327 “Lay him aboard on the port side, Mr. Baskirk!”
“The two boats are there, Captain, as you can see,” replied the executive officer.
“Board on the port side, Mr. Baskirk!” repeated the commander very decidedly, and somewhat sharply; and at the same time he rang one bell on the gong to slow down the engine. “Board on the port side, Mr. Baskirk!” he repeated again. “Mr. Drake, have the steam pump and long hose ready to extinguish fire!”
Whether the captain of the Raven had ordered his men to scuttle the steamer, or to fire her in several places, Christy could not know; and he did not much care, for he was ready to meet either emergency. The St. Regis was bearing down on her victim with a reduced speed.长沙桑拿推荐 The men forward and in the waist were all ready with the grappling irons to fasten to her, and the boarders were all prepared to leap upon her deck, though no fighting was expected.
The bow of the St. Regis was near the stem of the Raven, and Christy rang one bell to stop her, and then two to back her. Then he sprang upon the starboard rail of the ship where he could observe his men as they boarded the other steamer.
328 “What are you about, sir?” yelled a man on the quarter-deck of the Raven, who appeared to be the captain of the vessel, in a rude voice. “Don’t you see that you are crushing my two boats and the men in them?”
“I did not order the boats or the men there,” replied Christy calmly, and in a gentle tone, for the captain of the blockade-runner was not ten feet from him.
“I did,” added the captain of the prize, 长沙桑拿预约for such she really was by this time.
“Then you are responsible for them,” said the commander of the St. Regis.
mean to murder them?” gasped the other captain furiously.
“If they are killed you have sent them to their death!”
But the commander had no time to argue the matter with the irate captain. He had rung three bells, and the ship was backing at full speed. The momentum had not been sufficiently checked to stop her, and the two boats were crushed to splinters. The seamen who were in them saw what was coming, and they seized the ropes which had been dropped to them by the boarders on the rail 329 at the command of the captain, who did not wish them to be sacrificed to the madness of their commander, and they climbed to the chains of the Federal ship with the aid of the boarders.
“Lay her aboard!” shouted Christy as soon as the headway of the ship had been checked, and the grappling irons had been made fast.
The willing and active seamen poured from the rails to the deck of the prize, their officers leading the way. The main hatch had been removed and a light smoke was coming up through the opening. The hose from the steam pump of the ship had been drawn on board, and the master was in charge of it. At the command of the officers the men leaped below at all the openings in the deck, and it was found that she had been fired in half a dozen places.
In most of them the combustibles had only been lighted a few moments before, and they had not become well-kindled. Except at the main hatch, the men extinguished the flames with their hands and feet, and a stream from the hose put out the one amidships. The hoseman shut off the water, and the ship’s company of the St. Regis were in full possession of the prize.
330 “Anything more to be done, Captain Bristler?” asked the mate, as he approached the commander.
“Nothing more can be done, Mr. Victor,” replied the captain, who appeared to be overwhelmed with wrath at the unexpected termination of his voyage. “It is too late to scuttle her, and that vampire of a Yankee has smashed both of our boats into kindling wood. We did not begin the end soon enough.”
But the beginning had evidently ended sooner than had been expected, and the Raven was the prize of the St. Regis. Christy still stood on the rail, and saw that all his orders had been executed to the letter. Mr. Makepeace had sent the carpenter and his gang into the hold, or as far as they could get, to ascertain if the steamer had been scuttled. It could not have been done without breaking out a portion of the cargo, and this would have been a work of no little time. The carpenter reported that everything was all right below the deck of the Raven, and the commander on the rail was so informed.
illustration of quoted scene
“The stream struck the commander with force.” Page 331.
“This is a heathenish outrage, Captain, if a young cub like you can be the commander of a ship like that!” exclaimed Captain Bristler, foaming 331 with rage over the result of the affair; and he interlarded his speech with all the oaths in the vocabulary of a pirate.
“Captain Bristler, when 长沙桑拿洗浴按摩论坛 you address me as one gentleman should another, I will talk with you; but not till then,” replied Christy with dignity.