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The Black Buccaneer   By: (1892-1977)

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[Illustration: "If a man starts to haul on that line, I'll shoot him dead!" [See page 62.]]

THE BLACK BUCCANEER

BY

STEPHEN W. MEADER

ILLUSTRATIONS BY THE AUTHOR

NEW YORK

HARCOURT, BRACE AND COMPANY

COPYRIGHT, 1920, BY HARCOURT, BRACE AND COMPANY, INC.

Twelfth printing, May, 1940

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA BY QUINN & BODEN COMPANY, INC., RAHWAY, N. J.

FULL PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS

"If a man starts to haul on that line, I'll shoot him dead!" Frontispiece

FACING PAGE

"Ho, ho, young woodcock, and how do ye like the company of Stede Bonnet's rovers?" 23

"Don't say a word sh! easy there are you awake?" 143

A sudden red glare on the walls of the chasm 223

Job had bracketed his target 247

THE BLACK BUCCANEER

CHAPTER I

On the morning of the 15th of July, 1718, anyone who had been standing on the low rocks of the Penobscot bay shore might have seen a large, clumsy boat of hewn planking making its way out against the tide that set strongly up into the river mouth. She was loaded deep with a shifting, noisy cargo that lifted white noses and huddled broad, woolly backs in fact, nothing less extraordinary than fifteen fat Southdown sheep and a sober faced collie dog. The crew of this remarkable craft consisted of a sinewy, bearded man of forty five who minded sheet and tiller in the stern, and a boy of fourteen, tall and broad for his age, who was constantly employed in soothing and restraining the bleating flock.

No one was present to witness the spectacle because, in those remote days, there were scarcely a thousand white men on the whole coast of Maine from Kittery to Louisberg, while at this season of the year the Indians were following the migrating game along the northern rivers. The nearest settlement was a tiny log hamlet, ten miles up the bay, which the two voyagers had left that morning.

The boy's keen face, under its shock of sandy hair, was turned toward the sea and the dim outline of land that smudged the southern horizon.

"Father," he suddenly asked, "how big is the Island?"

"You'll see soon enough, Jeremy. Stop your questioning," answered the man. "We'll be there before night and I'll leave you with the sheep. You'll be lonesome, too, if I mistake not."

[Illustration: Jeremy]

"Huh!" snorted Jeremy to himself.

Indeed it was not very likely that this lad, raised on the wildest of frontiers, would mind the prospect of a night alone on an island ten miles out at sea. He had seen Indian raids before he was old enough to know what frightened him; had tried his best with his fists to save his mother in the Amesbury massacre, six years before; and in a little settlement on the Saco River, when he was twelve, he had done a man's work at the blockhouse loophole, loading nearly as fast and firing as true as any woodsman in the company. Danger and strife had given the lad an alert self confidence far beyond his years.

Amos Swan, his father, was one of those iron spirits that fought out the struggle with the New England wilderness in the early days. He had followed the advancing line of colonization into the Northeast, hewing his way with the other pioneers. What he sought was a place to raise sheep. Instead of increasing, however, his flock had dwindled wolves here lynxes there dogs in the larger settlements. After the last onslaught he had determined to move with his possessions and his two boys Tom, nineteen years old, and the smaller Jeremy to an island too remote for the attacks of any wild animal... Continue reading book >>




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