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fire had burned itself into clear embers and shed a steady, red
reverberation, contrasted strongly with the mellow paleness of the
moon. There was not a soul stirring nor a sound beside the noises
of the breeze.
I stopped, with much wonder in my heart, and perhaps a little
terror also. It had not been our way to build great fires; we were,
indeed, by the captainís orders, somewhat niggardly of firewood,
and I began to fear that something had gone wrong while I was
I stole round by the eastern end, keeping close in shadow, and
at a convenient place, where the darkness was thickest, crossed
To make assurance surer, I got upon my hands and knees and
crawled, without a sound, towards the corner of the house. As I
drew nearer, my heart was suddenly and greatly lightened. It is
not a pleasant noise in itself, and I have often complained of it at
other times, but just then it was like music to hear my friends
snoring together so loud and peaceful in their sleep. The sea-cry of
the watch, that beautiful ďAllís well,Ē never fell more reassuringly
on my ear.
In the meantime, there was no doubt of one thing; they kept an
infamous bad watch. If it had been Silver and his lads that were
now creeping in on them, not a soul would have seen daybreak.
That was what it was, thought I, to have the captain wounded; and
again I blamed myself sharply for leaving them in that danger with
so few to mount guard.
By this time I had got to the door and stood up. All was dark
within, so that I could distinguish nothing by the eye. As for
sounds, there was the steady drone of the snorers and a small