The buccaneers couldn’t believe their eyes. They just stood and looked at the hole. But John Silver s surprise passed quickly. He said to me quietly:
‘Are you ready, Jim?’ And he gave me a pistol.
Then quietly he began to move to one side of the hole. Now it was between us and the buccaneers. He looked at me and smiled. The others jumped into the hole and tried to dig with their fingers. Morgan found a piece of money and gave it to his companions.
‘Two pounds!’ Merry shouted at Silver. ‘You knew that the hole was empty!’
‘Do you want to be Cap’n, Merry?’ Silver answered.
But this time all the pirates were with Merry. And they were all very angry. They began to climb out of the hole. Then we all stood there: two on one side of the hole, five on the other. Silver watched them with a calm expression. Nobody spoke. Then Merry said:
‘Mates, there are only two of them. Silver has got one leg and Hawkins is only a boy. Now, mates -‘
But he didn’t finish. There were three shots from the trees — crack! crack! crack! — and Merry fell dead into the hole. Another pirate fell dead too. The other three ran away. Just then the doctor, Gray and Ben Gunn came out of the trees with their guns.
‘Quick, boys!’ shouted the doctor. ‘To the boats! Before the pirates get there!’
And we all ran into the trees. Silver ran very fast on his crutch. Then he shouted:
‘It’s all right, doctor! Look, they aren’t going to the boats!’ So we all sat down to rest.
Soon we went down the hill towards the boats. And Ben Gunn told us his story.
‘I found the skeleton of Allardyce a long time ago, and I took his knife. And then two months ago I found the treasure. I took it to a cave in a hill on the north-east of the island. It’s there now.’
Then the doctor told us his story.
‘When I left the stockade, I went to find Ben Gunn,’ he said, ‘and he told me his story. Well, the next morning I saw that the ship wasn’t there. So I went to Silver and gave him the map because now I knew that it didn’t show where the treasure was. Then the squire, the captain and I went to Ben’s cave. I didn’t want to leave you with the pirates, Jim, but you ran away so what could I do? Then I saw you at the stockade and you told me your story. I knew that your situation was very dangerous, so I ran back to the cave. Gray, Ben and I took our guns. We wanted to arrive at the big tree before you and the pirates. But you were a long way in front of us. So Ben tried to stop the pirates. He shouted in Captain Flint’s voice and the pirates stopped. So we arrived at the tree first and we waited for you.’
When we found the boats, the doctor destroyed one of them and we all got into the other. Then we went towards North Inlet. We passed Ben Gunn’s hill and saw his cave. We continued for three miles, and then we suddenly saw the Hispaniola! She wasn’t on the beach in North Inlet.
‘The sea came in and carried her away,’ the doctor said. ‘But she’s all right. Gray, you can stay on her tonight and guard her.’
So we got out of the boat on the beach at Rum Bay, near Ben’s cave, and Gray went to the Hispaniola. When we arrived at the cave the squire met us.
‘John Silver,’ he said. ‘You’re a very bad man. But the doctor told me that we mustn’t arrest you. You’re a lucky man, Silver.’
‘Thank you very much, sir,’ said Long John.
‘Don’t thank me, my man! I wanted to arrest you!’
We went into the cave. Captain Smollett was near a big fire. And then I saw Flint’s treasure in a corner — lots and lots of gold!
For dinner that night we had Ben’s goat and some wine from the Hispaniola. We were all very happy. And Silver sat with us. He talked and laughed.
Early next morning, we took all the treasure to the beach. Then Gray and Ben Gunn took it by boat to the Hispaniola. There was lots of it and we worked all day for three days.
On the third night the doctor and I walked on the hill. We heard some voices far away in the night.
‘It’s the three pirates,’ said the doctor.
‘They’re all drunk, sir,’ said John Silver behind us.
The doctor didn’t answer and he didn’t look at Silver. The buccaneer was always polite to us now and he always tried to do a lot of things for us. But nobody liked him.
We didn’t hear the pirates again and we decided to leave them on the island. We left some food for them. Then we went to the Hispaniola and sailed her away. The three pirates watched us from the island.
‘Don’t leave us here!’ they shouted.
But we didn’t take them. They were dangerous and we didn’t want any problems. Soon the island was far away; and then there was only the sea. I was very happy.
With only six men we couldn’t sail the ship to England, so we went to a port in Spanish America. Lots of Indians came to our ship to sell fruit and vegetables. That night we went to the town and we met an English captain. He took us to his ship for dinner and it was very late when we arrived back on the Hispaniola. Ben Gunn was on board.
He told us that John Silver wasn’t there. ‘He went away in a boat a few hours ago,’ he said. ‘I’m sorry. You see, I helped him. But I did it to save your lives. I’m sure he wanted to kill you all. He took some of the treasure with him — about 500 pounds.’
‘Well,’ said the captain with a smile. ‘I think that’s cheap. Only 500 pounds and we won’t see Silver again!’
I’ll finish my story quickly. We found some seamen and sailed to England. When the Hispaniola arrived at Bristol, we divided the treasure between us. Now Captain Smollett doesn’t work. Gray saved his money and now he has his own business. Ben Gunn got 1000 pounds and he lost it in three weeks!
I don’t know where John Silver is now. Perhaps he’s living happily with his parrot Captain Flint. Sometimes I dream about Silver and Treasure Island. Then I wake up suddenly with the voice of Captain Flint in my ears: ‘Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!’
I also thought about poor Jim Hawkins. Where was he? An hour later, somebody called from the woods behind the stockade.
‘Doctor! Squire! Captain! Hallo, Hunter, is that you?’
I ran to the door of the cabin. It was Jim Hawkins. He was safe!