while one of the men at last took his pipe out of his mouth. “There ben’t any pilot here, master,” said he; “we ben’t pilots.”
“Why, what a story you do tell!” roared the boatswain. “D’ye suppose I’ve never been down here before, not to know that every man about here knows the passes of the shoals?”
The fellow still held his pipe in his hand. He looked at another one of the men. “Do you know the passes in over the shoals, Jem?” said he.
The man to whom he spoke was a young fellow with long, shaggy, sunburnt hair hanging over his eyes in an unkempt mass. He shook his head, grunting, “Na—I don’t know naught about t’ shoals.”
“‘Tis Lieutenant Maynard of His Majesty’s navy in command of them vessels out there,” said the boatswain. “He’ll give any man five pound to pilot him in.” The men on the wharf looked at one another, but still no one spoke, and the boatswain stood looking at them. He saw that they did not choose to answer him. “Why,” he said, “I believe you’ve not got right wits—that’s what I believe is the matter with you. Pull me up to the landing, men, and I’ll go ashore and see if I can find anybody that’s willing to make five pound for such a little bit of piloting as that.”
After the boatswain had gone ashore the loungers still stood on the wharf, looking down into the boat, and began talking to one another for the men below to hear them. “They’re coming in,” said one, “to blow poor Blackbeard out of the water.” “Aye,” said another, “he’s so peaceable, too, he is; he’ll just lay still and let ’em blow and blow, he will.” “There’s a young fellow there,” said another of the men; “he don’t look fit to die yet, he don’t. Why, I wouldn’t be in his place for a thousand pound.” “I do suppose Blackbeard’s so afraid he don’t know how to see,” said the first speaker.