Study Guide

Treasure Island Chapter 32

By Robert Louis Stevenson

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Chapter 32

The Treasure-Hunt – The Voice Among the Trees

  • The pirates stop to take a rest after reaching the top of the hill.
  • Tom Morgan says he's not feeling well; he's still thinking about Captain Flint.
  • They start talking about the pirate captain again.
  • Suddenly a high voice somewhere in the trees starts singing, "Fifteen men on the dead man's chest/ Yo ho ho, and a bottle of rum!" (32.9).
  • The six pirates truly freak out – Tom Morgan actually falls to the ground.
  • Long John Silver is pale and frightened, but he tells the other pirates it's just someone messing around.
  • Then the voice calls, "Fetch aft the rum, Darby!" (32.14).
  • Apparently, these were Flint's last words.
  • Long John Silver won't let the other terrified pirates turn back.
  • He points out that the call had an echo – and no spirit voice echoes, does it?
  • George Merry seems comforted by Long John Silver's observation.
  • They realize that the voice doesn't sound like Captain Flint at all – it sounds like Ben Gunn!
  • George Merry says no one cares about the ghost of Ben Gunn. So all the pirates seem to feel much better, and they continue on.
  • Dick Johnson is still holding his Bible fearfully, and Long John Silver makes fun of him for it.
  • Finally they reach the three tall pines where the treasure is buried.
  • Thinking he's about to find a vast treasure, Long John Silver looks menacingly at Jim.
  • Jim realizes that if the pirates find the treasure, Long John Silver may not honor the treaty he struck with Doctor Livesey.
  • Dick Johnson has started babbling – he's caught a bad fever and he's becoming incoherent.
  • Then they find something that's a complete shock: the treasure has already been dug up!

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