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Treasure Island. 9: An empty pit and Ben Gunn's surprise

Treasure Island. 9: An empty pit and Ben Gunn's surprise

In the stockade the pirates are celebrating - today they'll be digging up Flint's treasure...or so they think.

They set off, following the treasure map, Silver leading the way.

Along the way they pass one of Flint's 'pointers' - the skeleton of a young pirate who Flint killed and then placed so that his arm would show the way.

They arrive at the spot where the treasure should be...and sure enough there's a pit in the ground. But it quickly becomes apparent that someone has been there before them - the pit is empty.

The pirates are about to turn on Silver when suddenly shots ring out...and two pirates fall dead. Then Dr Livesey and Ben Gunn come out of the undergrowth, pistols blazing.

Jim, Silver and the others make their escape and Ben takes them to a cave where he has stored Flint's treasure hoard. It turns out that Ben had found the treasure himself some years before and had moved it to the cave for safe keeping.

That night the group have a party on the beach, with provisions taken from the Hispaniola. The next morning they set sail for England.

Treasure Island - supporting resources:

  1. Teacher's Notes (3.1 MB)
  2. Treasure Island - text of Part 9 to print

Treasure Island - text of Part 9

Pirates: Yer know what day it is today? It's diggin up treasure day! Ha ha!

Pirates: We're going to the gates of El Dorado...there's going to be steak for our dinnaro.

Narrator: For once the pirates have no trouble getting up in the morning.

Pirates: Cutlasses? Check. Pistols? Check.

Silver: Jim! I'll use some of that afore you chuck the rest.

Jim: Here.

Silver: Lookee here, Jim. I saved your life last night - and you saved mine. Stick close, back to back like...we're not home yet.

Narrator: Then up the hill all the pirates march. It's hard work for sea-faring men. Silver stops to peer at the map:

Silver: Spy-glass should point to the north of north north east. This way...

Narrator: Half way up the hill they find a skeleton.

Silver: Look it's a pointer. One of Flint’s jokes, this is. He killed the fella, then laid him out as a clue to the treasure. Oh Shiver my timbers – that's young Allardyce's clothes. Remember Allardyce, lads?

Narrator: They do. Then onwards they go higher and higher up the island till eventually they emerge from the tree line - and hear a terrible voice:

Ben Gunn: "Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest – yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!"

Pirates: It’s Cap'n Flint! He’s alive! He’s coming for us!

Ben Gunn: "Darby M’Graw! Darby M’Graw! Fetch aft the rum, Darby M’Graw!"

Pirate 1: They was his last words. That fixes it - let’s go!

Ben Gunn: "Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest – yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!"

Pirate 2: It’s the spirit of Cap’n Flint, come for us!

Silver: Nonsense! You hear that? Since when did a ghost make an echo? You don’t see a spirit with a shadow – and you don’t hear a spirit with an echo. Don't you lads know nothing?

Narrator: The other pirates look at each other, then nod in agreement.

Pirate 1: God bless you Silver, if you ain’t right.

Narrator: And off he goes, the others fast behind him. Very soon they reach the clearing where the treasure should be. Sure enough there's a huge pit - but it only takes a second for Jim to see that it's empty. One of the pirates sinks to his knees.

Pirate 1: Someone’s been here already!

Narrator: Crazed, they hurl themselves into the hole with their picks and shovels. Silver hands a pistol to Jim.

Silver: Take that, my boy – and stand by for trouble...

Narrator: The pirates stop digging:

Pirates: Nothing! Not a coin, not a belt buckle! Silver! This is your doing! Kill him lads!

Narrator: They start to climb out...but before the pirates can attack, two musket shots ring out and two of them fall back - stone cold dead. The other three pirates look around confused, then hop out of the hole and run for it, as Doctor Livesey and Ben Gunn emerge from the bushes.

Dr Livesey: Come on Jim, and you Silver.

Narrator: Jim and Silver don’t wait for another word – and soon all of them are flying down the hill towards the beaches. At last they reach safety by the ship’s boats. Smollett and Squire Trelawney are waiting for them – standing proudly in front of a whole cave-full of golden and treasure.

Jim: I don't believe it. I don't believe it!

Silver: Very neatly done, Doctor. Finessed - I believe, is the word you gentlemen use, is it not...?

Narrator: It turns out that Ben Gunn dug up the treasure years ago and placed it here in the cave for the day when rescue might come. And while Jim was away capturing the Hispaniola, Doctor Livesey had found Gunn and made an unlikely alliance.

Squire: John Silver, you’re a prodigious villain and a monstrous impostor, sir. I am told I am not to prosecute you because of the help you have given young Jim here. But the dead men, sir, hang about your neck like millstones.

Silver: Thankee kindly, sir. I take that as a compliment, I do. A most generous compliment.

Narrator: Long John Silver salutes each in turn with a broad grin. That night, in front of a fire on the beach, they share a great dinner from stores on the Hispaniola.

Jim: Do you know what I miss the most?

Narrator: They are a merry crew.

Jim: Strawberries. And the smell of home.

Ben Gunn: One hundred and eighty five varieties of cheese there are in this world I do believe.

Dr Livesey: A feather pillow and a good claret. What more can a gentleman need? A toast lads, a toast to treasure.

Narrator: Out in the darkness of the woods, the unfortunate pirates watch, knowing that tomorrow they’ll be marooned.

Next day the Squire and his men leave a stock of food, water and medicines for the pirates and with the treasure all loaded, set sail for England.

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