Well, who crossed me? Who forced my hand, as the lawful cap'n? Who tipped me the black spot the day we landed, and began this dance? Ah, it's a fine dance—I'm with you there— and looks mighty like a hornpipe in a rope's end at Execution Dock by London town, it does. But who done it? Why, it was Anderson and Hands and you, George Merry! And you're the last aboveboard of that same meddling crew; and you have the Davy Jones's insolence to up and stand for cap'n over me— you that sank the lot of us! By the powers, but this tops the stifFest yarn to nothing!"
Silver paused, and I could see by the faces of George and his late comrades that these words had not been said in vain.
"That's for number one," cried the accused, wiping the sweat from his brow, for he had been talking with a vehemence that shook the house. "Why, I give you my word, I'm sick to speak to you. You've neither sense nor memory, and I leave it to fancy where your mothers was that let you come to sea. Sea! Gentlemen o' fortune! I reckon tailors is your trade."
"Go on, John," said Morgan. "Speak up to the others."
"Ah, the others!" returned John. "They're a nice lot, ain't they? You say this cruise is bungled. Ah! by gum! if you could understand how bad it's bungled you would see! We're that near the gibbet that my neck's stiff with thinking on it. You've seen 'em, maybe, hanged in chains, birds about 'em, seamen p'inting 'em out as they go down with the tide. 'Who's that?' says one. 'That! Why, that's John Silver. I knowed him well,' says another. And you can hear the chains a-jangle as you go about and reach for the other buoy. Now that's about where we are, every mother's son of us, thanks to him and Hands and Anderson and other ruination fools of you. And if you want to know about number four and that boy, why, shiver my timbers! isn't he a hostage? Are we a-going to waste a hostage? No, not us; he might be our last chance, and I shouldn't wonder. Kill that boy? Not me, mates! And number three? Ah, well, there's a deal to say to number three. Maybe you don't count it nothing to have a real college doctor come to see you