Study Guide

Treasure Island Chapter 23

By Robert Louis Stevenson

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Chapter 23

The Ebb-Tide Runs

  • Jim finds that Ben Gunn's boat is light and floats well, but it's really hard to handle. He's really struggling to get the boat to go in the right direction.
  • Luckily for Jim, the current brings his tiny boat right to the Hispaniola.
  • Jim realizes that if he cuts the cope while it's pulled tight, it'll snap back and pull both him and his boat out of the water.
  • Again, luckily for Jim, the current shifts the Hispaniola so the rope is slack and he can cut it without danger.
  • During all this, Jim hears voices coming from the cabin of the ship.
  • He overhears Israel Hands talking to another pirate, the man with the red nightcap (kind of like the hat Santa Claus wears) who was the only surviving attacker on the fort earlier in the day.
  • They're incredibly angry and drunk.
  • On shore Jim can see a campfire with the remaining pirates. Someone is singing that old shanty "Dead Man's Chest."
  • Jim saws through the last strands of rope attaching the Hispaniola to its anchor.
  • He's having trouble rowing his little boat away from the much-larger ship because of the strong currents.
  • Jim grabs hold of a loose piece of rope.
  • He suddenly feels curious: what's happening in the cabin?
  • He climbs up for a last look.
  • He only has time to glimpse Israel Hands and the red-hatted pirate trying to strangle each other. The fact that they're fighting like this is lucky – it means neither of them have noticed that the Hispaniola has started to move quickly on the current.
  • Jim's little boat suddenly lurches: it's being carried in the wake of the Hispaniola.
  • Jim worries that he's going to be swept out to open sea.
  • The Hispaniola turns so sharply that even the two fighting drunks inside realize something is wrong.
  • Jim tries to hide in the bottom of his boat, sure that he's about to run aground on rocks and die.
  • He finally grows so exhausted that he falls asleep in his boat and dreams of his old life back at the Admiral Benbow Inn.

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