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CHAPTER THE SECOND.
On the following morning, Six o'clock was pealing out from the steeple of the church of St. Jacques, and I was already on foot. I had dressed myself in haste. I ran down to the river already the docks were in a bustle. It three-quarters of an hour since you must have
was not one vessel alone that was sailing, but one hundred and fifty vessels hauling out-some for Copenhagen, some for Riga, and the others for Sumatra, for Rio de Janeiro, and for New Orleans. Where could I find my Captain among so many other Captains? Fortunately I knew the name of his ship-the Chamois-and I remembered that he had said the previous evening that he was bound for Bourdeaux. I addressed myself to one of the Custom House officers, who was walking round the basin. "Can you tell me," said 1, "whether all the I was passing through the town gate, I met one vessels which are bound for Bordeaux"
The hospital was soon left far in my rear. I followed the same road I had taken, so as to avoid any mistake in reaching the docks where I hoped to find the Captain of the Chamois. As
The Custom House officer did not allow me to finish my inquiry, but interrupting me, said, "They have all sailed."
of the company wh was present the evening before; the young man who sat next to the Captain during the time he was relating the adventure of which I was so anxious to hear the termination. He instantly remembered me, and we
Every one! Ah, I forget-there is one which looked at each other with that strange feeling of has not yet been hauled out."
"Do you know the Captain ?" I asked. "No: I do not."
interest, which those feel whom a sympathetic magnetism draws together. I at once addressed him:
"Is he a very tall. fine looking man."
"Who wears a paletot," replied he."
Yes," said I.
"Well: he has not yet sailed," said the officer. 1 was already running towards the vessel which he had pointed out, and which was lying at the other end of the basin, when he called me back. "But where are you going?" cried he. "Where you told me," said I, scarcely turning my head, so auxious was I to get to the desired place.
"Go to the end of this brick wall," said he, "as far as the tobacconist's which you see close to the lamp post: go through the town gates: pass through the opposite street; turn to the right on getting to the end of it, and inquire again." Five minutes afterwards I was ringing at the door of the hospital.
As I had no authority, nor any real claim, to be admitted into the hospital, I was obliged to wait at least half an hour, before I was allowed to speak to the clerk who had charge of such
"Are you quite sure?"
"I just saw him pass by, with his first mate
and four of his crew, who were carrying stretchers to remove the sick man.”
"But, sir," said he, when I had explained the motive of my visit, "the Captain of whom you speak has left here with his sailors more than
"I will go immediately to the hospital. Where is it?"
passed him, as probably he has taken another road to his vessel."
In that case I will return."
"I am afraid that you will be too late," said he,; "I am very sorry."
"Oh! I am far more sorry than you," replied I, running out.
"It is useless going now: you will not find the touching and interesting narrative-what a misCaptain." fortune?"
"I know him slightly," said he.
"What a misfortune-is it not, sir," replied I, "that we could not know the end of such
The stranger smiled mysteriously, and in a
"He has just gone to the Marine Hospital to manner which I could not comprehend! remove two of his sick sailors."
"I am looking for him.-I am looking for him." I repeated.
Who-the Captain ?"
"Yes, sir; and hope to find him, if he has not already sailed."
For some business transaction, I presume." "No," I said, with contempt; "business in
deed" for to my horror I found that I had fallen on a trader, which class were always to me a bore.
"You will excuse me, sir, I said, abruptly clo-ments," recommenced I, "is no doubt a very sing the conversation, "that I leave you, but I unfortunate thing, but to lose them on a long am obliged to have some conversation with this voyage-on su a voyage in fact, as that you Captain before he goes. Adieu, sir, I shall see made to the East Indies-would be far more seyou again."
"To the East Indies! To the East Indies!"
I am sure that my new acquaintance took me for a fool, or a madman; not exactly from the in-repeated the Captain. coherence of my conversation, but for the continued change in my tone of voice, and for the movements which in my anxiety I continually made, and which must have caused him to think that I was suffering from St. Vitus' Dance.
I soon reached the quay, and on looking for the brig, found she was gone! She was no longer there! But on again searching for her, I perceived her hauled out into the stream. "There!" thought I, "there is an end of the story which I am so anxious to hear." Her sails were unfurled and she was already making way. Had it been summer, at least twenty row-boats would have been at my disposal, to have conveyed me on board, but in winter they either rot in the docks, or are hauled up into the quays. What was to be done? How could I act? Nothing! The wind was favorable, and the brig would soon be
out of sight! “It is all over,” said I; "the brig is going very fast, and will soon be lost to view; but what can be the matter?" Suddenly the sails are aback, and the course of the Chamois is stopped: a boat is let down, and is fast moving to the shore-what can have happened? I ran down to the side of the river, and distinctly recognized the gigantic Captain. I was sure he was in the boat.
No words-no language can express the happiness and joy which I felt on seeing the boat cutting through the water;-every moment brought me nearer the realization of my anxious wishes. Never did Anthony so anxiously look for the arrival of his Cleopatra on the borders of the Cydnus, as I impatiently counted the minutes which must elapse before the boat could reach the shore. At length she touched the strand, and offering him my hand to assist him to land, I said
I walked by the side of the Captain, who was now on the way to the hydrographer's.
"To be at sea without the necessary instru
"Captain, has any accident happened?" "Yes," he said; "an accident which had it not fortunately been discovered in time, would have led to very serious results. Our hydrographer has forgotten to send us back our nautical instruments, and we should have found ourselves at sea, without either sextant or quadrant."
"Yes, Captain: I said to the East Indies."
repeat to you—never!"
"But surely Batavia is in India."
Certainly it is but what does that prove?" "If you have been to Batavia, of course you have been to India."
"The infant of your Captain was baptized that afternoon: Can it be that I dreamed all this? Can I be mad?"
"You are neither mad," replied the Captain,
"Ah!" I replied, "that would have been a misfortune." This little phrase I several times repeated; revolving all the time how I could" neither have you been dreaming," added he, turn the conversation to the desired point. profoundly astonished that I should have taken
such an interest in an affair, the discussion of which had already taken us far out of our way; 'I assure you, it was not I who related to you this narrative."
"It was not you!" said I, with increased as- silk merchant in the Place Verte. tonishment.
"I assure you upon my word of honor: and the proof of my assertion is, that I am utterly unable to give you the end of this interesting story, which was so suddenly cut short by the extinction of the gas."
"It was really not you! Then who was it?" "It was a Dutch Captain, who was formerly commander of the garrison at Batavia."
That young man who sat next to you, with the bright blue eyes and the long moustaches?" "Precisely," said the Captain of the Chamois. "What a misfortune: why I met him just now as I was coming through the town gate from the hospital"—
"What a fine hospital it is," interrupted he; ponded he. " is it not?"
"Oh, Captain, do not talk of the hospital now; we will talk of it another time. It was really he then ?"
The Captain of the Chamois hastily grasped my hand, which he cordially shook, and entered the store of the hydrographer. Molinari.
I lost no time in finding out the store of the
Certainly," said the Captain, quite amused at my earnest tone.
"Oh! what a misery," continued I: "I now understand the whole affair;-the smoke in which you were all enveloped, caused me to imagine that it was you who was relating your adven-body else." tures you are Captain, and he is Captain, of which I was ignorant; and as the narrator was always addressed as Captain, of course I surmised that it was you. I of course thought that the party must be a Sea-Captain, and therefore I thought that you were the hero in the story of the bottle and in the history of Margaret Floreff: fatal error!"'
Here an introduction could not have been easier. I had come to purchase a cravat, and I was shown a pile of at least fifteen hundred.
"Where is the proprietor of this establishment?" at length I demanded of the assistants. Here I am, sir-what silks do you want, and of what quality?"
"You dined last evening at the Golden Lion; did you not?"
Yes, sir! Is it Lyons silk you wish, sir-I have some of first rate quality."
"You are the friend of the Dutch Captain, who also dined there; are you not?" I impatiently exclaimed.
Lyons silks are lower in price lately," res
"Yes, sir-that is all very well-but I want to know about this Dutch Captain."
His father was a friend of mine: his name
was Van Ostal, and he is also a dealer in silks."
A Captain in the Dutch army, sir ?”
A dealer in silks, I said, sir."
"The son?" asked I.
"Who is speaking of the son? I am not."
"When you interrupted me, I was telling you that the price of Lyons silks had fallen, but that St. Etienne silks were rising."
"I will take six of these cravats-but tell me about the son."
Very well; his name is like that of his father, Van Ostal."
"Does he live in Antwerp?"
"No, sir; he does not live in Antwerp-but in Rotterdam."
"But I met him this morning near the docks, not an hour since."
He was going down to the steamboat, which sails every morning for Rotterdam."
"Is he gone then ?-and to Rotterdam?" The only reply I received was-"Does Monsieur take these six cravats ?"
Oblige me, sir, by replying to me. Did you not hear the interesting tale which Mr. Van Ostal was relating to us last night, with the same interest that I felt?"
"What tale ?"
"About the bottle which was picked up in the open sea, when crossing the Line."
What Line, sir?"
I thanked him for his gracious reception, and at once informed him that I did not intend to trespass on his kindness more than once, and that even the visit which I was now paying him was one of an interested nature.
"At any rate," said he, "let me avail myself of the opportunity which chance has offered me, and beg of you to breakfast with me and my family."
I accepted the kind invitation, and Monsieur Van Ostal to confirm it, poured me out a large glass of curacoa, which liquor it is customary in Holland to drink before breakfast; as when I am travelling I always do as Rome does," I allowed him again to fill my glass, and lighted a magnificent cigar, which he presented me from a choice brand. As soon as our cigars were lighted, Mr. Van Ostal said,
"My dear friend, I am now quite at your service."
I then explained to him the exact reason I had for coming to Rotterdam, and the great anxiety I had to hear the completion of his tale.
You will remember." said I, "that you left off just at that point where, standing alone, and without any witnesses, you raised the slip of paper to your lips, and murmured-Margaret Floreff."
"Yes, sir," replied Monsieur Van Ostal, "I remember: and we will now resume the thread of the narrative."
"Up to the hour," said he, “in which I was left alone on the deck of the Galatea, no occurrence had happened to disturb the calm tranquillity of the night: although the vessel glided with much rapidity through the water, the motion was scarcely perceptible. For me the delights of that evening were extreme, and I was happy in fancying to myself the figure, the age, and the character of this charming and gracious Margaret
When I had landed at Rotterdam, I had scarcely pronounced the name of Van Ostal, before twenty people pointed out to me his house, which was situated at the corner of a street formed by two canals, and was placed in one of those beautiful gardens, which the Dutch alone are capable of laying out. Unfortunately it was autumn, which in Holland means winter, and I had not therefore the pleasure of seeing the garden in its beauty, as I passed through to pay my respects to its master. As I was entering Mr. Van Ostal was giving directions to his servants, as to the degree of heat he wished kept up in the green house which surrounded every side of the drawing-room. On the right or on the left-before or behind-the eye was dazzled and bewildered by the richest and rarest plants-tropical fruits and Floreff. I pictured to myself that she was charm. flowers hung down from the roof in every direc-ing and gracious, because I wanted her to be so. tion, while roses and japonicas strove for mas- I almost imagined that I had known her. From tery. On all sides the trees of Polynesia, of pitying her fate I soon felt that I could love her! Asia, and of the Spice Islands, were displayed By the light of the lamps hanging on the poop, in profusion, and the stranger could have imag-I again examined the writing on the paper. It ined himself under the burning skies of the trop- was evident that only the hand of a young and ics, instead of being in the most damp and hu- delicate woman could have traced those lines, so mid climate of Europe. elegant was the character of them, and so refined Mr. Van Ostal, with the natural frankness of their formation. This writing' said I, to myhis nation, and with that cordiality which char-self, still nursing my chimera, is not of the last acterizes it, advanced to meet me as soon as he century-it is recent; and this paper, made in perceived me, and greeted me in the most friendly Europe, is a proof of it. As if paper of this quality has been so long made? I am sure that some daughter of England, or of France, must have written it. My frenzy increased, and I
"If I had only known that you had intended to visit Holland," said he, "how happy I should have been to offer you that hospitality of which soon found myself muttering. Oh, Margaret— I am so pleased to see you have availed yourself Margaret—were you still alive how I could love of your own accord." you.' I even looked over the side of the vessel,
to see if by the light of the moon I could discover the pumps and down with the main mast." in the dark abyss of waters, the body of Margaret Floreff.
The pumps were soon in motion, and the main mast cut away, but this latter operation instead It was while watching the sea, that I perceived of contributing to the safety of the vessel, only it suddenly breaking into waves, as if some vol-rendered the situation of affairs more critical. It cano had burst forth, and was endeavoring to hurl was impossible to clear away the mast from the the waters to the sky. The heavens were sud-wreck, and as it had fallen over the side, and denly overcast, and the moon as completely ob- was detained by the numerous ropes, the workscured as if there had been an eclipse. The ing of the vessel was terrible. The leak rapidly stars shone out for one moment with increased increased, and the pumps were useless, for where brilliancy, shedding forth a blood red tint, and one pailful of water was pumped out, at least then instantly disappeared. The sea became twenty found their way in. On a sudden, by dark and nearly black, and the heavens assumed one of those capricious changes which occur the same color, the sails flapped listlessly against only during the time of the monsoon, the dark the masts, a sign that the wind had quite gone black cloud which concealed the moon like a down-in fact the wind had so suddenly fallen velvet mask, passed off, and revealed our posithat it appeared as if there was no air left to tion in all its terrible reality. At the same inbreathe. The atmosphere was suffocating and stant a heavy storm of hail fell, nearly blinding overpoweringly hot. A Malayan sailor who was us. The vessel continued rapidly to sink, and passing me on his way to the cabin to call the despair was imprinted on every face. Never captain, said to me, or more properly said to him- have I witnessed a scene so horrible. Every one self" How terrible is this monsoon." He was driven by the advancing waters to the poop, wished by that to explain that a tempest was at the only part of the vessel which was not yet hand, in fact one of those tempests, which occur covered by the sea, then began those awful so often during the monsoon. scenes of anguish and despair which a shipwreck discloses. The wife of the Captain holding her iufant child in her arms, ran out half-dressed, to place herself under the protection of her husband, who, alas! was unable to protect any one. He
A second had scarcely elapsed since the pass-gently took her by the hand, and placed her at ing of the sailor, when a tornado of a dozen different winds, blowing from as many quarters of the compass, struck the Galatea.
his feet, so that the wind should have less power over her, and with renewed zeal gave all his attention to the ship and to the welfare of the crew, of whom he was at once the protector and the father.
You are aware that the monsoon is the name which is given to the prevalence of certain winds, which in the Indian and Chinese Seas, always blow at a fixed period of the year.
Every one rushed upon deck. The first blast of the tempest swept off one half of our sails; the remaining half which no human efforts could reef, were the cause of the vessel nearly founder-lighten the vessel as much as possible," cried he, "out with the boats; lose no time."
"Overboard with every thing moveable, and
ing. Tossed about by the fury of the winds, and overwhelmed by the towering waves, the "We are lost," said I, "lost without hope." deck was nearly under water. Ten of the crew The water was already up to the poop and the were washed overboard, and not one of them was chaplain was reading aloud the service for shiprecovered; not even their cries were heard so wrecked mariners, concluding with the beautiful fearful was the howling of the tempest. The words "In the midst of life we are in death." remaining portion of the sailors, clinging to the At this terrible moment I had but one thoughtropes, impatiently waited the orders of the Cap-one idea, and I had the happiness of being able to carry it out. Spite of the rapid sinking of the vessel I had penetrated into my cabin. I siezed a sheet of paper, and with my pencil wrote a few lines, and rolling it around the slip on which Margaret Floreff had traced her last wishes and desires, I slipped the roll, together with bank notes for £1000 sterling, into the glass bottle, which I securely corked, and then sealed up with all the care and precaution that the confusion of the moment would permit me.
And what had I written on this paper? My words were “I, Louis Van Ostal, who am now about to perish at one hundred and fifty leagues distant from the Island of Ceylon, hereby
Down with the mizen mast!" he at length cried; "lose no time,-quick, bring the axes and the saws-clear it away."
If you are a sailor I need not tell you, that this means of saving a vessel, is resorted to only in desperate cases, and oftenest when a vessel is water logged, or being on her beam ends requires righting. The sacrifice of the mast produced no good effect the vessel still continued unmanageable.
"We are fast sinking-there is no hope," cried a sailor who had just discovered a large leak. "Man the pumps," roared the Captain, "man