PART FIVE: My Sea Adventure
Chapter 26: Israel Hands
THE wind, serving us to a desire, now hauled into the west.
We could run so much the easier from the north-east corner
of the island to the mouth of the North Inlet. Only, as
we had no power to anchor and dared not beach her till the
tide had flowed a good deal farther, time hung on our hands.
The coxswain told me how to lay the ship to; after a good
many trials I succeeded, and we both sat in silence over
"Cap'n," said he at length with that same uncomfortable
smile, "here's my old shipmate, O'Brien; s'pose you was
to heave him overboard. I ain't partic'lar as a rule,
and I don't take no blame for settling his hash, but I
don't reckon him ornamental now, do you?"
"I'm not strong enough, and I don't like the job; and
there he lies, for me," said I.
"This here's an unlucky ship, this HISPANIOLA,
Jim," he went on, blinking. "There's a power of men
been killed in this HISPANIOLA--a sight o' poor
seamen dead and gone since you and me took ship to
Bristol. I never seen sich dirty luck, not I. There
was this here O'Brien now--he's dead, ain't he? Well
now, I'm no scholar, and you're a lad as can read and
figure, and to put it straight, do you take it as a
dead man is dead for good, or do he come alive again?"
"You can kill the body, Mr. Hands, but not the spirit;
you must know that already," I replied. "O'Brien there
is in another world, and may be watching us."
"Ah!" says he. "Well, that's unfort'nate--appears as
if killing parties was a waste of time. Howsomever,
sperrits don't reckon for much, by what I've seen.
I'll chance it with the sperrits, Jim. And now, you've
spoke up free, and I'll take it kind if you'd step down
into that there cabin and get me a--well, a--shiver my
timbers! I can't hit the name on 't; well, you get me
a bottle of wine, Jim--this here brandy's too strong
for my head."