“Yes, mynheer,” replied the corporal, drawing the curtains of the bed; and then quietly picking up the various articles on the floor, the table and chairs which had been overturned.
Alas! Fear is the mate of guilt. All this horrid visitation was simply that Mr Vanslyperken had heard the corporal’s tremendous snoring, as he slept in the chair, and which his imagination had turned into the words, “Mortal man.” The first exclamation of Mr Vanslyperken had awoke the corporal, who, aware of the impropriety of his situation, had attempted to retreat; in so doing he had overturned the table and chairs, with the bottles and glasses upon them.
Fearful of discovery upon this unexpected noise, he had hastened out of the cabin, slammed the door, and waked up Snarleyyow; but he knew, from the exclamations of Vanslyperken, that the lieutenant was frightened out of his wits; so he very boldly returned with a candle to ascertain the result of the disturbance, and was delighted to find that the lieutenant was still under the delusion.
So soon as he had replaced everything, the corporal took a chair, and finding that he had fortunately put the cork into the stone bottle before he fell asleep, and that there was still one or two glasses in it, he drank them off, and waited patiently for daylight. By this time Vanslyperken was again asleep and snoring; so the corporal took away all the broken fragments, put the things in order, and left the cabin.
When Vanslyperken awoke and rang his bell, Smallbones entered. Vanslyperken got up, and finding the cabin as it was left the night before, was more than ever persuaded that he had been supernaturally visited. Fear made him quite civil to the lad, whose life he now considered, as the ship’s company did that of the dog’s, it was quite useless for him, at least, to attempt, and thus ends this chapter of horrors.
In which there is nothing very particular or very interesting.
We must now change the scene for a short time, and introduce to our readers a company assembled in the best inn which, at that time, was to be found in the town of Cherbourg. The room in which they were assembled was large in dimensions, but with a low ceiling—the windows were diminutive, and gave but a subdued light, on account of the vicinity of the houses opposite. The window-frames were small, and cut diamond-wise; and, in the centre of each of the panes, was a round of coarsely-painted glass. A narrow table ran nearly the length of the room, and, at each end of it, there was a large chimney, in both of which logs of wood were burning cheerfully. What are now termed chaises longues, were drawn to the sides of the table, or leaning against the walls of the room, which were without ornament, and neatly coloured with yellow ochre.