The Captain's Papers
WE rode hard all the way till we drew up before Dr. Livesey's
door. The house was all dark to the front.
Mr. Dance told me to jump down and knock, and Dogger gave
a stirrup to descend by. The door was opened almost at
by the maid.
"Is Dr. Livesey in?" I asked.
No, she said, he had come home in the afternoon but had
up to the hall to dine and pass the evening with the squire.
"So there we go, boys," said Mr. Dance.
This time, as the distance was short, I did not mount,
but ran with Dogger's stirrup-leather to the lodge gates
and up the long, leafless, moonlit avenue to where the
of the hall buildings looked on either hand on great old
Here Mr. Dance dismounted, and taking me along with him,
was admitted at a word into the house.
The servant led us down a matted passage and showed us
at the end into a great library, all lined with bookcases
upon the top of them, where the squire and Dr. Livesey
pipe in hand, on either side of a bright fire.
I had never seen the squire so near at hand. He was a tall
over six feet high, and broad in proportion, and he had
rough-and-ready face, all roughened and reddened and lined
in his long travels. His eyebrows were very black, and
readily, and this gave him a look of some temper, not bad,
you would say, but quick and high.
"Come in, Mr. Dance," says he, very stately and
"Good evening, Dance," says the doctor with a
"And good evening to you, friend Jim. What good wind
brings you here?"
The supervisor stood up straight and stiff and told his
like a lesson; and you should have seen how the two gentlemen
leaned forward and looked at each other, and forgot to
in their surprise and interest. When they heard how my
went back to the inn, Dr. Livesey fairly slapped his thigh,
and the squire cried "Bravo!" and broke his long
against the grate. Long before it was done, Mr. Trelawney
(that, you will remember, was the squire's name) had got
from his seat and was striding about the room, and the
as if to hear the better, had taken off his powdered wig
and sat there looking very strange indeed with his own
close-cropped black poll."
At last Mr. Dance finished the story.
"Mr. Dance," said the squire, "you are a
very noble fellow.
And as for riding down that black, atrocious miscreant,
I regard it as an act of virtue, sir, like stamping on
This lad Hawkins is a trump, I perceive. Hawkins, will
that bell? Mr. Dance must have some ale."
"And so, Jim," said the doctor, "you have
that they were after, have you?"
"Here it is, sir," said I, and gave him the oilskin
The doctor looked it all over, as if his fingers were itching
to open it; but instead of doing that, he put it quietly
in the pocket of his coat.
"Squire," said he, "when Dance has had his
ale he must, of course,
be off on his Majesty's service; but I mean to keep Jim
here to sleep at my house, and with your permission, I
we should have up the cold pie and let him sup."
"As you will, Livesey," said the squire; "Hawkins
better than cold pie."
So a big pigeon pie was brought in and put on a
and I made a hearty supper, for I was as hungry as a hawk,
while Mr. Dance was further complimented and at last dismissed.
"And now, squire," said the doctor.
"And now, Livesey," said the squire in the same
"One at a time, one at a time," laughed Dr.
"You have heard of this Flint, I suppose?"
"Heard of him!" cried the squire. "Heard
of him, you say!
He was the bloodthirstiest buccaneer that sailed. Blackbeard
a child to Flint. The Spaniards were so prodigiously afraid
that, I tell you, sir, I was sometimes proud he was an
I've seen his top-sails with these eyes, off Trinidad,
and the cowardly son of a rum-puncheon that I sailed
with put back--put back, sir, into Port of Spain."
"Well, I've heard of him myself, in England,"
said the doctor.
"But the point is, had he money?"
"Money!" cried the squire. "Have you heard
What were these villains after but money? What do they
but money? For what would they risk their rascal carcasses
"That we shall soon know," replied the doctor.
"But you are so confoundedly hot-headed and exclamatory
that I cannot get a word in. What I want to know is this:
Supposing that I have here in my pocket some clue to where
Flint buried his treasure, will that treasure amount to
"Amount, sir!" cried the squire. "It will
amount to this:
If we have the clue you talk about, I fit out a ship in
and take you and Hawkins here along, and I'll have that
if I search a year."
"Very well," said the doctor. "Now, then,
if Jim is agreeable,
we'll open the packet"; and he laid it before him
on the table.
The bundle was sewn together, and the doctor had to get
his instrument case and cut the stitches with his medical
It contained two things--a book and a sealed paper.
"First of all we'll try the book," observed the
The squire and I were both peering over his shoulder
as he opened it, for Dr. Livesey had kindly motioned me
to come round from the side-table, where I had been eating,
to enjoy the sport of the search. On the first page there
only some scraps of writing, such as a man with a pen
in his hand might make for idleness or practice.
One was the same as the tattoo mark, "Billy Bones
then there was "Mr. W. Bones, mate," "No
"Off Palm Key he got itt," and some other snatches,
mostly single words and unintelligible. I could not help
who it was that had "got itt," and what "itt"
was that he got.
A knife in his back as like as not.
"Not much instruction there," said Dr. Livesey
as he passed on.
The next ten or twelve pages were filled with a curious
of entries. There was a date at one end of the line and
at the other
a sum of money, as in common account-books, but instead
of explanatory writing, only a varying number of crosses
between the two. On the 12th of June, 1745, for instance,
a sum of seventy pounds had plainly become due to someone,
and there was nothing but six crosses to explain the cause.
In a few cases, to be sure, the name of a place would be
as "Offe Caraccas," or a mere entry of latitude
as "62o 17' 20", 19o 2' 40"."
The record lasted over nearly twenty years, the amount
of the separate entries growing larger as time went on,
and at the end a grand total had been made out after five
wrong additions, and these words appended, "Bones,
"I can't make head or tail of this," said Dr.
"The thing is as clear as noonday," cried the
"This is the black-hearted hound's account-book. These
stand for the names of ships or towns that they sank or
The sums are the scoundrel's share, and where he feared
ambiguity, you see he added something clearer. 'Offe
now; you see, here was some unhappy vessel boarded off
coast. God help the poor souls that manned her--coral long
"Right!" said the doctor. "See what it is
to be a traveller. Right!
And the amounts increase, you see, as he rose in rank."
There was little else in the volume but a few bearings
noted in the blank leaves towards the end and a table for
French, English, and Spanish moneys to a common value.
"Thrifty man!" cried the doctor. "He wasn't
the one to be cheated."
"And now," said the squire, "for the other."
The paper had been sealed in several places with a thimble
by way of seal; the very thimble, perhaps, that I had found
in the captain's pocket. The doctor opened the seals
with great care, and there fell out the map of an island,
with latitude and longitude, soundings, names of hills
and inlets, and every particular that would be needed
to bring a ship to a safe anchorage upon its shores.
It was about nine miles long and five across, shaped,
you might say, like a fat dragon standing up, and had two
land-locked harbours, and a hill in the centre part marked
"The Spy-glass." There were several additions
of a later date,
but above all, three crosses of red ink--two on the north
of the island, one in the southwest--and beside this last,
in the same red ink, and in a small, neat hand, very different
from the captain's tottery characters, these words:
"Bulk of treasure here."
Over on the back the same hand had written this further
Tall tree, Spy-glass shoulder, bearing a point to
the N. of N.N.E.
Skeleton Island E.S.E. and by E.
The bar silver is in the north cache; you can find
it by the trend of the east hummock, ten fathoms
south of the black crag with the face on it.
The arms are easy found, in the sand-hill, N.
point of north inlet cape, bearing E. and a
That was all; but brief as it was, and to me incomprehensible,
it filled the squire and Dr. Livesey with delight.
"Livesey," said the squire, "you will give
up this wretched practice
at once. Tomorrow I start for Bristol. In three weeks'
three weeks!--two weeks--ten days--we'll have the best
and the choicest crew in England. Hawkins shall come as
boy. You'll make a famous cabin-boy, Hawkins. You,
are ship's doctor; I am admiral. We'll take Redruth, Joyce,
and Hunter. We'll have favourable winds, a quick passage,
and not the least difficulty in finding the spot, and money
to roll in, to play duck and drake with ever after."
"Trelawney," said the doctor, "I'll go with
you; and I'll
go bail for it, so will Jim, and be a credit to the undertaking.
There's only one man I'm afraid of."
"And who's that?" cried the squire. "Name
the dog, sir!"
"You," replied the doctor; "for you cannot
hold your tongue.
We are not the only men who know of this paper. These fellows
who attacked the inn tonight-- bold, desperate blades,
and the rest who stayed aboard that lugger, and more, I
not far off, are, one and all, through thick and thin,
they'll get that money. We must none of us go alone till
to sea. Jim and I shall stick together in the meanwhile;
you'll take Joyce and Hunter when you ride to Bristol,
and from first to last, not one of us must breathe a word
of what we've found."
"Livesey," returned the squire, "you are
always in the right of it.
I'll be as silent as the grave."
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