Reading Comprehension - Literature: 'Treasure Island'

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Written by Robert Louis Stevenson in 1881, this novel is set in the days of sailing ships and pirates and tells of the adventures of Jim Hawkins and his search for the buried treasure of an evil pirate, Captain Flint.
1. Treasure Island-Robert Louis Stevenson
Part One. The Old Buccaneer! 2
Chapter I - The Old Sea-dog at the 'Admiral Benbow'! 2
Chapter II - Black Dog Appears and Disappears! 6
Chapter III - The Black Spot! 11
Chapter IV - The Sea Chest! 15
Chapter V - The Last of the Blind Man! 19
Chapter VI - The Captainʼs Papers! 23
Part Two. The Sea Cook! 27
Chapter VII - I Go to Bristol! 27
Chapter VIII - At the Sign of the 'Spy-Glass'! 31
Chapter IX - Powder and Arms! 35
Chapter X - The Voyage! 39
Chapter XI - What I Heard in the Apple Barrel! 43
Chapter XII - Council of War! 47
Part Three. My Shore Adventure! 51
Chapter XIII - How My Shore Adventure Began! 51
Chapter XIV - The First Blow! 55
Chapter XV - The Man of the Island! 59
Part Four. The Log Cabin! 63
Chapter XVI - Narrative Continued by the Doctor: How the Ship was
Abandoned! 63
Chapter XVII - Narrative Continued by the Doctor: The Jolly-boatʼs Last
Trip! 67
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2. Chapter XVIII - Narrative Continued by the Doctor: End of the First Dayʼs
Fighting! 70
Chapter XIX - Narrative Resumed by Jim Hawkins: The Garrison in the
Stockade! 73
Chapter XX - Silverʼs Embassy! 77
Chapter XXI - The Attack! 81
Part V. My Sea Adventure! 86
Chapter XXII - How My Sea Adventure Began! 86
Chapter XXIII - The Ebb-tide Runs! 90
Chapter XXIV -The Cruise of the Coracle! 93
Chapter XXV - I Strike the Jolly Roger! 97
Chapter XXVI - Israel Hands! 101
Chapter XXVII - 'Pieces of Eight'! 106
Part Six. Captain Silver! 111
Chapter XXVIII - In the Enemyʼs Camp! 111
Chapter XXIX - The Black Spot Again! 116
Chapter XXX - On Parole! 121
Chapter XXXI - The Treasure Hunt — Flintʼs Pointer! 126
Chapter XXXII - The Treasure Hunt — The Voice Among the Trees! 130
Chapter XXXIII - The Fall of a Chieftain! 134
Chapter XXXIV - And Last! 139
Part One. The Old Buccaneer
Chapter I - The Old Sea-dog at the 'Admiral Benbow'
Squire Trelawney, Dr. Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen having asked me to
write down the whole particulars about Treasure Island, from the beginning to the
end, keeping nothing back but the bearings of the island, and that only because
there is still treasure not yet lifted, I take up my pen in the year of grace 17_ and go
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3. back to the time when my father kept the Admiral Benbow inn and the brown old
seaman with the sabre cut first took up his lodging under our roof.
I remember him as if it were yesterday, as he came plodding to the inn door, his
sea- chest following behind him in a hand-barrow — a tall, strong, heavy, nut-brown
man, his tarry pigtail falling over the shoulder of his soiled blue coat, his hands
ragged and scarred, with black, broken nails, and the sabre cut across one cheek, a
dirty, livid white. I remember him looking round the cover and whistling to himself
as he did so, and then breaking out in that old sea-song that he sang so often
“Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest — Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!”
in the high, old tottering voice that seemed to have been tuned and broken at the
capstan bars. Then he rapped on the door with a bit of stick like a handspike that
he carried, and when my father appeared, called roughly for a glass of rum. This,
when it was brought to him, he drank slowly, like a connoisseur, lingering on the
taste and still looking about him at the cliffs and up at our signboard.
“This is a handy cove,” says he at length; “and a pleasant sittyated grog-shop. Much
company, mate?”
My father told him no, very little company, the more was the pity.
“Well, then,” said he, “this is the berth for me. Here you, matey,” he cried to the
man who trundled the barrow; “bring up alongside and help up my chest. I’ll stay
here a bit,” he continued. “I’m a plain man; rum and bacon and eggs is what I want,
and that head up there for to watch ships off. What you mought call me? You
mought call me captain. Oh, I see what you’re at — there”; and he threw down three
or four gold pieces on the threshold. “You can tell me when I’ve worked through
that,” says he, looking as fierce as a commander.
And indeed bad as his clothes were and coarsely as he spoke, he had none of the
appearance of a man who sailed before the mast, but seemed like a mate or skipper
accustomed to be obeyed or to strike. The man who came with the barrow told us
the mail had set him down the morning before at the Royal George, that he had
inquired what inns there were along the coast, and hearing ours well spoken of, I
suppose, and described as lonely, had chosen it from the others for his place of
residence. And that was all we could learn of our guest.
He was a very silent man by custom. All day he hung round the cove or upon the
cliffs with a brass telescope; all evening he sat in a corner of the parlour next the
fire and drank rum and water very strong. Mostly he would not speak when spoken
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4. to, only look up sudden and fierce and blow through his nose like a fog-horn; and we
and the people who came about our house soon learned to let him be. Every day
when he came back from his stroll he would ask if any seafaring men had gone by
along the road. At first we thought it was the want of company of his own kind that
made him ask this question, but at last we began to see he was desirous to avoid
them. When a seaman did put up at the Admiral Benbow (as now and then some
did, making by the coast road for Bristol) he would look in at him through the
curtained door before he entered the parlour; and he was always sure to be as silent
as a mouse when any such was present. For me, at least, there was no secret about
the matter, for I was, in a way, a sharer in his alarms. He had taken me aside one
day and promised me a silver fourpenny on the first of every month if I would only
keep my “weather-eye open for a seafaring man with one leg” and let him know the
moment he appeared. Often enough when the first of the month came round and I
applied to him for my wage, he would only blow through his nose at me and stare
me down, but before the week was out he was sure to think better of it, bring me my
four-penny piece, and repeat his orders to look out for “the seafaring man with one
How that personage haunted my dreams, I need scarcely tell you. On stormy nights,
when the wind shook the four corners of the house and the surf roared along the
cove and up the cliffs, I would see him in a thousand forms, and with a thousand
diabolical expressions. Now the leg would be cut off at the knee, now at the hip; now
he was a monstrous kind of a creature who had never had but the one leg, and that
in the middle of his body. To see him leap and run and pursue me over hedge and
ditch was the worst of nightmares. And altogether I paid pretty dear for my
monthly fourpenny piece, in the shape of these abominable fancies.
But though I was so terrified by the idea of the seafaring man with one leg, I was
far less afraid of the captain himself than anybody else who knew him. There were
nights when he took a deal more rum and water than his head would carry; and
then he would sometimes sit and sing his wicked, old, wild sea-songs, minding
nobody; but sometimes he would call for glasses round and force all the trembling
company to listen to his stories or bear a chorus to his singing. Often I have heard
the house shaking with “Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum,” all the neighbours joining in
for dear life, with the fear of death upon them, and each singing louder than the
other to avoid remark. For in these fits he was the most overriding companion ever
known; he would slap his hand on the table for silence all round; he would fly up in
a passion of anger at a question, or sometimes because none was
put, and so he judged the company was not following his story. Nor would he allow
anyone to leave the inn till he had drunk himself sleepy and reeled off to bed.
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5. His stories were what frightened people worst of all. Dreadful stories they were —
about hanging, and walking the plank, and storms at sea, and the Dry Tortugas,
and wild deeds and places on the Spanish Main. By his own account he must have
lived his life among some of the wickedest men that God ever allowed upon the sea,
and the language in which he told these stories shocked our plain country people
almost as much as the crimes that he described. My father was always saying the
inn would be ruined, for people would soon cease coming there to be tyrannized over
and put down, and sent shivering to their beds; but I really believe his presence did
us good. People were frightened at the time, but on looking back they rather liked it;
it was a fine excitement in a quiet country life, and there was even a party of the
younger men who pretended to admire him, calling him a “true sea-dog” and a “real
old salt” and such like names, and saying there was the sort of man that made
England terrible at sea. In one way, indeed, he bade fair to ruin us, for he kept on
staying week after week, and at last month after month, so that all the money had
been long exhausted, and still my father never plucked up the heart to insist on
having more. If ever he mentioned it, the captain blew through his nose so loudly
that you might say he roared, and stared my poor father out of the room. I have
seen him wringing his hands after such a rebuff, and I am sure the annoyance and
the terror he lived in must have greatly hastened his early and unhappy death.
All the time he lived with us the captain made no change whatever in his dress but
to buy some stockings from a hawker. One of the cocks of his hat having fallen
down, he let it hang from that day forth, though it was a great annoyance when it
blew. I remember the appearance of his coat, which he patched himself upstairs in
his room, and which, before the end, was nothing but patches. He never wrote or
received a letter, and he never spoke with any but the neighbours, and with these,
for the most part, only when drunk on rum. The great sea-chest none of us had ever
seen open.
He was only once crossed, and that was towards the end, when my poor father was
far gone in a decline that took him off. Dr. Livesey came late one afternoon to see
the patient, took a bit of dinner from my mother, and went into the parlour to
smoke a pipe until his horse should come down from the hamlet, for we had no
stabling at the old Benbow. I followed him in, and I remember observing the
contrast the neat, bright doctor, with his powder as white as snow and his bright,
black eyes and pleasant manners, made with the coltish country folk, and above all,
with that filthy, heavy, bleared scarecrow of a pirate of ours, sitting, far gone in
rum, with his arms on the table. Suddenly he — the captain, that is — began to
pipe up his eternal song:
“Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest — Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum! Drink and
the devil had done for the rest — Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!”
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6. At first I had supposed “the dead man’s chest” to be that identical big box of his
upstairs in the front room, and the thought had been mingled in my nightmares
with that of the one-legged seafaring man. But by this time we had all long ceased
to pay any particular notice to the song; it was new, that night, to nobody but Dr.
Livesey, and on him I observed it did not produce an agreeable effect, for he looked
up for a moment quite angrily before he went on with his talk to old Taylor, the
gardener, on a new cure for the rheumatics. In the meantime, the captain gradually
brightened up at his own music, and at last flapped his hand upon the table before
him in a way we all knew to mean silence. The voices stopped at once, all but Dr.
Livesey’s; he went on as before speaking clear and kind and drawing briskly at his
pipe between every word or two. The captain glared at him for a while, flapped his
hand again, glared still harder, and at last broke out with a villainous, low oath,
“Silence, there, between decks!”
“Were you addressing me, sir?” says the doctor; and when the ruffian had told him,
with another oath, that this was so, “I have only one thing to say to you, sir,” replies
the doctor, “that if you keep on drinking rum, the world will soon be quit of a very
dirty scoundrel!”
The old fellow’s fury was awful. He sprang to his feet, drew and opened a sailor’s
clasp-knife, and balancing it open on the palm of his hand, threatened to pin the
doctor to the wall.
The doctor never so much as moved. He spoke to him as before, over his shoulder
and in the same tone of voice, rather high, so that all the room might hear, but
perfectly calm and steady: “If you do not put that knife this instant in your pocket, I
promise, upon my honour, you shall hang at the next assizes.”
Then followed a battle of looks between them, but the captain soon knuckled under,
put up his weapon, and resumed his seat, grumbling like a beaten dog.
“And now, sir,” continued the doctor, “since I now know there’s such a fellow in my
district, you may count I’ll have an eye upon you day and night. I’m not a doctor
only; I’m a magistrate; and if I catch a breath of complaint against you, if it’s only
for a piece of incivility like tonight’s, I’ll take effectual means to have you hunted
down and routed out of this. Let that suffice.”
Soon after, Dr. Livesey’s horse came to the door and he rode away, but the captain
held his peace that evening, and for many evenings to come.
Chapter II - Black Dog Appears and Disappears
It was not very long after this that there occurred the first of the mysterious events
that rid us at last of the captain, though not, as you will see, of his affairs. It was a
bitter cold winter, with long, hard frosts and heavy gales; and it was plain from the
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7. first that my poor father was little likely to see the spring. He sank daily, and my
mother and I had all the inn upon our hands, and were kept busy enough without
paying much regard to our unpleasant guest.
It was one January morning, very early — a pinching, frosty morning — the cove all
grey with hoar-frost, the ripple lapping softly on the stones, the sun still low and
only touching the hilltops and shining far to seaward. The captain had risen earlier
than usual and set out down the beach, his cutlass swinging under the broad skirts
of the old blue coat, his brass telescope under his arm, his hat tilted back upon his
head. I remember his breath hanging like smoke in his wake as he strode off, and
the last sound I heard of him as he turned the big rock was a loud snort of
indignation, as though his mind was still running upon Dr. Livesey. Well, mother
was upstairs with father and I was laying the breakfast- table against the captain’s
return when the parlour door opened and a man stepped in on whom I had never set
my eyes before. He was a pale, tallowy creature, wanting two fingers of the left
hand, and though he wore a cutlass, he did not look much like a fighter. I had
always my eye open for seafaring men, with one leg or two, and I remember this one
puzzled me. He was not sailorly, and yet he had a smack of the sea about him too.
I asked him what was for his service, and he said he would take rum; but as I was
going out of the room to fetch it, he sat down upon a table and motioned me to draw
near. I paused where I was, with my napkin in my hand.
“Come here, sonny,” says he. “Come nearer here.” I took a step nearer. “Is this here
table for my mate Bill?” he asked with a kind of leer. I told him I did not know his
mate Bill, and this was for a person who stayed in our
house whom we called the captain. “Well,” said he, “my mate Bill would be called
the captain, as like as not. He has a cut
on one cheek and a mighty pleasant way with him, particularly in drink, has my
mate Bill. We’ll put it, for argument like, that your captain has a cut on one cheek
— and we’ll put it, if you like, that that cheek’s the right one. Ah, well! I told you.
Now, is my mate Bill in this here house?”
I told him he was out walking. “Which way, sonny? Which way is he gone?” And
when I had pointed out the rock and told him how the captain was likely to return,
and how soon, and answered a few other questions, “Ah,” said he, “this’ll be as good
drink to my mate Bill.” The expression of his face as he said these words was not at
all pleasant, and I had my
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8. own reasons for thinking that the stranger was mistaken, even supposing he meant
what he said. But it was no affair of mine, I thought; and besides, it was difficult to
know what to do. The stranger kept hanging about just inside the inn door, peering
round the corner like a cat waiting for a mouse. Once I stepped out myself into the
road, but he immediately called me back, and as I did not obey quick enough for his
fancy, a most horrible change came over his tallowy face, and he ordered me in with
an oath that made me jump. As soon as I was back again he returned to his former
manner, half fawning, half sneering, patted me on the shoulder, told me I was a
good boy and he had taken quite a fancy to me. “I have a son of my own,” said he,
“as like you as two blocks, and he’s all the pride of my ’art. But the great thing for
boys is discipline, sonny — discipline. Now, if you had sailed along of Bill, you
wouldn’t have stood there to be spoke to twice — not you. That was never Bill’s way,
nor the way of sich as sailed with him. And here, sure enough, is my mate Bill, with
a spy- glass under his arm, bless his old ’art, to be sure. You and me’ll just go back
into the parlour, sonny, and get behind the door, and we’ll give Bill a little surprise
— bless his ’art, I say again.”
So saying, the stranger backed along with me into the parlour and put me behind
him in the corner so that we were both hidden by the open door. I was very uneasy
and alarmed, as you may fancy, and it rather added to my fears to observe that the
stranger was certainly frightened himself. He cleared the hilt of his cutlass and
loosened the blade in the sheath; and all the time we were waiting there he kept
swallowing as if he felt what we used to call a lump in the throat.
At last in strode the captain, slammed the door behind him, without looking to the
right or left, and marched straight across the room to where his breakfast awaited
“Bill,” said the stranger in a voice that I thought he had tried to make bold and big.
The captain spun round on his heel and fronted us; all the brown had gone out of his
face, and even his nose was blue; he had the look of a man who sees a ghost, or the
evil one, or something worse, if anything can be; and upon my word, I felt sorry to
see him all in a moment turn so old and sick.
“Come, Bill, you know me; you know an old shipmate, Bill, surely,” said the
stranger. The captain made a sort of gasp. “Black Dog!” said he. “And who else?”
returned the other, getting more at his ease. “Black Dog as ever was,
come for to see his old shipmate Billy, at the Admiral Benbow inn. Ah, Bill, Bill, we
have seen a sight of times, us two, since I lost them two talons,” holding up his
mutilated hand.
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9. “Now, look here,” said the captain; “you’ve run me down; here I am; well, then,
speak up; what is it?”
“That’s you, Bill,” returned Black Dog, “you’re in the right of it, Billy. I’ll have a
glass of rum from this dear child here, as I’ve took such a liking to; and we’ll sit
down, if you please, and talk square, like old shipmates.”
When I returned with the rum, they were already seated on either side of the
breakfast-table — Black Dog next to the door and sitting sideways so as to have one
eye on his old shipmate and one, as I thought, on his retreat.
He bade me go and leave the door wide open. “None of your keyholes for me, sonny,”
he said; and I left them together and retired into the bar.
“For a long time, though I certainly did my best to listen, I could hear nothing but a
low gattling; but at last the voices began to grow higher, and I could pick up a word
or two, mostly oaths, from the captain.
“No, no, no, no; and an end of it!” he cried once. And again, “If it comes to swinging,
swing all, say I.”
Then all of a sudden there was a tremendous explosion of oaths and other noises —
the chair and table went over in a lump, a clash of steel followed, and then a cry of
pain, and the next instant I saw Black Dog in full flight, and the captain hotly
pursuing, both with drawn cutlasses, and the former streaming blood from the left
shoulder. Just at the door the captain aimed at the fugitive one last tremendous cut,
which would certainly have split him to the chine had it not been intercepted by our
big signboard of Admiral Benbow. You may see the notch on the lower side of the
frame to this day.
That blow was the last of the battle. Once out upon the road, Black Dog, in spite of
his wound, showed a wonderful clean pair of heels and disappeared over the edge of
the hill in half a minute. The captain, for his part, stood staring at the signboard
like a bewildered man. Then he passed his hand over his eyes several times and at
last turned back into the house.
“Jim,” says he, “rum”; and as he spoke, he reeled a little, and caught himself with
one hand against the wall.
“Are you hurt?” cried I. “Rum,” he repeated. “I must get away from here. Rum!
Rum!” I ran to fetch it, but I was quite unsteadied by all that had fallen out, and I
broke one
glass and fouled the tap, and while I was still getting in my own way, I heard a loud
fall in the parlour, and running in, beheld the captain lying full length upon the
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10. floor. At the same instant my mother, alarmed by the cries and fighting, came
running downstairs to help me. Between us we raised his head. He was breathing
very loud and hard, but his eyes were closed and his face a horrible colour.
“Dear, deary me,” cried my mother, “what a disgrace upon the house! And your poor
father sick!”
In the meantime, we had no idea what to do to help the captain, nor any other
thought but that he had got his death-hurt in the scuffle with the stranger. I got the
rum, to be sure, and tried to put it down his throat, but his teeth were tightly shut
and his jaws as strong as iron. It was a happy relief for us when the door opened
and Doctor Livesey came in, on his visit to my father.
“Oh, doctor,” we cried, “what shall we do? Where is he wounded?”
“Wounded? A fiddle-stick’s end!” said the doctor. “No more wounded than you or I.
The man has had a stroke, as I warned him. Now, Mrs. Hawkins, just you run
upstairs to your husband and tell him, if possible, nothing about it. For my part, I
must do my best to
save this fellow’s trebly worthless life; Jim, you get me a basin.” When I got back
with the basin, the doctor had already ripped up the captain’s sleeve
and exposed his great sinewy arm. It was tattooed in several places. “Here’s luck,”
“A fair wind,” and “Billy Bones his fancy,” were very neatly and clearly executed on
the forearm; and up near the shoulder there was a sketch of a gallows and a man
hanging from it — done, as I thought, with great spirit.
“Prophetic,” said the doctor, touching this picture with his finger. “And now, Master
Billy Bones, if that be your name, we’ll have a look at the colour of your blood. Jim,”
he said, “are you afraid of blood?”
“No, sir,” said I.
“Well, then,” said he, “you hold the basin”; and with that he took his lancet and
opened a vein.
A great deal of blood was taken before the captain opened his eyes and looked
mistily about him. First he recognized the doctor with an unmistakable frown; then
his glance fell upon me, and he looked relieved. But suddenly his colour changed,
and he tried to raise himself, crying, “Where’s Black Dog?”
“There is no Black Dog here,” said the doctor, “except what you have on your own
back. You have been drinking rum; you have had a stroke, precisely as I told you;
and I have just, very much against my own will, dragged you headforemost out of
the grave. Now, Mr. Bones —”
“That’s not my name,” he interrupted.
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11. “Much I care,” returned the doctor. “It’s the name of a buccaneer of my
acquaintance; and I call you by it for the sake of shortness, and what I have to say
to you is this; one glass of rum won’t kill you, but if you take one you’ll take another
and another, and I stake my wig if you don’t break off short, you’ll die — do you
understand that?— die, and go to your own place, like the man in the Bible. Come,
now, make an effort. I’ll help you to your bed for once.”
Between us, with much trouble, we managed to hoist him upstairs, and laid him on
his bed, where his head fell back on the pillow as if he were almost fainting.
“Now, mind you,” said the doctor, “I clear my conscience — the name of rum for you
is death.”
And with that he went off to see my father, taking me with him by the arm.
“This is nothing,” he said as soon as he had closed the door. “I have drawn blood
enough to keep him quiet awhile; he should lie for a week where he is — that is the
best thing for him and you; but another stroke would settle him.”
Chapter III - The Black Spot
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
been always good to you. Never a month but 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 noggin 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
swabs,” 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 Yellow Jack, 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 hulk on a lee
shore, my blood’ll be on you, Jim, and that doctor swab”; and he ran on again for a
while with curses. “Look, Jim, how my fingers fidges,” 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 drain o’ rum, Jim, I’ll have the horrors; I
seen some on ’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’ll
raise Cain. Your doctor hisself said one glass wouldn’t hurt me. I’ll give you a golden
guinea for a noggin, Jim.”
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12. 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.
“Aye, aye,” said he, “that’s some better, sure enough. And now, matey, did that
doctor say how long I was to lie here in this old berth?”
“A week at least,” said I.
“Thunder!” he cried. “A week! I can’t do that; they’d have the black spot on me by
then. The lubbers is going about to get the wind of me this blessed moment; lubbers
as couldn’t keep what they got, and want to nail what is another’s. Is that seamanly
behaviour, now, I want to know? But I’m a saving soul. I never wasted good money
of mine, nor lost it neither; and I’ll trick ’em again. I’m not afraid on ’em. I’ll shake
out another reef, matey, and daddle ’em again.”
As he was thus speaking, he had risen from bed with great difficulty, holding to my
shoulder with a grip that almost made me cry out, and moving his legs like so much
dead weight. His words, spirited as they were in meaning, contrasted sadly with the
weakness of the voice in which they were uttered. He paused when he had got into a
sitting position on the edge.
“That doctor’s done me,” he murmured. “My ears is singing. Lay me back.”
Before I could do much to help him he had fallen back again to his former place,
where he lay for a while silent.
“Jim,” he said at length, “you saw that seafaring man today?” “Black Dog?” I asked.
“Ah! Black Dog,” says he. “HE’S a bad un; but there’s worse that put him on. Now, if
I can’t get away nohow, and they tip me the black spot, mind you, it’s my old sea-
chest they’re after; you get on a horse — you can, can’t you? Well, then, you get on a
horse, and go to — well, yes, I will!— to that eternal doctor swab, and tell him to
pipe all hands — magistrates and sich — and he’ll lay ’em aboard at the Admiral
Benbow — all old Flint’s crew, man and boy, all on ’em that’s left. I was first mate, I
was, old Flint’s first mate, and I’m the on’y one as knows the place. He gave it me at
Savannah, when he lay a-dying, like as if I was to now, you see. But you won’t
peach unless they get the black spot on me, or unless you see that Black Dog again
or a seafaring man with one leg, Jim — him above all.”
“But what is the black spot, captain?” I asked.
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13. “That’s a summons, mate. I’ll tell you if they get that. But you keep your weather-
eye open, Jim, and I’ll share with you equals, upon my honour.”
He wandered a little longer, his voice growing weaker; but soon after I had given
him his medicine, which he took like a child, with the remark, “If ever a seaman
wanted drugs, it’s me,” he fell at last into a heavy, swoon-like sleep, in which I left
him. What I should have done had all gone well I do not know. Probably I should
have told the whole story to the doctor, for I was in mortal fear lest the captain
should repent of his confessions and make an end of me. But as things fell out, my
poor father died quite suddenly that evening, which put all other matters on one
side. Our natural distress, the visits of the neighbours, the arranging of the funeral,
and all the work of the inn to be carried on in the meanwhile kept me so busy that I
had scarcely time to think of the captain, far less to be afraid of him.
He got downstairs next morning, to be sure, and had his meals as usual, though he
ate little and had more, I am afraid, than his usual supply of rum, for he helped
himself out of the bar, scowling and blowing through his nose, and no one dared to
cross him. On the night before the funeral he was as drunk as ever; and it was
shocking, in that house of mourning, to hear him singing away at his ugly old sea-
song; but weak as he was, we were all in the fear of death for him, and the doctor
was suddenly taken up with a case many miles away and was never near the house
after my father’s death. I have said the captain was weak, and indeed he seemed
rather to grow weaker than regain his strength. He clambered up and down stairs,
and went from the parlour to the bar and back again, and sometimes put his nose
out of doors to smell the sea, holding on to the walls as he went for
support and breathing hard and fast like a man on a steep mountain. He never
particularly addressed me, and it is my belief he had as good as forgotten his
confidences; but his temper was more flighty, and allowing for his bodily weakness,
more violent than ever. He had an alarming way now when he was drunk of
drawing his cutlass and laying it bare before him on the table. But with all that, he
minded people less and seemed shut up in his own thoughts and rather wandering.
Once, for instance, to our extreme wonder, he piped up to a different air, a king of
country love-song that he must have learned in his youth before he had begun to
follow the sea.
So things passed until, the day after the funeral, and about three o’clock of a bitter,
foggy, frosty afternoon, I was standing at the door for a moment, full of sad
thoughts about my father, when I saw someone drawing slowly near along the road.
He was plainly blind, for he tapped before him with a stick and wore a great green
shade over his eyes and nose; and he was hunched, as if with age or weakness, and
wore a huge old tattered sea-cloak with a hood that made him appear positively
deformed. I never saw in my life a more dreadful-looking figure. He stopped a little
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14. from the inn, and raising his voice in an odd sing-song, addressed the air in front of
him, “Will any kind friend inform a poor blind man, who has lost the precious sight
of his eyes in the gracious defence of his native country, England — and God bless
King George!— where or in what part of this country he may now be?”
“You are at the Admiral Benbow, Black Hill Cove, my good man,” said I.
“I hear a voice,” said he, “a young voice. Will you give me your hand, my kind young
friend, and lead me in?”
I held out my hand, and the horrible, soft-spoken, eyeless creature gripped it in a
moment like a vise. I was so much startled that I struggled to withdraw, but the
blind man pulled me close up to him with a single action of his arm.
“Now, boy,” he said, “take me in to the captain.” “Sir,” said I, “upon my word I dare
not.” “Oh,” he sneered, “that’s it! Take me in straight or I’ll break your arm.” And he
gave it, as he spoke, a wrench that made me cry out. “Sir,” said I, “it is for yourself I
mean. The captain is not what he used to be. He sits
with a drawn cutlass. Another gentleman —” “Come, now, march,” interrupted he;
and I never heard a voice so cruel, and cold, and
ugly as that blind man’s. It cowed me more than the pain, and I began to obey him
at once, walking straight in at the door and towards the parlour, where our sick old
buccaneer was sitting, dazed with rum. The blind man clung close to me, holding
me in one iron fist and leaning almost more of his weight on me than I could carry.
“Lead me straight up to him, and when I’m in view, cry out, ‘Here’s a friend for you,
Bill.’ If you don’t, I’ll do this,” and with that he gave me a twitch that I thought
would have made me faint. Between this and that, I was so utterly terrified of the
blind beggar that I forgot my terror of the captain, and as I opened the parlour door,
cried out the words he had ordered in a trembling voice.
The poor captain raised his eyes, and at one look the rum went out of him and left
him staring sober. The expression of his face was not so much of terror as of mortal
He made a movement to rise, but I do not believe he had enough force left in his
body. “Now, Bill, sit where you are,” said the beggar. “If I can’t see, I can hear a
stirring. Business is business. Hold out your left hand. Boy, take his left hand by
the wrist and bring it near to my right.”
We both obeyed him to the letter, and I saw him pass something from the hollow of
the hand that held his stick into the palm of the captain’s, which closed upon it
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15. “And now that’s done,” said the blind man; and at the words he suddenly left hold of
me, and with incredible accuracy and nimbleness, skipped out of the parlour and
into the road, where, as I still stood motionless, I could hear his stick go tap-tap-
tapping into the distance.
It was some time before either I or the captain seemed to gather our senses, but at
length, and about at the same moment, I released his wrist, which I was still
holding, and he drew in his hand and looked sharply into the palm.
“Ten o’clock!” he cried. “Six hours. We’ll do them yet,” and he sprang to his feet.
Even as he did so, he reeled, put his hand to his throat, stood swaying for a
moment, and then, with a peculiar sound, fell from his whole height face foremost to
the floor.
I ran to him at once, calling to my mother. But haste was all in vain. The captain
had been struck dead by thundering apoplexy. It is a curious thing to understand,
for I had certainly never liked the man, though of late I had begun to pity him, but
as soon as I saw that he was dead, I burst into a flood of tears. It was the second
death I had known, and the sorrow of the first was still fresh in my heart.
Chapter IV - The Sea Chest
I lost no time, of course, in telling my mother all that I knew, and perhaps should
have told her long before, and we saw ourselves at once in a difficult and dangerous
position. Some of the man’s money — if he had any — was certainly due to us, but it
was not likely that our captain’s shipmates, above all the two specimens seen by
me, Black Dog and the blind beggar, would be inclined to give up their booty in
payment of the dead man’s debts. The captain’s order to mount at once and ride for
Doctor Livesey would have left my mother alone and unprotected, which was not to
be thought of. Indeed, it seemed impossible for either of us to remain much longer in
the house; the fall of coals in the kitchen grate, the very ticking of the clock, filled us
with alarms. The neighbourhood, to our ears, seemed haunted by approaching
footsteps; and what between the dead body of the captain on the parlour floor and
the thought of that detestable blind beggar hovering near at hand and ready to
return, there were moments when, as the saying goes, I jumped in my skin for
terror. Something must speedily be resolved upon, and it occurred to us at last to go
forth together and seek help in the neighbouring hamlet. No sooner said than done.
Bare- headed as we were, we ran out at once in the gathering evening and the frosty
The hamlet lay not many hundred yards away, though out of view, on the other side
of the next cove; and what greatly encouraged me, it was in an opposite direction
from that whence the blind man had made his appearance and whither he had
presumably returned. We were not many minutes on the road, though we
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16. sometimes stopped to lay hold of each other and hearken. But there was no unusual
sound — nothing but the low wash of the ripple and the croaking of the inmates of
the wood.
It was already candle-light when we reached the hamlet, and I shall never forget
how much I was cheered to see the yellow shine in doors and windows; but that, as
it proved, was the best of the help we were likely to get in that quarter. For — you
would have thought men would have been ashamed of themselves — no soul would
consent to return with us to the Admiral Benbow. The more we told of our troubles,
the more — man, woman, and child — they clung to the shelter of their houses. The
name of Captain Flint, though it was strange to me, was well enough known to
some there and carried a great weight of terror. Some of the men who had been to
field-work on the far side of the Admiral Benbow remembered, besides, to have seen
several strangers on the road, and taking them to be smugglers, to have bolted
away; and one at least had seen a little lugger in what we called Kitt’s Hole. For
that matter, anyone who was a comrade of the captain’s was enough to frighten
them to death. And the short and the long of the matter was, that while we could
get several who were willing enough to ride to Dr. Livesey’s, which lay in another
direction, not one would help us to defend the inn.
They say cowardice is infectious; but then argument is, on the other hand, a great
emboldener; and so when each had said his say, my mother made them a speech.
She would not, she declared, lose money that belonged to her fatherless boy; “If
none of the rest of you dare,” she said, “Jim and I dare. Back we will go, the way we
came, and small thanks to you big, hulking, chicken- hearted men. We’ll have that
chest open, if we die for it. And I’ll thank you for that bag, Mrs. Crossley, to bring
back our lawful money in.”
Of course I said I would go with my mother, and of course they all cried out at our
foolhardiness, but even then not a man would go along with us. All they would do
was to give me a loaded pistol lest we were attacked, and to promise to have horses
ready saddled in case we were pursued on our return, while one lad was to ride
forward to the doctor’s in search of armed assistance.
My heart was beating finely when we two set forth in the cold night upon this
dangerous venture. A full moon was beginning to rise and peered redly through the
upper edges of the fog, and this increased our haste, for it was plain, before we came
forth again, that all would be as bright as day, and our departure exposed to the
eyes of any watchers. We slipped along the hedges, noiseless and swift, nor did we
see or hear anything to increase our terrors, till, to our relief, the door of the
Admiral Benbow had closed behind us.
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17. I slipped the bolt at once, and we stood and panted for a moment in the dark, alone
in the house with the dead captain’s body. Then my mother got a candle in the bar,
and holding each other’s hands, we advanced into the parlour. He lay as we had left
him, on his back, with his eyes open and one arm stretched out.
“Draw down the blind, Jim,” whispered my mother; “they might come and watch
outside. And now,” said she when I had done so, “we have to get the key off THAT;
and who’s to touch it, I should like to know!” and she gave a kind of sob as she said
the words.
I went down on my knees at once. On the floor close to his hand there was a little
round of paper, blackened on the one side. I could not doubt that this was the
BLACK SPOT; and taking it up, I found written on the other side, in a very good,
clear hand, this short message: “You have till ten tonight.”
“He had till ten, Mother,” said I; and just as I said it, our old clock began striking.
This sudden noise startled us shockingly; but the news was good, for it was only six.
“Now, Jim,” she said, “that key.”
I felt in his pockets, one after another. A few small coins, a thimble, and some
thread and big needles, a piece of pigtail tobacco bitten away at the end, his gully
with the crooked handle, a pocket compass, and a tinder box were all that they
contained, and I began to despair.
“Perhaps it’s round his neck,” suggested my mother.
Overcoming a strong repugnance, I tore open his shirt at the neck, and there, sure
enough, hanging to a bit of tarry string, which I cut with his own gully, we found
the key. At this triumph we were filled with hope and hurried upstairs without
delay to the little room where he had slept so long and where his box had stood
since the day of his arrival.
It was like any other seaman’s chest on the outside, the initial “B” burned on the top
of it with a hot iron, and the corners somewhat smashed and broken as by long,
rough usage.
“Give me the key,” said my mother; and though the lock was very stiff, she had
turned it and thrown back the lid in a twinkling.
A strong smell of tobacco and tar rose from the interior, but nothing was to be seen
on the top except a suit of very good clothes, carefully brushed and folded. They had
never been worn, my mother said. Under that, the miscellany began — a quadrant,
a tin canikin, several sticks of tobacco, two brace of very handsome pistols, a piece of
bar silver, an old Spanish watch and some other trinkets of little value and mostly
of foreign make, a pair of compasses mounted with brass, and five or six curious
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18. West Indian shells. I have often wondered since why he should have carried about
these shells with him in his wandering, guilty, and hunted life.
In the meantime, we had found nothing of any value but the silver and the trinkets,
and neither of these were in our way. Underneath there was an old boat-cloak,
whitened with sea-salt on many a harbour-bar. My mother pulled it up with
impatience, and there lay before us, the last things in the chest, a bundle tied up in
oilcloth, and looking like papers, and a canvas bag that gave forth, at a touch, the
jingle of gold.
“I’ll show these rogues that I’m an honest woman,” said my mother. “I’ll have my
dues, and not a farthing over. Hold Mrs. Crossley’s bag.” And she began to count
over the amount of the captain’s score from the sailor’s bag into the one that I was
It was a long, difficult business, for the coins were of all countries and sizes —
doubloons, and louis d’ors, and guineas, and pieces of eight, and I know not what
besides, all shaken together at random. The guineas, too, were about the scarcest,
and it was with these only that my mother knew how to make her count.
When we were about half-way through, I suddenly put my hand upon her arm, for I
had heard in the silent frosty air a sound that brought my heart into my mouth —
the tap- tapping of the blind man’s stick upon the frozen road. It drew nearer and
nearer, while we sat holding our breath. Then it struck sharp on the inn door, and
then we could hear the handle being turned and the bolt rattling as the wretched
being tried to enter; and then there was a long time of silence both within and
without. At last the tapping recommenced, and, to our indescribable joy and
gratitude, died slowly away again until it ceased to be heard.
“Mother,” said I, “take the whole and let’s be going,” for I was sure the bolted door
must have seemed suspicious and would bring the whole hornet’s nest about our
ears, though how thankful I was that I had bolted it, none could tell who had never
met that terrible blind man.
But my mother, frightened as she was, would not consent to take a fraction more
than was due to her and was obstinately unwilling to be content with less. It was
not yet seven, she said, by a long way; she knew her rights and she would have
them; and she was still arguing with me when a little low whistle sounded a good
way off upon the hill. That was enough, and more than enough, for both of us.
“I’ll take what I have,” she said, jumping to her feet. “And I’ll take this to square the
count,” said I, picking up the oilskin packet. Next moment we were both groping
downstairs, leaving the candle by the empty chest;
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19. and the next we had opened the door and were in full retreat. We had not started a
too soon. The fog was rapidly dispersing; already the moon shone quite clear on the
high ground on either side; and it was only in the exact bottom of the dell and round
the tavern door that a thin veil still hung unbroken to conceal the first steps of our
escape. Far less than half-way to the hamlet, very little beyond the bottom of the
hill, we must come forth into the moonlight. Nor was this all, for the sound of
several footsteps running came already to our ears, and as we looked back in their
direction, a light tossing to and fro and still rapidly advancing showed that one of
the newcomers carried a lantern.
“My dear,” said my mother suddenly, “take the money and run on. I am going to
This was certainly the end for both of us, I thought. How I cursed the cowardice of
the neighbours; how I blamed my poor mother for her honesty and her greed, for her
past foolhardiness and present weakness! We were just at the little bridge, by good
fortune; and I helped her, tottering as she was, to the edge of the bank, where, sure
enough, she gave a sigh and fell on my shoulder. I do not know how I found the
strength to do it at all, and I am afraid it was roughly done, but I managed to drag
her down the bank and a little way under the arch. Farther I could not move her,
for the bridge was too low to let me do more than crawl below it. So there we had to
stay — my mother almost entirely exposed and both of us within earshot of the inn.
Chapter V - The Last of the Blind Man
My curiosity, in a sense, was stronger than my fear, for I could not remain where I
was, but crept back to the bank again, whence, sheltering my head behind a bush of
broom, I might command the road before our door. I was scarcely in position ere my
enemies began to arrive, seven or eight of them, running hard, their feet beating out
of time along the road and the man with the lantern some paces in front. Three men
ran together, hand in hand; and I made out, even through the mist, that the middle
man of this trio was the blind beggar. The next moment his voice showed me that I
was right.
“Down with the door!” he cried.
“Aye, aye, sir!” answered two or three; and a rush was made upon the Admiral
Benbow, the lantern-bearer following; and then I could see them pause, and hear
speeches passed in a lower key, as if they were surprised to find the door open. But
the pause was brief, for the blind man again issued his commands. His voice
sounded louder and higher, as if he were afire with eagerness and rage.
“In, in, in!” he shouted, and cursed them for their delay.
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20. Four or five of them obeyed at once, two remaining on the road with the formidable
beggar. There was a pause, then a cry of surprise, and then a voice shouting from
the house, “Bill’s dead.”
But the blind man swore at them again for their delay.
“Search him, some of you shirking lubbers, and the rest of you aloft and get the
chest,” he cried.
I could hear their feet rattling up our old stairs, so that the house must have shook
with it. Promptly afterwards, fresh sounds of astonishment arose; the window of the
captain’s room was thrown open with a slam and a jingle of broken glass, and a man
leaned out into the moonlight, head and shoulders, and addressed the blind beggar
on the road below him.
“Pew,” he cried, “they’ve been before us. Someone’s turned the chest out alow and
“Is it there?” roared Pew. “The money’s there.” The blind man cursed the money.
“Flint’s fist, I mean,” he cried. “We don’t see it here nohow,” returned the man.
“Here, you below there, is it on Bill?” cried the blind man again. At that another
fellow, probably him who had remained below to search the captain’s
body, came to the door of the inn. “Bill’s been overhauled a’ready,” said he; “nothin’
left.” “It’s these people of the inn — it’s that boy. I wish I had put his eyes out!” cried
blind man, Pew. “There were no time ago — they had the door bolted when I tried
Scatter, lads, and find ’em.” “Sure enough, they left their glim here,” said the fellow
from the window. “Scatter and find ’em! Rout the house out!” reiterated Pew,
striking with his stick upon
the road. Then there followed a great to-do through all our old inn, heavy feet
pounding to and
fro, furniture thrown over, doors kicked in, until the very rocks re-echoed and the
men came out again, one after another, on the road and declared that we were
nowhere to be found. And just the same whistle that had alarmed my mother and
myself over the dead captain’s money was once more clearly audible through the
night, but this time twice repeated. I had thought it to be the blind man’s trumpet,
so to speak, summoning his crew to the assault, but I now found that it was a signal
from the hillside towards the hamlet, and from its effect upon the buccaneers, a
signal to warn them of approaching danger.
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21. “There’s Dirk again,” said one. “Twice! We’ll have to budge, mates.”
“Budge, you skulk!” cried Pew. “Dirk was a fool and a coward from the first — you
wouldn’t mind him. They must be close by; they can’t be far; you have your hands
on it. Scatter and look for them, dogs! Oh, shiver my soul,” he cried, “if I had eyes!”
This appeal seemed to produce some effect, for two of the fellows began to look here
and there among the lumber, but half-heartedly, I thought, and with half an eye to
their own danger all the time, while the rest stood irresolute on the road.
“You have your hands on thousands, you fools, and you hang a leg! You’d be as rich
as kings if you could find it, and you know it’s here, and you stand there skulking.
There wasn’t one of you dared face Bill, and I did it — a blind man! And I’m to lose
my chance for you! I’m to be a poor, crawling beggar, sponging for rum, when I
might be rolling in a coach! If you had the pluck of a weevil in a biscuit you would
catch them still.”
“Hang it, Pew, we’ve got the doubloons!” grumbled one.
“They might have hid the blessed thing,” said another. “Take the Georges, Pew, and
don’t stand here squalling.”
Squalling was the word for it; Pew’s anger rose so high at these objections till at
last, his passion completely taking the upper hand, he struck at them right and left
in his blindness and his stick sounded heavily on more than one.
These, in their turn, cursed back at the blind miscreant, threatened him in horrid
terms, and tried in vain to catch the stick and wrest it from his grasp.
This quarrel was the saving of us, for while it was still raging, another sound came
from the top of the hill on the side of the hamlet — the tramp of horses galloping.
Almost at the same time a pistol-shot, flash and report, came from the hedge side.
And that was plainly the last signal of danger, for the buccaneers turned at once
and ran, separating in every direction, one seaward along the cove, one slant across
the hill, and so on, so that in half a minute not a sign of them remained but Pew.
Him they had deserted, whether in sheer panic or out of revenge for his ill words
and blows I know not; but there he remained behind, tapping up and down the road
in a frenzy, and groping and calling for his comrades. Finally he took a wrong turn
and ran a few steps past me, towards the hamlet, crying, “Johnny, Black Dog, Dirk,”
and other names, “you won’t leave old Pew, mates —
not old Pew!” Just then the noise of horses topped the rise, and four or five riders
came in sight in the
moonlight and swept at full gallop down the slope. At this Pew saw his error, turned
with a scream, and ran straight for the ditch, into
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22. which he rolled. But he was on his feet again in a second and made another dash,
now utterly bewildered, right under the nearest of the coming horses.
The rider tried to save him, but in vain. Down went Pew with a cry that rang high
into the night; and the four hoofs trampled and spurned him and passed by. He fell
on his side, then gently collapsed upon his face and moved no more.
I leaped to my feet and hailed the riders. They were pulling up, at any rate,
horrified at the accident; and I soon saw what they were. One, tailing out behind
the rest, was a lad that had gone from the hamlet to Dr. Livesey’s; the rest were
revenue officers, whom he had met by the way, and with whom he had had the
intelligence to return at once. Some news of the lugger in Kitt’s Hole had found its
way to Supervisor Dance and set him forth that night in our direction, and to that
circumstance my mother and I owed our preservation from death.
Pew was dead, stone dead. As for my mother, when we had carried her up to the
hamlet, a little cold water and salts and that soon brought her back again, and she
was none the worse for her terror, though she still continued to deplore the balance
of the money. In the meantime the supervisor rode on, as fast as he could, to Kitt’s
Hole; but his men had to dismount and grope down the dingle, leading, and
sometimes supporting, their horses, and in continual fear of ambushes; so it was no
great matter for surprise that when they got down to the Hole the lugger was
already under way, though still close in. He hailed her. A voice replied, telling him
to keep out of the moonlight or he would get some lead in him, and at the same time
a bullet whistled close by his arm. Soon after, the lugger doubled the point and
disappeared. Mr. Dance stood there, as he said, “like a fish out of water,” and all he
could do was to dispatch a man to B—— to warn the cutter. “And that,” said he, “is
just about as good as nothing. They’ve got off clean, and there’s an end. Only,” he
added, “I’m glad I trod on Master Pew’s corns,” for by this time he had heard my
I went back with him to the Admiral Benbow, and you cannot imagine a house in
such a state of smash; the very clock had been thrown down by these fellows in their
furious hunt after my mother and myself; and though nothing had actually been
taken away except the captain’s money-bag and a little silver from the till, I could
see at once that we were ruined. Mr. Dance could make nothing of the scene.
“They got the money, you say? Well, then, Hawkins, what in fortune were they
after? More money, I suppose?”
“No, sir; not money, I think,” replied I. “In fact, sir, I believe I have the thing in my
breast pocket; and to tell you the truth, I should like to get it put in safety.”
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23. “To be sure, boy; quite right,” said he. “I’ll take it, if you like.” “I thought perhaps
Dr. Livesey —” I began. “Perfectly right,” he interrupted very cheerily, “perfectly
right — a gentleman and a
magistrate. And, now I come to think of it, I might as well ride round there myself
report to him or squire. Master Pew’s dead, when all’s done; not that I regret it, but
he’s dead, you see, and people will make it out against an officer of his Majesty’s
revenue, if make it out they can. Now, I’ll tell you, Hawkins, if you like, I’ll take you
I thanked him heartily for the offer, and we walked back to the hamlet where the
horses were. By the time I had told mother of my purpose they were all in the
“Dogger,” said Mr. Dance, “you have a good horse; take up this lad behind you.”
As soon as I was mounted, holding on to Dogger’s belt, the supervisor gave the
word, and the party struck out at a bouncing trot on the road to Dr. Livesey’s house.
Chapter VI - The Captainʼs Papers
We rode hard all the way till we drew up before Dr. Livesey’s door. The house was
all dark to the front. Mr. Dance told me to jump down and knock, and Dogger gave
me a stirrup to descend by. The door was opened almost at once by the maid.
“Is Dr. Livesey in?” I asked.
No, she said, he had come home in the afternoon but had gone up to the hall to dine
and pass the evening with the squire.
“So there we go, boys,” said Mr. Dance.
This time, as the distance was short, I did not mount, but ran with Dogger’s stirrup-
leather to the lodge gates and up the long, leafless, moonlit avenue to where the
white line of the hall buildings looked on either hand on great old gardens. Here Mr.
Dance dismounted, and taking me along with him, was admitted at a word into the
The servant led us down a matted passage and showed us at the end into a great
library, all lined with bookcases and busts upon the top of them, where the squire
and Dr. Livesey sat, pipe in hand, on either side of a bright fire.
I had never seen the squire so near at hand. He was a tall man, over six feet high,
and broad in proportion, and he had a bluff, rough-and-ready face, all roughened
and reddened and lined in his long travels. His eyebrows were very black, and
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24. moved readily, and this gave him a look of some temper, not bad, you would say, but
quick and high.
“Come in, Mr. Dance,” says he, very stately and condescending.
“Good evening, Dance,” says the doctor with a nod. “And good evening to you, friend
Jim. What good wind brings you here?”
The supervisor stood up straight and stiff and told his story like a lesson; and you
should have seen how the two gentlemen leaned forward and looked at each other,
and forgot to smoke in their surprise and interest. When they heard how my mother
went back to the inn, Dr. Livesey fairly slapped his thigh, and the squire cried
“Bravo!” and broke his long pipe against the grate. Long before it was done, Mr.
Trelawney (that, you will remember, was the squire’s name) had got up from his
seat and was striding about the room, and the doctor, as if to hear the better, had
taken off his powdered wig and sat there looking very strange indeed with his own
close-cropped black poll.
At last Mr. Dance finished the story.
“Mr. Dance,” said the squire, “you are a very noble fellow. And as for riding down
that black, atrocious miscreant, I regard it as an act of virtue, sir, like stamping on
a cockroach. This lad Hawkins is a trump, I perceive. Hawkins, will you ring that
bell? Mr. Dance must have some ale.”
“And so, Jim,” said the doctor, “you have the thing that they were after, have you?”
“Here it is, sir,” said I, and gave him the oilskin packet.
The doctor looked it all over, as if his fingers were itching to open it; but instead of
doing that, he put it quietly in the pocket of his coat.
“Squire,” said he, “when Dance has had his ale he must, of course, be off on his
Majesty’s service; but I mean to keep Jim Hawkins here to sleep at my house, and
with your permission, I propose we should have up the cold pie and let him sup.”
“As you will, Livesey,” said the squire; “Hawkins has earned better than cold pie.”
So a big pigeon pie was brought in and put on a sidetable, and I made a hearty
supper, for I was as hungry as a hawk, while Mr. Dance was further complimented
and at last dismissed.
“And now, squire,” said the doctor. “And now, Livesey,” said the squire in the same
breath. “One at a time, one at a time,” laughed Dr. Livesey. “You have heard of this
Flint, I
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25. suppose?” “Heard of him!” cried the squire. “Heard of him, you say! He was the
buccaneer that sailed. Blackbeard was a child to Flint. The Spaniards were so
prodigiously afraid of him that, I tell you, sir, I was sometimes proud he was an
Englishman. I’ve seen his top-sails with these eyes, off Trinidad, and the cowardly
son of a rum-puncheon that I sailed with put back — put back, sir, into Port of
“Well, I’ve heard of him myself, in England,” said the doctor. “But the point is, had
he money?”
“Money!” cried the squire. “Have you heard the story? What were these villains
after but money? What do they care for but money? For what would they risk their
rascal carcasses but money?”
“That we shall soon know,” replied the doctor. “But you are so confoundedly hot-
headed and exclamatory that I cannot get a word in. What I want to know is this:
Supposing that I have here in my pocket some clue to where Flint buried his
treasure, will that treasure amount to much?”
“Amount, sir!” cried the squire. “It will amount to this: If we have the clue you talk
about, I fit out a ship in Bristol dock, and take you and Hawkins here along, and I’ll
have that treasure if I search a year.”
“Very well,” said the doctor. “Now, then, if Jim is agreeable, we’ll open the packet”;
and he laid it before him on the table.
The bundle was sewn together, and the doctor had to get out his instrument case
and cut the stitches with his medical scissors. It contained two things — a book and
a sealed paper.
“First of all we’ll try the book,” observed the doctor.
The squire and I were both peering over his shoulder as he opened it, for Dr.
Livesey had kindly motioned me to come round from the side-table, where I had
been eating, to enjoy the sport of the search. On the first page there were only some
scraps of writing, such as a man with a pen in his hand might make for idleness or
practice. One was the same as the tattoo mark, “Billy Bones his fancy”; then there
was “Mr. W. Bones, mate,” “No more rum,” “Off Palm Key he got itt,” and some
other snatches, mostly single words and
unintelligible. I could not help wondering who it was that had “got itt,” and what
“itt” was that he got. A knife in his back as like as not.
“Not much instruction there,” said Dr. Livesey as he passed on.
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26. The next ten or twelve pages were filled with a curious series of entries. There was
a date at one end of the line and at the other a sum of money, as in common
account-books, but instead of explanatory writing, only a varying number of crosses
between the two. On the 12th of June, 1745, for instance, a sum of seventy pounds
had plainly become due to someone, and there was nothing but six crosses to
explain the cause. In a few cases, to be sure, the name of a place would be added, as
“Offe Caraccas,” or a mere entry of latitude and longitude, as “62o 17’ 20”, 19o 2’
The record lasted over nearly twenty years, the amount of the separate entries
growing larger as time went on, and at the end a grand total had been made out
after five or six wrong additions, and these words appended, “Bones, his pile.”
“I can’t make head or tail of this,” said Dr. Livesey.
“The thing is as clear as noonday,” cried the squire. “This is the black-hearted
hound’s account-book. These crosses stand for the names of ships or towns that they
sank or plundered. The sums are the scoundrel’s share, and where he feared an
ambiguity, you see he added something clearer. ‘Offe Caraccas,’ now; you see, here
was some unhappy vessel boarded off that coast. God help the poor souls that
manned her — coral long ago.”
“Right!” said the doctor. “See what it is to be a traveller. Right! And the amounts
increase, you see, as he rose in rank.”
There was little else in the volume but a few bearings of places noted in the blank
leaves towards the end and a table for reducing French, English, and Spanish
moneys to a common value.
“Thrifty man!” cried the doctor. “He wasn’t the one to be cheated.” “And now,” said
the squire, “for the other.” The paper had been sealed in several places with a
thimble by way of seal; the very
thimble, perhaps, that I had found in the captain’s pocket. The doctor opened the
seals with great care, and there fell out the map of an island, with latitude and
longitude, soundings, names of hills and bays and inlets, and every particular that
would be needed to bring a ship to a safe anchorage upon its shores. It was about
nine miles long and five across, shaped, you might say, like a fat dragon standing
up, and had two fine land-locked harbours, and a hill in the centre part marked
“The Spy-glass.” There were several additions of a later date, but above all, three
crosses of red ink — two on the north part of the island, one in the southwest — and
beside this last, in the same red ink, and in a small, neat hand, very different from
the captain’s tottery characters, these words: “Bulk of treasure here.”
Over on the back the same hand had written this further information:
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27. Tall tree, Spy-glass shoulder, bearing a point to the N. of N.N.E. Skeleton Island
E.S.E. and by E. Ten feet.
The bar silver is in the north cache; you can find it by the trend of the east
hummock, ten fathoms south of the black crag with the face on it.
The arms are easy found, in the sand-hill, N. point of north inlet cape, bearing E.
and a quarter N. J.F.
That was all; but brief as it was, and to me incomprehensible, it filled the squire
and Dr. Livesey with delight.
“Livesey,” said the squire, “you will give up this wretched practice at once.
Tomorrow I start for Bristol. In three weeks’ time — three weeks!— two weeks —
ten days — we’ll have the best ship, sir, and the choicest crew in England. Hawkins
shall come as cabin- boy. You’ll make a famous cabin-boy, Hawkins. You, Livesey,
are ship’s doctor; I am admiral. We’ll take Redruth, Joyce, and Hunter. We’ll have
favourable winds, a quick
passage, and not the least difficulty in finding the spot, and money to eat, to roll in,
to play duck and drake with ever after.”
“Trelawney,” said the doctor, “I’ll go with you; and I’ll go bail for it, so will Jim, and
be a credit to the undertaking. There’s only one man I’m afraid of.”
“And who’s that?” cried the squire. “Name the dog, sir!”
“You,” replied the doctor; “for you cannot hold your tongue. We are not the only men
who know of this paper. These fellows who attacked the inn tonight — bold,
desperate blades, for sure — and the rest who stayed aboard that lugger, and more,
I dare say, not far off, are, one and all, through thick and thin, bound that they’ll
get that money. We must none of us go alone till we get to sea. Jim and I shall stick
together in the meanwhile; you’ll take Joyce and Hunter when you ride to Bristol,
and from first to last, not one of us must breathe a word of what we’ve found.”
“Livesey,” returned the squire, “you are always in the right of it. I’ll be as silent as
the grave.”
Part Two. The Sea Cook
Chapter VII - I Go to Bristol
It was longer than the squire imagined ere we were ready for the sea, and none of
our first plans — not even Dr. Livesey’s, of keeping me beside him — could be
carried out as we intended. The doctor had to go to London for a physician to take
charge of his practice; the squire was hard at work at Bristol; and I lived on at the
hall under the charge of old Redruth, the gamekeeper, almost a prisoner, but full of
sea-dreams and the most charming anticipations of strange islands and adventures.
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28. I brooded by the hour together over the map, all the details of which I well
remembered. Sitting by the fire in the housekeeper’s room, I approached that island
in my fancy from every possible direction; I explored every acre of its surface; I
climbed a thousand times to that tall hill they call the Spy-glass, and from the top
enjoyed the most wonderful and changing prospects. Sometimes the isle was thick
with savages, with whom we fought, sometimes full of dangerous animals that
hunted us, but in all my fancies nothing occurred to me so strange and tragic as our
actual adventures.
So the weeks passed on, till one fine day there came a letter addressed to Dr.
Livesey, with this addition, “To be opened, in the case of his absence, by Tom
Redruth or young Hawkins.” Obeying this order, we found, or rather I found — for
the gamekeeper was a poor hand at reading anything but print — the following
important news:
Old Anchor Inn, Bristol, March 1, 17 —
Dear Livesey — As I do not know whether you are at the hall or still in London, I
send this in double to both places.
The ship is bought and fitted. She lies at anchor, ready for sea. You never imagined
a sweeter schooner — a child might sail her — two hundred tons; name,
I got her through my old friend, Blandly, who has proved himself throughout the
most surprising trump. The admirable fellow literally slaved in my interest, and so,
I may say, did everyone in Bristol, as soon as they got wind of the port we sailed for
— treasure, I mean.
“Redruth,” said I, interrupting the letter, “Dr. Livesey will not like that. The squire
has been talking, after all.”
“Well, who’s a better right?” growled the gamekeeper. “A pretty rum go if squire
ain’t to talk for Dr. Livesey, I should think.”
At that I gave up all attempts at commentary and read straight on:
Blandly himself found the HISPANIOLA, and by the most admirable management
got her for the merest trifle. There is a class of men in Bristol monstrously
prejudiced against Blandly. They go the length of declaring that this honest
creature would do anything for money, that the HISPANIOLA belonged to him, and
that he sold it me absurdly high — the most transparent calumnies. None of them
dare, however, to deny the merits of the ship.
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29. So far there was not a hitch. The workpeople, to be sure — riggers and what not —
were most annoyingly slow; but time cured that. It was the crew that troubled me.
I wished a round score of men — in case of natives, buccaneers, or the odious
French — and I had the worry of the deuce itself to find so much as half a dozen, till
the most remarkable stroke of fortune brought me the very man that I required.
I was standing on the dock, when, by the merest accident, I fell in talk with him. I
found he was an old sailor, kept a public-house, knew all the seafaring men in
Bristol, had lost his health ashore, and wanted a good berth as cook to get to sea
again. He had hobbled down there that morning, he said, to get a smell of the salt.
I was monstrously touched — so would you have been — and, out of pure pity, I
engaged him on the spot to be ship’s cook. Long John Silver, he is called, and has
lost a leg; but that I regarded as a recommendation, since he lost it in his country’s
service, under the immortal Hawke. He has no pension, Livesey. Imagine the
abominable age we live in!
Well, sir, I thought I had only found a cook, but it was a crew I had discovered.
Between Silver and myself we got together in a few days a company of the toughest
old salts imaginable — not pretty to look at, but fellows, by their faces, of the most
indomitable spirit. I declare we could fight a frigate.
Long John even got rid of two out of the six or seven I had already engaged. He
showed me in a moment that they were just the sort of fresh-water swabs we had to
fear in an adventure of importance.
I am in the most magnificent health and spirits, eating like a bull, sleeping like a
tree, yet I shall not enjoy a moment till I hear my old tarpaulins tramping round the
capstan. Seaward, ho! Hang the treasure! It’s the glory of the sea that has turned
my head. So now, Livesey, come post; do not lose an hour, if you respect me.
Let young Hawkins go at once to see his mother, with Redruth for a guard; and then
both come full speed to Bristol.
John Trelawney
Postscript — I did not tell you that Blandly, who, by the way, is to send a consort
after us if we don’t turn up by the end of August, had found an admirable fellow for
sailing master — a stiff man, which I regret, but in all other respects a treasure.
Long John Silver unearthed a very competent man for a mate, a man named Arrow.
I have a boatswain who pipes, Livesey; so things shall go man-o’-war fashion on
board the good ship HISPANIOLA.
I forgot to tell you that Silver is a man of substance; I know of my own knowledge
that he has a banker’s account, which has never been overdrawn. He leaves his wife
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30. to manage the inn; and as she is a woman of colour, a pair of old bachelors like you
and I may be excused for guessing that it is the wife, quite as much as the health,
that sends him back to
J. T. P.P.S.— Hawkins may stay one night with his mother. J. T.
You can fancy the excitement into which that letter put me. I was half beside myself
with glee; and if ever I despised a man, it was old Tom Redruth, who could do
nothing but grumble and lament. Any of the under- gamekeepers would gladly have
changed places with him; but such was not the squire’s pleasure, and the squire’s
pleasure was like law among them all. Nobody but old Redruth would have dared so
much as even to grumble.
The next morning he and I set out on foot for the Admiral Benbow, and there I
found my mother in good health and spirits. The captain, who had so long been a
cause of so much discomfort, was gone where the wicked cease from troubling. The
squire had had everything repaired, and the public rooms and the sign repainted,
and had added some furniture — above all a beautiful armchair for mother in the
bar. He had found her a boy as an apprentice also so that she should not want help
while I was gone.
It was on seeing that boy that I understood, for the first time, my situation. I had
thought up to that moment of the adventures before me, not at all of the home that
I was leaving; and now, at sight of this clumsy stranger, who was to stay here in my
place beside my mother, I had my first attack of tears. I am afraid I led that boy a
dog’s life, for as he was new to the work, I had a hundred opportunities of setting
him right and putting him down, and I was not slow to profit by them.
The night passed, and the next day, after dinner, Redruth and I were afoot again
and on the road. I said good-bye to Mother and the cove where I had lived since I
was born, and the dear old Admiral Benbow — since he was repainted, no longer
quite so dear. One of my last thoughts was of the captain, who had so often strode
along the beach with his cocked hat, his sabre-cut cheek, and his old brass
telescope. Next moment we had turned the corner and my home was out of sight.
The mail picked us up about dusk at the Royal George on the heath. I was wedged
in between Redruth and a stout old gentleman, and in spite of the swift motion and
the cold night air, I must have dozed a great deal from the very first, and then slept
like a log up hill and down dale through stage after stage, for when I was awakened
at last it was by a punch in the ribs, and I opened my eyes to find that we were
standing still before a large building in a city street and that the day had already
broken a long time.
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31. “Where are we?” I asked. “Bristol,” said Tom. “Get down.” Mr. Trelawney had taken
up his residence at an inn far down the docks to superintend
the work upon the schooner. Thither we had now to walk, and our way, to my great
delight, lay along the quays and beside the great multitude of ships of all sizes and
rigs and nations. In one, sailors were singing at their work, in another there were
men aloft, high over my head, hanging to threads that seemed no thicker than a
spider’s. Though I had
lived by the shore all my life, I seemed never to have been near the sea till then.
The smell of tar and salt was something new. I saw the most wonderful figureheads,
that had all been far over the ocean. I saw, besides, many old sailors, with rings in
their ears, and whiskers curled in ringlets, and tarry pigtails, and their swaggering,
clumsy sea- walk; and if I had seen as many kings or archbishops I could not have
been more delighted.
And I was going to sea myself, to sea in a schooner, with a piping boatswain and
pig- tailed singing seamen, to sea, bound for an unknown island, and to seek for
buried treasure!
While I was still in this delightful dream, we came suddenly in front of a large inn
and met Squire Trelawney, all dressed out like a sea-officer, in stout blue cloth,
coming out of the door with a smile on his face and a capital imitation of a sailor’s
“Here you are,” he cried, “and the doctor came last night from London. Bravo! The
ship’s company complete!”
“Oh, sir,” cried I, “when do we sail?” “Sail!” says he. “We sail tomorrow!”
Chapter VIII - At the Sign of the 'Spy-Glass'
When I had done breakfasting the squire gave me a note addressed to John Silver,
at the sign of the Spy-glass, and told me I should easily find the place by following
the line of the docks and keeping a bright lookout for a little tavern with a large
brass telescope for sign. I set off, overjoyed at this opportunity to see some more of
the ships and seamen, and picked my way among a great crowd of people and carts
and bales, for the dock was now at its busiest, until I found the tavern in question.
It was a bright enough little place of entertainment. The sign was newly painted;
the windows had neat red curtains; the floor was cleanly sanded. There was a street
on each side and an open door on both, which made the large, low room pretty clear
to see in, in spite of clouds of tobacco smoke.
The customers were mostly seafaring men, and they talked so loudly that I hung at
the door, almost afraid to enter.
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32. As I was waiting, a man came out of a side room, and at a glance I was sure he must
be Long John. His left leg was cut off close by the hip, and under the left shoulder
he carried a crutch, which he managed with wonderful dexterity, hopping about
upon it like a bird. He was very tall and strong, with a face as big as a ham — plain
and pale, but intelligent and smiling. Indeed, he seemed in the most cheerful
spirits, whistling as he moved about among the tables, with a merry word or a slap
on the shoulder for the more favoured of his guests.
Now, to tell you the truth, from the very first mention of Long John in Squire
Trelawney’s letter I had taken a fear in my mind that he might prove to be the very
one- legged sailor whom I had watched for so long at the old Benbow. But one look
at the man before me was enough. I had seen the captain, and Black Dog, and the
blind man, Pew, and I thought I knew what a buccaneer was like — a very different
creature, according to me, from this clean and pleasant-tempered landlord.
I plucked up courage at once, crossed the threshold, and walked right up to the man
where he stood, propped on his crutch, talking to a customer.
“Mr. Silver, sir?” I asked, holding out the note.
“Yes, my lad,” said he; “such is my name, to be sure. And who may you be?” And
then as he saw the squire’s letter, he seemed to me to give something almost like a
“Oh!” said he, quite loud, and offering his hand. “I see. You are our new cabin-boy;
pleased I am to see you.”
And he took my hand in his large firm grasp.
Just then one of the customers at the far side rose suddenly and made for the door.
It was close by him, and he was out in the street in a moment. But his hurry had
attracted my notice, and I recognized him at glance. It was the tallow-faced man,
wanting two fingers, who had come first to the Admiral Benbow.
“Oh,” I cried, “stop him! It’s Black Dog!”
“I don’t care two coppers who he is,” cried Silver. “But he hasn’t paid his score.
Harry, run and catch him.”
One of the others who was nearest the door leaped up and started in pursuit.
“If he were Admiral Hawke he shall pay his score,” cried Silver; and then,
relinquishing my hand, “Who did you say he was?” he asked. “Black what?”
“Dog, sir,” said I. Has Mr. Trelawney not told you of the buccaneers? He was one of
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33. “So?” cried Silver. “In my house! Ben, run and help Harry. One of those swabs, was
he? Was that you drinking with him, Morgan? Step up here.”
The man whom he called Morgan — an old, grey-haired, mahogany-faced sailor —
came forward pretty sheepishly, rolling his quid.
“Now, Morgan,” said Long John very sternly, “you never clapped your eyes on that
Black — Black Dog before, did you, now?”
“Not I, sir,” said Morgan with a salute. “You didn’t know his name, did you?” “No,
sir.” “By the powers, Tom Morgan, it’s as good for you!” exclaimed the landlord. “If
had been mixed up with the like of that, you would never have put another foot in
my house, you may lay to that. And what was he saying to you?”
“I don’t rightly know, sir,” answered Morgan.
“Do you call that a head on your shoulders, or a blessed dead-eye?” cried Long John.
“Don’t rightly know, don’t you! Perhaps you don’t happen to rightly know who you
was speaking to, perhaps? Come, now, what was he jawing — v’yages, cap’ns, ships?
Pipe up! What was it?”
“We was a-talkin’ of keel-hauling,” answered Morgan.
“Keel-hauling, was you? And a mighty suitable thing, too, and you may lay to that.
Get back to your place for a lubber, Tom.”
And then, as Morgan rolled back to his seat, Silver added to me in a confidential
whisper that was very flattering, as I thought, “He’s quite an honest man, Tom
Morgan, on’y stupid. And now,” he ran on again, aloud, “let’s see — Black Dog? No, I
don’t know the name, not I. Yet I kind of think I’ve — yes, I’ve seen the swab. He
used to come here with a blind beggar, he used.”
“That he did, you may be sure,” said I. “I knew that blind man too. His name was
Pew .”
“It was!” cried Silver, now quite excited. “Pew! That were his name for certain. Ah,
he looked a shark, he did! If we run down this Black Dog, now, there’ll be news for
Cap’n Trelawney! Ben’s a good runner; few seamen run better than Ben. He should
run him down, hand over hand, by the powers! He talked o’ keel- hauling, did he?
I’LL keel-haul him!”
All the time he was jerking out these phrases he was stumping up and down the
tavern on his crutch, slapping tables with his hand, and giving such a show of
excitement as
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34. would have convinced an Old Bailey judge or a Bow Street runner. My suspicions
had been thoroughly reawakened on finding Black Dog at the Spy- glass, and I
watched the cook narrowly. But he was too deep, and too ready, and too clever for
me, and by the time the two men had come back out of breath and confessed that
they had lost the track in a crowd, and been scolded like thieves, I would have gone
bail for the innocence of Long John Silver.
“See here, now, Hawkins,” said he, “here’s a blessed hard thing on a man like me,
now, ain’t it? There’s Cap’n Trelawney — what’s he to think? Here I have this
confounded son of a Dutchman sitting in my own house drinking of my own rum!
Here you comes and tells me of it plain; and here I let him give us all the slip before
my blessed deadlights! Now, Hawkins, you do me justice with the cap’n. You’re a
lad, you are, but you’re as smart as paint. I see that when you first come in. Now,
here it is: What could I do, with this old timber I hobble on? When I was an A B
master mariner I’d have come up alongside of him, hand over hand, and broached
him to in a brace of old shakes, I would; but now —”
And then, all of a sudden, he stopped, and his jaw dropped as though he had
remembered something.
“The score!” he burst out. “Three goes o’ rum! Why, shiver my timbers, if I hadn’t
forgotten my score!”
And falling on a bench, he laughed until the tears ran down his cheeks. I could not
help joining, and we laughed together, peal after peal, until the tavern rang again.
“Why, what a precious old sea-calf I am!” he said at last, wiping his cheeks. “You
and me should get on well, Hawkins, for I’ll take my davy I should be rated ship’s
boy. But come now, stand by to go about. This won’t do. Dooty is dooty, messmates.
I’ll put on my old cockerel hat, and step along of you to Cap’n Trelawney, and report
this here affair. For mind you, it’s serious, young Hawkins; and neither you nor me’s
come out of it with what I should make so bold as to call credit. Nor you neither,
says you; not smart — none of the pair of us smart. But dash my buttons! That was
a good un about my score.”
And he began to laugh again, and that so heartily, that though I did not see the joke
as he did, I was again obliged to join him in his mirth.
On our little walk along the quays, he made himself the most interesting
companion, telling me about the different ships that we passed by, their rig,
tonnage, and nationality, explaining the work that was going forward — how one
was discharging, another taking in cargo, and a third making ready for sea — and
every now and then telling me some little anecdote of ships or seamen or repeating
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35. a nautical phrase till I had learned it perfectly. I began to see that here was one of
the best of possible shipmates.
When we got to the inn, the squire and Dr. Livesey were seated together, finishing a
quart of ale with a toast in it, before they should go aboard the schooner on a visit of
Long John told the story from first to last, with a great deal of spirit and the most
perfect truth. “That was how it were, now, weren’t it, Hawkins?” he would say, now
and again, and I could always bear him entirely out.
The two gentlemen regretted that Black Dog had got away, but we all agreed there
nothing to be done, and after he had been complimented, Long John took up his
crutch and departed.
“All hands aboard by four this afternoon,” shouted the squire after him. “Aye, aye,
sir,” cried the cook, in the passage. “Well, squire,” said Dr. Livesey, “I don’t put
much faith in your discoveries, as a
general thing; but I will say this, John Silver suits me.” “The man’s a perfect
trump,” declared the squire. “And now,” added the doctor, “Jim may come on board
with us, may he not?” “To be sure he may,” says squire. “Take your hat, Hawkins,
and we’ll see the ship.”
Chapter IX - Powder and Arms
The HISPANIOLA lay some way out, and we went under the figureheads and round
the sterns of many other ships, and their cables sometimes grated underneath our
keel, and sometimes swung above us. At last, however, we got alongside, and were
met and saluted as we stepped aboard by the mate, Mr. Arrow, a brown old sailor
with earrings in his ears and a squint. He and the squire were very thick and
friendly, but I soon observed that things were not the same between Mr. Trelawney
and the captain.
This last was a sharp-looking man who seemed angry with everything on board and
was soon to tell us why, for we had hardly got down into the cabin when a sailor
followed us.
“Captain Smollett, sir, axing to speak with you,” said he. “I am always at the
captain’s orders. Show him in,” said the squire. The captain, who was close behind
his messenger, entered at once and shut the door
behind him. “Well, Captain Smollett, what have you to say? All well, I hope; all
shipshape and
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36. seaworthy?” “Well, sir,” said the captain, “better speak plain, I believe, even at the
risk of offence. I
don’t like this cruise; I don’t like the men; and I don’t like my officer. That’s short
and sweet.”
“Perhaps, sir, you don’t like the ship?” inquired the squire, very angry, as I could
“I can’t speak as to that, sir, not having seen her tried,” said the captain. “She
seems a clever craft; more I can’t say.”
“Possibly, sir, you may not like your employer, either?” says the squire. But here Dr.
Livesey cut in. “Stay a bit,” said he, “stay a bit. No use of such questions as that but
to produce ill
feeling. The captain has said too much or he has said too little, and I’m bound to say
that I require an explanation of his words. You don’t, you say, like this cruise. Now,
“I was engaged, sir, on what we call sealed orders, to sail this ship for that
gentleman where he should bid me,” said the captain. “So far so good. But now I
find that every man before the mast knows more than I do. I don’t call that fair,
now, do you?”
“No,” said Dr. Livesey, “I don’t.”
“Next,” said the captain, “I learn we are going after treasure — hear it from my own
hands, mind you. Now, treasure is ticklish work; I don’t like treasure voyages on
any account, and I don’t like them, above all, when they are secret and when
(begging your pardon, Mr. Trelawney) the secret has been told to the parrot.”
“Silver’s parrot?” asked the squire. “It’s a way of speaking,” said the captain.
“Blabbed, I mean. It’s my belief neither of
you gentlemen know what you are about, but I’ll tell you my way of it — life or
death, and a close run.”
“That is all clear, and, I dare say, true enough,” replied Dr. Livesey. “We take the
risk, but we are not so ignorant as you believe us. Next, you say you don’t like the
crew. Are they not good seamen?”
“I don’t like them, sir,” returned Captain Smollett. “And I think I should have had
the choosing of my own hands, if you go to that.”
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37. “Perhaps you should,” replied the doctor. “My friend should, perhaps, have taken
you along with him; but the slight, if there be one, was unintentional. And you don’t
like Mr. Arrow?”
“I don’t, sir. I believe he’s a good seaman, but he’s too free with the crew to be a good
officer. A mate should keep himself to himself — shouldn’t drink with the men
before the mast!”
“Do you mean he drinks?” cried the squire. “No, sir,” replied the captain, “only that
he’s too familiar.” “Well, now, and the short and long of it, captain?” asked the
doctor. “Tell us what you
want.” “Well, gentlemen, are you determined to go on this cruise?” “Like iron,”
answered the squire. “Very good,” said the captain. “Then, as you’ve heard me very
patiently, saying things
that I could not prove, hear me a few words more. They are putting the powder and
the arms in the fore hold. Now, you have a good place under the cabin; why not put
them there?— first point. Then, you are bringing four of your own people with you,
and they tell me some of them are to be berthed forward. Why not give them the
berths here beside the cabin?— second point.”
“Any more?” asked Mr. Trelawney. “One more,” said the captain. “There’s been too
much blabbing already.” “Far too much,” agreed the doctor. “I’ll tell you what I’ve
heard myself,” continued Captain Smollett: “that you have a map
of an island, that there’s crosses on the map to show where treasure is, and that the
island lies —” And then he named the latitude and longitude exactly.
“I never told that,” cried the squire, “to a soul!” “The hands know it, sir,” returned
the captain. “Livesey, that must have been you or Hawkins,” cried the squire. “It
doesn’t much matter who it was,” replied the doctor. And I could see that neither he
nor the captain paid much regard to Mr. Trelawney’s protestations. Neither did I, to
be sure, he was so loose a talker; yet in this case I believe he was really right and
that nobody had told the situation of the island.
“Well, gentlemen,” continued the captain, “I don’t know who has this map; but I
make it a point, it shall be kept secret even from me and Mr. Arrow. Otherwise I
would ask you to let me resign.”
“I see,” said the doctor. “You wish us to keep this matter dark and to make a
garrison of
the stern part of the ship, manned with my friend’s own people, and provided with
all the arms and powder on board. In other words, you fear a mutiny.”
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