Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/290

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running into the hold. Amid the shouting and confusion, the sober men tumbled into boats and pulled for the shore. The fire was eating straight toward the magazine, in which were stowed thirty thousand pounds of gunpowder.

One pirate, who was both astonishingly brave and sober, dropped through a hatchway, groped through the smoke, and yelled that unless they fetched him blankets and buckets of water the ship would blow up. Captain Snelgrave gathered all the rugs and blankets he could find and rushed below to join the fellow. Other men rallied when led by Captain Davis, and formed a bucket brigade to douse the blankets and stuff them against the bulkhead of the magazine. It was a ticklish situation, taking it by and large,

for the night was dark, the crew drunk, and no hope of mastering the fire seemed to remain. To spring into the water was certain death, from the sharks hovering around the vessel. Having accomplished all that he was able, Captain Snelgrave snatched up a quarter-boat grating and lowered it with a rope, hoping to float away upon that, as several persons had gone off with the boats. While the captain was thus meditating his escape he heard a shout from the main-deck, "Now for a brave blast to go to hell with." On which some of the newly entered pirates near him, believing the ship must blow up in a few minutes, lamented their entering on that vile course of life, with bitter exclamations against the hardened offenders on