you to be capting at this present; but I claim my right, and steps outside for a council."
And with an elaborate sea salute this fellow, a long, ill-looking, yellow-eyed man of five-and-thirty, stepped coolly toward the door and disappeared out of the house. One after another the rest followed his example, each making a salute as he passed, each adding some apology. "According to rules," said one. "Fo'c's'le council," said Morgan. And so with one remark or another all marched out and left Silver and me alone with the torch.
The sea-cook instantly removed his pipe.
"Now, look you here, Jim Hawkins," he said, in a steady whisper that was no more than audible, "you're within half a plank of death and, what's a long sight worse, of torture. They're going to throw me off. But, you mark, I stand by you through thick and thin. I didn't mean to; no, not till you spoke up. I was about desperate to lose that much blunt, and be hanged into the bargain. But I see you was the right sort. I says to myself: You stand by Hawkins, John, and Hawkins '11 stand by you. You're his last card, and, by the living thunder, John, he's yours! Back to back, says I. You save your witness, and he'll save your neck!"
I began dimly to understand.
"You mean all's lost?" I asked.
"Aye, by gum, I do!" he answered. "Ship gone, neck gone— that's the size of it. Once I looked into that bay, Jim Hawkins, and seen no schooner—well, I'm tough, but I gave out. As for that lot and their council, mark me, they're outright fools and cowards. I'll save your life—if so be as I can—from them. But, see here, Jim—tit for tat—you save Long John from swinging."
I was bewildered; it seemed a thing so hopeless he was asking —he, the old bucaneer, the ringleader throughout.
"What I can do, that I'll do," I said.
"It's a bargain!" cried Long John. "You speak up plucky, and, by thunder! I've a chance."