Silver thanks Jim for saving his life and for not running away when Dr. Livesey encouraged him to do so. Jim and Silver sit down to breakfast, and Jim is astonished by the fact that the band has prepared three times as much food as is needed. Silver’s men are happy, confident of seizing the treasure soon, but Jim is sad in his certainty that Silver will betray him at the soonest practical moment.
After breakfast the pirates set off on the treasure hunt, with Silver leading Jim on a leash. They trudge through the hills, periodically pausing to consult the map. Reaching the top of a hill, the pirates are shocked to find a skeleton in seaman’s garb, stretched out on the ground like a compass, pointing to the treasure. The man’s knife is missing, suggesting that the pirates are not the first to have come across the skeleton. The pirates recognize the skeleton as a former mate, Allardyce, who served on Flint’s crew, because of its long bones and yellow hair. Following Allardyce’s clue, they head on toward the treasure.
Taking a rest from the search, Silver expresses his confidence that they are close to the treasure. One of the pirates feels uneasy thinking about Flint, and Silver says they are lucky the old captain is dead. The pirates suddenly hear a trembling, high voice singing the same song the pirates frequently sing, “Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest.” One of the pirates claims the voice is Flint’s, and the men grow terrified, thinking they have awakened a ghost.
The pirates hear the voice again, and it wails what all the men recognize as Flint’s last words. One of the men takes out his Bible and starts praying. Silver, the only one who remains undaunted, scorns the other men’s belief in spirits and keeps focused on the search for the treasure. The pirates continue onward. As they approach the treasure site, Silver’s nostrils quiver and he seems half mad. Suddenly coming upon the site, the pirates are shocked to find it has already been excavated, and only an empty hole lies before them.
Silver and his men are astonished that the treasure is gone. Silver hands Jim his gun, realizing that he needs the boy after all. Jim coldly accuses Silver of changing sides again. The men dig in the pit and find a few coins. One of them accuses Silver of having known all along that the treasure was gone. The angered pirates suddenly seem united against Silver and begin to move upon him. Suddenly a gun fires from somewhere in the surrounding thicket, cutting down several of the pirates. Silver draws his pistol, killing the pirate who had accused him. Dr. Livesey, Ben Gunn, and Abraham Gray emerge from the trees, their muskets smoking.
Silver thanks Livesey for saving him from the uprising and greets Ben Gunn affectionately. We learn that Ben, in his wanderings about the island, had come across the skeleton, dug up the treasure, and moved it to a cave. Livesey found out about Ben’s actions and gave the map to Silver only after he knew it was useless. Learning that Jim would be among the disappointed treasure-seekers, Livesey sent Ben off to imitate Captain Flint’s voice, playing on the pirates’ superstitions and slowing their progress.