daylight. One of them asked him if his poor young wife knew where his treasure was hidden. “No,” says Blackbeard; “nobody but the devil and I knows where it is, and the longest liver shall have all.”
As for that poor young wife of his, the life that he and his rum-crazy shipmates led her was too terrible to be told.
For a time Blackbeard worked at his trade down on the Spanish Main, gathering, in the few years he was there, a very neat little fortune in the booty captured from sundry vessels; but by and by he took it into his head to try his luck along the coast of the Carolinas; so off he sailed to the northward, with quite a respectable little fleet, consisting of his own vessel and two captured sloops. From that time he was actively engaged in the making of American history in his small way.
He first appeared off the bar of Charleston Harbor, to the no small excitement of the worthy town of that ilk, and there he lay for five or six days, blockading the port, and stopping incoming and outgoing vessels at his pleasure, so that, for the time, the commerce of the province was entirely paralyzed. All the vessels so stopped he held as prizes, and all the crews and passengers (among the latter of whom was more than one provincial worthy of the day) he retained as though they were prisoners of war.
And it was a mightily awkward thing for the good folk of Charleston to behold day after day a black flag with its white skull and crossbones fluttering at the fore of the pirate captain’s craft, over across the level stretch of green salt marshes; and it was mightily unpleasant, too, to know that this or that prominent citizen was crowded down with the other prisoners under the hatches.
One morning Captain Blackbeard finds that his stock of medicine is low. “Tut!” says he, “we’ll turn no hair gray for that.” So up he calls the bold Captain Richards, the commander of his consort the Revenge sloop, and bids him take Mr. Marks