Chapter 2 Summary

One day in the coldest part of winter, soon after his standoff with the doctor, the captain takes his usual walk to the rocks overlooking the sea. Jim’s mother is busy caring for Jim’s father, who is still sick. Because of this, Jim has to do much of the work of running the inn and greeting customers.

As Jim is setting the breakfast table, a pale man—a seafaring type—enters the inn. He carries a short, curved sword called a cutlass, and two fingers are missing from one of his hands. He asks Jim if a man named Bill is staying at the Admiral Benbow. Jim says he does not know anyone named Bill, but then the stranger describes the captain. Jim explains that the captain takes a walk every day and that he should be back soon.

The stranger waits anxiously at the door of the inn, his mood so tense that Jim begins to worry that something is wrong. When they see the captain coming, the stranger grabs Jim and hides with him in a corner of the room, saying, “We’ll give Bill a little surprise.” However, he does not act like an old friend playing a joke. He looks scared and shifty, and he loosens his cutlass in its sheath. All of this scares Jim.

When the captain sees the stranger, he gasps and says “Black Dog!” The captain is clearly wary of Black Dog, but the two men sit down to talk, sending Jim out of the room. Moments later, they erupt into shouts. Running back into the room, Jim sees them fighting with their cutlasses. The captain chases Black Dog away and then collapses, unconscious, on the floor.

Jim and his mother try to help the captain, but they cannot move him, wake him up, or get him to drink anything. They are beginning to panic when Dr. Livesey arrives, intending to check on Jim’s father. The doctor examines the captain and sees his name, Billy Bones, tattooed on his arm. The doctor says that Billy has had a stroke. With Jim’s help, he cuts open the unconscious man’s arm and bleeds him, catching the blood in a basin.

When this is done, the captain wakes up and asks where Black Dog went. Brushing off Billy’s questions, Dr. Livesey tells Billy that he almost died of a stroke and orders him not to drink rum anymore. “The name of rum for you is death,” Dr. Livesey says.