nothing else to do he kept up one song after another, as if to conceal the discontent of the rest.
Of all the gloomy features of that gloomy afternoon, this obvious anxiety on the part of Long John appeared the worst.
We held a council in the cabin.
"Sir," said the captain, "if I risk another order the whole ship '11 come about our ears by the run. You see, sir, here it is. I get a rough answer, do I not ? Well, if I speak back, pikes will be going in two shakes; if I don't Silver will see there's something under that, and the game's up. Now, we've only one man to rely on."
"And who is that?" asked the squire.
"Silver, sir," returned the captain; "he's as anxious as you and I to smother things up. This is a tiff; he'd soon talk 'em out of it if he had the chance, and what I propose to do is to give him the chance. Let's allow the men an afternoon ashore. If they all go, why, we'll fight the ship. If they none of them go, well, then, we hold the cabin, and God defend the right. If some go, you mark my words, sir, Silver '11 bring 'em aboard again as mild as lambs."
It was so decided; loaded pistols were served out to all the sure men; Hunter, Joyce, and Redruth were taken into our confidence, and received the news with less surprise and a better spirit than we had looked for, and then the captain went on deck and addressed the crew.
"My lads," said he, "we've had a hot day, and are all tired and out of sorts. A turn ashore '11 hurt nobody—the boats are still in the water; you can take the gigs, and as many as please can go ashore for the afternoon. I'll fire a gun half an hour before sundown."
I believe the silly fellows must have thought they would break their shins over treasure as soon as they were landed; for they all came out of their sulks in a moment and gave a cheer that started the echo in a far-away hill and sent the birds once more flying and squalling round the anchorage.
The captain was too bright to be in the way. He whipped out of sight in a moment, leaving Silver to arrange the party,