Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/285

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mounting guns and was sharply molded for fast sailing. Cocklyn and La Boise politely suggested that they keep her for their own use and give to Captain Snelgrave a merchant vessel of larger tonnage which had been recently captured. By way of making amends for their rudeness, they would be delighted to replace his ruined cargo with merchandise taken from other prizes, and he could take his pick of the stuff.

This was a delicate problem for Captain Snelgrave to decide. The ethical codes of the pirates were so much more unconventional than his own that they failed to see why he should hesitate to sail home to England in a stolen ship with a cargo of looted merchandise. Tactfully, but firmly, he declined the offer, at which they hopefully suggested that he might change his mind and, anyhow, they would do their best to straighten things out for him. It was a pleasant little dinner party, but it is plausible to infer that the thought of the absent Captain Davis hung over it like a grim shadow.

Next day the abandoned merchantman which had been offered to Captain Snelgrave was towed alongside the Bird galley, and all of his cargo that had escaped destruction was transferred by his own crew. There was a good deal of it, after all, for it had consisted largely of salted provisions and bolts