There I remained for two or three hours, when the hurricane was exhausted from its own violence. The clouds disappeared, the sun burst out in all its splendour, the sea recovered its former tranquillity, and Nature seemed as if she was maliciously smiling at her own mischief. The land was close to me, and the vessel drifted on shore. I found that I was at the Isle of France, having, in the course of twelve hours thus miraculously shifted my position from one side of the globe unto the other. I found the island in a sad state of devastation; the labour of years had been destroyed in the fury of an hour—the crops were swept away—the houses were levelled to the ground—the vessels in fragments on the beach—all was misery and desolation. I was however kindly received by my countrymen, who were the inhabitants of the isle, and, in four-and-twenty hours, we all danced and sang as before. I invented a very pretty quadrille, called the Hurricane, which threw the whole island into an ecstacy, and recompensed them for all their sufferings. But I was anxious to return home, and a Dutch vessel proceeding straight to Marseilles, I thought myself fortunate to obtain a passage upon the same terms as those which had enabled me to quit the West Indies. We sailed, but before we had been twenty-four hours at sea, I found that the captain was a violent man, and a most dreadful tyrant. I was not very strong, and not being able to perform the duty before the mast, to which I had not been accustomed, I was beat so unmercifully, that I was debating in my mind, whether I should kill the captain and then jump overboard, or submit to my hard fate; but one night as I lay groaning on the forecastle after a punishment I had received from the captain, which incapacitated me from further duty, an astonishing circumstance occurred which was the occasion, not only of my embracing the Mahomedan religion, but of making use of those expressions which attracted your highness’s attention when you passed in disguise. “Why am I thus ever to be persecuted?” exclaimed I in despair. And, as I uttered these words, a venerable personage, in a flowing beard, and a book in his hand, appeared before me, and answered me. “Because, Huckaback, you have not embraced the true faith.”
“What is the true faith?” inquired I, in fear and amazement.
“There is but one God,” replied he, “and I am his prophet.”
* * * * *
“Merciful Allah!” exclaimed the pacha, “why, it must have been Mahomed himself.”
“It was so, your highness, although I knew it not at the time.”
* * * * *
“Prove unto me that it is the true faith,” said I.
“I will,” replied he; “I will turn the heart of the infidel captain,” and he disappeared. The next day the captain of the vessel, to my astonishment, came to me as I lay on the forecastle, and begging my pardon for the cruelty that he had been guilty of, shed tears over me, and ordered me to be carried to his cabin. He laid me in his own bed, and watched me as he would a favourite child. In a short time I recovered; after which he would permit me to do no duty, but insisted upon my being his guest, and loaded me with every kindness.