List Of Contents | Contents of Black Bartlemy's Treasure by Jeffrey
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greatly I would not have you dream me better than I am!  So now
must I tell you this...I stole to you
were asleep, the moonlight all about you and looked like an angel
of God."

And now it was my turn to stare up at the moon whiles I waited
miserably enough for her answer.

"And when you went away, Martin," says she at last, "when I heard
you striding to and fro, out here beneath God's stars, I knew
that yours was the greatest, noblest love in all the world."

"You--saw me?"

"Yes, Martin!"

"Yet your eyes were fast shut."

"Yes, but not--not all the time.  And, O Martin, dear, dear
Martin, I saw your great, strong arms reach out to take me--but
they didn't, they didn't because true love is ever greatly
merciful!  And your triumph was mine also, Martin!  And so it is
I love you--worship you, and needs must all my days."

And now we were on our feet, her hands in mine, eyes staring into
eyes and never award to speak.

"Is it true?" says I at last, "God, Damaris--is it true?"

"Seems it so wonderful, dear Martin?  Why, this love of mine
reacheth back through the years to Sir Martin, my little knight-
errant, and hath grown with the years till now it filleth me and
the universe about me.  Have you forgot 'twas your picture hung
opposite my bed at home, your sword I kept bright because it had
been yours?  And often, Martin, here on our dear island I have
wept sometimes for love of you because it pained me so!  Nay,
wait, beloved, first let me speak, though I do yearn for your
kisses!  But this night is the greatest ever was or mayhap ever
shall be, and we, alone here in the wild, do lie beyond all human
laws soever save those of our great love--and, O Martin, you--you
do love me?"

Now when I would have answered I could not, so I sank to my knees
and stooping ere she knew, clasped and kissed the pretty feet of

"No, Martin--beloved, ah no!" cries she as it were pain to her,
and kneeling before me, set her soft arms about my neck. 
"Martin," says she, "as we kneel thus in this wilderness alone
with God, here and now, before your lips touch mine, before your
dear strong hands take me to have and hold forever, so great and
trusting is my love I ask of you no pledge but this:  Swear now
in God's sight to renounce and put away all thought of vengeance
now and for ever, swear this, Martin!"

Now I, all bemused by words so unexpected, all dazzled as it were
by the pleading, passionate beauty of her, closed my eyes that I
might think:

"Give me until to-morrow--" I groaned.

"'Twill be too late!  Choose now, Martin."

"Let me think--"

"'Tis no time for thought!  Choose, Martin!  This hour shall
never come again, so, Martin--speak now or--"

The words died on her lip, her eyes opened in sudden dreadful
amaze, and thus we remained, kneeling rigid in one another's
arms, for, away across Deliverance, deep and full and clear a
voice was singing:

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



Long after the singing was died away I (like one dazed) could
think of nought but this accursed song, these words the which had
haunted my sick-bed and methought no more than the outcome of my
own fevered imagination; thus my mind running on this and very
full of troubled perplexity, I suffered my lady to bring me
within our refuge, but with my ears on the stretch as expectant
to hear again that strange, deep voice sing these words I had
heard chanted by a dead man in my dreams.

Being come within our third cave (or kitchen) my lady shows me a
small cord that dangled in certain shadowy corner, and pulling on
this cord, down falls a rope-ladder and hangs suspended; and I
knew this for Adam's "ladder of cords" whereby he had been wont
to mount into his fourth (and secret) cavern, as mentioned in his

"Here lieth safety, Martin," says my lady, "for as Master
Penfeather writes in his journal 'one resolute man lying upon the
hidden ledge' (up yonder) 'may withstand a whole army so long as
his shot last.'  And you are very resolute and so am I!"

"True!" says I, "True!"  Yet, even as I spake, stood all tense
and rigid, straining my ears to catch again the words of this
hateful song.  But now my dear lady catches my hand and, peering
up at me in the dimness, presently draws me into the outer cave
where the moon made a glory.

"O Martin!" says she, looking up at me with troubled eyes, "Dear
Martin, what is it?"

"Aye--what?" quoth I, wiping sweat from me.  "God knoweth.  But
you heard?  That song?  The words--"

"I heard a man singing, Martin.  But what of it--we are safe
here!  Ah--why are you so strange?"

"Damaris," says I, joying in the comfort of her soft, strong arms
about me, "dear love of mine, here is thing beyond my
understanding, for these were words I dreamed sung to me by a
dead man--the man Humphrey--out beyond the reef--"

"Nay, but dear Martin, this was a real voice.  'Tis some
shipwrecked mariner belike, some castaway--"

"Aye--but did you--mark these words, Damaris?"

"Nay--O my dear, how should I--at such a moment!"

"They were all--of Black Bartlemy!  And what should this mean,
think you?"

"Nay, dear love, never heed!" says she, clasping me the closer.

"Aye, but I must, Damaris, for--in a while this singing shall
come again mayhap and--if it doth--I know what 'twill be!"

"O Martin--Martin, what do you mean?"

"I mean 'twill be about the poor Spanish lady," says I, and
catching up my belt where it hung, I buckled it about me.

"Ah--what would you do, Martin?"

"I'm for Deliverance."

"Then will I come also."

"No!" says I, catching her in fierce arms, "No!  You are mine
henceforth and more precious than life to me.  So must you bide
here--I charge you by our love.  For look now, 'tis in my mind
Tressady and his pirates are upon us at last, those same rogues
that dogged the 'Faithful Friend' over seas.  Howbeit I must find
out who or what is it is that sings this hateful--" I stopped,
all at once, for the voice was come again, nearer, louder than
before, and singing the very words I had been hearkening for and
dreading to hear:

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

"You heard!" says I, clapping hand on knife, "You heard?"

"Yes--yes," she whispered, her embrace tightening until I might
feel her soft body all a-tremble against mine.  "But you are
safe--here, Martin!"

"So safe," says I, "that needs must I go and find out this thing
--nay, never fear, beloved, life hath become so infinite precious
that I shall be a very coward--a craven for your sake.  Here
shall be no fighting, Damaris, but go I must.  Meanwhile do you
wait me in the secret cave and let down the ladder only to my

But now, and lying all trembling in my embrace, she brake into
passionate weeping, and I powerless to comfort her.

"Farewell happiness!" she sobbed.  "Only, Martin, dear Martin,
whatsoever may chance, know and remember always that I loved and
shall love you to the end of time."

Then (and all suddenly) she was her sweet, calm self again, and
bringing me my chain-shirt, insisted I must don it there and then
beneath my fine doublet, the which (to please her) I did.  Then
she brought me one of the arquebuses, but this I put by as too
cumbersome, taking one of the pistols in its stead.  So, armed
with this together with my hatchet and trusty knife, I stepped
from the cave and she beside me.  And now I saw she had dried her
tears and the hand clasping mine was firm and resolute, so that
my love and wonder grew.

"Damaris," I cried, casting me on my knees before her, "O God,
how I do love thee!"  And, kneeling thus, I clasped her slender
loveliness, kissing the robes that covered her; and so, rising to
my feet I hasted away.  Yet in a little I turned to see her
watching me but with hands clasped as one in prayer.  Now,
beholding her thus, I was seized of a sudden great desire to go
back to give her that promise and swear that oath she sought of
me, viz., that I would forego my vengeance and all thought
thereof, forgetting past wrongs in the wonder of her love.  But,
even as I stood hesitating, she waved her hand in farewell and
was gone into the cave.



A small wind had sprung up that came in fitful gusts and with
sound very mournful and desolate, but the moon was wonderfully
bright and, though I went cautiously, my hand on the butt of the
pistol in my girdle, yet ever and always at the back of my mind
was an infinitude of joy by reason of my dear lady's love for me
and the wonder of it.

I chose me a devious course, avoiding the white sands of
Deliverance Beach, trending towards that fatal cleft hard by
Bartlemy's tree (the which we had come to call Skeleton Cove)
though why I must go hither I knew no more then than I do now.

Thus went I (my eyes and ears on the stretch) pondering what
manner of man this should be who sang words the which had so
haunted my sick dreams; more than once I stopped to stare round
about me upon the wide expanse of ocean, dreading and half
expecting to behold the loom of that black craft had dogged us
over seas.

Full of these disquieting thoughts I reached the cove and began
to descend the steep side, following goat-tracks long grown
familiar.  The place hereabouts was honeycombed with small caves
and with ledges screened by bushes and tangled vines; and here,
well hid from observation, I paused to look about me.  But (and
all in a moment) I was down on my knees, for from somewhere close
by came the sharp snapping of a dried stick beneath a stealthy

Very still I waited, every nerve a-tingle, and then, forth into
the moonlight, sudden and silent as death, a man crept; and
verily if ever murderous death stood in human shape it was before
me now.  The man stood half-crouching, his head twisted back over
his shoulder as watching one who followed; beneath the vivid
scarf that swathed his temples was a shock of red hair and upon
his cheek the sweat was glittering; then he turned his head and I
knew him for the man Red Andy, that same I had fought aboard
ship.  For a long moment he stood thus, staring back ever and
anon across Deliverance, and so comes creeping into the shadow of
the cliff, and I saw the moon glint on the barrel of the long
pistol he clutched, as, sinking down behind a great boulder, he
waited there upon his knees.

Now suddenly as I lay there watching Red Andy's murderous figure
and strung for swift action, I started and (albeit the night was
very warm) Sfelt a chill pass over me, as, loud and clear upon
the stilly air, rose again that full, deep voice singing hard by
upon Deliverance:

"Go seek ye women everywhere,
North, South, lads, East or West,
Let 'em be dark, let 'em be fair,
My Silver Woman's best,
Blow high, blow low,
Where e'er ye go
The Silver Woman's best.
My Silver Woman's best!"

Thus sang the unknown who, all unwitting, was coming to his
death; sudden as it came the voice was hushed and nought to hear
save the hiss and murmur of the surge, and I saw the man Andy
stir restlessly as minute after minute dragged by.

The rock where he crouched lay at the mouth of this cove towards
Deliverance, it being one of many that lay piled thereabout.  Now
chancing to look towards these scattered rocks (and for no reason
in the world) I saw a thing that held me as it were spellbound,
and this a small enough thing in itself, a sharp, glittering
thing that seemed fast caught in a fissure of one of those rocks,
and I knew it for a steel hook; but even as I stared at it, the
thing was gone and so noiselessly that I half-doubted if I had
seen it or no.  But, out from the shadow of this rock flashed
something that whirled, glittering as it flew, and Red Andy,
starting up from his knees was shaken by a fit of strange and
awful coughing and came stumbling forward so that I could see his
chin and breast bedabbled with the blood that spurted from his
gaping mouth.  All at once he sank to his knees and thence to his
face, spreading his arms wide like one very weary, but with the
moonlight flashing back from that which stood upright betwixt his
shoulder-blades.  And thus I saw again the silver haft of the
dagger that was shaped like to a woman, saw this silver woman
dance and leap, glittering, ere it grew terribly still.

Then came Roger Tressady from the shadows and stooping, turned up
the dead face to the moon, and tapped it gently with his shining
hook.  And now, whipping out his dagger, he bent to wipe it on
the dead man's shirt, but checked suddenly as a pebble started
beneath my foot, and, stooped thus, he glared up beneath thick
brows as I rose up with pistol levelled and the moon bright upon
my face, whereupon he leaped backwards, uttering a choking cry:

"Black Bartlemy--by God!" he gasped and let fall his reeking
dagger upon the sand; and so we stood staring on each other and
with the dead man sprawling betwixt us.



For maybe a full minute we fronted each other unmoving and with
never a word; and thus at last I beheld this man Tressady.

A tall, lusty fellow, square of face and with pale eyes beneath a
jut of shaggy brow.  A vivid neckerchief was twisted about his
head and in his hairy ears swung great gold rings; his powerful
right hand was clenched to knotted fist, in place of his left
glittered the deadly hook.

"Sink me!" says he at last, drawing clenched fist across his
brow, "Sink me, but ye gave me a turn, my lord!  Took ye for a
ghost, I did, the ghost of a shipmate o' mine, one as do lie
buried yonder, nought but poor bones--aye, rotten bones--as this
will be soon!"  Here he spurned the dead man with his foot. 
"'Tis black rogue this, my lord, one as would ha' made worm's-
meat o' poor Tressady--aye, a lump o' murdered clay like my
shipmate Bartlemy yonder--but for this Silver Woman o' mine!" 
Here he stooped for the dagger, and having cleaned it in the
sand, held it towards me upon his open palm:  "Aha, here's woman
hath never failed me yet!  She's faithful and true, friend,
faithful and true, this Silver Woman o' mine.  But 'tis an ill
world, my master, and full o' bloody rogues like this sly dog as
stole ashore to murder me--the fool!  O 'tis a black and bloody

"So it is!" quoth I, 'twixt shut teeth, "And all the worse for
the likes o' you, Roger Tressady!"

"So ho--he knoweth my name then!" says Tressady, rubbing shaven
chin with silver dagger-hilt and viewing me with his pale, keen
gaze:  "But do I know him now--do I?"

"I know you for pirate and damned murderer, Roger Tressady, so
shall you quit this island this very hour or stay here to rot
along with Bartlemy and Red Andy!"

Now at this (and all careless of my pistol) he drew a slow pace

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