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  • TREASURE ISLAND

  • by Robert Louis Stevenson

  • 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!

  • To S. Lloyd Osbourne, 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,

  • dedicated by his affectionate friend, the

  • author.

  • TREASURE ISLAND

  • PART ONE--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.

  • 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