, promising myself that I would make up my leeway at dinner-time--provided that I was still alive when the hour for that meal came round. This last thought sobered me down somewhat, and to a certain extent subdued my hilarious spirits; but they rose again as, upon gaining the deck, I looked round and saw the cheerful yet resolute faces of the captain and officers, and noted the gaiety with which the men went about their duty.
The strangers had by this time shown their bunting,--the tricolour,--so there was no further question of their nationality or of the fact that we were booked for a sharp fight, for they had the heels of us and were overhauling us in grand style; we could not therefore have escaped, had we been ever so anxious to do so. And, had we made the attempt, we should certainly have been quite justified, for it had now been ascertained that they were both forty-gun ships, while we mounted only thirty-six pieces on our gun deck. Escape, however, was apparently the very last thought likely to
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