But while the Water-Witch left the boats, commanded 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 contact with the yawl. For a few moments, the crew of the latter believed it was their own advance that brought them 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 brigantine from passing over his little bark. He gave the yawl a wide sheer, and called to his men to pull for their lives. Oloff Van Staats had placed himself at the head of the boat, armed with a banger, 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 next instant, he threw his large frame over the bulwarks, and disappeared 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.
“What country, friends,
What You Will.
Men are as much indebted to a fortuitous concurrence of circumstances, for the characters they sustain in this world, as to their personal qualities. The same truth is applicable to the reputations of ships. The properties of a vessel, like those of an individual, may have their influence on her good or 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 sails of the Coquette, 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 ‘Skimmer 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 smuggler; and the crews of the boats gazed after the retiring brigantine, as the