The movement set him thinking. What, he began to ask himself-- what if all that was told him was true? What if this sea was no longer the Mediterranean? What if he should never again behold his German fatherland? What if his marts for business were gone for ever? A vague idea of ruin began to take possession of his mind: he must yield to necessity; he must do the best he could. As the result of his cogitations, he occasionally left his tartan and made a visit to the shore. At length he endeavored to mingle with the busy group, who were hurrying on their preparations; but his advances were only met by jeers and scorn, and, ridiculed by all the rest, he was fain to turn his attention to Ben Zoof, to whom he offered a few pinches of tobacco.
"No, old Zebulon," said Ben Zoof, steadily refusing the gift, "it is against orders to take anything from you. Keep your cargo to yourself; eat and drink it all if you can; we are not to touch it."
Finding the subordinates incorruptible, Isaac determined to go to the fountain-head. He addressed himself to Servadac, and begged him to tell him the whole truth, piteously adding that surely it was unworthy of a French officer to deceive a poor old man like himself.
"Tell you the truth, man!" cried Servadac. "Confound it, I have told you the truth twenty times. Once for all, I tell you now, you have left yourself barely time enough to make your escape to yonder mountain."
"God and Mahomet have mercy on me!" muttered the Jew, whose creed frequently assumed a very ambiguous character.
"I will tell you what," continued the captain--"you shall have a few men to work the _Hansa_ across, if you like."
"But I want to go to Algiers," whimpered Hakkabut.
"How often am I to tell you that Algiers is no longer in existence? Only say yes or no--are you coming with us into winter-quarters?"