PART FOUR: The Stockade
Chapter 20: Silver's Embassy
SURE enough, there were two men just outside the stockade,
one of them waving a white cloth, the other, no less a
person than Silver himself, standing placidly by.
It was still quite early, and the coldest morning that
I think I ever was abroad in--a chill that pierced into
the marrow. The sky was bright and cloudless overhead,
and the tops of the trees shone rosily in the sun. But
where Silver stood with his lieutenant, all was still
in shadow, and they waded knee-deep in a low white
vapour that had crawled during the night out of the
morass. The chill and the vapour taken together told a
poor tale of the island. It was plainly a damp,
feverish, unhealthy spot.
"Keep indoors, men," said the captain. "Ten to one
this is a trick."
Then he hailed the buccaneer.
"Who goes? Stand, or we fire."
"Flag of truce," cried Silver.
The captain was in the porch, keeping himself carefully
out of the way of a treacherous shot, should any be
intended. He turned and spoke to us, "Doctor's watch
on the lookout. Dr. Livesey take the north side, if
you please; Jim, the east; Gray, west. The watch below,
all hands to load muskets. Lively, men, and careful."
And then he turned again to the mutineers.
"And what do you want with your flag of truce?" he cried.
This time it was the other man who replied.
"Cap'n Silver, sir, to come on board and make terms,"
"Cap'n Silver! Don't know him. Who's he?" cried the
captain. And we could hear him adding to himself,
"Cap'n, is it? My heart, and here's promotion!"