I put the Reindeer about on the other tack, ran up under the lee of a junk, shivered the mainsail into the wind and lost headway, and forged past the stern of the junk so slowly and so near that one of the patrolmen stepped lightly aboard.
Up to this time there had been no noise, but from the first junk captured by the salmon boat an uproar now broke forth.
To the right of us I saw the captain of a junk chop away his mooring line with an axe and spring to help his crew at the hoisting of the huge, outlandish lug-sail.
The first junk I took after was a clean miss, for it trimmed its sheets and shot away surprisingly into the wind.
The two starboard sweeps of the junk were crumpled up, and then the two boats came together with a crash.
Pausing long enough to let go the jib halyards, and just as the Reindeer cleared and began to drift astern, I leaped aboard the junk with a line and made fast.
Now get aboard, four of you," I said in a loud voice, indicating with my fingers that four of them were to go with me and the fifth was to remain by the junk.
Four more were added to our passenger list from the third junk.
To make matters serious, during all the excitement of boarding the junks the Reindeer had not been bailed, and the water was beginning to slush over the cockpit floor.
Consequently, when these monsters met in battle, they manoeuvred for the upper place, or grappled and fought like junks
, throwing grenades fighting hand to hand in an entirely medieval fashion.