Gascoyne, The Sandal Wood Trader eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 393 pages of information about Gascoyne, The Sandal Wood Trader.
a foot above the water-line.  This having been accomplished, they next proceeded to the figurehead, and, unscrewing the white lady who smiled there, fixed in her place a hideous griffin’s head, which, like the ribbon, was also bright scarlet.  While these changes were being effected, others of the crew removed the boat that lay on the deck, bottom up between the masts, and uncovered a long brass pivot-gun, of the largest caliber, which shone in the saffron light of morning like a mass of burnished gold.  This gun was kept scrupulously clean and neat in all its arrangements; the rammers, sponges, screws, and other apparatus belonging to it were neatly arranged beside it, and four or five of its enormous iron shot were piled under its muzzle.  The traversing gear connected with it was well greased, and, in short, everything about the gun gave proof of the care that was bestowed on it.

But these were not the only alterations made in the mysterious schooner.  Round both masts were piled a number of muskets, boarding-pikes, cutlasses, and pistols, all of which were perfectly clean and bright, and the men—­fierce enough and warlike in their aspect at all times—­had now rendered themselves doubly so by putting on broad belts with pistols therein, and tucking up their sleeves to the shoulders, thereby displaying their brawny arms as if they had dirty work before them.  This strange metamorphosis was finally completed, when Manton, with his own hands, ran up to the peak of the mainsail a bright scarlet flag with the single word “AVENGER” on it in large black letters.

During one of those lulls in the breeze to which we have referred, and while the smooth ocean glowed in the mellow light that ushered in the day, the attention of those on board the Avenger (as we shall call the double-faced schooner when under red colors) was attracted to one of the more distant cliffs, on the summit of which human beings appeared to be moving.

“Hand me that glass,” said Manton to one of the men beside him.  “I shouldn’t wonder if the niggers were up to some mischief there.  Ah! just so,” he exclaimed, adjusting the telescope a little more correctly, and again applying it to his eye.  “They seem to be scuffling on the top of yonder precipice.  Now there’s one fellow down; but it’s so far off that I can’t make out clearly what they’re about.  I say, Mr. Scraggs, get the other glass and take a squint at them; you are further sighted than I am.”

“You’re right:  they are killin’ one another up yonder,” observed Scraggs, surveying the group on the cliffs with calm indifference.

“Here comes the breeze,” exclaimed Manton, with a look of satisfaction.  “Now, look alive, lads; we shall be close on the nigger village in five minutes:  it’s just round the point of this small island close ahead.  Come, Mr. Scraggs, we’ve other business on hand just now than squinting at the scrimmages of these fellows.”

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Gascoyne, The Sandal Wood Trader from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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