this. I went westward because my home lay westward,
and some instinct took my hurrying feet thither. I had
no purpose, no sensation. For aught I know, that night
London might have been a city of the dead.
Suddenly I halted beneath a lamp-post and began
dimly to think. .My love was dead : — that was the one
fact that tilled my thoughts at first, and so I strove to
image it upon my brain, but could not. But as I stood
there feebly struggling with the thought another took
its place. Why should I live ? Of course not ; better
end it all at once — and possessed with this idea I started
off once more.
By degrees, as I walked, a plan shaped itself before
me. I would go home, get my grandfather's key, to-
gether with the tin box containing my father's Journal,
and then make for the river. That would be an easy
death, and I could sink for ever, before I perished, all
trace of the black secret which had pursued my life. I
and the mystery would end together — so best. Then,
without pain, almost with ghastly merriment, I thought
that this was the same river which had murmured so
sweetly to my love. Well, no doubt its voice would be
" MANY WATERS." 301
just as musical over my grave. The same river : — but
nearer the sea now — nearer the infinite sea.
As I reflected, the idea took yet stronger possession
of me. Yes J it was in all respects the best. The curse
should end now. " Even as the Heart o£ the Ruby is
Blood and its Eyes a Flaming Fire, so shall it be for
them that would possess it : Fire shall be their portion
and Blood their inheritance for ever.'-* For ever? No : the
river should wash the blood away and quench the fire.
Then arose another text and hammered at the door of
my remembrance. " Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can the floods drown it." " Many waters " —
" many waters " : — the words whispered appealingly,
invitingly, in my ears. '' Many waters.^"" My feet beat
a tune to the words.
I reached my lodgings, ran upstairs, took out the
key and the tin box, and descended again into the hall.
My landlord was slipping down the latch. He stared
at seeing me.
" Do not latch the door just yet : I am going out
again,^' I said simply.
" Going out ! I thought, sir, it was you as just now
" Yes, but I must go out again : — it is important."
He evidently thought me mad ; and so indeed I was.
'^ What,. sir, in that dress? YouVe got no hat —
I had forgotten. '' True,^^ I said ; '^ get me a hat
SO'Z DEAD man's nocK.
He stared and then ran npstairs for them. Return-
ing he said, " I have got you these, sir ; but I can't
find them as you usually wears/'
"Those will do,'' I answered. "I must have left
the others at the theatre."
This I'educed him to utter speechlessness. Mutely
he helped me to don the cloak over my thin evening
dress. I slipped the tin box and the key into the
pockets. As I stepped out once more into the night,
my landlord found his speech.
''When will you he hack, sir?"
The (piestion startled nie for a moment ; for a second
or two I hesitated.
" I asked because you have no latch-key, as I
suppose you left it in your other coat. So that "
" It does not matter," I answered. " Do not sit up.
I shall not be back before morning ; " and with that I
left him still standing at the door, and listening to my
footsteps as they hurried down the street.
" Before morning ! " Before morning I should be
in another world, if there were another world. And
then it struck me that Claire and I might meet. She
had taken her own life and so should I. But no, no —
Heaven would forgive her that ; it could not condemn
my saint to the pit where I should lie : it could not be
so kindly cruel ; and then I laughed a loud and bitter
Still in my dull stupor I found myself neariug the
river. I have not mentioned it before, but I must
MY BOAT. 303
explain now, that during the summer I had purchased
a boat, in which my Claire and I were used to row idly
between Streatley and Pangbourne, or whithersoever love
g-uided our oars. This boat, with the approach of win-
ter, I had caused to be broug-ht down the river and had
housed in a waterman's shed just above Westminster,
until the return of spring should bring back once more
the happy days of its employment.
In my heart I blessed the chance that had stored it
ready to my hand.
Stumbling through dark and tortuous streets where
the moon's frosty brilliance was almost completely hid-
den, I came at last to the waterman's door and knocked.
He was in bed and for some time my summons was
in vain. At last I heard a sound in the room above, the
window was let down and a sulky voice said, ''Who's
there ? "
" Is that you, Bagnell ? " I answered. '' Come
down. It is I, Mr. Trenoweth, and I want you."
There was a low cursing, a long pause broken by a
muttered dispute upstairs^ and then the street door
opened and Bagnell appeared with a lantern.
'' Bagnell, I want my boat."
" To-night, sir ? And at this hour ? "
''Yes, to-night. 1 want it particularly."
" But it is put away behind a dozen others, and can't
" Never mind. I will help if you want assistance,
biit I must have it."
.'iOt DKAD man's rock.
Bagnell looked at me for a minute and I could see
that he was cursing- under ins breath.
" Is it serious, sir ? You're not "
"I am not drunk, if that is what you mean, l)ut
perfectly serious, and I must have my boat."
" \V(>n't aiintluT do as well?"
"No, it will not." I felt in my pockets and found
two sovereijLifns and a few shilliuf^s. " Tjook here," I
.'vaid, "I will j^ive you two i)ounds if you i^et this boat
out for me."
This conquered his reluctance. He stared for a
moment as I mentioned the amount, and then hastily
dccidin«^ that I was stark mad, but that it was none of
his business, put on his hat and led the way down to his
Stumblini^ in the uncertain light over innumerable
timbers, spars, and old oars, we reached the shed at length
and together managed, after much delay, to get out the
light boat and let her down to the water. I gave him the
two sovereigns as well as the few shillings that remained
in my pocket, and as I descended, reflected grimly that
after all they were better in his possession ; the man
who should find my body would have so much the less
spoil. We had scarcely spoken whilst we were getting
the boat out, and what words we used were uttered in
that whisper which night always enforces; but as I
clambered down (for the tide was now far out) and
Bagnell passed down tlie sculls, he asked —
" When will you be back, sir?''
DOWN THE RIVER. 305
The same question ! I gave it the same answer.
" Not before morning/^ I said, and with a few strokes
was out upon the tide and pulling down the river. I
saw him standing there above in the moonlight^ still
wondering, xintil he faded in the dim haze behind. My
boat was a light Thames dingey, so that although]! felt
the tide running up against me, it nevertheless made
fair progress. "What decided me to pull against' the
tide rather than float quietly upwards I do not know to
this day. So deadened and vague was all my thought,
that it probably never occurred to me to correct the
direction in which the first few strokes had taken me.
I was conscious of nothing but a row of lights gliding
past me on either hand, of here and there a tower or tall
building, that stood up for an instant against the sky
and then swam slowly out of sight, of the creaking of
my sculls in the ungreased rowlocks, and, above all, the
white shimmer of the moon following my boat as it
I remember now that, in a childish way, I tried to
escape this persistent brilliance that still clung to my
boat^s side with every stroke I took ; that somehow a
dull triumph possessed me when for a moment I slipped
beneath the shadow of a l^ridge, or crept behind a black
and silent hull. All this I can recall now, and wonder
at the trivial- nature of the thought. Then I eauffht
the scent of white rose, and fell to wonderino- how it
came there. There had been the same scent in the
drawing-room that afternoon, I remembered, when Claire
•306 DKAD man's T^OCK.
had said good-bye for ever. How had it followed me ?
After this I set myself aimlessly to count the lights that
passed, lost count, and began again. And all the time
the white glimmer hung at my side.
I was still wrapped up in my cloak, though the cape
was flung back to give my arms free play. Rowing soj
I must quickly have been warm ; but I felt it no more
than I had felt the cold as I walked home from the
theatre. My boat was creeping along the Middlesex
shore, by the old Temple stairs, and presently threaded its
way through more crowded channels, and passed under
the blackness of London Bridge.
How far below this I went, I cannot clearly call to
mind ; of distance, as well as of time, I had lost all
calculation. I recollect making a circuit to avoid
the press of boats waiting for the early dawn by
Billingsgate Market, and have a vision of the White
Tower against the heavens. But my next impression of
any clearness is that of rowing under the shadow of a
black three-masted schooner that lay close under shore,
tilted over on her port side in the low water. As my
dingey floated out again from beneath the overhanging
hull, I looked up and saw the words, Water-Witch,
painted in white upon her pitch-dark bows.
By this time I was among the tiers of shipping.
I looked back over my shoulder, and saw their countless
masts looming up as far as eye could see in the dim
light, and their lamps flickering and wavering upon the
water. I rowed about a score of strokes, and then
I MAKE SUEE. 307
stopped. Why go further ? This place would serve as
well as any other. No one was likely to hear my splash
as I went overboard, and even i£ heard it would not be
interpreted. I was still near enough to the Middlesex
bank to be out of the broad moonlight that lit up
the middle of the river. I took the tin box out of
my cloak and stowed it for a moment in the stern.
I would sink it with the key before I flung myself in.
So, pulling the key out of the other pocket, I took
off the cloak, then my dress-coat and waistcoat, folded
them carefully, and placed them on the stern seat.
This done, I slipped the key into one pocket of my
trousers, my watch and chain into the other. I would
do all quietly and in order, I reflected. I was silently
kicking off my shoes, when a thought struck me.
In my last struggles it was possible that the desire of
life would master me, and almost unconsciously I
might take to swimming. In the old days at Lizard
Town swimming had been as natural to me as walk-
ing, and I had no doubt that as soon as in the water
I should begin to strike out. Could I count upon
determination enough to withhold my arms and let
myself slowly drown ?
Here was a difiicultyj but I resolved to make
everything sure. I took my handkerchief out of the
coat pocket, and bent do^^^l to tie my feet firmly together.
All this I did quite calmly and mechanically. As far as
one can be certain of anything at this distance of time,
I am certain of this, that no thought of hesitation came
308 DEAD man's rock.
into my head. It was not that I overcame any doubts j
they never occurred to me.
I was stooping- down, and had already hound the
handkerchief once around my ankles, when my boat
grated softly against something. I looked up, and saw
once more above me a dark ship's hull, and right above
my head the white letters. Water- Witch.
This would never do. My boat had drifted up the
river again with the tide, stern foremost, but a little
aslant, and had run against the warp by the schooner's
bows. I must pull out again, for otherwise the people
on board would hear me. I pushed gently off from
the warp and took the sculls, when suddenly I heard
voices back towards the stern.
My first impulse was to get away with all speed, and I
had already taken half a stroke, when something caused
my hands to drop and my heart to give one mid leap.
What was it ? Something in the voices ? Yes ;
something that brushed my stupor from me as though
it were a cobweb ; something that made me hush my
breath, and strain with all my ears to listen.
The two voices were those of man and woman.
They were slightly raised, as if in a quarrel; the woman's
pleading and entreating, the man's threatening and
stern. But that was not the reason that suddenly set
my heart uncontrollably beating and all the blood
rushing and surging to my temples.
For in those two voices I recognised Mrs. Luttrell
and Simon Colliver !
TWO YOKES. 309
'^ Have you not done enough ? " the woman^s voice
was saying. " Has your cruelty no end, that you must
pursue me so ? Take this money, and let me go.'"
" I must have more/^ was the answer.
'' Indeed, I have no more just now. Go, only go,
and I will send you some. I swear it."
'' I cannot go," said the man.
''Never mind. I am watched." Here the voice
muttered some words which I could not catch. " So
that unless you wush to see your husband swing — and
believe me, my confession and last dying speech would
not omit to mention the kind aid I had received from
you and Clar "
" Hush ! oh, hush ! If I get you this money, will
you leave us in peace for a time ? Knowing your nature,
I will not ask for pity — only for a short respite. I
must tell Claire, poor girl ; she does not know j^et — "
Quite softly my boat had drifted once more across
the schooner's bows. I pulled it round until its nose
touched the anchor chain, and made the painter fast.
Then slipping my hand up the chain, I stood with my
shoeless feet upon the gunwale by the bows. Still
grasping the chain, I sprang and swung myself out to
the jibboom that, with the cant of the vessel, was not
far above the water : then pressed my left foot in
between the stay and the brace, while I hung for a
moment to listen.
They had not heard, for I could still catch the
310 DEAD man's rock.
murmur o£ their voices. The creak of the jibboom aud
the swish of my own boat beneath had frightened me at
first. It seemed impossible that it should not disturb
them. But after a moment my coui'age returned, and
I pulled myself up on to the bowsprit, and lying almost
at full length along it, for fear of being spied, crawled
slowly along, and dropped noiselessly on to the deck.
They were standing together by the mizzen-mast, he
with his back turned full towards me, she less entirely
averted, so that I could see a part of her face in the
moonlight, and the silvery gleam of her grey hair.
Yes, it was they, surely enough ; and they had not seen
me. My revenge, long waited for, was in my grasp at
Suddenly, as I stood there watching them, I remem-
bered my knife — the blade which had slain my father.
I IukI left it below — fool that I was ! — in the tin box.
Could I creep back again, and return without attracting
their attention ? Should 1 hazard the attempt for the
sake of planting that piece of steel in Simon CoUiver's
black heart ?
It was a foolish thought, but my whole soul was
set upon murder now, and the chance of slaying him
with the very knife left in my father's wound seemed
too dear to be lightly given up. Most likely he was
armed now, whilst I had no weapon but the naked
hand. Yet I did not think of this. It never even
occurred to me that he would defend himself. Still,
the thought of that knife was sweet to me as I crouched
I CLIMB ON BOARD. 311
there beneath the shadow of the bulwarks. Should I
go, or not? I paused for a moment, undecided; then
rose slowly erect.
As I did so Mrs. Luttrell turned for an instant and
As I stood there, bareheaded, with the moonlight
shining" full upon ray white shirt-sleeves, I miist have
seemed a very ghost ; for a look of abject terror swept
across her face ; her voice broke off and both her hands
were flung up for mercy —
'' Oh, God ! Look ! look ! "
As I rushed forward he turned, and then, with the
spring of a wild cat, was upon me. Even as he leapt,
my foot slipped upon the greasy deck ; I staggered
backward one step — two steps — and then fell with a
crash down the unguarded forecastle ladder.
TELLS IN WHAT MANNER I LEARNT THE SECRET OF THE
As my senses came gradually back I could distin-
guish a narrow^ dingy cabin^ dimly lit by one flickering
oil-lamp which swung from a rafter above. Its faint
ray just revealed the furniture of the room, which con-
sisted of a seaman's chest standing in the middle, and
two gaunt stools. On one of these I was seated,
propped against the cabin wall, or rather partition, and
as I attempted to move I learnt that I was bound hand
On the other stool opposite me and beside the chest,
sat Simon Colliver, silently eyeing me. The lamplight
as it flared and wavered cast grotesque and dancing
shadows of the man uj^on the wall behind, made of his
matted hair black eaves under which his eyes gleamed
red as fire, and glinted lastly upon something bright
lying on the chest before him.
For a minute or so after my eyes first opened no
word was said. Still dizzy with my fall, I stared for a
moment at the man, then at the chest, and saw that the
bright objects gleaming there were my grandfather's
key and ray watch-chain, at the end of which hung the
Golden Clasp. But now the clasp was fitted to its
fellow and the whole buckle lay united upon the
Though the bonds around my arms, wrists, and
ankles caused me intolerable pain, yet my first feeling
was rather of abject humiliation. To be caught thus
easily, to be lying here like any rat in a gin ! this was
the agonising thought. Nor was this all. There on
the chest lay the Golden Clasp united at last — the work
completed which was begun with that unholy massacre
on board the Belle Fortune. I had played straight into
He was in no hurry, but sat and watched me there
with those intolerably evil eyes. His left hand was
thrust carelessly into his pocket, and as he tilted back
upon the stool and surveyed me, his right was playing
with the clasp upon the chest. As I painfully turned
my head a drop of blood came trickling down into my
eyes from a cut in my forehead ; I saw, however, that
the door was bolted. An empty bottle and a plate
of broken victuals lay carelessly thrust in a corner,
and a villainous smell from the lamp filled the whole
room and almost choked me ; but the only sound in the
dead stillness of the place was the monotonous tick-
tick of my watch as it lay upon the chest.
How long I had lain there I could not guess, but I
noticed that the floor slanted much less than when I first
scrambled on deck, so guessed that the tide must have
risen considerably. Then having exhausted my wonder
314 DE\D man's rock.
I looked again at Colliver^ and began to speculate how-
he would kill me and how long he would take
I found his wolfish eyes still regarding me, and for
a minute or two we studied each other in silence. Then
without removing his gaze he tilted his stool forward,
slowly drew a short heavy knife from his waist-band,
slipped it out of its sheath — still without taking his
left hand from his pocket — laid it on the table and leant
" I suppose, ""^ he said at last and very deliberately as
if chewing his words, "you know that if you attempt
to cry out or summon help, you are a dead man that
" Well, well,^' he continued, after waiting a moment
for my reply, " as long as you understand that, it does
not matter. I confess I should have preferred to talk
with you and not merely to you. However, before I
kill you — and I suppose you guess that I am going to
kill you as soon as We done with you — I wish to have
just a word. Master Jasper Trenoweth.-"
From the tone in which he said the words he might
have been congratulating me on some great good for-
tune. He paused awhile as if to allow the full force
of them to sink in, and then took up the Golden Clasp.
Holding the pieces together with the fore-finger and
thumb of his right hand, he advanced and thrust it
right under my sight —
" Do you see that ? Can you read it ? "
THE BUCKLE IS UNITED.
As I was still mute he walked back to the chest
and laid the clasp down again.
'' Aha ! " he exclaimed with a short laugh horrible to
hear, "you won't speak. But there have been times,
Mr. Jasper Trenoweth, when you would have given
your soul to lay hands upon this piece o£ gold and read
what is written upon it. It is a pity your hands are
tied — a thousand pities. But I do not wish to be hard
on you, and so I don't mind reading out what is written
here. The secret will be safe with you, don't you see ?
Quite — safe — with — you."
He rolled out these last words, one by one, with in-
finite relish ; and the mockery in the depths of those
eyes seared me far more than my bonds. After watching
the effect of his taunt he resumed his seat upon the
stool, pulled the clasf) towards him and said —
" People might call me rash for entrusting these
confidences to you. But I do not mind admitting that
I owe you some reparation — some anterior reparation.
So, as I don't wish you to die cursing me, I will be
generous. Listen ! "
He held the buckle down upon the table and read
out the inscription as follows : —
. FULL .
, FEET .
. RING .
. SIDE ,
, AT .
. LOW .
. 11 .
316 DEAD man's rock.
He read it through twice very slowly, and each time
as he ceased looked up to see how I took it.
"It does not seem to make much sense, does it?'*
he asked. " But wait a moment and let me parcel it
out into sentences. I should not like you to miss any
of its meaning. Listen again.'' He divided the
writing up thus : —
'' Start at full moon.
End South Point 27 feet N.N.W.
22 feet W. of Ring. North Side.
4 feet 6 inches deep at point of meeting.
Low water 1| hours."
" You still seem puzzled, Mr. Trenoweth. Very
well, I will even go on to explain further. The person
who engraved this clasp meant to tell us that something
— let us say treasure, for sake of argument — coukl be
found by anyone who drew two lines from some place
unknown : one 27 feet in length in direction N.N.W.
from the South Point of that place ; the other 22 feet
due West of a certain Ring on the North side of that
same place. So far I trust I make my meaning clear.
That which we have agreed to call the treasure lies
buried at a depth of 4 feet 6 inches on the spot where
these two lines intersect. But the person (you or I, for
the sake of argument) who seeks this treasure must
start at full moon. W^hy ? Obviously because the
spring tides occur with a full moon, consequently the
low ebb. We must expect, then, to find our treasure
MY ENEMY EXPLAINS. 317
burit'd in a spot which is only uncovered at dead low
water ; and to this conclusion I am also helped by the
last sentence, which says^ " Low water 1 J hours/'' It is
then, I submit, Mr. Trenoweth, in some such place that
we must look for our treasure ; the only question being-,
' AVhere is that place ? ' "
I was waiting- for this, and a great tide of joy swept
over me as I reflected that after all he had not solved
the mystery. The clasp told nothing, the key told no-
thing. The secret was safe as yet.
He must have read my thoughts, for he looked
steadily at me out of those dark eyes of his, and then
said very slowly and deliberately —
" Mr. Trenowethj it grieves me to taunt your miser-
able case ; but do you mind my saying that you are a
I simply stared in answer.
*' Your father was a fool — a pitiful fool j and you
are a fool. Which would lead me, did 1 not know bet-
ter, to believe that your grandfather, Amos Trenoweth,
was a fool also. I should wrong him if I called him
that. He was a villain, a black-hearted, murderous,
cold-blooded, damnable villain ; but he was only a fool
for once in his life, and that was when he trusted in the
sense of his descendants.''^
His voice, as he spoke of my grandfather, grew
suddenly shrill and discordant, while his eyes blazed up
in furious wrath. In a second or two, however, he
calmed himself again and went on quietly as before.
318 DEAD man's rock.