Page:Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates (1921).djvu/74

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates

whereupon his luck and his courage both were suddenly snuffed out with a puff of powder smoke and a good rattling broadside. Down came the “Black Roger” with its skull and crossbones from the fore, and Colonel Rhett had the glory of fetching back as pretty a cargo of scoundrels and cutthroats as the town ever saw.

After the next assizes they were strung up, all in a row—evil apples ready for the roasting.

“Ned” England was a fellow of different blood—only he snapped his whip across the back of society over in the East Indies and along the hot shores of Hindustan.

The name of Capt. Howel Davis stands high among his fellows. He was the Ulysses of pirates, the beloved not only of Mercury, but of Minerva.

He it was who hoodwinked the captain of a French ship of double the size and strength of his own, and fairly cheated him into the surrender of his craft without the firing of a single pistol or the striking of a single blow; he it was who sailed boldly into the port of Gambia, on the coast of Guinea, and under the guns of the castle, proclaiming himself as a merchant trading for slaves.

The cheat was kept up until the fruit of mischief was ripe for the picking; then, when the governor and the guards of the castle were lulled into entire security, and when Davis’s band was scattered about wherever each man could do the most good, it was out pistol, up cutlass, and death if a finger moved. They tied the soldiers back to back, and the governor to his own armchair, and then rifled wherever it pleased them. After that they sailed away, and though they had not made the fortune they had hoped to glean, it was a good snug round sum that they shared among them.

Their courage growing high with success, they determined to attempt the island of Del Principe—a prosperous Portuguese settlement on the coast. The plan for taking the place was cleverly laid, and would have succeeded, only that a Portuguese negro among the pirate crew turned traitor and carried the news ashore