The story of a pirate king
Picture courtesy of Rocky Rochford
At last, after more than 250 years, Captain Flint has his own biography. Until now, he’s had to make do with flashbacks in “Treasure Island” because he was dead by the time that story began.
Now my new book, “Tread Carefully on the Sea”, reveals just what Flint was like and how he dealt with the challenges of failing health, possible mutiny and the threat of the hangman.
- Why and how did Flint come back alone after taking six men to bury the treasure?
- How did Billy Bones come by Flint’s map where X marked the spot?
- The answers are in “Tread Carefully on the Sea”.
Here are the major references to Captain Flint’s deeds and character in “Treasure Island” by Robert Louis Stevenson
Note: Despite all the references to Flint in Treasure Island, not once is his first name given. The only clue is the initial “J” on the map at the front of the book.
TREASURE ISLAND AND CAPTAIN FLINT
Billy Bones says: I was first mate, I was, old Flint’s first mate and I’m the on’y one as knows the place (where the treasure is buried). He gave it (the map) to me in Savannah, when he lay a-dying…”
Squire Trelawney says: “He was the bloodthirstiest buccaneer that sailed. Blackbeard was a child to Flint. The Spaniards were so prodigiously afraid of him, that, I tell you, sir, I was sometimes proud he was an Englishman. I’ve seen his top-sails with these eyes, off Trinidad, and the cowardly son of a rum-puncheon that I sailed with put back – put back, sir, into Port of Spain.”
Long John Silver says: “…the old Walrus, Flint’s old ship, as I’ve seen a-muck with the red blood and fit to sink with gold.”
Long John Silver goes on to say that he sailed first with England then with Flint. “I laid by nine hundred safe, from England, and two thousand after Flint…Where’s all England’s men now? I dunno. Where’s Flint’s? Why, most of ’em aboard here…”
Long John Silver says: “There was some that was feared of Pew, and some that was feared of Flint, but Flint his own self was feared of me. Feared he was, and proud. They was the roughest crew afloat, was Flint’s; the devil himself would have been feared to go to sea with them. Well, now, I tell you, I’m not a boasting man, and you seen yourself how easy I keep company; but when I was quartermaster, lambs wasn’t the word for Flint’s old buccaneers.”
Ben Gunn says: “I were in Flint’s ship when he buried the treasure; he and six along – six strong seamen. They were ashore nigh on a week, and us standing off and on in the old Walrus. One fine day up went the signal, and here come Flint by himself in a little boat, and his head done up in a blue scarf. The sun was getting up, and mortal white he looked around the cut-water. But there he was, you mind, and the six all dead – dead and buried. How he done it, not a man aboard us could make out. It was battle, murder, and sudden death, leastways – him against six. Billy Bones was the mate; Long John he was quartermaster, and they asked him where the treasure was. ‘Ah,’ says he, ‘you can go ashore, if you like, and stay,’ he says; ‘but as for the ship, she’ll beat up for more, by thunder!’
Ben Gunn says: “…the old stockade, as was made years and years ago by Flint. Ah, he was the man to have a headpiece, was Flint! Barring rum, his match were never seen. He was afraid of none, not he; only Silver – Silver was that genteel.”
Long John Silver says: “…by thunder! if it don’t make me cold inside to think of Flint. This is one of his jokes, and no mistake. Him and these six was here alone; he killed ’em, every man; and this one he hauled here and laid down by compass, shiver my timbers!”
One of the pirates says: “…but if ever sperrit walked, it would be Flint’s. Dear heart, but he died bad, did Flint.
“Ay, that he did,” observed another; “now he raged, and now he hollered for the rum, and now he sang. ‘Fifteen men’ were his only song, mates; and I tell you true, I never rightly liked to hear it since. It was main hot, and the windy was open, and I hear that old song comin’ out as clear as clear – and the death-haul on the man a’ready.”
“He were an ugly devil,” cried a third pirate with a shudder; “that blue in the face, too!”
“That was how the rum took him,” added Merry. “Blue! well, I reckon he was blue. That’s a true word.”
“Fetch aft the rum, Darby!”…”They was his last words,” moaned Morgan, “his last words above board.”