Study Guide

Treasure Island Chapter 5

By Robert Louis Stevenson

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Chapter 5

The Last of the Blind Man

  • Jim sneaks up to the riverbank next to the road that leads to the inn's door.
  • He sees seven or eight guys running towards the inn.
  • Three of them break down the door.
  • The blind man seems to be the leader.
  • One of them reports to the blind man that the captain is dead.
  • The blind man orders them to search his body.
  • They find the chest empty; whatever they were looking for isn't there.
  • The blind man yells that it must have been Jim who took it.
  • The men start to search the house.
  • Another low whistle comes from the hillside, warning the men that someone is coming.
  • The blind man refuses to let his men leave, since he thinks the whistler ("Dirk") is a coward.
  • The men start to fight with the blind man: they've gotten some gold from the captain's chest and they don't want to hang around waiting for the police.
  • The blind man is furious and starts hitting the men with his cane.
  • The noise of their fighting distracts them from the sound of approaching horses.
  • A pistol shot sounds as a final warning of danger, and all of the pirates manage to get away.
  • The only one who can't escape is the blind man, who runs out onto the road calling after his comrades: "Johnny, Black Dog, Dirk" (5.29) and others.
  • In the confusion, the blind man runs straight under the hooves of the riders. They try to stop, but they can't in time. The blind man is killed instantly.
  • Jim's mother is fainting. The riders bring her into the house and she soon regains consciousness.
  • It turns out the riders are revenue officers – also known as tax collectors – whom the guy who rode out to find Doctor Livesey brought back with him.
  • The supervisor of these officers, Mr. Dance, rides on to try to find the rest of the pirates, but he can't.
  • The inn is ruined: everything is smashed and broken, and Jim can see that he and his mother are out of business.
  • Everyone is confused about what the pirates could have been looking for.
  • Jim thinks he has it: the packet of papers he put in his breast pocket while he and his mother were searching the chest.
  • Mr. Dance offers to take it.
  • Jim wants to give it to Doctor Livesey.
  • Mr. Dance immediately agrees (since Doctor Livesey is a local judge, after all), and offers to bring Jim with him when he reports the incident to Doctor Livesey and the squire, who is a local leader in the system of England's landed gentry. ("Gentry" means people of high birth and social class.)
  • So Jim and Mr. Dance set out to Doctor Livesey's house.

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