|Chapter I.||Conversation on the subject of Robinson Crusoe -- Origin of that Book -- Wild Desires of a little Boy -- Departure of Mrs. Crusoe and her Daughter.|
|Chapter II.||Charles Crusoe's Education -- Sets out with his Father for England -- Conversation on Desolate Islands -- A terrible Storm-arises --The Vessel is wrecked on the Coast of an Island.|
|Chapter III.||They collect Remains of the Wreck -- Save the Parrot -- Captain Gordon very ill -- They bury the Captain -- Sambo sees a Ship -- Mr. Crusoe goes to the further End of the Island -- Charles very ill -- A great Storm of Thunder, &c.|
|Chapter IV.||Charles seeks his Father -- Finds him gone -- His Distress and his Resolution -- He finds the Boat, and secures it -- Prepares the last Food which remains.|
|Chapter V.||Charles exerts himself -- Reads the Bible eagerly -- Account of his Stores -- Kills a Leveret -- Constructs a Fire-place -- Makes an Almanack -- Finds a Turtle -- Weather becomes cold.|
|Chapter VI.||Opens his Box -- The Contents -- Opens the Locker of thee Boat -- Kills two Birds -- Finds a Biscuit-case -- Frightened with small Serpents -- Parrot in Danger -- Contrivance for getting his tin Case -- Finds a Book in Jacket-pocket.|
|Chapter VII.||Makes Bows and Arrows -- Sets out in the Boat, and nears the Islands of Amsterdam -- -Driven back, and lands with Difficulty -- Fire at his Hut -- His great Distress, and Gratitude for his Preservation.|
|Chapter VIII.||Finds the Remains of Serpents in the Fire --Puts Sand round his Hut -- Sees a Ship, which passes on -- His Grief and Agitation -- His Food nearly exhausted.|
|Chapter IX.||Charles blames himself for despairing -- Prepares for another Voyage -- Finds wild Carrots -- Sees a Ship -- Sets out in the Boat -- Approaches the Vessel -- Loses sight of it, and returns -- Plants the Captain's Grave.|
|Chapter X.||Charles goes to watch in the Tree -- Hears a Voice, which is not the Parrot's -- Discovers a great Stranger -- Wonderful Events, and great Happiness.|
|Chapter XI.||Account of Mr. Crusoe's Departure from the Island -- His Illness -- Arrival at the Cape -- Distress, and Departure for Ceylon -- Sets out for the Island -- His Arrival, and happy Surprise.|
|Chapter XII.||They arrive at the Cape of Good Hope -- Departure for England -- St. Helena -- Madeira -- Storm in the Bay of Biscay -- Charles useful and manly -- His Timidity -- His Choice of a Profession.|
|Chapter XIII.||They arrive, and proceed to London -- The Surprise of Charles, and Anxiety of his Father -- Find all well -- The Fact of his being alive revealed to his Mother -- The Manner in which he becomes Robinson Crusoe.|
The Young Crusoe
"Dear papa," said little Charles Crusoe to his father, one morning, "do you think that our family is any way related to the famous Robinson Crusoe?"
"I believe not, Charles: but what may be your reason for inquiring?"
"Because I have just been reading the history of Robinson Crusoe, which was in the packet of books my aunt sent me from England; and I did so very much love him and admire him, that I wished he had been my own great-great-grandfather, or something of that kind. I was, however, afraid it was not so, because I know the Crusoes are a Staffordshire family, and he was a Yorkshireman; and the Crusoes were gentlemen, I suppose, when he was only a poor man."
"I believe you are right in your conjectures, my dear Charles, and by no means wrong in your feelings; for so delightful is the story of Robinson Crusoe, that not only as a boy, but a man, have I read it many a time over myself, with the deepest interest."
"And you think it is all true, papa?"
"Not all Charles. In the. first- place, the name is not true; for the poor man who was really left in the desolate situation described, was called Alexander Selkirk; in the second, it is not true that he was shipwrecked, for the fact was, that his captain, to his eternal disgrace, put him on shore, in the year 1703, on the Island-of Juan Fernandez, at which place he was found, in 1709, by Captain Rogers, of Bristol. He was a Scotchman by birth, and probably decently educated, as he was sailing-master of a privateer, at the time of this misfortune; but in giving his adventures to the world, thought proper to employ a clever man, called Daniel Defoe, already well known as a writer. This author compiled the story of Robinson Crusoe, therefore, partly from the real situation of Selkirk, and partly from the experience of other adventurers; so that although it is not true as a whole, it probably is so in all its details; and it is certain, that he has thrown over it such an air of reality, it is impossible for the mind of any reader not to assent to the whole."
"I am much obliged to you for telling me all this, papa; but if you won[']t think me childish, I shall choose to believe it all true, the same as I used to do. I love Robinson Crusoe dearly, he was so courageous, and active, and ingenious; he had so many clever contrivances in his hut, and such droll ways of dressing himself; and then he tamed the creatures so as to be quite companions to him. I shall always think of him when I teach the parrot to talk, and the monkey to play tricks. Perhaps I may be thrown on a desolate island myself, some day, you know, papa."
"To judge from your countenance, Charles, such a fate would be by no means disagreeable to you,"
"Why really, papa, I think I should not much mind it, provided I had a gun, and plenty of powder, and knew how to use it."
"Well my boy, though I sincerely hope that you will never be left, either on a desolate island, or in any other situation which cuts you off from the comforts of social life, which are of much more importance than a child like you can estimate, yet I am glad that you are of an active, enterprising disposition. Let our situation be ever so desperate, we should never despair; and if it were ever so lonely, we yet know that there is One above, who can hear our prayers, and reply to them also, by delivering us from our afflictions."
The father and son now separated, for Mr. Crusoe, who was an English merchant, resident at Bombay, in the East Indies, had some particular business to attend to. Charles, however, repeated the conversation, (with many comments of his own), to his sister Emily, and even his mamma, who took some pains in pointing out to him the obligations he was under to the friends and servants by whom he was surrounded, and how impossible it would be, for a person accustomed like himself to the comforts and elegancies of life, to subsist in a state of utter destitution.
Charles soon was brought to acknowledge that he should want a great many things, and that he should be very unhappy if deprived of his parents and friends: but he had adopted very high notions of the power of man's endurance, and he maintained that persons of his sex ought, and could, go through a great deal without repining.
Mrs. Crusoe smiled at his enthusiasm, but would not repress it, further than was necessary; for, like his father, she sought to turn it to a good account. Whenever, therefore, she saw Charles listless and indolent, desirous of calling his servant to do that which he could do for himself, negligent of his lessons, or averse to exercise, which are all common failings in the east, she used to assure him "that he never would do for a Robinson Crusoe."
This observation frequently roused him to exertion; and of course his sensible and affectionate parents were glad to awaken in him those energies which are so necessary to every young person, but especially to boys who are so situated.
Our young friend was, at this time, about ten years old, and was, happily, blest with an excellent constitution, which the cares of his mother preserved to him though they were not equally. effective for her daughter, who was about two years younger, and was very delicate. When indeed she had attained her tenth year, the little girl became so poorly, that the medical men entreated Mrs. Crusoe to set out with her for England; and accordingly they departed for their native land, at a very short notice.
Mr. Crusoe wished much to give his son the benefit of an English education, but he could not at this period bring himself to part with the only comfort which remained to him; and as he resolved to settle his affairs as speedily as possible, and follow his lady, he thought Charles would not be any great loser by the delay, especially as he shared with a young friend the cares of a very excellent tutor. Under these circumstances, therefore, the boy remained at Bombay about a year and a half longer, when, with his dear father, who was now become almost his sole companion, he set out for England, having previously visited Elephanta, and whatever was most beautiful, in the environs of Bombay.
When Charles Crusoe left England, he was such a very young child, that his memory could not furnish him with any recollections beyond a faint idea of his grandpapa, whom he had loved very dearly; but as this affection had been tenderly nursed by his parents, who had in every respect sought to impress him with general love to his country, and particular regard for his family, he was delighted with the thoughts of his voyage. It may indeed be supposed, that if England had contained only his beloved mother and sister, he would have rejoiced in the idea of going to them, but to this was added extreme anxiety, to see that country, about which all the persons he knew were continually talking, in language which bespoke sorrow for having left it, or desire to return to it. He had been told that Bombay was more beautiful, that the country was more rich, the fruits finer, the style of living more splendid, and that no people in_England were carried about in palanquins, or served by menials with the profound respect, and implicit obedience, of the natives who attended on him here; but this information had no other effect than to quicken his desire of living there. He remembered, that all the little books came from England -- that the kind tutor, to whose instruction he was so much indebted for higher knowledge than they had communicated, was English also; so that both early and late recollections pointed to this country, as the source of his highest pleasures. To this might be added, the fixed belief that his own countrymen, were the most heroic, learned, and good people in the world; and he naturally desired to behold the land in which they were nurtured, and to become one in a land of which he had been reading and thinking so much.
As Charles had made several short vovages with his parents, during their residence at Bombay, he did not experience much inconvenience from sea-sickness; and he was delighted with the manoeuvring of the ship, which was a noble vessel, called the Alexander, commanded by Captain Gordon, who was a sensible, amiable, and pious man, with whom Mr. Crusoe had been long acquainted. There were not many passengers on board, and several were in a state of bad health, so that the captain's society, when it could be obtained, was more than usually valuable to Mr. Crusoe; but Charles (as might be supposed) found company and amusement more easily, and was soon known and liked by every seaman on board. He had also brought with him his parrot, and a little dog, which had been lately a substitute for his monkey; and a native orphan boy, who had been some years the attendant and playfellow of Charles, accompanied them, as he declared "him heart will break if him no go;" therefore his voyage in every respect promised to be agreeable.
As Captain Gordon had some business at Calicut, on the same coast with Bombay, they put in there for a few days, by which means Charles got an opportunity of seeing this city, the capital of a kingdom of the same name, which was, at one time, so extensive and powerful, that the sovereign took the title of "King of Kings." It was exceedingly reduced by Hyder Ali, who caused the cocoa-nut trees and sandal wood, with which it abounded, to be cut down, and the pepper roots to be pulled up, thereby destroying the natural riches of the land. After his time, Tippoo Saib committed horrid cruelties here, many of which were related to Charles by persons who had been eyewitnesses, of them; and thev told him that the citv of Calicut, once so flourishing, had now little to support it, except the wood of the teak trees, which is cut down in the neighbouring mountains. These accounts only made him more desirous to reach his native country, and he renewed his voyage with pleasure, hoping that they should stop at the Cape of Good Hope even. a shorter time than they had done at Calicut.
On leaving Calicut they soon came within view of the Laccadive Islands, and the weather being clear and fine, they appeared beautifully spotting the bosom of the ocean, like emeralds on a robe of azure. Mr. Crusoe told Charles that there were no less than thirty of them, that they were covered with trees, and for the most part surrounded with rocks; and that the inhabitants went in flat-bottomed boats to the nearest coast, where they disposed of dried fish and ambergris, and in return got dates and coffee.
"Then," exclaimed Charles, "there is no such thing, it seems, as an uninhabited island? I should like to see one, of all things."
"I believe there are several in these seas; but as we are not going on a voyage of discovery, it is not likely we should touch at any of them, unless it is Ascension Isle, which is little better than a barren rock, and would, I fear, not satisfy your curiosity."
"No, papa; I should like something to explore ; I would have curious plants, and canes, and trickling springs, and beautiful birds, on my island, and a round hill in the middle, that I might see the extent of my dominions."
"I wish I had you at home, my boy; I would find one in the Thames, just to your taste, or, perhaps, on one of the lakes in Cumberland."
Charles thought his papa was laughing at him, and he felt inclined to be angry; but he knew himself to be a little romantic in his notions, and fond of that which was wild and marvellous, so he turned it off with a laugh, saying -- "He should not like to be lord of an island no bigger than a compound which is the name in India for what we call a homestead;" on which his father said, with serious approbation in his look -- "My dear boy, I perceive you are lord of yourself, which is better than any other power; always pursue this command, and whether you are thrown on a desert island or a busy world, you will be wise and happy."
They now left the Laceadives far behind, and saw around them only the vast ocean, bounded by the skies. Charles thought it a loyely and almost appalling prospect, and sought, with more avidity than he had ever done before, that little world within the vessel, which might be called all that remained to its inhabitants. He never failed, however, to watch the sunset, which, under their present situation, for several successive evenings, presented a glorious spectacle. The most gorgeous colours of the rainbow, mingled with a flood of golden light, which overspread sides and seas with glory, and even in its departure seemed to give a promise of return.
This magnificent sight never failed to give Charles not only sensations of innocent, but holy delight; he would frequently repeat parts of Thomson's hymn, or the invocation to the sun, in the Paradise Lost; and he frequently declared, "that it was worth while to endure the monotony of the voyage twice over, for the sake of seeing the sun set so grandly." On the fifth night that they witnessed it, there were symptoms of a wind coming on, by no means of a favourable description, and the pleasure all the passengers had enjoyed in watching it, were exceedingly damped.
The next day proved that their fears were but too well founded; the wind whistled in the cordage, compelled the sailors to reef the sails, and finally agitated the waves, and, apparently, drove the vessel in a clean contrary direction to that in which they sought ,to steer her. The skies were at this time clear; nevertheless, the sun went down unnoticed, save by those who sought, from their observations, to foretell the length of the gale; and so far as Charles could judge, from their looks, the prospect was not favourable. When the waves first began to swell, and the wind to lift up its voice, as it were, in a threatening strain, the boy felt rather pleased than otherwise; for as he had an insatiable curiosity on all points connected with nautical pursuits, he wished to see a storm, and in the wild commotion of the elements, he rather enjoyed the sublimity of the scene than feared its power. The sight of the captain's anxious countenance first drew him from the contemplation of the billows; and when, like the other passengers, he was ordered to leave the deck, he began to question his papa, with much solicitude, as to the probable duration of the storm, and its effects.
"I hope, my dear, it will not last long, for we have already been driven considerably out of our track; we are, however, happy in being at a distance from the Maldives, or any other islands; and as we are about crossing the line, I hope we shall soon fall in with another wind, and regain what we have lost." These hopes a few hours afterwards appeared in a likely way to be fulfilled, as there was an evident abatement of the storm; but before an other day and night had passed, it was renewed with more fury than before. The ship was now so violently tossed, that every thing on board was in confusion; rain descended in torrents, and there were such frequent storms of thunder and lightning, that they expected destruction every moment. To add to their distress, the captain (who was advanced in years) became so ill, that it was with the utmost difficulty that he did his duty; but his consciousness of the inability of the second in command, induced him to persist in giving orders, and inspecting every thing on board with unceasing vigilance.
In the course of three or four days, their once-beautiful vessel was stripped of sails, masts, and cordage, and reduced to a mere hull, which rolled and plunged, like, a huge porpoise, as if every instant it was going to sink, and be no more seen. When the sun was going down on the sixth night in which they had been thus suffering, one of the sailors espied land, and the captain exerted himself to the utmost to discover where they might be. He concluded at length, that the island now visible was that of Amsterdam, on which he had been many years before, when he went out in the suite of Lord Macartney to China. He said -- "The island was formerly a volcano, and was still exceedingly hot, and had no good water upon it; and that there was only one harbour where it was possible to land, therefore he was glad that the wind drove them from it." He owned, however, "that when he had been there, some American seamen were living on the island, for the purpose of collecting seals' skins, as the shores abound with these creatures."
On learning this, the crew and passengers became impatient to effect a landing on this island, thinking that any situation must be better than that which they were in; and seeing the ship was utterly unmanageable,, they determined on putting to sea in the long-boat, and, if possible, reaching the island by that harbour the captain described. He had said it was only six miles long; and as they had now seen it by an uncertain light for some hours, and were conscious they were drifting from it every moment, they concluded it was possible that they had a chance for life from this effort, which was evidently the only one which remained to them.
The captain, worn out alike with sickness arid fatigue, could only declare -- "That he would die in his vessel;" and so fully persuaded was Mr. Crusoe, that death was inevitable on either hand, that he said -- "Himself and son would take their chance with him;" but he gave Sambo, his servant, full liberty to go; and earnestly recommended him to the kindness of those around him. When, however, the poor boy understood what they were about, he protested, that -- "Him live with him sahib [*Master] -- him die with him sahib;" and sitting down at his master's feet, he seemed ready to meet the death which threatened him.
"You are willing to remain, my dear Charles?" said Mr. Crusoe, questioningly, as he drew his son to his bosom.
Certainly, certainly!" said the poor boy, as he eagerly embraced his father; "you know what is best, papa: besides, I would not leave you for the world."
There was no power of reply to any purpose, for the noise of the wind and sea, the hasty removal of persons into the boat, the shrieks for assistance from some who met a watery grave in their descent, the cries of others for friends or property, completed the confusion.
In a short time all were gone, save the four persons we have mentioned, who were now huddled together in the dark, and appeared drifting fast from the land they had seen, towards some other coast, and the captain now recollected the little island of St. Paul, and said -- "He apprehended they were near it."
Scarcely had he made the remark, when a loud and terrible cry rose on the gale, and they were thus rendered aware of the destruction of their late companions, who had already been swallowed by the, raging sea.
Still the billows raged, and every motion of the vessel seemed likely to be her last. Not a word was spoken; but undoubtedly every heart was engaged in prayer, when one sea, more tremendous than the rest, drove them (as it appeared from the shock they received) upon a rock, from which it was evident they were not moved by several succeeding waves.
The captain now suggested the necessity of preserving presence of mind, and gave various directions for their conduct, under the persuasion, that in a few minutes the ship would break in pieces, and, as it were, vanish from under them. This effect did not, however, immediately take place, and in a short time they became sensible that the storm was abating, which left them hope that they might retain their present position till morning.
At length the long-looked-for day rose, and discovered to our shipwrecked friends the situation in which they were placed. The ship was not upon a rock, for there are none round this island, which was indeed that of St. Paul, as the captain had surmised;. it was driven, by the violence of the wind, into the deep sandy soil, with such force, that it could never be afterwards moved by the waves, which had made numerous breaches in the sides, into which the water was pouring at the end nearest to the sea. On perceiving this, Mr. Crusoe made haste to procure a plank, to use as a bridge, for them to pass to the land, and proposed immediately that they should take as many things as they could out of the vessel, before they were rendered useless by the encroaching water.
Sambo and Charles lost not a moment in obeying these orders; but the captain was so ill, as to be unable to lend a helping hand; and it was with the utmost difficulty that they could enable him to land, for he was not only worn out with anxiety and fatigue, but under the influence of a consuming fever. Mr. Crusoe's first care was to look for a shady place, on which to spread his bedding, that he might lie down, and, if possible, obtain some repose.
At a little distance they found a grassy spot, which formed a glade in a beautiful grove, through which a little limpid stream of pure water ran gurgling towards the ocean. Several birds were already beginning to sing their welcome to the morning, and a cool refreshing breeze ran quivering through the leaves. Every thing around was calm and beautiful, offering a striking contrast with the tremendous storm they had so lately witnessed; and poor Mr. Crusoe observed, with a melancholy smile, to his son -- "My dear boy, you have now got a desolate island, and a very pretty one it is, so far as I can see."
"It is not desolate, papa, if you are here." said poor Charles, as the tears sprung to his eyes.
Mr. Crusoe clasped his son in his arms; he thanked God that he was preserved to him, at least for the present; but he thought on his dear wife and daughter, now far distant, and his tears flowed also. Remembering soon, that it was not by thus indulging his feelings that he could assist his friend, and that to him alone must they all look for guidance and protection, he checked his emotion; and when he had seen his sick friend laid down in comparative comfort, he readily assisted the boys in getting all out of the vessel which the late storm had left, which was likely to be of use to them in their present distress.
There is nothing which makes little troubles so light as the remembrance of great ones. Our travellers had just escaped with life; they had also obtained rest, after enduring incessant fear and toil; therefore, though their situation was full of solicitude, they did not, for the present, feel it. When a fire was lighted, and some coffee made, though the biscuit unfortunately was wet, and there was but little provision of any kind good, all enjoyed their breakfasts, looked round upon their houseless abode with admiration, devoutly thanked God for giving it to them, and employed their minds busily in contriving the means of existing upon it, or escaping from it; but all eagerly inquired of the captain what he happened to know concerning it.
"All I recollect hearing on the subject is this, that the island of St. Paul is to the north of the island of Amsterdam, and within sight of it, that it is covered with shrubs and trees, and has abundance of sweet-water, which Amsterdam is without. Having no safe anchorage or landing-place, it is almost unknown."
Do you think a signal of distress could be seen from hence to Amsterdam?" said Mr. Crusoe.
"Yes; but I fear there is no person now residing there, for it was considered a great wonder, for the American sailors I saw to have staid a single winter; and I have never heard of any other person meeting with any inhabitants since that time."
Mr. Crusoe, on hearing this, became exceedingly anxious to secure any tools which might be left, on the ship, thinking that as their only chance of escape seemed to lie in forming a boat, or raft, these things were of all others most valuable. On returning to the wreck, he perceived that it was now completely parted, and the carpenter's tools were unfortunately lost; but a small (gentleman's) tool-chest was found in the cabin, and now eagerly seized upon, together with some canisters of gunpowder, which had hitherto escaped them, and some clothes of Captain Gordon's.
When Sambo had been sent on the island with these things, Mr. Crusoe began to examine portions of the parting vessel, and fasten ropes about them, with Charles's assistance, in order to drag them ashore.
"But surely, dear papa, you cannot expect to make a boat that would hold four people with such a set of tools? or, if your boat was made, could you go farther than the neighbouring island; and what good would that do?"
"A great deal, Charles. It would be one step gained which is encouragement; and to keep alive hope, in our situation, is a great point, and a difficult one, at my time of life, though not at yours. Besides, employment is invaluable to us; you know I long since told you never to despair -- to that advice I now add, never be idle"
Misser Sharly! Misser Sharly!" cried a voice.
"That is my parrot -- my pretty Poll! How could I forget her! Where can she be?"
It was evident to Mr. Crusoe that the poor bird was in great terror, and he recollected that he had been given some days before into the keeping of a sailor, because he disturbed the captain, since which time, in their distress, he had been forgotten. On looking round, he perceived Poll in his cage, which was attached to a plank, now slowly floating from the island. By venturing into the sea, far enough to throw a rope with effect, Mr. Crusoe moved the plank, to the great joy of Charles, who had followed him; and in a short time, the half-drowned bird was rescued from his perilous situation. The parrot was found almost starved, for his cage had no remains of food in it; and on reaching the island, it was Charles's first care to supply his wants; but as the poor creature continued to cry incessantly all the words he had learnt, he, very properly, carried him to a considerable distance, as the captain was now asleep.
Mr. Crusoe flattered himself that when his old friend awoke, he would be much amended, and even able to assist in forming a vessel in which they might escape, when the state of the weather was.favourable. To his great sorrow, when the poor gentleman again spoke, it was in a voice so weak and faint, as to preclude all hopes of his recovery, especially as his appetite was utterly gone, and he was unable to raise his head from the pillow without support. He had been a sincere Christian, and expressed himself perfectly resigned to death, and devoutly thanked God that, even in this desolate situation, he had a kind, sympathizing friend to sooth his last moments; but he lamented much that he had with him bonds and notes equal to a considerable fortune, of which his grandchildren would be deprived, in consequence of his death, unless it was in the power of Mr. Crusoe to preserve them. He said that he had placed them about his person, when the wreck became inevitable, because it was possible he might escape; but now he felt that all was over, and the little family of orphans would never obtain his property; "yet," he added, "I know their heavenly Father will provide for them, even if this property is lost to them, for 'He is a husband to the widow, and a father to the fatherless,' and will help my poor grandchildren! and I even trust you, or your son, will live to reach England, in which case I know you will see justice done to them.
He then told Mr. Crusoe to feel in his pocket, and take out a little Bible, in which he desired Charles to read several chapters, which he named, saying -- "His time was now so short, it was better that he should not talk farther of his worldly affairs." After Charles had read those portions of the word of God, which he found especially dear and valuable, his mind seemed much consoled, and his spirits renovated. He gave Mr. Crusoe a great deal of valuable information on the subject of the winds in those seas, and the times when a little vessel might navigate them in safety; also when the proper time would arrive in which ships might (from different routes being adopted) come within their signals. Every word he said was carefully treasured, both by father and son, who all night long knelt by him, with beating hearts, and frequently with streaming eyes.
When the sun arose, he looked smilingly on the light, and said something, in a low voice, of the sun of righteousness; then put his little Bible in Charles's hands, as a dying bequest, saying -- "It will be your companion in the wilderness, and your guardian in the world; therefore take this blessed book, my dear boy, and never forsake it!"
Poor Charles, deeply affected, took the sacred volume, and placed it in his bosom, fervently kissing the hand that presented it -- that hand was cold even now, and in a few minutes more, the last sigh escaped the lips of the good old captain.
Mr. Crusoe was sincerely grieved for the loss of this worthy man, nor could he fail to look forward with extreme anxiety for the fate which awaited his survivors. He knew that by exertion alone could they be relieved from the more appalling death which threatened them; and after allowing the sorrow of Charles time to subside, he addressed himself to the painful task of examining the body, and taking thence the important papers, of which the captain had spoken.
In this melancholy duty Charles assisted his father, whilst Sambo went to a place at a little distance, pointed out by his master, where, with such tools as they had procured, he endeavoured to dig a grave.
Mr. Crusoe found in Captain Gordon's bosom several sheets of parchment, and also his will, and in his pockets a bill-book, a case of jewels, and a purse of gold; and wrapping all up together, he began to cast about for a place where he could deposit them safely, observing, that his clothes were already wet, and as it was likely he might be again induced to go into the sea, it was better to put them in a dry place.
Charles recollected, when he took his parrot to a distance, seeing a little mound of earth, which appeared somewhat broken in like a cavern, and formed the only diversity from the level surface, which he had yet seen on the island. To this place he conducted his father, who observed, that, by a little labour, this spot might be rendered a valuable habitation, as it was already sufficiently cavernous to afford them shelter in case of rain, together with their stores, and that the trees grew around it in such a manner, that the ropes, which they luckily possessed, might be so twisted about the trunks, as to guard them from wild beasts, if there were such on the island. For the present, he laid the handkerchief, with its valuable contents, on a flat stone, and covered it with another, and then returned to the spot where his poor friend still lay on the mattress, where he had breathed his last.
Having wrapped the body in a sailcloth, which they had used to carry their stores in from the vessel, the father and son proceeded to the place where the poor boy was still digging; and when Mr, Crusoe had so far assisted his labours as to make the grave sufficiently deep, they laid the body into it, and then all knelt down, whilst the friend, father, master, and mourner, poured from his heart a short but deeply-affecting prayer, to that Almighty Protector, whose eye alone beheld them -- whose hand alone could sustain them: all remained silent many minutes afterwards, and when they arose, they pursued the necessary labour of covering the grave, and placing over it a few planks from his own ship, still meditating on the captain's fate. When this last "labour of love" was ended, Mr. Crusoe, aware that young minds cannot be long exercised on any painful subject, without injury to those energies necessary for their health and activity, urged the boys to prepare some food, and spoke with a cheerfulness he was far from feeling, but which had soon the happiest effect on his young companions.
Mr. Crusoe now armed both himself and the boys, and set out to make the circuit of the island. They found it so overgrown with trees and brushwood, that it was with the utmost difficulty they could proceed in some places, and in others it was covered with beautiful long grass, which they trod with caution, lest it should harbour snakes or scorpions. None such were observed, nor any animal on the ground, except a few rabbits, or small hares, which from time to time crossed their path. The trees were much more full of life, for numerous beautiful birds were there, some of which they had never seen before; but many of them were familiar to them, and on these they gazed with great delight, as a kind of old friends that had shared their voyage and their troubles. When they had proceeded, as they supposed,, about a mile and a half, they arrived at a little promontory, which ran far into the sea, and on which was a small tree or two; but there was no rock, neither any bay, so far as they could observe, which proved Captain Gordon's information correct; and Mr. Crusoe felt his heart sink, as he perceived the impossibility (even if they could make a boat of sufficient magnitude to put out to sea) of launching it from such a shore. He yet thought, if ever they were so happy as to attain this power, it must be from this spot that they should go, and he examined it with great anxiety, from this consideration.
Whilst Mr. Crusoe was thus employed, Sambo had climbed into one of the trees, to look out, as he said, "for one great shippy;" and as the evening was perfectly calm, and his master knew that the Indian had extraordinary eyes, he waited patiently for some time; but was just going to call the boy down, when he declared, that though he saw no shippy in sea or in sky he saw their own big boat rolly, rolly, very slow, bottom at top.
This circumstance Mr. Crusoe considered extremely probable, and hope sprung in his heart at the idea of regaining this vessel, which was infinitely superior to any which he could ever hope to form; and such was his anxiety on the subject, that being a good swimmer, he would immediately have jumped into the sea, in hopes to find it, and guide it to the spot; but the evening was too far advanced for Sambo to give any directions, nor even to perceive it when he looked again; nor had he any rope with him wherewith to secure it. Besides, the idea of his father going out into the sea at so late an hour, the very day when they had been all so deeply affected by the loss of their friend, so completely overcame poor Charles, that he besought him on his knees to desist, declaring -- "That on this terrible day he was utterly unable to bear him out of his sight for a moment"
Mr. Crusoe took his child's hand, and immemediately pursued their walk, which brought them, within half an hour, to the cavern, where the poor captain's property was deposited, and where Mr. Crusoe said he would sleep that night. Sambo immediately began preparing to light a fire, as he had done the preceding nights; but Mr. Crusoe being convinced that there was nothing to fear from wild beasts, told him it was unnecessary; but proceeded with him to the spot where their bedding and victuals remained, and having eaten some cold pork and biscuit, and addressed their evening prayers to Heaven, they all betook themselves to that repose they so greatly required: Mr. Crusoe slept on the mattress; the boys had each a blanket, and laid on the grass, which was deep, soft, and dry.
The next morning Mr. Crusoe's first care was so to increase the excavation, as to render it an effectual shelter in case of storm, which, with their joint labour, became, in the course of the day, effected to a considerable degree; after which they so contrived to line it with portions of the broken vessel still left on the coast, as to keep the earth from crumbling on their heads. Mr. Crusoe considered this work of the utmost importance, because there was not in the whole island any rock or mound that could afford them the least shelter from the rain; and although the weather was at this time beautifully clear and calm, nothing could be more probable than that a tremendous storm might arise in the course of a single hour; and as they had perceived many fallen trees in the course of their walk, there was reason to fear this island was often visited by terrible tempests.
The next morning Mr. Crusoe determined to set out, and, if possible, recover the boat, and for this purpose he took with him whatever appeared necessary. Whilst collecting his materials, Charles employed himself in gathering a species of wild oranges, which he had observed grew in quantities round their hut, and which, although bitter, assuaged the thirst of which both himself and his father complained. Sambo had again climbed into a tree, and on his hasty descent, declared so positively that he saw a ship, at a great distance, that every other thing was forgotten, in the anxiety to put up signals of distress.
Their first care was to take one of the pair of sheets which lay on their bed, and suspend it from a tree near the spot where they landed; and the other was taken by Mr. Crusoe, to hang up at the other end of the island. He then gave Charles the captain's glass, and told him to station himself there, and keep a sharp lookout, and from time to time fire a gun, as a signal. As the highest trees were in the middle of the island, Sambo was directed to climb up on them; and if he saw the vessel within certain limits, to make signs, either to his master or Charles, as agreed on between them.
Yet much calculated as this great event was to enliven all parties, the Indian boy was the only one who seemed really alert. Charles obeyed his father mechanically, for his eye was heavy, and his motions slow; but he knew that every thing depended on attracting the attention of the vessel, and he remembered that it was in compliance with his request, urged in the agony of the moment, that his father had abandoned his intention of seeking the boat, and therefore it was particularly his duty to do his utmost to forward his views. For this purpose he also climbed the tree on which Sambo had been; but notwithstanding he had the benefit of the glass, he could see nothing; but he knew the fault was in his own eyes, which ached excessively ever since he awoke; therefore he quickly came down, saying -- "That he believed Sambo was more to be depended on than him, and begging his papa to pursue his plan."
Mr. Crusoe took a portion of food with him, and set out, having placed some in the hands of Sambo also, Charles declining any thing but the fruit he had gathered. As his father's figure slowly withdrew from his eyes, the poor boy felt exceedingly grieved to part from him, even for a few hours, and remarked that he too walked with slow and lingering steps, as one either oppressed by bodily disease, or severe sorrow. -- "Alas!" said he, "it is no wonder that he is weak and poorly; besides, I know he is thinking of my dear mamma continually."
Charles roused himself from this painful recollection, as well as he could; and in a short time it was certain he ceased to think of this or any other trouble, except that which was connected with his own sensations, which were now become very distressing. He had a dreadful headache, was excessively sick, yet very thirsty, and was alternately of a shuddering coldness, or burning like fire. Several times he determined to fire, in order that his papa, or Sambo, might come to his assistance; but the fear of adding to his father's uneasiness, or being the means of preventing him from accomplishing his purpose, prevented him.
Finding, at length, that he could not watch any longer on the shore, he left the flag and his gun, and tried to crawl towards the hut, which he was approaching with the greatest difficulty, when poor Samho joined him, and perceived how ill he was. He declared that the heat was so terrible, he could not remain on the watch any longer, and expressed his surprise that his master had not returned; and thinking to cheer Charles, he predicted many good things from his protracted stay. -- "Eder him get boaty, else him find large shippy, come and take them all away."
But Charles was now too ill to give even a faint smile to Sambo's predictions; and at length he fell down on the ground, utterly unable to proceed, holding his forehead with his hands, and crying, with a faint voice, for a little water. Sambo left him with extreme reluctance, even for a few moments; and when he returned with water, tried to carry him on his back to the hut; by slow degrees, at length, accomplishing his purpose.
When Charles was sheltered from the rays of the sun, he experienced a little relief, but Sambo continued to complain bitterly of the heat, and the oppression of the air, which, he said -- "lie on him head, and him shoulder, like blanket."
Charles concluded that it was this unusual heat which had affected him so severely; but yet he well remembered that some of his symptoms exactly resembled those of which Captain Gordon used to complain; and he began to think, with great justice, that he had caught the fever of which he died. Under this idea, whenever Sambo suggested the idea of going for his master, or firing the gun as a signal of distress, Charles told him not to do so, for it would only alarm his father, and cause him to come, and catch the complaint also; and when he desired Sambo to give him a little water, or squeeze the juice of an orange for him, he always said -- "Don't come too near me, Sambo, or you will take my complaint" -- "And, Sambo, if I die, re member to be very, very attentive to poor papa; you can swim as well as him, and I hope you will both get away when I am gone" -- "You will be better without me, Sambo."
This was a kind.of comfort the poor boy could not accept; his grief broke out into violent exclamations, during which Charles thought he heard his papa's gun fired; but as his head was laid on the pillow, he could not be certain., for Sambo had made a considerable noise at the same moment. As, however, it was now beginning to grow rather dusk, and they were both aware that Mr. Crusoe would deem it right that he should know Charles was ill, since he was in possession of some medicines.which might be useful, after lighting a lamp (which was amongst their most valuable treasures), and placing water and fruit within his reach, Sambo set out to urge his master to return.
Some time after he was gone, Charles dropped into a kind of troubled slumber; and when he awakened from it, his recollection was confused. Various images flitted before his eyes; sometimes he thought himself on shipboard during the storm; at others, that he was in his late happy dwelling at Bombay. He called aloud to Sambo and his father many times, but no voice answered thim, except that of the parrot. Then he recollected Captain Gordon, and thought he was conversing with him; and again he believed himself in the sinking ship, for the thunder rolled with tremendous violence, the trees bent down to the ground beneath the wind, and sounded like the waves of the sea; and again he expected to be swallowed up every moment, as he had done a week before.
At length the sense of his more lonely situation, as being unsupported by the tender sympathy of his father, struck him forcibly, and rising from his bed, he crept forward to the mouth of the cave, but the wind and the rain drove him in again; and fearing that both his father and Sambo were lost, and expecting every moment the same fate, he knelt upon the floor, and earnestly besought the Almighty to receive his soul, and permit him, for his Redeemer's sake, to rejoin the beloved parent now taken from him. This pious exercise of his mind, though he was doubtless in a delirious state, brought back to his aching heart the memory of his father's tenderness, and he wept long and bitterly. At length, being worn out with sorrow, terror, and disease, he sunk into a profound sleep upon the grass, on which he had been kneeling.
When poor Charles raised his head from the ground, a sweet breeze was playing in the cave, and a delicious smell from the trees and flowers revived him; he arose, and looked around, and saw the sun shining as at noonday; but the heat was by no means intense, and every thing around looked exceedingly beautiful, as if it had been refreshed by recent showers. He now thought that he had been harassed by troubled dreams, and began by degrees to recollect all that had occurred to him, -- "It is plain," said he, "that I have slept very late, and my father, knowing I was ill yesterday, has left me to repose. Well, I am much better; my head does not throb now: it is time I went out to do my share in watching; besides, I think I am hungry." When poor Charles looked round, he saw water of which he eagerly drank, also dates upon one leaf, and oranges upon another, which recollecting something of Sambo having arranged for him, excited his surprise. He found himself so weak, that he could scarcely crawl out of the hut, when the first thing he beheld, was the tree in which his parrot had been hung, laid prostrate on the ground, and the poor bird; though not otherwise injured, as completely wetted as when he was dipped in the sea. Little thinking how much greater misfortunes had arisen to him, Charles rescued and fed his favourite, assisting him to dry his feathers; and afterwards, he helped himself to some of the provisions he found in the hut, wishing at the same time that Sambo had been with him, to have lighted a fire, and made him a cup of coffee, of which they had fortunately preserved a large canister; and for some time he could not help feeling that it was unkind in them to leave him when he was so ill.
As soon as he felt himself able, he proceeded to that place on the shore which he considered it his duty to attend, and there found, to his great vexation, that the tree on which their flag had waved was laid prostrate, though the sheet was still upon it; and that his gun was sunk, and in a manner buried under the sand. Terrible proofs of the severity of the late storm were seen on every side; and he began to doubl whether all the devastation he witnessed had occurred in the night. A strong idea rose on his mind, that it had been partial daylight at the time when he witnessed the storm; and from the state of extreme weakness he experienced, he thought that he had slept at least twenty-four hours, and of course been without food of any kind two days and a night -- "Then where can my papa be?"
When this terrible question had passed the mind of the poor boy, he felt as if he must run that moment all over the islands to look for him. Alas! he was able to proceed only a very short way, for the high wet grass was to him, for the present, an invincible barrier. He was sadly grieved to think that he could not fire his gun, and bring them to his assistance; and his mind was full of fears, lest his father should have been injured by the storm. Findirig. it impossible to proceed to the end of the island, he returned to the hut, and began, as well as his weak state permitted, to get the materials for a fire, saying, "When poor papa comes in, I will have something warm for him."
Grinding the coffee and boiling it, scraping the biscuit, which was very mouldy, setting the place to rights, as well as he was able, and rejoicing that the rain had been driven over and and not into the hut, and that there were a pair of pistols in it which were uninjured by the weather, employed the mind of Charles till it was quite late at night, when all his anxiety returned. Many a time did he go forth, and shout with all the strength he had; but, alas! that was little; and he had a kind of comfort in thinking, that if he could have made more noise, they would have heard him. He then returned, took a little of the coffee, and ate the dates, reserving the biscuit for his father, saying -- "Surely I shall be better to-morrow;" and often did he repeat to himself his dear father's advice, never to despair. Having lately slept such an unusual time, he now watched the live-long night; but towards morning, his harassed mind happily gave way to that refreshment which was now the only restorative of his enfeebled frame.
On awaking, he was sensible of a.considerable accession of health; and having earnestly intreated help from Heaven, he cut himself a staff from the nearest tree, and set out to seek his father, taking with him a portion of biscuit, and a bottle of cordial, under the idea that wherever he might be, he was in a state of anxiety and exhaustion.
Charles found the labour of walking much less than it had been on the preceding day, because the wet high grass was considerably dried; and when he had proceeded about half-a-mile, he became sensible that the hurricane which had swept so furiously over one part of the little island, had scarcely touched the other. He had seen many trees blown down,several scathed by the lightnings in the beginning of his walk; but as he proceeded., these appearances ceased, and every thing looked the same as it did on the evening when he walked round the island with his father.
It was still very difficult for him to proceed, in his weak state, through the brushwood and grass, without his dear father's arm, and he could, not help entertaining many terrible surmises. Though the wind and rain had confined their ravages to one end of the island, the lightning had probably fallen at the other, and his poor father might be, at that moment, a corpse.
When he emerged from the wood, which completely occupied the middle part of the island, (and, as he hoped, approached the spot where his father kept watch), he fired his pistol, and listened, with intense anxiety, for some answer. He was too weak to raise a loud halloo, therefore he could only practise this mode of challenge; but his repeated firings gained no attention; and he pushed on in extreme agitation, sometimes running a few yards, at others trembling to such a degree, that he sunk down on the ground, as if he could rather die than proceed any further, lest he should find his father a corpse, and Sambo weeping over him.
At length poor Charles reached the point where his father had proposed to watch. It was evident he had done so for the sheet was waving from the tree at the farthest end, and a little nearer there was a large stone, which appeared to have been rolled thither, for the sake of forming a seat. Near it lay his father's silk pocket-handkerchief, (which he seized with eagerness, crying aloud -- "Papa, papa, where are you?speak to me, pray speak to me?" But alas! no answer was made; this part (though there were some trees) was sufficiently open to shew him that no human being was near.
He now perceived that the soft sand seemed as if it had been trodden by many feet, near the place where he stood; but yet it might be only those of his father, as he walked up and down the beach, looking out for a vessel. This place was so evidently the best in the island for such a purpose, that it was utterly unlikely his father should have removed to any other. It was possible -- barely possible, that, worn out with watching, he had returned to the hut, to procure provisions, by one coast of the island, whilst Charles came by the other -- "But then, where was Sambo?"
At all events, weary and faint as he was, he determined to go round that way; but just as he was leaving the little promontory for that purpose, he perceived a cloak, which Sambo wore in rainy weather, (and which it was very probable he had put on, when he went to his father), lying amongst some bushes. What could he-think? Had either one, or both of those he had lost, been killed by the lightning, he should have found their remains. There were no wild beasts on the island, so that they could not have been destroyed. -- "No! no! in a little time he should see them! He must not allow himself to despair."
But it was not a little time, in his present enfeebled and agitated state, that would take the poor boy the circuit he had prescribed himself, though the way was less difficult from impediments than that which he had traversed. He loaded his pistol, took up his staff, and walked forward carefully, as if he feared the creatures which he yet knew the place to be free from. But it was in vain that he looked either towards the beach and the wide expanse of ocean, on the one hand, or among the foliage and high grass on the other; he reached the hut, at length, and, alas! it too was empty, and exactly as he had left it.
The sorrow, the very agony of Charles, now knew no bounds. He had lost his father, who was to him his whole world: his desolation and misery was beyond any thing that we can conceive a child to suffer -- there is not one of my young readers that could have forborne to cry, if they had seen him, thrown on the ground, weeping and wailing for very anguish: he was weak and ill and had no one to nurse and comfort him; he loved his father with the tenderest affection, and he was torn from him, he knew not how; no human being was left on this desolate island, save him now perishing in the cold grave: his situation was desperate and hopeless, beyond all other situations of misfortune and wretchedness.
Last night had been one of wakefulness and sorrow, not unmixed with anger, for he felt that he ought to have been attended to, as being sick; but now no anger blended with his deep, deep affliction. Once it crossed his mind, that, perhaps, his father had seen a vessel, hailed it, and been taken away by it; but this idea he repelled with scorn and indignation. -- " No! no!" he cried; "never would my dear, good father have forsaken me. He would have died a thousand times first! besides, where is poor Sambo? why was his cloak left on the shore? Perhaps they ventured to bathe in the sea, or they swam out together to get the boat, and they are both lost. Oh that I had died with them!"
So extreme was the weakness and exhaustion that the poor child now suffered, from his past illness, long exertion, and violent fits of crying, that he believed he was really going to die; and that God in mercy would remove him, before another day of misery arose upon him. Under this idea, he rose from the ground, to open the cage of the poor parrot, that he might go out and seek for subsistence on the island, when the stock of food he had given him was exhausted. Poll was very sleepy, but Charles, considering it the only living thing that had any interest. in him, could not forbear taking it out, and laid down with it in his bosom, commending himself to God, and begging that he might die without pain.
He fell into a profound sleep, the consequence of crying so long, and of the extraordinary exertion he had used. When he awoke, he was sensible of intolerable hunger; and although his miserable situation came by degrees forcibly to his mind, yet nature impelled him to seek eagerly for provision, before he had, as it were time to reflect on his misery. That source from which he had hitherto been supplied, was now much reduced. The biscuit was nearly finished, and constituted his present meal, with a cup of spring water, into which he put a small portion of the liquor from that flask which he had, the preceding day, taken to support his father, and which they had found in the captain's pocket. It appeared to be of a very strong, but an unpleasant taste, and was most probable a medicine of a restorative quality. Whilst Charles was taking it out of the paper in which it was wrapt, the parrot jumped about him, saying, "Don't be a child, " "Don't be a child," and then stalked back into his own cage. and settled himself comfortably, repeating a few Latin words in a melancholy tone; but from time to time, he screamed out -- "Don't be a child," vehemently.
Charles recollected that these words had often been used by his tutor, when he had shewn an indisposition to his lessons; and he had no doubt but the sight and rustling of the paper had brought them into the bird's memory: nevertheless, they were words which, in his present forlorn state, seemed very applicable. He found, to use his own term, that "he could not die." He remembered that he had once even wished to be placed, like Robinson Crusoe, on a desert island, and find the means of existence solely from his own exertion. -- "Ah!" cried he, as this thought came into his mind, "I was then a very silly boy: I did not know my obligations to my dear parents, nor our servants, nor even the people amongst whom I lived, since every creature I knew, more or less, contributed to my safety and happiness. I am now punished for my ingratitude and folly. I am left to pine away my life in solitude, to die at last of hunger, without one kind voice to cheer me."
"Don't be a child," "Don't be a child," cried the parrot.
Poor Charles, who was again weeping bitterly, wiped his eyes, and once more betook him to searching for any vestiges of his father. As before, he obtained no trace of him whatever; but in surveying the coast, he found the boat of which they had been in search, now actually upon the sands, where it had been left by the receding waves. "Had his father and Sambo lost their lives in a vain endeavour to regain this boat?" Again he searched anxiously for their bodies, which, in that case, would, by the same direction of the waves, have been washetl on the shore. No vestiges of them were ever found, besides Sambo's cloak, which, it was certain, he would throw off, when he went into the water to assist his master. "Was it not possible that they had recovered the boat, and put to sea, with an intention of fetching him, seeing the boat was considerably nearer to the hut than the little promontory; and that in this situation they had been picked up by some vessel from the neighbouring island: or perhaps, they had been driven very far out to sea, in the violence of the storm, and were then taken up by some vessel that could not come for him."
In this thought, the poor boy took great comfort; for he was certain that his father would leave no means untried, to bring him from the island, when he once reached a port, and had the means of hiring a vessel; and till that time arrived, he thought he could have patience to wait, and courage to endure, the evils of his situation.
He remembered that his papa had repeatedly told him, "Never to despair;" that Captain Gordon had said -- "it was a chance of a thousand that a single ship should be seen in those seas, for the following three months; but that after that time, many might be expected to navigate within such a distance, as that their signals might be seen, so that if they could make shift to live that time, relief might be confidently expected; especially if they could construct a boat with which to venture out a few leagues:" to which Mr, Crusoe had replied -- "With so many birds and hares about us, and the sea into the bargain, we shall surely not want food; and I think we shall manage to make a raft of some kind."
"Now I have got a boat," cried Charles, as these words rose to his mind; and he instantly returned to the hut, where he had still some cordage, though his father had taken a coil of the best with him, when he left him for the last time. It was not without great labour that he at length succeeded in securing the vessel, which he effected, partly by tying her to the strongest tree in the neighbourhood, and partly by filling her with stones and sand from the beach. When this was done, he returned to the hut, lighted a fire, and boiled the last piece of pork he had, in the tea-kettle, which was the only vessel he possessed, capable of such a service.
From the time that our unfortunate exile made up his mind not to expect relief for three months, and to hope that his dear father had, by some unknown means, been delivered, his mind gained considerable strength, and he resolved that he would indeed "not be a child," but meet the exigencies of his case like a man. He did not like to hear the parrot use these words, therefore he took some pains to teach him to say, "Don't despair, my dear boy," instead, both because the words reminded him of his papa, and taught him his duty. Of course there were many, many times, when his spirits gave way, under the sorrows and loneliness of his situation; and some particular places could never be seen by him without tears, such as the grave of poor Captain Gordon, the little promontory, and the boat; but nevertheless, as he daily gained strength, and was at an age when the mind is naturally buoyant, in the course of a short time he ceased to afflict himself uselessly; he determined to meet his misfortunes like a man, and fulfilled his intention.
Had he been every day pining after release, had he spent his time in climbing into high trees, or standing on the spot where the flag was, he must undoubtedly become so reduced by famine, that he would at length have been unable to crawl, and in a state of perpetual solicitude during the day, and every night would have seen him overwhelmed with despair, and weeping as in his first agonies. He acted with far more wisdom, and therefore procured more happiness; he remembered particularly all which his father and the captain had said about idleness, and he resolved to give himself continual employment, even if his wants did not call for it; he recollected also, that his tutor, had always pointed out to him the great value of apportioning certain times of the day to certain studies or amusements, and he said, "he would do the same," as he was sure the time would pass much the pleasanter, from having a certain round of occupations.
Charles had with him an excellent watch, but it had not been wound up for several days; he had likewise lost, as he believed (and truly), one day in the week; but this he now endeavoured to retrieve. He wound up his watch, making it twelve o'clock when the sun appeared highest in the heavens; and as there were a number of slender trees, with long smooth stems, standing in a cluster near Captain Gordon's grave, he fixed upon them, for what he called his almanack, and began with cutting a line in the bark for every day he had spent in the island; this brought to his recollection that the present day must be a Sunday, therefore he cut the line twice as long, and putting down his knife, said -- "It is proper I should 'remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy,' so I will do nothing to-day but feed my dear Poll and read my Bible. What a comfort it is that I have a Bible to read! that when all the books in the ship were gone, this should be saved in the captain's pocket! when I have done reading, I will try to compose a prayer, to thank God for this particular blessing,"
When Charles had read several chapters, first in Genesis, and then in the Acts of the Apostles, which he called the lessons of the day, he recollected that Robinson Crusoe, in his desert island, had fixed on a place for a church, and he determined that he would do the same. He knew that his island was much less than the one described in this favourite story, that it had no high hill, or romantic rocks; but he remembered that there were two or three very large venerable trees, in what appeared the midst of it; and he set out for the first time to examine them. It was from one of these high trees that Sambo had discovered (or thought he discovered) a vessel, and this supposition had led to his present situation; but he did not allow this fact to afflict him now. He said to himself -- "I will make this my church, in which I will keep Sunday, by reading and praying here; and if it has innocently been the means of depriving me of my earthly parent, who knows that it may not give me still more than it has taken away, by drawing down the mercy of my heavenly parent, who, the Bible says, 'is a God that answereth prayer,' and even 'from the mouths of babes has ordained praise."
Charles returned to his hut, composed and happy, making a hearty supper of dates, and intending the next day to begin a regular course of industry and care, suitable to his situation and necessities.
The first thing Charles did on Monday morning, was to examine the stores of his hut. They consisted of three canisters of gunpowder, not containing more than two-pounds each; a large earthen bottle of lamp oil, and flask of olive oil; about a dozen cocoa-nuts, and a famous canister of coffee; a jar of molasses, and another of warm pickles. All the things they secured,, (except a small barrel of pickled pork,) had been got from the captain's cabin, and consisted of a tea-kettle, coffee-biggin, two cups, and a basin; three knives, an odd fork, a coat and cloak, a razor-case, medicine-chest, and his bed, which has been already mentioned.
In addition to these things, (taken out at the time of the wreck,) they afterwards secured two guns, a tin lamp, and a box of clothing, which had been appropriated as a seat by Mr. Crusoe. There was a wine barrel observed to stick fast in the sand, which it had been Mr. Crusoe's intention to secure; but the death of the captain following so soon, put it out of his mind. On looking over these things, Charles necessarily came to that valuable property, left by that poor gentleman, and he took care to keep it safe as before; but he could not help saying -- "Ah! of how little value is money to me now! these bonds and bills, and even these glittering jewels, if they were my own, I should gladly exchange for bread and meat, of even the poorest kind that could be given me."
After replacing his stores, and allaying his hunger with one of the cocoa-nuts, he proceeded to the place where his gun remained buried under the sand; and after a good of trouble, succeeded in getting it out; after which he set seriously to work to clean it. Charles had never really worked before in his life, though he had lately done many things of the same nature: he was very proud when he got it again into order, considering it as the only thing he had to depend upon for his future subsistence; and therefore, as soon as his job was completed, he loaded it, and went towards the upper end of the island, to see if he could shoot one of the little hares which he had frequently seen running amongst the grass.
Charles was exceedingly fond of all animals, and his heart ached at the thoughts of killing any of those innocent creatures, which he considered as having a better right to the island than he had; and it was a long time before he could persuade himself to fire. He however recollected that he had seen no cocoa-nuts on the island, that the dates were very small, that his hunger was very great, and. not likely to he appeased without animal food, and that undoubtedly if his father had remained on the island, he would have shot many of them before this time. Thus encouraging himself, he at length fired, and shot a fine leveret in the head, which of course died instantly, to his great satisfaction, as it would have grieved him sadly to witness the pangs of death. He took it up and carried it to the hut, where he lighted a fire, intending to roast it as his father had roasted some fish, by putting a stick into the ground, to which it was tied, and first doing one side and then another. He found this animal of course much more troublesome to cook than the fish had been, because of the skin; and to him the task of skinning it was so difficult and disgusting that he thought if he lived a year at the island, he would never shoot another; but wllen it was roasted, he made a very hearty meal, and put by the remainder, with sincere thankfulness for such a needful refreshment.
Every day of his life he walked to the promontory, to see that the flag was still hanging; and he generally came home past the boat, to see that it also was safe. One day, when he went as usual, he was exceedingly alarmed bv perceiving a monstrous large fish, close by the side of it, opening a tremendous mouth, and gazing with a pair of prodigious eyes at him, as if it would swallow him instantly. He retreated as fast as possible, and then turning, fired, on which the creature, after beating the sand with its tail in an outrageous manner, floundered back into the sea, leaving poor Charles in such a tremour as he had never been, since the time when he first found that he was left fatherless and friendless on this desolate island.
"Surely," said the poor boy, "my father did not fall a prey to that horrible creature, or such as he is!" The thought was so terrible, that he could not sustain it; and therefore when he got home, he began reading the history of Joseph and his brethren, to put it out of his mind. Indeed, whenever he felt anxious or unhappy, he always began to read the Bible, either to strengthen his faith in the goodness of God (through the merits.of our Redeemer), or to amuse and divert him, by the extraordinary and interesting persons and events of which it treats. Many a time did Charles wonder that he knew so little of the Bible; but for that very reason, it had, at this time, the advantage of being entirely new to him. He knew that his mama read frequently in it; and that she used to hear him read, and so did his father; but though they said it was beautiful and excellent, he had always considered it as a kind of task it was his duty to perform, not an actual pleasure, as he now found it to be; so that he could scarcely lay it down, from any motive but that of hunger. When his spirits had become composed, he considered, that probably the creature in question was a shark, of which he had heard the sailors talk a good deal as being a most ravenous creature, and also that they were frequently seen before a storm; so he began to consider that perhaps another tempest would soon be visiting the island, and he must guard, as well as he could, from the effects.
His first care was to gather all the dates he could, since although they were not near so fine as those in India, they were very valuable to him, for he eat them as bread to his coffee, which was generally his first meal, and afterwards to his meat, if he had got any: they also formed the staple food of his parrot. He took great pains in laying them out to dry in the sun, turning them, so that they were in a manner cured for keeping; after which he dug a deep hole in the dry sand, and covering the inside with large dry plantain leaves, he laid the dates in layers, securing a stock, which was likely, as he thought, to last him all through the succeeding winter, if he remained on the island so long, which was but too probable. He next proceeded to gather figs, guavas, and oranges, so as to get a good stock; the figs he preserved in the same way as the dates, and the guavas he used for food at the present time, because they would not keep. As many large birds had lately been seen on the northern coast of the island, he took some pains in shooting them, for the purpose of drying their flesh by hanging it in the sun, to serve him during those months when it was probable they would have forsaken the island. He also contrived to make a fireplace, less liable to be affected by the wind than it had hitherto been, by building a wall, partly of sea-sand and partly stone, with three sides about a yard high, by which means the heat of the fire was preserved, and the smoke conducted to a certain height. Often would he ruminate on the possibility of having a fire within his hut, but this he found to be impossible, because there was no vent for the smoke; and if he had attempted to pierce a hole through the top, it might probably all come tumbling at once about his head, and both destroy his habitation and bury his property. In order to guard, as well as possible, against the evils of winter, he next made a very great collection of firewood, by gathering innumerable slicks, together with pieces of the wreck, which was now completely dried, from long exposure on the beach; and these he built up on the outside of his hut to a great distance, leaving himself only a narrow entrance, which he could close easily by a piece of board from within. When he had, with great labour and considerable ingenuity, got this construction finished, he set himself to work to thatch it all over, in such a manner as to keep out the wet, if any violent rain should come, remembering that the external covering would both keep his firewood dry, and himself warm, when the cold winds of winter should arrive. He wished much that he could cut some flat turf; but as he had only such a shovel as is used in parlours, for this purpose, he could not manage it; and he was obliged to use some large leaves, from a tree in the upper part of the island, but he found that they answered extremely well. His first care was every morning, as soon as he had prayed to God, to go and cut the notch in his almanack trees; and never did he fail to keep the seventh day as a day of rest, and holy observance; but the number of weeks he thought he would not count, until there was a great many, in order that he might not harass his mind with watching for ships, whilst there was yet no chance for him to see any.
After seeing the great fish we have mentioned, he did not go near the boat, for above,a week; and when he then visited it, he heard a great rush in the water, which made him think the old enemy was returned; as, however, he was well armed, he ventured to go forward, and jumping into the boat, he looked around carefully but fearlessly. He perceived great quantities of the most beautiful sea-shells he had ever beheld, upon the shore; and on stooping over the side of the boat, to gather some, saw, under the shade, a fine turtle. This was to him a valuable prize, since he could instantly kill it, and carry it home; and it was a kind of food he greatly needed, for such was his fear of expending powder, before the time came for firing signal-guns, that he had lately again.suffered for the want of animal food, having confined himself to dates, and the remains of his cocoa-nuts, which, although nutritive, were not sufficient food for a boy who was growing very .fast, and had been used to every comfort in his earlier days. It must be remembered, that he had neither bread, butter, milk, nor wine; the dried dates, on which he principally lived, had now no sweetness to tempt his palate; so that he hardly ate more than barely sufficed to allay his appetite, and certainly required more.
The turtle was not only a present prize, but a promise for the future; and as it accounted for the great fish haunting the shores, (since it probably sought food as well as himself), he lost that painful idea which had frequently crossed his mind, in spite of all his care to expel it, that his dear father had been devoured by the monster, who had followed the boat to find another victim.
We mentioned, that on arriving at the place where he found the turtle, he was well armed. This was by a contrivance of his own. He had broken down a young bamboo tree, about seven feet high, and having split the end of it, and taken one of Captain Gordon's razors out of the haft, he inserted it into the nick, contriving to put a little nail, which he picked out of' the timbers of the ship, through the hole of the rivet, and then tying the whole very firm, with the fibres of a plant. With this weapon he contrived, many times, to kill fish in the clear riils of the island, and sometimes birds also, which was a great comfort to him, as every tiling which saved his gunpowder seemed to him a present gain.
When he had been about two months on the island, the chanire of weather he had anticipated came suddenly upon him. One Friday evening it began to rain violently, just in the way of a thunder shower; but yet it continued so incessantly, that neither that day, nor three succeeding ones, could he venture out of the hut, where he found the value of the large stock which he had prepared for fuel, as the rain never penetrated his cavern, though the sound it made, in battering against the dry leaves, or trickling amongst the wood where it found entrance, was so great, that it seemed as if he were seated in the midst of a cascade, or about to be overwhelmed beneath the waves of the sea.
The poor parrot was so much frightened, that he could not be easy any where but in the arms of his loving master, frequently crying out -- "Captain Gordon ahoy," "Never despair, my dear boy," and every thing else that he had been taught, which sometimes made his poor master smile, notwithstanding the awkwardness of his situation. As his hut was quite dark, he lighted his lamp, which was a luxury he rarely indulged, (as he generally rose and laid down with the sun, on purpose to save his oil); and as his last stock of turtle was in the hut, he warmed it by degrees over the lamp, and fed Poll with some cocoa-nut, as he could not fetch him any dates from the store.
Terrible as his situation would have appeared to his tender mother, had she beheld him thus cooped up in his solitary hut, oyer which a deluge was descending, that threatened every moment to overwhelm him, yet Charles himself was sensible of many comforts; and most devoutly thanked his heavenly Father for the shelter and food which he was blessed with, and the pleasure he experienced in having his poor parrot to speak to, and his lamp to warm his food, and cheer his darksome dwelling. -- "Surely," said he, "I may say, that considering my lonely situation, I am very well off; for although I am really houseless, yet I have a dwelling, which is the more remarkable, because the island is not rocky, as many places are. If it is not rich and fruitful, yet there are no venomous reptiles, no wild beasts, and there is plenty of good sweet water, and little dates, which are better than if they were bigger; for if the trees had been very tail, I could never have climbed into them, now poor Sambo is not here to help me -- and then, what a comfort it is to have this good book to read, full of so much information, about all the most material things that have happened ever since the world began, and which tells me of what will take place when the world has an end! If I did but know what had become of my dear papa, really I should not be so very ill off, after all; I have surely reason to believe that the great God and Father of all, looks down upon me with pity, though I am but a poor insignificant child, left (as it were) to perish on a lonely island."
At length the pattering ceased, and a brisk air seemed stirring on the island; and Charles gladly crept out of his hiding-place, anxious to see the change this deluge might have made, and especially to examine the state of his dates, which he greatly feared would be entirely ruined. He found the usual rills of the island running like rivers into the sea, which also appeared to have encroached exceedingly on his little territory; and things seemed altogether so much changed that he dreaded not finding the spot where his stores were garnered, a matter of the greatest importance, as he had no other supply for the present. After he had cut his usual notches, he began to count the trees, which brought him to two palms, where he had formed his reservoir. The sandy soil was so deeply saturated with the rain, that, after labouring in removing it till he was quite worn with toil, he was obliged to return to the hut, without accomplishing his object; but he took care to cover the place well with leaves, that he might resume his task the next day; and he returned to make himself a fire, and get once more a cup of coffee, to which he had yet a few figs, which were left in his hut.
During the time he was digging, Charles was too busy to be aware of the great change in the atmosphere; but he now became sensible that it was extremely cold, and that a supply of cloathing was not less necessary to him than food. After he had lighted his fire, and ground, or rather crushed, his coffee, between two flat stones, he put on that cloak of Sambo's which he had found; and after cutting two holes with the razor, for his arms, he tied it round him, with a rope of long grass, and found it added much to his comfort; but his legs and arms were still cold; and he now observed, with great regret, that his shoes would scarcely keep on his feet three days longer. His stockings were nearly quite gone; and his shirt, which he used frequently to take off, wash in the brook, dry in the sun, and then put on again, was now torn in so many places, that he had very little good of it.
In this dilemma, he once more determined, if possible, to get to the inside of the box, which had never yet been used for any thing but a seat, and which was so well made, that he had not any instrument whereby he could effect an entrance into it. It now struck him, that the best thing he could do, was to shoot the box; and accordingly he dragged it out, as far as he could, from the hut, as be durst not fire into his dwelling, lest he should injure something besides the box. When we consider that the loss of a single cup would have been irreparable to him, we shall not wonder that he was as much afraid of injuring his little black hole, as if it had been a splendid drawing-room, and that he prepared for this affair, with as much solicitude as if he had been about to spring a mine.
It was Charles's great object to obtain entrance into the box, but by no means to break it in pieces; he had found it a difficult matter to construct a table, on which to place his necessaries, and he was aware that he had no means of replacing his seat. By calculating the strength required for mailing a sufficient aperture, he had the satisfaction of making a large hole in the lid, without shattering it, and he then dragged it back again, eager to examine the contents and earnestly hoping that he should find it contain the cloaths of a very small gentleman, who had been drowned, with the rest of the passengers, when their ship was wrecked.
To the great mortification of poor Charles, the uppermost thing in the box was a number of ostrich feathers, carefully enclosed in silk handkerchiefs. -- "What a very foolish person" cried he, "must the owner of this box have been, to pack up- such paltry things as feathers! Why, all this end of the island is full of feathers, and, in my opinion, much more beautiful ones than these; and I have never picked up any of them. Well! let us see a little farther."
He next drew out a piece of muslin, as thin as a cobweb, sprigged with gold: the poor boy shook his head: a piece of silver muslin followed, then a case of trinkets, and after that, a beautiful gown of China crape. -- "What a great deal of trouble I have taken.for nothing!" cried Charles, looking towards his parrot, as if asking for sympathy.
Don't despair, my dear boy," replied Poll, winking his eyes, and shaking his head very significantly.
Something soft to the touch now encouraged the seeker, and he drew forth a large camel's hair shawl, on which he gazed with great delight, knowing that it was both the lightest and warmest of all substances; and that he could fold it about his body, in such a manner as to afford him great relief from the severest weather. Next came some linen garments, which, although not of the form he desired, were yet very welcome; as were also some silk stockings and kid shoes -- "I wish," said Charles, "they had been worsted stockings and stout shoes; but these will be better than nothing, for I can twist grass ropes all over them: and here is another shawl -- a great beauty, worked with a gold border, and altogether thick and strong; of this I will make a sail when I put my boat in order -- it will be just the thing for it."
The next thing was a ladies' dressing-box, in which, to his great joy, were needles and thread, with a penknife, scissors, inkstandish, writing paper, and pens. This was a treasure indeed. There was also a purse, with money in it; and some rings, but as they were,quite useless, they scarcely drew his eye: but at the bottom were some valuable furs, intended, probably, for muffs or trimmings; of these Charles determined to make himself some sort of a cap, having no other covering for his head than a kind of turban, formed for him by his papa, out of the captain's pillow-case, as he had been without his hat at the time of the wreck.
The first use which he made of his prize was to take the largest skin, and make it, as well as he could, into a bag, into which he put the parchments and jewels of poor Captain Gordon, and sewed them carefully up, determining, since the weather was so cold, to wear them at present, about his person. -- "I am but a young guardian," said he, "for the widow and the fatherless; but I will be a careful one. Many and many a time, do I fear that my poor father and Sambo were stolen from this island, by pirates, or some kind of bad people; and if by the poor boy's confession, or my papa's entreaties, they should return here to take me, and what else they might find, by this, means I might save the property, and send it some time to the true owner."
When any idea of his papa's imprisonment or suffering, got possession of Charles's mind, it gave him such deep sorrow, that he was compelled to drive it from him, either by setting out on some little expedition, or reading in his Bible. He now thought the best thing he could do was to write, and became impatient to try. Unfortunately he had no table, and if he turned up the box to make it one, he had no seat; and with all his care to keep the hut dry it was still damp on the ground; he was therefore obliged to renounce this amusement, for the present and employ himself in restoring the contents of the box to their old place, as well as he was able; but this was no easy matter.
Whilst he was doing this, he recollected that he had never explored the locker of the boat, in which it was possible there might be something useful, and which he might enter by the same key which had opened the box; and as he must now endeavour to shoot a bird, of which there were great numbers on the island, he might as well go on the morrow -- " Yet surely his first care ought to be given to the dates, which were too probably all spoiling, and which the parrot greatly needed."
In the multiplicity of his business, on this eventful night, he almost forgot his desolate situation; but the cold wind which blew through his little den, and the insufficient food he had taken, compelled him to remember it; and he crept to bed, to forget his wants and his cares in sleep; but not till he had devoutly thanked God, for the blessings which remained to him.
The next day Charles opened out his dates, and had the satisfaction to find, that except the topmost layers, they remained uninjured. He took out a stock for several days, and covered the remainder with more care than before, heaping up the sand over them in the form of a pyramid; by which means he not only saved them from any future rain, but marked the place where they were laid. He had not much fear of the winter, for he knew the climate here must be warmer than in Bombay; and,of the frost and snow of England, he had no recollection; and he reflected, with some comfort, that his food would now keep a much longer time than it used to do.
He now went towards the shore, where many aquatic birds were assembled together, apparently preparing for flight: they had come, in great numbers, just before the rain, and seemed now about to return to the neighbouring island. Thinking he ought to lose no time, Charles, who had, by this time, become very expert, shot two of them, which were large, and very beautiful, somewhat resembling geese, but with much greater beauty of plumage. As he knew that birds of this description have generally a fishy disagreeable taste, it struck him, that if he could cook them with some of the hot pickle (which he had not yet tasted, as he never liked any thing of that kind), it would render them more palatable, and make tliem keep longer. Accordingly he took them to the hut, stripped off their skins, with the feathers, and having, with a great deal of trouble, cut them to pieces, he put part of them into the kettle, with a little water and some of the pickle, and stewed them gently for a long time, until all was done; when he put them into a calabash, which he called a tureen. The gourds which are so called, grow all over India, and are used, in many places, by the natives, as saucepans, for they will bear the action of fire exceedingly well; but on this island they did not grow to a large size. Charles had provided himself with several, that he might never have his hut without a supply of water, which he frequently wanted in the night, and also to put his food into, as in the present instance. He did not find his new cookery half so good as the turtle had been, but it was very welcome to a hungry boy, and very nutritious; the hot spices likewise answered the purpose; and he found that he might now be easy, on the subject of eating, for two or three days, as both himself and Poll were provided for.
He therefore wrapt himself up, as well as he could, took his gun on his shoulder, and set out to make his usual circuit of the island. Every where he was struck with the quantity of fallen leaves, and the feathers that were flying about, and he had frequently great difficulty in pursuing his way. He found the sheet still flapping in the air, at the end of the island, to his great satisfaction, as he had feared that it was lost, and he knew that he could not have fastened any other thing so well as his father had done this.
He then went forward, and in due time reached the beach, where he left the boat, which was now riding on the water, but appeared perfectly safe and sound, to his great satisfaction; and as he was naturally a courageous boy, and very fond of the water, his heart throbbed with delight, at the idea of setting out in this little vessel, and sailing over the wide sea, which, at this moment, lay like a clear blue mirror before him. Being extremely anxious to secure it, he tightened the ropes, and drew it a little nearer to the shore, when his desire to examine it so far influenced him, that he waded into the water and got into it, and was rewarded for his exertion, by finding a turtle within it, which had probably been washed into it in the late commotion of the elements: having turned the creature on its back, he began his preparation for shooting open the locker of the boat; but soon found that with the help of a stone, he could open it by taking a little pains, and he was of course glad to have powder.
To his joy and surprise, the locker was quite full of something, and as it was always likely that the poor people who took refuge in the boat, would take with them what supplies they could procure, in their terror and hurry of the moment, Charles felt surprised to think that he had hitherto overlooked such a material probability. "How often," said he, "have I been hungry since this boat was driven on shore, and above all things, distressed for a bit of bread to eat with my coffee, and all the time there was a case of biscuits lying here! here is some beef also, I declare, and a pair of trowsers -- they are a great prize: and here is something rolled up in this jacket -- it is a little keg, and most pobably has brandy in it; and even that may be useful to me. The bitter hot liquor in the captain's bottle did me a great deal of good, when I was so weak and ill, I remember."
The next question was, how he could get these things home. The biscuits were in a tin case, and appeared to have been something of a superior quality, probably having belonged to some delicate female, and though they were now far from their first state, Were too valuable to be parted with; and these he resolved in the first place, to secure, together with the turtle; the latter he tied with the grass bands which he had twisted round his ancles, fast by the claws, and swung it over his neck, and the tin case he took under his right arm, and jumping into the water, he took hold of the rope with the left hand, and so guided himself to the land. He found it very difficult to wade through the sand, when he was so much loaded; and. when he got out of the water, his feet and ancles were exceedingly cold, for want of the grass bands, as he had worn them constantly ever since the rain. In consequence of this feeling, he thought he would go across the island, by a nearer cut than usual to get to his hut; and as the leaves were fallen, he knew he could see his way; and accordingly he pushed into the most woody part of the plain.
Charles had soon great reason to believe that the nearest way was nevertheless the farthest, for he had much difficulty (being so loaded) to push his way through the brushwood; and the load at his back rendered him several times in danger of being suffocated, for when the trees caught the turtle, the bandage was suddenly drawn across his throat, he was many times obliged to stop and lay down his tin case, whilst he adjusted his other load; and he could not help observing, that sometimes "riches themselves were very burdensome." His spirits were however greatly elated. The air, for the first time since the rain, was pure and clear, and the sight of the calm open sea, the soundness of the boat, and the acquisitions found in it, had all contributed to give him spirits; and he tried to keep them up by whistling, and contriving where he should stow his new-found property. When he had proceeded about two-thirds of the way, and began to see his almanack trees near the hut, he again put down his case, and stood to rest himself for a few minutes.
At this time he was surprised to hear a low rustling noise, which did not at all resemble those sounds made by the foundings of the hares, with which he was well acquainted; he thought however that it might possibly be some of their young, when in a very feeble state; so he stooped down to look at them. Judge of his surprise, his absolute horror, on seeing what appeared to be a whole nest of small green serpents, issuing on every side, from under the tin case. Of all other things, Charles had the utmost aversion from a snake, or any of the serpent tribe; the dreadful tales he had heard in Bombay of the cobra capello, had greatly increased this feeling, and he would have preferred meeting a tiger; forcing himself through all impediments, he scampered away as fast as possible towards the sands of the shore, well knowing that the viperous animals he dreaded, never expose their delicate skins to the rough stones and gravel; nor did he dare once to take breath or look behind him, till he found his feet wounded by those welcome safeguards.
On arriving at his hut, he was not only wearied, but very uneasy. He had hitherto believed the island to be entirely free from those noxious reptiles, and he was aware that his ignorance had been happiness to him, and that he could never again walk about with the same fearless ease to which he had been accustomed; he had also lost his precious case of biscuits in his fright, and he thought it would be the height of imprudence to return for it; had he come the old road, all this vexation would have been spared him. The reptiles were still a long way from him; it was possible that they might be harmless, and it was very probable that they lived entirely on that spot, as he never had seen any before, even when he went to his church, which was a cluster of trees through the way to which he had always to encounter the same impediments of brush wood, that he had met with this morning.
Having devoutly thanked God for the danger from which he had escaped, his first care was to replace the grass bands with which his ancles had been wrapped, their present nakedness rendering his past danger the more striking. This was easily done, as he had a considerable quantity of long dry grass, or rather hay, within the hut, where he had piled it up, for the purpose of giving general warmth, and to help the quick lighting of his fire. When he had accomplished this, he made two long stout ropes on which to sling the other packages; and having placed his turtle in a secure place, he once more set out for the boat, fearing lest his gun, which was in it, should be injured.
This time he went safely, but he could not bring away the barrel, even by the aid of his ropes; so he determined to take away the contents by degrees, as he should want them, seeing that they were in such a situation, that only extreme necessity could compel him to have recourse to such food. The jacket and trowsers were, on the contrary, most welcome things, especially as they had belonged to a small man; and he had no doubt, but with his newly-acquired implements of needle, thread, and scissors, he should soon render them very comfortable-fitting things.
It was very well for Charles that he was so completely tired, that he could not forbear to sleep soundly on this night, otherwise he would probably have spent an uneasy time, thinking of the serpents. The next morning he was so very busy, that in a great measure they went out of his head.
His first care was to examine the trowsers, in the pocket of which he found, to his great delight, a comb, a knife for cutting bread and cheese, and a purse with a marriage certificate in it, a testimonial of good conduct, to one John Fleming, written by Captain Gordon, and a few shillings. The tears sprang to Charles's eyes, as he recollected that both the writer and the poor man written for, were now no more; and that of all that noble ship's company, it was but too probable he alone survived; for surely, if his dear father had lived, before this time he would have been able to have sent or come for him; it seemed now too plain a case that he had no father, that his relations mourned for him as dead, and would therefore never seek for him; no, his fate was evident; he must die in this solitude, or venture out in the boat and perish at sea, for how little, how very little chance had he for being seen and taken up in this wide ocean!
Charles wept long and bitterly at this time, as he had frequently done before, when the thoughts of his dear father's death came into his mind; but he was roused from his present sorrow by a loud screaming of birds at a little distance, amongst which he fancied the voice of his own parrot might be distinguished. On looking, he saw that his cage was empty, and as he had of late either kept within, or gone about the hut at his pleasure, it struck Charles that he had gone abroad too far, and was got again into some kind of danger; and he eagerly flew out to seek him, calling him at the same time as loud as he could.
At a little distance he found, to his sorrow, poor Poll in great distress, as three parrots surrounded, him, and were violently pecking and ill-treating him, whilst fluttering his wings and unable to defend himself, he screamed out -- "Propria qui maribus," "Captain Gordon ahoy;" and when the boldest pounced forward, as if to destroy him, his cry was, "Never despair, my dear boy." Charles often laughed afterwards, when he recollected poor Poll's display of learning at this time; but he was at the moment too angry, and too much frightened to smile, for it will be readily believed the parrot was of great consequence to his master. Taking up the instrument he called his spear, which we have already mentioned, he flew to the spot, and just as the largest opponent of his bird was again pouncing upon Poll, he gave him a blow, which proved fatal, as he fell down upon his unresisting foe, and Charles took them both together. The rest of the noisy tribe took to flight, and poor Poll soon nestled into his master's bosom, who found his feathers torn, and his neck bleeding, to his great sorrow. On taking up the bird he had killed, he found him remarkably large, and more beautiful than any he had ever seen; and he wished he could have taken him alive, and tamed him; as, however, what was past could not be recalled, and he recollected that these birds were good eating, he proceeded to dress and roast him, and found that parrot was good food, as well as company. Thinking it probable that his ladies dressing-box might probably contain lip-salve, or something of the same kind, which might be serviceable to poor Poll's wounds, he searched it carefully, and found a bottle of cold cream, and he also saw that in the lid there was a looking-glass.
Nobody can conceive how Charles started when he beheld his own face; it almost frightened him. His complexion was tanned, from continual exposure to the elements, till he was almost the colour of Sambo; his hair was grown prodigiously, and as it was always of a curly nature, it stuck out like an old matted wig; and as he had no shirt collar, and his clothes consisted of all colours and shapes, his array was more like that of a gipsy than a gentleman. "It is a lucky thing," said he, "that nobody sees me, but a still better, that I have now got a pair of scissors, a comb, and above-all, half-a-dozen pieces of sweet-smelling soap; I am determined now to make myself very neat and comfortable."
Accordingly, Charles cut off a considerable quantity of his profuse locks, and very prudently rubbed his head with a little brandy; and he took great pains in constructing a cap, which would somewhat shade his face, being aware that his eyes would be benefited from it, not less than his complexion. For this purpose, he contrived a cap, both inside and out of a beautiful skin in the crown part, and for the brim, he got those large palm leaves which the native Indians use as umbrellas, which he cut and fastened so, that they shaded both his eyes and shoulders, yet could be, for convenience, turned up completely in a moment. Finding he became expert by practice, he next contrived to make the sailor's trowsers tie down under his feet, and so altered the buttons, that they could be made to fasten round his waist; finding this additional clothing not only a relief from the cold, but a probable guard from the enemies he most dreaded.
The following day was Sunday, and he hoped to get once more to his church, which was one reason why he hastened his work. -- "I know," said he, "it can make no difference whether I go to church, or stay at home, seeing I have no sermon to hear, nor any Christian people to meet; yet I do like to get up into my tree, and consider that I am employed in looking up to God for help and protection, at the same moment when my dear mother and sister are looking up to him for me -- that I am reading what they are reading -- and thinking as they think: besides, I like to look over the wide sea, when it is calm, and think, by and by, I shall get across it; and when I am able to see the island of Amsterdam, I always fancy myself a step nearer to the world."
With these reasons Charles so far reassured himself, that, with his spear in his hand, he once more set out for his place of worship; and climbing into his usual branch, read, prayed, and sung for about an hour. As he descended., he cast many anxious looks around, but he saw nothing of the serpents, and he could perceive, at no very great distance, his own tin canister; and he therefore concluded, on the following day, he would make an effort to recover it, by climbing from tree to tree till he arrived over the spot where it was, and then pushing it from place to place with his spear. On second thoughts, as it seemed likely for rain, he thought it best to do it now; for as he had been reading that the disciples plucked corn on the Sabbath day, to appease their hunger, he thought it was lawful for him to secure that bread which he had lately received as an especial gift of Providence. He soon accomplished the task of reaching the spot, for he had become almost as nimble as a squirrel, (several of which pretty animals he found in these large trees; but when he stooped down his spear, to move the canister, he found that it went every way but the right, and there was so much brushwood about the place, it was impossible to move it more than a quarter of a yard at a time; he however got it into a good position for removing, by a new plan, which, on the following day, he thus effected.
Having got three nice long sticks, of the willow kind, he tied them very well in the bow form, to three others, and then took two strong slips, to which he tied them at equal distances, making a thing something like a coal-shovel, to which he suspended a cord; with this, and his spear, he again went as before into the trees, and let down his willow net, with much care, close to the tin case, hoping that he should be able to catch it, and hook it up, he having secured one end, so that, if he managed to get it in at one side, it should not slip out at the other. Often did he now wish, that, like Robinson Crusoe, he had possessed a sagacious animal, that could have given him a little assistance; but as, after above two hours trial, he found it would not go in, without a little lift, at length he let himself down by the boughs, till he could reach it with one hand, and slip it into the trap. He then speedily got up again into the tree, and drawing the cord very steadily, had the satisfaction of finding himself in possession of that which was to him a richer prize than all the diamonds of Golconda.
It was, however, a most difficult thing for him to travel hack again, from bough to bough, and tree to tree, with this cumbersome package, and his spear also; nevertheless, by being careful and patient, he at length effected it: when he got near home, he placed the tin case in the sand, and threw many calabashes of water over it, and wiped it very clean with one of the silk handkerchiefs he had found in the box, before he carried it into his hut; for he thought that many of the serpents had gone over it, and, perhaps, had left a poisonous slime upon it.
"Well now," said he, "I have got something steady on which I can lean to write. I will empty the biscuits into my leaves and calabashes, and I will fetch loads of sand in the tin case, till I have raised up a kind of table, on the top of which I can lay the lid steady, and then I can write nicely, with the little silver pen, or the nice pencil, that is in the work-box; and if it should be slippery, I can lay the sailor's jacket over it."
With these words, Charles took up the jacket, to see if it would answer the purpose; it was a very shabby affair, and he had not thought of examining it, though he was well aware it had great value to him, as an increase of clothing. He now looked for the pockets, and, to his equal surprise and delight, found, in one of them, a book, and a roll of old songs; and in the other, a tobacco-box. The book was a volume of Cook's voyages; and we may readily suppose it appeared, at the present moment, of more value to the poor boy, than all he had met with before; it was like meeting a friend in a strange land -- the pleasures of sympathy and companionship seemed to visit his cell.
Lighting his lamp, and closing his door, he began to read, with all the avidity natural to a young and curious mind; and probably continued to do so for great part of the night, for the subjects were of a nature particularly to interest one, who, young as he was, had experienced so much of the dangers and distresses to which seamen are subject. At length he recollected himself, and exclaimed -- "What a treat this book is to me! but I must not allow it to spend any more of my oil, especially now I have got food beforehand, and can read it by daylight. Let me thank God, that I am not eaten, as poor captain Cook was, by a parcel of cannibal wretches. I see there is nothing so bad in my situation, as it might have been. I had rather be as I am, than make a feast for a Carib, or become a slave to an Algerine. If I keep clear of the snakes, I shall do very well yet; at least I will continue to hope so."
Poor Charles now allowed himself to count the number of weeks, upon the trees which he had marked, and found that he had passed almost thirteen in this state of solitude; therefore the time had arrived when he might with probability hope for relief. If his father and Sambo (as he hoped) had been taken out of the boat, and carried back to India, or to some of the islands situate between Africa and Asia, by this time it might be supposed they would find the means of returning; and at all events, this was the time when the captain said they might begin to look out for vessels, it was yet rather cool, but symptoms of spring were already seen, and he would begin to navigate his boat shortly; "he would manage to put in a mast, to spread his sail, lay in a little store, and stand out to sea; and he would take care, that his two pennons were seen flying at either end of the island."
Having contrived, with some flexible branches, the frame by which he extricated his tin case, Charles was induced to try his power of making a bow and arrow, with which to kill the birds necessary for food, as he became more and more afraid of using powder, the nearer the time came when it was likely to aid him in escaping.
Having found a paper of strong needles and bodkins, in the work-box already mentioned, he was enabled to manage this business in a short time, and he became by practice an excellent marksman; but he had much trouble, from the insufficient strength of the string, which was of silk twist, found in the same depository. He also now used the pillow-case as a fishing-net, in the little streams, opening the mouth with bamboos, and placing it in little falls of the rivulet, and when any fish went in, drawing it suddenly up by which means he gained many delicious meals; but there were times when he was reduced to nothing but his dates, which lasted out extremely well, but had quite lost all sweetness and flavour, and afforded but little nourishment.
At length he succeeded in getting his boat out to sea; and as he disliked that side of the island where it lay, as being frequented by enormous fishes, his first care was to get round to the little promontory, which he effected very successfully, contriving to fasten it to the tree from which his flag was suspended, and on leaving it, waded to the shore, a considerable distance, having no better method of proceeding. It was now his constant custom to go every morning into the highest tree in the island, where he generally stayed to recognise, about an hour; he then returned to the hut, and breakfasted, and afterwards, with Poll on his shoulder, went down to the promontory, taking either his new book or his Bible; and there he sat, where his poor father had sat before him, from time to time casting anxious looks over the wide expanse of ocean around him, sometimes agitating himself with the idea that he perceived a far-distant sail, but more frequently aware that he saw nothing beyond light clouds in the horizon, and that the time had not yet arrived, when the ships might be expected.
As he could now clearly perceive the island of Amsterdam, he could not forbear to fancy, that if he could once reach that, one great step would be taken towards his emancipation. -- "If there are any American sailors there now," said he, "as there was when the captain was there, how happy I should be to see them, and live with them, because I speak their language, and they would be just the same as my countrymen! and if they took me home to New York, or Boston, I should feel as if I were going to London, and I could soon be sent thence to England; or they would be very glad to use my boat, and fetch fresh water from my island, as they have none of their own; at all events, I will go and see them."
Full of this idea, one beautiful day, when there was a very pleasant breeze just in the right direction, Charles shipped his parrot, and his tin case with provisions, hoisting the sail, which he had contrived to fix with considerable ingenuity, in the manner he had seen practised by the Hindoos, in their market-boats. He soon left his own little island far behind, and with a heart panting between hope and fear, began to believe he had nearly achieved all his wishes. Well recollecting that there was only one place where he could effect a landing, he kept his eye steadily fixed on the island, remembering those points mentioned by Captain Gordon; but became almost appalled as he approached nearer, for its appearance was forbidding, almost terrific. Just at this time, he fell in with a current, which rapidly drew him back, the kindly breeze having already failed! When he was about midway between the two islands, he found himself deserted, as it were, both by wind and water, alike unable to proceed or return and his distress much increased, by perceiving dark clouds, portentous of rain, and probably of storm, gathering over the face of the sky.
Happily the wind did not obtain much power; but a severe rain fell, which completely soaked him, and rendered it so dark, that he did not dare to proceed, knowing well there was no safe entrance to his island. In this terrible situation, therefore, he remained the whole night, his distress not a little increased by the moanings and vociferations of the parrot, which he heartily wished he had left behind. The rain ceased before morning, but it had left him so drenched, and the boat itself so wet, that he had scarcely the power to exert himself, and it was nearly evening the following day, when he again found himself on the chores of his island, and succeeded, after many laborious efforts, to bring his little vessel to the place whence he had set out; and it was not without danger that he landed himself and the parrot.
It was with a feeling of an extraordinary nature that Charles pursued his way to the hut; often had he thought, when contemplating the effort he had now made, that if he should perish in his attempt, it would be a much better thing than thus to drag on existence, cut off from all the ties of kindred, and the blessings of social life. He now became fully aware, that self-preservation is one of the most abiding propensities of nature, and that he could not forbear to cherish his life, since he was sincerely and warmly thankful to God, for having preserved him from his late danger, and restored him to his humble home, melancholy as it was. His first care was to take a little food, to which he drank some brandy and water, having frequently regretted, during the preceding night, that he had not placed this flask amongst his sea stores. He then proceeded to make a good fire, that he might dry his clothes; and was now thankful for the old sailor's jacket, which he put on whilst his own dried, taking off his other things by degrees, and holding them till they were dry, as he durst not leave them out, lest the rain should come on again. Finding himself many times so sleepy that he was nearly falling, he retired very soon to bed, thankful for that accommodation he had felt the want of so lately; had soon forgotten all his troubles, and was perhaps, in his dreams, wafted over pleasanter seas than those he had lately proved, and received into a far different dwelling from that where his weary head was now pillowed.
How long he had continued in that deep sleep which followed his fatigue, we know not, but when he was awakened, he thought for a moment that it was high noon, for the hut was full of light, more full indeed than it had been for a long time. He started up, and became sensible of an oppression in his breathing, which at first he thought might proceed from the parrot hanging round his throat, as it sometimes did; but no parrot was there -- his hand fell upon him under the bedclothes. At this moment there was a terrible crackling and hissing, like the burning of green wood, and instantly he became sensible that his hut was on fire. Gathering his blanket and the bird in it closely round him, he rose, and burst resolutely through the stack of burning sticks, which covered the front of his dwelling, and which were so far consumed that they gave way and crumbled to pieces as he pressed upon them; and he escaped without injury, except to his feet, which were a little scorched, but which he did not feel, at the present moment of terrible alarm. When he had got sufficiently far from the fire for personal safety, his first care was to see if he had indeed preserved the parrot and finding Poll was uninjured, save by fright, (for the creature trembled exceedingly,) he rolled him in the blanket, and ventured again towards the hut.
It was now early morning, but very gloomy; a slight rain was falling, and Charles earnestly hoped it would Increase, as the only means of preserving the contents of his hut from destruction. The consequence of losing his mattress, clothes, gun, indeed all his means of existence, rushed forcibly on his mind, and gave him a sense of new sorrow and helplessness which almost distracted him. -- "What shall I do?" he cried, in agony. "Oh my God, have pity upon me! have pity upon me!"
The sound of his voice alarmed the parrot anew, and the poor creature screamed so loud, that Charles was called upon by his humanity, (which never forsook him,) to return to it. He thought that perhaps in his fright he had smothered the poor bird, and he hastened to unrol[l] the blanket, and liberate the sufferer. In doing this, he regained the presence of mind so necessary for himself: he recollected hearing that a wet blanket was an excellent thing for putting out fire, and he lost not a moment in plunging this into the stream, and then carrying it, all dripping, to his hut, when he again stepped through the hot ashes, and spread it over the place which was just beginning to take fire.
The heat and smoke were at this moment quite suffocating, yet conscious of his own wet state, he stopped to snatch his shoes, and an empty calabash, with which he made so many journeys to the spring, that, (with the assistance of the rain), he had soon the satisfaction of believing that the danger was over, and the contents of his hut safe, though damaged: the smell was intolerable, the smoke oppressive, but the danger was passed. Had it occurred in summer, the whole island would unquestionably have been on fire, like that of Madeira soon after its discovery.
Kneeling down within sight of the smouldering spot, Charles devoutly thanked his almighty Preserver for his almost miraculous delivery from an awful and terrible death; and under the impression thus made, professed himself humbly resigned to enduring the evils of life, in that way which it might please his heavenly Father to inflict, entreating that he might, in all things, be enabled to say from his heart -- "Not my will, but thine, be done."
When he rose from his knees, Poll flew upon his shoulder, and, in his usual way, intimated his desire for breakfast. After throwing a few more gallons of water about the place, Charles took the only method of complying with his request now convenient, by setting off for the boat. The morning was exceedingly misty, so that it was of no use to climb the trees which he passed in his road; but by the time he arrived, the sun shone pleasantly, and the rain seemed over. He stripped off his clothes, thinking that a sea bathe would do him good; and on getting to the boat, found the tin case and the shawl-sail perfectly safe, but he brought them both away with him; and on his return, sat down and breakfasted, as well as Poll, though the repeated frights he had suffered, in the last forty-eight hours, and the great fatigue he had gone through, made him feel so unwell, that, for a short time, he was afraid that the fever was returning.
After sitting two hours quietly, and reading two or three chapters in the New Testament, (his Bible having been left in his tin box,) he felt himself much recovered; and not doubting but the smoke was now entirely gone, he determined on returning to the hut, and examining the extent of his loss, concluding, with great truth, that although he should have occasion for much toil, in setting his little homestead to rights, yet that every thing he saw would remind him of the goodness and mercy of God, whose eye must be over all his works, since he had looked upon him, in this desert corner. -- "Ah!" exclaimed he, as he pressed the blessed volume to his lips, in which he had been reading, "it is indeed plain, that though I am a poor useless child, and often a naughty one too, 'I am of more value than many sparrows' yet even they are cared for, by him who created them."
When Charles arrived at the hut, he found that the embers had now ceased to smoulder, that the smoke was dispersed, and of course, the mouth of the hut was all open, as it had been three months before. On entering, he observed no other harm, than that which had been done by the wet blanket, which had preserved his mattress and his box from the fire, most probably. The gun was placed in the most distant part of the cave, and the powder buried in a hole in the earth so that it would have been some time before either were injured; but if the mattress had taken fire, it would have reached them, and the brandy-cask also, in which case the hut would probably have been blown up; as it was, all might be recovered, by contrivance and industry.
The first thing to be done, was drying the blanket; and as the sun was now up, and it was very hot on the sands, he immediately carried it thither, wringing the water out as well as he could. On returning, the first things he saw were his lamp and oil, which were so placed as to awaken new cause for gratitude, as they were within a few inches of that piece of the wreck which he had used for a door. He then looked up the remains of his clothing, and found them still damp; therefore they too were placed in the sun, for he determined never again to make a fire near the hut, considering that he had already run a great many risks, in having had a fire so near to the trees.
"But," said he, with a sigh, "I need not think about fires, for all my famous stock of firewood is gone; and at the same time the shelter it gave my hut is gone also, and there has been rain for two nights, so that I can hardly get a bit of dry stick to roast a fish with: However, it will grow warmer every day, and perhaps I can make a curtain of the shawls and the jacket, that will keep out a little of the night air."
Charles had always been a boy of neat habits, and it had (happily for him) been a leading point with his father, to render him willing to help himself; so that even in the East Indies, where persons keep so many servants, and do so little for themselves, he had been, in a great degree, an active, independent little fellow, capable of waiting on himself. This disposition had increased when he read Robinson Crusoe; for he conceived it a proof of a manly disposition, (and so it certainly is,) for a person to be thus independent. To this disposition he had, in the last two years, added good principles and great qualities, under the tuition of a wise tutor, and a truly virtuous and religious father; so that he had now a considerable portion of courage, much steady resolution and fortitude, and, as we have all along seen, a deep sense of religion. Owing to this improvement in his mind, he determined to improve his hut as much as he could, and not sit down in idleness, because the time had come when he hoped to leave it, as many boys of his age would have done. -- "No," said he; "though I may be gone before another day is past, yet I may also have to stay as long again; so if I can do nothing else, I will clear away all the ashes and rubbish: though I live in a hut, I will not live in the dirt like a hog."
Charles therefore proceeded to gather a large bunch of light twigs, which he tied firmly on a good bamboo stick, and made an excellent broom, with which he proceeded to brush away the embers and remains of the sticks, taking them by the action as far as possible from the hut. In doing this, he saw, as he thought, something move two or three times, which startled him; so he threw a basin of water to clear away the ashes, that he might see what it was. To his astonishment, he perceived parts of several small green serpents: and he had no doubt but the violent noise and hissing he had heard on awaking, had proceeded from these creatures, which were providentially destroyed by the fire which had threatened his life so nearly. He knew not how long they might have been under the stack of wood, which was a very likely shelter for such creatures, or whether the extraordinary fire he had made, the night before, had been their attraction; but it was evident that he had had a remarkable escape; for even allowing that they had not entered his hut, which was perfectly open to them, yet he would inevitably soon have disturbed them, by putting his hand, as usual, upon the stack, which was now getting very low; in which case, he would have received a death more slow and agonizing than that which had so lately threatened him from the fire.
He remembered that in India, country houses were considered defended from snakes, by being surrounded with gravel, as these creatures do not like to injure their skins by coming upon this rough substance; and he therefore concluded, it would he advisable for him to cover the ground for a considerable distance with sand and pebbles. Unfortunately, there were no stones on the island, with which he could form a wall; but for this mode of defence he was well provided, as a bed of sand lay behind the hut, which was itself much of the same substance; so that it was very possible to cover it, as well as surround it by the sand. Charles lost no time, therefore, in adopting the only method that promised security; and as he could not (with all the pains he took,) perceive one living snake amongst the grass or trees, he hoped that it might answer, especially, as by making the fire always at a considerable distance, and only on the sand, they would not be drawn thither by warmth. It was a great labour for the poor boy, to carry load after load, in his tin case (for he had no other method,) of pebbles, to cast about the place; and he worked so hard to accomplish it, that at night he slept very soundly, forgetting his fears in his fatigue. At the end of three days, he had not only effected his intention, but greatly improved the appearance of his hut, which he also in some measure enclosed, by placing before it a hedge of prickly furze, which stuck so close together, that he could easily push it away when he wanted light, or draw it near to exclude the air; and over it he threw the silk shawl, which he had previously designated his veil.
It may be readily supposed, that, notwithstanding his great accumulation of business lately, there were two things which our young exile never forgot, viz. -- that of marking every returning morning in the almanack, near his hut, and climbing into the higher trees to make observations. When he had finished that task, without which, he durst not lie down in the hut, he gave more time to watching; and as he could almost be certain of gaining fish for a dinner at this season, he nearly divided his time between looking out from the promontory, (which perhaps he ought rather to have called a peninsula, seeing there was no high land,) and from the tree he named his observatory. Day after day, however, passed on, without varying the scene; for the ocean continued bright and smooth for nearly a fortnight after he had ventured upon it (with so little encouragement for a second trial), and yet he perceived nothing to vary its wide expanse. At length (as he was about to descend, and was taking one more farewell look through his glass), he thought he perceived something like a sail in the extreme distance, towards the west, with an emotion that rendered him almost incapable of seeing at all; he yet determined not to lose sight of his object, and in a short time became sensible that he had not deceived himself. A noble ship was pursuing her way with steady magnificence, neither accelerated by rapid breezes, nor distressed by the failure of customary wind. Might they not, in this state, be most likely to look round on the islands, and discern the flag from this desert spot? would they not know it to be the signal of distress? the cry of the shipwrecked mariner for assistance to his fellow-creatures? they could not -- surely they could not, like the cold-hearted Levite in the gospel, pass by on the other side! From whatever European country they might come, still they professed the same faith, they were bound by the same general laws of humanity, and they would surely seek and rescue those that were lost.
Charles remembered that his father, when giving him an account of the loss of the Grosvenor East Indiaman, which was shipwrecked on the southern coast of Africa, had said -- "And to the honour of the Dutch governor, then resident at the Cape of Good Hope, be it remembered, that although his country, and therefore himself, was at war with us, he lost not a day in sending a body of soldiers and servants, to seek and succour the wretched persons cast on this inhospitable coast; for which purpose, they travelled more than four hundred miles, and succeeded in saving the lives of the few which survived the hardships and famine they had encountered."
With these thoughts passing his mind, no wonder Charles hoped every moment to see the vessel approach somewhat nearer, or give signal: -- but alas! she passed, and gave no sign; for hours she was in sight, but never near enough to hear his gun, or perhaps to see his flag; he descended with the shades of evening, worn out with hunger and sorrow, and slowly retraced his steps to that home, which now seemed more melancholy than ever. Such was the sinking of his heart on this memorable evening, that, weak as he was, with extreme anxiety and long fasting, he would not have roused himself, even to get the food he so much needed, if Poll had not been clamorous for his own share, and said, over and over, "Don't despair, my dear boy," and every other word to which he could apply his tongue. He felt as if he had lost a certain good hold in possession; and as he ground the few grains of coffee which he allowed himself, he looked at the remains of his canister, and observed, "that it was so nearly finished, he had nothing but famine to expect." All the evils of his situation at once rushed to his mind; his stores were exhausted, or nearly so; the season for fruits was not arrived; the green carpet of the island yielded no roots, that he knew to be fit for food, and the birds did not now frequent the island, being employed in patching their young at Amsterdam; and what was worse, far worse than all the rest, his dear papa must have died, or by this time he would have found some means of rescuing him. Bitter tears rolled down poor Charles's cheeks, as these sad thoughts came over him; and the only prayer he could offer under this depression of his heart, was a few words from that book which was always on his mind, "save, Lord, or I perish."
When Charles arose in the morning, he found there had been a pleasant spring shower, which had beautified every thing on the island. There was a sweet smell from the herbage, a refreshing air fanned the budding trees, and the little birds were twittering on every bough. Charles felt the sweet influence of the season, and his heart ascended in praise to the bountiful Giver of all good: he then went to the stream, and finding some fish in his net, he proceeded to make a fire, and procure the meal he so much required. Whilst it was roasting, he opened the Bible, and began to read the Proverbs of Solomon, which he did not recollect reading before, as the historical parts of the Old Testament had naturally engaged his attention the most. He had not read far, when he found the words, "Hope deferred, maketh the heart sick; but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life."
"Ah!" cried Charles, "I had a sad fit of that very sickness last night, and the effects are not gone off yet. It was not only very foolish in me to give way to my sense of sorrow so much, but very ungrateful also, for within a very short time I have been so mercifully delivered from many dangers, that I am sure I might sing that hymn which, says --I'll praise thee, I'll praise thee, for all that is past,instead of which, the very, first disappointment I had, completely unmanned me. I find I am only a child yet, though I am almost fourteen years old; and have had experience enough in the last six months, to give me a push in life."
And trust thee for all that's to come."
In consequence of these reflections, Charles came to a resolution, which it was very difficult to keep; he determined to carry a design of preparing for his return into execution, and at the same time, allowing himself only to watch three hours a-day; and at other times to keep himself as busy as if he were going to live on the island all his life. He thought that by watching at three different periods of the day, he should ensure every advantage likely to occur, since, in so wide an horizon, the progress of any vessel might be traced many hours; and he was aware, from past experience, that the agitation he experienced when a ship was actually within sight, was such, that it took away the very strength which he would so greatly need, if any actual chance for escape presented itself.
The preparations for departure (on which he had set his heart) consisted of making a considerable selection of those beautiful sea-shells on the other side bf the island, which we formerly mentioned, as a present for his sister Emily, and of keeping his boat clean, and in order for going out in a moment's warning, with a little stock of provisions. For this purpose, every morning at rising, he sought the shells, which in the evening he arranged; and to these he added a considerable stock of beautiful feathers, which he had gathered, and put into a corner of the hut; the shells he laid carefully in layers, at the bottom of the box, between the folds of the muslin; the feathers he stuck in lines upon his writing-paper, disposing them in different shades and forms, so as to make very pretty pictures; and in several he made the letter E. in green and scarlet feathers, upon a ground of dark brown, or brilliant white. This employment was so pleasant to him, that he regretted much, that he had not begun it sooner, for many a lonely hour was beguiled by an amusement which exercised his taste, as well as his affections; and often would he look at the last piece he had finished, and think of the pleasure it would give his sister, without that too natural conclusion, that her eyes, in all probability, would never behold it.
Whenever Charles went to the shore, he took his gun with him, and now frequently, either with that or his bow and arrow, shoot a rabbit, as the weather was become warm, and the creatures were again seen frisking in his path. He noticed in his walks also, abundance of a plant, which, on plucking up, had a root resembling a small carrot, and undoubtedly was a wild species, which eat very well, and he soon found to be very nutritious. He took it very sparingly at first, but on finding no bad effects from eating it, got it freely; and having "boiled it in his tea-kettle, found it an excellent substitute for bread; and he even contrived, by crushing it into cakes, and drying it in the sun, to make it a substitute for the biscuits which he had finished. As soon as he had contrived to dry a few of these cakes very thoroughly, he put them by as a store into his boat, for which also he provided some slips of dried flesh. Often did he wish for salt, thinking, that if he had possessed the power of curing some fish, he might have ventured on a long voyage, for the sea was now so calm, and the weather so settled, that he again earnestly desired to set out; but he no longer wished to visit the neighbouring island, which, he was persuaded, was a much worse place than his present abode, and equally uninhabited.
At length, one morning, with feelings of unspeakable delight, Charles again distinctly perceived a ship, tracing her progress over the liquid plain, In a much nearer direction than the last had done, as for some time he thought her bearing for Amsterdam. As he carried one of the shawls about his person, he lost not a moment in taking it, and streaming it out on the wind, by tying it to the highest part of the tree. He then descended, flew to the hut, took out all that he could carry, regretting exceedingly, that after all his pains, the box with the sea-shells must be left behind, and hastened down to his boat. It required great exertion at this moment to get it out to sea, but the energies awakened by his present excitement conquered every obstacle; in a few minutes he had pushed Into the sea, spread his sail, rejoiced in a rising breeze, and felt convinced that he should shortly attract the attention of some person on the deck of the ship, which was seldom a single moment out of his sight; for such was his dread of losing this precious object, that he had scarcely the power of attending to his own vessel.
In about half-an-hour, he had the additional satisfaction of perceiving that one of her boats was out fishing, and therefore he had the greater reason to hope that he should be seen: in a little time he fired, and continued to do so at intervals, for more than an hour; but as no notice whatever was taken, he concluded either that he remained unheard and unseen, or else that the crew were persons of great inhumanity. When this idea struck him, he became extremely anxious on the subject of Captain Gordon's property, thinking that if he fell into bad hands, it was but too probable that he should be stripped and murdered, for the sake of securing it to the plunderers; and for a moment he conceived that the best thing he could do, would be to throw it into the sea. This however he would not do, till there appeared a positive necessity for it, as it was (next to seeing his parents again) the first wish of his heart to restore this fortune to the innocent orphans, who, perhaps, at this very moment were in want of it; and he even hoped, that in case he should be taken as a prisoner, rather than a friend, he might find the means of secreting it, since he wore it nearest his body, well secured by the best bandages it had been in his power to make.
Just as Charles had made this conclusion, he perceived the boat quit its late position, and he again fired. Alas! its motion was towards the ship; what would he not have given for more sails -- for the power of making a louder report -- for any means whereby to reach the senses, and touch the hearts of his fellow-creatures! "Ah! that I had wings like a dove," was on his lips, as, with outstretched hands and streaming eyes, he gazed towards the ship, which every moment receded more swiftly from his sight, and in another hour, left him alone in the wide ocean, out of the sight of every human eye, and far from all human help, every moment leaving still farther the desolate island, which he yet held to be his home.
"What, a foolish boy I am to cry again!" ejaculated Charles, at length; "I may have a dozen failures, and yet be taken up at last; besides, that very ship may be going to China, for any thing I know; and in that case, I should be taken much farther from my native land than I am here; and if my poor father should come to seek me, I should be completely lost."
At the name of his father, his heart sunk; it was now nineteen weeks complete since he had so mysteriously disappeared from the island; and it seemed hardly likely, that in that time no means should have arisen for conveying intelligence. On the other hand, unless his father had the positive command of a vessel, how could he come or send for him, since it was too plain that no vessels were in the habit of touching either here or at Amsterdam? There had been no severe weather, likely to have proved an hindrance, for the last three months; but this might make no difference to Mr. Crusoe, for as he had gone from hence poor and shipwrecked, he, who once could command so much, might now be able to procure not even a paltry sloop, with which to rescue his only son.
Poor Charles was compelled to abandon this course of distressing reflections, to think of his own safety, and change the direction of his little vessel. For many hours he was obliged to tack, with little success; and although he was not exposed to severe weather as before, he was out a second night, finding it even more difficult than then to effect a landing. When he at length moored his boat, it was in a little bay, which was much more convenient than he had yet found, and also nearer to the hut; therefore for the present he resolved that it should remain there; and after covering it with branches, he returned, thoughtful, but not dejected, to his hut once more.
The first thing Charles saw, or indeed heard, was poor Poll. The bird had been asleep at the time when he set out, and in his hurry, for the first time, he had actually forgotten him; and such was the agitation of his spirits for the first hour or two, that even this, his dear and only companion, failed to be remembered. When, however, he did think of Poll, the recollection of having left him behind, grieved him so much, that it rendered his disappointment less afflictive to him, when he lost sight of the ships; and he determined, that for the future, he would take him on his shoulder wherever he went. He also emptied his box, to enable him to carry it down to the boat, and then carefully, and with much labour, replaced the contents, thus rendering himself ready to go at any moment; but being also aware, that he might yet be compelled to remain an indefinite time, he made himself a seat in the hut, by heaping up sand, and covering it with the skins of the animals he had killed, after sewing them together with the fibres of leaves.
There were times when he wished much to lay out a little garden, as he had now discovered several other vegetables, besides the carrots, which he thought would answer for food; but his want of a spade forbade his progress in preparing the ground; for although the shovel, which was his only instrument, managed to remove sand, it was quite inadequate to digging the earth. It was a great pleasure to see all the fruits promised to be abundant and to remember that the season for finding dates, in particular, was coming on; for such was his dislike to killing any living thing, that nothing but positive necessity could induce him to shed blood; and he thought, that if he were compelled to remain another year, he would manage to do without any animal food, except turtle, which he flattered himself he could kill easily, and which he had found to be particularly nutritive food.
Again and again, he went to his usual points; but though he sometimes fancied he saw vessels in the extreme distance, yet day after day passed, and no more vessels came, as before, within his actual observation; and he almost repented, that when he was so far out, he had returned to the island; and as to his hopes of his father's arrival, they became every day more faint; so that he ceased to count the days upon his almanack, because they diminished hopes, which, from the first, had rather sprung from his affections than his reason.
At this time, he planted many little shrubs around the grave of Captain Gordon, and inscribed his name in the bark of the trees near it, not unfrequently cutting his own likewise. His mind was in such a state of inquietude, that he could not read at all; but every active pursuit was of benefit to him; and often, while he wept his father's loss, would he recall his words, and with true wisdom and warm affection, resolved, as far as he could, to follow his advice in all things. Then would he rouse himself to action, by running to look at his boat, gathering sticks for his fire, or adding to his stock of shells; by which means he would attain sufficient composure to read, and think on the subject before him, and finally, to pray devoutly, and sleep comfortably.
It had frequently been a source of regret to Charles, especially during that time when his mind was better able to pursue his studies, that he had not been provided with a few pencils, and a little paper, that he might occupy his lonely hours with drawing; or that he had not a slate and an account-book; and now, though it is probable that he would have used them much less, he wished for them still more, because he found that the perpetual solicitude of his mind required diverting. For this purpose he frequently got a long stick, and wrote, or made figures, on the smooth sands near the shore; and as his thoughts were always wandering after his father, his writing generally consisted of letters addressed to him; and many an epistle, full of tenderness and good feeling, was, day after day, washed away by the returning waves which passed over it.
One morning, as he was going to take his station in the tree, he remarked that every word was obliterated, except "Dear papa." -- "Ah!" said he, "those those two words remain yet; they are the last words on the sands, and I dare say they will be the last words I shall ever utter. I remember reading in history, that Queen Mary said, 'Calais would be found written on her heart;' and if the thing were possible, 'dear papa' would be now written on mine."
As Poll always considered his master's words addressed to him, he answered with, "Don't despair;" but it was in a very sleepy tone, for his master had this morning roused him before his time. With his usual consideration, Charles placed the poor bird on the first comfortable bough he found, but not until he had carefully recognised the ground below, with his usual fear of serpents, so that he might be sure that Poll was safe; and then proceeded to take his regular stand on the topmost branches, from whence his shawl continued to wave.
In the course of a quarter of an hour, he saw, in the distant horizon, a dark speck, which soon increased in dimensions. Again his heart began to throb violently, for it was indeed a ship bearing to the east, and every moment shewing itself more plainly as a large complete vessel, fanned, by a breeze that gently filled its sails, more and more towards the islands, yet without evincing any intention to touch at them. It was in truth far distant still; and there was no probability that if he took to his boat, this very moment that he should be discerned, unless it steered much nearer the island; and if it did so, and should discern the, flags, now visible from three points, would it not be better that he should wait where he was, and receive the strangers, who were on their way from the Cape to India, and had probably heard of the shipwreck of the Alexander, and might be on the look-out for some remnant of the crew? -- " I shall be kindly received in India" said Charles, "for people cannot have forgotten my dear father; and for his sake they will send me to my mother some time; and ---- " at this moment, something like the sound of a piece when it flashes in the pan, struck his, ear, and the words, "Misser Sharly, Misser Snarly," uttered in great trepidation, were spoken very near him. It was evident that the parrot had heard the sound, and was alarmed by it; so Charles's first care was to descend to his relief, though sorry to lose sight of the ship for a moment, since however far removed, it was the link that tied him to his fellow-creatures. When he had descended to the lower boughs, he found Poll, to his astonishment, fast asleep where he had left him, without a single feather ruffled, or the least indication of that recent flutter which had induced him to cry out.
Why surely, Poll, you were talking in your sleep; what could disturb you so much, my fine fellow?" said his kind master, putting out his hand to draw him into his arms.
"Misser Sharly! Misser Sharly!" screamed a voice within a little distance, and at the same moment a gun was distinctly heard.
"Am I awake, or is it all a dream?" cried the astonished, bewildered, transported boy, as, in trembling expectation, he fell, rather than descended, from the tree, when, lo! within fifty yards, stood a living human being! -- another look convinced him it was Sambo -- dear, faithful Sambo. Forgetting the snakes, and every thing else, but thankfulness to God, Charles dropped instantly on his knees; but in another moment he felt himself hugged, fondly hugged, to the beating breast of his faithful servant, who, between tears and laughter, half shouting and half sobbing, cried out -- "Him quite alibe! him brown as Sambo self! him lovee him Sambo same as before! Oh! happy! happy! him quite alibe -- him poor fader look for him bones -- no bones here."
My father, my father!" cried Charles; but he could not utter another word; his tongue clove to his mouth, his eyes seemed starting out of his head, and he looked so wild and pallid, that the joy of the poor Hindoo was suddenly turned into terror; and earnestly shaking Charles, he cried out, in a voice of distress, alternately to the long-lost object of his care, and the party who were seeking him -- "Misser Sharly -- Misser Sharly! Nibber go for lose him senses now, when joy come home to him heart! Here you sailor Tom, and Ned, what for you not come carry Misser Crusoe own son in palanquin -- you great rascal idles? Ha! Misser Sharly, nibber you know what we hab suffer about you. Sambo cry him eyes out -- Sambo lie down to death for you!"
"But where -- where is my father?"
Him here -- him dere -- him run in ibbery place; I know well best place. Come, come -- halloo, halloo! I find! I find! Sambo find!"
Ahoy! Captain Gordon ahoy!" bawled the parrot, flapping his wings with delight, and evidently recognising his old friend Sambo, by jumping on his shoulders, even from the arms of his master, who, shaking in every limb, was rather dragged than led by Sambo towards the beach, where he first began to believe that the whole scene was not an illusion of the senses, by perceiving two sailors, and an officer, standing near Captain Gordon's grave, apparently listening to the halloos of Sambo, and the screams of the parrot.
The moment they beheld Sambo, drawing forward a boy about his own size, whose appearance bespoke all the peculiarities of his situation, and who, at this moment, looked more dead than alive, and conveyed the idea of his being snatched from present destruction, they set up a shout of joy, that seemed to rend the heavens, and two of them fired at the same moment. Just then Charles heard a voice cry, "Where, where is he?" That voice was surely his father's, and he thought that his figure was emerging from the trees; but he could see no more: -- his head swam -- his, eyes failed -- he fell fainting on the ground, believing that he was expiring.
By degrees life revisited the pale cheek of poor Charles; and as his senses returned, he began to think that he had been afflicted with the fever, in which, he had suffered from the delusions of delirious fancies. He found that he was sitting on the sands, the trees he had planted round the captain's grave were before him, and the voice of poor Poll was still ringing in his ears; but he also found that he was supported by some person's arms, and that his head was pillowed on a kind shoulder; nay more, Sambo was kneeling before him, and offering him something in a teacup.
"You drinkee him, Misser Sharly; him do you great goodee."
"That is very true, Master Crusoe," said a voice close to him. "Let Sambo hold the cup to your lips, and try to swallow the contents."
At this moment a pang shot through Charles's heart -- "Had he then been deceived? Was his father not here?" He took the cup, as the medium of gaining strength for farther inquiry; and the moment he had swallowed the liquid it contained, inquired -- "Pray, sir, is my father living? I thought -- I hoped ----"
"You are right in those hopes, my dear boy; your father is near you; he lives and is well; he even sees you at this very moment; but you have been so overcome by hearing his voice, that by my advice, as the surgeon of the ship that brought him, he now stands at a distance, and forbears to speak to you. You too must obey me, my dear boy; you must not suffer even your joy (natural as it is) to overcome you?"
"I will obey you, sir; I will try to get well, that he may be happy: but, sir, please to put me on my knees: support my hands, as the hands of Moses were supported, for if I do not thank God, I shall die again -- I feel I shall."
The benevolent friend instantly complied with his request, by placing him on his knees, and supporting him, as he exclaimed -- "I thank thee, oh God! I thank thee that I have lived to this hour; and that my dear papa, is still ----"
At these words he burst into a flood of tears, which relieved his loaded heart; and the surgeon then beckoned to Mr. Crusoe, who, pale and trembling, scarcely able to endure the joy and the fear of this awful scene, now took him in his arms, and holding him to his heart, thanked God for the possession of a gift so much beyond his hopes, that but a single hour before, he had (as Sambo truly said) searched the island, to find the precious remains of a child, lost to him under the most afflictive circumstances that he thought possible for a father to endure. The honest tars, though they had weathered many a rough gale without shrinking, found the scene before them affecting to the highest degree; and large tears rolled down their rough faces, as they too devoutly lifted up their hearts in thankfulness to Heaven. The surgeon alone, though a man whose feelings were as acute as his heart was kind, preserved the power to control the sensibility of those around him, as well as his own; and seeing that Sambo by turns laughed and cried, as if he were going into hysterics, he ordered him instantly to the boat, to fetch some provisions, as he thought dinner would be good for all the party; and slapping Charles on the shoulder, he exclaimed -- "Come, my young friend, look up, and tell us where your stores lie; we have all come a long way to visit you, and expect that you will entertain us very handsomely."
Charles felt feeble and exhausted, in consequence of the agitation he had undergone; and he was so entirely content, so perfectly happy, as he laid in the arms of his father, he thought it was almost a cruelty in Mr. Parker to compel him to speak; but when he looked in his good-humoured countenance, he saw his motive for commanding attention from all parties, and immediately answered, in as gay a tone as his spirits could muster -- "I have got some sea-stores on board my vessel, the Calypso, Sir, which lies a short way to the leeward, and they are at your service; your men will find them in a tin case. There is island bread also, in my hut, and choice fish ready for the fire."
"Very good; and a spring of pure water too, I perceive."
"To which you may add a little brandy, from my ship's store; and it will be easy for you to procure a barrel of wine, for there is such a thing, fairly wedged into the sand, where it has lain, ever since the time of the wreck."
"And have you, my dear Charles, never been able to get to it? What a sad loss you have had!"
" I think, papa, I could have got the wine out of it, though I had not strength to move the barrel; but I thought it better not to try, unless I had another fever, or something of that kind. I remembered, that I was always very fond of a glass of Madeira, and I was afraid that I might be tempted to drink too much, especially when I was unhappy, and when I was hungry, in which case it would have made me tipsy, you know."
"And have you never taken any of the brandy then, my dear?"
"Oh yes! I have taken a small quantity very often, when I was wet through with the rain, or had been working above my strength. I took it as I did physic, to do me good; and as I dislike it very much, I had no fear of being tempted with it, as I should have been with wine."
"Well done, my young philosopher!" cried Mr. Parker. "Your school has been a strange one, but it has nevertheless taught you most invaluable lessons."
"So it ought, Sir; for I had, in my distress, the best of books, and surely, I may add, the first of all Masters."
At this moment the sailors returned, bringing with them all they had found of the highly-priced property of Charles. At this moment his father whispered -- "My dear child, have you ever touched certain things which I wrapped in a handkerchief?"
"Those things are all safely stowed on my person, dear father; so you will neither have the trouble to seek for them, nor the necessity of exciting attention on a subject which might be dangerous. See, papa, what curious bread I have made out of roots: I call them Crusoe carrot-cakes."
Mr. Crusoe took the bread in his hand, willing to please his son, by admiring it; but when he put it to his lips, it was moistened by his tears. The remembrance of those tender and unceasing cares which a fond mother had lavished on her only son, from his birth, rushed to his mind, contrasting with the many privations that dear son must have suffered; and whilst he sincerely thanked God that his beloved child had possessed strength of mind and constitution to overcome them, yet his feelings as a parent were deeply moved. Again he clasped his boy to his bosom, and asked his heart, if it durst confide in its own happiness? -- if his long-suffering, deserted son still lived, in possession of health and understanding, with affections quickened, not impaired, by absence?
On examining him, he perceived, that although very thin, he yet was considerably grown; and had proportionably increased in muscular strength. His complexion seemed embrowned to a perfect bronze on his face; but this was evidently the partial effect of continual exposure, for on taking off his jacket, his arms and neck, though without the advantage of being covered by a shirt, retained their usual colour: his hands gave decisive proof that his labour had been various. On seeing his father so much affected by surveying his person, Charles began strenuously to maintain, that although there was a time when he had been a sad figure, yet he might now be considered altogether a very respectable beau; for notwithstanding his dark curly hair was as bushy as a counsellor's wig, he knew that he had cut a great deal from it; and he conceived that his cap was really a most-meritorious covering, for which he claimed great praise.
When they sat down to dinner, on the sand, where there was scarcely any shade from the trees, every one allowed that his projecting head-dress was indeed an admirable contrivance: in fact, they admired and extolled every thing about him, gazing at him as if he were a living miracle; but the mind of Charles was too much occupied with joy and gratitude, to admit of any other emotion; and he was therefore happily prevented from imbibing those ideas which might have injured him, by feeding pride, and stimulating vanity.
After they had dined, the good surgeon hastened their departure, (but not till he had secured what he called the drowned Madeira, which indeed proved a quarter-cask of that wine, which had been sent out to India, to be improved by the voyage); and Charles took care to gather all his goods together, not forgetting the parrot's cage, and the beautiful shawl, which was still waving on the top of his church tree: for this Sambo was despatched, as he knew the place exactly; and whilst he was gone, Charles examined his almanack trees, and counted as many notches as made seven months and eleven days, commencing with the first that he could remember.
Just as he had finished counting them, and Mr. Parker was drawing near, to announce that all things were ready for their departure, Sambo came running towards them, with looks of great dismay, declaring "he had seen three serpents, from one of which he had escaped with difficulty; and having no stick in his hand, or means of defence, he had heen terribly frightened."
"Then you did not come back the way you went surely, Sambo, or we should have seen them this morning, when you were under the tree. I told you to go and come the same way."
Yes, Misser Sharly, but him think him make one short cut. As for morning, if fifty serpents was there, Sambo see only you -- you see only Sambo."
"And was this danger added to the rest?" cried Mr. Crusoe, with new emotion.
"Yes, papa; it has been the worst evil I have had to contend with, at least to my own apprehension, for of all others, I feared it the most. But let us go: when we are safe on board, I will tell you, as Othello says -- 'All my travels' history."
"I will only ask you one word now, Charles -- Did you think I had purposely forsaken you?"
"No, no! the thought once rushed through my mind, but I banished it directly. I knew you would rather die with me than leave me; and that although it was your duty, perhaps, to prefer my mama and my sister, if you were obliged to give up either them or me, yet I felt that you could not forsake me. No, papa! I have cried for you, as dead, or in slavery, many a time, very bitterly; but I have also cheered my heart with the hopes of seeing you again, every hour of my life, or else I could not have sustained my existence. It is true, after three months were over, I then began to expect, if you had the power of returning, you would be coming; and you will be aware, from my storing my boat, that I intended to keep a sharp look-out. It was observation of a distant ship that made me lose sight of your boat. Your vessel, I conclude, is hidden by the wood. Since I saw you, as Sambo says, I have desired to see nothing else; and never once looked for that which is so precious in my eyes -- a ship bound for my own country."
"My dear boy, since we parted, I have been to the Cape of Good Hope, from thence to Ceylon, and we are now bound direct to England."
Oh, joy! joy! this was more than I dared to hope for! I have got so many things for mama, you can't think -- at least for Emily."
"And I have got one for them, better than all the rest -- one I never hoped to take them: but we must go: you will not fret after your desolate island, my young Crusoe?"
"I shall not regret its snakes nor its. sorrows, father; but yet I feel someway a kind of trouble in quitting it; for I have known two very miserable nights, for want of its accommodations; and I have learnt in it more of God's word, and more of his providential goodness too, than I should have gained in any other place. So fare thee well, Island of St. Paul! thou hast got a good name, and I will not give thee a bad one."
They now entered the boat, which was only a small one, the vessel to which it belonged being far inferior to that noble ship which had been stranded at the spot, from which, with some difficulty, they now took their departure, Charles wished much that they could have taken his boat; but this was found impracticable; and therefore he gave up all thoughts of it, but earnestly desired the best accommodation for his parrot, which disliking the confinement of his cage, screamed incessantly -- "Never despair, my dear boy!" to the great delight of the seamen.
When the boat reached the vessel, every person within the latter crowded to the deck, the moment that the figure of Charles was descried; and the most extraordinary natural curiosity ever caught, or exhibited, would have failed to awaken wonder, or excite interest, so much as he did. Every person on board knew that Mr. Crusoe had engaged the captain, by the payment of a considerable sum, to visit this island, for the purpose of seeing if his son survived; but as every day lessened the probability of such an event, and they had been detained much beyond their expectation, not one person expected that his examination of St. Paul's could produce any thing beyond the realization of his fears. As the settled melancholy of his countenance, the gentleness of his manners, and the character he bore in Bombay, made him generally beloved, every person of an amiable disposition felt for a father so situated; and from motives of delicacy and sympathy, intended to hold themselves secluded on his return, till he should have reached his own cabin, for which kind purpose, the captain promised to give them notice when the boat should be seen to leave the shore; Mr. Parker, the surgeon, determining to accompany him, for the purpose of performs ing the funeral ceremony over the body of poor Charles, and afterwards withdrawing the father as soon as possible from the scene. When the boat left the island, from its being deeply loaded, it came slowly, which seemed to the few who saw it, a movement in unison with the affliction of the father. On taking up his glass Captain Linton perceived that there was another passenger, dressed in a singular helmet, gazing wistfully at the ship, as an intelligent savage might be supposed to do, whose, admiration and delight were vividly expressed by his gestures; but when he saw the supposed wild youth sink down at the feet of Mr, Crusoe, lay his head in his lap, and draw the shawl, in which he was arrayed, over his face, to hide the transports, or the tears drawn from him by the novelty of his situation, he was convinced that the lost sheep was found; and the news ran through the vessel like electricity. Every heart beat with joy, every eyelid was moistened with pity; and when the young stranger stepped on board, a shout of welcome and exultation rang through the ship, and seemed to swell the very sails with triumph. Hands were held out on all sides -- voices in all tones uttered congratulations; and as there were several ladies among the passengers, Charles almost believed that his mother was addressing him, and in the confusion of pleasure, felt bewildered and overpowered.
By the advice of Mr. Parker, both father and son, for this evening, retired to the cabin of the former, into which suitable accommodation for the stranger was speedily handed, together with Poll, who, like his master, had not all at once the power of meeting his new acquaintance with composure. Charles intended to remain perfectly quiet for some time, but he could not forbear to go on deck, and gaze upon the island so long as it remained in view, wondering at his own strange sensations, in which something like sorrow, that he should never see it more, mingled with pleasure for his escape from it, as a prison condemning him to solitary confinement, to fear, and to want.
When the fond son returned to the cabin, much as he desired to know every thing that related to his father, and to Sambo also, (who never lost sight of his recovered young master five minutes at a time), he yet complied willingly with the advice he had received from Mr. Parker, to ask no questions, or relate any adventures for that night, being well aware that he was now much in the same state of exhaustion from his surprise and happiness, that he had repeatedly been from his misery and disappointment. But there was one thing he could not deny himself, which was that of closely nestling to his father, and either holding him by the hand or the clothes, as if he feared to lose him for, a moment. When thus seated, with his faithful Sambo before, his eyes, and poor Poll, now well fed, and sleeping by his side, and the remembrance that he was sailing towards dear England, which contained another parent and sister, full on his mind, he wanted nothing more to render him the happiest boy on the face of the wide earth. The following day he became acquainted with the reason of his father's mysterious disappearance; but as Mr. Crusoe's narrative was frequently interrupted by the inquiries of his anxious son, we will comprise the circumstances in the following chapter.
Our readers will not be surprised to learn, that at the time when Mr. Crusoe parted from Charles, he was suffering from the beginning of a bad fever, which they had both caught from poor Captain Gordon, who had died of it. Sambo escaped, partly because the inhabitants of India are not equally subject to suffering this complaint with strangers, and partly because he had never been employed about the person of the deceased as they had, nor had he used his clothes, nor slept in his bed as they did.
Mr. Crusoe had no idea that his poor friend had an infectious fever, though he knew he was ill; and he thought that fatigue and anxiety had quite as great a share in his death as any actual complaint; and under the same, persuasion, when his own head ached, and his limbs felt unable to perform their office, he concluded that, sorrow and toil had been too much for him, and became more than ever anxious to escape from a place, where he could neither obtain comfort nor help, and where his poor wife coultt never hear from him, and of course must suffer all the agonies of grief and solicitude, under which he now languished himself.
Mr. Crusoe was not aware that his son was unwell at all, since he forbore all complaint, lest he should add to his father's troubles, and showed so much true heroism in making the best of their misfortunes, that Mr. Crusoe did not doubt but he would diligently watch at one end of the island, whilst he was at the other; and as he had much reliance on Sambo's accuracy of sight, he hoped that one or the other would see and hail the vessel, which his servant maintained he had seen. The day was exceedingly sultry; the terrible storm which was coming on, rendered the air heavy and unwholesome, and every step which the invalid took, rendered him less equal to his task; so that when he arrived at the little promontory, it was with the utmost difficulty that he could suspend the sheet he had carried with him to the tree; after which, he sunk down exhausted. It had been his full intention to swim out, and endeavour to secure the boat; but this he soon found to be utterly impossible, as his disorder being greatly accelerated by the state of the atmosphere, he became rapidly so ill, as to be absolutely helpless. By degrees his senses forsook him; but he had a vague notion that some help was at hand, If he could but attain it; and with this idea floating in his mind, by a violent effort he made shift to fire his piece as a signal of distress; after which, he threw himself on the ground, as if in despair, to wait for relief by death, or assistance from his fellow-creatures. In the mean time, the vessel which Sambo had seen, really approached the island, and having perceived the flag, they did not hesitate in sending a boat to recognise; but knowing the island had no good landing-place, it was some time before the seamen reached the spot where the flag was streaming. Here they found a single individual laying on the sands, in a state of complete exhaustion, who seemed, from the oppression on his breast, to be dying, and who uttered no other words than, "My son, my son," which the sailors did not understand, being part of the crew of a Dutch vessel, trading between the islands on the coast of Asia and the Cape of Good Hope. Conceiving him to be in a state of famine, the consequence of shipwreck, their first care was to give him some kind of spirituous liquor, which his extreme thirst induced him at first to swallow eagerly, but in another moment he rejected it; nevertheless, the effects were instantly injurious, and brought on the highest stage of delirium. It did not appear wonderful to the sailors, that the poor stranger should exhibit symptoms of madness, for they concluded that he had lost his all; and seeing he was well dressed, and of a fine athletic form, likely soon to recover and reward them, they lost not a moment in seizing him, and placing him in their boat, taking his gun along with them, and securing both that and his pistols, lest in the despair which seemed to actuate him, he should turn them against himself. Just as they were clearing their way from the sands, poor Sambo arrived, and with unutterable agonies, beheld the strangers take away his master alone, at the very time when he was seeking that master, to aid his dying son. After vociferating in the most violent manner, and attracting the attention of the seamen, who yet did not understand any thing besides his distress, he cast off his cloak, and swam out to the boat, which received him willingly, but either could not, or would not understand his entreaties on the subject of Charles. It was in vain the poor boy knelt to them, or addressed his master, who now lay in a kind of fit, as if he were dead already; and when, in his distress, he would have jumped into the sea, to return to "dear Misser Sharly," they not only prevented him, but bound him, and compelled him to lie down in the boat, conceiving that, like his master, his sufferings from shipwreck and famine had touched his brain, and inflicted a temporary loss of reason.
On reaching the ship, both master and servant were received humanely by the commander; but the storm threatened, by sure signs, for some hours, was now coming on with frightful rapidity, and he reproved his men for delay, being anxious to get out to sea, as far as possible, lest they should be driven on either of the neighbouring islands. The strangers were placed in safety, but no farther care could be given to their case, for the present; as the tempest soon broke on them, with the utmost fury, and the light ship flew before the wind, with the velocity of a bird, far, far from the more immediate objects of fear, and far from the sick boy, now pining on the desert Island, and vainly calling on his father for that help he wanted so much for himself.
In the mean time, Sambo, as his sense of despair for Charles's sad case increased, began to see how necessary it was to attend to him whom he considered his only surviving friend -- "Poor Misser Sharly! him die by himselb: he hab no fader, no servant; an see here, my own good sahib -- he die too, he no speak, or speak foolish: what will Sambo do? him cry as a ribber, dat do no good."
As the only intelligible word Mr. Crusoe now uttered was a cry for water, the poor boy's first care was to procure that for him; and even in the confusion of the hour, as it was plentiful, he was so happy as to get it, and from time to time, he held it to the parched lips of the invalid, who found it, perhaps, the best palliative of his complaint.
When the storm was over, he, like his poor son, experienced a degree of relief in his breathing, and the acute pangs in his head subsided; but his delirium was continued several days, in consequence (most probably) of the entire change of scene in all around him, the unknown language in which he was addressed, and fluctuating notions, of his being both at sea and upon a desert island, which he had no remembrance of having quitted. The appearance of Sambo hovering about him, he always thought very advantageous to him, at this afflictive period, as he associated the idea of his son with him; and when, in answer to his inquiries for Charles, the poor boy shook his head, and wept, he conceived that he too was sick, and confined to his bed; and often vehemently insisted on being taken to his room, that he might wait on his poor child, and give him the medicines he needed.
In the mean time, the ship had a fine run to the Cape; and on landing there, Mr. Crusoe, and even poor Sambo, were soon recognised by friends, eager to assist them; and into their hands the Dutchman was glad to put his charge, whose money and arms he honestly deposited with the governor, demanding only a proper payment for his trouble, which was paid doubly, with thanks; but the gentleman who transacted the business heard, with great regret, that hitherto the sick passenger had had no medical help. The best medical assistance was now rendered to poor Mr, Crusoe, which Cape Town afforded; and when bleeding and medicine had been administered, the remaining fever was soon subdued, and the mind of the patient awoke as from sleep; and though reduced to the very brink of the grave, he might be said, in a short time, to be free from disorder.
At this time, Sambo, whose fidelity, and anxiety for his master, together with his lamentations for his son, had attracted much attention, had happily made a kind of acquaintance with Mr. Parker, whose sympathy was so much excited, that having some spare time on his hands, he gave it up to managing the weakened frame and anxious heart of this afflicted father. Acting on the supposition Mr. Crusoe entertained of Charles's illness, he suffered him to retain this delusion, until he could safely inform him of the truths as revealed by Sambo; and then believing, as he did, that the poor boy's misfortunes must ere now have terminated by death, he earnestly entreated Mr. Crusoe to take a passage on board a ship then going to England. He hoped, that in the bosom of his beloved family, he would find the only solace that remained for the loss of his son; and he urged, the very hopelessness of the case, as a reason for expediting his removal.
Vain, however, was all that could be urged on this point; from the moment the unhappy father understood the nature and extent of his misfortune, he determined not to revisit Europe, till he had convinced himself that his poor forsaken child existed no longer. True, however, to all his duties, and aware that the wreck of the ship in which he had sailed from India, must reach his wife in a short time, and occasion her the most poignant anguish, he exerted himself to see the passengers of the ship Mr. Parker mentioned, and engaged one of them, (a lady, who proved to be an old friend), to see his wife on her arrival, and break to her, by degrees, the probable loss of her son, together with an assurance of his own safety; and his intention to come to her, as soon as the nature of his painful duties admitted. To this he added, an earnest assurance that however deep his affliction must be, for the loss of a son so fondly beloved, and so singularly bereft, he would yet, for her sake, and that of his dear surviving child, struggle to attain resignation to this awful dispensation.
He also sent a few lines to the widowed daughter of Captain Gordon, informing her of her father's death, and of the documents once in his possession, which secured provision to herself and fatherless, children; and enclosed an authority, whereby she might draw on his banker for her present wants, which he knew to be pressing.
Having exerted himself on this important point, Mr. Crusoe (though still too weak to leave his room) began to make every possible inquiry for the means of returning to the Island of St. Paul. He found, that neither that nor the more important one of Amsterdam, were now ever touched at: and although he made most liberal offers, for the present he had no chance whatever of engaging any vessel to go thither, the season of the year precluding the power of doing so. One disappointment on this head succeeding another, and all preying upon his health, which was still extremely delicate, he at length gladly acceded to the proposal of Mr, Parker, who was going out with a cargo to Ceylon, (and being valuable, both as a passenger and a medical man, to the captain with whom he sailed,) he promised him, on his return, to sail direct for St. Paul's islands and give Mr. Crusoe an opportunity of fully examining the island, and paying the rites of christian burial to his unfortunate son.
The voyage to Ceylon was not attended with those dangers from which Mr. Crusoe had suffered on former occasions; but it was singularly tedious, and he had, unhappily, too much leisure to meditate on his misfortune. Many a time did he think, that if he could find Charles had died of the fever, in the very spot where Sambo had left him, he could be happy and thankful; but he could not endure the pain of believing that hiss poor boy had wandered about the island, weary and sickly, harassed with fear, afflicted with sorrow, and perishing with hunger. Above all other grief, was that awakened by the idea, that Charles might think that he had willingly forsaken him -- "Surely," he would exclaim, in agony, "my son does not consider me capable of this! I trust he rather believes me dead, watches for my corpse on the beach, and at length dies, broken-hearted for my loss; for even this fate (melancholy as it is) will be more easy to him, than suspecting me so changed -- so wicked as to be capable of the cruelty of saving my own life, at the expence of my duty and my affection to him."
Under the pressure of these melancholy thoughts, the days seemed of tenfold length to the unfortunate voyager; and in despite of all the cares of his kind friend, Mr. Parker, he suffered much in his health; and all our young readers will he aware, that, at this time, he was in a more deplorable state than Charles, as to his feelings, though the actual situation of the poor boy was apparently so much worse. Mr. Crusoe, being on ship-board, could not apply himself to any employment capable of diverting his thoughts from that one painful object which engrossed them; and as he neither worked as a mariner, nor commanded as an officer, he had nothing to do but to watch the wind, which, though not violent, was almost always contrary, so that his spirits were continually oppressed; and what was still more mortifying, was the certainty, that this very wind would take him to the place where of all others he desired to go. It appeared as if the hand of Heaven was drawing him to the desolate island, and the hand of man thwarting its design; therefore no possible state could be more irritating to the temper, or harassing to the heart.
During this period, we may remember that our young exile was enduring those evils which compelled him to forget the sorrows of the mind in the wants of the body: hunger and cold drove him, to exertion -- past suffering induced him to use contrivances how to escape it, for the future -- and the hope of relief, at the end of a given season, led him to adopt every possible means of sustaining life till that time arrived. To this may be added, a laudable desire of proving himself a manly and clever boy, by using every resource his situation allowed; and above all, a continual sense of the goodness of God, in his daily preservation, from which he argued, that such mercies might be continued and increased.
Once arrived at Ceylon, Mr. Crusoe found the captain as active in the disposal of one cargo and reshipment of another, as he could desire; and as he met here with several persons whom he had known in India, and found the means of procuring assistance in pecuniary matters, which was a present convenience, he experienced relief to his mind, and partial renovation to his health; and being always active and acute, in all matters of business, he greatly assisted the captain and others, in the management of their concerns; and so expedited their return, that the vessel sailed again, under the prevalence of those winds which had, during the first voyage, been the occasion of so much hindrance.
Though Mr. Crusoe's situation was every way improved; seeing that every person in the ship was now disposed to assist his search, and he had changed, in their estimation, from a fretful invalid, (always repining and discontented,) to that of a benevolent man, of great abilities, in whose anxieties every person of sensibility must partake, yet his actual distress was rather increased, than diminished, as he drew nearer the object to which he had so long looked. In such situations, some hope will mingle with fear; and by that very means increase the pain of disappointment; and for this reason, whenever the anxious father dared to make any promising conjectures as to the fate of his son, both the captain and Mr. Parker thought it their duty to quench all hopes of the kind. He would sometimes speak of Peter, the wild boy, who was found in the forests of Hamelin, in Hanover, and appeared to be about thirteen years old, when he was taken feeding on grass and moss, and that he thought it was possible human beings might find nourishment in substances they had never tried before. To this Mr. Parker would reply -- "Yes, sir, an infant, left at two years old, might perhaps do so; but your son was thirteen years old when he was lost; his habits were those of a gentleman; and notwithstanding you might take pains to make him active and independent, eastern manners and eastern luxuries must have had considerable effect in enervating his mind, and weakening his body; and you say he was rather little of his age, and though active, not strong. How could a boy of this description live, when the fruits were gone? Besides, he must think both you and Sambo dead, and grief for your loss, in addition to his own miserable situation, would so prey on his spirits, as to increase the maladies consequent on hunger and bad food, and render it impossible for him to struggle long; and the deluging rains, to which the islands are subject, falling when the leaves afforded no shelter, and the cave, of which you speak, had probably fallen in, would add to his distress, and -- "
"Say no more -- say no more!" poor Mr. Crusoe would cry, "for I cannot bear the dreadful images you bring to my mind! perhaps the storm that drove me, with such rapidity, far from him, might prove my poor boy's destruction; and happy should I be, if I thought he was struck by the lightning, and dead in a moment, rather than that he should know I was taken from him, and die in languishing misery."
"Poor Misser Sharly! neither him die one of dem way, neither him die de oder," would Sambo say: "no, him die in him bed, wid head that ache him, wid fever that parch him, same as him fader. Him hab no boy to gib water, water, when that Sambo leave him is all drankee: nobody to hold him up, when he will pant, pant -- so he die quike dead, on him mattress, and nobody bury -- nobody burn."
This sad conclusion was usually followed by a flood of tears, occasioned in the poor boy, not only by sorrow for the loss of his beloved "Misser Sharly," but the remembrance that his own mother had been burnt with the corpse of his father; after which, the Bramins, who had persuaded her to the sacrifice, deserted and defrauded her son, who would have been condemned to the most helpless poverty, if he had not been protected by his indulgent master -- that master who now no longer hoped to find his own son living; and only became anxious to ascertain (so far as he was able) the manner of his death, and give to his remains a grave.
When within a short distance of their present destination, a breeze sprang up, which was directly against them, being the same which had borne poor Charles so far from the island. This occasioned some delay, during which time the father's terrible solicitude increased to very agony; and no food reached his lips, no sleep visited his eyes, the two days preceding his arrival at the fatal spot. On landing, the first object he beheld was the grave of Captain Gordon, on which he had, with his own hands, laid the planks which still remained, and around which were planted trees, which could only have done by human hands -- the hands of Charles Crusoe.
"My, boy must have survived the fever: he unquestionably planted those trees."
" It certainly appears so," said Mr. Parker; "but as they are nearly all withered, one cannot tell how long they have been done. Some vessel may have touched at the island, as it is well known to have plenty of good water. Let us see a little further."
Sambo had, in the meantime, ran to the hut, from whence he cried aloud to his young master; for finding no remains of his corpse on the bed, (which was the place in which his imagination had always laid him), he instantly conceived that he must be alive. His voice, at this period, did not reach Charles, but soon led Mr. Parker and the trembling father thither; and the latter, in the improvement of the place, instantly saw that his son had lived and laboured long after he left him; and he then first fired the piece which had struck the ear of Charles, and ordered Sambo to go down towards the spot from whence they had both departed, as being that where (if still living) he was most likely to be found, and which comprehended a circle of two-thirds of the island.
The boy departed, shouting as he went, whilst the surgeon, anticipating that a shriek of horror might too soon be exchanged for his present exultation, tried to prepare Mr. Crusoe for the change he anticipated, by begging him to look round the hut, and see whether the few things now in it were the same as those he had left. It was, at this time, comparatively stripped, because all save the bed, was removed to the boat, and a few empty gourds, an oil flask, and lamp, alone remained within view, except the sailor's jacket and trowsers, which Mr. Crusoe remarked he had never seen before.
"It appears to me, that somebody has really been to the island, and most probably taken away your son. These things have belonged to a common seaman, who has probably exchanged them for something belonging to you or Captain Gordon."
"No! I dare not believe this solution of the mystery: If the island has been visited, Charles has been robbed, and probably murdered."
At this moment one of the seamen fired, and that loud exulting cry was heard, which told them Charles must be found: the surgeon ran back to the beach and beheld, to his astonishment, Sambo and the strange boy. Mr. Crusoe, with trembling limbs, would have run also, but had scarcely power to move, until, by a sudden bound, he burst through the trees, and in another minute beheld his son. On his uttering a cry of joy, he became still more certain of his identity, for the poor boy sank, as if struck by the hand of death, on the ground before him; and such was the agitation which convulsed his own weakened frame, that, for some time, the spectators dreaded to see death ensue, at the very moment when father and son were thus miraculously restored to each other.
The kindness and skill of Mr. Parker probably saved one, or the other, from witnessing the end of their hopes, on this affecting occasion; and to him they were still further indebted, on returning to the ship, where he found it necessary to attend, for some time, to the health of Charles, who, after so long living, as it were, in the open air, could ill hear the confinement of the vessel, even during the hours of night, and whose food, for some time disagreed with him, in consequence of its being so different to all that he had lately been able to procure.
We must now follow our happy wanderers to the Cape of Good Hope, where they arrived, in due time, without any accident, to the great joy of Charles, who, although he had been too happy to complain, was heartily tired of the confinement of a ship, and embraced, with extraordinary delight, the power of walking about on dry land, listening to the birds, which had lately been his sole companions, and gazing on the trees and plants, as objects of beauty and wonder.
The Table Mountain, at the Cape, by offering a striking variety to the flat island on which he had dwelt so long, pleased him exceedingly, and he wished to set out to it immediately; but his father told him, that he must not go any where, until he had procured proper clothes for him, which could not be done on ship-board. Of the truth of this remark Charles was soon convinced, by the curious eyes which were bent upon him, on all sides, and from which he was eager to fly. He had frequently wished, to behold a single human being, as the greatest possible treat, in his days of solitude, and he was now surprised at himself, for considering a crowd annoying; nevertheless, he could not divest his mind of much timidity, and an earnest desire to run into the open country, unseen and alone, to think on the goodness of God, in restoring his father to him, and bringing him back into the world. He felt a sense of the blessings of society in his heart, but he wished for the freedom of solitude, in which to indulge his feelings; for having accustomed himself to express his thoughts in words, when he was alone so long, he naturally desired to do it now, in the same way, for, except to his father, he felt fearful of speaking.
Mr. Crusoe sought, by every gentle means, to wean him from this extreme bashfulness, which was contracted entirely by his long retirement; and as his friends at the Cape showed him all possible attention, and were extremely anxious to see a son who was found under such extraordinary circumstances, he took him a good deal into company, and saw, with much pleasure, that every day made a little improvement in his feelings and his manners. It was evident, that when he was with sensible people, and especially with scientific persons, or those who had travelled much, and related their observations on different people, and the productions of nature, he was very happy; but trifling chit-chat, or boisterous mirth, teazed and wearied him exceedingly.
"Really, papa," he would say, "one had better sit in a hut with a parrot, than listen to such nonsense as some people talk. When I lived by myself, I thought every body in the world were good and wise; and I used to sit, and fancy how ladies and gentlemen,would talk on certain subjects, but I don't find that they are at all what I expected. I did not expect sailors to speak of my favourite subjects, therefore I had no disappointment on shipboard; but, with a few exceptions, I have had many here."
"And pray, my dear, what were your imaginary conversations? I mean, what were your favourite subjects?"
"The wonders of God in the creation, as to animals, trees, flowers, and even stones, papa, (of which I have collected many curious specimens in pebbles), and the goodness of God, in the redemption of the world by the death of his Son. I did not remember people talking much of religion, at Bombay, when I was present, it is true; but I concluded that they forbore to do so, because I was a child, and that I should have that pleasure when I was a man."
"But, my dear Charles, you do not call yourself a man?"
"No, papa; I think, in some respects, I am more a child than ever; but still, when I was on the island, time moved slowly; and I read much, and thought much, so that I fancied I was growing quite a man. I hope it was not conceit in me -- do you think it was, my dear sir?"
"No, my dear Charles; it was the natural result of an ardent and inquiring mind, left without a guide, at that period of life when the desire of knowledge is most lively, and the expansion of intellect most rapid. You are far from being a man, and have, of course, much tolearn; but you are a manly boy; and when we arrive in Europe, you shall have every advantage of education. In the mean time, you cannot do better than exercise your mind on the subjects you mention, for whether people talk of them or not, they are the most worthy contemplation, of any thing presented to the human mind. I must not, however, disguise from you the truth, that in the world, people in general are so busy with the cares or the pleasures of life, that they do not think so much on these subjects, as is consistent with their duty or their happiness."
"I am well aware, that every body living here have come out to get their fortunes, father; and that they think very little of any thing else; but I suppose in London society is much superior."
" In London, my dear, superior society may be best found; but it is always a jewel to be sought -- not a commodity to be stumbled on. I wish you, my dear boy, to be very choice in your society, for to a young man, it is the very life of his life; but in the mean time, you must be affable with all, for it is scarcely possible to converse with any person, without learning something from their experience and observation."
Within a fortnight after their arrival at the Cape, they procured the means of prosecuting their voyage in a noble ship, with many pleasant passengers; so that the latter part of their long-suspended voyage to England made amends, in a great measure, for the hardships and misfortunes of the first portion of it. Charles being now in a much larger vessel than before, and supplied by the passengers with a variety of books, passed his time more pleasantly; and his past history being unknown to the crew and passengers, he was not subject to those inquiries or jokes, which formerly troubled him. He had been very sorry to part with Mr. Parker, for whose kindness he was truly grateful, and whom his father intended by and by to establish in England; but his present society was exceedingly agreeable, and he endeavoured to render his own manners as much like theirs as he could, conscious, that in his long seclusion, he had contracted habits that were a little uncouth, and might to others appear silly and ludicrous.
They touched at St. Helena, and of course visited the tomb of Buonaparte, and talked much about him: all the passengers seemed to think residing in such a small island, a terrible punishment; and a lady observed, "That it was surprising to her, that the ex-emperor had lived so long in such a frightful solitude;" saying, to Charles, who had hitherto been silent on the subject, "Don't you think the poor man must have been very wretched -- very much to be pitied, Master Crusoe?"
"I don't think him much to be pitied for living here, ma'am, for it appears to me a very pretty place; nor can I conceive a man to be very wretched, who had so many friends about him, as he had."
"You are too young to understand the matter; you do not know the miseries of solitude; but your father can tell you, that legislators agree, there is no punishment so bad, as a solitary cell, and they never inflict it upon any but hardened criminals."
"But this is very different to a solitary cell, and even that is far better than a really solitary island; for there the criminal knows, that at the end of a certain day, month, or year, he shall be again restored to society; whereas a man cut off, by a wide ocean, from all the rest of the world, has no such cause for comfort; his spirits droop, and no voice cheers him -- he is sick, and no hand brings him food -- his affections are vividly excited towards every human being, the meanest of whom would be to him an invaluable friend -- but he dares not believe that he must ever be cheered by the sight of one human face again -- he is buried before he dies, and feels as if he ought to be dead, yet with his heart so warm, the life in his limbs so strong, he cannot die; and besides, God commands him to live, and gives some little prospect, some glimmering of hope, that incites him still to struggle on -- still to endure the hunger that gnaws him, the grief that consumes him!"
"My dear boy, you are absolutely eloquent!" cried the lady, as poor Charles, overcome with the recollections, thus excited, suddenly stopped. " I had no idea that a person, at your age, could have looked so deeply into a case of this nature, especially an imaginary one; it makes one think of Alexander Selkirk, and the poor fellow, only a few years ago, left by a brutal captain on a desolate shore: you are really quite poetical in your conception of the case."
Charles hastened away to conceal his emotions, and avoid hearing praise to which he had no pretension; for he well knew that he had unawares spoken simply from his heart, and not from his imagination; and was vexed with himself, for so nearly revealing the circumstance he had earnestly desired both his father and Sambo to conceal. He was not sorry, when they again sailed, to find that the great exile and his banishment were soon forgotten, as every person now began to look forward to Madeira, and speak of it in terms of unqualified admiration. The captain one day observed, when this subject was spoken of, "That he never could see any reason for disputing an assertion, once relied on, viz, that this beautiful island was originally discovered by an Englishman, named Machin, or Macham, who having married an heiress, without the consent of her friends, set out with her for the continent, and was driven, by contrary winds, to this island, which, in the name of its province, Machico, authorises the account."
"It has," observed Mr. Crusoe, "been considered fabulous by some writers, I really believe for no other reason, than because it was connected with a romantic story; just as if real life never presented us with circumstances in themselves as singular as any imagination can conceive. They have also asserted, that there is no English name of that description, another proof of ignorance, since there are several families of that name now living in the populous towns of Manchester and Sheffield; and the small, but pretty and ancient town of Masham, in Yorkshire, is sufficiently like the word, to warrant the English derivation of this unfortunate person."
Many comments were added, of pity to the poor man, who had been wrecked with his bride on this beautiful island; and conjectures were made, as to his power of providing for subsistence, but Charles now made no observation, though he listened with profound interest, and could not forbear in his own mind, contriving accommodation, in such a case, for a delicate female; and as he thought more about his mother and sister, the nearer he approached to them, he sincerely rejoiced that they had escaped the troubles which had befallen himself and his father.
The beauties of Madeira, Charles found had not been overrated, and like others, he was delighted to find himself once more on shore; but he did not regret exchanging it for the vessel, which was taking him to a more permanent abode. The society of the ladies on board, had brought his own mother continually to his mind; and although he did not love his father less, it is yet certain that he did love his mother more than he had done for the last two or three years; and every idea that he formed for the future, was closely connected with her, and that sister, to whom he looked for a companion and friend. Charles had too much real manliness of mind and conduct, to be one of those boys who pique themselves on being above the company of girls; and as he knew Emily had possessed advantages of education superior to his own, he expected to receive information, and repay it by protection, in his intercourse with her; and he was well aware, from all he remembered of her temper and disposition, that she would sympathize in his past sufferings, and do her best for his present improvement.
His pleasant reveries were interrupted by the bad weather encountered in the Bay of Biscay, at all times affording a rough sea, but now absolutely tempestuous. Great distress prevailed among the passengers; and at one time Mr. Crusoe feared, that he and his unfortunate son should be again doomed to the horrors of a second shipwreck. At this time, Charles passed from an apparently timid, retiring boy, into an active, clever young man? exercising that acute observation which arises from decided natural talents, united to experience, and displaying an equanimity of spirit, that astonished, and, in many instances, reproved the elder persons around him. He had attained, during his residence in the island, a knowledge of the usual progress of storms, that appeared to those who were ignorant of such phenomena, a kind of prophecy; and as the captain found that every prediction he made was regularly fulfilled, he soon placed extraordinary confidence in him, and kept him continually near him. In consequence of this confidence, the passengers frequently inquired of Charles that which they could not intrude on the captain to learn, and were surprised to find the self-possession, as well as information, shewn by one who held himself in general so humbly, but who now seemed equal not only to command himself, but others, and frequently issued orders, that were always obeyed with alacrity, from those who dared to rely on their propriety.
The storm was at length outridden; the waves, that had risen mountains high, subsided, and exhibited only a gentle curl, that promised them a speedy passage to their native land, and every person on board fell into their usual habits; but it was not possible for our young friend to step back into insignificance. Young as he was, he had gained the esteem of the old; and every person was eager to shew him the respect they felt for his abilities and fortitude, and the affection awakened by his kind attentions and consolatory manners, in the hour of alarm and danger; and they now crowded around him, to inquire how he came by so much knowledge, and how he acquired so much self-command.
I have been shipwrecked once," said Charles.
"So we understand from Mr. Crusoe; but we cannot see how a single shipwreck, when you must have been almost frightened to death, could have given you that acute perception of every change in the atmosphere, which the captain says you possess."
"I have accustomed myself to look earnestly into the skies, and trace the congregating of those magnificent storms, in which clouds electrify each other. I like to gaze (even whilst I tremble) at the sublime effects produced by tempest; and, like the prophet, can watch the cloud no bigger than a man's hand, cover by degrees the face of heaven, with a curtain of thick darkness."
"You have of course determined to pursue a seafaring life?" said one of the gentlemen.
"Indeed, sir, I have never thought of such a thing; I am much too young to determine on any thing; seeing I have a father who will determine for me."
"But as your bent is so decided, as it is plain you love the sea, and possess the talent called for in a navigator, I hope your father will not forbid you to indulge your wishes."
"My wishes do not tend that way, sir. I like the sea very well, though not as well as I used to do; but I have no desire to live upon it, or subject myself again to the troubles I have experienced from it. I wish my profession to be a very different one, at present; but I shall certainly express no wish to my father on the subject, until my education is much farther advanced, and I may be supposed to have better reasons for choice than I can have now."
So saying, Charles skipped away to his father, who was at that time walking on deck and feeding the parrot, which was an universal favourite, and, like his master, had recovered his power of mixing in general society. The sailors were just now particularly fond of Poll, because, in the height of the storm, he had never ceased to cry, "Don't despair, my dear boy;" and Mr. Crusoe now learnt from his son, the reason why the poor creature had been taught these words, and how often he had chanced to use them, in the most suitable moment, and with the happiest effect.
When the fond father was told of the above conversation, he rejoiced exceedingly to hear that his son had no predilection for a seaman's life, having, like others, believed that to be the case, notwithstanding all that had occurred; and he now became solicitous to know to what his desires turned. This he told Charles, adding -- "That since he had unavoidably lost much time, if he desired to enter on a learned profession, he would engage for him the best masters, as soon as they arrived."
"Then, papa" said Charles, "I will tell you frankly, that I do earnestly desire to be brought up to the church, considering it the best way I have of shewing gratitude to God, for the preservation of my life and my understanding, in circumstances so extraordinary as those I have experienced. But as I know myself to be not only very young, but in many respects ignorant, I did not like, on such a serious subject, to excite any ridicule; so if you please we will say nothing about it for some time to come."
"Perhaps I have. The people on board the ship that rescued me, though they were really good at the bottom, called me the 'wild man of the woods,' you know, and the speaking 'ourang outang' and used to tell me my own mother would not know me, so that I have got a kind of fear, that I am like nobody else."
"My dear boy," replied Mr. Crusoe, "I am very sorry you should suffer pain from such an unworthy cause, for even allowing, that from long seclusion and peculiar habits, you might (when you were first found,) appear singular, depend upon it, that would very soon go off, for young people soon contract and soon lose any impression or habit. However, since one of two evils were always likely to arise, either that you should be exalted into a hero in your own eyes, and made for the rest of your youth a conceited coxcomb, I had much rather of the two that you should experience the fear which now affects you. When you mix with boys of your own age, this timidity (so far as it is painful) will subside; and in the mean time, comfort yourself with knowing that your father is not ashamed, but proud of you."
At length the ship anchored off Deal, and the shore of that beloved England, so long desired, were visible, and there was no time lost in hastening to them. As Mr. Crusoe had been now more than a year and a half without any intelligence of his wife and daughter, (his voyage in search of Charles rendering it impossible that he should receive letters), he experienced again nearly the same emotions which affected him when he reached the desolate island, except in the satisfaction of knowing, that his beloved wife was surrounded by friends, and whether living or dead, had been blessed by those consolations of which his son was so long deprived.
Not knowing how far Mrs. Crusoe had been informed of the jeopardy of her son, or whether she remained in ignorance of an event, which would of course render his long absence and her own want of letters the more distressing, Mr. Crusoe thought it advisable to see that lady and her husband in the first place, to whom he had assigned the delicate task of acquainting her, when he was first at the Cape. He knew that she resided at Brompton, and that the gentleman, Captain Coventry, could be heard of at the Clarendon Hotel; and as his first duty was to call at the East India House, he determined to proceed thence towards that dear home, where his heart was already hovering in joy and fear, and learn on the road, if possible, the present situation of his lady, and then announce his arrival to her.
In consequence, they took a friendly leave of their fellow-passengers, and travelling post, soon arrived in London. Before reaching the India House, Charles had been absolutely surprised at the number of streets and houses; and in going thence all the way up to Piccadilly, it may be supposed how much he was astonished. When he saw London, as he approached it from Blackheath, he called it a forest of houses, of which his memory furnished him with no parallel; but yet his mind was not impressed by it nearly in the same way that it appeared to be, when such a multitude of his fellow-creatures actually surrounded him, as are always seen traversing the streets of the metropolis. Under the surprise of one party, and the anxiety of the other, both remained equally silent, until they reached the hotel, and learnt that Captain Coventry was then residing with his family in Brampton, in a house, as it appeared, very near to that taken hy Mrs. Crusoe; so that they could not doubt receiving every information respecting her from him; and Mr, Crusoe requested the postillions to drive thither as quick as possible.
Sambo, who had been seated on the box, and exceedingly delighted with all he saw in the latter part of the drive, (for the former confusion rather frightened him), seized the momentary stoppage to exclaim -- "Ah! Misser Sharly, him city here quite differ to Saintee Paul; here mens more thick than trees; plenty beefs, plenty pies, no thunder here, but coachee; no green serpent here, Misser Sharly."
Mr. Crusoe shook his head, and half smiled at the last remark, remembering there were snares in London, if not serpents; but his heart was too full to speak; besides, in addition to the many sounds of the streets, the parrot added his voice, for having caught the word Captain, when they stopped, he continued to cry, "Captain Gordon ahoy," till they arrived at Captain Coventry's door.
It so happened, that the master of the house reached it at the same moment, and heartily welcomed Mr. Crusoe, who was so agitated, he could not make the very inquiries which faltered on his tongue; but before he had time to speak, Captain Coventry said -- "You see I have got this evening's Courier in my hand; it announces the arrival of the Asia, and adds, 'We understand the names of Wilmington, Crusoe, Sneyd, &c. are among the passengers;' so I ran to Mrs. Crusoe that moment with the news, and also entreated her and Emily to come and dine with us, that we might talk about you together: but, bless my life, this must be your son?"
"Yes, sir," said Sambo, anxious to be recognised as a former acquaintance, "him be him fader own son; Sambo find him again on desert island."
"My dear boy," said the warm-hearted captain, clasping him to his breast, "I am more rejoiced to see you, than I have time to tell you; but come up stairs this moment; Mrs. Coventry must hide you somewhere; your poor mother is at this time in deep mourning for you, and in delicate health; this joy must not be given too suddenly."
When Captain Coventry had mentioned the words already related, which assured Mr. Crusoe of the safety of his dear wife and daughter, he had involuntarily flung himself on a chair in the hall, overpowered with gratitude and joy; but he now hastened into the drawing-room, where he found Mrs. Coventry, who gave him a sincere welcome, and Charles likewise. On learning the safety of the latter, she exceedingly lamented that dear Mrs, Crusoe had ever been led to doubt it, as it had greatly affected her health, and rendered her much more uneasy about her husband, than she would otherwise have been.
"I did all for the best," cried Captain Coventry; "I had not the slightest doubt in my own mind that the poor boy had been dead months before, when Mr. Crusoe set out to seek him; and as I received letters from Ceylon, in which his father himself, owing to the long delay, said he had given up all hopes of his existence, I thought it my duty to prepare my poor friend here and her daughter for the truth, especially as it was the only proper way of accounting for the protracted absence of her husband. I did not expect that you would arrive so soon by six weeks, so I told her about two months since, trusting, that by the time of your arrival, time would so far have softened her sorrow, (great as it was), that she might not afflict you on your meeting by speaking of it, and renewing the grievous state of feeling under which I had seen you suffer; both myself and my wife have done our best to comfort her, and her resignation to Heaven has done more; but she is yet in much affliction."
Just then a knock was heard at the door -- "Here she comes," said Mrs. Coventry; "I well know her mind is in such a flutter with the news, she can rest nowhere. Go down, my dear, and tell her of Mr. Crusoe's arrival; I will take Charles into my dressing-room."
Pursuant to this arrangement, in a few minutes the affectionate and long-parted couple were in each others arms; and little Emily, now a tall, lovely girl of thirteen, claimed the parental kiss. Tears mingled with their caresses, but Mrs. Crusoe struggled to suppress all symptoms of that sorrow for their mutual loss, which was still uppermost in her mind, and did not revert to any thing which could damp the evident unmingled joy of her husband. When they had sat together alone a little time, Mr. Crusoe inquired after their friends and relations.
"All are well," said Mrs. Crusoe ; "but I have lost one, my great-uncle, Mr. Robinson, of Lincolnshire; he was a very old man, and 1 have never seen him since my childhood, so that I cannot call him a loss."
"You were his nearest relation, Emily, though a distant one; and he ought to have left you something handsome, for he was very rich: but never mind, my love -- we can do without it, thank God,"
These words entirely overcame the poor mother, who now burst into tears, and was unable to speak, whilst Emily (weeping also) replied to her father. -- "If my poor brother had lived, papa, he was to have had all Mr. Robinson's estate, on adding the name of Robinson to his own. If mamma has no son, the estate goes to a still more distant relation; but the old gentleman has been very good to me."
"Then we are all much obliged to him, my dear, and I will get a new black coat tomorrow; you are already in mourning, I perceive."
"Not for him, poor man -- oh, no, not for him," cried the agitated mother.
"Emily, my dearest Emily, I cannot bear to see you thus, knowing as I do, the source of your sorrows, and aware as I am, that you ought not to weep."
"Perhaps you think that because I have left my poor Charles so long, I have forgotten him; but indeed that is not the case; he is now in my memory as fresh as ever. I well remember, just before I set sail for England, that he was wishing one morning to be like Robinson Crusoe, and it was that recollection which overcame me."
"It was indeed too likely to do so, and I am not sorry to have an opportunity thus offered, to talk with you about our beloved boy; but I fear you have not the fortitude to hear me."
"Oh! yes, I have; I even wish to hear all the particulars of his death."
Those I cannot give you, for I am fully persuaded that he is not dead, my dear."
"Not dead! then he must have been carried away, and is in a state of slavery. Tell me in a moment why you think he still lives?"
"Be calm then, and I will give you my reasons; I have seen him living, and even spoken to him; he is in a state of captivity at this moment, I grant, Emily; but he is in health."
"He is here, here" cried the mother, sinking on her knees, and holding up her hands to Heaven; "bring him to my arms this instant."
"I did not promise you this, Emily," cried Mr, Crusoe, terrified by her pale, wild looks, and seeking now to repress the emotion he had awakened.
"I know he is here, for you, Charles, would never leave your son a captive in a foreign land. No, he is here -- bring me to him, and I will be calm!"
At this moment, Mrs. Coventry, alarmed by the loud exclamation of her friend, rushed into the room, and earnestly besought her to be calm, adding an indirect insinuation that Charles's health would suffer. On this she conceived the idea, that he was perhaps only restored to her, that he might die with her; and the contending fear so far damped her joy, as to render it bearable. In a short, time she had the satisfaction to hold him in her arms, to gaze on him again, recall his features and his voice, and by degrees assure herself, that allowing for the darkness of his complexion, and his extraordinary growth, there was nothing alarming in his appearance.
Emily thought there was every thing admirable in it; she walked round him again and again, brushed up his hair with her fingers, and called him "brother," at every word, delighted with the acquisition she had made, and anticipating, from his future love, more happiness than she had ever known since the day when they were parted. For some time, poor Charles, who was almost equally affected with his mother, (since the sight of her brought vividly to his remembrance all his own period of sufferings), could scarcely speak; but when he was become a little more familiar with the circle, he found himself so happy, that he could not contain the overflowing of his thankfulness; and he retired to the room he had quitted, that he might, unseen, pour out his full heart to God, in prayer and praise.
Need we tell our young readers with what joy Charles presented his collection of shells and feathers to his sister, thus proving, that she had been held dear, at a time when he had little hope of ever shewing his affection; it will be readily believed, that they were thought the most beautiful that were ever beheld; yet that the history attached to all his movements, at that eventful time, was still more interesting than his present.
"And what have you got for me, Charles?" said Mrs. Crusoe.
"Let us see them, by all means," was the cry; and as Charles had really got one of the shawls with him, it was immediately brought up stairs by Sambo, whom his good lady had already seen and welcomed.
The silk shawl, already mentioned, which was of a very singular pattern, was immediately spread out, on which Captain Coventry said -- "That is the very shawl I bought for you, my dear, at Benares; I could know it from a thousand, and which we all thought was lost, through the carelessness of Said, along with the rest of your finery."
"I put it," said Mrs. Coventry, "myself in the bottom of a box, along with one much more valuable, though less shewy, together with gold and silver muslin, ostrich feathers, and many other things."
"All which I can restore you, except the shoes, which I wore out, and the handkerchiefs, for which I had a thousand uses. I have also made up your furs, but I do not think they are much injured."
"You are a sad rogue, I find," said Mrs. Coventry, laughing. "Are you certain you did not leave any of my things at the India House, for I find you went there the first thing?"
"I am quite certain that I did; for I took some of your skins to pack up safely those important papers which belonged to Captain Gordon, and which it was our first duty to deposit safely there, till we can place them in the hands of his widowed daughter."
"I shall then get all my property back, for that lady married a cousin of mine; she is the mother of three little children, and would have been before this time in great distress, if my dear Coventry had not assisted her: but now she will probably be rendered comfortable for life, her poor children well educated, and her friends easy for them all."
Charles now went out to bring his parrot, which entered, sitting on his shoulder, and bawling, "Never despair, my dear boy," to the great delight of Emily and the captain. It would not at first be persuaded to leave its master for any person but Sambo; and Mr. Crusoe, observed, that he feared Poll would prove rather a troublesome present, but he was better than none; and he did not remember that Charles had given him any thing.
"Oh! fie, papa -- ever since the day my mother left us in India, your kindness and daily attention to my comfort, said continually, 'my son, give me thy heart,' and you must know and feel, that you had my whole heart."
"Indeed I do, my boy; and I rejoice in the gift, not only for my own happiness in you now, but from the persuasion that your confidence in me, at the most trying time in your eventful little history, was the reason why your spirits were supported under such severe distress, and that you were enabled to recollect my advice on many points, to your advantage."
"Undoubtedly it was, papa; but when I had the power of recollecting things, I was also a little indebted to my old friend, Robinson Crusoe, for my exertions and contrivances. I said nothing about him on board, for fear of their jokes, but among friends, I wish to acknowledge my obligations to poor Robinson."
"So you ought, my dear, both in the old quarter and a new one, for it is now time to tell you, that you are likely, by and by, to add that name to your own, together with a handsome estate; and I think we must all own, that no boy of your age ever had more fairly earned a right to be called "Robinson Crusoe."
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