I had heard the word, and I knew it stood for a horrible kind of punishment common enough among the bucaneers, in which the offender is put ashore with a little powder and shot, and left behind on some desolate and distant island.
"Marooned three years agone," he continued, "and lived on goats since then, and berries, and oysters. Wherever a man is, says I, a man can do for himself. But, mate, my heart is sore for Christian diet. You mightn't happen to have a piece of cheese about you, now? No? Well, many's the long night I've dreamed of cheese—toasted, mostly—and woke up again, and here I were.'*
"If ever I can get on board again," said I, "you shall have cheese by the stone."
All this time he had been feeling the stuff of my jacket, smoothing my hands, looking at my boots, and generally, in the intervals of his speech, showing a childish pleasure in the presence of a fellow-creature. But at my last words he perked up into a kind of startled shyness.
"If ever you can get on board again, says you?" he repeated. "Why, now, who's to hinder you?"
"Not you, I know," was my reply.
"And right you was," he cried. "Now you—what do you call yourself, mate?"
"Jim," I told him.
"Jim, Jim," says he, quite pleased apparently. "Well, now, Jim, I've lived that rough as you'd be ashamed to hear of. Now, for instance, you wouldn't think I had had a pious mother—to look at me?" he asked.
"Why, no, not in particular," I answered.
"Ah, well," said he, "but I had—remarkable pious. And I was a civil, pious boy, and could rattle off my catechism that fast as you couldn't tell one word from another. And here's what it come to, Jim, and it begun with chuck-farthen on the blessed gravestones! That's what it begun with, but it went further 'n that; and so my mother told me, and predicked the whole, she did, the pious woman! But it were Providence that