I 6 remember
him 1 as if it were yesterday , as
he 1 came plodding to
the inn 2 door ,
his 1 sea-chest following behind
him 1 in a hand-barrow --
a tall , strong , heavy , nut-brown man 1 ,
his 1 tarry pigtail falling over the shoulder of
his 1 soiled blue coat ,
his 1 hands ragged and scarred , with black , broken nails , and the sabre cut across one cheek , a dirty , livid white .
I 6 remember
him 1 looking round
the cover 10 and whistling to
himself 1 as
he 1 did so , and then breaking out in that old sea-song that
he 1 sang so often afterwards : " Fifteen
men 11 on
the dead man 12 's chest -- Yo-ho-ho , and a bottle of rum ! "
in the high , old tottering voice that seemed to have been tuned and broken at
the capstan bars 13 .
he 1 rapped on the door with a bit of stick like a handspike that
he 1 carried , and when appeared , called roughly for a glass of rum .
This , when it was brought to
him 1 ,
he 1 drank slowly , like a connoisseur , lingering on the taste and still looking about
him 1 at
the cliffs 14 and up at
our 9 signboard .
This 15 is
a handy cove 71 , " says
he 1 at length ; " and
a pleasant sittyated grog-shop 64 .
company 16 ,
mate 8 ? "
him 1 no , very little
company 17 , the more was the pity .
" Well , then , " said
he 1 , "
this 2 is
the berth 70 for
me 1 .
you 18 ,
matey 18 , "
he 1 cried to
the man who trundled the barrow 18 ; " bring up alongside and help up
my 1 chest .
I 1 'll stay
here 2 a bit , "
he 1 continued .
I 1 'm
a plain man 74 ; rum and bacon and eggs is what
I 1 want , and that head up there for to watch ships off .
you 9 mought call
me 1 ?
You 9 mought call
captain 19 .
I 1 see what
you 9 're at -- there " ; and
he 1 threw down three or four gold pieces on the threshold .
You 9 can tell
me 1 when
I 1 've worked through that , " says
he 1 , looking as fierce as
a commander 65 .
And indeed bad as
his 1 clothes were and coarsely as
he 1 spoke ,
he 1 had none of the appearance of
a man who sailed before the mast 66 , but seemed like
a mate 72 or
skipper accustomed to be obeyed or to strike 73 .
The man who came with the barrow 18 told
us 9 the mail had set
him 1 down the morning before at
the Royal George 20 , that
he 1 had inquired what
inns 21 there were along
the coast 22 , and hearing
ours 2 well spoken of ,
I 6 suppose , and described as lonely , had chosen
it 2 from
the others 21 for
place of residence 23
And that was all
we 9 could learn of .
He 1 was
a very silent man 75 by custom .
he 1 hung round
the cove 15 or upon
the cliffs 14 with a brass telescope ; all evening
he 1 sat in
and drank rum and water very strong .
a corner of
the parlour 26
the fire 25 24
he 1 would not speak when spoken to , only look up sudden and fierce and blow through
his 1 nose like a fog-horn ; and
we 9 and
soon learned to let
the people who came about 27
him 1 be .
Every day when
he 1 came back from
his 1 stroll
he 1 would ask if any
seafaring men 28 had gone by along
the road 29 .
we 9 thought it was the want of company of
his 1 own kind that made
him 1 ask this question , but at last
we 9 began to see
he 1 was desirous to avoid
them 28 .
a seaman 30 did put up at
the Admiral Benbow 2 ( as now and then
some 68 did , making by
the coast road 29 for
Bristol 31 )
he 1 would look in at
him 1 through the curtained door before
he 1 entered
the parlour 26 ; and
he 1 was always sure to be as silent as a mouse when any such was present .
me 6 , at least , there was no secret about the matter , for
I 6 was , in a way ,
a sharer in
He 1 had taken
me 6 aside one day and promised
me 6 a silver fourpenny on the first of every month if
I 6 would only keep
my 6 " weather-eye open for
a seafaring man with one leg 32 " and let
him 1 know the moment
he 32 appeared .
Often enough when the first of the month came round and
I 6 applied to
him 1 for
my 6 wage ,
he 1 would only blow through
his 1 nose at
me 6 and stare
me 6 down , but before the week was out
he 1 was sure to think better of it , bring
my 6 four-penny piece , and repeat
his 1 orders to look out for "
the seafaring man with one leg 32 . "
that personage 32 haunted
my 6 dreams ,
I 6 need scarcely tell
you 33 .
On stormy nights , when the wind shook the four corners of
the house 2 and the surf roared along
the cove 15 and up
the cliffs 14 ,
I 6 would see
him 32 in a thousand forms , and with a thousand diabolical expressions .
Now the leg would be cut off at the knee , now at the hip ; now
he 32 was
a monstrous kind of a creature who had never had but the one leg , and that in the middle of
him 32 leap and run and pursue
me 6 over hedge and ditch was the worst of nightmares .
I 6 paid pretty dear for
my 6 monthly fourpenny piece , in the shape of these abominable fancies .
I 6 was so terrified by the idea of
the seafaring man 32 with one leg ,
I 6 was far less afraid of than
anybody else who knew
him 1 34
There were nights when
he 1 took a deal more rum and water than
his 1 head would carry ; and then
he 1 would sometimes sit and sing
his 1 wicked , old , wild sea-songs , minding
nobody 35 ; but sometimes
he 1 would call for glasses round and force all
the trembling company 36 to listen to
his 1 stories or bear a chorus to
his 1 singing .
I 6 have heard
the house 2 shaking with " Yo-ho-ho , and a bottle of rum , " all
the neighbours 37 joining in for dear life , with the fear of death upon
them 37 , and each singing louder than the other to avoid remark .
For in these fits
he 1 was
the most overriding companion 76 ever known ;
he 1 would slap
his 1 hand on the table for silence all round ;
he 1 would fly up in a passion of anger at a question , or sometimes because none was put , and so
he 1 judged
the company 38 was not following
his 1 story .
he 1 allow
anyone 39 to leave
the inn 2 till
he 1 had drunk
himself 1 sleepy and reeled off to bed .
His 1 stories were what frightened
people 40 worst of all .
Dreadful stories they were -- about hanging , and walking the plank , and storms
at sea 41 , and
the Dry Tortugas 42 , and wild deeds and
the Spanish Main 43 44
his 1 own account
he 1 must have lived
his 1 life among
, and the language in which
some of the wickedest men that
ever allowed upon
the sea 41 69
he 1 told these stories shocked
almost as much as the crimes that
plain country people 46
he 1 described .
was always saying
the inn 2 would be ruined , for
people 47 would soon cease coming
there 2 to be tyrannized over and put down , and sent shivering to
their 47 beds ; but
I 6 really believe
his 1 presence did
us 9 good .
People 48 were frightened at the time , but on looking back
they 48 rather liked it ; it was a fine excitement in a quiet country life , and there was even
a party of the younger men 49 who pretended to admire
him 1 , calling
a " true sea-dog " 77 and
a " real old salt " 78 and such like names , and saying there was
the sort of man that made
sea 41 1
In one way , indeed ,
he 1 bade fair to ruin
us 9 , for
he 1 kept on staying week after week , and at last month after month , so that all the money had been long exhausted , and still never plucked up the heart to insist on having more .
he 8 mentioned it ,
the captain 1 blew through
his 1 nose so loudly that
you 51 might say
he 1 roared , and stared out of
the room 52 .
I 6 have seen
him 8 wringing
his 8 hands after such a rebuff , and
I 6 am sure the annoyance and the terror
he 8 lived in must have greatly hastened
his 8 early and unhappy death .
All the time
he 1 lived with
the captain 1 made no change whatever in
his 1 dress but to buy some stockings from
a hawker 53 .
One of the cocks of
his 1 hat having fallen down ,
he 1 let it hang from that day forth , though it was a great annoyance when it blew .
I 6 remember the appearance of
his 1 coat , which
he 1 patched
upstairs 54 in , and which , before the end , was nothing but patches .
He 1 never wrote or received a letter , and
he 1 never spoke with any but
the neighbours 56 , and with these , for the most part , only when drunk on rum .
The great sea-chest had ever seen open .
He 1 was only once crossed , and that was towards the end , when was far gone in a decline that took
him 8 off .
Dr. Livesey 4 came late one afternoon to see
the patient 8 , took a bit of dinner from , and went into
the parlour 26 to smoke a pipe until
his 4 horse should come down from
the hamlet 58 , for
we 9 had no stabling at
the old Benbow 2 .
I 6 followed
him 4 in , and
I 6 remember observing the contrast
the neat , bright doctor 4 , with
his 4 powder as white as snow and
his 4 bright , black eyes and pleasant manners , made with
the coltish country folk 59 , and above all , with
that filthy , heavy , bleared scarecrow of a pirate of ours 1 , sitting , far gone in rum , with
his 1 arms on the table .
he 1 --
the captain 1 , that is -- began to pipe up
his 1 eternal song : " Fifteen
men 11 on
the dead man 12 's chest -- Yo-ho-ho , and a bottle of rum !
the devil 60 had done for the rest -- Yo-ho-ho , and a bottle of rum ! "
I 6 had supposed "
the dead man 12 's chest " to be that identical big box of
upstairs 61 in
the front room 55 , and the thought had been mingled in
my 6 nightmares with that of
the one-legged seafaring man 32 .
But by this time
we 9 had all long ceased to pay any particular notice to the song ; it was new , that night , to
, and on
Dr. Livesey 4 62
I 6 observed it did not produce an agreeable effect , for
he 4 looked up for a moment quite angrily before
he 4 went on with
his 4 talk to old
Taylor 63 ,
the gardener 79 , on a new cure for the rheumatics .
In the meantime ,
the captain 1 gradually brightened up at
his 1 own music , and at last flapped
his 1 hand upon the table before
him 1 in a way
we 9 all knew to mean silence .
The voices stopped at once , all but
Dr. Livesey 4 's ;
he 4 went on as before speaking clear and kind and drawing briskly at
his 4 pipe between every word or two .
The captain 1 glared at
him 4 for a while , flapped
his 1 hand again , glared still harder , and at last broke out with a villainous , low oath , " Silence , there , between decks ! "