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might all have been so many spirits for the silence of the party.
Barnaby True was too full of his own thoughts to talk (and serious
enough thoughts they were by this time, with crimps to trepan a man at
every turn, and press-gangs to carry him off so that he might never be
heard of again). As for the others, they did not seem to choose to say
anything now that they had been fairly embarked upon their enterprise,
and so the crew pulled away for the best part of an hour, the leader of
the expedition directing the course of the boat straight across the
harbor, as though towards the mouth of the Cobra River. Indeed, this
was their destination, as Barnaby could after a while see for himself,
by the low point of land with a great, long row of cocoanut-palms
growing upon it (the appearance of which he knew very well), which
by-and-by began to loom up from the dimness of the moonlight. As they
approached the river they found the tide was running very violently, so
that it gurgled and rippled alongside the boat as the crew of black men
pulled strongly against it. Thus rowing slowly against the stream they
came around what appeared to be either a point of land or an islet
covered with a thick growth of mangrove-trees; though still no one
spoke a single word as to their destination, or what was the business
they had in hand.

The night, now that they had come close to the shore, appeared to be
full of the noises of running tide-water, and the air was heavy with
the smell of mud and marsh. And over all was the whiteness of the
moonlight, with a few stars pricking out here and there in the sky; and
everything was so strange and mysterious and so different from anything
that he had experienced before that Barnaby could not divest himself of
the feeling that it was all a dream from which at any moment he might
awaken. As for the town and the Ordinary he had quitted such a short
time before, so different were they from this present experience, it
was as though they might have concerned another life than that which he
was then enjoying.

Meantime, the rowers bending to the oars, the boat drew slowly around
into the open water once more. As it did so the leader of the
expedition of a sudden called out in a loud, commanding voice, whereat
the black men instantly ceased rowing and lay on their oars, the boat
drifting onward into the night.

At the same moment of time our hero became aware of another boat coming
down the river towards where they lay. This other boat, approaching
thus strangely through the darkness, was full of men, some of them
armed; for even in the distance Barnaby could not but observe that the
light of the moon glimmered now and then as upon the barrels of muskets
or pistols. This threw him into a good deal of disquietude of mind, for
whether they or this boat were friends or enemies, or as to what was to
happen next, he was altogether in the dark.

Upon this point, however, he was not left very long in doubt, for the
oarsmen of the approaching boat continuing to row steadily onward till
they had come pretty close to Barnaby and his companions, a man who sat
in the stern suddenly stood up, and as they passed by shook a cane at
Barnaby's companion with a most threatening and angry gesture. At the
same moment, the moonlight shining full upon him, Barnaby could see him
as plain as daylight - a large, stout gentleman with a round red face,
and clad in a fine, laced coat of red cloth. In the stern of the boat
near by him was a box or chest about the bigness of a middle-sized
travelling-trunk, but covered all over with cakes of sand and dirt. In
the act of passing, the gentleman, still standing, pointed at this
chest with his cane - an elegant gold-headed staff - and roared out in a
loud voice: "Are you come after this, Abram Dowling? Then come and take
it." And thereat, as he sat down again, burst out a-laughing as though
what he had said was the wittiest jest conceivable.

Either because he respected the armed men in the other boat, or else
for some reason best known to himself, the Captain of our hero's
expedition did not immediately reply, but sat as still as any stone.
But at last, the other boat having drifted pretty far away, he suddenly
found words to shout out after it: "Very well, Jack Malyoe! Very well,
Jack Malyoe! You've got the better of us once more. But next time is
the third, and then it'll be our turn, even if William Brand must come
back from the grave to settle with you himself."

But to this my fine gentleman in t'other boat made no reply except to
burst out once more into a great fit of laughter.

There was, however, still another man in the stern of the enemy's
boat - a villanous, lean man with lantern-jaws, and the top of his head as
bald as an apple. He held in his hand a great pistol, which he
flourished about him, crying out to the gentleman beside him, "Do but
give me the word, your honor, and I'll put another bullet through the
son of a sea cook." But the other forbade him, and therewith the boat
presently melted away into the darkness of the night and was gone.

This happened all in a few seconds, so that before our hero understood
what was passing he found the boat in which he still sat drifting
silently in the moonlight (for no one spoke for awhile) and the oars of
the other boat sounding farther and farther away into the distance.

By-and-by says one of those in Barnaby's boat, in Spanish, "Where shall
you go now?"

At this the leader of the expedition appeared suddenly to come back to
himself and to find his tongue again. "Go?" he roared out. "Go to the
devil! Go? Go where you choose! Go? Go back again - that's where well
go!" And therewith he fell a-cursing and swearing, frothing at the lips
as though he had gone clean crazy, while the black men, bending once
more to their oars, rowed back again across the harbor as fast as ever
they could lay oars to the water.

They put Barnaby True ashore below the old custom-house, but so
bewildered and amazed by all that had happened, and by what he had
seen, and by the names he had heard spoken, that he was only half
conscious of the familiar things among which he suddenly found himself
transported. The moonlight and the night appeared to have taken upon
them a new and singular aspect, and he walked up the street towards his
lodging like one drunk or in a dream. For you must remember that "John
Malyoe" was the captain of the _Adventure_ galley - he who had shot
Barnaby's own grandfather - and "Abram Dowling," I must tell you, had
been the gunner of the _Royal Sovereign_ - he who had been shot at the
same time that Captain Brand met his tragical end. And yet these names
he had heard spoken - the one from one boat, and the other from the
other, so that he could not but wonder what sort of beings they were
among whom he had fallen.

As to that box covered all over with mud, he could only offer a
conjecture as to what it contained and as to what the finding of it

But of this our hero said nothing to any one, nor did he tell any one
what he suspected, for, though he was so young in years, he possessed a
continent disposition inherited from his father (who had been one of
ten children born to a poor but worthy Presbyterian minister of
Bluefield, Connecticut), so it was that not even to his good friend Mr.
Greenfield did Barnaby say a word as to what had happened to him, going
about his business the next day as though nothing of moment had

But he was not destined yet to be done with those beings among whom he
had fallen that night; for that which he supposed to be the ending of
the whole affair was only the beginning of further adventures that were
soon to befall him.


Mr. Greenfield lived in a fine brick house just outside of the town, on
the Mona Road. His family consisted of a wife and two daughters -
handsome, lively young ladies with very fine, bright teeth that shone
whenever they laughed, and with a-plenty to say for themselves. To this
pleasant house Barnaby True was often asked to a family dinner, after
which he and his good kind host would maybe sit upon the veranda,
looking out towards the mountain, smoking their cigarros while the
young ladies laughed and talked, or played upon the guitar and sang.

A day or two before the _Belle Helen_ sailed from Kingston, upon her
return voyage to New York, Mr. Greenfield stopped Barnaby True as he
was passing through the office, and begged him to come to dinner that
night. (For within the tropics, you are to know, they breakfast at
eleven o'clock and take dinner in the cool of the evening, because of
the heat, and not at mid-day, as we do in more temperate latitudes). "I
would," says Mr. Greenfield, "have you meet Sir John Malyoe and Miss
Marjorie, who are to be your chief passengers for New York, and for
whom the state cabin and the two state-rooms are to be fitted as here
ordered" - showing a letter - "for Sir John hath arranged," says Mr.
Greenfield, "for the Captain's own state-room."

Then, not being aware of Barnaby True's history, nor that Captain Brand
was his grandfather, the good gentleman - calling Sir John "Jack"
Malyoe - goes on to tell our hero what a famous pirate he had been, and
how it was he who had shot Captain Brand over t'other side of the
harbor twenty years before. "Yes," says he, "'tis the same Jack Malyoe,
though grown into repute and importance now, as who would not who hath
had the good-fortune to fall heir to a baronetcy and a landed estate?"

And so it befell that same night that Barnaby True once again beheld
the man who had murdered his own grandfather, meeting him this time
face to face.

That time in the harbor he had seen Sir John Malyoe at a distance and
in the darkness; now that he beheld him closer, it seemed to him that
he had never seen a countenance more distasteful to him in all his
life. Not that the man was altogether ugly, for he had a good enough
nose and a fine double chin; but his eyes stood out from his face and
were red and watery, and he winked them continually, as though they
were always a-smarting. His lips were thick and purple-red, and his
cheeks mottled here and there with little clots of veins.

When he spoke, his voice rattled in his throat to such a degree that it
made one wish to clear one's own throat to listen to him. So, what with
a pair of fat, white hands, and that hoarse voice, and his swollen
face, and his thick lips a-sticking out, it appeared to Barnaby True he
had never beheld a countenance that pleased him so little.

But if Sir John Malyoe suited our hero's taste so ill, the
granddaughter was in the same degree pleasing to him. She had a thin,
fair skin, red lips, and yellow hair - though it was then powdered
pretty white for the occasion - and the bluest eyes that ever he beheld
in all of his life. A sweet, timid creature, who appeared not to dare
so much as to speak a word for herself without looking to that great
beast, her grandfather, for leave to do so, for she would shrink and
shudder whenever he would speak of a sudden to her or direct a glance
upon her. When she did pluck up sufficient courage to say anything, it
was in so low a voice that Barnaby was obliged to bend his head to hear
her; and when she smiled she would as like as not catch herself short
and look up as though to see if she did amiss to be cheerful.

As for Sir John, he sat at dinner and gobbled and ate and drank,
smacking his lips all the while, but with hardly a word of civility
either to Mr. Greenfield or to Mrs. Greenfield or to Barnaby True; but
wearing all the while a dull, sullen air, as though he would say, "Your
damned victuals and drink are no better than they should be, but, such
as they are, I must eat 'em or eat nothing."

It was only after dinner was over and the young lady and the two misses
off in a corner together that Barnaby heard her talk with any degree of
ease. Then, to be sure, her tongue became loose enough, and she
prattled away at a great rate; though hardly above her breath. Then of
a sudden her grand-father called out, in his hoarse, rattling voice,
that it was time to go, upon which she stopped short in what she was
saying and jumped up from her chair, looking as frightened as though he
were going to strike her with that gold-headed cane of his that he
always carried with him.

Barnaby True and Mr. Greenfield both went out to see the two into their
coach, where Sir John's man stood holding the lantern. And who should
he be, to be sure, but that same lean villain with bald head who had
offered to shoot the Captain of Barnaby's expedition out on the harbor
that night! For one of the circles of light shining up into his face,
Barnaby True knew him the moment he clapped eyes upon him. Though he
could not have recognized our hero, he grinned at him in the most
impudent, familiar fashion, and never so much as touched his hat either
to him or to Mr. Greenfield; but as soon as his master and his young
mistress had entered the coach, banged to the door and scrambled up on
the seat alongside the driver, and so away without a word, but with
another impudent grin, this time favoring both Barnaby and the old

Such were Sir John Malyoe and his man, and the ill opinion our hero
conceived of them was only confirmed by further observation.

The next day Sir John Malyoe's travelling-cases began to come aboard
the _Belle Helen_, and in the afternoon that same lean, villanous
man-servant comes skipping across the gangplank as nimble as a goat, with
two black men behind him lugging a great sea-chest. "What!" he cries
out, "and so you is the supercargo, is you? Why, to be sure, I thought
you was more account when I saw you last night a-sitting talking with
his honor like his equal. Well, no matter," says he, "'tis something to
have a brisk, genteel young fellow for a supercargo. So come, my
hearty, lend a hand and help me set his honor's cabin to rights."

What a speech was this to endure from such a fellow! What with our
hero's distaste for the villain, and what with such odious familiarity,
you may guess into what temper so impudent an address must have cast
him. Says he, "You'll find the steward in yonder, and he'll show you
the cabin Sir John is to occupy." Therewith he turned and walked away
with prodigious dignity, leaving the other standing where he was.

As he went below to his own state-room he could not but see, out of the
tail of his eye, that the fellow was still standing where he had left
him, regarding him with a most evil, malevolent countenance, so that he
had the satisfaction of knowing that he had an enemy aboard for that
voyage who was not very likely to forgive or forget what he must regard
as so mortifying a slight as that which Barnaby had put upon him.

The next day Sir John Malyoe himself came aboard, accompanied by his
granddaughter, and followed by his man, and he followed again by four
black men, who carried among them two trunks, not large in size, but
vastly heavy in weight. Towards these two trunks Sir John and his
follower devoted the utmost solicitude and care to see that they were
properly carried into the cabin he was to occupy. Barnaby True was
standing in the saloon as they passed close by him; but though Sir John
looked hard at him and straight in the face, he never so much as spoke
a single word to our hero, or showed by a look or a sign that he had
ever met him before. At this the serving-man, who saw it all with eyes
as quick as a cat's, fell to grinning and chuckling to see Barnaby in
his turn so slighted.

The young lady, who also saw it, blushed as red as fire, and thereupon
delivered a courtesy to poor Barnaby, with a most sweet and gracious

There were, besides Sir John and the young lady, but two other
passengers who upon this occasion took the voyage to New York: the
Reverend Simon Styles, master of a flourishing academy at Spanish Town,
and his wife. This was a good, worthy couple of an extremely quiet
disposition, saying little or nothing, but contented to sit in the
great cabin by the hour together reading in some book or other. So,
what with the retiring humor of the worthy pair, and what with Sir John
Malyoe's fancy for staying all the time shut up in his own cabin with
those two trunks he held so precious, it fell upon Barnaby True in
great part to show that attention to the young lady that the
circumstances demanded. This he did with a great deal of satisfaction
to himself - as any one may suppose who considers a spirited young man
of one-and-twenty years of age and a sweet and beautiful young miss of
seventeen or eighteen thrown thus together day after day for above two

Accordingly, the weather being very fair and the ship driving freely
along before a fine breeze, and they having no other occupation than to
sit talking together all day, gazing at the blue sea and the bright sky
overhead, it is not difficult to conceive of what was to befall.

But oh, those days when a man is young and, whether wisely or no,
fallen into such a transport of passion as poor Barnaby True suffered
at that time! How often during that voyage did our hero lie awake in
his berth at night, tossing this way and that without finding any
refreshment of sleep - perhaps all because her hand had touched his, or
because she had spoken some word to him that had possessed him with a
ravishing disquietude?

All this might not have befallen him had Sir John Malyoe looked after
his granddaughter instead of locking himself up day and night in his
own cabin, scarce venturing out except to devour his food or maybe to
take two or three turns across the deck before returning again to the
care of those chests he appeared to hold so much more precious than his
own flesh and blood.

Nor was it to be supposed that Barnaby would take the pains to consider
what was to become of it all, for what young man so situated as he but
would be perfectly content to live so agreeably in a fool's paradise,
satisfying himself by assigning the whole affair to the future to take
care of itself. Accordingly, our hero endeavored, and with pretty good
success, to put away from him whatever doubts might arise in his own
mind concerning what he was about, satisfying himself with making his
conversation as agreeable to his companion as it lay in his power to

So the affair continued until the end of the whole business came with a
suddenness that promised for a time to cast our hero into the utmost
depths of humiliation and despair.

At that time the _Belle Helen_ was, according to Captain Manly's
reckoning, computed that day at noon, bearing about five-and-fifty
leagues northeast-by-east off the harbor of Charleston, in South

Nor was our hero likely to forget for many years afterwards even the
smallest circumstance of that occasion. He may remember that it was a
mightily sweet, balmy evening, the sun not having set above half an
hour before, and the sky still suffused with a good deal of brightness,
the air being extremely soft and mild. He may remember with the utmost
nicety how they were leaning over the rail of the vessel looking out
towards the westward, she fallen mightily quiet as though occupied with
very serious thoughts.

Of a sudden she began, without any preface whatever, to speak to
Barnaby about herself and her affairs, in a most confidential manner,
such as she had never used to him before. She told him that she and her
grandfather were going to New York that they might take passage thence
to Boston, in Massachusetts, where they were to meet her cousin Captain
Malyoe, who was stationed in garrison at that place. Continuing, she
said that Captain Malyoe was the next heir to the Devonshire estate,
and that she and he were to be married in the fall.

You may conceive into what a confusion of distress such a confession as
this, delivered so suddenly, must have cast poor Barnaby. He could
answer her not a single word, but stood staring in another direction
than hers, endeavoring to compose himself into some equanimity of
spirit. For indeed it was a sudden, terrible blow, and his breath came
as hot and dry as ashes in his throat. Meanwhile the young lady went on
to say, though in a mightily constrained voice, that she had liked him
from the very first moment she had seen him, and had been very happy
for these days she had passed in his society, and that she would always
think of him as a dear friend who had been very kind to her, who had so
little pleasure in her life.

At last Barnaby made shift to say, though in a hoarse and croaking
voice, that Captain Malyoe must be a very happy man, and that if he
were in Captain Malyoe's place he would be the happiest man in the
world. Thereupon, having so found his voice, he went on to tell her,
though in a prodigious confusion and perturbation of spirit, that he
too loved her, and that what she had told him struck him to the heart,
and made him the most miserable, unhappy wretch in the whole world.

She exhibited no anger at what he said, nor did she turn to look at
him, but only replied, in a low voice, that he should not talk so, for
that it could only be a pain to them both to speak of such things, and
that whether she would or no, she must do everything her grandfather
bade her, he being indeed a terrible man.

To this poor Barnaby could only repeat that he loved her with all his
heart, that he had hoped for nothing in his love, but that he was now
the most miserable man in the world.

It was at this moment, so momentous to our hero, that some one who had
been hiding unseen nigh them for all the while suddenly moved away, and
Barnaby, in spite of the gathering darkness, could perceive that it was
that villain man-servant of Sir John Malyoe's. Nor could he but know
that the wretch must have overheard all that had been said.

As he looked he beheld this fellow go straight to the great cabin,
where he disappeared with a cunning leer upon his face, so that our
hero could not but be aware that the purpose of the eavesdropper must
be to communicate all that he had overheard to his master. At this
thought the last drop of bitterness was added to his trouble, for what
could be more distressing to any man of honor than to possess the
consciousness that such a wretch should have overheard so sacred a
conversation as that which he had enjoyed with the young lady. She,
upon her part, could not have been aware that the man had listened to
what she had been saying, for she still continued leaning over the
rail, and Barnaby remained standing by her side, without moving, but so
distracted by a tumult of many passions that he knew not how or where
to look.

After a pretty long time of this silence, the young lady looked up to
see why her companion had not spoken for so great a while, and at that
very moment Sir John Malyoe comes flinging out of the cabin without his
hat, but carrying his gold-headed cane. He ran straight across the deck
towards where Barnaby and the young lady stood, swinging his cane this
way and that with a most furious and threatening countenance, while the
informer, grinning like an ape, followed close at his heels. As Sir
John approached them, he cried out in so loud a voice that all on deck
might have heard him, "You hussy!" (And all the time, you are to
remember, he was swinging his cane as though he would have struck the
young lady, who, upon her part, shrank back from him almost upon the
deck as though to escape such a blow.) "You hussy! What do you do here,
talking with a misbred Yankee supercargo not fit for a gentlewoman to
wipe her feet upon, and you stand there and listen to his fool talk! Go
to your room, you hussy" - only 'twas something worse he called her this
time - "before I lay this cane across you!"

You may suppose into what fury such words as these, spoken in Barnaby's
hearing, not to mention that vile slur set upon himself, must have cast
our hero. To be sure he scarcely knew what he did, but he put his hand
against Sir John Malyoe's breast and thrust him back most violently,
crying out upon him at the same time for daring so to threaten a young
lady, and that for a farthing he would wrench the stick out of his hand
and throw it overboard.

A little farther and Sir John would have fallen flat upon the deck with
the push Barnaby gave him. But he contrived, by catching hold of the
rail, to save his balance. Whereupon, having recovered himself, he came
running at our hero like a wild beast, whirling his cane about, and I
do believe would have struck him (and God knows then what might have
happened) had not his man-servant caught him and held him back.

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Online LibraryHoward PyleStolen Treasure → online text (page 6 of 11)