When I had done breakfasting the squire gave me a note addressed to Joh_ilver, at the sign of the Spy-glass, and told me I should easily find th_lace by following the line of the docks and keeping a bright lookout for _ittle tavern with a large brass telescope for sign. I set off, overjoyed a_his opportunity to see some more of the ships and seamen, and picked my wa_mong a great crowd of people and carts and bales, for the dock was now at it_usiest, until I found the tavern in question.
It was a bright enough little place of entertainment. The sign was newl_ainted; the windows had neat red curtains; the floor was cleanly sanded.
There was a street on each side and an open door on both, which made th_arge, low room pretty clear to see in, in spite of clouds of tobacco smoke.
The customers were mostly seafaring men, and they talked so loudly that I hun_t the door, almost afraid to enter.
As I was waiting, a man came out of a side room, and at a glance I was sure h_ust be Long John. His left leg was cut off close by the hip, and under th_eft shoulder he carried a crutch, which he managed with wonderful dexterity, hopping about upon it like a bird. He was very tall and strong, with a face a_ig as a ham—plain and pale, but intelligent and smiling. Indeed, he seemed i_he most cheerful spirits, whistling as he moved about among the tables, wit_ merry word or a slap on the shoulder for the more favoured of his guests.
Now, to tell you the truth, from the very first mention of Long John in Squir_relawney's letter I had taken a fear in my mind that he might prove to be th_ery one-legged sailor whom I had watched for so long at the old Benbow. Bu_ne look at the man before me was enough. I had seen the captain, and Blac_og, and the blind man, Pew, and I thought I knew what a buccaneer was like—_ery different creature, according to me, from this clean and pleasant- tempered landlord.
I plucked up courage at once, crossed the threshold, and walked right up t_he man where he stood, propped on his crutch, talking to a customer.
"Mr. Silver, sir?" I asked, holding out the note.
"Yes, my lad," said he; "such is my name, to be sure. And who may you be?" An_hen as he saw the squire's letter, he seemed to me to give something almos_ike a start.
"Oh!" said he, quite loud, and offering his hand. "I see. You are our ne_abin-boy; pleased I am to see you."
And he took my hand in his large firm grasp.
Just then one of the customers at the far side rose suddenly and made for th_oor. It was close by him, and he was out in the street in a moment. But hi_urry had attracted my notice, and I recognized him at glance. It was th_allow-faced man, wanting two fingers, who had come first to the Admira_enbow.
"Oh," I cried, "stop him! It's Black Dog!"
"I don't care two coppers who he is," cried Silver. "But he hasn't paid hi_core. Harry, run and catch him."
One of the others who was nearest the door leaped up and started in pursuit.
"If he were Admiral Hawke he shall pay his score," cried Silver; and then, relinquishing my hand, "Who did you say he was?" he asked. "Black what?"
"Dog, sir," said I. Has Mr. Trelawney not told you of the buccaneers? He wa_ne of them."
"So?" cried Silver. "In my house! Ben, run and help Harry. One of those swabs, was he? Was that you drinking with him, Morgan? Step up here."
The man whom he called Morgan—an old, grey-haired, mahogany-faced sailor—cam_orward pretty sheepishly, rolling his quid.
"Now, Morgan," said Long John very sternly, "you never clapped your eyes o_hat Black—Black Dog before, did you, now?"
"Not I, sir," said Morgan with a salute.
"You didn't know his name, did you?"
"By the powers, Tom Morgan, it's as good for you!" exclaimed the landlord. "I_ou had been mixed up with the like of that, you would never have put anothe_oot in my house, you may lay to that. And what was he saying to you?"
"I don't rightly know, sir," answered Morgan.
"Do you call that a head on your shoulders, or a blessed dead-eye?" cried Lon_ohn. "Don't rightly know, don't you! Perhaps you don't happen to rightly kno_ho you was speaking to, perhaps? Come, now, what was he jawing—v'yages, cap'ns, ships? Pipe up! What was it?"
"We was a-talkin' of keel-hauling," answered Morgan.
"Keel-hauling, was you? And a mighty suitable thing, too, and you may lay t_hat. Get back to your place for a lubber, Tom."
And then, as Morgan rolled back to his seat, Silver added to me in _onfidential whisper that was very flattering, as I thought, "He's quite a_onest man, Tom Morgan, on'y stupid. And now," he ran on again, aloud, "let'_ee—Black Dog? No, I don't know the name, not I. Yet I kind of think I've—yes, I've seen the swab. He used to come here with a blind beggar, he used."
"That he did, you may be sure," said I. "I knew that blind man too. His nam_as Pew."
"It was!" cried Silver, now quite excited. "Pew! That were his name fo_ertain. Ah, he looked a shark, he did! If we run down this Black Dog, now, there'll be news for Cap'n Trelawney! Ben's a good runner; few seamen ru_etter than Ben. He should run him down, hand over hand, by the powers! H_alked o' keel-hauling, did he? I'll keel-haul him!"
All the time he was jerking out these phrases he was stumping up and down th_avern on his crutch, slapping tables with his hand, and giving such a show o_xcitement as would have convinced an Old Bailey judge or a Bow Street runner.
My suspicions had been thoroughly reawakened on finding Black Dog at the Spy- glass, and I watched the cook narrowly. But he was too deep, and too ready, and too clever for me, and by the time the two men had come back out of breat_nd confessed that they had lost the track in a crowd, and been scolded lik_hieves, I would have gone bail for the innocence of Long John Silver.
"See here, now, Hawkins," said he, "here's a blessed hard thing on a man lik_e, now, ain't it? There's Cap'n Trelawney—what's he to think? Here I hav_his confounded son of a Dutchman sitting in my own house drinking of my ow_um! Here you comes and tells me of it plain; and here I let him give us al_he slip before my blessed deadlights! Now, Hawkins, you do me justice wit_he cap'n. You're a lad, you are, but you're as smart as paint. I see tha_hen you first come in. Now, here it is: What could I do, with this old timbe_ hobble on? When I was an A B master mariner I'd have come up alongside o_im, hand over hand, and broached him to in a brace of old shakes, I would; but now—"
And then, all of a sudden, he stopped, and his jaw dropped as though he ha_emembered something.
"The score!" he burst out. "Three goes o' rum! Why, shiver my timbers, if _adn't forgotten my score!"
And falling on a bench, he laughed until the tears ran down his cheeks. _ould not help joining, and we laughed together, peal after peal, until th_avern rang again.
"Why, what a precious old sea-calf I am!" he said at last, wiping his cheeks.
"You and me should get on well, Hawkins, for I'll take my davy I should b_ated ship's boy. But come now, stand by to go about. This won't do. Dooty i_ooty, messmates. I'll put on my old cockerel hat, and step along of you t_ap'n Trelawney, and report this here affair. For mind you, it's serious, young Hawkins; and neither you nor me's come out of it with what I should mak_o bold as to call credit. Nor you neither, says you; not smart—none of th_air of us smart. But dash my buttons! That was a good un about my score."
And he began to laugh again, and that so heartily, that though I did not se_he joke as he did, I was again obliged to join him in his mirth.
On our little walk along the quays, he made himself the most interestin_ompanion, telling me about the different ships that we passed by, their rig, tonnage, and nationality, explaining the work that was going forward—how on_as discharging, another taking in cargo, and a third making ready for sea—an_very now and then telling me some little anecdote of ships or seamen o_epeating a nautical phrase till I had learned it perfectly. I began to se_hat here was one of the best of possible shipmates.
When we got to the inn, the squire and Dr. Livesey were seated together, finishing a quart of ale with a toast in it, before they should go aboard th_chooner on a visit of inspection.
Long John told the story from first to last, with a great deal of spirit an_he most perfect truth. "That was how it were, now, weren't it, Hawkins?" h_ould say, now and again, and I could always bear him entirely out.
The two gentlemen regretted that Black Dog had got away, but we all agree_here was nothing to be done, and after he had been complimented, Long Joh_ook up his crutch and departed.
"All hands aboard by four this afternoon," shouted the squire after him.
"Aye, aye, sir," cried the cook, in the passage.
"Well, squire," said Dr. Livesey, "I don't put much faith in your discoveries, as a general thing; but I will say this, John Silver suits me."
"The man's a perfect trump," declared the squire.
"And now," added the doctor, "Jim may come on board with us, may he not?"
"To be sure he may," says squire. "Take your hat, Hawkins, and we'll see th_hip."