To this came a prompt and feminine reply.
"The ship is Mr. Arthur Wardlaw's. The captain and the mate are able men, appointed by him. Your suspicions of these poor men are calumnies, and of a piece with your other monstrous slanders.
"I really must insist on your holding no further communications of any sort with one to whom your character is revealed and odious.
This letter benumbed his heart at first. A letter? It was a blow; a blow from her he loved, and she hated him!
His long-suffering love gave way at last. What folly and cruelty combined! He could no longer make allowances for the spite of a woman whose lover had been traduced. Rage and despair seized him; he bit his nails and tore his hair with fury, and prayed Heaven to help him hate her as she deserved, "the blind, insolent idiot!" Yes, these bitter words actually came out of his mouth, in a torrent of injury.
But to note down all he said in his rage would be useless; and might mislead, for this was a gust of fury; and, while it lasted, the long-suffering man was no longer himself.
As a proof how little this state of mind was natural to him, it stirred up all the bile in his body, and brought on a severe attack of yellow jaundice, accompanied by the settled dejection that marks that disorder.
Meantime the _Proserpine_ glided on, with a fair wind, and a contented crew. She was well found in stores, and they were served out ungrudgingly.