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29. The Black Spot Again

THE council of buccaneers had lasted some time, when one
of them re-entered the house, and with a repetition of the
same salute, which had in my eyes an ironical air, begged
for a moment’s loan of the torch. Silver briefly agreed, and this
emissary retired again, leaving us together in the dark.

“There’s a breeze coming, Jim,” said Silver, who had by this
time adopted quite a friendly and familiar tone.

I turned to the loophole nearest me and looked out. The embers
of the great fire had so far burned themselves out and now glowed
so low and duskily that I understood why these conspirators
desired a torch. About half-way down the slope to the stockade,
they were collected in a group; one held the light, another was on
his knees in their midst, and I saw the blade of an open knife shine
in his hand with varying colours in the moon and torchlight. The
rest were all somewhat stooping, as though watching the
manoeuvres of this last. I could just make out that he had a book
as well as a knife in his hand, and was still wondering how
anything so incongruous had come in their possession when the
kneeling figure rose once more to his feet and the whole party
began to move together towards the house.

“Here they come,” said I; and I returned to my former position,
for it seemed beneath my dignity that they should find me
watching them.

“Well, let ‘em come, lad--let ‘em come,” said Silver cheerily.
“I’ve still a shot in my locker.”

The door opened, and the five men, standing huddled together

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