Plunder Creek 1783, A Legend of New York


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 see him."

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 tempatation."

"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 wrong myself."

"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 again!"

"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."