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3. The Black Spot

ABOUT noon I stopped at the captain’s door with some
cooling drinks and medicines. He was lying very much as we
had left him, only a little higher, and he seemed both weak
and excited.

“Jim,” he said, “you’re the only one here that’s worth anything,
and you know I’ve been always good to you. Never a month but
I’ve given you a silver fourpenny for yourself. And now you see,
mate, I’m pretty low, and deserted by all; and Jim, you’ll bring me
one noggin of rum, now, won’t you, matey?”

“The doctor--” I began.
But he broke in cursing the doctor, in a feeble voice but
heartily. “Doctors is all swabs,” he said; “and that doctor there,
why, what do he know about seafaring men? I been in places hot
as pitch, and mates dropping round with Yellow Jack, and the
blessed land a-heaving like the sea with earthquakes--what to the
doctor know of lands like that?--and I lived on rum, I tell you. It’s
been meat and drink, and man and wife, to me; and if I’m not to
have my rum now I’m a poor old hulk on a lee shore, my blood’ll
be on you, Jim, and that doctor swab”; and he ran on again for a
while with curses. “Look, Jim, how my fingers fidges,” he
continued in the pleading tone. “I can’t keep ‘em still, not I. I
haven’t had a drop this blessed day. That doctor’s a fool, I tell you.
If I don’t have a drain o’ rum, Jim, I’ll have the horrors; I seen
some on ‘em already. I seen old Flint in the corner there, behind
you; as plain as print, I seen him; and if I get the horrors, I’m a
man that has lived rough, and I’ll raise Cain. Your doctor hisself

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