There was a great rush of feet across the deck. I could hear people tumblin_p from the cabin and the forecastle, and slipping in an instant outside m_arrel, I dived behind the fore-sail, made a double towards the stern, an_ame out upon the open deck in time to join Hunter and Dr. Livesey in the rus_or the weather bow.
There all hands were already congregated. A belt of fog had lifted almos_imultaneously with the appearance of the moon. Away to the south-west of u_e saw two low hills, about a couple of miles apart, and rising behind one o_hem a third and higher hill, whose peak was still buried in the fog. Al_hree seemed sharp and conical in figure.
So much I saw, almost in a dream, for I had not yet recovered from my horri_ear of a minute or two before. And then I heard the voice of Captain Smollet_ssuing orders. The Hispaniola was laid a couple of points nearer the wind an_ow sailed a course that would just clear the island on the east.
"And now, men," said the captain, when all was sheeted home, "has any one o_ou ever seen that land ahead?"
"I have, sir," said Silver. "I've watered there with a trader I was cook in."
"The anchorage is on the south, behind an islet, I fancy?" asked the captain.
"Yes, sir; Skeleton Island they calls it. It were a main place for pirate_nce, and a hand we had on board knowed all their names for it. That hill t_he nor'ard they calls the Fore-mast Hill; there are three hills in a ro_unning south'ard—fore, main, and mizzen, sir. But the main—that's the big un,
with the cloud on it—they usually calls the Spy-glass, by reason of a lookou_hey kept when they was in the anchorage cleaning, for it's there they cleane_heir ships, sir, asking your pardon."
"I have a chart here," says Captain Smollett. "See if that's the place."
Long John's eyes burned in his head as he took the chart, but by the fres_ook of the paper I knew he was doomed to disappointment. This was not the ma_e found in Billy Bones's chest, but an accurate copy, complete in al_hings—names and heights and soundings—with the single exception of the re_rosses and the written notes. Sharp as must have been his annoyance, Silve_ad the strength of mind to hide it.
"Yes, sir," said he, "this is the spot, to be sure, and very prettily drawe_ut. Who might have done that, I wonder? The pirates were too ignorant, _eckon. Aye, here it is: 'Capt. Kidd's Anchorage'—just the name my shipmat_alled it. There's a strong current runs along the south, and then awa_or'ard up the west coast. Right you was, sir," says he, "to haul your win_nd keep the weather of the island. Leastways, if such was your intention a_o enter and careen, and there ain't no better place for that in thes_aters."
"Thank you, my man," says Captain Smollett. "I'll ask you later on to give u_ help. You may go."
I was surprised at the coolness with which John avowed his knowledge of th_sland, and I own I was half-frightened when I saw him drawing nearer t_yself. He did not know, to be sure, that I had overheard his council from th_pple barrel, and yet I had by this time taken such a horror of his cruelty,
duplicity, and power that I could scarce conceal a shudder when he laid hi_and upon my arm.
"Ah," says he, "this here is a sweet spot, this island—a sweet spot for a la_o get ashore on. You'll bathe, and you'll climb trees, and you'll hunt goats,
you will; and you'll get aloft on them hills like a goat yourself. Why, i_akes me young again. I was going to forget my timber leg, I was. It's _leasant thing to be young and have ten toes, and you may lay to that. Whe_ou want to go a bit of exploring, you just ask old John, and he'll put up _nack for you to take along."
And clapping me in the friendliest way upon the shoulder, he hobbled of_orward and went below.
Captain Smollett, the squire, and Dr. Livesey were talking together on th_uarter-deck, and anxious as I was to tell them my story, I durst no_nterrupt them openly. While I was still casting about in my thoughts to fin_ome probable excuse, Dr. Livesey called me to his side. He had left his pip_elow, and being a slave to tobacco, had meant that I should fetch it; but a_oon as I was near enough to speak and not to be overheard, I brok_mmediately, "Doctor, let me speak. Get the captain and squire down to th_abin, and then make some pretence to send for me. I have terrible news."
The doctor changed countenance a little, but next moment he was master o_imself.
"Thank you, Jim," said he quite loudly, "that was all I wanted to know," as i_e had asked me a question.
And with that he turned on his heel and rejoined the other two. They spok_ogether for a little, and though none of them started, or raised his voice,
or so much as whistled, it was plain enough that Dr. Livesey had communicate_y request, for the next thing that I heard was the captain giving an order t_ob Anderson, and all hands were piped on deck.
"My lads," said Captain Smollett, "I've a word to say to you. This land tha_e have sighted is the place we have been sailing for. Mr. Trelawney, being _ery open-handed gentleman, as we all know, has just asked me a word or two,
and as I was able to tell him that every man on board had done his duty, alo_nd aloft, as I never ask to see it done better, why, he and I and the docto_re going below to the cabin to drink your health and luck, and you'll hav_rog served out for you to drink our health and luck. I'll tell you what _hink of this: I think it handsome. And if you think as I do, you'll give _ood sea-cheer for the gentleman that does it."
The cheer followed—that was a matter of course; but it rang out so full an_earty that I confess I could hardly believe these same men were plotting fo_ur blood.
"One more cheer for Cap'n Smollett," cried Long John when the first ha_ubsided.
And this also was given with a will.
On the top of that the three gentlemen went below, and not long after, wor_as sent forward that Jim Hawkins was wanted in the cabin.
I found them all three seated round the table, a bottle of Spanish wine an_ome raisins before them, and the doctor smoking away, with his wig on hi_ap, and that, I knew, was a sign that he was agitated. The stern window wa_pen, for it was a warm night, and you could see the moon shining behind o_he ship's wake.
"Now, Hawkins," said the squire, "you have something to say. Speak up."
I did as I was bid, and as short as I could make it, told the whole details o_ilver's conversation. Nobody interrupted me till I was done, nor did any on_f the three of them make so much as a movement, but they kept their eyes upo_y face from first to last.
"Jim," said Dr. Livesey, "take a seat."
And they made me sit down at table beside them, poured me out a glass of wine,
filled my hands with raisins, and all three, one after the other, and eac_ith a bow, drank my good health, and their service to me, for my luck an_ourage.
"Now, captain," said the squire, "you were right, and I was wrong. I ow_yself an ass, and I await your orders."
"No more an ass than I, sir," returned the captain. "I never heard of a cre_hat meant to mutiny but what showed signs before, for any man that had an ey_n his head to see the mischief and take steps according. But this crew," h_dded, "beats me."
"Captain," said the doctor, "with your permission, that's Silver. A ver_emarkable man."
"He'd look remarkably well from a yard-arm, sir," returned the captain. "Bu_his is talk; this don't lead to anything. I see three or four points, an_ith Mr. Trelawney's permission, I'll name them."
"You, sir, are the captain. It is for you to speak," says Mr. Trelawne_randly.
"First point," began Mr. Smollett. "We must go on, because we can't turn back.
If I gave the word to go about, they would rise at once. Second point, we hav_ime before us—at least until this treasure's found. Third point, there ar_aithful hands. Now, sir, it's got to come to blows sooner or later, and wha_ propose is to take time by the forelock, as the saying is, and come to blow_ome fine day when they least expect it. We can count, I take it, on your ow_ome servants, Mr. Trelawney?"
"As upon myself," declared the squire.
"Three," reckoned the captain; "ourselves make seven, counting Hawkins here.
Now, about the honest hands?"
"Most likely Trelawney's own men," said the doctor; "those he had picked u_or himself before he lit on Silver."
"Nay," replied the squire. "Hands was one of mine."
"I did think I could have trusted Hands," added the captain.
"And to think that they're all Englishmen!" broke out the squire. "Sir, _ould find it in my heart to blow the ship up."
"Well, gentlemen," said the captain, "the best that I can say is not much. W_ust lay to, if you please, and keep a bright lookout. It's trying on a man, _now. It would be pleasanter to come to blows. But there's no help for it til_e know our men. Lay to, and whistle for a wind, that's my view."
"Jim here," said the doctor, "can help us more than anyone. The men are no_hy with him, and Jim is a noticing lad."
"Hawkins, I put prodigious faith in you," added the squire.
I began to feel pretty desperate at this, for I felt altogether helpless; an_et, by an odd train of circumstances, it was indeed through me that safet_ame. In the meantime, talk as we pleased, there were only seven out of th_wenty-six on whom we knew we could rely; and out of these seven one was _oy, so that the grown men on our side were six to their nineteen.