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reckon he was blue. That’s a true word.”

Ever since they had found the skeleton and got upon this train
of thought, they had spoken lower and lower, and they had almost
got to whispering by now, so that the sound of their talk hardly
interrupted the silence of the wood. All of a sudden, out of the
middle of the trees in front of us, a thin, high, trembling voice
struck up the well-known air and words:

“Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest--
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!”

I never have seen men more dreadfully affected than the
pirates. The colour went from their six faces like enchantment;
some leaped to their feet, some clawed hold of others; Morgan
grovelled on the ground.

“It’s Flint, by ----!” cried Merry.
The song had stopped as suddenly as it began--broken off, you
would have said, in the middle of a note, as though someone had
laid his hand upon the singer’s mouth. Coming through the clear,
sunny atmosphere among the green tree-tops, I thought it had
sounded airily and sweetly; and the effect on my companions was
the stranger.

“Come,” said Silver, struggling with his ashen lips to get the
word out; “this won’t do. Stand by to go about. This is a rum start,
and I can’t name the voice, but it’s someone skylarking--someone
that’s flesh and blood, and you may lay to that.”

His courage had come back as he spoke, and some of the colour
to his face along with it. Already the others had begun to lend an
ear to this encouragement and were coming a little to themselves,

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