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Black Bartlemy's Treasure(Chapter32)

2006-08-28 22:30

  Chapter XXXII. Tells How I Found a Secret Cave

  Next morning I was up mighty early and away to the little valley, first to view my pots and then to pick some flowers for her birthday, remembering her great love for such toys. Coming to the ashes of the fire, I must needs fall a-cursing most vilely like the ill fellow I was, and to swearing many great and vain oaths (and it her birthday!). For here were my pots (what the fire had left of them) all swollen and bulged with the heat, warped and misshapen beyond imagining.

  So I stood plucking my beard and cursing them severally and all together, and fetched the nearest a kick that nigh broke my toe and set the pot leaping and bounding a couple of yards, but all unbroken. Going to it I took it up and found it not so much as scratched and hard as any stone. This comforted me somewhat and made me to regret my ill language, more especially having regard to this day, being as it were a day apart. And now as I went on, crossing the stream at a place where were stepping-stones, set there by other hands than mine, as I went, I say, I must needs think what a surly, ill-mannered fellow I was, contrasting the gross man I was become with the gentle, sweet-natured lad I had been. "Well but" (thinks I, excusing myself) "the plantations and a rowing-bench be a school where a man is apt to learn nought but evil and brutality, my wrongs have made me what I am. But again" (thinks I——blaming myself) "wrong and hardship, cruelty and suffering do not debase all men, as witness the brave Frenchman that was whipped to death beside me in the 'Esmeralda' galleass. Wrong and suffering either lift a man to greatness, or debase him to the very brute! She had said as much to me once. And she was right" (thinks I) "for the Frenchman had died the noble gentleman he was born, whiles I, as well-born as he and suffering no greater wrong than he, according to his own account, I had sullied myself with all the vileness and filth of slavedom, had fought and rioted with the worst of them!" And now remembering the shame of it all, I sat me down in the shade of a tree and fell to gloomy and sad reflection, grieving sorely over things long past and forgotten until now, and very full of remorse and scorn of myself.

  "Howbeit" (thinks I) "if rogue and brute I am" (which is beyond all doubt) "I will keep such for my own kind and she shall know nought of it!" And here, getting upon my knees I took a great and solemn oath to this effect, viz., "Never by look, or word, or gesture to give her cause for shame or fear so long as we should abide together in this solitude so aid me God!" This done I arose from my knees and betook me to culling flowers, great silver lilies and others of divers hues, being minded to lay them on the threshold of her door to greet her when she should arise. With these in my arms I recrossed the brook and stepping out from a thicket came full upon her ere she was aware; and seeing her so suddenly I stood like any fool, my poor flowers hidden behind me. She had taken up one of my misshapen pots and was patting it softly as she viewed it, and a little smile on her red lips. All at once she turned and, spying me, came towards me all smiling, fresh and radiant as the morning.

  "O Martin," says she, turning the pot this way and that, "O Martin, 'tis wonderful——"

  "'Tis an abomination!" quoth I.

  "And 'twill hold water!"

  "'Tis like an ill dream!" says I.

  "And so strong, Martin."

  "True, 'tis the only merit the things possess, they are like stone——watch now!" And here, to prove my words, I let one drop, though indeed I chose a soft place for it.

  "And they will be so easy to carry with these handles, and——why, what have you there?" Saying which she sets down the pot, gently as it had been an egg-shell, and comes to me; whereupon I showed her my posy, and I more fool-like than ever.

  "I chanced to——see them growing," says I, "and thought——your birthday——they might pleasure you a little, mayhap——"

  "Please me?" says she, taking them. "Please me——O the dear, beautiful things, I love them!" And she buries her face among them. "'Twas kind of you to bring them for me, Martin!" says she, her face hidden in the flowers, "Indeed you are very good to me! After all, you are that same dear Martin I knew long ago, that boy who used to brandish his rusty sword and vow he'd suffer no evil to come near me, and yearned for ogres and dragons to fight and slay on my behalf. And one day you caught a boy pulling my hair."

  "It was very long hair even then!" says I.

  "And he made your lip bleed, Martin."

  "And I hit him on the nose!" says I.

  "And he ran away, Martin."

  "And you bathed my lip in the pool and afterwards you——you——"

  "Yes I did, Martin. Though 'tis a long time to remember."

  "I——shall never forget!" says I. "Shall you?"

  Here she buries her face in her flowers again.

  "As to the pots, Martin, there are four quite unbroken, will you help me bear them to our refuge, breakfast will be ready."

  "Breakfast is a sweet word!" quoth I. "And as to these things, if you will have them, well and good!"

  And thus, she with her flowers and I with the gallipots, we came to our habitation.

  "What do we work at to-day?" she questioned as we rose from our morning meal.

  "To-day I make you a pair of shoes."

  "How may I aid you, Martin?"

  "In a thousand ways," says I, and I plucked a great fan-shaped leaf that grew adjacent. "First sit you down! And now give me your foot!" So, kneeling before her, I traced out the shape of her foot upon the leaf and got no further for a while, so that presently she goes about her household duties leaving me staring at my leaf and scratching my head, puzzling out how I must cut and shape my goat-skin. Well-nigh all that morning I sat scheming and studying how best I might achieve my purpose, and the end of it was this:

  (Sketch of a leaf cut to shape.)

  This shape I cut from the leaf and with it went to find my lady; then, she sitting upon the stool, I took off one of her shoes (and she all laughing wonderment) and fitting this pattern to her foot, found it well enough for shape, though something too large. I now took the goat-skin and, laying it on the table, cut therefrom a piece to my pattern; then with one of my nails ground to a sharp point like a cobbler's awl, I pierced it with holes and sewed it together with gut in this fashion:

  (Four sketches of shaped hide showing stages of manufacture.)

  This is quickly over in the telling, but it was long a-doing, so that having wrought steadily all day, night was at hand ere her shoes were completed, with two thicknesses of hide for soles and all sewed mighty secure.

  Now though they were not things of beauty (as may plainly be seen from my drawing herewith) yet, once I had laced them snug upon her feet, they (shaping and moulding themselves to her slender ankles and dainty feet) were none so ill-looking after all. And now she, walking to and fro in them, must needs admire at their construction and the comfort of them, and very lavish in her praise of them and me; the which did pleasure me mightily though I took pains to hide it.

  "Why, Martin" says she, thrusting out a foot and wagging it to and fro (very taking to behold), "I vow our cobbler surpasseth our carpenter! Dian's buskins were no better, nay, not so good, judging by pictures I have seen."

  "They will at least keep out any thorns," says I, "though as to looks——"

  "They look what they are, Martin, the shoes of a huntress. You will find her very swift and sure-footed when her bruises are quite gone."

  "I'm glad they please you," says I, yet upon my knees and stooping to view them 'neath her petticoat, "though now I see I might better them by trimming and shaping them here and there."

  "No, no, Martin, leave well alone."

  But now and all at once I started to feel a great splash of rain upon my cheek, and glancing up saw the sky all overcast while seaward the whole horizon was very black and ominous; great masses of writhing vapour and these threatening clouds lit ever and anon by a reddish glow, and pierced by vivid lightning flashes. All of which took us mightily by surprise, we having been too intent upon these new buskins to heed aught else.

  "Yonder is storm and tempest," says I, "see how it sweeps towards us!" And I pointed where, far across the dark sea, a line of foam marked the oncoming fury of the wind. And presently we heard it, a faint hum, growing ever louder and fiercer.

  "O Martin, see yonder!" and she pointed to the onrushing of the foaming waters. "'Tis very awful but very grand!"

  "Let us go in!" says I, catching up my tools. "Come, soon will be roaring havoc all about us!"

  "Nay, let us stay awhile and watch."

  As she spoke it seemed as the sea gathered itself into one great and mighty wave, a huge wall of foaming waters that rolled onward hissing and roaring as it would 'whelm the very island beneath it. On it rushed, swelling ever higher, and so burst in thunder upon the barrier reef, filling the air with whirling foam. And then——then came the wind——a screaming, howling, vicious titan that hurled us flat and pinned me breathless and scarce able to move; howbeit I crawled where she crouched somewhat sheltered by a rock, and clasping her within my arm lay there nor dared to stir until the mad fury of the wind abated somewhat. Then, side by side, on hands and knees, we gained our rocky fastness, and closing the door, which was screened from the direct force of the tempest, I barred it with the beam I had made for the purpose, and stood staring at my companion and she on me, while all the world about us roared and clamoured loud and louder until it seemed here was to be an end of all things. And now suddenly came darkness; and in this darkness her hand found mine and nestled there. Thus we remained a great while hearkening to the awful booming of this rushing, mighty wind, a sound indescribable in itself, yet one to shake the very soul. In a while, the tumult subsiding a little we might distinguish other sounds, as the rolling of thunder, the rending crash of falling trees hard by, and the roar of mighty waters. And presently her voice came to me:

  "God pity all poor mariners, Martin!"

  "Amen!" says I. And needs must think of Adam and Godby and wonder where they might be.

  "'Tis very dark, shall we not have a light?" she questioned.

  "If I can find our lamp," says I, groping about for it.

  "Here is a candle!"

  "A candle?" says I, "And where should we find a candle?"

  "We have three, Martin. I made them with tallow from our goat, though they are poor things, I fear."

  Taking out my tinder-box I very soon had these candles burning, and though they smoked somewhat, a very excellent light we thought them. "And now for supper!" says she, beginning to bustle about. "Our meat is in the larder, Martin." Now this larder was our third and smallest cave, and going therein I was immediately struck by the coldness of it, moreover the flame of the candle I bore flickered as in a draught of air, insomuch that, forgetting the meat, I began searching high and low, looking for some crack or crevice whence this draught issued, yet found none. This set me to wondering; for here was the cave some ten feet by twelve or more, and set deep within the living rock, the walls smoothed off, here and there, as by hand, but with never a crack or fissure in roof or walls so far as I might discover. Yet was I conscious of this cold breath of air so that my puzzlement grew the greater.

  Presently as I stood thus staring about, to me comes my lady:

  "Good lack, Martin," says she, "if we sup on goat to-night we must eat it raw, for we have no fire!"

  "Fire?" says I. "Hum! Smoke would do it, 'tis an excellent thought."

  "Do what, Martin!"

  "Look at the candle-flame and hark!"

  And now, the booming of the wind dying down somewhat, we heard a strange and dismal wailing and therewith a sound of water afar.

  "O Martin!" she whispered, clasping her hands and coming nearer to me, "What is it?"

  "Nought to fear, comrade. But somewhere in this larder of ours is an opening or fissure, the question is——where? And this I go to find out."

  "Aye, but how?" she questioned, coming nearer yet, for now the wailing had sunk to a groan, and this gave place to a bubbling gasp mighty unpleasant to hear.

  "With smoke," says I, setting the candle in a niche of rock, "I will light a fire here."

  "But we have no fuel, Martin."

  "There is plenty in my bed."

  "But how will you sleep and no bed?"

  "Well enough, as I have done many a time and oft!"

  "But, O Martin, 'twill make such dire mess and this our larder!"

  "No matter, I'll clean it up. Howbeit I must learn whence cometh this cold-breathing air. Besides, the fire shall cook our supper and moreover——"

  But here I checked speaking all at once, for above the dismal groans and wailing I had heard a sudden fierce whispering:

  "O Martin, O Martin!" sighed my companion, "We are not alone—— somewhere there are people whispering! Did you hear, Martin, O did you hear?" And I felt her all of a-tremble where she leaned against me.

  "'Tis gone now!" says I, speaking under my breath.

  "But 'twas there, Martin——a hateful whispering."

  "Aye, I heard it," says I fierce and loud, "and I'll find out who or what——"

  "Who or what!" hissed a soft voice. Hereupon I sheathed the knife I had drawn and laughed, and immediately there came another laugh, though very soft.

  "Ahoy!" I shouted, and presently back came the answer "Ahoy!" and then again, though much fainter, "Ahoy!" "'Tis nought but an echo," says I laughing (yet mighty relieved all the same).

  "Thank God!" says she faintly, and would have fallen but for my arm.

  "Why, comrade, how now?" says I; and for a moment her soft cheek rested against my leathern jerkin.

  "O Martin," says she, sighing, "I do fear me I'm a monstrous craven——sometimes! Forgive me!"

  "Forgive you?" says I, and looking down on her bowed head, feeling her thus all a-tremble against me, I fell a-stammering, "Forgive you, nay——where——here was an unchancy thing——'tis small wonder——no wonder you should grow affrighted and tremble a little——"

  "You are trembling also," says she, her voice muffled against me.

  "Am I?"

  "Yes, Martin. Were you afraid likewise?"

  "No——Yes!" says I, and feeling her stir in my hold, I loosed her.

  And now, bringing fern and bracken from my bed I kindled a fire and, damping this a little, made a smoke the which, rising to a certain height, blew back upon us but always from the one direction; and peering up thither I judged here must be a space 'twixt the roof and the face of the rock, though marvellous well- hid from all observation. Hereupon, the place being full of smoke I must needs stamp out the fire lest we stifle; yet I had discovered what I sought. So whilst my companion busied herself about supper, I dragged our table from the outer cave, setting it in a certain corner and, mounted thereon, reached up and grasped a ledge of rock by which I drew myself up and found I was in a narrow opening or tunnel, and so low that I must creep on hands and knees.

  "Will you have a candle, Martin?" And there was my lady standing below me on the table, all anxious-eyed. So I took the candle and creeping through this narrow passage suddenly found myself in another cavern very spacious and lofty; and now, standing in this place, I stared about me very full of wonder, as well I might be, for I saw this: Before me a narrow door, very stout and pierced with a loophole, and beyond this a rocky passage that led steeply down: on my right hand, in a corner, a rough bed with a bundle of goat-skins and sheets that looked like sailcloth; on my left a table and armchair, rough-builded like the bed, and above these, a row of shelves against the rocky wall whereon stood three pipkins, an iron, three-legged cooking-pot, a candlestick and an inkhorn with pen in it. Lastly, in a corner close beside the bed, I spied a long-barrelled firelock with bandoliers complete. I was about to reach this (and very joyously) when my lady's voice arrested me.

  "Martin, are you there? Are you safe?"

  "Indeed!" says I. "And, Damaris, I have found you treasure beyond price."

  "O Martin, is it Bartlemy's treasure——the jewels?"

  "Better than that a thousand times. I have found you a real cooking-pot!"

  "O wonderful! Show me! Nay, let me see for myself. Come and aid me up, Martin."

  Setting down my candle I crawled back where she stood all eager impatience, and clasping her hands in mine, drew her up and on hands and knees brought her into the cave.

  "Here's a goodly place, comrade!" says I.

  "Yes, Martin."

  "With a ladder to come and go by, this should make you a noble bedchamber."

  "Never!" says she. "O never!"

  "And wherefore not?"

  "First because I like my little cave best, and second because this is too much like a dungeon, and third because I like it not ——and hark!" and indeed as we spoke the echoes hissed and whispered all about us.

  "Why, 'tis airy and very dry!"

  "And very dark by day, Martin."

  "True enough! Still 'tis a wondrous place——"

  "O very, Martin, only I like it not at all."

  "Why then, the bed, the bed should serve you handsomely."

  "No!" says she, mighty vehement. "You shall make me a better an you will, or I will do with my bed of fern."

  "Well then, this pot——here is noble iron pot for you, at least!"

  "Why yes," says she, smiling to see me all chapfallen, "'tis indeed a very good pot, let us bring it away with us, though indeed I could do very well without it."

  "Lord!" says I gloomily. "Here have I found you all these goodly things, not to mention chair and table, thinking to please you and instead——"

  "I know, Martin, forgive me, but I love not the place nor anything in it. I am very foolish belike, but so it is." And here she must needs shiver. "As to these things, the bed, the chair and table and the shelves yonder, why you can contrive better in time, Martin; and by your thought and labour they will be doubly ours, made by you for our two selves and used by none but us."

  "True," says I, greatly mollified, "but this pot now, I can never make you so brave a pot as this."

  "Why, very well, Martin," says she smiling at my earnestness, "bring it and let us begone." So I reached down the pot and espied therein a long-barrelled pistol; whipping it out, I blew off the dust and saw 'twas primed and loaded and with flint in place albeit very rusty. I was yet staring at this when my lady gives a little soft cry of pleasure and comes to me with somewhat hidden behind her.

  "Martin," says she, "'tis a good place after all, for see——see what it hath given you!" and she shewed me that which I had yawned for so bitterly, viz. a good, stout saw. Tossing aside the pistol, I took it eagerly enough, and, though it was rusty, a very serviceable tool I found it to be.

  "Ha, comrade!" says I, "Now shall you have a chair with arms, a cupboard, and a bed fit to lie on. Here is all the furniture you may want!"

  "And now," says she, "let us begone, if you would have your supper, Martin." So I followed her through the little tunnel and, having lowered her on to the table, gave her the pot and then (albeit she was mighty unwilling) turned back, minded to bring away the firelock and pistol and any such odds and ends as might serve me.

  Reaching the cave, I heard again the dismal groans and wailing, but much louder than before, and coming to the door, saw it opened on a steep declivity of rock wherein were rough steps or rather notches that yet gave good foothold; so I began to descend this narrow way, my candle before me, and taking vast heed to my feet, but as I got lower the rock grew moist and slimy so that I was half-minded to turn back; but having come this far, determined to see where it might bring me, for now, from the glooms below, I could hear the soft lapping of water. Then all at once I stopped and stood shivering (as well I might), for immediately beneath me I saw a narrow ledge of rock and beyond this a pit, black and noisome, and full of sluggish water.

  For a long while (as it seemed) I stared down (into this water) scarce daring to move lest I plunge into this dreadful abyss where the black water, lapping sluggishly, made stealthy menacing noises very evil to hear. At last I turned about (and mighty careful) and so made my ways up and out of this unhallowed place more painfully than I had come. Reaching the cave at last (and very thankful) I sought to close the door, but found it to resist my efforts. This but made me the more determined to shut out this evil place with its cold-breathing air, and I began to examine this door to discover the reason of its immobility. Now this (as I have said) was a narrow door and set betwixt jambs and with lintel above very strong and excellent well contrived; but as I lifted my candle to view it better I stopped all at once to stare up at a something fixed midway in this lintel, a strange shrivelled black thing very like to a great spider with writhen legs updrawn; and now, peering closer, I saw this was a human hand hacked off midway 'twixt wrist and elbow and skewered to the lintel by a great nail. And as I stood staring up at this evil thing, from somewhere in the black void beyond the door rose a long, agonised wailing that rose to a bubbling shriek; and though I knew this for no more than some trick of the wind, I felt my flesh tingle to sudden chill. Howbeit I lifted my candle higher yet, and thus saw beneath this shrivelled, claw-like hand a parchment nailed very precisely at its four corners, though black with dust. Wiping this dust away I read these words, very fair writ in bold, clear characters:

  JAMES BALLANTYNE

  HIS HAND WHEREWITH HE FOULLY MURDERED A GOOD MAN. THIS HAND CUT OFF BY ME THIS JUNE 23 1642. THE SAME BALLANTYNE HAVING PERISHED SUDDENLY BY A PISTOL SHOT ACCORDING TO MY OATH. LIKE ROGUES——TAKE WARNING.

  ADAM PENFEATHER.

  In a while I turned from this hateful thing, and coming to the bed began to examine the huddle of goatskins, and though full of dust and something stiff, found them little the worse for their long disuse; the same applied equally to the sailcloth, the which, though yellow, was still strong and serviceable. Reaching the firelock from the corner I found it to be furnished with a snaphaunce or flintlock, and though very rusty, methought cleaned and oiled it might make me a very good weapon had I but powder and shot for it. But the bandoliers held in all but two poor charges, which powder I determined to keep for the pistol. Therefore I set the musket back in the corner, and doing so espied a book that lay open and face down beneath the bedstead. Taking it up I wiped off the dust, and opening this book at the first page I came on this:

  ADAM PENFEATHER

  HYS JOURNAL

  1642.

  Hereupon, perceiving in it many charts and maps together with a plan of the island very well drawn, I thrust it into my bosom, and hearing my lady calling me, took pistol and bandolier and so to supper.

  Thus amidst howling storm and tempest we sat down side by side to sup, very silent for the most part by reason of this elemental strife that raged about our habitation, filling the world with awful stir and clamour.

  But in a while seeing her so downcast and with head a-droop I must needs fall gloomy also, and full of a growing bitterness.

  "Art grieving for England?" says I at last, "Yearning for home and friends and some man belike that loves and is beloved again!"

  "And why not, Martin?"

  "Because 'tis vain."

  "And yet 'twould be but natural."

  "Aye indeed," says I gloomily and forgetting my supper, "for contrasting all you have lost, home and friends and love, with your present evil plight here in this howling wilderness, 'tis small wonder you weep."

  "But I am not weeping!" says she, flushing.

  "Yet you well may," quoth I, "for here are you at the world's end and with none but myself for company."

  "Why, truly here is good cause for tears!" says she, flashing her eyes at me.

  "Aye!" I nodded. "'Tis a pity Fate hath chosen you so ill a companion."

  "Indeed and so it is!" says she, and turns her back on me. And so we sat awhile, she with her back to me and I gloomy and despondent hearkening to the howling of the wind.

  "You eat no supper!" says I at last.

  "Neither do you!"

  "I am not hungry!"

  "Nor I!"

  Myself (speaking after some while, humbly): Have I angered you?

  She: Mightily!

  Myself: Aye, but how?

  She: By your idle, foolish talk, for if I grow thoughtful sometimes why must you ever dream me repining against my lot? To-night, hearkening to this dreadful tempest I was full of gratitude to God that He had brought us to this safe harbourage and set me in your companionship. And if my heart cry out for England sometimes 'tis because I do love England. Yet my days here are too full of labour for vain grieving and my labour, like my sleep, is joy to me. And there is no man I love in England—— or anywhere else.

  Myself (and more humbly than ever): Why then I pray you forgive me, comrade.

  At this she looks at me over her shoulder, frowning and a little askance.

  "For indeed," says I, meeting this look, "I would have you know me ever as your comrade to serve you faithfully, seeking only your friendship and nought beyond; one you may trust unfearing despite my ungentle ways."

  And now I saw her frown was vanished quite, her eyes grown wondrous gentle and her lips curving to a smile; and so she reached out her hand to me.

  And thus we two poor, desolate souls found great solace and comfort in each other's companionship, and hearkening to the roar of this mighty tempest felt the bonds of our comradeship only strengthened thereby.

  When my lady was gone to bed I, remembering Adam's journal, took it out, and drawing the candle nearer fell to examining the book more closely. It was a smallish volume but very thick, and with very many close-written pages, its stout leathern covers battered and stained, and an ill-looking thing I thought it; but opening it haphazard, I forgot all save the words I read (these written in Adam's small clerkly hand) for I came on this:

  May 10.——Glory be and thanks unto that Providence hath been my salvation and poured upon unworthy me His blessing in that I this day have fought and killed this murderous rogue and detestable pirate, Roger Tressady.

  Here followed divers accounts of his labours, his discovery of these caves and many cunning devices day by day until I came on this:

  May 28.——To-day a storm-beat pinnace standing in for my island, and in it Abnegation Mings and divers others of Bartlemy's rogues, survivors (as I judge) of that cursed ship "Lady's Delight." They landed, being fifteen in all and I in great fear and distress therefore. They leaving their boat unwatched I stole thither and to my great joy found therein a watch-coat and bonnet, 3 muskets, 2 swords, 5 pistols with powder and shot, all of which did hide among the rocks adjacent (a cunning hiding- place) where I may fetch them at my leisure, Providence aiding.

  May 29.——This day 1 hour before dawn secured arms, powder, etc., and very grateful therefore.

  May 30.——To-day set about strengthening and fortifying my door since, though Roger Tressady is dead, there be other rogues yet to slay, their evil minds being full of lust for Black Bartlemy's Treasure and my blood. And these their names:

  A true list of these rogues each and every known to me aforetime in Tortuga, viz.:

  My enemies. My equipment against the same.

  Abnegation Mings (Mate of  A determined mind. the "Vengeance" galley)  3 Musquets with powder and shot Benjamin Galbally            a-plenty. Jasper Vokes               2 Swords. Juliano Bartolozzi         1 Axe. Benjamin Denton            2 Pikes. Pierre Durand              5 Pistols. John Ford                  A chain-shirt. James Ballantyne Izaac Pym Robert Ball William Loveday Daniel Marston Ebenezer Phips A boy and one woman.

  June 1.——This day, waked by a shot and the sounds of lewd brawling, I to my lookout and mighty alarmed. Upon the sands a fire and thereby a woman and 6 or 7 of these rogues fighting for her. She, poor soul, running to escape falls shot and they to furious fight. But my hopes of their destroying each other and saving me this labour vain by reason of Abnegation Mings bringing them to accord. Thereafter they to drinking and singing of this lewd piratical rant of theirs. Whereupon I tried a shot at them with my long-barrelled arquebus to no purpose. Have made me some ink and do answer very well.

  June 2.——Went a-hunting three of my destroyers, viz. the rogues Galbally, Vokes and Bartalozzi. But they well-armed and keeping always in company did no more than harm Vokes in the leg by a bullet, and so to my fort and mighty downcast. Began to make myself a chair with arms. This day also wrote me out divers parchments thus:

  JASPER VOKES

  SLAIN Of NECESSITY THIS [ ] DAY LIKE ROGUES TAKE WARNING.

  ADAM PENFEATHER.

  and of these parchments 13 (the boy being already dead), with every rogue his name fair writ that they might know me for man of my word and leave me and my treasure in peace.

  June 3.——The weather hot and I out after my bloodthirsty enemies. Came on the French rogue Durand and him sleeping. Removed his firearms and kicked him awake. He to his sword and I to mine. Took him in quarte at the third passado through the right eye——a shrewd thrust. Tied a parchment about his neck and so to my refuge very full of gratitude.

  June 4.——To-day, guided by Providence, surprised Izaac Pym gorging himself on wild grapes. Spying me he whips out his pistol, but I fired first. Tied a parchment about his neck and so left him.

  June 5.——Evil days for me since these murderous rogues keep ever together now and on their watch against me day and night. My great chair finished and all I could wish it.

  June 9.——This night the moon full they assaulted my fort with huge halloo and many shot, battering my door with a great log for ram. But I shooting one and wounding others they left me in peace.

  June 10.——All this day ventured not abroad fearing an ambuscado. And lighting a fire within my inner cave the smoke showed me how I might hide from my bloodthirsty foes an need be.

  June 11.——My would-be slayers camped all about my refuge and howling for my blood, though keeping well out of my line of fire. So I to making me a ladder of ropes whereby to come at my new- found sanctuary. Determine to make this my bedchamber.

  June 12.——My cruel enemies yet raging about me ravening for my blood and I very fearful. Have taken down my bed to set it within my secret chamber.

  June 13.——This morning early the rogue Benjamin Denton, venturing within my fire-zone, took a bullet in his midriff, whereof he suddenly perished.

  June 14.——This morning having gotten all my furniture into my secret chamber do find myself very comfortable. But my stores beginning to run low do put myself on half-rations.

  June 15.——My murderers very silent with intent to lure me to my death but I——

  The rest of this page was so stained and blotted that I could make nothing of it save a word or phrase here and there as:

  ……secret pass……pit of black water and very……fear of death……head over ears……to my chin so that I……miserably wet……on hands and knees being determined……wonderful beyond thought for here……tlemy's Treasure……very great……this gold I saw was……emeralds, diamonds and……pearls a-many……through my fingers……like any poor crazed soul. For here was treasure greater……moreover and wealth undreamed……shaft of……suddenly ……the valley……sore annoyed I stood to……he knelt……seeking the water……turned……our knives……through my forearm but I……broke short against my chain-shirt and I……beneath the armpit. So back by the secret way to bind up my hurt and behold again my treasure.

  Here my candle dying out and I in the dark, I laid the book aside and presently got me to sleep.

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