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Produced by Al Haines




Editor "Great Ghost Stories," "Masterpieces of Mystery," "The Best
Psychic Stories," etc.




Copyright, 1921, by


All rights reserved


Spanish Bloodhounds and English Mastiffs
From "Westward Ho!" By CHARLES KINGSLEY

The Club-Hauling of the _Diomede_

The Cruise of the _Torch_
From "Tom Cringle's Log." By MICHAEL SCOTT

The Merchantman and the Pirate
From "Hard Cash." By CHARLES READE

The Mutiny of the _Bounty_
From "Chamber's Miscellany." ANONYMOUS

The Wreck of the _Royal Caroline_

The Capture of the Great White Whale
From "Moby Dick." By HERMAN MELVILLE

The Corvette _Claymore_
From "Ninety-three." By VICTOR HUGO

The Merchants' Cup
From "Broken Stowage." By DAVID W. BONE

A Storm and a Rescue
From "The Wreck of the _Grosvenor_." By W. CLARK RUSSELL

The Sailor's Wife
From "An Iceland Fisherman." By PIERRE LOTI

The Salving of the _Yan-Shan_
From "In Blue Waters." By H. DE VERE STACKPOOLE

The Derelict _Neptune_

The Terrible Solomons
From "South Sea Tales." By JACK LONDON

El Dorado
From "A Tarpaulin Muster." By JOHN MASEFIELD


Song sung by labor gang.


The theme of the sea is heroic - epic. Since the first stirrings of the
imagination of man the sea has enthralled him; and since the dawn of
literature he has chronicled his wanderings upon its vast bosom.

It is one of the curiosities of literature, a fact that old Isaac
Disraeli might have delighted to linger over, that there have been no
collectors of sea-tales; that no man has ever, as in the present
instance, dwelt upon the topic with the purpose of gathering some of
the best work into a single volume. And yet men have written of the
sea since 2500 B.C. when an unknown author set down on papyrus his
account of a struggle with a sea-serpent. This account, now in the
British Museum, is the first sea-story on record. Our modern
sea-stories begin properly with the chronicles of the early
navigators - in many of which there is an unconscious art that none of
our modern masters of fiction has greatly surpassed. For delightful
reading the lover of sea stories is referred to Best's account of
Frobisher's second voyage - to Richard Chancellor's chronicle of the
same period - to Hakluyt, an immortal classic - and to Purchas'

But from the earliest growth of the art of fiction the sea was frankly
accepted as a stirring theme, comparatively rarely handled because
voyages were fewer then, and the subject still largely unknown. To the
general reader it may seem a rather astounding fact that in "Robinson
Crusoe" we have the first classic of this period and in "Colonel Jack"
another classic of much the same type. These two stories by the
immortal Defoe may be accepted as the foundation of the sea-tale in
literary art.

A century, however, was to elapse before the sea-tale came into its
own. It was not until a generation after Defoe that Smollett, in
"Roderick Random," again stirred the theme into life. Fielding in his
"Voyage to Lisbon" had given some account of a personal experience, but
in the general category it must be set down as simply episodal.
Foster's "Voyages," a translation from the German published in England
at the beginning of the third quarter of the eighteenth century, a
compendium of monumental importance, continued the tradition of Hakluyt
and Purchas. By this time the sea-power of England had become
supreme, - Britannia ruled the waves, and a native sea-literature was
the result. The sea-songs of Thomas Dibdin and other writers were the
first fruits of this newly created literary nationalism.

Shortly after the beginning of the nineteenth century the sea-writer
established himself with Michael Scott in "Tom Cringle's Log," a
forgotten, but ever-fresh classic. Then came Captain Marryat, who was
to the sea what Dickens and Thackeray were to land folk. America, too,
contributed to this literary movement. Even before Marryat, our own
Cooper had essayed the sea with a masterly hand, while in "Moby Dick,"
as in his other stories, Herman Melville glorified the theme.
Continental writers like Victor Hugo and the Hungarian, Maurus Jokal,
who had little personal knowledge of the subject, also set their hands
to tales of marine adventure.

Such work as this has established a succession which has been
continuous and progressive ever since. The literature of the sea of
the past half-century is voluminous, varied and universally known, and
whether in the form of personal adventure, or in purely fictional
shape, it has grown to be an art cultivated with great care by the best
contemporary writers.

The noble band of singers of the sea, from the days of the Elizabethans
to the sublime Swinburne, belongs to another volume. It is the sincere
hope of the compiler that the present collection offers undisputable
evidence that the prose tradition has been fully sustained and the
reader will find in these pages living testimony to the marvelous
interest of the theme - its virility and its beauty.





When the sun leaped up the next morning, and the tropic light flashed
suddenly into the tropic day, Amyas was pacing the deck, with
disheveled hair and torn clothes, his eyes red with rage and weeping,
his heart full - how can I describe it? Picture it to yourselves, you
who have ever lost a brother; and you who have not, thank God that you
know nothing of his agony. Full of impossible projects, he strode and
staggered up and down, as the ship thrashed and close-hauled through
the rolling seas. He would go back and burn the villa. He would take
Guayra, and have the life of every man in it in return for his
brother's. "We can do it, lads!" he shouted. "Drake took Nombre de
Dios, we can take La Guayra." And every voice shouted, "Yes."

"We will have it, Amyas, and have Frank too, yet," cried Cary; but
Amyas shook his head. He knew, and knew not why he knew, that all the
ports in New Spain would never restore to him that one beloved face.

"Yes, he shall be well avenged. And look there! There is the first
crop of our vengeance." And he pointed toward the shore, where between
them and the now distant peaks of the Silla, three sails appeared, not
five miles to windward.

"There are the Spanish bloodhounds on our heels, the same ships which
we saw yesterday off Guayra. Back, lads, and welcome them, if they
were a dozen."

There was a murmur of applause from all around; and if any young heart
sank for a moment at the prospect of fighting three ships at once, it
was awed into silence by the cheer which rose from all the older men,
and by Salvation Yeo's stentorian voice.

"If there were a dozen, the Lord is with us, who has said, 'One of you
shall chase a thousand.' Clear away, lads, and see the glory of the
Lord this day."

"Amen!" cried Cary; and the ship was kept still closer to the wind.

Amyas had revived at the sight of battle. He no longer felt his wounds
or his great sorrow as he bustled about the deck; and ere a quarter of
an hour had passed, his voice cried firmly and cheerfully as of old -

"Now, my masters, let us serve God, and then to breakfast, and after
that clear for action."

Jack Brimblecombe read the dally prayers, and the prayers before a
fight at sea, and his honest voice trembled, as, in the Prayer for all
Conditions of Men (In spite of Amyas's despair), he added, "and
especially for our dear brother Mr. Francis Leigh, perhaps captive
among the idolaters;" and so they rose.

"Now, then," said Amyas, "to breakfast. A Frenchman fights best
fasting, a Dutchman drunk, an Englishman full, and a Spaniard when the
devil is in him, and that's always."

"And good beef and the good cause are a match for the devil," said
Cary. "Come down, captain; you must eat too."

Amyas shook his head, took the tiller from the steersman, and bade him
go below and fill himself. Will Cary went down, and returned in five
minutes with a plate of bread and beef, and a great jack of ale, coaxed
them down Amyas's throat, as a nurse does with a child, and then
scuttled below again with tears hopping down his face.

Amyas stood still steering. His face was grown seven years older in
the last night. A terrible set calm was on him. Woe to the man who
came across him that day!

"There are three of them, you see, my masters," said he, as the crew
came on deck again. "A big ship forward, and two galleys astern of
her. The big ship may keep; she is a race ship, and if we can but
recover the wind of her, we will see whether our height is not a match
for her length. We must give her the slip, and take the galleys first."

"I thank the Lord," said Yeo, "who has given so wise a heart to so
young a general; a very David and Daniel, saving his presence, lads.
Silas Staveley, smite me that boy over the head, the young monkey; why
is he not down at the powder-room door?"

And Yeo went about his gunnery, as one who knew how to do it, and had
the most terrible mind to do it thoroughly, and the most terrible faith
that it was God's work.

So all fell to; and though there was comparatively little to be done,
the ship having been kept as far as could be in fighting order all
night, yet there was "clearing of decks, lacing of nettings, making of
bulwarks, fitting of waistcloths, arming of tops, tallowing of pikes,
slinging of yards, doubling of sheets and tacks." Amyas took charge of
the poop, Cary of the forecastle, and Yeo, as gunner, of the main-deck,
while Drew, as master, settled himself in the waist; and all was ready,
and more than ready, before the great ship was within two miles of them.

She is now within two musket-shots of the _Rose_, with the golden flag
of Spain floating at her poop; and her trumpets are shouting defiance
up the breeze, from a dozen brazen throats, which two or three answer
lustily from the _Rose_, from whose poop flies the flag of England, and
from her fore the arms of Leigh and Cary side by side, and over them
the ship and bridge of the good town of Bideford. And then Amyas
calls -

"Now, silence trumpets, waits, play up! 'Fortune my foe!' and God and
the Queen be with us!"

Whereon (laugh not, reader, for it was the fashion of those musical, as
well as valiant days) up rose that noble old favorite of good Queen
Bess, from cornet and sackbut, fife and drum; while Parson Jack, who
had taken his stand with the musicians on the poop, worked away lustily
at his violin.

"Well played, Jack; thy elbow flies like a lamb's tail," said Amyas,
forcing a jest.

"It shall fly to a better fiddle-bow presently, sir, and I have the
luck - "

"Steady, helm!" said Amyas. "What is he after now?"

The Spaniard, who had been coming upon them right down the wind under a
press of sail, took in his light canvas.

"He don't know what to make of our waiting for him so bold," said the

"He does though, and means to fight us," cried another. "See, he is
hauling up the foot of his mainsail: but he wants to keep the wind of

"Let him try, then," quoth Amyas. "Keep her closer still. Let no one
fire till we are about. Man the starboard guns; to starboard, and
wait, all small arm men. Pass the order down to the gunner, and bid
all fire high, and take the rigging."

Bang went one of the Spaniard's bow guns, and the shot went wide. Then
another and another, while the men fidgeted about, looking at the
priming of their muskets, and loosened their arrows in the sheaf.

"Lie down, men, and sing a psalm. When I want you I'll call you.
Closer still, if you can, helmsman, and we will try a short ship
against a long one. We can sail two points nearer the wind than he."

As Amyas had calculated, the Spaniard would gladly enough have stood
across the _Rose's_ bows, but knowing the English readiness dare not
for fear of being raked; so her only plan, if she did not intend to
shoot past her foe down to leeward, was to put her head close to the
wind, and wait for her on the same tack.

Amyas laughed to himself. "Hold on yet awhile. More ways of killing a
cat than choking her with cream. Drew, there, are your men ready?"

"Ay, ay, sir!" and on they went, closing fast with the Spaniard, till
within a pistol-shot.

"Ready about!" and about she went like an eel, and ran upon the
opposite tack right under the Spaniard's stern. The Spaniard,
astonished at the quickness of the maneuver, hesitated a moment, and
then tried to get about also, as his only chance; but it was too late,
and while his lumbering length was still hanging in the wind's eye,
Amyas's bowsprit had all but scraped his quarter, and the _Rose_ passed
slowly across his stern at ten yards' distance.

"Now, then!" roared Amyas. "Fire, and with a will! Have at her,
archers: have at her, muskets all!" and in an instant a storm of bar
and chain-shot, round and canister, swept the proud Don from stem to
stern, while through the white cloud of smoke the musket-balls, and the
still deadlier clothyard arrows, whistled and rushed upon their
venomous errand. Down went the steersman, and every soul who manned
the poop. Down went the mizzen topmast, in went the stern-windows and
quarter-galleries; and as the smoke cleared away, the golden flag of
Spain, which the last moment flaunted above their heads, hung trailing
in the water. The ship, her tiller shot away, and her helmsman killed,
staggered helplessly a moment, and then fell up into the wind.

"Well done, men of Devon!" shouted Amyas, as cheers rent the welkin.

"She has struck," cried some, as the deafening hurrahs died away.

"Not a bit," said Amyas. "Hold on, helmsman, and leave her to patch
her tackle while we settle the galleys."

On they shot merrily, and long ere the armada could get herself to
rights again, were two good miles to windward, with the galleys
sweeping down fast upon them.

And two venomous-looking craft they were, as they shot through the
short chopping sea upon some forty oars apiece, stretching their long
sword-fish snouts over the water, as if snuffing for their prey.
Behind this long snout, a strong square forecastle was crammed with
soldiers, and the muzzles of cannon grinned out through port-holes, not
only in the sides of the forecastle, but forward in the line of the
galley's course, thus enabling her to keep up a continual fire on a
ship right ahead.

The long low waist was packed full of the slaves, some five or six to
each oar, and down the center, between the two banks, the English could
see the slave-drivers walking up and down a long gangway, whip in hand.
A raised quarter-deck at the stern held more soldiers, the sunlight
flashing merrily upon their armor and their gun-barrels; as they
neared, the English could hear plainly the cracks of the whips, and the
yells as of wild beasts which answered them; the roll and rattle of the
oars, and the loud "Ha!" of the slaves which accompanied every stroke,
and the oaths and curses of the drivers; while a sickening musky smell,
as of a pack of kenneled hounds, came down the wind from off those dens
of misery. No wonder if many a young heart shuddered as it faced, for
the first time, the horrible reality of those floating hells, the
cruelties whereof had rung so often in English ears from the stories of
their own countrymen, who had passed them, fought them, and now and
then passed years of misery on board of them. Who knew but what there
might be English among those sun-browned, half-naked masses of panting

"Must we fire upon the slaves?" asked more than one, as the thought
crossed him.

Amyas sighed.

"Spare them all you can, in God's name: but if they try to run us down,
rake them we must, and God forgive us."

The two galleys came on abreast of each other, some forty yards apart.
To out-maneuver their oars as he had done the ship's sails, Amyas knew
was impossible. To run from them was to be caught between them and the

He made up his mind, as usual, to the desperate game.

"Lay her head up in the wind, helmsman, and we will wait for them."

They were now within musket-shot, and opened fire from their bow-guns;
but, owing to the chopping sea, their aim was wild. Amyas, as usual,
withheld his fire.

The men stood at quarters with compressed lips, not knowing what was to
come next. Amyas, towering motionless on the quarter-deck, gave his
orders calmly and decisively. The men saw that he trusted himself, and
trusted him accordingly.

The Spaniards, seeing him wait for them, gave a shout of joy - was the
Englishman mad? And the two galleys converged rapidly, intending to
strike him full, one on each bow.

They were within forty yards - another minute, and the shock would come.
The Englishman's helm went up, his yards creaked round, and gathering
way, he plunged upon the larboard galley.

"A dozen gold nobles to him who brings down the steersman!" shouted
Cary, who had his cue.

And a flight of arrows from the forecastle rattled upon the galley's

Hit or not hit, the steersman lost his nerve, and shrank from the
coming shock. The galley's helm went up to port, and her beak slid all
but harmless along Amyas's bow; a long dull grind, and then loud crack
on crack, as the _Rose_ sawed slowly through the bank of oars from stem
to stern, hurling the wretched slaves in heaps upon each other; and ere
her mate on the other side could swing round to strike him in his new
position, Amyas's whole broadside, great and small, had been poured
into her at pistol-shot, answered by a yell which rent their ears and

"Spare the slaves! Fire at the soldiers!" cried Amyas; but the work
was too hot for much discrimination; for the larboard galley, crippled
but not undaunted, swung round across his stern, and hooked herself
venomously on to him.

It was a move more brave than wise; for it prevented the other galley
from returning to the attack without exposing herself a second time to
the English broadside; and a desperate attempt of the Spaniards to
board at once through the stern-ports and up the quarter was met with
such a demurrer of shot and steel that they found themselves in three
minutes again upon the galley's poop, accompanied, to their intense
disgust, by Amyas Leigh and twenty English swords.

Five minutes' hard cutting, hand to hand, and the poop was clear. The
soldiers in the forecastle had been able to give them no assistance,
open as they lay to the arrows and musketry from the _Rose's_ lofty
stern. Amyas rushed along the central gangway, shouting in Spanish,
"Freedom to the slaves! death to the masters!" clambered into the
forecastle, followed close by his swarm of wasps, and set them so good
an example how to use their stings that in three minutes more there was
not a Spaniard on board who was not dead or dying.

"Let the slaves free!" shouted he. "Throw us a hammer down, men.
Hark! there's an English voice!"

There is indeed. From amid the wreck of broken oars and writhing
limbs, a voice is shrieking in broadest Devon to the master, who is
looking over the side.

"Oh, Robert Drew! Robert Drew! Come down, and take me out of hell!"

"Who be you, in the name of the Lord?"

"Don't you mind William Prust, that Captain Hawkins left behind in the
Honduras, years and years agone? There's nine of us aboard, if your
shot hasn't put 'em out of their misery. Come down, if you've a
Christian heart, come down!"

Utterly forgetful of all discipline, Drew leaps down hammer in hand,
and the two old comrades rush into each other's arms.

Why make a long story of what took but five minutes to do? The nine
men (luckily none of them wounded) are freed, and helped on board, to
be hugged and kissed by old comrades and young kinsmen; while the
remaining slaves, furnished with a couple of hammers, are told to free
themselves and help the English. The wretches answer by a shout; and
Amyas, once more safe on board again, dashes after the other galley,
which has been hovering out of reach of his guns: but there is no need
to trouble himself about her; sickened with what she has got, she is
struggling right up wind, leaning over to one side, and seemingly ready
to sink.

"Are there any English on board of her?" asks Amyas, loth to lose the
chance of freeing a countryman.

"Never a one, sir, thank God."

So they set to work to repair damages; while the liberated slaves,
having shifted some of the galley's oars, pull away after their
comrade; and that with such a will that in ten minutes they have caught
her up, and careless of the Spaniard's fire, boarded her en masse, with
yells as of a thousand wolves. There will be fearful vengeance taken
on those tyrants, unless they play the man this day.

And in the meanwhile half the crew are clothing, feeding, questioning,
caressing those nine poor fellows thus snatched from living death; and
Yeo, hearing the news, has rushed up on deck to welcome his old
comrades, and -

"Is Michael Heard, my cousin, here among you?"

Yes, Michael Heard is there, white-headed rather from misery than age;
and the embracings and questionings begin afresh.

"Where is my wife, Salvation Yeo?"

"With the Lord."

"Amen!" says the old man, with a short shudder. "I thought so much;
and my two boys?"

"With the Lord."

The old man catches Yeo by the arm.

"How, then?" It is Yeo's turn to shudder now.

"Killed in Panama, fighting the Spaniards; sailing with Mr. Oxeham; and
'twas I led 'em into it. May God and you forgive me!"

"They couldn't die better, cousin Yeo."

The old man covers his face with his hands for a while.

"Well, I've been alone with the Lord these fifteen years, so I must not
whine at being alone awhile longer - 'twon't be long."

"Put this coat on your back, uncle," says some one.

"No; no coats for me. Naked came I into the world, and naked I go out
of it this day, if I have a chance. You'm better go to your work,
lads, or the big one will have the wind of us yet."

"So she will," said Amyas, who had overheard; but so great is the
curiosity of all hands that he has some trouble in getting the men to
quarters again; indeed, they only go on condition of parting among
themselves with them the newcomers, each to tell his sad and strange
story. How after Captain Hawkins, constrained by famine, had put them
ashore, they wandered in misery till the Spaniards took them; how,
instead of hanging them (as they at first intended), the Dons fed and
clothed them, and allotted them as servants to various gentlemen about
Mexico, where they throve, turned their hands (like true sailors) to
all manner of trades, and made much money; so that all went well, until
the fatal year 1574, when, much against the minds of many of the
Spaniards themselves, that cruel and bloody Inquisition was established
for the first time in the Indies; and how from that moment their lives
were one long tragedy; how they were all imprisoned for a year and a
half, racked again and again, and at last adjudged to receive publicly,
on Good Friday, 1575, some three hundred, some one hundred stripes, and
to serve in the galleys for six or ten years each; while as the
crowning atrocity of the Moloch sacrifice, three of them were burnt
alive in the market-place of Mexico.

The history of the party was not likely to improve the good feeling of
the crew towards the Spanish ship which was two miles to leeward of
them, and which must be fought with, or fled from, before a quarter of
an hour was past. So, kneeling down upon the deck, as many a brave
crew in those days did in like case, they "gave God thanks devoutly for
the favor they had found," and then with one accord, at Jack's leading,
sang one and all the ninety-fourth Psalm:

"Oh, Lord, thou dost revenge all wrong;
Vengeance belongs to thee," etc.

And then again to quarters; for half the day's work, or more than half,
still remained to be done; and hardly were the decks cleared afresh,
and the damage repaired as best it could be, when she came ranging up
to leeward, as closehauled as she could.

She was, as I said, a long flushed-decked ship of full five hundred
tons, more than double the size, in fact, of he Rose, though not so

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