“I am captain of this vessel, and I claim the right to do as I please. The pearls you speak of none of you helped to obtain, and they will be used to pay the expenses of the voyage, including what may be found to be due to each man as wages when the when the ship is paid off. As for you, Van Luck, who have acted the spy and played traitor, you may expect nothing from me but the fate you intended for those who have stood by me. The others may now return to duty.”
It was then seen that Van Luck had no followers, for rebels are ever prone to abandon their leader when their cause is lost.
I would have pleaded with Hartog, even then, to spare Van Luck from being cast adrift upon the sea, but I knew no word of mine would change his purpose. Besides, an example must be made, and in the rough life we led the administration of justice was the prerogative of the captain alone. A boat was therefore prepared, three days’ provisions were placed on board of her, and Van Luck was sent upon what promised to be his last voyage.
For as long as the boat remained in sight we could see that the castaway made no effort, either with the sail or the oars, to shape a course in any direction. He appeared to have abandoned hope, and to have made up his mind to let the wind and the waves carry him whithersoever they would. At length the boat appeared but a speck upon the ocean, and finally it vanished beyond the horizon.
For some time after the quelling of the mutiny Hartog maintained strict discipline among officers and crew, issuing his orders in the peremptory manner of one accustomed to command, and seldom speaking to any except upon matters connected with the ship. But when order was restored his mood changed, and we resumed our friendly chats together in the cabin. He never referred to Van Luck, whom he seemed to have wiped from the slate of his recollection, nor did he again allude to the mutiny. Once, when I touched upon it, he had cut me short, and I could see from his manner that all reference to it must henceforth be taboo. But I could not help sometimes recalling the picture of the boat with the solitary man on board of her, drifting upon the grey waste of sea, and I often wondered if Dirk Hartog had been able to obliterate that picture from his mind.
We now once more sailed in familiar waters, and passed many vessels as we neared home, where we arrived, without mishap, towards the end of the year 1620, after an absence of nearly five years, which was not regarded at that time as a voyage of unusual duration.
I EMBARK ON A SECOND VOYAGE