Old Fires and Profitable Ghosts eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 312 pages of information about Old Fires and Profitable Ghosts.

I believe that Obed’s body never came to land.  Panic-stricken by his death (I was told), our surviving comrades turned and fled into the woods:  and from that hour no more was heard of them.  Probably they perished of weariness and hunger; it is at least unlikely in the extreme that they found their way back among civilised men.

Though I accompanied my master and his household northward to the village near Cape Flattery, where his chief residence lay, and remained more than three months in his service, I could never obtain speech with Margit.  But I have reason to believe she accepted her new life with absolute contentment.  No doubt, though, she found the sight of me an irksome reminder:  and one day early in April Yootramaki took me aside and promised me my liberty if I would travel with him as far as the Strait, where an American brig had lately arrived.  Of course I accepted his offer with gratitude; and we set forth next day.  The captain of this brig (the Cordelia) was a Mr. Best, and his business in those parts seemed to consist in trading old American muskets in exchange for furs and dried fish.  The Indians have no notion of repairing a gun which has got out of order, and Captain Best actually carried a gunsmith on board, whose knowledge enabled him to buy up at one place all the guns that wanted repairing, and sell them as new pieces at another.

It only remains to add that the Cordelia conveyed me to Valparaiso, whence I shipped for England, reaching the Downs in safety on the 4th of April, 1809.

[1] Shelter from the wind. [2] Farmyard.


[The events which are to be narrated happened in the spring of 1803, and just before the rupture of the Peace of Amiens between our country and France; but were related to my grandfather in 1841 by one Yann, or Jean, Riel, a Breton “merchant,” alias smuggler—­whether or not a descendant of the famous Herve of that name, I do not know.  He chanced to fall ill while visiting some friends in the small Cornish fishing-town, of which my grandfather was the only doctor; and this is one of a number of adventures recounted by him during his convalescence.  I take it from my grandfather’s MSS., but am not able, at this distance of time, to learn how closely it follows the actual words of the narrator.

Smuggling in 1841 was scotched, but certainly not extinct, and the visit of M. Riel to his old customers was, as likely as not, connected with business.—­Q.]

Item, of the Cognac 25 degrees above proof, according to sample in the little green flask, 144 ankers at 4 gallons per anker, at 5s. 6d. per gallon, the said ankers to be ready slung for horse-carriage.

“Now may the mischief fly away with these English!” cried my father, to whom my mother was reading the letter aloud.  “It costs a man a working day, with their gallons and sixpences, to find out of how much they mean to rob him at the end of it.”

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Old Fires and Profitable Ghosts from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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