The next minute Hartog was striding through the town, a native club in his hand, which he had taken from the Queen’s house. Although past noon, there were none to be seen outside the huts. All were asleep after their mid-day meal, upon which they had gorged themselves to repletion. At the sight of this defiance of discipline a deep flush overspread Hartog’s face, as though he felt shame for having allowed his authority to pass from him. Then he began to beat with his club upon the doors of the houses until the men came out, some in sleepy remonstrance, and others with curses in their mouths at having been disturbed from their siesta.
“Well, what have you to say?” demanded Hartog. “Is it not enough that our condition is such that if only fifty determined savages came against us they could kill us and destroy the settlement, but you must waste your time in gluttony and sleep? Where is the watch, whose duty it is to keep a look-out as though I stood upon my quarterdeck?”
“Nay, Hartog,” answered Hugens, whom the others now pushed forward to be their spokesman, “there must be an end to such talk. We shall never get away from this valley. What need then for so much rule when death is certain?”
“Certain it is for thee,” cried Hartog, placing his hand on Hugen’s shoulder, and tightening his grip so that the man winced with pain. “Ask pardon before I tear thine arm from its socket!”
At this, those who had begun to advance to their leader’s assistance drew back. It was known that the punishment which Hartog threatened had actually been carried out by one of the buccaneer captains upon a mutinous seaman, and none doubted but Hartog had the strength to fulfil his threat. Hugen’s face blanched as the grip tightened upon his arm. He tried to free himself. Tears started to his eyes. A sob broke from his heaving chest. Then he screamed with the intolerable agony he suffered, but none dare interfere, and I verily believe that Hartog would have performed his promise and torn the limb from its socket had not one of the men, who had been looking seaward, cried, “A sail! sail!”
The report of a sail having been sighted dispelled every other thought. Hartog released Hugens, and, hurrying to the Queen’s house, shortly afterwards returned with his spyglass, with which he anxiously scanned the horizon.
“God be thanked, Peter,” he said presently, “our ship is coming back to us, convoyed by a frigate.”
So great was my joy at hearing these words that at first I could hardly credit the truth of them, but as the ships drew nearer we could all see that the smaller of the two was the “Golden Seahorse”. The vessels sailed into the bay which formed the port of the settlement, and dropped anchor close to the shore, when a boat put off from the frigate, and was rowed toward the beach. The crew were smart, and