PART THREE: My Shore Adventure
Chapter 14: The First Blow
But now John put his hand into his pocket, brought out
a whistle, and blew upon it several modulated blasts
that rang far across the heated air. I could not tell,
of course, the meaning of the signal, but it instantly
awoke my fears. More men would be coming. I might be
discovered. They had already slain two of the honest
people; after Tom and Alan, might not I come next?
Instantly I began to extricate myself and crawl back
again, with what speed and silence I could manage, to
the more open portion of the wood. As I did so, I
could hear hails coming and going between the old
buccaneer and his comrades, and this sound of danger
lent me wings. As soon as I was clear of the thicket,
I ran as I never ran before, scarce minding the
direction of my flight, so long as it led me from the
murderers; and as I ran, fear grew and grew upon me
until it turned into a kind of frenzy.
Indeed, could anyone be more entirely lost than I?
When the gun fired, how should I dare to go down to the
boats among those fiends, still smoking from their crime?
Would not the first of them who saw me wring my neck like
a snipe's? Would not my absence itself be an evidence
to them of my alarm, and therefore of my fatal knowledge?
It was all over, I thought. Good-bye to the HISPANIOLA;
good-bye to the squire, the doctor, and the captain!
There was nothing left for me but death by starvation
or death by the hands of the mutineers.
All this while, as I say, I was still running, and
without taking any notice, I had drawn near to the foot
of the little hill with the two peaks and had got into
a part of the island where the live-oaks grew more
widely apart and seemed more like forest trees in their
bearing and dimensions. Mingled with these were a few
scattered pines, some fifty, some nearer seventy, feet
high. The air too smelt more freshly than down beside
And here a fresh alarm brought me to a standstill with
a thumping heart.