Study Guide

Treasure Island Chapter 26

By Robert Louis Stevenson

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Chapter 26

Israel Hands

  • The Hispaniola arrives at the northern end of the island.
  • Because they have no anchor, they have to wait until the tide goes out a bit so they can beach the ship.
  • So Jim hangs out with Israel Hands.
  • Israel wants Jim to throw O'Brien's body overboard because it's bad luck to have a corpse aboard, but Jim isn't strong enough.
  • Israel wants Jim to go below deck to get a bottle of wine – he claims the brandy has become too strong for him.
  • Jim starts to get suspicious of why Israel wants him off the deck, but he decides to play along.
  • He says he'll go below for wine, but that he'll have to spend a long time looking for it.
  • Jim makes a lot of noise as he goes below deck, then creeps back up to watch Israel Hands.
  • Even though he's injured, Israel gets up and manages to find a knife hidden in a coil of rope. Jim realizes that he can move around and is now armed.
  • Jim is sure Israel Hands means to kill him. But before that happens, he and Hands both want the same thing: they want to beach the ship in a sheltered place so that it will be safe.
  • Jim thinks Israel Hands won't kill him until the Hispaniola is ashore.
  • Jim slips back into the cabin, grabs a bottle of wine, and brings it to Israel Hands.
  • Israel pretends not to have moved. He also acts like he's on his deathbed.
  • Jim tells him he should say his prayers.
  • Israel Hands replies that he's been at sea 30 years, and he's never seen anything good happen to a good man.
  • Hands then tells Jim to follow his directions exactly so they can arrive at the North Inlet.
  • Jim gets so involved in this final bit of steering that he forgets to watch Hands. It's only instinct that makes him turn around just as Hands is drawing a knife on him.
  • Jim leaps to the side and lets go of the steering lever, which suddenly hits Hands in the chest.
  • Jim uses this moment to reach for one of his pistols.
  • He pulls the trigger but nothing happens – the pistol has become soaked with seawater and isn't usable.
  • Hands leaps for Jim again, and the two start dodging back and forth.
  • Suddenly, the Hispaniola hits ground and tips at an angle.
  • Both Israel Hands and Jim roll straight down the deck.
  • Jim quickly recovers and climbs up to the top of the mast.
  • There he reloads his pistols while Hands starts climbing up the rigging with his knife in his teeth.
  • Jim warns Hands that if he keeps climbing, Jim will blow his brains out.
  • Hands says he and Jim will have to come to an agreement – but even as he's saying this, something comes flying through the air to pin Jim's shoulder to the mast.
  • It's the knife: Hands has thrown it at him.
  • As the knife hits Jim, he fires his two pistols. The bullets hit Hands, who falls dead into the sea below.

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