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Where The Treasure Is
by [?]

“It’s the money,” he insisted. “As for the wood, why you might come to my yard and steal as much as you can carry, an’ ‘twouldn’ amount to what you rob by playin’ truant like this; no, nor half of it. That’s one thing for you to consider; and here’s another: There’s a truant-school, up to Plymouth; a sort of place that’s half a school and half a prison, where the magistrates send children that won’t take warning. How would you like it, if a policeman came, one of these days, and took you off to that kind of punishment?”

He looked down on the child, and saw her under-lip working. She held back her tears bravely, but was shaking from head to foot.

“There now!” said the Elder, in what for him was a soothing voice. “There’s no danger if you behave an’ go to school like other children. You just attend to that, an’ we’ll say no more about it.”

He turned back to his office. On the quay he paused to tell Tom Hancock that he reckoned the child would be more careful in future: he had given her something to think over.


A week later, at nine o’clock, Elder Penno was retiring to rest in his bedroom, which overlooked his boat-building yard, when a clattering noise broke on the night without, and so startled him that he all but dropped his watch in the act of winding it.

The noise suggested an avalanche of falling boxes. The Elder blew out his candle, lit a bull’s-eye lantern which he kept handy by his bed, and, throwing up the window, challenged loudly–“Who’s there?”

For the moment the ray of the bull’s-eye revealed no one. He turned it upon the corner of the yard where, as a rule, stood a pile of empty packing-cases from the shop, ’empties’ waiting to be sorted out and returned, old butter-barrels condemned to be knocked to pieces for kindling-wood. Yes: the sound had come from there, for the pile had toppled over and lay in a long moraine across the entrance gate. “Must ha’ been built up top-heavy,” said the Elder to himself: and with that, running his lantern-ray along the yard wall, he caught sight of a small bare leg and a few inches of striped skirt for an instant before they slid into darkness across the coping. He recognised them.

“This beats Old Harry!” muttered the Elder. “Bringin’ up the child to be a gaol-bird now–and on my premises! As if Sam Tregenza hadn’ done me injury enough without that!”

For two years the Elder had been unable to think of Sam Tregenza or to hear his name mentioned, but a mixture of rage and indignation boiled up within him. To be sure, the old man was ruined, had fallen on evil days, subsisted now with the help of half a crown a week parish relief. But he had behaved disgracefully, and his fall was a signal vindication of God’s justice. How else could one account for it? The man had been a wise fisherman, as knowledgable as any in Ardevora. He had been bred to the fishing, and had followed it all his life, but always–until his sixtieth year–as a paid hand, with no more than a paid hand’s share of the earnings. For this his wife had been to blame–an unthrifty woman, always out at heel and in debt to the shop; but with her death he started on a new tack, began to hoard, and within five years owned a boat of his own–the Pass By lugger–bought with his own money, save for a borrowed seventy-five pounds. He worked her with his one son Seth, a widow-man of forty, and Seth’s son, young Eli, aged fifteen, Liz’s father and brother. The boat paid well from the first, and the Tregenzas–the three generations–took a monstrous pride in her.