So a big pigeon pie was brought in and put on a side-table, and I made a hearty supper, for I was as hungry as a hawk, while Mr Dance was further complimented, and at last dismissed.
`And now, squire,' said the doctor.
`And now, Livesey,' said the squire, in the same breath. `One at a time, one at a time,' laughed Dr Livesey. `You have heard of this Flint, I suppose?'
`Heard of him!' cried the squire. `Heard of him, you say! He was the bloodthirstiest buccaneer that sailed. Blackbeard was a child to Flint. The Spaniards were so prodigiously afraid of him, that, I tell you, sir, I was sometimes proud he was an Englishman. I've seen his top - sails with these eyes, of Trinidad, and the cowardly son of a rum-puncheon that sailed with put back - put back, sir, into Port of Spain.'
`Well, I've heard of him myself, in England,' said the doctor. `But the point is, had he money?'
`Money!' cried the squire. `Have you heard the story? What were these villains after but money? What do they care for but money? For what would they risk their rascal carcases but money?'
`That we shall soon know,' replied the doctor. `But you are so confoundedly hot-headed and exclamatory that I cannot get a word in. What I want to know is this: Supposing that I have here in my pocket some clue to where Flint buried his treasure, will that treasure amount to much?'
`Amount, sir!' cried the squire. `It will amount to this; we have the clue you talk about, I fit out a ship in Bristol dock and take you and Hawkins here along, and I'll have the treasure if I search a year.'
`Very well,' said the doctor. `Now, then, if Jim is agreeable we'll open the packet;' and he laid it before him on the table.
The bundle was sewn together, and the doctor had to get out his instrument-case, and cut the stitches with his medical scissors. It contained two things - a book and a sealed paper.
`First of all we'll try the book,' observed the doctor.
The squire and I were both peering over his shoulder he opened it, for Dr Livesey had kindly motioned me to come round from the side-table, where I had been eating, to enjoy the sport of the search. On the first page there were only some scraps of writing, such as a man with a pen in his hand might make for idleness or practice. One was the same as the tattoo mark, `Billy Bones his fancy;' then there was `Mr W. Bone mate.' `No more rum.' `Off Palm Key he got itt;' and some other snatches, mostly single words and unintelligible. I could not help wondering who it was that had `got itt,' and what `itt' was that he got. A knife in his back as like as not.
`Not much instruction there,' said Dr Livesey, as he passed on.
The next ten or twelve pages were filled with a curious series of entries. There was a date at one end of the line and at the other a sum of money, as in common account-books; but instead of explanatory writing, only a varying number of crosses between the two. On the 12th of June, 1745, for instance, a sum of seventy pounds had plainly become due to someone, and there was nothing but six crosses to explain the cause. In a few cases, to be sure, the name of a place would be added, as `Offe Caraccas;' or a mere entry of latitude and longitude, as `62 degrees 17' 20", 19 degrees 2' 40".'
The record lasted over nearly twenty years, the amount of the separate entries growing larger as time went on, and at the end a grand total had been made out after five or six wrong additions, and these words appended, `Bones, his pile.'
`I can't make head or tail of this,' said Dr Livesey.
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