David awakens in the brig of the Covenant, in pain and bound by ropes on his hands and feet. He is suffering from seasickness as well, and each lurch of the ship brings a fresh batch of pains. Several days and nights pass as David wanders in and out of consciousness and he is beginning to get a fever. A man visits David briefly, gives him some brandy and water, and dresses his scalp wound. Then he is left in darkness again, and the rats scurry over his face.
Mr. Riach, the ship's second officer, brings Captain Hoseason down into David's room to show the captain how poorly the young man is doing. Hoseason is unsympathetic, and seems inclined to leave the boy to rot and die, but Riach asks to move David to the healthier area of the forecastle, with the other sailors. When the captain refuses, Riach accuses him of being a party to murder, and the captain relents.
David rests in the forecastle for several days as Riach nurses him back to health. He comes to know the sailors, who he finds less rough than he did before. They even give him some of his money back. Ransome often visits him, always with a new wound from Mr. Shuan.
David tells Riach the story of his uncle and how he came to the Covenant, and Riach claims he will send a letter to David's father's lawyer, Mr. Rankeillor, as well as Mr. Campbell, if he gets the chance.
Ransome is brought into the forecastle; Mr. Shuan has killed him. Hoseason orders David to become the new cabin boy. He sends him to the Round-House, the officers' cabin. Shuan is a wreck; killing the boy has ruined his already tenuous sanity.
David becomes used to his duties, and finds it not so bad a life. Riach does not abuse David, his wits being gone. David tries to speak to Riach and the captain about their plans for him, and his plight, but they won't listen, and David has visions of himself slaving in the colonies of North America.
"To them, vengeance is a code of ethics that is acceptable."
This seems all wrong to me!
Stevenson takes a very sympathetic approach with the Highlanders. He wants us to LIKE them. He would not have considered vengeance an acceptable code of ethics, so he would not have meant for us to view the Highlanders as a vengeful people. There is something missing in this Sparknotes interpretation.
Considering the historical context, we know the Highlanders considered the English Whigs to be USURPERS. Therefore, they did not v... Read more→
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