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my men !
“ You'd better hoist your colours first,” observed Bramble, quietly. “ Hoist the colours, Mr. Stubbs! Port the helm ! Look out,
Point the guns to the object! Fire !" Off' went all the guns, not only on the starboard side, in the direction of the privateer, but all those on the larboard side as well; and this circumstance probably gave the people on board of the privateer some idea of the state of confusion we were in. She now rounded to, and gave us her broadside of three guns: they were well directed, and did us some damage in the upper works and rigging; but still more in frightening the people, who were now running down below, notwithstanding the exertions of the mate, Bramble, one or two of the seamen, and myself; but our fate was soon decided by the captain, who cried out, “ It's useless contending against such a superior force.” With this observation he ran aft and hauled down the colours. As soon as the men perceived this, they all left the guns; at another broadside from the privateer they all scampered down below, and at the same time the captain went down into his cabin. There was none but the mate, the boatswain, Bramble, and myself, left on deck. “ Pleasant," said Bramble. “ I thought as much. Well, Tom,
are in for it. Come with me to the helm, for these French fellows will board, and they make very free with their cutlasses, even after colours are hauled down. Well,” said he, as he walked aft, “ I did not think to see the English flag so disgraced. Poor Bessy, too! Well, never mind. I say, mate, just let go the weather main braces and bow lines, and square the yards, for it's better to be as humble as possible, now that we can't help ourselves; and do you and the boatswain go down below, for they cut right and left, these fellows. They do pay a little more civility to pilots, as they ar'n't belonging to the ship."
This advice of Bramble's, which was very good, was followed by the mate and boatswain.
“ Shall I run down and look after our kits ? " said I to Bramble.
“ No, Tom, don't have anything in your hand, or they will take it from you, and most likely give you a rap on the head with a
cutlass at the same time; for privateer-men of all nations are little better than pirates, and don't know how to behave in victory. Just keep where you are look as if you had nothing to do with the ship, except the steering of her. Here they come !"
As he spoke, the lugger touched our weather side, at the same time lowering down her foresail and mainsail with no little noise and confusion; in a second or two there were thirty of their men on our decks, flourishing their cutlasses, and looking round with their pistols ready cocked in their left hands for somebody to let fly at. At last they came aft. “Pilot !" cried Bramble, taking off his hat. I did the same. With reiterated sacres and diables of every description, some now rushed down into the cabin, while others went down the fore-hatchway, while more of the men from the lugger poured upon our decks; but none of them molested Bramble or me, as we continued standing at the wheel. In about ten minutes order was to a certain degree restored by the captain of the privateer, who had come on board. I perceived him express his surprise to his officers who were with him at the armament of the ship, and he appeared very much pleased : it was not necessary to understand French for that. He then came up to Bramble, and spoke to him in French; but Bramble only pointed to me and then to himself, and said “pilot.” The captain called for a young Frenchman who could speak English, and then asked Bramble what was the cargo.
Bramble, to please him, replied that it was silk and other goods to the value of 30,0001. English.
“ How many men ?" “ Forty-five men."
The French captain rubbed his hands with ecstasy, as well he might. Just at this moment, the English captain came upon deck, followed by two of the privateer's men, one of whom had taken possession of his laced cap, and the other of his silk sash. He brought his sword in his hand, and presented it to the captain of the privateer, saying, “ It is no disgrace for one brave man to deliver up his sword to another.”
" Que dit il ?" said the captain of the privateer to the young man who interpreted. The young man translated this fine speech, upon which the French captain called the English one by a very contemptuous title, and turned away. The privateer's men now made their appearance from below, having helped themselves to every thing they could find : the orders were then given for the prisoners to be brought upon deck; they were driven up, many of them bleeding from wounds received in attempts to rescue their personal property, and were handed over to the lugger. A prize master with twenty men were put on board ; the lugger was hauled off, the only Englishmen allowed to remain in the captured vessel being Bramble and myself. As soon as the vessels were clear, they made sail, running about two points free for the French coast.
WE HAVE GREAT HOPES OF NOT SEEING THE INSIDE
OF A FRENCH
PRISON, BUT WE ARE DISAPPOINTED.
“ Well, Tom, this is a bad job,” said Bramble to me, taking his seat upon the hencoop aft. · By to-morrow at noon, unless we fall in with a cruiser,—and I see little chance of that,- we shall be locked up in a French prison ; ay, and Heaven knows how long we may stay there! What's to become of poor little Bessy? I'm sure I don't know. I must contrive to write over to lawyer Wilson, and put him in charge of every thing ; but I'm sorry for you, my poor lad - it's hard for you to be locked up, perhaps for years, when you might have been making money for yourself.”
« Well, it can't be helped, father; we must make the best of it," replied I, with a deep sigh ; for I was anything but happy at the prospect. “ If it had not been for that swaggering coward, this might not
have happened,” replied Bramble: “ it's somewhat my own faultI was so anxious to frighten him about nothing; but at last I run us into real danger ; and I might have known that he never would have fought, although I certainly had no idea of falling in with a privateer. Well, Tom, we must not lose a chance." • How do you
?" “ I mean that, if there is any possibility of getting away, I shall;
course, will not stay behind. I don't know where they are going to; but you see, Tom, our only chance of getting off is while we are on the coast ; if once we are marched into the interior, why then it will be almost hopeless. What we must try for is, to get away at the port where we land. We shall see.”
“ I am afraid that there's very little chance for us,” replied I; “ but I'm ready to attempt anything."
“ We shall see, Tom — where there's a will there's a way : however, it's no use talking about it just now.” Here Bramble filled his pipe, took out his flint and steel, and lighted it.
After smoking for ten minutes, during which I stood by him, he said, “I wonder where they will take us to, St. Malo's or Mor. laix, for the course they are steering will fetch, I should think, thereabouts. One thing is certain—they've got a good prize, and they mean to keep it if they can ; and, my eyes! if they won't make a fuss about it! A ship with twelve guns taken by a lugger with only six! They'll make the ship mount eighteen or twenty guns, and have a hundred and fifty men on board, and they'll swear they fought us for three hours. They have something to boast of, that's certain; and I suspect that French captain is a brave sort of chap, from the sneer he gave when our cowardly English lubber gave him so fine a speech. Well, it's our disgrace !"
Here Bramble was silent for some time, when I said to him, “ You were stating to the men how a Leith smack beat off a privateer the other day; I never heard of it.”
“ Yes, I heard it when I was up above Greenwich. I met an old friend who was on board of her, for he took his passage in her from London.
• Why,' says he to me, · Bramble, I thought we never should