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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.

“Every craft has its allotted time, like a mortal,” continued the inexplicable mariner of the India-shawl.  “If she is to die a sudden death, there is your beam-end and stern-way, which takes her into the grave without funeral service, or parish prayers; your dropsy is being water-logged; gout and rheumatism kill like a broken back and loose joints; indigestion is a shifting cargo, with guns adrift; the gallows is a bottomry-bond, with lawyers’ fees; while fire, drowning, death by religious melancholy, and suicide, are a careless gunner, sunken rocks, false lights, and a lubberly captain.”

Ere any were apprized of his intention, this singular being then sprang from the boat on the cap of a little rock, over which the waves were washing, whence he bounded, from stone to stone, by vigorous efforts, till he fairly leaped to land.  In another minute, he was lost to view, among the dwellings of the hamlet.

The arrival of the periagua, which immediately after reached the wharf, the disappointment of the cutter’s crew, and the return of both the boats to their ship, succeeded as matters of course.

Chapter V.

    Oliv. “Did he write this?”
    Clo. “Ay, Madam.”

    What You Will.

If we say that Alida de Barberie did not cast a glance behind her, as the party quitted the wharf, in order to see whether the boat that contained the commander of the cruiser followed the example of the others, we shall probably portray the maiden as one that was less subject to the influence of coquetry than the truth would justify.  To the great discontent of the Alderman, whatever might have been the feelings of his niece, on the occasion, the barge continued to approach the shore, in a manner which showed that the young seaman betrayed no visible interest in the result of the chase.

The heights of Staten Island, a century ago, were covered, much as they are at present, with a growth of dwarf-trees.  Foot-paths led among this meagre vegetation, in divers directions; and as the hamlet at the Quarantine-Ground was the point whence they all diverged, it required a practised guide to thread their mazes, without a loss of both time and distance.  It would seem, however, that the worthy burgher was fully equal to the office; for, moving with more than his usual agility, he soon led his companions into the wood, and, by frequently altering his course, so completely confounded their sense of the relative bearings of places, that it is not probable one of them all could very readily have extricated himself from the labyrinth.

“Clouds and shady bowers!” exclaimed Myndert, when he had achieved, to his own satisfaction, this evasion of the pursuit he wished to avoid; “little oaks and green pines are pleasant on a June morning.  You shall have mountain air and a sea-breeze Patroon, to quicken the appetite at the Lust in Rust.  If Alicia will speak, the girl can say that a mouthful of the elixir is better for a rosy cheek, than all the concoctions and washes that were ever invented to give a man a heart-ache.”

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