Nix's Mate





The black, pyramidal beacon, called Nix's Mate, is well known to

yachtsmen, sailors, and excursionists in Boston harbor. It rises above a

shoal,--all that is left of a fair, green island which long ago

disappeared in the sea. In 1636 it had an extent of twelve acres, and on

its highest point was a gallows where pirates were hanged in chains. One

night cries were heard on board of a ship that lay at anchor a little way

off shore, and when the watch put off, to see what might be amiss, the

captain, named Nix, was found murdered in his bed. There was no direct

evidence in the case, and no motive could be assigned for the deed,

unless it was the expectancy of promotion on the part of the mate, in

case of his commander's death.



It was found, however, that this possibility gave significance to certain

acts and sayings of that officer during the voyage, and on circumstantial

evidence so slight as this he was convicted and sentenced to death. As he

was led to execution he swore that he was not guilty, as he had done

before, and from the scaffold he cried aloud, God, show that I am

innocent. Let this island sink and prove to these people that I have

never stained my hands with human blood. Soon after the execution of his

sentence it was noticed that the surf was going higher on the shore, that

certain rocks were no longer uncovered at low tide, and in time the

island wasted away. The colonists looked with awe on this manifestation

and confessed that God had shown their wrong.





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