MY curiosity, in a sense, was
stronger than my fear, for I could
not remain where I was, but crept
back to the bank again, whence,
sheltering my head behind a bush of
broom, I might command the road
before our door. I was scarcely in
position ere my enemies began to
arrive, seven or eight of them,
running hard, their feet beating out
of time along the road and the man
with the lantern some paces in
front. Three men ran together, hand
in hand; and I made out, even
through the mist, that the middle
man of this trio was the blind
beggar. The next moment his voice
showed me that I was right.
"Down with the door!" he cried.
"Aye, aye, sir!" answered two or
three; and a rush was made upon the
Admiral Benbow, the lantern-bearer
following; and then I could see them
pause, and hear speeches passed in a
lower key, as if they were surprised
to find the door open. But the pause
was brief, for the blind man again
issued his commands. His voice
sounded louder and higher, as if he
were afire with eagerness and rage.
"In, in, in!" he shouted, and cursed
them for their delay.
Four or five of them obeyed at once,
two remaining on the road with the
formidable beggar. There was a
pause, then a cry of surprise, and
then a voice shouting from the
house, "Bill's dead."
But the blind man swore at them
again for their delay.
"Search him, some of you shirking
lubbers, and the rest of you aloft
and get the chest," he cried.
I could hear their feet rattling up
our old stairs, so that the house
must have shook with it. Promptly
afterwards, fresh sounds of
astonishment arose; the window of
the captain's room was thrown open
with a slam and a jingle of broken
glass, and a man leaned out into the
moonlight, head and shoulders, and
addressed the blind beggar on the
road below him.
"Pew," he cried, "they've been
before us. Someone's turned the
chest out alow and aloft."
"Is it there?" roared Pew.
"The money's there."
The blind man cursed the money.
"Flint's fist, I mean," he cried.
"We don't see it here nohow,"
returned the man.
"Here, you below there, is it on
Bill?" cried the blind man again.
At that another fellow, probably him
who had remained below to search the
captain's body, came to the door of
the inn. "Bill's been overhauled
a'ready," said he; "nothin' left."
"It's these people of the inn—it's
that boy. I wish I had put his eyes
out!" cried the blind man, Pew.
"There were no time ago—they had the
door bolted when I tried it.
Scatter, lads, and find 'em."
"Sure enough, they left their glim
here," said the fellow from the
"Scatter and find 'em! Rout the
house out!" reiterated Pew, striking
with his stick upon the road.
Then there followed a great to-do
through all our old inn, heavy feet
pounding to and fro, furniture
thrown over, doors kicked in, until
the very rocks re-echoed and the men
came out again, one after another,
on the road and declared that we
were nowhere to be found. And just
the same whistle that had alarmed my
mother and myself over the dead
captain's money was once more
clearly audible through the night,
but this time twice repeated. I had
thought it to be the blind man's
trumpet, so to speak, summoning his
crew to the assault, but I now found
that it was a signal from the
hillside towards the hamlet, and
from its effect upon the buccaneers,
a signal to warn them of approaching
"There's Dirk again," said one.
"Twice! We'll have to budge, mates."
"Budge, you skulk!" cried Pew. "Dirk
was a fool and a coward from the
first—you wouldn't mind him. They
must be close by; they can't be far;
you have your hands on it. Scatter
and look for them, dogs! Oh, shiver
my soul," he cried, "if I had eyes!"
This appeal seemed to produce some
effect, for two of the fellows began
to look here and there among the
lumber, but half-heartedly, I
thought, and with half an eye to
their own danger all the time, while
the rest stood irresolute on the
"You have your hands on thousands,
you fools, and you hang a leg! You'd
be as rich as kings if you could
find it, and you know it's here, and
you stand there skulking. There
wasn't one of you dared face Bill,
and I did it—a blind man! And I'm to
lose my chance for you! I'm to be a
poor, crawling beggar, sponging for
rum, when I might be rolling in a
coach! If you had the pluck of a
weevil in a biscuit you would catch
"Hang it, Pew, we've got the
doubloons!" grumbled one.
"They might have hid the blessed
thing," said another. "Take the
Georges, Pew, and don't stand here
Squalling was the word for it; Pew's
anger rose so high at these
objections till at last, his passion
completely taking the upper hand, he
struck at them right and left in his
blindness and his stick sounded
heavily on more than one.
These, in their turn, cursed back at
the blind miscreant, threatened him
in horrid terms, and tried in vain
to catch the stick and wrest it from
This quarrel was the saving of us,
for while it was still raging,
another sound came from the top of
the hill on the side of the
hamlet—the tramp of horses
galloping. Almost at the same time a
pistol-shot, flash and report, came
from the hedge side. And that was
plainly the last signal of danger,
for the buccaneers turned at once
and ran, separating in every
direction, one seaward along the
cove, one slant across the hill, and
so on, so that in half a minute not
a sign of them remained but Pew. Him
they had deserted, whether in sheer
panic or out of revenge for his ill
words and blows I know not; but
there he remained behind, tapping up
and down the road in a frenzy, and
groping and calling for his
comrades. Finally he took a wrong
turn and ran a few steps past me,
towards the hamlet, crying, "Johnny,
Black Dog, Dirk," and other names,
"you won't leave old Pew, mates—not
Just then the noise of horses topped
the rise, and four or five riders
came in sight in the moonlight and
swept at full gallop down the slope.
At this Pew saw his error, turned
with a scream, and ran straight for
the ditch, into which he rolled. But
he was on his feet again in a second
and made another dash, now utterly
bewildered, right under the nearest
of the coming horses.
The rider tried to save him, but in
vain. Down went Pew with a cry that
rang high into the night; and the
four hoofs trampled and spurned him
and passed by. He fell on his side,
then gently collapsed upon his face
and moved no more.
I leaped to my feet and hailed the
riders. They were pulling up, at any
rate, horrified at the accident; and
I soon saw what they were. One,
tailing out behind the rest, was a
lad that had gone from the hamlet to
Dr. Livesey's; the rest were revenue
officers, whom he had met by the
way, and with whom he had had the
intelligence to return at once. Some
news of the lugger in Kitt's Hole
had found its way to Supervisor
Dance and set him forth that night
in our direction, and to that
circumstance my mother and I owed
our preservation from death.
Pew was dead, stone dead. As for my
mother, when we had carried her up
to the hamlet, a little cold water
and salts and that soon brought her
back again, and she was none the
worse for her terror, though she
still continued to deplore the
balance of the money. In the
meantime the supervisor rode on, as
fast as he could, to Kitt's Hole;
but his men had to dismount and
grope down the dingle, leading, and
sometimes supporting, their horses,
and in continual fear of ambushes;
so it was no great matter for
surprise that when they got down to
the Hole the lugger was already
under way, though still close in. He
hailed her. A voice replied, telling
him to keep out of the moonlight or
he would get some lead in him, and
at the same time a bullet whistled
close by his arm. Soon after, the
lugger doubled the point and
disappeared. Mr. Dance stood there,
as he said, "like a fish out of
water," and all he could do was to
dispatch a man to B—— to warn the
cutter. "And that," said he, "is
just about as good as nothing.
They've got off clean, and there's
an end. Only," he added, "I'm glad I
trod on Master Pew's corns," for by
this time he had heard my story.
I went back with him to the Admiral
Benbow, and you cannot imagine a
house in such a state of smash; the
very clock had been thrown down by
these fellows in their furious hunt
after my mother and myself; and
though nothing had actually been
taken away except the captain's
money-bag and a little silver from
the till, I could see at once that
we were ruined. Mr. Dance could make
nothing of the scene.
"They got the money, you say? Well,
then, Hawkins, what in fortune were
they after? More money, I suppose?"
"No, sir; not money, I think,"
replied I. "In fact, sir, I believe
I have the thing in my breast
pocket; and to tell you the truth, I
should like to get it put in
"To be sure, boy; quite right," said
he. "I'll take it, if you like."
"I thought perhaps Dr. Livesey—" I
"Perfectly right," he interrupted
very cheerily, "perfectly right—a
gentleman and a magistrate. And, now
I come to think of it, I might as
well ride round there myself and
report to him or squire. Master
Pew's dead, when all's done; not
that I regret it, but he's dead, you
see, and people will make it out
against an officer of his Majesty's
revenue, if make it out they can.
Now, I'll tell you, Hawkins, if you
like, I'll take you along."
I thanked him heartily for the
offer, and we walked back to the
hamlet where the horses were. By the
time I had told mother of my purpose
they were all in the saddle.
"Dogger," said Mr. Dance, "you have
a good horse; take up this lad
As soon as I was mounted, holding on
to Dogger's belt, the supervisor
gave the word, and the party struck
out at a bouncing trot on the road
to Dr. Livesey's house.