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2. Black Dog Appears and Disappears

IT was not very long after this that there occurred the first
of the mysterious events that rid us at last of the captain,
though not, as you will see, of his affairs. It was a bitter
cold winter, with long, hard frosts and heavy gales; and it was
plain from the first that my poor father was little likely to see the
spring. He sank daily, and my mother and I had all the inn upon
our hands, and were kept busy enough without paying much
regard to our unpleasant guest.

It was one January morning, very early--a pinching, frosty
morning--the cove all grey with hoar-frost, the ripple lapping softly
on the stones, the sun still low and only touching the hilltops and
shining far to seaward. The captain had risen earlier than usual
and set out down the beach, his cutlass swinging under the broad
skirts of the old blue coat, his brass telescope under his arm, his
hat tilted back upon his head. I remember his breath hanging like
smoke in his wake as he strode off, and the last sound I heard of
him as he turned the big rock was a loud snort of indignation, as
though his mind was still running upon Dr. Livesey.

Well, mother was upstairs with father and I was laying the
breakfast-table against the captainís return when the parlour door
opened and a man stepped in on whom I had never set my eyes
before. He was a pale, tallowy creature, wanting two fingers of the
left hand, and though he wore a cutlass, he did not look much like
a fighter. I had always my eye open for seafaring men, with one leg
or two, and I remember this one puzzled me. He was not sailorly,
and yet he had a smack of the sea about him too.

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