Page:A Mainsail Haul - Masefield - 1913.djvu/100

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It is possible that at this time he was a Roman Catholic, and that he omitted to attack the French and Spanish ships on religious grounds. However, there could have been few Spanish ships either safe to attack or worth attacking so far to the north; and no doubt the "Dutch fly-boats, pinks, and passengers" brought his gang enough good spoils; both of "ready chinkes" and provender. He soon became notorious. The Dutch complained to the English government; and ships were sent to cruise for him. His own ship, like most pirate ships, was chosen from many prizes for her speed. By his ship's speed and his own vigilance he escaped the cruisers for a long time; but at last, through too much aqua-vitæ, or an unlucky shot, he was caught, and carried to England, where he was lodged in the Marshalsea in irons, to wait for the next gaol delivery. His ship was either restored to her owners or sold to cover expenses. The terror of the Channel was now a plucked crow in a cage, with nothing to expect but a hempen cord, and present death at Wapping Stairs.

His sister heard of his arrest, and at once