Page:Yule Logs.djvu/360

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Author of "The Log of a Privateersman," &c. &c.



YOU ask me to relate to you the most terrible adventure I ever experienced? Well, my whole life, from the time when, as a lad of fifteen, I first took to the sea, has been one of adventure, and I have passed through several rather thrilling experiences, so that it is not quite so easy a matter as you may imagine for me to say, off hand and at a moment's notice, which was the most terrible of them all. But, as you seem anxious for a yarn, I will tell you of an adventure that befell me shortly after I received my first command.

I was serving on the West Coast at the time, and, when this yarn begins, held the position of third lieutenant on board the Narcissus, a corvette belonging to the slave squadron. It was in the year 1826, just two years after slave-trading had been declared to be piracy in the eye of the law, and its perpetrators subject to the punishment of death if caught in the act. Popular feeling at home was very strong upon the subject; the sympathy of the nation had been powerfully aroused by the stories which from time to time found their way into the papers of the sufferings inflicted upon the blacks in the process of converting them into slaves; strenuous orders had been sent