Study Guide

Treasure Island Chapter 16

By Robert Louis Stevenson

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Chapter 16

Narrative Continued by the Doctor: How the Ship Was Abandoned

  • At 1:30, two boatloads of sailors row ashore from the Hispaniola. One of them is humming an Irish marching song, "Lillibullero" (click here to listen).
  • Tom Redruth comes to tell Doctor Livesey that Jim Hawkins has also slipped ashore.
  • Doctor Livesey is worried for Jim's safety.
  • Livesey feels restless and decides to use a tiny rowboat to go ashore with Hunter in secret to look for information.
  • Doctor Livesey finds an abandoned fort at the top of a hill. The best part of the fort is that it has a spring of fresh water. While the ship is well-provisioned and would be easy to defend, there isn't enough water on board for a long battle against the pirates.
  • Doctor Livesey hears a scream (the same scream that Jim heard just before Long John Silver murdered Tom in Chapter 14).
  • Doctor Livesey thinks it's Jim who's been killed.
  • Livesey and Hunter rush back to the ship.
  • Squire Trelawney is sitting aboard the Hispaniola thinking that it's Doctor Livesey and Hunter who were killed.
  • Captain Smollett points out that one of the six sailors left aboard the ship turned pale when he heard the scream.
  • Captain Smollett thinks that man will join the loyal party.
  • Doctor Livesey explains his plan to use the abandoned stockade to defend themselves.
  • They secretly load up the tiny rowboat with ammunition and provisions.
  • Meanwhile, the Captain and Squire Trelawney stay on deck.
  • Finally, the charade is over: Squire Trelawney takes out his pistol and tells Israel Hands (the leader of the six sailors still aboard the ship, who are pretending to be loyal) to freeze.
  • The six sailors are totally confused, but since they are surrounded – with Squire Trelawney and Captain Smollett on one end of the ship and Redruth on the other – they obediently go below decks.
  • During all this activity, Doctor Livesey, Hunter, and Joyce manage to set off for shore in their rowboat filled with provisions.
  • They unload the rowboat into the fort, then Doctor Livesey and Hunter row back to the Hispaniola. Joyce stays behind to guard the fort, armed with six guns.
  • Back on the Hispaniola, they load up the rowboat a second time. They dump all of the guns and ammunition they don't have room for over the side of the ship so the pirates can't use them.
  • The tide is starting to go out, and they hear the sounds of the two boatloads of men coming back from their day on the island.
  • Doctor Livesey, Squire Trelawney, and Redruth get into the rowboat.
  • (There's a tiny mistake here – Livesey says that both Hunter and Joyce are on shore at the fort [4.16.25], but he said that Joyce is alone just four paragraphs earlier. Here we see the value of close proofreading!)
  • They paddle around to the front of the boat where the six sailors are trapped below the deck.
  • They hear Captain Smollett's voice from the deck of the ship.
  • Captain Smollett is ordering the sailor they thought might be loyal out of the six – Abraham Gray – to join their party.
  • They hear the sounds of a fight below the decks, and Abraham Gray bursts out and runs over to Captain Smollett.
  • Captain Smollett and Abraham Gray drop aboard the tiny rowboat, and they all set off for shore.

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