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Chapter 29
The Black Spot Again
THE council of buccaneers had lasted some
time, when one of them re-entered the
house, and with a repetition of the same
salute, which had in my eyes an ironical
air, begged for a moment's loan of the
torch.
Silver briefly agreed, and this emissary
retired again, leaving us together in the
dark.
"There's a breeze coming, Jim," said
Silver, who had by this time adopted quite
a friendly and familiar tone.
I turned to the loophole nearest me and
looked out.
The embers of the great fire had so far
burned themselves out and now glowed so low
and duskily that I understood why these
conspirators desired a torch.
About half-way down the slope to the
stockade, they were collected in a group;
one held the light, another was on his
knees in their midst, and I saw the blade
of an open knife shine in his hand with
varying colours in the moon and torchlight.
The rest were all somewhat stooping, as
though watching the manoeuvres of this
last.
I could just make out that he had a book as
well as a knife in his hand, and was still
wondering how anything so incongruous had
come in their possession when the kneeling
figure rose once more to his feet and the
whole party began to move together towards
the house.
"Here they come," said I; and I returned to
my former position, for it seemed beneath
my dignity that they should find me
watching them.
"Well, let 'em come, lad--let 'em come,"
said Silver cheerily.
"I've still a shot in my locker."
The door opened, and the five men, standing
huddled together just inside, pushed one of
their number forward.
In any other circumstances it would have
been comical to see his slow advance,
hesitating as he set down each foot, but
holding his closed right hand in front of
him.
"Step up, lad," cried Silver.
"I won't eat you.
Hand it over, lubber.
I know the rules, I do; I won't hurt a
depytation."
Thus encouraged, the buccaneer stepped
forth more briskly, and having passed
something to Silver, from hand to hand,
slipped yet more smartly back again to his
companions.
The sea-cook looked at what had been given
him.
"The black spot!
I thought so," he observed.
"Where might you have got the paper?
Why, hillo!
Look here, now; this ain't lucky!
You've gone and cut this out of a Bible.
What fool's cut a Bible?"
"Ah, there!" said Morgan.
"There!
Wot did I say?
No good'll come o' that, I said."
"Well, you've about fixed it now, among
you," continued Silver.
"You'll all swing now, I reckon.
What soft-headed lubber had a Bible?"
"It was Dick," said one.
"Dick, was it?
Then Dick can get to prayers," said Silver.
"He's seen his slice of luck, has Dick, and
you may lay to that."
But here the long man with the yellow eyes
struck in.
"Belay that talk, John Silver," he said.
"This crew has tipped you the black spot in
full council, as in dooty bound; just you
turn it over, as in dooty bound, and see
what's wrote there.
Then you can talk."
"Thanky, George," replied the sea-cook.
"You always was brisk for business, and has
the rules by heart, George, as I'm pleased
to see.
Well, what is it, anyway?
Ah! 'Deposed'--that's it, is it?
Very pretty wrote, to be sure; like print,
I swear.
Your hand o' write, George?
Why, you was gettin' quite a leadin' man in
this here crew.
You'll be cap'n next, I shouldn't wonder.
Just oblige me with that torch again, will
you?
This pipe don't draw."
"Come, now," said George, "you don't fool
this crew no more.
You're a funny man, by your account; but
you're over now, and you'll maybe step down
off that barrel and help vote."
"I thought you said you knowed the rules,"
returned Silver contemptuously.
"Leastways, if you don't, I do; and I wait
here--and I'm still your cap'n, mind--till
you outs with your grievances and I reply;
in the meantime, your black spot ain't
worth a biscuit.
After that, we'll see."
"Oh," replied George, "you don't be under
no kind of apprehension; WE'RE all square,
we are.
First, you've made a hash of this cruise--
you'll be a bold man to say no to that.
Second, you let the enemy out o' this here
trap for nothing.
Why did they want out?
I dunno, but it's pretty plain they wanted
it.
Third, you wouldn't let us go at them upon
the march.
Oh, we see through you, John Silver; you
want to play booty, that's what's wrong
with you.
And then, fourth, there's this here boy."
"Is that all?" asked Silver quietly.
"Enough, too," retorted George.
"We'll all swing and sun-dry for your
bungling."
"Well now, look here, I'll answer these
four p'ints; one after another I'll answer
'em.
I made a hash o' this cruise, did I?
Well now, you all know what I wanted, and
you all know if that had been done that
we'd 'a been aboard the HISPANIOLA this
night as ever was, every man of us alive,
and fit, and full of good plum-duff, and
the treasure in the hold of her, by
thunder!
Well, who crossed me?
Who forced my hand, as was the lawful
cap'n?
Who tipped me the black spot the day we
landed and began this dance?
Ah, it's a fine dance--I'm with you there--
and looks mighty like a hornpipe in a
rope's end at Execution Dock by London
town, it does.
But who done it?
Why, it was Anderson, and Hands, and you,
George Merry!
And you're the last above board of that
same meddling crew; and you have the Davy
Jones's insolence to up and stand for cap'n
over me--you, that sank the lot of us!
By the powers!
But this tops the stiffest yarn to
nothing."
Silver paused, and I could see by the faces
of George and his late comrades that these
words had not been said in vain.
"That's for number one," cried the accused,
wiping the sweat from his brow, for he had
been talking with a vehemence that shook
the house.
"Why, I give you my word, I'm sick to speak
to you.
You've neither sense nor memory, and I
leave it to fancy where your mothers was
that let you come to sea.
Sea! Gentlemen o' fortune!
I reckon tailors is your trade."
"Go on, John," said Morgan.
"Speak up to the others."
"Ah, the others!" returned John.
"They're a nice lot, ain't they?
You say this cruise is bungled.
Ah! By gum, if you could understand how bad
it's bungled, you would see!
We're that near the gibbet that my neck's
stiff with thinking on it.
You've seen 'em, maybe, hanged in chains,
birds about 'em, seamen p'inting 'em out as
they go down with the tide.
'Who's that?' says one.
'That!
Why, that's John Silver.
I knowed him well,' says another.
And you can hear the chains a-jangle as you
go about and reach for the other buoy.
Now, that's about where we are, every
mother's son of us, thanks to him, and
Hands, and Anderson, and other ruination
fools of you.
And if you want to know about number four,
and that boy, why, shiver my timbers, isn't
he a hostage?
Are we a-going to waste a hostage?
No, not us; he might be our last chance,
and I shouldn't wonder.
Kill that boy?
Not me, mates!
And number three?
Ah, well, there's a deal to say to number
three.
Maybe you don't count it nothing to have a
real college doctor to see you every day--
you, John, with your head broke--or you,
George Merry, that had the ague shakes upon
you not six hours agone, and has your eyes
the colour of lemon peel to this same
moment on the clock?
And maybe, perhaps, you didn't know there
was a consort coming either?
But there is, and not so long till then;
and we'll see who'll be glad to have a
hostage when it comes to that.
And as for number two, and why I made a
bargain--well, you came crawling on your
knees to me to make it--on your knees you
came, you was that downhearted--and you'd
have starved too if I hadn't--but that's a
trifle!
You look there--that's why!"
And he cast down upon the floor a paper
that I instantly recognized--none other
than the chart on yellow paper, with the
three red crosses, that I had found in the
oilcloth at the bottom of the captain's
chest.
Why the doctor had given it to him was more
than I could fancy.
But if it were inexplicable to me, the
appearance of the chart was incredible to
the surviving mutineers.
They leaped upon it like cats upon a mouse.
It went from hand to hand, one tearing it
from another; and by the oaths and the
cries and the childish laughter with which
they accompanied their examination, you
would have thought, not only they were
fingering the very gold, but were at sea
with it, besides, in safety.
"Yes," said one, "that's Flint, sure
enough.
J. F., and a score below, with a clove
hitch to it; so he done ever."
"Mighty pretty," said George.
"But how are we to get away with it, and us
no ship."
Silver suddenly sprang up, and supporting
himself with a hand against the wall: "Now
I give you warning, George," he cried.
"One more word of your sauce, and I'll call
you down and fight you.
How?
Why, how do I know?
You had ought to tell me that--you and the
rest, that lost me my schooner, with your
interference, burn you!
But not you, you can't; you hain't got the
invention of a cockroach.
But civil you can speak, and shall, George
Merry, you may lay to that."
"That's fair enow," said the old man
Morgan.
"Fair!
I reckon so," said the sea-cook.
"You lost the ship; I found the treasure.
Who's the better man at that?
And now I resign, by thunder!
Elect whom you please to be your cap'n now;
I'm done with it."
"Silver!" they cried.
"Barbecue forever!
Barbecue for cap'n!"
"So that's the toon, is it?" cried the
cook.
"George, I reckon you'll have to wait
another turn, friend; and lucky for you as
I'm not a revengeful man.
But that was never my way.
And now, shipmates, this black spot?
'Tain't much good now, is it?
Dick's crossed his luck and spoiled his
Bible, and that's about all."
"It'll do to kiss the book on still, won't
it?" growled Dick, who was evidently uneasy
at the curse he had brought upon himself.
"A Bible with a bit cut out!" returned
Silver derisively.
"Not it.
It don't bind no more'n a ballad-book."
"Don't it, though?" cried Dick with a sort
of joy.
"Well, I reckon that's worth having too."
"Here, Jim--here's a cur'osity for you,"
said Silver, and he tossed me the paper.
It was around about the size of a crown
piece.
One side was blank, for it had been the
last leaf; the other contained a verse or
two of Revelation--these words among the
rest, which struck sharply home upon my
mind: "Without are dogs and murderers."
The printed side had been blackened with
wood ash, which already began to come off
and soil my fingers; on the blank side had
been written with the same material the one
word "Depposed."
I have that curiosity beside me at this
moment, but not a trace of writing now
remains beyond a single scratch, such as a
man might make with his thumb-nail.
That was the end of the night's business.
Soon after, with a drink all round, we lay
down to sleep, and the outside of Silver's
vengeance was to put George Merry up for
sentinel and threaten him with death if he
should prove unfaithful.
It was long ere I could close an eye, and
heaven knows I had matter enough for
thought in the man whom I had slain that
afternoon, in my own most perilous
position, and above all, in the remarkable
game that I saw Silver now engaged upon--
keeping the mutineers together with one
hand and grasping with the other after
every means, possible and impossible, to
make his peace and save his miserable life.
He himself slept peacefully and snored
aloud, yet my heart was sore for him,
wicked as he was, to think on the dark
perils that environed and the shameful
gibbet that awaited him.
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Chapter 29 - Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson - The Black Spot Again

5724 タグ追加 保存
甯健桃 2015 年 10 月 25 日 に公開
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