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The Corsair King   By: (1825-1904)

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[Illustration: Cover of The Corsair King]

The Corsair King

(A KALOZ KIRALY)

by Maurus Jókai

Author of "Black Diamonds," "Manasseh," "The Baron's Sons," "Pretty Michal," etc.

Translated by Mary J. Safford

[Illustration]

Boston L. C. Page & Company mdcccci

Copyright, 1901, by L. C. Page & Company (Inc.)

All rights reserved

The Heintzemann Press Boston

WORKS OF MAURUS JÓKAI

MANASSEH THE BARON'S SONS PRETTY MICHAL THE CORSAIR KING MIDST THE WILD CARPATHIANS

L. C. PAGE & COMPANY 200 SUMMER STREET, BOSTON, MASS.

Contents

CHAPTER PAGE I. CHOOSING A KING 11 II. IN HISPANIOLA 50 III. REVENGE 149 IV. RETRIBUTION 187

The CORSAIR KING

Chapter I

Choosing a King

The storm had spent itself, the sea was calm again, and on its smooth surface tossed empty casks and shattered masts, the monuments of shipwrecked vessels. The stormy petrels had vanished with the tempest, and the flying fish were now making their clumsy leaps from wave to wave, a sign of fair weather. A brigantine which had outlived the gale was moving slowly over the almost unrippled surface of the water; all hands were engaged in repairing the damage occasioned by the storm; temporary masts were rigged, sails trimmed, the crew worked fairly hanging in the air; for the ship had heeled far over, a proof that her ballast had shifted during the tempest.

With the exception of the blows of the carpenter's hammer, and the creaking of the pumps, nothing was heard save the voice of the captain, who stood leaning against the mainmast trying to ascertain on a chart the place to which he had been driven by the storm. The movements of the needle were scrutinized more and more carefully, while from time to time, the voice of an officer taking soundings, echoed on the air. At last the captain's finger stopped on a group of islands and he said quietly: "We are off the Ladrones." At the same moment a sailor on the mast head shouted: "Land!" Without the slightest change of expression, the captain repeated: "The Ladrones."

Then, folding the chart, he took out a small silver whistle and, blowing a signal, ordered the mate to summon the crew to investigate the occurrences of the preceding night.

The Isles of Thieves were but a few miles distant, they had no cannon, their sails were tattered, yet the captain spoke as calmly in passing sentence upon his men as though he were sitting in the utmost security upon a jury bench.

"By whose directions were the sick thrown overboard?" he asked, turning his stern face toward the crew.

"The doctor ordered it," replied an old seaman.

"You, Scudamore?" inquired the captain, wheeling round to look a tall thin man in the face.

The latter's countenance was one of those which, at the first glance, appear smooth and gentle, whose features when smiling are even captivating, until some expression of mockery or greed of vengeance suddenly transforms the winning glance into an image of horror.

"You gave the order yourself, Captain Rolls," replied the surgeon, with a smiling face, and in a tone of marked gentleness, as if the subject under discussion were some very noble deed, which he declined to acknowledge merely from exaggerated modesty. "When the ship sprung a leak, you commanded that all the superfluous ballast should be thrown overboard. The men first cast out the heavy ballast; then you ordered them to add whatever else could be spared. Then the cannon went, though it was a great pity, for we stand in need of them, especially when off the Ladrones, but even this did not lighten the ship sufficiently. You again issued orders that everything superfluous must be cast into the sea. There was nothing left which could be dispensed with except the bars of silver and the sick. The crew began to discuss which should be thrown overboard... Continue reading book >>




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