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Captain Kidd’s Money
by [?]

“‘Then I murdered William More,
As I sailed, as I sailed;
I murdered William More,
And left him in his gore,
Not many leagues from shore,
As I sailed, as I sailed.

“‘To execution dock
I must go, I must go.
To execution dock,
While thousands round me flock,
To see me on the block,
I must go, I must go.’

“There was a good deal more on’t,” said Sam, pausing, “but I don’t seem to remember it; but it’s real solemn and affectin’.”

“Who was Capt. Kidd, Sam?” said I.

“Wal, he was an officer in the British navy, and he got to bein’ a pirate: used to take ships and sink ’em, and murder the folks; and so they say he got no end o’ money,–gold and silver and precious stones, as many as the wise men in the East. But ye see, what good did it all do him? He couldn’t use it, and dar’sn’t keep it; so he used to bury it in spots round here and there in the awfullest heathen way ye ever heard of. Why, they say he allers used to kill one or two men or women or children of his prisoners, and bury with it, so that their sperits might keep watch on it ef anybody was to dig arter it. That ‘are thing has been tried and tried and tried, but no man nor mother’s son on ’em ever got a cent that dug. ‘Twas tried here’n Oldtown; and they come pretty nigh gettin’ on’t, but it gin ’em the slip. Ye see, boys, it’s the Devil’s money, and he holds a pretty tight grip on’t.”

“Well, how was it about digging for it? Tell us, did you do it? Were you there? Did you see it? And why couldn’t they get it?” we both asked eagerly and in one breath.

“Why, Lordy massy! boys, your questions tumbles over each other thick as martins out o’ a martin-box. Now, you jest be moderate and let alone, and I’ll tell you all about it from the beginnin’ to the end. I didn’t railly have no hand in’t, though I was know-in’ to ‘t, as I be to most things that goes on round here; but my conscience wouldn’t railly a let me start on no sich undertakin’.

“Wal, the one that fust sot the thing a goin’ was old Mother Hokum, that used to live up in that little tumble-down shed by the cranberry-pond up beyond the spring pastur’. They had a putty bad name, them Hokums. How they got a livin’ nobody knew; for they didn’t seem to pay no attention to raisin’ nothin’ but childun, but the duce knows, there was plenty o’ them. Their old hut was like a rabbit-pen: there was a tow-head to every crack and cranny. ‘Member what old Caesar said once when the word come to the store that old Hokum had got twins. ‘S’pose de Lord knows best,’ says Caesar, ‘but I thought dere was Hokums enough afore.’ Wal, even poor workin’ industrious folks like me finds it’s hard gettin’ along when there’s so many mouths to feed. Lordy massy! there don’t never seem to be no end on’t, and so it ain’t wonderful, come to think on’t, ef folks like them Hokums gets tempted to help along in ways that ain’t quite, right. Anyhow, folks did use to think that old Hokum was too sort o’ familiar with their wood-piles ‘long in the night, though they couldn’t never prove it on him; and when Mother Hokum come to houses round to wash, folks use sometimes to miss pieces, here and there, though they never could find ’em on her; then they was allers a gettin’ in debt here and a gottin’ in debt there. Why, they got to owin’ two dollars to Joe Gidger for butcher’s meat. Joe was sort o’ good-natured and let ’em have meat, ’cause Hokum he promised so fair to pay; but he couldn’t never get it out o’ him. ‘Member once Joe walked clear up to the cranberry-pond artor that ‘are two dollars; but Mother Hokum she see him a comin’ jest as he come past the juniper-bush on the corner. She says to Hokum, ‘Get into bed, old man, quick, and let me tell the story,’ says she. So she covered him up; and when Gidger come in she come up to him, and says she, ‘Why, Mr. Gidger, I’m jest ashamed to see yo: why, Mr. Hokum was jest a comin’ down to pay yo that ‘are money last week, but ye see he was took down with the small-pox’–Joe didn’t hear no mow: he just turned round, and he streaked it out that ‘are door with his coat-tails flyin’ out straight ahind him; and old Mother Hokum she jest stood at the window holdin’ her sides and laughin’ fit to split, to see him run. That ‘are’s jest a sample o’ the ways them Hokums cut up.