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.

Ludlow applauded the advice of his subordinate, for it was precisely what he had determined on doing; and after again complimenting him on his coolness and skill, he issued the necessary orders.  The helm of the Coquette was now placed hard a-weather, the yards were squared, and the ship was put be fore the wind.  After running, in this direction for a few hours, the wind gradually lessening, the lead announced that the keel was quite as near the bottom as the time of the tide, and the dull heaving and setting of the element, rendered at all prudent.  The breeze soon after fell, and then our young commander ordered an anchor to be dropped into the sea.

His example, in the latter respect, was imitated by the hostile cruisers.  They had soon joined, and boats were seen passing from one to the other, so long as there was light.  When the sun fell behind the western margin of the ocean, their dusky outlines, distant about a league, gradually grew less and less distinct, until the darkness of night enveloped sea and land in its gloom.

Chapter XXXI.

    “Now; the business!”


Three hours later, and every noise was hushed on board the royal cruiser.  The toil of repairing damages had ceased, and most of the living, with the dead, lay alike in common silence.  The watchfulness necessary to the situation of the fatigued mariners, however, was not forgotten, and though so many slept, a few eyes were still open, and affecting to be alert.  Here and there, some drowsy seaman paced the deck, or a solitary young officer endeavored to keep himself awake, by humming a low air, in his narrow bounds.  The mass of the crew slept heavily, with pistols in their belts and cutlasses at their sides, between the guns.  There was one figure-extended upon the quarter-deck, with the head resting on a shot-box.  The deep breathing of this person denoted the unquiet slumbers of a powerful frame, in which weariness contended with suffering.  It was the wounded and feverish master, who had placed himself in that position to catch an hour of the repose that was necessary to his situation.  Oh an arm-chest, which had been emptied of its contents, lay another but a motionless human form, with the limbs composed in decent order, and with the face turned towards the melancholy stars.  This was the body of the young Dumont, which had been kept, with the intention of consigning it to consecrated earth, when the ship should return to port.  Ludlow, with the delicacy of a generous and chivalrous enemy had with his own hands spread the stainless ensign of his country over the remains of the inexperienced but gallant young Frenchman.

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