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59
NINETY-THREE

CHAPTER II.

A PEASANT'S MEMORY IS WORTH A CAPTAIN'S KNOWLEDGE

The provisions in the boat were not useless.

The two fugitives, obliged to take a very circuitous route, were thirty-six hours in reaching the shore. They passed a night on the sea; but the night was fine, with too much moon, however, for people who were trying to escape.

They were obliged first to keep away from France, and to reach the open sea towards Jersey.

They heard the final cannonade of the battered corvette, like the final roar of a lion killed by hunters in the woods. Then silence fell over the sea.

This corvette, the "Claymore," died in the same way as the "Vengeur," but glory has ignored it. He who fights against his country is never a hero.

Halmalo was a marvellous mariner. He worked miracles of skill and intelligence; this improvised journey amid the reefs, the billows, and the enemy's watch, was a masterpiece. The wind had decreased and the sea become smoother.

Halmalo avoided the Caux des Minquiers, passed the "Chausée-aux-Boeufs," and, in order to rest a few hours, took shelter in the little creek situated to the north at low tide, and then rowing back to the south found a way to pass between Granville and the Chausey islands, without being detected either from the lookout at Chausey or at Granville. He entered the bay of Saint-Michael, a bold venture on account of the vicinity of Cancale, an anchorage for the cruisers.

On the evening of the second day, about an hour before sunset, he left Mount Saint-Michael behind him, and started to land on a beach which is always deserted, because its shifting sands are unsafe.

Fortunately, the tide was high.

Halmalo pushed the boat as far up as he could, tried the sand, found it firm, ran aground, and jumped ashore.