PART FOUR: The Stockade
Chapter 17: Narrative Continued by the Doctor: The Jolly-boat's Last Trip
"The current's less a'ready, sir," said the man Gray,
who was sitting in the fore-sheets; "you can ease her
off a bit."
"Thank you, my man," said I, quite as if nothing had
happened, for we had all quietly made up our minds to
treat him like one of ourselves.
Suddenly the captain spoke up again, and I thought his
voice was a little changed.
"The gun!" said he.
"I have thought of that," said I, for I made sure he
was thinking of a bombardment of the fort. "They could
never get the gun ashore, and if they did, they could
never haul it through the woods."
"Look astern, doctor," replied the captain.
We had entirely forgotten the long nine; and there, to
our horror, were the five rogues busy about her,
getting off her jacket, as they called the stout
tarpaulin cover under which she sailed. Not only that,
but it flashed into my mind at the same moment that the
round-shot and the powder for the gun had been left
behind, and a stroke with an axe would put it all into
the possession of the evil ones abroad.
"Israel was Flint's gunner," said Gray hoarsely.
At any risk, we put the boat's head direct for the
landing-place. By this time we had got so far out of
the run of the current that we kept steerage way even
at our necessarily gentle rate of rowing, and I could
keep her steady for the goal. But the worst of it was
that with the course I now held we turned our broadside
instead of our stern to the HISPANIOLA and offered
a target like a barn door.
I could hear as well as see that brandy-faced rascal
Israel Hands plumping down a round-shot on the deck.
"Who's the best shot?" asked the captain.