The Wizard of the Sea/Chapter 8

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"Hang the luck, anyway!"

In a miserable state of mind, but still very angry, Mont sat down in his gloomy prison, and wondered what would happen next.

An hour later the captain called up the first mate.

"Let the prisoner be brought forward, and call the hands to witness punishment; muster them all. I mean to make an example."

The mate summoned the crew, all of whom trooped forward with a sullen and discontented air.

The first mate went to Mont, and personally conducted him on deck.

"Now, my lad," said the captain, with a brutal air, "I'm going to let you know what discipline is. Strip!"

Looking around him defiantly, Mont did not move.

"Do you hear me?" thundered the captain. "Strip!"

"Captain Savage," said Mont quietly, "I protest against this treatment. You saved my life and the lives of my companions, for which I thank you. We would leave your ship at once if we could. As it is, we are unwilling passengers."

"You are a part of the crew, and must work out your passage."

"Not at all. We have not signed articles, and you have no power over us so long as we conduct ourselves properly."

"Why did you interfere between me and one of my crew? But I'll waste no words with you," replied the captain. "Tie him to the foremast."

He caught up the rope's end and hit Mont a single blow.

He was about to go on, when the sailors advanced in a body, and formed a line between him and Mont.

"Back, you scoundrels! Back, mutinous dogs!" exclaimed the captain in a greater rage than ever.

The solid line remained immovable, and Mont was set free.

Both mates put themselves by the captain's side, as they feared a crisis was approaching, and they determined to side with the skipper.

"Look'ee here, cappen," said an old, grizzled sailor. "I've shipped aboard o' many vessels, and I've seen a few skippers, but never the likes o' you. We don't want to do you no harm, but we aint a-goin' to stan' by and see that poor lad flogged half to death because he interfered for one o' us."

"I'll have you all tried at the first port I come to!" exclaimed the captain.

Slog, the mate, caught the captain's arm.

"For Heaven's sake, go below, and leave them to me!" he said.

"Not I. Where are my pistols? I'll shoot some of the dogs."

"Be guided by me, sir. Let them alone this time, and tackle them one by one. If you don't, they'll do something desperate."

The captain mumbled something which was inaudible. He was almost speechless with rage.

Suddenly the voice of the lookout man rang out clearly:

"A strange sail."

"Where away?" asked the captain.

"On the larboard bow, sir."

The captain took his telescope, and began to examine the strange sail.

Everyone crowded to the side to have a look, and every eye was soon searching the horizon.

Even Mont shared the excitement.

He had a pocket glass, and brought it into use.

"Perhaps we'll be taken off," he said to Carl.

"I sincerely hope so," replied his chum. "I've had enough of this ship."