Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/253

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of wind or against a hostile fleet they stubbornly did their duty as long as two planks held together. The bulldog strain made them heroic.

In the ward-room of the Phoenix, where the officers perspired and grumbled and cursed their luck, they kept an ingenious lottery going to vary the monotony of an empty sea. Every man put a Spanish dollar into a canvas bag and set down his guess of the date of sighting a sail. No two gamblers were to name the same date. Whenever a man lost, he dropped another dollar into the bag. It was growing heavy, for one week stretched into another without a gleam of royals or topgallant-sails from Vera Cruz to Havana. Like a good sportsman. Captain Sir Hyde Parker paid his stake into the dollar bag and squinted through his long brass spy-glass as he grumpily trudged the quarterdeck.

It was off Cape San Antonio, at the western end of Cuba, that the man at the masthead shouted down:

"A sail upon the weather bow."

"Ha! ha! Mr. Spaniard, I think we have you at last," jubilantly exclaimed the captain. "Turn out all hands! Make sail! All hands give chase!"

A midshipman scrambled aloft and blithely reported: