The Jolly Rogers


Jim climbs up along the side of the ship with great difficulty. He crawls along the bow spirit and makes his way to the deck. He doesn't see anybody on the deck except a bottle tumbling by. The Hispaniola gets a whiff of another wind and it shudders. Jim gets a glimpse of red cap and Israel Hands lying down in their drunken stupor. The ship rocks recklessly on the sea due to the rough weather. The coracle on which Jim floated moments ago sinks. The rash movements of the ship, do not disturb the unconscious Red Cap and Hands except that they sink a little with every tumble. Jim's curiosity is aroused when his eyes fall on splashes of blood around both of them. Jim wonders if they were both dead.

Suddenly he sees Israel Hands move. He moans and positions himself back on the bulwark. Jim walks boldly to the main mast and welcomes Hands on board. Hands is too weak to say anything and he asks for brandy. Jim takes this opportunity to rush down to the cellar. He finds some brandy for Hands and picks biscuits, picked fruits, raisins and cheese for himself. He quenches his thirst with fresh water. Hands is struck by thunder when he takes the first swig of brandy. When he asks Jim where he comes from, Jim confidently replies that he has come to take possession of the ship and asks Hands to call him Captain. He then pulls down the pirate flag.

Seeing Jim in a better state of health than he is, Hands accepts Jim's proposal. Knowing that Jim would like to sail ashore, he offers to show Jim how to sail in return of some food, water and a bandage for his wound. Jim accepts the deal on the condition that they'd steer the ship to the North Inlet before high tide. Jim fulfills Hand's request Hands tells him what to do. Soon they sail. Jim feels elated when Hands addresses him as Captain. Proceeding towards the destination, Jim finds something strange in Hand's demeanor. The way Hands observes Jim, makes him feel suspicious.


Brave Jim Hawkins climbs up the ship in a daredevil stunt. When he makes his way to the deck, crawling along the bow spirit he doesn't see anybody except an empty bottle whisky. The ship has difficulty in staying afloat as there is no one controlling it. Jim searches for the men on board and finds a red cap and Israel Hands drunk and unconscious. In the meanwhile Jim notices that the coracle had disappeared under water. Stevenson builds up the tension painstakingly. The reader wonders as to what will happen next.

Suddenly he notices Hands moaning. Confirming that he is drunk and not in a position to talk Jim takes advantage of the situation. He walks up to Hands welcomes him on board sarcastically. Stevenson reminds the reader that Jim is childish enough to do this. However, he is also imitating adult-behavior by mocking a helpless man.

Hands regains his consciousness and is stunned to see Jim on board. In a bold display of maturity Jim confidently tells him that he has come to take possession of the ship. He asks Hands to address him as Captain, henceforth. This is also bravado to a great extent. His next act is more patriotic. He pulls down the pirate flag. Hands is forced to accept Jim's supremacy as he is still drunk, dull and weak.

Hands' bargain with Jim seems to be a stock situation to strike a deal in this cutthroat world. They accept each others'conditions and Hands addresses him as Captain. Jim is thrilled to hear Hands' term of address. The inherent urge for a youngster to be acknowledged as superior is clearly evident in Jim. But this flattery doesn't act as a blinder and Jim knows he has to be cautious. By the end of the chapter Stevenson elevates Jim's ways to a higher plane. His agility and intelligence is portrayed when he decides to take advantage of Hands' drunkenness.

Cite this page:

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