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The Island Treasure   By:

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The Island Treasure, or The Black Man's Ghost, by John Conroy Hutcheson.

Starting with excuses, this book was rather hard to transcribe to digital format. It was unevenly printed on a rather rough paper, so that many words were hard to read, even to the naked eye. Several of the characters in the book spoke in their own dialect or with a heavy foreign accent, so that many of the words in the book were not words in the English language. And if that were not all the copy used was somewhat spotted. But we seem to have come though those trials, and we present a very readable book.

Another strange matter with the book was that the title on the cover, on the title page, and at the start of the first chapter was "The Island Treasure", while thereafter every even numbered page is headed "The Black Man's Ghost", which is the title under which the book was copyrighted.

The story is told from the viewpoint of a young cabin boy, who had run away to sea from a good vicarage home. There is a most unpleasant captain, from the American "Down East". The first mate is pretty nasty too, while the second mate has a very strong Danish accent, but is a good man, as is the ship's carpenter. The ship's cook, a black man from Jamaica, is the protagonist, the ghost.

The ship is wrecked intact on Abingdon Island in the Galapagos, being carried ashore by a tsunami. There is a lot of treasure on the island, dating from the buccaneers' time. We will take you no further into the story, but it is well told, and makes a good read and a good listen.




"All hands take in sail!"

"Stand by y'r tops'l halliards!"

"Let go!"

Sharply shouted out in quick succession came these orders from Captain Snaggs, the hoarse words of command ringing through the ship fore and aft, and making even the ringbolts in the deck jingle albeit they were uttered in a sort of drawling voice, that had a strong nasal twang, as if the skipper made as much use of his nose as of his mouth in speaking. This impression his thin and, now, tightly compressed lips tended to confirm; while his hard, angular features and long, pointed, sallow face, closely shaven, saving as to the projecting chin, which a sandy coloured billy goat beard made project all the more, gave him the appearance of a man who had a will of his own, aye, and a temper of his own, too, should anyone attempt to smooth him down the wrong way, or, in sea parlance, "run foul of his hawse!"

Captain Snaggs did not look particularly amiable at the present moment.

Standing by the break of the poop, with his lean, lanky body half bent over the rail, he was keeping one eye out to windward, whence he had just caught sight in time of the coming squall, looking down below the while at the hands in the waist jumping briskly to their stations and casting off the halliards with a will, almost before the last echo of his shout `let go!' had ceased to roar in their ears; and yet the captain's gaze seemed to gleam beyond these, over their heads and away forwards, to where Jan Steenbock, the second mate, a dark haired Dane, was engaged rousing out the port watch, banging away at the fo'c's'le hatchway and likewise shouting, in feeble imitation of the skipper's roar,

"All ha ands, ahoy! Doomble oop, my mans, and take in ze sail! Doomble oop!"

But the men, who had only been relieved a short time before by the starboard watch, and had gone below for their dinner when `eight bells' were struck, seemed rather loth at turning out again so soon for duty, the more especially as their caterer had just brought from the cook's galley the mess kid, full of some savoury compound, the appetising odour of which filled the air, and, being wafted upwards from below, made even the swarthy second mate feel hungry, as he peered down the hatchway and called out to the laggards to come on deck... Continue reading book >>

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