Chapter 29 Summary

The pirates’ council takes a long time. Jim watches the meeting through the window until the men return to the bunkhouse with a paper in their hands. They give it to Silver, who sees a black spot drawn on one side. Instead of showing fear, Silver examines the paper they used. When he discovers that they tore it out of a Bible, he begins to tease them—both for destroying a holy book, and for having such a book in the first place.

One of the men, George, demands that Silver turn the paper over and read the men’s judgment. Silver does so. “Deposed,” he says calmly. Then he teases George for his “pretty” handwriting and predicts that the men will elect him captain next.

In spite of his joking, Silver clearly takes the confrontation with his men seriously. He tells them that, according to the rules, he gets a chance to respond to their complaints. The men accuse him of losing the ship, letting the captain’s men go free, and being too soft on Jim Hawkins. Silver calmly reminds them that he wanted to stay aboard the Hispaniola and defend it, and that they demanded to sleep onshore. Next, he says that keeping their hostage alive is a smart move that will give them a chance to bargain with the enemy. Finally, he shows them why he agreed to Dr. Livesey's bargain. With a flourish, he pulls out Captain Flint’s treasure map.

Thrilled and excited, the men grab the map and pass it around so that everyone can see. Jim can tell at once that it is the real map, and he wonders why Dr. Livesey gave it up. The pirates do not bother with such thoughts. From the looks on their faces, Jim can tell that they have completely forgotten the reality of their situation. They seem to believe that all is well now that they have the map—never mind the fact that they have no way to get away with the gold.

On the spot, the pirates re-elect Long John Silver to the captaincy. Then they all have a drink and lie down to sleep. Jim lies down with them, and he soon finds himself amazed at how well Silver sleeps, considering the dangerous game he is now playing. Jim feels too troubled to sleep, and it is no wonder. Today he killed a man, and tonight he is resting among pirates.