Chapter 174024138

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Chapter NumberIX
Chapter TitleTHE THREAT.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article174024138
Full Date1899-08-03
Page Number2
Corrections0
Word Count2317
IllustratedY
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Macleay Chronicle (Kempsey, NSW : 1899 - 1952)
Trove TitleThe Last of the Pirates; Or Doom Driven. A Romance of the End of Ocean Outlawry
article text

Iphe Last of the Pirates ; - DOOM DRIVBIff.

; lirRomance of the End of Ocean. Outlawry.*

£;£- ; ?; J£y fiot, Premiss Ingraham, Author of ' Merle the Mutineer,' &c, &c-

:/ v ?'::???? CHAPTER IX. :;' ' ''? .;-:/:;,'.;., THE.THREAT..

, .When Captain Basil discovered die schooner-of-war Nemesis, it was with the deepest chagrin that he had left bis secure hiding-place in the inlet. Since be had found the drifting boat; which contained his dead wife j-nd living son, he had determined not aeain to raise the black flag.

\: He had been a man of indomitable plupk, as well as possessing merciless impulses, and his nature was such that he preferred to fight - cruiser rather than run from her. He gloried in the excitement of ? ' deadly combat, and never had been more in his element than, when, in desperate peril -

. . No. 11. — As Marco stepped down into the cabin he was suddenly amfronttd with a pistol thrust full in his face.

'But for some reason he had changed his mind, and had fled from the brig without firing a shot, while the un fortunate Lieutenant Miguel, who had raised the black flag at the orders of his superior, Marco Madrid, had been mercilessly shot down, as the reader has sees. With his child growing more des perately ill, the buccaneer had deter mined to seek the aid of his brother, whom he had so deeply wronged, and who he knew had become a famous physician. That brother, who had revenge in his hands, had proven his skill, and had saved the pirate's child. But now, iariih his vessel .rripplod, and but _two-thirds of a crew, the buccaneer found himself pursued by a fleet foe, and one whom he had cause to dread. Was it to be his doom to hang at the very moment when a new life was opening to him in the love of his child? No, he would not be banged, and yet he would not fight. : He did not doubt but that, with his heavy .battery and well-trained crew, he could beat off the schooner. Yet he who killed for the love of it ? —he who nad robbed defenceless ships upon the high' seas, had made a vow above the dead body oi his wife to haul down bis pirate flag, to turn his guns no more upon an American vessel, and he meant to keep it, be . the cost what it might. A strange contradiction was the nature of this man, (or, after he had stolen poor Celeste from his noble brother, and had broken her heart by his piracies, he bad taken her body to a grave among her people, and placed over her ashes a marble tomb. . :. Now, red-handed pirate though he had been, he meant to keep his vow made over the body of another woman whose life he had destroyed. 'Crowd on all sail, Mr. Madrid, and do all you can to.outfoot that nimble schooner,' commanded the - buccaneer chief, leaving the side .of bis child and going on deck when he heard that the Nemesis was rapidly gaining upon him. ' We could check the speed of the schooner, sir, did we open fire with our stern guns,' replied Lieutenant Madrid. ' No, sir, 1 will not fire upon the vessel.' 1 Then be will rake us, sir.' 'No, I will never surrender my vessel, Senor Madrid.' 'Ah! if you fight him, sir, there will be no need to surrender, for we can whip him off easily.' ' I shall not fight him, sir.' . The pirate officer looked mystified ' Not fight and not surrender ! What on earth does he intend to do?' he muttered. There was one thing certain, and that was, from Senor Madrid down to the cabin-boy all on board had perfect confidence in their chief. He had extricated himself from so many perilous situations, he had beaten off foes double his size, and he always brought riches to his crew, that he was fairly idolized and yet greatly feared. The lesson upon the officer Miguel had been a wholesome one to Marco Madrid. He knew that Miguel had died for what he had ordered him to do. Had Captain Basil known him to be the culprit, he would have shot him instead of Miguel. He never allowed dictation from officers and crew, and was cruel as death if forced to punish his men. So it was, that remembering most vividly the tragic end of the young second officer, Marco Madrid was most cautious in talking to the chief about what he meant to do.

When, however, the fire of the schooner in their wake began to mak them feel her shots, in rigging and spars, and several men had been severely wounded by splinters, the Senor Marco Madrid sought the cabin lo report to his commander. « Weil, «irr CTied Basil the Bucca neer, turning from the bedside of his little boy. 'The cruiser is gaining rapidly, sir, and we are suffering in men from the splinters, though the schooner's fire seems all directed at our rigging.' Basil stepped to the stern-posts and glanced out over the waters. 'Yes, she jg paininp.' he said, quietly. ' She will overhaul us within an hour, sir.' ' Yes, about in that time.' ' What am I to do, sir ?' ' Darkness is coming on, but it will not help us.' ? ' — ? ' No, sir, for she is too near.' 'Take my advice, ' then, Senor.. Madrid, and buckle on your belt of jewels and gold.' ' I have done so, sir.' '* 'Then tell the men to do likewise.' ' Do you intend to give up the ship, sir?' asked the Spaniard, almost driven to madness. 1 1 intend to do as I please, sir, so go on deck and obey my orders,'' was the significant reply. The Spaniard obeyed, hastily leaving the cabin ; but, going forward among the men, he called them about him, and said, quickly : ' Men, the finding of the boat, with thejlead woman in it, and that boy, has turned the captain's brain. He is mad, .utterly mad, as his actions prove, for he refused to fire upon the brig, killed poor Senor Miguel for simply raising the flag, as has been our custom when seeing another vessel, and now he threatens to sur render the craft, and this means that he will go free and the rest of us suffer. Shall this be, men ?' The black looks that rested upon every face proved that the subtle words of the lieutenant bad their effect, and half a hundred voices said, in chorus deep and thieatening : 'No, we will not be sold f

CHAPTER X. A MUTINOUS CREW. Marco Madrid, the pirate officer, saw a chance before him to realize his long-cherished dream. He was anxious to become the ruling spirit of an outlaw crew. He had long been jealous of the power of Captain Basil, and yet be had not dared show it. He wanted a vessel and crew of his own, and more, he wished the brig Spiteful. He knew that, when in trim, she was very fast ; in fact, he had never met her equal in speed. She was a perfect sea-boat, her armament was of the finest, and Cap tain Basil was known to have a vast wealth on board in precious stones. How much the pirate officer could only guess. '~ If he could secure the vessel, and the riches of the buccaneer chief were as much as the designing Spaniard hoped, then he would be content to leave the sea and enjoy a life of luxury for the remainder of his days. If not, with the schooner and her crew he had the means of obtaining more. Then, too, Marco Madrid had another reason for getting possession of the schooner. That reason was to avenge himself upon Basil the Buccaneer for a certain act in the past which will be made known in good time. He hated his chief, and he wished to get revenge, wealth, and power all at one fell swoop.

No. 12.—' Men, Marco Madrid, tlic traitor, will not be able to lead you to mutiny, as he promised, for he is in my power,' cried the buccaneer.

He knew that Miguel had been true to his chief, and, anxious to get rid of him, he had ordered him to hoist the flag, contrary to Basil's orders, feeling assured that it would turn out just as he hoped. And so it had, in the death of the young officer at the hands of the chief. Now, with Basil in great grief over the sick child, which Marco Madrid alone of all on board knew to be his son, and the cruiser coming on in hot chase, while the chief seemed in different, the treacherous lieutenant felt that the time had come (or him to strike. His orders to the crew to get their

belts on, which contained their riches, gave him the opportunity, and he at once felt that, by declaring 4he chief mad, he was master of the situation. He had just gotten the pledge of the crew t* act at his command, when one of the men at the wheel called to him that Captain Basil wished him to come at once to the cabin for a minute. u ^ 'Await my return, men, and then we will act,' he said hastily ; and lie went to see what it was that Basil the Buccaneer wanted WiflfhimT-r--, He walked hastily, for the crusier still gained upon them, and her fire was kept up as hot as ever. As he stepped down into the cabin he was suddenly confronted with a pistol thrust full in his face — [5m Picture 11] — and stern came the command : 1 Hold up your hands, Sir Traitorl' Marco was caught wholly off his guard. He had not yet armed himself for the combat. In his face frowned the pistol, and he saw deadly determination in the face of the pirate chiet Who had betrayed him ? Certainly the chief knew of his treachery, for he had called him a traitor. In one instant his bright dreams ;urned into a hideous nightmare, »nd he could only wonder why Basil did not kill him then and there. ? Hold up your hands, sir !' The order was „. repeated more sternly than before, and in an agony rffear he obeyed, while he stam mered forth : 1 What do you mean, Captain Basil?' ' I will tell you in another second, air,' was the reply ; and first upon sne wrist, then upon the other, the iron handcuffs were securely clasped. ' SU there, sir !' The man dropped into the chair with a groan of despair. Then a chain was quickly passed :hrough a ring-bolt in the cabin loor, and was twined over the ironed wrists, completely fastening the man to his seat. ?Traitor, I suspected you, as I suspect every man, and so I slipped iorward, and through the open hatch heard your plot with the ;rew to mutiny, so sent for you. I :ould kill you, but I will leave you :o a worse death. Your doom is sealed, for I shall run this schooner, isliore and you perish in the wreck,' said the buccaneer, in a voice that juivered with rage. . So saying, Captain Basil quickly eft the cabin and appeared upon leek. The men shrunk away under his jlazing eyes, and glanced about for heir ringleader.

No. 18. — Into the cabin dashed the chief, and a moment after Ite came on deck hfilding in his arms a child.

' Men, Marco Madrid, the traitor, will not be able to lead you to mutiny, as he promised, for he is in my power, so you had better obey me. [See Picture 12.] If you do not obey, I shall blow this craft and all on board to atoms by firing the magazine. Will you obey ?' And the voice of the buccaneer rung like a trumpet. The men were dumbfounded. Their captain had perhaps killed the lieutenant, and now boldly faced them. Their mutiny was too incipient thus far for them to cling to it, and under the eye of their chief they wilted. 'Speak! Will you obey me?' thundered the buccaneer chief. ' Ay, ay, sir !' a perfect roar of voices replied. ' It is well for you. Now get your treasure belts on, for I shall run this schooner ashore, and take to the woods. It is our only chance. Stand ready all for orders !' The men obeyed with alacrity. There was not a dissenting voice, not a laggard in obeying. ' At the helm, there !' ' Ay, ay, sir.1 ' Let her fall off dead before the wind. Stand ready at the braces, all!' ' Ay, ay, sir.' Then the schooner swept away before the wind and headed for the shore. Into the cabin dashed the chief, and a moment after he came on dtck holding in his arms a child en veloped in a cloak. [See Picture 18.] The cruiser had also changed her course, and came on in chase ; but the pirate craft was flying along under full canvas, and heading directly for the shore. ' Steady as you are, helmsman ! Hold hard, all 1'

Then with a crash the schooner lurched upon the shore, and every man was thrown down by the shock, while the following seas boarded her and swept her decks, the roar of waters drowning the shriek. of the mutineer officer con fined in the cabin. To Be Continued.