“Still deeper and deeper in thy effrontery—and what if this be true?”
“Sir, a ship is a seaman’s mistress—nay, when fairly under a pennant, with a war declared, he may be said to be wedded to her, lawfully or not. He becomes ’bone of her bone, and flesh of her flesh, until death doth them part.’ To such a long compact, there should be liberty of choice. Has not your mariner a taste, as well as your lover? The harpings and counter of his ship are the waist and shoulders; the rigging, the ringlets; the cut and fit of the sails, the fashion of the millinery; the guns are always called the teeth, and her paint is the blush and bloom! Here is matter of choice, Sir; and, without leave to make it, I must wish your Honor a happy cruise, and the Queen a better servitor.”
“Why, Master Tiller,” cried Ludlow, laughing, “you trust too much to these stunted oaks, if you believe it exceeds my power to hunt you out of their cover, at pleasure. But I take you at your word. The Coquette shall receive you on these conditions, and with the confidence that a first-rate city belle would enter a country ball-room.”
“I follow in your Honor’s wake, without more words,” returned he of the sash, for the first time respectfully raising his canvas cap to the young commander. “Though not actually married, consider me a man betrothed.”
It is not necessary to pursue the discourse between the two seamen any further. It was maintained, and with sufficient freedom on the part of the inferior, until they reached the shore, and came in full view of the pennant of the Queen; when, with the tact of an old man-of-war’s man, he threw into his manner all the respect that was usually required by the difference of rank.
Half an hour later, the Coquette was rolling at a single anchor, as the puffs of wind came off the hills on her three top-sails; and shortly after, she was seen standing through the Narrows, with a fresh southwesterly breeze. In all these movements, there was nothing to attract attention. Notwithstanding the sarcastic allusions of Alderman Van Beverout, the cruiser was far from being idle; and her passage outward was a circumstance of so common occurrence, that it excited no comment among the boatmen of the bay, and the coasters, who alone witnessed her departure.
“—I am no
pilot; yet, wert thou as far
As that vast shore wash’d with the furthest sea,
I would adventure for such merchandise.”
Romeo And Juliet.
A happy mixture of land and water, seen by a bright moon, and beneath the sky of the fortieth degree of latitude, cannot fail to make a pleasing picture. Such was the landscape which the reader must now endeavor to present to his mind.