Plunder Creek 1783,
A Legend of New York
BY THE AUTHOR OF "TALES OF AN ANTIQUARY."
I cannot tell how the truth may be,
I say the tale as 'twas said to me.—Scott.
The reader perhaps scarcely requires to be reminded, that
an acknowledgment of the independence of America, and preliminaries of
peace between that country and Britain, were signed at Paris, November
30th, 1782; though it was not until the following February
that a vessel from the United States first arrived in the river Thames.
Early in that month the friend who communicated this narrative
chanced to visit an old London physician, who had long since retired
from practice, and who had, oddly enough, selected as the seat of his
repose one of those ancient houses, built half of brick and half of
wood, which stood within the last seven years, on the western side of
the Southwark end of old London Bridge, partly hanging over the roaring
water, and partly standing in the street called Bridge-Foot.
Another visitor, who was then present, was a zealous old Dissenting
clergyman, probably originally of the family of Dunwoodie, or Dinwithie,
but who at this time was called Doctor Downwithit; a name
which he singularly well deserved, from his practice of beating the
cushion in his fervency, in the pulpit, and of vehemently striking the
table in conversation, to enforce his arguments and observations. In
supporting these, he was generally rather loud and tenacious; and
one of his most favourite notions was, that almost all genuine religion
had travelled westward to America, which had thus become the ark
wherein it was preserved, and the very Salem of the modern world.
He believed, however, on the authority of the early historians of the
country, and especially on that of the strange narratives of the
Mather family, that certain parts were grievously vexed by witches
and evil spirits; for, like many of his brethren, he held that compacts
with the infernal powers were still possible. But if New England
were thus troubled, he also considered that Old England was in a
still worse condition; for he maintained the well-known saying to be
no allegory, but a literal fact, that Satan was bodily resident in London!
The remainder of the party, to which the reader is now introduced,
consisted of the old physician himself, and his wife,—a little sharp
old dame, most terrifically stiff and ceremonious, and dressed in the
most solemn fashion of half-a-dozen years previous. Her hair, superbly
powdered, was most exactly combed straight upright over a
cushion, the sides being curiously frizzed, and the back turned up in a
broad loop; upon the top of which tower appeared a tremulous little
gauze cap, decorated with ribands, and fastened by long pins with
heads of diamond-paste. The rest of her dress consisted of a stiff
rose-colour silk gown, of great length in the waist, and bordered in
every part with rich full trimmings; whilst the front, and all around
it, was open, and drawn up in large festoons with knots of riband,
discovering an under garment of purple silk, and a round and
full-flounced white muslin apron. Black silk shoes, with high French
heels and rich diamond-cut steel buckles, completed her costume.
Next to this stately dress, if there were any thing in which Mistress
Cleopatra Curetoun was most particularly particular, it was
in observing and exacting the most punctilious manners, and in the
exhibition and preservation of her tea-equipage; a very rare, very
small, and very fragile, set of Nan-kin porcelain, which forty years
back, was in the highest estimation and value.
The recent peace with America, and particularly the arrival
of a ship from the United States, had inspired Dr. Downwithit with even
more than his usual warmth and energy in discoursing of them, especially
when he spake of the unlooked-for happiness and glory of "the
Thirteen Stripes of America at that moment flying in the river!"
He also farther expressed his joyful zeal by frequent and vigorous
blows upon Mrs. Cleopatra's small round tea-table, of the carved
Honduras mahogany then so fashionable, which approached in colour
to ebony itself. At every stroke of his broad and heavy fist, all the
china simultaneously leaped and chattered, and the table declined
and rose again with a creaking jerk, which showed how much it was
internally affected by the worthy preacher's zealous orations; and it
may be doubted if either spring or hinge ever perfectly recovered
them. At each of these convulsions, Mrs. Cleopatra regarded her
visitor with a withering frown, every lineament of which was visible,
from the extremely open character of her head-dress; and she
appeared to be earnestly wishing that the boisterous admirer of
America were safe in irons on board the vessel he declaimed about,
with thrice the thirteen stripes duly laid upon his back.
"The Thirteen Stripes of America in the river, madam!"
exclaimed the doctor for the twentieth time; and for the twentieth time
he drove his fist upon the table with the aforesaid consequences; "the
Thirteen Stripes of America in the river!—it's a step towards the
universal peace of the world, and an event not to be paralleled in
our times! But what do we hereupon? Why, I'll tell you: instead
of receiving our American brethren with repentance, kindness, and
honour, we let their ship come up even to the very Custom-house
with as little regard as a herring-buss or the Gravesend tilt-boat!
"Convince yourself of it by today's London Chronicle.
Only listen. 'February 8th. Mr. Hammet begged to inform the House of a very
recent and extraordinary event; that, at the very time he was speaking,
an American ship was in the river Thames, with the Thirteen
Stripes flying on board!'—an interjectional bang upon the table.—'She
offered to enter at the Custom-house, but the officers were at a
loss what to do.' Now, Mr. Physician, what have you to say to this?"
"Why, doctor," said Curetoun merrily, "that brother Jonathan
was in vastly great haste to get a week sooner where nobody wanted
him at all; and so we may conclude that he's very glad the war's
over, notwithstanding his swaggering."
"But, sir, we do want our Transatlantic brother,"
instantly rejoined Downwithit, in a vehement and positive voice; "we want all
those blessings which America has in such abundance,—her liberty,
her patriotism, her pastoral simplicity, her temperance, her humanity,
her piety, her——"
"Her witches, and her slaves!" added the physician quietly.
"Sir," said the minister, innocently, "there has not been
either witch or conjuror in America for these last fifty years, and more.
If I live another day, I will go to the wharf and glad my eyes with
the sight of that most happy vessel wherein the Thirteen Stripes of
America are now floating in the river; nor will I refuse to give the
right hand of fellowship to the meanest mariner or servant on board,
but think myself honoured and happy in his grasp: for methinks
there must be something soul-refreshing in the very voice and touch
of persons coming from so pious a country. Here we speak with the
tongues of worldlings; but there the common converse is framed out
of that used by our ancient godly ancestors, who, for conscience sake,
emigrated to the American deserts and forests. It is 'holy oil
from the lamps of the sanctuary,' as the pious John Clarke calls it;
a sort of blessed tongue, which——"
"You're an awful smart chap, I calkilate," exclaimed a loud
voice in the passage, with a most remarkable kind of twang; "you are
mighty 'cute, but I rather guess now the 'squire is to home, and
that I must see him right slick away at once, and so here I sticks."
"Yes, sure, he speak to massa," added another voice,
evidently that of a negro, with a thick gobbling sound; "he berry 'ticklar
message for him from berry ole friend." Then, in a lower tone, it
continued, "He give Ivory lilly drop o' rum, Mister Spanker Pokehorn
These speeches had followed a loud knocking at the door,
and the servant's vain attempt to explain that Dr. Curetoun was engaged with
visitors. The domestic, however, at length succeeded in tranquillising
the guests, and then entered with a letter for the physician,
of which he almost immediately announced the contents, by saying,
"Well, Dr. Downwithit, you will now have it in your power to
shake hands with a real American from yonder ship, without waiting
till to-morrow, or even going down to the wharf; for I learn by this
letter, that my old acquaintance Backwoodsley, who went to settle in
Kentucky twenty years ago, has sent over his intended son-in-law,
and one of his negroes, to collect his outstanding debts, and dispose
of his property."
"By your favour, then, sir," said the clergyman, "I beg
that we may presently have them both in."
The physician's orders to this effect being given, in
a few seconds appeared the American and his negro. The former was a very
tall and strong man, with a sallow and most audacious countenance,
shaded by hog-colour hair, which grew in stiff pendent flakes; he
was dressed in a large loose suit of coarse light-brown duffel, with
a long and wide frock-coat and trousers, and a broad white hat. He
carried a five-feet untrimmed bamboo in one hand, and in the other a
Dutch pipe, which he continued to smoke and swing about, to the
great molestation of Mrs. Cleopatra, who absolutely started with
horror, at the sight of a human being clad in a style so savage, and so
entirely opposite to the fashion of the time. Of the negro it is
enough to say, that he was of the Dutch race, broad and big in person,
very greasy in the face, something like a ship's cook; his mouth was
of an enormous size, and evidently accustomed to both good laughing
and good living; and his dress consisted of coarse dark-grey cloth,
with a tow shirt and trousers, and a dirty striped woollen cap. After
a courteous welcome and introduction, the physician inquired after
the welfare of his acquaintance in Kentucky, to which the American
replied in the same loud nasal tone as before,—
"Why, the 'squire's pretty kedge for an ould un, and I
guess that I'm cleverly myself; though, as I've been progressing all day
hither and yon, I arn't in such good kilter as I was when I first got in
the ould country; for I reckon it rained some to-day, and was dreadful
sloshy going, enough to make mankind slump at every step. It was
mighty near four o'clock, too, afore I could see a plate-house to feed
at; and when I made an enquerry for one, folk laughed and said
nout, as if I'd spoke Greek, or was moosical, for you doosn't talk such
dreadful coorious elegant English here in your little place of an
island as we do, I reckon. So I began to rile, I did; and grow tarnation
wolfy: but at last I saw the New York Coffee-house, and in I
turns, and spends the balance of the day there. They charged me
four dollars for feed and drinking, they did; and yet couldn't give me
a beaker of egging, or gin cock-tail, or a grain of sangaree, or any
other fogmatic, or a dish of homminy. And now I should like to
make an enquerry of you; what's your names? and how have you
got along?—I say, Ivory, you precious nigger!" he continued, suddenly
turning round and aiming a long stroke at him with his rattan,
"What do you do, in the 'squire's keeping-room?"
"Massa help tell he to come in," returned Ivory, most
adroitly edging and skipping out of the sweep of the bamboo.
"Yes, sir," interposed the physician, coming between them,
"it was at my request he came, and so he is not at all to blame. My
friend here is extremely desirous of hearing from your own lips something
about a country which he esteems so free, so pious, and so
happy as America." This he uttered with a peculiarly arch
expression, and a side-glance at Downwithit; and then continued, "But
first what refreshments shall we offer you, Mr. Pokehorn; I believe
that's your name?"
"Oh, I arn't nice, by no manner of means," returned the
American; "I can take considerable of anything now, but the nigger will
like a beaker of rum best."
"Pray, sir," said Mrs. Cleopatra in a very stately manner,
though meant to be very gracious, "what family has Mr. Backwoodsley?
I was but a mere girl when he left Europe, though I can remember
he was a fine tall portly gentleman."
"Possible! Well, now, ma'am, I should have guessed you'd
been raised a purty middling awful long time afore that, to look at you:
but, as you say, the 'squire's tall enough now, I calkilate, and so is all
his family, for that matter; for Longfellow Backwoodsley, of Kiwigittyquag,
measures six foot three in natur's stockings, and his sister
Boadicea is but an inch and a half shorter. What family has the
'squire, did you say? Why, mighty near a dozen, I calkilate. Let's
see: there's Travelout Backwoodsley, the oldest, he was the squatter
as went to Tennessee; Longfellow, as I told you about, an awful
smart gunner and racoon-catcher he is; Gumbleton, that is considerable
of a lawyer in York State: Hoister, as went to sea; my ould
woman as is to be, Boadicea; Increase-and-Multiply, the schoolmaster
in Connecticut; Brandywine, what keeps the Rock of Columbia
hotel at Boston, and a mighty powerful log-tavern it is as you'll
see in a year's march; Leandish, that has the plate-house at Hoboken;
Skinner, what set up the leather and finding store in Kentucky:
I some think that's the tote, but four or five squeakers,
squealers, younkers, whelps, and rubbish, that keeps about the ould
log-house at home as yet. Pray how ould's your wife, 'squire? and
where was she raised?"
"I suppose," said the physician, taking no notice of this
question, "that Master Backwoodsley is growing rich, and likes his settlement,
by his not coming back to England."
"Oh yaas! he conducts well, and likes his location," was the
reply. "He bought at a good lay first, and then filled it with betterments,
and farming trade, and creturs, and helps, and niggers, at an awful
smart outlay of the dollars, I calkilate; but he has got along considerable
well for all that. For sartain he is the yellow flower of the forest
for prosperity. As for coming back, he used to say, when the war
had a closure he would go to the ould country, and bring away the
plunder he left behind; but about last fall the ague give him a purty
particular smart awful shaking, and put him in an unhandsome fix, so
the journey wouldn't convene. So one day, as I was a-looking over
my snake-fence at Rams-Babylon, almost partly opposite to his clearing,
what doos I see, but the 'squire coming along the road at a jouncing
pace on his Narragansett mar, what is a real smasher at a trotting,
and then he pulled up close to the zig-zag, and I stuck myself atop of
a stake, and we held a talk. Says the 'squire, says he, 'Son-in-law
Spanker P. Pokehorn as is to be'—my name's Anthony Spanker
Pendleton Pokehorn, but he always shorts it,—'Son-in-law Spanker
P. Pokehorn, I'll tell you what it is,—I guess I'm getting ould now,
and more than that, I've a desp'ut ugly ague, what has made me
quite froughy and brash to what I was, so that I should take two good
blows of my fist to bring down a beef-cretur; which doosn't ought to
be, when a man's only sixty. Now, you see, as I can't go to get in
my debits and plunder from the ould country, I'll deed them all to
you for thirty dollars cash, or lumber, or breadstuffs, or farmers'
produce, if you admire; and the tote appreciates to mighty near
two hundred, I guess.'"
"Well, sir," said Curetoun, "and on this
account you have come to England?"
"Oh yaas!" answered the Columbian; "but at first I declined
off to buy at a better lay; for arter higgling back and forth for a while,
I give the 'squire but twenty dollars in all, and he give me the nigger,
Ivory Whiteface there, besides. Sartain he was awful sharp to make
an ugly bargain; but if he was the steel blade, I guess I was the
unpierceable di'mond; and, for fear he should squiggle, I got all set
down in black and white afore the authority, and a letter to Lawyer
Sharples. Now I calkilate to put up all at auction, and to sell some
notions of my own, what I've brought over in my plunder, to make
more avails.—How do you allot upon that?"
"Why, sir," said Dr. Downwithit, "that sensible notions
from America are very much wanted at this time, to show us the excellence
of her equitable laws and liberties, and the purity of her religion.
I say, sir, publish them. There's no doubt of their selling
well and quickly for any bookseller——"
"The Lord!" exclaimed Mr. Pokehorn, with a shrill whistle
and a sidelong glance at the minister, and then, turning to Curetoun, he said,
"The ould 'squire's awful wordy; he's a Congress-man or a slang-whanger,
I guess, or else he's mighty moosical, I reckon.—Bookseller!—Publish!
—What doos he mean?—You tarnation nigger! who told
you to laugh? You calkilate as I harn't got the cowskins here; but
I'll whop you cooriously all as one.—I'll tell you what it is, friend,
I doosn't know what you means, I doosn't."
"Why, Mr. Pokehorn, that you should print your American notions."
"Print!—Oh yaas! I guess now,—in the notice of
vendue you mean. Why, there's no merchants' trade, no awful package; only a
few small little notions, and such wares, though they arn't got
genoowine into the ould country, I reckon. It's some Indian plunder
as I cleared out when I came away."
"Is it possible, then," exclaimed Downwithit, "that
the highly-favoured inhabitants of America deal in plunder! Restore that
illgotten spoil of the Indians young man, or——"
"What doos he mean?" interrupted Pokehorn, in a
perplexed and angry voice. "Why, doosn't he understand English? Arn't plunder
travelling stuff?—And what did you think notions was?"
"Sir," said the minister, "in our language the term signifies
thoughts; and I supposed that you had meant intellectual, or moral,
or religious views of America; not the base wares of worldly traffic."
"Perhaps, Mr. Pokehorn," said the physician, wishing to
relieve both his guests, "you interest yourself more in the politics of your
country. Did you witness any of the late actions? or was your residence
near the seat of war?"
"Sartain!" returned the American. "I guess that we had
purty considerable tough skrimmageing about us. What with the Indians,
and the riglars, and the skinners, and the cow-boys, there warn't no
keeping a beef-cretur in the pen, nor sleeping ten winks at a time.
You'd have thought the devil was let loose."
"And no doubt he was, as he always is in war," said Downwithit,
"or rather he sent forth his legions to vex your persecuted land; for
his only proper habitation on earth is this sin-devising city of London!"
"That a berry true, massa," interposed the negro, "for Massa
Backwoodsley often say, 'Ivory, I whop you, sure as a devil in London;'
and he always do it. But folk say, another devil in Ameriky,
for all that. He know story of man what see um and talk to um. He
not b'lieve it at all, dough. Good parson sometime preach about he's
"That's a fact," added Mr. Pokehorn, "and an awful strange
history it is, if true. If you want to hear the story, the nigger can
fix you; for he's precious tonguey and wordy about them devildoms,
and witches, and wild Indians, when he sits in the mud in the
sunshine, at Rams-Babylon and High-Forks, keeping the helps from
work, or at a maple-log fire in the winter."
"Then, my sable friend," said Downwithit, "with the good leave of
all present, we'll have it now."
"Why, I'll tell you what it is," answered Pokehorn, "if it
will happify the ould 'squire, the nigger shall have his own head for once in a
while; so fire away, Ivory, and when you're not right I'll set you
"Iss, massa," began the negro; "ebbery body like a hear ole
Ivory tell he story about a Plunder Creek:
"In um ole ancient time of York, afore a great war, all a West
Indy keys and a Long Island Straits and Sound war' a berry full of a ugly
cruel pirates;—s'pose massa often heard of they;—and um ould folk,
what sure to know, say a devil fuss help 'em get plunder, and then
larn 'em how to hide it safe, in a middle of dark stormy nights, under
bluffs, and up a creeks, all along shore, nighum Bowery Lane.—S'pose
massa know a Bowery Lane, in um end of York?"
"Sartain the 'squire does know that, you tarnation Guinea-crow,
though he doos keep in the ould country," interposed Mr. Pokehorn;
"but I guess it's enough to make mankind rile to hear a body doubt
it, sin' the Bowery Lane, in the free independent city of York, in York
State, must be knowed by all the tote of the univarsal arth, I reckon!
Well, now I calkilate it was a mighty coorious place for them ugly
pirates, and did convene well, being partly all nigh the straits, awful
rocky, and considerable full of trees hanging over, because there
warn't then no clearing them away; and the say was, that the devil and
them tarnation set of sarpents buried their plunder there, where mankind
mought look for it till the week arter doomsday, and never get
it out again. They say the devil's hands is cruel clitchy when he takes
money to keep; and though a purty considerable banditti of money-diggers
has often been arter it, they couldn't fix it, that's a fact, and
I some think that nobody never will now."
"Him that try a last," resumed the negro,—"a half-starve
crazy schoolmaster and almanack-maker, name a Domine Crolius Arend
Keekenkettel, what some call he Peep-in-a-pot,—he travel about and
live by him wits, wherever him find good cupboard. He ask a ole
governor of York let him conjure away a devil, and get up money for
a state; only he want a pay first to help him dig. But golly! a governor
he mighty smart for white man, and no fool; he say, 'Dere a
shovel and pickaxe, dem all you want now, I guess. You go dig; you
find considerable much treasure of a ugly pirates, you hab a half then,
but no tink a get anyting afore, I calkilate.'"
"Shut your ugly beak, you croaking blackbird!" interrupted
the American, incensed by Ivory's singular praise of the whites; "and
doosn't be moosical upon your betters; though he was an Englisher,
I reckon that he was a purty middling sight afore a small world of
niggers. Well, the schoolmaster he contrived to make friends with a
fat little Dutcher, which had to name Dyckman Deypester, and was
located on a clearing in the Bloomendael, up the Bowery Lane, on the
road to Yonkers and Tarry Town. The say was, that he had such an
almighty quantity of dollars, that he floored his keeping-room with
them under the bricks; and I rather guess that he did keep 'em awfully
close out of the sight of mankind. I doosn't tell you this for
sartain: but, to be sure, he was considerable of a farmer, he was; and
made as many betterments, and got as many humans and creturs
about his clearing, as brought a whole banditti of suitorers arter his
daughter Dortje; and she was besides a dreadful smart, clever, coorious
lass as you shall see between Cow-neck and Babylon. There
was young Louis Hudson, a springy, active young fellow. He was a
settler; but nobody knowed where he was born, nor himself neither,
like a homeless and markless ram. I guess, though, he was raised to
York State, he was such a flower of mankind. Then there was ould
Morgan Hornigold, from Jamaica: belike he was a leetle of the buccaneer,
for he'd been to sea all his days, and looked some between a
Jarman and a Spaniard, with a cross of the sea bull-dog. He was
purty kedge still; but I some think he wanted to lay up for life where
it warn't knowed what he had been. Then there was the almanack-maker,
and a banditti of suitorers besides, as I said afore. I calkilate
that dollars warn't awful plenty with any of them: but what they
wanted in cash, they made up in fierce love to Doll Deypester; and
stuff, and notions, and palaver to the ould Dutcher. He was a coorious
smart individual, and considerably moosical, and so he let them
think that they'd got his good word by sarving as helps on his clearing,
making his zig-zag grand against breachy cattle, or the likes of
that; but I reckon that he warn't the fish to be caught without the
golden hook: though, if the devil had been the fisherman then, he
would have fixed the Dutcher. I some think that it was nigh spring
that Doll Deypester's birth-day came about, and all the suitorers
were awful earnest with ould Dyckman to fix for one of them; the
woman being most for young Hudson, and the Dutcher for him as had
most plunder, and could best get well along in the world. So says the
mynheer, says he, 'I'll tell you what it is,' says he; 'you're all
mighty smart fellows, you are; but afore I give my gal to any of you,
I must know if you can pay the charges; for I reckon for me to give
the dollars and the wife both is what I call a leetle too purty middling
particklar. I won't have no squatting on my clearing, and no bundling
with my darter, I won't; and so, to save squiggling, whoever of
you can bring me first five hundred hard dollars on her birth-day shall
have Dortje Deypester.'—That was what ould Dyckman said, only I
rather guess that he didn't talk such coorious elegant English as I
doos, because he was an awful smoker, and a Dutcher besides. Upon the
hearing of this, they mighty soon took themselves slick right away off,
all but young Hudson and the schoolmaster; for one knowed when he
was in good quarters, and t'other loved Dortje too well, I calkilate, to
leave till he couldn't stay no longer.—I say, Ivory, arn't you going to
tell the 'squire the story, or do you calkilate as I should go the whole
hog for you, you 'tarnal lazy log of ebony?"
"Him tinkee massa like to hear heself talk best," answered
the negro. "Golly! he tell it awful elegant, sure:—most as well as ole
Ivory. A day afore a Dortje's birth-day, come on mighty ugly storm,
what a ole folk say tear up ebberyting he meet on a ground, and rocks
on a shore, so that man see considerable much strange tings dere,
what he never know afore or again. A wind crack a biggest trees, and
snap a strongest zig-zags like a twigs, and a rain pour down like a
water-spout. Toward a night a storm he little clear up, and a wind
he blow but in puff and gusts, and a moon show heself, dough in
mighty cloudy watery sky. Then Louis he leave a house of ole
Deypester, 'cause he not see Dortje give away next morning to Jamaica-man,
and bote of 'em sad enough, he calkilate; but there no
help, and away he go in despair. He not got far from a clearing when
he see a moon shine down mighty ugly narrow gulf, where a road go
to a Hudson River below, and he stop little and look, 'cause he never
remember he to see a place afore. While he stand, he tink he hear
man speak, and then he see him sitting on rock in a moonlight, half
way down a gulf, and another standing by. Hudson then go down
heself on a dark side, till he get opposite, and then he look over and
see a Domine Keekenkettel talking to a mighty 'tickler handsome,
grand, ole colour gentleum——"
"Sartain it was the ould gentleman, surely," interrupted
the American, "in the shape of a nigger, which arn't considerably much of a
hiding for the devil, I calkilate."
"I don't tink he look a bit of a devil," answered Ivory,
somewhat offended. "A tink a devil so handsome as a colour man? Be sure
he no devil, 'cause ebberybody know he all white!"
"Quit, you lying jackdaw!" replied Pokehorn with great
promptness, and a long stroke at Ivory; "that's only in Guinea, I calkilate,
that he mayn't be mistaken for one of the family. Go on, and don't
be moosical, or I trounce you."
"Well," resumed the negro, "Louis soon hear a domine say, 'This
our bargain, then,—I take your place to watch a pirates' treasure,—I
guess I soon fix him, and get him all slick away. But afore you and
I deal, p'raps you show where a money is buried.' A stranger then
point between a rocks beside him, and say in he's deep voice, 'Dere!'
And then down by a colour man, Louis he see into a ground, what
seems all full of treasure shining in a moonlight; here awful much gold
and dollars, and dere a gold and silver plate, and a t'other place full
of di'monds and jewels, bright as stars in a night sky. Grach! I
tink he won'er, and b'lieve he rile a little that a almanack-maker so
easy get a five hundred dollars for Dortje Deypester. A domine stare
into a cave as if he's eyes eat up all he look at; but at last he get up
and say, 'I gree, and dere my hand on a bargain; I take care all
instead of you, and much more as you can show me.' So he fill he's
pouches, and then go away to ole Deypester for a horses and bags to
bring away a rest, dough he often turn a head to look back at a treasure.
He hardly gone when a strange colour man call out to Louis in
he's deep voice, 'This a dark night for a sad heart to journey in.'
Louis turn he round directly, and see him close beside, berry tall and
genteel, such a bootiful gentleum! dough he no make out he's face for
a clouds over a moon. He little feared and won'ered at first, but soon
he got up he's pluck and say, 'I guess it dark enough, but how you
know my heart sad?' T' other answer him smart, 'That want no wizard,
when he hear a sighs like yours. But he know little more yet: he
reckon you want a five hundred dollars afore to-morrow, or lose your
sweetheart, which a true shame for active springy lad like you:
a pirates' treasure dere, hab a ten thousand times as much, as he know by
a watching it these twenty years.'—'In a God's name!' say Louis then,
'who are you,—and who set you there?'—'One of a last of a Spanish
buccaneers' say the other; 'that berry Captain Hornigold, what make
love to Dortje Deypester. He take a ship, and kill all on board but
me and young child, that I slave to; then he bring us bote to a shore,
where he hide all his plunder, and stab us, and tell a ghosts to watch
it. A young child he live, and found on a river bank, and so called
by it name—Louis Hudson, it yourself!—but I die, and wan'er about
a treasure-grave till a captain come back, or another take my place,
or a right owner come for his own. All that happen to-night, and I
soon at liberty for ever!—You hear a money-digger say he look to a
pirates' spoil hereafter, and be sure he never quit a creek again,
dough he never find a gold any more. This treasure here, belong to
a father, who killed in ship; it now all your own; take him, but take
a nothing more;—use him well, and you be fifty times so rich as
Deypester, and hab a blessing beside.—Hark! a bell strike twelve!—my
time most up now, and dere come a captain!"
"Ivory, you 'tarnal tonguey imp!" again interrupted the
American, "doos you mean to keep on all night about that precious wordy black
preaching in the creek? Now I'll show you how to finish it all right
slick away at once, I will.—You see, then, the captain comes trampoosing
up from the river with a spade and a lanthorn, to dig for the
treasure; and, as soon as he gets in, he cries out, 'Plunder and
prize-money! this is a desp'ut ugly awful dark berth.—Is there anybody
on watch, I wonder?' Upon which that dreadful big black comes up and
says, 'Yes, I calkilate I'm awake here; and now, as I've kept the
treasures of the bold buccaneers till you've come back, if you admire
we'll go off together.'—'Bear a smart hand, then, with the
plunder into the boat below, afore the tide falls,' says Hornigold.
'Clouds and midnight! how dark it is, and the gale blows stiffer than
ever!—Seas and billows! why, the tide's coming up the creek ten
fathom strong!'—That's all as was ever heard of the captain or the
nigger, I guess; for what between the water as come roaring up, and
the rain as came pouring down, they were carried off to sea with all
their plunder, and nobody never saw or heard of them sarpents
"A most astonishing and mysterious providence, truly," said
Downwithit, "and worthy of being recorded with the narratives of Baxter,
Reynolds, Janeway, and Mather.—But what became of the others?"
"Why," said Mr. Pokehorn, "as for Louis, he
turned out to be some awful great man or other, and considerable rich. He
showed ould Deypester a thousand dollars next morning, and married Dortje
afore night. But Keekenkettel went mad outright, because he
couldn't never fix the treasure again, and found that he'd filled his
pouches with shells and stones, as looked mighty like dollars and
doubloons in the moonshine. Folk say he was only dreaming, and
that there never warn't no such treasure for him to find; though
they guessed that young Hudson got his money by the storm having
washed it up out of the ground. But it's a true fact, it is, that the
domine always arter, kept camfoozling about the Pirates' Plunder Creek
as long as he lived, as he bargained to do; and whenever there's a
mighty smart storm in the night, with a blink of moonlight, the say is
that he's to be seen there still."