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was Ben Gunnís boat--home-made if ever anything was home-
made; a rude, lop-sided framework of tough wood, and stretched
upon that a covering of goat-skin, with the hair inside. The thing
was extremely small, even for me, and I can hardly imagine that it
could have floated with a full-sized man. There was one thwart set
as low as possible, a kind of stretcher in the bows, and a double
paddle for propulsion.

I had not then seen a coracle, such as the ancient Britons made,
but I have seen one since, and I can give you no fairer idea of Ben
Gunnís boat than by saying it was like the first and the worst
coracle ever made by man. But the great advantage of the coracle
it certainly possessed, for it was exceedingly light and portable.

Well, now that I had found the boat, you would have thought I
had had enough of truantry for once, but in the meantime I had
taken another notion and become so obstinately fond of it that I
would have carried it out, I believe, in the teeth of Captain
Smollett himself. This was to slip out under cover of the night, cut
the Hispaniola adrift, and let her go ashore where she fancied. I
had quite made up my mind that the mutineers, after their repulse
of the morning, had nothing nearer their hearts than to up anchor
and away to sea; this, I thought, it would be a fine thing to prevent,
and now that I had seen how they left their watchmen unprovided
with a boat, I thought it might be done with little risk.

Down I sat to wait for darkness, and made a hearty meal of
biscuit. It was a night out of ten thousand for my purpose. The fog
had now buried all heaven. As the last rays of daylight dwindled
and disappeared, absolute blackness settled down on Treasure
Island. And when, at last, I shouldered the coracle and groped my
way stumblingly out of the hollow where I had supped, there were

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