Chronology of Evil

This is how the lives of Coffin, Glass and Beauregard develop. For more discussion of their activities, see 'Three Studies in Evil'.


  : Melhuish is born at the fishing community of St Mary's on the Avalon peninsula in Newfoundland.

?   : Martin or Beauregard is born in Havana to an English ship's captain and a Spanish woman. Patronised by the wealthy.

1750: Daniel Coffin is born in Bristol, the only son of an Exmouth seaman and a 'Gloster' woman.

?   : Davis and Atchison establish a fish and fur curing factory at Carbonear on the Avalon peninsula in Newfoundland, with an extension to the south at St Mary's.

?   : Martin/Beauregard is educated at a Jesuit school in Havana before travelling to Port Royal in Jamaica or Virginia to study chemisty at a college. At the college he discovers a preparation for curing hides.

1766: Seaman Coffin snr dies. Daniel Coffin supports his mother as a seaman.

1775: Daniel Coffin is employed aboard the Caroline running from Hayle to Cardiff.

1777: Mother of Daniel Coffin dies near Bristol.

1778: Daniel Coffin marries a religious woman and has a daughter.

?   : Martin/Beauregard is employed by Davis and Atchison at Carbonear as a chemist with a unique preparation for curing hides.

1785: The Rosaway schooner leaves Marblehead or Foy in Massachusetts. While illegally cutting logwood at 'Campeachy' in the Bahia de Campache, Mexico, the boat and crew are detained by the Spanish authorities and imprisoned at Puerto Bello or Portobelo, a fortified port to the east of Colon in Panama. The crew are placed in the town jail.

1786: Bartholomew Diaz leads an insurrection in central America and the governor of Puerto Bello places the town's valuables aboard the Rosaway schooner for safety. Puerto Bello and Nombre de Dios were fortified ports in Panama to the east of Colon. The Rosaway is hijacked by seven criminals released from the local jail. Spark, who acts as skipper, and Griffiths, later Shand, who acts as mate, and five crew members, sail for Mortallone to hide the treasure. All but Griffiths/Shand are recaptured and die, but he escapes with the secret and presumably a map.

1787: Wife and child of Daniel Coffin die and Coffin loses his moral stability.

1788 (not 1798 as in the text): Melhuish is employed aboard the Labrador fleet. Mrs Melhuish and daughter Mary employed by Davis and Atchison at the fish processing extension in St Mary's where they also keep a boarding house.

Autumn: Shand/Griffiths lodges with Mrs Melhuish at the boarding house in St Mary's. A messenger, possibly from Martin/Beauregard delivers a note to Shand/Griffiths. Shand gives Mary Melhuish a packet containing a treasure map of Mortallone and is subsequently murdered, probably by Martin.

Two weeks later: A chemist, giving his name as Martin arrives from Davis and Atchison at the boarding house of Mrs Melhuish for the chest of Shand.

Winter: Melhuish gains winter employment at Carbonear with Martin as his superior.

1789, spring: Melhuish returns with the Labrador fleet to find Mary Melhuish being courted by Martin. Mary has informed Martin of the map. Martin forms a closer relationship with Melhuish before returning to Carbonear.

Early summer: As Melhuish is preparing to embark with the summer fishing fleet, Martin returns to St Mary's and persuades Melhuish to skipper a schooner called the Willing Mind so as to sail south to Mortallone using the Shand map. Melhuish and Martin travel to Carbonear where a crew of twelve awaits them.

Summer: The Willing Mind sails from Carbonear southwards into the Gulf of Honduras. Nearing Mortallone, Melhuish is tricked by Martin into giving the crew, with the exception of Dick Hayling, the helmsman, poisoned rum. The crew are buried on Mortallone. Melhuish escapes. Martin now becomes Beauregard, the proprietor of the island but not of the treasure map, which remains with Melhuish. Melhuish crosses the Atlantic to West Africa where he is taken in by an African tribe.

1790: Daniel Coffin is engaged in the slave trade as mate aboard the Mary Pynsent owned by W.S. of Bristol. The Mary Pynsent trades along the west coast of Africa. On reaching the Popo River it is attacked by a tribe, with all the crew except Coffin killed. He is taken in by a second tribe, discovering in the kraal a dying man calling himself Melhuish. In the days before his death, Melhuish tells the story of his life to Coffin and makes him the gift of a treasure map, the map of Mortallone.

Coffin escapes from the tribe, making his way to the trading station of Whydah on the Mary Pynsent. There he encounters Klootz (or Bristol Pete) and his son-in-law, who trade in slaves. On seeing the map of Mortallone, Klootz is able to give the history of the treasure, dating back to 1786. The song of Mortallone is known to him. Klootz's agent is Aaron Glass.

August 12: Coffin, Klootz and Glass sail from Whydah to Barbados on the Mary Pynsent.

1791, January 17: Coffin, Klootz and Glass arrive at Mortallone aboard the Mary Pynsent. Between the 18th and the 21st they dig up the dead bodies buried by Martin and Melhuish in the summer of 1788, along with two treasure chests. They are observed by Martin/Beauregard who kills Klootz, with Coffin and Glass escaping. They take the map and some guineas, a map Beauregard wants to obtain.

?   : Beauregard builds himself a house on the high ground, above the malarial valleys, but spends time studying medicine in the hospitals of Havana, qualifying as a doctor with wealthy patients. He loves culture, especially music, which brings him into contact with 'Metta, an opera singer, who is seduced by his wealth and becomes his prisoner. He invites to Mortallone some of those who had patronised him when young, poisoning them with a frozen liquid, from an ice machine.

1795: The first of eleven treasure-seeking parties descends on Mortallone.

1796: O.M. And R.A.S., possibly wealthy Havana residents, are buried in the graveyard at Mortallone.

1797: Coffin is reputedly an informer at the Spithead Mutiny.

1800: P. de V. and A.M. de V. are buried in the graveyard  at Mortallone.

1804: Coffin tries to kill Glass. Following the end of the Peace of Amiens Coffin sells Glass to a press-gang. Glass is subsequently taken prisoner by the French, ending up at Givet.

1808: Reputedly, Coffin helps the Portuguese royal family to escape from Lisbon to Brazil.

?   : Daniel Coffin retires to Falmouth on a pension and still in possession of the treasure map of Mortallone obtained from Melhuish in 1790.

1812-3:  Coffin begins construction of a whaleboat, with the help of Goodfellow, and starts taking lessons in navigation from Captain Branscome.

1814, April 20: The Wellingboro' leaves Bordeaux with 250 POWs, including Aaron Glass.

May11: Aaron Glass arrives in Falmouth, confronting Daniel Coffin in the Plume and Feathers. Daniel Coffin hides from Glass in a disused windmill. George Goodfellow removes the corner cupboard containing Coffin's log from his lodgings for repair. Aaron Glass ransacks Coffin's lodgings in search of the map and the log, but finds neither.

Night: Coffin travels to Minden Cottage to give the map to Major Brooks but is followed by Glass.

May12: pm: Aaron Glass murders Captain Coffin in the lane between Minden Cottage and the Belcher estate, and Major Brooks in the summerhouse of Minden Cottage. Failing to discover the treasure map he proceeds to Plymouth, where he is seen on May 15. In Plymouth or elsewhere, Glass forms a team of three, the second being Jim Lucky, to return to Mortallone in the hope of a quick discovery so as to avoid the attentions of Beauregard and pre-empt the possible Minden party.

July 5: Dr Beauregard visits Napoleon on Elba, hearing of his plan of return to France.

July 12: Dr Beauregard visits Paris and then London.

August: Dr Beauregard travels from London to Plymouth where he hears of the murder of Coffin, who had once visited Mortallone, and the murder of Brooks and the auctioning of his cottage.

August 5: Dr Beauregard meets Harry Brooks in the garden of Minden Cottage, suggesting he knew the murderer.

August 6: Dr Beauregard attends the auction of Minden Cottage in Plymouth.

August 7: Dr Beauregard travels from Plymouth to Falmouth for a packet to Jamaica. With the cottage purchased through an agent, Maddison, Lydia Belcher and the party prepare for the expedition to Mortallone. Beauregard is now aware of Belcher's wealth but not of how it was acquired – her mother's liaison with a local lord.

August 28: Captain Branscome secures berths on the Townsend packet destined for Jamaica.

August 30: The Minden party travel by the Royal Mail to Falmouth.

September 1: The Townsend sails from Falmouth to Kingston.

October 1: Dr Beauregard has now returned to Mortallone and is awaiting an expedition of treasure seekers, either that of Glass or that of Branscome/Belcher.

November 3-4: Dr Beauregard observes the presence of Glass, Lucky and a third at their landing place north of Tryagain Point.

November 5: Smoke from Glass's fire is seen by Captain Branscome from the deck of the Espriella as it sails down the western side of Mortallone.

Dr Beauregard watches the mooring of the Espriella in Gow's Gulf and the landing of Branscome and Rogers in Gow's Creek. He then observes the landing of Harry Brooks, recognising him as the boy in the garden of Minden Cottage. Rosa and 'Metta speak to Harry Brooks in the graveyard of Dr Beauregard.  Dr Beauregard sculls across to the Espriella in Brook's punt. He is invited aboard by Lydia Belcher and Amelia Plinlimmon, who are entranced by his gentlemanly manners. Beauregard invites them to a picnic near Tryagain Point on the following day.

November 6: Beauregard places a chest of false jewels above where Glass has secured his boat. He locks 'Metta in his second house.

Aaron Glass and Jim Lucky discover the chest of false jewels placed by Beauregard and Glass murders the third member, whose body is buried.

Beauregard has George Goodfellow bore three holes in the gunwale of Glass's boat.

Glass and Lucky carry the chest of false jewels to the boat, discovering the three holes when they arrive. Lucky panics and Glass shoots him. Beauregard steps forward, resulting in Glass having a stroke. He is made to swallow a  phial, which actually contains slow working poison.

Beauregard invites the expedition up to his house on a plateau in the hills. Behind it is a ridge, presumably of red sandstone, containing a cave whose entrance is hidden from view but indicated on the back of the map. The party follow the instructions and find Harry Brooks and 'Metta, who falls to her death in the cave. Brooks faints. Some of the treasure is removed to the house.

Beauregard has a personal conversation with Lydia Belcher and then takes poison.