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26. Israel Hands

THE wind, serving us to a desire, now hauled into the west.
We could run so much the easier from the north-east
corner of the island to the mouth of the North Inlet. Only,
as we had no power to anchor and dared not beach her till the tide
had flowed a good deal farther, time hung on our hands. The
coxswain told me how to lay the ship to; after a good many trials I
succeeded, and we both sat in silence over another meal.

“Cap’n,” said he at length with that same uncomfortable smile,
“here’s my old shipmate, O’Brien; s’pose you was to heave him
overboard. I ain’t partic’lar as a rule, and I don’t take no blame for
settling his hash, but I don’t reckon him ornamental now, do

“I’m not strong enough, and I don’t like the job; and there he
lies, for me,” said I.

“This here’s an unlucky ship, this Hispaniola, Jim,” he went on,
blinking. “There’s a power of men been killed in this Hispaniola--a
sight o’ poor seamen dead and gone since you and me took ship to
Bristol. I never seen sich dirty luck, not I. There was this here
O’Brien now--he’s dead, ain’t he? Well now, I’m no scholar, and
you’re a lad as can read and figure, and to put it straight, do you
take it as a dead man is dead for good, or do he come alive again?”

“You can kill the body, Mr. Hands, but not the spirit; you must
know that already,” I replied. “O’Brien there is in another world,
and may be watching us.”

“Ah!” says he. “Well, that’s unfort’nate--appears as if killing
parties was a waste of time. Howsomever, sperrits don’t reckon for

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