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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.

“Rather settle it, by referring all to the rule of right.  When governments shall lay their foundations in natural justice, when their object shall be to remove the temptations to err, instead of creating them, and when bodies of men shall feel and acknowledge the responsibilities of individuals—­why, then the Water-Witch, herself, might become a revenue-cutter, and her owner an officer of the customs!”

The velvet fell from the hands of la belle Barberie, and she arose from her seat with precipitation.

“Speak plainly,” said Alida with all her natural firmness.  “With whom am I about to traffic?”

“An outcast of society—­a man condemned in the opinions of the world—­the outlaw—­the flagrant wanderer of the ocean—­the lawless ’Skimmer of the Seas!’” cried a voice, at the open window.

In another minute, Ludlow was in the room Alida uttered a shriek, veiled her face in her robe, and rushed from the apartment.

Chapter XI.

    “—­Truth will come to light;
    Murder cannot be hid long, a man’s son may;
    But in the end, truth will out.—­”

    Launcelot.

The officer of the Queen had leaped into the pavilion, with the flushed features and all the hurry of an excited man.  The exclamations and retreat of la belle Barberie, for a single moment, diverted his attention; and then he turned, suddenly, not to say fiercely, towards her companion.  It is not necessary to repeat the description of the stranger’s person, in order to render the change, which instantly occurred in the countenance of Ludlow, intelligible to the reader.  His eye, at first, refused to believe there was no other present; and when it had, again and again, searched the whole apartment, it returned to the face and form of the dealer in contraband, with an expression of incredulity and wonder.

“Here is some mistake!” exclaimed the commander of the Coquette, after time had been given for a thorough examination of the room.

“Your gentle manner of entrance,” returned the stranger, across whose face there had passed a glow, that might have come equally of anger or of surprise, “has driven the lady from the room.  But as you wear the livery of the Queen, I presume you have authority for invading the dwelling of the subject?”

“I had believed—­nay, there was reason to be certain, that one whom all of proper loyalty execrate, was to be found here;” stammered the still-confused Ludlow.  “There can scarce be a deception, for I plainly heard the discourse of my captors,—­and yet here is none!”

“I thank you for the high consideration you bestow on my presence.”

The manner, rather than the words, of the speaker, induced Ludlow to rivet another look on his countenance.  There was a mixed expression of doubt, admiration, and possibly of uneasiness, if not of actual jealousy, in the eye, which slowly read all his lineaments, though the former seemed the stronger sensation of the three.

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