TREASURE ISLAND - Robert Louis Stevenson  1850-1894

Treasure hunting is an international obsession

 

 

Treasure Island is an adventure novel by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, narrating a tale of "buccaneers and buried gold". First published as a book on May 23, 1883, it was originally serialized in the children's magazine Young Folks between 1881–82 under the title Treasure Island; or, the mutiny of the Hispaniola with Stevenson adopting the pseudonym Captain George North.

Traditionally considered a coming-of-age story, Treasure Island is an adventure tale known for its atmosphere, characters and action, and also as a wry commentary on the ambiguity of morality — as seen in Long John Silver — unusual for children's literature then and now. It is one of the most frequently dramatized of all novels. The influence of Treasure Island on popular perceptions of pirates is enormous, including treasure maps marked with an "X", schooners, the Black Spot, tropical islands, and one-legged seamen carrying parrots on their shoulders.

 

Jim Hawkins sitting in the apple-barrel, listening to the pirates, the Golden Skull

 

Jim Hawkins sitting in the apple-barrel, listening to the pirates



Plot summary 

 

The novel is divided into 6 parts and 34 chapters: Jim Hawkins is the narrator of all except for chapters 16-18 which are narrated by Doctor Livesey.

The novel opens in the seaside village of Black Hill Cove in south-west England (according to Stevenson, in his letters and in the related fictional play Admiral Guinea, near Barnstaple, Devon) in the mid-18th century. The narrator, James "Jim" Hawkins, is the young son of the owners of the Admiral Benbow Inn. An old drunken seaman named Billy Bones becomes a long-term lodger at the inn, only paying for about the first week of his stay. Jim quickly realizes that Bones is in hiding, and that he particularly dreads meeting an unidentified seafaring man with one leg. Some months later, Bones is visited by a mysterious sailor named Black Dog. Their meeting turns violent, Black Dog flees and Bones suffers a stroke. While Jim cares for him, Bones confesses that he was once the mate of the late notorious pirate, Captain Flint, and that his old crewmates want Bones's sea chest. Some time later, another of Bones's crew mates, a blind man named Pew, appears at the inn and forces Jim to lead him to Bones. Pew gives Bones a paper. After Pew leaves, Bones opens the paper to discover it is marked with the Black Spot, a pirate summons, with the warning that he has until ten o'clock to meet their demands. Bones drops dead of apoplexy (in this context, a stroke) on the spot. Jim and his mother open Bones' sea chest to collect the amount due to them for Bones's room and board, but before they can count out the money that they are owed, they hear pirates approaching the inn and are forced to flee and hide, Jim taking with him a mysterious oilskin packet from the chest. The pirates, led by Pew, find the sea chest and the money, but are frustrated that there is no sign of "Flint's fist". Customs men approach and the pirates escape to their vessel (all except for Pew, who is accidentally run down and killed by the agents' horses).

p. 34: "...{Pew} 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." —Stevenson, R.L.

Jim takes the mysterious oilskin packet to Dr. Livesey, as he is a "gentleman and a magistrate", and he, Squire Trelawney and Jim Hawkins examine it together, finding it contains a logbook detailing the treasure looted during Captain Flint's career, and a detailed map of an island with the location of Flint's treasure marked on it. Squire Trelawney immediately plans to commission a sailing vessel to hunt for the treasure, with the help of Dr. Livesey and Jim. Livesey warns Trelawney to be silent about their objective. Going to Bristol docks, Trelawney buys a schooner named the Hispaniola, hires a Captain Smollett to command her, and retains Long John Silver, a former sea cook and now the owner of the dock-side "Spy-Glass" tavern, to run the galley. Silver helps Trelawney to hire the rest of his crew. When Jim arrives in Bristol and visits Silver at the Spy-Glass, his suspicions are aroused: Silver is missing a leg, like the man Bones warned Jim about, and Black Dog is sitting in the tavern. Black Dog runs away at the sight of Jim, and Silver denies all knowledge of the fugitive so convincingly that he wins Jim's trust. Despite Captain Smollett's misgivings about the mission and Silver's hand-picked crew, the Hispaniola sets sail for the Caribbean.

As they near their destination, Jim crawls into the ship's near-empty apple barrel to get an apple. While inside, he overhears Silver talking secretly with some of the crewmen. Silver admits that he was Captain Flint's quartermaster, that several others of the crew were also once Flint's men, and that he is recruiting more men from the crew to his own side. After Flint's treasure is recovered, Silver intends to murder the Hispaniola's officers, and keep the loot for himself and his men. When the pirates have returned to their berths, Jim warns Smollett, Trelawney and Livesey of the impending mutiny. On reaching Treasure Island, the majority of Silver's men go ashore immediately. Although Jim is not yet aware of this, Silver's men have demanded they seize the treasure immediately, discarding Silver's own more careful plan to postpone any open mutiny or violence until after the treasure is safely aboard. Jim lands with Silver's men, but runs away from them almost as soon as he is ashore. Hiding in the woods, Jim sees Silver murder Tom, a crewman loyal to Smollett. Running for his life, he encounters Ben Gunn, another ex-crewman of Flint's who has been marooned for three years on the island, but who treats Jim kindly.

Meanwhile, Trelawney, Livesey and their loyal crewmen surprise and overpower the few pirates left aboard the Hispaniola. They row ashore and move into an abandoned, fortified stockade where they are joined by Jim Hawkins, who has left Ben Gunn behind. Silver approaches under a flag of truce and tries to negotiate Smollett's surrender; Smollett rebuffs him utterly, and Silver flies into a rage, promising to attack the stockade. "Them that die'll be the lucky ones," he famously threatens as he storms off. The pirates assault the stockade, but in a furious battle with losses on both sides, they are driven off. During the night Jim sneaks out, takes Ben Gunn's coracle and approaches the Hispaniola under cover of darkness. He cuts the ship's anchor cable, setting her adrift and out of reach of the pirates on shore. After daybreak, he manages to approach the schooner and board her.

 

Of the two pirates left aboard, only one is still alive: the coxswain, Israel Hands, who has murdered his comrade in a drunken brawl and been badly wounded in the process. Hands agrees to help Jim helm the ship to a safe beach in exchange for medical treatment and brandy, but once the ship is approaching the beach Hands tries to murder Jim. Jim escapes by climbing the rigging, and when Hands tries to skewer him with a thrown dagger, Jim reflexively shoots Hands dead. Having beached the Hispaniola securely, Jim returns to the stockade under cover of night and sneaks back inside. Because of the darkness, he does not realize until too late that the stockade is now occupied by the pirates, and he is captured. Silver, whose always-shaky command has become more tenuous than ever, seizes on Jim as a hostage, refusing his men's demands to kill him or torture him for information.

 

Silver's rivals in the pirate crew, led by George Merry, give Silver the Black Spot and move to depose him as captain. Silver answers his opponents eloquently, rebuking them for defacing a page from the Bible to create the Black Spot and revealing that he has obtained the treasure map from Dr. Livesey, thus restoring the crew's confidence. The following day, the pirates search for the treasure. They are shadowed by Ben Gunn, who makes ghostly sounds to dissuade them from continuing, but Silver forges ahead and locates where Flint's treasure is buried. The pirates discover that the cache has been rifled and the treasure is gone.

 

One More Step, Mr. Hands by N. C. Wyeth, 1911, for Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

 

One More Step, Mr. Hands by N. C. Wyeth, 1911, for 

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

 

 

 

The enraged pirates turn on Silver and Jim, but Ben Gunn, Dr. Livesey and Abraham Gray attack the pirates, killing two and dispersing the rest. Silver surrenders to Dr. Livesey, promising to return to his duty. They go to Ben Gunn's cave where Gunn has had the treasure hidden for some months. The treasure is divided amongst Trelawney and his loyal men, including Jim and Ben Gunn, and they return to England, leaving the surviving pirates marooned on the island. Silver escapes with the help of the fearful Ben Gunn and a small part of the treasure 3/400 guineas. Remembering Silver, Jim reflects that "I dare say he met his old Negress (wife), and perhaps still lives in comfort with her and Captain Flint (his parrot). It is to be hoped so, I suppose, for his chances of comfort in another world are very small."

Backstory

 

Treasure Island contains numerous references to fictional past events, gradually revealed throughout, that shed light upon the events of the main plot.

These refer to the pirate Captain J. Flint, "the blood-thirstiest buccaneer that ever lived", who is dead before "Treasure Island" begins. Flint was captain of the Walrus, with a long career chiefly in the West Indies and along the coasts of the southern American colonies. His crew included a number of characters who also appear in the main story: Flint's first mate, William (Billy) Bones; his quartermaster John Silver; his gunner Israel Hands; and among his other sailors: George Merry, Tom Morgan, Pew, "Black Dog" and Allardyce (who becomes Flint's "pointer" toward the treasure). Many other former members of Flint's crew were on the Hispaniola, though it is not always possible to identify which were Flint's men and which later agreed to join the mutiny — such as the boatswain Job Anderson and a mutineer "John", killed at the rifled treasure cache. Flint and his crew were successful, ruthless, feared ("the roughest crew afloat") and rich, provided they could keep their hands on the money they stole. The bulk of the treasure Flint made by his piracy — £700,000 worth of gold, silver bars and a cache of armaments — was buried on a remote Caribbean island. Flint brought the treasure ashore from the Walrus with six of his sailors, and built a stockade on the island for defence. When they had buried the treasure, Flint returned to the Walrus alone -—having murdered the other six. A map to the location of the treasure he kept to himself until his dying moments.

The whereabouts of Flint's money and his crew are obscure immediately thereafter, but they ended up in the town of Savannah, Province of Georgia. Flint was ill, and his sickness was not helped by his immoderate consumption of rum. On his sickbed, he sang the sea shanty "Fifteen Men" and ceaselessly called for more rum, with his face turning blue. His last living words were "Darby M'Graw! Darby M'Graw!", and then, following some profanity, "Fetch aft the rum, Darby!". Just before he died, he passed on the treasure map to the mate of the Walrus, Billy Bones (or so Bones always maintained). After Flint's death, the crew split up, most of them returning to England. They disposed of their shares of the unburied treasure diversely. John Silver held on to £2,000, putting it away safe in banks, and became a waterfront tavern keeper in Bristol, England. Pew spent £1,200 in a single year and for the next two years afterwards begged and starved. Ben Gunn returned to the treasure island with crew mates to try to find the treasure without the map, and as his efforts failed, he was marooned on the island and left. Bones, knowing himself to be a marked man for his possession of the map, looked for refuge in a remote part of England. His travels took him to the rural West Country seaside village of Black Hill Cove and the inn of the 'Admiral Benbow'.

Minor characters

 

Alan: A sailor who does not mutiny. He is killed by the mutineers for his loyalty and his dying scream is heard by several.


Allardyce: One of the six members of Flint's Crew who - after burying the treasure and silver and building the blockhouse on Treasure Island - are all killed by Flint. His body is lined up by Flint as a compass marker to the cache


Job Anderson: The ship's boatswain and one of the leaders of the mutiny who is killed while trying to storm the blockhouse; possibly one of Flint's old pirate hands (though this is never stated).


Mr. Arrow: The first mate of the Hispaniola. He drinks despite there being a rule about no alcohol on board and is useless as a first mate. He mysteriously disappears before they get to the island and his position is filled by Job Anderson. (Silver had secretly given him access to alcohol and he falls drunkenly overboard on a stormy night.)


Black Dog: Formerly a member of Flint's pirate crew, later one of Pew's companions who visits the Spyglass Inn. Spotted by Jim and chased by two of Silver's men, but disappears from sight.


Abraham Gray: A ship's carpenter on the Hispaniola. He is almost incited to mutiny, but remains loyal to the Squire's side when asked to do so by Captain Smollett. He saves Hawkins's life by killing Job Anderson during an attack on the stockade, and he helps shoot the mutineers at the rifled treasure cache. He later escapes the island together with Jim Hawkins, Dr. Livesey, Squire Trelawney, Captain Smollett, Long John Silver and Ben Gunn. He spends his part of the treasure on his education, marries and becomes part owner of a full-rigged ship.


Benjamin "Ben" Gunn: A former member of Flint's crew who is half insane after being marooned for three years on Treasure Island, having convinced another ship's crew that he was capable of finding Flint's treasure. Helps Jim by giving him the location of his homemade boat and kills two of the mutineers. After Dr Livesey gives him what he most craves (cheese), Gunn reveals that he has found the treasure. In Spanish America he lets Silver escape and in England spends his share of the treasure (1,000 GBP) in 18 days, becoming a beggar until he becomes keeper at a lodge and a church singer.


Israel Hands: The ship's coxswain and Flint's old gunner. Killed on Hispaniola by Jim.
John: A mutineer who is injured while trying to storm the blockhouse; he is later shown with a bandaged head and ends up being killed at the rifled treasure cache.


Mr. and Mrs. Hawkins: The parents of Jim Hawkins. Mr. Hawkins dies shortly after the beginning of the story.
John Hunter: the other manservant of Squire Trelawney, he also accompanies him to the island but is later knocked unconscious at an attack on the stockade. He dies of his injuries while unconscious.


Dick Johnson: A mutineer who has a Bible. The pirates use one of its pages to make a Black Spot. Mortally ill with malaria, Dick ends up being marooned on the island after the deaths of George Merry and John.
Richard Joyce: One of the manservants of Squire Trelawney, he accompanies him to the island but is shot through the head and killed by a mutineer during an attack on the stockade.


George Merry: With Anderson and Hands he forced Silver to attack the blockhouse instead of waiting for the treasure to be found. Later killed at the empty cache just as he is about to kill both Silver and Hawkins.


Tom Morgan: An ex-pirate from Flint's old crew; he ends up marooned on the island.


O'Brien: A mutineer who survives the attack on the boathouse and escapes but is later killed by Israel Hands in a drunken fight on the Hispaniola.


Pew: An evil and deadly blind beggar who is trampled to death in a stampede of horses. Stevenson avoided predictability by making the two most fearsome characters a blind man and an amputee. In the play Admiral Guinea (1892), Stevenson gives him the full name "David Pew".


Redruth: The gamekeeper of Squire Trelawney, he accompanies the Squire to the island but is shot and killed by the mutineers during an attack on the stockade.


Tom: An honest sailor. He starts to walk away from Silver who throws his crutch at him, breaking Tom's back. Silver kills Tom by stabbing him twice in the back.


Among other minor characters whose names are not revealed are the four pirates who were killed in an attack on the stockade along with Job Anderson; the pirate killed by the honest men minus Jim Hawkins before the attack on the stockade; the pirate shot by Squire Trelawney when aiming at Israel Hands, who later died of his injuries; and the pirate marooned on the island along with Tom Morgan and Dick.

 

Treasure Island 1911 book cover by Scribner - The Golden Skull inspiration, Robert Louid Stevenson

 

Treasure Island 1911 book cover

 

 

 

Historical allusions - Real pirates and piracies

 

Five real-life pirates mentioned are William Kidd (active 1696-1699), Blackbeard (1716–1718), Edward England (1717–1720), Howell Davis (1718–1719), and Bartholomew Roberts (1718–1722). Kidd actually buried treasure on Gardiners Island, though the booty was recovered by authorities soon afterwards.


The name "Israel Hands" was taken from that of a real pirate in Blackbeard's crew, whom Blackbeard maimed (by shooting him in the knee) simply to assure that his crew remained in terror of him.

 

Allegedly Hands was taken ashore to be treated for his injury and was not at Blackbeard's last fight (the incident is depicted in Tim Powers' novel On Stranger Tides); this alone saved him from the gallows; supposedly he later became a beggar in England.


Silver refers to "three hundred and fifty thousand" pieces of eight at the "fishing up of the wrecked plate ships". This remark conflates two related events; first, the salvage of the treasure of the hurricane-wrecked 1715 Treasure Fleet off the coast of Florida, and second, the seizure, the following year, of 350,000 salvaged pieces of eight (out of several million) by privateer Henry Jennings. This event is mentioned in the introduction to Johnson's General History of the Pyrates.


Silver refers to a ship's surgeon from Roberts' crew who amputated his leg and was later hanged at Cape Corso Castle, a British fortification on the Gold Coast of Africa. The records of the trial of Roberts' men list one Peter Scudamore as the chief surgeon of Roberts' ship Royal Fortune. Scudamore was found guilty of willingly serving with Roberts' pirates and various related criminal acts, as well as attempting to lead a rebellion to escape once he had been apprehended. He was, as Silver relates, hanged, in 1722.


Stevenson refers to the Viceroy of the Indies, a ship sailing from Goa, India (then a Portuguese colony), which was taken by Edward England off Malabar while John Silver was serving aboard England's ship the Cassandra. No such exploit of England's is known, nor any ship by the name of the Viceroy of the Indies. However, in April 1721 the captain of the Cassandra, John Taylor (originally England's second in command who had marooned him for being insufficiently ruthless), together with his pirate partner, Olivier Levasseur captured the vessel Nostra Senhora do Cabo near Réunion island in the Indian Ocean. The Portuguese galleon was returning from Goa to Lisbon with the Conde da Ericeira, the recently retired Viceroy of Portuguese India, aboard. The viceroy had much of his treasure with him, making this capture one of the richest pirate hauls ever. This is likely the event that Stevenson referred to, though his (or Silver's) memory of the event seems to be slightly confused. The Cassandra is last heard of in 1723 at Portobelo, Panama, a place that also briefly figures in Treasure Island as "Portobello".


The preceding two references are inconsistent, as the Cassandra (and presumably Silver) was in the Indian Ocean during the entire time that Scudamore was surgeon on board the Royal Fortune, in the Gulf of Guinea.

 


Other allusions

 

1689: A pirate whistles "Lillibullero" (1689).


1702: The Admiral Benbow inn where Jim and his mother live is named after the real life Admiral John Benbow (1653–1702).


1733: Captain Flint died in the town of Savannah, Georgia, founded in 1733.


1745: Doctor Livesey was at the Battle of Fontenoy (1745).


1747: Squire Trelawney and Long John Silver both mention "Admiral Hawke", i.e. Edward Hawke, 1st Baron Hawke (1705–1781), promoted to Rear Admiral in 1747.


1749: The novel refers to the Bow Street Runners (1749).

 

Time frame

 

Stevenson deliberately leaves the exact date of the novel obscure, Hawkins writing that he takes up his pen "in the year of grace 17--." However, some of the action can be connected with dates, although it is unclear if Stevenson had an exact chronology in mind. The first date is 1745, as established both by Dr. Livesey's service at Fontenoy and a date appearing in Billy Bones's log. Admiral Hawke is a household name, implying a date later than 1747, when Hawke gained fame at the Battle of Cape Finisterre and was promoted to Admiral, but prior to Hawke's death in 1781.

Another hint, though obscure, as to the date is provided by Squire Trelawney's letter from Bristol in Chapter VII, where he indicates his wish to acquire a sufficient number of sailors to deal with "natives, buccaneers, or the odious French". This expression suggests that Great Britain was, at that time, at war with France; e.g., during the Seven Years' War from 1756 to 1763.

Stevenson's map of Treasure Island includes the annotations Treasure Island Aug 1 1750 J.F. and Given by above J.F. to Mr W. Bones Maste of ye Walrus Savannah this twenty July 1754 W B. The first of these two dates is likely the date at which Flint left his treasure at the island; the second, just prior to Flint's death. As Flint is reliably reported to have died at least three years before the events of the novel (the length of time that Ben Gunn was marooned), it cannot take place earlier than 1757 and still be consistent with the map. The events of Treasure Island would therefore seem to have taken place no earlier than 1757. As the schooner Hispaniola docks peacefully at a port in Spanish America — where it even finds a British man-of-war — at the end of the story, it must also take place before January 1762, when Spain joined the Seven Years' War against Great Britain. As the main action of the book takes place between January and August of a single year, the evidence above implies a year between 1758 and 1761, inclusive.

This range of dates, however, contradicts Long John Silver's account of himself, as given to Dick while Jim Hawkins listened in the apple barrel. Silver claims to be fifty years old, which would place his birth no earlier than 1708; and both Silver and Israel Hands, who had been in Flint's crew together, claim to have had experience on the sea (presumably as pirates) for thirty years prior to their arrival at Treasure Island, i.e. since about 1728. However, Silver claims to have sailed "First with England, then with Flint", which pushes the beginning of his career to some time before 1720, the date of Captain Edward England's death, implying a longer career at sea than thirty years. Silver also says that the surgeon who amputated his leg was hanged with Roberts's crew at Corso Castle: this would mean he has been disabled at least since 1722, at an age no greater than 14 - an age incompatible with his holding as significant an office as quartermaster under Captain Flint, or with being a crewman under England who was senior enough, and served long enough, to have "laid by nine hundred [pounds] safe".

As noted, some of the people and events Silver claims to have witnessed were on opposite sides of Africa at the same time, and Silver's assignments of names and places are not entirely accurate. Silver's stories, then, may be no more reliable than his claim to have lost his leg while serving under Admiral Hawke, and containing inconsistencies which his audience were too ignorant to notice. Silver must either be closer to sixty than fifty, or his stories of the pirates England and Roberts are fabrications, retellings of stories he had heard from other pirates, into which he has inserted himself—which would account for their inconsistencies.


 

Treasure Island film poster, Charlton Heston and Christian Bale

 

Treasure Island film poster, Charlton Heston and Christian Bale

 


Possible allusions

 

Characters

 

Squire Trelawney may have been named for Edward Trelawney, Governor of Jamaica 1738-1752.


Dr. Livesey may have been named for Joseph Livesey (1794–1884), a famous 19th-century temperance advocate, founder of the tee-total "Preston Pledge". In the novel, Dr. Livesey warns the drunkard Billy Bones that "the name of rum for you is death."

 


Treasure Island 


Dead Chest Island as viewed from Deadman's Bay, Peter IslandVarious incompatible claims have been made that one island or another inspired Treasure Island:

Norman Island in the British Virgin Islands, supposedly mentioned to a young Stevenson by a sailor uncle.


Dead Chest Island, a barren rock in the British Virgin Islands, which Stevenson found mentioned in Charles Kingsley's At Last: A Christmas in the West Indies; and which he said "was the seed" for the phrase "Dead Man's Chest".


Small islands in Queen Street Gardens in Edinburgh, said to have been visible from Stevenson's bedroom window in Heriot Row.


The Napa Valley, California, where Stevenson spent his honeymoon in 1880, as narrated in his The Silverado Squatters (1883).


Osborn (now Nienstedt) Island, an island in the Manasquan River in Brielle, New Jersey. Stevenson supposedly visited the island in May 1888 (five years after writing Treasure Island) and christened it "Treasure Island"


Unst, one of the Shetland Islands, to which the map of Treasure Island bears a very vague resemblance.

 

Admiral Benbow

 

The Llandoger Trow in Bristol is claimed to be the inspiration for the Admiral Benbow, though the inn in the book is not in Bristol.


An inn named Admiral Benbow in Penzance, Land's End Peninsula, Cornwall.


Spyglass Tavern

 

The Hole in the Wall, Bristol is claimed to be the Spyglass Tavern.

Flint's death house

 

The Pirate's House in Savannah, Georgia is where Captain Flint is claimed to have spent his last days, and his ghost is claimed to haunt the property

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 1 - 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 commander.

 

 

 

Treasure Island book cover illustration by Louis Rhead and Frank Schoonover

 

Treasure Island book cover illustration by Louis Rhead and Frank Schoonover

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Treasure Map used in Treasure Island

 

Treasure Island map of Hispaniola?

 

 

 

CHAPTERS:

 

Pirate or Pyrates?  

 

Today, the words "Pirate" or "Piracy" are spelled with an "I". In the Golden Age of Piracy, spelling was a haphazard kind of thing, and the word were often spelled with a "y".  So there was a time when the word Pirate was spelled Pyrate, Pirate, Pyrat, or Pirat. I use pyrates, just for the whimsy and feel of it.

 

 

TREASURE

 

Treasure (from Greek θησαυρός - thēsauros, meaning "treasure store", romanized as thesaurus) is a concentration of riches, often one which is considered lost or forgotten until being rediscovered. Some jurisdictions legally define what constitutes treasure, such as in the British Treasure Act 1996.

The phrase "blood and treasure" or "lives and treasure" has been used to refer to the human and monetary costs associated with various (usually nation-state/state-initiated) endeavours such as space exploration or war.

 


 


Treasure Island - illustrated book cover by Robert Louis Stevenson

 

Treasure Island - illustrated book cover

 

 

 


Treasure hunting

 

Searching for hidden treasure is a common theme in legend and fiction; real-life treasure hunters also exist, and can seek lost wealth for a living.

 

Buried treasure

 

A buried treasure is an important part of the popular beliefs surrounding pirates. According to popular conception, pirates often buried their stolen fortunes in remote places, intending to return for them later (often with the use of treasure maps).

In English fiction there are three well known stories that helped popularize the myth of buried pirate treasure: "The Gold-Bug" by Edgar Allan Poe, "Wolfert Webber" by Washington Irving and Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. They differ widely in plot and literary treatment but are blood kin from the common ancestor of the William Kidd legend. Stevenson's Treasure Island was directly influenced by Irving's "Wolfert Webber", Stevenson saying in his preface "It is my debt to Washington Irving that exercises my conscience, and justly so, for I believe plagiarism was rarely carried farther.. the whole inner spirit and a good deal of the material detail of my first chapters.. were the property of Washington Irving."

A number of reports of supposed buried pirate treasure surfaced much earlier than these works indicating that at least the idea was around for more than a century before those stories were published. For example, some underground passages and structures on Oak Island (in Nova Scotia) have supposedly been excavated extensively since 1795 in the belief that one or more pirate captains had stashed large amounts of loot there. These excavations were said to have been prompted by still older legends of buried pirate treasure in the area. No treasure has ever been found.

 

Map created by Robert Lewis Stevenson for Treasure Island

 

Map created by Robert Lewis Stevenson for Treasure Island

 

 

Treasure maps 

 

A treasure map is a variation of a map to mark the location of buried treasure, a lost mine, a valuable secret or a hidden location. More common in fiction than in reality, "pirate treasure maps" are often depicted in works of fiction as hand drawn and containing arcane clues for the characters to follow. Regardless of the term's literary use, anything that meets the criterion of a "map" that describes the location of a "treasure" could appropriately be called a "treasure map."

Copper scroll

 

One of the earliest known instances of a document listing buried treasure is the copper scroll, which was recovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls near Qumran in 1952. Believed to have been written between 50 and 100 AD, the scroll contains a list of 63 locations with detailed directions pointing to hidden treasures of gold and silver. The following is an English translation of the opening lines of the Copper Scroll:

1:1 In the ruin which is in the valley of Acor, under
1:2 the steps leading to the East,
1:3 forty long cubits: a chest of silver and its vessels
1:4 with a weight of seventeen talents. KEN

Thus far, no item mentioned in the scroll has been found. Scholars remain divided on whether the copper scroll represents real burials, and, if so, the total measurements and the owners.

 

Treasure Island book illustration - jolly boat & Hispaniola schooner

 

Treasure Island book illustration - jolly boat & Hispaniola schooner

 

 

 

Pirates

 

Although buried pirate treasure is a favorite literary theme, there are very few documented cases of pirates actually burying treasure, and no documented cases of a historical pirate treasure map. One documented case of buried treasure involved Francis Drake who buried Spanish gold and silver after raiding the train at Nombre de Dios -- after Drake went to find his ships, he returned six hours later and retrieved the loot and sailed for England. Drake did not create a map. Another case in 1720 involved British Captain Stratton of the Prince Eugene who, after supposedly trading rum with pirates in the Caribbean, buried his gold near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. One of his crew, Morgan Miles, turned him in to the authorities, and it is assumed the loot was recovered. In any case, Captain Stratton was not a pirate, and made no map.

The pirate most responsible for the legends of buried pirate treasure was Captain Kidd. The story was that Kidd buried treasure from the plundered ship the Quedah Merchant on Gardiners Island, near Long Island, New York, before being arrested and returned to England, where he was put through a very public trial and executed. Although much of Kidd's treasure was recovered from various people who had taken possession of it before Kidd's arrest (such as his wife and various others who were given it for safe keeping), there was so much public interest and fascination with the case at the time, speculation grew that a vast fortune remained and that Kidd had secretly buried it. Captain Kidd did bury a small cache of treasure on Gardiner's Island in a spot known as Cherry Tree Field; however, it was removed by Governor Bellomont and sent to England to be used as evidence against him. Over the years many people have tried to find the supposed remnants of Kidd's treasure on Gardiner's Island and elsewhere, but none has ever been found.

People have claimed to have discovered maps and other clues that led to pirate treasure, or claim that historical maps are actually treasure maps. These claims are not supported by scholars.

 

 

 

Treasure Island 1950 film trailer

 

 

 

 

 Treasure maps in fiction

 

Treasure maps have taken on numerous permutations in literature and film, such as the stereotypical tattered chart with an over-sized "X" (as in "X marks the spot") to denote the treasure's location, first made popular by Robert Louis Stevenson in Treasure Island (1883), a cryptic puzzle (in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Gold-Bug" (1843)), or a tattoo as seen in the video game The Space Adventure - Cobra: The Legendary Bandit (1991) and the film Waterworld (1995).

Treasure maps in literature

 

The treasure map may serve several purposes as a plot device in works of fiction. Typically, it can be the motivation, causing the characters to begin a quest. It can be used to steer the plot (exposition), explaining in a concise way where the characters must go on their quest, or a map can be used to illustrate, at various points in the story, how far the quest has progressed.


A treasure map can provide conflict where, for example, evildoers attempt to capture the map from the protagonists. While Robert Louis Stevenson is associated with popularizing the treasure map—and the archetypal X to mark the spot—with pirates in Treasure Island, he is not the first. Author James Fenimore Cooper's earlier 1849 novel The Sea Lions, is a tale that begins with the death of a sailor who has left behind "two old, dirty and ragged charts" which lead to a seal-hunting paradise in the Antarctic as well as a location in the West Indies where pirates have buried treasure, a plot similar to Stevenson's tale.

Treasure maps in film

 

In the 1985 film The Goonies, an old treasure map leads to the secret stash of a legendary 17th century pirate, an almost exact imitation of Stevenson's plot in Treasure Island. In the 2004 film National Treasure, a treasure map becomes the source of the quest itself. In the 1994 comedy City Slickers 2: The Legend of Curly's Gold, a treasure map is made by criminals who are analogous to modern day pirates. In the film Waterworld, an extremely vague and cryptic treasure map has been tattooed on the back of the child character Enola. This map leads the characters to dry-land, which in the context of the film, is a treasure.

 

 

 


Legends 

 

The list here is not exhaustive, there are for example many lost mines; King Solomon's is a good one.

Treasure troves

  • Oak Island

  • Treasure of the Knights Templar

  • Rennes-le-Château

  • Štěchovice treasure of the Czech Republic

  • Beale treasure

  • RMS Republic (1903)

  • Amber Room

  • Treasure of the Llanganatis

  • Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine

  • Lost Ship of the Desert

  • Preslav Treasure

  • Treasure of the pirate Jean Lafitte

  • Victorio Peak

  • Yamashita's gold

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Treasure Island 1990 film trailer - Oliver Reed, Christian Bale

 

 

 

CHAPTER 2 - BLACK DOG 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 up-stairs 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 old shipmates."

 

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 his retreat.

 

He bade me go, and leave the door wide open. "None of your keyholes for me, sonny," he said; and I left them together, and retired into the bar.

 

For a long time, though I certainly did my best to listen, I could hear nothing but a low gabbling; 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 down-stairs 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 up-stairs 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; and 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 recognised 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 up-stairs, 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 Golden Skull, a John Storm adventure by Jameson Hunter

 

Armed with a treasure map, a group of adventurers set out to recover Blackbeard's lost hoard, but a rival gang has other ideas. Note: this book is not for release until 2014, so please don't ask to buy it until it is an advertised E-book.

 

 

 

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