At last, as the sun descended, the breeze sprung up, first playing along the waters in capricious and tantalising airs, as if uncertain and indifferent in its infancy to which quarter of the compass it should direct its course. The ship again answered her helm; her head was put the right way, and the sails were trimmed to every shift which it made, to woo its utmost power. In a quarter of an hour it settled, blowing from a quarter which placed them to windward of, and they carried it down with them to within two miles of the stranger and the neutral, who still remained becalmed. But, as the wind freshened, it passed a-head of them, sweeping along the surface, and darkening the colours of the water, until it reached the vessels to leeward; one of which,—the one that Newton was so anxious to get alongside of,—immediately took advantage of it, and, spreading all her canvas, soon increased her distance. When the Windsor Castle arrived abreast of the neutral, the stranger was more than two miles to leeward. A little delay was then necessary to ascertain what had occurred. Newton, who perceived M. de Fontanges on the deck, shouting to them and wringing his hands, rounded to, lowered down a boat, and pulled on board of the neutral. The intelligence communicated was distressing. The strange vessel was a pirate, who had plundered them of everything, had taken away Madame de Fontanges, Mimi and Charlotte, her two female attendants. The captain of the pirates had wounded and severely beaten M. de Fontanges, who had resisted the “enlevement” of his wife; and after having cut away all the standing rigging, and nearly chopped through the masts with axes, they had finished their work by boring holes in the counter of the vessel; so that, had not Newton been able to come up with her, they must all have perished during the night.
There was no time to be lost; the Marquis de Fontanges, M. De Fontanges, and the crew, were hurried on board of the Windsor Castle (the pirate had taken care that they should not be delayed in packing up their baggage), and Newton, as soon as he returned on board, and hoisted up his boat, crowded every stitch of canvas in pursuit of the pirate, who was now more than four miles distant. But, although the wind gradually increased, and was thus far in their favour, as they first benefited by it, yet, as the sun went down, so did their hopes descend. At nightfall the pirate had increased her distance to seven miles. Newton pursued, watching her with a night-glass, until she could no longer be distinguished. Still, their anxiety was so great, that no one went to bed on board of the Windsor Castle. When the day broke, the pirate was not to be discovered in any quarter of the horizon from the mast-head of the Windsor Castle.