Powder and Arms
THE HISPANIOLA lay some way out, and we went under
the figureheads and round the sterns of many other ships,
and their cables sometimes grated underneath our keel,
and sometimes swung above us. At last, however, we got
alongside, and were met and saluted as we stepped aboard
by the mate, Mr. Arrow, a brown old sailor with earrings
in his ears and a squint. He and the squire were very thick
and friendly, but I soon observed that things were not
between Mr. Trelawney and the captain.
This last was a sharp-looking man who seemed angry
with everything on board and was soon to tell us why,
for we had hardly got down into the cabin when a sailor
"Captain Smollett, sir, axing to speak with you,"
"I am always at the captain's orders. Show him in,"
said the squire.
The captain, who was close behind his messenger,
entered at once and shut the door behind him.
"Well, Captain Smollett, what have you to say?
All well, I hope; all shipshape and seaworthy?"
"Well, sir," said the captain, "better speak
plain, I believe,
even at the risk of offence. I don't like this cruise;
I don't like
the men; and I don't like my officer. That's short and
"Perhaps, sir, you don't like the ship?" inquired
very angry, as I could see.
"I can't speak as to that, sir, not having seen her
said the captain. "She seems a clever craft; more
I can't say."
"Possibly, sir, you may not like your employer, either?"
says the squire.
But here Dr. Livesey cut in.
"Stay a bit," said he, "stay a bit. No use
of such questions as that
but to produce ill feeling. The captain has said too much
or he has said too little, and I'm bound to say that I
an explanation of his words. You don't, you say, like this
"I was engaged, sir, on what we call sealed orders,
to sail this ship
for that gentleman where he should bid me," said the
"So far so good. But now I find that every man before
knows more than I do. I don't call that fair, now, do you?"
"No," said Dr. Livesey, "I don't."
"Next," said the captain, "I learn we are
going after treasure--hear
it from my own hands, mind you. Now, treasure is ticklish
I don't like treasure voyages on any account, and I don't
above all, when they are secret and when (begging your
Mr. Trelawney) the secret has been told to the parrot."
"Silver's parrot?" asked the squire.
"It's a way of speaking," said the captain. "Blabbed,
It's my belief neither of you gentlemen know what you are
but I'll tell you my way of it-- life or death, and a close
"That is all clear, and, I dare say, true enough,"
replied Dr. Livesey.
"We take the risk, but we are not so ignorant as you
Next, you say you don't like the crew. Are they not good
"I don't like them, sir," returned Captain
"And I think I should have had the choosing of my
if you go to that."
"Perhaps you should," replied the doctor. "My
perhaps, have taken you along with him; but the slight,
if there be one, was unintentional. And you don't like
"I don't, sir. I believe he's a good seaman, but he's
with the crew to be a good officer. A mate should keep
to himself--shouldn't drink with the men before the mast!"
"Do you mean he drinks?" cried the squire.
"No, sir," replied the captain, "only that
he's too familiar."
"Well, now, and the short and long of it, captain?"
asked the doctor. "Tell us what you want."
"Well, gentlemen, are you determined to go on this
"Like iron," answered the squire.
"Very good," said the captain. "Then, as
you've heard me
very patiently, saying things that I could not prove, hear
a few words more. They are putting the powder and the arms
in the fore hold. Now, you have a good place under the
why not put them there?--first point. Then, you are bringing
four of your own people with you, and they tell me some
are to be berthed forward. Why not give them the berths
beside the cabin?--second point."
"Any more?" asked Mr. Trelawney.
"One more," said the captain. "There's been
too much blabbing
"Far too much," agreed the doctor.
"I'll tell you what I've heard myself," continued
"that you have a map of an island, that there's crosses
on the map
to show where treasure is, and that the island lies--"
And then he named the latitude and longitude exactly.
"I never told that," cried the squire, "to
"The hands know it, sir," returned the captain.
"Livesey, that must have been you or Hawkins,"
cried the squire.
"It doesn't much matter who it was," replied
And I could see that neither he nor the captain paid much
to Mr. Trelawney's protestations. Neither did I, to be
he was so loose a talker; yet in this case I believe he
right and that nobody had told the situation of the island.
"Well, gentlemen," continued the captain, "I
don't know who has
this map; but I make it a point, it shall be kept secret
even from me
and Mr. Arrow. Otherwise I would ask you to let me resign."
"I see," said the doctor. "You wish us to
keep this matter dark
and to make a garrison of the stern part of the ship, manned
my friend's own people, and provided with all the arms
powder on board. In other words, you fear a mutiny."
"Sir," said Captain Smollett, "with no intention
to take offence,
I deny your right to put words into my mouth. No captain,
would be justified in going to sea at all if he had ground
to say that. As for Mr. Arrow, I believe him thoroughly
some of the men are the same; all may be for what I know.
But I am responsible for the ship's safety and the life
of every man
Jack aboard of her. I see things going, as I think, not
And I ask you to take certain precautions or let me resign
And that's all."
"Captain Smollett," began the doctor with a smile,
"did ever you
hear the fable of the mountain and the mouse? You'll excuse
I dare say, but you remind me of that fable. When you came
in here, I'll stake my wig, you meant more than this."
"Doctor," said the captain, "you are smart.
When I came in here
I meant to get discharged. I had no thought that Mr. Trelawney
would hear a word."
"No more I would," cried the squire. "Had
Livesey not been here
I should have seen you to the deuce. As it is, I have heard
I will do as you desire, but I think the worse of you."
"That's as you please, sir," said the captain.
"You'll find I do my
And with that he took his leave.
"Trelawney," said the doctor, "contrary
to all my notions,
I believed you have managed to get two honest men on board
with you--that man and John Silver."
"Silver, if you like," cried the squire; "but
as for that intolerable
humbug, I declare I think his conduct unmanly,
"Well," says the doctor, "we shall see."
When we came on deck, the men had begun already to take
the arms and powder, yo-ho-ing at their work, while the
and Mr. Arrow stood by superintending.
The new arrangement was quite to my liking. The whole schooner
had been overhauled; six berths had been made astern out
had been the after-part of the main hold; and this set
was only joined to the galley and forecastle by a sparred
on the port side. It had been originally meant that the
Mr. Arrow, Hunter, Joyce, the doctor, and the squire were
occupy these six berths. Now Redruth and I were to get
of them and Mr. Arrow and the captain were to sleep on
in the companion, which had been enlarged on each side
till you might almost have called it a round-house. Very
it was still, of course; but there was room to swing two
and even the mate seemed pleased with the arrangement.
perhaps, had been doubtful as to the crew, but that is
for as you shall hear, we had not long the benefit of his
We were all hard at work, changing the powder and the berths,
when the last man or two, and Long John along with them,
came off in a shore-boat.
The cook came up the side like a monkey for cleverness,
and as soon as he saw what was doing, "So ho, mates!"
"We're a-changing of the powder, Jack," answers
"Why, by the powers," cried Long John, "if
we do, we'll miss
the morning tide!"
"My orders!" said the captain shortly. "You
may go below,
my man. Hands will want supper."
"Aye, aye, sir," answered the cook, and touching
he disappeared at once in the direction of his galley.
"That's a good man, captain," said the doctor.
"Very likely, sir," replied Captain Smollett.
"Easy with that, men--
easy," he ran on, to the fellows who were shifting
and then suddenly observing me examining the swivel we
amidships, a long brass nine, "Here you, ship's boy,"
"out o' that! Off with you to the cook and get some
And then as I was hurrying off I heard him say, quite loudly,
to the doctor, "I'll have no favourites on my ship."
I assure you I was quite of the squire's way of thinking,
and hated the captain deeply.
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Room | TREASURE