Volume 1844
Georges Dodds'
The Ape-Man: his Kith and Kin
A collection of texts which prepared the advent of Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs

The Young Marooner; or, An American Robinson Crusoe

Frank Sheridan


Frank Sheridan a.k.a. John de Morgan, (1848-1926) Irish-born writer, well-read with a background in the classics. Worked as a tax-collector in Staten Island, New York. Regular contributor of historical novels (specializing in Colonial and American revolutionary War stories), science fiction and other subjects for serials for Norman L. Munro's Golden Hours from 1888. Published three serials in George Munro's Fireside Companion. Many of his historical novels were issued by Street & Smith in Bound to Win Library, Boys of Liberty Library, Brave & Bold, Might & Main Library, New Medal Library, Paul Jones Weekly, Red Raven Library, and Round the World Library. Also wrote parodies of H. Rider Haggard's She and King Solomon's Mines. Used the pseudonyms Captain Luther Barr, John L. Douglas, Frank Sheridan, and An Old Salt.
Thanks to J. Randolph Cox for de Morgan bio from his Dime Novel Companion

Link to Tarzan of the Apes

A young sailor washes up on an island where he befriends one then two apes who help him to build himself shelter and live with him. He later discovers a human Friday, underground caves and a population of bloodthirsty cannibals. The writing is atrocious, the inconsistencies piled high, but there is a sailor living with apes.

Edition(s) used

Modifications to the text


Chapter I. The Runaway
Chapter II. The Octopus
Chapter III. The Phantom Ship
Chapter IV. The Luminous Sea
Chapter V. Hoisting a Flag
Chapter VI. The Lake of Fire
Chapter VII. The Black Flag
Chapter VIII. Spero
Chapter IX. Spero's Fright
Chapter X. Mysterious Footprints
Chapter XI. A Mocking Laugh
Chapter XII. Liberty Island
Chapter XIII. Joco
Chapter XIV. Joco's Story
Chapter XV. Cannibals
Chapter XVI. Surrounded by Fire
Chapter XVII. A Mysterious River
Chapter XVIII. Wonders of Nature
Chapter XIX. Joco's Disappearance
Chapter XX. Joco Discovered
Chapter XXI. Joco's Story
Chapter XXII. Waupango
Chapter XXIII. After Trials -- Home Again

The Young Marooner;
or, An American Robinson Crusoe

Chapter I

My name is Tom Scott.

At sixteen years of age I ran away from the home of my father, a merchant in old Water Street, New York, and shipped as cabin-boy on the Maria Ana, bound for New England ports.

I was awfully sick before we reached the coast of Massachusetts.

Sick! that was but a poor word to describe my feeling.

I prayed the sailors to throw me overboard. I hated life. Death would have been far preferable.

But I was laughed at. My agony was an excuse for mirth. Even the captain, kind-hearted as I knew him to be, laughed at my misery.

I wasn't worth much on that voyage. I did not earn my salt, so the captain told me, and I think he was right.

Anyway, when we reached New Bedford, the port to which we were bound, I was discharged and told that I ought to think myself lucky at being allowed to travel free.

I counted my money. I had just seven dollars and nine cents.

Not a large fortune to begin life with, but to me it looked like wealth.

I was a man. At least, I thought so, and I walked about the docks with all the pride of a wealthy whaler.

I went to a small hotel where I had seen several sailors loitering, and I paid for a bed and breakfast.

New Bedford was the place of all others I had wished to reach, for I had taken a great fancy to be a whaler.

I went to bed, very tired, but could not sleep well. All night I felt the rocking of the ship I had left, and a dreadful sensation that the bed was sinking from under me made me almost sick again.

Then I thought of mother, and the more sick I felt the greater was my desire to go home. I thought of the comforts of home, and had about resolved to return the next day, when I fell asleep and did not awake until ten o'clock.

"Hello, I'm blest if that ain't Tom Scott!"

I trembled, as I heard the speech, for I knew the voice. It was that of an old captain, a great friend of my father.

He put a hand on my shoulder, and said:

"You were a fool, Tom Scott."

"Was I?"

"Yes. But take my advice and make the best of it now. Don't go back, or there'll be murder."


"Yes, I saw your father the morning after you had skipped, and he swore -- yes, he did -- that he'd kill you if ever you tried to enter his house again, and so that's settled, as he would say."

"Did you see my mother?" I asked.

"Mother! Bless me, boy, have you got a mother?"

The skipper laughed as he spoke, and I was disgusted. I turned away, and resolved that I would never go back home until I had made a pile of money.

"Want to go in a whaler, eh?"

The voice was gruff and uncouth, but the question was just to mind.

"Yes, I do."

"So do all young shavers. Well, boy, there's nothing like it. You'll soon cut your wisdom-teeth on a whaler. Come along, and I'll introduce you to two gentlemen what's both recruiting for a voyage to the Pacific."

I didn't like the look of the man, and had it been dark I shouldn't have followed him; but it was broad daylight, and New Bedford was a fairly sized place even then.

He led me off into a bar -- or, rather, a room leading off a barroom -- and I saw two of the worst-looking men I ever laid eyes on.

They were drinking and smoking, and such clouds of smoke rose up from them that I could scarcely see across the room.

"Any fish, Wilkins?" asked one of the men.

"A little gudgeon what wants to be a whaler," answered my guide, pushing me forward.

"Waal, I kinder guess he'd make a decent whaler in time. He looks gritty, an' if he goes with me he'll get a lay of a hundred and fifty -- that's what we give the green hands."

"Get out; we give a hundred and seventy to green 'uns, an' we'll kill more whales than any ship that don't do as well."

"When do you sail?" I asked.

"Our ship goes to-morrow," said the one.

"And yours?"

"Not till next Monday; but we'll advance you enough 'ninepences' to have good fun on shore."

"I'll sail with the one that goes to- morrow."

"Good! I told you the lay 'u'd catch 'em every time. Who would take a hundred and fifty when he could get a hundred an' seventy?"

Both men laughed, and I had not sense enough to join in their mirth.

"I know I sha'n't get as much," I said. "You can't deceive me on figures. It is not the lay I care for, but I want to get away as quick as possible."

"Oho, a runaway! That's interesting," said one.

The Sally sailed next day, and I was on board. I shall not try to recall that first week on a whaler. I had thought seamen ought to be proud of their ship, proud of the privilege of being on board; but before I had been a week on the Sally I knew that I hated every timber in her, from bow to stern.

There were several greenies on board and so we had to undergo tuition.

A boat was manned on deck, and for two hours each day we had to pull dry oars.

The exercise was bad enough, but the taunts were worse.

The second mate was a regular fiend, and delighted to torment the green ones in every possible manner.

One day -- we had been out three weeks -- one of the new men had been ordered to do something to the mizzenmast; at this late date I forget what the duty was. He was a good fellow, who ought to have been a Methodist clergymen instead of a whaler, and was extremely nervous.

"Tom, my boy," he said to me, as he was preparing to ascend the mast, "Tom, something tells me my hour has come."

"Nonsense, Jake; you are nervous, Go up the mast like a man. It will be all right; your brain is cool."

"Aye, aye, Tom; but good-by, old fellow."

Sure enough, Jake got dizzy or missed his footing in the rigging. He fell, and as bad luck would have it, in trying to save himself he got entangled in the rigging, and when he fell he went overboard.

"Man overboard!" I cried, with all my might.

"Where? Who is it?"

"Jake. See there he is, and look -- Oh!"

The latter exclamation was occasioned by seeing a huge shark close to the frightened sailor.

A rope was thrown and Jake caught it.

He tried to drag himself up out of the water.

A red stream of blood stained the billows.

The shark had helped himself to one of Jake's legs.

"Let go!" cried the secondmate. "A fellow's no good on a whaler with only one leg, and sides, we ain't got a hospital aboard."

"Would you let Jake be eaten by the shark?" I asked excitedly.

"Oh, green 'un, it's you, is it? Why don't you jump over and help your pal?"

I seized the rope and commenced hauling it in. This made the mate mad.

"Didn't I say let go?"

"Yes; but I sha'n't."

"Then, by thunder, you shall go over as well!"

I knew he dare not throw me overboard, so I continued hauling at the rope. It was hard work. Jake was powerless to help, and not one of the seamen dared help me."

I pulled and hauled until Jake was by the ship's side and his one remaining foot just level with the top of the water.

A cable was being wound in a coil just where I was standing, and either by accident or design the heavy rope struck me on the calf of my leg. I shrieked with pain.

That was not the worst. I loosened my hold on the rope, and Jake fell back in the water.

I was too late to save him.

A piercing cry rang through my ears. I hear it now. Many a time, when the wind has been whistling through the shrouds, I have heard Jake's pitiful cry.

"Oho! the lay will be all the greater for you 'uns as are left," said the second mate heartlessly.

"You murdered Jake!" I said angrily.

I received a savage kick in reply.

"Look out, green, 'un," said one of the hands who came down for some harpoons which needed sharpening. "Bilger" -- the second mate -- is a bad 'un, an' he'll do for you an' you'll lose your lay."

I thanked him for the warning, and determined to be on the watch.

Several days passed, and life was a misery.

I began to think the best thing I could do was to jump overboard and end life and my misery at the same time, when a cry roused all my boyish enthusiasm.

The man in the "bird's nest" sang out:

"There she blows!"

Instantly there was a commotion and excitement, the like of which I had never before seen.

"Where away?" shouted Bilger, who was officer of the watch.

"Weather bow!" answered the man on the lookout.

"Haul away the main-yard! Stand by the boats! Bilger, get ready to lower away!" It was the captain of the Sally who was now giving orders.

He had been sleeping, and at the shout of the man in the "bird's nest" had jumped out of his hammock and rushed on deck without trousers, boots, or coat.

The boats were lowered, and I was in Bilger's boat. We pulled vigorously toward the whale.

The sea was choppy and I felt that I was going to be sick. By a strong effort of the will I mastered the feeling, and the excitement prevented its return.

The whale -- a big cow -- was coming toward us. It was a prize we must not let escape.

The harpooner of our boat stood in the bow ready to hurl the terrible weapon at the whale.

He trembled with excitement, but he was one of the best harpooners that ever sailed from New Bedford.

"Ready! So, ho! avast!" he shouted, and the oars remained out of the water.

The boat rose and fell with the choppy waves.

With a grunt and a muttered oath, the harpooner hove the steel.

It went whizzing through the air and with a sickening thud struck the monster.

A spurt or blood showed that the steel had entered a vital part.

The whale dived down and the cable was played out to its full length.

Our boat was dragged along at a terrific speed. Many a time it was full of water, but as it rose on the waves it emptied itself. I felt dizzy.

Without knowing what I did, I caught hold of the cable. My hands were blistered with it, but I held on, what for I did not know.

Suddenly the cable slackened and nearly pulled me overboard. The whale was getting mad. It jerked away again with such force that a sudden snap was heard. The cable had given away.

The boat was capsized.

I held onto the rope and was dragged through the water at a terrible speed.

I shouted, but my voice was drowned in the roar of the billows.

I gave myself up for lost.

"Fool that I am!" I exclaimed loudly. "Why not leave loose of the rope?"

I tried to do so.

My hands refused to open.

They were cramped and would not obey my will.

Like a death-grip they held onto the rope, while I was being towed through the water at the rate of thirty miles an hour.

"How long will this last?" I cried.

I knew it could not for long, and I resigned myself to a horrible death.

The water roared round me and most horrible sounds filled my ears.

I felt I was dying and had no power to help myself.

And then I thought of home and of my mother.

Chapter II

When I had got thoroughly reconciled to my fate, and began wondering how long it would be before I lost all con sciousness, my strange escort sounded.

In whaling parlance sounding signifies that the whale dives headfirst toward the bottom of the ocean.

I expected to follow the beast.

But either the harpoon hurt considerably, or the whale thought better of it, for up she came before the rope had got taut.

By great good fortune I managed to dodge the harpoon, and found myself seated on the whale's back, the harpoon serving me as a handle by which I could hold on.

The back of the whale was slippery, and I almost wished to slide off into the water, when I turned and saw something which made me tremble and turn sick.

Close behind, and following in the wake of the whale, was a monstrous cuttlefish, swimming on the surface of the water.

I was fascinated.

I dare not take my eyes from the horrible creature.

I began even to study its peculiarities.

I saw that it was brick-red in color, its eyes, placed level with the top of its head, were prodigiously developed, and glared at me with a frightful longing.

Its mouth was like a parrot's beak; at times it would open that horrible mouth, and I shuddered as I fancied that in a short time I should be within its awful cavity.

There was a magnetism about it which completely overpowered me.

I forgot the whale.

I was oblivious of all danger save from the octopus which followed me.

For the first time I thought of the crew of the Sally. What had become of Bilger and the others in the boat? How was it that the other boats had not been lowered in pursuit of the whale?

Then I remembered that the animal had driven through the waves at such an enormous speed that no boat could have overtaken it.

While I was thinking of that a new terror seized me, or, rather, a series of terrors. I almost fancied I was getting hysterical.

It was becoming dark.

What should I do when night came?

I was hungry. What should I do for food?

And again, I fancied that the whale was dying.

It had slackened its speed.

The harpoon was loose; the flesh seemed falling away from it.

If the whale should die, then I would fall into the horrible jaws of the devilfish.

The eyes of the cuttlefish seemed like great balls of burning coals and I fancied that they would set me on fire.

The night was coming on, and the darkness was gathering in great, black clouds.

I shrieked, but the roar of the waves drowned my voice.

I stood up, but my feet kept slipping, and every time they did so the harpoon got looser.

I thought my pursuer opened its horrible mouth wider each time I slipped, hoping to find me a dainty morsel.

I resigned myself to my fate.

Then I seemed to fall asleep.

When I awoke I had no idea where I was.

I had forgotten the whale, the cuttlefish -- everything. Only gradually did it dawn on my mind that I had been on a whale's back when I fell asleep.

Where was I now?

I could not open my eyes, for a mucus had closed them, and it required a great deal of rubbing and continual softening with saliva to get them released from their bondage.

One thing I was certain of, and that was I had a whale's back no longer as a reclining-place.

I was on sand and in shallow water. How I had got to land I did not know.

I was pleased, and that was sufficient just then.

I was hungry.

For a hungry lad, without a chance of purchasing food, anything would seem good.

I had never liked shell-fish, but I thought the mussels and small clams I found were the most luscious food I had ever eaten!

It was night when I lost consciousness on the whale's back; it was now broad daylight; in fact, the sun had got pretty high up in the heavens.

I looked round me and saw that the soil was sandy, mingled with stones, and utterly destitute of vegetation.

Walking was painful, because the ground was so irregular.

But I was there, and I wanted to know who shared sovereignty with me.

I walked on and on, peering cautiously round every rock, fearing that some savage might leap from behind it and kill me with a blow.

After walking some half an hour longer, I came to a stop.

I found that I had reached the end of a small promontory, and the sea dashed with savage fury over the point where I stood.

I had to retrace my steps.

Hunger was again making itself very troublesome. Fortunately there were plenty of shell-fish, and, though they did not taste as good as the first, I ate some, and left the ocean behind me and started for the interior.

I had climbed a high rock that I might get a better view of my new country.

The sun was powerfully hot and the perspiration poured from every pore of my body.

When I succeeded in reaching the summit of the rock I was almost prostrated with the heat.

Hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of white birds flew up from the plateau and rose above my head like a fleecy white cloud. There were so many of them that they obscured the sun and caused, by the flapping of their wings, a most delicious breeze.

Below me there was green grass and a number of bushes laden with some kind of fruit.

After two meals of shell-fish, the very sight of fruit was enough to make my mouth water.

I scrambled down the rock.

The berries were luscious. Full of juice and not too sweet, they quenched my thirst and satisfied me.

I ate very heartily of them and tested their edible quality much as the cook told the man how to test mushroom.

"If you eat it and it kills you, it is a toadstool," said the cook. "If it doesn't kill you, it may be a mushroom."

I felt the same way, and as the fruit did not kill me -- for I am writing this several years later -- I knew it was good for food.

I stayed there three days. Fortunately, neither wild animals nor savage men interfered with me.

I ate fruit three times a day and I felt strangely calm.

A feeling of laziness came over me, and I thought that there was nothing in the world so nice as to be able to lie on the soft grass and have nothing harder to do than reach out my hand to gather fruit.

I hardly cared to move.

Whether my joints were stiff or not did not trouble me.

I realized the sweetness of idleness to its fullest extent.

Chapter III

The calm was succeeded by a storm.

I knew that the fruit would not last forever.

If rain came I should be soaked, and, worse than that, I might be attacked by animals or men, and was entirely unprepared.

I must find out whether I was on an island or whether the land was part of the continent.

I knew practically nothing about navigation and had no more idea in what latitude or longitude I was than the man in the moon.

Even now, though years have passed away, I often wonder that I did not go mad with the thoughts which followed the sweet idleness.

If the land was surrounded by water, was it inhabited?

If not, how should I live?

Should I ever get a chance to escape?

These thoughts worried me.

I commenced active proceedings by taking an inventory of all my possessions.

I found myself rich in having:

One large jack-knife, with blade about four inches long. One small penknife, which I had used in the office of Scott & Co., merchants, Water Street, New York, for making and mending quill pens.

One bit of chalk.

Two small pencils, or, rather, stubs of lead- pencils.

A key-ring of no value.

A piece of string about nine feet in length.

One pocket-comb, with half the teeth broken out.

A few ounces of beads, which I had been told I could exchange for solid gold.

The clothes I had on -- of which the coat was torn into various designs by the action of the waves, the trousers almost seatless from the same cause, and, as for underclothing, I had one good shirt, one pair of drawers, and a pair of heavy woolen stockings -- I have a piece of one of those stockings yet, not because it is of any financial value, but my mother knit them as she sat by the great open fireplace in the sitting-room over the merchant's office and dreamed that I should be a merchant, an alderman, the mayor of my native city, the governor of the State, and, most likely, President.

She dreamed this so often that, poor mother! I often wonder whether she suffers as she looks down from the land beyond the stars and sees how different her boy's destiny has been.

Having taken stock of my property, I prepared to investigate my domain.

With fear and trembling I crossed the plateau and climbed to the hills beyond.

Everywhere there was a most painful silence.

As I stood on the top of the hills I could see in the distance the ocean on every side.

I was on an island, not very large, but still having sufficient area to maintain a number of people.

I saw a confused mass of great trees in the valley, but not a sign of smoke.

I strained my eyes in every direction, but no evidences of the presence of human beings could I find.

Cautiously I approached the forest, for such I found it to be, and for the first time used my big knife to cut myself a thick stick which should serve as a weapon in case of attack

Night came on while I was exploring the forest, and a great fear took hold of me.

I no longer dreaded human beings; I was afraid of wild animals.

Most likely fierce jaguars roamed the forest at night, and I was utterly at their mercy.

Night is always a solemn time to the solitary man, but to me it was awful; however I was alive, and that was something to rejoice at.

Seeking out a good tree, I climbed up into its branches and found a place where I could sleep.

As a precaution against falling, I took the piece of string from my pocket and cut it in two.

With one piece I made a loop round the stem of the tree and with the other piece I tied my left leg, not tightly, to the branch.

Grasping my stout stick in my right hand, I slipped my left arm through the loop and prepared for sleep.

I knew if my foot slipped from the branch the cord would become taut and wake me, and if I was likely to overbalance myself, the loop through which I had pushed my arm would hold me.

I slept as soundly as I had ever done in my own little attic room on Water Street.

In the morning I started out to search for water. That was as essential as food, and, afraid to wander too far away from the beach, I started through the valley, hoping to find some little stream which emptied itself into the sea.

But not a sign of water could I find. I was about giving up in despair when a shower of rain renewed my spirits.

I had no desire to get my clothes wet again, for they had chilled me in drying, so I searched for some rock behind which I could obtain shelter.

There was a great boulder some twenty feet high standing about three hundred feet from the hill I had climbed the day before.

A narrow path passed between the boulder and the hill, the sides of which were as clearly cut as if done by man. In that passageway I sought shelter.

How it did rain!

It came down like a great sheet of water.

I crouched up against the hill and leaned back so that I might escape as much of the rain as possible.

I found the rock giving way, and before I could rise to my feet I slipped and fell backward.

I was under the hill.

Of course I was startled, but I instantly thought there might be a cave, and that would be better shelter than the trees.

I rose to my knees and raised my hand.

The roof was higher than that; I stood up. Yes, I was in a cave hewn out of the rock, and large enough to shelter me from the rain.

But it was very dark.

How could I obtain a light?

I took my knife and struck it against pieces of stone, and at last was lucky enough to secure a flint.

I could get plenty of sparks, but I had no tinder.

I remembered seeing a stump of a tree, well decayed, just outside the little path between the boulder and the hill.

If only I could get a bit of that wood it would take the place of tinder.

I climbed out of my dark cave and thought nothing of the rain.

I broke a piece of the wood, all phosphorescent, as I knew it was, and carried it back to the cave.

I struck my flint with the steel blade, and was delighted to see a spark drop on the phosphorescent wood.

A tiny smoke arose, and I gathered a few leaves to place over the wood.

Imagine my joy when a flame burst up from the leaves.

Alas! I had forgotten fuel, and my fire died out in a few seconds.

I had a light long enough to see that my cave was larger than I had thought.

I could not see how far it extended back, but where I stood it must have measured twenty feet wide.

I waited as patiently as I could for the rain to cease.

I wanted my breakfast, but curiosity was even greater than hunger.

I had laid myself down, so that the rain might beat on my face, hoping that I might assuage my thirst in that way.

Every pore of my skin felt thirsty.

A sudden thought occurred to me.

I was alone on the island, as far as I knew.

I undressed in the cave, and, as naked as I was born, went out into the rain.

How refreshing the shower-bath was! I literally drew in the water though every pore.

I felt refreshed.

Seeing a fallen pine-tree I went to it, while enjoying my bath, and broke off some of the resinous branches.

I carried them to my cave and again lighted a fire.

This time the pitch pine blazed up and showed me a lofty and nearly dry cave of large dimensions.

But what pleased me more than the natural dwelling was the sound of trickling water.

About twenty feet from the entrance a little stream, not larger than my smallest finger, oozed through the wall.

I caught some in my hand and tasted it.

The water was ice-cold and as pure as any I have ever tasted.

I did not wait to catch it in my hand. I let it run into my mouth.

I drank, and drank, and drank until I really felt that I should burst.

But remember, it was nearly five days since I had tasted water.

I dressed myself, and felt content and at peace with all the world for about fifteen minutes, and then I felt hungry.

I had a fire.

Near-by were plenty of shell-fish.

I would have roast clams for my breakfast.

It did not take long to put my plan into execution, and never did roast clams taste better than they, although I had to eat them without condiments or bread.

As for condiments, I felt I had swallowed enough salt to last me a lifetime, even if I lived as long as Methuselah.

After breakfast, I walked along the beach, straining my eyes for a sail.

How I wished I could see a ship!

But not even could my imagination conjure anything at all like a sail.

I walked for fully five miles, and was astonished to find how large the island was.

The farther I went the greater seemed the distance to be traversed before I reached a narrow, jutting line of rocks I had seen from the hilltops.

I gave up any thought of reaching it before sundown, and so left the balance of the journey for the next day.

As my hotel was a moving one, being anywhere I happened to be, I selected a good tree again for my night's rest, when I should be tired of the beach.

About an hour after sunset, I was standing watching the last light glimmer across the waves of the ocean, when suddenly the sky grew brighter and the water more green.

It was almost as transparent as glass and shone like a polished mirror. I wondered what it meant.

I was transfixed with awe, for I had never seen a twilight like that.

While I watched a cloud appeared in the center of the bright light.

Gradually the cloud grew less dense and took the form of a ship.

I saw the hull, the masts, the rigging, the shrouds.

As I looked at it, with my eyes like balls of fire, hot and glaring, I thought I saw the captain on the bridge, giving orders.

The sails were unfurled and were speedily filled with the wind.

Across the sky the vessel swept, until the brightness was swallowed up on the dark clouds of night.

Then I saw the vessel still more plainly.

Every line -- the masts, the hull -- all appeared illumined with a phosphorescent light.

I saw the captain, like a man of white fire, still on the bridge.

He seemed to point toward the island.

Then, for the first time, I noticed that the vessel was real1y sailing on the water. I had fancied it was a vision in the sky.

On it came, nearer and yet, nearer.

I had heard sailors speak of it.

I knew now it was the phantom ship.

Nearer it came to the island.

What could I do?

If the phantom captain landed I was doomed -- doomed to the horrible fate of an eternity on the phantom ship.

I threw myself down, with my face buried in the sand, to hide from my eyes the terrible sight.

A low rumbling shook the earth. The trees cracked and creaked, and the rocks groaned as if they were living things.

I dare not look up, but I felt the light of the ship near me.

I was afraid almost to breathe, and yet I knew that in a few moments I should be claimed by the phantom ship.

An awful rumbling and roar sounded through the island.

All nature was convulsed.

I could stand no more.

I shrieked in agony.

Chapter IV

When I returned to consciousness I was afraid to raise my head.

Long before I had run away from home I had heard of the phantom ship, and knew that its appearance boded ill to those who saw it.

Several of the captains who drank rum while they spun yarns in my father's office declared they had seen the ship, and one of them, who could draw artistically, presented father with a large pen and ink sketch, which I remember seeing framed and hanging over my father's desk.

It showed a ship, furnished with a bowsprit and three masts -- namely, a, foremast, a mainmast, and a mizzenmast, square-rigged and with full sails set.

A score of skeleton sailors stood on the deck, while others were climbing the rigging and were in the shrouds.

I used, as a child, to tremble whenever I caught a glimpse of the terrible specter drawing.

While on the Sally one of the crew declared he would "take his 'davy" that he had seen the phantom ship.

What could I do but believe in its existence?

I never knew a sailor who doubted the reality of the phantom.

The night was dark; scarcely a star twinkled in the sky. Heavy clouds were hanging over the land. Gusts of wind roared and rattled through the trees.

Still I was hardly brave enough to look toward the sea.

I felt the awful presence of something.

For several minutes I stood with my back to the water.

How the waves roared!

I heard them break upon the beach with a savage thunder.

"I will face it," I said; but still I dare not turn.

The thunder rolled in horrible peals.

A violent shaking of the earth startled me.

A second shock threw me to the ground.

I was not safe anywhere.

A madness took possession of my senses. I resolved I would rush into the water and end my life in its angry bil lows. Again I rose to my feet.

I turned toward the sea, but kept my eyes rigidly closed.

"Courage, Tom!" I said to myself, and tried to open my eyes; but fear still held me in thralldom.

Nature could not endure much more, and I screamed with fright.

There seemed a balm in that scream, for I felt strong enough to open my eyes.

A strange sight was spread before my vision.

The sky was black; the stars had disappeared. Above me -- as far as my eye could reach, the blackest of velvet could not have been more somber than the sky.

But the sea was white. It sparkled like a silver ocean bestrewed with flashing diamonds.

As the waves broke on the shore, it was, for all the world, as though a mass of silvery white fire had been thrown there instead of water.

I looked at the black sky and at the white, luminous sea, and the contrast pleased me.

For the time I forgot the phantom ship.

My mind was all absorbed in the contemplation of the beautiful, silvery sheet of fire spread before me.

"I wonder if the sailors on any ship admire the beauty of the sea as I do now?" I asked myself aloud.

The thought of sailors recalled the phantom, and I trembled and shuddered at the remembrance.

With a boldness and courage which I did not think I possessed, I looked over the wide expanse of ocean in every direction, but my heart beat slower and more naturally when I found that the horrible phantom had gone from view.

While I looked a flash of lightning lighted up the sky with a brilliancy far exceeding the power of the sun.

I was nearly blinded by the flash, and my knees knocked together as the clap of thunder shook the island.

Another lightning-flash and I heard the trees crack and great branches fall.

But I heard more, for mingled with the crash in the forest were cries of startled animals.

Almost human they seemed and I felt horror-struck.

When the blinding flash had passed away, a terrible darkness pervaded everything.

I heard the waves breaking on the shore and their noise acted as an irritant.

I threw myself down on the sand and waited for morning.

How my nerves were quieted enough for sleep, I cannot understand, but when I awoke the sun was shining with scorching power, the sea was calm and unruffled, and birds were singing as though rejoicing that the dark storm had fled to continue its devastating power elsewhere.

Chapter V

I was hungry.

Yes, even as I recalled the horrors of that night and wondered how I had lived through them, I felt that most human sensation -- hunger.

Shell-fish were there in abundance, but my stomach loathed everything which came from the sea.

I sought for fruit.

What a sight met my gaze!

Great trees, giants of the forest, split into fragments by the force of the electric fluid.

Others were uprooted and bent down, as though they mourned their sad fate.

But while I looked at them I saw that which had greater attraction for me just then.

A number of coconuts were on the ground.

I started to secure some of them, when my hair began to stand on end.

A horrible monster, in the shape of a crab, crawled across to the largest coconut.

I had never heard of crabs living on land or liking fruit, though since that time many times have I seen them, and nasty beasts they are.

I watched the giant crab as it tore off the fiber at the end where the fruit was. When this was removed, it struck it with its great claws until it had broken an opening through the shell; then, by the aid of its smaller claws, and by turning itself round, it extracted the whole substance of the nut.

I was interested, but, after all, was far from sorry when the crab, having satisfied his hunger, crawled away.

I quickly broke open one of the coconuts and drank the milk, which I found very refreshing.

I ate two of the nuts, and, at peace with the world, I felt better than I had done.

I thought it about time that I selected a dwelling- place, for it was evident my sojourn on the island was to last some time.

I returned to my rocky cave, and was bewildered.

The violence of the earthquake had riven the gigantic boulder in two, and the one half had so fallen that it closed up one side of the little lane.

That I thought a good thing, for I should have only one entrance to the cave to defend instead of two.

I entered the cave, and received my first fright in the subterranean dwelling.

A multitude of birds had gone into the cave to escape the violence of the storm.

When I entered, my presence startled them, and, with many a cry and strange noise, they flew out into the air.

For the instant I was frightened but my nerves at that time were not very strong.

I wanted a light.

There was but one way to procure it.

My knife was called into requisition and striking it against a piece of flint I had the satisfaction of igniting my touchwood and lighting a pine-branch.

Had I made a mistake?

Could I have entered another cave?

There was something peculiar about the one I was in.

The only things which convinced me that I was in the right place were the pine-branches I had carried there the previous day and the wood-ashes which told of my fire.

Instead of one large cave the earthquake had given me two.

A mass of rock had fallen in the center and as neatly divided my room as a mason could have done without tools.

I carried my pine-torch round the rooms, and saw that they were dry, save where the little stream trickled down the wall, and far from uncomfortable.

I rolled a large stone across near the doorway and sat upon it to think what I should do.

I resolved I must have a flag-post, and from its top a flag must float.

How to cut down a palm-tree, with only a common knife, was a puzzle, and still greater was the difficulty of carrying or hauling the flagstaff, digging a hole, and raising it to a perpendicular position.

I went outside the cave and looked round.

Nature had assisted me.

Right near the very top of the hill in which my cave was situated grew a solitary tree.

This I climbed, and fastened to the top a pole, to which I had securely tied my shirt.

It was getting dark by the time my work was done.

There was one other thing for me to do.

The flag would serve for the day, but a fire was requisite in the night.

Fortunately, the storm had overturned a great number of pine-trees.

Ten times I climbed to the top of the hill with as many pine-boughs as I could carry.

When the night grew so dark that my shirt -- pardon me, my flag -- could not be seen, I lighted my fire.

What a blaze it made!

High up into the clouds the flame ascended.

Alas, it would not last long.

Pine-boughs give excellent light, but they are soon consumed.

Three times more I ascended the hill, carrying each time, or, rather, dragging after me, larger boughs, and the last time I succeeded in getting a good-sized piece of wood to throw on the fire.

Then I made myself a bed of the palm-leaves, and slept until the sun was again shining in the heavens.

My fire was still blazing away, and I thought it would be a good thing to keep it lit as a perpetual signal.

The fire was kept burning all that day and night. The shirt was quite a conspicuous flag, and I felt certain that help was near.

Chapter VI

The next day was wet, and I could only sit in my cave and think.

My meditations were not pleasant, for the outlook was that I should have to live a solitary life, without the comforting presence of human beings.

I was much occupied with the thought whether it was better to look upon my enforced residence as permanent, or to just live from hand to mouth, waiting to be rescued.

I could not decide.

I must set about furnishing; I had quite decided that the cave would make me the best dwelling.

It was water-proof and comfortable, and, besides, was near the flagstaff.

I wanted a table. Wouldn't the slab of stone do? For the present, yes; but it did not seem civilized.

While thinking about furniture, I heard a faint cry, like that of a child.

I forgot the rain, everything save that, cry.

Out I went, my knife in my hand, ready for any emergency.

Not far from the cave I saw a young goat, with its leg broken.

It cried again as I approached it, but, instead of sympathy with it in its affliction, I only thought what good food it would be.

Stifling all the finer feelings of sentiment, I cut its throat.

The animal was cut into quarters, and I rigged up a rude spit on which I could roast the joint.

While that was being cooked, I went out and brought in two coconuts and a shellful of the sap of a palm leaf.

What an epicurean repast!

Roast kid, coconut in place of vegetables and bread, and a big drink of unfermented arrack.

I had, without knowing why, put the fat which I found round the goat's kidneys into a coconut shell, and it stood by the fire.

Instantaneously as a lightning's flash, a thought crossed my mind.

I had found some dried reeds, which I had intended making into a basket.

Breaking up one of the reeds, I stuck them in the fat.

Like a child, I danced with joy, as I found that when night came I should have a lamp. Very primitive, but far better than the darkness, and yet not giving so much light that I could not sleep.

For three days I was lazy.

Subsisting on goat's flesh and coconuts, I passed my time watching for a sail.

The flesh had been so much better than fish that when I had eaten the last piece I started out to hunt for more.

For the first time since the storm I left the vicinity of my cave.

I was absolutely startled as I saw the evidences of the earthquake's power.

A landslide on the hillside made it easy to ascend the hill which towered above the plain and had been inaccessible before the storm.

Climbing the mountain, I reached a narrow pass.

My love of adventure impelled me to go forward.

A great plain was stretched before me, the grass being unusually green, save in the center, where about an acre was black as midnight.

That was so curious that I was compelled to investigate.

I soon found that the black patch was a monster crater, surrounded by precipices. A zigzag path led down the precipice, the sides of which were covered with a luxury of tropical vegetation.

At the bottom of the precipice the vegetation ceased and a most abandoned and dreary looking place was reached.

What looked to me like a flat plain from the top, I found to be a wilderness of blackened lava.

The lava was cold. That reassured me. Shapes of thousands of huge crocodiles, serpents, and unnamed beasts were all around me, cast by nature in the horrible-looking lava.

A great crack or fissure was before me.

Could I jump it?

Anyway, I could try, and across it I went.

I rubbed my eyes.

Was I dreaming, or could it be reality! I saw, or fancied I saw, a lake of fire.

I leaped back across the fissure and sat down on the back of a lava serpent.

Was I awake?

I pinched myself, and was assured that my senses were not numbed by sleep.

Again I crossed the great crack and began to climb down the rocks and lava to the place where I saw -- or fancied I saw -- the liquid fire.

The atmosphere was getting hotter each step I took.

I had to shade my eyes from the burning heat.

At last I was at the very edge of the wonderful lake.

It was as round as a cup, and about as large as the ring in the circus I had seen at Bowling Green before I ran away from home.

Should I ever see old Water Street again?"

Would I ever listen to the old sea-captains spinning yarns as they drank my father's Jamaica?

Spinning yarns!

Why, bless my soul and body, there wasn't one of them that ever fought a serpent fish; not one ever rode on a whale's back to a desolate island.

And which of them, ever stood by the side of lake of fire?

But to return to the lake, by whose edge I was standing.

The rim of the cup, or the edge of the circus- ring, was ten feet high and about three feet thick.

The cup was fun of boiling lava, which was as liquid as thick soup.

I had a stick in my hand.

I dipped it into the liquid.

The stick literally melted with the heat.

I stood looking for a few seconds at a time; the warmth was too great for a constant gaze.

I saw the terrible stuff keep simmering and heaving.

As fresh lava rose to the surface, I saw it break in all directions into most lovely vermilion cracks, changing into violet, and then into dead gray.

All round the edge were scarlet waves, which were tossed up against the side of the cup.

The waves were red hot, and the spray was the color of blood.

A drop of it fell on my arm, and burned instantly a hole through my coat to the flesh.

The waves roared and surged like those of the sea.

I was charmed and fascinated.

I shielded my eyes and looked across the lake.

In the very center a little fountain began to play.

It sent up to the height of about two feet showers of golden-colored spray.

Gradually I saw the spray thicken.

Instead of two feet, the spray now rose ten feet.

Higher and higher the fiery liquid was tossed into the air, falling back cooled and assuming the shapes of monster serpents, with horrible contortions of their bodies.

It was a terrible place.

I climbed up the side of the precipice, scarcely able to breathe.

The higher I ascended the purer became the atmosphere.

I did not look back.

When at last I stood amid the black lava forms and breathed pure air, I fancied the lake of fire must have been but a hideous dream.

I sat down on the cool, green grass and thanked Heaven I was safe.

It must have been an hour, perhaps two, before I had strength enough to go home.

I had stuck my stick in the ground, and judged the time by the shadow it cast on the grass.

I longed to be back in my cave.

I had started out to hunt, but instead had spent my time amid creation's wonders.

But I had coconuts and a small piece of goat flesh still left.

When I reached my rocky home, I made a fire and sat beside it, wondering what next would be revealed to me.

I drank a copious draft of palm-juice and water, and ate my goat's flesh and coconut almost mechanically, for my thoughts were with the lake of fire.

After supper I went down to the water's edge, as was my custom.

I looked over the dark-blue ocean, and suddenly a cold shudder passed over me.

I trembled. I laughed and cried.

I was like a madman for the time, for there, in the distance, just on the horizon, I saw a ship.

"A sail! A sail!" I cried, as though my weak voice could be heard over the miles of water.

"Ship ahoy!" I yelled, until my throat was hoarse.

I rushed up to the top of the rock and lighted my signal fire.

Then I waited.

"Ship ahoy!" I called at intervals, until I had lost all power of utterance; but in my soul there was joy, for the sails became plainer; the ship was getting nearer!

Chapter VII

At the very time when my excitement was most intense, just as I was as positive as I ever was in my life that I was to be rescued, a thought entered my mind which made me the most miserable youth that ever drew breath.

Why will such thoughts obtrude to destroy one's happiness?

I thought that perhaps the vessel might be a pirate craft or a slaver.

If the former, I stood a good chance of being a pirate for the remainder of my life, with great odds in favor of ending that life from a yard-arm, with a rope around my neck; but if the latter --- I trembled for my fate, for in those days white men were sold as slaves, not to work on plantations, but to fight in some army or serve on board some vessel.

Perhaps my signals had been seen. If so, I should soon know my fate.

I looked at the ship.

My heart rose in my throat and nearly choked me when I saw a flag run up to the peak.

What nationality was the ship?

I stared at it, and yet could not recognize the colors. The wind calmed down and the ensign hung in folds, and it became more difficult to observe it. .

"It is not the American flag," I said to myself, "nor the English, nor Russian, which is white, nor Spanish, which is yellow. It is ---"

And I paused, because for the life of me I could not think of any other flag.

A slight breeze rose and the bunting floated out from the mast.

My heart sank within me, for now I saw plainly that the flag which floated from the peak belonged to no nation.

It was the black flag of piracy!

I saw the emblem --- the skull and cross-bones --- plainly in the center, and I felt sorry that I had lighted a signal fire.

"I will hide myself," I said, and straightway I scrambled down the rocks and entered my cave.

The earthquake had aided me by so arranging the rocks that I could, with only a few minutes' work, close up the entrance.

I should then be able to climb up to a high ledge of rock, from which I could see without being seen.

I had but one fear --- the pirates, not finding anyone on the island, might make it their rendezvous.

If they did, my liberty would be of but short duration.

I looked out, hoping that the vessel might not heed my signal and continue its journey.

Not a light could be seen. The vessel had become as black as its flag, and I began to hope that it had gone on its course.

As if to mock my hopes, a bright flash across the water, followed by a loud report, showed that the vessel was not going to leave me in peace.

I felt secure until morning, for I did not think any boat would put off to an unknown coast during the hours of darkness. I was right in my conjecture.

I did not sleep. Fear kept me awake, and, though I dreaded the morning, yet I welcomed its approach.

I had a small peep-hole through the rocks, scarcely three inches in diameter, but it acted like a telescope and gave me clearer sight.

I saw a boat put off, manned by an ugly set of men. They were not white, nor yet black. I judged them to be Malay pirates.

They wore a blue blouse shirt and red fez cap.

The boat was so near the shore that I could hear the strokes of the oars, but was unable to see it.

There was silence.

I knew the crew were landing.

They climbed the hill just above my head. I could have touched one of their legs had I pushed my hand out of my little peep-hole, but I scarcely dared to breathe.

I heard them talk about the fire, but the jargon was such a terrible mixture of broken English and some foreign gibberish that I did not understand much.

There was a loud laugh as they hauled down my shirt, which had served as a flag; and a piece of it passing my peep-hole told me that they had torn it into shreds.

"That is how they will serve me," I thought, and I trembled with fear.

Had I good weapons, I should not have hesitated to face the crowd, for I was not a coward, by any means.

But to show myself to eight or nine Malay cutthroats was merely to invite myself to be the principal actor in a tragedy.

I heard them descend.

Their voices grew less distinct.

Had they given up the search?

It was scarcely possible, and yet it was evident they had left the hill.

I was afraid to venture forth, and my range of vision was decidedly limited.

Hour after hour passed away, and I still dare not move.

But I studied out a problem which had perplexed me and had arrived at a solution.

I had wondered how I could keep a record of the time.

I had managed so far, but while I kept a mental count of the days, I was not satisfied; I wanted to know the hours.

In other words, I wanted a clock.

Cautiously I descended to my parlor, and was delighted to find that it was just as I had left it.

I took two of the largest coconuts from my store and reascended to my rocky perch.

With my knife I succeeded in getting out all the fruit of the nut without cutting away too much of the shell.

The nut refreshed me, for I was getting hungry. I unfortunately spilled all the milk out of the first nut.

Having cleaned out both shells, I studied how I could connect them, so that I might have a crude hour-glass, without the glass.

I suppose three or four hours must have been spent over my horological --- I think that is the word, isn't it? --- attempt.

And when I had joined the shells so that the sand would drop from one into the other, I was as delighted as a child with a new toy.

Of course, when all the sand had run out; I had to empty the bottom basin into the top one, so that the sand could recommence running.

But how could I measure time with this sand clock?

Of course I couldn't do it until I was free to go on the beach and made a sun-dial, then it would be easy, for I knew enough of horology to be able to construct an accurate dial, or, at least, one accurate enough for my purposes.

I looked through my peep-hole and could scarcely credit my senses.

There in the offing was the pirate craft, but it had weighed anchor, its sails were full, and it was evidently leaving the island.

"Good-by, and bad luck to you!" I said.

It was not a good wish, but I couldn't desire good luck to a pirate.

It was a relief when I saw the ship receding, and I ventured out, for the first time in many hours.

Chapter VIII

I went down to the beach, but was as quiet as I could be, and looked at every rock for fear it should screen a pirate.

On the other side of a great, projecting rock, which formed a natural breakwater, was as nice a little harbor as anyone would wish to see.

I don't know why I hesitated about looking at that harbor, but I did, and my heart was in my mouth, as the saying goes, and I felt a nervous fluttering in my internals as I got nearer the harbor.

When I had descended to the water's edge I was so alarmed that I could have screamed out; for there, rising and falling gently in the rippling water, was a boat.

A pair of oars rested in the bottom, but not a sign of life was visible.

What could I do?

Evidently one of the pirates had stayed on the island. The boat was not the one in which the eight or nine had reached land, for it was not large enough for that.

Should I draw up the boat and secure it for myself, or leave it and hide?

Another thing troubled me.

Why should any pirate remain on the island?

Did the ship intend returning?

Were the Malays going to make the island a calling place and store for their captured plunder?

Without actually deciding what to do with the boat's owner, I dragged the craft out of the water and very easily hauled it round the rocks to my cave.

I returned to the beach and walked along the sands.

Right ahead of me I saw an object which caused my heart to flutter.

Twice I turned round and resolved to go back, but curiosity impelled me forward.

Stretched on the sand lay the body of a man.

He was as white as I was --- nay, his skin was whiter, for mine had become bronzed with exposure to the weather, while his was as delicate as a girl's, and the face might have been that of a girl had it not been for the slight mustache on the lip.

I felt him.

The body was as cold as ice and rigid as marble.

He was dead.

The clothes were not wet.

Was he the owner of the boat?

If so, how came he there, and what caused his death? The birds of prey, great, hungry-looking vultures, were beginning to hover round, ready to pick the flesh from the bones.

I must bury him.

I took off his coat --- that would be useful to me. I felt in his pockets; not a scrap of paper, not an article by which he could be identified.

What was the use of burying good clothes, when I was in such want of them?

I stripped the body.

The shirt was white linen, and much finer than any ordinary sailor would have worn.

When the body was quite nude I scraped away the sand with a shell and made a grave.

It was not deep, but it would prevent the vultures devouring the flesh.

I dropped a tear --- I could not help it --- on the body, and I felt sad at parting with even a dead man.

But I was young, and I was soon jubilant over the possession of the boat, for it was clearly mine, now that the owner was buried.

I enjoyed my dinner of roast clams better than any meal I had eaten since I had been cast adrift.

My stock of coconuts was nearly exhausted, and I determined to go to the grove for more.

Armed with my heavy stick, which I could use as a club, I started out.

Something seemed to convince me that a change had taken place in the island.

What it was I did not know.

There was a something --- a feeling of strangeness which I could not overcome.

I reached the place where I expected to find the coconuts and sat down to rest.

The peculiar feeling of another presence being near again overwhelmed me. I raised my head.

In front of me, not ten yards away, stood an object whose very appearance was enough to terrify anyone.

A great ape, or, to be more accurate, an orang- outang, stood grinning at me, but in its hands it held a club heavier than mine, and had it raised ready to strike.

I knew the orang-outang to be less ferocious than the gorilla and more intelligent than the baboon.

How was it I had not seen this creature before?

If I picked up any of the coconuts, would not the orang pounce down upon me as a thief and quickly deprive me of life?

I had no time to deliberate.

Knowing the imitative powers of the monkey race, I risked all on an experiment.

I threw my club upward to try and knock down some of the nuts.

Of course I knew I could not reach them, but my object was gained, for Mr. Ape followed my example.

I took a nut and broke it with a stone and left it on the ground.

The orang stepped up to it, took it in his hairy hands, smacked his ugly lips, and began to eat it.

He took a whole nut, and, to my horror, brought it to me.

Placing it on the rock where I had broken the first, he gave me a stone and pointed to the nut.

Evidently he wanted me to wait on him.

I broke the shell, and again the orang seemed pleased.

I had heard sailors say that the orang-outangs made splendid servants; and could be trained to do almost anything.

I wondered whether I couldn't train this one.

Anyway, the thing was worth a trial.

I picked up several nuts and started to walk away.

The orang followed my example.

He kept pretty close to me until I reached the cave. Then it appeared as though he was frightened.

I, entered the cave, put down the nuts, and emerged again into the open air.

Mr. Ape did likewise.

It was time to reward him, so I broke a nut and gave him half, retaining the other for myself.

My new companion had a well-proportioned frame, a broad chest, head of moderate size, round skull, projecting nose, skin covered with soft, glossy hair; in fact, he was a very good specimen of the orang-outang race.

When night came I was a little bit doubtful about my new servant, so, finding him asleep, I took the precaution of fastening his legs and hands with the rope I had found with the boat.

I rather liked the company, although it was only that of a big monkey, for it gave me an opportunity of using my voice; and if I could train the beast it would soon be of advantage to me.

I stayed awake, wondering what name to give him.

I thought of Nero, but that was associated in my mind with dogs; then of --- But why take the trouble to write down all the names I thought of as I lay awake?

Doctor Jowler had tried to teach me Latin, but I am afraid he failed, for I remembered but little. I fancied, however, that there was such a word as spero, which meant "hope."

Was I right?

I had no means of finding out at that time, nor since, for that matter; anyway, Spero was a good name, and that was what I determined to call my orang.

The word spero haunted me for an hour.

I wondered where I had heard it, and in what connection.

When I was about to give up the difficult problem I suddenly remembered seeing the word, with others, as a motto under a crest.

I liked it at the time, and if only I could remember the other words I would adopt it as my motto.

Again the inspiration came to me, and I saw in my mind the richly emblazoned crest on the writing-paper, followed by the motto:

"Dum spiro, spero."

I asked Doctor Jowler what it meant, and he boxed my ears because of my ignorance, and told me it signified: "While I live, I hope."

What a splendid motto for me!

Although it was in the middle of the night, I got up, and by the light of my little goat's-fat lamp I wrote the words in large letters on a fresh magnolia leaf I had gathered that afternoon.

Chapter IX

Although I had been very clumsy in securing the orang, I did not awaken him.

I was up and ready for breakfast before Spero showed any signs of life.

It was strange.

I had always imagined that animals awoke with sunrise.

I soon found what it was, however, which caused Spero to sleep so heavily.

I had several coconut shells full of palm-juice, and I had stood them in the sun, so that the liquid might ferment.

I knew that after fermentation the juice would be stronger than brandy.

Six shells had been full the night before, but two had been emptied.

"Aha, Spero!" I said aloud. "So you have taken too much arrack! It is lucky I tied your hands and feet, or you might do some mischief."

Spero raised his head and groaned.

It was very human.

"I am sorry for you, Spero," I said, for I knew his head was aching.

I fetched some spring water from the kitchen --- part of my cave, as will be remembered --- and bathed Spero's head.

His little eyes spoke to me his thanks.

I untied the cord.

Again there was an intelligent glance.

I loosened his feet.

He was grateful.

A pocket-hankerchief which I had found in the dead man's pocket was dipped in water and placed on Spero's head. Never did human being appear more grateful.

After my morning repast I thought I would venture out in the boat and row partly round the island.

With the wet bandage on his head, Spero fell asleep again, and I pulled away with the oars for an hour.

I saw no signs of human beings, and I made up my mind I would have to stay some time on the island.

I landed at a pretty little grove, about a mile away from my cave.

"Here I would build my residence," I said, "if I only had tools."

I saw that the grove was situated on a little promontory, and that the water washed three sides of it.

I walked to the other side, and saw unmistakable evidences of a wreck.

Pieces of timber we're scattered about.

I was as eager as any wrecker.

Might there not be things of value to be found amid the debris?

To my delight I found a carpenter's chest.

I broke it open.

The tools were all rusty. What of that?

To one who had been without hope of ever seeing a saw, a hammer, or a chisel again, the rusty tools were as welcome as the finest polished steel ever sent out by cutlery-works.

I went back to my boat, and rowed round to where the tool-chest was lying, lifted it into the boat, and pulled back to the cave.

Spero was awake, but was perfectly content.

"I want you to help me," I said. "We are all alone. You shall be my servant, and we will have good times."

The orang grunted as though he understood.

Perhaps he did.

I believe animals know more than we give them credit for.

I often heard my father say that monkeys could talk as well as we could, only they were afraid of being made to work if they talked, so they wisely kept silent.

Anyway, Spero seemed to understand what I said to him. I got some sand, and, using a tuft of grass, began scouring the saw.

Spero saw what I was doing, and almost angrily took the work away from me.

He squatted down and scoured away until the saw was really bright and almost free from rust.

We treated all the other tools in the same manner, but Spero did not feel so much interest in polishing the smaller ones.

I wondered whether he was getting tired.

I watched, and soon found out the secret of his affection for the saw.

Its broad, bright surface acted as a mirror.

Spero was vain, so I humored him.

Vain people can be won over by being humored a little, and I tried it on Spero.

I stood the saw in front of him, so while he worked he could see his reflection.

Oftentimes he would point to the saw, then to himself.

Was he asking about the reflection?

Perhaps so.

Constantly I found him trying experiments. He would hold some object in front of him and look at the polished steel.

Then, seeing the reflection, he would walk round the saw, and, finding no other monkey there, would grunt his satisfaction.

I had constructed a bow, using some twisted fiber from palm-leaves in place of gut, and a small brad-awl for the point of my arrow.

Taking Spero with me --- he insisted on carrying the saw along, so that he could constantly admire his beauty --- I went in search of game. Some bright-colored birds flew past me.

I saw them alight.

Stretching my bow, I took aim, and saw a bird fall to the ground.

Spero dropped his saw and ran on all fours to fetch the bird.

He held it up in one hand, and raised the saw with the other.

He wanted to see the reflection in the polished metal.

I took the bird from him, and saw that it was a species of partridge.

"Come, Spero, we will have dinner."

On our way back I saw a plant which looked uncommonly like coffee.

I gathered some of the seed, and actually shouted for joy when I found that they were really coffee-beans. I at once secured a lot of them and determined to have a cup of coffee, even if I had to make the decoction with cold water.

After plucking my partridge, or, rather, showing Spero how to do it, I lighted my fire.

Selecting the strongest cocoa-shell I could find, I filled it with water and rested it on the fire.

How I watched that shell!

The roasting of the partridge did not worry me.

That I knew would be all right.

But could I boil water?

The shell did not crack.

The water began to get warm.

I put my finger in to feel whether it was really so, or whether my wish had deceived me.

It was really getting warm.

Gradually the little air-bubbles began to rise.

The water was simmering.

Spero watched me closely, and when I turned away to get my coffee-beans, he quietly slipped his finger into the boiling water.

Didn't he yell?

How he danced about the place!

I thought he would go mad, but catching sight of the saw, he sat down and held his finger in front of the steel mirror, and found solace and consolation.

I managed to roast my coffee-beans, and pulverize them in a rude shell mortar.

The fragrant aroma filled the cave.

The partridge was roasted just right, and I sat down to dinner with greater pleasure than I had done previously.

Spero would not touch the partridge, nor could I get him to taste the coffee; but as he ate three coconuts and rubbed his stomach to show his satisfaction, I did not think he needed any pity.

Having the tools nicely cleaned, I started off to the grove, rowing round the shore, but Spero would not get into the boat.

He walked along the beach, carrying the saw, and admiring himself constantly.

When the grove was reached, I made my plans.

I would saw down a number of myrtles in the center of the grove, using some of the growing trees as part of my outside walls.

Between them I would place the trees I felled, and so make a log house.

The ax I had found in the chest I kept for my own use.

I was a little afraid that Spero might take a fancy to strike me with it.

I showed him how to use the saw, and while he was cutting down a small tree, I was chopping away at a larger one.

All day we worked.

Night found many small trees felled and we were both well pleased with our day's work.

The next day we returned to the grove, and continued our labor of clearing.

Having lopped off the branches and the tops of the trees, we commenced to build.

Spero's strength was prodigious.

He grasped a tree, whose end I could scarcely raise from the ground, and carried it to where I wanted it placed.

We had got the walls on two sides about six feet high, and were about to relinquish our work for the night, when Spero threw down his saw and uttered one of the most peculiar, and at the same time heartrending, cries I had ever heard.

I looked to see what had so startled him, but saw nothing. Again he uttered the shriek, and ran and bounded away with a speed which would cause many a horse to blush for shame.

I could only conjecture that he had seen some savage animal which was an enemy to his race.

If so, I must be prepared.

I raised my sharp ax and waited.

Chapter X

I waited for some time, with my ax ready to strike, but as nothing appeared and Spero did not return, I thought it better to follow my faithful baboon and see if any misfortune had come to him.

It required a great amount of courage to do so, but it will have been seen by any who may chance to read this narrative that I possessed considerable nerve.

Armed with my ax, I followed for some distance, but could not see him.

I saw signs, though, which made my hair stand on end. On the soft earth I saw the footprints of Spero, but there were extra marks, and undoubtedly made by a human being.

It could only be a man's foot which had left such a mark.

It was not mine, for I still wore shoes; besides, my feet were always small.

These marks were made by a very large naked foot.

I was evidently not alone on the island.

That was thought number one.

I am not very sure that the thought was a pleasant one, for I had become accustomed to being alone.

I followed the trail until I was tired.

But there was another reason for relinquishing it --- I began to be afraid my boat might be stolen.

I went back to my house; the walls stood just as I had left them, the tools had been undisturbed, the boat rode calmly on the water in the near distance.

But sitting on the stump of a tree was Spero, looking admiringly at himself in his polished saw.

How did he get back?

How was it I had missed him?

I was surprised, to say the least, and when he lowered his saw and grinned at me, I could not help feeling mad and angry.

"Where have you been?" I asked.

He understood me and tried to answer, but his jargon was too much for me, and I could only conjecture by his gesticulations that he had been through the wood.

Of course, I knew that.

"How did you get back?"

Spero seemed to think how to answer, for he certainly understood.

I ran a little distance, and then returned.

Spero grinned. He had fathomed my meaning.

He ran some distance through the wood, then climbed a tree, and returned by swinging himself from bough to bough.

"Did you see a man?" I asked, but that was too much for Spero.

I led him to the place where I had seen the footprints, and pointed to them.

Spero began trembling and sprang up the tree.

I was satisfied that his fright arose from seeing some man, and that he had pursued the visitor, or had been pursued by him.

Whichever it was, I thought the safest place to spend the night was at home.

So I bade Spero get into the boat, and I rowed round to my rocky dwelling, and was guilty of a sigh of relief when I entered and found everything safe.

The next day I started off on a long walk, to try and find my neighbor.

Several times I came across footprints, but no other sign of human being.

For four days I continued the search, and as I was unsuccessful, I came to the conclusion that some ship had anchored on the other side, and had sent some one on shore to investigate the island.

But though I daily scanned the ocean as far as the eye could reach, I had not seen a sail since the Malay pirate craft.

"We must get along with our house, eh, Spero?" I said, on the fifth morning, and I got a grunt of delight as my answer.

"So back to the house we went, and the thuds of the chopping and the buzz of the saw drowned even thoughts of the mysterious footprints.

Spero was equal to a dozen men; he was as strong as any two human beings, and so quick in his movements that I had no sooner expressed a wish than it was fulfilled.

The sides of the house grew rapidly, and it was time to think of a roof.

A peaked one was out of the question. I was not good enough builder to attempt it, so I resolved on a flat one.

This was easily managed. All I had to do was to lay several long poles across from wall to wall, and on the top of them place palm-leaves for an interior finish, and branches of trees, leaves, and long grass, as a kind of thatch.

I was so pleased with my house that I laughed so loudly that it was repeated by the echoing hills.

But when my laugh was over I saw that my house was far from perfect. It was a good, square room, but I was getting ambitious.

I wanted three rooms, a general living-room and two bedrooms --- one for Spero and the other for myself. It was slow work cutting down the trees and building up the partitions, but every work comes to an end at some time, and my house was divided.

A strange noise, unearthly as any that ever came from the grave --- if such have ever been heard --- startled me as I was resting from my labors.

Spero heard it, as well, and was so frightened that he ran up one of the tallest trees, and hid himself among the great leaves at the top.

That noise set me thinking.

It was not sufficient to possess a house; I must have protection against wild beasts.

To think or desire such a thing was only a trifling preliminary to action.

Early next morning I walked round my house and ex amined my possessions.

Instead of making a stockade just around my house, I conceived a grander idea.

I would enclose sufficient to give me a good farm, poultry yard, and cattle-enclosure.

At the back of the house was a large plateau of grass, fringed with a semicircular row of palms.

I had only to cut down about half a dozen trees on the plateau to have a clear space of a quarter of an acre, as near as I could judge.

These trees would help to build my stockade.

Spero entered into the spirit of the work with great gusto all that day, and we cut down and sawed a good many trees.

My idea was to cut the trees into ten-foot lengths and stand them on end, splicing them together and securing them to the growing trees by cross-pieces and cord.

I had found a creeping vine whose tendrils were of great length and enormous strength; these tendrils I dried and used them in place of rope, and they were as good as any hempen cord ever made. .

"Let us try a length," I said to Spero, and we commenced our work of building a stockade.

Between two trees there was a space of fifteen feet --- that was the longest we should have --- and so it made the best test.

Having fastened a long tree crosswise to the growing ones, on the outside, we carried our ten-foot lengths of timber and stood them up.

One of our ropes was secured to the growing tree, and twisted round the first loose timber, then to the second, and so on.

It took twenty trees to fill up the space, but when all were in position, and another tree fastened crosswise on the inside, we had fifteen feet of fence which would have required a considerable amount of strength to knock down.

I was beginning to believe Spero a model workman. "One thing in his favor," I said, "he wil1 never strike, or ask for higher wages; he may mutiny, but I don't think he will."

I had been rather premature in my thought, for on the next morning I found myself alone.

I cooked my breakfast, which consisted of some boiled eggs --- I had found a species of fowl whose eggs were more delicious than hen's eggs, and it was this breed I intended securing for my poultry-yard.

What had become of Spero?

Perhaps he had gone to the new house and commenced work.

That consoled me, for I grieved at his absence, he was such a good workman, and then, even the company of a baboon was better than complete solitude.

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Georges Dodds
William Hillman

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