I Strike the Jolly Roger

Ihadscarcegainedapositiononthebowspritwhentheflyingjibflappedandfilledupontheothertack,withareportlikeagun.Theschoonertrembledtoherkeelunderthereverse,butnextmoment,theothersailsstilldrawing,thejibflappedbackagainandhungidle.

Thishadnearlytossedmeoffintothesea;andnowIlostnotime,crawledbackalongthebowsprit,andtumbledheadforemostonthedeck.

Iwasontheleesideoftheforecastle,andthemain-sail,whichwasstilldrawing,concealedfrommeacertainportionoftheafter-deck.Notasoulwastobeseen.Theplanks,whichhadnotbeenswabbedsincethemutiny,boretheprintofmanyfeet,andanemptybottle,brokenbytheneck,tumbledtoandfrolikealivethinginthescuppers.

SuddenlytheHispaniolacamerightintothewind.Thejibsbehindmecrackedaloud,therudderslammedto,thewholeshipgaveasickeningheaveandshudder,andatthesamemomentthemain-boomswunginboard,thesheetgroaningintheblocks,andshowedmetheleeafter-deck.

Therewerethetwowatchmen,sureenough:red-caponhisback,asstiffasahandspike,withhisarmsstretchedoutlikethoseofacrucifixandhisteethshowingthroughhisopenlips;IsraelHandsproppedagainstthebulwarks,hischinonhischest,hishandslyingopenbeforehimonthedeck,hisfaceaswhite,underitstan,asatallowcandle.

Forawhiletheshipkeptbuckingandsidlinglikeavicioushorse,thesailsfilling,nowononetack,nowonanother,andtheboomswingingtoandfrotillthemastgroanedaloudunderthestrain.

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