Redruth; the doctor was named cook; I was put sentry at the door; and the captain himself went from one to another, keeping up our spirits, and lending a hand wherever it was wanted.
From time to time the doctor came to the door for a little air and to rest his eyes, which were almost smoked out of his head; and whenever he did so he had a word for me.
"That man Smollett," he said, "is a better man than I am. And when I say that it means a deal, Jim."
Another time he came and was silent for a while. Then he put his head on one side and looked at me.
"Is this Ben Gunn a man?" he asked.
"I do not know, sir," said I. "I am not very sure whether e s sane.
"If there's any doubt about the matter, he is," returned the doctor. "A man who has been three years biting his nails on a desert island, Jim, can't expect to appear as sane as you or me. It doesn't lie in human nature. Was it cheese you said he had a fancy for?"
"Yes, sir, cheese," I answered.
"Well, Jim," says he, "just see the good that comes of being dainty in your food. You've seen my snuff-box, haven't you? And you never saw me take snuff; the reason being that in my snuff-box I carry a piece of Parmesan cheese—a cheese made in Italy, very nutritious. Well, that's for Ben Gunn!"
Before supper was eaten we buried old Tom in the sand, and stood round him for a while bareheaded in the breeze. A good deal of firewood had been got in, but not enough for the captain's fancy; and he shook his head over it, and told us we "must get back to this to-morrow rather livelier." Then, when we had eaten our pork, and each had a good stiff glass of brandy grog, the three chiefs got together in a corner to discuss our prospects.
It appears they were at their wits' end what to do, the stores being so low that we must have been starved into surrender long before help came. But our best hope, it was decided, was to kill off the bucaneers until they either hauled down their