PART FOUR: The Stockade
Chapter 18: Narrative Continued by the Doctor: End of the First Day's Fighting
WE made our best speed across the strip of wood that
now divided us from the stockade, and at every step we
took the voices of the buccaneers rang nearer. Soon we
could hear their footfalls as they ran and the cracking
of the branches as they breasted across a bit of thicket.
I began to see we should have a brush for it in earnest
and looked to my priming.
"Captain," said I, "Trelawney is the dead shot. Give
him your gun; his own is useless."
They exchanged guns, and Trelawney, silent and cool as
he had been since the beginning of the bustle, hung a
moment on his heel to see that all was fit for service.
At the same time, observing Gray to be unarmed, I
handed him my cutlass. It did all our hearts good to
see him spit in his hand, knit his brows, and make the
blade sing through the air. It was plain from every
line of his body that our new hand was worth his salt.
Forty paces farther we came to the edge of the wood and
saw the stockade in front of us. We struck the
enclosure about the middle of the south side, and
almost at the same time, seven mutineers--Job Anderson,
the boatswain, at their head--appeared in full cry at
the southwestern corner.
They paused as if taken aback, and before they recovered,
not only the squire and I, but Hunter and Joyce from the
block house, had time to fire. The four shots came in
rather a scattering volley, but they did the business:
one of the enemy actually fell, and the rest, without
hesitation, turned and plunged into the trees.
After reloading, we walked down the outside of the
palisade to see to the fallen enemy. He was stone
dead--shot through the heart.
We began to rejoice over our good success when just at
that moment a pistol cracked in the bush, a ball
whistled close past my ear, and poor Tom Redruth
stumbled and fell his length on the ground. Both the
squire and I returned the shot, but as we had nothing
to aim at, it is probable we only wasted powder. Then
we reloaded and turned our attention to poor Tom.