PART FOUR: The Stockade
Chapter 16: Narrative Continued by the Doctor: How the Ship Was Abandoned
IT was about half past one--three bells in the sea
phrase--that the two boats went ashore from the
HISPANIOLA. The captain, the squire, and I were
talking matters over in the cabin. Had there been a
breath of wind, we should have fallen on the six
mutineers who were left aboard with us, slipped our
cable, and away to sea. But the wind was wanting; and
to complete our helplessness, down came Hunter with the
news that Jim Hawkins had slipped into a boat and was
gone ashore with the rest.
It never occurred to us to doubt Jim Hawkins, but we
were alarmed for his safety. With the men in the
temper they were in, it seemed an even chance if we
should see the lad again. We ran on deck. The pitch
was bubbling in the seams; the nasty stench of the
place turned me sick; if ever a man smelt fever and
dysentery, it was in that abominable anchorage. The
six scoundrels were sitting grumbling under a sail in
the forecastle; ashore we could see the gigs made fast
and a man sitting in each, hard by where the river runs
in. One of them was whistling "Lillibullero."
Waiting was a strain, and it was decided that Hunter
and I should go ashore with the jolly-boat in quest
The gigs had leaned to their right, but Hunter and I
pulled straight in, in the direction of the stockade
upon the chart. The two who were left guarding their
boats seemed in a bustle at our appearance; "Lillibullero"
stopped off, and I could see the pair discussing what
they ought to do. Had they gone and told Silver, all
might have turned out differently; but they had their
orders, I suppose, and decided to sit quietly where
they were and hark back again to "Lillibullero."
There was a slight bend in the coast, and I steered so
as to put it between us; even before we landed we had
thus lost sight of the gigs. I jumped out and came as
near running as I durst, with a big silk handkerchief
under my hat for coolness' sake and a brace of pistols
ready primed for safety.
I had not gone a hundred yards when I reached the stockade.