Page:Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates (1921).djvu/330

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Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates

made frequent though ineffectual attempts to thrust a hand into the breeches-pocket where the ivory ball was hidden, swearing the while under his breath with a terrifying and monstrous string of oaths. At last, finding himself foiled in every such attempt, and losing all patience at the struggles of his victim, he endeavored to lift Jonathan off of his feet, as though to dash him bodily upon the ground. In this he would doubtless have succeeded had he not caught his heel in the crack of a loose board of the wharf. Instantly they both fell, violently prostrate, the captain beneath and Jonathan above him, though still encircled in his iron embrace. Our hero felt the back of his head strike violently upon the flat face of the other, and he heard the captain’s skull sound with a terrific crack like that of a breaking egg upon some post or billet of wood, against which he must have struck. In their frantic struggles they had approached extremely near the edge of the wharf, so that the next instant, with an enormous and thunderous splash, Jonathan found himself plunged into the waters of the harbor, and the arms of his assailant loosened from about his body.

The shock of the water brought him instantly to his senses, and, being a fairly good swimmer, he had not the least difficulty in reaching and clutching the cross-piece of a wooden ladder that, coated with slimy sea-moss, led from the water-level to the wharf above.

After reaching the safety of the dry land once more, Jonathan gazed about him as though to discern whence the next attack might be delivered upon him. But he stood entirely alone upon the dock—not another living soul was in sight. The surface of the water exhibited some commotion, as though disturbed by something struggling beneath; but the sea-captain, who had doubtless been stunned by the tremendous crack upon his head, never arose again out of the element that had engulfed him.

The moonlight shone with a peaceful and resplendent illumination, and, excepting certain remote noises from the distant town,