Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/428

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which they were more dead than alive, an order came to carry them to Bufcoran, two hundred miles distant, where the emperor was encamped.

This haughty potentate rode out to look them over, and it was his pleasure that they should be confined in a castle near by. It pleased them greatly when, after a little while, the same governor of Tangier who had abused them so frightfully was dragged into the castle, along with his household of officials, and they wore iron collars locked about their necks. There was such a thing as righteous retribution even in those parlous days. The emperor was building a splendid new castle, and the British privateersmen were set at work with pickaxes to dig the wall foundations. Remorselessly driven until they dropped, twenty of them abjured Christianity to find a respite from their torments.

The emperor was not too busy with his new castle to attend to matters of state, such as punishing the disgraced governor of Tangier and sundry other subjects who had misbehaved themselves in one way or another. Sailormen were accustomed to strange sights and wonderful experiences in that age of sea-faring, but few of them beheld such a drama as was enacted before the eyes of the survivors of the Inspector as they glanced up from their sweating toil