Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XVIII / The Story of Blackbeard >> Page 460

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
Transcription ing to which alone, in the superstitions of the pirates, could the
treasure be securely kept. Meanwhile, there had been voices
crying to them from the woods. The devil had been adjured
by the terrible chief of the crew, and he had answered with aw-
ful sounds from a neighboring thicket. They could, most of
them, believe in a devil, and tremble, where they tacitly re-
nounced all faith in a God. Of course, this mummery had been
devised by the cunning for the especial benefit of the ignorant.
They had imprecated a horrid destiny upon their souls, in the
event of their fraud or infidelity to their comrades, and the audi-
ble answers of the fiend declared their oaths to be registered in
hell. Such was a part of the scheme by which the pirates
bound each other to forbearance, and for the common security
of their hidden treasures.
But something more was necessary to the completion of these
horrid rites. There was a needed sacrifice which murder always
found it necessary to provide for superstition. But this portion
of the ceremony was, of course, a mystery to all those whom the
pirates had lately incorporated among their crews from among
the captives they had taken.
`And now that we have all secure, brothers of the coast, it
still needs that one of us should remain to watch the treasure
till our present cruise is over. Food he shall have in abun-
dance, drink, and shelter. A boat shall be left for him with
which to fish, and weapons with which to procure game of the
woods and wild fowl along the shore. It must be a willing
mind that must undertake this watch. Who volunteers ? Let
him speak boldly, like a man.'
An eager voice answered
I will remain and watch the treasure !'
It was that of the poor cabin-boy, the sole survivor of the
French merchantman. The trembling creature had shuddered
with daily and nightly horrors since the hour of his captivity.
He eagerly seized the present opportunity of escape from an as-
sociation the terrors of which oppressed his soul. Blackbeard
looked at him grimly, and with a dreadful smile. He saw
through the wretched boy, and readily conjectured all his hopes.
They were those of all who had ever consented to watch the
treasure. But it did not matter to the pirate's object Nvllcther