treasure island chapter 4


The Island

The pirates ran to look at the land. Quickly I climbed out of the barrel and followed them. In the light of the moon we could see two hills.

‘Who knows this land?’ Captain Smollett asked the crew.

‘Me, sir!’ said Long John.

The captain showed him a map of the island. ‘Is this the place?’

Long John looked at the map with big eyes. But it wasn’t the map from Billy Bones’s chest; it was a copy, and there weren’t any red crosses on it. Silver was angry but he didn’t show it. He smiled.

‘Yes, sir, this is the place.’

I wanted to tell my story to the captain, the squire and the doctor. When Dr Livesey asked me to go to the cabin and bring his pipe and tobacco, I said:

‘Doctor, I must speak to you. I have terrible news.’

The doctor’s face changed, but he said, ‘Thank you, Jim.

Go down to the cabin now.’

And then he went to the squire and the captain and spoke to them quietly.

‘Men!’ the captain said to the crew. ‘The doctor and I are going down to the cabin to drink some wine!’

Down in the cabin I told them everything about Silver’s conversation. They looked at me; they didn’t move or speak. When I stopped, Mr Trelawney said to the captain: ‘You were right and I was wrong. What can we do?’ ‘We’ve got time because Silver is clever and he’ll wait,’ said the captain. ‘I think we must attack the pirates first. How many men have we got?’

‘Seven, including Jim,’ said the doctor. ‘How many honest men are there in the crew?’

‘There are the four men that the squire found before he met Silver,’ the captain said.

‘But,’ said Mr Trelawney, ‘Israel Hands was one of them.’

‘Well, we don’t know how many men are good.’

‘Jim can help us,’ said Dr Livesey. ‘The men like him and talk to him. He can tell us who is honest or bad.’

There were only seven men out of twenty-six. And I was only a boy, so there were six adult men against nineteen pirates.

Next morning I looked at the island. I saw tall trees and yellow sand. The hills were high, but Spyglass hill was very high. Our ship went towards a small island called Skeleton Island. The men prepared the boats.

It was hot and they didn’t like the work. They spoke angrily. We knew they wanted to kill us. But Long John smiled and spoke to them and sang. He helped to take the ship into the big harbour between Skeleton Island and Treasure Island.

The captain, the doctor, Mr Trelawney and I went to the cabin. We gave pistols to the three honest men: Hunter, Joyce and Redruth. Then the captain went on deck and told the crew that they could go on the island for the afternoon.

‘Hurray!’ shouted the men. They were happy now.

They thought that the treasure was already in their hands.

Six men stayed on the ship. Thirteen, including Silver, got into the boats. Then I had a crazy idea. I decided to go to the island in one of the boats. I didn’t say anything to the doctor and the squire. When I climbed into the boat, nobody saw me.

My boat arrived first. I got out and ran fast into the trees. A long way behind me Long John Silver shouted,

‘Jim, Jim!’ But I ran and ran.

I stopped and looked around me. There were strange trees and flowers, and birds. The sun was hot. I could see Spy-glass hill in front of me.

Then I heard voices and I went behind a tree. One of the voices was John Silver’s. Now I was very afraid. I thought: ‘Jim, you were stupid to come to the island with these pirates. But you must help the doctor and the others.’ So I moved towards the pirates on my hands and knees.

‘Tom,’ said Silver, ‘I like you, mate, and I want to help you!’

The other man answered, ‘Silver, you’re honest. I’m sure you don’t want to be with these bad pirates — not you!’

So this Tom was one of the honest men!

Suddenly there was a long, terrible scream. It came from far away.

‘What was that, John?’ said Tom.

Long John smiled. ‘That? That was Alan. He’s dead now.’

‘They’ve killed Alan!’ Tom said. ‘John Silver, you were my friend, but not now. Kill me too — if you can!’

Then brave Tom walked away with his back to the cook. But he didn’t go far. Silver held the branch of a tree and he threw his crutch. It hit Tom’s back like a missile. He fell, and in a moment Silver killed him with his knife.

I couldn’t believe it. Now two honest men were dead! Then Silver called the other pirates. I ran away very fast. I thought: ‘They’ll kill me. Good-bye to the Hispaniola; good-bye to the squire, the doctor and the captain!’

I was very near Spy-glass hill. There were a lot of trees around me, like a forest. Suddenly I heard a noise behind a tree. What was it? I didn’t know and I stopped in terror.

Behind me were the pirates; in front of me was this — thing! I preferred the pirates and I began to run back. But the thing began to run too! It ran from tree to tree — on two legs! It was a man. Was he a cannibal? I took my pistol and I walked towards him. Slowly he moved from behind a tree and he came towards me. Then suddenly he fell on his knees and he put his hands towards me. I asked him who he was.

‘Ben Gunn.’ he answered in a strange voice.

I saw that he was a white man. His eyes were blue, but his face was very dark from the sun. His clothes were old and dirty.

He said, ‘You’re the first Christian I’ve seen for three years!’

‘What happened?’ I asked.

‘I was marooned’

I knew this was a horrible thing. The buccaneers left him on the island — to live or to die.

‘What’s your name, mate?’ he asked.

I told him.

‘Well, Jim, many years ago I was a good boy like you.

But then I became bad and I drank a lot of rum. And here I am on this desert island,’ Then he looked around him and said in a quiet voice, ‘Jim, I’m rich!’

I thought, ‘He’s crazy, poor man!’

‘Rich, rich, I tell you! But wait, Jim. Is that Flint’s ship down there?’

‘No. Flint is dead. But some of the crew are Flint’s men.’

‘A man with one leg?’ Ben Gunn asked, very frightened.

‘Yes, John Silver. He’s the cook and the chief of the pirates.’

Then I told him about our voyage and our difficult situation.

He said, ‘Well, Ben Gunn will help you. And then… do you think your squire will help me perhaps?’

‘Yes, he’s a gentleman.’

‘And will he take me to England on the ship?’

‘Oh yes, I’m sure!’

‘Good!’ Ben Gunn said happily. ‘I’ll tell you something.

I was on Flint’s ship when he buried the treasure — with six big, strong seamen. Then he killed the six seamen. Well, Billy Bones and Long John asked him where the treasure was, but he didn’t tell them. Then, three years ago I was on another ship near this island. «Boys, let’s go and find Flint’s treasure!» I said. But we couldn’t find it. So the other men were angry with me and they left me on the island. You must tell the squire all this. Tell him I’m not a pirate — eh, Jim? Tell him I’m a good man.’

‘But how can I?’ I said. ‘I can’t go on the ship now.’ ‘True,’ he said. ‘But I’ve got a boat, Jim. I made it with my two hands. It’s under the white rock.’

At that moment there was a great sound of cannons. ‘The battle has begun!’ I said. ‘Quick, follow me!’

And I began to run towards the harbour where the Hispaniola was. Ben Gunn came with me. We could hear the sounds of a battle. Then I saw the British flag — the Union Jack — in the air above the trees.


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