"But I too made them out," grumbled Gacquoil.
"Good vessels," said the captain. "I have had some command of them myself."
"For my part," said Gacquoil, "I have seen them close to. I don't mistake one for another. I have their description in my head."
The captain handed his spyglass to the pilot.
"Pilot, can you make out the three-decker distinctly?"
"Yes, commander, it is the 'Cöte d'Or.'"
"They have re-named her," said the captain. "She used to be the 'Etats de Bourgogne.' A new ship. Hundred and twenty-eight guns."
He took a note-book and pencil out of his pocket, and wrote in the former the number one hundred and twenty-eight.
He went on to say: "Pilot, what is the first sail to port?"
"It is the 'Experimenté.'"
"First-class frigate; fifty-two guns. She was fitted out at Brest two months ago."
The captain put the number fifty-two down in his note-book.
"Pilot," he continued, "what is the second sail to port?"
"First-class frigate; forty eighteen-pounders. She has been in India. She has a fine naval record."
And he wrote down forty under the number fifty-two; then, raising his head, he said,—
"Now to starboard."
"Commander, these are all second-class frigates. There are five of them."
"What is the first, starting from the three-decker?"
"Thirty-two eighteen-pounders. And the second?"
"Same strength. Next?"
"Queer name to go to sea with. Next?"