CHAPTER 16: Narrative Continued by the Doctor - How The Ship Was Abandoned


As Jim is out on the island with Ben Gunn, the narrative of the story of the incidents on the Hispaniola is taken over and recorded by Dr. Livesey.

As they are making plans to go to the island, Hunter informs them that Jim had already left to go ashore alone in one of the small boats. Shortly afterwards, six of the mutineers including Silver had taken other boats to shore. They are concerned about Jim's safety. Hunter and Dr. Livesay go ashore in another boat. Their appearance, the doctor says, is not obstructed by Silver's men. The men Silver had left to protect his boats on the shore, saw Hunter and the Doctor coming, but did not alert Silver. As they approach land, Dr. Livesey knows he has to be ready for anything. Covering his head with a big handkerchief, he readies his pistols. The land and go approximately 100 yards and find the Stockade.

The doctor makes a detailed study of the stockade. He sees a spring of clear water rising from the top of the knoll. The stockade is a six-feet tall structure made of logs. It sits on the knoll enclosing the spring. The doctor assumes that the stockade can easily hold around forty people at a time. It has no doors or openings thus giving the men inside a double advantage. Firstly, their safety and secondly, they could attack under cover.

Dr. Livesey is impressed with the structure. He is very pleased to see fresh water springs as there was very little fresh water on the Hispaniola. Suddenly he hears a man's death cry. The first thought that came to his mind is regarding the safety of Jim. They rush back to the ship. Dr. Livesey finds the Squire pale and stunned. Having made a study of the location, Dr. Livesey puts forward his plan and they ready themselves to return to the Stockade. Old Redruth is positioned between the cabin and the fore castle. Hunter steers the boat and Joyce and the doctor load it with all the necessary provisions including the doctor's medicine chest.

The Squire and Captain Smollet stayed on deck and the Captain takes control of the ship. He warns Israel Hands and Silver's men against any deadly maneuvers.

The boat rows towards the stockade under the watchful eyes of Long John's men. They don't move. After loading the goods and entrusting Joyce to guard them, Hunter and the doctor come back for the second load. They make a lot of trips. When the last load is stacked, Captain Smollet asks Abraham Gray to join him and go to shore. Sound of blows are heard and he appears from the forecastle with a cut on his right check. He climbs down to the small boat and heads to shore with them.


You notice that Jim was on the island with Ben Gunn and he could not know of the events occurring on the ship. To bind the story together and to give the plot an overall development, Stevenson intelligently plans to pass the baton of narration to the doctor for a couple of chapters in this section.

So Dr. Livesey takes over the narration as Jim is stranded in the island.

The doctor and his crew receives the news that Jim has gone ashore alone. The people on the ship are concerned for his safety. They are aware of the mental state of the mutineers and doubt if they will ever see Jim again. The doctor is quite surprised when the six men don't stop him. The doctor finds the stockade a strategically placed log house, which was well-protected as it was six feet high, without doors on openings. What took the doctor's fancy most was the fresh water spring, as there was not much fresh water back on the ship. The death cry of a man reverberates in the air and the Doctor wonders if it is Jim.

They return to the Hispaniola and the doctor begins to load the small boat with provisions. After loading on the boat with the necessary items, the set off for the shore. They make many trips to the shore and back carrying supplies from the boat to the stockade.

Silver's men see them, but do not bother them. After he feels they have unloaded enough provisions, they try to get the last of the good men off of the ship. Abraham Gray is involved in a scuffle, but is able to escape and join them. They abandon the ship.

In this chapter the reader may note the characters dealing with situations in a more amateur manner. The doctor's intention, his bravery, and smooth running of his operation highlights the earlier point.

Cite this page:

Clapsaddle, Diane. "TheBestNotes on A Long Way Gone".