Spanish Doubloons eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 186 pages of information about Spanish Doubloons.

The Honorable Cuthbert had a voice, a big, rich, ringing baritone like floods of golden honey.  He had also a ridiculous little ukulele, on which he accompanied himself with a rhythmic strumming.  When, like the sudden falling of a curtain, dusky, velvet, star-spangled, the wonderful tropic night came down, we used to build a little fire upon the beach and sit around it.  Then Cuthbert Vane would sing.  Of all his repertory, made up of music-hall ditties, American ragtime, and sweet old half-forgotten ballads, we liked best a certain wild rollicking song, picked up I don’t know where, but wonderfully effective on that island where Davis, and Benito Bonito, and many another of the roving gentry—­not to mention that less picturesque villain, Captain Sampson of the Bonny Lass—­had resorted between their flings with fortune.

  Oh, who’s, who’s with me for the free life of a rover? 
  Oh, who’s, who’s with me for to sail the broad seas over? 
  In every port we have gold to fling,
  And what care we though the end is to swing? 
  Sing ho, sing hey, this life’s but a day,
  So live it free as a rover may.

  Oh, who’s, who’s with me at Fortune’s call to wander? 
  Then, lads, to sea—­and ashore with gold to squander! 
  We’ll set our course for the Spanish Main
  Where the great plate-galleons steer for Spain. 
  Sing ho, sing hey, this life’s but a day,
  Then live it free as a rover may.

  Then leave toil and cold to the lubbers that will bear it. 
  The world’s fat with gold, and we’re the lads to share it. 
  What though swift death is the rover’s lot? 
  We’ve played the game and we’ll pay the shot. 
  Sing ho, sing hey, this life’s but a day,
  Then live it free as a rover may.

“Sing ho, sing hey!” echoed the audience in a loud discordant roar.  Cookie over his dishpan flinging it back in a tremendous basso.  Cookie was the noble youth’s only musical rival, and when he had finished his work we would invite him to join us at the fire and regale us with plantation melodies and camp-meeting hymns.  The negro’s melodious thunder mingled with the murmur of wind and wave like a kindred note, and the strange plaintive rhythm of his artless songs took one back and back, far up the stream of life, until a fire upon a beach seemed one’s ancestral hearth and home.

I realized that life on Leeward Island might rapidly become a process of reversion.

VII

A BABBIT’S FOOT

It was fortunate that Cookie knew nothing of the solitary grave somewhere on the island, with its stone marked with B. H. and a cross-bones, nor that the inhabitant thereof was supposed to walk.  If he had, I think the strange spectacle of a lone negro in a small boat rowing lustily for the American continent might soon have been witnessed on the Pacific by any eyes that were there to see.  And we could ill have spared either boat or cook.

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Spanish Doubloons from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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