Chapter 9 Summary

Jim boards the Hispaniola and soon meets the captain, Captain Smollett, who marches into Mr. Trelawney’s cabin and announces that he does not like the voyage or the crew—or Mr. Trelawney himself. Mr. Trelawney grows offended and almost fires the captain on the spot, but Dr. Livesey stops him. Calmly, the doctor asks the captain to explain what is bothering him.

The captain launches into a long list of complaints about the voyage and the crew. He says that he was hired with the understanding that the goal of the journey was secret. Normally he would not mind this—but the crewmen all know that they are searching for buried treasure. It bothers Captain Smollett that the crew was trusted when he was not, and he dislikes treasure hunts, which tend to be dangerous. Also, given the way the news of the destination leaked out—including details such as the exact latitude and longitude of the island they plan to approach—he suspects that the men leading the expedition are not cautious enough.

Next, Captain Smollett complains that he does not like his crew. Mr. Trelawney protests that they are all good sailors. Captain Smollett replies that they probably are, but that he should have been allowed to choose them himself. He does not like the first mate, Mr. Arrow, who seems too friendly with the men. He also dislikes the way the crew has arranged the weapons and the sleeping quarters. The people who are loyal to Mr. Trelawney are too spread out, and the weapons are stored too close to the crewmen.

Dr. Livesey encourages the captain to go on, and the captain says that he thinks all of the men known to be loyal to Mr. Trelawney should sleep on one end of the ship with the weapons close at hand. The captain and his mate will sleep on deck, and the crew will sleep belowdecks, as far as possible from the weapons. Finally, the captain asks the doctor and Mr. Trelawney to swear they will not let anyone see their treasure map.

Dr. Livesey understands the meaning of the captain’s requests. “You fear a mutiny,” he says. The captain hesitates to admit that he thinks the men may revolt against him. However, he says that he is responsible for the ship’s safety and that he wants the people in charge to make sure they control the weapons and the power.

Clearly impressed with the captain’s honesty and foresight, Dr. Livesey agrees to follow all of his suggestions. Mr. Trelawney agrees as well, but he is not impressed at all. He calls the captain “unmanly, unsailorly, and downright un-English.” Jim, who soon discovers how hard the captain makes his crew work, tends to agree with Trelawney.