Chapter 174028353

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Chapter NumberXXXII
Chapter TitleTHE PIRATE'S BRIDE.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article174028353
Full Date1899-10-12
Page Number8
Corrections0
Word Count3398
IllustratedN
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

The Last of the Pirates; DOOM DBIVBN.

? ? ? . - . . ?? ? '.' w — ?— ? ? ? - i-. A. Romance of the En-i of Ocean Outlawry.* v .

i ? * — . ? ? ' ? ? ;? '. ? / ? i - By Col. Prentiss Ingrakam, Author of ' Merle the Mutineer,' &c, 4wxf

CHAPTER XXXII {Continued). THE PIRATE'S BRIDE.

Hastily leading Celeste to the gangway, when the Spiteful, as he had named his vessel, dropped anchor, Basil Barton was glad to see that she did not notice the change. Then they were rowed ashore to a hotel,

and the pirate captain sallied forth early the next morning to see Don Andrea De Costa. ' I knew that you would comet' said the retired slaver, grasping both his hands, and then listening with the deepest interest to the story which Basil bad to tell. ' You are sure that four wife does not suspect you ?' De Costa asked. 1 1 know that she does not.' ' Well, you have taken desperate chances corning here with your vessel. But your wife must come here at once with you, for you know I gladly wel come you both, and it lacks but three days to the time set for my wedding with - Isabel, though I should have delayed it had you not arrived. Not a shadow of suspicion has Isabel against me, and 1 would rattier die than she should have. Would to Heaven that you could hide your ? career from your wife 1' ' It will be impossible. The world knows me now as I am, or soon will, and if Celeste does-not cling to me, she can go her way,' was the reply of Basil the Buccaneer. ' Well, we will drive down at once to your hotel, and bring your wife here ;' and as they drove along in the splendid equipage of the slaver captain, Basil asked: ' What does the town think of your marrying the Senora Isabel ?' ' They are surprised that I should marry the widow of the man I killed, but they keep their surprise from exhibition before her or myself. I have never entered the Don's home, have written all that I had to say to Isabel, and have kept aloof to guard against all scandal. She has erected a handsome monument over the dead Don, and gives her entire wealth, the day she becomes my wife, to charity. Thus it stands, and if any man casts a slur he answers to me.' Up to the grand home of the slaver captain Celeste went as a guest, and that afternoon Basil and his wife drove over to the house of Senora Delorme and called upon her. She had already received a long letter from the Don telling of the visit, and she had known that Basil was the devoted friend of the man she was to marry, so she gave to him and nis lovely wife a warm greeting. Three days alter, at the Cathedral doors, Don Andrea De Costa met his bride leaning upon the arm of Basil Barton, or Senor Basiia Bartona, as he was called in Spain. The buccaneer chief gave the bride away, and then all drove off to the Castle, while the busy tongues of the gossips wagged at the thought that the Senora Isabel bad married the man who had slain her husband. Don Andrea gave most liberally, to the poor on that day of his wedding, and the wealth of tbe senora, which had been Don Deiorme's, was given over to charity. The next morning when the sun rose the citizens were surprised to find that the trim schooner in which Senor Basiia Bartona ipd tome to Spain to attend the wedding of his friend had set sail during the night, and many wondered that he had remained so short a time. The reason was a good one, how ever, for the sudden sailing of the Spiteful, as the reader will discover when the cause is revealed.

CHAPTER XXXIII. ?THE MASK TORN OFF. In the midst of the wedding dinner at ' The Castle,' when Senor Basiia Bartona was toasting the health, happiness, and long life of the bride and groom, and Don Andrea was returning the compliment for his guests, a servant entered with the information that a sailor was without and wished to speak with the Cuban senor — for the -, buccaneer was still believed to be a planter from the Gem of the Antilles, Don Andrea glanced at Basil some what anxiously, but the latter finished his toast, and then, asking to be ex cused, left the table. No guests, had been invited by Don Andrea. He had made many friends in the town, and had become noted tor his famous dinners and entertainments ; but he was determined that his wed ding should be a strictly private affair, and the buccaneer and his bride were the only ones to grace his board after Isabel had become tbe Senora De Costa. The Spanish beauty had learned how to speak English quite well, and she was charmed with the golden haired Celeste, who in time learned ' to love Senora Isabel, and neither held a suspicion ot what their husbands had been, and one still was. 1 Upon going out of the grand dining salon to see who his visitor could be, Basil Barton showed no sign of emotion. Vet he was nervous, for he had given orders that no communica tion was to be held with the shore,

nor was a man to be allowed to land under any consideration. . ' Ah, Ponce, it is you ?' he said, as he saw a young Cuban awaiting him. It was a. youth whose life the buccaneer bad saved several years before in Cuba, when he was a mate on the Sea Venus, and one day in Havana, before his visit horne, the Cuban had recognised hint, and, anxious to serve him, had been willing to follow his fortunes. Basil had found him as true as steel, and when he had gone ashore at the Spanish seaport, he had told the Cuban to watch the crew well for him. ' Ves, senor, and I am here with news,' said Ponce. . ' How did you get ashore, Ponce ?' 1 Swam, senor ; for see, I am all wet.' ' So you are. But what is up ?' 'You told me to keep my eyes open, Senor Captain.' ' Yes.' - I djd so, and discovered there was a traitor on board.' ' Ah ! And who is he ?' ' The youth we shipped in Trinidad, senor.* ? What— Vandel ?' I Yes, senor.' ' What has he done ?' I 1 heard him arrange with two men to go on watch at eight bells to-night, to lower themselves over the bows, and swim ashore with him. He does not swim, you know, and they are to aid him.' ' Deserters ?' ' That is not all, Senor Captain, for they were to go to the commandant of the fort, and offer, in return for pardon tor themselves and a sum in gold, to betray the secret of Basil the Buccaneer, and that his vessel was in port.' ? Great Heaven ! Vandel did this, Ponce ?' ' He plotted it, senor.' ' And the others ?' 'Are Presto and Dornez.' ' And what else heard you; my good Ponce ?' ' That was all, senor.' ' Heaven knows that is enough. At eight bells to-night, you say?' ' Yes, senor, at midnight.' 'And how did you get away, Ponce ?' 1 1 entered the cabin, senor, and let myself out of the stern port.' ' I shall not forget you, my good Ponce. Can you return the same way?' ' Yes, senor.' ' Do so, and within an hour I will be on board. It is now nine o'clock.' Ponce departed, and re-entering the salon, Basil resumed his seat, and said in a pleasant way : ' What if I told you, Don Andrea, that we would have to depart to night V All were at once surprised at this sudden resolve, but Basil stated that he had news of a character which would cause him to sail, and while Celeste went off with Senora Isabel to make her preparations to leave, the buccaneer captain told the Spaniard what he had heard from Ponce. 'The traitors! You will hang them, of course ?' ' Yes, before the day dawns ;' and half an hour after Basil and Celeste, wondering at this strange move of her

husband, were in a shore-boat making their way out to the schooner. The officer in charge was somewhat surprised to see his captain come on board, but Basil made no explanation, and ordered the anchor up at once and sail set. 'They are here yet, Ponce?' he asked of the young Cuban, who had returned to the schooner by swimming. ' Yes, senor ; but it would be as well to arrest them at once, as they may suspect something.' The order was given to at once put the three traitors in irons, and their looks and actions showed that they were guilty. Celeste had gone to the cabin, to retire, at the request of Basil, and hardly had the schooner gotten well under way, when the crew were ordered upon deck, and the guns were also taken from the hold. The buccaneer stood gazing on in grim silence, and when the vessel was in shipshape and righting trim once more, he said : 1 Let our colours be run up.' The officer next in command obeyed the order, and the black flag, which had not been raised since the coming of Celeste on board, fluttered out from the peak In the grey of dawn, as the swift craft went dashing along over the sea. ' Bring the traitors on deck I1 The men looked at each other in surprise, while Ponce went to order the two guards to bring up tbe three prisoners they had in charge.

? Men, I plaoed confidence in you by going into the fort we had just left. Your lives, my own, andtheship were all in your hands. Out of this crew of seventy men, three have proven treacherous, and they will soon confront you. They sought to betray the vessel and our lives, in return for their pardon and gold ! How I found out their secret it matters not ; but they gave us a close call for tbe gallows, as at midnight they were to swim ashore, and make their terms

with: the commandant of tW fort, Senor Marco, rig three ropes -*with: which to string up three traitors.' The pirate officer addressed quickly obeyed the order, and in % death-like silence the crew stood waiting the execution. A moment more Ponce came aft, followed by two guards and the three prisoners. Day was just beginning to dawn, and the grey light gave to the palefaces of the three men a roost ghastly look. : They confronted their chief -'ln silence, and his gaze rested upon them with a wicked glare that was merciless. 'Why^iidyou seek to betray, this vessel ?' he asked, sternly.

He addressed his words to Vandel, a handsome young sailor, who was the centre of the trio, and whom Ponce had said was the plotter, ' These men but obeyed my bidding, so spare them, as I am the guilty one,' said the young sailor, firmly. ' I spare no traitor, be he more or less guilty. You must hang.' ' Will you not spare these two men when I tell you that I alone am guilty?' pleaded the sailor. 'No.' ' Will you hang them too ?' ?Yes.' ' Will not my death at a Tope's end atone for their crimes as well as my own ?' 'It will not. The three of you shall die.' 'Basil Barton, would you hang a woman P The buccaneer chief started, and a shudder went through the men, inured as they were to scenes of bloodshed and infamy. ' Are you a woman ?' hoarsely asked Basil Barton, peering earnestly into the face of the young sailor. ? I am.' * Who are you ?' I am the Cuban girl, Lila Noel, whom you won to iove you and then deserted. I vowed revenge, and to get it 1 cut off my hair, assumed this disguise, and shipped on board your vessel.' 1 Caramba I but you are right ! You are Lila Noel ; and now I know why it is that your face haunted me since the day you came on board. You well-nigh got your revenge, woman.' ' Very nearly ; for had you not found out my plot, a short while more and you, Basil Barton, would have stood with your vile crew, where we three now stand. Will you not spare these men now, and let my death atone — for you are merciless, I sup pose ?' ' I am, alike to men and women. Up with them /' The noose about their necks tightened, and seeing the expression upon the face of their chief, the men holding the other ends of the ropes dared not hesitate, and up into mid air went the three forms, while from aft came a wild shriek, and springing from the companion way Celeste fell, like one death stricken upon the deck. She had heard and seen all, and she knew her husband, Basil the Buccaneer, as he really was. CHAPTER XXXIV. celeste's love. When Basil Barton heard the shriek of Celeste ring out in the crisp air of early dawn, it seemed to pierce his heart like a knife. Hardened as he was to crime, he yet could but feel that his unfortunate young wife had been dealt a fearful blow. The woman, Lila Noel, he had met when on his return voyages to Cuba, while a slaver. She was the daughter of a Cuban fisherman, pretty and fascinating, and not knowing what his real life was, she bad loved him. Alas 1 her fate had been that of many another unfortunate whose faith had been placed in man.

Merciless alike, as he had said to men and women, he had deserted her, while she, with her love turned to undying hate, had vowed to be avenged. She had tracked him to his vessel, and yet was too late to strike the death-blow that she had intended. Time went by, when one day, while in Trinidad with her father, she saw Basil Barton in the street. He did not see her, and she shrunk from hfs sight, dogged his footsteps, and find ing that he had a vessel there, she at once determined to ship on board of it. Her wealth of black hair was shaved off, a sailor suit disguised her sex, and with a skull-cap pulled well down over her eyes, she passed readily for a young seaman, and enlisted on the schooner, which had put into port as an American merchantman. Then it was that she discovered just what the man was whom she had loved. She would have betrayed him when the schooner was in American waters, but she could not swirri, and only picked men were allowed to go ashore in the boats. When she saw Celeste come on board as the wife of the buccaneer captain, she hated him the more, and sought all in her power to get a chance to speak witfTthe deceived girl. She saw that Basil was deceiving her, as he floated the American flag at the peak, and captured no prizes. Biding her time, the opportunity at last offered when in the Spanish port. . . .

Two seamen on board she saw were not as wicked as their fellows. These she sought to save, and, appealed to them to aid her, promising them all the price paid them by the Spaniards, and telling them she alone acted for revenge. But for the Cuban boy, Ponce, Basil tbe Buccaneer's career would have ended very suddenly at a rope's end, But she played against fate and lost her game, for Basil the Buccaneer proved his words — that he was merciless alike to men and women.

1 The lad lies ! He is the brother of the girl he claimed to be. Hurl the bodies into the sea !' So came the stern words from the lips of the buccaneer, and his order was obeyed with a promptness that, showed how his crew dreaded his anger. Hastily bound, though not yet dead,' the vthi-ee traitors were thrown overboard. Whether the men behind knew that their ebief had killed a woman or hot, they dared hot expresB an opinion, and the truth of her word6, or untruth, the sea con cealed. Then, when the forms went down ward through the green waves, the merciless man walked rapidly aft. : The schooner was bounding on her way, neither of the two men at the wheel daring to spring to the aid of Celeste, and she. lay where she had fallen, when Basil the Buccaneer reached her side, fie raised her in bis arms, as though she'*had been a child, and bore her Into the cabin. Then he placed ber upon a silken lounge, and at once applied restora tives. * It were better did she never revive,' he muttered ; and his words held some pity, as he gazed upon her white, beautiful face, as she lay in startling resemblance to death. But

she was not dead, and soon showed signs ot returning consciousness. The light of day stole into the cabin, dimming the lamp, and, after a deep sigh, the eyes of the lovely girl opened. He expected her to at once go into hysterics at sight of him. He dreaded a scene. But instead she raised her band and softly rested it upon his head. * Heaven pity you, Basil, and me !' So unexpected were her soft, pathetic words, that he bowed bis haughty, guilty bead and groaned. The manhood in him was not yet all gone, and she had touched his heart. A long silence followed, and then, still lying there, still resting her hand, trembling though it was, upon his head, she said : ' Basil, can man be more wicked than I have found you to be ? — for I have heard all. I heard that you were a pirate, that this was a bucca-. neer vessel, and I know that you deceived me and poor Loyd. I heard the story of that woman ? ' ' It was no woman, Celeste, as 1 know, but the brother of the girl he claimed to be.' ' Thank Heaven for that ! You have not at least the guilt on your soul of having hanged a woman 1' He shuddered, and she asked : ? What was she to you, Basil— -your wife?' ' Mo ; as Heaven is my judge, Celeste, you are the only woman who has the right to call me husband.' ' Again I thank Heaven, for my own sake, Basil, and that you are not more guilty than you are.1 ' And now you hate me, Celeste ?' ' Ah, ho, I Jove you still.* ' Knowing me to be what I am ?'

?Yes.' ' A pirate ?' 'Still I love you, Basil.' ' After I have deceived you ?' ' It is my nature to kiss the hand that has crushed me, it seems, for still I love you.1 'Great Heaven ! Can woman's love be true as yours ?' 'Yes, often.1 ' This is no part you are playing, Celeste?' asked the buccaner chief, suspicious ever of truth and honour. 'Ah, Basil, you have no right to doubt me. 1 am your wife, I love you, and I hope to redeem you some day. Now let us speak no more of what has been ;' and putting her arms about his neck, she kissed him. But did she tremble, or shudder, as she did so ? Which, he could not tell. To Be Continued