Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/291

This page needs to be proofread.
the main-deck who dared to blaspheme in such an hour as this.

Fifty of the crew crawled out upon the bowsprit and sprit-sail yard, where they clung and hoped to be blown clear of the general upheaval. They handsomely deserved extermination, but a dozen gallant volunteers still toiled and suffered in the hold, and at length they smothered the fire before it ate into the magazine. All of them were terribly burned, and it is fair to assume that Captain Davis awarded them an extra share of the plunder when it was distributed. One of the heroes of the crisis was Captain Snelgrave, or so the pirates admiringly agreed, and they were more than ever anxious to befriend him. They would have been glad to serve under him, but he had no taste for piracy and declined the honor when a vote was passed around the tubs of grog that he go as a sailing master until he had gained experience and was ready to command a crew of gentlemen of fortune.

Disappointed in this, they used their gold to buy back for him a considerable amount of his cargo, which had been divided or sold ashore, and presented him with some of the merchandise allotted to them from the ships lately captured by Captain Davis. There were worse pirates on the high seas than this collection of gallows-birds in the harbor of Sierra