Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/346

This page needs to be proofread.

As soon as they were stationed, Orellana yelled a war whoop, "which is the harshest and most terrific noise that can be imagined."

With knives and with the deadly bolas, or thonged missiles, the eleven Indians made a slaughter-house of the flag-ship's spacious poop. Spanish sentinels of the guard, seamen on watch, boatswain's mates, and the sailors at the steering tackles, sailing masters and dandified officers, were mowed down as by a murderous hurricane before they could find their wits or their arms. In the fury of this first onslaught twenty of the ship's company were laid dead on the spot and as many more were disabled. Those who survived were in no mood to mobilize any resistance. Some tumbled into the great cabin, where they extinguished the candles and barricaded the doors, while others flew into the main-shrouds and took refuge in the tops or in the rigging.

It was sheer panic which spread forward along the decks until it reached the forecastle. The officers were killed or in hiding, and the leaderless sailors assumed that the English prisoners were leading the upheaval. A few of the wounded men scrambled forward in the darkness and told the watch on deck that the after guard had been wiped out and the ship was in the hands of mutineers. Thereupon the Spanish seamen prudently locked