He hobbled to the torch, where it stood propped among the firewood, and took a fresh light to his pipe.
"Understand me, Jim," he said, returning. "I've a head on my shoulder, I have. I'm on squire's side now. I know you've got that ship safe somewheres. How you done it I don't know, but safe it is. I guess Hands and O'Brien turned soft. I never much believed in neither of them. Now you mark me. I ask no questions, nor I won't let others. I know when a game's up, I do; and I know a lad that's staunch. Ah, you that's young —you and me might have done a power of good together!"
He drew some cognac from the cask into a tin pannikin.
"Will you taste, messmate?" he asked; and when I had refused: "Well, I'll take a drain myself, Jim," said he. "I need a caulker, for there's trouble on hand. And, talking o' trouble, why did that doctor give me the chart, Jim?"
My face expressed a wonder so unaffected that he saw the needlessness of further questions.
"Ah, well, he did, though," said he. "And there's something under that, no doubt—something, surely, under that, Jim—bad or good."
And he took another swallow of the brandy, shaking his great fair head like a man who looks forward to the worst.