minutes. I managed fairly well, however, venturing as far out as I dared, so as to secure the utmost benefit possible from the strong downward current; and so well did this befriend me that in little more than an hour and a half I sighted the Curlew riding at anchor where I had left her; and in another ten minutes I once more stood on her deck, free and safe!
Late as was the hour, I found everybody wide awake and on the look-out aboard the schooner, with young Adams, clad from head to heel in oilskins, anxiously pacing the deck—for, although I was by no means overdue, he informed me that he was already growing extremely anxious as to my safety—and it was pleasant, indeed, to observe the air of relief that seemed to pervade the ship upon the discovery that I had returned safe, and apparently not much the worse for wear. I quickly told my story, and, ere I had well finished it, all hands were on deck, and, without waiting for orders, were busying themselves in getting the schooner under way; and from a few muttered remarks that I overheard I gathered that the men had made up their minds to visit with dire retribution the treachery that had involved me in such deadly peril and suffering. Adams—spirited lad that he was—implored me to go below and turn in, pledging himself faithfully that not one of the slavers should escape him; but, of course, that was not to be thought of for a moment, so I contented myself with a change of clothing and a fairly hearty meal off the viands that the steward had immediately produced, and then returned on deck to take charge.
By the time that I was once more in the open air the schooner was under way and foaming up the river under all the canvas she dared show to the piping breeze. The rain had ceased, the storm had swept across the river and was now flashing and muttering intermittently some seven or eight miles away, and a few stars were peeping out