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Title: Stolen Treasure
Author: Pyle, Howard, 1853-1911
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Stolen Treasure" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



STOLEN TREASURE

BY

HOWARD PYLE

Author of "Men of Iron" "Twilight Land" "The Wonder Clock" "Pepper and
Salt"


ILLUSTRATED BY THE AUTHOR

MCMVII



CONTENTS


I. WITH THE BUCCANEERS

II. TOM CHIST AND THE TREASURE-BOX

III. THE GHOST OF CAPTAIN BRAND

IV. THE DEVIL AT NEW HOPE



ILLUSTRATIONS


"'I'VE KEPT MY EARS OPEN TO ALL YOUR DOINGS'"

"THIS FIGURE OF WAR OUR HERO ASKED TO STEP ASIDE WITH HIM"

"OUR HERO, LEAPING TO THE WHEEL, SEIZED THE FLYING SPOKES"

"SHE AND MASTER HARRY WOULD SPEND HOURS TOGETHER"

"'... AND TWENTY-ONE AND TWENTY-TWO'"

"''TIS ENOUGH,' CRIED OUT PARSON JONES, 'TO MAKE US BOTH RICH MEN'"

"CAPTAIN MALYOE SHOT CAPTAIN BRAND THROUGH THE HEAD"

"HE WOULD SHOUT OPPROBRIOUS WORDS AFTER THE OTHER IN THE STREETS"



STOLEN TREASURE



I. WITH THE BUCCANEERS

_Being an Account of Certain Adventures that Befell Henry Mostyn under
Captain 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 Puerto 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 Barbadoes, 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 Barbadoes. 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
caraval 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 afterwards
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 Campeachy--where he took several important purchases from the
plate fleet--came to the Barbadoes, 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
port-holes 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 sugarwharf! What a deal
of gold braid! What a fine, silver-hilted 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.

[Illustration: "THIS FIGURE OF WAR OUR HERO ASKED TO STEP ASIDE WITH
HIM"]

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
Catherina. 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 Catherina, together with its Governor, his wife,
and daughter, as well as the whole garrison of buccaneers.

This garrison were 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 despatches 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 despatches 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 villanous-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 afterwards. 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. Afterwards, 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
towards 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
whip-cord 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
towards 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 Puerto Bello
to Cartagena, which vessel they took, and finding her loaded with
nothing better than raw hides, scuttled and sunk 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 Puerto 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 main-land being entirely uninhabited) and yet be
within twenty or twenty-five leagues of Puerto 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 Puerto 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 Puerto 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 towards 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
ascendency 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 despatches 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.

Towards 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 Captain Alvarez
Mendazo, and that he brought despatches 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 gunroom 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 hinderance. 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 manoeuvre 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.

[Illustration: "OUR HERO, LEAPING TO THE WHEEL, SEIZED THE FLYING
SPOKES"]

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 galleon 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 suit 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 pretence 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.

[Illustration: "SHE AND MASTER HARRY WOULD SPEND HOURS TOGETHER"]

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 £130,000 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.



II. TOM CHIST AND THE TREASURE-BOX

_An Old-time Story of the Days of Captain Kidd._


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 arrow-heads, 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 broadaxe, 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 great-coat 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 thunder-storm 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 ear-rings 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 ear-rings
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 towards 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
to him--"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.

[Illustration: "'... AND TWENTY-ONE AND TWENTY-TWO'"]

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 ear-rings, 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 ear-rings 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 in 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 towards 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 half-way
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 sandhill and to gaze out towards
the offing where the pirate ship had been the day before.

It was no longer there.

Soon afterwards 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 door-step 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 Injy 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 towards
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 wind-storm
would have covered it up, and all that afterwards 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. 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 then they 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 marvellous 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 afterwards 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 the sand
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 towards 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.

[Illustration: "'TIS ENOUGH,' CRIED OUT PARSON JONES, 'TO MAKE US BOTH
RICH MEN'"]

"'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 defence 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 any one 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 levelled 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 Reverend Hillary
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 coffeehouse near to the town-hall,
and thence he sent by the post-boy 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
arm-chair, 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 towards 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.



III. THE GHOST OF CAPTAIN BRAND

_Being a Narrative of Certain Extraordinary Adventures that Befell
Barnaby True, Esquire, of the Town of New York, in the Year 1753._


I

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

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

It hath 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. Governor Van Dam himself had subscribed to the adventure, and
himself had 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 these
far-away seas, when 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 or his daughter after he had sailed away on the _Royal
Sovereign_ on that long, misfortunate voyage, leaving his family behind
him in New York to the care of strangers.

At the time when Captain Brand so met his fate in Port Royal Harbor he
had increased his flotilla to two vessels--the _Royal Sovereign_ (which
was the vessel that had been fitted out for him in New York, a fine
brigantine and a good sailer), and the _Adventure_ galley, which he had
captured somewhere in the South Seas. This latter vessel he placed in
command of a certain John Malyoe whom he had picked up no one knows
where--a young man of very good family in England, who had turned
red-handed pirate. This man, who took no more thought of a human life than
he would of a broom straw, was he who afterwards murdered Captain
Brand, as you shall presently hear.

With these two vessels, the _Royal Sovereign_ and the _Adventure_,
Captain Brand and Captain Malyoe swept the Mozambique Channel as clear
as a boatswain's whistle, and after three years of piracy, having
gained a great booty of gold and silver and pearls, sailed straight for
the Americas, making first the island of Jamaica and the harbor of Port
Royal, where they dropped anchor to wait for news from home.

But by this time the authorities had been so stirred up against our
pirates that it became necessary for them to hide their booty until
such time as they might make their peace with the Admiralty Courts at
home. So one night Captain Brand and Captain Malyoe, with two others of
the pirates, went ashore with two great chests of treasure, which they
buried somewhere on the banks of the Cobra River near the place where
the old Spanish fort had stood.

What happened after the treasure was thus buried no one may tell. 'Twas
said that Captain Brand and Captain Malyoe fell a-quarrelling and that
the upshot of the matter was that Captain Malyoe shot Captain Brand
through the head, and that the pirate who was with him served Captain
Brand's companion after the same fashion with a pistol bullet through
the body.

After that the two murderers returned to their vessel, the _Adventure_
galley, and sailed away, carrying the bloody secret of the buried
treasure with them.

[Illustration: "CAPTAIN MALYOE SHOT CAPTAIN BRAND THROUGH THE HEAD"]

But this double murder of Captain Brand and his companion happened, you
are to understand, some twenty years before the time of this story, and
while our hero was but one year old. So now to our present history.

It is a great pity that any one 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 he was not even born
into the world at the time that his grandfather turned pirate, and that
he was only one year old when Captain Brand so met his death on the
Cobra River. 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 ballad 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 unfortunate a man, and
oftentimes Barnaby True would double up his little fists and would
fight his tormentors at great odds, and would sometimes go back home
with a bloody nose or a bruised eye to have his poor mother cry over
him and grieve for him.

Not that his days were all of teasing and torment, either; for if his
comrades did sometimes treat him so, why then there were other times
when he and they were as great friends as could be, and used to go
a-swimming together in the most amicable fashion where there was a bit of
sandy strand below the little bluff along the East River above Fort
George.

There was a clump of wide beech-trees at that place, with a fine shade
and a place to lay their clothes while they swam about, splashing with
their naked white bodies in the water. At these times Master Barnaby
would bawl as lustily and laugh as loud as though his grandfather had
been the most honest ship-chandler in the town, instead of a
bloody-handed pirate who had been murdered in his sins.

Ah! It is a fine thing to look back to the days when one was a boy!
Barnaby may remember how, often, when he and his companions were
paddling so in the water, the soldiers off duty would come up from the
fort and would maybe join them in the water, others, perhaps, standing
in their red coats on the shore, looking on and smoking their pipes of
tobacco.

Then there were other times when maybe the very next day after our hero
had fought with great valor with his fellows he would go a-rambling
with them up the Bouwerie Road with the utmost friendliness; perhaps to
help them steal cherries from some old Dutch farmer, forgetting in such
an adventure what a thief his own grandfather had been.

But to resume our story.

When Barnaby True was between sixteen and seventeen years old he was
taken into employment in the counting-house of his stepfather, Mr.
Roger Hartright, the well-known West Indian merchant, a most
respectable man and one of the kindest and best of friends that anybody
could have in the world.

This good gentleman had courted the favor of Barnaby's mother for a
long time before he had married her. Indeed, he had so courted her
before she had ever thought of marrying Jonathan True. But he not
venturing to ask her in marriage, and she being a brisk, handsome
woman, she chose the man who spoke out his mind, and so left the silent
lover out in the cold. But so soon as she was a widow and free again,
Mr. Hartright resumed his wooing, and so used to come down every
Tuesday and Friday evening to sit and talk with her. Among Barnaby
True's earliest memories was a recollection of the good, kind gentleman
sitting in old Captain Brand's double-nailed arm-chair, the sunlight
shining across his knees, over which he had spread a great red silk
handkerchief, while he sipped a dish of tea with a dash of rum in it.
He kept up this habit of visiting the Widow True for a long time before
he could fetch himself to the point of asking anything more particular
of her, and so Barnaby was nigh fourteen years old before Mr. Hartright
married her, and so became our hero's dear and honored foster-father.

It was the kindness of this good man that not only found a place for
Barnaby in the counting-house, 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
sailed upon these adventures, but rather as the confidential agent of
Mr. Hartright, who, having no likelihood of children of his own, was
jealous to advance our hero to a position of trust and responsibility
in the counting-house, and so would have him know all the particulars
of the business and become more intimately acquainted with the
correspondents and agents throughout those parts of the West Indies
where the affairs of the house were most active. He would give to
Barnaby the best sort of letters of introduction, so that the
correspondents of Mr. Hartright throughout those parts, seeing how that
gentleman had adopted our hero's interests as his own, were always at
considerable pains to be very polite and obliging in showing every
attention to him.

Especially among these gentlemen throughout the West Indies may be
mentioned Mr. Ambrose Greenfield, a merchant of excellent standing who
lived at Kingston, Jamaica. This gentleman was very particular to do
all that he could to make our hero's stay in these parts as agreeable
and pleasant to him as might be. Mr. Greenfield is here spoken of with
a greater degree of particularity than others who might as well be
remarked upon, because, as the reader shall presently discover for
himself, it was through the offices of this good friend that our hero
first became acquainted, not only with that lady who afterwards figured
with such conspicuousness in his affairs, but also with a man who,
though graced with a title, was perhaps the greatest villain who ever
escaped a just fate upon the gallows.

So much for the history of Barnaby True up to the beginning of this
story, without which you shall hardly be able to understand the purport
of those most extraordinary adventures that afterwards befell him, nor
the logic of their consequence after they had occurred.

II

Upon the occasion of our hero's fifth voyage into the West Indies he
made a stay of some six or eight weeks at Kingston, in the island of
Jamaica, and it was at that time that the first of those extraordinary
adventures befell him, concerning which this narrative has to relate.

It was Barnaby's habit, when staying at Kingston, to take lodging with
a very decent, respectable widow, by name Mrs. Anne Bolles, who, with
three extremely agreeable and pleasant daughters, kept a very clean and
well-served house for the accommodation of strangers visiting that
island.

One morning as he sat sipping his coffee, clad only in loose cotton
drawers and a jacket of the same material, and with slippers upon his
feet (as is the custom in that country, where every one endeavors to
keep as cool as may be), Miss Eliza, the youngest of the three
daughters--a brisk, handsome miss of sixteen or seventeen--came
tripping into the room and handed him a sealed letter, which she
declared a stranger had just left at the door, departing incontinently
so soon as he had eased himself of that commission. You may conceive of
Barnaby's astonishment when he opened the note and read the remarkable
words that here follow:

"_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 Friday next at eight o'clock in the evening, and
will accompany the man who shall say to you, '_The
Royal Sovereign is come in_' you shall learn of something
the most to your advantage that ever befell you.
Sir, keep this note and give it to him who shall address
those words to you, so to certify that you are
the man he seeks. Sir, this is the most important thing
that can concern you, so you will please say nothing
to nobody about it."

Such was the wording of the note which was writ in as cramped and
villanous handwriting as our hero ever beheld, and which, excepting his
own name, was without address, and which possessed no superscription
whatever.

The first emotion that stirred Barnaby True was one of extreme and
profound astonishment; the second thought that came into his mind was
that maybe some witty fellow--of whom he knew a good many in that
place, and wild, mad rakes they were as ever the world beheld--was
attempting to play off a smart, witty jest upon him. Indeed, Miss Eliza
Bolles, who was of a lively, mischievous temper, was not herself above
playing such a prank should the occasion offer. With this thought in
his mind Barnaby inquired of her with a good deal of particularity
concerning the appearance and condition of the man who had left the
note, to all of which Miss replied with so straight a face and so
candid an air that he could no longer suspect her of being concerned in
any trick against him, and so eased his mind of any such suspicion. The
bearer of the note, she informed him, was a tall, lean man, with a red
neckerchief tied around his neck and with copper buckles to his shoes,
and he had the appearance of a sailor-man, having a great queue of red
hair 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 the note away into his wallet,
determining to show it to his good friend Mr. Greenfield that evening,
and to ask his advice upon it.

This he did, and that gentleman's opinion was the same as his: to wit,
that some wag was minded to play off a hoax upon him, and that the
matter of the letter was all nothing but smoke.

III

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 so
be at Pratt's Ordinary, as the note demanded, upon the day and at the
time appointed therein.

Pratt's Ordinary was at that time a very fine and famous place of its
sort, with good tobacco and the best rum in the West Indies, 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 tables, some in little grottos, like
our Vauxhall in New York, with red and blue and white paper lanterns
hung among the foliage. Thither 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 and so to enjoy the cool of the day.

Thither, accordingly, our hero went a little before the time appointed
in the note, and, passing directly through the Ordinary and to the
garden beyond, chose a table at the lower end and close to the water's
edge, where he could not readily be seen by any one coming into the
place, and yet where he could easily view whoever should approach.
Then, ordering some rum and water and a pipe of tobacco, he composed
himself to watch for the arrival 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
cool, set the leaves of the palm-tree above his head to rattling and
clattering continually against the darkness of the sky, where, the moon
then being half 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 mightily pleasant in the
dusk of the evening, 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 rum and water, yet seeing nothing of those whom
he suspected might presently come thither to laugh at him.

It was not far from half after the hour when a row-boat came suddenly
out of the night and pulled up to the landing-place at the foot of the
garden, and three or four men came ashore in the darkness. They landed
very silently and walked up the garden pathway without saying a word,
and, sitting down at an adjacent table, ordered rum and water and began
drinking among themselves, speaking every now and then a word or two in
a tongue that Barnaby did not well understand, but which, from certain
phrases they let fall, he suspected to be Portuguese. Our hero paid no
great attention to them, till by-and-by he became aware that they had
fallen to whispering together and were regarding him very curiously. He
felt himself growing very uneasy under this observation, which every
moment grew more and more particular, and he was just beginning to
suspect that this interest concerning himself might have somewhat more
to do with him than mere idle curiosity, when one of the men, who was
plainly the captain of the party, suddenly says to him, "How now,
messmate; won't you come and have a drop of drink with us?"

At this address Barnaby instantly began to be aware that the affair he
had come upon was indeed no jest, as he had supposed it to be, but that
he had walked into what promised to be a very pretty adventure.
Nevertheless, not wishing to be too hasty in his conclusions, he
answered very civilly that he had drunk enough already, and that more
would only heat his blood.

"Well," says the stranger, "I may be mistook, but I believe you are Mr.
Barnaby True."

"You are right, sir, and that is my name," acknowledged Barnaby. "But
still I cannot guess how that may concern you, nor why it should be a
reason for my drinking with you." "That I will presently tell you,"
says the stranger, very composedly. "Your name concerns me because I
was sent here to tell Mr. Barnaby True that '_the Royal Sovereign is
come in_.'"

To be sure our hero's heart jumped into his throat at those words. His
pulse began beating at a tremendous rate, for here, indeed, was an
adventure suddenly opening to him such as a man may read about in a
book, but which he may hardly expect to befall him in the real
happenings of his life. Had he been a wiser and an older man he might
have declined the whole business, instead of walking blindly into that
of which he could see neither the beginning nor the ending; but being
barely one-and-twenty years of age, and possessing a sanguine temper
and an adventurous disposition that would have carried him into almost
anything that possessed a smack of uncertainty or danger, he contrived
to say, in a pretty easy tone (though God knows how it was put on for
the occasion):

"Well, if that be so, and if the _Royal Sovereign_ is indeed come in,
why, then, I'll join you, since you are so kind as to ask me."
Therewith he arose and 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 command upon the occasion.

At this the other burst out a-laughing. "Indeed," says he, "you are a
cool blade, and a chip of the old block. But harkee, young gentleman,"
and here he fell serious again. "This is too weighty a business to
chance any mistake in a name. I believe that you are, as you say, Mr.
Barnaby True; but, nevertheless, to make perfectly sure, I must ask you
first to show me a note that you have about you and which you are
instructed to show to me."

"Very well," said Barnaby; "I have it here safe and sound, and you
shall see it." And thereupon and without more ado he drew out his
wallet, opened it, and handed the other the mysterious note which he
had kept carefully by him ever since he had received it. His
interlocutor took the paper, and 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,
lean man with a red handkerchief tied around his neck, with a queue of
red hair hanging down his back, and with copper buckles on his shoes,
so that Barnaby True could not but suspect that he was 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 and as it should be," the other said,
after he had so examined 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 if you're man enough to take your life
in your hands and to go with me in that boat down yonder at the foot of
the garden. 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, for all the good 'twill do us. Say 'No,' and I go
away, and I promise you you shall never be troubled more in this sort
of a way. So now speak up plain, young gentleman, and tell us what is
your wish in this business, and whether you will adventure any further
or no."

If our hero hesitated it was 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," says he; "and if you mean
me any harm I can look out for myself; and if I can't, then here is
something can look out for me." And therewith he lifted up the flap of
his 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 for a second time. "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 now if
you are prepared and have made up your mind and are determined to see
this affair through to the end, 'tis time for us to be away."
Whereupon, our hero indicating his acquiescence, his interlocutor and
the others (who had not spoken a single word for all this time), rose
together from the table, and the stranger having paid the scores of
all, they went down together to the boat that lay plainly awaiting
their coming at the bottom of the garden.

Thus coming to it, our hero could see that it was a large yawl-boat
manned by half a score of black men for rowers, and that there were two
lanterns in the stern-sheets, and three or four 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
expedition, stepped immediately down into the boat; our hero followed,
and the others followed after him; and instantly they were seated the
boat 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 they
might all have been so many spirits 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 him 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 been fairly embarked upon their enterprise,
and so the crew pulled away for the best part of an hour, the leader of
the expedition directing the course of the boat straight across the
harbor, as though towards the mouth of the Cobra River. Indeed, this
was their destination, as Barnaby could after a while see for himself,
by the low point of land with a great, long row of cocoanut-palms
growing upon it (the appearance of which he knew very well), which
by-and-by began to loom up from the dimness of the moonlight. As they
approached the river they found the tide was running very violently, so
that it gurgled and rippled alongside the boat as the crew of black men
pulled strongly against it. Thus rowing slowly against the stream they
came around what appeared to be either a point of land or an islet
covered with a thick growth of mangrove-trees; though 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 had come close to the shore, appeared to be
full of the noises of running tide-water, and the air was heavy with
the smell of mud and marsh. And over all was the whiteness of the
moonlight, with a few stars pricking out here and there in the sky; and
everything was so strange and mysterious and so different from anything
that he had experienced before that Barnaby could not divest himself of
the feeling that it was all a dream from which at any moment he might
awaken. As for the town and the Ordinary he had quitted such a short
time before, so different were they from this present experience, it
was as though they might have concerned another life than that which he
was then enjoying.

Meantime, the rowers bending to the oars, the boat drew slowly around
into the open water once more. As it did so the leader of the
expedition of a sudden called out in a loud, commanding voice, whereat
the black men instantly ceased rowing and lay on their oars, the boat
drifting onward into the night.

At the same moment of time our hero became aware of another boat coming
down the river towards where they lay. This other boat, approaching
thus strangely through the darkness, was full of men, some of them
armed; for even in the distance Barnaby could not but observe that the
light of the moon glimmered now and then as upon the barrels of muskets
or pistols. This threw him into a good deal of disquietude of mind, for
whether they or this boat were friends or enemies, or as to what was to
happen next, he was altogether in the dark.

Upon this point, however, he was not left very long in doubt, for the
oarsmen of the approaching boat continuing to row steadily onward till
they had come pretty close to Barnaby and his companions, a man who sat
in the stern suddenly stood up, and as they passed by shook a cane at
Barnaby's companion with a most threatening and angry gesture. At the
same moment, the moonlight shining full upon him, Barnaby could see him
as plain as daylight--a large, stout gentleman with a round red face,
and clad in a fine, laced coat of red cloth. In the stern of the boat
near by him was a box or chest about the bigness of a middle-sized
travelling-trunk, but covered all over with cakes of sand and dirt. In
the act of passing, the gentleman, still standing, pointed at this
chest with his cane--an elegant gold-headed staff--and roared out in a
loud voice: "Are you come after this, Abram Dowling? Then come and take
it." And thereat, as he sat down again, burst out a-laughing as though
what he had said was the wittiest jest conceivable.

Either because he respected the armed men in the other boat, or else
for some reason best known to himself, the Captain of our hero's
expedition did not immediately reply, but sat as still as any stone.
But at last, the other boat having drifted pretty far away, he suddenly
found words to shout out after it: "Very well, Jack Malyoe! Very well,
Jack Malyoe! You've got the better of us once more. But next time is
the third, and then it'll be our turn, even if William Brand must come
back from the grave to settle with you himself."

But to this my fine gentleman in t'other boat made no reply except to
burst out once more into a great fit of laughter.

There was, however, still another man in the stern of the enemy's
boat--a villanous, lean man with lantern-jaws, and the top of his head as
bald as an apple. He held in his hand a great pistol, which he
flourished about him, crying out to the gentleman beside him, "Do but
give me the word, your honor, and I'll put another bullet through the
son of a sea cook." But the other forbade him, and therewith the boat
presently melted away into the darkness of the night and was gone.

This happened all in a few seconds, so that before our hero understood
what was passing he found the boat in which he still sat drifting
silently in the moonlight (for no one spoke for awhile) and the oars of
the other boat sounding farther and farther away into the distance.

By-and-by says one of those in Barnaby's boat, in Spanish, "Where shall
you go now?"

At this the leader of the expedition appeared suddenly to come back to
himself and to find his tongue again. "Go?" he roared out. "Go to the
devil! Go? Go where you choose! Go? Go back again--that's where well
go!" And therewith he fell a-cursing and swearing, frothing at the lips
as though he had gone clean crazy, while the black men, bending once
more to their oars, rowed back again across the harbor as fast as ever
they could lay oars to the water.

They put Barnaby True ashore below the old custom-house, but so
bewildered and amazed by all that had happened, and by what he had
seen, and by the names he had heard spoken, that he was only half
conscious of the familiar things among which he suddenly found himself
transported. The moonlight and the night appeared to have taken upon
them a new and singular aspect, and he walked up the street towards his
lodging like one drunk or in a dream. For you must remember that "John
Malyoe" was the captain of the _Adventure_ galley--he who had shot
Barnaby's own grandfather--and "Abram Dowling," I must tell you, had
been the gunner of the _Royal Sovereign_--he who had been shot at the
same time that Captain Brand met his tragical end. And yet these names
he had heard spoken--the one from one boat, and the other from the
other, so that he could not but wonder what sort of beings they were
among whom he had fallen.

As to that box covered all over with mud, he could only offer a
conjecture as to what it contained and as to what the finding of it
signified.

But of this our hero said nothing to any one, nor did he tell any one
what he suspected, for, though he was so young in years, he possessed a
continent disposition inherited from his father (who had been one of
ten children born to a poor but worthy Presbyterian minister of
Bluefield, Connecticut), so it was that not even to his good friend Mr.
Greenfield did Barnaby say a word as to what had happened to him, going
about his business the next day as though nothing of moment had
occurred.

But he was not destined yet to be done with those beings among whom he
had fallen that night; for that which he supposed to be the ending of
the whole affair was only the beginning of further adventures that were
soon to befall him.

IV

Mr. Greenfield lived in a fine brick house just outside of the town, on
the Mona Road. His family consisted of a wife and two daughters--
handsome, lively young ladies with very fine, bright teeth that shone
whenever they laughed, and with a-plenty to say for themselves. To this
pleasant house Barnaby True was often asked to a family dinner, after
which he and his good kind host would maybe sit upon the veranda,
looking out towards the mountain, smoking their cigarros while the
young ladies laughed and talked, or played upon the guitar and sang.

A day or two before the _Belle Helen_ sailed from Kingston, upon her
return voyage to New York, Mr. Greenfield stopped Barnaby True as he
was passing through the office, and begged him to come to dinner that
night. (For within the tropics, you are to know, they breakfast at
eleven o'clock and take dinner in the cool of the evening, because of
the heat, and not at mid-day, as we do in more temperate latitudes). "I
would," says Mr. Greenfield, "have you meet Sir John Malyoe and Miss
Marjorie, who are to be your chief passengers for New York, and for
whom the state cabin and the two state-rooms are to be fitted as here
ordered"--showing a letter--"for Sir John hath arranged," says Mr.
Greenfield, "for the Captain's own state-room."

Then, not being aware of Barnaby True's history, nor that Captain Brand
was his grandfather, the good gentleman--calling Sir John "Jack"
Malyoe--goes on to tell our hero what a famous pirate he had been, and
how it was he who had shot Captain Brand over t'other side of the
harbor twenty years before. "Yes," says he, "'tis the same Jack Malyoe,
though grown into repute and importance now, as who would not who hath
had the good-fortune to fall heir to a baronetcy and a landed estate?"

And so it befell that same night that Barnaby True once again beheld
the man who had murdered his own grandfather, meeting him this time
face to face.

That time in the harbor he had seen Sir John Malyoe at a distance and
in the darkness; now that he beheld him closer, it seemed to him that
he had never seen a countenance more distasteful to him in all his
life. Not that the man was altogether ugly, for he had a good enough
nose and a fine double chin; but his eyes stood out from his face and
were red and watery, and he winked them continually, as though they
were always a-smarting. His lips were thick and purple-red, and his
cheeks mottled here and there with little clots of veins.

When he spoke, his voice rattled in his throat to such a degree 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 a-sticking out, it appeared to Barnaby True he
had never beheld a countenance that pleased him so little.

But if Sir John Malyoe suited our hero's taste so ill, the
granddaughter was in the same degree pleasing to him. 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 ever he beheld
in all of his life. A sweet, timid creature, who appeared not to dare
so much as to speak a word for herself without looking to that great
beast, her grandfather, for leave to do so, for she would shrink and
shudder whenever he would speak of a sudden to her or direct a glance
upon her. When she did pluck up sufficient courage to say anything, it
was in so low a voice that Barnaby was obliged to bend his head to hear
her; and when she smiled she would as like as not catch herself short
and look up as though to see if she did amiss to be cheerful.

As for Sir John, he sat at dinner and gobbled and ate and drank,
smacking his lips all the while, but with hardly a word of civility
either to Mr. Greenfield or to Mrs. Greenfield or to Barnaby True; but
wearing all the while a dull, sullen air, as though he would say, "Your
damned victuals and drink are no better than they should be, but, such
as they are, I must eat 'em or eat nothing."

It was only after dinner was over and the young lady and the two misses
off in a corner together that Barnaby heard her talk with any degree of
ease. Then, to be sure, her tongue became loose enough, and she
prattled away at a great rate; though hardly above her breath. Then of
a sudden her grand-father called out, in his hoarse, rattling voice,
that it was time to go, upon which she stopped short in what she was
saying and jumped up from her chair, looking as frightened as though he
were going to strike her with that gold-headed cane of his that he
always carried with him.

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 Captain of Barnaby's expedition out on the harbor
that night! For one of the circles of light 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 Sir John Malyoe and his man, and the ill opinion our hero
conceived of them was only confirmed by further observation.

The next day Sir John Malyoe's travelling-cases began to come aboard
the _Belle Helen_, and in the afternoon that same lean, villanous
man-servant comes skipping across the gangplank as nimble as a goat, with
two black men behind him lugging a great sea-chest. "What!" he cries
out, "and so you is the supercargo, is you? Why, to be sure, I thought
you was more account when I saw you last night a-sitting talking with
his honor like his equal. Well, no matter," says he, "'tis something to
have a brisk, genteel young fellow for a supercargo. So come, my
hearty, lend a hand and help me set his honor's cabin to rights."

What a speech was this to endure from such a fellow! What with our
hero's distaste for the villain, and what with such odious familiarity,
you may guess into what temper so impudent an address must have cast
him. Says he, "You'll find the steward in yonder, and he'll show you
the cabin Sir John is to occupy." Therewith he turned and walked away
with prodigious dignity, leaving the other standing where he was.

As he went below to his own state-room 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 an enemy aboard for that
voyage who was not very likely to forgive or forget what he must regard
as so mortifying a slight as that which Barnaby had put upon him.

The next day Sir John Malyoe himself came aboard, accompanied by his
granddaughter, and followed by his man, and he followed again by four
black men, who carried among them two trunks, not large in size, but
vastly heavy in weight. Towards these two trunks Sir John and his
follower devoted the utmost solicitude and care to see that they were
properly carried into the cabin he was to occupy. Barnaby True was
standing in the saloon as they passed close by him; but though Sir John
looked hard at him and straight in the face, he never so much as spoke
a single word to our hero, or showed by a look or a sign that he had
ever met him before. 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, blushed as red as fire, and thereupon
delivered a courtesy to poor Barnaby, with a most sweet and gracious
affability.

There were, besides Sir John and the young lady, but two other
passengers who upon this occasion took the voyage to New York: the
Reverend Simon Styles, master of a flourishing academy at Spanish Town,
and his wife. This was a good, worthy couple of an extremely quiet
disposition, saying little or nothing, but contented to sit in the
great cabin by the hour together reading in some book or other. So,
what with the retiring humor of the worthy pair, and what with Sir John
Malyoe's fancy for staying all the time shut up in his own cabin with
those two trunks he held so precious, it fell upon Barnaby True in
great part to show that attention to the young lady that the
circumstances demanded. This he did with a great deal of satisfaction
to himself--as any one may suppose who considers a spirited young man
of one-and-twenty years of age and a sweet and beautiful young miss of
seventeen or eighteen thrown thus together day after day for above two
weeks.

Accordingly, the weather being very fair and the ship driving freely
along before a fine breeze, and they having no other occupation than to
sit talking together all day, gazing at the blue sea and the bright sky
overhead, it is not difficult to conceive of what was to befall.

But oh, those days when a man is young and, whether wisely or no,
fallen into such a transport of passion as poor Barnaby True suffered
at that time! How often during that voyage did our hero lie awake in
his berth at night, tossing this way and that without finding any
refreshment of sleep--perhaps all because her hand had touched his, or
because she had spoken some word to him that had possessed him with a
ravishing disquietude?

All this might not have befallen him had Sir John Malyoe looked after
his granddaughter instead of locking himself up day and night in his
own cabin, scarce venturing out except to devour his food or maybe to
take two or three turns across the deck before returning again to the
care of those chests he appeared to hold so much more precious than his
own flesh and blood.

Nor was it to be supposed that Barnaby would take the pains to consider
what was to become of it all, for what young man so situated as he but
would be perfectly content to live so agreeably in a fool's paradise,
satisfying himself by assigning the whole affair to the future to take
care of itself. Accordingly, our hero endeavored, and with pretty good
success, to put away from him whatever doubts might arise in his own
mind concerning what he was about, satisfying himself with making his
conversation as agreeable to his companion as it lay in his power to
do.

So the affair continued until the end of the whole business came with a
suddenness that promised for a time to cast our hero into the utmost
depths of humiliation and despair.

At that time the _Belle Helen_ was, according to Captain Manly's
reckoning, computed that day at noon, bearing about five-and-fifty
leagues northeast-by-east off the harbor of Charleston, in South
Carolina.

Nor was our hero likely to forget for many years afterwards even the
smallest circumstance of that occasion. He may remember that it was a
mightily sweet, balmy evening, the sun not having set above half an
hour before, and the sky still suffused with a good deal of brightness,
the air being extremely soft and mild. He may remember with the utmost
nicety how they were leaning over the rail of the vessel looking out
towards the westward, she fallen mightily quiet as though occupied with
very serious thoughts.

Of a sudden she began, without any preface whatever, to speak to
Barnaby about herself and her affairs, in a most confidential manner,
such as she had never used to him before. She told him that she and her
grandfather were going to New York that they might take passage thence
to Boston, in Massachusetts, where they were to meet her cousin Captain
Malyoe, who was stationed in garrison at that place. Continuing, she
said that Captain Malyoe was the next heir to the Devonshire estate,
and that she and he were to be married in the fall.

You may conceive into what a confusion of distress such a confession as
this, delivered so suddenly, must have cast poor Barnaby. He could
answer her not a single word, but stood staring in another direction
than hers, endeavoring to compose himself into some equanimity of
spirit. For indeed it was a sudden, terrible blow, and his breath came
as hot and dry as ashes in his throat. Meanwhile the young lady went on
to say, though in a mightily constrained voice, that she had liked him
from the very first moment she had seen him, and had been very happy
for these days she had passed in his society, and that she would always
think of him as a dear friend who had been very kind to her, who had so
little pleasure in her life.

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. Thereupon, having so found his voice, he went on to tell her,
though in a prodigious confusion and perturbation of spirit, 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 exhibited no anger at what he said, nor did she turn to look at
him, but only replied, in a low voice, that 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 her grandfather
bade her, he being 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 momentous to our hero, that some one who had
been hiding unseen nigh them for all the while suddenly moved away, and
Barnaby, in spite of the gathering darkness, could perceive that it was
that villain man-servant of Sir John Malyoe's. Nor could he but know
that the wretch must have overheard all that had been said.

As he looked he beheld this fellow go straight to the great cabin,
where he disappeared with a cunning leer upon his face, so that our
hero could not but be aware that the purpose of the eavesdropper must
be to communicate all that he had overheard to his master. At this
thought the last drop of bitterness was added to his trouble, for what
could be more distressing to any man of honor than to possess the
consciousness that such a wretch should have overheard so sacred a
conversation as that which he had enjoyed with the young lady. She,
upon her part, could not have been aware that the man had listened to
what she had been saying, for she still continued leaning over the
rail, and Barnaby remained standing by her side, without moving, but so
distracted by a tumult of many passions that he knew not how or where
to look.

After a pretty long time of this silence, the young lady looked up to
see why her companion had not spoken for so great a while, and at that
very moment Sir John Malyoe comes flinging out of the cabin without his
hat, but carrying his gold-headed cane. He ran straight across the deck
towards where Barnaby and the young lady stood, swinging his cane this
way and that with a most furious and threatening countenance, while the
informer, grinning like an ape, followed close at his heels. As Sir
John approached them, he cried out in so loud a voice that all on deck
might have heard him, "You hussy!" (And all the time, you are to
remember, he was swinging his cane as though he would have struck the
young lady, who, upon her part, shrank back from him almost upon the
deck as though to escape such a blow.) "You hussy! What do you do here,
talking with a misbred Yankee supercargo not fit for a gentlewoman to
wipe her feet upon, and you stand there and listen to his fool talk! Go
to your room, you hussy"--only 'twas something worse he called her this
time--"before I lay this cane across you!"

You may suppose into what fury such words as these, spoken in Barnaby's
hearing, not to mention that vile slur set upon himself, must have cast
our hero. To be sure he scarcely knew what he did, but he put his hand
against Sir John Malyoe's breast and thrust him back most violently,
crying out upon him at the same time for daring so to threaten a young
lady, and that for a farthing he would wrench the stick out of his hand
and throw it overboard.

A little farther and Sir John would have fallen flat upon the deck with
the push Barnaby gave him. But he contrived, by catching hold of the
rail, to save his balance. Whereupon, having recovered himself, he came
running at our hero like a wild beast, whirling his cane about, and I
do believe would have struck him (and God knows then what might have
happened) had not his man-servant 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 to the scene
of action. At the same time Captain Manly and the first mate, Mr.
Freesden, came running out of the cabin. As for our hero, having got
set agoing, he was not to be stopped so easily.

"And who are you, anyhow," he cries, his voice mightily hoarse even in
his own ears, "to threaten to strike me! You may be a bloody pirate,
and you may shoot a man from behind, as you shot poor Captain Brand on
the Cobra River, but you won't dare strike me face to face. I know who
you are and what you are!"

As for Sir John Malyoe, had he been struck of a sudden by palsy, he
could not have stopped more dead short in his attack upon our hero.
There he stood, his great, bulging eyes staring like those of a fish,
his face as purple as a cherry. As for Master Informer, Barnaby had the
satisfaction of seeing that he had stopped his grinning by now and was
holding his master's arm as though to restrain him from any further act
of violence.

By this time Captain Manly had come bustling up and demanded to know
what all the disturbance meant. Whereupon our hero cried out, still in
the extremity of passion:

"The villain insulted me and insulted the young lady; he threatened to
strike me with his cane. But he sha'n't strike me. I know who he is and
what he is. I know what he's got in his cabin in those two trunks, and
I know where he found it, and whom it belongs to."

At this Captain Manly clapped his hand upon our hero's shoulder and
fell to shaking him so that he could hardly stand, crying out to him
the while to be silent. Says he: "How do you dare, 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. "But he
threatened to strike me with his cane," he says, "and that I won't
stand from any man!"

"No matter for that," says 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 inform your step-father
of how you have behaved. I'll have no such rioting as this aboard my
ship."

By this time, as you may suppose, the young lady was gone. As for Sir
John Malyoe, he stood in the light of a lantern, his face that had been
so red now gone as white as ashes, and if a look could kill, to be sure
he would have destroyed Barnaby True where he stood.

It was thus that the events of that memorable day came to a conclusion.
How little did any of the actors of the scene suspect that a portentous
Fate was overhanging them, and was so soon to transform all their
present circumstances into others that were to be perfectly different!

And how little did our hero suspect what was in store for him upon the
morrow, as with hanging head he went to his cabin, and shutting the
door upon himself, and flinging himself down upon his berth, there
yielded himself over to the profoundest depths of humiliation and
despair.

V

From his melancholy meditations Barnaby, by-and-by and in spite of
himself, began dropping off into a loose slumber, disturbed by
extravagant dreams of all sorts, in which Sir John Malyoe played some
important and malignant part.

From one of these dreams he was aroused to meet a new and startling
fate, by hearing the sudden and violent explosion of a pistol-shot ring
out as though in his ears. This was followed immediately by the sound
of several other shots exchanged in rapid succession as coming from the
deck above. At the same instant a blow of such excessive violence shook
the _Belle Helen_ that the vessel heeled over before it, and Barnaby
was at once aware that another craft--whether by accident or with
intention he did not know--must have run afoul of them.

Upon this point, and as to whether or not the collision was designed,
he was, however, not left a moment in doubt, for even as the _Belle
Helen_ righted to her true keel, there was the sound of many footsteps
running across the deck and down into the great cabin. Then proceeded a
prodigious uproar of voices, together with the struggling 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, that of Sir John Malyoe, crying out as in the greatest
extremity: "You villains! You damned villains!" and with that the
sudden detonation of a pistol fired into the close space of the great
cabin.

Long before this time Barnaby was out in the middle of his own cabin.
Taking only sufficient time to snatch down one of the pistols that hung
at the head of his berth, he 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. All was as black as coal, and the gloom
was filled with a hubbub of uproar and confusion, above which sounded
continually the shrieking of women's voices. Nor had our hero taken
above a couple of steps before he pitched headlong over two or three
men struggling 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 portended he could only guess, but presently
hearing Captain Manly's voice calling out, "You bloody pirate, would
you choke me to death?" he became immediately aware of what had
befallen the _Belle Helen_, and that they had been attacked by some of
those buccaneers who at that time infested the waters of America in
prodigious numbers.

It was with this thought in his mind that, looking towards the
companionway, he beheld, outlined against the darkness of the night
without, the form of a man's figure, standing still and motionless as a
statue in the midst of all this tumult, and thereupon, as by some
instinct, knew 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 figure point-blank, as he supposed, with his pistol, and instantly
pulled the trigger.

In the light of the pistol fire, Barnaby had only sufficient
opportunity to distinguish a flat face wearing a large pair of
mustachios, a cocked hat trimmed with gold lace, a red scarf, and brass
buttons. Then the darkness, very thick and black, again swallowed
everything.

But if our hero failed to clearly perceive the countenance towards
which he had discharged his weapon, there was one who appeared to have
recognized some likeness in it, for Sir John Malyoe's voice, almost at
Barnaby's elbow, cried out thrice in loud and violent tones, "William
Brand! William Brand! William Brand!" and thereat came the sound of
some heavy body falling down upon the deck.

This was the last that our hero may remember of that notable attack,
for the next moment whether by accident or design he never knew, he
felt himself struck so terrible a blow upon the side of the head, that
he instantly swooned dead away and knew no more.

VI

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

He had been half conscious of people about him, but could not
immediately recall what had happened to him, nor until he had opened
his eyes to find himself in a perfectly strange cabin of narrow
dimensions but extremely well fitted and painted with white and gold.
By the light of a lantern shining in his eyes, together with the gray
of the early day through the deadlight, he could perceive that two men
were bending over him--one, a negro in a striped shirt, with a yellow
handkerchief around his head and silver ear-rings in his ears; the
other, a white man, clad in a strange, outlandish dress of a foreign
make, with great mustachios hanging down below his chin, and with gold
ear-rings in his ears.

It was this last 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 marvelling 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.

Upon hearing him speak, his attendants showed excessive signs of joy,
nodding their heads and smiling at him as though to reassure him. But
either because they did not choose to reply, or else because they could
not speak English, they made no answer, excepting by those signs and
gestures. The white man, however, made several motions that our hero
was to arise, and, still grinning and nodding his head, pointed as
though towards a saloon beyond. At the same time the negro held up our
hero's coat and beckoned for him to put it on. Accordingly Barnaby,
seeing that it was required of him to quit the place in which he then
lay, arose, though with a good deal of effort, and permitted the negro
to help him on with his coat, though feeling mightily dizzy and much
put about to keep upon his legs--his head beating fit to split asunder
and the vessel rolling and pitching at a great rate, as though upon a
heavy cross-sea.

So, still sick and dizzy, he went out into what he found was, indeed, a
fine saloon beyond, painted in white and gilt like the cabin he had
just quitted. This saloon was fitted in the most excellent taste
imaginable. A table extended the length of the room, and a quantity of
bottles, and glasses clear as crystal, were arranged in rows in a
hanging rack above.

But what most attracted our hero's attention was a man sitting with his
back to him, his figure clad in a rough pea-jacket, and with a red
handkerchief tied around his throat. His feet were stretched under the
table out before him, and he was smoking a pipe of tobacco with all the
ease and comfort imaginable. As Barnaby came in he turned round, and,
to the profound astonishment of our hero, presented to 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 Cobra River.

VII

This man looked steadily at Barnaby True for above half a minute and
then burst out a-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 his interlocutor,
who pushed a bottle of rum towards him, together with a glass from the
hanging rack. 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 feel well
assured, that nothing was meant to you but kindness, and before you are
through with us all you will believe that without my having to tell you
so."

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," says he, "that
expedition of ours in Kingston Harbor, and how we were all of us balked
that night?" then, without waiting for Barnaby's reply: "And do you
remember what I said to that villain Jack Malyoe that night as his boat
went by us? I says to him, 'Jack Malyoe,' says I, 'you've got the
better of us once again, but next time it will be our turn, even if
William Brand himself has to come back from the grave to settle with
you.'"

"I remember something of the sort," said Barnaby, "but I profess I am
all in the dark as to what you are driving at."

At this the other burst out in a great fit of laughing. "Very well,
then," said he, "this night's work is only the ending of what was so
ill begun there. Look yonder"--pointing to a corner of the cabin--"and
then maybe you will be in the dark no longer." Barnaby turned his head
and there beheld in the corner of the saloon those very two
travelling-cases that Sir John Malyoe had been so particular to keep in his
cabin and under his own eyes through all the voyage from Jamaica.

"I'll show you what is in 'em," says the other, and thereupon arose,
and Barnaby with him, and so went over to where the two
travelling-cases stood.

Our hero had a strong enough suspicion as to what the cases contained.
But, Lord! what were suspicions to what his two eyes beheld when that
man lifted the lid of one of them--the locks thereof having already
been forced--and, flinging it back, displayed to Barnaby's astonished
and bedazzled sight a great treasure of gold and silver, some of it
tied up in leathern bags, to be sure, but so many of the coins, big and
little, yellow and white, lying loose in the cases as to make our hero
think that a great part of the treasures of the Indies lay there before
him.

"Well, and what do you think of that?" said the other. "Is it not
enough for a man to turn pirate for?" and thereupon burst out
a-laughing and clapped down the lid again. Then suddenly turning serious:
"Come Master Barnaby," says he. "I am to have some very sober talk with
you, so fill up your glass again and then we will heave at it."

Nor even in after years, nor in the light of that which afterwards
occurred, could Barnaby repeat all that was said to him upon that
occasion, for what with the pounding and beating of his aching head,
and what with the wonder of what he had seen, he was altogether in the
dark as to the greater part of what the other told him. That other
began by saying that Barnaby, instead of being sorry that he was
William Brand's grandson, might thank God for it; that he (Barnaby) had
been watched and cared for for twenty years in more ways than he would
ever know; that Sir John Malyoe had been watched also for all that
while, and that it was a vastly strange thing that Sir John Malyoe's
debts in England and Barnaby's coming of age should have brought them
so together in Jamaica--though, after all, it was all for the best, as
Barnaby himself should presently see, and thank God for that also. For
now all the debts against that villain Jack Malyoe were settled in
full, principal and interest, to the last penny, and Barnaby was to
enjoy it the most of all. Here the fellow took a very comfortable sip
of his grog, and then went on to say with a very cunning and knowing
wink of the eye that Barnaby was not the only passenger aboard, but
that there was another in whose company he would be glad enough, no
doubt, to finish the balance of the voyage he was now upon. So now, if
Barnaby was sufficiently composed, he should be introduced to that
other passenger. Thereupon, without waiting for a reply, he
incontinently arose and, putting away the bottle of rum and the
glasses, went across the saloon--Barnaby watching him all the while
like a man in a dream--and opened the door of a cabin like that which
Barnaby had occupied a little while before. He was gone only for a
moment, for almost immediately he came out again ushering a lady before
him.

By now the daylight in the cabin was grown strong and clear, so that
the light shining full upon her face, Barnaby True knew her the instant
she appeared.

It was Miss Marjorie Malyoe, very white, but strangely composed,
showing no terror, either in her countenance or in her expression.

    *    *    *    *    *

It would not be possible for the writer to give any clear idea of the
circumstances of the days that immediately followed, and which, within
a week, brought Barnaby True and the enchanting object of his
affections at once to the ending of their voyage, and of all these
marvellous adventures. For when, in after times, our hero would
endeavor to revive a memory of the several occurrences that then
transpired, they all appeared as though in a dream or a bewitching
phantasm.

All that he could recall were long days of delicious enjoyment followed
by nights of dreaming. But how enchanting those days! How exquisite the
distraction of those nights!

Upon occasions he and his charmer might sit together under the shade of
the sail for an hour at a stretch, he holding her hand in his and
neither saying a single word, though at times the transports of poor
Barnaby's emotions would go far to suffocate him with their rapture. As
for her face at such moments, it appeared sometimes to assume a
transparency as though of a light shining from behind her countenance.

The vessel in which they found themselves 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. For some
were white, some were yellow, and some were black, and all were tricked
out with gay colors, and gold ear-rings in their ears, and some with
long mustachios, and others with handkerchiefs tied around their heads.
And all these spoke together a jargon of which Barnaby True could not
understand a single word, but which might have been Portuguese from one
or two phrases he afterwards remembered. Nor did this outlandish crew,
of God knows what sort of men, address any of their conversation either
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 dream. Only he who
was commander of this strange craft, when he would come down into the
saloon to mix a glass of grog or to light a pipe of tobacco, would
maybe favor Barnaby with a few words concerning the weather or
something of the sort, and then to go on deck again about his business.

Indeed, it may be affirmed with pretty easy security that no such
adventure as this ever happened before; for here were these two
innocent young creatures upon board of a craft that no one, under such
circumstances as those recounted above, could doubt was a pirate or
buccaneer, the crew whereof had seen no one knows what wicked deeds;
yet they two as remote from all that and as profoundly occupied with
the transports of their passion and as innocent in their satisfaction
thereof as were Corydon and Phyllis beside their purling streams and
flowery meads, with nymphs and satyrs caracoling about them.

VIII

It is probable that the polite reader of this veracious narrative,
instead of considering it as the effort of the author to set before him
a sober and well-digested history, has been all this while amusing
himself by regarding it only as a fanciful tale designed for his
entertainment. If this be so, the writer may hardly hope to convince
him that what is to follow is a serious narrative of that which, though
never so ingenuous in its recapitulation, is an altogether inexplicable
phenomenon. Accordingly, it is with extraordinary hesitation that the
scribe now invites the confidence of his reader in the succinct truth
of that which he has to relate. It is in brief as follows:

That upon the last night of this part of his voyage, Barnaby True was
awakened from slumber by flashes of lightning shining into his cabin,
and by the loud pealing of approaching thunder. At the same time
observing the sound of footsteps moving back and forth as in great
agitation overhead, and the loud shouting of orders, he became aware
that a violent squall of wind must be approaching the vessel. Being
convinced of this he arose from his berth, dressed quickly, and hurried
upon deck, where he found a great confusion of men running hither and
thither and scrambling up and down the rigging like monkeys, while the
Captain, and one whom he had come to know as the Captain's mate, were
shouting out orders in a strange foreign jargon.

A storm was indeed approaching with great rapidity, a prodigious circle
of rain and clouds whirling overhead like smoke, while the lightning,
every now and then, flashed with intense brightness, followed by loud
peals of thunder.

By these flashes of lightning Barnaby observed that they had made land
during the night, for in the sudden glare of bright light he beheld a
mountainous headland and a long strip of sandy beach standing out
against the blackness of the night beyond. So much he was able to
distinguish, though what coast it might be he could not tell, for
presently another flash falling from the sky, he saw that the shore was
shut out by the approaching downfall of rain.

This rain came presently streaming down upon them with a great gust of
wind and a deal of white foam across the water. This violent gale of
wind suddenly striking the vessel, careened it to one side so that for
a moment it was with much ado that he was able to keep his feet at all.
Indeed, what with the noise of the tempest through the rigging and the
flashes of lightning and the pealing of the thunder and the clapping of
an unfurled sail in the darkness, and the shouting of orders in a
strange language by the Captain of the craft, who was running up and
down like a bedlamite, it was like pandemonium with all the devils of
the pit broke loose into the night.

It was at this moment, and Barnaby True was holding to the back-stays,
when a sudden, prolonged flash of lightning came after a continued
space of darkness. So sharp and heavy was this shaft that for a moment
the night was as bright as day, and in that instant occurred that which
was so remarkable that it hath afforded the title of this story itself.
For there, standing plain upon the deck and not far from the
companionway, as though he had just come up from below, our hero beheld
a figure the face of which he had seen so imperfectly once before by
the flash of his own pistol in the darkness. Upon this occasion,
however, the whole figure was stamped out with intense sharpness
against the darkness, and Barnaby beheld, as clear as day, a great
burly man, clad in a tawdry tinsel coat, with a cocked hat with gold
braid upon his head. His legs, with petticoat breeches and cased in
great leathern sea-boots pulled up to his knees, stood planted wide
apart as though to brace against the slant of the deck. The face our
hero beheld to be as white as dough, with fishy eyes and a bony
forehead, on the side of which was a great smear as of blood.

All this, as was said, stood out as sharp and clear as daylight in that
one flash of lightning, and then upon the instant was gone again, as
though swallowed up into the darkness, while a terrible clap of thunder
seemed to split the very heavens overhead and a strong smell as of
brimstone filled the air around about.

At the same moment some voice cried out from the darkness, "William
Brand, by God!"

Then, the rain clapping down in a deluge, Barnaby leaped into the
saloon, pursued by he knew not what thoughts. For if that was indeed
the image of old William Brand that he had seen once before and now
again, then the grave must indeed have gaped and vomited out its dead
into the storm of wind and lightning; for what he beheld that moment,
he hath ever averred, he saw as clear as ever he saw his hand before
his face.

This is the last account of which there is any record when the figure
of Captain William Brand was beheld by the eyes of a living man. It
must have occurred just off the Highlands below the Sandy Hook, for the
next morning when Barnaby True came upon deck it was to find the sun
shining brightly and the brigantine riding upon an even keel, at anchor
off Staten Island, three or four cable-lengths distance from a small
village on the shore, and the town of New York in plain sight across
the water.

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

IX

And, indeed, it did seem vastly strange to lie there alongside Staten
Island all that day, with New York town in plain sight across the water
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.

Throughout that day there was a vast deal of mysterious coming and
going aboard the brigantine, and in the afternoon a sail-boat went up
to the town, carrying the Captain of the brigantine and a great load in
the stern covered over with a tarpaulin. What was so taken up to the
town Barnaby did not then guess, nor did he for a moment suspect of
what vast importance it was to be for him.

About sundown the small boat returned, fetching the pirate Captain of
the brigantine back again. Coming aboard and finding Barnaby on deck,
the other requested him to come down into the saloon for he had a few
serious words to say to him. In the saloon 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, whereupon he chose a place
alongside the young lady. So soon as he had composed himself the
Captain began very seriously, with a preface somewhat thus: "Though you
may think me the Captain of this brigantine, Master Barnaby True, I am
not really so, but am under orders of a superior whom I have obeyed in
all these things that I have done." Having said so much as this, he
continued his address to say that there was one thing yet remaining for
him to do, and that the greatest thing of all.

He said that this was something that both Barnaby and the young lady
were to be called upon to perform, and he hoped that they would do
their part willingly; but that whether they did it willingly or no, do
it they must, for those also were the orders he had received.

You may guess how our hero was disturbed by this prologue. He had found
the young lady's hand beneath the table and he now held it very closely
in his own; but whatever might have been his expectations as to the
final purport of the communications the other was about to favor him
with, his most extreme expectations could not have equalled that which
was demanded of him.

"My orders are these," said his interlocutor, 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. That is the last thing I
am set to do; so now I will leave you and her young ladyship 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 incontinently went away, as he had promised, leaving those
two alone together, our hero like one turned into stone, and the young
lady, her face turned away, as red as fire, as Barnaby could easily
distinguish by the fading light.

Nor can I tell what Barnaby said to her, nor what words or arguments he
used, for so great was the distraction of his mind and the tumult of
his emotions that he presently discovered that he was repeating to her
over and over again 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. After which, containing himself sufficiently to continue his
address, he told her that if she would not have it as the man had said,
and if she were not willing to marry him as she was bidden to do, he
would rather die a thousand, aye, ten thousand, deaths than lend
himself to forcing her to do such a thing as this. 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 much more he said in such a tumult that he was hardly
aware of what he was speaking, and she sitting there, as though her
breath stifled her. Nor did he know what she replied to him, only that
she would marry him. Therewith he took her into his arms and for the
first time set his lips to hers, in such a transport of ecstasy that
everything seemed to his sight as though he were about to swoon.

So when the Captain returned to the saloon he found Barnaby sitting
there holding her hand, she with her face turned away, and he so full
of joy that the promise of heaven could not have made him happier.

The yawl-boat belonging to the brigantine was ready and waiting
alongside when they came upon deck, and immediately they descended to
it and took their seats. Reaching the shore, they landed, and walked up
the village street in the twilight, she clinging to our hero's arm as
though she would faint away. The Captain of the brigantine and two
other men aboard accompanied them to the minister's house, where they
found the good man 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 from the village being present, the
good, pious man having asked several questions as to their names and
their age and where they were from, and having added his blessing, the
ceremony was performed, and the certificate duly signed by those
present from the village--the men who had come ashore from the
brigantine alone refusing to set their hands to any paper.

The same sail-boat that had taken the Captain up to the town was
waiting for Barnaby and the young lady as they came down to the
landing-place. There the Captain of the brigantine having wished them
godspeed, and having shaken Barnaby very heartily by the hand, he
helped to push off the boat, which with the slant of the wind presently
sailed swiftly away, dropping the shore and those strange beings, and
the brigantine in which they sailed, alike behind them into the night.

They could hear through the darkness the creaking of the sails being
hoisted aboard of the pirate vessel; nor did Barnaby True ever set eyes
upon it or the crew again, nor, so far as the writer is informed, did
anybody else.

X

It was nigh midnight when they made Mr. Hartright's wharf at the foot
of Beaver Street. There Barnaby and the boatmen assisted the young lady
ashore, and our hero and she walked up through the now silent and
deserted street to Mr. Hartright's house.

You may conceive of the wonder and amazement of our hero's dear
step-father when aroused by Barnaby's continued knocking at the street
door, and 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 beheld the young and beautiful
lady whom Barnaby had brought home 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 together before he
should unfold his strange and wonderful story.

"This was left for you by two foreign sailors this afternoon, Barnaby,"
the good 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.

It was with difficulty that our hero could believe his eyes when he
beheld one of the treasure-chests that Sir John Malyoe had fetched with
such particularity from Jamaica.

He bade his step-father hold the light nigher, and then, his mother
having come down-stairs by this time, he flung back the lid and
displayed to the dazzled sight of all the great treasure therein
contained.

You are to suppose that there was no sleep for any of them that night,
for what with Barnaby's narrative of his adventures, and what with the
thousand questions asked of him, it was broad daylight before he had
finished the half of all that he had to relate.

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
fright that overset him, or whether it was the strain of passion that
burst some blood-vessel upon his brain, it is certain that when the
pirates quitted the _Belle Helen_, carrying with them the young lady
and Barnaby and the travelling-trunks, they left 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. It was in this condition that he was
raised and taken to his berth, where, the next morning about two
o'clock, he died, without once having opened his eyes or spoken a
single word.

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

Mr. Hartright had been extremely perplexed 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 but that it belonged to his wife--she being Sir John
Malyoe's legal heir. Thus it was that he satisfied himself, and thus
that great fortune (in actual computation amounting to upward of
sixty-three thousand pounds) fell to Barnaby True, the grandson of that
famous pirate William Brand.

As for the other case of treasure, it was never heard of again, nor
could Barnaby decide 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.

It is thus we reach the conclusion of our history, with only this to
observe, that whether that strange appearance of Captain Brand was
indeed a ghostly and spiritual visitation, or whether he was present on
those two occasions in flesh and blood, he was, as has been said, never
heard of again.



IV. A TRUE HISTORY OF THE DEVIL AT NEW HOPE


_At the time of the beginning of the events about to be narrated--which
the reader is to be informed occurred between the years 1740 and 1742--
there stood upon the high and rugged crest of Pick-a-Neck-a-Sock Point
(or Pig and Sow Point, as it had come to be called) the wooden ruins of
a disused church, known throughout those parts as the Old Free Grace
Meeting-house._

_This humble edifice had been erected by a peculiar religious sect
calling themselves the Free Grace Believers, the radical tenet of whose
creed was a denial of the existence of such a place as Hell, and an
affirmation of the universal mercy of God, to the intent that all souls
should enjoy eternal happiness in the life to come._

_For this dangerous heresy the Free Grace Believers were expelled from
the Massachusetts Colony, and, after sundry peregrinations, settled at
last in the Providence Plantations, upon Pick-a-Neck-a-Sock Point,
coadjacent to the town of New Hope. There they built themselves a small
cluster of huts, and a church wherein to worship; and there for a while
they dwelt, earning a precarious livelihood from the ungenerous soil
upon which they had established themselves._

_As may be supposed, the presence of so strange a people was
entertained with no great degree of complaisance by the vicinage, and
at last an old deed granting Pick-a-Neck-a-Sock to Captain Isaiah
Applebody was revived by the heirs of that renowned Indian-fighter,
whereupon the Free Grace Believers were warned to leave their bleak and
rocky refuge for some other abiding-place. Accordingly, driven forth
into the world again, they embarked in the snow[1] "Good Companion," of
Bristol, for the Province of Pennsylvania, and were afterwards heard of
no more in those parts. Their vacated houses crumbled away into ruins,
and their church tottered to decay._

[Footnote 1: A two-masted square-rigged vessel.]

_So at the beginning of these events, upon the narrative of which the
author now invites the reader to embark together with himself._

I

HOW THE DEVIL HAUNTED THE MEETING-HOUSE

At the period of this narrative the settlement of New Hope had grown
into a very considerable seaport town, doing an extremely handsome
trade with the West Indies in cornmeal and dried codfish for sugar,
molasses, and rum.

Among the more important citizens of this now wealthy and elegant
community, the most notable was Colonel William Belford--a magnate at
once distinguished and honored in the civil and military affairs of the
colony. This gentleman was an illegitimate son of the Earl of
Clandennie by the daughter of a surgeon of the Sixty-seventh Regiment
of Scots, and he had inherited a very considerable fortune upon the
death of his father, from which he now enjoyed a comfortable
competency.

Our Colonel made no little virtue of the circumstances of his exalted
birth. He was wont to address his father's memory with a sobriety that
lent to the fact of his illegitimacy a portentous air of seriousness,
and he made no secret of the fact that he was the friend and the
confidential correspondent of the present Earl of Clandennie. In his
intercourse with the several Colonial governors he assumed an attitude
of authority that only his lineage could have supported him in
maintaining, and, possessing a large and commanding presence, he bore
himself with a continent reserve that never failed to inspire with awe
those whom he saw fit to favor with his conversation.

This noble and distinguished gentleman possessed in a brother an exact
and perfect opposite to himself. Captain Obadiah Belford was a West
Indian, an inhabitant of Kingston in the island of Jamaica. He was a
cursing, swearing, hard-drinking renegado from virtue; an acknowledged
dealer in negro slaves, and reputed to have been a buccaneer, if not an
out-and-out pirate, such as then infested those tropical latitudes in
prodigious numbers. He was not unknown in New Hope, which he had
visited upon several occasions for a week or so at a time. During each
period he lodged with his brother, whose household he scandalized by
such freaks as smoking his pipe of tobacco in the parlor, offering
questionable pleasantries to the female servants, and cursing and
swearing in the hallways with a fecundity and an ingenuity that would
have put the most godless sailor about the docks to the blush.

Accordingly, it may then be supposed into what a dismay it threw
Colonel Belford when one fine day he received a letter from Captain
Obadiah, in which our West Indian desperado informed his brother that
he proposed quitting those torrid latitudes in which he had lived for
so long a time, and that he intended thenceforth to make his home in
New Hope.

Addressing Colonel Belford as "My dear Billy," he called upon that
gentleman to rejoice at this determination, and informed him that he
proposed in future to live "as decent a limb of grace as ever broke
loose from hell," and added that he was going to fetch as a present for
his niece Belinda a "dam pirty little black girl" to carry her
prayer-book to church for her.

Accordingly, one fine morning, in pursuance of this promise, our West
Indian suddenly appeared at New Hope with a prodigious quantity of
chests and travelling-cases, and with so vociferous an acclamation that
all the town knew of his arrival within a half-hour of that event.

When, however, he presented himself before Colonel Belford, it was to
meet with a welcome so frigid and an address so reserved that a douche
of cold water could not have quenched his verbosity more entirely. For
our great man had no notion to submit to the continued infliction of
the West Indian's presence. Accordingly, after the first words of
greeting had passed, he addressed Captain Obadiah in a strain somewhat
after this fashion:

"Indeed, I protest, my dear brother Obadiah, it is with the heartiest
regrets in the world that I find myself obliged to confess that I
cannot offer you a home with myself and my family. It is not alone that
your manners displease me--though, as an elder to a younger, I may say
to you that we of these more northern latitudes do not entertain the
same tastes in such particulars as doubtless obtain in the West Indies--but
the habits of my household are of such a nature that I could not
hope to form them to your liking. I can, however, offer as my advice
that you may find lodgings at the Blue Lion Tavern, which doubtless
will be of a sort exactly to fit your inclinations. I have made
inquiries, and I am sure you will find the very best apartments to be
obtained at that excellent hostelry placed at your disposal."

To this astounding address our West Indian could, for a moment, make no
other immediate reply than to open his eyes and to glare upon Colonel
Belford, so that, what with his tall, lean person, his long neck, his
stooping shoulders, and his yellow face stained upon one side an indigo
blue by some premature explosion of gunpowder--what with all this and a
prodigious hooked beak of a nose, he exactly resembled some hungry
predatory bird of prey meditating a pounce upon an unsuspecting victim.
At last, finding his voice, and rapping the ferrule of his ivory-headed
cane upon the floor to emphasize his declamation, he cried out: "What!
What! What! Is this the way to offer a welcome to a brother new
returned to your house? Why, ---- ----! who are you? Am not I your
brother, who could buy you out twice over and have enough left to live
in velvet? Why! Why!--Very well, then, have it your own way; but if I
don't grind your face into the mud and roll you into the dirt my name
is not Obadiah Belford!" Thereupon, striving to say more but finding no
fit words for the occasion, he swung upon his heel and incontinently
departed, banging the door behind him like a clap of thunder, and
cursing and swearing so prodigiously as he strode away down the street
that an infernal from the pit could scarcely have exceeded the fury of
his maledictions.

However, he so far followed Colonel Belford's advice that he took up
his lodgings at the Blue Lion Tavern, where, in a little while, he had
gathered about him a court of all such as chose to take advantage of
his extravagant bounty.

Indeed, he poured out his money with incredible profusion, declaring,
with many ingenious and self-consuming oaths, that he could match
fortunes with the best two men in New Hope, and then have enough left
to buy up his brother from his hair to his boot-leathers. He made no
secret of the rebuff he had sustained from Colonel Belford, for his
grievance clung to him like hot pitch--itching the more he meddled with
it. Sometimes his fury was such that he could scarcely contain himself.
Upon such occasions, cursing and swearing like an infernal, he would
call Heaven to witness that he would live in New Hope if for no other
reason than to bring shame to his brother, and he would declare again
and again, with incredible variety of expletives, that he would grind
his brother's face into the dirt for him.

[Illustration: "HE WOULD SHOUT OPPROBRIOUS WORDS AFTER THE OTHER IN THE
STREETS"]

Accordingly he set himself assiduously at work to tease and torment the
good man with every petty and malicious trick his malevolence could
invent. He would shout opprobrious words after the other in the
streets, to the entertainment of all who heard him; he would parade up
and down before Colonel Belford's house singing obstreperous and
unseemly songs at the top of his voice; he would even rattle the
ferrule of his cane against the palings of the fence, or throw a stone
at Madam Belford's cat in the wantonness of his malice.

Meantime he had purchased a considerable tract of land, embracing Pig
and Sow Point, and including the Old Free Grace Meeting-House. Here, he
declared, it was his intention to erect a house for himself that should
put his brother's wooden shed to shame. Accordingly he presently began
the erection of that edifice, so considerable in size and occupying so
commanding a situation that it was the admiration of all those parts,
and was known to fame as Belford's Palace. This magnificent residence
was built entirely of brick, and Captain Obadiah made it a boast that
the material therefor was brought all the way around from New York in
flats. In the erection of this elegant structure all the carpenters and
masons in the vicinage were employed, so that it grew up with an
amazing rapidity. Meantime, upon the site of the building, rum and
Hollands were kept upon draught for all comers, so that the place was
made the common resort and the scene for the orgies of all such of the
common people as possessed a taste for strong waters, many coming from
so far away as Newport to enjoy our Captain's prodigality.

Meantime he himself strutted about the streets in his red coat trimmed
with gilt braid, his hat cocked upon one side of his bony head,
pleasing himself with the belief that he was the object of universal
admiration, and swelling with a vast and consummate self-satisfaction
as he boasted, with strident voice and extravagant enunciation, of the
magnificence of the palace he was building.

At the same time, having, as he said, shingles to spare, he patched and
repaired the Old Free Grace Meeting-House, so that its gray and hoary
exterior, while rejuvenated as to the roof and walls, presented in a
little while an appearance as of a sudden eruption of bright yellow
shingles upon its aged hide. Nor would our Captain offer any other
explanation for so odd a freak of fancy than to say that it pleased him
to do as he chose with his own.

At last, the great house having been completed, and he himself having
entered into it and furnished it to his satisfaction, our Captain
presently began entertaining his friends therein with a profuseness of
expenditure and an excess of extravagance that were the continued
admiration of the whole colony. In more part the guests whom Captain
Obadiah thus received with so lavish an indulgence were officers or
government officials from the garrisons of Newport or of Boston, with
whom, by some means or other, he had scraped an acquaintance. At times
these gay gentlemen would fairly take possession of the town, parading
up and down the street under conduct of their host, staring ladies out
of countenance with the utmost coolness and effrontery, and offering
loud and critical remarks concerning all that they beheld about them,
expressing their opinions with the greatest freedom and jocularity.

Nor were the orgies at Belford's Palace limited to such extravagances
as gaming and dicing and drinking, for sometimes the community would be
scandalized by the presence of gayly dressed and high-colored ladies,
who came, no one knew whence, to enjoy the convivialities at the great
house on the hill, and concerning whom it pleased the respectable folk
of New Hope to entertain the gravest suspicion.

At first these things raised such a smoke that nothing else was to be
seen, but by-and-by other strange and singular circumstances began to
be spoken of--at first among the common people, and then by others. It
began to be whispered and then to be said that the Old Free Grace
Meeting-House out on the Point was haunted by the Devil.

The first information concerning this dreadful obsession arose from a
fisherman, who, coming into the harbor of a nightfall after a stormy
day, had, as he affirmed, beheld the old meeting-house all of a blaze
of light. Some time after, a tinker, making a short-cut from Stapleton
by way of the old Indian road, had a view of a similar but a much more
remarkable manifestation. This time, as the itinerant most solemnly
declared, the meeting-house was not only seen all alight, but a bell
was ringing as a signal somewhere off across the darkness of the water,
where, as he protested, there suddenly appeared a red star, that,
blazing like a meteor with a surpassing brightness for a few seconds,
was presently swallowed up into inky darkness again. Upon another
occasion a fiddler, returning home after midnight from Sprowle's Neck,
seeing the church alight, had, with a temerity inflamed by rum,
approached to a nearer distance, whence, lying in the grass, he had, he
said, at the stroke of midnight, beheld a multitude of figures emerge
from the building, crying most dolorously, and then had heard a voice,
as of a lost spirit, calling aloud, "Six-and-twenty, all told!" whereat
the light in the church was instantly extinguished into an impenetrable
darkness.

It was said that when Captain Obadiah himself was first apprised of the
suspicions entertained of the demoniacal possession of the old
meeting-house, he had fixed upon his venturesome informant so threatening
and ominous a gaze that the other could move neither hand nor foot under
the malignant fury of his observation. Then, at last, clearing his
countenance of its terrors, he had burst into a great, loud laugh,
crying out: "Well, what then? Why not? You must know that the Devil and
I have been very good friends in times past. I saw a deal of him in the
West Indies, and I must tell you that I built up the old meeting-house
again so that he and I could talk together now and then about old times
without having a lot of ----, dried, codfish-eating, rum-drinking
Yankee bacon-chewers to listen to every word we had to say to each
other. If you must know, it was only last night that the ghost of
Jezebel and I danced a fandango together in the graveyard up yonder,
while the Devil himself sat cross-legged on old Daniel Root's tombstone
and blew on a dry, dusty shank-bone by way of a flute. And now" (here
he swore a terrific oath) "you know the worst that is to be known, with
only this to say: if ever a man sets foot upon Pig and Sow Point again
after nightfall to interfere with the Devil's sport and mine, hell
suffer for it as sure as fire can burn or brimstone can scorch. So put
that in your pipe and smoke it."

These terrible words, however extravagant, were, to be sure, in the
nature of a direct confirmation of the very worst suspicion that could
have been entertained concerning this dolorous affair. But if any
further doubt lingered as to the significance of such malevolent
rumors, Captain Obadiah himself soon put an end to the same.

The Reverend Josiah Pettibones was used of a Saturday to take supper at
Colonel Belford's elegant residence. It was upon such an occasion and
the reverend gentleman and his honored host were smoking a pipe of
tobacco together in the library, when there fell a loud and importunate
knocking at the house door, and presently the servant came ushering no
less a personage than Captain Obadiah himself. After directing a most
cunning, mischievous look at his brother, Captain Obadiah addressed
himself directly to the Reverend Mr. Pettibones, folding his hands with
a most indescribable air of mock humility. "Sir," says he--"Reverend
sir, you see before you a humble and penitent sinner, who has fallen so
desperately deep into iniquities that he knows not whether even so
profound piety as yours can elevate him out of the pit in which he
finds himself. Sir, it has got about the town that the Devil has taken
possession of my old meeting-house, and, alas! I have to confess--_that
it is the truth_." Here our Captain hung his head down upon his breast
as though overwhelmed with the terrible communication he had made.

"What is this that I hear?" cried the reverend gentleman. "Can I
believe my ears?"

"Believe your ears!" exclaimed Colonel Belford. "To be sure you cannot
believe your ears. Do you not see that this is a preposterous lie, and
that he is telling it to you to tease and to mortify me?"

At this Captain Obadiah favored his brother with a look of exaggerated
and sanctimonious humility. "Alas, brother," he cried out, "for
accusing me so unjustly! Fie upon you! Would you check a penitent in
his confession? But you must know that it is to this gentleman that I
address myself, and not to you." Then directing his discourse once more
to the Reverend Mr. Pettibones, he resumed his address thus: "Sir, you
must know that while I was in the West Indies I embarked, among other
things, in one of those ventures against the Spanish Main of which you
may have heard."

"Do you mean piracy?" asked the Reverend Pettibones; and Captain
Obadiah nodded his head.

"'Tis a lie!" cried Colonel Belford, smacking his hand upon the table.
"He never possessed spirit enough for anything so dangerous as piracy
or more mischievous than slave-trading."

"Sir," quoth Captain Obadiah to the reverend gentleman, "again I say
'tis to you I address my confession. Well, sir, one day we sighted a
Spanish caravel very rich ladened with a prodigious quantity of plate,
but were without so much as a capful of wind to fetch us up with her.
'I would,' says I, 'offer the Devil my soul for a bit of a breeze to
bring us alongside.' 'Done,' says a voice beside me, and--alas that I
must confess it!--there I saw a man with a very dark countenance, whom
I had never before beheld aboard of our ship. 'Sign this,' says he,
'and the breeze is yours!' 'What is it upon the pen?' says I. "'Tis
blood,' says he. Alas, sir! what was a poor wretch so tempted as I to
do?"

"And did you sign?" asked Mr. Pettibones, all agog to hear the
conclusion of so strange a narration.

"Woe is me, sir, that I should have done so!" quoth Captain Obadiah,
rolling his eyes until little but the whites of them were to be seen.

"And did you catch the Spanish ship?"

"That we did, sir, and stripped her as clean as a whistle."

"'Tis all a prodigious lie!" cried Colonel Belford, in a fury. "Sir,
can you sit so complacently and be made a fool of by so extravagant a
fable?"

"Indeed it is unbelievable," said Mr. Pettibones.

At this faint reply, Captain Obadiah burst out laughing; then renewing
his narrative--"Indeed, sir," he declared, "you may believe me or not,
as you please. Nevertheless, I may tell you that, having so obtained my
prize, and having time to think coolly over the bargain I had made, I
says to myself, says I: 'Obediah Belford! Obadiah Belford, here is a
pretty pickle you are in. 'Tis time you quit these parts and lived
decent, or else you are damned to all eternity.' And so I came hither
to New Hope, reverend sir, hoping to end my days in quiet. Alas, sir!
would you believe it? scarce had I finished my fine new house up at the
Point when hither comes that evil being to whom I had sold my sorrowful
soul. 'Obadiah,' says he, 'Obadiah Belford, I have a mind to live in
New Hope also,' 'Where?' says I. 'Well,' says he, 'you may patch up the
old meetinghouse; 'twill serve my turn for a while.' 'Well,' thinks I
to myself, 'there can be no harm in that,' And so I did as he bade me--
and would not you do as much for one who had served you as well? Alas,
your reverence! there he is now, and I cannot get rid of him, and 'tis
over the whole town that he has the meeting-house in possession."

"Tis an incredible story!" cried the Reverend Pettibones.

"'Tis a lie from beginning to end!" cried the Colonel.

"And now how shall I get myself out of my pickle?" asked Captain
Obadiah.

"Sir," said Mr. Pettibones, "if what you tell me is true, 'tis beyond
my poor powers to aid you."

"Alas!" cried Captain Obadiah. "Alas! alas! Then, indeed, I'm damned!"
And therewith flinging his arms into the air as though in the extremity
of despair, he turned and incontinently departed, rushing forth out of
the house as though stung by ten thousand furies.

It was the most prodigious piece of gossip that ever fell in the way of
the Reverend Josiah, and for a fortnight he carried it with him
wherever he went. "'Twas the most unbelievable tale I ever heard," he
would cry. "And yet where there is so much smoke there must be some
fire. As for the poor wretch, if ever I saw a lost soul I beheld him
standing before me there in Colonel Belford's library." And then he
would conclude: "Yes, yes, 'tis incredible and past all belief. But if
it be true in ever so little a part, why, then there is justice in
this--that the Devil should take possession of the sanctuary of that
very heresy that would not only have denied him the power that every
other Christian belief assigns to him, but would have destroyed that
infernal habitation that hath been his dwelling-place for all
eternity."

As for Captain Belford, if he desired privacy for himself upon Pig and
Sow Point, he had taken the very best means to prevent the curious from
spying upon him there after nightfall.

II

HOW THE DEVIL STOLE THE COLLECTOR'S SNUFFBOX

Lieutenant Thomas Goodhouse was the Collector of Customs in the town of
New Hope. He was a character of no little notoriety in those parts,
enjoying the reputation of being able to consume more pineapple rum
with less effect upon his balance than any other man in the community.
He possessed the voice of a stentor, a short, thick-set,
broad-shouldered person, a face congested to a violent carnation, and red
hair of such a color as to add infinitely to the consuming fire of his
countenance.

The Custom Office was a little white frame building with green
shutters, and overhanging the water as though to topple into the tide.
Here at any time of the day betwixt the hours of ten in the morning and
of five in the afternoon the Collector was to be found at his desk
smoking his pipe of tobacco, the while a thin, phthisical clerk bent
with unrelaxing assiduity over a multitude of account-books and papers
accumulated before him.

For his post of Collectorship of the Royal Customs, Lieutenant
Goodhouse was especially indebted to the patronage of Colonel Belford.
The worthy Collector had, some years before, come to that gentleman
with a written recommendation from the Earl of Clandennie of a very
unusual sort. It was the Lieutenant's good-fortune to save the life of
the Honorable Frederick Dunburne, second son of the Earl--a wild,
rakish, undisciplined youth, much given to such mischievous enterprises
as the twisting off of door-knockers, the beating of the watch, and the
carrying away of tavern signs.

Having been a very famous swimmer at Eton, the Honorable Frederick
undertook while at the Cowes to swim a certain considerable distance
for a wager. In the midst of this enterprise he was suddenly seized
with a cramp, and would inevitably have drowned had not the Lieutenant,
who happened in a boat close at hand, leaped overboard and rescued the
young gentleman from the watery grave in which he was about to be
engulfed, thus restoring him once more to the arms of his grateful
family.

For this fortunate act of rescue the Earl of Clandennie presented to
his son's preserver a gold snuffbox filled with guineas, and inscribed
with the following legend:

"To Lieutenant Thomas Goodhouse,
who, under the Ruling of Beneficent Providence,
was the Happy Preserver of a Beautiful and
Precious Life of Virtuous Precocity,
this Box is presented by the Father of Him whom He
saved as a grateful acknowledgment of His
Services.

Thomas Monkhouse Dunburne, Viscount of
Dunburne and Earl of Clandennie.

_August 17, 1752._"

Having thus satisfied the immediate demands of his gratitude, it is
very possible that the Earl of Clandennie did not choose to assume so
great a responsibility as the future of his son's preserver entailed.
Nevertheless, feeling that something should be done for him, he
obtained for Lieutenant Goodhouse a passage to the Americas, and wrote
him a strong letter of recommendation to Colonel Belford. That
gentleman, desiring to please the legitimate head of his family, used
his influence so successfully that the Lieutenant was presently granted
the position of Collector of Customs in the place of Captain Maull, who
had lately deceased.

The Lieutenant, somewhat to the surprise of his patrons, filled his new
official position as Collector not only with vigor, but with a not
unbecoming dignity. He possessed an infinite appreciation of the
responsibilities of his office, and he was more jealous to collect
every farthing of the royal duties than he would have been had those
moneys been gathered for his own emolument.

Under the old Collectorship of Captain Maull, it was no unusual thing
for a barraco of superfine Hollands, a bolt of silk cloth, or a keg of
brandy to find its way into the house of some influential merchant or
Colonial dignitary. But in no such manner was Lieutenant Goodhouse
derelict in his duties. He would have sacrificed his dearest friendship
or his most precious attachment rather than fail in his duties to the
Crown. In the intermission of his duties it might please him to relax
into the softer humors of conviviality, but at ten o'clock in the
morning, whatever his condition of sobriety, he assumed at once all the
sterner panoply of a Collector of the Royal Customs.

Thus he set his virtues against his vices, and struck an even balance
between them. When most unsteady upon his legs he most asserted his
integrity, declaring that not a gill or a thread came into his port
without paying its duty, and calling Heaven to witness that it had been
his hand that had saved the life of a noble young gentleman. Thereupon,
perhaps, drawing forth the gleaming token of his prowess--the gold
snuffbox--from his breeches-pocket, and holding it tight in his brown
and hairy fist, he would first offer his interlocutor a pinch of
rappee, and would then call upon him to read the inscription engraved
upon the lid of the case, demanding to know whether it mattered a fig
if a man did drink a drop too much now and then, provided he collected
every farthing of the royal revenues, and had been the means of saving
the son of the Earl of Clandennie.

Never for an instant upon such an occasion would he permit his precious
box to quit his possession. It was to him an emblem of those virtues
that no one knew but himself, wherefore the more he misdoubted his own
virtuousness the more valuable did the token of that rectitude become
in his eyes. "Yes, you may look at it," he would say, "but damme if you
shall handle it. I would not," he would cry, "let the Devil himself
take it out of my hands."

The talk concerning the impious possession of the Old Free Grace
Meeting-House was at its height when the official consciousness of the
Collector, who was just then laboring under his constitutional
infirmity, became suddenly seized with an irrepressible alarm. He
declared that he smoked something worse than the Devil upon Pig and Sow
Point, and protested that it was his opinion that Captain Obadiah was
doing a bit of free-trade upon his own account, and that dutiable goods
were being smuggled in at night under cover of these incredible
stories. He registered a vow, sealing it with the most solemn
protestations, and with a multiplicity of ingenious oaths that only a
mind stimulated by the heat of intoxication could have invented, that
he would make it his business, upon the first occasion that offered, to
go down to Pig and Sow Point and to discover for himself whether it was
the Devil or smugglers that had taken possession of the Old Free Grace
Meeting-House. Thereupon, hauling out his precious snuffbox and rapping
upon the lid, he offered a pinch around. Then calling attention to the
inscription, he demanded to know whether a man who had behaved so well
upon that occasion had need to be afraid of a whole churchful of
devils. "I would," he cried, "offer the Devil a pinch, as I have
offered it to you. Then I would bid him read this and tell me whether
he dared to say that black was the white of my eye."

Nor were those words a vain boast upon the Collector's part, for,
before a week had passed, it being reported that there had been a
renewal of manifestations at the old church, the Collector, finding
nobody with sufficient courage to accompany him, himself entered into a
small boat and rowed down alone to Pig and Sow Point to investigate,
for his own satisfaction, those appearances that so agitated the
community.

It was dusk when the Collector departed upon that memorable and
solitary expedition, and it was entirely dark before he had reached its
conclusion. He had taken with him a bottle of Extra Reserve rum to
drive, as he declared, the chill out of his bones. Accordingly it
seemed to him to be a surprisingly brief interval before he found
himself floating in his boat under the impenetrable shadow of the rocky
promontory. The profound and infinite gloom of night overhung him with
a portentous darkness, melting only into a liquid obscurity as it
touched and dissolved into the stretch of waters across the bay. But
above, on the high and rugged shoulder of the Point, the Collector,
with dulled and swimming vision, beheld a row of dim and lurid lights,
whereupon, collecting his faculties, he opined that the radiance he
beheld was emitted from the windows of the Old Free Grace
Meeting-House.

Having made fast his boat with a drunken gravity, the Collector walked
directly, though with uncertain steps, up the steep and rugged path
towards that mysterious illumination. Now and then he stumbled over the
stones and cobbles that lay in his way, but he never quite lost his
balance, neither did he for a moment remit his drunken gravity. So with
a befuddled and obstinate perseverance he reached at last to the
conclusion of his adventure and of his fate.

The old meeting-house was two stories in height, the lower story having
been formerly used by the Free Grace Believers as a place wherein to
celebrate certain obscure mysteries appertaining to their belief. The
upper story, devoted to the more ordinary worship of their Sunday
meetings, was reached by a tall, steep flight of steps that led from
the ground to a covered porch which sheltered the doorway.

The Collector paused only long enough to observe that the shutters of
the lower story were tight shut and barred, and that the dull and lurid
light shone from the windows above. Then he directly mounted the steps
with a courage and a perfect assurance that can only be entirely
enjoyed by one in his peculiar condition of inebriety.

He paused to knock at the door, and it appeared to him that his
knuckles had hardly fallen upon the panel before the valve was flung
suddenly open. An indescribable and heavy odor fell upon him and for
the moment overpowered his senses, and he found himself standing face
to face with a figure prodigiously and portentously tall.

Even at this unexpected apparition the Collector lost possession of no
part of his courage. Rather he stiffened himself to a more stubborn and
obstinate resolution. Steadying himself for his address, "I know very
well," quoth he, "who you are. You are the Divil, I dare say, but damme
if you shall do business here without paying your duties to King
George. I may drink a drop too much," he cried, "but I collect my
duties--every farthing of 'em." Then drawing forth his snuffbox, he
thrust it under the nose of the being to whom he spake. "Take a pinch
and read that," he roared, "but don't handle it, for I wouldn't take
all hell to let it out of my hand."

The being whom he addressed had stood for all this while as though
bereft of speech and of movement, but at these last words he appeared
to find his voice, for he gave forth a strident bellow of so dreadful
and terrible a sort that the Collector, brave as he found himself,
stepped back a pace or two before it. The next instant he was struck
upon the wrist as though by a bolt of lightning, and the snuffbox,
describing a yellow circle against the light of the door, disappeared
into the darkness of the night beyond. Ere he could recover himself
another blow smote him upon the breast, and he fell headlong from the
platform, as through infinite space.

    *    *    *    *    *

The next day the Collector did not present himself at the office at his
accustomed hour, and the morning wore along without his appearing at
his desk. By noon serious alarm began to take possession of the
community, and about two o'clock, the tide being then set out pretty
strong, Mr. Tompkins, the consumptive clerk, and two sailors from the
_Sarah Goodrich_, then lying at Mr. Hoppins's wharf, went down in a
yawl-boat to learn, if possible, what had befallen him. They coasted
along the Point for above a half-hour before they discovered any
vestige of the missing Collector. Then at last they saw him lying at a
little distance upon a cobbled strip of beach, where, judging from his
position and from the way he had composed himself to rest, he appeared
to have been overcome by liquor.

At this place Mr. Tompkins put ashore, and making the best of his way
over the slippery stones exposed at low water, came at last to where
his chief was lying. The Collector was reposing with one arm over his
eyes, as though to shelter them from the sun, but as soon as Mr.
Tompkins had approached close enough to see his countenance, he uttered
a great cry that was like a scream. For, by the blue and livid lips
parted at the corners to show the yellow teeth, from the waxy whiteness
of the fat and hairy hands--in short, from the appearance of the whole
figure, he was aware in an instant that the Collector was dead.

His cry brought the two sailors running. They, with the utmost coolness
imaginable, turned the Collector over, but discovered no marks of
violence upon him, till of a sudden one of them called attention to the
fact that his neck was broke. Upon this the other opined that he had
fallen among the rocks and twisted his neck.

The two mariners then made an investigation of his pockets, the clerk
standing by the while paralyzed with horror, his face the color of
dough, his scalp creeping, and his hands and fingers twitching as
though with the palsy. For there was something indescribably dreadful
in the spectacle of those living hands searching into the dead's
pockets, and he would freely have given a week's pay if he had never
embarked upon the expedition for the recovery of his chief.

In the Collector's pockets they found a twist of tobacco, a red
bandanna handkerchief of violent color, a purse meagrely filled with
copper coins and silver pieces, a silver watch still ticking with a
loud and insistent iteration, a piece of tarred string, and a
clasp-knife.

The snuffbox which the Lieutenant had regarded with such prodigious
pride as the one emblem of his otherwise dubious virtue was gone.

III

THE STRANGE ADVENTURES OF A YOUNG GENTLEMAN OF QUALITY

The Honorable Frederick Dunburne, second son of the Earl of Clandennie,
having won some six hundred pounds at écarté at a single sitting at
Pintzennelli's, embarked with his two friends, Captain Blessington and
Lord George Fitzhope, to conclude the night with a round of final
dissipation in the more remote parts of London. Accordingly they
embarked at York Stairs for the Three Cranes, ripe for any mischief.
Upon the water the three young gentlemen amused themselves by shouting
and singing, pausing only now and then to discharge a broadside of
raillery at the occupants of some other and passing boat.

All went very well for a while, some of those in the passing boats
laughing and railing in return, others shouting out angry replies. At
last they fell in with a broad-beamed, flat-nosed, Dutch-appearing
yawl-boat, pulling heavily up against the stream, and loaded with a
crew of half-drunken sailors just come into port. In reply to the
challenge of our young gentlemen, a man in the stern of the other boat,
who appeared to be the captain of the crew--a fellow, as Dunburne could
indefinitely perceive by the dim light of the lanthorn and the faint
illumination of the misty half-moon, possessing a great, coarse red
face and a bullet head surmounted by a mildewed and mangy fur cap--
bawled out, in reply, that if they would only put their boat near
enough for a minute or two he would give them a bellyful of something
that would make them quiet for the rest of the night. He added that he
would ask for nothing better than to have the opportunity of beating
Dunburne's head to a pudding, and that he would give a crown to have
the three of them within arm's-reach for a minute.

Upon this Captain Blessington swore that he should be immediately
accommodated, and therewith delivered an order to that effect to the
watermen. These obeyed so promptly that almost before Dunburne was
aware of what had happened the two boats were side by side, with hardly
a foot of space between the gunwales. Dunburne beheld one of the
watermen of his own boat knock down one of the crew of the other with
the blade of an oar, and then he himself was clutched by the collar in
the grasp of the man with the fur cap. Him Dunburne struck twice in the
face, and in the moonlight he saw that he had started the blood to
running down from his assailant's nose. But his blows produced no other
effect than to call forth a volley of the most horrible oaths that ever
greeted his ears. Thereupon the boats drifted so far apart that our
young gentleman was haled over the gunwale and soused in the cold water
of the river. The next moment some one struck him upon the head with a
belaying-pin or a billet of wood, a blow so crushing that the darkness
seemed to split asunder with a prodigious flaming of lights and a
myriad of circling stars, which presently disappeared into the profound
and utter darkness of insensibility. How long this swoon continued our
young gentleman could never tell, but when he regained so much of his
consciousness as to be aware of the things about him, he beheld himself
to be confined in a room, the walls whereof were yellow and greasy with
dirt, he himself having been laid upon a bed so foul and so displeasing
to his taste that he could not but regret the swoon from which he had
emerged into consciousness. Looking down at his person, he beheld that
his clothes had all been taken away from him, and that he was now clad
in a shirt with only one sleeve, and a pair of breeches so tattered
that they barely covered his nakedness. While he lay thus, dismally
depressed by so sad a pickle as that into which he found himself
plunged, he was strongly and painfully aware of an uproarious babble of
loud and drunken voices and a continual clinking of glasses, which
appeared to sound as from a tap-room beneath, these commingled now and
then with oaths and scraps of discordant song bellowed out above the
hubbub. His wounded head beat with tremendous and straining
painfulness, as though it would burst asunder, and he was possessed by
a burning thirst that seemed to consume his very vitals. He called
aloud, and in reply a fat, one-eyed woman came, fetching him something
to drink in a cup. This he swallowed with avidity, and thereupon (the
liquor perhaps having been drugged) he dropped off into unconsciousness
once more.

When at last he emerged for a second time into the light of reason, it
was to find himself aboard a brig--the _Prophet Daniel_, he discovered
her name to be--bound for Baltimore, in the Americas, and then pitching
and plunging upon a westerly running stern-sea, and before a strong
wind that drove the vessel with enormous velocity upon its course for
those remote and unknown countries for which it was bound. The land was
still in sight both astern and abeam, but before him lay the boundless
and tremendously infinite stretch of the ocean. Dunburne found himself
still to be clad in the one-armed shirt and tattered breeches that had
adorned him in the house of the crimp in which he had first awakened.
Now, however, an old tattered hat with only a part of the crown had
been added to his costume. As though to complete the sad disorder of
his appearance, he discovered, upon passing his hand over his
countenance, that his beard and hair had started a bristling growth,
and that the lump on his crown--which was even yet as big as a walnut--
was still patched with pieces of dirty sticking-plaster. Indeed, had he
but known it, he presented as miserable an appearance as the most
miserable of those wretches who were daily ravished from the slums and
streets of the great cities to be shipped to the Americas. Nor was he a
long time in discovering that he was now one of the several such
indentured servants who, upon the conclusion of their voyage, were to
be sold for their passage in the plantations of Maryland.

Having learned so much of his miserable fate, and being now able to
make shift to walk (though with weak and stumbling steps), our young
gentleman lost no time in seeking the Captain, to whom he endeavored to
explain the several accidents that had befallen him, acknowledging that
he was the second son of the Earl of Clandennie, and declaring that if
he, the Captain, would put the _Prophet Daniel_ back into some English
port again, his lordship would make it well worth his while to lose so
much time for the sake of one so dear as a second son. To this address
the Captain, supposing him either to be drunk or disordered in his
mind, made no other reply than to knock him incontinently down upon the
deck, bidding him return forward where he belonged.

Thereafter poor Dunburne found himself enjoying the reputation of a
harmless madman. The name of the Earl of Rags was bestowed upon him,
and the miserable companions of his wretched plight were never tired of
tempting him to recount his adventures, for the sake of entertaining
themselves by teasing that which they supposed to be his hapless mania.

Nor is it easy to conceive of all the torments that those miserable,
obscene wretches were able to inflict upon him. Under the teasing sting
of his companions' malevolent pleasantries, there were times when
Dunburne might, as he confessed to himself, have committed a murder
with the greatest satisfaction in the world. However, he was endowed
with no small command of self-restraint, so that he was still able to
curb his passions within the bounds of reason and of policy. He was,
fortunately, a complete master of the French and Italian languages, so
that when the fury of his irritation would become too excessive for him
to control, he would ease his spirits by castigating his tormentors
with a consuming verbosity in those foreign tongues, which, had his
companions understood a single word of that which he uttered, would
have earned for him a beating that would have landed him within an inch
of his life. However, they attributed all that he said to the
irrational gibbering of a maniac.

About midway of their voyage the _Prophet Daniel_ encountered a
tremendous storm, which drove her so far out of the Captain's reckoning
that when land was sighted, in the afternoon of a tempestuous day in
the latter part of August, the first mate, who had been for some years
in the New England trade, opined that it was the coast of Rhode Island,
and that if the Captain chose to do so he might run into New Hope
Harbor and lie there until the southeaster had blown itself out. This
advice the Captain immediately put into execution, so that by nightfall
they had dropped anchor in the comparative quiet of that excellent
harbor.

Dunburne was a most excellent and practised swimmer. That evening, when
the dusk had pretty well fallen, he jumped overboard, dived under the
brig, and came up on the other side. Thus leaving all hands aboard
looking for him or for his dead body at the starboard side of the
_Prophet Daniel_, he himself swam slowly away to the larboard. Now
partly under water, now floating on his back, he directed his course
towards a point of land about a mile away, whereon, as he had observed
before the dark had settled down, there stood an old wooden building
resembling a church, and a great brick house with tall, lean chimneys
at a little farther distance inland.

The intemperate cold of the water of those parts of America was so much
more excessive than Dunburne had been used to swim in that when he
dragged himself out upon the rocky, bowlder-strewn beach he lay for a
considerable time more dead than alive. His limbs appeared to possess
hardly any vitality, so benumbed were they by the icy chill that had
entered into the very marrow of his bones. Nor did he for a long while
recover from this excessive rigor; his limbs still continued at
intervals to twitch and shudder as with a convulsion, nor could he at
such times at all control their trembling. At last, however, with a
huge sigh, he aroused himself to some perception of his surroundings,
which he acknowledged were of as dispiriting a sort as he could well
have conceived of. His recovering senses were distracted by a ceaseless
watery din, for the breaking waves, rushing with a prodigious swiftness
from the harbor to the shore before the driving wind, fell with
uproarious crashing into white foam among the rocks. Above this watery
tumult spread the wet gloom of the night, full of the blackness and
pelting chill of a fine slanting rain.

Through this shroud of mist and gloom Dunburne at last distinguished a
faint light, blurred by the sheets of rain and darkness, and shining as
though from a considerable distance. Cheered by this nearer presence of
human life, our young gentleman presently gathered his benumbed powers
together, arose, and after a while began slowly and feebly to climb a
stony hill that lay between the rocky beach and that faint but
encouraging illumination.

So, sorely buffeted by the tempest, he at last reached the black,
square form of that structure from which the light shone. The building
he perceived to be a little wooden church of two stories in height. The
shutters of the lower story were tight fastened, as though bolted from
within. Those above were open, and from them issued the light that had
guided him in his approach from the beach. A tall flight of wooden
steps, wet in the rain, reached to a small, enclosed porch or
vestibule, whence a door, now tight shut, gave ingress into the second
story of the church.

Thence, as Dunburne stood without, he could now distinguish the dull
muttering of a man's voice, which he opined might be that of the
preacher. Our young gentleman, as may be supposed, was in a wretched
plight. He was ragged and unshaven; his only clothing was the miserable
shirt and bepatched breeches that had served him as shelter throughout
the long voyage. These abominable garments were now wet to the skin,
and so displeasing was his appearance that he was forced to acknowledge
to himself that he did not possess enough of humility to avow so great
a misery to the light and to the eyes of strangers. Accordingly,
finding some shelter afforded by the vestibule of the church, he
crouched there in a corner, huddling his rags about him, and finding a
certain poor warmth in thus hiding away from the buffeting of the chill
and penetrating wind. As he so crouched he presently became aware of
the sound of many voices, dull and groaning, coming from within the
edifice, and then--now and again--the clanking as of a multitude of
chains. Then of a sudden, and unexpectedly, the door near him was flung
wide open, and a faint glow of reddish light fell across the passage.
Instantly the figure of a man came forth, and following him came, not a
congregation, as Dunburne might have supposed, but a most dolorous
company of nearly, or quite, naked men and women, outlined blackly, as
they emerged, against the dull illumination from behind. These wretched
beings, sighing and groaning most piteously, with a monotonous wailing
of many voices, were chained by the wrist, two and two together, and as
they passed by close to Dunburne, his nostrils were overpowered by a
heavy and fetid odor that came partly from within the building, partly
from the wretched creatures that passed him by.

As the last of these miserable beings came forth from the bowels of
that dreadful place, a loud voice, so near to Dunburne as to startle
his ears with its sudden exclamation, cried out, "Six-and-twenty, all
told," and thereat instantly the dull light from within was quenched
into darkness.

In the gloom and the silence that followed, Dunburne could hear for a
while nothing but the dash of the rain upon the roof and the ceaseless
drip and trickle of the water running from the eaves into the puddles
beneath the building.

Then, as he stood, still marvelling at what he had seen, there suddenly
came a loud and startling crash, as of a trap-door let fall into its
place. A faint circle of light shone within the darkness of the
building, as though from a lantern carried in a man's hands. There was
a sound of jingling, as of keys, of approaching footsteps, and of
voices talking together, and presently there came out into the
vestibule the dark figures of two men, one of them carrying a ship's
lantern. One of these figures closed and locked the door behind him,
and then both were about to turn away without having observed Dunburne,
when, of a sudden, a circle from the roof of the lantern lit up his
pale and melancholy face, and he instantly became aware that his
presence had been discovered.

The next moment the lantern was flung up almost into his eyes, and in
the light he saw the sharp, round rim of a pistol-barrel directed
immediately against his forehead.

In that moment our young gentleman's life hung as a hair in the
balance. In the intense instant of expectancy his brain appeared to
expand as a bubble, and his ears tingled and hummed as though a cloud
of flies were buzzing therein. Then suddenly a voice smote like a blow
upon the silence--"Who are you, and what d'ye want?"

"Indeed," said Dunburne, "I do not know."

"What do you do here?"

"Nor do I know that, either."

He who held the lantern lifted it so that the illumination fell still
more fully upon Dunburne's face and person. Then his interlocutor
demanded, "How did you come here?"

Upon the moment Dunburne determined to answer so much of the truth as
the question required. "'Twas by no fault of my own," he cried. "I was
knocked on the head and kidnapped in England, with the design of being
sold in Baltimore. The vessel that fetched me put into the harbor over
yonder to wait for good weather, and I jumped overboard and swam
ashore, to stumble into the cursed pickle in which I now find myself."

"Have you, then, an education? To be sure, you talk so."

"Indeed I have," said Dunburne--"a decent enough education to fit me
for a gentleman, if the opportunity offered. But what of that?" he
exclaimed, desperately. "I might as well have no more learning than a
beggar under the bush, for all the good it does me." The other once
more flashed the light of his lantern over our young gentleman's
miserable and barefoot figure. "I had a mind," says he, "to blow your
brains out against the wall. I have a notion now, however, to turn you
to some use instead, so I'll just spare your life for a little while,
till I see how you behave."

He spoke with so much more of jocularity than he had heretofore used
that Dunburne recovered in great part his dawning assurance. "I am
infinitely obliged to you," he cried, "for sparing my brains; but I
protest I doubt if you will ever find so good an opportunity again to
murder me as you have just enjoyed."

This speech seemed to tickle the other prodigiously, for he burst into
a loud and boisterous laugh, under cover of which he thrust his pistol
back into his coat-pocket again. "Come with me, and I'll fit you with
victuals and decent clothes, of both of which you appear to stand in no
little need," he said. Thereupon, and without another word, he turned
and quitted the place, accompanied by his companion, who for all this
time had uttered not a single sound. A little way from the church these
two parted company, with only a brief word spoken between them.

Dunburne's interlocutor, with our young gentleman following close
behind him, led the way in silence for a considerable distance through
the long, wet grass and the tempestuous darkness, until at last, still
in unbroken silence, they reached the confines of an enclosure, and
presently stood before a large and imposing house built of brick.

Dunburne's mysterious guide, still carrying the lantern, conducted him
directly up a broad flight of steps, and opening the door, ushered him
into a hallway of no inconsiderable pretensions. Thence he led the way
to a dining-room beyond, where our young gentleman observed a long
mahogany table, and a sideboard of carved mahogany illuminated by three
or four candles. In answer to the call of his conductor, a negro
servant appeared, whom the master of the house ordered to fetch some
bread and cheese and a bottle of rum for his wretched guest. While the
servant was gone to execute the commission the master seated himself at
his ease and favored Dunburne with a long and most minute regard. Then
he suddenly asked our young gentleman what was his name.

Upon the instant Dunburne did not offer a reply to this interrogation.
He had been so miserably abused when he had told the truth upon the
voyage that he knew not now whether to confess or deny his identity. He
possessed no great aptitude at lying, so that it was with no little
hesitation that he determined to maintain his incognito. Having reached
this conclusion, he answered his host that his name was Tom Robinson.
The other, however, appeared to notice neither his hesitation nor the
name which he had seen fit to assume. Instead, he appeared to be lost
in a reverie, which he broke only to bid our young gentleman to sit
down and tell the story of the several adventures that had befallen
him. He advised him to leave nothing untold, however shameful it might
be. "Be assured," said he, "that no matter what crimes you may have
committed, the more intolerable your wickedness, the better you will
please me for the purpose I have in view."

Being thus encouraged, and having already embarked in disingenuosity,
our young gentleman, desiring to please his host, began at random a
tale composed in great part of what he recollected of the story of
_Colonel Jack_, seasoned occasionally with extracts from Mr. Smollett's
ingenious novel of _Ferdinand, Count Fathom_. There was hardly a petty
crime or a mean action mentioned in either of these entertaining
fictions that he was not willing to attribute to himself. Meanwhile he
discovered, to his surprise, that lying was not really so difficult an
art as he had supposed it to be. His host listened for a considerable
while in silence, but at last he was obliged to call upon his penitent
to stop. "To tell you the truth, Mr. What's-a-name," he cried, "I do
not believe a single word you are telling me. However, I am satisfied
that in you I have discovered, as I have every reason to hope, one of
the most preposterous liars I have for a long time fell in with.
Indeed, I protest that any one who can with so steady a countenance lie
so tremendously as you have just done may be capable, if not of a great
crime, at least of no inconsiderable deceit, and perhaps of treachery.
If this be so, you will suit my purposes very well, though I would
rather have had you an escaped criminal or a murderer or a thief."

"Sir," said Dunburne, very seriously, "I am sorry that I am not more to
your mind. As you say, I can, I find, lie very easily, and if you will
give me sufficient time, I dare say I can become sufficiently expert in
other and more criminal matters to please even your fancy. I cannot, I
fear, commit a murder, nor would I choose to embark upon an attempt at
arson; but I could easily learn to cheat at cards; or I could, if it
would please you better, make shift to forge your own name to a bill
for a hundred pounds. I confess, however, I am entirely in the dark as
to why you choose to have me enjoy so evil a reputation."

At these words the other burst into a great and vociferous laugh. "I
protest," he cried, "you are the coolest rascal ever I fell in with.
But come," he added, sobering suddenly, "what did you say was your
name?"

"I declare, sir," said Dunburne, with the most ingenuous frankness, "I
have clean forgot. Was it Tom or John Robinson?"

Again the other burst out laughing. "Well," he said, "what does it
matter? Thomas or John--'tis all one. I see that you are a ragged,
lousy beggar, and I believe you to be a runaway servant. Even if that
is the worst to be said of you, you will suit me very well. As for a
name, I myself will fit you with one, and it shall be of the best. I
will give you a home here in the house, and will for three months
clothe you like a lord. You shall live upon the best, and shall meet
plenty of the genteelest company the Colonies can afford. All that I
demand of you is that you shall do exactly as I tell you for the three
months that I so entertain you. Come. Is it a bargain?"

Dunburne sat for a while thinking very seriously. "First of all," said
he, "I must know what is the name you have a mind to bestow upon me."

The other looked distrustfully at him for a time, and then, as though
suddenly fetching up resolution, he cried out: "Well, what then? What
of it? Why should I be afraid? I'll tell you. Your name shall be
Frederick Dunburne, and you shall be the second son of the Earl of
Clandennie."

Had a thunder-bolt fallen from heaven at Dunburne's feet he could not
have been struck more entirely dumb than he was at those astounding
words. He knew not for the moment where to look or what to think. At
that instant the negro man came into the room, fetching the bottle of
rum and the bread and cheese he had been sent for. As the sound of his
entrance struck upon our young gentleman's senses he came to himself
with the shock, and suddenly exploded into a burst of laughter so
shrill and discordant that Captain Obadiah sat staring at him as though
he believed his ragged beneficiary had gone clean out of his senses.

IV

A ROMANTIC EPISODE IN THE LIFE OF A YOUNG LADY

Miss Belinda Belford, the daughter and only child of Colonel William
Belford, was a young lady possessed of no small pretensions to personal
charms of the most exalted order. Indeed, many excellent judges in such
matters regarded her, without doubt, as the reigning belle of the
Northern Colonies. Of a medium height, of a slight but generously
rounded figure, she bore herself with an indescribable grace and
dignity of carriage. Her hair, which was occasionally permitted to curl
in ringlets upon her snowy neck, was of a brown so dark and so soft as
at times to deceive the admiring observer into a belief that it was
black. Her eyes, likewise of a dark-brown color, were of a most melting
and liquid lustre; her nose, though slight, was sufficiently high, and
modelled with so exquisite a delicacy as to lend an exceeding charm to
her whole countenance. She was easily the belle of every assembly which
she graced with her presence, and her name was the toast of every
garrison town of the Northern provinces.

Madam Belford and her lovely daughter were engaged one pleasant morning
in entertaining a number of friends, in the genteel English manner,
with a dish of tea and a bit of gossip. Upon this charming company
Colonel Belford suddenly intruded, his countenance displaying an
excessive though not displeasing agitation.

"My dear! my dear!" he cried, "what a piece of news have I for you! It
is incredible and past all belief! Who, ladies, do you suppose is here
in New Hope? Nay, you cannot guess; I shall have to enlighten you. 'Tis
none other than Frederick Dunburne, my lordship's second son. Yes, you
may well look amazed. I saw and spoke with him this very morning, and
that not above a half-hour ago. He is travelling incognito, but my
brother Obadiah discovered his identity, and is now entertaining him at
his new house upon the Point. A large party of young officers from the
garrison are there, all very gay with cards and dice, I am told. My
noble young gentleman knew me so soon as he clapped eyes upon me.
'This,' says he, 'if I am not mistook, must be Colonel Belford, my
father's honored friend.' He is," exclaimed the speaker, "a most
interesting and ingenuous youth, with extremely lively and elegant
manners, and a person exactly resembling that of his dear and honored
father."

It may be supposed into what a flutter this piece of news cast those
who heard it. "My dear," cried Madam Belford, as soon as the first
extravagance of the general surprise had passed by to an easier
acceptance of Colonel Belford's tidings--"my dear, why did you not
bring him with you to present him to us all? What an opportunity have
you lost!"

"Indeed, my dear," said Colonel Belford, "I did not forget to invite
him hither. He protested that nothing could afford him greater
pleasure, did he not have an engagement with some young gentlemen from
the garrison. But, believe me, I would not let him go without a
promise. He is to dine with us to-morrow at two; and, Belinda, my
dear"--here Colonel Belford pinched his daughter's blushing cheek--"you
must assume your best appearance for so serious an occasion. I am
informed that my noble gentleman is extremely particular in his tastes
in the matter of female excellence."

"Indeed, papa," cried the young lady, with great vivacity, "I shall
attempt no extraordinary graces upon my young gentleman's account, and
that I promise you. I protest," she exclaimed, with spirit, "I have no
great opinion of him who would come thus to New Hope without a single
word to you, who are his father's confidential correspondent. Nor do I
admire the taste of one who would choose to cast himself upon the
hospitality of my uncle Obadiah rather than upon yours."

"My dear," said Colonel Belford, very soberly, "you express your
opinion with a most unwarranted levity, considering the exalted
position your subject occupies. I may, however, explain to you that he
came to America quite unexpectedly and by an accident. Nor would he
have declared his incognito, had not my brother Obadiah discovered it
almost immediately upon his arrival. He would not, he declared, have
visited New Hope at all, had not Captain Obadiah Belford urged his
hospitality in such a manner as to preclude all denial."

But to this reproof Miss Belinda who, was, indeed, greatly indulged by
her parents, made no other reply than to toss her head with a pretty
sauciness, and to pout her cherry lips in an infinitely becoming
manner.

But though our young lady protested so emphatically against assuming
any unusual charms for the entertainment of their expected visitor, she
none the less devoted no small consideration to that very thing that
she had so exclaimed against. Accordingly, when she was presented to
her father's noble guest, what with her heightened color and her eyes
sparkling with the emotions evoked by the occasion, she so impressed
our young gentleman that he could do little but stand regarding her
with an astonishment that for the moment caused him to forget those
graces of deportment that the demands of elegance called upon him to
assume.

However, he recovered himself immediately, and proceeded to take such
advantage of his introduction that by the time they were seated at the
dinner-table he found himself conversing with his fair partner with all
the ease and vivacity imaginable. Nor in this exchange of polite
raillery did he discover her wit to be in any degree less than her
personal charms.

"Indeed, madam," he exclaimed, "I am now more than ready to thank that
happy accident that has transported me, however much against my will,
from England to America. The scenery, how beautiful! Nature, how
fertile! Woman, how exquisite! Your country," he exclaimed, with
enthusiasm, "is like heaven!"

"Indeed, sir," cried the young lady, vivaciously, "I do not take your
praise for a compliment. I protest I am acquainted with no young
gentleman who would not defer his enjoyment of heaven to the very last
extremity."

"To be sure," quoth our hero, "an ambition for the abode of saints is
of too extreme a nature to recommend itself to a modest young fellow of
parts. But when one finds himself thrown into the society of an houri--"

"And do you indeed have houris in England?" exclaimed the young lady.
"In America you must be content with society of a much more earthly
constitution!"

"Upon my word, miss," cried our young gentleman, "you compel me to
confess that I find myself in the society of one vastly more to my
inclination than that of any houri of my acquaintance."

With such lively badinage, occasionally lapsing into more serious
discourse, the dinner passed off with a great deal of pleasantness to
our young gentleman, who had prepared himself for something
prodigiously dull and heavy. After the repast, a pipe of tobacco in the
summer-house and a walk in the garden so far completed his cheerful
impressions that when he rode away towards Pig and Sow Point he found
himself accompanied by the most lively, agreeable thoughts imaginable.
Her wit, how subtle! Her person, how beautiful! He surprised himself
smiling with a fatuous indulgence of his enjoyable fancies.

Nor did the young lady's thoughts, though doubtless of a more moderate
sort, assume a less pleasing perspective. Our young gentleman was
favored with a tall, erect figure, a high nose, and a fine, thin face
expressive of excellent breeding. It seemed to her that his manners
possessed an elegance and a grace that she had never before discovered
beyond the leaves of Mr. Richardson's ingenious novels. Nor was she
unaware of the admiration of herself that his countenance had
expressed. Upon so slender a foundation she amused herself for above an
hour, erecting such castles in the air that, had any one discovered her
thought, she would have perished of mortification.

But though our young lady so yielded herself to the enjoyment of such
silly dreams as might occur to any miss of a lively imagination and
vivacious temperament, the reader is to understand that she has yet so
much dignity and spirit as to cover these foolish and romantic fancies
with a cloak of so delicate and so subtle a reserve that when the young
gentleman called to pay his respects the next afternoon he quitted her
presence ten times more infatuated with her charms than he had been the
day before.

Nor can it be denied that our young lady knew perfectly well how to
make the greatest use of such opportunities. She already possessed a
great deal of experience in teasing the other sex with those delicious
though innocent torments that cause the eyes of the victim to remain
awake at night and the fancy to dream throughout the day.

Such presently became the condition of our young gentleman that at the
end of the month he knew not whether his present life had continued for
weeks or for years; in the charming infatuation that overpowered him he
considered nothing of time, every other consideration being engulfed in
his desire for the society of his charmer. Cards and dice lost for him
their accustomed pleasure, and when a gay society would be at Belford's
Palace it was with the utmost difficulty that he assumed so much
patience as to take his part in those dissipations that there obtained.
Relieved from them, he flew with redoubled ardor back to the
gratification of his passion again.

In the mean time Captain Obadiah had become so accustomed to the
presence of his guest that he made no pretence of any concealment of
that iniquitous, dreadful avocation that lent to Pig and Sow Point so
great a terror in those parts. Rather did the West Indian appear to
court the open observation of his dependant.

One exquisite day in the last of October our young gentleman had spent
the greater part of the afternoon in the society of the beautiful
object of his regard. The leaves, though fallen from the trees in great
abundance, appeared thereby only to have admitted of the passage of a
riper radiance of golden sunlight through the thinning branches. This
and the ardor of his passion had so transported our hero that when he
had departed from her presence he seemed to walk as light as a feather,
and knew not whether it was the warmth of the sunlight or the heat of
his own impetuous transports that filled the universe with so extreme a
brightness.

Overpowered with these absorbing and transcendent introspections, he
approached his now odious home upon Pig and Sow Point by way of the old
meeting-house. There of a sudden he came upon his patron, Captain
Obadiah, superintending the burial of the last of three victims of his
odious commerce, who had died that afternoon. Two had already been
interred, and the third new-made grave was in the process of being
filled. Two men, one a negro and the other a white, had nearly
completed their labor, tramping down the crumbling earth as they
shovelled it into the shallow excavation. Meanwhile Captain Obadiah
stood near by, his red coat flaming in the slanting light, himself
smoking a pipe of tobacco with all the ease and coolness imaginable.
His hands, clasped behind his back, held his ivory-headed cane, and as
our hero approached he turned an evil countenance upon him, and greeted
him with a grin at once droll, mischievous, and malevolent in the
extreme. "And how is our pretty charmer this afternoon?" quoth Captain
Obadiah.

Conceive, if you please, of a man floating in the most ecstatic delight
of heaven pulled suddenly thence down into the most filthy extremity of
hell, and then you shall understand the motions of disgust and
repugnance and loathing that overpowered our hero, who, awakening thus
suddenly out of his dream of love, found himself in the presence of
that grim and obscene spectacle of death--who, arousing from such
absorbing and exquisite meditations, heard his ears greeted with so
rude and vulgar an address.

Acknowledging to himself that he did not dare offer an immediate reply
to his host, he turned upon his heel and walked away, without
expressing a single word.

He was not, however, permitted to escape thus easily. He had not taken
above twenty steps, when, hearing footsteps behind him, he turned his
head to discover Captain Obadiah skipping rapidly after him in a
prodigious hurry, swinging his cane and chuckling preposterously to
himself, as though in the enjoyment of some most exquisite piece of
drollery. "What!" he cried, as soon as he could catch his breath from
his hurry. "What! What! Can't you answer, you villain? Why, blind my
eyes! a body would think you were a lord's son indeed, instead of
being, as I know you, a beggarly runaway servant whom I took in like a
mangy cat out of the rain. But come, come--no offence, my boy! I'll be
no hard master to you. I've heard how the wind blows, and I've kept my
ears open to all your doings. I know who is your sweetheart. Harkee,
you rascal! You have a fancy for my niece, have you? Well, your apple
is ripe if you choose to pick it. Marry your charmer and be damned; and
if you'll serve me by taking her thus in hand, I'll pay you twenty
pounds upon your wedding-day. Now what do you say to that, you lousy
beggar in borrowed clothes?"

Our young gentleman stopped short and looked his tormentor full in the
face. The thought of his father's anger alone had saved him from
entangling himself in the web of his passions; this he forgot upon the
instant. "Captain Obadiah Belford," quoth he, "you're the most
consummate villain ever I beheld in all of my life; but if I have the
good-fortune to please the young lady, I wish I may die if I don't
serve you in this!"

At these words Captain Obadiah, who appeared to take no offence at his
guest's opinion of his honesty, burst out into a great boisterous
laugh, flinging back his head and dropping his lower jaw so
preposterously that the setting sun shone straight down his wide and
cavernous gullet.

V

HOW THE DEVIL WAS CAST OUT OF THE MEETING-HOUSE

The news that the Honorable Frederick Dunburne, second son of the Earl
of Clandennie, was to marry Miss Belinda Belford, the daughter and only
child of Colonel William Belford, of New Hope, was of a sort to arouse
the keenest and most lively interest in all those parts of the Northern
Colonies of America.

The day had been fixed, and all the circumstances arranged with such
particularity that an invitation was regarded as the highest honor that
could befall the fortunate recipient. There were to be present on this
interesting occasion two Colonial governors and their ladies, an
English general, the captain of the flag-ship _Achilles_, and above a
score of Colonial magnates and ladies of distinction.

Captain Obadiah had not been bidden to either the ceremony or the
breakfast. This rebuff he had accepted with prodigious amusement,
which, not limiting itself to the immediate occasion, broke forth at
intervals for above two weeks. Now it might express itself in chuckles
of the most delicious entertainment, vented as our Captain walked up
and down the hall of his great house, smoking his pipe and cracking the
knuckles of his fingers; at other times he would burst forth into
incontrollable fits of laughter at the extravagant deceit which he
believed himself to be imposing upon his brother, Colonel Belford.

At length came the wedding-day, with such circumstances of pomp and
display as the exceeding wealth and Colonial dignity of Colonel Belford
could surround it. For the wedding-breakfast the great folding-doors
between the drawing-room and the dining-room of Colonel Belford's house
were flung wide open, and a table extending the whole length of the two
apartments was set with the most sumptuous and exquisite display of
plate and china. Around the board were collected the distinguished
company, and the occasion was remarkable not less for the richness of
its display than for the exquisite nature of the repast intended to
celebrate so auspicious an occasion.

At the head of the board sat the young couple, radiant with an
engrossing happiness that took no thought of what the future might have
in store for it, but was contented with the triumphant ecstasy of the
moment.

These elegant festivities were at their height, when there suddenly
arose a considerable disputation in the hallway beyond, and before any
one could inquire as to what was occurring, Captain Obadiah Belford
came stumping into the room, swinging his ivory-headed cane, and with
an expression of the most malicious triumph impressed upon his
countenance. Directing his address to the bridegroom, and paying no
attention to any other one of the company, he cried out: "Though not
bidden to this entertainment, I have come to pay you a debt I owe. Here
is twenty pounds I promised to pay you for marrying my niece."

Therewith he drew a silk purse full of gold pieces from his pocket,
which he hung over the ferrule of his cane and reached across the table
to the bridegroom. That gentleman, upon his part (having expected some
such episode as this), arose, and with a most polite and elaborate bow
accepted the same and thrust it into his pocket.

"And now, my young gentleman," cried Captain Obadiah, folding his arms
and tucking his cane under his armpit, looking the while from under his
brows upon the company with a most malevolent and extravagant grin--
"and now, my young gentleman, perhaps you will favor the ladies and
gentlemen here present with an account of what services they are I thus
pay for."

"To be sure I will," cried out our hero, "and that with the utmost
willingness in the world."

During all this while the elegant company had sat as with suspended
animation, overwhelmed with wonder at the singular address of the
intruder. Even the servants stood still with the dishes in their hands
the better to hear the outcome of the affair. The bride, overwhelmed by
a sudden and inexplicable anxiety, felt the color quit her face, and
reaching out, seized her lover's hand, who took hers very readily,
holding it tight within his grasp. As for Colonel and Madam Belford,
not knowing what this remarkable address portended, they sat as though
turned to stone, the one gone as white as ashes, and the other as red
in the face as a cherry. Our young gentleman, however, maintained the
utmost coolness and composure of demeanor. Pointing his finger towards
the intruder, he exclaimed: "In Captain Obadiah Belford, ladies and
gentlemen, you behold the most unmitigated villain that ever I met in
all of my life. With an incredible spite and vindictiveness he not only
pursued my honored father-in-law, Colonel Belford, but has sought to
wreak an unwarranted revenge upon the innocent and virtuous young lady
whom I have now the honor to call my wife. But how has he overreached
himself in his machinations! How has he entangled his feet in the net
which he himself has spread! I will tell you my history, as he bids me
to do, and you may then judge for yourselves!"

At this unexpected address Captain Obadiah's face fell from its
expression of malicious triumph, growing longer and longer, until at
last it was overclouded with so much doubt and anxiety that, had he
been threatened by the loss of a thousand pounds, he could not have
assumed a greater appearance of mortification and dejection. Meantime,
regarding him with a mischievous smile, our young gentleman began the
history of all those adventures that had befallen him from the time he
embarked upon the memorable expedition with his two companions in
dissipation from York Stairs. As his account proceeded Captain
Obadiah's face altered by degrees from its natural brown to a sickly
yellow, and then to so leaden a hue that it could not have assumed a
more ghastly appearance were he about to swoon dead away. Great beads
of sweat gathered upon his forehead and trickled down his cheeks. At
last he could endure no more, but with a great and strident voice, such
as might burst forth from a devil tormented, he cried out: "'Tis a lie!
'Tis all a monstrous lie! He is a beggarly runaway servant whom I took
in out of the rain and fed and housed--to have him turn thus against me
and strike the hand that has benefited him!"

"Sir," replied our young gentleman, with a moderate and easy voice,
"what I tell you is no lie, but the truth. If any here misdoubts my
veracity, see, here is a letter received by the last packet from my
honored father. You, Colonel Belford, know his handwriting perfectly
well. Look at this and tell me if I am deceiving you."

At these words Colonel Belford took the letter with a hand that
trembled as though with palsy. He cast his eyes over it, but it is to
be doubted whether he read a single word therein contained.
Nevertheless, he saw enough to satisfy his doubts, and he could have
wept, so great was the relief from the miserable and overwhelming
anxiety that had taken possession of him since the beginning of his
brother's discourse.

Meantime our young gentleman, turning to Captain Obadiah, cried out,
"Sir, I am indeed an instrument of Providence sent hither to call your
wickedness to account," and this he spoke with so virtuous an air as to
command the admiration of all who heard him. "I have," he continued,
"lived with you now for nearly three odious months, and I know every
particular of your habits and such circumstances of your life as you
are aware of. I now proclaim how you have wickedly and sacrilegiously
turned the Old Free Grace Meeting-House into a slave-pen, whence for
above a year you have conducted a nefarious and most inhuman commerce
with the West Indies."

At these words Captain Obadiah, being thrown so suddenly upon his
defence, forced himself to give forth a huge and boisterous laugh.
"What then?" he cried. "What wickedness is there in that? What if I
have provided a few sugar plantations with negro slaves? Are there not
those here present who would do no better if the opportunity offered?
The place is mine, and I break no law by a bit of quiet slave-trading."

"I marvel," cried our young gentleman, still in the same virtuous
strain--"I marvel that you can pass over so wicked a thing thus easily.
I myself have counted above fifty graves of your victims on Pig and Sow
Point. Repent, sir, while there is yet time."

But to this adjuration Captain Obadiah returned no other reply than to
burst into a most wicked, impudent laugh.

"Is it so?" cried our young gentleman. "Do you dare me to further
exposures? Then I have here another evidence to confront you that may
move you to a more serious consideration." With these words he drew
forth from his pocket a packet wrapped in soft white paper. This he
unfolded, holding up to the gaze of all a bright and shining object.
"This," he exclaimed, "I found in Captain Obadiah's writing-desk while
I was hunting for some wax with which to seal a letter." It was the
gold snuffbox of the late Collector Goodhouse. "What," he cried, "have
you, sir, to offer in explanation of the manner in which this came into
your possession? See, here engraved upon the lid is the owner's name
and the circumstance of his having saved my own poor life. It was that
first called my attention to it, for I well recollect how my father
compelled me to present it to my savior. How came it into your
possession, and why have you hidden it away so carefully for all this
while? Sir, in the death of Lieutenant Goodhouse I suspect you of a
more sinister fault than that of converting yonder poor sanctuary into
a slave-pen. So soon as Captain Morris of your slave-ship returns from
Jamaica I shall have him arrested, and shall compel him to explain what
he knows of the circumstances of the Lieutenant's unfortunate murder."

At the sight of so unexpected an object in the young gentleman's hand
Captain Obadiah's jaw fell, and his cavernous mouth gaped as though he
had suddenly been stricken with a palsy. He lifted a trembling hand and
slowly and mechanically passed it along that cheek which was so
discolored with gunpowder stain. Then, suddenly gathering himself
together and regaining those powers that appeared for a moment to have
fled from him, he cried out, aloud: "I swear to God 'twas all an
accident! I pushed him down the steps, and he fell and broke his neck!"

Our young gentleman regarded him with a cold and collected smile.
"That, sir," said he, "you shall have the opportunity to explain to the
proper authorities--unless," he added, "you choose to take yourself
away from these parts, and to escape the just resentment of those laws
to which you may be responsible for your misdemeanors."

"I shall," roared Captain Obadiah, "stand my trial in spite of you all!
I shall live to see you in torments yet! I shall--" He gaped and
stuttered, but could find no further words with which to convey his
infinite rage and disappointed spite. Then turning, and with a furious
gesture, he rushed forth and out of the house, thrusting those aside
who stood in his way, and leaving behind him a string of curses fit to
set the whole world into a blaze.

He had destroyed all the gaiety of the wedding-breakfast, but the
relief from the prodigious doubts and anxieties that had at first
overwhelmed those whom he had intended to ruin was of so great a nature
that they thought nothing of so inconsiderable a circumstance.

As for our young gentleman, he had come forth from the adventure with
such dignity of deportment and with so exalted an air of generous
rectitude that those present could not sufficiently admire at the
continent discretion of one so young. The young lady whom he had
married, if she had before regarded him as a Paris and an Achilles
incorporated into one person, now added the wisdom of a Nestor to the
category of his accomplishments.

Captain Obadiah, in spite of the defiance he had fulminated against his
enemies, and in spite of the determination he had expressed to remain
and to stand his trial, was within a few days known to have suddenly
and mysteriously departed from New Hope. Whether or not he misdoubted
his own rectitude too greatly to put it to the test of a trial, or
whether the mortification incident upon the failure of his plot was too
great for him to support, it was clearly his purpose never to return
again. For within a month the more valuable of his belongings were
removed from his great house upon Pig and Sow Point and were loaded
upon a bark that came into the harbor for that purpose. Thence they
were transported no one knew whither, for Captain Obadiah was never
afterwards observed in those parts.

Nor was the old meeting-house ever again disturbed by such
manifestations as had terrified the community for so long a time.
Nevertheless, though the Devil was thus exorcised from his
abiding-place, the old church never lost its evil reputation, until it was
finally destroyed by fire about ten years after the incidents herein
narrated.

In conclusion it is only necessary to say that when the Honorable
Frederick Dunburne presented his wife to his noble family at home, he
was easily forgiven his _mésalliance_ in view of her extreme beauty and
vivacity. Within a year or two Lord Carrickford, his elder brother,
died of excessive dissipation in Florence, where he was then attached
to the English Embassy, so that our young gentleman thus became the
heir-apparent to his father's title, and so both branches of the family
were united into one.


THE END





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