Page:Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates (1921).djvu/40

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Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates

the rest the negro was dragged upon the deck. He begged and implored that his life might be spared, promising to tell all that might be asked of him. L'Olonoise questioned him, and when he had squeezed him dry, waved his hand coldly, and the poor black went with the rest. Only one man was spared; him he sent to the governor of Havana with a message that henceforth he would give no quarter to any Spaniard whom he might meet in arms—a message which was not an empty threat.

The rise of l'Olonoise was by no means rapid. He worked his way up by dint of hard labor and through much ill fortune. But by and by, after many reverses, the tide turned, and carried him with it from one success to another, without let or stay, to the bitter end.

Cruising off Maracaibo, he captured a rich prize laden with a vast amount of plate and ready money, and there conceived the design of descending upon the powerful town of Maracaibo itself. Without loss of time he gathered together five hundred picked scoundrels from Tortuga, and taking with him one Michael de Basco as land captain, and two hundred more buccaneers whom he commanded, down he came into the Gulf of Venezuela and upon the doomed city like a blast of the plague. Leaving their vessels, the buccaneers made a land attack upon the fort that stood at the mouth of the inlet that led into Lake Maracaibo and guarded the city.

The Spaniards held out well, and fought with all the might that Spaniards possess; but after a fight of three hours all was given up and the garrison fled, spreading terror and confusion before them. As many of the inhabitants of the city as could do so escaped in boats to Gibraltar, which lies to the southward, on the shores of Lake Maracaibo, at the distance of some forty leagues or more.

Then the pirates marched into the town, and what followed may be conceived. It was a holocaust of lust, of passion, and of

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