Page:Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates (1921).djvu/213

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Jack Ballister’s Fortunes

the wheel called out that the villains were going to shoot again, and the lieutenant, turning, saw the gunner aboard of the pirate sloop in the act of touching the iron to the touchhole. He stooped down. There was another loud and deafening crash of cannon, one, two, three—four—the last two almost together—and almost instantly the boatswain called out, “‘Tis the sloop, sir! look at the sloop!”

The sloop had got afloat again, and had been coming up to the aid of the schooner, when the pirates fired their second broadside now at her. When the lieutenant looked at her she was quivering with the impact of the shot, and the next moment she began falling off to the wind, and he could see the wounded men rising and falling and struggling upon her decks.

At the same moment the boatswain called out that the enemy was coming aboard, and even as he spoke the pirate sloop came drifting out from the cloud of smoke that enveloped her, looming up larger and larger as she came down upon them. The lieutenant still crouched down under the rail, looking out at them. Suddenly, a little distance away, she came about, broadside on, and then drifted. She was close aboard now. Something came flying through the air—another and another. They were bottles. One of them broke with a crash upon the deck. The others rolled over to the farther rail. In each of them a quick-match was smoking. Almost instantly there was a flash and a terrific report, and the air was full of the whiz and singing of broken particles of glass and iron. There was another report, and then the whole air seemed full of gunpowder smoke. “They’re aboard of us!” shouted the boatswain, and even as he spoke the lieutenant roared out, “All hands to repel boarders!” A second later there came the heavy, thumping bump of the vessels coming together.

Lieutenant Maynard, as he called out the order, ran forward through the smoke, snatching one of his pistols out of his pocket and the cutlass out of its sheath as he did so. Behind him the