But Mr. Mulroy was not a man to be easily baffled. He resolved to continue the chase, and, supposing that his commander must have got safely to the shore, he made up his mind to proceed southward for a short time, thinking it probable that the pirate would run for the shelter of those remote islands which he knew were seldom visited by the merchant ships. The importance of keeping the chase in view as long as possible, and following it up without delay, he felt would be accepted as a sufficient excuse by Montague for not putting back to take him on board.
The squalls which happened to prevail at that time drove the Talisman further south than her first lieutenant had intended to go, and she failed to fall in with the pirate schooner. Mulroy cruised far and wide for fully a week; then he gave up the chase as hopeless. Two days after the breaking of the storm that wrecked the Wasp the Talisman’s prow was turned northward towards Sandy Cove.
It was the close of a calm, beautiful evening when this was done. A gentle breeze fanned the topsails, although it failed to ruffle the sea.
“I don’t like to be baffled in this way,” said Mulroy to his second lieutenant, as they paced the quarter-deck together.
“It is very unfortunate,” returned the other. “Would it not be well to examine the man called Surly Dick before leaving these waters? You know he let out that there is some island hereabout at which the pirates are wont to rendezvous. Perhaps by threats, if not by persuasion, he may be induced to tell us where it lies.”
“True. I had forgotten that fellow altogether. Let him be sent for.”
In a few minutes Surly Dick stepped on the quarter-deck and touched his cap. He did not appear to have grown less surly since his introduction on board the frigate. Discipline had evidently a souring effect on his temper.
“Your late comrades have escaped me,” said the first lieutenant; “but you may depend upon it, I will catch the villains in the long run.”
“It’ll be a pretty long run before you do,” remarked the man, sulkily.
Mulroy looked sternly at him. “You forget,” said he, “that you are a prisoner. Let me advise you to be at least civil in your manner and tone. Whether the run shall be a long or a short one remains to be seen. One thing is pretty certain; namely, that your own run of life will be a very short one. You know the usual doom of a, pirate when he is caught.”
Surly Dick moved uneasily. “I was made a pirate against my will,” said he, in a still more sulky tone and disrespectful manner.
“You will find it difficult to prove that,” returned Mulroy. “Meanwhile I shall put you in irons, and treat you as you deserve, until I can place you in the hands of the civil authorities.”
Surly Dick stood first on one leg and then on the other; moved his fingers about nervously, and glanced in the lieutenant’s face furtively. It was evident that he was ill at ease.