Chapter 13 Summary
The next morning, the weather is hot and gloomy, and the island looks gray and sad. Several men go ashore to do some work, and Jim goes along. He is surprised at the way they act. On the journey to the island, they were cheerful and quick to follow commands. Today, they act lazy and avoid their duties. They all look angry and resentful, and anyone can see that they might stage their mutiny soon.
Only Long John Silver is still pretending to be a good crewman. He quickly obeys every command, and he sings cheerfully whenever he is not working—almost as if he is trying to make it appear that nothing is wrong. His attitude prevents the pirates from beginning their fight, but it is also a bit unnerving for Jim and his friends. Now that they know that Silver is dishonest, his acting skills seem almost scary.
Captain Smollett holds a meeting of the loyal men, including Jim, and says that the situation looks very bad. If he shouts at the men for their behavior, they might fight back immediately, before the loyal men get a chance to take a good tactical position. However, if Captain Smollett does not shout at the men, the mutineers may suspect that he knows something.
It is clear that, although the crew is itching for freedom, Long John Silver does not want the battle to happen yet. The captain decides to give the crew an afternoon’s rest on shore. His hope is that Silver will go along and convince the other sailors to wait a while before the rebellion. If Jim’s friends are very lucky, the whole crew will go ashore in the lifeboats. This will give the captain’s men the chance to attack from the high ground of the ship’s decks when the mutineers return.
After the captain offers the men an afternoon off, Jim watches Silver organize them into boats to row ashore. The seven people known to be loyal to the captain are all expected to stay on the ship, but Jim sees that Silver is leaving a few of his own men, too. Jim knows that his friends will not be able to plan a surprise attack with Silver’s co-conspirators on board. So Jim makes a quick decision, not yet knowing that it will help him become a hero. He hops into one of the boats and goes to shore with Silver and the rest of the sailors.
On shore, Silver calls to Jim to stay close—but Jim disobeys. He runs into the bushes and gets away.