Excerpt from Selection From the Youth's Companion for Supplementary Reading: A Book of Histories
When I first remember my father his hair was already gray, and its white, close-curling rings lay upon the high collar of his blue navy coat. His bright blue eyes expressed sincerity and courage, and the smile upon his face emboldened his children to climb upon his knees, and make the most of his rare periods of leave from his ship.
We found in him our hero and our delight, and often begged him to tell us stories of what he had done and seen. I had a special liking for the adventure which I am going to relate, and I shall tell the story with as strict an adherence to the truth as I can attain to, with only the memory of years long past to rely upon. It was but brieﬂy told me then, for if I asked my father for an enlargement of the story, with details which only he could give, he would put me down from his knee, saying: Yes, yes, Puss, it is all true, but enough has been made of that. No decent lad could have done less.
The boyhood of my father had been a peculiar one. He inherited the qualities of brave Scotch ancestors, who had lost all in their adherence to Bonnie Prince Charlie. At fifteen years of age he obtained a warrant as midshipman in the navy, and at once had opportunity, in the concluding events of the War of 1812, to show his boyish mettle.
After peace had been concluded with Great Britain, there came the expeditions against the pirates of the Gulf of Mexico for which the famous mosquito ﬂeet, under Commodore Patterson, was fitted out.
Chief and most troublesome of the pirate bands was that over which the Lafitte brothers ruled. Through the skill and audacity of Jean Lafitte most of the mischief was accomplished. Almost all intercourse with the South and the Gulf was then carried on by water. Beside merchandise and passengers.
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