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treasures of the deep, the vegetable wonders of the marine world, and the tribes of curious and harmless beings that sport upon the confines of the two regions. I have often thought of this conversation when your daughter, Miss Greenfinch, has been playing and singing that pretty air
Follow me and we will go
Where the rocks of coral grow,” &c. “ The Mermaid's song?”
“ The same. I had no great stomach to make the trial, however; having a good many unsettled accounts, I did not like to be the means of ruining some honest fellows who were my creditors, and, besides, I did not relish the idea of being reported felo de se; so I civilly declined the journey."
“ Pray go on: what was the result of the adventure? I am in a fever to hear."
“ We grew very good friends. The sea-lady sung me several most captivating songs; one, in particular, was so exquisite, that I thought I should never forget either words or music ; but I remember neither. We moved along quite round the island, I walking on the margin of the seashore, she gracefully gliding through the liquid mass as if by a mere act of volition, for she seemed to make no exertion, and her tail, I thought studiously,—was kept out of view: you cannot ima
gine a more picturesque and beautiful object than she appeared. Where the water was deeper near shore, she sometimes approached closer to me, but apparently always recollected herself suddenly and turned away again: a semblance of bashfulness and maiden-timidity, which gradually divested me of all fear.
“ Whilst we thus communed together, my faculties almost entranced with the romantic novelty of the adventure, the charming eyes and features continually beaming upon me, the ravishing pictures the fair apparition drew of her abode and of the heavenly beings by which it was inhabited, the magic of the solitude and silence which reigned around us, upon which her mellow voice broke, as it were, into a thousand musical echoes, the nymph suddenly exclaimed · hark !
“ I heard nothing.
“ Almost involuntarily, I stretched forth my hand. She glided towards me, cautiously and timidly, and extended hers. Our hands joined.
.“ Instantly, I felt myself held by a giant's gripe, and dragged forward; the resistance I could offer, though I was a match for most men, was like the effort of a child. Meantime, the dazzling features I had gazed upon with ecstacy darkened into the
malignant aspect of a demon.— I was on the verge of destruction—when, unexpectedly, one of my pistols went off in the struggle; upon which this she-devil let me go, and bounced under water, leaving me in a cold sweat, all of a tremor, and my shoulder almost dislocated.”
“ Good heavens !" “ You may be sure I did not stay much longer on this infernal island. I soon reconverted my hut to its proper purpose, and paddled away with as much vigour as my wounded arm would allow, fancying I saw a large salmon-tail in every curl of the wave. My old friend soon perceived in my face, on my return, that I no longer distrusted the fidelity of his statement."
" What a very extraordinary adventure, Captain Quizzle? And this is really a fact ?"
“A fact ? -No."
“No? What, is it a fiction you have been telling us all this while ?"
· Every word of it." 6 Psha!"