Writing: Robert Louis Stevenson
An old, scarred sailor arrives at the Admiral Benbow inn, where young Jim Hawkins works. Billy Bones, as the man is known, fills Jim’s ears with stories of the open sea and warns him to be on the lookout for a one-legged man. Some of Bones’ former shipmates appear and give him a slip of paper with a black spot on it, terrifying the old man. Bones dies of a stroke, and Jim escapes with his treasure map as the other sailors scour the inn. Jim takes the map to Dr. Livesey, who forms a plan with his friend Squire Trelawney to sail after the treasure, which was buried by the pirate Captain Flint. treasure-island-cover.jpg Jim travels to Bristol to meet up with the ship, the Hispaniola. In Bristol, he meets the ship’s cook, Long John Silver, a one-legged man who recommended many of the ship’s crew to Trelawney. Despite Billy Bones warning about a one-legged man, Jim is won over by Silver’s friendly charm. Then, after an uneventful voyage, Jim is on deck one night and overhears Silver plotting a mutiny. Soon after, land is sighted, and Jim tells the captain, Livesey, and Trelawney what he’s heard. Alarmed, the men plan to split up the crew to improve their odds, and Jim goes ashore with Silver and the others. While on the island, Jim sees Silver kill a sailor who won’t join the mutiny and meets Ben Gunn, a marooned sailor who lives on the island. Meanwhile, Dr. Livesey, Squire Trelawney, and the others leave the ship and find a stockade on the island, where they settle in for a fight. Under Captain Smollett’s command, they weather the pirates’ first attack. Jim arrives at the stockade and joins the defenders. Long John Silver comes to negotiate with them, but the captain sends him away. The pirates storm the stockade, and several men are killed and Captain Smollett wounded in a bloody battle. The next day, Jim sneaks away with a plan to cut loose the Hispaniola and strand the pirates. After a dangerous trip, Jim succeeds in freeing the ship. He then jumps aboard, where he finds one watchman dead and the other drunk and wounded. Jim and the wounded pirate team up to steer the ship; then the pirate turns on Jim, but Jim kills the pirate in the ensuing fight. After anchoring the ship in a new place to fool the pirates, Jim returns to the stockade, where he is captured by Silver’s men. Silver tells Jim that Dr. Livesey and the others agreed to give the pirates the stockade and the treasure map. (Dr. Livesey did this because he discovered that Ben Gunn had already dug up the treasure.) Silver lets Jim live when Jim promises to testify for him if the mutineers are caught. Silver’s men are losing confidence in him, and Silver’s treatment of Jim makes them suspicious. The pirates set out to look for the treasure, but find only an empty hole. When they turn on Silver and Jim, Dr. Livesey, Ben Gunn, and another loyal man ambush the pirates and drive them off. They rejoin the captain and Squire Trelawney, who are waiting with the treasure. They sail back to England, but Silver escapes when they land in South America.