Study Guide

Treasure Island Chapter 21

By Robert Louis Stevenson

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Chapter 21

The Attack

  • Captain Smollett goes back into the fort and finds none of the men where they were supposed to be except Gray.
  • He is surprised at their lack of discipline.
  • They all start loading the muskets to prepare for battle. Captain Smollett says they have a good chance, since they're fighting from a protected place.
  • Captain Smollett orders everyone to the posts he assigns all around the walls of the fort.
  • An hour passes and nothing happens.
  • Joyce is the first to fire his gun and then everyone is shooting.
  • They realize, after the smoke has cleared, that the main attack is going to come from the north.
  • Captain Smollett orders the group to hold their positions.
  • Just then, a bunch of pirates emerge from the north side of the fort and bullets rain out from the forest.
  • One of the bullets shatters Doctor Livesey's gun.
  • Squire Trelawney and Abraham Gray open fire; three men fall and one gets up again and runs into the trees.
  • Four of the pirates keep rushing straight for the house while seven or eight stay in the woods shooting.
  • The leader of the four is Job Anderson.
  • A pirate grabs Hunter's gun muzzle through the hole in the wall Hunter is using, takes the gun, and knocks Hunter unconscious with it.
  • A third pirate starts using his sword to attack Doctor Livesey.
  • Captain Smollett yells for them to give up on the guns and turn to swords for close combat.
  • Jim comes face to face with Job Anderson. Job Anderson raises his sword to kill Jim, but Jim slips and falls down.
  • Abraham Gray kills Job Anderson before he can raise his sword for a second blow.
  • As Jim stands up, he finds that another pirate has been shot just as he was preparing to fire on the house.
  • Doctor Livesey has killed the pirate who attacked him.
  • So, of the four pirates who directly attacked the fort, only one is still alive, and he is running for the forest having dropped his sword. Altogether, they have killed five of the pirates in this battle.
  • Back at the fort, Hunter is still unconscious and Joyce has been shot through the head. Captain Smollett is also injured.
  • Captain Smollett is cheerful, though: it looks like it's now four of them to nine pirates.
  • Captain Smollett has no way of knowing this, but it's actually four to eight – they find out later that the pirate who Squire Trelawney shot when they were rowing away from the Hispaniola died of his wounds.

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