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Title: Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates
Author: Pyle, Howard, 1853-1911
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                     [Illustration: The Challenge
                                  Studio April 7 1903.
                                     H. Pyle. del.]


                                  Howard Pyle's
                                 Book of Pirates

                      Ye Pirate Bold, as imagined by
                       a Quaker Gentleman in the--
                       Farm Lands of Pennsylvania--

                         Howard Pyle--Chadds Ford
                          September 13th 1903--]

                [Illustration: AN ATTACK ON A GALLEON]

                            Howard Pyle's

                           Book of Pirates

                   Fiction, Fact & Fancy concerning
                    the Buccaneers & Marooners of
                     the Spanish Main: _From the_
                    writing & Pictures _of_ Howard
                  Pyle: _Compiled by_ Merle Johnson

                    Harper & Brothers _Publishers_

                          New York & London

       *       *       *       *       *



      FOREWORD BY MERLE JOHNSON                        xi

      PREFACE                                        xiii


II.   THE GHOST OF CAPTAIN BRAND                       39

III.  WITH THE BUCCANEERS                              75

IV.   TOM CHIST AND THE TREASURE BOX                   99

V.    JACK BALLISTER'S FORTUNES                       129

VI.   BLUESKIN, THE PIRATE                            150

VII.  CAPTAIN SCARFIELD                               187

VIII. THE RUBY OF KISHMOOR                            210


       *       *       *       *       *



AN ATTACK ON A GALLEON                                  _Frontispiece_

ON THE TOTUGAS                                          _Facing p._  6

CAPTURE OF THE GALLEON                                      "       10

HENRY MORGAN RECRUITING FOR THE ATTACK                      "       14

MORGAN AT PORTO BELLO                                       "       16

THE SACKING OF PANAMA                                       "       20

MAROONED                                                    "       26

BLACKBEARD BURIES HIS TREASURE                              "       32

WALKING THE PLANK                                           "       36



BURIED TREASURE                                             "       76

KIDD ON THE DECK OF THE "ADVENTURE GALLEY"                  "       85

BURNING THE SHIP                                            "       92

WHO SHALL BE CAPTAIN?                                       "      104

KIDD AT GARDINER'S ISLAND                                   "      108

EXTORTING TRIBUTE FROM THE CITIZENS                         "      116


     CROOKED PATH TO THE HOUSE"                             "      132

"HE LED JACK UP TO A MAN WHO SAT UPON A BARREL"             "      136

     TOP OF THE WATER"                                      "      142


SO THE TREASURE WAS DIVIDED                                 "      154

COLONEL RHETT AND THE PIRATE                                "      162

THE PIRATE'S CHRISTMAS                                      "      174

     THE SAND"                                              "      182

     LOOKING FOR HIS TREASURE DOWN BELOW!"                  "      186


THE BUCCANEER WAS A PICTURESQUE FELLOW                      "      196

THEN THE REAL FIGHT BEGAN                                   "      200

     BENEATH HIM"                                           "      206

CAPTAIN KEITT                                               "      212

HOW THE BUCCANEERS KEPT CHRISTMAS                           "      224

THE BURNING SHIP                                            "      236

DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES                                      "      240


       *       *       *       *       *


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

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

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

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

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





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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: Howard Pyle,
His mark]

Howard Pyle's
Book of Pirates


Ye Pirate Bold.

It is not because of his life of adventure and daring that I admire
this one of my favorite heroes; nor is it because of blowing winds nor
blue ocean nor balmy islands which he knew so well; nor is it because
of gold he spent nor treasure he hid. He was a man who knew his own
mind and what he wanted.

Howard Pyle


Chapter I


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

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

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

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

[Footnote 1: Buccanning, by which the "buccaneers" gained their name,
was a process of curing thin strips of meat by salting, smoking, and
drying in the sun.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: On the Tortugas

_Illustration from_

_by_ Howard Pyle

_Originally published in_
HARPER'S MAGAZINE, _August and September_, 1887]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: Capture of the Galleon

_Illustration from_

_by_ Howard Pyle

_Originally published in_
HARPER'S MAGAZINE, _August and September_, 1887]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

       *       *       *       *       *

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

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

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

[Illustration: Henry Morgan Recruiting for the Attack

_Illustration from_

_by_ Howard Pyle

_Originally published in_
HARPER'S MAGAZINE, _August and September_, 1887]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: Morgan at Porto Bello

_Illustration from_

_by_ E. C. Stedman

_Originally published in_
HARPER'S MAGAZINE, _December, 1888_]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: The Sacking of Panama

_Illustration from_

_by_ Howard Pyle

_Originally published in_
HARPER'S MAGAZINE, _August and September, 1887_]

Whatever became of all that vast wealth, and what it amounted to, no
man but Morgan ever knew, for when a division was made it was found
that there was only _two hundred pieces of eight to each man_.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Nothing," says Avary, coolly.

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

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

"At sea?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: Marooned

_Illustration from_

_by_ Howard Pyle

_Originally published in_
HARPER'S MAGAZINE, _August and September, 1887_]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: Blackbeard Buries His Treasure

_Illustration from_

_by_ Howard Pyle

_Originally published in_
HARPER'S MAGAZINE, _August and September, 1887_]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: Walking the Plank

_Illustration from_

_by_ Howard Pyle

_Originally published in_
HARPER'S MAGAZINE, _August and September, 1887_]

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

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

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

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

       *       *       *       *       *

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

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

Chapter II



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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: "Captain Malyoe Shot Captain Brand Through the Head"

_Illustration from_

_by_ Howard Pyle

_Originally published in_
HARPER'S WEEKLY, _December 19, 1896_]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: "She Would Sit Quite Still, Permitting Barnaby to Gaze"

_Illustration from_

_by_ Howard Pyle

_Originally published in_
HARPER'S WEEKLY, _December 19, 1896_]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter III


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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: BURIED TREASURE]

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

And what a fine figure our buccaneer had grown, to be sure! How
different from the poor, humble clerk upon the sugar wharf! What a
deal of gold braid! What a fine, silver-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.

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our poor Harry had never before beheld a man killed thus in an instant
who a moment before had been so full of life and activity, for when
Captain Morgan turned the body over upon its back he could perceive at
a glance, little as he knew of such matters, that the man was
stone-dead. And, indeed, it was a dreadful sight for him who was
hardly more than a child. He stood rooted for he knew not how long,
staring down at the dead face with twitching fingers and shuddering
limbs. Meantime a great crowd was gathering about them again.


As for Captain Morgan, he went about his work with the utmost coolness
and deliberation imaginable, unbuttoning the waistcoat and the shirt
of the man he had murdered with fingers that neither twitched nor
shook. There were a gold cross and a bunch of silver medals hung by a
whipcord about the neck of the dead man. This Captain Morgan broke
away with a snap, reaching the jingling baubles to Harry, who took
them in his nerveless hand and fingers that he could hardly close upon
what they held.

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

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

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


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

[Illustration: KIDD ON THE DECK OF THE _Adventure Galley_]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

[Illustration: BURNING THE SHIP]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

In that time, however, the pirates had well-nigh gone crazy for joy;
for when they came to examine their purchase they discovered her cargo
to consist of plate to the prodigious sum of £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.


Chapter IV


_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 arrowheads, and making their earthenware pots and pans under the
lee of the sand hills and pine woods below the Capes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"I don't know," said Molly.

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

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

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

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.


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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: WHO SHALL BE CAPTAIN?]

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

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

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

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

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


Behind him walked two other figures; one was the half-naked negro, the
other the man with the plaited queue and the earrings, whom Tom had
seen lifting the chest out of the boat. Now they were carrying the
heavy box between them, laboring through the sand with shuffling tread
as they bore it onward.

As he who was counting pronounced the word "thirty," the two men set
the chest down on the sand with a grunt, the white man panting and
blowing and wiping his sleeve across his forehead. And immediately he
who counted took out a slip of paper and marked something down upon
it. They stood there for a long time, during which Tom lay behind the
sand hummock watching them, and for a while the silence was
uninterrupted. In the perfect stillness Tom could hear the washing of
the little waves beating upon the distant beach, and once the far-away
sound of a laugh from one of those who stood by the ship's boat.

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

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

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

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

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

The white man who had helped to carry the chest was now kneeling,
busied at some work, though what it was Tom at first could not see. He
was whittling the point of a stick into a long wooden peg, and when,
by and by, he had finished what he was about, he arose and stepped to
where he who seemed to be the captain had stuck his cane upright into
the ground as though to mark some particular spot. He drew the cane
out of the sand, thrusting the stick down in its stead. Then he drove
the long peg down with a wooden mallet which the negro handed to him.
The sharp rapping of the mallet upon the top of the peg sounded loud
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 toward the westward, saw the
silver rim of the round and sharply outlined thundercloud rising
slowly up into the sky and pushing the other and broken drifting
clouds before it.

[Illustration: Kidd at Gardiner's Island

_Illustration from_

_by_ Thomas A. Janvier

_Originally published in_
HARPER'S MAGAZINE, _November, 1894_]

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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.


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

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

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

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

It was no longer there.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"A treasure box!" cried out Tom.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"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

"'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.


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"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."


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

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

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

It was the first peg!

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

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

It was the treasure box!


Parson Jones himself leaped down into the hole, and began scraping
away the sand with his hands as though he had gone crazy. At last,
with some difficulty, they tugged and hauled the chest up out of the
sand to the surface, where it lay covered all over with the grit that
clung to it.

It was securely locked and fastened with a padlock, and it took a good
many blows with the blade of the spade to burst the bolt. Parson Jones
himself lifted the lid.

Tom Chist leaned forward and gazed down into the open box. He would
not have been surprised to have seen it filled full of yellow gold and
bright jewels. It was filled half full of books and papers, and half
full of canvas bags tied safely and securely around and around with
cords of string.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"When shall I go?" said Tom Chist.

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

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

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

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

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

"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."

[Illustration: "Pirates Used to Do That to Their Captains Now and

_Illustration from_

_by_ Thomas A. Janvier

_Originally published in_
HARPER'S MAGAZINE, _November, 1894_]

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

"I've heard it said," said Tom Chist, "'twas the _Bristol Merchant_."

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

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

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

       *       *       *       *       *

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

       *       *       *       *       *

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

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

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

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

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


Chapter V



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: "Jack Followed the Captain and the Young Lady up the
Crooked Path to the House"

_Illustration from_

_by_ Howard Pyle

_Originally published by_
The Century Company, 1894]

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

       *       *       *       *       *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

       *       *       *       *       *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: "He Led Jack up to a Man Who Sat upon a Barrel"

_Illustration from_

_by_ Howard Pyle

_Originally published by_
The Century Company. 1894]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

       *       *       *       *       *

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

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

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

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

[Footnote 2: The pirate captain had really only twenty-five men aboard
of his sloop at the time of the battle.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: "The Bullets Were Humming and Singing, Clipping Along
the Top of the Water"

_Illustration from_

_by_ Howard Pyle

_Originally published by_
The Century Company, 1894]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Illustration: "The Combatants Cut and Slashed with Savage Fury"

_Illustration from_

_by_ Howard Pyle

_Originally published by_
The Century Company, 1894]

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chapter VI



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

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

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

Of such is the story of Blueskin, the pirate.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

"Seven hundred pounds," said Hiram.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hiram shook his head.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

[Illustration: Colonel Rhett and the Pirate

_Illustration from_

_by_ Woodrow Wilson

_Originally published in_

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

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

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

Levi grinned. "All the same, my hearty," said he, "if I was you I'd
give Blueskin a wide berth. I hear that he's cleaned the vessel that
was careened awhile ago, and mebby he'll give you a little trouble if
you come too nigh him."

To this the Englishman only answered that Blueskin might be----, and
that the next afternoon, wind and weather permitting, he intended to
heave anchor and run out to sea.

Levi laughed again. "I wish I might be here to see what'll happen,"
said he, "but I'm going up the river to-night to see a gal and mebby
won't be back again for three or four days."

The next afternoon the English bark set sail as the captain promised,
and that night Lewes town was awake until almost morning, gazing at a
broad red glare that lighted up the sky away toward the southeast. Two
days afterward a negro oysterman came up from Indian River with news
that the pirates were lying off the inlet, bringing ashore bales of
goods from their larger vessel and piling the same upon the beach
under tarpaulins. He said that it was known down at Indian River that
Blueskin had fallen afoul of an English bark, had burned her and had
murdered the captain and all but three of the crew, who had joined
with the pirates.

The excitement over this terrible happening had only begun to subside
when another occurred to cap it. One afternoon a ship's boat, in which
were five men and two women, came rowing into Lewes harbor. It was the
longboat of the Charleston packet, bound for New York, and was
commanded by the first mate. The packet had been attacked and captured
by the pirates about ten leagues south by east of Cape Henlopen. The
pirates had come aboard of them at night and no resistance had been
offered. Perhaps it was that circumstance that saved the lives of all,
for no murder or violence had been done. Nevertheless, officers,
passengers and crew had been stripped of everything of value and set
adrift in the boats and the ship herself had been burned. The longboat
had become separated from the others during the night and had sighted
Henlopen a little after sunrise.

It may be here said that Squire Hall made out a report of these two
occurrences and sent it up to Philadelphia by the mate of the packet.
But for some reason it was nearly four weeks before a sloop of war was
sent around from New York. In the meanwhile, the pirates had disposed
of the booty stored under the tarpaulins on the beach at Indian River
inlet, shipping some of it away in two small sloops and sending the
rest by wagons somewhere up the country.


Levi had told the English captain that he was going up-country to
visit one of his lady friends. He was gone nearly two weeks. Then once
more he appeared, as suddenly, as unexpectedly, as he had done when he
first returned to Lewes. Hiram was sitting at supper when the door
opened and Levi walked in, hanging up his hat behind the door as
unconcernedly as though he had only been gone an hour. He was in an
ugly, lowering humor and sat himself down at the table without
uttering a word, resting his chin upon his clenched fist and glowering
fixedly at the corn cake while Dinah fetched him a plate and knife and

His coming seemed to have taken away all of Hiram's appetite. He
pushed away his plate and sat staring at his stepbrother, who
presently fell to at the bacon and eggs like a famished wolf. Not a
word was said until Levi had ended his meal and filled his pipe.
"Look'ee, Hiram," said he, as he stooped over the fire and raked out a
hot coal. "Look'ee, Hiram! I've been to Philadelphia, d'ye see,
a-settlin' up that trouble I told you about when I first come home.
D'ye understand? D'ye remember? D'ye get it through your skull?" He
looked around over his shoulder, waiting as though for an answer. But
getting none, he continued: "I expect two gentlemen here from
Philadelphia to-night. They're friends of mine and are coming to talk
over the business and ye needn't stay at home, Hi. You can go out
somewhere, d'ye understand?" And then he added with a grin, "Ye can go
to see Sally."

Hiram pushed back his chair and arose. He leaned with his back against
the side of the fireplace. "I'll stay at home," said he presently.

"But I don't want you to stay at home, Hi," said Levi. "We'll have to
talk business and I want you to go!"

"I'll stay at home," said Hiram again.

Levi's brow grew as black as thunder. He ground his teeth together and
for a moment or two it seemed as though an explosion was coming. But
he swallowed his passion with a gulp. "You're a----pig-headed,
half-witted fool," said he. Hiram never so much as moved his eyes. "As
for you," said Levi, whirling round upon Dinah, who was clearing the
table, and glowering balefully upon the old negress, "you put them
things down and git out of here. Don't you come nigh this kitchen
again till I tell ye to. If I catch you pryin' around may I be ----,
eyes and liver, if I don't cut your heart out."

       *       *       *       *       *

In about half an hour Levi's friends came; the first a little, thin,
wizened man with a very foreign look. He was dressed in a rusty black
suit and wore gray yarn stockings and shoes with brass buckles. The
other was also plainly a foreigner. He was dressed in sailor fashion,
with petticoat breeches of duck, a heavy pea-jacket, and thick boots,
reaching to the knees. He wore a red sash tied around his waist, and
once, as he pushed back his coat, Hiram saw the glitter of a pistol
butt. He was a powerful, thickset man, low-browed and bull-necked, his
cheek, and chin, and throat closely covered with a stubble of
blue-black beard. He wore a red kerchief tied around his head and over
it a cocked hat, edged with tarnished gilt braid.

Levi himself opened the door to them. He exchanged a few words outside
with his visitors, in a foreign language of which Hiram understood
nothing. Neither of the two strangers spoke a word to Hiram: the
little man shot him a sharp look out of the corners of his eyes and
the burly ruffian scowled blackly at him, but beyond that neither
vouchsafed him any regard.

Levi drew to the shutters, shot the bolt in the outer door, and tilted
a chair against the latch of the one that led from the kitchen into
the adjoining room. Then the three worthies seated themselves at the
table which Dinah had half cleared of the supper china, and were
presently deeply engrossed over a packet of papers which the big,
burly man had brought with him in the pocket of his pea-jacket. The
confabulation was conducted throughout in the same foreign language
which Levi had used when first speaking to them--a language quite
unintelligible to Hiram's ears. Now and then the murmur of talk would
rise loud and harsh over some disputed point; now and then it would
sink away to whispers.

Twice the tall clock in the corner whirred and sharply struck the
hour, but throughout the whole long consultation Hiram stood silent,
motionless as a stock, his eyes fixed almost unwinkingly upon the
three heads grouped close together around the dim, flickering light of
the candle and the papers scattered upon the table.

Suddenly the talk came to an end, the three heads separated and the
three chairs were pushed back, grating harshly. Levi rose, went to the
closet and brought thence a bottle of Hiram's apple brandy, as coolly
as though it belonged to himself. He set three tumblers and a crock of
water upon the table and each helped himself liberally.

As the two visitors departed down the road, Levi stood for a while at
the open door, looking after the dusky figures until they were
swallowed in the darkness. Then he turned, came in, shut the door,
shuddered, took a final dose of the apple brandy and went to bed,
without, since his first suppressed explosion, having said a single
word to Hiram.

Hiram, left alone, stood for a while, silent, motionless as ever, then
he looked slowly about him, gave a shake of the shoulders as though to
arouse himself, and taking the candle, left the room, shutting the
door noiselessly behind him.


This time of Levi West's unwelcome visitation was indeed a time of
bitter trouble and tribulation to poor Hiram White. Money was of very
different value in those days than it is now, and five hundred pounds
was in its way a good round lump--in Sussex County it was almost a
fortune. It was a desperate struggle for Hiram to raise the amount of
his father's bequest to his stepbrother. Squire Hall, as may have been
gathered, had a very warm and friendly feeling for Hiram, believing in
him when all others disbelieved; nevertheless, in the matter of money
the old man was as hard and as cold as adamant. He would, he said, do
all he could to help Hiram, but that five hundred pounds must and
should be raised--Hiram must release his security bond. He would loan
him, he said, three hundred pounds, taking a mortgage upon the mill.
He would have lent him four hundred but that there was already a first
mortgage of one hundred pounds upon it, and he would not dare to put
more than three hundred more atop of that.

Hiram had a considerable quantity of wheat which he had bought upon
speculation and which was then lying idle in a Philadelphia
storehouse. This he had sold at public sale and at a very great
sacrifice; he realized barely one hundred pounds upon it. The
financial horizon looked very black to him; nevertheless, Levi's five
hundred pounds was raised, and paid into Squire Hall's hands, and
Squire Hall released Hiram's bond.

The business was finally closed on one cold, gray afternoon in the
early part of December. As Hiram tore his bond across and then tore it
across again and again, Squire Hall pushed back the papers upon his
desk and cocked his feet upon its slanting top. "Hiram," said he,
abruptly, "Hiram, do you know that Levi West is forever hanging around
Billy Martin's house, after that pretty daughter of his?"

So long a space of silence followed the speech that the Squire began
to think that Hiram might not have heard him. But Hiram had heard.
"No," said he, "I didn't know it."

"Well, he is," said Squire Hall. "It's the talk of the whole
neighborhood. The talk's pretty bad, too. D'ye know that they say that
she was away from home three days last week, nobody knew where? The
fellow's turned her head with his sailor's yarns and his traveler's

Hiram said not a word, but he sat looking at the other in stolid
silence. "That stepbrother of yours," continued the old Squire
presently, "is a rascal--he is a rascal, Hiram, and I mis-doubt he's
something worse. I hear he's been seen in some queer places and with
queer company of late."

He stopped again, and still Hiram said nothing. "And look'ee, Hiram,"
the old man resumed, suddenly, "I do hear that you be courtin' the
girl, too; is that so?"

"Yes," said Hiram, "I'm courtin' her, too."

"Tut! tut!" said the Squire, "that's a pity, Hiram. I'm afraid your
cakes are dough."

After he had left the Squire's office, Hiram stood for a while in the
street, bareheaded, his hat in his hand, staring unwinkingly down at
the ground at his feet, with stupidly drooping lips and lackluster
eyes. Presently he raised his hand and began slowly smoothing down the
sandy shock of hair upon his forehead. At last he aroused himself with
a shake, looked dully up and down the street, and then, putting on his
hat, turned and walked slowly and heavily away.

The early dusk of the cloudy winter evening was settling fast, for the
sky was leaden and threatening. At the outskirts of the town Hiram
stopped again and again stood for a while in brooding thought. Then,
finally, he turned slowly, not the way that led homeward, but taking
the road that led between the bare and withered fields and crooked
fences toward Billy Martin's.

It would be hard to say just what it was that led Hiram to seek Billy
Martin's house at that time of day--whether it was fate or ill
fortune. He could not have chosen a more opportune time to confirm his
own undoing. What he saw was the very worst that his heart feared.

Along the road, at a little distance from the house, was a mock-orange
hedge, now bare, naked, leafless. As Hiram drew near he heard
footsteps approaching and low voices. He drew back into the fence
corner and there stood, half sheltered by the stark network of twigs.
Two figures passed slowly along the gray of the roadway in the
gloaming. One was his stepbrother, the other was Sally Martin. Levi's
arm was around her, he was whispering into her ear, and her head
rested upon his shoulder.

Hiram stood as still, as breathless, as cold as ice. They stopped upon
the side of the road just beyond where he stood. Hiram's eyes never
left them. There for some time they talked together in low voices,
their words now and then reaching the ears of that silent, breathless

Suddenly there came the clattering of an opening door, and then Betty
Martin's voice broke the silence, harshly, shrilly: "Sal!--Sal!--Sally
Martin! You, Sally Martin! Come in yere. Where be ye?"

The girl flung her arms around Levi's neck and their lips met in one
quick kiss. The next moment she was gone, flying swiftly, silently,
down the road past where Hiram stood, stooping as she ran. Levi stood
looking after her until she was gone; then he turned and walked away

His whistling died shrilly into silence in the wintry distance, and
then at last Hiram came stumbling out from the hedge. His face had
never looked before as it looked then.


Hiram was standing in front of the fire with his hands clasped behind
his back. He had not touched the supper on the table. Levi was eating
with an appetite. Suddenly he looked over his plate at his

"How about that five hundred pounds, Hiram?" said he. "I gave ye a
month to raise it and the month ain't quite up yet, but I'm goin' to
leave this here place day after to-morrow--by next day at the
furd'st--and I want the money that's mine."

"I paid it to Squire Hall to-day and he has it fer ye," said Hiram,

Levi laid down his knife and fork with a clatter. "Squire Hall!" said
he, "what's Squire Hall got to do with it? Squire Hall didn't have the
use of that money. It was you had it and you have got to pay it back
to me, and if you don't do it, by G----, I'll have the law on you,
sure as you're born."

"Squire Hall's trustee--I ain't your trustee," said Hiram, in the same
dull voice.

"I don't know nothing about trustees," said Levi, "or anything about
lawyer business, either. What I want to know is, are you going to pay
me my money or no?"

"No," said Hiram, "I ain't--Squire Hall 'll pay ye; you go to him."

Levi West's face grew purple red. He pushed back, his chair grating
harshly. "You--bloody land pirate!" he said, grinding his teeth
together. "I see through your tricks. You're up to cheating me out of
my money. You know very well that Squire Hall is down on me, hard and
bitter--writin' his ---- reports to Philadelphia and doing all he can
to stir up everybody agin me and to bring the bluejackets down on me.
I see through your tricks as clear as glass, but ye sha'n't trick me.
I'll have my money if there's law in the land--ye bloody, unnatural
thief ye, who'd go agin your dead father's will!"

Then--if the roof had fallen in upon him, Levi West could not have
been more amazed--Hiram suddenly strode forward, and, leaning half
across the table with his fists clenched, fairly glared into Levi's
eyes. His face, dull, stupid, wooden, was now fairly convulsed with
passion. The great veins stood out upon his temples like knotted
whipcords, and when he spoke his voice was more a breathless snarl
than the voice of a Christian man.

"Ye'll have the law, will ye?" said he. "Ye'll--have the law, will ye?
You're afeared to go to law--Levi West--you try th' law--and see how
ye like it. Who 're you to call me thief--ye bloody, murderin' villain
ye! You're the thief--Levi West--you come here and stole my daddy from
me--ye did. You make me ruin--myself to pay what oughter to been
mine--then--ye--ye steal the gal I was courtin', to boot." He stopped
and his lips writhed for words to say. "I know ye," said he, grinding
his teeth. "I know ye! And only for what my daddy made me promise I'd
a-had you up to the magistrate's before this."

Then, pointing with quivering finger: "There's the door--you see it!
Go out that there door and don't never come into it again--if ye
do--or if ye ever come where I can lay eyes on ye again--by th' Holy
Holy I'll hale ye up to the Squire's office and tell all I know and
all I've seen. Oh, I'll give ye your belly-fill of law if--ye want th'
law! Git out of the house, I say!"

As Hiram spoke Levi seemed to shrink together. His face changed from
its copper color to a dull, waxy yellow. When the other ended he
answered never a word. But he pushed back his chair, rose, put on his
hat and, with a furtive, sidelong look, left the house, without
stopping to finish the supper which he had begun. He never entered
Hiram White's door again.


Hiram had driven out the evil spirit from his home, but the mischief
that it had brewed was done and could not be undone. The next day it
was known that Sally Martin had run away from home, and that she had
run away with Levi West. Old Billy Martin had been in town in the
morning with his rifle, hunting for Levi and threatening if he caught
him to have his life for leading his daughter astray.

And, as the evil spirit had left Hiram's house, so had another and a
greater evil spirit quitted its harborage. It was heard from Indian
River in a few days more that Blueskin had quitted the inlet and had
sailed away to the southeast; and it was reported, by those who seemed
to know, that he had finally quitted those parts.

It was well for himself that Blueskin left when he did, for not three
days after he sailed away the _Scorpion_ sloop-of-war dropped anchor
in Lewes harbor. The New York agent of the unfortunate packet and a
government commissioner had also come aboard the _Scorpion_.

Without loss of time, the officer in command instituted a keen and
searching examination that brought to light some singularly curious
facts. It was found that a very friendly understanding must have
existed for some time between the pirates and the people of Indian
River, for, in the houses throughout that section, many things--some
of considerable value--that had been taken by the pirates from the
packet, were discovered and seized by the commissioner. Valuables of a
suspicious nature had found their way even into the houses of Lewes

The whole neighborhood seemed to have become more or less tainted by
the presence of the pirates.

Even poor Hiram White did not escape the suspicions of having had
dealings with them. Of course the examiners were not slow in
discovering that Levi West had been deeply concerned with Blueskin's

Old Dinah and black Bob were examined, and not only did the story of
Levi's two visitors come to light, but also the fact that Hiram was
present and with them while they were in the house disposing of the
captured goods to their agent.

Of all that he had endured, nothing seemed to cut poor Hiram so deeply
and keenly as these unjust suspicions. They seemed to bring the last
bitter pang, hardest of all to bear.

Levi had taken from him his father's love; he had driven him, if not
to ruin, at least perilously close to it. He had run away with the
girl he loved, and now, through him, even Hiram's good name was gone.

Neither did the suspicions against him remain passive; they became

Goldsmiths' bills, to the amount of several thousand pounds, had been
taken in the packet and Hiram was examined with an almost
inquisitorial closeness and strictness as to whether he had or had not
knowledge of their whereabouts.

Under his accumulated misfortunes, he grew not only more dull, more
taciturn, than ever, but gloomy, moody, brooding as well. For hours he
would sit staring straight before him into the fire, without moving so
much as a hair.

One night--it was a bitterly cold night in February, with three inches
of dry and gritty snow upon the ground--while Hiram sat thus brooding,
there came, of a sudden, a soft tap upon the door.

Low and hesitating as it was, Hiram started violently at the sound. He
sat for a while, looking from right to left. Then suddenly pushing
back his chair, he arose, strode to the door, and flung it wide open.

It was Sally Martin.

[Illustration: The Pirate's Christmas

_Originally published in_
HARPER'S WEEKLY, _Christmas, 1893_]

Hiram stood for a while staring blankly at her. It was she who first
spoke. "Won't you let me come in, Hi?" said she. "I'm nigh starved
with the cold and I'm fit to die, I'm so hungry. For God's sake, let
me come in."

"Yes," said Hiram, "I'll let you come in, but why don't you go home?"

The poor girl was shivering and chattering with the cold; now she
began crying, wiping her eyes with the corner of a blanket in which
her head and shoulders were wrapped. "I have been home, Hiram," she
said, "but dad, he shut the door in my face. He cursed me just awful,
Hi--I wish I was dead!"

"You better come in," said Hiram. "It's no good standing out there in
the cold." He stood aside and the girl entered, swiftly, gratefully.

At Hiram's bidding black Dinah presently set some food before Sally
and she fell to eating ravenously, almost ferociously. Meantime, while
she ate, Hiram stood with his back to the fire, looking at her
face--that face once so round and rosy, now thin, pinched, haggard.

"Are you sick, Sally?" said he presently.

"No," said she, "but I've had pretty hard times since I left home,
Hi." The tears sprang to her eyes at the recollection of her troubles,
but she only wiped them hastily away with the back of her hand,
without stopping in her eating.

A long pause of dead silence followed. Dinah sat crouched together on
a cricket at the other side of the hearth, listening with interest.
Hiram did not seem to see her. "Did you go off with Levi?" said he at
last, speaking abruptly. The girl looked up furtively under her brows.
"You needn't be afeared to tell," he added.

"Yes," said she at last, "I did go off with him, Hi."

"Where've you been?"

At the question, she suddenly laid down her knife and fork. "Don't
you ask me that, Hi," said she, agitatedly, "I can't tell you that.
You don't know Levi, Hiram; I darsn't tell you anything he don't want
me to. If I told you where I been he'd hunt me out, no matter where I
was, and kill me. If you only knew what I know about him, Hiram, you
wouldn't ask anything about him."

Hiram stood looking broodingly at her for a long time; then at last he
again spoke. "I thought a sight of you onc't, Sally," said he.

Sally did not answer immediately, but, after a while, she suddenly
looked up. "Hiram," said she, "if I tell ye something will you promise
on your oath not to breathe a word to any living soul?" Hiram nodded.
"Then I'll tell you, but if Levi finds I've told he'll murder me as
sure as you're standin' there. Come nigher--I've got to whisper it."
He leaned forward close to her where she sat. She looked swiftly from
right to left; then raising her lips she breathed into his ear: "I'm
an honest woman, Hi. I was married to Levi West before I run away."


The winter had passed, spring had passed, and summer had come.
Whatever Hiram had felt, he had made no sign of suffering.
Nevertheless, his lumpy face had begun to look flabby, his cheeks
hollow, and his loose-jointed body shrunk more awkwardly together into
its clothes. He was often awake at night, sometimes walking up and
down his room until far into the small hours.

It was through such a wakeful spell as this that he entered into the
greatest, the most terrible, happening of his life.

It was a sulphurously hot night in July. The air was like the breath
of a furnace, and it was a hard matter to sleep with even the easiest
mind and under the most favorable circumstances. The full moon shone
in through the open window, laying a white square of light upon the
floor, and Hiram, as he paced up and down, up and down, walked
directly through it, his gaunt figure starting out at every turn into
sudden brightness as he entered the straight line of misty light.

The clock in the kitchen whirred and rang out the hour of twelve, and
Hiram stopped in his walk to count the strokes.

The last vibration died away into silence, and still he stood
motionless, now listening with a new and sudden intentness, for, even
as the clock rang the last stroke, he heard soft, heavy footsteps,
moving slowly and cautiously along the pathway before the house and
directly below the open window. A few seconds more and he heard the
creaking of rusty hinges. The mysterious visitor had entered the mill.
Hiram crept softly to the window and looked out. The moon shone full
on the dusty, shingled face of the old mill, not thirty steps away,
and he saw that the door was standing wide open. A second or two of
stillness followed, and then, as he still stood looking intently, he
saw the figure of a man suddenly appear, sharp and vivid, from the
gaping blackness of the open doorway. Hiram could see his face as
clear as day. It was Levi West, and he carried an empty meal bag over
his arm.

Levi West stood looking from right to left for a second or two, and
then he took off his hat and wiped his brow with the back of his hand.
Then he softly closed the door behind him and left the mill as he had
come, and with the same cautious step. Hiram looked down upon him as
he passed close to the house and almost directly beneath. He could
have touched him with his hand.

Fifty or sixty yards from the house Levi stopped and a second figure
arose from the black shadow in the angle of the worm fence and joined
him. They stood for a while talking together, Levi pointing now and
then toward the mill. Then the two turned, and, climbing over the
fence, cut across an open field and through the tall, shaggy grass
toward the southeast.

Hiram straightened himself and drew a deep breath, and the moon,
shining full upon his face, showed it twisted, convulsed, as it had
been when he had fronted his stepbrother seven months before in the
kitchen. Great beads of sweat stood on his brow and he wiped them away
with his sleeve. Then, coatless, hatless as he was, he swung himself
out of the window, dropped upon the grass, and, without an instant of
hesitation, strode off down the road in the direction that Levi West
had taken.

As he climbed the fence where the two men had climbed it he could see
them in the pallid light, far away across the level, scrubby meadow
land, walking toward a narrow strip of pine woods.

A little later they entered the sharp-cut shadows beneath the trees
and were swallowed in the darkness.

With fixed eyes and close-shut lips, as doggedly, as inexorably as
though he were a Nemesis hunting his enemy down, Hiram followed their
footsteps across the stretch of moonlit open. Then, by and by, he also
was in the shadow of the pines. Here, not a sound broke the midnight
hush. His feet made no noise upon the resinous softness of the ground
below. In that dead, pulseless silence he could distinctly hear the
distant voices of Levi and his companion, sounding loud and resonant
in the hollow of the woods. Beyond the woods was a cornfield, and
presently he heard the rattling of the harsh leaves as the two plunged
into the tasseled jungle. Here, as in the woods, he followed them,
step by step, guided by the noise of their progress through the canes.

Beyond the cornfield ran a road that, skirting to the south of Lewes,
led across a wooden bridge to the wide salt marshes that stretched
between the town and the distant sand hills. Coming out upon this road
Hiram found that he had gained upon those he followed, and that they
now were not fifty paces away, and he could see that Levi's companion
carried over his shoulder what looked like a bundle of tools.

He waited for a little while to let them gain their distance and for
the second time wiped his forehead with his shirt sleeve; then,
without ever once letting his eyes leave them, he climbed the fence to
the roadway.

For a couple of miles or more he followed the two along the white,
level highway, past silent, sleeping houses, past barns, sheds, and
haystacks, looming big in the moonlight, past fields, and woods, and
clearings, past the dark and silent skirts of the town, and so, at
last, out upon the wide, misty salt marshes, which seemed to stretch
away interminably through the pallid light, yet were bounded in the
far distance by the long, white line of sand hills.

Across the level salt marshes he followed them, through the rank sedge
and past the glassy pools in which his own inverted image stalked
beneath as he stalked above; on and on, until at last they had reached
a belt of scrub pines, gnarled and gray, that fringed the foot of the
white sand hills.

Here Hiram kept within the black network of shadow. The two whom he
followed walked more in the open, with their shadows, as black as ink,
walking along in the sand beside them, and now, in the dead,
breathless stillness, might be heard, dull and heavy, the distant
thumping, pounding roar of the Atlantic surf, beating on the beach at
the other side of the sand hills, half a mile away.

At last the two rounded the southern end of the white bluff, and when
Hiram, following, rounded it also, they were no longer to be seen.

Before him the sand hill rose, smooth and steep, cutting in a sharp
ridge against the sky. Up this steep hill trailed the footsteps of
those he followed, disappearing over the crest. Beyond the ridge lay a
round, bowl-like hollow, perhaps fifty feet across and eighteen or
twenty feet deep, scooped out by the eddying of the winds into an
almost perfect circle. Hiram, slowly, cautiously, stealthily,
following their trailing line of footmarks, mounted to the top of the
hillock and peered down into the bowl beneath. The two men were
sitting upon the sand, not far from the tall, skeleton-like shaft of
a dead pine tree that rose, stark and gray, from the sand in which it
may once have been buried, centuries ago.


Levi had taken off his coat and waistcoat and was fanning himself with
his hat. He was sitting upon the bag he had brought from the mill and
which he had spread out upon the sand. His companion sat facing him.
The moon shone full upon him and Hiram knew him instantly--he was the
same burly, foreign-looking ruffian who had come with the little man
to the mill that night to see Levi. He also had his hat off and was
wiping his forehead and face with a red handkerchief. Beside him lay
the bundle of tools he had brought--a couple of shovels, a piece of
rope, and a long, sharp iron rod.

The two men were talking together, but Hiram could not understand what
they said, for they spoke in the same foreign language that they had
before used. But he could see his stepbrother point with his finger,
now to the dead tree and now to the steep, white face of the opposite
side of the bowl-like hollow.

At last, having apparently rested themselves, the conference, if
conference it was, came to an end, and Levi led the way, the other
following, to the dead pine tree. Here he stopped and began searching,
as though for some mark; then, having found that which he looked for,
he drew a tapeline and a large brass pocket compass from his pocket.
He gave one end of the tape line to his companion, holding the other
with his thumb pressed upon a particular part of the tree. Taking his
bearings by the compass, he gave now and then some orders to the
other, who moved a little to the left or the right as he bade. At last
he gave a word of command, and, thereupon, his companion drew a wooden
peg from his pocket and thrust it into the sand. From this peg as a
base they again measured, taking bearings by the compass, and again
drove a peg. For a third time they repeated their measurements and
then, at last, seemed to have reached the point which they aimed for.

Here Levi marked a cross with his heel upon the sand.

His companion brought him the pointed iron rod which lay beside the
shovels, and then stood watching as Levi thrust it deep into the sand,
again and again, as though sounding for some object below. It was some
while before he found that for which he was seeking, but at last the
rod struck with a jar upon some hard object below. After making sure
of success by one or two additional taps with the rod, Levi left it
remaining where it stood, brushing the sand from his hands. "Now fetch
the shovels, Pedro," said he, speaking for the first time in English.

The two men were busy for a long while, shoveling away the sand. The
object for which they were seeking lay buried some six feet deep, and
the work was heavy and laborious, the shifting sand sliding back,
again and again, into the hole. But at last the blade of one of the
shovels struck upon some hard substance and Levi stooped and brushed
away the sand with the palm of his hand.

Levi's companion climbed out of the hole which they had dug and tossed
the rope which he had brought with the shovels down to the other. Levi
made it fast to some object below and then himself mounted to the
level of the sand above. Pulling together, the two drew up from the
hole a heavy iron-bound box, nearly three feet long and a foot wide
and deep.

Levi's companion stooped and began untying the rope which had been
lashed to a ring in the lid.

What next happened happened suddenly, swiftly, terribly. Levi drew
back a single step, and shot one quick, keen look to right and to
left. He passed his hand rapidly behind his back, and the next moment
Hiram saw the moonlight gleam upon the long, sharp, keen blade of a
knife. Levi raised his arm. Then, just as the other arose from bending
over the chest, he struck, and struck again, two swift, powerful
blows. Hiram saw the blade drive, clean and sharp, into the back, and
heard the hilt strike with a dull thud against the ribs--once, twice.
The burly, black-bearded wretch gave a shrill, terrible cry and fell
staggering back. Then, in an instant, with another cry, he was up and
clutched Levi with a clutch of despair by the throat and by the arm.
Then followed a struggle, short, terrible, silent. Not a sound was
heard but the deep, panting breath and the scuffling of feet in the
sand, upon which there now poured and dabbled a dark-purple stream.
But it was a one-sided struggle and lasted only for a second or two.
Levi wrenched his arm loose from the wounded man's grasp, tearing his
shirt sleeve from the wrist to the shoulder as he did so. Again and
again the cruel knife was lifted, and again and again it fell, now no
longer bright, but stained with red.

Then, suddenly, all was over. Levi's companion dropped to the sand
without a sound, like a bundle of rags. For a moment he lay limp and
inert; then one shuddering spasm passed over him and he lay silent and
still, with his face half buried in the sand.

Levi, with the knife still gripped tight in his hand, stood leaning
over his victim, looking down upon his body. His shirt and hand, and
even his naked arm, were stained and blotched with blood. The moon lit
up his face and it was the face of a devil from hell.

At last he gave himself a shake, stooped and wiped his knife and hand
and arm upon the loose petticoat breeches of the dead man. He thrust
his knife back into its sheath, drew a key from his pocket and
unlocked the chest. In the moonlight Hiram could see that it was
filled mostly with paper and leather bags, full, apparently of money.

All through this awful struggle and its awful ending Hiram lay, dumb
and motionless, upon the crest of the sand hill, looking with a horrid
fascination upon the death struggle in the pit below. Now Hiram arose.
The sand slid whispering down from the crest as he did so, but Levi
was too intent in turning over the contents of the chest to notice the
slight sound.

[Illustration: "He Lay Silent and Still, with His Face Half Buried in
the Sand"

_Illustration from_

_by_ Howard Pyle

_Originally published in_

Hiram's face was ghastly pale and drawn. For one moment he opened his
lips as though to speak, but no word came. So, white, silent, he stood
for a few seconds, rather like a statue than a living man, then,
suddenly, his eyes fell upon the bag, which Levi had brought with him,
no doubt, to carry back the treasure for which he and his companion
were in search, and which still lay spread out on the sand where it
had been flung. Then, as though a thought had suddenly flashed upon
him, his whole expression changed, his lips closed tightly together as
though fearing an involuntary sound might escape, and the haggard look
dissolved from his face.

Cautiously, slowly, he stepped over the edge of the sand hill and down
the slanting face. His coming was as silent as death, for his feet
made no noise as he sank ankle-deep in the yielding surface. So,
stealthily, step by step, he descended, reached the bag, lifted it
silently. Levi, still bending over the chest and searching through the
papers within, was not four feet away. Hiram raised the bag in his
hands. He must have made some slight rustle as he did so, for suddenly
Levi half turned his head. But he was one instant too late. In a flash
the bag was over his head--shoulders--arms--body.

Then came another struggle, as fierce, as silent, as desperate as that
other--and as short. Wiry, tough, and strong as he was, with a lean,
sinewy, nervous vigor, fighting desperately for his life as he was,
Levi had no chance against the ponderous strength of his stepbrother.
In any case, the struggle could not have lasted long; as it was, Levi
stumbled backward over the body of his dead mate and fell, with Hiram
upon him. Maybe he was stunned by the fall; maybe he felt the
hopelessness of resistance, for he lay quite still while Hiram,
kneeling upon him, drew the rope from the ring of the chest and,
without uttering a word, bound it tightly around both the bag and the
captive within, knotting it again and again and drawing it tight. Only
once was a word spoken. "If you'll lemme go," said a muffled voice
from the bag, "I'll give you five thousand pounds--it's in that there
box." Hiram answered never a word, but continued knotting the rope and
drawing it tight.


The _Scorpion_ sloop-of-war lay in Lewes harbor all that winter and
spring, probably upon the slim chance of a return of the pirates. It
was about eight o'clock in the morning and Lieutenant Maynard was
sitting in Squire Hall's office, fanning himself with his hat and
talking in a desultory fashion. Suddenly the dim and distant noise of
a great crowd was heard from without, coming nearer and nearer. The
Squire and his visitor hurried to the door. The crowd was coming down
the street shouting, jostling, struggling, some on the footway, some
in the roadway. Heads were at the doors and windows, looking down upon
them. Nearer they came, and nearer; then at last they could see that
the press surrounded and accompanied one man. It was Hiram White,
hatless, coatless, the sweat running down his face in streams, but
stolid and silent as ever. Over his shoulder he carried a bag, tied
round and round with a rope. It was not until the crowd and the man it
surrounded had come quite near that the Squire and the lieutenant saw
that a pair of legs in gray-yarn stockings hung from the bag. It was a
man he was carrying.

Hiram had lugged his burden five miles that morning without help and
with scarcely a rest on the way.

He came directly toward the Squire's office and, still surrounded and
hustled by the crowd, up the steep steps to the office within. He
flung his burden heavily upon the floor without a word and wiped his
streaming forehead.

The Squire stood with his knuckles on his desk, staring first at Hiram
and then at the strange burden he had brought. A sudden hush fell
upon all, though the voices of those without sounded as loud and
turbulent as ever. "What is it, Hiram?" said Squire Hall at last.

Then for the first time Hiram spoke, panting thickly. "It's a bloody
murderer," said he, pointing a quivering finger at the motionless

"Here, some of you!" called out the Squire. "Come! Untie this man! Who
is he?" A dozen willing fingers quickly unknotted the rope and the bag
was slipped from the head and body.

Hair and face and eyebrows and clothes were powdered with meal, but,
in spite of all and through all the innocent whiteness, dark spots and
blotches and smears of blood showed upon head and arm and shirt. Levi
raised himself upon his elbow and looked scowlingly around at the
amazed, wonderstruck faces surrounding him.

"Why, it's Levi West!" croaked the Squire, at last finding his voice.

Then, suddenly, Lieutenant Maynard pushed forward, before the others
crowded around the figure on the floor, and, clutching Levi by the
hair, dragged his head backward so as to better see his face. "Levi
West!" said he in a loud voice. "Is this the Levi West you've been
telling me of? Look at that scar and the mark on his cheek! _This is
Blueskin himself._"


In the chest which Blueskin had dug up out of the sand were found not
only the goldsmiths' bills taken from the packet, but also many other
valuables belonging to the officers and the passengers of the
unfortunate ship.

The New York agents offered Hiram a handsome reward for his efforts in
recovering the lost bills, but Hiram declined it, positively and
finally. "All I want," said he, in his usual dull, stolid fashion, "is
to have folks know I'm honest." Nevertheless, though he did not
accept what the agents of the packet offered, fate took the matter
into its own hands and rewarded him not unsubstantially. Blueskin was
taken to England in the _Scorpion_. But he never came to trial. While
in Newgate he hanged himself to the cell window with his own
stockings. The news of his end was brought to Lewes in the early
autumn and Squire Hall took immediate measures to have the five
hundred pounds of his father's legacy duly transferred to Hiram.

In November Hiram married the pirate's widow.

[Illustration: "There Cap'n Goldsack goes, creeping, creeping,
creeping, Looking for his treasure down below!"

_Illustration from_

_by_ William Sharp

_Originally published in_
HARPER'S MAGAZINE, _July_, 1902]

Chapter VII




_The author of this narrative cannot recall that, in any history of
the famous pirates, he has ever read a detailed and sufficient account
of the life and death of Capt. John Scarfield. Doubtless some data
concerning his death and the destruction of his schooner might be
gathered from the report of Lieutenant Mainwaring, now filed in the
archives of the Navy Department, but beyond such bald and bloodless
narrative the author knows of nothing, unless it be the little
chap-book history published by Isaiah Thomas in Newburyport about the
year 1821-22, entitled, "A True History of the Life and Death of
Captain Jack Scarfield." This lack of particularity in the history of
one so notable in his profession it is the design of the present
narrative in a measure to supply, and, if the author has seen fit to
cast it in the form of a fictional story, it is only that it may make
more easy reading for those who see fit to follow the tale from this
to its conclusion._



Eleazer Cooper, or Captain Cooper, as was his better-known title in
Philadelphia, was a prominent member of the Society of Friends. He was
an overseer of the meeting and an occasional speaker upon particular
occasions. When at home from one of his many voyages he never failed
to occupy his seat in the meeting both on First Day and Fifth Day, and
he was regarded by his fellow townsmen as a model of business
integrity and of domestic responsibility.

More incidental to this history, however, it is to be narrated that
Captain Cooper was one of those trading skippers who carried their own
merchandise in their own vessels which they sailed themselves, and on
whose decks they did their own bartering. His vessel was a swift,
large schooner, the _Eliza Cooper_, _of Philadelphia_, named for his
wife. His cruising grounds were the West India Islands, and his
merchandise was flour and corn meal ground at the Brandywine Mills at
Wilmington, Delaware.

During the War of 1812 he had earned, as was very well known, an
extraordinary fortune in this trading; for flour and corn meal sold at
fabulous prices in the French, Spanish, Dutch, and Danish islands, cut
off, as they were, from the rest of the world by the British blockade.

The running of this blockade was one of the most hazardous maritime
ventures possible, but Captain Cooper had met with such unvaried
success, and had sold his merchandise at such incredible profit that,
at the end of the war, he found himself to have become one of the
wealthiest merchants of his native city.

It was known at one time that his balance in the Mechanics' Bank was
greater than that of any other individual depositor upon the books,
and it was told of him that he had once deposited in the bank a chest
of foreign silver coin, the exchanged value of which, when translated
into American currency, was upward of forty-two thousand dollars--a
prodigious sum of money in those days.

In person, Captain Cooper was tall and angular of frame. His face was
thin and severe, wearing continually an unsmiling, mask-like
expression of continent and unruffled sobriety. His manner was dry and
taciturn, and his conduct and life were measured to the most absolute
accord with the teachings of his religious belief.

He lived in an old-fashioned house on Front Street below Spruce--as
pleasant, cheerful a house as ever a trading captain could return to.
At the back of the house a lawn sloped steeply down toward the river.
To the south stood the wharf and storehouses; to the north an orchard
and kitchen garden bloomed with abundant verdure. Two large chestnut
trees sheltered the porch and the little space of lawn, and when you
sat under them in the shade you looked down the slope between two rows
of box bushes directly across the shining river to the Jersey shore.

At the time of our story--that is, about the year 1820--this property
had increased very greatly in value, but it was the old home of the
Coopers, as Eleazer Cooper was entirely rich enough to indulge his
fancy in such matters. Accordingly, as he chose to live in the same
house where his father and his grandfather had dwelt before him, he
peremptorily, if quietly, refused all offers looking toward the
purchase of the lot of ground--though it was now worth five or six
times its former value.

As was said, it was a cheerful, pleasant home, impressing you when you
entered it with the feeling of spotless and all-pervading
cleanliness--a cleanliness that greeted you in the shining brass
door-knocker; that entertained you in the sitting room with its
stiff, leather-covered furniture, the brass-headed tacks whereof
sparkled like so many stars--a cleanliness that bade you farewell in
the spotless stretch of sand-sprinkled hallway, the wooden floor of
which was worn into knobs around the nail heads by the countless
scourings and scrubbings to which it had been subjected and which left
behind them an all-pervading faint, fragrant odor of soap and warm

Eleazer Cooper and his wife were childless, but one inmate made the
great, silent, shady house bright with life. Lucinda Fairbanks, a
niece of Captain Cooper's by his only sister, was a handsome,
sprightly girl of eighteen or twenty, and a great favorite in the
Quaker society of the city.

It remains only to introduce the final and, perhaps, the most
important actor of the narrative--Lieut. James Mainwaring. During the
past twelve months or so he had been a frequent visitor at the Cooper
house. At this time he was a broad-shouldered, red-cheeked, stalwart
fellow of twenty-six or twenty-eight. He was a great social favorite,
and possessed the added romantic interest of having been aboard the
_Constitution_ when she fought the _Guerriere_, and of having, with
his own hands, touched the match that fired the first gun of that
great battle.

Mainwaring's mother and Eliza Cooper had always been intimate friends,
and the coming and going of the young man during his leave of absence
were looked upon in the house as quite a matter of course. Half a
dozen times a week he would drop in to execute some little commission
for the ladies, or, if Captain Cooper was at home, to smoke a pipe of
tobacco with him, to sip a dram of his famous old Jamaica rum, or to
play a rubber of checkers of an evening. It is not likely that either
of the older people was the least aware of the real cause of his
visits; still less did they suspect that any passages of sentiment had
passed between the young people.

[Illustration: "He Had Found the Captain Agreeable and Companionable"

_Illustration from_

_by_ Thomas A. Janvier

_Originally published in_
HARPER'S MAGAZINE, _November_, 1894]

The truth was that Mainwaring and the young lady were very deeply in
love. It was a love that they were obliged to keep a profound secret,
for not only had Eleazer Cooper held the strictest sort of testimony
against the late war--a testimony so rigorous as to render it
altogether unlikely that one of so military a profession as Mainwaring
practiced could hope for his consent to a suit for marriage, but
Lucinda could not have married one not a member of the Society of
Friends without losing her own birthright membership therein. She
herself might not attach much weight to such a loss of membership in
the Society, but her fear of, and her respect for, her uncle led her
to walk very closely in her path of duty in this respect. Accordingly
she and Mainwaring met as they could--clandestinely--and the stolen
moments were very sweet. With equal secrecy Lucinda had, at the
request of her lover, sat for a miniature portrait to Mrs. Gregory,
which miniature, set in a gold medallion, Mainwaring, with a mild,
sentimental pleasure, wore hung around his neck and beneath his shirt
frill next his heart.

In the month of April of the year 1820 Mainwaring received orders to
report at Washington. During the preceding autumn the West India
pirates, and notably Capt. Jack Scarfield, had been more than usually
active, and the loss of the packet _Marblehead_ (which, sailing from
Charleston, South Carolina, was never heard of more) was attributed to
them. Two other coasting vessels off the coast of Georgia had been
looted and burned by Scarfield, and the government had at last aroused
itself to the necessity of active measures for repressing these pests
of the West India waters.

Mainwaring received orders to take command of the _Yankee_, a swift,
light-draught, heavily armed brig of war, and to cruise about the
Bahama Islands and to capture and destroy all the pirates' vessels he
could there discover.

On his way from Washington to New York, where the _Yankee_ was then
waiting orders, Mainwaring stopped in Philadelphia to bid good-by to
his many friends in that city. He called at the old Cooper house. It
was on a Sunday afternoon. The spring was early and the weather
extremely pleasant that day, being filled with a warmth almost as of
summer. The apple trees were already in full bloom and filled all the
air with their fragrance. Everywhere there seemed to be the pervading
hum of bees, and the drowsy, tepid sunshine was very delightful.

At that time Eleazer was just home from an unusually successful voyage
to Antigua. Mainwaring found the family sitting under one of the still
leafless chestnut trees, Captain Cooper smoking his long clay pipe and
lazily perusing a copy of the _National Gazette_. Eleazer listened
with a great deal of interest to what Mainwaring had to say of his
proposed cruise. He himself knew a great deal about the pirates, and,
singularly unbending from his normal, stiff taciturnity, he began
telling of what he knew, particularly of Captain Scarfield--in whom he
appeared to take an extraordinary interest.

Vastly to Mainwaring's surprise, the old Quaker assumed the position
of a defendant of the pirates, protesting that the wickedness of the
accused was enormously exaggerated. He declared that he knew some of
the freebooters very well and that at the most they were poor,
misdirected wretches who had, by easy gradation, slid into their
present evil ways, from having been tempted by the government
authorities to enter into privateering in the days of the late war. He
conceded that Captain Scarfield had done many cruel and wicked deeds,
but he averred that he had also performed many kind and benevolent
actions. The world made no note of these latter, but took care only to
condemn the evil that had been done. He acknowledged that it was true
that the pirate had allowed his crew to cast lots for the wife and the
daughter of the skipper of the _Northern Rose_, but there were none of
his accusers who told how, at the risk of his own life and the lives
of all his crew, he had given succor to the schooner _Halifax_, found
adrift with all hands down with yellow fever. There was no defender
of his actions to tell how he and his crew of pirates had sailed the
pest-stricken vessel almost into the rescuing waters of Kingston
harbor. Eleazer confessed that he could not deny that when Scarfield
had tied the skipper of the _Baltimore Belle_ naked to the foremast of
his own brig he had permitted his crew of cutthroats (who were drunk
at the time) to throw bottles at the helpless captive, who died that
night of the wounds he had received. For this he was doubtless very
justly condemned, but who was there to praise him when he had, at the
risk of his life and in the face of the authorities, carried a cargo
of provisions which he himself had purchased at Tampa Bay to the
Island of Bella Vista after the great hurricane of 1818? In this
notable adventure he had barely escaped, after a two days' chase, the
British frigate _Ceres_, whose captain, had a capture been effected,
would instantly have hung the unfortunate man to the yardarm in spite
of the beneficent mission he was in the act of conducting.

In all this Eleazer had the air of conducting the case for the
defendant. As he talked he became more and more animated and voluble.
The light went out in his tobacco pipe, and a hectic spot appeared in
either thin and sallow cheek. Mainwaring sat wondering to hear the
severely peaceful Quaker preacher defending so notoriously bloody and
cruel a cutthroat pirate as Capt. Jack Scarfield. The warm and
innocent surroundings, the old brick house looking down upon them, the
odor of apple blossoms and the hum of bees seemed to make it all the
more incongruous. And still the elderly Quaker skipper talked on and
on with hardly an interruption, till the warm sun slanted to the west
and the day began to decline.

That evening Mainwaring stayed to tea and when he parted from Lucinda
Fairbanks it was after nightfall, with a clear, round moon shining in
the milky sky and a radiance pallid and unreal enveloping the old
house, the blooming apple trees, the sloping lawn and the shining
river beyond. He implored his sweetheart to let him tell her uncle and
aunt of their acknowledged love and to ask the old man's consent to
it, but she would not permit him to do so. They were so happy as they
were. Who knew but what her uncle might forbid their fondness? Would
he not wait a little longer? Maybe it would all come right after a
while. She was so fond, so tender, so tearful at the nearness of their
parting that he had not the heart to insist. At the same time it was
with a feeling almost of despair that he realized that he must now be
gone--maybe for the space of two years--without in all that time
possessing the right to call her his before the world.

When he bade farewell to the older people it was with a choking
feeling of bitter disappointment. He yet felt the pressure of her
cheek against his shoulder, the touch of soft and velvet lips to his
own. But what were such clandestine endearments compared to what
might, perchance, be his--the right of calling her his own when he was
far away and upon the distant sea? And, besides, he felt like a coward
who had shirked his duty.

But he was very much in love. The next morning appeared in a drizzle
of rain that followed the beautiful warmth of the day before. He had
the coach all to himself, and in the damp and leathery solitude he
drew out the little oval picture from beneath his shirt frill and
looked long and fixedly with a fond and foolish joy at the innocent
face, the blue eyes, the red, smiling lips depicted upon the
satinlike, ivory surface.


For the better part of five months Mainwaring cruised about in the
waters surrounding the Bahama Islands. In that time he ran to earth
and dispersed a dozen nests of pirates. He destroyed no less than
fifteen piratical crafts of all sizes, from a large half-decked
whaleboat to a three-hundred-ton barkentine. The name of the _Yankee_
became a terror to every sea wolf in the western tropics, and the
waters of the Bahama Islands became swept almost clean of the bloody
wretches who had so lately infested it.

But the one freebooter of all others whom he sought--Capt. Jack
Scarfield--seemed to evade him like a shadow, to slip through his
fingers like magic. Twice he came almost within touch of the famous
marauder, both times in the ominous wrecks that the pirate captain had
left behind him. The first of these was the water-logged remains of a
burned and still smoking wreck that he found adrift in the great
Bahama channel. It was the _Water Witch_, of Salem, but he did not
learn her tragic story until, two weeks later, he discovered a part of
her crew at Port Maria, on the north coast of Jamaica. It was, indeed,
a dreadful story to which he listened. The castaways said that they of
all the vessel's crew had been spared so that they might tell the
commander of the _Yankee_, should they meet him, that he might keep
what he found, with Captain Scarfield's compliments, who served it up
to him hot cooked.

Three weeks later he rescued what remained of the crew of the
shattered, bloody hulk of the _Baltimore Belle_, eight of whose crew,
headed by the captain, had been tied hand and foot and heaved
overboard. Again, there was a message from Captain Scarfield to the
commander of the _Yankee_ that he might season what he found to suit
his own taste.

Mainwaring was of a sanguine disposition, with fiery temper. He swore,
with the utmost vehemence, that either he or John Scarfield would have
to leave the earth.

He had little suspicion of how soon was to befall the ominous
realization of his angry prophecy.

At that time one of the chief rendezvous of the pirates was the little
island of San José, one of the southernmost of the Bahama group. Here,
in the days before the coming of the _Yankee_, they were wont to put
in to careen and clean their vessels and to take in a fresh supply of
provisions, gunpowder, and rum, preparatory to renewing their attacks
upon the peaceful commerce circulating up and down outside the
islands, or through the wide stretches of the Bahama channel.

Mainwaring had made several descents upon this nest of freebooters. He
had already made two notable captures, and it was here he hoped
eventually to capture Captain Scarfield himself.

A brief description of this one-time notorious rendezvous of
freebooters might not be out of place. It consisted of a little
settlement of those wattled and mud-smeared houses such as you find
through the West Indies. There were only three houses of a more
pretentious sort, built of wood. One of these was a storehouse,
another was a rum shop, and a third a house in which dwelt a mulatto
woman, who was reputed to be a sort of left-handed wife of Captain
Scarfield's. The population was almost entirely black and brown. One
or two Jews and a half dozen Yankee traders, of hardly dubious
honesty, comprised the entire white population. The rest consisted of
a mongrel accumulation of negroes and mulattoes and half-caste
Spaniards, and of a multitude of black or yellow women and children.
The settlement stood in a bight of the beach forming a small harbor
and affording a fair anchorage for small vessels, excepting it were
against the beating of a southeasterly gale. The houses, or cabins,
were surrounded by clusters of coco palms and growths of bananas, and
a long curve of white beach, sheltered from the large Atlantic
breakers that burst and exploded upon an outer bar, was drawn like a
necklace around the semicircle of emerald-green water.

Such was the famous pirates' settlement of San José--a paradise of
nature and a hell of human depravity and wickedness--and it was to
this spot that Mainwaring paid another visit a few days after rescuing
the crew of the _Baltimore Belle_ from her shattered and sinking


As the little bay with its fringe of palms and its cluster of wattle
huts opened up to view, Mainwaring discovered a vessel lying at anchor
in the little harbor. It was a large and well-rigged schooner of two
hundred and fifty or three hundred tons burden. As the _Yankee_
rounded to under the stern of the stranger and dropped anchor in such
a position as to bring her broadside battery to bear should the
occasion require, Mainwaring set his glass to his eye to read the name
he could distinguish beneath the overhang of her stern. It is
impossible to describe his infinite surprise when, the white lettering
starting out in the circle of the glass, he read, _The Eliza Cooper,
of Philadelphia_.

He could not believe the evidence of his senses. Certainly this sink
of iniquity was the last place in the world he would have expected to
have fallen in with Eleazer Cooper.

He ordered out the gig and had himself immediately rowed over to the
schooner. Whatever lingering doubts he might have entertained as to
the identity of the vessel were quickly dispelled when he beheld
Captain Cooper himself standing at the gangway to meet him. The
impassive face of the friend showed neither surprise nor confusion at
what must have been to him a most unexpected encounter.

But when he stepped upon the deck of the _Eliza Cooper_ and looked
about him, Mainwaring could hardly believe the evidence of his senses
at the transformation that he beheld. Upon the main deck were eight
twelve-pound carronade neatly covered with tarpaulin; in the bow a
Long Tom, also snugly stowed away and covered, directed a veiled and
muzzled snout out over the bowsprit.

It was entirely impossible for Mainwaring to conceal his astonishment
at so unexpected a sight, and whether or not his own thoughts lent
color to his imagination, it seemed to him that Eleazer Cooper
concealed under the immobility of his countenance no small degree of

After Captain Cooper had led the way into the cabin and he and the
younger man were seated over a pipe of tobacco and the invariable
bottle of fine old Jamaica rum, Mainwaring made no attempt to refrain
from questioning him as to the reason for this singular and ominous

"I am a man of peace, James Mainwaring," Eleazer replied, "but there
are men of blood in these waters, and an appearance of great strength
is of use to protect the innocent from the wicked. If I remained in
appearance the peaceful trader I really am, how long does thee suppose
I could remain unassailed in this place?"

It occurred to Mainwaring that the powerful armament he had beheld was
rather extreme to be used merely as a preventive. He smoked for a
while in silence and then he suddenly asked the other point-blank
whether, if it came to blows with such a one as Captain Scarfield,
would he make a fight of it?

The Quaker trading captain regarded him for a while in silence. His
look, it seemed to Mainwaring, appeared to be dubitative as to how far
he dared to be frank. "Friend James," he said at last, "I may as well
acknowledge that my officers and crew are somewhat worldly. Of a truth
they do not hold the same testimony as I. I am inclined to think that
if it came to the point of a broil with those men of iniquity, my
individual voice cast for peace would not be sufficient to keep my
crew from meeting violence with violence. As for myself, thee knows
who I am and what is my testimony in these matters."

Mainwaring made no comment as to the extremely questionable manner in
which the Quaker proposed to beat the devil about the stump. Presently
he asked his second question:

"And might I inquire," he said, "what you are doing here and why you
find it necessary to come at all into such a wicked, dangerous place
as this?"

"Indeed, I knew thee would ask that question of me," said the Friend,
"and I will be entirely frank with thee. These men of blood are, after
all, but human beings, and as human beings they need food. I have at
present upon this vessel upward of two hundred and fifty barrels of
flour which will bring a higher price here than anywhere else in the
West Indies. To be entirely frank with thee, I will tell thee that I
was engaged in making a bargain for the sale of the greater part of my
merchandise when the news of thy approach drove away my best

Mainwaring sat for a while in smoking silence. What the other had told
him explained many things he had not before understood. It explained
why Captain Cooper got almost as much for his flour and corn meal now
that peace had been declared as he had obtained when the war and the
blockade were in full swing. It explained why he had been so strong a
defender of Captain Scarfield and the pirates that afternoon in the
garden. Meantime, what was to be done? Eleazer confessed openly that
he dealt with the pirates. What now was his--Mainwaring's--duty in the
case? Was the cargo of the _Eliza Cooper_ contraband and subject to
confiscation? And then another question framed itself in his mind: Who
was this customer whom his approach had driven away?

As though he had formulated the inquiry into speech the other began
directly to speak of it. "I know," he said, "that in a moment thee
will ask me who was this customer of whom I have just now spoken. I
have no desire to conceal his name from thee. It was the man who is
known as Captain Jack or Captain John Scarfield."

Mainwaring fairly started from his seat. "The devil you say!" he
cried. "And how long has it been," he asked, "since he left you?"

The Quaker skipper carefully refilled his pipe, which he had by now
smoked out. "I would judge," he said, "that it is a matter of four or
five hours since news was brought overland by means of swift runners
of thy approach. Immediately the man of wickedness disappeared." Here
Eleazer set the bowl of his pipe to the candle flame and began puffing
out voluminous clouds of smoke. "I would have thee understand, James
Mainwaring," he resumed, "that I am no friend of this wicked and
sinful man. His safety is nothing to me. It is only a question of
buying upon his part and of selling upon mine. If it is any
satisfaction to thee I will heartily promise to bring thee news if I
hear anything of the man of Belial. I may furthermore say that I think
it is likely thee will have news more or less directly of him within
the space of a day. If this should happen, however, thee will have to
do thy own fighting without help from me, for I am no man of combat
nor of blood and will take no hand in it either way."

It struck Mainwaring that the words contained some meaning that did
not appear upon the surface. This significance struck him as so
ambiguous that when he went aboard the _Yankee_ he confided as much of
his suspicions as he saw fit to his second in command, Lieutenant
Underwood. As night descended he had a double watch set and had
everything prepared to repel any attack or surprise that might be


Nighttime in the tropics descends with a surprising rapidity. At one
moment the earth is shining with the brightness of the twilight; the
next, as it were, all things are suddenly swallowed into a gulf of
darkness. The particular night of which this story treats was not
entirely clear; the time of year was about the approach of the rainy
season, and the tepid, tropical clouds added obscurity to the darkness
of the sky, so that the night fell with even more startling quickness
than usual. The blackness was very dense. Now and then a group of
drifting stars swam out of a rift in the vapors, but the night was
curiously silent and of a velvety darkness.


As the obscurity had deepened, Mainwaring had ordered lanthorns to
be lighted and slung to the shrouds and to the stays, and the faint
yellow of their illumination lighted the level white of the snug
little war vessel, gleaming here and there in a starlike spark upon
the brass trimmings and causing the rows of cannons to assume
curiously gigantic proportions.

For some reason Mainwaring was possessed by a strange, uneasy feeling.
He walked restlessly up and down the deck for a time, and then, still
full of anxieties for he knew not what, went into his cabin to finish
writing up his log for the day. He unstrapped his cutlass and laid it
upon the table, lighted his pipe at the lanthorn and was about
preparing to lay aside his coat when word was brought to him that the
captain of the trading schooner was come alongside and had some
private information to communicate to him.

Mainwaring surmised in an instant that the trader's visit related
somehow to news of Captain Scarfield, and as immediately, in the
relief of something positive to face, all of his feeling of
restlessness vanished like a shadow of mist. He gave orders that
Captain Cooper should be immediately shown into the cabin, and in a
few moments the tall, angular form of the Quaker skipper appeared in
the narrow, lanthorn-lighted space.

Mainwaring at once saw that his visitor was strangely agitated and
disturbed. He had taken off his hat, and shining beads of perspiration
had gathered and stood clustered upon his forehead. He did not reply
to Mainwaring's greeting; he did not, indeed, seem to hear it; but he
came directly forward to the table and stood leaning with one hand
upon the open log book in which the lieutenant had just been writing.
Mainwaring had reseated himself at the head of the table, and the tall
figure of the skipper stood looking down at him as from a considerable

"James Mainwaring," he said, "I promised thee to report if I had news
of the pirate. Is thee ready now to hear my news?"

There was something so strange in his agitation that it began to
infect Mainwaring with a feeling somewhat akin to that which appeared
to disturb his visitor. "I know not what you mean, sir!" he cried, "by
asking if I care to hear your news. At this moment I would rather have
news of that scoundrel than to have anything I know of in the world."

"Thou would? Thou would?" cried the other, with mounting agitation.
"Is thee in such haste to meet him as all that? Very well; very well,
then. Suppose I could bring thee face to face with him--what then?
Hey? Hey? Face to face with him, James Mainwaring!"

The thought instantly flashed into Mainwaring's mind that the pirate
had returned to the island; that perhaps at that moment he was
somewhere near at hand.

"I do not understand you, sir," he cried. "Do you mean to tell me that
you know where the villain is? If so, lose no time in informing me,
for every instant of delay may mean his chance of again escaping."

"No danger of that!" the other declared, vehemently. "No danger of
that! I'll tell thee where he is and I'll bring thee to him quick
enough!" And as he spoke he thumped his fist against the open log
book. In the vehemence of his growing excitement his eyes appeared to
shine green in the lanthorn light, and the sweat that had stood in
beads upon his forehead was now running in streams down his face. One
drop hung like a jewel to the tip of his beaklike nose. He came a step
nearer to Mainwaring and bent forward toward him, and there was
something so strange and ominous in his bearing that the lieutenant
instinctively drew back a little where he sat.

"Captain Scarfield sent something to you," said Eleazer, almost in a
raucous voice, "something that you will be surprised to see." And the
lapse in his speech from the Quaker "thee" to the plural "you" struck
Mainwaring as singularly strange.

As he was speaking Eleazer was fumbling in a pocket of his
long-tailed drab coat, and presently he brought something forth that
gleamed in the lanthorn light.

The next moment Mainwaring saw leveled directly in his face the round
and hollow nozzle of a pistol.

There was an instant of dead silence and then, "I am the man you
seek!" said Eleazer Cooper, in a tense and breathless voice.

The whole thing had happened so instantaneously and unexpectedly that
for the moment Mainwaring sat like one petrified. Had a thunderbolt
fallen from the silent sky and burst at his feet he could not have
been more stunned. He was like one held in the meshes of a horrid
nightmare, and he gazed as through a mist of impossibility into the
lineaments of the well-known, sober face now transformed as from
within into the aspect of a devil. That face, now ashy white, was
distorted into a diabolical grin. The teeth glistened in the
lamplight. The brows, twisted into a tense and convulsed frown, were
drawn down into black shadows, through which the eyes burned a baleful
green like the eyes of a wild animal driven to bay. Again he spoke in
the same breathless voice. "I am John Scarfield! Look at me, then, if
you want to see a pirate!" Again there was a little time of silence,
through which Mainwaring heard his watch ticking loudly from where it
hung against the bulkhead. Then once more the other began speaking.
"You would chase me out of the West Indies, would you? G---- ---- you!
What are you come to now? You are caught in your own trap, and you'll
squeal loud enough before you get out of it. Speak a word or make a
movement and I'll blow your brains out against the partition behind
you! Listen to what I say or you are a dead man. Sing out an order
instantly for my mate and my bos'n to come here to the cabin, and be
quick about it, for my finger's on the trigger, and it's only a pull
to shut your mouth forever."

It was astonishing to Mainwaring, in afterward thinking about it all,
how quickly his mind began to recover its steadiness after that first
astonishing shock. Even as the other was speaking he discovered that
his brain was becoming clarified to a wonderful lucidity; his thoughts
were becoming rearranged, and with a marvelous activity and an
alertness he had never before experienced. He knew that if he moved to
escape or uttered any outcry he would be instantly a dead man, for the
circle of the pistol barrel was directed full against his forehead and
with the steadiness of a rock. If he could but for an instant divert
that fixed and deadly attention he might still have a chance for life.
With the thought an inspiration burst into his mind and he instantly
put it into execution; thought, inspiration, and action, as in a
flash, were one. He must make the other turn aside his deadly gaze,
and instantly he roared out in a voice that stunned his own ears:
"Strike, bos'n! Strike, quick!"

Taken by surprise, and thinking, doubtless, that another enemy stood
behind him, the pirate swung around like a flash with his pistol
leveled against the blank boarding. Equally upon the instant he saw
the trick that had been played upon him and in a second flash had
turned again. The turn and return had occupied but a moment of time,
but that moment, thanks to the readiness of his own invention, had
undoubtedly saved Mainwaring's life. As the other turned away his gaze
for that brief instant Mainwaring leaped forward and upon him. There
was a flashing flame of fire as the pistol was discharged and a
deafening detonation that seemed to split his brain. For a moment,
with reeling senses, he supposed himself to have been shot, the next
he knew he had escaped. With the energy of despair he swung his enemy
around and drove him with prodigious violence against the corner of
the table. The pirate emitted a grunting cry and then they fell
together, Mainwaring upon the top, and the pistol clattered with them
to the floor in their fall. Even as he fell, Mainwaring roared in a
voice of thunder, "All hands repel boarders!" And then again, "All
hands repel boarders!"

Whether hurt by the table edge or not, the fallen pirate struggled as
though possessed of forty devils, and in a moment or two Mainwaring
saw the shine of a long, keen knife that he had drawn from somewhere
about his person. The lieutenant caught him by the wrist, but the
other's muscles were as though made of steel. They both fought in
despairing silence, the one to carry out his frustrated purposes to
kill, the other to save his life. Again and again Mainwaring felt that
the knife had been thrust against him, piercing once his arm, once his
shoulder, and again his neck. He felt the warm blood streaming down
his arm and body and looked about him in despair. The pistol lay near
upon the deck of the cabin. Still holding the other by the wrist as he
could, Mainwaring snatched up the empty weapon and struck once and
again at the bald, narrow forehead beneath him. A third blow he
delivered with all the force he could command, and then with a violent
and convulsive throe the straining muscles beneath him relaxed and
grew limp and the fight was won.

Through all the struggle he had been aware of the shouts of voices, of
trampling of feet and discharge of firearms, and the thought came to
him, even through his own danger, that the _Yankee_ was being
assaulted by the pirates. As he felt the struggling form beneath him
loosen and dissolve into quietude, he leaped up, and snatching his
cutlass, which still lay upon the table, rushed out upon the deck,
leaving the stricken form lying twitching upon the floor behind him.

It was a fortunate thing that he had set double watches and prepared
himself for some attack from the pirates, otherwise the _Yankee_ would
certainly have been lost. As it was, the surprise was so overwhelming
that the pirates, who had been concealed in the large whaleboat that
had come alongside, were not only able to gain a foothold upon the
deck, but for a time it seemed as though they would drive the crew of
the brig below the hatches.

But as Mainwaring, streaming with blood, rushed out upon the deck, the
pirates became immediately aware that their own captain must have
been overpowered, and in an instant their desperate energy began to
evaporate. One or two jumped overboard; one, who seemed to be the
mate, fell dead from a pistol shot, and then, in the turn of a hand,
there was a rush of a retreat and a vision of leaping forms in the
dusky light of the lanthorns and a sound of splashing in the water

The crew of the _Yankee_ continued firing at the phosphorescent wakes
of the swimming bodies, but whether with effect it was impossible at
the time to tell.


The pirate captain did not die immediately. He lingered for three or
four days, now and then unconscious, now and then semi-conscious, but
always deliriously wandering. All the while he thus lay dying, the
mulatto woman, with whom he lived in this part of his extraordinary
dual existence, nursed and cared for him with such rude attentions as
the surroundings afforded. In the wanderings of his mind the same
duality of life followed him. Now and then he would appear the calm,
sober, self-contained, well-ordered member of a peaceful society that
his friends in his far-away home knew him to be; at other times the
nether part of his nature would leap up into life like a wild beast,
furious and gnashing. At the one time he talked evenly and clearly of
peaceful things; at the other time he blasphemed and hooted with fury.

Several times Mainwaring, though racked by his own wounds, sat beside
the dying man through the silent watches of the tropical nights.
Oftentimes upon these occasions as he looked at the thin, lean face
babbling and talking so aimlessly, he wondered what it all meant.
Could it have been madness--madness in which the separate entities of
good and bad each had, in its turn, a perfect and distinct existence?
He chose to think that this was the case. Who, within his inner
consciousness, does not feel that same ferine, savage man struggling
against the stern, adamantine bonds of morality and decorum? Were
those bonds burst asunder, as it was with this man, might not the wild
beast rush forth, as it had rushed forth in him, to rend and to tear?
Such were the questions that Mainwaring asked himself. And how had it
all come about? By what easy gradations had the respectable Quaker
skipper descended from the decorum of his home life, step by step,
into such a gulf of iniquity? Many such thoughts passed through
Mainwaring's mind, and he pondered them through the still reaches of
the tropical nights while he sat watching the pirate captain struggle
out of the world he had so long burdened. At last the poor wretch
died, and the earth was well quit of one of its torments.

[Illustration: "He Struck Once and Again at the Bald, Narrow Forehead
Beneath Him"

_Illustration from_

_by_ Howard Pyle

_Originally published in_
THE NORTHWESTERN MILLER, _December_ 18, 1897]

A systematic search was made through the island for the scattered
crew, but none was captured. Either there were some secret hiding
places upon the island (which was not very likely) or else they had
escaped in boats hidden somewhere among the tropical foliage. At any
rate they were gone.

Nor, search as he would, could Mainwaring find a trace of any of the
pirate treasure. After the pirate's death and under close questioning,
the weeping mulatto woman so far broke down as to confess in broken
English that Captain Scarfield had taken a quantity of silver money
aboard his vessel, but either she was mistaken or else the pirates had
taken it thence again and had hidden it somewhere else.

Nor would the treasure ever have been found but for a most fortuitous

Mainwaring had given orders that the _Eliza Cooper_ was to be burned,
and a party was detailed to carry the order into execution. At this
the cook of the _Yankee_ came petitioning for some of the Wilmington
and Brandywine flour to make some plum duff upon the morrow, and
Mainwaring granted his request in so far that he ordered one of the
men to knock open one of the barrels of flour and to supply the cook's

The crew detailed to execute this modest order in connection with the
destruction of the pirate vessel had not been gone a quarter of an
hour when word came back that the hidden treasure had been found.

Mainwaring hurried aboard the _Eliza Cooper_, and there in the midst
of the open flour barrel he beheld a great quantity of silver coin
buried in and partly covered by the white meal. A systematic search
was now made. One by one the flour barrels were heaved up from below
and burst open on the deck and their contents searched, and if nothing
but the meal was found it was swept overboard. The breeze was whitened
with clouds of flour, and the white meal covered the surface of the
ocean for yards around.

In all, upward of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars was found
concealed beneath the innocent flour and meal. It was no wonder the
pirate captain was so successful, when he could upon an instant's
notice transform himself from a wolf of the ocean to a peaceful Quaker
trader selling flour to the hungry towns and settlements among the
scattered islands of the West Indies, and so carrying his bloody
treasure safely into his quiet Northern home.

In concluding this part of the narrative it may be added that a wide
strip of canvas painted black was discovered in the hold of the _Eliza
Cooper_. Upon it, in great white letters, was painted the name, "The
Bloodhound." Undoubtedly this was used upon occasions to cover the
real and peaceful title of the trading schooner, just as its captain
had, in reverse, covered his sanguine and cruel life by a thin sheet
of morality and respectability.

This is the true story of the death of Capt. Jack Scarfield.

The Newburyport chap-book, of which I have already spoken, speaks only
of how the pirate disguised himself upon the ocean as a Quaker trader.

Nor is it likely that anyone ever identified Eleazer Cooper with the
pirate, for only Mainwaring of all the crew of the _Yankee_ was
exactly aware of the true identity of Captain Scarfield. All that was
ever known to the world was that Eleazer Cooper had been killed in a
fight with the pirates.

In a little less than a year Mainwaring was married to Lucinda
Fairbanks. As to Eleazer Cooper's fortune, which eventually came into
the possession of Mainwaring through his wife, it was many times a
subject of speculation to the lieutenant how it had been earned. There
were times when he felt well assured that a part of it at least was
the fruit of piracy, but it was entirely impossible to guess how much
more was the result of legitimate trading.

For a little time it seemed to Mainwaring that he should give it all
up, but this was at once so impracticable and so quixotic that he
presently abandoned it, and in time his qualms and misdoubts faded
away and he settled himself down to enjoy that which had come to him
through his marriage.

In time the Mainwarings removed to New York, and ultimately the
fortune that the pirate Scarfield had left behind him was used in part
to found the great shipping house of Mainwaring & Bigot, whose famous
transatlantic packet ships were in their time the admiration of the
whole world.


Chapter VIII



A very famous pirate of his day was Capt. Robertson Keitt.

Before embarking upon his later career of infamy, he was, in the
beginning, very well known as a reputable merchant in the island of
Jamaica. Thence entering, first of all, upon the business of the
African trade, he presently, by regular degrees, became a pirate, and
finally ended his career as one of the most renowned freebooters of

The remarkable adventure through which he at once reached the pinnacle
of success, and became in his profession the most famous figure of his
day, was the capture of the Rajah of Kishmoor's great ship, _The Sun
of the East_. In this vessel was the Rajah's favorite Queen, who,
together with her attendants, was set upon a pilgrimage to Mecca. The
court of this great Oriental potentate was, as may be readily
supposed, fairly aglitter with gold and jewels, so that, what with
such personal adornments that the Queen and her attendants had fetched
with them, besides an ample treasury for the expenses of the
expedition, an incredible prize of gold and jewels rewarded the
freebooters for their successful adventure.

Among the precious stones taken in this great purchase was the
splendid ruby of Kishmoor. This, as may be known to the reader, was
one of the world's greatest gems, and was unique alike both for its
prodigious size and the splendor of its color. This precious jewel the
Rajah of Kishmoor had, upon a certain occasion, bestowed upon his
Queen, and at the time of her capture she wore it as the centerpiece
of a sort of coronet which encircled her forehead and brow.

The seizure by the pirate of so considerable a person as that of the
Queen of Kishmoor, and of the enormous treasure that he found aboard
her ship, would alone have been sufficient to have established his
fame. But the capture of so extraordinary a prize as that of the
ruby--which was, in itself, worth the value of an entire Oriental
kingdom--exalted him at once to the very highest pinnacle of renown.

Having achieved the capture of this incredible prize, our captain
scuttled the great ship and left her to sink with all on board. Three
Lascars of the crew alone escaped to bear the news of this tremendous
disaster to an astounded world.

As may readily be supposed, it was now no longer possible for Captain
Keitt to hope to live in such comparative obscurity as he had before
enjoyed. His was now too remarkable a figure in the eyes of the world.
Several expeditions from various parts were immediately fitted out
against him, and it presently became no longer compatible with his
safety to remain thus clearly outlined before the eyes of the world.
Accordingly, he immediately set about seeking such security as he
might now hope to find, which he did the more readily since he had
now, and at one cast, so entirely fulfilled his most sanguine
expectations of good fortune and of fame.

Thereafter, accordingly, the adventures of our captain became of a
more apocryphal sort. It was known that he reached the West Indies in
safety, for he was once seen at Port Royal and twice at Spanish Town,
in the island of Jamaica. Thereafter, however, he disappeared; nor was
it until several years later that the world heard anything concerning

One day a certain Nicholas Duckworthy, who had once been gunner aboard
the pirate captain's own ship, _The Good Fortune_, was arrested in the
town of Bristol in the very act of attempting to sell to a merchant of
that place several valuable gems from a quantity which he carried with
him tied up in a red bandanna handkerchief.

In the confession of which Duckworthy afterward delivered himself he
declared that Captain Keitt, after his great adventure, having sailed
from Africa in safety, and so reached the shores of the New World, had
wrecked _The Good Fortune_ on a coral reef off the Windward Islands;
that he then immediately deserted the ship, and together with
Duckworthy himself, the sailing master (who was a Portuguese), the
captain of a brig, _The Bloody Hand_ (a consort of Keitt's), and a
villainous rascal named Hunt (who, occupying no precise position among
the pirates, was at once the instigator of and the partaker in the
greatest part of Captain Keitt's wickednesses), made his way to the
nearest port of safety. These five worthies at last fetched the island
of Jamaica, bringing with them all of the jewels and some of the gold
that had been captured from _The Sun of the East_.

But, upon coming to a division of their booty, it was presently
discovered that the Rajah's ruby had mysteriously disappeared from the
collection of jewels to be divided. The other pirates immediately
suspected their captain of having secretly purloined it, and, indeed,
so certain were they of his turpitude that they immediately set about
taking means to force a confession from him.

In this, however, they were so far unsuccessful that the captain,
refusing to yield to their importunities, had suffered himself to die
under their hands, and had so carried the secret of the hiding place
of the great ruby--if he possessed such a secret--along with him.

[Illustration: CAPTAIN KEITT]

Duckworthy concluded his confession by declaring that in his opinion
he himself, the Portuguese sailing master, the captain of _The Bloody
Hand_, and Hunt were the only ones of Captain Keitt's crew who were
now alive; for that _The Good Fortune_ must have broken up in a storm,
which immediately followed their desertion of her; in which event the
entire crew must inevitably have perished.

It may be added that Duckworthy himself was shortly hanged, so that,
if his surmise was true, there were now only three left alive of all
that wicked crew that had successfully carried to its completion the
greatest adventure which any pirate in the world had ever, perhaps,
embarked upon.


_Jonathan Rugg_

You may never know what romantic aspirations may lie hidden beneath
the most sedate and sober demeanor.

To have observed Jonathan Rugg, who was a tall, lean, loose-jointed
young Quaker of a somewhat forbidding aspect, with straight, dark hair
and a bony, overhanging forehead set into a frown, a pair of small,
deep-set eyes, and a square jaw, no one would for a moment have
suspected that he concealed beneath so serious an exterior any
appetite for romantic adventure.

Nevertheless, finding himself suddenly transported, as it were, from
the quiet of so sober a town as that of Philadelphia to the tropical
enchantment of Kingston, in the island of Jamaica, the night brilliant
with a full moon that swung in an opal sky, the warm and luminous
darkness replete with the mysteries of a tropical night, and burdened
with the odors of a land breeze, he suddenly discovered himself to be
overtaken with so vehement a desire for some unwonted excitement that,
had the opportunity presented itself, he felt himself ready to
embrace any adventure with the utmost eagerness, no matter whither it
would have conducted him.

At home (where he was a clerk in the countinghouse of a leading
merchant, by name Jeremiah Doolittle), should such idle fancies have
come to him, he would have looked upon himself as little better than a
fool, but now that he found himself for the first time in a foreign
country, surrounded by such strange and unusual sights and sounds, all
conducive to extravagant imaginations, the wish for some extraordinary
and altogether unusual experience took possession of him with a
singular vehemence to which he had heretofore been altogether a

In the street where he stood, which was of a shining whiteness and
which reflected the effulgence of the moonlight with an incredible
distinction, he observed, stretching before him, long lines of white
garden walls, overtopped by a prodigious luxuriance of tropical

In these gardens, and set close to the street, stood several
pretentious villas and mansions, the slatted blinds and curtains of
the windows of which were raised to admit of the freer entrance of the
cool and balmy air of the night. From within there issued forth bright
lights, together with the exhilarating sound of merry voices laughing
and talking, or perhaps a song accompanied by the tinkling music of a
spinet or of a guitar. An occasional group of figures, clad in light
and summerlike garments, and adorned with gay and startling colors,
passed him through the moonlight; so that what with the brightness and
warmth of the night, together with all these unusual sights and
sounds, it appeared to Jonathan Rugg that he was rather the inhabitant
of some extraordinary land of enchantment and unreality than a dweller
upon that sober and solid world in which he had heretofore passed his
entire existence.

Before continuing this narrative the reader may here be informed that
our hero had come into this enchanted world as the supercargo of the
ship _Susanna Hayes_, of Philadelphia; that he had for several years
proved himself so honest and industrious a servant to the merchant
house of the worthy Jeremiah Doolittle that that benevolent man had
given to his well-deserving clerk this opportunity at once of
gratifying an inclination for foreign travel and of filling a position
of trust that should redound to his individual profit. The _Susanna
Hayes_ had entered Kingston harbor that afternoon, and this was
Jonathan's first night spent in those tropical latitudes, whither his
fancy and his imagination had so often carried him while he stood over
the desk filing the accounts of invoices from foreign parts.

It might be finally added that, had he at all conceived how soon and
to what a degree his sudden inclination for adventure was to be
gratified, his romantic aspirations might have been somewhat dashed at
the prospect that lay before him.


_The Mysterious Lady with the Silver Veil_

At that moment our hero suddenly became conscious of the fact that a
small wicket in a wooden gate near which he stood had been opened, and
that the eyes of an otherwise concealed countenance were observing him
with the utmost closeness of scrutiny.

He had hardly time to become aware of this observation of his person
when the gate itself was opened, and there appeared before him, in the
moonlight, the bent and crooked figure of an aged negress. She was
clad in a calamanco raiment, and was further adorned with a variety of
gaudily colored trimmings, vastly suggestive of the tropical world of
which she was an inhabitant. Her woolly head was enveloped, after the
fashion of her people, in the folds of a gigantic and flaming red
turban constructed of an entire pocket handkerchief. Her face was
pock-pitted to an incredible degree, so that what with this deformity,
emphasized by the pouting of her prodigious and shapeless lips, and
the rolling of a pair of eyes as yellow as saffron, Jonathan Rugg
thought that he had never beheld a figure at once so extraordinary and
so repulsive.

It occurred to our hero that here, maybe, was to overtake him such an
adventure as that which he had just a moment before been desiring so
ardently. Nor was he mistaken; for the negress, first looking this way
and then that, with an extremely wary and cunning expression, and
apparently having satisfied herself that the street, for the moment,
was pretty empty of passers, beckoned to him to draw nearer. When he
had approached close enough to her she caught him by the sleeve, and,
instantly drawing him into the garden beyond, shut and bolted the gate
with a quickness and a silence suggestive of the most extravagant

At the same moment a huge negro suddenly appeared from the shadow of
the gatepost, and so placed himself between Jonathan and the gate that
any attempt to escape would inevitably have entailed a conflict, upon
our hero's part, with the sable and giant guardian.

Says the negress, looking very intently at our hero, "Be you afeared,

"Why, no," quoth Jonathan; "for to tell thee the truth, friend, though
I am a man of peace, being of that religious order known as the
Society of Friends, I am not so weak in person nor so timid in
disposition as to warrant me in being afraid of anyone. Indeed, were I
of a mind to escape, I might, without boasting, declare my belief that
I should be able to push my way past even a better man than thy large
friend who stands so threateningly in front of yonder gate."

At these words the negress broke into so prodigious a grin that, in
the moonlight, it appeared as though the whole lower part of her face
had been transformed into shining teeth. "You be a brave Buckra," said
she, in her gibbering English. "You come wid Melina, and Melina take
you to pretty lady, who want you to eat supper wid her."

Thereupon, and allowing our hero no opportunity to decline this
extraordinary invitation, even had he been of a mind to do so, she
took him by the hand and led him toward the large and imposing house
which commanded the garden. "Indeed," says Jonathan to himself, as he
followed his sable guide--himself followed in turn by the gigantic
negro--"indeed, I am like to have my fill of adventure, if anything is
to be judged from such a beginning as this."

Nor did the interior sumptuousness of the mansion at all belie the
imposing character of its exterior, for, entering by way of an
illuminated veranda, and so coming into a brilliantly lighted hallway
beyond, Jonathan beheld himself to be surrounded by such a wealth of
exquisite and well-appointed tastefulness as it had never before been
his good fortune to behold.

Candles of clarified wax sparkled like stars in chandeliers of
crystal. These in turn, catching the illumination, glittered in
prismatic fragments with all the varied colors of the rainbow, so that
a mellow yet brilliant radiance filled the entire apartment. Polished
mirrors of a spotless clearness, framed in golden frames and built
into the walls, reflected the waxed floors, the rich Oriental carpets,
and the sumptuous paintings that hung against the ivory-tinted
paneling, so that in appearance the beauties of the apartment were
continued in bewildering vistas upon every side toward which the
beholder directed his gaze.

Bidding our hero to be seated, which he did with no small degree of
embarrassment and constraint, and upon the extreme edge of the gilt
and satin-covered chair, the negress who had been his conductor left
him for the time being to his own contemplation.

Almost before he had an opportunity to compose himself into anything
more than a part of his ordinary sedateness of demeanor, the silken
curtains at the doorway at the other end of the apartment were
suddenly divided, and Jonathan beheld before him a female figure
displaying the most exquisite contour of mold and of proportion. She
was clad entirely in white, and was enveloped from head to foot in the
folds of a veil of delicate silver gauze, which, though hiding her
countenance from recognition, nevertheless permitted sufficient of her
beauties to be discerned to suggest the extreme elegance and
loveliness of her lineaments. Advancing toward our hero, and extending
to him a tapering hand as white as alabaster, the fingers encircled
with a multitude of jeweled rings, she addressed him thus:

"Sir," she said, speaking in accents of the most silvery and musical
cadence, "you are no doubt vastly surprised to find yourself thus
unexpectedly, and almost as by violence, introduced into the house of
one who is such an entire stranger to you as myself. But though I am
unknown to you, I must inform you that I am better acquainted with my
visitor, for my agents have been observing you ever since you landed
this afternoon at the dock, and they have followed you ever since,
until a little while ago, when you stopped immediately opposite my
garden gate. These agents have observed you with a closeness of
scrutiny of which you are doubtless entirely unaware. They have even
informed me that, owing doubtless to your extreme interest in your new
surroundings, you have not as yet supped. Knowing this, and that you
must now be enjoying a very hearty appetite, I have to ask you if you
will do me the extreme favor of sitting at table with me at a repast
which you will doubtless be surprised to learn has been hastily
prepared entirely in your honor."

So saying, and giving Jonathan no time for reply, she offered him her
hand, and with the most polite insistence conducted him into an
exquisitely appointed dining room adjoining.

Here stood a table covered with a snow-white cloth, and embellished
with silver and crystal ornaments of every description. Having seated
herself and having indicated to Jonathan to take the chair opposite to
her, the two were presently served with a repast such as our hero had
not thought could have existed out of the pages of certain
extraordinary Oriental tales which one time had fallen to his lot to

This supper (which in itself might successfully have tempted the taste
of a Sybarite) was further enhanced by several wines and cordials
which, filling the room with the aroma of the sunlit grapes from which
they had been expressed, stimulated the appetite, which without them
needed no such spur. The lady, who ate but sparingly herself,
possessed herself with patience until Jonathan's hunger had been
appeased. When, however, she beheld that he weakened in his attacks
upon the dessert of sweets with which the banquet was concluded, she
addressed him upon the business which was evidently entirely occupying
her mind.

"Sir," said she, "you are doubtless aware that everyone, whether man
or woman, is possessed of an enemy. In my own case I must inform you
that I have no less than three who, to compass their ends, would
gladly sacrifice my life itself to their purposes. At no time am I
safe from their machinations, nor have I anyone," cried she,
exhibiting a great emotion, "to whom I may turn in my need. It was
this that led me to hope to find in you a friend in my perils, for,
having observed through my agents that you are not only honest in
disposition and strong in person, but that you are possessed of a
considerable degree of energy and determination, I am most desirous of
imposing upon your good nature a trust of which you cannot for a
moment suspect the magnitude. Tell me, are you willing to assist a
poor, defenseless female in her hour of trial?"

"Indeed, friend," quoth Jonathan, with more vivacity than he usually
exhibited, with a lenity to which he had heretofore in his lifetime
been a stranger--being warmed into such a spirit, doubtless, by the
generous wines of which he had partaken--"indeed, friend, if I could
but see thy face it would doubtless make my decision in such a matter
the more favorable, since I am inclined to think, from the little I
can behold of it, that thy appearance must be extremely comely to the

"Sir," said the lady, exhibiting some amusement at this unexpected
sally, "I am, you must know, as God made me. Sometime, perhaps, I may
be very glad to satisfy your curiosity, and exhibit to you my poor
countenance such as it is. But now"--and here she reverted to her more
serious mood--"I must again put it to you: are you willing to help an
unprotected woman in a period of very great danger to herself? Should
you decline the assistance which I solicit, my slaves shall conduct
you to the gate through which you entered, and suffer you to depart in
peace. Should you, upon the other hand, accept the trust, you are to
receive no reward therefor, except the gratitude of one who thus
appeals to you in her helplessness."

For a few moments Jonathan fell silent, for here, indeed, was he
entering into an adventure which infinitely surpassed any anticipation
that he could have formed. He was, besides, of a cautious nature, and
was entirely disinclined to embark in any affair so obscure and
tangled as that in which he now found himself becoming involved.

"Friend," said he, at last, "I may tell thee that thy story has so far
moved me as to give me every inclination to help thee in thy
difficulties, but I must also inform thee that I am a man of caution,
having never before entered into any business of this sort. Therefore,
before giving any promise that may bind my future actions, I must, in
common wisdom, demand to know what are the conditions that thou hast
in mind to impose upon me."

"Indeed, sir," cried the lady, with great vivacity and with more
cheerful accents--as though her mind had been relieved of a burden of
fear that her companion might at once have declined even a
consideration of her request--"indeed, sir, you will find that the
trust which I would impose upon you is in appearance no such great
matter as my words may have led you to suppose.

"You must know that I am possessed of a little trinket which, in the
hands of anyone who, like yourself, is a stranger in these parts,
would possess no significance, but which while in my keeping is
fraught with infinite menace to me."

Hereupon, and having so spoken, she clapped her hands, and an
attendant immediately entered, disclosing the person of the same
negress who had first introduced Jonathan into the strange adventure
in which he now found himself involved. This creature, who appeared
still more deformed and repulsive in the brilliantly lighted room than
she had in the moonlight, carried in her hands a white napkin, which
she handed to her mistress. This being opened, disclosed a small ivory
ball of about the bigness of a lime. Nodding to the negress to
withdraw, the lady handed him the ivory ball, and Jonathan took it
with no small degree of curiosity and examined it carefully. It
appeared to be of an exceeding antiquity, and of so deep a yellow as
to be almost brown in color. It was covered over with strange figures
and characters of an Oriental sort, which appeared to our hero to be
of Chinese workmanship.

"I must tell you, sir," said the lady, after she had permitted her
guest to examine this for a while in silence, "that though this
appears to you to be of little worth, it is yet of extreme value.
After all, however, it is nothing but a curiosity that anyone who is
interested in such matters might possess. What I have to ask you is
this: will you be willing to take this into your charge, to guard it
with the utmost care and fidelity--yes, even as the apple of your
eye--during your continuance in these parts, and to return it to me in
safety the day before your departure? By so doing you will render me a
service which you may neither understand nor comprehend, but which
shall make me your debtor for my entire life."

By this time Jonathan had pretty well composed his mind for a reply.

"Friend," said he, "such a matter as this is entirely out of my
knowledge of business, which is, indeed, that of a clerk in the
mercantile profession. Nevertheless, I have every inclination to help
thee, though I trust thou mayest have magnified the dangers that beset
thee. This appears to me to be a little trifle for such an ado;
nevertheless, I will do as thou dost request. I will keep it in safety
and will return it to thee upon this day a week hence, by which time I
hope to have discharged my cargo and be ready to continue my voyage to

At these words the lady, who had been watching him all the time with a
most unaccountable eagerness, burst forth into words of such heartfelt
gratitude as to entirely overwhelm our hero. When her transports had
been somewhat assuaged she permitted him to depart, and the negress
conducted him back through the garden, whence she presently showed him
through the gate whither he had entered and out into the street.


_The Terrific Encounter with the One-Eyed Little Gentleman in Black_

Finding himself once more in the open street, Jonathan Rugg stood for
a while in the moonlight, endeavoring to compose his mind into
somewhat of that sobriety that was habitual with him; for, indeed, he
was not a little excited by the unexpected incidents that had just
befallen him. From this effort at composure he was aroused by
observing that a little gentleman clad all in black had stopped at a
little distance away and was looking very intently at him. In the
brightness of the moonlight our hero could see that the little
gentleman possessed but a single eye, and that he carried a
gold-headed cane in his hand. He had hardly time to observe these
particulars, when the other approached him with every appearance of
politeness and cordiality.

"Sir," said he, "surely I am not mistaken in recognizing in you the
supercargo of the ship _Susanna Hayes_, which arrived this afternoon
at this port?"

"Indeed," said Jonathan, "thou art right, friend. That is my
occupation, and that is whence I came."

"To be sure!" said the little gentleman. "To be sure! To be sure! The
_Susanna Hayes_, with a cargo of Indian-corn meal, and from my dear
good friend Jeremiah Doolittle, of Philadelphia. I know your good
master very well--very well indeed. And have you never heard him speak
of his friend Mr. Abner Greenway, of Kingston, Jamaica?"

"Why, no," replied Jonathan, "I have no such recollection of the
name--nor do I know that any such name hath ever appeared upon our

"To be sure! To be sure!" repeated the little gentleman, briskly, and
with exceeding good nature. "Indeed, my name is not likely to have
ever appeared upon your employer's books, for I am not a business
correspondent, but one who, in times past, was his extremely intimate
friend. There is much I would like to ask about him, and, indeed, I
was in hopes that you would have been the bearer of a letter from him.
But I have lodgings at a little distance from here, so that if it is
not requesting too much of you maybe you will accompany me thither, so
that we may talk at our leisure. I would gladly accompany you to your
ship instead of urging you to come to my apartments, but I must tell
you I am possessed of a devil of a fever, so that my physician hath
forbidden me to be out of nights."

"Indeed," said Jonathan, who, you may have observed, was of a very
easy disposition--"indeed, I shall be very glad to accompany thee to
thy lodgings. There is nothing I would like better than to serve any
friend of good Jeremiah Doolittle's."

And thereupon, and with great amity, the two walked off together, the
little one-eyed gentleman in black linking his arm confidingly into
that of Jonathan's, and tapping the pavement continually with his cane
as he trotted on at a great pace. He was very well acquainted with the
town (of which he was a citizen), and so interesting was his
discourse that they had gone a considerable distance before Jonathan
observed they were entering into a quarter darker and less frequented
than that which they had quitted. Tall brick houses stood upon either
side, between which stretched a narrow, crooked roadway, with a kennel
running down the center.

In front of one of these houses--a tall and gloomy structure--our
hero's conductor stopped and, opening the door with a key, beckoned
for him to enter. Jonathan having complied, his new-found friend led
the way up a flight of steps, against which Jonathan's feet beat
noisily in the darkness, and at length, having ascended two stairways
and having reached a landing, he opened a door at the end of the
passage and ushered Jonathan into an apartment, unlighted, except for
the moonshine, which, coming in through a partly open shutter, lay in
a brilliant patch of light upon the floor.

His conductor having struck a light with a flint and steel, our hero
by the illumination of a single candle presently discovered himself to
be in a bedchamber furnished with no small degree of comfort, and even
elegance, and having every appearance of a bachelor's chamber.

"You will pardon me," said his new acquaintance, "if I shut these
shutters and the window, for that devilish fever of which I spoke is
of such a sort that I must keep the night air even out from my room,
or else I shall be shaking the bones out of my joints and chattering
the teeth out of my head by to-morrow morning."

So saying he was as good as his word, and not only drew the shutters
to, but shot the heavy iron bolt into its place. Having accomplished
this he bade our hero to be seated, and placing before him some
exceedingly superior rum, together with some equally excellent
tobacco, they presently fell into the friendliest discourse
imaginable. In the course of their talk, which after a while became
exceedingly confidential, Jonathan confided to his new friend the
circumstances of the adventure into which he had been led by the
beautiful stranger, and to all that he said concerning his adventure
his interlocutor listened with the closest and most scrupulously
riveted attention.

[Illustration: How the Buccaneers Kept Christmas

_Originally published in_
HARPER'S WEEKLY, _December 16, 1899_]

"Upon my word," said he, when Jonathan had concluded, "I hope that you
may not have been made the victim of some foolish hoax. Let me see
what it is she has confided to you."

"That I will," replied Jonathan. And thereupon he thrust his hand into
his breeches' pocket and brought forth the ivory ball.

No sooner did the one eye of the little gentleman in black light upon
the object than a most singular and extraordinary convulsion appeared
to seize upon him. Had a bullet penetrated his heart he could not have
started more violently, nor have sat more rigidly and breathlessly

Mastering his emotion with the utmost difficulty as Jonathan replaced
the ball in his pocket, he drew a deep and profound breath and wiped
the palm of his hand across his forehead as though arousing himself
from a dream.

"And you," he said, of a sudden, "are, I understand it, a Quaker. Do
you, then, never carry a weapon, even in such a place as this, where
at any moment in the dark a Spanish knife may be stuck betwixt your

"Why, no," said Jonathan, somewhat surprised that so foreign a topic
should have been so suddenly introduced into the discourse. "I am a
man of peace and not of blood. The people of the Society of Friends
never carry weapons, either of offense or defense."

As Jonathan concluded his reply the little gentleman suddenly arose
from his chair and moved briskly around to the other side of the room.
Our hero, watching him with some surprise, beheld him clap to the door
and with a single movement shoot the bolt and turn the key therein.
The next instant he turned to Jonathan a visage transformed as
suddenly as though he had dropped a mask from his face. The gossiping
and polite little old bachelor was there no longer, but in his stead
a man with a countenance convulsed with some furious and nameless

"That ball!" he cried, in a hoarse and raucous voice. "That ivory
ball! Give it to me upon the instant!"

As he spoke he whipped out from his bosom a long, keen Spanish knife
that in its every appearance spoke without equivocation of the most
murderous possibilities.

The malignant passions that distorted every lineament of the
countenance of the little old gentleman in black filled our hero with
such astonishment that he knew not whether he were asleep or awake;
but when he beheld the other advancing with the naked and shining
knife in his hand his reason returned to him like a flash. Leaping to
his feet, he lost no time in putting the table between himself and his
sudden enemy.

"Indeed, friend," he cried, in a voice penetrated with
terror--"indeed, friend, thou hadst best keep thy distance from me,
for though I am a man of peace and a shunner of bloodshed, I promise
thee that I will not stand still to be murdered without outcry or
without endeavoring to defend my life!"

"Cry as loud as you please!" exclaimed the other. "No one is near this
place to hear you! Cry until you are hoarse; no one in this
neighborhood will stop to ask what is the matter with you. I tell you
I am determined to possess myself of that ivory ball, and have it I
shall, even though I am obliged to cut out your heart to get it!" As
he spoke he grinned with so extraordinary and devilish a distortion of
his countenance, and with such an appearance of every intention of
carrying out his threat as to send the goose flesh creeping like icy
fingers up and down our hero's spine with the most incredible rapidity
and acuteness.

Nevertheless, mastering his fears, Jonathan contrived to speak up with
a pretty good appearance of spirit. "Indeed, friend," he said, "thou
appearest to forget that I am a man of twice thy bulk and half thy
years, and that though thou hast a knife I am determined to defend
myself to the last extremity. I am not going to give thee that which
thou demandest of me, and for thy sake I advise thee to open the door
and let me go free as I entered, or else harm may befall thee."

"Fool!" cried the other, hardly giving him time to end. "Do you, then,
think that I have time to chatter with you while two villains are
lying in wait for me, perhaps at the very door? Blame your own self
for your death!" And, gnashing his teeth with an indescribable menace,
and resting his hand upon the table, he vaulted with incredible
agility clean across it and upon our hero, who, entirely unprepared
for such an extraordinary attack, was flung back against the wall,
with an arm as strong as steel clutching his throat and a knife
flashing in his very eyes with dreadful portent of instant death.

With an instinct to preserve his life, he caught his assailant by the
wrist, and, bending it away from himself, set every fiber of his body
in a superhuman effort to guard and protect himself. The other, though
so much older and smaller, seemed to be composed entirely of fibers of
steel, and, in his murderous endeavors, put forth a strength so
extraordinary that for a moment our hero felt his heart melt within
him with terror for his life. The spittle appeared to dry up within
his mouth, and his hair to creep and rise upon his head. With a
vehement cry of despair and anguish, he put forth one stupendous
effort for defense, and, clapping his heel behind the other's leg, and
throwing his whole weight forward, he fairly tripped his antagonist
backward as he stood. Together they fell upon the floor, locked in the
most desperate embrace, and overturning a chair with a prodigious
clatter in their descent--our hero upon the top and the little
gentleman in black beneath him.

As they struck the floor the little man in black emitted a most
piercing and terrible scream, and instantly relaxing his efforts of
attack, fell to beating the floor with the back of his hands and
drubbing with his heels upon the rug in which he had become entangled.

Our hero leaped to his feet, and with dilating eyes and expanding
brain and swimming sight stared down upon the other like one turned to
a stone.

He beheld instantly what had occurred, and that he had, without so
intending, killed a fellow man. The knife, turned away from his own
person, had in their fall been plunged into the bosom of the other,
and he now lay quivering in the last throes of death. As Jonathan
gazed he beheld a thin red stream trickle out from the parted and
grinning lips; he beheld the eyes turn inward; he beheld the eyelids
contract; he beheld the figure stretch itself; he beheld it become
still in death.


_The Momentous Adventure with the Stranger with the Silver Earrings_

So our hero stood stunned and bedazed, gazing down upon his victim,
like a man turned into a stone. His brain appeared to him to expand
like a bubble, the blood surged and hummed in his ears with every
gigantic beat of his heart, his vision swam, and his trembling hands
were bedewed with a cold and repugnant sweat. The dead figure upon the
floor at his feet gazed at him with a wide, glassy stare, and in the
confusion of his mind it appeared to Jonathan that he was, indeed, a

What monstrous thing was this that had befallen him who, but a moment
before, had been so entirely innocent of the guilt of blood? What was
he now to do in such an extremity as this, with his victim lying dead
at his feet, a poniard in his heart? Who would believe him to be
guiltless of crime with such a dreadful evidence as this presented
against him? How was he, a stranger in a foreign land, to totally
defend himself against an accusation of mistaken justice? At these
thoughts a developed terror gripped at his vitals and a sweat as cold
as ice bedewed his entire body. No, he must tarry for no explanation
or defense! He must immediately fly from this terrible place, or else,
should he be discovered, his doom would certainly be sealed!

At that moment, and in the very extremity of his apprehensions, there
fell of a sudden a knock upon the door, sounding so loud and so
startling upon the silence of the room that every shattered nerve in
our hero's frame tingled and thrilled in answer to it. He stood
petrified, scarcely so much as daring to breathe; and then, observing
that his mouth was agape, he moistened his dry and parching lips, and
drew his jaws together with a snap.

Again there fell the same loud, insistent knock upon the panel,
followed by the imperative words, "Open within!"

The wretched Jonathan flung about him a glance at once of terror and
of despair, but there was for him no possible escape. He was shut
tight in the room with his dead victim, like a rat in a trap. Nothing
remained for him but to obey the summons from without. Indeed, in the
very extremity of his distraction, he possessed reason enough to
perceive that the longer he delayed opening the door the less innocent
he might hope to appear in the eyes of whoever stood without.

With the uncertain and spasmodic movements of an ill-constructed
automaton, he crossed the room, and stepping very carefully over the
prostrate body upon the floor, and with a hesitating reluctance that
he could in no degree master, he unlocked, unbolted, and opened the

The figure that outlined itself in the light of the candle, against
the blackness of the passageway without, was of such a singular and
foreign aspect as to fit extremely well into the extraordinary tragedy
of which Jonathan was at once the victim and the cause.

It was that of a lean, tall man with a thin, yellow countenance,
embellished with a long, black mustache, and having a pair of
forbidding, deeply set, and extremely restless black eyes. A crimson
handkerchief beneath a lace cocked hat was tied tightly around the
head, and a pair of silver earrings, which caught the light of the
candle, gleamed and twinkled against the inky darkness of the
passageway beyond.

This extraordinary being, without favoring our hero with any word of
apology for his intrusion, immediately thrust himself forward into the
room, and stretching his long, lean, birdlike neck so as to direct his
gaze over the intervening table, fixed a gaping and concentrated stare
upon the figure lying still and motionless in the center of the room.

"Vat you do dare," said he, with a guttural and foreign accent, and
thereupon, without waiting for a reply, came forward and knelt down
beside the dead man. After thrusting his hand into the silent and
shrunken bosom, he presently looked up and fixed his penetrating eyes
upon our hero's countenance, who, benumbed and bedazed with his
despair, still stood like one enchained in the bonds of a nightmare.
"He vas dead!" said the stranger, and Jonathan nodded his head in

"Vy you keel ze man?" inquired his interlocutor.

"Indeed," cried Jonathan, finding a voice at last, but one so hoarse
that he could hardly recognize it for his own, "I know not what to
make of the affair! But, indeed, I do assure thee, friend, that I am
entirely innocent of what thou seest."

The stranger still kept his piercing gaze fixed upon our hero's
countenance, and Jonathan, feeling that something further was demanded
of him, continued: "I am, indeed, a victim of a most extravagant and
extraordinary adventure. This evening, coming an entire stranger to
this country, I was introduced into the house of a beautiful female,
who bestowed upon me a charge that appeared to me to be at once
insignificant and absurd. Behold this little ivory ball," said he,
drawing the globe from his pocket, and displaying it between his thumb
and finger. "It is this that appears to have brought all this disaster
upon me; for, coming from the house of the young woman, the man whom
thou now beholdest lying dead upon the floor induced me to come to
this place. Having inveigled me hither, he demanded of me to give him
at once this insignificant trifle. Upon my refusing to do so, he
assaulted me with every appearance of a mad and furious inclination to
deprive me of my life!"

At the sight of the ivory ball the stranger quickly arose from his
kneeling posture and fixed upon our hero a gaze the most extraordinary
that he had ever encountered. His eyes dilated like those of a cat,
the breath expelled itself from his bosom in so deep and profound an
expiration that it appeared as though it might never return again. Nor
was it until Jonathan had replaced the ball in his pocket that he
appeared to awaken from the trance that the sight of the object had
sent him into. But no sooner had the cause of this strange demeanor
disappeared into our hero's breeches' pocket than he arose as with an
electric shock. In an instant he became transformed as by the touch of
magic. A sudden and baleful light flamed into his eyes, his face grew
as red as blood, and he clapped his hand to his pocket with a sudden
and violent motion. "Ze ball!" he cried, in a hoarse and strident
voice. "Ze ball! Give me ze ball!" And upon the next instant our hero
beheld the round and shining nozzle of a pistol pointed directly
against his forehead.

For a moment he stood as though transfixed; then in the mortal peril
that faced him, he uttered a roar that sounded in his own ears like
the outcry of a wild beast, and thereupon flung himself bodily upon
the other with the violence and the fury of a madman.

The stranger drew the trigger, and the powder flashed in the pan. He
dropped the weapon, clattering, and in an instant tried to draw
another from his other pocket. Before he could direct his aim,
however, our hero had caught him by both wrists, and, bending his hand
backward, prevented the chance of any shot from taking immediate
effect upon his person. Then followed a struggle of extraordinary
ferocity and frenzy--the stranger endeavoring to free his hand, and
Jonathan striving with all the energy of despair to prevent him from
effecting his murderous purpose.


In the struggle our hero became thrust against the edge of the table.
He felt as though his back were breaking, and became conscious that in
such a situation he could hope to defend himself only a few moments
longer. The stranger's face was pressed close to his own. His hot
breath, strong with the odor of garlic, fanned our hero's cheek, while
his lips, distended into a ferocious and ferine grin, displayed his
sharp teeth shining in the candlelight.

"Give me ze ball!" he said, in a harsh and furious whisper.

At the moment there rang in Jonathan's ears the sudden and astounding
detonation of a pistol shot, and for a moment he wondered whether he
had received a mortal wound without being aware of it. Then suddenly
he beheld an extraordinary and dreadful transformation take place in
the countenance thrust so close to his own; the eyes winked several
times with incredible rapidity, and then rolled upward and inward; the
jaws gaped into a dreadful and cavernous yawn; the pistol fell with a
clatter to the floor, and the next moment the muscles, so rigid but an
instant before, relaxed into a limp and listless flaccidity. The
joints collapsed, and the entire man fell into an indistinguishable
heap upon and across the dead figure stretched out upon the floor,
while at the same time a pungent and blinding cloud of gunpowder smoke
filled the apartment. For a few moments the hands twitched
convulsively; the neck stretched itself to an abominable length; the
long, lean legs slowly and gradually relaxed, and every fiber of the
body gradually collapsed into the lassitude of death. A spot of blood
appeared and grew upon the collar at the throat, and in the same
degree the color ebbed from the face, leaving it of a dull and leaden

All these terrible and formidable changes of aspect our hero stood
watching with a motionless and riveted attention, and as though they
were to him matters of the utmost consequence and importance; and only
when the last flicker of life had departed from his second victim did
he lift his gaze from this terrible scene of dissolution to stare
about him, this way and that, his eyes blinded, and his breath stifled
by the thick cloud of sulphurous smoke that obscured the objects about
him in a pungent cloud.


_The Unexpected Encounter with the Sea Captain with the Broken Nose_

If our hero had been distracted and bedazed by the first catastrophe
that had befallen, this second and even more dreadful and violent
occurrence appeared to take away from him, for the moment, every
power of thought and of sensation. All that perturbation of emotion
that had before convulsed him he discovered to have disappeared, and
in its stead a benumbed and blinded intelligence alone remained to
him. As he stood in the presence of this second death, of which he had
been as innocent and as unwilling an instrument as he had of the
first, he could observe no signs either of remorse or of horror within
him. He picked up his hat, which had fallen upon the floor in the
first encounter, and, brushing away the dust with the cuff of his coat
sleeve with extraordinary care, adjusted the beaver upon his head with
the utmost nicety. Then turning, still stupefied as with the fumes of
some powerful drug, he prepared to quit the scene of tragic terrors
that had thus unexpectedly accumulated upon him.

But ere he could put his design into execution his ears were startled
by the sound of loud and hurried footsteps which, coming from below,
ascended the stairs with a prodigious clatter and bustle of speed. At
the landing these footsteps paused for a while, and then approached,
more cautious and deliberate, toward the room where the double tragedy
had been enacted, and where our hero yet stood silent and inert.

All this while Jonathan made no endeavor to escape, but stood passive
and submissive to what might occur. He felt himself the victim of
circumstances over which he himself had no control. Gazing at the
partly opened door, he waited for whatever adventure might next befall
him. Once again the footsteps paused, this time at the very threshold,
and then the door was slowly pushed open from without.

As our hero gazed at the aperture there presently became disclosed to
his view the strong and robust figure of one who was evidently of a
seafaring habit. From the gold braid upon his hat, the seals dangling
from the ribbon at his fob, and a certain particularity of custom, he
was evidently one of no small consideration in his profession. He was
of a strong and powerful build, with a head set close to his
shoulders, and upon a round, short bull neck. He wore a black cravat,
loosely tied into a knot, and a red waistcoat elaborately trimmed with
gold braid; a leather belt with a brass buckle and hanger, and huge
sea boots completed a costume singularly suggestive of his occupation
in life. His face was round and broad, like that of a cat, and a
complexion stained, by constant exposure to the sun and wind, to a
color of newly polished mahogany. But a countenance which otherwise
might have been humorous, in this case was rendered singularly
repulsive by the fact that his nose had been broken so flat to his
face that all that remained to distinguish that feature were two
circular orifices where the nostrils should have been. His eyes were
by no means so sinister as the rest of his visage, being of a
light-gray color and exceedingly vivacious--even good-natured in the
merry restlessness of their glance--albeit they were well-nigh hidden
beneath a black bush of overhanging eyebrows. When he spoke, his voice
was so deep and resonant that it was as though it issued from a barrel
rather than from the breast of a human being.

"How now, my hearty!" cried he, in stentorian tones, so loud that they
seemed to stun the tensely drawn drums of our hero's ears. "How now,
my hearty! What's to do here? Who is shooting pistols at this hour of
the night?" Then, catching sight of the figures lying in a huddle upon
the floor, his great, thick lips parted into a gape of wonder and his
gray eyes rolled in his head like two balls, so that what with his
flat face and the round holes of his nostrils he presented an
appearance which, under other circumstances, would have been at once
ludicrous and grotesque.

"By the blood!" cried he, "to be sure it is murder that has happened

"Not murder!" cried Jonathan, in a shrill and panting voice. "Not
murder! It was all an accident, and I am as innocent as a baby."

The newcomer looked at him and then at the two figures upon the
floor, and then back at him again with eyes at once quizzical and
cunning. Then his face broke into a grin that might hardly be called
of drollery. "Accident!" quoth he. "By the blood! d'ye see 'tis a
strange accident, indeed, that lays two men by the heels and lets the
third go without a scratch!" Delivering himself thus, he came forward
into the room, and, taking the last victim of Jonathan's adventure by
the arm, with as little compunction as he would have handled a sack of
grain he dragged the limp and helpless figure from where it lay to the
floor beside the first victim. Then, lifting the lighted candle, he
bent over the two prostrate bodies, holding the illumination close to
the lineaments first of one and then of the other. He looked at them
very carefully for a long while, with the closest and most intent
scrutiny, and in perfect silence. "They are both as dead," says he,
"as Davy Jones, and, whoever you be, I protest that you have done your
business the most completest that I ever saw in all of my life."

"Indeed," cried Jonathan, in the same shrill and panting voice, "it
was themselves who did it. First one of them attacked me and then the
other, and I did but try to keep them from murdering me. This one fell
on his knife, and that one shot himself in his efforts to destroy me."

"That," says the seaman, "you may very well tell to a dry-lander, and
maybe he will believe you; but you cannot so easily pull the wool over
the eyes of Captain Benny Willitts. And what, if I may be so bold as
for to ask you, was the reason for their attacking so harmless a man
as you proclaim yourself to be?"

[Illustration: The Burning Ship

_Originally published in_

"That I know not," cried Jonathan; "but I am entirely willing to tell
thee all the circumstances. Thou must know that I am a member of the
Society of Friends. This day I landed here in Kingston, and met a
young woman of very comely appearance, who intrusted me with this
little ivory ball, which she requested me to keep for her a few days.
The sight of this ball--in which I can detect nothing that could be
likely to arouse any feelings of violence--appears to have driven
these two men entirely mad, so that they instantly made the most
ferocious and murderous assault upon me. See! wouldst thou have
believed that so small a thing as this would have caused so much
trouble?" And as he spoke he held up to the gaze of the other the
cause of the double tragedy that had befallen. But no sooner had
Captain Willitts's eyes lighted upon the ball than the most singular
change passed over his countenance. The color appeared to grow dull
and yellow in his ruddy cheeks, his fat lips dropped apart, and his
eyes stared with a fixed and glassy glare. He arose to his feet and,
still with the expression of astonishment and wonder upon his face,
gazed first at our hero and then at the ivory ball in his hands, as
though he were deprived both of reason and of speech. At last, as our
hero slipped the trifle back in his pocket again, the mariner slowly
recovered himself, though with a prodigious effort, and drew a deep
and profound breath as to the very bottom of his lungs. He wiped, with
the corner of his black-silk cravat, his brow, upon which the sweat
appeared to have gathered. "Well, messmate," says he, at last, with a
sudden change of voice, "you have, indeed, had a most wonderful
adventure." Then with another deep breath: "Well, by the blood! I may
tell you plainly that I am no poor hand at the reading of faces. Well,
I think you to be honest, and I am inclined to believe every word you
tell me. By the blood! I am prodigiously sorry for you, and am
inclined to help you out of your scrape.

"The first thing to do," he continued, "is to get rid of these two
dead men, and that is an affair I believe we shall have no trouble in
handling. One of them we will wrap up in the carpet here, and t'other
we can roll into yonder bed curtain. You shall carry the one and I the
other, and, the harbor being at no great distance, we can easily bring
them thither and tumble them overboard, and no one will be the wiser
of what has happened. For your own safety, as you may easily see, you
can hardly go away and leave these objects here to be found by the
first comer, and to rise up in evidence against you."

This reasoning, in our hero's present bewildered state, appeared to
him to be so extremely just that he raised not the least objection to
it. Accordingly, each of the two silent, voiceless victims of the
evening's occurrences was wrapped into a bundle that from without
appeared to be neither portentous nor terrible in appearance.

Thereupon, Jonathan shouldering the rug containing the little
gentleman in black, and the sea captain doing the like for the other,
they presently made their way down the stairs through the darkness,
and so out into the street. Here the sea captain became the conductor
of the expedition, and leading the way down several alleys and along
certain by-streets--now and then stopping to rest, for the burdens
were both heavy and clumsy to carry--they both came out at last to the
harbor front, without anyone having questioned them or having appeared
to suspect them of anything wrong. At the waterside was an open wharf
extending a pretty good distance out into the harbor. Thither the
captain led the way and Jonathan followed. So they made their way out
along the wharf or pier, stumbling now and then over loose boards,
until they came at last to where the water was of a sufficient depth
for their purpose. Here the captain, bending his shoulders, shot his
burden out into the dark, mysterious waters, and Jonathan, following
his example, did the same. Each body sank with a sullen and leaden
splash into the element, where, the casings which swathed them
becoming loosened, the rug and the curtain rose to the surface and
drifted slowly away with the tide.

As Jonathan stood gazing dully at the disappearance of these last
evidences of his two inadvertent murders, he was suddenly and
vehemently aroused by feeling a pair of arms of enormous strength
flung about him from behind. In their embrace his elbows were
instantly pinned tight to his side, and he stood for a moment helpless
and astounded, while the voice of the sea captain, rumbling in his
very ear, exclaimed, "Ye bloody, murthering Quaker, I'll have that
ivory ball, or I'll have your life!"


These words produced the same effect upon Jonathan as though a douche
of cold water had suddenly been flung over him. He began instantly to
struggle to free himself, and that with a frantic and vehement
violence begotten at once of terror and despair. So prodigious were
his efforts that more than once he had nearly torn himself free, but
still the powerful arms of his captor held him as in a vise of iron.
Meantime, our hero's assailant made frequent though ineffectual
attempts to thrust a hand into the breeches' pocket where the ivory
ball was hidden, swearing the while under his breath with a terrifying
and monstrous string of oaths. At last, finding himself foiled in
every such attempt, and losing all patience at the struggles of his
victim, he endeavored to lift Jonathan off of his feet, as though to
dash him bodily upon the ground. In this he would doubtless have
succeeded had he not caught his heel in the crack of a loose board of
the wharf. Instantly they both fell, violently prostrate, the captain
beneath and Jonathan above him, though still encircled in his iron
embrace. Our hero felt the back of his head strike violently upon the
flat face of the other, and he heard the captain's skull sound with a
terrific crack like that of a breaking egg upon some post or billet of
wood, against which he must have struck. In their frantic struggles
they had approached extremely near the edge of the wharf, so that the
next instant, with an enormous and thunderous splash, Jonathan found
himself plunged into the waters of the harbor, and the arms of his
assailant loosened from about his body.

The shock of the water brought him instantly to his senses, and, being
a fairly good swimmer, he had not the least difficulty in reaching and
clutching the crosspiece of a wooden ladder that, coated with slimy
sea moss, led from the water level to the wharf above.

After reaching the safety of the dry land once more, Jonathan gazed
about him as though to discern whence the next attack might be
delivered upon him. But he stood entirely alone upon the dock--not
another living soul was in sight. The surface of the water exhibited
some commotion, as though disturbed by something struggling beneath;
but the sea captain, who had doubtless been stunned by the tremendous
crack upon his head, never arose again out of the element that had
engulfed him.

       *       *       *       *       *

The moonlight shone with a peaceful and resplendent illumination, and,
excepting certain remote noises from the distant town, not a sound
broke the silence and the peacefulness of the balmy, tropical night.
The limpid water, illuminated by the resplendent moonlight, lapped
against the wharf. All the world was calm, serene, and enveloped in a
profound and entire repose.

[Illustration: Dead Men Tell No Tales

_Originally published in_
COLLIER'S WEEKLY, _December 17, 1899_]

Jonathan looked up at the round and brilliant globe of light floating
in the sky above his head, and wondered whether it were, indeed,
possible that all that had befallen him was a reality and not some
tremendous hallucination. Then suddenly arousing himself to a renewed
realization of that which had occurred, he turned and ran like one
possessed, up along the wharf, and so into the moonlit town once more.


_The Conclusion of the Adventure with the Lady with the Silver Veil_

Nor did he check his precipitous flight until suddenly, being led
perhaps by some strange influence of which he was not at all the
master, he discovered himself to be standing before the garden gate
where not more than an hour before he had first entered upon the
series of monstrous adventures that had led to such tremendous

People were still passing and repassing, and one of these groups--a
party of young ladies and gentlemen--paused upon the opposite side of
the street to observe, with no small curiosity and amusement, his
dripping and bedraggled aspect. But only one thought and one intention
possessed our hero--to relieve himself as quickly as possible of that
trust which he had taken up so thoughtlessly, and with such monstrous
results to himself and to his victims. He ran to the gate of the
garden and began beating and kicking upon it with a vehemence that he
could neither master nor control. He was aware that the entire
neighborhood was becoming aroused, for he beheld lights moving and
loud voices of inquiry; yet he gave not the least thought to the
disturbance he was creating, but continued without intermission his
uproarious pounding upon the gate.

At length, in answer to the sound of his vehement blows, the little
wicket was opened and a pair of eyes appeared thereat. The next
instant the gate was cast ajar very hastily, and the pock-pitted
negress appeared. She caught him by the sleeve of his coat and drew
him quickly into the garden. "Buckra, Buckra!" she cried. "What you
doing? You wake de whole town!" Then, observing his dripping garments:
"You been in de water. You catch de fever and shake till you die."

"Thy mistress!" cried Jonathan, almost sobbing in the excess of his
emotion; "take me to her upon the instant, or I cannot answer for my
not going entirely mad!"

When our hero was again introduced to the lady he found her clad in a
loose and elegant negligee, infinitely becoming to her graceful
figure, and still covered with the veil of silver gauze that had
before enveloped her.

"Friend," he cried, vehemently, approaching her and holding out toward
her the little ivory ball, "take again this which thou gavest me! It
has brought death to three men, and I know not what terrible fate may
befall me if I keep it longer in my possession."

"What is it you say?" cried she, in a piercing voice. "Did you say it
hath caused the death of three men? Quick! Tell me what has happened,
for I feel somehow a presage that you bring me news of safety and
release from all my dangers."

"I know not what thou meanest!" cried Jonathan, still panting with
agitation. "But this I do know: that when I went away from thee I
departed an innocent man, and now I come back to thee burdened with
the weight of three lives, which, though innocent, I have been
instrumental in taking."

"Explain!" exclaimed the lady, tapping the floor with her foot.
"Explain! explain! explain!"

"That I will," cried Jonathan, "and as soon as I am able! When I left
thee and went out into the street I was accosted by a little gentleman
clad in black."

"Indeed!" cried the lady. "And had he but one eye, and did he carry a
gold-headed cane?"

"Exactly," said Jonathan; "and he claimed acquaintance with friend
Jeremiah Doolittle."

"He never knew him!" cried the lady, vehemently; "and I must tell you
that he was a villain named Hunt, who at one time was the intimate
consort of the pirate Keitt. He it was who plunged a deadly knife into
his captain's bosom, and so murdered him in this very house. He
himself, or his agents, must have been watching my gate when you went

"I know not how that may be," said Jonathan, "but he took me to his
apartment, and there, obtaining a knowledge of the trust thou didst
burden me with, he demanded it of me, and upon my refusing to deliver
it to him he presently fell to attacking me with a dagger. In my
efforts to protect my life I inadvertently caused him to plunge the
knife into his own bosom and to kill himself."

"And what then?" cried the lady, who appeared well-nigh distracted
with her emotions.

"Then," said Jonathan, "there came a strange man--a foreigner--who
upon his part assaulted me with a pistol, with every intention of
murdering me and thus obtaining possession of that same little

"And did he," exclaimed the lady, "have long, black mustachios, and
did he have silver earrings in his ears?"

"Yes," said Jonathan, "he did."

"That," cried the lady, "could have been none other than Captain
Keitt's Portuguese sailing master, who must have been spying upon
Hunt! Tell me what happened next!"

"He would have taken my life," said Jonathan, "but in the struggle
that followed he shot himself accidentally with his own pistol, and
died at my very feet. I do not know what would have happened to me if
a sea captain had not come and proffered his assistance."

"A sea captain!" she exclaimed; "and had he a flat face and a broken

"Indeed he had," replied Jonathan.

"That," said the lady, "must have been Captain Keitt's pirate
partner--Captain Willitts, of _The Bloody Hand_. He was doubtless
spying upon the Portuguese."

"He induced me," said Jonathan, "to carry the two bodies down to the
wharf. Having inveigled me there--where, I suppose, he thought no one
could interfere--he assaulted me, and endeavored to take the ivory
ball away from me. In my efforts to escape we both fell into the
water, and he, striking his head upon the edge of the wharf, was first
stunned and then drowned."

"Thank God!" cried the lady, with a transport of fervor, and clasping
her jeweled hands together. "At last I am free of those who have
heretofore persecuted me and threatened my very life itself! You have
asked to behold my face; I will now show it to you! Heretofore I have
been obliged to keep it concealed lest, recognizing me, my enemies
should have slain me." As she spoke she drew aside her veil, and
disclosed to the vision of our hero a countenance of the most
extraordinary and striking beauty. Her luminous eyes were like those
of a Jawa, and set beneath exquisitely arched and penciled brows. Her
forehead was like lustrous ivory and her lips like rose leaves. Her
hair, which was as soft as the finest silk, was fastened up in masses
of ravishing abundance. "I am," said she, "the daughter of that
unfortunate Captain Keitt, who, though weak and a pirate, was not so
wicked, I would have you know, as he has been painted. He would,
doubtless, have been an honest man had he not been led astray by the
villain Hunt, who so nearly compassed your destruction. He returned to
this island before his death, and made me the sole heir of all that
great fortune which he had gathered--perhaps not by the most honest
means--in the waters of the Indian Ocean. But the greatest
treasure of all that fortune bequeathed to me was a single jewel which
you yourself have just now defended with a courage and a fidelity that
I cannot sufficiently extol. It is that priceless gem known as the
Ruby of Kishmoor. I will show it to you."


Hereupon she took the little ivory ball in her hand, and, with a turn
of her beautiful wrists, unscrewed a lid so nicely and cunningly
adjusted that no eye could have detected where it was joined to the
parent globe. Within was a fleece of raw silk containing an object
which she presently displayed before the astonished gaze of our hero.
It was a red stone of about the bigness of a plover's egg, and which
glowed and flamed with such an exquisite and ruddy brilliancy as to
dazzle even Jonathan's inexperienced eyes. Indeed, he did not need to
be informed of the priceless value of the treasure, which he beheld in
the rosy palm extended toward him. How long he gazed at this
extraordinary jewel he knew not, but he was aroused from his
contemplation by the sound of the lady's voice addressing him. "The
three villains," said she, "who have this day met their deserts in a
violent and bloody death, had by an accident obtained knowledge that
this jewel was in my possession. Since then my life has hung upon a
thread, and every step that I have taken has been watched by these
enemies, the most cruel and relentless that it was ever the lot of any
unfortunate to possess. From the mortal dangers of their machinations
you have saved me, exhibiting a courage and a determination that
cannot be sufficiently applauded. In this you have earned my deepest
admiration and regard. I would rather," she cried, "intrust my life
and my happiness to you than into the keeping of any man whom I have
ever known! I cannot hope to reward you in such a way as to recompense
you for the perils into which my necessities have thrust you; but
yet"--and here she hesitated, as though seeking for words in which to
express herself--"but yet if you are willing to accept of this jewel,
and all of the fortune that belongs to me, together with the person
of poor Evaline Keitt herself, not only the stone and the wealth, but
the woman also, are yours to dispose of as you see fit!"

Our hero was so struck aback at this unexpected turn that he knew not
upon the instant what reply to make. "Friend," said he, at last, "I
thank thee extremely for thy offer, and, though I would not be
ungracious, it is yet borne in upon me to testify to thee that as to
the stone itself and the fortune--of which thou speakest, and of which
I very well know the history--I have no inclination to receive either
the one or the other, both the fruits of theft, rapine, and murder.
The jewel I have myself beheld three times stained, as it were, with
the blood of my fellow man, so that it now has so little value in my
sight that I would not give a peppercorn to possess it. Indeed, there
is no inducement in the world that could persuade me to accept it, or
even to take it again into my hand. As to the rest of thy generous
offer, I have only to say that I am, four months hence, to be married
to a very comely young woman of Kensington, in Pennsylvania, by name
Martha Dobbs, and therefore I am not at all at liberty to consider my
inclinations in any other direction."

Having so delivered himself, Jonathan bowed with such ease as his
stiff and awkward joints might command, and thereupon withdrew from
the presence of the charmer, who, with cheeks suffused with blushes
and with eyes averted, made no endeavor to detain him.

So ended the only adventure of moment that ever happened him in all
his life. For thereafter he contented himself with such excitement as
his mercantile profession and his extremely peaceful existence might


In conclusion it may be said that when the worthy Jonathan Rugg was
married to Martha Dobbs, upon the following June, some mysterious
friend presented to the bride a rope of pearls of such considerable
value that when they were realized into money our hero was enabled to
enter into partnership with his former patron the worthy Jeremiah
Doolittle, and that, having made such a beginning, he by and by arose
to become, in his day, one of the leading merchants of his native town
of Philadelphia.


The End

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