Treasure Island: Chapter XII

Author: Jane Austen

Format: online reading

Category: Novel

Posted on 2007-05-11, updated at 2007-05-27. By anonymous.


  • Author: Jane Austen

THERE was a great rush of feet across the deck. I could hear people tumbling up from
the cabin and the foc's'le; and, slipping in an instant outside my barrel, I dived behind
the fore-sail, made a double towards the stern, and came out upon the open deck in time to
join Hunter and Dr Livesey in the rush for the weather bow.

There all hands were already congregated. A belt of fog had lifted almost
simultaneously with the appearance of the moon. Away to the south-west of us we saw two
low hills, about a couple of miles apart, and rising behind one of them a third and higher
hill, whose peak was still buried in the fog. All three seemed sharp and conical in

So much I saw, almost in a dream, for I had not yet recovered from my horrid fear of a
minute or two before. And then I heard the voice of Captain Smollett issuing orders. The
Hispaniola was laid a couple of points nearer the wind, and now sailed a course that would
just clear the island on the east.

`And now, men,' said the captain, when all was sheeted home, `has any one of you ever
seen that land ahead?'

`I have, sir,' said Silver. `I've watered there with a trader I was cook in.'

`The anchorage is on the south, behind an islet, I fancy?' asked the captain.

`Yes, sir; Skeleton Island they calls it. It were a main place for pirates once, and a
hand we had on board knowed all their names for it. That hill to the nor'ard they calls
the Fore-mast Hill; there are three hills in a row running south'ard - fore, main, and
mizzen, sir. But the main - that's the big 'un, with the cloud on it - they usually calls
the Spy-glass, by reason of a look-out they kept when they was in the anchorage cleaning;
for it's there they cleaned their ships, sir, asking your pardon.'

`I have a chart here,' says Captain Smollett. `See if that's the place.'

Long John's eyes burned in his head as he took the char but, by the fresh look of the
paper, I knew he was doom to disappointment. This was not the map we found in Billy
Bones's chest, but an accurate copy, complete in all things - names and heights and
soundings - with the single except it of the red crosses and the written notes. Sharp as
must have been his annoyance, Silver had the strength of mind to hide it.

`Yes, sir,' said he, `this is the spot to be sure; and very prettily drawed out. Who
might have done that, I wonder The pirates were too ignorant, I reckon. Ay, here it is:
``Capt. Kidd's Anchorage'' - just the name my shipmate called it. There's a strong current
runs along the south, and then away nor'ard up the west coast. Right you was, sir,' says
he, haul your wind and keep the weather of the island. Leastways, if such was your
intention as to enter and careen, and the ain't no better place for that in these waters.

`Thank you, my man,' says Captain Smollett. `I'll ask you later on, to give us a help.
You may go.'

I was surprised at the coolness with which John avowed his knowledge of the island; and
I own I was half-frighten' when I saw him drawing nearer to myself. He did not know to be
sure, that I had overheard his council from the apple barrel, and yet I had, by this time,
taken such a horror his cruelty, duplicity, and power, that I could scarce conceal a
shudder when he laid his hand upon my arm.

`Ah,' says he, `this here is a sweet spot, this island - a sweet spot for a lad to get
ashore on. You'll bathe, and you'll climb trees, and you'll hunt goats, you will; and
you'll get aloft them hills like a goat yourself. Why, it makes me young again I was going
to forget my timber leg, I was. It's a pleasant thing to be young, and have ten toes, and
you may lay that. When you want to go a bit of exploring, you just an old John, and he'll
put up a snack for you to take along.'

And clapping me in the friendliest way upon the shoulder he hobbled off forward and
went below.

Captain Smollett, the squire, and Dr Livesey were talking together on the quarterdeck,
and, anxious as I was to tell them my story, I durst not interrupt them openly. While I
was still casting about in my thoughts to find some probable excuse, Dr Livesey called me
to his side. He had left his pipe below, and being a slave to tobacco, had meant that I
should fetch it; but as soon as I was near enough ta speak and not to be overheard, I
broke out immediately: `Doctor, let me speak. Get the captain and squire down to the
cabin, and then make some pretence to send for me. I have terrible news.'

The doctor changed countenance a little, but next moment he was master of himself.

`Thank you, Jim,' said he, quite loudly, `that was all I wanted to know,' as if he had
asked me a question.

And with that he turned on his heel and rejoined the other two. They spoke together for
a little, and though none of them started, or raised his voice, or so much as whistled, it
was plain enough that Dr Livesey had communicated my request; for the next thing that I
heard was the captain giving an order to Job Anderson, and all hands were piped on deck.

`My lads,' said Captain Smollett, `I've a word to say to you. This land that we have
sighted is the place we have been sailing for. Mr Trelawney, being a very open-handed
gentleman, as we all know, has just asked me a word or two, and as I was able to tell him
that every man on board had done his duty, alow and aloft, as I never ask to see it done
better, why, he and I and the doctor are going below to the cabin to drink your health and
luck, and you'll have grog served out for you to drink our health and luck. I'll tell you
what I think of this: I think it handsome. And if you think as I do, you'll give a good
sea cheer for the gentleman that does it.'

The cheer followed - that was a matter of course; but it rang out so full and hearty,
that I confess I could hardly believe these same men were plotting for our blood.

`One more cheer for Cap'n Smollett,' cried Long John, when the first had subsided.

And this also was given with a will.

On the top of that the three gentlemen went below, and not long after, word was sent
forward that Jim Hawkins was wanted in the cabin.

I found them all three seated round the table, a bottle c Spanish wine and some raisins
before them, and the doctor smoking away, with his wig on his lap, and that, I knew, was a
sign that he was agitated. The stern window was open, for it was a warm night, and you
could see the moon shining behind on the ship's wake.

`Now, Hawkins,' said the squire, `you have something say. Speak up.'

I did as I was bid, and as short as I could make it, to] the whole details of Silver's
conversation. Nobody interrupted me till I was done, nor did any one of the three of them
make so much as a movement, but they kept their eyes upon my face from first to last.

`Jim,' said Dr Livesey, `take a seat.'

And they made me sit down at table beside them, poured me out a glass of wine, filled
my hands with raisins, and three, one after the other, and each with a bow, drank my good
health, and their service to me, for my luck and courage.

`Now, captain,' said the squire, `you were right, and I was wrong. I own myself an ass,
and I await your orders.'

`No more an ass than I, sir,' returned the captain. `I never heard of a crew that meant
to mutiny but what showed signs before, for any man that had an eye in his head to see the
mischief and take steps according. But this crew,' he added `beats me.'

`Captain,' said the doctor, `with your permission, that Silver. A very remarkable man.'

`He'd look remarkably well from a yard-arm, sir,' returned the captain. `But this is
talk; this don't lead to anything. I see three or four points, and with Mr Trelawney's
permission I'll name them.'

`You, sir, are the captain. It is for you to speak,' says Mr Trelawney, grandly.

`First point,' began Mr Smollett. `We must go on, because we can't turn back. If I gave
the word to go about, they would rise at once. Second point, we have time before us - at
least until this treasure's found. Third point, there are faithful hands. Now, sir, it's
got to come to blows sooner or later and what I propose is, to take time by the forelock,
as the saying is, and come to blows some fine day when they least expect it. We can count,
I take it, on your own home servants, Mr Trelawney?'

`As upon myself,' declared the squire.

`Three,' reckoned the captain, `ourselves make seven, counting Hawkins, here. Now,
about the honest hands?'

`Most likely Trelawney's own men,' said the doctor; `those he had picked up for
himself, before he lit on Silver.'

`Nay,' replied the squire, `Hands was one of mine.'

`I did think I could have trusted Hands,' added the captain.

`And to think that they're all Englishmen!' broke out the squire. `Sir, I could find it
in my heart to blow the ship up.'

`Well, gentlemen,' said the captain, `the best that I can say is not much. We must lay
to, if you please, and keep a bright look out. It's trying on a man, I know. It would be
pleasanter to come to blows. But there's no help for it till we know our men. Lay to, and
whistle for a wind, that's my view.'

`Jim here,' said the doctor, `can help us more than anyone. The men are not shy with
him, and Jim is a noticing lad.'

`Hawkins, I put prodigious faith in you,' added the squire. I began to feel pretty
desperate at this, for I felt altogether helpless; and yet, by an odd train of
circumstances, it was indeed through me that safety came. In the meantime, talk as we
pleased, there were only seven out of the twenty-six on whom we knew we could rely; and
out of these seven one was a boy, so that the grown men on our side were six to their

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More on This Book:
  1. Treasure Island: Chapter XV
  2. Treasure Island: Chapter XIV
  3. Treasure Island: Chapter XIII
  4. Treasure Island: Chapter XI
  5. Treasure Island: Chapter X
  6. Treasure Island: Chapter IX
  7. Treasure Island: Chapter VIII
  8. Treasure Island: Chapter VII
  9. Treasure Island: Chapter VI
  10. Treasure Island: Chapter V
  11. Treasure Island: Chapter IV
  12. Treasure Island: Chapter II
  13. Treasure Island: Chapter III
  14. Treasure Island: Chapter I
  15. Treasure Island: Chapter XXIV

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