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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 465 pages of information about The Water-Witch or, the Skimmer of the Seas.

“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 of your Manhattan harbor; for in time, they will come to render all the beauties of the unrivalled bay of Naples vain:  but tempt not the stranger to push the comparison beyond.  Be grateful for your skies, lady, for few live under fairer or more beneficent—­But I tire you with these opinions, when here are colors that have more charms for a young and lively imagination, than even the tints of nature!”

La belle Barberie smiled on the dealer in contraband, with an interest that sickened Ludlow; and she was about to reply, in better humor, when the voice of her uncle announced his near approach.

Chapter XXIV.

   “There shall be, in England, seven half-penny loaves sold for a penny. 
   The three-hooped pot shall have ten hoops; and I will make it felony,
   to drink small beer.”—­Jack Cade.

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!” exclaimed the merchant, entering with an open letter in his hand.  “Here are advices received, by way of Curacoa, and the coast of Africa, that the good ship Musk-Rat met with foul winds off the Azores, which lengthened her passage home to seventeen weeks—­this is too much precious time wasted between markets, Captain Cornelius Ludlow, and ’twill do discredit to the good character of the ship, which has hitherto always maintained a sound reputation, never needing more than the regular seven months to make the voyage home 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?  Merchandise! and of a suspicious fabric!—­who has the invoice of these goods, and in what vessel were they shipped?”

“These are questions that may be better answered by their owner;” returned la Belle, pointing gravely, and not without tremor in her voice, towards the dealer in contraband, who, at the approach of the Alderman, had shrunk back as far as possible from view.

Myndert cast an uneasy glance at the unmoved countenance of the commander of the royal cruiser, after having bestowed a brief but understanding look at the contents of the bale.  “Captain Ludlow, the chaser is chased!” he said.  “After sailing about the Atlantic, for a week or more, like a Jew broker’s clerk running up and down the Boom Key at Rotterdam, to get off a consignment of damaged tea, we are fairly caught ourselves!  To what fall in prices, or change in the sentiments of the Board of Trade, am I indebted for the honor of this visit, Master a—­a—­a—­gay dealer in green ladies and bright tissues?”

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