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ship--let it burn, say I."

"Spoke like a very coward!" says she in bitter scorn.  "And a
coward is selfish always."  So saying she crossed to the door and
reached her hand to the bolt; but in a leap I was beside her and
caught this hand, 'prisoning it there:

"Hark'ee, madam!" quoth I, "You tell me that to hang is a
shameful death, and the noose as good as round my neck.  But,
before God, madam, I'll see this ship go up in flame and perish
with it ere that noose shall strangle the life out of me and my
wrongs unavenged.  So the ship may burn an it will.  Meantime do
you seek your salvation and leave me to seek mine!"  Then opening
the door I stood aside to give her way; instead she stood a
moment looking on me great-eyed:

"O blind!" says she at last, "To treasure life for your wicked
vengeance!  O blind, blind!"  Then, and very suddenly she sped
out and away.

Left alone I stood hearkening to the distant uproar and casting
about in my mind how best I might contrive my preservation.  And
now in my desperate need it seemed there was but one hope for me
and this but slender, viz., to steal myself up to Adam's lodgment
under the poop and that as soon as might be.  To this end I
stepped forth of the cabin and so into a narrow passage-way with
divers doors to right and left that opened upon other cabins, in
one of which I espied a cloak and feathered hat lying where their
owner had dropped them; whipping the cloak about me I clapped on
the hat and, staying for no more, hasted on breathing an air
acrid with drifting smoke.  Reaching a broad stairway I climbed
at speed and found myself out upon the lofty poop, whence I might
look down on the decks through a haze of smoke that poured up
through the after hatchway, mounting in billowy wreaths against
the splendour of the moon.  Here it seemed was gathered the whole
ship's company with mighty stir and to-do, and none with eyes to
spare for me.  Howbeit, I stayed for no second glance, but
running to Adam's cabin, found the door unlocked, the which I
closed and bolted after me, in the doing of which I noticed (to
my comfort) that this door was mighty thick and strong and in it
moreover a loophole newly cut, with others in the bulkheads to
right and left and all very neatly plugged from within; and what
with this and the musquetoons that stood in racks very orderly,
the place, small though it was, had all the virtues of a fort or
citadel.  Here then, so far as might be, I was safe whatever
chanced, since I had but to lift the trap in the floor and
descend into the roundhouse below, whence I might gain the stern-
gallery and so the sea itself.  And now, laying by the hat and
cloak I cast myself on Adam's bed and there outstretched in great
content, hearkened to the distant voices and tramp of feet where
they laboured to put out the fire.

Little by little these sounds became merged with the droning of
the wind and the never-ceasing surge and hiss of the seas; lulled
by this and the sense of my comparative safety, I presently fell
a-slumbering.  And sleeping thus, dreamed myself young again and
playing with the child Damaris, thrilling to the clasp of her
little, childish hands, joying in the tones of her clear, sweet
child voice--she that grown up I knew for none other than Joan



"Lord love me, shipmate, here's you to hang at peep o' day and a-
smiling in your dreams!"

"What--Adam!" says I, sitting up.

"In few short hours, Martin, here will be ninety odd souls
earnestly seeking to swing you up to the main-yard and you a-
slumbering sweet as any innocent babe, and burn me, shipmate, I
love you the better for't!"

"What of the fire, Adam?"

"Why, 'twas an excellent fire, Martin, and smoked bravely! 
What's more it served its divers purposes whiles it lasted."

"Is it out then, Adam?"

"This two hours."

"And what might you mean by its purposes?"

"Well, mayhap you were one o' them, Martin.  Here's the second
time fire hath served ye well, you'll mind."

"How!" I cried, starting to my feet, "Will you be telling me
'twas you set this fire going?"

"As to the other purpose, shipmate, 'tis yonder--hark to it!" 
And smiling grimly, Adam held up a sinewy finger, as, from
somewhere forward, rose a confused and dismal wailing.

"In heaven's name what's toward now, Adam?"

"The crew are singing, Martin, likewise they dance, presently
they shall fall a-quarrelling, then grow pot-valiant, all in
regular and accepted order.  Already one poor rogue hath been aft
to demand the women of us d'ye see, and--"

"To demand the women!" says I in gasping astonishment.

"Aye, the women, Martin--my Lady Joan and her maid, d'ye see."

"God's love, Adam!" I cried, gripping his arm, "And you--what
said you to the vile dog?"

"Nought!  I shot him!"

"Is the mutiny broke out then?"

"Not yet, shipmate, but 'tis coming, aye 'tis coming, which is
very well--"

"And what hath brought things to this pass?"

"Rum, Martin!  The fire was in the store-room where there is rum
a-plenty, d'ye see, and what was to prevent the rogues making off
with a keg or so that chanced to lie handy--not I, shipmate, not

"And why not, in the Devil's name?"

"Because, Martin," says Adam, sitting at the table and beginning
to set his papers in order, "because there's nought like liquor
for putting the devil into a man, and of all liquor commend me to
rum with a dash o' tobacco or gunpowder, d'ye see.  We shall be
heaving dead men overboard ere dawn, I judge, and all along of
this same rum, Martin.  Black mutiny, murder and sudden death,
shipmate, and more's the pity say I.  But if Providence seeth fit
why so be it."

"Providence!" quoth I, scowling down into his impassive face,
"Dare ye talk of Providence?  'Twas you set this bloody business

"Aye, Martin, it was!" says he nodding.  "As to Providence--
look'ee now, if you can ape Providence to your own ends, which is
vengeance and bloody murder, I can do as much for mine, which is
to save the lives of such as stand true to me and the ship--not
to mention the women.  There's Tressady skulking below, and I
have but contrived that the mutiny should come in my time rather
than his and theirs.  As it is, we are prepared, fifteen stout
lads lie in the round-house below with musquetoon and fusee, and
every gun and swivel that will bear (falconet and paterero) aimed
to sweep the waist when they rush, as rush they will, Martin,
when the drink hath maddened 'em properly--"

"And having maddened them with your hellish decoctions you'll
shoot the poor rogues down?"

"Aye, Martin, I will so, lest peradventure they shoot me.  Then
besides, shipmate, what o' the women?  I have the Lady Joan and
her maid to think on, 'twould be an ill fate theirs in the hands
of yon filthy rabblement.  Hark to 'em yonder, hark what they

For a while I could hear nought but a clamour of fierce shouts
and hallooing, then, little by little, this wild, hoarse tumult
rose and swelled to a fierce chaunt:

"Some swam in rum to kingdom come,
Full many a lusty fellow.
And since they're sped, all stark and dead,
They're flaming now in hell O.
So cheerly O,
Hey cheerly O,
They're burning down in hell O!"

"D'ye hear it, Martin, did ye hear it?  Shoot the poor rogues
d'ye say?  Sink me, but I will so if Fortune be so kind. 
Yonder's short shrift and quick dispatch for me, shipmate, and
then--the women!  Think of my Lady Joan writhing in their
clutches.  Hark'ee to the lewd rogues--'tis women now--hark to
'em!"  And here again their vile song burst forth with much the
same obscenity as I had once heard sung by Abnegation Mings in a
wood, and the which I will not here transcribe.

"Well, shipmate," says Adam, glancing up from his papers, "last
of all, there's yourself!  Here's you with the rope in prospect
unless you quit this ship, and yonder, Martin, yonder is the
long-boat towing astern, all stored ready, a calm sea and a fair

"No more of that!" says I angrily.

"But will ye dangle in a noose, Martin, when you might be away in
the long-boat as tows astern of us, and with a fair wind as I say

"Have done!" says I clenching my fists.

"'Twill be the simplest thing in the world, Martin," he went on,
leaning back in his chair and nodding up at me mighty pleasant,
"aye, a very simple matter for you to drop down from the stern-
gallery yonder d'ye see, and setting a course south-westerly you
should make our island in four-and-twenty hours or less what with
this wind and the sea so calm--"

"Never!" cried I in growing fury, "Come what will I stay aboard
this ship until we reach our destination!"

"Hum!" says he, pinching his chin and eyeing me 'twixt narrowed
lids, "Are ye still bent on nought but vengeance then?  Why
look'ee, Martin, 'tis none so far to seek, for seeing you may not
reach the father why not smite him through the daughter?  She'd
make fine sport for our beastly crew--hark to 'em roaring!  Sport
for them and a mighty full vengeance for you--"

The table betwixt us hampered my blow and then, as I strove to
come at him, I brought up with the muzzle of his pistol within a
foot of my brow.

"Easy, shipmate, easy!" says he, leaning back in his chair but
keeping me covered.

"Damned rogue!" I panted.

"True!" he nodded, "True, Martin, vengeance is kin to roguery,
d'ye see.  If you're for murdering the father what's to hinder
you from giving the proud daughter up to--steady, Martin, steady
it is!  Your sudden ways be apt to startle a timid man and my
finger's on the trigger.  Look'ee now, shipmate, if your scheme
of fine-gentlemanly vengeance doth not permit of such methods
towards a woman, what's to prevent you going on another track and
carrying her with you, safe from all chance of brutality? 
There's stowage for her in the long-boat, which is a stout, roomy
craft now towing astern, stored and victualled, a smooth sea, a
fair wind--"

"Hark'ee, Adam Penfeather," says I, choking with passion, "once
and for all I bide on this ship until she brings up off

"But then, Martin, she never will bring up off Hispaniola, not
whiles I navigate her!"

"Ha!" I cried, "Doth my lady know of this?  Doth Sir Rupert?"

"Not yet, Martin."

"Then, by Heaven, they shall learn this very hour!"

"I think not, Martin."

"And I swear they shall.  Let them hang me an they will, but
first they shall hear you intend to seize the ship to your own
purposes--aye, by God, they shall know you for the pirate you

Now as I turned and strode for the door, I heard the sudden
scrape of Adam's chair behind me, and whirling about, saw his
pistol a-swing above my head, felt the vicious, staggering blow,
and reeling to the door, sank weakly to my knees, and thence
seemed to plunge into a black immensity and knew no more.



I awoke to a wind on my brow, very pleasant and sweet, and in my
ears the soft and drowsy ripple of water right soothing to hear,
and thus would have slumbered on but for another sound that broke
out at intervals, a thunderous roar that seemed to shake me where
I lay.  Therefore I opened my eyes to see above me a great
multitude of stars, and lay staring up at them in vague and
dreamy wonderment until, roused again by another thunderclap, I
raised myself and saw I lay in the stern-sheets of a large, open
boat that rocked to a gentle swell, and all about me a misty sea
grey with the dawn.  Now as I gazed around me, greatly troubled
and amazed, I beheld, far away across these dim waters, a flash
of red flame, and after some while heard again the thunder of a

Little by little, as the light waxed, I made out the loom of two
ships and, despite the distance, I knew the foremost for the
"Faithful Friend."  Ever and anon would come the faint crack of
caliver or petronel from her high poop, and the thunder of her
stern-chase guns.  And with my mind's eyes I seemed to espy Adam
firing from his loopholes to sweep the decks forward, the while
Godby and his few gunners served the great basilisks aft, aiming
them at a tall, black ship that stood hard in their wake, yawing
now and then to bring her fore-chase to bear on them in answer.

Suddenly up flamed the sun turning sea and sky to glory; but I
crouched miserable in my helplessness, for now I saw the
"Faithful Friend" steered a course that was taking her rapidly
away from me upon the freshening wind.  Perceiving which bitter
truth, beholding myself thus befooled, bubbled and tricked (and
my head throbbing from the blow of Penfeather's pistol-butt) a
mighty anger against him surged within me, and shaking my fists I
fell to fierce curses and revilings, like any madman, until what
with my aching head and lack of breath, I cast myself face down
and lay there spent with my futile ravings.  Yet even so,
bethinking me of all my fine schemes and purposes thus brought to
nothingness and myself drifting impotent at the mercy of wind and
wave, I sought to spit my puny anger against the God that made
me, in blasphemies and bitter imprecations.

"O shame, shame on you, Martin Conisby!  The God you rail upon is
my God also.  Have done, I say!  Be silent, nor tempt His mercy
with your childish clamours!"

Up-starting I turned and beheld the Lady Brandon upon her knees
within a yard of me, saw her shrink before my gaze and the
griping passion of my hands; for now, reading in her look all her
scorn and loathing for the thing I was, I must needs turn my fury
upon her and did that the which shames me to this day, for even
as she fronted me, all defenceless but with head erect and eyes
unflinching despite the sick pallor of her cheeks, I seized her
in cruel hold and, dragging her to me, bent her backward across a

"Ha!" I gasped, "Will ye dare cry shame on me?  Will ye mock--
will ye flout--will ye scorn me still--and you but a lying,
thieving Brandon!  Would you trample me 'neath your proud

"All this!" says she, staring up into my eyes, "But I do pity you
most for--what you are become.  O--kill me if you will, 'twould
be very easy for you and, mayhap, best for me, and I do not fear
to die.  So do as you will, Martin Conisby, I do not fear you
since Death is my kind friend and shall free me of the shame of
you if need be!"

Hereupon I loosed her and, crouched again in the stern-sheets,
bowed my head upon my fists, whiles she, kneeling patiently
beside the midship thwart, ordered her wrenched garments with
shaking hands.

And, after some while, her voice with its sweet, vital ring,
pierced to those black deeps where lay the soul of me:

"'Tis growing very rough.  What must we do?"

Lifting my head, I saw that the sea was risen considerably, and
the boat drifting broadside to the wind, so that the waves,
taking us abeam, spilled aboard us ever and anon.  So I arose and
made shift to step the mast and hoist sail, nothing heeding her
proffered aid; then shipping the tiller, I put our little vessel
before the wind.  And now, from a log pitching and rolling at

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