Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/254

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"A large ship standing athwart us and running right before the wind."

"Larboard! Keep her away! Set the studding-sails!" was the order, and two hundred nimble seamen raced to their stations on deck and in the tops and swarmed out along the yards.

Up from below came the little doctor, rubbing his hands and crying:

"What, ho! I have won the dollar bag!"

"The devil take you and your bag!" roared Lieutenant Archer. "Look yonder! That will fill all our money-bags."

"Two more sail on the larboard beam," came from aloft. "A whole fleet of twenty sail coming before the wind."

"Confound the luck of it!" growled the captain of the frigate, "this is some convoy or other; but we must try to snap up two or three of them. Haul in the studding-sails. Luff her. Let us see what we can make of them."

They were discovered to be twenty-five sail of Spanish merchantmen, under convoy of three lofty line-of-battle ships, one of which set out in chase of the agile Phoenix, which soon showed her heels. A frigate had no business to linger too close to the hundred guns of a ponderous three-decker. The huge Spanish man-of-war lumbered back to the con-