I GO TO BRISTOL
 IT was longer than the squire imagined ere we were ready for the sea, and none of our first plans—not
even Dr. Livesey's, of keeping me beside him—could be carried out as we intended. The doctor had to go
to London for a physician to take charge of his practice; the squire was hard at work at Bristol; and I lived
on at the hall under the charge of old Redruth, the gamekeeper, almost a prisoner, but full of sea-dreams and
the most charming anticipations of strange 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 the housekeeper's room, I approached
that island in my fancy from every possible direction; I explored every acre of its surface; I climbed a
thousand times to that tall hill they call the Spy-glass, and from the top enjoyed the most wonderful and
changing prospects. Sometimes the isle was thick with savages, with whom we fought, sometimes full of
dangerous animals that hunted us, but in all my fancies nothing occurred to me so strange and tragic as our
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 Tom Redruth or young Hawkins." Obeying this order, we found, or
rather I found—for the gamekeeper was a poor hand at reading anything but print—the following
"Old Anchor Inn, Bristol, March 1, 17—
"Dear Livesey—As I do not know whether you are at the hall or still in London, I send this in double to both places.
"The ship is bought and fitted. She lies at anchor, ready for sea. You never imagined a sweeter schooner—a
child might sail her—two hundred tons; name, Hispanola.
"I got her through my old friend, Blandly, who has proved himself throughout the most surprising
trump. The admirable fellow literally slaved in my interest, and so, I may say, did everyone in
Bristol, as soon as they got wind of 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,
"Well, who's a better right?" growled the gamekeeper. "A pretty rum go if squire 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 Hispanola, and by the most admirable management got her for the
merest trifle. There is a class of men in Bristol monstrously prejudiced against Blandly. They go
the length of declaring that
 this honest creature would do anything for money, that the Hispanola belonged to him, and that he
sold it me absurdly high—the most transparent calumnies. None of them dare, however, to deny
the merits of the ship.
"So far there was not a hitch. The workpeople, to be sure—riggers and what not—were
most annoyingly slow; but time cured that. It was the crew that troubled me.
"I wished a round score of men—in case of natives, buccaneers, or the odious French—and I
had the worry of the deuce itself to find so much as half a dozen, till the most remarkable stroke
of fortune brought me the very man that I required.
"I was standing on the dock, when, by the merest accident, I fell in talk with him. I found he
was an old sailor, kept a public-house, knew all the seafaring men in Bristol, had lost his health
ashore, and wanted a good berth as 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, I engaged him on
the spot to be ship's cook. Long John Silver, he is called, and has lost a leg; but that I regarded
as a recommendation, since he lost it in his 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 had discovered. Between
Silver and myself we got together in a few days a company of the toughest old salts imaginable—not
pretty to look at, but fellows, by their faces, of the most indomitable spirit. I declare we could
fight a frigate.
"Long John even got rid of two out of the six or seven I had already engaged. He showed me in a
 they were just the sort of fresh-water swabs 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 old tarpaulins tramping round the capstan. Seaward, ho!
Hang the treasure! It's the glory of the sea that has turned my head. So now, Livesey, come post;
do not 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.
"Postscript—I did not tell you that Blandly, who, by the way, is to send a consort after us if
we don't turn up by the end of August, had found an admirable fellow for sailing master—a stiff
man, which I regret, but in all other respects a treasure. Long John Silver unearthed a very
competent man for a mate, a man named Arrow. I have a boatswain who pipes, Livesey; so things shall
go man-o'-war fashion on board the good ship Hispanola.
"I forgot to tell you that Silver is a man of substance; I know of my own knowledge that he has
a banker's account, which has never been overdrawn. He leaves his wife to manage the inn; and as
she is a woman of colour, a pair of old 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.
"P.P.S.—Hawkins may stay one night with his mother.
You can fancy the excitement into which that letter put me. I was half beside myself with glee; and if ever I
despised a man, it was old Tom Redruth, who
 could do nothing but grumble and lament. Any of the under-gamekeepers would gladly 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 Redruth would have dared so much as even to grumble.
The next morning he and I set out on foot for the "Admiral Benbow", and there I found my mother in good health
and spirits. The captain, who had so long been a 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 sign repainted, and had
added some furniture—above all a beautiful armchair for mother in the bar. He had found her a boy as an
apprentice also so that she should 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 the home that I was leaving; and now, at sight of this clumsy
stranger, who was to stay here in my place beside my mother, I had my first attack of tears. I am afraid I led
that boy a dog's life, for as he was new to the work, I had a hundred opportunities of setting him right and
putting him down, and I was not slow 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 and the cove where I had lived since I was born, and the dear old Admiral
Benbow—since he was repainted, no longer quite so
 dear. One of my last thoughts was of the captain, who had so often strode along the beach with his cocked
hat, his sabre-cut cheek, and his old brass telescope. Next moment we had 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 was wedged in between Redruth and a stout
old gentleman, and in spite of the swift motion and the cold night air, I must have dozed a great deal from
the very first, and then slept like a log up hill and down dale through stage after stage, for when I was
awakened at last it was by a punch in the ribs, and I opened my eyes to find that we were standing still
before a large building in a 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 to superintend the work upon the
schooner. Thither we had now to walk, and our way, to my great delight, lay along the quays and beside the
great multitude of ships of all sizes and rigs and nations. In one, sailors were singing at their work, in
another there were men aloft, high over my head, hanging to threads that seemed no thicker than a spider's.
Though I had lived by the shore all my life, I seemed never to have been near the sea till then. The smell 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, with rings in their ears, and whiskers curled
 in ringlets, and tarry pigtails, and their swaggering, clumsy sea-walk; and if I had seen as many kings or
archbishops I could not have been more delighted.
And I was going to sea myself, to sea in a schooner, with a piping boatswain and pig-tailed singing seamen, to
sea, bound for an unknown island, and to seek for buried treasure!
While I was still in this delightful dream, we came suddenly in front of a large inn and met Squire Trelawney,
all dressed out like a sea-officer, in stout blue cloth, coming out of the door with a smile on his face and a
capital 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!"
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