PART FOUR: The Stockade
Chapter 16: Narrative Continued by the Doctor: How the Ship Was Abandoned
We had soon touched land in the same place as before and
set to provision the block house. All three made the
first journey, heavily laden, and tossed our stores over
the palisade. Then, leaving Joyce to guard them--one man,
to be sure, but with half a dozen muskets-- Hunter and I
returned to the jolly-boat and loaded ourselves once more.
So we proceeded without pausing to take breath, till the
whole cargo was bestowed, when the two servants took up
their position in the block house, and I, with all my power,
sculled back to the HISPANIOLA.
That we should have risked a second boat load seems
more daring than it really was. They had the advantage
of numbers, of course, but we had the advantage of
arms. Not one of the men ashore had a musket, and
before they could get within range for pistol shooting,
we flattered ourselves we should be able to give a good
account of a half-dozen at least.
The squire was waiting for me at the stern window, all
his faintness gone from him. He caught the painter and
made it fast, and we fell to loading the boat for our
very lives. Pork, powder, and biscuit was the cargo,
with only a musket and a cutlass apiece for the squire
and me and Redruth and the captain. The rest of the
arms and powder we dropped overboard in two fathoms and a
half of water, so that we could see the bright steel shining
far below us in the sun, on the clean, sandy bottom.
By this time the tide was beginning to ebb, and the
ship was swinging round to her anchor. Voices were
heard faintly halloaing in the direction of the two
gigs; and though this reassured us for Joyce and
Hunter, who were well to the eastward, it warned our
party to be off.
Redruth retreated from his place in the gallery and
dropped into the boat, which we then brought round to
the ship's counter, to be handier for Captain Smollett.
"Now, men," said he, "do you hear me?"
There was no answer from the forecastle.