Treasure Island Questions and Answers
by Robert Louis Stevenson

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Why was the seaman keen to take up lodging in a remote inn?

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The thrilling novel Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson tells of an adventurous voyage to a secret island with the intent of finding hidden pirate treasure. As the story begins, "the brown old seaman with the saber cut," who turns out to be a pirate named Billy Bones, takes up lodging at an inn called the Admiral Benbow along an isolated stretch of the English coast. The seaman is keen to take up lodging in this remote area because he is being hunted. When Jim Hawkins's father tells the seaman that the inn does not get much company, Billy Bones is pleased. He continually watches "round the cove or upon the cliffs with a brass telescope" because he is searching for signs of his pursuers.

After the seaman has been hiding and waiting for months, a pirate named Black Dog visits the inn, and afterwards Billy Bones is incapacitated by a stroke. On his sick bed, he confesses to Jim Hawkins the reasons that he has been hiding out and that the pirates are after him: he is the only one who knows the location of old Flint's treasure. A short time later, Billy Bones dies of a second stroke after being given the black spot (which is a death sentence) by a blind beggar. Jim Hawkins and his mother find the treasure map in the seaman's chest, and this initiates the great adventure of the search for pirate treasure.

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The old seaman arrives at the Admiral Benbow inn in the first chapter of Treasure Island. He tells Jim and his parents to call him “captain” and proceeds to ask if many seafaring men frequent the inn. Jim’s father responds that few people visit the inn at all, to which the captain responds that it is the place for him and that all he needs is bacon, eggs, and rum and a place to watch the ships in the cove. As the narrator of the story, Jim thinks back on the captain’s words and behavior and concludes that although Jim and his parents first thought he was wanting to meet some fellow sailors, it became clear that he wanted to avoid them. From other circumstances, such as the captain’s request that Jim watch out for a seafaring man with one leg and the captain’s hostile and violent meeting with Black Dog, the story makes it clear that the captain is hiding from fellow seafaring men, hence his decision to rent rooms in a small, remote inn like the Admiral Benbow.

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