Ten Years Later HTML version

Chapter 9
At Sea.
The following day was somewhat calmer, although the gale still continued. The sun had,
however, risen through a bank of orange clouds, tingeing with its cheerful rays the
crests of the black waves. Watch was impatiently kept from the different look-outs.
Towards eleven o'clock in the morning a ship, with sails full set, was signalled as in
view; two others followed at the distance of about half a knot. They approached like
arrows shot from the bow of a skillful archer; and yet the sea ran so high that their
speed was as nothing compared to the rolling of the billows in which the vessels were
plunging first in one direction and then in another. The English fleet was soon
recognized by the line of the ships, and by the color of their pennants; the one which
had the princess on board and carried the admiral's flag preceded the others.
The rumor now spread that the princess was arriving. The whole French court ran to the
harbor, while the quays and jetties were soon covered by crowds of people. Two hours
afterwards, the other vessels had overtaken the flagship, and the three, not venturing
perhaps to enter the narrow entrance of the harbor, cast anchor between Le Havre and
La Heve. When the maneuver had been completed, the vessel which bore the admiral
saluted France by twelve discharges of cannon, which were returned, discharge for
discharge, from Fort Francis I. Immediately afterwards a hundred boats were launched;
they were covered with the richest stuffs, and destined for the conveyance of the
different members of the French nobility towards the vessels at anchor. But when it was
observed that even inside the harbor the boats were tossed to and fro, and that beyond
the jetty the waves rose mountains high, dashing upon the shore with a terrible uproar,
it was readily believed that not one of those frail boats would be able with safety to
reach a fourth part of the distance between the shore and the vessels at anchor. A pilot-
boat, however, notwithstanding the wind and the sea, was getting ready to leave the
harbor, for the purpose of placing itself at the admiral's disposal.
De Guiche, who had been looking among the different boats for one stronger than the
others, which might offer a chance of reaching the English vessels, perceiving the pilot-
boat getting ready to start, said to Raoul: "Do you not think, Raoul, that intelligent and
vigorous men, as we are, ought to be ashamed to retreat before the brute strength of
wind and waves?"
"That is precisely the very reflection I was silently making to myself," replied
"Shall we get into that boat, then, and push off? Will you come, De Wardes?"
"Take care, or you will get drowned," said Manicamp.