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such a time--it was taken from me by such a pirate, in such sea; and I was
whipped till I told the thieves where I had hid the gold?' No, no, Mary;
depend on 't, no action of 'plevy would lie ag'in a single one of all them
pieces. They are lost, one and all, to their former owners, and will
belong to the man that succeeds in getting hold on 'em ag'in; who will
become a rightful owner in his turn. All property comes from law; and if
the law won't 'plevy money got in this way, nobody can maintain a claim to
it."
"I should be very, very sorry, my dear uncle, to have Roswell enrich
himself in this way."
"You talk like a silly young woman, and one that doesn't know her own
rights. We had no hand in robbing the folks of their gold. They lost it
years ago, and may be dead--probably are, or they would make some stir
about it--or have forgotten it, and couldn't for their lives tell a single
one of the coins they once had in their possession; and don't know whether
what they lost was thrown into the sea, or buried in the sand on a
key--Mary, child; you must never mention anything I tell you on this
subject!"
"You need fear nothing, sir, from me. But I do most earnestly hope Roswell
will have nothing to do with any such ill-gotten wealth. He is too
noble-hearted and generous to get rich in this way."
"Well, well, say no more about it, child; you're romantic and notional.
Just pour out my drops; for all this talking makes me breathe thick. I'm
not what I was, Mary, and cannot last long; but was it the last breath I
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drew, I would stand to it, that treasure desarted and found in this way
belongs to the last holder. I go by the law, however; let Gar'ner only
find it--well, well, I'll say no more about it now; for it distresses you,
and that I don't like to see. Go and hunt up the Spectator, child, and
look for the whaling news--perhaps there may be suthin' about the sealers
too."
Mary did not require to be told twice to do as her uncle requested. The
paper was soon found, and the column that contained the marine
intelligence consulted. The niece read a long account of whalers spoken,
with so many hundred or so many thousand barrels of oil on board, but
could discover no allusion to any sealer. At length she turned her eyes
into the body of the journal, which being semi-weekly, or tri-weekly, was
crowded with matter, and started at seeing a paragraph to the following
effect:--
"By the arrival of the Twin Sisters at Stonington, we learn that the ice
has been found farther north in the southern hemisphere this season, than
it has been known to be for many years. The sealers have had a great deal
of difficulty in making their way through it; and even vessels bound round
the Cape of Good Hope have been much embarrassed by its presence."
"That's it!--Yes, Mary, that's just it!" exclaimed the deacon. "It's that
awful ice. If 'twasn't for the ice, sealin' would be as pleasant a calling
as preachin' the gospel! It is possible that this ice has turned Gar'ner
back, when he has been on his way home, and that he has been waiting for a
better time to come north. There's one good p'int in this news--they tell
me that when the ice is seen drifting about in low latitudes, it's a sign
there's less of it in the higher."
"The Cape of Good Hope is certainly, in one sense, in a low latitude,
uncle; if I remember right, it is not as far south as we are north; and,
as you say, it _is_ a good sign if the ice has come anywhere near it."
"I don't say it has, child; I don't say it has. But it may have come to
the northward of Cape Horn, and that will be a great matter; for all the
ice that is drifting about there comes from the polar seas, and is so much
taken out of Gardner's track."
"Still he must come _through_ it to get home," returned Mary, in her
sweet, melancholy tones. "Ah! why cannot men be content with the blessings
that Providence places within our immediate reach, that they must make
distant voyages to accumulate others!"
"You like your tea, I fancy, Mary Pratt--and the sugar in it, and your
silks and ribbons that I've seen you wear; how are you to get such matters
if there's to be no going on v'y'ges? Tea and sugar, and silks and satins
don't grow along with the clams on 'Yster Pond'"--for so the deacon
uniformly pronounced the word 'oyster.'
Mary acknowledged the truth of what was said, but changed the subject.
The journal contained no more that related to sealing or sealers, and it
was soon laid aside.
"It may be that Gar'ner is digging for the buried treasure all this time,"
the deacon at length resumed. "That may be the reason he is so late. If
so, he has nothing to dread from ice." [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]




 

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