Part 2 out of 7
observation, it appeared plainly to be an English ship, and the boat
appeared to be an English longboat.
I cannot express the confusion I was in; though the joy of seeing a
ship, and one that I had reason to believe was manned by my own
countrymen, and consequently friends, was such as I cannot describe;
but yet I had some secret doubts about me--I cannot tell from whence
they came--bidding me keep upon my guard; for that I had better
continue as I was, than fall into the hands of thieves and murderers.
[Illustration: I DISCOVERED A SHIP LYING AT ANCHOR]
I saw the boat draw near the shore, as if they looked for a creek to
thrust in at, for the convenience of landing; however, as they did not
come quite far enough, they did not see the little inlet where I
formerly landed my rafts, but ran their boat on shore, upon the beach,
at about half a mile from me; which was very happy for me; for
otherwise they would have landed just at my door, as I may say, and
would soon have beaten me out of my castle, and perhaps have plundered
me of all I had. When they were on shore, I was fully satisfied they
were Englishmen, at least most of them; one or two I thought were
Dutch, but it did not prove so; there were in all eleven men, whereof
three of them I found were unarmed, and, as I thought, bound; and when
the first four or five of them were jumped on shore, they took those
three out of the boat, as prisoners. One of the three I could perceive
using the most passionate gestures of entreaty, affliction, and
despair, even to a kind of extravagance; the other two, I could
perceive, lifted up their hands sometimes, and appeared concerned
indeed, but not to such a degree as the first. I was perfectly
confounded at the sight, and knew not what the meaning of it should
All this while I had no thought of what the matter really was, but
stood trembling with the horror of the sight, expecting every moment
when the three prisoners should be killed; nay, once I saw one of the
villains lift up his arm with a great cutlass, as the seamen call it,
or sword, to strike one of the poor men; and I expected to see him
fall every moment; at which all the blood in my body seemed to run
chill in my veins. I wished heartily that I had any way to have come
undiscovered within shot of them, that I might have secured the three
men, for I saw no firearms they had among them; but it fell out to my
mind another way. After I had observed the outrageous usage of the
three men by the insolent seamen, I observed the fellows run
scattering about the island, as if they wanted to see the country. I
observed that the three other men had liberty to go also where they
pleased; but they sat down all three upon the ground very pensive, and
looked like men in despair.
It was just at high water when these people came on shore; and while
they rambled about to see what kind of a place they were in, they had
carelessly stayed till the tide was spent, and the water was ebbed
considerably away, leaving their boat aground. They had left two men
in the boat, who, as I found afterward, having drunk a little too much
brandy, fell asleep; however, one of them, waking a little sooner than
the other, and finding the boat too fast aground for him to stir it,
hallooed out for the rest, who were straggling about; upon which they
all soon came to the boat; but it was past all their strength to
launch her, the boat being very heavy, and the shore on that side
being a soft oozy sand, almost like a quicksand. In this condition,
like true seamen, who are, perhaps, the least of all mankind given to
forethought, they gave it over, and away they strolled about the
country again; and I heard one of them say aloud to another, calling
them off from the boat, "Why, let her alone, Jack, can't you? she'll
float next tide"; by which I was fully confirmed in the main inquiry
of what countrymen they were. All this while I kept myself very
close, not once daring to stir out of my castle any further than to my
place of observation; and very glad I was to think how well it was
fortified. I knew it was no less than ten hours before the boat could
float again, and by that time it would be dark, and I might be at more
liberty to see their motions, and to hear their discourse, if they had
any. In the meantime, I fitted myself up for a battle, as before,
though with more caution, knowing I had to do with another kind of
enemy than I had at first. I ordered Friday also, whom I had made an
excellent marksman with his gun, to load himself with arms. I took
myself two fowling pieces, and I gave him three muskets; my figure,
indeed, was very fierce; I had my formidable goatskin coat on, with my
great cap, a naked sword by my side, two pistols in my belt, and a gun
upon each shoulder.
It was my design 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, were, 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 was. 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
The poor man, with tears running down his face, and trembling, looking
like one astonished, returned--
"Am I talking to God, or man? Is it a real man, or an angel?"
"Be in no fear about that, sir," said I; "if God had sent an angel to
relieve you, he would have come better clothed, and armed after
another manner than you see me in; pray lay aside your fears; I am a
man, an Englishman, and disposed to assist you; you see I have one
servant only; we have arms and ammunition; tell us freely, can we
serve you? What is your case?"
"Our case, sir," said he, "is too long to tell you, while our
murderers are so near us; but in short, sir, I was commander of that
ship; my men have mutinied against me; they have been hardly prevailed
on not to murder me, and at last have set me on shore in this desolate
place, with these two men with me--one my mate, the other a passenger;
where we expected to perish, believing the place to be uninhabited,
and know not what to think of it."
"Where are those brutes, your enemies," said I; "do you know where
they are gone?"
[Illustration: THEY STARTED UP]
"There they lie, sir," said he, pointing to a thicket of trees; "my
heart trembles for fear they have seen us, and heard you speak: if
they have, they will certainly murder us all."
"Have they any firearms?" said I.
"They had only two pieces," he answered, "one of which they left in
"Well, then," said I, "leave the rest to me; I see they are all
asleep; it is an easy thing to kill them all; but shall we rather take
He told me there were two desperate villains among them that it was
scarce safe to show any mercy to; but if they were secured, he
believed all the rest would return to their duty. I asked him which
they were. He told me he could not at that distance distinguish them,
but he would obey my orders in everything I would direct.
"Well," said I, "let us retreat out of their view or hearing, lest
they awake, and we will resolve further."
So they willingly went back with me, till the woods covered us from
"Look you, sir," said I, "if I venture upon your deliverance, are you
willing to make two conditions with me?" He anticipated my proposals
by telling me that both he and the ship, if recovered, should be
wholly directed and commanded by me in everything; and if the ship was
not recovered, he would live and die with me in what part of the world
soever I would send him, and the two other men said the same.
"Well," said I, "my conditions are but two: first--that while you stay
in this island with me, you will not pretend to any authority here;
and if I put arms in your hands, you will, upon all occasions, give
them up to me, and do no prejudice to me or mine upon this island, and
in the meantime be governed by my orders; secondly--that if the ship
is or may be recovered, you will carry me and my man to England
In the middle of this discourse we heard some of them awake, and soon
after we saw two of them on their feet. I asked if either of them were
the men who, he had said, were the heads of the mutiny. He said, "No."
"Well, then," said I, "you may let them escape; Providence seems to
have awakened them on purpose to save themselves. Now," said I, "if
the rest escape you, it is your fault."
Animated with this, he took the musket I had given him in his hand,
and a pistol in his belt, and his two comrades with him, with each a
piece in his hand. The two men who were with him going first made some
noise, at which one of the seamen, who was awake, turned about, and
seeing them coming, cried out to the rest; but it was too late then,
for the moment he cried out they fired, I mean the two men, the
captain wisely reserving his own piece. They had so well aimed their
shot at the men they knew, that one of them was killed on the spot,
and the other very much wounded; but not being dead, he started up on
his feet, and called eagerly for help to the other; but the captain,
stepping up to him, told him it was too late to cry for help, he
should call upon God to forgive his villainy, and with that word
knocked him down with the stock of his musket, so that he never spoke
more; there were three more in the company, and one of them was
slightly wounded; by this time I was come; and when they saw their
danger, and that it was in vain to resist, they begged for mercy. The
captain told them he would spare their lives if they would give him an
assurance of their abhorrence of the treachery they had been guilty
of, and would swear to be faithful to him in recovering the ship, and
afterward in carrying her back to Jamaica, from whence they came. They
gave him all the protestations of their sincerity that could be
desired; and he was willing to believe them, and spare their lives,
which I was not against; only that I obliged him to keep them bound
hand and foot while they were upon the island.
While this was being done, I sent Friday with the captain's mate to
the boat, with orders to secure her, and bring away the oars and sail,
which they did; and by and by three straggling men, that were (happily
for them) parted from the rest, came back upon hearing the guns fired;
and seeing the captain, who was before their prisoner, now their
conqueror, they submitted to be bound also, and so our victory was
At present our business was to consider how to recover the ship, and
the captain agreed with me that there should be no attacking them with
so small a number as we were.
It presently occurred to me that in a little while the ship's crew,
wondering what was become of their comrades and of the boat, would
certainly come on shore in their other boat to look for them, and that
then, perhaps, they might come armed, and be too strong for us; this
he allowed to be rational. Upon this, I told him the first thing we
had to do was to stave the boat, which lay upon the beach, so that
they might not carry her off; and taking everything out of her, leave
her so far useless as not to be fit to swim; accordingly, we went on
board, took the arms which were left on board out of her, and whatever
else we found there, which was a bottle of brandy, and another of rum,
a few biscuit-cakes, a horn of powder, and a great lump of sugar in a
piece of canvas (the sugar was five or six pounds); all which was very
welcome to me.
When we had carried all these things on shore (the oars, mast, sail,
and rudder of the boat were carried before), we knocked a great hole
in her bottom, that if they had come strong enough to master us, yet
they could not carry off the boat. Indeed, it was not much in my
thoughts that we could be able to recover the ship; but my view was,
that if they went away without the boat, I did not much question to
make her again fit to carry us to the Leeward Islands.
While we were thus preparing our designs, and had first, by main
strength, heaved the boat upon the beach, so high that the tide would
not float her off at high-water mark; and besides, had broken a hole
in her bottom too big to be quickly stopped, and were sat down musing
what we should do, we heard the ship fire a gun, and make a waft with
her ancient, as a signal for the boat to come on board; but no boat
stirred; and they fired several times, making other signals for the
boat. At last, when all their signals and firing proved fruitless, and
they found the boat did not stir, we saw them, by the help of my
glasses, hoist another boat out, and row toward the shore; and we
found, as they approached, that there were no less than ten men in
her, and that they had firearms with them.
As the ship lay almost two leagues from the shore, we had a full view
of them as they came, and a plain sight even of their faces; because
the tide having set them a little to the east of the other boat, they
rode up under shore, to come to the same place where the other had
landed, and where the boat lay.
As soon as they got to the place where their other boat lay, they ran
their boat into the beach and came all on shore, hauling the boat up
after them; which I was glad to see, for I was afraid they would
rather have left the boat at an anchor some distance from the shore,
with some hands in her, to guard her, and so we should not be able to
seize the boat. Being on shore, the first thing they did, they ran all
to their other boat; and it was easy to see they were under a great
surprise to find her stripped, as above, of all that was in her, and a
great hole in her bottom. After they had mused awhile upon this, they
set up two or three great shouts, hallooing with all their might, to
try if they could make their companions hear; but all was to no
purpose. Then they came all close in a ring, and fired a volley of
their small arms, which we heard, and the echoes made the woods ring;
but it was all one; our first prisoners, who were in the cave, could
not hear; and those in our keeping, though they heard it well enough,
yet durst give no answer to them. They were so astonished at the
surprise of this, that as they told us afterward, they resolved to go
all on board again to their ship, and let them know that the men were
all murdered, and the longboat staved; accordingly, they immediately
launched their boat again, and got all of them on board.
The captain was terribly amazed, and even confounded, at this,
believing they would go on board the ship again, and set sail, giving
their comrades over for lost, and so he should still lose the ship,
which he was in hopes we should have recovered; but he was quickly as
much frighted the other way.
They had not been long put off with the boat, when we perceived them
all coming on shore again; but with this new measure in their conduct,
which it seems they consulted together upon, viz., to leave three men
in the boat, and the rest to go on shore, and go up into the country
to look for their fellows.
We had no remedy but to wait and see what the issue of things might
present; the seven men came on shore, and the three who remained in
the boat put her off to a good distance from the shore, and came to an
anchor to wait for them; so that it was impossible for us to come at
them in the boat. Those that came on shore kept close together,
marching toward the top of the little hill under which my habitation
lay; and we could see them plainly, though they could not perceive us;
we should have been very glad if they would have come nearer to us, so
that we might have fired at them, or that they would have gone further
off, that we might come abroad. But when they were come to the brow of
the hill, where they could see a great way into the valleys and woods,
which lay toward the northeast part, and where the island lay lowest,
they shouted and hallooed till they were weary; and not caring, it
seems, to venture far from the shore, nor far from one another, they
sat down together under a tree to consider it.
We waited a great while, though very impatient for their removing; and
were very uneasy, when, after a long consultation, we saw them all
start up, and march down toward the sea; it seems they had such
dreadful apprehensions of the danger of the place, that they resolved
to go on board the ship again, give their companions over for lost,
and so go on with their intended voyage with the ship.
As soon as I perceived them go toward the shore, I imagined it to be
as it really was, that they had given over their search, and were
going back again; and the captain, as soon as I told him my thoughts,
was ready to sink at the apprehensions of it; but I presently thought
of a stratagem to fetch them back again. I ordered Friday and the
captain's mate to go over the little creek westward, and so soon as
they came to a little rising ground, at about half a mile distance, I
bade them halloo out, as loud as they could, and wait till they found
the seamen heard them; that as soon as ever they heard the seamen
answer them, they should return it again; and then, keeping out of
sight, take a round, always answering when the others hallooed, to
draw them as far into the island and among the woods as possible, and
then wheel about again to me by such ways as I directed them.
They were just going into the boat when Friday and the mate hallooed;
and they presently heard them, and, answering, ran along the shore
westward, toward the voice they heard, when they were stopped by the
creek, where, the water being up, they could not get over, and called
for the boat to come up and set them over; as, indeed, I expected.
When they had set themselves over, I observed that the boat being gone
a good way into the creek, and, as it were, in a harbor within the
land, they took one of the three men out of her, to go along with
them, and left only two in the boat, having fastened her to a stump of
a little tree on the shore. This was what I wished for; and
immediately leaving Friday and the captain's mate to their business, I
took the rest with me; and, crossing the creek out of their sight, we
surprised the two men before they were aware--one of them lying on the
shore, and the other being in the boat; the fellow on shore was
between sleeping and waking, and going to start up; the captain, who
was foremost, ran in upon him, and knocked him down; and then called
out to him in the boat to yield, or he was a dead man. There needed
very few arguments to persuade a single man to yield, when he saw five
men upon him, and his comrade knocked down; besides, this was, it
seems, one of the three who were not so hearty in the mutiny as the
rest of the crew, and therefore was easily persuaded not only to
yield, but afterward to join very sincerely with us.
In the meantime Friday and the captain's mate so well managed their
business with the rest, that they drew them, by hallooing and
answering, from one hill to another, and from one wood to another,
till they not only heartily tired them, but left them where they were
very sure they could not reach back to their boat before it was dark;
and, indeed, they were heartily tired themselves also, by the time
they came back to us.
We had nothing now to do but to watch for the others in the dark, and
to fall upon them, so as to make sure work with them. It was several
hours after Friday came back to me before they came back to their
boat; and we could hear the foremost of them, long before they came
quite up, calling to those behind to come along; and could also hear
them answer, and complain how lame and tired they were, and not able
to go any faster; which was very welcome news to us. At length they
came up to the boat; but it is impossible to express their confusion
when they found the boat aground in the creek, the tide ebbed out, and
their two men gone; we could hear them call one to another in the most
lamentable manner, telling one another they were got into an enchanted
island; that either there were inhabitants in it, and they should all
be murdered, or else there were devils and spirits in it, and they
should all be carried away and devoured. They hallooed again, and
called their two comrades by their names a great many times; but no
answer. After some time, we could see them, by the little light there
was, run about, wringing their hands like men in despair; and
sometimes they would go and sit down in the boat to rest themselves,
then come ashore again, and walk about again, and so the same thing
over again. My men would fain have had me give them leave to fall upon
them at once in the dark; but I was willing to take them at some
advantage, so as to spare them, and kill as few of them as I could;
and especially I was unwilling to hazard the killing of any of our
men, knowing the others were very well armed. I resolved to wait, to
see if they did not separate; and therefore, to make sure of them, I
drew my ambuscade nearer. We came upon them, indeed, in the dark, so
that they could not see our number; and I made the man they had left
in the boat, who was now one of us, to call them by name, to try if I
could bring them to a parley, and so perhaps might reduce them to
terms; which fell out just as we desired: for, indeed, it was easy to
think, as their condition then was, they would be very willing to
capitulate. So he calls out as loud as he could to one of them, "Tom
Smith! Tom Smith!" Tom Smith answered immediately, "Is that Robinson?"
for it seems he knew the voice. The other answered, "Ay, ay; for God's
sake, Tom Smith, throw down your arms and yield, or you are all dead
men this moment." "Who must we yield to? Where are they?" says Smith
again. "Here they are," says he; "here's our captain and fifty men
with him, have been hunting you these two hours; the boatswain is
killed, Will Fry is wounded, and I am a prisoner; and if you do not
yield you are all lost."--"Will they give us quarter then?" says Tom
Smith, "and we will yield."---"I'll go and ask, if you promise to
yield," said Robinson; so he asked the captain. And the captain
himself then calls out, "You, Smith, you know my voice; if you lay
down your arms immediately, and submit, you shall have your lives,
all but Will Atkins."
Upon this, Will Atkins cried out, "For God's sake, captain, give me
quarter; what have I done? They have all been as bad as I" (which, by
the way, was not true; for, it seems, this Will Atkins was the first
man that laid hold of the captain, when they first mutinied, and used
him barbarously, in tying his hands, and giving him injurious
language); however, the captain told him he must lay down his arms at
discretion, and trust to the Governor's mercy; by which he meant me,
for they all called me Governor. In a word, they all laid down their
arms, and begged their lives; and I sent the man that had parleyed
with them, and two more, who bound them all; and then my great army of
fifty men, which, with those three, were in all but eight, came up and
seized upon them, and upon their boat; only that I kept myself and one
more out of sight, for reasons of state.
Our next work was to repair the boat, and think of seizing the ship;
and as for the captain, now he had leisure to parley with them, he
expostulated with them upon the villainy of their practices with him,
and at length upon the further wickedness of their design, and how
certainly it must bring them to misery and distress in the end, and
perhaps to the gallows. They all appeared very penitent, and begged
hard for their lives. As for that, he told them they were not his
prisoners, but the commander's of the island; that they thought they
had set him on shore in a barren, uninhabited island; but it had
pleased God so to direct them, that it was inhabited, and that the
Governor was an Englishman; that he might hang them all there if he
pleased; but, as he had given them all quarter, he supposed he would
send them to England, to be dealt with there as justice required,
except Atkins, whom he was commanded by the Governor to advise to
prepare for death; for that he would be hanged in the morning.
Though this was all but a fiction of his own, yet it had its desired
effect; Atkins fell upon his knees to beg the captain to intercede
with the Governor for his life; and all the rest begged of him, for
God's sake, that they might not be sent to England. It now occurred to
me, that the time of our deliverance was come, and that it would be a
most easy thing to bring these fellows in to be hearty in getting
possession of the ship; so I retired in the dark from them, that they
might not see what kind of a Governor they had, and called the captain
to me; when I called, as at a good distance, one of the men was
ordered to speak again, and say to the captain, "Captain, the
commander calls for you"; and presently the captain replied, "Tell
his Excellency I am just a-coming." This more perfectly amused them,
and they all believed that the commander was just by, with his fifty
men. Upon the captain coming to me, I told him my project for seizing
the ship, which he liked wonderfully well, and resolved to put it in
execution the next morning. But, in order to execute it with more art,
and to be secure of success, I told him we must divide the prisoners,
and that he should go and take Atkins, and two more of the worst of
them, and send them pinioned to the cave where the others lay; this
was committed to Friday and the two men who came on shore with the
captain. They conveyed them to the cave as to a prison; and it was,
indeed, a dismal place, especially to men in their condition. The
others I ordered to my bower, as I called it; and as it was fenced in,
and they were pinioned, the place was secure enough, considering they
were upon their behavior.
To these in the morning I sent the captain, who was to enter into a
parley with them; in a word, to try them, and tell me whether he
thought they might be trusted or not to go on board and surprise the
ship. He talked to them of the injury done him, of the condition they
were brought to; and that though the Governor had given them quarter
for their lives as to the present action, yet that if they were sent
to England, to be sure they would all be hanged in chains; but that if
they would join in so just an attempt as to recover the ship, he would
have the Governor's engagement for their pardon.
Any one may guess how readily such a proposal would be accepted by men
in their condition; they fell down on their knees to the captain, and
promised, with the deepest imprecations, that they would be faithful
to him to the last drop, and that they should owe their lives to him,
and would go with him all over the world; that they would own him as a
father to them as long as they lived.
Our strength was now thus ordered for the expedition: 1, the captain,
his mate, and passenger; 2, the two prisoners of the first gang, to
whom, having their character from the captain, I had given their
liberty, and trusted them with arms; 3, the other two that I had kept
till now in my apartment pinioned, but, on the captain's motion, had
now released; 4, the single man taken in the boat; 5, these five
released at last; so that there were thirteen, in all, besides five we
kept prisoners in the cave for hostages.
The captain had now no difficulty before him, but to furnish his two
boats, stop the breach of one, and man them. He made his passenger
captain of one, with four of the men; and himself, his mate, and five
more, went in the other; and they contrived their business very well,
for they came up to the ship about midnight. As soon as they came
within call of the ship, he made Robinson hail them, and tell them he
had brought off the men and the boat, but that it was a long time
before they had found them, and the like; holding them in chat till
they came to the ship's side; when the captain and mate, entering
first, with their arms immediately knocked down the second mate and
carpenter with the butt end of their muskets, being very faithfully
seconded by their men; they secured all the rest that were upon the
main and quarter-decks, and began to fasten the hatches, to keep them
down that were below, when the other boat and their men, entering the
forechains, secured the forecastle of the ship, and the scuttle which
went down into the cook-room, making three men they found there
prisoners. When this was done, and all safe upon deck, the captain
ordered the mate, with three men, to break into the roundhouse, where
the new rebel captain lay, who, having taken the alarm, had got up,
and with two men and a boy had got firearms in their hands; and when
the mate, with a crow, split open the door, the new captain and his
men fired boldly among them, and wounded the mate with a musket ball,
which broke his arm, and wounded two more of the men, but killed
nobody. The mate, calling for help, rushed, however, into the
roundhouse, wounded as he was, and with his pistol shot the new
captain through the head, the bullet entering at his mouth, and came
out again behind one of his ears, so that he never spoke a word more;
upon which the rest yielded, and the ship was taken effectually,
without any more lives being lost.
As soon as the ship was thus secured, the captain ordered seven guns
to be fired, which was the signal agreed upon with me to give me
notice of his success; which, you may be sure, I was very glad to
hear, having sat watching upon the shore for it till nearly two of the
clock in the morning. Having thus heard the signal plainly, I laid me
down; and it having been a day of great fatigue to me, I slept very
sound, till I was surprised with the noise of a gun; and presently
starting up, I heard a man call me by the name, "Governor! Governor!"
and presently I knew the captain's voice; when, climbing to the top of
the hill, there he stood, and pointing to the ship, he embraced me in
his arms. "My dear friend and deliverer," said he, "there's your ship;
for she is all yours, and so are we, and all that belong to her." I
cast my eyes to the ship, and there she rode, within little more than
half a mile of the shore; for they had weighed her anchor as soon as
they were masters of her, and, the weather being fair, had brought her
to an anchor just against the mouth of the little creek; and, the tide
being up, the captain had brought the pinnace in near the place where
I had first landed my rafts, and so landed just at my door, I was at
first ready to sink down with the surprise; for I saw my deliverance,
indeed, visibly put into my hands, all things easy, and a large ship
just ready to carry me away whither I pleased to go.
We then began to consult what was to be done with the prisoners we
had; for it was worth considering whether we might venture to take
them away with us or no, especially two of them, whom we knew to be
incorrigible and refractory to the last degree; and the captain said
he knew they were such rogues that there was no obliging them, and if
he did carry them away, it must be in irons, as malefactors, to be
delivered over to justice at the first English colony he could come
at; and I found that the captain himself was very anxious about it.
Upon this, I told him that, if he desired it, I durst undertake to
bring the two men he spoke of to make it their own request that he
should leave them upon the island.
"I should be very glad of that," said the captain, "with all my
"Well," said I, "I will send for them up, and talk with them for you."
So I caused Friday and the two hostages, for they were now discharged,
their comrades having performed their promise; I say, I caused them to
go to the cave, and bring up the five men, pinioned as they were, to
the bower, and keep them there till I came. After some time, I came
thither dressed in the new habit which had been given me by the
captain. Being all met, and the captain with me, I caused all the men
to be brought before me, and I told them I had got a full account of
their villainous behavior to the captain, but that they were fallen
into the pit which they had dug for others. They might see by and by
that their new captain had received the reward of his villainy; for
that they would see him hanging at the yardarm; as to them, I wanted
to know what they had to say why I should not execute them as pirates,
taken in the fact, as by my commission they could not doubt I had
authority to do.
One of them answered in the name of the rest, that they had nothing to
say but this, that when they were taken, the captain promised them
their lives, and they humbly implored my mercy: but I told them I knew
not what mercy to show them; for as for myself, I had resolved to quit
the island with all my men, and had taken passage with the captain to
go for England; and as for the captain, he could not carry them to
England, other than as prisoners in irons, to be tried for mutiny, and
running away with the ship; the consequence of which, they must needs
know, would be the gallows; so that I could not tell what was best for
them, unless they had a mind to take their fate in the island; if they
desired that, I did not care, as I had liberty to leave it. They
seemed very thankful for it, and said they would much rather venture
to stay there than to be carried to England to be hanged: so I left it
on that issue.
However, the captain seemed to make some difficulty of it, as if he
durst not leave them there; upon this, I seemed a little angry with
the captain, and told him they were my prisoners, not his; and that
seeing I had offered them so much favor, I would be as good as my
word; and that if he did not think fit to consent to it, I would set
them at liberty, as I found them; and if he did not like it, he might
take them again if he could catch them. Upon this, they appeared very
thankful, and I accordingly set them at liberty, and bade them retire
into the woods, to the place whence they came, and I would leave them
some firearms, some ammunition, and some directions how they should
live very well, if they thought fit. Upon this I prepared to go on
board the ship, and desired him to go on board in the meantime, and
keep all right in the ship; but told the captain I would stay that
night to prepare my things, and told him to send the boat on shore
next day for me; ordering him, at all events, to cause the new
captain, who was killed, to be hanged at the yardarm, that these men
might see him.
When the captain was gone, I sent for the men up to me to my
apartment, and entered seriously into discourse with them on their
circumstances. I told them I thought they had made a right choice;
that if the captain had carried them away, they would certainly be
hanged. I showed them the new captain hanging at the yardarm of the
ship, and told them they had nothing less to expect.
When they had all declared their willingness to stay, I then told them
I would let them into the story of my living there, and put them into
the way of making it easy to them: accordingly, I gave them the whole
history of the place, and of my coming to it; showed them my
fortifications, the way I made my bread, planted my corn, cured my
grapes; and, in a word, all that was necessary to make them easy. I
told them the story also of the sixteen Spaniards that were to be
expected, for whom I left a letter, and made them promise to treat
them in common with themselves.
I left them my firearms, viz., five muskets, three fowling pieces, and
three swords. I had above a barrel and a half of powder left; for
after the first year or two I used but little, and wasted none. I gave
them a description of the way I managed the goats, and directions to
milk and fatten them, and to make both butter and cheese. In a word, I
gave them every part of my own story; and told them I should prevail
with the captain to leave them two barrels of gunpowder more, and some
garden seeds, which I told them I would have been very glad of. Also,
I gave them the bag of peas which the captain had brought me to eat,
and bade them to be sure to sow and increase them.
I left them the next day, and went on board the ship. We prepared
immediately to sail, but did not weigh that night. The next morning
early, two of the five men came swimming to the ship's side, and,
making the most lamentable complaint of the other three, begged to be
taken into the ship for God's sake, for they should be murdered, and
begged the captain to take them on board, though he hanged them
immediately. Upon this the captain pretended to have no power without
me; but after some difficulty, and after solemn promises of amendment,
they were taken on board, and were, some time after, roundly whipped
and pickled; after which they proved very honest and quiet fellows.
Sometime after this, the boat was ordered on shore, the tide being up,
with the things promised to the men; to which the captain, at my
intercession, caused their chests and clothes to be added, which they
took, and were very thankful for.
And thus I left the island, the 19th of December, as I found by the
ship's account, in the year 1686, after I had been upon it eight-and-
twenty years, two months, and nineteen days; being delivered from this
captivity the same day of the month that I first had been cast ashore.
In this vessel, after a long voyage, I arrived in England the 11th of
June, in the year 1687, having been thirty-five years absent.
FAITHLESS SALLY BROWN
By THOMAS HOOD
Young Ben he was a nice young man,
A carpenter by trade;
And he fell in love with Sally Brown,
That was a lady's maid.
But as they fetched a walk one day,
They met a press-gang crew;
And Sally she did faint away,
Whilst Ben he was brought to.
The boatswain swore with wicked words
Enough to shock a saint,
That, though she did seem in a fit,
'Twas nothing but a feint.
"Come, girl," said he, "hold up your head,
He'll be as good as me;
For when your swain is in our boat
A boatswain he will be."
So when they'd made their game of her,
And taken off her elf,
She roused, and found she only was
A-coming to herself.
"And is he gone, and is he gone?"
She cried and wept outright;
"Then I will to the water-side,
And see him out of sight."
A waterman came up to her;
"Now, young woman," said he,
"If you weep on so, you will make
Eye-water in the sea."
"Alas! they've taken my beau, Ben,
To sail with old Benbow;"
And her woe began to run afresh,
As if she'd said, "Gee woe!"
Says he, "They've only taken him
To the tender-ship, you see."
"The tender-ship," cried Sally Brown--
"What a hard-ship that must be!"
"O, would I were a mermaid now,
For then I'd follow him!
But O, I'm not a fish-woman,
And so I cannot swim.
"Alas! I was not born beneath
The Virgin and the Scales,
So I must curse my cruel stars,
And walk about in Wales."
Now Ben had sailed to many a place
That's underneath the world;
But in two years the ship came home,
And all her sails were furled.
But when he called on Sally Brown,
To see how she got on,
He found she'd got another Ben,
Whose Christian name was John.
"O Sally Brown! O Sally Brown!
How could you serve me so?
I've met with many a breeze before,
But never such a blow!"
Then, reading on his 'bacco box,
He heaved a heavy sigh,
And then began to eye his pipe
And then to pipe his eye.
And then he tried to sing "All's Well!"
But could not, though he tried;
His head was turned,--and so he chewed
His pigtail till he died.
His death, which happened in his berth,
At forty-odd befell;
They went and told the sexton, and
The sexton tolled the bell.
THE MARINER'S DREAM
By WILLIAM DIMOND
In slumbers of midnight the sailor-boy lay;
His hammock swung loose at the sport of the wind;
But watch-worn and weary, his cares flew away,
And visions of happiness danced o'er his mind.
He dreamt of his home, of his dear native bowers,
And pleasures that waited on life's merry morn;
While Memory stood sideways half covered with flowers,
And restored every rose, but secreted its thorn.
Then Fancy her magical pinions spread wide,
And bade the young dreamer in ecstacy rise;
Now far, far behind him the green waters glide,
And the cot of his forefathers blesses his eyes.
The jessamine clambers in flowers o'er the thatch,
And the swallow chirps sweet from her nest in the wall;
All trembling with transport he raises the latch,
And the voices of loved ones reply to his call.
A father bends o'er him with looks of delight;
His cheek is impearled with a mother's warm tear;
And the lips of the boy in a love-kiss unite
With the lips of the maid whom his bosom holds dear.
The heart of the sleeper beats high in his breast;
Joy quickens his pulses,--his hardships seem o'er;
And a murmur of happiness steals through his rest,--"O God! thou
hast blest me,--I ask for no more."
Ah! whence is that flame which now bursts on his eye?
Ah! what is that sound which now 'larms on his ear?
'Tis the lightning's red gleam, painting hell on the sky!
'Tis the crashing of thunders, the groan of the sphere!
He springs from his hammock, he flies to the deck;
Amazement confronts him with images dire;
Wild winds and mad waves drive the vessel a wreck;
The masts fly in splinters; the shrouds are on fire.
Like mountains the billows tremendously swell;
In vain the lost wretch calls on mercy to save;
Unseen hands of spirits are ringing his knell,
And the death-angel flaps his broad wings o'er the wave!
O sailor-boy, woe to thy dream of delight!
In darkness dissolves the gay frost-work of bliss.
Where now is the picture that fancy touched bright,--
Thy parent's fond pressure, and love's honeyed kiss?
O sailor-boy! sailor-boy! never again
Shall home, love or kindred thy wishes repay;
Unblessed and unhonored, down deep in the main,
Full many a fathom thy frame shall decay.
[Illustration: LIKE MOUNTAINS THE BILLOWS SWELL]
No tomb shall e'er plead to remembrance for thee,
Or redeem form or frame from the merciless surge,
But the white foam of waves shall thy winding sheet be,
And winds in the midnight of winter thy dirge.
On a bed of green sea flowers thy limbs shall be laid,--
Around thy white bones the red coral shall grow;
Of thy fair yellow locks threads of amber be made,
And every part suit to thy mansion below.
Days, months, years, and ages shall circle away,
And still the vast waters above thee shall roll;
Earth loses thy pattern forever and aye,--
O sailor-boy! sailor-boy! peace to thy soul!
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON
[Footnote: Defoe's Robinson Crusoe was so very popular that a host of
imitations of it were written. Most of them have been entirely
forgotten but one, The Swiss Family Robinson, by Johann Rudolph Wyss,
proved so popular, especially with children that it was translated
from the original German into several languages and new editions are
still appearing, though the book was published in 1813.
The Swiss Family Robinson gives the story of a family who were cast
away by shipwreck, on an uninhabited island. By no means all of the
book is given here--any of the interesting adventures and ingenious
experiments have been of necessity omitted--but the parts here given
tell a continuous story.]
THE SHIPWRECK AND LANDING
For many days we had been tempest-tossed. Six times had the darkness
closed over a wild and terrific scene, and returning light as often
brought but renewed distress, for the raging storm increased in fury
until on the seventh day all hope was lost.
We were driven completely out of our course; no conjecture could be
formed as to our whereabouts. The crew had lost heart, and were
utterly exhausted by incessant labor.
The riven masts had gone by the board, leaks had been sprung in every
direction, and the water which rushed in gained upon us rapidly.
Instead of reckless oaths, the seamen uttered frantic cries to God for
mercy, mingled with strange and often ludicrous vows, to be performed
should deliverance be granted.
Every man on board alternately commended his soul to his Creator, and
strove to bethink himself of some means of saving his life.
My heart sank as I looked around upon my family in the midst of these
horrors. Our four young sons were overpowered by terror. "Dear
children," said I, "if the Lord will, he can save us even from this
fearful peril; if not, let us calmly yield our lives into his hand,
and think of the joy and blessedness of finding ourselves forever and
ever united in that happy home above."
At these words my weeping wife looked bravely up, and, as the boys
clustered round her, she began to cheer and encourage them with calm
and loving words. I rejoiced to see her fortitude, though my heart was
ready to break as I gazed on my dear ones. We knelt down together, one
after another praying with deep earnestness and emotion. Fritz, in
particular, besought help and deliverance for his dear parents and
brothers, as though quite forgetting himself.
Our hearts were soothed by the never-failing comfort of childlike,
confiding prayer, and the horror of our situation seemed less
overwhelming. "Ah," thought I, "the Lord will hear our prayer! He will
Amid the roar of the thundering waves I suddenly heard the cry of
"Land, land!" while at the same instant the ship struck with a
frightful shock, which threw every one to the deck, and seemed to
threaten her immediate destruction.
Dreadful sounds betokened the breaking up of the ship, and the roaring
waters poured in on all sides.
[Illustration: THE SHIP WAS JAMMED BETWEEN HIGH ROCKS]
Then the voice of the captain was heard above the tumult, shouting,
"Lower away the boats! We are lost!"
"Lost!" I exclaimed, and the word went like a dagger to my heart; but
seeing my children's terror renewed, I composed myself, calling out
cheerfully, "Take courage, my boys! we are all above water yet. There
is the land not far off; let us do our best to reach it. You know God
helps those that help themselves!" With that, I left them and went on
deck. What was my horror when through the foam and spray I beheld the
only remaining boat leave the ship, the last of the seamen spring into
her and push off, regardless of my cries and entreaties that we might
be allowed to share their slender chance of preserving their lives. My
voice was drowned in the howling of the blast; and even had the crew
wished it, the return of the boat was impossible.
Casting my eyes despairingly around, I became gradually aware that our
position was by no means hopeless, inasmuch as the stern of the ship,
containing our cabin, was jammed between two high rocks, and was
partly raised from among the breakers which dashed the forepart to
pieces. As the clouds of mist and rain drove past, I could make out,
through rents in the vaporous curtain, a line of rocky coast; and
rugged as it was, my heart bounded toward it as a sign of help in the
hour of need. Yet the sense of our lonely and forsaken condition
weighed heavily upon me as I returned to my family, constraining
myself to say with a smile, "Courage, dear ones! Although our good
ship will never sail more, she is so placed that our cabin will remain
above water, and to-morrow, if the wind and waves abate, I see no
reason why we should not be able to get ashore."
These few words had an immediate effect on the spirits of my children,
who at once regarded our problematical chance of escaping as a happy
certainty, and began to enjoy the relief from the violent pitching and
rolling of the vessel. My wife, however, perceived my distress and
anxiety, in spite of my forced composure, and I made her comprehend
our real situation, greatly fearing the effect of the intelligence on
her nerves. Not for a moment did her courage and trust in Providence
forsake her, and on seeing this, my fortitude revived.
"We must find some food, and take a good supper," said she; "it will
never do to grow faint by fasting too long. We shall require our
utmost strength to-morrow."
Night drew on apace, the storm was as fierce as ever, and at intervals
we were startled by crashes announcing further damage to our
A good meal being now ready, my youngsters ate heartily, and retiring
to rest, were speedily fast asleep. Fritz, who was of an age to be
aware of the real danger we were in, kept watch with us.
We searched about and fortunately got hold of a number of empty flasks
and tin canisters, which we connected two and two together so as to
form floats sufficiently buoyant to support a person in the water, and
my wife and young sons each willingly put one on. I then provided
myself with matches, knives, cord and other portable articles,
trusting that, should the vessel go to pieces before daylight, we
might gain the shore not wholly destitute.
Fritz, as well as his brothers, now slept soundly. Throughout the
night my wife and I maintained our prayerful watch, dreading at every
fresh sound some fatal change in the position of the wreck.
At length the faint dawn of day appeared, the long, weary night was
over, and with thankful hearts we perceived that the gale had begun to
moderate; blue sky was seen above us, and the lovely hues of sunrise
adorned the eastern horizon.
I aroused the boys, and we assembled on the remaining portion of the
deck, when they, to their surprise, discovered that no one else was on
"Hello, papa! what has become of everybody? Are the sailors gone? Have
they taken away the boats? Oh, papa! why did they leave us behind?
What can we do by ourselves?"
"My good children," I replied, "we must not despair, although we seem
deserted. Only let us bestir ourselves, and each cheerily do his best.
Who has anything to propose?"
"The sea will soon be calm enough for swimming," said Fritz.
"And that would be all very fine for you," exclaimed Ernest, "but
think of mother and the rest of us! Why not build a raft and all get
on shore together?"
"We should find it difficult, I think, to make a raft that would carry
us safe to shore. However, we must contrive something, and first let
each try to procure what will be of most use to us."
Away we all went to see what was to be found, I myself proceeding to
examine, as of great consequence, the supplies of provisions and fresh
water within our reach.
My wife took her youngest son, Franz, to help her to feed the
unfortunate animals on board, who were in a pitiful plight, having
been neglected for several days.
Fritz hastened to the arm chest, Ernest to look for tools; and Jack
went toward the captain's cabin, the door of which he no sooner opened
than out sprang two splendid large dogs, who testified their extreme
delight and gratitude by such tremendous bounds that they knocked
their little deliverer completely head over heels, frightening him
nearly out of his wits. Jack did not long yield either to fear or to
anger; he presently recovered himself; the dogs seemed to ask pardon
by vehemently licking his face and hands, and so, seizing the larger
by the ears, he jumped on his back, and, to my great amusement, coolly
rode to meet me as I came up the hatchway.
When we reassembled in the cabin, we all displayed our treasures.
Fritz brought a couple of guns, shot belt, powder flasks, and plenty
Ernest produced a cap full of nails, an ax, and a hammer, while
pincers, chisels, and augers stuck out of all his pockets.
Little Franz carried a box, and eagerly began to show us the "nice
sharp little hooks" it contained.
Said my dear wife, "I have nothing to show, but I can give you good
news. Some useful animals are still alive; a cow, a donkey, two goats,
six sheep, a ram, and a fine sow. I was but just in time to save their
lives by taking food to them."
"All these things are excellent indeed," said I; "but my friend Jack
here has presented me with a couple of huge, hungry, useless dogs, who
will eat more than any of us."
"Oh, papa! they will be of use! Why, they will help us to hunt when we
get on shore!"
[Illustration: THEY MADE A RAFT OF CASKS]
We very soon found four large casks, made of sound wood, and strongly
bound with iron hoops; they were floating with many other things in
the water in the hold, but we managed to fish them out, and drag them
to a suitable place for launching them. They were exactly what I
wanted, and I succeeded in sawing them across the middle. Hard work it
was, and we were glad enough to stop and refresh ourselves with
biscuits. My eight tubs now stood ranged in a row near the water's
edge, and I looked at them with great satisfaction; to my surprise, my
wife did not seem to share my pleasure.
"I shall never," said she, "muster courage to get into one of these!"
"Do not be too sure of that, dear wife," I replied.
I next procured a long, thin plank, on which my tubs could be fixed,
and the two ends of this I bent upward so as to form a keel. Other two
planks were nailed along the sides of the tubs; they also being
flexible, were brought to a point at each end, and all firmly secured
and nailed together. I felt satisfied that in smooth water this craft
would be perfectly trustworthy. But when we thought all was ready for
the launch, we found, to our dismay, that the grand contrivance was so
heavy and clumsy that even our united efforts could not move it an
"I must have a lever," cried I. "Run and fetch the capstan bar!"
Fritz quickly brought one, and, having formed rollers by cutting up a
long spar, I raised the fore part of my boat with the bar, and my sons
placed a roller under it.
I now made fast a long rope to the stern of our boat, attaching the
other end to a beam; then placing a second and third roller under it,
we once more began to push, this time with success, and soon our
gallant craft was safely launched: so swiftly indeed did she glide
into the water that, but for the rope, she would have passed beyond
our reach. The boys wished to jump in directly; but, alas, she leaned
so much on one side that they could not venture to do so. Some heavy
things being thrown in, however, the boat righted itself by degrees,
and the boys were so delighted that they struggled which should first
leap in to have the fun of sitting down in the tubs. To make her
perfectly safe, I contrived outriggers to preserve the balance, by
nailing long poles at the stem and stern, and fixing at the ends of
each empty brandy casks. Then, the boat appearing steady, I got in;
and turning it toward the most open side of the wreck, I cut and
cleared away obstructions, so as to leave a free passage for our
departure, and the boys brought oars to be ready for the voyage. This
important undertaking we were forced to postpone until the next day,
as it was by this time far too late to attempt it. It was not pleasant
to have to spend another night in so precarious a situation; but
yielding to necessity, we sat down to enjoy a comfortable supper, for
during our exciting and incessant work all day we had taken nothing
but an occasional biscuit and a little water.
We prepared for rest in a much happier frame of mind than on the
preceding day, but I did not forget the possibility of a renewed
storm, and therefore made every one put on the belts as before.
I persuaded my wife (not without considerable difficulty), to put on a
sailor's dress, assuring her she would find it much more comfortable
and convenient for all she would have to go through. She at last
consented to do this, and left us for a short time, reappearing with
much embarrassment and many blushes, in a most becoming suit, which
she had found in a midshipman's chest. We all admired her costume, and
any awkwardness she felt soon began to pass off; we then retired to
our berths, and peaceful sleep prepared us all for the exertions of
the coming day,
We rose up betimes, for sleep weighs lightly on the hopeful, as well
as on the anxious. After kneeling together in prayer, "Now, my beloved
ones," said I, "with God's help we are about to effect our escape. Let
the poor animals we must leave behind be well fed, and put plenty of
fodder within their reach; in a few days we may be able to return, and
save them likewise. After that, collect everything you can think of
which may be of use to us."
The boys joyfully obeyed me, and I selected from the large quantity of
stores they got together canvas to make a tent, a chest of carpenter's
tools, guns, pistols, powder, shot, and bullets, rods and fishing
tackle, an iron pot, a case of portable soup, and another of biscuit.
These useful articles, of course, took the place of the ballast I had
hastily thrown in the day before.
With a hearty prayer for God's blessing, we now began to take our
seats, each in his tub. Just then we heard the cocks begin to crow, as
though to reproach us for deserting them.
"Why should not the fowls go with us!" exclaimed I. "If we find no
food for THEM, they can be food for US!" Ten hens and a couple of
cocks were accordingly placed in one of the tubs, and secured with
some wire netting over them.
The ducks and geese were set at liberty, and took to the water at
once, while the pigeons, rejoicing to find themselves on the wing,
swiftly made for the shore. My wife, who managed all this for me, kept
us waiting for her some little time, and came at last with a bag as
big as a pillow in her arms. "This is MY contribution," said she,
throwing the bag to little Franz, to be, as I thought, a cushion for
him to sit upon.
All being ready, we cast off, and moved away from the wreck. My good,
brave wife sat in the first compartment of the boat; next her was
Franz, nearly eight years old. Then came Fritz, a spirited young
fellow of fifteen; the two center tubs contained the valuable cargo;
then came our bold, thoughtless Jack; next him Ernest, my second son,
intelligent, well-formed, and rather indolent. I myself stood in the
stern, endeavoring to guide the raft with its precious burden to a
safe landing place.
The elder boys took the oars; every one wore a float belt, and had
something useful close to him in case of being thrown into the water.
The tide was flowing, which was a great help to the young oarsmen. We
emerged from the wreck and glided into the open sea. All eyes were
strained to get a full view of the land, and the boys pulled with a
will; but for some time we made no progress, as the boat kept turning
round and round, until I hit upon the right way to steer it, after
which we merrily made for the shore.
We had left the two dogs, Turk and Juno, on the wreck, as they were
both large mastiffs, and we did not care to have their additional
weight on board our craft; but when they saw us apparently deserting
them, they set up a piteous howl, and sprang into the sea. I was sorry
to see this, for the distance to the land was so great that I scarcely
expected them to be able to accomplish it. They followed us, however,
and, occasionally resting their fore paws on the out-riggers, kept up
with us well.
Our passage, though tedious, was safe; but the nearer we approached
the shore the less inviting it appeared; the barren rocks seemed to
threaten us with misery and want.
Many casks, boxes, and bales of goods floated on the water around us.
Fritz and I managed to secure a couple of hogsheads, so as to tow them
alongside. With the prospect of famine before us, it was desirable to
lay hold of anything likely to contain provisions.
By and by we began to perceive that, between and beyond the cliffs,
green grass and trees were discernible. Fritz could distinguish many
tall palms, and Ernest hoped they would prove to be cocoanut trees,
and enjoyed the thoughts of drinking the refreshing milk.
"I am very sorry I never thought of bringing away the captain's
telescope," said I.
"Oh, look here, father!" cried Jack, drawing a little spyglass
joyfully out of his pocket.
By means of this glass, I made out that at some distance to the left
the coast was much more inviting; a strong current, however, carried
us directly toward the frowning rocks, but I presently observed an
opening, where a stream flowed into the sea, and saw that our geese
and ducks were swimming toward this place. I steered after them into
the creek, and we found ourselves in a small bay or inlet where the
water was perfectly smooth and of moderate depth. The ground sloped
gently upward from the low banks to the cliffs, which here retired
inland, leaving a small plain, on which it was easy for us to land.
Every one sprang gladly out of the boat but little Franz, who, lying
packed in his tub like a potted shrimp, had to be lifted out by his
The dogs had scrambled on shore before us; they received us with loud
barking and the wildest demonstrations of delight. The geese and ducks
kept up an incessant din, added to which was the screaming and
croaking of flamingoes and penguins, whose dominion we were invading.
The noise was deafening, but far from unwelcome to me, as I thought of
the good dinners the birds might furnish.
As soon as we could gather our children around us on dry land, we
knelt to offer thanks and praise for our merciful escape, and with
full hearts we commended ourselves to God's good keeping for the time
All hands then briskly fell to the work of unloading, and oh, how rich
we felt ourselves as we did so! The poultry we left at liberty to
forage for themselves, and set about finding a suitable place to erect
a tent in which to pass the night. This we speedily did; thrusting a
long spar into a hole in the rock, and supporting the other end by a
pole firmly planted in the ground, we formed a framework over which we
stretched the sailcloth we had brought; besides fastening this down
with pegs, we placed our heavy chest and boxes on the border of the
canvas, and arranged hooks so as to be able to close up the entrance
during the night.
When this was accomplished, the boys ran to collect moss and grass, to
spread in the tent for our beds, while I arranged a fireplace with
some large flat stones, near the brook which flowed close by. Dry
twigs and seaweed were soon in a blaze on the hearth; I filled the
iron pot with water, and giving my wife several cakes of the portable
soup, told her to establish herself as our cook, with little Franz to
Fritz, meanwhile, leaving a loaded gun with me, took another himself,
and went along the rough coast to see what lay beyond the stream; this
fatiguing sort of walk not suiting Ernest's fancy, he sauntered down
to the beach, and Jack scrambled among the rocks, searching for
I was anxious to land the two casks which were floating alongside our
boat, but on attempting to do so, I found that I could not get them up
the bank on which we had landed, and was therefore obliged to look for
a more convenient spot. As I did so, I was startled by hearing Jack
shouting for help, as though in great danger. He was at some distance,
and I hurried toward him with a hatchet in my hand. The little fellow
stood screaming in a deep pool, and as I approached, I saw that a huge
lobster had caught his leg in its powerful claw. Poor Jack was in a
terrible fright; kick as he would, his enemy still clung on. I waded
into the water, and seizing the lobster firmly by the back, managed to
make it loosen its hold, and we brought it safe to land. Jack, having
speedily recovered his spirits, and anxious to take such a prize to
his mother, caught the lobster in both hands, but instantly received
such a severe blow from its tail that he flung it down. Once more
lifting the lobster, Jack ran triumphantly toward the tent.
"Mother, mother! a lobster, Ernest! look here, Franz! mind, he'll bite
you! Where's Fritz?" All came crowding round Jack and his prize,
wondering at its unusual size, and Ernest wanted his mother to make
lobster soup directly, by adding it to what she was now boiling.
She, however, begged to decline making any such experiment, and said
she preferred cooking one dish at a time. Having remarked that the
scene of Jack's adventure afforded a convenient place for getting my
casks on shore, I returned thither and succeeded in drawing them up on
the beach, where I set them on end, and for the present left them.
On my return I resumed the subject of Jack's lobster, and told him he
should have the offending claw all to himself, when it was ready to be
eaten, congratulating him on being the first to discover anything
"As to that," said Ernest, "I found something very good to eat, as
well as Jack, only I could not get at them without wetting my feet."
"Pooh!" cried Jack, "I know what he saw---nothing but some nasty
mussels; I saw them too. Who wants to eat trash like that! Lobster for
"I believe them to be oysters, not mussels," returned Ernest calmly.
"Be good enough, my philosophical young friend, to fetch a few
specimens of these oysters in time for our next meal," said I; "we
must all exert ourselves, Ernest, for the common good, and pray never
let me hear you object to wetting your feet. See how quickly the sun
has dried Jack and me."
"I can bring some salt at the same time," said Ernest; "I remarked a
good deal lying in the crevices of the rocks; it tasted very pure and
"If you had brought a bagful of this good salt it would have been more
to the purpose. Run and fetch some directly."
"Now," said my wife, tasting the soup with the stick with which she
had been stirring it, "dinner is ready; but where can Fritz be?" she
continued, a little anxiously.
"How are we to eat our soup when he does come?" I asked; "we have
neither plates nor spoons, and we can scarcely lift the boiling pot to
our mouths. We are in as uncomfortable position as was the fox to whom
the stork served up a dinner in a jug with a long neck. [Footnote:
This is a reference to one of the famous old fables, which you will
find in Volume I.] Off with you, my boys; get oysters, and clean out a
few shells. What though our spoons have no handles, and we do burn our
fingers a little in bailing the soup out."
Jack was away and up to his knees in the water in a moment, detaching
the oysters. Ernest followed more leisurely, and still unwilling to
wet his feet, stood by the margin of the pool and gathered in his
handkerchief the oysters his brother threw him; as he thus stood, he
picked up and pocketed a large mussel shell for his own use. As they
returned with a good supply we heard a shout from Fritz in the
distance; we replied to him joyfully, and presently he appeared before
"Oh, Fritz!" exclaimed his brothers, "a sucking-pig, a little sucking-
pig. Where did you get it? How did you shoot it? Do let us see it!"
Fritz then with sparkling eyes exhibited his prize.
He told us how he had been to the other side of the stream. "So
different from this," he said; "it is really a beautiful country, and
the shore, which runs down to the sea in a gentle slope, is covered
with all sorts of useful things from the wreck. Do let us go and
[Illustration: THE AGOUTI]
"But the sucking-pig," said Jack; "where did you get it?"
"It was one of several," said Fritz, "which I found on the shore; most
curious animals they are; they hopped rather than walked, and every
now and then would squat down on their legs and rub their snouts with
their fore paws. Had not I been afraid of losing them all, I would
have tried to catch one alive, they seemed so tame."
Meanwhile Ernest had been carefully examining the animal in question.
"This is no pig," he said, "and except for its bristly skin, does not
look like one. See, its teeth are not like those of a pig, but rather
like those of a squirrel. "In fact," he continued, looking at Fritz,
"your sucking-pig is an agouti."
"Dear me," said Fritz; "listen to that professor lecturing! He is
going to prove that a pig is not a pig!"
"You need not be so quick to laugh at your brother," said I, in my
turn; "he is quite right. The little animal makes its nest under the
roots of trees, and lives upon fruit. But, Ernest, the agouti
[Footnote: This animal, which is about the size of a hare, is a native
of South America and the West Indies.] not only looks something like a
pig, but most decidedly grunts like a porker."
While we were thus talking, Jack had been vainly endeavoring to open
an oyster with his large knife. "Here is a simpler way," said I,
placing an oyster on the fire; it immediately opened. "Now," I
continued, "who will try this delicacy?" All at first hesitated to
partake of them, so unattractive did they appear. Jack, however,
tightly closing his eyes and making a face as though about to take
medicine, gulped one down. We followed his example, one after the
other, each doing so rather to provide himself with a spoon than with
any hope of cultivating a taste for oysters.
Our spoons were now ready, and gathering round the pot we dipped them
in, not, however, without sundry scalded fingers. Ernest then drew
from his pocket the large shell he had procured for his own use, and
scooping up a good quantity of soup he put it down to cool, smiling at
his own fore-sight.
"Prudence should be exercised for others," I remarked; "your cool soup
will do capitally for the dogs, my boy; take it to them, and then come
and eat like the rest of us."
Ernest winced at this, but silently taking up his shell he placed it
on the ground before the hungry dogs, who lapped up its contents in a
moment; he then returned, and we all went merrily on with our dinner.
While we were thus busily employed, we suddenly discovered that our
dogs, not satisfied with their mouthful of soup, had espied the
agouti, and were rapidly devouring it. Fritz, seizing his gun, flew to
rescue it from their hungry jaws, and before I could prevent him,
struck one of them with such force that his gun was bent. The poor
beasts ran off howling, followed by a shower of stones from Fritz, who
shouted and yelled at them so fiercely that his mother was actually
terrified. I followed him, and as soon as he would listen to me,
represented to him how despicable was such an outbreak of temper:
"for," said I, "you have hurt, if not actually wounded, the dogs; you
have distressed and terrified your mother, and spoiled your gun."
Though Fritz's passion was easily aroused, it never lasted long, and
speedily recovering himself, immediately he entreated his mother's
pardon, and expressed his sorrow.
By this time the sun was sinking beneath the horizon, and the poultry,
which had been straying to some little distance, gathered round us,
and began to pick up the crumbs of biscuit which had fallen during our
repast. My wife hereupon drew from her mysterious bag some handfuls of
oats, peas, and other grain, and with them began to feed the poultry.
She at the same time showed me several other seeds of various kinds.
The pigeons now flew up to crevices in the rocks, the fowls perched
themselves on our tent pole, and the ducks and geese waddled off,
cackling and quacking, to the marshy margin of the river. We, too,
were ready for repose, and having loaded our guns, and offered up our
prayers as the last ray of light departed, we closed our tent and lay
down to rest.
The children remarked the suddenness of nightfall, for indeed there
had been little or no twilight. This convinced me that we must be not
far from the equator.
EXCURSION AND SETTLEMENT
We should have been badly off without the shelter of our tent, for the
night proved as cold as the day had been hot, but we managed to sleep
comfortably, every one being thoroughly fatigued by the labors of the
day. The voice of our vigilant cock roused me at daybreak, and I awoke
my wife, that in the quiet interval while yet our children slept, we
might take counsel together on our situation and prospects. It was
plain to both of us that we should ascertain if possible the fate of
our late companions, and then examine into the nature and resources of
the country on which we were stranded.
We therefore came to the resolution that, as soon as he had
breakfasted, Fritz and I should start on an expedition with these
objects in view, while my wife remained near our landing place with
the three younger boys.
"Rouse up, rouse up, my boys," cried I, awakening the children
cheerfully. "Come and help your mother to get breakfast ready."
"As to that," said she, smiling, "we can but set on the pot, and boil
some more soup!"
"Why, you forget Jack's fine lobster! It is well the lobster is so
large, for we shall want to take part with us on our excursion to-
At the mention of an excursion, the four children were wild with
delight, and capering around me, clapped their hands for joy.
"Steady there, steady!" said I, "you cannot expect all to go. Such an
expedition as this would be too dangerous and fatiguing for you
younger ones. Fritz and I will go alone this time, with one of the
dogs, leaving the other to defend you."
We then armed ourselves, each taking a gun and a game bag; Fritz in
addition sticking a pair of pistols in his belt, and I a small hatchet
in mine. Breakfast being over, we stowed away the remainder of the
lobster and some biscuits, with a flask of water, and were ready for a
start. I took leave of my wife and children, bidding them not to
wander far from the boat and tent, and we parted, not without some
anxiety on either side.
We now found that the banks of the stream were on both sides so rocky
that we could get down to the water by only one passage, and there was
no corresponding path on the other side. I was glad to see this,
however, for I now knew that my wife and children were on a
comparatively inaccessible spot, the other side of the tent being
protected by the steep and precipitous cliffs. Fritz and I pursued our
way up the stream until we reached a point where the waters fell from
a considerable height in a cascade, and where several large rocks lay
half covered by the water; by means of these we succeeded in crossing
the stream. We thus had the sea on our left, and a long line of rocky
heights, here and there adorned with clumps of trees, stretching away
inland to the right. We had forced our way scarcely fifty yards
through the long rank grass, which was here partly withered by the sun
and much tangled, when we heard behind us a rustling, and looking
around saw our trusty dog Turk, whom in our anxiety at parting we had
forgotten, and who had been sent after us, doubtless by my thoughtful
From this little incident, however, we saw how dangerous was our
position, and how difficult escape would be should any fierce beast
steal upon us unawares; we therefore hastened to make our way to the
open seashore. Here the scene which presented itself was indeed
delightful. A background of hills, the green, waving grass, the
pleasant groups of trees stretching here and there to the water's
edge, formed a lovely prospect. On the smooth sand we searched
carefully for any trace of our hapless companions, but not a mark of a
footstep could we find.
We pushed on until we came to a pleasant grove which stretched down to
the water's edge; here we halted to rest, seating ourselves under a
large tree, by a rivulet which murmured and splashed along its pebbly
bed into the great ocean before us. Gayly plumaged birds flew
twittering above us, and Fritz and I gazed up at them.
My son suddenly started up. "A monkey," he exclaimed; "I am nearly
sure I saw a monkey."
As he spoke he sprang round to the other side of the tree, and in
doing so stumbled over a round substance, which he handed to me,
remarking, as he did so, that it was a round bird's nest, of which he
had often heard.
"You may have done so," said I, laughing, "but you need not
necessarily conclude that every round hairy thing is a bird's nest;
this, for instance, is not one, but a cocoanut."
We split open the nut, but, to our disgust, found the kernel dry and
"Hullo," cried Fritz, "I always thought a cocoanut was full of
delicious sweet liquid, like almond milk."
"So it is," I replied, "when young and fresh; but as it ripens the
milk becomes congealed, and in the course of time is solidified into a
As cocoanuts must be overripe before they fall naturally from the
tree, it was not without difficulty that we obtained one in which the
kernel was not dried up.
Continuing our way through a thicket, which was so densely overgrown
with lianas [Footnote: Lianas are climbing plants which have thick,
woody stems, and which wind themselves about other plants for support.
They are particularly plentiful in the Amazon region of South America]
that we had to clear a passage with our hatchets, we again emerged on
the seashore beyond, and found an open view, the forest sweeping
inland, while on the space before us stood at intervals single trees
of remarkable appearance.
We approached to examine them, and I recognized them as calabash
trees, the fruit of which grows in a curious way on the stems, and is
a species of gourd, from the hard rind of which bowls, spoons and
bottles can be made. "The savages," I remarked, "are said to form
these things most ingeniously, using them to contain liquids; indeed,
they actually cook food in them. When the gourd is divided in two, and
the shell or rind emptied of its contents, it is filled with water,
into which the fish, or whatever is to be cooked, is put; red-hot
stones are added until the water boils; the food becomes fit to eat,
and the gourd rind remains uninjured. Now suppose we prepare some of
these calabashes, that they may be ready for use when we take them
Fritz instantly took up one of the gourds, and tried to split it
equally with his knife, but in vain; the blade slipped, and the
calabash was cut jaggedly. "What a nuisance!" said Fritz, flinging it
down; "the thing is spoiled; and yet it seemed so simple to divide it
"Stay," said I; "you are too impatient; those pieces are not useless.
Do you try to fashion from them a spoon or two while I provide a
I then took from my pocket a piece of string, which I tied tightly
round a gourd, as near one end of it as I could; I then tapped the
string with the back of my knife, so that it penetrated the outer
shell. When this was accomplished, I tied the string yet tighter; and
drawing the ends with all my might, I divided the gourd exactly as I
"That is clever! It certainly makes a capital soup tureen, and a soup
plate, too," said Fritz, examining the gourd. We made a number of
gourd dishes, and I filled them with sand, and left them to dry;
marking the spot that we might return for them on our way back.
For three hours or more we pushed forward, keeping a sharp lookout on
either side for any trace of our companions, till we reached a bold
promontory, stretching some way into the sea, from whose rocky summit
I knew that we should obtain a good and comprehensive view of the
surrounding country. With little difficulty we reached the top, but
the most careful survey of the beautiful landscape failed to show us
the slightest sign or trace of human beings. Before us stretched a
wide and lovely bay, fringed with yellow sands, either side extending
into the distance, and almost lost to view in two shadowy
promontories; inclosed by these two arms lay a sheet of rippling
water, which reflected in its depths the glorious sun above. The scene
inland was no less beautiful; and yet Fritz and I both felt a shade of
loneliness stealing over us as we gazed on its utter solitude.
"Cheer up, Fritz, my boy," said I, presently. "Remember that we chose
a settler's life long ago, before we left our own dear country; we
certainly did not expect to be so entirely alone--but what matters a
few people, more or less? With God's help, let us endeavor to live
here contentedly, thankful that we were not cast upon some bare and
inhospitable island. But come, the heat here is getting unbearable;
let us find some shady place before we are completely broiled away."
We descended the hill and made for a clump of palm trees, which we saw
at a little distance. To reach this, we had to pass through a dense
thicket of reeds, no pleasant or easy task; for besides the difficulty
of forcing our way through, I feared at every step that we might tread
on some venomous snake. Sending Turk in advance, I cut one of the
reeds, thinking it would be a more useful weapon against a reptile
than my gun. I had carried it but a little way, when I noticed a thick
juice exuding from one end. I tasted it, and to my delight found it
sweet and pleasant. I at once knew that I was standing amongst sugar
My son cut a dozen or more of the largest canes, and stripping them of
their leaves, carried them under his arm. We then pushed through the
cane-brake, and reached the clump of palms for which we had been
making; as we entered it a troop of monkeys, who had been disporting
themselves on the ground, sprang up, chattering and grimacing, and
before we could clearly distinguish them were at the very top of the
Fritz was so provoked by their impertinent gestures that he raised his
gun and would have shot one of the poor beasts.
"Stay," cried I, "never take the life of any animal needlessly. A live
monkey up in that tree is of more use to us than a dozen dead ones at
our feet, as I will show you."
Saying this, I gathered a handful of small stones, and threw them up
toward the apes. The stones did not go near them, but influenced by
their instinctive mania for imitation, they instantly seized all the
cocoanuts within their reach, and sent a perfect hail of them down
[Illustration: THE MONKEYS THREW DOWN COCOANUTS]
Fritz was delighted with my stratagem, and rushing forward picked up
some of the finest of the nuts. We drank the milk they contained,
drawing it through the holes, which I pierced, and then, splitting the
nuts open with the hatchet, ate the cream which lined their shells.
After this delicious meal, we thoroughly despised the lobster we had
been carrying, and threw it to Turk, who ate it gratefully; but far
from being satisfied, the poor beast began to gnaw the ends of the
sugar canes, and to beg for cocoanut. I slung a couple of the nuts
over my shoulder, fastening them together by their stalks, and Fritz
having resumed his burden, we began our homeward march.
Just as we had passed through the grove in which we had breakfasted,
Turk suddenly darted away from us and sprang furiously among a troop
of monkeys, which were gamboling playfully on the turf at a little
distance from the trees. They were taken by surprise completely, and
the dog, now really ravenous from hunger, had seized and was fiercely
tearing one to pieces before we could approach the spot.
His luckless victim was the mother of a tiny little monkey, which,
being on her back when the dog flew at her, hindered her flight. The
little creature attempted to hide among the grass, and in trembling
fear watched its mother. On perceiving Turk's bloodthirsty design,
Fritz had eagerly rushed to the rescue, flinging away all he was
carrying, and losing his hat in his haste. All to no purpose as far as
the mother ape was concerned, and a laughable scene ensued, for no
sooner did the young monkey catch sight of him, than at one bound it
was on his shoulders; and, holding fast by his hair, it firmly kept
its seat in spite of all he could do to dislodge it. He screamed and
plunged about as he endeavored to shake or pull the creature off, but
all in vain; it only clung the closer to his neck, making the most
I laughed so much at this ridiculous scene, that I could scarcely
assist my terrified boy out of his awkward predicament. At last, by
coaxing the monkey, offering it a bit of biscuit, and gradually
disentangling its small sinewy paws from the curls it grasped so
tightly, I managed to relieve poor Fritz, who then looked with
interest at the baby ape, no bigger than a kitten, as it lay in my
"What a jolly little fellow it is!" exclaimed he; "do let me try to
rear it, father. I dare say cocoanut milk would do until we can bring
the cow and the goats from the wreck. If he lives, he might be useful
to us. I believe monkeys instinctively know what fruits are wholesome
and what are poisonous."
"Well," said I, "let the little orphan be yours."
Turk was meanwhile devouring with great satisfaction the little
animal's unfortunate mother. I could not grudge it him, and continued
hunger might have made him dangerous to ourselves. We did not think it
necessary to wait until he had dined, so we prepared to resume our
The tiny ape seated itself in the coolest way imaginable on Fritz's
shoulder, I helped to carry his canes, and we were on some distance
before Turk overtook us.
He took no notice of the monkey, but it was very uneasy at sight of
him, and scrambled down into Fritz's arms, which was so inconvenient
to him that he devised a plan to relieve himself of his burden.
Calling Turk, and seriously enjoining obedience, he seated the monkey
on his back, securing it there with a cord; and then, putting a second
string round the dog's neck that he might lead him, he put a loop of
the knot into the comical rider's hand, saying gravely: "Having slain
the parent, Mr. Turk, you will please to carry the son."
At first this arrangement mightily displeased them both, but by and by
they yielded to it quietly; the monkey especially amused us by riding
along with the air of a person perfectly at his ease.
"We look just like a couple of mountebanks on their way to a fair with
animals to exhibit," said I. "What an outcry the children will make
when we appear!"
Juno was the first to be aware of our approach, and gave notice of it
by loud barking, to which Turk replied with such hearty good will that
his little rider, terrified at the noise his steed was making, slipped
from under the cord and fled to his refuge on Fritz's shoulder, where
he regained his composure and settled himself comfortably.
Turk, who by this time knew where he was, finding himself free, dashed
forward to rejoin his friends, and announce our coming.
One after another our dear ones came running to the opposite bank,
testifying in various ways their delight at our return, and hastening
up on their side of the river, as we on ours, to the ford at which we
had crossed in the morning.
The boys, suddenly perceiving the little animal which was clinging
close to their brother, in alarm at the tumult of voices, shouted in
"A monkey! a monkey! oh, how splendid! Where did Fritz find him? What
may we give him to eat? Oh, what a bundle of sticks! Look at those
curious, great nuts father has got!"
We could neither check this confused torrent of questions, nor get in
a word in answer to them.
At length, when the excitement subsided a little, I was able to say a
few words with a chance of being listened to.
Jack shouldered my gun, Ernest took the cocoanuts, and little Franz
carried the gourds; Fritz distributed the sugar canes amongst his
brothers, and handing Ernest his gun, replaced the monkey on Turk's
My wife, as a prudent housekeeper, was no less delighted than the
children with what we had brought back; the sight of the dishes
pleased her greatly, for she longed to see us eat once more like
civilized beings. We went into the kitchen, and there found
preparations for a truly sumptuous meal. Two forked sticks were
planted in the ground on either side of the fire; on these rested a
rod from which hung several tempting-looking fish; opposite them hung
a goose from a similar contrivance, slowly roasting, while the gravy
dropped into a large shell placed beneath it. In the center sat the
great pot, from which issued the smell of a most delicious soup. To
crown this splendid array, stood an open hogshead full of Dutch
cheeses. All this was very pleasant to two hungry travelers, but I was
about to beg my wife to spare the poultry until our stock should have
increased, when she, perceiving my thought, quickly relieved my
anxiety. "This is not one of our geese," she said, "but a wild bird
"Yes," said Ernest, "it is a penguin, I think; it let me get quite
close, so that I knocked it on the head with a stick. Here are its
head and feet, which I preserved to show you; the bill is, you see,
narrow and curved downward, and the feet are webbed.
It had funny little bits of useless wings, and its eyes looked so
solemnly and sedately at me that I was almost ashamed to kill it."
We then sat down before the appetizing meal prepared for us, our
gourds coming for the first time into use, and having done it full
justice, produced the cocoanuts by way of dessert.
"Here is better food for your little friend," said I to Fritz, who had
been vainly endeavoring to persuade the monkey to taste dainty morsels
of the food we had been eating; "the poor little animal has been
accustomed to nothing but its mother's milk; fetch me a saw, one of
I then, after extracting the milk of the nuts from their natural
holes, carefully cut the shells in half, thus providing several more
useful basins. The monkey was perfectly satisfied with the milk, and
eagerly sucked the corner of a handkerchief dipped in it.
The sun was now rapidly sinking below the horizon, and the poultry,
retiring for the night, warned us that we must follow their example.
We did not, however, long enjoy this repose; a loud barking from our
dogs, who were on guard outside the tent, awakened us, and the
fluttering and cackling of our poultry warned us that a foe was
approaching. Fritz and I sprang up, and seizing our guns rushed out.
There we found a desperate combat going on; our gallant dogs,
surrounded by a dozen or more large jackals, were fighting bravely.
Four of their opponents lay dead, but the others were in no way
deterred by the fate of their comrades. Fritz and I, however, sent
bullets through the heads of a couple more, and the rest galloped off.
Turk and Juno did not intend that they should escape so cheaply, and
pursuing them, they caught, killed, and devoured another of the
animals, regardless of their near relationship.
Soundly and peacefully we slept until cock-crow next morning, when my
wife and I awoke, and began to discuss the business of the day.
"It seems absolutely necessary, my dear wife," I began, "to return at
once to the wreck while it is yet calm, that we may save the poor
animals left there, and bring on shore many articles of infinite value
to us, which, if we do not now recover, we may finally lose entirely.
On the other hand, I feel that there is an immense deal to be done on
shore, and that I ought not to leave you in such an insecure shelter
as this tent."
"Return to the wreck by all means," replied my wife, cheerfully.
"Patience, order, and perseverance will help us through all our work,
and I agree with you that a visit to the wreck is without doubt our
first duty. Come, let us wake the children, and set to work without
So severely had we dealt with our supper the previous night that we
had little to eat but the biscuits, which were so dry and hard that,
hungry as we were, we could not swallow much. Fritz and I took some
cheese to help them down, while my wife and younger sons soaked theirs
"See here, father," and Ernest pointed to a large cask; "that barrel
contains butter of some sort, for it is oozing out at the end."
"Really, Ernest," I said, "we are indebted to you. I will open the
cask." So saying, I took a knife and carefully cut a small hole, so
that I could extract the butter without exposing the mass of it to the
effects of the air and heat. Filling a cocoanut shell, we once more
sat down, and toasting our biscuits before the fire, spread them with
the good Dutch butter. We found this vastly better than the dry
biscuits, and while we were thus employed I noticed that the two dogs
were lying unusually quiet by my side. I at first attributed this
drowsiness to their large meal during the night, but I soon discovered
that it arose from a different cause; the faithful animals had not
escaped unhurt from their late combat, but had received several deep
and painful wounds, especially about the neck. The dogs began to lick
each other on the places which they could not reach with their own
tongues, and my wife carefully dressed the wounds with butter, from
which she had extracted the salt by washing.
I begged the party who were to remain on shore to keep together as
much as possible, and having arranged a set of signals with my wife,
that we might exchange communications, asked a blessing on our
enterprise. I erected a signal post, and, while Fritz was making
preparations for our departure, hoisted a strip of sailcloth as a
flag; this flag was to remain hoisted so long as all was well on
shore, but should our return be desired, three shots were to be fired
and the flag was to be lowered.
All was now ready, and warning my wife that we might find it necessary
to remain all night on the vessel, we tenderly bade adieu and
embarked. Except our guns and ammunition, we were taking nothing, that
we might leave as much space as possible for the stowage of a large
cargo. Fritz, however, had resolved to take his little monkey, that he
might obtain milk for it as soon as possible. We had not got far from
the shore, when I perceived that a current from the river set in
directly for the vessel, and though my nautical knowledge was not
great, I succeeded in steering the boat into the favorable stream,
which carried us nearly three-fourths of our passage with little or no
trouble to ourselves; then by dint of hard pulling, we accomplished
the whole distance, and entering through the breach, gladly made fast
our boat and stepped on board. Our first care was to see the animals,
who greeted us with joy--lowing, bellowing, and bleating as we
approached; not that the poor beasts were hungry, for they were all
still well supplied with food, but they were apparently pleased by the
mere sight of human beings. Fritz then placed his monkey by one of the
goats, and the little animal immediately sucked the milk with evident
relish, chattering and grinning all the while; the monkey provided
for, we refreshed ourselves with some wine and biscuits.
I chose a stout spar to serve as a mast for our boat, and having made
a hole in a plank nailed across one of the tubs, we, with the help of
a rope and a couple of blocks, stepped it and secured it with stays.
We then discovered a lugsail, which had belonged to one of the ship's
boats; this we hoisted; and our craft was ready to sail. Fritz begged
me to decorate the masthead with a red streamer, to give our vessel a
more finished appearance. Smiling at this childish but natural vanity,
I complied with his request. I then contrived a rudder, that I might
be able to steer the boat; for though I knew that an oar would serve
the purpose, it was cumbrous and inconvenient. While I was thus
employed, Fritz examined the shore with his glass, and soon announced
that the flag was flying and all was well.
So much time had now slipped away that we found we could not return
that night, as I had wished. We signaled our intention of remaining on
board, and then spent the rest of our time in taking out the stones we
had placed in the boat for ballast, and stowing in their place heavy
articles of value to us. As the ship had sailed for the purpose of
supplying a young colony, she had on board every conceivable article
we could desire in our present situation; our only difficulty, indeed,
was to make a wise selection. A large quantity of powder and shot we
first secured, and as Fritz considered that we could not have too many
weapons, we added three excellent guns, and a whole armful of swords,
daggers, and knives. We remembered that knives and forks were
necessary, and we therefore laid in a large stock of them, and kitchen
utensils of all sorts. We then went over the stores, and supplied
ourselves with potted meats, portable soups, Westphalian hams,
sausages, a bag of maize and wheat, and a quantity of other seeds and
vegetables. I then added a barrel of sulphur for matches, and as much
cordage as I could find. All this--with nails, tools, and agricultural
implements--completed our cargo, and sank our boat so low that I
should have been obliged to lighten her had not the sea been calm.
Night drew on, and a large fire, lighted by those on shore, showed us
that all was well. We replied by hoisting four ship's lanterns, and
two shots announced to us that our signal was perceived; then, with a
heartfelt prayer for the safety of our dear ones on shore, we retired
to our boat, and Fritz, at all events, was soon sound asleep. For a
while I could not sleep; the thought of my wife and children--alone
and unprotected, save by the great dogs--disturbed my rest.
The night at length passed away. At daybreak Fritz and I arose and
went on deck. I brought the telescope to bear upon the shore, and with
pleasure saw the flag still waving in the morning breeze; while I kept
the glass directed to the land, I saw the door of the tent open, and
my wife appear and look steadfastly toward us.
I at once hoisted a white flag, and in reply the flag on shore was
thrice dipped. Oh, what a weight seemed lifted from my heart as I saw
"Fritz," I said, "I am not now in such haste to get back, and begin to
feel compassion for all these poor beasts. I wish we could devise some
means for getting them on shore."
"We might make a raft," suggested Fritz, "and take off one or two at a
"True," I replied; "it is easy enough to say, 'make a raft,' but to do
it is quite another thing."
"Well," said Fritz, "I can think of nothing else, unless indeed we
make them such swimming belts as you made for the children."
"Really, my boy, that idea is worth having. I am not joking, indeed,"
I continued, as I saw him smile; "we may get every one of the animals
ashore in that way."
So saying, I caught a fine sheep, and proceeded to put our plan into
execution. I first fastened a broad piece of linen round its belly,
and to this attached some corks and empty tins; then, with Fritz's
help, I flung the animal into the sea--it sank, but a moment afterward
rose and floated famously.
[Illustration: THE SHEEP FLOATED FAMOUSLY]
"Hurrah!" exclaimed Fritz, "we will treat them all like that." We then
rapidly caught the other animals and provided them, one after the
other, with a similar contrivance. The cow and ass gave us more
trouble than did the others, as for them we required something more
buoyant than the mere cork; we at last found some empty casks and
fastened two to each animal by thongs passed under its belly. This
done, the whole herd were ready to start, and we brought the ass to
one of the ports to be the first to be launched. After some
maneuvering we got him in a convenient position, and then a sudden
heave sent him plunging into the sea. He sank, and then, buoyed up by
the casks, emerged head and back from the water. The cow, sheep, and
goats followed him one after the other, and then the sow alone
remained. She seemed, however, determined not to leave the ship; she
kicked, struggled, and squealed so violently, that I really thought we
should be obliged to abandon her; at length, after much trouble, we
succeeded in sending her out of the port after the others, and when
once in the water, such was the old lady's energy that she quickly
distanced them, and was the first to reach the shore.
We had fastened to the horns or neck of each animal a cord with a
float attached to the end, and now embarking, we gathered up these
floats, set sail, and steered for shore, drawing our herd after us.
Delighted with the successful accomplishment of our task, we got out
some biscuits and enjoyed a midday meal; then, while Fritz amused
himself with his monkey, I took up my glass and tried to make out how
our dear ones on shore were employing themselves. As I was thus
engaged, a sudden shout from Fritz surprised me. I glanced up; there
stood Fritz with his gun to his shoulder, pointing it at a huge shark;
the monster was making for one of the finest sheep; he turned on his
side to seize his prey; as the white of his belly appeared Fritz
fired. The shot took effect, and our enemy disappeared, leaving a
trace of blood on the calm water.
"Well done, my boy," I cried; "you will become a crack shot one of
these days; but I trust you will not often have such dangerous game to
shoot." Fritz's eyes sparkled at his success and my praise, and
reloading his gun he carefully watched the water. But the shark did
not again appear, and, borne onward by the breeze, we quickly neared
the shore. Steering the boat to a convenient landing place, I cast off
the ropes which secured the animals, and let them get ashore as best
they might. There was no sign of my wife or children when we stepped
on land, but a few moments afterward they appeared, and with a shout
of joy ran toward us. We were thankful to be once more united, and
after asking and replying to a few preliminary questions, proceeded to
release our herd from their swimming belts, which, though so useful in
the water, were exceedingly inconvenient on shore. My wife was
astonished at the apparatus.
Fritz, Ernest and I began the work of unloading our craft, while Jack,
seeing that the poor donkey was still encumbered with his swimming
belt, tried to free him from it. But the donkey would not stand quiet,
and the child's fingers were not strong enough to loosen the cordage;
finally, therefore, he scrambled upon the animal's back, and urging
him on with hand and foot, trotted toward us.
"Come, my boy," I said, "no one must be idle here, even for a moment;
you will have riding practice enough hereafter; dismount and come and
Leaving my wife to prepare supper, we returned to the shore and
brought up what of the cargo we had left there; then, having collected
our herd of animals, we returned to the tent.
The meal which awaited us was as unlike the first supper we had there
enjoyed as possible. My wife had improvised a table of a board laid on
two casks; on this was spread a white damask table-cloth, on which
were placed knives, forks, spoons, and plates for each person. A
tureen of good soup first appeared, followed by a capital omelet, then
slices of ham; and finally some Dutch cheese, butter, and biscuits
completed the repast.
DISMANTLING THE SHIP
NOTE.--The temporary tent which the castaways erected on the shore
where they landed was neither safe nor comfortable, so they moved