He knew that every man was doing nis duty, but he knew not
how successfully ; he had been wounded in the forehead, and
found his way unnoticed to the deck in the suspense of the
coming explosion. Its light was a fitting lamp for eye like his
to read by. He saw his own proud flag still floating everywhere ;
and at the same moment his crew recognized their wounded
chief. Their cheer of welcome was only drowned in the re-
newed roar of their artillery, which continued until it no longer
found an answer, and silence had confessed destruction.
Morning rose upon an altered scene. The sun had set upor*
as proud a fleet as ever sailed from the gay shores of France :
torn and blackened hulls now only marked the position they had
then occupied ; and where their admiral's ship had been, the
blank sea sparkled in the sunshine. Two ships of the line and
two frigates escaped, to be captured soon afterwards ; but within
the Bay the tricolor was flying on board the Tonnant alone. As
the Theseus approached to attack her, attempting to capitulate
she hoisted a flag of truce. "Your battle-flag or none," was
the stern reply, as her enemy rounded-to, and the matches glim-
mered over her line of guns. Slowly and reluctantly, like an
expiring hope, that pale flag fluttered down from her lofty spars,
and the next that floated there was the banner of Old England.
And now the battle was over—India was saved upon the shores
of Egypt—the career of Buonaparte was checked,* and the
navy of France was annihilated, though restored, seven years
later, to perish utterly at Trafalgar, a fitting hecatomb for obse-
quies like those of Nelson, whose life seemed to terminate as his
mission was then and thus accomplished.
* " Le principal but de 1'expedition des Fran^ais en Orient, etait d'abais-
ser la puissance Anglaise. C'est du Nil que devait partir l'armee qui allait
dormer de nouvelles destinees aux Indes . . . Les Fran$ais une fois
maitres des ports de Corfou, de Malte et d'Alexandrie, la Mediterranee de-
venait un lac fran^ais."—Mcmoires de JYapolion.