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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 everything 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
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 everything; but I'm sorry for you, my poor lad—it's nard 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 fault—I 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 mean?”
“I mean that, if there is any possibility of getting away,
you, of course, will not stay behind. I don't know where they are going; 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 Morlaix, 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 wa never should have got away from the river, for the old captain, who was as big round as a puncheon, and not unlike one, declared that he would not sail until the powder came up from Woolwich; for the Queen Charlotte (that was the name of the smack) carried six eighteen-pound carronades. We waited nearly a week for the powder, and many a laugh we all had about it, thinking old Nesbitt was not much of a fighter, from his making so much fuss. Well, at last we boomed her off from the wharf, and about seven that night got clear of the Thames; it was a fine breeze all night, and we ran through the Swin by the lead, which is what every one won't attempt : next morning we were off Yarmouth Roads, with the water as yellow as pea soup; never saw it otherwise, and I'm an old collier; reason why, the swells of the ocean thrashes up the sands off there-ay, and shifts them too, occasionally, which is of more consequence. Well, Bramble,' says he, 'well, on we went; hauled in through Harborough Gut; then the sun had so much power — for it was in the dog days—that it eat up the wind, and we were obliged to content ourselves with getting four knots out of her. Just as we made the Dudgeon Light-boat, old Nesbitt's son comes aft to his father, who was steering the craft, and says, “Father, do you see that 'ere brig crowding all sail after us? I think it be the New Custom House brig trying his rate of sailing with us."
"6" Never you mind what she is, boy,” says the captain, “but away up and furl the gaff-topsail.”
“. Meanwhile the brig overhauled us fast, and old Nesbitt kept a-looking round at her every two or three minutes. At last he says to the matc, “ Take the wheel a bit,” and he goes first and looks over the quarter. “I see,” says he; “ I say, you sergeant and corporal” (for we had a recruiting party on board),
suppose now you just help us to load our guns and work them a little, for I expect this here craft will give us plenty to do."
“"Well, Bramble, as I stand here, if six of them lobsters didn't say nothing, but just walk down below: but the sergeant was a trump of a fellow, and so was his wife; he threw off his coat and cap covered with ribands, tied a handkerchief round his head, and set to work with a will; and his wife backed him to the last, handing the powder and everything else. Well, we had with us ten men who all stood to guns; but the passengers went down below with the soldiers. Well, on comes the brig upon our starboard quarter as if to board; all her forerigging, and forechains, and forecastle being full of men as bees in a swarm.
"6" Are you all ready, my men ?” said the captain. 666 Yes, all ready, sir."
Yes, and I be ready too, massa !” cried the black cook, bringing out from the caboose the red-hot poker.
*** Well, then, up on the wind with her, and fire when the guns bear.”
« « The men kept their eyes on the guns; and when they cried “fire !" the cook set them all off, one after another, with the hot poker, and no small mischief did these three guns do. His forecastle was cleared of men in no time; down came his gaff and fore-topsail, and being now right on our beam, he put his helm up to