Chapter 11 Summary

From inside the apple barrel, Jim overhears Long John Silver talking to one of the sailors, a young man named Dick. Silver explains that he once belonged to Captain Flint's crew, as did most of the sailors on the Hispaniola. According to Silver, it is wonderful to be a “gentleman of fortune”—a pirate. Pirates get rich, and if they are smart, they can live long, respectable lives. After he leads the crew of this voyage to mutiny, Silver himself will have so much money that he will be able to retire and live in comfort until he dies. Dick asks a few questions and, after thinking it over, agrees to go along with Silver’s plan.

Inside the barrel, Jim is shocked. He knows that he needs to warn the captain and his friends that they are among pirates who plan to stage a mutiny. For now, however, he stays quiet, knowing that he will likely be killed if anyone finds out what he has heard. He wonders if there are any honest men on the ship, aside from the captain and the few men Mr. Trelawney brought from home.

Outside the barrel, another sailor, Israel Hands, joins the conversation and demands to know when the crew will overthrow the captain. Silver says that he would prefer to wait until after they locate the treasure and sail halfway home. He does not have the treasure map, and none of the sailors are educated men. They can steer a ship, but they cannot chart a course as the captain can. However, Dick and Israel are impatient, unwilling to follow Captain Smollett's strict code of behavior much longer. Silver says that he will order the crew to revolt on the island.

Dick asks what Silver plans to do with Captain Smollett, Mr. Trelawney, and the few men loyal to them after the mutiny. Silver says he will kill them. He explains that if he just maroons the honest men on a deserted island, they may eventually get rescued and make their way home to enact revenge. Besides, Silver would enjoy killing Mr. Trelawney. “I’ll wring his calf’s head off his body with these hands, Dick!” Silver says.

Silver sends Dick to retrieve some rum from a keg he has hidden. Even in his terror, Jim realizes that this explains how Mr. Arrow kept getting drunk before he disappeared. Dick soon returns, and the three men drink three toasts together. Their conversation turns to other topics, but Jim hears one more useful bit of information: “Not another man of them will join,” someone says. Clearly, then, some of the men have not yet joined Silver’s group of mutineers. A few crew members are honest—but who?

Jim is still hidden in the barrel when he hears the look-out shout, “Land ho!”