An Acadian Adventure

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An Acadian Adventure
Lynn C. Doyle
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AN ACADIAN ADVENTURE. BY LYNN C. DOYLE. (Conclusion.) With the flint and steel, a number of sparks, in rapid succession, were transmitted to the lint. An odor of burning cotton followed, then a miniature cloud of smoke arose, and finally a tiny blaze burst through the apex of the pile. Nervously removing the wick from the jar, I applied the upper end to the blaze. Slowly it ignited and when the lower portion was again inserted in the liquid it burned with a pale blue flame. Never had the striking patterns of that old tie appeared to better effect. True my lamp was crude and primitive, and its removal from place to place was somewhat awkward, still with all these defects it was unquestionably a great success. As the light shed its flickering rays about the place, I noticed, some distance above the chests, a natural shelf in the rocky wall on which lay several crudely shaped vessels made of horn, which I judged to be drinking cups, together with a number of long copper tubes. The latter I carefully examined. They contained rolls of parchment upon which were rudely sketched the coast line of the Bay of Fundy and adjoining waters. One of these charts interested me particularly, that which indicated the location of the treasure. The latitude and longitude were given, the depth of waters at anchorage, and the rock which guarded the entrance to the tunnel. Immediately below the dotted outlines which represented the rock was sketched a compass dial, the needle pointing east south east. Beneath this were several rows of cabalistic characters which at that time I was unable to translate. This chart I folded and placed in my pocket. Now that the agency was at hand, with which a further examination of the cavern might be made, with my light, I proceeded toward the entrance. Midway between the window and the door, my attention was attracted by a number of rings protruding from the wall to which were attached heavy chains extending to the floor. Depositing my lamp upon a rocky ledge, I discovered amid a collection of rubbish two human skeletons. Encircling the wrists and ankles of each were metal bands attached to the chains above. The awful thought of how these men met their end almost unnerved me. Their confinement here may have been the result of a breach of discipline, the sea rover intending it to be of brief duration, when suddenly finding himself pursued, he was unable to return and effect their release; or possibly, this pirate chief, to satisfy a capricious whim, had planned with a devilish cunning their incarceration and a living death, and with an awful nicety had carried his plot into execution. But this was all conjecture, the facts will never be determined. With a shudder I turned from the evidence of the tyrant's murderous work to learn further of the cave. Near the entrance, arranged in a row against the wall, were several earthern vessels which upon breaking the sealed stoppers I found to contain fish oil. Removing the wick from the jar of spirits, I dropped into that containing the oil, and in a short time the power of my illuminating plant was materially increased. On the opposite side of the cave extending fully half way from the entrance to the window, were the remnants of a succession of metal racks. Stacked in these had been firearms and other weapons but the rusted frames had long since given away, and the contents now lay in a confused heap upon the floor. This place had at one time been a veritable arsenal. Nothing further of note was discovered, and threading my way back through the maze of rubbish, I seated myself upon a chest near the window. It was now dark. The light was no longer being transmitted through the wall. While thus sitting, waiting for the tide to reach the ebb, I thought for the first time of the anxiety of my companions that would naturally be occasioned by my absence. Fully appreciating the frailty of human nature, I fancied that an announcement of my discovery might jeopardize the chances of transporting the treasure to a place of safety. I therefore decided to volunteer no information to my comrades, but to return in the near future, properly equipped to secure the booty. But how should I explain my absence? I would tell them that I had been caught on a reef near the western end of the island where I had been kept a prisoner until the tide went out. At length the time arrived when I considered the waters would admit of my escape from the tunnel. I prepared to depart from the cave. Distributing a number of coins through my pockets, with my lamp in hand I proceeded toward the door. It suddenly occurred to me that the entrance of the tunnel, which had been left open was now chocked with sand and rocks by the action of the tide. It would then be a wise precaution to take some implement along in the event of such a contingency. Selecting the stoutest broad-sword from the collection on the floor, I proceeded on my way to the outer world. I must admit that it was with reluctance that the door was closed upon the treasure. Carefully adjusting the fastening as I had found it, the descent to the floor of the tunnel was easily accomplished. Several times on my way toward the opening my lamp came dangerously near being demolished, for on those slippery rocks it was with the greatest difficulty that I retained my equilibrium. At length the entrance was reached, but as I had foreseen, it was choked with sand leaving an opening not larger than my hat through which I saw the stars. Aided with the implement with which I had provided myself, this obstruction was soon removed, and I emerged from the tunnel and its gruesome associations. Without attempting to replace the rock which guarded the entrance I looked across the water in the direction of the yacht. Her lights were readily distinguished. As I proceeded up the beach I noticed several lights twinkling in as many different directions then a succession of haloos were bore to my ears. My comrades had organized a searching party. I returned no response until the base of the cliff was reached fearing that my presence further down would arouse their curiosity. When I announced my approach their delight at finding me knew no bounds. The explanation of my absence appeared satisfactory and in a short time we were all on board the Pompey. Upon entering the lighted cabin and removing my hat, the expression of horror and consternation depicted upon the faces of my friends is indelibly stamped upon my memory. They uttered not a word but the captain pointing to a mirror on the wall, in tones trembling with suppressed emotion exclaimed: for God’s sake, look! I crossed the room, and as my eye caught the reflection, I was horror-struck -- my hair, that morning dark as the raven’s wing, was now white as the drifting snow! * * * * * * * An article published in the New York Herald, February 6th, 1898, contained an account of extensive operations then being carried on at Oak Island, on the Southern coast of Nova Scotia, in the search for Captain Kidd’s buried treasure. The article recalled to mind the fact that I still had in my possession the chart found on the Isle de Haute. The light thus thrown upon the subject has aided me materially in deciphering the cabalistic signs shown on the chart. In direction indicated by the needle on compass lies Oak Island. A Translation of the characters has been successfully worked out, and I am to-day, probably, the only living being who holds the key to the “Oak Island Mystery.” THE END.