The Sea-Hawk HTML version
The Swallow, having passed through a gale in the Bay of Biscay--a gale which she
weathered like the surprisingly steady old tub she was-- rounded Cape Finisterre and so
emerged from tempest into peace, from leaden skies and mountainous seas into a sunny
azure calm. It was like a sudden transition from winter into spring, and she ran along
now, close hauled to the soft easterly breeze, with a gentle list to port.
It had never been Master Leigh's intent to have got so far as this without coming to an
understanding with his prisoner. But the wind had been stronger than his intentions, and
he had been compelled to run before it and to head to southward until its fury should
abate. Thus it fell out--and all marvellously to Master Lionel's advantage, as you shall
see--that the skipper was forced to wait until they stood along the coast of Portugal--but
well out to sea, for the coast of Portugal was none too healthy just then to English
seamen--before commanding Sir Oliver to be haled into his presence.
In the cramped quarters of the cabin in the poop of the little vessel sat her captain at a
greasy table, over which a lamp was swinging faintly to the gentle heave of the ship. He
was smoking a foul pipe, whose fumes hung heavily upon the air of that little chamber,
and there was a bottle of Nantes at his elbow.
To him, sitting thus in state, was Sir Oliver introduced--his wrists still pinioned behind
him. He was haggard and hollow-eyed, and he carried a week's growth of beard on his
chin. Also his garments were still in disorder from the struggle he had made when taken,
and from the fact that he had been compelled to lie in them ever since.
Since his height was such that it was impossible for him to stand upright in that low-
ceilinged cabin, a stool was thrust forward for him by one of the ruffians of Leigh's crew
who had haled him from his confinement beneath the hatchway.
He sat down quite listlessly, and stared vacantly at the skipper. Master Leigh was
somewhat discomposed by this odd calm when he had looked for angry outbursts. He
dismissed the two seamen who fetched Sir Oliver, and when they had departed and
closed the cabin door he addressed his captive.
"Sir Oliver," said he, stroking his red beard, "ye've been most foully abused."
The sunshine filtered through one of the horn windows and beat full upon Sir Oliver's
"It was not necessary, you knave, to bring me hither to tell me so much." he answered.
"Quite so," said Master Leigh. "But I have something more to add. Ye'll be thinking that I
ha' done you a disservice. There ye wrong me. Through me you are brought to know true