Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/349

This page needs to be proofread.

themselves in the forecastle or swarmed out on the bowsprit and into the fore rigging. Orellana and his ten Indians were completely in possession of the sixty-gun flag-ship, the admiral, and the crew of almost five hundred Spaniards. For the moment they had achieved the impossible.


The officers and crew, who had escaped into different parts of the ship, were anxious only for their own safety, and incapable of forming any plan for quelling the insurrection. The yells of the Indians, indeed, the groans of the wounded, and the confused clamors of the crew, all heightened by the obscurity prevailing, greatly magnified the danger at first. The Spanish, likewise, sensible of the disaffection of the impressed men, and at the same time conscious of the barbarity their prisoners had experienced, believed that it was a general conspiracy and that their own destruction was inevitable.


A strange interval of silence fell upon the blood-stained ship as she rolled, without guidance, to the impulses of a gentle sea, while the canvas flapped and the yards creaked as the breeze took her aback. The conquering Indians were vigilant and anxious, unable to leave the quarter-deck, where they held the mastery, the Spanish crew lying low, as it were, and wondering what might happen next. Orellana promptly broke open the arms-chest, which had been conveyed to the poop a few days previously as a safeguard against mutiny. In it he confidently ex-