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The dismal night wore away amidst these horrors: as the day dawned, Weekes found himself near the land.
That which gave me most uneasiness among these maids of honour(when my nurse carried me to visit then) was, to see them use me without any manner of ceremony, like a creature who had no sort of consequence: for they would strip themselves to the skin, and put on their smocks in my presence, while I was placed on their toilet, directly before their naked bodies, which I am sure to me was very far from being a tempting sight, or from giving me any other emotions than those of horror and disgust: their skins appeared so coarse and uneven, so variously coloured, when I saw them near, with a mole here and there as broad as a trencher, and hairs hanging from it thicker than packthreads, to say nothing farther concerning the rest of their persons.
It had a cock near the bottom to let out the water, when it began to grow stale; and two servants could easily fill it in half an hour.
Then suddenly we saw a rush of smoke far away up the river, a puff of smoke that jerked up into the air and hung; and forthwith the ground heaved under foot and a heavy explosion shook the air, smashing two or three windows in the houses near, and leaving us astonished.
At sight of these strange, swift, and terrible creatures the crowd near the water's edge seemed to me to be for a moment horror-struck.
Had we continued thus, I confess we had had much to boast of; but as wise men say, it is ill venturing too near the brink of a command, so we found it; and here again I must do him the justice to own that the first breach was not on his part.
When I grew near my time she desired my gentleman to go away to London, or make as if he did so.
This was small comfort to us; however, we had no remedy: there was on our left hand, at about a quarter of a mile distance, a little grove, and very near the road.
About two hours before night they came down directly upon us; and though we had not perceived it, we found they had been joined by some more, so that they were near fourscore horse; whereof, however, we fancied some were women.
As for myself, it was no great harm, for I was near the shore; but as to my cargo, it was a great part of it lost, especially the iron, which I expected would have been of great use to me; however, when the tide was out, I got most of the pieces of the cable ashore, and some of the iron, though with infinite labour; for I was fain to dip for it into the water, a work which fatigued me very much.
Thus I only knew we were near the Island of Carpathos, one of the Sporades, by Captain Nemo reciting these lines from Virgil:
I could not doubt either that he was there, because I was there, and that however slight an appearance of danger there might be about us, danger was always near and active.
After rather carelessly inspecting the ruin I resumed my sport, and having fairly good success prolonged it until near sunset, when it occurred to me that I was a long way from any human habitation--too far to reach one by nightfall.
Some time passed before I felt tranquil even here: I had a vague dread that wild cattle might be near, or that some sportsman or poacher might discover me.
Three of them ran something like the following, but I do not pretend to quote: -- Sacred To the Memory of John Talbot, Who, at the age of eighteen, was lost overboard, Near the Isle of Desolation, off Patagonia, November 1st,