|Chapter Number||PART IV. XIV. (continued.)|
|Chapter Title||THE BURIED TREASURE.|
|Newspaper Title||The West Australian (Perth, WA : 1879 - 1954)|
|Trove Title||Under the Great Seal|
E< GNOW FIRST PUBLISHED.]
UNOER THE GREAT SEAL:
§" ' A NOVEL,
|^ JOSEPH HATTON,
I, Author of "Clytie," "By Oedkb of the È>- Czar," " Joh» Needham's Double," « "Cruel London," &o. fed-'
ÇS- part ir.
It CHAPTER XIV. (Continued.)
M-- The Bueied Treasure.
p^ " Man,"Ä exclaimed Alan, suddenly ¡& breakiog in upon David's work and reflec ff?tions,"what if we hae been forstalled?" g«. «What do you mean, fatherP" said frr¿l)avid, coming out of his first real unre l^katricted sensation of faith in the paternal è', promise of wealth.
&U "What if that man Rentz, or some
H either traitrous villain has been here before p> ns and robbed ye of your inheritance !"
&_ '"I thought no one else knew of your 1/store," said David, with a sickening ¿I; doubt of the whole business, " you said % they were all lost at sea when yon were |4 qyerborno by the weight and numbers of ^.your enemy."
Ê "All but one," said the old man, "all I ^but the greatest villain i' the wide world !" & " Who was he P" David asked. "What
** wa» he?"
1 "Just the raaist ootrageous traitor and , tile thief your imagination can conceive. ..Bat we are waistin' time, laddie; it's ¡r\natural to have a stray doubt come into
one's mind after sae many years, and |r when ye hae got your hand on the handle í|í o* the door, so to speak."
ti ' "I should say these stones have not ? been removed since they were first stacked ;. here/* said David, " if there was ever any ¿-thing of value buried beneath them, è'r depend upon it we shall find it."
| '«HI D'yo say if, David? Weel, well I*;, I dinna wonder yo should doubt if I can ^£ doubt myself-stand by and gie me shovel I?,and pick ; I'll need the axe later on ; mek p;aae doubt roots o' trees mixed up wi' my Ivain particular bank up yonder."
H -David stood aside wiping his hot face p and preparing ¡himself generally for the ^disappointment he had all along feared. S His father went to work with a vigour
Irtjiat was remarkable for his years. He
£ bent his back over the excavation, and
Innung out the sand in a continuous ¡t/Shower, sand and pebbles, sand and bits |?iof straw, and sprigs of trees that had been |£ packed with the sand to bind it.
^5 /"Laddie, I believe ye're reight; nae |i ¿acreligious hands hae been pottering ?|: about the cemetery o' Wilderness Creek Jffsin' the 'St. Dennis' sailed out o' the |£ harbour never to return," said Alan, paus §f ing- in his work to catch his breath and
- Ichéer his despondent son and comrade.
>" I'm glad you think so, father," David
"Gie me the pick, lad," said Alan, playing down his shovel and turning up l^hisVeleeves.
¿V j Alan took the implement, and, swing _p'ing it above his head, brought it down *^ mpon the spot which he and David had
-partially cleared. The pick fell with a |raull thud upon something that was ^neither sand nor rock.
" Stand by," he said, his eyes brighten ftíing, "stand by, David. It's a'reight, I'm N^whdring."
¡fe David took a step nearer to the old s&Vman, who once more brought his pick &-down upon tho place he had struck JJbefore.
f^ ;. " It's there !" he exclaimed, as he drew É&a pick forth with a tug, "it's there! ioThe shovel, laddie, the shovel !"
pH" " Let me help you now,'" said David, jÉhanding his father the shovel.
pic Alan took no heed of the remark, but |fciet to work again with unsubdued energy, ?¿paly to pause when he was assured that WjA last the cask he had dug for was ^beneath his feet.
|b;, ."It's the fresh air and the happiness ¿ye hae brought me that's made me young f$ again," he said, as if answering the point gLoí David's admiration of his father's
.trength. " My lad, 1 amna so auld that WtCLf sinews are uDstrung, my muscles dried ^ap ; why, just noo, I feel as if I were laialy beginning life, and I tell ye I dinna gatean to dee for many and many a year to
f Let me help you," said David once >re, wondering at the same time how
¡lleven his strange and eccentric father
CiCOuld pause to boast in the midst of the làxceptional work in which he was engaged, jâàd with' a vast prize or a terrible blank ttfwithin reach of his hand.
*-? "" Shovel the stuff away frao the side o'
ie hole," Alan said v as he took up the rick once more, " and gio me elbow ¿room.*'
"' David made the mouth of the excava-'
ftton free from sand and stones, and Alan ¡strove the pick once more into the ^obstruction that had gripped it. The pesait was a portion of the end of a cask. ¡Another attack brought up a second piece, "* )tten and soft. Alan laid the two pieces
"wood within arm's length ni the hole, ¡taad then, lying prone by its side, thrust
¡pars right hand into it.
$& " The Frenchman's silver flagon, sure las fate !" he exclaimed, placing upon the |bank a beautifully-shaped jug, its gold larabesque shining out through the tarnish Hat the silver.
'David conld not speak. He stood with irted lips, watching tho unearthing of
."Jüan, I ken them a'! I remember *reedie cramming the last lot o' the bright pad jewelled trinkets and what not into phe-top o' the cask. I've gotten houd o' ¡She" dagger the Frenchman said ho'd
)ted wi' a heap o' precious things frae a Iklace i' the East; nay, 1 dinna ken ihere. Here it is, aud by the might o'
>nnie Scotland, there's the same grand light blazing on the hilt that I remember js.weel as it were yesterday."
David stooped to take the dasjger, aud .¿fore he had looked at it out carne a beta! box, wilh the remark of the excav- ator, " Solid silver ;" followed by a chafing
ali,"with the remark "Solid silver wi' pond ornamenta ." th^n a wooden box, with fcals upon it, with the remarle, "Araber " )^be succeeded by other packages and Juribs, handed out with the same lively ¡&£-!-,-<^n §2ÎThe sola right of pnblicarion in We3t Aas Icalia has been purchased by tho .proprietors
ivfche West 4xJ)STBALIAN.,
running remarks, " A jewelled snuff box, atta of rosee, a little idol made o' a great pearl, wi' diamonds for eyes and a sapphire headpiece. Mau ! 1 remember them as if it was yesterday; the Frenchman bragged o' them as he got fuddled wi' his red wine, which me and my crew could drink like watter and never wink."
David shook himself to be sure that he was David; that he was not ia bed at Yarmouth; and then he felt inelined to shout, " Eather, forgive me, I thought you
" What d'ye think about it now ?" Alan asked, looking up, his eyes ablaze, his face streaming with perspiration, his month
wreathed in smiles.
" I cannot think," said David, " I want
" Then dance, lad ! and I'll set ye the tune," he said; "here it is," and he handed David a small bag. " Press it to your heart. David, and dance like your great namesake who danced before the Laird ; for ye hae got a treasure now that Mildred can build her hospital wi', and set a' her needy poor i' business from (Jaistor to Gorleston; and ye can build the church we promised Father Lavello, i' the midst o' Heart's Content; and poor auld Alan Keith can raise a monument i'
the forest to God's angel npoa earth "
As he said these words he rose to his seet and David seized him by the hand.
"Father," he exclaimed, "I never thought it was quite true; not that I doubted your word, but it passed beyond all ray hopes, and now I don't know how to contain myself." '
"I'll sit me doon," said Alan, "not here-I'll gae aboard ; I'm feelin' a trifle tired, and a wee bit thoughtfa'. Eh, man, I only wish the comrades who stood here i' the past, and who helped store these tilings were hero to tek their share and divide wi' me. Nay, nay, on second thoughts I dinna wish anything o' the kind, except, perhaps, i' the case o' Preedie and Donald Nicol-the others wad just a' misapplied it. David, I dinna ken quite what I'm sayin' ; I'll gae aboard and hae another wee drap to steady myaeV."
" Bat this bag, father," said David.still holding the leather bag4 that his father had placed in his hands with so many ex- clamations as to its value. It was a soft, thick bag, drawn together with thongs of leather ; it has once been sealed, bat the wax was broken, and the thongs had been clumsily retied.
" Preedie understood a' about precious stones and the like, I couldna tell them frae glass for my pairt, but Preedie just loved to sit doon and finger these i' the bag, finger them and gloat ower them,and he said they were worth a king's ransom ; pearls, diamonds, sapphires and rubies, one o' the biggest diamonds to be re-cut, he said, and he taked o' Amsterdam, and dealers in stones, aud cutters and the like, that wise I often wondered if he'd been i' the trade. Open the bag, David,"
David undid the thongs and emptied a few of the stones into the palm of his
, " Not changed one bit," said Alan, " the same wonderfu' sky blue, the same blude red, the same glassy white wi' ten thousand sparks in 'em-weel, David, what d'ye mek on 'em ?"
" I should say they are all Mr. Preedie thought them ; they are wonderful."
" A king's ransom he said they were worth. But gin there be ony mistake why there's a barrel o' English guineas and braw new shelling, and Spanish coins, that'll raak amends."
Alan went on board the smack. David watched him until he disappeared below. It was a small cabin, but there were two banks in it.and the old man had evidently decided to lay down. David now began to think (hat Wilderness Creek might not be quite the secret place his father ima- gined. He suddenly felt the responsibility of wealth, and looked about him to be sure that he was not under the surveil- lance of some desperado. He thought of the description of the coast which the captain of the "Morning Star " had given bira, and felt if his pistol was safe in his b It. Then he laid his jacket over the Measures that were lying on the ground, and putting the bag of precious stones beneath it, shovelled more of the sand from the mouth of the buried cask and
cautiously dropped into it, stooping down and proceeding with the work of emptying it. He hauled out ali kinds of packages, cups, oruameats, chalices, packets of lace, flasks bound in woven reeds and sailed with seals, and at last concluded th.it it would be wise to fill the leather trunk
which his father had brought to carry the
treasures on board.
After awhile, looking toward * the smack, he saw his father sitting calmly amidships smoking his chibouk. He waved his hand to the old man, who res- ponded by raising his pipe and saluting
with it as if it were a sword. Then David began to pack the trunk. He laid the dagger and all the boxes that were flat at the bottom, the quaint packages of laces, tho well wrapped amber, the cups and chalices, the curious ornaments, a pair of jewelled belts heavy with gold and thick with rose diamonds that did not
sparkle jtnuch but had a very grand and regal appearance. In one corner between soft packages and reed-wrapped flasks of perfumes and strange spices, lie placed the bag of stones. To keep the whole fairly firm he filled the remainder of the trunk with sand and dry weed and debris of Old Time of storm and stress and heat and cold, and proceeded to drag
the treasure to the smack.
" When ye hae got your treasure," said Alan at night, as they sat in the little cabin after supper, "then comes the anxiety of guarding it. Considerin' that there is some kind o' law about treasure trove we hae got to be carefa' and dis- creet. It is true Preedie bought most o' the land hereabouts ; it is trae he has en- dowed yo with the same ; I am not quite sure that his precautions bar what are ca'd the reights o' the crown; not that I hae asked our fiiend Lawyer Margrave or any whether such rights hae ony weight here i' Labrador ; but ye will
see the wisdom o' the wee bit furnace in which we can meit down such coins and
s .ch silver as we may deem best to keep in ingots, so to speak."
"I don't question your judgement in anything," said David, " and I think you are as wonderful as you aio good; to have maintained your sanity and your pui pose through bixch sufEoiiugs and sor- rows as have fallen to vour iot te miracu- lous "
" " Ave, 'tis in a way, D?vfd"; but "I began wi' au enormous constitution ; my father and grandfather, and.'every Keith I ever heard on, were a' mighty folk,
soldiers and sailors, fighting naen, wi tough sinews and big bones-"
" And big hearts," said David.
" Te may say that," Alan replied, " and yet I left my ain father promising 4o> gae ham», and I didna gae hame, and he deed, and was boned wi'out a hand o' mine to help lay bim to rest; but he'd hae for- given me if he had seen your mother, David ; but there, we munna waste time talkin' o' the past sae far away. We'll ship a cargo wi' a' convenient speed and tok it to St. John's ; there's a cellar i' the house that'll keep the chest safe enough ; and we can negotiate some o' the stones and things through your trustee, Mr. Margrave, who seems to be shrewd and reliable. I induced him to remain at St. John's sae lang as I might want him, and I made him tek a fee that was not out o' proportion wi' any reasonable ser- vice I might require.
" It is a pity we could not trust any one to help us," said David. " I am fearful of leaving the place."
"Yeneedna be," Alan replied; "depend upon it i' a' these years Wilderness Creek is just the lonely unvisited spot I found it when I waa an adventurous young fel- low, and i' love wi' your dear mother, who wad aften say she fear'd I dinna quite ken
hoo dreadfu' the coast was hereabouts."
" You think it is best to sail home with this first portion of our cargo ?"
''That's my opinion," said Alan; "dinna pnt a your eggs i' one basket is a glide proverb ; I had to disregard it when I was dearin' to defend the rebel flag as they ca'd it,though it's a grand flag enongh noo in general estimation. Besides, laddie, we named a day to return, and dinna ye think Mildred will be anxious aboot ye ?"
"Of course, of course," said David, whose thoughts were not wandering away from Mildred, while they were bent upon the treasures that were to be so great a boon to her as well as to himself.
" My idea is just to tek this first cargo clean hame, the content« o' the one cask, and to mek two other trips, perhaps three; I hae thought it a' oot, David, mair than ye hae, laddie, for the reason that yo hae nae qnite realised what we hae been aboot until ye stood face to face wi! the reality o' the romance I hae been telling ye aboot a' this time. Dinna fash yoursel, lad,we'll land the treasuro and convert it, nivver fear."
" I hope so," said David.
"I am sure so," was Alan's quick roply. " To-morrow we'll land our furnace and set it up ; it's sma,' but it'll do a' we re- quire, and ye shall blow the bellows, Darid, to the finest music ve hae heard for many a year ; and wi' all due rever- ence we'll just worship at the altar that all the world worships at, but we'll meit our golden images to build hospitals wi' and mek folks happy-oursels amang the rest, David, we are nae gaeing to forget
Night came down dark and silent, with here and there a star and,notwithstanding his anxieties, David slept so soundly that the sun had risen and his father was up and preparing breakfast before he awoke.
" Another glorióos day," said Alan, as David rubbed his eyes and sat np in his bunk, " and yesterday is true ! We aro unearthing the treasure ! Ye hae come into your fortune. Noo, lad, np ye get and tek a swim i' the waters o' Wilderness Creek, where ye are monarch of alf* ye survey-and mair, and much mair David, my son-and God bless ye lad !"
(To he continued on'Wedneaday.)