Page:Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates (1921).djvu/170

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Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates

“To be sure there would be enough, Tom, enough and to spare, and a good big lump over.”

“And if I find it ’tis mine to keep, is it, and no mistake?”

“Why, to be sure it would be yours!” cried out the parson, in a loud voice. “To be sure it would be yours!” He knew nothing of the law, but the doubt of the question began at once to ferment in his brain, and he strode along in silence for a while. “Whose else would it be but yours if you find it?” he burst out. “Can you tell me that?”

“If ever I have a ship of my own,” said Tom Chist, “and if ever I sail to Injy in her, I’ll fetch ye back the best chist of tea, sir, that ever was fetched from Cochin Chiny.”

Parson Jones burst out laughing. “Thankee, Tom,” he said; “and I’ll thankee again when I get my chist of tea. But tell me, Tom, didst thou ever hear of the farmer girl who counted her chickens before they were hatched?”

It was thus they talked as they hurried along up the beach together, and so came to a place at last where Tom stopped short and stood looking about him. “’Twas just here,” he said, “I saw the boat last night. I know ’twas here, for I mind me of that bit of wreck yonder, and that there was a tall stake drove in the sand just where yon stake stands.”

Parson Jones put on his barnacles and went over to the stake toward which Tom pointed. As soon as he had looked at it carefully he called out: “Why, Tom, this hath been just drove down into the sand. ’Tis a brand-new stake of wood, and the pirates must have set it here themselves as a mark, just as they drove the pegs you spoke about down into the sand.”

Tom came over and looked at the stake. It was a stout piece of oak nearly two inches thick; it had been shaped with some care, and the top of it had been painted red. He shook the stake and tried to move it, but it had been driven or planted so deeply into the sand that he could not stir it. “Aye, sir,” he said, “it must