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Treasure Island. 8: The pirates parley and the black spot

Treasure Island. 8: The pirates parley and the black spot

The Hispaniola is safely moored - Jim has seized it from the pirates single-handed.

He makes his way back to the stockade, assuming he'll return to a hero's welcome.

But when Jim enters the stockade he discovers it has been taken by the pirates. Silver explains that when it became apparent that the ship had gone a deal was struck: the pirates took the stockade and in return the Squire, Dr Livesey and Captain Smollet were given their freedom.

Jim is invited to join the pirates in their venture but Jim is having none of it and reveals that it is he - Jim - who has been the author of all their problems.

The pirates are restless and retire to have a 'parley'. At the end of it they return to tell Silver that Jim Hawkins should die. And they also give Silver 'the black spot'. But they have made a blunder - the black spot has been placed on a page of a bible and thus has no effect.

At this moment Silver is able to regain control of the situation by revealing that he also has the map - and the pirates begin to celebrate, believing that soon they will be rich.

Treasure Island - supporting resources:

  1. Teacher's Notes (3.1 MB)
  2. Treasure Island - text of Part 8 to print

Treasure Island - text of Part 8

Narrator: Night is falling again on Treasure Island. Jim Hawkins wades ashore from the good ship Hispaniola, having seized it single-handed from the pirates. Now, as he walks through the darkness back to the stockade he fancies he’s going to get a hero’s welcome – for there’s not many boys can fight pirates to the death and get away with it...

He reaches the stockade and everything is quiet. Approaching the block-house all that can be heard is snoring. Jim tip-toes through the sleeping figures stifling a chuckle, then trips on a foot. The figure groans, and then:

Parrot: Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!

Silver: Who goes there?

Jim: Silver!?

Silver: Bring a torch! Quickly now!

Jim: Who did? Who did you? How did you? What happened to?

Silver: Jim Hawkins, shivery me timbers!

Narrator: Jim is grabbed, and a torch is brought – illuminating the block-house and showing in its light the ragged faces of six desperate pirates.

Silver motions for Jim to sit down, then takes a pipe and lights it. Jim sits.

Silver: Now I shall explain. And when I’ve finished ye shall decide whether ye be with us – which will be good – or agin us – which will be not so good.

Narrator: And Silver explains, that as soon as they all saw the ship had gone, he and Livesey had made a deal. The pirates got the stockade – Livesey and the Squire got their freedom. Although, Silver says - Livesey didn’t seem to mind much about Jim.

Silver: "As for that boy," he says, "I don’t know where he is, nor do I much care. Confound him. We’re about sick of him!" These was his words, Jim, and that’s all there is to hear.

Narrator: Jim has listened carefully through all this, his back pressed hard against the wall. Now his cheeks burn and his heart beats painfully in his chest.

Jim: Here you are in a bad way. Ship lost, treasure lost, men lost. Your whole business gone to wreck – and if you want to know who did it – it was I!

Silver: You? Ha, ha, very good, oh very good. Hear that lads - 'tis Jim we needs be scared of. Pirate Jim, no less!

Jim: I heard your plans from the apple barrel; I cut the schooner’s cable; I killed the men on board; and I hid her where you’ll never see her again. The laugh’s on my side, eh? I no more fear you than I fear a fly. Kill me if you please. You’ll do yourselves no good. But if you spare me, then when you lot are in court for piracy I’ll save you all I can.

Narrator: Jim finishes his speech and sits back, quite amazed at himself. This is not the boy who sat in the Admiral Benbow inn waiting for an adventure. This is a soul who’s lived and is proud of it. The pirates mutter and moan – then step outside for a parley. Silver takes Jim to one side.

Silver: Lookee here, Jim Hawkins, you're within half a plank of death - or worse, torture. But I'll cut a deal with ye. I'll protect you from the pirates, but only if you look out for me.

Narrator: Of course, he can’t promise anything – not one man against the mob. When the pirates come back in, they’ve made their minds up. And it’s just as Silver fears:

Pirate: Now then, Silver. We've had our parley. And this is what we've decided. The boy - Jim Hawkins - is a meddler. And meddlers is bad as any pirate will tell ya. So it's time he went. To his death, that is.

Silver: I see. And be that all?

Pirate: Not quite. There be one more thing. We'd like you to have...this.

Narrator: The pirate walks slowly towards Silver - his hand clasped round something small. He hesitates.

Silver: Step up - I'll not eat you. Thank you, what have we here? The black spot. I thought so. But look at this, you half-wits! Oh this ain't lucky. You've gone and cut this out of a Bible. What fool’s cut a Bible?

Pirate: It weren't were Dick.

Jim: Black spot cut from a bible?

Silver: Don't you lads know that them two counts each other out? Dear, oh dear. Now, for one we're not killing Jim because we shall need him yet as a hostage. And for another you're not killing me because I have something you want.

Pirate: Oh yes? You've bungled the entire voyage, Silver. You've got nothing!

Silver: Oh but I do, gentlemen. Part of my deal with the good Doctor Livesey. For his freedom he gave me the stockade...but he also gave me...this.

Narrator: And with a dramatic flourish Long John Silver takes from his waistcoat a folded piece of parchment. Slowly he opens it. And throws it on the floor.

Pirates: The map, the map, the treasure map!

Narrator: The pirates link arms and sing in joy. Silver leans across and whispers into Jim's ear:

Silver: That's as close to your death as you'll come in this lifetime, young Jim. I'll appreciate it if you'll not forget my hand in your salvation...

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