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they would have conned and
steered her into a British harbor.
"Starboard!" said Dodd, in a deep
calm voice, with a motion of his hand.
"Starboard it is."
The pirate wriggled ahead a
little. The man forward made a silent signal to Dodd.
"Port!" said Dodd, quietly.
"Port it is."
But at this critical moment the
pirate astern sent a mischievous shot and knocked one of the men to atoms at the
Dodd waved his hand without a
word, and another man rose from the deck and took his place in silence, and laid
his unshaking hand on the wheel stained with that man's warm blood whose place
The high ship was now scarce
sixty yards distant; she seemed to know: she reared her lofty figure-head with
great awful shoots into the air.
But now the panting pirates got
their new foresail hoisted with a joyful shout: it drew, the schooner gathered
way, and their furious consort close on the Agra's heels just then scourged her
deck with grape.
"Port!" said Dodd, calmly.
"Port it is."
The giant prow darted at the
escaping pirate. That acre of coming canvas took the wind out of the swift
schooner's foresail; it flapped: oh, then she was doomed! That awful moment
parted the races on board her; the Papuans and Sooloos, their black faces livid
with horror, leaped yelling into
the sea, or crouched and whimpered; the yellow Malays and brown Portuguese,
though blanched to one color now, turned on death like dying panthers, fired two
cannon slap into the ship's bows, and snapped their muskets and matchlocks at
their solitary executioner on the ship's gangway, and out flew their knives like
crushed wasp's stings. CRASH! the Indiaman's cut-water in thick smoke beat in
the schooner's broadside: down went her masts to leeward like fishing-rods
whipping the water; there was a horrible shrieking yell; wild forms leaped off
on the Agra and were hacked to pieces almost ere they reached the deck—a surge,
a chasm in the sea, filled with an instant rush of ingulfing waves, a long,
awful, grating, grinding noise, never to be forgotten in this
world, all along under the ship's
keel—and the fearful majestic monster passed on over the blank she had made,
with a pale crew standing silent and awe-struck on her deck; a cluster of wild
heads and staring eyeballs bobbing like corks in her foaming wake, sole relic of
the blotted-out destroyer; and a wounded man staggering on the gangway, with
hands uplifted and staring eyes.
Shot in two places, the head and
the breast! With a loud cry of pity and dismay, Sharpe, Fullalove, Kenealy, and
others rushed to catch him; but, ere they got near, the captain of the
triumphant ship fell down on his hands and knees, his head sunk over the
gangway, and his blood ran fast and pattered in the midst of them, on the deck
he had defended so bravely.
KING COTTON CAPTURED—THE COTTON OF THE ATTAKAPAS
REGION POURING INTO BRASHEAR CITY, LA.—SKETCHED BY MR. J. R. HAMILTON.—[SEE