List Of Contents | Contents of Black Bartlemy's Treasure by Jeffrey
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me with his hook--even as I had judged he would.  As for me, I
turned and ran, making for a rocky ledge I knew, with Tressady
panting behind me, his hook ringing on the rocks as he scrambled
in pursuit.  So at last we reached the place I sought--a shelf of
rock, the cliff on one side, Martin, and on the other a void with
the sea thundering far below--a narrow ledge where his great bulk
hampered him and his strength availed little.  And there we
fought, his dagger and hook against my dead comrade's knife, and
thus as he sprang I, falling on my knee, smote up beneath raised
arm, heard him roar and saw him go whirling over and down and
splash into the sea--"

"And he had the dagger with him, Adam!" says I in eager question.

"Aye, Martin, which was the end of an ill rogue and an evil

"The end," says I, "the end, Adam?  Why then--what o' this?"

So saying I whipped the strange dagger from my wallet and held it
towards him balanced upon my palm.  Now, beholding this,
Penfeather's eyes opened suddenly wide, then narrowed to slits
as, viewing this deadly thing, he drew back and back, and so sat
huddled in his chair utterly still, only I heard his breath hiss
softly 'twixt clenched teeth.

"Martin," says he in the same hushed voice, "when a man's dead
he's dead, and the dead can never come back, can they, shipmate?"

But now, as we sat thus, eyeing the evil thing on the table
betwixt us, my answer died on my lips, for there came a sharp,
quick rapping of fingers on the lattice.



Penfeather was at the casement, had whipped open the lattice and,
pinning the intruder by the throat, thrust a pistol into his face
all in a moment; and then I recognised Godby the peddler.

"Let be, Adam!" I cried, springing forward.  "Let be, here's a
friend!"  Saying nothing, Penfeather thrust away the weapon, and
gripping the little man in both hands, with prodigious strength
jerked him bodily in through the window; which done, he clapped
to the lattice and drawing the curtain stood fronting Godby grim-

"And now what?" says he softly.

"Lord!" gasped Godby, "Lord love me, but here's a welcome to a
pal, here's the second pistol I've had under my nose this night--
throttle me in a hayband else!"

"What d'ye seek?"

"My pal Martin, 'cording to his word."

"D'ye know this fellow, Martin?"

"Aye!" I nodded and told briefly how and where we had met.

"God-be-here Jenkins am I, master," said Godby, "and well beknown
to Joel Bym as keepeth this house, strangle me else--ask Joel! 
And if you're Master Penfeather I've first, this here for ye, and
second, a warning."  And speaking, Godby drew a letter from the
breast of his leathern jerkin.

"A warning?" says Penfeather, glancing at the superscription,
"Against whom?"

"A black dog as goes erect on two legs and calls himself Gregory

"You mean Lady Brandon's under-bailiff?"

"I do so.  Well, he be no friend o' yourn, and what's more, he's
hand and fist wi' others as be no friends o' yourn either, cut-
throat sailor-men and black rogues every one."

"How d'ye know 'em for sailor-men?"

"By their speech, master--I was a mariner once--and moreover by a
ranting, hell-fire chorus."

"Ha!" says Penfeather, shooting a glance at me.  "A chorus, was

"Aye, master, concerning murder and what not."

"And the words running like this--

'Two on a knife did part wi' life
And three a bullet took O!
But three times three died plaguily
A-wriggling on a hook O!'

Was that the way of it?"

"Smother me if it weren't!" quoth Godby, staring.

"Sit down, Godby, and tell me how you chanced on this," says
Adam, seating himself at the table.

"Well, master, I happened to lie snug hid 'neath a heap o' straw
--and for why, says you?  Says I to you, by reason o' two lousy
catchpolls as won't let poor Godby be.  Now this straw chanced to
be in my Lady Brandon's stables--and why there, says you?  Says I
to you, because these lousy catchpolls being set on poor Godby by
this black dog Gregory, and him my lady's man, my lady's stables
is the last place catchpolls would come a-seeking Godby.  Well
now, as I lie there I fall asleep.  Now I'm a light sleeper and
presently I'm roused by the sound o' your name, master."

"Mine?" says Penfeather, softly.

"Aye.  'Here's a black passage to Captain Penfeather--curse him!"
says a voice.  'Aye,' says another, 'by knife or bullet or--' and
here he falls to singing of a knife and a bullet and a hook. 
'Avast!' says a third voice.  'Belay that, Abny, you'll be having
all the lubbers about the place aboard of us!'  'Why,' says the
man Abny, 'since you're wi' us well and good, but don't forget we
was hard in his wake, aye, and ready to lay him aboard long
before you hove in sight and damn all, says I.'  'Some day, Abny,
some day,' says the other, "I shall cut out that tongue o' yourn
and watch ye eat it, lad, eat it--hist, here cometh Gregory at
last--easy all.'  Now the moon was very bright, master, and
looking out o' my hay-pile as the door opened I spied this rogue

"Did ye see aught o' the others?" questioned Adam.

"No master, not plain, for they kept to the dark, but I could see
they was four and one a very big man.  'Ha' ye got it, friend,
ha' ye got it?' says the big rogue.  'No, plague on't!' says
Gregory.  'Look how I will, I can find nought.'  'Here's luck!'
says the big fellow, 'Bad luck, as I'm a soul.  Where's he lie?' 
'Can't say,' says Gregory.  'His messages go to the Conisby Arms,
but he aren't there, I know.'  'The Faithful Friend, was it,'
says the big fellow, 'a-lying off Deptford Creek?'  'Aye, the
Faithful Friend,' says Gregory, and then chancing to look
outside, claps finger to lip and comes creeping into the shadow. 
'Lie low!' says he in a whisper--here's my lady!'  And then,
master, close outside comes my lady's voice calling 'Gregory! 
Gregory!'  'Answer, fool!' whispers the big man.  'Quick, or
she'll be athwart our cable!'  'Here, my lady!' says Gregory and
steps out o' the stable as she's about to step in.  'Gregory,'
says she in hesitating fashion, 'have ye seen a stranger
hereabouts to-night?'  'Not a soul, my lady!' says Gregory. 'A
tall, wild man,' says she, 'very ragged and with yellow hair?'
'No, my lady,' says Gregory.  Here she gives a sigh.  'Why then,'
says she, 'bear you this letter to Master Penfeather--at once.' 
'To the Conisby Arms, my lady?' says Gregory.  'No,' says she,
'to the Peck-o'-Malt by Bedgebury Cross.  And, Gregory, should
you see aught of the poor man that suffered lately in the
pillory, say I would speak with him.  And now saddle and begone
with my letter.'  'To Bedgebury,' says Gregory, 'the Peck-o'-
Malt--to-night, my lady?'  'This moment!' says she, mighty sharp. 
'And, Gregory, I hear tales of your hard dealing with some of the
tenantry:  let me hear no more or you quit my service!'  And away
she goes, leaving Gregory staring after her, letter in hand. 
''Twas she!' says the big man in a whisper.  'I'd know her voice
anywhere--aye, 'twas she whipped it from my girdle, my luck,
shipmates--our luck, but we'll find it if we have to pull the
cursed house down brick and brick.'"

"Godby," says Adam suddenly, leaning forward, "did ye get no
glimpse o' this man's face?"

"Nary a one, master, and for why?--the place was dark and he wore
a great flapped hat."

"Why then," says Adam, pinching his chin, "did ye chance to see
his hands?"

"No whit, master, and for why?--he wore a loose cloak about him."

"And what more did ye hear?"

"No more, master, and for why?--because, as luck would have it a
straw tickled my nose and I sneezed loud as a demi-culverin, and
there's poor Godby up and running for his life and these
murderous rogues after poor Godby.  Howbeit they durst not shoot
lest they should alarm the house, and I'm very light on my feet
and being small and used to dodging catchpolls and the like
vermin, I got safe away.  Having done which and bethinking me of
my pal Martin, I made for the Peck-o'-Malt.  Now as luck would
have it, Gregory overtakes me (as I had purposed he should, I
being minded to get even wi' him for good and all).  Down he gets
from the saddle and me by the collar, and claps a great
snaphaunce under my nose.  'So it was you, ye rogue, was it?'
says he.  'That same,' says I, 'but who's that peeping over the
hedge there?'  The fool turns to see, I twist the pistol out of
his grip, and have him very neatly trussed and gagged with his
belt and my girdle, and so, heaving him i' the ditch, into the
saddle and here I am."

"Godby," says Penfeather, viewing him keen-eyed, "I need men--
will ye sail with us for the Main?"

"Does Martin sail?"

"He does!  Will ye along?"

"Heartily, captain, heartily!"

"Are ye armed, Godby?"

"I've Gregory's dag here," says Godby, pulling out a long-
barrelled pistol.

"Joel shall find ye another to go with it.  And ye know the sea?"

"Aye, Captain, I sailed with Captain Myddleton as gunner and will
lay you a gun with any man from a murdering-piece or minion to a
great culverin."

"Good!" says Penfeather and summoned Joel Bym, who, beholding the
peddler, stared, bellowed jovial greeting, and at nod from
Penfeather, departed with him, arm in arm.

"Well, Martin," says Adam when the door had closed, "and what
d'ye make o' this tale of sailor-men?"

"That they're the same rogues I fell out with."

"Beyond doubt, Martin.  And what more?"

"That like enough they're on their road hither."

"Beyond any peradventure, shipmate."


"Well, let 'em come, Martin, let 'em come.  There's somewhat here
I don't understand and I mislike mystery.  So let them come, here
in this little room, in light or dark, I ask no better."

"And you such a timid man, Adam!"

"True, Martin, but there's occasion when a worm turneth."  Here
he took up the letter Godby had brought and breaking the seal,
read it through, once with a glimmer of his grim smile, read it
again and frowned and frowning, glanced across at me:

"Here's matter concerning you, Martin, hark'ee!"  And he read


Should you chance upon the poore man that suffered lately in the
pillory (by no order or will of mine) you will I charge you do
all you may to succour him in any manner soever:  This letter I
do write in much haste to instruct you that I purpose to sail in
the 'Faithfull Friend' along with you and my good cuzen Sir
Rupert in this quest for my father.  Moreover I will you should
sail as speedily soon as may be.

As regardeth the poore young man afore-mentioned, if he be quite
destitute as I do think him, and will take no money as I do judge
most like, then Master Adam you shall offer to him such employ in
my ship the 'Faithfull Friend' as he will accept.

And this is my wish and command.


He is great and tall and fierce with yellow hair and cruell
mouth, yet seemeth more cruell than he trulie is."

"So there you are to a hair, Martin, and here's our enterprise
brought to nought if she sail on this venture!"

"Why then she mustn't sail!" says I.

"'Tis her ship, Martin, and she's a Brandon!"

"Then sail without her."

"And be taken before we're clear o' the Downs and strung up at
Execution Dock for piracy."

"Why then if she goeth aboard I don't!"

"And wherefore not, Martin?"

"I'll take no service with a Brandon!"

"Aye verily there's your pride, Martin, which is cumbersome

"Call it what you will, I'll not sail."

"And your oath, comrade?  Sail along o' me you must and shall! 
But having respect for your high-stomached pride you shall stow
away in some hole or corner and she never know you're aboard."

Hereupon I scowled, but perceiving him so serene albeit a little
grim, I said no more and he fell to pacing slowly back and forth,
head bowed and hands locked behind him.

"I need you, Martin," says he at last, "aye, I need you even more
than I thought, the one man I may trust to in a pinch.  For,
Martin, here's that I don't understand."

So saying he halted by the table, and presently taking up the
dagger (and with a strange reluctance) fell to twisting it this
way and that; finally he gave a sudden twist and the smiling head
of the silver woman coming away, showed a hollow cavity, running
the length of the haft, roomy and cunningly contrived.  Slowly he
fitted the head into place again and, laying the weapon down,
shook his head:

"Here's Bartlemy's dagger true enough, Martin," says he, touching
its keen point.  "Here's what found Bartlemy's black heart--aye,
and many another!  Here's what went hurtling over cliff in
Tressady's fist--and yet here it lies--which is great matter for
wonder, Martin.  And, since 'tis here--why then--where sis the
vile rogue Tressady?  Which is matter for painful speculation,

"Snoring, likely enough!" says I, "Not so far hence, or tramping

"If so, Martin, then Death cannot touch him, the which is out of
all reason!"

"'Tis more like the fall did not kill him, Adam."

"Had you but seen the place, shipmate!  But if water won't drown
him and steel won't harm him--"

"Like you, he wears a chain-shirt, Adam, that I do know. 
Moreover, the devil cherisheth his own, I've heard."

"Why here's reason, Martin, plain reason I grant, and yet--but
'tis late and you'll be for sleep, and there's reason in that
too.  Come, I'll show your bed--"

"Spare yourself--I want no bed," says I bitterly.  "'Twere a
luxury wasted on the likes o' me.  My couch shall be the corner

"Ah, prideful youth!  'Tis sweet to be young, Martin!" says
Penfeather with his sudden, whimsical half-smile and clapping his
hand on my shoulder.  "Sleep where ye will, that corner is as
good as another.  See, there stands my tuck, a Spanish blade of
notable good temper, it hath been a true friend to me many a time
ere now and should be a trusty bedfellow.  As for me, I'm for a
feather-bed.  And, Martin," says he, pausing to pinch his chin
and view me sideways, "if aught should chance to me--at any time-
the chart and treasure will be yours.  So good-night, comrade,
and sleep sound, for 'tis like we shall wake betimes."

Saying which he turned, slow and thoughtful, and went out,
closing the door softly behind him.  As for me, being very
drowsy, I wrapped myself in my weather-worn cloak, blew out the
candles and, lying down in the corner, was presently fast asleep.

Now as I slept I dreamed that Penfeather's long rapier, standing
in the dark corner close by, was stealthily endeavouring to free
itself from its leathern scabbard with intent to skewer me to the
floor as I lay; and, striving thus to draw itself, made soft,
strange noises and rustlings insomuch that I presently woke, and
staring motionless into the darkness above, knew that these
sounds were real.  Somewhere close by was a furtive whisper of
sound that came and went, a soft-drawn breath, a scraping of
fingers on the panelling above me in the darkness; and in that
moment also I became aware that the lattice yawned wide upon a

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