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me to do him the favour to bring you thither, that he may do you the honours of the port."
This was said so civilly, and was, in itself, both so reasonable and so much in conformity with usage, that the other had not a word to say against it. Together, then, they left the house, and proceeded towards the government-dwelling -a building which has since become celebrated as having been the residence of a soldier who came so near subjugating Europe. Vito Viti was a short, pursy man, and he took his time to ascend the stairs-resembling street; but his companion stepped from terrace to terrace with an ease and activity that, of themselves, would have declared him to be young, had not this been made apparent by his general bearing and his mien, as seen through the obscurity.
Andrea Barrofaldi, the vice-governatore, was a very different sort of person from his friend the podestâ. Although little more acquainted with the world, by practice, the vicegovernatore was deeply read in books; owing his situation, in short, to the circumstance of his having written several clever works, of no great reputation, certainly, for genius, but which were useful in their way, and manifested scholarship. It is very seldom that a man of mere letters is qualified for public life; and yet there is an affectation, in all governments, most especially in those which care so little for literature in general, as to render some professions of respect for it necessary to their own characters, of protecting it; and thus it is, that among ourselves, where the laws are so indifferent to the rights and interests of men of this class as to subject them to costs and penalties, in the prosecution of their ordinary labours, that no other Christian nation dreams of exacting, we hear high-sounding pretensions to this species of liberality, although the system of rewards and punishments* that prevails, usually requires that its beneficiary
*So much is said in the journals of this country concerning the patronage the public bestows on letters, a patronage which is very much confined to buying such works as the reader wants, and not purchasing those for which he feels no occasion, that it forcibly reminds one of the story of the Creole woman, who was descanting on the subject of ruling negroes, among some friends. "If you will gouverne négres," she said, "you moost have système. I have système. Mon système à moi, is système of reward and poonishment." Then she turns to her ne groes, and addresses them, desiring her friends to note the effect.
should first rat, in order to prove his adaptation to the duty. Andrea Barrofaldi, however, had thrown no political summerset, and had consequently been inducted into his present office without even the sentimental profession of never having asked for it. The situation had been given to him by the Fossombrone of his day, without a word having been said in the journals of Tuscany of his doubts about accepting it, and everything passed, as things are apt to pass when there are true simplicity and good faith at the bottom, without pretension or comment. He had now been ten years in office, and had got to be exceedingly expert in discharging all the ordinary functions of his post, which he certainly did with zeal and fidelity. Still, he did not desert his beloved books, and, quite àpropos of the matter about to come before him, the Signor Barrofaldi had just finished a severe, profound, and extensive course of study in geography.
The stranger was left in the ante-chamber, while Vito Viti entered an inner room, and had a short communication with his friend, the vice-governatore. As soon as this was ended, the former returned, and ushered his companion into the presence of the substitute for a grand duke, if not for a king. As this was the sailor's first appearance within the influence of a light sufficiently strong to enable the podestâ to examine his person, both he and Andrea Barrofaldi turned their eyes on him with lively curiosity, the instant the rays of a strong lamp enabled them to scrutinize his appearance. Neither was disappointed, in one sense, at least; the counte nance, figure, and mien of the mariner much more than equalling his expectations.
The stranger was a man of six-and-twenty, who stood five feet ten in his stockings, and whose frame was the very figure of activity, united to a muscle that gave very fair indications of strength. He was attired in an undress nava) uniform, which he wore with a smart air, that one who understood these matters, more by means of experience, and "Mes amis," she begins, zo-morrow ze cane will be roipe, and you moost moosh vork. You know me - - you know mon système - it is système of reward and poonishment. If you shall not vork, you shall be flog; zat is poonishment; mais if you shall very mooshmoosh vork; you shall no be flog-zat is ze reward!"
less by means of books, than Andrea Barrofaldi, would at once have detected did not belong to the manly simplicity of the English wardrobe. Nor were his features, in the slightest degree, those of one of the islanders, the outline being beautifully classical, more especially about the mouth and chin, while the cheeks were colourless, and the skin swarthy. His eye, too, was black as jet, and his cheek was half covered in whiskers of a hue dark as the raven's wing. His face, as a whole, was singularly beautiful for handsome is a word not strong enough to express all the character that was conveyed by a conformation that might be supposed to have been copied from some antique medal, more especially when illuminated by a smile that, at times, rendered the whole countenance almost as bewitching as that of a lovely woman. There was nothing effeminate in the appearance of the young stranger, notwithstanding; his manly. though sweet voice, well-knit frame, and firm look, afford. ing every pledge of resolution and spirit.
Both the vice-governatore and the podestâ were struck with the unusual personal advantages and smart air of the stranger, and each stood looking at him half-a-minute in silence, after the usual salutations had passed, and before the party was seated. Then, as the three took chairs, on a motion from Signor Barrofaldi, the latter opened the dis
They tell me that we have the honour to receive into our little haven a vessel of Inghilterra, Signor Capitano," observed the vice-governatore, earnestly regarding the other through his spectacles as he spoke, and that, too, in a manner not altogether free from distrust.
"Signor Vice-governatore, such is the flag under which I have the honour to serve ;" returned the mariner.
"You are an Inglese, yourself, I trust, Signor Capitanowhat name shall I enter in my book, here?"
Jaques Smeet," answered the other, betraying what might have proved two very fatal Shibboleths, in the ears of those who were practised in the finesse of our very unmusical language, by attempting to say "Jack Smith."
"Jaques Smeet!" repeated the vice-governatore" that is, Giacomo, in our Italian —”
"No-no-Signore," hastily interrupted Captain Smeet,
"not Jaqueomo, but Jaques - Giovanni, turned into Jaques by the aid of a little salt water."
"Ah! I begin to understand you, Signore; you English have this usage in your language, though you have softened the word a little, in mercy to our ears. But we Italians are not afraid of such sounds; and I know the name. 'Giac Smeet' — Il Capitano Giac Smeet-I have long suspected my English master of ignorance, for he was merely one of our Leghorn pilots, who has sailed in a bastimento de guerra of your country he called your honourable name 'Smees,' Signore."
"He was very wrong, Signor Vice-governatore," answered the other, clearing his throat by a slight effort; we always call our family Smeet.""
"And the name of your iugger, Signor Capitano Smeet?" suspending his pen over the paper in expectation of the
"Ze Ving-And-Ving;" pronouncing the w's in a very different way from what they had been sounded in answering the hails.
"Ze Ving-y-Ving," repeated Signor Barrofaldi, writing the name in a manner to show it was not the first time he had heard it; "ze Ving-y-Ving; that is a poetical appellation, Signor Capitano; may I presume to ask what it signifies ?"
"Ala e ala, in your Italian, Mister Vice-governatore. When a craft like mine has a sail spread on each side, resembling a bird, we say, in English, that she marches Vingand-Ving.'"
Andrea Barrofaldi mused, in silence, near a minute. During this interval, he was thinking of the improbability of any but a bonâ fide Englishman's dreaming of giving a vessel an appellation so thoroughly idiomatic, and was fast mystifying himself, as so often happens by tyros in any particular branch of knowledge, by his own critical acumen. Then he half whispered a conjecture on the subject to Vito Viti, influenced quite as much by a desire to show his neighbour his own readiness in such matters, as by any other feeling. The podestâ was less struck by the distinction than his superior; but, as became one of his limited means, he did not venture an objection.
"Signor Capitano," resumed Andrea Barrofaldi, “since when have you English adopted the rig of the lugger? It is an unusual craft for so great a naval nation, they tell me." "Bah! I see how it is, Signor Vice-governatore — you suspect me of being a Frenchman, or a Spaniard, or something else than I claim to be. On this head, however, you may set your heart at rest, and put full faith in what I tell you. My name is Capitaine Jaques Smeet; my vessel is ze Ving-and-Ving; and my service that of the king of England."
Is your craft, then, a king's vessel; or does she sail with the commission of a corsair?"
"Do I look like a corsair, Signor?" demanded le Capitaine Smeet, with an offended air; "I have reason to feel myself injured by so unworthy an imputation !"
"Your pardon, Signor Capitano Smees-but our duty is a very delicate one, on this unprotected island, in times as troubled as these in which we live. It has been stated to me, as coming from the most experienced pilot of our haven, that your lugger has not altogether the appearance of a vessel of the Inglese, while she has many that belong to the corsairs of France; and a prudent caution imposes on me the office of making certain of your nation. Once assured of that, it will be the delight of the Elbans to prove how much we honour and esteem our illustrious allies."
"This is so reasonable, and so much according to what I do myself, when I meet a stranger at sea," cried the captain, stretching forth both arms in a frank and inviting manner, "that none but a knave would object to it. Pursue your own course, Signor Vice-governatore, and satisfy all your scruples, in your own manner. How shall this be done will you go on board ze Ving-and-Ving, and look for yourself. send this honourable magistrate, or shall I show you my commission? Here is the last, altogether at your service, and that of his Imperial Highness, the Grand Duke.”
"I flatter myself with having sufficient knowledge of Inghilterra, Signor Capitano, though it be by means of books, to discover an impostor, could I believe you capable of appearing in so unworthy a character; and that, too, in a very brief conversation. We book-worms," added Andrea Barrofaldi, with a glance of triumph at his neighbour, for he