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you’ll say this: ‘Ben Gunn,’ says you, ‘has reasons of his own.’“

“Well,” said I, “I believe I understand. You have something to
propose, and you wish to see the squire or the doctor, and you’re
to be found where I found you. Is that all?”

“And when? says you,” he added. “Why, from about noon
observation to about six bells.”

“Good,” said I, “and now may I go?”
“You won’t forget?” he inquired anxiously. “Precious sight, and
reasons of his own, says you. Reasons of his own; that’s the
mainstay; as between man and man. Well, then”--still holding me--
”I reckon you can go, Jim. And, Jim, if you was to see Silver, you
wouldn’t go for to sell Ben Gunn? Wild horses wouldn’t draw it
from you? No, says you. And if them pirates camp ashore, Jim,
what would you say but there’d be widders in the morning?”

Here he was interrupted by a loud report, and a cannonball
came tearing through the trees and pitched in the sand not a
hundred yards from where we two were talking. The next moment
each of us had taken to his heels in a different direction.

For a good hour to come frequent reports shook the island, and
balls kept crashing through the woods. I moved from hiding-place
to hiding-place, always pursued, or so it seemed to me, by these
terrifying missiles. But towards the end of the bombardment,
though still I durst not venture in the direction of the stockade,
where the balls fell oftenest, I had begun, in a manner, to pluck up
my heart again, and after a long detour to the east, crept down
among the shore-side trees.

The sun had just set, the sea breeze was rustling and tumbling
in the woods and ruffling the grey surface of the anchorage; the
tide, too, was far out, and great tracts of sand lay uncovered; the

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