Thursday, November 27, 2014

Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!

Today is day 4 of Book Week Scotland, and I have been continuing with my reading pledge to read aloud a piece of Scottish literature to my family every evening.

No such selection would be complete without a contribution from Robert Louis Stevenson, so this evening I read chapter one of Treasure Island. There are many exciting passages in this book but I decided to read from the very beginning because I'd hate to create any inadvertent spoilers - I'm hoping that listening to some of these excerpts and stories will encourage us all to read further.

The first chapter of the book mainly deals with the arrival at the "Admiral Benbow" inn of a highly disreputable old sailor, who drinks prodigious amounts of rum and terrorises the other customers with his uncertain temper and domineering ways. At the end of the chapter, he meets his match in the quietly-spoken Dr. Livesey, who is not only a doctor but the local magistrate. Enraged by the doctor's refusal to fall silent at his command, the old sailor threatens to stab him with his clasp-knife, but the doctor, unruffled, promises that unless he puts the knife away he will hang at the next assizes.

The doctor also tells the old sailor that, "if you keep on drinking rum, the world will soon be quit of a very dirty scoundrel!'
My daughter was thrilled by this. "Such sass," she remarked, happily.

If you wish to read the chapter we read tonight, Treasure Island is available here online: Project Gutenberg Treasure Island - however, I'd say it's well worth investing in your own copy.

Above: Long John Silver, the anti-hero of Treasure Island, is a favourite character of mine, 
as I recently explained to the Sunday Mail!

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