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the Germans have. But, having one other open beside me, I nattered myself that I should be able to breathe throughout the night, and deceptively drew the muslin curtain across it to conceal the fact from sight, as not a breath was stirring to make it apparent otherwise.
No remonstrance was attempted; but the artifice was discovered, the attendant was summoned, and with a look which convicted me of premeditated manslaughter, she closed and fastened the little window; then silently withdrew, giving me another look that said, "Whatever may be your designs, the lives of our passengers are saved now."
The look of the moon, and of the little water we could see so close to shore, tended to keep me cool, and I fell asleep.
I awoke stifling; all was dark; I could no longer see the moon, nor a glimpse of the water. I raised my hand to where the window had been, and got hold of a thick woollen shawl, doubled, and fastened over the glass while I slept, lest by any chance crevice the smallest breath of air should enter. I felt thankful for having power to rise, to get down from my sofa, to stumble over the sleepers, and to open the door. The day was breaking. The stairs I mounted led into the saloon, and thence on deck. There some men were desperately sleeping, some smoking, some, who had only just come on board, drinking coffee. I made a rush, and gained the deck. Precisely as I appeared, the gun was fired, and we steamed away over Miosen Lake. It was a tedious day; I saw little to please me; perhaps I was in a discontented humour. This lake presents many pleasing views, but none at all remarkable or impressive. It is sixty-three miles long, but cannot compare in picturesque beauty with our English, Irish, or Scotch lakes. Scarcely knowing what to do with myself, as the little cabin was full, (and after having been up with the sun of the North, a day may well seem long,) I climbed to the upper deck, and from this exalted position I looked around and around, and what I saw made no impression upon me, but what I heard did. There was leaning over the side of the boat a fine-looking man—an Englishman, in a furred pelisse. He talked to me; I did not talk to him; but I listened while he spoke of many things, from the cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop on the wall. How strangely I felt while doing so! I perceived at once that this was the distinguished foreigner whose place I had had the audacity to think of occupying; but in this really great man I saw glimpses of a mind that I could not readily associate in my own with live lobsters and wriggling eels, nor with any eating and drinking propensities whatever. How absurd the mistakes of good Herr Y. and some of his country-people appeared to me then! How very zealous was I for their removal. Alas! perhaps even in this the influence of No. 13 in the Hotel de Scandinavie continued to pursue me.
I did indeed see glimpses of a great mind, and I wanted to see more; to peer out of the twilight of mine into the brightness of the intellect with which I desired to hold communion. Could that intellect, indeed, take the blind by the hand, and guide from doubt to certainty, from conjecture to reality, from ignorance to knowledge, from error to truth? Would the light it upheld be the pure torch of Faith, not the Ignis Fatuus of so-called philosophy? To find science without scepticism; to be instructed by knowledge derived from its true, eternal source, and leading thither again—this was what I desired, and in this I might not have been disappointed; but a crowd of disciples were waiting for their Gamaliel; I descended, in more senses than one, and sitting among the quiet, good-natured, and wondering natives on the fore-deck, who seemed to look on us as some sort of creatures from another world, I mused on the suggestive words spoken to me by "the distinguished foreigner."
A sailor ended my musings by asking me to get out of his way. In doing so, I turned round, and beheld a sight which, until this lengthened hour of my life, had been a legendary one to me— the saga, as they might call it here, of skinning live eels.
Although not given to screaming, I think I did'scream as I flew to Herr Y., begging him to interfere.
"That must go on," said Herr Y., calmly. "They are for His dinner."
"Why, supper was not over at midnight; breakfast has but just ended; and we are to dine on land at four o'clock."
"Yes, thai; is all true; but it is well to have some of the cookery done here. I wrote down ten days ago that that should go on; but it is well to make sure. He may not, after all, find what he likes."
"Oh!" I exclaimed, "how can people who are not English entertain such notions of our noble race! A mere eating, drinking, money-making, and money-spending nation! This great man— this truly great man—must he be placed in the same category?" My patriotism caused me to forget my benevolence on behalf of the eels. It was as well that it did so. I should have wasted my own sensibilities without saving their skins. The only answer that Herr Y. gave to my eloquent denial of my countrymen's propensities was couched in the sceptical words, "We shall see."
Here we are at land, and I am as glad to land as if our voyage had lasted for as many days as it has actually lasted hours.
A gig was waiting for me; I was put into it and drawn up a great hill, leaving all the party to follow on foot. At the top of the hill I found a line of eager and friendly faces ranged almost across the road. Some of these rose above the uniforms worn by engineering officers; others were those of men in plain clothes; and one or two I perceived, by the easy, comfortable look that appertains to the profession here, to be clerical. All hats were taken off to me; all faces looked a salutation, which mine, I know, did not respond to; for I was once more quite mystified, and fearful of taking honours that did not belong to me.