PART ONE: The Old Buccaneer
Chapter 2: Black Dog Appears and Disappears
IT was not very long after this that there occurred the
first of the mysterious events that rid us at last of
the captain, though not, as you will see, of his
affairs. It was a bitter cold winter, with long, hard
frosts and heavy gales; and it was plain from the first
that my poor father was little likely to see the
spring. He sank daily, and my mother and I had all the
inn upon our hands, and were kept busy enough without
paying much regard to our unpleasant guest.
It was one January morning, very early--a pinching,
frosty morning--the cove all grey with hoar-frost, the
ripple lapping softly on the stones, the sun still low
and only touching the hilltops and shining far to
seaward. The captain had risen earlier than usual and
set out down the beach, his cutlass swinging under the
broad skirts of the old blue coat, his brass telescope
under his arm, his hat tilted back upon his head. I
remember his breath hanging like smoke in his wake as
he strode off, and the last sound I heard of him as he
turned the big rock was a loud snort of indignation, as
though his mind was still running upon Dr. Livesey.
Well, mother was upstairs with father and I was laying
the breakfast-table against the captain's return when
the parlour door opened and a man stepped in on whom I
had never set my eyes before. He was a pale, tallowy
creature, wanting two fingers of the left hand, and
though he wore a cutlass, he did not look much like a
fighter. I had always my eye open for seafaring men,
with one leg or two, and I remember this one puzzled
me. He was not sailorly, and yet he had a smack of the
sea about him too.
I asked him what was for his service, and he said he would
take rum; but as I was going out of the room to fetch it,
he sat down upon a table and motioned me to draw near. I
paused where I was, with my napkin in my hand.
"Come here, sonny," says he. "Come nearer here."
I took a step nearer.