List Of Contents | Contents of Black Bartlemy's Treasure by Jeffrey
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off for our habitation by paths well-hid from observation and
yearning mightily to find my lady there.  Having scaled the cliff
I reached the little plateau, and parting the bushes, recoiled
from the muzzle of a piece levelled at me by a squat, grim

"What, Godby!" says I, frowning, "D'ye take me for murderer
still, then?"  At this he let fall his musket in blank amaze, and
then came running and with hands outstretched.

"O pal!" cries he, "O pal--have I found ye at last?  Ha, many's
the time I've grieved for ye and my fool's doubts o' you, Martin,
choke me else?  I'm sorry, pal, burn me but I've repented my
suspecting o' you ever since, though to be sure you was mighty
strange aboard the 'Faithful Friend' and small wonder.  But
here's me full o' repentance, Martin, so--if you can forgive poor

"Full and freely!" says I, whereupon he hugs me and the tears
running down his sunburned cheeks.

"Then we'm pals again, Martin, and all's bowmon!"

"And what o' me?"  Turning about I beheld Adam on the threshold
of the cave, "What o' me, shipmate?"

"Aye--what?" says I, folding my arms.

"Ha, doth the tap o' my pistol-butt smart yet, Martin?"

"I know you beyond all doubt for pirate and buccaneer--"

"All past and done, Martin."

"I know you planned from the first to seize the 'Faithful

"Aye, but where's your proof--the 'Faithful Friend' is blown

"And by your hand, like as not."

"True again, so it was, Martin, and thereby did I outwit Tressady
and saved the lives of my own people."

"You have been at great pains to befool me to your evil ends."

"At no pains, Martin, 'twas purely simple matter!"

"You have been the death of divers men on this island."

"But always in fair fight!" says he, glancing at me in his
furtive fashion.  "'Twas them or me, comrade, and black rogues

"So you say!"

"And who's to deny it, shipmate?"

"Aye, who indeed?  It seems you've killed 'em all."

"Ha, d'ye doubt my word, Martin?"

"Aye, I do so, and judging from what I know, I do take ye for a
very rogue and so I'm done with you henceforth."

"Rogue?" says he, "'Tis an ill word!  And yet I had rather be
rogue than fool, and you are the fool of the world, Martin, for
here are you seeking quarrel with your best friend."

"Friend?" quoth I, "O God protect me from such!"

"Now, look'ee, you have named me rogue and good as called me
liar, which is great folly seeing you do lie in my power.  So
here will I prove my friendship and the depth of your folly."

"Nay--I'll hear no more!"

"Aye--but you will!  Cover him, Godby, and fire if I say so!"

"O Lord love me!" groaned Godby, but obeyed nevertheless, and
looking where he stood, his piece levelled at me, I knew he would
obey Adam's word despite his anguished looks.

"And now," says Adam, crossing his arms, "here's the truth on't. 
I found a poor wretch bent on vengeance, murder, and a rogue's
death, which was pure folly.  I offered you riches, the which you
refused, and this was arrant folly.  I took you for comrade,
brought you aboard ship with offer of honest employ which you
likewise refused and here was more folly.  Your conduct on board
ship was all folly.  So, despite yourself, I set you on a fair
island with the right noble and handsome lady that you, by love,
might perchance learn some little wisdom.  Well, you fall in

"Stop!" cried I, clenching my fists.

"Not I!" says he, uncrossing his arms, and I saw he had levelled
a pistol at me in the crook of his arm, "I'm no fine gentleman
for ye to bruise, so haul your wind and listen!  You fall in love
with my lady, as how could you help, and she with you, which is a
matter of some wonder.  So here are you full o' love, but doth
this teach ye wisdom?  Never a whit!  For now must you fall foul
and belabour our four gallants, and from mere fine gentlemen
transform 'em into your deadly enemies, and here was folly
stupendous!  And now you must quarrel with me, the which is folly
absolute.  Thus do I find ye fool persistent and consistent ever,
and I, being so infinitely the opposite, do contemn you

"And now ha' you done?" I demanded, raging.

"Not quite, Martin.  You balked me i' the hanging o' these two
rogues Tressady and Mings, and here was pitiful folly, since to
hang such were a wise and prudent measure.  Thus have you loosed
murder on my heels again, well, let that go.  But you doubted my
word, you named me rogue, and for this you shall fight me!"  So
saying he stepped into the cave and brought thence that same be-
jewelled Spanish rapier.

"I've no mind to fight with you," says I, turning away.

"An excellent blade!" says he, making a pass in the air, then he
tendered it to me hilt foremost and with the little bow.

"'Tis right you should know I am wearing the chain-shirt."

"No matter," quoth he, drawing, "there is your throat or your

So point to point we fell to it.  I had been somewhat esteemed at
the art once and now I matched his vicious thrusts with cunning
parades, with volts and passes, pushing at him when I might, so
that twice I was very near.  But suddenly as he retreated before
my attack, his blade darted and flashed and he called out: 
"One!"  And now he pressed me in turn with quick thrusts and
bewildering feints, and presently called out again:  "Two! 
Three!  Four!"  Then I saw he was cutting the buttons from my
sleeve, how and when he would; therefore I cast away my sword in
petulant anger and folded my arms.

"Lord love me!  Are ye done, Martin?"

"O make an end one way or t'other, I'll not be played with!"

"Verily, you were more dangers with the club!" says he, and
sheathed his rapier.  As for me, espying the three-legged stool,
I sat me down mighty dejected and full of bitter thoughts until,
feeling a touch on my bowed shoulder, I looked up and found him
beside me.

"Martin," says he, "'tis true you are a fool but your folly
harmeth none but yourself!  And thou'rt such honest fool that I
must needs love thee, which is strange, yet so it is.  Look'ee,
we have quarrelled and fought, very well--what's to let us from
being friends again?"

"But if I doubt you, Adam?"

"Why, as to that," says he with his whimsical look, "I verily do
think myself a something doubtful being at times."

Now at this, up I rose and gripped his hand right heartily; which
done he brought me into the cave whiles Godby posted himself on
the threshold, leaning on his musket.

"What now, Adam?" I questioned.

"Now let us divide our treasure, Martin--"

"But I bartered my share for the lives of--"

"Tush!" says he, and reaching a valise from shadowy corner he
opened it and I beheld such a glory of flashing gems as nigh
dazzled me with their splendour.  "Look at 'em, Martin, look at
'em!" he whispered.  "Here's love and hate, life and death, every
good and all the sins--look at 'em!"  And catching up a handful
he let them fall, glittering, through his fingers.  "Lord love
me, Martin," he whispered, "'tis enough to turn a man's brain! 
Have ye counted 'em over, comrade?"

"I never saw them until this moment, Adam."  And I confessed how
in my folly I had cast his letter of instruction into the sea,
and of how my lady had found the secret at her dire peril.

"And she never showed you, Martin?"

"I was always too busy!"

"Busy!" says he, sitting back on his heels to stare up at me. 
"Busy?  O Lord love me!  Sure there's not your like i' the whole
world, Martin!"

"Which is mighty well for the world!" says I bitterly.

"'Tis vasty treasure, Martin and worth some little risk.  And in
the cave lie yet fifty and four bars of gold and others of
silver, with store of rix-dollars, doubloons, moidores and pieces
of eight--gold coins of all countries.  There let 'em rot--here's
more wealth than we shall ever spend.  Shall we divide it here or
aboard ship?"

"Wait rather until we reach England."

"So be it, comrade.  Then I'm minded to apportion a share to
Godby here--what d'ye say?"

"With all my heart!"

"Why then 'tis time we got it safe on board."

"But how to do it--what of Tressady's rogues, Adam?"

"Having buried such of themselves as needed it, Martin, you shall
see 'em playing leap-frog on the sands down yonder happy as any
innocent school-lads, and never a firearm amongst 'em."

"Hist, Cap'n!" says Godby, suddenly alert, "The man Abner and his
two mates a-peeping and a-prying!"

"Where away, Godby man?"

"Hove to in the lee o' them bushes yonder."

"'Tis sly, skulking rogue Abner!" says Adam, closing and
strapping the valise, "'Tis in my mind, Godby, this Abner will
never live to see England.  Summon 'em hither, all three."

This Godby did forthwith, and presently the three fellows
appeared who, knuckling their foreheads, made us their several

"What now, lads?" says Adam, viewing them with his keen eyes, "I
seem to mind your looks, you sailed with Black Bartlemy aboard
the 'Delight' I think?  Nay, 'tis no matter, we'll let bygones be
bygones, and we be all marvellous honest these days, the which is
well.  Meantime take this dunnage down to the boat," and he
pointed to the valise.  Hereupon one of the fellows took it up,
and knuckled an eyebrow to us in turn.  "We sail at sundown,"
says Adam, "so, Godby, you may as well go aboard and see that all
be ready."

"Aye, aye!" says Godby, tightening the belt where swung his great
cutlass and, shouldering his musket, set off after the three.

"So there goeth our fortune aboard, comrade."

"And in desperate risky fashion, Adam."

"In safe, straightforward fashion rather, and in broad daylight,
the which is surer than stealing it aboard in the dark."

"But should these rogues guess what they carry--"

"They won't, Martin, and if they should they have but their
knives 'gainst Godby's musket and pistols."

"Ha--murder, Adam?"

"Would you call this murder, comrade?"

"What other?  I wonder what manner of man you'll be, away there
in England?"

"A worthy, right worshipful justice o' the peace, Martin, if
Providence seeth fit, in laced coat and great peruke, to see that
my tenants' cottages be sound and wholesome, to pat the touzled
heads o' the children, bless 'em!  And to have word with every
soul i' the village.  To snooze i' my great pew o' Sundays and,
dying at last, snug abed, to leave behind me a kindly memory. 
And what for you, Martin?  What see you in the ship yonder?"

"God knoweth!" says I, gloomily.

"Why not a woman's love, comrade, why not good works, rank and
belike--children to honour your memory?"

"Were I but worthy all this, Adam."

"Zounds, but here's humility!  Yet your true lover is ever
humble, I've heard, so 'tis very well, Martin.  And this doth
mind me I bear you a message from my lady--"

"A message--from her?" I cried, gripping his arm, "Out with it,
man, out with it and God forgive you this delay!  What says my

"This, Martin:  she would have you shave according to late

"Why, so I will!  But said she no more?"

"Aye, something of meeting you here.  So get to your shaving and
cheerily, comrade, cheerily.  I'll to the ship, for at sunset
'tis up anchor and hey for England!  I'll fire two guns to warn
you aboard, and tarry not, for the ship lieth within a sunken
reef and we must catch the flood."  Here he turned to go, then
paused to glance round the horizon with a seaman's eye.  "The
wind is fair to serve us, Martin," says he, pinching his chin,
"yet I could wish for a tempest out o' the north and a rising

"And why, Adam, in Heaven's name?"

"'Twould be the sure and certain end of Tressady and Mings,
comrade.  Howbeit what's done is done and all things do lie in
the hands of Providence, so do I cherish hope.  Go and shave,
Martin, go and shave!"

Left alone I betook me to my razors and shaved me with unwonted
care, yet hearkening for her quick, light step the while.

Scarce was my labour ended that I thought to hear the rustle of
leaves and hasted from the cave, calling on her name and mighty
joyous and eager:

"Damaris!  Art here at last, dear my lady!"  And so came face to
face with Sir Rupert.

He stood smiling at my discomfiture, yet his black brows were
close--but he halted and folded his arms and I could see the
betraying bulge of the pistol on his great side-pocket.  For a
while he measured me with his eye, at last he spoke:

"Within the hour my Lady Brandon sails for England, and from this
hour you will forget my Lady Brandon ever existed or--"

"Tush, man!" says I, "Begone, you weary me."

"Or," he went on with an airy gesture of his hand, "I shall cure
your weariness for good--"

"Shoot me?"

"Most joyfully!  Whatsoever hath chanced betwixt you in this
wilderness, my Lady Brandon's honour must and--"

Warned by my look he clapped hand to his pocket but as he freed
the weapon I was upon him, grasping his pistol-hand.  For a
moment we swayed together, he striving frantically to break my
hold, I to wrest the weapon from him, then it exploded, and
uttering a sudden, long-drawn gasp he sank to the grass at my
feet and lay very mute and still.  Whilst I yet stared from his
pallid face to the pistol where it had fallen, I heard shouts, a
running of feet, and glancing up saw the three gentlemen, his
companions, standing at gaze, motionless; then suddenly, they
turned and hasted away, crying "murder" on me as they ran.  Like
one in a dream I stared down at Sir Rupert's motionless form,
until I was aware of my lady beside him on her knees and of the
pallor of her face as she looked from him to me, her eyes wide
with horror:

"If you have killed him, Martin--if you have killed him, here is
an end of our happiness--God forgive you!"

Now would I have spoken but found no words, for in this moment I
knew that Sir Rupert was surely dead.  Dumbly I watched the
passionate labour of her dexterous hands, saw them pause at last
to clasp and wring themselves in helpless despair, saw the three
gentlemen, obedient to her word, stoop and lift that limp form
and bear it slowly away towards Deliverance Sands and she going
beside them.

Now as I stood watching her leave me, I heard the sudden roar of
a gun, and glancing towards the ship saw they were already making
sail.  Roused by this I came beside my lady, and found my voice
at last.

"Here was the work of chance--not I, Damaris, not I!"

But she, gazing ever on that piteous, limp form, sought to
silence me with a gesture.  "God, Damaris, you'll never doubt my
word?  Speak--will you not speak to me?  He threatened me--we
strove together and the pistol went off in his grasp--"

"Damned Murderer!" cried one of the gentlemen.

After this I held my peace, despairing, and thus we went in
silence until before us was Deliverance Beach.  All at once I
caught her up in my arms and, despite her struggles, began to
bear her back up the ascent.  For a moment only she strove,
uttering no word, then hiding her face against me, suffered me to
bear her where I would.  But now I heard shouts and cries that
told me I was pursued:

"You are mine, Damaris!" I cried, "Mine henceforth, and no man
shall take you from me whiles I live!"

Despite my haste the noise of pursuit waxed louder, spurring me
to greater effort.  And now it became the end and aim of my
existence to reach the cave in time, wherefore I began to run, on
and up, until my breath came in great, panting sobs; my heart
seemed bursting, and in my throbbing brain a confusion of wild

"Better die thus, my love upon my heart...The ship shall sail
without us...The door of the cave is stout, God be thanked and,
firing from the loophole, I may withstand them all."

Breathless and reeling I gained the plateau at last, but as I
staggered towards the cave I tripped and fell heavily, crushing
her beneath me.  But I struggled up, and bearing her within the
cave, laid her upon my bed and closing the door, barred it; then
I reached my muskets from their rack and set them in readiness. 
This done, and finding my lady so still and silent, I came to
view her where she lay and, peering in the dimness, uttered a
great cry to see the pale oval of cheek horribly bedabbled with
blood.  Trembling in a sickness of fear I sank beside her on my
knees, then, seeing she yet breathed, I parted the silky hair
above her temple and so came on a cruel gash.  Now as I strove to
staunch this precious blood I heard again the echoing thunder of
a gun.

"Damaris!" says I, clasping her to me and kissing her pallid
lips, "O Damaris, they are summoning us to England, d'ye hear,
beloved, d'ye hear?  Well, they shall call in vain--they shall
sail without us.  Love hath found us and here with Love will we
abide.  Wake, beloved, wake and tell me you would have it so!"

But, save for her breathing, and despite all my pleading and
caresses, she lay like one dead.  So I brought water and bathed
her face and throat and wrists, yet all to no purpose, so that
fear grew to agony.  How if she die thus? (thinks I) Why then I
can die likewise.  But again, how if she wake, and finding the
ship gone, despise me and, in place of her lover, look on me as
her gaoler?  For a long while I crouched there, my head bowed on
my fists, since well I knew that England might shelter me
nevermore.  And yet to part with her that was become my very

As I knelt thus, in an agony of indecision, was sudden tumult of
knocking upon the door and the sound of fierce voices:

"Come forth, murderer!  Open to us, rogue--open!"

But still I knelt there heeding only the hurry of my thoughts:

"How if the ship sail without us?  How if she wake and know me
for her gaoler?  How might I endure loneliness?  How part with
her that was become my life?  Belike she might not hate me--"

"Open, murderer, open!" roared the voices.

"A murderer!  How if she believe this?  Better loneliness and
death than to read horror of me in her every look!"

And now beyond the door was silence, and then I heard Adam
hailing me:

"Oho, shipmate--unbar!  Tide's on the turn and we must aboard. 
And trust me, Martin, for your comrade as will see justice done
ye.  So come, Martin, you and my lady and let's aboard!"

"Aye, aye, Adam!" quoth I, "Better die o' solitude than live with
a breaking heart.  So cheerily it is, Adam!"

Then rising, I took my dear lady in my arms, and holding her
against my heart, I kissed her hair, her closed eyes, her pale,
unresponsive lips, and bearing her to the door, contrived to open
it and stepped forth of the cave.  And here I found Adam, pistol
in hand, with divers of his fellows and the three gentlemen who
scowled amain, yet, eyeing Adam's weapon, did no more than clench
their fists and mutter of gibbets and the like.

"Look you, Adam," says I, "my lady is stunned of a fall, but
'twill be no great matter once we come aboard--let us go."

"Why then, Lord love you, Martin--hasten!" says he, "For tide's
falling and it's all we shall do to clear the reef."

Reaching Deliverance Sands I saw the boat already launched and
manned and, wading into the water, laid my lady in the stern

"Come!" cried Adam, reaching me his hand, "In with ye man--"

"Not I, Adam."

"Why, what now, comrade?" says he, staring.

"Now--my hand, Adam, and a prosperous voyage!"

"How, comrade, will ye stay marooned in this desolation?" and he
stooped to peer down at me.  "Martin," says he, gripping my hand
and staring into my eyes, "Doth this mean you are safer here by
reason of the mystery of Sir Rupert's sudden end?"

"Mayhap!" says I, and loosed his hand.  "What think you?"

"That you are no murderer, comrade, nor ever will be!"

"My lady said as much once!  Farewell, Adam!"  And I waded back
to the beach.

"Give way, lads!" cries he, "Give way!"  I heard the splash and
beat of their oars, and when I turned to look I saw them half-way
across the lagoon.

Then I turned and wandered aimlessly along these white sands that
had known so often the light tread of her pretty feet.  Very
slowly I went, with eyes that saw not, ears that heard not and my
mind a confusion of bitter thoughts.

At last I reached the little plateau, and from this eminence
beheld the ship standing away under a press of sail, and saw that
night was at hand.  Suddenly as I watched, the ship, her lofty
masts and gleaming canvas swam all blurred and misty on my sight,
and sinking to my knees I bowed my head.

"Almighty God!" says I, "Thou hast shown unto me the wonder of
love and the heaven it might have been, but since love is not for
me, teach me how I may be avenged."

But now, even as I prayed thus, my voice brake upon a great sob
insomuch that I might pray no more.  Therefore I cast myself upon
my face, forgetting all things but my great and bitter

And so came night and shut me in.


Here then I make an end of this narrative of Black Bartlemy's
Treasure, but how and in what manner I came to my vengeance is
yet to tell.

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