Excerpt:- Shelvocke smothered a laugh, but looked grave enough a moment after. He made no remark, but walked aft and stood looking over the taffrail. For some minutes we kept staring and listening, and I was beginning to think that it would end in the vessels drifting apart, and in our getting no sight of our neighbour if the fog did not lift before the night came, when all at once the fog thinned right abeam, as though a lane were opened in it by a passage of wind, and disclosed about a quarter of a mile of white water, with just a faint spangle of sunlight touching the further extremity of it. The folds of the fog rolling to the southward, this lane went with them, and when it reached the quarter, there, standing in the clear space of it, and about a pistol-shot away from the Tigress, was a large black ship of not less than six hundred tons, lying broadside on to us, with great channels which gave her rigging a tremendously wide spread, and immensely square lower-yards. The fog came down as low as her tops, so that all her upper spars were hidden. She showed five guns for her broadside.
I sprang aft to take her bearings by the compass, and when I looked again she was gone.
But gone only to the eye, for now that they had seen us the ear could determine their whereabouts with laughable precision. It was evident that our sudden apparition had greatly alarmed her people ; we heard a whole volley of orders thundered out in French ; ropes were let go, blocks squealed, yards were sharply braced around. Indeed, the confusion was as sure a sign as the lingo that she was in French hands.
Author: William Clark Russell
Title: An Ocean Free-Lance: From a Privateersman's Log 1812
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