List Of Contents | Contents of Black Bartlemy's Treasure by Jeffrey
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How then shall we rid ourselves of this offence?  The knife--this
lover o' men of mine?  The bullet?  Yet 'tis a poor small naked
rogue and in two days cometh my 'Ladies' Delight' and Tressady
with his hook.  See, my Dolores, for two days he shall be our
slave and thereafter, for thy joy, shall show thee how to die, my
sweet--torn 'twixt pimento trees or Tressady's hook--thou shalt
choose the manner of't.  And now, unveil, unveil, my goddess of
the isle--so shall--'  Ha, Martin!  My stone took him 'neath the
ear, and as he swayed reeling to the blow, lithe and swift as any
panther this tortured woman sprang, and I saw the flash of steel
ere it was buried in his breast.  Even then he didn't fall, but,
staggering to a pimento tree, leans him there and falls a-
laughing, a strange, high-pitched, gasping laugh, and as he
laughed thus, I saw the silver haft of the dagger that was a
woman leap and quiver in his breast.  Then, laughing yet, he,
never heeding me, plucked and levelled sudden pistol, and when
the smoke cleared the brave Spanish lady lay dead upon the sands.

"'A noble piece, Captain!' says he, gasping for breath, and then
to her, 'Art gone, my goddess--I--follow thee!'  And now he sinks
to his knees and begins to crawl where she lay, but getting no
further than her feet (by reason of his faintness) he clasps her
feet and kisses them, and laying his head upon them--closes his
eyes.  'Penfeather!' he groans, 'my treasure--hidden--dagger--'

"Then I came very hastily and raised his head (for I had oft
heard talk o' this treasure), and in that moment he died.  So I
left them lying and coming to the seaboard sat there a great
while watching the break o' the seas on what was left o' the
wreck, yet seeing it not.  I sat there till noon, Martin, until,
driven by thirst and hunger and heat of sun, I set off to seek
their habitation, for by their looks I judged them well-fed and
housed.  But, and here was the marvel, Martin, seek how I might I
found no sign of any hut or shelter save that afforded by nature
(as caves and trees), and was forced to satisfy my cravings with
such fruits as flourished in profusion, for this island, Martin,
is a very earthly paradise.  That night, the moon being high and
bright, I came to that stretch of silver sand beside the lagoon
where they lay together rigid and pale and, though I had no other
tool but his dagger and a piece o' driftwood, made shift to bury
them 'neath the great pimento tree that stood beside the rock,
and both in the same grave.  Which done, I betook me to a dry
cave hard by a notable fall of water that plungeth into a lake,
and there passed the night.  Next day, having explored the island
very thoroughly, and dined as best I might on shell-fish that do
abound, I sat me down where I might behold the sea and fell to
viewing of this silver-hilted dagger."

"The which was shaped like to a woman!" says I.

"Aye, Martin.  And now, bethinking me of Bartlemy's dying words
anent this same dagger, and of the tales I had heard full oft
along the Main regarding this same Bartlemy and his hidden
treasure, I fell to handling this dagger, turning and twisting it
this way and that.  And suddenly, shipmate, I felt the head turn
upon the shoulders 'twixt the clasping hands; turn and turn until
it came away and showed a cavity, and in this cavity a roll of
parchment, and that parchment none other than this map with the
cryptogram, the which I could make nought of.

"Now as I sat thus, studying this meaningless jumble of words, I
of a sudden espied a man below me on the reef, a wild, storm-
tossed figure, his scanty clothing all shreds and tatters, and as
he went seeking of shell-fish that were plenteous enough, I knew
him for my sworn comrade, Nick Frant.  And then, Martin, I did
strange thing, for blood-brothers though we were, I made haste
(and all of a tremble) to slip back this map into its hiding-
place, which done, I arose, hailing my comrade and went to meet
him joyously enough.  And no two men in the world more rejoiced
than we as we clasped hands and embraced each other as only
comrades may.  It seemed the hugeous sea that had caught me had
caught him likewise and hurled him, sore bruised, some mile to
the south of the reef.  So now I told him of the deaths of
Bartlemy and the poor lady, yet Martin (and this was strange) I
spoke nothing of knife or treasure; I told him of the expectation
I had of the pirate's ship return, and yet I never once spake o'
the map and chart.  And methinks the secret cast a shadow betwixt
us that grew ever deeper, for as the days passed and no sail
appeared, there came a strangeness, an unlove betwixt us that
grew until one day we fell to open quarrel, disputation and
deadly strife, and the matter no more than a dead man's shirt
(and that ragged) that had come ashore.  And we (being in rags
and the sun scorching) each claimed this shirt, and from words
came blows.  He had his seaman's knife and I Bartlemy's accursed
dagger, and so we fought after the manner of the buccaneers, his
leg bound fast to mine, and Martin, though he was a great fellow
and strong and wounded me sore, in the end I got in a thrust
under the armpit and he fell a-dying, and I with him.  Then I
(seeing death in his eyes, Martin) clasped him in my arms and
kissed him and besought him not to die, whereat he smiled. 
'Adam!' says he, "Why Adam, lad--' and so died.

"Then I took that accursed dagger, wet with my comrade's life-
blood, and hurled it from me, and so with many tears and
lamentations I presently buried poor Nick Frant in the sands, and
lay there face down upon his grave wetting it with my tears and
groaning there till nightfall.  But all next day, Martin (though
my heart yearned to my slain friend) all next day I spent seeking
and searching for the dagger had killed him.  And as the sun set,
I found it.  Thereafter I passed my days (since the pirate ship
came not, doubtless owing to the late tempest) studying the
writing on the chart here, yet came no nearer a solution, though
my imagination was inflamed by mention of diamonds, rubies and
pearls, as ye may see written here for yourself.  So the time
passed till one day at dawn I beheld a great ship, her mizzen and
fore-topmasts gone, standing in for my island, and as she drew
nearer, I knew her at last for that accursed pirate ship called
"Ladies' Delight."  Being come to anchor within some half-mile or
so, I saw a boat put off for the reef, and lying well hid I
watched this boat, steered by a knowing hand, pass through the
reef by a narrow channel and so enter the lagoon.  Now in this
boat were six men and at the rudder sat Tressady, and I saw his
hook flash in the sun as he sprang ashore.  Having beached their
boat, they fell to letting off their calivers and pistols and

"'Oho, Captain!' they roared, 'Bartlemy, ahoy!'  And this outcry
maintained they for some while.  But none appearing to answer,
they seemed to take counsel together, and thereafter set off
three and three, shouting as they went.  And now it seemed they
knew no more of Bartlemy's hiding-place than I, whereat I
rejoiced greatly.  So lay I all that forenoon watching their
motions and hearing their outcries now here, now there, until,
marvelling at the absence of Bartlemy, they sat down all six upon
the spit of sand whereby I lay hid and fell to eating and
drinking, talking the while, though too low for me to hear what
passed.  But all at once they seemed to fall to disputation,
Tressady and a small, dark fellow against the four, and
thereafter to brawl and fight, though this was more butchery than
fight, Martin, for Tressady shoots down two ere they can rise,
and leaping up falls on the other two with his hook!  So with aid
from the small, dark fellow they soon have made an end o' their
four companions, and leaving them lying, come up the beach and
sitting below the ledge of rock whereon I lay snug hidden, fell
to talk.

"'So, Ben, camarado mio, we be committed to it now!  Since these
four be dead and all men well-loved by Bartlemy, needs must
Bartlemy follow 'em!'

"'Aye!' says the man Ben, 'when we have found him.  Though
Bartlemy's a fighting man!'

"'And being a man can die, Ben.  And he once dead we stand his
heirs--you and I, Ben, I and you!'

"'Well and good!' says Ben.  'But for this treasure where lieth
it, and for that matter, Roger, where is Bartlemy?'

"'Both to find, Ben, so let us set about it forthwith.'  The
which they did, Martin; for three days they sought the island
over and I watching 'em.  On the third day, as they are sitting
'neath the great pimento tree I have mentioned (and I watching
close by) Tressady sits up all at once.

"'Ben!' says he, 'What be yon?' and he pointed to a mound of sand
hard by.

"'Lord knoweth!' says Ben.

"'Yon's been digging!' says Tressady, 'and none so long since!'

"'Aye,' said Ben, 'and now what?'

"'Now,' says Tressady, 'let us dig likewise.'

"'Aye, but what with?' says Ben.

"'Our fingers!' says Tressady.  So there and then they fell to
digging, casting up the loose sand with their two hands, dog-
fashion, and I, watching, turned my head that I might not see.

"'Ha!' says Tressady, in a while, 'Here is foul reek, Ben, foul

"'Right curst!' says Ben, and then uttered a great, hoarse cry. 
And I, knowing what they had come upon, kept my face turned away. 
''Tis she!' says Ben in a whisper.

"'Aye, and him!' says Tressady.  'Faugh!  Man, 'tis ill thing but
needs must--his dagger, Ben, his dagger.'

"'Here's no dagger,' says Ben.  'Here's empty sheath but no steel

"''Tis fallen out!' says Tressady in a strangled voice.  'Seek,
Ben, seek!'  So despite the horror of the thing, they sought,
Martin, violating death and careless of corruption they sought,
and all the time the thing they sought was quivering in this
right hand.

"'Ben,' says Tressady, when they were done.  'Ben--how came he

"'Who shall say, Roger?  Mayhap they did each other's business.'

"'Why then--where's the dagger o' the woman--the silver goddess--
where?  And how came they buried?'

"'Aye, there's the rub, Roger!'

"'Why,' says Tressady, 'look'ee, Ben, 'tis in my mind we're not
alone on this island--'

"'And who should be here, Roger?'

"'The man that slew our Captain!'  Here there was silence awhile,
then the man Ben arose and spat.

"'Faugh!' says he.  'Come away, Roger, ere I stifle--come, i' the
devil's name!'  So they went and I, lying hid secure, watched
them out of sight.

"Now when they were gone I took counsel with myself, for here
were two desperate, bloody rogues, very well armed, and here was
I, a solitary man with nought to my defence save for Nick's knife
and the silver-hilted dagger, which was heavy odds, Martin, as
you'll agree.  Now I have ever accounted myself a something timid
man, wherefore in cases of desperate need and danger I have been
wont to rely on my wit rather than weapons, on head rather than
hands.  So now as I looked upon this cursed dagger wherewith I
had slain my poor friend, beholding this evil silver woman whose
smile seemed verily to allure men to strife and bloodshed--the
end of it was I stole from my lurking-place and set the dagger
amid the gnarled roots of the great pimento tree, where it might
have slipped from dying fingers, and so got me back into hiding. 
And sure enough in a while comes the big man Tressady a-stealing
furtive-fashion and falls to hunting both in the open grave and
round about it but, finding nothing, steals him off again. 
Scarce was he out of eye-shot, Martin, than cometh the little
dark fellow Ben, who likewise fell to stealthy search, grubbing
here and there on hands and knees, yet with none better fortune
than his comrade.  But of a sudden he gives a spring and,
stooping, stands erect with Bartlemy's dagger in his hand.  Now
scarce had he found it than comes Tressady creeping from where he
had lain watching.

"'Ha, Ben!' says he jovially.  'How then, lad, how then?  Hast
found what we sought?  Here's luck, Ben, here's luck!  Aye, by
cock, 'tis your fortune to find it and your fortune's my fortune,
eh, Ben--us being comrades, Ben?'

"'Aye,' says Ben, turning the dagger this way and that.

"'Ha' ye come on the chart, Ben, ha' ye found the luck in't Ben?'

"'Stay, Roger, I've but just picked it up--'

"'And was coming to your comrade with it, eh, Ben--share and
share--eh, Benno--Bennie?'

"'Aye,' says Ben, staring down at the thing, 'but 'twas me as
found it, Roger!'

"'And what then, lad, what then?'

"'Why then, Roger, since I found it, 'tis mine,' says he gripping
the dagger in quivering fist and glancing up sideways.

"'Hilt and blade, Ben!'

"'And the chart, Roger?'

"'Aye, and the chart, Ben!' says Tressady, coming a pace nearer,
and I saw his hook glitter.

"'And the treasure, Roger!' says Ben, making little passes in the
air to see the blue gleam of the steel.

"'All yours, Ben all yours, and what's yours is mine, according
to oath, Ben, to oath!  But come, Ben, you hold the secret o' the
treasure in your fist--the silver goddess.  Come, the chart, lad,
out wi' the chart and Bartlemy's jewels are ours--pearls, Ben--
diamonds, rubies--aha, come, find the chart--let your comrade aid
ye, lad--'

"'Stand back!' says Ben and whips a pistol from his belt. 
'Look'ee, Roger, says he, 'I found the dagger without ye and I'll
find the chart--stand back!'

"'Why here's ill manners to a comrade, Ben ill manners, sink me--
but as ye will.  Only out wi' the chart and let's go seek the
treasure, Ben.'

"'D'ye know the secret o' this thing, Roger?'

"'Not I, Ben!'

"'Why then must I break it asunder.  Hand me yon piece o' of
rock,' says Ben, pointing to a heavy stone that chanced to be

"'Stay, Ben lad, 'twere pity to crush the silver woman, but if
you will, you will Ben--take a hold!'  So saying, Tressady picked
up the stone, but, as his comrade reached to take it, let it
fall, whereupon Ben stooped for it and in that moment Tressady
was on him.  And then--ha, Martin, I heard the man Ben scream,
and as he writhed, saw Tressady's hook at work...the man screamed 
but once...and then, wiping the hook on his dead comrade's coat
he took up the dagger and began to unscrew the head.  But now,
Martin, methought 'twas time for me to act if I meant to save my
life, for I had nought but Nick Frant's knife, while within
Tressady's reach lay the dead man's pistols and divers
musquetoons and fusees on the beach behind him, which put me to
no small panic lest he shoot me ere I could come at him with my
knife.  Thus, as I lay watching, I took counsel with myself how I
might lure him away from these firearms wherewith he might hunt
me down and destroy me at his ease; and the end of it was I
started up all at once and, leaning down towards him, shook the
parchment in his face.  'Ha, Tressady!' says I, 'Is this the
thing you've murdered your comrade for?'  Now at this Tressady
sprang back, to stare from me to the thing in my hand, Martin,
and then--ha, then with a wild-beast roar he sprang straight at

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