Page:A French Volunteer of the War of Independence.djvu/149

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enthusiasm and such deplorable success,—for this mania of imitation powerfully aided the Revolution, though it was not the sole cause of it,—we are bound to confess that it would have been better, both for themselves and us, if these young philosophers in red-heeled shoes had stayed at the Court. But a truce to these reflections which have nothing to do with my memoirs. In the autumn of 1781, my friend, the Chevalier de Capellis, was about to sail for France in the frigate Ariel, which he commanded, and he took me on board. The Ariel was a prize captured by Comte d'Estaing's squadron; she was a very fast sailer, but only carried eighteen 9-pounders.

We started with a favourable wind, but a few days later were assailed by a tempest, which are frequent in these seas. My friend swore, as all sailors do, that this should be his last voyage; he was rich and would certainly never expose himself again to any of the dangers of this cursed profession. I did not believe a word of it, and I was quite right. He related to me the history of his brother, who had perished