THE WASP AND THE FROLIC
Between ships with such lively names as these, we might well
expect a lively battle.
One Sunday morning, just after sunrise, an American
vessel, the Wasp fell in with the Frolic, a vessel
which was guarding some merchant vessels on their way
from the West Indies.
The Wasp began at once to get herself ready for a real
wasp fight. The Frolic did the same; but as she had
only just weathered a severe storm, I fear she did not
feel in a very frolicsome mood.
It was a rough morning. The sea rolled, the waves
piled up and broke over the vessels' sides, making even
the oldest sea-dogs stagger about, as they prepared for
At last the signal was given, and bang! bang! bang!
 bang! bang! bang! went the guns from both the Wasp
and the Frolic. For a time it was uncertain which
would stand the storm of fire.
At the very first volley the Wasp lost mast and rigging
and pitched wildly about on the foaming sea, tossing
her men in every direction over the slippery deck.
But, swinging round, she quickly brought her side over
against the bows of the Frolic, and let fire a volley
which raked the other vessel from stem to stern,
carrying death to nearly every soul on deck.
And now, so close were they, that the crew of the Wasp,
with yells and howls, swarmed over the sides of their
vessel, boarding the Frolic with wild cheers of
Two other naval battles took place during this year of
1812, in both of which the Americans were victorious.
The English were struck dumb with amazement; and I
suspect the Americans themselves were hardly less
surprised. The English newspapers growled and snarled.
"What!" said they; "shall an English man-of-war, which
has not been beaten since the days of Queen Elizabeth,
be beaten now by a parcel of American-built ships,
manned by raw sailors! Shall our Britannia, which so
long has ruled the sea, be beaten by this upstart
But notwithstanding all that had been, it now
was that the American nation had proved itself as
brave on sea as on land; and the great English navy was
forced to acknowledge a rival.