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12. Council of War

THERE was a great rush of feet across the deck. I could
hear people tumbling up from the cabin and the forecastle,
and slipping in an instant outside my barrel, I dived
behind the fore-sail, made a double towards the stern, and came
out upon the open deck in time to join Hunter and Dr. Livesey in
the rush for the weather bow.

There all hands were already congregated. A belt of fog had
lifted almost simultaneously with the appearance of the moon.
Away to the south-west of us we saw two low hills, about a couple
of miles apart, and rising behind one of them a third and higher
hill, whose peak was still buried in the fog. All three seemed sharp
and conical in figure.

So much I saw, almost in a dream, for I had not yet recovered
from my horrid fear of a minute or two before. And then I heard
the voice of Captain Smollett issuing orders. The Hispaniola was
laid a couple of points nearer the wind and now sailed a course
that would just clear the island on the east.

“And now, men,” said the captain, when all was sheeted home,
“has any one of you ever seen that land ahead?”

“I have, sir,” said Silver. “I’ve watered there with a trader I was
cook in.”

“The anchorage is on the south, behind an islet, I fancy?” asked
the captain.

“Yes, sir; Skeleton Island they calls it. It were a main place for
pirates once, and a hand we had on board knowed all their names
for it. That hill to the nor’ard they calls the Fore-mast Hill; there

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