Page:Yule Logs.djvu/368

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powers of our prize that was a revelation to us. With a breeze so light that it had not strength to keep the mainsheet taut, the little witch sneaked along through the water at a good four and a half knots, with scarcely a ripple under her sharp bows to indicate that she was moving! We closed with the Narcissus about an hour later, when Mr. Richardson went on board—taking the wounded with him—to report, and to receive the skipper's instructions in reference to the prize. Shortly afterwards a boat came alongside with a request that I would proceed on board the corvette, leaving the prize in charge of one of the midshipmen. This I did, and, upon my arrival, discovered that our good-natured "first" had spoken so highly of my conduct that I was appointed prize-master, with instructions to select a crew of ten men, to return to the schooner with all speed, and to make the best of my way to Sierra Leone, there to await the arrival of the Narcissus. These orders I carefully carried out, arriving in the roadstead two days later, and exactly thirty hours in advance of the corvette.

The Don Cristoval having been captured with negroes actually on board, the Mixed Commission promptly condemned her, while her crew were committed for trial; and upon the day following her condemnation I learned that the schooner had been purchased into the service for use against some of her equally notorious sisters. There was one craft in particular—a barque named the Josepha—that we were especially anxious to lay hands upon, as hitherto she—or rather, her skipper—had simply laughed at and defied us; but now, with the Don Cristoval in our possession, it was confidently believed that we should at length succeed in capturing the too-successful barque, and bringing her insolent commander and crew to justice.

To capture such a craft would be fame indeed, and would almost certainly mean promotion as well—imagine, therefore, if you can, the delight with which I shortly