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Chapter 1 I Go to Bristol

  • It was longer than the squire imagined ere we were ready for the sea, and non_f our first plans—not even Dr. Livesey's, of keeping me beside him—could b_arried out as we intended. The doctor had to go to London for a physician t_ake charge of his practice; the squire was hard at work at Bristol; and _ived on at the hall under the charge of old Redruth, the gamekeeper, almost _risoner, but full of sea-dreams and the most charming anticipations o_trange islands and adventures. I brooded by the hour together over the map, all the details of which I well remembered. Sitting by the fire in th_ousekeeper's room, I approached that island in my fancy from every possibl_irection; I explored every acre of its surface; I climbed a thousand times t_hat tall hill they call the Spy-glass, and from the top enjoyed the mos_onderful and changing prospects. Sometimes the isle was thick with savages, with whom we fought, sometimes full of dangerous animals that hunted us, bu_n all my fancies nothing occurred to me so strange and tragic as our actua_dventures.
  • So the weeks passed on, till one fine day there came a letter addressed to Dr.
  • Livesey, with this addition, "To be opened, in the case of his absence, by To_edruth or young Hawkins." Obeying this order, we found, or rather I found—fo_he gamekeeper was a poor hand at reading anything but print—the followin_mportant news:
  • > Old Anchor Inn, Bristol, March 1, 17—
  • >
  • > Dear Livesey—As I do not know whether you are at the hall or still i_ondon, I send this in double to both places.
  • >
  • > The ship is bought and fitted. She lies at anchor, ready for sea. You neve_magined a sweeter schooner—a child might sail her—two hundred tons; name, Hispaniola.
  • >
  • > I got her through my old friend, Blandly, who has proved himself throughou_he most surprising trump. The admirable fellow literally slaved in m_nterest, and so, I may say, did everyone in Bristol, as soon as they got win_f the port we sailed for—treasure, I mean.
  • "Redruth," said I, interrupting the letter, "Dr. Livesey will not like that.
  • The squire has been talking, after all."
  • "Well, who's a better right?" growled the gamekeeper. "A pretty rum go i_quire ain't to talk for Dr. Livesey, I should think."
  • At that I gave up all attempts at commentary and read straight on:
  • > Blandly himself found the Hispaniola, and by the most admirable managemen_ot her for the merest trifle. There is a class of men in Bristol monstrousl_rejudiced against Blandly. They go the length of declaring that this hones_reature would do anything for money, that the Hispaniola belonged to him, an_hat he sold it me absurdly high—the most transparent calumnies. None of the_are, however, to deny the merits of the ship.
  • >
  • > Wo far there was not a hitch. The workpeople, to be sure—riggers and wha_ot—were most annoyingly slow; but time cured that. It was the crew tha_roubled me.
  • >
  • > I wished a round score of men—in case of natives, buccaneers, or the odiou_rench—and I had the worry of the deuce itself to find so much as half _ozen, till the most remarkable stroke of fortune brought me the very man tha_ required.
  • >
  • > I was standing on the dock, when, by the merest accident, I fell in tal_ith him. I found he was an old sailor, kept a public-house, knew all th_eafaring men in Bristol, had lost his health ashore, and wanted a good bert_s cook to get to sea again. He had hobbled down there that morning, he said, to get a smell of the salt.
  • >
  • > I was monstrously touched—so would you have been—and, out of pure pity, _ngaged him on the spot to be ship's cook. Long John Silver, he is called, an_as lost a leg; but that I regarded as a recommendation, since he lost it i_is country's service, under the immortal Hawke. He has no pension, Livesey.
  • Imagine the abominable
  • >
  • > age we live in!
  • >
  • > Well, sir, I thought I had only found a cook, but it was a crew I ha_iscovered. Between Silver and myself we got together in a few days a compan_f the toughest old salts imaginable—not pretty to look at, but fellows, b_heir faces, of the most indomitable spirit. I declare we could fight _rigate. Long John even got rid of two out of the six or seven I had alread_ngaged. He showed me in a moment that they were just the sort of fresh-wate_wabs we had to fear in an adventure of
  • >
  • > importance.
  • >
  • > I am in the most magnificent health and spirits, eating like a bull, sleeping like a tree, yet I shall not enjoy a moment till I hear my ol_arpaulins tramping round the capstan. Seaward, ho! Hang the treasure! It'_he glory of the sea that has turned my head. So now, Livesey, come post; d_ot lose an hour, if you respect me.
  • >
  • > Let young Hawkins go at once to see his mother, with Redruth for a guard; and then both come full speed to Bristol.
  • >
  • > John Trelawney
  • >
  • > Postscript—I did not tell you that Blandly, who, by the way, is to send _onsort after us if we don't turn up by the end of August, had found a_dmirable fellow for sailing master—a stiff man, which I regret, but in al_ther respects a treasure. Long John Silver unearthed a very competent man fo_ mate, a man named Arrow. I have a boatswain who pipes, Livesey; so thing_hall go man-o'-war fashion on board the good ship Hispaniola.
  • >
  • > I forgot to tell you that Silver is a man of substance; I know of my ow_nowledge that he has a banker's account, which has never been overdrawn. H_eaves his wife to manage the inn; and as she is a woman of colour, a pair o_ld bachelors like you and I may be excused for guessing that it is the wife, quite as much as the health, that sends him back to roving.
  • >
  • > J. T.
  • >
  • > P.P.S.—Hawkins may stay one night with his mother.
  • >
  • > J. T.
  • You can fancy the excitement into which that letter put me. I was half besid_yself with glee; and if ever I despised a man, it was old Tom Redruth, wh_ould do nothing but grumble and lament. Any of the under-gamekeepers woul_ladly have changed places with him; but such was not the squire's pleasure, and the squire's pleasure was like law among them all. Nobody but old Redrut_ould have dared so much as even to grumble.
  • The next morning he and I set out on foot for the Admiral Benbow, and there _ound my mother in good health and spirits. The captain, who had so long bee_ cause of so much discomfort, was gone where the wicked cease from troubling.
  • The squire had had everything repaired, and the public rooms and the sig_epainted, and had added some furniture—above all a beautiful armchair fo_other in the bar. He had found her a boy as an apprentice also so that sh_hould not want help while I was gone.
  • It was on seeing that boy that I understood, for the first time, my situation.
  • I had thought up to that moment of the adventures before me, not at all of th_ome that I was leaving; and now, at sight of this clumsy stranger, who was t_tay here in my place beside my mother, I had my first attack of tears. I a_fraid I led that boy a dog's life, for as he was new to the work, I had _undred opportunities of setting him right and putting him down, and I was no_low to profit by them. The night passed, and the next day, after dinner, Redruth and I were afoot again and on the road. I said good-bye to Mother an_he cove where I had lived since I was born, and the dear old Admira_enbow—since he was repainted, no longer quite so dear. One of my las_houghts was of the captain, who had so often strode along the beach with hi_ocked hat, his sabre-cut cheek, and his old brass telescope. Next moment w_ad turned the corner and my home was out of sight.
  • The mail picked us up about dusk at the Royal George on the heath. I wa_edged in between Redruth and a stout old gentleman, and in spite of the swif_otion and the cold night air, I must have dozed a great deal from the ver_irst, and then slept like a log up hill and down dale through stage afte_tage, for when I was awakened at last it was by a punch in the ribs, and _pened my eyes to find that we were standing still before a large building i_ city street and that the day had already broken a long time.
  • "Where are we?" I asked.
  • "Bristol," said Tom. "Get down."
  • Mr. Trelawney had taken up his residence at an inn far down the docks t_uperintend the work upon the schooner. Thither we had now to walk, and ou_ay, to my great delight, lay along the quays and beside the great multitud_f ships of all sizes and rigs and nations. In one, sailors were singing a_heir work, in another there were men aloft, high over my head, hanging t_hreads that seemed no thicker than a spider's. Though I had lived by th_hore all my life, I seemed never to have been near the sea till then. Th_mell of tar and salt was something new. I saw the most wonderful figureheads, that had all been far over the ocean. I saw, besides, many old sailors, wit_ings in their ears, and whiskers curled in ringlets, and tarry pigtails, an_heir swaggering, clumsy sea-walk; and if I had seen as many kings o_rchbishops I could not have been more delighted.
  • And I was going to sea myself, to sea in a schooner, with a piping boatswai_nd pig-tailed singing seamen, to sea, bound for an unknown island, and t_eek for buried treasure!
  • While I was still in this delightful dream, we came suddenly in front of _arge inn and met Squire Trelawney, all dressed out like a sea-officer, i_tout blue cloth, coming out of the door with a smile on his face and _apital imitation of a sailor's walk.
  • "Here you are," he cried, "and the doctor came last night from London. Bravo!
  • The ship's company complete!"
  • "Oh, sir," cried I, "when do we sail?"
  • "Sail!" says he. "We sail tomorrow!"