Treasure Island (Audiobook), Chapter 3 – The Black Spot

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Treasure Island Chapter 3 The Black Spot about noon I stopped at the captain’s
door with some cooling drinks and medicines he was lying very much as we
had left him only a little higher and he seemed both weak and excited Jim he said
you are the only one here that’s worth anything and you know I’ve been always
good to you never a month but I’ve given you a silver fourpenny for yourself and
now you see mate I’m pretty low and deserted by all and Jim you’ll bring me
one noggin of rum now won’t you matey the doctor
I began but he broke in cursing the doctor in a feeble voice but heartily
doctors are all swabs he said and that doctor there why what does he know about
seafaring men I’ve been in places hot as pitch and mates dropping round
with Yellow Jack and the blessed land a heaving like the sea with
earthcakes what do the doctor know of lands like
that and I lived on rum I tell you it’s been meat and drink and man and
wife to me and if I’m not to have my rum now I’m a poor old hulk on a
lee shore my blood ‘ll be on you and that doctor the swab and he
ran on again for a while with curses look Jim how my fingers fidges he
continued in the pleading tone I can’t keep ’em still not I
I haven’t had a drop this blessed day that doctor’s a fool I tell you
if I don’t have a drain o’ rum Jim I’ll have the horrors I seen some on
’em already I seen old Flint in the corner behind
you as plain as print I see him and if I get the horrors I’m a man
that has lived rough and I’ll raise Cain your doctor himself said
one glass wouldn’t hurt me I’ll give you a golden guinea
for a noggin Jim he was growing more and more excited and this alarmed
me for my father who was very low that day and needed quiet besides I
was reassured by the doctor’s words now quoted to me and rather offended by the
offer of a bride I want none of your money said I but what you owe my father
I will get you one glass and no more when I brought it to him he seized it
greedily and drank it out ay ay said he that’s some better
sure enough and now matey did that doctor say how long I was to lie here
in this old berth a week at least said I thunder he cried a week I can’t do that they
would have the black spot on me by then the lubbers is going about to get the
wind of me this blessed moment lubbers as couldn’t keep what they got and want to
nail what is another’s is that sea-manly behavior now I want to know but I’m
a saving soul I never wasted good money of mine nor lost it neither and I’ll
trick them again I’m not afraid on them I’ll shake out
another reef matey and daddle them again as he was thus speaking he had risen
from bed with great difficulty holding to my shoulder with a grip
that almost made me cry out and moving his legs like so much dead weight his
words spirited as they were in meaning contrasted sadly with the weakness of
the voice in which they were uttered he paused when he had got into a sitting
position on the edge that doctor’s done me he murmured my ears is singing lay me back before I could
do much to help him he had fallen back again to his former place where he
lay for a while silent Jim he said at length you saw that seafaring man today
Black Dog I asked ah Black Dog says he he is a bad one but there is worse that
put him on now if I can’t can’t get away nohow and they
tip me the black spot mind you it’s my old sea-chest they are after you get on a
horse you can can’t you well then you get on a
horse and go to well yes I will to that eternal doctor the swab and
tell him to pipe all hands magistrates and such and he’ll lay them aboard at the
Admiral Benbow all old Flint’s crew man and boy all on them that’s left I was
first mate I was old Flint’s first mate and I’m the only one as knows the place
he gave it me at Savannah when he lay a-dying like as if I was to now you
see but you will not peach unless they get the black spot on me unless you
see that Black Dog again or a seafaring man with one leg Jim him
above all but what is the black spot Captain I asked that is a summons mate
I’ll tell you if they get that but you keep you weather-eye open Jim and I’ll
share with you equals upon my honour he wandered a
little longer his voice growing weaker but soon after I had given him his
medicine which he took like a child with the remark if ever a seaman wanted drugs it’s me
he fell at last into a heavy swoon-like sleep in which I left him what I should
have done had all gone well I do not know probably I should have told the
whole story to the doctor for I was in mortal fear lest the captain should repent
of his confessions and make an end of me but as things fell out my poor father
died quite suddenly that evening which put all other matters on one side our
natural distress the visits of the neighbors and arranging of the funerals
and all the work of the inn to be carried on in the meanwhile kept
me so busy that I had scarcely time to think of the captain far less to be
afraid of him he got downstairs next morning to be
sure and had his meals as usual though he ate little and had more I’m afraid
than his usual supply of rum for he helped himself out of the bar scowling and
blowing through his nose and no one dared to cross him on the night before
the funeral he was as drunk as ever and it was
shocking in that house of mourning to hear him singing away at his
ugly old sea-song but weak as he was we were all in the fear of death
for him and the doctor was suddenly taken up with a case many miles away and
was never near the house after my father’s death I have said the captain
was weak and indeed he seemed rather to grow weaker than regained his strength
he clambered up and down stairs and went from the parlour to the bar and back
again and sometimes put his nose out of doors to smell the sea holding on to the
walls as he went for support and breathing hard and fast like a man on a
steep mountain he never particularly addressed me this my
belief he had as good as forgotten his confidences but his temper was more
more flighty and allowing for his bodily weakness more violent than ever
he had an alarming way now when he was drunk of drawing his cutlass and laying it
bare before him on the table but with all that he minded people less and seemed shut
up in his own thoughts and rather wandering once for instance to
our extreme wonder he piped up to a different air a kind of country love
song that he must have learned in his youth before he had begun to follow the
sea so things passed until the day after the funeral and about three o’clock of
a bitter foggy frosty afternoon I was standing in the door for a moment full
of sad thoughts about my father when I saw someone drawing slowly near along
the road he was plainly blind for he tapped before him with a stick and wore
a great green shade over his eyes and nose and he was hunched as if with age
or weakness and wore a huge old tattered sea cloak with a hood that made him
appear positively deformed I never saw in my life a more
dreadful-looking figure he stopped a little from the inn and raising his
voice in an old sing-song addressed the air in front of him will any kind friend
inform a poor blind man who has lost the precious sight of his eyes in the
gracious defence of his native country England and God bless King George where
or in what part of this country he may now be you are at the Admiral Benbow Black Hill
Cove my good man said I hear a voice said he a young voice will you give me
your hand my kind young friend and lead me in I held out my hand and the
horrible soft-spoken eyeless creature gripped it in a moment like a vise
I was so much startled that I struggled to withdraw but the blind man pulled me
close up to him with a single action of his arm now boy he said take me in to
the captain sir said I upon my word I dare not oh he sneered
that’s it take me in straight or I’ll break your arm
and he gave it as he spoke a wrench that made me cry out sir said I it is for
yourself I mean the captain is not what he used to be he sits with a drown
cutlass another gentleman come now march interrupted he and I never heard a
voice so cruel and cold and ugly as that blind man’s it caught me more than the
pain and I began to obey him at once walking straight in at the door and towards
the parlour where our sick old buccaneer was sitting dazed with rum the
blind man the blind man clung close to me holding me in one iron fist and
leaning almost more of his weight on me than I could carry
lead me straight up to him and when I’m in view cry out he is a friend for
your Bill if you don’t I’ll do this and with that he gave me a twitch that I
thought would have made me faint between this and that
I was so utterly terrified of the blind beggar that I forgot my terror of the
captain and as I opened the parlour door cried out the words he had ordered in a
trembling voice the poor captain raised his eyes and at one look the rum went
out of him and left him staring sober the expression of his face was not so
much of terror as of mortal sickness he made a movement to rise but I do not
believe he had enough force left in his body
now Bill sit where you are said the beggar if I can’t see I can
hear a finger stirring business is business
hold out your left hand boy take his left hand to the wrist and bring it near
to my right we both obeyed him to the letter and I saw him pass something from
the hollow of the hand that held his stick into the palm of the captain’s which
closed upon it instantly and now that’s done said the blind man and at
the words he suddenly left hold of me and with incredible accuracy and
nimbleness skipped out of the parlour and into the road
where as I still stood motionless I could hear his stick go tap-tap-tapping into
the distance it was some time before either I or the
captain seemed to gather our senses but at length and about the same moment I
released his wrist which I was still holding and he drew in his hand
and looked sharply into the palm ten o’clock he cried six hours we’ll do
them yet and he sprang to his feet even as he did so he reeled put his hand to
his throat stood swaying for a moment and then with a peculiar sound fell from
his whole height face foremost to the floor I ran to him at once calling
to my mother but haste was all in vain the captain had
been struck dead by thundering apoplexy it is a curious thing to
understand for I had certainly never liked the man though of late I had
begun to pity him but as soon as I saw that he was dead I burst into a flood of
tears it was the second death I had known and the sorrow of
the first was still fresh in my heart

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