Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
search a year.”
“Very well,” said the doctor. “Now, then, if Jim is agreeable,
we’ll open the packet”; and he laid it before him on the table.
The bundle was sewn together, and the doctor had to get out
his instrument case and cut the stitches with his medical scissors.
It contained two things--a book and a sealed paper.
“First of all we’ll try the book,” observed the doctor.
The squire and I were both peering over his shoulder as he
opened it, for Dr. Livesey had kindly motioned me to come round
from the side-table, where I had been eating, to enjoy the sport of
the search. On the first page there were only some scraps of
writing, such as a man with a pen in his hand might make for
idleness or practice. One was the same as the tattoo mark, “Billy
Bones his fancy”; then there was “Mr. W. Bones, mate,” “No more
rum,” “Off Palm Key he got itt,” and some other snatches, mostly
single words and unintelligible. I could not help wondering who it
was that had “got itt,” and what “itt” was that he got. A knife in his
back as like as not.
“Not much instruction there,” said Dr. Livesey as he passed on.
The next ten or twelve pages were filled with a curious series of
entries. There was a date at one end of the line and at the other a
sum of money, as in common account-books, but instead of
explanatory writing, only a varying number of crosses between the
two. On the 12th of June, 1745, for instance, a sum of seventy
pounds had plainly become due to someone, and there was
nothing but six crosses to explain the cause. In a few cases, to be
sure, the name of a place would be added, as “Offe Caraccas,” or a
mere entry of latitude and longitude, as “62o 17’ 20”, 19o 2’ 40”.”
The record lasted over nearly twenty years, the amount of the