Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XVIII / What Constitutes a State? >> Page 447

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Page 447

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THE PIRATES. 447
of Great Britain, ' there was no peace beyond the line !' In
these snug harbors and safe retreats the mousing robber found
his coverts. Here he lay close until he beheld, from afar, the
white sails of the fair trader. Then he darted forth like the
shark, a little black speck upon the waters, and tore his victim
with angry and remorseless jaws, and dyed the blue waters in
his blood. To these islets he hurried back to divide and to hide
his spoil ; and dark and terrible are the thousand stories which,
could they speak, they might narrate of the wild orgies of the
cruel bands by which they were infested´┐Żof the bloody sacri-
fices which they witnessed and of the fate of the victims guilty
of the inexpiable offence of possessing treasures which their
neighbors coveted. Young eagles must be fed, and the eagles
of the sea are proverbially the most voracious of all the eagle
tribe. These were merciless. They hovered about the mouth
of Charleston for long periods, and it was in vain that Britain
kept watch with her frigates and guarda costas for the protec-
tion of her trade. Her wealth, as a colony, was at that time
superior to most of the colonies, and demanded powerful protec-
tion. But so swift of foot, so keen of sight, so fierce of appetite,
were these marauding wretches, that they too commonly evaded
pursuit, and not only succeeded in capturing the outward-bound
vessels continually, but sometimes laid the infant city, itself,
under contribution.
" Our friend from North Carolina has bestowed upon us a
very interesting narrative of the ' Ship of Fire.' The tradition
is well known in portions of South Carolina ; and to this day
certain families are pointed out as the descendants of those
cruel mariners who so mercilessly slaughtered that little colony
of German palatines. Our traditions point out the progeny of
these pirates as still under the avenging danger of the fates.
They are marked by continuous disasters. The favorite son
perishes, from some terrible accident, in the moment of his very
highest promise ; the favorite daughter withers away in con-
sumption or some nameless disease, just as she nears that bloomy
period when the mother thinks to place within her hair the
bridal flower. The neighbors shake their heads and look know-
ingly when the bolt descends suddenly upon those families, and
express no surprise. ' It must be so,' they say. ' The fates