Four or five of the strong man-of-war jerks sufficed to send the long, narrow boat as far as was desired, when the men ceased rowing, their little craft losing her way within ten feet of the skiff occupied by our party, Then it was that Raoul, to his surprise, discovered that the two civilians were no other than Andrea Barrofaldi and Vito Viti, who had accompanied Cuffe and Griffin, their companions in the gig, on a cruise, of which the express object was to capture himself and his vessel.
"Aye, the veechy is a good fellow at the bottom, Griffin; though he'll never burn the bay of Naples. What has he to say now?" Griffin led his captain a little aside and conferred a moment with him alone. Orders were then passed to the officer of the watch, when Cuffe and his companions went below like men in a hurry. "What countryman, I pray?" "Of Mantua."
"Well, if ye haave, Sir Frederick," returned Lyon, who was a Scotchman, "it'll be just once a year since ye war' born, leaving out the time ye war' in the nursery. But we've not come here to enlighten Captain Cuffe in these particulars, so much as in obedience to an order of the rear-admiral's little Nel., as ye'll be calling him, I suppose, Sir Frederick Dashwood?"
"And where is the lugger now?" asked Cuffe, betraying the drift of all his questions in his eagerness to learn more. Ithuel was not to be led on so hurriedly or so blindly. Affecting a girlish sort of coyness, he answered, simpering: "Why, Captain Cuffe, I cannot think of answering a question like that under the solemnity of an oath, as you call it.
"It's more likely, sir, that some of the privateersmen have got ashore on planks and empty casks, and are prowling about in the weeds, watching our boats. Three or four of them would be too much for you, Captain Cuffe, as the scoundrels all carry knives as long as ship's cutlasses." "I suppose your notion may be true; and I shall have to give it up.
There'll be no occasion to run down quite as far as Captain Cuffe suggested, ye'll obsairve; for, if in the bay, the lugger will work her way up toward this headland, and we'll be all the more likely to fall in with her, by keeping near it ourselves. Ye'll take the idea?" "It's plain enou', Captain Lyon; and I'll be obsairving it. How is the law understood as respects dairkness?
"I knew we should get it all by this witness!" exclaimed Cuffe, unable to suppress the relief he felt at obtaining the required testimony. "You say that you know this of your own knowledge," resumed the Judge Advocate "Messieurs," said Raoul, rising, "will you grant me leave to speak?
She has a long road before her; and the winds of this season of the year can barely be counted on for an hour at a time." Cuffe being in such a hurry, his guests departed without further ceremony.
After wiping the perspiration from his face, and writhing on his chair, however, he recovered a little of his self-command, and became comparatively composed. "If a friend could only point out the way by which I might recover some of the lost ground," he said, "my gratitude to him would last as long as life, Captain Cuffe." "Here is an opening then, Clinch.
Cuffe being sent into the Gulf of Genoa, shortly after, seized the opportunity to restore the vice-governatore and his friend to their native island. The fame of their deeds had preceded them, exaggerated, as a matter of course, by the tongue of rumor. It was understood that the two Elbans were actually in the fight in which Raoul Yvard fell; and, there being no one to deny it, many even believed that Vito Viti, in particular, had killed the corsair with his own hand. A discreet forbearance on the part of the podest