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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
CHAPTER 27: Pieces Of Eight
Hands rises just once in a lather of foam and blood before he sinks. This sight together with the pain of the wound, caused by Hands dagger, sickens Jim. What terrifies Jim most is the thought of falling into the water. He manages to regain his composure and learns that the knife wasn't stuck very deep. He pulls it out with a jerk and tries to regain his composure over himself. The wound bleeds profusely. As he looks around he sees the only companion he is left with is dead O'Brien. Jim gets rid of his body as well.
It is almost evening. Jim has difficulty controlling the ship. He can't do much and he leaves the fate of the ship on luck, just like himself. Few minutes pass by and suddenly Jim notices that the ship is in shallow waters. Finally Jim steps on land. He can't wait to get to the stockade to tell them about his achievement. He thinks that the news of recapturing the Hispaniola would make them happy.
Jim finds the topography of the land quite familiar. He is familiar with Captain Kid's anchorage, the two peaks on his left and the place where he met Ben Gunn for the first time. He notices a glow of fire against the sky and presumes that someone is cooking supper. The night grows darker and darker. Strange sounds in the jungle fill Jim's ears. Jim notices firewood burning and notices a strangeness in the way it is lit. Terror strikes him. He wonders if anything wrong has happened at the stockade in his absence.
He draws a little closer on his knees. He hears, as Jim says, the sweet sound of his friend snoring. He was sure that nothing had gone wrong, for it were Silver's men he wouldn't have lived to tell the story. As he doesn't find a sentry, he blames himself for this, as he had run away from his duty. Suddenly he trips on a leg as he made his way to the sleeping place allotted to him by his Captain. A shrill voice breaks the silence. It is Captain's Flint, Silver's parrot. This scream awakens the sleeping men. Jim knows he was in the wrong camp. As he tries to make his way back, he is held by a tight hand. He sees his end near when he hears Silver shouting for a torch to recognize the intruder.
This final chapter of the section is devoted entirely to Jim's lonely pursuit of adventure. Hands' death is a bloody affair and Jim is repulsed at the thought and sight of it. Nevertheless he gathers his nerves and disposes O'Brien's body. His act underlines his boldness. It also indicates his maturing into adulthood. No child can think of doing this.
Jim is now alone on the ship. He realizes the danger of being on the ship as it is not anchored. Knowing from experience that an unmanned schooner can run into troubled waters easily, Jim grabs the first opportunity to leave the ship. Once on the shore he makes his way to the stockade thinking of how pleased his companions would be with his news. He is now back in the mould of a bubbly youth who is eager to share his secret with his friends. He spots a glow of fire and reasons that a meal is being cooked. However, he finds it odd that the fire is burning brightly which indicates plenty of firewood. From his knowledge of the Captain's ways, he knows that the latter is a bit stingy with the firewood. Has something gone wrong in his absence? he wonders. When he hears a man happily snoring he concludes that all is well. This hastily drawn conclusion proves to be fatal for Jim. He does not follow up the mild suspicions he has had and this lands him in the enemy territory.
Before Jim actually disturbs the camp, we glimpse his sense of propriety. He realizes his fault of ditching his companions and seeking adventure all alone. When it dawns on him that he is in the enemy camp, the first thought that occurs to him is regarding death. Stevenson twists the tale here in a dramatic way. The tables are turned. The reader is kept guessing the outcome.