Page:Yule Logs.djvu/371

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I had somehow obtained important intelligence upon which I was acting. But as soon as the night had closed down upon us sufficiently to conceal our movements, I wore round and stood to the southward again, finally anchoring in seventy fathoms of water at a distance of some twenty-two miles north-west of Padron Point. Having done this, I ordered the royal, top-gallant, and topsail yards to be sent down, and the fore-topmast to be housed, after which there was nothing for us to do but to possess our souls in patience and wait for some of the slavers to come out and fall into our clutches, as I felt confident they would in the course of a day or two, provided that in the meantime no inward-bound craft hove in sight to tempt us from our watching-place, or to slip past us and give the alarm. And I had every justification for this feeling of confidence, for two nights later, as I was in the very act of going below to turn in after chatting with the youngster who acted as my "first," and who was in charge of the deck, the look-out aloft hailed—

"On deck, there!"

"Hillo!" I responded; "do you see anything?"

"Well, I ain't quite certain yet, sir, but for the last ten minutes I've been thinkin' that there's a small spot of darkness showin' out again' the sky right ahead, and I thought I'd better let you know, sir," was the answer.

"Quite right, my lad," I responded. "Keep your eye on it, and I will send up the night-glass to you by way of the signal halliards."

"Ay, ay, sir," the fellow answered; and in another half-minute the glass was bent on and making its way aloft to the gingerly swaying away of the quartermaster, while a faint murmur of eager anticipation came floating aft from the forecastle upon the heavy, damp night breeze, which was blowing off the land.

For several long minutes after the instrument had reached its destination we were kept upon the tenter-