After London eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 251 pages of information about After London.

Thrushes sang in the ash wood all around him, the cuckoo called, and the chiff-chaff never ceased for a moment.  Before him stretched the expanse of waters; he could even here see over the low islands.  In the sky a streak of cloud was tinted by the sunset, slowly becoming paler as the light departed.  He reclined in that idle, thoughtless state which succeeds unusual effort, till the deepening shadow and the sinking fire, and the appearance of a star, warned him that the night was really here.  Then he arose, threw on more fuel, and fetched his cloak, his chest, and his boar spear from the canoe.  The chest he covered with a corner of the hide, wrapped himself in the cloak, bringing it well over his face on account of the dew; then, drawing the lower corners of the hide over his feet and limbs, he stretched himself at full length and fell asleep, with the spear beside him.

There was the possibility of Bushmen, but not much probability.  There would be far more danger near the forest path, where they might expect a traveller and watch to waylay him, but they could not tell beforehand where he would rest that night.  If any had seen the movements of his canoe, if any lighted upon his bivouac by chance, his fate was certain.  He knew this, but trusted to the extreme improbability of Bushmen frequenting a place where there was nothing to plunder.  Besides, he had no choice, as he could not reach the islands.  If there was risk, it was forgotten in the extremity of his weariness.

CHAPTER XV

SAILING ONWARDS

When Felix awoke, he knew at once by the height of the sun that the morning was far advanced.  Throwing off his cloak, he stood up, but immediately crouched down again, for a vessel was passing but a short distance from the shore, and nearly opposite his encampment.  She had two masts, and from the flags flying, the numerous bannerets, and the movements of so many men on board, he knew her to be a ship of war.  He was anxious that he should not be seen, and regretted that his canoe was so much exposed, for the bush by which he had landed hid it only from one side.  As the shore was so bare and open, if they looked that way the men on board would hardly fail to see it, and might even distinguish him.  But whether they were too much engaged with their own affairs, or kept a careless look-out, no notice appeared to be taken, no boat was lowered.

He watched the war-ship for nearly an hour before he ventured to move.  Her course was to the eastward, inside the fringe of islands.  That she was neither Irish nor Welsh he was certain from her build and from her flags; they were too distant for the exact designs upon them to be seen, but near enough for him to know that they were not those displayed by the foreigners.  She sailed fast, having the wind nearly aft, which suited her two square sails.

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After London from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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