Black Bartlemys Treasure (Chapter 7, page 1 of 3)


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Chapter 7

Now scarce was I clear of the village than I was again seized of a deadly sickness and vertigo so that I stumbled and was like to fall, but that Penfeather propped me with his shoulder. In this fashion I made shift to drag myself along, nor would he suffer me stay or respite (maugre my weakness) until, following the brook, he had brought me into the green solitude of the woods.

Here then I sank down, sucking up the cool, sweet water 'twixt parched lips, drinking until Penfeather stayed me, lest I should do myself hurt thereby. Thereafter, from strength reviving, I bathed my divers wounds (the which, though painful, were of small account) and fell to cleansing my spattered garments as well as I might.

"So we're to be comrades, after all!" says Penfeather, watching me where he sat hard by.

"Aye--to-morrow!"

"And how goeth vengeance, shipmate?" At this I turned on him with clenched fist. "Nay, easy does it," says he, never budging, "for if 'twas the folly of vengeance brought ye in the peccadille, 'twas your comrade Adam Penfeather got ye out again--so easy all!"

"'Twas you fired the rick, then?"

"None other!"

"'Tis a hanging matter, I've heard!"

"Why a man must needs run some small risk for his comrade d'ye see--"

"Then, Adam Penfeather, I'm your debtor."

"Nay," says he, "there be no debts 'twixt comrades o' the Brotherhood, 'tis give and take, share and share!" And speaking, he drew forth a purse and emptying store of money on the grass betwixt us, divided it equally and pushed a pile of silver and copper towards me.

"And what's this?" I demanded.

"Share and share, comrade!"

"But I'm no comrade o' yours till after to-night."

"Aha!" says he, pinching his long chin. "Is't more vengeance then?"

"Keep your money till it be earned!" I muttered.

"Sink me--and there's pride for ye!" says he. "Pride which is a vain thing and vengeance which is a vainer. Lord love me, shipmate, 'tis plain to see you're o' the quality, 'spite your rags--blue blood, high-breeding, noblesse oblige and all the rest on't."

"Stint your gab!" says I, scowling.

"'Tis writ large all over ye," he went on placidly enough. "As for me, I'm but a plain man wi' no time for vengeance and no whit o' pride about me anywhere. What I says to you is, get to wind'ard o' vengeance--nay, heave it overboard, shipmate, and you'll ride the easier, aye and sweeter, and seek something more useful--gold, for instance, 'tis a handy thing, I've heard say--so ha' done wi' vengeance!"

"No!" says I, frowning. "Not--nay, not for all Bartlemy's treasure!"

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