I STRIKE THE JOLLY ROGER
I HAD scarce gained a position on the bowsprit when the flying jib flapped and filled upon the other tack with a report like a gun. The schooner trembled to her keel under the reverse, but next moment, the other sails still drawing, the jib flapped back again and hung idle.
This had nearly tossed me off into the sea, and now I lost no time, crawled back along the bowsprit and tumbled head-foremost on the deck.
I was on the lee side of the forecastle, and the mainsail, which was still drawing, concealed from me a certain portion of the after-deck. Not a soul was to be seen. The planks, which had not been swabbed since the mutiny, bore the print of many feet, and an empty bottle, broken by the neck, tumbled to and fro like a live thing in the scuppers.
Suddenly the Hispaniola came right into the wind. The jibs behind me cracked aloud; the rudder slammed to; the whole ship gave a sickening heave and shudder; and at the same moment the main-boom swung inboard, the sheet groaning in the blocks, and showed me the lee after-deck.