Snarleyyow eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 524 pages of information about Snarleyyow.

Chapter IV

In which there is a desperate combat.

Even at this period of the English history, it was the custom to put a few soldiers on board of the vessels of war, and the Yungfrau cutter had been supplied with a corporal and six men, all of whom were belonging to the Dutch marine.  To a person who was so unpopular as Mr Vanslyperken, this little force was a great protection, and both Corporal Van Spitter and his corps were well treated by him.  The corporal was his purser and purveyor, and had a very good berth of it, for he could cheat as well as his commandant.  He was, moreover, his prime minister, and an obedient executor of all his tyranny, for Corporal Van Spitter was without a shadow of feeling—­on the contrary, he had pleasure in administering punishment; and if Vanslyperken had told him to blow any man’s brains out belonging to the vessel, Van Spitter would have immediately obeyed the order without the change of a muscle in his fat, florid countenance.  The corporal was an enormous man, tall, and so corpulent, that he weighed nearly twenty stone.  Jansen was the only one who could rival him; he was quite as tall as the corporal, and as powerful, but he had not the extra weight of his carcass.

About five minutes after the summons, the huge form of Corporal Van Spitter was seen to emerge slowly from the hatchway, which appeared barely wide enough to admit the egress of his broad shoulders.  He had a flat foraging cap on his head, which was as large as a buffalo’s, and his person was clothed in blue pantaloons, tight at the ankle, rapidly increasing in width as they ascended, until they diverged at the hips to an expanse which was something between the sublime and the ridiculous.  The upper part of his body was cased in a blue jacket, with leaden buttons, stamped with the rampant lion, with a little tail behind, which was shoved up in the air by the protuberance of the parts.  Having gained the deck, he walked to Vanslyperken, and raised the back of his right hand to his forehead.

“Corporal Van Spitter, get your cats up for punishment, and when you are ready fetch up Smallbones.”

Whereupon, without reply, Corporal Van Spitter put his left foot behind the heel of his right, and by this manoeuvre turned his body round like a capstern, so as to bring his face forward, and then walked off in that direction.  He soon re-appeared with all the necessary implements of torture, laid them down on one of the lee guns, and again departed to seek out his victim.

After a short time, a scuffle was heard below, but it was soon over, and once more appeared the corporal with the spare, tall body of Smallbones under his arm.  He held him, grasped by the middle part, about where Smallbones’ stomach ought to have been, and the head and heels of the poor wretch both hung down perpendicularly, and knocked together as the corporal proceeded aft.

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Snarleyyow from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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