Treasure Island

Billy Bones (“the captain”) Character Analysis

The first pirate we meet in Treasure Island, Billy Bones stays at the Admiral Benbow inn for a length of months. He is often drunk on rum and scares the other patrons with his tales of life on the sea, but Jim thinks this is rather good for business. While he cuts a frightening figure himself, Billy Bones is even more afraid of other pirates, including Captain Flint and Long John Silver, and he’s well aware that still others, including Black Dog, are scheming to get at the knowledge of Treasure Island hidden in his sea chest. This captain serves as Jim’s introduction to the world of pirates and the treasure they oversee.

Billy Bones (“the captain”) Quotes in Treasure Island

The Treasure Island quotes below are all either spoken by Billy Bones (“the captain”) or refer to Billy Bones (“the captain”). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Fortune and Greed Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Classics edition of Treasure Island published in 1999.
Chapter 1 Quotes

I remember him looking round the cove and whistling to himself as he did so, and then breaking out in that old sea-song that he sang so often afterwards:
“Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest—
Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!”

Related Characters: Billy Bones (“the captain”) (speaker)
Related Symbols: Rum
Page Number: 2
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 3 Quotes

Now, if I can't get away nohow, and they tip me the black spot, mind you, it's my old sea-chest they're after; you get on a horse—you can, can't you? Well, then, you get on a horse, and go to-well, yes, I will!—to that eternal Doctor swab, and tell him to pipe all hands—magistrates and sich—and he'll lay'em aboard at the 'Admiral Benbow'—all old Flint's crew, man and boy, all on 'em that's left. I was first mate, I was, old Flint's first mate, and I'm the on'y one as knows the place. He gave it me at Savannah, when he lay a-dying, like as if I was to now, you see.

Related Characters: Billy Bones (“the captain”) (speaker), Jim Hawkins, Doctor Livesey, Captain Flint
Related Symbols: The Black Spot
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 8 Quotes

Now, to tell you the truth, from the very first mention of Long John in Squire Trelawney’s letter, I had taken a fear in my mind that he might prove to be the very one-legged sailor whom I had watched for so long at the old “Benbow.” But one look at the man before me was enough. I had seen the captain, and Black Dog, and the blind man Pew, and I thought I knew what a buccaneer was like—a very different creature, according to me, from this clean and pleasant-tempered landlord.

Related Characters: Jim Hawkins (speaker), Long John Silver, Billy Bones (“the captain”), Pew, Black Dog
Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Chapter 15 Quotes

“I were in Flint’s ship when he buried the treasure; he and six along—six strong seamen. They was 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 about the cutwater. 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!’ That’s what he said.”

Related Characters: Ben Gunn (speaker), Long John Silver, Billy Bones (“the captain”), Captain Flint
Related Symbols: The Map of Treasure
Page Number: 82-83
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Billy Bones (“the captain”) Character Timeline in Treasure Island

The timeline below shows where the character Billy Bones (“the captain”) appears in Treasure Island. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1. The Old Sea Dog at the “Admiral Benbow”
Fortune and Greed Theme Icon
Father Figures and “Becoming a Man” Theme Icon
Deception, Secrecy, and Trust Theme Icon
...bottle of rum!” He drinks lots of rum, and tells Jim’s father to call him captain, but doesn’t share details about himself, only asking each day if any seamen had come... (full context)
Deception, Secrecy, and Trust Theme Icon
Jim is not as afraid of the captain as others: he sees how often the captain drinks himself into a stupor. Other guests... (full context)
Father Figures and “Becoming a Man” Theme Icon
For months the captain stays, eventually no longer paying: when Jim’s father asks for payment, he roars and scares... (full context)
Fortune and Greed Theme Icon
Father Figures and “Becoming a Man” Theme Icon
...Livesey stays for a drink after checking on Jim’s father, and grows annoyed at the captain’s sailor songs about a “dead man’s chest.” He tells the captain that he’ll drink himself... (full context)
Chapter 2. Black Dog Appears and Disappears
Father Figures and “Becoming a Man” Theme Icon
Deception, Secrecy, and Trust Theme Icon
...enters. He beckons Jim over and asks if he’s setting the table for his mate, Bill. Jim says he only knows of “the captain” who will be eating there. The man... (full context)
Deception, Secrecy, and Trust Theme Icon
...the door, which makes Jim uncomfortable, though he’s not sure what to do. When the captain marches in, the man calls out, “Bill,” and he spins around as if he’s seen... (full context)
Deception, Secrecy, and Trust Theme Icon
...Jim tries his best to eavesdrop, he can’t hear the two: finally he hears the captain repeat “No!” followed by the crash of the chair and table. Then Black Dog races... (full context)
Father Figures and “Becoming a Man” Theme Icon
Courage, Adventure, and Pragmatism Theme Icon
The captain asks Jim for rum, but soon falls to the floor, his face ashen. Jim’s mother... (full context)
Courage, Adventure, and Pragmatism Theme Icon
Finally the captain opens his eyes and cries out asking where Black Dog is. The doctor begins to... (full context)
Chapter 3. The Black Spot
Father Figures and “Becoming a Man” Theme Icon
Deception, Secrecy, and Trust Theme Icon
Jim goes to check on the captain, who tells him how grateful he is for the boy’s loyalty, and asks him for... (full context)
Fortune and Greed Theme Icon
Deception, Secrecy, and Trust Theme Icon
Courage, Adventure, and Pragmatism Theme Icon
The captain drinks the rum in one swallow, then tries to get up but falls back down.... (full context)
Father Figures and “Becoming a Man” Theme Icon
That evening, Jim’s father dies suddenly, so Jim doesn’t have time to think about the captain. The captain never does seem to regain his strength, though his temper grows even more... (full context)
Father Figures and “Becoming a Man” Theme Icon
Deception, Secrecy, and Trust Theme Icon
...Hill Cove, and leads him inside, before the man asks to lead him to the captain. Jim begins to say that the captain is too weak, but he is soon scared... (full context)
Father Figures and “Becoming a Man” Theme Icon
Deception, Secrecy, and Trust Theme Icon
Courage, Adventure, and Pragmatism Theme Icon
The man slips something into the captain’s hand and then quite nimbly races out of the house and back down the road.... (full context)
Chapter 4. The Sea-Chest
Deception, Secrecy, and Trust Theme Icon
Courage, Adventure, and Pragmatism Theme Icon
Jim and his mother return, still frightened, and enter the parlor with the dead captain still lying there. Jim goes to his knees and sees that the captain was clutching... (full context)
Fortune and Greed Theme Icon
Deception, Secrecy, and Trust Theme Icon
Jim feels through the captain’s pockets and finally finds a key hanging around his neck. Jim and his mother then... (full context)
Chapter 5. The Last of the Blind Man
Fortune and Greed Theme Icon
Courage, Adventure, and Pragmatism Theme Icon
...them break down the door while the others wait outside. From inside one shouts that Bill is dead, and then that someone has reached the chest before themselves, though the money’s... (full context)
Chapter 6. The Captain’s Papers
Fortune and Greed Theme Icon
Father Figures and “Becoming a Man” Theme Icon
...latitude and longitude and some accounts of debts. The squire exclaims that this must be Billy Bones’ account book, including the ships sunk and towns plundered. (full context)
Chapter 8. At the Sign of the “Spy-glass”
Father Figures and “Becoming a Man” Theme Icon
Deception, Secrecy, and Trust Theme Icon
...squire’s letter, Jim has been anxious that the one-legged man would be the one that Billy Bones so feared, but when he sees this clean, pleasant seaman, he thinks he couldn’t... (full context)
Chapter 10. The Voyage
Father Figures and “Becoming a Man” Theme Icon
Deception, Secrecy, and Trust Theme Icon
...song ending, “Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!”, which recalls to Jim the tunes of Billy Bones. But Jim is soon distracted by the preparations for departure: the anchor is pulled... (full context)
Chapter 28. In the Enemy’s Camp
Father Figures and “Becoming a Man” Theme Icon
Deception, Secrecy, and Trust Theme Icon
...of the pirates, remembers that it was Jim who recognized Black Dog, and who found Billy Bones’s map: Jim has thwarted them at every turn. Morgan springs up and draws his... (full context)