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ing up dollars on a sea-beach. Sadly ! sadly ! indeed, was
the deacon's cupidity excited by this account; a vivid pic
ture of whales, or seals, having some such effect on the
imagination of a true Suffolk county man, or more pro
perly on that of an East-ender, as those who live beyond
Riverhead are termed, as a glowing account of a prairie
covered with wheat has on that of a Wolverine or a Buck
eye ; or an enumeration of cent per cent, has on the feel
ings of a Wall-street broker. Never before had Deacon
Pratt been so much " exercised" with a love of Mammon.
The pirate's tale, which was also recapitulated with much
gusto, scarce excited him as much as Daggett's glowing
account of the number, condition, and size of the seals.

Nothing was withheld but the latitudes and longitudes.
No art of the deacon's, and he practised many, could ex
tort from the mariner these most material facts, without
which all the rest were useless ; and the old man worked
himself into a fever almost as high as that which soon
came over Daggett, in the effort to come at these facts but
all in vain.

At that hour the pulse of the sick man usually quicken-


ed; but, on this occasion, it fairly thumped. He had
excited himself, as well as his listener ; and the inconsi
derate manner in which both had yielded up their energies
to these enticing images of wealth, contributed largely to
increase the evil. At length, exhaustion came to put an
end to the scene, which was getting to be dramatic as well
as revolting.

So conscious was the deacon, on returning home that
evening, that his mind was not in such a condition as it
behoved him to keep it in on the Lord's Day, that he was
afraid to encounter the placid eye of his devout and single-
minded niece. Instead of joining her, and uniting in the
services that were customary at that hour, he walked in
the adjoining orchard until near nine o'clock. Mammon
was uppermost in the place of the Deity, and habit offered
too strong a barrier to permit him to bring, as it were, the
false god openly into the presence of the true.


" Oh ! mourn not for them, their grief is o'er,
Oh! weep not for them, they weep no more ;
For deep is their sleep, though cold and haid
Their pillow may be in the old kirk-yard.''


EARLY on the succeeding morning, the whole household
of deacon Pratt, himself included, were up and doing. It
was as the sun came up out of the waters that Mary and
her uncle met in the porch, as if to greet each other.

" Yonder comes the Widow White, and seemingly in a
great hurry," said the niece, anxiously ; " I am afraid her
patient is worse!"

" He seemed better when I left him last evening, though

a little tired with talking," returned the uncle. "The man

toould talk, do all I could to stop him. I wanted to get

but two or three words from him, and he used a thousand,



without once using the few I wished most to hear. A talk,
ing man is that Daggett, I can tell you, Mary !"

" He'll never talk ag'in, deacon !" exclaimed the Widow
White, who had got so near as to hear the concluding
words of the last speaker " He '11 never say good or evil
more !"

The deacon was so confounded as to be speechless. As
for Mary, she expressed her deep regrets that the summons
should have been so sudden, and that the previous prepara
tion was so small ; matters that gave her far more concern
than any other consideration. They were not long left to
conjectures, the voluble widow soon supplying all the facts
that had occurred. It appeared that Daggett died in the
night, the widow having found him stiff and cold on visit
ing his bed-side a few minutes before. That this somewhat
unexpected event, as to the time at least, was hastened by
the excitement of the conversation mentioned, there can
be little doubt, though no comment was made on the cir
cumstance. The immediate cause of death was suffocation
from the effects of suppuration, as so often occurs in rapid

It would be representing deacon Pratt as a worse man
than he actually was, to say that this sudden death had no
effect on his feelings. For a short time it brought him
back to a sense of his own age, and condition, and pros
pects. For half an hour these considerations troubled him,
but the power of Mammon gradually resumed its sway, and
the unpleasant images slowly disappeared in others that he
found more agreeable. Then he began seriously to bethink
him of what the circumstances required to be done.

As there was nothing unusual in the death of Daggett,
the investigations of the coroner were not required. It
was clearly a natural, though a sudden death. It remained,
therefore, only to give directions about the funeral, and to
have an eye to the safe-keeping of the effects of the de
ceased. The deacon assumed the duty of taking charge
of everything. The chest of Daggett was removed to his
house for safe-keeping, the key having been taken from the
pocket of his vest, and the necessary orders were given for
the final disposition of the body.

The deacon had another serious, and even painful half


hour, when he first looked upon the corpse. There it lay,
a senseless shell, deserted by its immortal tenant, and to
tally unconscious of that subject which had so lately and
so intensely interested them both. It appeared as if the
ghastly countenance expressed its sense of the utter worth-
lessness of all earthly schemes of wealth and happiness.
Eternity seemed stamped upon the pinched and sunken
features; not eternity in the sense of imperishable matter,
but in the sense of the fate of man. Had all the gold of
the Indies lain within his reach, the arm of Daggett was
now powerless to touch it. His eye could no longer gloat
upon treasure, nor any part of his corporeal system profit
by its possession. A more striking commentary on the
vanity of human wishes could not, just then, have been
offered to the consideration of the deacon. His moral
being was very strangely constituted. From early childhood
he had been accustomed to the cant of religion ; and, in
many instances, impressions had been made on him that
produced effects that it was easy to confound with the
fruits that real piety brings forth. This is a result that we
often find in a state of society in which appearances are
made to take the place of reality. What is more, it is a
result that we may look for equally among the formalists
of established sects, and among the descendants of those
who once deserted the homes of their fathers in order to
escape from the impiety of so meretricious an abuse of the
substance of godliness. In the case of the latter, appear
ances occupy the mind more than that love of God which
is the one great test of human conversion from sin to an
improving state of that holiness, without which we are told
no man shall see his Creator ; without which, indeed, no
man could endure to look upon that dread Being face to

The deacon had all the forms of godliness in puritanical
perfection. He had never taken the " name of his God in
vain," throughout the course of a long life; but, he had
abstained from this revolting and gratuitous sin, more be
cause it was a part of the teachings of his youth so to do,
and because the neighbours would have been shocked at
its commission, than because he felt the deep reverence for
his Maker, which it became the insignificant being that


was the work of his hand to entertain ; and which would,
of itself, most effectually have prevented any wantDn use
of his holy name, let the neighbours feel or think as they
might on the subject. In this way Deacon Pratt might be
said to have respected most of the commands of the deca
logue ; not, however, because the spirit of God impelled
him, through love, to reverence and obey, but because he
had been brought up in a part of the country where it was
considered seemly and right to be moral, to the senses, at
least, if not to the all-seeing eye above. It was in this way
that the deacon had arrived at his preferment in the meet
ing. He had all the usual sectarian terms at the end of
his tongue ; never uttered a careless expression ; was regu
lar at meeting; apparently performed all the duties that his
church required of its professors, in the way of mere reli
gious observances; yet was he as far from being in that
state which St. Paul has described succinctly as " for me
to live in Christ, and to die is gain," as if he had been a
pagan. It was not the love of God that was active in his
soul, but the love of self; and he happened to exhibit his
passion under these restrained and deceptive forms, simply
because he had been born and educated in a state of so
ciety where they composed an integral part of existence.
Covetousness was the deacon's besetting sin ; and, as it is
a vice that may be pretty well concealed, with a little at
tention to appearances, it was the less likely to expose him
to comments than almost any other sin. It is true, that
the neighbourhood sometimes fancied him ' close,' or, as
they expressed it, " cluss," and men got to look sharply to
their own interests in their dealings with him ; but, on the
whole, there was perhaps more reason to apprehend, in
such a community, that the example of so good a man
should be accepted as authority, than that his acts should
impeach his character, or endanger his standing.

Very different were the situation, feelings, and motives
of the niece. She devoutly loved God, and, as a conse
quence, all of those whom he had created, and placed
around her. Her meek and gentle spirit led her to wor
ship in sincerity and truth ; and all that she thought, said,
and did, was under the correction of the principles such
motives could best produce. Her woman's love for Ros-


well Gardiner alone troubled her otherwise happy and
peaceful existence. That, indeed, had caused her more
than once to falter in her way ; but she struggled with the
weakness, and had strong hopes of being able to overcome
it. To accept of any other man as a husband, was, in her
eyes, impossible; with the feelings she was fully conscious
of entertaining towards him, it would have been both in
delicate and unjust : but, to accept him, while he regarded
the Redeemer as only man, however pure and exalted, she
felt would be putting herself willingly, or wilfully, into the
hands of the great enemy of her salvation. Often and often
had she prayed for her lover, even more devoutly, and with
hotter tears, than she had ever prayed for herself; but, so
far as she could discover, without any visible fruits. His
opinions remained unchanged, and his frank nature forbade
him from concealing their state from Mary. In this way,
then, was unhappiness stealing on the early and innocent
hours of one who might, otherwise, have been so contented
and blessed. It formed a somewhat peculiar feature in
her case, that her uncle favoured the views of her suitor.
This rendered the trials of the niece so much the more
severe, as she had no other judgment to sustain her than
her own, fortified as that was, however, by the conscious
ness of right, and the support of that great power which
never deserts the faithful.

Such was the state of feeling among some of the princi
pal actors of our tale, when the sudden death of Daggett
occurred. The body was not removed from the house of
the Widow White, but the next morning it was conveyed
to the " grave-yard" ' church-yard' would have sounded
too episcopal and interred in a corner that was bestowed
on the unhonoured and unknown. It was then, only, that
the deacon believed he was the sole depository of the im
portant secrets. He had the charts in his possession, and
no more revelations could pass the lips of Daggett. Should
the friends of the deceased sailor hear of his death, and
come to look after his effects, there was very little proba
bility of their finding anything among them to furnish a
clue to either the new sealing-ground, or to the buried
treasure of the pirate. In order to be secured, he even
went a little beyond his usual precautions, actually dis-


charging all indebtedness of the deceased to the Widow
White out of his own pocket, by giving to her the sum of
ten dollars. This was handsome compensation in her eyea
as well as in his, and he quieted the suspicions so great
and unusual an act of liberality would be apt to awaken,
by saying, " he would look to the friends, or if they failed
him, to the effects, for his returns; for it was better he
should lose by the stranger, than a lone widow." He also
paid for the coffin, the digging of the grave, and the other
light expenses of the interment. In a word, the deacon
endeavoured to hush all impertinent inquiries by applying
the salve of silver, wherever it was needed.

The chest had been removed to a large, light closet, that
communicated with the deacon's own room. When all
his accounts were settled, thither he repaired, armed with
the key that was to expose so much treasure to his longing
eyes. Some slight qualms arose, after he had locked him
self in the room, touching the propriety of his opening the
chest. It was not his, certainly ; but he put such a con
struction on the nature of the revelations of Daggett, as he
thought would fully justify him in proceeding. He had
purchased the schooner expressly to go in quest of the
seals and the treasure. This he had done with Daggett's
knowledge and acquiescence ; nor did he conceive that his
own rights were lessened by the mariner's decease. As
for himself, the deacon had never believed that the Mar
tha's Vineyard man could accompany the expedition, so
that his presence or absence could have no influence on
his own rights. It is true, the deacon possessed no direct
legal transfer of the charts ; but he inferred that all the
previous circumstances gave him sufficient claims to justify
htm in, at least, looking into their contents.

It was a solemn, as well as an anxious moment to the
deacon, when he first raised the lid of the chest. Solemn,
because it was not possible to forget the recent decease of
its late owner ; and anxious, inasmuch as he had no cer
tainty that he should find even on the charts, the places of
which he sought the latitudes and longitudes. Certainly,
nothing like treasure presented itself to his eyes, when all
that Daggett had left behind him lay exposed to view.
The chest of a common sailor is usually but ill-furnished,


unless it may be just after his return from a long and well-
paid voyage, and before he has had time to fall back on his
purchases of clothes, as a fund to supply his cravings for
personal gratification. This of Daggett's formed no ex
ception to the rule. The few clothes it contained were of
the lightest sort, having been procured in warm climates,
and were well worn, in addition. The palms, needles, and
shells, and carving in whale-bone, had all been sold, to
meet their owner's wants, and nothing of that sort remained.
There were two old, dirty, and ragged charts, and on these
the deacon laid his hands, much as the hawk, in its swoop,
descends on its prey. As it did, however, a tremor came
over him, that actually compelled him to throw himself into
a chair, and to rest for a moment.

The first of the charts opened, the deacon saw at a
glance, was that of the antarctic circle. There, sure
enough, was laid down in ink, three or four specks for
islands, with lat. , ", and long. , ", written out
at its side. We are under obligations not to give the
figures that stand on the chart, for the discovery is deemed
to be important, by those who possess the secret, even to
the present hour. We are at liberty to tell the whole
story, with this one exception ; and we shall proceed to do
so, with a proper regard to the pledges made in the pre

The deacon scarcely breathed as he assured himself of
the important fact just mentioned, and his hands tremblec
to such a degree as to fairly cause the paper of the chart
to rattle. Then he had recourse to an expedient that was
strictly characteristic of the man. He wrote the latitude
and longitude in a memorandum-book that he carried on
his person ; after which he again sat down, and with great
care erased the island and the writing from the chart, with
the point of a penknife. This done, his mind felt infinitely
relieved. Nor was this all. Charts purchased for the
schooner were lying on a table in his own room, and he
projected on one of them, as well as his skill would allow,
the sealmg-islands he had just removed from the chart left
by Daggett. There he also wrote, in pencil, the important
figures that we are commanded not to reveal.

The second chart was then opened. It was of the West


Indies, and particularly of certain keys. One of these last
was pointed out in a way to leave no doubt that it was
meant for the key indicated by the pirate. The same pro
hibition existing as to this key that exists in respect to the
sealing-island, we cannot be more explicit. The writing
near this key being in pencil, it was effectually removed
by means of India-rubber. When this was done, the dea
con used the precaution to rub some material on the clean
place made by his knife, on the other chart, when he be
lieved no eye could detect what had just been done. Hav
ing marked the proper key, on his own chart of the West
Indies, he replaced the charts of Daggett in the chest, and
locked all up again. The verbal accounts of the sick ma
riner he had already transferred to paper, and he now be
lieved himself secure of all the information that was neces
sary to render him the richest man in Suffolk !

When they next met, Mary was surprised at the gaiety
of her uncle, and that so soon after a funeral. He had a
lightened heart, however ; for after leading him on, step
by step, until he had gone so far as to purchase and fit out
the schooner, Daggett had pertinaciously refused to enter
into those minute particulars which it is even now forbid
den us to state, and a want of which would have rendered
his previous expenditures useless. Death, however, had
lifted the veil, and the deacon now believed himself secure
in his knowledge.

An hour or two later, Deacon Pratt and his niece were
seated, in company with two others, at the dinner-table.
The fare was simple, but good. Fish enters largely into
the domestic consumption of all those who dwell near the
water, in that part of the country ; and, on that particular
occasion, the uncle had, in the lightness of his heart, in
dulged in what, for him, was a piece of extravagance
In all such regions there are broken-down, elderly men,
who live by taking fish. Liquor has usually been their
great enemy, and all have the same generic character of
laziness, shiftless and ill-regulated exertions, followed by
much idleness, and fits of intemperance, that in the end
commonly cause t/ieir deaths. Such a man fished between
Oyster Pond and Shelter Island, being known to all who


dwelt within his beat, by the familiar appellation of Baiting

Shortly after the discovery of the latitudes and longi
tudes on the charts, the deacon had gone to the wharf, in
his impatience to see how Roswell Gardiner got on with
the Sea Lion. The young man, with his gang of hands,
was hard at work, and a very material difference was to be
observed in the state of the schooner, from that in which
she was described in our opening chapter. Her rigging
had all been set up, every spar was in its place, and alto
gether she had a look of preparation and completeness.
Her water was taking in, and from time to time a country
wagon, or an ox-cart, delivered alongside articles belong
ing to her stores. Of cargo, proper, there was none, or
next to none ; a sealer carrying little besides salt, and her
stores. In a word, the work was rapidly advancing, and
" Captain Gar'ner" told his impatient owner that the craft
would be ready to put to sea in all that week.

" I have succeeded in engaging the first officer I want
ed," added the young man, " and he is now busy in look
ing up and shipping hands, at Stonington. We must get
half-a-dozen reliable men on the main, and then we can
take some of our neighbours here, as beginners, just to
please them."

"Yes, ship a goodly number of green hands," said the
deacon, zealously. " They work at cheap ' lays,' and leave
the owners the greater profits. Well, well, Captain Gar'
ner, things seem to be doing well in your hands, and I will
leave you. About two hours after dinner, I shall want to
have a word with you in private, and will thank you just
to step across to the house, where you will be certain to
find me. Baiting Joe seems to have hooked something
there, in 'arnest."

" That has he ! I '11 answer for it that he has a sheeps-
head at the end of his line that will weigh eight or ten

The words of Gardiner proved true, for Joe actually
pulled in a fish of the description and weight he haa just
mentioned. It was this sight that, in the lightness of his
heart, tempted the deacon to a little extravagance. Joe
was called ashore, and after a good deal of chaffering, the


deacon bought the prize for half a dollar. As Mary was
celebrated for her skill in preparing this particular fish, the
deacon, before he left the wharf, with the sheepshead hang
ing from one hand, fairly invited " Captain Gar'ner" so to
time his visit to the house, as to be present at the feast

Nor was this all. Before the deacon had settled with
Joe, the Rev. Mr. Whittle came on the wharf, confessedly
in quest of something to eat. The regular occupations of
this divine were writing sermons, preaching, holding con
ferences, marrying, christening and burying, and hunting
up "something to eat." About half of his precious time
was consumed in the last of these pursuits. We do"not wish
to represent this clergyman as having an undue gastrono
mic propensity ; but, as having a due one, and a salary that
was so badly paid as quite to disable him from furnishing
his larder, or cellar, with anything worth mentioning, in
advance. Now, he was short of flour ; then, the potatoes
were out; next, the pork was consumed ; and always there
was a great scarcity of groceries, and other necessaries of
that nature. This neglect on the part of the parishioners,
coupled with a certain improvidence on that of the pastor,
left the clergyman's family completely in that state which
is usually described as being in the " from hand to mouth"
condition, and which consequently occupied so large a
portion of the good man's time in "providing."

Deacon Pratt felt a little conscious and awkward, at
encountering the Rev. Mr. Whittle. It was not the fish
that caused the first any concern. Fifty times had he met
and gone by his pastor, running about with a perplexed and
hungry look, when his own hands, or chaise, or wagon, as
the case might be, contained enough to render the divine's
family happy and contented for a week. No compunctions
of that sort ever troubled the deacon's breast. But, he had
missed the afternoon's meeting the last Sabbath, a delin
quency for which he felt an awkwardness in accounting,
while he saw its necessity. The salutations passed as
usual, the one party thinking intently on the absence from
service, and the other of the sheepshead. Now, it happily
occurred to the deacon to invite his pastor also to partake
of the fish. There was enough for all ; and, though no
one on Oyster Pond was much in the habit of entertaining


at dinner, it was by no means unusual for the parishioners
to have their pastor for a guest. This lucky invitation so
occupied the parties that nothing was said about an occur
rence so very unusual as the deacon's absence from " meet
ing" the " last Sabba' day afternoon."

By these simple means the party at table consisted of
the deacon himself, Mary, Roswell Gardiner, and the Rev.
Mr. Whittle. The fish was excellent, being so fresh and
so skilfully prepared ; and Mary was highly complimented
by all who ate of it, for her share in the entertainment.
But Mary Pratt seemed sad. She had not yet recovered
from the melancholy feelings awakened by the recent death
and funeral ; and then her thoughts recurred, with few in
terruptions, to the long voyage of Roswell, and most espe
cially to the unhappy state of religious belief in which he
would undertake so hazardous an expedition. Several
times had she hinted to the clergyman her desire that he

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