Mulroy had visited the Isle of Palms, and found that the pirates had flown. The mate of the Avenger and his companions had taken advantage of the opportunity of escape afforded them by Gascoyne, and had hastily quitted their rendezvous, with as much of the most valuable portion of their booty as the boat could carry. As this is their last appearance in these pages, it may be as well to say that they were never again heard of. Whether they perished in a storm, or gained some distant land, and followed their former leader’s advice,—to repent of their sins,—or again took to piracy, and continued the practise of their terrible trade under a more bloody-minded captain, we cannot tell. They disappeared as many a band of wicked men has disappeared before, and never turned up again. With these remarks, we dismiss them from our tale.
Surly Dick now began to entertain sanguine hopes that he would be pardoned, and that he would yet live to enjoy the undivided booty which he alone knew lay concealed in the Isle of Palms; for, now that he had heard Henry’s account of the landing of Gascoyne on the island, he never doubted that the pirates would fly in haste from a spot that was no longer unknown to others, and that they would be too much afraid of being captured to venture to return to it.
It was, then, with a feeling of no small concern, that the pirate heard the lookout shout on the afternoon referred to, “Sail ho!”
“On the lea beam.”
The course of the frigate was at once changed, and she ran down towards the strange sail.
“A schooner, sir,” observed the second lieutenant to Mr. Mulroy.
“It looks marvelously like the Foam, alias the Avenger,” observed the latter. “Beat to quarters. If this rascally pirate has indeed been thrown in our way again, we will give him a warm reception. Why, the villain has actually altered his course, and is standing towards us.”
“Don’t you think it is just possible,” suggested Henry Stuart, “that Gascoyne may have captured the vessel from his mate, and now comes to meet us as a friend?”
“I don’t know that,” said Mulroy, in an excited tone; for he could not easily forget the rough usage his vessel had received at the hands of the bold pirate. “I don’t know that. No doubt Gascoyne’s mate was against him; but the greater part of the crew were evidently in his favor, else why the secret manner in which he was deprived of his command? No, no. Depend upon it, the villain has got hold of his schooner and will keep it. By a fortunate chance we have again met; I will see to it that we do not part without a close acquaintance. Yet why he should throw himself into my very arms in this way, puzzles me. Ha! I see his big gun amidships. It is uncovered. No doubt he counts on his superior sailing powers, and means to give us a shot and show us his heels. Well, we shall see.”
“There goes his flag,” observed the second lieutenant.