“Hold on,” cried Scraggs, with a grin; “I do believe they’re going to pitch a fellow over that cliff. What a crack he’ll come down into the water with, to be sure. It’s to be hoped the poor man is dead, for his own sake, before he takes that flight. Hallo!” added Scraggs, with an energetic shout and a look of surprise; “I say, that’s one of our men; I know him by his striped flannel shirt. If he would only give up kicking for a second, I’d make out his—Humph! it’s all up with him, now, poor fellow, whoever he is.”
As he said the last words, the figure of a man was seen to shoot out from the cliff, and, descending with ever-increasing grapidity, to strike the water with terrific violence, sending up a jet of white foam as it disappeared.
“Stand by to lower the gig,” shouted Manton.
“Aye, aye, sir,” was the hearty response of the men, as some of them sprang to obey.
The boat struck water, and its crew were on the thwarts in a moment. At the same time the point of the island was passed, and the native village opened up to view.
“Load Long Tom—double shot!” roared Manton, whose ire was raised not so much at the idea of a fellow-creature having been so barbarously murdered as at the notion of one of the crew of his schooner having been so treated by contemptible niggers. “Away, lads, and pick up that man.”
“It’s of no use,” remonstrated Scraggs; “he’s done for by this time.”
“I know it,” said Manton, with a fierce oath; “bring him in, dead or alive. If the sharks leave an inch of him, bring it to me. I’ll make the black villains eat it raw.”
This ferocious threat was interlarded with and followed by a series of terrible oaths, which we think it inadvisable to repeat.
“Starboard!” he shouted to the man at the helm, as soon as the boat shot away on its mission of mercy.
“Starboard it is.”
While he gave these orders, Manton sighted the brass gun carefully, and, just as the schooner’s head came up to the wind, he applied the match.
Instantly a cloud of smoke obscured the center of the little vessel, as if her powder magazine had blown up, and a deafening roar went ringing and reverberating from cliff to cliff as two of the great iron shot were sent groaning through the air and pitched right into the heart of the village.
It was this tremendous shot from Long Tom, followed almost instantaneously by the broadside of the Talisman, that saved the life of Alice,—possibly the lives of her young companions also; that struck terror to the hearts of the savages, causing them to converge towards their defenseless homes from all directions, and that apprised Ole Thorwald and Henry Stuart that the assault on the village had commenced in earnest.
GREATER MYSTERIES THAN EVER—A BOLD MOVE AND A NARROW ESCAPE.