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COMPREHENSION WEEK 28 Q9

About noon I stopped at the captain’s door with some cooling drinks and medicines. He was lying very much as we had left him, only a little higher, and he seemed both weak and excited.

“Jim,” he said, “you’re the only one here that’s worth anything, and you know I’ve always been good to you. Every month I’ve given you a silver fourpenny for yourself. And now you see, mate, I’m pretty low, and deserted by all; and Jim, you’ll bring me one glass of rum, now, won’t you, matey?”

“The doctor—” I began.

But he broke in cursing the doctor, in a feeble voice but heartily. “Doctors is all fools,” he said; “and that doctor there, why, what do he know about seafaring men? I been in places hot as pitch, and mates dropping round with fever, and the blessed land a-heaving like the sea with earthquakes—what to the doctor know of lands like that? And I lived on rum, I tell you. It’s been meat and drink, and man and wife, to me; and if I’m not to have my rum now I’m a poor old boat on a lee shore, my blood’ll be on you, Jim, and that doctor.” And he ran on again for a while with curses. “Look, Jim, how my fingers fidget,” he continued in the pleading tone. “I can’t keep ’em still, not I. I haven’t had a drop this blessed day. That doctor’s a fool, I tell you. If I don’t have a dram o’ rum, Jim, I’ll have the horrors; I seen some of ’em already. I seen old Flint in the corner there, behind you; as plain as print, I seen him; and if I get the horrors, I’m a man that has lived rough, and I may get violent. Your doctor hisself said one glass wouldn’t hurt me. I’ll give you a golden guinea for a glass of it, Jim.”

He was growing more and more excited, and this alarmed me for my father, who was very low that day and needed quiet; besides, I was reassured by the doctor’s words, now quoted to me, and rather offended by the offer of a bribe.

“I want none of your money,” said I, “but what you owe my father. I’ll get you one glass, and no more.”

When I brought it to him, he seized it greedily and drank it out.

 

Text adapted from Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson, which is in the public domain.

 

What do you think the meaning of ‘guinea’ is in line 20?