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PART THREE--My Shore Adventure
Chapter 13
How My Shore Adventure Began
THE appearance of the island when I came on
deck next morning was altogether changed.
Although the breeze had now utterly ceased,
we had made a great deal of way during the
night and were now lying becalmed about
half a mile to the south-east of the low
eastern coast.
Grey-coloured woods covered a large part of
the surface.
This even tint was indeed broken up by
streaks of yellow sand-break in the lower
lands, and by many tall trees of the pine
family, out-topping the others--some
singly, some in clumps; but the general
colouring was uniform and sad.
The hills ran up clear above the vegetation
in spires of naked rock.
All were strangely shaped, and the Spy-
glass, which was by three or four hundred
feet the tallest on the island, was
likewise the strangest in configuration,
running up sheer from almost every side and
then suddenly cut off at the top like a
pedestal to put a statue on.
The HISPANIOLA was rolling scuppers under
in the ocean swell.
The booms were tearing at the blocks, the
rudder was banging to and fro, and the
whole ship creaking, groaning, and jumping
like a manufactory.
I had to cling tight to the backstay, and
the world turned giddily before my eyes,
for though I was a good enough sailor when
there was way on, this standing still and
being rolled about like a bottle was a
thing I never learned to stand without a
qualm or so, above all in the morning, on
an empty stomach.
Perhaps it was this--perhaps it was the
look of the island, with its grey,
melancholy woods, and wild stone spires,
and the surf that we could both see and
hear foaming and thundering on the steep
beach--at least, although the sun shone
bright and hot, and the shore birds were
fishing and crying all around us, and you
would have thought anyone would have been
glad to get to land after being so long at
sea, my heart sank, as the saying is, into
my boots; and from the first look onward, I
hated the very thought of Treasure Island.
We had a dreary morning's work before us,
for there was no sign of any wind, and the
boats had to be got out and manned, and the
ship warped three or four miles round the
corner of the island and up the narrow
passage to the haven behind Skeleton
Island.
I volunteered for one of the boats, where I
had, of course, no business.
The heat was sweltering, and the men
grumbled fiercely over their work.
Anderson was in command of my boat, and
instead of keeping the crew in order, he
grumbled as loud as the worst.
"Well," he said with an oath, "it's not
forever."
I thought this was a very bad sign, for up
to that day the men had gone briskly and
willingly about their business; but the
very sight of the island had relaxed the
cords of discipline.
All the way in, Long John stood by the
steersman and conned the ship.
He knew the passage like the palm of his
hand, and though the man in the chains got
everywhere more water than was down in the
chart, John never hesitated once.
"There's a strong scour with the ebb," he
said, "and this here passage has been dug
out, in a manner of speaking, with a
spade."
We brought up just where the anchor was in
the chart, about a third of a mile from
each shore, the mainland on one side and
Skeleton Island on the other.
The bottom was clean sand.
The plunge of our anchor sent up clouds of
birds wheeling and crying over the woods,
but in less than a minute they were down
again and all was once more silent.
The place was entirely land-locked, buried
in woods, the trees coming right down to
high-water mark, the shores mostly flat,
and the hilltops standing round at a
distance in a sort of amphitheatre, one
here, one there.
Two little rivers, or rather two swamps,
emptied out into this pond, as you might
call it; and the foliage round that part of
the shore had a kind of poisonous
brightness.
From the ship we could see nothing of the
house or stockade, for they were quite
buried among trees; and if it had not been
for the chart on the companion, we might
have been the first that had ever anchored
there since the island arose out of the
seas.
There was not a breath of air moving, nor a
sound but that of the surf booming half a
mile away along the beaches and against the
rocks outside.
A peculiar stagnant smell hung over the
anchorage--a smell of sodden leaves and
rotting tree trunks.
I observed the doctor sniffing and
sniffing, like someone tasting a bad egg.
"I don't know about treasure," he said,
"but I'll stake my wig there's fever here."
If the conduct of the men had been alarming
in the boat, it became truly threatening
when they had come aboard.
They lay about the deck growling together
in talk.
The slightest order was received with a
black look and grudgingly and carelessly
obeyed.
Even the honest hands must have caught the
infection, for there was not one man aboard
to mend another.
Mutiny, it was plain, hung over us like a
thunder-cloud.
And it was not only we of the cabin party
who perceived the danger.
Long John was hard at work going from group
to group, spending himself in good advice,
and as for example no man could have shown
a better.
He fairly outstripped himself in
willingness and civility; he was all smiles
to everyone.
If an order were given, John would be on
his crutch in an instant, with the
cheeriest "Aye, aye, sir!" in the world;
and when there was nothing else to do, he
kept up one song after another, as if to
conceal the discontent of the rest.
Of all the gloomy features of that gloomy
afternoon, this obvious anxiety on the part
of Long John appeared the worst.
We held a council in the cabin.
"Sir," said the captain, "if I risk another
order, the whole ship'll come about our
ears by the run.
You see, sir, here it is.
I get a rough answer, do I not?
Well, if I speak back, pikes will be going
in two shakes; if I don't, Silver will see
there's something under that, and the
game's up.
Now, we've only one man to rely on."
"And who is that?" asked the squire.
"Silver, sir," returned the captain; "he's
as anxious as you and I to smother things
up.
This is a tiff; he'd soon talk 'em out of
it if he had the chance, and what I propose
to do is to give him the chance.
Let's allow the men an afternoon ashore.
If they all go, why we'll fight the ship.
If they none of them go, well then, we hold
the cabin, and God defend the right.
If some go, you mark my words, sir,
Silver'll bring 'em aboard again as mild as
lambs."
It was so decided; loaded pistols were
served out to all the sure men; Hunter,
Joyce, and Redruth were taken into our
confidence and received the news with less
surprise and a better spirit than we had
looked for, and then the captain went on
deck and addressed the crew.
"My lads," said he, "we've had a hot day
and are all tired and out of sorts.
A turn ashore'll hurt nobody--the boats are
still in the water; you can take the gigs,
and as many as please may go ashore for the
afternoon.
I'll fire a gun half an hour before
sundown."
I believe the silly fellows must have
thought they would break their shins over
treasure as soon as they were landed, for
they all came out of their sulks in a
moment and gave a cheer that started the
echo in a faraway hill and sent the birds
once more flying and squalling round the
anchorage.
The captain was too bright to be in the
way.
He whipped out of sight in a moment,
leaving Silver to arrange the party, and I
fancy it was as well he did so.
Had he been on deck, he could no longer so
much as have pretended not to understand
the situation.
It was as plain as day.
Silver was the captain, and a mighty
rebellious crew he had of it.
The honest hands--and I was soon to see it
proved that there were such on board--must
have been very stupid fellows.
Or rather, I suppose the truth was this,
that all hands were disaffected by the
example of the ringleaders--only some more,
some less; and a few, being good fellows in
the main, could neither be led nor driven
any further.
It is one thing to be idle and skulk and
quite another to take a ship and murder a
number of innocent men.
At last, however, the party was made up.
Six fellows were to stay on board, and the
remaining thirteen, including Silver, began
to embark.
Then it was that there came into my head
the first of the mad notions that
contributed so much to save our lives.
If six men were left by Silver, it was
plain our party could not take and fight
the ship; and since only six were left, it
was equally plain that the cabin party had
no present need of my assistance.
It occurred to me at once to go ashore.
In a jiffy I had slipped over the side and
curled up in the fore-sheets of the nearest
boat, and almost at the same moment she
shoved off.
No one took notice of me, only the bow oar
saying, "Is that you, Jim?
Keep your head down."
But Silver, from the other boat, looked
sharply over and called out to know if that
were me; and from that moment I began to
regret what I had done.
The crews raced for the beach, but the boat
I was in, having some start and being at
once the lighter and the better manned,
shot far ahead of her consort, and the bow
had struck among the shore-side trees and I
had caught a branch and swung myself out
and plunged into the nearest thicket while
Silver and the rest were still a hundred
yards behind.
"Jim, Jim!"
I heard him shouting.
But you may suppose I paid no heed;
jumping, ducking, and breaking through, I
ran straight before my nose till I could
run no longer.
Chapter 14
The First Blow
I WAS so pleased at having given the slip
to Long John that I began to enjoy myself
and look around me with some interest on
the strange land that I was in.
I had crossed a marshy tract full of
willows, bulrushes, and odd, outlandish,
swampy trees; and I had now come out upon
the skirts of an open piece of undulating,
sandy country, about a mile long, dotted
with a few pines and a great number of
contorted trees, not unlike the oak in
growth, but pale in the foliage, like
willows.
On the far side of the open stood one of
the hills, with two quaint, craggy peaks
shining vividly in the sun.
I now felt for the first time the joy of
exploration.
The isle was uninhabited; my shipmates I
had left behind, and nothing lived in front
of me but dumb brutes and fowls.
I turned hither and thither among the
trees.
Here and there were flowering plants,
unknown to me; here and there I saw snakes,
and one raised his head from a ledge of
rock and hissed at me with a noise not
unlike the spinning of a top.
Little did I suppose that he was a deadly
enemy and that the noise was the famous
rattle.
Then I came to a long thicket of these
oaklike trees--live, or evergreen, oaks, I
heard afterwards they should be called--
which grew low along the sand like
brambles, the boughs curiously twisted, the
foliage compact, like thatch.
The thicket stretched down from the top of
one of the sandy knolls, spreading and
growing taller as it went, until it reached
the margin of the broad, reedy fen, through
which the nearest of the little rivers
soaked its way into the anchorage.
The marsh was steaming in the strong sun,
and the outline of the Spy-glass trembled
through the haze.
All at once there began to go a sort of
bustle among the bulrushes; a wild duck
flew up with a quack, another followed, and
soon over the whole surface of the marsh a
great cloud of birds hung screaming and
circling in the air.
I judged at once that some of my shipmates
must be drawing near along the borders of
the fen.
Nor was I deceived, for soon I heard the
very distant and low tones of a human
voice, which, as I continued to give ear,
grew steadily louder and nearer.
This put me in a great fear, and I crawled
under cover of the nearest live-oak and
squatted there, hearkening, as silent as a
mouse.
Another voice answered, and then the first
voice, which I now recognized to be
Silver's, once more took up the story and
ran on for a long while in a stream, only
now and again interrupted by the other.
By the sound they must have been talking
earnestly, and almost fiercely; but no
distinct word came to my hearing.
At last the speakers seemed to have paused
and perhaps to have sat down, for not only
did they cease to draw any nearer, but the
birds themselves began to grow more quiet
and to settle again to their places in the
swamp.
And now I began to feel that I was
neglecting my business, that since I had
been so foolhardy as to come ashore with
these desperadoes, the least I could do was
to overhear them at their councils, and
that my plain and obvious duty was to draw
as close as I could manage, under the
favourable ambush of the crouching trees.
I could tell the direction of the speakers
pretty exactly, not only by the sound of
their voices but by the behaviour of the
few birds that still hung in alarm above
the heads of the intruders.
Crawling on all fours, I made steadily but
slowly towards them, till at last, raising
my head to an aperture among the leaves, I
could see clear down into a little green
dell beside the marsh, and closely set
about with trees, where Long John Silver
and another of the crew stood face to face
in conversation.
The sun beat full upon them.
Silver had thrown his hat beside him on the
ground, and his great, smooth, blond face,
all shining with heat, was lifted to the
other man's in a kind of appeal.
"Mate," he was saying, "it's because I
thinks gold dust of you--gold dust, and you
may lay to that!
If I hadn't took to you like pitch, do you
think I'd have been here a-warning of you?
All's up--you can't make nor mend; it's to
save your neck that I'm a-speaking, and if
one of the wild uns knew it, where'd I be,
Tom--now, tell me, where'd I be?"
"Silver," said the other man--and I
observed he was not only red in the face,
but spoke as hoarse as a crow, and his
voice shook too, like a taut rope--
"Silver," says he, "you're old, and you're
honest, or has the name for it; and you've
money too, which lots of poor sailors
hasn't; and you're brave, or I'm mistook.
And will you tell me you'll let yourself be
led away with that kind of a mess of swabs?
Not you!
As sure as God sees me, I'd sooner lose my
hand.
If I turn agin my dooty--"
And then all of a sudden he was interrupted
by a noise.
I had found one of the honest hands--well,
here, at that same moment, came news of
another.
Far away out in the marsh there arose, all
of a sudden, a sound like the cry of anger,
then another on the back of it; and then
one horrid, long-drawn scream.
The rocks of the Spy-glass re-echoed it a
score of times; the whole troop of marsh-
birds rose again, darkening heaven, with a
simultaneous whirr; and long after that
death yell was still ringing in my brain,
silence had re-established its empire, and
only the rustle of the redescending birds
and the boom of the distant surges
disturbed the languor of the afternoon.
Tom had leaped at the sound, like a horse
at the spur, but Silver had not winked an
eye.
He stood where he was, resting lightly on
his crutch, watching his companion like a
snake about to spring.
"John!" said the sailor, stretching out his
hand.
"Hands off!" cried Silver, leaping back a
yard, as it seemed to me, with the speed
and security of a trained gymnast.
"Hands off, if you like, John Silver," said
the other.
"It's a black conscience that can make you
feared of me.
But in heaven's name, tell me, what was
that?"
"That?" returned Silver, smiling away, but
warier than ever, his eye a mere pin-point
in his big face, but gleaming like a crumb
of glass.
"That?
Oh, I reckon that'll be Alan."
And at this point Tom flashed out like a
hero.
"Alan!" he cried.
"Then rest his soul for a true seaman!
And as for you, John Silver, long you've
been a mate of mine, but you're mate of
mine no more.
If I die like a dog, I'll die in my dooty.
You've killed Alan, have you?
Kill me too, if you can.
But I defies you."
And with that, this brave fellow turned his
back directly on the cook and set off
walking for the beach.
But he was not destined to go far.
With a cry John seized the branch of a
tree, whipped the crutch out of his armpit,
and sent that uncouth missile hurtling
through the air.
It struck poor Tom, point foremost, and
with stunning violence, right between the
shoulders in the middle of his back.
His hands flew up, he gave a sort of gasp,
and fell.
Whether he were injured much or little,
none could ever tell.
Like enough, to judge from the sound, his
back was broken on the spot.
But he had no time given him to recover.
Silver, agile as a monkey even without leg
or crutch, was on the top of him next
moment and had twice buried his knife up to
the hilt in that defenceless body.
From my place of ambush, I could hear him
pant aloud as he struck the blows.
I do not know what it rightly is to faint,
but I do know that for the next little
while the whole world swam away from before
me in a whirling mist; Silver and the
birds, and the tall Spy-glass hilltop,
going round and round and topsy-turvy
before my eyes, and all manner of bells
ringing and distant voices shouting in my
ear.
When I came again to myself the monster had
pulled himself together, his crutch under
his arm, his hat upon his head.
Just before him Tom lay motionless upon the
sward; but the murderer minded him not a
whit, cleansing his blood-stained knife the
while upon a wisp of grass.
Everything else was unchanged, the sun
still shining mercilessly on the steaming
marsh and the tall pinnacle of the
mountain, and I could scarce persuade
myself that murder had been actually done
and a human life cruelly cut short a moment
since before my eyes.
But now John put his hand into his pocket,
brought out a whistle, and blew upon it
several modulated blasts that rang far
across the heated air.
I could not tell, of course, the meaning of
the signal, but it instantly awoke my
fears.
More men would be coming.
I might be discovered.
They had already slain two of the honest
people; after Tom and Alan, might not I
come next?
Instantly I began to extricate myself and
crawl back again, with what speed and
silence I could manage, to the more open
portion of the wood.
As I did so, I could hear hails coming and
going between the old buccaneer and his
comrades, and this sound of danger lent me
wings.
As soon as I was clear of the thicket, I
ran as I never ran before, scarce minding
the direction of my flight, so long as it
led me from the murderers; and as I ran,
fear grew and grew upon me until it turned
into a kind of frenzy.
Indeed, could anyone be more entirely lost
than I?
When the gun fired, how should I dare to go
down to the boats among those fiends, still
smoking from their crime?
Would not the first of them who saw me
wring my neck like a snipe's?
Would not my absence itself be an evidence
to them of my alarm, and therefore of my
fatal knowledge?
It was all over, I thought.
Good-bye to the HISPANIOLA; good-bye to the
squire, the doctor, and the captain!
There was nothing left for me but death by
starvation or death by the hands of the
mutineers.
All this while, as I say, I was still
running, and without taking any notice, I
had drawn near to the foot of the little
hill with the two peaks and had got into a
part of the island where the live-oaks grew
more widely apart and seemed more like
forest trees in their bearing and
dimensions.
Mingled with these were a few scattered
pines, some fifty, some nearer seventy,
feet high.
The air too smelt more freshly than down
beside the marsh.
And here a fresh alarm brought me to a
standstill with a thumping heart.
Chapter 15
The Man of the Island
FROM the side of the hill, which was here
steep and stony, a spout of gravel was
dislodged and fell rattling and bounding
through the trees.
My eyes turned instinctively in that
direction, and I saw a figure leap with
great rapidity behind the trunk of a pine.
What it was, whether bear or man or monkey,
I could in no wise tell.
It seemed dark and shaggy; more I knew not.
But the terror of this new apparition
brought me to a stand.
I was now, it seemed, cut off upon both
sides; behind me the murderers, before me
this lurking nondescript.
And immediately I began to prefer the
dangers that I knew to those I knew not.
Silver himself appeared less terrible in
contrast with this creature of the woods,
and I turned on my heel, and looking
sharply behind me over my shoulder, began
to retrace my steps in the direction of the
boats.
Instantly the figure reappeared, and making
a wide circuit, began to head me off.
I was tired, at any rate; but had I been as
fresh as when I rose, I could see it was in
vain for me to contend in speed with such
an adversary.
From trunk to trunk the creature flitted
like a deer, running manlike on two legs,
but unlike any man that I had ever seen,
stooping almost double as it ran.
Yet a man it was, I could no longer be in
doubt about that.
I began to recall what I had heard of
cannibals.
I was within an ace of calling for help.
But the mere fact that he was a man,
however wild, had somewhat reassured me,
and my fear of Silver began to revive in
proportion.
I stood still, therefore, and cast about
for some method of escape; and as I was so
thinking, the recollection of my pistol
flashed into my mind.
As soon as I remembered I was not
defenceless, courage glowed again in my
heart and I set my face resolutely for this
man of the island and walked briskly
towards him.
He was concealed by this time behind
another tree trunk; but he must have been
watching me closely, for as soon as I began
to move in his direction he reappeared and
took a step to meet me.
Then he hesitated, drew back, came forward
again, and at last, to my wonder and
confusion, threw himself on his knees and
held out his clasped hands in supplication.
At that I once more stopped.
"Who are you?"
I asked.
"Ben Gunn," he answered, and his voice
sounded hoarse and awkward, like a rusty
lock.
"I'm poor Ben Gunn, I am; and I haven't
spoke with a Christian these three years."
I could now see that he was a white man
like myself and that his features were even
pleasing.
His skin, wherever it was exposed, was
burnt by the sun; even his lips were black,
and his fair eyes looked quite startling in
so dark a face.
Of all the beggar-men that I had seen or
fancied, he was the chief for raggedness.
He was clothed with tatters of old ship's
canvas and old sea-cloth, and this
extraordinary patchwork was all held
together by a system of the most various
and incongruous fastenings, brass buttons,
bits of stick, and loops of tarry gaskin.
About his waist he wore an old brass-
buckled leather belt, which was the one
thing solid in his whole accoutrement.
"Three years!"
I cried.
"Were you shipwrecked?"
"Nay, mate," said he; "marooned."
I had heard the word, and I knew it stood
for a horrible kind of punishment common
enough among the buccaneers, in which the
offender is put ashore with a little powder
and shot and left behind on some desolate
and distant island.
"Marooned three years agone," he continued,
"and lived on goats since then, and
berries, and oysters.
Wherever a man is, says I, a man can do for
himself.
But, mate, my heart is sore for Christian
diet.
You mightn't happen to have a piece of
cheese about you, now?
No? Well, many's the long night I've
dreamed of cheese--toasted, mostly--and
woke up again, and here I were."
"If ever I can get aboard again," said I,
"you shall have cheese by the stone."
All this time he had been feeling the stuff
of my jacket, smoothing my hands, looking
at my boots, and generally, in the
intervals of his speech, showing a childish
pleasure in the presence of a fellow
creature.
But at my last words he perked up into a
kind of startled slyness.
"If ever you can get aboard again, says
you?" he repeated.
"Why, now, who's to hinder you?"
"Not you, I know," was my reply.
"And right you was," he cried.
"Now you--what do you call yourself, mate?"
"Jim," I told him.
"Jim, Jim," says he, quite pleased
apparently.
"Well, now, Jim, I've lived that rough as
you'd be ashamed to hear of.
Now, for instance, you wouldn't think I had
had a pious mother--to look at me?" he
asked.
"Why, no, not in particular," I answered.
"Ah, well," said he, "but I had--remarkable
pious.
And I was a civil, pious boy, and could
rattle off my catechism that fast, as you
couldn't tell one word from another.
And here's what it come to, Jim, and it
begun with chuck-farthen on the blessed
grave-stones!
That's what it begun with, but it went
further'n that; and so my mother told me,
and predicked the whole, she did, the pious
woman!
But it were Providence that put me here.
I've thought it all out in this here lonely
island, and I'm back on piety.
You don't catch me tasting rum so much, but
just a thimbleful for luck, of course, the
first chance I have.
I'm bound I'll be good, and I see the way
to.
And, Jim"--looking all round him and
lowering his voice to a whisper--"I'm
rich."
I now felt sure that the poor fellow had
gone crazy in his solitude, and I suppose I
must have shown the feeling in my face, for
he repeated the statement hotly: "Rich!
Rich!
I says.
And I'll tell you what: I'll make a man of
you, Jim.
Ah, Jim, you'll bless your stars, you will,
you was the first that found me!"
And at this there came suddenly a lowering
shadow over his face, and he tightened his
grasp upon my hand and raised a forefinger
threateningly before my eyes.
"Now, Jim, you tell me true: that ain't
Flint's ship?" he asked.
At this I had a happy inspiration.
I began to believe that I had found an
ally, and I answered him at once.
"It's not Flint's ship, and Flint is dead;
but I'll tell you true, as you ask me--
there are some of Flint's hands aboard;
worse luck for the rest of us."
"Not a man--with one--leg?" he gasped.
"Silver?"
I asked.
"Ah, Silver!" says he.
"That were his name."
"He's the cook, and the ringleader too."
He was still holding me by the wrist, and
at that he give it quite a wring.
"If you was sent by Long John," he said,
"I'm as good as pork, and I know it.
But where was you, do you suppose?"
I had made my mind up in a moment, and by
way of answer told him the whole story of
our voyage and the predicament in which we
found ourselves.
He heard me with the keenest interest, and
when I had done he patted me on the head.
"You're a good lad, Jim," he said; "and
you're all in a clove hitch, ain't you?
Well, you just put your trust in Ben Gunn--
Ben Gunn's the man to do it.
Would you think it likely, now, that your
squire would prove a liberal-minded one in
case of help--him being in a clove hitch,
as you remark?"
I told him the squire was the most liberal
of men.
"Aye, but you see," returned Ben Gunn, "I
didn't mean giving me a gate to keep, and a
suit of livery clothes, and such; that's
not my mark, Jim.
What I mean is, would he be likely to come
down to the toon of, say one thousand
pounds out of money that's as good as a
man's own already?"
"I am sure he would," said I.
"As it was, all hands were to share."
"AND a passage home?" he added with a look
of great shrewdness.
"Why," I cried, "the squire's a gentleman.
And besides, if we got rid of the others,
we should want you to help work the vessel
home."
"Ah," said he, "so you would."
And he seemed very much relieved.
"Now, I'll tell you what," he went on.
"So much I'll tell you, and no more.
I were in Flint's ship when he buried the
treasure; he and six along--six strong
seamen.
They was ashore nigh on a week, and us
standing off and on in the old WALRUS.
One fine day up went the signal, and here
come Flint by himself in a little boat, and
his head done up in a blue scarf.
The sun was getting up, and mortal white he
looked about the cutwater.
But, there he was, you mind, and the six
all dead--dead and buried.
How he done it, not a man aboard us could
make out.
It was battle, murder, and sudden death,
leastways--him against six.
Billy Bones was the mate; Long John, he was
quartermaster; and they asked him where the
treasure was.
'Ah,' says he, 'you can go ashore, if you
like, and stay,' he says; 'but as for the
ship, she'll beat up for more, by thunder!'
That's what he said.
"Well, I was in another ship three years
back, and we sighted this island.
'Boys,' said I, 'here's Flint's treasure;
let's land and find it.'
The cap'n was displeased at that, but my
messmates were all of a mind and landed.
Twelve days they looked for it, and every
day they had the worse word for me, until
one fine morning all hands went aboard.
'As for you, Benjamin Gunn,' says they,
'here's a musket,' they says, 'and a spade,
and pick-axe.
You can stay here and find Flint's money
for yourself,' they says.
"Well, Jim, three years have I been here,
and not a bite of Christian diet from that
day to this.
But now, you look here; look at me.
Do I look like a man before the mast?
No, says you.
Nor I weren't, neither, I says."
And with that he winked and pinched me
hard.
"Just you mention them words to your
squire, Jim," he went on.
"Nor he weren't, neither--that's the words.
Three years he were the man of this island,
light and dark, fair and rain; and
sometimes he would maybe think upon a
prayer (says you), and sometimes he would
maybe think of his old mother, so be as
she's alive (you'll say); but the most part
of Gunn's time (this is what you'll say)--
the most part of his time was took up with
another matter.
And then you'll give him a nip, like I do."
And he pinched me again in the most
confidential manner.
"Then," he continued, "then you'll up, and
you'll say this: Gunn is a good man (you'll
say), and he puts a precious sight more
confidence--a precious sight, mind that--in
a gen'leman born than in these gen'leman of
fortune, having been one hisself."
"Well," I said, "I don't understand one
word that you've been saying.
But that's neither here nor there; for how
am I to get on board?"
"Ah," said he, "that's the hitch, for sure.
Well, there's my boat, that I made with my
two hands.
I keep her under the white rock.
If the worst come to the worst, we might
try that after dark.
Hi!" he broke out.
"What's that?"
For just then, although the sun had still
an hour or two to run, all the echoes of
the island awoke and bellowed to the
thunder of a cannon.
"They have begun to fight!"
I cried.
"Follow me."
And I began to run towards the anchorage,
my terrors all forgotten, while close at my
side the marooned man in his goatskins
trotted easily and lightly.
"Left, left," says he; "keep to your left
hand, mate Jim!
Under the trees with you!
Theer's where I killed my first goat.
They don't come down here now; they're all
mastheaded on them mountings for the fear
of Benjamin Gunn.
Ah! And there's the cetemery"--cemetery, he
must have meant.
"You see the mounds?
I come here and prayed, nows and thens,
when I thought maybe a Sunday would be
about doo.
It weren't quite a chapel, but it seemed
more solemn like; and then, says you, Ben
Gunn was short-handed--no chapling, nor so
much as a Bible and a flag, you says."
So he kept talking as I ran, neither
expecting nor receiving any answer.
The cannon-shot was followed after a
considerable interval by a volley of small
arms.
Another pause, and then, not a quarter of a
mile in front of me, I beheld the Union
Jack flutter in the air above a wood.
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宝島ーロバート・ルイス・スティーヴンソン(Chs 13-15) (Part 3 - Treasure Island Audiobook by Robert Louis Stevenson (Chs 13-15))

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Hhart Budha 2014 年 6 月 17 日 に公開
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