Chapter 51

 

Eight days had passed since they left when something unexpected happened.

One morning Friday woke me up to tell me they had returned. I was so excited and in my hurry I forgot to take any weapons with me. From the top of the nearest hill I saw a boat with a sail on the horizon, but coming from a completely different direction. It immediately occurred to me that these were not the people we were expecting.

I returned to the fortification and took my telescope. With its help I discovered an anchored ship close to the shore. By its construction, the ship seemed English and so did the boat.

I was confused. On one hand, I was happy to find fellow Englishmen after twenty-seven years on the island. On the other hand, I was concerned because the island was quite out of the way of any English ship. Recently there had been no storms which could have taken them here. Perhaps they were pirates or murderers and were hiding here?

All this made me very cautious. Friday and I remained hiding, observing them for a while. The boat approached the beach and I counted eleven men, some of which I had taken to be English, some Dutch. It wasn’t long before I realized that, in fact, they were all Englishmen.

Three of the men were unarmed and bound and as soon as the boat reached the sand, five of the others took them to the beach. Two of the prisoners were calm and composed, but the third one was making passionate gestures. He seemed desperate and was begging the ones in the boat for something.

On seeing this, Friday turned to me and pointed out that it seemed Englishmen were also eating fellow men.