Page:Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates (1921).djvu/68

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Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates

Inlet to fight this pirate who ruled it down there so like the cock of a walk. There he found Blackbeard waiting for him, and as ready for a fight as ever the lieutenant himself could be. Fight they did, and while it lasted it was as pretty a piece of business of its kind as one could wish to see. Blackbeard drained a glass of grog, wishing the lieutenant luck in getting aboard of him, fired a broadside, blew some twenty of the lieutenant's men out of existence, and totally crippled one of his little sloops for the balance of the fight. After that, and under cover of the smoke, the pirate and his men boarded the other sloop, and then followed a fine old-fashioned hand-to-hand conflict betwixt him and the lieutenant. First they fired their pistols, and then they took to it with cutlasses—right, left, up and down, cut and slash—until the lieutenant's cutlass broke short off at the hilt. Then Blackbeard would have finished him off handsomely, only up steps one of the lieutenant's men and fetches him a great slash over the neck, so that the lieutenant came off with no more hurt than a cut across the knuckles.

At the very first discharge of their pistols Blackbeard had been shot through the body, but he was not for giving up for that—not he. As said before, he was of the true roaring, raging breed of pirates, and stood up to it until he received twenty more cutlass cuts and five additional shots, and then fell dead while trying to fire off an empty pistol. After that the lieutenant cut off the pirate's head, and sailed away in triumph, with the bloody trophy nailed to the bow of his battered sloop.

Those of Blackbeard's men who were not killed were carried off to Virginia, and all of them tried and hanged but one or two, their names, no doubt, still standing in a row in the provincial records.

But did Blackbeard really bury treasures, as tradition says, along the sandy shores he haunted?

Master Clement Downing, midshipman aboard the Salisbury, wrote a book after his return from the cruise to Madagascar,