Squire Trelawney, Doctor Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen having asked me to write down the whole particulars about Treasure Island, from the beginning to the end, keeping nothing back but the bearings of the island, and that only because there is still treasure not yet lifted, I take up my pen in the year of grace 17—, and go back to the time when my father kept the Admiral Benbow Inn, and the brown old seaman, with the saber cut, first took up his lodging under our roof.
I remember him as if it were yesterday, as he came plodding to the inn door, his sea-chest following behind him in a handbarrow; a tall, strong, heavy, nut-brown man; his tarry pigtail falling over the shoulders of his soiled blue coat; his hands ragged and scarred, with black, broken nails, and the saber cut across one cheek, a dirty, livid white.
I remember him looking round the cove and whistling to himself as he did so, and then breaking out in that old sea-song that he sang so often afterwards.
“Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest,
in the high, old tottering voice that seemed to have been tuned and broken at the capstan bars.
Then he rapped on the door with a bit of stick like a handspike that he carried. When my father appeared, the called roughly for a glass of rum.
This, when it was brought to him, he drank slowly, like a connoisseur, lingering on the taste, and still looking about him at the cliffs and up at our signboard.
“This is a handy cove,”
says he, at length;
“and a pleasant sittyated grogshop.
Much company, mate?”
My father told him that there was very little company, mores the pity.
“this is the berth for me.
Here you, matey,”
he cried to the man who trundled the barrow;
“bring up alongside and help up my chest.
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