Black Bartlemys Treasure (Chapter 2, page 1 of 4)


Previous Page
Next Page

Chapter 2

Headlong went I, staying for nought and heedless of all direction, but presently, being weary and short of breath, I halted and leaning against a tree stood thus very full of bitter thought. The storm was quite passed, but a chill wind was abroad that moaned dismally, while all about me sodden trees dripped with mournful, sobbing noises. And hearkening to all this, what should I be thinking but of the sweet, soft tones of a woman's voice that had stirred within me memories of better days, a voice that had set me to dreams of a future, to fond and foolish imaginings. For, though shamed and brutalised by my sufferings, I was a man and in this past hour (strange though it do seem) felt scorn of myself and a yearning for higher things, and all this by no greater reason than the sound of a woman's voice in the dark and the touch of her warm lips on my hand--and she a Brandon! And now as the bitter mockery of it all rushed upon me, fierce anger swept me and I broke forth into vile oaths and cursings, English and Spanish, foul invectives picked up from the rogues, my fellows in misery; and feeling a new shame therefore, did but curse the more. So there crouched I 'gainst the tree, shivering like the miserable wretch I was and consumed with a ravening hunger. At last, becoming aware that I yet grasped a weapon in either hand, I thrust my knife in my girdle and fell to handling this other, judging it by touch since it was yet too dark for eyes to serve me. And by its feel I knew it for no honest knife; here was a thing wrought by foreign hands, a haft cunningly shaped and wrought, a blade curiously slender and long and three-edged, a very deadly thing I judged by the feel. Now since it had no sheath (and it so sharp) I twisted my neckerchief about it from pommel to needle-point, and thrusting it into the leathern wallet at my belt, went on some way further 'mid the trees, seeking some place where I might be sheltered from the cold wind. Then, all at once, I heard that which brought me to a stand.

A man was singing and at no great distance, a strange, merry air and stranger words; and the voice was loud, yet tuneful and mellow, and the words (the which I came to know all too well) were these: "Cheerly O and cheerly O, Right cheerly I'll sing O, Whiles at the mainyard to and fro We watch a dead man swing O. With a rumbelow and to and fro He by the neck doth swing O!

Previous Page
Next Page


Rate This Book

Current Rating: 2.3/5 (192 votes cast)



Review This Book or Post a Comment