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The MOOR'S REVENGE By Arthur V. Pepp

A gripping realistic tale of a four-masted schooner, and the Bounding Main.  A story of Love, Hate and Adventure interwoven in the revenge of a crafty seafaring Moor

Illustrated by Henry Brown


"When I explain the circumstances, you will understand why we paid someone to smuggle us aboard your vessel".

He remained a stranger to them - this silent, fearless Moor - even after five turbulent years aboard the El Fascid.  It was long after the big four-masted schooner had smashed its hull into debris off Cape Hatteras when any of the motley crew, which he had gathered from various ports of the world, learned his real name and something of his past.

Among the varied breeds of men composing the Captain's crew which included Moors, Hindus, a few Circassians, a Welshman, a copper hued Texan, and a couple of black men of Jamaica, it was never admitted that he had a single friend among them, unless, of course, it was Mahamasmid, the first mate, for there were signs of friendship between them.

In matters concerning these two, the rest of the crew was somewhat cynical.  They never hesitated to give voice tot he belief that these two were something other than born sailors tried an true:  Companions in crime, was the opinions voiced by a Circassian;  a finicky, desperate pair, said the Welsh cook;  escaped pirates now masquerading safely in legitimate business, averred the Hindus in their soft voices;  the Moors, hearing, said nothing, but nodded in agreement even though the mate was one of their race.

It was one of the Jamaicans who opined that the captain was a hard man because he was living a hard life in a hard way.  He concluded with the sage philosophy that back of the captain's cruelty, his desperate moments of rage, there was a reason not discernible to the crew; nor was it consistent with the nature of the captain to tell what was in his heart.  This Jamaican, Jeremin Jacks, escaped the threat of a watery grave and lived long enough afterwards to learn that he had spoken better than he knew.

STANDING LEE, as the crew knew him, was indeed a hard man, even from a sailor's viewpoint; by them he was considered a terror, the most cruel son of Allah that had ever thundered an oath from the narrow confine of a poop deck.  There were certain mysterious gestures coupled with every cruel act tat baffled the reasoning power of his entire crew, excepting, perhaps, the tight-lipped Moors.  There were times when the hairs of his short beard seemed to stand out like the little spears on an angry porcupine, when the light in his round black eyes became menacing fires of fury engendered sometimes by reasons hidden from every one aboard the El Fascid.  Omitting Mahasmid, he was never known to show a single act of friendliness to anybody except David Mobree, the Texan.  Which was when a spar broke during a hurricane in the West Indies and slammed David to the deck, dislocating his shoulder and causing his confinement to his bunk many days.  He showed much interest in David when he heard that the injured man was from a certain small town in Texas;  many questions he asked about the people of David's home town.  For a Moor captain of a tramp schooner this appeared very strange indeed to more than one of his crew.  But after learning all he could he gave no further attention to David.  Cold, aloof, he was to his men just as Captain Lee.

It was David, gifted with a certain sense of humor, who, some days before his injury, first whispered to Jeremin that the captain should be called "Standing" Lee, because he stood up all the time he was in their sight, watching, always watching, as if he had dire suspicions of his crew.  He took his meals alone.  Not even Mahasmid ventured in his cabin at that time.  Just what hours of the night he allotted to himself for sleep and relaxation, no one seemed to know or care.

But on the poop he would stand for hours, quiet and moody, watching in his brooding way the roll of the sea around the plunging El Fascid;  nor was it known that inclement weather had ever driven him from his vigil to 


the shelter of the cabin.  The Moors, devout in the ways of Allah, would assemble forward, and kneeling with heads bowed toward the East, chant their praise at the hour of prayer.  Only then did his stern mien seem to relax somewhat;  a faint shadow of compassion appeared to wreathe his face——a face still young and handsome.  It was the one moment when memories seemed to hold him steadfast and lay his soul bare to the critical eyes of the infidels below——the Circassians, the two Jamaicans, the Welsh cook, and David Mobree.  With the passing of this hour, he was again Captain Lee——sly, cruel, merciless.  Or so he appeared in the eyes of his alert and fearless crew.

The El Fascid, two days out from Puerto Melpo, under her enormous spread of canvas was plowing steadily through the Windward Passage with a hardwood cargo.  Mahasmid, the first mate, bareheaded, barefooted, came out of the cabin with a mingled expression of anger and disgust;  he started forward, but glanced back over his broad, bony shoulder as if he almost expected someone to leap upon him.  When he had gone far enough to be under the foresail, he stopped, and leaned against the larboard rail, his body swaying in unison with the roll of the ship's keel;  he fixed his eyes on the canvas overhead and muttered under his breath, "Allah, save us from evil."  Then he had the temerity to call Captain Lee.  When the surprised captain stood before him in his customary manner, Mahasmid began:  "Mighty captain, who has sailed the seven seas, long have I kept thy ship in good repute;  kept it free from the polluting presence of the foul, strange infidel.  All such as I have discovered aboard, I have always fed to the sharks;


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