|Chapter Title||THE LIEUTENANT'S STORY.|
|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|
The Last of the Pirates; ?'..?? ? or* DOOM X»aEKZ'VrXIM-. ? * ?
A Romance of th© End of Ocean Outlawry.*
^— ??*— *-^ CHAPTER XXXVIII. THE LIEUTENANT'S STORY.
When Lieutenant Rodney Randolph stepped upon the deck of his vessel, all saw that he had been a sufferer. His face was pale, and the handker chief about his head was stained with blood. The men, too, wore a subdued look, . and went forward among the mates with the air of having something to
tell. » ' Gentlemen, I thank you for your ( kind wishes ; bur Jet me first see the surgeon, and I wilt be glad to tell you ' of my experience,' said the young officer; and he entered; the cabin, ' accompanied by the surgeon of the l cruiser. ' The captain was confined to his ' cabin by a wounded foot, received a ' few weeks before in a. brush with a buccaneer, and he gave the lieutenant ' cordial greeting, remarking as he did so : 4 My dear Randolph, I am most. 1 happy to see you back, for the officers ' have been chattering like magpies , upon the deck, and I feared from their ' words that you were lost.' ' 1 1 came pretty near it, sir, I assure ' you ; but let me report that I saw the j commandant, sir, and he will supply ' you with the ammunition you require.'' ' 'That is good, indeed But are f you wounded ?' ' ' A blow on the head from an oar ! when our boat was swamped, and I * am sorry to report that I lost the ' coxswain and one of the men.' 'That is sad — very sad. But I suppose it could not be avoided, for * t hat was a terrific tornado, and at * times I feared for the ship's safety, as l sbe rocked and plunge'd fearfully.' ' ' It was the worst blow I ever ex perienced, sir, if I except one I was ' once in on the African coast some ( years ago when on the watch for J slavers. But the sky was cloudless ' when I left the town, sir, and I stood * out on the port tack, expecting to reach well over across the harbour ' and fetch the cruiser on the starboard ' tack. ' The land bid the storm from ' me, though I saw all the vessels in the ! harbour stripping for some reason, i and I suspected a tempest was rising. ' I was too far over in the harbour to ' put back, so could' only stand on, ' hoping to reach the cruiser, or a schooner that was at anchor not far ' distant, ere the storm should stiike ? me — — The bone is all right, sur- * geon ? * The last was to the surgeon, who ! h ad been closely examining the wound ' while the lieutenant talked. ? It was a severe blow, Lieutenant ? Randolph, and cut deep ; but fortu- ' nately the bone was not injured. A ' few stitches will close the wound, and ! you will soon be all right,' answered ' the surgeon. ' ' The schooner's captain wished to ' sew it up and dress it for me, but I said I would wait until I got into ' your hands, surgeon, though I do not ' doubt he knew how, for he's a re markable man. But for him, captain, we would all have 'been, drowned, for the tempest swooped 'down on us from aloft, never having touched the water until it struck the boat. We i were fairly torn from the boat, which 3 was picked up and hurled into the sea ! again with a force that shattered it. i An oar struck me on the head, and I J became dazed, while I think the coxswain was killed by the boat falling s upon him. I ' We were driven along then right i down upon the schooner, I in a half- i stunned condition and unable to help ; myself. But I heard a loud order i given, forms leaped into the sea from I the schooner, I was seized in the strong arms of the schooner's captain, ' and a moment after was drawn on ( board, for he and his men, with ropes ; lashed about them, had come to our rescue. I was still unable to help | myself ; yet I could see and hear in- ' distinctly. I heard them cry out that - one man had swept by to death, and i then the tempest struck the schooner, i ' « Then came a loud clanging sound, and I knew that the cable had parted. But, almost in an instant it seemed, the captain had his vessel under storm-sails and she was driving sea ward. I had been taken to the cabin ; but I could not stay there, as I the better recovered my senses, and I crept upon deck. The caplain him self was at the helm, every man was at his post, and the schooner was driving along with frightful velocity. I could see no land — nothing but water and blackness. Yet he seemed to see, or to feel his way, and soon he said : . ' ? We have reached over water, lads.' ' It was true, for he had run the gauntlet of the channel out to sea. , ' In a short while the tornado had swept by, and the schooner was at once put back for the harbour, and in half an hour we had run in and dropped anchor near where the vessel was before, and a better seaman and a better craft I never saw, Captain Wingate.' 1 ' A splendid fellow he must be, and he shall not be forgotten,' said the : cruiser's commander, deeply interested in the story of his lieutenant. - But go on, Randolph, and let me hear all;' and the lieutenant, whose wound was now dressed, continued : ? As I had this wound, the captain offered to dress it up for me, but J. said I preferred to wait until Ire . turned to the cruiser, and he said he,
would at once take me on hoard. As I looked at him, and heard his voice, I was sure that we had met before ; so I said to him : ' ' My name is Rodney Randolph, sir, and I am a lieutenant in the United States Navy, so tell me where we have met before?' ' He replied at once : ' We have met before, Lieutenant Randolph, for I recognise your name and voice, though not your face, for
i was.aant wnen msi we crossed eacn rther's path ;' and he smiled. * Instantly it flashed across me when [ had met him, and I said quickly : 'This is the second time, sir, that [ owe you my life, and. the lives of hose with me, for we last met at light, and in Africa, and you were: hen a captive of the Desert Man Hunters.* . i- ' ' Ha ! you have told me of that nan, Randolph,' said the captain, * ? ' I have, sir,' ' He turned you back frem an ex pedition into the interior, when you were hunting for a slave corral ?' ' Yes, sir, and he was a captive, »ith several comrades who had been vrecked with him, of the Man Huuters of the Desert. We ananged -o as to have him escape, and the -rig went to the rendezvous, but leither he nor his companions came', ind we ran off after a slaver, which ire lost. We returned to the coast, ind for days cruised about, hoping the :aptives could escape, and at last gave hem up.' ' And yet he did escape ?' 'Yes, sir. He told me that he escaped with his companions in a ilaver, and returned to America. He s a gentleman, and is now captain of he trading-schooner which he owns.' ' Well, I shall be most happy to neet him, and you must have him to line with us to-morrow, for my hanks are due to him for saving the ives of my lieutenant and three of us men.' ' I thank you, Caplain Wingate, and [ certainly feel most grateful to him, or this is the second time 1 owe my ife to him ;' and the lieutenant seemed to feel deeply the debt of ;ratitude he was under to the com nander of the schooner, who was, as he reader has discovered, none other :han Basil Barton, the Buccaneer. All arrangements for entertaining :he guest on the day following were nade that night, and it was decided :hat Rodney Randolph and several sther officers should row over to the schooner the next morning, and bring he skipper back with them. But when the day dawned, a man :ame on board from the shore bearing % note for Lieutenant Randolph. It was from Basil Barton, and simply stated that he had heard of a chance to dispose of his cargo to a big ad vantage at another West Indian port, ind so set sail at once. A glance towards the anchorage of he schooner the day before showed hat she was gone. CHAPTER XXXIX. A SAILOR' ON LEAV^. Several months after the second meeting of Rodney Randolph with Basil Barton in the West Indies, the -loop-of-war to which the young officer was attached put into the harbour . of
Baltimore. She had been upon a long cruise, ind Lieutenant Randolph, who had 3een constantly on sea duty for five fears, bade his brother officers fare well, and having had a leave of ibsence granted him for several months, starled-upun his way to his tiome. He was a Marylander, and his home was upon the ' eastern shore ' of the Chesapeake, where his father owned i large plantation. The sailing-packet had already de parted for the little port near which was the plantation of Colonel Ran dolph, and, rather than wait for several days for the departure of the next one, Rodney Randolph deter mined to charter a small sloop to take him and his traps over to his home. He secured a trim little vessel of twenty tons, with a negro crew, and loading her with the many souvenirs cf other lands, gifts and curios which he had brought home with him, he set sail. He had bright anticipations of his visit, for he had not seen his father and mother for long years. Then there was his sister, a beautiful girl, when he left home,' ol fifteen, and whom he had left at the convent near Baltimore, to receive her education, when he was on his way to join his ship, She had a friend, a sweet faced girl of fourteen then, but who had won the young sailor's heart, and he had made up his mind that she should one day become his wife. In his regular letters to his sister he had never forgotten Luline Leslie, her sweet little schoolmate, and as
ai*gui»aijr ao c» pivoviii «,hihi^ »»vtu 411111 for Kate Randolph, it was always accompanied by one for his ' girl sweetheart.' ' Kate has now grown to be a beautiful woman, and Luline is also, I know — for how could she be other wise? And she must be nearly nineteen now, and Kate twenty. .,. ' How.-long'I have been away) And dear old father and mother I Their hair was beginning to silver when I went away, and I guess they are beginning to feel their years.
* And the servants ! How glad 1 will be to see them, and I am sure they will give me a warm welcome to ?Mars' Rod. 1 Five long years have 1 been away. How much has transpired since then 1 'And but for that gallant fellow, Barton, who should be captain of an armed deck, and not of a merchant schooner, pretty as his craft is, I would never again have .crossed the threshold of my dear old home. ' What a career he has had, for he, ?was for a long time a captive in Africa/ escaped on a slaver, and. 'is now ^com manding the prettiest craft afloat. ' What do I not owe him in grati tude? I wish I had learned his whereabouts, for X would have sought him out. But I only know his name, and that his home is somewhere upon the Gulf Coast.' So mused Rodney Randolph, as he sat, from choice, at the tiller of the little sloop he had chartered, as it went skimming along over the waters of the Chesapeake Bay, wafted by a six-knot breeze. The vessel started well and was not
He had the cabin all to himself, and there was one ol the crew, of three negroes, who was a good cook. The city of Baltimore bad been left miles astern, and night was not far away, and the young officer seemed, to enjoy the scene, while his thoughts were ol home, and the happy surprise he would give those he loved.. ' I shall reach home for dinner to-morrow if the- wind.' holds^good. And such a dinner ! After all my sea life, how -will I enjoy old Auntie Cloe's good cooking 1' And so his thoughts were constantly of home, and he was like a boy once more. He saw the sweet face of Luline Leslie constantly rise before him He remembered her as a wee baby, then a pretty child, and then, as he last saw her, a maiden about to step across the threshold of womanhood. He remembered her handsome home, where she, an only child, dwelt with her parents, whose idol she was. The Leslie and Randolph plantations joined, and the two families were on the most intimate terms. When last at home Kale and Luline had gone hunting with him, and they hod passed days fishing in the streams together. They had sailed with him on moonlight nights over the Chesa peake, and at other times dashed swiftly along well-mounted, following the hounds in chase of a fox or deer. His old home, where his father had been born, and his father before him, he pictured, with its large piazzas and luxurious rooms. Its lawns, flower gardens, broad acres, and the 'negro quarters,' all flittered before his mind, and he said aloud : — 'T-hiee'longmoiitTfs of blissful joy in that Eden of home I' ' Sail ho, massa !' The cry broke in upon his reveries, and came from one of the negroes' forward, he who was called the ' cap'n ' of the little sloop. ' Ay, ay, my man, I have had my eyes upon her for some time.' He had seen the vessel, and yet had taken no note of her. Now, as his eyes fell upon her, at the call of the negro, he started, took a long look, and said emphatically : ' It is the schooner of the man to whom I twice owe my life ! Now he shall not escape me. Come, lads, I wish to speak yonder cratl ;' and the sloop was headed so as to cross the bows of the stranger. The sailor eye of Rodney Randolph convinced him there could be no mistake. The stranger must be the schooner which he had seen ' half a year before in the little harbour in the West Indies, where he had so nearly lost his life.
* mere cannot De two vessels so near alike,' he said. ' No, there is the same sharp bow, sharp as a razor, the exceedingly long bowsprit, tall masts, raking far aft, and the wide space between them- which admits of that large foresail. Yes, as she goes about on that tack, I recognise her overhanging stern, and see her im mense main-boom runs far out over quarter, as his vessel's did. I studied that craft for hours as she lay at anchor in the harbour, little dreaming that I was to owe so much of grati tude to her skipper, and I cannot be mistaken. That is Captain Basil Barton's vessel.' He called to the negrc ' cap'n ' to take the helm, and turned his glass upon the schooner. ' . ? ? ' It is the very craft ; but she looks badly used up. She certainly has been in action, for her sails are torn, and her bulwarks seamed with shot rriarks. Ah, he has been chased by some pirate ! Perhaps the curse of the sea, Basil the Buccaneer. Ob, that I could catch that sea terror, my captaincy would be assured I 1 shall have to ask Captain Basil Barton to change his name, or with his saucy schooner he will have some of our cruisers suspecting him of being the famous buccaneer ;' and Rodney Randolph laughed at his own conceit, while he gave the helmsman an order to let her off a couple of points, as he wished to cross the bows of the craft. The latter vessel did indeed seem in a bad condition. Her sails were worn, torn, and -weather-stained. Her hull was scarred and her bulwarks scattered, and it did not take a sailor's eye to see that she had been under a hot fire. As the sloop drew nearer, the lieutenant took the little flag from the locker, fastened it upon the halyards, and ran it up. A moment he let it remain, and then three times dipped it in salute to the' schooner. Upon the latter vessel a large crew was visible, and to tbe surprise of the lieutenant he now saw that she was armed. No flag had been floating over her decks, but in response to the salute of the lieutenant, up to the peak fluttered a flag. .
? Ah, not American— red, white— Ha 1 it is tbe flag of Peru ! What can it mean ?l And as the young American spoke, the flag was dipped three times in answer to his salute, CHAPTER XL. THE THIRD MEETING ,The schooner seemed inclined -to continue on her course up to the town without further notice of the sloop, But Lieutenant Randolph, going forward, put his hands up to Mb mouth to better throw the -sound of voice; and hailed in stentorian tones : ' Ho, the schooner, ahoy I' ' Ahoy, the sloop !' The answer came back in ft deep voice that was distinctly heard. * Is Captain Basil Barton on board?' The lieutenant saw tbe officer in full uniform start .and at once level his glass upon th^loop. He at once look off his cap an-j; waved it. In stantly came the command to lay the schooner to, and then followed : 'Ahoy, Lieutenant Randolph J' 'Come on board, won't you ?' 1 Ay, ay, sir,' was the cheery reply. Rodney Randolph was in his un dress uniform, and had been readily recognised by the captain of the schooner. He at once gave the order to lay the sloop to, and was about to get the little boat into the water, when he saw that the schooner's gig had been already lowered with mar vellous quickness, and was pulling tor the. smack. : ,'?''-.- 'Captain Barton's compliments, senor, and he has sent this boat for you,' said a dark-faced young officer in middy's uniform, and speaking with an accent that showed his foreign birth. ' I am ready, thank you, senor,' was the reply ; and entering the boat, Rodney Randolph was soon alongside the schooner. .?''.'' He was met at the gangway by her captain, and at once entered the cabin. Rodney Randolph seemed surprised. . He saw that the merchant craft he had been on board of in the West Indian port had been trans formed into a complete vessel-of-war. She carried a most formidable battery of nine guns, three of them pivots, mounted forward, amidships and aft, and of large calibre, while there were three twenty-pounders to a broadside. Her decks were in perfect condition, and her crew neat and under perfect discipline, for he was met with a salute. The captain met him in fulj uniform of a commander in the Peruvian Navy, and said, as he grasped his hand : ' I am happy to welcome you on board the Sea Venus, a Peruvian schooner-of war.' ' I am happy in meeting you. once more, .Captain Barton^-—'— ? — ' Bartona now, senor, for I have Peruvianized my name into Basila Bartona.' ' Ah, and how well the addition of the letter ' a ' makes it fit for a foreign name ! But you ran off from port that .eight before I could prove my grati tude in some way, and our whole ship, from captain down, were disappointed, for all had combined to do you honour on the lollowing day.' 1 They were very kind, senor — I beg pardon, I mean Lieutenant Randolph. But the truth was that I was even then carrying a cargo of arms and muni tions of war to Peru, and had put into port for a supply of fresh water, as our casks had bursted. I was fearful of being taken, so hastened away.' ' And you are in the service of Peru now, Captain Barton ?' ' A , lieutenant. You forgot the - a' — Bartona,' said Basil, smilingly. ? Ah, yes, I will have to call you so.' 1 Yes, I am a Peruvian now, for my vessel I entered into the service of that countrv. in her present struggle. '
He spoke in tones of sadness, and Randolph was touched by his words. Soon after the steward of the schooner served supper, and the young American officer was surprised to see that the service was all solid silver.' 'You live like a prince, Captain Bartona/and it is a strange contrast with our plain life on board American vessels-of-war. Why, your cabin might well be mistaken for a Persian harem or the quarters of a Moorish prince !' and Randolph gazed about admiringly at the superb furnishing of the cabin. The carpet was of the finest Eastern manufacture, rare rugs weie scattered about, silk and velvet divans invited repose, tables and easy-chairs of richly-carved woods were in abun dance, and the lamps were worth a king's ransom, and, as darkness had come on, were now lighted and shed a golden radiance over all. The sides of the cabin were hung with arms of various nations, costly scimitars, yatagans with gemmed hilts, gold-mounted pistols, and splendid swords of finest Damascus steel. There were flags of various nations drooped here and there in artistic manner, rare paintings in costly frames, and in fact the cabin was fit to be the abiding-place of the favorite of a Persian prince. The wines were old, rare, and of
delicious navour, anu me euiuies were luscious, and served in the most tempting manner. 1 This vessel is my own, armament and all, and the flag alone is Peru's.' Rodney Randolph .was more than ever pleased with his strange host, and several hours passed away in pleasant converse with him ; for each time that he started to take his departure, he was urged to remain longer. At last he forced himself to say farewell, gave his instructions as to how Captain Bartona should find Randolph Range plantation, and de parted for his sloop, being treated to the last with the greatest honour, 'Now, lads, get the sloop under way !' and so saying, the young sailor . again took his place at the helm', while he watched the schooner gliding away on her course to the city. To Be Continued