Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/53

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THE SCHOONER EXERTION
He was a stout and well-built man, of a dark swarthy complexion, with keen, ferocious eyes, huge whiskers and beard under his chin and on his lips. He was a Portuguese by birth but had become a naturalized Frenchman,—had a wife and children in France and was well-known there as commander of a first-rate privateer. His appearance was truly terrific. He could talk some English and had a most lion-like voice.
 

Next day the scurvy knaves began plundering the Exertion of her cargo of potatoes, butter, apples, beans, and so on, ripped up the floors in search of more liquor, found some hard cider, and guzzled it until officers and men were in a fight, all tipsy together, and then simmered down to sing sentimental ditties in the twilight. Soon after this both schooners got under way and sailed to another haven in the lee of Brigantine Cay. Captain Lincoln now saw something more of the roving scapegrace of a Scotchman who called himself Nikola. He was a pirate with a sentimental streak in him and professed himself to be unhappy in his lawless employment and declared he had signed articles in the belief that he was bound privateering.

A theatrical person was the bewhiskered Nikola, who properly belonged to fiction of the romantic school. Sympathetic Captain Lincoln wrote that he