Chapter 18 Summary

The pirates chase Dr. Livesey and the rest of Captain Smollett’s men through the wooded parts of the island. The captain, who is not a very good shot, gives his musket to Mr. Trelawney, whose own weapon is soaked with seawater. Just as they reach the stockade, Mr. Trelawney and Dr. Livesey shoot at their pursuers. One of these shots kills a man, and the other pirates run for cover in the trees. From there, the pirates shoot Redruth, Mr. Trelawney’s friend and servant from home. Dr. Livesey shoots again, and the pirates flee.

It is clear at once that Redruth will die of his wound. Dr. Livesey does his best to make the man comfortable, and Redruth says that he wishes he had had the chance to shoot a pirate before being killed. Before losing consciousness, he asks the other men to say a prayer for him.

While his companions care for Redruth, Captain Smollett unloads his coat pockets, and the others see that he has brought several objects of symbolic comfort, including a British flag and a Bible. His first action is to raise the flag, and he clearly feels more comfortable as soon as the colors are flying overhead. Next, he examines the stores of food and weapons.

Redruth dies, but there is no time to mourn. The pirates may attack again at any moment, and the captain's men know that they may be under siege in the stockade for weeks or even months. Unfortunately, in their flight from the Hispaniola, they only managed to transport enough food to last ten days.

As this grim fact sinks in, a cannonball sails over the stockade. Surprisingly, the captain seems glad about this. He explains that the pirates are highly unlikely to hurt them with the cannon, and that any attempts to do so will simply waste their gunpowder. In the next few hours, several more cannonballs fly overhead, slamming into the sandy yard or the woods beyond. One even comes through the roof, but it does not hurt anyone.

During this onslaught, the captain sends two men down to the swamped boat to try to recover the ham, which is the only food that might have survived the dunking in the sea. Unfortunately, these men find that the pirates have already retrieved the usable food.

When night arrives, the rain of cannonballs stops. The captain sits down at a desk and writes out a short description of their situation, along with the names of the few loyal men. When he comes to Jim Hawkins, he pauses. Nobody is sure if the cabin boy is alive or dead. As they reflect on this fact, they hear a shout. They run to the doorway to see Jim himself climbing into the stockade.