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surpassed her power to prevent the tones of tenderness from iningling with her words.
"You know all, Ghita. After months of perseverance, and a love such as man seldom felt before, you deliberately and coldly refused to be my wife;-nay, you have deserted Monte Argentaro, purposely to get rid of my importunities; for there I could go with the lugger, at any moment; and have come here, upon this bay, crowded with the English, and other enemies of France, fancying that I would not dare to venture hither.-Well, you see with what success; for neither Nelson, nor his two-deckers, can keep Raoul Yvard from the woman he loves, let him be as victorious and skilful as he may !"
The sailor had ceased rowing, to give vent to his feelings in this speech, neither of the two colloquists regarding the presence of Carlo Giuntotardi, any more than if he had been a part of themselves. This indifference to the fact that a third person was a listener, proceeded from habit, the worthy scholar and religionist being usually too abstracted to attend to concerns as light as love, and the youthful affections. Ghita was not surprised, either at the reproaches of her suitor, or at his perseverance; and her conscience told her he uttered but the truth, in attributing to her the motives he had, in urging her uncle to make their recent change of residence; for, while a sense of duty had induced her to quit the towers, her art was not sufficient to suggest the expediency of going to any other abode than that which she was accustomed to inhabit periodically, and about which Raoul knew, from her own innocent narrations, nearly as much as she knew herself.
"I can say no more than I have said, already," the thoughtful girl answered, after Raoul had begun again to row. "It is better, on every account, that we should part. I cannot change my country; nor can you desert that glorious republic, of which you feel so proud. I am an Italian, and you are French; while, more than all, I worship my God, while you believe in the new opinions of your own nation. Here are causes enough for separation, surely, however favourably and kindly we may happen to think of each other, in general."
"Tell me not, any more, of the heart of an Italian girl,
and of her readiness to fly to the world's end, with the man of her choice!" exclaimed Raoul, bitterly. "I can find a thousand girls, in Languedoc, who would make the circuit of the earth, yearly, rather than be separated, a day, from the seamen they have chosen for their husbands."
"Then look among the girls of Languedoc, for a wife," answered Ghita, with a smile so melancholy that it contradicted her words. "Better to take one of your own nation and opinion, Raoul, than risk your happiness with a stranger; who might not answer all your hopes, when you came to know her better."
"We will not talk further of this, now, dearest Ghita; my first care must be to carry you back to the cottage of your aunt—unless, indeed, you will at once embark in le Feu-Follet, and return to the towers ?"
"Le Feu-Follet! - she is hardly here, in the midst of a fleet of her enemies! Remember, Raoul, that your men will begin to complain, if you place them too often in such risks, to gratify your own wishes."
"Peste! I keep them in good-humour, by rich prizes. They have been successful; and that which makes yonder Nelson popular, and a great man, makes Raoul Yvard popular, and a great man, also, in his little way. My crew is like its captain-it loves adventures, and it loves success." "I do not see the lugger-among a hundred ships, there is no sign of yours?"
"The Bay of Napoli is large, Ghita," returned Raoul, laughing; "and le Feu-Follet takes but little room. yonder vaisseaux-de-ligne appear trifling among these noble mountains, and on this wide gulf; you cannot expect my little lugger to make much show. We are small, Ghita mia, if not insignificant!"
"Still, where there are so many vigilant eyes, there is always danger, Raoul! Besides, a lugger is an unusual rig, as you have owned to me, yourself."
"Not here, among all these eastern craft. I have always found, if I wished to be unnoticed, it was best to get into a crowd; whereas, he who lives in a village, lives in open day-light. But we will talk of these things, when alone, Ghita-yonder fisherman is getting ready to receive us."
By this time the skiff was near the shore, where a little
yawl was anchored, containing a solitary fisherman. This man was examining them, as they approached; and, recognising Raoul, he was gathering in his lines, and preparing to raise his grapnel. In a few minutes the two craft lay side by side; and then, though not without difficulty, owing to a very elaborate disguise, Ghita recognised Ithuel Bolt. A very few words sufficed to let the American into all that it was necessary he should know, when the whole party made its arrangements to depart. The skiff which Raoul, having found it lying on the beach, had made free with, without leave, he anchored, in the full expectation that its right owner might find it, some day or other; while its cargo was transferred to the yawl, which was one of the lugger's own attendants. The latter was a light, swift pulling little boat, admirably constructed, and fit to live in a sea-way; requiring, moreover, but two good oars, one of which Raoul undertook to pull, himself, while Ithuel managed the other. In five minutes after the junction was made, the party was moving again from the land, in a straight line across the bay, steering in the direction of its southern cape, and proceeding with the steady, swift movement of nen accustomed to the toil.
There are few portions of the sea in which a single ship or boat is an object of so little notice, as the Bay of Naples. This is true of all times and seasons; the magnificent scale on which nature has created her panorama, rendering ordinary objects of compara.ive insignificance; while the constant movement, the fruit of a million of souls thronging around its teeming shores, covers it, in all directions, with boats, almost as the streets of a town are crowded with pedestrians. The present occasion, too, was one likely to set everything in motion; and Raoul judged rightly, when he thought himself less likely to be observed in such a scene, than on a smaller and less-frequented water. As a matter of course, while near the mole, or the common anchorage, it was necessary to pass amid a floating throng; but, once beyond the limits of this crowd, the size of the bay rendered it quite easy to avoid unpleasant collisions, without any apparent effort; while the passage of a boat, in any direction, was an occurrence too common to awaken distrust. One would think no more of questioning a craft that was encoun
tered, even in the centre of that spacious bay, tnan he would think of inquiring about the stranger, met in a market-place. All this both Raoul and Ithuel knew and felt; and, once in motion, in their yawl, they experienced a sense of security, that, for the four or five previous hours, had not always existed.
By this time, the sun was low, though it was possible, as Raoul perceived, to detect the speck that was still swinging at the Minerva's fore-yard-arm; a circumstance to which the young man, with considerate feeling, refrained from adverting. The Proserpine had been some time in motion, standing out of the fleet under a cloud of canvass, but with an air so light as to permit the yawl to gain on her, though the heads of both were turned in the same direction. In this manner, mile after mile was passed, until darkness came. Then the moon arose, rendering the bay less distinct, it is true, but scarcely more mysterious, or more lovely, than in the hours of stronger light. The gulf, indeed, forms an exception, in this particular, to the general rule, by the extent of its shores, the elevation of its mountains, the beauty of its water-which has the deep tint of the ocean off soundingsand the softness of the atmosphere; lending to it, by day, all the mellowed and dreamy charms that other scenes borrow from the illusions of night, and the milder brilliance of the secondary planets. Raoul did not exert himself, at the oar; and, as he sat aft, his companion was obliged to take the stroke from his movement. It was so pleasant to have Ghita with him, on his own element, that he never hurried himself, while in the enjoyment of her society. The conversation, it will readily be imagined, was not lively; but the saddened melancholy of Ghita's voice, as she occasionally hazarded a remark of her own, or answered one of his questions, sounded sweeter, in his ears, than the music of the ships' bands, that was now wafted to them across the
As the evening advanced, the land-breeze increased, and the Proserpine gradually gained upon the boat. When the latter was about two-thirds of the distance across the bay the frigate caught the stronger current, that came down athwart the campagna, between Vesuvius and the mountains behind Castel à Mare, when she drove ahead fast. Her
sails, as seamen express it, were all asleep; or swelled out ward, without collapsing; and her rate of sailing was between five and six miles in the hour. This brought them up with the boat, hand-over-hand, as it is called; and Ghita, at Raoul's request, put the helm aside, in order that they might get out of the way of the huge body that was approaching. It would seem that there was some design, on the part of the ship, in coming so near, for she made a sheer towards the yawl, in a way to frighten the timid helmswoman, and to induce her to relinquish her hold of the tiller.
"Fear nothing," called out Griffin, in Italian-" we intend to offer you a tow. Stand by, and catch the lineHeave-"
A small rope was thrown; and, falling directly across Ithuel's head, that person could do no less than seize it. With all his detestation of the English in general, and of this vessel in particular, the man-of-all-work had the laboursaving propensity of his countrymen; and it struck him as a good thing, to make a "king's ship" aid an enemy's privateer, by accepting the offer. As he used the line with proper dexterity, the yawl was soon towing on the quarter of the frigate; Raoul taking the helm, and giving the boat the sheer necessary to prevent her dragging in, alongside. This was a change so sudden, and so totally unexpected, that Ghita murmured her disapprobation, lest it should lead to a discovery of the true character of her companions.
"Fear nothing, dearest," answered Raoul, "they cannot suspect us; and we may learn something useful by being here. At all events, le Feu-Follet is safe from their designs, just at this moment."
"Are you boatmen of Capri ?" called out Griffin, who stood on the taffrail of the ship, with Cuffe and the two Italians near by; the first dictating the questions his lieutenant put.
S'nore, si ;" answered Raoul, adopting the patois of the country, as well as he could, and disguising his deep mellow voice, by speaking on a high shrill key. "Boatmen of Capri, that have been to Napoli with wine, and have been kept out later than we intended by the spectacle at the yardarm of the Minerva. Cospetto! them signori make no more of a prince, than we do of a quail, in the season, on our