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Pieces of Eight Being the Authentic Narrative of a Treasure Discovered in the Bahama Islands in the Year 1903   By: (1866-1947)

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[Illustration: Cover]

PIECES OF EIGHT

Being the Authentic Narrative of a Treasure Discovered in the Bahama Islands in the Year 1903 Now First Given to the Public

BY RICHARD LE GALLIENNE

[Illustration]

Frontispiece

[Illustration: "'YOU YOUNG FOOL!' EXCLAIMED CHARLIE, 'THE WATER ROUND HERE IS THICK WITH SHARKS!'"]

A.L. BURT COMPANY Publishers New York

Published by arrangement with Doubleday, Page & Company

Copyright, 1918, by

DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY

All rights reserved, including that of translation into foreign languages, including the Scandinavian

COPYRIGHT, 1917, 1918, BY THE BUTTERICK PUBLISHING COMPANY

LIFE BEING OF THE NATURE BOTH OF A TREASURE HUNT AND A PIRATICAL EXPEDITION, I DEDICATE THIS NARRATIVE TO THE FOLLOWING SAILING COMPANIONS OF MINE ON THIS ENTERTAINING OLD PIRATE CRAFT WE CALL THE EARTH, IN THE HOPE THAT EACH MAY FIND HIS TREASURE, AND, AT LEAST, ESCAPE HANGING AT THE END OF THE TRIP TO WIT: HARRY DASH JOHNSON, SAM NICHOLSON, BERT WILLSIE AND CHARLEY BETHEL, ALL ENGAGED IN ONE OR ANOTHER OF THE PIRATICAL PROFESSIONS.

PROLOGUE

(The following MS., the authorship of which I am not at liberty to divulge, came to me in a curious way. Being recently present at a performance of "Treasure Island" at The Punch and Judy Theatre in New York City, and, seated at the extreme right hand end of the front row of the stalls so near to the ground floor box that its occupants were within but a yard or two of me, and, therefore, very clearly to be seen I, in common with my immediate neighbours, could not fail to remark the very striking and beautiful woman who was the companion of a distinguished military looking man on the youthful side of middle age.

Still young, a little past thirty, maybe, she was unusually tall and stately of figure, and from her curious golden skin and massive black hair, one judged her to be a Creole, possibly a Jamaican. Her face, which was rather heavily but finely moulded, wore an expression of somewhat poetic melancholy, a little like that of a beautiful animal, but readily lit up with a charming smile now and again at some sally of her companion, with whom she seemed to be on affectionate terms, and with whom, as the play proceeded, she exchanged glances and whispered confidences such as two who have shared an experience together which the play seems to bring to mind are seen sometimes to exchange in a theatre.

But there was one particular which especially accentuated the singularity of her appearance and was responsible for drawing upon her an interested observation seemed, indeed, even in her eyes to condone it, for she, as well as her companion, was obviously conscious of it the two strange looking gold ornaments which hung from her delicately shaped ears. These continually challenged the eye, and piqued the curiosity. Obviously they were two old coins, of thick gold, stamped with an antique design. They were Spanish doubloons!

As, in common with the rest of the audience, I looked at this picturesque pair, my eyes forsook the lady of the doubloons, and fastened themselves with a half certainty of recognition upon her companion. Why! surely it was , an old dare devil comrade of mine, whose disappearance from New York some ten years before had been the talk of the two or three clubs to which we both belonged. A curious blending of soldier, poet, and mining engineer, he had been popular with all of us, and when he had disappeared without warning we were sure that he was off on some Knight errant business to Mexico or the Moon!

He was, indeed, wearing that disguise of Time, which we all come involuntarily to wear an unfamiliar greyness of his hair at the temples, and a moustache that would soon be a distinguished white; yet the disguise was not sufficient to conceal the youthful vigour of his personality from one who had known him so well as I. The more I looked at him, the more certain I grew that it was he, and I determined to go round to his box at the conclusion of the second act... Continue reading book >>




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