It was then that I thought it my duty to tell the captain of my suspicions regarding Van Luck, and of how I had seen him looking down upon us through the skylight at the counting of the pearls.
Hartog was amazed at such treachery on the part of his first officer. His own nature was so open that he found it hard to credit deception in others. My disclosures, however, enlightened him on much that was taking place, and he bade me keep him advised of anything further I might see or hear. To this end, I made frequent excuses for spending my time in the forecastle among the men, pretending I found the companionship in the cabin irksome. I had not been long among them before I discovered a plot that was hatching to take the ship. Hartog and I, together with those who would not join in the mutiny, were to be set adrift with three days’ provisions in one of the boats, when Van Luck would navigate the “Endraght” to the nearest port, promising to divide the pearls, the value of which he had greatly exaggerated, equally among all hands, share and share alike.
To be forewarned is to be forearmed, and I had no sooner divulged the plan of the mutineers to the captain than Hartog began to consider how we might meet the situation. Janstins, the pilot, the ship’s carpenter, and three of the crew we knew we could depend upon, and they were instructed where to find arms and ammunition, and told to rally to us aft at the first signs of mutiny. Having completed these arrangements, Hartog’s next step was to bring matters to a climax, for he argued rightly there was nothing to be gained, and much might be lost, by delay.
Stepping boldly upon his quarterdeck, he now issued his orders in his old peremptory style, and, upon one of the crew not moving smartly, he threatened him with a dozen at the ship’s gratings. The man turned insolently, and demanded to know to whom Hartog was speaking, while, at the same moment Van Luck, who was standing near, remonstrated with the captain on the man’s behalf. I had never seen Hartog really roused before. In two quick strides he was beside Van Luck, and picking him up as easily as if he had been a child, he flung him from the poop on to the deck below. At the same moment the mutineers made a rush aft, but those who were loyal to us were before them, and we presented such a formidable front that the rebels fell back, taking Van Luck with them. Hartog now turned the brass cannon, which had already been loaded upon the mutineers where they crowded together in the fore part of the vessel, swearing he would fire upon them if they did not instantly surrender. A hurried consultation followed, after which Van Luck stepped forward as spokesman. He complained that the crew had not been fairly dealt by. They had suffered much hardship, he said, and it was understood that all treasure obtained on the voyage was to be shared among them, whereas it appeared that the captain was concealing a parcel of pearls of sufficient value to make them all rich men. To this Hartog replied as follows: