In The Enemy's Camp


Jim finds the stockade with all its provisions under the control of Silver and his men. Jim assumes that Captain Smollet and his men are dead and wishes he could have joined them.

There were six buccaneers in the camp and one of them is severely injured. As the torch lights up the interior of the stockade, Silver recognizes Jim. He welcomes Jim, sarcastically to his camp. Taking a swig of alcohol, he tells Jim that he had always liked Jim for his youthful spirit. He informs Jim that Captain Smollet and the doctor had written him off as an ungrateful lad who caused trouble. Silver asks Jim to join him. Jim is relieved to hear that his friends are still alive.

When Jim is allowed to speak, he asks Silver about his friends. Silver recounts the past evening's happenings when Dr. Livesey had approached them with a flag of truce asking for food, brandy and firewood, after which they disappeared Silver reiterates the fact that they didn't care about Jim.

When Jim is asked to choose between Silver and the Squire, Jim tells him about everything. From overhearing the conversation at the apple barrel to cutting the ship loose. He says that the laugh is on his side and that Silver is free to kill him.

Silver and his men are startled to hear Jim. They realize that he is the lad who grabbed the chart from Billy Bones and also the one who knew Black Dog. When Morgan charges at Jim with a knife, Silver stops him. When two other pirates support Tom Morgan's move to kill Jim, Silver is quick to cut them in the middle like an experienced Captain. Silver tells them that Jim was more a man than any of them.

After a long pause, when Silver asks them if they had to say anything to say, they express their dissatisfaction. One by one they walk out of the house leaving Silver and Jim alone. Silver makes Jim aware of the situation. He tells him that the men were against him and that they have to stick together thereafter. Silver asks Jim to save him from the gallows in exchange of Jim's safety.

Jim is perplexed, and Silver goes on to tell him that he was now on the Squire's side and had never trusted his men. Jim is again confused when he asks him the reason for the Doctor giving him the original treasure map. Jim does not understand and stares at him in confusion.


Jim's worst fears come true when he sees Silver and his men in control of the stockade. He wonders where his friends have gone. Were they dead? Jim prefers death to the situation that he is presently in.

Silver's tone reeks of mischievous sarcasm though he genuinely admires the youthful spirit of Jim and tells him that he is reminded of his childhood. After the initial bout of flattery, Silver tells him about Captain Smollet and his men and that they were extremely upset with Jim for his irresponsible behavior. Silver welcomes him in his group as he rejected by the Captain's men. Jim is relieved to hear that his friends are still alive. At the same time he is sensible enough to distinguish between friend and foe and he clearly realizes that Silver is not exactly a friend. Silver goes on to tell him the incident where Dr. Livesey approaches them for food and firewood after which they disappeared.

Silver allows Jim to speak. In a fearless outburst of emotion, Jim relates all his adventures. He thus expresses the child-like desire to make a clean breast of the wrongs committed by him. It shows that he is indeed honest in his dealings. He hides nothing from Silver. Jim has perhaps realized that for some time he might have to put up with Silver and so he doesn't want to be ill-treated. He requests Silver to tell the doctor about his deeds if things turn for the worst. Silver's reaction perplexes Jim as he is not able to decide whether he is laughing or he is actually impressed.

When Morgan charges at Jim with a knife, Silver stops him and reminds him that he is the Captain and that he will take the decisions. As Morgan is supported by some of his men, Silver roars like a lion and challenges anybody who is willing to take command of the gang with his cutlass. He tells them that Jim is more a man than any of them. These words ring clear and true. Jim is recognized as a hero by the villainous Silver. What greater compliment can a person be paid than this - his enemy speaking of him in terms of praise!

A long pause takes the reader to one of the most unbelievable incident in the whole book. One by one Silver's men walk out on him.

The calmness and the cool headedness of Silver is clearly evident when instead of panicking, he makes a proposal. He tells Jim that he will save his life from the buccaneers if Jim can save him from being hanged. He goes on to say that he never trusted his men, Hands and O'Brien included. The reader at this point is forced to think this character as a psychopath. Silver's psychopathic nature also lends a new twist to the whole drama. When he asks him intention behind the doctor's handing over the chart Jim wonders about the possible reason for his inquiry; so does the reader.

Cite this page:

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