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"The rascally Corsairs come westward 'sometimes," said Knighton. "A case of piracy that occurred in '43 I happen myself to remember; it was perpetrated on the 2nd of December in that year, on a spot we recently passed. In this instance a sharp, black, polacca brig, coppered, with an ordinary figure-head, very light, and having no appearance of ports, sailing fast, according to every account, boarded a brig and a barque off Malaga, kept possession of the barque a whole night, and the next morning scuttled her. The brig reported that about thirty men, apparently Greeks, were seen in the pirate, whereupon one of the consuls at Malaga wrote down to Gibraltar, and H.M. St. Locust was sent in chase, but never came up with the pirate. She had as bad luck as H.M.S. Dido at Smyrna."
"What became of the crew of the barque that was scuttled at Malaga ?"
"I never could ascertain," replied Knighton.
"The western case you have just mentioned," said Mac Cuming, "occurred in December, '43, not three months after Kalergi's useful revolution at Athens, and I find that in the preceding October or November, a Greek pirate schooner captured a Levant country vessel, near Rhodes, murdering nine persons. The two leaders of the pirates were here recognised, but never actually brought to trial, so far as I have yet heard. They were called Yani Zanni and Spano. This was not the first known instance in which the former had shown himself an assassin."
"The pirate schooner to which you have just alluded," said Millerby, was ultimately taken at Samos and sent to Rhodes. She was called the Santa Trinità. All the pirates but five escaped, and these five, when taken, made some horrible confessions at Rhodes to Hassan Pasha, who would willingly have struck off their heads, but as his prisoners were Greeks, he was compelled to write for instructions to Constantinople. I therefore presume the fellows were ultimately forwarded to Athens. What became of them I know not."
"What disclosures did they make ?" asked Webster.
"They confessed," said Millerby, "about a dozen cases of piracy, in each of which they had murdered their victims; and they acknowledged having taken from one of their prizes a young girl of eighteen or nineteen years of age, of surpassing beauty, and confessed that during the three days she was kept on board the pirate, she was assaulted by all the crew, and forced to abandon herself to their guilty passions. This done, they cut off her beautiful tresses, and were about to decapitate her, when she requested to be thrown into the sea instead of undergoing the knife, and overboard she was immediately thrown."
"Infernal monsters!" exclaimed Webster.
"For those fellows," said Knighton, "even impalement were too easy a death; or horizontal crucifixion on the sands, to drown by inches as the tide rose."
"Or frying to death over a slow fire," added Millerby.
"In '44," continued Mac Cuming, "Mediterranean piracy seemed much on the increase; a pirate schooner, a pirate brig, and a pirate barque were frequently reported, and it began to be believed that the ruffians occasionally changed their rig as well as their station. Several
foreign vessels were ransacked about the month of April; on the 2nd of March, the Clipper, Captain Hammond, from Liverpool to Malta, and Smyrna, was chased off Cape Passaro by a very suspicious bark, which at one time was within a mile of her; she had a small heart, painted white, on her stern, showed no boats, and from the rapidity of her movements Captain Hammond believed her to be well manned. It was afterwards ascertained that while this vessel was chasing the Clipper, two small craft left Sicily for Malta with specie, but they reached not their destination. One was never heard of; the other was a few days afterwards picked up at sea, abandoned, with water-casks emptied and other signs of having been plundered."
"By that confounded barque, doubtless," said Knighton.
"I hold the same opinion; and about the same time a French vessel, the Jean Baptiste, Captain Martin, was dodged by a piratical-looking craft near Ivica, a spot towards which the pirate was like enough to have proceeded from Malta, for to remain long in one place was no part of the rascal's plan."
"In July or August, '44," said Millerby, "a Neapolitan war steamer captured a corsair off Calabria, manned, it was said, by sailors of all nations. I read that in the Nautical Magazine at the time. I think the volume is still in my berth. 'Tis a great pity our consuls and naval officers do not furnish that periodical with every case of piracy that occurs."
"The capture by the Neapolitans did not suppress piracy nevertheless," said Mac Cuming, "for about September or August, '44, I was at Athens when some pirate-boats appeared in their old haunt, the Doro Passage, inside the island of Negropont, captured two merchant vessels and one of Otho's armed cutters with 16,000 drachmas on board, putting the crews to death. Some of their headless bodies washed ashore at Andros, where no less than twenty were picked up on the beach. Two French steamers started after the pirates from Athens, but as usual the villains were not to be caught. A few weeks afterwards, in October, a party of Palichars seized a small vessel in a creek near Atalanti, and thence set off on a piratical cruise. Near Skyros they commenced operations by taking three boats laden with general merchandise, but God knows what became of them afterwards. However, there was piracy enough in the Arches at the close of the year '44. In '45 the ruffians were rather more quiet."
"But," said Millerby, "in this very year of '46 in which we are now cruising, as sure as we have just finished dinner, and got a fair wind—” "There's no doubting that," said Knighton.
"Certain as that is," continued Millerby, "it is equally certain the pirates are still at their old tricks, now in 1846, for just before leaving Liverpool I received a letter from Smyrna, dated July 31, stating, that on the 19th of July, two boats manned by thirty-two pirates, landed at Nicero, near Rhodes, attacked the magazines of the island and carried off all the valuables they contained. They also boarded a craft belonging to Yacopo Nicolaide, whom they ill-treated, and also despoiled of his property, which they carried down to Nicaria, below Scio, and there disposed of. After which they set sail and were last seen near Patmos. Now this, mind you, occurred in July '46, comparatively but a few weeks ago, Sept.-VOL. LXXXIV. NO. CCCXXXIII.
so we ourselves must keep a sharp look-out if becalmed among the islands."
"Sail, ho!" shouted the look-out, stationed on the port-bow. "Where away?"
Right a-head, sir, on the larboard tack, close-hauled."
"You should have seen her before, Savage, she's not a couple of miles from us."
"She's a fruit schooner," said Millerby, putting down his spy-glass after taking a good look at her hull and canvass.
"Show our number," said Mac Cuming, which was accordingly done, and after the flags had fluttered aloft for about five minutes, the stranger made them out, hoisted Marryat's answering pendant at his mainmasthead, and showed the red ensign of Old England from the peak. In a quarter of an hour he tacked, showed his own number at the main and Marryat's telegraph flag at the fore. On referring to the code we found our friend to be the Bantam, and his telegraphic message was simply this," Boats-of-H. M. S. Syren*-have-recently-taken-60 -pirates-at-Stanchio--with-their-4-craft."
"It's devilish odd," said Knighton, "that such a signal should be made just as we were speaking of pirates. Talk of the devil, and his imps appear,' is, however, an old proverb. Quand on parle du loup, on voit la queue, dit-on.'
"Syren's exploit has, however, lessened our own chance of a 'brush,'" said Webster.
Why, Web," exclaimed Knighton, "you seem earnestly bent on battle with these brigands afloat! By the holy poker! thou art as valorous as Hector of Troy, worth five of Agamemnon, and ten times better than the nine worthies! There's a Shaksperian touch for you, my boy; as for myself I've no great ambition to cross swords or pull triggers with a petticoated palikar. The saints defend us from their fierce attacks. Hollo! the fruiter's about, and will fetch within hail of us. Aft with you, she'll pass under our stern, and her skipper there in the lee-rigging, looks as if he had something to say."
But why should I pester the reader with the words that came down to us from the Bantam's skipper, as that smart craft passed under our stern to windward? It may be more serviceable to inform him, that each and all the cases of piracy recorded above are really and truly FACTS NOT FICTION.†
Vide Nautical Magazine for 1846, page 551.
The following letter was recently despatched by Count Sturmer, the Austrian Internuncio at Constantinople, to the government at Vienna. Some of the pirates alluded to carry seven guns of a side.
Constantinople, 4 July, 1848.
"I beg leave to inform you that the Sublime Porte has despatched a fleet, under the command of Maschouk Pasha, towards the Turkish coasts, beyond the Dardanelles, for the purpose of protecting merchant-vessels against the attacks of pirates, who are making their appearance more frequently than before. The Porte having invited me to support these measures, taken in the interests of trade, I have requested the Austrian consuls at Smyrna, Salonica, Beyrout, Cyprus, and Candia, to afford the commander of the fleet, Maschouk Pasha, all the assistance he might be compelled to claim according to the maritime laws and existing treaties."
MEMOIRS OF AN OLD ETON BOY.
BY CHARLES ROWCROFT, AUTHOR OF "TALES OF THE COLONIES; Or THE ADVENTURES OF AN EMIGRANT."
I DON'T believe the jolly major had any hand in this nefarious proceeding; indeed I rather think he thought the better of me for my staunchness at the bottle-setting down the effect of my susceptible weakness on the occasion to my youth and inexperience which time and practice would remedy. The plot was Peter's; and unhappily for me it succeeded too well!-I was supported, as I have described, by his insidious help to the drawing-room, and having been placed on the sofa by the side of Miss McDragon, I was left to my own resources.
I have heard say by some who have the malice to pry into the secrets of the human heart, that women sometimes like the men to be a little fresh; that is to say, on particular occasions, when it is desirable that the present bachelor and expectant Benedict should be supplied with sufficient courage to "pop the question;" and it is averred by close observers, that, in such cases, where a man has been shilly-shallying for a provoking long time in his hesitating courtship, the circumstance of a few extra glasses of wine has so braced up his nerves, that, in a moment of enthusiasm he has come to the point with a conclusive declaration, to the extreme relief of the lady and the satisfaction of the papa and the mamma.
Such was my case; but with this important difference, that I had gone beyond the few glasses of "extra," and had arrived at the few glasses "too much;" and as the consequence of neglecting the Terentian rule of ne quid nimis," (facetiously translated by the Rev. Mr. St. Simon "don't over-do it"), is as fatal in love as in wine, it was my fate on that evil night to suffer from my error in the one as well as in the other.— What I said; what I did; how it was that I came to make love to the aunt as well as the niece; and what extravagances I committed, I have never been accurately informed, and it was a subject which, in after-times, I never had any particular inclination to recur to. But that I made a
great fool of myself there is no reason to doubt; and it is equally certain that the wicked Miss McDragon and her artful colleague Peter, took special pains to draw me out, and to cause me to make myself as ridiculous as possible in the eyes of the shocked Lavinia and her reproving papa. I don't like to confess it; but, I am afraid the truth is, that I challenged both Peter and the major to fight that very night, with pistols, swords, or fists as might be preferred by each respectively, insisting on the old gentleman being my second, and clapping him on the back in a manner more vigorous than agreeable to encourage him to be hearty in my cause.
But it is not necessary that I should expose further the follies of that wretched night! It was with difficulty that I was got to bed, where I was placed by the footman and the groom; Peter assisting in my disgrace exultingly, and the major declaring, as I was afterwards told, that I was
a promising young fellow, and, in time, I should be as staunch a cock at the bottle as any man in his regiment; and further, that he would venture to swear that in a few years, I should never go to bed sober; all this being said good-naturedly in my praise to Lavinia and her father, the aunt and Peter chiming in by way of chorus; but I think I may say, I afterwards had my revenge-but I will not anticipate.
It is impossible for me to describe the agony of my sensations when I awoke the next morning and came to a sense of my situation. The mental torture which I suffered was aggravated by my bodily sickness; I had a dreadful headache; and oblivious as I had been the night before, I had a provoking remembrance of some of the foolish acts which I had committed during my state of vinous perturbation. I felt so humiliated that I actually groaned aloud! To have been so exposed before her to whom of all others in the world I most desired to appear in the most favourable light! and before her father too!-I was undone ; utterly lost! And then came over me the abasing reflection that I had been outwitted too! outwitted by Peter-the creature whom I had despised! It was a plot; clearly a plot; that is, as clearly as my still confused senses would allow me to penetrate. I had gone forth to do battle, and the subtile Peter, by wile and stratagem, had circumvented-played with-vanquished me.-It was I who had to exclaim in a vice-versary sense to that of the conqueror of Gaul, "veni, vidi, bibi!” Like Hector I prepared myself vain-gloriously for the combat! and then!" quantum mutatus ab illo Hectore!" I had been cast down prostrate by my enemy and dragged by my heels to bed! jeered by the attempted witty observation of the would-be facetious Peter, that, "after all I was a very sober person, for whereas I had already been drowned in water, now I was drowned in wine which balanced the account per contra, so that, taking the average I had only been drinking wine-and-water!-Such was the shoppy witticism of the city brute.
But my thoughts were at that time otherwise employed. What would Lavinia think of me? that was the tormenting thought! What did I think of myself? Should I hang myself, drown myself, or shoot myself? That was the question. Lavinia, I feared, was lost to me for ever! She never would forgive me! I never could forgive myself! What a fool I had been! And it had all happened from that confounded bill! Tick was at the bottom of it all! Was I for ever to be the victim of Tick! And there was that cursed bill to be paid still! But that humiliation was nothing compared to the present!-I had lost-I must have lost Lavinia's favour-and all else was nothing!-The world now had lost, for me, its salt and its savour! There was nothing henceforward left for me to do in it! Even to shoot Peter was now not worth while! What would it benefit me? Whether Peter was living or dead or I was living or dead-what did it matter now that Lavinia was dead to me!
Humiliated confounded-racked with pain-and tortured with mental anguish indescribable, I lay for some time a prey to the bitterest repentance. But at last the shame of encountering the faces of the family at the hour of breakfast-and above all of meeting the cold-perhaps the disgusted countenance of the reproving Lavinia, roused me. I determined to make my way home before the inmates of the house were up. I tried to make out what o'clock it was- -but my watch had stopped; by the gray light of the morning, however I knew it was early. I huddled on my clothes, as well as I could, and stole ignominiously out of the