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But it was not its size that now impressed my companions; it
was the knowledge that seven hundred thousand pounds in gold
lay somewhere buried below its spreading shadow. The thought of
the money, as they drew nearer, swallowed up their previous
terrors. Their eyes burned in their heads; their feet grew speedier
and lighter; their whole soul was found up in that fortune, that
whole lifetime of extravagance and pleasure, that lay waiting there
for each of them.

Silver hobbled, grunting, on his crutch; his nostrils stood out
and quivered; he cursed like a madman when the flies settled on
his hot and shiny countenance; he plucked furiously at the line
that held me to him and from time to time turned his eyes upon
me with a deadly look. Certainly he took no pains to hide his
thoughts, and certainly I read them like print. In the immediate
nearness of the gold, all else had been forgotten: his promise and
the doctor’s warning were both things of the past, and I could not
doubt that he hoped to seize upon the treasure, find and board the
Hispaniola under cover of night, cut every honest throat about
that island, and sail away as he had at first intended, laden with
crimes and riches.

Shaken as I was with these alarms, it was hard for me to keep
up with the rapid pace of the treasure-hunters. Now and again I
stumbled, and it was then that Silver plucked so roughly at the
rope and launched at me his murderous glances. Dick, who had
dropped behind us and now brought up the rear, was babbling to
himself both prayers and curses as his fever kept rising. This also
added to my wretchedness, and to crown all, I was haunted by the
thought of the tragedy that had once been acted on that plateau,
when that ungodly buccaneer with the blue face --he who died at

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