a little from the inn, and, raising his voice in an odd singsong, 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 defense 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.
"I hear a voice," said he—"a young voice. Will you give 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," I said, "it is for yourself I mean. The captain is not what he used to be. He sits with a drawn 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 cowed me more than the pain, and I began to obey him at once, walking straight in at the door and toward the parlor where our sick old bucaneer was sitting, dazed with rum. 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, 'Here's a friend for you, 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 parlor door cried out the words he had ordered in a trembling voice.