Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
dainty in your food. You’ve seen my snuff-box, haven’t you? And
you never saw me take snuff, the reason being that in my snuff-
box I carry a piece of Parmesan cheese--a cheese made in Italy,
very nutritious. Well, that’s for Ben Gunn!”
Before supper was eaten we buried old Tom in the sand and
stood round him for a while bare-headed in the breeze. A good
deal of firewood had been got in, but not enough for the captain’s
fancy, and he shook his head over it and told us we “must get back
to this tomorrow rather livelier.” Then, when we had eaten our
pork and each had a good stiff glass of brandy grog, the three
chiefs got together in a corner to discuss our prospects.
It appears they were at their wits’ end what to do, the stores
being so low that we must have been starved into surrender long
before help came. But our best hope, it was decided, was to kill off
the buccaneers until they either hauled down their flag or ran
away with the Hispaniola. From nineteen they were already
reduced to fifteen, two others were wounded, and one at least-- the
man shot beside the gun--severely wounded, if he were not dead.
Every time we had a crack at them, we were to take it, saving our
own lives, with the extremest care. And besides that, we had two
able allies--rum and the climate.
As for the first, though we were about half a mile away, we
could hear them roaring and singing late into the night; and as for
the second, the doctor staked his wig that, camped where they
were in the marsh and unprovided with remedies, the half of them
would be on their backs before a week.
“So,” he added, “if we are not all shot down first they’ll be glad
to be packing in the schooner. It’s always a ship, and they can get
to buccaneering again, I suppose.”