“I will do my best, captain; and I think I may venture to promise a cure.”
Willis was sorry for the captain’s sleeplessness, but he was glad that the mystery hanging over them both had been so far cleared up. His visions and dreams had been a source of constant annoyance to him; but now that their origin had been discovered, he felt that henceforward he might sleep in peace.
After a rapid run, the sloop cast anchor off the Cape. Here Captain Littlestone reported himself to the commander on the station, and received fresh papers. He also sent off a despatch to the Lords of the Admiralty, in which he reported the capture and rescue of his ship. He informed them that his own escape and that of the crew was entirely owing to the tact and daring of Willis, the boatswain, whom, in consequence, he had nominated his second in command, vice Lieutenant Dunsford, deceased; the appointment subject, of course, to their lordship’s approval.
Willis wrote a long letter to his wife, informing her of his expected promotion, adding that, in a year or so after the receipt of his commission, he should retire on half-pay, and then emigrate to a delightful country, where he had been promised a vast estate. He said that, probably, he should have an entire island to himself, and possibly have the command of the fleet; but he thought it as well to say nothing about tigers, sharks, and chimpanzees.
The missionary also wrote to England, relinquishing his charge in South Africa, and requesting a mission amongst the benighted inhabitants of the Pacific Ocean, where he stated he was desirous of settling for family reasons, and where besides, he said, he would have a wider and equally interesting field for his labors.
The two brothers found at the Cape a large sum of money at their disposal; this, however, they had now no immediate use for; they, consequently, left it to await the arrival of Frank and Ernest, who, in all probability, would return with the Nelson.
The arrangements made, the Nelson was fully armed and manned, an ample supply of stores and ammunition was shipped, the mails in Sydney were taken on board, and the sloop resumed her voyage.
[J] 2nd Cor., xi., 32.
Three months after leaving the Cape, the coast of New Switzerland was telegraphed from the mast head by Bill Stubbs. A gun was immediately fired, and towards evening the Nelson entered Safety Bay. Fritz, Jack, Captain Littlestone, the missionary, and Willis, were all standing on deck, eagerly scanning the shore.
“There is father!” cried Jack, “armed with a telescope; and now I see Frank and Mrs. Wolston.”
“There comes Mr. Wolston and Master Ernest,” cried Willis, “as usual, a little behind.”
“But I see nothing of my mother and the young ladies!” said Fritz.