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Page:Man Who Laughs (Estes and Lauriat 1869) v1.djvu/132

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THE MAN WHO LAUGHS.

the rolling of the waves inconvenienced him, he wrote on thus for some time.

As he wrote, the doctor noticed the gourd of aguardiente, which the Provençal tasted every time he added a grain of pimento to the puchero, as if he were consulting with reference to the seasoning. The doctor noticed the gourd, not because it was a flask of brandy, but because of a name which was plaited in the wicker-work, with red rushes on a white background. There was light enough in the cabin to permit of his reading the name. The doctor paused and spelled it in a low voice: "Hardquanonne." Then he addressed the cook:—

"I never observed this gourd before; did it belong to Hardquanonne?"

"Yes," the cook answered,—"to our poor comrade, Hardquanonne."

"To Hardquanonne, the Fleming of Flanders?"

"Yes."

"The same who is in prison?"

"Yes."

"In the dungeon at Chatham?"

"Yes, it is his gourd," replied the cook. "He is a friend of mine, and I keep it in remembrance of him. When shall we see him again? It is the bottle he used to wear slung over his hip."

The doctor took up his pen again, and continued laboriously tracing somewhat straggling lines on the parchment. He was evidently anxious that his hand-writing should be very legible. At last, notwithstanding the tremulousness of the vessel and the tremulousness of age, he finished what he wanted to write.

It was time; for suddenly a sea struck the craft, a mighty rush of waters besieged the hooker, and they felt her break into that fearful dance in which ships lead off with the tempest.