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THE ROARING DAYS OF PIRACY

canvas to set, and the negroes promptly tumbled into the boat and made for the island. The voyage appealed to their simple intellects as very much of a failure. Captain Roberts sighed, and resumed the interminable task of finding a haven for his helpless sloop. His two boys did what they could, but they were completely worn out and unable to help rig up another sail of bits of awning, tarpaulins, and so on, and bend it to the spars.

Captain Roberts was inclined to believe that he had played his last card, but one is quite unable to fancy him as regretting his quixotic refusal to join a party of Jacobite pirates in toasting the Pretender. When another day came, he was grimly hanging to the tiller and trying to keep the sloop's head in the direction of land when he heard a commotion in the hold. One of the lads plucked up courage to peer over the hatch-coaming, and in the gloom he descried three negroes in a very bad temper who were holding their heads in their hands. Ordered on deck, they anxiously rolled their eyes, and explained that they had found the puncheon of rum soon after coming on board and had guzzzled it so earnestly that they sneaked below to sleep it off. Their comrades had deserted the ship in the darkness, and Captain Roberts, assuming that all hands were quitting him, had not counted them.