“It is a galley, sir—one of the row galleys—I can make out her bank of oars,” observed the signal-man.

This was reported to Captain Wilson, who also examined her.

“She is on the rocks, certainly,” observed he; “and I think I see people on board. Keep her away a point, quarter-master.”

The Aurora was now steered right for the vessel, and in the course of an hour was not more than a mile from her. Their suppositions were correct—it was one of the Sicilian government galleys bilged on the rocks, and they now perceived that there were people on board of her, making signals with their shirts and pieces of linen.

“They must be the galley-slaves; for I perceive that they do not one of them change their positions: the galley must have been abandoned by the officers and seamen, and the slaves left to perish.”

“That’s very hard,” observed Jack to Gascoigne; “they were condemned to the galleys, but not to death.”

“They will not have much mercy from the waves,” replied Gascoigne; “they will all be in kingdom come to-morrow morning if the breeze comes more on the land. We have already come up two points this forenoon.”

Although Captain Wilson did not join in this conversation, which he overheard as he stood on the forecastle gun, with his glass over the hammocks, it appears he was of the same opinion; but he demurred: he had to choose between allowing so many of his fellow-creatures to perish miserably, or to let loose upon society a set of miscreants, who would again enter a course of crime until they were recaptured, and by so doing, probably displease the Sicilian authorities. After some little reflection he resolved that he would take his chance of the latter. The Aurora was hove-to in stays, and the two cutters ordered to be lowered down, and the boat’s crew to be armed.

“Mr. Easy, do you take one cutter and the armourers; pull on board of the galley, release those people, and land them in small divisions. Mr. Gascoigne, you will take the other to assist Mr. Easy, and when he lands them in his boat, you will pull by his side ready to act, in case of any hostile attempt on the part of the scoundrels; for we must not expect gratitude: of course, land them at the nearest safe spot for debarkation.”

In pursuance of these orders, our two midshipmen pulled away to the vessel. They found her fixed hard upon the rocks, which had pierced her slight timbers, and, as they had supposed, the respectable part of her crew, with the commander, had taken to the boats, leaving the galley-slaves to their fate. She pulled fifty oars, but had only thirty-six manned. These oars were forty feet long, and ran in from the thole-pin with a loom six feet long, each manned by four slaves, who were chained to their seat before it by a running chain made fast by a padlock in amidships. A plank, of two feet wide, ran fore and aft the vessel between the two banks of oars, for the boatswain to apply the lash to those who did not sufficiently exert themselves.

“Vive los Inglesos,” cried the galley-slaves, as Easy climbed up over the quarter of the vessel.

“I say, Ned, did you ever see such a precious set of villains?” observed Easy, as he surveyed the faces of the men who were chained.

“No,” replied Gascoigne; “and I think if the captain had seen them as we have, that he would have left them where they were.”

“I don’t know—but, however, our orders are positive. Armourer, knock off all the padlocks, beginning aft; when we have a cargo we will land them. How many are there?—twelve dozen; twelve dozen villains

  By PanEris using Melati.

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