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After a while the sentry over the hatchway called for him to come up and show where the leading ropes were, which he did at the point of a cutlass. And precious soon the Johnnies had altered the brig's course and stood away for the coast of France, the lugger keeping her company all night.

The blow had shaken our little bark so terribly that the captain ordered the pumps to be tried; fortunately there was no leakage to be found, but the lightning must have got well down below, for on opening the main hatchway the sulphur came up enough to suffocate any one.

The one chance was to intercept him in the cabin when he went below for food and drink. Jack dragged himself to the after hatchway which was shoved open a trifle to admit air, and squeezed himself through. Before he tumbled down the steep staircase he turned to glance at Captain Wellsby. Unseen by Ned Rackham, the boy raised his hand in a furtive, beckoning gesture.

Then we rigged a pair of sheers over the vessel's hatchway, and proceeded to hoist our 68-pounders out of the hold one at a time, of course.

After dinner, which, by the way, my friend Mick Donovan appeared to enjoy mightily, not having had a decent meal for more than a month past, as he confessed to me afterwards, the bugle loudly sounded the `assembly, when all the boys below came rushing up the hatchway near us, trooping onwards by the ladder above to the upper deck.

These ablutions being executed, he dried her with towels, accommodated her with a clean shift, and, acting the part of a valet-de-chambre, clothed her from head to foot, in clean and decent apparel which had belonged to Mrs. Hatchway; by which means her appearance was altered so much for the better, that when Peregrine arrived next day, he could scarce believe his own eyes.

While they were busy with their first oysters, a head appeared at the hatchway of the staircase, and a voice said: "I am passing by. I smell from the street a delicious odor of Brie cheese. I enter." It was Grantaire. Grantaire took a stool and drew up to the table. At the sight of Grantaire, Gibelotte placed two bottles of wine on the table. That made three.

I should be glad to see you at the garrison, if the wind of your inclination sits that way; and mayhap it may be a comfort to your aunt, to behold you alongside of her, when her anchor is apeak. So no more at present, but rests your friend and humble servant to command, "John Hatchway."

Stepping away from where I stood, hidden by a life-boat, I distinctly discerned three figures moving noiselessly along the deck, going from me. Curiosity prompted me to follow them, and to my surprise I saw them disappear one after another down the hatchway leading to the steerage. As they must, I felt certain, have come out through the saloon door, this rather puzzled me.

The issue of the contest seemed doubtful even to Bates; for he saw some of the pirates slipping down the after hatchway, and he knew too well that their intention was either to blow up the ship, or to get forward and attack him in the rear. Still, shouting to his men, he made a desperate effort to drive those before him overboard.

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