myself near enough rose at infinite risk to about half my height, and thus commanded the roof and a slice of the interior of the cabin.
By this time the schooner and her little consort were gliding pretty swiftly through the water; indeed, we had fetched up level with the camp-fire. The ship was talking, as sailors say, loudly, treading the innumerable ripples with an incessant weltering splash; and until I got my eye above the window-sill I could not comprehend why the watchmen had taken no alarm. One glance, however, was sufficient; and it was only one glance that I durst take from that unsteady skiff. It showed me Hands and his companion locked together in deadly wrestle, each with a hand upon the other's throat.
I dropped upon the thwart again, none too soon, for I was near overboard. I could see nothing for the moment but these two furious, encrimsoned faces, swaying together under the smoky lamp; and I shut my eyes to let them grow once more familiar with the darkness.
The endless ballad had come to an end at last, and the whole diminished company about the camp-fire had broken into the chorus I had heard so often:
" Fifteen men on the Dead Man's Chest— Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum! Drink and the devil had done for the rest— Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!"
I was just thinking how busy drink and the devil were at that very moment in the cabin of the Hispaniola when I was surprised by a sudden lurch of the coracle. At the same moment she yawed sharply and seemed to change her course. The speed, in the mean time, had strangely increased.
I opened my eyes at once. All round me were little ripples, combing over with a sharp, bristling sound and slightly phosphorescent. The Hispaniola herself, a few yards in whose wake I was still being whirled along, seemed to stagger in her course, and I saw her spars toss a little against the blackness of the night; nay, as I looked longer, I made sure she also was wheeling to the southward.