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The boys, their bodies streaked with colored clay, sharp sticks in their hands, were standing on the beach making no noise at all. (12.219)
When the naval officer shows up, the "painted savages" turn back into "little boys" covered with clay and holding sharp sticks. Ralph is no longer afraid of them in the presence of this representative of civilization and the adult world—even though the boys could conceivably overpower the adult and send him the way of Simon and Piggy.
On the beach behind him was a cutter, her bows hauled up and held by two ratings. In the stern-sheets another rating held a sub-machine gun. (12.211)
Hooray! Rescue! Oh, wait. Maybe the boys will have to give up their sharpened sticks—but now they're going get to play with much scarier weapons.
Squirming a little, conscious of his filthy appearance, Ralph answered shyly.
The officer nodded, as if a question had been answered. (12.215-17)
Confused? We're pretty sure that the officer is wondering whether Ralph is a real "savage" or someone from civilization—and the answer comes when he opens his mouth to speak British English. (We're still not convinced.)