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Chapter 1 In the Enemy's Camp

  • The red glare of the torch, lighting up the interior of the block house, showed me the worst of my apprehensions realized. The pirates were i_ossession of the house and stores: there was the cask of cognac, there wer_he pork and bread, as before, and what tenfold increased my horror, not _ign of any prisoner. I could only judge that all had perished, and my hear_mote me sorely that I had not been there to perish with them.
  • There were six of the buccaneers, all told; not another man was left alive.
  • Five of them were on their feet, flushed and swollen, suddenly called out o_he first sleep of drunkenness. The sixth had only risen upon his elbow; h_as deadly pale, and the blood-stained bandage round his head told that he ha_ecently been wounded, and still more recently dressed. I remembered the ma_ho had been shot and had run back among the woods in the great attack, an_oubted not that this was he.
  • The parrot sat, preening her plumage, on Long John's shoulder. He himself, _hought, looked somewhat paler and more stern than I was used to. He stil_ore the fine broadcloth suit in which he had fulfilled his mission, but i_as bitterly the worse for wear, daubed with clay and torn with the shar_riers of the wood.
  • "So," said he, "here's Jim Hawkins, shiver my timbers! Dropped in, like, eh?
  • Well, come, I take that friendly."
  • And thereupon he sat down across the brandy cask and began to fill a pipe.
  • "Give me a loan of the link, Dick," said he; and then, when he had a goo_ight, "That'll do, lad," he added; "stick the glim in the wood heap; and you, gentlemen, bring yourselves to! You needn't stand up for Mr. Hawkins; he'l_xcuse you, you may lay to that. And so, Jim"—stopping the tobacco—"here yo_ere, and quite a pleasant surprise for poor old John. I see you were smar_hen first I set my eyes on you, but this here gets away from me clean, i_o."
  • To all this, as may be well supposed, I made no answer. They had set me wit_y back against the wall, and I stood there, looking Silver in the face, pluckily enough, I hope, to all outward appearance, but with black despair i_y heart.
  • Silver took a whiff or two of his pipe with great composure and then ran o_gain.
  • "Now, you see, Jim, so be as you are here," says he, "I'll give you a piece o_y mind. I've always liked you, I have, for a lad of spirit, and the picter o_y own self when I was young and handsome. I always wanted you to jine an_ake your share, and die a gentleman, and now, my cock, you've got to. Cap'_mollett's a fine seaman, as I'll own up to any day, but stiff on discipline.
  • 'Dooty is dooty,' says he, and right he is. Just you keep clear of the cap'n.
  • The doctor himself is gone dead again you—'ungrateful scamp' was what he said; and the short and the long of the whole story is about here: you can't go bac_o your own lot, for they won't have you; and without you start a third ship'_ompany all by yourself, which might be lonely, you'll have to jine with Cap'_ilver."
  • So far so good. My friends, then, were still alive, and though I partl_elieved the truth of Silver's statement, that the cabin party were incense_t me for my desertion, I was more relieved than distressed by what I heard.
  • "I don't say nothing as to your being in our hands," continued Silver, "thoug_here you are, and you may lay to it. I'm all for argyment; I never seen goo_ome out o' threatening. If you like the service, well, you'll jine; and i_ou don't, Jim, why, you're free to answer no—free and welcome, shipmate; an_f fairer can be said by mortal seaman, shiver my sides!"
  • "Am I to answer, then?" I asked with a very tremulous voice. Through all thi_neering talk, I was made to feel the threat of death that overhung me, and m_heeks burned and my heart beat painfully in my breast.
  • "Lad," said Silver, "no one's a-pressing of you. Take your bearings. None o_s won't hurry you, mate; time goes so pleasant in your company, you see."
  • "Well," says I, growing a bit bolder, "if I'm to choose, I declare I have _ight to know what's what, and why you're here, and where my friends are."
  • "Wot's wot?" repeated one of the buccaneers in a deep growl. "Ah, he'd be _ucky one as knowed that!"
  • "You'll perhaps batten down your hatches till you're spoke to, my friend,"
  • cried Silver truculently to this speaker. And then, in his first graciou_ones, he replied to me, "Yesterday morning, Mr. Hawkins," said he, "in th_og-watch, down came Doctor Livesey with a flag of truce. Says he, 'Cap'_ilver, you're sold out. Ship's gone.' Well, maybe we'd been taking a glass, and a song to help it round. I won't say no. Leastways, none of us had looke_ut. We looked out, and by thunder, the old ship was gone! I never seen a pac_' fools look fishier; and you may lay to that, if I tells you that looked th_ishiest. 'Well,' says the doctor, 'let's bargain.' We bargained, him and I, and here we are: stores, brandy, block house, the firewood you was thoughtfu_nough to cut, and in a manner of speaking, the whole blessed boat, fro_ross-trees to kelson. As for them, they've tramped; I don't know where's the_re."
  • He drew again quietly at his pipe.
  • "And lest you should take it into that head of yours," he went on, "that yo_as included in the treaty, here's the last word that was said: 'How many ar_ou,' says I, 'to leave?' 'Four,' says he; 'four, and one of us wounded. A_or that boy, I don't know where he is, confound him,' says he, 'nor I don'_uch care. We're about sick of him.' These was his words.
  • "Is that all?" I asked.
  • "Well, it's all that you're to hear, my son," returned Silver.
  • "And now I am to choose?"
  • "And now you are to choose, and you may lay to that," said Silver.
  • "Well," said I, "I am not such a fool but I know pretty well what I have t_ook for. Let the worst come to the worst, it's little I care. I've seen to_any die since I fell in with you. But there's a thing or two I have to tel_ou," I said, and by this time I was quite excited; "and the first is this: here you are, in a bad way—ship lost, treasure lost, men lost, your whol_usiness gone to wreck; and if you want to know who did it—it was I! I was i_he apple barrel the night we sighted land, and I heard you, John, and you, Dick Johnson, and Hands, who is now at the bottom of the sea, and told ever_ord you said before the hour was out. And as for the schooner, it was I wh_ut her cable, and it was I that killed the men you had aboard of her, and i_as I who brought her where you'll never see her more, not one of you. Th_augh's on my side; I've had the top of this business from the first; I n_ore fear you than I fear a fly. Kill me, if you please, or spare me. But on_hing I'll say, and no more; if you spare me, bygones are bygones, and whe_ou fellows are in court for piracy, I'll save you all I can. It is for you t_hoose. Kill another and do yourselves no good, or spare me and keep a witnes_o save you from the gallows."
  • I stopped, for, I tell you, I was out of breath, and to my wonder, not a ma_f them moved, but all sat staring at me like as many sheep. And while the_ere still staring, I broke out again, "And now, Mr. Silver," I said, "_elieve you're the best man here, and if things go to the worst, I'll take i_ind of you to let the doctor know the way I took it."
  • "I'll bear it in mind," said Silver with an accent so curious that I coul_ot, for the life of me, decide whether he were laughing at my request or ha_een favourably affected by my courage.
  • "I'll put one to that," cried the old mahogany-faced seaman—Morgan b_ame—whom I had seen in Long John's public-house upon the quays of Bristol.
  • "It was him that knowed Black Dog."
  • "Well, and see here," added the sea-cook. "I'll put another again to that, b_hunder! For it was this same boy that faked the chart from Billy Bones. Firs_nd last, we've split upon Jim Hawkins!"
  • "Then here goes!" said Morgan with an oath.
  • And he sprang up, drawing his knife as if he had been twenty.
  • "Avast, there!" cried Silver. "Who are you, Tom Morgan? Maybe you thought yo_as cap'n here, perhaps. By the powers, but I'll teach you better! Cross me, and you'll go where many a good man's gone before you, first and last, thes_hirty year back—some to the yard-arm, shiver my timbers, and some by th_oard, and all to feed the fishes. There's never a man looked me between th_yes and seen a good day a'terwards, Tom Morgan, you may lay to that."
  • Morgan paused, but a hoarse murmur rose from the others.
  • "Tom's right," said one.
  • "I stood hazing long enough from one," added another. "I'll be hanged if I'l_e hazed by you, John Silver."
  • "Did any of you gentlemen want to have it out with me?" roared Silver, bendin_ar forward from his position on the keg, with his pipe still glowing in hi_ight hand. "Put a name on what you're at; you ain't dumb, I reckon. Him tha_ants shall get it. Have I lived this many years, and a son of a rum puncheo_ock his hat athwart my hawse at the latter end of it? You know the way; you're all gentlemen o' fortune, by your account. Well, I'm ready. Take _utlass, him that dares, and I'll see the colour of his inside, crutch an_ll, before that pipe's empty."
  • Not a man stirred; not a man answered.
  • "That's your sort, is it?" he added, returning his pipe to his mouth. "Well, you're a gay lot to look at, anyway. Not much worth to fight, you ain't.
  • P'r'aps you can understand King George's English. I'm cap'n here by 'lection.
  • I'm cap'n here because I'm the best man by a long sea-mile. You won't fight, as gentlemen o' fortune should; then, by thunder, you'll obey, and you may la_o it! I like that boy, now; I never seen a better boy than that. He's more _an than any pair of rats of you in this here house, and what I say is this: let me see him that'll lay a hand on him—that's what I say, and you may lay t_t."
  • There was a long pause after this. I stood straight up against the wall, m_eart still going like a sledge-hammer, but with a ray of hope now shining i_y bosom. Silver leant back against the wall, his arms crossed, his pipe i_he corner of his mouth, as calm as though he had been in church; yet his ey_ept wandering furtively, and he kept the tail of it on his unruly followers.
  • They, on their part, drew gradually together towards the far end of the bloc_ouse, and the low hiss of their whispering sounded in my ear continuously, like a stream. One after another, they would look up, and the red light of th_orch would fall for a second on their nervous faces; but it was not toward_e, it was towards Silver that they turned their eyes.
  • "You seem to have a lot to say," remarked Silver, spitting far into the air.
  • "Pipe up and let me hear it, or lay to."
  • "Ax your pardon, sir," returned one of the men; "you're pretty free with som_f the rules; maybe you'll kindly keep an eye upon the rest. This crew'_issatisfied; this crew don't vally bullying a marlin-spike; this crew has it_ights like other crews, I'll make so free as that; and by your own rules, _ake it we can talk together. I ax your pardon, sir, acknowledging you for t_e captaing at this present; but I claim my right, and steps outside for _ouncil."
  • And with an elaborate sea-salute, this fellow, a long, ill-looking, yellow- eyed man of five and thirty, stepped coolly towards the door and disappeare_ut of the house. One after another the rest followed his example, each makin_ salute as he passed, each adding some apology. "According to rules," sai_ne. "Forecastle council," said Morgan. And so with one remark or another al_arched out and left Silver and me alone with the torch.
  • The sea-cook instantly removed his pipe.
  • "Now, look you here, Jim Hawkins," he said in a steady whisper that was n_ore than audible, "you're within half a plank of death, and what's a lon_ight worse, of torture. They're going to throw me off. But, you mark, I stan_y you through thick and thin. I didn't mean to; no, not till you spoke up. _as about desperate to lose that much blunt, and be hanged into the bargain.
  • But I see you was the right sort. I says to myself, you stand by Hawkins, John, and Hawkins'll stand by you. You're his last card, and by the livin_hunder, John, he's yours! Back to back, says I. You save your witness, an_e'll save your neck!"
  • I began dimly to understand.
  • "You mean all's lost?" I asked.
  • "Aye, by gum, I do!" he answered. "Ship gone, neck gone—that's the size of it.
  • Once I looked into that bay, Jim Hawkins, and seen no schooner—well, I'_ough, but I gave out. As for that lot and their council, mark me, they'r_utright fools and cowards. I'll save your life—if so be as I can—from them.
  • But, see here, Jim—tit for tat—you save Long John from swinging."
  • I was bewildered; it seemed a thing so hopeless he was asking—he, the ol_uccaneer, the ringleader throughout.
  • "What I can do, that I'll do," I said.
  • "It's a bargain!" cried Long John. "You speak up plucky, and by thunder, I'v_ chance!"
  • He hobbled to the torch, where it stood propped among the firewood, and took _resh light to his pipe.
  • "Understand me, Jim," he said, returning. "I've a head on my shoulders, _ave. I'm on squire's side now. I know you've got that ship safe somewheres.
  • How you done it, I don't know, but safe it is. I guess Hands and O'Brie_urned soft. I never much believed in neither of them. Now you mark me. I as_o questions, nor I won't let others. I know when a game's up, I do; and _now a lad that's staunch. Ah, you that's young—you and me might have done _ower of good together!"
  • He drew some cognac from the cask into a tin cannikin.
  • "Will you taste, messmate?" he asked; and when I had refused: "Well, I'll tak_ drain myself, Jim," said he. "I need a caulker, for there's trouble on hand.
  • And talking o' trouble, why did that doctor give me the chart, Jim?"
  • My face expressed a wonder so unaffected that he saw the needlessness o_urther questions.
  • "Ah, well, he did, though," said he. "And there's something under that, n_oubt—something, surely, under that, Jim—bad or good."
  • And he took another swallow of the brandy, shaking his great fair head like _an who looks forward to the worst.