PART ONE: The Old Buccaneer
Chapter 5: The Last of the Blind Man
MY curiosity, in a sense, was stronger than my fear,
for I could not remain where I was, but crept back to
the bank again, whence, sheltering my head behind a
bush of broom, I might command the road before our
door. I was scarcely in position ere my enemies began
to arrive, seven or eight of them, running hard, their
feet beating out of time along the road and the man
with the lantern some paces in front. Three men ran
together, hand in hand; and I made out, even through
the mist, that the middle man of this trio was the
blind beggar. The next moment his voice showed me that
I was right.
"Down with the door!" he cried.
"Aye, aye, sir!" answered two or three; and a rush was
made upon the Admiral Benbow, the lantern-bearer
following; and then I could see them pause, and hear
speeches passed in a lower key, as if they were
surprised to find the door open. But the pause was
brief, for the blind man again issued his commands.
His voice sounded louder and higher, as if he were
afire with eagerness and rage.
"In, in, in!" he shouted, and cursed them for their delay.
Four or five of them obeyed at once, two remaining on
the road with the formidable beggar. There was a
pause, then a cry of surprise, and then a voice
shouting from the house, "Bill's dead."
But the blind man swore at them again for their delay.
"Search him, some of you shirking lubbers, and the rest
of you aloft and get the chest," he cried.
I could hear their feet rattling up our old stairs, so
that the house must have shook with it. Promptly
afterwards, fresh sounds of astonishment arose; the
window of the captain's room was thrown open with a
slam and a jingle of broken glass, and a man leaned out
into the moonlight, head and shoulders, and addressed
the blind beggar on the road below him.
"Pew," he cried, "they've been before us. Someone's
turned the chest out alow and aloft."