My Sea Adventure
The pirates didn’t return. While the squire and I cooked dinner, the doctor helped the captain.
‘Your wound isn’t dangerous,’ he told him. ‘But you must rest.’
After dinner the doctor put on his hat and took his pistols. He also took a cutlass and a map. And he left the stockade and went into the woods.
‘What’s he doing?’ Gray asked me.
‘I think he’s going to find Ben Gunn.’
‘He’s crazy!’ laughed Gray.
Then I also did something crazy! It was very hot in the stockade now. There was a lot of blood; there were dead men. I began to feel bad. I wanted to leave and go into the woods, like the doctor. So I put a lot of biscuits in my pockets and I took two pistols. Then I ran out of the stockade and into the trees. Nobody saw me.
Yes, I was crazy! But I was only a boy — and you will see that I helped to save all of us! I decided to find Ben Gunn’s boat, so I went towards the white rock. I could see the Hispaniola in the harbour to my right. I ran quickly to the white rock and I looked for Ben Gunn’s boat. I found it — a very small, light boat. There was also a paddle.
Now I had another crazy idea! I decided to go to the Hispaniola, and cut her anchor rope. Then she would go towards the beach and stop there, so the pirates couldn’t escape. It was very dark now, but I could just see the pirates’ big fire near the river and the lights of the Hispaniola I took the little boat down to the sea.
The current was strong and it carried me fast towards the Hispaniola. When I was near her, I took the anchor rope in my hand. It was very rigid. I thought: ‘This rope is dangerous. I mustn’t cut it or it will hit me.’
But I was lucky because the wind changed and the ship moved towards me. Now the rope wasn’t rigid and I could cut it. At that moment I heard voices in the captain’s cabin. It was Israel Hands and a pirate with a red cap. They were drunk. They were also angry, and each man was shouting at the other. When I cut the rope, the Hispaniola began to move round with the current. I paddled towards the window of Captain Smollett’s cabin to watch Hands and his companion. I climbed up a rope and I saw a terrible fight between the two men. They wanted to kill each other.
I went down the rope to the boat. Suddenly the current changed again. The ship and my little boat turned and went towards the island. The pirates’ camp fire was very near! Then the ship turned again and went away from me very fast. I was now alone in my little boat. The waves were strong and high. I was very wet and cold. I sat there in terror. Tin going to die soon,’ I thought. But sleep soon came to me and I dreamed of home.
It was day when I woke up. My boat was at the southwest end of the island. I wasn’t far from land but there were cliffs and big rocks. Then I remembered the map. I knew there was a good place called Cape of the Woods to the north. I also remembered that the map showed a strong north current. So I decided to stop at the Cape of the Woods.
My little boat went up and down on the big waves and I was very frightened. I paddled slowly. It was hard work and I became tired and thirsty. Then I saw the trees of the Cape of the Woods. But the current was very strong and it took me past the Cape. Suddenly I saw the Hispaniola in front of me about half a mile away. ‘Now the pirates will kill me!’ I thought. But the ship was moving strangely. She sailed and stopped, sailed and stopped; and she turned north, south, east, west. I watched her with surprise. And then I understood! The two pirates were drunk or asleep. I had an idea: ‘Perhaps I can go on board and take her to the captain.’ So I paddled towards her, and when I came near to her, I jumped on to the bowsprit above me. My boat went under the water. But now I was on the Hispaniola!
Was there anybody on board? I heard only the sound of the ship when she turned in the wind. Then I saw the two pirates on deck. Perhaps they were asleep. But when I saw some blood on the deck, I was sure they were dead. Then Israel Hands moved.
‘Brandy!’ he said in a weak voice.
I went down to the captain’s cabin. There were lots of empty bottles. I found one with some brandy, and I took some biscuits and cheese and went up on deck. I drank a lot of water from the water barrel and then I gave the brandy to Hands. He drank a lot quickly.
I sat down and began to eat. ‘What happened here?’ I asked.
Hands looked at the man with the red cap. ‘Well, that dirty dog is dead,’ he replied. ‘What are you doing here?’
‘This ship is mine now, Mr Hands, so please call me captain.’
He looked at me but he didn’t speak. When I took down the black pirate flag, he said, ‘Shall we talk, Captain Hawkins? Me and this man here — O’Brien — we wanted to sail the ship back to the harbour, where she was before.
But — well, he’s dead now. Who is going to sail her? You? No, you can’t do it. Give me food and drink, and something for my wound. Then I’ll tell you how to sail her.’
‘We’re not going back to the harbour,’ I answered. Tin sailing the ship to North Inlet and I’m going to take her on to the beach there.’