In Clive's Command eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 411 pages of information about In Clive's Command.

Desmond stepped to the side of the vessel as though to hoist the basket with the running tackle.  Making a sign to the men below, he called in a loud voice: 

“Tano!”

Instantly the men swarmed up the rope.  At the signal, misleading to the crew of the Good Intent, man after man crawled from beneath the matting on the boat below, and clambered up the ropes, led by Bulger on one side and Mr. Toley on the other.  They made little noise, and that was drowned by the singsong of the sailors and the grinding of the cables; the pilot with his back to the bulwarks saw nothing, and before Captain Barker knew that anything unusual was occurring both Bulger and Toley were tumbling over the sides.

The captain stood almost petrified with amazement as he saw Bulger’s red face rising like the morning sun.  He stepped back apace.

“What the—­”

The exclamation was never completed.  Desmond stepped up to him and in a low voice said: 

“In the name of his Majesty, King George, I call upon you, Captain Barker, to surrender this ship.”

He had a leveled pistol in his hand.  Bulger with a cutlass sprang to one side, and Toley ranged himself on the other.  Hossain had joined the two boatmen at the companionway; all had brought out pistols from the folds of their clothing, and the companionway commanded access to the ship’s armory.

Barker, who had grown purple at the sight of Bulger, now turned a sickly white.  The mate dashed forward, calling to the crew, who, seeing that something was amiss, came along with a rush, arming themselves with belaying pins and any other weapons that came handy.  Toley, however, leaving the cowed and speechless captain to Desmond, stepped toward the men.  They recognized him at once and paused doubtfully.

“You know me,” he said.  “I’m a man of few words.  You won’t go further this voyage.  Captain Barker has surrendered the ship.  You’ll drop those desperate things in your hands and go for’ard.  Show a leg, now!”

The men looked from one to another, then at the captain, who was at that moment handing over his sword to Desmond.  If Captain Barker was too badly beaten to swear he was in poor case indeed.  The crew’s hesitation was but momentary; under Toley’s sad gaze they sullenly flung down their weapons and went forward.

Only then did the captain find speech.  But it was to utter a fearful curse, ending with the name: 

“Diggle.”

Chapter 29:  In which our hero does not win the Battle of Plassey:  but, where all do well, gains as much glory as the rest.

Leaving Mr. Toley to bring the Good Intent up to Calcutta, Desmond hurried back in advance and remained in the town just long enough to inform Mr. Merriman of the happy result of his adventure and to change into his own clothes, and then returned to Chandernagore on horseback, as he had come.  He found Clive encamped two miles to the west of the fort.  No reply having reached him from Monsieur Renault, Clive had read the declaration of war as he had threatened, and opened hostilities by an attack on an outpost.

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In Clive's Command from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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