It seemed a shame so fine a fish should be wasted, so I picked it up and slipped it in my desk, sending Fred Burt to get his mother’s gridiron that we might grill it on the schoolroom fire. While he was gone I went out to the court to play, and had not been there five minutes when back comes Maskew through our playground without Grace, and goes into the schoolroom. But in the screen at the end of the room was a chink, against which we used to hold our fingers on bright days for the sun to shine through, and show the blood pink; so up I slipped and fixed my eye to the hole, wanting to know what he was at. He had his basket with him, and I soon saw he had come back for the sole, not having the heart to leave so good a bit of fish. But look where he would, he could not find it, for he never searched my desk, and had to go off with a sour countenance; but Fred Burt and I cooked the sole, and found it well flavoured, for all it had given so much pain to Mr. Glennie.
After that Grace came no more to school, both because her father had said she should not, and because she was herself ashamed to go back after what Maskew had done to Mr. Glennie. And then it was that I took to wandering much in the Manor woods, having no fear of man-traps, for I knew their place as soon as they were put down, but often catching sight of Grace, and sometimes finding occasion to talk with her. Thus time passed, and I lived with Elzevir at the Why Not?, still going to school of mornings, but spending the afternoons in fishing, or in helping him in the garden, or with the boats. As soon as I got to know him well, I begged him to let me help run the cargoes, but he refused, saying I was yet too young, and must not come into mischief. Yet, later, yielding to my importunity, he consented; and more than one dark night I was in the landing-boats that unburdened the lugger, though I could never bring myself to enter the Mohune vault again, but would stand as sentry at the passage-mouth. And all the while I had round my neck Colonel John Mohune’s locket, and at first wore it next myself, but finding it black the skin, put it between shirt and body-jacket. And there by dint of wear it grew less black, and showed a little of the metal underneath, and at last I took to polishing it at odd times, until it came out quite white and shiny, like the pure silver that it was. Elzevir had seen this locket when he put me to bed the first time I came to the Why Not? and afterwards I told him whence I got it; but though we had it out more than once of an evening, we could never come at any hidden meaning. Indeed, we scarce tried to, judging it to be certainly a sacred charm to keep evil spirits from Blackbeard’s body.
What if my house be troubled with a rat,
And I be pleased to give ten thousand ducats
To have it baned—Shakespeare