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THE PASSING OF MOGUL MACKENZIE
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Salty Dog
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:36 pm    Post subject: THE PASSING OF MOGUL MACKENZIE Reply with quote

THE PASSING OF MOGUL MACKENZIE

The Last of the North Atlantic Pirates


ARTHUR HUNT CHUTE

IN the farther end of the Bay of Fundy, about a mile off from the Nova Scotian
coast, is the Isle of Haut. It is a strange rocky island that rises several hundred
feet sheer out of the sea, without any bay or inlets. A landing can only be
effected there in the calmest weather; and on account of the tremendous ebb of
the Fundy tides, which rise and fall sixty feet every twelve hours, the
venturesome explorer cannot long keep his boat moored against the precipitous
cliffs.

Because of this inaccessibility little is known of the solitary island. Within its
rampart walls of rock they say there is a green valley, and in its center is a
fathomless lake, where the Micmac Indians used to bury their dead, and hence
its dread appellation of the "Island of the Dead." Beyond these bare facts nothing
more is certain about the secret valley and the haunted lake. Many wild and
fabulous descriptions are current, but they are merely the weavings of fancy.
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Salty Dog
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sometimes on a stormy night the unhappy navigators of the North Channel miss
the coast lights in the fog, and out from the Isle of Haut a gentle undertow flirts
with their bewildered craft. Then little by little they are gathered into a mighty
current against which all striving is in vain, and in the white foam among the
iron cliffs their ship is pounded into splinters. The quarry which she gathers in so
softly at first and so fiercely at last, however, is soon snatched away from the
siren shore. The ebb-tide bears every sign of wreckage far out into the deeps of
the Atlantic, and not a trace remains of the ill-starred vessel or her crew. But one
of the boats in the fishing fleet never comes home, and from lonely huts on the
coast reproachful eyes are cast upon the "Island of the Dead."
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the long winter nights, when the "boys" gather about the fire in Old Steele's
General Stores at Hall's Harbor, their hard gray life becomes bright for a spell.
When a keg of hard cider is flowing freely the grim fishermen forget their
taciturnity, the ice is melted from their speech, and the floodgates of their souls
pour forth. But ever in the background of their talk, unforgotten, like a haunting
shadow, is the "Island of the Dead." Of their weirdest and most blood-curdling
yarns it is always the center; and when at last, with uncertain steps, they leave
the empty keg and the dying fire to turn homeward through the drifting snow,
fearful and furtive glances are cast to where the island looms up like a ghostly
sentinel from the sea.

Across its high promontory the Northern Lights scintillate
and blaze, and out of its moving brightness the terrified fishermen behold the
war-canoes of dead Indians freighted with their redskin braves; the forms of
coeur de bois and desperate Frenchmen swinging down the sky-line in a ghastly
snake-dance; the shapes and spars of ships long since forgotten from the
"Missing List"; and always, most dread-inspiring of them all, the distress signals
from the sinking ship of Mogul Mackenzie and his pirate crew.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Captain Mogul Mackenzie was the last of the pirates to scourge the North
Atlantic seaboard. He came from that school of freebooters that was let loose by
the American Civil War. With a letter of marque from the Confederate States, he
sailed the seas to prey on Yankee shipping. He and his fellow-privateers were so
thorough in their work of destruction, that the Mercantile Marine of the United
States was ruined for a generation to come. When the war was over the defeated
South called off her few remaining bloodhounds on the sea. But Mackenzie, who
was still at large, had drunk too deeply of the wine of a wild, free life. He did not
return to lay down his arms, but began on a course of shameless piracy. He lived
only a few months under the black flag, until he went down on the Isle of Haut.
The events of that brief and thrilling period are unfortunately obscure, with only
a ray of light here and there. But the story of his passing is the most weird of all
the strange yarns that are spun about the "Island of the Dead."
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In May, 1865, a gruesome discovery was made off the coast of Maine, which
sent a chill of fear through all the seaport towns of New England. A whaler
bound for New Bedford was coming up Cape Cod one night long after dark.

There was no fog, and the lights of approaching vessels could easily be
discerned. The man on the lookout felt no uneasiness at his post, when, without
any warning of bells or lights, the sharp bow of a brigantine suddenly loomed
up, hardly a ship's length in front.

"What the blazes are you trying to do?" roared the mate from the bridge, enraged
at this unheard-of violation of the right of way. But no voice answered his
challenge, and the brigantine went swinging by, with all her sails set to a
spanking breeze. She bore directly across the bow of the whaler, which just
grazed her stern in passing.

"There's something rotten on board there," said the mate.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Ay," said the captain, who had come on the bridge, "there's something rotten
there right enough. Swing your helm to port, and get after the devils," he
ordered.

"Ay, ay, sir!" came the ready response, and nothing loth the helmsman changed
his course to follow the eccentric craft. She was evidently bound on some secret
mission, for not otherwise would she thus tear through the darkness before the
wind without the flicker of a light.

The whaler was the swifter of the two ships, and she could soon have overhauled
the other; but fearing some treachery, the captain refrained from running her
down until daylight. All night long she seemed to be veering her course,
attempting to escape from her pursuer. In the morning, off the coast of Maine,
she turned her nose directly out to sea. Then a boat was lowered from the whaler,
and rowed out to intercept the oncoming vessel. When they were directly in her
course, they lay on their oars and waited. The brigantine did not veer again, but
came steadily on, and soon the whalemen were alongside, and made themselves
fast to a dinghy which she had in tow. A few minutes of apprehensive waiting
followed, and as nothing happened, one of the boldest swung himself up over the
tow-rope on to the deck. He was followed by the others, and they advanced
cautiously with drawn knives and pistols.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not a soul was to be seen, and the men, who were brave enough before a
charging whale, trembled with fear. The wheel and the lookout were alike
deserted, and no sign of life could be discovered anywhere below. In the galley
were the embers of a dead fire, and the table in the captain's cabin was spread
out ready for a meal which had never been eaten. On deck everything was spick
and span, and not the slightest evidence of a storm or any other disturbance
could be found. The theory of a derelict was impossible. Apparently all had been
well on board, and they had been sailing with good weather, when, without any
warning, her crew had been suddenly snatched away by some dread power.

The sailors with one accord agreed that it was the work of a sea-serpent. But the
mate had no place for the ordinary superstitions of the sea, and he still scoured
the hold, expecting at any minute to encounter a dead body or some other evil
evidence of foul play. Nothing more, however, was found, and the mate at length
had to end his search with the unsatisfactory conclusion that the St. Clare, a
brigantine registered from Hartpool, with cargo of lime, had been abandoned on
the high seas for no apparent reason. Her skipper had taken with him the ship's
papers, and had not left a single clue behind.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A crew was told off to stand by the St. Clare to bring her into port, and the others
climbed into the long-boat to row back to the whaler.

"Just see if there is a name on that there dinghy, before we go," said the mate.

An exclamation of horror broke from one of the men as he read on the bow of
the dinghy the name, Kanawha.

The faces of all went white with a dire alarm as the facts of the mystery suddenly
flashed before them. The Kanawha was the ship in which Captain Mogul
Mackenzie had made himself notorious as a privateersman. Every one had heard
her awe-inspiring name, and every Yankee seafaring man prayed that he might
never meet her on the seas. After the Alabama was sunk, and the Talahassee was
withdrawn, the Kanawha still remained to threaten the shipping of the North.
For
a long time her whereabouts had been unknown, and then she was discovered by
a Federal gunboat, which gave chase and fired upon her. Without returning fire,
she raced in for shelter amongst the dangerous islands off Cape Sable, and was
lost in the fog. Rumor had it that she ran on the rocks off that perilous coast, and
sank with all on board. As time went by, and there was no more sign of the
corsair, the rumor was accepted as proven. Men began to spin yarns in the
forecastle about Mogul Mackenzie, with an interest that was tinged with its
former fear. Skippers were beginning to feel at ease again on the grim waters,
when suddenly, like a bolt from the blue, came the awful news of the discovery
of the St. Clare.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gunboats put off to scour the coast-line; and again with fear and trembling the
look-out began to eye suspiciously every new sail coming up on the horizon.

One afternoon, toward the end of May, a schooner came tearing into Portland
harbor, with all her canvas, crowded on, and flying distress signals. Her skipper
said that off the island of Campabello he had seen a long gray sailing-ship with
auxiliary power sweeping down upon him. As the wind was blowing strong
inshore, he had taken to his heels and made for Portland. He was chased all the
way, and his pursuer did not drop him until he was just off the harbor bar.
Many doubted his story, however, saying that no one would dare to chase a
peaceful craft so near to a great port in broad daylight. And, again, it was urged
that an auxiliary vessel could easily have overhauled the schooner between
Campabello and Portland.
The fact that the captain of the schooner was as often
drunk as sober, and that when he was under the influence of drink he was given
to seeing visions, was pointed to as conclusive proof that his yarn was a lie.
After the New Bedford whaler came into port with the abandoned St. Clare, it
was known beyond doubt that the Kanawha was still a real menace. But nobody
cared to admit that Mogul Mackenzie was as bold as the schooner's report would
imply, and hence countless arguments were put forward to allay such fears.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But a few days later the fact that the pirates were still haunting their coast was
absolutely corroborated. A coastal packet from Boston arrived at Yarmouth with
the news that she had not only sighted Kanawha in the distance, but they had
crossed each other's paths so near that the name could be discerned beyond
question with a spyglass. She was heading up the Bay of Fundy, and did not
pause or pay any heed to the other ship.

This news brought with it consternation, and every town and village along the
Fundy was a-hum with stories and theories about the pirate ship. The interest,
instead of being abated, was augmented as the days went by with no further
report. In the public-houses and along the quays it was almost the only topic of
conversation. The excitement became almost feverish when it was known that
several captains, outward bound, had taken with them a supply of rifles and
ammunition. The prospect of a fight seemed imminent.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

About a week after the adventure of the Boston packet Her Majesty's ship
Buzzard appeared off Yarmouth harbor. The news of the Kanawha had come to
the Admiral at Halifax, and he had dispatched the warship to cruise about the
troubled coast.

"That'll be the end of old Mogul Mackenzie, now that he's got an English ship on
his trail," averred a Canadian as he sat drinking in the "Yarmouth Light" with a
group of seafaring men of various nationalities. "It takes the British jack-tar to
put the kibosh on this pirate game. One of them is worth a shipload of Yankees
at the business."

"Well, don't you crow too loud now," replied a Boston skipper. "I reckon that that
Nova Scotian booze-artist, who ran into Portland the other day scared of his
shadow, would not do you fellows much credit."
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Yes; but what about your gunboats that have had the job of fixing the Kanawha
for the last three years, and haven't done it yet?" The feelings between Canada
and the United States were none too good just after the Civil War, and the
Canadian was bound not to lose this opportunity for horse-play. "You're a fine
crowd of sea-dogs, you are, you fellows from the Boston Tea-Party. Three years
after one little half-drowned rat, and haven't got him yet. Wouldn't Sir Francis
Drake or Lord Nelson be proud of the record that you long-legged, slab-sided
Yankees have made on the sea!"

"Shut your mouth! you blue-nosed, down-East herring-choker!" roared the
Yankee skipper. "I reckon we've given you traitors that tried to stab us in the
back a good enough licking; and if any more of your dirty dogs ever come
nosing about down south of Mason and Dixon's Line, I bet they'll soon find out
what our record is."

"Well, you fools can waste your tongue and wind," said a third man, raising his
glass, "but for me here's good luck to the Buzzard."

"So say we all of us," chimed in the others, and the Yankee and the Canadian
drank together to the success of the British ship, forgetting their petty jealousies
before a common foe.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Everywhere the news of the arrival of the British warship was hailed with
delight. All seemed to agree that her presence assured the speedy extermination
of the pirate crew. But after several days of futile cruising about the coast, her
commander, to escape from a coming storm, had to put into St. Mary's Bay, with
the object of his search still eluding his vigilance. He only arrived in time to hear
the last chapter of the Kanawha's tale of horrors.

The night before, Dominic Lefountain, a farmer living alone at Meteighan, a
little village on the French shore, had been awakened from his sleep by the
moaning and wailing of a human voice. For days the imminent peril of an assault
from the pirates had filled the people of the French coast with forebodings. And
now, awakened thus in the dead of night, the lonely Frenchman was wellnigh
paralyzed with terror. With his flesh creeping, and his eyes wide, he groped for
his rifle, and waited in the darkness, while ever and anon came those unearthly
cries from the beach. Nearly an hour passed before he could gather himself
together sufficiently to investigate the cause of the alarm. At last, when the
piteous wailing had grown weak and intermittent, the instinct of humanity
mastered his fears, and he went forth to give a possible succor to the one in need.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the beach, lying prostrate, with the water lapping about his feet, he found a
man in the last stage of exhaustion. The blood was flowing from his mouth, and
as Dominic turned him over to stanch its flow, he found that his tongue had been
cut out, and hence the unearthly wailing which had roused him from his sleep.
The beach was deserted by this time, and it was too dark to see far out into the
bay.

Dominic carried the unfortunate man to his house, and nursed him there for
many weeks. He survived his frightful experiences, and lived on for twenty
years, a pathetic and helpless figure, supported by the big-hearted farmers and
fishermen of the French shore. Evidently he had known too much for his
enemies, and they had sealed his mouth forever. He became known as the
"Mysterious Man of Meteighan," and his deplorable condition was always
pointed to as a mute witness of the last villainy of Mogul Mackenzie.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the night following the episode of the "Mysterious Man of Meteighan," a
wild and untoward storm swept down the North Atlantic and over the seaboard
far and near. In the Bay of Fundy that night the elements met in their grandest
extremes. Tide-rips and mountain waves opposed each other with titanic force.
All along the bleak and rock-ribbed coast the boiling waters lay churned into
foam. Over the breakwaters the giant combers crashed and soared far up into the
troubled sky; while out under the black clouds of the night the whirlpools and
the tempests met. Was ever a night like this before? Those on shore thanked
God; and those with fathers on the sea gazed out upon a darkness where no star
of hope could shine.
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