Scarcely had it touched the ground when a single man jumped out of the boat, after having given a brief order, in a manner which denoted the habit of commanding. In consequence of this order, several muskets immediately glittered in the feeble light reflected from that mirror of the heavens, the sea; and the oblong bale of which we spoke, containing no doubt some contraband object, was transported to land, with infinite precautions. Immediately after that, the man who had landed first, set off at a rapid pace diagonally towards the village of Scheveningen, directing his course to the nearest point of the wood. When there, he sought for that house already described as the temporary residence — and a very humble residence — of him who was styled by courtesy king of England.
All were asleep there, as everywhere else, only a large dog, of the race of those which the fishermen of Scheveningen harness to little carts to carry fish to the Hague, began to bark formidably as soon as the stranger’s steps were audible beneath the windows. But the watchfulness, instead of alarming the newly-landed man, appeared, on the contrary, to give him great joy, for his voice might perhaps have proved insufficient to rouse the people of the house, whilst, with an auxiliary of that sort, his voice became almost useless. The stranger waited, then, till these reiterated and sonorous barkings should, according to all probability, have produced their effect, and then he ventured a summons. On hearing his voice, the dog began to roar with such violence that another voice was soon heard from the interior, quieting the dog. With that the dog was quieted.
“What do you want?” asked that voice, at the same time weak, broken, and civil.
“I want his majesty King Charles II., king of England,” said the stranger.
“What do you want with him?”
“I want to speak with him.”
“Who are you?”
“Ah! Mordioux! you ask too much; I don’t like talking through doors.”
“Only tell me your name.”
“I don’t like to declare my name in the open air, either; besides, you may be sure I shall not eat your dog, and I hope to God he will be as reserved with respect to me.”
“You bring news, perhaps, monsieur, do you not?” replied the voice, patient and querulous as that of an old man.
“I will answer for it, I bring you news you little expect. Open the door, then, if you please, hein!”
“Monsieur,” persisted the old man, “do you believe, upon your soul and conscience, that your news is worth waking the king?”
“For God’s sake, my dear monsieur, draw your bolts; you will not be sorry, I swear, for the trouble it will give you. I am worth my weight in gold, parole d’honneur!”
“Monsieur, I cannot open the door till you have told me your name.”
“Must I, then?”
“It is by the order of my master, monsieur.”