* * * * *
“Did you never see him again?” inquired the pacha.
“Never but that once; nor has the animal been seen before or since, except by the Americans, who have much better eyes than the people of Europe can boast of.”
* * * * *
The vessel drifted to the northward with the Gulf Stream, until she was close to the land, when a pilot boat came out and boarded her. The people belonging to her were much annoyed to find me on board. Had there been no one in her, they would have claimed the whole vessel and cargo, whereas they were now only entitled to one-eighth. I understood English enough to hear them propose and agree to throw me overboard. I immediately ran down below to secure my casket, and when I returned on deck, they launched me over the side. I sank down, and diving under the counter, laid hold of the rudder chains, unperceived by them. In the meantime another pilot boat came to us, and sent her boat or board; I swam to it and was hauled in. The captains being rivals, I was taken to New York as evidence against the people who had attempted my life. I stayed there just long enough to sell my seven-eighths of the cargo, and see the men hung, and I then took a passage in a vessel bound to Bourdeaux, where I arrived in safety. From thence I repaired to Toulon, and found my dear Cerise as beautiful and as fond as ever.
I was now a rich man; I bought a large estate, with a marquisate attached to it. I also purchased the chateau of Fonseca, and made a gift of it to my dear wife. I was pleased at having the means of raising her again to that rank in society, which she had quitted for my sake. For some years we lived happily, although we had no children. After that, events happened which again sent me to sea. Such, your highness, is the history of my Fourth Voyage.
* * * * *
“Well,” observed the pacha, “I never heard of so large a snake before; did you, Mustapha?”
“Never, your highness; but travellers see strange things. What is to be the extent of your highness’ bounty?”
“Give him ten pieces of gold,” said the pacha, rising from the throne, and waddling behind the curtain.
Mustapha told out the sequins. “Selim, if I might advise you, it would please his highness better, if you continued more at sea, and dealt a little more in the marvellous. That wife of yours, Cerise, as you call her, is rather a bore.”