a throttled scream come shivering across the meadows from the graveyard. Yet beyond turning my blood cold for a moment, it gave me little trouble, for evil tales have hung about the church; and though I did not set much store by the old yarns of Blackbeard piping up his crew, yet I thought strange things might well go on among the graves at night. And so I never budged, nor stirred hand or foot to save a fellow-creature in his agony.

"But when the surf fell enough for the boats to get ashore, and Greening held a lantern for me to jump down into the passage, after we had got the side out of the tomb, the first thing the light fell on at the bottom was a white face turned skyward. I have not forgot that, lad, for 'twas Cracky Jones lay there, with his face thin and shrunk, yet all the doited look gone out of it. We tried to force some brandy in his mouth, but he was stark and dead; with knees drawn up towards his head, so stiff we had to lift him doubled as he was, and lay him by the churchyard wall for some of us to find next day. We never knew how he got there, but guessed that he had hung about the landers some night when they ran a cargo, and slipped in when the watchman's back was turned. Thus when Sam Tewkesbury spoke of screams and wailings, and no one to be seen, I knew what 'twas, but never guessed who might be shut in there, not knowing thou wert gone amissing. So ran to Ratsey to get his help to slip the side stone off, for by myself I cannot stir it now, though once I did when I was younger; and from him learned that thou wert lost, and knew whom we should find before we got there."

I shuddered while Elzevir talked, for I thought how Cracky Jones had perhaps hidden behind the self- same coffin that sheltered me, and how narrowly I had escaped his fate. And that old story came back into my mind, how, years ago, there once arose so terrible a cry from the vault at service-time, that parson and people fled from the church; and I doubted not now that some other poor soul had got shut in that awful place, and was then calling for help to those whose fears would not let them listen.

"There we found thee," Elzevir went on, "stretched out on the sand, senseless and far gone; and there was something in thy face that made me think of David when he lay stretched out in his last sleep. And so I put thee on my shoulder and bare thee back, and here thou art in David's room, and shalt find board and bed with me as long as thou hast mind to."

We spoke much together during the days when I was getting stronger, and I grew to like Elzevir well, finding his grimness was but on the outside, and that never was a kinder man. Indeed, I think that my being with him did him good; for he felt that there was once more someone to love him, and his heart went out to me as to his son David. Never once did he ask me to keep my counsel as to the vault and what I had seen there, knowing, perhaps, he had no need, for I would have died rather than tell the secret to any. Only, one day Master Ratsey, who often came to see me, said--

"John, there is only Elzevir and I who know that you have seen the inside of our bond-cellar; and 'tis well, for if some of the landers guessed, they might have ugly ways to stop all chance of prating. So keep our secret tight, and we'll keep yours, for `he that refraineth his lips is wise'."

I wondered how Master Ratsey could quote Scripture so pat, and yet cheat the revenue though, in truth, 'twas thought little sin at Moonfleet to run a cargo and, perhaps, he guessed what I was thinking, for he added--

"Not that a Christian man has aught to be ashamed of in landing a cash of good liquor, for we read that when Israel came out of Egypt, the chosen people were hid rick their oppressors out of jewels of silver and jewels of gold; and among those cruel taskmasters, some of the worst must certainly have been the tax-gatherers."

The first walk I took when I grew stronger and was able to get about was up to Aunt Jane's, notwithstanding she had never so much as been to ask after me all these days. She knew, indeed, where I was, for Ratsey had told her I lay at the Why Not?, explaining that Elzevir had found me one night on the ground famished and half-dead, yet not saying where. But my aunt greeted me with hard words, which I need not repeat here; for, perhaps, she meant them not unkindly, but only to bring me back again to the right

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