Study Guide

Treasure Island Chapter 10

By Robert Louis Stevenson

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Chapter 10

The Voyage

  • Everyone aboard the ship is working hard to get things stowed away before the departure in the morning.
  • One of the men addresses Long John Silver as "Barbecue" (because he's the cook). They ask him to sing a song.
  • Long John Silver starts in on the old song Jim's captain used to sing: "Fifteen men on the dead man's chest [...] Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!" (10.5-7).
  • And so the voyage starts.
  • Two things become clear: first, Mr. Arrow, the first mate, is a drunk whom nobody obeys.
  • No one can figure out where he gets his alcohol, but he is definitely drunk all the time.
  • So when Mr. Arrow goes overboard, no one thinks much of it – even though the ship is now without a first mate.
  • Squire Trelawney sometimes takes watch to fill in for the absent Mr. Arrow.
  • Two other guys also help out: the boatswain (a kind of deck supervisor on board a ship), Job Anderson, and the coxswain (who usually takes charge of a boat's steering and navigation), Israel Hands.
  • Israel Hands is really tight with Long John Silver.
  • Long John Silver is doing well aboard the ship: he's incredibly nimble and familiar with the layout of the boat. All the men respect him and do as he says.
  • Long John Silver also seems to take a special shine to Jim. He often takes Jim aside to tell him stories of the seafaring life.
  • Long John Silver also has a parrot, "Cap'n Flint," who frequently shouts out, "Pieces of eight!" (Spanish gold dollars).
  • Jim and Long John Silver may be getting tight, but two men who aren't growing any closer are Squire Trelawney and Captain Smollett. Squire Trelawney clearly despises the captain, and the captain never talks to the squire if he can help it.
  • Captain Smollett keeps warning that something is wrong about the whole trip, and Squire Trelawney continues to lose his temper at Captain Smollett's pessimism.
  • The captain complains to Doctor Livesey that the men are getting spoiled: they are often given double rations or grog to celebrate birthdays or whatever Squire Trelawney pleases.
  • Among Squire Trelawney's treats for the sailors is an apple barrel that's always open so the men can have fresh fruit.
  • The night before they estimate that they're going to reach their destination, Treasure Island, Jim decides to go grab some fruit from the barrel.
  • Everything is still and silent on board.
  • Jim finds that there are no apples in easy reach and climbs into the barrel to get to the bottom.
  • Once inside the apple barrel, the darkness and rocking motion of the ship lull him into a doze.
  • He only wakes up when he hears Long John Silver's voice. He keeps himself hidden so that he can listen.

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