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“Hang them!” said the captain. “This is as dull as the doldrums.
Gray, whistle for a wind.”
And just at that moment came the first news of the attack.
“If you please, sir,” said Joyce, “if I see anyone, am I to fire?”
“I told you so!” cried the captain.
“Thank you, sir,” returned Joyce with the same quiet civility.
Nothing followed for a time, but the remark had set us all on
the alert, straining ears and eyes--the musketeers with their pieces
balanced in their hands, the captain out in the middle of the block
house with his mouth very tight and a frown on his face.
So some seconds passed, till suddenly Joyce whipped up his
musket and fired. The report had scarcely died away ere it was
repeated and repeated from without in a scattering volley, shot
behind shot, like a string of geese, from every side of the
enclosure. Several bullets struck the log-house, but not one
entered; and as the smoke cleared away and vanished, the
stockade and the woods around it looked as quiet and empty as
before. Not a bough waved, not the gleam of a musket-barrel
betrayed the presence of our foes.
“Did you hit your man?” asked the captain.
“No, sir,” replied Joyce. “I believe not, sir.”
“Next best thing to tell the truth,” muttered Captain Smollett.
“Load his gun, Hawkins. How many should say there were on your
“I know precisely,” said Dr. Livesey. “Three shots were fired on
this side. I saw the three flashes--two close together--one farther to
“Three!” repeated the captain. “And how many on yours, Mr.