Anson's Voyage Round the World eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 182 pages of information about Anson's Voyage Round the World.
places; for the risking of twenty men, weak as we then were, was risking the safety of the whole.  So that we conceived we should be necessitated to content ourselves with what few prizes we could pick up at sea before we were discovered, after which we should in all probability be obliged to depart with precipitation, and esteem ourselves fortunate to regain our native country, leaving our enemies to triumph on the inconsiderable mischief they had received from a squadron whose equipment had filled them with such dreadful apprehensions.  It is true the final event proved more honourable than we had foreboded; but the intermediate calamities did likewise greatly surpass our most gloomy apprehensions, and could they have been predicted to us at this island of Juan Fernandez, they would doubtless have appeared insurmountable.

CHAPTER 15.  A PRIZE—­SPANISH PREPARATIONS—­A NARROW ESCAPE.

A CHASE.

In the beginning of September, as has been already mentioned, our men were tolerably well recovered; and now the time of navigation in this climate drawing near, we exerted ourselves in getting our ships in readiness for the sea.  On the 8th, about eleven in the morning, we espied a sail to the north-east, which continued to approach us till her courses appeared even with the horizon.  In this interval we all had hopes she might prove one of our own squadron; but at length, finding she steered away to the eastward without hauling in for the island, we concluded she must be a Spaniard.  It was resolved to pursue her; and the Centurion being in the greatest forwardness, we immediately got all our hands on board, set up our rigging, bent our sails, and by five in the afternoon got under sail.  We had at this time very little wind, so that all the boats were employed to tow us out of the bay; and even what wind there was lasted only long enough to give us an offing of two or three leagues, when it flattened to a calm.  The night coming on, we lost sight of the chase, and were extremely impatient for the return of daylight, in hopes to find that she had been becalmed as well as we, though I must confess that her greater distance from the land was a reasonable ground for suspecting the contrary, as we indeed found in the morning, to our great mortification; for though the weather continued perfectly clear, we had no sight of the ship from the mast-head.  But as we were now satisfied that it was an enemy, and the first we had seen in these seas, we resolved not to give over the search lightly; and a small breeze springing up from the west-north-west, we got up our top-gallant masts and yards, set all the sails, and steered to the south-east, in hopes of retrieving our chase, which we imagined to be bound to Valparaiso.  We continued on this course all that day and the next; and then, not getting sight of our chase, we gave over the pursuit, conceiving that by that time she must in all probability have reached her port.

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Anson's Voyage Round the World from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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