Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/295

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the reflecting; nor perhaps shall we wonder much less at the romantic resolution of Captain Roberts who braved death rather than submit to an insignificant form.

In the dead of night the sloop was cast off, and the pirates even pilfered all the candles to make matters as uncomfortable as possible. Two boys of the sloop's crew had been left on board, one of them an infant of eight years, and it may have accorded with the piratical style of humor to call this a complement. The eight-year-old urchin was perhaps a cabin-boy; no other information is vouchsafed concerning him. At any rate, he must have turned to like a little man, for he took the wheel while the captain and the elder boy pumped to clear the leaky vessel of water. Fairly confident that she would stay afloat, they took stock at daylight, and found that the pirates had overlooked a few crumbs of bread, ten gallons of rum, a little rice, and some flour, with a two-gallon jug of water. They were unable to kindle a fire because the jocular pirates had carried off the flint and steel, and so they lived on raw flour and rice and drank rum after the water gave out.

Three days' hard labor sufficed to patch up a sail that pulled the sloop along when the wind blew hard enough. Rain fell and gave them a little more water before they died of thirst. A shark was