The morning broke on the shore frosty and clear after the subsided storm, and the earliest wreckers, seeking in the drift for Christmas gifts to give their children, found well-remembered parts of the Eli and portions of the tenement of its proprietor. A wave rolled higher than the rest and cast upon the shore two bodies—a young man of the comely face and symmetry of a woman, without a sign of pain in his features and dark, oriental eyes, and an old man, venerable as an inhabitant of the ocean and mysterious as a being of some race anterior to the deluge. In his rugged face the marks of that antiquity which has something stately in the lowest types of the Jew, and in this one an almost Mosaic might, were softened to a magnanimity where death had nothing to contribute but its silence and respect. Laying them together, the fishermen and idlers looked at them with a superstition partly of remorse and mild remembrance, and the star of Christmas twinkled over them in the sky. None felt that they were other than father and son, and black men and white, indifferent that day to social prejudices, followed the child of Hagar and the Hebrew patriarch to the grave.
They hewed the pines on Haunted
To build the pungy boat,
And other axes than their own
Yet other echoes smote;
They heard the phantom carpenters,
But not a man could see;
And every pine that crashed to earth
Brought down a viewless tree.
They launched the pungy, not
Another vessel slipped
Down in the water with their own,
And ghostly sailors shipped;
They heard the rigging flap and creak,
And hollow orders cried.
But not a living man could seek,
And not a boat beside.
They sailed away from Haunted
Convoyed by something more:
A boatswain’s whistle answered back,
And oar replied to oar.
No matter where the anchor dropped,
The fiends would not aroint,
And every morn the pungy boat
Still lay off Haunted Point.
They hailed; and voices as
Seemed half to speak again—
A devilish chuckling rolled afar,
And mutiny of men.
The parson of the islands said
It was the pirate band,
Whose gold was lost on Haunted Point
And hid with bloody hand.
Until what time a kidnapped
By ruffians whipped and stole,
Should in the groves of Haunted Point
Convert his stealer’s soul!
They stole the island parson’s child,
He said a little prayer:
Down sank the ground; a gliding sound
Went whispering through the air.