Treasure Island: Novel Summary: Part 6
Part 6: Captain Silver
Chapter XXVIII - Chapter XXXIV
Chapter XXVIII: In the Enemy's Camp
There are six pirates in the house. Jim does not know what has happened to his friends, and assumes that they were all killed. Silver speaks in a friendly way to Jim, but all Jim feels is despair. Silver says that the doctor and captain are angry with him and will not take him back, so Jim has no choice but to join with the pirates. Jim is relieved to hear that his companions are still alive. Silver explains that the two groups cut a deal. Silver's men took over the stockade, and the captain's party went somewhere else, Silver does not know where.
Jim then tells Silver about how it was he, Jim, who first disclosed the pirates' plot to the doctor and the others, and it was he who cut the Hispaniola loose. He says he is not afraid of the pirates, and if they spare his life, he will try and save them from the gallows when they are brought to trial. One of the pirates, Morgan, wants to kill Jim, but Silver restrains him. The other pirates agree with Morgan, but Silver asserts his authority over them, and tells them to leave Jim alone.
The crew assert their right to talk amongst themselves, away from Silver. They leave the loghouse. Silver knows they are about to depose him as captain, but he says he will stand by Jim. Since he knows the captain's men have re-taken the Hispaniola, he knows he cannot escape, and he wants Jim to save him from hanging. Jim agrees to do what he can. Silver asks Jim why the doctor gave him, Silver, the map showing where the treasure is, but Jim does not know the answer.
Chapter XXIX: The Black Spot Again
The five men return to the house. One of them hands a piece of paper to Silver. It is the Black Spot. Silver tries to sow doubt in their minds by pointing out that they have used a page from the Bible, and no good can come of that. But they insist that he reads what is written on the other side. The words say that Silver has been deposed as their captain. The spokesman for the men says that Silver has made a mess of the entire enterprise. Silver refutes this, point by point. He then produces the map that shows where the treasure is. The men are so heartened by the sight of the map that they declare that Silver is their leader after all.
Chapter XXX: On Parole
Dr. Livesey arrives at the loghouse. He is greeted warmly by Silver, and proceeds to treat the sick. Then he asks to speak to Jim. Silver says he will take Jim outside so they can talk there. Silver deals with the anger of the men, who think he is trying to arrange a separate peace for himself. Once out of the house, Silver tells the doctor that he saved Jim's life and wants the doctor to put in a good word for him and give him a chance of escaping the gallows. Silver then leaves Jim and the doctor alone. The doctor reproaches Jim for going off on his own, saying it was cowardly. Jim says he fears that the men will torture him, and the doctor urges him to run away. But Jim says he has given Silver his word that he will return and he cannot go back on his word. Jim tells him where the ship is. The doctor calls Silver over, and agrees to do what he can to save Silver's life at the trial he will face.
Chapter XXXI: The Treasure Hunt-Flint's Pointer
Silver thanks Jim for not running away, and says that the two of them must stick together. Then he bolsters his men by saying that they have the upper hand, and says they will take Jim along as hostage as they go for the treasure. Jim feels apprehensive because he does not trust Silver. Even if Silver sticks to his pact with Dr. Livesey, how are the two of them to survive against the five mutineers if the latter become suspicious?
They go to search for treasure. Jim is tied by a rope and led by Silver. They have a shock when they find a human skeleton lying in an unnatural position. It is perfectly straight, with feet pointing in one direction and hands raised above its head pointing in the exact opposite direction. Silver concludes that the skeleton is that of one of Flint's men, Allardyce, and that the position in which it is lying is a clue to where the treasure lies.
Chapter XXXII: The Treasure Hunt-the Voice Among the Trees
Silver is confident that they are near the treasure. But the men are still thinking about the skeleton and about Flint, the pirate who killed Allardyce. Suddenly, from out of the middle of a tree in front of them, a thin, high voice is heard singing the pirates' song. The men are terrified, thinking they are hearing Flint's ghost. This is confirmed for them when the same voice utters what they know to have been Flint's last words. Silver tries to rally them. He points out that the voice carried an echo, which tells him that it is not the voice of a ghost. Jim thinks this is a weak argument, but it convinces the men. Then Silver suddenly realizes who the voice belongs to. It is the voice of Ben Gunn. The other men recognize it too, once Silver has mentioned it. They take no notice of it, because no one takes any notice of Ben Gunn.
They get nearer to the tree under which the treasure lies buried. Silver is eager to find it, and Jim knows that he has forgotten all about his deal with the doctor. He just wants to get the money, kill everyone else and sail off with his loot. But when the men reach the site of the treasure, all they find is an empty hole. The money is gone.
Chapter XXXIII: The Fall of a Chieftain
The men are stunned, but Silver recovers quickly. He sides with Jim and moves away from the five men. The men are furious with Silver. One man, Merry, seems about to lead a charge at Silver and Jim, when three musket shots ring out. Merry and another man fall. The other three run for their lives. Silver finishes Merry off with two shots from his pistol. Then the doctor, Gray, and Ben Gunn join them, their muskets smoking. They all give chase to the three fleeing men, to prevent them from reaching the boats. But Silver points out there is no hurry. They are already between the men and the boats, and the men are running in the wrong direction. It transpires as the men talk that it was Ben who found the treasure. He moved it to a cave where it had lain safe for two months before the arrival of the Hispaniola. This is why the doctor gave Silver the map showing where the treasure lay.
They take one of the small boats and row eight or nine miles to the Hispaniola, which is adrift. They drop another anchor. The squire acknowledges to Silver that he will not be prosecuted. They enter the cave where Ben has stored the treasure, and have supper.
Chapter XXXIV: And Last
They transfer the treasure to the ship. On the third day of this laborious activity, they hear the drunken shouts of the three mutineers from another part of the island. After a conference, they decide to leave the men on the island. They leave them medicine, gunpowder, clothes and tools. As they sail away on the Hispaniola, they see the three mutineers kneeling on the sand, begging not to be left on the island.
They stop at a port, where Silver deserts them, with Ben's assistance. He has taken with him coins worth several hundred guineas. The others are not sorry to see him go.
They return to Bristol. Each man receives an ample share of the treasure. Gray uses the money well, but Ben squanders his share.
Jim is relieved that his adventure is over. He never wants to return to Treasure Island.
Analysis: Part VI
Treasure Island has maintained a strongly moral tone throughout. It is not therefore surprising that good triumphs, and the good and bad characters receive the rewards they deserve. All the pirates, with the exception of Silver, meet a bad end, either killed or marooned on the island. The survivors who return to Bristol get their rewards, and use them as befits their characters. Ben Gunn, for example, gets his share of the treasure for the part he played in defeating the pirates. But because he was on the island only because he was a pirate in the first place, he cannot be shown to have gained much from his endeavors. So it is emphasized that Ben quickly wastes all the money he is given. He is contrasted with the good man Gray, who showed loyalty to the right cause (despite his early wavering) and puts his share of the treasure to good use.
If good and bad receive their appropriate rewards, this leaves the problem (for the author) of what to do with Silver. He is undoubtedly a "bad" character. He is a pirate and a murderer, a ruthless man who seeks only his own advantage and will do anything to get what he wants. And yet he seems genuinely to like Jim Hawkins, and protects him from the other pirates. This shows him in a much better light, and softens the reader's judgment of him. If he is not quite a lovable rogue, there is something appealingly irrepressible about him, and the author has good reason to avoid giving him a grim fate by hanging. But plainly Silver cannot be allowed to profit greatly from his enterprise. Thus he is shown slipping off the ship before it reaches Bristol, with some very small part of the treasure that he manages to steal. Silver lives to fight (or steal) another day, and Jim, although he has no love for the man, likes to imagine him living in comfort with his wife and parrot.