Next moment he had seized the pirate by the throat, and fell with him to the deck, where a fierce struggle ensued.
We have said that the Sicilian youth was powerfully made, but the pirate captain was more than a match for him in size, if not in courage; nevertheless, the superior activity of Mariano, coupled with the fact that he chanced to fall uppermost, gave him an advantage which would in a few moments have cost the pirate his life, had not a blow from behind rendered his youthful adversary insensible.
Rising hastily and regaining the yataghan which had fallen from his grasp in the struggle, the pirate captain was about to rush again into the fight, but, perceiving that although one or two of the schooner's crew still showed resistance, his men were almost everywhere in possession of the deck, he desisted, and turned with a look of surprise to the man who had freed him from his antagonist.
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