Body, Boots & Britches

Body, Boots & Britches

Body, Boots & Britches

Body, Boots & Britches

Excerpt

Pieces of eight to doits, you were introduced to Captain Kidd in that blessed year when you read Treasure Island for the first time. It was at his Anchorage on Skeleton Island that you and Jim Hawkins landed for the great adventure. A little later you found the Captain's treasure in Poe prize story, The Gold Bug . If you were lucky, it was not long after when you came upon Irving Tales of a Traveller and its juicy section called The Money Diggers , in which is inset that short, romantic account of the Captain which is still the inspiration of a hundred folktales.

There are three Captain Kidds, but to the folklorist the best of them is Irving's--really the creation of the folk and the balladeers. The romantic Kidd still sails Long Island Sound in his sash of velvet orange; he is wearing heavy gold ear-rings set with yellow sapphires, a bandoleer of cloth of gold, King Charles boots with gold buckles. There are more than fifteen on that dead man's chest; the Earl of Hell himself has taken charge and all the powers of Night. Not a County on Hudson's River, not an islet in the Sound but has its whispers and hopes of buried treasure, all planted by Kidd on those few nights when he hovered between Block Island and Gardiner's . . .

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