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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Wing-and-wing: Le Feu-follet - Chapter 6
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The Wing-and-wing: Le Feu-follet - Chapter 6 Post by :irony Category :Long Stories Author :James Fenimore Cooper Date :May 2012 Read :1719

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The Wing-and-wing: Le Feu-follet - Chapter 6

CHAPTER VI

"Are all prepared?
They are--nay more--embarked; the latest boat
Waits but my chief--My sword and my capote."

_The Corsair._


What success attended the artifice of Ithuel it was impossible to tell, so far as the frigate was concerned; though the appearance of mutual intelligence between the two vessels had a very favorable tendency toward removing suspicion from the lugger among those on shore. It seemed so utterly improbable that a French corsair could answer the signals of an English frigate that even Vito Viti felt compelled to acknowledge to the vice-governatore in a whisper that, so far, the circumstance was much in favor of the lugger's loyalty. Then the calm exterior of Raoul counted for something, more especially as he remained apparently an unconcerned observer of the rapid approach of the ship.

"We shall not have occasion to use your gallant offer, Signor Smees," said Andrea kindly, as he was about to retire into the house with one or two of his counsellors; "but we thank you none the less. It is a happiness to be honored with the visit of two cruisers of your great nation on the same day, and I hope you will so far favor me as to accompany your brother commander, when he shall do me the honor to pay the customary visit, since it would seem to be his serious intention to pay Porto Ferrajo the compliment of a call. Can you not guess at the name of the frigate?"

"Now I see she is a countryman, I think I can, Signore," answered Raoul carelessly; "I take her to be la Proserpine, a French-built ship, a circumstance that first deceived me as to her character."

"And the noble cavaliere, her commander--you doubtless know his name and rank?"

"Oh! perfectly; he is the son of an old admiral, under whom I was educated, though we happen ourselves never to have met. Sir Brown is the name and title of the gentleman."

"Ah! that is a truly English rank, and name, too, as one might say. Often have I met that honorable appellation in Shakespeare, and other of your eminent authors, Miltoni has a Sir Brown, if I am not mistaken, Signore?"

"Several of them, Signor Vice-governatore," answered Raoul, without a moment's hesitation or the smallest remorse; though he had no idea whatever who Milton was; "Milton, Shakespeare, Cicero, and all our great writers, often mention Signori of this family."

"Cicero!" repeated Andrea, in astonishment--"he was a Roman, and an ancient, Capitano, and died before Inghilterra was known to the civilized world."

Raoul perceived that he had reached too far, though he was not in absolute danger of losing his balance. Smiling, as in consideration of the other's provincial view of things, he rejoined, with an _aplomb that would have done credit to a politician, in an explanatory and half-apologetic tone.

"Quite true, Signor Vice-governatore, as respects him you mention," he said; "but not true as respects Sir Cicero, my illustrious compatriot. Let me see--I do not think it is yet a century since our Cicero died. He was born in Devonshire"--this was the county in which Raoul had been imprisoned--"and must have died in Dublin. Si--now I remember, it _was in Dublin, that this virtuous and distinguished author yielded up his breath."

To all this Andrea had nothing to say, for, half a century since, so great was the ignorance of civilized nations as related to such things, that one might have engrafted a Homer on the literature of England, in particular, without much risk of having the imposition detected. Signor Barrofaldi was not pleased to find that the barbarians were seizing on the Italian names, it is true; but he was fain to set the circumstance down to those very traces of barbarism which were the unavoidable fruits of their origin. As for supposing it possible that one who spoke with the ease and innocence of Raoul was inventing as he went along, it was an idea he was himself much too unpractised to entertain; and the very first thing he did on entering the palace was to make a memorandum which might lead him, at a leisure moment, to inquire into the nature of the writings and the general merits of Sir Cicero, the illustrious namesake of him of Rome. As soon as this little digression terminated he entered the palace, after again expressing the hope that "Sir Smees" would not fail to accompany "Sir Brown," in the visit which the functionary fully expected to receive from the latter, in the course of the next hour of two. The company now began to disperse, and Raoul was soon left to his own meditations, which just at that moment were anything but agreeable.

The town of Porto Ferrajo is so shut in from the sea by the rock against which it is built, its fortifications, and the construction of its own little port, as to render the approach of a vessel invisible to its inhabitants, unless they choose to ascend to the heights and the narrow promenade already mentioned. This circumstance had drawn a large crowd upon the hill again, among which Raoul Yvard now threaded his way, wearing his sea cap and his assumed naval uniform in a smart, affected manner, for he was fully sensible of all the advantages he possessed on the score of personal appearance. His unsettled eye, however, wandered from one pretty face to another in quest of Ghita, who alone was the object of his search and the true cause of the awkward predicament into which he had brought not only himself, but le Feu-Follet. In this manner, now thinking of her he sought, and then reverting to his situation in an enemy's port, he walked along the whole line of the cliff, scarce knowing whether to return or to seek his boat by doubling on the town, when he heard his own name pronounced in a sweet voice which went directly to his heart. Turning on his heel, Ghita was within a few feet of him.

"Salute me distantly and as a stranger," said the girl, in almost breathless haste, "and point to the different streets, as if inquiring your way through the town. This is the place where we met last evening; but, remember, it is no longer dark."

As Raoul complied with her desire any distant spectator might well have fancied the meeting accidental, though he poured forth a flood of expressions of love and admiration.

"Enough, Raoul," said the girl, blushing and dropping her eyes, though no displeasure was visible on her serene and placid face, "another time I might indulge you. How much worse is your situation now than it was last night! Then you had only the port to fear; now you have both the people of the port and this strange ship--an Inglese, as they tell me?"

"No doubt--la Proserpine, Etooell says, and he knows; you remember Etooell, dearest Ghita, the American who was with me at the tower--well, he has served in this very ship, and knows her to be la Proserpine, of forty-four." Raoul paused a moment; then he added, laughing in a way to surprise his companion--"Qui--la Proserpine, le Capitaine Sir Brown!"

"What you can find to amuse you in all this, Raoul, is more than I can discover. Sir Brown, or sir anybody else, will send you again to those evil English prison-ships, of which you have so often told me; and there is surely nothing pleasant in _that idea."

"Bah! my sweet Ghita, Sir Brown, or Sir White, or Sir Black has not yet got me. I am not a child, to tumble into the fire because the leading-strings are off; and le Feu-Follet shines or goes out, exactly as it suits her purposes. The frigate, ten to one, will just run close in and take a near look, and then square away and go to Livorno, where there is much more to amuse her officers, than here in Porto Ferrajo. This Sir Brown has his Ghita, as well as Raoul Yvard."

"No, not a Ghita, I fear, Raoul," answered the girl, smiling in spite of herself, while her color almost insensibly deepened--"Livorno has few ignorant country girls, like me, who have been educated in a lone watch-tower on the coast."

"Ghita," answered Raoul, with feeling, "that poor lone watch-tower of thine might well be envied by many a noble dame at Roma and at Napoli; it has left thee innocent and pure--a gem that gay capitals seldom contain; or, if found there, not in its native beauty, which they sully by use."

"What know'st thou, Raoul, of Roma and Napoli, and of noble dames and rich gems?" asked the girl, smiling, the tenderness which had filled her heart at that moment betraying itself in her eyes.

"What do I know of such things, truly! why, I have been at both places, and have seen what I describe. I went to Roma on purpose to see the Holy Father, in order to make certain whether our French opinions of his character and infallibility were true or not, before I set up in religion for myself."

"And thou _didst find him holy and venerable, Raoul," interposed the girl, with earnestness and energy, for this was the great point of separation between them--"I _know thou found'st him thus, and worthy to be the head of an ancient and true church. My eyes never beheld him; but this do I _know to be true."

Raoul was aware that the laxity of his religious opinions, opinions that he may be said to have inherited from his country, as it then existed morally, alone prevented Ghita from casting aside all other ties, and following his fortunes in weal and in woe. Still he was too frank and generous to deceive, while he had ever been too considerate to strive to unsettle her confiding and consoling faith. Her infirmity even, for so he deemed her notions to be, had a charm in his eyes; few men, however loose or sceptical in their own opinions on such matters, finding any pleasure in the contemplation of a female infidel; and he had never looked more fondly into her anxious but lovely face than he did at this very instant, making his reply with a truth that bordered on magnanimity.

"_Thou art my religion, Ghita!" he said; "in thee I worship purity and holiness and--"

"Nay--nay, Raoul, _do not--refrain--if thou really lov'st me, utter not this frightful blasphemy; tell me, rather, if thou didst not find the holy father as I describe him?"

"I found him a peaceful, venerable, and, I firmly believe, a _good old man, Ghita; but _only a man. No infallibility could I see about him; but a set of roguish cardinals and other plotters of mischief, who were much better calculated to set Christians by the ears than to lead them to Heaven, surrounded his chair."

"Say no more, Raoul--I will listen to no more of this. Thou knowest not these sainted men, and thy tongue is thine own enemy, without--hark! what means that?"

"It is a gun from the frigate, and must be looked to; say, when and where do we meet again?"

"I know not, now. We have been too long, much too long, together as it is; and must separate. Trust to me to provide the means of another meeting; at all events, _we shall shortly be in our tower again."

Ghita glided away as she ceased speaking and soon disappeared in the town. As for Raoul, he was at a loss for a moment whether to follow or not; then he hastened to the terrace in front of the government-house again, in order to ascertain the meaning of the gun. The report had drawn others to the same place, and on reaching it the young man found himself in another crowd.

By this time the Proserpine, for Ithuel was right as to the name of the stranger, had got within a league of the entrance of the bay and had gone about, stretching over to its eastern shore, apparently with the intention to fetch fairly into it on the next tack. The smoke of her gun was sailing off to leeward in a little cloud, and signals were again flying at her main-royal-mast-head. All this was very intelligible to Raoul, it being evident at a glance that the frigate had reached in nearer both to look at the warlike lugger that she saw in the bay, and to communicate more clearly with her by signals. Ithuel's expedient had not sufficed; the vigilant Captain Cuffe, alias Sir Brown, who commanded the Proserpine, not being a man likely to be mystified by so stale a trick. Raoul scarcely breathed as he watched the lugger in anticipation of her course.

Ithuel certainly seemed in no hurry to commit himself, for the signal had now been flying on board the frigate several minutes, and yet no symptoms of any preparation for an answer could be discovered. At length the halyards moved, and then three fair, handsome flags rose to the end of le Feu-Follet's jigger yard, a spar that was always kept aloft in moderate weather. What the signal meant Raoul did not know, for though he was provided with signals by means of which to communicate with the vessels of war of his own nation, the Directory had not been able to supply him with those necessary to communicate with the enemy. Ithuel's ingenuity, however, had supplied the deficiency. While serving on board the Proserpine, the very ship that was now menacing the lugger, he had seen a meeting between her and a privateer English lugger, one of the two or three of that rig which sailed out of England, and his observant eye had noted the flags she had shown on the occasion. Now, as privateersmen are not expected to be expert or even very accurate in the use of signals, he had ventured to show these very numbers, let it prove for better or worse. Had he been on the quarter-deck of the frigate, he would have ascertained, through the benedictions bestowed by Captain Cuffe, that his _ruse had so far succeeded as to cause that officer to attribute his unintelligible answer to ignorance, rather than to design. Nevertheless, the frigate did not seem disposed to alter her course; for, either influenced by a desire to anchor, or by a determination to take a still closer look at the lugger, she stood on, nearing the eastern side of the bay, at the rate of some six miles to the hour.

Raoul Yvard now thought it time to look to the safety of le Feu-Follet in person. Previously to landing he had given instructions as to what was to be done in the event of the frigate's coming close in; but matters now seemed so very serious that he hurried down the hill, overtaking Vito Viti in his way, who was repairing to the harbor to give instructions to certain boatmen concerning the manner in which the quarantine laws were to be regarded, in an intercourse with a British frigate.

"You ought to be infinitely happy at the prospect of meeting an honorable countryman in this Sir Brown," observed the short-winded podesta, who usually put himself out of breath both in ascending and descending the steep street, "for he really seems determined to anchor in our bay, Signor Smees."

"To tell you the truth, Signor Podesta, I wish I was half as well persuaded that it _is Sir Brown and la Proserpine as I was an hour ago. I see symptoms of its being a republican, after all, and must have a care for ze Ving-and-Ving."

"The devil carry away all republicans, is my humble prayer, Signor Capitano; but I can hardly believe that so graceful and gracious-looking a frigate can possibly belong to such wretches."

"Ah! Signore, if that were all, I fear we should have to yield the palm to the French," answered Raoul, laughing; "for the best-looking craft in His Majesty's service are republican prizes. Even should this frigate turn out to be the Proserpine herself, she can claim no better origin. But I think the vice-governatore has not done well in deserting the batteries, since this stranger does not answer our signals as she should. The last communication has proved quite unintelligible to him."

Raoul was nearer to the truth than he imagined perhaps, for certainly Ithuel's numbers had made nonsense, according to the signal book of the Proserpine; but his confident manner had an effect on Vito Viti, who was duped by his seeming earnestness, as well as by a circumstance which, rightly considered, told as much against as it did in favor of his companion.

"And what is to be done, Signore?" demanded the podesta, stopping short in the street.

"We must do as well as we can, under the circumstances. My duty is to look out for ze Ving-and-Ving, and yours to look out for the town. Should the stranger actually enter the bay and bring his broadside to bear on this steep hill, there is not a chamber window that will not open on the muzzles of his guns. You will grant me permission to haul into the inner harbor, where we shall be sheltered by the buildings from his shot, and then perhaps it will be well enough to send my people into the nearest battery. I look for bloodshed and confusion ere long."

All this was said with so much apparent sincerity that it added to the podesta's mystification. Calling a neighbor to him, he sent the latter up the hill with a message to Andrea Barrofaldi, and then he hurried down toward the port, it being much easier for him, just at that moment, to descend than to ascend. Raoul kept at his side, and together they reached the water's edge.

The podesta was greatly addicted to giving utterance to any predominant opinion of the moment, being one of those persons who _feel quite as much as they _think_. On the present occasion he did not spare the frigate, for, having caught at the bait that his companion had so artfully thrown out to him, he was loud in the expression of his distrust. All the signalling and showing of colors he now believed to be a republican trick; and precisely in proportion as he became resentful of the supposed fraud of the ship, was he disposed to confide blindly in the honesty of the lugger. This was a change of sentiment in the magistrate; and, as in the case of all sudden but late conversions, he was in a humor to compensate for his tardiness by the excess of his zeal. In consequence of this disposition and the character and loquacity of the man, all aided by a few timely suggestions on the part of Raoul, in five minutes it came to be generally understood that the frigate was greatly to be distrusted, while the lugger rose in public favor exactly in the degree in which the other fell. This interposition of Vito Viti's was exceedingly apropos, so far as le Feu-Follet and her people were concerned, inasmuch as the examination of and intercourse with the boat's crew had rather left the impression of their want of nationality in a legal sense, than otherwise. In a word, had not the podesta so loudly and so actively proclaimed the contrary, Tommaso and his fellows were about to report their convictions that these men were all bona fide wolves in sheep's clothing--alias Frenchmen.

"No, no--amici miei," said Vito Viti, bustling about on the narrow little quay, "all is not gold that glitters, of a certainty; and this frigate is probably no ally, but an enemy. A very different matter is it with ze Ving-y-Ving and Il Signor Smees--we may be said to know _him_--have seen his papers, and the vice-governatore and myself have examined him, as it might be, on the history and laws of his island, for England is an island, neighbors, as well as Elba; another reason for respect and amity--but we have gone over much of the literature and history of Inghilterra together and find everything satisfactory and right; therefore are we bound to show the lugger protection and love."

"Most true, Signor Podesta," answered Raoul from his boat; "and such being the case, I hasten to haul my vessel into the mouth of your basin, which I will defend against boats or any attempt of these rascally republicans to land."

Waving his hand, the young sailor pulled quickly out of the crowded little port, followed by a hundred vivas. Raoul now saw that his orders had not been neglected. A small line had been run out from the lugger and fastened to a ring in the inner end of the eastern side of the narrow haven, apparently with the intention of hauling the vessel into the harbor itself. He also perceived that the light anchor, or large kedge, by which le Feu-Follet rode, was under foot, as seamen term it; or that the cable was nearly "up and down." With a wave of the hand he communicated a new order, and then he saw that the men were raising the kedge from the bottom. By the time his foot touched the deck, indeed, the anchor was up and stowed, and nothing held the vessel but the line that had been run to the quay. Fifty pairs of hands were applied to this line, and the lugger advanced rapidly toward her place of shelter. But an artifice was practised to prevent her heading into the harbor's mouth, the line having been brought inboard abaft her larboard cathead, a circumstance which necessarily gave her a sheer in the contrary direction, or to the eastward of the entrance. When the reader remembers that the scale on which the port had been constructed was small, the entrance scarce exceeding a hundred feet in width, he will better understand the situation of things. Seemingly to aid the movement, too, the jigger was set, and the wind being south, or directly aft, the lugger's motion was soon light and rapid. As the vessel drew nearer to the entrance, her people made a run with the line and gave her a movement of some three or four knots to the hour, actually threatening to dash her bows against the pier-head. But Raoul Yvard contemplated no such blunder. At the proper moment the line was cut, the helm was put a-port, the lugger's head sheered to starboard, and just as Vito Viti, who witnessed all without comprehending more than half that passed, was shouting his vivas and animating all near him with his cries, the lugger glided past the end of the harbor, on its outside, however, instead of entering it. So completely was every one taken by surprise by this evolution that the first impression was of some mistake, accident, or blunder of the helmsman, and cries of regret followed, lest the frigate might have it in her power to profit by the mishap. The flapping of canvas, notwithstanding, showed that no time was lost, and presently le Feu-Follet shot by an opening between the warehouses, under all sail. At this critical instant the frigate, which saw what passed, but which had been deceived like all the rest, and supposed the lugger was hauling into the haven, tacked and came round with her head to the westward. But intending to fetch well into the bay, she had stretched so far over toward the eastern shore as, by this time, to be quite two miles distant; and as the lugger rounded the promontory close under its rocks, to avoid the shot of the batteries above, she left, in less than five minutes, her enemy that space directly astern. Nor was this all. It would have been dangerous to fire as well as useless, on account of the range, since the lugger lay nearly in a line between her enemy's chase guns and the residence of the vice-governatore. It only remained, therefore, for the frigate to commence what is proverbially "a long chase," viz. "a stern chase."

All that has just been related may have occupied ten minutes; but the news reached Andrea Barrofaldi and his counsellors soon enough to allow them to appear on the promontory in time to see the Ving-y-Ving pass close under the cliffs beneath them, still keeping her English colors flying. Raoul was visible, trumpet in hand; but as the wind was light, his powerful voice sufficed to tell his story.

"Signori," he shouted, "I will lead the rascally republican away from your port in chase; _that will be the most effectual mode of doing you a service."

These words were heard and understood, and a murmur of applause followed from some, while others thought the whole affair mysterious and questionable. There was no time to interpose by acts, had such a course been contemplated, the lugger keeping too close in to be exposed to shot, and there being, as yet, no new preparations in the batteries to meet an enemy. Then there were the doubts as to the proper party to assail, and all passed too rapidly to admit of consultation or preconcert.

The movement of le Feu-Follet was so easy, as to partake of the character of instinct. Her light sails were fully distended, though the breeze was far from fresh; and as she rose and fell on the long ground-swells, her wedge-like bows caused the water to ripple before them like a swift current meeting a sharp obstacle in the stream. It was only as she sank into the water, in stemming a swell, that anything like foam could be seen under her forefoot. A long line of swift-receding bubbles, however, marked her track, and she no sooner came abreast of any given group of spectators than she was past it--resembling the progress of a porpoise as he sports along a harbor.

Ten minutes after passing the palace, or the pitch of the promontory, the lugger opened another bay, one wider and almost as deep as that on which Porto Ferrajo stands, and here she took the breeze without the intervention of any neighboring rocks, and her speed was essentially increased. Hitherto, her close proximity to the shore had partially becalmed her, though the air had drawn round the promontory, making nearly a fair wind of it; but now the currents came fully on her beam, and with much more power. She hauled down her tacks, flattened in her sheets, luffed, and was soon out of sight, breasting up to windward of a point that formed the eastern extremity of the bay last mentioned.

All this time the Proserpine had not been idle. As soon as she discovered that the lugger was endeavoring to escape, her rigging was alive with men. Sail after sail was set, one white cloud succeeding another, until she was a sheet of canvas from her trucks to her bulwarks. Her lofty sails taking the breeze above the adjacent coast, her progress was swift, for this particular frigate had the reputation of being one of the fastest vessels in the English marine.

It was just twenty minutes by Andrea Barrofaldi's watch after le Feu-Follet passed the spot where he stood, when the Proserpine came abreast of it. Her greater draught of water induced her to keep half a mile from the promontory, but she was so near as to allow a very good opportunity to examine her general construction and appearance as she went by. The batteries were now manned, and a consultation was held on the propriety of punishing a republican for daring to come so near a Tuscan port. But there flew the respected and dreaded English ensign; and it was still a matter of doubt whether the stranger were friend or enemy. Nothing about the ship showed apprehension, and yet she was clearly chasing a craft which, coming from a Tuscan harbor, an Englishman would be bound to consider entitled to his protection rather than to his hostility. In a word, opinions were divided, and when that is the case, in matters of this nature, decision is obviously difficult. Then, if a Frenchman, she clearly attempted no injury to any on the island; and those who possessed the power to commence a fire were fully aware how much the town lay exposed, and how little benefit might be expected from even a single broadside. The consequence was that the few who were disposed to open on the frigate, like the two or three who had felt the same disposition toward the lugger, were restrained in their wishes, not only by the voice of superior authority, but by that of numbers.

In the mean while the Proserpine pressed on, and in ten minutes more she was not only out of the range, but beyond the reach of shot. As she opened the bay west of the town le Feu-Follet was seen from her decks, fully a league ahead, close on a wind, the breeze hauling round the western end of the island, glancing through the water at a rate that rendered pursuit more than doubtful. Still the ship persevered, and in little more than an hour from the time she had crowded sail she was up with the western extremity of the hills, through more than a mile to the leeward. Here she met the fair southern breeze, uninfluenced by the land, as it came through the pass between Corsica and Elba, and got a clear view of the work before her. The studding-sails and royals had been taken in twenty minutes earlier; the bowlines were now all hauled, and the frigate was brought close upon the wind. Still the chase was evidently hopeless, the little Feu-Follet having everything as much to her mind as if she had ordered the weather expressly to show her powers. With her sheets flattened in until her canvas stood like boards, her head looked fully a point to windward of that of the ship, and, what was of equal importance, she even went to windward of the point she looked at, while the Proserpine, if anything, fell off a little, though but a very little, from her own course. Under all these differences the lugger went through the water six feet to the frigate's five, beating her in speed almost as much as she did in her weatherly qualities.

The vessel to windward was not the first lugger, by fifty, that Captain Cuffe had assisted in chasing, and he knew the hopelessness of following such a craft under circumstances so directly adapted to its qualities. Then he was far from certain that he was pursuing an enemy at all, whatever distrust the signals may have excited, since she had clearly come out of a friendly port. Bastia, too, lay within a few hours' run, and there was the whole of the east coast of Corsica, abounding with small bays and havens, in which a vessel of that size might take refuge if pressed. After convincing himself, therefore, by half an hour's further trial in open sailing under the full force of the breeze, of the fruitlessness of his effort, that experienced officer ordered the Proserpine's helm put up, the yards squared, and he stood to the northward, apparently shaping his course for Leghorn or the Gulf of Genoa. When the frigate made this change in her course, the lugger, which had tacked some time previously, was just becoming shut in by the western end of Elba, and she was soon lost to view entirely, with every prospect of her weathering the island altogether, without being obliged to go about again.

It was no more than natural that such a chase should occasion some animation in a place as retired and ordinarily as dull as Porto Ferrajo. Several of the young idlers of the garrison obtained horses and galloped up among the hills to watch the result; the mountains being pretty well intersected by bridle-paths, though totally without regular roads. They who remained in the town, as a matter of course, were not disposed to let so favorable a subject for discourse die away immediately, for want of a disposition to gossip on it. Little else was talked of that day than the menaced attack of the republican frigate, and the escape of the lugger. Some, indeed, still doubted, for every question has its two sides, and there was just enough of dissent to render the discussions lively and the arguments ingenious. Among the disputants, Vito Viti acted a prominent part. Having committed himself so openly by his "vivas" and his public remarks in the port, he felt it due to his own character to justify all he had said, and Raoul Yvard could not have desired a warmer advocate than he had in the podesta. The worthy magistrate exaggerated the vice-governatore's knowledge of English, by way of leaving no deficiency in the necessary proofs of the lugger's national character. Nay, he even went so far as to affirm that he had comprehended a portion of the documents exhibited by the "Signor Smees" himself; and as to "ze Ving-y-Ving," any one acquainted in the least with the geography of the British Channel would understand that she was precisely the sort of craft that the semi-Gallic inhabitants of Guernsey and Jersey would be apt to send forth to cruise against the out-and-out Gallic inhabitants of the adjacent main.

During all these discussions, there was one heart in Porto Ferrajo that was swelling with the conflicting emotions of gratitude, disappointment, joy, and fear, though the tongue of its owner was silent. Of all of her sex in the place, Ghita alone had nothing to conjecture, no speculation to advance, no opinion to maintain, nor any wish to express. Still she listened eagerly, and it was not the least of her causes of satisfaction to find that her own hurried interviews with the handsome privateersman had apparently escaped observation. At length her mind was fully lightened of its apprehensions, leaving nothing but tender regrets, by the return of the horsemen from the mountains. These persons reported that the upper sails of the frigate were just visible in the northern board, so far as they could judge, even more distant than the island of Capraya, while the lugger had beaten up almost as far to windward as Pianosa, and then seemed disposed to stand over toward the coast of Corsica, doubtless with an intention to molest the commerce of that hostile island.

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The Wing-and-wing: Le Feu-follet - Chapter 5 The Wing-and-wing: Le Feu-follet - Chapter 5

The Wing-and-wing: Le Feu-follet - Chapter 5
CHAPTER V"The great contention of the sea and skies Parted our fellowship;--But, hark! a sail!" CassioWhatever may have been the result of the vice-governatore's further inquiries and speculations that night, they were not known. After consuming an hour in the lower part of the town, in and around the port, he and the podesta sought their homes and their pillows, leaving the lugger riding quietly at her anchor in the spot where she was last presented to the reader's attention. If Raoul Yvard and Ghita had another interview, too, it was so secretly
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