Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/103

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Fiji, where he occasionally appeared, as he did in all the other groups, as a very erratic comet, coming, and especially vanishing, when least expected, each time in a different ship, of which by some means he had contrived to get possession; always engaged in successful trade with stolen goods; ever bland and winning in manner, dressed like a gentleman, decidedly handsome, with long silky brown beard; with a temper rarely ruffled, but with an iron will, for a more thoroughgoing scoundrel never sailed the seas. The friend who trusted to his courteous promises was his certain victim. If he was in the way, he was as likely as not to have his throat cut, or to be turned adrift on a desert isle. If owner of the vessel, he was probably landed to make arrangements for the sale of his cargo, while Bully Hayes was already on his way to some distant port to sell the said cargo for his own benefit, and then trade with the ship, till it became inconvenient to hold her, when she was deliberately scuttled.

It is about twenty years since this notorious pirate first made his appearance in the Pacific, when for some reason he was landed on the Sandwich Isles, apparently against his will. He was then accompanied by Mrs Hayes, the mother of these two girls, who now lives at Apia in respected solitude. For many years her lord has cheered his voyages with companions from all manner of isles, whom he has contrived to dispose of so soon as metal more attractive presented itself.

At last this inhuman miscreant has met his doom. Only a few days ago a vessel came into port bringing the news of his death. As he was entering his cabin he was knocked on the head with a marline-spike by his mate, who had suffered brutal ill-treatment at his hands, and so, determined on revenge. I doubt if even one woman was found to mourn him. It was a meet ending to such a career.

A messenger has just run here in hot haste to tell me that a ship is in the act of sailing, and will take this letter. This morning we asked in vain if there were any chance of a mail, and were assured that there was none. I can barely catch this—so good-bye.