“Well, my lad, there were two objections. In the first place, the pirates would have seen what I was at, and fired at me in the 佛山桑拿qq群 water. In the second place, the 佛山南海桑拿休闲会所 sailors on board the Sally Ann, thinking that I was a pirate, would have suspected I was up to some mischief, and so, most likely, they would have blazed away at me, too. So, between the two fires, I shouldn’t have stood a very good chance.”
“I don’t know but you are right.”
“No, my lad, it didn’t take me very long to decide that there was nothing to be gained in this way. At that moment, I chanced to go down below for something, when my eye rested on—what do you think?”
“What was it?”
“It was a keg of powder,” said Bill, shaking the ashes from his pipe. “Perhaps, my lad, you can guess what thought that put me up to.”
“Was it to blow them all up?” asked Charlie, in excitement.
“You’ve hit it, my lad.”
“But that would be dangerous to you.”
“I knew that well enough,” said the sailor. “佛山桑拿论坛有波推吗There was precious little chance 佛山桑拿小姐服务视频 of old Bill Sturdy living to tell the story; but, my lad, I’ll tell you what made me overlook that. I must either turn pirate and always remain so, with a pretty considerable chance of swinging from the gallows some time, or else be butchered by the pirates for refusing to join them. So, as there didn’t seem to be much but death in prospect, that consideration didn’t weigh much. Then I thought that, if I did die by the explosion, I should have the satisfaction of knowing that the rascally pirates would share my fate, and the Red Rover, the scourge of the seas, would never do any more harm. Besides that, I should save the Sally Ann, and the lives of the captain and crew, and that was something glorious to think of.”
The boy’s cheek glowed with sympathetic ardor, and he clasped Bill Sturdy’佛山桑拿按摩洗浴中心 s rough hand, in token of 佛山桑拿上门服务 understanding and appreciating his motive.
“That seemed the only way open to me,” resumed Bill, “and I determined to adopt it. Of course, there were nine chances out of ten that I should be blown up with the rest of them, but still there was a possibility of escape. I couldn’t help thinking of that, and the more I thought, the more I had a kind of feeling that I should escape. I thought I would go up on deck a minute, before carrying out my design, and see what was going on. Well, the pirates had about got ready for action. The decks had been cleared, the cutlasses and pistols and other murderous weapons had been distributed among the men, and, altogether, there seemed precious little chance for the poor fellows on board the Sally Ann, especially, as I knew well enough that they had no cannon, and only a few pistols, that were not 佛山夜生活桑拿论坛 likely to do them much good. There wasn’t much time to lose, as the action was going to commence. So I slipped down below, and fixed a slow match, so that it would reach the powder in about a minute. I had just about got it fixed, when who should I see coming down, but the pirate captain. It seemed as if all my plans were going to be knocked in the head. No doubt he suspected that all was not as it should be, and was coming down to see what was to pay. I felt desperate, and fetched him as powerful a blow as I was able, on the side of his head, and he fell like an ox, pretty effectually stunned.”
“The next thing I did was to hurry upon deck. ‘Where’s the captain?’ asked the mate. ‘He’ll be up directly,’ said I. And so he was, but not in the sense that he understood it.
“Well, I listened on deck for about 佛山桑拿夜生活888 half a minute, in a terrible state of anxiety, you may be sure. Then, feeling that it was not safe for me to stay any longer, I jumped into the water, and began to swim towards the Sally Ann. As my head rose above the water, I saw the mate about to fire at me, and I dove. When my head was fairly out of water again, such a sound as smote upon my ear! The light had reached the powder, and there was a terrible explosion. The ship was shattered to pieces. The pirates were hurled into the air, some with mutilated limbs, and I rather think that some of them were considerably astonished. The captain did go up as I promised. He was flung a hundred feet into the air, and never came down again alive. For my part, I was lucky enough to reach the Sally Ann, untouched by the falling fragments. When they found out who I was, and how I had saved them, their gratitude knew no bounds. The owners made up a purse of two thousand dollars,
and presented it to me.”
“And what did you do with it?”
“When I got back to Boston, I put it in one of the places you call Savings Banks, and I expect it’s there now.”
XXIII. ANTONIO’S PLOT.
Such is a specimen of the yarns—sometimes true, sometimes spun out of whole cloth—with which the sailors amused themselves and beguiled the tedium of the night-watch.
The companionship of honest and stout-hearted Bill Sturdy proved a great source of happiness to Charlie, and enabled him to bear up, as otherwise he might have found it difficult to do, under the hardships of his condition, the persecution of the captain and the mate, who had not forgotten their animosity, and the uncertainty he could not but feel as to the situation in which his mother was left, with the painful doubt as to whether she would be able to support herself
till he could return and relieve her necessities.
“When we get back, my lad,” said Bill Sturdy, “I’ll put half that money in the Savings Bank in your name, so that if you and your mother want it at any time, you can use it.”
“No, Bill,” said Charlie, earnestly, “you are very kind, but I couldn’t consent to that.”
“And why not, my lad? What do I want of it? I’ve got neither chick nor child, and am not likely to have. I’ve taken a fancy to you, and the money’ll do you more good than me.”
“You are very kind,” said Charlie, gratefully; “but I mustn’t take advantage of your generosity.”
“Nonsense, my lad. I know what it is to be a poor boy, without money or friends, and nowadays money will bring friends. Mayhap it’ll start you in some business, and when you get rich you can pay me; or if, by and by, I take a notion to
come to anchor on shore, you’ll give me a corner in your house, where I can smoke my pipe and spin my yarns.”
“That I will, Bill,” said Charlie, seizing the old sailor’s rough hand. “If I have a roof to cover me, it shall cover you too.”
“Thank you, my lad,” said Bill. “I know you would.”
Under Bill Sturdy’s rough exterior there was a kind heart which warmed to our young hero, partly because of his solitary position on board, partly on account of his manliness and attractive qualities. So they became fast friends.
Charlie did not find his duties altogether distasteful. He was a bright, active boy, not without ambition, and resolved to do himself credit in his new position, however it may have been forced upon him. For this reason it was that the captain and the mate, although they watched him with lynx eyes, hoping that he would afford them some pretext for showing their rancorous feelings towards him, watched ineffectually. By his activity, and his frank and manly disposition, he was fast ingratiating himself with the crew, who were the more disposed to espouse his cause, because they could not fail to notice the injustice with which the officers treated him.
But trouble was brewing for Charlie, and soon the storm broke forth.
The scuffle between Bill Sturdy and Antonio, of which Charlie was the occasion, will not have been forgotten. Antonio had before hated Bill on account of his superiority in strength, which deprived him of his former champion’s life. This feeling was increased by the issue of the contest which had resulted in his humiliation and defeat, and his anger was also stirred up against Charlie, who had been the occasion of it. Yet he did not dare to venture upon abuse, because it was generally understood that Bill Sturdy had constituted himself Charlie’s especial friend and protector.
But there were other ways of compassing his end. Antonio was subtile. He felt that his revenge must be a more secret one, and he desired that it should involve both Bill Sturdy and his protégé. If he could only involve Charlie in some offence which would draw upon him the active displeasure of the captain, and subject him to public punishment, he felt sure that Bill Sturdy would not stand tamely by and see it inflicted, while any interference would be insubordination, and get his rival into serious trouble.
After reflection Antonio decided to implicate Charlie in a charge of theft. It happened that the captain had a valuable gold ring, set with diamonds, which, for reasons unnecessary to state, he prized even beyond its pecuniary value. Captain Brace, however, was not a careful man. He would sometimes take off his ring, and lay it down on the cabin table. On one occasion Antonio, while upon deck, observed the captain pass, and ascertained by a swift glance that the ring was not upon his finger. He watched his opportunity, and slipping down into the cabin, found, as he anticipated, the ring upon the table. It was the work of a moment to snatch and conceal it in his pocket.
He returned to the work in which he had been engaged, and resumed it, supposing he had not been observed.
In this he was mistaken.
Bill Sturdy had had his eye upon him from the time of his difficulty with him. He could see Antonio’s craftiness in his face, and the apparent affability and conciliatory manner of the latter afterwards had by no means deceived him.
“Look out for squalls,” thought he. “He’s too fair seeming to be trusted. I’ve no doubt he’s hatching up something or other. I’ll keep a sharp lookout for him.”
When Antonio made his stealthy visit to the cabin, as above described, the vigilant eye of Bill Sturdy was upon him and his movements.
In a moment he reappeared. Bill saw it all out of the corner of his eye, though he appeared to be looking in just the opposite direction.
“What’s the fellow up to?” he thought. “Some mischief, I reckon. What business has he in the cabin? I must watch him.”