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his legs he laughed, and thanked us in French. The cutter still continued the fight until we were within three miles of the coast, when, all her spars and sails being cut to pieces, she hauled to the wind and stood out to the offing.
Well, Tom, there's all our hopes ended,” said Bramble; “so now I'll light my pipe. Well, I will say it's been a good fight on both sides.”
Here the captain came up to us and said, “ Bien obligé-tank you."
The cutter did not, however, stand out for more than a few minutes, when she hove to and repaired damages, evidently intending to renew the action. I pointed this out to Bramble. "I
see,” replied he; "she intends to try and cut us off from Morlaix, which is to windward, and oblige us to fight or run for St. Malo's, which is a long way to leeward ; in either case she will be able to attack us again, as she outsails us : perhaps the fight is not over yet.”
But the Frenchman also understood what he was about, and he now steered a course. When we were about two miles from the land, and about the same distance from the cutter, the latter kept away so as to oblige the ship to come to action again before she reached Morlaix; but, before she closed with us, we discovered that we were entering a small French port, which had not been visible to us, called (I think) Lanion, situated between Isle Bichat and Morlaix. When within half a mile of the land, French over English was hoisted at onr peak, and a French pennant over an English pennant at our main.
"I told you so,” said Bramble ; "they have made a man-of-war out of us, and now there'll be no end to the lies that they will tell; for though these French fellows do not fight quite so well as we do, at lying they'll beat us hollow, any day of the week. Never mind, Tom! we must keep a sharp look out, and there's no saying-keep your eyes open as we go into the harbour-I never was here before, but I suspect it's nothing better than a poor fishing town.”
In a quarter of an hour the ship and privateer were both made fast to an old stone pier which ran out from the town; but there were no other vessels in the harbour except two small coasting chasses marées, and about a dozen fishing-boats.
The harbour was formed by the mouth of a small river, which ran down through a very narrow alluvial flat, backed by precipitous rocks. On the right side of the river on entering, and on the level ground above mentioned, which extended back perhaps two hundred yards, until it was met by the rocky cliffs, was situated the village which, centuries back, must have been the town of Lanion. It consisted of perhaps one hundred to one hundred and twenty houses, few of them of any size, the major portion with walls built of mud and whitewashed over. The only remains of the former town were a stone-built market-place, the portion of the Hôtel de Ville in which the mayor resided, and the old church, which, although perfect in its walls, was sadly dilapidated in the roof. It had long been deserted, and a small chapel had been built in lieu of it, in which the only cure of the place performed the service. The massive stones of which the now neglected pier had once been built proved that at one time considerable expense had been incurred in the formation of this small harbour.
A battery mounting two guns at the end of the pier protected the mouth of the harbour ; and there was a guard of a sergeant and twelve invalids, who were stationed there to man the guns upon the approach of an enemy
It would be difficult to describe the confusion which took place as soon as the two vessels were fairly alongside the wharf, and made fast with hawsers to the massive iron rings which had for centuries been fixed in the ponderous stones of which the pier was composed. There was the mayor with his cocked-hat on, but his leather apron still tied in front, for he had been working at his calling; there was the sergeant of the invalids, who, perhaps, was a greater man than the mayor, all beard and mustachios, but so thin in his person, that he looked as if a stout breezo would have blown him away; and there were the soldiers leaning on their muskets. These were the most important personages, but they were backed by the whole population of the town, amounting to about three hundred men, women, and children, all talking, jabbering, and screaming: add to them the captain of the privateer, so important that he could not attend to even the mayor or the sergeant; and the privateer’s men, dressed in every fashion, armed to the teeth, all explaining, or pushing away, or running here and there obeying orders; then the wounded men- -for they had several men killed, and others hurt in the conflict with the cutter-handed up one by one, bandaged here and there, and exciting the compassion and even screams of the women; the prisoners, who had been ordered to come on deck, half-dressed and chapfallen; the sails of the vessels only clewed up, and still Auttering; ensigns and pennants hoisted upon every mast, and waving over the heads of the crowd assembled at the pier, and you may have some idea of the confused and bustling scene.
At last, as there appeared no chance of anything being arranged while the people crowded round, the captain of the privateer ordered his men to draw their weapons and drive back the crowd,—which was soon effected, notwithstanding many oaths and more screaming on the part of the fairer sex; and when the crowd had been thus driven, the men were stationed so as to keep them back. At first, this gave offence to all parties ;-to the crowd, because they didn't like to be driven away—to the mayor, who remained with the sergeant and invalids in the area, which had been cleared by the privateer's people, because he thought that they had interfered with his civil authority-and to the sergeant of invalids, because he thought that the marine force had interfered with his military authority; but the captain of the privateer having taken off his hat and bowed, first to the mayor and then to the sergeant, and saying how much he was obliged to them for their assistance, both parties were satisfied : and now a consultation was held between them how to proceed; while the privateer's men, who kept back the crowd, amused them by giving a detail of the two desperate actions which had been fought,—no two accounts agreeing, certainly; but that was of no consequence.
The first question to be canvassed was, wnat was to be done with the prisoners ? Morlaix was the nearest town in which they would be under safe keeping, but that was twenty miles distant, and it would be necessary to send over an express, so that a sufficient force might be despatched to Lanion to escort the prisoners there. This Mr. Mayor undertook to do immediately; a boy was summoned to take over the communication, and the mayor went up to write his letter to the authorities, while the wounded men were carried away, and, by the direction of the curé, who had just arrived and joined the consultation, billeted upon different houses in the town. The express having been despatched, and the wounded safely housed and under the care of the village Æsculapius, who never had such a job in his whole life, the next point of consultation was how to dispose of the prisoners until the force should arrive from Morlaix. Here the sergeant became the principal person, being military commandant : fortyseven prisoners were a heavy charge for twelve invalids; and as for the privateer's men, there was no dependence upon them, for, as the captain said, they had had enough to do to take them, and it was the business of the authorities to look after them now, whilst the privateer's men made merry.