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Sir Sydney had intended to go the next day into Portsmouth to pick them up, when he fell in with a schooner making for the French coast, which turned out to be a prize to a French privateer lugger, the Vengeur, known to have taken a number of prizes.

The smaller craft was perhaps a privateer, and the big one her prize; or quite as likely the big craft might be a frigate, and the small craft her prize. In either case, however, it behoved me to be very careful; for one of the two was almost certain to be an enemy, and if she happened to be also the captor of the other it was more than probable she would tackle us.

For though the noble lord has declared, that after having sent sixteen thousand into Flanders, we should still have reserved for our defence a body of seven thousand, equal to that to which the protection of this kingdom was intrusted in the late war, his opinion will upon examination be found to have arisen only from the enumeration of the names of our regiments, many of which are far from being complete, and some almost merely nominal; so that, perhaps, if a body of sixteen thousand more had been sent, there would not have remained a single regiment to have repelled the crew of any daring privateer that should have landed to burn our villages, and ravage the defenceless country.

French privateers were sighted off the coast continually, but it would seem that the island, with its reputation for poverty, its two settlements 40 leagues apart, and scanty population, offered too little chance for booty, so that no other landing is recorded till 1538, when a privateer was seen chasing a caravel on her way to San German.

Among the younger officers of the English privateer, who were left in charge of the prize, was a lad upon whom Adrian's jaded eyes rested with a feeling of mournful sympathy, so handsome was he, and so young; so full of hope and spirits and joy of life, of all, in fact, of which he himself had been left coldly bare.

One morning the privateer was compelled to run from an English brig of war of nearly twice her force; and although a swift sailer, the French vessel soon found that she could not escape from her pursuer. She disdained to refuse the combat, and the two vessels commenced cannonading each other.

The glasses of Captain M , and the officers who remained on board of the frigate, were anxiously pointed towards the boats, which in less than half an hour had arrived within gunshot of the privateer. "There is a gun from her," cried several of the men at the same moment, as the smoke boomed along the smooth water.

A second attempt was made, however, and this time the sloop-of-war got so close that she could use her heavy carronades, which put the privateer completely at her mercy. Then Captain Reid abandoned his brig and sank her, first carrying ashore the guns, and marched inland with his men.

His heart was swelling. The privateer was flying British colours. She was his. Single-handed he had taken a French ship. He was half in tears, half laughing. It seemed so dream-like, so ridiculous. Down the shrouds, and back to the deck. Not a soul stirred. Forward somewhere a man shouted in his sleep. Aft the sentinel was whistling now.

Under the year 1693 we are reminded of perils, now happily impossible, that then lurked around these shores. There is an entry of half-a-crown paid to William Thomas "for his labour to goe to ffalmouth to give an account that two ffrench privateers lay in our bay"; and a little later another half-crown was given "to ffower poore boyes that were taken by a ffrench privateer."