Study Guide

Treasure Island Chapter 9

By Robert Louis Stevenson

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Chapter 9

Powder and Arms

  • Jim, Doctor Livesey, and Squire Trelawney all go over to the dock where the Hispaniola is moored.
  • Jim observes that Squire Trelawney gets along well with the mate, Arrow, but not with the captain of the ship, Smollett.
  • Captain Smollett soon levels with Squire Trelawney: he's not happy with the crew or his first mate.
  • Squire Trelawney quickly takes offense and asks point-blank if Captain Smollett doesn't like him either.
  • Doctor Livesey interrupts the argument and asks Captain Smollett for an explanation.
  • Captain Smollett has the following complaints:
    1. He doesn't know why he's being kept in the dark about the Hispaniola's destination by Squire Trelawney;
    2. He has found out that their goal is a treasure hunt – from his own crew, who know more than he does;
    3. He's worried that neither Doctor Livesey nor Squire Trelawney really knows what he is doing;
    4. He would have preferred to hire his own crew; and
    5. he mistrusts Mr. Arrow, his first mate, who seems too friendly with the crew to be a good officer.
  • To this list of complaints Captain Smollett adds some really serious objections: the crew seems to be stockpiling gunpowder in a place that is handier for them to reach than for the Captain.
  • Also, Squire Trelawney has been talking way too much, and some of the private details of the treasure map have clearly spread throughout the crew.
  • Doctor Livesey asks Captain Smollett if he is worried about a mutiny – an uprising on the part of the crew once they are at sea.
  • Captain Smollett agrees. He thinks some of the men, including Arrow, are honest, but he is worried that something about the trip is not quite right. He won't sail unless he's allowed to take certain precautions.
  • Captain Smollett takes his leave, and Doctor Livesey says that he is an honest man – along with Long John Silver.
  • Squire Trelawney protests that Captain Smollett is a coward.
  • Doctor Livesey won't judge him yet.
  • Doctor Livesey and Squire Trelawney agree to Captain Smollett's wishes: instead of allowing all the officers to be quartered at one end of the ship, they set up places to sleep throughout the boat. Spreading themselves out will prevent the crew from ambushing them all in one place.
  • Captain Smollett also manages to get Squire Trelawney to move the gunpowder so it isn't all centralized near the crew.
  • Long John Silver comes aboard just as these changes are being made and seems surprised.
  • Captain Smollett reminds him that they are his orders.

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