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- The Little Savage - 51/51 -

removed from the boat, to prevent the mutineers making their escape to the ship.

My appearance and discourse attracted general attention. I particularly noticed that Mr Evelyn started as soon as he caught sight of me, and appeared to observe me with singular carefulness; but that, no doubt, arose from my unexpected address, and the strange way in which I had presented myself before him.

The Captain approving of my proposal, the whole party, after taking away the boat's oars, moved off rapidly in the direction of the house. I again concealed myself in the grass, and waited the return of the mutineers. They did not remain away long. I could hear them approaching, for they laughed and shouted as they went along loud enough to be heard at a considerable distance. When they began to descend the rocks, they passed so close to me, that I could hear every word that was spoken.

"Well, flesh is grass, as the parson says," said Jack; "they must have died sooner or later, if we hadn't parted company with so little ceremony. But, hallo! my eyes and limbs! Where's John Gough? Where's the captain? Where's all on 'em?"

It is impossible to express the astonishment of the men on reaching the spot where they had so lately left their prisoners, and discovering that not a trace of them was to be seen. At first they imagined that they had escaped in the boat, but as soon as they saw that the boat was safe, they gave up that idea. Then they fancied John Gough had taken the prisoners to stroll a little distance inland, and they began to shout as loud as their lungs would permit them. Receiving no response, they uttered many strange ejaculations, which I could not then understand, but which I have since learned were profane oaths; and seemed at a loss what to do, whether to wander about the island in search of them, or return to their ship.

Only one chanced to be for the former, and the others overruled him, not thinking it was worth their while to take so much trouble as to go rambling about in a strange place. They seemed bent on taking to the boat, when one of them suggested they might get into a scrape if they returned without their companion. They finally resolved on sitting down and waiting his return.

Presently, one complained he was very sleepy, as he had been too busy mutineering to turn into his hammock the previous night, and the others acknowledged they also felt an equal want of rest from the same cause. Each began to yawn. They laid themselves at their full length along the grass, and in a short time I could hear by their snoring, as Jackson used to do, that they were asleep.

I now crept stealthily towards them on my hands and knees, and they were in such a profound sleep, that I had no difficulty whatever in removing the pistols from their belts. I had just succeeded in this, when I beheld the captain, and John Gough, and Mr Evelyn, and all the rest of them, well armed with guns and pistols, approaching the place where we were.

In a few minutes afterwards the mutineers were made prisoners, without their having an opportunity of making the slightest resistance. I was much complimented by the captain for the dexterity with which I had disarmed them; but while I was in conversation with him, it is impossible to express the surprise I felt, on seeing Mr Evelyn suddenly rush towards me from the side of Mrs Reichardt, with whom he had been talking, and, embracing me with the most moving demonstrations of affection, claim me as his grandson.

The mystery was soon explained. Mr Evelyn had met so many losses in business as a merchant, that he took the opportunity of a son of his old clerk--who had become a captain of a fine ship, employed in the South American trade--being about to proceed on a trading voyage to that part of the world, to sail in his vessel with a consignment of goods for the South American market. He had also another object, which was to inquire after the fate of his long-lost daughter and son-in-law, of whom he had received no certain intelligence, since the latter took ship with the diamonds he had purchased to return home. The vessel in which they sailed had never been heard of since; and Mr Evelyn had long given up all hopes of seeing either of them again, or the valuable property with which they had been entrusted.

On their going to the house, he had asked Mrs Reichardt my name, stating that I so strongly resembled a very dear friend of his, he believed had perished many years ago, that he felt quite an interest in me. The answer he received led to a series of the most earnest inquiries, and Mrs Reichardt satisfied him on every point, showed him all the property that had formerly been in the possession of Mrs Henniker and her husband: related Jackson's story, and convinced him, that though he had lost the daughter for whom he had mourned so long, her representative existed in the Little Savage, who was saving him from the fate for which he had been preserved by the mutineers.

I have only to add, that I had the happiness of restoring to my grandfather the diamonds I had obtained from Jackson, which were no doubt very welcome to him, for they not only restored him to affluence, but made him one of the richest merchants upon Change.

I was also instrumental in obtaining for the captain the command of his ship, and of restoring discipline amongst the crew. The ringleaders of the mutiny were thrown into irons, and taken home for trial; this resulted in one or two of them being hanged by way of example, and these happened to be the men who so barbarously deserted Mrs Reichardt. She accompanied me to England in Captain Manvers's vessel, for when he heard of the obligations I owed her, my grandfather decided that she should remain with us as long as she lived. We however did not leave the island until we had shown my grandfather, the captain, and his officers, what we had effected during our stay, and every one was surprised that we could have produced a flourishing farm upon a barren rock. I did not fail to show the places where I had had my fight with the python, and where I had been pursued by the sharks, and my narrative of both incidents seemed to astonish my hearers exceedingly.

I must not forget to add, that the day before our departure, John Gough came to me privately, and requested my good offices with the captain, that he might be left on the island. He had become a very different character to what he had previously been; and as there could be no question that the repentance he assumed was sincere, I said all I could for him. My recommendation was successful, and I transferred to John Gough all my farm, farming stock, and agricultural implements; moreover, promised to send him whatever he might further require to make his position comfortable. He expressed great gratitude, but desired nothing; only that his family might know that he was well off, and was not likely to return.

Perhaps John Gough did not like the risk he ran of being tried for mutiny, or was averse to sailing with his former comrades; but whatever was the cause of his resolution, it is certain that he remained behind when the ship left the island, and may be there to this hour for all I know to the contrary.

We made a quick voyage to England, and as my readers will no doubt be glad to hear, the Little Savage landed safely at Plymouth, and was soon cordially welcomed to his grandfather's house in London.


The Little Savage - 51/51

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