Israel Hands

Thewind,servingustoadesire,nowhauledintothewest.Wecouldrunsomuchtheeasierfromthenorth-eastcorneroftheislandtothemouthoftheNorthInlet.Only,aswehadnopowertoanchoranddarednotbeachhertillthetidehadflowedagooddealfarther,timehungonourhands.Thecoxswaintoldmehowtolaytheshipto;afteragoodmanytrialsIsucceeded,andwebothsatinsilenceoveranothermeal.

“Cap’n,”saidheatlengthwiththatsameuncomfortablesmile,“here’smyoldshipmate,O’Brien;s’poseyouwastoheavehimoverboard.Iain’tpartic’larasarule,andIdon’ttakenoblameforsettlinghishash,butIdon’treckonhimornamentalnow,doyou?”

“I’mnotstrongenough,andIdon’tlikethejob;andtherehelies,forme,”saidI.

“Thishere’sanunluckyship,thisHispaniola,Jim,”hewenton,blinking.“There’sapowerofmenbeenkilledinthisHispaniolaasighto’poorseamendeadandgonesinceyouandmetookshiptoBristol.Ineverseensichdirtyluck,notI.TherewasthishereO’Briennowhe’sdead,ain’the?Wellnow,I’mnoscholar,andyou’realadascanreadandfigure,andtoputitstraight,doyoutakeitasadeadmanisdeadforgood,ordohecomealiveagain?”

“Youcankillthebody,Mr.Hands,butnotthespirit;youmustknowthatalready,”Ireplied.“O’Brienthereisinanotherworld,andmaybewatchingus.”

“Ah!”sayshe.“Well,that’sunfort’nateappearsasifkillingpartieswasawasteoftime.Howsomever,sperritsdon’treckonformuch,bywhatI’veseen.I’llchanceitwiththesperrits,Jim.

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