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Richmond planet. [volume] (Richmond, Va.) 1883-1938, December 27, 1930, ILLUSTRATED FEATURE SECTION, Image 8

Image and text provided by Library of Virginia; Richmond, VA

Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84025841/1930-12-27/ed-1/seq-8/

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Still Working the ^Buried Treasure** Ti

(Continued from Page One) i
The old man assured him that It
was the only one of its kind in
existence and that he had made it
according to the formula in the
Seventh Book of Moses.
Turner was greatly impressed and
his interest in the old man’s
mysterious activities mounted. Even
tually the old "doctor” took Turner
with him on one of his trips to
the hills. It was on a Sunday after
noon when Turner was not at work.
The ancient "doctor of science”
led Turner by a circuitous route to
a spot dense with underbrush and
trees, on a mild slope a little below
the crest of a hogback or ridge that
ran from the top of Cedar Bluff.
The spot designated was two or
three hundred yards in the rear of
the bluff. There was an old road
along this ridge. It had once been
used for hauling logs.
The old man set up his instru
ment at the spot pointed out and
6howed his interested companion,
Turner, how the hand of the dial
moved around. This was convincing
beyond a doubt that there was gold
underneath where they stood.
The old "doctor of science” then
made a proposition. The instrument
indicated that the treasure was a
considerable distance under the sur
face and that a good deal of dig
ging would be necessary. They would
form a company of twelve men,
who would perform the excavating.
Each man must pay either twenty
five or fifty dollars to the old "doc
tor” to repay him for his expenses
in locating the treasure and recover
ing it. Turner was enthusiastic to
proceed and agreed to invest fifty
dollars.
Vague rumors as to tne treasure
hunt had already been in circulation
in the town and the old man did
not have any difficulty in enlist
ing eleven other likely recruits who
had the money required or had it
coming. He took each of the men,
one at a time, to the spot where
his instrument performed its magic
and all were signed up in short or
der.
All were pledged to airtight se
crecy as to the location of the
treasure and the financial arrange
ments made. The men were sawmill
hands, timber workers and railroad
section men. All made good wages.
All gave up their jobs for the
search for the elusive yellow metal,
"the pot of gold at the end of the
rainbow.”
Most of the crew of twelve were
practical level-headed men with
families to support, who, ordinarily,
would not have risked their jobs,
time and money on something that
well might turn out to be the
merest will-o’-the-wisp but the
search for lost or buried treasure is
a lure that often takes strong hold
on men’s imagination. Moreover, in
this case the old man hinted it was
a chest of gold that had been buried
deep in the ground in Civil War days
by bushwhacker bandits.
Before beginning the digging the
old man commanded the men to
build him a little house in the limbs
of a tree that stood at the edge of
the small lake which lay at the
foot of Cedar Bluff. The tree-house
was about a quarter of a mile south
Df the bluff. The Spanish moss
which he had brought in his wagon
from somewhere down South, and
which he had used as bedding, was
hung on limbs around the ele
vated shanty. The treehouse, he
explained, was to propitiate the
"spirits.”
Each man furnished Iris own dig
ging tools and before they began
'work the old “doctor of science”1
laid down the following rules: The
location of the excavation must be
kept secret; the men must come to
the work alone and must not allow
any outsider to come with them;
there must be no swearing, loud
talking or tobacco-chewing while at
work, lest it anger the spirits and
cause them to move the treasure
deeper in the ground.
All of the men were husky to
bacco chewers and it is tribute to
their hope and Argonaut-spirit that
they were able to refrain from man
ufacturing “ambeer” for several
weeks. A few of them could “cuss”
a plenty on sufficient provocation,
too, but during the treasure hunt
they were as pious as the most ortho
dox person in the country. Perhaps
they did not take so much stock in
the "spirits'’ but the old doctor was
Santa Claus and they would respect
his ideas.
When the work began about half
of the men had paid the old man
the amount stipulated. Some of the
remainder would not have any money
for two weeks and the others who
had not paid, the ones who worked
for the railroad, would not get their
money for nearly four weeks.
The excavators started a hole
about twelve feet square. Half of
the crew worked with pick and
shovel in the excavation while the
others stood on heavy boards laid
across the opening and drew out the
dirt with buckets. It was a clumsy
method and a slow job. The old
man remained with the crew prac
tically all of the time and he fed
them enough theology, philosophy,
wisdom, folk-lore and spirit-lore to
satisfy them the rest of their lives.
And maybe his advice to have no
“truck” with rascals and swindlers
was worth the fees they were pay
ing him even if there had been no
hope of buried treasure. Turner act
ed, in a manner, as foreman of the
crew.
Ten days of work produced a hole
ten feet deep and the old doctor
tried out his magic treasurer-finder
again. The treasure would be found,
he announced, at twenty-two feet.
The men worked feverishly for a few
days and made progress. The men
who at the beginning had a pay-day
two weeks cff received their money
and paid up.
Then when the treasure was still
a few feet away an accident hap
pened. Bill Jordon let fall a bucket
filled with dirt—he was nervous be
cause he was used to chewing to
bacco when he worked. It hit Tom
Sides on the head. Tom forgot and
swore. It was a hard job for him
to keep from swearing at the best.
“Now you have done it!” shouted
the old doctor. “That will make the
spirits move the treasure eight feet
deeper.”
He made a test with his instru
ment. “Yes.” he announced, “it is
now ten feet down from here.”
The men were a little dispirited
by the unfriendly act of the spirits
and worked rather slowly for a few
days. Then the old man ordered a
lay-off for two or three days. Some
of the men talked of quitting when
away from the job and out of the
old man’s hearing, but they did not.
There was no more swearing and
the work proceeded slowly but sure
ly. It was close to dark late one
afternoon when a depth of twenty
nine feet was reached. The old man
announced that the treasure was
only one foot lower. All of the men
had paid the old man by this time.
The old "doctor of science” seem
ed not at all excited because of the
alleged closeness of the precious ob
ject of their quest. When it became
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►too dark to work he told them to
come back early the next morning
and they would fini^i the job. The
members of the crew were on edge
with eagerness and anticipation and
some of them offered to procure
lanterns so the job could be finished
that night but the old man would
not agree to it. He said the spirits
would be displeased.
Now that they were supposed to
be so close to the treasure Sam and
some of the others were afraid that
the old man would dig it up and
make away with it while they were
gone so he decided to watch the
place that night. Sid Chapman and
Charley Casey, other workmen, agreed
to stay with him. Sam and Sid
slipped back after they had started
home and Casey went on home to
get something for them to eat.
There was about half a moon that
night and there wras some light.
Turner and his companions sat down
in the deep shade of the dense
foliage so they could not be seen in
case the old man showed up.
The night was warm and balmy
and the self-appointed watchmen
dozed a little. About eleven o’clock
they were brought to a wide-awake
►state and a sitting-up position by the
sound of footsteps. They recognized
Tom Sides, one of the diggers, and
two other men who did not belong
to the crew. Tom was known to
be tricky. The men with him were
more so. They walked to the lad
der leading to the bottom of the
excavation.
“Wait!” whispered Sam to his
companions w’ho had started to get
up. “If they go down we’ll pull up
the ladder so they can’t get out."
Sides took the lead, carrying a
flashlight and he was almost out of
sight down the ladder when his de
scent suddenly stopped. He began
to scramble back up the ladder, at
the same time letting loose a whoop
of terror. The trio watching him
from the bushes saw the cause of
the whoop.
From out of the black void of the
pit ascended a weird and fearsome
figure—the white, ghostly figure of a
human form ha%’ing a death mask of
a face, from the eyes and mouth of
which streamed a brilliant white
light. An unearthly, blood-curdling
shriek ascended from the pit.
Sides and the two men with him
leaped from the premises and
plunged along the old road to the
hbluff like wild buffa
pede. Turner and his i
lowed—they were scared, l
ing the running footste, o
them Sides and the pair *i
beat it still faster. In th
they had forgotten, evidc.
about the bluff or they a
realize in which direction the;, m
running.
The three men behind heard 1;
scream as they went over the t<• '
and heard the splash of the wat c
as the three men landed in the
lake. The water was thirty feet
deep at the base of the bluff at thaf
time, though the lake has sine,
been emptied by a drainage ditch.
* * *
News of the episodes of the night
reached all members of the digging
crew early the next morning and
only a few of the men showed up
at the excavation—Turner and hir
two companions of the night be
fore and one other man. They could
see the bottom of the excavation had
not been disturbed since they left
it the evening before. The old man
was not there. They repaired to his
(Continued on page 4)
A Negro Author Enters a Very
New and Different Field
Writes Clever and Unusual Book
RANDOLPH EDMONDS
By THE BOOKER
Recently the Meador Publishing
Company (27 Beach Street, Boston,
Massachusetts) published a highly
imaginative volume entitled “Shades
and Shadows,” by Randolph Edmonds
a young Morgan College professor. It
is a book which blazes a path in an
entirely different field, for Negro
writers.
First, the book deals with a unique
type of subject matter. Instead of the
usual laments and wails about the
race question, Mr. Edmonds deals
with purely hypothetical situations
which have as their underlying bases
much broader themes than the in
terracial conflict in this country.
The themes are of universal breadth
and interest, and may be generally
termed as mercy, justice, avarice,
while one or two of the stories have
to do with an ingenious, if morbid
bit of treatment of a quite modernly
laid situation.
The longest story of the volume is,
“The Devil’s Price.”
John Walton, a farmer living in the
Imaginary monarchy of Blufustu, is
! oppressed with debt. But he is hap
i pily blessed with the love of a duti
; ful and inspiring wife. One day he is
| approached by the devil himself who
; bargains with him for power in re
turn for his (Walton’s) life.
Walton accepts the toga, and
arouses the peasants of the kingdom,
who enable him to overthrow the
existing regime and win a dictator
ship for himself. But when Walton
has secured absolute rulership for
; himself, he becomes mercilessly cruel
land begins a reign of terror that
! dwarfs the bloody French Revolution
j Walton is poisoned by a disapprov
ing and perhaps less bloody associ ae
Df his, and while he is undergoing ♦
the agonizing pains from the deadly
poison, he sees all of the folly of the
bargain with the devil. The latter,
now standing by, demands his “pound
of flesh.” Walton also sees the spirit
of his devoted wife, whom he had
assasinated in a fit of drunken rev
elry. The story here ends in an
unexpected manner.
The next story, “Hewers of Wood,"
presents a very modern analogy to
the situation of the Negro as a group
and not as an individual.
On an island of unknown location,
a group of Negroes exist amidst the
woes of slavery. Their lot is unac
counted for, inasmuch as the author
begins the sketch with the chattel
slavery without explaining the causes.
It appears that the slavery has al
ways existed (“just as God has”) and
the Negroes have always prayed for
deliverance from it (just as they do
now) but without any success. One
very "heretical” and daring chap re
fuses to serve any longer this strange
and distant God who for no reason
at all has ushered him Into a life of
servitude without first securing his
permission and without lessening in
any degree his onerous burdens.
As a matter of fact, it turns out
that the multitude of Negroes who
have worshipped so religiously this
omniscient and all-just “god” have
not been worshipping the true “god”
at all but have been worshipping the
devil.
Humorously, the "heretic’ repudi
ates the deity who has doomed him
to slavery "forever and ever,” espe
cially since this sounds to him like
a very long time. Finally, the angel
that is the emissary of the real God
appears, sets everybody straight by
liberating the whole wretched mass,
and presumably they lived happily
ever afterwards. That part is for the
imaginative reader.
It must be mentioned here that in
order to fully enjoy these unusual
stories it is necessary for the reader
to call into play his own imagination
The title story appears to be the1
one most nearly the true expression
of the author’s opinion on the future
trend of writing. Taking the part - •
times of Mr. Wentworth, the diabol.
cal and scheming stepfather, Mr. Ed
monds there sets forth his contro
versial views on the prospective pop
ularity of imaginative stories in the
not too distant future.
He vicariously ventures the opinion
that the reading public is weary of
the realistic type of story, and now
(Continued on page 4)
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