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Title: The Lost Galleon
Author: Katharine Tynan
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Language: English
Date first posted: July 2010
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------------------------------------------------------------------------

Title: The Lost Galleon
Author: Katharine Tynan


Published in The Queenslander, 18 October, 1902.




PART I.

It was not likely the old compact should be remembered except by
Bridget, my nurse, and she had been present when my father and the Lord
Fitzwalter had joined my baby hand and that of Lady Nesta; a jest of
fine gentlemen over the wine, to be forgotten when the Considines of
Doon had come low in the world, or to be remembered only by a fond old
woman, and she half-crazed because of the misfortunes of those she
served who were dearer to her than her own flesh and blood.

Of our misfortunes I will not speak. My father, Brian Considine, was at
rest; and the bailiffs, who had become as familiar about the place as
the crows of our old rookery, had winged their flight elsewhere. They
had not troubled my father's last hours. God rest him! for I had bled
myself and my name dry that every man should have his own, and none have
cause to reproach him who was gone.

In which matter I had proved myself in the eyes of many but little of a
Considine; for what Considine ever before had taken his debts anything
but gaily? I am serious inheriting the gravity of my mother a Langton of
Langton in the county of Devon, who had loathed the debts, and had
indeed, dear soul, died of the trouble of them. At her knee I learnt to
hate the load that was fretting her thin. So here I was at twenty-five a
free man from my father's creditors, but utterly stripped and bare, so
that I knew not whither I must turn to earn so much as should keep the
life in me and the few helpless folk dependent on me.

These were, firstly, Bridget, my nurse; secondly, Thady, our old butler,
and in these latter days my father's body-servant; thirdly, his son Tim,
but the rascal could have earned a living for himself anyhow, and would
have gone soldiering with me in Flanders with a joyful heart if I had
held myself free to go; fourthly, a number of the halt, the sick, and
the blind, little children and old people, who had been fed from Doon
since time immemorial; fifthly, those gentle pensioners, the horses and
the dogs, mainly old, and in no wise fitted to make a way for themselves
in the world.

'Twas wintry weather, and the hills around were covered with snow.
Between them the lake was black as steel, excepting where at the opening
to the southward the sea came leaping and roaring. Every little pool was
frozen, and the trees outside the window were fringed with icicles like
old men's beards. But the lake was not frozen, for the sea-salt in it
kept it unfrozen in the hardest weather; and the like of this in our
soft climate no man remembered. Great flocks of gulls had come crying
about the house. I had ordered food to be set for them, but they were
insatiable; they quarrelled among themselves and with the greedy crows,
so that the little singing-birds had but one chance to be fed, and that
was to snatch a piece when the great birds were quarrelling.

Thady had come in and closed the shutters and heaped the turf on the
fire. Happily, for fires we did not want, since the bog was at our
door--neither I nor my poor neighbours. As the flame leaped up I
surveyed the pleasant room which was yet mine. It was hung with cordovan
leather finely tooled and gilt. The parquetted floor was a thing of
beauty. The great mantelpiece of inlaid marbles framed a Madonna of
Bellini. Yet all these too must go. So many things had been thrown to
the wolves that Doon was become an old rat-hole, hardly fit to house us.
But no one who trusted me should want while I had these things to excite
the greed of a London dealer. And for all of them one had offered great
quantities, as it seemed to me, of gold.

"'Tis a night for a glimpse of the Santa Anna," said I to Thady.

"On such a night, your honour, it was seen last," he replied, "and that
was in the lifetime of your great-grandfather. I wish 'twould give up
its gold."

"I'm at one with you there, Thady," I made quick reply, "for it was
never more badly needed."

"Lord!" said he, "to think of the Don's doubloons and pieces of eight
and gold plate and silver plate blackening in the brine, and Doon and
the Considines vanishing from earth because of the need of them."

"I have no money to sink in search of the treasure-ship," said I.

"Nay, your honour," said he, "too much has gone that way already. You
might believe the ship had never been there but that so many witnessed
the contrary, let alone that the ghost of her drives on Carrigadoon hull
foremost like a bull in act to charge. Yet in the great depths of the
lake none has ever discovered her, though we chartered many a diver in
days gone by. Just to think the Don's parchment rots for useless!"

"Ay, good gentleman!" said I. "He would do us a good turn because we had
saved him, cast up by the waves, from the fate that befell his friends
over at Smerwick. He could not have thought his galleon would have
vanished like a pebble sucked in by the sea."

"True for you!" said Thady; "yet vanished it has as though the Santa
Anna was a thing to be lost like a needle in a hayrick."

A shrill bell pealed through the house, and Thady, with an exclamation,
shuffled away to open the door.

I had few friends to visit Doon in these days, except Father Simon
O'Clery, the abbe, as he liked to call himself, a thin, silver-haired
old priest who had been at Douai the happiest days of his life, and was
parched for equal friendship in those latter evil days.

But it was not the priest in his faded cassock whom Thady ushered in. It
was a lady veiled from head to foot, yet carrying herself so freely and
graciously that the glint of gold hair revealing itself through the veil
might have been a crown.

"A lady to see your honour," said Thady, and vanished discreetly.

When the door had closed behind him she threw back her veil. Her face
was white amid its golden hair. Her eyes were at once imperious and
tender. As I looked upon her she lowered them, and the colour of roses
surged in her cheeks. Her lips took a delicate line of submission, and
she stood leaning towards me a little as though she would yield her
beauty to her lover.

As for me, a gust took and shook me. I controlled myself by a strong
effort. Coming so, alone, under shadow of nightfall, she had trusted me,
and I would repay her trust.

"Lady Nesta," I asked, "why are you here?"

"Sir Maurice Considine," she replied, "so that you may save me."

The colour flickered in her cheek like a candle blown by the wind. Then
it settled in two deep spots which I could have sworn I saw pulsing, so
living were they.

"My father would marry me to Damer of Coote Hall," she went on.

"Doubly forsworn," I cried; "a traitor to his God and his country; old,
lean, yellow--a lover of gold. Is the Lord Fitzwalter mad?"

"Alas!" she said, "he, too, is eaten up by the lust of gold. He sees Mr.
Damer through a golden air of it. But I--I swear if I marry the man I
will kill myself at the altar. I am young to die, Sir Maurice
Considine."

Her voice went off like the mourning of doves.

As for me, I felt the soul in me toss like forest trees in a storm.

"What would you have me do?" I asked in a stifled voice.

She came a little nearer.

"We were betrothed in infancy," she murmured, and her voice was like a
silver rain.

"You know it, then?"

"I know it. My father broke the compact with yours. I am ready to
fulfill it."

"To save yourself from Richard Damer?"

"Because I would give my hand with my heart," she said, her eyes closing
as though she would faint.

I caught her to my breast and held her there. Before, I had hardly known
that I loved her, the little promised wife of my infancy; but what bond
was it by which my love now sprang full-grown, and I knew I would die a
thousand deaths rather than that she should suffer ill.

Again the bell pealed 'through the house.

She clung to me fast, and I knew her fears.

"It is no pursuer," I said; "only the Abbe O'Clery, who plays dominoes
with me of nights. Do not be afraid, my beloved. I think he will place
you in safety."

"In your arms?" she said. "Then I am ready."

I put her in a chair and went to meet the old priest. He listened to me
perturbed, taking snuff agitatedly as I told him my tale. But his eyes
were not afraid.

"I shall make the lady your wife," he said at last. "She must be
protected, though 'twill be the worse for me. Fitzwalter is powerful,
and--I ask your pardon, madam--unrelenting. We are only suffered here,
and have no friends but the poor. His vengeance will fall on me. Yet,"
he went on, "what have I to do with it? Shall a priest of the Most High
fear the frown of his fellow-creatures? We must save the lady, Sir
Maurice."

Without in the frost a twig crackled. Otherwise the night was
dead-still, for the distant booming of the waves on the bar of Doon was
beyond our hearing.

I went through the marriage like a man in a dream. I was too overwrought
and too much on fire then to think of my poverty and how poor an estate
I had to offer to the heiress of the Lord Fitzwalter. Truly, while the
priest prayed over us I had but one thought, but one apprehension, that
something might happen to prevent the marriage. But nothing happened.
The words were said; my mother's ring was on her hand; the old servants,
who had come in to witness the marriage, went away with joyous and
disturbed faces. She was mine who had seemed so far beyond me; and
nothing now could break the bond, since the Lord Fitzwalter, albeit an
irreligious man and a persecutor, was also of the old religion, or at
least had never abjured it openly.

When the marriage was over, and the priest had left us together, she
clung to me a while; then she took her head off my breast, and taking up
her cloak and the hat with its long veil, she swathed herself in them.
It was like night putting out the day, when the glories of her face were
eclipsed, and also her petticoat of white and silver, for she had come
gorgeous under her clouds of blackness.

"Would you leave me?" I asked, looking at her in wonder.

"Alas! I must," she replied. "I go to win my father. I am his one child,
and I would not have enmity between you and him."

"But how will you do it?" I asked.

"I know not. Give me time. He sups to-night with Mr. Damer. I shall be
at home long before he reaches it. Good night, my beloved."

I did not dispute her will, although I was loath that we should part so
soon. Had she not done enough in coming and giving herself to me? And
must not Doon be somewhat habitable to receive its mistress? I went with
her over the low hills of Daragh and by the footpath-way across the Lord
Fitzwalter's park, and nothing more unfriendly met me than a herd of
grazing deer that sniffed with their nostrils as we came nigh, and then
were gone like the wind.

"I return the way I came," she said as we approached the lancet-topped
postern in the high wall of the Italian garden.

"None will have missed me except one who is in my confidence.
Good-night, heart's beloved. To think that I return a wife! Ah! with
this talisman of your ring I shall have nothing to fear."

As I went homeward a low mist writhed and curled below the trees of the
park. It made things old seem new and unfamiliar. My mind was in that
state that I had no leisure to think upon it; but now I remember that
the Valley of the Heifer was filled in with a solid floor of the mist,
be that I could have sworn it was a lake like my own Doonass, with the
mountains ringing it about.

It was a sudden mist, not borne on any wind, but exhaled, it would seem,
from the stiff ground. Sometimes it was in a solid body of vapour like
that which lay upon the Valley of the Heifer. Again it was broken up in
shreds and patches. My feet walked in it and my head was clear, or else
I stood all clear, and could place any hand within that thistledown.
Looking over the hedges on either side of me, I could see now a clear
space with the rushes standing like lances of silver, and again nothing
but the magic mist that veiled I knew not what.

I came out presently on the edge of Doonass Lake, emerging there from
the low wood full of myrtles and fuchsias, with many choice ferns
uncurling among the bracken. It was an inhospitable air for them to
breathe on such a night. So hard a frost it was that it seemed to me my
breath froze as it mingled with the air. I came out on the edge of
Doonass Lake, as I have said; and it was well for me I was so familiar
with the place, or I might have gone to join the Don's treasure at the
bottom of that inland sea.

The whole lake was covered with a mist--gray mist, silvery shining,
because the moon was at her full somewhere out of sight. A night-bird
cried across the dark waters. Where I stood was clear enough, yet the
lake water lapped almost at my feet and was not visible.

An instant I stood gazing into the mist. Then something--something of
movement in its dullness--arrested my vision. I stood like one turned to
stone. What was that that took shape in the silver? The great ship came
on soundlessly. I could see her high poop crusted with images. Above it
I saw the faces of men--dark sunburnt faces, with the gray veil of the
mist or some other pallor upon them.

The mist now had turned gray and threatening, it was streaked through
and through as with rain driven by a great tempest. There was not a
sound; yet I swear that a hurly-burly of a wind arose, was let loose
from all the quarters of heaven upon the galleon. I saw her great sails
flap helplessly, and wondered an instant that they did not fill; till,
as the galleon slewed a little towards the shore, the pitiless rents
revealed themselves, and I saw how naked she was of all succour, flogged
by the merciless wind into the reef and the terrible cliff-face of
Carrigadoon.

More than that I saw, for the magnet that was in the rocks I observed to
be drawing her. There was no sound, and yet she sped over the waters
like a racer, not wallowing in the trough of the waters, but hurling
herself upon her ruin as though she were driven by all the furies.

Then, as I looked, one face separated itself from those others--the pale
and careless faces that leaned above the poop as though they watched a
fair and quiet shore; and the face I saw so distinctly that I have never
forgotten it. It was that of a man of more than middle age, dark and
handsome, with curling moustachios and a little pointed beard. It was
framed in long ringletted hair that was thickly powdered over with gray.
A scar ran across the right cheek, showing darkly purple. The expression
of the face was noble and dignified, as I could not fail to see, since
the two eyes looked in mine. Looked, did I say? Why, they drew me as
Carrigadoon drew that unhappy vessel, and I could not choose but gaze
into them, so that for the time we were alone; although all those silent
figures crowded the poop and leant upon the bulwarks.

The message of the eyes was something insistent. I remember that I
marvelled what the ghost's business might be with me; for that it was a
ghost I never doubted, nor those dark sailor-men nor that ill-fated ship
to be of anything but the company of ghosts.

Then the eyes seemed to withdraw themselves, and the ship to retreat to
a great distance. Once more I was a spectator of her peril, and now I
perceived that she was almost upon the rocks. I listened for the roar of
the impact, the crashing of her timbers, the crying of her doomed crew,
when Carrigadoon should crush her and fling her back broken and writhing
upon the waters. I listened in terror, I say, for it would not be the
first time I had heard on this treacherous lake of ours the cry of the
dying.

But, lo and behold! while I yet looked the vessel recoiled a little,
shuddering, as though about to take the leap that should destroy her.
Then she rushed upon the rock, and I saw clearly, plain as the face of
day, that she seemed to pass within it. The rock might have opened to
receive her; of that I could not be sure; but she passed from before my
eyes into that tremendous wall with its great columns, range upon range,
that only the gannet and the gull have visited. She passed, I say, and
there was nothing before me but the steel gray lake of Doonass, with the
mists blowing off and letting the frosty moon shine through. __________

PART II.

I went home forgetting all else, even my wedded wife. I remembered only
the wreck.

I found Thady busy, as he often was, polishing up the few pieces of thin
silver which represented the old treasures of Doon. I bade him come to
me in the boot-room--that room in which two hours ago I had stood for my
marriage, and there I imparted to him what I had seen. He listened to me
with his old head craned towards me, the muscles in the old neck showing
above the shabby livery, one ancient hand fondling his chin.

"What do you make of it, Thady?" I asked him when I had finished.

"Make of it, your honour? Why, that the Santa Anna never went to the
bottom of Doonass at all, and them that was huntin' for her there might
have spared their time an' trouble. She's locked fast in Carrigadoon.
Sure 'tis a wilderness of wild caves an' galleries, as all the world
knows. An' there the money'll stay till the Judgment Day."

"Why should it stay," asked I, "seeing that we have such sore need of
it?"

Indeed, my heart had leaped up at his words, for I saw Doon proud as of
old, its lands restored to it, its old chambers beautiful, the treasures
of which it had been dispossessed returned again. I saw more. Through
the gold of this lost ship of the Armada I saw my wife like a queen
walking in these old rooms in a state that befitted her pride and
beauty. I saw the Considines, who had been so stripped and impoverished
that the last of them had nothing but his sword, holding their heads
again with the highest. I saw my sons, her sons and mine, growing up
about me, to exalt the name that had sunk into obscurity, almost into
oblivion.

"Why should it stay?" I repeated, meeting the old fellow's cunning eyes.

"There is but one way into Carrigadoon," said he, "and that is by the
Chimney. Your honour would never take it?"

"I think Don Miguel meant that I should," I said. "Would he cast me on
my destruction?"

"It might be an evil spirit in his shape," said the old fellow, wiser
than ever. "Time was," he went on, "I'd have been for scalin' the
Chimney; but old blood runs cold. You won't be for tryin' it, Master
Maurice?"

"My blood runs hot enough," said I.

"You wouldn't be for leavin' the lady a widow?"

The suggestion staggered me a little, and the old fellow saw his
advantage, and pressed it.

"It 'ud be the greatest of luck for old Damer if your honour was out of
the way," he said, eyeing me curiously.

"Let me be now, Thady," I said. "I shall take the night to think upon
it."

He went half unwillingly, and I to my bed, but not to sleep. Under the
motheaten canopy of the great bed I lay staring into the moony dark. My
thoughts were too full of excitement to let me sleep. Such happenings of
a single night! Did any one ever know the like? How could I have
imagined, awaking in the cold dawn, that I should be a husband before
night, and that from the other world a hand should be stretched out to
me proffering riches?

And I never doubted that I should go. Thady's arguments had but shaken
me into the consciousness of how much I risked. Yet would I be worthy of
the Lady Nesta, my wife, the Lady Nesta Considine--a fierce joy took me
and shook me as I said her new name--if I were not ready for Fortune
when she flung her gifts in my lap? As for Thady's suggestion about that
noble ghost, I spurned it. There was no treachery in those sad eyes and
on those stern lips. He was a true man that Don Miguel Santana, whether
he lived or died.

I slept late, and when I awoke that rascal Tim was by my bedside. He was
holding me a cup of chocolate as he had learned to make it in French
Flanders.

"I thought your honour would sleep to the dinner-hour," he said; "and
you 'ave talked--Lord, how you have talked!--about the treasure-ships,
and dead men, and other matters."

"Tim," I asked, "what day is this?"

"Christmas Eve," he answered, "and the world sunk in the snow. 'Twill be
bad for the lambs born to-night. What suit will your honour wear; the
plum-colour, with the white lacing?"

It was plain he thought I would be for seeing my bride; but I had the
will to thwart myself till I should pour the Don's gold into her lap.

"Naw." said I "but the toughest and plainest suit I possess."

"What would your honour be for doing?" he asked, staring.

Then I told him, as I had told his father, the story of the ship and her
guests. He heard me out. Then--I could depend on him--he could scarce
contain himself until the descent of the Chimney might be made.

"'Tis no such great thing," he said. "A black gulf, and the roaring of
waters, and the devil's name were enough to scare silly folk. So much
the better for us, Master Maurice."

Now, we did not dare to make that venture by daylight, for I had it in
my mind that at the least hint of our absence together, old Thady might
set the hue-and-cry upon us; and I was minded that we should see the
matter through for ourselves.

The storm that day was enough to keep any one within doors. I spent the
hours of it in the bookroom, making a disposition of my affairs and
belongings, such as they were. To the Lady Nesta, "my beloved and
honoured wife," I left all things whatsoever of which I should die
possessed, praying her, out of the love she bore me, to let not my old
servants, and the poor who leant upon me, suffer. I left her especially
that deed of gift by which Don Miguel had willed his galleon to Sir
Terence Considine in the days of Elizabeth, and I set the parchment,
witnessed and sealed by a notary who had come hither with the great Earl
of Cork, where it might easily be found, together with a statement of
where I believed the galleon to be, in case we should not return. For,
living or dead, I meant her to have the treasure.

Poor Thady watched me narrowly all that day; but towards evening his
suspicions lulled, and I could see that his relief was great when about
ten of the clock I put away my books and retired to my bedchamber.

After a sufficient time had passed I left the room and the house,
locking the room and taking the key with me lest my absence should be
discovered.

I found Tim waiting for me as we had agreed under the great oak-tree in
the Long Avenue. He was carrying a hooded lantern, and a thick coil of
rope was round his body. He was stamping his feet to keep himself warm,
and whistling a little to keep his heart up in the piercing cold and
amid the shadows.

It was not far, luckily, to the Chimney and the circle of strange stones
that surrounds it, and of which the country people are much afraid,
deeming it a sacrificing place of witches and devils, and I know not
what other wildness.

The moon was up now, and every stone threw a blackness of shadow on the
snow. As we came near we could hear the whirlpool in the Chimney that
never was silent, a roaring and deafening sound as though the whole sea
were imprisoned in that shaft and cried to get free.

Our plan was of no great subtlety, and never were men so lightly
provided for such an enterprise. Those old boulders of the Druidic
circle had favoured us. Close to the Chimney, leaning towards it as
though it would pass within, was a great stone in shape somewhat
cruciform.

Under its arms we knotted the rope. Nothing could hold it more steadily.

"'Twill never break, Master Maurice," said Tim. "I have spent the day in
testing it, for I would not leave my old father childless."

With that he began to fasten the other end about his middle; but I
protested, and albeit he strove with me that he should go first, he knew
me too well to stand long against me.

Yet as he knelt by the edge of the Chimney, paying out the rope to me
with his two hands, his face was gloomy.

"Have patience, Tim," said I, "for if I come not back soon, you will
follow me."

"That will I," he said, and his face lightened; "though I shall have to
go in the dark."

As he lowered me over the edge, I felt with my feet for any
resting-place on the sides of the Chimney, but found none. The lantern
was slung to the rope round my waist, and by its light I could see the
slimy and dripping walls, where no foot hold was possible. The upper
part of the Chimney was narrow--as narrow as any house chimney; but as I
went lower and lower it seemed to widen, and presently I came to the end
of the rope and was dangling in midair amid such a commotion under me
that it was as if the cauldron of hell were seething there. For a second
or two I dangled, thinking how long I should have to wait, until Tim
thought of pulling me up again.

Fortunately the air of the place was pure; and if I had had any doubt
that I opened to the sea, I should have been persuaded by the furious
wind that blew about me, making my lantern to flicker, not less than by
the fact that a gull I had startled flew in my face with a scream, and
then sped upwards to the opening above.

Now, I was right sure that the gull did not enter the place from above,
and it occurred to me that not far from my face might be some spot where
her kind nested in the breeding season. I began to feel numb, swinging
so between earth and heaven; but with an effort I set myself to go
backwards and forwards like a pendulum, striving so to find what lay
about me at either side of the Chimney.

Then, to my great joy, I saw by my lantern light a ledge, and on it a
drift of silver sand, by which I knew that the opening into the sea
could not be far from me. The next swing of the rope brought me within
touch of it, and I could see, that there was a little cave retiring into
the rock.

Once, twice, my feet touched the sands; but the impetus of the rope
swung me again over the abyss. The third time I had better luck, for I
grasped with my hand a rough edge of rock and drew myself on the little
ledge of sand. My first care was to free myself from the rope, lest Tim
should draw me up again and my work be undone; the next to flash my
lantern into that dark crevice in the wall of the Chimney, startling a
great many gulls, which flew into my face so suddenly that if I had not
been very cautious I might have overstepped the edge and that had been
an end of me.

But, confused as I was by the roar of waters below me and the columns of
spray that rose now in my face and blurred my lantern, I yet kept my
presence of mind, and had the sense to withdraw myself into the cave,
being freed of the rope, lest a vertigo should take me on that narrow
ledge.

Now, when I had wiped the lantern clear of the spray, I saw that the
cave--for cave it was--retired inwards, but was not closed as I had
supposed, narrowing into a passage high enough to take a man standing;
and this greatly excited my curiosity.

But before I followed my instinct to explore it, I turned about, seeking
for some means by which I might let Tim know the way I had gone. Then I
saw that the rope was no longer there, and concluded that he must have
drawn it up, finding that my weight had left it; and about this I was
not long in doubt, for while I yet stared from my position of safety in
the cave upon the black interior of the chimney, a pair of brogues came
in sight, and I should have known them the world over for Tim's. In an
instant he was by my side.

"Why, it is a country tale," he said, "that the cliff here was tunnelled
by fairies. It looks more like smugglers to my mind, Master Maurice; and
if it is so not much shall we find of the Santa Anna."

Yet they were no smugglers but men of some earlier date that made these
galleries and vaulted rooms, for what purpose is beyond anything but our
blind guessing. Anyhow, it was no maze, but easy to follow, that,
twisting in and out, led us at last to the great cave nearly filled with
the sea, wherein what was left of the galleon lay wedged with such a
force that all the storms since then had not been able to free her.

We came upon her by a passage going sharply down from above; and,
lifting the lantern over our heads, we could see the crowding saints and
angels of her carved poop. Within that, I knew well what I should see. I
have since given that dust holy sepulture; but now we did not disturb
it. A window in the poop was close to us. Into it we scrambled--we had
not gone bird-nesting on the cliffs for nothing--and found there a
stately saloon, or it had once been so, but now mouldering and rotten.

But a little while it look us to discern that the blackened goblets and
beakers were of gold, and that there was gold plate worth a King's
ransom. In that deed by which Don Miguel conveyed the galleon to my
ancestor there were minute instructions as to the disposition of the
ship's treasures.

"Lord, if the galleon should be uprooted now!" said Tim at my elbow; but
I hardly heard him. Beyond the bulkhead I knew were the treasure-chests
full of doubloons and moidores and pieces of eight. For the present I
let them be. I put in my breast an image of pure gold, studded with
rubies and emeralds, for an earnest that I had found the treasure, and
so we left the Santa Anna till we could return and enter upon that
inheritance which was lawfully mine.

And return many times we did, till the treasure was in safer custody
than that of the rotting ship. And that being secured at our own risk
and peril, we brought hither the Abbe O'Clery, lowering him by a bucket,
for we had procured better means of ascent and descent. He would come
when he was told how the dead lay there unburied, and himself consecrate
the place, so that, though the earth received them not, they yet slept
like Christians at last. And all this we did ourselves, and
undiscovered, for that snowy Christmas none braved the cliffs of
Carrigadoon; and those heathen cromlechs were always shunned by our
people.

Yet long before this was accomplished--indeed, on the day following our
first discovery; and I am not like to forget it, for it was Christmas
Day--I carried my strange story to the Lord Fitzwalter; and when he
would have mocked at me as mad, I placed in his hands that image with
the sapphire eyes and the cloak set with diamonds, emerald's, and
rubies. And even then, such was the man's character that he still
delayed to receive me as a suitor for the Lady Nesta until I had feasted
his eyes on the gold-pieces, and he realised that I was richer than Dick
Damer, who had squeezed the poor that he might amass guineas.

And when that came to pass he summoned the Lady Nesta and put her hand
into mine, and swore that it rejoiced him to have me as a son; and very
bitter he was about Damer and his insolence that he should have looked
so high as the Lord Fitzwalter's daughter. Yet I remembered that he was
not insolent before I had found the Santa Anna; but I said nothing, for
I would be at peace with my bride's father, who when he heard that we
were already married but congratulated us and himself the louder. My
Nesta is, happily, but little like him.

In the storms of the March equinox that year, the cromlech of the
cruciform shape was somehow uprooted, and fell across the Chimney, and
there it lies to this day, since it is no one's business to remove it,
and it would indeed be a great undertaking; there it remains, a monument
to Don Miguel and his men.

I believe these are at peace, and that none again shall see the
apparition of the Galleon.



THE END



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