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spending himself in good advice, and as for example no man could
have shown a better. He fairly outstripped himself in willingness
and civility; he was all smiles to everyone. If an order were given,
John would be on his crutch in an instant, with the cheeriest “Aye,
aye, sir!” in the world; and when there was nothing else to do, he
kept up one song after another, as if to conceal the discontent of
Of all the gloomy features of that gloomy afternoon, this obvious
anxiety on the part of Long John appeared the worst.
We held a council in the cabin.
“Sir,” said the captain, “if I risk another order, the whole ship’ll
come about our ears by the run. You see, sir, here it is. I get a
rough answer, do I not? Well, if I speak back, pikes will be going in
two shakes; if I don’t, Silver will see there’s something under that,
and the game’s up. Now, we’ve only one man to rely on.”
“And who is that?” asked the squire.
“Silver, sir,” returned the captain; “he’s as anxious as you and I
to smother things up. This is a tiff; he’d soon talk ‘em out of it if he
had the chance, and what I propose to do is to give him the
chance. Let’s allow the men an afternoon ashore. If they all go,
why we’ll fight the ship. If they none of them go, well then, we hold
the cabin, and God defend the right. If some go, you mark my
words, sir, Silver’ll bring ‘em aboard again as mild as lambs.”
It was so decided; loaded pistols were served out to all the sure
men; Hunter, Joyce, and Redruth were taken into our confidence
and received the news with less surprise and a better spirit than
we had looked for, and then the captain went on deck and
addressed the crew.
“My lads,” said he, “we’ve had a hot day and are all tired and