Chapter 32 Summary

When Jim and the pirates reach the top of Spy-glass hill, they sit down to rest. Silver studies his compass and points out the tall tree that is marked on the map. However, nobody moves to follow the next step of the instructions. They sit gloomily, talking about death.

Suddenly Jim and the pirates hear a voice among the trees, singing the pirate's song:

Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest—

Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum!

Jim, who does not believe in ghosts, is astounded at how much this terrifies the pirates. They are completely convinced that the singer is Captain Flint, back from the dead, haunting his treasure. Even Silver is terrified, but he controls himself better than the others. He scolds the men for their fear.

The voice in the trees speaks again, saying, “Darby M’Graw! Darby M’Graw! Fetch aft the rum, Darby!” These were the dying words of Captain Flint. The men who used to belong to his crew remember this—but they have not told the story to anyone else on the island. Now they are convinced that the treasure is haunted, and most of them seem on the verge of running away.

Long John Silver tries to convince his men to keep pursuing the treasure, saying, “I never was feared of Flint in his life, and, by the powers, I’ll face him dead.” When the others still seem unconvinced, Silver argues that the voice cannot have belonged to a spirit because it had an echo. He says staunchly that spirit voices should not make echoes.

To Jim’s amazement, this comment brings courage to the men. George thinks it over and says that the speaker did not even sound like Captain Flint. Silver agrees. To him, the voice sounds like Ben Gunn’s. The pirates think Ben is dead, but, as one of them says, "Why, nobody minds Ben Gunn...dead or alive."

Thus reassured, the men follow the last few steps for finding the treasure. As they get close, they forget their fear and run toward the goal. Even Long John Silver makes good time on his crutch. Watching Silver’s face, Jim sees that the old pirate is drunk on the thought of money. The greed on his face is easy to read, and Jim is sure that if the pirates get the money now, Silver will do everything he can to kill the honest men and escape.

But the pirates do not get the treasure. When they arrive at the spot marked on the map, they see that the money was dug up long ago. Only empty boxes are left. The treasure is gone.