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their muskets. I was on the poop with Bramble when, happening to turn and look aft (the very opposite direction from which the privateer was to be expected), I saw her three lug sails looming in the mist, just on the quarter, not half & cable's length from us. I jamped down to where the captain was standing, and said to him, “ There she is, sir, close on our lee quarter.” The captain sprang on the poop, saw the vessel, and ordered the men to come aft in silence. The tramp of the soldiers' feet was scarcely over when the lugger was alongsido of us, her masts banging against our main and mizen chains, as she rolled with the swell under our lee. The Frenchmen gave a cheer, which told us how very numerous they were: they climbed up the side and into the chains like cats, and in a few seconds all was noise, confusion, and smoke. It was impossible to know what the result was to be for about a minute, when the cheers from our own men announced that the assailants had been beaten back. But hardly had the cheering ceased on our side when another cheer was heard from the lugger, and the attempt to gain our decks was repeated. This time the Frenchmen fought more obstinately than before, and it was nearly five minutes before they were repelled. It was not yet dark (although the fog was. thick), and you could make out their countenances pretty clear: a more wild, reckless set of fellows I never beheld, and they certainly fought very gallantly, but they were driven back again; and once more were the cheers from the British seamen and soldiers mixed np with the execrations and shouts of the still contend ing, although retreating, Frenchmen.
Just at this period of the conflict, I was standing on the poop by Bramble, who had been watching the result, when he said, Tom, come with me: do you jump into the main chains with a double part of the topsail haulyards fall, and when the lugger's mast strikes against the chains, as she rolls in to us, pass the fall round it underneath the rigging, and hand the end in to me.”
We both leapt off the poop: he gave me the bight of the haulyards. I crept out of the port into the chains and passed it round the lugger's mainmast, as he told me, handing in the bight to him, which he belayed slack to the main-sheet kevel. At the time I perceived a man lying wounded or dead in the main chains, but I paid no attention to him until, as I was about to get on board, he attracted my attention by scizing my leg, and making his teeth meet in the small part of it, above the ankle. I could not help crying out, I was so taken by surprise with the pain; however I kicked him off, and turning to look at him, I found it was a wounded Frenchman, who, perceiving what I was about, had paid me that compliment. As soon as I was on board I heard the captain say to Bramble, “Well, pilot, he has had enough of it."
“Yes, and he won't escape, captain, for Tom has got him fast by the mast-head, and they dare not climb up to cut themselves adrift. All that you have to do now is to let the soldiers fire on his decks until they run below, and then our men can board and take possession of her."
The captain, perceiving that the vessel was made fast,
gave the necessary orders. The soldiers lined the
hammock nettings and chains, and such a shower of musketry was poured into her decks that the Frenchmen were soon driven below, and our seamen then slipped down her rigging, boarded, and took possession of her. The prisoners having been ordered up and passed into the forehold, the wounded men were then looked after. We had eleven wounded, but none killed; the Frenchman had eight killed and seventeen wounded ; among others, the captain, who had headed the second attempt to board. She was called the Pucelle d'Orleans, of twelve guns and a hundred and twenty-five men.
It was two or three hours before we were again all to rights, and a party sent on board of the prize; and then there was again another kind of confusion, from the congratulations, drinking healths, the women coming up on deck, &c.; however the weather continued light, so it was of no consequence.
That Frenchman bit very hard, and I limped for three or four days afterwards.
· Well, Tom,” said Bramble, “I see you've got nerve, so all's right. You had better go and lie down now, for you must be tired; I'll call you in the morning.”
Very glad was I to limp to bed. All night I dream! of nothing but volleys of musketry, and boarding and reboarding, and being wounded in the leg, and then I would awake with the smart of the Frenchman's teeth.
The next morning when I came on deck, the captain thanked me for my services, and said that the lugger would have escaped had it not been for me. I replied that it was Bramble who prevented her escape, as I
should not have thought of making her fast if I haul not been told.
“That's all true enough," replied the captain ; " but how many of your age, having been told to do it, would have done it, Tom? I shall not forget you."
I went on the poop to Bramble, who, as usual, had his short pipe in his hand; and I certainly was pleased when I saw what a beautiful craft we had helped to capture. She sat like a swan on the water, and sailed round and round us with the greatest ease.
In the afternoon we anchored at the Nore, and sent away all the prisoners to Sheerness. I must not forget
kind and generous the passengers were to me. They made a great many presents, some of value, as I afterwards found out; and I was glad to receive them that I might give them to Virginia, and those who had been friendly to me.
The next morning we arrived off Greenwich, and Bramble told me to go on shore and remain with my father and mother until he came down, which he would do in a few days, and pay a visit to his old friend Anderson. I landed with all my contraband articles in the boat, but no one thought of stopping or searching the former “ Poor Jack.” My insignificance was my protection; and I arrived safely at Fisher's Alley with all my curiosities and prohibited effects. When I entered the house, I perceived that there was a third person sitting in company with my mother and Virginia ; but Virginia sprang to me, and I threw down my bundle with which I was loaded, and pressed her in my arms.
Although I had been absent but four months, she appeared to be very much grown, and in every way improved. As soon as I had released her, I offered my hand to my mother, who took it very coldly, and then observed, "Tom, you will be so ungenteel; don't you see there is a gentleman here?”
“ I beg his pardon, mother,” replied I ;“but I could only see my sister just then.”
“And I admire your feeling, Tom,” replied the party. “Mrs. Saunders, you must not scold him for that. How do you do, Tom, and how do you like your profession ?" continued he, holding out his hand.
I took his hand, and looking at him I recognized him. “Oh, sir! you are the gentleman who was sitting in the room when we called upon Sir Hercules and her ladyship.”
“I am so, Tom, and I promised Sir Hercules that I would have an eye to you all, and be of any use to you that I could. My name is Wilson, and I'm what the sailors call a shark, that is, I'm a lawyer."
“Well, you don't appear as if you would bite, sir,” replied I, as I looked at his venerable and kind face.
“No, no, we never frighten people by our looks : we don't carry our teeth with us; but I have several rows of them, all upon shelves in my chambers, called the “Statutes at Large,' and by other names.”
He then entered into conversation with me, and I told him most of what had passed, of course not forgetting that the Indiaman we had brought up the river had captured a privateer. He sat about an hour, and then went away, desiring me to call upon him. I was not sorry when he went, as I wished to show my presents to Virginia, and give her those which sho liked best. When Virginia had selected for herself, or