The Water-Witch or, the Skimmer of the Seas eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 569 pages of information about The Water-Witch or, the Skimmer of the Seas.
overlook so obvious an intimation of a change in the channel.  The Water-Witch was kept away, and her lighter sails were lowered, in order to allow the royal cruiser, whose lofty canvas was plainly visible above the land, to draw near.  When the Coquette was seen also to diverge, there no longer remained a doubt of the direction necessary to be taken; and every thing was quickly set upon the brigantine, even to her studding-sails.  Long ere she reached the island, the two coasters had met, and each again changed its course, reversing that on which the other had just been sailing.  There was, in these movements, as plain an explanation as a seaman could desire, that the pursued were right On reaching the island, therefore, they again luffed into the wake of the schooner; and having nearly crossed the sheet of water, they passed the coaster, receiving an assurance, in words, that all was now plain sailing, before them.

Such was the famous passage of the ‘Skimmer of the Seas’ through the multiplied and hidden dangers of the eastern channel.  To those who have thus accompanied him, step by step, though its intricacies and alarms, there may seem nothing extraordinary in the event; but, coupled as it was with the character previously earned by that bold mariner, and occurring, as it did, in an age when men were more disposed than at present to put faith in the marvellous, the reader will not be surprised to learn that it greatly increased his reputation for daring, and had no small influence on an opinion, which was by no means uncommon, that the dealers in contraband were singularly favored by a power which greatly exceeded that of Queen Anne and all her servants.

Chapter XXIX.

   “—­Thou shalt see me at Philippi.”


The commander of Her Britannic Majesty’s ship Coquette slept that night in the hammock-cloths.  Before the sun had set, the light and swift brigantine, by following the gradual bend of the land, had disappeared in the eastern board; and it was no longer a question of overtaking her by speed.  Still, sail was crowded on the royal cruiser; and, long ere the period when Ludlow threw himself in his clothes between the ridge-ropes of the quarter-deck, the vessel had gained the broadest part of the Sound, and was already approaching the islands that form the ‘Race.’

Throughout the whole of that long and anxious day, the young sailor had held no communication with the inmates of the cabin.  The servants of the ship had passed to and fro; but, though the door seldom opened that he did not bend his eyes feverishly in its direction, neither the Alderman, his niece, the captive, nor even Francois or the negress, made their appearance on the deck.  If any there felt an interest in the result of the chase, it was concealed in a profound and almost mysterious silence.  Determined not to be outdone in indifference, and goaded by feelings which with all his pride he could not overcome, our young seaman took possession of the place of rest we have mentioned, without using any measures to resume the intercourse.

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The Water-Witch or, the Skimmer of the Seas from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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