List Of Contents | Contents of Black Bartlemy's Treasure by Jeffrey
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At last, I (that knew myself a man about to die) turned me
towards our habitation, those rocks she had called "home," and
reaching the plateau I stood still, swept alternately by grief
and passion, to see this our refuge all desecrated by vile hands,
our poor furniture scattered without the cave.  And presently I
espied her three-legged stool standing where she had been wont to
sit to watch and cheer me at my labour; coming thither I fell on
my knees, and laying my head thereon wetted this unlovely thing
with my tears and kissed it many times.  As I lay thus, much that
she had done and said (little things forgot till now) rushed upon
my memory; her sweet, calm presence seemed all about me soothing
away the passion of my grief.  And in this hour that was to end
my miserable life, I knew at last that I had loved her purely and
truly from the first, and with such love as might have lifted me
to heaven.  And kneeling thus, I spake aloud to this her sweet
presence that seemed to hover about me:

"O Damaris, beloved--as thou, to 'scape shame, hast chosen death
--in death I'll follow thee--trusting to a merciful God that I
may find thee again!"  Then uprising from my knees, I came out
from the shadows, and standing in the moon's radiance, looked
heedfully to the edge of my axe, and with it gripped in my hand,
went out to find death.



Beyond Deliverance Sands I saw the glow of their fire, and
drawing thither knew them camped in the shadow of that great
pimento tree and within that rocky gorge the which had afforded
my dear lady and me our first night's shelter.  Being come
thither, I sat me down and took counsel how best to attack them
that I might slay as many as possible ere they gave me the death
I hungered for; and the end of it was I began to scale the cliff,
my goatskin buskins soundless and very sure amid the rocks.

As I mounted I heard the hoarse murmur of their voices and knew
by their very intonation (since I could hear no words as yet)
that they were speaking English.  Reaching the summit, and mighty
cautious, I came where I might look down into the cleft.

They lay sprawled about their fire, four grim-looking fellows,
ragged and unkempt, three of them talking together and one who
lay groaning ever and anon.

"Be damned, t'ye, Joel for a lily-livered dog!" growled a great,
bony fellow, "Here's good an island as man can want--"

"And full of bloody Indians--eh, Humphrey?" says a black-jowled
fellow, turning on the wounded man.  "Us do know the Indians,
don't us Humphrey?  Inca, Aztec, Mosquito and Cimaroon, we know
'em and their devil's ways, don't us, Humphrey?"

"Aye--aye!" groaned the wounded man.  "They tortured me once and
they've done for me at last, by God!  My shoulder's afire--"

"And the shaft as took ye, Humphrey, were a Indian shaft--a
Indian shaft, weren't it, lad?  And all trimmed wi' gold, aren't
it?  Here, ye may see for yourselves!  'Sequently I do know it
for the shaft of a chief or cacique and where a cacique is
there's Indians wi' him--O thick as thieves--I know and Humphrey
knows!  I say this curst island be full of Indians, thick as
fleas, curse 'em!  And they'll have us soon or late and torment
us.  So what I says is, let's away at the flood and stand away
for the Main--the sea may be bad now and then, but Indians be
worse--always and ever!"

"Why, as to that, Ned, the Indians ha' left us alone--"

"Aye!" cried the bony man, "And what o' the wench--her was no
Indian, I lay!  A fine, dainty piece she was, by hooky!  And
handsome, ah--handsome!  But for Humphrey's bungling--"

Here the man Humphrey groaned and cursed the speaker bitterly.

"Howbeit--'twas an Indian arrer!" says Ned.  "And that means
Indians, and Indians means death to all on us--ask Humphrey! 
Death--eh, Humphrey?"

"Aye--death!" groaned Humphrey, "Death's got his grapples aboard
me now.  I'm a-dying, mates--dying!  Get me aboard, death will
come easier in open water."

"Why, if ye must die, Humphrey," growled the bony man, "die, lad,
die and get done wi' it, the sooner the better.  As to Indians I
wait till I see 'em, and as for Death--"

"Death?" gasped Humphrey, "Here's for you first!" and whipping
out a knife he made a fierce thrust at the speaker; but the
others closed with him.  Then as they strove together panting and
cursing I rose to come at them; but the wounded man, chancing to
lift his head, saw me where I stood, the moonlight on my bloody
face, and uttered a hoarse scream.

"Death!" cries he, "'Tis on us mates--look, look yonder!  Death
and wounds--yonder he comes for all of us--O mates look!  Yon's
death--for all on us!"

But in this moment I leaped down upon them from above, sending
one man sprawling and scattering their fire, and 'mid whirling
sparks and smoke, within this dim rock-cleft we fought with a
merciless fury and desperation beyond words.  A pistol flashed
and roared and then another as I leapt with whirling axe and
darting knife.  I remember a wild hurly-burly of random blows,
voices that shouted hoarse blasphemies, screams and groans, a
whirl of vicious arms, of hands that clutched; once I reeled to
hard-driven sword-thrust, a knife flashed and stabbed beneath my
arm, but twice I got home with my knife and once a man sobbed and
went down beneath my hatchet--and then they were running and I
after them.  But I had taken a scathe in my leg and twice I fell;
thus they reached their boat with some hundred yards to spare,
and I saw their frantic struggles to launch it as I staggered
after them; but ere I could reach them they had it afloat and
tumbled aboard pell-mell.  Then came I, panting curses, and
plunged into the sea, wading after them up to my middle and so
near that, aiming a blow at one of them, I cut a great chip from
the gunwale, but, reeling from the blow of an oar, sank to my
knees, and a wave breaking over me bore me backward, choking. 
Thus when I found my feet again they were well away and plying
their oars lustily, whiles I, roaring and shouting, stood to
watch them until the boat was lost in the distance.  Now as I
stood thus, raging bitterly at my impotence, I bethought me that
I had seen but three men run and, turning about, hasted back to
deal with the fourth.  Reaching the scene of the struggle, I came
on the man Humphrey outstretched upon his back in the moonlight
and his face well-nigh shorn asunder.  Seeing him thus so
horribly dead, I went aside and fell to scrubbing my hatchet,
blade and haft, with the cleanly sand.

Then came I, and grasping this thing had been named Humphrey, I
dragged it a-down the sands and hove it forthwith into the sea,
standing thereafter to watch it borne out on the receding tide. 
Now as I watched thus, came a wave that lifted the thing so that
this dead man seemed to rise up and wave an arm to me ere he

This done (and I yet alive!)  I took to wandering aimlessly
hither and thither, and chancing into the rocky cleft found lying
three muskets and four pistols with bandoliers full-charged,
together with a knife and a couple of swords; these I set orderly
together and so wandered away again.

All this night I rambled about thus, and dawn found me seated
'neath Bartlemy's tree staring at the ocean yet seeing it not.

So God had refused my appeal!  It seemed I could not die.  And
presently, chancing to look down at myself in the growing light I
understood the reason, for here was I armed in my shirt of mail
(forgotten till now) and scowling down at this, I saw its fine,
steel links scratched and scored by many blows and bedaubed here
and there with blood.  So then (thinks I) 'twas she had saved me
alive, and in this thought found me some small solace.  Hereupon
I arose and went down to the sea, limping by reason of my hurt
(an ugly gash above my knee) being minded to wash from me the
grime and smears that fouled me.  But or ever I reached the water
I stopped, for there, more hateful in sun than moonlight, lay
that ghastly thing that had been Humphrey.  There he lay, cast up
by the tide, and now, with every wave that broke, he stirred
gently and moved arms and legs in wanton, silly fashion, and
nodding with his shattered head as in mockery of me.  So I went
and, seizing hold upon the thing, swung it upon my back and, thus
burdened, climbed out upon the reef (and with mighty trouble, for
my strength seemed oozing out of me).  Reaching a place at last
where the water ran deep I paused, and with sudden, painful
effort whirled the thing above my head and hove it far out,
where, splashing, it fell with sullen plunge and vanished from my
sight.  But even so I was possessed of sudden, uneasy feeling
that the thing had turned on me and was swimming back to shore,
so that, drawing my knife, I must needs sit there awhile to watch
if this were so indeed.  At last I arose, but being come to
Deliverance Sands, whirled suddenly about, expectant to behold
that dead thing uprising from the surge to flap derisive arms at
me.  And this did I many times, being haunted thus all that day,
and for many weary hours thereafter, by this dead man Humphrey. 
Presently, as I went heedless of all direction and the sun very
hot, I began to stagger in my gait and to mutter her name to
myself and presently to shouting it, until the cliffs gave back
my cries and the hollow caves murmured, "Damaris!  O Damaris!"

And now was a mist all about me wherein dim forms moved mocking
me, and ever and anon methought to behold my lady, but dim and
very far removed from me, so that sometimes I ran and oft-times I
fell to moaning and shedding weak and impotent tears.  Truly a
black and evil day for me this, whereof I have but a vague memory
save only of pain, a hopeless weariness and intolerable thirst. 
Thus it was sunset when I found myself once more upon that grassy
plateau, creeping on hands and knees, though how I came thither I
knew not.  I remember drinking from the little rill and
staggering within the cave, there to fall and lie filling the
place with my lamentations and oft-repeated cry of "Damaris!  O
Damaris!"  I remember a patch of silver light, a radiance that
crept across the gloom, and of dreaming my lady beside me as of
old, and of babbling of love and forgiveness, of pain and
heartbreak, whiles I watched the beam of light creeping nigh me
upon the floor; until, sobbing and moaning, yet gazing ever upon
this light, I saw grow upon it a sudden dark shape that moved,
heard a rustle behind me, a footstep--a cry!  And knowing this
for the man Humphrey come upon me at last in my weakness, I
strove to rise, to turn and face him, but finding this vain,
cried out upon him for murderer.  "'Twas you killed her--my love
--the very soul of me--'twas you, Humphrey, that are dead--come,
that I may slay you again!"  Then feeling his hands upon me I
strove to draw my knife, but could not and groaned, and so
knowledge passed from me.



My next memory was of sun and a dance of leafy shadows on the
wall of the cave, the which shadows held my attention so that I
had no will to look otherwhere; for these were merry shadows that
leapt in sportive gambols, that danced and swayed, pleasing me
mightily.  And as I watched these antic shadows I could hear the
pleasant murmur of the little rill without the cave, that bubbled
with sweet, soft noises like small, babbling voices and brake
ever and anon into elfin laughter.  And presently, mingled with
this pretty babblement, I seemed to hear a whisper:

"Martin!  Dear Martin!"

And now I saw my lady plunge to death from the rock, and started
up, filling the place with my lamentations, until for very
weakness I lay hushed and heard again the soft rippling of the
brook and therewith her voice very sweet and faint and far away:

"Martin!  Dear Martin!"

I remember a season of blackness in which dim-seen, evil things
menaced me, and a horror of dreams wherein I, fettered and fast
bound, must watch my sweet lady struggle, weeping, in the arms of
vile rogues whiles I strove desperately to break my bonds, and
finding this vain, fell to raging madness and dashed myself
hither and thither to slay myself and end my torment.  Or, axe in
hand, amid smoke and flame, I fell upon her murderers; then would
I smite down the man Humphrey only for him to rise to be smitten
again and yet again, nodding shattered head and flapping
nerveless arms in derision of me until, knowing I might never
slay him--he being already dead--I turned to flee, but with him
ever behind me and in my ears his sobbing cry of "Death for all
of us--death!"  And feeling his hands on me I would fall to
desperate struggle until the blackness closed over me again thick
and stifling like a sea.

And behind all these horrors was a haunting knowledge that I was
going mad, that this man Humphrey was waiting for me out beyond
the surf beckoning to me with flapping arms, and had cast on me a
spell whereby, as my brain shrivelled to madness, my body was
shrivelling and changing into that of Black Bartlemy.  Always I
knew that Humphrey waited me beyond the reef, watchful for my
coming and growing ever more querulous and eager as the spell
wrought on me so that he began to call to me in strange, sobbing
voice, hailing me by my new name:

"Bartlemy, ahoy!  Black Bartlemy--Bartlemy ho!  Come your ways to
Humphrey, that being dead can die no more and, knowing all, doth
know you for Bartlemy crept back from hell.  So come, Bartlemy,
come and be as I am.  And there's others here, proper lads as
wants ye too, dead men all--by the rope, by the knife, by the

There be two at the fore,
At the main be three more,
Dead men that swing all of a row;
Here's fine, dainty meat
For the fishes to eat:
Black Bartlemy--Bartlemy ho!

There's a fine Spanish dame,
Joanna's her name,
Must follow wherever ye go;
Till your black heart shall feel
Your own cursed steel:
Black Bartlemy--Bartlemy ho!"

And I, hearkening to this awful sobbing voice, sweating and
shivering in the dark, knew that, since I was indeed Black
Bartlemy, sooner or later I must go.

Thus it befell that of a sudden I found myself, dazzled by a
fierce sun, supporting me against a rock and my breath coming in
great gasps.  And in a while, my eyes growing stronger, I stared
away to the reef where this man Humphrey waited me with his "dead
men all"; and since I must needs go there I wept because it was
so far off.

Now as I stood grieving thus, I saw one stand below me on
Deliverance, looking also towards the reef, a woman tall and very
stately and habited in gown of rich satin and embroidery caught
in at slender waist with golden girdle, and about her head a
scarf of lace.  And this woman stood with bowed head and hands
tight-clasped as one that grieved also; suddenly she raised her
head and lifted folded hands to the cloudless heaven in
passionate supplication.  And beholding her face I knew her for
the poor Spanish lady imploring just heaven for vengeance on me
that had been her undoing; and uttering a great cry, I sank on my

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