The Loss of the Royal George


The Loss of the Royal George

By E. Weston Farmer

The storm had cleared the night before, and the day dawned with the bully song of life. The heaving green seas and the cloud-scudding sky freshened the pulse of all living things. Tense, suspended by a thread, adventure hung in
the air.

Only yesterday noon, while putting in for water at Mrs. Clancy's little Inn above the beach the Royal George had been hauled by a Pirate, and her men murdered.

This sun-up on the beach, the dying surf cast the wreckage of Her Majesty's ship, brig, thirty-two guns, far up the sands—tossed the splintered wreckage, all little pieces of wood; mute testimony to the fury of the storm that had driven the Pirate off, as he scuttled the George and surprised and butchered her leaden crew.

Here, tumbled in the dross, was her once proud and high-steeved spirit. There in the undertow, her main stuns'l, riddled by cannon and shot from the stays, caught the heave of the swells and lapped liquidly over the reef at the end of the beach. High on the drying strand lay a portion of the man-o-war's poop, its royal red, its white, its stoned oak all still valiant. Everywhere was desolation. A sense of uncompleted tragedy hung about the scene.

Doubt not that at this juncture there should round the promontory with stealthy stroke, a vessel bearing—yes! the pirate chief! Why he should come atone is not for us to answer here, nor yet to speculate. But clad in approved piratical knee pants, with sturdy legs he stepped from his bumboat as it grated the sand. A burly fellow, and youthful enough, with all approved cutlasses and armament as per the 1610 Pirate's and Badmen's Union rules. He looked not as vicious as one would have expected in recalling the slaughter aboard the ship, but as he spat viciously on the sand and a sneer bared his teeth, revealing two uppers, front, missing, any soul with the fear of God in his system would have shuddered at the obviously wicked, cruel deep-dyed seafaring criminal he was. A bad fellow, bent this morning on solitary, evil and secret business. Else why should he haunt the scene of the wreck alone?

Not a soul had washed ashore from Her Majesty's ship—no man to tell the tale, smashed, splintered, wrecked, utterly done for her hull was, too. Yesterday she had been scuttled for the sheer fun of it. No more, no less. Now appeared upon the scene the pirate chief, alone and cursing.

"I imagine," said the chief, with a villainous chuckle, "Her Majesty will raise hell when she hears of this. Not a man living. Ha, Ha! Much as it displeases me, Elizabeth must hear of this from me in person, and at once. Oh, for a skilled ambassador!" His brow knitted falteringly, did the pirate's, and he stepped hesitatingly toward the queer-hulled boats, standard with that type of pirate in those days. according to rules of the Union. But no! Not yet! He spied the cabin of the Widow Clancy, hostess
of the Inn. Well he knew the widow—oft had he been humiliated by her rebukes. Her little patch of seaside farm had sheltered many in distress and at times the widow, young, fiery and pretty, would drop her maternal reserve and revel in proper merriment, much to the liking of the chief. Often in the twi—well, when pirates have designs on young wid—well, it's time to quit writing that's all.

A flush came over his countenance. Yes, he must see the widow. Determined, designing, up the beach hiked he. Once, stopping, he viewed the wreckage below and bethought himself of the sad duty he had of telling of the plundering to his friendly enemy the Queen. What a shock it would prove to her uncertain nervous system! Then on and up, with flushed face.

He paused near the door, for he perceived the widow framed there, her bosom heaving with emotion. The sky and sea freshened the pulse. Tense, suspended by a thread, the sword of fate hung in the air. Oh, pity the little widow!

"Willie Clancy, you run to the woodshed and remove your trousers. I'll teach you to play with my mantelpiece model!"

Be it said for the pirate that he scuttled around the corner and into the woodshed so quickly he scooped sand in his hip-pocket, which you will claim is leaning some, even for a pirate. Nay, nay. Elizabeth Clancy was Her Majesty: the pirate her son of ten.