"Fifteen Men On The Dead Man's Chest"

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Last Updated on May 10, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 172

Context: A sea captain arrives one day at the "Admiral Benbow" inn and, liking the secluded location, takes quarters there. He has only his sea-chest with him. His one concern is that "a seafaring man with one leg" might come looking for him, so he pays Jim, son of the landlord, to watch out for the feared one-legged man. The captain enjoys telling his adventures to the patrons and is continually singing sea-songs while he gets drunk on rum. Eventually his money is all spent, but he continues to stay at the inn at the expense of the innkeeper. One afternoon Dr. Livesey comes to the inn to treat the sick innkeeper. When he is about ready to leave, he goes into the parlor and starts conversing with one of the employees. His conversation is interrupted by the loud singing of the drunken captain:

"Fifteen men on the dead man's chest–
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!
Drink and the devil had done for the rest–
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!"

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