Page:A Mainsail Haul - Masefield - 1913.djvu/84

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"Crossyman," agreed to allow him to shelter and recruit at Tunis, and to use that port as a base from which he might sally out to rob at pleasure. The name Crossyman seems to be a corruption of Cara Osman, or Osman the Dark. Osman, it seems, had started life as a tailor.

It is difficult for one accustomed to the law and order of the present day to understand the dangers which threatened the Jacobean traveller. The seas swarmed with pirates; so that few merchantmen dared put to sea without arms; while very few came home without some tale of an encounter. There were pirates in the Atlantic, to intercept the ships coming home from the Newfoundland fisheries. There were pirates in the West Indies, roving for Spanish treasure-ships. There were pirates in the Orkneys, preying upon the Iceland trades. There were pirates all over Ireland, especially in the south and the west, ranging over the Channel, and round these coasts. But there were, perhaps, more pirates in the Mediterranean than in all the other waters put together. In the Mediterranean they had the most part of the trade of Europe for their quarry; while the coasts of Africa, and the