Summary: Chapter 7
After a frustrating delay in preparations for the journey to Treasure Island, Jim is pleased to hear that Dr. Livesey has received a letter from Squire Trelawney describing the ship and crew that he has obtained. The ship has been procured through one of Trelawney’s acquaintances in Bristol, a man who seems all too ready to help him and has a poor reputation in the city.
The ship is called the Hispaniola. Trelawney relates that he had some trouble finding a crew for the voyage until he had the good fortune to meet up with an old one- legged sailor named Long John Silver. Silver tells Trelawney that he misses the sea and wishes to set sail again as the ship’s cook. Trelawney hires him, and Silver helps arrange the rest of the crew as well.
After a sad farewell with his mother, Jim sets out the next morning for Bristol, accompanied by Tom Redruth, another man who will be on the ship’s crew. At the inn in Bristol, they meet up with Trelawney, newly clothed in a sea officer’s outfit. Trelawney informs them that they will sail the next day.
Summary: Chapter 8
I don’t put much faith in your discoveries . . . but I will say this, John Silver suits me.See Important Quotations Explained
Trelawney gives Jim a note to pass on to Long John Silver at the Spy-glass, a tavern in the town. Jim sets off happily to find the sailor. Silver is more clean-cut than Jim expects, but Jim recognizes him and introduces himself. Just then, another customer in the bar suddenly gets up to leave, attracting Jim’s attention. Jim recognizes the man as Black Dog and informs Silver. Jim is pleased to learn that Silver shares his negative view of Black Dog and Pew. Silver wins over Jim’s trust, and they stroll by the docks as Silver tells Jim about ships and sea life. Silver is introduced to Dr. Livesey and treats him with respect. Likewise, Livesey is quite pleased to have Silver as the ship’s new cook.
Summary: Chapter 9
While boarding the ship, Jim, Silver, and the others meet Mr. Arrow, the first mate, with whom Trelawney gets along well. There is some animosity, however, between Trelawney and the captain, whose name is Smollett. Smollett is very opinionated, and speaks openly about his dislike of most of the crew and about the fact that he has a bad feeling about the voyage. Smollett also adds that there has been too much blabbing about the map and the treasure, though Trelawney protests that he has told no one. After the captain leaves, Livesey asserts that he trusts Silver and Smollett completely.
Summary: Chapter 10
The voyage begins on an ominous note, as the first mate, Mr. Arrow, turns out to be a hopeless drunk who is useless on board. He disappears mysteriously one night, leading the others to presume that he fell overboard in his drunkenness. The boatswain, Job Anderson, replaces Arrow. Jim continues to be entranced by Silver, impressed by his swift one-legged maneuverings around the deck. Jim is also fascinated by Silver’s two-hundred-year-old parrot, which is named Cap’n Flint, after the famed buccaneer. Relations between Trelawney and Smollett are still somewhat strained, but the voyage proceeds normally. One evening, Jim gets hungry for an apple and climbs into an apple barrel on board, where, unsuspected, he overhears an important conversation.
Summary: Chapter 11
Hiding in the apple barrel, Jim overhears Long John Silver telling several other crewmembers about some of his adventures with old Flint. Silver mentions that he has nearly three thousand pounds safely hidden away in the bank, gained from his exploits with the other “gentlemen of fortune,” which Jim correctly guesses is just another word for pirates. Jim learns that most of old Flint’s former crewmembers are on board the ship now, posing as ordinary crew but plotting to take the treasure for themselves. Silver mentions that some of the other crewmembers have joined the conspirators, though others have refused. Jim watches the pirates partake of a secret stash of rum. As the men drink, the cry of “Land ho!” is heard from on deck.
Summary: Chapter 12
With the island visible before them, Smollett and his crew discuss the best place to drop anchor. Smollett consults a map of the island, and Jim notices that it is an exact copy of the treasure map he saw before, but without the “X” marking the treasure’s hiding place. Silver knows the island well, and offers advice, enthusiastically telling Jim how much he enjoys the island. Smollett congratulates the crew on a job well done, and then meets with Trelawney below deck. Later, Jim goes below deck and warns Smollett and Trelawney about Silver’s criminal intentions, telling them what he overheard while hiding in the apple barrel. Trelawney immediately admits that he has been a fool in hiring the crew and trusting Silver. Smollett urges everyone to stay vigilant.
Analysis: Chapters 7–12
As the journey to Treasure Island unfolds, and the familiar landscape of England gives way to the contours of the unknown island, boundaries and roles become more ambiguous. The crew that earlier seems docile and friendly now seems resentful and sour, even hostile. The first mate, Mr. Arrow, whom Trelawney initially likes very much, is revealed to be a useless drunkard after only a few days at sea. Likewise, Silver is not the staunch supporter of the captain that he initially appears to be. The conversation Jim overhears shows that Silver and a majority of the ship’s crew are thoroughly disloyal. Even Jim’s role on the ship turns out to be very different than originally planned, as he quickly breaks out of the limited role of a mere cabin boy. Livesey calls Jim the most useful person on the ship, as he is perceptive and not suspected by the conspirators. As we see the once-loyal crew shift to the side of the mutineers and the cabin boy become a hero, we see that human character is indeed quite malleable.
These changing roles on the ship challenge established ideas about social hierarchy and authority, and give precedence to a nontraditional set of values. The old order and power structure gives way to a new one that is based on strength and charisma. Before the voyage begins, Squire Trelawney is clearly in the position of greatest control and resents the fact that Captain Smollett does not show him what he considers due respect. Mr. Arrow, as first mate, occupies a position only slightly subordinate to Trelawney. Jim, as the cabin boy, is on the lowest rung of the power ladder, and Silver, as the ship’s cook, also seems to be a minor figure. Immediately after the ship sets sail, however, Silver wins Jim’s respect with his nimble one-legged movement around the deck, while the authority of the boozy first mate Mr. Arrow quickly collapses. When Trelawney finally admits that he was a fool to trust the crew, the old system of power relationships and authority finally unravels. Now, Stevenson suggests, a new society must develop—not according to the inherited titles and wealth that have given power to men like Trelawney, but according to the very different principles of cleverness, fortitude, and perceptiveness.
Stevenson develops the character of Long John Silver intensely in these chapters, and shows him to be a very complex man. On the one hand, Silver’s motivation for seeking the treasure is no different from what motivates Trelawney and Livesey: greed and a love for the pirate life. Indeed, Silver is merely after money in the bank and a life of leisure ahead—the kind of life Trelawney already enjoys. Though Silver may be looking for fortune the wrong way, his goal of having a good life for himself is not in itself criminal. On the other hand, however, Silver displays an ability to mask his true feelings and motives to an almost devilish degree, raising a cheer for the captain whom he secretly hates, fooling everyone with his fake applause. Though Jim knows Silver is disappointed to see the map with no “X” on it, Silver shows no signs of this disappointment. He is a master of duplicity in a way that approaches evil. Indeed, Silver himself refers to this evil side, remarking in Chapter 10 about all the “wickedness” his parrot has seen.