PART ONE: The Old Buccaneer
Chapter 3: The Black Spot
ABOUT noon I stopped at the captain's door with some
cooling drinks and medicines. He was lying very much
as we had left him, only a little higher, and he seemed
both weak and excited.
"Jim," he said, "you're the only one here that's worth
anything, and you know I've been always good to you.
Never a month but I've given you a silver fourpenny for
yourself. And now you see, mate, I'm pretty low, and
deserted by all; and Jim, you'll bring me one noggin of
rum, now, won't you, matey?"
"The doctor--" I began.
But he broke in cursing the doctor, in a feeble voice
but heartily. "Doctors is all swabs," he said; "and
that doctor there, why, what do he know about seafaring
men? I been in places hot as pitch, and mates dropping
round with Yellow Jack, and the blessed land a-heaving
like the sea with earthquakes--what to the doctor know
of lands like that?--and I lived on rum, I tell you.
It's been meat and drink, and man and wife, to me; and
if I'm not to have my rum now I'm a poor old hulk on a
lee shore, my blood'll be on you, Jim, and that doctor
swab"; and he ran on again for a while with curses.
"Look, Jim, how my fingers fidges," he continued in the
pleading tone. "I can't keep 'em still, not I. I
haven't had a drop this blessed day. That doctor's a
fool, I tell you. If I don't have a drain o' rum, Jim,
I'll have the horrors; I seen some on 'em already.
I seen old Flint in the corner there, behind you; as
plain as print, I seen him; and if I get the horrors,
I'm a man that has lived rough, and I'll raise Cain.
Your doctor hisself said one glass wouldn't hurt me.
I'll give you a golden guinea for a noggin, Jim."
He was growing more and more excited, and this alarmed me
for my father, who was very low that day and needed quiet;
besides, I was reassured by the doctor's words, now quoted
to me, and rather offended by the offer of a bribe.