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the trees and tumbling into their places in the boats.
“Here come the gigs, sir,” said I.
“Give way, then,” cried the captain. “We mustn’t mind if we
swamp her now. If we can’t get ashore, all’s up.”
“Only one of the gigs is being manned, sir,” I added; “the crew
of the other most likely going round by shore to cut us off.”
“They’ll have a hot run, sir,” returned the captain. “Jack
ashore, you know. It’s not them I mind; it’s the round-shot. Carpet
bowls! My lady’s maid couldn’t miss. Tell us, squire, when you see
the match, and we’ll hold water.”
In the meanwhile we had been making headway at a good pace
for a boat so overloaded, and we had shipped but little water in the
process. We were now close in; thirty or forty strokes and we
should beach her, for the ebb had already disclosed a narrow belt
of sand below the clustering trees. The gig was no longer to be
feared; the little point had already concealed it from our eyes. The
ebb-tide, which had so cruelly delayed us, was now making
reparation and delaying our assailants. The one source of danger
was the gun.
“If I durst,” said the captain, “I’d stop and pick off another
But it was plain that they meant nothing should delay their
shot. They had never so much as looked at their fallen comrade,
though he was not dead, and I could see him trying to crawl away.
“Ready!” cried the squire.
“Hold!” cried the captain, quick as an echo.
And he and Redruth backed with a great heave that sent her
stern bodily under water. The report fell in at the same instant of
time. This was the first that Jim heard, the sound of the squire’s