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CHAPTER X

THE ROARING DAYS OF PIRACY

In Bristowe I left Poll ashore,
Well stocked wi' togs an' gold,
And off I goes to sea for more,
A piratin' so bold.
An' wounded in the arm I got.
An' then a pretty blow;
Come home to find Poll's flowed away,
Yo, ho, with the rum below!

IT was in the early part of the eighteenth century, two hundred years ago, when the merchant voyager ran as great a risk of being taken by pirates as he did of suffering shipwreck. Within a brief period flourished most of the picturesque scoundrels who have some claim to distinction. Blackbeard terrified the Atlantic coast from Boston to Charleston until a cutlass cut him down in 1717. He was a most satisfactory figure of a theatrical pirate, always strutting in the center of the stage, and many others who came later were mere imitations. Robert Louis Stevenson was able to imagine nothing better than Blackbeard's true sea-journal, written with his

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