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Free Study Guide for Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson-BookNotes

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CHAPTER SUMMARIES WITH NOTES


CHAPTER 20: Silverís Embassy


Summary

Two men, Silver and his lieutenant, stand outside the stockade waving a white flag. The Captain senses a sinister trick so he cautions the men and positions them strategically within the stockade. Then he asks Silver what he is up to. Silver explains that he has been chosen to be the Captain of the mutineers after Captain Smollet deserted them. He expresses his wish to submit himself and wants to come to terms with the Captain. The Captain agrees to talk to him alone. Silver has a hard time climbing the steep incline to the entrance of the stockade, but when he reaches the stockade he salutes Captain Smollet. He expresses his wish to sit inside as the morning is cold and frosty. The Captain rejects his offer saying that he is nothing more than a pirate in front of him. He again cuts in as Silver attempts to greet everyone inside the stockade.

Silver comes straight to the point. He asks the Captain about the map and demands it. In exchange, he offers him a safe sail back home after they unearth the treasure. He also suggests that they could divide the treasure equally on the condition that Silver would sail first with the Hispaniola. Silver, after reaching the land, would send the ship back for the Captain and his crew.


Now it is the Captainís turn to talk. He asks Silver and his men to come up to him, one by one, and surrender themselves. He promises them a fair trial when they return to England. If he doesnít do so, the Captain warns him of worse consequences. Silverís composure changes. He asks someone to help him stand up. Nobody moves. Silver manages by himself. He spits on the spring water to indicate his reaction to the Captainís proposal. With a loud threatening yell, he stumbles out of the stockade and disappears into the woods.


Notes

The unexpected move of Silver puts everybody in the stockade on edge. The Captain asks everybody in the stockade to stay indoors and issues orders to his men to take their positions. This chapter highlights and contrasts the qualities of Captain Smollet and Long John Silver. When Silver tells them that he has a proposal, the reader obviously expects it to be a trick, considering the character of Silver. But there is also some hope of arriving at a peaceful conclusion without further loss of life. The Captain chooses to speak to him alone and gives an ultimatum.

When Silver salutes the Captain and greets the other men in the stockade, you see the crooked personality of Long John Silver. His ability to keep a cool head is highlighted when Captain Smollet tells him that is no more than a pirate, and asks him to sit outside. Silver comes straight to his point, which is the quality of a good leader. He asks the Captain for the treasure map in exchange of a safe sail for all of them back home. His other proposal puts forward the suggestion to distribute the treasure equally after which he would take the Hispaniola with him. And after they reach their destination, the Captain and his men would be picked up by another vessel later.

The Captainís listens to Silver carefully and patiently, but he is clearly unwilling to entertain Silver's ideas seriously. He tells Silver and his men to surrender in exchange of a safe trial back home. The Captainís ability to judge people and act accordingly is highlighted.

When Silver leaves the stockade he spits at the Captainís proposal.

So as the chapter ends, we learn that a fight is inevitable.


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