"How do you mean?" I asked.
"It's a pity, sir, we lost that second load. That's what I mean," replied the captain. "As for powder and shot, we'll do. But the rations are short, very short—so short, Dr. Livesey, that we're, perhaps, as well without that extra mouth."
And he pointed to the dead body under the flag.
Just then, with a roar and a whistle, a round-shot passed high above the roof of the log house and plumped far beyond us in the wood.
"Oho!" said the captain. "Blaze away! You've little enough powder already, my lads."
At the second trial the aim was better, and the ball descended inside the stockade, scattering a cloud of sand, but doing no further damage.
"Captain," said the squire, "the house is quite invisible from the ship. It must be the flag they are aiming at. Would it not be wiser to take it in?"
"Strike my colors!" cried the captain. "No, sir, not I"; and, as soon as he had said the words, I think we all agreed with him. For it was not only a piece of stout, seamanly, good feeling; it was good policy besides, and showed our enemies that we despised their cannonade.
All through the evening they kept thundering away. Ball after ball flew over or fell short or kicked up the sand in the inclosure; but they had to fire so high that the shot fell dead and buried itself in the soft sand. We had no ricochet to fear, and though one popped in through the roof of the log house and out again through the door, we soon got used to that sort of horse-play and minded it no more than cricket.
"There is one thing good about all this," observed the captain; "the wood in front of us is likely clear. The ebb has made a good while; our stores should be uncovered. Volunteers to go and bring in pork."
Gray and Hunter were the first to come forward. Well armed, they stole out of the stockade; but it proved a useless mission. The mutineers were bolder than we fancied, or they