fore companion. I knew he would not expect to see me there, yet I took every precaution possible; and certainly the worst of my suspicions proved too true.
He had risen from his position to his hands and knees, and, though his leg obviously hurt him pretty sharply when he moved —for I could hear him stifle a groan—yet it was at a good, rattling rate that he trailed himself across the deck. In half a minute he had reached the port scuppers and picked, out of a coil of rope, a long knife, or rather a short dirk, discolored to the hilt with blood. He looked upon it for a moment, thrusting forth his under jaw, tried the point upon his hand, and then, hastily concealing it in the bosom of his jacket, trundled back again into his old place against the bulwark.
This was all that I required to know. Israel could move about; he was now armed; and if he had been at so much trouble to get rid of me it was plain that I was meant to be the victim. What he would do afterward—whether he would try to crawl right across the island from North Inlet to the camp among the swamps, or whether he would fire Long Tom, trusting that his own comrades might come first to help him, was, of course, more than I could say.
Yet I felt sure that I could trust him in one point, since in that our interests jumped together, and that was in the disposition of the schooner. We both desired to have her stranded safe enough, in a sheltered place, and so that, when the tide came, she could be got off* again with as little labor and danger as might be; and until that was done I considered that my life would certainly be spared.
While I was thus turning the business over in my mind I had not been idle with my body. I had stolen back to the cabin, slipped once more into my shoes, and laid my hand at random on a bottle of wine, and now, with this for an excuse, I made my reappearance on the deck.
Hands lay as I had left him, all fallen together in a bundle, and with his eyelids lowered, as though he were too weak to bear the light. He looked up, however, at my coming, knocked the