Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/423

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SEAMEN LONG IN EXILE
 

Curiosity induced most of the great men belonging to the court to invite them to dinner, that they might enjoy the satisfaction of seeing them perform the military exercises and dance in the Dutch manner. The women and children were still more impatient to see them, a report having been propagated that they were monsters of deformity and that in order to drink they were obliged to fasten their noses behind their ears. Their astonishment, however, was so much the greater when they saw that they were handsomer and much more stalwart than the natives of the country. The whiteness of their complexion was particularly admired. The crowds that flocked about them were so great that during the first days they could scarcely pass through the streets or enjoy a moment's rest in their huts. At length, the general was obliged to check this curiosity by forbidding any one to approach their lodgings without his permission.

 

For some reason the Dutch company of musketeers was mustered out of this service after a year or so, and they were more or less turned adrift and scattered, always under the vigilant eyes of provincial governors or other officials. Sometimes they loafed and again they worked for their board or begged their way from one village to another, and were entertained by the peasantry, who never ceased to wonder at them. Once an ugly-tempered governor refused to give them clothing and said they might starve for all he cared; but the account was handsomely squared, for