Chapter 8 Summary

Jim eats breakfast, and then Mr. Trelawney gives him a note to take to the ship's cook, Long John Silver, at an inn called the Spy-glass. Jim is thrilled at this errand, which gives him a chance to look around town and see the ships. However, he is a bit worried about Long John Silver. What if he is the one-legged pirate Billy always watched for back at the Admiral Benbow?

Jim’s worries disappear when he sees Long John Silver. Silver cannot be a pirate. He is clean, cheerful, and otherwise the complete opposite of the other members of Captain Flint’s crew. Jim enters the inn and delivers a note—and as he does this, one of the customers dashes out the door. Jim recognizes the man as Black Dog, Billy’s old crewmate. Long John sends some men to catch Black Dog, who has not paid for the drinks he ordered, but nobody catches him.

Long John questions Tom Morgan, a customer who was sitting with Black Dog just before he ran away. Morgan insists that he never saw the man before today. He says the two of them were talking about keel-hauling, a brutal punishment for sailors that involves dragging a man underneath a boat by a rope.

The whole incident makes Jim suspicious, but Silver seems sincerely surprised that a member of Captain Flint’s crew came to his inn. Silver offers to go himself and tell Mr. Trelawney and Dr. Livesey what has happened. The incident seems to strike him funny, and his laughter is so contagious that Jim finds himself laughing too. He is soon convinced that Long John Silver is innocent.

Jim and Silver walk together to the Hispaniola, and on the way, the old sailor teaches the boy about boats and nautical language. By the time they arrive, the two are good friends, and Jim stands by everything Silver says about the strange encounter with Black Dog.

Mr. Trelawney and Dr. Livesey listen to Silver’s story and decide that nothing can be done about Black Dog. They wish that he had been caught, but they are impressed with Silver’s honesty. When Silver leaves to return to the Spy-glass, Dr. Livesey says to Mr. Trelawney:

I don’t put much faith in your discoveries as a general thing; but I will say this, John Silver suits me.

Trelawney agrees, saying that Silver is “a perfect trump.” With that, he cheerfully invites Jim and the doctor to tour the ship.