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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 208 pages of information about Adventures in Southern Seas.

So, when all was still, I took the smallest of the ship’s boats, and was rowed in the direction of the frigate.

CHAPTER LI

GETTING BACK OUR OWN

We took no lantern with us in the boat upon our expedition to board the Spanish frigate, trusting to the light of the stars, and that given by the glow-worms on shore, to guide us, and as we approached the frigate we observed her also to be in darkness, with no sign of life on board.

When we came alongside I climbed to the deck by the anchor-chain, when I found the ship to be deserted, with hatches on, and the doors to the cabins securely locked.  So, judging we had nothing to fear from the Spaniards, we returned to the “Speedwell” as silently as we had come.  I did not tell Captain Smuts of the treasure which I believed to be still upon the frigate, as I desired, in the first place, to consult with Hartog as to the course to be adopted regarding it.  Captain Smuts, on receiving my report that the Spanish ship was apparently out of commission, concluded that no change need be made in our original plan, the preparations for the carrying out of which were accordingly proceeded with.

Next morning, after breakfast, the captain of the “Speedwell” and his officers, in their best uniforms, and with a picked boat’s crew, set out for the shore, taking with them presents for King Thedori and his chiefs, with a view to establishing friendly relations with them.  In the course of an hour they returned, when, the captain repeated to me the greeting given him by the King of the Moluccas, which was almost word for word that extended to Hartog at the time of his visit in the “Golden Seahorse”.  Evidently King Thedori had a set speech wherewith to welcome his guests whom he afterwards intended to plunder.  Captain Smuts was so impressed by the amiable bearing and fair words of the King that he found it hard to believe so much treachery could lurk behind such a frank and open exterior.  Thedori, he said, had promised to come on board the “Speedwell” next day to inspect the furs, and arrange about the price to be paid for them.  On my asking if any Spaniards had been met with ashore, Captain Smuts replied that he had not seen any, so we had no means of ascertaining what had become of Donna Isabel and her people, as well as the captain and crew of the frigate.

Next morning King Thedori came on board the “Speedwell” in the captain’s boat, which had been sent for him.  He did not bring with him any of his guards or attendants, not having the least suspicion of the trap we had laid.  It was only when he came into the cabin that his suspicions were aroused, and it was then too late for him to retreat.  I was sitting at the table when Smuts brought him in, and was presented to him as part owner of the furs.  I saw him start when our eyes met, but otherwise he gave no sign that he knew me.  There was wine and other refreshment upon the table, of which he was invited to partake, but declined, and then, after some further conversation between us, Captain Smuts, according to arrangement, made excuse to go on deck, leaving Thedori and I alone together.

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