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Captain Kidd’s Money
by [?]

“Wal, so they marked off the ground; and Primus he begun to dig, and the rest kind o’ sot round. It was so still it was kind o’ solemn. Ye see, it was past twelve o’clock, and every critter in Oldtown was asleep; and there was two whippoorwills on the great Cap’n Brown elm-trees, that kep’ a answerin’ each other back and forward sort o’ solitary like; and then every once in a while there’d come a sort o’ strange whisper up among the elm-tree leaves, jest as if there was talkin’ goin’ on; and every time Primus struck his spade into the ground it sounded sort o’ holler, jest as if he’d been a diggin’ a grave. ‘It’s kind o’ melancholy,’ says I, ‘to think o’ them poor critters that had to be killed and buried jest to keep this ‘ere treasure. What awful things ‘ll be brought to light in the judgment day! Them poor critters they loved to live and hated to die as much as any on us; but no, they hed to die jest to satisfy that critter’s wicked will. I’ve heard them as thought they could tell the Cap’n Kidd places by layin’ their ear to the ground at midnight, and they’d hear groans and wailin’s.”

“Why, Sam! were there really people who could tell where Kidd’s money was?” I here interposed.

“Oh, sartin! why, yis. There was Shebna Basconx, he was one. Shebna could always tell what was under the earth. He’d cut a hazel-stick, and hold it in his hand when folks was wantin’ to know where to dig wells; and that ‘are stick would jest turn in his hand, and p’int down till it would fairly grind the bark off; and ef you dug in that place you was sure to find a spring. Oh, yis! Shebna he’s told many where the Kidd money was, and been with ’em when they dug for it; but the pester on’t was they allers lost it, ’cause they would some on ’em speak afore they thought.”

“But, Sam, what about this digging? Let’s know what came of it,” said we, as Sam appeared to lose his way in his story.

“Wal, ye see, they dug down about five feet, when Primus he struck his spade smack on something that chincked like iron.

“Wal, then Hokum and Toddy Whitney was into the hole in a minute: they made Primus get out, and they took the spade, ’cause they wanted to be sure to come on it themselves.

“Wal, they begun, and they dug and he scraped, and sure enough they come to a gret iron pot as big as your granny’s dinner-pot, with an iron bale to it.

“Wal, then they put down a rope, and he put the rope through the handle; then Hokum and Toddy they clambered upon the bank, and all on ’em began to draw, up jest as still and silent as could be. They drawed and they drawed, till they jest got it even with the ground, when Toddy spoke out all in a tremble, ‘There,’. says he, ‘we’ve got it!‘ And the minit he spoke they was both struck by suthin that knocked ’em clean over; and the rope give a crack like a pistol-shot, and broke short off; and the pot went down, down, down, and they heard it goin’, jink, jink, jink; and it went way down into the earth, and the ground closed over it; and then they heard the screechin’est laugh ye ever did hear.”

“I want to know, Sam, did you see that pot?” I exclaimed at this part of the story.

“Wal, no, I didn’t. Ye see, I jest happened to drop asleep while they was diggin’, I was so kind o’ tired, and I didn’t wake up till it was all over.

“I was waked up, ’cause there was consid’able of a scuffle; for Hokum was so mad at Toddy for speakin’, that he was a fistin’ on him; and old Primus he jest haw-hawed and laughed. ‘Wal, I got my money safe, anyhow,’ says he.

“‘Wal, come to,’ says I. ”Tain’t no use cryin’ for spilt milk: you’ve jest got to turn in now and fill up this ‘ere hole, else the selectmen ‘ll be down on ye.’

“‘Wal,’ says Primus, ‘I didn’t engage to fill up no holes;’ and he put his spade on his shoulder and trudged off.

“Wal, it was putty hard work, fillin’ in that hole; but Hokum and Toddy and Wiggin had to do it, ’cause they didn’t want to have everybody a laughin’ at ’em; and I kind o’ tried to set it home to ’em, showin’ on ’em that ’twas all for the best.

“‘Ef you’d a been left to get that ‘are money, there’d a come a cuss with it,’ says I. ‘It shows the vanity o’ hastin’ to be rich.’

“‘Oh, you shet up!’ says Hokum, says he. ‘You never hasted to any thing,’ says he. Ye see, he was riled, that’s why he spoke so.”

“Sam,” said we, after maturely reflecting over the story, “what do you suppose was in that pot?”

“Lordy massy! boys: ye never will be done askin’ questions. Why, how should I know?”