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so cruel, and cold, and ugly as that blind man’s. It cowed me more
than the pain, and I began to obey him at once, walking straight in
at the door and towards the parlour, where our sick old buccaneer
was sitting, dazed with rum. The blind man clung close to me,
holding me in one iron fist and leaning almost more of his weight
on me than I could carry. “Lead me straight up to him, and when
I’m in view, cry out, ‘Here’s a friend for you, Bill.’ If you don’t, I’ll
do this,” and with that he gave me a twitch that I thought would
have made me faint. Between this and that, I was so utterly
terrified of the blind beggar that I forgot my terror of the captain,
and as I opened the parlour door, cried out the words he had
ordered in a trembling voice.

The poor captain raised his eyes, and at one look the rum went
out of him and left him staring sober. The expression of his face
was not so much of terror as of mortal sickness. He made a
movement to rise, but I do not believe he had enough force left in
his body.

“Now, Bill, sit where you are,” said the beggar. “If I can’t see, I
can hear a finger stirring. Business is business. Hold out your left
hand. Boy, take his left hand by the wrist and bring it near to my

We both obeyed him to the letter, and I saw him pass something
from the hollow of the hand that held his stick into the palm of the
captain’s, which closed upon it instantly.

“And now that’s done,” said the blind man; and at the words he
suddenly left hold of me, and with incredible accuracy and
nimbleness, skipped out of the parlour and into the road, where,
as I still stood motionless, I could hear his stick go tap-tap-tapping
into the distance.

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