Manton, for reasons best known to himself (certainly not from goodness of heart), was kind to his captives to the extent of simply letting them alone. He declined to hold any intercourse whatever with Captain Montague, and forbade him to speak with the men upon pain of being confined to his berth. The young people were allowed to do as they pleased, so long as they kept out of the way.
On reaching the Isle of Palms the pirates at once proceeded to take in those stores of which they stood in need. The harbor into which the schooner ran was a narrow bay, on the shores of which the palm trees grew sufficiently high to prevent her masts being seen from the other side of the island. Here the captives were landed; but as Manton did not wish them to witness his proceedings, he sent them across the islet under the escort of a party who conveyed them to the shores of a small bay. On the rocks in this bay lay the wreck of what once had been a noble ship. It was now completely dismantled. Her hull was stove in by the rocks. Her masts and yards were gone, with the exception of their stumps and the lower part of the main-mast, to which the mainyard still hung with a ragged portion of the mainsail attached to it.
A feeling of depression filled the breast of Montague and his companions as they came in sight of this wreck, and the former attempted to obtain some information in regard to her from his conductors; but they sternly bade him ask no questions. Some time afterwards he heard the story of this vessel’s fate. We shall record it here.
Not many months prior to the date of our tale, the Avenger happened to have occasion to run down to the Isle of Palms. Gascoyne was absent at the time. He had been landed at Sandy Cove, and had ordered Manton to go to the rendezvous for supplies. On nearing the isle a storm arose. The wind was fair, however, and the schooner ran for her destination under close-reefed sails. Just before reaching it they fell in with a large full-rigged ship, which, on sighting the schooner, ran up her flag half-mast high, as a signal of distress. She had sprung a leak, and was sinking.
Had the weather been calmer, the pirates would have at once boarded the vessel and carried her as a prize into the harbor; but the sea ran so high that this was impossible. Manton therefore ran down as close to the side of the merchantman (for such she seemed to be) as enabled him to hail her through the speaking-trumpet. When sufficiently near he demanded her name and destination.
“The Brilliant, from Liverpool, bound for the Sandwich Islands. And you?”
“The Foam—from the Feejees—for Calcutta. What’s wrong with you?”
“Sprung a leak; is there anchorage in the bay?” sang out the captain of the merchantman.
“No; it’s too shoal for a big ship. Bear away round to the other side of the island. You’ll find good holding ground there. I’ll show you the way.”