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downhill to where the boats were lying, related in a few words
what had taken place. It was a story that profoundly interested
Silver; and Ben Gunn, the half-idiot maroon, was the hero from
beginning to end.

Ben, in his long, lonely wanderings about the island, had found
the skeleton--it was he that had rifled it; he had found the
treasure; he had dug it up (it was the haft of his pick-axe that lay
broken in the excavation); he had carried it on his back, in many
weary journeys, from the foot of the tall pine to a cave he had on
the two-pointed hill at the north-east angle of the island, and there
it had lain stored in safety since two months before the arrival of
the Hispaniola.

When the doctor had wormed this secret from him on the
afternoon of the attack, and when next morning he saw the
anchorage deserted, he had gone to Silver, given him the chart,
which was now useless--given him the stores, for Ben Gunn’s cave
was well supplied with goats’ meat salted by himself--given
anything and everything to get a chance of moving in safety from
the stockade to the two-pointed hill, there to be clear of malaria
and keep a guard upon the money.

“As for you, Jim,” he said, “it went against my heart, but I did
what I thought best for those who had stood by their duty; and if
you were not one of these, whose fault was it?”

That morning, finding that I was to be involved in the horrid
disappointment he had prepared for the mutineers, he had run all
the way to the cave, and leaving the squire to guard the captain,
had taken Gray and the maroon and started, making the diagonal
across the island to be at hand beside the pine. Soon, however, he
saw that our party had the start of him; and Ben Gunn, being fleet

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