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interfere in their behalf, for I well knew that by so doing I should only risk my own life, while I could not be of the slightest benefit to them. We would at times run into some creek, where the pirates had hiding-places, for the purpose of secreting the booty, where the time was spent in the wildest feasting and carousing. Having received information, from their agents at Havana, that the men-of-war had got wind of us, and would soon be in pursuit, we left the neighborhood of the Cape, and cast farther out to sea; still, however, keeping in the track of the West India traders.
One day a large bright-sided ship hove in sight; and as we neared her, I, as usual, went below, and prepared myself for dressing the wounds of such of my companions as might be hurt in the affray. I remained there until the noise incident to the attack and slaughter had ceased. When all was comparatively quiet, I went upon deck, where the pirates were engaged in throwing overboard the bodies of the murdered crew, and lashing the schooner fast to the captured ship. Turning my eyes aft, I saw the slender form of a girl, with her back turned toward me, sitting on the trunk, crouched down, and trembling with fear. To divert my attention, as I found my feelings becoming strongly enlisted in her behalf, I placed myself against the main-mast, and stood gazing at the different operations of the pirates, and watching the captain, who was directing their movements by a continual volley of mingled orders and curses. When he had finished his directions, he strode hastily back to the schooner, and, without noticing me, walked directly up to where the girl was seated, and raising her by the shoulder, in his powerful grasp, said, with a savage eer : *Let's look at your bright eyes, fair one, and taste the sweetness of those ruby lips.' The poor creature shrank from his touch, with a piteous cry, and gazing wildly around, with an imploring look for assistance, her eyes alighted on mine, which were turned toward her, full of pity and indignation. With all the quick perception of a woman, she recognised me instantly, and darting away from the captain, fell at my feet, and embracing me closely by the knees, looked up earnestly in my face, while the big tears coursed rapidly down her cheeks, and cried: 'Oh save me! save me! They have murdered my father — they will murder me ! You will save me !' and she pressed her pale cheek fondly against my knees, while the wildest afright was depicted in her countenance, and her bosom heaved violently with deep and convulsive sobs.
“I will save you, dearest,' I replied, and wo be to him who shall dare to lay a rude finger upon you !
“You will, Sir ?' said the captain, who had been eyeing the scene, with a smile of scorn and derision. Do you presume to threaten me ?
** Ay, villain !' I retorted, fiercely, ‘you, or any one else, who shall venture to soil a hair of her head with your foul touch :' and I shook my clenched hand in his face. Transported with rage at my threat, he seized a boarding-pike which lay on the trunk, and with its staff struck me a violent blow on the head. So sudden was the attack, that I had not time to arrest or shun the stroke. My senses wandered — thick darkness came over my sight — and I fell, insensible, on the deck.
• When recollection returned, I found myself swinging in a hammock, my head throbbing with pain, and my pulse bounding as if ready to burst. •Where am I ? — what has happened ?' — said I, as a shadowy and indistinct remembrance of the past flitted across my mind.
“Where should you be, honey, but in my bunk ?' said a kind-hearted Irishman, from beneath me, where he was sitting, mending a jacket; ‘ and little thanks to the skipper, that ye’ve a head upon ye, to ax the question. By Saint Pathrick! I thought, when I seed the blow he give ye, ye'd have lost the number of your miss; and 'ud be making a straight wake for Abraham's bosom. Sowl of me! but the tatoo the divil beat on the impty whiskey-barrel was a thrifle to it,
* But how came I here ?' I interrupted.
“How should you, but in my arms ? Faith, I picked ye off the deck when ye'd no more sinse nor motion in ye nor a dead pig; for ye see I'd a kindness toward ye, for the small mather of setting me shoulther, which ye did so gintly off the Cape, when I unshipped it in a drunken frolic.'
“But where is my unfortunate girl ?—what have they done with her ?
"Where,' he replied, 'but in the cabin with the captain, where she's been all night ?'
"Good God !' said I, “then a night has already passed! Heaven have mercy on the poor child! Help
Help me up!' "Lay still, honey, where ye are,' said he, endeavoring to prevent my rising, ‘and keep out of sight of the skipper, or it may be worse for ye.'
• But I would brook no restraint; and leaping out of the hammock, drank a deep draught of water from a can which he offered me, and staggered on deck.
* As I walked aft, the captain came up from the cabin, and turning round, reached down his hand, and drew up from below the almost lifeless form of my unfortunate girl. “Here,' said he to the mate, thrusting her forward,' throw this half-dead-and-alive fool overboard. Let's see if her whining will melt the souls of the sharks.'
"Stop, monster!' I cried, and was about to rush upon him, when I was seized, and prevented by some of the men, who stood near, and who held me fast, notwithstanding all my struggles to get free.
" Ah ha!' said the captain : so you're there again. I thought I had fixed your flint yesterday. But ' better late than never;' and since you love the trull so dearly, you shall have her all to yourself. Lash them together, men, and tumble them overboard. It would be a pity to separate such a tender couple.'
No, no !' said a voice from among the crew, who had assembled at the noise, which I recognised as belonging to my Irish friend ; • He has got enough, intirely; and seeing that the woman is his sister, or his grand-mother, or some of his kin, it's but nathural that he does not like to see her inislisted.'
". Who disputes my orders ?' said the captain, foaming with rage.
“I'-'I'— I'— said a number of voices from the crowd ; for, as I have mentioned before, my attention to the wounded had made me
a general favorite with the men. • We all dispute them,' rejoined the first speaker; for, if he has done wrong, he received punishment enough last night, in all conscience.'
• Then you mutiny, and wont obey my orders,' said the captain.
'Here the mate interposed, and for the purpose of quelling the difficulty, which seemed likely to terminate in open mutiny, advised that the girl should be put on board the ship, and left to her fate.
“Then I will accompany her,' said I. • That
you may do and welcome,' said the captain ;' and d am I to get rid of you : but if we ever meet again
' and he shook his warning finger fiercely at me, while his eyes glared like a tiger's.
“God send that we may meet !' I replied, as I followed the mate, who had carried her on board the ship, in a swoon, into which she had fallen during the discussion, and laid her upon deck. The pirates immediately set themselves at work to cut the lanyards of the ship's rigging, and having effected it, cast off the fasts that bound the two vessels together, made sail, and were soon out of sight.
"With a bosom torn by a thousand contending emotions, I raised the loved form from her prostrate position, and carrying her into the cabin, placed her upon the cot you saw swinging there. By the aid of a litile cold water, she at length revived, and opening her eyes timidly, and staring wildly around for a moment, she hastily closed them again, as if to shut out some object of fear, moaning out at the same time, 'Oh! spare me!— have mercy upon me!' Her lips then became dyed with blood, and I perceived, with anguish, that she had burst a blood-vessel in the lungs. They have gone, dearest,' said I, seizing her hand, and covering her cheeks with kisses, as I spoke. “They are all gone. There is no one with you but myself. Open those dear eyes once Look at me — speak to me yet once again.'
"Soothed and encouraged by my words, she opened her eyes, and turning them full upon me, while her countenance beamed with affection, she said :
“I knew you would not desert me: but they have murdered my father — my poor dear father!' - and streams of tears rolled down her cheeks, as her mind dwelt upon
the scene. • Be calm,' said I, for
sake for your own, pray be calm. See! there is blood issuing from your mouth; and you but increase its flow by your emotion.'
“I feel that I shall not long survive,' she replied, in a melancholy voice. “I do not desire to live. Oh! the horrors I have passed through!'
“You will live long, yet,' said I, endeavoring to comfort her: 'I will love you, watch over you, be always near you.
Some vessel will fall in with us, and take us on board. We shall once more be happy — you will yet
be the wife of one who ** Never!' she cried, earnestly — never! Would you marry the polluted being you now see before you? Would it be a proof of affection in me io attach disgrace to you, by accepting so generous a sacrifice? No- it can never be !'
In a voice gradually weakening, she found words to express her
undiminished affection for me, and to inform me that, broken in spirit by the opposition of her parents to a union with me, and their endeavors to effect a 'match of interest' with her cousin, her health had gradually declined, until a change of air and scene was deemed essential by her physician. To this her affrighted father — having lost his wife a short time before by consumption - readily consented, and with his daughter, took passage for New-Orleans, a few days afterward, in the vessel which met the disastrous fate I have already described.
• While the dying girl was yet speaking, in broken sentences, the masts, which were no longer supported by the rigging, at a deeper roll of the vessel suddenly went by the board, with a tremendous crash. Startled by the noise, she sprang violently up in the cot, while streams of blood gushed from her mouth at the exertion. I used all the remedies that were at hand to stop it, but without effect. She grew weaker every minute, and though at length the discharges became less frequent, her last moment was evidently approaching. 'I am dying !' said she, in a languid voice : my eyes are becoming darkened. I shall see you no more ! Press my hand — there, there may heaven bless and preserve you, dear Charles. Oh, my Saviour ! receive my spirit !' And having uttered these words, she sunk back
corpse. 'I cannot describe my feelings at this dreadful bereavement. I tore my hair in agony, and, I believe, raved and blasphemed like a madman. I know little of what passed, from that time until you discovered me; for a settled feeling of despair was brooding over my soul; and I neither sought to preserve my life, nor regarded any thing around me.'
. I was about to offer him some words of sympathy,' continued the clerk, 'when our attention was arrested by the cry of 'Sail ho!' • Where away ? cried the captain. 'Broad off the lee-beam,' was the reply; and all eyes were turned in that direction. The wind being light, she rapidly neared us; and when her hull became distinctly visible, my friend, who was gazing intently at her through the spy-glass, suddenly exclaimed, as he dropped it from his eye:
" It 's the villanous pirate; I know her by the new cloths in her fore-sail.'
"She looks suspicious enough,' said the captain ; and if she attacks us, we must only defend ourselves to the last gasp; for, by every thing holy! I shall never yield myself up alive to the murderous wretches. Muster the crew aft, Mr. Tompkins,' he continued, addressing the mate.
• The crew were soon assembled on the quarter-deck, when the captain, pointing to the schooner, said :
1. Do you see that craft to leeward, my boys ? She 's a pirate. If we are captured, we shall assuredly be murdered, and if we fight, it's true, we may be killed; but then there exists a strong hope of our being successful in beating her off. Which do you choose ? To fight or strike ?
“To fight !' they cried out, with one accord.
"I thought so, my boys,' said he, rubbing his hands with pleasure ; * and depend upon it, I'll stand by you to the last. Give them all a
glass of grog, steward ; and then to your guns, my hearties. It's my intention to run the villain down, if possible; and there's a squall rising to windward that may second the attempt. So keep your ears open, and listen attentively for my orders.'
“Our crew went briskly to the guns, and all was ready for action in a short time. Not many minutes had elapsed, when the schooner ranged up under our lee, at some little distance off, and brailed up her fore-sail, as she was forging ahead too rapidly. . Lay your maintopsail to the mast, and send a boat with your skipper aboard of us ! hailed a tall figure, from her quarter deck.
“ See you d — d first !' was the polite retort. • Blaze away, men!' and at the word, an iron shower burst forth from our lee guns, and swept, hurtling and hissing, over the deck of the pirate, dealing death and destruction in every direction ; for the men had loaded the guns nearly to their inuzzles with every missile they could lay their hands upon. It was manifest that the reception they had received was wholly unexpected on the part of the pirates; and that our volley had thrown them into complete confusion, as the discharge from their long gun did us no injury, and their fire of musketry was irregularly maintained, and badly aimed. Now is your time, my boys!' exclaimed the captain ; 'our smoke has blinded iheir eyes; and here comes the squall. Jump over to windward, some of you, and round in the weather-braces. Hurry, men - hurry! Hard a-weather the helm — for life, hard a-weather! Belay the braces ! Forward, men — all of you — and cut down every soul who attempts to board! Show the dogs no mercy!'
My friend had been leaning, cutlass in hand, against the main rigging, while these scenes were transpiring, eyeing the schooner with a frowning brow, and apparently husbanding his forces for a more favorable opportunity. The squall came rattling down upon us, and the brig, falling off from the wind, in obedience to the helm, and impelled by the increasing blast, darted forward with redoubled speed, like a courser from the spur. The pirate, perceiving our intention, endeavored to haul his fore-sheet aft, but it was too late. Onward we came, with the speed of light — the waters flashing and foaming under our bows, and the masts bending like reeds. With a startling shock, the brig struck the schooner just abaft the foreshrouds, and cut her down instantly to the waters' edge, while she heeled so far over at the blow, that the sea rushed in torrents down her hatches. Sinking rapidly, and still pressed forward by the brig, her fore mast gave way, and her stern swinging round, she lay for a moment side and side with us. Her horror-stricken crew now endeavored to board, but were all cut down in the attempt, in spite of their craven cries for quarter.
• At this moment, my eyes were turned in search of my friend. He had mounted tlre rail, and was in the act of springing on board the schooner. rushed forward to prevent the deed, but arrived, only in time to see him alight full on the shoulders of the pirate-captain, whom he bore down before him to the deck. With looks of the most deadly hate and revenge, they grappled each other. Just then the schooner swung clear of us, and with a heavy plunge went down head foremost, carrying with her both the avenger and his