“But all this time you are left on deck,” he quickly added, “and the Captain is waiting your appearance in the cabin: Follow; I will be your pilot.”
“Hold,” said Wilder; “will it not be as well to announce my visit?”
“He knows it already: Little takes place aboard, here, that does not reach his ears before it gets into the log-book.”
Wilder made no further objection, but indicated his readiness to proceed. The other led the way to the bulkhead which separated the principal cabin from the quarter-deck of the ship; and, pointing to a door, he rather whispered than said aloud,—
“Tap twice; if he answer, go in.”
Wilder did as he was directed. His first summons was either unheard or disregarded. On repeating it, he was bid to enter. The young seaman opened the door, with a crowd of sensations, that will find their solution in the succeeding parts of our narrative and instantly stood, under the light of a powerful lamp, in the presence of the stranger in green.
good old plan,
That they should get, who have the power,
And they should keep, who can.”—Wordsworth.
The apartment, in which our adventurer now found himself, afforded no bad illustration of the character of its occupant. In its form, and proportions it was a cabin of the usual size and arrangements; but, in its furniture and equipments, it exhibited a singular admixture of luxury and martial preparation. The lamp, which swung from the upper deck, was of solid silver; and, though adapted to its present situation by mechanical ingenuity, there was that, in its shape and ornaments, which betrayed it had once been used before some shrine of a far more sacred character. Massive candlesticks of the same precious metal, and which partook of the same ecclesiastical formation, were on a venerable table, whose mahogany was glittering with the polish of half a century, and whose gilded claws, and carved supporters, bespoke an original destination very different from the ordinary service of a ship. A couch, covered with cut velvet, stood along the transom; while a divan, of blue silk, lay against the bulkhead opposite, manifesting, by its fashion, its materials, and its piles of pillows, that even Asia had been made to contribute to the ease of its luxurious owner. In addition to these prominent articles, there were cut glass, mirrors, plate, and even hangings; each of which, by something peculiar in its fashion or materials, bespoke an origin different from that of its neighbour. In short, splendour and elegance seemed to have been much more consulted than propriety, or conformity in taste, in the selection of most of those articles, which had been, oddly enough, made to contribute to the caprice or to the comfort of their singular possessor.