As Ralph leads the boys up the mountain where the beast was seen by SamnEric, he realizes that the twins' fear of it has magnified their description of it as having claws, for if it has claws why were the boys not scratched when it grabbed at them. Then, when the boys become caught up in the exploration of the bridge and its area, Ralph hits his hand against a stone in frustration; his priorities are lost on the boys. Now, he must abandon them for the simple goal of rescue.
A strange thing happened in his head. Something flittered there in front of his mind like a bat's wind, obscuring his idea.
Ralph remembers his dream of a "return to the ponies and tea time"; he remembers civility, something about which he dreams. But, he is beginning to forget such things. "At once the ideas were back, and the anger." They must be rescued. Ralph scolds the boys for wasting time by rolling rocks. Feeling his leadership slipping from him, Ralph insists that the boys proceed in order to make sure about the beast so that they can go to maintain the rescue fire. But, the boys become quiet, and Ralph, in his frustration strikes the skin off his knuckles again. He insists,
"Can't you see the mountain? There's no signal showing? ...Are you all off your rockers?"
It has been too long for the boys to have been without the influence of civilization. Even Ralph has reduced his concerns as he begins to lose his leadership. In mutiny the boys fall silent and Jack leads the way down the rock.
He shouts, "Smoke."