by Robert Louis Stevenson
Treasure Island Appearances Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
I had never seen the squire so near at hand. He was a tall man, over six feet high, and broad in proportion, and he had a bluff, rough-and-ready face, all roughened and reddened and lined in his long travels. His eyebrows were very black, and moved readily, and this gave him a look of some temper, not bad, you would say, but quick and high. (6.7)
The Squire's temper is indeed "quick and high": look how quickly he takes against Captain Smollett when he perceives that the captain is disagreeing with his judgment. Here we find a character who looks exactly like what he is: a feisty, temperamental man. What are the limits of Jim's abilities of observation? Are there characters (besides Long John Silver) who Jim can't read?
I was monstrously touched--so would you have been--and, out of pure pity, I engaged him on the spot to be ship's cook. Long John Silver, he is called, and has lost a leg; but that I regarded as a recommendation, since he lost it in his country's service, under the immortal Hawke. He has no pension, Livesey. Imagine the abominable age we live in! (7.5)
Squire Trelawney is such an easy mark: tell him a sob story about a veteran with no pension and he'll hire him on the spot. Why does Stevenson decide to include Squire Trelawney's lengthy letter in the body of Jim's narration? What effect does this have on the tone of this section of the novel?
I forgot to tell you that Silver is a man of substance; I know of my own knowledge that he has a banker's account, which has never been overdrawn. He leaves his wife to manage the inn; and as she is a woman of colour, a pair of old bachelors like you and I may be excused for guessing that it is the wife, quite as much as the health, that sends him back to roving. (7.11)
This is a moment of casual racism from Squire Trelawney. Long John Silver's wife is a woman of color, which appears to be the reason (according to Trelawney) that Long John Silver might want to leave home. First of all, the joke's on Trelawney: Long John Silver's wife is going to help him set up comfortably somewhere once he retires from pirating. Long John Silver is actually earning money so that he can get back to her. Second, Squire Trelawney's prejudices are a large part of what gets him and his friends into trouble in the first place: it's his assumptions about veterans that make him initially trust Long John Silver, much to his distress later on in the novel. So to conclude: Squire Trelawney is an idiot.