WE made our best speed across the
strip of wood that now divided us
from the stockade, and at every step
we took the voices of the buccaneers
rang nearer. Soon we could hear
their footfalls as they ran and the
cracking of the branches as they
breasted across a bit of thicket.
I began to see we should have a
brush for it in earnest and looked
to my priming.
"Captain," said I, "Trelawney is the
dead shot. Give him your gun; his
own is useless."
They exchanged guns, and Trelawney,
silent and cool as he had been since
the beginning of the bustle, hung a
moment on his heel to see that all
was fit for service. At the same
time, observing Gray to be unarmed,
I handed him my cutlass. It did all
our hearts good to see him spit in
his hand, knit his brows, and make
the blade sing through the air. It
was plain from every line of his
body that our new hand was worth his
Forty paces farther we came to the
edge of the wood and saw the
stockade in front of us. We struck
the enclosure about the middle of
the south side, and almost at the
same time, seven mutineers—Job
Anderson, the boatswain, at their
head—appeared in full cry at the
They paused as if taken aback, and
before they recovered, not only the
squire and I, but Hunter and Joyce
from the block house, had time to
fire. The four shots came in rather
a scattering volley, but they did
the business: one of the enemy
actually fell, and the rest, without
hesitation, turned and plunged into
After reloading, we walked down the
outside of the palisade to see to
the fallen enemy. He was stone
dead—shot through the heart.
We began to rejoice over our good
success when just at that moment a
pistol cracked in the bush, a ball
whistled close past my ear, and poor
Tom Redruth stumbled and fell his
length on the ground. Both the
squire and I returned the shot, but
as we had nothing to aim at, it is
probable we only wasted powder. Then
we reloaded and turned our attention
to poor Tom.
The captain and Gray were already
examining him, and I saw with half
an eye that all was over.
I believe the readiness of our
return volley had scattered the
mutineers once more, for we were
suffered without further molestation
to get the poor old gamekeeper
hoisted over the stockade and
carried, groaning and bleeding, into
Poor old fellow, he had not uttered
one word of surprise, complaint,
fear, or even acquiescence from the
very beginning of our troubles till
now, when we had laid him down in
the log-house to die. He had lain
like a Trojan behind his mattress in
the gallery; he had followed every
order silently, doggedly, and well;
he was the oldest of our party by a
score of years; and now, sullen,
old, serviceable servant, it was he
that was to die.
The squire dropped down beside him
on his knees and kissed his hand,
crying like a child.
"Be I going, doctor?" he asked.
"Tom, my man," said I, "you're going
"I wish I had had a lick at them
with the gun first," he replied.
"Tom," said the squire, "say you
forgive me, won't you?"
"Would that be respectful like, from
me to you, squire?" was the answer.
"Howsoever, so be it, amen!"
After a little while of silence, he
said he thought somebody might read
a prayer. "It's the custom, sir," he
added apologetically. And not long
after, without another word, he
In the meantime the captain, whom I
had observed to be wonderfully
swollen about the chest and pockets,
had turned out a great many various
stores—the British colours, a Bible,
a coil of stoutish rope, pen, ink,
the log-book, and pounds of tobacco.
He had found a longish fir-tree
lying felled and trimmed in the
enclosure, and with the help of
Hunter he had set it up at the
corner of the log-house where the
trunks crossed and made an angle.
Then, climbing on the roof, he had
with his own hand bent and run up
This seemed mightily to relieve him.
He re-entered the log-house and set
about counting up the stores as if
nothing else existed. But he had an
eye on Tom's passage for all that,
and as soon as all was over, came
forward with another flag and
reverently spread it on the body.
"Don't you take on, sir," he said,
shaking the squire's hand. "All's
well with him; no fear for a hand
that's been shot down in his duty to
captain and owner. It mayn't be good
divinity, but it's a fact."
Then he pulled me aside.
"Dr. Livesey," he said, "in how many
weeks do you and squire expect the
I told him it was a question not of
weeks but of months, that if we were
not back by the end of August
Blandly was to send to find us, but
neither sooner nor later. "You can
calculate for yourself," I said.
"Why, yes," returned the captain,
scratching his head; "and making a
large allowance, sir, for all the
gifts of Providence, I should say we
were pretty close hauled."
"How do you mean?" I asked.
"It's a pity, sir, we lost that
second load. That's what I mean,"
replied the captain. "As for powder
and shot, we'll do. But the rations
are short, very short—so short, Dr.
Livesey, that we're perhaps as well
without that extra mouth."
And he pointed to the dead body
under the flag.
Just then, with a roar and a
whistle, a round-shot passed high
above the roof of the log-house and
plumped far beyond us in the wood.
"Oho!" said the captain. "Blaze
away! You've little enough powder
already, my lads."
At the second trial, the aim was
better, and the ball descended
inside the stockade, scattering a
cloud of sand but doing no further
"Captain," said the squire, "the
house is quite invisible from the
ship. It must be the flag they are
aiming at. Would it not be wiser to
take it in?"
"Strike my colours!" cried the
captain. "No, sir, not I"; and as
soon as he had said the words, I
think we all agreed with him. For it
was not only a piece of stout,
seamanly, good feeling; it was good
policy besides and showed our
enemies that we despised their
All through the evening they kept
thundering away. Ball after ball
flew over or fell short or kicked up
the sand in the enclosure, but they
had to fire so high that the shot
fell dead and buried itself in the
soft sand. We had no ricochet to
fear, and though one popped in
through the roof of the log-house
and out again through the floor, we
soon got used to that sort of
horse-play and minded it no more
"There is one good thing about all
this," observed the captain; "the
wood in front of us is likely clear.
The ebb has made a good while; our
stores should be uncovered.
Volunteers to go and bring in pork."
Gray and hunter were the first to
come forward. Well armed, they stole
out of the stockade, but it proved a
useless mission. The mutineers were
bolder than we fancied or they put
more trust in Israel's gunnery. For
four or five of them were busy
carrying off our stores and wading
out with them to one of the gigs
that lay close by, pulling an oar or
so to hold her steady against the
current. Silver was in the
stern-sheets in command; and every
man of them was now provided with a
musket from some secret magazine of
The captain sat down to his log, and
here is the beginning of the entry:
Alexander Smollett, master; David
doctor; Abraham Gray, carpenter's
Trelawney, owner; John Hunter and
owner's servants, landsmen—being all
that is left
faithful of the ship's company—with
stores for ten
days at short rations, came ashore
this day and flew
British colours on the log-house in
Thomas Redruth, owner's servant,
landsman, shot by the
mutineers; James Hawkins, cabin-boy——
And at the same time, I was
wondering over poor Jim Hawkins'
A hail on the land side.
"Somebody hailing us," said Hunter,
who was on guard.
"Doctor! Squire! Captain! Hullo,
Hunter, is that you?" came the
And I ran to the door in time to see
Jim Hawkins, safe and sound, come
climbing over the stockade.