WHEN I had done breakfasting the
squire gave me a note addressed to
John Silver, at the sign of the
Spy-glass, and told me I should
easily find the place by following
the line of the docks and keeping a
bright lookout for a little tavern
with a large brass telescope for
sign. I set off, overjoyed at this
opportunity to see some more of the
ships and seamen, and picked my way
among a great crowd of people and
carts and bales, for the dock was
now at its busiest, until I found
the tavern in question.
It was a bright enough little place
of entertainment. The sign was newly
painted; 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 the large, 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 hung at the door, almost afraid to
As I was waiting, a man came out of
a side room, and at a glance I was
sure he must be Long John. His left
leg was cut off close by the hip,
and under the left 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 as
big as a ham—plain and pale, but
intelligent and smiling. Indeed, he
seemed in the most cheerful spirits,
whistling as he moved about among
the tables, with a 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
Squire Trelawney's letter I had
taken a fear in my mind that he
might prove to be the very
one-legged sailor whom I had watched
for so long at the old Benbow. But
one look at the man before me was
enough. I had seen the captain, and
Black Dog, and the blind man, Pew,
and I thought I knew what a
buccaneer was like—a very different
creature, according to me, from this
clean and pleasant-tempered
I plucked up courage at once,
crossed the threshold, and walked
right up to the man where he stood,
propped on his crutch, talking to a
"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?" And then as he saw the squire's
letter, he seemed to me to give
something almost like a start.
"Oh!" said he, quite loud, and
offering his hand. "I see. You are
our new cabin-boy; pleased I am to
And he took my hand in his large
Just then one of the customers at
the far side rose suddenly and made
for the door. It was close by him,
and he was out in the street in a
moment. But his hurry had attracted
my notice, and I recognized him at
glance. It was the tallow-faced man,
wanting two fingers, who had come
first to the Admiral Benbow.
"Oh," I cried, "stop him! It's Black
"I don't care two coppers who he
is," cried Silver. "But he hasn't
paid his score. Harry, run and catch
One of the others who was nearest
the door leaped up and started in
"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.
"Dog, sir," said I. "Has Mr.
Trelawney not told you of the
buccaneers? He was one 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
The man whom he called Morgan—an
old, grey-haired, mahogany-faced
sailor—came forward pretty
sheepishly, rolling his quid.
"Now, Morgan," said Long John very
sternly, "you never clapped your
eyes on that Black—Black Dog before,
did you, now?"
"Not I, sir," said Morgan with a
"You didn't know his name, did you?"
"By the powers, Tom Morgan, it's as
good for you!" exclaimed the
landlord. "If you had been mixed up
with the like of that, you would
never have put another foot in my
house, you may lay to that. And what
was he saying to you?"
"I don't rightly know, sir,"
"Do you call that a head on your
shoulders, or a blessed dead-eye?"
cried Long John. "Don't rightly
know, don't you! Perhaps you don't
happen to rightly know who 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,"
"Keel-hauling, was you? And a mighty
suitable thing, too, and you may lay
to that. Get back to your place for
a lubber, Tom."
And then, as Morgan rolled back to
his seat, Silver added to me in a
confidential whisper that was very
flattering, as I thought, "He's
quite an honest man, Tom Morgan,
on'y stupid. And now," he ran on
again, aloud, "let's see—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
name was Pew."
"It was!" cried Silver, now quite
excited. "Pew! That were his name
for certain. 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 run better than Ben. He
should run him down, hand over hand,
by the powers! He talked o'
keel-hauling, did he? I'LL keel-haul
All the time he was jerking out
these phrases he was stumping up and
down the tavern on his crutch,
slapping tables with his hand, and
giving such a show of excitement 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 breath and
confessed that they had lost the
track in a crowd, and been scolded
like thieves, I would have gone bail
for the innocence of Long John
"See here, now, Hawkins," said he,
"here's a blessed hard thing on a
man like me, now, ain't it? There's
Cap'n Trelawney—what's he to think?
Here I have this confounded son of a
Dutchman sitting in my own house
drinking of my own rum! Here you
comes and tells me of it plain; and
here I let him give us all the slip
before my blessed deadlights! Now,
Hawkins, you do me justice with the
cap'n. You're a lad, you are, but
you're as smart as paint. I see that
when you first come in. Now, here it
is: What could I do, with this old
timber I hobble on? When I was an A
B master mariner I'd have come up
alongside of him, 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 had remembered something.
"The score!" he burst out. "Three
goes o' rum! Why, shiver my timbers,
if I hadn't forgotten my score!"
And falling on a bench, he laughed
until the tears ran down his cheeks.
I could not help joining, and we
laughed together, peal after peal,
until the tavern 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 be rated ship's boy. But
come now, stand by to go about. This
won't do. Dooty is dooty, messmates.
I'll put on my old cockerel hat, and
step along of you to Cap'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 make so bold as to call
credit. Nor you neither, says you;
not smart—none of the pair 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 see the joke as he did, I was
again obliged to join him in his
On our little walk along the quays,
he made himself the most interesting
companion, telling me about the
different ships that we passed by,
their rig, tonnage, and nationality,
explaining the work that was going
forward—how one was discharging,
another taking in cargo, and a third
making ready for sea—and every now
and then telling me some little
anecdote of ships or seamen or
repeating a nautical phrase till I
had learned it perfectly. I began to
see that here was one of the best of
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 the schooner on a
visit of inspection.
Long John told the story from first
to last, with a great deal of spirit
and the most perfect truth. "That
was how it were, now, weren't it,
Hawkins?" he would say, now and
again, and I could always bear him
The two gentlemen regretted that
Black Dog had got away, but we all
agreed there was nothing to be done,
and after he had been complimented,
Long John took up his crutch and
"All hands aboard by four this
afternoon," shouted the squire after
"Aye, aye, sir," cried the cook, in
"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
"The man's a perfect trump,"
declared the squire.
"And now," added the doctor, "Jim
may come on board with us, may he
"To be sure he may," says squire.
"Take your hat, Hawkins, and we'll
see the ship."