"NO, not I," said Silver. "Flint
was cap'n; I was quartermaster,
along of my timber leg. The same
broadside I lost my leg, old Pew
lost his deadlights. It was a master
surgeon, him that ampytated me—out
of college and all—Latin by the
bucket, and what not; but he was
hanged like a dog, and sun-dried
like the rest, at Corso Castle. That
was Roberts' men, that was, and
comed of changing names to their
ships—ROYAL FORTUNE and so on. Now,
what a ship was christened, so let
her stay, I says. So it was with the
CASSANDRA, as brought us all safe
home from Malabar, after England
took the viceroy of the Indies; so
it was with the old WALRUS, Flint's
old ship, as I've seen amuck with
the red blood and fit to sink with
"Ah!" cried another voice, that of
the youngest hand on board, and
evidently full of admiration. "He
was the flower of the flock, was
"Davis was a man too, by all
accounts," said Silver. "I never
sailed along of him; first with
England, then with Flint, that's my
story; and now here on my own
account, in a manner of speaking. I
laid by nine hundred safe, from
England, and two thousand after
Flint. That ain't bad for a man
before the mast—all safe in bank. 'Tain't
earning now, it's saving does it,
you may lay to that. Where's all
England's men now? I dunno. Where's
Flint's? Why, most on 'em aboard
here, and glad to get the duff—been
begging before that, some on 'em.
Old Pew, as had lost his sight, and
might have thought shame, spends
twelve hundred pound in a year, like
a lord in Parliament. Where is he
now? Well, he's dead now and under
hatches; but for two year before
that, shiver my timbers, the man was
starving! He begged, and he stole,
and he cut throats, and starved at
that, by the powers!"
"Well, it ain't much use, after
all," said the young seaman.
"'Tain't much use for fools, you may
lay to it—that, nor nothing," cried
Silver. "But now, you look here:
you're young, you are, but you're as
smart as paint. I see that when I
set my eyes on you, and I'll talk to
you like a man."
You may imagine how I felt when I
heard this abominable old rogue
addressing another in the very same
words of flattery as he had used to
myself. I think, if I had been able,
that I would have killed him through
the barrel. Meantime, he ran on,
little supposing he was overheard.
"Here it is about gentlemen of
fortune. They lives rough, and they
risk swinging, but they eat and
drink like fighting-cocks, and when
a cruise is done, why, it's hundreds
of pounds instead of hundreds of
farthings in their pockets. Now, the
most goes for rum and a good fling,
and to sea again in their shirts.
But that's not the course I lay. I
puts it all away, some here, some
there, and none too much anywheres,
by reason of suspicion. I'm fifty,
mark you; once back from this
cruise, I set up gentleman in
earnest. Time enough too, says you.
Ah, but I've lived easy in the
meantime, never denied myself o'
nothing heart desires, and slep'
soft and ate dainty all my days but
when at sea. And how did I begin?
Before the mast, like you!"
"Well," said the other, "but all the
other money's gone now, ain't it?
You daren't show face in Bristol
"Why, where might you suppose it
was?" asked Silver derisively.
"At Bristol, in banks and places,"
answered his companion.
"It were," said the cook; "it were
when we weighed anchor. But my old
missis has it all by now. And the
Spy-glass is sold, lease and
goodwill and rigging; and the old
girl's off to meet me. I would tell
you where, for I trust you, but it'd
make jealousy among the mates."
"And can you trust your missis?"
asked the other.
"Gentlemen of fortune," returned the
cook, "usually trusts little among
themselves, and right they are, you
may lay to it. But I have a way with
me, I have. When a mate brings a
slip on his cable—one as knows me, I
mean—it won't be in the same world
with old John. There was some that
was feared of Pew, and some that was
feared of Flint; but Flint his own
self was feared of me. Feared he
was, and proud. They was the
roughest crew afloat, was Flint's;
the devil himself would have been
feared to go to sea with them. Well
now, I tell you, I'm not a boasting
man, and you seen yourself how easy
I keep company, but when I was
quartermaster, LAMBS wasn't the word
for Flint's old buccaneers. Ah, you
may be sure of yourself in old
"Well, I tell you now," replied the
lad, "I didn't half a quarter like
the job till I had this talk with
you, John; but there's my hand on it
"And a brave lad you were, and smart
too," answered Silver, shaking hands
so heartily that all the barrel
shook, "and a finer figurehead for a
gentleman of fortune I never clapped
my eyes on."
By this time I had begun to
understand the meaning of their
terms. By a "gentleman of fortune"
they plainly meant neither more nor
less than a common pirate, and the
little scene that I had overheard
was the last act in the corruption
of one of the honest hands—perhaps
of the last one left aboard. But on
this point I was soon to be
relieved, for Silver giving a little
whistle, a third man strolled up and
sat down by the party.
"Dick's square," said Silver.
"Oh, I know'd Dick was square,"
returned the voice of the coxswain,
Israel Hands. "He's no fool, is
Dick." And he turned his quid and
spat. "But look here," he went on,
"here's what I want to know,
Barbecue: how long are we a-going to
stand off and on like a blessed
bumboat? I've had a'most enough o'
Cap'n Smollett; he's hazed me long
enough, by thunder! I want to go
into that cabin, I do. I want their
pickles and wines, and that."
"Israel," said Silver, "your head
ain't much account, nor ever was.
But you're able to hear, I reckon;
leastways, your ears is big enough.
Now, here's what I say: you'll berth
forward, and you'll live hard, and
you'll speak soft, and you'll keep
sober till I give the word; and you
may lay to that, my son."
"Well, I don't say no, do I?"
growled the coxswain. "What I say
is, when? That's what I say."
"When! By the powers!" cried Silver.
"Well now, if you want to know, I'll
tell you when. The last moment I can
manage, and that's when. Here's a
first-rate seaman, Cap'n Smollett,
sails the blessed ship for us.
Here's this squire and doctor with a
map and such—I don't know where it
is, do I? No more do you, says you.
Well then, I mean this squire and
doctor shall find the stuff, and
help us to get it aboard, by the
powers. Then we'll see. If I was
sure of you all, sons of double
Dutchmen, I'd have Cap'n Smollett
navigate us half-way back again
before I struck."
"Why, we're all seamen aboard here,
I should think," said the lad Dick.
"We're all forecastle hands, you
mean," snapped Silver. "We can steer
a course, but who's to set one?
That's what all you gentlemen split
on, first and last. If I had my way,
I'd have Cap'n Smollett work us back
into the trades at least; then we'd
have no blessed miscalculations and
a spoonful of water a day. But I
know the sort you are. I'll finish
with 'em at the island, as soon's
the blunt's on board, and a pity it
is. But you're never happy till
you're drunk. Split my sides, I've a
sick heart to sail with the likes of
"Easy all, Long John," cried Israel.
"Who's a-crossin' of you?"
"Why, how many tall ships, think ye,
now, have I seen laid aboard? And
how many brisk lads drying in the
sun at Execution Dock?" cried
Silver. "And all for this same hurry
and hurry and hurry. You hear me? I
seen a thing or two at sea, I have.
If you would on'y lay your course,
and a p'int to windward, you would
ride in carriages, you would. But
not you! I know you. You'll have
your mouthful of rum tomorrow, and
"Everybody knowed you was a kind of
a chapling, John; but there's others
as could hand and steer as well as
you," said Israel. "They liked a bit
o' fun, they did. They wasn't so
high and dry, nohow, but took their
fling, like jolly companions every
"So?" says Silver. "Well, and where
are they now? Pew was that sort, and
he died a beggar-man. Flint was, and
he died of rum at Savannah. Ah, they
was a sweet crew, they was! On'y,
where are they?"
"But," asked Dick, "when we do lay
'em athwart, what are we to do with
"There's the man for me!" cried the
cook admiringly. "That's what I call
business. Well, what would you
think? Put 'em ashore like maroons?
That would have been England's way.
Or cut 'em down like that much pork?
That would have been Flint's, or
"Billy was the man for that," said
Israel. "'Dead men don't bite,' says
he. Well, he's dead now hisself; he
knows the long and short on it now;
and if ever a rough hand come to
port, it was Billy."
"Right you are," said Silver; "rough
and ready. But mark you here, I'm an
easy man—I'm quite the gentleman,
says you; but this time it's
serious. Dooty is dooty, mates. I
give my vote—death. When I'm in
Parlyment and riding in my coach, I
don't want none of these sea-lawyers
in the cabin a-coming home, unlooked
for, like the devil at prayers. Wait
is what I say; but when the time
comes, why, let her rip!"
"John," cries the coxswain, "you're
"You'll say so, Israel when you
see," said Silver. "Only one thing I
claim—I claim Trelawney. I'll wring
his calf's head off his body with
these hands, Dick!" he added,
breaking off. "You just jump up,
like a sweet lad, and get me an
apple, to wet my pipe like."
You may fancy the terror I was in! I
should have leaped out and run for
it if I had found the strength, but
my limbs and heart alike misgave me.
I heard Dick begin to rise, and then
someone seemingly stopped him, and
the voice of Hands exclaimed, "Oh,
stow that! Don't you get sucking of
that bilge, John. Let's have a go of
"Dick," said Silver, "I trust you.
I've a gauge on the keg, mind.
There's the key; you fill a pannikin
and bring it up."
Terrified as I was, I could not help
thinking to myself that this must
have been how Mr. Arrow got the
strong waters that destroyed him.
Dick was gone but a little while,
and during his absence Israel spoke
straight on in the cook's ear. It
was but a word or two that I could
catch, and yet I gathered some
important news, for besides other
scraps that tended to the same
purpose, this whole clause was
audible: "Not another man of them'll
jine." Hence there were still
faithful men on board.
When Dick returned, one after
another of the trio took the
pannikin and drank—one "To luck,"
another with a "Here's to old
Flint," and Silver himself saying,
in a kind of song, "Here's to
ourselves, and hold your luff,
plenty of prizes and plenty of
Just then a sort of brightness fell
upon me in the barrel, and looking
up, I found the moon had risen and
was silvering the mizzen-top and
shining white on the luff of the
fore-sail; and almost at the same
time the voice of the lookout
shouted, "Land ho!"