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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesHomeward Bound; Or, The Chase: A Tale Of The Sea - Chapter 19
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Homeward Bound; Or, The Chase: A Tale Of The Sea - Chapter 19 Post by :kiranb Category :Long Stories Author :James Fenimore Cooper Date :May 2012 Read :3467

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Homeward Bound; Or, The Chase: A Tale Of The Sea - Chapter 19

Chapter XIX

Ay, he does well enough, if he be disposed,
And so do I too; he does it with a better grace, but
I do it more natural.


The sleep of the weary is sweet. Of all the party that lay thus buried in sleep, on the verge of the Great Desert, exposed at any moment to an assault from its ruthless and predatory occupants, but one bethought him of the danger; though _he was, in truth, so little exposed as to have rendered it of less moment to himself than to most of the others, had he not been the possessor of a fancy that served oftener to lead him astray than for any purposes that were useful of pleasing. This person was in one of the boats, and as they lay at a reasonable distance from the land, and the barbarians would not probably have known how to use any craft had they even possessed one, he was consequently safe from everything but a discharge from their long muskets. But this remote risk sufficed to keep him awake, it being very different things to foster malice, circulate gossip, write scurrilous paragraphs, and cant about the people, and to face a volley of fire-arms. For the one employment, nature, tradition, education, and habit, had expressly fitted Mr. Dodge; while for the other, he had not the smallest vocation. Although Mr. Leach, in setting his look-outs on board the boats, had entirely overlooked the editor of the Active Inquirer, never before had that vigilant person's inquiries been more active than they were throughout the whole of that long night, and twenty times would he have aroused the party on false alarms, but for the cool indifference of the phlegmatic seamen, to whom the duty more properly belonged. These brave fellows knew too well the precious qualities of sleep to allow that of their shipmates to be causelessly disturbed by the nervous apprehensions of one who carried with him an everlasting stimulant to fear in the consciousness of demerit. The night passed away undisturbed, therefore, nor was the order of the regular watch broken until the look-outs in the wreck, agreeably to their orders, awoke Captain Truck and his mates.

It was now precisely at the moment when the first, and as it might be the fugitive, rays of the sun glide into the atmosphere, and, to use a quaint expression, "dilute its darkness." One no longer saw by starlight, or by moonlight, though a little of both were still left; but objects, though indistinct and dusky, had their true outlines, while every moment rendered their surfaces more obvious.

When Captain Truck appeared on deck, his first glance was at the ocean; for, were its tranquillity seriously disturbed, it would be a death-blow to all his hopes. Fortunately, in this particular, there was no change.

"The winds seem to have put themselves out of breath in the last gale, Mr. Leach," he said, "and we are likely to get the spars round as quietly as if they were so many saw-logs floating in a mill-pond. Even the ground-swell has lessened, and the breakers on the bar look like the ripple of a wash-tub. Turn the people up, sir, and let us have a drag at these sticks before breakfast, or we may have to broil an Arab yet."

Mr. Leach hailed the boats, and ordered them to send their gang of labourers on shore. He then gave the accustomed raps on the deck, and called "all hands" in the ship. In a minute the men began to appear, yawning and stretching their arms--for no one had thrown aside his clothes--most of them launching their sea-jokes right and left, with as much indifference as if they lay quietly in the port to which they were bound. After some eight or ten minutes to shake themselves, and to get "aired," as Mr. Leach expressed it, the whole party was again mustered on the deck of the Dane, with the exception of a hand or two in the launch, and Mr. Dodge. The latter had assumed the office of sentinel over the jolly-boat, which, as usual, lay at the rocks, to carry such articles off as might be wanted.

"Send a hand up into the fore-top, Mr. Leach," said the captain, gaping like a greyhound; "a fellow with sharp eyes; none of your chaps who read with their noses down in the cloudy weather of an almanack; and let him take a look at the desert, in search of Arabs."

Although the lower rigging was down and safe in the launch, a girt-line, or as Captain Truck in the true Doric of his profession pronounced it, a "_gunt_-line," was rove at each mast, and a man was accordingly hauled up forward as soon as possible. As it was still too dusky to distinguish far with accuracy, the captain hailed him, and bade him stay where he was until ordered down, and to keep a sharp look-out.

"We had a visit from one chap in the night," he added, "and as he was a hungry-looking rascal, he is a greater fool than I think him, or he will be back before long, after some of the beef and stock-fish of the wreck. Keep a bright look-out."

The men, though accustomed to their commander's manner, looked at each other more seriously, glanced around at their arms, and then the information produced precisely the effect that had been intended, that of inducing them to apply to their work with threefold vigour.

"Let the boys chew upon that, instead of their tobacco," observed the captain to Mr. Leach, as he hunted for a good coal in the galley to light his cigar with. "I'll warrant you the sheers go up none the slower for the information, desperate philosophers as some of these gentry are!"

This prognostic was true enough, for instead of gaping and stretching themselves about the deck, as had been the case with most of them a minute before, the men now commenced their duty in good earnest, calling to each other to come to the falls and the capstan-bars, and to stand by the heels of the sheers.

"Heave away!" cried the mate, smiling to see how quick the captain's hint had been taken; "heave round with a will, men, and let us set these legs on end, that they may walk."

As the order was obeyed to the letter, the day had not fairly opened when the sheers were in their places and secured. Every man was all activity, and as their work was directed by those whose knowledge was never at fault, a landsman would have been surprised at the readiness with which the crew next raised a spar as heavy as the mainmast, and had it suspended, top and all, in the air, high enough to be borne over the side. The lowering was a trifling affair, and the massive stick was soon lying at its length on the sands. Captain Truck well knew the great importance of this particular spar, for he might make out with the part of the foremast that remained in the packet, whereas, without this mast he could not possibly rig any thing of much available use aft. He called out to the men therefore, as he sprang upon the staging, to follow him and to launch the spar into the water before they breakfasted.

"Let us make sure of this fellow, men," he added, "for it is our main-stay. With this stick fairly in our raft, we may yet make a passage; no one must think of his teeth till it is out of all risk. This stick we must have, if we make war on the Emperor of Morocco for its possession."

The people knew the necessity for exertion, and they worked accordingly. The top was knocked off, and carried down to the water; the spar was then cut round, and rolled after it, not without trouble, however, as the trestle trees were left on; but the descent of the sands favoured the labour. When on the margin of the sea, by the aid of hand-spikes, the head was got afloat, or so nearly so, as to require but little force to move it, when a line from the boats was fastened to the outer end, and the top was secured alongside.

"Now, clap your hand-spikes under it, boys, and heave away!" cried the captain. "Heave together and keep the stick straight--heave, and his head is afloat!--Haul, haul away in the boat!--heave all at once, and as if you were giants!--you gained three feet that tug, my hearties--try him again, gentlemen, as you are--and move together, like girls in a _cotillion_--Away with it!--What the devil are you staring at, in the fore-top there? Have you nothing better to do than to amuse yourself in seeing us heave our insides out?"

The intense interest attached to the securing of this spar had extended to the look-out in the top, and instead of keeping his eye on the desert, as ordered, he was looking down at the party on the beach, and betraying his sympathy in their efforts by bending his body, and appearing to heave in common with his messmates. Admonished of his neglect by this sharp rebuke, he turned round quickly towards the desert, and gave the fearful alarm of "The Arabs!"

Every man ceased his work, and the Whole were on the point of rushing in a body towards their arms, when the greater steadiness of Captain Truck prevented it.

"Whereaway?" he demanded sternly.

"On the most distant hillock of sand, may be a mile and a half inland."

"How do they head?"

"Dead down upon us, sir."

"How do they travel?"

"They have camels, and horses: all are mounted, sir."

"What is their number?".

The man paused, as if to count, and then he called out,

"They are strong-handed, sir; quite a hundred I think. They have brought up, sir, and seem to be sounding about them for an anchorage."

Captain Truck hesitated, and he looked wistfully at the mast.

"Boys!" said he, shaking his hand over the bit of massive wood, with energy, "this spar is of more importance to us than our mother's milk in infancy. It is our victuals and drink, life and hopes. Let us swear we will have it in spite of a thousand Arabs. Stoop to your hand-spikes, and heave at the word--'heave as if you had a world to move,--heave, men, heave!"

The people obeyed, and the mast advanced more than half the necessary distance into the water. But the man now called out that the Arabs wore advancing swiftly towards the ship.

"One more effort, men," said Captain Truck, reddening in the face with anxiety, and throwing down his hat to set the example in person,--"heave!"

The men hove, and the spar floated.

"Now to your arms, boys, and you, sir, in the top, keep yourself hid behind the head of the mast. We must be ready to show these gentry we are not afraid of them." A sign, of the hand told the men in the launch to haul away, and the all-important spar floated slowly across the bar, to join the raft.

The men now hurried up to the ship, a post that Captain Truck declared he could maintain against a whole tribe, while Mr. Dodge began incontinently to scull the jolly-boat, in the best manner he could, off to the launch. All remonstrance was useless, as he had got as far as the bar before he was perceived. Both Sir George Templemore and Mr. Monday loudly denounced him for deserting the party on the shore in this scandalous manner, but quite without affect. Mr. Dodge's skill, unfortunately for his success, did not quite equal his zeal; and finding, when he got on the bar, that he was unable to keep the boat's head to the sea, or indeed to manage it at all, he fairly jumped into the water and swam lustily towards the launch. As he was expert at this exercise, he arrived safely, cursing in his heart all travelling, the desert, the Arabs, and mankind in general, wishing himself quietly back in Dodgeopolis again, among his beloved people. The boat drove upon the sands, of course, and was eventually taken care of by two of the Montauk's crew.

As soon as Captain Truck found himself on the deck of the Dane, the arms were distributed among the people. It was clearly his policy not to commence the war, for he had nothing, in an affirmative sense, to gain by it, though, without making any professions, his mind was fully made up not to be taken alive, as long as there was a possibility of averting such a disaster. The man aloft gave constant notice of the movements of the Arabs, and he soon announced that they had halted at a pistol's shot from the bank, where they were securing their camels, and that his first estimate of their force was true.

In the mean time, Captain Truck was far from satisfied with his position. The bank was higher than the deck of the ship, and so near it as to render the bulwarks of little use, had those of the Dane been of any available thickness, which they were not. Then, the position of the ship, lying a little on one side, with her bows towards the land, exposed her to being swept by a raking fire; a cunning enemy having it in his power, by making a cover of the bank, to pick off his men, with little or no exposure to himself. The odds were too great to sally upon the plain, and although the rocks offered a tolerable cover towards the land, they had none towards the ship. Divide his force he dared not do,--and by abandoning the ship, he would allow the Arabs to seize her, thus commanding the other position, besides the remainder of the stores, which he was desirous of securing.

Men think fast in trying circumstances, and although the captain was in a situation so perfectly novel, his practical knowledge and great coolness rendered him an invaluable commander to those under his orders.

"I do not know, gentlemen," he said, addressing his passengers and mates, "that Vattel has laid down any rule to govern this case. These Arabs, no doubt, are the lawful owners of the country, in one sense; but it is a desert--and a desert, like a sea, is common property for the time being, to all who find themselves in it. There are no wreck-masters in Africa, and probably no law concerning wrecks, but the law of the strongest. We have been driven in here, moreover, by stress of weather--and this is a category on which Vattel has been very explicit. We have a _right to the hospitality of these Arabs, and if it be not freely accorded, d--n me, gentlemen, but I feel disposed to take just as much of it as I find I shall have occasion for! Mr. Monday, I should like to hear your sentiments on this subject."

"Why, sir," returned Mr. Monday, "I have the greatest confidence in your knowledge, Captain Truck, and am equally ready for peace or war, although my calling is for the first. I should try negotiation to begin with, sir, if it be practicable, and you will allow me to express an opinion, after which I would offer war."

"I am quite of the same mind, sir; but in what way are we to negotiate with a people we cannot make understand a word we say? It is true, if they were versed in the science of signs, one might do something with them; but I have reason to know that they are as stupid as boobies on all such subjects. We shall get ourselves into a category at the first _protocol_, as the writers say."

Now, Mr. Monday thought there was a language that any man might understand, and he was strongly disposed to profit by it. In rummaging the wreck, he had discovered a case of liquor, besides a cask of Hollands, and he thought an offering of these might have the effect to put the Arabs in good humour at least.

"I have known men, who, treated with dry, in matters of trade, were as obstinate as mules, become reasonable and pliable, sir, over a bottle," he said, after explaining where the liquor was to be found; "and I think, if we offer the Arabs this, after they have been in possession a short time, we shall find them better disposed towards us. If it should not prove so, I confess, for one, I should feel less reluctance in shooting them than before."

"I have somewhere heard that the Mussulmans never drink," observed Sir George; "in which case we shall find our offering despised. Then there is the difficulty of a first possession; for, if these people are the same as those that were here before, they may not thank us for giving them so small a part of that, of which they may lay claim to all. I'm very sure, were any one to offer me my patent pistols, as a motive for letting him carry away my patent razors, or the East India dressing-case, or any thing else I own, I should not feel particularly obliged to him."

"Capitally put, Sir George, and I should be quite of your way of thinking, if I did not believe these Arabs might really be mollified by a little drink. If I had a proper ambassador to send with the offering, I would resort to the plan at once."

Mr. Monday, after a moment's hesitation, spiritedly offered to be one of two, to go to the Arabs with the proposal, for he had sufficient penetration to perceive that there was little danger of his being seized, while an armed party of so much strength remained to be overcome--and he had sufficient nerve to encounter the risk. All he asked was a companion, and Captain Truck was so much struck with the spirit of the volunteer, that he made up his mind to accompany him himself. To this plan, however, both the mates and all the crew, stoutly but respectfully objected. They felt his importance too much to consent to this exposure, and neither of the mates, even, would be allowed to go on an expedition of so much hazard, without a sufficient motive. They might fight, if they pleased, but they should not run into the mouth of the lion unarmed and unresisting.

"It is of no moment," said Mr. Monday; "I could have liked a gentlemen for my companion; but no one of the brave fellows will have any objection to passing an hour in company with an Arab Sheik over a bottle. What say you my lads, will any one of you volunteer?"

"Ay, ay, sir!" cried a dozen in a breath.

"This will never do," interrupted the captain; "I have need of the men, for my heart is still set on these two sticks that remain, and we have a head-sea and a stiff breeze to struggle with in getting back to the ship. By George, I have it! What do you say to Mr. Dodge for a companion, Mr. Monday? He is used to committees, and likes the service: and then he has need of some stimulant, after the ducking he has received. Mr. Leach, take a couple of hands, and go off in the jolly-boat and bring Mr. Dodge on shore. My compliments to him, and tell him he has been unanimously chosen to a most honourable and lucrative--ay, and a popular employment."

As this was an order, the mate did not scruple about obeying it. He was soon afloat, and on his way towards the launch. Captain Truck now hailed the top, and inquired what the Arabs were about. The answer was satisfactory, as they were still busy with their camels and in pitching their tents. This did not look much like an immediate war, and bidding the man aloft to give timely notice of their approach, Mr. Truck fancied he might still have time to shift his sheers, and to whip out the mizzen-mast, and he accordingly set about it without further delay.

As every one worked, as it might be for life, in fifteen minutes this light spar was suspended in the falls. In ten more its heel was clear of the bulwarks, and it was lowered on the sands almost by the run. To knock off the top and roll it down to the water took but a few minutes longer, and then the people were called to their breakfast; the sentinel aloft reporting that the Arabs were employed in the same manner, and in milking their camels. This was a fortunate relief, and every body ate in peace, and in the full assurance that those whom they so much distrusted were equally engaged in the same pacific manner.

Neither the Arabs nor the seamen, however, lost any unnecessary time at the meal. The former were soon reported to be coming and going in parties of fifteen or twenty, arriving and departing in an eastern direction. Occasionally a single runner went or came alone, on a fleet dromedary, as if communications were held with other bodies which lay deeper in the desert. All this intelligence rendered Captain Truck very uneasy, and he thought it time seriously to take some decided measures to bring this matter to an issue. Still, as time gained was all in his favour if improved, he first ordered the men to begin to shift the sheers forward, in hopes of being yet able to carry off the foremast; a spar that would be exceedingly useful, as it would save the necessity of fishing a new head to the one which still stood in the packet. He then went aside with his two ambassadors, with a view to give his instructions.

Mr. Dodge had no sooner found himself safe in the launch than he felt his courage revive, and with his courage, his ingenuity, self-love and assurance. While in the water, a meeker man there was not on earth; he had even some doubts as to the truth of all his favourite notions of liberty and equality, for men think fast in danger, and there was an instant when he might have been easily persuaded to acknowledge himself a demagogue and a hypocrite in his ordinary practices; one whose chief motive was self, and whose besetting passions were envy, distrust and malice; or, in other words, very much the creature he was. Shame came next, and he eagerly sought an excuse for the want of manliness he had betrayed; but, passing over the language he had held in the launch, and the means Mr. Leach found to persuade him to land again, we shall give his apology in his own words, as he now somewhat hurriedly delivered it, to Captain Truck, in his own person.

"I must have misunderstood your arrangement, captain," he said; "for somehow, though _how I do not exactly know--but _somehow the alarm of the Arabs was no sooner given than I felt as if I _ought to be in the launch to be at my post; but I suppose it was because I knew that the sails and spars that brought us here are mostly there, and that this was the spot to be most resolutely defended. I _do think, if they had waded off to us, I should have fought like a tiger!"

"No doubt you would, my dear sir, and like a wild cat too! We all make mistakes in judgment, in war, and in politics, and no fact is better known than that the best soldiers in the end are they who give a little ground at the first attack. But Mr. Leach has explained to you the plan of Mr. Monday, and I rely on your spirit and zeal, which there is now an excellent opportunity to prove, as before it was only demonstrated."

"If it were only an opportunity of meeting the Arabs sword in hand, captain."

"Pooh! pooh! my dear friend, take _two swords if you choose. One who is full of fight can never get the battle on his own terms. Fill the Arabs with the _schnaps of the poor Dane, and if they should make the smallest symptom of moving down towards us, I rely on you to give the alarm, in order that we may be ready for them. Trust to us for the _overture of the _piece_, as I trust to you for the overtures of peace."

"In what way can we possibly do this, Mr. Monday? How _can we give the alarm in season?

"Why," interposed the unmoved captain, "you may just shoot the sheik, and that will be killing two birds with one stone; you will take your pistols, of course, and blaze away upon them, starboard and larboard; rely on it, we shall hear you."

"Of that I make no doubt, but I rather distrust the prudence of the step. That is, I declare, Mr. Monday, it looks awfully like tempting Providence! I begin to have conscientious scruples. I hope you are quite certain, captain, there is nothing in all this against the laws of Africa? Good moral and religious influences are not to be overlooked. My mind is quite exercised in the premises!"

"You are much too conscientious for a diplomatic man," said Mr. Truck, between the puffs at a fresh cigar. "You need not shoot any of the women, and what more does, a man want? Come, no more words, but to the duty heartily. Every one expects it of you, since no one can do it half so well; and if you ever get back to Dodgeopolis, there will be matter for a paragraph every day of the year for the next six months. If any thing serious happen to you, trust to me to do your memory justice."

"Captain, captain, this trifling with the future is blasphemous! Men seldom talk of death with impunity, and it really hurts my feelings to touch on such awful subjects so lightly. I will go, for I do not well see how the matter is to be helped; but let us go amicably, and with such presents as will secure a good reception and a safe return."

"Mr. Monday takes the liquor-case of the Dane, and you are welcome to any thing that is left, but the foremast. _That I shall fight for, even if lions come out of the desert to help the Arabs."

Mr. Dodge had many more objections, some of which he urged openly, and more of which he felt in his inmost spirit. But for the unfortunate dive into the water, he certainly would have pleaded his immunities as a passenger, and plumply refused to be put forward on such an occasion; but he felt that he was a disgraced man, and that some decided act of spirit was necessary to redeem his character. The neutrality observed by the Arabs, moreover, greatly encouraged him; for he leaned to an opinion Captain Truck had expressed, that so long as a strong-armed party remained in the wreck, the sheik, if a man of any moderation and policy, would not proceed to violence.

"You may tell him, gentlemen," continued Mr. Truck, "that as soon as I have whipped the foremast out of the Dane, I will evacuate, and leave him the wreck, and all it contains. The stick can do him no good, and I want it in my heart's core. Put this matter before him plainly, and there is no doubt we shall part the best friends in the world. Remember one thing, however, we shall set about lifting the spar the moment you quit us, and should there be any signs of an attack, give us notice in season, that we may take to our arms."

By this reasoning Mr. Dodge suffered himself to be persuaded to go on the mission, though his ingenuity and fears supplied an additional motive that he took very good care not to betray. Should there be a battle, he knew he would be expected to fight, if he remained with his own party, and if with the other, he might plausibly secrete himself until the affair was over; for, with a man of his temperament, eventual slavery had less horrors than immediate death.

When Mr. Monday and his co-commissioner ascended the bank, bearing the case of liquors and a few light offerings, that the latter had found in the wreck, it was just as the crew, assured that the Arabs still remained tranquil, had seriously set about pursuing their great object. On the margin of the plain, Captain Truck took his leave of the ambassadors, though he remained some time to reconnoitre the appearance of things in the wild-looking camp, which was placed within two hundred yards of the spot on which he stood. The number of the Arabs had not certainly been exaggerated, and what gave him the most uneasiness was the fact that parties appeared to be constantly communicating with more, who probably lay behind a ridge of sand that bounded the view less than a mile distant inland, as they all went and came in that direction. After waiting to see his two _envoyes in the very camp, he stationed a look-out on the bank, and returned to the wreck, to hurry on the all-important work.

Mr. Monday was the efficient man of the two commissioners, so soon as they were fairly embarked in their enterprise. He was strong of nerves, and without imagination to fancy dangers where they were not very obvious, and had a great faith in the pacific virtues of the liquor-case. An Arab advanced to meet them, when near the tents; and although conversation was quite out of the question, by pure force of gesticulations, aided by the single word "sheik," they succeeded in obtaining an introduction to that personage.

The inhabitants of the desert have been so often described that we shall assume they are known to our readers, and proceed with our narrative the same as if we had to do with Christians. Much of what has been written of the hospitality of the Arabs, if true of any portion of them, is hardly true of those tribes which frequent the Atlantic coast, where the practice of wrecking would seem to have produced the same effect, on their habits and morals that it is known to produce elsewhere. But a ship protected by a few weather-worn and stranded mariners, and a ship defended by a strong and an armed party, like that headed by Captain Truck, presented very different objects to the cupidity of these barbarians. They knew the great advantage they possessed by being on their own ground, and were content to await events, in preference to risking a doubtful contest. Several of the party had been at Mogadore, and other parts, and had acquired tolerably accurate ideas of the power of vessels; and as they were confident the men now at work at the wreck had not the means of carrying away the cargo, their own principal object, curiosity and caution, connected with certain plans that were already laid among their leaders, kept them quiet, for the moment at least.

These people were not so ignorant as to require to be told that some other vessel was at no great distance, and their scouts had been out in all directions to ascertain the fact, previously to taking their ultimate measures; for the sheik himself had some pretty just notions of the force of a vessel of war, and of the danger of contending with one. The result of his policy, therefore, will better appear in the course of the narrative.

The reception of the two envoys of Captain Truck was masked by that smiling and courteous politeness which seems to diminish as one travels west, and to increase as he goes eastward; though it was certainly less elaborate than would have been found in the palace of an Indian rajah. The sheik was not properly a sheik, nor was the party composed of genuine Arabs, though we have thus styled them from usage. The first, however, was a man in authority, and he and his followers possessed enough of the origin and characteristics of the tribes east of the Red Sea, to be sufficiently described by the appellation we have adopted.

Mr. Monday and Mr. Dodge were invited by signs to be seated, and refreshments were offered. As the last were not particularly inviting, Mr. Monday was not slow in producing his own offering, and in recommending its quality, by setting an example of the way in which it ought to be treated. Although Mussulmans, the hosts did not scruple about tasting the cup, and ten minutes of pantomime, potations, and grimaces, brought about a species of intimacy between the parties.

The man who had been so unceremoniously captured the previous night by Captain Truck, was now introduced, and much curiosity was manifested to know whether his account of the disposition in the strangers to eat their fellow creatures was true. The inhabitants of the desert, in the course of ages, had gleaned certain accounts of mariners eating their shipmates, from their different captives, and vague traditions to that effect existed among them, which the tale of this man had revived. Had the sheik kept a journal, like Mr. Dodge, the result of these inquiries would probably have been some entries concerning the customs and characters of the Americans, that were quite as original as those of the editor of the Active Inquirer concerning the different nations he had visited.

Mr. Monday paid great attention to the pantomime of the Arab, in which that worthy endeavoured to explain the disposition of Captain Truck to make a barbecue of him: when it was ended, he gravely informed his companions that the sheik had invited them to stay for dinner,--a proposition that he was disposed to accept; but the sensitiveness of Mr. Dodge viewed the matter otherwise, for, with a conformity of opinion that really said something in favour of the science of signs, he arrived at the same conclusion as the poor Arab himself--with the material difference, that he fancied that the Arabs were disposed to make a meal of himself. Mr. Monday, who was a hearty beef and brandy personage, scouted the idea, and thought the matter settled, by pointing to two or three young camels and asking the editor if he thought any man, Turk or Christian, would think of eating one so lank, meagre, and uninviting, as himself, when they had so much capital food of another sort at their elbow. "Take your share of the liquor while it is passing, man, and set your heart at ease as to the dinner, which I make no doubt will be substantial and decent. Had I known of the favour intended us, I should have brought out the sheik a service of knives and forks from Birmingham; for he really seems a well-disposed and gentleman-like man. A very capital fellow, I dare say, we shall find him, after he has had a few camel's steaks, and a proper allowance of _schnaps_. Mr. Sheik, I drink your health with all my heart."

The accidents of life could scarcely have brought together, in circumstances so peculiar, men whose characters were more completely the converse of each other than Mr. Monday and Mr. Dodge. They were, perfect epitomes of two large classes in their respective nations, and so diametrically opposed to each other, that one could hardly recognise in them scions from a common stock. The first was dull, obstinate, straight-forward, hearty in his manners, and not without sincerity, though wily in a bargain, with all his seeming frankness; the last, distrustful, cunning rather than quick of comprehension, insincere, fawning when he thought his interests concerned, and jealous and detracting at all other times, with a coldness of exterior that had at least the merit of appearing to avoid deception. Both were violently prejudiced, though in Mr. Monday, it was the prejudice of old dogmas, in religion, politics, and morals; and in the other, it was the vice of provincialism, and an education that was not entirely free from the fanaticism of the seventeenth century. One consequence of this discrepancy of character was a perfectly opposite manner of viewing matters in this interview. While Mr. Monday was disposed to take things amicably, Mr. Dodge was all suspicion; and had they then returned to the wreck, the last would have called to arms, while the first would have advised Captain Truck to go out and visit the sheik, in the manner one would visit a respectable and agreeable neighbour.

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Homeward Bound; Or, The Chase: A Tale Of The Sea - Chapter 20 Homeward Bound; Or, The Chase: A Tale Of The Sea - Chapter 20

Homeward Bound; Or, The Chase: A Tale Of The Sea - Chapter 20
Chapter XX'Tis of more worth than kingdoms! far more precious 'Than all the crimson treasures of life's fountain! Oh let it not elude thy grasp! COTTONThings were in this state, the sheik and his guests communicating by signs, in such a way as completely to mystify each other; Mr. Monday drinking, Mr. Dodge conjecturing, and parties quitting the camp and arriving every ten minutes, when an Arab pointed eagerly with his finger in the direction of the wreck. The head of the foremast was slowly rising, and the look-out in the top was clinging to the spar, which

Homeward Bound; Or, The Chase: A Tale Of The Sea - Chapter 18 Homeward Bound; Or, The Chase: A Tale Of The Sea - Chapter 18

Homeward Bound; Or, The Chase: A Tale Of The Sea - Chapter 18
Chapter XVIIIHere, in the sands. Thee I'll rake up-- LEAR His mind made up, his intentions announced, and his ship in readiness, Captain Truck gave his orders to proceed with promptitude and clearness. The ladies remaining behind, he observed that the two Messrs. Effingham, as a matter of course, would stay with them as protectors, though little could harm them where they were. "I propose to leave the ship in the care of Mr. Blunt," he said, "for I perceive something about that gentleman which denotes a nautical instinct. If Mr. Sharp choose to remain also, your society will be the