Chapter 44 Summary
By morning, Elizabeth and her husband have confided in one another that they do not wish to live anywhere but on the island. They have been there for so long and have grown used to their life. They have no desire to return to the lifestyle that had been part of their past. They realize, though, that their sons might not feel the same way. They will allow their sons to make their own decisions.
Three of the passengers on the British ship ask permission to set up a colony on the island. The life they see that the family has established is very appealing to them. The people on the island receive this news gladly. In the midst of the celebration, Jenny asks if anyone will support her return to England. She says that if everyone continues to cheer about the people staying, she will feel sad about returning home to England and to her father. Fritz is the first to respond. He offers cheers for “us” who are going to Europe. This is the first time his father hears of his intentions to leave the island.
Ernest, on the other hand, wants to stay on the island. Jack also decides to stay. Jack comments that since Fritz is leaving, he will now be the best rider on the island. Franz, the youngest boy, decides to join Fritz in leaving. Franz wants a chance to receive an academic education. Then, the father says, all that remains is for the captain to agree to take his sons with him; the captain readily agrees.
That evening, the family members have trouble sleeping because they realize they are all standing on the threshold of altered lives. The father, who had been suffering from anxiety about his sons’ future, relaxes. His sons have chosen their paths, and the means to reach them have appeared.
The next few days are spent in packing. After the trunks are filled with clothes and provisions for the long journey to Britain, the father adds something more to benefit his sons. He gives them a large share of the pearls, corals, furs, spices, and other valuables they have collected over the years. His sons can exchange these items for cash on which to live and to establish their careers in the world of commerce.
Before Fritz leaves, he tells his father of his love for Jenny and his wishes to marry her. His father advises him to speak to Jenny’s father as soon as possible to ask for his approval of their engagement. The father hands over to the captain the journals he has been keeping, which record the family’s adventures of the past decade. He tells the captain the journals were written for the instruction and amusement of his sons. However, the father thinks there may be other children who would enjoy reading the stories. Then the ship departs.