« AnteriorContinua »
had no vessel to boil or stew anything), and two or three of the turtles' eggs
for my supper. While the rains lasted, I worked daily two or three hours at enlarging my cave, and by degrees I pierced an opening at the outside of the hill, but although this new access was convenient, it left me somewhat exposed, still I had no reason to fear any living creature, for the largest inhabitant . of this island I had yet seen was a goat.
When the wet season, which lasted a few months, was past, I visited my bower in the country, and found everything untouched. The circle or double hedge with which I had surrounded it, was not only firm and entire, but long branches had grown from the stakes, and by carefully pruning them, they grew surprisingly in the course of three years, and presented a very beautiful appearance, forming a complete shade. This made me resolve to plant a similar hedge round my first dwelling, which succeeded admirably, and served not only for a shelter, but for a defence, as I shall mention hereafter. I had experienced ill consequences from exposure to the rain, so I took care afterwards to furnish myself with provisions before-hand, that I might not be obliged to go out. I always found employment in making various articles I most needed; I tried my skill at a basket, but the only twigs I could find proved so brittle that they were useless. I remembered, however, that when I was a boy, I used to derive much pleasure from watching a basket-maker at work in the town where I lived, and it occurred to me that the twigs of the tree from which I had cut the stakes for my enclosure, might possibly be as tough as the willows and osiers in England. Accordingly, the next day, I went to my country house, as I called it, and cutting some of the smaller twigs I found them answer my purpose, and after drying them, I succeeded in making several baskets, which were of great use. Other wants now remained to be satisfied. I had no vessel for boiling anything except a great kettle I had saved from the ship, and this was too large to make broth or to stew meat. I also felt greatly in need of a tobacco pipe, but I considered the making of such an article was impracticable. However, by patience, and after repeated attempts, I accomplished my wishes.
Soon after the fine weather had set in, I felt a great desire to travel over the whole of the island, and I now resolved to proceed across to the sea shore on that side where I had built my bower; so taking my gun, a hatchet, and my dog, besides furnishing myself with a larger quantity of powder and shot than usual, and provisions consisting of two biscuits, cakes, and a large bunch of raisins, I set forth on my journey. When I had passed the vale where my bower stood, I came within view of the sea to the west, and as it was a very clear day, I saw land, (whether a continent or island I could not tell), at a distance of at least fifteen or
wery-cook into the bargain.
THE LIFE AND SURPRISING ADVENTURES w I cuntrived to bake some barley loares, and soon became a gun
These matters occupied the greater part of the third years I reaped my corn in its season, and carried it home as wela n the island, for I had also my new harvest and husbandry me laring it in my large baskets until I had time te
mir anstrument to thresh with tenned that the fire busies and rice were much more time I KRIZË Esame in a mann i
to sow just the same quanart gert rear sus I might constante | yiel - 露了重要
often ran upon the spec. x n vue I wat een hom te me mod R会 图 2、[美二
side of the island, une 920, se unes mongettes
abundance of bread.
work would take at least ten or twelve years in effecting, so I was compelled, reluctantly, to forego this attempt also. I was much grieved at this disappointment, and I now saw, although too late, the folly of beginning any undertaking before we count the cost, and judge rightly of our own strength to go through with it. In the middle of this work I finished my fourth year in this place, and kept my anniversary with the same devotion and reliance
In this manner five more years passed on without any extraordinary event occurring to me. Besides my annual labour of planting barley and rice, and drying raisins, and my daily habit of going out with my gun, I had occupied myself in making another canoe which I finished, and by digging a canal of six feet wide, and four feet deep, I brought it into the creek about half-a-mile. As for the other boat, I was obliged to let it remain where it was, as a lesson to teach me wisdom in future. But the small size of my boat prevented me from venturing to the land beyond ; I accordingly abandoned that project, and determined to make a cruise round the island where I lived. For this purpose I fitted a little mast to my boat, and made a sail of some pieces of canvas I had obtained from the wreck. Having done this, and tried the boat, I found she would sail very well ; then I made little boxes at each end of my boat to hold provisions and ammunition, and I cut a long hollow place where I could lay my gun, making a flap to hang down over it, as a precaution against the rain or spray of the sea. I fixed my umbrella also, in a step at the stern, like a mast, to stand over my head, to protect me, like an awning, from the heat of the sun, and thus
twenty leagues. I could not tell what part of the world this might be ; otherwise than I knew it must be part of America, and probably near the Spanish dominions, and it might be inhabited by savages, where, if I had landed, I should have been in a worse condition than I was, and I therefore humbled myself to the will of Providence, which, I believed, ordered everything for the best. I found this part of the island, as I walked along, far more agreeable than the other where I resided. The open fields were sweetly adorned with flowers and grass, and there were also luxuriant woods. There were an abundance of parrots, and after some attempts I caught a young one, by knocking it down with a stick, and for some years afterwards I amused myself by teaching it to speak.
I was altogether much pleased with this journey. I found in the low grounds hares and foxes, but of a different race to all the other kinds I had met with. I could not venture to eat them, although I killed several ; but I had no' want of food, as goats, pigeons, and turtle were abundant. These, and my grapes, furnished a plentiful repast at all times. At night I would either repose in a tree, or sleep on the ground, surrounded by a row of stakes, which I placed upright in the ground.
When I arrived at the sea shore I was surprised to find that I had chosen for my residence the worst side of the island, for here the shore was covered with innumerable turtles; whereas, on the other side, I had found but three during a year and a half. But with all these advantages, together with an infinite number of fowls that were easily shot, I had no inclination to remove from my old position. After travelling about twelve miles along the sea shore towards the east, I resolved upon returning home, and on the way my dog surprised a young kid, which I fortunately contrived to save alive. I had a great desire to raise a breed of tame goats which would supply me with food when my powder and shot were spent, so I made a collar for the little creature and led him along until I came to my bower, where I left him.
I cannot express the satisfaction I felt on again returning to my old hutch after a month's absence, and lying down again in my hammockbed. Soon after my arrival I made a cage for Poll, the parrot, who became very friendly with me, and I went in search of the kid, who was almost starved for want of food. In this condition he followed me like a dog, and as I continually fed it, the creature became so loving, so
Ι gentle, and so fond, that it was one of my domestics also, and would never leave me afterwards.
By my calculations I had now been on the desert island two years, and I kept the anniversary of my landing in giving humble and hearty thanks to God for His wonderful mercies. I began to think that it
was possible for me to be more happy in this forsaken, solitary condition than I should have been in any other situation in the world. My Bible was a constant companion and a most inestimable treasure, and gradually my mind became reconciled to the lot that seemed ordained to
After many difficulties I had the great pleasure of beholding a crop of corn arise, abundant beyond my expectations, from the few grains I had at first carelessly thrown away. I was, however, sadly in want of a scythe, or sickle, to cut it down, but I contrived to make one as well as I could from one of the broad swords I had saved from the wreck. Then I wanted a mill to grind it, sieves to dress it, yeast and salt to make it into bread, and an oven to bake it. Yet all these things I managed to dispense with, or I supplied them with others of my own invention, and as I resolved not to use any of the corn for bread until I had a greater quantity, I had full six months before me to furnish myself with proper utensils for preparing it. My first care was to dig more land, for I had seed enough to sow above an acre of ground. For this work a spade was necessary, and it took me a week's labour to make one. This out-of-door exercise was interrupted by occasional rains, which confined me within the house but did not prevent my hands being occupied, for I made, after some attempts, a few earthen vessels, diverting myself while thus employed with talking to my parrot, and teaching him sentences. He soon knew his own name, and at length would call out aloud “ Poll,” which was the first word I had heard spoken in the island by any mouth than my own. The reader would have laughed to see what ugly things I made of the earthen vessels ; how many of them would fall in or out, the clay not being stiff enough to bear its own weight; how many also became cracked by the violent heat of the sun, being laid out to dry prematurely ; and, in a few words, how, after having laboured hard to find and dig the clay, and then to work it, I could only produce two large awkward things (I cannot call them jars), after nearly two months' labour.
But although I failed in making capacious pots, I succeeded better in little round ones, flat dishes, pitchers and pipkins. The accidental discovery of a broken piece of earthenware in the fire, burnt as hard as a stone and as red as a tile, led me to try some experiments in burning and glazing the clay which succeeded very well. No joy could have equalled mine when I had made an earthen pot that would bear the fire, and I had hardly patience to stay until it was cold before I boiled some meat in it, and found that it answered the purpose admirably. Persevering in my efforts, I next made a pestle and mortar to grind, or rather to pound, the corn ; some pieces of calico or muslin I had saved from the wreck served to make three small sieves, and by forming several broad earthen