...a pyrates' life for me...

The Old Sea-dog at the Admiral Benbow

SQUIRE TRELAWNEY, Dr. Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen having asked me to write down the whole particulars about Treasure Island, from the beginning to the end, keeping nothing back but the bearings of the island, and that only because there is still treasure not yet lifted, I take up my pen in the year of grace 17__ and go back to the time when my father kept the Admiral Benbow inn and the brown old seaman with the sabre cut first took up his lodging under our roof.

I remember him as if it were yesterday, as he came plodding to the inn door, his sea-chest following behind him in a hand-barrow — a tall, strong, heavy, nut-brown man, his tarry pigtail falling over the shoulder of his soiled blue coat, his hands ragged and scarred, with black, broken nails, and the sabre cut across one cheek, a dirty, livid white. I remember him looking round the cover and whistling to himself as he did so, and then breaking out in that old sea-song that he sang so often afterwards:

"Fifteen men on the dead man's chest —

Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!"

Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island


  1. There's an Admiral Benbow pub and inn still standing in Penzance, Cornwall. It's said to date back to 17th Century and is decorated with all manner of authentic relics from shipwrecks along the Cornish coast. Trelawny is an ongoing Cornish name. This post was a bit of a time-warp for me.

  2. Oh, English, I love hearing that!! And Gail, I, too, love this book. Remember reading it to the family on one of our road trip vacations. We were all engrossed in the story and the writing. Hubby told me he'd read on Writers' Almanac that it was Robert Louis Stevenson's birthday today.


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