Shielded from harm by this lawless, but devoted, old school-mate of his, the master of the Bird galley was in no great danger of being sliced by some impulsive pirate who was careless with a cutlass. His perfidious first mate and ten of the sailors now signed on as pirates and assisted the others in ransacking Captain Snelgrave's unfortunate ship. Such merchandise as did not happen to please their fancy was pitched overboard, and they saved little more than the provisions, the clothing, and the gold coin. They were like a gang of hoodlums on a lark, and wanton destruction was their very stupid idea of a pastime. This wild carnival went on for several days. Barrels of claret and brandy were hoisted on deck, the heads knocked in, and the drink baled out with cans and buckets until the roisterers could hold not another swallow. Then
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THE ROARING DAYS OF PIRACY
boatswain came toward the hammock in a state of intoxication, swearing that he would slice the captain for ordering the crew to fire, dragged him from his hammock, and would, no doubt, have executed his savage threat if it had not been for Griffin who, as the boatswain pressed forward to stab the sleeping Captain Snelgrave, cut at the fellow with his sword and after a sharp struggle succeeded in beating him off. At length the wretches fell asleep and the captain was no longer molested. Griffin next day complained of the boatswain's conduct and he was threatened with a whipping. However, Captain Snelgrave wisely pleaded for him, by saying he was in liquor.