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3. CHAPTER THREE (continued)
During the continuance of the panic there occurred an instance of feminine heroism that I cannot omit to record.
In the grounds of the famous missionary consul, Pritchard, then absent in London, the consular flag of Britain waved as usual during the day, from a lofty staff planted within a few yards of the beach, and in full view of the frigate. One morning an officer, at the head of a party of men, presented himself at the verandah of Mr Pritchard's house, and inquired in broken English for the lady his wife. The matron soon made her appearance; and the polite Frenchman, making one of his best bows, and playing gracefully with the aiguillettes that danced upon his breast, proceeded in courteous accents to deliver his mission. 'The admiral desired the flag to be hauled down--hoped it would be perfectly agreeable--and his men stood ready to perform the duty.' 'Tell the Pirate your master,' replied the spirited Englishwoman, pointing to the staff, 'that if he wishes to strike these colours, he must come and perform the act himself; I will suffer no one else to do it.' The lady then bowed haughtily and withdrew into the house. As the discomfited officer slowly walked away, he looked up to the flag, and perceived that the cord by which it was elevated to its place, led from the top of the staff, across the lawn, to an open upper window of the mansion, where sat the lady from whom he had just parted, tranquilly engaged in knitting. Was that flag hauled down? Mrs Pritchard thinks not; and Rear-Admiral Du Petit Thouars is believed to be of the same opinion.
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