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CHAPTER I.

THE ISLAND OF SILVER-STORE.

IT was in the year of our Lord one thousand
seven hundred and forty-four, that I,
Gill Davis to command, His Mark, having
then the honor to be a private in the Royal
Marines, stood a-leaning over the bulwarks
of the armed sloop Christopher Columbus, in
the South American waters off the Mosquito
shore.

My lady remarks to me, before I go any
further, that there is no such christian-narne
as Gill, and that her confident opinion is,
that the name given to me in the baptism
wherein I was made, &c., was Gilbert. She
is certain to be right, but I never heard of
it. I was a foundling child, picked up
somewhere or another, and I always understood
my christian-name to be Gill. It is true that
I was called Gills when employed at
Snorridge Bottom betwixt Chatham and
Maidstone, to frighten birds; but that had nothing
to do with the Baptism wherein I was made,
&c., and wherein a number of things were
promised for me by somebody, who let me
alone ever afterwards as to performing any of
them, and who, I consider, must have been
the Beadle. Such name of Gills was entirely
owing to my cheeks, or gills, which at that
time of my life were of a raspy description.

My lady stops me again, before I go any
further, by laughing exactly in her old way
and waving the feather of her pen at me.
That action on her part, calls to my mind as
I look at her hand with the rings on it——
Well! I won't! To be sure it will come in, in
its own place. But it's always strange to me,
noticing the quiet hand, and noticing it (as I
have done, you know, so many times)
a-fondling children and grandchildren asleep,
to think that when blood and honor were
upthere! I won't! not at present!—
Scratch it out.

She won't scratch it out, and quite honorable;
because we have made an understanding
that everything is to be taken down, and
that nothing that is once taken down shall be
scratched out. I have the great misfortune
not to be able to read and write, and I am
speaking my true and faithful account of those
Adventures, and my lady is writing it, word
for word.

I say, there I was, a-leaning over the
bulwarks of the sloop Christopher Columbus in
the South American waters off the Mosquito
shore: a subject of his Gracious Majesty
King George of England, and a private in
the Royal Marines.

In those climates, you don't want to do
much. I was doing nothing. I was thinking
of the shepherd (my father, I wonder?) on
the hill-sides by Snorridge Bottom, with a
long staff, and with a rough white coat in all
weathers all the year round, who used to let
me lie in a corner of his hut by night, and
who used to let me go about with him and
his sheep by day when I could get nothing
else to do, and who used to give me so little
of his victuals and so much of his staff, that
I ran away from himwhich was what he
wanted all along, I expectto be knocked
about the world in preference to Snorridge
Bottom. I had been knocked about the
world for nine-and-twenty years in all, when
I stood looking along those bright blue
South American waters. Looking after the
shepherd, I may say. Watching him in a
half-waking dream, with my eyes half-shut,
as he, and his flock of sheep, and his two

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