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trinkets of little value and mostly of foreign make, a pair of
compasses mounted with brass, and five or six curious West
Indian shells. I have often wondered since why he should have
carried about these shells with him in his wandering, guilty, and
In the meantime, we had found nothing of any value but the
silver and the trinkets, and neither of these were in our way.
Underneath there was an old boat-cloak, whitened with sea-salt on
many a harbour-bar. My mother pulled it up with impatience, and
there lay before us, the last things in the chest, a bundle tied up in
oilcloth, and looking like papers, and a canvas bag that gave forth,
at a touch, the jingle of gold.
“I’ll show these rogues that I’m an honest woman,” said my
mother. “I’ll have my dues, and not a farthing over. Hold Mrs.
Crossley’s bag.” And she began to count over the amount of the
captain’s score from the sailor’s bag into the one that I was
It was a long, difficult business, for the coins were of all
countries and sizes--doubloons, and louis d’ors, and guineas, and
pieces of eight, and I know not what besides, all shaken together at
random. The guineas, too, were about the scarcest, and it was with
these only that my mother knew how to make her count.
When we were about half-way through, I suddenly put my hand
upon her arm, for I had heard in the silent frosty air a sound that
brought my heart into my mouth--the tap-tapping of the blind
man’s stick upon the frozen road. It drew nearer and nearer, while
we sat holding our breath. Then it struck sharp on the inn door,
and then we could hear the handle being turned and the bolt
rattling as the wretched being tried to enter; and then there was a