Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land, Complete
Page: 51Presently a shade crossed the white man's face, for he thought that this vast treasure would have to be shared by others. It was too much to endure. He wanted all. He would be the richest man on earth. Stealing behind the Indian as he stood swaying and chuckling, he wrenched the hatchet from his belt and clove his skull at a blow. Then, dragging the body to a thicket and hiding it under stones and leaves, he hurried to his house for cart and pick and shovel, and returning with speed he dug out a half ton of the silver before sunset. The cart was loaded, and he set homeward, trembling with excitement and conjuring bright visions for his future, when a wailing sound from a thicket made him halt and turn pale. Noiselessly a figure glided from the bush. It was the Indian he had killed. The form approached the treasure, flung up its arm, uttered a few guttural words; then a rising wind seemed to lift it from the ground and it drifted toward the Sound, fading like a cloud as it receded.
Full of misgiving, Gardiner drove to his home, and, by light of a lantern, transferred his treasure to his cellar. Was it the dulness of the candle that made the metal look so black? After a night of feverish tossing on his bed he arose and went to the cellar to gloat upon his wealth. The light of dawn fell on a heap of gray dust, a few brassy looking particles showing here and there. The curse of the ghost had been of power and the silver was silver no more. Mineralogists say that the nodules are iron pyrites. Perhaps so; but old residents know that they used to be silver.
THE CORTELYOU ELOPEMENT
In the Bath district of Brooklyn stands Cortelyou manor, built one hundred and fifty years ago, and a place of defence during the Revolution when the British made sallies from their camp in Flatbush and worried the neighborhood. It was in one of these forays on pigs and chickens that a gallant officer of red-coats met a pretty lass in the fields of Cortelyou. He stilled her alarm by aiding her to gather wild-flowers, and it came about that the girl often went into the fields and came back with prodigious bouquets of daisies. The elder Cortelyou had no inkling of this adventure until one of his sons saw her tryst with the red-coat at a distance. Be sure the whole family joined him in remonstrance. As the girl declared that she would not forego the meetings with her lover, the father swore that she should never leave his roof again, and he tried to be as good, or bad, as his word. The damsel took her imprisonment as any girl of spirit would, but was unable to effect her escape until one evening, as she sat at her window, watching the moon go down and paint the harbor with a path of light. A tap at the pane, as of a pebble thrown against it, roused her from her revery. It was her lover on the lawn.