were rafilied to 
exertion by their officers. A couple of empty shot- 
boxes and a mess-chest were among themi and on 
the latter were seated the females, while the former 
served to keep their feet from the water., As the 

VoL.IL T 



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818 - TBS WATJBR-^nTCH. 

arrangement of the spars forced the pftocipal mast 
entirely beneath the element, and the ship was so 
small as to need little artificial work in her mastiBg, 
the part around the top, which con^uned ^staging, 
was scarcely submerged. Although a ton ki weigh 
was added to the inherent grayity of the wood, still 
s the latter was of the lightest description, and 
freed as much as poealble of every thing that was 
unnecessary to the safety of those it supported, the 
spars floated sufficiently buoyant for the t^nporary 
security of ther fugitivea. 

"Cut the fe^l" said Ludlow, inroluntarily start- . 
ing at several explosions in the interior, which fol- 
lowed each other in quick succesrien, and which 
were succeeded by one which sent fragments of bom* 
ing wood into the air. "^ Cut,, and bear the raft off the 
ship I — ^God knows^ we have need to be further 
asunder!" 

"Cut not!'' cried the half-Aantic Seadrift— ** My 
brave ! — my devoted ! " 

" Is safe ; — " calmly said the Skimmer, appearing 
in the rattlings of the main-rigging, which was stiO 
untouched by the fire — ^" Cut off all I I stay to brace 
the misen-topsail more firmly aback^" 

The duty was done, and for a moment the fine 
figure of the free-trader was seen standing on the 
edge of the burning ship, looking with regret at the 
glowing mass. 

•*'Tis the end of a lovely craft!" he ssod, loud 
enough to be heard by those beneath. Then he ap- 
peared*ifl the air, and s«nk into the sea — ^"The last 
signal v^fts from the ward-room," added the dauntless 
and dexterous mariner, as he rose from the water, 
and, sh?»:king the brine firora his head, he took h» 

tlace on* Jhe stage — '' Would to God the wind would 
low, for we have need of greater distance !" 
The precaution the free-trader had taken, in ad- 
justln^r the sails, was not without its use* Motion 



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AlBA-'WITCS. 219 

flie raft had tKme»-bat as the topsails of the Coipiette 
were still aback, the fiaiiHi^ mass, no longer arrested 
by the cloga in the water, began slowly to separate 
irorh the floalioig spars, tiiough the tottering and faalf- 
^urnt oiasts Ihrea^ened, at each moment, to fall. 

Never did moniaits seem so long, ae those v^ic 
tuooeeded. Even the Skimmer and Ludlow watched 
in speechless interestf the tardy movements of the 
Aif, By little and little, she receded; and, after ten 
piiniites .0f intense expectation, the seamen, whose 
anxiety had increased as their exertions ended, be- 

Ein to breathe more freely. They were still ' fear- 
Uy near the dangerous &ibriic, but destruction from 
the explosion was no koiger inevitable. The iames 
b^an to glide upwards, and ftien the heavens ap- 
peared on fire, as one heated sail after another kin- 
dled and flared wildly in tiie breeze. 

Still tlie stern <»f the vessel was entire. The body 
of the master was seated again^ the mizen-mast, 
and evea the stern visage ^ the hsM «eaman was 
distinctfy.viaible, under tlie broad light of ttie con^- 
flagration. Ludlow gazed at it in meianchdy, and 
for a time. he ceased to think ef his ship, while 
Hiemory dwelt, in madness, on those scenes of boyi^' 
happiness, a»d of professional pleasures, in which his 
aiicient shipmate had 60 largely participated. The 
roar of a gun, whose stream of fiffe flashed nearly to 
their faces, and the sullen whistling of its shot, which 
crossed Hie raft, foiled to awaken him from his trance. 

^^ Stand firm to the mess-chest!" half-whispered 
the Skimmer, motioning to his companions to place 
themselves in attitudes to support the weaker of their 
party, while, with sedulous care, he braced his own 
athletic person in a manner to dirow all d* its 
weight and strength against the seat ^ Stand firm, 
afid be ready I" 

Ludlow eempliedy though his eye scarce changed 
its dkectioo* He saw the bright flame that was 



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2StO TBS W^TSa^WIT^. 

riauQg above the arm^heftt, and lie fimfeksd that It 
came from the funeral pile of the yoimg Duroooty 
whose fat^t ^^ thatmoraent^ be was ahnost disposed 
to eovy. TbeD bb look returned to the grim coun- 
tenance of TrjreaiL At momeott, it fieemed as if the 
dead master .8|K>ke; sokd so strvx^ did the iilBsioD 
become^ that our young sailor loore tiian once bent 
forward to listen. While under this delusion^ the 
body ]t>se, with the arms stretched iq>wards. The 
air was hlkd with a sheet of streanung fire, Vi^hite 
the ocean and the heavens glowed with one glare 
of intense and fiery red. Notwitfastam^ftg the pre» 
cauti(Hi ai the 'Skiiluaer of the Seas/ the chest was 
driven from iU ]^ace» aod thosc^ by vfbotn it was 
held were nearly preeipitated into the water. A 
deep, heavy detonation proceeded as it were finoai 
the bosom of the sea« wiiich, while it wounded the 
ear less than the sharp explosion that bad ju^ beitn-e 
issued from the gun, was audible at the distant caped 
pf the Delaware. The body of Trysail sidled np-^ 
ward for dfty fatbooQe, in tlie centre of a flaod of 
flaxne^ aitd, describh]^ a short curve, it came towards 
the raft, and cut the water withm reach of tike cap^ 
tain's arm. A sullen plunge of a guii followed) and 
proclajimed the tremendous i>ower of the explosion ; 
while a ponderous yard fell athwart a part of the 
raft, sweeping away the four petty officers of Lud- 
low, as if tbey had been dust driviiig before a gale. 
To increase the wild and fearful grandeur of the 
dissolutiQn of the royal cruiser, otm of the cannon 
emitted its fiery contents while aaflu^ in the void. 

The burning spars, the faliibg fragments, tiie 
bkzing aM scattened canvas acid cordage, the glu- 
ing shot, and all the torn particles of the ship, Were 
seen descending* Tl^n followed the gurglii^ of 
water, as the ocean swallowed all that remained <rf 
the cruiser which had so loi^ beeh the |»ide of the 
American sea^. The fiery glow diaappeared, and a 



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THE WATB&*WITdll. S21 

doom Uke tbat which succeeds the ^ glare <^ vivid 
ligbtmngy fell o& the scaie. 



CHAPTER XV. 

^* —Please you, read." 



CTMBBLmK 



^It 18 past!'' said tiie /Skimmer of the SeaV 
jraising himself • from the attitude of great musculaft* 
exertion, which he bad assumed in order to support 
the mess-chest, and walking out along the single 
mast, towards the spot whence the four seamen of 
Ludlow.had jurt been swept. ^* It is past 1 aod those 
who are called to the last account, have met their 
iate. in such a scene as none but a seaman may wit- 
ness ; while those wlio are spared, have need of all 
a seaman's skill and resolution for that which re» 
mains ! Captain Li^dlow, I do not despair ; for, seoy 
the lady of the brigantine has still a smile for her 
servitors!" 

Ludlow, who bad followed the steady and daring 
free-trader to the place where the spar had fallen^ 
turned and cast a kok in the direction that the other 
Stretched bis arm. Within a hundred feet of him» 
he saw the image, of the sea^reen lady, rocking in 
the agitated water, and turned towards the raft, 
with its usual expression of wild and malicious intel- 
tigence. This emblem of their fancied mistress had 
been borne in front of the smugglers, when they 
mounted the poop of the Coquette ; and the steeled 
'Staff on which the lantern was perched, had been 
struck into a horse<*bucket by the standard-bearer 
of the moment, ere he entered the roe]^ of the com- 
bat During the^cooflagraticMi^ tUs object had more 
T2 



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fi23 THS vfkp^'VfVtcn, 

than once met ibd eje of Lvdle^; 9M tiot^lt d|M 
peared floating quietly bj faiiiQy iti a matin^f alib^^t 
to shake even his contempt for the ordinary super 
stitions of seamen. While he hesitated in what man- 
ner he should reply to his companion's remark, the 
latter plunged into the sea, and swam towards the 
light He was soon by the side of the raft again 
bearing aloft the symbol of his brigantine. There 
are none so firm in the dominion of reason, as to be 
entirely superior to the secret impulses which teach 
us all to believe in the hidden agency of a good or 
an evil fortune. The voice of the free-trader was 
more cheerful, and his step more sure and elastic, as 
he crossed the stage and struck the armed end of the 
^stafif into that part of the top-rim of the. Coquette, 
which floated uppermost. 

"G>uragel" he gaily cried. ** While this light 
bums, my star is not set ! Courage, lady of the land; 
for here is one of the deep waters, who still looks 
kindly on her followers ! We are at sea, on a fraii 
craft it is certain, but a dull sailer may make a sure 
passage. — Speak, gallant Master Seadrift: thy gaiety 
and spirit should revive under so goodly an omen !'* 

But the agent of so many pleasant masquerades* 
and the instrument of so much of his artifice, had not 
a fortitude equal to the buoyant temper of the smug- 
gler. The counterfeit bowed his head by the side 
of the silent Alida, without reply. The * Skimmer of 
the Seas' regarded the group, a moment^ with manly 
interest ; and then touching the arm of Ludlow, he 
walked, with a balancing step, along the spars, until 
Ibey had reached a spot where they might confer 
without causing unnecessary alarm to their compan- 
on& 

Although so iinminent and so pressing a danger as 
that of the explosion had passed, the situation of 
those who had escaped was Bcar<;ely b^er than that 
9( ttoe yvbo hdd hd€Mi k36t* Tinlieav^i^ah^Vi^ a 



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few glknmerifig ^rs in th6 openings of flie clouds; 
and now, that the first contrast of the change had 
lessened, there was just enough light to render all the 
features of their actual state gloomily imposing. 

It has heen said, that the fore-mast of the Co- 
quette went by the board, with^most of its hamper 
aloft. The sails, with such portion of the rigging as 
might help to sustain it, had been hastily cut away 
as related ; and after its fall, until the moment of the 
explosion, the common men had been engaged, either 
in securing the staging, or in clearing the wreck of 
those heavy ropes which, useless as fastenings, only 
added to the weight of the mass. The whole wreck 
lay upon the sea, with the yards crossed and in their 
places, much as the spars had stood. The large 
booms had been unshipped, and laid in such a man- 
ner around the top, with the ends resting on the 
lower and top-sail yards, as to form the foundation of 
the staging. The smaller booms, with the mess-chest 
and shot-boxes, were all that lay between the group 
in the centre, and the depths of the ocean. The 
upper part of the top-rim rose a few feet above the 
wkter, and formed an important protection against 
the- night-bteeze and the constant washing of the 
waves. In this manner were the females seated, cau- 
tioned not to trust their feet on the frail security of 
the booms, and supported by the unremitting care of 
the Alderman. Francois had submitted to be lashed 
to the top by one of the brigantine's seamen, while 
the latter, all of the common herd who remained, 
encouraged by the presence of their standard-light, 
began to occupy themselves in looking to the fasten- 
ings and other securities of the raft 

" We are in no condition for a long or an^actir 
cruise, Captain Ludlow," said the Skimmer, when he 
and his companion were out of hearing. " I have 
-Wen at sea in all weathers, and in every description 



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<KM THE WATXa-WITOH. 

of craft ; but tliis is the boldest of m; experim^ente on 
the water. — I hope it may not be the last!" 

" We cannot conceal from ourselves the frightful 
hazards we run," returned Ludlow, ** however much 
we may wish them to be a secret to some among 
us." 

** This is truly a deserted sea, to be abroad in^ on 
a raft ! Were we in the narrow passages between 
the British islands and the Main, or even in the Bis- 
cay waters, there woutd be hope that some trader 
or roving cruiser might cross our track; but our 
chance here lies- much between the Frenchman and 
the brigantine." 

" The enemy has doubtless seen and heard the ex- 
plosion, and, as the land is so near, they vwU infer 
that the people are saved in the boats. Our chance 
of seeing more of them is much diminished by the 
accident of the fire, since there will no longer be a 
motive for remaining on the coast." 

" And will your young officers abandon their cap- 
tain without a search?" 

" Hope of aid from that quarter is faint. The ship 
ran miles while in flames, and, before the light re- 
turns, these spars will have drifted leagues, with the 
ebbing tide, to seaward." 

" Truly, I have sailed with better auguries!" ob- 
served the Skimmer — " What are t^eljearings and 
distance of the land?" ' 

** It still lies to the north, but we are fast setting 
©ast and southerly. Ere morning we shall be abeam 
of Montauk, or even beyond it ; we must already be 
some leagues in the offing." 

'* That is worse than I had imagined I — but tberte 
18 hope on the flood ?" 

" The flood will bear us northward again — ^but — 
what think you of the heavens?" 

"Unfavorable, though not desperate. The sea- 
bpceze will return with the sun." 



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THE WATER-WITCH. 225 

"And with it will return the swell 1 How long will 
these ill-secured spars hold together, when agitated 
by the heave of the water ? Or, how loftg will those 
with us bear up againsb the wash of the sea, unsup* 
ported by nourishment ?" 

"You pidnt in gloomy colors, Cirptein Ludlow," 
said the free-trader, drawing a heavy breath, in 
Spite of all his resolution. " My experience tells me 
you are right, though my wishes would fain Contra- 
dict, you. StUl, I think we have the promise of a 
tranquil night." 

^ " Tranquil for a ship, or even for a boat ; but haz- 
ardous to a i-aft like this. You sfee that this topmast 
already works in the cap, at each heave ot*the watei^ 
and as the wood loosens, our secuiity lessens." 

" Thy council is not flattering ! — Captain Ludlow^ 
you are a seaman and a man, and I shall not attempt 
to trifle with your knowledge. With yoii, I think the 
danger imminent, and almost our only hope depend*- 
ent on the good fortune of my brigantine." 

" Will those Jri her think it their duty to quit their 
anchorage, to come in quest of a raft wbote existence 
IS unknown to them]" 

" Tliere is hope in the vigilance of her ot the sea- 
green mantle ! You may deem this fanciful, or even 
worse, at such a moment ; but I, who have run so 
many gauntlets under her favor, have feith in her 
fortunes. Surely, you are not a seaman. Captain 
Ludlowy without a secret dependence on some imseeii 
and potent agency!" 

" My dependence b placed in the agency of hiiii 
who is all-potent^ but never visible. If he forget us, 
we may indeed despair 1" 

" This is well, but it is not the fortune I would ex 
press. Believe me, spite of an education which teaches 
all you have said, and of a reason that is often too 
clear for folly, there is a secret reliance on hidden 
chfiOceSj that has been created by a life of activity 



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SS6 THE WATSR-WITCk; ' 

and hazard, and which, if it should do nothing bet- 
ter, does not abandon me to despair. The omen of 
the light and the smile of my mistress would cheer 
me, spite of a thousand philosophers!" 

" I ou are fortunate in purchasing consolation so 
cheaply;" returned the commander of Queen Anne, 
who felt a latent hope in his companion's confidence 
that he would have hesitated to acknowledge. " I 
see but little that we can do to aid our chances, ex- 
cept it be' to clear away all unnecessary weight, and 
to secure the raft as much as possible by additional 
lashings." 

The * Skimmer of the Seas' assented to the pro- 
posal. Consulting a moment longer, on the details 
of their expedients, they rejoined the group near the 
.top, in order to see them executed. « As the seamen 
on the raft were reduced to the two people of the 
brigantine, Ludlow and his companion were obliged 
to assbt in the performance of the duty. 

Much useless rigging, that added to the pressure 
without aiding the buoyancy of th^ raft, was cut 
away; and, all the boom-irons were knocked off the 
yards, and suffered to descend to the bottom of the 
ocean. By. these means a great weight was taken 
from the raft, which in consequence floated with so 
much additional power to sustain those who depend- 
ed OR it for life. The Skimmer, accompanied by his 
two silent but obedient seamen, ventured along the 
attenuated and submei^ed spars to the extremity of 
the tapering masts, and after toiling, with the dex- 
tarity of men accustomed to deal with the compli- 
cated machinery of a ship in the darkest nights, ther 
succeeded, in releasing the two smaller masts with 
their respective yards, and in floating them down to 
the body of the wreck, or the part around the top. 
Here the sticks were crossed in a manner to give 
great additional strength and footing to the stage. 

There was an air of hope, and a feeling of in- 



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tut wATmL^wmam. . 2S?7 

creased sectlrit^, m this einploysient. Even the Al- 
derman and Francois aided in the ta^k, to the extent 
of their knowledge and force. But when these al- 
terations were made, and additional lashings had 
been applied to keep the topmast and the larger 
yards in their places, Ludlow, by joining those who 
were around the mast-head, tacitly a^Bitted that 
little more could be done to avert the chances of the 
elements. 

During the few hours occupied in this important 
duty, Alida and her companion addressed themselves 
to God, in long and fervent petitions. With woman's 
faith in that divine being who alone could avail them, 
and with woman's high mental fortitude in moments 
of protracted trial, they had both known how to con- 
trol the exhibition of their terrors, and had sought 
their support in the same appeal to a power superior 
to aH of earth. Ludlow was therefore more than 
rewarded by the sound of Alida's voice, speaking to 
him cheerfully, as she thanked him for what he had 
done, when he' admitted' that he could now do no 
more. 

" The rest is with Providence !" added Alida. " All 
that bold and skilful seamen can do, have ye done ; - 
and all that woman in such a situation can do, have.r 
we done in your behalf!" 

" Thou hast thought of me in thy prayers, Alida \ 
Tt is an intercession that the stoutest needs, and 
which none but the fool derides." 

" And thou, Eudora ! thou hast remembered him 
who quiets the waters!" said a deep voice, near the 
bending form of the counterfeit Seadrift. 

« I have." 

**'Tis well — There are points to which manhood 
and experience may pass, and there are those where 
all is left to one mightier than the elements!" 

Words like these, coming from the lips of one of 
tike known character of the ' Skimmer of the SeasL* 



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^228 THX WAIlBRoin^lTCR.' 

were not giv^n to the wioda. Even Ludtow cast an 
uneasy Ipwc at the heavens, when they came upoii 
his ear, as if they conveyed a secret notice of the 
whole extremity of the danger by which they were 
environeid. None answered ; and a long'silence huc- 
oeeded, during which some of the more fatigued 
dunfbered uneasily, spite of their fearful situation. 

In this manner did the night pass, in weariness and 
anxiety. Little was said, and for hours scarce a limb 
was moved, in the group that clustered around the 
mesS'Chest* As the signs of day appeared, however, 
every faculty was keenly awake, to catch the first 
signs of what they had- to hope, or the first certainty 
of wh^t they had to fear. 

The surface of the ocean was still smooth, though 
the long swells in which the element was heaving and 
setting, sufficiently indicated that the raft had floated 
far from the land. This fact was rendered sure, when 
the light, which soon appeared along the eastern 
margin of the narrow view, was shed gradually over 
the whole horizon. Nothing was at first visible, but 
one gloomy and vacant waste of water. But a cry 
of joy from- Seadrift, whose senses had \cmg been 
practised in ocean sights, soon drew all eyes in the ' 
direction opposite to that of -the rising sun, and it was 
not long before all on the low raft had a view of the 
snowy surfaces of a ship's sails, as the glow of morn- 
ing touched the canvas. 

" It is^e Frenchman !" said the free-trader. ^* He 
is charitably looking for the wreck of his late enemy !" 

" It m^y be so, for our fate can be no secret to 
him ;" was the answer of Ludlow. ** UnhappilvjiUpv 
had run some distance from the anchorage, before 
the flames broke out. Truly, those with whom we 
so lately struggled for life, are bent on a duty of 
humanity." 

" Ah, youder is his crippled consort l-^to leeward 
many a jeague» The gay bii'd has been too sadly 



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stripped of its plumage, to fly so near the wind!' 
This is man's fortune ! He used \m power, at one^^ 
moment) to destroy the very m^tns that become ne* 
cessary to his safety, the next." * 

''And what think you of our hopes ] " a^ed Alidd,^ 
earching in the countenance of Ludlow a clue t<K 
Hieir fate. ''Does the stranger move in a direction 
fevorable to our wishes?'* 

Neither Ludlow nor the Skimmer replied. Both^ 
regarded the frigate intently, and then, as objects 
became more distinct, both answered, by a common 
impulse, that the ship was steering directly towards 
them. The declaration excited general hope, and^ 
'even the negress was no longer restrained by hei^ 
situation from expressing her joy in vociferous ex- 
clamations of delight 

A few minutes erf active an4 ready exertion suc- 
ceeded. A light boom was unlashed from the raft^ 
and raised on its end, supporting a little signal, made 
of the handkerchiefs of the party, which fluttered in 
the light breeze, at the elevation of some twenty 
feet above the surface of the water. After this pre- 
caution was observed, they were obliged to await the 
result in such patience as they could assunoe. Minute 
passed after minute, and, at each moment, the form- 
- and proportions of the ship became more distinct, 
until all the mariners of the party declared they could 
distinguish men on her yards. A cannon would have 
readily sent its shot from the ship to the raft, and 
yet no sign betrayed the consciousness of, those in 
the former of the proximity of the latter. 

•*I do not like his manner of steering!" observed 
the Skimn>er to the silent and attentive Ludlow. " He 
yaws broadly, as if disposed to give up the search. 
God grant him the heart to continue on his course 
ten minutes tenger !" 

" Have we no means of making ourselves heard ?" 
demanded the Alderman. " Methinks the voice of a 

Vol. II. U 



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rtrottg nia:b migbt be sent thus far acro^ the water, 
when life is the stake.*' 

The more expemneed shock their heads; but, not 
discouraged, the burgher raised his voice with a 
polver that wias sustaimed by the iauninencj of the 

CiriL He was joined by the seamen, and even Lud 
w lent his aid, until all were hoarse with the fruit- 
less efibrts. Men were evidently aloft, and in some 
numbers, searching the ocean with their eyes> but 
still no answering signal came from the vessel. 

The ship continued to approach, and the raft was 
less than half a mile from her boWs, when the vast 
fitbric suddenly receded from the brees^, showed the 
whole of its glittering broadside, and, swinging its 
yards, betrayed by ih new position that the search 
in that direction was abandoned. The instant Lud- 
low saw the fillingH)ff of the frigate's bows, he cried — 

"Now, raise your voices together; — ^this is the 
final chance ! " 

-They united m a common shout, with the excep- 
tion of the * dimmer of the Seas.' Tiie latter lead- 
ed agdinst the. top with folded arms, listening to their 
impotent efibrts with a melancholy ^mile. 

" It is well attempted,^' said the calm and extra- 
ordinary seaman when the clamor had ceased, ad- 
vancing along the raft and motioning for all to be 
silent ; " but itjias failed. The swinging pf thejards, 
and the orders given in waring ship, would prevent 
a stronger sound from being audible to men so ac- 
tively employed. I flatter none with hope, but this 
is truly the moment for a final effort." 

He placed his hands to his mouth, and, disregarding 
words, he raised a cry so clear, so powerful, and yet 
o full, that it seemed impossible those in the vess^ 
hould not hear. . Thrice did he repeat the experi- 
ment, though it was evident that each sttcces^ve ex 
ertioa was feebler than the last 



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"They hear!" cried Alicia. "There is a iiiove«^ 
ment in the sails!" 

^ ^Tis the beeeze freshening;" answered Ludlow, 
in sadness, at her side. " Each momont t<ike& them' 
away!" 

The nfielancholy trutb was^ too apparent for d^ 
niai, and for half an hour the retiring ship was; 
watched in ^e bitterness of disappointment At the 
end of that time, ^he fired a gtin, spread additional 
canvas on her wide booms, and stood away before 
the wind, to join her consort, whose upper sails were 
already dipping tq^ the surface of the sea, in the 
90Ut4iern board. With this change in her movements^ 
vanished all expectation of succor from the cruiser 
of the-xinemy. . • 

• Perhaps, in every situation of life, it is necessary 
that hope should be first lessened by disappointments 
before the buc^ancy of the human mind will permit 
it to descend to the level of an evil fortune. Until a 
ft'ustrated efiort teaches him the difficulty of the at- 
tempt, he who has faMen may hope to rke again ; 
and it is only when an exertion has been made with 
lessened means, Miat we learn the value of advan* 
tages, which have perhaps been long enjoyed, with a 
very undue eistimate rf their importance* Until the 
dtern of the French frigate was seen retiring from the 
raft, those who were on it had not beea fiilly sensible 
of the extreme danger of their situation. Hope b»^ 
been strongly excited by* the return of dawn j ftwr 
while the shadows of night lay on the ocean, their 
situati<$n resembled that of one who strove to pierce 
the obscurity of the future, in order to obtain a 
presage of better foriunes. With the light had 
c0me the distant saik As the day advanced, the ship 
had approached, relinquished her search, and disap- 
peared, without a prospect of her return. 

The stout^l heart among the group on the raA 

Digitized by LjOOQ iC 



233 THE WATER-WITCH. 

began to sink at the gloomy fate which now seemed 
inevitable. 

"Here is an evil omen!" whispered Ludlow, di- 
recting his companion's eyes to the dark and pointed 
fins of three or four sharks, that were gliding above 
the surface of the water, and in so fearful a proi^- 
imity to their persons, as to render their situation on 
the low spars, over which the water was washing 
and retiring at each rise and fall of the waves, 
doubly dangerous. — ^** The creature's instinct speaks 
ill for our hopes!" 

"There is a belief among seamen, that these 
animals feel a secret impulse, which directs them to 
their prey;" returned the Skimmer. "But fortune 
may yet balk them. — Rogerson!" calling to one of 
his followers ; — " thy pockets are rarely wanting in 
a fisherman's tackle. Hast thou, haply, line and hook, 
for these hungry miscreants? The question is getting 
narrowed to one, in which the simplest philosophy is 
the wisest. When eat or to be eaten, is the mooted 
point, most men will decide for the former." 

A hook of sufficient size was soon produced, and 
a line was quietly provided from some of the small 
cordage that still remained about the masts. A piece 
of leather, torn from a spar, answered for the bait ; 
and the lure was thrown. Extreme hunger seemed 
to engross the voracious animals, who darted at the 
imaginary prey with the rapidity of lightning. The 
shock was .so sudden and violent, that the hapless 
mariner was drawn from his slippery and precarious 
footing, into the sea. The whole passed with a fright- 
ful and alarming rapidity. A conwnon cry of horror 
was heard, and the last despairing glance of the fallen 
man was witnessed. The mutilated body floated for 
an instant in its blood, with the look of agony and 
terror still imprinted on the conscious countenance. 
At the next moment, it had beconi^ood for the 
monsters of the sea. MJT 



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THE wjk<ssR-wi9ea. Sn 

Att had pQsaed awaj, bat the doep ^^e on Urn 
surface of tl^ ocean. Tiie gouged fish disappeared ; 
but the dark spot remained near the isEtmoarable raf^ 
as if placed there to warn the survivors of iheit 
Jfeite. 

" This is horrible I'* said Ludlow. 

'* A sail t*' shouted the Skimmer, whose voice and 
tone, breaking in on that moment of intense horror 
and apprehensicH), sounded like a ery from thf 
lieavens. ^ My gallant briganHne !'' 

^God grant she come with better fortune tham 
those who have so lately left us !'* 

" God grant it, truly ! If this hope fail, there is 
none left. Few pass here, and we have had sufficient 
proof that our top-gallants are not so lofty as to catch 
every eye." 

All ^attention was now bestowed on the white speck 
which was visible on the margin of the ocean, and 
which the * Skimmer of the Seas' confidently pro- 
nounced to he the Water- Witch, None but a sea- 
man could have felt this certainty ; for, seen from 
the low raft, there was little else to be distinguished 
but the heads of the upper sails. The direction to* 
was unfavorable, as it was to leeward ; but both 
Ludlow and the free-trader assured their compan* 
ions, that the vessel was endeavoring to beat in with 
the land. 

The two hours that succeeded lingered like day* 
of mfeery. So much depended on a variety of evenly ' 
that every circumstance was noted by the seamen 
of the party, with an interest bordering on agonyi 
A &i]ure of the wind might compel the vessel to 
remain stationary, and then both bngantine and raft 
would be at the naercy of the uncertain currents of 
the ocean ; a change of vdnd might cause a change 
of course, and render a meeting impossible; an in» 
crease of the breeze might cause destructicm, even 
before the fKcor could come. In addition to these 
^^ U2 



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n4 ' TBC .WATS&^WITOH; 

•bvioos hazaff^ tibiere were all &^ dKxAcek which 
vr&e dependent on the fact that the people of the 
brigantine bad every reason to believe the fate of 
the party was aheady sealed* 

Still, fortune seemed propitious ; for the breeze, 
though steady, was light, the intention of the vessel 
was evidently to pass somewhere nee^ them, and the 
hope that their object^ was search, so strong abd 
plausible, as to exhilarate every bo6om. 

At the expiration o£ the time named, the brigan- 
tine passed the raft to leeward, and so near as to 
render the smaller objects in her riggix^ distinctly 
visible. 

**The faithful fellows are lookifig for us!" ex- 
claimed the free-trader, with strong emotion in his 
voice. " They are men to scour the coast, ere they 
abandon us P' 

. " They pass us — wave the signal — it may c*\tch 
their eyes!" 

< The little flag was unheeded, and, after -so long 
and so tiftense expectation, the party on the raft had 
the pain to see the swift-moving vessel glide past 
4hem, and drawing so far ^head as to leave little 
hope of her return. The heart of even the * Skimmer 
of the Seas' appeared to sink within him, at the 
disappointment. 

" For myself, I care not ;" said the stout mariner 
mournfully. " Of what consequence is it, in what sea, 
or on what voyage, a seaman goes into his watery 
tomb ? — but for thee, my hapless and playful Eudora, 
I could wish another fate — ^ha I — she tacks ! — the 
«ea*gre»i lady has an instinct for her. children, after 
alll" 

* The br^ntine was in stays. — In ten or fifteen 
minutes more, the vessel was again abeam of the 
raft, and to windward. 

{ ** If she pass us now, our chance is gone, without 
a Aadovr ai hofpe ;" said the ^cimniBr, motioDing 



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THE WA.TSR^'M^mH. 

soieiiitil'y^ far ^sikifce* Tben, appljingliig hsiids to 
his mouth, he shouted, as if despair lent a giants 
volume to hk kingt — 

" Ha ! The Water-Witch !— ahoj i" 

The last word issued from his Kps with the clear, 
audible cry, that the peculiar sound is intended to 
produce. It appeared as if the conscious little bark 
knew its commander^ voice ; fta* its course changed 
slightly, as if the fabric were possessed of the con- 
sciousness and faculties of life. 

«Ho! The Water-Witchf— ahoy!" shouted the 
Skimmer, with a still mightier efibrt 

" — Hiiloa!" canfe down faintly on the breeze, 
and the direction of the brigantine again altered. 

« The Water-Witch !— the Water- Witch l—dboy !" 
broke out of the lips of the mariner of the sha^I, 
with a supernatural force, — the last cry bdng drawn 
out, till be who uttered it sunk back exhausted with 
the effort. 

The words were still ringing in the ears of the 
breathless party on the raft, when a heavy shout 
swept across the water. At the next moment the boom 
<rf the brigantine swung off, and her narrow bows 
were seen pcnnting toward the little beacon of white 
that played above the sea. It was but a moment^ 
but it was a moment pregnant with a thousand hopes 
and fears, before the beautiful craft was gliding 
Within fifty feet of the top. In less than five minotes, 
the spars of the Coquette were- fioatii«g on the wi^ 
ocean, unpeopled and abandoned. 

The ^rst sensation of the * Skiimner of the Seas/ 
when his foot touched the deck of his brag»ntine> 
might have been one of deep and intaise gratitude 
He was silent, and seemingly oppressed at the throat. 
Stepping along the planks, he cast an eye aloft, ^'bA 
struck his hand powerfully on the cap^ab, in a man^ 
ner that was divided between convolsicm and aflic- 
tbn. Then he fftniled grimly on his ^attentive and 



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•m WATSIUWITQH. 



dbe^ant crew, ape^king wth all Ut vorted' di<^«Rir 
lUneas and authority. 

**Fill away the topsail — ^braG€ up ancT hmi aH' 
Trim every thing flat as boarSB^ boys;— jam the 
huasy in with the coast V^ 



CHAPTER XVI. 

** B^eed^ yoa, Sir, were yjou presem at tl is relation 7" 

WiirrsR'8 Talk. 

Ota the following morning, the windows of the 
Lust in Rust denoted the presence of its ow&en 
There was an air of melancholy, and yet of happi- 
ness, in the faces of many who were seen ahout the 
buildings and the grounds, as if a great good had 
been accompanied by some grave and qualifying 
circumstances of sorrow. - The negroes wore an air 
0f that lore d the extraordinary which is the cmi- 
comitant of ignorance^ while those of the more fojr*. 
tunate class resembled men who retained a recollec- 
tion of serious evils that were past 

In tbe private apartment of the burgher, however, 
an interview took place which was characterized by 
an air of deep conceruv The parties were only the 
free-trader and the Alderman. But it was apparent; 
in the look of each> that they met like men who 
Jbad interesiting and serious matters to discuss. Still, 
mie aceustomed to the expressions of the human 
eountesance m^t have seen» that while the former 
was about to introduce topics in tvhich his feelings 
tvere powerfoHy e&Hsted, the other looked only to 
the grosser interests of his commerce. 

**My minntes are counted;" said the marii^r, 
itepping i&to the centre of the room, and feeing hsa 



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THE WATBK-WITCH. 237 

companion. <^ That which is to be said, must be said 
briefly. The inlet can only be passed on the rising 
water, and it will ill consult your opinions of pm* 
^eBce, were I to tarry, till the hue and cry, that 
will follow the intelligence of that which has lately 
happened in the oning, shall be heard in th 
Province." 

" Spoken with a rover's discretion ! This reserve 
will perpetuate friendship, which is nought weakened 
by your activity in our late uncomfortable voyage 
on the yards and inasts of Queen Anne's late cruiser. 
Well ! I wish no ill-luck to any loyal gentleman in 
-Her Majesty's servi<?e; but it is a thousand pities 
that thou wert not ready, now the coast is clear, 
with a good heavy inward cargo ! The last was a^ 
together an afiair of secret drawers, and rich l^es^; 
valuable in itself, and profitable in the exchange : 
but the colony is sadly in want o{ certain articles 
that can only be landed at leisure." 

" I come on other matters. There have been 
. traDsactions between us. Alderman Van Beyerout» 
. that you little understand." 

^' You speak of a small mistake in the last 'par 
voice t — ^*Tis all explained, Master gkiouaer, on a 
second exammation; and thy accuracy is as well 
established a§. that of the baukof England." 

'* Established or not, let him who doubts cease tp 
deal. — I have no other motto than * confidence,' ncff 
any other rule but 'justice.' " 

♦* You overrun my meaning, friend, of mioe. I 
intimate no suspicions ; but accuracy is th^ soul of 
commerce, as profit is its object ,Qear accounts, 
with reasonable balances, are the surest qements of 
business Intimiacies. A little frankness operates, in a 
..secret trade, like equity in the courts; wjhich re- 
establishes the justice that the law has destroy ed.--- 
\Vbat is thy purpose?" 

" It is now many years, Alderman Van Beveroul^ 



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238 THE WATER-WITCir. 

rinee tliis secret trade was commenced between yoH 
and my predecessor, — he, whom you hare thought 
my father, but who only claimed that revered appel- 
lation by protecting the helplessness and infancy of 
the orphan child of a friend'^ 

^ The latter circumstance i&new to me ;" returned 
the burgher, slowly bowing his head. " It may 
explain certain levities which have not been without 
their embarrassment. *Ti3 five-and-twenty years, 
come August, Master Skimmer, and twelve of them 
have been under thy auspices. I will .not say that 
the adventures might not have been better managed; 
as it is, they are tolerable. I am getting old, and 
thinly of closing the risks and hazards of tife — twEo 
or thi^ee^ or, at the mo$t, four or five, lucky voyages, 
must, I think, bring a final settlement between us."- 

** *TwH be made sooner. I believe the history of 
my predecessor was no secret to you. The manner 
in which he was driven from the marine of the 
Stuarts> on account q( his opposition to tyramiy ; his 
reAiee with an only daughter, in the colonies ; and 
his final recourse to the free-trade for a livclihoody 
hav€ often been alluded to between us." 

" Hum — ^I have a good memory for business, Mas- 
ter SkimmeTy but I aa\ as forgetful as a new-made 
lord of his pedigree, on all matters that should be 
overlooked. I dare say, however, it was as you have 
etated.'*^ ^ 

" You know, that when my protector and prede- 
cessor abandoned the land, he took his all with him 
upon the water." 

" He took a wholesome and good-going schocHier, 
Master Skimmer, with an assorted freight of chosen 
fobapco, well ballasted with stones from off the sea- 
shore. He" was no foolish admirer of sea-green 
women, and flaunting brigantines. Often did thfe 
royal cruisers mistake the worthy dealer for an in 
du9trioH» fisherman !" 



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THE WAT«R-W1TCH/ 289 

" He h8i4 his hiiDtiors, and I hare mine. But you 
forget a part of the freight he carried ; — ^a part that 
was not the least valuable." 

" There might have been a bale of marten's furs — 
for the trade was just getting brisk in that article." 

" There was a beautiful, an innocent, and ah af 
fectionate girl " 

The Alderman made an involuntary movement, 
which nearly hid his countenance from his companion. 

« There was, indeed, a beautiful, and, as you say, 
a most warm-hearted girl, in the concern!" he ut- 
tered, in a voice that was subdued and hoarse. " She 
died, as 1 have heard from thyself, Master Skimmer, 
in the. Italian seas. I never saw the fathei, after the 
last visit of his child to this coast." 

" She did die, among the islands of the Mediterra- 

*nean. But the void she left in the hearts of all who 

knew her, was filled, in time, by her — daughter." ". 

The Alderman started from his chair, and, looking 
the free-trader intently and anxiously in the face, 
he slowly repeated the word — 

"Daughter!" 

" I have said it. — Eudora is the daughter of that 
injured woman — ^need I say, who is the father?" 

The burgher groaned, and, covering his face with 
his hands, he sunk back into his chair, shivering con- 
vulsively. 

"What evidence have I of this?" he at length 
muttered — " Eudora is thy sister !" 

The answer of the free-trader was accompanied 
by a melancholy smile. 

" You have be^n deceived. Save the brigantine 
my being is attached to nothing. When my own 
brave father fell by the side of him who protected 
my youth, none of my blood were left. I loved him 
a£ a father, and he called me son, while Eudora was 
passed upon you as the child of a second marriage . 
But here is sufficient evidence of her birth." 



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240 THE WATBR-WITCH. 

The Alderman took a paper, which his oompanion 
put gravely into his hand, and his eyes ran eagerly 
over its contents. It was a letter to himself from the 
mother of Eudora, written after the hirth of the 
latter, and with the endearing affection of a woman 
The love between the young merchant and the fair 
daughter of his secret correspondent • had been lesa 
criminal on his part than most similar connexions. 
Nothing but the peculiarity of their situation, and' 
the real embarrassment of introducing to the world 
one whose existence was unknown to his friends, and 
their mutual awe- of the unfortunate but still prpuQ 
parent, had prevented a legal marriage. The simple 
forms of the colony were eeisily satisfied, -and there 
was even some reason to raise a question whether 
they had not been sufficiently consulted to render 
the offspring legitimate. As Myndert Van Beverout, 
therefore, read the epistle of her whom he had once 
80 truly loved, and whose loss had, . in more senses* 
than one, been to him an irreparable misfortune, 
since his character might have fielded to her gentle 
and healthful influence, his Umbs trembled, and his 
whole frame betrayed the violence of extreme agi- 
tation. The language of the dying woman was kind 
and free from reproach, but it was solemn and ad- 
monitory. She communicated the birth of their 
child ; but she left it to the disposition of her own 
father, while she apprized the author of its being of 
its existence ; and, in the event of its ever being 
consigned to his care, she earnestly recommended it 
to his love. The clo?e was a leave-taking, in which 
the lingering affections of this life were placed in 
mournful contrast to the hopes of the future. 

"Why has this so long been hidden from me?" 
demanded the agitated merchant — *' Why^ oh reck- 
less and fearless man ! have I been permitted to ex^ 
pose the frailties of nature to my own child ?" 
* The smile of the free-trader was bitter, and proud. 



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THK WATim?- WITCH. 1^41 

" Mrl Van Beveroiit, we are no dealers of the 
diort voyage. Our trade is the cooQern of life; — 
our world, the Water- Witch. As we have so little 
of the interests of the land, our philosophy is ahove 
its weaknesses. The birth of Eudora was concealed 
from you, at the will of her grandfather. It might 
have been resentment ; — ^it might have been pride. — 
Had it been affection, the girl has that to justify the 
fraud." 

"And Eudora, herself? — ^Does she — or has she 
Iwig known \he truth?" 

"But lately. Since the death of our common 
friend, the girl has been solely dependent on me for 
counsel and protection. It is now a year since she 
first learned she was not my sister. Until then, like 
you, she supposed us equally derived from one who 
was the parent of neither. Necessity has compelled 
me, of late, to keep her much in the brigantine." 

"The retribution is righteous!" groaned the Al- 
derman. " I am punished for my pusillanimity, in 
the degradation of my own child !" 

The step of the free-trader, as he advanced nearer 
to his companion, was full of dignity ; and his keen 
eye glowed with the resentment of an offended man. 

"Alderman Van Beverout," he said, with stern 
Febuke in his voice, "you receive your daughter, 
stainless as was her unfortunate mother, when neces- 
sity compelled him whose being was wrapped up in 
hei-8, to trust her beneath your roof We of the con- 
traband have our own opinions of right and wrong, 
and my gratitude, no less than my principles, teaches 
me that the descendant of my benefactor is to be 
protected, not injured. Had I, in truth, been the 
brother of Eudora, language and conduct more inno- 
cent could not have been shown her, than that she 
has both heard and witnessed while guarded by my 
care." 

" From my eoul, I thank thee I" burst from the lips 

VowlL V 



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94l» TSV WATCll^WITGK. ' 

of tbe Aktemian. " The girl rimll be adroow}ei%ed , 
and with such a dowry as I can give, she may yet 
hope for a suitable and honorable marriage.'* 

"Thou may'st bestow her on thy favorite Pa-* 
troon ;" returned the Skimmer, with a calm but sad 
eye. "She is more than worthy of all he can 
return. The man is willing to take her, for he U 
not ignorant of her sex and history. That much I 
thought due to Eudora herself, when fortune placed 
the young man in my power." 

" Thou art only too honest for this wicked world. 
Master Skimmer ! Let me see the loving pair, and 
bestow my blessing, on the instant !" 

The free-trader turned slowly away, and, opening 
a door, he motioned for those within to enter. Alida 
instantly appeared, leading the counterfeit Seadrift, 
clad in the proper attire of her sex. Although the 
burgher had often seen the supposed sbter of the 
Skimmer in her female habiliments, she never before 
had struck him as a being of so rare beauty as at 
that moment. The silken whiskers had been re- 
moved, and in their places were burning cheeks, that 
were rather enriched than discolored by the wam» 
touches of the sun. The dark glossy ringlets, that 
were no longer artfully converted to the purposes of 
the masquerade, fell naturally in curls about the 
temples and brows, shading a countenance which in 
general was playfully arch, though at that moment 
it was shadowed by reflection and feeling. It is sel- 
dom that two such beings are seen together, as those 
who now knelt at the feet of the merchant In the 
breast of the latter, the accustomed and lasting love 
of the uncle and protector appeared, for an instant, 
to struggle with the new-born affection of a parent 
Nature was too strong for even his blunted and per- 
verted sentiments ; and, calling his child aloud by 
name, the selfish and calculating Alderman sunk 
i^pon the neck of $udora. and wiu^. I> would have 



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been difficidt to trace the emotions of (lie stern but 
observant free-trader, as he watched the progress of 
this scene. Distrust, uneasiness, and finally melan- 
choly, were in his eye^ Witli the latter expression 
predominant, he quitted the room, like one who felt 
a stranger had no right to witness emotions so sacred. 

Two hours later, and the principal personages of 
the Rarrative were assembled on the margin of the 
Cove, beneath the shade of an oak that seemed 
coeval with the continent. The brigantine was 
aweigh ; and, tinder a light show of canvas, she was 
making easy stretches in the little basin, resembling, 
by the ease and grace of her movements, some beau- 
tiful swan sailing up and down in the enjoyment of 
its instinct A boat had just touched the shore, and 
the ' Skimmer of the Seas' stood near, stretching out 
a hand to aid the boy Zephyr to land. 

** We subjects of the elements are slaves to super- 
stition;" he said, when the light foot of the child 
touched the ground. ** It is the consequence of lives 
which ceaselessly present dangers superior to our 
powers. For many years have I believed that some 
great good, or some greater evil, would accompany 
the first visit of this boy to the land. For the first 
time, his foot now stands on solid earth, I await the 
fulfilment of the augury I" 

"It will be happy;" returned Ludlow — "Alida 
and Eudora will instruct him in the opinions of this 
simple and fortunate country, and he seemeth one 
likely to do early credit to his schooling." 

" I fear the boy will regret the lessons of the sea- 
green lady !— Captain Ludlow, there is yet a duty to 
pj^rform, which, as a man of more feeling than you 
may be disposed to acknowledge, I cannot neglect. 
I have understood that you are accepted by la belle 
Barberie?" 

" Such is my happiness." 

" Sir, in dispensing with explanation of the part 



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244 THE WATER-WlTClf4 

you have shown a noble confidence, that merits a 
return. When I came upon this coast, it was with 
a determination of establishing the claims of Eudora 
to the protection and fortune of her father. If I dis- 
trusted the influence and hostility of one so placed, 
and 80 gifted to persuade, as this lady, you will re- 
member it was before acquaintance had enabled me 
to estimate more than her beauty. She was seized 
in her pavilion by my agency, and transported as a 
captive to the brigantine." 

" I had believed her acquainted with the history 
of her cousin, and willing to aid in somp fantasy 
which was to lead to the present happy restoration 
of the latter to her natural friends." 

" You did h'er disinterestedness no more than jus- 
tice. As some atonement for the personal wrong, and 
as the speediest and surest means of appeasing her 
alarm, 1 made my captive acquainted with the facts. 
Eudora then heard, also for the first time, the history 
of her origin. The evidence was irresistible, and 
we found a generous add devoted friend where we 
had expected a rival." 

"I knew that Alida could not prove less gene- 
rous.!" cried the admiring Ludlow, raising the hand . 
of the blushing girl to his lips. " The loss of fortune 
is a gain, by showing her true character ! " 

" Hist — hist — " interrupted the Alderman — '* there 
is little need to proclaim a loss of any kind. What 
must be done in the way of natural justice, will 
doubtless I be submitted to; but why let all in the 
colony know how much, or how little, is given yrith 
a bride?" 

'* The loss of fortune will be amply met ;" return- 
ed the free-trader, " These bags contain gold. The 
dowry of my charge is ready at "a moment's warn- 
ing, whenever she shall make_known her choice." 

" Success and prudence !" exclaimed the burgher, 
"There is no less than a most commendable fore- 



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thought in thy provision, Master Skimmer; and what- 
ever may be the^ opinion of the Exchequer Judges 
of thy punctuality and credit, it is mine that there 
are less responsible men about the bank df England 
itself! — ^This money is, no doubt, that which thf» 
girl csgi lawfully claim in right 6f her late grand 
father!*' 
**Itis." 

" I take this to be a favorable moment to speak 
plainly on a subject which is very near my heart, 
and which may as well be broached under such fa- 
vorable auspices as under any other. I understand, 
Mr. Van Staats, that, on a further examination of 
ydur sentiments towards an old friend, you are of 
opinion that a closer alliance than the one we had 
contemplated will most conduce to your happiness?" 
** I will acknowledge that the coldness of la belle 
• Barbaric has damped my own warmth;" returned 
the Patroon of Kinderhook, who rarely delivered 
himself of more, at a time, than the occasion re- 
quired. 

" And, furthermore, I have been told, Sir, that an 
intimacy of a fortnight has given you reason to fix 
your afrcctions on my daughter, whose beauty is he- 
reditary, and whose fortune is not likely to be dimin- 
ished by this act of justice on the part of that up- 
right and gallant mariner." 

" To be received into the favor of your family, 
Mr. Van Beverout, would leave me little to desire in 
this life." 

" And as for the other world, I never heard of a 
Patroon of Kinderhook who did not leave us with 
comfortable hopes for the future ; as in reason they 
should, since few families in the colony have done 
more for the support of religion than they. They 
gave largely to the Dutch churches in Manhattan ; 
have actually built, with their own means, three 
very pretty brick edifices on the Manor, each hAV- 

va 



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J146 TBS WATfi^WITOB* 

ing ill Flentisb steeple and smtable weftiher^oeki, 

besides having done something faandsome towardf the 
venerable structure in Albany. Eodora, my child; 
this gentleman is a particular friend, and as sitch I 
can presume to recommend him to thy favor. You 
are not absolutely strangers; biit, in order that you 
may have every occasion to decide impartially, yofi 
will remain here together for a month longer, which 
will enable you to choose without distraction and 
confusion* More than this, for the present* it is un- 
necessary to say ; for it is my practice to leave all 
matters of this magnitude entirely^to l^rovidence," 

The daughter, on whose speaking face the color 
went and came like lights changing in an Italian sky, 
continued silent. 

" You have happily put aside the curtain which 
concealed a mystery that no longer gave me omeasi- 
hess ;" interrupted Ludlow, addressing the free-trader. 
" Can you do more, and say whence came thb let- 
ter?" 

The dark eye of Eudora instantly lighted. She 
looked at the ^ Skimmer of the Seas,' and laughed. 

" 'Twas another of those womanly artifices which 
have been practised in my brigantine. It was thought 
that a young commander of a royal cruiser would be 
less apt to watch our movements, were his mind 
bent on the discovery of such a correspondent" 

" And the trick has been practised before ?" 

" I confess it. — But I can linger no longer. In a 
few minutes, the tide will turn, and the inlet become 
impassable. Eudora, we must decide on the fortunes of 
this child. Shall he to the ocean again ? — or shall he 
remain, to vary his life with a landsman's chances ?" 

" Who and what is the boy ?" gravely demande<? 
the Alderman. 

"One dear to both," rejoined the free-trader 
^' His father was my nearest friend, and his mothei 
Jqu^ w^tqh&^ the youth pf Eudpxra. TJpJ^ this ijop 



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THIS WATJ}R-WlTO»* JMT 

ment, he bas been our mutual care »-^be must bow 
choose betweai us." 

"He will not quit me!" hastily interrupted the 
alarmed Eudora — " Thou art my adopted sod, and 
none can guide thy young mind like me. Thou hast 
need of woman's tenderness, Zephyr, and wilt no 
quit me?" 

" Let the child be the arbiter of his own fate. I 
am credulous on the point of fortune, which is, at 
least, a happy belief for the contraband." 

** Then let him speak. Wilt remain here, amid 
these smiling fields, to ramble among yonder gay and 
sweetly-scented flowers?-— or wilt thou back to the 
water, where all is vacant and without change?" 

The boy looked wistfully into her anxious ejBt 
and then he bent his own hesitating glance on the 
calm features of the free-trader. 

** We can put to sea," he said ; ** and when we 
make the homeward passage again, there will be 
many curious things for thee, Eudora I" 

" But this may be the last opportunity to kinow 
the land of thy ancestors. Remember how terrible 
is the ocean in its anger, and how often the brigan- 
•tine has been in danger of shipwreck !" 

"Nay, that is womanish! — I have been on the 
royal-yard in the squalls, and it never seemed to m^ 
that there was danger." 

" Thou hast the unconsciousness and reliance of a 
ship-boy ! But those who are older, know that the 
life of a sailor is one of constant and imminent 
hazard. — ^Thou hast been among^the islands in the 
.hurricane, and hast seen the power of the elements !" 

" I was in the hurricane, and so was the brigan- 
tine ; and there you see how taut and neat she is 
aloft, as if notliing had happened !" 

" And you saw us yesterday floating on the opeii 
jsea, while a fewill-fastened spars kept us from go- 
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ft48 tHS WATER-WITCH. 

" The spars floated^ arid you were not drowned ; 
else, I should have wept bitterly, Eudora.** 

** But thou wilt go deeper into the country, and 
see more of its beauties — its rivers, and its mountains 
*— its caverns, and its woods. Here all is change, 
while the water is ever the same." 

" Surely, Eudora^ you forget strangely ! — Here it 
is all America. This mountain is America ; yonder 
land across the bay is America, and the anchorage 
of yesterday was America. When we shall run off 
the coast, the next land-fall will be England, or Hol- 
land, or Africa ; and with a good wind, we may run 
down the shores of two or three countries in a day." 

" And on them, too, thoughtless boy ! If you lose 
this occasion, thy life will be wedded to hazard !*' 

" Farewell, Eudora !" said the urchin, raising his 
mouth to give and receive the parting kiss. 

" Eudora, adieu ! " added a deep and melancholy 
voice, at her elbow. " I can delay no longer, for my 
eople show symptoms of impatience. Should this 
e the last of my voyages to the coast, thou wilt not 
forget those with whom thou hast so long shared 
good and evil ! " 

"Not yet — not yet — you will not quit us yet! 
Leave me the boy— leave me some other memorial 
of the past, besides this pain !" 

"My hour has come. The vnnd is freshening, 
and I trifle with its favor. 'Twill be better for thy 
happiness that none know the history of the brigan- 
tine ; and a few hours will draw a hundred curious 
eyes, from the tovrn, upon us." 
L " What care I for their opinions t — thou wilt not 
—cannot — cleave me, yet !" 

"Gladly would I stay, Eudora, but a seaman's 
home is his ship. Too much precious time is already 
wasted. Once more, adieu I" 

The dark eye of the girl glanced wildly about 
ber* It deemedf as if in t^t one quick and hurritd 



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^« WATSR-WITCBB, 24ti 

look, it dratik m all that belonged to the land and its 
enjoyments. , 

«« Whither go you?" she asked, scarce suffering 
her voice to rise above a whisper. " Whither do 
you sail, and v^rhen do you return ?" 

" I follow fortune. My return may be distant— 
never! — Adieu then, Eudora — be happy with the 
friends that Providence hath given thee !" 

The wandering eyes of the girl of the sea became 
still more unsettled. She grasped the offered hand 
of the free-trader in both her own, and wrung it in 
an impassioned and uncopscious manner. Then re- 
leasing her hold, she opened wide her arms, and 

^2J cast them convulsively about his unmoved and un- 

u k yielding form. 

1!" « We will go together ! — I am thine, and thine 

gte only!" 

" Thou knowest not what thou sayest, Eudora !'* > 

^^^f gasjied the Skimmer — " Thou hast a father — ffriend 

^^y- —husband '' 

this "Away, away!" cried the frantic girl, waving 

t "^^ her hand wildly towards Alida and the Patroon, who 

ar^° advanced as if hurrying to rescue her from a preci- 
pice — " Thine, and thine only ! " 

yc^' The smuggler released himself from her frenzied 

3rial grasp, and, with the strength of a giant, he held the 
I struggling girl at the length of his arm, while he en- 

i^' deavored to control the tempest of passi<»i that 

Al struggled within him. 

an- "Think, for one moment, think !" he said. "Thou 

0^^ wouldst follow an outcast — an outlaw— one hunted 
and condemned of men !" . 

d « Thine, and thine only 1" * 

" With a ship for a dwelling — ^the tempestuous - 

ti'i , ocean for a world ! — ^* 

jj \ a Thy world is my world ! — thy home, my home ? 
' —thy danger, mine I" 



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900^ TBS i9^vwt^vnrtC9U 

11)6 shoiit which bcnrst out of fte dheet of the 
Skimmer of the Seas* was one of uncontrollable 
exultation. 

" Thou art mine!** he cried, " Before a tie like 
this, the claim of such a father is forgotten ! Burgher, 
adieu I — I will deal by thy daughter more honesHy 
than thou didst deal by my benefactor's child I'* 

Eudora was lifted from the ground as if her weight 
had been that of a feather ; and, spite of a sudden 
and impetuous movement of LudJow and the Pa- 
troon, she was borne to the boat. In a moment, the 
bark was afloat, with the geillant boy tossing his sea- 
cap upward in triumph. The brigantine, as if con 
seious of what had passed, wore round like a whirl- 
ing chariot; and, ere the spectators had recovered 
from their confusion and wonder, the boat was 
hanging at the tackles. The free-trader was seen 
on the poop, with an arm cast about the form o.' 
Eudora, waving a hand to the motionless group oh 
the shore, while the still half-unconscious girl of the 
ocean signed her faint adieus to Alida and her father. 
The vessel glided through the inlet, arid was imme- 
diately rocking on the billows of the surf. Then, 
taking the full weight of the southern breeze, the 
fine and attenuated spars bent to its force, and the 
progress of the swift-moving craft was apparent by 
the bubbling line of its wake. 

The day had begun to decline, before Alida and 
Ludlow quitted the lawn of the Lust in Rust. For 
the first hoiir, the dark hull of the brigantine was 
seen supporting the moving cloud of canvas. Then 
the low structure vanished, and sail aft^ sail settled 
into the water, until nothing was visible but a speck 
of guttering white. It Ungened for a minute, and 
was swallowed in the void. 

The nuptials ci Ludlow and Alida were touchec 
with a shade of melancholy. Natural afiectioB in 



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^HB WATBB-WtTCB. 251 

one, and professional sympathy in the other, had 
given them a deep and lasting interest in the fate of 
the adventurers. 

Years passed away, and months were spent at the 
villa, in which a thousand anxious looks were cast 
upon the ocean. Each morning, during the early 
months of summer, did Alida hasten to the windows 
of her pavilion, in the hope of seeing the vessel of 
the contraband anchored in the Cove: — but always 
without success. It never returned ; — and though 
the rebuked and disappointed Alderman caused 
many secret inquiries to be made along the whole 
extent of the American coast, he never again heard 
of the renowned ' Skimmer or thb Ssajs,' or of his 
matchless Watisi- Witch. S 



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