was the roughest crew afloat, was Flint's; the devil himself would have been feared to go to sea with them. Well, now, I tell you, I'm not a boasting man, and you seen yourself how easy I keep company; but when I was quartermaster, lambs wasn't the word for Flint's old buccaneers. Ah, you may be sure of yourself in old John's ship.'

`Well, I tell you now,' replied the lad, `I didn't half a quarter like the job till I had this talk with you, John; but there's my hand on it now.'

`And a brave lad you were, and smart, too,' answered Silver, shaking hands so heartily that all the barrel shook, `and a finer figure-head for a gentleman of fortune I never clapped my eyes on.'

By this time I had begun to understand the meaning of their terms. By a `gentleman of fortune' they plainly meant neither more nor less than a common pirate, and the little scene that I had overheard was the last act in the corruption of one of the honest hands - perhaps of the last one left aboard. But on this point I was soon to be relieved for Silver giving a little whistle, a third man strolled up and sat down by the party.

`Dick's square,' said Silver.

`Oh, I know'd Dick was square,' returned the voice of the coxswain, Israel Hands. `He's no fool, is Dick.' And he turned his quid and spat. `But, look here,' he went on, here's what I want to know, Barbecue: how long are we a-going to stand off and on like a blessed bumboat? I've had a' most enough o Cap'n Smollett; he's hazed me long enough, by thunder! I want to go into that cabin, I do. I want their pickles and wines, and that.'

`Israel,' said Silver, `your head aint much account, nor ever was. But you're able to hear, I reckon; leastways, your ears is big enough. Now, here's what I say: you'll berth forward, and you'll live hard, and you'll speak soft, and you'll keep sober, till I give the word; and you may lay to that, my son.'

`Well, I don't say no, do I?' growled the coxswain. `What I say is, when? That's what I say.'

`When! by the powers!' cried Silver. `Well, now, if you want to know, I'll tell you when. The last moment I can manage; and that's when. Here's a first-rate seaman, Cap'n Smollett, sails the blessed ship for us. Here's this squire and doctor with a map and such - I don't know where it is, do I? No more do you, says you. Well, then, I mean this squire and doctor shall find the stuff, and help us to get it aboard, by the powers. Then we'll see. If was sure of you all, sons of double Dutchmen, I'd have Cap'n Smollett navigate us half-way back again before struck.'

`Why, we're all seamen aboard here, I should think,' said the lad Dick.

`We're all foc's'le hands, you mean,' snapped Silver `We can steer a course, but who's to set one? That's what all you gentlemen split on, first and last. If I had my way I'd have Cap'n Smollett work us back into the trades a' least; then we'd have no blessed miscalculations and a spoonful of water a day. But I know the sort you are. I'll finish with 'em at the island, as soon's the blunt's on board and a pity it is. But you're never happy till you're drunk Split my sides, I've a sick heart to sail with the likes of you!

`Easy all, Long John,' cried Israel. `Who's a-crossing of you?'

`Why, how many tall ships, think ye, now, have I seen laid aboard? and how many brisk lads drying in the sun at Execution Dock?' cried Silver, `and all for this same hurry and hurry and hurry. You hear me? I seen a thing or two at sea, I have. If you would on'y lay your course and a p'int to windward, you would ride in carriages, you would. But not you! I know you. You'll have your mouthful of rum to- morrow, and go hang.'

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