List Of Contents | Contents of Black Bartlemy's Treasure by Jeffrey
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broken chair hurtled through the wide lattice.

"So!" says Adam, striding towards the inn, and I saw a pistol in
his hand.  Following hard on his heels I entered the inn with him
and so to the scene of the riot.

A long, low room, full of swirling dust, and amid this choking
cloud a huddle of men who fought and struggled fiercely, roaring
blasphemy and curses.  Two or three lay twisted among overturned
chairs and tables, others had crawled into corners to look to
their hurts, while to and fro the battle raged the fiercer. 
Leaning in the doorway Penfeather surveyed the combatants with
his quick keen glance, and then the hubbub was drowned by the
roar of his long pistol; the thunderous report seemed to stun the
combatants to silence, who, falling apart, turned one and all to
glare at the intruder.  And, in this moment of comparative
silence while all men panted and stared, from Penfeather's grim
lips there burst a string of blistering sea-oaths such as even I
had scarce heard till now; for a long minute he reviled them, the
smoke curling from his pistol, his black brows knit across
glittering eyes, his thin nostrils a-quiver, the scar glowing on
his pallid cheek, his face indeed so changed and evil that I
scarce knew him.

" filthy scum, ye lousy sons o' dogs!" he ended.  "Ha, will
ye fight agin my orders, then--mutiny is it?"

"And who a plague are you and be cursed to ye!" panted a great
fellow, flourishing a broken chair-leg threateningly and scowling
in murderous fashion.

"He'll tell ye--there, behind ye, fool!" snarled Penfeather,
pointing sinewy finger.  The big man turned, Penfeather sprang
with uplifted pistol and smote him, stunned and bleeding, to the
floor, then bestriding the prostrate carcass, fronted the rest
with head viciously out-thrust.

"And who's next--come!" says he softly, scowling from one to
other of the shrinking company.  "You, Amos Penarth, and you,
Richard Farnaby, aye and half a dozen others o' ye, you've sailed
wi' me ere now and you know when I say a thing I mean it.  And
you'd fight, would ye, my last words to you being 'see to it
there be no quarrelling or riot.'"

"Why, Cap'n," says one, "'tis all along o' these new 'listed

"Aye, master," says another, "and that's gospel-true, theer
aren't a right sailor-man among 'em--"

"Then we'll learn 'em to be!" says Penfeather.  "Stand forward
the new men--show a leg and bustle, ye dogs!"  Scowling and
muttering, some twelve unlovely fellows obeyed.  "I' faith!" says
Penfeather, looking them over, "Here's fine stuff for the
gallows!  And where's the rest of 'em?"

"Gone aboard this morning along o' Toby Hudd the bo's'un!"

"See here, my bright lads," quoth Penfeather, eyeing each
scowling face in turn, "learn this--when you come aboard my ship
and I say to one o' ye do this or do that, he does it, d'ye see,
or--up to the yard-arm he swings by his thumbs or his neck as
occasion warrants.  D'ye get me, my bully roarers?"

Not a man of them spake a word, but all stood shifting uneasily
beneath Penfeather's quick bright eye, shuffling their feet and
casting furtive glances on their fellows.

"Now as to this lump o' roguery," says Penfeather, spurning the
still unconscious man with his foot, "have him into the yard and
heave a bucket o' water over him.  As to you, Farnaby, muster the
hands, and stand by to go aboard in half an hour--every unhung

Without we came on the misfortunate landlord still in the deeps
of gloom, but upon Adam's assurance that all damages should be
made good, he brought us up a pair of stairs to a fair chamber
and there served us a most excellent meal.

Scarce had we risen from table than comes the man Penarth a-
knocking, cap in hand, to say the men stood ready to go aboard. 
We found some score fellows drawn up before the inn, and a
desperate lot of cut-throats they looked, what with their hurts
and general hang-dog air as they stood there in the light of a
rising moon.  Having looked them over each and every, Penfeather
spat, and setting them in Godby's charge, ordered them to go on

"Well, Martin," says he as we followed together, "and how think
ye of my lambs?"

"Call them raging tigers, rather--"

"Nay," says he, "tigers be cleanly creatures, I've heard."

"'A God's name, Adam, why truck with such ill rogues?  Sure there
be many honest mariners to be had?"

"Why as to that, Martin, good men be scarce and ever hard to come
by--moreover these scum are a means to an end, d'ye see?"

"How so?"

"Just that, Martin," says he, glancing at me in his furtive
manner, "a means to an end."

"What end?"

"Ah, who may tell, Martin?" he sighed, shaking his head.  Now
when I would have questioned him further he put me off thus with
side answers, until we were come to the waterside, which is
called Deptford Creek.  Here, having seen the others safe
embarked we took boat also, and were soon rowing between the huge
bulk of ships where dim lights burned and whence came, ever and
anon, the sound of voices, the rattle of a hawser, a snatch of
song and the like, as we paddled betwixt the vast hulls. 
Presently we were beneath the towering stern of a great ship, and
glancing up at this lofty structure, brave with carved-work and
gilding, I read the name,


At a word from Adam the oars were unshipped and we glided
alongside her high-curving side where hung a ladder, up which I
followed Adam forthwith.  She was a great ship (as I say) of some
two hundred tons at least, with high forecastle and lofty stern,
though I saw little else ere, at a sign from Adam I followed him
down the after-gangway where, taking a flickering lanthorn that
hung from a deck-beam, he led me 'twixt a clutter of stores not
yet stowed, past the grim shapes of great ordnance, and so down
and down to a noisome place beneath the orlop.

"'Tis not over sweet, Martin," says he, "but then bilge-water
never is, you'll mind.  But you'll grow used to it in time,
shipmate, unless, instead o' swallowing this unholy reek you'll
swallow your pride and 'list as master's mate."

"I've no knowledge of navigation," says I.

"But I've enough for the two of us, Martin.  'Tis a comrade at my
back I need.  What's the word?"

"No!" says I, mighty short.

"As you will, shipmate," he sighed, "as you will.  Pride and
bilge-water go well together!" which said he brought me to a dark
unlovely hole abaft the mizzen.  "'Tis none too clean, Martin,"
says he, casting the light round the dingy place, "but that shall
be remedied and Godby shall bring ye bedding and the like, so
although 'tis plaguy dark and wi' rats a-plenty still, despite
the stench, you'll lie snug as your pride will permit of.  As for
me, shipmate, I shall scarce close an eye till we be clear o' the
Downs, so 'tis a care-full man I shall be this next two days,
heigho!  So good-night, Martin, I'll send Godby below with all
you lack."

Saying which Penfeather turned, and groping his way into the
darkness, left me scowling at the flickering lanthorn.



And now within my gloomy hiding-place, dim-lit by flickering
lanthorn, I passed many weary hours, while all about me was a
stir and bustle, a confused sound made up of many, as the never-
ending tread of feet, the sound of hoarse voices now faint and
far and anon clear and loud, the scrape of a fiddle, snatches of
rough song, the ceaseless ring and tap of hammers--a very babel
that, telling of life and action, made my gloomy prison the
harder to endure.  And here (mindful of what is to follow) I do
think it well to describe in few words the place wherein I lay. 
It was indeed a very dog-hole, just below the orlop, some ten
feet square (or thereabouts) shut in 'twixt bulkheads, mighty
solid and strong, but with a crazy door so ill-hung as to leave a
good three inches 'twixt it and the flooring.  It had been a
store-room (as I guessed), and judging by the reek that reached
me above the stench of the bilge, had of late held rancid fat of
some sort; just abaft the mizzen it lay and hard against the
massy rudder-post, for I could hear the creek and groan of the
pintles as the rudder swung to the tide.  Against one bulkhead I
had contrived a rough bunk with divers planks and barrels, the
which with mattress and bedding was well enough.

Now opposite my berth, within easy reach of my hand, was a knot-
hole the which, by some trick of the grain, had much the look of
a great staring eye, insomuch that (having no better employ) I
fell to improving on nature's handiwork with my knife, carving
and trimming around it; and in betwixt my sleeping, my eating and
drinking (for Adam and Godby kept me excellent well supplied) I
would betake me to my carving and fashioning of this eye and with
my initials below it, the which foolish business (fond and futile
though it was) served in no small measure to abate my consuming
impatience and the dreary tedium.

Howbeit on the third day, my situation becoming unbearable, I
stumbled out from my dog-hole, and groping my way past kegs and
barrels firm-wedged in place against the rolling of the vessel, I
climbed the ladder to the orlop.  Here I must needs pause, for,
dim though it was, the light from the open scuttle nigh blinded
me.  In a while, my eyes growing strong, I got me to the main-
deck, where again I must stay to shade my eyes by reason of the
radiance that poured through an open gun-port.  Glancing around
after some while, I saw no one and wondered, for here was the
main gun-deck.  Ten great pieces a side I counted, with ports for
divers more.  I was yet wondering at the emptiness about me when
I heard sudden uproar from the deck above my head, shouts, cries,
a rush and patter of many feet, and above all Penfeather's
furious hail.

Wondering, I came to the open port, and leaning out saw it was
evening with a heavy mist creeping down upon the waters, and
through the mist loomed a great, black ship drifting lubberly
across our hawse.  Louder and more furious grew the shouting
above, answered by a hail aboard the great, black craft as,
broadside on, she swung towards us.

And now, creeping in the mist, I beheld a small boat with a
great, shapeless bundle in the stern-sheets and rowed by a single
waterman who swung easily to his oars, scanning now the "Faithful
Friend," now the great black ship, like one who bided the
inevitable crash.  Sudden I heard the roar of one of Penfeather's
ever-ready pistols followed by his voice up raised in vicious
sea-curses, and glancing up saw the black ship right aboard of us
and braced myself for the impact; came a shock, a quiver of
creaking timbers and the groan of our straining hawsers as the
black ship, falling off, drifted by in a roaring storm of oaths
and blasphemy.  Now when her battered stern-gallery was nigh lost
in the mist, bethinking me of the boat I had seen, I glanced
about and beheld matter that set me wondering; for he was the
fellow plying his oars with a will and so near that I might have
tossed a biscuit aboard him; moreover the great misshapen bundle
had lain in the stern-sheets was there no longer, which set me
mightily a-wondering.  Long after man and boat were swallowed up
in the fog I sat there lost in thought, insomuch that I started
to feel a hearty clap on the shoulder and, turning, beheld Godby,
a pair of great gold rings in his ears, and very sailor-like in
all things from sea-boots to mariner's bonnet.

"Here's a ploy, Mart'n!" says he with a round oath.  "Here's yon
curst lubberly craft carried away our starboard cat-head and six-
feet o' the harpings wi't, sink him!  And us but waiting for my
lady to come aboard to trip anchor and away.  And now here's we
shorebound for another two days at the least as I'm a gunner! 
And all on account of yon black dog, burn him!  A plaguy fine
craft as sails wi' no name on her anywheres, keelhaul me else! 
But Penfeather winged one o' the lubberly rogues, praise God,
Mart'n!  Which done and with due time to curse 'em, every
mother's son of 'em, he turns to--him and the carpenter and his
mates--there and then to repair damages.  Ha, a man o' mark is
Captain Adam, pal."

"Godby," says I, "did ye chance to see aught of a boat carrying a
great bundle in the stern-sheets and rowed by a man in a red

"Nary a blink, Mart'n--why?"

"I'm wondering what came of that same bundle--"

"Hove overboard belike, pal--there's many a strange thing goes a-
floating out to sea from hereabouts, Mart'n--drownd me!"

"Belike you're right!" says I.

"Mart'n, Sir Rupert's ashore to meet her ladyship, so you'm free
to come 'bove deck if so minded?"

"Nay, I'll bide where I am, Godby."

"Why then come, Mart'n, clap your eye on my beauties--here's
guns, Mart'n, six culverins and t'others sakers, and yonder
astern two basilisks as shall work ye death and destruction at
two or three thousand paces; 'bove deck amidships I've divers
goodly pieces as minions, falcons and patereros with murderers
mounted aft to sweep the waist.  For her size she's well armed is
the 'Faithful Friend,' Mart'n!"

Thus Godby, as he led me from gun to gun slapping hand on breech
or trunnion, and as I hearkened 'twas hard to recognise the merry
peddler in this short, square, grave-faced gunner who spake with
mariner's tongue, hitched ever and anon at the broad belt of his
galligaskins, and rolled in his gait already.

"She's a fair ship!" says I, seating myself on one of the great
guns mounted astern.

"She is so, Mart'n.  There's no finer e'er sailed from Deptford
Pool, which is saying much, split me if it isn't.  Though, when
all's said, Martin, I could wish for twenty more men to do
justice to my noble guns, aye thirty at the least."

"Are we so short?"

"We carry but ninety and two all told, pal, which considering my
guns is pity--aye, vast pity, plague me else!  'Twould leave me
shorthanded to serve my guns should they be necessary, which is
fair and likely, Martin."

"And black rogues they are!" says I.

"Never clapped eyes on worse, pal, kick me endwise else!  But
Captain Adam's the man for such and I mean to work 'em daily,
each and every, at my guns as soon as we be well at sea.  Ah,
there soundeth Toby Hudd's pipe--all hands on deck--this should
be her ladyship coming aboard.  So here's me aloft and you alow,
and good luck to both, pal."  Saying which he nodded, gave a
hitch to his wide galligaskins and rolled away.  Now coming to
the gun-port I have mentioned I must needs pause there awhile to
look out across the misty river already darkening to evening; and
thus presently beheld a boat, vague and blurred at first, but as
it drew nearer saw in the stern-sheets four gallants who laughed
and talked gaily enough, and the muffled forms of two women, and
in one, from the bold, free carriage of her head, I recognised,
despite hood and cloak, my Lady Joan Brandon; nay, as the boat
drew in, I heard the sweet, vital tones of her voice, and with
this in my ears I caught up my lanthorn and so descended to the
orlop.  Now as I paused at the narrow scuttle that gave down to

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