I WAS wakened—indeed, we were all
wakened, for I could see even the
sentinel shake himself together from
where he had fallen against the
door-post—by a clear, hearty voice
hailing us from the margin of the
"Block house, ahoy!" it cried.
"Here's the doctor."
And the doctor it was. Although I
was glad to hear the sound, yet my
gladness was not without admixture.
I remembered with confusion my
insubordinate and stealthy conduct,
and when I saw where it had brought
me—among what companions and
surrounded by what dangers—I felt
ashamed to look him in the face.
He must have risen in the dark, for
the day had hardly come; and when I
ran to a loophole and looked out, I
saw him standing, like Silver once
before, up to the mid-leg in
"You, doctor! Top o' the morning to
you, sir!" cried Silver, broad awake
and beaming with good nature in a
moment. "Bright and early, to be
sure; and it's the early bird, as
the saying goes, that gets the
rations. George, shake up your
timbers, son, and help Dr. Livesey
over the ship's side. All a-doin'
well, your patients was—all well and
So he pattered on, standing on the
hilltop with his crutch under his
elbow and one hand upon the side of
the log-house—quite the old John in
voice, manner, and expression.
"We've quite a surprise for you too,
sir," he continued. "We've a little
stranger here—he! he! A noo boarder
and lodger, sir, and looking fit and
taut as a fiddle; slep' like a
supercargo, he did, right alongside
of John—stem to stem we was, all
Dr. Livesey was by this time across
the stockade and pretty near the
cook, and I could hear the
alteration in his voice as he said,
"The very same Jim as ever was,"
The doctor stopped outright,
although he did not speak, and it
was some seconds before he seemed
able to move on.
"Well, well," he said at last, "duty
first and pleasure afterwards, as
you might have said yourself,
Silver. Let us overhaul these
patients of yours."
A moment afterwards he had entered
the block house and with one grim
nod to me proceeded with his work
among the sick. He seemed under no
apprehension, though he must have
known that his life, among these
treacherous demons, depended on a
hair; and he rattled on to his
patients as if he were paying an
ordinary professional visit in a
quiet English family. His manner, I
suppose, reacted on the men, for
they behaved to him as if nothing
had occurred, as if he were still
ship's doctor and they still
faithful hands before the mast.
"You're doing well, my friend," he
said to the fellow with the bandaged
head, "and if ever any person had a
close shave, it was you; your head
must be as hard as iron. Well,
George, how goes it? You're a pretty
colour, certainly; why, your liver,
man, is upside down. Did you take
that medicine? Did he take that
"Aye, aye, sir, he took it, sure
enough," returned Morgan.
"Because, you see, since I am
mutineers' doctor, or prison doctor
as I prefer to call it," says Doctor
Livesey in his pleasantest way, "I
make it a point of honour not to
lose a man for King George (God
bless him!) and the gallows."
The rogues looked at each other but
swallowed the home-thrust in
"Dick don't feel well, sir," said
"Don't he?" replied the doctor.
"Well, step up here, Dick, and let
me see your tongue. No, I should be
surprised if he did! The man's
tongue is fit to frighten the
French. Another fever."
"Ah, there," said Morgan, "that
comed of sp'iling Bibles."
"That comes—as you call it—of being
arrant asses," retorted the doctor,
"and not having sense enough to know
honest air from poison, and the dry
land from a vile, pestiferous
slough. I think it most
probable—though of course it's only
an opinion—that you'll all have the
deuce to pay before you get that
malaria out of your systems. Camp in
a bog, would you? Silver, I'm
surprised at you. You're less of a
fool than many, take you all round;
but you don't appear to me to have
the rudiments of a notion of the
rules of health.
"Well," he added after he had dosed
them round and they had taken his
prescriptions, with really laughable
humility, more like charity
schoolchildren than blood-guilty
mutineers and pirates—"well, that's
done for today. And now I should
wish to have a talk with that boy,
And he nodded his head in my
George Merry was at the door,
spitting and spluttering over some
bad-tasted medicine; but at the
first word of the doctor's proposal
he swung round with a deep flush and
cried "No!" and swore.
Silver struck the barrel with his
"Si-lence!" he roared and looked
about him positively like a lion.
"Doctor," he went on in his usual
tones, "I was a-thinking of that,
knowing as how you had a fancy for
the boy. We're all humbly grateful
for your kindness, and as you see,
puts faith in you and takes the
drugs down like that much grog. And
I take it I've found a way as'll
suit all. Hawkins, will you give me
your word of honour as a young
gentleman—for a young gentleman you
are, although poor born—your word of
honour not to slip your cable?"
I readily gave the pledge required.
"Then, doctor," said Silver, "you
just step outside o' that stockade,
and once you're there I'll bring the
boy down on the inside, and I reckon
you can yarn through the spars. Good
day to you, sir, and all our dooties
to the squire and Cap'n Smollett."
The explosion of disapproval, which
nothing but Silver's black looks had
restrained, broke out immediately
the doctor had left the house.
Silver was roundly accused of
playing double—of trying to make a
separate peace for himself, of
sacrificing the interests of his
accomplices and victims, and, in one
word, of the identical, exact thing
that he was doing. It seemed to me
so obvious, in this case, that I
could not imagine how he was to turn
their anger. But he was twice the
man the rest were, and his last
night's victory had given him a huge
preponderance on their minds. He
called them all the fools and dolts
you can imagine, said it was
necessary I should talk to the
doctor, fluttered the chart in their
faces, asked them if they could
afford to break the treaty the very
day they were bound
"No, by thunder!" he cried. "It's us
must break the treaty when the time
comes; and till then I'll gammon
that doctor, if I have to ile his
boots with brandy."
And then he bade them get the fire
lit, and stalked out upon his
crutch, with his hand on my
shoulder, leaving them in a
disarray, and silenced by his
volubility rather than convinced.
"Slow, lad, slow," he said. "They
might round upon us in a twinkle of
an eye if we was seen to hurry."
Very deliberately, then, did we
advance across the sand to where the
doctor awaited us on the other side
of the stockade, and as soon as we
were within easy speaking distance
"You'll make a note of this here
also, doctor," says he, "and the
boy'll tell you how I saved his
life, and were deposed for it too,
and you may lay to that. Doctor,
when a man's steering as near the
wind as me—playing chuck-farthing
with the last breath in his body,
like—you wouldn't think it too much,
mayhap, to give him one good word?
You'll please bear in mind it's not
my life only now—it's that boy's
into the bargain; and you'll speak
me fair, doctor, and give me a bit
o' hope to go on, for the sake of
Silver was a changed man once he was
out there and had his back to his
friends and the block house; his
cheeks seemed to have fallen in, his
voice trembled; never was a soul
more dead in earnest.
"Why, John, you're not afraid?"
asked Dr. Livesey.
"Doctor, I'm no coward; no, not
I—not SO much!" and he snapped his
fingers. "If I was I wouldn't say
it. But I'll own up fairly, I've the
shakes upon me for the gallows.
You're a good man and a true; I
never seen a better man! And you'll
not forget what I done good, not any
more than you'll forget the bad, I
know. And I step aside—see here—and
leave you and Jim alone. And you'll
put that down for me too, for it's a
long stretch, is that!"
So saying, he stepped back a little
way, till he was out of earshot, and
there sat down upon a tree-stump and
began to whistle, spinning round now
and again upon his seat so as to
command a sight, sometimes of me and
the doctor and sometimes of his
unruly ruffians as they went to and
fro in the sand between the
fire—which they were busy
rekindling—and the house, from which
they brought forth pork and bread to
make the breakfast.
"So, Jim," said the doctor sadly,
"here you are. As you have brewed,
so shall you drink, my boy. Heaven
knows, I cannot find it in my heart
to blame you, but this much I will
say, be it kind or unkind: when
Captain Smollett was well, you dared
not have gone off; and when he was
ill and couldn't help it, by George,
it was downright cowardly!"
I will own that I here began to
weep. "Doctor," I said, "you might
spare me. I have blamed myself
enough; my life's forfeit anyway,
and I should have been dead by now
if Silver hadn't stood for me; and
doctor, believe this, I can die—and
I dare say I deserve it—but what I
fear is torture. If they come to
"Jim," the doctor interrupted, and
his voice was quite changed, "Jim, I
can't have this. Whip over, and
we'll run for it."
"Doctor," said I, "I passed my
"I know, I know," he cried. "We
can't help that, Jim, now. I'll take
it on my shoulders, holus bolus,
blame and shame, my boy; but stay
here, I cannot let you. Jump! One
jump, and you're out, and we'll run
for it like antelopes."
"No," I replied; "you know right
well you wouldn't do the thing
yourself—neither you nor squire nor
captain; and no more will I. Silver
trusted me; I passed my word, and
back I go. But, doctor, you did not
let me finish. If they come to
torture me, I might let slip a word
of where the ship is, for I got the
ship, part by luck and part by
risking, and she lies in North
Inlet, on the southern beach, and
just below high water. At half tide
she must be high and dry."
"The ship!" exclaimed the doctor.
Rapidly I described to him my
adventures, and he heard me out in
"There is a kind of fate in this,"
he observed when I had done. "Every
step, it's you that saves our lives;
and do you suppose by any chance
that we are going to let you lose
yours? That would be a poor return,
my boy. You found out the plot; you
found Ben Gunn—the best deed that
ever you did, or will do, though you
live to ninety. Oh, by Jupiter, and
talking of Ben Gunn! Why, this is
the mischief in person. Silver!" he
cried. "Silver! I'll give you a
piece of advice," he continued as
the cook drew near again; "don't you
be in any great hurry after that
"Why, sir, I do my possible, which
that ain't," said Silver. "I can
only, asking your pardon, save my
life and the boy's by seeking for
that treasure; and you may lay to
"Well, Silver," replied the doctor,
"if that is so, I'll go one step
further: look out for squalls when
you find it."
"Sir," said Silver, "as between man
and man, that's too much and too
little. What you're after, why you
left the block house, why you given
me that there chart, I don't know,
now, do I? And yet I done your
bidding with my eyes shut and never
a word of hope! But no, this here's
too much. If you won't tell me what
you mean plain out, just say so and
I'll leave the helm."
"No," said the doctor musingly;
"I've no right to say more; it's not
my secret, you see, Silver, or, I
give you my word, I'd tell it you.
But I'll go as far with you as I
dare go, and a step beyond, for I'll
have my wig sorted by the captain or
I'm mistaken! And first, I'll give
you a bit of hope; Silver, if we
both get alive out of this
wolf-trap, I'll do my best to save
you, short of perjury."
Silver's face was radiant. "You
couldn't say more, I'm sure, sir,
not if you was my mother," he cried.
"Well, that's my first concession,"
added the doctor. "My second is a
piece of advice: keep the boy close
beside you, and when you need help,
halloo. I'm off to seek it for you,
and that itself will show you if I
speak at random. Good-bye, Jim."
And Dr. Livesey shook hands with me
through the stockade, nodded to
Silver, and set off at a brisk pace
into the wood.