Davis' Short Stories Vol. 2 HTML version
My Buried Treasure
This is a true story of a search for buried treasure. The only part that is not true is the
name of the man with whom I searched for the treasure. Unless I keep his name out of it
he will not let me write the story, and, as it was his expedition and as my share of the
treasure is only what I can make by writing the story, I must write as he dictates. I think
the story should be told, because our experience was unique, and might be of benefit to
others. And, besides, I need the money.
There is, however, no agreement preventing me from describing him as I think he is, or
reporting, as accurately as I can, what he said and did as he said and did it.
For purposes of identification I shall call him Edgar Powell. The last name has no
significance; but the first name is not chosen at random. The leader of our expedition, the
head and brains of it, was and is the sort of man one would address as Edgar. No one
would think of calling him "Ed," or "Eddie," any more than he would consider slapping
him on the back.
We were together at college; but, as six hundred other boys were there at the same time,
that gives no clew to his identity. Since those days, until he came to see me about the
treasure, we had not met. All I knew of him was that he had succeeded his father in
manufacturing unshrinkable flannels. Of course, the reader understands that is not the
article of commerce he manufactures; but it is near enough, and it suggests the line of
business to which he gives his life's blood. It is not similar to my own line of work, and in
consequence, when he wrote me, on the unshrinkable flannels official writing-paper, that
he wished to see me in reference to a matter of business of "mutual benefit," I was
A few days later, at nine in the morning, an hour of his own choosing, he came to my
rooms in New York City.
Except that he had grown a beard, he was as I remembered him, thin and tall, but with no
chest, and stooping shoulders. He wore eye-glasses, and as of old through these he
regarded you disapprovingly and warily as though he suspected you might try to borrow
money, or even joke with him. As with Edgar I had never felt any temptation to do either,
this was irritating.
But from force of former habit we greeted each other by our first names, and he
suspiciously accepted a cigar. Then, after fixing me both with his eyes and with his eye-
glasses and swearing me to secrecy, he began abruptly.
"Our mills," he said, "are in New Bedford; and I own several small cottages there and in
Fairhaven. I rent them out at a moderate rate. The other day one of my tenants, a
Portuguese sailor, was taken suddenly ill and sent for me. He had made many voyages in