Treasure Island: Novel Summary: Part 4
Part 4: The Stockade
Chapter XVI - Chapter XXI
Chapter XVI: Narrative Continued by the Doctor: How the Ship Was Abandoned
On the ship, the doctor and the others get impatient with waiting. The doctor and Hunter go ashore in a jolly boat (a small, ship's boat). They reach the stockade, inside of which is a log house built by Flint's men. It can house up to forty people and can easily be defended against attack. They hear a man scream (this is Alan, although they do not know it at the time) and then return to the ship for supplies, leaving Joyce and Hunter to defend the stockade.
Back on the ship, they easily assert their command over the ship's six would-be mutineers. They make several trips to load up the stockade with supplies. On their final trip ashore, they take with them one seaman, Abraham Gray, who has decided not to join the mutineers.
Narrative Continued by the Doctor: The Jolly Boat's Last Trip The jolly boat is overloaded and is in danger of drifting off course. There is also the danger of being shot at by the pirates who remain on the Hispaniola. The squire shoots and wounds one of them as five of the pirates fire a cannon at the jolly boat. When the cannon is fired again, the jolly boat sinks in three feet of water. The men lose three of their guns as they wade ashore. Half of their gunpowder and provisions are lost too.
Chapter XVIII: Narrative Continued by the Doctor: End of the First Day's Fighting As the men come ashore, they make for the stockade. Seven mutineers pursue them, but Hunter, Joyce, Dr. Livesey and the squire open fire, killing one man and forcing the others to flee. Then Redruth is shot and mortally wounded. They reach the stockade, and the captain runs up a British flag. The mutineers continue to fire at them from outside but cause no damage, although they do succeed in stealing some of the men's stores that have been laid bare by the outgoing tide. Just as the doctor is contemplating what might have been Jim's fate, Jim returns to the stockade.
Chapter XIX: Narrative Resumed by Jim Hawkins: The Garrison in the Stockade
Jim takes up the narrative where he left off at the end of Chapter XV. Ben Gunn tells him that he wishes to see the doctor or the squire and make some proposal to them. Ben tells Jim where he may be found. The two of them then scatter in different directions when they hear the sound of cannon fire. Jim moves from one hiding place to another. He finally decides to return to the stockade. He also notes the white rock where Ben's boat may be found.
In the stockade he is warmly received. Captain Smollett keeps all the men occupied so they do not get depressed about their situation. He sets up a rotating schedule of watches; sends men out for firewood, and orders a grave dug for Redruth. The squire, who had formerly disliked the captain, now appreciates him. However, the squire, the doctor and the captain are at their wits' end to know what to do. Rations are low. They decide to kill as many of the buccaneers as they can. Fifteen are left, and the doctor expects many of them to contract malaria, since they are camped in a marsh. Then Silver arrives with a flag of truce.
Chapter XX: Silver's Embassy
The men in the stockade fear that Silver's flag of truce is a trick. Silver announces that he wants to make terms. He has been elected captain by the men. On receiving a promise from the captain that he will not be harmed, Silver walks to the stockade. He is not allowed in, however, and has to sit on the sand just outside. Silver alludes to an attack that had taken place the previous night, which the men in the stockade know nothing of. Jim assumes that Ben Gunn must have attacked the mutineers and killed one of them.
Silver says that he wants the map that shows where the treasure is buried. But the captain is in no mood to negotiate. Silver persists. He says that if they give him the map, he will allow them back on the ship, with the treasure, and ensure that they are put ashore somewhere safe. Or they could stay on the island, with adequate provisions, and Silver will send a ship to pick them up. The captain has a counter-proposal. If the men give themselves up, he will clap them in irons and return them to England for a fair trial. He then tells Silver to be on his way. Silver crawls away, cursing. He promises an attack within an hour.
Chapter XXI: The Attack
The captain takes charge and organizes the men so they are best able to defend the stockade from the expected attack. They earnestly keep watch for over an hour, but nothing happens. Then there are gunshots from all sides. Because of the number of shots coming from the north, the defenders conclude that the main attack will come from that direction. A moment later seven pirates climb over the fence into the enclosure. Two are immediately shot, and one flees. The remaining four swarm into the stockade. Hunter is clubbed to the floor with a blow from his own musket, which had been wrenched from his hands. The situation becomes very confused in the smoky log house as the fighting develops. Jim dodges out of the way of a blow from Job Anderson, and Gray then kills Anderson. Two more pirates are killed and the last one flees. But the men have paid a price. Hunter is badly wounded, the captain slightly less so, and Joyce is dead.
Analysis: Part IV
Not much analysis is needed for this section, which is as pure an adventure story as one is likely to get. Captain Smollett, the squire, and Dr. Livesey all show themselves to be resourceful and determined. Smollett in particular takes a leadership role that wins the admiration of the squire, thus completing the turnaround in the squire's opinion of the captain. The captain also shows himself to be an honorable man when he promises Silver that he will be able to depart unharmed after Silver enters the stockade.
In the battle of tactics between Silver and Jim's party, the advantage swings from one side to the other. Silver shows himself to be a very cunning adversary. This is especially apparent in chapter XX. He is not above taunting his opponents, as when he refers to Captain Smollett's "desertion" when explaining why he now refers to himself as Captain Silver. Silver also has the ability to talk to his adversaries cheerily, as if nothing bad had ever happened between them. This excessive courtesy helps him to disguise his true motives. He also shows himself to be a good negotiator because he disguises the weakness of his position and presents his offer as if it was an act of generosity. However, when Smollett calls his bluff, Silver drops his pretences and shows himself for what he really is.