Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XVIII / The Story of Blackbeard >> Page 453

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Page 453

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription THE GIRL OF PAMPLICO. 453
sel should be carried into port. This necessity implied another.
The crew and passengers must be disposed of. As the scheme
presented itself to the mind of Blackbeard to have the vessel
condemned by the court of admiralty as a lawful prize, it needed
that he should be prepared to report that she was found aban-
doned by her proper owners. This resolve required that he
should suffer no witnesses to live who might expose the true na-
ture of the transaction. IIe had no remorseful scruples, and
the decree was soon pronounced. The unhappy captives were
doomed to walk the plank.
That is to say, all were thus doomed who should refuse to
join the pirate party. There was this terrible alternative to be
allowed them. Accordingly, having seen what were the treas-
ures of the ship, and fully satisfied himself of what she con-
tained, he reascended to the deck, where the unfortunate crew
were held in durance, pale and trembling, in waiting for their
fate. Brief consultation had been needed among the pirate-
chiefs. Blackbeard had given his opinion, in which the lieuten-
ants all concurred : and there was no consultation necessary
when they reappeared on deck.
The terrible chief, closely followed by his new wife, the girl
of Pamplico, confronted the group of captives in all his terrors
of aspect, costume, and furious speech. His wife wqs scarcely
less a terror in the eyes of our young French creole woman.
She was habited only in part like a woman. She wore a skirt,
it is true, but the pantaloons of a man appeared beneath, and
she wore a sort of undress uniform frock-coat covered with rows
of massive golden buttons. On her shoulders were heavy epau-
lets ; on her head a dashing cap of fur, with a feather. Her
belt contained pistols, and a middy's dirk with glittering handle.
She lacked nothing but a heavy mustache to make her as ter-
rible in the eyes of the young French husband as in those of his
wife. To make the portrait more revolting, we must add that
her face was reddened and bloated with free use of the wine cup.
and her eyes fiery, yet moist, from the same unnatural practice.
The rest of the pirates need not be described. It will suffice to
say, that in their costume and equipment nothing had been
omitted which might exaggerate to the mind of the captives, the
terrible character of the profession they pursued.