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Hair Breadth Escapes Perilous incidents in the lives of sailors and travelers in Japan, Cuba, East Indies, etc., etc.   By: (1809-1885)

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First Page:

HAIR BREADTH ESCAPES

OR

PERILOUS INCIDENTS IN THE LIVES OF SAILORS

AND TRAVELERS IN JAPAN, CUBA,

EAST INDIES, ETC., ETC.

BY

T. S. ARTHUR

NEW YORK

WORTHINGTON CO., 747 BROADWAY

COPYRIGHT, 1889, BY

WORTHINGTON CO.

CONTENTS

PAGE Pirate Life. 5 Captivity among the Japanese. 37 A Sea Fight on the Cuban Coast. 91 A Winter in the Frozen Ocean. 125 The Shipwreck. 150 Voyage to the East Indies. 165 Home Sickness of a Siberian. 189

ADVENTURES.

Pirate Life.

I served as assistant pilot on board the merchant vessel Dolphin, bound from Jamaica for London, which had already doubled the southern point of the Island of Cuba, favored by the wind, when one afternoon, I suddenly observed a very suspicious looking schooner bearing down upon us from the coast. I climbed the mast, with my spy glass, and became convinced that it was a pirate. I directed the captain, who was taking his siesta, to be awaked instantly, showed him the craft, and advised him to alter our course, that we might avoid her. The captain, a man of unfortunate temper, whose principal traits of character were arrogance, avarice, and obstinacy, scorned my counsel, and insisted that we had nothing to fear, as we were perfectly well protected by the English flag.

We sailed on, while the schooner drew nearer, for about half a league, when we observed that the deck of the strange vessel swarmed with armed men, and her people were busy in getting out their boats. Upon seeing this, our captain was not a little frightened, and ordered a change in the course of the ship; but it was too late, for we were already within reach of the pirate, who soon hailed us, commanding our captain to come on board of his vessel, and as his commands were not obeyed, fired a broadside into us, which, however, did us no injury. At the same time a boat, containing nine men, pushed off towards us. They presented a most ferocious appearance, being armed with guns, swords, and long knives. They boarded our brig, as we offered not the least resistance.

They then commanded the captain, the ship's carpenter, and myself, to enter their boat, and sent us with an armed escort of four men, who handled us most roughly, to the schooner, where the pirate captain received us with deep curses. He was a gigantic, powerful, well formed man, of a pale, sallow complexion, large prominent eyes, a hooked nose, and a huge mouth, and glossy hair and beard. He might be about thirty years old, and spoke broken English with a Spanish accent.

"Have you specie on board?" he asked.

"None at all," answered our Captain, thoughtlessly enough, for we had only too much of it, and unfortunately the papers referring to it lay upon the cabin table.

"The devil," cried the robber, "do you take me for a child? All home bound vessels have money on board; give up yours quietly, and depart in the devil's name whither you will."

The captain repeated his silly denial, and enraged the pirate still further.

"Well," he said with frightful calmness, "if you will not give up the money, I will throw your cargo overboard, and search for it myself. If I find it, I'll lock you in your cabin, and burn your vessel with every man on board."

After this threat he walked up and down the deck, and said more quietly, turning to me:

"You must remain with us, for there is no one among my men who thoroughly understands a helmsman's duty, and I must give myself more rest, I am not well."

One can imagine my sensations. In the meanwhile supper had been prepared, and the pirate officers, six or seven in number, invited us politely to partake of it; we accepted, as we did not wish to displease them... Continue reading book >>




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