|Chapter Title||THE BUCCANEER.|
|Newspaper Title||The Macleay Chronicle (Kempsey, NSW : 1899 - 1952)|
|Trove Title||The Last of the Pirates; Or Doom Driven. A Romance of the End of Ocean Outlawry|
1 lie LrHat 111 U1C r Ha ICa , DOOM DRXVSSr. ,
? ' _- - . ? ? ? ? r ? . . . ? Jk Romance of the End of Ocean. Outlawry.* .????-??? ? .' ?-: — ? — * .. ?? - -:-...'
Bv Col Prentiss Inoraham, Author of 'Merle the Mutineer,' Sec, Sec
^ CHAPTER III. . '?«? THE BUCCANEER.
* 'Sail no* Thfe cry ©ame from aloft, on a small schooner-of-war flying tbe flag of the United States.. A fleet craft, for she «nt swiftly through the waters under a light spread -of canvas. She was also a very hand
some vessel, ana an bdoui ocr was in perfect ship-shape condition. She was well armed, and her guns shone like gold, while every rope was in its place. The crew were neatly dressed, and the officers were in full uniform, and a handsome, dashing-looking set. - At the cry from aloft, the senior lieutenant turned his glass upon the* stranger, which had just come into view running out of an inlet upon the Florida coast.
? ? -.,.,... -'.^).£-:-'.' ' -, No. 5.—' Captain Randolph,' said Vancourt, ^yonier stranger is the outlaw craft,- Spiteful, commanded by Basil the Buccaneer.'
. ' He saw a schooner, perhaps a little larger than his own, and also armed. She carried no flag, and had evidently not yet seen the vessel-of-war coming down the coast. 1 It is Bassil the Buccaneer, as sure as I live ! Call Captain Randolph on deck. Midshipman ^handler,' cried the lieutenant. Bis words created a stir among the officers, and also among the men who heard his ordSr, and at once all was
The middy soon returned from the cabin, and, saluting politely, said : 1 Captain's coming, sir !' A moment after a man of striking appearance came on deck. He was tall, ef dignified bearing, and possessed a face that was stern in the extreme. He seemed to be brooding over the past,' to judge by the look in his eyes, and the set expression upon his hand some mouth indicated silent suffering that he kept te himself. His voice was kindly, however, when he turned to his senior lieuten ant, and said : * Midshipman Chandler said that you wished to see me, Vancourt.' ' Yes, Captain Randolph, for yonder stranger shot into sight, coming out from the shelter of the land, and lam sure that it is the outlaw craft, Spiteful, commanded by Basil the Buccaneer. \See Picture 5.] But are you ill, sir ?' and the lieutenant stepped quickly towards' his commander, as he saw his face become livid and his form reel as though about to fall. ' No, no, Vancourt, I am all right ; it was but a temporary dizziness. Basil the Buccaneer, you said ?' and as he spoke his voice was deeper than before, and the eyes had lost their sadness and become fierce in their brightness. - Yes, sir, I am sure ot it, for you' know I was Basil's prisoner once for several weeks, and I know his vessel well.' 1 'No, no; I did not know that, Vancourt. Tell me of it — tell me of
the man ;' and Captain Rodney Randolph seemed deeply interested, while he' levelled his- glass at the stranger, who had now sighted the American vessel-of-war, and was crowding on all sail in flight. Lieutenant Oscar Vancourt had also given orders to crowd canvas upon the Nemesis, and the two vessels were swiftly flying along before a breeze that wasTnomentarily increasing in strength. ' It was when I was junior luff on the Vesta brig-of-war, sir, and we ran across the pirate one afternoon just at sunset. The wind died away, leaving both vessels in a dead calm and a
league, apart. But we decided to attack 'in boats, and I started with ninety men to seize the pirate. ' We had five*boats, and went with muffled oars. The night was intensely dark, ar-d we were near upon the schooner before we were seen. Then we went at her with a rush, and they opened a terrific fire. 1 All of our boats got to her side, but I was the only man who reached tha deck, and a blow felled me, com pletely stunned. 'When I came to,. the fight was over, the boats had been beaten off and had retreated, and the pirate had his boats out. towing the sahooner away from the vicinity of the brig. I was in the cabin of the buccaneer chief, where his surgeon had dressed my wound, and I was being well cared for!' 'You saw this outlaw, then, Van court?' asked Captain Randolph, who
T1 ? ; ? ; ? v nad listened with the deepest interest. 'Yes, sir, he came into the cabin and said that he regretted my wound, and would have me taken care of until he could land me at some port. He treated me well, sir, and did send me on board of a pilot-boat off Charleston harbour one day.' ' Describe him* please.' '%, ? ' A man strangely like, yourself in build, sir, but older by some years, with a bearded face and intensely black eyes.' 'When was this?* , ' Some six years ago, sir.' : ' - 'Was there any one on board with him, Vancourt— 1 mean any other prisoners?' ? ? -'? .,'??- 'I saw none, sir;' answered Van court. -? ' No lady captive ?' ? No, sir.' The captain sighed, and, after a moment, said almost fiercely : ' You are sure yonder crift is Basil the Buccaneer's Spiteful ?' ? ' Yes, sir. ' Lieutenant Vancourt, yonder man is the one I seek, so do not let him escape uhder any consideration.' ? We are gaining, sir ; but he will fight us to the last if he has to give battle, for he is a desperate — daring
?niiiu~-~-iifu x uiiiy wiau we u«u aiaigci crew, for he never goes short-handed.' ' ' He shall not escape me, sir, and I would fight him were my vessel and crew half their size,' was the decisive response of Captain Randolph ; and after a- long and steady look at the pirate schooner through his glass, he gave orders to crowd on every stitch of canvas his vessel would carry,* and then returned to his cabin, while Lieutenant Vancourt was deeply im pressed with his conduct, as never before had he seen his commander's stern, quiet mien in the least ruffled. 1 He knows this Basil, I am sure, and has some motive, other than his outlawry, in wishing to fight and cap ture him,' said Vancourt ; and he de voted himself closely to watching the sailing of the two vessels, and saw with great pleasure that the Nemesis was slowly gaining upon the Spiteful. ? It will be a desperate right, for Basil the Buccaneer has vowed never to surrender his craft even to a line of-battle ship, and to fight her to the bitter end,' the lieutenant remarked ; and he gave orders to get all ready for the combat which he felt sure must soon take place. CHAPTER IV. A STRANGE FOE. When it was seen that the Nemesis was gaining steadily upon the pirate vessel, all on board were delighted at the prospect of capturing a prize ; but when it became known that there was no doubt but that the chase was none other than the famous buccaneer craft Spiteful, old sailors shook their heads in doubt, for their schooner was short handed, and it was well understood that Basil the Pirate was ever willing to fight a vessel of- war, and had often beaten off vessels double his strength. But there was no coward heart on the American schooner-of-war, and if the captain said it was to be a combat to the death, there would not be one to shrink from the ordeal. The pirate craft was known to be fast, yet she did not seem to sail with the speed those on the vessel-of war expected of her. As the Nemesis drew nearer it could be seen that the pirate sailed heavily, and there was every indication visible that she had passed through a severe action, for great- holes were in the sails, and the hull and spars were con siderably cut up.
No. 6. — A moment after the how guns of the Nemesis opened fire.
Still the pirate pressed on under full sail, and seemed to be making every effort to escape from his swift pursuer. The captain still remained in his cabin, but every now and then he would call up to the deck to know how affairs were, and his face would grow brighter as he heard that the chase would soon be within good range. 1 When we are within easy range, Mr. Vancourt, call me.* And again he became lost in deep meditation, his thoughts seeming to go back into the bitter past, for his lace writhed with deep emotions at times. And at last came the call from the deck:
UWe are within easy range, sir.*,. . 'Ay, ay, sir.' . Then to the deck went Rodney Randolph, and from his face every trace of emotion had passed,, leaving it cold and stern as before. He saw that the schooner 'was rieft over a mile away, but still pressing on under clouds of canvas. ? '***' A good ten-knot breeze was blowing, and the vessels had it on their beam, while the Nemesis was driving through the water with a speed that was placing her rapidly near the ouilaW-jcfaH.^, ;- 'U seems tc be crippled, Lieutenant Vancourt.'. . _/. .;rV-.- 'Yesj sir; and that will place us upon more equal terms.? . j :%? 1 1 care tint what oriris hp mat ha vp
against us, for it is his victory or mine — his death or mine,' was the stern reply. 1 It is strange that he has not opened fire upon us, sir*' ' He has not cared to throw shots away ; but ive are near enough how to let him \f eel our metal, but every shot must be aimed at his rigging.' 'Yes, sir.' , 'Mind you, I shall put the gunner in irons who touches his hull, so tell ; them. I -wish them to cut down his rigging only.1 1 Yes, sir.' . ? A moment after the bow guns of the Nemesis opened fire. [See Picture 6.] The shots at first flew wide, for the gunners had in mind the threat of their captain, and preferred to miss the pirate altogether rather than strike him in the hiHl ; but at last they -got the range, and the shot began to tear through the sails of the outlaw, and here and there shiver a spar. '
* It is strange, sir, that he' does not show his colours,' Vancourt observed. 'Yes, very strange. But you are sure it is Basil the Buccaneer's vessel?' 1 1 am more assured now than ever, sir.' ' , 1 He does not show his colours, nor does be fire back.' ' Yet be is armed, sir, as you see, and his deck is crowded with men.' * I cannot understand it,' said tbe captain. 1 Nor I, sir, for it is not like Basil the Buccaneer, as he is always as ready to fight a cruiser as to capture a rich merchant vessel.' 1 Perhaps he is up to some of his tricks?1 * Doubtless, Captain Randolph ; but we are all ready for him ;' and the lieutenant glanced at the men, all of whom were at quarters.
'I am sorry that darkness is coming on, for the land is near, and the nights are very dark now, while there sre iplenty ol hiding-places inshore which he doubtless knows well.' 'Yes, sir; but I -hardly think he can escape us now, as we are gaining steadily.' ' He must not escape us 1 He must hang at the yard-arm of this vessel before another sunrise, for I have sworn to hunt down that man to his death,' was the low response of Cap tain Randolph ; and bis voice quivered with emotion as he uttered the words, -*.! thought so,' muttered Lieutenant Vancourt, as he heard what his captain said — ' I thought so. He hunts Basil the Buccaneer from some reason of revenge.' The schooners were now not more than three-quarters of a mile apart, and driving along at top speed. They were heeling well over under a stiff breeze, and the schooner-of-war was keeping up a steady fire from her bow guns. But the buccaneer had not once rpnlipH tn the* firp nnr liaH ha raiciri
the black flag above his decks. What this meant no one on the Nemesis could understand, and they were ex pecting some plot on the part of the pirate. Soon the sun sank behind the land, and twilight rested upon tbe sea. Still the pirate fled with all speed ; still tbe Nemesis pursued and steadily gained, while her bow guns kept up a constant fire, andjthe iron shot tore through the sails of the chase and severely wounded the spars. So far not a shot had struck the hull, the gunners being most careful to remember the threat of their com mander to put them in irons if they touched the hull. Then darkness fell upon sea and shore; and suddenly the chase squared away directly for tbe shore, going dead before the wind, and presenting a broadside squarely to the Nemesis. AH on board the cruiser expected a terrible broadside from the pirate, and yet, though bis guns were run out, he made no attempt to fire, but held on as silently as before. If the man-of-war's men had ex pected that the outlaw craft was putting about to fight them, they were mistaken, for she was simply heading for the shore under full speed. ' He has some hiding-place there which he is seeking; so pursue him,
Mr. Vancourt, for he cannot escape, us now !' eagerly ordered the captain of tbe Nemesis. But ere the cruiser had well changed her course, sailing in an oblique way to follow in the wake of the pirate, the latter was close inshore .and driving along at the same great speed, not taking in a stitch of canvas. ' By Heaven ! he is running her ashore !' shouted Captain Randolph, suddenly. As he spoke there came to the ears' of ail a mighty crash. The cloud of canvas above the decks of the pirate went down, and the schooner was a wretk. '1 will board her myself I Lower away the boats !' cried Captain Ran dolph ; and the boats of the Nemesis, filled with men all thoroughly armed, were soon pulling rapidly towards the strange foe, who had remained silent under the cruiser's fire, shown no flag, and driven his vessel to destruc tion under the guns of his enemy. To Be Continued.