The Red Rover eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 600 pages of information about The Red Rover.
with a wish to cling as nigh as possible to the Continent, flew over the seas, leaving a long trail of foam behind it; and, before either of the females had regained their entire self-possession, she was floating in the comparative calm that was created by the hull of a large vessel.  A light active form stood in the rigging of the ship, issuing the necessary orders to a hundred seamen; and, in the midst of the confusion and alarm that such a scene was likely to cause in the bosom of woman, Gertrude and Mrs Wyllys, with their two companions, were transferred in safety to the decks of the stranger.  The moment they and their effects were secured the launch was cut adrift, like useless lumber.  Twenty mariners were then seen climbing among the ropes; and sail after sail was opened still wider, until bearing the vast folds of all her canvas spread, the vessel was urged along the trackless course, like a swift cloud drifting through the thin medium of the upper air.

Chapter XIX.

  “Now let it work:  Mischief, thou art afoot,
  Take then what course thou wilt!”—­Shakspeare

When the velocity with which the vessel flew before the wind is properly considered, the reader will not be surprised to learn, that, with the change of a week in the time from that with which the foregoing incidents close, we are enabled to open the scene of the present chapter in a very different quarter of the same sea.  It is unnecessary to follow the “Rover” in the windings of that devious and apparently often uncertain course, during which his keel furrowed more than a thousand miles of ocean, and during which more than one cruiser of the King was skilfully eluded, and sundry less dangerous encounters avoided, as much from inclination as any other visible cause.  It is quite sufficient for our purpose to lift the curtain, which must conceal her movements for a time, to expose the gallant vessel in a milder climate, and, when the season of the year is considered, in a more propitious sea.

Exactly seven days after Gertrude and her governess became the inmates of a ship whose character it is no longer necessary to conceal from the reader, the sun rose upon her flapping sails, symmetrical spars, and dark hull, within sight of a few, low, small and rocky islands.  The colour of the element would have told a seaman, had no mound of blue land been seen issuing out of the world of waters, that the bottom of the sea was approaching nigher than common to its surface, and that it was necessary to guard against the well-known and dreaded dangers of the coast.  Wind there was none; for she vacillating and uncertain air which, from time to time, distended for an instant the lighter canvas of the vessel, deserved to be merely termed the breathings of a morning, which was breaking upon the main, soft, mild, and seemingly so bland as to impart to the ocean the placid character of a sleeping lake.

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The Red Rover from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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