flotilla as they passed, with his larboard broadside, while with his starboard he poured in grape and canister upon the unfortunate gun-boat which was dismasted, and which soon hauled down her colours. In a few minutes more the remainder were too far distant for the carronades, and, as they did not fire, Jack turned his attention to take possession of his prize, sending a boat with ten men on board, and heaving-to close to her to take her in tow. Ten minutes more and the frigate was hove-to a cables length from the Rebiera, and our hero lowered down his other quarter-boat to go on board.
Have we any men hurt, Mr. Oxbelly? inquired Jack.
Only two; Sperling has lost his thumb with a piece of langrage, and James has a bad wound in the thigh.
Very well; I will ask for the surgeon to come on board.
Jack pulled to the frigate and went up the side, touched his hat in due form, and was introduced by the midshipmen to the other side, where the captain stood.
Mr. Easy! exclaimed the captain.
Captain Sawbridge? replied our hero with surprise.
Good heavens! what brought you here! said the captain; and what vessel is that?
The Rebiera, letter of marque, commanded and owned by Mr. Easy, replied Jack, laughing.
Captain Sawbridge gave him his hand. Come down with me in the cabin, Mr. Easy; I am very glad to see you. Give you great credit for your conduct, and am still more anxious to know what has induced you to come out again. I knew that you had left the service.
Jack, in a very few words, told his object in fitting out the Rebiera; but, continued Jack, allow me to congratulate you upon your promotion, which I was not aware of. May I ask where you left the Harpy, and what is the name of your frigate?
The Latona. I have only been appointed to her one month, after an action in which the Harpy took a large corvette, and am ordered home with despatches to England. We sailed yesterday evening from Gibraltar, were becalmed the whole night, and attacked this morning by the gun-boats.
How is Captain Wilson, sir?
I believe he is very well, but I have not seen him.
How did you know, then, that I had left the service, Captain Sawbridge?
From Mr. Gascoigne, who is now on board.
Gascoigne! exclaimed our hero.
Yes, he was sent up to join the Aurora by the governor, but she had left the fleet, and having served his time, and a passing day being ordered, he passed, and thought he might as well go home with me and see if he could make any interest for his promotion.
Pray, Captain Sawbridge, is the gun-boat our prize or yours?
It ought to be wholly yours; but the fact is, by the regulations, we share.
With all my heart, sir. Will you send an assistant-surgeon on board to look after two of my men who are hurt?
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