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A Marriage at Sea by W. Clark Russell

Produced by Al Haines

A MARRIAGE AT SEA

BY

W. CLARK RUSSELL

METHUEN & CO. LTD.

36 ESSEX STREET, W.C.

LONDON

_First Issued in this Cheap Form in 1919_

This Book was First Published (Two Vols.) . . . February 1891

Second Edition (One Vol.) . . . . . . . . . . . February 1892

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I. THE RUE DE MAQUETRA II. THE ELOPEMENT III. AT SEA IV. SWEETHEARTS IN A DANDY V. DIRTY WEATHER VI. SWEETHEARTS IN A STORM VII. THE CARTHUSIAN VIII. OUTWARD BOUND IX. WE ARE MUCH OBSERVED X. A SINGULAR PROPOSAL XI. GRACE CONSENTS XII. A MARRIAGE AT SEA XIII. THE MERMAID XIV. HOMEWARD BOUND XV. THE END POSTSCRIPT

A MARRIAGE AT SEA

CHAPTER I

THE RUE DE MAQUETRA

My dandy-rigged yacht, the _Spitfire_, of twenty-six tons, lay in Boulogne harbour, hidden in the deep shadow of the wall against which she floated. It was a breathless night, dark despite the wide spread of cloudless sky that was brilliant with stars. It was hard upon the hour of midnight, and low down where we lay we heard but dimly such sounds of life as was still abroad in the Boulogne streets. Ahead of us loomed the shadow of a double-funnelled steamer--an inky dye of scarcely determinable proportions upon the black and silent waters of the harbour. The Capecure pier made a faint, phantom-like line of gloom as it ran seawards on our left, with here and there a lump of shadow denoting some collier fast to the skeleton timbers.

The stillness was impressive; from the sands came a dull and distant moan of surf; the dim strains of a concertina threaded the hush which seemed to dwell like something material upon the black, vague shape of a large brig almost directly abreast of us. We were waiting for the hour of midnight to strike and our ears were strained.

"What noise is that?" I exclaimed.

"The dip of sweeps, sir," answered my captain, Aaron Caudel; "some smack a-coming along--ay, there she is," and he shadowily pointed to a dark, square heap betwixt the piers, softly approaching to the impulse of her long oars, the rhythmic grind of which in the thole-pins made a strange, wild ocean music of the far-off roar of the surf, and the sob of water alongside, and the delicate wash of the tide in the green piles and timbers of the two long, narrow, quaint old piers.

"How is your pluck now, Caudel?" said I in a low voice, sending a glance up at the dark edge of the harbour-wall above us, where stood the motionless figure of a _douanier_, with a button or two of his uniform faintly glimmering to the gleam of a lamp near him.

"Right for the job, sir--right as your honour could desire it. There's but one consideration which ain't like a feeling of sartinty--and that I must say consarns the dawg."


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