Pirate Gold

Frederic Jesup Stimson
Pirate Gold, by Frederic Jesup

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Title: Pirate Gold
Author: Frederic Jesup Stimson

Release Date: December 5, 2006 [eBook #20025]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
E-text prepared by Sam W. and the Project Gutenberg Online
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Archive/American Libraries. See
The author consistently used a convention in which a long dash, used to
indicate trailed off speech, follows the closing speech mark, rather than
being enclosed within the speech mark. This convention has been
retained throughout.

F. J. STIMSON (J. S. of Dale)

Boston and New York Houghton, Mifflin and Company The Riverside
Press, Cambridge 1896
Copyright, 1895 and 1896, by Houghton, Mifflin & Co.
Copyright, 1896, by F. J. Stimson. All rights reserved.
The Riverside Press, Cambridge, Mass., U. S. A. Electrotyped and
Printed by H. O. Houghton & Co.




It consisted of a few hundred new American eagles and a few times as
many Spanish doubloons; for pirates like good broad pieces, fit to skim
flat-spun across the waves, or play pitch-and-toss with for men's lives
or women's loves; they give five-dollar pieces or thin British guineas to
the boy who brings them drink, and silver to their bootblacks, priests,
or beggars.
It was contained--the gold--in an old canvas bag, a little rotten and very
brown and mouldy, but tied at the neck by a piece of stout and
tarnished braid of gold. It had no name or card upon it nor letters on its
side, and it lay for nearly thirty years high on a shelf, in an old chest,
behind three tiers of tins of papers, in the deepest corner of the vault of
the old building of the Old Colony Bank.
Yet this money was passed to no one's credit on the bank's books, nor
was it carried as part of the bank's reserve. When the old concern took
out its national charter, in 1863, it did not venture or did not remember
to claim this specie as part of the reality behind its greenback
circulation. It was never merged in other funds, nor converted, nor put
at interest. The bag lay there intact, with one brown stain of blood upon
it, where Romolo de Soto had grasped it while a cutlass gash was fresh
across his hand. And so it was carried, in specie, in its original package:
"Four hundred and twenty-three American eagles, and fifteen hundred
and fifty-six Spanish doubloons; deposited by ---- De Soto, June
twenty-fourth, eighteen hundred and twenty-nine; for the benefit of
whom it may concern."
And it concerned very much two people with whom our narration has

to do,--one, James McMurtagh, our hero; the other, Mr. James
Bowdoin, then called Mr. James, member of the firm of James
Bowdoin's Sons. For De Soto, having escaped with his neck, took good
pains never to call for his money.

A very real pirate was De Soto. None of your Captain Kidds, who make
one voyage or so before they are hanged, and even then find time to
bury kegs of gold in every marshy and uncomfortable spot from Maine
to Florida. No, no. De Soto had better uses for his gold than that.
Commonly he traveled with it; and thus he even brought it to Boston
with him on that unlucky voyage in 1829, when Mr. James Bowdoin
was kind enough to take charge of it for him. One wonders what he
meant to do with a bag of gold in Boston in 1829.
This happened on Thursday, the 24th of June. It was the day after Mr.
James Bowdoin's (or Mr. James's, as Jamie McMurtagh and others in
the bank always called him; it was his father who was properly Mr.
James Bowdoin, and his grandfather who was Mr. Bowdoin)--after Mr.
James's Commencement Day; and it was the day after Mr. James's
engagement as junior clerk in the counting-room; and it was the day
after Mr. James's engagement to be married; and it was the day but one
after Mr. James's class's supper at Mr. Porter's tavern in North
Cambridge. Ah, they did things quickly in those days; ils savoient
They had
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