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of the long building at that very instant of time gave way, and out rushed five white men-evidently part of the crew of the polacre brig—followed by our people. Weak as I was I stood up to the headmost, and this appeared to have quelled him, for he instantly threw down his arms. The crackling of the fire continued; bursts of smoke spouted from the roof. Presently they were intermingled with bright sparks, and the yells arose even louder, if possible, than before, from the inside, when out rushed our people, headed by the redoubtable Davie Doublepipe himself.
“Hillo, Brail,” said he, "you seem to have your own share of it to-day! Why, what has come over you? who has wounded you?"
"That black rascal there."
“The devil !" quoth Lanyard; "shall we immolate the savage where he lies?"
“No, no; attend to what is going on in the other end of the house; for God's sake mind what may befall there."
With the gallant fellow it was a word and a blow. "Here, here! try back, my fine fellows, try back !"
The yells increased. “Merciful Providence !” exclaimed Mr. Sprawl, as he saw his people recoil from the heat and flame, "what is to be done? These poor creatures will be roasted alive where they are made fast." Our party turned, made as if they would have re-entered the house, but the scorching fire kept them back. The cries were now mixed with low moans and suffocating coughs, and presently a string of miserable naked sav. ages appeared streaming out of the door as fast as they could run, as if flying from instant death-men, old and young, well-grown children of both sexes, and several elderly women, the ancients staggering along after the more nimble as fast as their feebler strength would admit. They rushed forth, all as fast as they could, never halting until they had landed up to the waist in the muddy creek; and an interval of half a minute elapsed, when several of the women made signs that there were still some of the miserable creatures within. And indeed this was but too sadly vouched for by the shrill and heartrending cries that continued to issue from the burning shed, as if women and children had been confined in some part of it and unable to escape. Old Bloody Politeful was at this time standing in the middle of the open space with the four middies, Pumpbolt, and about ten men grouped around him, the rest being employed in various ways, some in an unavailing attempt to extinguish the fire, the others in guarding the prisoners, when all at once the first lieutenant sung out: "Men, there are women and children burning there—follow me!" He spoke to British seamen—could he have said more? And away they rushed after their heroic leader, stumbling over each other in their anxiety to succour the poor helpless things within. A minute of most intense suspense followed, when upwards of a dozen women rushed out from the flaming hut, sheltering, with their bent bodies and naked arms, their helpless infants from the sparks and fire and falling timbers; and even after they had escaped, and had crouched at our feet, the cries and groans from amongst the burning mass too fearfully evinced that numbers of our fellow-creatures, in all likelihood the most helpless of the party, were still in jeopardy, nay, in very truth, were at that instant giving up the ghost. Our crew did all they could to get the remainder of the poor creatures out, but many perished in the flames.
About fifty human beings, chiefly women, were saved, and placed, huddled together, in the centre of the open space. Presently several of the white Spaniards, who had held on in the shed amidst flame and smoke that I thought more than sufficient to have suffocated any man of woman born, started off into the woods and disappeared, all to the five whom we had seized and who were placed beside, and secured along with, the captive blacks. Those we had taken were surly, fierce-looking bravos, who, when asked any questions as to the name and character of their vessel, only smiled savagely, as much as to say: Our vessell where is she now? You are none the better for her at all events !"
“Brail, my dear,” said Lieutenant Sprawl, "since you stand pilot, what is to be done? Had we not better be off with our white prisoners while the play is good ?”
"If the tide will let us," said I; “but the boats as yet are high and dry in the creek, and we have lost the only opportunity that offered for burning the polacre. Had we confined ourselves to that object, and kept the boats afloat, we might have accomplished it where she lies at low water."
"Better as it is,” rejoined Sprawl, “better as it is; we found no slaves on board, and might have got into a scrape had we set fire to her in cold blood. No,
let us be off, and try and launch the boats. Here, men, secure your prisoners; shall we carry the black Broker—this respectable resetter of human beings—with us, Brail, eh?"
"Why, we had better,” said I; "we may get some information out of the vagabond. So kick him up,
Moses”;-he was at this moment lying on his back, again shamming a trance—"up with him; pique him with your boarding-pike, my man."
The seaman I had addressed did as he was desired; but the fellow was now either dead-drunk, or had sufficient nerve to control any expression of pain, for the deuced hard thumps and sharp progues he received produced no apparent effect. He lay like a log through them all; even the pain of the wound in his arm seemed insufficient to keep him awake.
“Why, what is that?-do you hear that?” said Lanyard, in great alarm; for several dropping shots now rattled in the direction of the boats. All was still for a minute, and every ear was turned to catch the sound, during which time we distinctly heard in the distance a loud voice hail:
"Come out from beneath the bushes there, you villains, or we shall fire a volley."
Again there was a long pause; a horn was sounded, then another; then a wild confused yell, mingled with which the musketry again breezed up; and we could hear, from the shouts of our people, that the covering party at the boats had been assailed. When the first shot was fired, the black resetter lifted his head anxiously, as if to listen; but seeing my eyes were fixed on him, he instantly dropped it again. But the instant he heard the negro horns, the noise of their onset, and the renewal of the firing, he started to his legs, as active as a lynx; and before any of us could gather our senses about us, he was on the verge of the wood, when all at once a thought seemed to come across him. He stopped, and hung in the wind a moment, as if irresolute whether to bolt or turn back. At this moment one of our people let drive at him, but missed him, although the ball nipped off a dry branch close over his head. He instantly ran and laid hold of one of the pillars of the frame that supported the abominable little idol. Another shot was fired, when down tumbled his godship on the head of his worshipper, who caught the image by the legs, and seeing some of our people rushing to seize him, he let go his hold of the upright, and whirling the figure round, holding on by its legs, he let drive with it at the man nearest him, and dropped him like a shot. He then bolted out of sight, through one of the several muddy paths that opened into the mangrovethicket landward.
"No time to be lost, my lads," whistled old Davie; "keep together." Then, in his thorough bass: "Don't throw away a shot; so now bring along your prisoners, and let us fall back on the boats-that's it. March the Dons to the front. Shove on, my fine fellows; shove on.”
The firing at the boats had by this time slackened, but the cries increased, and were now rising higher and fiercer as we approached. We reached the fort, the place of our former conflict. Heavens! what a scene presented itself. It makes one's blood run cold to reflect on it, even after the lapse of years. On the platform lay two Spaniards, and close to them three of our crew, stark and stiff, and already stripped naked as the day they were born, by whom heaven only knows; while half-a-dozen native dogs were tearing and "riving" the yet scarcely cold carcases, and dragging the dead arms hither and thither, until our near approach frightened them away, with a loud unearthly scream, of no kindred to a common bark.
One fierce brute, with his forepaws planted, straight