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steep beach--at least, although the sun shone bright and hot, and
the shore birds were fishing and crying all around us, and you
would have thought anyone would have been glad to get to land
after being so long at sea, my heart sank, as the saying is, into my
boots; and from the first look onward, I hated the very thought of
Treasure Island.

We had a dreary morning’s work before us, for there was no
sign of any wind, and the boats had to be got out and manned, and
the ship warped three or four miles round the corner of the island
and up the narrow passage to the haven behind Skeleton Island. I
volunteered for one of the boats, where I had, of course, no
business. The heat was sweltering, and the men grumbled fiercely
over their work. Anderson was in command of my boat, and
instead of keeping the crew in order, he grumbled as loud as the

“Well,” he said with an oath, “it’s not forever.”
I thought this was a very bad sign, for up to that day the men
had gone briskly and willingly about their business; but the very
sight of the island had relaxed the cords of discipline.

All the way in, Long John stood by the steersman and conned
the ship. He knew the passage like the palm of his hand, and
though the man in the chains got everywhere more water than
was down in the chart, John never hesitated once.

“There’s a strong scour with the ebb,” he said, “and this here
passage has been dug out, in a manner of speaking, with a spade.”

We brought up just where the anchor was in the chart, about a
third of a mile from each shore, the mainland on one side and
Skeleton Island on the other. The bottom was clean sand. The
plunge of our anchor sent up clouds of birds wheeling and crying

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