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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 now, in return for numerous delightful hours,
and with the kindest wishes,
by his affectionate friend, the author.
TO THE HESITATING PURCHASER
If sailor tales to sailor tunes,
Storm and adventure, heat and cold,
If schooners, islands, and maroons,
And buccaneers, and buried gold,
And all the old romance, retold
Exactly in the ancient way,
Can please, as me they pleased of old,
The wiser youngsters of today:
--So be it, and fall on! If not,
If studious youth no longer crave,
His ancient appetites forgot,
Kingston, or Ballantyne the brave,
Or Cooper of the wood and wave:
So be it, also! 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
16. NARRATIVE CONTINUED BY THE DOCTOR:
HOW THE SHIP WAS ABANDONED . . . . . . 100
17. NARRATIVE CONTINUED BY THE DOCTOR:
THE JOLLY-BOAT'S LAST TRIP . . . . . . 105
18. NARRATIVE CONTINUED BY THE DOCTOR:
END OF THE FIRST DAY'S FIGHTING . . . 109
19. 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
32. 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 TRELAWNEY, Dr. Livesey, and the rest of these
gentlemen having asked me to write down the whole
particulars about Treasure Island, from the beginning
to the end, keeping nothing back but the bearings of the
island, and that only because there is still treasure not
yet lifted, I take up my pen in the year of grace 17__
and go back to the time when my father kept the Admiral
Benbow inn and the brown old seaman with the sabre cut
first took up his lodging under our roof.
I remember him as if it were yesterday, as he came
plodding to the inn door, his sea-chest following
behind him in a hand-barrow--a tall, strong, heavy,
nut-brown man, his tarry pigtail falling over the
shoulder of his soiled blue coat, his hands ragged and
scarred, with black, broken nails, and the sabre cut
across one cheek, a dirty, livid white. I remember him
looking round the cover and whistling to himself as he
did so, and then breaking out in that old sea-song that
he sang so often afterwards:
"Fifteen men on the dead man's chest--
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!"
in the high, old tottering voice that seemed to have
been tuned and broken at the capstan bars. Then he
rapped on the door with a bit of stick like a handspike
that he carried, and when my father appeared, called
roughly for a glass of rum. This, when it was brought
to him, he drank slowly, like a connoisseur, lingering
on the taste and still looking about him at the cliffs
and up at our signboard.
"This is a handy cove," says he at length; "and a
pleasant sittyated grog-shop. Much company, mate?"
My father told him no, very little company, the more
was the pity.
"Well, then," said he, "this is the berth for me.
Here you, matey," he cried to the man who trundled the
barrow; "bring up alongside and help up my chest. I'll
stay here a bit," he continued. "I'm a plain man; rum
and bacon and eggs is what I want, and that head up
there for to watch ships off. What you mought call me?
You mought call me captain. Oh, I see what you're at--
there"; and he threw down three or four gold pieces on
the threshold. "You can tell me when I've worked
through that," says he, looking as fierce as a
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 wage, he
would only blow through his nose at me and stare me down,
but before the week was out he was sure to think better
of it, bring me my four-penny piece, and repeat his orders
to look out for "the seafaring man with one leg."
How that personage haunted my dreams, I need scarcely
tell you. On stormy nights, when the wind shook the
four corners of the house and the surf roared along the
cove and up the cliffs, I would see him in a thousand
forms, and with a thousand diabolical expressions. Now
the leg would be cut off at the knee, now at the hip;
now he was a monstrous kind of a creature who had never
had but the one leg, and that in the middle of his
body. To see him leap and run and pursue me over hedge
and ditch was the worst of nightmares. And altogether
I paid pretty dear for my monthly fourpenny piece, in
the shape of these abominable fancies.
But though I was so terrified by the idea of the
seafaring man with one leg, I was far less afraid of
the captain himself than anybody else who knew him.
There were nights when he took a deal more rum and
water than his head would carry; and then he would
sometimes sit and sing his wicked, old, wild sea-songs,
minding nobody; but sometimes he would call for glasses
round and force all the trembling company to listen to
his stories or bear a chorus to his singing. Often I
have heard the house shaking with "Yo-ho-ho, and a
bottle of rum," all the neighbours joining in for dear
life, with the fear of death upon them, and each
singing louder than the other to avoid remark. For in
these fits he was the most overriding companion ever
known; he would slap his hand on the table for silence
all round; he would fly up in a passion of anger at a
question, or sometimes because none was put, and so he
judged the company was not following his story. Nor
would he allow anyone to leave the inn till he had
drunk himself sleepy and reeled off to bed.
His stories were what frightened people worst of all.
Dreadful stories they were--about hanging, and walking
the plank, and storms at sea, and the Dry Tortugas, and
wild deeds and places on the Spanish Main. By his own
account he must have lived his life among some of the
wickedest men that God ever allowed upon the sea, and
the language in which he told these stories shocked our
plain country people almost as much as the crimes that
he described. My father was always saying the inn
would be ruined, for people would soon cease coming
there to be tyrannized over and put down, and sent
shivering to their beds; but I really believe his
presence did us good. People were frightened at the
time, but on looking back they rather liked it; it was
a fine excitement in a quiet country life, and there
was even a party of the younger men who pretended to
admire him, calling him a "true sea-dog" and a "real
old salt" and such like names, and saying there was the
sort of man that made England terrible at sea.
In one way, indeed, he bade fair to ruin us, for he kept
on staying week after week, and at last month after month,
so that all the money had been long exhausted, and still
my father never plucked up the heart to insist on having
more. If ever he mentioned it, the captain blew through
his nose so loudly that you might say he roared, and stared
my poor father out of the room. I have seen him wringing
his hands after such a rebuff, and I am sure the annoyance
and the terror he lived in must have greatly hastened his
early and unhappy death.
All the time he lived with us the captain made no change
whatever in his dress but to buy some stockings from a
hawker. One of the cocks of his hat having fallen down,
he let it hang from that day forth, though it was a great
annoyance when it blew. I remember the appearance of his
coat, which he patched himself upstairs in his room, and
which, before the end, was nothing but patches. He never
wrote or received a letter, and he never spoke with any
but the neighbours, and with these, for the most part,
only when drunk on rum. The great sea-chest none of us
had ever seen open.
He was only once crossed, and that was towards the end,
when my poor father was far gone in a decline that took
him off. Dr. Livesey came late one afternoon to see
the patient, took a bit of dinner from my mother, and
went into the parlour to smoke a pipe until his horse
should come down from the hamlet, for we had no
stabling at the old Benbow. I followed him in, and I
remember observing the contrast the neat, bright
doctor, with his powder as white as snow and his bright,
black eyes and pleasant manners, made with the coltish
country folk, and above all, with that filthy, heavy,
bleared scarecrow of a pirate of ours, sitting, far gone
in rum, with his arms on the table. Suddenly he--the
captain, that is--began to pipe up his eternal song:
"Fifteen men on the dead man's chest--
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!
Drink and the devil had done for the rest--
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!"
At first I had supposed "the dead man's chest" to be
that identical big box of his upstairs in the front
room, and the thought had been mingled in my nightmares
with that of the one-legged seafaring man. But by this
time we had all long ceased to pay any particular
notice to the song; it was new, that night, to nobody
but Dr. Livesey, and on him I observed it did not
produce an agreeable effect, for he looked up for a
moment quite angrily before he went on with his talk to
old Taylor, the gardener, on a new cure for the
rheumatics. In the meantime, the captain gradually
brightened up at his own music, and at last flapped his
hand upon the table before him in a way we all knew to
mean silence. The voices stopped at once, all but Dr.
Livesey's; he went on as before speaking clear and kind
and drawing briskly at his pipe between every word or
two. The captain glared at him for a while, flapped
his hand again, glared still harder, and at last broke
out with a villainous, low oath, "Silence, there,
"Were you addressing me, sir?" says the doctor; and
when the ruffian had told him, with another oath, that
this was so, "I have only one thing to say to you, sir,"
replies the doctor, "that if you keep on drinking rum,
the world will soon be quit of a very dirty scoundrel!"
The old fellow's fury was awful. He sprang to his
feet, drew and opened a sailor's clasp-knife, and
balancing it open on the palm of his hand, threatened
to pin the doctor to the wall.
The doctor never so much as moved. He spoke to him as
before, over his shoulder and in the same tone of
voice, rather high, so that all the room might hear,
but perfectly calm and steady: "If you do not put that
knife this instant in your pocket, I promise, upon my
honour, you shall hang at the next assizes."
Then followed a battle of looks between them, but the
captain soon knuckled under, put up his weapon, and
resumed his seat, grumbling like a beaten dog.
"And now, sir," continued the doctor, "since I now know
there's such a fellow in my district, you may count I'll
have an eye upon you day and night. I'm not a doctor only;
I'm a magistrate; and if I catch a breath of complaint
against you, if it's only for a piece of incivility like
tonight's, I'll take effectual means to have you hunted
down and routed out of this. Let that suffice."
Soon after, Dr. Livesey's horse came to the door and he
rode away, but the captain held his peace that evening,
and for many evenings to come.
Black Dog Appears and Disappears
IT was not very long after this that there occurred the
first of the mysterious events that rid us at last of
the captain, though not, as you will see, of his
affairs. It was a bitter cold winter, with long, hard
frosts and heavy gales; and it was plain from the first
that my poor father was little likely to see the
spring. He sank daily, and my mother and I had all the
inn upon our hands, and were kept busy enough without
paying much regard to our unpleasant guest.
It was one January morning, very early--a pinching,
frosty morning--the cove all grey with hoar-frost, the
ripple lapping softly on the stones, the sun still low
and only touching the hilltops and shining far to
seaward. The captain had risen earlier than usual and
set out down the beach, his cutlass swinging under the
broad skirts of the old blue coat, his brass telescope
under his arm, his hat tilted back upon his head. I
remember his breath hanging like smoke in his wake as
he strode off, and the last sound I heard of him as he
turned the big rock was a loud snort of indignation, as
though his mind was still running upon Dr. Livesey.
Well, mother was upstairs with father and I was laying
the breakfast-table against the captain's return when
the parlour door opened and a man stepped in on whom I
had never set my eyes before. He was a pale, tallowy
creature, wanting two fingers of the left hand, and
though he wore a cutlass, he did not look much like a
fighter. I had always my eye open for seafaring men,
with one leg or two, and I remember this one puzzled
me. He was not sailorly, and yet he had a smack of the
sea about him too.
I asked him what was for his service, and he said he would
take rum; but as I was going out of the room to fetch it,
he sat down upon a table and motioned me to draw near. I
paused where I was, with my napkin in my hand.
"Come here, sonny," says he. "Come nearer here."
I took a step nearer.
"Is this here table for my mate Bill?" he asked with a
kind of leer.
I told him I did not know his mate Bill, and this was for
a person who stayed in our house whom we called the captain.
"Well," said he, "my mate Bill would be called the
captain, as like as not. He has a cut on one cheek and
a mighty pleasant way with him, particularly in drink,
has my mate Bill. We'll put it, for argument like, that
your captain has a cut on one cheek--and we'll put it, if
you like, that that cheek's the right one. Ah, well! I
told you. Now, is my mate Bill in this here house?"
I told him he was out walking.
"Which way, sonny? Which way is he gone?"
And when I had pointed out the rock and told him how
the captain was likely to return, and how soon, and
answered a few other questions, "Ah," said he, "this'll
be as good as drink to my mate Bill."
The expression of his face as he said these words was
not at all pleasant, and I had my own reasons for
thinking that the stranger was mistaken, even supposing
he meant what he said. But it was no affair of mine, I
thought; and besides, it was difficult to know what to
do. The stranger kept hanging about just inside the
inn door, peering round the corner like a cat waiting
for a mouse. Once I stepped out myself into the road,
but he immediately called me back, and as I did not
obey quick enough for his fancy, a most horrible change
came over his tallowy face, and he ordered me in with
an oath that made me jump. As soon as I was back again
he returned to his former manner, half fawning, half
sneering, patted me on the shoulder, told me I was a
good boy and he had taken quite a fancy to me. "I have
a son of my own," said he, "as like you as two blocks,
and he's all the pride of my 'art. But the great thing
for boys is discipline, sonny--discipline. Now, if you
had sailed along of Bill, you wouldn't have stood there
to be spoke to twice--not you. That was never Bill's
way, nor the way of sich as sailed with him. And here,
sure enough, is my mate Bill, with a spy-glass under
his arm, bless his old 'art, to be sure. You and me'll
just go back into the parlour, sonny, and get behind
the door, and we'll give Bill a little surprise--bless
his 'art, I say again."
So saying, the stranger backed along with me into the
parlour and put me behind him in the corner so that we
were both hidden by the open door. I was very uneasy
and alarmed, as you may fancy, and it rather added to
my fears to observe that the stranger was certainly
frightened himself. He cleared the hilt of his cutlass
and loosened the blade in the sheath; and all the time
we were waiting there he kept swallowing as if he felt
what we used to call a lump in the throat.
At last in strode the captain, slammed the door behind him,
without looking to the right or left, and marched straight
across the room to where his breakfast awaited 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 face, and even his nose
was blue; he had the look of a man who sees a ghost, or
the evil one, or something worse, if anything can be;
and upon my word, I felt sorry to see him all in a
moment turn so old and sick.
"Come, Bill, you know me; you know an old shipmate,
Bill, surely," said the stranger.
The captain made a sort of gasp.
"Black Dog!" said he.
"And who else?" returned the other, getting more at his
ease. "Black Dog as ever was, come for to see his old
shipmate Billy, at the Admiral Benbow inn. Ah, Bill,
Bill, we have seen a sight of times, us two, since I
lost them two talons," holding up his mutilated hand.
"Now, look here," said the captain; "you've run me
down; here I am; well, then, speak up; what is it?"
"That's you, Bill," returned Black Dog, "you're in the
right of it, Billy. I'll have a glass of rum from this
dear child here, as I've took such a liking to; and
we'll sit down, if you please, and talk square, like
When I returned with the rum, they 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 one, as I thought, on
He bade me go and leave the door wide open. "None of
your keyholes for me, sonny," he said; and I left them
together and retired into the bar.
"For a long time, though I certainly did my best to
listen, I could hear nothing but a low gattling; but at
last the voices began to grow higher, and I could pick
up a word or two, mostly oaths, from the captain.
"No, no, no, no; and an end of it!" he cried once. And
again, "If it comes to swinging, swing all, say I."
Then all of a sudden there was a tremendous explosion of
oaths and other noises--the chair and table went over in
a lump, a clash of steel followed, and then a cry of pain,
and the next instant I saw Black Dog in full flight, and
the captain hotly pursuing, both with drawn cutlasses, and
the former streaming blood from the left shoulder. Just
at the door the captain aimed at the fugitive one last
tremendous cut, which would certainly have split him to
the chine had it not been intercepted by our big signboard
of Admiral Benbow. You may see the notch on the lower side
of the frame to this day.
That blow was the last of the battle. Once out upon
the road, Black Dog, in spite of his wound, showed a
wonderful clean pair of heels and disappeared over the
edge of the hill in half a minute. The captain, for
his part, stood staring at the signboard like a
bewildered man. Then he passed his hand over his eyes
several times and at last turned back into the house.
"Jim," says he, "rum"; and as he spoke, he reeled a little,
and caught himself with one hand against the wall.
"Are you hurt?" cried I.
"Rum," he repeated. "I must get away from here. Rum! Rum!"
I ran to fetch it, but I was quite unsteadied by all
that had fallen out, and I broke one glass and fouled
the tap, and while I was still getting in my own way, I
heard a loud fall in the parlour, and running in, beheld
the captain lying full length upon the floor. At the same
instant my mother, alarmed by the cries and fighting, came
running downstairs to help me. Between us we raised his
head. He was breathing very loud and hard, but his eyes
were closed and his face a horrible colour.
"Dear, deary me," cried my mother, "what a disgrace
upon the house! And your poor father sick!"
In the meantime, we had no idea what to do to help the
captain, nor any other thought but that he had got his
death-hurt in the scuffle with the stranger. I got the
rum, to be sure, and tried to put it down his throat, but
his teeth were tightly shut and his jaws as strong as iron.
It was a happy relief for us when the door opened and Doctor
Livesey came in, on his visit to my father.
"Oh, doctor," we cried, "what shall we do? Where is he wounded?"
"Wounded? A fiddle-stick's end!" said the doctor. "No
more wounded than you or I. The man has had a stroke,
as I warned him. Now, Mrs. Hawkins, just you run
upstairs to your husband and tell him, if possible,
nothing about it. For my part, I must do my best to
save this fellow's trebly worthless life; Jim, you get
me a basin."
When I got back with the basin, the doctor had already
ripped up the captain's sleeve and exposed his great
sinewy arm. It was tattooed in several places.
"Here's luck," "A fair wind," and "Billy Bones his
fancy," were very neatly and clearly executed on the
forearm; and up near the shoulder there was a sketch of
a gallows and a man hanging from it--done, as I
thought, with great spirit.
"Prophetic," said the doctor, touching this picture
with his finger. "And now, Master Billy Bones, if that
be your name, we'll have a look at the colour of your
blood. Jim," he said, "are you afraid of blood?"
"No, sir," said I.
"Well, then," said he, "you hold the basin"; and with
that he took his lancet and opened a vein.
A great deal of blood was taken before the captain
opened his eyes and looked mistily about him. First he
recognized the doctor with an unmistakable frown; then
his glance fell upon me, and he looked relieved. But
suddenly his colour changed, and he tried to raise
himself, crying, "Where's Black Dog?"
"There is no Black Dog here," said the doctor, "except
what you have on your own back. You have been drinking
rum; you have had a stroke, precisely as I told you;
and I have just, very much against my own will, dragged
you headforemost out of the grave. Now, Mr. Bones--"
"That's not my name," he interrupted.
"Much I care," returned the doctor. "It's the name of
a buccaneer of my acquaintance; and I call you by it
for the sake of shortness, and what I have to say to
you is this; one glass of rum won't kill you, but if
you take one you'll take another and another, and I
stake my wig if you don't break off short, you'll die--
do you understand that?--die, and go to your own place,
like the man in the Bible. Come, now, make an effort.
I'll help you to your bed for once."
Between us, with much trouble, we managed to hoist him
upstairs, and laid him on his bed, where his head fell
back on the pillow as if he were almost fainting.
"Now, mind you," said the doctor, "I clear my
conscience--the name of rum for you is death."
And with that he went off to see my father, taking me
with him by the arm.
"This is nothing," he said as soon as he had closed the
door. "I have drawn blood enough to keep him quiet
awhile; he should lie for a week where he is--that is
the best thing for him and you; but another stroke
would settle him."
The Black Spot
ABOUT noon I stopped at the captain's door with some
cooling drinks and medicines. He was lying very much
as we had left him, only a little higher, and he seemed
both weak and excited.
"Jim," he said, "you're the only one here that's worth
anything, and you know I've been always good to you.
Never a month but I've given you a silver fourpenny for
yourself. And now you see, mate, I'm pretty low, and
deserted by all; and Jim, you'll bring me one noggin of
rum, now, won't you, matey?"
"The doctor--" I began.
But he broke in cursing the doctor, in a feeble voice
but heartily. "Doctors is all swabs," he said; "and
that doctor there, why, what do he know about seafaring
men? I been in places hot as pitch, and mates dropping
round with Yellow Jack, and the blessed land a-heaving
like the sea with earthquakes--what do the doctor know
of lands like that?--and I lived on rum, I tell you.
It's been meat and drink, and man and wife, to me; and
if I'm not to have my rum now I'm a poor old hulk on a
lee shore, my blood'll be on you, Jim, and that doctor
swab"; and he ran on again for a while with curses.
"Look, Jim, how my fingers fidges," he continued in the
pleading tone. "I can't keep 'em still, not I. I
haven't had a drop this blessed day. That doctor's a
fool, I tell you. If I don't have a drain o' rum, Jim,
I'll have the horrors; I seen some on 'em already.
I seen old Flint in the corner there, behind you; as
plain as print, I seen him; and if I get the horrors,
I'm a man that has lived rough, and I'll raise Cain.
Your doctor hisself said one glass wouldn't hurt me.
I'll give you a golden guinea for a noggin, Jim."
He was growing more and more excited, and this alarmed me
for my father, who was very low that day and needed quiet;
besides, I was reassured by the doctor's words, now quoted
to me, and rather offended by the offer of a bribe.
"I want none of your money," said I, "but what you owe
my father. I'll get you one glass, and no more."
When I brought it to him, he seized it greedily and
drank it out.
"Aye, aye," said he, "that's some better, sure enough.
And now, matey, did that doctor say how long I was to
lie here in this old berth?"
"A week at least," said I.
"Thunder!" he cried. "A week! I can't do that; they'd
have the black spot on me by then. The lubbers is
going about to get the wind of me this blessed moment;
lubbers as couldn't keep what they got, and want to
nail what is another's. Is that seamanly behaviour,
now, I want to know? But I'm a saving soul. I never
wasted good money of mine, nor lost it neither; and
I'll trick 'em again. I'm not afraid on 'em. I'll
shake out another reef, matey, and daddle 'em again."
As he was thus speaking, he had risen from bed with
great difficulty, holding to my shoulder with a grip
that almost made me cry out, and moving his legs like
so much dead weight. His words, spirited as they were
in meaning, contrasted sadly with the weakness of the
voice in which they were uttered. He paused when he
had got into a sitting position on the edge.
"That doctor's done me," he murmured. "My ears is
singing. Lay me back."
Before I could do much to help him he had fallen back again
to his former place, where he lay for a while silent.
"Jim," he said at length, "you saw that seafaring man today?"
"Black Dog?" I asked.
"Ah! Black Dog," says he. "HE'S a bad un; but there's
worse that put him on. Now, if I can't get away nohow,
and they tip me the black spot, mind you, it's my old
sea-chest they're after; you get on a horse--you can,
can't you? Well, then, you get on a horse, and go to--
well, yes, I will!--to that eternal doctor swab, and
tell him to pipe all hands--magistrates and sich--and
he'll lay 'em aboard at the Admiral Benbow--all old
Flint's crew, man and boy, all on 'em that's left. I
was first mate, I was, old Flint's first mate, and I'm
the on'y one as knows the place. He gave it me at
Savannah, when he lay a-dying, like as if I was to now,
you see. But you won't peach unless they get the black
spot on me, or unless you see that Black Dog again or a
seafaring man with one leg, Jim--him above all."
"But what is the black spot, captain?" I asked.
"That's a summons, mate. I'll tell you if they get
that. But you keep your weather-eye open, Jim, and
I'll share with you equals, upon my honour."
He wandered a little longer, his voice growing weaker;
but soon after I had given him his medicine, which he
took like a child, with the remark, "If ever a seaman
wanted drugs, it's me," he fell at last into a heavy,
swoon-like sleep, in which I left him. What I should
have done had all gone well I do not know. Probably I
should have told the whole story to the doctor, for I
was in mortal fear lest the captain should repent of
his confessions and make an end of me. But as things
fell out, my poor father died quite suddenly that
evening, which put all other matters on one side. Our
natural distress, the visits of the neighbours, the
arranging of the funeral, and all the work of the inn
to be carried on in the meanwhile kept me so busy that
I had scarcely time to think of the captain, far less
to be afraid of him.
He got downstairs next morning, to be sure, and had his
meals as usual, though he ate little and had more, I am
afraid, than his usual supply of rum, for he helped
himself out of the bar, scowling and blowing through
his nose, and no one dared to cross him. On the night
before the funeral he was as drunk as ever; and it was
shocking, in that house of mourning, to hear him
singing away at his ugly old sea-song; but weak as he
was, we were all in the fear of death for him, and the
doctor was suddenly taken up with a case many miles
away and was never near the house after my father's
death. I have said the captain was weak, and indeed he
seemed rather to grow weaker than regain his strength.
He clambered up and down stairs, and went from the
parlour to the bar and back again, and sometimes put
his nose out of doors to smell the sea, holding on to
the walls as he went for support and breathing hard and
fast like a man on a steep mountain. He never
particularly addressed me, and it is my belief he had
as good as forgotten his confidences; but his temper
was more flighty, and allowing for his bodily weakness,
more violent than ever. He had an alarming way now
when he was drunk of drawing his cutlass and laying it
bare before him on the table. But with all that, he
minded people less and seemed shut up in his own
thoughts and rather wandering. Once, for instance, to
our extreme wonder, he piped up to a different air, a
king of country love-song that he must have learned in
his youth before he had begun to follow the sea.
So things passed until, the day after the funeral, and
about three o'clock of a bitter, foggy, frosty
afternoon, I was standing at the door for a moment,
full of sad thoughts about my father, when I saw
someone drawing slowly near along the road. He was
plainly blind, for he tapped before him with a stick
and wore a great green shade over his eyes and nose;
and he was hunched, as if with age or weakness, and wore
a huge old tattered sea-cloak with a hood that made him
appear positively deformed. I never saw in my life a
more dreadful-looking figure. He stopped a little from
the inn, and raising his voice in an odd sing-song,
addressed the air in front of him, "Will any kind friend
inform a poor blind man, who has lost the precious sight
of his eyes in the gracious defence of his native country,
England--and God bless King George!--where or in what part
of this country he may now be?"
"You are at the Admiral Benbow, Black Hill Cove, my
good man," said I.
"I hear a voice," said he, "a young voice. Will you give
me your hand, my kind young friend, and lead me in?"
I held out my hand, and the horrible, soft-spoken,
eyeless creature gripped it in a moment like a vise. I
was so much startled that I struggled to withdraw, but
the blind man pulled me close up to him with a single
action of his arm.
"Now, boy," he said, "take me in to the captain."
"Sir," said I, "upon my word I dare not."
"Oh," he sneered, "that's it! Take me in straight or
I'll break your arm."
And he gave it, as he spoke, a wrench that made me cry out.
"Sir," said I, "it is for yourself I mean. The captain
is not what he used to be. He sits with a drawn
cutlass. Another gentleman--"
"Come, now, march," interrupted he; and I never heard a
voice so cruel, and cold, and ugly as that blind man's.
It cowed me more than the pain, and I began to obey him
at once, walking straight in at the door and towards
the parlour, where our sick old buccaneer was sitting,
dazed with rum. The blind man clung close to me,
holding me in one iron fist and leaning almost more of
his weight on me than I could carry. "Lead me straight
up to him, and when I'm in view, cry out, 'Here's a
friend for you, Bill.' If you don't, I'll do this,"
and with that he gave me a twitch that I thought would
have made me faint. Between this and that, I was so
utterly terrified of the blind beggar that I forgot my
terror of the captain, and as I opened the parlour door,
cried out the words he had ordered in a trembling voice.
The poor captain raised his eyes, and at one look the
rum went out of him and left him staring sober. The
expression of his face was not so much of terror as of
mortal sickness. He made a movement to rise, but I do
not believe he had enough force left in his body.
"Now, Bill, sit where you are," said the beggar. "If I
can't see, I can hear a finger stirring. Business is
business. Hold out your left hand. Boy, take his left
hand by the wrist and bring it near to my right."
We both obeyed him to the letter, and I saw him pass
something from the hollow of the hand that held his
stick into the palm of the captain's, which closed upon
"And now that's done," said the blind man; and at the words
he suddenly left hold of me, and with incredible accuracy
and nimbleness, skipped out of the parlour and into the road,
where, as I still stood motionless, I could hear his stick
go tap-tap-tapping into the distance.
It was some time before either I or the captain seemed
to gather our senses, but at length, and about at the
same moment, I released his wrist, which I was still
holding, and he drew in his hand and looked sharply
into the palm.
"Ten o'clock!" he cried. "Six hours. We'll do them
yet," and he sprang to his feet.
Even as he did so, he reeled, put his hand to his
throat, stood swaying for a moment, and then, with a
peculiar sound, fell from his whole height face
foremost to the floor.
I ran to him at once, calling to my mother. But haste
was all in vain. The captain had been struck dead by
thundering apoplexy. It is a curious thing to
understand, for I had certainly never liked the man,
though of late I had begun to pity him, but as soon as
I saw that he was dead, I burst into a flood of tears.
It was the second death I had known, and the sorrow of
the first was still fresh in my heart.
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 go, the way we
came, and small thanks to you big, hulking, chicken-
hearted men. We'll have that chest open, if we die for
it. And I'll thank you for that bag, Mrs. Crossley, to
bring back our lawful money in."
Of course I said I would go with my mother, and of course
they all cried out at our foolhardiness, but even then
not a man would go along with us. All they would do was
to give me a loaded pistol lest we were attacked, and to
promise to have horses ready saddled in case we were
pursued on our return, while one lad was to ride forward
to the doctor's in search of armed assistance.
My heart was beating finely when we two set forth in
the cold night upon this dangerous venture. A full
moon was beginning to rise and peered redly through the
upper edges of the fog, and this increased our haste,
for it was plain, before we came forth again, that all
would be as bright as day, and our departure exposed to
the eyes of any watchers. We slipped along the hedges,
noiseless and swift, nor did we see or hear anything to
increase our terrors, till, to our relief, the door of
the Admiral Benbow had closed behind us.
I slipped the bolt at once, and we stood and panted for
a moment in the dark, alone in the house with the dead
captain's body. Then my mother got a candle in the
bar, and holding each other's hands, we advanced into
the parlour. He lay as we had left him, on his back,
with his eyes open and one arm stretched out.
"Draw down the blind, Jim," whispered my mother; "they
might come and watch outside. And now," said she when
I had done so, "we have to get the key off THAT; and
who's to touch it, I should like to know!" and she gave
a kind of sob as she said the words.
I went down on my knees at once. On the floor close to
his hand there was a little round of paper, blackened
on the one side. I could not doubt that this was the
BLACK SPOT; and taking it up, I found written on
the other side, in a very good, clear hand, this short
message: "You have till ten tonight."
"He had till ten, Mother," said I; and just as I said
it, our old clock began striking. This sudden noise
startled us shockingly; but the news was good, for it
was only six.
"Now, Jim," she said, "that key."
I felt in his pockets, one after another. A few small coins,
a thimble, and some thread and big needles, a piece of pigtail
tobacco bitten away at the end, his gully with the crooked
handle, a pocket compass, and a tinder box were all that they
contained, and I began to despair.
"Perhaps it's round his neck," suggested my mother.
Overcoming a strong repugnance, I tore open his shirt
at the neck, and there, sure enough, hanging to a bit
of tarry string, which I cut with his own gully, we
found the key. At this triumph we were filled with
hope and hurried upstairs without delay to the little
room where he had slept so long and where his box had
stood since the day of his arrival.
It was like any other seaman's chest on the outside,
the initial "B" burned on the top of it with a hot
iron, and the corners somewhat smashed and broken as by
long, rough usage.
"Give me the key," said my mother; and though the lock
was very stiff, she had turned it and thrown back the
lid in a twinkling.
A strong smell of tobacco and tar rose from the
interior, but nothing was to be seen on the top except
a suit of very good clothes, carefully brushed and
folded. They had never been worn, my mother said.
Under that, the miscellany began--a quadrant, a tin
canikin, several sticks of tobacco, two brace of very
handsome pistols, a piece of bar silver, an old Spanish
watch and some other trinkets of little value and
mostly of foreign make, a pair of compasses mounted
with brass, and five or six curious West Indian shells.
I have often wondered since why he should have carried
about these shells with him in his wandering, guilty,
and hunted life.
In the meantime, we had found nothing of any value but
the silver and the trinkets, and neither of these were
in our way. Underneath there was an old boat-cloak,
whitened with sea-salt on many a harbour-bar. My
mother pulled it up with impatience, and there lay
before us, the last things in the chest, a bundle tied
up in oilcloth, and looking like papers, and a canvas
bag that gave forth, at a touch, the jingle of gold.
"I'll show these rogues that I'm an honest woman," said
my mother. "I'll have my dues, and not a farthing
over. Hold Mrs. Crossley's bag." And she began to
count over the amount of the captain's score from the
sailor's bag into the one that I was holding.
It was a long, difficult business, for the coins were
of all countries and sizes--doubloons, and louis d'ors,
and guineas, and pieces of eight, and I know not what
besides, all shaken together at random. The guineas,
too, were about the scarcest, and it was with these
only that my mother knew how to make her count.
When we were about half-way through, I suddenly put my
hand upon her arm, for I had heard in the silent frosty
air a sound that brought my heart into my mouth--the
tap-tapping of the blind man's stick upon the frozen
road. It drew nearer and nearer, while we sat holding
our breath. Then it struck sharp on the inn door, and
then we could hear the handle being turned and the bolt
rattling as the wretched being tried to enter; and then
there was a long time of silence both within and
without. At last the tapping recommenced, and, to our
indescribable joy and gratitude, died slowly away again
until it ceased to be heard.
"Mother," said I, "take the whole and let's be going,"
for I was sure the bolted door must have seemed
suspicious and would bring the whole hornet's nest
about our ears, though how thankful I was that I had
bolted it, none could tell who had never met that
terrible blind man.
But my mother, frightened as she was, would not consent
to take a fraction more than was due to her and was
obstinately unwilling to be content with less. It was
not yet seven, she said, by a long way; she knew her
rights and she would have them; and she was still
arguing with me when a little low whistle sounded a
good way off upon the hill. That was enough, and more
than enough, for both of us.
"I'll take what I have," she said, jumping to her feet.
"And I'll take this to square the count," said I,
picking up the oilskin packet.
Next moment we were both groping downstairs, leaving
the candle by the empty chest; 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
hamlet, very little beyond the bottom of the hill, we
must come forth into the moonlight. Nor was this all,
for the sound of several footsteps running came already
to our ears, and as we looked back in their direction,
a light tossing to and fro and still rapidly advancing
showed that one of the newcomers carried a lantern.
"My dear," said my mother suddenly, "take the money and
run on. I am going to faint."
This was certainly the end for both of us, I thought.
How I cursed the cowardice of the neighbours; how I
blamed my poor mother for her honesty and her greed,
for her past foolhardiness and present weakness! We
were just at the little bridge, by good fortune; and I
helped her, tottering as she was, to the edge of the
bank, where, sure enough, she gave a sigh and fell on
my shoulder. I do not know how I found the strength to
do it at all, and I am afraid it was roughly done, but
I managed to drag her down the bank and a little way
under the arch. Farther I could not move her, for the
bridge was too low to let me do more than crawl below
it. So there we had to stay--my mother almost entirely
exposed and both of us within earshot of the inn.
The Last of the Blind Man
MY curiosity, in a sense, was stronger than my fear,
for I could not remain where I was, but crept back to
the bank again, whence, sheltering my head behind a
bush of broom, I might command the road before our
door. I was scarcely in position ere my enemies began
to arrive, seven or eight of them, running hard, their
feet beating out of time along the road and the man
with the lantern some paces in front. Three men ran
together, hand in hand; and I made out, even through
the mist, that the middle man of this trio was the
blind beggar. The next moment his voice showed me that
I was right.
"Down with the door!" he cried.
"Aye, aye, sir!" answered two or three; and a rush was
made upon the Admiral Benbow, the lantern-bearer
following; and then I could see them pause, and hear
speeches passed in a lower key, as if they were
surprised to find the door open. But the pause was
brief, for the blind man again issued his commands.
His voice sounded louder and higher, as if he were
afire with eagerness and rage.
"In, in, in!" he shouted, and cursed them for their delay.
Four or five of them obeyed at once, two remaining on
the road with the formidable beggar. There was a
pause, then a cry of surprise, and then a voice
shouting from the house, "Bill's dead."
But the blind man swore at them again for their delay.
"Search him, some of you shirking lubbers, and the rest
of you aloft and get the chest," he cried.
I could hear their feet rattling up our old stairs, so
that the house must have shook with it. Promptly
afterwards, fresh sounds of astonishment arose; the
window of the captain's room was thrown open with a
slam and a jingle of broken glass, and a man leaned out
into the moonlight, head and shoulders, and addressed
the blind beggar on the road below him.
"Pew," he cried, "they've been before us. Someone's
turned the chest out alow and 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 fellow, probably him who had remained
below to search the captain's body, came to the door of
the inn. "Bill's been overhauled a'ready," said he;
"It's these people of the inn--it's that boy. I wish I
had put his eyes out!" cried the blind man, Pew.
"There were here 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
Pew, striking with his stick upon the road.
Then there followed a great to-do through all our old
inn, heavy feet pounding to and fro, furniture thrown
over, doors kicked in, until the very rocks re-echoed
and the men came out again, one after another, on the
road and declared that we were nowhere to be found.
And just the same whistle that had alarmed my mother
and myself over the dead captain's money was once more
clearly audible through the night, but this time twice
repeated. I had thought it to be the blind man's trumpet,
so to speak, summoning his crew to the assault, but I now
found that it was a signal from the hillside towards the
hamlet, and from its effect upon the buccaneers, a signal
to warn them of approaching danger.
"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 them, dogs! Oh,
shiver my soul," he cried, "if I had eyes!"
This appeal seemed to produce some effect, for two of
the fellows began to look here and there among the
lumber, but half-heartedly, I thought, and with half an
eye to their own danger all the time, while the rest
stood irresolute on the road.
"You have your hands on thousands, you fools, and you
hang a leg! You'd be as rich as kings if you could
find it, and you know it's here, and you stand there
skulking. There wasn't one of you dared face Bill, and
I did it--a blind man! And I'm to lose my chance for you!
I'm to be a poor, crawling beggar, sponging for rum, when
I might be rolling in a coach! If you had the pluck of a
weevil in a biscuit you would catch them still."
"Hang it, Pew, we've got the doubloons!" grumbled one.
"They might have hid the blessed thing," said another.
"Take the Georges, Pew, and don't stand here squalling."
Squalling was the word for it; Pew's anger rose so high
at these objections till at last, his passion
completely taking the upper hand, he struck at them
right and left in his blindness and his stick sounded
heavily on more than one.
These, in their turn, cursed back at the blind
miscreant, threatened him in horrid terms, and tried in
vain to catch the stick and wrest it from his grasp.
This quarrel was the saving of us, for while it was
still raging, another sound came from the top of the
hill on the side of the hamlet--the tramp of horses
galloping. Almost at the same time a pistol-shot,
flash and report, came from the hedge side. And that
was plainly the last signal of danger, for the
buccaneers turned at once and ran, separating in every
direction, one seaward along the cove, one slant across
the hill, and so on, so that in half a minute not a
sign of them remained but Pew. Him they had deserted,
whether in sheer panic or out of revenge for his ill
words and blows I know not; but there he remained
behind, tapping up and down the road in a frenzy, and
groping and calling for his comrades. Finally he took
a wrong turn and ran a few steps past me, towards the
hamlet, crying, "Johnny, Black Dog, Dirk," and other
names, "you won't leave old Pew, mates--not old Pew!"
Just then the noise of horses topped the rise, and four
or five riders came in sight in the moonlight and swept
at full gallop down the slope.
At this Pew saw his error, turned with a scream, and
ran straight for the ditch, into which he rolled. But
he was on his feet again in a second and made another
dash, now utterly bewildered, right under the nearest
of the coming horses.
The rider tried to save him, but in vain. Down went
Pew with a cry that rang high into the night; and the
four hoofs trampled and spurned him and passed by. He
fell on his side, then gently collapsed upon his face
and moved no more.
I leaped to my feet and hailed the riders. They were
pulling up, at any rate, horrified at the accident; and
I soon saw what they were. One, tailing out behind the
rest, was a lad that had gone from the hamlet to Dr.
Livesey's; the rest were revenue officers, whom he had
met by the way, and with whom he had had the
intelligence to return at once. Some news of the
lugger in Kitt's Hole had found its way to Supervisor
Dance and set him forth that night in our direction,
and to that circumstance my mother and I owed our
preservation from death.
Pew was dead, stone dead. As for my mother, when we
had carried her up to the hamlet, a little cold water
and salts and that soon brought her back again, and she
was none the worse for her terror, though she still
continued to deplore the balance of the money. In the
meantime the supervisor rode on, as fast as he could,
to Kitt's Hole; but his men had to dismount and grope
down the dingle, leading, and sometimes supporting,
their horses, and in continual fear of ambushes; so it
was no great matter for surprise that when they got
down to the Hole the lugger was already under way,
though still close in. He hailed her. A voice
replied, telling him to keep out of the moonlight or he
would get some lead in him, and at the same time a
bullet whistled close by his arm. Soon after, the
lugger doubled the point and disappeared. Mr. Dance
stood there, as he said, "like a fish out of water,"
and all he could do was to dispatch a man to B---- to
warn the cutter. "And that," said he, "is just about
as good as nothing. They've got off clean, and there's
an end." "Only," he added, "I'm glad I trod on Master
Pew's corns," for by this time he had heard my 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 money, you say? Well, then, Hawkins, what
in fortune were they after? More money, I suppose?"
"No, sir; not money, I think," replied I. "In fact,
sir, I believe I have the thing in my breast pocket;
and to tell you the truth, I should like to get it put
"To be sure, boy; quite right," said he. "I'll take
it, if you like."
"I thought perhaps Dr. Livesey--" I began.
"Perfectly right," he interrupted very cheerily,
"perfectly right--a gentleman and a magistrate. And,
now I come to think of it, I might as well ride round
there myself 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 offer, and we walked back
to the hamlet where the horses were. By the time I had
told mother of my purpose they were all in the saddle.
"Dogger," said Mr. Dance, "you have a good horse; take
up this lad behind you."
As soon as I was mounted, holding on to Dogger's belt,
the supervisor gave the word, and the party struck out
at a bouncing trot on the road to Dr. Livesey's house.
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 knock, and Dogger
gave me a stirrup to descend by. The door was opened
almost at once by the maid.
"Is Dr. Livesey in?" I asked.
No, she said, he had come home in the afternoon but had gone
up to the hall to dine and pass the evening with the squire.
"So there we go, boys," said Mr. Dance.
This time, as the distance was short, I did not mount,
but ran with Dogger's stirrup-leather to the lodge
gates and up the long, leafless, moonlit avenue to
where the white line of the hall buildings looked on
either hand on great old gardens. Here Mr. Dance
dismounted, and taking me along with him, was admitted
at a word into the house.
The servant led us down a matted passage and showed us
at the end into a great library, all lined with
bookcases and busts upon the top of them, where the
squire and Dr. Livesey sat, pipe in hand, on either
side of a bright fire.
I had never seen the squire so near at hand. He was a
tall man, over six feet high, and broad in proportion,
and he had a bluff, rough-and-ready face, all roughened
and reddened and lined in his long travels. His
eyebrows were very black, and moved readily, and this
gave him a look of some temper, not bad, you would say,
but quick and high.
"Come in, Mr. Dance," says he, very stately and condescending.
"Good evening, Dance," says the doctor with a nod.
"And good evening to you, friend Jim. What good wind
brings you here?"
The supervisor stood up straight and stiff and told his
story like a lesson; and you should have seen how the
two gentlemen leaned forward and looked at each other,
and forgot to smoke in their surprise and interest.
When they heard how my mother went back to the inn, Dr.
Livesey fairly slapped his thigh, and the squire cried
"Bravo!" and broke his long pipe against the grate.
Long before it was done, Mr. Trelawney (that, you will
remember, was the squire's name) had got up from his
seat and was striding about the room, and the doctor,
as if to hear the better, had taken off his powdered
wig and sat there looking very strange indeed with his
own close-cropped black poll.
At last Mr. Dance finished the story.
"Mr. Dance," said the squire, "you are a very noble
fellow. And as for riding down that black, atrocious
miscreant, I regard it as an act of virtue, sir, like
stamping on a cockroach. This lad Hawkins is a trump,
I perceive. Hawkins, will you ring that bell? Mr.
Dance must have some ale."
"And so, Jim," said the doctor, "you have the thing
that they were after, have you?"
"Here it is, sir," said I, and gave him the oilskin packet.
The doctor looked it all over, as if his fingers were
itching to open it; but instead of doing that, he put
it quietly in the pocket of his coat.
"Squire," said he, "when Dance has had his ale he must,
of course, be off on his Majesty's service; but I mean
to keep Jim Hawkins here to sleep at my house, and with
your permission, I propose we should have up the cold
pie and let him sup."
"As you will, Livesey," said the squire; "Hawkins has
earned better than cold pie."
So a big pigeon pie was brought in and put on a
sidetable, and I made a hearty supper, for I was as
hungry as a hawk, while Mr. Dance was further
complimented and at last dismissed.
"And now, squire," said the doctor.
"And now, Livesey," said the squire in the same breath.
"One at a time, one at a time," laughed Dr. Livesey.
"You have heard of this Flint, I suppose?"
"Heard of him!" cried the squire. "Heard of him, you
say! He was the bloodthirstiest buccaneer that sailed.
Blackbeard was a child to Flint. The Spaniards were so
prodigiously afraid of him that, I tell you, sir, I was
sometimes proud he was an Englishman. I've seen his
top-sails with these eyes, off Trinidad, and the
cowardly son of a rum-puncheon that I sailed with put
back--put back, sir, into Port of Spain."
"Well, I've heard of him myself, in England," said the
doctor. "But the point is, had he money?"
"Money!" cried the squire. "Have you heard the story?
What were these villains after but money? What do they
care for but money? For what would they risk their
rascal carcasses but money?"
"That we shall soon know," replied the doctor. "But
you are so confoundedly hot-headed and exclamatory that
I cannot get a word in. What I want to know is this:
Supposing that I have here in my pocket some clue to
where Flint buried his treasure, will that treasure
amount to much?"
"Amount, sir!" cried the squire. "It will amount to
this: If we have the clue you talk about, I fit out a
ship in Bristol dock, and take you and Hawkins here
along, and I'll have that treasure if I search a year."
"Very well," said the doctor. "Now, then, if Jim is
agreeable, we'll open the packet"; and he laid it
before him on the table.
The bundle was sewn together, and the doctor had to get
out his instrument case and cut the stitches with his
medical scissors. It contained two things--a book and
a sealed paper.
"First of all we'll try the book," observed the doctor.
The squire and I were both peering over his shoulder as
he opened it, for Dr. Livesey had kindly motioned me to
come round from the side-table, where I had been
eating, to enjoy the sport of the search. On the first
page there were only some scraps of writing, such as a
man with a pen in his hand might make for idleness or
practice. One was the same as the tattoo mark, "Billy
Bones his fancy"; then there was "Mr. W. Bones, mate,"
"No more rum," "Off Palm Key he got itt," and some
other snatches, mostly single words and unintelligible.
I could not help wondering who it was that had "got
itt," and what "itt" was that he got. A knife in his
back as like as not.
"Not much instruction there," said Dr. Livesey as he
The next ten or twelve pages were filled with a curious
series of entries. There was a date at one end of the
line and at the other a sum of money, as in common
account-books, but instead of explanatory writing, only
a varying number of crosses between the two. On the
12th of June, 1745, for instance, a sum of seventy
pounds had plainly become due to someone, and there was
nothing but six crosses to explain the cause. In a few
cases, to be sure, the name of a place would be added,
as "Offe Caraccas," or a mere entry of latitude and
longitude, as "62o 17' 20", 19o 2' 40"."
The record lasted over nearly twenty years, the amount
of the separate entries growing larger as time went on,
and at the end a grand total had been made out after
five or six wrong additions, and these words appended,
"Bones, his pile."
"I can't make head or tail of this," said Dr. Livesey.
"The thing is as clear as noonday," cried the squire.
"This is the black-hearted hound's account-book. These
crosses stand for the names of ships or towns that they
sank or plundered. The sums are the scoundrel's share,
and where he feared an ambiguity, you see he added
something clearer. 'Offe Caraccas,' now; you see, here
was some unhappy vessel boarded off that coast. God
help the poor souls that manned her--coral long ago."
"Right!" said the doctor. "See what it is to be a
traveller. Right! And the amounts increase, you see,
as he rose in rank."
There was little else in the volume but a few bearings
of places noted in the blank leaves towards the end and
a table for reducing French, English, and Spanish
moneys to a common value.
"Thrifty man!" cried the doctor. "He wasn't the one to
"And now," said the squire, "for the other."
The paper had been sealed in several places with a
thimble by way of seal; the very thimble, perhaps, that
I had found in the captain's pocket. The doctor opened
the seals with great care, and there fell out the map
of an island, with latitude and longitude, soundings,
names of hills and bays and inlets, and every
particular that would be needed to bring a ship to a
safe anchorage upon its shores. It was about nine
miles long and five across, shaped, you might say, like
a fat dragon standing up, and had two fine land-locked
harbours, and a hill in the centre part marked "The
Spy-glass." There were several additions of a later
date, but above all, three crosses of red ink--two on
the north part of the island, one in the southwest--and
beside this last, in the same red ink, and in a small,
neat hand, very different from the captain's tottery
characters, these words: "Bulk of treasure here."
Over on the back the same hand had written this further
Tall tree, Spy-glass shoulder, bearing 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 hummock, ten fathoms
south of the black crag with the face on it.
The arms are easy found, in the sand-hill, N.
point of north inlet cape, bearing E. and a
That was all; but brief as it was, and to me
incomprehensible, it filled the squire and Dr. Livesey
"Livesey," said the squire, "you will give up this
wretched practice at once. Tomorrow I start for
Bristol. In three weeks' time--three weeks!--two
weeks--ten days--we'll have the best ship, sir, and the
choicest crew in England. Hawkins shall come as cabin-
boy. You'll make a famous cabin-boy, Hawkins. You,
Livesey, are ship's doctor; I am admiral. We'll take
Redruth, Joyce, and Hunter. We'll have favourable
winds, a quick passage, and not the least difficulty in
finding the spot, and money to eat, to roll in, to play
duck and drake with ever after."
"Trelawney," said the doctor, "I'll go with you; and
I'll go bail for it, so will Jim, and be a credit to
the undertaking. There's only one man I'm afraid of."
"And who's that?" cried the squire. "Name the dog, sir!"
"You," replied the doctor; "for you cannot hold your
tongue. We are not the only men who know of this
paper. These fellows who attacked the inn tonight--
bold, desperate blades, for sure--and the rest who
stayed aboard that lugger, and more, I dare say, not
far off, are, one and all, through thick and thin,
bound that they'll get that money. We must none of us
go alone till we get to sea. Jim and I shall stick
together in the meanwhile; you'll take Joyce and Hunter
when you ride to Bristol, and from first to last, not
one of us must breathe a word of what we've found."
"Livesey," returned the squire, "you are always in the
right of it. I'll be as silent as the grave."
I Go to Bristol
IT was longer than the squire imagined ere we were
ready for the sea, and none of our first plans--not
even Dr. Livesey's, of keeping me beside him--could be
carried out as we intended. The doctor had to go to
London for a physician to take charge of his practice;
the squire was hard at work at Bristol; and I lived on
at the hall under the charge of old Redruth, the
gamekeeper, almost a prisoner, but full of sea-dreams
and the most charming anticipations of strange islands
and adventures. I brooded by the hour together over
the map, all the details of which I well remembered.
Sitting by the fire in the housekeeper's room, I
approached that island in my fancy from every possible
direction; I explored every acre of its surface; I
climbed a thousand times to that tall hill they call
the Spy-glass, and from the top enjoyed the most
wonderful and changing prospects. Sometimes the isle
was thick with savages, with whom we fought, sometimes
full of dangerous animals that hunted us, but in all my
fancies nothing occurred to me so strange and tragic as
our actual adventures.
So the weeks passed on, till one fine day there came a
letter addressed to Dr. Livesey, with this addition,
"To be opened, in the case of his absence, by Tom
Redruth or young Hawkins." Obeying this order, we
found, or rather I found--for the gamekeeper was a poor
hand at reading anything but print--the following
Old Anchor Inn, Bristol, March 1, 17--
Dear Livesey--As I do not know whether you
are at the hall or still in London, I send this in
double to both places.
The ship is bought and fitted. She lies at
anchor, ready for sea. You never imagined a
sweeter schooner--a child might sail her--two
hundred tons; name, HISPANIOLA.
I got her through my old friend, Blandly, who
has proved himself throughout the most surprising
trump. The admirable fellow literally slaved in
my interest, and so, I may say, did everyone in
Bristol, as soon as they got wind of the port we
sailed for--treasure, I mean.
"Redruth," said I, interrupting the letter, "Dr.
Livesey will not like that. The squire has been
talking, after all."
"Well, who's a better right?" growled the gamekeeper.
"A pretty rum go if squire ain't to talk for Dr.
Livesey, I should think."
At that I gave up all attempts at commentary and read
Blandly himself found the HISPANIOLA, and
by the most admirable management got her for the
merest trifle. There is a class of men in Bristol
monstrously prejudiced against Blandly. They go
the length of declaring that this honest creature
would do anything for money, that the HISPANIOLA
belonged to him, and that he sold it me absurdly
high--the most transparent calumnies. None of them
dare, however, to deny the merits of the ship.
So far there was not a hitch. The
workpeople, to be sure--riggers and what not--were
most annoyingly slow; but time cured that. It was
the crew that troubled me.
I wished a round score of men--in case of
natives, buccaneers, or the odious French--and I
had the worry of the deuce itself to find so much
as half a dozen, till the most remarkable stroke
of fortune brought me the very man that I
I was standing on the dock, when, by the
merest accident, I fell in talk with him. I found
he was an old sailor, kept a public-house, knew
all the seafaring men in Bristol, had lost his
health ashore, and wanted a good berth as cook to
get to sea again. He had hobbled down there that
morning, he said, to get a smell of the salt.
I was monstrously touched--so would you have
been--and, out of pure pity, I engaged him on the
spot to be ship's cook. Long John Silver, he is
called, and has lost a leg; but that I regarded as
a recommendation, since he lost it in his
country's service, under the immortal Hawke. He
has no pension, Livesey. Imagine the abominable
age we live in!
Well, sir, I thought I had only found a cook,
but it was a crew I had discovered. Between
Silver and myself we got together in a few days a
company of the toughest old salts imaginable--not
pretty to look at, but fellows, by their faces, of
the most indomitable spirit. I declare we could
fight a frigate.
Long John even got rid of two out of the six
or seven I had already engaged. He showed me in a
moment that they were just the sort of fresh-water
swabs we had to fear in an adventure of
I am in the most magnificent health and
spirits, eating like a bull, sleeping like a tree,
yet I shall not enjoy a moment till I hear my old
tarpaulins tramping round the capstan. Seaward,
ho! Hang the treasure! It's the glory of the sea
that has turned my head. So now, Livesey, come
post; do not lose an hour, if you respect me.
Let young Hawkins go at once to see his
mother, with Redruth for a guard; and then both
come full speed to Bristol.
Postscript--I did not tell you that Blandly,
who, by the way, is to send a consort after us if
we don't turn up by the end of August, had found
an admirable fellow for sailing master--a stiff
man, which I regret, but in all other respects a
treasure. Long John Silver unearthed a very
competent man for a mate, a man named Arrow. I
have a boatswain who pipes, Livesey; so things
shall go man-o'-war fashion on board the good ship
I forgot to tell you that Silver is a man of
substance; I know of my own knowledge that he has
a banker's account, which has never been
overdrawn. He leaves his wife to manage the inn;
and as she is a woman of colour, a pair of old
bachelors like you and I may be excused for
guessing that it is the wife, quite as much as the
health, that sends him back to 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 man, it was old Tom Redruth, who could do
nothing but grumble and lament. Any of the under-
gamekeepers would gladly have changed places with him;
but such was not the squire's pleasure, and the squire's
pleasure was like law among them all. Nobody but old
Redruth would have dared so much as even to grumble.
The next morning he and I set out on foot for the
Admiral Benbow, and there I found my mother in good
health and spirits. The captain, who had so long been
a cause of so much discomfort, was gone where the
wicked cease from troubling. The squire had had
everything repaired, and the public rooms and the sign
repainted, and had added some furniture--above all a
beautiful armchair for mother in the bar. He had found
her a boy as an apprentice also so that she should not
want help while I was gone.
It was on seeing that boy that I understood, for the
first time, my situation. I had thought up to that
moment of the adventures before me, not at all of the
home that I was leaving; and now, at sight of this clumsy
stranger, who was to stay here in my place beside my
mother, I had my first attack of tears. I am afraid I
led that boy a dog's life, for as he was new to the work,
I had a hundred opportunities of setting him right and
putting him down, and I was not slow to profit by them.
The night passed, and the next day, after dinner,
Redruth and I were afoot again and on the road. I said
good-bye to Mother and the cove where I had lived since
I was born, and the dear old Admiral Benbow--since he
was repainted, no longer quite so dear. One of my last
thoughts was of the captain, who had so often strode
along the beach with his cocked hat, his sabre-cut
cheek, and his old brass telescope. Next moment we had
turned the corner and my home was out of sight.
The mail picked us up about dusk at the Royal George on
the heath. I was wedged in between Redruth and a stout
old gentleman, and in spite of the swift motion and the
cold night air, I must have dozed a great deal from the
very first, and then slept like a log up hill and down
dale through stage after stage, for when I was awakened
at last it was by a punch in the ribs, and I opened my
eyes to find that we were standing still before a large
building in a city street and that the day had already
broken a long time.
"Where are we?" I asked.
"Bristol," said Tom. "Get down."
Mr. Trelawney had taken up his residence at an inn far
down the docks to superintend the work upon the
schooner. Thither we had now to walk, and our way, to
my great delight, lay along the quays and beside the
great multitude of ships of all sizes and rigs and
nations. In one, sailors were singing at their work,
in another there were men aloft, high over my head,
hanging to threads that seemed no thicker than a
spider's. Though I had lived by the shore all my life,
I seemed never to have been near the sea till then.
The smell of tar and salt was something new. I saw the
most wonderful figureheads, that had all been far over
the ocean. I saw, besides, many old sailors, with
rings in their ears, and whiskers curled in ringlets,
and tarry pigtails, and their swaggering, clumsy sea-
walk; and if I had seen as many kings or archbishops I
could not have been more delighted.
And I was going to sea myself, to sea in a schooner, with
a piping boatswain and pig-tailed singing seamen, to sea,
bound for an unknown island, and to seek for buried treasure!
While I was still in this delightful dream, we came
suddenly in front of a large inn and met Squire
Trelawney, all dressed out like a sea-officer, in stout
blue cloth, coming out of the door with a smile on his
face and a capital imitation of a sailor's walk.
"Here you are," he cried, "and the doctor came last night
from London. Bravo! The ship's company complete!"
"Oh, sir," cried I, "when do we sail?"
"Sail!" says he. "We sail tomorrow!"
At the Sign of the Spy-glass
WHEN I had done breakfasting the squire gave me a note
addressed to John Silver, at the sign of the Spy-glass,
and told me I should easily find the place by following
the line of the docks and keeping a bright lookout for a
little tavern with a large brass telescope for sign. I set
off, overjoyed at this opportunity to see some more of the
ships and seamen, and picked my way among a great crowd of
people and carts and bales, for the dock was now at its
busiest, until I found the tavern in question.
It was a bright enough little place of entertainment.
The sign was newly painted; the windows had neat red
curtains; the floor was cleanly sanded. There was a
street on each side and an open door on both, which
made the large, low room pretty clear to see in, in
spite of clouds of tobacco smoke.
The customers were mostly seafaring men, and they talked
so loudly that I hung at the door, almost afraid to enter.
As I was waiting, a man came out of a side room, and at
a glance I was sure he must be Long John. His left leg
was cut off close by the hip, and under the left
shoulder he carried a crutch, which he managed with
wonderful dexterity, hopping about upon it like a bird.
He was very tall and strong, with a face as big as a
ham--plain and pale, but intelligent and smiling.
Indeed, he seemed in the most cheerful spirits,
whistling as he moved about among the tables, with a
merry word or a slap on the shoulder for the more
favoured of his guests.
Now, to tell you the truth, from the very first mention
of Long John in Squire Trelawney's letter I had taken a
fear in my mind that he might prove to be the very one-
legged sailor whom I had watched for so long at the old
Benbow. But one look at the man before me was enough.
I had seen the captain, and Black Dog, and the blind
man, Pew, and I thought I knew what a buccaneer was
like--a very different creature, according to me, from
this clean and pleasant-tempered landlord.
I plucked up courage at once, crossed the threshold,
and walked right up to the man where he stood, propped
on his crutch, talking to a customer.
"Mr. Silver, sir?" I asked, holding out the note.
"Yes, my lad," said he; "such is my name, to be sure. And
who may you be?" And then as he saw the squire's letter,
he seemed to me to give something almost like a start.
"Oh!" said he, quite loud, and offering his hand. "I
see. You are our new cabin-boy; pleased I am to see you."
And he took my hand in his large firm grasp.
Just then one of the customers at the far side rose
suddenly and made for the door. It was close by him,
and he was out in the street in a moment. But his
hurry had attracted my notice, and I recognized him at
glance. It was the tallow-faced man, wanting two
fingers, who had come first to the Admiral Benbow.
"Oh," I cried, "stop him! It's Black Dog!"
"I don't care two coppers who he is," cried Silver. "But
he hasn't paid his score. Harry, run and catch him."
One of the others who was nearest the door leaped up
and started in pursuit.
"If he were Admiral Hawke he shall pay his score,"
cried Silver; and then, relinquishing my hand, "Who did
you say he was?" he asked. "Black what?"
"Dog, sir," said I. "Has Mr. Trelawney not told you of
the buccaneers? He was one of them."
"So?" cried Silver. "In my house! Ben, run and help
Harry. One of those swabs, was he? Was that you
drinking with him, Morgan? Step up here."
The man whom he called Morgan--an old, grey-haired,
mahogany-faced sailor--came forward pretty sheepishly,
rolling his quid.
"Now, Morgan," said Long John very sternly, "you never
clapped your eyes on that Black--Black Dog before, did
"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 that, you would never have put another foot
in my house, you may lay to that. And what was he
saying to you?"
"I don't rightly know, sir," answered Morgan.
"Do you call that a head on your shoulders, or a blessed
dead-eye?" cried Long John. "Don't rightly know, don't
you! Perhaps you don't happen to rightly know who you was
speaking to, perhaps? Come, now, what was he jawing--v'yages,
cap'ns, ships? Pipe up! What was it?"
"We was a-talkin' of keel-hauling," answered Morgan.
"Keel-hauling, was you? And a mighty suitable thing,
too, and you may lay to that. Get back to your place
for a lubber, Tom."
And then, as Morgan rolled back to his seat, Silver added
to me in a confidential whisper that was very flattering,
as I thought, "He's quite an honest man, Tom Morgan, on'y
stupid. And now," he ran on again, aloud, "let's see--Black
Dog? No, I don't know the name, not I. Yet I kind of think
I've--yes, I've seen the swab. He used to come here with a
blind beggar, he used."
"That he did, you may be sure," said I. "I knew that
blind man too. His name was Pew."
"It was!" cried Silver, now quite excited. "Pew! That
were his name for certain. Ah, he looked a shark, he
did! If we run down this Black Dog, now, there'll be
news for Cap'n Trelawney! Ben's a good runner; few
seamen run better than Ben. He should run him down,
hand over hand, by the powers! He talked o' keel-
hauling, did he? I'LL keel-haul him!"
All the time he was jerking out these phrases he was
stumping up and down the tavern on his crutch, slapping
tables with his hand, and giving such a show of
excitement as would have convinced an Old Bailey judge
or a Bow Street runner. My suspicions had been
thoroughly reawakened on finding Black Dog at the Spy-
glass, and I watched the cook narrowly. But he was too
deep, and too ready, and too clever for me, and by the
time the two men had come back out of breath and
confessed that they had lost the track in a crowd, and
been scolded like thieves, I would have gone bail for
the innocence of Long John Silver.
"See here, now, Hawkins," said he, "here's a blessed
hard thing on a man like me, now, ain't it? There's
Cap'n Trelawney--what's he to think? Here I have this
confounded son of a Dutchman sitting in my own house
drinking of my own rum! Here you comes and tells me of
it plain; and here I let him give us all the slip
before my blessed deadlights! Now, Hawkins, you do me
justice with the cap'n. You're a lad, you are, but
you're as smart as paint. I see that when you first
come in. Now, here it is: What could I do, with this
old timber I hobble on? When I was an A B master
mariner I'd have come up alongside of him, hand over
hand, and broached him to in a brace of old shakes, I
would; but now--"
And then, all of a sudden, he stopped, and his jaw
dropped as though he had remembered something.
"The score!" he burst out. "Three goes o' rum! Why,
shiver my timbers, if I hadn't forgotten my score!"
And falling on a bench, he laughed until the tears ran down
his cheeks. I could not help joining, and we laughed together,
peal after peal, until the tavern rang again.
"Why, what a precious old sea-calf I am!" he said at
last, wiping his cheeks. "You and me should get on
well, Hawkins, for I'll take my davy I should be rated
ship's boy. But come now, stand by to go about. This
won't do. Dooty is dooty, messmates. I'll put on my
old cockerel hat, and step along of you to Cap'n
Trelawney, and report this here affair. For mind you,
it's serious, young Hawkins; and neither you nor me's
come out of it with what I should make so bold as to
call credit. Nor you neither, says you; not smart--
none of the pair of us smart. But dash my buttons!
That was a good un about my score."
And he began to laugh again, and that so heartily, that
though I did not see the joke as he did, I was again
obliged to join him in his mirth.
On our little walk along the quays, he made himself the
most interesting companion, telling me about the
different ships that we passed by, their rig, tonnage,
and nationality, explaining the work that was going
forward--how one was discharging, another taking in
cargo, and a third making ready for sea--and every now
and then telling me some little anecdote of ships or
seamen or repeating a nautical phrase till I had
learned it perfectly. I began to see that here was one
of the best of possible shipmates.
When we got to the inn, the squire and Dr. Livesey were
seated together, finishing a quart of ale with a toast
in it, before they should go aboard the schooner on a
visit of inspection.
Long John told the story from first to last, with a
great deal of spirit and the most perfect truth. "That
was how it were, now, weren't it, Hawkins?" he would
say, now and again, and I could always bear him
The two gentlemen regretted that Black Dog had got
away, but we all agreed there was nothing to be done,
and after he had been complimented, Long John took up
his crutch and departed.
"All hands aboard by four this afternoon," shouted the
squire after him.
"Aye, aye, sir," cried the cook, in the passage.
"Well, squire," said Dr. Livesey, "I don't put much
faith in your discoveries, as a general thing; but I
will say this, John Silver suits me."
"The man's a perfect trump," declared the squire.
"And now," added the doctor, "Jim may come on board
with us, may he not?"
"To be sure he may," says squire. "Take your hat,
Hawkins, and we'll see the ship."
Powder and Arms
THE HISPANIOLA lay some way out, and we went under
the figureheads and round the sterns of many other
ships, and their cables sometimes grated underneath our
keel, and sometimes swung above us. At last, however,
we got alongside, and were met and saluted as we
stepped aboard by the mate, Mr. Arrow, a brown old
sailor with earrings in his ears and a squint. He and
the squire were very thick and friendly, but I soon
observed that things were not the same between Mr.
Trelawney and the captain.
This last was a sharp-looking man who seemed angry with
everything on board and was soon to tell us why, for we
had hardly got down into the cabin when a sailor
"Captain Smollett, sir, axing to speak with you," said he.
"I am always at the captain's orders. Show him in,"
said the squire.
The captain, who was close behind his messenger,
entered at once and shut the door behind him.
"Well, Captain Smollett, what have you to say? All
well, I hope; all shipshape and seaworthy?"
"Well, sir," said the captain, "better speak plain, I
believe, even at the risk of offence. I don't like
this cruise; I don't like the men; and I don't like my
officer. That's short and sweet."
"Perhaps, sir, you don't like the ship?" inquired the
squire, very angry, as I could 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 he, "stay a bit. No use of such
questions as that but to produce ill feeling. The
captain has said too much or he has said too little, and
I'm bound to say that I require an explanation of his
words. You don't, you say, like this cruise. Now, 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 fair, now, do you?"
"No," said Dr. Livesey, "I don't."
"Next," said the captain, "I learn we are going after
treasure--hear it from my own hands, mind you. Now,
treasure is ticklish work; I don't like treasure voyages
on any account, and I don't like them, above all, when
they are secret and when (begging your pardon, Mr.
Trelawney) the secret has been told to the parrot."
"Silver's parrot?" asked the squire.
"It's a way of speaking," said the captain. "Blabbed,
I mean. It's my belief neither of you gentlemen know
what you are about, but I'll tell you my way of it--
life or death, and a close run."
"That is all clear, and, I dare say, true enough,"
replied Dr. Livesey. "We take the risk, but we are not
so ignorant as you believe us. Next, you say you don't
like the crew. Are they not good seamen?"
"I don't like them, sir," returned Captain Smollett.
"And I think I should have had the choosing of my own
hands, if you go to that."
"Perhaps you should," replied the doctor. "My friend
should, perhaps, have taken you along with him; but the
slight, if there be one, was unintentional. And you
don't like Mr. Arrow?"
"I don't, sir. I believe he's a good seaman, but he's
too free with the crew to be a good officer. A mate
should keep himself to himself--shouldn't drink with
the men before the mast!"
"Do you mean he drinks?" cried the squire.
"No, sir," replied the captain, "only that he's too familiar."
"Well, now, and the short and long of it, captain?"
asked the doctor. "Tell us what you want."
"Well, gentlemen, are you determined to go on this cruise?"
"Like iron," answered the squire.
"Very good," said the captain. "Then, as you've heard
me very patiently, saying things that I could not
prove, hear me a few words more. They are putting the
powder and the arms in the fore hold. Now, you have a
good place under the cabin; why not put them there?--
first point. Then, you are bringing four of your own
people with you, and they tell me some of them are to
be berthed forward. Why not give them the berths here
beside the cabin?--second point."
"Any more?" asked Mr. Trelawney.
"One more," said the captain. "There's been too much
"Far too much," agreed the doctor.
"I'll tell you what I've heard myself," continued
Captain Smollett: "that you have a map of an island,
that there's crosses on the map to show where treasure
is, and that the island lies--" And then he named the
latitude and longitude exactly.
"I never told that," cried the squire, "to a soul!"
"The hands know it, sir," returned the captain.
"Livesey, that must have been you or Hawkins," cried
"It doesn't much matter who it was," replied the
doctor. And I could see that neither he nor the
captain paid much regard to Mr. Trelawney's
protestations. Neither did I, to be sure, he was so
loose a talker; yet in this case I believe he was
really right and that nobody had told the situation of
"Well, gentlemen," continued the captain, "I don't know
who has this map; but I make it a point, it shall be
kept secret even from me and Mr. Arrow. Otherwise I
would ask you to let me resign."
"I see," said the doctor. "You wish us to keep this
matter dark and to make a garrison of the stern part of
the ship, manned with my friend's own people, and
provided with all the arms and powder on board. In
other words, you fear a mutiny."
"Sir," said Captain Smollett, "with 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 smile, "did
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 captain, "you 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
is, I have heard you. I will do as you desire, but 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 doctor, "contrary 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 humbug, I declare I think his conduct
unmanly, unsailorly, and downright un-English."
"Well," says the doctor, "we shall see."
When we came on deck, the men had begun already to take
out the arms and powder, yo-ho-ing at their work, while
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. Arrow, Hunter, Joyce, the doctor, and 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 companion, which had been
enlarged on each side till you might almost have called
it a round-house. Very low it was still, of course;
but there was room to swing two hammocks, and even the
mate seemed pleased with the arrangement. Even he,
perhaps, had been doubtful as to the crew, but that is
only guess, for as you shall hear, we had not long the
benefit of his opinion.
We were all hard at work, changing the powder and the
berths, when the last man or two, and Long John along
with them, came off in a shore-boat.
The cook came up the side like a monkey for cleverness,
and as soon as he saw what was doing, "So ho, mates!"
says he. "What's this?"
"We're a-changing of the powder, Jack," answers one.
"Why, by the powers," cried Long John, "if we do, we'll
miss the morning tide!"
"My orders!" said the captain shortly. "You may go
below, my man. Hands will want supper."
"Aye, aye, sir," answered the cook, and touching his
forelock, he disappeared at once in the direction of
"That's a good man, captain," said the doctor.
"Very likely, sir," replied Captain Smollett. "Easy
with that, men--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 you, ship'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 say, quite loudly,
to the doctor, "I'll have no favourites on my ship."
I assure you I was quite of the squire's way of
thinking, and hated the captain deeply.
ALL that night we were in a great bustle getting things
stowed in their place, and boatfuls of the squire's
friends, Mr. Blandly and the like, coming 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 when, a little before dawn, the
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 deck, all was so new and
interesting to me--the brief commands, the shrill note
of the whistle, the 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 John, who was standing by,
with his crutch under his arm, and 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 second, and 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 draw, and 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 seamen, and the captain
thoroughly understood his business. But before we came
the length of Treasure Island, two or three things had
happened which require to be known.
Mr. Arrow, first of all, turned 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 it, for after a day or two
at sea he began to appear on deck with hazy eye, red
cheeks, stuttering tongue, and 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 meantime, we could never make out where he got
the drink. That was the ship's mystery. Watch him as
we pleased, we could do nothing to solve it; and when
we asked him to his face, he would only laugh if he
were drunk, and 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 men, but it was plain that at this
rate he must soon kill himself outright, so nobody was
much surprised, nor very sorry, when one dark night, with
a head sea, he disappeared entirely and was seen no more.
"Overboard!" said the captain. "Well, gentlemen, that
saves the trouble of putting him in irons."
But there we were, without a mate; and it was
necessary, of course, to advance one of the men. The
boatswain, Job Anderson, was the likeliest man aboard,
and though he kept his old title, he served in a way as
mate. Mr. Trelawney had followed the sea, and his
knowledge made him very useful, for he often took a watch
himself in easy weather. And the coxswain, Israel Hands,
was a careful, wily, old, experienced seaman who could be
trusted at a pinch with almost anything.
He was a great confidant of Long John Silver, and so
the mention of his name leads me on to speak of our
ship's cook, Barbecue, as the men called him.
Aboard ship he carried his crutch by a lanyard round
his neck, to have both hands as free as possible. It
was something to see him wedge the foot of the crutch
against a bulkhead, and propped against it, yielding to
every movement of the ship, get 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 earrings, they were called;
and he would hand himself from one place to another,
now using the crutch, now trailing it alongside by the
lanyard, as 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 kind, and
always glad to see me in the galley, which he kept as
clean as a new pin, the 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 yourself, my
son. Sit you down and hear the news. Here's Cap'n
Flint--I calls my parrot Cap'n Flint, after the famous
buccaneer--here's Cap'n Flint predicting success to our
v'yage. Wasn't you, cap'n?"
And the parrot would say, with great rapidity, "Pieces
of eight! Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!" till you
wondered that it was not out of breath, or till John
threw his handkerchief over the cage.
"Now, that bird," he would say, "is, 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 you, cap'n?"
"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 pocket, and then the bird
would peck at the bars and swear straight on, passing
belief for wickedness. "There," John would add, "you
can't touch pitch and not be mucked, lad. Here's this
poor old innocent bird o' mine swearing blue fire, and
none the wiser, you may lay to that. She would swear the
same, in a manner of speaking, before 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 meantime, the 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 captain, on his part, never spoke but when
he was spoken to, and then sharp and short and dry, and
not a word wasted. He owned, when driven into a corner,
that he seemed to have been wrong about the crew, that
some of them were as brisk as he wanted to see and all
had behaved fairly well. As for the ship, he 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 wife, sir. But," he would add, "all I say is,
we're not home again, and I don't like the cruise."
The squire, at this, would turn away and march up and
down the deck, chin in air.
"A trifle more of that man," he would say, "and I
We had some heavy weather, which only proved the
qualities of the HISPANIOLA. Every man on board
seemed well content, and they must have been hard to
please if they had been otherwise, for 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 days, as, for instance, if the
squire heard it was any man's birthday, and 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 hands, make devils.
That's my belief."
But good did come of the apple barrel, as you shall
hear, for if it had not been for that, we 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 night, or at latest before noon of the morrow, we
should sight the Treasure Island. We were heading
S.S.W. and had a steady breeze abeam and a quiet sea.
The HISPANIOLA rolled steadily, dipping 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.
Now, just after sundown, when all my work was over and
I was on my way to my berth, it 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 himself, and 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 barrel, and found there
was scarce an apple left; but sitting down there in the
dark, what with the sound of the waters and the rocking
movement of the ship, I 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 it, and 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 words, I would not have
shown myself for all the world, but lay there, trembling
and listening, in the extreme of fear and curiosity, for
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
quartermaster, along of my timber leg. The same
broadside I lost my leg, old Pew lost his deadlights.
It was a master surgeon, him that ampytated me--out of
college and all--Latin by the bucket, and what not; but
he was hanged like a dog, and sun-dried like the rest,
at Corso Castle. That was Roberts' men, that was, and
comed of changing names to their ships--ROYAL
FORTUNE and so on. Now, what a ship was christened,
so let her stay, I 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 WALRUS, Flint's old ship, as I've seen
amuck with the red blood and fit to sink with gold."
"Ah!" cried another voice, that of the youngest hand on
board, and evidently full of admiration. "He was the
flower of the flock, was 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 now, you look here:
you're young, you are, but you're as smart as paint. I
see that when I set my eyes on you, and 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 think, if I had been able, that
I would have killed him through the barrel. Meantime, he ran
on, little 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 other, "but 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
sold, lease and goodwill and rigging; and the old girl's off
to meet me. I would tell you where, for I trust you, but
it'd make jealousy among the mates."
"And can you trust your missis?" asked the other.
"Gentlemen of fortune," returned the cook, "usually
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 lad, "I 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
Silver, shaking hands so heartily that all the barrel
shook, "and 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 pirate, and
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 relieved, for Silver giving a little whistle, a
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
coxswain, Israel Hands. "He's no fool, is Dick." And he
turned his quid and spat. "But look here," he went on,
"here's what I want to know, Barbecue: 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
enough, by thunder! I want to go into that cabin, I do.
I want their pickles and wines, and that."
"Israel," said Silver, "your 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 now, if
you want to know, I'll tell you when. The last moment
I can manage, and that's when. Here's a first-rate
seaman, Cap'n Smollett, sails the blessed ship for us.
Here's this squire and doctor with a map and such--I
don't know where it is, do I? No more do you, says
you. Well then, I mean this squire and doctor shall
find the stuff, and help us to get it aboard, by the
powers. Then we'll see. If I was sure of you all,
sons of double Dutchmen, I'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 course, but who's to set one? That's what all you
gentlemen split on, first and last. If I had my way, I'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
island, as soon's the blunt's on board, and a pity it is. But
you're never happy till you're drunk. Split my sides, I'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 sea, I have. If you would on'y lay
your course, and a p'int to windward, you would ride in
carriages, you would. But not you! I know you. You'll
have your mouthful of rum tomorrow, and 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' fun, they did.
They wasn't so high and dry, nohow, but took their
fling, like jolly companions every one."
"So?" says Silver. "Well, and where are they now? Pew
was that sort, and he died a beggar-man. Flint was,
and he died of rum at Savannah. Ah, they was a sweet
crew, they was! On'y, where are they?"
"But," asked Dick, "when 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. Well, he's dead now hisself; he
knows the long and short on it now; and if ever a rough
hand come to port, it was Billy."
"Right you are," said Silver; "rough and ready. But
mark you here, I'm an easy man--I'm quite the
gentleman, says you; but this time it's serious. Dooty
is dooty, mates. I give my vote--death. When I'm in
Parlyment and riding in my coach, I don't want none of
these sea-lawyers in the cabin a-coming home, unlooked
for, like the devil at prayers. Wait is what I say;
but when the time comes, why, let her rip!"
"John," cries the coxswain, "you'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 added, breaking off. "You just jump up, like a
sweet lad, and get me an apple, to 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 rise, and then someone seemingly stopped him,
and the voice of Hands exclaimed, "Oh, stow that!
Don't you get sucking of that bilge, John. Let's have
a go of the rum."
"Dick," said Silver, "I 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 was, I 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 while, and during his
absence Israel spoke straight on in the cook's ear. It
was but a word or two that I could catch, and yet I
gathered some important news, for besides other scraps
that tended to the same purpose, this whole clause was
audible: "Not another man of them'll jine." Hence
there were still faithful men on board.
When Dick returned, one 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 ourselves, and hold your luff,
plenty of prizes and plenty of duff."
Just then a sort of brightness fell upon me in the
barrel, and looking up, I 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 shouted, "Land 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
forecastle, and slipping in an instant outside my
barrel, I dived behind the fore-sail, made a double
towards the stern, and 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 hills, about 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 saw, almost in a dream, for 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 captain, when all was sheeted
home, "has 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
chart, but 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 chest, but 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
annoyance, Silver had the strength of mind to hide it.
"Yes, sir," said he, "this 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 he, "to 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 island, and I own I was half-
frightened when I saw him drawing nearer to myself. He
did not know, to be sure, that I had overheard his
council from the apple barrel, and yet I had by this
time taken such a horror of his cruelty, duplicity, and
power that I could scarce conceal a shudder when he
laid his hand upon my arm.
"Ah," says he, "this 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
shoulder, he hobbled off forward and went below.
Captain Smollett, the squire, and Dr. Livesey were
talking together on the quarter-deck, and anxious as I
was to tell them my story, I durst not interrupt them
openly. While I was still casting about in my thoughts
to find some probable excuse, Dr. Livesey called me to
his side. He had left his pipe below, and being a slave
to tobacco, had meant that I should fetch it; but as soon
as I was near enough to speak and not to be overheard, I
broke immediately, "Doctor, 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 little, but next
moment he was master of himself.
"Thank you, Jim," said he quite loudly, "that 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 little, and
though none of them started, or raised his voice, or so
much as whistled, it was plain enough that Dr. Livesey
had communicated my request, for 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 Smollett, "I'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 below, and
not long after, word was sent forward that Jim Hawkins
was wanted in the cabin.
I found them all three seated round the table, a bottle
of Spanish wine and some raisins before them, and the
doctor smoking away, with his wig on his lap, and that,
I knew, was a sign that he was agitated. The stern
window was open, for it was a warm night, and you could
see the moon shining behind on the ship's wake.
"Now, Hawkins," said the squire, "you have something to
say. Speak up."
I did as I was bid, and as short as I could make it,
told the whole details of Silver's conversation.
Nobody interrupted me till I was done, nor did any one
of the three of them make so much as a movement, but
they kept their eyes upon my face from first to last.
"Jim," said Dr. Livesey, "take a seat."
And they made me sit down at table beside them, poured
me out a glass of wine, filled my hands with raisins,
and all three, one after the other, and each with a
bow, drank my good health, and their service to me, for
my luck and courage.
"Now, captain," said the squire, "you 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 before, for 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 doctor, "with 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 points, and with
Mr. Trelawney's permission, I'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
about, they would rise at once. Second point, we have
time before us--at least until this treasure's found.
Third point, there are faithful hands. Now, sir, it's
got to come to blows sooner or later, and what I
propose is to take time by the forelock, as the saying
is, and come to blows some fine day when they least
expect it. We can count, I take it, on your own home
servants, Mr. Trelawney?"
"As upon myself," declared the squire.
"Three," reckoned the captain; "ourselves make seven,
counting Hawkins here. Now, about 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. "Sir, I could find it in my heart to blow
the ship up."
"Well, gentlemen," said the captain, "the 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 doctor, "can 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 this, for I felt
altogether helpless; and yet, by an odd train of
circumstances, it was indeed through me that safety came.
In the meantime, talk as we pleased, there were only
seven out of the twenty-six on whom we knew we could
rely; and out of these seven one was a boy, so 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 ceased, we 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 lands, and by
many tall trees of the pine family, out-topping the
others--some singly, some 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 shaped, and the Spy-glass, which was by three
or four hundred feet the tallest on the island, was
likewise the strangest in configuration, running 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 blocks, the
rudder was banging to and fro, and the whole ship
creaking, groaning, and jumping like a manufactory. I
had to cling tight to the backstay, and the world
turned giddily before my eyes, for though I was a good
enough sailor when there was way on, this standing
still and being rolled about like a bottle was a thing
I never learned to stand without a qualm or so, above
all in the morning, on an empty stomach.
Perhaps it was this--perhaps it was the look of the
island, with its grey, melancholy woods, and wild stone
spires, and the surf that we could both see and hear
foaming and thundering on the steep beach--at least,
although the sun shone bright and hot, and the shore
birds were fishing and crying all around us, and you
would have thought anyone would have been glad to get
to land after being so long at sea, my heart sank, as
the saying is, into my boots; and from the first look
onward, I hated the very thought of Treasure Island.
We had a dreary morning's work before us, for there was
no sign of any wind, and the boats had to be got out
and manned, and 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 boats, where I had, of
course, no business. The heat was sweltering, and the
men grumbled fiercely over their work. Anderson was in
command of my boat, and instead of keeping the crew in
order, he grumbled as loud as the worst.
"Well," he said with an oath, "it's not forever."
I thought this was a very bad sign, for 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 in, Long John stood by the steersman and
conned the ship. He knew the passage like the palm of
his hand, and though the man in the chains got
everywhere more water than was down in the chart, John
never hesitated once.
"There's a strong scour with the ebb," he said, "and
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 shore, the 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-locked, buried in woods,
the trees coming right down to high-water mark, the
shores mostly flat, and the hilltops standing round at
a distance in a sort of amphitheatre, one here, one
there. Two little rivers, or rather two swamps,
emptied out into this pond, as 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 stockade, for they were quite
buried among trees; and if it had not been for the
chart on the companion, we 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 moving, nor 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 said, "but I'll stake
my wig there's fever here."
If the conduct of the men had been alarming in the
boat, it 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 infection, for there
was not one man aboard to mend another. Mutiny, it was
plain, hung 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 group, spending himself in good advice, and 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 instant, with the
cheeriest "Aye, aye, sir!" in the world; and when there
was nothing else to do, he kept up one song after
another, as if to conceal the discontent of the rest.
Of all the gloomy features of that gloomy afternoon, this
obvious anxiety on the part of Long John appeared the worst.
We held a council in the cabin.
"Sir," said the captain, "if 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 chance, and
what I propose to do is to give him the chance. Let's
allow the men an afternoon ashore. If they all go, why
we'll fight the ship. If they none of them go, well
then, we hold the cabin, and God defend the right. If
some go, you mark my words, sir, Silver'll bring 'em
aboard again as mild as lambs."
It was so decided; loaded pistols were served out to all
the sure men; Hunter, Joyce, and Redruth were taken into
our confidence and received the news with less surprise
and a better spirit than we had looked for, and then the
captain went on deck and addressed the crew.
"My lads," said he, "we'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 landed, for they all came out of their sulks in a
moment and gave a cheer that started the echo in a far-
away 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 moment, leaving Silver to
arrange the party, and I fancy it was as well he did
so. Had he been on deck, he could no longer so much as
have pretended not to understand the situation. It was
as plain as day. Silver was the captain, and 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 this, that all hands were
disaffected by the example of the ringleaders--only
some more, some less; and a few, being good fellows in
the main, could 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 last, however, the party was made up. Six fellows
were to stay on board, and the remaining thirteen,
including Silver, began 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 Silver, it was plain
our party could not take and fight the ship; and since
only six were left, it 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
boat, and almost at the same moment she shoved off.
No one took notice of me, only the bow oar saying, "Is
that you, Jim? Keep your head down." But Silver, from
the other boat, looked 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 beach, but the boat I was in,
having some start and being at once the lighter and the
better manned, shot far ahead of her consort, and 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; jumping, ducking,
and breaking through, I 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,
bulrushes, and odd, outlandish, swampy trees; and I had
now come out upon the skirts of an open piece of
undulating, sandy country, about a mile long, dotted
with a few pines and a great number of contorted trees,
not unlike the oak in growth, but pale in the foliage,
like willows. On the far side of the open stood one of
the hills, with two quaint, craggy 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
behind, and 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 snakes, and 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 evergreen, oaks, I heard afterwards they
should be called--which grew low along the sand like
brambles, the boughs curiously twisted, the foliage
compact, like thatch. The thicket stretched down from
the top of one of the sandy knolls, spreading and
growing taller as it went, until it reached the margin
of the broad, reedy fen, through which the nearest of
the little rivers soaked its way into the anchorage.
The marsh was steaming in the strong sun, and 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 followed, and 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 deceived, for soon I heard the very
distant and low tones of a human voice, which, as I
continued to give ear, grew steadily louder and nearer.
This put me in a great fear, and I crawled under cover
of the nearest live-oak and squatted there, hearkening,
as silent as a mouse.
Another voice answered, and then the first voice, which
I now recognized to be Silver's, once more took up the
story and ran on for a long while in a stream, only now
and again interrupted by the other. By the sound they
must have been talking earnestly, and almost fiercely;
but no distinct word came to my hearing.
At last the speakers seemed to have paused and perhaps
to have sat down, for not only did they cease to draw
any nearer, but 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 desperadoes, the least I could do was to overhear
them at their councils, and that my plain and obvious duty
was to draw as close as I could manage, under the favourable
ambush of the crouching trees.
I could tell the direction of the speakers pretty
exactly, not 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 fours, I made steadily but slowly
towards them, till at last, raising my head to an
aperture among the leaves, I could see clear down into
a little green dell beside the marsh, and closely set
about with trees, where 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 ground, and his great, smooth, blond
face, all shining with heat, was lifted to the other
man's in a kind of appeal.
"Mate," he was saying, "it'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 face, but spoke as hoarse as a crow, and
his voice shook too, like a taut rope--"Silver," says he,
"you're old, and you're honest, or has the name for it;
and you've money too, which lots of poor sailors hasn't;
and you're brave, or 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 me, I'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--well, here, at
that same moment, came news of another. Far away out
in the marsh there arose, all of a sudden, a sound like
the cry of anger, then another on the back of it; and
then one horrid, long-drawn scream. The rocks of the
Spy-glass re-echoed it a score of times; the whole
troop of marsh-birds rose again, darkening heaven, with
a simultaneous whirr; and long after that death yell
was still ringing in my brain, silence had re-
established its empire, and 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 sound, like a horse at the spur,
but Silver had not winked an eye. He stood where he
was, resting lightly on his crutch, watching his
companion like a snake about to spring.
"John!" said the sailor, stretching out his hand.
"Hands off!" cried Silver, leaping back a yard, as it seemed
to me, with 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 Silver, smiling away, but warier than
ever, his eye a mere pin-point in his big face, but
gleaming like a crumb of glass. "That? Oh, I 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 you, John Silver, long you've been a mate of
mine, but you're mate of mine no more. If I die like a
dog, I'll die in my dooty. You've killed Alan, have you?
Kill me too, if you can. But I defies you."
And with that, this 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 tree, whipped the crutch out of
his armpit, and sent that uncouth missile hurtling
through the air. It struck poor Tom, point foremost,
and with stunning violence, right between the shoulders
in the middle of his back. His hands flew up, he gave
a sort of gasp, and fell.
Whether he were injured much or little, none could ever
tell. Like enough, to judge from the sound, his back
was broken on the spot. But he had no time given him
to recover. Silver, agile as a monkey even without leg
or crutch, was 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 ambush, I could
hear him pant aloud as he struck the blows.
I do not know what it rightly is to faint, but 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 hilltop, going round and round and
topsy-turvy before my eyes, and all manner of bells ringing
and distant voices shouting in my ear.
When I came again to myself the monster had pulled
himself together, his crutch under his arm, his 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 unchanged, the sun still
shining mercilessly on the steaming marsh and the tall
pinnacle of the mountain, and 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 pocket, brought out
a whistle, and blew upon it several modulated blasts
that rang far across the heated air. I could not tell,
of course, the meaning of the signal, but 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 Alan, might not I come next?
Instantly I began to extricate myself and crawl back
again, with what speed and silence I could manage, to
the more open portion of the wood. As I did so, I
could hear hails coming and going between the old
buccaneer and his comrades, and this sound of danger
lent me wings. As soon as I was clear of the thicket,
I ran as I never ran before, scarce minding the
direction of my flight, so long as it led me from the
murderers; and as I ran, fear grew and grew upon me
until it turned into a kind of frenzy.
Indeed, could anyone be more entirely lost than I?
When the gun fired, how should I dare to go down to the
boats among those fiends, still 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 alarm, and therefore of my fatal knowledge?
It was all over, I thought. Good-bye to the HISPANIOLA;
good-bye to the squire, the doctor, and the captain!
There was nothing left for me but death by starvation
or death by the hands of the mutineers.
All this while, as I say, I was still running, and
without taking any notice, I 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 pines, some fifty, some nearer seventy, feet
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 hill, which was here steep and
stony, a spout of gravel was dislodged and fell
rattling and bounding through the trees. My eyes
turned instinctively in that direction, and I saw a
figure leap with great rapidity behind the trunk of a
pine. What it was, whether bear or man or monkey, I
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 now, it seemed, cut off upon both sides; behind
me the murderers, before 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 heel, and looking sharply behind me
over my shoulder, began to retrace my steps in the
direction of the boats.
Instantly the figure reappeared, and making a wide
circuit, began to head me off. I was tired, at any
rate; but had I been as fresh as when I rose, I 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 deer, running manlike on two legs, but unlike
any man that I had ever seen, stooping almost double as
it ran. Yet a man it was, I 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 man, however wild, had somewhat reassured
me, and my fear of Silver began to revive in proportion.
I stood still, therefore, and cast about for some method
of escape; and as I was so thinking, the recollection of
my pistol flashed into my mind. As soon as I remembered
I was not defenceless, courage 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 closely, for
as soon as I began to move in his direction he
reappeared and took a step to meet me. Then he
hesitated, drew back, came forward again, and at last,
to my wonder and confusion, threw 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 answered, and his voice sounded hoarse and
awkward, like a rusty lock. "I'm poor Ben Gunn, I 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 exposed, was burnt by the sun; even his
lips were black, and his fair eyes looked quite
startling in so dark a face. Of all the beggar-men
that I had seen or fancied, he was the chief for
raggedness. He was clothed with tatters of old ship's
canvas and old sea-cloth, and this extraordinary
patchwork was all held together by a system of the most
various and incongruous fastenings, brass buttons, bits
of stick, and loops of tarry gaskin. About his waist
he wore an old brass-buckled leather belt, which 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 word, and I knew it stood for a
horrible kind of punishment common enough among the
buccaneers, in 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 continued, "and 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 I, "you shall
have cheese by the stone."
All this time he had been feeling the stuff of my
jacket, smoothing my hands, looking at my boots, and
generally, in the intervals of his speech, showing 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. "Why, now, who's to hinder you?"
"Not you, I know," was my reply.
"And right you was," he cried. "Now you--what do you
call yourself, mate?"
"Jim," I told him.
"Jim, Jim," says he, quite pleased apparently. "Well,
now, Jim, I've lived that rough as you'd be ashamed to
hear of. Now, for instance, you 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 he, "but 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 solitude, and I suppose I must have shown the
feeling in my face, for he repeated the statement
hotly: "Rich! Rich! I says. And I'll tell you what:
I'll make a man of you, Jim. Ah, Jim, you'll bless
your stars, you will, you was the first that found me!"
And at this there came suddenly a lowering shadow over
his face, and 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 ally, and 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.
"Silver?" I asked.
"Ah, Silver!" says he. "That were his name."
"He's the cook, and the ringleader too."
He was still holding me by the wrist, and at that he
give it quite a wring.
"If you was sent by Long John," he said, "I'm as good as
pork, and I know it. But where was you, do you suppose?"
I had made my mind up in a moment, and 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 interest, and 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 hitch, ain't you? Well, you just put your trust
in Ben Gunn--Ben Gunn's the man to do it. Would you
think it likely, now, that your squire would prove a
liberal-minded one in case of help--him being in a
clove hitch, as you remark?"
I told him the squire was the most liberal of men.
"Aye, but you see," returned Ben Gunn, "I 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 was, all hands
were to share."
"AND a passage home?" he added with a look of great
"Why," I cried, "the 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 he, "so you would." And he seemed very much
"Now, I'll tell you what," he went on. "So much I'll
tell you, and 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 week, and us
standing off and on in the old WALRUS. One fine
day up went the signal, and here come Flint by himself
in a little boat, and his head done up in a blue scarf.
The sun was getting up, and mortal white he looked
about the cutwater. But, there he was, you mind, and
the six all dead--dead and buried. How he done it, not
a man aboard us could make out. It was battle, murder,
and sudden death, leastways--him against six. Billy
Bones was the mate; Long John, he was quartermaster;
and they asked him where the treasure was. 'Ah,' says
he, 'you can go ashore, if you like, and stay,' he
says; 'but as for the ship, she'll beat up for more, by
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.
"Well, Jim, three years have I been here, and not a bite
of Christian diet from that day to this. But now, you
look here; look at me. Do I look like a man before the
mast? No, says you. Nor I weren't, neither, I 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't, neither--that's the words. Three
years he were the man of this island, light and dark, fair
and rain; and sometimes he would maybe think upon a prayer
(says you), and sometimes he would maybe think of his old
mother, so 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 nip, like I do."
And he pinched me again in the most confidential manner.
"Then," he continued, "then 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 said, "I 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 he, "that'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 then, although the sun had still an hour or
two to run, all 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 anchorage, my terrors
all forgotten, while close at my side the marooned man
in his goatskins trotted easily and lightly.
"Left, left," says he; "keep to your left hand, mate
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? I
come here and prayed, nows and thens, when I thought
maybe a Sunday would be about doo. It weren't quite a
chapel, but it seemed more solemn like; and then, says
you, Ben Gunn was short-handed--no chapling, nor so
much as a Bible and a flag, you says."
So he kept talking as I ran, neither expecting nor
receiving any answer.
The cannon-shot was followed after a considerable
interval by a volley of small arms.
Another pause, and then, not a quarter of a mile in
front of me, I 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 captain, the squire, and I were
talking matters over in the cabin. Had there been a
breath of wind, we should have fallen on the six
mutineers who were left aboard with us, slipped our
cable, and away to sea. But the wind was wanting; and
to complete our helplessness, down 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 Hawkins, but we
were alarmed for his safety. With the men in the
temper they were in, it 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
dysentery, it 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 each, hard by where the river runs
in. One of them was whistling "Lillibullero."
Waiting was a strain, and it was decided that Hunter
and I should go ashore with the jolly-boat in quest
The gigs had leaned to their right, but Hunter and I
pulled straight in, in 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 off, and I could see the pair discussing what
they ought to do. Had they gone and told Silver, all
might have turned out differently; but they had their
orders, I suppose, and decided to sit quietly where
they were and hark back again to "Lillibullero."
There was a slight bend in the coast, and 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 durst, with 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. Well, on the knoll, and
enclosing the spring, they 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 space, and then the thing was
completed by a paling six feet high, without door or
opening, too 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;
for, short of a complete surprise, they 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 HISPANIOLA, with plenty of arms and ammunition,
and things to eat, and excellent wines, there 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 Cumberland, and 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,
doctor, when he heard the cry. Another touch of the
rudder and that man would join us."
I told my plan to the captain, and between us we
settled on the details of its accomplishment.
We put old Redruth in the gallery between the cabin and
the forecastle, with three or four loaded muskets and a
mattress for protection. Hunter brought the boat round
under the stern-port, and Joyce and I set to work
loading her with powder tins, muskets, bags of
biscuits, kegs of pork, a cask of cognac, and my
invaluable medicine chest.
In the meantime, the squire and the captain stayed on
deck, and the latter hailed the coxswain, who was the
principal man aboard.
"Mr. Hands," he said, "here 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 aback, and after a little
consultation one and all tumbled down the fore
companion, thinking no doubt to take us on the rear.
But when they saw Redruth waiting for them in the
sparred galley, they went about ship at once, and 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 time, of these six very faint-hearted seamen.
By this time, tumbling things in as they came, we had
the jolly-boat loaded as much as we dared. Joyce and I
got out through the stern-port, and 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 boats, but 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 journey, heavily laden, and tossed our stores over
the palisade. Then, leaving Joyce to guard them--one man,
to be sure, but 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 breath, till the
whole cargo was bestowed, when the two servants took up
their position in the block house, and I, with 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 numbers, of course, but we had the advantage of
arms. Not one of the men ashore had a musket, and
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 window, all
his faintness gone from him. He caught the painter and
made it fast, and we fell to loading the boat for our
very lives. Pork, powder, and 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 water, so that we could see the bright steel shining
far below us in the sun, on the clean, sandy bottom.
By this time the tide was beginning to ebb, and 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
Hunter, who were well to the eastward, it warned our
party to be off.
Redruth retreated from his place in the gallery and
dropped into the boat, which we then brought round to
the ship's counter, to be handier for Captain Smollett.
"Now, men," said he, "do 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. Smollett, a little louder, "I 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 scuffle, a sound of blows, and out burst
Abraham Gray with a knife cut on the side of the cheek, and
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 us, and we had shoved off and given way.
We were clear out of the ship, but 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 place, the little gallipot of a
boat that we were in was gravely overloaded. Five
grown men, and three of them--Trelawney, Redruth, and
the captain--over six feet high, was already more than
she was meant to carry. Add to that the powder, pork,
and bread-bags. The gunwale was lipping astern.
Several times we shipped a little water, and 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 boat, and we got her
to lie a little more evenly. All the same, we were
afraid to breathe.
In the second place, the 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 craft, but 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 gigs, where the pirates might appear
at any moment.
"I cannot keep her head for the stockade, sir," said I
to the captain. I was steering, while he and Redruth,
two fresh men, were 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 up, sir, if 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 east, or 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 see, sir," he went on, "if once we dropped
to leeward of the landing-place, it's hard to say where we
should get ashore, besides the chance of being boarded by
the gigs; whereas, the 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 I, quite as if nothing had
happened, for we had all quietly made up our minds to
treat him like one of ourselves.
Suddenly the captain spoke up again, and I thought his
voice was a little changed.
"The gun!" said he.
"I have thought of that," said I, for I made sure he
was thinking of a bombardment of the fort. "They could
never get the gun ashore, and if they did, they could
never haul it through the woods."
"Look astern, doctor," replied the captain.
We had entirely forgotten the long nine; and there, to
our horror, were the five rogues busy about her,
getting off her jacket, as 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
behind, and 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 risk, we 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 rowing, and 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 captain, "easy with that gun, sir, or
you'll swamp the boat. All hands stand by to trim her
when he aims."
The squire raised his gun, the rowing ceased, and we leaned
over to the other side to keep the balance, and all was so
nicely contrived that we did not ship a drop.
They had the gun, by this time, slewed round upon the
swivel, and Hands, who was at the muzzle with the
rammer, was in consequence the most exposed. However,
we had no luck, for just as Trelawney fired, down he
stooped, the ball whistled over him, and 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
shore, and 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 ashore, all'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 overloaded, and we had shipped but
little water in the process. We were now close in;
thirty or forty strokes and we should beach her, for
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-tide, which had so cruelly
delayed us, was now making reparation and delaying our
assailants. The one source of danger was the gun.
"If I durst," said the captain, "I'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 comrade, though he was not dead, and I could see
him trying to crawl away.
"Ready!" cried the squire.
"Hold!" cried the captain, quick 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 passed, not one of us precisely knew, but
I fancy it must have been over our heads and that the wind
of it may have contributed to our disaster.
At any rate, the boat sank by the stern, quite gently, in
three feet of water, leaving the captain and myself, facing
each other, on our feet. The other three took complete
headers, and 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 bottom, and 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 head, by a sort of instinct. As for the
captain, he had carried his over his shoulder by a
bandoleer, and like a wise man, lock uppermost. The
other three had gone down with the boat.
To add to our concern, we heard voices already drawing
near us in the woods along shore, and we had not only
the danger of being cut off from the stockade in our
half-crippled state but the fear before us whether, if
Hunter and Joyce were attacked by half a dozen, they
would have the sense and conduct to stand firm. Hunter
was steady, that we knew; Joyce was a doubtful case--a
pleasant, polite man for a valet and to brush one's
clothes, but not entirely fitted for a man of war.
With all this in our minds, we waded ashore as fast as
we could, leaving 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 stockade, and 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 I, "Trelawney is the dead shot. Give
him your gun; his own is useless."
They exchanged guns, and Trelawney, silent and cool as
he had been since the beginning of the bustle, hung a
moment on his heel to see that all was fit for service.
At the same time, observing Gray to be unarmed, I
handed him my cutlass. It did all our hearts good to
see him spit in his hand, knit his brows, and 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 side, and
almost at the same time, seven mutineers--Job Anderson,
the boatswain, at their head--appeared in full cry at
the southwestern corner.
They paused as if taken aback, and before they recovered,
not only the squire and I, but Hunter and Joyce from the
block house, had time to fire. The four shots came in
rather a scattering volley, but they did the business:
one of the enemy actually fell, and the rest, without
hesitation, turned and plunged into the trees.
After reloading, we 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 bush, a ball
whistled close past my ear, and poor Tom Redruth
stumbled and fell his length on the ground. Both the
squire and I returned the shot, but as we had nothing
to aim at, it is probable we only wasted powder. Then
we reloaded and turned our attention to poor Tom.
The captain and Gray were already examining him, and I
saw with half an eye that all was over.
I believe the readiness of our return volley had
scattered the mutineers once more, for we were suffered
without further molestation to get the poor old
gamekeeper hoisted over the stockade and carried,
groaning and bleeding, into the log-house.
Poor old fellow, he had not uttered one word of surprise,
complaint, fear, or even acquiescence from the very
beginning of our troubles till now, when 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 silently, doggedly, and well; he was the oldest of
our party by a score of years; and now, sullen, old,
serviceable servant, it was he that was to die.
The squire dropped down beside him on his knees and
kissed his hand, crying like a child.
"Be I going, doctor?" he asked.
"Tom, my man," said I, "you're going home."
"I wish I had had a lick at them with the gun first,"
"Tom," said the squire, "say you forgive me, won't you?"
"Would that be respectful like, from me to you,
squire?" was the answer. "Howsoever, so be it, amen!"
After a little while of silence, he said he thought
somebody might read a prayer. "It's the custom, sir,"
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 on, sir," 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 divinity, but it's a fact."
Then he pulled me aside.
"Dr. Livesey," he said, "in how many weeks do you and
squire expect the consort?"
I told him it was a question not of weeks but of
months, that if we were not back by the end of August
Blandly was to send to find us, but neither sooner nor
later. "You can calculate for yourself," I said.
"Why, yes," returned the captain, scratching his head;
"and making a large allowance, sir, for all the gifts
of Providence, I 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
shot, we'll do. But the rations are short, very short--
so short, Dr. Livesey, that we're perhaps as well
without that extra mouth."
And he pointed to the dead body under the flag.
Just then, with a roar and a whistle, a 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 already, my lads."
At the second trial, the aim was better, and the ball
descended inside the stockade, scattering a cloud of
sand but doing no further damage.
"Captain," said the squire, "the 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. "No, sir, not I";
and as soon as he had said the words, I think we all agreed
with him. For it was not only a piece of stout, seamanly,
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 enclosure, but they had to fire so high
that the shot fell dead and buried itself in the soft
sand. We had no ricochet to fear, and though one
popped in through the roof of the log-house and out
again through the floor, we 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
armed, they stole out of the stockade, but 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 by, pulling 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 log, and here is the
beginning of the entry:
Alexander Smollett, master; David Livesey, ship's
doctor; Abraham Gray, carpenter's mate; John
Trelawney, owner; John Hunter and Richard Joyce,
owner's servants, landsmen--being all that is left
faithful of the ship's company--with stores for ten
days at short rations, came ashore this day and flew
British colours on the log-house in Treasure Island.
Thomas Redruth, owner's servant, landsman, shot by the
mutineers; James Hawkins, cabin-boy--
And at the same time, I was wondering over poor Jim
A hail on the land side.
"Somebody hailing us," said Hunter, who 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 Hawkins, safe
and sound, come 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 arm, and sat down.
"Now," said he, "there's your friends, sure enough."
"Far more likely it's the mutineers," I answered.
"That!" he cried. "Why, in a place like this, where
nobody puts in but gen'lemen of fortune, Silver would
fly the Jolly Roger, you don't make no doubt of that.
No, that's your friends. There's been blows too, and I
reckon your friends has had the best of it; and here
they are ashore in the old stockade, as was made years
and years ago by Flint. Ah, he was the man to have a
headpiece, was Flint! Barring rum, his match were
never seen. He were afraid of none, not he; on'y
Silver--Silver was that genteel."
"Well," said I, "that may be so, and so be it; all the
more reason that I should hurry on and join my friends."
"Nay, mate," returned Ben, "not 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 wanted, you know where to find
him, Jim. Just where you found him today. And him
that comes is to have a white thing in his hand, and
he's to come alone. Oh! And you'll say this: 'Ben
Gunn,' says you, 'has reasons of his own.'"
"Well," said I, "I 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. "Why, from about noon
observation to about six bells."
"Good," said I, "and now may I go?"
"You won't forget?" he inquired anxiously. "Precious
sight, and reasons of his own, says you. Reasons of
his own; that's the mainstay; as between man and man.
Well, then"--still holding me--"I reckon you can go,
Jim. And, Jim, if you was to see Silver, you wouldn't
go for to sell Ben Gunn? Wild horses wouldn't draw it
from you? No, says you. And if them pirates camp
ashore, Jim, what would you say but there'd be widders
in the morning?"
Here he was interrupted by a loud report, and 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
island, and balls kept crashing through the woods. I
moved from hiding-place to hiding-place, always
pursued, or so it seemed to me, by these terrifying
missiles. But towards the end of the bombardment,
though still I durst not venture in the direction of
the stockade, where the balls fell oftenest, I had
begun, in a manner, to pluck up my heart again, and
after a long detour to the east, crept down among the
The sun had just set, the sea breeze was rustling and
tumbling in the woods and ruffling the grey surface of
the anchorage; the tide, too, was far out, and great
tracts of sand lay uncovered; the air, after the heat
of the day, chilled me through my jacket.
The HISPANIOLA still lay where she had anchored; but, sure
enough, there was the Jolly Roger--the black flag of piracy
--flying from her peak. Even as I looked, there 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-boat, I
afterwards discovered. Away, near the mouth of the
river, a great fire was glowing among the trees, and
between that point and the ship one of the gigs kept
coming and going, the men, whom 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 low, sandy spit
that encloses the anchorage to the east, and is joined
at half-water to Skeleton Island; and now, as I rose to
my feet, I saw, some distance further down the spit and
rising from among low bushes, an isolated rock, pretty
high, and 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
rear, or shoreward side, of the stockade, and 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, walls, and 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 iron, with the bottom knocked
out, and 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 deal, Jim."
Another time he came and was silent for a while. Then
he put his head on one side, and 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 island, Jim, can'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 he, "just 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 in, but
not enough for the captain's fancy, and he shook his
head over it and told us we "must get back to this
tomorrow rather livelier." Then, when 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 do, the
stores being so low that we must have been starved into
surrender long before help came. But our best hope, it
was decided, was 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 fifteen, two others were wounded, and one at least--
the man shot beside the gun--severely wounded, if he
were not dead. Every time we had a crack at them, we
were to take it, saving our own lives, with the
extremest care. And besides that, we had two able
allies--rum and the climate.
As for the first, though we were about half a mile
away, we could hear them roaring and singing late into
the night; and as for the second, the doctor staked his
wig that, camped where they were in the marsh and
unprovided with remedies, the half of them would be on
their backs before a week.
"So," he added, "if 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 tired, as you may fancy; and when I got to
sleep, which was not till after a great deal of
tossing, I 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 then, immediately
after, with a cry of surprise, "Silver himself!"
And at that, up I jumped, and rubbing my eyes, ran to a
loophole in the wall.
SURE enough, there were two men just outside the stockade,
one of them waving a white cloth, the other, no less a
person than Silver himself, standing placidly by.
It was still quite early, and 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 lieutenant, all was still
in shadow, and 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,
feverish, unhealthy spot.
"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 porch, keeping himself carefully
out of the way of a treacherous shot, should any be
intended. He turned and spoke to us, "Doctor'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. "Me, sir. These poor
lads have chosen me cap'n, after your desertion, sir"--
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 Smollett, "I 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 gentleman, and you
may lay to that."
We could see the man who carried the flag of truce
attempting to hold Silver back. Nor was that
wonderful, seeing 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 stockade, threw over
his crutch, got a leg up, and 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;
indeed, I had already deserted my eastern loophole and
crept up behind the captain, who had now seated himself
on the threshold, with his elbows on his knees, his
head in his hands, and his eyes fixed on the water as
it bubbled out of the old iron kettle in the sand. He
was whistling "Come, Lasses and Lads."
Silver had terrible hard work getting up the knoll.
What with the steepness of the incline, the thick tree
stumps, and the soft sand, he and his crutch were as
helpless as a ship in stays. But he stuck to it like a
man in silence, and at last arrived before the captain,
whom he saluted in the handsomest style. He was
tricked out in his best; an immense blue coat, thick
with brass buttons, hung as low as to his knees, and a
fine laced hat was set on the back of his head.
"Here you are, my man," said the captain, raising 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 morning, to be sure, sir,
to sit outside upon the sand."
"Why, Silver," said the captain, "if 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-cook, sitting
down as he was bidden on the sand, "you'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 him, but you would
never have guessed it from his tone. As for me, I
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 fire, and I reckoned up with glee
that we had only fourteen enemies to deal with.
"Well, here it is," said Silver. "We want that
treasure, and we'll have it--that's our point! You
would just as soon save your lives, I reckon; and
that's yours. You have a chart, haven'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 do, and we
don't care, for now, you see, you 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
nothing, and I asked him nothing; and what's more, I
would see you and him and this whole island blown clean
out of the water into blazes first. So there's my mind
for you, my man, on that."
This little whiff of temper seemed to cool Silver down.
He had been growing nettled before, but now he pulled
"Like enough," said he. "I would set no limits to what
gentlemen might consider shipshape, or might not, as
the case were. And seein' as how you are about to take
a pipe, cap'n, I'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 while, now looking each other
in the face, now stopping their tobacco, now leaning forward
to spit. It was as good as the play to see them.
"Now," resumed Silver, "here 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 words, for 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
that, and 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 one, unarmed, I'll engage to
clap you all in irons and take you home to a fair trial
in England. If you won't, my name is Alexander
Smollett, I've flown my sovereign's colours, and 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, there, got away from five of you. Your ship's in
irons, Master Silver; you're on a lee shore, and so
you'll find. I stand here and tell you so; and they're
the last good words you'll get from me, for in the name
of heaven, I'll put a bullet in your back when next I
meet you. Tramp, my lad. Bundle out of this, please,
hand over hand, and 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
imprecations, he 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 out, I'll stove in your old block house like
a rum puncheon. Laugh, by thunder, laugh! Before an
hour's out, ye'll laugh upon the other side. Them that
die'll be the lucky ones."
And with a dreadful oath he stumbled off, ploughed down
the sand, was helped across the stockade, after four or
five failures, by the man with the flag of truce, and
disappeared in an instant afterwards among the trees.
AS soon as Silver disappeared, the captain, who had
been closely watching him, turned 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 then, as we all slunk back
to our places, "Gray," he said, "I'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 muskets, and
everyone with a red face, you may be certain, and a
flea in his ear, as the saying is.
The captain looked on for a while in silence. Then
"My lads," said he, "I'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 saw, as he said, that all
On the two short sides of the house, east and west,
there were only two loopholes; on the south side where
the porch was, two again; and on the north side, five.
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 side, and
on each of these tables some ammunition and four loaded
muskets were laid ready to the hand of the defenders.
In the middle, the cutlasses lay ranged.
"Toss out the fire," said the captain; "the chill is
past, and we mustn't have smoke in our eyes."
The iron fire-basket was carried bodily out by Mr.
Trelawney, and 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. "Lively, now, my lad; you'll want it
before you've done. Hunter, serve out a round of
brandy to all hands."
And while this was going on, the captain completed, in
his own mind, the plan of the defence.
"Doctor, you will take the door," he resumed. "See,
and don't expose yourself; keep within, and fire
through the porch. Hunter, take the east side, there.
Joyce, you stand by the west, my man. Mr. Trelawney,
you are the best shot--you and Gray will take this long
north side, with the five loopholes; it's there the
danger is. If they can get up to it and fire in upon
us through our own ports, things would begin to look
dirty. Hawkins, neither you nor I are much account at
the shooting; we'll stand by to load and bear a hand."
As the captain had said, the chill was past. As soon as
the sun had climbed above our girdle of trees, it fell
with all its force upon the clearing and drank up the
vapours at a draught. Soon the sand was baking and the
resin melting in the logs of the block house. Jackets
and coats were flung aside, shirts thrown open at the
neck and rolled up to the shoulders; and we stood there,
each at his post, in a fever of heat and anxiety.
An hour passed away.
"Hang them!" said the captain. "This is as dull as the
doldrums. Gray, whistle for a wind."
And just at that moment came the first news of the attack.
"If you please, sir," said Joyce, "if 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 time, but the remark had set us
all on the alert, straining 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 passed, till 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 volley, shot behind shot, like a string of
geese, from every side of the enclosure. Several
bullets struck the log-house, but not one entered; and
as the smoke cleared away and vanished, the stockade
and the woods around it looked as quiet and empty as
before. Not a bough waved, not 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 not, sir."
"Next best thing to tell the truth," muttered Captain
Smollett. "Load his gun, Hawkins. How many should say
there were on your side, doctor?"
"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,
therefore, that 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 stockade, he 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 huzza, a little cloud of pirates leaped from
the woods on the north side and ran straight on the stockade.
At the same moment, the fire was once more opened from the
woods, and 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
fell, one forwards into the enclosure, two back on the
outside. But of these, one was evidently more
frightened than hurt, for he was on his feet again in a
crack and instantly disappeared among the trees.
Two had bit the dust, one had fled, four had made good
their footing inside our defences, while from the
shelter of the woods seven or eight men, each evidently
supplied with several muskets, kept up a hot though
useless fire on the log-house.
The four who had boarded made straight before them for
the building, shouting as they ran, and the men among
the trees shouted back to encourage them. Several shots
were fired, but such was the hurry of the marksmen that
not one appears to have taken effect. In a moment, the
four pirates had swarmed up the mound and were upon us.
The head of Job Anderson, the boatswain, appeared at
the middle loophole.
"At 'em, all hands--all hands!" he roared in a voice
At the same moment, another pirate grasped Hunter's
musket by the muzzle, wrenched it from his hands,
plucked it through the loophole, and with one stunning
blow, laid the poor fellow senseless on the floor.
Meanwhile a third, running unharmed all around the
house, appeared suddenly in the doorway and fell with
his cutlass on the doctor.
Our position was utterly reversed. A moment since we
were firing, under cover, at an exposed enemy; now it
was we who lay uncovered and could not return a blow.
The log-house was full of smoke, to which we owed our
comparative safety. Cries and confusion, the flashes
and reports of pistol-shots, and 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 pile, and someone, at the
same time snatching another, gave me a cut across the
knuckles which I hardly felt. I dashed out of the door
into the clear sunlight. Someone was close behind, I
knew not whom. Right in front, the doctor was pursuing
his assailant down the hill, and just as my eyes fell
upon him, beat 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-burly, I perceived a
change in his voice.
Mechanically, I obeyed, turned eastwards, and with my
cutlass raised, ran round the corner of the house.
Next moment I was face to face with Anderson. He
roared aloud, and his hanger went up above his head,
flashing in the sunlight. I had not time to be afraid,
but as the blow still hung impending, leaped in a trice
upon one side, and missing my foot in the soft sand,
rolled headlong down the slope.
When I had first sallied from the door, the other
mutineers had been already swarming up the palisade to
make an end of us. One man, in a red night-cap, with
his cutlass in his mouth, had even got upon the top and
thrown a leg across. Well, so short had been the
interval that when I found my feet again all was in the
same posture, the fellow with the red night-cap still
half-way over, another still just showing his head
above the top of the stockade. And yet, in this breath
of time, the fight was over and the victory was ours.
Gray, following close behind me, had 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 agony, the
pistol still smoking in his hand. A third, as I had
seen, the doctor had disposed of at a blow. Of the
four who had scaled the palisade, one only remained
unaccounted for, and he, having left his cutlass on the
field, was now clambering out again with the fear of
death upon him.
"Fire--fire from the house!" cried the doctor. "And
you, lads, back into cover."
But his words were unheeded, no shot was fired, and 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
fallen, four 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 muskets, and 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 loophole, stunned;
Joyce by his, shot through the head, never to move
again; while right in the centre, the squire was
supporting the captain, one 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. "Come, that's better. Five
against three leaves us four to nine. That's better
odds than we had at starting. We were seven to nineteen
then, or thought we were, and that's as bad to bear."*
*The mutineers were soon only eight in number, for the
man shot by Mr. Trelawney on board the schooner died
that same evening of his wound. But this was, of
course, not 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 flea-
bite. 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.
"Why, in the name of Davy Jones," said he, "is Dr.
"Why no," says I. "He's about the last of this crew
for that, I take it."
"Well, shipmate," said Gray, "mad he may not be; but if
HE'S not, you mark my words, I am."
"I take it," replied I, "the doctor has his idea; and
if I am right, he's going now to see Ben Gunn."
I was right, as appeared later; but in the meantime,
the house being stifling hot and the little patch of
sand inside the palisade ablaze with midday sun, I
began to get another thought into my head, which 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
pines, while I sat grilling, with my clothes stuck to
the hot resin, and 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 house, and
then washing up the things from dinner, this disgust
and envy kept growing stronger and stronger, till at
last, being near a bread-bag, and no one then observing
me, I took the first step towards my escapade and
filled both pockets of my coat with biscuit.
I was a fool, if you like, and certainly I was going to
do a foolish, over-bold act; but I was determined to do
it with all the precautions in my power. These
biscuits, should anything befall me, would keep me, at
least, from 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 bullets, I felt
myself well supplied with arms.
As for the scheme I had in my head, it 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 evening, and
ascertain whether it was there or not that Ben Gunn had
hidden his boat, a thing quite worth doing, as I still
believe. But as I was certain I should not be allowed
to leave the enclosure, my only plan was to take French
leave and slip out when nobody was watching, and that
was so bad a way of doing it as made the thing itself
wrong. But I was only a boy, and I had made my mind up.
Well, as things at last fell out, I found an admirable
opportunity. The squire and Gray were busy helping the
captain with his bandages, the coast was clear, I made
a bolt for it over the stockade and into the thickest
of the trees, and before my absence was observed I was
out of cry of my companions.
This was my second folly, far worse than the first, as
I left but two sound men to guard the house; but like
the first, it was a help towards saving all of us.
I took my way straight for the east coast of the
island, for 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 woods, I could hear from far before me
not only the continuous thunder of the surf, but 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 me, and a few
steps farther I came forth into the open borders of the
grove, and 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 overhead, the air be without a
breath, the surface smooth and blue, but still these
great rollers would be running along all the external
coast, thundering 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,
till, thinking I was now got far enough to the south, I
took the cover of some thick bushes and crept warily up
to the ridge of the spit.
Behind me was the sea, in front the anchorage. The sea
breeze, as though it had the sooner blown itself out by
its unusual violence, was already at an end; it had
been succeeded by light, variable airs from the south and
south-east, carrying great banks of fog; and the anchorage,
under lee of Skeleton Island, lay still and leaden as when
first we entered it. The HISPANIOLA, in that unbroken
mirror, was exactly portrayed from the truck to the
waterline, the Jolly Roger hanging from her peak.
Alongside lay one of the gigs, Silver in the stern-
sheets--him I could always recognize--while a couple of
men were leaning over the stern bulwarks, one 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 laughing, though at that
distance--upwards of a mile--I could, of course, hear
no word of what was said. All at once there began the
most horrid, unearthly screaming, which at first
startled me badly, though 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 after, the jolly-boat shoved off and pulled for
shore, and the man with the red cap and his comrade
went below by the cabin companion.
Just about the same time, the sun had gone down behind
the Spy-glass, and 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 rock, visible enough above the brush, was
still some eighth of a mile further down the spit, and
it took me a goodish while to get up with it, crawling,
often on all fours, among 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
turf, hidden by banks and a thick underwood about knee-
deep, that grew there very plentifully; and in the centre
of the dell, sure enough, a little tent of goat-skins,
like what the gipsies carry about with them in England.
I dropped into the hollow, lifted the side of the tent,
and there was Ben Gunn's boat--home-made if ever
anything was home-made; a rude, lop-sided framework of
tough wood, and stretched upon that a covering of goat-
skin, with the hair inside. The thing was extremely
small, even for me, and I can hardly imagine that it
could have floated with a full-sized man. There was
one thwart set as low as possible, a kind of stretcher
in the bows, and a double paddle for propulsion.
I had not then seen a coracle, such as the ancient Britons
made, but I have seen one since, and 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 possessed, for
it was exceedingly light and portable.
Well, now that I had found the boat, you would have
thought I had had enough of truantry for once, but in
the meantime I had taken another notion and become so
obstinately fond of it that I would have carried it
out, I believe, in the teeth of Captain Smollett
himself. This was to slip out under cover of the
night, cut the HISPANIOLA adrift, and let her go
ashore where she fancied. I had quite made up my mind
that the mutineers, after their repulse of the morning,
had nothing nearer their hearts than to up anchor and
away to sea; this, I thought, it would be a fine thing
to prevent, and now that I had seen how they left their
watchmen unprovided with a boat, I thought it might be
done with little risk.
Down I sat to wait for darkness, and 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 disappeared, absolute
blackness settled down on Treasure Island. And when,
at last, I shouldered the coracle and groped my way
stumblingly out of the hollow where I had supped, there
were but two points visible on the whole anchorage.
One was the great fire on shore, by which the defeated
pirates lay carousing in the swamp. The other, a mere
blur of light upon the darkness, indicated 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 cabin, and 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 time, and I had to wade
through a long belt of swampy sand, where I sank
several times above the ankle, before I came to the
edge of the retreating water, and wading a little way
in, with some strength and dexterity, set my coracle,
keel downwards, on 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 weight, both buoyant and clever in a sea-
way; but she was the most cross-grained, lop-sided
craft to manage. Do as you pleased, she always made
more leeway than anything else, and 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 on, and I am very sure I
never should have made the ship at all but for the
tide. By good fortune, paddle as I pleased, the tide
was still sweeping me down; and there lay the
HISPANIOLA right in the fairway, hardly to be missed.
First she loomed before me like a blot of something yet
blacker than darkness, then her spars and hull began to
take shape, and the next moment, as it seemed (for, the
farther I went, the brisker grew the current of the
ebb), I was alongside of her hawser and had laid hold.
The hawser was as taut as a bowstring, and the current
so strong she pulled upon her anchor. All round the
hull, in the blackness, the 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 good, but it next occurred to my recollection
that a taut hawser, suddenly cut, is a thing as dangerous
as a kicking horse. Ten to one, if I were so foolhardy
as to cut the HISPANIOLA from her anchor, I and the coracle
would be knocked clean out of the water.
This brought me to a full stop, and if fortune had not
again particularly favoured me, I 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
meditating, a puff came, caught the HISPANIOLA, and
forced her up into the current; and to my great joy, I
felt the hawser slacken in my grasp, and the hand by
which I held it dip for a second under water.
With that I made my mind up, took out my gully, opened
it with my teeth, and 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 cabin, but to say truth, my mind had been so
entirely taken up with other thoughts that I had
scarcely given ear. Now, however, when I had nothing
else to do, I began to pay more heed.
One I recognized for the coxswain's, Israel Hands, that
had been Flint's gunner in former days. The other was,
of course, my friend of the red night-cap. Both men
were plainly the worse of drink, and they were still
drinking, for even while I was listening, one of them,
with a drunken cry, opened the stern window and threw
out something, which I divined to be an empty bottle.
But they were not only tipsy; it was plain that they
were furiously angry. Oaths flew like hailstones, and
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 while, until the next crisis came and in its turn
passed away without result.
On shore, I could see the glow of the great camp-fire
burning warmly through the shore-side trees. Someone
was singing, a dull, old, droning sailor's song, with a
droop and a quaver at the end of every verse, and
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. But, indeed, from 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
more, and with a good, tough effort, cut the last
The breeze had but little action on the coracle, and I
was almost instantly swept against the bows of the
HISPANIOLA. At the same time, the schooner began to
turn upon her heel, spinning slowly, end for end,
across the current.
I wrought like a fiend, for I expected every moment to
be swamped; and since I found I could not push the
coracle directly off, I now shoved straight astern. At
length I was clear of my dangerous neighbour, and just
as I gave the last impulsion, my 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 instinct, but once I had it in my hands and
found it fast, curiosity began to get the upper hand,
and I determined I should have one look through the
I pulled in hand over hand on the cord, and when I
judged myself near enough, rose 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; indeed, we had
already fetched up level with the camp-fire. The ship was
talking, as sailors say, loudly, treading 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 glance, however, was 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 wrestle, each with a hand upon the other's throat.
I dropped upon the thwart again, none too soon, for I
was near overboard. I could see nothing for the moment
but these two furious, encrimsoned faces swaying
together under the smoky lamp, and I shut my eyes to
let them grow once more familiar with the darkness.
The endless ballad had come to an end at last, and 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 moment, she 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
ripples, combing over with a sharp, bristling sound and
slightly phosphorescent. The HISPANIOLA herself, a
few yards in whose wake I was still being whirled
along, seemed to stagger in her course, and I saw her
spars toss a little against the blackness of the night;
nay, as I looked longer, I made sure she also was
wheeling to the southward.
I glanced over my shoulder, and my heart jumped against
my ribs. There, right behind me, was 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 quickening, ever bubbling
higher, ever muttering louder, it went spinning through
the narrows for the open sea.
Suddenly the schooner in front of me gave a violent
yaw, turning, perhaps, through 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 straits, I made sure we must fall into some bar
of raging breakers, where all my troubles would be ended
speedily; and though I could, perhaps, bear to die, I could
not bear to look upon my fate as it approached.
So I must have lain for hours, continually beaten to
and fro upon the billows, now and again wetted with
flying sprays, and never ceasing to expect death at the
next plunge. Gradually weariness grew upon me; a
numbness, an occasional stupor, fell upon my mind even
in the midst of my terrors, until 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-glass, which 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 dark, the 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 seaward, and 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
reverberations, heavy sprays flying and falling,
succeeded one another from second to second; and I saw
myself, if I ventured nearer, dashed to death upon the
rough shore or spending my strength in vain to scale
the beetling crags.
Nor was that all, for crawling together on flat tables of
rock or letting themselves drop into the sea with loud
reports I beheld huge slimy monsters--soft snails, as it
were, of incredible bigness--two or three score of them
together, making the rocks to echo with their barkings.
I have understood since that they were sea lions, and
entirely harmless. But the look of them, added to the
difficulty of the shore and the high running of the
surf, was 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 chance, as I supposed,
before me. North of Haulbowline Head, the land runs in
a long way, leaving at low tide a long stretch of
yellow sand. To the north of that, again, there comes
another cape--Cape of the Woods, as it was marked upon
the chart--buried in tall green pines, which 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
Island, and seeing from my position that I was already
under its influence, I 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 great, smooth swell upon the sea. The wind
blowing steady and gentle from the south, there was no
contrariety between that and the current, and the
billows rose and fell unbroken.
Had it been otherwise, I must long ago have perished;
but as it was, it is surprising how easily and securely
my little and light boat could ride. Often, as I still
lay at the bottom and kept no more than an eye above
the gunwale, I would see a big blue summit heaving
close above me; yet the coracle would but bounce a
little, dance as if on springs, and 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 boat, giving up at once her gentle dancing
movement, ran straight down a slope of water so steep
that it made me giddy, and struck her nose, with a spout
of spray, deep into the side of the next wave.
I was drenched and terrified, and fell instantly back
into my old position, whereupon 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 with, and at that rate, since I could in no
way influence her course, what hope had I left of
I began to be horribly frightened, but I kept my head, for
all that. First, moving with all care, I gradually baled
out the coracle with my sea-cap; then, getting my eye once
more above the gunwale, I set myself to study how it was
she managed to slip so quietly through the rollers.
I found each wave, instead of the big, smooth glossy
mountain it looks from shore or from a vessel's deck,
was for all the world like any range of hills on dry
land, full of peaks and smooth places and valleys. The
coracle, left to herself, turning from side to side,
threaded, so to speak, her way through these lower
parts and avoided the steep slopes and higher, toppling
summits of the wave.
"Well, now," thought I to myself, "it 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
attitude, and every now and again gave a weak stroke or
two to turn her head to shore.
It was very tiring and slow work, yet I did visibly
gain ground; and as we drew near the Cape of the Woods,
though I saw I must infallibly miss that point, I had
still made some hundred yards of easting. I was,
indeed, close in. I could see the cool green tree-tops
swaying together in the breeze, and I felt sure I
should make the next promontory without fail.
It was high time, for I now began to be tortured with
thirst. The glow of the sun from above, its
thousandfold reflection from the waves, the sea-water
that fell and dried upon me, caking my very lips with
salt, combined to make my throat burn and my brain
ache. The sight of the trees so near at hand had
almost made me sick with longing, but the current had
soon carried me past the point, and as the next reach
of sea opened out, I beheld a sight that changed the
nature of my thoughts.
Right in front of me, not half a mile away, I beheld
the HISPANIOLA under sail. I made sure, of 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 thought, and long before I had come to a
conclusion, surprise 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
jibs, and the beautiful white canvas shone in the sun
like snow or silver. When I first sighted her, all her
sails were drawing; she was lying a course about north-
west, 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
westward, so that I thought they had sighted me and
were going about in chase. At last, however, she fell
right into the wind's eye, was taken dead aback, and
stood there awhile helpless, with 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 tack, sailed swiftly for a minute or
so, and brought up once more dead in the wind's eye.
Again and again was this repeated. To and fro, up and
down, north, south, east, and west, the HISPANIOLA
sailed by swoops and dashes, and at each repetition
ended as she had begun, with idly flapping canvas. It
became plain to me that nobody was steering. And if
so, where were the men? Either they were dead drunk or
had deserted her, I thought, and 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 sailing, it was
so wild and intermittent, and she hung each time so
long in irons, that she certainly gained nothing, if
she did not even lose. If only I dared to sit up and
paddle, I made sure that I could overhaul her. The
scheme had an air of adventure that inspired me, and
the thought of the water breaker beside the fore
companion doubled my growing courage.
Up I got, was welcomed almost instantly by another
cloud of spray, but this time stuck to my purpose and
set myself, with all my strength and caution, to paddle
after the unsteered HISPANIOLA. Once I shipped a
sea so heavy that I had to stop and bail, with my heart
fluttering like a bird, but 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 about, and
still no soul appeared upon her decks. I could not
choose but suppose she was deserted. If not, the men
were lying drunk below, where I might batten them down,
perhaps, and do what I chose with the ship.
For some time she had been doing the worst thing
possible for me--standing still. She headed nearly due
south, yawing, of course, all the time. Each time she
fell off, her sails partly filled, and these brought
her in a moment right to the wind again. I have said
this was the worst thing possible for me, for helpless
as she looked in this situation, with the canvas cracking
like cannon and the blocks trundling and banging on the
deck, she still continued to run away from me, not only
with the speed of the current, but by the whole amount
of her leeway, which was naturally great.
But now, at last, I had my chance. The breeze fell for
some seconds, very low, and the current gradually
turning her, the HISPANIOLA revolved slowly round
her centre and at last presented me her stern, with 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 lost, but now
redoubling my efforts, I 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 again, stooping and skimming like a swallow.
My first impulse was one of despair, but my second was
towards joy. Round she came, till 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 then, of a sudden, I 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 leaped, stamping
the coracle under water. With one hand I caught the
jib-boom, while my foot was lodged between the stay and
the brace; and as I still clung there panting, a 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 tack, with
a report like a gun. The schooner trembled to her keel
under the reverse, but next moment, the other sails still
drawing, the jib flapped back again and hung idle.
This had nearly tossed me off into the sea; and now I
lost no time, crawled back along the bowsprit, and
tumbled head foremost on the deck.
I was on the lee side of the forecastle, and the main-
sail, which was still drawing, concealed from me a
certain portion of the after-deck. Not a soul was to
be seen. The planks, which had not been swabbed since
the mutiny, bore the print of many feet, and an empty
bottle, broken by the neck, tumbled to and fro like a
live thing in the scuppers.
Suddenly the HISPANIOLA came right into the wind. The
jibs behind me cracked aloud, the rudder slammed to, the
whole ship gave a sickening heave and shudder, and at the
same moment the main-boom swung inboard, the sheet groaning
in the blocks, and showed me the lee after-deck.
There were the two watchmen, sure enough: red-cap on
his back, as stiff as a handspike, with his arms
stretched out like those of a crucifix and his teeth
showing through his open lips; Israel Hands propped
against the bulwarks, his chin on his chest, his hands
lying open before him on the deck, his face as white,
under its tan, as a tallow candle.
For a while the ship kept bucking and sidling like a
vicious horse, the sails filling, now on one tack, now
on another, and 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-made, lop-sided
coracle, now gone to the bottom of the sea.
At every jump of the schooner, red-cap slipped to and
fro, but--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 deck, his feet sliding ever the
farther out, and the whole body canting towards the
stern, so that his face became, little by little, hid
from me; and at last I could see nothing beyond his ear
and the frayed ringlet of one whisker.
At the same time, I observed, around 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 wondering, in a calm
moment, when the ship was still, Israel Hands turned
partly round and with a low moan writhed himself back
to the position in which I had seen him first. The
moan, which told of pain and deadly weakness, and 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 barrel, all pity left me.
I walked aft until I reached the main-mast.
"Come aboard, Mr. Hands," I said ironically.
He rolled his eyes round heavily, but he was too far
gone to express surprise. All he could do was to utter
one word, "Brandy."
It occurred to me there was no time to lose, and dodging
the boom as it once more lurched across the deck, I
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 bulkheads, all
painted in clear white and beaded round with gilt, bore
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
table, half of the leaves gutted out, I suppose, for
pipelights. In the midst of all this the lamp still
cast a smoky glow, obscure and brown as umber.
I went into the cellar; all the barrels were gone, and
of the bottles a most surprising number had been drunk
out and thrown away. Certainly, since the mutiny
began, not a man of them could ever have been sober.
Foraging about, I found a bottle with some brandy left,
for Hands; and for myself I routed out some biscuit,
some pickled fruits, a great bunch of raisins, and a
piece of cheese. With these I came on deck, put down
my own stock behind the rudder head and well out of the
coxswain's reach, went forward to the water-breaker,
and had a good deep drink of water, and then, and not
till then, gave Hands the brandy.
He must have drunk a gill before he took the bottle
from his mouth.
"Aye," said he, "by 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 grunted, or rather, I might say, he barked.
"If that doctor was aboard," he said, "I'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 I, "I'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 cheeks, though he
still looked very sick and still continued to slip out
and settle down as the ship banged about.
"By the by," I continued, "I can't have these colours,
Mr. Hands; and by your leave, I'll strike 'em. Better
none than these."
And again dodging the boom, I ran to the colour lines, handed
down their cursed black flag, and chucked it overboard.
"God save the king!" said I, waving my cap. "And
there's an end to Captain Silver!"
He watched me keenly and slyly, his chin all the while
on his breast.
"I reckon," he said at last, "I reckon, Cap'n Hawkins,
you'll kind of want to get ashore now. S'pose we talks."
"Why, yes," says I, "with all my heart, Mr. Hands. Say
on." And I went back to my meal with a good appetite.
"This man," he began, nodding feebly at the corpse "--
O'Brien were his name, a rank Irelander--this man and
me got the canvas on her, meaning for to sail her back.
Well, HE'S dead now, he is--as dead as bilge; and
who's to sail this ship, I don't see. Without I gives
you a hint, you ain't that man, as far's I can tell.
Now, look here, you gives me food and drink and a old
scarf or ankecher to tie my wound up, you do, and I'll
tell you how to tail her, and that's about square all
round, I 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. "Why, I ain't sich an
infernal lubber after all. I can see, can't I? I've
tried my fling, I have, and I've lost, and it's you has
the wind of me. North Inlet? Why, I haven't no
ch'ice, not I! I'd help you sail her up to Execution
Dock, by thunder! So I would."
Well, as it seemed to me, there 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 Island, with good hopes of
turning the northern point ere noon and beating down
again as far as North Inlet before high water, when 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
chest, where I got a soft silk handkerchief of my
mother's. With this, and with my aid, Hands 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 brandy, he began to pick up visibly,
sat straighter up, spoke louder and clearer, and looked
in every way another man.
The breeze served us admirably. We skimmed before it
like a bird, the coast of the island flashing by and
the view changing every minute. Soon we were past the
high lands and bowling beside low, sandy country,
sparsely dotted with dwarf pines, and 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 command, and pleased
with the bright, sunshiny weather and these different
prospects of the coast. I had now plenty of water and
good things to eat, and my conscience, which had
smitten me hard for my desertion, was quieted by the
great conquest I had made. I should, I think, have 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
was, besides that, a grain of derision, a shadow of
treachery, in his expression as he craftily watched,
and watched, and watched me at my work.
THE wind, serving us to a desire, now 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. Only, as
we had no power to anchor and dared not beach her till the
tide had flowed a good deal farther, time hung on our hands.
The coxswain told me how to lay the ship to; after a good
many trials I succeeded, and we both sat in silence over
"Cap'n," said he at length with that same uncomfortable
smile, "here'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 on, blinking. "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 luck, not I. There
was this here O'Brien now--he's dead, ain't he? Well
now, I'm no scholar, and you're a lad as can read and
figure, and to put it straight, do you take it as a
dead man is dead for good, or 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 world, and may be watching us."
"Ah!" says he. "Well, that's unfort'nate--appears as
if killing parties was a waste of time. Howsomever,
sperrits don't reckon for much, by what I've seen.
I'll chance it with the sperrits, Jim. And now, you've
spoke up free, and I'll take it kind if you'd step down
into that there cabin and get me a--well, a--shiver my
timbers! I can't hit the name on 't; well, you get me
a bottle of wine, Jim--this here brandy's too strong
for my head."
Now, the 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
fro, up and down, now with a look to the sky, now with
a flitting glance upon the dead O'Brien. All the time
he kept smiling and putting his tongue out in the most
guilty, embarrassed manner, so that a child could have
told that he was bent on some deception. I was prompt
with my answer, however, for 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 strong, and plenty of
it, what's the odds?"
"All right," I answered. "I'll bring you port, Mr.
Hands. But I'll have to dig for it."
With that I scuttled down the companion with all the
noise I could, slipped off my shoes, ran quietly along
the sparred gallery, mounted the forecastle ladder, and
popped my head out of the fore companion. I knew he
would not expect to see me there, yet I took every
precaution possible, and 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 good, rattling rate that he trailed himself
across the deck. In half a minute he had reached the
port scuppers and picked, out of a coil of rope, a long
knife, or rather a short dirk, discoloured to the hilt
with blood. He looked upon it for a moment, thrusting
forth his under jaw, tried the point upon his hand, and
then, hastily 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 about, he was now armed, and if he had been at so
much trouble to get rid of me, it 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 Tom, trusting that his own
comrades might come first to help him--was, of course,
more than I could say.
Yet I felt sure that I could trust him in one point,
since in that our interests jumped together, and that
was in the disposition of the schooner. We both
desired to have her stranded safe enough, in a
sheltered place, and so that, when the time came, she
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 cabin, slipped once more into my shoes, and laid my
hand at random on a bottle of wine, and now, with this
for an excuse, I made my reappearance on the deck.
Hands lay as I had left him, all fallen together in a
bundle and with his eyelids lowered as though he were
too weak to bear the light. He looked up, however, at
my coming, knocked the neck off the bottle like a man
who had done the same thing often, and took a good
swig, with his favourite toast of "Here's luck!" Then
he lay quiet for a little, and then, pulling out a
stick of tobacco, begged me to cut him a quid.
"Cut me a junk o' that," says he, "for 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 I, "I'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. "Now, you 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 moment, and you ask me why! For God's
mercy, Mr. Hands, that's why."
I spoke with a little heat, thinking of the bloody dirk
he had hidden in his pocket and designed, in his ill
thoughts, to end me with. He, for his part, took a
great draught of the wine and spoke with the most
"For thirty years," he said, "I'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 added, suddenly changing his
tone, "we'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 told, we had scarce two miles to run; but the
navigation was delicate, the entrance to this northern
anchorage was not only narrow and shoal, but lay east
and west, so that the schooner must be nicely handled
to be got in. I think I was a good, prompt subaltern,
and I am very sure that Hands was an excellent pilot,
for we went about and about and dodged in, shaving the
banks, with 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 anchorage, but the
space was longer and narrower and more like, what in
truth it was, the estuary of a river. Right before us,
at the southern end, we 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 seaweed, and on the deck of it
shore bushes had taken root and now flourished thick
with flowers. It was a sad sight, but it showed us
that the anchorage was calm.
"Now," said Hands, "look 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 inquired, "how shall we get her
"Why, so," he replied: "you take a line ashore there on
the other side at low water, take a turn about one of
them big pines; bring it back, take a turn around the
capstan, and lie to for the tide. Come high water, all
hands take a pull upon the line, and off she comes as
sweet as natur'. And now, boy, you stand by. We're
near the bit now, and she's too much way on her.
Starboard a little--so--steady--starboard--larboard a
So he issued his commands, which I breathlessly obeyed,
till, all of a sudden, he cried, "Now, my hearty,
luff!" And I put the helm hard up, and the
HISPANIOLA swung round rapidly and ran stem on for the
low, wooded shore.
The excitement of these last manoeuvres had somewhat
interfered with the watch I had kept hitherto, sharply
enough, upon the coxswain. Even then I was still so
much interested, waiting for the ship to touch, that 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; but, sure enough, when I looked
round, there was Hands, already 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 terror, his was a
roar of fury like a charging bully's. At the same
instant, he threw himself forward and I leapt sideways
towards the bows. As I did so, I let go of the tiller,
which sprang sharp to leeward, and I think this saved
my life, for it struck Hands across the chest and
stopped him, for the moment, dead.
Before he could recover, I was safe out of the corner
where he had me trapped, with all the deck to dodge
about. Just forward of the main-mast I stopped, drew a
pistol from my pocket, took a cool aim, though he had
already turned and was once more coming directly after
me, and drew the trigger. The hammer fell, but there
followed neither flash nor sound; the priming was
useless with sea-water. I cursed myself for my
neglect. Why had not I, long before, reprimed and
reloaded my only weapons? Then I should not have been
as now, a mere fleeing sheep before this butcher.
Wounded as he was, it was wonderful how fast he could
move, his grizzled hair tumbling over his face, and his
face itself as red as a red ensign with his haste and
fury. I had no time to try my other pistol, nor indeed
much inclination, for I was sure it would be useless.
One thing I saw plainly: I must not simply retreat
before him, or he would speedily hold me boxed into the
bows, as a moment since he had so nearly boxed me in
the stern. Once so caught, and 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-mast, which was of a goodish bigness, and waited,
every nerve upon the stretch.
Seeing that I meant to dodge, he 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 Cove, but never before, you may be sure, with such
a wildly beating heart as now. Still, as I say, it was
a boy's game, and 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
affair, and while I saw certainly that I could spin it
out for long, I saw no hope of any ultimate escape.
Well, while things stood thus, suddenly the HISPANIOLA
struck, staggered, ground for an instant in the sand,
and then, swift as a blow, canted 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 lay, in a pool, between the deck and bulwark.
We were both of us capsized in a second, and both of us
rolled, almost together, into the scuppers, the dead
red-cap, with his arms still spread out, tumbling
stiffly after us. So near were we, indeed, that my
head came against the coxswain's foot with a crack that
made my teeth rattle. Blow and all, I was the first
afoot again, for 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
escape, and that upon the instant, for my foe was
almost touching me. Quick as thought, I sprang into
the mizzen shrouds, rattled up hand over hand, and 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 mine, a perfect statue of surprise
Now that I had a moment to myself, I lost no time in
changing the priming of my pistol, and then, having one
ready for service, and to make assurance doubly sure, I
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 him, and after an obvious
hesitation, he also hauled himself heavily into the
shrouds, and with the dirk in his teeth, began slowly
and painfully to mount. It cost him no end of time and
groans to haul his wounded leg behind him, and I had
quietly finished my arrangements before he was much
more than a third of the way up. Then, with a pistol
in either hand, I addressed him.
"One more step, Mr. Hands," said I, "and 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 think, and the process
was so slow and laborious that, in my new-found
security, I laughed aloud. At last, with a swallow or
two, he spoke, his face still wearing the same
expression of extreme perplexity. In order to speak he
had to take the dagger from his mouth, but in all else
he remained unmoved.
"Jim," says he, "I 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 away, as
conceited as a cock upon a wall, when, all 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 pang, and 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
volition, and I am sure it was without a conscious aim--
both my pistols went off, and both escaped out of my
hands. They did not fall alone; with a choked cry, the
coxswain loosed his grasp upon the shrouds and plunged
head first into the water.
"Pieces of Eight"
OWING to the cant of the vessel, the masts hung far out
over the water, and from my perch on the cross-trees I
had nothing below me but the surface of the bay.
Hands, who was not so far up, was 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 settled, I
could see him lying huddled together on the clean, bright
sand in the shadow of the vessel's sides. A fish or two
whipped past his body. Sometimes, by the quivering of the
water, he appeared to move a little, as if he were trying
to rise. But he was dead enough, for all that, being both
shot and drowned, and 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
sick, faint, and terrified. The hot blood was running
over my back and chest. The dirk, where it had pinned
my shoulder to the mast, seemed to burn like a hot
iron; yet it was not so much these real sufferings that
distressed me, for these, it seemed to me, I could bear
without a murmur; it was the horror I had upon my mind
of falling from the cross-trees into that still green
water, beside the body of the coxswain.
I clung with both hands till my nails ached, and I shut my
eyes as if to cover up the peril. Gradually my mind came
back again, my 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 dirk, but
either it stuck too hard or my nerve failed me, and I
desisted with a violent shudder. Oddly enough, that
very shudder did the business. The knife, in fact, had
come the nearest in the world to missing me altogether;
it held me by a mere pinch of skin, and this the
shudder tore away. The blood ran down the faster, to
be sure, but 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 jerk, and then
regained the deck by the starboard shrouds. For
nothing in the world would I have again ventured,
shaken as I was, upon 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 freely, but it was neither
deep nor dangerous, nor did it greatly gall me when I used
my arm. Then I looked around me, and as the ship was now,
in a sense, my own, I began to think of clearing it from
its last passenger--the dead man, O'Brien.
He had pitched, as I have said, against the bulwarks,
where he lay like some horrible, ungainly sort of puppet,
life-size, indeed, but how different from life's colour
or life's comeliness! In that position I could easily
have my way with him, and as the habit of tragical
adventures had worn off almost all my terror for the
dead, I took him by the waist as if he had been a sack
of bran and with one good heave, tumbled 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 subsided, I could see him and Israel lying side
by side, both wavering with the tremulous movement of
the water. O'Brien, though still quite a young man, was
very bald. There he lay, with 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 up, and though it was well warded off by the
hill with the two peaks upon the east, the 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 deck, but
the main-sail was a harder matter. Of course, when the
schooner canted over, the boom had swung out-board, and
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 instantly, a great belly of loose
canvas floated broad upon the water, and since, pull as
I liked, I could not budge the downhall, that was the
extent of what I could accomplish. For the rest, the
HISPANIOLA must trust to luck, like myself.
By this time the whole anchorage had fallen into
shadow--the last rays, I remember, falling 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 seaward, the schooner
settling more and more on her beam-ends.
I scrambled forward and looked over. It seemed shallow
enough, and holding the cut hawser in both hands for a
last security, I let myself drop softly overboard. The
water scarcely reached my waist; the sand was firm and
covered with ripple marks, and I waded ashore in great
spirits, leaving the HISPANIOLA on her side, with her
main-sail trailing wide upon the surface of the bay.
About the same time, the sun went fairly down and the
breeze whistled low in the dusk among the tossing pines.
At least, and at last, I was off the sea, nor 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
truantry, but the recapture of the HISPANIOLA was a
clenching answer, and I hoped that even Captain
Smollett would confess I had not lost my time.
So thinking, and in famous spirits, I 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 left, and I bent my course in that direction
that I might pass the stream while it was small. The wood
was pretty open, and keeping along the lower spurs, I had
soon turned the corner of that hill, and not long after
waded to the mid-calf across the watercourse.
This brought me near to where I had encountered Ben
Gunn, the maroon; and I walked more circumspectly,
keeping an eye on every side. The dusk had come nigh
hand completely, and as I opened out the cleft between
the two peaks, I became aware of a wavering glow
against the sky, where, as I judged, the man of the
island was cooking his supper before a roaring fire.
And yet I wondered, in my heart, that 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-glass, and soon after I saw something
broad and silvery moving low down behind the trees, and
knew the moon had risen.
With this to help me, I passed rapidly over what
remained to me of my journey, and sometimes walking,
sometimes running, impatiently drew near to the
stockade. Yet, as I began to thread the grove that
lies before it, I 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 higher, its light
began to fall here and there in masses through the more
open districts of the wood, and right in front of me a
glow of a different colour appeared among the trees.
It was red and hot, and now and again it was a little
darkened--as it were, the 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 moon-
shine; the rest, and the block house itself, still 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
steady, red reverberation, contrasted strongly with the
mellow paleness of the moon. There was not a soul
stirring nor a sound beside the noises of the breeze.
I stopped, with much wonder in my heart, and perhaps a
little terror also. It had not been our way to build
great fires; we were, indeed, by the captain's orders,
somewhat niggardly of firewood, and I began to fear
that something had gone wrong while I was absent.
I stole round by the eastern end, keeping close in
shadow, and at a convenient place, where the darkness
was thickest, crossed the palisade.
To make assurance surer, I got upon my hands and knees
and crawled, without a sound, towards the corner of the
house. As I drew nearer, my heart was suddenly and
greatly lightened. It is not a pleasant noise in
itself, and I have often complained of it at other
times, but just then it was like music to hear my
friends snoring together so loud and peaceful in their
sleep. The sea-cry of the watch, that 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 forth, without
pause or change, like the clacking of a tiny mill.
Silver's green parrot, Captain Flint! It was she whom
I had heard pecking at a piece of bark; it was she,
keeping better watch than any human being, who thus
announced my arrival with her wearisome refrain.
I had no time left me to recover. At the sharp,
clipping tone of the parrot, the sleepers awoke and
sprang up; and with a mighty oath, the voice of Silver
cried, "Who goes?"
I turned to run, struck violently against one person,
recoiled, and ran full into the arms of a second, who
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 torch, lighting up the interior of
the block house, showed 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 bread, as before, and what
tenfold increased my horror, not 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 buccaneers, all told; not another
man was left alive. Five of them were on their feet,
flushed and swollen, suddenly called out of the first
sleep of drunkenness. The sixth had only risen upon
his elbow; he was deadly pale, and the blood-stained
bandage round his head told that he had recently been
wounded, and still more recently dressed. I remembered
the man who had been shot and had run back among the woods
in the great attack, and doubted not that this was he.
The parrot sat, preening her plumage, on Long John's
shoulder. He himself, I thought, looked somewhat paler
and more stern than I was used to. He still wore the
fine broadcloth suit in which he had fulfilled his
mission, but it was bitterly the worse for wear, daubed
with clay and torn with the sharp briers of the wood.
"So," said he, "here'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 light, "That'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 were, and
quite a pleasant surprise for poor old John. I see you
were smart when first I set my eyes on you, but this
here gets away from me clean, it do."
To all this, as may be well supposed, I made no answer.
They had set me with my back against the wall, and I
stood there, looking Silver in the face, pluckily
enough, I hope, to all outward appearance, but 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
he, "I'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 friends, then, were still alive,
and though I partly believed the truth of Silver's
statement, that the cabin party were incensed at me for
my desertion, I was more relieved than distressed by
what I heard.
"I don't say nothing as to your being in our hands,"
continued Silver, "though 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 talk, I was made to
feel the threat of death that overhung me, and my
cheeks burned and my heart beat painfully in my breast.
"Lad," said Silver, "no 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 I, growing a bit bolder, "if 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. "Ah, he'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 then, in his first gracious tones, he
replied to me, "Yesterday morning, Mr. Hawkins," said
he, "in 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 on, "that 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
that," said Silver.
"Well," said I, "I 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 said, and by this time I was quite
excited; "and the first is this: here you are, in a bad
way--ship lost, treasure lost, men lost, your 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 land, and I heard you, John, and you, Dick
Johnson, and Hands, who is now at the bottom of the
sea, and told every word you said before the hour was
out. And as for the schooner, it was I who cut her
cable, and it was I that killed the men you had aboard
of her, and it was I who brought her where you'll never
see her more, not 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 me, if you
please, or spare me. But one thing I'll say, and no
more; if you spare me, bygones are bygones, and when
you fellows are in court for piracy, I'll save you all
I can. It is for you to choose. Kill another and do
yourselves no good, or spare me and keep a witness to
save you from the gallows."
I stopped, for, I tell you, I was out of breath, and to
my wonder, not a man of them moved, but all sat staring
at me like as many sheep. And while they were still
staring, I broke out again, "And now, Mr. Silver," I
said, "I 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 not, for the life of me, decide
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 that, by thunder! For it was this
same boy that faked the chart from Billy Bones. First
and last, we've split upon Jim Hawkins!"
"Then here goes!" said Morgan with an oath.
And he sprang up, drawing his knife as if he had
"Avast, there!" cried Silver. "Who are you, Tom
Morgan? Maybe you thought you was cap'n here, perhaps.
By the powers, but I'll teach you better! Cross me,
and you'll go where many a good man's gone before you,
first and last, these thirty year back--some to the
yard-arm, shiver my timbers, and some by the board, and
all to feed the fishes. There's never a man looked me
between the eyes and seen a good day a'terwards, Tom
Morgan, you may lay to that."
Morgan paused, but 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 Silver, bending far forward from his
position on the keg, with his pipe still glowing in his
right hand. "Put a name on what you're at; you ain't
dumb, I reckon. Him that wants shall get it. Have I
lived this many years, and 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' fortune, by your
account. Well, I'm ready. Take a cutlass, him that
dares, and I'll see the colour of his inside, crutch
and all, before that pipe's empty."
Not a man stirred; not a man answered.
"That's your sort, is it?" he added, returning his pipe
to his mouth. "Well, you're a gay lot to look at,
anyway. Not much worth to fight, you 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 fight, as gentlemen
o' fortune should; then, by thunder, you'll obey, and
you may lay to it! I like that boy, now; I never seen
a better boy than that. He's more a man than any pair
of rats of you in this here house, and what I say is
this: let me see him that'll lay a hand on him--that's
what I say, and you may lay to it."
There was a long pause after this. I stood straight up
against the wall, my heart still going like a sledge-
hammer, but with a ray of hope now shining in my bosom.
Silver leant back against the wall, his arms crossed, his
pipe in the corner of his mouth, as calm as though he had
been in church; yet his eye kept wandering furtively, and
he kept the tail of it on his unruly followers. They, on
their part, drew gradually together towards the far end of
the block house, and the low hiss of their whispering sounded
in my ear continuously, like a stream. One after another,
they would look up, and the red light of the torch would
fall for a second on their nervous faces; but it was not
towards me, it 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
it, or 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 crews, I'll make so free
as that; and by your own rules, I take it we can talk
together. I ax your pardon, sir, acknowledging you for
to be capting at this present; but I claim my right,
and steps outside for a council."
And with an elaborate sea-salute, this fellow, a long,
ill-looking, yellow-eyed man of five and thirty,
stepped coolly towards the door and disappeared out of
the house. One after another the rest followed his
example, each making a salute as he passed, each 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.
"Now, look you here, Jim Hawkins," he said in a steady
whisper that was no more than audible, "you're within
half a plank of death, and what's a long sight worse,
of torture. They're going to throw me off. But, you
mark, I stand by you through thick and thin. I didn't
mean to; no, not till you spoke up. I was about
desperate to lose that much blunt, and be hanged into
the bargain. But I see you was the right sort. I says
to myself, you stand by Hawkins, John, and Hawkins'll
stand by you. You're his last card, and by the living
thunder, John, he's yours! Back to back, says I. You
save your witness, and 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 gone, neck gone
--that's the size of it. Once I looked into that bay, Jim
Hawkins, and seen no schooner--well, I'm tough, but I gave
out. As for that lot and their council, mark me, they're
outright fools and cowards. I'll save your life--if so be
as I can--from them. But, see here, Jim--tit for tat--you
save Long John from swinging."
I was bewildered; it seemed a thing so hopeless he was
asking--he, the old buccaneer, the ringleader throughout.
"What I can do, that I'll do," I said.
"It's a bargain!" cried Long John. "You speak up
plucky, and by thunder, I've a chance!"
He hobbled to the torch, where it stood propped among
the firewood, and took a fresh light to his pipe.
"Understand me, Jim," he said, returning. "I've a head
on my shoulders, I have. I'm on squire's side now. I
know you've got that ship safe somewheres. How you
done it, I don't know, but 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 up, I do;
and I know a lad that's staunch. Ah, you 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: "Well, I'll take a drain myself, Jim," said
he. "I need a caulker, for there's trouble on hand.
And talking o' trouble, why 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 that, no doubt--something, surely,
under that, Jim--bad or good."
And he took another swallow of the brandy, shaking his
great fair head like a man who looks forward to the worst.
The Black Spot Again
THE council of buccaneers had lasted some time, when
one of them re-entered the house, and with a repetition
of the same salute, which had in my eyes an ironical
air, begged for a moment's loan of the torch. Silver
briefly agreed, and this emissary retired again,
leaving us together in the dark.
"There's a breeze coming, Jim," said Silver, who 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 stockade, they
were collected in a group; one held the light, another
was on his knees in their midst, and 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
stooping, as though watching the manoeuvres of this last.
I could just make out that he had a book as well as a
knife in his hand, and 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
position, for 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 opened, and the five men, standing huddled
together just inside, pushed one of their number
forward. In any other circumstances it would have been
comical to see his slow advance, hesitating as he set
down each foot, but holding his closed right hand in
front of him.
"Step up, lad," cried Silver. "I won't eat you. Hand
it over, lubber. I know the rules, I do; I won't hurt
Thus encouraged, the buccaneer stepped forth more
briskly, and having passed something to Silver, from
hand to hand, slipped 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? Why, hillo! 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' that, I said."
"Well, you've about fixed it now, among you," continued
Silver. "You'll all swing now, I 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 luck, has Dick, and
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 council, as in
dooty bound; just you turn it over, as in dooty bound,
and see what's wrote there. Then you can talk."
"Thanky, George," replied the sea-cook. "You always
was brisk for business, and has the rules by heart,
George, as I'm pleased to see. Well, what is it,
anyway? Ah! 'Deposed'--that's it, is it? Very pretty
wrote, to be sure; like print, I swear. Your hand o'
write, George? Why, you was gettin' quite a leadin'
man in this here crew. You'll be cap'n next, I
shouldn't wonder. Just oblige me with that torch
again, will you? This pipe don't draw."
"Come, now," said George, "you 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. "Leastways, if you don't, I do;
and I wait here--and I'm still your cap'n, mind--till
you outs with your grievances and I reply; in the
meantime, your black spot ain't worth a biscuit. After
that, we'll see."
"Oh," replied George, "you 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 paused, and 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 accused, wiping the
sweat from his brow, for he had been talking with a
vehemence that shook the house. "Why, I give you my
word, I'm sick to speak to you. You've neither sense
nor memory, and 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
gum, if you could understand how bad it's bungled, you
would see! We're that near the gibbet that my neck's
stiff with thinking on it. You've seen 'em, maybe,
hanged in chains, birds about 'em, seamen p'inting 'em
out as they go down with the tide. 'Who's that?' says
one. 'That! Why, that'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.
Now, that's about where we are, every mother's son of
us, thanks to him, and Hands, and Anderson, and other
ruination fools of you. And if you want to know about
number four, and that boy, why, shiver my timbers,
isn't he a hostage? Are we a-going to waste a hostage?
No, not us; he might be our last chance, and I
shouldn't wonder. Kill that boy? Not me, mates! And
number three? Ah, well, there'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--you, John,
with your head broke--or you, George Merry, that had
the ague shakes upon you not six hours agone, and has
your eyes the colour of lemon peel to this same moment
on the clock? And maybe, perhaps, you didn't know
there was a consort coming either? But there is, and
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 two, and why I made a bargain--well, you came
crawling on your knees to me to make it--on your knees
you came, you 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 paper, with the three red crosses, that 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 me, the appearance of
the chart was incredible to the surviving mutineers.
They leaped upon it like cats upon a mouse. It went
from hand to hand, one tearing it from another; and by
the oaths and the cries and the childish laughter with
which they accompanied their examination, you would
have thought, not only they were fingering the very
gold, but were at sea with it, besides, in safety.
"Yes," said one, "that'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 it, and us no ship."
Silver suddenly sprang up, and supporting himself with
a hand against the wall: "Now I give you warning,
George," he cried. "One more word of your sauce, and
I'll call you down and fight you. How? Why, how do I
know? You had ought to tell me that--you and the rest,
that lost me my schooner, with your interference, burn
you! But not you, you can't; you hain't got the
invention of a cockroach. But civil you can speak, and
shall, George Merry, you 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 resign, by 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 turn, friend; and
lucky for you as I'm not a revengeful man. But that
was never my way. And now, shipmates, this black spot?
'Tain't much good now, is it? Dick's crossed his luck
and spoiled his Bible, and that's about all."
"It'll do to kiss the book on still, won't it?" growled
Dick, who 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 blank, for it had been the last leaf; the
other contained a verse or two of Revelation--these
words among the rest, which struck sharply home upon my
mind: "Without are dogs and murderers." The printed
side had been blackened with wood ash, which 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 moment, but not a trace of writing now remains
beyond a single scratch, such as a man might make with
That was the end of the night's business. Soon after,
with a drink all round, we lay down to sleep, and 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 eye, and heaven knows
I had matter enough for thought in the man whom I had
slain that afternoon, in my own most perilous position,
and above all, in 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 impossible, to make his peace and save his
miserable life. He himself slept peacefully and snored
aloud, yet my heart was sore for him, wicked as he was,
to think on the dark perils that environed and the
shameful gibbet that awaited him.
I WAS wakened--indeed, we were all wakened, for I could
see even the sentinel shake himself together from where
he had fallen against the door-post--by a clear, hearty
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
sound, yet my gladness was not without admixture. I
remembered with confusion my insubordinate and stealthy
conduct, and 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 dark, for the day had hardly
come; and when I ran to a loophole and looked out, I
saw him standing, like Silver once before, up to the
mid-leg in creeping vapour.
"You, doctor! Top o' the morning to you, sir!" cried
Silver, broad awake and beaming with good nature in a
moment. "Bright and early, to be sure; and it's the
early bird, as the saying goes, that gets the rations.
George, shake up your timbers, son, and help Dr.
Livesey over the ship's side. All a-doin' well, your
patients was--all well and merry."
So he pattered on, standing on the hilltop with his crutch
under his elbow and one hand upon the side of the log-house
--quite the old John in voice, manner, and expression.
"We've quite a surprise for you too, sir," he
continued. "We've a little stranger here--he! he! A
noo boarder and lodger, sir, and looking fit and taut
as a fiddle; slep' like a supercargo, he did, right
alongside of John--stem to stem we was, all night."
Dr. Livesey was by this time across the stockade and
pretty near the cook, and I could hear the alteration
in his voice as he said, "Not Jim?"
"The very same Jim as ever was," says Silver.
The doctor stopped outright, although he did not speak,
and it was some seconds before he seemed able to move on.
"Well, well," he said at last, "duty 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 apprehension, though he
must have known that his life, among these treacherous
demons, depended 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 manner, I
suppose, reacted on the men, for they behaved to him as
if nothing had occurred, as 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 head, "and 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 way, "I 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. "Well, step up here,
Dick, and let me see your tongue. No, I should be
surprised if he did! The man's tongue is fit to
frighten the French. Another fever."
"Ah, there," said Morgan, "that comed of sp'iling Bibles."
"That comes--as you call it--of being arrant asses,"
retorted the doctor, "and 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--"well, that's done for today. And now I should
wish to have a talk with that boy, please."
And he nodded his head in my direction carelessly.
George Merry was at the door, spitting 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 that, knowing as how you had a
fancy for the boy. We're all humbly grateful for your
kindness, and as you see, puts 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. Hawkins, will you give me
your word of honour as a young gentleman--for a young
gentleman you are, although poor born--your word of
honour not to slip your cable?"
I readily gave the pledge required.
"Then, doctor," said Silver, "you 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 disapproval, which nothing but
Silver's black looks had restrained, broke out
immediately the doctor had left the house. Silver was
roundly accused of playing double--of trying to make a
separate peace for himself, of sacrificing the
interests of his accomplices and victims, and, in one
word, of the identical, exact thing that he was doing.
It seemed to me so obvious, in this case, that I could
not imagine how he was to turn their anger. But he was
twice the man the rest were, and his last night's
victory had given him a huge preponderance on their
minds. He called them all the fools and dolts you can
imagine, said it was necessary I should talk to the
doctor, fluttered the chart in their faces, asked 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 doctor, if I have to ile his boots with brandy."
And then he bade them get the fire lit, and stalked out
upon his crutch, with his hand on my shoulder, leaving
them in a disarray, and 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 deliberately, then, did we advance across the sand
to where the doctor awaited us on the other side of the
stockade, and as soon as we were within easy speaking
distance Silver stopped.
"You'll make a note of this here also, doctor," says
he, "and 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 in, his 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 fairly, I'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
good, not any more than you'll forget the bad, I know.
And I step aside--see here--and leave you and Jim
alone. And you'll put that down for me too, for it's a
long stretch, is that!"
So saying, he stepped back a little way, till he was
out of earshot, and there sat down upon a tree-stump
and began to whistle, spinning round now and again upon
his seat so as to command a sight, sometimes 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 house, from which
they brought forth pork and bread to make the breakfast.
"So, Jim," said the doctor sadly, "here 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 anyway, and I should have
been dead by now if Silver hadn't stood for me; and
doctor, believe this, I can die--and I dare say I
deserve it--but what I fear is torture. If they come
to torture me--"
"Jim," the doctor interrupted, and his voice was quite
changed, "Jim, I can't have this. Whip over, and we'll
run for it."
"Doctor," said I, "I passed my word."
"I know, I know," he cried. "We can't help that, Jim,
now. I'll take it on my shoulders, holus bolus, blame
and shame, my boy; but stay here, I cannot let you.
Jump! One jump, and you're out, and 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
word, and back I go. But, doctor, you did not let me
finish. If they come to torture me, I might let slip a
word of where the ship is, for I got the ship, part by
luck and part by risking, and she lies in North Inlet,
on the southern beach, and just below high water. At
half tide she must be high and dry."
"The ship!" exclaimed the doctor.
Rapidly I described to him my adventures, and he heard
me out in silence.
"There is a kind of fate in this," he observed when I
had done. "Every step, it'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 return, my
boy. You found out the plot; you found Ben Gunn--the
best deed that ever you did, or will do, though you
live to ninety. Oh, by Jupiter, and talking of Ben
Gunn! Why, this 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 only, asking your pardon, save my life
and the boy's by seeking for that treasure; and you may
lay to that."
"Well, Silver," replied the doctor, "if that is so, I'll
go one step further: look out for squalls when you find it."
"Sir," said Silver, "as 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 secret, you see, Silver, or, I give
you my word, I'd tell it you. But I'll go as far with
you as I dare go, and a step beyond, for I'll have my
wig sorted by the captain or I'm mistaken! And first,
I'll give you a bit of hope; Silver, if we both get
alive out of this wolf-trap, I'll do my best to save
you, short of perjury."
Silver's face was radiant. "You couldn't say more, I'm
sure, sir, not if you was my mother," he cried.
"Well, that's my first concession," added the doctor.
"My second is a piece of advice: keep the boy close
beside you, and when you need help, halloo. I'm off to
seek it for you, and that itself will show you if I
speak at random. Good-bye, Jim."
And Dr. Livesey shook hands with me through the
stockade, nodded to Silver, and set off at a brisk pace
into the wood.
The Treasure-hunt--Flint's Pointer
"JIM," said Silver when we were alone, "if 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 ready, and we were soon seated here and there about
the sand over biscuit and fried junk. They had lit a
fire fit to roast an ox, and it was now grown so hot
that they could only approach it from the windward, and
even there not without precaution. In the same
wasteful spirit, they had cooked, I suppose, three
times more than we could eat; and one of them, with an
empty laugh, threw what was left into the fire, which
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
sentries, though they were bold enough for a brush and
be done with it, I could see their entire unfitness for
anything like a prolonged campaign.
Even Silver, eating away, with Captain Flint upon his
shoulder, had not a word of blame for their recklessness.
And this the more surprised me, for I thought he had
never shown himself so cunning as he did then.
"Aye, mates," said he, "it'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 on, with his mouth full of the hot
bacon; thus he restored their hope and confidence, and,
I more than suspect, repaired his own at the same time.
"As for hostage," he continued, "that'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 part, I was horribly cast down. Should the
scheme he had now sketched prove feasible, Silver,
already doubly a traitor, would not hesitate to adopt
it. He had still a foot in either camp, and there was
no doubt he would prefer wealth and freedom with the
pirates to a bare escape from hanging, which was the
best he had to hope on our side.
Nay, and even if things so fell out that he was forced
to keep his faith with Dr. Livesey, even 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 friends, their
unexplained desertion of the stockade, their
inexplicable cession of the chart, or harder still to
understand, the doctor's last warning to Silver, "Look
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 figure, had 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 appearance, Captain
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 rope, now in his free
hand, now between his powerful teeth. For all the
world, I was led like a dancing bear.
The other men were variously burthened, some carrying
picks and shovels--for that had been the very first
necessary they brought ashore from the HISPANIOLA--
others laden with pork, bread, and brandy for the
midday meal. All the stores, I observed, came from our
stock, and I could see the truth of Silver's words the
night before. Had he not struck a bargain with the doctor,
he and his mutineers, deserted by the ship, must 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 eatables, it was not likely
they would be very flush of powder.
Well, thus equipped, we all set out--even the fellow
with the broken head, who should certainly have kept in
shadow--and straggled, one after another, to the beach,
where the two gigs awaited us. Even these bore trace
of the drunken folly of the pirates, one in a broken
thwart, and both in their muddy and unbailed condition.
Both were to be carried along with us for the sake of
safety; and so, with our numbers divided between them,
we set forth upon the bosom of the anchorage.
As we pulled over, there was some discussion on the
chart. The red cross was, of course, far too large to
be a guide; and the terms of the note on the back, as
you will hear, admitted of some ambiguity. They ran,
the reader may remember, thus:
Tall tree, Spy-glass shoulder, bearing 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. Now, right
before us the anchorage was bounded by a plateau from
two to three hundred feet high, adjoining on the north
the sloping southern shoulder of the Spy-glass and
rising again towards the south into the rough, cliffy
eminence called the Mizzen-mast Hill. The top of the
plateau was dotted thickly with pine-trees of varying
height. Every here and there, one of a different
species rose forty or fifty feet clear above its
neighbours, and which of these was the particular "tall
tree" of Captain Flint could only be decided on the
spot, and by the readings of the compass.
Yet, although that was the case, every man on board the
boats had picked a favourite of his own ere we were
half-way over, Long John alone shrugging his shoulders
and bidding them wait till they were there.
We pulled easily, by Silver's directions, not to weary
the hands prematurely, and 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 left, we began to ascend the slope
towards the plateau.
At the first outset, heavy, miry ground and a matted,
marish vegetation greatly delayed our progress; but by
little and little the hill began to steepen and become
stony under foot, and the wood to change its character
and to grow in a more open order. It was, indeed, a
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 air, besides, was fresh and stirring, and
this, under the sheer sunbeams, was a wonderful
refreshment to our senses.
The party spread itself abroad, in a fan shape,
shouting and leaping to and fro. About the centre, and
a good way behind the rest, Silver and I followed--I
tethered by my rope, he ploughing, with deep pants,
among the sliding gravel. From time to time, indeed, I
had to lend him a hand, or 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 aloud, as if in terror.
Shout after shout came from him, and the others began
to run in his direction.
"He can't 'a found the treasure," said old Morgan, hurrying
past us from the right, "for that's clean a-top."
Indeed, as we found when we also reached the spot, it
was something very different. At the foot of a pretty
big pine and involved in a green creeper, which had even
partly lifted some of the smaller bones, a human skeleton
lay, with a few shreds of clothing, on the ground. I
believe a chill struck for a moment to every heart.
"He was a seaman," said George Merry, who, bolder than
the rest, had gone up close and was examining the rags
of clothing. "Leastways, this is good sea-cloth."
"Aye, aye," said Silver; "like enough; you wouldn't
look to find a bishop here, I reckon. But what sort of
a way is that for bones to lie? 'Tain't in natur'."
Indeed, on a second glance, it seemed impossible to
fancy that the body was in a natural position. But for
some disarray (the work, perhaps, of 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 direction, his
hands, raised above his head like a diver's, pointing
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 Island, stickin' out like a tooth. Just
take a bearing, will you, along the line of them bones."
It was done. The body pointed straight in the
direction of the island, and 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. But, by thunder! If it don't
make me cold inside to think of Flint. This is one of
HIS jokes, and no mistake. Him and these six was
alone here; he killed 'em, every man; and this one he
hauled here and laid down by compass, shiver my
timbers! They're long bones, and the hair's been
yellow. Aye, that would be Allardyce. You mind
Allardyce, Tom Morgan?"
"Aye, aye," returned Morgan; "I mind him; he owed me
money, he did, and took my knife ashore with him."
"Speaking of knives," said another, "why 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 Merry, still
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 nice, says you. Great guns! Messmates, but if
Flint was living, this would be a hot spot for you and
me. Six they were, and 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 laid, with 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
walked, it would be Flint's. Dear heart, but he died
bad, did Flint!"
"Aye, that he did," observed another; "now he raged,
and now he hollered for the rum, and now he sang.
'Fifteen Men' were his only song, mates; and I tell you
true, I never rightly liked to hear it since. It was
main hot, and the windy was open, and 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 walk, that I know; leastways, he won't
walk by day, and you may lay to that. Care killed a
cat. Fetch ahead for the doubloons."
We started, certainly; but in spite of the hot sun and
the staring daylight, the pirates no longer ran
separate and shouting through the wood, but 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 alarm, partly
to rest Silver and the sick folk, the 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 us, over the tree-
tops, we beheld the Cape of the Woods fringed with
surf; behind, we not only looked down upon the
anchorage and Skeleton Island, but saw--clear across
the spit and the eastern lowlands--a great field of
open sea upon the east. Sheer above us rose the Spy-
glass, here dotted with single pines, there black with
precipices. There was no sound but that of the distant
breakers, mounting from all round, and the chirp of
countless insects in the brush. Not a man, not a sail,
upon the sea; the very largeness of the view increased
the sense of solitude.
Silver, as he sat, took certain bearings with his compass.
"There are three 'tall trees'" said he, "about 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!
Well, I reckon he was blue. That's a true word."
Ever since they had found the skeleton and got upon
this train of thought, they had spoken lower and lower,
and they had almost got to whispering by now, so that
the sound of their talk hardly interrupted the silence
of the wood. All of a sudden, out of the middle of the
trees in front of us, a thin, high, trembling 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 feet, some 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 said, in the middle of a note, as though
someone had laid his hand upon the singer's mouth. Coming
through the clear, sunny 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 Silver, struggling with his ashen lips to
get the word out; "this won't do. Stand by to go
about. This is a rum start, and I can't name the
voice, but it's someone skylarking--someone that's
flesh and blood, and you may lay to that."
His courage had come back as he spoke, and 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 themselves, when the same voice
broke out again--not this time singing, but 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 higher, and with an oath that I leave out:
"Fetch aft the rum, Darby!"
The buccaneers remained rooted to the ground, their eyes
starting from their heads. Long after the voice had died
away they still stared in silence, dreadfully, before them.
"That fixes it!" gasped one. "Let's go."
"They was his last words," moaned Morgan, "his last
words above board."
Dick had his Bible out and was praying volubly. He had
been well brought up, had Dick, before he came to sea
and fell among bad companions.
Still Silver was unconquered. I could hear his teeth
rattle in his head, but 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 stuff, and I'll not be beat by man or
devil. I never was feared of Flint in his life, and,
by the powers, I'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
followers, rather, indeed, of 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 together, and kept them close by John, as if
his daring helped them. He, on his part, had pretty
well fought his weakness down.
"Sperrit? Well, maybe," he said. "But there's one
thing not clear to me. There was an echo. Now, no man
ever seen a sperrit with a shadow; well then, what's he
doing with an echo to him, I 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 superstitious, and to
my wonder, George Merry was greatly relieved.
"Well, that's so," he said. "You've a head upon your
shoulders, John, and no mistake. 'Bout ship, mates!
This here crew is on a wrong tack, I do believe. And
come to think on it, it was like Flint's voice, I grant
you, but not just so clear-away like it, after 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 Morgan, springing 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
alive, nobody minds him."
It was extraordinary how their spirits had returned and
how the natural colour had revived in their faces.
Soon they were chatting together, with intervals of
listening; and not long after, hearing no further
sound, they 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 alive, nobody minded Ben Gunn.
Dick alone still held his Bible, and looked around him
as he went, with fearful glances; but he found no
sympathy, and 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 by, what do you
suppose a sperrit would give for it? Not that!" and he
snapped his big fingers, halting a moment on his crutch.
But Dick was not to be comforted; indeed, it was soon
plain to me that the lad was falling sick; hastened by
heat, exhaustion, and the shock of his alarm, the
fever, predicted by Dr. Livesey, was evidently growing
It was fine open walking here, upon the summit; our way
lay a little downhill, for, as I have said, the plateau
tilted towards the west. The pines, great and small,
grew wide apart; and even between the clumps of nutmeg
and azalea, wide open spaces baked in the hot sunshine.
Striking, as we did, pretty near north-west across the
island, we drew, on the one hand, ever nearer under the
shoulders of the Spy-glass, and on the other, looked
ever wider over that western bay where I had once
tossed and trembled in the oracle.
The first of the tall trees was reached, and 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 vegetable, with a red
column as big as a cottage, and 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 money, as they
drew nearer, swallowed up their previous terrors.
Their eyes burned in their heads; their feet grew
speedier and lighter; their whole soul was found up in
that fortune, that whole lifetime of extravagance and
pleasure, that lay waiting there for each of them.
Silver hobbled, grunting, on 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 gold, all else had been forgotten: his
promise and the doctor's warning were both things of
the past, and I could not doubt that he hoped to seize
upon the treasure, find and board the HISPANIOLA
under cover of night, cut every honest throat about
that island, and sail away as he had at first intended,
laden with crimes and riches.
Shaken as I was with these alarms, it was hard for me
to keep up with the rapid pace of the treasure-hunters.
Now and again I stumbled, and it was then that Silver
plucked so roughly at the rope and launched at me his
murderous glances. Dick, who had dropped behind us and
now brought up the rear, was babbling to himself both
prayers and curses as his fever kept rising. This also
added to my wretchedness, and to crown all, I was haunted
by the thought of the tragedy that had once been acted on
that plateau, when that ungodly buccaneer with the blue face
--he who died at Savannah, singing and shouting for drink--
had there, with his own hand, cut down his six accomplices.
This grove that was now so peaceful must then have rung with
cries, I 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 suddenly, not ten yards further, we beheld them stop.
A low cry arose. Silver doubled his pace, digging 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 excavation, not very recent, for
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 saw, branded 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-stretch, like a
racer, on that money; well, he was brought up, in a
single second, dead; and he kept his head, found his
temper, and changed his plan before the others had had
time to realize the disappointment.
"Jim," he whispered, "take that, and stand by for trouble."
And he passed me a double-barrelled pistol.
At the same time, he began quietly moving northward,
and in a few steps had put the hollow between us two
and the other five. Then he looked at me and nodded,
as much as to say, "Here is a narrow corner," as,
indeed, I thought it was. His looks were not quite
friendly, and I was so revolted at these constant
changes that I could not forbear whispering, "So you've
changed sides again."
There was no time left for him to answer in. The
buccaneers, with oaths and cries, began to leap, one
after another, into the pit and to dig with their fingers,
throwing the boards aside as they did so. Morgan found a
piece of gold. He held it up with a perfect spout of oaths.
It was a two-guinea piece, and it went from hand to hand
among them for a quarter of a minute.
"Two guineas!" roared Merry, shaking it at Silver.
"That's your seven hundred thousand pounds, is it?
You're the man for bargains, ain't you? You're him
that never bungled nothing, you wooden-headed lubber!"
"Dig away, boys," said Silver with the coolest insolence;
"you'll find some pig-nuts and I shouldn't wonder."
"Pig-nuts!" repeated Merry, in a scream. "Mates, do
you hear that? I tell you now, that man there knew it
all along. Look in the face of him and you'll see it
"Ah, Merry," remarked Silver, "standing 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 excavation, darting
furious glances behind them. One thing I observed,
which looked well for us: they all got out upon the
opposite side from Silver.
Well, there we stood, two on one side, five on the
other, the pit between us, and nobody screwed up high
enough to offer the first blow. Silver never moved; he
watched them, very upright on his crutch, and looked as
cool as ever I saw him. He was brave, and no mistake.
At last Merry seemed to think a speech might help matters.
"Mates," says he, "there'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 voice, and 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 side, where he lay dead, but still
twitching; and the other three turned and ran for it
with all their might.
Before you could wink, Long John had fired two barrels
of a pistol into the struggling Merry, and as the man
rolled up his eyes at him in the last agony, "George,"
said he, "I reckon I settled you."
At the same moment, the doctor, Gray, and Ben Gunn joined
us, with smoking muskets, from among the nutmeg-trees.
"Forward!" cried the doctor. "Double quick, my lads.
We must head 'em off the boats."
And we set off at a great pace, sometimes plunging
through the bushes to the chest.
I tell you, but Silver was anxious to keep up with us.
The work that man went through, leaping on his crutch
till the muscles of his chest were fit to burst, was
work no sound man ever equalled; and so thinks the
doctor. As it was, he was already thirty yards behind
us and on the verge of strangling when we reached the
brow of the slope.
"Doctor," he hailed, "see there! No hurry!"
Sure enough there was no hurry. In a more open part of
the plateau, we could see the three survivors still running
in the same direction as they had started, right for Mizzen-
mast Hill. We were already between them and the boats; and
so we four sat down to breathe, while Long John, mopping his
face, came slowly up with us.
"Thank ye kindly, doctor," says he. "You came in in
about the nick, I guess, for me and Hawkins. And so
it's you, Ben Gunn!" he added. "Well, you're a nice
one, to be sure."
"I'm Ben Gunn, I am," replied the maroon, wriggling
like an eel in his embarrassment. "And," he added,
after a long pause, "how do, Mr. Silver? Pretty well,
I thank ye, says you."
"Ben, Ben," murmured Silver, "to think as you've done me!"
The doctor sent back Gray for one of the pick-axes
deserted, in their flight, by the mutineers, and then
as we proceeded leisurely downhill to where the boats
were lying, related in a few words what had taken
place. It was a story that profoundly interested
Silver; and Ben Gunn, the half-idiot maroon, was the
hero from beginning to end.
Ben, in his long, lonely wanderings about the island,
had found the skeleton--it was he that had rifled it;
he had found the treasure; he had dug it up (it was the
haft of his pick-axe that lay broken in the
excavation); he had carried it on his back, in many
weary journeys, from the foot of the tall pine to a
cave he had on the two-pointed hill at the north-east
angle of the island, and there it had lain stored in
safety since two months before the arrival of the HISPANIOLA.
When the doctor had wormed this secret from him on the
afternoon of the attack, and when next morning he saw
the anchorage deserted, he had gone to Silver, given
him the chart, which was now useless--given him the
stores, for Ben Gunn's cave was well supplied with
goats' meat salted by himself--given anything and
everything to get a chance of moving in safety from the
stockade to the two-pointed hill, there to be clear of
malaria and keep a guard upon the money.
"As for you, Jim," he said, "it went against my heart,
but I did what I thought best for those who had stood
by their duty; and if you were not one of these, whose
fault was it?"
That morning, finding that I was to be involved in the
horrid disappointment he had prepared for the
mutineers, he had run all the way to the cave, and
leaving the squire to guard the captain, had taken Gray
and the maroon and started, making the diagonal across
the island to be at hand beside the pine. Soon,
however, he saw that our party had the start of him;
and Ben Gunn, being fleet of foot, had been dispatched
in front to do his best alone. Then it had occurred to
him to work upon the superstitions of his former
shipmates, and 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 Silver, "it 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-axe, demolished one of them, and 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. Silver, though he
was almost killed already with fatigue, was set to an oar,
like the rest of us, and we were soon skimming swiftly over
a smooth sea. Soon we passed out of the straits and doubled
the south-east corner of the island, round which, four days
ago, we had towed the HISPANIOLA.
As we passed the two-pointed hill, we could see the
black mouth of Ben Gunn's cave and a figure standing by
it, leaning on a musket. It was the squire, and we
waved a handkerchief and gave him three cheers, in
which the voice of Silver joined as heartily as any.
Three miles farther, just inside the mouth of North
Inlet, what 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 anchorage, we should never have
found her more, or found her stranded beyond help. As
it was, there 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 Cove, the nearest point for Ben Gunn's
treasure-house; and then Gray, single-handed, returned
with the gig to the HISPANIOLA, where he was to
pass the night on guard.
A gentle slope ran up from the beach to the entrance of
the cave. At the top, the squire met us. To me he was
cordial and kind, saying nothing of my escapade either
in the way of blame or praise. At Silver's polite
salute he somewhat flushed.
"John Silver," he said, "you'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 John, again 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 place, with a little spring and a pool of clear
water, overhung with ferns. The floor was sand.
Before a big fire lay Captain Smollett; and in a far
corner, only duskily flickered over by the blaze, I
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 amassing, what blood and sorrow, what
good ships scuttled on the deep, what brave men walking
the plank blindfold, what shot of cannon, what shame
and lies and cruelty, perhaps no man alive could tell.
Yet there were still three upon that island--Silver,
and old Morgan, and Ben Gunn--who had each taken his
share in these crimes, as each had hoped in vain to
share in the reward.
"Come in, Jim," said the captain. "You're a good boy in
your line, Jim, but I don't think you and me'll go to sea
again. You're too much of the born favourite for me. Is
that you, John Silver? What brings you here, man?"
"Come back to my dooty, sir," returned Silver.
"Ah!" said the captain, and that was all he said.
What a supper I had of it that night, with all my
friends around me; and what a meal it was, with Ben
Gunn's salted goat and some delicacies and a bottle of
old wine from the HISPANIOLA. Never, I am sure,
were people gayer or happier. And there was Silver,
sitting back almost out of the firelight, but eating
heartily, prompt to spring forward when anything was
wanted, even joining quietly in our laughter--the same
bland, polite, obsequious seaman of the voyage out.
THE next morning we fell early to work, for the
transportation of this great mass of gold near a mile
by land to the beach, and thence three miles by boat to
the HISPANIOLA, was 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 onslaught, and we thought, besides, they had had
more than enough of fighting.
Therefore the work was pushed on briskly. Gray and Ben
Gunn came and went with the boat, while the rest during
their absences piled treasure on the beach. Two of the
bars, slung in a rope's end, made a good load for a
grown man--one that he was glad to walk slowly with.
For my part, as I was not much use at carrying, I was
kept busy all day in the cave packing the minted money
It was a strange collection, like Billy Bones's hoard
for the diversity of coinage, but so much larger and so
much more varied that I think I never had more pleasure
than in sorting them. English, French, Spanish,
Portuguese, Georges, and Louises, doubloons and double
guineas and moidores and sequins, the pictures of all
the kings of Europe for the last hundred years, strange
Oriental pieces stamped with what looked like wisps of
string or bits of spider's web, round pieces and square
pieces, and pieces bored through the middle, as if to
wear them round your neck--nearly every variety of
money in the world must, I think, have found a place in
that collection; and for number, I am sure they were
like autumn leaves, so 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 aboard, but 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 isle, when, from out
the thick darkness below, the wind brought us a noise
between shrieking and singing. It was only a snatch
that reached our ears, followed by the former silence.
"Heaven forgive them," said the doctor; "'tis
"All drunk, sir," struck in the voice of Silver
from behind us.
Silver, I should say, was allowed his entire liberty,
and in spite of daily rebuffs, seemed to regard himself
once more as quite a privileged and friendly dependent.
Indeed, it was remarkable how well he bore these
slights and with what unwearying politeness he kept on
trying to ingratiate himself with all. Yet, I think,
none treated him better than a dog, unless it was Ben
Gunn, who was still terribly afraid of his old
quartermaster, or myself, who had really something to
thank him for; although for that matter, I suppose, I
had reason to think even worse of him than anybody
else, for I had seen him meditating a fresh treachery
upon the plateau. Accordingly, it was pretty gruffly
that the doctor answered him.
"Drunk or raving," said he.
"Right you were, sir," replied Silver; "and precious
little odds which, to you and me."
"I suppose you would hardly ask me to call you a humane
man," returned the doctor with a sneer, "and 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 life, and you
may lay to that. I'm on your side now, hand and glove;
and I shouldn't wish for to see the party weakened, let
alone yourself, seeing as I know what I owes you. But
these men down there, they couldn't keep their word--
no, not supposing they wished to; and what's more, they
couldn't believe as you could."
"No," said the doctor. "You're the man to keep your
word, we know that."
Well, that 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 glee, I must say, of Ben Gunn, and with the
strong approval of Gray. We left a good stock of powder
and shot, the bulk of the salt goat, a few medicines, and
some other necessaries, tools, clothing, a spare sail, a
fathom or two of rope, and by the particular desire of the
doctor, a handsome present of tobacco.
That was about our last doing on the island. Before
that, we had got the treasure stowed and had shipped
enough water and the remainder of the goat meat in case
of any distress; and at last, one fine morning, we weighed
anchor, which was about all that we could manage, and stood
out of North Inlet, the 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 for, as we soon had proved. For coming
through the narrows, we had to lie very near the
southern point, and there we saw all three of them
kneeling together on a spit of sand, with their arms
raised in supplication. It went to all our hearts, I
think, to 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 left, and where they were to find them.
But they continued to call us by name and appeal to us,
for God's sake, to be merciful and not leave them to
die in such a place.
At last, seeing the ship still bore on her course and
was now swiftly drawing out of earshot, one of them--I
know not which it was--leapt to his feet with a hoarse
cry, whipped his musket to his shoulder, and sent a shot
whistling over Silver's head and through the main-sail.
After that, we kept under cover of the bulwarks, and
when next I looked out they had disappeared from the
spit, and the spit itself had almost melted out of
sight in the growing distance. That was, at least, the
end of that; and before noon, to 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 orders, for though greatly
recovered he was still in want of quiet. We laid her
head for the nearest port in Spanish America, for we
could not risk the voyage home without fresh hands; and
as it was, what with baffling winds and a couple of
fresh gales, we were all worn out before we reached it.
It was just at sundown when we cast anchor in a most
beautiful land-locked gulf, and 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 fruits, and 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 squire, taking me along
with them, went ashore to pass the early part of the
night. Here they met the captain of an English man-of-
war, fell in talk with him, went on board his ship,
and, in short, had so agreeable a time that day was
breaking when we came alongside the HISPANIOLA.
Ben Gunn was on deck alone, and as soon as we came on
board he began, with wonderful contortions, to 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 lives, which 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 coin, worth perhaps
three or four hundred guineas, to help him on his
I think we were all pleased to be so cheaply quit of him.
Well, to make a long story short, we got a few hands on
board, made a good cruise home, and 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!"