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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.

The Viscount sought no further solution of the reason why the Skimmer had left him so hurriedly.  Fumbling a moment in a pocket, he drew forth a hand filled with broad pieces of gold.  These he appeared about to lay upon the table; but, as it were by forgetfulness, he kept the member closed, and bidding the grocer adieu, he left the house, with as firm a resolution as was ever made by any man, conscious of having done both a weak and a wicked action, of never again putting himself in familial contact with so truckling a miscreant.

Chapter XXVIII.

    “—­What care these roarers for the name of king?”

    Tempest.

The Manhattanese will readily comprehend the situation of the two vessels; but those of our countrymen who live in distant parts of the Union, may be glad to have the localities explained.

Though the vast estuary, which receives the Hudson and so many minor streams, is chiefly made by an indentation of the continent, that portion of it which forms the port of New-York is separated from the ocean by the happy position of its islands.  Of the latter, there are two, which give the general character to the basin, and even to a long line of coast; while several, that are smaller, serve as useful and beautiful accessories to the haven and to the landscape.  Between the bay of Raritan and that of New-York there are two communications, one between the islands of Staten and Nassau, called the Narrows, which is the ordinary ship-channel of the port, and the other between Staten and the main, which is known by the name of the Kilns.  It is by means of the latter, that vessels pass into the neighboring waters of New-Jersey, and have access to so many of the rivers of that state.  But while the island of Staten does so much for the security and facilities of the port, that of Nassau produces an effect on a great extent of coast.  After sheltering one-half of the harbor from the ocean, the latter approaches so near the continent as to narrow the passage between them to the length of two cables, and then stretching away eastward for the distance of a hundred miles, it forms a wide and beautiful sound.  After passing a cluster of islands, at a point which lies forty leagues from the city, by another passage, vessels can gain the open sea.

The seaman will at once understand, that the tide of flood must necessarily flow into these vast estuaries from different directions.  The current which enters by Sandy-Hook (the scene of so much of this tale) flows westward into the Jersey rivers, northward into the Hudson, and eastward along the arm of the sea that lies between Nassau and the Main.  The current, that comes by the way of Montauk, or the eastern extremity of Nassau, raises the vast basin of the Sound, fills the streams of Connecticut, and meets the western tide at a place called Throgmorton, and within twenty miles of the city.

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