"It is to be side by side with your comrades in the hour of calamity, to aid them if you can, and to perish with them if such be the will of Fate. At this moment, poor Littlestone may be on the point of taking up his winter quarters in the body of a shark.
Besides, Captain Littlestone had taken the young men under his special protection, and had promised to see them properly introduced and cared for in Europe. How dissimilar was the position of Fritz and his brother; they were about to tumble into the old world should they be so fortunate as to reach it, much as if they had dropped from the skies, without a guide and without a friend.
'Littlestone is in there, wrangling about something with Sophy Challis, and they're likely to slang each other for an hour or two. Make yourself comfortable. It's rather hot; take off those furry things. 'Thank you, replied Alma, concealing her nervousness with malapert vivacity, 'I shall be quite comfortable in my own way.
"Ah," said the latter, taking Becker by the hand, "in consideration of the eight days' friendship that connects you even more intimately with Captain Littlestone than my affection for him of twenty years' standing, keep still a few miles to the east."
Whether in reality or in a dream, Willis declared that Captain Littlestone paid him a visit every night, and invariably asked him precisely the same questions. On these occasions, Willis asserted that he distinctly heard the door open and shut whilst a shadow glided through.
And so it was Littlestone had walked from his own cabin to that of Willis in a state of somnambulism. "What is the matter?" inquired the latter, when he became conscious of his position. "Nothing is the matter, captain," replied Jack, "only you have been walking in your sleep." "Ah yes it must be so!" exclaimed Littlestone; gazing about him with a troubled air.
Captain Littlestone, of H.B.M.'s sloop Nelson, had kindly consented to all these arrangements; he agreed to convey Ernest and Frank Becker and their cargo to the Cape, to aid them there with his experience, and, finally, to recommend them to some trustworthy correspondents he had at Liverpool. He likewise promised to bring back young Wolston with him on his return voyage.
"No; but what is more to the purpose, he told me that, after having struggled with the terrible tempest off New Switzerland which you recollect the Nelson found herself at such a distance, that Captain Littlestone resolved to proceed on his voyage, and to return again as speedily as possible.
"Captain Littlestone is not the man to remain in a perilous position whilst there remained a means of escape; besides, nothing that science, united with courage and presence of mind, could do, would have been neglected by him to save his ship."
Here Captain Littlestone reported himself to the commander on the station, and received fresh papers. He also sent off a despatch to the Lords of the Admiralty, in which he reported the capture and rescue of his ship.