The Treasure Hunt
‘Jim,’ said Silver. ‘I heard the doctor when he said, «Jump over the wall and run.» You didn’t do it. You saved my life and I won’t forget it. But now we must look for the treasure. I don’t like treasure hunts. They’re dangerous. You must stay very close to me.’
When we ate a breakfast of bacon and biscuits with the other pirates, Silver said to them:
‘Mates, you’re lucky because you’ve got old John and he thinks a lot. The others have got the ship and we don’t know where it is. When we get the treasure, we’ll find the ship. We’ve got the boats and we’ve got our hostage here.
But when we get the ship and the treasure, we’ll kill him and the others.’
I was frightened and I couldn’t eat my breakfast. Why did my friends leave the stockade? I thought. Why did they give Silver the map? Why did the doctor say, ‘There will be problems when you find the treasure’? I couldn’t find any answers to these questions.
So the treasure hunt began. Silver had two guns, a big cutlass and two pistols in the pockets of his coat. His parrot sat on his shoulder and talked. And I walked behind him with a rope round my neck.
First we went to the beach and got into the two boats. Silver looked at the map. On the back were these words:
Tall tree, Spy-glass hill.
Points to the north-east.
Skeleton Island south-east.
‘First we must find a tall tree,’ said Silver.
We went along the coast and after a while we saw a high plateau near Spy-glass hill with a lot of trees on it. Some of the trees were very tall, so when we saw a good place to stop, we got out of the boats and began to climb towards the plateau. We went up slowly. Suddenly one of the men in front of us shouted. We ran towards him.
‘Has he found the treasure?’ said Morgan.
‘No,’ said another man. ‘He’s very frightened.’
Then we saw a human skeleton under a big tree and we all became cold with terror.
‘He was a seaman,’ said George Merry.
‘Look at the arms and hands and feet,’ said Silver. ‘They aren’t in a natural position.’
He was right. The skeleton’s feet pointed in one direction. The arms and the hands pointed in the opposite direction.
‘I think I understand,’ said Silver. ‘Look, it’s pointing south-east — at Skeleton Island! Cap’n Flint killed him and put him here — as a compass.’
Morgan said, ‘It’s Allardyce. He took my knife with him. I remember now.’
‘Well, the knife isn’t here now. Where is it?’ asked George.
‘Maybe Flint took it,’ Morgan said. ‘Maybe he’s still alive!’
‘No, he’s dead,’ said George.
‘Well, maybe it’s his ghost!’ Morgan cried.
‘Stop this talk!’ shouted Silver. ‘Flint is dead and there isn’t a ghost. Come, let’s go.’
So we continued walking. On the plateau we sat down to rest. We could see the Cape of the Woods in front of us. Behind us was the harbour and Skeleton Island. Above us was Spy-glass hill.
‘There are only three tall trees in the direction of Skeleton Island,’ Silver said. ‘It will be easy now. Come on boys, let’s go!’
But suddenly a voice began to sing:
Fifteen men on The Dead Man’s Chest — Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!
It was a strange, high voice, and it came from the trees. The men’s faces went white. They stood up quickly.
‘Oh God, it’s Flint!’ said George.
The voice stopped. Silver’s face was very white too. But he said, ‘Come on, boys, don’t be frightened! Someone is playing a game with us.’
The voice suddenly began again. It didn’t sing this time.
‘Darby M’Graw!’ it shouted, from far away. ‘Darby M’Graw! Bring the rum. Darby!’
The buccaneers didn’t move; they didn’t speak.
‘I know those words,’ Morgan said. ‘They were Flint’s last words!’
Silver was very frightened too. He said quietly: ‘Who knows the name Darby M’Graw on this island? Only us, Flint’s men.’ Then he said in a loud voice, ‘Mates, I want that treasure and nobody will stop me. It is very near here and I’m going to find it!’
‘It’s Flint’s ghost, John!’ said Morgan.
‘Ghost? Well, that voice had an echo and a ghost’s voice doesn’t have an echo — am I right, mates?’
‘Yes, that’s true,’ George Merry said. ‘You’re an intelligent man,
John. Courage, mates! I’m not sure that the voice was Flint’s. It was… it was like…’
‘Ben Gunn’s voice, by God!’ shouted Silver.
‘Who is frightened of Ben Gunn?’
Merry asked. ‘Not me!’
The buccaneers weren’t frightened now, and the colour returned to their faces. They began to laugh and talk. Then we continued walking and we arrived at the first of the tall trees. But it wasn’t the right one. We went to the second tree; it wasn’t Flint’s. But the third tree was very tall, about two hundred feet high. We all knew that in the ground under that tree was the treasure!
My companions ran towards it and Silver followed them on his crutch. Sometimes he pulled me with the rope; sometimes he looked at me with terrible eyes that said, ‘I’m going to put the treasure on the Hispaniola, and then I’m going to kill you and all your friends,’
Suddenly the men stopped. There was a cry of surprise. In front of us was a very big hole in the ground. It wasn’t recent because there was grass in it. There were some pieces of wood with ‘Walrus’ on them — the name of Flint’s ship. But there wasn’t any treasure in the hole. It was empty.