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Chapter 28: Deliverance Put into My Hands
Crusoe makes plans to seize the ship. More of the captured men swear allegiance to the captain, and his group numbers thirteen. After repairing one of the boats, the thirteen men go out to the ship at midnight. They soon overpower the men on board and capture the deck. At first the rebel captain, two men, and a boy are hidden in the roundhouse. Eventually the rebel captain is found and shot, and the ship is recaptured. The ship's captain comes back to the shore and embraces Crusoe in joy. Crusoe is weak with happiness at the thought that after all these years, deliverance is finally near.
Crusoe gives the five prisoners the choice of living on the island or sailing back to England and to the gallows. They choose to stay on the island. He kindly tells them all about the island and how to survive. He also leaves them firearms and gunpowder and gets a solemn promise from them that when the sixteen Spaniards arrive, they will treat them well and share everything with them.
Crusoe carries his goat skin cap, his umbrella, and his parrot as souvenirs from the island. He also takes all the money and gold he has salvaged from the two shipwrecks. After twenty-eight years, two months and nineteen days on the island, he is ready to return to England.
The story moves to its climax in this chapter. The situation on the island is now under control and all that stands between Crusoe and his deliverance are the rebels on the ship. Defoe ends the battle for the ship in mock-heroic fashion, very much in the manner of The Iliad. In the final skirmish, the rebel captain is shot through the mouth, and the ship is now at Crusoe's service.
It is a precious and climatic moment for Crusoe when he finally realizes that deliverance is really at hand. His reaction to the news is understandable. It was a kind-hearted captain who had taken him sailing as a youth, and now it is another who is leading him out of his island captivity.
Although Crusoe deals firmly with the rebels, he is kind enough to let them choose whether to return to England and certain death for their mutiny or to remain on the island. When they choose the island, Crusoe gives them lessons on how to survive. He also exacts a promise from them that they will live in peace with the Spaniards who are to come to the island. From his behavior and his ability to temper justice with mercy, it is obvious that Robinson Crusoe has greatly matured during his stay on the island.