Page:Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates (1921).djvu/234

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Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates

vessel that was careened awhile ago, and mebby he’ll give you a little trouble if you come too nigh him.”

To this the Englishman only answered that Blueskin might be ——, and that the next afternoon, wind and weather permitting, he intended to heave anchor and run out to sea.

Levi laughed again. “I wish I might be here to see what’ll happen,” said he, “but I’m going up the river to-night to see a gal and mebby won’t be back again for three or four days.”

The next afternoon the English bark set sail as the captain promised, and that night Lewes town was awake until almost morning, gazing at a broad red glare that lighted up the sky away toward the southeast. Two days afterward a negro oysterman came up from Indian River with news that the pirates were lying off the inlet, bringing ashore bales of goods from their larger vessel and piling the same upon the beach under tarpaulins. He said that it was known down at Indian River that Blueskin had fallen afoul of an English bark, had burned her and had murdered the captain and all but three of the crew, who had joined with the pirates.

The excitement over this terrible happening had only begun to subside when another occurred to cap it. One afternoon a ship’s boat, in which were five men and two women, came rowing into Lewes harbor. It was the longboat of the Charleston packet, bound for New York, and was commanded by the first mate. The packet had been attacked and captured by the pirates about ten leagues south by east of Cape Henlopen. The pirates had come aboard of them at night and no resistance had been offered. Perhaps it was that circumstance that saved the lives of all, for no murder or violence had been done. Nevertheless, officers, passengers and crew had been stripped of everything of value and set adrift in the boats and the ship herself had been burned. The longboat had become separated from the others during the night and had sighted Henlopen a little after sunrise.