Driven back in yelling confusion, the pirates found their firearms almostuseless, so drenched had the whole ship been by the battering seas, but they wereaccustomed to fighting it out with the cold steel and they were by no means apanicky mob.

The fusillade of bricks held them long enough for the merchantalors to escape from the forecastle and this was an advantage more preciousthan Captain Wellsby had hoped forwhat the pirates required was a leader to rally them for attack. Quicker than itkes to tell it, Ned Rackham had raced along the poop and leaped to the waist atperil of breaking his neck. Agile, quick-witted, he bounded into the thick of it,utlass in hand while he shoutedAt em, lads! And give the dogs no quarterwith hoarse outcry, his gallows-birds mustered compactly while those whohad been in the cabin came scampering to join them. Curiously enough, CaptainJonathan Wellsby had been forgotten. He was left alone to handle the ship whilethe pirate helmsmen stood by the great tiller. To forsake it meant to let the vesselrun wild and perhaps turn turtle in the swollen seas. And so the doughty skipperas for the time. a looker-onAnd now with Ned Rackham in the van. it seemed that the British sailorswere in a parlous plight and that their sortie must fail. Craftily the piratesmaneuvered to drive them back into the forecastle and there to butcher themlike sheep

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