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THE ROARING DAYS OF PIRACY

Excessively annoyed, Captain Davis closed in, and soon found that he had a hard nut to crack. With thirty guns and ninety men the Dutchman stood him off, and they fought a stubbornly heroic sea action that lasted from one o'clock at noon until after daylight next morning, occasionally hauling off for rest and repairs and tackling each other again, hammer and tongs. Finally the Dutchman had to strike, for he was outfought by men better drilled and practised. Captain Davis respected their valor, and there was no mention of making them walk the plank. The fifty survivors were taken aboard his own ship to save their lives, for their own ship was so smashed and splintered that she sank soon after.

Reaching Sierra Leone, Captain Davis invited Captain Snelgrave aboard for supper in order to learn how affairs had been going with him. At the end of a successful cruise, the cutthroats had to be handled with a loose rein. They expected a grand carouse as a matter of course, and such a leader as Captain Davis was wise enough to close his eyes until he was ready to put the screws on again and prepare for another adventure. Most of the ship's company were properly drunk when the alarm of fire was shouted. A lighted lantern had been overturned among the rum-casks, and the flames were