Black Dog Appears and Disappears

Itwasnotverylongafterthisthatthereoccurredthefirstofthemysteriouseventsthatridusatlastofthecaptain,thoughnot,asyouwillsee,ofhisaffairs.Itwasabittercoldwinter,withlong,hardfrostsandheavygales;anditwasplainfromthefirstthatmypoorfatherwaslittlelikelytoseethespring.Hesankdaily,andmymotherandIhadalltheinnuponourhands,andwerekeptbusyenoughwithoutpayingmuchregardtoourunpleasantguest.

ItwasoneJanuarymorning,veryearlyapinching,frostymorningthecoveallgreywithhoar-frost,theripplelappingsoftlyonthestones,thesunstilllowandonlytouchingthehilltopsandshiningfartoseaward.Thecaptainhadrisenearlierthanusualandsetoutdownthebeach,hiscutlassswingingunderthebroadskirtsoftheoldbluecoat,hisbrasstelescopeunderhisarm,hishattiltedbackuponhishead.Irememberhisbreathhanginglikesmokeinhiswakeashestrodeoff,andthelastsoundIheardofhimasheturnedthebigrockwasaloudsnortofindignation,asthoughhismindwasstillrunninguponDr.Livesey.

Well,motherwasupstairswithfatherandIwaslayingthebreakfast-tableagainstthecaptain’sreturnwhentheparlourdooropenedandamansteppedinonwhomIhadneversetmyeyesbefore.Hewasapale,tallowycreature,wantingtwofingersofthelefthand,andthoughheworeacutlass,hedidnotlookmuchlikeafighter.Ihadalwaysmyeyeopenforseafaringmen,withonelegortwo,andIrememberthisonepuzzledme.Hewasnotsailorly,andyethehadasmackoftheseaabouthimtoo.

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