Chapter 71463764

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Chapter NumberIII
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article71463764
Full Date1901-02-23
Page Number40
Corrections0
Word Count1307
IllustratedY
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAustralian Town and Country Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1870 - 1907)
Trove TitleThe Pirate Isles
article text

The Pirate Isles.

A SERIAL. STORY.

(By the Court Jester.)

CHAPTER III.

Georgie was standing on the Quay in a dis- consolate ?. ¿frame of mind. There had been another -.'difficultyt with the schoolmaster, as any- one who understood such matters might have guessed by-the.-jvay.he now and then abstractedly rubbed himselfJri.lHe was consoling himself, how- ever, with the . fact that .the pirate schooner had been signalled, and .was expected to arrive in about half an hour.

Not long-afterwards he perceived the familiar raking masts in towoi a puffing tug, but Georgie had never before seen the schooner decorated as he saw her now. Instead of the usual black

flag, _with_ its death's head and crossbones, at the peak, "she was!IecTïëd-out from stem to stern with bunting of many-colors. A string of flags ran from the jibboom end to the foretruck, thence to the maintruck,. and down to the end of the main boom.

"What on earth's the game?" thought Georgie, as the schooner began blazing away with blank cartridges; "A Royal salute, too; what can they be after?"

His amazement was increased tenfold when the schooner came alongside, with the brass band playing the Piratical Anthem, and the pirates on deck cheering like mad. The schooner came alongside, and the captain came ashore in full

dress uniform, with his sword drawn, followed by the crew, who fell in two deep on the Quay facing Georgie, and presented arms.

"Sir," said the captain, to Georgie, "it has doubtless come to your ears in what state, the Isle of Pirates now' ls. 'Our' ships lie idle in' port, and our gallant men, for lack of employ, parade the streets their grievous wrongs to show, and for remedy thereof we were well nigh despe- rate. But some power-for, doubtless, I would not err in attributing the suggestion to some more than mortal origin, whether to the'sweet little cherub that sits up aloft, or, as in short, to some- thing else-some power, I say, whispered to our hearts, "Wherefore-despair; know ye not Georgie Johnson?!' Now, therefore, sir, we pray you to cast in-'youi' lot with us. Come with us, over- throw the base sluggard who now' occupies the throne, and reign over us, and lead us on to ever smiling victory." . - .

It might be thought that Georgie would have immediately grasped Buch a favorable opportunity for carrying out the schemes he had so long cherished;. But the truth is that, dazzled as he was at the prospect^ he-felt more than a little hesitation. Why this was no one present could understand, nor did thfy till later events sup- plied an explanation. The invitation was not wholly unexpected, for he knew that treason was afoot on the island, and also that the pirates were very much impressed with his marvellous ex- ploits. .

"Look here," he said to the captain, "what put it into your head that I'd suit you?"

" 'Twas Crossbones, sir; a good man and true," replied the captain. "He told us of your many valiant deeds, and also of your wonderful discovery of the secret of keeping a pirate crew for ever victori- ous against the overwhelming power of the hero of the story."

. "Wr-11," said Georgie, "what I want to know is this. Is the King supposed to go out with your expeditions, or does he stay at home and simply superintend matters?"

"He alway: goes out, slr, in command of the expedition, an> ls expected to set an example of valor to the .' . 1 That is why we are tired of the present Kiu¿ who never goes out, nor, in truth, ever sends m expedition. Therefore, we sought you out. Fer well we knew you would not fall our need, but would come to our rescue, and with your sable oriflamme unfurled would sweep the ocean and appal the world."

"Did you?" said Georgie. "That was very kind of you Well, Mist give mo Ave minutes to think it over, will you?"

Georgie began thinking hard. Somehow, he did not want to go at all, and he wanted a good excuse to get out of the position. Finally he spoke.

"Look here, old man," he said to the captain, it's awfully good of you, you know, and all that sort of thing. But, much as I should like to go, I'm afraid there's an insuperable objection."

The captain looked exceedingly disappointed. "What is it, sir?" he said. "Name it, and we shall, I trust, lind a way to overcome it."

"Well," said Georgie, "did Crossbones ever mention to you that little adventure I had with tho wicked marquis, when I rescued Miss Toombs?" '

"Mention it?" replied the captain. "Why your presence of mind^was the admiration of the whole

Pirate Island."

"Well," said Georgie, "it's this way. I can't allow my ' future wife to stay, and be carried off by any blessed mar- quis that likes to come' along, and

so I have made up my mind tó stay ,and protect

the maiden."

The captain, who had been married several years, was not much impressed by this reason, as he felt that if the marquis would only come and carry off his wife he could bear it with the utmost resignation. However, he realised that Georgie, being younger, might feel differently,

and luí'was thoroughy imbued with the idea that whatever Georgie said must be right. Therefore he sighed with disappointment, and was on the point - * ordering his men on board again, when the second lieutenant stepped forward.

"Sir," he said, '"I think I can get rid of this objection. Will you," he continued, turning to Georgie, "will you consent if I can persuade the lady to accompany us? Then, when you have overthrown the tyrant, as the captain puts it, you can be married, and need have no fear of disturbance from the marquis or anyone else."

Georgie felt that he was in a fix. The only objection he had raised seemed on the 'point of being swept away-the lieutenant, somehow, ap- peared to be very confident. And yet, surely^ there could be little danger in assenting; the lieutenant could never persuade a clergyman's daughter to be a pirate queen. He determined to put a bold face on it.

"Like a bird," he said confidently.

"Then," said the lieutenant, "I undertake to return with the lady in the course of an hour or so, therefore you may as well wait on board."

The more Georgie thought over this scheme the less feasible did it seem, and he expressed his willingness tb comply.

The lieutenant took half a dozen men and set off, appearing to know the way quite well, much to the captain's surprise. "You see," he said to Georgie, "as far as I know. it's, his first visit to the port. He only shipped'with me a short time before we sailed, and I never saw him before, but I took him on the strength of his recommenda- tions. Then George and the captain proceeded on board and below. There they sat down and waited together, the ?' captain divided between anxiety and faith in his lieutenant, and Georgie confidently expecting the return of the expe- dition with a tale of failure Two hours passed, the captain growing more, and Georgie less¡ at ease. It was evident that Miss Toonibs had not immediately rejected the proposal, and both knew

that thc woman who hestates ls lost.

Above their heads, Crosbones had mounted the fore rlggging, and was keeping an anxious look-

out.

? Suddenly a cry came from the look-out,"There she spouts," followed by a wild burst of cheer- ing from the crew, and Georgie and the captain, springing up the companion, gazed eagerly in the direction to which all eyes were turned.

(To bo continued.)