Page:Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates (1921).djvu/151

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Tom Chist and the Treasure Box

and broke open the box with his broadax, he could not have been more astonished had he beheld a salamander instead of a baby of nine or ten months old lying half smothered in the blankets that covered the bottom of the chest.

Matt Abrahamson’s daughter Molly had had a baby who had died a month or so before. So when she saw the little one lying there in the bottom of the chest, she cried out in a great loud voice that the Good Man had sent her another baby in place of her own.

The rain was driving before the hurricane storm in dim, slanting sheets, and so she wrapped up the baby in the man’s coat she wore and ran off home without waiting to gather up any more of the wreckage.

It was Parson Jones who gave the foundling his name. When the news came to his ears of what Matt Abrahamson had found he went over to the fisherman’s cabin to see the child. He examined the clothes in which the baby was dressed. They were of fine linen and handsomely stitched, and the reverend gentleman opined that the foundling’s parents must have been of quality. A kerchief had been wrapped around the baby’s neck and under its arms and tied behind, and in the corner, marked with very fine needlework, were the initials T. C.

“What d’ye call him, Molly?” said Parson Jones. He was standing, as he spoke, with his back to the fire, warming his palms before the blaze. The pocket of the greatcoat he wore bulged out with a big case bottle of spirits which he had gathered up out of the wreck that afternoon. “What d’ye call him, Molly?”

“I’ll call him Tom, after my own baby.”

“That goes very well with the initial on the kerchief,” said Parson Jones. “But what other name d’ye give him? Let it be something to go with the C.”

“I don’t know,” said Molly.

“Why not call him ‘Chist,’ since he was born in a chist out of the sea? ‘Tom Chist'—the name goes off like a flash in the pan.”