The 30,000 Dollar Bequest and Other Stories eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 282 pages of information about The 30,000 Dollar Bequest and Other Stories.

When this questionable passenger came on board the ship, he brought nothing with him but an old newspaper containing a handkerchief marked “B.  G.,” one cotton sock marked “L.  W. C.,” one woolen one marked “D.  F.,” and a night-shirt marked “O.  M. R.”  And yet during the voyage he worried more about his “trunk,” and gave himself more airs about it, than all the rest of the passengers put together.  If the ship was “down by the head,” and would not steer, he would go and move his “trunk” further aft, and then watch the effect.  If the ship was “by the stern,” he would suggest to Columbus to detail some men to “shift that baggage.”  In storms he had to be gagged, because his wailings about his “trunk” made it impossible for the men to hear the orders.  The man does not appear to have been openly charged with any gravely unbecoming thing, but it is noted in the ship’s log as a “curious circumstance” that albeit he brought his baggage on board the ship in a newspaper, he took it ashore in four trunks, a queensware crate, and a couple of champagne baskets.  But when he came back insinuating, in an insolent, swaggering way, that some of this things were missing, and was going to search the other passengers’ baggage, it was too much, and they threw him overboard.  They watched long and wonderingly for him to come up, but not even a bubble rose on the quietly ebbing tide.  But while every one was most absorbed in gazing over the side, and the interest was momentarily increasing, it was observed with consternation that the vessel was adrift and the anchor-cable hanging limp from the bow.  Then in the ship’s dimmed and ancient log we find this quaint note: 

“In time it was discouvered yt ye troblesome passenger hadde gone downe and got ye anchor, and toke ye same and solde it to ye dam sauvages from ye interior, saying yt he hadde founde it, ye sonne of a ghun!”

Yet this ancestor had good and noble instincts, and it is with pride that we call to mind the fact that he was the first white person who ever interested himself in the work of elevating and civilizing our Indians.  He built a commodious jail and put up a gallows, and to his dying day he claimed with satisfaction that he had had a more restraining and elevating influence on the Indians than any other reformer that ever labored among them.  At this point the chronicle becomes less frank and chatty, and closes abruptly by saying that the old voyager went to see his gallows perform on the first white man ever hanged in America, and while there received injuries which terminated in his death.

The great-grandson of the “Reformer” flourished in sixteen hundred and something, and was known in our annals as “the old Admiral,” though in history he had other titles.  He was long in command of fleets of swift vessels, well armed and manned, and did great service in hurrying up merchantmen.  Vessels which he followed and kept his eagle eye on, always made good fair time across the ocean. 

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The 30,000 Dollar Bequest and Other Stories from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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