"What are ye, gentlemen?" (See p. 182), signed "Wal Paget" lower right. The centrally positioned illustration prepares readers for Crusoe's encounter with the captain and his loyal crew over the page. The text discusses the mutineers' coming on shore with their captives, who are the sailors that Crusoe meets in the illustration. One-half of page 181, vignetted: 9 cm high by 12.5 cm wide. Running head: "Arrivals from the Ship" (page 181).

Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the person who scanned the image and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]

The Passage Illustrated: Crusoe confronts the possibility of Rescue

It was my design, as I said above, not to have made any attempt till it was dark; but about two o’clock, being the heat of the day, I found that they were all gone straggling into the woods, and, as I thought, laid down to sleep. The three poor distressed men, too anxious for their condition to get any sleep, had, however, sat down under the shelter of a great tree, at about a quarter of a mile from me, and, as I thought, out of sight of any of the rest. Upon this I resolved to discover myself to them, and learn something of their condition; immediately I marched as above, my man Friday at a good distance behind me, as formidable for his arms as I, but not making quite so staring a spectre-like figure as I did. I came as near them undiscovered as I could, and then, before any of them saw me, I called aloud to them in Spanish, “What are ye, gentlemen?” They started up at the noise, but were ten times more confounded when they saw me, and the uncouth figure that I made. They made no answer at all, but I thought I perceived them just going to fly from me, when I spoke to them in English. “Gentlemen,” said I, “do not be surprised at me; perhaps you may have a friend near when you did not expect it.” “He must be sent directly from heaven then,” said one of them very gravely to me, and pulling off his hat at the same time to me; “for our condition is past the help of man.” “All help is from heaven, sir,” said I, “but can you put a stranger in the way to help you? for you seem to be in some great distress. I saw you when you landed; and when you seemed to make application to the brutes that came with you, I saw one of them lift up his sword to kill you.” [Chapter XVII, "Visit of Mutineers," page 182]

Commentary: After Twenty-Eight Years on the Island

Paget quickly establishes the next plot development after the rescue of the prisoners, even as the text in which the illustration is situated is describing the activities of the mutineers in Chapter XVII, "The Visit of the Mutineers." The conventional chapter title prepares readers for Crusoe's deliverance from an unexpected quarter, and the subsequent running head ("The Captain's Proposal," p. 183) suggests that the three sailors upon whom Crusoe stumbles will assist him in returning to England. Paget minimizes the jungle setting, placing tropical plants around Crusoe only, left of centre. Significantly, Paget has captured the moment before the Captain bursts into tears of gratitude, so that the illustration is largely devoid of emption — except the curiosity of English sea-captain and his men.

The sequence involving the mutiny on board the English vessel and Crusoe's coming to the rescue of the Captain involves six illustrations — more than Cruikshank's single illustration, but on a par with the six illustrations devoted to this incident in the 1863-64 Cassell edition. Paget's use of vignetted lithographs involves more realism and less theatricality, but rises to a crescendo with the full-page illustration of the first mate's shooting the leader of the mutineers in "Shot the new captain through the head." The mutiny sequence of both the 1863-64 and 1891 editions is transitional in that it marks Crusoe's return to European society as a man of experience, substance, and authority.

The Suppression of the Mutiny in Pictures

Related Material

Relevant illustrations from other nineteenth-century editions, 1818-1860s

Left: In the 1818 children's book illustration, the Captain offers Crusoe his ship without any reference to quelling the mutiny first, The Captain offers a Ship to Robinson Crusoe. Right: In the 1820 children's book Crusoe and Friday startle the Captain and his officers in The poor man, with a gush of tears, answered, "Am I talking to a man or an angel?" [Click on the images to enlarge them.]

Above: George Cruikshank's 1831 realisation of Crusoe and Friday's meeting the captain of the ship seized by mutineers, Crusoe and Friday encounter the captain of a British ship whose crew have mutinied (1831).

Above: In the highly illustrated Cassell's edition, Crusoe and Friday encounter the three victims of the mutineers from the English ship, stranded on the shore: Crusoe discovers Himself to the English Captain (1863-64).


Defoe, Daniel. The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe Of York, Mariner. As Related by Himself. With upwards of One Hundred and Twenty Original Illustrations by Walter Paget. London, Paris, and Melbourne: Cassell, 1891.

Last modified 4 May 2018