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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 454 pages of information about Mare Nostrum (Our Sea).

The sailor nodded his head; nothing could be more just.

“I have deceived you, Ulysses.  I am not Italian.”

Ferragut smiled.  If that was all the deception consisted of!...  From the day in which they had spoken together for the first time going to Paestum, he had guessed that what she had told him about her nationality was false.

“My mother was an Italian.  I swear it....  But my father was not....”

She stopped a moment.  The sailor listened to her with interest, with his back turned to the table.

“I am a German woman and ...”

CHAPTER VII

THE SIN OF ULYSSES

Every morning on awaking at the first streak of dawn, Toni felt a sensation of surprise and discouragement.

“Still in Naples!” he would say, looking through the port-hole of his cabin.

Then he would count over the days.  Ten had passed by since the Mare Nostrum, entirely repaired, had anchored in the commercial harbor.

“Twenty-four hours more,” the mate would add mentally.

And he would again take up his monotonous life, strolling over the empty and silent deck of the vessel, without knowing what to do, looking despondently at the other steamers which were moving their freighting antennae, swallowing up boxes and bundles and beginning to send out through their chimneys the smoke announcing departure.

He suffered great remorse in calculating what the boat might have gained were it now under way.  The advantage was all for the captain, but he could not avoid despairing over the money lost.

The necessity of communicating his impressions to somebody, of protesting in chorus against this lamentable inertia, used to impel him toward Caragol’s dominions.  In spite of their difference in rank, the first officer always treated the cook with affectionate familiarity.

“An abyss is separating us!” Toni would say gravely.

This “abyss” was a metaphor extracted from his reading of radical papers and alluded to the old man’s fervid and simple beliefs.  But their common affection for the captain, all being from the same land, and the employment of the Valencian dialect as the language of intimacy, made the two seek each other’s company instinctively.  For Toni, Caragol was the most congenial spirit aboard ... after himself.

As soon as he stopped at the door of the galley, supporting his elbow in the doorway and obstructing the sunlight with his body, the old cook would reach out for his bottle of brandy, preparing a “refresco” or a “caliente” in honor of his visitor.

They would drink slowly, interrupting their relish of the liquor to lament together the immovability of the Mare Nostrum.  They would count up the cost as though the boat were theirs.  While it was being repaired, they had been able to tolerate the captain’s conduct.

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