List Of Contents | Contents of Black Bartlemy's Treasure by Jeffrey
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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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

"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

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