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´╗┐Title: Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates; fiction, fact & fancy concerning the buccaneers & marooners of the Spanish main
Author: Pyle, Howard, 1853-1911
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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HOWARD PYLE'S BOOK OF PIRATES



Fiction, Fact & Fancy concerning the Buccaneers & Marooners of the
Spanish Main: From the writing & Pictures of Howard Pyle:


Compiled by Merle Johnson



CONTENTS

     FOREWORD BY MERLE JOHNSON

     PREFACE

     I.   BUCCANEERS AND MAROONERS OF THE SPANISH MAIN
     II.  THE GHOST OF CAPTAIN BRAND
     III. WITH THE BUCCANEERS
     IV.  TOM CHIST AND THE TREASURE BOX
     V.   JACK BALLISTER'S FORTUNES
     VI.  BLUESKIN THE PIRATE
     VII. CAPTAIN SCARFIELD



FOREWORD

PIRATES, Buccaneers, Marooners, those cruel but picturesque sea wolves
who once infested the Spanish Main, all live in present-day conceptions
in great degree as drawn by the pen and pencil of Howard Pyle.

Pyle, artist-author, living in the latter half of the nineteenth
century and the first decade of the twentieth, had the fine faculty of
transposing himself into any chosen period of history and making
its people flesh and blood again--not just historical puppets. His
characters were sketched with both words and picture; with both words
and picture he ranks as a master, with a rich personality which makes
his work individual and attractive in either medium.

He was one of the founders of present-day American illustration, and his
pupils and grand-pupils pervade that field to-day. While he bore no
such important part in the world of letters, his stories are modern in
treatment, and yet widely read. His range included historical treatises
concerning his favorite Pirates (Quaker though he was); fiction, with
the same Pirates as principals; Americanized version of Old World fairy
tales; boy stories of the Middle Ages, still best sellers to growing
lads; stories of the occult, such as In Tenebras and To the Soil of the
Earth, which, if newly published, would be hailed as contributions to
our latest cult.

In all these fields Pyle's work may be equaled, surpassed, save in one.
It is improbable that anyone else will ever bring his combination of
interest and talent to the depiction of these old-time Pirates, any more
than there could be a second Remington to paint the now extinct Indians
and gun-fighters of the Great West.

Important and interesting to the student of history, the
adventure-lover, and the artist, as they are, these Pirate stories and
pictures have been scattered through many magazines and books. Here, in
this volume, they are gathered together for the first time, perhaps
not just as Mr. Pyle would have done, but with a completeness and
appreciation of the real value of the material which the author's
modesty might not have permitted. MERLE JOHNSON.



PREFACE

WHY is it that a little spice of deviltry lends not an unpleasantly
titillating twang to the great mass of respectable flour that goes to
make up the pudding of our modern civilization? And pertinent to this
question another--Why is it that the pirate has, and always has had,
a certain lurid glamour of the heroical enveloping him round about? Is
there, deep under the accumulated debris of culture, a hidden groundwork
of the old-time savage? Is there even in these well-regulated times an
unsubdued nature in the respectable mental household of every one of us
that still kicks against the pricks of law and order? To make my meaning
more clear, would not every boy, for instance--that is, every boy of any
account--rather be a pirate captain than a Member of Parliament? And
we ourselves--would we not rather read such a story as that of Captain
Avery's capture of the East Indian treasure ship, with its beautiful
princess and load of jewels (which gems he sold by the handful, history
sayeth, to a Bristol merchant), than, say, one of Bishop Atterbury's
sermons, or the goodly Master Robert Boyle's religious romance of
"Theodora and Didymus"? It is to be apprehended that to the unregenerate
nature of most of us there can be but one answer to such a query.

In the pleasurable warmth the heart feels in answer to tales of
derring-do Nelson's battles are all mightily interesting, but, even in
spite of their romance of splendid courage, I fancy that the majority of
us would rather turn back over the leaves of history to read how Drake
captured the Spanish treasure ship in the South Sea, and of how he
divided such a quantity of booty in the Island of Plate (so named
because of the tremendous dividend there declared) that it had to be
measured in quart bowls, being too considerable to be counted.

Courage and daring, no matter how mad and ungodly, have always a
redundancy of vim and life to recommend them to the nether man that lies
within us, and no doubt his desperate courage, his battle against the
tremendous odds of all the civilized world of law and order, have had
much to do in making a popular hero of our friend of the black flag. But
it is not altogether courage and daring that endear him to our hearts.
There is another and perhaps a greater kinship in that lust for wealth
that makes one's fancy revel more pleasantly in the story of the
division of treasure in the pirate's island retreat, the hiding of his
godless gains somewhere in the sandy stretch of tropic beach, there to
remain hidden until the time should come to rake the doubloons up
again and to spend them like a lord in polite society, than in the most
thrilling tales of his wonderful escapes from commissioned cruisers
through tortuous channels between the coral reefs.

And what a life of adventure is his, to be sure! A life of constant
alertness, constant danger, constant escape! An ocean Ishmaelite, he
wanders forever aimlessly, homelessly; now unheard of for months, now
careening his boat on some lonely uninhabited shore, now appearing
suddenly to swoop down on some merchant vessel with rattle of musketry,
shouting, yells, and a hell of unbridled passions let loose to rend and
tear. What a Carlislean hero! What a setting of blood and lust and flame
and rapine for such a hero!

Piracy, such as was practiced in the flower of its days--that is, during
the early eighteenth century--was no sudden growth. It was an evolution,
from the semi-lawful buccaneering of the sixteenth century, just as
buccaneering was upon its part, in a certain sense, an evolution from
the unorganized, unauthorized warfare of the Tudor period.

For there was a deal of piratical smack in the anti-Spanish ventures
of Elizabethan days. Many of the adventurers--of the Sir Francis Drake
school, for instance--actually overstepped again and again the bounds
of international law, entering into the realms of de facto piracy.
Nevertheless, while their doings were not recognized officially by the
government, the perpetrators were neither punished nor reprimanded for
their excursions against Spanish commerce at home or in the West Indies;
rather were they commended, and it was considered not altogether a
discreditable thing for men to get rich upon the spoils taken from
Spanish galleons in times of nominal peace. Many of the most reputable
citizens and merchants of London, when they felt that the queen failed
in her duty of pushing the fight against the great Catholic Power,
fitted out fleets upon their own account and sent them to levy good
Protestant war of a private nature upon the Pope's anointed.

Some of the treasures captured in such ventures were immense,
stupendous, unbelievable. For an example, one can hardly credit the
truth of the "purchase" gained by Drake in the famous capture of the
plate ship in the South Sea.

One of the old buccaneer writers of a century later says: "The Spaniards
affirm to this day that he took at that time twelvescore tons of
plate and sixteen bowls of coined money a man (his number being then
forty-five men in all), insomuch that they were forced to heave much of
it overboard, because his ship could not carry it all."

Maybe this was a very greatly exaggerated statement put by the author
and his Spanish authorities, nevertheless there was enough truth in it
to prove very conclusively to the bold minds of the age that tremendous
profits--"purchases" they called them--were to be made from piracy. The
Western World is filled with the names of daring mariners of those old
days, who came flitting across the great trackless ocean in their little
tublike boats of a few hundred tons burden, partly to explore unknown
seas, partly--largely, perhaps--in pursuit of Spanish treasure:
Frobisher, Davis, Drake, and a score of others.

In this left-handed war against Catholic Spain many of the adventurers
were, no doubt, stirred and incited by a grim, Calvinistic, puritanical
zeal for Protestantism. But equally beyond doubt the gold and silver and
plate of the "Scarlet Woman" had much to do with the persistent energy
with which these hardy mariners braved the mysterious, unknown terrors
of the great unknown ocean that stretched away to the sunset, there in
faraway waters to attack the huge, unwieldy, treasure-laden galleons
that sailed up and down the Caribbean Sea and through the Bahama
Channel.

Of all ghastly and terrible things old-time religious war was the most
ghastly and terrible. One can hardly credit nowadays the cold, callous
cruelty of those times. Generally death was the least penalty that
capture entailed. When the Spaniards made prisoners of the English, the
Inquisition took them in hand, and what that meant all the world knows.
When the English captured a Spanish vessel the prisoners were tortured,
either for the sake of revenge or to compel them to disclose where
treasure lay hidden. Cruelty begat cruelty, and it would be hard to
say whether the Anglo-Saxon or the Latin showed himself to be most
proficient in torturing his victim.

When Cobham, for instance, captured the Spanish ship in the Bay of
Biscay, after all resistance was over and the heat of the battle had
cooled, he ordered his crew to bind the captain and all of the crew and
every Spaniard aboard--whether in arms or not--to sew them up in the
mainsail and to fling them overboard. There were some twenty dead bodies
in the sail when a few days later it was washed up on the shore.

Of course such acts were not likely to go unavenged, and many an
innocent life was sacrificed to pay the debt of Cobham's cruelty.

Nothing could be more piratical than all this. Nevertheless, as was
said, it was winked at, condoned, if not sanctioned, by the law; and it
was not beneath people of family and respectability to take part in it.
But by and by Protestantism and Catholicism began to be at somewhat less
deadly enmity with each other; religious wars were still far enough from
being ended, but the scabbard of the sword was no longer flung away
when the blade was drawn. And so followed a time of nominal peace, and a
generation arose with whom it was no longer respectable and worthy--one
might say a matter of duty--to fight a country with which one's own
land was not at war. Nevertheless, the seed had been sown; it had been
demonstrated that it was feasible to practice piracy against Spain and
not to suffer therefor. Blood had been shed and cruelty practiced, and,
once indulged, no lust seems stronger than that of shedding blood and
practicing cruelty.

Though Spain might be ever so well grounded in peace at home, in the
West Indies she was always at war with the whole world--English, French,
Dutch. It was almost a matter of life or death with her to keep her hold
upon the New World. At home she was bankrupt and, upon the earthquake
of the Reformation, her power was already beginning to totter and to
crumble to pieces. America was her treasure house, and from it alone
could she hope to keep her leaking purse full of gold and silver. So it
was that she strove strenuously, desperately, to keep out the world from
her American possessions--a bootless task, for the old order upon which
her power rested was broken and crumbled forever. But still she strove,
fighting against fate, and so it was that in the tropical America it was
one continual war between her and all the world. Thus it came that,
long after piracy ceased to be allowed at home, it continued in those
far-away seas with unabated vigor, recruiting to its service all that
lawless malign element which gathers together in every newly opened
country where the only law is lawlessness, where might is right and
where a living is to be gained with no more trouble than cutting a
throat. {signature Howard Pyle His Mark}



HOWARD PILE'S BOOK OF PIRATES



Chapter I. BUCCANEERS AND MAROONERS OF THE SPANISH MAIN

JUST above the northwestern shore of the old island of Hispaniola--the
Santo Domingo of our day--and separated from it only by a narrow channel
of some five or six miles in width, lies a queer little hunch of an
island, known, because of a distant resemblance to that animal, as
the Tortuga de Mar, or sea turtle. It is not more than twenty miles in
length by perhaps seven or eight in breadth; it is only a little spot of
land, and as you look at it upon the map a pin's head would almost cover
it; yet from that spot, as from a center of inflammation, a burning fire
of human wickedness and ruthlessness and lust overran the world, and
spread terror and death throughout the Spanish West Indies, from St.
Augustine to the island of Trinidad, and from Panama to the coasts of
Peru.

About the middle of the seventeenth century certain French adventurers
set out from the fortified island of St. Christopher in longboats and
hoys, directing their course to the westward, there to discover new
islands. Sighting Hispaniola "with abundance of joy," they landed, and
went into the country, where they found great quantities of wild cattle,
horses, and swine.

Now vessels on the return voyage to Europe from the West Indies needed
revictualing, and food, especially flesh, was at a premium in the
islands of the Spanish Main; wherefore a great profit was to be turned
in preserving beef and pork, and selling the flesh to homeward-bound
vessels.

The northwestern shore of Hispaniola, lying as it does at the eastern
outlet of the old Bahama Channel, running between the island of Cuba and
the great Bahama Banks, lay almost in the very main stream of travel.
The pioneer Frenchmen were not slow to discover the double advantage to
be reaped from the wild cattle that cost them nothing to procure, and a
market for the flesh ready found for them. So down upon Hispaniola they
came by boatloads and shiploads, gathering like a swarm of mosquitoes,
and overrunning the whole western end of the island. There they
established themselves, spending the time alternately in hunting the
wild cattle and buccanning(1) the meat, and squandering their hardly
earned gains in wild debauchery, the opportunities for which were never
lacking in the Spanish West Indies.

     (1) Buccanning, by which the "buccaneers" gained their name,
     was of process of curing thin strips of meat by salting,
     smoking, and drying in the sun.

At first the Spaniards thought nothing of the few travel-worn Frenchmen
who dragged their longboats and hoys up on the beach, and shot a wild
bullock or two to keep body and soul together; but when the few grew to
dozens, and the dozens to scores, and the scores to hundreds, it was a
very different matter, and wrathful grumblings and mutterings began to
be heard among the original settlers.

But of this the careless buccaneers thought never a whit, the only thing
that troubled them being the lack of a more convenient shipping point
than the main island afforded them.

This lack was at last filled by a party of hunters who ventured across
the narrow channel that separated the main island from Tortuga. Here
they found exactly what they needed--a good harbor, just at the junction
of the Windward Channel with the old Bahama Channel--a spot where
four-fifths of the Spanish-Indian trade would pass by their very
wharves.

There were a few Spaniards upon the island, but they were a quiet folk,
and well disposed to make friends with the strangers; but when more
Frenchmen and still more Frenchmen crossed the narrow channel, until
they overran the Tortuga and turned it into one great curing house for
the beef which they shot upon the neighboring island, the Spaniards grew
restive over the matter, just as they had done upon the larger island.

Accordingly, one fine day there came half a dozen great boatloads
of armed Spaniards, who landed upon the Turtle's Back and sent the
Frenchmen flying to the woods and fastnesses of rocks as the chaff flies
before the thunder gust. That night the Spaniards drank themselves
mad and shouted themselves hoarse over their victory, while the beaten
Frenchmen sullenly paddled their canoes back to the main island again,
and the Sea Turtle was Spanish once more.

But the Spaniards were not contented with such a petty triumph as that
of sweeping the island of Tortuga free from the obnoxious strangers,
down upon Hispaniola they came, flushed with their easy victory, and
determined to root out every Frenchman, until not one single buccaneer
remained. For a time they had an easy thing of it, for each French
hunter roamed the woods by himself, with no better company than his
half-wild dogs, so that when two or three Spaniards would meet such a
one, he seldom if ever came out of the woods again, for even his resting
place was lost.

But the very success of the Spaniards brought their ruin along with it,
for the buccaneers began to combine together for self-protection,
and out of that combination arose a strange union of lawless man with
lawless man, so near, so close, that it can scarce be compared to
any other than that of husband and wife. When two entered upon this
comradeship, articles were drawn up and signed by both parties, a common
stock was made of all their possessions, and out into the woods they
went to seek their fortunes; thenceforth they were as one man; they
lived together by day, they slept together by night; what one suffered,
the other suffered; what one gained, the other gained. The only
separation that came betwixt them was death, and then the survivor
inherited all that the other left. And now it was another thing with
Spanish buccaneer hunting, for two buccaneers, reckless of life, quick
of eye, and true of aim, were worth any half dozen of Spanish islanders.

By and by, as the French became more strongly organized for mutual
self-protection, they assumed the offensive. Then down they came upon
Tortuga, and now it was the turn of the Spanish to be hunted off the
island like vermin, and the turn of the French to shout their victory.

Having firmly established themselves, a governor was sent to the French
of Tortuga, one M. le Passeur, from the island of St. Christopher; the
Sea Turtle was fortified, and colonists, consisting of men of doubtful
character and women of whose character there could be no doubt whatever,
began pouring in upon the island, for it was said that the buccaneers
thought no more of a doubloon than of a Lima bean, so that this was the
place for the brothel and the brandy shop to reap their golden harvest,
and the island remained French.

Hitherto the Tortugans had been content to gain as much as possible from
the homeward-bound vessels through the orderly channels of legitimate
trade. It was reserved for Pierre le Grand to introduce piracy as a
quicker and more easy road to wealth than the semi-honest exchange they
had been used to practice.

Gathering together eight-and-twenty other spirits as hardy and reckless
as himself, he put boldly out to sea in a boat hardly large enough to
hold his crew, and running down the Windward Channel and out into the
Caribbean Sea, he lay in wait for such a prize as might be worth the
risks of winning.

For a while their luck was steadily against them; their provisions and
water began to fail, and they saw nothing before them but starvation
or a humiliating return. In this extremity they sighted a Spanish ship
belonging to a "flota" which had become separated from her consorts.

The boat in which the buccaneers sailed might, perhaps, have served for
the great ship's longboat; the Spaniards out-numbered them three to
one, and Pierre and his men were armed only with pistols and cutlasses;
nevertheless this was their one and their only chance, and they
determined to take the Spanish ship or to die in the attempt. Down upon
the Spaniard they bore through the dusk of the night, and giving orders
to the "chirurgeon" to scuttle their craft under them as they were
leaving it, they swarmed up the side of the unsuspecting ship and upon
its decks in a torrent--pistol in one hand and cutlass in the other. A
part of them ran to the gun room and secured the arms and ammunition,
pistoling or cutting down all such as stood in their way or offered
opposition; the other party burst into the great cabin at the heels of
Pierre le Grand, found the captain and a party of his friends at cards,
set a pistol to his breast, and demanded him to deliver up the ship.
Nothing remained for the Spaniard but to yield, for there was no
alternative between surrender and death. And so the great prize was won.

It was not long before the news of this great exploit and of the vast
treasure gained reached the ears of the buccaneers of Tortuga and
Hispaniola. Then what a hubbub and an uproar and a tumult there was!
Hunting wild cattle and buccanning the meat was at a discount, and the
one and only thing to do was to go a-pirating; for where one such prize
had been won, others were to be had.

In a short time freebooting assumed all of the routine of a regular
business. Articles were drawn up betwixt captain and crew, compacts were
sealed, and agreements entered into by the one party and the other.

In all professions there are those who make their mark, those who
succeed only moderately well, and those who fail more or less entirely.
Nor did pirating differ from this general rule, for in it were men who
rose to distinction, men whose names, something tarnished and rusted by
the lapse of years, have come down even to us of the present day.

Pierre Francois, who, with his boatload of six-and-twenty desperadoes,
ran boldly into the midst of the pearl fleet off the coast of
South America, attacked the vice admiral under the very guns of two
men-of-war, captured his ship, though she was armed with eight guns and
manned with threescore men, and would have got her safely away, only
that having to put on sail, their mainmast went by the board, whereupon
the men-of-war came up with them, and the prize was lost.

But even though there were two men-of-war against all that remained of
six-and-twenty buccaneers, the Spaniards were glad enough to make terms
with them for the surrender of the vessel, whereby Pierre Francois and
his men came off scot-free.

Bartholomew Portuguese was a worthy of even more note. In a boat manned
with thirty fellow adventurers he fell upon a great ship off Cape
Corrientes, manned with threescore and ten men, all told.

Her he assaulted again and again, beaten off with the very pressure of
numbers only to renew the assault, until the Spaniards who survived,
some fifty in all, surrendered to twenty living pirates, who poured upon
their decks like a score of blood-stained, powder-grimed devils.

They lost their vessel by recapture, and Bartholomew Portuguese
barely escaped with his life through a series of almost unbelievable
adventures. But no sooner had he fairly escaped from the clutches of the
Spaniards than, gathering together another band of adventurers, he fell
upon the very same vessel in the gloom of the night, recaptured her when
she rode at anchor in the harbor of Campeche under the guns of the fort,
slipped the cable, and was away without the loss of a single man. He
lost her in a hurricane soon afterward, just off the Isle of Pines; but
the deed was none the less daring for all that.

Another notable no less famous than these two worthies was Roch
Braziliano, the truculent Dutchman who came up from the coast of Brazil
to the Spanish Main with a name ready-made for him. Upon the very first
adventure which he undertook he captured a plate ship of fabulous value,
and brought her safely into Jamaica; and when at last captured by the
Spaniards, he fairly frightened them into letting him go by truculent
threats of vengeance from his followers.

Such were three of the pirate buccaneers who infested the Spanish
Main. There were hundreds no less desperate, no less reckless, no less
insatiate in their lust for plunder, than they.

The effects of this freebooting soon became apparent. The risks to be
assumed by the owners of vessels and the shippers of merchandise became
so enormous that Spanish commerce was practically swept away from these
waters. No vessel dared to venture out of port excepting under escort
of powerful men-of-war, and even then they were not always secure from
molestation. Exports from Central and South America were sent to Europe
by way of the Strait of Magellan, and little or none went through the
passes between the Bahamas and the Caribbees.

So at last "buccaneering," as it had come to be generically called,
ceased to pay the vast dividends that it had done at first. The cream
was skimmed off, and only very thin milk was left in the dish. Fabulous
fortunes were no longer earned in a ten days' cruise, but what money
was won hardly paid for the risks of the winning. There must be a new
departure, or buccaneering would cease to exist.

Then arose one who showed the buccaneers a new way to squeeze money out
of the Spaniards. This man was an Englishman--Lewis Scot.

The stoppage of commerce on the Spanish Main had naturally tended to
accumulate all the wealth gathered and produced into the chief fortified
cities and towns of the West Indies. As there no longer existed prizes
upon the sea, they must be gained upon the land, if they were to be
gained at all. Lewis Scot was the first to appreciate this fact.

Gathering together a large and powerful body of men as hungry for
plunder and as desperate as himself, he descended upon the town of
Campeche, which he captured and sacked, stripping it of everything that
could possibly be carried away.

When the town was cleared to the bare walls Scot threatened to set the
torch to every house in the place if it was not ransomed by a large sum
of money which he demanded. With this booty he set sail for Tortuga,
where he arrived safely--and the problem was solved.

After him came one Mansvelt, a buccaneer of lesser note, who first made
a descent upon the isle of Saint Catharine, now Old Providence, which he
took, and, with this as a base, made an unsuccessful descent upon Neuva
Granada and Cartagena. His name might not have been handed down to us
along with others of greater fame had he not been the master of that
most apt of pupils, the great Captain Henry Morgan, most famous of
all the buccaneers, one time governor of Jamaica, and knighted by King
Charles II.

After Mansvelt followed the bold John Davis, native of Jamaica, where he
sucked in the lust of piracy with his mother's milk. With only fourscore
men, he swooped down upon the great city of Nicaragua in the darkness of
the night, silenced the sentry with the thrust of a knife, and then
fell to pillaging the churches and houses "without any respect or
veneration."

Of course it was but a short time until the whole town was in an uproar
of alarm, and there was nothing left for the little handful of men to do
but to make the best of their way to their boats. They were in the town
but a short time, but in that time they were able to gather together and
to carry away money and jewels to the value of fifty thousand pieces of
eight, besides dragging off with them a dozen or more notable prisoners,
whom they held for ransom.

And now one appeared upon the scene who reached a far greater height
than any had arisen to before. This was Francois l'Olonoise, who
sacked the great city of Maracaibo and the town of Gibraltar. Cold,
unimpassioned, pitiless, his sluggish blood was never moved by one
single pulse of human warmth, his icy heart was never touched by one ray
of mercy or one spark of pity for the hapless wretches who chanced to
fall into his bloody hands.

Against him the governor of Havana sent out a great war vessel, and with
it a negro executioner, so that there might be no inconvenient delays of
law after the pirates had been captured. But l'Olonoise did not wait for
the coming of the war vessel; he went out to meet it, and he found it
where it lay riding at anchor in the mouth of the river Estra. At the
dawn of the morning he made his attack sharp, unexpected, decisive. In a
little while the Spaniards were forced below the hatches, and the vessel
was taken. Then came the end. One by one the poor shrieking wretches
were dragged up from below, and one by one they were butchered in cold
blood, while l'Olonoise stood upon the poop deck and looked coldly down
upon what was being done. Among the rest the negro was dragged upon the
deck. He begged and implored that his life might be spared, promising to
tell all that might be asked of him. L'Olonoise questioned him, and when
he had squeezed him dry, waved his hand coldly, and the poor black went
with the rest. Only one man was spared; him he sent to the governor of
Havana with a message that henceforth he would give no quarter to any
Spaniard whom he might meet in arms--a message which was not an empty
threat.

The rise of l'Olonoise was by no means rapid. He worked his way up by
dint of hard labor and through much ill fortune. But by and by, after
many reverses, the tide turned, and carried him with it from one success
to another, without let or stay, to the bitter end.

Cruising off Maracaibo, he captured a rich prize laden with a vast
amount of plate and ready money, and there conceived the design of
descending upon the powerful town of Maracaibo itself. Without loss of
time he gathered together five hundred picked scoundrels from Tortuga,
and taking with him one Michael de Basco as land captain, and two
hundred more buccaneers whom he commanded, down he came into the Gulf of
Venezuela and upon the doomed city like a blast of the plague. Leaving
their vessels, the buccaneers made a land attack upon the fort that
stood at the mouth of the inlet that led into Lake Maracaibo and guarded
the city.

The Spaniards held out well, and fought with all the might that
Spaniards possess; but after a fight of three hours all was given up and
the garrison fled, spreading terror and confusion before them. As
many of the inhabitants of the city as could do so escaped in boats to
Gibraltar, which lies to the southward, on the shores of Lake Maracaibo,
at the distance of some forty leagues or more.

Then the pirates marched into the town, and what followed may be
conceived. It was a holocaust of lust, of passion, and of blood such as
even the Spanish West Indies had never seen before. Houses and churches
were sacked until nothing was left but the bare walls; men and women
were tortured to compel them to disclose where more treasure lay hidden.

Then, having wrenched all that they could from Maracaibo, they
entered the lake and descended upon Gibraltar, where the rest of the
panic-stricken inhabitants were huddled together in a blind terror.

The governor of Merida, a brave soldier who had served his king in
Flanders, had gathered together a troop of eight hundred men, had
fortified the town, and now lay in wait for the coming of the pirates.
The pirates came all in good time, and then, in spite of the brave
defense, Gibraltar also fell. Then followed a repetition of the scenes
that had been enacted in Maracaibo for the past fifteen days, only here
they remained for four horrible weeks, extorting money--money! ever
money!--from the poor poverty-stricken, pest-ridden souls crowded into
that fever hole of a town.

Then they left, but before they went they demanded still more money--ten
thousand pieces of eight--as a ransom for the town, which otherwise
should be given to the flames. There was some hesitation on the part of
the Spaniards, some disposition to haggle, but there was no hesitation
on the part of l'Olonoise. The torch WAS set to the town as he had
promised, whereupon the money was promptly paid, and the pirates were
piteously begged to help quench the spreading flames. This they were
pleased to do, but in spite of all their efforts nearly half of the town
was consumed.

After that they returned to Maracaibo again, where they demanded a
ransom of thirty thousand pieces of eight for the city. There was no
haggling here, thanks to the fate of Gibraltar; only it was utterly
impossible to raise that much money in all of the poverty-stricken
region. But at last the matter was compromised, and the town was
redeemed for twenty thousand pieces of eight and five hundred head of
cattle, and tortured Maracaibo was quit of them.

In the Ile de la Vache the buccaneers shared among themselves two
hundred and sixty thousand pieces of eight, besides jewels and bales of
silk and linen and miscellaneous plunder to a vast amount.

Such was the one great deed of l'Olonoise; from that time his star
steadily declined--for even nature seemed fighting against such a
monster--until at last he died a miserable, nameless death at the hands
of an unknown tribe of Indians upon the Isthmus of Darien.

And now we come to the greatest of all the buccaneers, he who stands
pre-eminent among them, and whose name even to this day is a charm
to call up his deeds of daring, his dauntless courage, his truculent
cruelty, and his insatiate and unappeasable lust for gold--Capt. Henry
Morgan, the bold Welshman, who brought buccaneering to the height and
flower of its glory.

Having sold himself, after the manner of the times, for his passage
across the seas, he worked out his time of servitude at the Barbados. As
soon as he had regained his liberty he entered upon the trade of piracy,
wherein he soon reached a position of considerable prominence. He was
associated with Mansvelt at the time of the latter's descent upon
Saint Catharine's Isle, the importance of which spot, as a center of
operations against the neighboring coasts, Morgan never lost sight of.

The first attempt that Capt. Henry Morgan ever made against any town
in the Spanish Indies was the bold descent upon the city of Puerto del
Principe in the island of Cuba, with a mere handful of men. It was
a deed the boldness of which has never been outdone by any of a like
nature--not even the famous attack upon Panama itself. Thence they
returned to their boats in the very face of the whole island of Cuba,
aroused and determined upon their extermination. Not only did they make
good their escape, but they brought away with them a vast amount of
plunder, computed at three hundred thousand pieces of eight, besides
five hundred head of cattle and many prisoners held for ransom.

But when the division of all this wealth came to be made, lo! there were
only fifty thousand pieces of eight to be found. What had become of the
rest no man could tell but Capt. Henry Morgan himself. Honesty among
thieves was never an axiom with him.

Rude, truculent, and dishonest as Captain Morgan was, he seems to have
had a wonderful power of persuading the wild buccaneers under him to
submit everything to his judgment, and to rely entirely upon his word.
In spite of the vast sum of money that he had very evidently made away
with, recruits poured in upon him, until his band was larger and better
equipped than ever.

And now it was determined that the plunder harvest was ripe at Porto
Bello, and that city's doom was sealed. The town was defended by two
strong castles thoroughly manned, and officered by as gallant a soldier
as ever carried Toledo steel at his side. But strong castles and gallant
soldiers weighed not a barleycorn with the buccaneers when their blood
was stirred by the lust of gold.

Landing at Puerto Naso, a town some ten leagues westward of Porto Bello,
they marched to the latter town, and coming before the castle, boldly
demanded its surrender. It was refused, whereupon Morgan threatened that
no quarter should be given. Still surrender was refused; and then the
castle was attacked, and after a bitter struggle was captured. Morgan
was as good as his word: every man in the castle was shut in the guard
room, the match was set to the powder magazine, and soldiers, castle,
and all were blown into the air, while through all the smoke and the
dust the buccaneers poured into the town. Still the governor held out in
the other castle, and might have made good his defense, but that he was
betrayed by the soldiers under him. Into the castle poured the howling
buccaneers. But still the governor fought on, with his wife and daughter
clinging to his knees and beseeching him to surrender, and the blood
from his wounded forehead trickling down over his white collar, until a
merciful bullet put an end to the vain struggle.

Here were enacted the old scenes. Everything plundered that could be
taken, and then a ransom set upon the town itself.

This time an honest, or an apparently honest, division was made of
the spoils, which amounted to two hundred and fifty thousand pieces of
eight, besides merchandise and jewels.

The next towns to suffer were poor Maracaibo and Gibraltar, now just
beginning to recover from the desolation wrought by l'Olonoise. Once
more both towns were plundered of every bale of merchandise and of every
plaster, and once more both were ransomed until everything was squeezed
from the wretched inhabitants.

Here affairs were like to have taken a turn, for when Captain Morgan
came up from Gibraltar he found three great men-of-war lying in the
entrance to the lake awaiting his coming. Seeing that he was hemmed in
in the narrow sheet of water, Captain Morgan was inclined to compromise
matters, even offering to relinquish all the plunder he had gained if he
were allowed to depart in peace. But no; the Spanish admiral would hear
nothing of this. Having the pirates, as he thought, securely in his
grasp, he would relinquish nothing, but would sweep them from the face
of the sea once and forever.

That was an unlucky determination for the Spaniards to reach, for
instead of paralyzing the pirates with fear, as he expected it would do,
it simply turned their mad courage into as mad desperation.

A great vessel that they had taken with the town of Maracaibo was
converted into a fire ship, manned with logs of wood in montera caps and
sailor jackets, and filled with brimstone, pitch, and palm leaves soaked
in oil. Then out of the lake the pirates sailed to meet the Spaniards,
the fire ship leading the way, and bearing down directly upon the
admiral's vessel. At the helm stood volunteers, the most desperate and
the bravest of all the pirate gang, and at the ports stood the logs of
wood in montera caps. So they came up with the admiral, and grappled
with his ship in spite of the thunder of all his great guns, and then
the Spaniard saw, all too late, what his opponent really was.

He tried to swing loose, but clouds of smoke and almost instantly a mass
of roaring flames enveloped both vessels, and the admiral was lost. The
second vessel, not wishing to wait for the coming of the pirates, bore
down upon the fort, under the guns of which the cowardly crew sank
her, and made the best of their way to the shore. The third vessel, not
having an opportunity to escape, was taken by the pirates without the
slightest resistance, and the passage from the lake was cleared. So
the buccaneers sailed away, leaving Maracaibo and Gibraltar prostrate a
second time.

And now Captain Morgan determined to undertake another venture, the like
of which had never been equaled in all of the annals of buccaneering.
This was nothing less than the descent upon and the capture of Panama,
which was, next to Cartagena, perhaps, the most powerful and the most
strongly fortified city in the West Indies.

In preparation for this venture he obtained letters of marque from the
governor of Jamaica, by virtue of which elastic commission he began
immediately to gather around him all material necessary for the
undertaking.

When it became known abroad that the great Captain Morgan was about
undertaking an adventure that was to eclipse all that was ever done
before, great numbers came flocking to his standard, until he had
gathered together an army of two thousand or more desperadoes and
pirates wherewith to prosecute his adventure, albeit the venture itself
was kept a total secret from everyone. Port Couillon, in the island of
Hispaniola, over against the Ile de la Vache, was the place of muster,
and thither the motley band gathered from all quarters. Provisions had
been plundered from the mainland wherever they could be obtained, and by
the 24th of October, 1670 (O. S.), everything was in readiness.

The island of Saint Catharine, as it may be remembered, was at one time
captured by Mansvelt, Morgan's master in his trade of piracy. It had
been retaken by the Spaniards, and was now thoroughly fortified by them.
Almost the first attempt that Morgan had made as a master pirate was the
retaking of Saint Catharine's Isle. In that undertaking he had failed;
but now, as there was an absolute need of some such place as a base
of operations, he determined that the place must be taken. And it was
taken.

The Spaniards, during the time of their possession, had fortified it
most thoroughly and completely, and had the governor thereof been as
brave as he who met his death in the castle of Porto Bello, there might
have been a different tale to tell. As it was, he surrendered it in a
most cowardly fashion, merely stipulating that there should be a sham
attack by the buccaneers, whereby his credit might be saved. And so
Saint Catharine was won.

The next step to be taken was the capture of the castle of Chagres,
which guarded the mouth of the river of that name, up which river the
buccaneers would be compelled to transport their troops and provisions
for the attack upon the city of Panama. This adventure was undertaken by
four hundred picked men under command of Captain Morgan himself.

The castle of Chagres, known as San Lorenzo by the Spaniards, stood upon
the top of an abrupt rock at the mouth of the river, and was one of
the strongest fortresses for its size in all of the West Indies. This
stronghold Morgan must have if he ever hoped to win Panama.

The attack of the castle and the defense of it were equally fierce,
bloody, and desperate. Again and again the buccaneers assaulted, and
again and again they were beaten back. So the morning came, and it
seemed as though the pirates had been baffled this time. But just at
this juncture the thatch of palm leaves on the roofs of some of the
buildings inside the fortifications took fire, a conflagration followed,
which caused the explosion of one of the magazines, and in the
paralysis of terror that followed, the pirates forced their way into
the fortifications, and the castle was won. Most of the Spaniards
flung themselves from the castle walls into the river or upon the rocks
beneath, preferring death to capture and possible torture; many who
were left were put to the sword, and some few were spared and held as
prisoners.

So fell the castle of Chagres, and nothing now lay between the
buccaneers and the city of Panama but the intervening and trackless
forests.

And now the name of the town whose doom was sealed was no secret.

Up the river of Chagres went Capt. Henry Morgan and twelve hundred men,
packed closely in their canoes; they never stopped, saving now and then
to rest their stiffened legs, until they had come to a place known as
Cruz de San Juan Gallego, where they were compelled to leave their boats
on account of the shallowness of the water.

Leaving a guard of one hundred and sixty men to protect their boats as
a place of refuge in case they should be worsted before Panama, they
turned and plunged into the wilderness before them.

There a more powerful foe awaited them than a host of Spaniards
with match, powder, and lead--starvation. They met but little or no
opposition in their progress; but wherever they turned they found every
fiber of meat, every grain of maize, every ounce of bread or meal, swept
away or destroyed utterly before them. Even when the buccaneers had
successfully overcome an ambuscade or an attack, and had sent the
Spaniards flying, the fugitives took the time to strip their dead
comrades of every grain of food in their leathern sacks, leaving nothing
but the empty bags.

Says the narrator of these events, himself one of the expedition, "They
afterward fell to eating those leathern bags, as affording something to
the ferment of their stomachs."

Ten days they struggled through this bitter privation, doggedly forcing
their way onward, faint with hunger and haggard with weakness and fever.
Then, from the high hill and over the tops of the forest trees, they saw
the steeples of Panama, and nothing remained between them and their goal
but the fighting of four Spaniards to every one of them--a simple thing
which they had done over and over again.

Down they poured upon Panama, and out came the Spaniards to meet them;
four hundred horse, two thousand five hundred foot, and two thousand
wild bulls which had been herded together to be driven over the
buccaneers so that their ranks might be disordered and broken. The
buccaneers were only eight hundred strong; the others had either
fallen in battle or had dropped along the dreary pathway through the
wilderness; but in the space of two hours the Spaniards were flying
madly over the plain, minus six hundred who lay dead or dying behind
them.

As for the bulls, as many of them as were shot served as food there and
then for the half-famished pirates, for the buccaneers were never more
at home than in the slaughter of cattle.

Then they marched toward the city. Three hours' more fighting and
they were in the streets, howling, yelling, plundering, gorging,
dram-drinking, and giving full vent to all the vile and nameless lusts
that burned in their hearts like a hell of fire. And now followed the
usual sequence of events--rapine, cruelty, and extortion; only this time
there was no town to ransom, for Morgan had given orders that it should
be destroyed. The torch was set to it, and Panama, one of the greatest
cities in the New World, was swept from the face of the earth. Why the
deed was done, no man but Morgan could tell. Perhaps it was that all
the secret hiding places for treasure might be brought to light; but
whatever the reason was, it lay hidden in the breast of the great
buccaneer himself. For three weeks Morgan and his men abode in this
dreadful place; and they marched away with ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-FIVE
beasts of burden loaded with treasures of gold and silver and jewels,
besides great quantities of merchandise, and six hundred prisoners held
for ransom.

Whatever became of all that vast wealth, and what it amounted to, no
man but Morgan ever knew, for when a division was made it was found that
there was only TWO HUNDRED PIECES OF EIGHT TO EACH MAN.

When this dividend was declared a howl of execration went up, under
which even Capt. Henry Morgan quailed. At night he and four other
commanders slipped their cables and ran out to sea, and it was said that
these divided the greater part of the booty among themselves. But the
wealth plundered at Panama could hardly have fallen short of a million
and a half of dollars. Computing it at this reasonable figure, the
various prizes won by Henry Morgan in the West Indies would stand as
follows: Panama, $1,500,000; Porto Bello, $800,000; Puerto del
Principe, $700,000; Maracaibo and Gibraltar, $400,000; various piracies,
$250,000--making a grand total of $3,650,000 as the vast harvest of
plunder. With this fabulous wealth, wrenched from the Spaniards by
means of the rack and the cord, and pilfered from his companions by the
meanest of thieving, Capt. Henry Morgan retired from business, honored
of all, rendered famous by his deeds, knighted by the good King Charles
II, and finally appointed governor of the rich island of Jamaica.

Other buccaneers followed him. Campeche was taken and sacked, and even
Cartagena itself fell; but with Henry Morgan culminated the glory of
the buccaneers, and from that time they declined in power and wealth and
wickedness until they were finally swept away.

The buccaneers became bolder and bolder. In fact, so daring were their
crimes that the home governments, stirred at last by these outrageous
barbarities, seriously undertook the suppression of the freebooters,
lopping and trimming the main trunk until its members were scattered
hither and thither, and it was thought that the organization was
exterminated. But, so far from being exterminated, the individual
members were merely scattered north, south, east, and west, each forming
a nucleus around which gathered and clustered the very worst of the
offscouring of humanity.

The result was that when the seventeenth century was fairly packed away
with its lavender in the store chest of the past, a score or more
bands of freebooters were cruising along the Atlantic seaboard in armed
vessels, each with a black flag with its skull and crossbones at the
fore, and with a nondescript crew made up of the tags and remnants of
civilized and semicivilized humanity (white, black, red, and yellow),
known generally as marooners, swarming upon the decks below.

Nor did these offshoots from the old buccaneer stem confine their
depredations to the American seas alone; the East Indies and the African
coast also witnessed their doings, and suffered from them, and even the
Bay of Biscay had good cause to remember more than one visit from them.

Worthy sprigs from so worthy a stem improved variously upon the
parent methods; for while the buccaneers were content to prey upon the
Spaniards alone, the marooners reaped the harvest from the commerce of
all nations.

So up and down the Atlantic seaboard they cruised, and for the fifty
years that marooning was in the flower of its glory it was a sorrowful
time for the coasters of New England, the middle provinces, and the
Virginias, sailing to the West Indies with their cargoes of salt fish,
grain, and tobacco. Trading became almost as dangerous as privateering,
and sea captains were chosen as much for their knowledge of the
flintlock and the cutlass as for their seamanship.

As by far the largest part of the trading in American waters was
conducted by these Yankee coasters, so by far the heaviest blows, and
those most keenly felt, fell upon them. Bulletin after bulletin came
to port with its doleful tale of this vessel burned or that vessel
scuttled, this one held by the pirates for their own use or that one
stripped of its goods and sent into port as empty as an eggshell from
which the yolk had been sucked. Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and
Charleston suffered alike, and worthy ship owners had to leave off
counting their losses upon their fingers and take to the slate to keep
the dismal record.

"Maroon--to put ashore on a desert isle, as a sailor, under pretense of
having committed some great crime." Thus our good Noah Webster gives us
the dry bones, the anatomy, upon which the imagination may construct a
specimen to suit itself.

It is thence that the marooners took their name, for marooning was
one of their most effective instruments of punishment or revenge. If a
pirate broke one of the many rules which governed the particular band
to which he belonged, he was marooned; did a captain defend his ship to
such a degree as to be unpleasant to the pirates attacking it, he
was marooned; even the pirate captain himself, if he displeased his
followers by the severity of his rule, was in danger of having the same
punishment visited upon him which he had perhaps more than once visited
upon another.

The process of marooning was as simple as terrible. A suitable place was
chosen (generally some desert isle as far removed as possible from the
pathway of commerce), and the condemned man was rowed from the ship to
the beach. Out he was bundled upon the sand spit; a gun, a half dozen
bullets, a few pinches of powder, and a bottle of water were chucked
ashore after him, and away rowed the boat's crew back to the ship,
leaving the poor wretch alone to rave away his life in madness, or to
sit sunken in his gloomy despair till death mercifully released him from
torment. It rarely if ever happened that anything was known of him after
having been marooned. A boat's crew from some vessel, sailing by chance
that way, might perhaps find a few chalky bones bleaching upon the white
sand in the garish glare of the sunlight, but that was all. And such
were marooners.

By far the largest number of pirate captains were Englishmen, for,
from the days of good Queen Bess, English sea captains seemed to have
a natural turn for any species of venture that had a smack of piracy
in it, and from the great Admiral Drake of the old, old days, to the
truculent Morgan of buccaneering times, the Englishman did the boldest
and wickedest deeds, and wrought the most damage.

First of all upon the list of pirates stands the bold Captain Avary, one
of the institutors of marooning. Him we see but dimly, half hidden by
the glamouring mists of legends and tradition. Others who came afterward
outstripped him far enough in their doings, but he stands pre-eminent as
the first of marooners of whom actual history has been handed down to us
of the present day.

When the English, Dutch, and Spanish entered into an alliance to
suppress buccaneering in the West Indies, certain worthies of Bristol,
in old England, fitted out two vessels to assist in this laudable
project; for doubtless Bristol trade suffered smartly from the Morgans
and the l'Olonoises of that old time. One of these vessels was named the
Duke, of which a certain Captain Gibson was the commander and Avary the
mate.

Away they sailed to the West Indies, and there Avary became impressed by
the advantages offered by piracy, and by the amount of good things that
were to be gained by very little striving.

One night the captain (who was one of those fellows mightily addicted
to punch), instead of going ashore to saturate himself with rum at the
ordinary, had his drink in his cabin in private. While he lay snoring
away the effects of his rum in the cabin, Avary and a few other
conspirators heaved the anchor very leisurely, and sailed out of the
harbor of Corunna, and through the midst of the allied fleet riding at
anchor in the darkness.

By and by, when the morning came, the captain was awakened by the
pitching and tossing of the vessel, the rattle and clatter of the tackle
overhead, and the noise of footsteps passing and repassing hither and
thither across the deck. Perhaps he lay for a while turning the matter
over and over in his muddled head, but he presently rang the bell, and
Avary and another fellow answered the call.

"What's the matter?" bawls the captain from his berth.

"Nothing," says Avary, coolly.

"Something's the matter with the ship," says the captain. "Does she
drive? What weather is it?"

"Oh no," says Avary; "we are at sea."

"At sea?"

"Come, come!" says Avary: "I'll tell you; you must know that I'm the
captain of the ship now, and you must be packing from this here cabin.
We are bound to Madagascar, to make all of our fortunes, and if you're a
mind to ship for the cruise, why, we'll be glad to have you, if you will
be sober and mind your own business; if not, there is a boat alongside,
and I'll have you set ashore."

The poor half-tipsy captain had no relish to go a-pirating under the
command of his backsliding mate, so out of the ship he bundled, and away
he rowed with four or five of the crew, who, like him, refused to join
with their jolly shipmates.

The rest of them sailed away to the East Indies, to try their fortunes
in those waters, for our Captain Avary was of a high spirit, and had
no mind to fritter away his time in the West Indies squeezed dry by
buccaneer Morgan and others of lesser note. No, he would make a bold
stroke for it at once, and make or lose at a single cast.

On his way he picked up a couple of like kind with himself--two sloops
off Madagascar. With these he sailed away to the coast of India, and for
a time his name was lost in the obscurity of uncertain history. But
only for a time, for suddenly it flamed out in a blaze of glory. It was
reported that a vessel belonging to the Great Mogul, laden with treasure
and bearing the monarch's own daughter upon a holy pilgrimage to Mecca
(they being Mohammedans), had fallen in with the pirates, and after a
short resistance had been surrendered, with the damsel, her court, and
all the diamonds, pearls, silk, silver, and gold aboard. It was rumored
that the Great Mogul, raging at the insult offered to him through his
own flesh and blood, had threatened to wipe out of existence the few
English settlements scattered along the coast; whereat the honorable
East India Company was in a pretty state of fuss and feathers. Rumor,
growing with the telling, has it that Avary is going to marry the
Indian princess, willy-nilly, and will turn rajah, and eschew piracy as
indecent. As for the treasure itself, there was no end to the extent to
which it grew as it passed from mouth to mouth.

Cracking the nut of romance and exaggeration, we come to the kernel of
the story--that Avary did fall in with an Indian vessel laden with great
treasure (and possibly with the Mogul's daughter), which he captured,
and thereby gained a vast prize.

Having concluded that he had earned enough money by the trade he had
undertaken, he determined to retire and live decently for the rest of
his life upon what he already had. As a step toward this object, he set
about cheating his Madagascar partners out of their share of what had
been gained. He persuaded them to store all the treasure in his vessel,
it being the largest of the three; and so, having it safely in hand, he
altered the course of his ship one fine night, and when the morning
came the Madagascar sloops found themselves floating upon a wide ocean
without a farthing of the treasure for which they had fought so hard,
and for which they might whistle for all the good it would do them.

At first Avary had a great part of a mind to settle at Boston, in
Massachusetts, and had that little town been one whit less bleak and
forbidding, it might have had the honor of being the home of this famous
man. As it was, he did not like the looks of it, so he sailed away to
the eastward, to Ireland, where he settled himself at Biddeford, in
hopes of an easy life of it for the rest of his days.

Here he found himself the possessor of a plentiful stock of jewels, such
as pearls, diamonds, rubies, etc., but with hardly a score of honest
farthings to jingle in his breeches pocket. He consulted with a certain
merchant of Bristol concerning the disposal of the stones--a fellow
not much more cleanly in his habits of honesty than Avary himself.
This worthy undertook to act as Avary's broker. Off he marched with
the jewels, and that was the last that the pirate saw of his Indian
treasure.

Perhaps the most famous of all the piratical names to American ears are
those of Capt. Robert Kidd and Capt. Edward Teach, or "Blackbeard."

Nothing will be ventured in regard to Kidd at this time, nor in regard
to the pros and cons as to whether he really was or was not a pirate,
after all. For many years he was the very hero of heroes of piratical
fame, there was hardly a creek or stream or point of land along our
coast, hardly a convenient bit of good sandy beach, or hump of rock, or
water-washed cave, where fabulous treasures were not said to have been
hidden by this worthy marooner. Now we are assured that he never was
a pirate, and never did bury any treasure, excepting a certain chest,
which he was compelled to hide upon Gardiner's Island--and perhaps even
it was mythical.

So poor Kidd must be relegated to the dull ranks of simply respectable
people, or semirespectable people at best.

But with "Blackbeard" it is different, for in him we have a real,
ranting, raging, roaring pirate per se--one who really did bury
treasure, who made more than one captain walk the plank, and who
committed more private murders than he could number on the fingers of
both hands; one who fills, and will continue to fill, the place to which
he has been assigned for generations, and who may be depended upon to
hold his place in the confidence of others for generations to come.

Captain Teach was a Bristol man born, and learned his trade on board of
sundry privateers in the East Indies during the old French war--that of
1702--and a better apprenticeship could no man serve. At last, somewhere
about the latter part of the year 1716, a privateering captain, one
Benjamin Hornigold, raised him from the ranks and put him in command of
a sloop--a lately captured prize and Blackbeard's fortune was made. It
was a very slight step, and but the change of a few letters, to convert
"privateer" into "pirate," and it was a very short time before Teach
made that change. Not only did he make it himself, but he persuaded his
old captain to join with him.

And now fairly began that series of bold and lawless depredations which
have made his name so justly famous, and which placed him among the very
greatest of marooning freebooters.

"Our hero," says the old historian who sings of the arms and bravery of
this great man--"our hero assumed the cognomen of Blackbeard from that
large quantity of hair which, like a frightful meteor, covered his whole
face, and frightened America more than any comet that appeared there
in a long time. He was accustomed to twist it with ribbons into small
tails, after the manner of our Ramillies wig, and turn them about his
ears. In time of action he wore a sling over his shoulders, with three
brace of pistols, hanging in holsters like bandoleers; he stuck lighted
matches under his hat, which, appearing on each side of his face, and
his eyes naturally looking fierce and wild, made him altogether such a
figure that imagination cannot form an idea of a Fury from hell to look
more frightful."

The night before the day of the action in which he was killed he sat up
drinking with some congenial company until broad daylight. One of them
asked him if his poor young wife knew where his treasure was hidden.
"No," says Blackbeard; "nobody but the devil and I knows where it is,
and the longest liver shall have all."

As for that poor young wife of his, the life that he and his rum-crazy
shipmates led her was too terrible to be told.

For a time Blackbeard worked at his trade down on the Spanish Main,
gathering, in the few years he was there, a very neat little fortune in
the booty captured from sundry vessels; but by and by he took it into
his head to try his luck along the coast of the Carolinas; so off
he sailed to the northward, with quite a respectable little fleet,
consisting of his own vessel and two captured sloops. From that time he
was actively engaged in the making of American history in his small way.

He first appeared off the bar of Charleston Harbor, to the no small
excitement of the worthy town of that ilk, and there he lay for five
or six days, blockading the port, and stopping incoming and outgoing
vessels at his pleasure, so that, for the time, the commerce of the
province was entirely paralyzed. All the vessels so stopped he held as
prizes, and all the crews and passengers (among the latter of whom was
more than one provincial worthy of the day) he retained as though they
were prisoners of war.

And it was a mightily awkward thing for the good folk of Charleston to
behold day after day a black flag with its white skull and crossbones
fluttering at the fore of the pirate captain's craft, over across the
level stretch of green salt marshes; and it was mightily unpleasant,
too, to know that this or that prominent citizen was crowded down with
the other prisoners under the hatches.

One morning Captain Blackbeard finds that his stock of medicine is low.
"Tut!" says he, "we'll turn no hair gray for that." So up he calls the
bold Captain Richards, the commander of his consort the Revenge sloop,
and bids him take Mr. Marks (one of his prisoners), and go up to
Charleston and get the medicine. There was no task that suited our
Captain Richards better than that. Up to the town he rowed, as bold as
brass. "Look ye," says he to the governor, rolling his quid of tobacco
from one cheek to another--"look ye, we're after this and that, and if
we don't get it, why, I'll tell you plain, we'll burn them bloody crafts
of yours that we've took over yonder, and cut the weasand of every
clodpoll aboard of 'em."

There was no answering an argument of such force as this, and the
worshipful governor and the good folk of Charleston knew very well
that Blackbeard and his crew were the men to do as they promised. So
Blackbeard got his medicine, and though it cost the colony two thousand
dollars, it was worth that much to the town to be quit of him.

They say that while Captain Richards was conducting his negotiations
with the governor his boat's crew were stumping around the streets of
the town, having a glorious time of it, while the good folk glowered
wrathfully at them, but dared venture nothing in speech or act.

Having gained a booty of between seven and eight thousand dollars from
the prizes captured, the pirates sailed away from Charleston Harbor to
the coast of North Carolina.

And now Blackbeard, following the plan adopted by so many others of his
kind, began to cudgel his brains for means to cheat his fellows out of
their share of the booty.

At Topsail Inlet he ran his own vessel aground, as though by accident.
Hands, the captain of one of the consorts, pretending to come to his
assistance, also grounded HIS sloop. Nothing now remained but for those
who were able to get away in the other craft, which was all that was
now left of the little fleet. This did Blackbeard with some forty of his
favorites. The rest of the pirates were left on the sand spit to await
the return of their companions--which never happened.

As for Blackbeard and those who were with him, they were that much
richer, for there were so many the fewer pockets to fill. But even yet
there were too many to share the booty, in Blackbeard's opinion, and so
he marooned a parcel more of them--some eighteen or twenty--upon a naked
sand bank, from which they were afterward mercifully rescued by another
freebooter who chanced that way--a certain Major Stede Bonnet, of whom
more will presently be said. About that time a royal proclamation had
been issued offering pardon to all pirates in arms who would surrender
to the king's authority before a given date. So up goes Master
Blackbeard to the Governor of North Carolina and makes his neck safe by
surrendering to the proclamation--albeit he kept tight clutch upon what
he had already gained.

And now we find our bold Captain Blackbeard established in the good
province of North Carolina, where he and His Worship the Governor struck
up a vast deal of intimacy, as profitable as it was pleasant. There is
something very pretty in the thought of the bold sea rover giving up his
adventurous life (excepting now and then an excursion against a trader
or two in the neighboring sound, when the need of money was pressing);
settling quietly down into the routine of old colonial life, with a
young wife of sixteen at his side, who made the fourteenth that he had
in various ports here and there in the world.

Becoming tired of an inactive life, Blackbeard afterward resumed his
piratical career. He cruised around in the rivers and inlets and sounds
of North Carolina for a while, ruling the roost and with never a one to
say him nay, until there was no bearing with such a pest any longer. So
they sent a deputation up to the Governor of Virginia asking if he would
be pleased to help them in their trouble.

There were two men-of-war lying at Kicquetan, in the James River, at the
time. To them the Governor of Virginia applies, and plucky Lieutenant
Maynard, of the Pearl, was sent to Ocracoke Inlet to fight this pirate
who ruled it down there so like the cock of a walk. There he found
Blackbeard waiting for him, and as ready for a fight as ever the
lieutenant himself could be. Fight they did, and while it lasted it
was as pretty a piece of business of its kind as one could wish to
see. Blackbeard drained a glass of grog, wishing the lieutenant luck
in getting aboard of him, fired a broadside, blew some twenty of the
lieutenant's men out of existence, and totally crippled one of his
little sloops for the balance of the fight. After that, and under cover
of the smoke, the pirate and his men boarded the other sloop, and then
followed a fine old-fashioned hand-to-hand conflict betwixt him and the
lieutenant. First they fired their pistols, and then they took to it
with cutlasses--right, left, up and down, cut and slash--until the
lieutenant's cutlass broke short off at the hilt. Then Blackbeard would
have finished him off handsomely, only up steps one of the lieutenant's
men and fetches him a great slash over the neck, so that the lieutenant
came off with no more hurt than a cut across the knuckles.

At the very first discharge of their pistols Blackbeard had been shot
through the body, but he was not for giving up for that--not he. As said
before, he was of the true roaring, raging breed of pirates, and stood
up to it until he received twenty more cutlass cuts and five additional
shots, and then fell dead while trying to fire off an empty pistol.
After that the lieutenant cut off the pirate's head, and sailed away in
triumph, with the bloody trophy nailed to the bow of his battered sloop.

Those of Blackbeard's men who were not killed were carried off to
Virginia, and all of them tried and hanged but one or two, their names,
no doubt, still standing in a row in the provincial records.

But did Blackbeard really bury treasures, as tradition says, along the
sandy shores he haunted?

Master Clement Downing, midshipman aboard the Salisbury, wrote a book
after his return from the cruise to Madagascar, whither the Salisbury
had been ordered, to put an end to the piracy with which those waters
were infested. He says:

"At Guzarat I met with a Portuguese named Anthony de Sylvestre; he came
with two other Portuguese and two Dutchmen to take on in the Moor's
service, as many Europeans do. This Anthony told me he had been among
the pirates, and that he belonged to one of the sloops in Virginia when
Blackbeard was taken. He informed me that if it should be my lot ever
to go to York River or Maryland, near an island called Mulberry Island,
provided we went on shore at the watering place, where the shipping used
most commonly to ride, that there the pirates had buried considerable
sums of money in great chests well clamped with iron plates. As to my
part, I never was that way, nor much acquainted with any that ever used
those parts; but I have made inquiry, and am informed that there is such
a place as Mulberry Island. If any person who uses those parts should
think it worth while to dig a little way at the upper end of a small
cove, where it is convenient to land, he would soon find whether the
information I had was well grounded. Fronting the landing place are five
trees, among which, he said, the money was hid. I cannot warrant the
truth of this account; but if I was ever to go there, I should find some
means or other to satisfy myself, as it could not be a great deal out
of my way. If anybody should obtain the benefit of this account, if it
please God that they ever come to England, 'tis hoped they will remember
whence they had this information."

Another worthy was Capt. Edward Low, who learned his trade of
sail-making at good old Boston town, and piracy at Honduras. No one
stood higher in the trade than he, and no one mounted to more lofty
altitudes of bloodthirsty and unscrupulous wickedness. 'Tis strange that
so little has been written and sung of this man of might, for he was as
worthy of story and of song as was Blackbeard.

It was under a Yankee captain that he made his first cruise--down to
Honduras, for a cargo of logwood, which in those times was no better
than stolen from the Spanish folk.

One day, lying off the shore, in the Gulf of Honduras, comes Master Low
and the crew of the whaleboat rowing across from the beach, where they
had been all morning chopping logwood.

"What are you after?" says the captain, for they were coming back with
nothing but themselves in the boat.

"We're after our dinner," says Low, as spokesman of the party.

"You'll have no dinner," says the captain, "until you fetch off another
load."

"Dinner or no dinner, we'll pay for it," says Low, wherewith he up with
a musket, squinted along the barrel, and pulled the trigger.

Luckily the gun hung fire, and the Yankee captain was spared to steal
logwood a while longer.

All the same, that was no place for Ned Low to make a longer stay, so
off he and his messmates rowed in a whaleboat, captured a brig out at
sea, and turned pirates.

He presently fell in with the notorious Captain Lowther, a fellow after
his own kidney, who put the finishing touches to his education and
taught him what wickedness he did not already know.

And so he became a master pirate, and a famous hand at his craft, and
thereafter forever bore an inveterate hatred of all Yankees because of
the dinner he had lost, and never failed to smite whatever one of
them luck put within his reach. Once he fell in with a ship off South
Carolina--the Amsterdam Merchant, Captain Williamson, commander--a
Yankee craft and a Yankee master. He slit the nose and cropped the ears
of the captain, and then sailed merrily away, feeling the better for
having marred a Yankee.

New York and New England had more than one visit from the doughty
captain, each of which visits they had good cause to remember, for he
made them smart for it.

Along in the year 1722 thirteen vessels were riding at anchor in front
of the good town of Marblehead. Into the harbor sailed a strange craft.
"Who is she?" say the townsfolk, for the coming of a new vessel was no
small matter in those days.

Who the strangers were was not long a matter of doubt. Up goes the black
flag, and the skull and crossbones to the fore.

"'Tis the bloody Low," say one and all; and straightway all was flutter
and commotion, as in a duck pond when a hawk pitches and strikes in the
midst.

It was a glorious thing for our captain, for here were thirteen Yankee
crafts at one and the same time. So he took what he wanted, and then
sailed away, and it was many a day before Marblehead forgot that visit.

Some time after this he and his consort fell foul of an English sloop
of war, the Greyhound, whereby they were so roughly handled that Low was
glad enough to slip away, leaving his consort and her crew behind him,
as a sop to the powers of law and order. And lucky for them if no worse
fate awaited them than to walk the dreadful plank with a bandage around
the blinded eyes and a rope around the elbows. So the consort was taken,
and the crew tried and hanged in chains, and Low sailed off in as pretty
a bit of rage as ever a pirate fell into.

The end of this worthy is lost in the fogs of the past: some say that he
died of a yellow fever down in New Orleans; it was not at the end of a
hempen cord, more's the pity.

Here fittingly with our strictly American pirates should stand Major
Stede Bonnet along with the rest. But in truth he was only a poor
half-and-half fellow of his kind, and even after his hand was fairly
turned to the business he had undertaken, a qualm of conscience would
now and then come across him, and he would make vast promises to
forswear his evil courses.

However, he jogged along in his course of piracy snugly enough until he
fell foul of the gallant Colonel Rhett, off Charleston Harbor, whereupon
his luck and his courage both were suddenly snuffed out with a puff of
powder smoke and a good rattling broadside. Down came the "Black Roger"
with its skull and crossbones from the fore, and Colonel Rhett had the
glory of fetching back as pretty a cargo of scoundrels and cutthroats as
the town ever saw.

After the next assizes they were strung up, all in a row--evil apples
ready for the roasting.

"Ned" England was a fellow of different blood--only he snapped his whip
across the back of society over in the East Indies and along the hot
shores of Hindustan.

The name of Capt. Howel Davis stands high among his fellows. He was the
Ulysses of pirates, the beloved not only of Mercury, but of Minerva.

He it was who hoodwinked the captain of a French ship of double the size
and strength of his own, and fairly cheated him into the surrender of
his craft without the firing of a single pistol or the striking of a
single blow; he it was who sailed boldly into the port of Gambia, on the
coast of Guinea, and under the guns of the castle, proclaiming himself
as a merchant trading for slaves.

The cheat was kept up until the fruit of mischief was ripe for the
picking; then, when the governor and the guards of the castle were
lulled into entire security, and when Davis's band was scattered about
wherever each man could do the most good, it was out pistol, up cutlass,
and death if a finger moved. They tied the soldiers back to back, and
the governor to his own armchair, and then rifled wherever it pleased
them. After that they sailed away, and though they had not made the
fortune they had hoped to glean, it was a good snug round sum that they
shared among them.

Their courage growing high with success, they determined to attempt the
island of Del Principe--a prosperous Portuguese settlement on the
coast. The plan for taking the place was cleverly laid, and would have
succeeded, only that a Portuguese negro among the pirate crew turned
traitor and carried the news ashore to the governor of the fort.
Accordingly, the next day, when Captain Davis came ashore, he found
there a good strong guard drawn up as though to honor his coming. But
after he and those with him were fairly out of their boat, and well away
from the water side, there was a sudden rattle of musketry, a cloud of
smoke, and a dull groan or two. Only one man ran out from under that
pungent cloud, jumped into the boat, and rowed away; and when it lifted,
there lay Captain Davis and his companions all of a heap, like a pile of
old clothes.

Capt. Bartholomew Roberts was the particular and especial pupil
of Davis, and when that worthy met his death so suddenly and so
unexpectedly in the unfortunate manner above narrated, he was chosen
unanimously as the captain of the fleet, and he was a worthy pupil of
a worthy master. Many were the poor fluttering merchant ducks that this
sea hawk swooped upon and struck; and cleanly and cleverly were they
plucked before his savage clutch loosened its hold upon them.

"He made a gallant figure," says the old narrator, "being dressed in a
rich crimson waistcoat and breeches and red feather in his hat, a gold
chain around his neck, with a diamond cross hanging to it, a sword in
his hand, and two pair of pistols hanging at the end of a silk sling
flung over his shoulders according to the fashion of the pyrates."
Thus he appeared in the last engagement which he fought--that with the
Swallow--a royal sloop of war. A gallant fight they made of it, those
bulldog pirates, for, finding themselves caught in a trap betwixt the
man-of-war and the shore, they determined to bear down upon the king's
vessel, fire a slapping broadside into her, and then try to get away,
trusting to luck in the doing, and hoping that their enemy might be
crippled by their fire.

Captain Roberts himself was the first to fall at the return fire of the
Swallow; a grapeshot struck him in the neck, and he fell forward across
the gun near to which he was standing at the time. A certain fellow
named Stevenson, who was at the helm, saw him fall, and thought he was
wounded. At the lifting of the arm the body rolled over upon the deck,
and the man saw that the captain was dead. "Whereupon," says the old
history, "he" [Stevenson] "gushed into tears, and wished that the next
shot might be his portion." After their captain's death the pirate crew
had no stomach for more fighting; the "Black Roger" was struck, and one
and all surrendered to justice and the gallows.

Such is a brief and bald account of the most famous of these pirates.
But they are only a few of a long list of notables, such as Captain
Martel, Capt. Charles Vane (who led the gallant Colonel Rhett, of South
Carolina, such a wild-goose chase in and out among the sluggish creeks
and inlets along the coast), Capt. John Rackam, and Captain Anstis,
Captain Worley, and Evans, and Philips, and others--a score or more of
wild fellows whose very names made ship captains tremble in their shoes
in those good old times.

And such is that black chapter of history of the past--an evil chapter,
lurid with cruelty and suffering, stained with blood and smoke. Yet
it is a written chapter, and it must be read. He who chooses may
read betwixt the lines of history this great truth: Evil itself is an
instrument toward the shaping of good. Therefore the history of evil as
well as the history of good should be read, considered, and digested.



Chapter II. THE GHOST OF CAPTAIN BRAND

IT is not so easy to tell why discredit should be cast upon a man
because of something that his grandfather may have done amiss, but the
world, which is never overnice in its discrimination as to where to lay
the blame, is often pleased to make the innocent suffer in the place of
the guilty.

Barnaby True was a good, honest, biddable lad, as boys go, but yet he
was not ever allowed altogether to forget that his grandfather had
been that very famous pirate, Capt. William Brand, who, after so many
marvelous adventures (if one may believe the catchpenny stories and
ballads that were written about him), was murdered in Jamaica by Capt.
John Malyoe, the commander of his own consort, the Adventure galley.

It has never been denied, that ever I heard, that up to the time of
Captain Brand's being commissioned against the South Sea pirates he had
always been esteemed as honest, reputable a sea captain as could be.

When he started out upon that adventure it was with a ship, the Royal
Sovereign, fitted out by some of the most decent merchants of New York.
The governor himself had subscribed to the adventure, and had himself
signed Captain Brand's commission. So, if the unfortunate man went
astray, he must have had great temptation to do so, many others behaving
no better when the opportunity offered in those far-away seas where so
many rich purchases might very easily be taken and no one the wiser.

To be sure, those stories and ballads made our captain to be a most
wicked, profane wretch; and if he were, why, God knows he suffered and
paid for it, for he laid his bones in Jamaica, and never saw his home
or his wife and daughter again after he had sailed away on the Royal
Sovereign on that long misfortunate voyage, leaving them in New York to
the care of strangers.

At the time when he met his fate in Port Royal Harbor he had obtained
two vessels under his command--the Royal Sovereign, which was the boat
fitted out for him in New York, and the Adventure galley, which he was
said to have taken somewhere in the South Seas. With these he lay in
those waters of Jamaica for over a month after his return from the
coasts of Africa, waiting for news from home, which, when it came, was
of the very blackest; for the colonial authorities were at that time
stirred up very hot against him to take him and hang him for a pirate,
so as to clear their own skirts for having to do with such a fellow. So
maybe it seemed better to our captain to hide his ill-gotten treasure
there in those far-away parts, and afterward to try and bargain with it
for his life when he should reach New York, rather than to sail straight
for the Americas with what he had earned by his piracies, and so risk
losing life and money both.

However that might be, the story was that Captain Brand and his gunner,
and Captain Malyoe of the Adventure and the sailing master of the
Adventure all went ashore together with a chest of money (no one of them
choosing to trust the other three in so nice an affair), and buried the
treasure somewhere on the beach of Port Royal Harbor. The story then has
it that they fell a-quarreling about a future division or the money,
and that, as a wind-up to the affair, Captain Malyoe shot Captain Brand
through the head, while the sailing master of the Adventure served the
gunner of the Royal Sovereign after the same fashion through the body,
and that the murderers then went away, leaving the two stretched out
in their own blood on the sand in the staring sun, with no one to know
where the money was hid but they two who had served their comrades so.

It is a mighty great pity that anyone should have a grandfather who
ended his days in such a sort as this, but it was no fault of Barnaby
True's, nor could he have done anything to prevent it, seeing that he
was not even born into the world at the time that his grandfather turned
pirate, and was only one year old when he so met his tragical end.
Nevertheless, the boys with whom he went to school never tired of
calling him "Pirate," and would sometimes sing for his benefit that
famous catchpenny song beginning thus:

     Oh, my name was Captain Brand,
     A-sailing,
     And a-sailing;
     Oh, my name was Captain Brand,
     A-sailing free.
     Oh, my name was Captain Brand,
     And I sinned by sea and land,
     For I broke God's just command,
     A-sailing free.

'Twas a vile thing to sing at the grandson of so misfortunate a man, and
oftentimes little Barnaby True would double up his fists and would fight
his tormentors at great odds, and would sometimes go back home with a
bloody nose to have his poor mother cry over him and grieve for him.

Not that his days were all of teasing and torment, neither; for if his
comrades did treat him so, why, then, there were other times when he
and they were as great friends as could be, and would go in swimming
together where there was a bit of sandy strand along the East River
above Fort George, and that in the most amicable fashion. Or, maybe
the very next day after he had fought so with his fellows, he would go
a-rambling with them up the Bowerie Road, perhaps to help them steal
cherries from some old Dutch farmer, forgetting in such adventure what a
thief his own grandfather had been.

Well, when Barnaby True was between sixteen and seventeen years old he
was taken into employment in the countinghouse of Mr. Roger Hartright,
the well-known West India merchant, and Barnaby's own stepfather.

It was the kindness of this good man that not only found a place for
Barnaby in the countinghouse, but advanced him so fast that against our
hero was twenty-one years old he had made four voyages as supercargo to
the West Indies in Mr. Hartright's ship, the Belle Helen, and soon after
he was twenty-one undertook a fifth. Nor was it in any such subordinate
position as mere supercargo that he acted, but rather as the
confidential agent of Mr. Hartright, who, having no children of his
own, was very jealous to advance our hero into a position of trust and
responsibility in the countinghouse, as though he were indeed a son, so
that even the captain of the ship had scarcely more consideration aboard
than he, young as he was in years.

As for the agents and correspondents of Mr. Hartright throughout these
parts, they also, knowing how the good man had adopted his interests,
were very polite and obliging to Master Barnaby--especially, be it
mentioned, Mr. Ambrose Greenfield, of Kingston, Jamaica, who, upon the
occasions of his visits to those parts, did all that he could to make
Barnaby's stay in that town agreeable and pleasant to him.

So much for the history of our hero to the time of the beginning of this
story, without which you shall hardly be able to understand the purport
of those most extraordinary adventures that befell him shortly after he
came of age, nor the logic of their consequence after they had occurred.

For it was during his fifth voyage to the West Indies that the first of
those extraordinary adventures happened of which I shall have presently
to tell.

At that time he had been in Kingston for the best part of four weeks,
lodging at the house of a very decent, respectable widow, by name Mrs.
Anne Bolles, who, with three pleasant and agreeable daughters, kept a
very clean and well-served lodging house in the outskirts of the town.

One morning, as our hero sat sipping his coffee, clad only in loose
cotton drawers, a shirt, and a jacket, and with slippers upon his feet,
as is the custom in that country, where everyone endeavors to keep as
cool as may be while he sat thus sipping his coffee Miss Eliza, the
youngest of the three daughters, came and gave him a note, which,
she said, a stranger had just handed in at the door, going away again
without waiting for a reply. You may judge of Barnaby's surprise when he
opened the note and read as follows:

     MR.  BARNABY TRUE.

     SIR,--Though you don't know me, I know you, and I tell you
     this: if you will be at Pratt's Ordinary on Harbor Street
     on Friday next at eight o'clock of the evening, and will
     accompany the man who shall say to you, "The Royal Sovereign
     is come in," you shall learn something the most to your
     advantage that ever befell you. Sir, keep this note, and
     show it to him who shall address these words to you, so to
     certify that you are the man he seeks.

Such was the wording of the note, which was without address, and without
any superscription whatever.

The first emotion that stirred Barnaby was one of extreme and profound
amazement. Then the thought came into his mind that some witty fellow,
of whom he knew a good many in that town--and wild, waggish pranks they
were was attempting to play off some smart jest upon him. But all
that Miss Eliza could tell him when he questioned her concerning the
messenger was that the bearer of the note was a tall, stout man, with
a red neckerchief around his neck and copper buckles to his shoes, and
that he had the appearance of a sailorman, having a great big queue
hanging down his back. But, Lord! what was such a description as that
in a busy seaport town, full of scores of men to fit such a likeness?
Accordingly, our hero put away the note into his wallet, determining to
show it to his good friend Mr. Greenfield that evening, and to ask his
advice upon it. So he did show it, and that gentleman's opinion was the
same as his--that some wag was minded to play off a hoax upon him, and
that the matter of the letter was all nothing but smoke.

Nevertheless, though Barnaby was thus confirmed in his opinion as to the
nature of the communication he had received, he yet determined in his
own mind that he would see the business through to the end, and would be
at Pratt's Ordinary, as the note demanded, upon the day and at the time
specified therein.

Pratt's Ordinary was at that time a very fine and well-known place of
its sort, with good tobacco and the best rum that ever I tasted, and had
a garden behind it that, sloping down to the harbor front, was planted
pretty thick with palms and ferns grouped into clusters with flowers and
plants. Here were a number of little tables, some in little grottoes,
like our Vauxhall in New York, and with red and blue and white paper
lanterns hung among the foliage, whither gentlemen and ladies used
sometimes to go of an evening to sit and drink lime juice and sugar and
water (and sometimes a taste of something stronger), and to look out
across the water at the shipping in the cool of the night.

Thither, accordingly, our hero went, a little before the time appointed
in the note, and passing directly through the Ordinary and the garden
beyond, chose a table at the lower end of the garden and close to the
water's edge, where he would not be easily seen by anyone coming into
the place. Then, ordering some rum and water and a pipe of tobacco, he
composed himself to watch for the appearance of those witty fellows whom
he suspected would presently come thither to see the end of their prank
and to enjoy his confusion.

The spot was pleasant enough; for the land breeze, blowing strong and
full, set the leaves of the palm tree above his head to rattling and
clattering continually against the sky, where, the moon then being about
full, they shone every now and then like blades of steel. The waves also
were splashing up against the little landing place at the foot of the
garden, sounding very cool in the night, and sparkling all over the
harbor where the moon caught the edges of the water. A great many
vessels were lying at anchor in their ridings, with the dark, prodigious
form of a man-of-war looming up above them in the moonlight.

There our hero sat for the best part of an hour, smoking his pipe of
tobacco and sipping his grog, and seeing not so much as a single thing
that might concern the note he had received.

It was not far from half an hour after the time appointed in the note,
when a rowboat came suddenly out of the night and pulled up to the
landing place at the foot of the garden above mentioned, and three
or four men came ashore in the darkness. Without saying a word among
themselves they chose a near-by table and, sitting down, ordered rum
and water, and began drinking their grog in silence. They might have
sat there about five minutes, when, by and by, Barnaby True became aware
that they were observing him very curiously; and then almost immediately
one, who was plainly the leader of the party, called out to him:

"How now, messmate! Won't you come and drink a dram of rum with us?"

"Why, no," says Barnaby, answering very civilly; "I have drunk enough
already, and more would only heat my blood."

"All the same," quoth the stranger, "I think you will come and drink
with us; for, unless I am mistook, you are Mr. Barnaby True, and I am
come here to tell you that the Royal Sovereign is come in."

Now I may honestly say that Barnaby True was never more struck aback in
all his life than he was at hearing these words uttered in so unexpected
a manner. He had been looking to hear them under such different
circumstances that, now that his ears heard them addressed to him, and
that so seriously, by a perfect stranger, who, with others, had thus
mysteriously come ashore out of the darkness, he could scarce believe
that his ears heard aright. His heart suddenly began beating at a
tremendous rate, and had he been an older and wiser man, I do believe
he would have declined the adventure, instead of leaping blindly, as
he did, into that of which he could see neither the beginning nor the
ending. But being barely one-and-twenty years of age, and having an
adventurous disposition that would have carried him into almost anything
that possessed a smack of uncertainty or danger about it, he contrived
to say, in a pretty easy tone (though God knows how it was put on for
the occasion):

"Well, then, if that be so, and if the Royal Sovereign is indeed
come in, why, I'll join you, since you are so kind as to ask me." And
therewith he went across to the other table, carrying his pipe with him,
and sat down and began smoking, with all the appearance of ease he could
assume upon the occasion.

"Well, Mr. Barnaby True," said the man who had before addressed him, so
soon as Barnaby had settled himself, speaking in a low tone of voice,
so there would be no danger of any others hearing the words--"Well, Mr.
Barnaby True--for I shall call you by your name, to show you that though
I know you, you don't know me I am glad to see that you are man enough
to enter thus into an affair, though you can't see to the bottom of it.
For it shows me that you are a man of mettle, and are deserving of the
fortune that is to befall you to-night. Nevertheless, first of all, I
am bid to say that you must show me a piece of paper that you have about
you before we go a step farther."

"Very well," said Barnaby; "I have it here safe and sound, and see
it you shall." And thereupon and without more ado he fetched out his
wallet, opened it, and handed his interlocutor the mysterious note he
had received the day or two before. Whereupon the other, drawing to him
the candle, burning there for the convenience of those who would smoke
tobacco, began immediately reading it.

This gave Barnaby True a moment or two to look at him. He was a tall,
stout man, with a red handkerchief tied around his neck, and with copper
buckles on his shoes, so that Barnaby True could not but wonder whether
he was not the very same man who had given the note to Miss Eliza Bolles
at the door of his lodging house.

"'Tis all right and straight as it should be," the other said, after he
had so glanced his eyes over the note. "And now that the paper is read"
(suiting his action to his words), "I'll just burn it, for safety's
sake."

And so he did, twisting it up and setting it to the flame of the candle.

"And now," he said, continuing his address, "I'll tell you what I am
here for. I was sent to ask you if you're man enough to take your life
in your own hands and to go with me in that boat down there? Say 'Yes,'
and we'll start away without wasting more time, for the devil is ashore
here at Jamaica--though you don't know what that means--and if he gets
ahead of us, why, then we may whistle for what we are after. Say 'No,'
and I go away again, and I promise you you shall never be troubled again
in this sort. So now speak up plain, young gentleman, and tell us
what is your mind in this business, and whether you will adventure any
farther or not."

If our hero hesitated it was not for long. I cannot say that his courage
did not waver for a moment; but if it did, it was, I say, not for long,
and when he spoke up it was with a voice as steady as could be.

"To be sure I'm man enough to go with you," he said; "and if you mean
me any harm I can look out for myself; and if I can't, why, here is
something can look out for me," and therewith he lifted up the flap of
his coat pocket and showed the butt of a pistol he had fetched with him
when he had set out from his lodging house that evening.

At this the other burst out a-laughing. "Come," says he, "you are indeed
of right mettle, and I like your spirit. All the same, no one in all the
world means you less ill than I, and so, if you have to use that barker,
'twill not be upon us who are your friends, but only upon one who is
more wicked than the devil himself. So come, and let us get away."

Thereupon he and the others, who had not spoken a single word for all
this time, rose from the table, and he having paid the scores of all,
they all went down together to the boat that still lay at the landing
place at the bottom of the garden.

Thus coming to it, our hero could see that it was a large yawl boat
manned with half a score of black men for rowers, and there were two
lanterns in the stern sheets, and three or four iron shovels.

The man who had conducted the conversation with Barnaby True for all
this time, and who was, as has been said, plainly the captain of the
party, stepped immediately down into the boat; our hero followed, and
the others followed after him; and instantly they were seated the boat
was shoved off and the black men began pulling straight out into the
harbor, and so, at some distance away, around under the stern of the
man-of-war.

Not a word was spoken after they had thus left the shore, and presently
they might all have been ghosts, for the silence of the party. Barnaby
True was too full of his own thoughts to talk--and serious enough
thoughts they were by this time, with crimps to trepan a man at every
turn, and press gangs to carry a man off so that he might never be heard
of again. As for the others, they did not seem to choose to say anything
now that they had him fairly embarked upon their enterprise.

And so the crew pulled on in perfect silence for the best part of an
hour, the leader of the expedition directing the course of the boat
straight across the harbor, as though toward the mouth of the Rio Cobra
River. Indeed, this was their destination, as Barnaby could after a
while see, by the low point of land with a great long row of coconut
palms upon it (the appearance of which he knew very well), which by and
by began to loom up out of the milky dimness of the moonlight. As they
approached the river they found the tide was running strong out of
it, so that some distance away from the stream it gurgled and rippled
alongside the boat as the crew of black men pulled strongly against
it. Thus they came up under what was either a point of land or an islet
covered with a thick growth of mangrove trees. But still no one spoke a
single word as to their destination, or what was the business they had
in hand.

The night, now that they were close to the shore, was loud with the
noise of running tide-water, and the air was heavy with the smell of mud
and marsh, and over all the whiteness of the moonlight, with a few stars
pricking out here and there in the sky; and all so strange and silent
and mysterious that Barnaby could not divest himself of the feeling that
it was all a dream.

So, the rowers bending to the oars, the boat came slowly around from
under the clump of mangrove bushes and out into the open water again.

Instantly it did so the leader of the expedition called out in a sharp
voice, and the black men instantly lay on their oars.

Almost at the same instant Barnaby True became aware that there was
another boat coming down the river toward where they lay, now drifting
with the strong tide out into the harbor again, and he knew that it was
because of the approach of that boat that the other had called upon his
men to cease rowing.

The other boat, as well as he could see in the distance, was full of
men, some of whom appeared to be armed, for even in the dusk of the
darkness the shine of the moonlight glimmered sharply now and then on
the barrels of muskets or pistols, and in the silence that followed
after their own rowing had ceased Barnaby True could hear the chug!
chug! of the oars sounding louder and louder through the watery
stillness of the night as the boat drew nearer and nearer. But he knew
nothing of what it all meant, nor whether these others were friends or
enemies, or what was to happen next.

The oarsmen of the approaching boat did not for a moment cease
their rowing, not till they had come pretty close to Barnaby and his
companions. Then a man who sat in the stern ordered them to cease
rowing, and as they lay on their oars he stood up. As they passed by,
Barnaby True could see him very plain, the moonlight shining full upon
him--a large, stout gentleman with a round red face, and clad in a fine
laced coat of red cloth. Amidship of the boat was a box or chest about
the bigness of a middle-sized traveling trunk, but covered all over
with cakes of sand and dirt. In the act of passing, the gentleman, still
standing, pointed at it with an elegant gold-headed cane which he held
in his hand. "Are you come after this, Abraham Dawling?" says he, and
thereat his countenance broke into as evil, malignant a grin as ever
Barnaby True saw in all of his life.

The other did not immediately reply so much as a single word, but sat
as still as any stone. Then, at last, the other boat having gone by, he
suddenly appeared to regain his wits, for he bawled out after it, "Very
well, Jack Malyoe! very well, Jack Malyoe! you've got ahead of us this
time again, but next time is the third, and then it shall be our turn,
even if William Brand must come back from hell to settle with you."

This he shouted out as the other boat passed farther and farther away,
but to it my fine gentleman made no reply except to burst out into a
great roaring fit of laughter.

There was another man among the armed men in the stern of the passing
boat--a villainous, lean man with lantern jaws, and the top of his head
as bald as the palm of my hand. As the boat went away into the night
with the tide and the headway the oars had given it, he grinned so that
the moonlight shone white on his big teeth. Then, flourishing a great
big pistol, he said, and Barnaby could hear every word he spoke, "Do but
give me the word, Your Honor, and I'll put another bullet through the
son of a sea cook."

But the gentleman said some words to forbid him, and therewith the boat
was gone away into the night, and presently Barnaby could hear that
the men at the oars had begun rowing again, leaving them lying there,
without a single word being said for a long time.

By and by one of those in Barnaby's boat spoke up. "Where shall you go
now?" he said.

At this the leader of the expedition appeared suddenly to come back to
himself, and to find his voice again. "Go?" he roared out. "Go to the
devil! Go? Go where you choose! Go? Go back again--that's where we'll
go!" and therewith he fell a-cursing and swearing until he foamed at
the lips, as though he had gone clean crazy, while the black men began
rowing back again across the harbor as fast as ever they could lay oars
into the water.

They put Barnaby True ashore below the old custom house; but so
bewildered and shaken was he by all that had happened, and by what he
had seen, and by the names that he heard spoken, that he was scarcely
conscious of any of the familiar things among which he found himself
thus standing. And so he walked up the moonlit street toward his lodging
like one drunk or bewildered; for "John Malyoe" was the name of
the captain of the Adventure galley--he who had shot Barnaby's own
grandfather--and "Abraham Dawling" was the name of the gunner of the
Royal Sovereign who had been shot at the same time with the pirate
captain, and who, with him, had been left stretched out in the staring
sun by the murderers.

The whole business had occupied hardly two hours, but it was as though
that time was no part of Barnaby's life, but all a part of some other
life, so dark and strange and mysterious that it in no wise belonged to
him.

As for that box covered all over with mud, he could only guess at that
time what it contained and what the finding of it signified.

But of this our hero said nothing to anyone, nor did he tell a single
living soul what he had seen that night, but nursed it in his own mind,
where it lay so big for a while that he could think of little or nothing
else for days after.

Mr. Greenfield, Mr. Hartright's correspondent and agent in these parts,
lived in a fine brick house just out of the town, on the Mona Road,
his family consisting of a wife and two daughters--brisk, lively young
ladies with black hair and eyes, and very fine bright teeth that shone
whenever they laughed, and with a plenty to say for themselves. Thither
Barnaby True was often asked to a family dinner; and, indeed, it was a
pleasant home to visit, and to sit upon the veranda and smoke a cigarro
with the good old gentleman and look out toward the mountains, while the
young ladies laughed and talked, or played upon the guitar and sang. And
oftentimes so it was strongly upon Barnaby's mind to speak to the good
gentleman and tell him what he had beheld that night out in the harbor;
but always he would think better of it and hold his peace, falling to
thinking, and smoking away upon his cigarro at a great rate.

A day or two before the Belle Helen sailed from Kingston Mr. Greenfield
stopped Barnaby True as he was going through the office to bid him to
come to dinner that night (for there within the tropics they breakfast
at eleven o'clock and take dinner in the cool of the evening, because of
the heat, and not at midday, as we do in more temperate latitudes). "I
would have you meet," says Mr. Greenfield, "your chief passenger for
New York, and his granddaughter, for whom the state cabin and the two
staterooms are to be fitted as here ordered [showing a letter]--Sir John
Malyoe and Miss Marjorie Malyoe. Did you ever hear tell of Capt. Jack
Malyoe, Master Barnaby?"

Now I do believe that Mr. Greenfield had no notion at all that old
Captain Brand was Barnaby True's own grandfather and Capt. John Malyoe
his murderer, but when he so thrust at him the name of that man, what
with that in itself and the late adventure through which he himself had
just passed, and with his brooding upon it until it was so prodigiously
big in his mind, it was like hitting him a blow to so fling the
questions at him. Nevertheless, he was able to reply, with a pretty
straight face, that he had heard of Captain Malyoe and who he was.

"Well," says Mr. Greenfield, "if Jack Malyoe was a desperate pirate and
a wild, reckless blade twenty years ago, why, he is Sir John Malyoe now
and the owner of a fine estate in Devonshire. Well, Master Barnaby, when
one is a baronet and come into the inheritance of a fine estate (though
I do hear it is vastly cumbered with debts), the world will wink its eye
to much that he may have done twenty years ago. I do hear say, though,
that his own kin still turn the cold shoulder to him."

To this address Barnaby answered nothing, but sat smoking away at his
cigarro at a great rate.

And so that night Barnaby True came face to face for the first time with
the man who murdered his own grandfather--the greatest beast of a man
that ever he met in all of his life.

That time in the harbor he had seen Sir John Malyoe at a distance and
in the darkness; now that he beheld him near by it seemed to him that he
had never looked at a more evil face in all his life. Not that the man
was altogether ugly, for he had a good nose and a fine double chin; but
his eyes stood out like balls and were red and watery, and he winked
them continually, as though they were always smarting; and his lips
were thick and purple-red, and his fat, red cheeks were mottled here
and there with little clots of purple veins; and when he spoke his voice
rattled so in his throat that it made one wish to clear one's own throat
to listen to him. So, what with a pair of fat, white hands, and that
hoarse voice, and his swollen face, and his thick lips sticking out, it
seemed to Barnaby True he had never seen a countenance so distasteful to
him as that one into which he then looked.

But if Sir John Malyoe was so displeasing to our hero's taste, why, the
granddaughter, even this first time he beheld her, seemed to him to be
the most beautiful, lovely young lady that ever he saw. She had a thin,
fair skin, red lips, and yellow hair--though it was then powdered pretty
white for the occasion--and the bluest eyes that Barnaby beheld in all
of his life. A sweet, timid creature, who seemed not to dare so much as
to speak a word for herself without looking to Sir John for leave to do
so, and would shrink and shudder whenever he would speak of a sudden to
her or direct a sudden glance upon her. When she did speak, it was in so
low a voice that one had to bend his head to hear her, and even if she
smiled would catch herself and look up as though to see if she had leave
to be cheerful.

As for Sir John, he sat at dinner like a pig, and gobbled and ate and
drank, smacking his lips all the while, but with hardly a word to either
her or Mrs. Greenfield or to Barnaby True; but with a sour, sullen air,
as though he would say, "Your damned victuals and drink are no better
than they should be, but I must eat 'em or nothing." A great bloated
beast of a man!

Only after dinner was over and the young lady and the two misses sat off
in a corner together did Barnaby hear her talk with any ease. Then, to
be sure, her tongue became loose, and she prattled away at a great rate,
though hardly above her breath, until of a sudden her grandfather called
out, in his hoarse, rattling voice, that it was time to go. Whereupon
she stopped short in what she was saying and jumped up from her chair,
looking as frightened as though she had been caught in something amiss,
and was to be punished for it.

Barnaby True and Mr. Greenfield both went out to see the two into their
coach, where Sir John's man stood holding the lantern. And who should
he be, to be sure, but that same lean villain with bald head who had
offered to shoot the leader of our hero's expedition out on the harbor
that night! For, one of the circles of light from the lantern shining
up into his face, Barnaby True knew him the moment he clapped eyes upon
him. Though he could not have recognized our hero, he grinned at him in
the most impudent, familiar fashion, and never so much as touched his
hat either to him or to Mr. Greenfield; but as soon as his master
and his young mistress had entered the coach, banged to the door and
scrambled up on the seat alongside the driver, and so away without a
word, but with another impudent grin, this time favoring both Barnaby
and the old gentleman.

Such were these two, master and man, and what Barnaby saw of them then
was only confirmed by further observation--the most hateful couple he
ever knew; though, God knows, what they afterward suffered should wipe
out all complaint against them.

The next day Sir John Malyoe's belongings began to come aboard the Belle
Helen, and in the afternoon that same lean, villainous manservant comes
skipping across the gangplank as nimble as a goat, with two black men
behind him lugging a great sea chest. "What!" he cried out, "and so you
is the supercargo, is you? Why, I thought you was more account when
I saw you last night a-sitting talking with His Honor like his equal.
Well, no matter; 'tis something to have a brisk, genteel young fellow
for a supercargo. So come, my hearty, lend a hand, will you, and help me
set His Honor's cabin to rights."

What a speech was this to endure from such a fellow, to be sure! and
Barnaby so high in his own esteem, and holding himself a gentleman!
Well, what with his distaste for the villain, and what with such odious
familiarity, you can guess into what temper so impudent an address must
have cast him. "You'll find the steward in yonder," he said, "and
he'll show you the cabin," and therewith turned and walked away with
prodigious dignity, leaving the other standing where he was.

As he entered his own cabin he could not but see, out of the tail of his
eye, that the fellow was still standing where he had left him, regarding
him with a most evil, malevolent countenance, so that he had the
satisfaction of knowing that he had made one enemy during that voyage
who was not very likely to forgive or forget what he must regard as a
slight put upon him.

The next day Sir John Malyoe himself came aboard, accompanied by his
granddaughter, and followed by this man, and he followed again by four
black men, who carried among them two trunks, not large in size, but
prodigious heavy in weight, and toward which Sir John and his follower
devoted the utmost solicitude and care to see that they were properly
carried into the state cabin he was to occupy. Barnaby True was standing
in the great cabin as they passed close by him; but though Sir John
Malyoe looked hard at him and straight in the face, he never so much as
spoke a single word, or showed by a look or a sign that he knew who our
hero was. At this the serving man, who saw it all with eyes as quick as
a cat's, fell to grinning and chuckling to see Barnaby in his turn so
slighted.

The young lady, who also saw it all, flushed up red, then in the instant
of passing looked straight at our hero, and bowed and smiled at him with
a most sweet and gracious affability, then the next moment recovering
herself, as though mightily frightened at what she had done.

The same day the Belle Helen sailed, with as beautiful, sweet weather as
ever a body could wish for.

There were only two other passengers aboard, the Rev. Simon Styles, the
master of a flourishing academy in Spanish Town, and his wife, a good,
worthy old couple, but very quiet, and would sit in the great cabin by
the hour together reading, so that, what with Sir John Malyoe staying
all the time in his own cabin with those two trunks he held so precious,
it fell upon Barnaby True in great part to show attention to the young
lady; and glad enough he was of the opportunity, as anyone may guess.
For when you consider a brisk, lively young man of one-and-twenty and a
sweet, beautiful miss of seventeen so thrown together day after day for
two weeks, the weather being very fair, as I have said, and the ship
tossing and bowling along before a fine humming breeze that sent white
caps all over the sea, and with nothing to do but sit and look at that
blue sea and the bright sky overhead, it is not hard to suppose what was
to befall, and what pleasure it was to Barnaby True to show attention to
her.

But, oh! those days when a man is young, and, whether wisely or no,
fallen in love! How often during that voyage did our hero lie awake in
his berth at night, tossing this way and that without sleep--not that
he wanted to sleep if he could, but would rather lie so awake thinking
about her and staring into the darkness!

Poor fool! He might have known that the end must come to such a fool's
paradise before very long. For who was he to look up to Sir John
Malyoe's granddaughter, he, the supercargo of a merchant ship, and she
the granddaughter of a baronet.

Nevertheless, things went along very smooth and pleasant, until one
evening, when all came of a sudden to an end. At that time he and the
young lady had been standing for a long while together, leaning over
the rail and looking out across the water through the dusk toward the
westward, where the sky was still of a lingering brightness. She had
been mightily quiet and dull all that evening, but now of a sudden she
began, without any preface whatever, to tell Barnaby about herself and
her affairs. She said that she and her grandfather were going to New
York that they might take passage thence to Boston town, there to meet
her cousin Captain Malyoe, who was stationed in garrison at that place.
Then she went on to say that Captain Malyoe was the next heir to the
Devonshire estate, and that she and he were to be married in the fall.

But, poor Barnaby! what a fool was he, to be sure! Methinks when she
first began to speak about Captain Malyoe he knew what was coming. But
now that she had told him, he could say nothing, but stood there staring
across the ocean, his breath coming hot and dry as ashes in his throat.
She, poor thing, went on to say, in a very low voice, that she had liked
him from the very first moment she had seen him, and had been very happy
for these days, and would always think of him as a dear friend who had
been very kind to her, who had so little pleasure in life, and so would
always remember him.

Then they were both silent, until at last Barnaby made shift to say,
though in a hoarse and croaking voice, that Captain Malyoe must be a
very happy man, and that if he were in Captain Malyoe's place he would
be the happiest man in the world. Thus, having spoken, and so found his
tongue, he went on to tell her, with his head all in a whirl, that he,
too, loved her, and that what she had told him struck him to the heart,
and made him the most miserable, unhappy wretch in the whole world.

She was not angry at what he said, nor did she turn to look at him, but
only said, in a low voice, he should not talk so, for that it could only
be a pain to them both to speak of such things, and that whether she
would or no, she must do everything as her grandfather bade her, for
that he was indeed a terrible man.

To this poor Barnaby could only repeat that he loved her with all his
heart, that he had hoped for nothing in his love, but that he was now
the most miserable man in the world.

It was at this moment, so tragic for him, that some one who had been
hiding nigh them all the while suddenly moved away, and Barnaby True
could see in the gathering darkness that it was that villain manservant
of Sir John Malyoe's and knew that he must have overheard all that had
been said.

The man went straight to the great cabin, and poor Barnaby, his brain
all atingle, stood looking after him, feeling that now indeed the last
drop of bitterness had been added to his trouble to have such a wretch
overhear what he had said.

The young lady could not have seen the fellow, for she continued leaning
over the rail, and Barnaby True, standing at her side, not moving, but
in such a tumult of many passions that he was like one bewildered, and
his heart beating as though to smother him.

So they stood for I know not how long when, of a sudden, Sir John
Malyoe comes running out of the cabin, without his hat, but carrying his
gold-headed cane, and so straight across the deck to where Barnaby and
the young lady stood, that spying wretch close at his heels, grinning
like an imp.

"You hussy!" bawled out Sir John, so soon as he had come pretty near
them, and in so loud a voice that all on deck might have heard the
words; and as he spoke he waved his cane back and forth as though he
would have struck the young lady, who, shrinking back almost upon the
deck, crouched as though to escape such a blow. "You hussy!" he bawled
out with vile oaths, too horrible here to be set down. "What do you do
here with this Yankee supercargo, not fit for a gentlewoman to wipe her
feet upon? Get to your cabin, you hussy" (only it was something worse he
called her this time), "before I lay this cane across your shoulders!"

What with the whirling of Barnaby's brains and the passion into which he
was already melted, what with his despair and his love, and his anger at
this address, a man gone mad could scarcely be less accountable for his
actions than was he at that moment. Hardly knowing what he did, he put
his hand against Sir John Malyoe's breast and thrust him violently back,
crying out upon him in a great, loud, hoarse voice for threatening a
young lady, and saying that for a farthing he would wrench the stick out
of his hand and throw it overboard.

Sir John went staggering back with the push Barnaby gave him, and then
caught himself up again. Then, with a great bellow, ran roaring at our
hero, whirling his cane about, and I do believe would have struck him
(and God knows then what might have happened) had not his manservant
caught him and held him back.

"Keep back!" cried out our hero, still mighty hoarse. "Keep back! If you
strike me with that stick I'll fling you overboard!"

By this time, what with the sound of loud voices and the stamping of
feet, some of the crew and others aboard were hurrying up, and the next
moment Captain Manly and the first mate, Mr. Freesden, came running out
of the cabin. But Barnaby, who was by this fairly set agoing, could not
now stop himself.

"And who are you, anyhow," he cried out, "to threaten to strike me and
to insult me, who am as good as you? You dare not strike me! You may
shoot a man from behind, as you shot poor Captain Brand on the Rio Cobra
River, but you won't dare strike me face to face. I know who you are and
what you are!"

By this time Sir John Malyoe had ceased to endeavor to strike him, but
stood stock-still, his great bulging eyes staring as though they would
pop out of his head.

"What's all this?" cries Captain Manly, bustling up to them with Mr.
Freesden. "What does all this mean?"

But, as I have said, our hero was too far gone now to contain himself
until all that he had to say was out.

"The damned villain insulted me and insulted the young lady," he cried
out, panting in the extremity of his passion, "and then he threatened
to strike me with his cane. But I know who he is and what he is. I know
what he's got in his cabin in those two trunks, and where he found
it, and whom it belongs to. He found it on the shores of the Rio Cobra
River, and I have only to open my mouth and tell what I know about it."

At this Captain Manly clapped his hand upon our hero's shoulder and fell
to shaking him so that he could scarcely stand, calling out to him the
while to be silent. "What do you mean?" he cried. "An officer of this
ship to quarrel with a passenger of mine! Go straight to your cabin, and
stay there till I give you leave to come out again."

At this Master Barnaby came somewhat back to himself and into his
wits again with a jump. "But he threatened to strike me with his cane,
Captain," he cried out, "and that I won't stand from any man!"

"No matter what he did," said Captain Manly, very sternly. "Go to your
cabin, as I bid you, and stay there till I tell you to come out again,
and when we get to New York I'll take pains to tell your stepfather of
how you have behaved. I'll have no such rioting as this aboard my ship."

Barnaby True looked around him, but the young lady was gone. Nor, in the
blindness of his frenzy, had he seen when she had gone nor whither she
went. As for Sir John Malyoe, he stood in the light of a lantern, his
face gone as white as ashes, and I do believe if a look could kill, the
dreadful malevolent stare he fixed upon Barnaby True would have slain
him where he stood.

After Captain Manly had so shaken some wits into poor Barnaby he,
unhappy wretch, went to his cabin, as he was bidden to do, and there,
shutting the door upon himself, and flinging himself down, all dressed
as he was, upon his berth, yielded himself over to the profoundest
passion of humiliation and despair.

There he lay for I know not how long, staring into the darkness, until
by and by, in spite of his suffering and his despair, he dozed off into
a loose sleep, that was more like waking than sleep, being possessed
continually by the most vivid and distasteful dreams, from which he
would awaken only to doze off and to dream again.

It was from the midst of one of these extravagant dreams that he was
suddenly aroused by the noise of a pistol shot, and then the noise of
another and another, and then a great bump and a grinding jar, and then
the sound of many footsteps running across the deck and down into the
great cabin. Then came a tremendous uproar of voices in the great cabin,
the struggling as of men's bodies being tossed about, striking violently
against the partitions and bulkheads. At the same instant arose a
screaming of women's voices, and one voice, and that Sir John Malyoe's,
crying out as in the greatest extremity: "You villains! You damned
villains!" and with the sudden detonation of a pistol fired into the
close space of the great cabin.

Barnaby was out in the middle of his cabin in a moment, and taking only
time enough to snatch down one of the pistols that hung at the head of
his berth, flung out into the great cabin, to find it as black as night,
the lantern slung there having been either blown out or dashed out into
darkness. The prodigiously dark space was full of uproar, the hubbub
and confusion pierced through and through by that keen sound of women's
voices screaming, one in the cabin and the other in the stateroom
beyond. Almost immediately Barnaby pitched headlong over two or three
struggling men scuffling together upon the deck, falling with a great
clatter and the loss of his pistol, which, however, he regained almost
immediately.

What all the uproar meant he could not tell, but he presently heard
Captain Manly's voice from somewhere suddenly calling out, "You bloody
pirate, would you choke me to death?" wherewith some notion of what had
happened came to him like a dash, and that they had been attacked in the
night by pirates.

Looking toward the companionway, he saw, outlined against the darkness
of the night without, the blacker form of a man's figure, standing still
and motionless as a statue in the midst of all this hubbub, and so by
some instinct he knew in a moment that that must be the master maker
of all this devil's brew. Therewith, still kneeling upon the deck, he
covered the bosom of that shadowy figure pointblank, as he thought, with
his pistol, and instantly pulled the trigger.

In the flash of red light, and in the instant stunning report of the
pistol shot, Barnaby saw, as stamped upon the blackness, a broad, flat
face with fishy eyes, a lean, bony forehead with what appeared to be
a great blotch of blood upon the side, a cocked hat trimmed with gold
lace, a red scarf across the breast, and the gleam of brass buttons.
Then the darkness, very thick and black, swallowed everything again.

But in the instant Sir John Malyoe called out, in a great loud voice:
"My God! 'Tis William Brand!" Therewith came the sound of some one
falling heavily down.

The next moment, Barnaby's sight coming back to him again in the
darkness, he beheld that dark and motionless figure still standing
exactly where it had stood before, and so knew either that he had missed
it or else that it was of so supernatural a sort that a leaden bullet
might do it no harm. Though if it was indeed an apparition that Barnaby
beheld in that moment, there is this to say, that he saw it as plain as
ever he saw a living man in all of his life.

This was the last our hero knew, for the next moment somebody--whether
by accident or design he never knew--struck him such a terrible violent
blow upon the side of the head that he saw forty thousand stars flash
before his eyeballs, and then, with a great humming in his head, swooned
dead away.

When Barnaby True came back to his senses again it was to find himself
being cared for with great skill and nicety, his head bathed with cold
water, and a bandage being bound about it as carefully as though a
chirurgeon was attending to him.

He could not immediately recall what had happened to him, nor until he
had opened his eyes to find himself in a strange cabin, extremely well
fitted and painted with white and gold, the light of a lantern shining
in his eyes, together with the gray of the early daylight through the
dead-eye. Two men were bending over him--one, a negro in a striped
shirt, with a yellow handkerchief around his head and silver earrings in
his ears; the other, a white man, clad in a strange outlandish dress of
a foreign make, and with great mustachios hanging down, and with gold
earrings in his ears.

It was the latter who was attending to Barnaby's hurt with such extreme
care and gentleness.

All this Barnaby saw with his first clear consciousness after his swoon.
Then remembering what had befallen him, and his head beating as though
it would split asunder, he shut his eyes again, contriving with great
effort to keep himself from groaning aloud, and wondering as to what
sort of pirates these could be who would first knock a man in the head
so terrible a blow as that which he had suffered, and then take
such care to fetch him back to life again, and to make him easy and
comfortable.

Nor did he open his eyes again, but lay there gathering his wits
together and wondering thus until the bandage was properly tied about
his head and sewed together. Then once more he opened his eyes, and
looked up to ask where he was.

Either they who were attending to him did not choose to reply, or else
they could not speak English, for they made no answer, excepting by
signs; for the white man, seeing that he was now able to speak, and
so was come back into his senses again, nodded his head three or four
times, and smiled with a grin of his white teeth, and then pointed, as
though toward a saloon beyond. At the same time the negro held up our
hero's coat and beckoned for him to put it on, so that Barnaby, seeing
that it was required of him to meet some one without, arose, though with
a good deal of effort, and permitted the negro to help him on with his
coat, still feeling mightily dizzy and uncertain upon his legs, his head
beating fit to split, and the vessel rolling and pitching at a great
rate, as though upon a heavy ground swell.

So, still sick and dizzy, he went out into what was indeed a fine saloon
beyond, painted in white and gilt like the cabin he had just quitted,
and fitted in the nicest fashion, a mahogany table, polished very
bright, extending the length of the room, and a quantity of bottles,
together with glasses of clear crystal, arranged in a hanging rack
above.

Here at the table a man was sitting with his back to our hero, clad in
a rough pea-jacket, and with a red handkerchief tied around his throat,
his feet stretched out before him, and he smoking a pipe of tobacco with
all the ease and comfort in the world.

As Barnaby came in he turned round, and, to the profound astonishment
of our hero, presented toward him in the light of the lantern, the dawn
shining pretty strong through the skylight, the face of that very man
who had conducted the mysterious expedition that night across Kingston
Harbor to the Rio Cobra River.

This man looked steadily at Barnaby True for a moment or two, and
then burst out laughing; and, indeed, Barnaby, standing there with the
bandage about his head, must have looked a very droll picture of that
astonishment he felt so profoundly at finding who was this pirate into
whose hands he had fallen.

"Well," says the other, "and so you be up at last, and no great harm
done, I'll be bound. And how does your head feel by now, my young
master?"

To this Barnaby made no reply, but, what with wonder and the dizziness
of his head, seated himself at the table over against the speaker,
who pushed a bottle of rum toward him, together with a glass from the
swinging shelf above.

He watched Barnaby fill his glass, and so soon as he had done so began
immediately by saying: "I do suppose you think you were treated
mightily ill to be so handled last night. Well, so you were treated ill
enough--though who hit you that crack upon the head I know no more than
a child unborn. Well, I am sorry for the way you were handled, but there
is this much to say, and of that you may believe me, that nothing was
meant to you but kindness, and before you are through with us all you
will believe that well enough."

Here he helped himself to a taste of grog, and sucking in his lips,
went on again with what he had to say. "Do you remember," said he, "that
expedition of ours in Kingston Harbor, and how we were all of us balked
that night?"

"Why, yes," said Barnaby True, "nor am I likely to forget it."

"And do you remember what I said to that villain, Jack Malyoe, that
night as his boat went by us?"

"As to that," said Barnaby True, "I do not know that I can say yes or
no, but if you will tell me, I will maybe answer you in kind."

"Why, I mean this," said the other. "I said that the villain had got the
better of us once again, but that next time it would be our turn, even
if William Brand himself had to come back from hell to put the business
through."

"I remember something of the sort," said Barnaby, "now that you speak of
it, but still I am all in the dark as to what you are driving at."

The other looked at him very cunningly for a little while, his head on
one side, and his eyes half shut. Then, as if satisfied, he suddenly
burst out laughing. "Look hither," said he, "and I'll show you
something," and therewith, moving to one side, disclosed a couple of
traveling cases or small trunks with brass studs, so exactly like those
that Sir John Malyoe had fetched aboard at Jamaica that Barnaby, putting
this and that together, knew that they must be the same.

Our hero had a strong enough suspicion as to what those two cases
contained, and his suspicions had become a certainty when he saw Sir
John Malyoe struck all white at being threatened about them, and his
face lowering so malevolently as to look murder had he dared do it. But,
Lord! what were suspicions or even certainty to what Barnaby True's two
eyes beheld when that man lifted the lids of the two cases--the locks
thereof having already been forced--and, flinging back first one lid and
then the other, displayed to Barnaby's astonished sight a great treasure
of gold and silver! Most of it tied up in leathern bags, to be sure,
but many of the coins, big and little, yellow and white, lying loose and
scattered about like so many beans, brimming the cases to the very top.

Barnaby sat dumb-struck at what he beheld; as to whether he breathed
or no, I cannot tell; but this I know, that he sat staring at that
marvelous treasure like a man in a trance, until, after a few seconds of
this golden display, the other banged down the lids again and burst out
laughing, whereupon he came back to himself with a jump.

"Well, and what do you think of that?" said the other. "Is it not enough
for a man to turn pirate for? But," he continued, "it is not for the
sake of showing you this that I have been waiting for you here so long
a while, but to tell you that you are not the only passenger aboard, but
that there is another, whom I am to confide to your care and attention,
according to orders I have received; so, if you are ready, Master
Barnaby, I'll fetch her in directly." He waited for a moment, as though
for Barnaby to speak, but our hero not replying, he arose and, putting
away the bottle of rum and the glasses, crossed the saloon to a door
like that from which Barnaby had come a little while before. This he
opened, and after a moment's delay and a few words spoken to some one
within, ushered thence a young lady, who came out very slowly into the
saloon where Barnaby still sat at the table.

It was Miss Marjorie Malyoe, very white, and looking as though stunned
or bewildered by all that had befallen her.

Barnaby True could never tell whether the amazing strange voyage that
followed was of long or of short duration; whether it occupied three
days or ten days. For conceive, if you choose, two people of flesh
and blood moving and living continually in all the circumstances and
surroundings as of a nightmare dream, yet they two so happy together
that all the universe beside was of no moment to them! How was anyone
to tell whether in such circumstances any time appeared to be long or
short? Does a dream appear to be long or to be short?

The vessel in which they sailed was a brigantine of good size and build,
but manned by a considerable crew, the most strange and outlandish in
their appearance that Barnaby had ever beheld--some white, some yellow,
some black, and all tricked out with gay colors, and gold earrings
in their ears, and some with great long mustachios, and others with
handkerchiefs tied around their heads, and all talking a language
together of which Barnaby True could understand not a single word, but
which might have been Portuguese from one or two phrases he caught. Nor
did this strange, mysterious crew, of God knows what sort of men, seem
to pay any attention whatever to Barnaby or to the young lady. They
might now and then have looked at him and her out of the corners of
their yellow eyes, but that was all; otherwise they were indeed like
the creatures of a nightmare dream. Only he who was the captain of
this outlandish crew would maybe speak to Barnaby a few words as to the
weather or what not when he would come down into the saloon to mix a
glass of grog or to light a pipe of tobacco, and then to go on deck
again about his business. Otherwise our hero and the young lady were
left to themselves, to do as they pleased, with no one to interfere with
them.

As for her, she at no time showed any great sign of terror or of fear,
only for a little while was singularly numb and quiet, as though dazed
with what had happened to her. Indeed, methinks that wild beast, her
grandfather, had so crushed her spirit by his tyranny and his violence
that nothing that happened to her might seem sharp and keen, as it does
to others of an ordinary sort.

But this was only at first, for afterward her face began to grow
singularly clear, as with a white light, and she would sit quite still,
permitting Barnaby to gaze, I know not how long, into her eyes, her face
so transfigured and her lips smiling, and they, as it were, neither
of them breathing, but hearing, as in another far-distant place, the
outlandish jargon of the crew talking together in the warm, bright
sunlight, or the sound of creaking block and tackle as they hauled upon
the sheets.

Is it, then, any wonder that Barnaby True could never remember whether
such a voyage as this was long or short?

It was as though they might have sailed so upon that wonderful voyage
forever. You may guess how amazed was Barnaby True when, coming upon
deck one morning, he found the brigantine riding upon an even keel,
at anchor off Staten Island, a small village on the shore, and the
well-known roofs and chimneys of New York town in plain sight across the
water.

'Twas the last place in the world he had expected to see.

And, indeed, it did seem strange to lie there alongside Staten Island
all that day, with New York town so nigh at hand and yet so impossible
to reach. For whether he desired to escape or no, Barnaby True could not
but observe that both he and the young lady were so closely watched that
they might as well have been prisoners, tied hand and foot and laid in
the hold, so far as any hope of getting away was concerned.

All that day there was a deal of mysterious coming and going aboard
the brigantine, and in the afternoon a sailboat went up to the town,
carrying the captain, and a great load covered over with a tarpaulin in
the stern. What was so taken up to the town Barnaby did not then guess,
but the boat did not return again till about sundown.

For the sun was just dropping below the water when the captain came
aboard once more and, finding Barnaby on deck, bade him come down into
the saloon, where they found the young lady sitting, the broad light of
the evening shining in through the skylight, and making it all pretty
bright within.

The captain commanded Barnaby to be seated, for he had something of
moment to say to him; whereupon, as soon as Barnaby had taken his
place alongside the young lady, he began very seriously, with a preface
somewhat thus: "Though you may think me the captain of this brigantine,
young gentleman, I am not really so, but am under orders, and so have
only carried out those orders of a superior in all these things that I
have done." Having so begun, he went on to say that there was one thing
yet remaining for him to do, and that the greatest thing of all. He said
that Barnaby and the young lady had not been fetched away from the Belle
Helen as they were by any mere chance of accident, but that 'twas all a
plan laid by a head wiser than his, and carried out by one whom he must
obey in all things. He said that he hoped that both Barnaby and the
young lady would perform willingly what they would be now called upon
to do, but that whether they did it willingly or no, they must, for that
those were the orders of one who was not to be disobeyed.

You may guess how our hero held his breath at all this; but whatever
might have been his expectations, the very wildest of them all did not
reach to that which was demanded of him. "My orders are these," said the
other, continuing: "I am to take you and the young lady ashore, and to
see that you are married before I quit you; and to that end a very
good, decent, honest minister who lives ashore yonder in the village was
chosen and hath been spoken to and is now, no doubt, waiting for you to
come. Such are my orders, and this is the last thing I am set to do; so
now I will leave you alone together for five minutes to talk it over,
but be quick about it, for whether willing or not, this thing must be
done."

Thereupon he went away, as he had promised, leaving those two alone
together, Barnaby like one turned into stone, and the young lady, her
face turned away, flaming as red as fire in the fading light.

Nor can I tell what Barnaby said to her, nor what words he used, but
only, all in a tumult, with neither beginning nor end he told her that
God knew he loved her, and that with all his heart and soul, and that
there was nothing in all the world for him but her; but, nevertheless,
if she would not have it as had been ordered, and if she were not
willing to marry him as she was bidden to do, he would rather die
than lend himself to forcing her to do such a thing against her will.
Nevertheless, he told her she must speak up and tell him yes or no, and
that God knew he would give all the world if she would say "yes."

All this and more he said in such a tumult of words that there was no
order in their speaking, and she sitting there, her bosom rising and
falling as though her breath stifled her. Nor may I tell what she
replied to him, only this, that she said she would marry him. At this he
took her into his arms and set his lips to hers, his heart all melting
away in his bosom.

So presently came the captain back into the saloon again, to find
Barnaby sitting there holding her hand, she with her face turned away,
and his heart beating like a trip hammer, and so saw that all was
settled as he would have it. Wherewith he wished them both joy, and gave
Barnaby his hand.

The yawlboat belonging to the brigantine was ready and waiting alongside
when they came upon deck, and immediately they descended to it and took
their seats. So they landed, and in a little while were walking up the
village street in the darkness, she clinging to his arm as though she
would swoon, and the captain of the brigantine and two other men from
aboard following after them. And so to the minister's house, finding him
waiting for them, smoking his pipe in the warm evening, and walking up
and down in front of his own door. He immediately conducted them into
the house, where, his wife having fetched a candle, and two others
of the village folk being present, the good man having asked several
questions as to their names and their age and where they were from,
the ceremony was performed, and the certificate duly signed by those
present--excepting the men who had come ashore from the brigantine, and
who refused to set their hands to any paper.

The same sailboat that had taken the captain up to the town in the
afternoon was waiting for them at the landing place, whence, the
captain, having wished them Godspeed, and having shaken Barnaby very
heartily by the hand, they pushed off, and, coming about, ran away with
the slant of the wind, dropping the shore and those strange beings alike
behind them into the night.

As they sped away through the darkness they could hear the creaking of
the sails being hoisted aboard of the brigantine, and so knew that she
was about to put to sea once more. Nor did Barnaby True ever set eyes
upon those beings again, nor did anyone else that I ever heard tell of.

It was nigh midnight when they made Mr. Hartright's wharf at the foot of
Wall Street, and so the streets were all dark and silent and deserted as
they walked up to Barnaby's home.

You may conceive of the wonder and amazement of Barnaby's dear
stepfather when, clad in a dressing gown and carrying a lighted candle
in his hand, he unlocked and unbarred the door, and so saw who it
was had aroused him at such an hour of the night, and the young and
beautiful lady whom Barnaby had fetched with him.

The first thought of the good man was that the Belle Helen had come into
port; nor did Barnaby undeceive him as he led the way into the house,
but waited until they were all safe and sound in privily together before
he should unfold his strange and wonderful story.

"This was left for you by two foreign sailors this afternoon, Barnaby,"
the good old man said, as he led the way through the hall, holding up
the candle at the same time, so that Barnaby might see an object that
stood against the wainscoting by the door of the dining room.

Nor could Barnaby refrain from crying out with amazement when he saw
that it was one of the two chests of treasure that Sir John Malyoe had
fetched from Jamaica, and which the pirates had taken from the Belle
Helen. As for Mr. Hartright, he guessed no more what was in it than the
man in the moon.

The next day but one brought the Belle Helen herself into port, with the
terrible news not only of having been attacked at night by pirates, but
also that Sir John Malyoe was dead. For whether it was the sudden shock
of the sight of his old captain's face--whom he himself had murdered
and thought dead and buried--flashing so out against the darkness, or
whether it was the strain of passion that overset his brains, certain
it is that when the pirates left the Belle Helen, carrying with them the
young lady and Barnaby and the traveling trunks, those left aboard
the Belle Helen found Sir John Malyoe lying in a fit upon the floor,
frothing at the mouth and black in the face, as though he had been
choked, and so took him away to his berth, where, the next morning about
ten o'clock, he died, without once having opened his eyes or spoken a
single word.

As for the villain manservant, no one ever saw him afterward; though
whether he jumped overboard, or whether the pirates who so attacked the
ship had carried him away bodily, who shall say?

Mr. Hartright, after he had heard Barnaby's story, had been very
uncertain as to the ownership of the chest of treasure that had been
left by those men for Barnaby, but the news of the death of Sir John
Malyoe made the matter very easy for him to decide. For surely if that
treasure did not belong to Barnaby, there could be no doubt that it must
belong to his wife, she being Sir John Malyoe's legal heir. And so it
was that that great fortune (in actual computation amounting to upward
of sixty-three thousand pounds) came to Barnaby True, the grandson of
that famous pirate, William Brand; the English estate in Devonshire, in
default of male issue of Sir John Malyoe, descended to Captain Malyoe,
whom the young lady was to have married.

As for the other case of treasure, it was never heard of again, nor
could Barnaby ever guess whether it was divided as booty among the
pirates, or whether they had carried it away with them to some strange
and foreign land, there to share it among themselves.

And so the ending of the story, with only this to observe, that whether
that strange appearance of Captain Brand's face by the light of the
pistol was a ghostly and spiritual appearance, or whether he was present
in flesh and blood, there is only to say that he was never heard of
again; nor had he ever been heard of till that time since the day he was
so shot from behind by Capt. John Malyoe on the banks of the Rio Cobra
River in the year 1733.



Chapter III. WITH THE BUCCANEERS

Being an Account of Certain Adventures that Befell Henry Mostyn Under
Capt. H. Morgan in the Year 1665-66


I.

ALTHOUGH this narration has more particularly to do with the taking of
the Spanish vice admiral in the harbor of Porto Bello, and of the rescue
therefrom of Le Sieur Simon, his wife and daughter (the adventure
of which was successfully achieved by Captain Morgan, the famous
buccaneer), we shall, nevertheless, premise something of the earlier
history of Master Harry Mostyn, whom you may, if you please, consider as
the hero of the several circumstances recounted in these pages.

In the year 1664 our hero's father embarked from Portsmouth, in England,
for the Barbados, where he owned a considerable sugar plantation.
Thither to those parts of America he transported with himself his whole
family, of whom our Master Harry was the fifth of eight children--a
great lusty fellow as little fitted for the Church (for which he was
designed) as could be. At the time of this story, though not above
sixteen years old, Master Harry Mostyn was as big and well-grown as many
a man of twenty, and of such a reckless and dare-devil spirit that no
adventure was too dangerous or too mischievous for him to embark upon.

At this time there was a deal of talk in those parts of the Americas
concerning Captain Morgan, and the prodigious successes he was having
pirating against the Spaniards.

This man had once been an indentured servant with Mr. Rolls, a sugar
factor at the Barbados. Having served out his time, and being of lawless
disposition, possessing also a prodigious appetite for adventure, he
joined with others of his kidney, and, purchasing a caravel of three
guns, embarked fairly upon that career of piracy the most successful
that ever was heard of in the world.

Master Harry had known this man very well while he was still with Mr.
Rolls, serving as a clerk at that gentleman's sugar wharf, a tall,
broad-shouldered, strapping fellow, with red cheeks, and thick red lips,
and rolling blue eyes, and hair as red as any chestnut. Many knew him
for a bold, gruff-spoken man, but no one at that time suspected that he
had it in him to become so famous and renowned as he afterward grew to
be.

The fame of his exploits had been the talk of those parts for above a
twelvemonth, when, in the latter part of the year 1665, Captain Morgan,
having made a very successful expedition against the Spaniards into the
Gulf of Campeche--where he took several important purchases from
the plate fleet--came to the Barbados, there to fit out another such
venture, and to enlist recruits.

He and certain other adventurers had purchased a vessel of some five
hundred tons, which they proposed to convert into a pirate by cutting
portholes for cannon, and running three or four carronades across
her main deck. The name of this ship, be it mentioned, was the Good
Samaritan, as ill-fitting a name as could be for such a craft, which,
instead of being designed for the healing of wounds, was intended to
inflict such devastation as those wicked men proposed.

Here was a piece of mischief exactly fitted to our hero's tastes;
wherefore, having made up a bundle of clothes, and with not above a
shilling in his pocket, he made an excursion into the town to seek
for Captain Morgan. There he found the great pirate established at an
ordinary, with a little court of ragamuffins and swashbucklers gathered
about him, all talking very loud, and drinking healths in raw rum as
though it were sugared water.

And what a fine figure our buccaneer had grown, to be sure! How
different from the poor, humble clerk upon the sugar wharf! What a deal
of gold braid! What a fine, silver-hilled Spanish sword! What a gay
velvet sling, hung with three silver-mounted pistols! If Master Harry's
mind had not been made up before, to be sure such a spectacle of glory
would have determined it.

This figure of war our hero asked to step aside with him, and when they
had come into a corner, proposed to the other what he intended, and that
he had a mind to enlist as a gentleman adventurer upon this expedition.
Upon this our rogue of a buccaneer captain burst out a-laughing, and
fetching Master Harry a great thump upon the back, swore roundly that he
would make a man of him, and that it was a pity to make a parson out of
so good a piece of stuff.

Nor was Captain Morgan less good than his word, for when the Good
Samaritan set sail with a favoring wind for the island of Jamaica,
Master Harry found himself established as one of the adventurers aboard.


II

Could you but have seen the town of Port Royal as it appeared in the
year 1665 you would have beheld a sight very well worth while looking
upon. There were no fine houses at that time, and no great counting
houses built of brick, such as you may find nowadays, but a crowd of
board and wattled huts huddled along the streets, and all so gay with
flags and bits of color that Vanity Fair itself could not have been
gayer. To this place came all the pirates and buccaneers that infested
those parts, and men shouted and swore and gambled, and poured out money
like water, and then maybe wound up their merrymaking by dying of fever.
For the sky in these torrid latitudes is all full of clouds overhead,
and as hot as any blanket, and when the sun shone forth it streamed down
upon the smoking sands so that the houses were ovens and the streets
were furnaces; so it was little wonder that men died like rats in a
hole. But little they appeared to care for that; so that everywhere you
might behold a multitude of painted women and Jews and merchants and
pirates, gaudy with red scarfs and gold braid and all sorts of odds and
ends of foolish finery, all fighting and gambling and bartering for that
ill-gotten treasure of the be-robbed Spaniard.

Here, arriving, Captain Morgan found a hearty welcome, and a message
from the governor awaiting him, the message bidding him attend His
Excellency upon the earliest occasion that offered. Whereupon, taking
our hero (of whom he had grown prodigiously fond) along with him, our
pirate went, without any loss of time, to visit Sir Thomas Modiford, who
was then the royal governor of all this devil's brew of wickedness.

They found His Excellency seated in a great easy-chair, under the shadow
of a slatted veranda, the floor whereof was paved with brick. He
was clad, for the sake of coolness, only in his shirt, breeches, and
stockings, and he wore slippers on his feet. He was smoking a great
cigarro of tobacco, and a goblet of lime juice and water and rum stood
at his elbow on a table. Here, out of the glare of the heat, it was all
very cool and pleasant, with a sea breeze blowing violently in through
the slats, setting them a-rattling now and then, and stirring Sir
Thomas's long hair, which he had pushed back for the sake of coolness.

The purport of this interview, I may tell you, concerned the rescue of
one Le Sieur Simon, who, together with his wife and daughter, was held
captive by the Spaniards.

This gentleman adventurer (Le Sieur Simon) had, a few years before, been
set up by the buccaneers as governor of the island of Santa Catharina.
This place, though well fortified by the Spaniards, the buccaneers
had seized upon, establishing themselves thereon, and so infesting the
commerce of those seas that no Spanish fleet was safe from them. At last
the Spaniards, no longer able to endure these assaults against their
commerce, sent a great force against the freebooters to drive them out
of their island stronghold. This they did, retaking Santa Catharina,
together with its governor, his wife, and daughter, as well as the whole
garrison of buccaneers.

This garrison was sent by their conquerors, some to the galleys, some
to the mines, some to no man knows where. The governor himself--Le Sieur
Simon--was to be sent to Spain, there to stand his trial for piracy.

The news of all this, I may tell you, had only just been received in
Jamaica, having been brought thither by a Spanish captain, one Don
Roderiguez Sylvia, who was, besides, the bearer of dispatches to the
Spanish authorities relating the whole affair.

Such, in fine, was the purport of this interview, and as our hero
and his captain walked back together from the governor's house to the
ordinary where they had taken up their inn, the buccaneer assured his
companion that he purposed to obtain those dispatches from the Spanish
captain that very afternoon, even if he had to use force to seize them.

All this, you are to understand, was undertaken only because of the
friendship that the governor and Captain Morgan entertained for Le Sieur
Simon. And, indeed, it was wonderful how honest and how faithful were
these wicked men in their dealings with one another. For you must know
that Governor Modiford and Le Sieur Simon and the buccaneers were all of
one kidney--all taking a share in the piracies of those times, and all
holding by one another as though they were the honestest men in the
world. Hence it was they were all so determined to rescue Le Sieur Simon
from the Spaniards.


III

Having reached his ordinary after his interview with the governor,
Captain Morgan found there a number of his companions, such as usually
gathered at that place to be in attendance upon him--some, those
belonging to the Good Samaritan; others, those who hoped to obtain
benefits from him; others, those ragamuffins who gathered around him
because he was famous, and because it pleased them to be of his court
and to be called his followers. For nearly always your successful pirate
had such a little court surrounding him.

Finding a dozen or more of these rascals gathered there, Captain Morgan
informed them of his present purpose that he was going to find the
Spanish captain to demand his papers of him, and calling upon them to
accompany him.

With this following at his heels, our buccaneer started off down the
street, his lieutenant, a Cornishman named Bartholomew Davis, upon one
hand and our hero upon the other. So they paraded the streets for the
best part of an hour before they found the Spanish captain. For whether
he had got wind that Captain Morgan was searching for him, or whether,
finding himself in a place so full of his enemies, he had buried himself
in some place of hiding, it is certain that the buccaneers had traversed
pretty nearly the whole town before they discovered that he was lying
at a certain auberge kept by a Portuguese Jew. Thither they went, and
thither Captain Morgan entered with the utmost coolness and composure of
demeanor, his followers crowding noisily in at his heels.

The space within was very dark, being lighted only by the doorway and by
two large slatted windows or openings in the front.

In this dark, hot place not over-roomy at the best--were gathered twelve
or fifteen villainous-appearing men, sitting at tables and drinking
together, waited upon by the Jew and his wife. Our hero had no trouble
in discovering which of this lot of men was Captain Sylvia, for not
only did Captain Morgan direct his glance full of war upon him, but the
Spaniard was clad with more particularity and with more show of finery
than any of the others who were there.

Him Captain Morgan approached and demanded his papers, whereunto the
other replied with such a jabber of Spanish and English that no man
could have understood what he said. To this Captain Morgan in turn
replied that he must have those papers, no matter what it might cost him
to obtain them, and thereupon drew a pistol from his sling and presented
it at the other's head.

At this threatening action the innkeeper's wife fell a-screaming, and
the Jew, as in a frenzy, besought them not to tear the house down about
his ears.

Our hero could hardly tell what followed, only that all of a sudden
there was a prodigious uproar of combat. Knives flashed everywhere,
and then a pistol was fired so close to his head that he stood like one
stunned, hearing some one crying out in a loud voice, but not knowing
whether it was a friend or a foe who had been shot. Then another pistol
shot so deafened what was left of Master Harry's hearing that his ears
rang for above an hour afterward. By this time the whole place was
full of gunpowder smoke, and there was the sound of blows and oaths and
outcrying and the clashing of knives.

As Master Harry, who had no great stomach for such a combat, and no very
particular interest in the quarrel, was making for the door, a little
Portuguese, as withered and as nimble as an ape, came ducking under the
table and plunged at his stomach with a great long knife, which, had
it effected its object, would surely have ended his adventures then and
there. Finding himself in such danger, Master Harry snatched up a heavy
chair, and, flinging it at his enemy, who was preparing for another
attack, he fairly ran for it out of the door, expecting every instant to
feel the thrust of the blade betwixt his ribs.

A considerable crowd had gathered outside, and others, hearing the
uproar, were coming running to join them. With these our hero stood,
trembling like a leaf, and with cold chills running up and down his back
like water at the narrow escape from the danger that had threatened him.

Nor shall you think him a coward, for you must remember he was hardly
sixteen years old at the time, and that this was the first affair of the
sort he had encountered. Afterward, as you shall learn, he showed that
he could exhibit courage enough at a pinch.

While he stood there, endeavoring to recover his composure, the while
the tumult continued within, suddenly two men came running almost
together out of the door, a crowd of the combatants at their heels. The
first of these men was Captain Sylvia; the other, who was pursuing him,
was Captain Morgan.

As the crowd about the door parted before the sudden appearing of these,
the Spanish captain, perceiving, as he supposed, a way of escape opened
to him, darted across the street with incredible swiftness toward an
alleyway upon the other side. Upon this, seeing his prey like to get
away from him, Captain Morgan snatched a pistol out of his sling, and
resting it for an instant across his arm, fired at the flying Spaniard,
and that with so true an aim that, though the street was now full of
people, the other went tumbling over and over all of a heap in the
kennel, where he lay, after a twitch or two, as still as a log.

At the sound of the shot and the fall of the man the crowd scattered
upon all sides, yelling and screaming, and the street being thus pretty
clear, Captain Morgan ran across the way to where his victim lay, his
smoking pistol still in his hand, and our hero following close at his
heels.

Our poor Harry had never before beheld a man killed thus in an instant
who a moment before had been so full of life and activity, for when
Captain Morgan turned the body over upon its back he could perceive at a
glance, little as he knew of such matters, that the man was stone-dead.
And, indeed, it was a dreadful sight for him who was hardly more than
a child. He stood rooted for he knew not how long, staring down at the
dead face with twitching fingers and shuddering limbs. Meantime a great
crowd was gathering about them again. As for Captain Morgan, he went
about his work with the utmost coolness and deliberation imaginable,
unbuttoning the waistcoat and the shirt of the man he had murdered with
fingers that neither twitched nor shook. There were a gold cross and
a bunch of silver medals hung by a whipcord about the neck of the dead
man. This Captain Morgan broke away with a snap, reaching the jingling
baubles to Harry, who took them in his nerveless hand and fingers that
he could hardly close upon what they held.

The papers Captain Morgan found in a wallet in an inner breast pocket of
the Spaniard's waistcoat. These he examined one by one, and finding them
to his satisfaction, tied them up again, and slipped the wallet and its
contents into his own pocket.

Then for the first time he appeared to observe Master Harry, who,
indeed, must have been standing, the perfect picture of horror and
dismay. Whereupon, bursting out a-laughing, and slipping the pistol he
had used back into its sling again, he fetched poor Harry a great slap
upon the back, bidding him be a man, for that he would see many such
sights as this.

But indeed, it was no laughing matter for poor Master Harry, for it was
many a day before his imagination could rid itself of the image of the
dead Spaniard's face; and as he walked away down the street with his
companions, leaving the crowd behind them, and the dead body where it
lay for its friends to look after, his ears humming and ringing from
the deafening noise of the pistol shots fired in the close room, and the
sweat trickling down his face in drops, he knew not whether all that
had passed had been real, or whether it was a dream from which he might
presently awaken.


IV

The papers Captain Morgan had thus seized upon as the fruit of the
murder he had committed must have been as perfectly satisfactory to him
as could be, for having paid a second visit that evening to Governor
Modiford, the pirate lifted anchor the next morning and made sail toward
the Gulf of Darien. There, after cruising about in those waters for
about a fortnight without falling in with a vessel of any sort, at the
end of that time they overhauled a caravel bound from Porto Bello to
Cartagena, which vessel they took, and finding her loaded with nothing
better than raw hides, scuttled and sank her, being then about twenty
leagues from the main of Cartagena. From the captain of this vessel
they learned that the plate fleet was then lying in the harbor of Porto
Bello, not yet having set sail thence, but waiting for the change of the
winds before embarking for Spain. Besides this, which was a good deal
more to their purpose, the Spaniards told the pirates that the Sieur
Simon, his wife, and daughter were confined aboard the vice admiral of
that fleet, and that the name of the vice admiral was the Santa Maria y
Valladolid.

So soon as Captain Morgan had obtained the information he desired he
directed his course straight for the Bay of Santo Blaso, where he might
lie safely within the cape of that name without any danger of discovery
(that part of the mainland being entirely uninhabited) and yet be within
twenty or twenty-five leagues of Porto Bello.

Having come safely to this anchorage, he at once declared his intentions
to his companions, which were as follows:

That it was entirely impossible for them to hope to sail their vessel
into the harbor of Porto Bello, and to attack the Spanish vice admiral
where he lay in the midst of the armed flota; wherefore, if anything was
to be accomplished, it must be undertaken by some subtle design rather
than by open-handed boldness. Having so prefaced what he had to say, he
now declared that it was his purpose to take one of the ship's boats and
to go in that to Porto Bello, trusting for some opportunity to occur to
aid him either in the accomplishment of his aims or in the gaining of
some further information. Having thus delivered himself, he invited any
who dared to do so to volunteer for the expedition, telling them plainly
that he would constrain no man to go against his will, for that at best
it was a desperate enterprise, possessing only the recommendation that
in its achievement the few who undertook it would gain great renown, and
perhaps a very considerable booty.

And such was the incredible influence of this bold man over his
companions, and such was their confidence in his skill and cunning, that
not above a dozen of all those aboard hung back from the undertaking,
but nearly every man desired to be taken.

Of these volunteers Captain Morgan chose twenty--among others our Master
Harry--and having arranged with his lieutenant that if nothing was heard
from the expedition at the end of three days he should sail for Jamaica
to await news, he embarked upon that enterprise, which, though never
heretofore published, was perhaps the boldest and the most desperate of
all those that have since made his name so famous. For what could be a
more unparalleled undertaking than for a little open boat, containing
but twenty men, to enter the harbor of the third strongest fortress of
the Spanish mainland with the intention of cutting out the Spanish vice
admiral from the midst of a whole fleet of powerfully armed vessels, and
how many men in all the world do you suppose would venture such a thing?

But there is this to be said of that great buccaneer: that if he
undertook enterprises so desperate as this, he yet laid his plans
so well that they never went altogether amiss. Moreover, the very
desperation of his successes was of such a nature that no man could
suspect that he would dare to undertake such things, and accordingly his
enemies were never prepared to guard against his attacks. Aye, had he
but worn the king's colors and served under the rules of honest war, he
might have become as great and as renowned as Admiral Blake himself.

But all that is neither here nor there; what I have to tell you now is
that Captain Morgan in this open boat with his twenty mates reached the
Cape of Salmedina toward the fall of day. Arriving within view of the
harbor they discovered the plate fleet at anchor, with two men-of-war
and an armed galley riding as a guard at the mouth of the harbor, scarce
half a league distant from the other ships. Having spied the fleet in
this posture, the pirates presently pulled down their sails and rowed
along the coast, feigning to be a Spanish vessel from Nombre de Dios. So
hugging the shore, they came boldly within the harbor, upon the opposite
side of which you might see the fortress a considerable distance away.

Being now come so near to the consummation of their adventure, Captain
Morgan required every man to make an oath to stand by him to the last,
whereunto our hero swore as heartily as any man aboard, although his
heart, I must needs confess, was beating at a great rate at the approach
of what was to happen. Having thus received the oaths of all his
followers, Captain Morgan commanded the surgeon of the expedition that,
when the order was given, he, the medico, was to bore six holes in the
boat, so that, it sinking under them, they might all be compelled to
push forward, with no chance of retreat. And such was the ascendancy of
this man over his followers, and such was their awe of him, that not one
of them uttered even so much as a murmur, though what he had commanded
the surgeon to do pledged them either to victory or to death, with no
chance to choose between. Nor did the surgeon question the orders he had
received, much less did he dream of disobeying them.

By now it had fallen pretty dusk, whereupon, spying two fishermen in a
canoe at a little distance, Captain Morgan demanded of them in Spanish
which vessel of those at anchor in the harbor was the vice admiral, for
that he had dispatches for the captain thereof. Whereupon the fishermen,
suspecting nothing, pointed to them a galleon of great size riding at
anchor not half a league distant.

Toward this vessel accordingly the pirates directed their course, and
when they had come pretty nigh, Captain Morgan called upon the surgeon
that now it was time for him to perform the duty that had been laid upon
him. Whereupon the other did as he was ordered, and that so thoroughly
that the water presently came gushing into the boat in great streams,
whereat all hands pulled for the galleon as though every next moment was
to be their last.

And what do you suppose were our hero's emotions at this time? Like all
in the boat, his awe of Captain Morgan was so great that I do believe he
would rather have gone to the bottom than have questioned his command,
even when it was to scuttle the boat. Nevertheless, when he felt the
cold water gushing about his feet (for he had taken off his shoes and
stockings) he became possessed with such a fear of being drowned that
even the Spanish galleon had no terrors for him if he could only feel
the solid planks thereof beneath his feet.

Indeed, all the crew appeared to be possessed of a like dismay, for they
pulled at the oars with such an incredible force that they were under
the quarter of the galleon before the boat was half filled with water.

Here, as they approached, it then being pretty dark and the moon not
yet having risen, the watch upon the deck hailed them, whereupon Captain
Morgan called out in Spanish that he was Capt. Alvarez Mendazo, and that
he brought dispatches for the vice admiral.

But at that moment, the boat being now so full of water as to be
logged, it suddenly tilted upon one side as though to sink beneath them,
whereupon all hands, without further orders, went scrambling up the
side, as nimble as so many monkeys, each armed with a pistol in one hand
and a cutlass in the other, and so were upon deck before the watch could
collect his wits to utter any outcry or to give any other alarm than to
cry out, "Jesu bless us! who are these?" at which words somebody knocked
him down with the butt of a pistol, though who it was our hero could not
tell in the darkness and the hurry.

Before any of those upon deck could recover from their alarm or those
from below come up upon deck, a part of the pirates, under the carpenter
and the surgeon, had run to the gun room and had taken possession of the
arms, while Captain Morgan, with Master Harry and a Portuguese called
Murillo Braziliano, had flown with the speed of the wind into the great
cabin.

Here they found the captain of the vice admiral playing at cards
with the Sieur Simon and a friend, Madam Simon and her daughter being
present.

Captain Morgan instantly set his pistol at the breast of the Spanish
captain, swearing with a most horrible fierce countenance that if he
spake a word or made any outcry he was a dead man. As for our hero,
having now got his hand into the game, he performed the same service for
the Spaniard's friend, declaring he would shoot him dead if he opened
his lips or lifted so much as a single finger.

All this while the ladies, not comprehending what had occurred, had sat
as mute as stones; but now having so far recovered themselves as to find
a voice, the younger of the two fell to screaming, at which the Sieur
Simon called out to her to be still, for these were friends who had come
to help them, and not enemies who had come to harm them.

All this, you are to understand, occupied only a little while, for in
less than a minute three or four of the pirates had come into the cabin,
who, together with the Portuguese, proceeded at once to bind the
two Spaniards hand and foot, and to gag them. This being done to our
buccaneer's satisfaction, and the Spanish captain being stretched out
in the corner of the cabin, he instantly cleared his countenance of its
terrors, and bursting forth into a great loud laugh, clapped his hand
to the Sieur Simon's, which he wrung with the best will in the world.
Having done this, and being in a fine humor after this his first
success, he turned to the two ladies. "And this, ladies," said he,
taking our hero by the hand and presenting him, "is a young gentleman
who has embarked with me to learn the trade of piracy. I recommend him
to your politeness."

Think what a confusion this threw our Master Harry into, to be sure,
who at his best was never easy in the company of strange ladies! You may
suppose what must have been his emotions to find himself thus introduced
to the attention of Madam Simon and her daughter, being at the time in
his bare feet, clad only in his shirt and breeches, and with no hat upon
his head, a pistol in one hand and a cutlass in the other. However,
he was not left for long to his embarrassments, for almost immediately
after he had thus far relaxed, Captain Morgan fell of a sudden serious
again, and bidding the Sieur Simon to get his ladies away into some
place of safety, for the most hazardous part of this adventure was yet
to occur, he quitted the cabin with Master Harry and the other pirates
(for you may call him a pirate now) at his heels.

Having come upon deck, our hero beheld that a part of the Spanish crew
were huddled forward in a flock like so many sheep (the others being
crowded below with the hatches fastened upon them), and such was the
terror of the pirates, and so dreadful the name of Henry Morgan, that
not one of those poor wretches dared to lift up his voice to give any
alarm, nor even to attempt an escape by jumping overboard.

At Captain Morgan's orders, these men, together with certain of his own
company, ran nimbly aloft and began setting the sails, which, the night
now having fallen pretty thick, was not for a good while observed by any
of the vessels riding at anchor about them.

Indeed, the pirates might have made good their escape, with at most only
a shot or two from the men-of-war, had it not then been about the full
of the moon, which, having arisen, presently discovered to those of the
fleet that lay closest about them what was being done aboard the vice
admiral.

At this one of the vessels hailed them, and then after a while,
having no reply, hailed them again. Even then the Spaniards might not
immediately have suspected anything was amiss but only that the
vice admiral for some reason best known to himself was shifting his
anchorage, had not one of the Spaniards aloft--but who it was Captain
Morgan was never able to discover--answered the hail by crying out that
the vice admiral had been seized by the pirates.

At this the alarm was instantly given and the mischief done, for
presently there was a tremendous bustle through that part of the fleet
lying nighest the vice admiral--a deal of shouting of orders, a beating
of drums, and the running hither and thither of the crews.

But by this time the sails of the vice admiral had filled with a strong
land breeze that was blowing up the harbor, whereupon the carpenter,
at Captain Morgan's orders, having cut away both anchors, the galleon
presently bore away up the harbor, gathering headway every moment with
the wind nearly dead astern. The nearest vessel was the only one that
for the moment was able to offer any hindrance. This ship, having by
this time cleared away one of its guns, was able to fire a parting shot
against the vice-admiral, striking her somewhere forward, as our hero
could see by a great shower of splinters that flew up in the moonlight.

At the sound of the shot all the vessels of the flota not yet disturbed
by the alarm were aroused at once, so that the pirates had the
satisfaction of knowing that they would have to run the gantlet of
all the ships between them and the open sea before they could reckon
themselves escaped.

And, indeed, to our hero's mind it seemed that the battle which followed
must have been the most terrific cannonade that was ever heard in the
world. It was not so ill at first, for it was some while before the
Spaniards could get their guns clear for action, they being not the
least in the world prepared for such an occasion as this. But by and by
first one and then another ship opened fire upon the galleon, until it
seemed to our hero that all the thunders of heaven let loose upon them
could not have created a more prodigious uproar, and that it was not
possible that they could any of them escape destruction.

By now the moon had risen full and round, so that the clouds of smoke
that rose in the air appeared as white as snow. The air seemed full of
the hiss and screaming of shot, each one of which, when it struck the
galleon, was magnified by our hero's imagination into ten times its
magnitude from the crash which it delivered and from the cloud of
splinters it would cast up into the moonlight. At last he suddenly
beheld one poor man knocked sprawling across the deck, who, as he raised
his arm from behind the mast, disclosed that the hand was gone from it,
and that the shirt sleeve was red with blood in the moonlight. At this
sight all the strength fell away from poor Harry, and he felt sure that
a like fate or even a worse must be in store for him.

But, after all, this was nothing to what it might have been in
broad daylight, for what with the darkness of night, and the little
preparation the Spaniards could make for such a business, and
the extreme haste with which they discharged their guns (many not
understanding what was the occasion of all this uproar), nearly all the
shot flew so wide of the mark that not above one in twenty struck that
at which it was aimed.

Meantime Captain Morgan, with the Sieur Simon, who had followed him
upon deck, stood just above where our hero lay behind the shelter of the
bulwark. The captain had lit a pipe of tobacco, and he stood now in the
bright moonlight close to the rail, with his hands behind him, looking
out ahead with the utmost coolness imaginable, and paying no more
attention to the din of battle than though it were twenty leagues away.
Now and then he would take his pipe from his lips to utter an order to
the man at the wheel. Excepting this he stood there hardly moving at
all, the wind blowing his long red hair over his shoulders.

Had it not been for the armed galley the pirates might have got the
galleon away with no great harm done in spite of all this cannonading,
for the man-of-war which rode at anchor nighest to them at the mouth
of the harbor was still so far away that they might have passed it by
hugging pretty close to the shore, and that without any great harm being
done to them in the darkness. But just at this moment, when the open
water lay in sight, came this galley pulling out from behind the point
of the shore in such a manner as either to head our pirates off entirely
or else to compel them to approach so near to the man-of-war that that
latter vessel could bring its guns to bear with more effect.

This galley, I must tell you, was like others of its kind such as you
may find in these waters, the hull being long and cut low to the water
so as to allow the oars to dip freely. The bow was sharp and projected
far out ahead, mounting a swivel upon it, while at the stern a number of
galleries built one above another into a castle gave shelter to several
companies of musketeers as well as the officers commanding them.

Our hero could behold the approach of this galley from above the
starboard bulwarks, and it appeared to him impossible for them to
hope to escape either it or the man-of-war. But still Captain Morgan
maintained the same composure that he had exhibited all the while, only
now and then delivering an order to the man at the wheel, who, putting
the helm over, threw the bows of the galleon around more to the
larboard, as though to escape the bow of the galley and get into the
open water beyond. This course brought the pirates ever closer and
closer to the man-of-war, which now began to add its thunder to the din
of the battle, and with so much more effect that at every discharge you
might hear the crashing and crackling of splintered wood, and now and
then the outcry or groaning of some man who was hurt. Indeed, had it
been daylight, they must at this juncture all have perished, though,
as was said, what with the night and the confusion and the hurry, they
escaped entire destruction, though more by a miracle than through any
policy upon their own part.

Meantime the galley, steering as though to come aboard of them, had now
come so near that it, too, presently began to open its musketry fire
upon them, so that the humming and rattling of bullets were presently
added to the din of cannonading.

In two minutes more it would have been aboard of them, when in a moment
Captain Morgan roared out of a sudden to the man at the helm to put it
hard a starboard. In response the man ran the wheel over with the utmost
quickness, and the galleon, obeying her helm very readily, came around
upon a course which, if continued, would certainly bring them into
collision with their enemy.

It is possible at first the Spaniards imagined the pirates intended to
escape past their stern, for they instantly began backing oars to keep
them from getting past, so that the water was all of a foam about them,
at the same time they did this they poured in such a fire of musketry
that it was a miracle that no more execution was accomplished than
happened.

As for our hero, methinks for the moment he forgot all about everything
else than as to whether or no his captain's maneuver would succeed, for
in the very first moment he divined, as by some instinct, what Captain
Morgan purposed doing.

At this moment, so particular in the execution of this nice design,
a bullet suddenly struck down the man at the wheel. Hearing the sharp
outcry, our Harry turned to see him fall forward, and then to his hands
and knees upon the deck, the blood running in a black pool beneath him,
while the wheel, escaping from his hands, spun over until the spokes
were all of a mist.

In a moment the ship would have fallen off before the wind had not our
hero, leaping to the wheel (even as Captain Morgan shouted an order for
some one to do so), seized the flying spokes, whirling them back again,
and so bringing the bow of the galleon up to its former course.

In the first moment of this effort he had reckoned of nothing but of
carrying out his captain's designs. He neither thought of cannon balls
nor of bullets. But now that his task was accomplished, he came suddenly
back to himself to find the galleries of the galley aflame with musket
shots, and to become aware with a most horrible sinking of the spirits
that all the shots therefrom were intended for him. He cast his eyes
about him with despair, but no one came to ease him of his task, which,
having undertaken, he had too much spirit to resign from carrying
through to the end, though he was well aware that the very next instant
might mean his sudden and violent death. His ears hummed and rang, and
his brain swam as light as a feather. I know not whether he breathed,
but he shut his eyes tight as though that might save him from the
bullets that were raining about him.

At this moment the Spaniards must have discovered for the first time the
pirates' design, for of a sudden they ceased firing, and began to shout
out a multitude of orders, while the oars lashed the water all about
with a foam. But it was too late then for them to escape, for within a
couple of seconds the galleon struck her enemy a blow so violent upon
the larboard quarter as nearly to hurl our Harry upon the deck, and then
with a dreadful, horrible crackling of wood, commingled with a yelling
of men's voices, the galley was swung around upon her side, and the
galleon, sailing into the open sea, left nothing of her immediate enemy
but a sinking wreck, and the water dotted all over with bobbing heads
and waving hands in the moonlight.

And now, indeed, that all danger was past and gone, there were plenty
to come running to help our hero at the wheel. As for Captain Morgan,
having come down upon the main deck, he fetches the young helmsman a
clap upon the back. "Well, Master Harry," says he, "and did I not tell
you I would make a man of you?" Whereat our poor Harry fell a-laughing,
but with a sad catch in his voice, for his hands trembled as with an
ague, and were as cold as ice. As for his emotions, God knows he was
nearer crying than laughing, if Captain Morgan had but known it.

Nevertheless, though undertaken under the spur of the moment, I protest
it was indeed a brave deed, and I cannot but wonder how many young
gentlemen of sixteen there are to-day who, upon a like occasion, would
act as well as our Harry.


V

The balance of our hero's adventures were of a lighter sort than those
already recounted, for the next morning the Spanish captain (a very
polite and well-bred gentleman) having fitted him out with a shift of
his own clothes, Master Harry was presented in a proper form to the
ladies. For Captain Morgan, if he had felt a liking for the young man
before, could not now show sufficient regard for him. He ate in the
great cabin and was petted by all. Madam Simon, who was a fat and
red-faced lady, was forever praising him, and the young miss, who was
extremely well-looking, was as continually making eyes at him.

She and Master Harry, I must tell you, would spend hours together, she
making pretense of teaching him French, although he was so possessed
with a passion of love that he was nigh suffocated with it. She, upon
her part, perceiving his emotions, responded with extreme good nature
and complacency, so that had our hero been older, and the voyage proved
longer, he might have become entirely enmeshed in the toils of his
fair siren. For all this while, you are to understand, the pirates were
making sail straight for Jamaica, which they reached upon the third day
in perfect safety.

In that time, however, the pirates had well-nigh gone crazy for joy; for
when they came to examine their purchase they discovered her cargo to
consist of plate to the prodigious sum of L180,000 in value. 'Twas a
wonder they did not all make themselves drunk for joy. No doubt they
would have done so had not Captain Morgan, knowing they were still in
the exact track of the Spanish fleets, threatened them that the first
man among them who touched a drop of rum without his permission he would
shoot him dead upon the deck. This threat had such effect that they all
remained entirely sober until they had reached Port Royal Harbor, which
they did about nine o'clock in the morning.

And now it was that our hero's romance came all tumbling down about his
ears with a run. For they had hardly come to anchor in the harbor when
a boat came from a man-of-war, and who should come stepping aboard but
Lieutenant Grantley (a particular friend of our hero's father) and his
own eldest brother Thomas, who, putting on a very stern face, informed
Master Harry that he was a desperate and hardened villain who was sure
to end at the gallows, and that he was to go immediately back to his
home again. He told our embryo pirate that his family had nigh gone
distracted because of his wicked and ungrateful conduct. Nor could our
hero move him from his inflexible purpose. "What," says our Harry, "and
will you not then let me wait until our prize is divided and I get my
share?"

"Prize, indeed!" says his brother. "And do you then really think that
your father would consent to your having a share in this terrible bloody
and murthering business?"

And so, after a good deal of argument, our hero was constrained to go;
nor did he even have an opportunity to bid adieu to his inamorata. Nor
did he see her any more, except from a distance, she standing on the
poop deck as he was rowed away from her, her face all stained with
crying. For himself, he felt that there was no more joy in life;
nevertheless, standing up in the stern of the boat, he made shift,
though with an aching heart, to deliver her a fine bow with the hat he
had borrowed from the Spanish captain, before his brother bade him sit
down again.

And so to the ending of this story, with only this to relate, that our
Master Harry, so far from going to the gallows, became in good time a
respectable and wealthy sugar merchant with an English wife and a
fine family of children, whereunto, when the mood was upon him, he has
sometimes told these adventures (and sundry others not here recounted),
as I have told them unto you.



Chapter IV. TOM CHIST AND THE TREASURE BOX

An Old-time Story of the Days of Captain Kidd


I

TO tell about Tom Chist, and how he got his name, and how he came to be
living at the little settlement of Henlopen, just inside the mouth of
the Delaware Bay, the story must begin as far back as 1686, when a great
storm swept the Atlantic coast from end to end. During the heaviest part
of the hurricane a bark went ashore on the Hen-and-Chicken Shoals, just
below Cape Henlopen and at the mouth of the Delaware Bay, and Tom Chist
was the only soul of all those on board the ill-fated vessel who escaped
alive.

This story must first be told, because it was on account of the strange
and miraculous escape that happened to him at that time that he gained
the name that was given to him.

Even as late as that time of the American colonies, the little scattered
settlement at Henlopen, made up of English, with a few Dutch and Swedish
people, was still only a spot upon the face of the great American
wilderness that spread away, with swamp and forest, no man knew how far
to the westward. That wilderness was not only full of wild beasts, but
of Indian savages, who every fall would come in wandering tribes
to spend the winter along the shores of the fresh-water lakes below
Henlopen. There for four or five months they would live upon fish and
clams and wild ducks and geese, chipping their arrowheads, and making
their earthenware pots and pans under the lee of the sand hills and pine
woods below the Capes.

Sometimes on Sundays, when the Rev. Hillary Jones would be preaching
in the little log church back in the woods, these half-clad red savages
would come in from the cold, and sit squatting in the back part of the
church, listening stolidly to the words that had no meaning for them.

But about the wreck of the bark in 1686. Such a wreck as that which then
went ashore on the Hen-and-Chicken Shoals was a godsend to the poor and
needy settlers in the wilderness where so few good things ever came.
For the vessel went to pieces during the night, and the next morning
the beach was strewn with wreckage--boxes and barrels, chests and spars,
timbers and planks, a plentiful and bountiful harvest, to be gathered up
by the settlers as they chose, with no one to forbid or prevent them.

The name of the bark, as found painted on some of the water barrels
and sea chests, was the Bristol Merchant, and she no doubt hailed from
England.

As was said, the only soul who escaped alive off the wreck was Tom
Chist.

A settler, a fisherman named Matt Abrahamson, and his daughter Molly,
found Tom. He was washed up on the beach among the wreckage, in a great
wooden box which had been securely tied around with a rope and lashed
between two spars--apparently for better protection in beating through
the surf. Matt Abrahamson thought he had found something of more than
usual value when he came upon this chest; but when he cut the cords
and broke open the box with his broadax, he could not have been more
astonished had he beheld a salamander instead of a baby of nine or ten
months old lying half smothered in the blankets that covered the bottom
of the chest.

Matt Abrahamson's daughter Molly had had a baby who had died a month or
so before. So when she saw the little one lying there in the bottom of
the chest, she cried out in a great loud voice that the Good Man had
sent her another baby in place of her own.

The rain was driving before the hurricane storm in dim, slanting sheets,
and so she wrapped up the baby in the man's coat she wore and ran off
home without waiting to gather up any more of the wreckage.

It was Parson Jones who gave the foundling his name. When the news
came to his ears of what Matt Abrahamson had found he went over to the
fisherman's cabin to see the child. He examined the clothes in which the
baby was dressed. They were of fine linen and handsomely stitched, and
the reverend gentleman opined that the foundling's parents must have
been of quality. A kerchief had been wrapped around the baby's neck and
under its arms and tied behind, and in the corner, marked with very fine
needlework, were the initials T. C.

"What d'ye call him, Molly?" said Parson Jones. He was standing, as he
spoke, with his back to the fire, warming his palms before the blaze.
The pocket of the greatcoat he wore bulged out with a big case bottle of
spirits which he had gathered up out of the wreck that afternoon. "What
d'ye call him, Molly?"

"I'll call him Tom, after my own baby."

"That goes very well with the initial on the kerchief," said Parson
Jones. "But what other name d'ye give him? Let it be something to go
with the C."

"I don't know," said Molly.

"Why not call him 'Chist,' since he was born in a chist out of the sea?
'Tom Chist'--the name goes off like a flash in the pan." And so "Tom
Chist" he was called and "Tom Chist" he was christened.

So much for the beginning of the history of Tom Chist. The story of
Captain Kidd's treasure box does not begin until the late spring of
1699.

That was the year that the famous pirate captain, coming up from the
West Indies, sailed his sloop into the Delaware Bay, where he lay for
over a month waiting for news from his friends in New York.

For he had sent word to that town asking if the coast was clear for him
to return home with the rich prize he had brought from the Indian seas
and the coast of Africa, and meantime he lay there in the Delaware Bay
waiting for a reply. Before he left he turned the whole of Tom Chist's
life topsy-turvy with something that he brought ashore.

By that time Tom Chist had grown into a strong-limbed, thick-jointed boy
of fourteen or fifteen years of age. It was a miserable dog's life he
lived with old Matt Abrahamson, for the old fisherman was in his cups
more than half the time, and when he was so there was hardly a day
passed that he did not give Tom a curse or a buffet or, as like as not,
an actual beating. One would have thought that such treatment would
have broken the spirit of the poor little foundling, but it had just the
opposite effect upon Tom Chist, who was one of your stubborn, sturdy,
stiff-willed fellows who only grow harder and more tough the more they
are ill-treated. It had been a long time now since he had made any
outcry or complaint at the hard usage he suffered from old Matt. At
such times he would shut his teeth and bear whatever came to him, until
sometimes the half-drunken old man would be driven almost mad by his
stubborn silence. Maybe he would stop in the midst of the beating he
was administering, and, grinding his teeth, would cry out: "Won't ye say
naught? Won't ye say naught? Well, then, I'll see if I can't make ye
say naught." When things had reached such a pass as this Molly would
generally interfere to protect her foster son, and then she and Tom
would together fight the old man until they had wrenched the stick or
the strap out of his hand. Then old Matt would chase them out of doors
and around and around the house for maybe half an hour, until his anger
was cool, when he would go back again, and for a time the storm would be
over.

Besides his foster mother, Tom Chist had a very good friend in Parson
Jones, who used to come over every now and then to Abrahamson's hut upon
the chance of getting a half dozen fish for breakfast. He always had a
kind word or two for Tom, who during the winter evenings would go over
to the good man's house to learn his letters, and to read and write and
cipher a little, so that by now he was able to spell the words out of
the Bible and the almanac, and knew enough to change tuppence into four
ha'pennies.

This is the sort of boy Tom Chist was, and this is the sort of life he
led.

In the late spring or early summer of 1699 Captain Kidd's sloop sailed
into the mouth of the Delaware Bay and changed the whole fortune of his
life.

And this is how you come to the story of Captain Kidd's treasure box.


II

Old Matt Abrahamson kept the flat-bottomed boat in which he went fishing
some distance down the shore, and in the neighborhood of the old wreck
that had been sunk on the Shoals. This was the usual fishing ground of
the settlers, and here old Matt's boat generally lay drawn up on the
sand.

There had been a thunderstorm that afternoon, and Tom had gone down the
beach to bale out the boat in readiness for the morning's fishing.

It was full moonlight now, as he was returning, and the night sky was
full of floating clouds. Now and then there was a dull flash to the
westward, and once a muttering growl of thunder, promising another storm
to come.

All that day the pirate sloop had been lying just off the shore back of
the Capes, and now Tom Chist could see the sails glimmering pallidly in
the moonlight, spread for drying after the storm. He was walking up the
shore homeward when he became aware that at some distance ahead of him
there was a ship's boat drawn up on the little narrow beach, and a
group of men clustered about it. He hurried forward with a good deal of
curiosity to see who had landed, but it was not until he had come close
to them that he could distinguish who and what they were. Then he knew
that it must be a party who had come off the pirate sloop. They had
evidently just landed, and two men were lifting out a chest from the
boat. One of them was a negro, naked to the waist, and the other was a
white man in his shirt sleeves, wearing petticoat breeches, a Monterey
cap upon his head, a red bandanna handkerchief around his neck, and
gold earrings in his ears. He had a long, plaited queue hanging down
his back, and a great sheath knife dangling from his side. Another man,
evidently the captain of the party, stood at a little distance as
they lifted the chest out of the boat. He had a cane in one hand and a
lighted lantern in the other, although the moon was shining as bright
as day. He wore jack boots and a handsome laced coat, and he had a
long, drooping mustache that curled down below his chin. He wore a fine,
feathered hat, and his long black hair hung down upon his shoulders.

All this Tom Chist could see in the moonlight that glinted and twinkled
upon the gilt buttons of his coat.

They were so busy lifting the chest from the boat that at first they did
not observe that Tom Chist had come up and was standing there. It was
the white man with the long, plaited queue and the gold earrings that
spoke to him. "Boy, what do you want here, boy?" he said, in a rough,
hoarse voice. "Where d'ye come from?" And then dropping his end of the
chest, and without giving Tom time to answer, he pointed off down the
beach, and said, "You'd better be going about your own business, if you
know what's good for you; and don't you come back, or you'll find what
you don't want waiting for you."

Tom saw in a glance that the pirates were all looking at him, and then,
without saying a word, he turned and walked away. The man who had spoken
to him followed him threateningly for some little distance, as though
to see that he had gone away as he was bidden to do. But presently he
stopped, and Tom hurried on alone, until the boat and the crew and
all were dropped away behind and lost in the moonlight night. Then he
himself stopped also, turned, and looked back whence he had come.

There had been something very strange in the appearance of the men
he had just seen, something very mysterious in their actions, and he
wondered what it all meant, and what they were going to do. He stood
for a little while thus looking and listening. He could see nothing, and
could hear only the sound of distant talking. What were they doing on
the lonely shore thus at night? Then, following a sudden impulse, he
turned and cut off across the sand hummocks, skirting around inland, but
keeping pretty close to the shore, his object being to spy upon them,
and to watch what they were about from the back of the low sand hills
that fronted the beach.

He had gone along some distance in his circuitous return when he became
aware of the sound of voices that seemed to be drawing closer to him
as he came toward the speakers. He stopped and stood listening, and
instantly, as he stopped, the voices stopped also. He crouched there
silently in the bright, glimmering moonlight, surrounded by the silent
stretches of sand, and the stillness seemed to press upon him like a
heavy hand. Then suddenly the sound of a man's voice began again, and as
Tom listened he could hear some one slowly counting. "Ninety-one,"
the voice began, "ninety-two, ninety-three, ninety-four, ninety-five,
ninety-six, ninety-seven, ninety-eight, ninety-nine, one hundred, one
hundred and one"--the slow, monotonous count coming nearer and nearer;
"one hundred and two, one hundred and three, one hundred and four," and
so on in its monotonous reckoning.

Suddenly he saw three heads appear above the sand hill, so close to
him that he crouched down quickly with a keen thrill, close beside the
hummock near which he stood. His first fear was that they might have
seen him in the moonlight; but they had not, and his heart rose again
as the counting voice went steadily on. "One hundred and twenty," it
was saying--"and twenty-one, and twenty-two, and twenty-three, and
twenty-four," and then he who was counting came out from behind
the little sandy rise into the white and open level of shimmering
brightness.

It was the man with the cane whom Tom had seen some time before the
captain of the party who had landed. He carried his cane under his arm
now, and was holding his lantern close to something that he held in his
hand, and upon which he looked narrowly as he walked with a slow and
measured tread in a perfectly straight line across the sand, counting
each step as he took it. "And twenty-five, and twenty-six, and
twenty-seven, and twenty-eight, and twenty-nine, and thirty."

Behind him walked two other figures; one was the half-naked negro, the
other the man with the plaited queue and the earrings, whom Tom had seen
lifting the chest out of the boat. Now they were carrying the heavy box
between them, laboring through the sand with shuffling tread as they
bore it onward. As he who was counting pronounced the word "thirty,"
the two men set the chest down on the sand with a grunt, the white
man panting and blowing and wiping his sleeve across his forehead. And
immediately he who counted took out a slip of paper and marked something
down upon it. They stood there for a long time, during which Tom lay
behind the sand hummock watching them, and for a while the silence was
uninterrupted. In the perfect stillness Tom could hear the washing of
the little waves beating upon the distant beach, and once the far-away
sound of a laugh from one of those who stood by the ship's boat.

One, two, three minutes passed, and then the men picked up the chest
and started on again; and then again the other man began his counting.
"Thirty and one, and thirty and two, and thirty and three, and thirty
and four"--he walked straight across the level open, still looking
intently at that which he held in his hand--"and thirty and five,
and thirty and six, and thirty and seven," and so on, until the three
figures disappeared in the little hollow between the two sand hills on
the opposite side of the open, and still Tom could hear the sound of the
counting voice in the distance.

Just as they disappeared behind the hill there was a sudden faint flash
of light; and by and by, as Tom lay still listening to the counting,
he heard, after a long interval, a far-away muffled rumble of distant
thunder. He waited for a while, and then arose and stepped to the top
of the sand hummock behind which he had been lying. He looked all about
him, but there was no one else to be seen. Then he stepped down from the
hummock and followed in the direction which the pirate captain and the
two men carrying the chest had gone. He crept along cautiously, stopping
now and then to make sure that he still heard the counting voice, and
when it ceased he lay down upon the sand and waited until it began
again.

Presently, so following the pirates, he saw the three figures again in
the distance, and, skirting around back of a hill of sand covered with
coarse sedge grass, he came to where he overlooked a little open level
space gleaming white in the moonlight.

The three had been crossing the level of sand, and were now not more
than twenty-five paces from him. They had again set down the chest, upon
which the white man with the long queue and the gold earrings had seated
to rest himself, the negro standing close beside him. The moon shone
as bright as day and full upon his face. It was looking directly at Tom
Chist, every line as keen cut with white lights and black shadows as
though it had been carved in ivory and jet. He sat perfectly motionless,
and Tom drew back with a start, almost thinking he had been discovered.
He lay silent, his heart beating heavily in his throat; but there was
no alarm, and presently he heard the counting begin again, and when he
looked once more he saw they were going away straight across the little
open. A soft, sliding hillock of sand lay directly in front of them.
They did not turn aside, but went straight over it, the leader helping
himself up the sandy slope with his cane, still counting and still
keeping his eyes fixed upon that which he held in his hand. Then they
disappeared again behind the white crest on the other side.

So Tom followed them cautiously until they had gone almost half a mile
inland. When next he saw them clearly it was from a little sandy rise
which looked down like the crest of a bowl upon the floor of sand
below. Upon this smooth, white floor the moon beat with almost dazzling
brightness.

The white man who had helped to carry the chest was now kneeling, busied
at some work, though what it was Tom at first could not see. He was
whittling the point of a stick into a long wooden peg, and when, by and
by, he had finished what he was about, he arose and stepped to where he
who seemed to be the captain had stuck his cane upright into the ground
as though to mark some particular spot. He drew the cane out of the
sand, thrusting the stick down in its stead. Then he drove the long
peg down with a wooden mallet which the negro handed to him. The sharp
rapping of the mallet upon the top of the peg sounded loud the perfect
stillness, and Tom lay watching and wondering what it all meant. The
man, with quick-repeated blows, drove the peg farther and farther
down into the sand until it showed only two or three inches above the
surface. As he finished his work there was another faint flash of light,
and by and by another smothered rumble of thunder, and Tom, as he looked
out toward the westward, saw the silver rim of the round and sharply
outlined thundercloud rising slowly up into the sky and pushing the
other and broken drifting clouds before it.

The two white men were now stooping over the peg, the negro man watching
them. Then presently the man with the cane started straight away from
the peg, carrying the end of a measuring line with him, the other end
of which the man with the plaited queue held against the top of the peg.
When the pirate captain had reached the end of the measuring line he
marked a cross upon the sand, and then again they measured out another
stretch of space.

So they measured a distance five times over, and then, from where Tom
lay, he could see the man with the queue drive another peg just at the
foot of a sloping rise of sand that swept up beyond into a tall white
dune marked sharp and clear against the night sky behind. As soon as
the man with the plaited queue had driven the second peg into the ground
they began measuring again, and so, still measuring, disappeared in
another direction which took them in behind the sand dune where Tom no
longer could see what they were doing.

The negro still sat by the chest where the two had left him, and so
bright was the moonlight that from where he lay Tom could see the glint
of it twinkling in the whites of his eyeballs.

Presently from behind the hill there came, for the third time, the sharp
rapping sound of the mallet driving still another peg, and then after a
while the two pirates emerged from behind the sloping whiteness into the
space of moonlight again.

They came direct to where the chest lay, and the white man and the black
man lifting it once more, they walked away across the level of open
sand, and so on behind the edge of the hill and out of Tom's sight.


III

Tom Chist could no longer see what the pirates were doing, neither did
he dare to cross over the open space of sand that now lay between
them and him. He lay there speculating as to what they were about, and
meantime the storm cloud was rising higher and higher above the horizon,
with louder and louder mutterings of thunder following each dull flash
from out the cloudy, cavernous depths. In the silence he could hear
an occasional click as of some iron implement, and he opined that the
pirates were burying the chest, though just where they were at work he
could neither see nor tell.

Still he lay there watching and listening, and by and by a puff of warm
air blew across the sand, and a thumping tumble of louder thunder leaped
from out the belly of the storm cloud, which every minute was coming
nearer and nearer. Still Tom Chist lay watching.

Suddenly, almost unexpectedly, the three figures reappeared from behind
the sand hill, the pirate captain leading the way, and the negro and
white man following close behind him. They had gone about halfway across
the white, sandy level between the hill and the hummock behind which Tom
Chist lay, when the white man stopped and bent over as though to tie his
shoe.

This brought the negro a few steps in front of his companion.

That which then followed happened so suddenly, so unexpectedly, so
swiftly, that Tom Chist had hardly time to realize what it all meant
before it was over. As the negro passed him the white man arose suddenly
and silently erect, and Tom Chist saw the white moonlight glint upon the
blade of a great dirk knife which he now held in his hand. He took one,
two silent, catlike steps behind the unsuspecting negro. Then there was
a sweeping flash of the blade in the pallid light, and a blow, the thump
of which Tom could distinctly hear even from where he lay stretched out
upon the sand. There was an instant echoing yell from the black man, who
ran stumbling forward, who stopped, who regained his footing, and then
stood for an instant as though rooted to the spot.

Tom had distinctly seen the knife enter his back, and even thought that
he had seen the glint of the point as it came out from the breast.

Meantime the pirate captain had stopped, and now stood with his hand
resting upon his cane looking impassively on.

Then the black man started to run. The white man stood for a while
glaring after him; then he, too, started after his victim upon the run.
The black man was not very far from Tom when he staggered and fell.
He tried to rise, then fell forward again, and lay at length. At that
instant the first edge of the cloud cut across the moon, and there was a
sudden darkness; but in the silence Tom heard the sound of another blow
and a groan, and then presently a voice calling to the pirate captain
that it was all over.

He saw the dim form of the captain crossing the level sand, and then, as
the moon sailed out from behind the cloud, he saw the white man standing
over a black figure that lay motionless upon the sand.

Then Tom Chist scrambled up and ran away, plunging down into the hollow
of sand that lay in the shadows below. Over the next rise he ran, and
down again into the next black hollow, and so on over the sliding,
shifting ground, panting and gasping. It seemed to him that he could
hear footsteps following, and in the terror that possessed him he almost
expected every instant to feel the cold knife blade slide between his
own ribs in such a thrust from behind as he had seen given to the poor
black man.

So he ran on like one in a nightmare. His feet grew heavy like lead, he
panted and gasped, his breath came hot and dry in his throat. But still
he ran and ran until at last he found himself in front of old Matt
Abrahamson's cabin, gasping, panting, and sobbing for breath, his knees
relaxed and his thighs trembling with weakness.

As he opened the door and dashed into the darkened cabin (for both Matt
and Molly were long ago asleep in bed) there was a flash of light, and
even as he slammed to the door behind him there was an instant peal of
thunder, heavy as though a great weight had been dropped upon the roof
of the sky, so that the doors and windows of the cabin rattled.


IV

Then Tom Chist crept to bed, trembling, shuddering, bathed in sweat, his
heart beating like a trip hammer, and his brain dizzy from that long,
terror-inspired race through the soft sand in which he had striven to
outstrip he knew not what pursuing horror.

For a long, long time he lay awake, trembling and chattering with
nervous chills, and when he did fall asleep it was only to drop into
monstrous dreams in which he once again saw ever enacted, with various
grotesque variations, the tragic drama which his waking eyes had beheld
the night before.

Then came the dawning of the broad, wet daylight, and before the rising
of the sun Tom was up and out of doors to find the young day dripping
with the rain of overnight.

His first act was to climb the nearest sand hill and to gaze out toward
the offing where the pirate ship had been the day before.

It was no longer there.

Soon afterward Matt Abrahamson came out of the cabin and he called
to Tom to go get a bite to eat, for it was time for them to be away
fishing.

All that morning the recollection of the night before hung over Tom
Chist like a great cloud of boding trouble. It filled the confined area
of the little boat and spread over the entire wide spaces of sky and sea
that surrounded them. Not for a moment was it lifted. Even when he was
hauling in his wet and dripping line with a struggling fish at the end
of it a recurrent memory of what he had seen would suddenly come upon
him, and he would groan in spirit at the recollection. He looked at Matt
Abrahamson's leathery face, at his lantern jaws cavernously and stolidly
chewing at a tobacco leaf, and it seemed monstrous to him that the old
man should be so unconscious of the black cloud that wrapped them all
about.

When the boat reached the shore again he leaped scrambling to the beach,
and as soon as his dinner was eaten he hurried away to find the Dominie
Jones.

He ran all the way from Abrahamson's hut to the parson's house, hardly
stopping once, and when he knocked at the door he was panting and
sobbing for breath.

The good man was sitting on the back-kitchen doorstep smoking his
long pipe of tobacco out into the sunlight, while his wife within was
rattling about among the pans and dishes in preparation of their supper,
of which a strong, porky smell already filled the air.

Then Tom Chist told his story, panting, hurrying, tumbling one word over
another in his haste, and Parson Jones listened, breaking every now and
then into an ejaculation of wonder. The light in his pipe went out and
the bowl turned cold.

"And I don't see why they should have killed the poor black man," said
Tom, as he finished his narrative.

"Why, that is very easy enough to understand," said the good reverend
man. "'Twas a treasure box they buried!"

In his agitation Mr. Jones had risen from his seat and was now stumping
up and down, puffing at his empty tobacco pipe as though it were still
alight.

"A treasure box!" cried out Tom.

"Aye, a treasure box! And that was why they killed the poor black man.
He was the only one, d'ye see, besides they two who knew the place
where 'twas hid, and now that they've killed him out of the way, there's
nobody but themselves knows. The villains--Tut, tut, look at that now!"
In his excitement the dominie had snapped the stem of his tobacco pipe
in two.

"Why, then," said Tom, "if that is so, 'tis indeed a wicked, bloody
treasure, and fit to bring a curse upon anybody who finds it!"

"'Tis more like to bring a curse upon the soul who buried it," said
Parson Jones, "and it may be a blessing to him who finds it. But tell
me, Tom, do you think you could find the place again where 'twas hid?"

"I can't tell that," said Tom, "'twas all in among the sand humps, d'ye
see, and it was at night into the bargain. Maybe we could find the marks
of their feet in the sand," he added.

"'Tis not likely," said the reverend gentleman, "for the storm last
night would have washed all that away."

"I could find the place," said Tom, "where the boat was drawn up on the
beach."

"Why, then, that's something to start from, Tom," said his friend. "If
we can find that, then maybe we can find whither they went from there."

"If I was certain it was a treasure box," cried out Tom Chist, "I would
rake over every foot of sand betwixt here and Henlopen to find it."

"'Twould be like hunting for a pin in a haystack," said the Rev. Hilary
Jones.

As Tom walked away home, it seemed as though a ton's weight of gloom had
been rolled away from his soul. The next day he and Parson Jones were to
go treasure-hunting together; it seemed to Tom as though he could hardly
wait for the time to come.


V

The next afternoon Parson Jones and Tom Chist started off together upon
the expedition that made Tom's fortune forever. Tom carried a spade over
his shoulder and the reverend gentleman walked along beside him with his
cane.

As they jogged along up the beach they talked together about the only
thing they could talk about--the treasure box. "And how big did you say
'twas?" quoth the good gentleman.

"About so long," said Tom Chist, measuring off upon the spade, "and
about so wide, and this deep."

"And what if it should be full of money, Tom?" said the reverend
gentleman, swinging his cane around and around in wide circles in the
excitement of the thought, as he strode along briskly. "Suppose it
should be full of money, what then?"

"By Moses!" said Tom Chist, hurrying to keep up with his friend, "I'd
buy a ship for myself, I would, and I'd trade to Injyy and to Chiny to
my own boot, I would. Suppose the chist was all full of money, sir, and
suppose we should find it; would there be enough in it, d'ye suppose, to
buy a ship?"

"To be sure there would be enough, Tom, enough and to spare, and a good
big lump over."

"And if I find it 'tis mine to keep, is it, and no mistake?"

"Why, to be sure it would be yours!" cried out the parson, in a loud
voice. "To be sure it would be yours!" He knew nothing of the law, but
the doubt of the question began at once to ferment in his brain, and he
strode along in silence for a while. "Whose else would it be but yours
if you find it?" he burst out. "Can you tell me that?"

"If ever I have a ship of my own," said Tom Chist, "and if ever I sail
to Injy in her, I'll fetch ye back the best chist of tea, sir, that ever
was fetched from Cochin Chiny."

Parson Jones burst out laughing. "Thankee, Tom," he said; "and I'll
thankee again when I get my chist of tea. But tell me, Tom, didst thou
ever hear of the farmer girl who counted her chickens before they were
hatched?"

It was thus they talked as they hurried along up the beach together,
and so came to a place at last where Tom stopped short and stood looking
about him. "'Twas just here," he said, "I saw the boat last night. I
know 'twas here, for I mind me of that bit of wreck yonder, and that
there was a tall stake drove in the sand just where yon stake stands."

Parson Jones put on his barnacles and went over to the stake toward
which Tom pointed. As soon as he had looked at it carefully he called
out: "Why, Tom, this hath been just drove down into the sand. 'Tis
a brand-new stake of wood, and the pirates must have set it here
themselves as a mark, just as they drove the pegs you spoke about down
into the sand."

Tom came over and looked at the stake. It was a stout piece of oak
nearly two inches thick; it had been shaped with some care, and the top
of it had been painted red. He shook the stake and tried to move it, but
it had been driven or planted so deeply into the sand that he could not
stir it. "Aye, sir," he said, "it must have been set here for a mark,
for I'm sure 'twas not here yesterday or the day before." He stood
looking about him to see if there were other signs of the pirates'
presence. At some little distance there was the corner of something
white sticking up out of the sand. He could see that it was a scrap of
paper, and he pointed to it, calling out: "Yonder is a piece of paper,
sir. I wonder if they left that behind them?"

It was a miraculous chance that placed that paper there. There was only
an inch of it showing, and if it had not been for Tom's sharp eyes, it
would certainly have been overlooked and passed by. The next windstorm
would have covered it up, and all that afterward happened never would
have occurred. "Look, sir," he said, as he struck the sand from it, "it
hath writing on it."

"Let me see it," said Parson Jones. He adjusted the spectacles a little
more firmly astride of his nose as he took the paper in his hand and
began conning it. "What's all this?" he said; "a whole lot of figures
and nothing else." And then he read aloud, "'Mark--S. S. W. S. by S.'
What d'ye suppose that means, Tom?"

"I don't know, sir," said Tom. "But maybe we can understand it better if
you read on."

"'Tis all a great lot of figures," said Parson Jones, "without a
grain of meaning in them so far as I can see, unless they be sailing
directions." And then he began reading again: "'Mark--S. S. W. by S. 40,
72, 91, 130, 151, 177, 202, 232, 256, 271'--d'ye see, it must be sailing
directions--'299, 335, 362, 386, 415, 446, 469, 491, 522, 544, 571,
598'--what a lot of them there be '626, 652, 676, 695, 724, 851, 876,
905, 940, 967. Peg. S. E. by E. 269 foot. Peg. S. S. W. by S. 427 foot.
Peg. Dig to the west of this six foot.'"

"What's that about a peg?" exclaimed Tom. "What's that about a peg? And
then there's something about digging, too!" It was as though a sudden
light began shining into his brain. He felt himself growing quickly very
excited. "Read that over again, sir," he cried. "Why, sir, you remember
I told you they drove a peg into the sand. And don't they say to dig
close to it? Read it over again, sir--read it over again!"

"Peg?" said the good gentleman. "To be sure it was about a peg. Let's
look again. Yes, here it is. 'Peg S. E. by E. 269 foot.'"

"Aye!" cried out Tom Chist again, in great excitement. "Don't you
remember what I told you, sir, 269 foot? Sure that must be what I saw
'em measuring with the line."

Parson Jones had now caught the flame of excitement that was blazing up
so strongly in Tom's breast. He felt as though some wonderful thing was
about to happen to them. "To be sure, to be sure!" he called out, in a
great big voice. "And then they measured out 427 foot south-southwest by
south, and they then drove another peg, and then they buried the box
six foot to the west of it. Why, Tom--why, Tom Chist! if we've read this
aright, thy fortune is made."

Tom Chist stood staring straight at the old gentleman's excited face,
and seeing nothing but it in all the bright infinity of sunshine. Were
they, indeed, about to find the treasure chest? He felt the sun very hot
upon his shoulders, and he heard the harsh, insistent jarring of a tern
that hovered and circled with forked tail and sharp white wings in the
sunlight just above their heads; but all the time he stood staring into
the good old gentleman's face.

It was Parson Jones who first spoke. "But what do all these figures
mean?" And Tom observed how the paper shook and rustled in the tremor of
excitement that shook his hand. He raised the paper to the focus of his
spectacles and began to read again. "'Mark 40, 72, 91--'"

"Mark?" cried out Tom, almost screaming. "Why, that must mean the stake
yonder; that must be the mark." And he pointed to the oaken stick with
its red tip blazing against the white shimmer of sand behind it.

"And the 40 and 72 and 91," cried the old gentleman, in a voice equally
shrill--"why, that must mean the number of steps the pirate was counting
when you heard him."

"To be sure that's what they mean!" cried Tom Chist. "That is it, and
it can be nothing else. Oh, come, sir--come, sir; let us make haste and
find it!"

"Stay! stay!" said the good gentleman, holding up his hand; and again
Tom Chist noticed how it trembled and shook. His voice was steady
enough, though very hoarse, but his hand shook and trembled as
though with a palsy. "Stay! stay! First of all, we must follow these
measurements. And 'tis a marvelous thing," he croaked, after a little
pause, "how this paper ever came to be here."

"Maybe it was blown here by the storm," suggested Tom Chist.

"Like enough; like enough," said Parson Jones. "Like enough, after the
wretches had buried the chest and killed the poor black man, they were
so buffeted and bowsed about by the storm that it was shook out of the
man's pocket, and thus blew away from him without his knowing aught of
it."

"But let us find the box!" cried out Tom Chist, flaming with his
excitement.

"Aye, aye," said the good man; "only stay a little, my boy, until we
make sure what we're about. I've got my pocket compass here, but we must
have something to measure off the feet when we have found the peg. You
run across to Tom Brooke's house and fetch that measuring rod he used
to lay out his new byre. While you're gone I'll pace off the distance
marked on the paper with my pocket compass here."


VI

Tom Chist was gone for almost an hour, though he ran nearly all the
way and back, upborne as on the wings of the wind. When he returned,
panting, Parson Jones was nowhere to be seen, but Tom saw his footsteps
leading away inland, and he followed the scuffling marks in the smooth
surface across the sand humps and down into the hollows, and by and by
found the good gentleman in a spot he at once knew as soon as he laid
his eyes upon it.

It was the open space where the pirates had driven their first peg, and
where Tom Chist had afterward seen them kill the poor black man. Tom
Chist gazed around as though expecting to see some sign of the tragedy,
but the space was as smooth and as undisturbed as a floor, excepting
where, midway across it, Parson Jones, who was now stooping over
something on the ground, had trampled it all around about.

When Tom Chist saw him he was still bending over, scraping away from
something he had found.

It was the first peg!

Inside of half an hour they had found the second and third pegs, and Tom
Chist stripped off his coat, and began digging like mad down into the
sand, Parson Jones standing over him watching him. The sun was sloping
well toward the west when the blade of Tom Chist's spade struck upon
something hard.

If it had been his own heart that he had hit in the sand his breast
could hardly have thrilled more sharply.

It was the treasure box!

Parson Jones himself leaped down into the hole, and began scraping away
the sand with his hands as though he had gone crazy. At last, with some
difficulty, they tugged and hauled the chest up out of the sand to the
surface, where it lay covered all over with the grit that clung to it.
It was securely locked and fastened with a padlock, and it took a good
many blows with the blade of the spade to burst the bolt. Parson Jones
himself lifted the lid. Tom Chist leaned forward and gazed down into the
open box. He would not have been surprised to have seen it filled full
of yellow gold and bright jewels. It was filled half full of books and
papers, and half full of canvas bags tied safely and securely around and
around with cords of string.

Parson Jones lifted out one of the bags, and it jingled as he did so. It
was full of money.

He cut the string, and with trembling, shaking hands handed the bag to
Tom, who, in an ecstasy of wonder and dizzy with delight, poured out
with swimming sight upon the coat spread on the ground a cataract of
shining silver money that rang and twinkled and jingled as it fell in a
shining heap upon the coarse cloth.

Parson Jones held up both hands into the air, and Tom stared at what he
saw, wondering whether it was all so, and whether he was really awake.
It seemed to him as though he was in a dream.

There were two-and-twenty bags in all in the chest: ten of them full of
silver money, eight of them full of gold money, three of them full of
gold dust, and one small bag with jewels wrapped up in wad cotton and
paper.

"'Tis enough," cried out Parson Jones, "to make us both rich men as long
as we live."

The burning summer sun, though sloping in the sky, beat down upon them
as hot as fire; but neither of them noticed it. Neither did they notice
hunger nor thirst nor fatigue, but sat there as though in a trance, with
the bags of money scattered on the sand around them, a great pile of
money heaped upon the coat, and the open chest beside them. It was an
hour of sundown before Parson Jones had begun fairly to examine the
books and papers in the chest.

Of the three books, two were evidently log books of the pirates who had
been lying off the mouth of the Delaware Bay all this time. The other
book was written in Spanish, and was evidently the log book of some
captured prize.

It was then, sitting there upon the sand, the good old gentleman reading
in his high, cracking voice, that they first learned from the bloody
records in those two books who it was who had been lying inside the Cape
all this time, and that it was the famous Captain Kidd. Every now and
then the reverend gentleman would stop to exclaim, "Oh, the bloody
wretch!" or, "Oh, the desperate, cruel villains!" and then would go on
reading again a scrap here and a scrap there.

And all the while Tom Chist sat and listened, every now and then
reaching out furtively and touching the heap of money still lying upon
the coat.

One might be inclined to wonder why Captain Kidd had kept those bloody
records. He had probably laid them away because they so incriminated
many of the great people of the colony of New York that, with the
books in evidence, it would have been impossible to bring the pirate to
justice without dragging a dozen or more fine gentlemen into the dock
along with him. If he could have kept them in his own possession they
would doubtless have been a great weapon of defense to protect him from
the gallows. Indeed, when Captain Kidd was finally brought to conviction
and hung, he was not accused of his piracies, but of striking a mutinous
seaman upon the head with a bucket and accidentally killing him. The
authorities did not dare try him for piracy. He was really hung because
he was a pirate, and we know that it was the log books that Tom Chist
brought to New York that did the business for him; he was accused and
convicted of manslaughter for killing of his own ship carpenter with a
bucket.

So Parson Jones, sitting there in the slanting light, read through these
terrible records of piracy, and Tom, with the pile of gold and silver
money beside him, sat and listened to him.

What a spectacle, if anyone had come upon them! But they were alone,
with the vast arch of sky empty above them and the wide white stretch of
sand a desert around them. The sun sank lower and lower, until there was
only time to glance through the other papers in the chest.

They were nearly all goldsmiths' bills of exchange drawn in favor of
certain of the most prominent merchants of New York. Parson Jones, as he
read over the names, knew of nearly all the gentlemen by hearsay. Aye,
here was this gentleman; he thought that name would be among 'em. What?
Here is Mr. So-and-so. Well, if all they say is true, the villain has
robbed one of his own best friends. "I wonder," he said, "why the
wretch should have hidden these papers so carefully away with the other
treasures, for they could do him no good?" Then, answering his own
question: "Like enough because these will give him a hold over the
gentlemen to whom they are drawn so that he can make a good bargain for
his own neck before he gives the bills back to their owners. I tell you
what it is, Tom," he continued, "it is you yourself shall go to New York
and bargain for the return of these papers. 'Twill be as good as another
fortune to you."

The majority of the bills were drawn in favor of one Richard
Chillingsworth, Esquire. "And he is," said Parson Jones, "one of the
richest men in the province of New York. You shall go to him with the
news of what we have found."

"When shall I go?" said Tom Chist.

"You shall go upon the very first boat we can catch," said the parson.
He had turned, still holding the bills in his hand, and was now
fingering over the pile of money that yet lay tumbled out upon the coat.
"I wonder, Tom," said he, "if you could spare me a score or so of these
doubloons?"

"You shall have fifty score, if you choose," said Tom, bursting with
gratitude and with generosity in his newly found treasure.

"You are as fine a lad as ever I saw, Tom," said the parson, "and I'll
thank you to the last day of my life."

Tom scooped up a double handful of silver money. "Take it sir," he
said, "and you may have as much more as you want of it."

He poured it into the dish that the good man made of his hands, and
the parson made a motion as though to empty it into his pocket. Then
he stopped, as though a sudden doubt had occurred to him. "I don't know
that 'tis fit for me to take this pirate money, after all," he said.

"But you are welcome to it," said Tom.

Still the parson hesitated. "Nay," he burst out, "I'll not take it; 'tis
blood money." And as he spoke he chucked the whole double handful into
the now empty chest, then arose and dusted the sand from his breeches.
Then, with a great deal of bustling energy, he helped to tie the bags
again and put them all back into the chest.

They reburied the chest in the place whence they had taken it, and then
the parson folded the precious paper of directions, placed it carefully
in his wallet, and his wallet in his pocket. "Tom," he said, for the
twentieth time, "your fortune has been made this day."

And Tom Chist, as he rattled in his breeches pocket the half dozen
doubloons he had kept out of his treasure, felt that what his friend had
said was true.

As the two went back homeward across the level space of sand Tom Chist
suddenly stopped stock-still and stood looking about him. "'Twas just
here," he said, digging his heel down into the sand, "that they killed
the poor black man."

"And here he lies buried for all time," said Parson Jones; and as he
spoke he dug his cane down into the sand. Tom Chist shuddered. He would
not have been surprised if the ferrule of the cane had struck something
soft beneath that level surface. But it did not, nor was any sign of
that tragedy ever seen again. For, whether the pirates had carried away
what they had done and buried it elsewhere, or whether the storm in
blowing the sand had completely leveled off and hidden all sign of that
tragedy where it was enacted, certain it is that it never came to sight
again--at least so far as Tom Chist and the Rev. Hilary Jones ever knew.


VII

This is the story of the treasure box. All that remains now is to
conclude the story of Tom Chist, and to tell of what came of him in the
end.

He did not go back again to live with old Matt Abrahamson. Parson Jones
had now taken charge of him and his fortunes, and Tom did not have to go
back to the fisherman's hut.

Old Abrahamson talked a great deal about it, and would come in his cups
and harangue good Parson Jones, making a vast protestation of what he
would do to Tom--if he ever caught him--for running away. But Tom on all
these occasions kept carefully out of his way, and nothing came of the
old man's threatenings.

Tom used to go over to see his foster mother now and then, but always
when the old man was from home. And Molly Abrahamson used to warn him
to keep out of her father's way. "He's in as vile a humor as ever I see,
Tom," she said; "he sits sulking all day long, and 'tis my belief he'd
kill ye if he caught ye."

Of course Tom said nothing, even to her, about the treasure, and he and
the reverend gentleman kept the knowledge thereof to themselves. About
three weeks later Parson Jones managed to get him shipped aboard of a
vessel bound for New York town, and a few days later Tom Chist landed
at that place. He had never been in such a town before, and he could
not sufficiently wonder and marvel at the number of brick houses, at
the multitude of people coming and going along the fine, hard, earthen
sidewalk, at the shops and the stores where goods hung in the windows,
and, most of all, the fortifications and the battery at the point,
at the rows of threatening cannon, and at the scarlet-coated sentries
pacing up and down the ramparts. All this was very wonderful, and so
were the clustered boats riding at anchor in the harbor. It was like a
new world, so different was it from the sand hills and the sedgy levels
of Henlopen.

Tom Chist took up his lodgings at a coffee house near to the town hall,
and thence he sent by the postboy a letter written by Parson Jones
to Master Chillingsworth. In a little while the boy returned with
a message, asking Tom to come up to Mr. Chillingsworth's house that
afternoon at two o'clock.

Tom went thither with a great deal of trepidation, and his heart fell
away altogether when he found it a fine, grand brick house, three
stories high, and with wrought-iron letters across the front.

The counting house was in the same building; but Tom, because of Mr.
Jones's letter, was conducted directly into the parlor, where the great
rich man was awaiting his coming. He was sitting in a leather-covered
armchair, smoking a pipe of tobacco, and with a bottle of fine old
Madeira close to his elbow.

Tom had not had a chance to buy a new suit of clothes yet, and so he
cut no very fine figure in the rough dress he had brought with him from
Henlopen. Nor did Mr. Chillingsworth seem to think very highly of his
appearance, for he sat looking sideways at Tom as he smoked.

"Well, my lad," he said, "and what is this great thing you have to
tell me that is so mightily wonderful? I got what's-his-name--Mr.
Jones's--letter, and now I am ready to hear what you have to say."

But if he thought but little of his visitor's appearance at first, he
soon changed his sentiments toward him, for Tom had not spoken twenty
words when Mr. Chillingsworth's whole aspect changed. He straightened
himself up in his seat, laid aside his pipe, pushed away his glass of
Madeira, and bade Tom take a chair.

He listened without a word as Tom Chist told of the buried treasure, of
how he had seen the poor negro murdered, and of how he and Parson
Jones had recovered the chest again. Only once did Mr. Chillingsworth
interrupt the narrative. "And to think," he cried, "that the villain
this very day walks about New York town as though he were an honest man,
ruffling it with the best of us! But if we can only get hold of these
log books you speak of. Go on; tell me more of this."

When Tom Chist's narrative was ended, Mr. Chillingsworth's bearing was
as different as daylight is from dark. He asked a thousand questions,
all in the most polite and gracious tone imaginable, and not only urged
a glass of his fine old Madeira upon Tom, but asked him to stay
to supper. There was nobody to be there, he said, but his wife and
daughter.

Tom, all in a panic at the very thought of the two ladies, sturdily
refused to stay even for the dish of tea Mr. Chillingsworth offered him.

He did not know that he was destined to stay there as long as he should
live.

"And now," said Mr. Chillingsworth, "tell me about yourself."

"I have nothing to tell, Your Honor," said Tom, "except that I was
washed up out of the sea."

"Washed up out of the sea!" exclaimed Mr. Chillingsworth. "Why, how was
that? Come, begin at the beginning, and tell me all."

Thereupon Tom Chist did as he was bidden, beginning at the very
beginning and telling everything just as Molly Abrahamson had often told
it to him. As he continued, Mr. Chillingsworth's interest changed into
an appearance of stronger and stronger excitement. Suddenly he jumped up
out of his chair and began to walk up and down the room.

"Stop! stop!" he cried out at last, in the midst of something Tom was
saying. "Stop! stop! Tell me; do you know the name of the vessel that
was wrecked, and from which you were washed ashore?"

"I've heard it said," said Tom Chist, "'twas the Bristol Merchant."

"I knew it! I knew it!" exclaimed the great man, in a loud voice,
flinging his hands up into the air. "I felt it was so the moment you
began the story. But tell me this, was there nothing found with you with
a mark or a name upon it?"

"There was a kerchief," said Tom, "marked with a T and a C."

"Theodosia Chillingsworth!" cried out the merchant. "I knew it! I knew
it! Heavens! to think of anything so wonderful happening as this! Boy!
boy! dost thou know who thou art? Thou art my own brother's son. His
name was Oliver Chillingsworth, and he was my partner in business,
and thou art his son." Then he ran out into the entryway, shouting and
calling for his wife and daughter to come.

So Tom Chist--or Thomas Chillingsworth, as he now was to be called--did
stay to supper, after all.

This is the story, and I hope you may like it. For Tom Chist became
rich and great, as was to be supposed, and he married his pretty cousin
Theodosia (who had been named for his own mother, drowned in the Bristol
Merchant).

He did not forget his friends, but had Parson Jones brought to New York
to live.

As to Molly and Matt Abrahamson, they both enjoyed a pension of ten
pounds a year for as long as they lived; for now that all was well with
him, Tom bore no grudge against the old fisherman for all the drubbings
he had suffered.

The treasure box was brought on to New York, and if Tom Chist did not
get all the money there was in it (as Parson Jones had opined he would)
he got at least a good big lump of it.

And it is my belief that those log books did more to get Captain Kidd
arrested in Boston town and hanged in London than anything else that was
brought up against him.



Chapter V. JACK BALLISTER'S FORTUNES


I

WE, of these times, protected as we are by the laws and by the number
of people about us, can hardly comprehend such a life as that of the
American colonies in the early part of the eighteenth century, when
it was possible for a pirate like Capt. Teach, known as Blackbeard, to
exist, and for the governor and the secretary of the province in which
he lived perhaps to share his plunder, and to shelter and to protect him
against the law.

At that time the American colonists were in general a rough, rugged
people, knowing nothing of the finer things of life. They lived mostly
in little settlements, separated by long distances from one another,
so that they could neither make nor enforce laws to protect themselves.
Each man or little group of men had to depend upon his or their own
strength to keep what belonged to them, and to prevent fierce men or
groups of men from seizing what did not belong to them.

It is the natural disposition of everyone to get all that he can. Little
children, for instance, always try to take away from others that which
they want, and to keep it for their own. It is only by constant teaching
that they learn that they must not do so; that they must not take
by force what does not belong to them. So it is only by teaching and
training that people learn to be honest and not to take what is not
theirs. When this teaching is not sufficient to make a man learn to be
honest, or when there is something in the man's nature that makes him
not able to learn, then he only lacks the opportunity to seize upon the
things he wants, just as he would do if he were a little child.

In the colonies at that time, as was just said, men were too few and
scattered to protect themselves against those who had made up their
minds to take by force that which they wanted, and so it was that men
lived an unrestrained and lawless life, such as we of these times of
better government can hardly comprehend.

The usual means of commerce between province and province was by water
in coasting vessels. These coasting vessels were so defenseless, and the
different colonial governments were so ill able to protect them,
that those who chose to rob them could do it almost without danger to
themselves.

So it was that all the western world was, in those days, infested
with armed bands of cruising freebooters or pirates, who used to stop
merchant vessels and take from them what they chose.

Each province in those days was ruled over by a royal governor appointed
by the king. Each governor, at one time, was free to do almost as he
pleased in his own province. He was accountable only to the king and his
government, and England was so distant that he was really responsible
almost to nobody but himself.

The governors were naturally just as desirous to get rich quickly,
just as desirous of getting all that they could for themselves, as was
anybody else only they had been taught and had been able to learn that
it was not right to be an actual pirate or robber. They wanted to be
rich easily and quickly, but the desire was not strong enough to lead
them to dishonor themselves in their own opinion and in the opinion of
others by gratifying their selfishness. They would even have stopped
the pirates from doing what they did if they could, but their provincial
governments were too weak to prevent the freebooters from robbing
merchant vessels, or to punish them when they came ashore. The provinces
had no navies, and they really had no armies; neither were there enough
people living within the community to enforce the laws against those
stronger and fiercer men who were not honest.

After the things the pirates seized from merchant vessels were once
stolen they were altogether lost. Almost never did any owner apply for
them, for it would be useless to do so. The stolen goods and merchandise
lay in the storehouses of the pirates, seemingly without any owner
excepting the pirates themselves.

The governors and the secretaries of the colonies would not dishonor
themselves by pirating upon merchant vessels, but it did not seem so
wicked after the goods were stolen--and so altogether lost--to take a
part of that which seemed to have no owner.

A child is taught that it is a very wicked thing to take, for instance,
by force, a lump of sugar from another child; but when a wicked child
has seized the sugar from another and taken it around the corner, and
that other child from whom he has seized it has gone home crying, it
does not seem so wicked for the third child to take a bite of the sugar
when it is offered to him, even if he thinks it has been taken from some
one else.

It was just so, no doubt, that it did not seem so wicked to Governor
Eden and Secretary Knight of North Carolina, or to Governor Fletcher of
New York, or to other colonial governors, to take a part of the booty
that the pirates, such as Blackbeard, had stolen. It did not even seem
very wicked to compel such pirates to give up a part of what was not
theirs, and which seemed to have no owner.

In Governor Eden's time, however, the colonies had begun to be more
thickly peopled, and the laws had gradually become stronger and stronger
to protect men in the possession of what was theirs. Governor Eden was
the last of the colonial governors who had dealings with the pirates,
and Blackbeard was almost the last of the pirates who, with his banded
men, was savage and powerful enough to come and go as he chose among the
people whom he plundered.

Virginia, at that time, was the greatest and the richest of all the
American colonies, and upon the farther side of North Carolina was
the province of South Carolina, also strong and rich. It was these two
colonies that suffered the most from Blackbeard, and it began to be
that the honest men that lived in them could endure no longer to be
plundered.

The merchants and traders and others who suffered cried out loudly for
protection, so loudly that the governors of these provinces could not
help hearing them.

Governor Eden was petitioned to act against the pirates, but he would
do nothing, for he felt very friendly toward Blackbeard--just as a child
who has had a taste of the stolen sugar feels friendly toward the child
who gives it to him.

At last, when Blackbeard sailed up into the very heart of Virginia,
and seized upon and carried away the daughter of that colony's foremost
people, the governor of Virginia, finding that the governor of North
Carolina would do nothing to punish the outrage, took the matter into
his own hands and issued a proclamation offering a reward of one hundred
pounds for Blackbeard, alive or dead, and different sums for the other
pirates who were his followers.

Governor Spottiswood had the right to issue the proclamation, but he had
no right to commission Lieutenant Maynard, as he did, to take down an
armed force into the neighboring province and to attack the pirates in
the waters of the North Carolina sounds. It was all a part of the rude
and lawless condition of the colonies at the time that such a thing
could have been done.

The governor's proclamation against the pirates was issued upon the
eleventh day of November. It was read in the churches the Sunday
following and was posted upon the doors of all the government custom
offices in lower Virginia. Lieutenant Maynard, in the boats that Colonel
Parker had already fitted out to go against the pirates, set sail upon
the seventeenth of the month for Ocracoke. Five days later the battle
was fought.

Blackbeard's sloop was lying inside of Ocracoke Inlet among the
shoals and sand bars when he first heard of Governor Spottiswood's
proclamation.

There had been a storm, and a good many vessels had run into the
inlet for shelter. Blackbeard knew nearly all of the captains of these
vessels, and it was from them that he first heard of the proclamation.

He had gone aboard one of the vessels--a coaster from Boston. The wind
was still blowing pretty hard from the southeast. There were maybe a
dozen vessels lying within the inlet at that time, and the captain of
one of them was paying the Boston skipper a visit when Blackbeard came
aboard. The two captains had been talking together. They instantly
ceased when the pirate came down into the cabin, but he had heard enough
of their conversation to catch its drift. "Why d'ye stop?" he said.
"I heard what you said. Well, what then? D'ye think I mind it at all?
Spottiswood is going to send his bullies down here after me. That's
what you were saying. Well, what then? You don't think I'm afraid of his
bullies, do you?"

"Why, no, Captain, I didn't say you was afraid," said the visiting
captain.

"And what right has he got to send down here against me in North
Carolina, I should like to ask you?"

"He's got none at all," said the Boston captain, soothingly. "Won't you
take a taste of Hollands, Captain?"

"He's no more right to come blustering down here into Governor Eden's
province than I have to come aboard of your schooner here, Tom Burley,
and to carry off two or three kegs of this prime Hollands for my own
drinking."

Captain Burley--the Boston man--laughed a loud, forced laugh. "Why,
Captain," he said, "as for two or three kegs of Hollands, you won't
find that aboard. But if you'd like to have a keg of it for your own
drinking, I'll send it to you and be glad enough to do so for old
acquaintance' sake."

"But I tell you what 'tis, Captain," said the visiting skipper to
Blackbeard, "they're determined and set against you this time. I tell
you, Captain, Governor Spottiswood hath issued a hot proclamation
against you, and 't hath been read out in all the churches. I myself
saw it posted in Yorktown upon the customhouse door and read it there
myself. The governor offers one hundred pounds for you, and fifty pounds
for your officers, and twenty pounds each for your men."

"Well, then," said Blackbeard, holding up his glass, "here, I wish 'em
good luck, and when they get their hundred pounds for me they'll be in a
poor way to spend it. As for the Hollands," said he, turning to Captain
Burley, "I know what you've got aboard here and what you haven't. D'ye
suppose ye can blind me? Very well, you send over two kegs, and I'll let
you go without search." The two captains were very silent. "As for that
Lieutenant Maynard you're all talking about," said Blackbeard, "why, I
know him very well. He was the one who was so busy with the pirates down
Madagascar way. I believe you'd all like to see him blow me out of the
water, but he can't do it. There's nobody in His Majesty's service I'd
rather meet than Lieutenant Maynard. I'd teach him pretty briskly that
North Carolina isn't Madagascar."

On the evening of the twenty-second the two vessels under command of
Lieutenant Maynard came into the mouth of Ocracoke Inlet and there
dropped anchor. Meantime the weather had cleared, and all the vessels
but one had gone from the inlet. The one vessel that remained was a New
Yorker. It had been there over a night and a day, and the captain and
Blackbeard had become very good friends.

The same night that Maynard came into the inlet a wedding was held on
the shore. A number of men and women came up the beach in oxcarts and
sledges; others had come in boats from more distant points and across
the water.

The captain of the New Yorker and Blackbeard went ashore together a
little after dark. The New Yorker had been aboard of the pirate's sloop
for all the latter part of the afternoon, and he and Blackbeard had been
drinking together in the cabin. The New York man was now a little tipsy,
and he laughed and talked foolishly as he and Blackbeard were rowed
ashore. The pirate sat grim and silent.

It was nearly dark when they stepped ashore on the beach. The New York
captain stumbled and fell headlong, rolling over and over, and the crew
of the boat burst out laughing.

The people had already begun to dance in an open shed fronting upon the
shore. There were fires of pine knots in front of the building, lighting
up the interior with a red glare. A negro was playing a fiddle somewhere
inside, and the shed was filled with a crowd of grotesque dancing
figures--men and women. Now and then they called with loud voices as
they danced, and the squeaking of the fiddle sounded incessantly through
the noise of outcries and the stamp and shuffling of feet.

Captain Teach and the New York captain stood looking on. The New York
man had tilted himself against a post and stood there holding one arm
around it, supporting himself. He waved the other hand foolishly in time
to the music, now and then snapping his thumb and finger.

The young woman who had just been married approached the two. She had
been dancing, and she was warm and red, her hair blowzed about her head.
"Hi, Captain, won't you dance with me?" she said to Blackbeard.

Blackbeard stared at her. "Who be you?" he said.

She burst out laughing. "You look as if you'd eat a body," she cried.

Blackbeard's face gradually relaxed. "Why, to be sure, you're a brazen
one, for all the world," he said. "Well, I'll dance with you, that I
will. I'll dance the heart out of you."

He pushed forward, thrusting aside with his elbow the newly made
husband. The man, who saw that Blackbeard had been drinking, burst out
laughing, and the other men and women who had been standing around drew
away, so that in a little while the floor was pretty well cleared. One
could see the negro now; he sat on a barrel at the end of the room.
He grinned with his white teeth and, without stopping in his fiddling,
scraped his bow harshly across the strings, and then instantly changed
the tune to a lively jig. Blackbeard jumped up into the air and clapped
his heels together, giving, as he did so, a sharp, short yell. Then
he began instantly dancing grotesquely and violently. The woman danced
opposite to him, this way and that, with her knuckles on her hips.
Everybody burst out laughing at Blackbeard's grotesque antics. They
laughed again and again, clapping their hands, and the negro scraped
away on his fiddle like fury. The woman's hair came tumbling down her
back. She tucked it back, laughing and panting, and the sweat ran down
her face. She danced and danced. At last she burst out laughing and
stopped, panting. Blackbeard again jumped up in the air and clapped his
heels. Again he yelled, and as he did so, he struck his heels upon the
floor and spun around. Once more everybody burst out laughing, clapping
their hands, and the negro stopped fiddling.

Near by was a shanty or cabin where they were selling spirits, and by
and by Blackbeard went there with the New York captain, and presently
they began drinking again. "Hi, Captain!" called one of the men,
"Maynard's out yonder in the inlet. Jack Bishop's just come across from
t'other side. He says Mr. Maynard hailed him and asked for a pilot to
fetch him in."

"Well, here's luck to him, and he can't come in quick enough for me!"
cried out Blackbeard in his hoarse, husky voice.

"Well, Captain," called a voice, "will ye fight him to-morrow?"

"Aye," shouted the pirate, "if he can get in to me, I'll try to give
'em what they seek, and all they want of it into the bargain. As for
a pilot, I tell ye what 'tis--if any man hereabouts goes out there to
pilot that villain in 'twill be the worst day's work he ever did in all
of his life. 'Twon't be fit for him to live in these parts of America if
I am living here at the same time." There was a burst of laughter.

"Give us a toast, Captain! Give us something to drink to! Aye, Captain,
a toast! A toast!" a half dozen voices were calling out at the same
time.

"Well," cried out the pirate captain, "here's to a good, hot fight
to-morrow, and the best dog on top! 'Twill be, Bang! bang!--this way!"

He began pulling a pistol out of his pocket, but it stuck in the lining,
and he struggled and tugged at it. The men ducked and scrambled away
from before him, and then the next moment he had the pistol out of
his pocket. He swung it around and around. There was perfect silence.
Suddenly there was a flash and a stunning report, and instantly a crash
and tinkle of broken glass. One of the men cried out, and began picking
and jerking at the back of his neck. "He's broken that bottle all down
my neck," he called out.

"That's the way 'twill be," said Blackbeard.

"Lookee," said the owner of the place, "I won't serve out another drop
if 'tis going to be like that. If there's any more trouble I'll blow out
the lantern."

The sound of the squeaking and scraping of the fiddle and the shouts and
the scuffling feet still came from the shed where the dancing was going
on.

"Suppose you get your dose to-morrow, Captain," some one called out,
"what then?"

"Why, if I do," said Blackbeard, "I get it, and that's all there is of
it."

"Your wife'll be a rich widdy then, won't she?" cried one of the men;
and there was a burst of laughter.

"Why," said the New York captain,--"why, has a--a bloody p-pirate like
you a wife then--a--like any honest man?"

"She'll be no richer than she is now," said Blackbeard.

"She knows where you've hid your money, anyways. Don't she, Captain?"
called out a voice.

"The civil knows where I've hid my money," said Blackbeard, "and I know
where I've hid it; and the longest liver of the twain will git it all.
And that's all there is of it."

The gray of early day was beginning to show in the east when Blackbeard
and the New York captain came down to the landing together. The New York
captain swayed and toppled this way and that as he walked, now falling
against Blackbeard, and now staggering away from him.


II

Early in the morning--perhaps eight o'clock--Lieutenant Maynard sent a
boat from the schooner over to the settlement, which lay some four
or five miles distant. A number of men stood lounging on the landing,
watching the approach of the boat. The men rowed close up to the wharf,
and there lay upon their oars, while the boatswain of the schooner,
who was in command of the boat, stood up and asked if there was any man
there who could pilot them over the shoals.

Nobody answered, but all stared stupidly at him. After a while one of
the men at last took his pipe out of his mouth. "There ben't any pilot
here, master," said he; "we ben't pilots."

"Why, what a story you do tell!" roared the boatswain. "D'ye suppose
I've never been down here before, not to know that every man about here
knows the passes of the shoals?"

The fellow still held his pipe in his hand. He looked at another one of
the men. "Do you know the passes in over the shoals, Jem?" said he.

The man to whom he spoke was a young fellow with long, shaggy, sunburnt
hair hanging over his eyes in an unkempt mass. He shook his head,
grunting, "Na--I don't know naught about t' shoals."

"'Tis Lieutenant Maynard of His Majesty's navy in command of them
vessels out there," said the boatswain. "He'll give any man five pound
to pilot him in." The men on the wharf looked at one another, but still
no one spoke, and the boatswain stood looking at them. He saw that they
did not choose to answer him. "Why," he said, "I believe you've not got
right wits--that's what I believe is the matter with you. Pull me up
to the landing, men, and I'll go ashore and see if I can find anybody
that's willing to make five pound for such a little bit of piloting as
that."

After the boatswain had gone ashore the loungers still stood on the
wharf, looking down into the boat, and began talking to one another for
the men below to hear them. "They're coming in," said one, "to blow poor
Blackbeard out of the water." "Aye," said another, "he's so peaceable,
too, he is; he'll just lay still and let 'em blow and blow, he will."
"There's a young fellow there," said another of the men; "he don't look
fit to die yet, he don't. Why, I wouldn't be in his place for a thousand
pound." "I do suppose Blackbeard's so afraid he don't know how to see,"
said the first speaker.

At last one of the men in the boat spoke up. "Maybe he don't know how to
see," said he, "but maybe we'll blow some daylight into him afore we get
through with him."

Some more of the settlers had come out from the shore to the end of the
wharf, and there was now quite a crowd gathering there, all looking at
the men in the boat. "What do them Virginny 'baccy-eaters do down here
in Caroliny, anyway?" said one of the newcomers. "They've got no call to
be down here in North Caroliny waters."

"Maybe you can keep us away from coming, and maybe you can't," said a
voice from the boat.

"Why," answered the man on the wharf, "we could keep you away easy
enough, but you ben't worth the trouble, and that's the truth."

There was a heavy iron bolt lying near the edge of the landing. One of
the men upon the wharf slyly thrust it out with the end of his foot. It
hung for a moment and then fell into the boat below with a crash. "What
d'ye mean by that?" roared the man in charge of the boat. "What d'ye
mean, ye villains? D'ye mean to stave a hole in us?"

"Why," said the man who had pushed it, "you saw 'twasn't done a purpose,
didn't you?"

"Well, you try it again, and somebody'll get hurt," said the man in the
boat, showing the butt end of his pistol.

The men on the wharf began laughing. Just then the boatswain came down
from the settlement again, and out along the landing. The threatened
turbulence quieted as he approached, and the crowd moved sullenly aside
to let him pass. He did not bring any pilot with him, and he jumped down
into the stern of the boat, saying, briefly, "Push off." The crowd of
loungers stood looking after them as they rowed away, and when the
boat was some distance from the landing they burst out into a volley
of derisive yells. "The villains!" said the boatswain, "they are all in
league together. They wouldn't even let me go up into the settlement to
look for a pilot."

The lieutenant and his sailing master stood watching the boat as
it approached. "Couldn't you, then, get a pilot, Baldwin?" said Mr.
Maynard, as the boatswain scrambled aboard.

"No, I couldn't, sir," said the man. "Either they're all banded
together, or else they're all afraid of the villains. They wouldn't even
let me go up into the settlement to find one."

"Well, then," said Mr. Maynard, "we'll make shift to work in as best we
may by ourselves. 'Twill be high tide against one o'clock. We'll run in
then with sail as far as we can, and then we'll send you ahead with the
boat to sound for a pass, and we'll follow with the sweeps. You know the
waters pretty well, you say."

"They were saying ashore that the villain hath forty men aboard," said
the boatswain.(2)

     (2) The pirate captain had really only twenty-five men
     aboard of his ship at the time of the battle.

Lieutenant Maynard's force consisted of thirty-five men in the schooner
and twenty-five men in the sloop. He carried neither cannons nor
carronades, and neither of his vessels was very well fitted for the
purpose for which they were designed. The schooner, which he himself
commanded, offered almost no protection to the crew. The rail was not
more than a foot high in the waist, and the men on the deck were almost
entirely exposed. The rail of the sloop was perhaps a little higher, but
it, too, was hardly better adapted for fighting. Indeed, the lieutenant
depended more upon the moral force of official authority to overawe
the pirates than upon any real force of arms or men. He never believed,
until the very last moment, that the pirates would show any real fight.
It is very possible that they might not have done so had they not
thought that the lieutenant had actually no legal right supporting him
in his attack upon them in North Carolina waters.

It was about noon when anchor was hoisted, and, with the schooner
leading, both vessels ran slowly in before a light wind that had begun
to blow toward midday. In each vessel a man stood in the bows, sounding
continually with lead and line. As they slowly opened up the harbor
within the inlet, they could see the pirate sloop lying about three
miles away. There was a boat just putting off from it to the shore.

The lieutenant and his sailing master stood together on the roof of
the cabin deckhouse. The sailing master held a glass to his eye. "She
carries a long gun, sir," he said, "and four carronades. She'll be hard
to beat, sir, I do suppose, armed as we are with only light arms for
close fighting."

The lieutenant laughed. "Why, Brookes," he said, "you seem to think
forever of these men showing fight. You don't know them as I know them.
They have a deal of bluster and make a deal of noise, but when you seize
them and hold them with a strong hand, there's naught of fight left in
them. 'Tis like enough there'll not be so much as a musket fired to-day.
I've had to do with 'em often enough before to know my gentlemen well
by this time." Nor, as was said, was it until the very last that the
lieutenant could be brought to believe that the pirates had any stomach
for a fight.

The two vessels had reached perhaps within a mile of the pirate sloop
before they found the water too shoal to venture any farther with
the sail. It was then that the boat was lowered as the lieutenant had
planned, and the boatswain went ahead to sound, the two vessels, with
their sails still hoisted but empty of wind, pulling in after with
sweeps.

The pirate had also hoisted sail, but lay as though waiting for the
approach of the schooner and the sloop.

The boat in which the boatswain was sounding had run in a considerable
distance ahead of the two vessels, which were gradually creeping up with
the sweeps until they had reached to within less than half a mile of the
pirates--the boat with the boatswain maybe a quarter of a mile closer.
Suddenly there was a puff of smoke from the pirate sloop, and then
another and another, and the next moment there came the three reports of
muskets up the wind.

"By zounds!" said the lieutenant. "I do believe they're firing on the
boat!" And then he saw the boat turn and begin pulling toward them.

The boat with the boatswain aboard came rowing rapidly. Again there were
three or four puffs of smoke and three or four subsequent reports from
the distant vessel. Then, in a little while, the boat was alongside, and
the boatswain came scrambling aboard. "Never mind hoisting the boat,"
said the lieutenant; "we'll just take her in tow. Come aboard as quick
as you can." Then, turning to the sailing master, "Well, Brookes, you'll
have to do the best you can to get in over the shoals under half sail."

"But, sir," said the master, "we'll be sure to run aground."

"Very well, sir," said the lieutenant, "you heard my orders. If we run
aground we run aground, and that's all there is of it."

"I sounded as far as maybe a little over a fathom," said the mate, "but
the villains would let me go no nearer. I think I was in the channel,
though. 'Tis more open inside, as I mind me of it. There's a kind of
a hole there, and if we get in over the shoals just beyond where I was
we'll be all right."

"Very well, then, you take the wheel, Baldwin," said the lieutenant,
"and do the best you can for us."

Lieutenant Maynard stood looking out forward at the pirate vessel, which
they were now steadily nearing under half sail. He could see that there
were signs of bustle aboard and of men running around upon the deck.
Then he walked aft and around the cabin. The sloop was some distance
astern. It appeared to have run aground, and they were trying to push it
off with the sweeps. The lieutenant looked down into the water over
the stern, and saw that the schooner was already raising the mud in her
wane. Then he went forward along the deck. His men were crouching down
along by the low rail, and there was a tense quietness of expectation
about them. The lieutenant looked them over as he passed them.
"Johnson," he said, "do you take the lead and line and go forward and
sound a bit." Then to the others: "Now, my men, the moment we run her
aboard, you get aboard of her as quick as you can, do you understand?
Don't wait for the sloop or think about her, but just see that the
grappling irons are fast, and then get aboard. If any man offers to
resist you, shoot him down. Are you ready, Mr. Cringle?"

"Aye, aye, sir," said the gunner.

"Very well, then, be ready, men; we'll be aboard 'em in a minute or
two."

"There's less than a fathom of water here, sir," sang out Johnson from
the bows. As he spoke there was a sudden soft jar and jerk, then the
schooner was still. They were aground. "Push her off to the lee there!
Let go your sheets!" roared the boatswain from the wheel. "Push her off
to the lee." He spun the wheel around as he spoke. A half a dozen men
sprang up, seized the sweeps, and plunged them into the water. Others
ran to help them, but the sweeps only sank into the mud without moving
the schooner. The sails had fallen off and they were flapping and
thumping and clapping in the wind. Others of the crew had scrambled
to their feet and ran to help those at the sweeps. The lieutenant had
walked quickly aft again. They were very close now to the pirate sloop,
and suddenly some one hailed him from aboard of her. When he turned he
saw that there was a man standing up on the rail of the pirate sloop,
holding by the back stays. "Who are you?" he called, from the distance,
"and whence come you? What do you seek here? What d'ye mean, coming down
on us this way?"

The lieutenant heard somebody say, "That's Blackbeard hisself." And he
looked with great interest at the distant figure.

The pirate stood out boldly against the cloudy sky. Somebody seemed to
speak to him from behind. He turned his head and then he turned round
again. "We're only peaceful merchantmen!" he called out. "What authority
have you got to come down upon us this way? If you'll come aboard I'll
show you my papers and that we're only peaceful merchantmen."

"The villains!" said the lieutenant to the master, who stood beside
him. "They're peaceful merchantmen, are they! They look like peaceful
merchantmen, with four carronades and a long gun aboard!" Then he called
out across the water, "I'll come aboard with my schooner as soon as I
can push her off here."

"If you undertake to come aboard of me," called the pirate, "I'll shoot
into you. You've got no authority to board me, and I won't have you do
it. If you undertake it 'twill be at your own risk, for I'll neither ask
quarter of you nor give none."

"Very well," said the lieutenant, "if you choose to try that, you may do
as you please; for I'm coming aboard of you as sure as heaven."

"Push off the bow there!" called the boatswain at the wheel. "Look
alive! Why don't you push off the bow?"

"She's hard aground!" answered the gunner. "We can't budge her an inch."

"If they was to fire into us now," said the sailing master, "they'd
smash us to pieces."

"They won't fire into us," said the lieutenant. "They won't dare to."
He jumped down from the cabin deckhouse as he spoke, and went forward to
urge the men in pushing off the boat. It was already beginning to move.

At that moment the sailing master suddenly called out, "Mr. Maynard! Mr.
Maynard! they're going to give us a broadside!"

Almost before the words were out of his mouth, before Lieutenant Maynard
could turn, there came a loud and deafening crash, and then instantly
another, and a third, and almost as instantly a crackling and rending of
broken wood. There were clean yellow splinters flying everywhere. A man
fell violently against the lieutenant, nearly overturning him, but he
caught at the stays and so saved himself. For one tense moment he stood
holding his breath. Then all about him arose a sudden outcry of groans
and shouts and oaths. The man who had fallen against him was lying face
down upon the deck. His thighs were quivering, and a pool of blood was
spreading and running out from under him. There were other men down, all
about the deck. Some were rising; some were trying to rise; some only
moved.

There was a distant sound of yelling and cheering and shouting. It was
from the pirate sloop. The pirates were rushing about upon her decks.
They had pulled the cannon back, and, through the grunting sound of
the groans about him, the lieutenant could distinctly hear the thud and
punch of the rammers, and he knew they were going to shoot again.

The low rail afforded almost no shelter against such a broadside, and
there was nothing for it but to order all hands below for the time
being.

"Get below!" roared out the lieutenant. "All hands get below and lie
snug for further orders!" In obedience the men ran scrambling below into
the hold, and in a little while the decks were nearly clear except
for the three dead men and some three or four wounded. The boatswain,
crouching down close to the wheel, and the lieutenant himself were the
only others upon deck. Everywhere there were smears and sprinkles of
blood. "Where's Brookes?" the lieutenant called out.

"He's hurt in the arm, sir, and he's gone below," said the boatswain.

Thereupon the lieutenant himself walked over to the forecastle hatch,
and, hailing the gunner, ordered him to get up another ladder, so that
the men could be run up on deck if the pirates should undertake to come
aboard. At that moment the boatswain at the wheel called out that the
villains were going to shoot again, and the lieutenant, turning, saw the
gunner aboard of the pirate sloop in the act of touching the iron to the
touchhole. He stooped down. There was another loud and deafening crash
of cannon, one, two, three--four--the last two almost together--and
almost instantly the boatswain called out, "'Tis the sloop, sir! look at
the sloop!"

The sloop had got afloat again, and had been coming up to the aid of the
schooner, when the pirates fired their second broadside now at her. When
the lieutenant looked at her she was quivering with the impact of the
shot, and the next moment she began falling off to the wind, and he
could see the wounded men rising and falling and struggling upon her
decks.

At the same moment the boatswain called out that the enemy was coming
aboard, and even as he spoke the pirate sloop came drifting out from the
cloud of smoke that enveloped her, looming up larger and larger as she
came down upon them. The lieutenant still crouched down under the rail,
looking out at them. Suddenly, a little distance away, she came about,
broadside on, and then drifted. She was close aboard now. Something came
flying through the air--another and another. They were bottles. One of
them broke with a crash upon the deck. The others rolled over to
the farther rail. In each of them a quick-match was smoking. Almost
instantly there was a flash and a terrific report, and the air was full
of the whiz and singing of broken particles of glass and iron. There was
another report, and then the whole air seemed full of gunpowder smoke.
"They're aboard of us!" shouted the boatswain, and even as he spoke the
lieutenant roared out, "All hands to repel boarders!" A second later
there came the heavy, thumping bump of the vessels coming together.

Lieutenant Maynard, as he called out the order, ran forward through the
smoke, snatching one of his pistols out of his pocket and the cutlass
out of its sheath as he did so. Behind him the men were coming, swarming
up from below. There was a sudden stunning report of a pistol, and then
another and another, almost together. There was a groan and the fall of
a heavy body, and then a figure came jumping over the rail, with two or
three more directly following. The lieutenant was in the midst of the
gun powder smoke, when suddenly Blackbeard was before him. The pirate
captain had stripped himself naked to the waist. His shaggy black hair
was falling over his eyes, and he looked like a demon fresh from the
pit, with his frantic face. Almost with the blindness of instinct the
lieutenant thrust out his pistol, firing it as he did so. The pirate
staggered back: he was down--no; he was up again. He had a pistol in
each hand; but there was a stream of blood running down his naked
ribs. Suddenly, the mouth of a pistol was pointing straight at the
lieutenant's head. He ducked instinctively, striking upward with his
cutlass as he did so. There was a stunning, deafening report almost in
his ear. He struck again blindly with his cutlass. He saw the flash of a
sword and flung up his guard almost instinctively, meeting the crash
of the descending blade. Somebody shot from behind him, and at the same
moment he saw some one else strike the pirate. Blackbeard staggered
again, and this time there was a great gash upon his neck. Then one of
Maynard's own men tumbled headlong upon him. He fell with the man, but
almost instantly he had scrambled to his feet again, and as he did so he
saw that the pirate sloop had drifted a little away from them, and that
their grappling irons had evidently parted. His hand was smarting as
though struck with the lash of a whip. He looked around him; the pirate
captain was nowhere to be seen--yes, there he was, lying by the rail. He
raised himself upon his elbow, and the lieutenant saw that he was trying
to point a pistol at him, with an arm that wavered and swayed blindly,
the pistol nearly falling from his fingers. Suddenly his other elbow
gave way and he fell down upon his face. He tried to raise himself--he
fell down again. There was a report and a cloud of smoke, and when it
cleared away Blackbeard had staggered up again. He was a terrible figure
his head nodding down upon his breast. Somebody shot again, and then the
swaying figure toppled and fell. It lay still for a moment--then rolled
over--then lay still again.

There was a loud splash of men jumping overboard, and then, almost
instantly, the cry of "Quarter! quarter!" The lieutenant ran to the
edge of the vessel. It was as he had thought: the grappling irons of the
pirate sloop had parted, and it had drifted away. The few pirates who
had been left aboard of the schooner had jumped overboard and were now
holding up their hands. "Quarter!" they cried. "Don't shoot!--quarter!"
And the fight was over.

The lieutenant looked down at his hand, and then he saw, for the first
time, that there was a great cutlass gash across the back of it, and
that his arm and shirt sleeve were wet with blood. He went aft, holding
the wrist of his wounded hand. The boatswain was still at the wheel. "By
zounds!" said the lieutenant, with a nervous, quavering laugh, "I didn't
know there was such fight in the villains."

His wounded and shattered sloop was again coming up toward him under
sail, but the pirates had surrendered, and the fight was over.



Chapter VI. BLUESKIN THE PIRATE


I

CAPE MAY and Cape Henlopen form, as it were, the upper and lower jaws of
a gigantic mouth, which disgorges from its monstrous gullet the cloudy
waters of the Delaware Bay into the heaving, sparkling blue-green of
the Atlantic Ocean. From Cape Henlopen as the lower jaw there juts out a
long, curving fang of high, smooth-rolling sand dunes, cutting sharp and
clean against the still, blue sky above silent, naked, utterly deserted,
excepting for the squat, white-walled lighthouse standing upon the crest
of the highest hill. Within this curving, sheltering hook of sand hills
lie the smooth waters of Lewes Harbor, and, set a little back from the
shore, the quaint old town, with its dingy wooden houses of clapboard
and shingle, looks sleepily out through the masts of the shipping lying
at anchor in the harbor, to the purple, clean-cut, level thread of the
ocean horizon beyond.

Lewes is a queer, odd, old-fashioned little town, smelling fragrant of
salt marsh and sea breeze. It is rarely visited by strangers. The people
who live there are the progeny of people who have lived there for many
generations, and it is the very place to nurse, and preserve, and care
for old legends and traditions of bygone times, until they grow from
bits of gossip and news into local history of considerable size. As in
the busier world men talk of last year's elections, here these old bits,
and scraps, and odds and ends of history are retailed to the listener
who cares to listen--traditions of the War of 1812, when Beresford's
fleet lay off the harbor threatening to bombard the town; tales of the
Revolution and of Earl Howe's warships, tarrying for a while in the
quiet harbor before they sailed up the river to shake old Philadelphia
town with the thunders of their guns at Red Bank and Fort Mifflin.

With these substantial and sober threads of real history, other and more
lurid colors are interwoven into the web of local lore--legends of the
dark doings of famous pirates, of their mysterious, sinister comings and
goings, of treasures buried in the sand dunes and pine barrens back of
the cape and along the Atlantic beach to the southward.

Of such is the story of Blueskin, the pirate.


II

It was in the fall and the early winter of the year 1750, and again
in the summer of the year following, that the famous pirate, Blueskin,
became especially identified with Lewes as a part of its traditional
history.

For some time--for three or four years--rumors and reports of Blueskin's
doings in the West Indies and off the Carolinas had been brought in now
and then by sea captains. There was no more cruel, bloody, desperate,
devilish pirate than he in all those pirate-infested waters. All kinds
of wild and bloody stories were current concerning him, but it never
occurred to the good folk of Lewes that such stories were some time to
be a part of their own history.

But one day a schooner came drifting into Lewes harbor--shattered,
wounded, her forecastle splintered, her foremast shot half away, and
three great tattered holes in her mainsail. The mate with one of the
crew came ashore in the boat for help and a doctor. He reported that the
captain and the cook were dead and there were three wounded men aboard.
The story he told to the gathering crowd brought a very peculiar thrill
to those who heard it. They had fallen in with Blueskin, he said, off
Fenwick's Island (some twenty or thirty miles below the capes), and
the pirates had come aboard of them; but, finding that the cargo of the
schooner consisted only of cypress shingles and lumber, had soon quitted
their prize. Perhaps Blueskin was disappointed at not finding a more
valuable capture; perhaps the spirit of deviltry was hotter in him that
morning than usual; anyhow, as the pirate craft bore away she fired
three broadsides at short range into the helpless coaster. The captain
had been killed at the first fire, the cook had died on the way up,
three of the crew were wounded, and the vessel was leaking fast, betwixt
wind and water.

Such was the mate's story. It spread like wildfire, and in half an hour
all the town was in a ferment. Fenwick's Island was very near home;
Blueskin might come sailing into the harbor at any minute and then--! In
an hour Sheriff Jones had called together most of the able-bodied men
of the town, muskets and rifles were taken down from the chimney places,
and every preparation was made to defend the place against the pirates,
should they come into the harbor and attempt to land.

But Blueskin did not come that day, nor did he come the next or the
next. But on the afternoon of the third the news went suddenly flying
over the town that the pirates were inside the capes. As the report
spread the people came running--men, women, and children--to the green
before the tavern, where a little knot of old seamen were gathered
together, looking fixedly out toward the offing, talking in low voices.
Two vessels, one bark-rigged, the other and smaller a sloop, were slowly
creeping up the bay, a couple of miles or so away and just inside the
cape. There appeared nothing remarkable about the two crafts, but the
little crowd that continued gathering upon the green stood looking
out across the bay at them none the less anxiously for that. They were
sailing close-hauled to the wind, the sloop following in the wake of her
consort as the pilot fish follows in the wake of the shark.

But the course they held did not lie toward the harbor, but rather bore
away toward the Jersey shore, and by and by it began to be apparent that
Blueskin did not intend visiting the town. Nevertheless, those who stood
looking did not draw a free breath until, after watching the two pirates
for more than an hour and a half, they saw them--then about six miles
away--suddenly put about and sail with a free wind out to sea again.

"The bloody villains have gone!" said old Captain Wolfe, shutting his
telescope with a click.

But Lewes was not yet quit of Blueskin. Two days later a half-breed from
Indian River bay came up, bringing the news that the pirates had sailed
into the inlet--some fifteen miles below Lewes--and had careened the
bark to clean her.

Perhaps Blueskin did not care to stir up the country people against him,
for the half-breed reported that the pirates were doing no harm, and
that what they took from the farmers of Indian River and Rehoboth they
paid for with good hard money.

It was while the excitement over the pirates was at its highest fever
heat that Levi West came home again.


III

Even in the middle of the last century the grist mill, a couple of miles
from Lewes, although it was at most but fifty or sixty years old, had
all a look of weather-beaten age, for the cypress shingles, of which it
was built, ripen in a few years of wind and weather to a silvery, hoary
gray, and the white powdering of flour lent it a look as though the
dust of ages had settled upon it, making the shadows within dim, soft,
mysterious. A dozen willow trees shaded with dappling, shivering ripples
of shadow the road before the mill door, and the mill itself, and the
long, narrow, shingle-built, one-storied, hip-roofed dwelling house.
At the time of the story the mill had descended in a direct line of
succession to Hiram White, the grandson of old Ephraim White, who had
built it, it was said, in 1701.

Hiram White was only twenty-seven years old, but he was already in local
repute as a "character." As a boy he was thought to be half-witted or
"natural," and, as is the case with such unfortunates in small country
towns where everybody knows everybody, he was made a common sport and
jest for the keener, crueler wits of the neighborhood. Now that he was
grown to the ripeness of manhood he was still looked upon as being--to
use a quaint expression--"slack," or "not jest right." He was heavy,
awkward, ungainly and loose-jointed, and enormously, prodigiously
strong. He had a lumpish, thick-featured face, with lips heavy and
loosely hanging, that gave him an air of stupidity, half droll, half
pathetic. His little eyes were set far apart and flat with his face, his
eyebrows were nearly white and his hair was of a sandy, colorless
kind. He was singularly taciturn, lisping thickly when he did talk,
and stuttering and hesitating in his speech, as though his words moved
faster than his mind could follow. It was the custom for local wags to
urge, or badger, or tempt him to talk, for the sake of the ready laugh
that always followed the few thick, stammering words and the stupid
drooping of the jaw at the end of each short speech. Perhaps Squire
Hall was the only one in Lewes Hundred who misdoubted that Hiram was
half-witted. He had had dealings with him and was wont to say that
whoever bought Hiram White for a fool made a fool's bargain. Certainly,
whether he had common wits or no, Hiram had managed his mill to pretty
good purpose and was fairly well off in the world as prosperity went in
southern Delaware and in those days. No doubt, had it come to the pinch,
he might have bought some of his tormentors out three times over.

Hiram White had suffered quite a financial loss some six months before,
through that very Blueskin who was now lurking in Indian River inlet.
He had entered into a "venture" with Josiah Shippin, a Philadelphia
merchant, to the tune of seven hundred pounds sterling. The money had
been invested in a cargo of flour and corn meal which had been shipped
to Jamaica by the bark Nancy Lee. The Nancy Lee had been captured by the
pirates off Currituck Sound, the crew set adrift in the longboat, and
the bark herself and all her cargo burned to the water's edge.

Five hundred of the seven hundred pounds invested in the unfortunate
"venture" was money bequeathed by Hiram's father, seven years before, to
Levi West.

Eleazer White had been twice married, the second time to the widow West.
She had brought with her to her new home a good-looking, long-legged,
black-eyed, black-haired ne'er-do-well of a son, a year or so younger
than Hiram. He was a shrewd, quick-witted lad, idle, shiftless, willful,
ill-trained perhaps, but as bright and keen as a pin. He was the very
opposite to poor, dull Hiram. Eleazer White had never loved his son; he
was ashamed of the poor, slack-witted oaf. Upon the other hand, he was
very fond of Levi West, whom he always called "our Levi," and whom he
treated in every way as though he were his own son. He tried to train
the lad to work in the mill, and was patient beyond what the patience
of most fathers would have been with his stepson's idleness and
shiftlessness. "Never mind," he was used to say. "Levi'll come all
right. Levi's as bright as a button."

It was one of the greatest blows of the old miller's life when Levi ran
away to sea. In his last sickness the old man's mind constantly turned
to his lost stepson. "Mebby he'll come back again," said he, "and if he
does I want you to be good to him, Hiram. I've done my duty by you and
have left you the house and mill, but I want you to promise that if Levi
comes back again you'll give him a home and a shelter under this roof if
he wants one." And Hiram had promised to do as his father asked.

After Eleazer died it was found that he had bequeathed five hundred
pounds to his "beloved stepson, Levi West," and had left Squire Hall as
trustee.

Levi West had been gone nearly nine years and not a word had been heard
from him; there could be little or no doubt that he was dead.

One day Hiram came into Squire Hall's office with a letter in his hand.
It was the time of the old French war, and flour and corn meal were
fetching fabulous prices in the British West Indies. The letter Hiram
brought with him was from a Philadelphia merchant, Josiah Shippin, with
whom he had had some dealings. Mr. Shippin proposed that Hiram should
join him in sending a "venture" of flour and corn meal to Kingston,
Jamaica. Hiram had slept upon the letter overnight and now he brought
it to the old Squire. Squire Hall read the letter, shaking his head the
while. "Too much risk, Hiram!" said he. "Mr Shippin wouldn't have asked
you to go into this venture if he could have got anybody else to do
so. My advice is that you let it alone. I reckon you've come to me
for advice?" Hiram shook his head. "Ye haven't? What have ye come for,
then?"

"Seven hundred pounds," said Hiram.

"Seven hundred pounds!" said Squire Hall. "I haven't got seven hundred
pounds to lend you, Hiram."

"Five hundred been left to Levi--I got hundred--raise hundred more on
mortgage," said Hiram.

"Tut, tut, Hiram," said Squire Hall, "that'll never do in the world.
Suppose Levi West should come back again, what then? I'm responsible for
that money. If you wanted to borrow it now for any reasonable venture,
you should have it and welcome, but for such a wildcat scheme--"

"Levi never come back," said Hiram--"nine years gone Levi's dead."

"Mebby he is," said Squire Hall, "but we don't know that."

"I'll give bond for security," said Hiram.

Squire Hall thought for a while in silence. "Very well, Hiram," said he
by and by, "if you'll do that. Your father left the money, and I don't
see that it's right for me to stay his son from using it. But if it is
lost, Hiram, and if Levi should come back, it will go well to ruin ye."

So Hiram White invested seven hundred pounds in the Jamaica venture and
every farthing of it was burned by Blueskin, off Currituck Sound.


IV

Sally Martin was said to be the prettiest girl in Lewes Hundred, and
when the rumor began to leak out that Hiram White was courting her the
whole community took it as a monstrous joke. It was the common thing to
greet Hiram himself with, "Hey, Hiram; how's Sally?" Hiram never made
answer to such salutation, but went his way as heavily, as impassively,
as dully as ever.

The joke was true. Twice a week, rain or shine, Hiram White never
failed to scrape his feet upon Billy Martin's doorstep. Twice a week, on
Sundays and Thursdays, he never failed to take his customary seat by the
kitchen fire. He rarely said anything by way of talk; he nodded to the
farmer, to his wife, to Sally and, when he chanced to be at home, to her
brother, but he ventured nothing further. There he would sit from half
past seven until nine o'clock, stolid, heavy, impassive, his dull eyes
following now one of the family and now another, but always coming back
again to Sally. It sometimes happened that she had other company--some
of the young men of the neighborhood. The presence of such seemed to
make no difference to Hiram; he bore whatever broad jokes might be
cracked upon him, whatever grins, whatever giggling might follow those
jokes, with the same patient impassiveness. There he would sit, silent,
unresponsive; then, at the first stroke of nine o'clock, he would rise,
shoulder his ungainly person into his overcoat, twist his head into
his three-cornered hat, and with a "Good night, Sally, I be going now,"
would take his departure, shutting the door carefully to behind him.

Never, perhaps, was there a girl in the world had such a lover and such
a courtship as Sally Martin.


V

It was one Thursday evening in the latter part of November, about a week
after Blueskin's appearance off the capes, and while the one subject of
talk was of the pirates being in Indian River inlet. The air was still
and wintry; a sudden cold snap had set in and skims of ice had formed
over puddles in the road; the smoke from the chimneys rose straight in
the quiet air and voices sounded loud, as they do in frosty weather.

Hiram White sat by the dim light of a tallow dip, poring laboriously
over some account books. It was not quite seven o'clock, and he never
started for Billy Martin's before that hour. As he ran his finger slowly
and hesitatingly down the column of figures, he heard the kitchen door
beyond open and shut, the noise of footsteps crossing the floor and the
scraping of a chair dragged forward to the hearth. Then came the sound
of a basket of corncobs being emptied on the smoldering blaze and then
the snapping and crackling of the reanimated fire. Hiram thought nothing
of all this, excepting, in a dim sort of way, that it was Bob, the negro
mill hand, or old black Dinah, the housekeeper, and so went on with his
calculations.

At last he closed the books with a snap and, smoothing down his hair,
arose, took up the candle, and passed out of the room into the kitchen
beyond.

A man was sitting in front of the corncob fire that flamed and blazed in
the great, gaping, sooty fireplace. A rough overcoat was flung over the
chair behind him and his hands were spread out to the roaring warmth.
At the sound of the lifted latch and of Hiram's entrance he turned his
head, and when Hiram saw his face he stood suddenly still as though
turned to stone. The face, marvelously altered and changed as it was,
was the face of his stepbrother, Levi West. He was not dead; he had
come home again. For a time not a sound broke the dead, unbroken silence
excepting the crackling of the blaze in the fireplace and the sharp
ticking of the tall clock in the corner. The one face, dull and stolid,
with the light of the candle shining upward over its lumpy features,
looked fixedly, immovably, stonily at the other, sharp, shrewd,
cunning--the red wavering light of the blaze shining upon the high cheek
bones, cutting sharp on the nose and twinkling in the glassy turn of the
black, ratlike eyes. Then suddenly that face cracked, broadened, spread
to a grin. "I have come back again, Hi," said Levi, and at the sound of
the words the speechless spell was broken.

Hiram answered never a word, but he walked to the fireplace, set the
candle down upon the dusty mantelshelf among the boxes and bottles, and,
drawing forward a chair upon the other side of the hearth, sat down.

His dull little eyes never moved from his stepbrother's face. There was
no curiosity in his expression, no surprise, no wonder. The heavy under
lip dropped a little farther open and there was more than usual of
dull, expressionless stupidity upon the lumpish face; but that was all.

As was said, the face upon which he looked was strangely, marvelously
changed from what it had been when he had last seen it nine years
before, and, though it was still the face of Levi West, it was a very
different Levi West than the shiftless ne'er-do-well who had run away to
sea in the Brazilian brig that long time ago. That Levi West had been
a rough, careless, happy-go-lucky fellow; thoughtless and selfish, but
with nothing essentially evil or sinister in his nature. The Levi West
that now sat in a rush-bottom chair at the other side of the fireplace
had that stamped upon his front that might be both evil and sinister.
His swart complexion was tanned to an Indian copper. On one side of his
face was a curious discoloration in the skin and a long, crooked, cruel
scar that ran diagonally across forehead and temple and cheek in a
white, jagged seam. This discoloration was of a livid blue, about the
tint of a tattoo mark. It made a patch the size of a man's hand, lying
across the cheek and the side of the neck. Hiram could not keep his eyes
from this mark and the white scar cutting across it.

There was an odd sort of incongruity in Levi's dress; a pair of heavy
gold earrings and a dirty red handkerchief knotted loosely around his
neck, beneath an open collar, displaying to its full length the lean,
sinewy throat with its bony "Adam's apple," gave to his costume somewhat
the smack of a sailor. He wore a coat that had once been of fine
plum color--now stained and faded--too small for his lean length, and
furbished with tarnished lace. Dirty cambric cuffs hung at his wrists
and on his fingers were half a dozen and more rings, set with stones
that shone, and glistened, and twinkled in the light of the fire. The
hair at either temple was twisted into a Spanish curl, plastered flat to
the cheek, and a plaited queue hung halfway down his back.

Hiram, speaking never a word, sat motionless, his dull little eyes
traveling slowly up and down and around and around his stepbrother's
person.

Levi did not seem to notice his scrutiny, leaning forward, now with
his palms spread out to the grateful warmth, now rubbing them slowly
together. But at last he suddenly whirled his chair around, rasping
on the floor, and faced his stepbrother. He thrust his hand into his
capacious coat pocket and brought out a pipe which he proceeded to fill
from a skin of tobacco. "Well, Hi," said he, "d'ye see I've come back
home again?"

"Thought you was dead," said Hiram, dully.

Levi laughed, then he drew a red-hot coal out of the fire, put it upon
the bowl of the pipe and began puffing out clouds of pungent smoke.
"Nay, nay," said he; "not dead--not dead by odds. But [puff] by the
Eternal Holy, Hi, I played many a close game [puff] with old Davy Jones,
for all that."

Hiram's look turned inquiringly toward the jagged scar and Levi caught
the slow glance. "You're lookin' at this," said he, running his finger
down the crooked seam. "That looks bad, but it wasn't so close as
this"--laying his hand for a moment upon the livid stain. "A cooly devil
off Singapore gave me that cut when we fell foul of an opium junk in the
China Sea four years ago last September. This," touching the disfiguring
blue patch again, "was a closer miss, Hi. A Spanish captain fired a
pistol at me down off Santa Catharina. He was so nigh that the powder
went under the skin and it'll never come out again. ---- his eyes--he
had better have fired the pistol into his own head that morning. But
never mind that. I reckon I'm changed, ain't I, Hi?"

He took his pipe out of his mouth and looked inquiringly at Hiram, who
nodded.

Levi laughed. "Devil doubt it," said he, "but whether I'm changed or no,
I'll take my affidavy that you are the same old half-witted Hi that
you used to be. I remember dad used to say that you hadn't no more than
enough wits to keep you out of the rain. And, talking of dad, Hi, I
hearn tell he's been dead now these nine years gone. D'ye know what I've
come home for?"

Hiram shook his head.

"I've come for that five hundred pounds that dad left me when he died,
for I hearn tell of that, too."

Hiram sat quite still for a second or two and then he said, "I put that
money out to venture and lost it all."

Levi's face fell and he took his pipe out of his mouth, regarding Hiram
sharply and keenly. "What d'ye mean?" said he presently.

"I thought you was dead--and I put--seven hundred pounds--into Nancy
Lee--and Blueskin burned her--off Currituck."

"Burned her off Currituck!" repeated Levi. Then suddenly a light seemed
to break upon his comprehension. "Burned by Blueskin!" he repeated,
and thereupon flung himself back in his chair and burst into a short,
boisterous fit of laughter. "Well, by the Holy Eternal, Hi, if that
isn't a piece of your tarnal luck. Burned by Blueskin, was it?" He
paused for a moment, as though turning it over in his mind. Then he
laughed again. "All the same," said he presently, "d'ye see, I can't
suffer for Blueskin's doings. The money was willed to me, fair and true,
and you have got to pay it, Hiram White, burn or sink, Blueskin or no
Blueskin." Again he puffed for a moment or two in reflective silence.
"All the same, Hi," said he, once more resuming the thread of talk, "I
don't reckon to be too hard on you. You be only half-witted, anyway, and
I sha'n't be too hard on you. I give you a month to raise that money,
and while you're doing it I'll jest hang around here. I've been in
trouble, Hi, d'ye see. I'm under a cloud and so I want to keep here, as
quiet as may be. I'll tell ye how it came about: I had a set-to with a
land pirate in Philadelphia, and somebody got hurt. That's the reason
I'm here now, and don't you say anything about it. Do you understand?"

Hiram opened his lips as though it was his intent to answer, then seemed
to think better of it and contented himself by nodding his head.

That Thursday night was the first for a six-month that Hiram White did
not scrape his feet clean at Billy Martin's doorstep.


VI

Within a week Levi West had pretty well established himself among his
old friends and acquaintances, though upon a different footing from
that of nine years before, for this was a very different Levi from that
other. Nevertheless, he was none the less popular in the barroom of the
tavern and at the country store, where he was always the center of a
group of loungers. His nine years seemed to have been crowded full of
the wildest of wild adventures and happenings, as well by land as by
sea, and, given an appreciative audience, he would reel off his yarns by
the hour, in a reckless, devil-may-care fashion that set agape even old
sea dogs who had sailed the western ocean since boyhood. Then he seemed
always to have plenty of money, and he loved to spend it at the tavern
tap-room, with a lavishness that was at once the wonder and admiration
of gossips.

At that time, as was said, Blueskin was the one engrossing topic of
talk, and it added not a little to Levi's prestige when it was found
that he had actually often seen that bloody, devilish pirate with his
own eyes. A great, heavy, burly fellow, Levi said he was, with a beard
as black as a hat--a devil with his sword and pistol afloat, but not so
black as he was painted when ashore. He told of many adventures in which
Blueskin figured and was then always listened to with more than usual
gaping interest.

As for Blueskin, the quiet way in which the pirates conducted themselves
at Indian River almost made the Lewes folk forget what he could do when
the occasion called. They almost ceased to remember that poor shattered
schooner that had crawled with its ghastly dead and groaning wounded
into the harbor a couple of weeks since. But if for a while they forgot
who or what Blueskin was, it was not for long.

One day a bark from Bristol, bound for Cuba and laden with a valuable
cargo of cloth stuffs and silks, put into Lewes harbor to take in water.
The captain himself came ashore and was at the tavern for two or
three hours. It happened that Levi was there and that the talk was
of Blueskin. The English captain, a grizzled old sea dog, listened to
Levi's yarns with not a little contempt. He had, he said, sailed in the
China Sea and the Indian Ocean too long to be afraid of any hog-eating
Yankee pirate such as this Blueskin. A junk full of coolies armed with
stink-pots was something to speak of, but who ever heard of the likes of
Blueskin falling afoul of anything more than a Spanish canoe or a Yankee
coaster?

Levi grinned. "All the same, my hearty," said he, "if I was you I'd
give Blueskin a wide berth. I hear that he's cleaned the vessel that was
careened awhile ago, and mebby he'll give you a little trouble if you
come too nigh him."

To this the Englishman only answered that Blueskin might be----, and
that the next afternoon, wind and weather permitting, he intended to
heave anchor and run out to sea.

Levi laughed again. "I wish I might be here to see what'll happen," said
he, "but I'm going up the river to-night to see a gal and mebby won't be
back again for three or four days."

The next afternoon the English bark set sail as the captain promised,
and that night Lewes town was awake until almost morning, gazing at a
broad red glare that lighted up the sky away toward the southeast. Two
days afterward a negro oysterman came up from Indian River with news
that the pirates were lying off the inlet, bringing ashore bales of
goods from their larger vessel and piling the same upon the beach under
tarpaulins. He said that it was known down at Indian River that Blueskin
had fallen afoul of an English bark, had burned her and had murdered the
captain and all but three of the crew, who had joined with the pirates.

The excitement over this terrible happening had only begun to subside
when another occurred to cap it. One afternoon a ship's boat, in which
were five men and two women, came rowing into Lewes harbor. It was the
longboat of the Charleston packet, bound for New York, and was commanded
by the first mate. The packet had been attacked and captured by the
pirates about ten leagues south by east of Cape Henlopen. The pirates
had come aboard of them at night and no resistance had been offered.
Perhaps it was that circumstance that saved the lives of all, for no
murder or violence had been done. Nevertheless, officers, passengers
and crew had been stripped of everything of value and set adrift in
the boats and the ship herself had been burned. The longboat had become
separated from the others during the night and had sighted Henlopen a
little after sunrise.

It may be here said that Squire Hall made out a report of these two
occurrences and sent it up to Philadelphia by the mate of the packet.
But for some reason it was nearly four weeks before a sloop of war was
sent around from New York. In the meanwhile, the pirates had disposed
of the booty stored under the tarpaulins on the beach at Indian River
inlet, shipping some of it away in two small sloops and sending the rest
by wagons somewhere up the country.


VII

Levi had told the English captain that he was going up-country to visit
one of his lady friends. He was gone nearly two weeks. Then once more
he appeared, as suddenly, as unexpectedly, as he had done when he first
returned to Lewes. Hiram was sitting at supper when the door opened and
Levi walked in, hanging up his hat behind the door as unconcernedly as
though he had only been gone an hour. He was in an ugly, lowering humor
and sat himself down at the table without uttering a word, resting his
chin upon his clenched fist and glowering fixedly at the corn cake while
Dinah fetched him a plate and knife and fork.

His coming seemed to have taken away all of Hiram's appetite. He pushed
away his plate and sat staring at his stepbrother, who presently fell
to at the bacon and eggs like a famished wolf. Not a word was said until
Levi had ended his meal and filled his pipe. "Look'ee, Hiram," said he,
as he stooped over the fire and raked out a hot coal. "Look'ee, Hiram!
I've been to Philadelphia, d'ye see, a-settlin' up that trouble I told
you about when I first come home. D'ye understand? D'ye remember? D'ye
get it through your skull?" He looked around over his shoulder, waiting
as though for an answer. But getting none, he continued: "I expect two
gentlemen here from Philadelphia to-night. They're friends of mine and
are coming to talk over the business and ye needn't stay at home, Hi.
You can go out somewhere, d'ye understand?" And then he added with a
grin, "Ye can go to see Sally."

Hiram pushed back his chair and arose. He leaned with his back against
the side of the fireplace. "I'll stay at home," said he presently.

"But I don't want you to stay at home, Hi," said Levi. "We'll have to
talk business and I want you to go!"

"I'll stay at home," said Hiram again.

Levi's brow grew as black as thunder. He ground his teeth together and
for a moment or two it seemed as though an explosion was coming. But he
swallowed his passion with a gulp. "You're a----pig-headed, half-witted
fool," said he. Hiram never so much as moved his eyes. "As for you,"
said Levi, whirling round upon Dinah, who was clearing the table, and
glowering balefully upon the old negress, "you put them things down and
git out of here. Don't you come nigh this kitchen again till I tell
ye to. If I catch you pryin' around may I be----, eyes and liver, if I
don't cut your heart out."

In about half an hour Levi's friends came; the first a little, thin,
wizened man with a very foreign look. He was dressed in a rusty black
suit and wore gray yarn stockings and shoes with brass buckles. The
other was also plainly a foreigner. He was dressed in sailor fashion,
with petticoat breeches of duck, a heavy pea-jacket, and thick boots,
reaching to the knees. He wore a red sash tied around his waist, and
once, as he pushed back his coat, Hiram saw the glitter of a pistol
butt. He was a powerful, thickset man, low-browed and bull-necked, his
cheek, and chin, and throat closely covered with a stubble of blue-black
beard. He wore a red kerchief tied around his head and over it a cocked
hat, edged with tarnished gilt braid.

Levi himself opened the door to them. He exchanged a few words outside
with his visitors, in a foreign language of which Hiram understood
nothing. Neither of the two strangers spoke a word to Hiram: the little
man shot him a sharp look out of the corners of his eyes and the burly
ruffian scowled blackly at him, but beyond that neither vouchsafed him
any regard.

Levi drew to the shutters, shot the bolt in the outer door, and tilted
a chair against the latch of the one that led from the kitchen into the
adjoining room. Then the three worthies seated themselves at the table
which Dinah had half cleared of the supper china, and were presently
deeply engrossed over a packet of papers which the big, burly man had
brought with him in the pocket of his pea-jacket. The confabulation was
conducted throughout in the same foreign language which Levi had used
when first speaking to them--a language quite unintelligible to Hiram's
ears. Now and then the murmur of talk would rise loud and harsh over
some disputed point; now and then it would sink away to whispers.

Twice the tall clock in the corner whirred and sharply struck the
hour, but throughout the whole long consultation Hiram stood silent,
motionless as a stock, his eyes fixed almost unwinkingly upon the three
heads grouped close together around the dim, flickering light of the
candle and the papers scattered upon the table.

Suddenly the talk came to an end, the three heads separated and the
three chairs were pushed back, grating harshly. Levi rose, went to the
closet and brought thence a bottle of Hiram's apple brandy, as coolly
as though it belonged to himself. He set three tumblers and a crock of
water upon the table and each helped himself liberally.

As the two visitors departed down the road, Levi stood for a while at
the open door, looking after the dusky figures until they were swallowed
in the darkness. Then he turned, came in, shut the door, shuddered, took
a final dose of the apple brandy and went to bed, without, since his
first suppressed explosion, having said a single word to Hiram.

Hiram, left alone, stood for a while, silent, motionless as ever, then
he looked slowly about him, gave a shake of the shoulders as though to
arouse himself, and taking the candle, left the room, shutting the door
noiselessly behind him.


VIII

This time of Levi West's unwelcome visitation was indeed a time of
bitter trouble and tribulation to poor Hiram White. Money was of very
different value in those days than it is now, and five hundred pounds
was in its way a good round lump--in Sussex County it was almost a
fortune. It was a desperate struggle for Hiram to raise the amount of
his father's bequest to his stepbrother. Squire Hall, as may have been
gathered, had a very warm and friendly feeling for Hiram, believing in
him when all others disbelieved; nevertheless, in the matter of money
the old man was as hard and as cold as adamant. He would, he said, do
all he could to help Hiram, but that five hundred pounds must and should
be raised--Hiram must release his security bond. He would loan him, he
said, three hundred pounds, taking a mortgage upon the mill. He would
have lent him four hundred but that there was already a first mortgage
of one hundred pounds upon it, and he would not dare to put more than
three hundred more atop of that.

Hiram had a considerable quantity of wheat which he had bought upon
speculation and which was then lying idle in a Philadelphia storehouse.
This he had sold at public sale and at a very great sacrifice; he
realized barely one hundred pounds upon it. The financial horizon looked
very black to him; nevertheless, Levi's five hundred pounds was raised,
and paid into Squire Hall's hands, and Squire Hall released Hiram's
bond.

The business was finally closed on one cold, gray afternoon in the early
part of December. As Hiram tore his bond across and then tore it across
again and again, Squire Hall pushed back the papers upon his desk and
cocked his feet upon its slanting top. "Hiram," said he, abruptly,
"Hiram, do you know that Levi West is forever hanging around Billy
Martin's house, after that pretty daughter of his?"

So long a space of silence followed the speech that the Squire began to
think that Hiram might not have heard him. But Hiram had heard. "No,"
said he, "I didn't know it."

"Well, he is," said Squire Hall. "It's the talk of the whole
neighborhood. The talk's pretty bad, too. D'ye know that they say that
she was away from home three days last week, nobody knew where? The
fellow's turned her head with his sailor's yarns and his traveler's
lies."

Hiram said not a word, but he sat looking at the other in stolid
silence. "That stepbrother of yours," continued the old Squire
presently, "is a rascal--he is a rascal, Hiram, and I mis-doubt he's
something worse. I hear he's been seen in some queer places and with
queer company of late."

He stopped again, and still Hiram said nothing. "And look'ee, Hiram,"
the old man resumed, suddenly, "I do hear that you be courtin' the girl,
too; is that so?"

"Yes," said Hiram, "I'm courtin' her, too."

"Tut! tut!" said the Squire, "that's a pity, Hiram. I'm afraid your
cakes are dough."

After he had left the Squire's office, Hiram stood for a while in the
street, bareheaded, his hat in his hand, staring unwinkingly down at
the ground at his feet, with stupidly drooping lips and lackluster eyes.
Presently he raised his hand and began slowly smoothing down the sandy
shock of hair upon his forehead. At last he aroused himself with a
shake, looked dully up and down the street, and then, putting on his
hat, turned and walked slowly and heavily away.

The early dusk of the cloudy winter evening was settling fast, for
the sky was leaden and threatening. At the outskirts of the town Hiram
stopped again and again stood for a while in brooding thought. Then,
finally, he turned slowly, not the way that led homeward, but taking the
road that led between the bare and withered fields and crooked fences
toward Billy Martin's.

It would be hard to say just what it was that led Hiram to seek Billy
Martin's house at that time of day--whether it was fate or ill fortune.
He could not have chosen a more opportune time to confirm his own
undoing. What he saw was the very worst that his heart feared.

Along the road, at a little distance from the house, was a mock-orange
hedge, now bare, naked, leafless. As Hiram drew near he heard footsteps
approaching and low voices. He drew back into the fence corner and there
stood, half sheltered by the stark network of twigs. Two figures passed
slowly along the gray of the roadway in the gloaming. One was his
stepbrother, the other was Sally Martin. Levi's arm was around her, he
was whispering into her ear, and her head rested upon his shoulder.

Hiram stood as still, as breathless, as cold as ice. They stopped upon
the side of the road just beyond where he stood. Hiram's eyes never
left them. There for some time they talked together in low voices,
their words now and then reaching the ears of that silent, breathless
listener.

Suddenly there came the clattering of an opening door, and then Betty
Martin's voice broke the silence, harshly, shrilly: "Sal!--Sal!--Sally
Martin! You, Sally Martin! Come in yere. Where be ye?"

The girl flung her arms around Levi's neck and their lips met in one
quick kiss. The next moment she was gone, flying swiftly, silently, down
the road past where Hiram stood, stooping as she ran. Levi stood looking
after her until she was gone; then he turned and walked away whistling.

His whistling died shrilly into silence in the wintry distance, and
then at last Hiram came stumbling out from the hedge. His face had never
looked before as it looked then.


IX

Hiram was standing in front of the fire with his hands clasped behind
his back. He had not touched the supper on the table. Levi was eating
with an appetite. Suddenly he looked over his plate at his stepbrother.

"How about that five hundred pounds, Hiram?" said he. "I gave ye a month
to raise it and the month ain't quite up yet, but I'm goin' to leave
this here place day after to-morrow--by next day at the furd'st--and I
want the money that's mine."

"I paid it to Squire Hall to-day and he has it fer ye," said Hiram,
dully.

Levi laid down his knife and fork with a clatter. "Squire Hall!" said
he, "what's Squire Hall got to do with it? Squire Hall didn't have the
use of that money. It was you had it and you have got to pay it back to
me, and if you don't do it, by G----, I'll have the law on you, sure as
you're born."

"Squire Hall's trustee--I ain't your trustee," said Hiram, in the same
dull voice.

"I don't know nothing about trustees," said Levi, "or anything about
lawyer business, either. What I want to know is, are you going to pay me
my money or no?"

"No," said Hiram, "I ain't--Squire Hall'll pay ye; you go to him."

Levi West's face grew purple red. He pushed back, his chair grating
harshly. "You--bloody land pirate!" he said, grinding his teeth
together. "I see through your tricks. You're up to cheating me out of
my money. You know very well that Squire Hall is down on me, hard and
bitter--writin' his----reports to Philadelphia and doing all he can to
stir up everybody agin me and to bring the bluejackets down on me. I
see through your tricks as clear as glass, but ye shatn't trick me. I'll
have my money if there's law in the land--ye bloody, unnatural thief ye,
who'd go agin our dead father's will!"

Then--if the roof had fallen in upon him, Levi West could not have been
more amazed--Hiram suddenly strode forward, and, leaning half across the
table with his fists clenched, fairly glared into Levi's eyes. His face,
dull, stupid, wooden, was now fairly convulsed with passion. The great
veins stood out upon his temples like knotted whipcords, and when
he spoke his voice was more a breathless snarl than the voice of a
Christian man.

"Ye'll have the law, will ye?" said he. "Ye'll--have the law, will ye?
You're afeared to go to law--Levi West--you try th' law--and see how ye
like it. Who 're you to call me thief--ye bloody, murderin' villain ye!
You're the thief--Levi West--you come here and stole my daddy from me ye
did. You make me ruin--myself to pay what oughter to been mine then--ye
ye steal the gal I was courtin', to boot." He stopped and his lips
rithed for words to say. "I know ye," said he, grinding his teeth. "I
know ye! And only for what my daddy made me promise I'd a-had you up to
the magistrate's before this."

Then, pointing with quivering finger: "There's the door--you see it! Go
out that there door and don't never come into it again--if ye do--or
if ye ever come where I can lay eyes on ye again--by th' Holy Holy I'll
hale ye up to the Squire's office and tell all I know and all I've seen.
Oh, I'll give ye your belly-fill of law if--ye want th' law! Git out of
the house, I say!"

As Hiram spoke Levi seemed to shrink together. His face changed from its
copper color to a dull, waxy yellow. When the other ended he answered
never a word. But he pushed back his chair, rose, put on his hat and,
with a furtive, sidelong look, left the house, without stopping to
finish the supper which he had begun. He never entered Hiram White's
door again.


X

Hiram had driven out the evil spirit from his home, but the mischief
that it had brewed was done and could not be undone. The next day it
was known that Sally Martin had run away from home, and that she had run
away with Levi West. Old Billy Martin had been in town in the morning
with his rifle, hunting for Levi and threatening if he caught him to
have his life for leading his daughter astray.

And, as the evil spirit had left Hiram's house, so had another and a
greater evil spirit quitted its harborage. It was heard from Indian
River in a few days more that Blueskin had quitted the inlet and had
sailed away to the southeast; and it was reported, by those who seemed
to know, that he had finally quitted those parts.

It was well for himself that Blueskin left when he did, for not three
days after he sailed away the Scorpion sloop-of-war dropped anchor
in Lewes harbor. The New York agent of the unfortunate packet and a
government commissioner had also come aboard the Scorpion.

Without loss of time, the officer in command instituted a keen and
searching examination that brought to light some singularly curious
facts. It was found that a very friendly understanding must have existed
for some time between the pirates and the people of Indian River, for,
in the houses throughout that section, many things--some of considerable
value--that had been taken by the pirates from the packet, were
discovered and seized by the commissioner. Valuables of a suspicious
nature had found their way even into the houses of Lewes itself.

The whole neighborhood seemed to have become more or less tainted by the
presence of the pirates.

Even poor Hiram White did not escape the suspicions of having had
dealings with them. Of course the examiners were not slow in discovering
that Levi West had been deeply concerned with Blueskin's doings.

Old Dinah and black Bob were examined, and not only did the story of
Levi's two visitors come to light, but also the fact that Hiram was
present and with them while they were in the house disposing of the
captured goods to their agent.

Of all that he had endured, nothing seemed to cut poor Hiram so deeply
and keenly as these unjust suspicions. They seemed to bring the last
bitter pang, hardest of all to bear.

Levi had taken from him his father's love; he had driven him, if not to
ruin, at least perilously close to it. He had run away with the girl he
loved, and now, through him, even Hiram's good name was gone.

Neither did the suspicions against him remain passive; they became
active.

Goldsmiths' bills, to the amount of several thousand pounds, had been
taken in the packet and Hiram was examined with an almost inquisitorial
closeness and strictness as to whether he had or had not knowledge of
their whereabouts.

Under his accumulated misfortunes, he grew not only more dull, more
taciturn, than ever, but gloomy, moody, brooding as well. For hours he
would sit staring straight before him into the fire, without moving so
much as a hair.

One night--it was a bitterly cold night in February, with three inches
of dry and gritty snow upon the ground--while Hiram sat thus brooding,
there came, of a sudden, a soft tap upon the door.

Low and hesitating as it was, Hiram started violently at the sound. He
sat for a while, looking from right to left. Then suddenly pushing back
his chair, he arose, strode to the door, and flung it wide open.

It was Sally Martin.

Hiram stood for a while staring blankly at her. It was she who first
spoke. "Won't you let me come in, Hi?" said she. "I'm nigh starved with
the cold and I'm fit to die, I'm so hungry. For God's sake, let me come
in."

"Yes," said Hiram, "I'll let you come in, but why don't you go home?"

The poor girl was shivering and chattering with the cold; now she began
crying, wiping her eyes with the corner of a blanket in which her head
and shoulders were wrapped. "I have been home, Hiram," she said, "but
dad, he shut the door in my face. He cursed me just awful, Hi--I wish I
was dead!"

"You better come in," said Hiram. "It's no good standing out there in
the cold." He stood aside and the girl entered, swiftly, gratefully.

At Hiram's bidding black Dinah presently set some food before Sally and
she fell to eating ravenously, almost ferociously. Meantime, while she
ate, Hiram stood with his back to the fire, looking at her face that
face once so round and rosy, now thin, pinched, haggard.

"Are you sick, Sally?" said he presently.

"No," said she, "but I've had pretty hard times since I left home, Hi."
The tears sprang to her eyes at the recollection of her troubles, but
she only wiped them hastily away with the back of her hand, without
stopping in her eating.

A long pause of dead silence followed. Dinah sat crouched together on a
cricket at the other side of the hearth, listening with interest. Hiram
did not seem to see her. "Did you go off with Levi?" said he at last,
speaking abruptly. The girl looked up furtively under her brows. "You
needn't be afeared to tell," he added.

"Yes," said she at last, "I did go off with him, Hi."

"Where've you been?"

At the question, she suddenly laid down her knife and fork.

"Don't you ask me that, Hi," said she, agitatedly, "I can't tell you
that. You don't know Levi, Hiram; I darsn't tell you anything he don't
want me to. If I told you where I been he'd hunt me out, no matter where
I was, and kill me. If you only knew what I know about him, Hiram, you
wouldn't ask anything about him."

Hiram stood looking broodingly at her for a long time; then at last he
again spoke. "I thought a sight of you onc't, Sally," said he.

Sally did not answer immediately, but, after a while, she suddenly
looked up. "Hiram," said she, "if I tell ye something will you promise
on your oath not to breathe a word to any living soul?" Hiram nodded.
"Then I'll tell you, but if Levi finds I've told he'll murder me as
sure as you're standin' there. Come nigher--I've got to whisper it." He
leaned forward close to her where she sat. She looked swiftly from right
to left; then raising her lips she breathed into his ear: "I'm an honest
woman, Hi. I was married to Levi West before I run away."


XI

The winter had passed, spring had passed, and summer had come. Whatever
Hiram had felt, he had made no sign of suffering. Nevertheless,
his lumpy face had begun to look flabby, his cheeks hollow, and his
loose-jointed body shrunk more awkwardly together into its clothes. He
was often awake at night, sometimes walking up and down his room until
far into the small hours.

It was through such a wakeful spell as this that he entered into the
greatest, the most terrible, happening of his life.

It was a sulphurously hot night in July. The air was like the breath of
a furnace, and it was a hard matter to sleep with even the easiest
mind and under the most favorable circumstances. The full moon shone in
through the open window, laying a white square of light upon the floor,
and Hiram, as he paced up and down, up and down, walked directly through
it, his gaunt figure starting out at every turn into sudden brightness
as he entered the straight line of misty light.

The clock in the kitchen whirred and rang out the hour of twelve, and
Hiram stopped in his walk to count the strokes.

The last vibration died away into silence, and still he stood
motionless, now listening with a new and sudden intentness, for, even as
the clock rang the last stroke, he heard soft, heavy footsteps, moving
slowly and cautiously along the pathway before the house and directly
below the open window. A few seconds more and he heard the creaking of
rusty hinges. The mysterious visitor had entered the mill. Hiram crept
softly to the window and looked out. The moon shone full on the dusty,
shingled face of the old mill, not thirty steps away, and he saw that
the door was standing wide open. A second or two of stillness followed,
and then, as he still stood looking intently, he saw the figure of a man
suddenly appear, sharp and vivid, from the gaping blackness of the open
doorway. Hiram could see his face as clear as day. It was Levi West, and
he carried an empty meal bag over his arm.

Levi West stood looking from right to left for a second or two, and then
he took off his hat and wiped his brow with the back of his hand. Then
he softly closed the door behind him and left the mill as he had come,
and with the same cautious step. Hiram looked down upon him as he passed
close to the house and almost directly beneath. He could have touched
him with his hand.

Fifty or sixty yards from the house Levi stopped and a second figure
arose from the black shadow in the angle of the worm fence and joined
him. They stood for a while talking together, Levi pointing now and then
toward the mill. Then the two turned, and, climbing over the fence,
cut across an open field and through the tall, shaggy grass toward the
southeast.

Hiram straightened himself and drew a deep breath, and the moon, shining
full upon his face, snowed it twisted, convulsed, as it had been when
he had fronted his stepbrother seven months before in the kitchen. Great
beads of sweat stood on his brow and he wiped them away with his sleeve.
Then, coatless, hatless as he was, he swung himself out of the window,
dropped upon the grass, and, without an instant of hesitation, strode
off down the road in the direction that Levi West had taken.

As he climbed the fence where the two men had climbed it he could see
them in the pallid light, far away across the level, scrubby meadow
land, walking toward a narrow strip of pine woods.

A little later they entered the sharp-cut shadows beneath the trees and
were swallowed in the darkness.

With fixed eyes and close-shut lips, as doggedly, as inexorably as
though he were a Nemesis hunting his enemy down, Hiram followed their
footsteps across the stretch of moonlit open. Then, by and by, he also
was in the shadow of the pines. Here, not a sound broke the midnight
hush. His feet made no noise upon the resinous softness of the ground
below. In that dead, pulseless silence he could distinctly hear the
distant voices of Levi and his companion, sounding loud and resonant in
the hollow of the woods. Beyond the woods was a cornfield, and presently
he heard the rattling of the harsh leaves as the two plunged into the
tasseled jungle. Here, as in the woods, he followed them, step by step,
guided by the noise of their progress through the canes.

Beyond the cornfield ran a road that, skirting to the south of Lewes,
led across a wooden bridge to the wide salt marshes that stretched
between the town and the distant sand hills. Coming out upon this road
Hiram found that he had gained upon those he followed, and that they
now were not fifty paces away, and he could see that Levi's companion
carried over his shoulder what looked like a bundle of tools.

He waited for a little while to let them gain their distance and for the
second time wiped his forehead with his shirt sleeve; then, without ever
once letting his eyes leave them, he climbed the fence to the roadway.

For a couple of miles or more he followed the two along the white, level
highway, past silent, sleeping houses, past barns, sheds, and haystacks,
looming big in the moonlight, past fields, and woods, and clearings,
past the dark and silent skirts of the town, and so, at last, out upon
the wide, misty salt marshes, which seemed to stretch away interminably
through the pallid light, yet were bounded in the far distance by the
long, white line of sand hills.

Across the level salt marshes he followed them, through the rank sedge
and past the glassy pools in which his own inverted image stalked
beneath as he stalked above; on and on, until at last they had reached
a belt of scrub pines, gnarled and gray, that fringed the foot of the
white sand hills.

Here Hiram kept within the black network of shadow. The two whom he
followed walked more in the open, with their shadows, as black as ink,
walking along in the sand beside them, and now, in the dead, breathless
stillness, might be heard, dull and heavy, the distant thumping,
pounding roar of the Atlantic surf, beating on the beach at the other
side of the sand hills, half a mile away.

At last the two rounded the southern end of the white bluff, and when
Hiram, following, rounded it also, they were no longer to be seen.

Before him the sand hill rose, smooth and steep, cutting in a sharp
ridge against the sky. Up this steep hill trailed the footsteps of those
he followed, disappearing over the crest. Beyond the ridge lay a round,
bowl-like hollow, perhaps fifty feet across and eighteen or twenty feet
deep, scooped out by the eddying of the winds into an almost perfect
circle. Hiram, slowly, cautiously, stealthily, following their trailing
line of footmarks, mounted to the top of the hillock and peered down
into the bowl beneath. The two men were sitting upon the sand, not far
from the tall, skeleton-like shaft of a dead pine tree that rose, stark
and gray, from the sand in which it may once have been buried, centuries
ago.


XII

Levi had taken off his coat and waistcoat and was fanning himself with
his hat. He was sitting upon the bag he had brought from the mill and
which he had spread out upon the sand. His companion sat facing him. The
moon shone full upon him and Hiram knew him instantly--he was the same
burly, foreign-looking ruffian who had come with the little man to the
mill that night to see Levi. He also had his hat off and was wiping his
forehead and face with a red handkerchief. Beside him lay the bundle of
tools he had brought--a couple of shovels, a piece of rope, and a long,
sharp iron rod.

The two men were talking together, but Hiram could not understand what
they said, for they spoke in the same foreign language that they had
before used. But he could see his stepbrother point with his finger, now
to the dead tree and now to the steep, white face of the opposite side
of the bowl-like hollow.

At last, having apparently rested themselves, the conference, if
conference it was, came to an end, and Levi led the way, the other
following, to the dead pine tree. Here he stopped and began searching,
as though for some mark; then, having found that which he looked for,
he drew a tapeline and a large brass pocket compass from his pocket. He
gave one end of the tape line to his companion, holding the other
with his thumb pressed upon a particular part of the tree. Taking his
bearings by the compass, he gave now and then some orders to the other,
who moved a little to the left or the right as he bade. At last he gave
a word of command, and, thereupon, his companion drew a wooden peg from
his pocket and thrust it into the sand. From this peg as a base they
again measured, taking bearings by the compass, and again drove a peg.
For a third time they repeated their measurements and then, at last,
seemed to have reached the point which they aimed for.

Here Levi marked a cross with his heel upon the sand.

His companion brought him the pointed iron rod which lay beside the
shovels, and then stood watching as Levi thrust it deep into the sand,
again and again, as though sounding for some object below. It was some
while before he found that for which he was seeking, but at last the
rod struck with a jar upon some hard object below. After making sure
of success by one or two additional taps with the rod, Levi left it
remaining where it stood, brushing the sand from his hands. "Now fetch
the shovels, Pedro," said he, speaking for the first time in English.

The two men were busy for a long while, shoveling away the sand. The
object for which they were seeking lay buried some six feet deep, and
the work was heavy and laborious, the shifting sand sliding back, again
and again, into the hole. But at last the blade of one of the shovels
struck upon some hard substance and Levi stooped and brushed away the
sand with the palm of his hand.

Levi's companion climbed out of the hole which they had dug and tossed
the rope which he had brought with the shovels down to the other. Levi
made it fast to some object below and then himself mounted to the level
of the sand above. Pulling together, the two drew up from the hole a
heavy iron-bound box, nearly three feet long and a foot wide and deep.

Levi's companion stooped and began untying the rope which had been
lashed to a ring in the lid.

What next happened happened suddenly, swiftly, terribly. Levi drew back
a single step, and shot one quick, keen look to right and to left. He
passed his hand rapidly behind his back, and the next moment Hiram saw
the moonlight gleam upon the long, sharp, keen blade of a knife. Levi
raised his arm. Then, just as the other arose from bending over the
chest, he struck, and struck again, two swift, powerful blows. Hiram
saw the blade drive, clean and sharp, into the back, and heard the
hilt strike with a dull thud against the ribs--once, twice. The burly,
black-bearded wretch gave a shrill, terrible cry and fell staggering
back. Then, in an instant, with another cry, he was up and clutched Levi
with a clutch of despair by the throat and by the arm. Then followed a
struggle, short, terrible, silent. Not a sound was heard but the deep,
panting breath and the scuffling of feet in the sand, upon which there
now poured and dabbled a dark-purple stream. But it was a one-sided
struggle and lasted only for a second or two. Levi wrenched his arm
loose from the wounded man's grasp, tearing his shirt sleeve from the
wrist to the shoulder as he did so. Again and again the cruel knife was
lifted, and again and again it fell, now no longer bright, but stained
with red.

Then, suddenly, all was over. Levi's companion dropped to the sand
without a sound, like a bundle of rags. For a moment he lay limp and
inert; then one shuddering spasm passed over him and he lay silent and
still, with his face half buried in the sand.

Levi, with the knife still gripped tight in his hand, stood leaning over
his victim, looking down upon his body. His shirt and hand, and even
his naked arm, were stained and blotched with blood. The moon lit up his
face and it was the face of a devil from hell.

At last he gave himself a shake, stooped and wiped his knife and hand
and arm upon the loose petticoat breeches of the dead man. He thrust his
knife back into its sheath, drew a key from his pocket and unlocked the
chest. In the moonlight Hiram could see that it was filled mostly with
paper and leather bags, full, apparently of money.

All through this awful struggle and its awful ending Hiram lay, dumb
and motionless, upon the crest of the sand hill, looking with a horrid
fascination upon the death struggle in the pit below. Now Hiram arose.
The sand slid whispering down from the crest as he did so, but Levi
was too intent in turning over the contents of the chest to notice the
slight sound.

Hiram's face was ghastly pale and drawn. For one moment he opened his
lips as though to speak, but no word came. So, white, silent, he
stood for a few seconds, rather like a statue than a living man, then,
suddenly, his eyes fell upon the bag, which Levi had brought with him,
no doubt, to carry back the treasure for which he and his companion were
in search, and which still lay spread out on the sand where it had been
flung. Then, as though a thought had suddenly flashed upon him, his
whole expression changed, his lips closed tightly together as though
fearing an involuntary sound might escape, and the haggard look
dissolved from his face.

Cautiously, slowly, he stepped over the edge of the sand hill and down
the slanting face. His coming was as silent as death, for his feet made
no noise as he sank ankle-deep in the yielding surface. So, stealthily,
step by step, he descended, reached the bag, lifted it silently. Levi,
still bending over the chest and searching through the papers within,
was not four feet away. Hiram raised the bag in his hands. He must have
made some slight rustle as he did so, for suddenly Levi half turned his
head. But he was one instant too late. In a flash the bag was over his
head--shoulders--arms--body.

Then came another struggle, as fierce, as silent, as desperate as that
other--and as short. Wiry, tough, and strong as he was, with a lean,
sinewy, nervous vigor, fighting desperately for his life as he was, Levi
had no chance against the ponderous strength of his stepbrother. In any
case, the struggle could not have lasted long; as it was, Levi stumbled
backward over the body of his dead mate and fell, with Hiram upon him.
Maybe he was stunned by the fall; maybe he felt the hopelessness of
resistance, for he lay quite still while Hiram, kneeling upon him, drew
the rope from the ring of the chest and, without uttering a word, bound
it tightly around both the bag and the captive within, knotting it again
and again and drawing it tight. Only once was a word spoken. "If you'll
lemme go," said a muffled voice from the bag, "I'll give you five
thousand pounds--it's in that there box." Hiram answered never a word,
but continued knotting the rope and drawing it tight.


XIII

The Scorpion sloop-of-war lay in Lewes harbor all that winter and
spring, probably upon the slim chance of a return of the pirates. It was
about eight o'clock in the morning and Lieutenant Maynard was sitting
in Squire Hall's office, fanning himself with his hat and talking in a
desultory fashion. Suddenly the dim and distant noise of a great crowd
was heard from without, coming nearer and nearer. The Squire and his
visitor hurried to the door. The crowd was coming down the street
shouting, jostling, struggling, some on the footway, some in the
roadway. Heads were at the doors and windows, looking down upon them.
Nearer they came, and nearer; then at last they could see that the
press surrounded and accompanied one man. It was Hiram White, hatless,
coatless, the sweat running down his face in streams, but stolid and
silent as ever. Over his shoulder he carried a bag, tied round and round
with a rope. It was not until the crowd and the man it surrounded had
come quite near that the Squire and the lieutenant saw that a pair
of legs in gray-yarn stockings hung from the bag. It was a man he was
carrying.

Hiram had lugged his burden five miles that morning without help and
with scarcely a rest on the way.

He came directly toward the Squire's office and, still sun rounded and
hustled by the crowd, up the steep steps to the office within. He flung
his burden heavily upon the floor without a word and wiped his streaming
forehead.

The Squire stood with his knuckles on his desk, staring first at Hiram
and then at the strange burden he had brought. A sudden hush fell upon
all, though the voices of those without sounded as loud and turbulent as
ever. "What is it, Hiram?" said Squire Hall at last.

Then for the first time Hiram spoke, panting thickly. "It's a bloody
murderer," said he, pointing a quivering finger at the motionless
figure.

"Here, some of you!" called out the Squire. "Come! Untie this man! Who
is he?" A dozen willing fingers quickly unknotted the rope and the bag
was slipped from the head and body.

Hair and face and eyebrows and clothes were powdered with meal, but,
in spite of all and through all the innocent whiteness, dark spots and
blotches and smears of blood showed upon head and arm and shirt. Levi
raised himself upon his elbow and looked scowlingly around at the
amazed, wonderstruck faces surrounding him.

"Why, it's Levi West!" croaked the Squire, at last finding his voice.

Then, suddenly, Lieutenant Maynard pushed forward, before the others
crowded around the figure on the floor, and, clutching Levi by the hair,
dragged his head backward so as to better see his face. "Levi West!"
said he in a loud voice. "Is this the Levi West you've been telling
me of? Look at that scar and the mark on his cheek! THIS IS BLUESKIN
HIMSELF."


XIV

In the chest which Blueskin had dug up out of the sand were found not
only the goldsmiths' bills taken from the packet, but also many
other valuables belonging to the officers and the passengers of the
unfortunate ship.

The New York agents offered Hiram a handsome reward for his efforts
in recovering the lost bills, but Hiram declined it, positively and
finally. "All I want," said he, in his usual dull, stolid fashion, "is
to have folks know I'm honest." Nevertheless, though he did not accept
what the agents of the packet offered, fate took the matter into its
own hands and rewarded him not unsubstantially. Blueskin was taken to
England in the Scorpion. But he never came to trial. While in Newgate
he hanged himself to the cell window with his own stockings. The news
of his end was brought to Lewes in the early autumn and Squire Hall
took immediate measures to have the five hundred pounds of his father's
legacy duly transferred to Hiram.

In November Hiram married the pirate's widow.



Chapter VII. CAPTAIN SCARFIELD


PREFACE

The author of this narrative cannot recall that, in any history of the
famous pirates, he has ever read a detailed and sufficient account
of the life and death of Capt. John Scarfield. Doubtless some data
concerning his death and the destruction of his schooner might be
gathered from the report of Lieutenant Mainwaring, now filed in the
archives of the Navy Department, out beyond such bald and bloodless
narrative the author knows of nothing, unless it be the little chap-book
history published by Isaiah Thomas in Newburyport about the year
1821-22, entitled, "A True History of the Life and Death of Captain Jack
Scarfield." This lack of particularity in the history of one so notable
in his profession it is the design of the present narrative in a measure
to supply, and, if the author has seen fit to cast it in the form of a
fictional story, it is only that it may make more easy reading for those
who see fit to follow the tale from this to its conclusion.


I

ELEAZER COOPER, or Captain Cooper, as was his better-known title in
Philadelphia, was a prominent member of the Society of Friends. He was
an overseer of the meeting and an occasional speaker upon particular
occasions. When at home from one of his many voyages he never failed to
occupy his seat in the meeting both on First Day and Fifth Day, and he
was regarded by his fellow townsmen as a model of business integrity and
of domestic responsibility.

More incidental to this history, however, it is to be narrated that
Captain Cooper was one of those trading skippers who carried their own
merchandise in their own vessels which they sailed themselves, and on
whose decks they did their own bartering. His vessel was a swift, large
schooner, the Eliza Cooper, of Philadelphia, named for his wife. His
cruising grounds were the West India Islands, and his merchandise
was flour and corn meal ground at the Brandywine Mills at Wilmington,
Delaware.

During the War of 1812 he had earned, as was very well known, an
extraordinary fortune in this trading; for flour and corn meal sold at
fabulous prices in the French, Spanish, Dutch, and Danish islands, cut
off, as they were, from the rest of the world by the British blockade.

The running of this blockade was one of the most hazardous maritime
ventures possible, but Captain Cooper had met with such unvaried
success, and had sold his merchandise at such incredible profit that,
at the end of the war, he found himself to have become one of the
wealthiest merchants of his native city.

It was known at one time that his balance in the Mechanics' Bank was
greater than that of any other individual depositor upon the books, and
it was told of him that he had once deposited in the bank a chest of
foreign silver coin, the exchanged value of which, when translated
into American currency, was upward of forty-two thousand dollars--a
prodigious sum of money in those days.

In person, Captain Cooper was tall and angular of frame. His face was
thin and severe, wearing continually an unsmiling, mask-like expression
of continent and unruffled sobriety. His manner was dry and taciturn,
and his conduct and life were measured to the most absolute accord with
the teachings of his religious belief.

He lived in an old-fashioned house on Front Street below Spruce--as
pleasant, cheerful a house as ever a trading captain could return to.
At the back of the house a lawn sloped steeply down toward the river. To
the south stood the wharf and storehouses; to the north an orchard and
kitchen garden bloomed with abundant verdure. Two large chestnut trees
sheltered the porch and the little space of lawn, and when you sat under
them in the shade you looked down the slope between two rows of box
bushes directly across the shining river to the Jersey shore.

At the time of our story--that is, about the year 1820--this property
had increased very greatly in value, but it was the old home of the
Coopers, as Eleazer Cooper was entirely rich enough to indulge his fancy
in such matters. Accordingly, as he chose to live in the same
house where his father and his grandfather had dwelt before him, he
peremptorily, if quietly, refused all offers looking toward the purchase
of the lot of ground--though it was now worth five or six times its
former value.

As was said, it was a cheerful, pleasant home, impressing you when you
entered it with the feeling of spotless and all-pervading cleanliness--a
cleanliness that greeted you in the shining brass door-knocker; that
entertained you in the sitting room with its stiff, leather-covered
furniture, the brass-headed tacks whereof sparkled like so many
stars--a cleanliness that bade you farewell in the spotless stretch of
sand-sprinkled hallway, the wooden floor of which was worn into knobs
around the nail heads by the countless scourings and scrubbings to which
it had been subjected and which left behind them an all-pervading faint,
fragrant odor of soap and warm water.

Eleazer Cooper and his wife were childless, but one inmate made the
great, silent, shady house bright with life. Lucinda Fairbanks, a niece
of Captain Cooper's by his only sister, was a handsome, sprightly girl
of eighteen or twenty, and a great favorite in the Quaker society of the
city.

It remains only to introduce the final and, perhaps, the most important
actor of the narrative Lieut. James Mainwaring. During the past twelve
months or so he had been a frequent visitor at the Cooper house. At
this time he was a broad-shouldered, red-cheeked, stalwart fellow
of twenty-six or twenty-eight. He was a great social favorite, and
possessed the added romantic interest of having been aboard the
Constitution when she fought the Guerriere, and of having, with his own
hands, touched the match that fired the first gun of that great battle.

Mainwaring's mother and Eliza Cooper had always been intimate friends,
and the coming and going of the young man during his leave of absence
were looked upon in the house as quite a matter of course. Half a dozen
times a week he would drop in to execute some little commission for the
ladies, or, if Captain Cooper was at home, to smoke a pipe of tobacco
with him, to sip a dram of his famous old Jamaica rum, or to play a
rubber of checkers of an evening. It is not likely that either of the
older people was the least aware of the real cause of his visits; still
less did they suspect that any passages of sentiment had passed between
the young people.

The truth was that Mainwaring and the young lady were very deeply in
love. It was a love that they were obliged to keep a profound secret,
for not only had Eleazer Cooper held the strictest sort of testimony
against the late war--a testimony so rigorous as to render it altogether
unlikely that one of so military a profession as Mainwaring practiced
could hope for his consent to a suit for marriage, but Lucinda could not
have married one not a member of the Society of Friends without losing
her own birthright membership therein. She herself might not attach much
weight to such a loss of membership in the Society, but her fear of, and
her respect for, her uncle led her to walk very closely in her path
of duty in this respect. Accordingly she and Mainwaring met as they
could--clandestinely--and the stolen moments were very sweet. With equal
secrecy Lucinda had, at the request of her lover, sat for a miniature
portrait to Mrs. Gregory, which miniature, set in a gold medallion,
Mainwaring, with a mild, sentimental pleasure, wore hung around his neck
and beneath his shirt frill next his heart.

In the month of April of the year 1820 Mainwaring received orders
to report at Washington. During the preceding autumn the West India
pirates, and notably Capt. Jack Scarfield, had been more than usually
active, and the loss of the packet Marblehead (which, sailing from
Charleston, South Carolina, was never heard of more) was attributed
to them. Two other coasting vessels off the coast of Georgia had been
looted and burned by Scarfield, and the government had at last aroused
itself to the necessity of active measures for repressing these pests of
the West India waters.

Mainwaring received orders to take command of the Yankee, a swift,
light-draught, heavily armed brig of war, and to cruise about the Bahama
Islands and to capture and destroy all the pirates' vessels he could
there discover.

On his way from Washington to New York, where the Yankee was then
waiting orders, Mainwaring stopped in Philadelphia to bid good-by to his
many friends in that city. He called at the old Cooper house. It was
on a Sunday afternoon. The spring was early and the weather extremely
pleasant that day, being filled with a warmth almost as of summer. The
apple trees were already in full bloom and filled all the air with their
fragrance. Everywhere there seemed to be the pervading hum of bees, and
the drowsy, tepid sunshine was very delightful.

At that time Eleazer was just home from an unusually successful voyage
to Antigua. Mainwaring found the family sitting under one of the still
leafless chestnut trees, Captain Cooper smoking his long clay pipe and
lazily perusing a copy of the National Gazette. Eleazer listened with
a great deal of interest to what Mainwaring had to say of his proposed
cruise. He himself knew a great deal about the pirates, and, singularly
unbending from his normal, stiff taciturnity, he began telling of what
he knew, particularly of Captain Scarfield--in whom he appeared to take
an extraordinary interest.

Vastly to Mainwaring's surprise, the old Quaker assumed the position
of a defendant of the pirates, protesting that the wickedness of the
accused was enormously exaggerated. He declared that he knew some of the
freebooters very well and that at the most they were poor, misdirected
wretches who had, by easy gradation, slid into their present evil ways,
from having been tempted by the government authorities to enter into
privateering in the days of the late war. He conceded that Captain
Scarfield had done many cruel and wicked deeds, but he averred that he
had also performed many kind and benevolent actions. The world made no
note of these latter, but took care only to condemn the evil that had
been done. He acknowledged that it was true that the pirate had allowed
his crew to cast lots for the wife and the daughter of the skipper of
the Northern Rose, but there were none of his accusers who told how,
at the risk of his own life and the lives of all his crew, he had given
succor to the schooner Halifax, found adrift with all hands down with
yellow fever. There was no defender of his actions to tell how he and
his crew of pirates had sailed the pest-stricken vessel almost into the
rescuing waters of Kingston harbor. Eleazer confessed that he could not
deny that when Scarfield had tied the skipper of the Baltimore Belle
naked to the foremast of his own brig he had permitted his crew of
cutthroats (who were drunk at the time) to throw bottles at the helpless
captive, who died that night of the wounds he had received. For this
he was doubtless very justly condemned, but who was there to praise him
when he had, at the risk of his life and in the face of the authorities,
carried a cargo of provisions which he himself had purchased at Tampa
Bay to the Island of Bella Vista after the great hurricane of 1818? In
this notable adventure he had barely escaped, after a two days' chase,
the British frigate Ceres, whose captain, had a capture been effected,
would instantly have hung the unfortunate man to the yardarm in spite of
the beneficent mission he was in the act of conducting.

In all this Eleazer had the air of conducting the case for the
defendant. As he talked he became more and more animated and voluble.
The light went out in his tobacco pipe, and a hectic spot appeared
in either thin and sallow cheek. Mainwaring sat wondering to hear the
severely peaceful Quaker preacher defending so notoriously bloody and
cruel a cutthroat pirate as Capt. Jack Scarfield. The warm and innocent
surroundings, the old brick house looking down upon them, the odor
of apple blossoms and the hum of bees seemed to make it all the more
incongruous. And still the elderly Quaker skipper talked on and on with
hardly an interruption, till the warm sun slanted to the west and the
day began to decline.

That evening Mainwaring stayed to tea and when he parted from Lucinda
Fairbanks it was after nightfall, with a clear, round moon shining in
the milky sky and a radiance pallid and unreal enveloping the old house,
the blooming apple trees, the sloping lawn and the shining river beyond.
He implored his sweetheart to let him tell her uncle and aunt of their
acknowledged love and to ask the old man's consent to it, but she would
not permit him to do so. They were so happy as they were. Who knew but
what her uncle might forbid their fondness? Would he not wait a little
longer? Maybe it would all come right after a while. She was so fond, so
tender, so tearful at the nearness of their parting that he had not
the heart to insist. At the same time it was with a feeling almost of
despair that he realized that he must now be gone--maybe for the space
of two years--without in all that time possessing the right to call her
his before the world.

When he bade farewell to the older people it was with a choking feeling
of bitter disappointment. He yet felt the pressure of her cheek against
his shoulder, the touch of soft and velvet lips to his own. But what
were such clandestine endearments compared to what might, perchance, be
his--the right of calling her his own when he was far away and upon the
distant sea? And, besides, he felt like a coward who had shirked his
duty.

But he was very much in love. The next morning appeared in a drizzle of
rain that followed the beautiful warmth of the day before. He had the
coach all to himself, and in the damp and leathery solitude he drew out
the little oval picture from beneath his shirt frill and looked long and
fixedly with a fond and foolish joy at the innocent face, the blue eyes,
the red, smiling lips depicted upon the satinlike, ivory surface.


II

For the better part of five months Mainwaring cruised about in the
waters surrounding the Bahama Islands. In that time he ran to earth and
dispersed a dozen nests of pirates. He destroyed no less than fifteen
piratical crafts of all sizes, from a large half-decked whaleboat to a
three-hundred-ton barkentine. The name of the Yankee became a terror
to every sea wolf in the western tropics, and the waters of the Bahama
Islands became swept almost clean of the bloody wretches who had so
lately infested it.

But the one freebooter of all others whom he sought--Capt. Jack
Scarfield--seemed to evade him like a shadow, to slip through his
fingers like magic. Twice he came almost within touch of the famous
marauder, both times in the ominous wrecks that the pirate captain had
left behind him. The first of these was the water-logged remains of a
burned and still smoking wreck that he found adrift in the great Bahama
channel. It was the Water Witch, of Salem, but he did not learn her
tragic story until, two weeks later, he discovered a part of her crew
at Port Maria, on the north coast of Jamaica. It was, indeed, a dreadful
story to which he listened. The castaways said that they of all the
vessel's crew had been spared so that they might tell the commander of
the Yankee, should they meet him, that he might keep what he found, with
Captain Scarfield's compliments, who served it up to him hot cooked.

Three weeks later he rescued what remained of the crew of the shattered,
bloody hulk of the Baltimore Belle, eight of whose crew, headed by the
captain, had been tied hand and foot and heaved overboard. Again, there
was a message from Captain Scarfield to the commander of the Yankee that
he might season what he found to suit his own taste.

Mainwaring was of a sanguine disposition, with fiery temper. He swore,
with the utmost vehemence, that either he or John Scarfield would have
to leave the earth.

He had little suspicion of how soon was to befall the ominous
realization of his angry prophecy.

At that time one of the chief rendezvous of the pirates was the little
island of San Jose, one of the southernmost of the Bahama group. Here,
in the days before the coming of the Yankee, they were wont to put in
to careen and clean their vessels and to take in a fresh supply of
provisions, gunpowder, and rum, preparatory to renewing their attacks
upon the peaceful commerce circulating up and down outside the islands,
or through the wide stretches of the Bahama channel.

Mainwaring had made several descents upon this nest of freebooters.
He had already made two notable captures, and it was here he hoped
eventually to capture Captain Scarfield himself.

A brief description of this one-time notorious rendezvous of freebooters
might not be out of place. It consisted of a little settlement of those
wattled and mud-smeared houses such as you find through the West Indies.
There were only three houses of a more pretentious sort, built of wood.
One of these was a storehouse, another was a rum shop, and a third a
house in which dwelt a mulatto woman, who was reputed to be a sort
of left-handed wife of Captain Scarfield's. The population was almost
entirely black and brown. One or two Jews and a half dozen Yankee
traders, of hardly dubious honesty, comprised the entire white
population. The rest consisted of a mongrel accumulation of negroes
and mulattoes and half-caste Spaniards, and of a multitude of black or
yellow women and children. The settlement stood in a bight of the beach
forming a small harbor and affording a fair anchorage for small vessels,
excepting it were against the beating of a southeasterly gale. The
houses, or cabins, were surrounded by clusters of coco palms and growths
of bananas, and a long curve of white beach, sheltered from the large
Atlantic breakers that burst and exploded upon an outer bar, was drawn
like a necklace around the semi-circle of emerald-green water.

Such was the famous pirates' settlement of San Jose--a paradise of
nature and a hell of human depravity and wickedness--and it was to this
spot that Mainwaring paid another visit a few days after rescuing the
crew of the Baltimore Belle from her shattered and sinking wreck.

As the little bay with its fringe of palms and its cluster of wattle
huts opened up to view, Mainwaring discovered a vessel lying at anchor
in the little harbor. It was a large and well-rigged schooner of two
hundred and fifty or three hundred tons burden. As the Yankee rounded to
under the stern of the stranger and dropped anchor in such a position
as to bring her broadside battery to bear should the occasion
require, Mainwaring set his glass to his eye to read the name he could
distinguish beneath the overhang of her stern. It is impossible to
describe his infinite surprise when, the white lettering starting out in
the circle of the glass, he read, The Eliza Cooper, of Philadelphia.

He could not believe the evidence of his senses. Certainly this sink of
iniquity was the last place in the world he would have expected to have
fallen in with Eleazer Cooper.

He ordered out the gig and had himself immediately rowed over to the
schooner. Whatever lingering doubts he might have entertained as to the
identity of the vessel were quickly dispelled when he beheld Captain
Cooper himself standing at the gangway to meet him. The impassive face
of the friend showed neither surprise nor confusion at what must have
been to him a most unexpected encounter.

But when he stepped upon the deck of the Eliza Cooper and looked about
him, Mainwaring could hardly believe the evidence of his senses at
the transformation that he beheld. Upon the main deck were eight
twelve-pound carronade neatly covered with tarpaulin; in the bow a Long
Tom, also snugly stowed away and covered, directed a veiled and muzzled
snout out over the bowsprit.

It was entirely impossible for Mainwaring to conceal his astonishment at
so unexpected a sight, and whether or not his own thoughts lent color
to his imagination, it seemed to him that Eleazer Cooper concealed under
the immobility of his countenance no small degree of confusion.

After Captain Cooper had led the way into the cabin and he and the
younger man were seated over a pipe of tobacco and the invariable bottle
of fine old Jamaica rum, Mainwaring made no attempt to refrain
from questioning him as to the reason for this singular and ominous
transformation.

"I am a man of peace, James Mainwaring," Eleazer replied, "but there are
men of blood in these waters, and an appearance of great strength is of
use to protect the innocent from the wicked. If I remained in appearance
the peaceful trader I really am, how long does thee suppose I could
remain unassailed in this place?"

It occurred to Mainwaring that the powerful armament he had beheld was
rather extreme to be used merely as a preventive. He smoked for a while
in silence and then he suddenly asked the other point-blank whether, if
it came to blows with such a one as Captain Scarfield, would he make a
fight of it?

The Quaker trading captain regarded him for a while in silence. His
look, it seemed to Mainwaring, appeared to be dubitative as to how far
he dared to be frank. "Friend James," he said at last, "I may as well
acknowledge that my officers and crew are somewhat worldly. Of a truth
they do not hold the same testimony as I. I am inclined to think that
if it came to the point of a broil with those men of iniquity, my
individual voice cast for peace would not be sufficient to keep my crew
from meeting violence with violence. As for myself, thee knows who I am
and what is my testimony in these matters."

Mainwaring made no comment as to the extremely questionable manner in
which the Quaker proposed to beat the devil about the stump. Presently
he asked his second question:

"And might I inquire," he said, "what you are doing here and why you
find it necessary to come at all into such a wicked, dangerous place as
this?"

"Indeed, I knew thee would ask that question of me," said the Friend,
"and I will be entirely frank with thee. These men of blood are, after
all, but human beings, and as human beings they need food. I have at
present upon this vessel upward of two hundred and fifty barrels of
flour which will bring a higher price here than anywhere else in the
West Indies. To be entirely frank with thee, I will tell thee that I
was engaged in making a bargain for the sale of the greater part of my
merchandise when the news of thy approach drove away my best customer."

Mainwaring sat for a while in smoking silence. What the other had told
him explained many things he had not before understood. It explained why
Captain Cooper got almost as much for his flour and corn meal now that
peace had been declared as he had obtained when the war and the blockade
were in full swing. It explained why he had been so strong a defender
of Captain Scarfield and the pirates that afternoon in the garden.
Meantime, what was to be done? Eleazer confessed openly that he dealt
with the pirates. What now was his--Mainwaring's--duty in the case? Was
the cargo of the Eliza Cooper contraband and subject to confiscation?
And then another question framed itself in his mind: Who was this
customer whom his approach had driven away?

As though he had formulated the inquiry into speech the other began
directly to speak of it. "I know," he said, "that in a moment thee will
ask me who was this customer of whom I have just now spoken. I have no
desire to conceal his name from thee. It was the man who is known as
Captain Jack or Captain John Scarfield."

Mainwaring fairly started from his seat. "The devil you say!" he cried.
"And how long has it been," he asked, "since he left you?"

The Quaker skipper carefully refilled his pipe, which he had by now
smoked out. "I would judge," he said, "that it is a matter of four or
five hours since news was brought overland by means of swift runners
of thy approach. Immediately the man of wickedness disappeared." Here
Eleazer set the bowl of his pipe to the candle flame and began puffing
out voluminous clouds of smoke. "I would have thee understand, James
Mainwaring," he resumed, "that I am no friend of this wicked and sinful
man. His safety is nothing to me. It is only a question of buying upon
his part and of selling upon mine. If it is any satisfaction to thee I
will heartily promise to bring thee news if I hear anything of the man
of Belial. I may furthermore say that I think it is likely thee will
have news more or less directly of him within the space of a day. If
this should happen, however, thee will have to do thy own fighting
without help from me, for I am no man of combat nor of blood and will
take no hand in it either way."

It struck Mainwaring that the words contained some meaning that did not
appear upon the surface. This significance struck him as so ambiguous
that when he went aboard the Yankee he confided as much of his
suspicions as he saw fit to his second in command, Lieutenant Underwood.
As night descended he had a double watch set and had everything prepared
to repel any attack or surprise that might be attempted.


III

Nighttime in the tropics descends with a surprising rapidity. At one
moment the earth is shining with the brightness of the twilight; the
next, as it were, all things are suddenly swallowed into a gulf of
darkness. The particular night of which this story treats was not
entirely clear; the time of year was about the approach of the rainy
season, and the tepid, tropical clouds added obscurity to the darkness
of the sky, so that the night fell with even more startling quickness
than usual. The blackness was very dense. Now and then a group of
drifting stars swam out of a rift in the vapors, but the night was
curiously silent and of a velvety darkness.

As the obscurity had deepened, Mainwaring had ordered lanthorns to be
lighted and slung to the shrouds and to the stays, and the faint yellow
of their illumination lighted the level white of the snug little war
vessel, gleaming here and there in a starlike spark upon the brass
trimmings and causing the rows of cannons to assume curiously gigantic
proportions.

For some reason Mainwaring was possessed by a strange, uneasy feeling.
He walked restlessly up and down the deck for a time, and then, still
full of anxieties for he knew not what, went into his cabin to finish
writing up his log for the day. He unstrapped his cutlass and laid it
upon the table, lighted his pipe at the lanthorn and was about preparing
to lay aside his coat when word was brought to him that the captain of
the trading schooner was come alongside and had some private information
to communicate to him.

Mainwaring surmised in an instant that the trader's visit related
somehow to news of Captain Scarfield, and as immediately, in the relief
of something positive to face, all of his feeling of restlessness
vanished like a shadow of mist. He gave orders that Captain Cooper
should be immediately shown into the cabin, and in a few moments
the tall, angular form of the Quaker skipper appeared in the narrow,
lanthorn-lighted space.

Mainwaring at once saw that his visitor was strangely agitated and
disturbed. He had taken off his hat, and shining beads of perspiration
had gathered and stood clustered upon his forehead. He did not reply to
Mainwaring's greeting; he did not, indeed, seem to hear it; but he came
directly forward to the table and stood leaning with one hand upon the
open log book in which the lieutenant had just been writing. Mainwaring
had reseated himself at the head of the table, and the tall figure of
the skipper stood looking down at him as from a considerable height.

"James Mainwaring," he said, "I promised thee to report if I had news of
the pirate. Is thee ready now to hear my news?"

There was something so strange in his agitation that it began to infect
Mainwaring with a feeling somewhat akin to that which appeared to
disturb his visitor. "I know not what you mean, sir!" he cried, "by
asking if I care to hear your news. At this moment I would rather have
news of that scoundrel than to have anything I know of in the world."

"Thou would? Thou would?" cried the other, with mounting agitation. "Is
thee in such haste to meet him as all that? Very well; very well, then.
Suppose I could bring thee face to face with him--what then? Hey? Hey?
Face to face with him, James Mainwaring!"

The thought instantly flashed into Mainwaring's mind that the pirate
had returned to the island; that perhaps at that moment he was somewhere
near at hand.

"I do not understand you, sir," he cried. "Do you mean to tell me that
you know where the villain is? If so, lose no time in informing me, for
every instant of delay may mean his chance of again escaping."

"No danger of that!" the other declared, vehemently. "No danger of that!
I'll tell thee where he is and I'll bring thee to him quick enough!"
And as he spoke he thumped his fist against the open log book. In the
vehemence of his growing excitement his eyes appeared to shine green
in the lanthorn light, and the sweat that had stood in beads upon his
forehead was now running in streams down his face. One drop hung like
a jewel to the tip of his beaklike nose. He came a step nearer to
Mainwaring and bent forward toward him, and there was something so
strange and ominous in his bearing that the lieutenant instinctively
drew back a little where he sat.

"Captain Scarfield sent something to you," said Eleazer, almost in a
raucous voice, "something that you will be surprised to see." And the
lapse in his speech from the Quaker "thee" to the plural "you" struck
Mainwaring as singularly strange.

As he was speaking Eleazer was fumbling in a pocket of his long-tailed
drab coat, and presently he brought something forth that gleamed in the
lanthorn light.

The next moment Mainwaring saw leveled directly in his face the round
and hollow nozzle of a pistol.

There was an instant of dead silence and then, "I am the man you seek!"
said Eleazer Cooper, in a tense and breathless voice.

The whole thing had happened so instantaneously and unexpectedly that
for the moment Mainwaring sat like one petrified. Had a thunderbolt
fallen from the silent sky and burst at his feet he could not have been
more stunned. He was like one held in the meshes of a horrid nightmare,
and he gazed as through a mist of impossibility into the lineaments
of the well-known, sober face now transformed as from within into the
aspect of a devil. That face, now ashy white, was distorted into a
diabolical grin. The teeth glistened in the lamplight. The brows,
twisted into a tense and convulsed frown, were drawn down into black
shadows, through which the eyes burned a baleful green like the eyes
of a wild animal driven to bay. Again he spoke in the same breathless
voice. "I am John Scarfield! Look at me, then, if you want to see
a pirate!" Again there was a little time of silence, through which
Mainwaring heard his watch ticking loudly from where it hung against the
bulkhead. Then once more the other began speaking. "You would chase me
out of the West Indies, would you? G------ --you! What are you come
to now? You are caught in your own trap, and you'll squeal loud enough
before you get out of it. Speak a word or make a movement and I'll blow
your brains out against the partition behind you! Listen to what I say
or you are a dead man. Sing out an order instantly for my mate and my
bos'n to come here to the cabin, and be quick about it, for my finger's
on the trigger, and it's only a pull to shut your mouth forever."

It was astonishing to Mainwaring, in afterward thinking about it all,
how quickly his mind began to recover its steadiness after that first
astonishing shock. Even as the other was speaking he discovered that his
brain was becoming clarified to a wonderful lucidity; his thoughts were
becoming rearranged, and with a marvelous activity and an alertness
he had never before experienced. He knew that if he moved to escape or
uttered any outcry he would be instantly a dead man, for the circle of
the pistol barrel was directed full against his forehead and with the
steadiness of a rock. If he could but for an instant divert that fixed
and deadly attention he might still have a chance for life. With the
thought an inspiration burst into his mind and he instantly put it into
execution; thought, inspiration, and action, as in a flash, were one. He
must make the other turn aside his deadly gaze, and instantly he roared
out in a voice that stunned his own ears: "Strike, bos'n! Strike,
quick!"

Taken by surprise, and thinking, doubtless, that another enemy stood
behind him, the pirate swung around like a flash with his pistol leveled
against the blank boarding. Equally upon the instant he saw the trick
that had been played upon him and in a second flash had turned again.
The turn and return had occupied but a moment of time, but that moment,
thanks to the readiness of his own invention, had undoubtedly saved
Mainwaring's life. As the other turned away his gaze for that brief
instant Mainwaring leaped forward and upon him. There was a flashing
flame of fire as the pistol was discharged and a deafening detonation
that seemed to split his brain. For a moment, with reeling senses, he
supposed himself to have been shot, the next he knew he had escaped.
With the energy of despair he swung his enemy around and drove him with
prodigious violence against the corner of the table. The pirate emitted
a grunting cry and then they fell together, Mainwaring upon the top, and
the pistol clattered with them to the floor in their fall. Even as
he fell, Mainwaring roared in a voice of thunder, "All hands repel
boarders!" And then again, "All hands repel boarders!"

Whether hurt by the table edge or not, the fallen pirate struggled as
though possessed of forty devils, and in a moment or two Mainwaring saw
the shine of a long, keen knife that he had drawn from somewhere about
his person. The lieutenant caught him by the wrist, but the other's
muscles were as though made of steel. They both fought in despairing
silence, the one to carry out his frustrated purposes to kill, the other
to save his life. Again and again Mainwaring felt that the knife had
been thrust against him, piercing once his arm, once his shoulder, and
again his neck. He felt the warm blood streaming down his arm and body
and looked about him in despair. The pistol lay near upon the deck of
the cabin. Still holding the other by the wrist as he could, Mainwaring
snatched up the empty weapon and struck once and again at the bald,
narrow forehead beneath him. A third blow he delivered with all the
force he could command, and then with a violent and convulsive throe the
straining muscles beneath him relaxed and grew limp and the fight was
won.

Through all the struggle he had been aware of the shouts of voices, of
trampling of feet and discharge of firearms, and the thought came to
him, even through his own danger, that the Yankee was being assaulted
by the pirates. As he felt the struggling form beneath him loosen and
dissolve into quietude, he leaped up, and snatching his cutlass, which
still lay upon the table, rushed out upon the deck, leaving the stricken
form lying twitching upon the floor behind him.

It was a fortunate thing that he had set double watches and prepared
himself for some attack from the pirates, otherwise the Yankee would
certainly have been lost. As it was, the surprise was so overwhelming
that the pirates, who had been concealed in the large whaleboat that had
come alongside, were not only able to gain a foothold upon the deck,
but for a time it seemed as though they would drive the crew of the brig
below the hatches.

But as Mainwaring, streaming with blood, rushed out upon the deck, the
pirates became immediately aware that their own captain must have
been overpowered, and in an instant their desperate energy began to
evaporate. One or two jumped overboard; one, who seemed to be the mate,
fell dead from a pistol shot, and then, in the turn of a hand, there was
a rush of a retreat and a vision of leaping forms in the dusky light of
the lanthorns and a sound of splashing in the water below.

The crew of the Yankee continued firing at the phosphorescent wakes of
the swimming bodies, but whether with effect it was impossible at the
time to tell.


IV

The pirate captain did not die immediately. He lingered for three or
four days, now and then unconscious, now and then semi-conscious, but
always deliriously wandering. All the while he thus lay dying, the
mulatto woman, with whom he lived in this part of his extraordinary dual
existence, nursed and cared for him with such rude attentions as the
surroundings afforded. In the wanderings of his mind the same duality
of life followed him. Now and then he would appear the calm, sober,
self-contained, well-ordered member of a peaceful society that his
friends in his faraway home knew him to be; at other times the nether
part of his nature would leap up into life like a wild beast, furious
and gnashing. At the one time he talked evenly and clearly of peaceful
things; at the other time he blasphemed and hooted with fury.

Several times Mainwaring, though racked by his own wounds, sat beside
the dying man through the silent watches of the tropical nights.
Oftentimes upon these occasions as he looked at the thin, lean face
babbling and talking so aimlessly, he wondered what it all meant. Could
it have been madness--madness in which the separate entities of good and
bad each had, in its turn, a perfect and distinct existence? He chose to
think that this was the case. Who, within his inner consciousness, does
not feel that same ferine, savage man struggling against the stern,
adamantine bonds of morality and decorum? Were those bonds burst
asunder, as it was with this man, might not the wild beast rush forth,
as it had rushed forth in him, to rend and to tear? Such were the
questions that Mainwaring asked himself. And how had it all come about?
By what easy gradations had the respectable Quaker skipper descended
from the decorum of his home life, step by step, into such a gulf of
iniquity? Many such thoughts passed through Mainwaring's mind, and he
pondered them through the still reaches of the tropical nights while he
sat watching the pirate captain struggle out of the world he had so long
burdened. At last the poor wretch died, and the earth was well quit of
one of its torments.

A systematic search was made through the island for the scattered crew,
but none was captured. Either there were some secret hiding places upon
the island (which was not very likely) or else they had escaped in boats
hidden somewhere among the tropical foliage. At any rate they were gone.

Nor, search as he would, could Mainwaring find a trace of any of the
pirate treasure. After the pirate's death and under close questioning,
the weeping mulatto woman so far broke down as to confess in broken
English that Captain Scarfield had taken a quantity of silver money
aboard his vessel, but either she was mistaken or else the pirates had
taken it thence again and had hidden it somewhere else.

Nor would the treasure ever have been found but for a most fortuitous
accident. Mainwaring had given orders that the Eliza Cooper was to be
burned, and a party was detailed to carry the order into execution. At
this the cook of the Yankee came petitioning for some of the Wilmington
and Brandywine flour to make some plum duff upon the morrow, and
Mainwaring granted his request in so far that he ordered one of the
men to knock open one of the barrels of flour and to supply the cook's
demands.

The crew detailed to execute this modest order in connection with the
destruction of the pirate vessel had not been gone a quarter of an hour
when word came back that the hidden treasure had been found.

Mainwaring hurried aboard the Eliza Cooper, and there in the midst of
the open flour barrel he beheld a great quantity of silver coin buried
in and partly covered by the white meal. A systematic search was now
made. One by one the flour barrels were heaved up from below and burst
open on the deck and their contents searched, and if nothing but the
meal was found it was swept overboard. The breeze was whitened with
clouds of flour, and the white meal covered the surface of the ocean for
yards around.

In all, upward of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars was found
concealed beneath the innocent flour and meal. It was no wonder the
pirate captain was so successful, when he could upon an instant's notice
transform himself from a wolf of the ocean to a peaceful Quaker trader
selling flour to the hungry towns and settlements among the scattered
islands of the West Indies, and so carrying his bloody treasure safely
into his quiet Northern home.

In concluding this part of the narrative it may be added that a wide
strip of canvas painted black was discovered in the hold of the Eliza
Cooper. Upon it, in great white letters, was painted the name, "The
Bloodhound." Undoubtedly this was used upon occasions to cover the real
and peaceful title of the trading schooner, just as its captain had, in
reverse, covered his sanguine and cruel life by a thin sheet of morality
and respectability.

This is the true story of the death of Capt. Jack Scarfield.

The Newburyport chap-book, of which I have already spoken, speaks only
of how the pirate disguised himself upon the ocean as a Quaker trader.

Nor is it likely that anyone ever identified Eleazer Cooper with the
pirate, for only Mainwaring of all the crew of the Yankee was exactly
aware of the true identity of Captain Scarfield. All that was ever known
to the world was that Eleazer Cooper had been killed in a fight with the
pirates.

In a little less than a year Mainwaring was married to Lucinda
Fairbanks. As to Eleazer Cooper's fortune, which eventually came into
the possession of Mainwaring through his wife, it was many times a
subject of speculation to the lieutenant how it had been earned. There
were times when he felt well assured that a part of it at least was the
fruit of piracy, but it was entirely impossible to guess how much more
was the result of legitimate trading.

For a little time it seemed to Mainwaring that he should give it all up,
but this was at once so impracticable and so quixotic that he presently
abandoned it, and in time his qualms and misdoubts faded away and he
settled himself down to enjoy that which had come to him through his
marriage.

In time the Mainwarings removed to New York, and ultimately the fortune
that the pirate Scarfield had left behind him was used in part to
found the great shipping house of Mainwaring & Bigot, whose famous
transatlantic packet ships were in their time the admiration of the
whole world.





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