"Because, you see, since I am mutineers' doctor, or prison doctor, as I prefer to call it," says Dr. Livesey, in his pleasantest way, "I make it a point of honor not to lose a man for King George (God bless him!) and the gallows."
The rogues looked at each other, but swallowed the home thrust in silence.
"Dick don't feel well, sir," said one.
"Don't he?" replied the doctor. "Well, step up here, Dick, and let me see your tongue. No, I should be surprised if he did! The man's tongue is fit to frighten the French. Another fever."
"Ah, there," said Morgan, "that corned of sp'iling Bibles."
"That corned—as you call it—of being arrant asses," retorted the doctor, "and not having sense enough to know honest air from poison, and the dry land from a vile, pestiferous slough. I think it most probable—though of course it's only an opinion— that you'll all have the deuce to pay before you get that malaria out of your systems. Camp in a bog, would you? Silver, I'm surprised at you. You're less of a fool than many, take you all round, but you don't appear to me to have the rudiments of a notion of the rules of health."
"Well," he added, after he had dosed them round and they had taken his prescriptions, with really laughable humility, more like charity school-children than blood-guilty mutineers and pirates—"well, that's done for to-day. And now I should wish to have a talk with that boy, please."
And he nodded his head in my direction carelessly.
George Merry was at the door, spitting and spluttering over some bad-tasting medicine, but at the first word of the doctor's proposal he swung round with a deep flush and cried, "No!" and swore.
Silver struck the barrel with his open hand.
"Si-lence!" he roared, and looked about him positively like a lion. "Doctor," he went on in his usual tones, "I was a-thinking of that, knowing as how you had a fancy for the boy. We're all humbly grateful for your kindness and, as you see, puts faith in you, and takes the drugs down like that much grog. And I take