And the coxswain, Israel Hands, was a careful, wily, old, experienced seaman who could be trusted at a pinch with almost anything.
"He’s no common man, Barbecue," said the coxswain to me.
"Oh, I know’d Dick was square," returned the voice of the coxswain, Israel Hands.
"Well, I don’t say no, do I?" growled the coxswain.
"John," cries the coxswain, "you’re a man!"
In the meantime, the squire and the captain stayed on deck, and the latter hailed the coxswain, who was the principal man aboard.
One I recognized for the coxswain’s, Israel Hands, that had been Flint’s gunner in former days.
The coxswain told me how to lay the ship to; after a good many trials I succeeded, and we both sat in silence over another meal.
Now, the coxswain’s hesitation seemed to be unnatural, and as for the notion of his preferring wine to brandy, I entirely disbelieved it.
The excitement of these last manoeuvres had somewhat interfered with the watch I had kept hitherto, sharply enough, upon the coxswain.
So near were we, indeed, that my head came against the coxswain’s foot with a crack that made my teeth rattle.
They did not fall alone; with a choked cry, the coxswain loosed his grasp upon the shrouds and plunged head first into the water.
I should, I think, have had nothing left me to desire but for the eyes of the coxswain as they followed me derisively about the deck and the odd smile that appeared continually on his face.
With these I came on deck, put down my own stock behind the rudder head and well out of the coxswain’s reach, went forward to the water-breaker, and had a good deep drink of water, and then, and not till then, gave Hands the brandy.
The dirk, where it had pinned my shoulder to the mast, seemed to burn like a hot iron; yet it was not so much these real sufferings that distressed me, for these, it seemed to me, I could bear without a murmur; it was the horror I had upon my mind of falling from the cross-trees into that still green water, beside the body of the coxswain.
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Her diminutive size is well suited to being the coxswain.