The Last of the Blind Man

Mycuriosity,inasense,wasstrongerthanmyfear,forIcouldnotremainwhereIwas,butcreptbacktothebankagain,whence,shelteringmyheadbehindabushofbroom,Imightcommandtheroadbeforeourdoor.Iwasscarcelyinpositioneremyenemiesbegantoarrive,sevenoreightofthem,runninghard,theirfeetbeatingoutoftimealongtheroadandthemanwiththelanternsomepacesinfront.Threemenrantogether,handinhand;andImadeout,eventhroughthemist,thatthemiddlemanofthistriowastheblindbeggar.ThenextmomenthisvoiceshowedmethatIwasright.

“Downwiththedoor!”hecried.

“Aye,aye,sir!”answeredtwoorthree;andarushwasmadeupontheAdmiralBenbow,thelantern-bearerfollowing;andthenIcouldseethempause,andhearspeechespassedinalowerkey,asiftheyweresurprisedtofindthedooropen.Butthepausewasbrief,fortheblindmanagainissuedhiscommands.Hisvoicesoundedlouderandhigher,asifhewereafirewitheagernessandrage.

“In,in,in!”heshouted,andcursedthemfortheirdelay.

Fourorfiveofthemobeyedatonce,tworemainingontheroadwiththeformidablebeggar.Therewasapause,thenacryofsurprise,andthenavoiceshoutingfromthehouse,“Bill’sdead.”

Buttheblindmansworeatthemagainfortheirdelay.

“Searchhim,someofyoushirkinglubbers,andtherestofyoualoftandgetthechest,”hecried.

Icouldheartheirfeetrattlingupouroldstairs,sothatthehousemusthaveshookwithit.

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