Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Southward Ho! A Spell of Sunshine >> Chapter XVIII / The Story of Blackbeard >> Page 461

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Novel (Romance) | Redfield | 1854
the volunteer were honest or not. It was enough that he should
volunteer. According to their laws none could be compelled to
take this watch ; and it was one of the secret tests, that of the
volunteer, by which to discover who, of the crew, were in secret
disloyal, and likely to prove treacherous.
You !' repeated Blackboard. ' You, then, willingly choose
to remain and keep watch over the treasure ?'
I do!'
Then remain, and see that you watch well !'
And, with the words, lifting the pistol which, all the while,
had been secretly prepared in his grasp, he shot the wretched
boy through the head. So sudden was the movement, that the
miserable victim was scarcely conscious of his danger a single
moment, before the bullet was crashing -through his brains. He
fell into the hole above the treasure, and the earth was shoveled
in upon the victim and the spoils he had probably fancied he
should be able to bear away.
There see that you keep good watch, good fellow !'
A wild howl of demoniac joy from the adjacent covert star-
tled the superstitious of the crew. The sacrifice to the fiend in
waiting had been graciously accepted ; and a tacit pledge was
thus given by the demon that, with his aid, the treasure should
be kept safely by the vigilant spectre of the victim.
V I.
THE horrid orgies which succeeded to this murder, among the
pirates, that night�their dance of maniac frenzy over the grave
of their victim, and upon the spot of earth which concealed their
buried deposite�exceeds the possibility of description, as it
would be greatly offensive to propriety were we to describe it.
They drank, they danced, they sang, they swore, they howled,
they fought ; and it was long after dawn of the day following
before they proved able to return to their vessel, which lay at
easy anchorage a short distance from the shore. Before leaving
the island, they had obscured with trampling, then with turf
and leaves, all external signs of the burial which they had
made. The orgies of drunkenness which followed had served
still more effectually to obliterate from the memories of most of