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Cooper, James Fenimore, 1789-1851 [1831], The water-witch, volume 1 (Carey & Lea, Philadelphia) [word count] [eaf061v1].
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“God save you, Sir!”
“And you, Sir; you are welcome.
“Travel you, Sir, or are you at the furthest?”
Taming of the Shrew.

If the exterior of the brigantine was so graceful
in form and so singular in arrangement, the interior
was still more worthy of observation. There were
two small cabins beneath the main-deck, one on each
side of, and immediately adjoining, the limited space
that was destined to receive her light but valuable
cargoes. It was into one of these that Tiller had
descended, like a man who freely entered into his
own apartment; but partly above, and nearer to the
stern, were a suite of little rooms that were fitted
and furnished in a style altogether different. The
equipments were those of a yacht, rather than those
which might be supposed suited to the pleasures of
even the most successful dealer in contraband.

The principal deck had been sunken several feet,
commencing at the aftermost bulk-head of the cabins
of the subordinate officers, in a manner to give the
necessary height, without interfering with the line
of the brigantine's shear. The arrangement was
consequently not to be seen, by an observer who
was not admitted into the vessel itself. A descent
of a step or two, however, brought the visiters to the

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level of the cabin-floor and into an ante-room that
was evidently fitted for the convenience of the domestics.
A small silver hand-bell lay on a table, and
Tiller rung it lightly, like one whose ordinary manner
was restrained by respect. It was answered by
the appearance of a boy, whose years could not exceed
ten, and whose attire was so whimsical as to
merit description.

The material of the dress of this young servitor of
Neptune, was a light rose-colored silk, cut in a fashion
to resemble the habits formerly worn by pages
of the great. His body was belted by a band of
gold, a collar of fine thread lace floated on his neck
and shoulders, and even his feet were clad in a sort
of buskins, that were ornamented with fringes of
real lace and tassels of bullion. The form and features
of the child were delicate, and his air as unlike
as possible to the coarse and brusque manner of
a vulgar ship-boy.

“Waste and prodigality!” muttered the Alderman,
when this extraordinary little usher presented
himself, in answer to the summons of Tiller. “This
is the very wantonness of cheap goods and an unfettered
commerce! There is enough of Mechlin, Patroon,
on the shoulders of that urchin, to deck the
stomacher of the Queen. 'Fore George, goods were
cheap in the market, when the young scoundrel had
his livery!”

The surprise was not confined, however, to the observant
and frugal burgher. Ludlow and Van Staats
of Kinderhook manifested equal amazement, though
their wonder was exhibited in a less characteristic
manner. The former turned short to demand the
meaning of this masquerade, when he perceived that
the hero of the India-shawl had disappeared. They
were then alone with the fantastic page, and it became
necessary to trust to his intelligence for directions
how to proceed.

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“Who art thou, child?—and who has sent thee
hither?” demanded Ludlow. The boy raised a cap
of the same rose-colored silk, and pointed to an image
of a female, with a swarthy face and a malign
smile, painted, with exceeding art, on its front.

“I serve the sea-green lady, with the others of the

“And who is this lady of the color of shallow water,
and whence come you, in particular?”

“This is her likeness—if you would speak with
her, she stands on the cut-water, and rarely refuses
an answer.”

“'Tis odd that a form of wood should have the
gift of speech!”

“Dost think her then of wood?” returned the
child, looking timidly, and yet curiously, up into the
face of Ludlow. “Others have said the same; but
those who know best, deny it. She does not answer
with a tongue, but the book has always something to

“Here is a grievous deception practised on the superstition
of this boy! I have read the book, and can
make but little of its meaning.”

“Then read again. 'Tis by many reaches that
the leeward vessel gains upon the wind. My master
has bid me bring you in—”

“Hold—Thou hast both master and mistress?—
You have told us of the latter, but we would know
something of the former. Who is thy master?”

The boy smiled and looked aside, as if he hesitated
to answer.

“Nay, refuse not to reply. I come with the authority
of the Queen.”

“He tells us that the sea-green lady is our Queen,
and that we have no other.”

“Rashness and rebellion!” muttered Myndert;
“but this foolhardiness will one day bring as pretty
a brigantine as ever sailed in the narrow seas, to

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condemnation; and then will there be rumors abroad,
and characters cracked, till every lover of gossip in
the Americas shall be tired of defamation.”

“It is a bold subject, that dares say this!” rejoined
Ludlow, who heeded not the by-play of the
Alderman; “Your master has a name?”

“We never hear it. When Neptune boards us,
under the tropics, he always hails the `Skimmer of
the Seas,' and then they answer. The old God
knows us well, for we pass his latitude oftener than
other ships, they say.”

“You are then a cruiser of some service, in the
brigantine—no doubt you have trod many distant
shores, belonging to so swift a craft.”

“I!—I never was on the land!” returned the boy,
thoughtfully. “It must be droll to be there; they
say, one can hardly walk, it is so steady! I put a
question to the sea-green lady before we came to
this narrow inlet, to know when I was to go ashore.”

“And she answered?”

“It was some time, first. Two watches were
past before a word was to be seen; but at last I got
the lines. I believe she mocked me, though I have
never dared show it to my master, that he might

“Hast the words, here?—perhaps we might assist
thee, as there are some among us who know most of
the sea-paths.”

The boy looked timidly and suspiciously around,
and thrusting a hand hurriedly into a pocket, he
drew forth two bits of paper, each of which contained
a scrawl, and both of which had evidently
been much thumbed and studied.

“Here,” he said, in a voice that was suppressed
nearly to a whisper. “This was on the first page. I
was so frightened, lest the lady should be angry, that
I did not look again till the next watch; and then,”
turning the leaf, “I found this.”

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Ludlow took the bit of paper first offered, and
read, written in a child's hand, the following extract:

“I pray thee
Remember, I have done thee worthy service;
Told thee no lies, made no mistakings, serv'd
Without or grudge or grumblings.”

“I thought that 'twas in mockery,” continued the
boy, when he saw by the eye of the young captain
that he had read the quotation; “for 'twas very
like, though more prettily worded, than that which
I had said, myself!”

“And that was the second answer?”

“This was found in the first morning-watch,” the
child returned, reading the second extract himself:

“Thou think'st
It much to tread the ooze of the salt deep,
And run upon the sharp wind of the north!”

“I never dared to ask again. But what matters
that? They say, the ground is rough and difficult
to walk on; that earthquakes shake it, and make
holes to swallow cities; that men slay each other on
the highways for money, and that the houses I see
on the hills must always remain in the same spot. It
must be very melancholy to live always in the same
spot; but then it must be odd, never to feel a motion!”

“Except the occasional rocking of an earthquake!
Thou art better afloat, child;—but thy master, this
Skimmer of the Seas—”

“—Hist!” whispered the boy, raising a finger for
silence. “He has come up into the great cabin. In
a moment, we shall have his signal to enter.”

“A few light touches on the strings of a guitar
followed, and then a symphony was rapidly and
beautifully executed, by one in the adjoining apartment.

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“Alida, herself, is not more nimble-fingered,”
whispered the Alderman; “and I never heard the
girl touch the Dutch lute, that cost a hundred Holland
guilders, with a livelier movement!”

Ludlow signed for silence. A fine, manly voice,
of great richness and depth, was soon heard, singing
to an accompaniment on the same instrument. The
air was grave, and altogether unusual for the social
character of one who dwelt upon the ocean, being
chiefly in recitative. The words, as near as might
be distinguished, ran as follows:

My brigantine!
Just in thy mould, and beauteous in thy form,
Gentle in roll, and buoyant on the surge,
Light as the sea-fowl, rocking in the storm,
In breeze and gale, thy onward course we urge;
My Water-Queen!
Lady of mine!
More light and swift than thou, none thread the sea,
With surer keel, or steadier on its path;
We brave each waste of ocean-mystery,
And laugh to hear the howling tempest's wrath!
For we are thine!
My brigantine!
Trust to the mystic power that points thy way,
Trust to the eye that pierces from afar,
Trust the red meteors that around thee play,
And fearless trust the sea-green lady's star;
Thou bark divine!

“He often sings thus,” whispered the boy, when
the song was ended; “for they say, the sea-green
lady loves music that tells of the ocean, and of her
power.—Hark! he has bid me enter.”

“He did but touch the strings of the guitar, again,

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“'Tis his signal, when the weather is fair. When
we have the whistling of the wind, and the roar of
the water, then he has a louder call.”

Ludlow would have gladly listened longer; but
the boy opened a door, and, pointing the way to
those he conducted, he silently vanished himself, behind
a curtain.

The visiters, more particularly the young commander
of the Coquette, found new subjects of admiration
and wonder, on entering the main cabin of
the brigantine. The apartment, considering the size
of the vessel, was spacious and high. It received
light from a couple of windows in the stern, and it
was evident that two smaller rooms, one on each of
the quarters, shared with it in this advantage. The
space between these state-rooms, as they are called
in nautical language, necessarily formed a deep alcove,
which might be separated from the outer portion
of the cabin, by a curtain of crimson damask,
that now hung in festoons from a beam fashioned
into a gilded cornice. A luxuriously-looking pile of
cushions, covered with red morocco, lay along the
transom, in the manner of an eastern divan; and
against the bulk-head of each state-room, stood an
agrippina of mahogany, that was lined with the
same material. Neat and tasteful cases for books
were suspended, here and there; and the guitar
which had so lately been used, lay on a small table
of some precious wood, that occupied the centre of
the alcove. There were also other implements, like
those which occupy the leisure of a cultivated but
perhaps an effeminate rather than a vigorous mind,
scattered around, some evidently long neglected, and
others appearing to have been more recently in

The outer portion of the cabin was furnished in a
similar style, though it contained many more of the
articles that ordinarily belong to domestic economy.

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It had its agrippina, its piles of cushions, its chairs of
beautiful wood, its cases for books, and its neglected
instruments, intermixed with fixtures of a more solid
and permanent appearance, which were arranged to
meet the violent motion that was often unavoidable
in so small a bark. There was a slight hanging of
crimson damask around the whole apartment; and,
here and there, a small mirror was let into the bulk-heads
and ceilings. All the other parts were of a
rich mahogany, relieved by panels of rose-wood, that
gave an appearance of exquisite finish to the cabin.
The floor was covered with a mat of the finest texture,
and of a fragrance that announced both its freshness,
and the fact that the grass had been the growth
of a warm and luxuriant climate. The place, as was
indeed the whole vessel, so far as the keen eye of
Ludlow could detect, was entirely destitute of arms,
not even a pistol, or a sword, being suspended in
those places where weapons of that description are
usually seen, in all vessels employed either in war
or in a trade that might oblige those who sail them
to deal in violence.

In the centre of the alcove stood the youthful-looking
and extraordinary person who, in so unceremonious
a manner, had visited la Cour de Fées the
preceding night. His dress was much the same, in
fashion and material, as when last seen; still, it had
been changed; for on the breast of the silken frock
was painted an image of the sea-green lady, done
with exquisite skill, and in a manner to preserve the
whole of the wild and unearthly character of the
expression. The wearer of this singular ornament
leaned lightly against the little table, and as he bowed
with entire self-possession to his guests, his face
was lighted with a smile, that seemed to betray melancholy,
no less than courtesy. At the same time he
raised his cap, and stood in the rich jet-black locks

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with which Nature had so exuberantly shaded his

The manner of the visiters was less easy. The
deep anxiety with which both Ludlow and the Patroon
had undertaken to board the notorious smuggler,
had given place to an amazement and a curiosity
that caused them nearly to forget their errand; while
Alderman Van Beverout appeared shy and suspicious,
manifestly thinking less of his niece, than of the consequences
of so remarkable an interview. They all
returned the salutation of their host, though each
waited for him to speak.

“They tell me I have the pleasure to receive a
commander of Queen Anne's service, the wealthy
and honorable Patroon of Kinderhook, and a most
worthy and respectable member of the city corporation,
known as Alderman Van Beverout,” commenced
the individual who did the honors of the vessel on
this occasion. “It is not often that my poor brigantine
is thus favored, and, in the name of my mistress,
I would express our thanks.”

As he ceased speaking, he bowed again with ceremonious
gravity, as if all were equally strangers to
him; though the young men saw plainly that a
smothered smile played about a mouth that even
they could not refuse the praise of being of rare and
extraordinary attraction.

“As we have but one mistress,” said Ludlow, “it
is our common duty to wish to do her pleasure.”

“I understand you, Sir. It is scarce necessary to
say, however, that the wife of George of Denmark
has little authority here. Forbear, I pray you,” he
added quickly, observing that Ludlow was about to
answer. “These interviews with the servants of that
lady are not unfrequent; and as I know other matters
have sent you hither, we will imagine all said
that a vigilant officer and a most loyal subject could
utter, to an outlaw and a trifler with the regulations

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of the customs. That controversy must be settled
between us under our canvas, and by virtue of our
speed, or other professional qualities, at proper time
and in a proper place. We will now touch on different

“I think the gentleman is right, Patroon. When
matters are ripe for the Exchequer, there is no use
in worrying the lungs with summing up the testimony,
like a fee'd advocate. Twelve discreet men, who
have bowels of compassion for the vicissitudes of
trade, and who know how hard it is to earn, and how
easy it is to spend, will deal with the subject better
than all the idle talkers in the Provinces.”

“When confronted to the twelve disinterested Daniels,
I shall be fain to submit to their judgment,” rejoined
the other, still suffering the wilful smile to
linger round his lips. “You, Sir, I think, are called
Mr. Myndert Van Beverout.—To what fall in peltry,
or what rise in markets, do I owe the honor of this

“It is said that some from this vessel were so bold
as to land on my grounds, during the past night,
without the knowledge and consent of their owner—.
you will observe the purport of our discourse, Mr.
Van Staats, for it may yet come before the authorities—
as I said, Sir, without their owner's knowledge,
and that there were dealings in articles that are
contraband of law, unless they enter the provinces
purified and embellished by the air of the Queen's
European dominions—God bless Her Majesty!”

“Amen.—That which quitteth the Water-Witch
commonly comes purified by the air of many different
regions. We are no laggards in movement, here;
and the winds of Europe scarcely cease to blow upon
our sails, before we scent the gales of America. But
this is rather Exchequer matter, to be discussed
before the twelve merciful burghers, than entertainment
for such a visit.”

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“I open with the facts, that there may be no
errors. But in addition to so foul an imputation on
the credit of a merchant, there has a great calamity
befallen me and my household, during the past night.
The daughter and heiress of old Etienne de Barbérie
has left her abode, and we have reason to think that
she has been deluded so far as to come hither. Faith
and correspondence! Master Seadrift; but I think
this is exceeding the compass of even a trader in
contraband! I can make allowances for some errors
in an account; but women can be exported and
imported without duty, and when and where one
pleases, and therefore the less necessity for running
them out of their old uncle's habitation, in so secret
a manner.”

“An undeniable position, and a feeling conclusion!
I admit the demand to be made in all form, and I
suppose these two gentlemen are to be considered as
witnesses of its legality.”

“We have come to aid a wronged and distressed
relative and guardian, in searching for his misguided
ward,” Ludlow answered.

The free-trader turned his eyes on the Patroon,
who signified his assent by a silent bow.

“'Tis well, gentlemen; I also admit the testimony.
But though in common believed so worthy a subject
for justice, I have hitherto had but little direct
communication with the blind deity. Do the authorities
usually give credit to these charges, without
some evidence of their truth?”

“Is it denied?”

“You are still in possession of your senses, Captain
Ludlow, and may freely use them. But this is an
artifice to divert pursuit. There are other vessels
beside the brigantine, and a capricious fair may have
sought a protector, even under a pennant of Queen

“This is a truth that has been but too obvious to

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my mind, Mr. Van Beverout,” observed the sententious
Patroon. “It would have been well to have
ascertained whether she we seek has not taken some
less exceptionable course than this, before we hastily
believe that your niece would so easily become the
wife of a stranger.”

“Has Mr. Van Staats any hidden meaning in his
words, that he speaks ambiguously?” demanded

“A man, conscious of his good intentions, has little
occasion to speak equivocally. I believe, with this
reputed smuggler, that la belle Barbérie would be
more likely to fly with one she has long known, and
whom I fear she has but too well esteemed, than
with an utter stranger, over whose life there is cast
a shade of so dark mystery.”

“If the impression that the lady could yield her
esteem with too little discretion, be any excuse for
suspicions, then may I advise a search in the manor
of Kinderhook!”

“Consent and joy! The girl need not have stolen
to church to become the bride of Oloff Van Staats!”
interrupted the Alderman. “She should have had
my benediction on the match, and a fat gift to give
it unction.”

“These suspicions are but natural, between men
bent on the same object,” resumed the free-trader.
“The officer of the Queen thinks a glance of the
eye, from a wilful fair, means admiration of broad
lands and rich meadows; and the lord of the manor
distrusts the romance of warlike service, and the
power of an imagination which roams the sea. Still
may I ask, what is there here, to tempt a proud and
courted beauty to forget station, sex, and friends?”

“Caprice and vanity! There is no answering for
a woman's mind! Here we bring articles, at great
risk and heavy charges, from the farther Indies, to
please their fancies, and they change their modes

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easier than the beaver casts his coat. Their conceits
sadly unsettle trade, and I know not why they
may not cause a wilful girl to do any other act of

“This reasoning seems conclusive with the uncle.
Do the suitors assent to its justice?”

The Patroon of Kinderhook had stood gazing, long
and earnestly, at the countenance of the extraordinary
being who asked this question. A movement,
which bespoke, equally, his conviction and his
regret, escaped him, but he continued silent. Not so
Ludlow. Of a more ardent temperament, though
equally sensible of the temptation which had caused
Alida to err, and as keenly alive to all the consequences
to herself, as well as to others, there was
something of professional rivalry, and of an official
right to investigate, which still mingled with his
feelings. He had found time to examine more closely
the articles that the cabin contained, and when their
singular host put his question, he pointed, with an
ironical but mournful smile, to a footstool richly
wrought in flowers of tints and shades so just as to
seem natural.

“This is no work of a sail-maker's needle!” said
the captain of the Coquette. “Other beauties have
been induced to pass an idle hour in your gay residence,
hardy mariner; but, sooner or later, judgment
will overtake the light-heeled craft.”

“On the wind, or off, she must some day lag, as
we seamen have it! Captain Ludlow, I excuse some
harshness of construction, that your language might
imply; for it becomes a commissioned servant of the
crown, to use freedom with one who, like the lawless
companion of the princely Hal, is but too apt to
propose to `rob me the King's Exchequer.' But, Sir,
this brigantine and her character are little known to
you. We have no need of truant damsels, to let us
into the mystery of the sex's taste; for a female

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spirit guides all our humors, and imparts something
of her delicacy to all our acts, even though it be
the fashion among burghers to call them lawless.
See,” throwing a curtain carelessly aside, and exhibiting,
behind, it, various articles of womanly employment,
“here are the offspring of both pencil and
needle. The sorceress,” touching the image on his
breast, “will not be entertained, without some deference
to her sex.”

“This affair must be arranged, I see, by a compromise,”
observed the Alderman. “By your leave,
gentlemen, I will make proposals in private to this
bold trader, who perhaps will listen to the offers I
have to propose.”

“Ah! This savors more of the spirit of trade
than of that of the sea-goddess I serve,” cried the
other, causing his fingers to run lightly over the
strings of the guitar. “Compromise and offers are
sounds that become a burgher's lips. My tricksy
spirit, commit these gentlemen to the care of bold
Thomas Tiller, while I confer with the merchant.
The character of Mr. Van Beverout, Captain Ludlow,
will protect us both from the suspicion of any
designs on the revenue!”

Laughing at his own allusion, the free-trader
signed to the boy, who had appeared from behind a
curtain, to show the disappointed suitors of la belle
Barbérie into another part of the vessel.

“Foul tongues and calumnies! Master Seadrift,
this unlawful manner of playing round business, after
accounts are settled and receipts passed, may lead
to other loss besides that of character. The commander
of the Coquette is not more than half satisfied
of my ignorance of your misdoings in behalf of
the customs, already; and these jokes are like so
many punches into a smouldering fire, on a dark
night. They only give light, and cause people to see
the clearer:—though, Heaven knows, no man has

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less reason to dread an inquiry into his affairs than
myself! I challenge the best accountant in the colonies
to detect a false footing, or a doubtful entry, in
any book I have, from the Memorandum to the

“The Proverbs are not more sententious, nor the
Psalms half as poetical, as your library. But why
this secret parley?—The brigantine has a swept

“Swept! Brooms and Van Tromp! Thou hast
swept the pavilion of my niece of its mistress, no less
than my purse of its johannes. This is carrying a
little innocent barter into a most forbidden commerce,
and I hope the joke is to end, before the affair gets
to be sweetening to the tea of the Province gossips.
Such a tale would affect the autumn importation of

“This is more vivid than clear. You have my
laces and velvets; my brocades and satins are already
in the hands of the Manhattan dames; and your furs
and johannes are safe where no boarding officer from
the Coquette—”

“Well, there is no need of speaking-trumpets, to
tell a man what he knows already, to his cost! I
should expect no less than bankruptcy from two or
three such bargains, and you wish to add loss of
character to loss of gold. Bulk-heads have ears in
a ship, as well as walls in houses. I wish no more
said of the trifling traffic that has been between us.
If I lose a thousand florins by the operation, I shall
know how to be resigned. Patience and afflictions!
Have I not buried as full-fed and promising a gelding
this morning, as ever paced a pavement, and has any
man heard a complaint from my lips? I know how
to meet losses, I hope; and so no more of an unlucky

“Truly, if it be not for trade, there is little in

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common between the mariners of the brigantine and
Alderman Van Beverout.”

“The greater the necessity thou shouldst end this
silly joke, and restore his niece. I am not sure the
affair can be at all settled with either of these hot-headed
young men, though I should even offer to
throw in a few thousands more, by way of make-weight.
When female reputation gets a bad name
in the market, 'tis harder to dispose of than falling
stock; and your young lords of manors and commanders
of cruisers have stomachs like usurers; no
per centage will satisfy them; it must be all, or nothing!
There was no such foolery in the days of thy
worthy father! The honest trafficker brought his
cutter into port, with as innocent a look as a mill-boat.
We had our discourses on the qualities of his
wares, when here was his price, and there was my
gold. Odd or even! It was all a chance which had
the best of the bargain. I was a thriving man in
those days, Master Seadrift; but thy spirit seems the
spirit of extortion itself!”

There was momentarily contempt on the lip of
the handsome smuggler, but it disappeared in an expression
of evident and painful sadness.

“Thou hast softened my heart, ere now, most
liberal burgher,” he answered, “by these allusions
to my parent; and many is the doubloon that I have
paid for his eulogies.”

“I speak as disinterestedly as a parson preaches!
What is a trifle of gold between friends? Yes, there
was happiness in trade during the time of thy predecessor.
He had a comely and a deceptive craft,
that might be likened to an untrimmed racer. There
was motion in it, at need, and yet it had the air of
a leisurely Amsterdammer. I have known an Exchequer
cruiser hail him, and ask the news of the
famous free-trader, with as little suspicion as he
would have in speaking the Lord High Admiral!

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There were no fooleries in his time; no unseemly
hussies stuck under his bowsprit, to put an honest
man out of countenance; no high-fliers in sail and
paint; no singing and luting—but all was rational and
gainful barter. Then, he was a man to ballast his
boat with something valuable. I have known him
throw in fifty ankers of gin, without a farthing for
freight, when a bargain has been struck for the finer
articles—ay, and finish by landing them in England,
for a small premium, when the gift was made!”

“He deserves thy praise, grateful Alderman; but
to what conclusion does this opening tend?”

“Well, if more gold must pass between us,” continued
the reluctant Myndert, “we shall not waste
time in counting it; though, Heaven knows, Master
Seadrift, thou hast already drained me dry. Losses
have fallen heavy on me, of late. There is a gelding,
dead, that fifty Holland ducats will not replace on
the boom-key of Rotterdam, to say nothing of freight
and charges, which come particularly heavy—”

“Speak to thy offer!” interrupted the other, who
evidently wished to shorten the interview.

“Restore the girl, and take five-and-twenty thin

“Half-price for a Flemish gelding! La Belle would
blush, with honest pride, did she know her value in
the market!”

“Extortion and bowels of compassion! Let it be
a hundred, and no further words between us.”

“Harkee, Mr. Van Beverout; that I sometimes
trespass on the Queen's earnings, is not to be denied,
and least of all to you; for I like neither this manner
of ruling a nation by deputy, nor the principle which
says that one bit of earth is to make laws for another.
'Tis not my humor, Sir, to wear an English cotton
when my taste is for the Florentine; nor to swallow
beer, when I more relish the delicate wines of Gascony.
Beyond this, thou knowest I do not trifle,

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[figure description] Page 203.[end figure description]

even with fancied rights; and had I fifty of thy
nieces, sacks of ducats should not purchase one!”

The Alderman stared, in a manner that might
have induced a spectator to believe he was listening
to an incomprehensible proposition. Still his
companion spoke with a warmth that gave him no
small reason to believe he uttered no more than he
felt, and, inexplicable as it might prove, that he
valued treasure less than feeling.

“Obstinacy and extravagance!” muttered Myndert;
“what use can a troublesome girl be to one of
thy habits? If thou hast deluded—”

“I have deluded none. The brigantine is not an
Algerine, to ask and take ransom.”

“Then let it submit to what I believe it is yet a
stranger. If thou hast not enticed my niece away, by,
Heaven knows, a most vain delusion! let the vessel be
searched. This will make the minds of the young
men tranquil, and keep the treaty open between us,
and the value of the article fixed in the market.”

“Freely:—but mark! If certain bales containing
worthless furs of martens and beavers, with other
articles of thy colony trade, should discover the character
of my correspondents, I stand exonerated of all
breach of faith.”

“There is prudence in that.—Yes, there must be
no impertinent eyes peeping into bales and packages.
Well, I see, Master Seadrift, the impossibility of immediately
coming to an understanding; and therefore
I will quit thy vessel, for truly a merchant of reputation
should have no unnecessary connexion with
one so suspected.”

The free-trader smiled, partly in scorn and yet
much in sadness, and passed his fingers over the
strings of the guitar.

“Show this worthy burgher to his friends, Zephyr,”
he said; and, bowing to the Alderman, he dismissed
him in a manner that betrayed a singular compound

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of feeling. One quick to discover the traces of human
passion, might have fancied, that regret, and
even sorrow, were powerfully blended with the natural
or assumed recklessness of the smuggler's air and

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Cooper, James Fenimore, 1789-1851 [1831], The water-witch, volume 1 (Carey & Lea, Philadelphia) [word count] [eaf061v1].
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