At last one of the men in the boat spoke up. “Maybe he don’t know how to see,” said he, “but maybe we’ll blow some daylight into him afore we get through with him.”
Some more of the settlers had come out from the shore to the end of the wharf, and there was now quite a crowd gathering there, all looking at the men in the boat. “What do them Virginny ’baccy-eaters do down here in Caroliny, anyway?” said one of the newcomers. “They’ve got no call to be down here in North Caroliny waters.”
“Maybe you can keep us away from coming, and maybe you can’t,” said a voice from the boat.
“Why,” answered the man on the wharf, “we could keep you away easy enough, but you ben’t worth the trouble, and that’s the truth.”
There was a heavy iron bolt lying near the edge of the landing. One of the men upon the wharf slyly thrust it out with the end of his foot. It hung for a moment and then fell into the boat below with a crash. “What d’ye mean by that?” roared the man in charge of the boat. “What d’ye mean, ye villains? D’ye mean to stave a hole in us?”
“Why,” said the man who had pushed it, “you saw ’twasn’t done a purpose, didn’t you?”
“Well, you try it again, and somebody’ll get hurt,” said the man in the boat, showing the butt end of his pistol.
The men on the wharf began laughing. Just then the boatswain came down from the settlement again, and out along the landing. The threatened turbulence quieted as he approached, and the crowd moved sullenly aside to let him pass. He did not bring any pilot with him, and he jumped down into the stern of the boat, saying, briefly, “Push off.” The crowd of loungers stood looking after them as they rowed away, and when the boat was some distance from the landing they burst out into a volley of derisive yells. “The villains!” said the boatswain, “they are all in league