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33. The Fall of a Chieftain

THERE never was such an overturn in this world. Each of
these six men was as though he had been struck. But with
Silver the blow passed almost instantly. Every thought of
his soul had been set full-stretch, like a racer, on that money; well,
he was brought up, in a single second, dead; and he kept his head,
found his temper, and changed his plan before the others had had
time to realize the disappointment.

“Jim,” he whispered, “take that, and stand by for trouble.”
And he passed me a double-barrelled pistol.

At the same time, he began quietly moving northward, and in a
few steps had put the hollow between us two and the other five.
Then he looked at me and nodded, as much as to say, “Here is a
narrow corner,” as, indeed, I thought it was. His looks were not
quite friendly, and I was so revolted at these constant changes that
I could not forbear whispering, “So you’ve changed sides again.”

There was no time left for him to answer in. The buccaneers,
with oaths and cries, began to leap, one after another, into the pit
and to dig with their fingers, throwing the boards aside as they did
so. Morgan found a piece of gold. He held it up with a perfect
spout of oaths. It was a two-guinea piece, and it went from hand to
hand among them for a quarter of a minute.

“Two guineas!” roared Merry, shaking it at Silver. “That’s your
seven hundred thousand pounds, is it? You’re the man for
bargains, ain’t you? You’re him that never bungled nothing, you
wooden-headed lubber!”

“Dig away, boys,” said Silver with the coolest insolence; “you’ll

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