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by Robert Louis Stevenson
an American gentleman
in accordance with whose classic taste
the following narrative has been designed
it is nowin return for numerous delightful hours
and with the kindest wishes
by his affectionate friendthe author.
TO THE HESITATING PURCHASER
If sailor tales to sailor tunes
Storm and adventureheat and cold
If schoonersislandsand maroons
And buccaneersand buried gold
And all the old romanceretold
Exactly in the ancient way
Can pleaseas me they pleased of old
The wiser youngsters of today:
--So be itand fall on! If not
If studious youth no longer crave
His ancient appetites forgot
Kingstonor Ballantyne the brave
Or Cooper of the wood and wave:
So be italso! And may I
And all my pirates share the grave
Where these and their creations lie!
The Old Buccaneer
1. THE OLD SEA-DOG AT THE ADMIRAL BENBOW 11
2. BLACK DOG APPEARS AND DISAPPEARS . . . . 17
3. THE BLACK SPOT . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
4. THE SEA-CHEST . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
5. THE LAST OF THE BLIND MAN . . . . . . . 36
6. THE CAPTAIN'S PAPERS . . . . . . . . . . 41
The Sea Cook
7. I GO TO BRISTOL . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
8. AT THE SIGN OF THE SPY-GLASS . . . . . . 54
9. POWDER AND ARMS . . . . . . . . . . . . 59
10. THE VOYAGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
11. WHAT I HEARD IN THE APPLE BARREL . . . . 70
12. COUNCIL OF WAR . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76
My Shore Adventure
13. HOW MY SHORE ADVENTURE BEGAN . . . . . . 82
14. THE FIRST BLOW . . . . . . . . . . . . . 87
15. THE MAN OF THE ISLAND. . . . . . . . . . 93
NARRATIVE CONTINUED BY THE DOCTOR:
HOW THE SHIP WAS ABANDONED . . . . . . 100
NARRATIVE CONTINUED BY THE DOCTOR:
THE JOLLY-BOAT'S LAST TRIP . . . . . . 105
NARRATIVE CONTINUED BY THE DOCTOR:
END OF THE FIRST DAY'S FIGHTING . . . 109
NARRATIVE RESUMED BY JIM HAWKINS:
THE GARRISON IN THE STOCKADE . . . . . 114
20. SILVER'S EMBASSY . . . . . . . . . . . . 120
21. THE ATTACK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
My Sea Adventure
22. HOW MY SEA ADVENTURE BEGAN . . . . . . . 132
23. THE EBB-TIDE RUNS . . . . . . . . . . . 138
24. THE CRUISE OF THE CORACLE . . . . . . . 143
25. I STRIKE THE JOLLY ROGER . . . . . . . . 148
26. ISRAEL HANDS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153
27. "PIECES OF EIGHT" . . . . . . . . . . . 161
28. IN THE ENEMY'S CAMP . . . . . . . . . . 168
29. THE BLACK SPOT AGAIN . . . . . . . . . . 176
30. ON PAROLE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 182
31. THE TREASURE-HUNT--FLINT'S POINTER . . . 189
THE TREASURE-HUNT--THE VOICE AMONG
THE TREES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 195
33. THE FALL OF A CHIEFTAIN . . . . . . . . 201
34. AND LAST . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 207
The Old Buccaneer
The Old Sea-dog at the Admiral Benbow
SQUIRE TRELAWNEYDr. Liveseyand the rest of these
gentlemen having asked me to write down the whole
particulars about Treasure Islandfrom the beginning
to the endkeeping nothing back but the bearings of the
islandand that only because there is still treasure not
yet liftedI take up my pen in the year of grace 17__
and go 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 yesterdayas he came
plodding to the inn doorhis sea-chest following
behind him in a hand-barrow--a tallstrongheavy
nut-brown manhis tarry pigtail falling over the
shoulder of his soiled blue coathis hands ragged and
scarredwith blackbroken nailsand the sabre cut
across one cheeka dirtylivid white. I remember him
looking round the cover and whistling to himself as he
did soand then breaking out in that old sea-song that
he sang so often afterwards:
Fifteen men on the dead man's chest-Yo-
ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!
in the highold 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 carriedand when my father appearedcalled
roughly for a glass of rum. Thiswhen it was brought
to himhe drank slowlylike a connoisseurlingering
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 companymate?"
My father told him novery little companythe more
was the pity.
Well, then,said hethis 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 wantand that head up
there for to watch ships off. What you mought call me?
You mought call me captain. OhI 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
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 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 wagehe
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 itbring me my four-penny pieceand repeat his orders
to look out for "the seafaring man with one leg."
How that personage haunted my dreamsI need scarcely
tell you. On stormy nightswhen the wind shook the
four corners of the house and the surf roared along the
cove and up the cliffsI would see him in a thousand
formsand with a thousand diabolical expressions. Now
the leg would be cut off at the kneenow at the hip;
now he was a monstrous kind of a creature who had never
had but the one legand 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 piecein
the shape of these abominable fancies.
But though I was so terrified by the idea of the
seafaring man with one legI 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 wickedoldwild 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-hoand 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.
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 namesand saying there was the
sort of man that made England terrible at sea.
In one wayindeedhe bade fair to ruin usfor he kept
on staying week after weekand at last month after month
so that all the money had been long exhaustedand still
my father never plucked up the heart to insist on having
more. If ever he mentioned itthe captain blew through
his nose so loudly that you might say he roaredand stared
my poor father out of the room. I have seen him wringing
his hands after such a rebuffand 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 forththough it was a great
annoyance when it blew. I remember the appearance of his
coatwhich he patched himself upstairs in his roomand
whichbefore the endwas nothing but patches. He never
wrote or received a letterand he never spoke with any
but the neighboursand with thesefor the most part
only when drunk on rum. The great sea-chest none of us
had ever seen open.
He was only once crossedand 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 patienttook a bit of dinner from my motherand
went into the parlour to smoke a pipe until his horse
should come down from the hamletfor we had no
stabling at the old Benbow. I followed him inand I
remember observing the contrast the neatbright
doctorwith his powder as white as snow and his bright
black eyes and pleasant mannersmade with the coltish
country folkand above allwith that filthyheavy
bleared scarecrow of a pirate of ourssittingfar gone
in rumwith his arms on the table. Suddenly he--the
captainthat 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!
At first I had supposed "the dead man's chest" to be
that identical big box of his upstairs in the front
roomand 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 newthat nightto nobody
but Dr. Liveseyand on him I observed it did not
produce an agreeable effectfor he looked up for a
moment quite angrily before he went on with his talk to
old Taylorthe gardeneron a new cure for the
rheumatics. In the meantimethe captain gradually
brightened up at his own musicand at last flapped his
hand upon the table before him in a way we all knew to
mean silence. The voices stopped at onceall 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 whileflapped
his hand againglared still harderand at last broke
out with a villainouslow oathSilence, there,
Were you addressing me, sir?says the doctor; and
when the ruffian had told himwith another oaththat
this was soI have only one thing to say to you, sir,
replies the doctorthat 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
feetdrew and opened a sailor's clasp-knifeand
balancing it open on the palm of his handthreatened
to pin the doctor to the wall.
The doctor never so much as moved. He spoke to him as
beforeover his shoulder and in the same tone of
voicerather highso that all the room might hear
but perfectly calm and steady: "If you do not put that
knife this instant in your pocketI promiseupon my
honouryou shall hang at the next assizes."
Then followed a battle of looks between thembut the
captain soon knuckled underput up his weaponand
resumed his seatgrumbling like a beaten dog.
And now, sir,continued the doctorsince 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 afterDr. Livesey's horse came to the door and he
rode awaybut the captain held his peace that evening
and for many evenings to come.
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 captainthough notas you will seeof his
affairs. It was a bitter cold winterwith longhard
frosts and heavy gales; and it was plain from the first
that my poor father was little likely to see the
spring. He sank dailyand my mother and I had all the
inn upon our handsand were kept busy enough without
paying much regard to our unpleasant guest.
It was one January morningvery early--a pinching
frosty morning--the cove all grey with hoar-frostthe
ripple lapping softly on the stonesthe 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 beachhis cutlass swinging under the
broad skirts of the old blue coathis brass telescope
under his armhis hat tilted back upon his head. I
remember his breath hanging like smoke in his wake as
he strode offand the last sound I heard of him as he
turned the big rock was a loud snort of indignationas
though his mind was still running upon Dr. Livesey.
Wellmother 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 paletallowy
creaturewanting two fingers of the left handand
though he wore a cutlasshe did not look much like a
fighter. I had always my eye open for seafaring men
with one leg or twoand I remember this one puzzled
me. He was not sailorlyand yet he had a smack of the
sea about him too.
I asked him what was for his serviceand 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 waswith 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 Billand this was for
a person who stayed in our house whom we called the captain.
Well,said hemy 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 returnand how soonand
answered a few other questionsAh,said hethis'll
be as good as drink to my mate Bill.
The expression of his face as he said these words was
not at all pleasantand I had my own reasons for
thinking that the stranger was mistakeneven supposing
he meant what he said. But it was no affair of mineI
thought; and besidesit was difficult to know what to
do. The stranger kept hanging about just inside the
inn doorpeering round the corner like a cat waiting
for a mouse. Once I stepped out myself into the road
but he immediately called me backand as I did not
obey quick enough for his fancya most horrible change
came over his tallowy faceand he ordered me in with
an oath that made me jump. As soon as I was back again
he returned to his former mannerhalf fawninghalf
sneeringpatted me on the shouldertold 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 disciplinesonny--discipline. Nowif you
had sailed along of Billyou wouldn't have stood there
to be spoke to twice--not you. That was never Bill's
waynor the way of sich as sailed with him. And here
sure enoughis my mate Billwith a spy-glass under
his armbless his old 'artto be sure. You and me'll
just go back into the parloursonnyand get behind
the doorand we'll give Bill a little surprise--bless
his 'artI say again.
So sayingthe 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 alarmedas you may fancyand 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 captainslammed the door behind him
without looking to the right or leftand marched straight
across the room to where his breakfast awaited him.
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 faceand even his nose
was blue; he had the look of a man who sees a ghostor
the evil oneor something worseif anything can be;
and upon my wordI 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 othergetting more at his
ease. "Black Dog as ever wascome for to see his old
shipmate Billyat the Admiral Benbow inn. AhBill
Billwe have seen a sight of timesus twosince I
lost them two talons holding up his mutilated hand.
Nowlook here said the captain; you've run me
down; here I am; wellthenspeak up; what is it?"
That's you, Bill,returned Black Dogyou'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
When I returned with the rumthey were already seated
on either side of the captain's breakfast-table--Black
Dog next to the door and sitting sideways so as to have
one eye on his old shipmate and oneas I thoughton
He bade me go and leave the door wide open. "None of
your keyholes for mesonny he said; and I left them
together and retired into the bar.
For a long timethough I certainly did my best to
listenI could hear nothing but a low gattling; but at
last the voices began to grow higherand I could pick
up a word or twomostly oathsfrom the captain.
No, no, no, no; and an end of it!he cried once. And
againIf 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 lumpa clash of steel followedand then a cry of pain
and the next instant I saw Black Dog in full flightand
the captain hotly pursuingboth with drawn cutlassesand
the former streaming blood from the left shoulder. Just
at the door the captain aimed at the fugitive one last
tremendous cutwhich 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 roadBlack Dogin spite of his woundshowed a
wonderful clean pair of heels and disappeared over the
edge of the hill in half a minute. The captainfor
his partstood 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 herum; and as he spokehe 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 itbut I was quite unsteadied by all
that had fallen outand I broke one glass and fouled
the tapand while I was still getting in my own wayI
heard a loud fall in the parlourand running inbeheld
the captain lying full length upon the floor. At the same
instant my motheralarmed by the cries and fightingcame
running downstairs to help me. Between us we raised his
head. He was breathing very loud and hardbut his eyes
were closed and his face a horrible colour.
Dear, deary me,cried my motherwhat a disgrace
upon the house! And your poor father sick!
In the meantimewe had no idea what to do to help the
captainnor any other thought but that he had got his
death-hurt in the scuffle with the stranger. I got the
rumto be sureand tried to put it down his throatbut
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 inon his visit to my father.
Oh, doctor,we criedwhat 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. NowMrs. Hawkinsjust you run
upstairs to your husband and tell himif possible
nothing about it. For my partI must do my best to
save this fellow's trebly worthless life; Jimyou get
me a basin."
When I got back with the basinthe 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 nowMaster Billy Bonesif that
be your namewe'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 heyou 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 meand he looked relieved. But
suddenly his colour changedand he tried to raise
himselfcryingWhere's Black Dog?
There is no Black Dog here,said the doctorexcept
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.
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 shortnessand what I have to say to
you is this; one glass of rum won't kill youbut if
you take one you'll take another and anotherand I
stake my wig if you don't break off shortyou'll die-do
you understand that?--dieand go to your own place
like the man in the Bible. Comenowmake an effort.
I'll help you to your bed for once."
Between uswith much troublewe managed to hoist him
upstairsand laid him on his bedwhere his head fell
back on the pillow as if he were almost fainting.
Now, mind you,said the doctorI clear my
conscience--the name of rum for you is death.
And with that he went off to see my fathertaking 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."
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 himonly a little higherand he seemed
both weak and excited.
Jim,he saidyou'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 doctorin a feeble voice
but heartily. "Doctors is all swabs he said; and
that doctor therewhywhat do he know about seafaring
men? I been in places hot as pitchand mates dropping
round with Yellow Jackand the blessed land a-heaving
like the sea with earthquakes--what to the doctor know
of lands like that?--and I lived on rumI tell you.
It's been meat and drinkand man and wifeto me; and
if I'm not to have my rum now I'm a poor old hulk on a
lee shoremy blood'll be on youJimand 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 stillnot I. I
haven't had a drop this blessed day. That doctor's a
foolI tell you. If I don't have a drain o' rumJim
I'll have the horrors; I seen some on 'em already.
I seen old Flint in the corner therebehind you; as
plain as printI seen him; and if I get the horrors
I'm a man that has lived roughand I'll raise Cain.
Your doctor hisself said one glass wouldn't hurt me.
I'll give you a golden guinea for a nogginJim."
He was growing more and more excitedand this alarmed me
for my fatherwho was very low that day and needed quiet;
besidesI was reassured by the doctor's wordsnow quoted
to meand rather offended by the offer of a bribe.
I want none of your money,said Ibut what you owe
my father. I'll get you one glass, and no more.
When I brought it to himhe seized it greedily and
drank it out.
Aye, aye,said hethat'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 gotand want to
nail what is another's. Is that seamanly behaviour
nowI want to know? But I'm a saving soul. I never
wasted good money of minenor lost it neither; and
I'll trick 'em again. I'm not afraid on 'em. I'll
shake out another reefmateyand daddle 'em again."
As he was thus speakinghe had risen from bed with
great difficultyholding to my shoulder with a grip
that almost made me cry outand moving his legs like
so much dead weight. His wordsspirited as they were
in meaningcontrasted 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 placewhere he lay for a while silent.
Jim,he said at lengthyou 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. Nowif I can't get away nohow
and they tip me the black spotmind youit's my old
sea-chest they're after; you get on a horse--you can
can't you? Wellthenyou get on a horseand go to-well
yesI will!--to that eternal doctor swaband
tell him to pipe all hands--magistrates and sich--and
he'll lay 'em aboard at the Admiral Benbow--all old
Flint's crewman and boyall on 'em that's left. I
was first mateI wasold Flint's first mateand I'm
the on'y one as knows the place. He gave it me at
Savannahwhen he lay a-dyinglike as if I was to now
you see. But you won't peach unless they get the black
spot on meor unless you see that Black Dog again or a
seafaring man with one legJim--him above all."
But what is the black spot, captain?I asked.
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 longerhis voice growing weaker;
but soon after I had given him his medicinewhich he
took like a childwith the remarkIf ever a seaman
wanted drugs, it's me,he fell at last into a heavy
swoon-like sleepin 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 doctorfor I
was in mortal fear lest the captain should repent of
his confessions and make an end of me. But as things
fell outmy poor father died quite suddenly that
eveningwhich put all other matters on one side. Our
natural distressthe visits of the neighboursthe
arranging of the funeraland 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 captainfar less
to be afraid of him.
He got downstairs next morningto be sureand had his
meals as usualthough he ate little and had moreI am
afraidthan his usual supply of rumfor he helped
himself out of the barscowling and blowing through
his noseand no one dared to cross him. On the night
before the funeral he was as drunk as ever; and it was
shockingin that house of mourningto hear him
singing away at his ugly old sea-song; but weak as he
waswe were all in the fear of death for himand 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 weakand indeed he
seemed rather to grow weaker than regain his strength.
He clambered up and down stairsand went from the
parlour to the bar and back againand sometimes put
his nose out of doors to smell the seaholding 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 meand it is my belief he had
as good as forgotten his confidences; but his temper
was more flightyand 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 thathe
minded people less and seemed shut up in his own
thoughts and rather wandering. Oncefor instanceto
our extreme wonderhe piped up to a different aira
king of country love-song that he must have learned in
his youth before he had begun to follow the sea.
So things passed untilthe day after the funeraland
about three o'clock of a bitterfoggyfrosty
afternoonI was standing at the door for a moment
full of sad thoughts about my fatherwhen I saw
someone drawing slowly near along the road. He was
plainly blindfor he tapped before him with a stick
and wore a great green shade over his eyes and nose;
and he was hunchedas if with age or weaknessand 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 from
the innand raising his voice in an odd sing-song
addressed the air in front of himWill 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 hea young voice. Will you give
me your hand, my kind young friend, and lead me in?
I held out my handand the horriblesoft-spoken
eyeless creature gripped it in a moment like a vise. I
was so much startled that I struggled to withdrawbut
the blind man pulled me close up to him with a single
action of his arm.
Now, boy,he saidtake me in to the captain.
Sir,said Iupon my word I dare not.
Oh,he sneeredthat's it! Take me in straight or
I'll break your arm.
And he gave itas he spokea wrench that made me cry out.
Sir,said Iit 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 crueland coldand ugly as that blind man's.
It cowed me more than the painand I began to obey him
at oncewalking straight in at the door and towards
the parlourwhere 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 himand when I'm in viewcry out'Here's a
friend for youBill.' If you don'tI'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 sickness. He made a movement to rise, but I do
not believe he had enough force left in his body.
NowBillsit where you are said the beggar. If I
can't seeI can hear a finger stirring. Business is
business. Hold out your left hand. Boytake his left
hand by the wrist and bring it near to my right."
We both obeyed him to the letterand I saw him pass
something from the hollow of the hand that held his
stick into the palm of the captain'swhich closed upon
And now that's done,said the blind man; and at the words
he suddenly left hold of meand with incredible accuracy
and nimblenessskipped out of the parlour and into the road
whereas I still stood motionlessI 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 sensesbut at lengthand about at the
same momentI released his wristwhich I was still
holdingand 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.
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 fog.
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 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 gothe way we
cameand small thanks to you bighulkingchickenhearted
men. We'll have that chest openif we die for
it. And I'll thank you for that bagMrs. Crossleyto
bring back our lawful money in."
Of course I said I would go with my motherand of course
they all cried out at our foolhardinessbut even then
not a man would go along with us. All they would do was
to give me a loaded pistol lest we were attackedand to
promise to have horses ready saddled in case we were
pursued on our returnwhile 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 fogand this increased our haste
for it was plainbefore we came forth againthat all
would be as bright as dayand our departure exposed to
the eyes of any watchers. We slipped along the hedges
noiseless and swiftnor did we see or hear anything to
increase our terrorstillto our reliefthe door of
the Admiral Benbow had closed behind us.
I slipped the bolt at onceand we stood and panted for
a moment in the darkalone in the house with the dead
captain's body. Then my mother got a candle in the
barand holding each other's handswe advanced into
the parlour. He lay as we had left himon 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 itI 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 paperblackened
on the one side. I could not doubt that this was the
BLACK SPOT; and taking it upI found written on
the other sidein a very goodclear handthis short
message: "You have till ten tonight."
He had till ten, Mother,said I; and just as I said
itour old clock began striking. This sudden noise
startled us shockingly; but the news was goodfor it
was only six.
Now, Jim,she saidthat key.
I felt in his pocketsone after another. A few small coins
a thimbleand some thread and big needlesa piece of pigtail
tobacco bitten away at the endhis gully with the crooked
handlea pocket compassand a tinder box were all that they
containedand I began to despair.
Perhaps it's round his neck,suggested my mother.
Overcoming a strong repugnanceI tore open his shirt
at the neckand theresure enoughhanging to a bit
of tarry stringwhich I cut with his own gullywe
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
ironand the corners somewhat smashed and broken as by
Give me the key,said my mother; and though the lock
was very stiffshe had turned it and thrown back the
lid in a twinkling.
A strong smell of tobacco and tar rose from the
interiorbut nothing was to be seen on the top except
a suit of very good clothescarefully brushed and
folded. They had never been wornmy mother said.
Under thatthe miscellany began--a quadranta tin
canikinseveral sticks of tobaccotwo brace of very
handsome pistolsa piece of bar silveran old Spanish
watch and some other trinkets of little value and
mostly of foreign makea pair of compasses mounted
with brassand five or six curious West Indian shells.
I have often wondered since why he should have carried
about these shells with him in his wanderingguilty
and hunted life.
In the meantimewe had found nothing of any value but
the silver and the trinketsand 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 impatienceand there lay
before usthe last things in the chesta bundle tied
up in oilclothand looking like papersand a canvas
bag that gave forthat a touchthe jingle of gold.
I'll show these rogues that I'm an honest woman,said
my mother. "I'll have my duesand 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 holding.
It was a longdifficult businessfor the coins were
of all countries and sizes--doubloonsand louis d'ors
and guineasand pieces of eightand I know not what
besidesall shaken together at random. The guineas
toowere about the scarcestand it was with these
only that my mother knew how to make her count.
When we were about half-way throughI suddenly put my
hand upon her armfor 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 nearerwhile we sat holding
our breath. Then it struck sharp on the inn doorand
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 recommencedandto our
indescribable joy and gratitudedied slowly away again
until it ceased to be heard.
Mother,said Itake 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 earsthough how thankful I was that I had
bolted itnone could tell who had never met that
terrible blind man.
But my motherfrightened as she waswould 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 sevenshe saidby 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 enoughand more
than enoughfor both of us.
I'll take what I have,she saidjumping 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 downstairsleaving
the candle by the empty chest; and the next we had
opened the door and were in full retreat. We had not
started a moment 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
hamletvery little beyond the bottom of the hillwe
must come forth into the moonlight. Nor was this all
for the sound of several footsteps running came already
to our earsand 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 suddenlytake the money and
run on. I am going to faint.
This was certainly the end for both of usI 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 bridgeby good fortune; and I
helped hertottering as she wasto the edge of the
bankwheresure enoughshe gave a sigh and fell on
my shoulder. I do not know how I found the strength to
do it at alland I am afraid it was roughly donebut
I managed to drag her down the bank and a little way
under the arch. Farther I could not move herfor 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.
The Last of the Blind Man
MY curiosityin a sensewas stronger than my fear
for I could not remain where I wasbut crept back to
the bank againwhencesheltering my head behind a
bush of broomI might command the road before our
door. I was scarcely in position ere my enemies began
to arriveseven or eight of themrunning hardtheir
feet beating out of time along the road and the man
with the lantern some paces in front. Three men ran
togetherhand in hand; and I made outeven through
the mistthat 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 Benbowthe lantern-bearer
following; and then I could see them pauseand hear
speeches passed in a lower keyas if they were
surprised to find the door open. But the pause was
brieffor the blind man again issued his commands.
His voice sounded louder and higheras if he were
afire with eagerness and rage.
In, in, in!he shoutedand cursed them for their delay.
Four or five of them obeyed at oncetwo remaining on
the road with the formidable beggar. There was a
pausethen a cry of surpriseand then a voice
shouting from the houseBill'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 stairsso
that the house must have shook with it. Promptly
afterwardsfresh sounds of astonishment arose; the
window of the captain's room was thrown open with a
slam and a jingle of broken glassand a man leaned out
into the moonlighthead and shouldersand addressed
the blind beggar on the road below him.
Pew,he criedthey've been before us. Someone's
turned the chest out alow and aloft.
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
At that another fellowprobably him who had remained
below to search the captain's bodycame to the door of
the inn. "Bill's been overhauled a'ready said he;
It's these people of the inn--it's that boy. I wish I
had put his eyes out!cried the blind manPew.
There were no time ago--they had the door bolted when
I tried it. 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
Pewstriking with his stick upon the road.
Then there followed a great to-do through all our old
innheavy feet pounding to and frofurniture thrown
overdoors kicked inuntil the very rocks re-echoed
and the men came out againone after anotheron 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 nightbut this time twice
repeated. I had thought it to be the blind man's trumpet
so to speaksummoning his crew to the assaultbut I now
found that it was a signal from the hillside towards the
hamletand from its effect upon the buccaneersa signal
to warn them of approaching danger.
There's Dirk again,said one. "Twice! We'll have to
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 themdogs! Oh
shiver my soul he cried, if I had eyes!"
This appeal seemed to produce some effectfor two of
the fellows began to look here and there among the
lumberbut half-heartedlyI thoughtand with half an
eye to their own danger all the timewhile 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 lasthis passion
completely taking the upper handhe struck at them
right and left in his blindness and his stick sounded
heavily on more than one.
Thesein their turncursed back at the blind
miscreantthreatened him in horrid termsand tried in
vain to catch the stick and wrest it from his grasp.
This quarrel was the saving of usfor while it was
still raginganother 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 reportcame from the hedge side. And that
was plainly the last signal of dangerfor the
buccaneers turned at once and ranseparating in every
directionone seaward along the coveone slant across
the hilland so onso 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
behindtapping up and down the road in a frenzyand
groping and calling for his comrades. Finally he took
a wrong turn and ran a few steps past metowards the
hamletcryingJohnny, Black Dog, Dirk,and other
namesyou won't leave old Pew, mates--not old Pew!
Just then the noise of horses topped the riseand four
or five riders came in sight in the moonlight and swept
at full gallop down the slope.
At this Pew saw his errorturned with a screamand
ran straight for the ditchinto which he rolled. But
he was on his feet again in a second and made another
dashnow utterly bewilderedright under the nearest
of the coming horses.
The rider tried to save himbut 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 sidethen gently collapsed upon his face
and moved no more.
I leaped to my feet and hailed the riders. They were
pulling upat any ratehorrified at the accident; and
I soon saw what they were. Onetailing out behind the
restwas a lad that had gone from the hamlet to Dr.
Livesey's; the rest were revenue officerswhom he had
met by the wayand 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 deadstone dead. As for my motherwhen we
had carried her up to the hamleta little cold water
and salts and that soon brought her back againand she
was none the worse for her terrorthough she still
continued to deplore the balance of the money. In the
meantime the supervisor rode onas fast as he could
to Kitt's Hole; but his men had to dismount and grope
down the dingleleadingand sometimes supporting
their horsesand 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
repliedtelling him to keep out of the moonlight or he
would get some lead in himand at the same time a
bullet whistled close by his arm. Soon afterthe
lugger doubled the point and disappeared. Mr. Dance
stood thereas he saidlike 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 cleanand 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 story.
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 moneyyou say? WellthenHawkinswhat
in fortune were they after? More moneyI suppose?"
No, sir; not money, I think,replied I. "In fact
sirI believe I have the thing in my breast pocket;
and to tell you the truthI should like to get it put
To be sure, boy; quite right,said he. "I'll take
itif 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 and 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 along.
I thanked him heartily for the offerand 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 saddle.
Dogger,said Mr. Danceyou have a good horse; take
up this lad behind you.
As soon as I was mountedholding on to Dogger's belt
the supervisor gave the wordand the party struck out
at a bouncing trot on the road to Dr. Livesey's house.
The Captain's 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 knockand Dogger
gave me a stirrup to descend by. The door was opened
almost at once by the maid.
Is Dr. Livesey in?I asked.
Noshe saidhe 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 timeas the distance was shortI did not mount
but ran with Dogger's stirrup-leather to the lodge
gates and up the longleaflessmoonlit avenue to
where the white line of the hall buildings looked on
either hand on great old gardens. Here Mr. Dance
dismountedand taking me along with himwas admitted
at a word into the house.
The servant led us down a matted passage and showed us
at the end into a great libraryall lined with
bookcases and busts upon the top of themwhere the
squire and Dr. Livesey satpipe in handon either
side of a bright fire.
I had never seen the squire so near at hand. He was a
tall manover six feet highand broad in proportion
and he had a bluffrough-and-ready faceall roughened
and reddened and lined in his long travels. His
eyebrows were very blackand moved readilyand this
gave him a look of some tempernot badyou would say
but quick and high.
Come in, Mr. Dance,says hevery 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 innDr.
Livesey fairly slapped his thighand the squire cried
Bravo!and broke his long pipe against the grate.
Long before it was doneMr. Trelawney (thatyou will
rememberwas the squire's name) had got up from his
seat and was striding about the roomand the doctor
as if to hear the betterhad 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 squireyou 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 doctoryou have the thing
that they were after, have you?
Here it is, sir,said Iand gave him the oilskin packet.
The doctor looked it all overas if his fingers were
itching to open it; but instead of doing thathe put
it quietly in the pocket of his coat.
Squire,said hewhen 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
sidetableand I made a hearty supperfor I was as
hungry as a hawkwhile 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 suppose?
Heard of him!cried the squire. "Heard of himyou
say! He was the bloodthirstiest buccaneer that sailed.
Blackbeard was a child to Flint. The Spaniards were so
prodigiously afraid of him thatI tell yousirI was
sometimes proud he was an Englishman. I've seen his
top-sails with these eyesoff Trinidadand the
cowardly son of a rum-puncheon that I sailed with put
back--put backsirinto Port of Spain."
Well, I've heard of him myself, in England,said the
doctor. "But the point ishad 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 treasurewill that treasure
amount to much?"
Amount, sir!cried the squire. "It will amount to
this: If we have the clue you talk aboutI fit out a
ship in Bristol dockand take you and Hawkins here
alongand I'll have that treasure if I search a year."
Very well,said the doctor. "Nowthenif Jim is
agreeablewe'll open the packet"; and he laid it
before him on the table.
The bundle was sewn togetherand 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 itfor Dr. Livesey had kindly motioned me to
come round from the side-tablewhere I had been
eatingto enjoy the sport of the search. On the first
page there were only some scraps of writingsuch as a
man with a pen in his hand might make for idleness or
practice. One was the same as the tattoo markBilly
Bones his fancy; then there was "Mr. W. Bonesmate
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
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 moneyas in common
account-booksbut instead of explanatory writingonly
a varying number of crosses between the two. On the
12th of June1745for instancea sum of seventy
pounds had plainly become due to someoneand there was
nothing but six crosses to explain the cause. In a few
casesto be surethe name of a place would be added
as "Offe Caraccas or a mere entry of latitude and
longitude, as 62o 17' 20"19o 2' 40"."
The record lasted over nearly twenty yearsthe 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 additionsand 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 increaseyou 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 FrenchEnglishand Spanish
moneys to a common value.
Thrifty man!cried the doctor. "He wasn't the one to
And now,said the squirefor the other.
The paper had been sealed in several places with a
thimble by way of seal; the very thimbleperhapsthat
I had found in the captain's pocket. The doctor opened
the seals with great careand there fell out the map
of an islandwith latitude and longitudesoundings
names of hills and bays and inletsand 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 acrossshapedyou might saylike
a fat dragon standing upand had two fine land-locked
harboursand a hill in the centre part marked "The
Spy-glass." There were several additions of a later
datebut above allthree crosses of red ink--two on
the north part of the islandone in the southwest--and
beside this lastin the same red inkand in a small
neat handvery different from the captain's tottery
charactersthese words: "Bulk of treasure here."
Over on the back the same hand had written this further
Tall treeSpy-glass shoulderbearing a point to
the N. of N.N.E.
Skeleton Island E.S.E. and by E.
The bar silver is in the north cache; you can find
it by the trend of the east hummockten fathoms
south of the black crag with the face on it.
The arms are easy foundin the sand-hillN.
point of north inlet capebearing E. and a
That was all; but brief as it wasand to me
incomprehensibleit filled the squire and Dr. Livesey
Livesey,said the squireyou 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 doctorI'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 dogsir!"
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 bladesfor sure--and the rest who
stayed aboard that luggerand moreI dare saynot
far offareone and allthrough 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 Bristoland from first to lastnot
one of us must breathe a word of what we've found."
Livesey,returned the squireyou are always in the
right of it. I'll be as silent as the grave.
I Go to Bristol
IT was longer than the squire imagined ere we were
ready for the seaand none of our first plans--not
even Dr. Livesey'sof 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 Redruththe
gamekeeperalmost a prisonerbut full of sea-dreams
and the most charming anticipations of strange islands
and adventures. I brooded by the hour together over
the mapall the details of which I well remembered.
Sitting by the fire in the housekeeper's roomI
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-glassand from the top enjoyed the most
wonderful and changing prospects. Sometimes the isle
was thick with savageswith whom we foughtsometimes
full of dangerous animals that hunted usbut in all my
fancies nothing occurred to me so strange and tragic as
our actual adventures.
So the weeks passed ontill one fine day there came a
letter addressed to Dr. Liveseywith this addition
To be opened, in the case of his absence, by Tom
Redruth or young Hawkins.Obeying this orderwe
foundor rather I found--for the gamekeeper was a poor
hand at reading anything but print--the following
Old Anchor InnBristolMarch 117-
Dear Livesey--As I do not know whether you
are at the hall or still in LondonI send this in
double to both places.
The ship is bought and fitted. She lies at
anchorready for sea. You never imagined a
sweeter schooner--a child might sail her--two
hundred tons; nameHISPANIOLA.
I got her through my old friendBlandlywho
has proved himself throughout the most surprising
trump. The admirable fellow literally slaved in
my interestand soI may saydid everyone in
Bristolas soon as they got wind of the port we
sailed for--treasureI mean.
Redruth,said Iinterrupting the letterDr.
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
Blandly himself found the HISPANIOLAand
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 moneythat the HISPANIOLA
belonged to himand that he sold it me absurdly
high--the most transparent calumnies. None of them
darehoweverto deny the merits of the ship.
Wo far there was not a hitch. The
workpeopleto 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
nativesbuccaneersor the odious French--and I
had the worry of the deuce itself to find so much
as half a dozentill the most remarkable stroke
of fortune brought me the very man that I
I was standing on the dockwhenby the
merest accidentI fell in talk with him. I found
he was an old sailorkept a public-houseknew
all the seafaring men in Bristolhad lost his
health ashoreand wanted a good berth as cook to
get to sea again. He had hobbled down there that
morninghe saidto get a smell of the salt.
I was monstrously touched--so would you have
been--andout of pure pityI engaged him on the
spot to be ship's cook. Long John Silverhe is
calledand has lost a leg; but that I regarded as
a recommendationsince he lost it in his
country's serviceunder the immortal Hawke. He
has no pensionLivesey. Imagine the abominable
age we live in!
WellsirI 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 atbut fellowsby their facesof
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
I am in the most magnificent health and
spiritseating like a bullsleeping 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 nowLiveseycome
post; do not lose an hourif you respect me.
Let young Hawkins go at once to see his
motherwith Redruth for a guard; and then both
come full speed to Bristol.
Postscript--I did not tell you that Blandly
whoby the wayis to send a consort after us if
we don't turn up by the end of Augusthad found
an admirable fellow for sailing master--a stiff
manwhich I regretbut in all other respects a
treasure. Long John Silver unearthed a very
competent man for a matea man named Arrow. I
have a boatswain who pipesLivesey; so things
shall go man-o'-war fashion on board the good ship
I forgot to tell you that Silver is a man of
substance; I know of my own knowledge that he has
a banker's accountwhich has never been
overdrawn. He leaves his wife to manage the inn;
and as she is a woman of coloura pair of old
bachelors like you and I may be excused for
guessing that it is the wifequite as much as the
healththat sends him back to roving.
P.P.S.--Hawkins may stay one night with his
You can fancy the excitement into which that letter put
me. I was half beside myself with glee; and if ever I
despised a manit was old Tom Redruthwho 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 pleasureand 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 Benbowand there I found my mother in good
health and spirits. The captainwho had so long been
a cause of so much discomfortwas gone where the
wicked cease from troubling. The squire had had
everything repairedand the public rooms and the sign
repaintedand 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 understoodfor the
first timemy situation. I had thought up to that
moment of the adventures before menot at all of the
home that I was leaving; and nowat sight of this clumsy
strangerwho was to stay here in my place beside my
motherI had my first attack of tears. I am afraid I
led that boy a dog's lifefor as he was new to the work
I had a hundred opportunities of setting him right and
putting him downand I was not slow to profit by them.
The night passedand the next dayafter 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 bornand the dear old Admiral Benbow--since he
was repaintedno longer quite so dear. One of my last
thoughts was of the captainwho had so often strode
along the beach with his cocked hathis sabre-cut
cheekand 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 gentlemanand in spite of the swift motion and the
cold night airI must have dozed a great deal from the
very firstand then slept like a log up hill and down
dale through stage after stagefor when I was awakened
at last it was by a punch in the ribsand 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.
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 walkand our wayto
my great delightlay along the quays and beside the
great multitude of ships of all sizes and rigs and
nations. In onesailors were singing at their work
in another there were men alofthigh 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 figureheadsthat had all been far over
the ocean. I sawbesidesmany old sailorswith
rings in their earsand whiskers curled in ringlets
and tarry pigtailsand their swaggeringclumsy 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 myselfto sea in a schoonerwith
a piping boatswain and pig-tailed singing seamento sea
bound for an unknown islandand to seek for buried treasure!
While I was still in this delightful dreamwe came
suddenly in front of a large inn and met Squire
Trelawneyall dressed out like a sea-officerin stout
blue clothcoming out of the door with a smile on his
face and a capital imitation of a sailor's walk.
Here you are,he criedand the doctor came last night
from London. Bravo! The ship's company complete!
Oh, sir,cried Iwhen do we sail?
Sail!says he. "We sail tomorrow!"
At the Sign of the Spy-glass
WHEN I had done breakfasting the squire gave me a note
addressed to John Silverat 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
offoverjoyed at this opportunity to see some more of the
ships and seamenand picked my way among a great crowd of
people and carts and balesfor the dock was now at its
busiestuntil 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 bothwhich
made the largelow room pretty clear to see inin
spite of clouds of tobacco smoke.
The customers were mostly seafaring menand they talked
so loudly that I hung at the dooralmost afraid to enter.
As I was waitinga man came out of a side roomand at
a glance I was sure he must be Long John. His left leg
was cut off close by the hipand under the left
shoulder he carried a crutchwhich he managed with
wonderful dexterityhopping about upon it like a bird.
He was very tall and strongwith a face as big as a
ham--plain and palebut intelligent and smiling.
Indeedhe seemed in the most cheerful spirits
whistling as he moved about among the tableswith a
merry word or a slap on the shoulder for the more
favoured of his guests.
Nowto tell you the truthfrom 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 captainand Black Dogand the blind
manPewand I thought I knew what a buccaneer was
like--a very different creatureaccording to mefrom
this clean and pleasant-tempered landlord.
I plucked up courage at oncecrossed the threshold
and walked right up to the man where he stoodpropped
on his crutchtalking to a customer.
Mr. Silver, sir?I askedholding out the note.
Yes, my lad,said he; "such is my nameto 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 start.
Oh!said hequite loudand 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 noticeand I recognized him at
glance. It was the tallow-faced manwanting two
fingerswho had come first to the Admiral Benbow.
Oh,I criedstop him! It's Black Dog!
I don't care two coppers who he is,cried Silver. "But
he hasn't paid his score. Harryrun 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 thenrelinquishing my handWho 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 them."
So?cried Silver. "In my house! Benrun and help
Harry. One of those swabswas he? Was that you
drinking with himMorgan? Step up here."
The man whom he called Morgan--an oldgrey-haired
mahogany-faced sailor--came forward pretty sheepishly
rolling his quid.
Now, Morgan,said Long John very sternlyyou never
clapped your eyes on that Black--Black Dog before, did
Not I, sir,said Morgan with a salute.
You didn't know his name, did you?
By the powers, Tom Morgan, it's as good for you!
exclaimed the landlord. "If you had been mixed up with
the like of thatyou would never have put another foot
in my houseyou 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 knowdon't
you! Perhaps you don't happen to rightly know who you was
speaking toperhaps? Comenowwhat was he jawing--v'yages
cap'nsships? 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 thenas Morgan rolled back to his seatSilver added
to me in a confidential whisper that was very flattering
as I thoughtHe's quite an honest man, Tom Morgan, on'y
stupid. And now,he ran on againaloudlet'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 Silvernow quite excited. "Pew! That
were his name for certain. Ahhe looked a sharkhe
did! If we run down this Black Dognowthere'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 handby the powers! He talked o' keelhauling
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 crutchslapping
tables with his handand giving such a show of
excitement as would have convinced an Old Bailey judge
or a Bow Street runner. My suspicions had been
thoroughly reawakened on finding Black Dog at the Spyglass
and I watched the cook narrowly. But he was too
deepand too readyand too clever for meand by the
time the two men had come back out of breath and
confessed that they had lost the track in a crowdand
been scolded like thievesI would have gone bail for
the innocence of Long John Silver.
See here, now, Hawkins,said hehere'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 thenall of a suddenhe stoppedand his jaw
dropped as though he had remembered something.
The score!he burst out. "Three goes o' rum! Why
shiver my timbersif I hadn't forgotten my score!"
And falling on a benchhe laughed until the tears ran down
his cheeks. I could not help joiningand we laughed together
peal after pealuntil the tavern rang again.
Why, what a precious old sea-calf I am!he said at
lastwiping his cheeks. "You and me should get on
wellHawkinsfor I'll take my davy I should be rated
ship's boy. But come nowstand by to go about. This
won't do. Dooty is dootymessmates. I'll put on my
old cockerel hatand step along of you to Cap'n
Trelawneyand report this here affair. For mind you
it's seriousyoung Hawkins; and neither you nor me's
come out of it with what I should make so bold as to
call credit. Nor you neithersays 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 againand that so heartilythat
though I did not see the joke as he didI was again
obliged to join him in his mirth.
On our little walk along the quayshe made himself the
most interesting companiontelling me about the
different ships that we passed bytheir rigtonnage
and nationalityexplaining the work that was going
forward--how one was discharginganother taking in
cargoand a third making ready for sea--and every now
and then telling me some little anecdote of ships or
seamen or repeating 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 innthe squire and Dr. Livesey were
seated togetherfinishing a quart of ale with a toast
in itbefore they should go aboard the schooner on a
visit of inspection.
Long John told the story from first to lastwith a
great deal of spirit and the most perfect truth. "That
was how it werenowweren't itHawkins?" he would
saynow and againand I could always bear him
The two gentlemen regretted that Black Dog had got
awaybut we all agreed there was nothing to be done
and after he had been complimentedLong John took up
his crutch and departed.
All hands aboard by four this afternoon,shouted the
squire after him.
Aye, aye, sir,cried the cookin the passage.
Well, squire,said Dr. LiveseyI 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 doctorJim may come on board
with us, may he not?
To be sure he may,says squire. "Take your hat
Hawkinsand we'll see the ship."
Powder and Arms
THE HISPANIOLA lay some way outand we went under
the figureheads and round the sterns of many other
shipsand their cables sometimes grated underneath our
keeland sometimes swung above us. At lasthowever
we got alongsideand were met and saluted as we
stepped aboard by the mateMr. Arrowa brown old
sailor with earrings in his ears and a squint. He and
the squire were very thick and friendlybut 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 whyfor we
had hardly got down into the cabin when a sailor
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 captainwho 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 seaworthy?
Well, sir,said the captainbetter 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
squirevery angryas I could see.
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 hestay 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, why?
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 fairnowdo you?"
No,said Dr. LiveseyI don't.
Next,said the captainI 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 aboutbut I'll tell you my way of it-life
or deathand a close run."
That is all clear, and, I dare say, true enough,
replied Dr. Livesey. "We take the riskbut we are not
so ignorant as you believe us. Nextyou 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.
Perhaps you should,replied the doctor. "My friend
shouldperhapshave taken you along with him; but the
slightif there be onewas 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 captainonly 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. "Thenas you've heard
me very patientlysaying things that I could not
provehear me a few words more. They are putting the
powder and the arms in the fore hold. Nowyou have a
good place under the cabin; why not put them there?-first
point. Thenyou are bringing four of your own
people with youand 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
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
isand that the island lies--" And then he named the
latitude and longitude exactly.
I never told that,cried the squireto a soul!
The hands know it, sir,returned the captain.
Livesey, that must have been you or Hawkins,cried
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 Ito be surehe was so
loose a talker; yet in this case I believe he was
really right and that nobody had told the situation of
Well, gentlemen,continued the captainI 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 shipmanned with my friend's own peopleand
provided with all the arms and powder on board. In
other wordsyou fear a mutiny."
Sir,said Captain Smollettwith no intention to
take offence, I deny your right to put words into my
mouth. No captain, sir, would be justified in going to
sea at all if he had ground enough to say that. As for
Mr. Arrow, I believe him thoroughly honest; some of the
men are the same; all may be for what I know. But I am
responsible for the ship's safety and the life of every
man Jack aboard of her. I see things going, as I
think, not quite right. And I ask you to take certain
precautions or let me resign my berth. And that's all.
Captain Smollett,began the doctor with a smiledid
ever you hear the fable of the mountain and the mouse?
You'll excuse me, I dare say, but you remind me of that
fable. When you came in here, I'll stake my wig, you
meant more than this.
Doctor,said the captainyou are smart. When I
came in here I meant to get discharged. I had no
thought that Mr. Trelawney would hear a word.
No more I would,cried the squire. "Had Livesey not
been here I should have seen you to the deuce. As it
isI have heard you. I will do as you desirebut I
think the worse of you."
That's as you please, sir,said the captain. "You'll
find I do my duty."
And with that he took his leave.
Trelawney,said the doctorcontrary to all my
notions, I believed you have managed to get two honest
men on board with you--that man and John Silver.
Silver, if you like,cried the squire; "but as for
that intolerable humbugI declare I think his conduct
unmanlyunsailorlyand downright un-English."
Well,says the doctorwe shall see.
When we came on deckthe men had begun already to take
out the arms and powderyo-ho-ing at their workwhile
the captain and Mr. Arrow stood by superintending.
The new arrangement was quite to my liking. The whole
schooner had been overhauled; six berths had been made
astern out of what had been the after-part of the main
hold; and this set of cabins was only joined to the
galley and forecastle by a sparred passage on the port
side. It had been originally meant that the captain
Mr. ArrowHunterJoycethe doctorand the squire
were to occupy these six berths. Now Redruth and I
were to get two of them and Mr. Arrow and the captain
were to sleep on deck in the companionwhich had been
enlarged on each side till you might almost have called
it a round-house. Very low it was stillof course;
but there was room to swing two hammocksand even the
mate seemed pleased with the arrangement. Even he
perhapshad been doubtful as to the crewbut that is
only guessfor as you shall hearwe had not long the
benefit of his opinion.
We were all hard at workchanging the powder and the
berthswhen the last man or twoand Long John along
with themcame off in a shore-boat.
The cook came up the side like a monkey for cleverness
and as soon as he saw what was doingSo ho, mates!
says he. "What's this?"
We're a-changing of the powder, Jack,answers one.
Why, by the powers,cried Long Johnif we do, we'll
miss the morning tide!
My orders!said the captain shortly. "You may go
belowmy man. Hands will want supper."
Aye, aye, sir,answered the cookand touching his
forelockhe disappeared at once in the direction of
That's a good man, captain,said the doctor.
Very likely, sir,replied Captain Smollett. "Easy
with thatmen--easy he ran on, to the fellows who
were shifting the powder; and then suddenly observing
me examining the swivel we carried amidships, a long
brass nine, Here youship's boy he cried, out o'
that! Off with you to the cook and get some work."
And then as I was hurrying off I heard him sayquite loudly
to the doctorI'll have no favourites on my ship.
I assure you I was quite of the squire's way of
thinkingand hated the captain deeply.
ALL that night we were in a great bustle getting things
stowed in their placeand boatfuls of the squire's
friendsMr. Blandly and the likecoming off to wish
him a good voyage and a safe return. We never had a
night at the Admiral Benbow when I had half the work;
and I was dog-tired whena little before dawnthe
boatswain sounded his pipe and the crew began to man
the capstan-bars. I might have been twice as weary
yet I would not have left the deckall was so new and
interesting to me--the brief commandsthe shrill note
of the whistlethe men bustling to their places in the
glimmer of the ship's lanterns.
Now, Barbecue, tip us a stave,cried one voice.
The old one,cried another.
Aye, aye, mates,said Long Johnwho was standing by
with his crutch under his armand at once broke out in
the air and words I knew so well:
Fifteen men on the dead man's chest--
And then the whole crew bore chorus:-
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!
And at the third "Ho!" drove the bars before them with
Even at that exciting moment it carried me back to the old
Admiral Benbow in a secondand I seemed to hear the voice
of the captain piping in the chorus. But soon the anchor
was short up; soon it was hanging dripping at the bows;
soon the sails began to drawand the land and shipping
to flit by on either side; and before I could lie down to
snatch an hour of slumber the HISPANIOLA had begun her
voyage to the Isle of Treasure.
I am not going to relate that voyage in detail. It was
fairly prosperous. The ship proved to be a good ship
the crew were capable seamenand the captain
thoroughly understood his business. But before we came
the length of Treasure Islandtwo or three things had
happened which require to be known.
Mr. Arrowfirst of allturned out even worse than the
captain had feared. He had no command among the men
and people did what they pleased with him. But that
was by no means the worst of itfor after a day or two
at sea he began to appear on deck with hazy eyered
cheeksstuttering tongueand other marks of
drunkenness. Time after time he was ordered below in
disgrace. Sometimes he fell and cut himself; sometimes
he lay all day long in his little bunk at one side of
the companion; sometimes for a day or two he would be
almost sober and attend to his work at least passably.
In the meantimewe could never make out where he got
the drink. That was the ship's mystery. Watch him as
we pleasedwe could do nothing to solve it; and when
we asked him to his facehe would only laugh if he
were drunkand if he were sober deny solemnly that he
ever tasted anything but water.
He was not only useless as an officer and a bad
influence amongst the menbut it was plain that at this
rate he must soon kill himself outrightso nobody was
much surprisednor very sorrywhen one dark nightwith
a head seahe disappeared entirely and was seen no more.
Overboard!said the captain. "Wellgentlementhat
saves the trouble of putting him in irons."
But there we werewithout a mate; and it was
necessaryof courseto advance one of the men. The
boatswainJob Andersonwas the likeliest man aboard
and though he kept his old titlehe served in a way as
mate. Mr. Trelawney had followed the seaand his
knowledge made him very usefulfor he often took a watch
himself in easy weather. And the coxswainIsrael Hands
was a carefulwilyoldexperienced seaman who could be
trusted at a pinch with almost anything.
He was a great confidant of Long John Silverand so
the mention of his name leads me on to speak of our
ship's cookBarbecueas the men called him.
Aboard ship he carried his crutch by a lanyard round
his neckto have both hands as free as possible. It
was something to see him wedge the foot of the crutch
against a bulkheadand propped against ityielding to
every movement of the shipget on with his cooking
like someone safe ashore. Still more strange was it to
see him in the heaviest of weather cross the deck. He
had a line or two rigged up to help him across the
widest spaces--Long John's earringsthey were called;
and he would hand himself from one place to another
now using the crutchnow trailing it alongside by the
lanyardas quickly as another man could walk. Yet
some of the men who had sailed with him before
expressed their pity to see him so reduced.
He's no common man, Barbecue,said the coxswain to
me. "He had good schooling in his young days and can
speak like a book when so minded; and brave--a lion's
nothing alongside of Long John! I seen him grapple
four and knock their heads together--him unarmed."
All the crew respected and even obeyed him. He had a
way of talking to each and doing everybody some
particular service. To me he was unweariedly kindand
always glad to see me in the galleywhich he kept as
clean as a new pinthe dishes hanging up burnished and
his parrot in a cage in one corner.
Come away, Hawkins,he would say; "come and have a
yarn with John. Nobody more welcome than yourselfmy
son. Sit you down and hear the news. Here's Cap'n
Flint--I calls my parrot Cap'n Flintafter the famous
buccaneer--here's Cap'n Flint predicting success to our
v'yage. Wasn't youcap'n?"
And the parrot would saywith great rapidityPieces
of eight! Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!till you
wondered that it was not out of breathor till John
threw his handkerchief over the cage.
Now, that bird,he would sayis, maybe, two hundred
years old, Hawkins--they live forever mostly; and if
anybody's seen more wickedness, it must be the devil
himself. She's sailed with England, the great Cap'n
England, the pirate. She's been at Madagascar, and at
Malabar, and Surinam, and Providence, and Portobello.
She was at the fishing up of the wrecked plate ships.
It's there she learned 'Pieces of eight,' and little
wonder; three hundred and fifty thousand of 'em,
Hawkins! She was at the boarding of the viceroy of the
Indies out of Goa, she was; and to look at her you
would think she was a babby. But you smelt powder-didn't
Stand by to go about,the parrot would scream.
Ah, she's a handsome craft, she is,the cook would say
and give her sugar from his pocketand then the bird
would peck at the bars and swear straight onpassing
belief for wickedness. "There John would add, you
can't touch pitch and not be muckedlad. Here's this
poor old innocent bird o' mine swearing blue fireand
none the wiseryou may lay to that. She would swear the
samein a manner of speakingbefore chaplain." And John
would touch his forelock with a solemn way he had that made
me think he was the best of men.
In the meantimethe squire and Captain Smollett were
still on pretty distant terms with one another. The
squire made no bones about the matter; he despised the
captain. The captainon his partnever spoke but when
he was spoken toand then sharp and short and dryand
not a word wasted. He ownedwhen driven into a corner
that he seemed to have been wrong about the crewthat
some of them were as brisk as he wanted to see and all
had behaved fairly well. As for the shiphe had taken
a downright fancy to her. "She'll lie a point nearer
the wind than a man has a right to expect of his own
married wifesir. But he would add, all I say is
we're not home againand I don't like the cruise."
The squireat thiswould turn away and march up and
down the deckchin in air.
A trifle more of that man,he would sayand I
We had some heavy weatherwhich only proved the
qualities of the HISPANIOLA. Every man on board
seemed well contentand they must have been hard to
please if they had been otherwisefor it is my belief
there was never a ship's company so spoiled since Noah
put to sea. Double grog was going on the least excuse;
there was duff on odd daysasfor instanceif the
squire heard it was any man's birthdayand always a
barrel of apples standing broached in the waist for
anyone to help himself that had a fancy.
Never knew good come of it yet,the captain said to
Dr. Livesey. "Spoil forecastle handsmake devils.
That's my belief."
But good did come of the apple barrelas you shall
hearfor if it had not been for thatwe should have
had no note of warning and might all have perished by
the hand of treachery.
This was how it came about.
We had run up the trades to get the wind of the island
we were after--I am not allowed to be more plain--and
now we were running down for it with a bright lookout
day and night. It was about the last day of our
outward voyage by the largest computation; some time
that nightor at latest before noon of the morrowwe
should sight the Treasure Island. We were heading
S.S.W. and had a steady breeze abeam and a quiet sea.
The HISPANIOLA rolled steadilydipping her
bowsprit now and then with a whiff of spray. All was
drawing alow and aloft; everyone was in the bravest
spirits because we were now so near an end of the first
part of our adventure.
Nowjust after sundownwhen all my work was over and
I was on my way to my berthit occurred to me that I
should like an apple. I ran on deck. The watch was
all forward looking out for the island. The man at the
helm was watching the luff of the sail and whistling
away gently to himselfand that was the only sound
excepting the swish of the sea against the bows and
around the sides of the ship.
In I got bodily into the apple barreland found there
was scarce an apple left; but sitting down there in the
darkwhat with the sound of the waters and the rocking
movement of the shipI had either fallen asleep or was
on the point of doing so when a heavy man sat down with
rather a clash close by. The barrel shook as he leaned
his shoulders against itand I was just about to jump
up when the man began to speak. It was Silver's voice
and before I had heard a dozen wordsI would not have
shown myself for all the worldbut lay theretrembling
and listeningin the extreme of fear and curiosityfor
from these dozen words I understood that the lives of all
the honest men aboard depended upon me alone.
What I Heard in the Apple Barrel
NO, not I,said Silver. "Flint was cap'n; I was
quartermasteralong of my timber leg. The same
broadside I lost my legold Pew lost his deadlights.
It was a master surgeonhim that ampytated me--out of
college and all--Latin by the bucketand what not; but
he was hanged like a dogand sun-dried like the rest
at Corso Castle. That was Roberts' menthat wasand
comed of changing names to their ships--ROYAL
FORTUNE and so on. Nowwhat a ship was christened
so let her stayI says. So it was with the CASSANDRA
as brought us all safe home from Malabar
after England took the viceroy of the Indies; so it was
with the old WALRUSFlint's old shipas I've seen
amuck with the red blood and fit to sink with gold."
Ah!cried another voicethat of the youngest hand on
boardand evidently full of admiration. "He was the
flower of the flockwas Flint!"
Davis was a man too, by all accounts,said Silver.
I never sailed along of him; first with England, then
with Flint, that's my story; and now here on my own
account, in a manner of speaking. I laid by nine
hundred safe, from England, and two thousand after
Flint. That ain't bad for a man before the mast--all
safe in bank. 'Tain't earning now, it's saving does
it, you may lay to that. Where's all England's men
now? I dunno. Where's Flint's? Why, most on 'em
aboard here, and glad to get the duff--been begging
before that, some on 'em. Old Pew, as had lost his
sight, and might have thought shame, spends twelve
hundred pound in a year, like a lord in Parliament.
Where is he now? Well, he's dead now and under hatches;
but for two year before that, shiver my timbers, the
man was starving! He begged, and he stole, and he cut
throats, and starved at that, by the powers!
Well, it ain't much use, after all,said the
'Tain't much use for fools, you may lay to it--that,
nor nothing,cried Silver. "But nowyou look here:
you're youngyou arebut you're as smart as paint. I
see that when I set my eyes on youand I'll talk to
you like a man."
You may imagine how I felt when I heard this abominable old
rogue addressing another in the very same words of flattery
as he had used to myself. I thinkif I had been ablethat
I would have killed him through the barrel. Meantimehe ran
onlittle supposing he was overheard.
Here it is about gentlemen of fortune. They lives
rough, and they risk swinging, but they eat and drink
like fighting-cocks, and when a cruise is done, why,
it's hundreds of pounds instead of hundreds of
farthings in their pockets. Now, the most goes for rum
and a good fling, and to sea again in their shirts.
But that's not the course I lay. I puts it all away,
some here, some there, and none too much anywheres, by
reason of suspicion. I'm fifty, mark you; once back
from this cruise, I set up gentleman in earnest. Time
enough too, says you. Ah, but I've lived easy in the
meantime, never denied myself o' nothing heart desires,
and slep' soft and ate dainty all my days but when at
sea. And how did I begin? Before the mast, like you!
Well,said the otherbut all the other money's gone now,
ain't it? You daren't show face in Bristol after this.
Why, where might you suppose it was?asked Silver derisively.
At Bristol, in banks and places,answered his companion.
It were,said the cook; "it were when we weighed anchor.
But my old missis has it all by now. And the Spy-glass is
soldlease and goodwill and rigging; and the old girl's off
to meet me. I would tell you wherefor I trust youbut
it'd make jealousy among the mates."
And can you trust your missis?asked the other.
Gentlemen of fortune,returned the cookusually
trusts little among themselves, and right they are, you may
lay to it. But I have a way with me, I have. When a mate
brings a slip on his cable--one as knows me, I mean--it
won't be in the same world with old John. There was some
that was feared of Pew, and some that was feared of Flint;
but Flint his own self was feared of me. Feared he was, and
proud. They was the roughest crew afloat, was Flint's; the
devil himself would have been feared to go to sea with them.
Well now, I tell you, I'm not a boasting man, and you seen
yourself how easy I keep company, but when I was quartermaster,
LAMBS wasn't the word for Flint's old buccaneers. Ah, you may
be sure of yourself in old John's ship.
Well, I tell you now,replied the ladI didn't half
a quarter like the job till I had this talk with you,
John; but there's my hand on it now.
And a brave lad you were, and smart too,answered
Silvershaking hands so heartily that all the barrel
shookand a finer figurehead for a gentleman of
fortune I never clapped my eyes on.
By this time I had begun to understand the meaning of
their terms. By a "gentleman of fortune" they plainly
meant neither more nor less than a common pirateand
the little scene that I had overheard was the last act
in the corruption of one of the honest hands--perhaps of
the last one left aboard. But on this point I was soon
to be relievedfor Silver giving a little whistlea
third man strolled up and sat down by the party.
Dick's square,said Silver.
Oh, I know'd Dick was square,returned the voice of the
coxswainIsrael Hands. "He's no foolis Dick." And he
turned his quid and spat. "But look here he went on,
here's what I want to knowBarbecue: how long are we
a-going to stand off and on like a blessed bumboat? I've
had a'most enough o' Cap'n Smollett; he's hazed me long
enoughby thunder! I want to go into that cabinI do.
I want their pickles and winesand that."
Israel,said Silveryour head ain't much account,
nor ever was. But you're able to hear, I reckon;
leastways, your ears is big enough. Now, here's what I
say: you'll berth forward, and you'll live hard, and
you'll speak soft, and you'll keep sober till I give
the word; and you may lay to that, my son.
Well, I don't say no, do I?growled the coxswain.
What I say is, when? That's what I say.
When! By the powers!cried Silver. "Well nowif
you want to knowI'll tell you when. The last moment
I can manageand that's when. Here's a first-rate
seamanCap'n Smollettsails the blessed ship for us.
Here's this squire and doctor with a map and such--I
don't know where it isdo I? No more do yousays
you. Well thenI mean this squire and doctor shall
find the stuffand help us to get it aboardby the
powers. Then we'll see. If I was sure of you all
sons of double DutchmenI'd have Cap'n Smollett
navigate us half-way back again before I struck."
Why, we're all seamen aboard here, I should think,
said the lad Dick.
We're all forecastle hands, you mean,snapped Silver. "We
can steer a coursebut who's to set one? That's what all you
gentlemen split onfirst and last. If I had my wayI'd have
Cap'n Smollett work us back into the trades at least; then we'd
have no blessed miscalculations and a spoonful of water a day.
But I know the sort you are. I'll finish with 'em at the
islandas soon's the blunt's on boardand a pity it is. But
you're never happy till you're drunk. Split my sidesI've a
sick heart to sail with the likes of you!"
Easy all, Long John,cried Israel. "Who's a-crossin'
Why, how many tall ships, think ye, now, have I seen
laid aboard? And how many brisk lads drying in the sun
at Execution Dock?cried Silver. "And all for this
same hurry and hurry and hurry. You hear me? I seen a
thing or two at seaI have. If you would on'y lay
your courseand a p'int to windwardyou would ride in
carriagesyou would. But not you! I know you. You'll
have your mouthful of rum tomorrowand go hang."
Everybody knowed you was a kind of a chapling, John;
but there's others as could hand and steer as well as
you,said Israel. "They liked a bit o' funthey did.
They wasn't so high and drynohowbut took their
flinglike jolly companions every one."
So?says Silver. "Welland where are they now? Pew
was that sortand he died a beggar-man. Flint was
and he died of rum at Savannah. Ahthey was a sweet
crewthey was! On'ywhere are they?"
But,asked Dickwhen we do lay 'em athwart, what
are we to do with 'em, anyhow?
There's the man for me!cried the cook admiringly.
That's what I call business. Well, what would you
think? Put 'em ashore like maroons? That would have
been England's way. Or cut 'em down like that much
pork? That would have been Flint's, or Billy Bones's.
Billy was the man for that,said Israel. "'Dead men
don't bite' says he. Wellhe's dead now hisself; he
knows the long and short on it now; and if ever a rough
hand come to portit was Billy."
Right you are,said Silver; "rough and ready. But
mark you hereI'm an easy man--I'm quite the
gentlemansays you; but this time it's serious. Dooty
is dootymates. I give my vote--death. When I'm in
Parlyment and riding in my coachI don't want none of
these sea-lawyers in the cabin a-coming homeunlooked
forlike the devil at prayers. Wait is what I say;
but when the time comeswhylet her rip!"
John,cries the coxswainyou're a man!
You'll say so, Israel when you see,said Silver.
Only one thing I claim--I claim Trelawney. I'll wring
his calf's head off his body with these hands, Dick!
he addedbreaking off. "You just jump uplike a
sweet ladand get me an appleto wet my pipe like."
You may fancy the terror I was in! I should have
leaped out and run for it if I had found the strength
but my limbs and heart alike misgave me. I heard Dick
begin to riseand then someone seemingly stopped him
and the voice of Hands exclaimedOh, stow that!
Don't you get sucking of that bilge, John. Let's have
a go of the rum.
Dick,said SilverI trust you. I've a gauge on the
keg, mind. There's the key; you fill a pannikin and
bring it up.
Terrified as I wasI could not help thinking to myself
that this must have been how Mr. Arrow got the strong
waters that destroyed him.
Dick was gone but a little whileand during his
absence Israel spoke straight on in the cook's ear. It
was but a word or two that I could catchand yet I
gathered some important newsfor besides other scraps
that tended to the same purposethis whole clause was
audible: "Not another man of them'll jine." Hence
there were still faithful men on board.
When Dick returnedone after another of the trio took
the pannikin and drank--one "To luck another with a
Here's to old Flint and Silver himself saying, in a
kind of song, Here's to ourselvesand hold your luff
plenty of prizes and plenty of duff."
Just then a sort of brightness fell upon me in the
barreland looking upI found the moon had risen and
was silvering the mizzen-top and shining white on the
luff of the fore-sail; and almost at the same time the
voice of the lookout shoutedLand ho!
Council of War
THERE was a great rush of feet across the deck. I
could hear people tumbling up from the cabin and the
forecastleand slipping in an instant outside my
barrelI dived behind the fore-sailmade a double
towards the sternand came out upon the open deck in
time to join Hunter and Dr. Livesey in the rush for the
There all hands were already congregated. A belt of
fog had lifted almost simultaneously with the
appearance of the moon. Away to the south-west of us
we saw two low hillsabout a couple of miles apart
and rising behind one of them a third and higher hill
whose peak was still buried in the fog. All three
seemed sharp and conical in figure.
So much I sawalmost in a dreamfor I had not yet
recovered from my horrid fear of a minute or two
before. And then I heard the voice of Captain Smollett
issuing orders. The HISPANIOLA was laid a couple
of points nearer the wind and now sailed a course that
would just clear the island on the east.
And now, men,said the captainwhen all was sheeted
homehas any one of you ever seen that land ahead?
I have, sir,said Silver. "I've watered there with a
trader I was cook in."
The anchorage is on the south, behind an islet, I
fancy?asked the captain.
Yes, sir; Skeleton Island they calls it. It were a
main place for pirates once, and a hand we had on board
knowed all their names for it. That hill to the
nor'ard they calls the Fore-mast Hill; there are three
hills in a row running south'ard--fore, main, and
mizzen, sir. But the main--that's the big un, with the
cloud on it--they usually calls the Spy-glass, by
reason of a lookout they kept when they was in the
anchorage cleaning, for it's there they cleaned their
ships, sir, asking your pardon.
I have a chart here,says Captain Smollett. "See if
that's the place."
Long John's eyes burned in his head as he took the
chartbut by the fresh look of the paper I knew he was
doomed to disappointment. This was not the map we
found in Billy Bones's chestbut an accurate copy
complete in all things--names and heights and
soundings--with the single exception of the red crosses
and the written notes. Sharp as must have been his
annoyanceSilver had the strength of mind to hide it.
Yes, sir,said hethis is the spot, to be sure, and
very prettily drawed out. Who might have done that, I
wonder? The pirates were too ignorant, I reckon. Aye,
here it is: 'Capt. Kidd's Anchorage'--just the name my
shipmate called it. There's a strong current runs
along the south, and then away nor'ard up the west
coast. Right you was, sir,says heto haul your
wind and keep the weather of the island. Leastways, if
such was your intention as to enter and careen, and
there ain't no better place for that in these waters.
Thank you, my man,says Captain Smollett. "I'll ask
you later on to give us a help. You may go."
I was surprised at the coolness with which John avowed
his knowledge of the islandand I own I was half-
frightened when I saw him drawing nearer to myself. He
did not knowto be surethat I had overheard his
council from the apple barreland yet I had by this
time taken such a horror of his crueltyduplicityand
power that I could scarce conceal a shudder when he
laid his hand upon my arm.
Ah,says hethis here is a sweet spot, this island-a
sweet spot for a lad to get ashore on. You'll bathe,
and you'll climb trees, and you'll hunt goats, you will;
and you'll get aloft on them hills like a goat yourself.
Why, it makes me young again. I was going to forget my
timber leg, I was. It's a pleasant thing to be young and
have ten toes, and you may lay to that. When you want to
go a bit of exploring, you just ask old John, and he'll
put up a snack for you to take along.
And clapping me in the friendliest way upon the
shoulderhe hobbled off forward and went below.
Captain Smollettthe squireand Dr. Livesey were
talking together on the quarter-deckand anxious as I
was to tell them my storyI durst not interrupt them
openly. While I was still casting about in my thoughts
to find some probable excuseDr. Livesey called me to
his side. He had left his pipe belowand being a slave
to tobaccohad meant that I should fetch it; but as soon
as I was near enough to speak and not to be overheardI
broke immediatelyDoctor, let me speak. Get the captain
and squire down to the cabin, and then make some pretence
to send for me. I have terrible news.
The doctor changed countenance a littlebut next
moment he was master of himself.
Thank you, Jim,said he quite loudlythat was all I
wanted to know,as if he had asked me a question.
And with that he turned on his heel and rejoined the
other two. They spoke together for a littleand
though none of them startedor raised his voiceor so
much as whistledit was plain enough that Dr. Livesey
had communicated my requestfor the next thing that I
heard was the captain giving an order to Job Anderson
and all hands were piped on deck.
My lads,said Captain SmollettI've a word to say
to you. This land that we have sighted is the place we
have been sailing for. Mr. Trelawney, being a very
open-handed gentleman, as we all know, has just asked
me a word or two, and as I was able to tell him that
every man on board had done his duty, alow and aloft,
as I never ask to see it done better, why, he and I and
the doctor are going below to the cabin to drink YOUR
health and luck, and you'll have grog served out
for you to drink OUR health and luck. I'll tell
you what I think of this: I think it handsome. And if
you think as I do, you'll give a good sea-cheer for the
gentleman that does it.
The cheer followed--that was a matter of course; but it
rang out so full and hearty that I confess I could hardly
believe these same men were plotting for our blood.
One more cheer for Cap'n Smollett,cried Long John
when the first had subsided.
And this also was given with a will.
On the top of that the three gentlemen went belowand
not long afterword was sent forward that Jim Hawkins
was wanted in the cabin.
I found them all three seated round the tablea bottle
of Spanish wine and some raisins before themand the
doctor smoking awaywith his wig on his lapand that
I knewwas a sign that he was agitated. The stern
window was openfor it was a warm nightand you could
see the moon shining behind on the ship's wake.
Now, Hawkins,said the squireyou have something to
say. Speak up.
I did as I was bidand as short as I could make it
told the whole details of Silver's conversation.
Nobody interrupted me till I was donenor did any one
of the three of them make so much as a movementbut
they kept their eyes upon my face from first to last.
Jim,said Dr. Liveseytake a seat.
And they made me sit down at table beside thempoured
me out a glass of winefilled my hands with raisins
and all threeone after the otherand each with a
bowdrank my good healthand their service to mefor
my luck and courage.
Now, captain,said the squireyou were right, and I
was wrong. I own myself an ass, and I await your orders.
No more an ass than I, sir,returned the captain. "I
never heard of a crew that meant to mutiny but what
showed signs beforefor any man that had an eye in his
head to see the mischief and take steps according. But
this crew he added, beats me."
Captain,said the doctorwith your permission,
that's Silver. A very remarkable man.
He'd look remarkably well from a yard-arm, sir,
returned the captain. "But this is talk; this don't
lead to anything. I see three or four pointsand with
Mr. Trelawney's permissionI'll name them."
You, sir, are the captain. It is for you to speak,
says Mr. Trelawney grandly.
First point,began Mr. Smollett. "We must go on
because we can't turn back. If I gave the word to go
aboutthey would rise at once. Second pointwe have
time before us--at least until this treasure's found.
Third pointthere are faithful hands. Nowsirit's
got to come to blows sooner or laterand what I
propose is to take time by the forelockas the saying
isand come to blows some fine day when they least
expect it. We can countI take iton your own home
As upon myself,declared the squire.
Three,reckoned the captain; "ourselves make seven
counting Hawkins here. Nowabout the honest hands?"
Most likely Trelawney's own men,said the doctor; "those
he had picked up for himself before he lit on Silver."
Nay,replied the squire. "Hands was one of mine."
I did think I could have trusted Hands,added the captain.
And to think that they're all Englishmen!broke out
the squire. "SirI could find it in my heart to blow
the ship up."
Well, gentlemen,said the captainthe best that I
can say is not much. We must lay to, if you please,
and keep a bright lookout. It's trying on a man, I
know. It would be pleasanter to come to blows. But
there's no help for it till we know our men. Lay to,
and whistle for a wind, that's my view.
Jim here,said the doctorcan help us more than
anyone. The men are not shy with him, and Jim is a
Hawkins, I put prodigious faith in you,added the squire.
I began to feel pretty desperate at thisfor I felt
altogether helpless; and yetby an odd train of
circumstancesit was indeed through me that safety came.
In the meantimetalk as we pleasedthere were only
seven out of the twenty-six on whom we knew we could
rely; and out of these seven one was a boyso that the
grown men on our side were six to their nineteen.
My Shore Adventure
How My Shore Adventure Began
THE appearance of the island when I came on deck next
morning was altogether changed. Although the breeze
had now utterly ceasedwe had made a great deal of way
during the night and were now lying becalmed about half
a mile to the south-east of the low eastern coast.
Grey-coloured woods covered a large part of the
surface. This even tint was indeed broken up by
streaks of yellow sand-break in the lower landsand by
many tall trees of the pine familyout-topping the
others--some singlysome in clumps; but the general
colouring was uniform and sad. The hills ran up clear
above the vegetation in spires of naked rock. All were
strangely shapedand the Spy-glasswhich was by three
or four hundred feet the tallest on the islandwas
likewise the strangest in configurationrunning up
sheer from almost every side and then suddenly cut off
at the top like a pedestal to put a statue on.
The HISPANIOLA was rolling scuppers under in the
ocean swell. The booms were tearing at the blocksthe
rudder was banging to and froand the whole ship
creakinggroaningand jumping like a manufactory.
had to cling tight to the backstayand the world
turned giddily before my eyesfor though I was a good
enough sailor when there was way onthis standing
still and being rolled about like a bottle was a thing
I never learned to stand without a qualm or soabove
all in the morningon an empty stomach.
Perhaps it was this--perhaps it was the look of the
islandwith its greymelancholy woodsand wild stone
spiresand the surf that we could both see and hear
foaming and thundering on the steep beach--at least
although the sun shone bright and hotand the shore
birds were fishing and crying all around usand you
would have thought anyone would have been glad to get
to land after being so long at seamy heart sankas
the saying isinto my boots; and from the first look
onwardI hated the very thought of Treasure Island.
We had a dreary morning's work before usfor there was
no sign of any windand the boats had to be got out
and mannedand the ship warped three or four miles
round the corner of the island and up the narrow
passage to the haven behind Skeleton Island. I
volunteered for one of the boatswhere I hadof
courseno business. The heat was swelteringand the
men grumbled fiercely over their work. Anderson was in
command of my boatand instead of keeping the crew in
orderhe grumbled as loud as the worst.
Well,he said with an oathit's not forever.
I thought this was a very bad signfor up to that day
the men had gone briskly and willingly about their
business; but the very sight of the island had relaxed
the cords of discipline.
All the way inLong John stood by the steersman and
conned the ship. He knew the passage like the palm of
his handand though the man in the chains got
everywhere more water than was down in the chartJohn
never hesitated once.
There's a strong scour with the ebb,he saidand
this here passage has been dug out, in a manner of
speaking, with a spade.
We brought up just where the anchor was in the chart
about a third of a mile from each shorethe mainland
on one side and Skeleton Island on the other. The
bottom was clean sand. The plunge of our anchor sent
up clouds of birds wheeling and crying over the woods
but in less than a minute they were down again and all
was once more silent.
The place was entirely land-lockedburied in woods
the trees coming right down to high-water markthe
shores mostly flatand the hilltops standing round at
a distance in a sort of amphitheatreone hereone
there. Two little riversor rather two swamps
emptied out into this pondas you might call it; and
the foliage round that part of the shore had a kind of
poisonous brightness. From the ship we could see
nothing of the house or stockadefor they were quite
buried among trees; and if it had not been for the
chart on the companionwe might have been the first
that had ever anchored there since the island arose out
of the seas.
There was not a breath of air movingnor a sound but that
of the surf booming half a mile away along the beaches and
against the rocks outside. A peculiar stagnant smell hung
over the anchorage--a smell of sodden leaves and rotting
tree trunks. I observed the doctor sniffing and sniffing
like someone tasting a bad egg.
I don't know about treasure,he saidbut I'll stake
my wig there's fever here.
If the conduct of the men had been alarming in the
boatit became truly threatening when they had come
aboard. They lay about the deck growling together in
talk. The slightest order was received with a black
look and grudgingly and carelessly obeyed. Even the
honest hands must have caught the infectionfor there
was not one man aboard to mend another. Mutinyit was
plainhung over us like a thunder-cloud.
And it was not only we of the cabin party who perceived
the danger. Long John was hard at work going from
group to groupspending himself in good adviceand as
for example no man could have shown a better. He
fairly outstripped himself in willingness and civility;
he was all smiles to everyone. If an order were given
John would be on his crutch in an instantwith the
cheeriest "Ayeayesir!" in the world; and when there
was nothing else to dohe kept up one song after
anotheras if to conceal the discontent of the rest.
Of all the gloomy features of that gloomy afternoonthis
obvious anxiety on the part of Long John appeared the worst.
We held a council in the cabin.
Sir,said the captainif I risk another order, the
whole ship'll come about our ears by the run. You see,
sir, here it is. I get a rough answer, do I not? Well,
if I speak back, pikes will be going in two shakes; if I
don't, Silver will see there's something under that, and
the game's up. Now, we've only one man to rely on.
And who is that?asked the squire.
Silver, sir,returned the captain; "he's as anxious
as you and I to smother things up. This is a tiff;
he'd soon talk 'em out of it if he had the chanceand
what I propose to do is to give him the chance. Let's
allow the men an afternoon ashore. If they all gowhy
we'll fight the ship. If they none of them gowell
thenwe hold the cabinand God defend the right. If
some goyou mark my wordssirSilver'll bring 'em
aboard again as mild as lambs."
It was so decided; loaded pistols were served out to all
the sure men; HunterJoyceand Redruth were taken into
our confidence and received the news with less surprise
and a better spirit than we had looked forand then the
captain went on deck and addressed the crew.
My lads,said hewe've had a hot day and are all
tired and out of sorts. A turn ashore'll hurt nobody-the
boats are still in the water; you can take the gigs,
and as many as please may go ashore for the afternoon.
I'll fire a gun half an hour before sundown.
I believe the silly fellows must have thought they
would break their shins over treasure as soon as they
were landedfor they all came out of their sulks in a
moment and gave a cheer that started the echo in a faraway
hill and sent the birds once more flying and
squalling round the anchorage.
The captain was too bright to be in the way. He
whipped out of sight in a momentleaving Silver to
arrange the partyand I fancy it was as well he did
so. Had he been on deckhe could no longer so much as
have pretended not to understand the situation. It was
as plain as day. Silver was the captainand a mighty
rebellious crew he had of it. The honest hands--and I
was soon to see it proved that there were such on
board--must have been very stupid fellows. Or rather
I suppose the truth was thisthat all hands were
disaffected by the example of the ringleaders--only
some moresome less; and a fewbeing good fellows in
the maincould neither be led nor driven any further.
It is one thing to be idle and skulk and quite another
to take a ship and murder a number of innocent men.
At lasthoweverthe party was made up. Six fellows
were to stay on boardand the remaining thirteen
including Silverbegan to embark.
Then it was that there came into my head the first of
the mad notions that contributed so much to save our
lives. If six men were left by Silverit was plain
our party could not take and fight the ship; and since
only six were leftit was equally plain that the cabin
party had no present need of my assistance. It occurred
to me at once to go ashore. In a jiffy I had slipped over
the side and curled up in the fore-sheets of the nearest
boatand almost at the same moment she shoved off.
No one took notice of meonly the bow oar sayingIs
that you, Jim? Keep your head down.But Silverfrom
the other boatlooked sharply over and called out to
know if that were me; and from that moment I began to
regret what I had done.
The crews raced for the beachbut the boat I was in
having some start and being at once the lighter and the
better mannedshot far ahead of her consortand the
bow had struck among the shore-side trees and I had
caught a branch and swung myself out and plunged into
the nearest thicket while Silver and the rest were
still a hundred yards behind.
Jim, Jim!I heard him shouting.
But you may suppose I paid no heed; jumpingducking
and breaking throughI ran straight before my nose
till I could run no longer.
The First Blow
I WAS so pleased at having given the slip to Long John
that I began to enjoy myself and look around me with
some interest on the strange land that I was in.
I had crossed a marshy tract full of willows
bulrushesand oddoutlandishswampy trees; and I had
now come out upon the skirts of an open piece of
undulatingsandy countryabout a mile longdotted
with a few pines and a great number of contorted trees
not unlike the oak in growthbut pale in the foliage
like willows. On the far side of the open stood one of
the hillswith two quaintcraggy peaks shining
vividly in the sun.
I now felt for the first time the joy of exploration.
The isle was uninhabited; my shipmates I had left
behindand nothing lived in front of me but dumb
brutes and fowls. I turned hither and thither among
the trees. Here and there were flowering plants
unknown to me; here and there I saw snakesand one
raised his head from a ledge of rock and hissed at me
with a noise not unlike the spinning of a top. Little
did I suppose that he was a deadly enemy and that the
noise was the famous rattle.
Then I came to a long thicket of these oaklike trees-live
or evergreenoaksI heard afterwards they
should be called--which grew low along the sand like
bramblesthe boughs curiously twistedthe foliage
compactlike thatch. The thicket stretched down from
the top of one of the sandy knollsspreading and
growing taller as it wentuntil it reached the margin
of the broadreedy fenthrough which the nearest of
the little rivers soaked its way into the anchorage.
The marsh was steaming in the strong sunand the
outline of the Spy-glass trembled through the haze.
All at once there began to go a sort of bustle among
the bulrushes; a wild duck flew up with a quack
another followedand soon over the whole surface of
the marsh a great cloud of birds hung screaming and
circling in the air. I judged at once that some of my
shipmates must be drawing near along the borders of the
fen. Nor was I deceivedfor soon I heard the very
distant and low tones of a human voicewhichas I
continued to give eargrew steadily louder and nearer.
This put me in a great fearand I crawled under cover
of the nearest live-oak and squatted therehearkening
as silent as a mouse.
Another voice answeredand then the first voicewhich
I now recognized to be Silver'sonce more took up the
story and ran on for a long while in a streamonly now
and again interrupted by the other. By the sound they
must have been talking earnestlyand almost fiercely;
but no distinct word came to my hearing.
At last the speakers seemed to have paused and perhaps
to have sat downfor not only did they cease to draw
any nearerbut the birds themselves began to grow more
quiet and to settle again to their places in the swamp.
And now I began to feel that I was neglecting my business
that since I had been so foolhardy as to come ashore with
these desperadoesthe least I could do was to overhear
them at their councilsand that my plain and obvious duty
was to draw as close as I could manageunder the favourable
ambush of the crouching trees.
I could tell the direction of the speakers pretty
exactlynot only by the sound of their voices but by
the behaviour of the few birds that still hung in alarm
above the heads of the intruders.
Crawling on all foursI made steadily but slowly
towards themtill at lastraising my head to an
aperture among the leavesI could see clear down into
a little green dell beside the marshand closely set
about with treeswhere Long John Silver and another of
the crew stood face to face in conversation.
The sun beat full upon them. Silver had thrown his hat
beside him on the groundand his greatsmoothblond
faceall shining with heatwas lifted to the other
man's in a kind of appeal.
Mate,he was sayingit's because I thinks gold dust
of you--gold dust, and you may lay to that! If I
hadn't took to you like pitch, do you think I'd have
been here a-warning of you? All's up--you can't make
nor mend; it's to save your neck that I'm a-speaking,
and if one of the wild uns knew it, where'd I be, Tom-now,
tell me, where'd I be?
Silver,said the other man--and I observed he was not
only red in the facebut spoke as hoarse as a crowand
his voice shook toolike a taut rope--"Silver says he,
you're oldand you're honestor has the name for it;
and you've money toowhich lots of poor sailors hasn't;
and you're braveor I'm mistook. And will you tell me
you'll let yourself be led away with that kind of a mess
of swabs? Not you! As sure as God sees meI'd sooner
lose my hand. If I turn agin my dooty--"
And then all of a sudden he was interrupted by a noise.
I had found one of the honest hands--wellhereat
that same momentcame news of another. Far away out
in the marsh there aroseall of a suddena sound like
the cry of angerthen another on the back of it; and
then one horridlong-drawn scream. The rocks of the
Spy-glass re-echoed it a score of times; the whole
troop of marsh-birds rose againdarkening heavenwith
a simultaneous whirr; and long after that death yell
was still ringing in my brainsilence had reestablished
its empireand only the rustle of the
redescending birds and the boom of the distant surges
disturbed the languor of the afternoon.
Tom had leaped at the soundlike a horse at the spur
but Silver had not winked an eye. He stood where he
wasresting lightly on his crutchwatching his
companion like a snake about to spring.
John!said the sailorstretching out his hand.
Hands off!cried Silverleaping back a yardas it seemed
to mewith the speed and security of a trained gymnast.
Hands off, if you like, John Silver,said the other.
It's a black conscience that can make you feared of
me. But in heaven's name, tell me, what was that?
That?returned Silversmiling awaybut warier than
everhis eye a mere pin-point in his big facebut
gleaming like a crumb of glass. "That?" OhI reckon
that'll be Alan."
And at this point Tom flashed out like a hero.
Alan!he cried. "Then rest his soul for a true seaman!
And as for youJohn Silverlong you've been a mate of
minebut you're mate of mine no more. If I die like a
dogI'll die in my dooty. You've killed Alanhave you?
Kill me tooif you can. But I defies you."
And with thatthis brave fellow turned his back
directly on the cook and set off walking for the beach.
But he was not destined to go far. With a cry John
seized the branch of a treewhipped the crutch out of
his armpitand sent that uncouth missile hurtling
through the air. It struck poor Tompoint foremost
and with stunning violenceright between the shoulders
in the middle of his back. His hands flew uphe gave
a sort of gaspand fell.
Whether he were injured much or littlenone could ever
tell. Like enoughto judge from the soundhis back
was broken on the spot. But he had no time given him
to recover. Silveragile as a monkey even without leg
or crutchwas on the top of him next moment and had
twice buried his knife up to the hilt in that
defenceless body. From my place of ambushI could
hear him pant aloud as he struck the blows.
I do not know what it rightly is to faintbut I do know
that for the next little while the whole world swam away
from before me in a whirling mist; Silver and the birds
and the tall Spy-glass hilltopgoing round and round and
topsy-turvy before my eyesand all manner of bells ringing
and distant voices shouting in my ear.
When I came again to myself the monster had pulled
himself togetherhis crutch under his armhis hat
upon his head. Just before him Tom lay motionless upon
the sward; but the murderer minded him not a whit
cleansing his blood-stained knife the while upon a wisp
of grass. Everything else was unchangedthe sun still
shining mercilessly on the steaming marsh and the tall
pinnacle of the mountainand I could scarce persuade
myself that murder had been actually done and a human
life cruelly cut short a moment since before my eyes.
But now John put his hand into his pocketbrought out
a whistleand blew upon it several modulated blasts
that rang far across the heated air. I could not tell
of coursethe meaning of the signalbut it instantly
awoke my fears. More men would be coming. I might be
discovered. They had already slain two of the honest
people; after Tom and Alanmight not I come next?
Instantly I began to extricate myself and crawl back
againwith what speed and silence I could manageto
the more open portion of the wood. As I did soI
could hear hails coming and going between the old
buccaneer and his comradesand this sound of danger
lent me wings. As soon as I was clear of the thicket
I ran as I never ran beforescarce minding the
direction of my flightso long as it led me from the
murderers; and as I ranfear grew and grew upon me
until it turned into a kind of frenzy.
Indeedcould anyone be more entirely lost than I?
When the gun firedhow should I dare to go down to the
boats among those fiendsstill smoking from their crime?
Would not the first of them who saw me wring my neck like
a snipe's? Would not my absence itself be an evidence
to them of my alarmand therefore of my fatal knowledge?
It was all overI thought. Good-bye to the HISPANIOLA;
good-bye to the squirethe doctorand the captain!
There was nothing left for me but death by starvation
or death by the hands of the mutineers.
All this whileas I sayI was still runningand
without taking any noticeI had drawn near to the foot
of the little hill with the two peaks and had got into
a part of the island where the live-oaks grew more
widely apart and seemed more like forest trees in their
bearing and dimensions. Mingled with these were a few
scattered pinessome fiftysome nearer seventyfeet
high. The air too smelt more freshly than down beside
And here a fresh alarm brought me to a standstill with
a thumping heart.
The Man of the Island
FROM the side of the hillwhich was here steep and
stonya spout of gravel was dislodged and fell
rattling and bounding through the trees. My eyes
turned instinctively in that directionand I saw a
figure leap with great rapidity behind the trunk of a
pine. What it waswhether bear or man or monkeyI
could in no wise tell. It seemed dark and shaggy; more
I knew not. But the terror of this new apparition
brought me to a stand.
I was nowit seemedcut off upon both sides; behind
me the murderersbefore me this lurking nondescript.
And immediately I began to prefer the dangers that I
knew to those I knew not. Silver himself appeared less
terrible in contrast with this creature of the woods
and I turned on my heeland looking sharply behind me
over my shoulderbegan to retrace my steps in the
direction of the boats.
Instantly the figure reappearedand making a wide
circuitbegan to head me off. I was tiredat any
rate; but had I been as fresh as when I roseI could
see it was in vain for me to contend in speed with such
an adversary. From trunk to trunk the creature flitted
like a deerrunning manlike on two legsbut unlike
any man that I had ever seenstooping almost double as
it ran. Yet a man it wasI could no longer be in
doubt about that.
I began to recall what I had heard of cannibals. I was
within an ace of calling for help. But the mere fact
that he was a manhowever wildhad somewhat reassured
meand my fear of Silver began to revive in proportion.
I stood stillthereforeand cast about for some method
of escape; and as I was so thinkingthe recollection of
my pistol flashed into my mind. As soon as I remembered
I was not defencelesscourage glowed again in my heart
and I set my face resolutely for this man of the island
and walked briskly towards him.
He was concealed by this time behind another tree
trunk; but he must have been watching me closelyfor
as soon as I began to move in his direction he
reappeared and took a step to meet me. Then he
hesitateddrew backcame forward againand at last
to my wonder and confusionthrew himself on his knees
and held out his clasped hands in supplication.
At that I once more stopped.
Who are you?I asked.
Ben Gunn,he answeredand his voice sounded hoarse and
awkwardlike a rusty lock. "I'm poor Ben GunnI am; and
I haven't spoke with a Christian these three years."
I could now see that he was a white man like myself and
that his features were even pleasing. His skin
wherever it was exposedwas burnt by the sun; even his
lips were blackand his fair eyes looked quite
startling in so dark a face. Of all the beggar-men
that I had seen or fanciedhe was the chief for
raggedness. He was clothed with tatters of old ship's
canvas and old sea-clothand this extraordinary
patchwork was all held together by a system of the most
various and incongruous fasteningsbrass buttonsbits
of stickand loops of tarry gaskin. About his waist
he wore an old brass-buckled leather beltwhich was
the one thing solid in his whole accoutrement.
Three years!I cried. "Were you shipwrecked?"
Nay, mate,said he; "marooned."
I had heard the wordand I knew it stood for a
horrible kind of punishment common enough among the
buccaneersin which the offender is put ashore with a
little powder and shot and left behind on some desolate
and distant island.
Marooned three years agone,he continuedand lived
on goats since then, and berries, and oysters. Wherever
a man is, says I, a man can do for himself. But, mate,
my heart is sore for Christian diet. You mightn't happen
to have a piece of cheese about you, now? No? Well,
many's the long night I've dreamed of cheese--toasted,
mostly--and woke up again, and here I were.
If ever I can get aboard again,said Iyou shall
have cheese by the stone.
All this time he had been feeling the stuff of my
jacketsmoothing my handslooking at my bootsand
generallyin the intervals of his speechshowing a
childish pleasure in the presence of a fellow creature.
But at my last words he perked up into a kind of
If ever you can get aboard again, says you?he
repeated. "Whynowwho's to hinder you?"
Not you, I know,was my reply.
And right you was,he cried. "Now you--what do you
Jim,I told him.
Jim, Jim,says hequite pleased apparently. "Well
nowJimI've lived that rough as you'd be ashamed to
hear of. Nowfor instanceyou wouldn't think I had
had a pious mother--to look at me?" he asked.
Why, no, not in particular,I answered.
Ah, well,said hebut I had--remarkable pious. And
I was a civil, pious boy, and could rattle off my
catechism that fast, as you couldn't tell one word from
another. And here's what it come to, Jim, and it begun
with chuck-farthen on the blessed grave-stones! That's
what it begun with, but it went further'n that; and so
my mother told me, and predicked the whole, she did, the
pious woman! But it were Providence that put me here.
I've thought it all out in this here lonely island, and
I'm back on piety. You don't catch me tasting rum so
much, but just a thimbleful for luck, of course, the
first chance I have. I'm bound I'll be good, and I see
the way to. And, Jim--looking all round him and lowering
his voice to a whisper--"I'm rich."
I now felt sure that the poor fellow had gone crazy in
his solitudeand I suppose I must have shown the
feeling in my facefor he repeated the statement
hotly: "Rich! Rich! I says. And I'll tell you what:
I'll make a man of youJim. AhJimyou'll bless
your starsyou willyou was the first that found me!"
And at this there came suddenly a lowering shadow over
his faceand he tightened his grasp upon my hand and
raised a forefinger threateningly before my eyes.
Now, Jim, you tell me true: that ain't Flint's ship?
At this I had a happy inspiration. I began to believe
that I had found an allyand I answered him at once.
It's not Flint's ship, and Flint is dead; but I'll
tell you true, as you ask me--there are some of Flint's
hands aboard; worse luck for the rest of us.
Not a man--with one--leg?he gasped.
Ah, Silver!says he. "That were his name."
He's the cook, and the ringleader too.
He was still holding me by the wristand at that he
give it quite a wring.
If you was sent by Long John,he saidI'm as good as
pork, and I know it. But where was you, do you suppose?
I had made my mind up in a momentand by way of answer
told him the whole story of our voyage and the
predicament in which we found ourselves. He heard me
with the keenest interestand when I had done he
patted me on the head.
You're a good lad, Jim,he said; "and you're all in a
clove hitchain't you? Wellyou just put your trust
in Ben Gunn--Ben Gunn's the man to do it. Would you
think it likelynowthat your squire would prove a
liberal-minded one in case of help--him being in a
clove hitchas you remark?"
I told him the squire was the most liberal of men.
Aye, but you see,returned Ben GunnI didn't mean
giving me a gate to keep, and a suit of livery clothes,
and such; that's not my mark, Jim. What I mean is,
would he be likely to come down to the toon of, say one
thousand pounds out of money that's as good as a man's
I am sure he would,said I. "As it wasall hands
were to share."
AND a passage home?he added with a look of great
Why,I criedthe squire's a gentleman. And
besides, if we got rid of the others, we should want
you to help work the vessel home.
Ah,said heso you would.And he seemed very much
Now, I'll tell you what,he went on. "So much I'll
tell youand no more. I were in Flint's ship when he
buried the treasure; he and six along--six strong
seamen. They was ashore nigh on a weekand us
standing off and on in the old WALRUS. One fine
day up went the signaland here come Flint by himself
in a little boatand his head done up in a blue scarf.
The sun was getting upand mortal white he looked
about the cutwater. Butthere he wasyou mindand
the six all dead--dead and buried. How he done itnot
a man aboard us could make out. It was battlemurder
and sudden deathleastways--him against six. Billy
Bones was the mate; Long Johnhe was quartermaster;
and they asked him where the treasure was. 'Ah' says
he'you can go ashoreif you likeand stay' he
says; 'but as for the shipshe'll beat up for moreby
thunder!' That's what he said.
Well, I was in another ship three years back, and we
sighted this island. 'Boys,' said I, 'here's Flint's
treasure; let's land and find it.' The cap'n was
displeased at that, but my messmates were all of a mind
and landed. Twelve days they looked for it, and every
day they had the worse word for me, until one fine
morning all hands went aboard. 'As for you, Benjamin
Gunn,' says they, 'here's a musket,' they says, 'and a
spade, and pick-axe. You can stay here and find
Flint's money for yourself,' they says.
WellJimthree years have I been hereand not a bite
of Christian diet from that day to this. But nowyou
look here; look at me. Do I look like a man before the
mast? Nosays you. Nor I weren'tneitherI says."
And with that he winked and pinched me hard.
Just you mention them words to your squire, Jim,he went
on. "Nor he weren'tneither--that's the words. Three
years he were the man of this islandlight and darkfair
and rain; and sometimes he would maybe think upon a prayer
(says you)and sometimes he would maybe think of his old
motherso be as she's alive (you'll say); but the most
part of Gunn's time (this is what you'll say)--the most
part of his time was took up with another matter. And
then you'll give him a niplike I do."
And he pinched me again in the most confidential manner.
Then,he continuedthen you'll up, and you'll say
this: Gunn is a good man (you'll say), and he puts a
precious sight more confidence--a precious sight, mind
that--in a gen'leman born than in these gen'leman of
fortune, having been one hisself.
Well,I saidI don't understand one word that
you've been saying. But that's neither here nor there;
for how am I to get on board?
Ah,said hethat's the hitch, for sure. Well,
there's my boat, that I made with my two hands. I keep
her under the white rock. If the worst come to the
worst, we might try that after dark. Hi!he broke
out. "What's that?"
For just thenalthough the sun had still an hour or
two to runall the echoes of the island awoke and
bellowed to the thunder of a cannon.
They have begun to fight!I cried. "Follow me."
And I began to run towards the anchoragemy terrors
all forgottenwhile close at my side the marooned man
in his goatskins trotted easily and lightly.
Left, left,says he; "keep to your left handmate
Jim! Under the trees with you! Theer's where I killed
my first goat. They don't come down here now; they're
all mastheaded on them mountings for the fear of
Benjamin Gunn. Ah! And there's the cetemery"-cemetery
he must have meant. "You see the mounds?
come here and prayednows and thenswhen I thought
maybe a Sunday would be about doo. It weren't quite a
chapelbut it seemed more solemn like; and thensays
youBen Gunn was short-handed--no chaplingnor so
much as a Bible and a flagyou says."
So he kept talking as I ranneither expecting nor
receiving any answer.
The cannon-shot was followed after a considerable
interval by a volley of small arms.
Another pauseand thennot a quarter of a mile in
front of meI beheld the Union Jack flutter in the air
above a wood.
Narrative Continued by the Doctor: How the
Ship Was Abandoned
IT was about half past one--three bells in the sea
phrase--that the two boats went ashore from the
HISPANIOLA. The captainthe squireand I were
talking matters over in the cabin. Had there been a
breath of windwe should have fallen on the six
mutineers who were left aboard with usslipped our
cableand away to sea. But the wind was wanting; and
to complete our helplessnessdown came Hunter with the
news that Jim Hawkins had slipped into a boat and was
gone ashore with the rest.
It never occurred to us to doubt Jim Hawkinsbut we
were alarmed for his safety. With the men in the
temper they were init seemed an even chance if we
should see the lad again. We ran on deck. The pitch
was bubbling in the seams; the nasty stench of the
place turned me sick; if ever a man smelt fever and
dysenteryit was in that abominable anchorage. The
six scoundrels were sitting grumbling under a sail in
the forecastle; ashore we could see the gigs made fast
and a man sitting in eachhard by where the river runs
in. One of them was whistling "Lillibullero."
Waiting was a strainand it was decided that Hunter
and I should go ashore with the jolly-boat in quest
The gigs had leaned to their rightbut Hunter and I
pulled straight inin the direction of the stockade
upon the chart. The two who were left guarding their
boats seemed in a bustle at our appearance; "Lillibullero"
stopped offand I could see the pair discussing what
they ought to do. Had they gone and told Silverall
might have turned out differently; but they had their
ordersI supposeand decided to sit quietly where
they were and hark back again to "Lillibullero."
There was a slight bend in the coastand I steered so
as to put it between us; even before we landed we had
thus lost sight of the gigs. I jumped out and came as
near running as I durstwith a big silk handkerchief
under my hat for coolness' sake and a brace of pistols
ready primed for safety.
I had not gone a hundred yards when I reached the stockade.
This was how it was: a spring of clear water rose
almost at the top of a knoll. Wellon the knolland
enclosing the springthey had clapped a stout log-
house fit to hold two score of people on a pinch and
loopholed for musketry on either side. All round this
they had cleared a wide spaceand then the thing was
completed by a paling six feet highwithout door or
openingtoo strong to pull down without time and
labour and too open to shelter the besiegers. The
people in the log-house had them in every way; they
stood quiet in shelter and shot the others like
partridges. All they wanted was a good watch and food;
forshort of a complete surprisethey might have held
the place against a regiment.
What particularly took my fancy was the spring. For
though we had a good enough place of it in the cabin of
the HISPANIOLAwith plenty of arms and ammunition
and things to eatand excellent winesthere had been
one thing overlooked--we had no water. I was thinking
this over when there came ringing over the island the
cry of a man at the point of death. I was not new to
violent death--I have served his Royal Highness the
Duke of Cumberlandand got a wound myself at Fontenoy-but
I know my pulse went dot and carry one. "Jim
Hawkins is gone was my first thought.
It is something to have been an old soldier, but more
still to have been a doctor. There is no time to
dilly-dally in our work. And so now I made up my mind
instantly, and with no time lost returned to the shore
and jumped on board the jolly-boat.
By good fortune Hunter pulled a good oar. We made the
water fly, and the boat was soon alongside and I aboard
I found them all shaken, as was natural. The squire
was sitting down, as white as a sheet, thinking of the
harm he had led us to, the good soul! And one of the
six forecastle hands was little better.
There's a man says Captain Smollett, nodding towards
him, new to this work. He came nigh-hand fainting
doctorwhen he heard the cry. Another touch of the
rudder and that man would join us."
I told my plan to the captainand between us we
settled on the details of its accomplishment.
We put old Redruth in the gallery between the cabin and
the forecastlewith three or four loaded muskets and a
mattress for protection. Hunter brought the boat round
under the stern-portand Joyce and I set to work
loading her with powder tinsmusketsbags of
biscuitskegs of porka cask of cognacand my
invaluable medicine chest.
In the meantimethe squire and the captain stayed on
deckand the latter hailed the coxswainwho was the
principal man aboard.
Mr. Hands,he saidhere are two of us with a brace
of pistols each. If any one of you six make a signal
of any description, that man's dead.
They were a good deal taken abackand after a little
consultation one and all tumbled down the fore
companionthinking no doubt to take us on the rear.
But when they saw Redruth waiting for them in the
sparred galleythey went about ship at onceand a
head popped out again on deck.
Down, dog!cries the captain.
And the head popped back again; and we heard no more
for the timeof these six very faint-hearted seamen.
By this timetumbling things in as they camewe had
the jolly-boat loaded as much as we dared. Joyce and I
got out through the stern-portand we made for shore
again as fast as oars could take us.
This second trip fairly aroused the watchers along
shore. "Lillibullero" was dropped again; and just
before we lost sight of them behind the little point
one of them whipped ashore and disappeared. I had half
a mind to change my plan and destroy their boatsbut I
feared that Silver and the others might be close at hand
and all might very well be lost by trying for too much.
We had soon touched land in the same place as before and
set to provision the block house. All three made the
first journeyheavily ladenand tossed our stores over
the palisade. Thenleaving Joyce to guard them--one man
to be surebut with half a dozen muskets-- Hunter and I
returned to the jolly-boat and loaded ourselves once more.
So we proceeded without pausing to take breathtill the
whole cargo was bestowedwhen the two servants took up
their position in the block houseand Iwith all my power
sculled back to the HISPANIOLA.
That we should have risked a second boat load seems
more daring than it really was. They had the advantage
of numbersof coursebut we had the advantage of
arms. Not one of the men ashore had a musketand
before they could get within range for pistol shooting
we flattered ourselves we should be able to give a good
account of a half-dozen at least.
The squire was waiting for me at the stern windowall
his faintness gone from him. He caught the painter and
made it fastand we fell to loading the boat for our
very lives. Porkpowderand biscuit was the cargo
with only a musket and a cutlass apiece for the squire
and me and Redruth and the captain. The rest of the
arms and powder we dropped overboard in two fathoms and a
half of waterso that we could see the bright steel shining
far below us in the sunon the cleansandy bottom.
By this time the tide was beginning to ebband the
ship was swinging round to her anchor. Voices were
heard faintly halloaing in the direction of the two
gigs; and though this reassured us for Joyce and
Hunterwho were well to the eastwardit warned our
party to be off.
Redruth retreated from his place in the gallery and
dropped into the boatwhich we then brought round to
the ship's counterto be handier for Captain Smollett.
Now, men,said hedo you hear me?
There was no answer from the forecastle.
It's to you, Abraham Gray--it's to you I am speaking.
Still no reply.
Gray,resumed Mr. Smolletta little louderI am
leaving this ship, and I order you to follow your
captain. I know you are a good man at bottom, and I
dare say not one of the lot of you's as bad as he makes
out. I have my watch here in my hand; I give you
thirty seconds to join me in.
There was a pause.
Come, my fine fellow,continued the captain; "don't
hang so long in stays. I'm risking my life and the
lives of these good gentlemen every second."
There was a sudden scufflea sound of blowsand out burst
Abraham Gray with a knife cut on the side of the cheekand
came running to the captain like a dog to the whistle.
I'm with you, sir,said he.
And the next moment he and the captain had dropped
aboard of usand we had shoved off and given way.
We were clear out of the shipbut not yet ashore in
Narrative Continued by the Doctor: The Jolly-boat's
THIS fifth trip was quite different from any of the
others. In the first placethe little gallipot of a
boat that we were in was gravely overloaded. Five
grown menand three of them--TrelawneyRedruthand
the captain--over six feet highwas already more than
she was meant to carry. Add to that the powderpork
and bread-bags. The gunwale was lipping astern.
Several times we shipped a little waterand my
breeches and the tails of my coat were all soaking wet
before we had gone a hundred yards.
The captain made us trim the boatand we got her
to lie a little more evenly. All the samewe were
afraid to breathe.
In the second placethe ebb was now making--a strong
rippling current running westward through the basin
and then south'ard and seaward down the straits by
which we had entered in the morning. Even the ripples
were a danger to our overloaded craftbut the worst of
it was that we were swept out of our true course and
away from our proper landing-place behind the point.
If we let the current have its way we should come
ashore beside the gigswhere the pirates might appear
at any moment.
I cannot keep her head for the stockade, sir,said I
to the captain. I was steeringwhile he and Redruth
two fresh menwere at the oars. "The tide keeps
washing her down. Could you pull a little stronger?"
Not without swamping the boat,said he. "You must
bear upsirif you please--bear up until you see
I tried and found by experiment that the tide kept sweeping
us westward until I had laid her head due eastor just
about right angles to the way we ought to go.
We'll never get ashore at this rate,said I.
If it's the only course that we can lie, sir, we must
even lie it,returned the captain. "We must keep
upstream. You seesir he went on, if once we dropped
to leeward of the landing-placeit's hard to say where we
should get ashorebesides the chance of being boarded by
the gigs; whereasthe way we go the current must slacken
and then we can dodge back along the shore."
The current's less a'ready, sir,said the man Gray
who was sitting in the fore-sheets; "you can ease her
off a bit."
Thank you, my man,said Iquite as if nothing had
happenedfor we had all quietly made up our minds to
treat him like one of ourselves.
Suddenly the captain spoke up againand I thought his
voice was a little changed.
The gun!said he.
I have thought of that,said Ifor I made sure he
was thinking of a bombardment of the fort. "They could
never get the gun ashoreand if they didthey could
never haul it through the woods."
Look astern, doctor,replied the captain.
We had entirely forgotten the long nine; and thereto
our horrorwere the five rogues busy about her
getting off her jacketas they called the stout
tarpaulin cover under which she sailed. Not only that
but it flashed into my mind at the same moment that the
round-shot and the powder for the gun had been left
behindand a stroke with an axe would put it all into
the possession of the evil ones abroad.
Israel was Flint's gunner,said Gray hoarsely.
At any riskwe put the boat's head direct for the
landing-place. By this time we had got so far out of
the run of the current that we kept steerage way even
at our necessarily gentle rate of rowingand I could
keep her steady for the goal. But the worst of it was
that with the course I now held we turned our broadside
instead of our stern to the HISPANIOLA and offered
a target like a barn door.
I could hear as well as see that brandy-faced rascal
Israel Hands plumping down a round-shot on the deck.
Who's the best shot?asked the captain.
Mr. Trelawney, out and away,said I.
Mr. Trelawney, will you please pick me off one of
these men, sir? Hands, if possible,said the captain.
Trelawney was as cool as steel. He looked to the
priming of his gun.
Now,cried the captaineasy with that gun, sir, or
you'll swamp the boat. All hands stand by to trim her
when he aims.
The squire raised his gunthe rowing ceasedand we leaned
over to the other side to keep the balanceand all was so
nicely contrived that we did not ship a drop.
They had the gunby this timeslewed round upon the
swiveland Handswho was at the muzzle with the
rammerwas in consequence the most exposed. However
we had no luckfor just as Trelawney fireddown he
stoopedthe ball whistled over himand it was one of
the other four who fell.
The cry he gave was echoed not only by his companions
on board but by a great number of voices from the
shoreand looking in that direction I saw the other
pirates trooping out from among the trees and tumbling
into their places in the boats.
Here come the gigs, sir,said I.
Give way, then,cried the captain. "We mustn't mind
if we swamp her now. If we can't get ashoreall's up."
Only one of the gigs is being manned, sir,I added;
the crew of the other most likely going round by shore
to cut us off.
They'll have a hot run, sir,returned the captain.
Jack ashore, you know. It's not them I mind; it's the
round-shot. Carpet bowls! My lady's maid couldn't
miss. Tell us, squire, when you see the match, and
we'll hold water.
In the meanwhile we had been making headway at a good
pace for a boat so overloadedand we had shipped but
little water in the process. We were now close in;
thirty or forty strokes and we should beach herfor
the ebb had already disclosed a narrow belt of sand
below the clustering trees. The gig was no longer to
be feared; the little point had already concealed it
from our eyes. The ebb-tidewhich had so cruelly
delayed uswas now making reparation and delaying our
assailants. The one source of danger was the gun.
If I durst,said the captainI'd stop and pick
off another man.
But it was plain that they meant nothing should delay
their shot. They had never so much as looked at their
fallen comradethough he was not deadand I could see
him trying to crawl away.
Ready!cried the squire.
Hold!cried the captainquick as an echo.
And he and Redruth backed with a great heave that sent
her stern bodily under water. The report fell in at the
same instant of time. This was the first that Jim heard
the sound of the squire's shot not having reached him.
Where the ball passednot one of us precisely knewbut
I fancy it must have been over our heads and that the wind
of it may have contributed to our disaster.
At any ratethe boat sank by the sternquite gentlyin
three feet of waterleaving the captain and myselffacing
each otheron our feet. The other three took complete
headersand came up again drenched and bubbling.
So far there was no great harm. No lives were lost
and we could wade ashore in safety. But there were all
our stores at the bottomand to make things worse
only two guns out of five remained in a state for
service. Mine I had snatched from my knees and held
over my headby a sort of instinct. As for the
captainhe had carried his over his shoulder by a
bandoleerand like a wise manlock uppermost. The
other three had gone down with the boat.
To add to our concernwe heard voices already drawing
near us in the woods along shoreand we had not only
the danger of being cut off from the stockade in our
half-crippled state but the fear before us whetherif
Hunter and Joyce were attacked by half a dozenthey
would have the sense and conduct to stand firm. Hunter
was steadythat we knew; Joyce was a doubtful case--a
pleasantpolite man for a valet and to brush one's
clothesbut not entirely fitted for a man of war.
With all this in our mindswe waded ashore as fast as
we couldleaving behind us the poor jolly-boat and a
good half of all our powder and provisions.
Narrative Continued by the Doctor: End of the
First Day's Fighting
WE made our best speed across the strip of wood that
now divided us from the stockadeand at every step we
took the voices of the buccaneers rang nearer. Soon we
could hear their footfalls as they ran and the cracking
of the branches as they breasted across a bit of thicket.
I began to see we should have a brush for it in earnest
and looked to my priming.
Captain,said ITrelawney is the dead shot. Give
him your gun; his own is useless.
They exchanged gunsand Trelawneysilent and cool as
he had been since the beginning of the bustlehung a
moment on his heel to see that all was fit for service.
At the same timeobserving Gray to be unarmedI
handed him my cutlass. It did all our hearts good to
see him spit in his handknit his browsand make the
blade sing through the air. It was plain from every
line of his body that our new hand was worth his salt.
Forty paces farther we came to the edge of the wood and
saw the stockade in front of us. We struck the
enclosure about the middle of the south sideand
almost at the same timeseven mutineers--Job Anderson
the boatswainat their head--appeared in full cry at
the southwestern corner.
They paused as if taken abackand before they recovered
not only the squire and Ibut Hunter and Joyce from the
block househad time to fire. The four shots came in
rather a scattering volleybut they did the business:
one of the enemy actually felland the restwithout
hesitationturned and plunged into the trees.
After reloadingwe walked down the outside of the
palisade to see to the fallen enemy. He was stone
dead--shot through the heart.
We began to rejoice over our good success when just at
that moment a pistol cracked in the busha ball
whistled close past my earand poor Tom Redruth
stumbled and fell his length on the ground. Both the
squire and I returned the shotbut as we had nothing
to aim atit is probable we only wasted powder. Then
we reloaded and turned our attention to poor Tom.
The captain and Gray were already examining himand I
saw with half an eye that all was over.
I believe the readiness of our return volley had
scattered the mutineers once morefor we were suffered
without further molestation to get the poor old
gamekeeper hoisted over the stockade and carried
groaning and bleedinginto the log-house.
Poor old fellowhe had not uttered one word of surprise
complaintfearor even acquiescence from the very
beginning of our troubles till nowwhen we had laid him
down in the log-house to die. He had lain like a Trojan
behind his mattress in the gallery; he had followed every
order silentlydoggedlyand well; he was the oldest of
our party by a score of years; and nowsullenold
serviceable servantit was he that was to die.
The squire dropped down beside him on his knees and
kissed his handcrying like a child.
Be I going, doctor?he asked.
Tom, my man,said Iyou're going home.
I wish I had had a lick at them with the gun first,
Tom,said the squiresay you forgive me, won't you?
Would that be respectful like, from me to you,
squire?was the answer. "Howsoeverso be itamen!"
After a little while of silencehe said he thought
somebody might read a prayer. "It's the customsir
he added apologetically. And not long after, without
another word, he passed away.
In the meantime the captain, whom I had observed to be
wonderfully swollen about the chest and pockets, had
turned out a great many various stores--the British
colours, a Bible, a coil of stoutish rope, pen, ink,
the log-book, and pounds of tobacco. He had found a
longish fir-tree lying felled and trimmed in the
enclosure, and with the help of Hunter he had set it up
at the corner of the log-house where the trunks crossed
and made an angle. Then, climbing on the roof, he had
with his own hand bent and run up the colours.
This seemed mightily to relieve him. He re-entered the
log-house and set about counting up the stores as if
nothing else existed. But he had an eye on Tom's passage
for all that, and as soon as all was over, came forward
with another flag and reverently spread it on the body.
Don't you take onsir he said, shaking the squire's
hand. All's well with him; no fear for a hand that's
been shot down in his duty to captain and owner. It
mayn't be good divinitybut it's a fact."
Then he pulled me aside.
Dr. Livesey,he saidin how many weeks do you and
squire expect the consort?
I told him it was a question not of weeks but of
monthsthat if we were not back by the end of August
Blandly was to send to find usbut neither sooner nor
later. "You can calculate for yourself I said.
Whyyes returned the captain, scratching his head;
and making a large allowancesirfor all the gifts
of ProvidenceI should say we were pretty close hauled."
How do you mean?I asked.
It's a pity, sir, we lost that second load. That's
what I mean,replied the captain. "As for powder and
shotwe'll do. But the rations are shortvery short-so
shortDr. Liveseythat we're perhaps as well
without that extra mouth."
And he pointed to the dead body under the flag.
Just thenwith a roar and a whistlea round-shot
passed high above the roof of the log-house and plumped
far beyond us in the wood.
Oho!said the captain. "Blaze away! You've little
enough powder alreadymy lads."
At the second trialthe aim was betterand the ball
descended inside the stockadescattering a cloud of
sand but doing no further damage.
Captain,said the squirethe house is quite
invisible from the ship. It must be the flag they are
aiming at. Would it not be wiser to take it in?
Strike my colours!cried the captain. "Nosirnot I";
and as soon as he had said the wordsI think we all agreed
with him. For it was not only a piece of stoutseamanly
good feeling; it was good policy besides and showed our
enemies that we despised their cannonade.
All through the evening they kept thundering away.
Ball after ball flew over or fell short or kicked up
the sand in the enclosurebut they had to fire so high
that the shot fell dead and buried itself in the soft
sand. We had no ricochet to fearand though one
popped in through the roof of the log-house and out
again through the floorwe soon got used to that sort
of horse-play and minded it no more than cricket.
There is one good thing about all this,observed the
captain; "the wood in front of us is likely clear. The
ebb has made a good while; our stores should be
uncovered. Volunteers to go and bring in pork.
Gray and hunter were the first to come forward. Well
armedthey stole out of the stockadebut it proved a
useless mission. The mutineers were bolder than we
fancied or they put more trust in Israel's gunnery.
For four or five of them were busy carrying off our
stores and wading out with them to one of the gigs that
lay close bypulling an oar or so to hold her steady
against the current. Silver was in the stern-sheets in
command; and every man of them was now provided with a
musket from some secret magazine of their own.
The captain sat down to his logand here is the
beginning of the entry:
Alexander Smollettmaster; David Liveseyship's
doctor; Abraham Graycarpenter's mate; John
Trelawneyowner; John Hunter and Richard Joyce
owner's servantslandsmen--being all that is left
faithful of the ship's company--with stores for ten
days at short rationscame ashore this day and flew
British colours on the log-house in Treasure Island.
Thomas Redruthowner's servantlandsmanshot by the
mutineers; James Hawkinscabin-boy-
And at the same timeI was wondering over poor Jim
A hail on the land side.
Somebody hailing us,said Hunterwho was on guard.
Doctor! Squire! Captain! Hullo, Hunter, is that
you?came the cries.
And I ran to the door in time to see Jim Hawkinssafe
and soundcome climbing over the stockade.
Narrative Resumed by Jim Hawkins: The Garrison
in the Stockade
AS soon as Ben Gunn saw the colours he came to a halt
stopped me by the armand sat down.
Now,said hethere's your friends, sure enough.
Far more likely it's the mutineers,I answered.
That!he cried. "Whyin a place like thiswhere
nobody puts in but gen'lemen of fortuneSilver would
fly the Jolly Rogeryou don't make no doubt of that.
Nothat's your friends. There's been blows tooand I
reckon your friends has had the best of it; and here
they are ashore in the old stockadeas was made years
and years ago by Flint. Ahhe was the man to have a
headpiecewas Flint! Barring rumhis match were
never seen. He were afraid of nonenot he; on'y
Silver--Silver was that genteel."
Well,said Ithat may be so, and so be it; all the
more reason that I should hurry on and join my friends.
Nay, mate,returned Bennot you. You're a good
boy, or I'm mistook; but you're on'y a boy, all told.
Now, Ben Gunn is fly. Rum wouldn't bring me there,
where you're going--not rum wouldn't, till I see your
born gen'leman and gets it on his word of honour. And
you won't forget my words; 'A precious sight (that's
what you'll say), a precious sight more confidence'-and
then nips him.
And he pinched me the third time with the same air
And when Ben Gunn is wantedyou know where to find
himJim. Just wheer you found him today. And him
that comes is to have a white thing in his handand
he's to come alone. Oh! And you'll say this: 'Ben
Gunn' says you'has reasons of his own.'"
Well,said II believe I understand. You have
something to propose, and you wish to see the squire or
the doctor, and you're to be found where I found you.
Is that all?
And when? says you,he added. "Whyfrom about noon
observation to about six bells."
Good,said Iand now may I go?
You won't forget?he inquired anxiously. "Precious
sightand reasons of his ownsays you. Reasons of
his own; that's the mainstay; as between man and man.
Wellthen"--still holding me--"I reckon you can go
Jim. AndJimif you was to see Silveryou wouldn't
go for to sell Ben Gunn? Wild horses wouldn't draw it
from you? Nosays you. And if them pirates camp
ashoreJimwhat would you say but there'd be widders
in the morning?"
Here he was interrupted by a loud reportand a
cannonball came tearing through the trees and pitched
in the sand not a hundred yards from where we two were
talking. The next moment each of us had taken to his
heels in a different direction.
For a good hour to come frequent reports shook the
islandand balls kept crashing through the woods. I
moved from hiding-place to hiding-placealways
pursuedor so it seemed to meby these terrifying
missiles. But towards the end of the bombardment
though still I durst not venture in the direction of
the stockadewhere the balls fell oftenestI had
begunin a mannerto pluck up my heart againand
after a long detour to the eastcrept down among the
The sun had just setthe sea breeze was rustling and
tumbling in the woods and ruffling the grey surface of
the anchorage; the tidetoowas far outand great
tracts of sand lay uncovered; the airafter the heat
of the daychilled me through my jacket.
The HISPANIOLA still lay where she had anchored; butsure
enoughthere was the Jolly Roger--the black flag of piracy
--flying from her peak. Even as I lookedthere came another
red flash and another report that sent the echoes clattering
and one more round-shot whistled through the air. It was the
last of the cannonade.
I lay for some time watching the bustle which succeeded
the attack. Men were demolishing something with axes
on the beach near the stockade--the poor jolly-boatI
afterwards discovered. Awaynear the mouth of the
rivera great fire was glowing among the treesand
between that point and the ship one of the gigs kept
coming and goingthe menwhom I had seen so gloomy
shouting at the oars like children. But there was a
sound in their voices which suggested rum.
At length I thought I might return towards the
stockade. I was pretty far down on the lowsandy spit
that encloses the anchorage to the eastand is joined
at half-water to Skeleton Island; and nowas I rose to
my feetI sawsome distance further down the spit and
rising from among low bushesan isolated rockpretty
highand peculiarly white in colour. It occurred to
me that this might be the white rock of which Ben Gunn
had spoken and that some day or other a boat might be
wanted and I should know where to look for one.
Then I skirted among the woods until I had regained the
rearor shoreward sideof the stockadeand was soon
warmly welcomed by the faithful party.
I had soon told my story and began to look about me.
The log-house was made of unsquared trunks of pine-roof
wallsand floor. The latter stood in several
places as much as a foot or a foot and a half above the
surface of the sand. There was a porch at the door
and under this porch the little spring welled up into
an artificial basin of a rather odd kind--no other than
a great ship's kettle of ironwith the bottom knocked
outand sunk "to her bearings as the captain said,
among the sand.
Little had been left besides the framework of the
house, but in one corner there was a stone slab laid
down by way of hearth and an old rusty iron basket to
contain the fire.
The slopes of the knoll and all the inside of the
stockade had been cleared of timber to build the house,
and we could see by the stumps what a fine and lofty
grove had been destroyed. Most of the soil had been
washed away or buried in drift after the removal of the
trees; only where the streamlet ran down from the
kettle a thick bed of moss and some ferns and little
creeping bushes were still green among the sand. Very
close around the stockade--too close for defence, they
said--the wood still flourished high and dense, all of
fir on the land side, but towards the sea with a large
admixture of live-oaks.
The cold evening breeze, of which I have spoken,
whistled through every chink of the rude building and
sprinkled the floor with a continual rain of fine sand.
There was sand in our eyes, sand in our teeth, sand in
our suppers, sand dancing in the spring at the bottom
of the kettle, for all the world like porridge
beginning to boil. Our chimney was a square hole in
the roof; it was but a little part of the smoke that
found its way out, and the rest eddied about the house
and kept us coughing and piping the eye.
Add to this that Gray, the new man, had his face tied
up in a bandage for a cut he had got in breaking away
from the mutineers and that poor old Tom Redruth, still
unburied, lay along the wall, stiff and stark, under
the Union Jack.
If we had been allowed to sit idle, we should all have
fallen in the blues, but Captain Smollett was never the
man for that. All hands were called up before him, and
he divided us into watches. The doctor and Gray and I
for one; the squire, Hunter, and Joyce upon the other.
Tired though we all were, two were sent out for
firewood; two more were set to dig a grave for Redruth;
the doctor was named cook; I was put sentry at the door;
and the captain himself went from one to another, keeping
up our spirits and lending a hand wherever it was wanted.
From time to time the doctor came to the door for a little
air and to rest his eyes, which were almost smoked out of
his head, and whenever he did so, he had a word for me.
That man Smollett he said once, is a better man
than I am. And when I say that it means a dealJim."
Another time he came and was silent for a while. Then
he put his head on one sideand looked at me.
Is this Ben Gunn a man?he asked.
I do not know, sir,said I. "I am not very sure
whether he's sane."
If there's any doubt about the matter, he is,returned
the doctor. "A man who has been three years biting his
nails on a desert islandJimcan't expect to appear as
sane as you or me. It doesn't lie in human nature. Was
it cheese you said he had a fancy for?"
Yes, sir, cheese,I answered.
Well, Jim,says hejust see the good that comes of
being dainty in your food. You've seen my snuff-box,
haven't you? And you never saw me take snuff, the
reason being that in my snuff-box I carry a piece of
Parmesan cheese--a cheese made in Italy, very
nutritious. Well, that's for Ben Gunn!
Before supper was eaten we buried old Tom in the sand
and stood round him for a while bare-headed in the
breeze. A good deal of firewood had been got inbut
not enough for the captain's fancyand he shook his
head over it and told us we "must get back to this
tomorrow rather livelier." Thenwhen we had eaten our
pork and each had a good stiff glass of brandy grog
the three chiefs got together in a corner to discuss
It appears they were at their wits' end what to dothe
stores being so low that we must have been starved into
surrender long before help came. But our best hopeit
was decidedwas to kill off the buccaneers until they
either hauled down their flag or ran away with the
HISPANIOLA. From nineteen they were already reduced
to fifteentwo others were woundedand one at least-the
man shot beside the gun--severely woundedif he
were not dead. Every time we had a crack at themwe
were to take itsaving our own liveswith the
extremest care. And besides thatwe had two able
allies--rum and the climate.
As for the firstthough we were about half a mile
awaywe could hear them roaring and singing late into
the night; and as for the secondthe doctor staked his
wig thatcamped where they were in the marsh and
unprovided with remediesthe half of them would be on
their backs before a week.
So,he addedif we are not all shot down first they'll
be glad to be packing in the schooner. It's always a ship,
and they can get to buccaneering again, I suppose.
First ship that ever I lost,said Captain Smollett.
I was dead tiredas you may fancy; and when I got to
sleepwhich was not till after a great deal of
tossingI slept like a log of wood.
The rest had long been up and had already breakfasted and
increased the pile of firewood by about half as much again
when I was wakened by a bustle and the sound of voices.
Flag of truce!I heard someone say; and thenimmediately
afterwith a cry of surpriseSilver himself!
And at thatup I jumpedand rubbing my eyesran to a
loophole in the wall.
SURE enoughthere were two men just outside the stockade
one of them waving a white cloththe otherno less a
person than Silver himselfstanding placidly by.
It was still quite earlyand the coldest morning that
I think I ever was abroad in--a chill that pierced into
the marrow. The sky was bright and cloudless overhead
and the tops of the trees shone rosily in the sun. But
where Silver stood with his lieutenantall was still
in shadowand they waded knee-deep in a low white
vapour that had crawled during the night out of the
morass. The chill and the vapour taken together told a
poor tale of the island. It was plainly a damp
Keep indoors, men,said the captain. "Ten to one
this is a trick."
Then he hailed the buccaneer.
Who goes? Stand, or we fire.
Flag of truce,cried Silver.
The captain was in the porchkeeping himself carefully
out of the way of a treacherous shotshould any be
intended. He turned and spoke to usDoctor's watch
on the lookout. Dr. Livesey take the north side, if
you please; Jim, the east; Gray, west. The watch below,
all hands to load muskets. Lively, men, and careful.
And then he turned again to the mutineers.
And what do you want with your flag of truce?he cried.
This time it was the other man who replied.
Cap'n Silver, sir, to come on board and make terms,
Cap'n Silver! Don't know him. Who's he?cried the
captain. And we could hear him adding to himself
Cap'n, is it? My heart, and here's promotion!
Long John answered for himself. "Mesir. These poor
lads have chosen me cap'nafter your desertionsir"-laying
a particular emphasis upon the word "desertion."
We're willing to submit, if we can come to terms, and
no bones about it. All I ask is your word, Cap'n
Smollett, to let me safe and sound out of this here
stockade, and one minute to get out o' shot before a
gun is fired.
My man,said Captain SmollettI have not the slightest
desire to talk to you. If you wish to talk to me, you can
come, that's all. If there's any treachery, it'll be on
your side, and the Lord help you.
That's enough, cap'n,shouted Long John cheerily. "A
word from you's enough. I know a gentlemanand you
may lay to that."
We could see the man who carried the flag of truce
attempting to hold Silver back. Nor was that
wonderfulseeing how cavalier had been the captain's
answer. But Silver laughed at him aloud and slapped
him on the back as if the idea of alarm had been
absurd. Then he advanced to the stockadethrew over
his crutchgot a leg upand with great vigour and
skill succeeded in surmounting the fence and dropping
safely to the other side.
I will confess that I was far too much taken up with
what was going on to be of the slightest use as sentry;
indeedI had already deserted my eastern loophole and
crept up behind the captainwho had now seated himself
on the thresholdwith his elbows on his kneeshis
head in his handsand his eyes fixed on the water as
it bubbled out of the old iron kettle in the sand. He
was whistling "ComeLasses and Lads."
Silver had terrible hard work getting up the knoll.
What with the steepness of the inclinethe thick tree
stumpsand the soft sandhe and his crutch were as
helpless as a ship in stays. But he stuck to it like a
man in silenceand at last arrived before the captain
whom he saluted in the handsomest style. He was
tricked out in his best; an immense blue coatthick
with brass buttonshung as low as to his kneesand a
fine laced hat was set on the back of his head.
Here you are, my man,said the captainraising his
head. "You had better sit down."
You ain't a-going to let me inside, cap'n?complained
Long John. "It's a main cold morningto be suresir
to sit outside upon the sand."
Why, Silver,said the captainif you had pleased to
be an honest man, you might have been sitting in your
galley. It's your own doing. You're either my ship's
cook--and then you were treated handsome--or Cap'n Silver,
a common mutineer and pirate, and then you can go hang!
Well, well, cap'n,returned the sea-cooksitting
down as he was bidden on the sandyou'll have to give
me a hand up again, that's all. A sweet pretty place
you have of it here. Ah, there's Jim! The top of the
morning to you, Jim. Doctor, here's my service. Why,
there you all are together like a happy family, in a
manner of speaking.
If you have anything to say, my man, better say it,
said the captain.
Right you were, Cap'n Smollett,replied Silver.
Dooty is dooty, to be sure. Well now, you look here,
that was a good lay of yours last night. I don't deny
it was a good lay. Some of you pretty handy with a
handspike-end. And I'll not deny neither but what some
of my people was shook--maybe all was shook; maybe I
was shook myself; maybe that's why I'm here for terms.
But you mark me, cap'n, it won't do twice, by thunder!
We'll have to do sentry-go and ease off a point or so
on the rum. Maybe you think we were all a sheet in the
wind's eye. But I'll tell you I was sober; I was on'y
dog tired; and if I'd awoke a second sooner, I'd 'a
caught you at the act, I would. He wasn't dead when I
got round to him, not he.
Well?says Captain Smollett as cool as can be.
All that Silver said was a riddle to himbut you would
never have guessed it from his tone. As for meI
began to have an inkling. Ben Gunn's last words came
back to my mind. I began to suppose that he had paid
the buccaneers a visit while they all lay drunk
together round their fireand I reckoned up with glee
that we had only fourteen enemies to deal with.
Well, here it is,said Silver. "We want that
treasureand we'll have it--that's our point! You
would just as soon save your livesI reckon; and
that's yours. You have a charthaven't you?"
That's as may be,replied the captain.
Oh, well, you have, I know that,returned Long John.
You needn't be so husky with a man; there ain't a
particle of service in that, and you may lay to it.
What I mean is, we want your chart. Now, I never meant
you no harm, myself.
That won't do with me, my man,interrupted the
captain. "We know exactly what you meant to doand we
don't carefor nowyou seeyou can't do it."
And the captain looked at him calmly and proceeded
to fill a pipe.
If Abe Gray--Silver broke out.
Avast there!cried Mr. Smollett. "Gray told me
nothingand I asked him nothing; and what's moreI
would see you and him and this whole island blown clean
out of the water into blazes first. So there's my mind
for youmy manon that."
This little whiff of temper seemed to cool Silver down.
He had been growing nettled beforebut now he pulled
Like enough,said he. "I would set no limits to what
gentlemen might consider shipshapeor might notas
the case were. And seein' as how you are about to take
a pipecap'nI'll make so free as do likewise."
And he filled a pipe and lighted it; and the two men sat
silently smoking for quite a whilenow looking each other
in the facenow stopping their tobacconow leaning forward
to spit. It was as good as the play to see them.
Now,resumed Silverhere it is. You give us the
chart to get the treasure by, and drop shooting poor
seamen and stoving of their heads in while asleep. You
do that, and we'll offer you a choice. Either you come
aboard along of us, once the treasure shipped, and then
I'll give you my affy-davy, upon my word of honour, to
clap you somewhere safe ashore. Or if that ain't to
your fancy, some of my hands being rough and having old
scores on account of hazing, then you can stay here,
you can. We'll divide stores with you, man for man;
and I'll give my affy-davy, as before to speak the
first ship I sight, and send 'em here to pick you up.
Now, you'll own that's talking. Handsomer you couldn't
look to get, now you. And I hope--raising his voice-"
that all hands in this here block house will overhaul
my wordsfor what is spoke to one is spoke to all."
Captain Smollett rose from his seat and knocked out the
ashes of his pipe in the palm of his left hand.
Is that all?he asked.
Every last word, by thunder!answered John. "Refuse
thatand you've seen the last of me but musket-balls."
Very good,said the captain. "Now you'll hear me.
If you'll come up one by oneunarmedI'll engage to
clap you all in irons and take you home to a fair trial
in England. If you won'tmy name is Alexander
SmollettI've flown my sovereign's coloursand I'll
see you all to Davy Jones. You can't find the
treasure. You can't sail the ship--there's not a man
among you fit to sail the ship. You can't fight us-Gray
theregot away from five of you. Your ship's in
ironsMaster Silver; you're on a lee shoreand so
you'll find. I stand here and tell you so; and they're
the last good words you'll get from mefor in the name
of heavenI'll put a bullet in your back when next I
meet you. Trampmy lad. Bundle out of thisplease
hand over handand double quick."
Silver's face was a picture; his eyes started in his
head with wrath. He shook the fire out of his pipe.
Give me a hand up!he cried.
Not I,returned the captain.
Who'll give me a hand up?he roared.
Not a man among us moved. Growling the foulest
imprecationshe crawled along the sand till he got
hold of the porch and could hoist himself again upon
his crutch. Then he spat into the spring.
There!he cried. "That's what I think of ye. Before
an hour's outI'll stove in your old block house like
a rum puncheon. Laughby thunderlaugh! Before an
hour's outye'll laugh upon the other side. Them that
die'll be the lucky ones."
And with a dreadful oath he stumbled offploughed down
the sandwas helped across the stockadeafter four or
five failuresby the man with the flag of truceand
disappeared in an instant afterwards among the trees.
AS soon as Silver disappearedthe captainwho had
been closely watching himturned towards the interior
of the house and found not a man of us at his post but
Gray. It was the first time we had ever seen him angry.
Quarters!he roared. And thenas we all slunk back
to our placesGray,he saidI'll put your name in
the log; you've stood by your duty like a seaman. Mr.
Trelawney, I'm surprised at you, sir. Doctor, I thought
you had worn the king's coat! If that was how you served
at Fontenoy, sir, you'd have been better in your berth.
The doctor's watch were all back at their loopholes
the rest were busy loading the spare musketsand
everyone with a red faceyou may be certainand a
flea in his earas the saying is.
The captain looked on for a while in silence. Then
My lads,said heI've given Silver a broadside. I
pitched it in red-hot on purpose; and before the hour's
out, as he said, we shall be boarded. We're
outnumbered, I needn't tell you that, but we fight in
shelter; and a minute ago I should have said we fought
with discipline. I've no manner of doubt that we can
drub them, if you choose.
Then he went the rounds and sawas he saidthat all
On the two short sides of the houseeast and west
there were only two loopholes; on the south side where
the porch wastwo again; and on the north sidefive.
There was a round score of muskets for the seven of us;
the firewood had been built into four piles--tables
you might say--one about the middle of each sideand
on each of these tables some ammunition and four loaded
muskets were laid ready to the hand of the defenders.
In the middlethe cutlasses lay ranged.
Toss out the fire,said the captain; "the chill is
pastand we mustn't have smoke in our eyes."
The iron fire-basket was carried bodily out by Mr.
Trelawneyand the embers smothered among sand.
Hawkins hasn't had his breakfast. Hawkins, help
yourself, and back to your post to eat it,continued
Captain Smollett. "Livelynowmy lad; you'll want it
before you've done. Hunterserve out a round of
brandy to all hands."
And while this was going onthe captain completedin
his own mindthe plan of the defence.
Doctor, you will take the door,he resumed. "See
and don't expose yourself; keep withinand fire
through the porch. Huntertake the east sidethere.
Joyceyou stand by the westmy man. Mr. Trelawney
you are the best shot--you and Gray will take this long
north sidewith the five loopholes; it's there the
danger is. If they can get up to it and fire in upon
us through our own portsthings would begin to look
dirty. Hawkinsneither you nor I are much account at
the shooting; we'll stand by to load and bear a hand."
As the captain had saidthe chill was past. As soon as
the sun had climbed above our girdle of treesit fell
with all its force upon the clearing and drank up the
vapours at a draught. Soon the sane was baking and the
resin melting in the logs of the block house. Jackets
and coats were flung asideshirts thrown open at the
neck and rolled up to the shoulders; and we stood there
each at his postin a fever of heat and anxiety.
An hour passed away.
Hang them!said the captain. "This is as dull as the
doldrums. Graywhistle for a wind."
And just at that moment came the first news of the attack.
If you please, sir,said Joyceif I see anyone, am
I to fire?
I told you so!cried the captain.
Thank you, sir,returned Joyce with the same quiet civility.
Nothing followed for a timebut the remark had set us
all on the alertstraining ears and eyes--the
musketeers with their pieces balanced in their hands
the captain out in the middle of the block house with
his mouth very tight and a frown on his face.
So some seconds passedtill suddenly Joyce whipped up
his musket and fired. The report had scarcely died
away ere it was repeated and repeated from without in a
scattering volleyshot behind shotlike a string of
geesefrom every side of the enclosure. Several
bullets struck the log-housebut not one entered; and
as the smoke cleared away and vanishedthe stockade
and the woods around it looked as quiet and empty as
before. Not a bough wavednot the gleam of a musket-
barrel betrayed the presence of our foes.
Did you hit your man?asked the captain.
No, sir,replied Joyce. "I believe notsir."
Next best thing to tell the truth,muttered Captain
Smollett. "Load his gunHawkins. How many should say
there were on your sidedoctor?"
I know precisely,said Dr. Livesey. "Three shots
were fired on this side. I saw the three flashes--two
close together--one farther to the west."
Three!repeated the captain. "And how many on yours
But this was not so easily answered. There had come
many from the north--seven by the squire's computation
eight or nine according to Gray. From the east and
west only a single shot had been fired. It was plain
thereforethat the attack would be developed from the
north and that on the other three sides we were only to
be annoyed by a show of hostilities. But Captain
Smollett made no change in his arrangements. If the
mutineers succeeded in crossing the stockadehe argued
they would take possession of any unprotected loophole
and shoot us down like rats in our own stronghold.
Nor had we much time left to us for thought. Suddenly
with a loud huzzaa little cloud of pirates leaped from
the woods on the north side and ran straight on the stockade.
At the same momentthe fire was once more opened from the
woodsand a rifle ball sang through the doorway and knocked
the doctor's musket into bits.
The boarders swarmed over the fence like monkeys.
Squire and Gray fired again and yet again; three men
fellone forwards into the enclosuretwo back on the
outside. But of theseone was evidently more
frightened than hurtfor he was on his feet again in a
crack and instantly disappeared among the trees.
Two had bit the dustone had fledfour had made good
their footing inside our defenceswhile from the
shelter of the woods seven or eight meneach evidently
supplied with several musketskept up a hot though
useless fire on the log-house.
The four who had boarded made straight before them for
the buildingshouting as they ranand the men among
the trees shouted back to encourage them. Several shots
were firedbut such was the hurry of the marksmen that
not one appears to have taken effect. In a momentthe
four pirates had swarmed up the mound and were upon us.
The head of Job Andersonthe boatswainappeared at
the middle loophole.
At 'em, all hands--all hands!he roared in a voice
At the same momentanother pirate grasped Hunter's
musket by the muzzlewrenched it from his hands
plucked it through the loopholeand with one stunning
blowlaid the poor fellow senseless on the floor.
Meanwhile a thirdrunning unharmed all around the
houseappeared suddenly in the doorway and fell with
his cutlass on the doctor.
Our position was utterly reversed. A moment since we
were firingunder coverat an exposed enemy; now it
was we who lay uncovered and could not return a blow.
The log-house was full of smoketo which we owed our
comparative safety. Cries and confusionthe flashes
and reports of pistol-shotsand one loud groan rang
in my ears.
Out, lads, out, and fight 'em in the open!
Cutlasses!cried the captain.
I snatched a cutlass from the pileand someoneat the
same time snatching anothergave me a cut across the
knuckles which I hardly felt. I dashed out of the door
into the clear sunlight. Someone was close behindI
knew not whom. Right in frontthe doctor was pursuing
his assailant down the hilland just as my eyes fell
upon himbeat down his guard and sent him sprawling on
his back with a great slash across the face.
Round the house, lads! Round the house!cried the
captain; and even in the hurly-burlyI perceived a
change in his voice.
MechanicallyI obeyedturned eastwardsand with my
cutlass raisedran round the corner of the house.
Next moment I was face to face with Anderson. He
roared aloudand his hanger went up above his head
flashing in the sunlight. I had not time to be afraid
but as the blow still hung impendingleaped in a trice
upon one sideand missing my foot in the soft sand
rolled headlong down the slope.
When I had first sallied from the doorthe other
mutineers had been already swarming up the palisade to
make an end of us. One manin a red night-capwith
his cutlass in his mouthhad even got upon the top and
thrown a leg across. Wellso short had been the
interval that when I found my feet again all was in the
same posturethe fellow with the red night-cap still
half-way overanother still just showing his head
above the top of the stockade. And yetin this breath
of timethe fight was over and the victory was ours.
Grayfollowing close behind mehad cut down the big
boatswain ere he had time to recover from his last
blow. Another had been shot at a loophole in the very
act of firing into the house and now lay in agonythe
pistol still smoking in his hand. A thirdas I had
seenthe doctor had disposed of at a blow. Of the
four who had scaled the palisadeone only remained
unaccounted forand hehaving left his cutlass on the
fieldwas now clambering out again with the fear of
death upon him.
Fire--fire from the house!cried the doctor. "And
youladsback into cover."
But his words were unheededno shot was firedand the
last boarder made good his escape and disappeared with
the rest into the wood. In three seconds nothing
remained of the attacking party but the five who had
fallenfour on the inside and one on the outside of
The doctor and Gray and I ran full speed for shelter.
The survivors would soon be back where they had left
their musketsand at any moment the fire might recommence.
The house was by this time somewhat cleared of smoke
and we saw at a glance the price we had paid for
victory. Hunter lay beside his loopholestunned;
Joyce by hisshot through the headnever to move
again; while right in the centrethe squire was
supporting the captainone as pale as the other.
The captain's wounded,said Mr. Trelawney.
Have they run?asked Mr. Smollett.
All that could, you may be bound,returned the doctor;
but there's five of them will never run again.
Five!cried the captain. "Comethat's better. Five
against three leaves us four to nine. That's better
odds than we had at starting. We were seven to nineteen
thenor thought we wereand that's as bad to bear."*
*The mutineers were soon only eight in numberfor the
man shot by Mr. Trelawney on board the schooner died
that same evening of his wound. But this wasof
coursenot known till after by the faithful party.
My Sea Adventure
How My Sea Adventure Began
THERE was no return of the mutineers--not so much as
another shot out of the woods. They had "got their
rations for that day as the captain put it, and we
had the place to ourselves and a quiet time to overhaul
the wounded and get dinner. Squire and I cooked
outside in spite of the danger, and even outside we
could hardly tell what we were at, for horror of the
loud groans that reached us from the doctor's patients.
Out of the eight men who had fallen in the action, only
three still breathed--that one of the pirates who had
been shot at the loophole, Hunter, and Captain
Smollett; and of these, the first two were as good as
dead; the mutineer indeed died under the doctor's
knife, and Hunter, do what we could, never recovered
consciousness in this world. He lingered all day,
breathing loudly like the old buccaneer at home in his
apoplectic fit, but the bones of his chest had been
crushed by the blow and his skull fractured in falling,
and some time in the following night, without sign or
sound, he went to his Maker.
As for the captain, his wounds were grievous indeed,
but not dangerous. No organ was fatally injured.
Anderson's ball--for it was Job that shot him first-had
broken his shoulder-blade and touched the lung, not
badly; the second had only torn and displaced some
muscles in the calf. He was sure to recover, the
doctor said, but in the meantime, and for weeks to
come, he must not walk nor move his arm, nor so much as
speak when he could help it.
My own accidental cut across the knuckles was a fleabite.
Doctor Livesey patched it up with plaster and
pulled my ears for me into the bargain.
After dinner the squire and the doctor sat by the
captain's side awhile in consultation; and when they
had talked to their hearts' content, it being then a
little past noon, the doctor took up his hat and pistols,
girt on a cutlass, put the chart in his pocket, and with
a musket over his shoulder crossed the palisade on the
north side and set off briskly through the trees.
Gray and I were sitting together at the far end of the
block house, to be out of earshot of our officers
consulting; and Gray took his pipe out of his mouth and
fairly forgot to put it back again, so thunder-struck
he was at this occurrence.
Whyin the name of Davy Jones said he, is Dr.
Why no,says I. "He's about the last of this crew
for thatI take it."
Well, shipmate,said Graymad he may not be; but if
HE'S not, you mark my words, I am.
I take it,replied Ithe doctor has his idea; and
if I am right, he's going now to see Ben Gunn.
I was rightas appeared later; but in the meantime
the house being stifling hot and the little patch of
sand inside the palisade ablaze with midday sunI
began to get another thought into my headwhich was
not by any means so right. What I began to do was to
envy the doctor walking in the cool shadow of the woods
with the birds about him and the pleasant smell of the
pineswhile I sat grillingwith my clothes stuck to
the hot resinand so much blood about me and so many
poor dead bodies lying all around that I took a disgust
of the place that was almost as strong as fear.
All the time I was washing out the block houseand
then washing up the things from dinnerthis disgust
and envy kept growing stronger and strongertill at
lastbeing near a bread-bagand no one then observing
meI took the first step towards my escapade and
filled both pockets of my coat with biscuit.
I was a foolif you likeand certainly I was going to
do a foolishover-bold act; but I was determined to do
it with all the precautions in my power. These
biscuitsshould anything befall mewould keep meat
leastfrom starving till far on in the next day.
The next thing I laid hold of was a brace of pistols
and as I already had a powder-horn and bulletsI felt
myself well supplied with arms.
As for the scheme I had in my headit was not a bad
one in itself. I was to go down the sandy spit that
divides the anchorage on the east from the open sea
find the white rock I had observed last eveningand
ascertain whether it was there or not that Ben Gunn had
hidden his boata thing quite worth doingas I still
believe. But as I was certain I should not be allowed
to leave the enclosuremy only plan was to take French
leave and slip out when nobody was watchingand that
was so bad a way of doing it as made the thing itself
wrong. But I was only a boyand I had made my mind up.
Wellas things at last fell outI found an admirable
opportunity. The squire and Gray were busy helping the
captain with his bandagesthe coast was clearI made
a bolt for it over the stockade and into the thickest
of the treesand before my absence was observed I was
out of cry of my companions.
This was my second follyfar worse than the firstas
I left but two sound men to guard the house; but like
the firstit was a help towards saving all of us.
I took my way straight for the east coast of the
islandfor I was determined to go down the sea side of
the spit to avoid all chance of observation from the
anchorage. It was already late in the afternoon
although still warm and sunny. As I continued to
thread the tall woodsI could hear from far before me
not only the continuous thunder of the surfbut a
certain tossing of foliage and grinding of boughs which
showed me the sea breeze had set in higher than usual.
Soon cool draughts of air began to reach meand a few
steps farther I came forth into the open borders of the
groveand saw the sea lying blue and sunny to the
horizon and the surf tumbling and tossing its foam
along the beach.
I have never seen the sea quiet round Treasure Island.
The sun might blaze overheadthe air be without a
breaththe surface smooth and bluebut still these
great rollers would be running along all the external
coastthundering and thundering by day and night; and
I scarce believe there is one spot in the island where
a man would be out of earshot of their noise.
I walked along beside the surf with great enjoyment
tillthinking I was now got far enough to the southI
took the cover of some thick bushes and crept warily up
to the ridge of the spit.
Behind me was the seain front the anchorage. The sea
breezeas though it had the sooner blown itself out by
its unusual violencewas already at an end; it had
been succeeded by lightvariable airs from the south and
south-eastcarrying great banks of fog; and the anchorage
under lee of Skeleton Islandlay still and leaden as when
first we entered it. The HISPANIOLAin that unbroken
mirrorwas exactly portrayed from the truck to the
waterlinethe Jolly Roger hanging from her peak.
Alongside lay one of the gigsSilver in the sternsheets--
him I could always recognize--while a couple of
men were leaning over the stern bulwarksone of them
with a red cap--the very rogue that I had seen some
hours before stride-legs upon the palisade. Apparently
they were talking and laughingthough at that
distance--upwards of a mile--I couldof coursehear
no word of what was said. All at once there began the
most horridunearthly screamingwhich at first
startled me badlythough I had soon remembered the
voice of Captain Flint and even thought I could make
out the bird by her bright plumage as she sat perched
upon her master's wrist.
Soon afterthe jolly-boat shoved off and pulled for
shoreand the man with the red cap and his comrade
went below by the cabin companion.
Just about the same timethe sun had gone down behind
the Spy-glassand as the fog was collecting rapidly
it began to grow dark in earnest. I saw I must lose no
time if I were to find the boat that evening.
The white rockvisible enough above the brushwas
still some eighth of a mile further down the spitand
it took me a goodish while to get up with itcrawling
often on all foursamong the scrub. Night had almost
come when I laid my hand on its rough sides. Right
below it there was an exceedingly small hollow of green
turfhidden by banks and a thick underwood about knee-
deepthat grew there very plentifully; and in the centre
of the dellsure enougha little tent of goat- skins
like what the gipsies carry about with them in England.
I dropped into the hollowlifted the side of the tent
and there was Ben Gunn's boat--home-made if ever
anything was home-made; a rudelop-sided framework of
tough woodand stretched upon that a covering of goatskin
with the hair inside. The thing was extremely
smalleven for meand I can hardly imagine that it
could have floated with a full-sized man. There was
one thwart set as low as possiblea kind of stretcher
in the bowsand a double paddle for propulsion.
I had not then seen a coraclesuch as the ancient Britons
madebut I have seen one sinceand I can give you no
fairer idea of Ben Gunn's boat than by saying it was like
the first and the worst coracle ever made by man. But the
great advantage of the coracle it certainly possessedfor
it was exceedingly light and portable.
Wellnow that I had found the boatyou would have
thought I had had enough of truantry for oncebut in
the meantime I had taken another notion and become so
obstinately fond of it that I would have carried it
outI believein the teeth of Captain Smollett
himself. This was to slip out under cover of the
nightcut the HISPANIOLA adriftand let her go
ashore where she fancied. I had quite made up my mind
that the mutineersafter their repulse of the morning
had nothing nearer their hearts than to up anchor and
away to sea; thisI thoughtit would be a fine thing
to preventand now that I had seen how they left their
watchmen unprovided with a boatI thought it might be
done with little risk.
Down I sat to wait for darknessand made a hearty meal
of biscuit. It was a night out of ten thousand for my
purpose. The fog had now buried all heaven. As the
last rays of daylight dwindled and disappearedabsolute
blackness settled down on Treasure Island. And when
at lastI shouldered the coracle and groped my way
stumblingly out of the hollow where I had suppedthere
were but two points visible on the whole anchorage.
One was the great fire on shoreby which the defeated
pirates lay carousing in the swamp. The othera mere
blur of light upon the darknessindicated the position
of the anchored ship. She had swung round to the ebb-her
bow was now towards me--the only lights on board
were in the cabinand what I saw was merely a
reflection on the fog of the strong rays that flowed
from the stern window.
The ebb had already run some timeand I had to wade
through a long belt of swampy sandwhere I sank
several times above the anklebefore I came to the
edge of the retreating waterand wading a little way
inwith some strength and dexterityset my coracle
keel downwardson the surface.
The Ebb-tide Runs
THE coracle--as I had ample reason to know before I was
done with her--was a very safe boat for a person of my
height and weightboth buoyant and clever in a seaway;
but she was the most cross-grainedlop-sided
craft to manage. Do as you pleasedshe always made
more leeway than anything elseand turning round and
round was the manoeuvre she was best at. Even Ben Gunn
himself has admitted that she was "queer to handle till
you knew her way."
Certainly I did not know her way. She turned in every
direction but the one I was bound to go; the most part
of the time we were broadside onand I am very sure I
never should have made the ship at all but for the
tide. By good fortunepaddle as I pleasedthe tide
was still sweeping me down; and there lay the
HISPANIOLA right in the fairwayhardly to be missed.
First she loomed before me like a blot of something yet
blacker than darknessthen her spars and hull began to
take shapeand the next momentas it seemed (forthe
farther I wentthe brisker grew the current of the
ebb)I was alongside of her hawser and had laid hold.
The hawser was as taut as a bowstringand the current
so strong she pulled upon her anchor. All round the
hullin the blacknessthe rippling current bubbled
and chattered like a little mountain stream. One cut
with my sea-gully and the HISPANIOLA would go
humming down the tide.
So far so goodbut it next occurred to my recollection
that a taut hawsersuddenly cutis a thing as dangerous
as a kicking horse. Ten to oneif I were so foolhardy
as to cut the HISPANIOLA from her anchorI and the coracle
would be knocked clean out of the water.
This brought me to a full stopand if fortune had not
again particularly favoured meI should have had to
abandon my design. But the light airs which had begun
blowing from the south-east and south had hauled round
after nightfall into the south-west. Just while I was
meditatinga puff camecaught the HISPANIOLAand
forced her up into the current; and to my great joyI
felt the hawser slacken in my graspand the hand by
which I held it dip for a second under water.
With that I made my mind uptook out my gullyopened
it with my teethand cut one strand after another
till the vessel swung only by two. Then I lay quiet
waiting to sever these last when the strain should be
once more lightened by a breath of wind.
All this time I had heard the sound of loud voices from
the cabinbut to say truthmy mind had been so
entirely taken up with other thoughts that I had
scarcely given ear. Nowhoweverwhen I had nothing
else to doI began to pay more heed.
One I recognized for the coxswain'sIsrael Handsthat
had been Flint's gunner in former days. The other was
of coursemy friend of the red night-cap. Both men
were plainly the worse of drinkand they were still
drinkingfor even while I was listeningone of them
with a drunken cryopened the stern window and threw
out somethingwhich I divined to be an empty bottle.
But they were not only tipsy; it was plain that they
were furiously angry. Oaths flew like hailstonesand
every now and then there came forth such an explosion
as I thought was sure to end in blows. But each time
the quarrel passed off and the voices grumbled lower
for a whileuntil the next crisis came and in its turn
passed away without result.
On shoreI could see the glow of the great camp-fire
burning warmly through the shore-side trees. Someone
was singinga dullolddroning sailor's songwith a
droop and a quaver at the end of every verseand
seemingly no end to it at all but the patience of the
singer. I had heard it on the voyage more than once
and remembered these words:
But one man of her crew alive,
What put to sea with seventy-five.
And I thought it was a ditty rather too dolefully
appropriate for a company that had met such cruel
losses in the morning. Butindeedfrom what I saw
all these buccaneers were as callous as the sea they
At last the breeze came; the schooner sidled and drew
nearer in the dark; I felt the hawser slacken once
moreand with a goodtough effortcut the last
The breeze had but little action on the coracleand I
was almost instantly swept against the bows of the
HISPANIOLA. At the same timethe schooner began to
turn upon her heelspinning slowlyend for end
across the current.
I wrought like a fiendfor I expected every moment to
be swamped; and since I found I could not push the
coracle directly offI now shoved straight astern. At
length I was clear of my dangerous neighbourand just
as I gave the last impulsionmy hands came across a
light cord that was trailing overboard across the stern
bulwarks. Instantly I grasped it.
Why I should have done so I can hardly say. It was at
first mere instinctbut once I had it in my hands and
found it fastcuriosity began to get the upper hand
and I determined I should have one look through the
I pulled in hand over hand on the cordand when I
judged myself near enoughrose at infinite risk to
about half my height and thus commanded the roof and a
slice of the interior of the cabin.
By this time the schooner and her little consort were
gliding pretty swiftly through the water; indeedwe had
already fetched up level with the camp-fire. The ship was
talkingas sailors sayloudlytreading the innumerable
ripples with an incessant weltering splash; and until I got
my eye above the window-sill I could not comprehend why the
watchmen had taken no alarm. One glancehoweverwas sufficient;
and it was only one glance that I durst take from that unsteady
skiff. It showed me Hands and his companion locked together in
deadly wrestleeach with a hand upon the other's throat.
I dropped upon the thwart againnone too soonfor I
was near overboard. I could see nothing for the moment
but these two furiousencrimsoned faces swaying
together under the smoky lampand I shut my eyes to
let them grow once more familiar with the darkness.
The endless ballad had come to an end at lastand the
whole diminished company about the camp-fire had broken
into the chorus I had heard so often:
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!
I was just thinking how busy drink and the devil were
at that very moment in the cabin of the HISPANIOLA
when I was surprised by a sudden lurch of the coracle.
At the same momentshe yawed sharply and seemed to
change her course. The speed in the meantime had
I opened my eyes at once. All round me were little
ripplescombing over with a sharpbristling sound and
slightly phosphorescent. The HISPANIOLA herselfa
few yards in whose wake I was still being whirled
alongseemed to stagger in her courseand I saw her
spars toss a little against the blackness of the night;
nayas I looked longerI made sure she also was
wheeling to the southward.
I glanced over my shoulderand my heart jumped against
my ribs. Thereright behind mewas the glow of the
camp-fire. The current had turned at right angles
sweeping round along with it the tall schooner and the
little dancing coracle; ever quickeningever bubbling
higherever muttering louderit went spinning through
the narrows for the open sea.
Suddenly the schooner in front of me gave a violent
yawturningperhapsthrough twenty degrees; and
almost at the same moment one shout followed another
from on board; I could hear feet pounding on the
companion ladder and I knew that the two drunkards had
at last been interrupted in their quarrel and awakened
to a sense of their disaster.
I lay down flat in the bottom of that wretched skiff and
devoutly recommended my spirit to its Maker. At the end
of the straitsI made sure we must fall into some bar
of raging breakerswhere all my troubles would be ended
speedily; and though I couldperhapsbear to dieI could
not bear to look upon my fate as it approached.
So I must have lain for hourscontinually beaten to
and fro upon the billowsnow and again wetted with
flying spraysand never ceasing to expect death at the
next plunge. Gradually weariness grew upon me; a
numbnessan occasional stuporfell upon my mind even
in the midst of my terrorsuntil sleep at last
supervened and in my sea-tossed coracle I lay and
dreamed of home and the old Admiral Benbow.
The Cruise of the Coracle
IT was broad day when I awoke and found myself tossing
at the south-west end of Treasure Island. The sun was
up but was still hid from me behind the great bulk of
the Spy-glasswhich on this side descended almost to
the sea in formidable cliffs.
Haulbowline Head and Mizzen-mast Hill were at my elbow
the hill bare and darkthe head bound with cliffs forty
or fifty feet high and fringed with great masses of fallen
rock. I was scarce a quarter of a mile to seawardand it
was my first thought to paddle in and land.
That notion was soon given over. Among the fallen
rocks the breakers spouted and bellowed; loud
reverberationsheavy sprays flying and falling
succeeded one another from second to second; and I saw
myselfif I ventured nearerdashed to death upon the
rough shore or spending my strength in vain to scale
the beetling crags.
Nor was that allfor crawling together on flat tables of
rock or letting themselves drop into the sea with loud
reports I beheld huge slimy monsters--soft snailsas it
wereof incredible bigness--two or three score of them
togethermaking the rocks to echo with their barkings.
I have understood since that they were sea lionsand
entirely harmless. But the look of themadded to the
difficulty of the shore and the high running of the
surfwas more than enough to disgust me of that
landing-place. I felt willing rather to starve at sea
than to confront such perils.
In the meantime I had a better chanceas I supposed
before me. North of Haulbowline Headthe land runs in
a long wayleaving at low tide a long stretch of
yellow sand. To the north of thatagainthere comes
another cape--Cape of the Woodsas it was marked upon
the chart--buried in tall green pineswhich descended
to the margin of the sea.
I remembered what Silver had said about the current that
sets northward along the whole west coast of Treasure
Islandand seeing from my position that I was already
under its influenceI preferred to leave Haulbowline
Head behind me and reserve my strength for an attempt to
land upon the kindlier-looking Cape of the Woods.
There was a greatsmooth swell upon the sea. The wind
blowing steady and gentle from the souththere was no
contrariety between that and the currentand the
billows rose and fell unbroken.
Had it been otherwiseI must long ago have perished;
but as it wasit is surprising how easily and securely
my little and light boat could ride. Oftenas I still
lay at the bottom and kept no more than an eye above
the gunwaleI would see a big blue summit heaving
close above me; yet the coracle would but bounce a
littledance as if on springsand subside on the
other side into the trough as lightly as a bird.
I began after a little to grow very bold and sat up to
try my skill at paddling. But even a small change in
the disposition of the weight will produce violent changes
in the behaviour of a coracle. And I had hardly moved
before the boatgiving up at once her gentle dancing
movementran straight down a slope of water so steep
that it made me giddyand struck her nosewith a spout
of spraydeep into the side of the next wave.
I was drenched and terrifiedand fell instantly back
into my old positionwhereupon the coracle seemed to
find her head again and led me as softly as before
among the billows. It was plain she was not to be
interfered withand at that ratesince I could in no
way influence her coursewhat hope had I left of
I began to be horribly frightenedbut I kept my headfor
all that. Firstmoving with all careI gradually baled
out the coracle with my sea-cap; thengetting my eye once
more above the gunwaleI set myself to study how it was
she managed to slip so quietly through the rollers.
I found each waveinstead of the bigsmooth glossy
mountain it looks from shore or from a vessel's deck
was for all the world like any range of hills on dry
landfull of peaks and smooth places and valleys. The
coracleleft to herselfturning from side to side
threadedso to speakher way through these lower
parts and avoided the steep slopes and highertoppling
summits of the wave.
Well, now,thought I to myselfit is plain I must
lie where I am and not disturb the balance; but it is
plain also that I can put the paddle over the side and
from time to time, in smooth places, give her a shove
or two towards land.No sooner thought upon than
done. There I lay on my elbows in the most trying
attitudeand every now and again gave a weak stroke or
two to turn her head to shore.
It was very tiring and slow workyet I did visibly
gain ground; and as we drew near the Cape of the Woods
though I saw I must infallibly miss that pointI had
still made some hundred yards of easting. I was
indeedclose in. I could see the cool green tree-tops
swaying together in the breezeand I felt sure I
should make the next promontory without fail.
It was high timefor I now began to be tortured with
thirst. The glow of the sun from aboveits
thousandfold reflection from the wavesthe sea-water
that fell and dried upon mecaking my very lips with
saltcombined to make my throat burn and my brain
ache. The sight of the trees so near at hand had
almost made me sick with longingbut the current had
soon carried me past the pointand as the next reach
of sea opened outI beheld a sight that changed the
nature of my thoughts.
Right in front of menot half a mile awayI beheld
the HISPANIOLA under sail. I made sureof course
that I should be taken; but I was so distressed for
want of water that I scarce knew whether to be glad or
sorry at the thoughtand long before I had come to a
conclusionsurprise had taken entire possession of my
mind and I could do nothing but stare and wonder.
The HISPANIOLA was under her main-sail and two
jibsand the beautiful white canvas shone in the sun
like snow or silver. When I first sighted herall her
sails were drawing; she was lying a course about northwest
and I presumed the men on board were going round
the island on their way back to the anchorage.
Presently she began to fetch more and more to the
westwardso that I thought they had sighted me and
were going about in chase. At lasthowevershe fell
right into the wind's eyewas taken dead abackand
stood there awhile helplesswith her sails shivering.
Clumsy fellows,said I; "they must still be drunk as
owls." And I thought how Captain Smollett would have
set them skipping.
Meanwhile the schooner gradually fell off and filled
again upon another tacksailed swiftly for a minute or
soand brought up once more dead in the wind's eye.
Again and again was this repeated. To and froup and
downnorthsoutheastand westthe HISPANIOLA
sailed by swoops and dashesand at each repetition
ended as she had begunwith idly flapping canvas. It
became plain to me that nobody was steering. And if
sowhere were the men? Either they were dead drunk or
had deserted herI thoughtand perhaps if I could get
on board I might return the vessel to her captain.
The current was bearing coracle and schooner southward
at an equal rate. As for the latter's sailingit was
so wild and intermittentand she hung each time so
long in ironsthat she certainly gained nothingif
she did not even lose. If only I dared to sit up and
paddleI made sure that I could overhaul her. The
scheme had an air of adventure that inspired meand
the thought of the water breaker beside the fore
companion doubled my growing courage.
Up I gotwas welcomed almost instantly by another
cloud of spraybut this time stuck to my purpose and
set myselfwith all my strength and cautionto paddle
after the unsteered HISPANIOLA. Once I shipped a
sea so heavy that I had to stop and bailwith my heart
fluttering like a birdbut gradually I got into the
way of the thing and guided my coracle among the waves
with only now and then a blow upon her bows and a dash
of foam in my face.
I was now gaining rapidly on the schooner; I could see
the brass glisten on the tiller as it banged aboutand
still no soul appeared upon her decks. I could not
choose but suppose she was deserted. If notthe men
were lying drunk belowwhere I might batten them down
perhapsand do what I chose with the ship.
For some time she had been doing the worse thing
possible for me--standing still. She headed nearly due
southyawingof courseall the time. Each time she
fell offher sails partly filledand these brought
her in a moment right to the wind again. I have said
this was the worst thing possible for mefor helpless
as she looked in this situationwith the canvas cracking
like cannon and the blocks trundling and banging on the
deckshe still continued to run away from menot only
with the speed of the currentbut by the whole amount
of her leewaywhich was naturally great.
But nowat lastI had my chance. The breeze fell for
some secondsvery lowand the current gradually
turning herthe HISPANIOLA revolved slowly round
her centre and at last presented me her sternwith the
cabin window still gaping open and the lamp over the
table still burning on into the day. The main-sail
hung drooped like a banner. She was stock-still but
for the current.
For the last little while I had even lostbut now
redoubling my effortsI began once more to overhaul
I was not a hundred yards from her when the wind came
again in a clap; she filled on the port tack and was
off againstooping and skimming like a swallow.
My first impulse was one of despairbut my second was
towards joy. Round she cametill she was broadside on
to me--round still till she had covered a half and then
two thirds and then three quarters of the distance that
separated us. I could see the waves boiling white
under her forefoot. Immensely tall she looked to me
from my low station in the coracle.
And thenof a suddenI began to comprehend. I had
scarce time to think--scarce time to act and save
myself. I was on the summit of one swell when the
schooner came stooping over the next. The bowsprit was
over my head. I sprang to my feet and leapedstamping
the coracle under water. With one hand I caught the
jib-boomwhile my foot was lodged between the stay and
the brace; and as I still clung there pantinga dull
blow told me that the schooner had charged down upon
and struck the coracle and that I was left without
retreat on the HISPANIOLA.
I Strike the Jolly Roger
I HAD scarce gained a position on the bowsprit when the
flying jib flapped and filled upon the other tackwith
a report like a gun. The schooner trembled to her keel
under the reversebut next momentthe other sails still
drawingthe jib flapped back again and hung idle.
This had nearly tossed me off into the sea; and now I
lost no timecrawled back along the bowspritand
tumbled head foremost on the deck.
I was on the lee side of the forecastleand the mainsail
which was still drawingconcealed from me a
certain portion of the after-deck. Not a soul was to
be seen. The plankswhich had not been swabbed since
the mutinybore the print of many feetand an empty
bottlebroken by the necktumbled to and fro like a
live thing in the scuppers.
Suddenly the HISPANIOLA came right into the wind. The
jibs behind me cracked aloudthe rudder slammed tothe
whole ship gave a sickening heave and shudderand at the
same moment the main-boom swung inboardthe sheet groaning
in the blocksand showed me the lee after-deck.
There were the two watchmensure enough: red-cap on
his backas stiff as a handspikewith his arms
stretched out like those of a crucifix and his teeth
showing through his open lips; Israel Hands propped
against the bulwarkshis chin on his chesthis hands
lying open before him on the deckhis face as white
under its tanas a tallow candle.
For a while the ship kept bucking and sidling like a
vicious horsethe sails fillingnow on one tacknow
on anotherand the boom swinging to and fro till the
mast groaned aloud under the strain. Now and again too
there would come a cloud of light sprays over the
bulwark and a heavy blow of the ship's bows against the
swell; so much heavier weather was made of it by this
great rigged ship than by my home-madelop-sided
coraclenow gone to the bottom of the sea.
At every jump of the schoonerred-cap slipped to and
frobut--what was ghastly to behold--neither his
attitude nor his fixed teeth-disclosing grin was anyway
disturbed by this rough usage. At every jump too
Hands appeared still more to sink into himself and
settle down upon the deckhis feet sliding ever the
farther outand the whole body canting towards the
sternso that his face becamelittle by littlehid
from me; and at last I could see nothing beyond his ear
and the frayed ringlet of one whisker.
At the same timeI observedaround both of them
splashes of dark blood upon the planks and began to
feel sure that they had killed each other in their
While I was thus looking and wonderingin a calm
momentwhen the ship was stillIsrael Hands turned
partly round and with a low moan writhed himself back
to the position in which I had seen him first. The
moanwhich told of pain and deadly weaknessand the
way in which his jaw hung open went right to my heart.
But when I remembered the talk I had overheard from the
apple barrelall pity left me.
I walked aft until I reached the main-mast.
Come aboard, Mr. Hands,I said ironically.
He rolled his eyes round heavilybut he was too far
gone to express surprise. All he could do was to utter
It occurred to me there was no time to loseand dodging
the boom as it once more lurched across the deckI
slipped aft and down the companion stairs into the cabin.
It was such a scene of confusion as you can hardly
fancy. All the lockfast places had been broken open in
quest of the chart. The floor was thick with mud where
ruffians had sat down to drink or consult after wading
in the marshes round their camp. The bulkheadsall
painted in clear white and beaded round with giltbore
a pattern of dirty hands. Dozens of empty bottles
clinked together in corners to the rolling of the ship.
One of the doctor's medical books lay open on the
tablehalf of the leaves gutted outI supposefor
pipelights. In the midst of all this the lamp still
cast a smoky glowobscure and brown as umber.
I went into the cellar; all the barrels were goneand
of the bottles a most surprising number had been drunk
out and thrown away. Certainlysince the mutiny
begannot a man of them could ever have been sober.
Foraging aboutI found a bottle with some brandy left
for Hands; and for myself I routed out some biscuit
some pickled fruitsa great bunch of raisinsand a
piece of cheese. With these I came on deckput down
my own stock behind the rudder head and well out of the
coxswain's reachwent forward to the water-breaker
and had a good deep drink of waterand thenand not
till thengave Hands the brandy.
He must have drunk a gill before he took the bottle
from his mouth.
Aye,said heby thunder, but I wanted some o' that!
I had sat down already in my own corner and begun to eat.
Much hurt?I asked him.
He gruntedor ratherI might sayhe barked.
If that doctor was aboard,he saidI'd be right
enough in a couple of turns, but I don't have no manner
of luck, you see, and that's what's the matter with me.
As for that swab, he's good and dead, he is,he added
indicating the man with the red cap. "He warn't no
seaman anyhow. And where mought you have come from?"
Well,said II've come aboard to take possession of
this ship, Mr. Hands; and you'll please regard me as
your captain until further notice.
He looked at me sourly enough but said nothing. Some
of the colour had come back into his cheeksthough he
still looked very sick and still continued to slip out
and settle down as the ship banged about.
By the by,I continuedI can't have these colours,
Mr. Hands; and by your leave, I'll strike 'em. Better
none than these.
And again dodging the boomI ran to the colour lineshanded
down their cursed black flagand chucked it overboard.
God save the king!said Iwaving my cap. "And
there's an end to Captain Silver!"
He watched me keenly and slylyhis chin all the while
on his breast.
I reckon,he said at lastI reckon, Cap'n Hawkins,
you'll kind of want to get ashore now. S'pose we talks.
Why, yes,says Iwith all my heart, Mr. Hands. Say
on.And I went back to my meal with a good appetite.
This man,he begannodding feebly at the corpse "-O'Brien
were his namea rank Irelander--this man and
me got the canvas on hermeaning for to sail her back.
WellHE'S dead nowhe is--as dead as bilge; and
who's to sail this shipI don't see. Without I gives
you a hintyou ain't that manas far's I can tell.
Nowlook hereyou gives me food and drink and a old
scarf or ankecher to tie my wound upyou doand I'll
tell you how to tail herand that's about square all
roundI take it."
I'll tell you one thing,says I: "I'm not going back
to Captain Kidd's anchorage. I mean to get into North
Inlet and beach her quietly there."
To be sure you did,he cried. "WhyI ain't sich an
infernal lubber after all. I can seecan't I? I've
tried my flingI haveand I've lostand it's you has
the wind of me. North Inlet? WhyI haven't no
ch'icenot I! I'd help you sail her up to Execution
Dockby thunder! So I would."
Wellas it seemed to methere was some sense in this.
We struck our bargain on the spot. In three minutes I
had the HISPANIOLA sailing easily before the wind
along the coast of Treasure Islandwith good hopes of
turning the northern point ere noon and beating down
again as far as North Inlet before high waterwhen we
might beach her safely and wait till the subsiding tide
permitted us to land.
Then I lashed the tiller and went below to my own
chestwhere I got a soft silk handkerchief of my
mother's. With thisand with my aidHands bound up
the great bleeding stab he had received in the thigh
and after he had eaten a little and had a swallow or
two more of the brandyhe began to pick up visibly
sat straighter upspoke louder and clearerand looked
in every way another man.
The breeze served us admirably. We skimmed before it
like a birdthe coast of the island flashing by and
the view changing every minute. Soon we were past the
high lands and bowling beside lowsandy country
sparsely dotted with dwarf pinesand soon we were
beyond that again and had turned the corner of the
rocky hill that ends the island on the north.
I was greatly elated with my new commandand pleased
with the brightsunshiny weather and these different
prospects of the coast. I had now plenty of water and
good things to eatand my consciencewhich had
smitten me hard for my desertionwas quieted by the
great conquest I had made. I shouldI thinkhave had
nothing left me to desire but for the eyes of the
coxswain as they followed me derisively about the deck
and the odd smile that appeared continually on his
face. It was a smile that had in it something both of
pain and weakness--a haggard old man's smile; but there
wasbesides thata grain of derisiona shadow of
treacheryin his expression as he craftily watched
and watchedand watched me at my work.
THE windserving us to a desirenow hauled into the west.
We could run so much the easier from the north-east corner
of the island to the mouth of the North Inlet. Onlyas
we had no power to anchor and dared not beach her till the
tide had flowed a good deal farthertime hung on our hands.
The coxswain told me how to lay the ship to; after a good
many trials I succeededand we both sat in silence over
Cap'n,said he at length with that same uncomfortable
smilehere's my old shipmate, O'Brien; s'pose you was
to heave him overboard. I ain't partic'lar as a rule,
and I don't take no blame for settling his hash, but I
don't reckon him ornamental now, do you?
I'm not strong enough, and I don't like the job; and
there he lies, for me,said I.
This here's an unlucky ship, this HISPANIOLA,
Jim,he went onblinking. "There's a power of men
been killed in this HISPANIOLA--a sight o' poor
seamen dead and gone since you and me took ship to
Bristol. I never seen sich dirty lucknot I. There
was this here O'Brien now--he's deadain't he? Well
nowI'm no scholarand you're a lad as can read and
figureand to put it straightdo you take it as a
dead man is dead for goodor do he come alive again?"
You can kill the body, Mr. Hands, but not the spirit;
you must know that already,I replied. "O'Brien there
is in another worldand may be watching us."
Ah!says he. "Wellthat's unfort'nate--appears as
if killing parties was a waste of time. Howsomever
sperrits don't reckon for muchby what I've seen.
I'll chance it with the sperritsJim. And nowyou've
spoke up freeand I'll take it kind if you'd step down
into that there cabin and get me a--wella--shiver my
timbers! I can't hit the name on 't; wellyou get me
a bottle of wineJim--this here brandy's too strong
for my head."
Nowthe coxswain's hesitation seemed to be unnatural
and as for the notion of his preferring wine to brandy
I entirely disbelieved it. The whole story was a
pretext. He wanted me to leave the deck--so much was
plain; but with what purpose I could in no way imagine.
His eyes never met mine; they kept wandering to and
froup and downnow with a look to the skynow with
a flitting glance upon the dead O'Brien. All the time
he kept smiling and putting his tongue out in the most
guiltyembarrassed mannerso that a child could have
told that he was bent on some deception. I was prompt
with my answerhoweverfor I saw where my advantage
lay and that with a fellow so densely stupid I could
easily conceal my suspicions to the end.
Some wine?I said. "Far better. Will you have
white or red?"
Well, I reckon it's about the blessed same to me,
shipmate,he replied; "so it's strongand plenty of
itwhat's the odds?"
All right,I answered. "I'll bring you portMr.
Hands. But I'll have to dig for it."
With that I scuttled down the companion with all the
noise I couldslipped off my shoesran quietly along
the sparred gallerymounted the forecastle ladderand
popped my head out of the fore companion. I knew he
would not expect to see me thereyet I took every
precaution possibleand certainly the worst of my
suspicions proved too true.
He had risen from his position to his hands and knees
and though his leg obviously hurt him pretty sharply
when he moved--for I could hear him stifle a groan--yet
it was at a goodrattling rate that he trailed himself
across the deck. In half a minute he had reached the
port scuppers and pickedout of a coil of ropea long
knifeor rather a short dirkdiscoloured to the hilt
with blood. He looked upon it for a momentthrusting
forth his under jawtried the point upon his handand
thenhastily concealing it in the bosom of his jacket
trundled back again into his old place against the bulwark.
This was all that I required to know. Israel could
move abouthe was now armedand if he had been at so
much trouble to get rid of meit was plain that I was
meant to be the victim. What he would do afterwards-whether
he would try to crawl right across the island
from North Inlet to the camp among the swamps or
whether he would fire Long Tomtrusting that his own
comrades might come first to help him--wasof course
more than I could say.
Yet I felt sure that I could trust him in one point
since in that our interests jumped togetherand that
was in the disposition of the schooner. We both
desired to have her stranded safe enoughin a
sheltered placeand so thatwhen the time cameshe
could be got off again with as little labour and danger
as might be; and until that was done I considered that
my life would certainly be spared.
While I was thus turning the business over in my mind
I had not been idle with my body. I had stolen back to
the cabinslipped once more into my shoesand laid my
hand at random on a bottle of wineand nowwith this
for an excuseI made my reappearance on the deck.
Hands lay as I had left himall fallen together in a
bundle and with his eyelids lowered as though he were
too weak to bear the light. He looked uphoweverat
my comingknocked the neck off the bottle like a man
who had done the same thing oftenand took a good
swigwith his favourite toast of "Here's luck!" Then
he lay quiet for a littleand thenpulling out a
stick of tobaccobegged me to cut him a quid.
Cut me a junk o' that,says hefor I haven't no
knife and hardly strength enough, so be as I had. Ah,
Jim, Jim, I reckon I've missed stays! Cut me a quid,
as'll likely be the last, lad, for I'm for my long
home, and no mistake.
Well,said II'll cut you some tobacco, but if I
was you and thought myself so badly, I would go to my
prayers like a Christian man.
Why?said he. "Nowyou tell me why."
Why?I cried. "You were asking me just now about the
dead. You've broken your trust; you've lived in sin
and lies and blood; there's a man you killed lying at
your feet this momentand you ask me why! For God's
mercyMr. Handsthat's why."
I spoke with a little heatthinking of the bloody dirk
he had hidden in his pocket and designedin his ill
thoughtsto end me with. Hefor his parttook a
great draught of the wine and spoke with the most
For thirty years,he saidI've sailed the seas and
seen good and bad, better and worse, fair weather and
foul, provisions running out, knives going, and what
not. Well, now I tell you, I never seen good come o'
goodness yet. Him as strikes first is my fancy; dead
men don't bite; them's my views--amen, so be it. And
now, you look here,he addedsuddenly changing his
tonewe've had about enough of this foolery. The
tide's made good enough by now. You just take my orders,
Cap'n Hawkins, and we'll sail slap in and be done with it.
All toldwe had scarce two miles to run; but the
navigation was delicatethe entrance to this northern
anchorage was not only narrow and shoalbut lay east
and westso that the schooner must be nicely handled
to be got in. I think I was a goodprompt subaltern
and I am very sure that Hands was an excellent pilot
for we went about and about and dodged inshaving the
bankswith a certainty and a neatness that were a
pleasure to behold.
Scarcely had we passed the heads before the land closed
around us. The shores of North Inlet were as thickly
wooded as those of the southern anchoragebut the
space was longer and narrower and more likewhat in
truth it wasthe estuary of a river. Right before us
at the southern endwe saw the wreck of a ship in the
last stages of dilapidation. It had been a great
vessel of three masts but had lain so long exposed to
the injuries of the weather that it was hung about with
great webs of dripping seaweedand on the deck of it
shore bushes had taken root and now flourished thick
with flowers. It was a sad sightbut it showed us
that the anchorage was calm.
Now,said Handslook there; there's a pet bit for
to beach a ship in. Fine flat sand, never a cat's paw,
trees all around of it, and flowers a-blowing like a
garding on that old ship.
And once beached,I inquiredhow shall we get her
Why, so,he replied: "you take a line ashore there on
the other side at low watertake a turn about one of
them big pines; bring it backtake a turn around the
capstanand lie to for the tide. Come high waterall
hands take a pull upon the lineand off she comes as
sweet as natur'. And nowboyyou stand by. We're
near the bit nowand she's too much way on her.
Starboard a little--so--steady--starboard--larboard a
So he issued his commandswhich I breathlessly obeyed
tillall of a suddenhe criedNow, my hearty,
luff!And I put the helm hard upand the
HISPANIOLA swung round rapidly and ran stem on for the
The excitement of these last manoeuvres had somewhat
interfered with the watch I had kept hithertosharply
enoughupon the coxswain. Even then I was still so
much interestedwaiting for the ship to touchthat I
had quite forgot the peril that hung over my head and
stood craning over the starboard bulwarks and watching
the ripples spreading wide before the bows. I might
have fallen without a struggle for my life had not a
sudden disquietude seized upon me and made me turn my
head. Perhaps I had heard a creak or seen his shadow
moving with the tail of my eye; perhaps it was an
instinct like a cat's; butsure enoughwhen I looked
roundthere was Handsalready half-way towards me
with the dirk in his right hand.
We must both have cried out aloud when our eyes met
but while mine was the shrill cry of terrorhis was a
roar of fury like a charging bully's. At the same
instanthe threw himself forward and I leapt sideways
towards the bows. As I did soI let go of the tiller
which sprang sharp to leewardand I think this saved
my lifefor it struck Hands across the chest and
stopped himfor the momentdead.
Before he could recoverI was safe out of the corner
where he had me trappedwith all the deck to dodge
about. Just forward of the main-mast I stoppeddrew a
pistol from my pockettook a cool aimthough he had
already turned and was once more coming directly after
meand drew the trigger. The hammer fellbut there
followed neither flash nor sound; the priming was
useless with sea-water. I cursed myself for my
neglect. Why had not Ilong beforereprimed and
reloaded my only weapons? Then I should not have been
as nowa mere fleeing sheep before this butcher.
Wounded as he wasit was wonderful how fast he could
movehis grizzled hair tumbling over his faceand his
face itself as red as a red ensign with his haste and
fury. I had no time to try my other pistolnor indeed
much inclinationfor I was sure it would be useless.
One thing I saw plainly: I must not simply retreat
before himor he would speedily hold me boxed into the
bowsas a moment since he had so nearly boxed me in
the stern. Once so caughtand nine or ten inches of
the blood-stained dirk would be my last experience on
this side of eternity. I placed my palms against the
main-mastwhich was of a goodish bignessand waited
every nerve upon the stretch.
Seeing that I meant to dodgehe also paused; and a
moment or two passed in feints on his part and
corresponding movements upon mine. It was such a game
as I had often played at home about the rocks of Black
Hill Covebut never beforeyou may be surewith such
a wildly beating heart as now. Stillas I sayit was
a boy's gameand I thought I could hold my own at it
against an elderly seaman with a wounded thigh. Indeed
my courage had begun to rise so high that I allowed myself
a few darting thoughts on what would be the end of the
affairand while I saw certainly that I could spin it
out for longI saw no hope of any ultimate escape.
Wellwhile things stood thussuddenly the HISPANIOLA
struckstaggeredground for an instant in the sand
and thenswift as a blowcanted over to the port side
till the deck stood at an angle of forty-five degrees
and about a puncheon of water splashed into the scupper
holes and layin a poolbetween the deck and bulwark.
We were both of us capsized in a secondand both of us
rolledalmost togetherinto the scuppersthe dead
red-capwith his arms still spread outtumbling
stiffly after us. So near were weindeedthat my
head came against the coxswain's foot with a crack that
made my teeth rattle. Blow and allI was the first
afoot againfor Hands had got involved with the dead
body. The sudden canting of the ship had made the deck
no place for running on; I had to find some new way of
escapeand that upon the instantfor my foe was
almost touching me. Quick as thoughtI sprang into
the mizzen shroudsrattled up hand over handand did
not draw a breath till I was seated on the cross-trees.
I had been saved by being prompt; the dirk had struck
not half a foot below me as I pursued my upward flight;
and there stood Israel Hands with his mouth open and
his face upturned to minea perfect statue of surprise
Now that I had a moment to myselfI lost no time in
changing the priming of my pistoland thenhaving one
ready for serviceand to make assurance doubly sureI
proceeded to draw the load of the other and recharge it
afresh from the beginning.
My new employment struck Hands all of a heap; he began
to see the dice going against himand after an obvious
hesitationhe also hauled himself heavily into the
shroudsand with the dirk in his teethbegan slowly
and painfully to mount. It cost him no end of time and
groans to haul his wounded leg behind himand I had
quietly finished my arrangements before he was much
more than a third of the way up. Thenwith a pistol
in either handI addressed him.
One more step, Mr. Hands,said Iand I'll blow your
brains out! Dead men don't bite, you know,I added
with a chuckle.
He stopped instantly. I could see by the working of
his face that he was trying to thinkand the process
was so slow and laborious thatin my new-found
securityI laughed aloud. At lastwith a swallow or
twohe spokehis face still wearing the same
expression of extreme perplexity. In order to speak he
had to take the dagger from his mouthbut in all else
he remained unmoved.
Jim,says heI reckon we're fouled, you and me, and
we'll have to sign articles. I'd have had you but for
that there lurch, but I don't have no luck, not I; and
I reckon I'll have to strike, which comes hard, you see,
for a master mariner to a ship's younker like you, Jim.
I was drinking in his words and smiling awayas
conceited as a cock upon a wallwhenall in a breath
back went his right hand over his shoulder. Something
sang like an arrow through the air; I felt a blow and
then a sharp pangand there I was pinned by the
shoulder to the mast. In the horrid pain and surprise
of the moment--I scarce can say it was by my own
volitionand I am sure it was without a conscious aim-both
my pistols went offand both escaped out of my
hands. They did not fall alone; with a choked crythe
coxswain loosed his grasp upon the shrouds and plunged
head first into the water.
Pieces of Eight
OWING to the cant of the vesselthe masts hung far out
over the waterand from my perch on the cross-trees I
had nothing below me but the surface of the bay.
Handswho was not so far upwas in consequence nearer
to the ship and fell between me and the bulwarks. He
rose once to the surface in a lather of foam and blood
and then sank again for good. As the water settledI
could see him lying huddled together on the cleanbright
sand in the shadow of the vessel's sides. A fish or two
whipped past his body. Sometimesby the quivering of the
waterhe appeared to move a littleas if he were trying
to rise. But he was dead enoughfor all thatbeing both
shot and drownedand was food for fish in the very place
where he had designed my slaughter.
I was no sooner certain of this than I began to feel
sickfaintand terrified. The hot blood was running
over my back and chest. The dirkwhere it had pinned
my shoulder to the mastseemed to burn like a hot
iron; yet it was not so much these real sufferings that
distressed mefor theseit seemed to meI could bear
without a murmur; it was the horror I had upon my mind
of falling from the cross-trees into that still green
waterbeside the body of the coxswain.
I clung with both hands till my nails achedand I shut my
eyes as if to cover up the peril. Gradually my mind came
back againmy pulses quieted down to a more natural time
and I was once more in possession of myself.
It was my first thought to pluck forth the dirkbut
either it stuck too hard or my nerve failed meand I
desisted with a violent shudder. Oddly enoughthat
very shudder did the business. The knifein facthad
come the nearest in the world to missing me altogether;
it held me by a mere pinch of skinand this the
shudder tore away. The blood ran down the fasterto
be surebut I was my own master again and only tacked
to the mast by my coat and shirt.
These last I broke through with a sudden jerkand then
regained the deck by the starboard shrouds. For
nothing in the world would I have again ventured
shaken as I wasupon the overhanging port shrouds from
which Israel had so lately fallen.
I went below and did what I could for my wound; it pained
me a good deal and still bled freelybut it was neither
deep nor dangerousnor did it greatly gall me when I used
my arm. Then I looked around meand as the ship was now
in a sensemy ownI began to think of clearing it from
its last passenger--the dead manO'Brien.
He had pitchedas I have saidagainst the bulwarks
where he lay like some horribleungainly sort of puppet
life-sizeindeedbut how different from life's colour
or life's comeliness! In that position I could easily
have my way with himand as the habit of tragical
adventures had worn off almost all my terror for the
deadI took him by the waist as if he had been a sack
of bran and with one good heavetumbled him overboard.
He went in with a sounding plunge; the red cap came off
and remained floating on the surface; and as soon as the
splash subsidedI could see him and Israel lying side
by sideboth wavering with the tremulous movement of
the water. O'Brienthough still quite a young manwas
very bald. There he laywith that bald head across the
knees of the man who had killed him and the quick fishes
steering to and fro over both.
I was now alone upon the ship; the tide had just
turned. The sun was within so few degrees of setting
that already the shadow of the pines upon the western
shore began to reach right across the anchorage and
fall in patterns on the deck. The evening breeze had
sprung upand though it was well warded off by the
hill with the two peaks upon the eastthe cordage had
begun to sing a little softly to itself and the idle
sails to rattle to and fro.
I began to see a danger to the ship. The jibs I
speedily doused and brought tumbling to the deckbut
the main-sail was a harder matter. Of coursewhen the
schooner canted overthe boom had swung out-boardand
the cap of it and a foot or two of sail hung even under
water. I thought this made it still more dangerous;
yet the strain was so heavy that I half feared to
meddle. At last I got my knife and cut the halyards.
The peak dropped instantlya great belly of loose
canvas floated broad upon the waterand sincepull as
I likedI could not budge the downhallthat was the
extent of what I could accomplish. For the restthe
HISPANIOLA must trust to lucklike myself.
By this time the whole anchorage had fallen into
shadow--the last raysI rememberfalling through a
glade of the wood and shining bright as jewels on the
flowery mantle of the wreck. It began to be chill; the
tide was rapidly fleeting seawardthe schooner
settling more and more on her beam-ends.
I scrambled forward and looked over. It seemed shallow
enoughand holding the cut hawser in both hands for a
last securityI let myself drop softly overboard. The
water scarcely reached my waist; the sand was firm and
covered with ripple marksand I waded ashore in great
spiritsleaving the HISPANIOLA on her sidewith her
main-sail trailing wide upon the surface of the bay.
About the same timethe sun went fairly down and the
breeze whistled low in the dusk among the tossing pines.
At leastand at lastI was off the seanor had I
returned thence empty-handed. There lay the schooner
clear at last from buccaneers and ready for our own men
to board and get to sea again. I had nothing nearer my
fancy than to get home to the stockade and boast of my
achievements. Possibly I might be blamed a bit for my
truantrybut the recapture of the HISPANIOLA was a
clenching answerand I hoped that even Captain
Smollett would confess I had not lost my time.
So thinkingand in famous spiritsI began to set
my face homeward for the block house and my companions.
I remembered that the most easterly of the rivers which
drain into Captain Kidd's anchorage ran from the two-peaked
hill upon my leftand I bent my course in that direction
that I might pass the stream while it was small. The wood
was pretty openand keeping along the lower spursI had
soon turned the corner of that hilland not long after
waded to the mid-calf across the watercourse.
This brought me near to where I had encountered Ben
Gunnthe maroon; and I walked more circumspectly
keeping an eye on every side. The dusk had come nigh
hand completelyand as I opened out the cleft between
the two peaksI became aware of a wavering glow
against the skywhereas I judgedthe man of the
island was cooking his supper before a roaring fire.
And yet I wonderedin my heartthat he should show
himself so careless. For if I could see this radiance
might it not reach the eyes of Silver himself where he
camped upon the shore among the marshes?
Gradually the night fell blacker; it was all I could do
to guide myself even roughly towards my destination;
the double hill behind me and the Spy-glass on my right
hand loomed faint and fainter; the stars were few and
pale; and in the low ground where I wandered I kept
tripping among bushes and rolling into sandy pits.
Suddenly a kind of brightness fell about me. I looked
up; a pale glimmer of moonbeams had alighted on the
summit of the Spy-glassand soon after I saw something
broad and silvery moving low down behind the treesand
knew the moon had risen.
With this to help meI passed rapidly over what
remained to me of my journeyand sometimes walking
sometimes runningimpatiently drew near to the
stockade. Yetas I began to thread the grove that
lies before itI was not so thoughtless but that I
slacked my pace and went a trifle warily. It would
have been a poor end of my adventures to get shot down
by my own party in mistake.
The moon was climbing higher and higherits light
began to fall here and there in masses through the more
open districts of the woodand right in front of me a
glow of a different colour appeared among the trees.
It was red and hotand now and again it was a little
darkened--as it werethe embers of a bonfire smouldering.
For the life of me I could not think what it might be.
At last I came right down upon the borders of the
clearing. The western end was already steeped in moonshine;
the restand the block house itselfstill lay
in a black shadow chequered with long silvery streaks
of light. On the other side of the house an immense
fire had burned itself into clear embers and shed a
steadyred reverberationcontrasted strongly with the
mellow paleness of the moon. There was not a soul
stirring nor a sound beside the noises of the breeze.
I stoppedwith much wonder in my heartand perhaps a
little terror also. It had not been our way to build
great fires; we wereindeedby the captain's orders
somewhat niggardly of firewoodand I began to fear
that something had gone wrong while I was absent.
I stole round by the eastern endkeeping close in
shadowand at a convenient placewhere the darkness
was thickestcrossed the palisade.
To make assurance surerI got upon my hands and knees
and crawledwithout a soundtowards the corner of the
house. As I drew nearermy heart was suddenly and
greatly lightened. It is not a pleasant noise in
itselfand I have often complained of it at other
timesbut just then it was like music to hear my
friends snoring together so loud and peaceful in their
sleep. The sea-cry of the watchthat beautiful "All's
well never fell more reassuringly on my ear.
In the meantime, there was no doubt of one thing; they
kept an infamous bad watch. If it had been Silver and
his lads that were now creeping in on them, not a soul
would have seen daybreak. That was what it was,
thought I, to have the captain wounded; and again I
blamed myself sharply for leaving them in that danger
with so few to mount guard.
By this time I had got to the door and stood up. All
was dark within, so that I could distinguish nothing by
the eye. As for sounds, there was the steady drone of
the snorers and a small occasional noise, a flickering
or pecking that I could in no way account for.
With my arms before me I walked steadily in. I should
lie down in my own place (I thought with a silent chuckle)
and enjoy their faces when they found me in the morning.
My foot struck something yielding--it was a sleeper's
leg; and he turned and groaned, but without awaking.
And then, all of a sudden, a shrill voice broke forth
out of the darkness:
Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!
Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight! and so forthwithout
pause or changelike the clacking of a tiny mill.
Silver's green parrotCaptain Flint! It was she whom
I had heard pecking at a piece of bark; it was she
keeping better watch than any human beingwho thus
announced my arrival with her wearisome refrain.
I had no time left me to recover. At the sharp
clipping tone of the parrotthe sleepers awoke and
sprang up; and with a mighty oaththe voice of Silver
I turned to runstruck violently against one person
recoiledand ran full into the arms of a secondwho
for his part closed upon and held me tight.
Bring a torch, Dick,said Silver when my capture was
And one of the men left the log-house and presently
returned with a lighted brand.
In the Enemy's Camp
THE red glare of the torchlighting up the interior of
the block houseshowed me the worst of my
apprehensions realized. The pirates were in possession
of the house and stores: there was the cask of cognac
there were the pork and breadas beforeand what
tenfold increased my horrornot a sign of any
prisoner. I could only judge that all had perished
and my heart smote me sorely that I had not been there
to perish with them.
There were six of the buccaneersall told; not another
man was left alive. Five of them were on their feet
flushed and swollensuddenly called out of the first
sleep of drunkenness. The sixth had only risen upon
his elbow; he was deadly paleand the blood-stained
bandage round his head told that he had recently been
woundedand still more recently dressed. I remembered
the man who had been shot and had run back among the woods
in the great attackand doubted not that this was he.
The parrot satpreening her plumageon Long John's
shoulder. He himselfI thoughtlooked somewhat paler
and more stern than I was used to. He still wore the
fine broadcloth suit in which he had fulfilled his
missionbut it was bitterly the worse for weardaubed
with clay and torn with the sharp briers of the wood.
So,said hehere's Jim Hawkins, shiver my timbers!
Dropped in, like, eh? Well, come, I take that friendly.
And thereupon he sat down across the brandy cask and
began to fill a pipe.
Give me a loan of the link, Dick,said he; and then
when he had a good lightThat'll do, lad,he added;
stick the glim in the wood heap; and you, gentlemen,
bring yourselves to! You needn't stand up for Mr.
Hawkins; HE'LL excuse you, you may lay to that.
And so, Jim--stopping the tobacco--"here you wereand
quite a pleasant surprise for poor old John. I see you
were smart when first I set my eyes on youbut this
here gets away from me cleanit do."
To all thisas may be well supposedI made no answer.
They had set me with my back against the walland I
stood therelooking Silver in the facepluckily
enoughI hopeto all outward appearancebut with
black despair in my heart.
Silver took a whiff or two of his pipe with great
composure and then ran on again.
Now, you see, Jim, so be as you ARE here,says
heI'll give you a piece of my mind. I've always
liked you, I have, for a lad of spirit, and the picter
of my own self when I was young and handsome. I always
wanted you to jine and take your share, and die a
gentleman, and now, my cock, you've got to. Cap'n
Smollett's a fine seaman, as I'll own up to any day,
but stiff on discipline. 'Dooty is dooty,' says he,
and right he is. Just you keep clear of the cap'n.
The doctor himself is gone dead again you--'ungrateful
scamp' was what he said; and the short and the long of
the whole story is about here: you can't go back to
your own lot, for they won't have you; and without you
start a third ship's company all by yourself, which
might be lonely, you'll have to jine with Cap'n Silver.
So far so good. My friendsthenwere still alive
and though I partly believed the truth of Silver's
statementthat the cabin party were incensed at me for
my desertionI was more relieved than distressed by
what I heard.
I don't say nothing as to your being in our hands,
continued Silverthough there you are, and you may
lay to it. I'm all for argyment; I never seen good
come out o' threatening. If you like the service,
well, you'll jine; and if you don't, Jim, why, you're
free to answer no--free and welcome, shipmate; and if
fairer can be said by mortal seaman, shiver my sides!
Am I to answer, then?I asked with a very tremulous
voice. Through all this sneering talkI was made to
feel the threat of death that overhung meand my
cheeks burned and my heart beat painfully in my breast.
Lad,said Silverno one's a-pressing of you. Take
your bearings. None of us won't hurry you, mate; time
goes so pleasant in your company, you see.
Well,says Igrowing a bit bolderif I'm to
choose, I declare I have a right to know what's what,
and why you're here, and where my friends are.
Wot's wot?repeated one of the buccaneers in a deep
growl. "Ahhe'd be a lucky one as knowed that!"
You'll perhaps batten down your hatches till you're
spoke to, my friend,cried Silver truculently to this
speaker. And thenin his first gracious toneshe
replied to meYesterday morning, Mr. Hawkins,said
hein the dog-watch, down came Doctor Livesey with a
flag of truce. Says he, 'Cap'n Silver, you're sold
out. Ship's gone.' Well, maybe we'd been taking a
glass, and a song to help it round. I won't say no.
Leastways, none of us had looked out. We looked out,
and by thunder, the old ship was gone! I never seen a
pack o' fools look fishier; and you may lay to that, if
I tells you that looked the fishiest. 'Well,' says the
doctor, 'let's bargain.' We bargained, him and I, and
here we are: stores, brandy, block house, the firewood
you was thoughtful enough to cut, and in a manner of
speaking, the whole blessed boat, from cross-trees to
kelson. As for them, they've tramped; I don't know
where's they are.
He drew again quietly at his pipe.
And lest you should take it into that head of yours,
he went onthat you was included in the treaty,
here's the last word that was said: 'How many are you,'
says I, 'to leave?' 'Four,' says he; 'four, and one of
us wounded. As for that boy, I don't know where he is,
confound him,' says he, 'nor I don't much care. We're
about sick of him.' These was his words.
Is that all?" I asked.
Well, it's all that you're to hear, my son,
And now I am to choose?
And now you are to choose, and you may lay to
Well,said II am not such a fool but I know pretty
well what I have to look for. Let the worst come to
the worst, it's little I care. I've seen too many die
since I fell in with you. But there's a thing or two I
have to tell you,I saidand by this time I was quite
excited; "and the first is this: here you arein a bad
way--ship losttreasure lostmen lostyour whole
business gone to wreck; and if you want to know who did
it--it was I! I was in the apple barrel the night we
sighted landand I heard youJohnand youDick
Johnsonand Handswho is now at the bottom of the
seaand told every word you said before the hour was
out. And as for the schoonerit was I who cut her
cableand it was I that killed the men you had aboard
of herand it was I who brought her where you'll never
see her morenot one of you. The laugh's on my side;
I've had the top of this business from the first; I no
more fear you than I fear a fly. Kill meif you
pleaseor spare me. But one thing I'll sayand no
more; if you spare mebygones are bygonesand when
you fellows are in court for piracyI'll save you all
I can. It is for you to choose. Kill another and do
yourselves no goodor spare me and keep a witness to
save you from the gallows."
I stoppedforI tell youI was out of breathand to
my wondernot a man of them movedbut all sat staring
at me like as many sheep. And while they were still
staringI broke out againAnd now, Mr. Silver,I
saidI believe you're the best man here, and if
things go to the worst, I'll take it kind of you to let
the doctor know the way I took it.
I'll bear it in mind,said Silver with an accent so
curious that I could notfor the life of medecide
whether he were laughing at my request or had been
favourably affected by my courage.
I'll put one to that,cried the old mahogany-faced
seaman--Morgan by name--whom I had seen in Long John's
public-house upon the quays of Bristol. "It was him
that knowed Black Dog."
Well, and see here,added the sea-cook. "I'll put
another again to thatby thunder! For it was this
same boy that faked the chart from Billy Bones. First
and lastwe've split upon Jim Hawkins!"
Then here goes!said Morgan with an oath.
And he sprang updrawing his knife as if he had
Avast, there!cried Silver. "Who are youTom
Morgan? Maybe you thought you was cap'n hereperhaps.
By the powersbut I'll teach you better! Cross me
and you'll go where many a good man's gone before you
first and lastthese thirty year back--some to the
yard-armshiver my timbersand some by the boardand
all to feed the fishes. There's never a man looked me
between the eyes and seen a good day a'terwardsTom
Morganyou may lay to that."
Morgan pausedbut a hoarse murmur rose from the others.
Tom's right,said one.
I stood hazing long enough from one,added another.
I'll be hanged if I'll be hazed by you, John Silver.
Did any of you gentlemen want to have it out with ME?
roared Silverbending far forward from his
position on the kegwith his pipe still glowing in his
right hand. "Put a name on what you're at; you ain't
dumbI reckon. Him that wants shall get it. Have I
lived this many yearsand a son of a rum puncheon cock
his hat athwart my hawse at the latter end of it? You
know the way; you're all gentlemen o' fortuneby your
account. WellI'm ready. Take a cutlasshim that
daresand I'll see the colour of his insidecrutch
and allbefore that pipe's empty."
Not a man stirred; not a man answered.
That's your sort, is it?he addedreturning his pipe
to his mouth. "Wellyou're a gay lot to look at
anyway. Not much worth to fightyou ain't. P'r'aps
you can understand King George's English. I'm cap'n
here by 'lection. I'm cap'n here because I'm the best
man by a long sea-mile. You won't fightas gentlemen
o' fortune should; thenby thunderyou'll obeyand
you may lay to it! I like that boynow; I never seen
a better boy than that. He's more a man than any pair
of rats of you in this here houseand what I say is
this: let me see him that'll lay a hand on him--that's
what I sayand you may lay to it."
There was a long pause after this. I stood straight up
against the wallmy heart still going like a sledgehammer
but with a ray of hope now shining in my bosom.
Silver leant back against the wallhis arms crossedhis
pipe in the corner of his mouthas calm as though he had
been in church; yet his eye kept wandering furtivelyand
he kept the tail of it on his unruly followers. Theyon
their partdrew gradually together towards the far end of
the block houseand the low hiss of their whispering sounded
in my ear continuouslylike a stream. One after another
they would look upand the red light of the torch would
fall for a second on their nervous faces; but it was not
towards meit was towards Silver that they turned their eyes.
You seem to have a lot to say,remarked Silver
spitting far into the air. "Pipe up and let me hear
itor lay to."
Ax your pardon, sir,returned one of the men; "you're
pretty free with some of the rules; maybe you'll kindly
keep an eye upon the rest. This crew's dissatisfied;
this crew don't vally bullying a marlin-spike; this
crew has its rights like other crewsI'll make so free
as that; and by your own rulesI take it we can talk
together. I ax your pardonsiracknowledging you for
to be captaing at this present; but I claim my right
and steps outside for a council."
And with an elaborate sea-salutethis fellowa long
ill-lookingyellow-eyed man of five and thirty
stepped coolly towards the door and disappeared out of
the house. One after another the rest followed his
exampleeach making a salute as he passedeach adding
some apology. "According to rules said one.
Forecastle council said Morgan. And so with one
remark or another all marched out and left Silver and
me alone with the torch.
The sea-cook instantly removed his pipe.
Nowlook you hereJim Hawkins he said in a steady
whisper that was no more than audible, you're within
half a plank of deathand what's a long sight worse
of torture. They're going to throw me off. Butyou
markI stand by you through thick and thin. I didn't
mean to; nonot till you spoke up. I was about
desperate to lose that much bluntand be hanged into
the bargain. But I see you was the right sort. I says
to myselfyou stand by HawkinsJohnand Hawkins'll
stand by you. You're his last cardand by the living
thunderJohnhe's yours! Back to backsays I. You
save your witnessand he'll save your neck!"
I began dimly to understand.
You mean all's lost?I asked.
Aye, by gum, I do!he answered. "Ship goneneck gone
--that's the size of it. Once I looked into that bayJim
Hawkinsand seen no schooner--wellI'm toughbut I gave
out. As for that lot and their councilmark methey're
outright fools and cowards. I'll save your life--if so be
as I can--from them. Butsee hereJim--tit for tat--you
save Long John from swinging."
I was bewildered; it seemed a thing so hopeless he was
asking--hethe old buccaneerthe ringleader throughout.
What I can do, that I'll do,I said.
It's a bargain!cried Long John. "You speak up
pluckyand by thunderI've a chance!"
He hobbled to the torchwhere it stood propped among
the firewoodand took a fresh light to his pipe.
Understand me, Jim,he saidreturning. "I've a head
on my shouldersI have. I'm on squire's side now. I
know you've got that ship safe somewheres. How you
done itI don't knowbut safe it is. I guess Hands
and O'Brien turned soft. I never much believed in
neither of THEM. Now you mark me. I ask no questions
nor I won't let others. I know when a game's upI do;
and I know a lad that's staunch. Ahyou that's young-you
and me might have done a power of good together!"
He drew some cognac from the cask into a tin cannikin.
Will you taste, messmate?he asked; and when I had
refused: "WellI'll take a drain myselfJim said
he. I need a caulkerfor there's trouble on hand.
And talking o' troublewhy did that doctor give me the
My face expressed a wonder so unaffected that he saw
the needlessness of further questions.
Ah, well, he did, though,said he. "And there's
something under thatno doubt--somethingsurely
under thatJim--bad or good."
And he took another swallow of the brandyshaking his
great fair head like a man who looks forward to the worst.
The Black Spot Again
THE council of buccaneers had lasted some timewhen
one of them re-entered the houseand with a repetition
of the same salutewhich had in my eyes an ironical
airbegged for a moment's loan of the torch. Silver
briefly agreedand this emissary retired again
leaving us together in the dark.
There's a breeze coming, Jim,said Silverwho had by
this time adopted quite a friendly and familiar tone.
I turned to the loophole nearest me and looked out.
The embers of the great fire had so far burned
themselves out and now glowed so low and duskily that I
understood why these conspirators desired a torch.
About half-way down the slope to the stockadethey
were collected in a group; one held the lightanother
was on his knees in their midstand I saw the blade of
an open knife shine in his hand with varying colours in
the moon and torchlight. The rest were all somewhat
stoopingas though watching the manoeuvres of this last.
I could just make out that he had a book as well as a
knife in his handand was still wondering how anything
so incongruous had come in their possession when the
kneeling figure rose once more to his feet and the whole
party began to move together towards the house.
Here they come,said I; and I returned to my former
positionfor it seemed beneath my dignity that they
should find me watching them.
Well, let 'em come, lad--let 'em come,said Silver
cheerily. "I've still a shot in my locker."
The door openedand the five menstanding huddled
together just insidepushed one of their number
forward. In any other circumstances it would have been
comical to see his slow advancehesitating as he set
down each footbut holding his closed right hand in
front of him.
Step up, lad,cried Silver. "I won't eat you. Hand
it overlubber. I know the rulesI do; I won't hurt
Thus encouragedthe buccaneer stepped forth more
brisklyand having passed something to Silverfrom
hand to handslipped yet more smartly back again to
The sea-cook looked at what had been given him.
The black spot! I thought so,he observed. "Where
might you have got the paper? Whyhillo! Look here
now; this ain't lucky! You've gone and cut this out of
a Bible. What fool's cut a Bible?"
Ah, there!said Morgan. "There! Wot did I say? No
good'll come o' thatI said."
Well, you've about fixed it now, among you,continued
Silver. "You'll all swing nowI reckon. What soft-
headed lubber had a Bible?"
It was Dick,said one.
Dick, was it? Then Dick can get to prayers,said
Silver. "He's seen his slice of luckhas Dickand
you may lay to that."
But here the long man with the yellow eyes struck in.
Belay that talk, John Silver,he said. "This crew
has tipped you the black spot in full councilas in
dooty bound; just you turn it overas in dooty bound
and see what's wrote there. Then you can talk."
Thanky, George,replied the sea-cook. "You always
was brisk for businessand has the rules by heart
Georgeas I'm pleased to see. Wellwhat is it
anyway? Ah! 'Deposed'--that's itis it? Very pretty
wroteto be sure; like printI swear. Your hand o'
writeGeorge? Whyyou was gettin' quite a leadin'
man in this here crew. You'll be cap'n nextI
shouldn't wonder. Just oblige me with that torch
againwill you? This pipe don't draw."
Come, now,said Georgeyou don't fool this crew no
more. You're a funny man, by your account; but you're
over now, and you'll maybe step down off that barrel
and help vote.
I thought you said you knowed the rules,returned
Silver contemptuously. "Leastwaysif you don'tI do;
and I wait here--and I'm still your cap'nmind--till
you outs with your grievances and I reply; in the
meantimeyour black spot ain't worth a biscuit. After
Oh,replied Georgeyou don't be under no kind of
apprehension; WE'RE all square, we are. First,
you've made a hash of this cruise--you'll be a bold man
to say no to that. Second, you let the enemy out o'
this here trap for nothing. Why did they want out? I
dunno, but it's pretty plain they wanted it. Third,
you wouldn't let us go at them upon the march. Oh, we
see through you, John Silver; you want to play booty,
that's what's wrong with you. And then, fourth,
there's this here boy.
Is that all?asked Silver quietly.
Enough, too,retorted George. "We'll all swing and
sun-dry for your bungling."
Well now, look here, I'll answer these four p'ints;
one after another I'll answer 'em. I made a hash o'
this cruise, did I? Well now, you all know what I
wanted, and you all know if that had been done that
we'd 'a been aboard the HISPANIOLA this night as
ever was, every man of us alive, and fit, and full of
good plum-duff, and the treasure in the hold of her, by
thunder! Well, who crossed me? Who forced my hand, as
was the lawful cap'n? Who tipped me the black spot the
day we landed and began this dance? Ah, it's a fine
dance--I'm with you there--and looks mighty like a
hornpipe in a rope's end at Execution Dock by London
town, it does. But who done it? Why, it was Anderson,
and Hands, and you, George Merry! And you're the last
above board of that same meddling crew; and you have
the Davy Jones's insolence to up and stand for cap'n
over me--you, that sank the lot of us! By the powers!
But this tops the stiffest yarn to nothing.
Silver pausedand I could see by the faces of George
and his late comrades that these words had not been
said in vain.
That's for number one,cried the accusedwiping the
sweat from his browfor he had been talking with a
vehemence that shook the house. "WhyI give you my
wordI'm sick to speak to you. You've neither sense
nor memoryand I leave it to fancy where your mothers
was that let you come to sea. Sea! Gentlemen o'
fortune! I reckon tailors is your trade."
Go on, John,said Morgan. "Speak up to the others."
Ah, the others!returned John. "They're a nice lot
ain't they? You say this cruise is bungled. Ah! By
gumif you could understand how bad it's bungledyou
would see! We're that near the gibbet that my neck's
stiff with thinking on it. You've seen 'emmaybe
hanged in chainsbirds about 'emseamen p'inting 'em
out as they go down with the tide. 'Who's that?' says
one. 'That! Whythat's John Silver. I knowed him
well' says another. And you can hear the chains a-
jangle as you go about and reach for the other buoy.
Nowthat's about where we areevery mother's son of
usthanks to himand Handsand Andersonand other
ruination fools of you. And if you want to know about
number fourand that boywhyshiver my timbers
isn't he a hostage? Are we a-going to waste a hostage?
Nonot us; he might be our last chanceand I
shouldn't wonder. Kill that boy? Not memates! And
number three? Ahwellthere's a deal to say to
number three. Maybe you don't count it nothing to have
a real college doctor to see you every day--youJohn
with your head broke--or youGeorge Merrythat had
the ague shakes upon you not six hours agoneand has
your eyes the colour of lemon peel to this same moment
on the clock? And maybeperhapsyou didn't know
there was a consort coming either? But there isand
not so long till then; and we'll see who'll be glad to
have a hostage when it comes to that. And as for
number twoand why I made a bargain--wellyou came
crawling on your knees to me to make it--on your knees
you cameyou was that downhearted--and you'd have
starved too if I hadn't--but that's a trifle! You look
And he cast down upon the floor a paper that I
instantly recognized--none other than the chart on
yellow paperwith the three red crossesthat I had
found in the oilcloth at the bottom of the captain's
chest. Why the doctor had given it to him was more
than I could fancy.
But if it were inexplicable to methe appearance of
the chart was incredible to the surviving mutineers.
They leaped upon it like cats upon a mouse. It went
from hand to handone tearing it from another; and by
the oaths and the cries and the childish laughter with
which they accompanied their examinationyou would
have thoughtnot only they were fingering the very
goldbut were at sea with itbesidesin safety.
Yes,said onethat's Flint, sure enough. J. F., and
a score below, with a clove hitch to it; so he done ever.
Mighty pretty,said George. "But how are we to get
away with itand us no ship."
Silver suddenly sprang upand supporting himself with
a hand against the wall: "Now I give you warning
George he cried. One more word of your sauceand
I'll call you down and fight you. How? Whyhow do I
know? You had ought to tell me that--you and the rest
that lost me my schoonerwith your interferenceburn
you! But not youyou can't; you hain't got the
invention of a cockroach. But civil you can speakand
shallGeorge Merryyou may lay to that."
That's fair enow,said the old man Morgan.
Fair! I reckon so,said the sea-cook. "You lost the
ship; I found the treasure. Who's the better man at
that? And now I resignby thunder! Elect whom you
please to be your cap'n now; I'm done with it."
Silver!they cried. "Barbecue forever! Barbecue
So that's the toon, is it?cried the cook. "George
I reckon you'll have to wait another turnfriend; and
lucky for you as I'm not a revengeful man. But that
was never my way. And nowshipmatesthis black spot?
'Tain't much good nowis it? Dick's crossed his luck
and spoiled his Bibleand that's about all."
It'll do to kiss the book on still, won't it?growled
Dickwho was evidently uneasy at the curse he had
brought upon himself.
A Bible with a bit cut out!returned Silver
derisively. "Not it. It don't bind no more'n a
Don't it, though?cried Dick with a sort of joy.
Well, I reckon that's worth having too.
Here, Jim--here's a cur'osity for you,said Silver
and he tossed me the paper.
It was around about the size of a crown piece. One
side was blankfor it had been the last leaf; the
other contained a verse or two of Revelation--these
words among the restwhich struck sharply home upon my
mind: "Without are dogs and murderers." The printed
side had been blackened with wood ashwhich already
began to come off and soil my fingers; on the blank
side had been written with the same material the one
word "Depposed." I have that curiosity beside me at
this momentbut not a trace of writing now remains
beyond a single scratchsuch as a man might make with
That was the end of the night's business. Soon after
with a drink all roundwe lay down to sleepand the
outside of Silver's vengeance was to put George Merry
up for sentinel and threaten him with death if he
should prove unfaithful.
It was long ere I could close an eyeand heaven knows
I had matter enough for thought in the man whom I had
slain that afternoonin my own most perilous position
and above allin the remarkable game that I saw Silver
now engaged upon--keeping the mutineers together with
one hand and grasping with the other after every means
possible and impossibleto make his peace and save his
miserable life. He himself slept peacefully and snored
aloudyet my heart was sore for himwicked as he was
to think on the dark perils that environed and the
shameful gibbet that awaited him.
I WAS wakened--indeedwe were all wakenedfor I could
see even the sentinel shake himself together from where
he had fallen against the door-post--by a clearhearty
voice hailing us from the margin of the wood:
Block house, ahoy!it cried. "Here's the doctor."
And the doctor it was. Although I was glad to hear the
soundyet my gladness was not without admixture. I
remembered with confusion my insubordinate and stealthy
conductand when I saw where it had brought me--among
what companions and surrounded by what dangers--I felt
ashamed to look him in the face.
He must have risen in the darkfor the day had hardly
come; and when I ran to a loophole and looked outI
saw him standinglike Silver once beforeup to the
mid-leg in creeping vapour.
You, doctor! Top o' the morning to you, sir!cried
Silverbroad awake and beaming with good nature in a
moment. "Bright and earlyto be sure; and it's the
early birdas the saying goesthat gets the rations.
Georgeshake up your timberssonand help Dr.
Livesey over the ship's side. All a-doin' wellyour
patients was--all well and merry."
So he pattered onstanding on the hilltop with his crutch
under his elbow and one hand upon the side of the log-house
--quite the old John in voicemannerand expression.
We've quite a surprise for you too, sir,he
continued. "We've a little stranger here--he! he! A
noo boarder and lodgersirand looking fit and taut
as a fiddle; slep' like a supercargohe didright
alongside of John--stem to stem we wasall night."
Dr. Livesey was by this time across the stockade and
pretty near the cookand I could hear the alteration
in his voice as he saidNot Jim?
The very same Jim as ever was,says Silver.
The doctor stopped outrightalthough he did not speak
and it was some seconds before he seemed able to move on.
Well, well,he said at lastduty first and pleasure
afterwards, as you might have said yourself, Silver.
Let us overhaul these patients of yours.
A moment afterwards he had entered the block house and
with one grim nod to me proceeded with his work among
the sick. He seemed under no apprehensionthough he
must have known that his lifeamong these treacherous
demonsdepended on a hair; and he rattled on to his
patients as if he were paying an ordinary professional
visit in a quiet English family. His mannerI
supposereacted on the menfor they behaved to him as
if nothing had occurredas if he were still ship's
doctor and they still faithful hands before the mast.
You're doing well, my friend,he said to the fellow
with the bandaged headand if ever any person had a
close shave, it was you; your head must be as hard as
iron. Well, George, how goes it? You're a pretty
colour, certainly; why, your liver, man, is upside
down. Did you take that medicine? Did he take that
Aye, aye, sir, he took it, sure enough,returned Morgan.
Because, you see, since I am mutineers' doctor, or
prison doctor as I prefer to call it,says Doctor
Livesey in his pleasantest wayI make it a point of
honour not to lose a man for King George (God bless
him!) and the gallows.
The rogues looked at each other but swallowed the home-
thrust in silence.
Dick don't feel well, sir,said one.
Don't he?replied the doctor. "Wellstep up here
Dickand let me see your tongue. NoI should be
surprised if he did! The man's tongue is fit to
frighten the French. Another fever."
Ah, there,said Morganthat comed of sp'iling Bibles.
That comes--as you call it--of being arrant asses,
retorted the doctorand not having sense enough to
know honest air from poison, and the dry land from a
vile, pestiferous slough. I think it most probable-though
of course it's only an opinion--that you'll all
have the deuce to pay before you get that malaria out
of your systems. Camp in a bog, would you? Silver,
I'm surprised at you. You're less of a fool than many,
take you all round; but you don't appear to me to have
the rudiments of a notion of the rules of health.
Well he added after he had dosed them round and they
had taken his prescriptions, with really laughable humility,
more like charity schoolchildren than blood-guilty mutineers
and pirates--wellthat's done for today. And now I should
wish to have a talk with that boyplease."
And he nodded his head in my direction carelessly.
George Merry was at the doorspitting and spluttering
over some bad-tasted medicine; but at the first word of
the doctor's proposal he swung round with a deep flush
and cried "No!" and swore.
Silver struck the barrel with his open hand.
Si-lence!he roared and looked about him positively
like a lion. "Doctor he went on in his usual tones,
I was a-thinking of thatknowing as how you had a
fancy for the boy. We're all humbly grateful for your
kindnessand as you seeputs faith in you and takes
the drugs down like that much grog. And I take it I've
found a way as'll suit all. Hawkinswill you give me
your word of honour as a young gentleman--for a young
gentleman you arealthough poor born--your word of
honour not to slip your cable?"
I readily gave the pledge required.
Then, doctor,said Silveryou just step outside o'
that stockade, and once you're there I'll bring the boy
down on the inside, and I reckon you can yarn through
the spars. Good day to you, sir, and all our dooties
to the squire and Cap'n Smollett.
The explosion of disapprovalwhich nothing but
Silver's black looks had restrainedbroke out
immediately the doctor had left the house. Silver was
roundly accused of playing double--of trying to make a
separate peace for himselfof sacrificing the
interests of his accomplices and victimsandin one
wordof the identicalexact thing that he was doing.
It seemed to me so obviousin this casethat I could
not imagine how he was to turn their anger. But he was
twice the man the rest wereand his last night's
victory had given him a huge preponderance on their
minds. He called them all the fools and dolts you can
imaginesaid it was necessary I should talk to the
doctorfluttered the chart in their facesasked them
if they could afford to break the treaty the very day
they were bound a-treasure-hunting.
No, by thunder!he cried. "It's us must break the
treaty when the time comes; and till then I'll gammon
that doctorif I have to ile his boots with brandy."
And then he bade them get the fire litand stalked out
upon his crutchwith his hand on my shoulderleaving
them in a disarrayand silenced by his volubility
rather than convinced.
Slow, lad, slow,he said. "They might round upon us
in a twinkle of an eye if we was seen to hurry."
Very deliberatelythendid we advance across the sand
to where the doctor awaited us on the other side of the
stockadeand as soon as we were within easy speaking
distance Silver stopped.
You'll make a note of this here also, doctor,says
heand the boy'll tell you how I saved his life, and
were deposed for it too, and you may lay to that.
Doctor, when a man's steering as near the wind as me-playing
chuck-farthing with the last breath in his
body, like--you wouldn't think it too much, mayhap, to
give him one good word? You'll please bear in mind
it's not my life only now--it's that boy's into the
bargain; and you'll speak me fair, doctor, and give me
a bit o' hope to go on, for the sake of mercy.
Silver was a changed man once he was out there and had
his back to his friends and the block house; his cheeks
seemed to have fallen inhis voice trembled; never was
a soul more dead in earnest.
Why, John, you're not afraid?asked Dr. Livesey.
Doctor, I'm no coward; no, not I--not SO much!
and he snapped his fingers. "If I was I wouldn't say
it. But I'll own up fairlyI've the shakes upon me
for the gallows. You're a good man and a true; I never
seen a better man! And you'll not forget what I done
goodnot any more than you'll forget the badI know.
And I step aside--see here--and leave you and Jim
alone. And you'll put that down for me toofor it's a
long stretchis that!"
So sayinghe stepped back a little waytill he was
out of earshotand there sat down upon a tree-stump
and began to whistlespinning round now and again upon
his seat so as to command a sightsometimes of me and
the doctor and sometimes of his unruly ruffians as they
went to and fro in the sand between the fire--which
they were busy rekindling--and the housefrom which
they brought forth pork and bread to make the breakfast.
So, Jim,said the doctor sadlyhere you are. As
you have brewed, so shall you drink, my boy. Heaven
knows, I cannot find it in my heart to blame you, but
this much I will say, be it kind or unkind: when
Captain Smollett was well, you dared not have gone off;
and when he was ill and couldn't help it, by George, it
was downright cowardly!
I will own that I here began to weep. "Doctor I
said, you might spare me. I have blamed myself
enough; my life's forfeit anywayand I should have
been dead by now if Silver hadn't stood for me; and
doctorbelieve thisI can die--and I dare say I
deserve it--but what I fear is torture. If they come
to torture me--"
Jim,the doctor interruptedand his voice was quite
changedJim, I can't have this. Whip over, and we'll
run for it.
Doctor,said II passed my word.
I know, I know,he cried. "We can't help thatJim
now. I'll take it on my shouldersholus bolusblame
and shamemy boy; but stay hereI cannot let you.
Jump! One jumpand you're outand we'll run for it
No,I replied; "you know right well you wouldn't do
the thing yourself--neither you nor squire nor captain;
and no more will I. Silver trusted me; I passed my
wordand back I go. Butdoctoryou did not let me
finish. If they come to torture meI might let slip a
word of where the ship isfor I got the shippart by
luck and part by riskingand she lies in North Inlet
on the southern beachand just below high water. At
half tide she must be high and dry."
The ship!exclaimed the doctor.
Rapidly I described to him my adventuresand he heard
me out in silence.
There is a kind of fate in this,he observed when I
had done. "Every stepit's you that saves our lives;
and do you suppose by any chance that we are going to
let you lose yours? That would be a poor returnmy
boy. You found out the plot; you found Ben Gunn--the
best deed that ever you didor will dothough you
live to ninety. Ohby Jupiterand talking of Ben
Gunn! Whythis is the mischief in person. Silver!"
he cried. "Silver! I'll give you a piece of advice
he continued as the cook drew near again; don't you be
in any great hurry after that treasure."
Why, sir, I do my possible, which that ain't,said
Silver. "I can onlyasking your pardonsave my life
and the boy's by seeking for that treasure; and you may
lay to that."
Well, Silver,replied the doctorif that is so, I'll
go one step further: look out for squalls when you find it.
Sir,said Silveras between man and man, that's too
much and too little. What you're after, why you left
the block house, why you given me that there chart, I
don't know, now, do I? And yet I done your bidding
with my eyes shut and never a word of hope! But no,
this here's too much. If you won't tell me what you
mean plain out, just say so and I'll leave the helm.
No,said the doctor musingly; "I've no right to say
more; it's not my secretyou seeSilverorI give
you my wordI'd tell it you. But I'll go as far with
you as I dare goand a step beyondfor I'll have my
wig sorted by the captain or I'm mistaken! And first
I'll give you a bit of hope; Silverif we both get
alive out of this wolf-trapI'll do my best to save
youshort of perjury."
Silver's face was radiant. "You couldn't say moreI'm
suresirnot if you was my mother he cried.
Wellthat's my first concession added the doctor.
My second is a piece of advice: keep the boy close
beside youand when you need helphalloo. I'm off to
seek it for youand that itself will show you if I
speak at random. Good-byeJim."
And Dr. Livesey shook hands with me through the
stockadenodded to Silverand set off at a brisk pace
into the wood.
The Treasure-hunt--Flint's Pointer
JIM,said Silver when we were aloneif I saved your
life, you saved mine; and I'll not forget it. I seen
the doctor waving you to run for it--with the tail of
my eye, I did; and I seen you say no, as plain as hearing.
Jim, that's one to you. This is the first glint of hope
I had since the attack failed, and I owe it you. And now,
Jim, we're to go in for this here treasure-hunting, with
sealed orders too, and I don't like it; and you and me
must stick close, back to back like, and we'll save our
necks in spite o' fate and fortune.
Just then a man hailed us from the fire that breakfast
was readyand we were soon seated here and there about
the sand over biscuit and fried junk. They had lit a
fire fit to roast an oxand it was now grown so hot
that they could only approach it from the windwardand
even there not without precaution. In the same
wasteful spiritthey had cookedI supposethree
times more than we could eat; and one of themwith an
empty laughthrew what was left into the firewhich
blazed and roared again over this unusual fuel. I
never in my life saw men so careless of the morrow;
hand to mouth is the only word that can describe their
way of doing; and what with wasted food and sleeping
sentriesthough they were bold enough for a brush and
be done with itI could see their entire unfitness for
anything like a prolonged campaign.
Even Silvereating awaywith Captain Flint upon his
shoulderhad not a word of blame for their recklessness.
And this the more surprised mefor I thought he had
never shown himself so cunning as he did then.
Aye, mates,said heit's lucky you have Barbecue to
think for you with this here head. I got what I wanted,
I did. Sure enough, they have the ship. Where they have
it, I don't know yet; but once we hit the treasure, we'll
have to jump about and find out. And then, mates, us that
has the boats, I reckon, has the upper hand.
Thus he kept running onwith his mouth full of the hot
bacon; thus he restored their hope and confidenceand
I more than suspectrepaired his own at the same time.
As for hostage,he continuedthat's his last talk,
I guess, with them he loves so dear. I've got my piece
o' news, and thanky to him for that; but it's over and
done. I'll take him in a line when we go treasure-
hunting, for we'll keep him like so much gold, in case
of accidents, you mark, and in the meantime. Once we
got the ship and treasure both and off to sea like
jolly companions, why then we'll talk Mr. Hawkins over,
we will, and we'll give him his share, to be sure, for
all his kindness.
It was no wonder the men were in a good humour now.
For my partI was horribly cast down. Should the
scheme he had now sketched prove feasibleSilver
already doubly a traitorwould not hesitate to adopt
it. He had still a foot in either campand there was
no doubt he would prefer wealth and freedom with the
pirates to a bare escape from hangingwhich was the
best he had to hope on our side.
Nayand even if things so fell out that he was forced
to keep his faith with Dr. Liveseyeven then what
danger lay before us! What a moment that would be when
the suspicions of his followers turned to certainty and
he and I should have to fight for dear life--he a cripple
and I a boy--against five strong and active seamen!
Add to this double apprehension the mystery that still
hung over the behaviour of my friendstheir
unexplained desertion of the stockadetheir
inexplicable cession of the chartor harder still to
understandthe doctor's last warning to SilverLook
out for squalls when you find it,and you will readily
believe how little taste I found in my breakfast and
with how uneasy a heart I set forth behind my captors
on the quest for treasure.
We made a curious figurehad anyone been there to see
us--all in soiled sailor clothes and all but me armed
to the teeth. Silver had two guns slung about him--one
before and one behind--besides the great cutlass at his
waist and a pistol in each pocket of his square-tailed
coat. To complete his strange appearanceCaptain
Flint sat perched upon his shoulder and gabbling odds
and ends of purposeless sea-talk. I had a line about
my waist and followed obediently after the sea-cook
who held the loose end of the ropenow in his free
handnow between his powerful teeth. For all the
worldI was led like a dancing bear.
The other men were variously burthenedsome carrying
picks and shovels--for that had been the very first
necessary they brought ashore from the HISPANIOLA-others
laden with porkbreadand brandy for the
midday meal. All the storesI observedcame from our
stockand I could see the truth of Silver's words the
night before. Had he not struck a bargain with the doctor
he and his mutineersdeserted by the shipmust have been
driven to subsist on clear water and the proceeds of their
hunting. Water would have been little to their taste; a
sailor is not usually a good shot; and besides all that
when they were so short of eatablesit was not likely
they would be very flush of powder.
Wellthus equippedwe all set out--even the fellow
with the broken headwho should certainly have kept in
shadow--and straggledone after anotherto the beach
where the two gigs awaited us. Even these bore trace
of the drunken folly of the piratesone in a broken
thwartand both in their muddy and unbailed condition.
Both were to be carried along with us for the sake of
safety; and sowith our numbers divided between them
we set forth upon the bosom of the anchorage.
As we pulled overthere was some discussion on the
chart. The red cross wasof coursefar too large to
be a guide; and the terms of the note on the backas
you will hearadmitted of some ambiguity. They ran
the reader may rememberthus:
Tall treeSpy-glass shoulderbearing a point to
the N. of N.N.E.
Skeleton Island E.S.E. and by E.
A tall tree was thus the principal mark. Nowright
before us the anchorage was bounded by a plateau from
two to three hundred feet highadjoining on the north
the sloping southern shoulder of the Spy-glass and
rising again towards the south into the roughcliffy
eminence called the Mizzen-mast Hill. The top of the
plateau was dotted thickly with pine-trees of varying
height. Every here and thereone of a different
species rose forty or fifty feet clear above its
neighboursand which of these was the particular "tall
tree" of Captain Flint could only be decided on the
spotand by the readings of the compass.
Yetalthough that was the caseevery man on board the
boats had picked a favourite of his own ere we were
half-way overLong John alone shrugging his shoulders
and bidding them wait till they were there.
We pulled easilyby Silver's directionsnot to weary
the hands prematurelyand after quite a long passage
landed at the mouth of the second river--that which
runs down a woody cleft of the Spy-glass. Thence
bending to our leftwe began to ascend the slope
towards the plateau.
At the first outsetheavymiry ground and a matted
marish vegetation greatly delayed our progress; but by
little and little the hill began to steepen and become
stony under footand the wood to change its character
and to grow in a more open order. It wasindeeda
most pleasant portion of the island that we were now
approaching. A heavy-scented broom and many flowering
shrubs had almost taken the place of grass. Thickets
of green nutmeg-trees were dotted here and there with
the red columns and the broad shadow of the pines; and
the first mingled their spice with the aroma of the
others. The airbesideswas fresh and stirringand
thisunder the sheer sunbeamswas a wonderful
refreshment to our senses.
The party spread itself abroadin a fan shape
shouting and leaping to and fro. About the centreand
a good way behind the restSilver and I followed--I
tethered by my ropehe ploughingwith deep pants
among the sliding gravel. From time to timeindeedI
had to lend him a handor he must have missed his
footing and fallen backward down the hill.
We had thus proceeded for about half a mile and were
approaching the brow of the plateau when the man upon
the farthest left began to cry aloudas if in terror.
Shout after shout came from himand the others began
to run in his direction.
He can't 'a found the treasure,said old Morganhurrying
past us from the rightfor that's clean a-top.
Indeedas we found when we also reached the spotit
was something very different. At the foot of a pretty
big pine and involved in a green creeperwhich had even
partly lifted some of the smaller bonesa human skeleton
laywith a few shreds of clothingon the ground. I
believe a chill struck for a moment to every heart.
He was a seaman,said George Merrywhobolder than
the resthad gone up close and was examining the rags
of clothing. "Leastwaysthis is good sea-cloth."
Aye, aye,said Silver; "like enough; you wouldn't
look to find a bishop hereI reckon. But what sort of
a way is that for bones to lie? 'Tain't in natur'."
Indeedon a second glanceit seemed impossible to
fancy that the body was in a natural position. But for
some disarray (the workperhapsof the birds that had
fed upon him or of the slow-growing creeper that had
gradually enveloped his remains) the man lay perfectly
straight--his feet pointing in one directionhis
handsraised above his head like a diver'spointing
directly in the opposite.
I've taken a notion into my old numbskull,observed
Silver. "Here's the compass; there's the tip-top p'int
o' Skeleton Islandstickin' out like a tooth. Just
take a bearingwill youalong the line of them bones."
It was done. The body pointed straight in the
direction of the islandand the compass read duly
E.S.E. and by E.
I thought so,cried the cook; "this here is a
p'inter. Right up there is our line for the Pole Star
and the jolly dollars. Butby thunder! If it don't
make me cold inside to think of Flint. This is one of
HIS jokesand no mistake. Him and these six was
alone here; he killed 'emevery man; and this one he
hauled here and laid down by compassshiver my
timbers! They're long bonesand the hair's been
yellow. Ayethat would be Allardyce. You mind
Aye, aye,returned Morgan; "I mind him; he owed me
moneyhe didand took my knife ashore with him."
Speaking of knives,said anotherwhy don't we find his'n
lying round? Flint warn't the man to pick a seaman's pocket;
and the birds, I guess, would leave it be.
By the powers, and that's true!cried Silver.
There ain't a thing left here,said Merrystill
feeling round among the bones; "not a copper doit nor a
baccy box. It don't look nat'ral to me."
No, by gum, it don't,agreed Silver; "not nat'ral
nor not nicesays you. Great guns! Messmatesbut if
Flint was livingthis would be a hot spot for you and
me. Six they wereand six are we; and bones is what
they are now."
I saw him dead with these here deadlights,said
Morgan. "Billy took me in. There he laidwith penny-
pieces on his eyes."
Dead--aye, sure enough he's dead and gone below,said
the fellow with the bandage; "but if ever sperrit
walkedit would be Flint's. Dear heartbut he died
Aye, that he did,observed another; "now he raged
and now he hollered for the rumand now he sang.
'Fifteen Men' were his only songmates; and I tell you
trueI never rightly liked to hear it since. It was
main hotand the windy was openand I hear that old
song comin' out as clear as clear--and the death-haul
on the man already."
Come, come,said Silver; "stow this talk. He's dead
and he don't walkthat I know; leastwayshe won't
walk by dayand you may lay to that. Care killed a
cat. Fetch ahead for the doubloons."
We startedcertainly; but in spite of the hot sun and
the staring daylightthe pirates no longer ran
separate and shouting through the woodbut kept side
by side and spoke with bated breath. The terror of the
dead buccaneer had fallen on their spirits.
The Treasure-hunt--The Voice Among the Trees
PARTLY from the damping influence of this alarmpartly
to rest Silver and the sick folkthe whole party sat
down as soon as they had gained the brow of the ascent.
The plateau being somewhat tilted towards the west
this spot on which we had paused commanded a wide
prospect on either hand. Before usover the treetops
we beheld the Cape of the Woods fringed with
surf; behindwe not only looked down upon the
anchorage and Skeleton Islandbut saw--clear across
the spit and the eastern lowlands--a great field of
open sea upon the east. Sheer above us rose the Spyglass
here dotted with single pinesthere black with
precipices. There was no sound but that of the distant
breakersmounting from all roundand the chirp of
countless insects in the brush. Not a mannot a sail
upon the sea; the very largeness of the view increased
the sense of solitude.
Silveras he sattook certain bearings with his compass.
There are three 'tall trees'said heabout in the right
line from Skeleton Island. 'Spy-glass shoulder,' I take it,
means that lower p'int there. It's child's play to find the
stuff now. I've half a mind to dine first.
I don't feel sharp,growled Morgan. "Thinkin' o'
Flint--I think it were--as done me."
Ah, well, my son, you praise your stars he's dead,
He were an ugly devil,cried a third pirate with a
shudder; "that blue in the face too!"
That was how the rum took him,added Merry. "Blue!
WellI reckon he was blue. That's a true word."
Ever since they had found the skeleton and got upon
this train of thoughtthey had spoken lower and lower
and they had almost got to whispering by nowso that
the sound of their talk hardly interrupted the silence
of the wood. All of a suddenout of the middle of the
trees in front of usa thinhightrembling voice
struck up the well-known air and words:
Fifteen men on the dead man's chest-Yo-
ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!
I never have seen men more dreadfully affected than the
pirates. The colour went from their six faces like
enchantment; some leaped to their feetsome clawed
hold of others; Morgan grovelled on the ground.
It's Flint, by ----!cried Merry.
The song had stopped as suddenly as it began--broken off
you would have saidin the middle of a noteas though
someone had laid his hand upon the singer's mouth. Coming
through the clearsunny atmosphere among the green tree-tops
I thought it had sounded airily and sweetly; and the effect
on my companions was the stranger.
Come,said Silverstruggling with his ashen lips to
get the word out; "this won't do. Stand by to go
about. This is a rum startand I can't name the
voicebut it's someone skylarking--someone that's
flesh and bloodand you may lay to that."
His courage had come back as he spokeand some of the
colour to his face along with it. Already the others
had begun to lend an ear to this encouragement and were
coming a little to themselveswhen the same voice
broke out again--not this time singingbut in a faint
distant hail that echoed yet fainter among the clefts
of the Spy-glass.
Darby M'Graw,it wailed--for that is the word that
best describes the sound--"Darby M'Graw! Darby
M'Graw!" again and again and again; and then rising a
little higherand with an oath that I leave out:
Fetch aft the rum, Darby!
The buccaneers remained rooted to the groundtheir eyes
starting from their heads. Long after the voice had died
away they still stared in silencedreadfullybefore them.
That fixes it!gasped one. "Let's go."
They was his last words,moaned Morganhis last
words above board.
Dick had his Bible out and was praying volubly. He had
been well brought uphad Dickbefore he came to sea
and fell among bad companions.
Still Silver was unconquered. I could hear his teeth
rattle in his headbut he had not yet surrendered.
Nobody in this here island ever heard of Darby,he
muttered; "not one but us that's here." And then
making a great effort: "Shipmates he cried, I'm here
to get that stuffand I'll not be beat by man or
devil. I never was feared of Flint in his lifeand
by the powersI'll face him dead. There's seven
hundred thousand pound not a quarter of a mile from
here. When did ever a gentleman o' fortune show his
stern to that much dollars for a boozy old seaman with
a blue mug--and him dead too?"
But there was no sign of reawakening courage in his
followersratherindeedof growing terror at the
irreverence of his words.
Belay there, John!said Merry. "Don't you
cross a sperrit."
And the rest were all too terrified to reply. They
would have run away severally had they dared; but fear
kept them togetherand kept them close by Johnas if
his daring helped them. Heon his parthad pretty
well fought his weakness down.
Sperrit? Well, maybe,he said. "But there's one
thing not clear to me. There was an echo. Nowno man
ever seen a sperrit with a shadow; well thenwhat's he
doing with an echo to himI should like to know? That
ain't in natur'surely?"
This argument seemed weak enough to me. But you can
never tell what will affect the superstitiousand to
my wonderGeorge Merry was greatly relieved.
Well, that's so,he said. "You've a head upon your
shouldersJohnand no mistake. 'Bout shipmates!
This here crew is on a wrong tackI do believe. And
come to think on itit was like Flint's voiceI grant
youbut not just so clear-away like itafter all. It
was liker somebody else's voice now--it was liker--"
By the powers, Ben Gunn!roared Silver.
Aye, and so it were,cried Morganspringing on his
knees. "Ben Gunn it were!"
It don't make much odds, do it, now?asked Dick.
Ben Gunn's not here in the body any more'n Flint.
But the older hands greeted this remark with scorn.
Why, nobody minds Ben Gunn,cried Merry; "dead or
alivenobody minds him."
It was extraordinary how their spirits had returned and
how the natural colour had revived in their faces.
Soon they were chatting togetherwith intervals of
listening; and not long afterhearing no further
soundthey shouldered the tools and set forth again
Merry walking first with Silver's compass to keep them
on the right line with Skeleton Island. He had said
the truth: dead or alivenobody minded Ben Gunn.
Dick alone still held his Bibleand looked around him
as he wentwith fearful glances; but he found no
sympathyand Silver even joked him on his precautions.
I told you,said he--"I told you you had sp'iled your
Bible. If it ain't no good to swear bywhat do you
suppose a sperrit would give for it? Not that!" and he
snapped his big fingershalting a moment on his crutch.
But Dick was not to be comforted; indeedit was soon
plain to me that the lad was falling sick; hastened by
heatexhaustionand the shock of his alarmthe
feverpredicted by Dr. Liveseywas evidently growing
It was fine open walking hereupon the summit; our way
lay a little downhillforas I have saidthe plateau
tilted towards the west. The pinesgreat and small
grew wide apart; and even between the clumps of nutmeg
and azaleawide open spaces baked in the hot sunshine.
Strikingas we didpretty near north-west across the
islandwe drewon the one handever nearer under the
shoulders of the Spy-glassand on the otherlooked
ever wider over that western bay where I had once
tossed and trembled in the oracle.
The first of the tall trees was reachedand by the
bearings proved the wrong one. So with the second. The
third rose nearly two hundred feet into the air above a
clump of underwood--a giant of a vegetablewith a red
column as big as a cottageand a wide shadow around in
which a company could have manoeuvred. It was conspicuous
far to sea both on the east and west and might have been
entered as a sailing mark upon the chart.
But it was not its size that now impressed my
companions; it was the knowledge that seven hundred
thousand pounds in gold lay somewhere buried below its
spreading shadow. The thought of the moneyas they
drew nearerswallowed up their previous terrors.
Their eyes burned in their heads; their feet grew
speedier and lighter; their whole soul was found up in
that fortunethat whole lifetime of extravagance and
pleasurethat lay waiting there for each of them.
Silver hobbledgruntingon his crutch; his nostrils
stood out and quivered; he cursed like a madman when
the flies settled on his hot and shiny countenance; he
plucked furiously at the line that held me to him and
from time to time turned his eyes upon me with a deadly
look. Certainly he took no pains to hide his thoughts
and certainly I read them like print. In the immediate
nearness of the goldall else had been forgotten: his
promise and the doctor's warning were both things of
the pastand I could not doubt that he hoped to seize
upon the treasurefind and board the HISPANIOLA
under cover of nightcut every honest throat about
that islandand sail away as he had at first intended
laden with crimes and riches.
Shaken as I was with these alarmsit was hard for me
to keep up with the rapid pace of the treasure-hunters.
Now and again I stumbledand it was then that Silver
plucked so roughly at the rope and launched at me his
murderous glances. Dickwho had dropped behind us and
now brought up the rearwas babbling to himself both
prayers and curses as his fever kept rising. This also
added to my wretchednessand to crown allI was haunted
by the thought of the tragedy that had once been acted on
that plateauwhen that ungodly buccaneer with the blue face
--he who died at Savannahsinging and shouting for drink-had
therewith his own handcut down his six accomplices.
This grove that was now so peaceful must then have rung with
criesI thought; and even with the thought I could believe
I heard it ringing still.
We were now at the margin of the thicket.
Huzza, mates, all together!shouted Merry; and the
foremost broke into a run.
And suddenlynot ten yards furtherwe beheld them stop.
A low cry arose. Silver doubled his pacedigging away
with the foot of his crutch like one possessed; and next
moment he and I had come also to a dead halt.
Before us was a great excavationnot very recentfor
the sides had fallen in and grass had sprouted on the
bottom. In this were the shaft of a pick broken in two
and the boards of several packing-cases strewn around.
On one of these boards I sawbranded with a hot iron
the name WALRUS--the name of Flint's ship.
All was clear to probation. The CACHE had been found
and rifled; the seven hundred thousand pounds were gone!
The Fall of a Chieftain
THERE never was such an overturn in this world. Each
of these six men was as though he had been struck. But
with Silver the blow passed almost instantly. Every
thought of his soul had been set full-stretchlike a
raceron that money; wellhe was brought upin a
single seconddead; and he kept his headfound his
temperand changed his plan before the others had had
time to realize the disappointment.
Jim,he whisperedtake that, and stand by for trouble.
And he passed me a double-barrelled pistol.
At the same timehe began quietly moving northward
and in a few steps had put the hollow between us two
and the other five. Then he looked at me and nodded
as much as to sayHere is a narrow corner,as
indeedI thought it was. His looks were not quite
friendlyand I was so revolted at these constant
changes that I could not forbear whisperingSo you've
changed sides again.
There was no time left for him to answer in. The
buccaneerswith oaths and criesbegan to leapone
after anotherinto the pit and to dig with their fingers
throwing the boards aside as they did so. Morgan found a
piece of gold. He held it up with a perfect spout of oaths.
It was a two-guinea pieceand it went from hand to hand
among them for a quarter of a minute.
Two guineas!roared Merryshaking it at Silver.
That's your seven hundred thousand pounds, is it?
You're the man for bargains, ain't you? You're him
that never bungled nothing, you wooden-headed lubber!
Dig away, boys,said Silver with the coolest insolence;
you'll find some pig-nuts and I shouldn't wonder.
Pig-nuts!repeated Merryin a scream. "Matesdo
you hear that? I tell you nowthat man there knew it
all along. Look in the face of him and you'll see it
Ah, Merry,remarked Silverstanding for cap'n
again? You're a pushing lad, to be sure.
But this time everyone was entirely in Merry's favour.
They began to scramble out of the excavationdarting
furious glances behind them. One thing I observed
which looked well for us: they all got out upon the
opposite side from Silver.
Wellthere we stoodtwo on one sidefive on the
otherthe pit between usand nobody screwed up high
enough to offer the first blow. Silver never moved; he
watched themvery upright on his crutchand looked as
cool as ever I saw him. He was braveand no mistake.
At last Merry seemed to think a speech might help matters.
Mates,says hethere's two of them alone there;
one's the old cripple that brought us all here and
blundered us down to this; the other's that cub that I
mean to have the heart of. Now, mates--
He was raising his arm and his voiceand plainly meant
to lead a charge. But just then--crack! crack! crack!-three
musket-shots flashed out of the thicket. Merry
tumbled head foremost into the excavation; the man with
the bandage spun round like a teetotum and fell all his
length upon his sidewhere he lay deadbut still
twitching; and the other three turned and ran for it
with all their might.
Before you could winkLong John had fired two barrels
of a pistol into the struggling Merryand as the man
rolled up his eyes at him in the last agonyGeorge,
said heI reckon I settled you.
At the same momentthe doctorGrayand Ben Gunn joined
uswith smoking musketsfrom among the nutmeg-trees.
Forward!cried the doctor. "Double quickmy lads.
We must head 'em off the boats."
And we set off at a great pacesometimes plunging
through the bushes to the chest.
I tell youbut Silver was anxious to keep up with us.
The work that man went throughleaping on his crutch
till the muscles of his chest were fit to burstwas
work no sound man ever equalled; and so thinks the
doctor. As it washe was already thirty yards behind
us and on the verge of strangling when we reached the
brow of the slope.
Doctor,he hailedsee there! No hurry!
Sure enough there was no hurry. In a more open part of
the plateauwe could see the three survivors still running
in the same direction as they had startedright for Mizzenmast
Hill. We were already between them and the boats; and
so we four sat down to breathewhile Long Johnmopping his
facecame slowly up with us.
Thank ye kindly, doctor,says he. "You came in in
about the nickI guessfor me and Hawkins. And so
it's youBen Gunn!" he added. "Wellyou're a nice
oneto be sure."
I'm Ben Gunn, I am,replied the maroonwriggling
like an eel in his embarrassment. "And he added,
after a long pause, how doMr. Silver? Pretty well
I thank yesays you."
Ben, Ben,murmured Silverto think as you've done me!
The doctor sent back Gray for one of the pick-axes
desertedin their flightby the mutineersand then
as we proceeded leisurely downhill to where the boats
were lyingrelated in a few words what had taken
place. It was a story that profoundly interested
Silver; and Ben Gunnthe half-idiot maroonwas the
hero from beginning to end.
Benin his longlonely wanderings about the island
had found the skeleton--it was he that had rifled it;
he had found the treasure; he had dug it up (it was the
haft of his pick-axe that lay broken in the
excavation); he had carried it on his backin many
weary journeysfrom the foot of the tall pine to a
cave he had on the two-pointed hill at the north-east
angle of the islandand there it had lain stored in
safety since two months before the arrival of the HISPANIOLA.
When the doctor had wormed this secret from him on the
afternoon of the attackand when next morning he saw
the anchorage desertedhe had gone to Silvergiven
him the chartwhich was now useless--given him the
storesfor Ben Gunn's cave was well supplied with
goats' meat salted by himself--given anything and
everything to get a chance of moving in safety from the
stockade to the two-pointed hillthere to be clear of
malaria and keep a guard upon the money.
As for you, Jim,he saidit went against my heart,
but I did what I thought best for those who had stood
by their duty; and if you were not one of these, whose
fault was it?
That morningfinding that I was to be involved in the
horrid disappointment he had prepared for the
mutineershe had run all the way to the caveand
leaving the squire to guard the captainhad taken Gray
and the maroon and startedmaking the diagonal across
the island to be at hand beside the pine. Soon
howeverhe saw that our party had the start of him;
and Ben Gunnbeing fleet of foothad been dispatched
in front to do his best alone. Then it had occurred to
him to work upon the superstitions of his former
shipmatesand he was so far successful that Gray and
the doctor had come up and were already ambushed before
the arrival of the treasure-hunters.
Ah,said Silverit were fortunate for me that I had
Hawkins here. You would have let old John be cut to
bits, and never given it a thought, doctor.
Not a thought,replied Dr. Livesey cheerily.
And by this time we had reached the gigs. The doctor
with the pick-axedemolished one of themand then we
all got aboard the other and set out to go round by sea
for North Inlet.
This was a run of eight or nine miles. Silverthough he
was almost killed already with fatiguewas set to an oar
like the rest of usand we were soon skimming swiftly over
a smooth sea. Soon we passed out of the straits and doubled
the south-east corner of the islandround whichfour days
agowe had towed the HISPANIOLA.
As we passed the two-pointed hillwe could see the
black mouth of Ben Gunn's cave and a figure standing by
itleaning on a musket. It was the squireand we
waved a handkerchief and gave him three cheersin
which the voice of Silver joined as heartily as any.
Three miles fartherjust inside the mouth of North
Inletwhat should we meet but the HISPANIOLA
cruising by herself? The last flood had lifted her
and had there been much wind or a strong tide current
as in the southern anchoragewe should never have
found her moreor found her stranded beyond help. As
it wasthere was little amiss beyond the wreck of the
main-sail. Another anchor was got ready and dropped in
a fathom and a half of water. We all pulled round
again to Rum Covethe nearest point for Ben Gunn's
treasure-house; and then Graysingle-handedreturned
with the gig to the HISPANIOLAwhere he was to
pass the night on guard.
A gentle slope ran up from the beach to the entrance of
the cave. At the topthe squire met us. To me he was
cordial and kindsaying nothing of my escapade either
in the way of blame or praise. At Silver's polite
salute he somewhat flushed.
John Silver,he saidyou're a prodigious villain
and imposter--a monstrous imposter, sir. I am told I
am not to prosecute you. Well, then, I will not. But
the dead men, sir, hang about your neck like mill-stones.
Thank you kindly, sir,replied Long Johnagain saluting.
I dare you to thank me!cried the squire. "It is a
gross dereliction of my duty. Stand back."
And thereupon we all entered the cave. It was a large
airy placewith a little spring and a pool of clear
wateroverhung with ferns. The floor was sand.
Before a big fire lay Captain Smollett; and in a far
corneronly duskily flickered over by the blazeI
beheld great heaps of coin and quadrilaterals built of
bars of gold. That was Flint's treasure that we had
come so far to seek and that had cost already the lives
of seventeen men from the HISPANIOLA. How many it
had cost in the amassingwhat blood and sorrowwhat
good ships scuttled on the deepwhat brave men walking
the plank blindfoldwhat shot of cannonwhat shame
and lies and crueltyperhaps no man alive could tell.
Yet there were still three upon that island--Silver
and old Morganand Ben Gunn--who had each taken his
share in these crimesas each had hoped in vain to
share in the reward.
Come in, Jim,said the captain. "You're a good boy in
your lineJimbut I don't think you and me'll go to sea
again. You're too much of the born favourite for me. Is
that youJohn Silver? What brings you hereman?"
Come back to my dooty, sir,returned Silver.
Ah!said the captainand that was all he said.
What a supper I had of it that nightwith all my
friends around me; and what a meal it waswith Ben
Gunn's salted goat and some delicacies and a bottle of
old wine from the HISPANIOLA. NeverI am sure
were people gayer or happier. And there was Silver
sitting back almost out of the firelightbut eating
heartilyprompt to spring forward when anything was
wantedeven joining quietly in our laughter--the same
blandpoliteobsequious seaman of the voyage out.
THE next morning we fell early to workfor the
transportation of this great mass of gold near a mile
by land to the beachand thence three miles by boat to
the HISPANIOLAwas a considerable task for so small a
number of workmen. The three fellows still abroad upon
the island did not greatly trouble us; a single sentry on
the shoulder of the hill was sufficient to ensure us against
any sudden onslaughtand we thoughtbesidesthey had had
more than enough of fighting.
Therefore the work was pushed on briskly. Gray and Ben
Gunn came and went with the boatwhile the rest during
their absences piled treasure on the beach. Two of the
barsslung in a rope's endmade a good load for a
grown man--one that he was glad to walk slowly with.
For my partas I was not much use at carryingI was
kept busy all day in the cave packing the minted money
It was a strange collectionlike Billy Bones's hoard
for the diversity of coinagebut so much larger and so
much more varied that I think I never had more pleasure
than in sorting them. EnglishFrenchSpanish
PortugueseGeorgesand Louisesdoubloons and double
guineas and moidores and sequinsthe pictures of all
the kings of Europe for the last hundred yearsstrange
Oriental pieces stamped with what looked like wisps of
string or bits of spider's webround pieces and square
piecesand pieces bored through the middleas if to
wear them round your neck--nearly every variety of
money in the world mustI thinkhave found a place in
that collection; and for numberI am sure they were
like autumn leavesso that my back ached with stooping
and my fingers with sorting them out.
Day after day this work went on; by every evening a
fortune had been stowed aboardbut there was another
fortune waiting for the morrow; and all this time we
heard nothing of the three surviving mutineers.
At last--I think it was on the third night--the doctor
and I were strolling on the shoulder of the hill where
it overlooks the lowlands of the islewhenfrom out
the thick darkness belowthe wind brought us a noise
between shrieking and singing. It was only a snatch
that reached our earsfollowed by the former silence.
Heaven forgive them,said the doctor; "'tis
All drunk, sir,struck in the voice of Silver
from behind us.
SilverI should saywas allowed his entire liberty
and in spite of daily rebuffsseemed to regard himself
once more as quite a privileged and friendly dependent.
Indeedit was remarkable how well he bore these
slights and with what unwearying politeness he kept on
trying to ingratiate himself with all. YetI think
none treated him better than a dogunless it was Ben
Gunnwho was still terribly afraid of his old
quartermasteror myselfwho had really something to
thank him for; although for that matterI supposeI
had reason to think even worse of him than anybody
elsefor I had seen him meditating a fresh treachery
upon the plateau. Accordinglyit was pretty gruffly
that the doctor answered him.
Drunk or raving,said he.
Right you were, sir,replied Silver; "and precious
little odds whichto you and me."
I suppose you would hardly ask me to call you a humane
man,returned the doctor with a sneerand so my
feelings may surprise you, Master Silver. But if I
were sure they were raving--as I am morally certain
one, at least, of them is down with fever--I should
leave this camp, and at whatever risk to my own
carcass, take them the assistance of my skill.
Ask your pardon, sir, you would be very wrong,quoth
Silver. "You would lose your precious lifeand you
may lay to that. I'm on your side nowhand and glove;
and I shouldn't wish for to see the party weakenedlet
alone yourselfseeing as I know what I owes you. But
these men down therethey couldn't keep their word-no
not supposing they wished to; and what's morethey
couldn't believe as you could."
No,said the doctor. "You're the man to keep your
wordwe know that."
Wellthat was about the last news we had of the three
pirates. Only once we heard a gunshot a great way off
and supposed them to be hunting. A council was held
and it was decided that we must desert them on the island
--to the huge gleeI must sayof Ben Gunnand with the
strong approval of Gray. We left a good stock of powder
and shotthe bulk of the salt goata few medicinesand
some other necessariestoolsclothinga spare saila
fathom or two of ropeand by the particular desire of the
doctora handsome present of tobacco.
That was about our last doing on the island. Before
thatwe had got the treasure stowed and had shipped
enough water and the remainder of the goat meat in case
of any distress; and at lastone fine morningwe weighed
anchorwhich was about all that we could manageand stood
out of North Inletthe same colours flying that the captain
had flown and fought under at the palisade.
The three fellows must have been watching us closer
than we thought foras we soon had proved. For coming
through the narrowswe had to lie very near the
southern pointand there we saw all three of them
kneeling together on a spit of sandwith their arms
raised in supplication. It went to all our heartsI
thinkto leave them in that wretched state; but we
could not risk another mutiny; and to take them home
for the gibbet would have been a cruel sort of
kindness. The doctor hailed them and told them of the
stores we had leftand where they were to find them.
But they continued to call us by name and appeal to us
for God's saketo be merciful and not leave them to
die in such a place.
At lastseeing the ship still bore on her course and
was now swiftly drawing out of earshotone of them--I
know not which it was--leapt to his feet with a hoarse
crywhipped his musket to his shoulderand sent a shot
whistling over Silver's head and through the main-sail.
After thatwe kept under cover of the bulwarksand
when next I looked out they had disappeared from the
spitand the spit itself had almost melted out of
sight in the growing distance. That wasat leastthe
end of that; and before noonto my inexpressible joy
the highest rock of Treasure Island had sunk into the
blue round of sea.
We were so short of men that everyone on board had to
bear a hand--only the captain lying on a mattress in
the stern and giving his ordersfor though greatly
recovered he was still in want of quiet. We laid her
head for the nearest port in Spanish Americafor we
could not risk the voyage home without fresh hands; and
as it waswhat with baffling winds and a couple of
fresh galeswe were all worn out before we reached it.
It was just at sundown when we cast anchor in a most
beautiful land-locked gulfand were immediately
surrounded by shore boats full of Negroes and Mexican
Indians and half-bloods selling fruits and vegetables
and offering to dive for bits of money. The sight of
so many good-humoured faces (especially the blacks)
the taste of the tropical fruitsand above all the
lights that began to shine in the town made a most
charming contrast to our dark and bloody sojourn on the
island; and the doctor and the squiretaking me along
with themwent ashore to pass the early part of the
night. Here they met the captain of an English man-ofwar
fell in talk with himwent on board his ship
andin shorthad so agreeable a time that day was
breaking when we came alongside the HISPANIOLA.
Ben Gunn was on deck aloneand as soon as we came on
board he beganwith wonderful contortionsto make us
a confession. Silver was gone. The maroon had
connived at his escape in a shore boat some hours ago
and he now assured us he had only done so to preserve
our liveswhich would certainly have been forfeit if
that man with the one leg had stayed aboard.But
this was not all. The sea-cook had not gone empty-
handed. He had cut through a bulkhead unobserved and
had removed one of the sacks of coinworth perhaps
three or four hundred guineasto help him on his
I think we were all pleased to be so cheaply quit of him.
Wellto make a long story shortwe got a few hands on
boardmade a good cruise homeand the HISPANIOLA
reached Bristol just as Mr. Blandly was beginning to
think of fitting out her consort. Five men only of
those who had sailed returned with her. "Drink and the
devil had done for the rest with a vengeance,
although, to be sure, we were not quite in so bad a
case as that other ship they sang about:
With one man of her crew alive,
What put to sea with seventy-five.
All of us had an ample share of the treasure and used
it wisely or foolishly, according to our natures.
Captain Smollett is now retired from the sea. Gray not
only saved his money, but being suddenly smit with the
desire to rise, also studied his profession, and he is
now mate and part owner of a fine full-rigged ship,
married besides, and the father of a family. As for
Ben Gunn, he got a thousand pounds, which he spent or
lost in three weeks, or to be more exact, in nineteen
days, for he was back begging on the twentieth. Then
he was given a lodge to keep, exactly as he had feared
upon the island; and he still lives, a great favourite,
though something of a butt, with the country boys, and
a notable singer in church on Sundays and saints' days.
Of Silver we have heard no more. That formidable
seafaring man with one leg has at last gone clean out
of my life; but I dare say he met his old Negress, and
perhaps still lives in comfort with her and Captain
Flint. It is to be hoped so, I suppose, for his
chances of comfort in another world are very small.
The bar silver and the arms still lie, for all that I
know, where Flint buried them; and certainly they shall
lie there for me. Oxen and wain-ropes would not bring
me back again to that accursed island; and the worst
dreams that ever I have are when I hear the surf
booming about its coasts or start upright in bed with
the sharp voice of Captain Flint still ringing in my
ears: Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!"