Among Malay Pirates
In this collection of shorter stories we visit Malay pirates, have a couple of tales of India, a shipwreck off the Channel Islands and a bursting dam in California, and finish off escaping from captivity in China.AMONGMALAY PIRATES (excerpt)"I wish most heartily that something wouldhappen," Harry Parkhurst, a midshipman of some sixteen years ofage, said to his chum, Dick Balderson, as they leaned on the rail ofher majesty's gunboat Serpent, and looked gloomily at the turbidstream that rolled past the ship as she lay at anchor."One day is just like another—one is in astate of perspiration from morning till night, and from night tillmorning. There seems to be always a mist upon the water; and if itwere not that we get up steam every three or four days and run outfor twenty-four hours for a breath of fresh air, I believe that weshould be all eaten up with fever in no time. Of course, they arealways talking of Malay pirates up the river kicking up a row; but itnever seems to come off.""There is one thing, Harry—there is alwayssomething to look at, for there are canoes constantly going up anddown, and there is plenty of variety among them—from the sluggishdhows, laden with up country produce, to the long canoes with a scoreof paddlers and some picturesque ruffian sitting in the stern. Itadds to the interest when you know that the crews are cutthroats to aman, and would make but the shortest possible work of you if they hadgot you in their power.""Yes, Dick. Look at that canoe coming upstream; what a good looking chap that is in the stern, though by theway he scowls at us I can quite believe he would, as you say, cut ourthroats if he had the chance. That is a pretty little child sittingby him, and what a gorgeous dress she has! There, you see, he canlook pleasant enough when he speaks to her. I fancy they must havecome from a long way up the river, for they look wilder than most ofthe fellows who pass us. If that fool who is steering her does notmind what he is about, Dick, he will either run into that canoecoming down or else get across our chain. There, I told you so."The man at the tiller was in fact, looking, withmingled curiosity and hostility, at the gunboat that he was passingbut a few yards away, and did not notice a canoe, manned by sixrowers, that was coming down with the stream, taking an obliquecourse across the bows of the Serpent, and was indeed hidden from hisview by the hull of the vessel, until he had passed beyond her. Thenthere was a sudden shout and a yell from a dozen throats, as the twocanoes came into collision, the one proceeding up the river beingstruck on the quarter with a force that almost cut her in two, and inan instant her occupants were in the water. As the Malays were to aman almost as much at home in the water as on land, the accidentwould have had little effect beyond the loss of the boat and itscontents, had it not been that the stern of the other craft struckthe Malay chief with such force as to completely disable him, and hewould have sunk at once had not two of the boatmen grasped him andkept his head above water...
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ISBN: 9781387152124
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