Page:Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates (1921).djvu/72

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Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates

down to Honduras, for a cargo of logwood, which in those times was no better than stolen from the Spanish folk.

One day, lying off the shore, in the Gulf of Honduras, comes Master Low and the crew of the whaleboat rowing across from the beach, where they had been all morning chopping logwood.

“What are you after?” says the captain, for they were coming back with nothing but themselves in the boat.

“We’re after our dinner,” says Low, as spokesman of the party.

“You’ll have no dinner,” says the captain, “until you fetch off another load.”

“Dinner or no dinner, we’ll pay for it,” says Low, wherewith he up with a musket, squinted along the barrel, and pulled the trigger.

Luckily the gun hung fire, and the Yankee captain was spared to steal logwood a while longer.

All the same, that was no place for Ned Low to make a longer stay, so off he and his messmates rowed in a whaleboat, captured a brig out at sea, and turned pirates.

He presently fell in with the notorious Captain Lowther, a fellow after his own kidney, who put the finishing touches to his education and taught him what wickedness he did not already know.

And so he became a master pirate, and a famous hand at his craft, and thereafter forever bore an inveterate hatred of all Yankees because of the dinner he had lost, and never failed to smite whatever one of them luck put within his reach. Once he fell in with a ship off South Carolina—the Amsterdam Merchant, Captain Williamson, commander—a Yankee craft and a Yankee master. He slit the nose and cropped the ears of the captain, and then sailed merrily away, feeling the better for having marred a Yankee.

New York and New England had more than one visit from the doughty captain, each of which visits they had good cause to remember, for he made them smart for it.