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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
CHAPTER 31: The Treasure Hunt - Flintís Pointer
Silver overhears Jim's conversation with the Doctor. He praises Jim for keeping his word, despite the Doctor's persistence. He tells Jim that they'll stick together at all odds.
The buccaneers stuff themselves with a roasted ox. Silver also joins the gang and Jim sees that he, like any other pirate was gorging on the meal. He keeps on talking about the treasure and their journey back home. All the while Jim can't decide if Silver were on his side or the mutineers. Unlike the pirates, Jim can't enjoy his breakfast as all these thoughts were fighting in his mind. He also wonders about his friends.
The treasure hunt begins. Everybody is well armed with their necessary accessories. Picks, shovels, pistols, food and alcohol. Jim is tied around his waist and the loose end of the rope is held by Silver. They follow the map looking for the `tall tree', which Captain Flint had marked. Silver leads them. The men move on all fours when they reach the plateau.
Suddenly one of the men screams in terror. When they reach the place they see a dead carcass. Silver observes something strange in the body's position. On a closer observation, Silver finds that the body pointed straight in the direction of the Island and the compass reading also matched exactly with the one on the chart. Silver recognizes the corpse as Allardyce, one of Flint's men. Morgan is quick to remember that the man had owed him money and that he had his knife too.
Morgan searches for his knife and finds nothing. Silver reminds them they were six men now just like Flint's six men. He tells them that all six of them were dead, today. One of the seamen breaks out into the sea song of Billy Bones. This untimely singing disgusts Jim. They go on with their hunt except that the men stay close to Silver and speak softly. They fear the dead man's spirits.
The chapter opens with Stevenson pointing out the crooked nature of Long John Silver. Though he lets the doctor have a private conversation with Jim, he makes sure that he can hear them. This could also be seen as a precautionary measure. When Jim returns to Silver, he doesn't like the fact that he overhears their conversation. Silver is quite impressed with Jim's personality and admires him for not breaking his promise. Silver reiterates the fact that they'll stick together against all odds.
The buccaneers prepare breakfast. They roast an oversized ox. Jim notices the wasteful nature of the buccaneers while working. They don't seem to care about tomorrow and though they were probably ready for a fight anytime, Jim feels that they are unfit for doing any major work.
All this time, when Jim is reading the attitudes of the buccaneers, he notices Silver also gorging himself on the food. He doesn't find any difference between him and his men. And all the while Silver chatters about the treasure hunt, the good time that lay ahead of them and settling the account with Jim by going him his share. The men are in good humor now. Though Jim hears Silver saying all this he knows that Silver trying to balance himself in between the pirates on one side and freedom and wealth on the other. Jim is sure he will opt for the latter. This indicates the perceptive nature that Jim is developing.
When the treasure hunt begins Silver leads his men with Jim attached to a rope, a symbol of indignity to say the least. They refer to the chart time and again and discuss their plans. They are on the look out for a tall tree. They stop when they see a dead body lying on the ground in a strange position. Silver observes the corpse lying in a strange position and is quick to conclude that it is a sign from Flint. His guess comes true when the compass points in the direction of the treasure island. He also recognizes the body and tells the men that it is Allardyce - one of Flint's mates.
Morgan remembers the money Allardyce had borrowed from him. He gets down to check the corpse for the knife he had borrowed before the voyage. Morgan is among the basest of men. His crudity stoops to an all time low here.
Silver hints that Flint, while burying the treasure, had six men with him the same number as theirs. Was he hinting at anything? Nobody cares just now. Amidst these activities, a seaman starts singing the old sea song. Jim is disgusted at this untimely song. We see a fine sense of propriety in Jim. He seems to know the exact way to behave. They proceed towards the Island. But now they don't shout or scream instead they follow Silver closely speaking in whispering tones. Their fearful attitude towards spirits and ghosts is thus evident. Stevenson has a fine sense of the actual state of affairs within a pirate community.