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Section 15

A Coup

As the two freed men are too weak to walk back to Robinson's encampment, he brings beds of straw for them to sleep on down at the shore. Robinson is very gleeful with his visitors, and feels himself to be king of the island -- a king who now has three subjects. He is pleased that all three men owe their lives to him, and so would be willing to sacrifice themselves for his sake.

The Spaniard tells Robinson the story of how he'd come to live with the cannibals, explaining that he too had been shipwrecked, but with sixteen other men. They lived in relative peace with the cannibals, but did not have sufficient provisions. Robinson wonders if it would be possible to join forces with these men, but he is hesitant because of the great animosity between the Spanish and the English. The Spaniard assures him that his comrades would be nothing but grateful for his help. Robinson makes the Spaniard agree to swear his men to be under Robinson's command.

Within a month's time, the two victims are rested and the four men begin planting and sowing crops together. Robinson has Friday and his father cut down trees, putting the Spaniard -- unsurprisingly, considering Robinson's Western bias -- in charge of their work. Now that they have a supply of food for their potential visitors, Robinson orders the Spaniard to go back to the mainland and bring his fellow men back with him. Friday's father goes with him. He waits for their return. But instead of seeing a canoe approaching, Friday and Robinson see an English boat, called a long-boat. Robinson is excited at the possibility of seeing fellow countrymen, but he is apprehensive that these may be murderers or pirates, since the English don't have much trade established in that part of the world.

The boat lands. Prisoners are brought onto the shore. Then the men begin to explore the island. And although the prisoners are not bound, and could also run about the island, Robinson observes them simply sitting on the ground in despair. He concludes that the prisoners are so bewildered by having landed on what they believe to be a deserted island that they have simply given up. The other seamen continue to run around the place, screaming about their predicament -- they are unable to dislodge the boat until the next tide. Robinson waits until dark to make his move. He wakes up the prisoners -- who are set apart from the rest of the crew -- and asks what sort of men they are. The men believe Robinson to be an angel, and cry with relief at the sight of him. But he corrects them, insisting that he is an Englishman and asks if he can help them.

One man speaks, telling Robinson that he was captain of the ship but that his men mutinied against him. And instead of killing him, they have determined to leave him on this island to perish. Robinson asks where the men are, and it is revealed that they are in a thicket nearby. Robinson offers to strike a deal: he says that if he wages battle against the crew, the Captain and his two supporters must pledge allegiance to him, to do his bidding, as well as give him free passage to England on board their ship if he can win it back. They agree to the conditions. Robinson provides the men with muskets, though the Captain says he is reluctant to kill all but two of the men. Robinson disagrees with this line of action, pressing the Captain to go through with the killing. The battle begins, and they bind any men who are simply wounded, indeed sparing some lives. But they haven't captured all of them -- the rest of the sailors are scattered throughout the island.

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Historical Context
Main Characters
Points to Ponder
Did You Know
Plot Summary
Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6
Section 7
Section 8
Section 9
Section 10
Section 11
Section 12
Section 13
Section 14
Section 15
Section 16
Section 17


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