Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XVIII / The Story of Blackbeard >> Page 448

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Page 448

Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription 448 SOUTHWARD HO!
must have their prey. The blood of that massacre must be washed out in blood. All these families, the descendants of the murderers, must die out, till not one man-child shall survive.' Their ill-gotten wealth does them no good. Their fruits turn to ashes on their lips. The sword, suspended by a single hair, hangs for ever over their heads, and the bolt strikes them down from the bosom of an unclouded sky. So well has tradition retained these memories, that people will even give you the names of the families, still living, over which this terribly unerring destiny impends. I have had one or more domestic chronicles of this sort put into my possession within five years. Of course, the doomed victims have no sort of knowledge either of the fates reserved for them, or of the familiarity of their neighbors with the unwritten tradition. Old people point them out to their children ; they repeat the story to their sons, and their fingers point always to the illustrative catastrophe. Every stroke of Providence is keenly observed and dwelt upon which touches them ; and it may be safely affirmed that the tradition will survive them all, and point to the grave of the last supposed victim of a crime committed two hundred years ago or more."" How very terrible !"
These several islands which we approach after Bull's, Pewee's, Caper's, Long, and Sullivan, and the islets which lie within, between them and the main, are all thus fruitful in ancient pirate legends. One of these occurs to me at this moment ; and, as I believe I am the next person chronicled on your list for a story, I may as well pursue the vein upon which we have struck, as it were, by chance."" 0, let us have it, by all means. I confess to a passion for such stories, which even the reading of the Book of the Buccaneers has not totally overcome."
THE narrative," said our raconteur, which I am about to
give you, was related to me by one of our oldest inhabitants, a planter who is still living at the advanced period of eighty years,