PART ONE: The Old Buccaneer
Chapter 2: Black Dog Appears and Disappears
"Is this here table for my mate Bill?" he asked with a
kind of leer.
I told him I did not know his mate Bill, and this was for
a person who stayed in our house whom we called the captain.
"Well," said he, "my mate Bill would be called the
captain, as like as not. He has a cut on one cheek and
a mighty pleasant way with him, particularly in drink,
has my mate Bill. We'll put it, for argument like, that
your captain has a cut on one cheek--and we'll put it, if
you like, that that cheek's the right one. Ah, well! I
told you. Now, is my mate Bill in this here house?"
I told him he was out walking.
"Which way, sonny? Which way is he gone?"
And when I had pointed out the rock and told him how
the captain was likely to return, and how soon, and
answered a few other questions, "Ah," said he, "this'll
be as good as drink to my mate Bill."
The expression of his face as he said these words was
not at all pleasant, and I had my own reasons for
thinking that the stranger was mistaken, even supposing
he meant what he said. But it was no affair of mine, I
thought; and besides, it was difficult to know what to
do. The stranger kept hanging about just inside the
inn door, peering round the corner like a cat waiting
for a mouse. Once I stepped out myself into the road,
but he immediately called me back, and as I did not
obey quick enough for his fancy, a most horrible change
came over his tallowy face, and he ordered me in with
an oath that made me jump. As soon as I was back again
he returned to his former manner, half fawning, half
sneering, patted me on the shoulder, told me I was a
good boy and he had taken quite a fancy to me. "I have
a son of my own," said he, "as like you as two blocks,
and he's all the pride of my 'art. But the great thing
for boys is discipline, sonny--discipline. Now, if you
had sailed along of Bill, you wouldn't have stood there
to be spoke to twice--not you. That was never Bill's
way, nor the way of sich as sailed with him. And here,
sure enough, is my mate Bill, with a spy-glass under
his arm, bless his old 'art, to be sure. You and me'll
just go back into the parlour, sonny, and get behind
the door, and we'll give Bill a little surprise--bless
his 'art, I say again.