Huddlestone's tale; and in an instant we were all four as white as paper, and sat tongue-tied and motionless round the table. "A snail," I said at last; for I had heard that these animals make a noise somewhat similar in character. "Snail be d d!" said Northmour. "Hush!"
"And so she shall," said Cecilia, with tears running down her cheeks; "she shall do so yet." And he went on with his tale, saying how pleasant it had been for him to find himself at home in Onslow Crescent; how he had joyed in calling her Cecilia, and having her infants in his arms, as though they were already partly belonging to him.
Men likely to write naval novels of merit were dying out, and though Lever took up the military tale, at second hand, with brilliant results, the same historical causes were in operation there. But a comparatively new kind the "sporting" novel developed itself largely and in some cases went beyond mere sport.
We were picked up in a few days, told this lie, and were not questioned closely. Then I realized why the men had stood by me; they wanted a shipped officer to justify the story. "But I knew the long arm of the law, and I did not know the fate of the other boat, or the tale they might tell. So, I shipped for the East, found and learned this strait, and have been here since, afraid to go home."
It was very distressing, but being determined not to share my sentiment between two pens or run the risk of sentimentalising over a mere stranger, I threw them both out of the window into a flower bed which strikes me now as a poetical grave for the remnants of one's past. But the tale remained.
I was affected in a lively manner by the spectacle, and re-entered my lodging so inflamed that if my dear Dubois had not been at hand to quench my fire I should have been obliged to have extinguished it in the baths of La Mata. When I had told her my tale she wanted to know the hero of it, and at noon she had that pleasure.
It is certain that men would rather laugh than cry would rather be amused than rendered gloomy and discontented would sooner dwell upon the joys or sorrows of others in a tale of fiction than brood over their own supposed wrongs.
He shuddered as he saw himself growing blacker and meaner in every fireside and street corner narration of the strange tale, till at last his infamy should pass into one of the traditions of the place. A man like Gregory could not long have endured such a prospect.
And there the source of endless misery to these happy harmless creatures a certain Cacique, so goes the tale, took off Columbus's cap of crimson velvet, and replaced it with a circle of gold which he wore. Alas for them!
In fact, however, it would take as long to do this in full detail as to reduce to writing the achievements of Alexander of Macedon; the one is among villains what the other is among heroes. Nevertheless, if you will promise to read with indulgence, and fill up the gaps in my tale from your imagination, I will essay the task.