PART FOUR: The Stockade
Chapter 19: Narrative Resumed by Jim Hawkins: The Garrison in the Stockade
The slopes of the knoll and all the inside of the
stockade had been cleared of timber to build the house,
and we could see by the stumps what a fine and lofty
grove had been destroyed. Most of the soil had been
washed away or buried in drift after the removal of the
trees; only where the streamlet ran down from the
kettle a thick bed of moss and some ferns and little
creeping bushes were still green among the sand. Very
close around the stockade--too close for defence, they
said--the wood still flourished high and dense, all of
fir on the land side, but towards the sea with a large
admixture of live-oaks.
The cold evening breeze, of which I have spoken,
whistled through every chink of the rude building and
sprinkled the floor with a continual rain of fine sand.
There was sand in our eyes, sand in our teeth, sand in
our suppers, sand dancing in the spring at the bottom
of the kettle, for all the world like porridge
beginning to boil. Our chimney was a square hole in
the roof; it was but a little part of the smoke that
found its way out, and the rest eddied about the house
and kept us coughing and piping the eye.
Add to this that Gray, the new man, had his face tied
up in a bandage for a cut he had got in breaking away
from the mutineers and that poor old Tom Redruth, still
unburied, lay along the wall, stiff and stark, under
the Union Jack.
If we had been allowed to sit idle, we should all have
fallen in the blues, but Captain Smollett was never the
man for that. All hands were called up before him, and
he divided us into watches. The doctor and Gray and I
for one; the squire, Hunter, and Joyce upon the other.
Tired though we all were, two were sent out for
firewood; two more were set to dig a grave for Redruth;
the doctor was named cook; I was put sentry at the door;
and the captain himself went from one to another, keeping
up our spirits and lending a hand wherever it was wanted.
From time to time the doctor came to the door for a little
air and to rest his eyes, which were almost smoked out of
his head, and whenever he did so, he had a word for me.