The Pirate Woman (Chapter 14, page 1 of 9)

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Chapter 14

"How bears the flare?" Dolores demanded, steadying the helm.

"Three points on lee-bow!" came from aloft.

"Sing out when we point for it!" Dolores gave the wheel a few spokes, and at her command the main-sheet was rendered until the schooner fell off from the wind, and Stumpy hailed: "Steady! She heads fair for it!"

"Does it still burn?"

"Aye, blazing bright! And low down, too, for the seas hide it every moment!"

"Keep thy eyes skinned, and seek for the sloop, too."

The schooner came to a more even keel as she squared away from the gale, and the splendid speed of the craft sent a thrill through Dolores, as through the less impressionable pirate of the gang. Fast as Rufe's sloop was, this dainty plaything of wealth and leisure sped over the snarling seas at a gait that promised to overhaul the smaller vessel two fathoms to one.

Even Rupert Venner and his friends, shivering with the wet and sudden change from the cabin to the deck though they were, found much to soothe them in the glorious sweep and swing of the Feu Follette; much to admire and envy in the perfect poise and sang froid of the magnificent creature at the wheel.

Dolores stood on feet as steady as the great, deep eyes that were fixed on the compass-card before her. Her heavy, lustrous hair streamed about her from under the golden circlet; in each lightning flash she stood out, a thing of wild, awful beauty; the rain glistened on her bare shoulders and arms, rendering her golden skin a gleaming, fairylike armor. And the blustering wind caught her wet tunic and wrapped it about her closely and tightly, revealing every grace and glory of her perfect body.

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