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though his leg obviously hurt him pretty sharply when he moved--
for I could hear him stifle a groan--yet it was at a good, rattling
rate that he trailed himself across the deck. In half a minute he
had reached the port scuppers and picked, out of a coil of rope, a
long knife, or rather a short dirk, discoloured to the hilt with
blood. He looked upon it for a moment, thrusting forth his under
jaw, tried the point upon his hand, and then, hastily concealing it
in the bosom of his jacket, trundled back again into his old place
against the bulwark.

This was all that I required to know. Israel could move about,
he was now armed, and if he had been at so much trouble to get
rid of me, it was plain that I was meant to be the victim. What he
would do afterwards-- whether he would try to crawl right across
the island from North Inlet to the camp among the swamps or
whether he would fire Long Tom, trusting that his own comrades
might come first to help him--was, of course, more than I could

Yet I felt sure that I could trust him in one point, since in that
our interests jumped together, and that was in the disposition of
the schooner. We both desired to have her stranded safe enough,
in a sheltered place, and so that, when the time came, she could be
got off again with as little labour and danger as might be; and until
that was done I considered that my life would certainly be spared.

While I was thus turning the business over in my mind, I had
not been idle with my body. I had stolen back to the cabin, slipped
once more into my shoes, and laid my hand at random on a bottle
of wine, and now, with this for an excuse, I made my reappearance
on the deck.

Hands lay as I had left him, all fallen together in a bundle and

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