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a hundred able for duty, he was not the fellow to turn from a parcel of villain Spaniards; so he had everything prepared for action, and bore down to force a squadron that stood on his weather bow.
“ There, my messmates, was a sight to see," continued the old mariner, his honest weather-beaten face glowing at his own narration ; “one ship attacking a whole squadron ! And the gallant Grenville was nigh being as successful as his great heart merited; for divers of the villain Spaniards springing their loof, fell under his lee; but a cursed big galleon of fifteen hundred tons gained the wind, and bearing down on the Revenge, did so becalm her sails that neither could she make way or obey the helm. You Inay have a notion, messmates, of what sort of a customer this galleon was like to be, when I tell you that she carried three tier of guns on each side, and discharged eight foreright from her chase, besides those of her stern ports. Well, as ill luck would have it, whilst we were peppering away at this monster in such sort as soon made her glad to sheer off, two of the like kind boarded us on the starboard, and two on the larboard; but we minded 'em not a whit; nay, we beat 'em off, one after another, big as they were, till we had fought some sixteen of them for the space of fifteen hours; two of which we sunk and two made complete
wrecks, and the rest we handled pretty rudely, I promise you.
“But how fared we all this time, my messmates? Scarce one of us escaped-forty as brave fellows as ever trod a deck were sent aloft, where 'tis to be hoped they'll be well cared for; and of the rest scarce any were left without something to shew of the sort of employment they had been at. this slash across my figure head, with a bullet through my starboard fin, and another near the main hatchway; all along of those villain Spaniards. Sir Richard, who had not left the upper deck for eight hours after he was first wounded, which was in the early part of the action, was then shot through the bulwarks; and as they were repairing the damage, he received another bullet, and saw the doctor regularly capsized alongside of him. But the Revenge was treated worse than all; for when the morning broke she was nothing but a naked hull; having received as many as eight hundred shot of great artillery, which those bullies of galleons had fired into her, whereof some were under water : her masts were beat overboard-her tackle split to ribbons—her upper works levelled to the water's edge; and she was altogether in so pitiful a condition that she moved only with the motion of the billows.
“ For all that, my messmates, Sir Richard
wasn't for striking his flag; but proposed to sink the ship rather than fall into the hands of such notorious villains, in the which he was seconded by myself and some few of the crew; but the rest not being of the like spirit, compelled him to surrender; and this, methinks, rather than his wounds, caused him to die soon after."
- There went a noble heart !” cried one of the seafaring men.
“ In truth he was a gallant gentleman," said the handicraftsman; and others made like ejaculations, for all had listened with exceeding interest to the old man's stirring account of the fight.
“ But how got you out of their clutches, Simon Mainsail ?” asked one; “and how did they behave to you?”
“Slife! they used me like a dog, messmate," replied the veteran, in a monstrous indignation; simy wounds were most infamously handled; and how I recovered under such barbarous treatment is a marvel to me. But we were all served alike, clapped in irons, and treated with mouldy biscuit and bilge water, till we came to an anchor at Cadiz, when we were paraded through the streets, accompanied by shoals of papist priests, soldiers, and a bloodthirsty mob, yelling at the sight of us, as if they had reason to boast of their victory. It was given out that we were to be hanged, which sent
some of us on our beam ends at the thought of it; but I told 'em not to despair, and set them up to a thimo hich made them put their helms up presently. You must know, messmates, that these Spaniards hate us for not caring a breath of wind for their images, relics, and such like Popish abominations, and curse us in their hearts for heretics; but the priests are mightily pleased at the thought of converting a protestant, as they look upon it as a sort of victory. So we got one of our crew who understood their patter, to say we would fain change our religion: thereupon came father this and father tother, who preached to us by the hour, and very easily persuaded our whole company to cross ourselves, to kiss this image, and the other image, and assent to whatever they directed. Then, seeing us such good catholics, we were taken out of our chains-our victuals became of a better sort, and they kept not so sharp an eye on us as they did. The end of all this was, one night we broke out of prison very quietly, got into some boats that were high and dry on the beach,—with them boarded a ketch that lay at anchor in the bay; and having found the crew asleep, took possession of her without a blow; and in the morning we were far out at sea, better protestants than ever, making for Old England, with a whole crew of villain Spaniards our prisoners.”
l'faith that was well done!” exclaimed one; in the which all seemed to assent, especially the apprentices, who, having finished their tankard, had grown bold enough to express their approval of the old mariner's conduct.
“ I should like to beat a Spaniard hugely,” said Tim to the other, very bravely.
“ Suppose he stand upon his weapon and will not be beat of thee—what then?” asked his companion.
Why a—” observed Tim, somewhat as it were in a sort of hesitation-" I would e'en tell him go hang for a knave, and let him go.”
“ Walk in, my masters-walk in, I pray you!” cried out mine host as he ushered into the room two serving men, who looked by the dust on their jerkins and long boots, that they had come of a journey. - There be room enough and to spare, I warrant you: and if so be you are as dry as are the roads, doubtless you will be all the better for a wetting.”
“ What sayest thou, Diggory, shall we have a tankard ?” asked one of the other as they swaggered themselves into a seat.
“ Ay, Peter, let it be a tankard,” replied Diggory.
“ That you shall have, and of the best,” said Ephraim Spigot, “and 'tis to be hoped 'twill enable