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20. Silver’s Embassy
SURE enough, there were two men just outside the stockade,
one of them waving a white cloth, the other, no less a person
than Silver himself, standing placidly by.
It was still quite early, and the coldest morning that I think I
ever was abroad in--a chill that pierced into the marrow. The sky
was bright and cloudless overhead, and the tops of the trees shone
rosily in the sun. But where Silver stood with his lieutenant, all
was still in shadow, and they waded knee-deep in a low white
vapour that had crawled during the night out of the morass. The
chill and the vapour taken together told a poor tale of the island. It
was plainly a damp, feverish, unhealthy spot.
“Keep indoors, men,” said the captain. “Ten to one this is a
Then he hailed the buccaneer.
“Who goes? Stand, or we fire.”
“Flag of truce,” cried Silver.
The captain was in the porch, keeping himself carefully out of
the way of a treacherous shot, should any be intended. He turned
and spoke to us, “Doctor’s watch on the lookout. Dr. Livesey take
the north side, if you please; Jim, the east; Gray, west. The watch
below, all hands to load muskets. Lively, men, and careful.”
And then he turned again to the mutineers.
“And what do you want with your flag of truce?” he cried.
This time it was the other man who replied.
“Cap’n Silver, sir, to come on board and make terms,” he