Obeying this order, we found, or rather I found—for the gamekeeper was a poor hand at reading anything but print—the following important news:
Old Anchor Inn, Bristol, March I, iy—.
Dear Livesey,—As I do not know whether you are at the Hall or still in London, I send this in double to both places.
The ship is bought and fitted. She lies at anchor, ready for sea. You never imagined a sweeter schooner—a child might sail her—two hundred tons; name, Hispaniola.
I got her through my old friend, Blandly, who has proved himself throughout the most surprising trump. The admirable fellow literally slaved in my interest, and so, I may say, did every one in Bristol, as soon as they got wind of the port we sailed for—treasure, I mean.
"Redruth," said I, interrupting the letter, "Dr. Livesey will not like that. The squire has been talking, after all."
"Well, who's a better right?" growled the gamekeeper. "A pretty rum go if squire ain't to talk for Dr. Livesey, I should think."
At that I gave up all commentary, and read straight on:
Blandly himself found the Hispaniola, and by the most admirable management got her for the merest trifle. There is a class of men in Bristol monstrously prejudiced against Blandly. They go the length of declaring that this honest creature would do anything for money, that the Hispaniola belonged to him, and that he sold it me absurdly high—the most transparent calumnies. None of them dare, however, to deny the merits of the ship.
So far there was not a hitch. The work-people, to be sure—riggers and what not—were most annoyingly slow; but time cured that. It was the crew that troubled me.
I wished a round score of men—in case of natives, bucaneers, or the odious French—and I had the worry of the deuce itself to find so much as half a dozen till the most remarkable stroke of fortune brought me to the very man that I required.
I was standing on the dock when by the merest accident I fell in talk with him. I found he was an old sailor, kept a public-house, knew all the seafaring men in Bristol, had lost his health ashore, and wanted a good berth as cook to get to sea again. He had hobbled down there that morning, he said, to get a smell of the salt.
I was monstrously touched—so would you have been—and, out of pure pity, I engaged him on the spot to be ship's cook. Long John Silver, he is called, and has lost a leg; but that I regarded as a recommendation, since he