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Treasure Island. 10: Silver escapes and the heroes return

Treasure Island. 10: Silver escapes and the heroes return

The Hispaniola is returning to England with the treasure. After several weeks the ship puts in to port in South America for supplies. The Squire, Dr Livesey and Captain Smollet go ashore - leaving Jim on board with Silver.

Silver is a captive on the ship and his return to England will mean almost certain hanging. As Jim lies on deck, his eyes half closed, Silver creeps by, a bag of treasure over his shoulder.

Jim wakes and Silver hesitates. The two reflect on their lengthy adventure...and at the end Jim is happy to let Silver make his escape. In truth no-one is sad to see the back of Silver.

Jim returns to England now a wealthy young man. He hears nothing more of Long John Silver...but sometimes in his sleep he continues to dream of Silver...and his parrot squawking 'Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!'

Treasure Island - supporting resources:

  1. Teacher's Notes (3.1 MB)
  2. Treasure Island - text of Part 10 to print

Treasure Island - text of Part 10

Narrator: After many weeks, the Hispaniola visits a port in South America for supplies. It is a vibrant, colourful place and the music drifting from the bars in the town works its magic:

Squire: Now then, young Jim. The Doctor and Mr Gunn and I have decided to take good Captain Smollet ashore for a little...er...local entertainment.

Dr Livesey: All in the name of medicine of course, you understand.

Squire: You shall stay here in charge of the good Hispaniola. And we shall see you in the morning.

Smollet: Keep your eye on that rascal Silver, mind.

Jim: Of course, Captain.

Smollet: Cast off!

Narrator: And away they go in a little skiff towards the harbour steps. Jim settles back on deck to soak in the atmosphere. Pretty soon he's fast asleep, dreaming of riches and his own good fortune.

Flint: Stand by to go about! Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!

Silver: Button that beak you pesky parrot...

Narrator: Jim wakes in an instant.

Silver: No...no...need to stir, young Jim, I be just...er...checking the sails for erm...moths...

Jim: With a bag of gold, I see.

Silver: What? Bag of gold? Agh! Now where the devil did that come from?

Jim: Are you running away, Silver?

Silver: Now why should I be doing that, Jim, I gave my word didn't I?

Jim: I think they'll hang you soon as we reach home.

Silver: Ah well, Jim. There you have it. In a nutshell. This be my only chance.

Jim: I should stop you.

Silver: Aye, you should. But what if I promised to give up this pirate lark for good?

Jim: I wouldn't believe you, Silver.

Silver: Neither would I. I've a black heart, Jim, a black heart. And you can't change a black heart without ripping it out.

Narrator: The old pirate leans on his peg-leg, his eyes beseeching.

Silver: We been through hell and high water, shipmate, didn't we just?

Jim: We did, Silver.

Silver: Fate and fortune - we shared em both, didn't we?

Jim: I think I'll get a little more sleep...

Silver: And I'll just check these here...em...these...

Narrator: Silver lowers himself into the little boat and gently gathers the oars.

Silver: I'll say a prayer of thanks for ye, Jim. Every day.

Jim: You won't pray, Silver.

Silver: No, son. I won't. Ha ha. You're as smart as paint Jim me lad. Didn't I say that? Smart as paint.

Narrator: And with that - Long John Silver is gone.

When the others return and discover he's escaped - and taken a bag of treasure too - Jim acts the innocent. In truth no-one's sorry to see the back of the old pirate.

After many months at sea, they arrive back in Bristol to a tumultuous welcome. Over the next few years Jim and the others learn to spend their great fortune wisely. But the memory of his adventure is never far away.

Jim: Of Silver, we have heard no more. That formidable man with one leg has at last gone clean out of my life. I dare say he met up with his wife in the end and perhaps still lives in comfort with her. It is to be hoped so, for his chances of comfort in the next world are very small. I never told a soul about the true nature of his leaving.

At night sometimes I dream I am back on the island with the surf booming, and I sit bolt upright in bed with fear. I smell again the gunpowder, I hear the clash of cutlasses. I feel the knife burning deep into my arm and see that pirate face disappearing into the deep dark water for ever. And last of all before sleep claims me again I see Long John Silver grinning down at me, and I feel his great arm thumping into my back as he laughs. And I hear the sharp voice of Cap’n Flint ringing through the years: "Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!"

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