Part 4 out of 5
For a few paces only he ran, and then stopped.
He was puzzled. He did not know in which direction it was best to
go. He was at the west end of the island, but could not make out
very well the direction of the sounds. He tried to think whether
the steamer would pass the island on the north side or the south.
He did not know, but it seemed to him that she would certainly go
to the north of it. There was no time to be lost, and standing
there to listen did not seem to be of any use, even if his
impatience had allowed him to do so. Accordingly he hurried back
by the way that he had come along the north side of the island.
For some time he ran along through the trees, and at length, in
about fifteen or twenty minutes, he reached the place where the
dense underbrush was, by the edge of the cliff. From this point a
wide view was commanded. On reaching it he looked out, and then up
the bay, towards the Straits of Minas. He could see almost up to
the straits, but no steamer appeared. For a moment he stood
bewildered, and then the thought came to him, that he had mistaken
altogether the steamer's course. She could not be coming down on
the north side of the island, but on the south side. With a cry of
grief he started back again, mourning over his error, and the time
that he had lost. On reaching the more open wood, he thought that
it would be better to hurry across the island to the south side,
and proceeded at once to do so. The way was rough and tedious.
Once or twice he had to burst through thickets of alder, and
several times he had to climb over windfalls. At length, in his
confusion, he lost his way altogether; he had to stop and think.
The shadows of the trees showed him where the south lay, and he
resumed his journey. At length, after most exhaustive efforts, he
reached a part of the cliff, where a fringe of alders grew so
thick, that he was scarce aware that he was at his destination,
until the precipice opened beneath him. Here he stood, and,
pressing apart the dense branches, he looked out.
There was the steamer, about two miles off, already below where he
was standing, and going rapidly down the bay with the falling tide.
Another cry of grief burst from Tom. Where he was standing he
could see the vessel, but he himself was completely concealed by
the clustering bushes. He now lamented that he had left his first
position, and saw that his only chance was to have remained there.
To stay where he was could not be thought of. There was scarce a
chance now of doing anything, since the steamer was so far away;
but what chance there was certainly depended on his being in some
conspicuous position. He started off, therefore, to the west
point, where he had watched the schooner for so long a time. He
hurried on with undiminished energy, and bounded over windfalls,
and burst through thickets, as before. But in spite of his
efforts, his progress could not be more rapid than it had formerly
been. His route was necessarily circuitous, and before he could
find the desired point, many more minutes had elapsed.
But he reached it at last, and there, on the bare rock, springing
forward, he waved his hat in the air, and sent forth a piercing cry
for help. But the steamer was now as much as four or five miles
away--too far altogether for his loudest cry to go. His screams
and his gestures did not appear to attract the slightest attention.
She moved on her way right under the eyes of the frantic and
despairing boy, nor did she change her course in the slightest
degree, nor did her paddles cease to revolve, but went rolling
round, tossing up the foam, and bearing far, far away that boat on
which poor Tom had rested his last hope.
As for Tom, he kept up his screams as long as he could utter a
sound. He tore off his coat, and shook it up and down, and waved
it backward and forward. But none of these things were heard or
seen. The steamboat passed on, until, at length, even Tom became
convinced that further efforts were useless.
This last blow was too much. Tom sank under it, and, falling on
his face, he burst into a flood of tears.
Struggling up at length from this last affliction, Tom roused
himself, and his buoyancy of soul began once more to assert itself.
"Come now, Thomas, my son," said he, as he dried his eyes, "this
sort of thing will never do, you know. You're not a baby, my boy;
you've never been given to blubbering, I think. Cheer up, then,
like a man, and don't make me feel ashamed of you."
This little address to himself had, as before, the effect of
restoring his equanimity, and he thought with calmness upon his
He saw, by the passage of these vessels, what he had for a time
lost sight of, namely, that this island, though uninhabited, was
still in the middle of a bay which was constantly traversed by
sailing vessels and steamboats. The latter ran regularly up to
the Basin of Minas from St. John. As to the former, they were
constantly passing to and fro, from the large ship down to the
small fishing vessel. Inhabited countries surrounded him on every
side, between the coasts of which there was a constant communication.
If he only kept patient, the time must come, and that, too, before
very long, when he would be delivered.
In order to secure this delivery, however, he saw that it would be
necessary to arrange some way by which he might attract the notice
of passing vessels. On this subject he meditated for a long time.
It would be necessary, he thought, to have some sort of a signal in
some conspicuous place. Among the drift-wood he might, perhaps, be
able to find some sort of a pole or staff which he could set up.
One might not be enough, but in that case he could put up two, or
three, or half a dozen.
The next thing to decide about was the choice of a place. There
was the east end, and the west end--which was the better? The west
end, where he was standing, was high; but then it was surrounded by
trees, and unless he could set up a very tall staff, it could
scarcely be noticed. The east end, on the contrary, was lower; but
then it was bare, and any kind of a signal which might be set up
there could hardly fail to attract attention. He could also pile
up a heap of drift-wood, and set fire to it, and, by this means, if
a vessel were passing by, he could be certain of securing
attention. It did not make much difference which end the signals
were placed upon, as far as referred to the passing of vessels; for
all that passed by would go along the island, so that both ends
would be visible to them.
As to the signals, he felt confident that he could find a staff,
or, if one would not be long enough, several could be fastened
together. The coil of rope in the boat would enable him to do
this. The sail would afford material for a flag.
All these plans came to his mind as he stood there; and the
prospect of once more doing something which was to help him to
escape from his prison drove away the last vestige of his grief.
His courage again arose, hope revived, and he burst forth into a
light and joyous song. Very different was he now from the
despairing lad who, but a short time before, had been pouring forth
his tears of sorrow; and yet but a few minutes had passed since
then. The steamer was yet in sight down the bay, but Tom, who had
lately been so frantic in his efforts to attract her attention, now
cast a glance after her of perfect indifference.
And now it was necessary for him to return to the east end of the
island, and look about for the means of putting into execution his
plan for making a signal.
He started off on his return without any further delay. The path
back was as rough and toilsome as the way down had been; but Tom
was now full of hope, and his elastic spirits had revived so
thoroughly that he cared but little for the fatigue of the journey.
It was traversed at last, and he descended the slope to the place
from which he had started.
His exploration of the island had been quite complete. It seemed
to him to be about a mile and a half in length, and a half a mile
or so in width. The east end, where he had first arrived, was the
only place where it was at all desirable to stay.
Immediately on his arrival he examined the boat, and found it
secure. To his surprise it was now about sunset. He had forgotten
the lapse of time. He was hungry; so he sat down, ate his biscuit,
drank his water, and rested from the toils of the day.
A Sign for the outer World.--A Shelter for the Outcast's Head.--
Tom's Camp and Camp-bed.--A Search after Something to vary a too
monotonous Diet.--Brilliant Success.
Tom sat down after his eventful day, and took his evening meal, as
has been said. He rested then for some time. His excessive labors
had fatigued him less than the great excitement which he had
undergone, and now he felt disinclined to exert himself. But the
sun had set, and darkness was coming on rapidly; so he rose, at
last, and went over to the drift-wood. Here, after a search of
about half an hour, he found something which was very well suited
to his purpose. It was a piece of scantling about twenty feet
long, and not very thick; and to this he saw that he could fasten
the pole that he had made up in the woods. These two pieces would
make, when joined, a very good flag-staff. These he brought up to
the bank. Then he collected an armful of dry chips and sticks,
which he carried over to a spot near where the boat lay. A rock
was there, and against one side of this he built a pile of the
chips. He then tried a match, and found that it was quite dry, and
lighted it without any difficulty. With this he kindled the fire,
and soon saw, with great satisfaction, a bright and cheerful blaze.
He was so delighted with the fire that he brought up a dozen more
loads of wood, which he laid near. Then he drew up the bit of
scantling, and bringing the coil of rope, he cut a piece off, and
proceeded to fasten to the scantling the pole which he had procured
in the woods. He did this by winding the rope around in a close
and even wind; and, finally, on concluding his task, he found that
it was bound firmly enough to stand any breeze. It took a long
time to finish this; but Tom had slept late in the morning, and,
though fatigued, he was not sleepy. After this he sat down in
front of the fire, and enjoyed its friendly light and its genial
glow. He kept heaping on the fuel, and the bright flames danced
up, giving to him the first approach to anything like the feeling
of comfort that he had known since he had drifted away from the
Antelope. Nor was it comfort only that he was mindful of while he
watched and fed the fire. He saw in this fire, as it shone out
over the water, the best kind of a signal, and had some hope of
being seen and hailed by some passing vessel. In this hope he sat
up till midnight, looking out from time to time over the water, and
expecting every instant to see the shadow of some approaching
But midnight came, and Tom at length thought of sleep. The sail
had dried thoroughly through the day; so now he used it once more
as a coverlet, and, folding himself in it, he reclined, as before,
against the mossy bank, and slept.
On awaking the next day, he arose and looked around. To his deep
disappointment, he could see nothing. There was a fog over all the
scene. The wind had changed, and his old enemy was once more
besieging him. It was not so thick, indeed, as it had been, being
light and dry, so that the ground was not at all moistened; but
still the view was obscured, so that no vessel could be seen unless
it came within half a mile; and that was rather closer than most
vessels would care to come to his island.
This day was Sunday, and all Tom's plans had to be deferred until
the following day. However, it was not at all disagreeable to him
to get rid of the necessity of work; and, indeed, never before did
he fully appreciate the nature of the Day of Rest. The rest was
sweet indeed to his exhausted and overworn frame, and he did not go
far away from his fire. He had found some embers still glowing in
the morning, and had kindled the fire anew from these, without
drawing any more upon his precious store of matches. He resolved
now to keep the coals alive all the time, by feeding the fire
during the day, and covering it up with ashes by night.
It was Sunday,--the Day of Rest,--and Tom felt all the blessedness
of rest. On the whole, it turned out to be the pleasantest day
which he had known since he left the schooner. Left now to quiet
reflection, he recalled the events of the last week, and had more
leisure to feel thankful over the wonderful safety which he had met
with. Even now on the island he was not without his comforts. He
had food and warmth. So, on the whole, though he had his moments
of sadness, yet the sadness was driven out by cheerfulness. It was
not all dismal. The words of that poem which is familiar to every
school-boy rang in his ears:--
"O, Solitude, where are the charms
That sages have seen in thy face?
Better dwell in the midst of alarms
Than reign in this horrible place."
Yet these words were accompanied and counterbalanced by the more
pleasing and consoling sentiments of others, which on this day
accorded better with Tom's mood:--
"There's mercy in every place;
And mercy--encouraging thought!--
Gives even affliction a grace,
And reconciles man to his lot."
Nothing occurred during the day to disturb the quiet of the island,
and Tom went to bed early that night, so as to have a long sleep,
and fortify himself for the labors of the morrow. The ashes were
raked carefully round the coals, which, when Tom waked in the
morning, were easily kindled again.
He was up early on that Monday morning. He saw, with deep
disappointment, that the fog still covered every thing, and that
the wind was blowing quite brisk from the south-west, and raising
rather a heavy sea. But he had a great deal to do now, and to this
he turned his attention.
First of all, he had to finish his signal-staff and set it up. He
was very much troubled about the proper material for a flag. The
canvas was rather too heavy; but as he had nothing else, he had to
take this. He fastened a bit of the rope to the head of the staff,
so as to form a loop, and through this he ran a piece which was
long enough to serve for halyards. Thus far he had not used up
more than a quarter of the coil of rope; but he needed all that was
left for other purposes. The next thing was to set up his staff.
To do this required much labor. He had already selected the place
which seemed most suitable. It was at the extreme point of a
tongue of land which projected beside the brook, and only a little
distance from his resting-place. Here the ground was soft; and
choosing a sharp stone, he worked diligently for about a couple of
hours, until at length he succeeded in digging a hole which was
about eighteen inches in depth. Then he fastened ropes to the
staff, where the pole joined it, so that four lines came down far
enough to serve as stays. Having done this, he inserted the end of
the staff in the hole, and thrust in the earth all around it,
trampling it in, and beating it down as tight as he could with a
stone. After this he procured some sticks from the drift-wood,
and, sharpening the ends, he secured the stays by fastening them to
these sticks, which he drove into the ground. The staff then
seemed to be as secure as was necessary. It only remained now to
hoist up his flag; and this he did without any difficulty, securing
it at half mast, so that it might serve unmistakably as a signal of
Upon completing this, Tom rested on the mound, and from that
distance he contemplated the signal with a great deal of calm and
quiet satisfaction. It was his own device, and his own handiwork,
and he was very proud of it. But he did not allow himself a long
rest. There yet remained much to be done, and to this he now
directed his attention.
He had been thinking, during his last employment, upon the
necessity which he had of some shelter. A plan had suggested
itself which he felt confident that he could carry into execution
without any very great trouble. The fog that now prevailed, and
which was far different from the light mist of the previous day,
accompanied also, as it was, by the damp south-west wind, made some
sort of a shelter imperatively necessary, and that, too, before
another night. To pass this night in the fog would be bad enough;
but if it should happen to rain also, his situation would be
He now set out for the beach, and found, without much difficulty,
some pieces of wood which were necessary to his purpose. Bringing
these back, he next looked about for a good situation. There was a
rock not far from the fire, and in front of this was a smooth spot,
where the land was flat, and covered with short grass. On the left
it sloped to the brook. This seemed to him to be the best place on
the island. It was sufficiently sheltered. It was dry, and in
case of rain the water would not be likely to flood it. With all
these it also possessed the advantage of being sufficiently
conspicuous to any passing vessel which might be attracted by the
signal-staff. Here, then, Tom determined to erect his place of
His first work was to select two long and slender pieces of wood,
and sharpen the ends of them. Then he drove each of them into the
ground in such a way that their tops crossed one another. These he
bound fast together. Two other stakes were driven into the ground,
and secured in the same way, about six or seven feet off. Another
long piece of scantling was then placed so as to pass from one to
the other of the two crossed sticks, so that it rested upon them.
This last was bound tight to the crossed sticks, and thus the whole
structure formed a camp-shaped frame.
Over this Tom now threw the sail, and brought it down to the ground
on either side, securing it there with pegs. At the back of the
camp a piece of the sail was folded over and secured so as to cover
it in; while in front another piece of the sail hung down until it
nearly reached the ground. This could hang down at night, and be
folded over the top by day. Tom now tore up some sods, and laid
them over the edge of the canvas on each side, where it touched the
ground, and placed on these heavy stones, until at length it seemed
sufficiently protected from the entrance of any rain that might
flow down the roof. His last task consisted in collecting a large
quantity of moss and ferns from the woods, which he strewed over
the ground inside, and heaped up at one end, so as to form a soft
and fragrant bed. When this was accomplished the camp was
It had taken a long time, and when at last the work was done, it
began to grow dark. Tom noticed this with surprise. He had been
working so incessantly that he was not mindful of the flight of
time, and now the day was done, and the evening was upon him before
he was aware. But there were other things still for him to do
before he could rest from his labors. His fire was just flickering
around its last embers, and if he wished to have a pleasant light
to cheer the solitude and the darkness of his evening hours, it
would be necessary to prepare a supply of fuel. To this he
attended at once, and brought up several armfuls of drift-wood from
the beach. Placing these near the fire, he kindled it up afresh,
and flung upon the rising flames a generous supply of fuel. The
fires caught at it, and crackled as they spread through the dry
wood, and tossed up their forked tongues on high, till in the dusk
of evening they illuminated the surrounding scene with a pleasant
light. A few more armfuls were added, and then the work for the
day was over. That work had been very extensive and very
important. It had secured a means of communication with the outer
world, and had also formed a shelter from the chill night air, the
fog, and the storm. It was with a very natural pride that Tom cast
his eyes around, and surveyed the results of his ingenuity and his
The camp opened towards the fire, from which it was not so far
distant but that Tom could attend to it without any very great
inconvenience. The fire shone pleasantly before him as he sat down
at his evening repast. As the darkness increased, it threw a
ruddier glow upon all the scene around, lighting up field and hill,
and sending long streams of radiance into the fog that overhung the
sea. Tom had prepared an unusually large supply of fuel, this
evening, for the express purpose of burning it all up; partly for
his own amusement, and partly in the hope that it might meet the
eyes of some passing navigator. It was his only hope. To keep his
signals going by night and day was the surest plan of effecting a
speedy escape. Who could tell what might be out on the neighboring
sea? How did he know but that the Antelope might be somewhere near
at hand, with his companions on board, cruising anxiously about in
search after the missing boat? He never ceased to think that they
were following after him somewhere, and to believe that, in the
course of their wanderings, they might come somewhere within sight
of him. He knew that they would never give him up till they
assuredly knew his fate, but would follow after him, and set other
vessels on the search, till the whole bay, with all its shores and
islands, should be thoroughly ransacked.
Fortunate was it for him, he thought, that there was so large a
supply of drift-wood at hand on the beach, dry, portable, and in
every way convenient for use. Thanks to this, he might now
disperse the gloom of dark and foggy nights, and keep up a better
signal in the dark than he could do in the light. Thus the fuel
was heaped on, and the fire flamed up, and Tom sat near, looking
complacently upon the brilliant glow.
Thus far, for nearly a week, he had fed on biscuit only; but now,
as he ate his repast, he began to think that it was a very
monotonous fare, and to wonder whether it might not be possible to
find something which could give a zest to his repasts. The biscuit
were holding out well, but still he felt a desire to husband his
resources, and if any additional food could in any way be procured,
it would not only be a relish, but would also lessen his demand
upon his one sole source of supply. He thought earnestly upon the
subject of fish. He turned his thoughts very seriously to the
subject of fish-hooks, and tried to think of some way by which he
could capture some of the fish with which these waters abounded.
But this idea did not seem to promise much. In the first place, he
could think of no possible way in which he could procure any
serviceable hook; in the second place, even if he had a hook and
line all ready and baited, he did not see how he would be able to
cast it within reach of any fish. His boat would not float him
even for the little distance that was required to get into the
places where fish might be. He could only stand upon the beach out
of their reach.
But, in the course of his thoughts, he soon perceived that other
sources of food were possible to him besides the fish that were
caught by hook and line. His mind reverted to the populous realm
of shell-fish. These were all before him. Round the rocks and
amid the sea-weed there certainly must be mussels. At low tide,
amid the ledges and the sand, there surely must be some lobsters.
Before him there was an extensive mud flat, where there ought to be
clams. Here was his fire, always ready, by night and by day. Why
should he not be able to make use of that fire, not only for
cheering his mind, and giving him warmth, and signaling to passers-
by, but also for cooking his meals?
This was the question that he asked himself as he ate his biscuit.
He could not see why he should not be able to accomplish this. As
far as he could see, there ought to be plenty of shell-fish of
various kinds on these shores. The more he thought of it, the more
probable it seemed. He determined to solve the difficulty as soon
as possible. On former occasions he had arranged his work on the
evening for the succeeding day. On this evening he marked out this
work for the morrow, and arranged in his mind a comprehensive and
most diligent search for shell-fish, which should embrace the whole
circuit of the island.
With this in his mind, he arranged the fire as usual, so as to keep
it alive, and then retired to his camp for the night. The presence
of a roof over his head was grateful in the extreme. He let down
the canvas folds over the entrance, and felt a peculiar sense of
security and comfort. The moss and ferns which he had heaped up
were luxuriously soft and deliciously fragrant. Over these he
stretched his wearied limbs with a sigh of relief, and soon was
So comfortable was his bed, and so secure his shelter, that he
slept longer than usual. It was late when he awaked. He hurried
forth and looked around. The fog still rested over everything. If
possible it was thicker and more dismal than even on the preceding
day. To his surprise, he soon noticed that it had been raining
quite heavily through the night. Around, in many places, he saw
pools of water, and in the hollows of the rocks he saw the same.
This could only have been done by the rain. Going back to his
camp, he saw that the canvas was quite wet. And yet the rain had
all rolled off. Not a drop had entered. The moss and the fern
inside were perfectly dry, and he had not the slightest feeling of
dampness about him. His camp was a complete success.
He now went off to search for clams. The tide had been high at
about six in the morning. It was now, as he judged, about ten or
eleven, and the water was quite low. Selecting a piece of shingle
from his wood-pile, he walked down over the mud flat that extended
from the point, and, after going a little distance, he noticed the
holes that give indications of the presence of clams beneath.
Turning up the sand, he soon threw out some of them. He now dug in
several different places, and obtained sufficient for the day.
These he carried back to the bank in triumph. Then he stirred up
his fire, heaped on plenty of wood, and arranged his clams in front
so as to roast them.
In spite of Mrs. Pratt's theories, the clams were found by Tom to
be delicious, and gave such relish to the biscuit, that he began to
think whether he could not make use of the baling dipper, and make
a clam chowder.
This breakfast was a great success, and Tom now confidently
expected to find other shell-fish, by means of which his resources
might be enlarged and improved.
Solomon's solemn Tale.--A costly Lobster.--Off again.--Steam
Whistles of all Sizes.--A noisy Harbor.--Arrival Home.--No News.
The shout of joy uttered by those on the top of the cliff at seeing
old Solomon safe was responded to by those in the boat; and then,
as the latter went on her way, Captain Corbet set out to return to
the beach, followed by Phil and Pat. Soon they were all reunited,
and, the boat being landed, they returned in triumph to the
On their way back, Solomon told them the story of his adventures.
"Went out," said he, "on a splorin scursion, cos I was termined to
try an skewer somethin to make a dinnah to keep up de sperrit ob
dis yah party. Ben trouble nuff, an dat's no reason why we should
all starb. I tought by de looks ob tings dar was lobstas somewhar
long dis yah sho, an if I got a chance, I knowed I could get 'em.
Dar was lots ob time too, ef it hadn't ben fur dat ar pint; dat's
what knocked me. Lots o' lobstas--could hab picked up a barl full,
ony hadn't any barl to pick up."
"Well, but how did you happen to get caught?"
"Dat ar's jes what I'm a comin to. You see, I didn't tink ob dat
ar pint when I went up de sho,--but knowed I had lots ob time; so I
jes tought I'd make sure ob de best ob de lobstas. Wan't goin to
take back any common lobstas,--bet you dat,--notin for me but de
best,--de bery best ones dar. Dat ar's what kep me. It takes a
heap ob time an car to get de best ones, when dar's a crowd lyin
about ob all sizes, an de water comin in too."
"But didn't you see that the tide was coming up to the point?"
"Nebber see a see,--not a see; lookin ober de lobstas all de time,
an mos stracted wid plexity cos I couldn't cide bout de best ones.
Dar was lots an lots up dar at one place, dough I didn't go fur,--
but ef I'd gone fur, I'd hab got better ones."
"How far did you go?"
"Not fur,--ony short distance,--didn't want to go too fur away for
feah ob not gittin back in time. An so I started to come back
pooty soon, an walked, an walked. Las, jes as I got to de pint, I
rose my ole head, an looked straight afore me, an thar, clar ef I
didn't fine myself shut in,--reglar prison,--mind I tell you,--an
all round me a reglar cumferince ob water an rock, widout any way
ob scape. Tell you what, if dar ebber was a ole rat in a trap, I
was at dat ar casion."
"Couldn't you have waded through it before it got too high?"
"Waded? Not a wade; de water was rough an deep, an de bottom was
stones dat I'd slipped oba an almost broke my ole head, sides bein
drownded as dead as a herrin. Why, what you tink dis ole nigga's
made ob? I'm not a steam injine, nor a mowin machine, nor a life
boat. I'm ony a ole man, an shaky in de legs too,--mind I tell
"Well, how did you manage it?"
"Manage! Why, I didn't manage at all."
"How did you find that place where you were sitting?"
"Wasn't settin. I was tied up in a knot, or rolled up into a ball.
Any way, I wasn't settin."
"Well, how did you find the place?"
"Wal, I jes got up dar. I stood on de sho till de water drobe me,
an I kep out ob its way till at las I found myself tied up de way
you saw me."
"Why didn't you halloo?"
"Hollar? Didn't I hollar like all possessed?"
"We didn't hear you."
"Wal, dat ar's dredful sterious. An me a hollarin an a yellin like
mad. Tell you what, I felt as ef I'd bust my ole head open, I did
yell that hard."
"Couldn't you manage to climb up that cliff?"
"Dat cliff? Climb up? Me? What! me climb up a cliff? an dat
cliff? Why, I couldn't no more climb up dat ar cliff dan I could
fly to de moon. No, sah. Much as I could do to keep whar I was,
out ob de water. Dat was enough."
"Don't you know that we walked two miles up the shore?"
"Two miles! Two! De sakes, now, chil'en! did you, railly? Ef I'd
a ony knowed you war a comin so near, wouldn't I a yelled? I bet I
"Why, you didn't think we'd have left you."
"Lef me? Nebber. But den I didn't tink you'd magine anyting was
wrong till too late. What I wanted was help, den an dar. De
trouble was, when you did come, you all made dat ar circumbendibus,
an trabelled clean an clar away from me."
"We thought at first you could not be so near the point."
"But de pint was de whole difficulty. Dat's de pint."
"Well, at any rate, you've saved the lobsters."
"Yah! yah! yah! Yes. Bound to sabe dem dar. Loss my ole hat, an
nearly loss my ole self; but still I hung on to dem dar lobstas.
Tell you what it is now, dey come nigh onto bein de dearest lobstas
you ebber eat. I'be done a good deal in de way ob puttin myself
out to get a dinna at odd times for you, chil'en; but dis time I
almost put myself out ob dis mortial life. So when you get your
dinnas to-day, you may tink on what dat ar dinna come nigh to
"I wonder that you held on to them so tight, when they brought you
into such danger."
"Hole on? Why, dat ar's de berry reason why I did hole on. What,
let go ob dem arter all my trouble on dat count? No. I was bound
to hab somethin to show whenebber I got back, if I ebber did get
back; and so here I am, all alibe, an a bringin my lobstas wid me."
"Well, Solomon," said Bart, in a kindly tone, "old man, the
lobsters have come near costing us pretty dear, and we felt bad
enough, I can tell you, when we went up there along the shore
calling for you and getting no answer."
"What, you did car for de ole man, Mas'r Bart--did you?" said
Solomon, in a tremulous voice. Tears started to his eyes as he
said it, and all power of saying anything more seemed to depart
from him. He fell back behind the others, and walked on for the
rest of the way in silence, but at times casting upon Bart glances
that spoke volumes, and talking to himself in inaudible tones.
In this way they soon reached the wharf where the schooner was
The first thing that they noticed was, that the schooner was
aground. The tide had gone out too far for her to float away, and
consequently there was no hope of resuming their voyage for that
"We're in for it, captain," said Bruce
"Yes; I felt afeard of it," said the captain. "We've got to wait
here till the next tide."
"We'll leave to-night, of course."
"O, yes. We must get off at the night's tide, and drop down the
"How far had we better go?"
"Wal, I ben a thinkin it all over, an it's my opinion that we'd
better go to St. John next. We may hear of him there, an ef he
don't turn up we can send out some more vessels, an give warnin
that he's astray on the briny biller."
"At what time will we be able to leave?"
"Wal, it'll not be high tide till near one o'clock, but we can git
off ef thar's a wind a leetle before midnight."
"Do you think the wind will hold on?"
The captain raised his head, and looked at the sky; then he looked
out to sea, and then he remained silent for a few minutes.
"Wal," said he, at last, slowly and thoughtfully, "it'll take a man
with a head as long as a hoss to answer that thar. It mought hold
on, an then agin it moughtn't."
"At any rate, I suppose we can drift."
"O, yes; an of the wind doosn't come round too strong, we can git
nigh down pooty close to St. John by mornin."
"We'll run down with the tide."
"Well, I suppose we'll have to put the time through the best way we
can, and try to be patient. Only it seems hard to be delayed so
much. First there was the fog, which made our search useless; and
now, when there comes a bright day, when we can see where we're
going, here we are tied up in Quaco all day and all night."
"It doos seem hard," said Captain Corbet, gravely, "terrible hard;
an ef I owned a balloon that could rise this here vessel off the
ground, an convey her through the air to her nat'ral element, I'd
hev it done in five minutes, an we'd all proceed to walk the waters
like things of life. But I don't happen to own a balloon, an so
thar you air.
"But, boys," continued the captain, in a solemn voice, elevating
his venerable chin, and regarding them with a patriarchal smile,--
"boys, don't begin to go on in that thar old despondent strain.
Methinks I hear some on you a repinin, an a frettin, cos we're
stuck here hard an fast. Don't do it, boys; take my advice, an
don't do it. Bear in mind the stirrin an memiorable events of this
here mornin. See what a calamity was a threatenin us. Why, I
declare to you all, thar was a time when I expected to see our aged
friend Solomon no more in the flesh. You could not tell it by my
manner, for I presarved a calm an collected dumeanour; but yet, I
tell you, underneath all that icy calm an startlin good-natur of my
attitood, I concealed a heart that bet with dark despair. At that
moment, when we in our wanderins had reached the furthest extremity
that we attained onto, I tell you my blood friz, an my har riz in
horror! Methought it were all up with Solomon; and when I see his
hat, it seemed to me jest as though I was a regardin with despairin
eye his tumestun whereon war graven by no mortial hand the solemn
an despairin epigram, 'Hic jacet!'
"So now, my friends," continued the captain, as he brushed a tear-
drop from his eye, "let us conterrol our feelins. Let us be calm,
and hope for the best. When Solomon took his departoor, an was
among the missin, I thought that an evil fortin was a berroodin
over us, and about to consume us. But that derream air past.
Solomon is onst more among the eatables. He cooks agin the mortial
repast. He lives! So it will be with our young friend who has so
mysteriously drifted away from our midst. Cheer up, I say! Them's
my sentiment. He'll come to, an turn up, all alive--right side up--
with care,--C. O. D.,--O. K.,--to be shaken before taken,--marked
and numbered as per margin,--jest as when shipped, in good order
an condition, on board the schooner Antelope, Corbet master, of
These words of Captain Corbet had a very good effect upon the boys.
They had already felt very much cheered by the escape of Solomon,
and it seemed to them to be a good omen. If Solomon had escaped,
so also might Tom. And, as their anxiety on Solomon's account had
all been dispelled by his restoration, so also might they hope that
their anxiety about Tom would be dispelled. True, he had been lost
to them for a much longer time, and his absence was certainly
surrounded by a more terrible obscurity than any which had been
connected with that of Solomon. Yet this one favorable
circumstance served to show them that all might not be so dark as
they had feared. Thus, therefore, they began to be more sanguine,
and to hope that when they reached St. John, some tidings of the
lost boy might be brought to them.
Solomon's exertions towards giving them a dinner were on this day
crowned with greater success than had been experienced for some
days past. Their exertions had given them an appetite, and they
were able to eat heartily for the first time since Tom's departure.
The rest of the day passed very slowly with them. They retired
early, and slept until midnight. At that time they waked, and went
on deck, when they had the extreme satisfaction of seeing the
vessel get under way. A moderate breeze was blowing, which was
favorable, and though the tide was not yet in their favor, yet the
wind was sufficient to bear them out into the bay. Then the boys
all went below again, full of hope. The night passed away quietly,
and without any incident whatever. They all slept soundly, and the
dreams that came to them were pleasant rather than otherwise.
Awaking in the morning by daylight, they all hurried up on deck,
and encountered there a new disappointment; for all around them
they saw again the hated presence of the fog. The wind also had
died away, and the vessel's sails flapped idly against her masts.
"Where are we now?" asked Bruce, in a despondent tone.
"Wal," said Captain Corbet, "as nigh as I can reckon, we're two or
three miles outside of St. John harbor."
"How is the tide?"
"Wal, it's kine o' agin us, jest now."
"There doesn't seem to be any wind."
"Shall we get into St. John to-day?"
"Wal, I kine o' think we'll manage it."
"Wal, not much afore midday. You see we're driftin away jest now."
"Don't you intend to anchor till the next rise of tide?"
"O, yes; in about ten minutes we'd ought to be about whar I want to
At this disheartening condition of affairs the boys sank once more
into a state of gloom. In about ten minutes, as Captain Corbet
said, the schooner was at anchor, and there was nothing to do but
"We'll run in at turn o' tide," said he.
Breakfast came, and passed. The meal was eaten in silence. Then
they went on deck again, fretting and chafing at the long delay.
Not much was said, but the boys stood in silence, trying to see
through the thick fog.
"It was so fine when we left," said Bart, "that I thought we'd have
it all the way."
"Wal, so we did--pooty much all; but then, you see, about four this
mornin we run straight into a fog bank."
"Has the wind changed?"
"Wal, thar don't seem jest now to be any wind to speak of, but it
kine o' strikes me that it's somethin like southerly weather.
Hence this here fog."
After a few hours the vessel began to get under way again; and now,
too, there arose a light breeze, which favored them. As they went
on they heard the long, regular blast of a steam whistle, which
howled out a mournful note from time to time. Together with this,
they heard, occasionally, the blasts of fog horns from unseen
schooners in their neighborhood, and several times they could
distinguish the rush of some steamer past them, whose whistle
sounded sharply in their ears.
As they drew nearer, these varied sounds became louder, and at
length the yell of one giant whistle sounded close beside them.
"We're a enterin o' the harbure," said Captain Corbet.
Hours passed away from the time the Antelope raised anchor until
she reached the wharf. In passing up the harbor, the shadowy forms
of vessels at anchor became distinguishable amid the gloom, and in
front of them, as they neared the wharf, there arose a forest of
masts belonging to schooners. It was now midday. Suddenly there
arose a fearful din all around. It was the shriek of a large
number of steam whistles, and seemed to come up from every side.
"Is that for the fog?" asked Bruce.
"O, no," said Bart; "those are the saw-mills whistling for twelve
The boys had already completed their preparations for landing, and
had changed their eccentric clothing for apparel which was more
suited to making their appearance in society. Bart had insisted
that they should go to his house, and wait until they might decide
what to do; and the boys had accepted his hospitable invitation.
They stepped on shore full of hope, not doubting that they would
hear news of Tom. They had persuaded themselves that he had been
picked up by some vessel which was coming down the bay, and had
probably been put ashore here; in which case they knew that he
would at once communicate with Bart's people. They even thought
that Tom would be there to receive them.
"Of course he will be," said Bart; "if he did turn up, they'd make
him stay at the house, you know; and he'd know that we fellows
would come down here in the hope of hearing about him. So we'll
find him there all right, after all. Hurrah!"
But, on reaching his home, Bart's joyous meeting with his family
was very much marred by the deep, dark, and bitter disappointment
that awaited him and his companions.
They knew nothing whatever about Tom. Bart's father was shocked at
the story. He knew that no boy had been picked up adrift in the
bay during the past week. Such an event would have been known. He
felt exceedingly anxious, and at once instituted a search among the
coasting vessels. The search was a thorough one, but resulted in
nothing. There was no one who had seen anything of a drifting
boat. All reported thick fog in the bay.
The result of this search plunged Bart and his friends into their
Other searches were made. Inquiries were sent by telegraph to
different places, but without result.
The fate of the missing boy now became a serious question
As for Bart and his friends, they were inconsolable.
Down the Bay.--Drifting and Anchoring.--In the Dark, morally and
physically.--Eastport, the jumping-off Place.--Grand Manan.--
Wonderful Skill.--Navigating in the Fog.--A Plunge from Darkness
into Light, and from Light into Darkness.
It was Saturday when Bart reached home. As much was done on that
day as possible. Bart was in the extreme of wretchedness, and so
eager was he to resume the search for his friend, that his father
gave his permission for him to start off again in the Antelope.
The other boys also were to go with him. They determined to scour
the seas till they found Tom, or had learned his fate.
Mr. Damer also assured Bart that he would take the matter in hand
himself, and would send out two schooners to go about the bay. In
addition to this, he would telegraph to different places, so that
the most extensive search possible might be instituted. Every part
of the coast should be explored, and even the islands should be
All this gave as much consolation to Bart and his friends as it was
possible for them to feel under the circumstances.
As much as possible was done on Saturday, but the next day was an
idle one, as far as the search was concerned. Bart and the boys
waited with great impatience, and finally on Monday morning they
left once more in the Antelope. It was about five o'clock in the
morning, the tide was in their favor, and, though there was a head
wind, yet be fore the turn of tide they were anchored a good
distance down the bay.
"My idee is this," said Captain Corbet. "I'll explore the hull bay
in search of that driftin boy. I'll go down this side, cross over,
and come up on t'other. We'll go down here first, an not cross
over till we get as fur as Quoddy Head. I think, while we air down
thar, I'll call at Eastport an ask a few questions. But I must say
it seems a leetle too bad to have the fog go on this way. If this
here had ony happened a fortnight ago, we'd have had clear weather
an fair winds. It's too bad, I declar."
They took advantage of the next tide to go down still farther, and
by twelve o'clock on Monday night they were far down. Since
leaving St. John they had seen nothing whatever, but they had heard
occasionally the fog horns of wandering schooners, and once they
had listened to the yell of a steamer's whistle.
"I've allus said," remarked Captain Corbet, "that in navigatin this
here bay, tides is more important than winds, and anchors is more
important than sails. That's odd to seafarin men that ain't
acquainted with these waters, but it air a oncontrovartible fact.
Most of the distressin casooalties that happen hereabouts occur
from a ignorance of this on the part of navigators. They WILL pile
on sail. Now, in clar weather an open sea, pile it on, I say; but
in waters like these, whar's the use? Why, it's flyin clar in the
face of Providence. Now look at me--do I pile on sail? Not me.
Catch me at it! When I can git along without, why, I git. At the
same time, I don't think you'll find it altogether for the good of
your precious health, boys, to be a movin about here in the fog at
midnight. Better go below. You can't do no good a settin or a
standin up here, squintin through a darkness that might be felt, an
that's as thick as any felt I ever saw. So take my advice, an go
below, and sleep it off."
It was impossible to gainsay the truth of Captain Corbet's remarks,
and as it was really midnight, and the darkness almost as thick as
he said, the boys did go below, and managed to get to sleep in
about a minute and a half after their heads touched the pillows.
Before they were awake on the following day the anchor was hoisted,
and the Antelope was on her way again.
"Here we air, boys," said the captain, as they came on deck, "under
way--the Antelope on her windin way over the mounting wave, a
bereasting of the foamin biller like all possessed. I prophesy for
this day a good time as long as the tide lasts."
"Do you think we'll get to Eastport harbor with this tide?"
"Do I think so?--I know it. I feel it down to my butes. Eastport
harbure? Yea! An arter that we hev all plain-sailin."
"Why, won't the fog last?"
"I don't car for the fog. Arter we get to Eastport harbure we
cease goin down the bay. We then cross over an steal up the other
side. Then it's all our own. If the fog lasts, why, the wind'll
last too, an we can go up flyin, all sails set; an I'll remuve from
my mind, for the time bein, any prejudyce that I have agin wind at
"Do you intend to go ashore at Eastport?"
"Yes, for a short time--jest to make inquiries. It will be a
consolation, you know."
"Then I'll up sail, an away we'll go, irrewspective of tides,
across the bay."
By midday the captain informed them that they were in Eastport
"See thar," said he, as he pointed to a headland with a light-
house. "That thar is the entrance. They do call this a pootyish
place; but as it's this thick, you won't hev much chance to see it.
Don't you want to go ashore an walk about?"
"Not if we can help it. Of course we'll have to ask after poor
Tom, but we haven't any curiosity."
"Wal, p'aps not--ony thar is people that find this a dreadful
cur'ous place. It's got, as I said, a pootyish harbure; but that
ain't the grand attraction. The grand attraction centres in a rock
that's said to be the eastest place in the neighborin republic,--in
short, as they call it, the 'jumpin-off place.' You'd better go an
see it; ony you needn't jump off, unless you like."
Sailing up the harbor, the fog grew light enough for them to see
the shore. The town lay in rather an imposing situation, on the
side of a hill, which was crowned by a fort. A large number of
vessels lay about at the wharves and at anchor. Here they went
ashore in a boat, but on making inquiries could gain no information
about Tom; nor could they learn anything which gave them the
"We've got to wait here a while so as to devarsefy the time.
Suppose we go an jump off?" said the captain.
The boys assented to this in a melancholy manner, and the captain
led the way through the town, till at last he halted at the extreme
"Here," said he, "you behold the last extremity of a great an
mighty nation, that spreads from the Atlantic to the Pacific, an
from the Gulf of Mexiky to the very identical spot that you air now
a occypyin of. It air a celebrated spot, an this here air a
memorable momient in your youthful lives, if you did but know it!"
There was nothing very striking about this place, except the fact
which Captain Corbet had stated. Its appearance was not very
imposing, yet, on the other hand, it was not without a certain wild
beauty. Before them spread the waters of the bay, with islands
half concealed in mist; while immediately in front, a steep, rocky
bank went sheer down for some thirty or forty feet to the beach
"I suppose," said the captain, "that bein Pilgrims, it air our
dooty to jump; but as it looks a leetle rocky down thar, I think
we'd best defer that to another opportoonity."
Returning to the schooner, they weighed anchor, set sail, and left
the harbor. On leaving it, they did not go back the way they had
come, but passed through a narrow and very picturesque channel,
which led them by a much shorter route into the bay. On their left
were wooded hills, and on their right a little village on the slope
of a hill, upon whose crest stood a church.
Outside the fog lay as thick as ever, and into this they plunged.
Soon the monotonous gray veil of mist closed all around them. But
now their progress was more satisfactory, for they were crossing
the bay, and the wind was abeam.
"Are you going straight across to Nova Scotia now?" asked Bart.
"Wal, yes; kine o' straight across," was the reply; "ony on our
way we've got to call at a certain place, an contenoo our
"What place is that?"
"It's the Island of Grand Manan--a place that I allers feel the
greatest respect for. On that thar island is that celebrated fog
mill that I told you of, whar they keep grindin night an day, in
southerly weather, so as to keep up the supply of fog for old
Fundy. Whatever we'd do without Grand Manan is more'n I can say."
"Is the island inhabited?" asked Bruce.
"Inhabited? O, dear, yas. Thar's a heap o' people thar. It's
jest possible that a driftin boat might git ashore thar, an ef so
we'll know pooty soon."
"How far is it?"
"O, ony about seven or eight mile."
"We'll be there in an hour or so, then?"
"Wal, not so soon. You see, we've got to go round it."
"Cos thar ain't any poppylation on this side, an we've got to land
"Why are there no people on this side?"
"Cos thar ain't no harbures. The cliffs air six hundred feet high,
and the hull shore runs straight on for ever so fur without a
break, except two triflin coves."
"How is it on the other side?"
"Wal, the east side ain't a bad place. The shore is easier, an
thar's harbures an anchorages. Thar's a place they call Whale
Cove, whar I'm goin to land, an see if I can hear anythin. The
people air ony fishers, an they ain't got much cultivation; but
it's mor'en likely that a driftin boat might touch thar somewhar."
The Antelope pursued her course, but it was as much as three hours
before she reached her destination. They dropped anchor then, and
landed. The boys had already learned not to indulge too readily in
hope; but when they made their inquiries, and found the same answer
meeting them here which they had received in other places, they
could not avoid feeling a fresh pang of disappointment and
"Wal, we didn't git much good out of this place," said Captain
Corbet. "I'm sorry that we have sech a arrand as ourn. Ef it
warn't for that we could spend to-night here, an to-morry I'd take
you all to see the fog mill; but, as it is, I rayther think I won't
linger here, but perceed on our way."
"Where do we go next--to Nova Scotia?"
"Wal, not jest straight across, but kine o' slantin. We head now
for Digby; that's about straight opposite to St. John, an it's as
likely a place as any to make inquiries at."
"How long will it be before we get there?"
"Wal, some time to-morry mornin. To-night we've got nothin at all
to do but to sweep through the deep while the stormy tempests blow
in the shape of a mild sou-wester; so don't you begin your usual
game of settin up. You ain't a mite of good to me, nor to
yourselves, a stayin here. You'd ought all to be abed, and, ef
you'll take my advice, you'll go to sleep as soon as you can, an
stay asleep as long as you can. It'll be a foggy night, an we
won't see a mite o' sunshine till we git into Digby harbure. See
now, it's already dark; so take my advice, an go to bed, like
civilized humane beings."
It did not need much persuasion to send them off to their beds.
Night was coming on, another night of fog and thick darkness. This
time, however, they had the consolation of making some progress, if
it were any consolation when they had no definite course before
them; for, in such a cruise as this, when they were roaming about
from one place to another, without any fixed course, or fixed
time, the progress that they made was, after all, a secondary
consideration. The matter of first importance was to hear news of
Tom, and, until they did hear something, all other things were of
The Antelope continued on her way all that night, and on the next
morning the boys found the weather unchanged. Breakfast passed,
and two or three hours went on. The boys were scattered about the
decks, in a languid way, looking out over the water, when suddenly
a cry from Pat, who was in the bows, aroused all of them.
Immediately before them rose a lofty shore, covered in the distance
with dark trees, but terminating at the water's edge in frowning
rocks. A light-house stood here, upon which they had come so
suddenly that, before they were over their first surprise, they
were almost near enough to toss a biscuit ashore.
"Wal, now, I call that thar pooty slick sailin," exclaimed Captain
Corbet, glancing at the lighthouse with sparkling eyes. "I tell
you what it is, boys, you don't find many men in this here day an
age that can leave Manan at dusk, when the old fog mill is hard at
work, and travel all night in the thickest fog ever seen, with tide
agin him half the time, an steer through that thar fog, an agin
that thar tide, so as to hit the light-house as slick as that.
Talk about your scientific navigation--wouldn't I like to see what
one of them thar scientific captings would do with his vessel last
night on sech a track as I run over! Wouldn't I like to run a race
with him? an ef I did, wouldn't I make a pile to leave and bequeath
to the infant when his aged parient air buried beneath the cold
While Captain Corbet was speaking, the schooner sailed past the
light-house, and the thick fog closed around her once more. On one
side, however, they could see the dim outline of the shore on their
right. On they sailed for about a quarter of a mile, when suddenly
the fog vanished, and, with scarce a moment's notice, there burst
upon them a blaze of sunlight, while overhead appeared the glory of
the blue sky. The suddenness of that transition forced a cry of
astonishment from all. They had shot forth so quickly from the fog
into the sunlight that it seemed like magic.
They found themselves sailing along a strait about a mile in width,
with shores on each side that were as high as Blomidon. On the
right the heights sloped up steep, and were covered with trees of
rich dark verdure, while on the other side the slope was bolder and
wilder. Houses appeared upon the shore, and roads, and cultivated
trees. This strait was several miles in length, and led into a
broad and magnificent basin.
Here, in this basin, appeared an enchanting view. A sheet of water
extended before their eyes about sixteen miles in length and five
in breadth. All around were lofty shores, fertile, well tilled,
covered with verdurous trees and luxuriant vegetation. The green
of the shores was dotted with white houses, while the blue of the
water was flecked with snowy sails. Immediately on the right there
appeared a circular sweep of shore, on which arose a village whose
houses were intermingled with green trees.
Into this beautiful basin came the old French navigators more than
two centuries ago, and at its head they found a place which seemed
to them the best spot in Acadie to become the capital of the new
colony which they were going to found here. So they established
their little town, and these placid waters became the scene of
commercial activity and of warlike enterprise, till generations
passed away, and the little French town of Port Royal, after many
strange vicissitudes, with its wonderful basin, remained in the
possession of the English conqueror.
"Now," said Captain Corbet, "boys, look round on that thar, an tell
me of you ever see a beautifuller place than this. Thar's ony one
place that can be compared with this here, an that's Grand Pre.
But for the life o' me, I never can tell which o' the two is the
pootiest. It's strange, too, how them French fellers managed to
pick out the best places in the hull province. But it shows their
taste an judgment--it doos, railly."
It was not long before the Antelope had dropped anchor in front of
the town of Digby, and Captain Corbet landed with the boys as soon
as possible. There was as good a chance of Tom being heard of here
as anywhere; since this place lay down the bay, in one sense, and
if by any chance Tom had drifted over to the Nova Scotia shore, as
now seemed probable, he would be not unlikely to go to Digby, so as
to resume his journey, so rudely interrupted, and make his way
thence to his friends.
Digby is a quiet little place, that was finished long ago. It was
first settled by the Tory refugees, who came here after the
revolutionary war, and received land grants from the British
government. At first it had some activity, but its business soon
languished. The first settlers had such bright hopes of its future
that they regularly laid out a town, with streets and squares. But
these have never been used to any extent, and now appear grown over
with grass. Digby, however, has so much beauty of scenery around
it, that it may yet attract a large population. On landing here,
Captain Corbet pursued the same course as at other places. He went
first to one of the principal shops, or the post office, and told
his story, and afterwards went to the schooners at the wharves.
But at Digby there was precisely the same result to their inquiries
as there had been at other places. No news had come to the place
of any one adrift, nor had any skipper of any schooner noticed
anything of the kind during his last trip.
"What had we better do next?"
"Wal," said Captain Corbet, "we can ony finish our cruise."
"Shall we go on?"
"Up the bay?"
"Yes. I'll keep on past Ile Haute, an I'll cruise around Minas.
You see these drifts may take him in a'most any direction. I don't
see why he shouldn't hev drifted up thar as well as down here."
It was Wednesday when they reached Digby.
On the evening of that day the Antelope weighed anchor, and sailed
out into the Bay of Fundy.
It was bright sunshine, with a perfectly cloudless sky inside, but
outside the Antelope plunged into the midst of a dense and heavy
Tom's Devices.--Rising superior to Circumstances.--Roast Clams.--
Baked Lobster.--Boiled Mussels.--Boiled Shrimps.--Roast Eggs.--
Dandelions.--Ditto, with Eggs.--Roast Dulse.--Strawberries.--Pilot-
Meanwhile another day had passed away on Ile Haute.
When we last saw Tom he had succeeded in finding some clams, which
he roasted in front of his fire, and made thus a very acceptable
relish. This not only gratified his palate for the time, but it
also stimulated him to fresh exertions, since it showed him that
his resources were much more extensive than he had supposed them to
be. If he had ever dreaded getting out of all his provisions, he
saw now that the fear was an unfounded one. Here, before his eyes,
and close beside his dwelling-place, there extended a broad field
full of food. In that mud flat there were clams enough to feed him
for all the rest of his life, if that were necessary. But what was
more, he saw by this the possibility that other articles of food
might be reckoned on, by means of which he would be able to relieve
his diet from that monotony which had thus far been its chief
characteristic. If he could find something else besides clams and
biscuit, the tedium of his existence here would be alleviated to a
still greater degree.
He spent some time in considering this subject, and in thinking
over all the possible kinds of food which he might hope to obtain.
Sea and land might both be relied on to furnish food for his table
in the desert. The sea, he knew, ought to supply the following:--
in addition to other things which he had in his mind. The land, on
the other hand, ought to furnish something. Now that his attention
was fairly directed to this important subject, he could think of
several things which would be likely to be found even on this
island, and the search for which would afford an agreeable
The more he thought of all this, the more astonished he was at the
number of things which he could think of as being likely to exist
here around him. It was not so much for the sake of gratifying his
appetite, as to find some occupation, that he now entered eagerly
upon putting this new project into execution. Fish, flesh, and
fowl now offered themselves to his endeavors, and these were to be
supplied by land, sea, and sky. This sudden enlargement of his
resources, and also of his sphere of operations, caused him to feel
additional satisfaction, together with a natural self-complacency.
To the ordinary mind Ile Haute appeared utterly deserted and
forlorn--a place where one might starve to death, if he had to
remain for any length of time; but Tom now determined to test to
the utmost the actual resources of the island, so as to prove, to
himself what one unaided boy could do, when thus thrown upon his
own intelligent efforts, with dire necessity to act as a stimulus
to his ingenuity.
First of all, then, there was his box of biscuit, which he had
brought with him.
To this must be added his first discovery on the island, namely,
the clams. Nothing could be of greater importance than this, since
it afforded not merely a relish, but also actual food.
The next thing that he sought after was lobsters, and he went off
in search of these as soon as he could on the following day.
He waited till the tide was low, which was at about twelve o'clock,
and then went down along the beach. At high tide, the water came
close up to the foot of the lofty cliff; but at ebb, it descended
for some distance, so that there was some sort of a beach even in
places that did not promise any.
The beach nearest to where Tom had taken up his abode was an
expanse of mud and sand; but passing along beyond this, on the
north side, it became gravelly. About a hundred yards to the west,
on this side of the island, he came to the place where he had tied
his boat, on that eventful time when he had drifted here. Below
this, the beach extended down for a long distance, and at the
lowest point there were rocks, and sharp stones, and pebbles of
every size. Here Tom began his search, and before he had looked
five minutes, he found several lobsters of good size. A little
farther search showed him that there was a large supply of these,
so that, in fact, sufficient support might have been obtained for a
whole ship's company. By the time that he had found a half dozen
of these, and had brought them back to his hearth-stone, it had
grown too dark to search for any more. Tom's search, however, had
been so successful, that he felt quite satisfied; and though the
day had passed without any change in the weather or any lifting of
the fog, though he had listened in vain for any sound over the
waters which might tell of passers by, though his signal had not
been seen, and his bright burning fire had not been noticed, yet
the occupation of thought and of action which he had found for
himself, had been sufficient to make the time pass not unpleasantly.
His evening repast was now a decided improvement on that of the
preceding day. First of all, he spread some clams in the hot ashes
to roast; and then, taking the dipper which had been used for
baling, he filled it with water, and placing this on the fire, it
soon began to boil. Into this he thrust the smallest lobster, and
watched it as the water bubbled around it, and its scaly covering
turned slowly from its original dark hue to a bright red color.
His success thus far stimulated him to make some attempts at actual
cookery. Removing some of the lobster from its shell, he poured
out most of the water from the pan, and into what remained he again
put the lobster, cutting it up as fine as he could with his knife.
Into this he crumbled some biscuit, and stirred it up all together.
He then placed it over the fire till it was well baked. On
removing it and tasting it, he found it most palatable. It was
already sufficiently salt, and only needed a little pepper to make
it quite equal to any scolloped lobster that he had ever tasted.
His repast consisted of this, followed by the roast clams, which
formed an agreeable variety.
Tom now felt like a giant refreshed; and while sitting in front of
the evening fire, he occupied his mind with plans for the morrow,
which were all directed towards enlarging his supply of provisions.
He awaked late on the next morning, and found the weather
unchanged. He tried to quell his impatience and disappointment,
and feeling that idleness would never do, he determined to go to
work at once, and carry out the plans of the preceding day. It was
now Thursday, the middle of the second week, and the fog had clung
pertinaciously around him almost all that time. It was indeed
disheartening, and idleness under such circumstances would have
ended in misery and despair; but Tom's perseverance, and obstinate
courage, and buoyant spirits enabled him still to rise above
circumstances, and struggle with the gloom around him.
"O, go on, go on," he muttered, looking around upon the fog.
"Let's see who can stand it longest. And now for my foraging
Making a hearty repast out of the remnants of the supper of the
preceding evening, he went first to the shore, so as to complete
his search there while the tide should be low. It was going down
now, and the beach was all before him. He wandered on till he came
to where there was an immense ledge of sharp rocks, that went from
the foot of the precipice down into the bay. Over these he
clambered, looking carefully around, until at last he reached the
very lowest point. Here he soon found some articles of diet, which
were quite as valuable in their way as the clams and lobsters.
First of all, he found an immense quantity of large mussels. These
were entangled among the thick masses of sea-weed. He knew that
the flavor of mussels was much more delicate than that of clams or
lobsters, and that by many connoisseurs these, when good and fresh,
were ranked next to oysters. This discovery, therefore, gave him
great joy, and he filled his pan, which he had carried down, and
took them back to the shore. He also took an armful of sea-weed,
and, reaching his camping-place, he threw the mussels in a hollow
place in the sand, placing the sea-weed around them. In this way
he knew that they would keep fresh and sweet for any reasonable
length of time.
Returning to the ledges of rock, he walked about among them, and
found a number of pools, some of which were of considerable size.
These had been left by the retreating water; and in these hollows
he soon saw a number of small objects moving about. Some of them
he caught without much difficulty, and saw that they were shrimps.
He had hoped to find some of these, but the discovery came to him
like some unexpected pleasure, and seemed more than he had any
right to count on. Beside the shrimps his other discoveries seemed
inferior. There was a large number, and they could be caught
without much trouble. He soon filled his pan, and brought these
also to his camping-place. These he deposited in a little pool,
which was on the surface of some rocks that lay not far from the
shore. Over these he also laid some sea-weed.
The tide was now coming up, but Tom made a further journey to the
beach, so as to secure something which he had noticed during his
previous expedition. This was a marine plant called dulse, which,
in these waters, grows very plentifully, and is gathered and dried
by the people in large quantities. It was a substance of which Tom
was very fond, and he determined to gather some, and dry it in the
sun. Collecting an armful of this, he took it to the shore, and
spread it out over the grass, though, in that damp and foggy
atmosphere, there was not much prospect of its drying.
It was now about three o'clock in the afternoon, and Tom's
researches along the shore were successfully terminated. He had
found all the different articles that he had thought of and his new
acquisitions were now lying about him.
As he murmured to himself the list of things, he smiled triumphantly.
But still there was work to be done. Tom intended to keep
fashionable hours, and dine late, with only a lunch in the middle
of the day. His explorations of the afternoon were to be
important, and he hoped that they would be crowned with a portion
of that success which had attended the work of the morning. He
took, therefore, a hasty lunch of biscuit and cold lobster, washed
down with water, and then set forth.
This time he turned away from the shore, and went to the top of the
island. He carried in his hand a bit of rope, about a dozen feet
in length, and went along the edge of the cliff as far as he could,
turning aside at times to avoid any clumps of trees or bushes that
grew too thickly. In front of him the line of cliff extended for
some distance, and he walked along, until, at last, he came to a
place where the gulls flew about in larger flocks than usual,
almost on a line with the top of the rock. He had not noticed them
particularly on his former walk along here; but now he watched them
very attentively, and finally stood still, so as to see their
actions to better advantage.
Tom, in fact, had made up his mind to procure some gulls' eggs,
thinking that these would make an addition to his repast of great
importance; and he now watched the motions of these birds, so as to
detect the most accessible of their nests. He did not have to
watch long. A little observation showed him a place, just under
the cliff, not far away from him. Hastening forward, he bent over,
and, looking down, he saw a large number of nests. They had been
constructed on a shelf of rock immediately below the edge of the
cliff, and the eggs were within easy reach. The gulls flew about
wildly, as the intruder reached down his hands towards their nests,
and screamed and shrieked, while some of them rushed towards him,
within a few feet of his head, as though they would assail him and
beat him off. But Tom's determination did not falter. He cared no
more for the gulls than if they were so many pigeons, but secured
as many eggs as he could carry. These he took with him back to his
But he was not yet satisfied. He was anxious to have some
vegetables; and over the open ground, among the grass, he had seen
plants which were very familiar to him. There were dandelions; and
Tom saw in them something that seemed worth more than any of his
other acquisitions. Going forth in search of these, he managed to
get his pan full of them. These he washed, and after cutting off
the roots, he put them in the pan with water, and then set them
over the fire to boil.
While they were boiling Tom went off once more, and found some wild
strawberries. They were quite plentiful about here, and this was
the season for them. He stripped a piece of bark from a birch
tree, as the country people do, and formed from this a dish which
would hold about a quart. This he filled after a moderate search.
He took the strawberries to his camp, and then, going back to the
woods, he procured some more birch bark, out of which he made a
half dozen dishes. It was now about five o'clock, and Tom thought
it was time for him to begin to cook his dinner.
The dandelions were not quite cooked as yet; so Tom had to wait;
but while doing so, he heated some stones in the fire. By the time
they were heated, the dandelions were cooked; and Tom, removing the
pan, put some shrimps and mussels in it, to boil over the fire. He
then removed the stones, and placed one of the lobsters among them
in such a way, that it was surrounded on every side in a hot oven.
He then buried a few clams among the hot ashes, and did the same
with three or four of the gulls' eggs.
One of the hot stones was reserved for another purpose. It was the
largest of them, and was red hot when he drew it from the fire, but
soon cooled down enough to resume its natural color, although it
retained an intense heat.
Over this he spread some of the wet dulse, which soon crackled and
shrivelled up, sending forth a rich and fragrant steam. In
roasting this dulse, a large piece would shrink to very small
proportions, so that half of Tom's armful, when thus roasted, was
reduced to but a small handful.
After finishing this, he drew the gulls' eggs from the fire, and
taking off the shells, he cut them in slices, and put them with the
dandelions. Then he took the shrimps and mussels from the fire,
and removing them from the pan, he separated them, and put them
into different bark dishes. The clams were next drawn forth, and
though rather overdone, they were, nevertheless, of tempting
appearance and appetizing odor. Finally, the lobster was removed,
and Tom contented himself with one of the claws, which he placed on
a dish, reserving the remainder for another time.
And now the articles were all cooked, and Tom's repast was ready.
He looked with a smile of gratification upon the various dishes
which his ingenuity and industry had drawn forth from the rocks,
and cliffs, and mud, and sand of a desert island, and wondered
whether other islands, in tropical climates, could yield a more
varied or more nutritious supply. He thought of other plants which
might be found here, and determined to try some that seemed to be
Here is the repast which Tom, on that occasion, spread before
1. Roast clams,
2. Baked lobster,
3. Boiled mussels,
4. Boiled shrimps,
5. Roast eggs,
7. Dandelions with eggs,
8. Roast dulse,
In one thing only did Tom fall short of his wishes, and that was in
the way of drinks. But before that dinner was finished, even this
was remedied; for necessity, the great mother of invention,
instigated Tom to squeeze about half of his strawberries into a
little water. Out of this he formed a drink with a flavor that
seemed to him to be quite delicious. And that made what Tom
11. Strawberry cordial.
New Discoveries.--The Boat.--A great Swell.--Meditations and
Plans.--A new, and wonderful, and before unheard-of Application of
Spruce Gum.--I'm afloat! I'm afloat!
Tom sat there over his banquet until late. He then went down to
the beach, and brought up a vast collection of driftwood, and
throwing a plenteous supply upon the fire, he lay down beside it,
and looked out over the water, trying, as usual, to see something
through the thick mist. The flames shot up with a crackle and a
great blaze, and the bright light shone brilliantly upon the water.
The tide was now up, and the boat was full before him. Tom fixed
his eyes upon this boat, and was mournfully recalling his
unsuccessful experiment at making her sea-worthy, and was waiting
to see her sink down to her gunwales as she filled, when the
thought occurred to him that she was not filling so rapidly as she
might, but was floating much better than usual. A steady
observation served to show him that this was no fancy, but an
actual fact; and the confirmation of this first impression at once
drove away all other thoughts, and brought back all the ideas of
escape which he once had cherished.
The boat was admitting the water, certainly, yet she certainly did
not leak quite so badly as before, but was floating far better than
she had done on the night of his trial. What was the meaning of
Now, the fact is, he had not noticed the boat particularly during
the last few days. He had given it up so completely, that it
ceased to have any interest in his eyes. Raising his signal,
building his house, and exploring the island had taken up all his
thoughts. Latterly he had thought of nothing but his dinner. But
now the change in the boat was unmistakable, and it seemed to him
that the change might have been going on gradually all this time
without his noticing it until it had become so marked.
What was the cause of this change? That was the question which he
now sought to answer. After some thought he found a satisfactory
For a number of days the boat had been admitting the water till she
was full. This water had remained in for an hour or more, and this
process of filling and emptying had been repeated every tide. The
atmosphere also had been wet, and the wood, thus saturated with
water so frequently, had no chance of getting dry. Tom thought,
therefore, that the wooden framework, which he had constructed so
as to tighten the leak, had been gradually swelling from the action
of the water; and the planks of the boat had been tightening their
cracks from the same cause, so that now the opening was not nearly
so bad as it had been. Thus the boat, which once had been able to
float him for a quarter of an hour or more, ought now to be able to
float him for at least double that time.
Tom watched the boat very attentively while the tide was up; and,
when at length it began to retreat, and leave it once more aground,
he noticed that it was not more than half full of water. If any
confirmation had been needed to the conclusions which he had drawn
from seeing the improved buoyancy of the boat, it would have been
afforded by this. Tom accepted this with delight, as an additional
circumstance in his favor; and now, having become convinced of this
much, he set his wits to work to see if some plan could not be hit
upon by means of which the boat could once more be made sea-worthy.
Tom's indefatigable perseverance must have been noticed by this
time. To make the best of circumstances; to stand face to face
with misfortune, and shrink not; to meet the worst with equanimity,
and grasp eagerly at the slightest favorable change,--such was the
character that Tom had shown during his experience of the past.
Now, once more, he grasped at this slight circumstance that
appeared to favor his hopes, and sought to find some way by which
that half-floating boat could be made to float wholly, and bear him
away to those shores that were so near by. Too long had he been
submitting to this imprisonment; too long had he been waiting for
schooners to pass and to bring him help; too long had he been shut
in by a fog that seemed destined never to lift so long as he was
here. If he could only form some kind of a boat that would float
long enough to land him on the nearest coast, all that he wished
would be gratified.
As he thought over this subject, he saw plainly what he had felt
very strongly before--that the boat could not be sea-worthy unless
he had some tar with which to plaster over the broken bow, and fill
in the gaping seams; but there was no tar. Still, did it follow
that there was nothing else? Might not something be found upon the
island which would serve the purpose of tar? There must be some
such substance and perhaps it might be found here.
Tom now thought over all the substances that he could bring before
his mind. Would clay do? No; clay would not. Would putty? No,
and besides, he could not get any. What, then, would serve this
Tar was produced from trees. Were there no trees here that
produced some sticky and glutinous substance like tar? There was
the resin of pine trees, but there were no pines on the island.
What then? These fir trees had a sort of sticky, balsamic juice
that exuded plentifully from them wherever they were cut. Might he
not make some use of that? Suddenly, in the midst of reflections
like these, he thought of the gum that is found on spruce trees--
spruce gum! It was an idea that deserved to be followed up and
carried out. Thus far he had never thought of spruce gum, except
as something which he, like most boys, was fond of chewing; but now
it appeared before his mind as affording a possible solution of his
difficulty. The more he thought of it, the more did it seem that
this would be adapted to his purpose. The only question was,
whether he could obtain enough of it. He thought that he might
easily obtain enough if he only took the proper time and care.
With this new plan in his mind, Tom retired for the night, and
awaked the next morning by the dawn of day. It was still foggy;
but he was now so resigned, and was so full of his new plan, that
it did not trouble him in the slightest degree. In fact, he was so
anxious to try this, that the sight of a boat landing on the beach,
all ready to take him off, would not have afforded him an unmixed
He took his tin dipper, and went up at once into the woods. Here
he looked around very carefully, and soon found what he wanted. He
knew perfectly well, of course, how to distinguish spruce trees
from fir, by the sharp, prickly spires of the former, and so he was
never at a loss which trees to search. No sooner had he begun,
than he was surprised at the quantities that he found. To an
ordinary observer the trunk of the spruce tree seems like any other
tree trunk--no rougher, and perhaps somewhat smoother than many;
but Tom now found that on every tree almost there were little round
excrescences, which, on being picked at with the knife, came off
readily, and proved to be gum. Vast quantities of a substance
which goes by the name of spruce gum are manufactured and sold; but
the pure gum is a very different article, having a rich, balsamic
odor, and a delicate yet delicious flavor; and Tom, as he filled
his pan, and inhaled the fragrance that was emitted by its
contents, lamented that his necessities compelled him to use it for
such a purpose as that to which this was destined. After four or
five hours' work, he found that he had gathered enough. He had
filled his pan no less than six times, and had secured a supply
which was amply sufficient to give a coating of thick gum over all
the fractured place. The tide, which had already risen, was now
falling, and, as soon as the boat was aground, and the water out of
her, Tom proceeded to raise her bows, in precisely the same manner
as he had raised the boat on a former occasion.
The next thing was to bring the gum into a fit condition for use.
This he did by kindling the fire, and melting it in his tin pan.
This would rather interfere with the use of that article as a
cooking utensil, but now that Tom's mind was full of this new
purpose, cooking and things of that sort had lost all attractions
for him. As for food, there was no fear about that. He had his
biscuit, and the lobster and shell-fish which he had cooked on the
preceding day were but partially consumed. Enough remained to
supply many more meals.
The gum soon melted, and then a brush was needed to apply it to the
boat. This was procured by cutting off a little strip of canvas,
about a yard long and six inches wide. By picking out some of the
threads, and rolling it up, a very serviceable brush was formed.
Taking the gum now in its melted state, Tom dipped his brush into
it, and applied it all over the broken surface of the bow, pressing
the hot liquid in close, and allowing it to harden in the cracks.
His first coating of gum was very satisfactorily applied, and it
seemed as though a few more coatings ought to secure the boat from
the entrance of the water. The gum was tenacious, and its only bad
quality was its brittleness; but, as it would not be exposed to the
blows of any hard substances, it seemed quite able to serve Tom's
Tom now went down to the drift-wood and brought up a fresh supply
of fuel, after which he melted a second panful of gum, and applied
this to the boat. He endeavored to secure an entrance for it into
all the cracks that did not seem to be sufficiently filled at the
first application, and now had the satisfaction of seeing all of
those deep marks filled up and effaced by the gum.
One place still remained which had not yet been made secure against
the entrance of the water, and that was where the planks gaped open
from the blow that had crushed in the bows. Here the canvas that
was inside protruded slightly. Torn ripped up some of the canvas
that was on the tent, and taking the threads, stuffed them in the
opening, mixing them with gum as he did so, until it was filled;
and then over this he put a coating of the gum. After this another
pan, and yet another, were melted, and the hot gum each time was
applied. This gave the whole surface a smooth appearance, that
promised to be impenetrable to the water.
The gum which he had collected was enough to fill two more pans.
This he melted as before, and applied to the bows. Each new
application clung to the one that had preceded it, in a thick and
quickly hardening layer, until at last, when the work was done,
there appeared a coating of this gum formed from six successive
layers, that was smooth, and hard, and without any crack whatever.
It seemed absolutely water-tight; and Tom, as he looked at it now,
could not imagine where the water could penetrate. Yet, in order
to make assurance doubly sure, he collected two more panfuls, and
melting this he applied it as before. After this was over, he made
a torch of birch bark, and lighting this, he held the flame against
the gum till the whole outer surface began to melt and run
together. This served to secure any crevices that his brush might
have passed by without properly filling.
The work was now complete as far as Tom could do it; and on
examining it, he regretted that he had not thought of this before.
He felt an exultation that he had never known in his life. If he,
by his own efforts, could thus rescue himself, what a cause it
would be always after to struggle against misfortune, and rise
superior to circumstances!
As to the voyage, Tom's plan was the same that it had been on a
former occasion. He would float the boat at high tide, and then
push off, keeping her near the shore, yet afloat until ebb tide.
Then, when the tide should turn, and the current run up the bay, he
would put off, and float along with the stream until he reached
According to his calculations it would be high tide about two hours
after dark, which would be some time after ten. He would have to
be up all night; for the tide would not turn until after four in
the morning. But that did not trouble him. He would have too much
on his mind to allow him to feel sleepy, and, besides, the hope
which lay before him would prevent him from feeling fatigue.
One thing more remained, and that was, to bring up a fresh supply
of fuel. The night would be dark, and while floating in the boat,
he would need the light of the fire. So he brought up from the
beach an ample supply of drift-wood, and laid it with the rest.
When Tom's work was ended, it was late in the day, and he
determined to secure some sleep before he began his long night's
work. He knew that he could waken at the right time; so he laid
himself down in his tent, and soon slept the sleep of the weary.
By ten o'clock he was awake. He found the water already up to the
boat. There was no time to lose. He carried his box of biscuit on
board, and filled his pan with water from the brook, so as to
secure himself against thirst in case the boat should float away
farther than he anticipated. Then he took his paddle, and got into
The water came up higher. Most anxiously Tom watched it as it
rose. The fire was burning low, and in order to make more light,
Tom went ashore and heaped an immense quantity of wood upon it.
The flames now blazed up bright, and on going back again to the
boat, the water was plainly visible as it closed around the bows.
Most anxiously he now awaited, with his eyes fastened upon the
bottom of the boat. He had not brought the old sail this time, but
left it over his tent, and he could see plainly. Higher came the
water, and still higher, yet none came into the boat, and Tom could
scarce believe in his good fortune.
At last the boat floated!
Yes, the crisis had come and passed, and the boat floated!
There was now no longer any doubt. His work was successful; his
deliverance was sure. The way over the waters was open. Farewell
to his island prison! Welcome once more the great world! Welcome
home, and friends, and happiness!
In that moment of joy his heart seemed almost ready to burst. It
was with difficulty that he calmed himself; and then, offering up a
prayer of thanksgiving, he pushed off from the shore.
The boat floated!
The tide rose, and lingered, and fell.
The boat floated still.
There was not the slightest sign of a leak. Every hour, as it
passed, served to give Tom a greater assurance that the boat was
He found no difficulty in keeping her afloat, even while retaining
her near the shore, so that she might be out of the way of the
At length, when the tide was about half way down, he found the fire
burning too low, and determined to go ashore and replenish it. A
rock jutted above the water not far off. To this he secured the
boat, and then landing, he walked up the beach. Reaching the fire,
he threw upon it all the remaining wood. Returning then to the
boat, he boarded her without difficulty.
The tide fell lower and lower.
And now Tom found it more and more difficult to keep the boat
afloat, without allowing her to be caught by the current. He did
not dare to keep her bows near the shore, but turned her about, so
that her stem should rest from time to time on the gravel. At last
the tide was so low that rocks appeared above the surface, and the
boat occasionally struck them in a very unpleasant manner. To stay
so near the shore any longer was not possible. A slight blow
against a rock might rub off all the brittle gum, and then his
chances would be destroyed. He determined to put out farther, and
trust himself to Providence.
Slowly and cautiously he let his boat move out into deeper water.
But slowness and caution were of little avail. In the deeper water
there was a strong current, which at once caught the boat and bore
her along. Tom struggled bravely against it, but without avail.
He thought for a moment of seeking the shore again, but the fear
that the boat would be ruined deterred him.
There was a little wind blowing from the southwest, and he
determined to trust to the sail. He loosened this, and, sitting
down, waited for further developments.
The wind filled the sail, and the boat's progress was checked
somewhat, yet still she drifted down the bay.
She was drifting down past the north shore of the island. Tom
could see, amid the gloom, the frowning cliffs as he drifted past.
The firelight was lost to view; then he looked for some time upon
the dark form of the island.
At last even that was lost to view.
He was drifting down the bay, and was already below Ile Haute.
Scott's Bay and Old Bennie.--His two Theories.--Off to the desert
Island.--Landing.--A Picnic Ground.--Gloom and Despair of the
Explorers.--All over.--Sudden Summons.
It was on Wednesday evening that the Antelope passed from the
sunshine and beauty of Digby Basin out into the fog and darkness of
the Bay of Fundy. The tide was falling, and, though the wind was
in their favor, yet their progress was somewhat slow. But the fact
that they were moving was of itself a consolation. In spite of
Captain Corbet's declared preference for tides and anchors, and
professed contempt for wind and sails, the boys looked upon these
last as of chief importance, and preferred a slow progress with the
wind to even a more rapid one by means of so unsatisfactory a
method of travel as drifting.
At about nine on the following morning, the Antelope reached a
little place called Wilmot Landing, where they went on shore and
made the usual inquiries with the usual result. Embarking again,
they sailed on for the remainder of that day, and stopped at one or
two places along the coast.
On the next morning (Friday) they dropped anchor in front of Hall's
Harbor--a little place whose name had become familiar to them
during their memorable excursion to Blomidon. Here they met with
the same discouraging answer to their question.
"Wal," said Captain Corbet, "we don't seem to meet with much
success to speak of--do we?"
"No," said Bart, gloomily.
"I suppose your pa'll be sendin schooners over this here same
ground. 'Tain't no use, though."
"Where shall we go next?"
"Wal, we've ben over the hull bay mostly; but thar's one place,
yet, an that we'll go to next."
"What place is that?"
"My idee is this," continued Captain Corbet: "We'll finish our
tower of inspection round the Bay of Fundy at Scott's Bay. Thar
won't be nothin more to do; thar won't remain one single settlement
but what we've called at, 'cept one or two triflin places of no
'count. So, after Scott's Bay, my idee is to go right straight off
to old Minas. Who knows but what he's got on thar somewhar?"
"I don't see much chance of that."