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together--him unarmed.”

All the crew respected and even obeyed him. He had a way of
talking to each and doing everybody some particular service. To
me he was unweariedly kind, and always glad to see me in the
galley, which he kept as clean as a new pin, the dishes hanging up
burnished and his parrot in a cage in one corner.

“Come away, Hawkins,” he would say; “come and have a yarn
with John. Nobody more welcome than yourself, my son. Sit you
down and hear the news. Here’s Cap’n Flint--I calls my parrot
Cap’n Flint, after the famous buccaneer--here’s Cap’n Flint
predicting success to our v’yage. Wasn’t you, cap’n?”

And the parrot would say, with great rapidity, “Pieces of eight!
Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!” till you wondered that it was not
out of breath, or till John threw his handkerchief over the cage.

“Now, that bird,” he would say, “is, maybe, two hundred years
old, Hawkins--they live forever mostly; and if anybody’s seen more
wickedness, it must be the devil himself. She’s sailed with
England, the great Cap’n England, the pirate. She’s been at
Madagascar, and at Malabar, and Surinam, and Providence, and
Portobello. She was at the fishing up of the wrecked plate ships.
It’s there she learned ‘Pieces of eight,’ and little wonder; three
hundred and fifty thousand of ‘em, Hawkins! She was at the
boarding of the viceroy of the Indies out of Goa, she was; and to
look at her you would think she was a babby. But you smelt
powder-- didn’t you, cap’n?”

“Stand by to go about,” the parrot would scream.
“Ah, she’s a handsome craft, she is,” the cook would say, and
give her sugar from his pocket, and then the bird would peck at
the bars and swear straight on, passing belief for wickedness.

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