Chapter 30 Summary
In the morning, Dr. Livesey comes to the stockade to offer the pirates medical attention. Silver announces that he is holding Jim captive. The doctor seems shocked at this, but he keeps calm as he treats the pirates for their various illnesses and injuries. He says that it is his duty to keep the mutineers alive “for the gallows.” The men grumble at this, but they take their medicine “more like charity schoolchildren than blood-guilty mutineers and pirates.”
When the doctor finishes treating the pirates, he demands the chance to speak with Jim alone. All the men except Silver shout, “No!” Silver, however, silences them and says that they must, in this case, do as the doctor wishes. Silver asks for Jim’s “word of honour” not to run away, and Jim gives it. The pirates rebel, accusing Silver of betraying them and playing a game to save his own skin—which is exactly what he is doing. Ever the con man, Silver convinces them otherwise. He waves the treasure map in their faces and asks them how they plan to go treasure hunting in safety if they rekindle hostilities with their enemies.
Eventually the men give in. Silver tells them to make breakfast while he stands watch over Jim’s conversation. The men grudgingly obey, and Silver takes Jim to the edge of the stockade. There, Silver loses his cockiness. He humbly tells the doctor that he will do anything to avoid being hung. Then he stands back and lets Jim and Dr. Livesey talk.
First of all, the doctor lectures Jim for giving his friends the slip, saying it was “downright cowardly” to run away when the captain was too weak to prevent misbehavior. However, the doctor clearly still cares about Jim's safety. He begs the boy to break his word and run away from the pirates immediately. Jim refuses, saying that he cannot break a promise. He tells the story of his latest adventure, and he explains precisely where the ship is located.
The doctor shakes his head and says that Jim’s actions have now saved his friends’ lives three times. First, Jim overheard the mutineers’ plot. Next, he found Ben Gunn. Now Jim has saved the ship. Dr. Livesey tells Jim that finding Ben Gunn was “the best deed that you ever did, or will do.” Jim does not understand why, but the doctor refuses to explain just now.
Before leaving, Dr. Livesey calls out to Long John Silver:
Silver!—I’ll give you a piece of advice! Don’t you be in any great hurry after that treasure.
This advice obviously annoys Silver, who says that he and Jim will both die if he tries to prevent his men from seeking the gold. Dr. Livesey realizes that this is true. He tells Silver to keep Jim close by him, and to call for help when he needs it.