Chapter 19 Summary
In chapter nineteen, Jim Hawkins takes over the story again. He tells what happens to him in the forest during his friends’ skirmish with the pirates. When he sees the Union Jack flying over the stockade, he thinks perhaps it belongs to the pirates. Ben declares this impossible and insists that only the captain’s men would raise the Union Jack. The mutineers would raise the Jolly Roger—“the black flag of piracy.”
Although he encourages Jim to rejoin his friends, Ben refuses to come along. He is not willing to put himself at the mercy of Captain Smollett until he has spoken personally to one of the leaders of the expedition. He begs Jim not to tell Long John Silver that there is another man on the island.
Ben’s pleas are interrupted by a cannonball, which hits the ground not far from where he is standing. He runs away. Jim flees in the opposite direction and spends the afternoon in various hiding places, hoping the cannonballs will miss him. When night falls and the bombardment stops, he finally decides that it is safe to enter the stockade. There his friends welcome him gladly and listen to his story.
The night soon grows cold, and unfortunately, Jim’s new home is very uncomfortable. Wind blows sand inside, and smoke from the fireplace fills the room. To make matters worse, Redruth’s body lies in a corner, reminding everyone of the grim situation they are in.
The men are at risk of sinking into despair, but Captain Smollett does not allow this to happen. He divides everyone into groups and sets them to work gathering firewood, burying Redruth, and keeping watch. The mood lifts when the men are busy, and Dr. Livesey privately tells Jim that the captain is an excellent man for leading them so well.
After dinner, everyone discusses the plans for fighting the mutineers. Their little group cannot last long without more food, but their situation is not as bad as it could be. There are only fifteen pirates left, two of whom are wounded. The captain resolves to watch and wait, taking every opportunity to pick off pirates. His best hope is that the pirates will get fed up with fighting and sail away in the Hispaniola to seek their fortune on the high seas. If that happens, the loyal men will only have to wait a few more months until a rescue party arrives from England.
Tired from his adventures, Jim goes to sleep. He sleeps late the next morning, awaking to find that the other men have been hard at work collecting firewood. As he gets up to find some breakfast, Jim hears one of his friends give a shout of surprise. Long John Silver is approaching the stockade, carrying a white flag.