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New-York tribune. (New York [N.Y.]) 1866-1924, February 25, 1906, Image 32

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Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1906-02-25/ed-1/seq-32/

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A C©inniipsMM©ini to Tlhie WMtte Coimipaiiy
By SIR ARTiUR COHAH DOYILIE
Synopsis of Preceding t hapter^t End of Tl.i* I r»-,t ; .l -nrni
CHAPTER XVII.
(Conlinui-d)
Tlic- Spanianls on
the Sia
TI Basilisk had
indeed been
spied from the
Spanish Admiral's ship before the fog closed down.
With so light a breeze and such a fog, he could not
hope to tind her under sail. But by an evil chance
not a bow-shot from the great Spanish carrack was
a low galley, thin and swift, with oars which could
speed her against wind or tide. She also had seen
the Basilisk, and it was to her thai the Spanish
leader shouted his orders. For a few minutes she
hunted through the fog, and then sprang out of it
like a lean and stealthy beast upon its prey. It
was the sight of the long dark shadow gliding after
them which had brought that wild shout of alarm
from the lips of the English knight. In another
instant the starboard oars of the galley had Ken
shipped, the sides of the two vessels grated together,
and a stream of swarthy, red capped Spaniards
were swarming up the sides of the Basilisk and
dropping with yells of triumph ti[>on h<r deck.
For a moment it seemed as if the vessel was cap
tured without a blow being struck, for the men of
the English ship had run wildly in all directions to
look lor their arms. Scores of archers might be
seen under the shadow of the forecastle and the
poop bending their bowstaves to string them with
the cords from their waterproof cases, Others
were scrambling over saddles, barrels and cases in
wild search of their quivers. Bach as he came upon
his arrows pulled out a few to lend to his less for
tunate comrades. In mad haste the men-at-arms
also were feeling and grasping in the dark corners,
picking up steel caps which would not tit them,
hurling them down on the deck, and snatching
eagerly at any swords or spears that came their
way.
The center of the ship was held by the Spaniards,
and having slain all who earn- in their way, they
were pressing up to either end before they were
made to understand that it was no fat sheep but a
most tierce old wolf which they had taken by the
tars.
1; the lesson was late, it was the more thorough.
Attacked on both sides and hopelessly outnumbered,
the Spaniards, who had never doubted that this
little craft was a merchant ship, were cut otl to the
la.-t man. Il was no tight, but a butchery. In
vain the survivors ran. screaming prayers to the
saints, and threw themselves down into the galley
alongside. 1: also had been riddled with arrows
from the poop of the Basilisk, and both the crew
on the deck and the galley-slaves in the outriggers
at either side lay dead in rows under the over
whelming shower from above. From stem to rud
der every fool of her was furred with arrows. It
was but a floating coffin piled with dead and dying
men which wallowed in the waves behind them as
the Basilisk lurched onward and left her in the fog.
In their first rush on the Basilisk, the Spaniards
had seized six .of the crew and four unarmed
archers. Their throats had been cut and
their bodies tossed overboard. Now the Span
iards who littered the deck, wounded and
dead, were thrust over the side in the same
fashion. One ran down into the hold and
had to be hunted and killed squealing under
the blows like a rat in the darkness. Within
half an hour no sign was lei of this grim meet
ing in the fog save for the crimson splashes
upon bulwarks and deck. The archers, flushed
and merry, were unstringing their bow once
more, for in spite of the water-glue the damp
air took the strength from the cords, Some
wer. hunting about for arrows which might
have stuck inboard, and some tying up small in
juries received in the scuttle.
Hut an anxious shadow still lingered upon the face
of Sir Robert, and he peered tixedly about him
through the fog. "Go among the archers, Haw
thorne," said he to his Squire. "Charge them on
their lives to make no sound! You also, Loring. Go
SUNDAY MAGAZINE for FEBRUARY 25. 1906
Co) >rii;h! , '■■. V •"■■n.in !>• Jil
to the afterguard and say the same to then We
arc lost it' one of these great ship.- should spy us."
For an boor with bated breath they stole tluuugli
the fleet, still hearing the cymbals dashing all
round them, f«>r in this way the Spaniards held them
selves together. Once the wild mask came from
above their very prow, and so warned them to
change their course. Once also a hv
loomed for an instant upm their quarter; boi
turned two points away front her. and she blurred
and vanished. Soon the cymbals were but a dis
tant tinkling, and at last they died gradually away.
"It is none too soon," said the old shiftman,
pointing to a yellowish tint in the haze above
them. "See yonder! It is the sun which wins
through. It will be here anon. Ah! said I not
so ? ' '
A sickly sun, no larger and far dimmer than the
moon, had indeed shown its face, with
wreaths smoking across it. As they looked up it
waxed larger and brighter before their <
yellow halo spread round it, one ray broke through,
and then a funnel of golden hght j^jured down upon
them, widening swiftly at the base. A minute
later they were sailing on a clear blue sea with an
azure cloud-flecked sky above their heads, and
such a scene beneath it as each of them would
carry in his memory while memory remained.
They were in mid-Channel. The white and green
coasts of I'icardv and of Kent lay clear upon :
side of them. The wide Channel stretch'
deepening from the light blue beneath
to purple on t!.>- far sky-line. Behind
thick bank of cloud from which
they ha<l just l>-irst. It lav like a
j^rav wall from east to west, aid
through it. were breaking t!.
IlliivTr.itf J by JosepU Clement Coll
shadowy fora of
the ships of Spain.
I iof them had
ahead; emergedL
tht ir rt<i bodies^
painted sails shin
ing gloriously in the evening sttn. Kv-t
a fresh golden sj ot grew out of the fog,
blazed like a star fos an instant, and then
MAIH«Bd forward to show itself as the
beak of the great red vessel which bore :".. Look
ing back, the whole bank of rfood " '•r. by
the wide-spread lir.e of noble ships which were
bursting through it. The Basilisk lay a mil I
more in front of them and two miles drat ■>■■ their
wing. Five miles farther off. in the dwctioE of the
French coast, two other small shij> were r nning
down Channel. A cry of joy from Robert EwßoDca
and a hearty prayc-r of to tiie <;.:• ta Erosa
the old shipman hailed them as their m'wing com
rades, the cog Thomas and the Grace Dieu.
Hut fair as was the viuw of tiieir losl friends, and
woodnxta the appearance of the Spcutot shi| s, it
was not on those that the eyes of the men "i the
Hasihsk were chierly l«.nt. A greater si-ht lay
before them — a si.^'ht which brought tbetn cluster
ing to the forecastle with cages eyes and pointing
fingers. The English fleet wa coming forth irom
the Winchelsea coast. Already before the fog
lifted a fast galleass had brought the nc'A > down
Channel that the Spanish were on the sea and the
King's ileet was under way. Now their Img array
of sails. p*y with the coata and colors ot the towns
which had furnished them, lay bright ag;i:r.>t the
Kentish coast from Dungeness Point to Rye. Nine
and twenty ships were there rom Southarr.pt>>n,
Shoreham, Winchelsea, Bastings, Rye, H. the,
Romney, Folkestone, Deal, Dover and Sandwich.
With their great saib slued round to catch the miai,

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