By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

´╗┐Title: Alone on an Island
Author: Kingston, William Henry Giles, 1814-1880
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Alone on an Island" ***

Alone on an Island, by W.H.G. Kingston.




The _Wolf_, a letter-of-marque of twenty guns, commanded by Captain
Deason, sailing from Liverpool, lay becalmed on the glass-like surface
of the Pacific.  The sun struck down with intense heat on the dock,
compelling the crew to seek such shade as the bulwarks or sails
afforded.  Some were engaged in mending sails, twisting yarns, knotting,
splicing, or in similar occupations; others sat in groups between the
guns, talking together in low voices, or lay fast asleep out of sight in
the shade.  The officers listlessly paced the deck, or stood leaning
over the bulwarks, casting their eyes round the horizon in the hopes of
seeing signs of a coming breeze.  Their countenances betrayed ill-humour
and dissatisfaction; and if they spoke to each other, it was in gruff,
surly tones.  They had had a long course of ill luck, as they called it,
having taken no prizes of value.  The crew, too, had for some time
exhibited a discontented and mutinous spirit, which Captain Deason, from
his bad temper, was ill fitted to quell.  While he vexed and insulted
the officers, they bullied and tyrannised over the men.  The crew,
though often quarrelling among themselves, were united in the common
hatred to their superiors, till that little floating world became a
perfect pandemonium.

Among those who paced her deck, anxiously looking out for a breeze, was
Humphry Gurton, a fine lad of fifteen, who had joined the _Wolf_ as a
midshipman.  This was his first trip to sea.  He had intended to enter
the Navy, but just as he was about to do so his father, a merchant at
Liverpool, failed, and, broken-hearted at his losses, soon afterwards
died, leaving his wife and only son but scantily provided for.

Tenderly had that wife, though suffering herself from a fatal disease,
watched over him in his sickness, and Humphry had often sat by his
father's bedside while his mother was reading from God's Word, and
listened as with tender earnestness she explained the simple plan of
salvation to his father.  She had shown him from the Bible that all men
are by nature sinful, and incapable, by anything they can do, of making
themselves fit to enter a pure and holy heaven, however respectable or
excellent they may be in the sight of their fellow-men, and that the
only way the best of human beings can come to God is by imitating the
publican in the parable, and acknowledging themselves worthless, outcast
sinners, and seeking to be reconciled to Him according to the one way He
has appointed--through a living faith in the all-atoning sacrifice of
His dear Son.  Humphry had heard his father exclaim, "I believe that
Jesus died for me; O Lord, help my unbelief!  I have no merits of my
own; I trust to Him, and Him alone."  He had witnessed the joy which had
lighted up his mother's countenance as she pressed his father's hand,
and bending down, whispered, "We shall be parted but for a short time;
and, oh! may our loving Father grant that this our son may too be
brought to love the Saviour, and join us when he is summoned to leave
this world of pain and sorrow."

Humphry had felt very sad; and though he had wept when his father's eyes
were closed in death, and his mother had pressed him--now the only being
on earth for whom she desired to live--to her heart, yet the impression
he had received had soon worn off.

In a few months after his father died, she too was taken from him, and
Humphry was left an orphan.

The kind and pious minister, Mr Faithful, who frequently visited Mrs
Gurton during the last weeks of her illness, had promised her to watch
over her boy, but he had no legal power.  Humphry's guardian was a
worldly man, and finding that there was but a very small sum for his
support, was annoyed at the task imposed on him.

Humphry had expressed his wish to go to sea.  A lad whose acquaintance
he had lately made, Tom Matcham, was just about to join the _Wolf_, and,
persuading him that they should meet with all sorts of adventures,
offered to assist him in getting a berth on board her.  Humphry's
guardian, to save himself trouble, was perfectly willing to agree to the
proposed plan, and, without difficulty, arranged for his being received
on board as a midshipman.

"We shall have a jovial life of it, depend upon that!" exclaimed Matcham
when the matter was settled.  "I intend to enjoy myself.  The officers
are rather wild blades, but that will suit me all the better."  Harry
went to bid farewell to Mr Faithful.

"I pray that God will prosper and protect you, my lad," he said.  "I
trust that your young companion is a right principled youth, who will
assist you as you will be ready to help him, and that the captain and
officers are Christian men."

"I have not been long enough acquainted with Tom Matcham to know much
about him," answered Humphry.  "I very much doubt that the captain and
officers are the sort of people you describe.  However, I daresay I
shall get on very well with them."

"My dear Humphry," exclaimed Mr Faithful, "I am deeply grieved to hear
that you can give no better account of your future associates.  Those
who willingly mix with worldly or evil-disposed persons are very sure to
suffer.  Our constant prayer is that we may be kept out of temptation,
and we are mocking God if we willingly throw ourselves into it.  I would
urge you, if you are not satisfied with the character of those who are
to be your companions for so many years, to give up the appointment
while there is time.  I would accompany you, and endeavour to get your
agreement cancelled.  It will be better to do so at any cost, rather
than run the risk of becoming like them."

"Oh, I daresay that they are not bad fellows after all!" exclaimed
Humphry.  "You know I need not do wrong, even though they do."

The minister sighed.  In vain he urged Humphry to consider the matter

"All I can do, then, my young friend, is to pray for you," said Mr
Faithful, as he wrung Harry's hand, "and I beg you, as a parting gift,
to accept these small books.  One is a book above all price, of a size
which you may keep in your pocket, and I trust that you will read it as
you can make opportunities, even though others may attempt to interrupt
you, or to persuade you to leave it neglected in your chest."

It was a small Testament, and Harry, to please the minister, promised to
carry it in his pocket, and to read from it as often as he could.

Humphry having parted from his friend, went down at once to join the

Next day she sailed.  Humphry at first felt shocked at hearing the oaths
and foul language used, both by the crew and officers.  The captain, who
on shore appeared a grave, quiet sort of man, swore louder and oftener
than any one.  Scarcely an order was issued without an accompaniment of
oaths; indeed blasphemy resounded throughout the ship.

Matcham only laughed at Humphry when he expressed his annoyance.

"You will soon get accustomed to it," he observed.  "I confess that I
myself was rather astonished when I first heard the sort of thing, but I
don't mind it now a bit."

So Humphry thought, for Matcham interlarded his own conversation with
the expressions used by the rest on board; indeed, swearing had become
so habitual to him, that he seemed scarcely aware of the fearful
language which escaped his lips.

By degrees, as Matcham had foretold, Humphry did get accustomed to the
language used by all around, which had at first so greatly shocked him.
Though he kept his promise to the minister, and carried the little
Testament in his pocket, he seldom found time to read it.

He wished to become a sailor, and he applied himself diligently to learn
his profession; and as he was always in a good temper and ready to
oblige, the captain and officers treated him with more respect than they
did Matcham, who was careless and indifferent, and ready to shirk duty
whenever he could do so.  Matcham, finding himself constantly abused,
chose to consider that it was owing to Humphry, and, growing jealous,
took every opportunity of annoying him.  Humphry, however, gained the
good-will of the men by never swearing at them, or using the rope's-end:
this the officers were accustomed to do on all occasions, and Matcham
imitated them by constantly thrashing the boys, often without the
slightest excuse.

As the ship sailed on her voyage, the state of affairs on board became
worse and worse.  On one occasion the crew came aft, complaining that
their provisions were bad, and then that the water was undrinkable, when
the captain, appearing with pistols in his hands, ordered them to go
forward, refusing to listen to what they had to say.  Another time they
complained that they were stinted in their allowance of spirits, when he
treated them in the same way.  They retired, casting looks of defiance
at him and the officers.  On several occasions, when some of the men did
not obey orders with sufficient promptitude, Humphry saw them struck to
the deck by the first and second mates without any notice being taken by
the captain.  The officers, too, quarrelled among themselves; the first
officer and the second refused to speak to each other; and the surgeon,
who considered that he had been insulted, declined intercourse with
either of them.  The younger officers followed their bad example, and
often and often Humphry wished that he had listened to the advice of his
friend Mr Faithful, and had inquired the character of his intended
companions before he joined the ship.

At the first port in South America at which the _Wolf_ touched, the
surgeon, carrying his chest with him, went on shore, and refused to
return till the mates had apologised.  As this they would not do, she
sailed without him; and although the men might be wounded, or sickness
break out, there was now no one on board capable of attending to them.
Such was the condition of the _Wolf_ at the time she was thus floating
becalmed and alone on the wide ocean.


Harry Gurton stood gazing on the glassy sea till his eyes ached with the
bright glare, his thoughts wandering back to the days of his happy
childhood, when he was the pride and delight of his beloved father and
mother.  He had come on deck only to breathe a purer air than was to be
found below.

Soon after leaving the coast of South America a fever had broken out on
board, and several of the crew lay sick in their berths.  Their
heartless shipmates, afraid of catching the complaint, took little care
of them.  Humphry could not bear to see them suffer without help, and
from the first had done his best to attend on them.  He constantly went
round, taking them water and such food as he could induce the cook to

Tom Matcham was the only officer who had as yet been struck down by the
fever.  He lay in his berth tossing and groaning, complaining of his
hard lot.  The officers, who were annoyed by his cries, often abused
him, telling him roughly not to disturb them.

"The cruel brutes!  I will be revenged on them if I ever get well,"
exclaimed Matcham.

In vain Humphry tried to pacify him.

"Don't mind what they say, Tom," he observed.  "I hope you may get well;
but if you were to die, it would be dreadful to go out of the world with
such feelings in your heart.  I remember enough about religion to know
that we should forgive those who injure us.  If you will let me, I will
try to say some of the prayers which my mother taught me when I was a
child, and I will pray with you.  I have got a Testament, and I should
like to read to you out of it."

"I can't pray, and I don't want to hear anything from the Testament,"
answered Tom gloomily.

"It would be very dreadful if you were to go out of the world feeling as
you now do," urged Humphry.

"What! you don't mean to say you think I am going to die!" exclaimed Tom
in an agitated voice.

"I tell you honestly, Tom, that you seem as bad as the two poor fellows
who died last week," said Humphry.

"Oh, you are croaking," groaned Tom, though his voice faltered as he

After talking for some time longer without being able to move him,
Humphry was compelled to go forward to attend to some of the other men.

In the first hammock he came to lay Ned Hadow, one of the oldest, and
apparently one of the most ruffianly of the crew.  He seemed, however,
to be grateful to Humphry for his kindness; and he acknowledged that if
it had not been for him, he should have been fathoms down in the deep
before then.

"I hope, however, that you are getting better now," said Humphry.

"Thanks to you, sir, I think I am," answered Ned.  "I don't want to die,
though I cannot say I have much to live for, nor has any one else aboard
this ship, except to be abused and knocked about without any chance of
gaining any good by the cruise."

"Perhaps we may do better by and by," observed Humphry.

"I have no hopes of that while such men as the captain and his mates
have charge of the ship.  Take my advice, Mr Gurton, if you have a
chance, get out of her as fast as you can.  You will thank me for
warning you--it is the only way I have to show that I am grateful to you
for your kindness."

Hadow's remarks made no deep impression upon Humphry, but he could not
help occasionally recollecting them.

After visiting the other sick men, he went on deck to keep his proper
watch; then, weary with his exertions, he turned into his berth to
obtain the rest he so much needed.

He was awakened by hearing the cry of "All hands shorten sail!"  He
quickly sprang on deck.

A gale had suddenly sprung up.  The ship was heeling over, and ploughing
her way through the seething waters.  The crew flew aloft.  The loftier
sails were taken in, and the top-sails were being closely reefed, when
another blast, more furious than the former, struck the ship, and two
poor fellows were hurled from the lee-yard-arm into the foaming waters.
There was a cry from the crew, and several rushed to lower a boat--
Humphry among them.

"Hold fast!" cried the captain; "let the fellows drown; you will only
lose your lives if you attempt to save them."

Still the men persisted, showing more humanity than they had exhibited
in attending to their sick shipmates, when the captain swore that he
would shoot any one who disobeyed him.  Though spare spars and
everything that could float had been hove overboard, the poor fellows in
the water could no longer be seen.

The crew, with gloomy looks, assembled forward, muttering threats which
did not reach the officers' ears.

The change of weather had the effect of restoring some of the sick men
to health, though several died.  Among the first to appear on deck was
Ned Hadow.  He still looked weak and ill--the shadow of his former self.
He was changed in other respects, and Humphry observed that he was
quiet in his behaviour, and no longer swore in the way he had been
accustomed to do.

Matcham remained in his berth.  He seemed a little better, though he
still refused to listen to Humphry when he offered to read the Bible to
him, and when asked the reason, replied, "Because I am not going to let
those fellows suppose that I am afraid to die.  They would be sneering
at me, and calling me a Methodist; and I don't intend to die either, so
I don't see why I should bother myself by having religion thrust down my

"If you are not going to die, I suppose the case is different," answered
Humphry.  "Still, I know that if you were, the Bible is the best book to
read.  I wish that I had read it oftener myself."

"If I can get hold of it, I will take care that neither you nor I am
troubled with it in future," answered Matcham.  "You have teased me too
much about it already.  I wish you would just try what the captain or
mates would say to you if you were to bother them."

Humphry put his little Testament into his pocket, determining that his
messmate should not get hold of it.  Still, much as he valued the book
as a gift from his old friend, he looked upon it, as many other people
do, as a book to be reverenced, and to be read in times of sickness or
trouble; but he had little notion of the value of an open Bible, to be
studied with prayer every day in the week, to serve as a light to his
feet and a lamp to his path, and to guide him in the everyday affairs of

Humphry, wishing Matcham good evening, went on deck.

As he looked ahead, he saw in the distance a small island rising like a
rock out of the blue ocean.  The ship was standing towards it.  The sun,
however, was just then setting, and in a short time it was concealed
from sight by the mists of night.  As he was to keep the first watch
with the third mate, he went down and took some supper.  When he
returned on deck, he found that the sky was overcast with clouds, and
that the night was excessively dark.  He could scarcely distinguish the
man at the helm or the officer of the watch.

"Is that you, Gurton?" asked the third mate.  "The orders are to heave
to in an hour, so as not to run past the island we saw at sunset, as the
captain wishes to examine it to-morrow morning.  Go forward, and see
that the look-outs are keeping their eyes open; the reefs may run
further off the land than we think for."

"Ay, ay, sir," answered Humphry, making his way along the deck.

Having spoken to the men as directed, he stood for some minutes trying
to pierce the thick gloom, and as he was sure no danger could be seen
till the ship was close upon it, he resolved to return aft, and advise
the mate to heave her to sooner than he had been ordered.

When just abreast of the fore-rigging, he suddenly felt his arms
pinioned behind him, and a gag thrust into his mouth.  At the same time
a voice whispered in his ear, which he recognised as Ned Hadow's, "Do
not cry out--no harm is intended you; what we do is for your good."  The
next instant he felt himself lifted off his feet and placed in the
fore-rigging, up which a man on either side forced him to ascend.  He
soon reached the top.

"He will be safer in the cross-trees," said one of the men, and he was
compelled to ascend till he got there.  "We must make you fast where you
are," whispered Hadow, compelling Humphry to sit down on the
cross-trees, and lashing him to the rigging.  "If you will promise not
to cry out, we will remove the gag from your mouth; if not, you must be
content to bear it for some time longer.  Here, press my hand if you
promise to do as I tell you--I can trust to your word."

Humphry was very anxious to get rid of the gag, which hurt him, and
pressed the hand placed in his.  The gag was immediately taken out of
his mouth.

"Whatever sounds you hear, or whatever you see, don't cry out, as you
value your life," whispered Hadow.

The next moment Humphry was left alone.  He sat wondering why he had
been thus treated.  Hadow could certainly not have intended to injure
him; at the same time, he could not help fearing that the crew
contemplated some dreadful act of mutiny, and that Hadow had contrived
to get him up there to keep him out of harm's way.  Nothing could he see
but the tall mast above his head tapering towards the dark sky, and the
yard and ropes immediately below him.  All on deck seemed quiet, no
voices reached his ear.

The moments passed slowly by.  Suddenly a loud shriek rent the air,
followed by a heavy groan; then came the flash and report of a pistol--
another, and another followed.  Now rose fierce shouts and cries from
many voices, loud thundering blows, and the clash of cutlasses.  A
desperate fight was going on.  He no longer had any doubt that the
officers had been attacked, and were struggling for their lives.

Suddenly, as they began, all sounds of strife ceased, though he could
now distinguish the voices of the crew shouting to each other.

The helm during the contest had been deserted, and the ship had come up
to the wind.  It seemed a relief to him to hear the boatswain's voice
ordering the crew to brace up the yards.  The ship was then hove to.

No one, however, came to release him.  If his friend Hadow had fallen in
the strife, what would be his fate when the rest of the crew discovered
him?  The dreadful certainty forced itself upon his mind, that the
officers had been overcome.  He heard the men moving about the deck, and
talking in loud voices to each other; but though he listened eagerly, he
could not ascertain what was said.

Hour after hour passed by.  No one came aloft to release him.

Notwithstanding the fearful anxiety he felt, he at length dropped off
into forgetfulness; but his dream were troubled, and full of the horrors
which had just occurred.


"It was well I thought of lashing you securely, or you would have fallen
and been killed," said a voice in Humphry's ear.

Consciousness returned.  He recognised Ned Hadow.

"It will be wise in you not to ask any questions, Mr Gurton," he
whispered.  "Just be sure that you are wide awake, and I will cast off
the lashings.  I have done the best I could for you.  The men did not
ask you to join them because they believed you would not, nor do I
either.  I am too grateful to you for what you have done for me to wish
you to be among them.  They have now possession of the ship, and intend
to keep it.  As we shall be at daybreak close in with the island we saw
last night, they give you your choice of being put on shore there, or
taking the oath of fidelity to them, and joining their cause.  As I said
before, I don't suppose you will hesitate about the matter."

"Indeed I will not," answered Humphry; "whether or not the island is
inhabited or means of subsistence can be found on it, I would rather be
put on shore than remain an hour longer than I can help on board the
ship, after what I fear has taken place."

"As I said, Mr Gurton, you must ask no questions," repeated Hadow.  "I
wish I could go with you, but I am sworn to stay by the rest.  I would
give anything to be out of the ship, but it is too late now to draw
back; though, as I have heard it said, that hell with sinners often
begins on earth, so it has begun with me.  Yes, Mr Gurton, I almost
wish that I had been carried off by the fever instead of living on, to
become what I now am.  I was bad enough before, but I am a thousand
times worse now.  There is no one on board I can say this to, and I
cannot help saying it to you."

"Surely you could manage to come on shore with me," said Humphry.  "Your
messmates will probably release you from any oath you have taken if you
wish it."

"They will not do that, sir, they will not do that," answered Hadow in a
despairing tone.  "I am bound hand and foot to them; their fate,
whatever that is, must be mine.  You must not stay up here longer.  I
will cast off the lashings now, but you must take care, as your arms
will be stiff after being bound so long, that you don't fall.  I will
hold you till you get the use of them."

Saying this, Ned cast off the rope, and grasping Humphry round the body,
assisted him to get on his legs; then, after he had stood for a minute
or two, helped him to descend the rigging.

On reaching the foretop, Hadow told him to wait there till he should
come for him.

"I don't want you to go among the crew," he said in a low voice.  "I
have got four men whom you looked after in their sickness, who have
agreed to pull you on shore, which we hope to reach as soon as there is
light enough to land.  The boat is already in the water, and we are
stowing her with things which we think will be useful to you.  As you
saw nothing of what happened, even should you be taken off the island
some time or other, you cannot swear against any one.  All you know is
that you were lashed in the rigging, and were put on shore the same
night before daybreak.  If any one asks you questions on deck, that is
what you must say to them--you understand me?"

Humphry replied that he did understand, and, suspecting that his safety
depended on his answer, said that he would do as Ned advised.

"Well, then, stay here till I come for you," and Ned disappeared down
the rigging.

Harry had not long to wait when he again heard his voice.

"All is ready," he whispered.  "We took the bearings of the island
before dark, and can steer a straight course for it.  Don't speak to any
one.  Follow me into the boat; she is waiting under the forechains; you
will find a rope by which you can lower yourself into her."

Humphry followed Ned without ever stepping on deck, and took his seat
near him in the stern of the boat, which noiselessly shoved off from the
ship's side.  The crew bent to their oars, while Ned steered by a boat
compass lighted by a lantern at his feet.

Humphry breathed more freely when he felt himself out of the ship.  Yet
what a fate was to be his.  To be left alone on an island where he might
have to spend long, long years, cut off from all intercourse with his
fellow-creatures.  Yet anything was better than having to associate with
the wretched men on board the _Wolf_.

They soon lost sight of the ship, and the boat made her way across the
dark water, the island not being yet visible ahead.

"Are they all dead, have none been spared?" asked Humphry at length, yet
half fearing to speak on the subject which occupied his thoughts.

"I told you, Mr Gurton, to ask no questions," answered Ned in a hollow
voice.  "The sooner you put all thoughts of what happened last night out
of your head the better.  Just think of what you have got to do.  You
will have to keep your wits awake where you are going, depend on that.
I wish we could stop to help you, but we have promised to be back as
soon as we have landed your things.  All I can tell you is, that there
is said to be water, and you will probably find cocoa-nut and
bread-fruit trees, and other roots and fruits; and as we have put up
lines and hooks, and a gun and ammunition, and a couple of harpoons, and
lines for catching seals, it will be your fault if you do not manage to
find as much food as you want."

"But how shall I be able to live all alone by myself on the island?"
said Humphry with a sigh.

"Better to be all alone than food for the sharks, I have a notion,"
observed one of the men who overheard him.

Humphry made no further remark.  He now felt more than ever certain that
a fearful tragedy had been enacted, and that he ought to be thankful to
get out of the company of the perpetrators.  Yet he was sorry to leave
Hadow among them, for he had observed, he thought, the signs of
something better in him than in his companions, rough and ignorant as he

As day dawned the island appeared ahead, rising out of the blue water
with black rocks piled one upon another, and some hills of considerable
elevation.  Humphry observed also a deep sandy bay between the rocks,
but an encircling coral reef intervened, over which, even on that calm
morning, the sea broke in masses of foam.

They pulled along till the bay opened out more clearly, and just in
front was a cascade, which came tumbling down the rocks.  A narrow piece
of dark water was seen between the masses of foam which danced up on
either side of it.

"There is a passage," exclaimed Ned.  "Give way, my lads, and we shall
get through it without difficulty."

The men bent to their oars, and the boat, dashing between the two walls
of foam, was in a short time floating on the calm surface of a lagoon.
Pulling up the bay, they reached a small sandy beach, though the dark
rocks which everywhere rose up around it gave the place a gloomy aspect.

The boat was hauled up, and the men quickly landed the various articles
which Ned had secured for Humphry's benefit.

He and Humphry searching about soon found a level spot on one side of
the bay where the ground looked capable of cultivation.

"This will do for you, my lad," said Ned.  "And as I found some papers
of seed in the captain's cabin, I put them into one of the casks; though
I don't know what they are, maybe if you sow them they will come up, and
supply you with vegetables."

The men now brought up all the things from the boat.  They all wished
him good luck and a happy life on the island, and then hurried back to
the boat.

"I only wish I could stop with you, that I do!" exclaimed Ned with some
feeling, as he wrung Humphry's hand.  "I dare not say `God bless you!'
but I hope He will, that I do with all my heart," and Ned ran down to
join his companions, who were already shoving off the boat.  He would
not have been sorry if they had gone without him.

Humphry watched them going down the bay.  They passed through the reef,
and pulled out to sea till the boat was lost to sight, though he could
distinguish the ship hove to in the offing waiting for her return.


Humphry sat down on his chest, feeling very forlorn.  Here he was on a
desert island, a mere speck in the ocean, hundreds of miles away perhaps
from any place inhabited by civilised man.  He might perhaps never be
able to make his escape, or again hold intercourse with his
fellow-creatures.  All alone, without speaking, without exchanging an
idea with another human being, he might have to drag out a weary
existence; and then, should sickness overtake him, have to lie down and
breathe out his life, leaving his bones to whiten in the sun.

He had read Robinson Crusoe, but then his case was very different to
that of the far-famed voyager.  Robinson Crusoe had the companionship of
Friday, and his island was fertile and smiling, and he had goats and
fowls and other animals to cheer him or to serve him as food.  He would
have to go in search of fish and birds for his daily food, and as yet
was uncertain whether any were to be found, though at present he did not
fear starvation, as he had the salted beef and pork and biscuits with
which Ned had supplied him.  But then when they were gone, how should he

"It won't do to indulge in these thoughts," he exclaimed to himself,
suddenly starting up.  "I must think about building a house in the first
place; and then as soon as I can prepare the ground I will put in the
seed, and, as I hope, some may produce good edible vegetables, I shall
have a variety in diet and keep myself in health."

As he began to examine the articles which had been brought on shore, he
found a large roll of canvas.  It was part of an old sail.

"This Ned must have intended to serve as a tent till I can put up a more
substantial building.  I am much obliged to him, and I need not be in
any great hurry about building my house."

He spoke his thoughts aloud on nearly all occasions.  It gave him some
relief to hear his own voice.

"I must get some poles for the tent, though; and no spars, I see, have
been brought on shore."

He looked out an axe, and sticking it in his belt, set out to search for
what he wanted.

"I shall not lose my way in this new kingdom of mine, that's one
advantage in having it of moderate size; and if I climb to the top of
the hill, I shall be able to sing with Robinson Crusoe, `I am lord of
all I survey,'--ah, ah, ah!" and he laughed for the first time for many
a day.

There was nothing to excite his risibility on board.  He felt his
spirits rising.

"Stay!" he exclaimed suddenly.  "What an ungrateful wretch I am!  Here
have I been saved from a great danger, and placed in safety, at all
events for the present, and yet I have not uttered one word of thanks to
Him who has preserved me."

He knelt down, and lifted up his heart as well as he could to God.

"Careless, worthless fellow that I have been! yet God promises to hear
all those that come to Him, not trusting to themselves or to their own
good deeds, but to the perfect and complete atonement Jesus Christ made
for their sins on the cross, so I know that He will hear me; and I am
sure, though I am unworthy of His care, that He put it into the hearts
of those men to bring me on shore instead of throwing me overboard, or
what would have been worse, keeping me among them."

He felt his heart much lighter when he rose from his knees.

He then, carefully observing the appearance of the rocks, that he might
find his way back without difficulty, proceeded on his expedition.
Clambering over them, he came to more level ground covered with various
bushes, and soon reached a hill-side on which grew a number of trees,
palms and others, with the names of which he was unacquainted.  He
looked in vain for cocoa-nuts, not being aware that the trees are only
generally found on the level shore to which the nuts have been borne by
the wind and tides of the ocean from other islands.  He cut two stout
poles for uprights, and a longer one for a ridge-pole, and shouldering
them, returned to his camp.

"I shall want a fire, though," he thought, as he got back, and throwing
them down he again set out to get fuel.

This he had no difficulty in finding among the brushwood, and with the
aid of his axe he quickly made up a number of faggots.

"I shall not be obliged to have a fire burning all night to keep off
wild beasts, that is another comfort," he observed.  "But it will be
cheerful to sit by when it grows dark.  I shall not find the time hang
heavily on my hands for some days to come, that's another comfort."

His first thought was to do the most necessary work.  Having brought the
faggots to his camp, he next put up his tent.

This accomplished, as soon as he sat down to rest he began to feel
hungry.  He rummaged in a small cask, which contained a number of
miscellaneous articles, and discovered a tinder-box.  He had soon a fire
blazing in front of his tent.  He had prudently made it up at a
sufficient distance to prevent the risk of the flames reaching the
canvas.  While he stayed his hunger with some biscuit, he prepared a
piece of beef, which he spitted and placed before the fire on two small
sticks, such as he had read of people doing under similar circumstances.
He turned the meat on the spit, which grew blacker and blacker.

"I think it must be done now," he said at length, taking it off.

When he cut it with his knife, he found it almost as hard as wood.  He
attempted to eat a few mouthfuls, but he could scarcely get them down.

"This won't do," he said.  "I must get some water, to enable me to
swallow this dry food."

On searching for something to hold the water, he found a saucepan, and
on his way with it to the cascade it occurred to him that he might have
cooked his beef much better by boiling.  "I must try that way for
dinner," he thought.

A draught of pure water greatly refreshed him.  He returned to the camp
with his saucepan filled.  He put it on at once with a small piece of
meat in it, recollecting that salted beef requires a long time to boil,
and he hoped to have better success in his second attempt at cooking.

He now made a survey of the articles his shipmates had left with him.
There was enough beef and pork to serve him for many months, but he
regretted to find that the bread would not last him nearly so long.

"I must try and find some substitute for it," he said, "and economise it
in the meantime.  I would rather have had much more bread and less meat,
as I hope to catch some fish and kill some birds.  However, I need not
go hunting till I have put my home to rights."

Then he thought of his seeds.  He had no spade, however, to dig the
ground; so going to the wood he shaped one, which he hoped would answer
the purpose, out of the stem of a small tree.  It did better than
nothing, but he would have been very glad of an iron spade.  He at once
began to dig up the ground.  It was covered thickly with grass with long
roots, but the soil was rather sand than earth.  "I must dig all this
up," he said, "or they will soon sprout up again, and destroy the seed."
So he marked out a small plot, carefully throwing the roots and grass
into a heap.  It then struck him that if they were scattered about on
the ground in the sun they would more quickly dry, and he might then
burn them, and the ashes would contribute to fertilise the ground.

He worked away till he felt quite weary.  He then went back to his fire
to see how the beef was boiling.  As it was not yet done, after resting
a short time he returned to his digging.  It was a very long operation,
but after labouring for four or five hours he found that he had dug up
almost ten square yards of ground.  "It is thoroughly done, though there
is not much of it, and that's a satisfaction," he said.  He thought,
however, even when the ashes of the grass were mixed with it, it would
scarcely be sufficiently fertile for the seeds.  "I will go into the
woods and collect rotten leaves, and with the ashes of my fire I hope in
time to make the soil good."  This was a wise thought, but the sun was
already getting low, and he determined to wait till the next day to do
so.  "It will be better to have a small piece of good ground than to dig
up the whole plot, and I will only put in a few seeds at first, to see
how they answer; so that if some fail, I may try a different way of
cultivating them.  I shall, at all events, have work enough.  How sad it
would have been if I had had nothing to do but to sit still and bemoan
my hard fate.  I may not, after all, find my life so miserable alone as
I had expected, that's another comfort."

With these reflections he went back to his fire, and now, to his
satisfaction, he found that his beef was thoroughly boiled.  Ned had
forgotten to put in any salt or mustard, but as the beef was salt in
itself, that did not signify.  It reminded him, however, that if he shot
any birds or caught fish, he should require some.  That made him resolve
to try and look for it amongst the rocks, or to try and manufacture it
from salt water, as he had read of being done.  He had been accustomed
to read a good many books of travels before he came to sea, and he now
found the advantage of having done so, by being reminded of the various
ways people, when placed in situations similar to his, had been enabled
to support existence.  This contributed to keep up his spirits, as it
made him have no doubts of obtaining food.  His only dread was that he
might meet with an accident, or might fall ill, when there would be no
one to help him.

"Well, well, I ought not to trouble myself about that either," he said.
"I must pray to God to preserve me, and do my best not to run any
unnecessary risk."

He then recollected the dreadful complaint, the scurvy, which had
already attacked some of the crew of the _Wolf_.

"That is brought on by people living too exclusively on salt provisions.
I must try to find some roots or herbs till the seeds come up: and
then, if they produce vegetables, as I hope they will, I need not be
anxious about that."

Such were his cogitations during his meal.  Having finished, he hung up
the remainder of his beef in his tent, to serve as breakfast for the
next morning, and then went back to the fountain to enjoy a draught of
pure water.

He felt but little inclined to do any more work, and the sun had not set
when he recollected that he had not yet read from his Testament.  He
took it from the pocket of his jacket, which hung up in his tent, and
sat down to read.  He read on for some time, feeling his spirits greatly
refreshed, till, by the increasing darkness, he found that the sun had
gone down, and that it was time to prepare for rest.  Ned had thrown a
bed into the boat and a blanket.

"Few people left on a desert island as I am have enjoyed so luxurious a
couch as this is," thought Humphry, as he laid himself down after
offering up his prayers, as he had been accustomed to do before he came
to sea.  Since then, shame, and the indifference which arises from it,
had prevented him ever kneeling in prayer.  He now, left all alone as he
was, felt that prayer was his greatest comfort; though he had no
fellow-creature to talk to, he had the privilege of speaking to his
Maker.  He had not been reading his Testament without gaining
enlightenment.  He had learned that he must come to God in His appointed
way--through Jesus Christ; that he had no right to approach Him in any
other way.

He had scarcely placed his head on the bundle of clothes which he had
rolled up to make a pillow, and drawn his blanket round him, than he
fell fast asleep.


It seemed but a moment afterwards that Humphry heard some birds
chirruping, and opening his eyes, he found that it was already daylight.
He instantly sprang up, recollecting that though the days were long, he
had plenty of work to do.  He first knelt down and earnestly offered up
a prayer for protection and guidance.

The water in the bay looked bright and clear.  Throwing off his clothes
and plunging in, he enjoyed a refreshing swim.  The warm air soon dried
him, for Ned, as may be supposed, had not thought of providing him with
towels.  As he sat on a rock for a few moments to rest, he saw a dark
object floating by in the water, then a triangular fin rose above it,
and he observed a pair of fierce-looking eyes gazing up at him.  He
shuddered, for he recognised the sailor's enemy, the shark.  How
mercifully he had been preserved!  Had he remained in a few minutes
longer the monster might have seized him.  He must be cautious in future
how he bathed.  He might find, however, some quiet pool into which no
shark could enter.

After recovering himself he returned to the camp, and lighted a fire to
cook his breakfast, which consisted of salt beef and biscuit.  He
thought he should like some tea.  He searched in his cask of stores, and
to his satisfaction he discovered a large bagful, and another of cocoa.
This showed him more than ever how thoughtful his friend had been.  He
knew, however, that he must husband it carefully.  Having brought water
from the fountain, he made a little, which he found very refreshing.
After draining off the liquid he put the leaves carefully by, to serve
for another time.  With this, and some of the cold beef and biscuit, he
made a hearty meal.  Then taking his spade in his hand he set to work to
dig up more ground.  He enriched it also with rotten leaves which he
collected, and with the ashes of the grass and roots which he dug up and

He had already spent nearly two days on the island.  "I shall forget how
time passes if I don't take some note of it," he thought.  "I must
follow Robinson Crusoe's plan, and notch a stick."  He at once went and
cut a long one.  He made a notch to show the day he had landed, and
another for that which was then passing.  He then smoothed off the end,
and carved the date--"20th November 1812."  "I will cut a notch every
morning, directly I am up, and then I shall not run the risk of missing
a day by forgetting to mark it."

He was surprised to find how soon Sunday came round.  On board the
_Wolf_ that sacred day had only been observed by the men being allowed
to mend their clothes; or if they were not so employed, they used to sit
idly gambling or singing ribald songs.  Humphry had been considering all
the previous day how he should spend it.  "We are told by God in the
Bible to do no work, and to make it a day of rest.  I am sure that I
ought to obey Him, though it may seem important to me to get my house up
or to dig more ground.  I will therefore obey His commands, and leave
the rest to Him."

He rose at the usual hour, and went to wash at the waterfall, where he
found that he could take a shower-bath, which was cooler and more
refreshing than even a dip in the sea.  He came back to breakfast, and
then taking out his Testament, read for a long time with deep interest.
While so employed, it occurred to him that he would learn portions by
heart.  This amply occupied his mind, and afforded him so much
satisfaction, that he determined every morning to commit a verse to
memory that he might think of it while he was at work.  He began at the
"Sermon on the Mount" on Monday morning, so that by the end of another
week he had learned six verses.

While waiting for the result of his gardening operations, he began
putting up his house.  As he had the greater portion of the summer of
the Southern hemisphere before him, he was in no hurry about this; so
during a portion of each day he went out with his gun to shoot birds, or
sat on a rock with a line catching fish.  He never failed to kill as
many birds as he wanted for food, or to catch as many fish as he could
eat.  He fitted one of his harpoons, and kept it ready for use in case
any seals appeared, though he suspected that if they visited the island
at all, they would not come till the winter season.

He had gone on increasing his garden, and putting in more seeds.
Greatly to his delight those he first sowed now appeared above ground,
he watered them regularly, and the plants rapidly increased in size.
Some were evidently cabbages, while others put forth roots with tubers;
others, again, greatly resembled spinach.

He had now got up his house, and had dug a garden sufficiently large for
his wants.  The soil, by being watered every day, became even more
fertile than he had expected.


Several weeks thus passed away before he thought of exploring his

His stores had during this time visibly diminished.  He therefore saw
the necessity of laying in a store of food which might serve him when he
could not obtain it either by his gun or fishing-lines.

During bad weather, when the sea breaking over the reef washed into the
bay, he was frequently unable to catch fish.  He thought over various
ways of preserving them.  "I might dry some in the sun, and salt others;
but I suspect they would keep better and be more palatable if I could
smoke them."

He found salt in the hollows of the rocks as he had expected, but it
required much time and labour to collect.  One of his small casks was
now empty.  A fine day, when the fish bit freely, enabled him to catch a
large number, and he made his first experiment.  He had already got a
large pile of salt, though it was somewhat sandy, but he thought that
would not signify.  He cut off the heads and tails of the fish, then
rubbed the salt thoroughly into them, and packed them away in layers,
with salt between each.  It took him three or four days' fishing to fill
his cask, when all the salt was expended.  He then stowed it away in a
dry part of his hut, hoping that he had now secured food to last him for
several weeks.

He next tried drying some in the sun, but did not succeed to his
satisfaction.  He afterwards, however, built a smoking-house, and cured
a considerable number in it, though they were less palatable than those
preserved with salt.

These tasks finished, one day, being prevented from fishing by a gale of
wind, he set out on his proposed expedition, taking his gun, with some
provisions in a wallet he had manufactured for the purpose.

He made his way towards the nearest hill, and then struck down a valley
which led to the sea.  Between it and the bay a high ridge of rocks
extended, so he continued his course along the shore in an opposite
direction.  He had not gone far before he came to another ridge which he
had to surmount, the coast becoming wilder and wilder as he advanced,
instead of improving, as he had hoped it might do.  At last he reached
what he took to be the southern end of the island.  Looking back he saw
the slope of the single high hill which composed its chief feature.  He
had now great difficulty in proceeding.  The cliffs which faced the sea
were almost perpendicular, and the rocks over which he climbed were
extremely rough.  He proceeded cautiously, knowing the fearful position
in which he would be placed should he meet with an accident.  He saw,
however, at a little distance off, a number of wild-fowl circling round
the cliffs.  He was certain that they had come there for the purpose of
laying their eggs.  Could he reach the spot, he might obtain a pleasant
addition to his larder.

After great labour he reached the spot, when he found himself among
hundreds of birds, many of them already sitting.  They screeched and
quacked and scolded, pecking at his legs as he got among them.  Without
ceremony he quickly filled his wallet with eggs.

"This will serve me as a poultry-yard for a long time to come," he
thought.  "I will not kill any of the old birds, but will wait till the
young ones are hatched, as they are likely to be more palatable than
their parents.  In the meantime, I will supply myself with eggs."

It was now time for him to commence his return home.  He felt very tired
when he reached his hut, for he had not taken so long a walk since
landing on the island.  To preserve his eggs, he covered them over with
the grease which remained in the pot after he had boiled his pork, and
then packed them away in cool, dry sand.

Every day he had reason to be thankful that he had read so much, for
recollecting the various methods by which others had supported
themselves, he was able to supply himself with food.

His garden yielded him a daily meal of either sweet potatoes, yams,
cabbages, or other vegetables.  He now caught more fish than at first,
and also from his poultry-yard obtained a good supply of young fowls.

His shoes were wearing out, and he was desirous of catching some seals,
from the skins of which he might manufacture others to supply their
place.  At last he saw several sporting in the bay.  He at once got his
harpoon ready, and took post on a rock, expecting that one would before
long approach him.  He was not disappointed.  Darting his weapon, he
struck the animal, which swam off, dragging out the line at a rapid
rate.  He found that he had made a mistake, and was nearly losing his
line and harpoon as well as the seal.  Fortunately, just as it neared
the end, he got a turn round a projecting piece of rock.  The poor seal
plunged and tumbled, and swam back to the rock to ascertain, it seemed,
what had hurt it.  He drew in the slack, and was thus able to secure it
more completely.  After a time its struggles ceased, and he dragged it
to the beach.  He here took off the skin, with which he hoped to make
several pairs of shoes, while the flesh supplied him with a dinner of
fresh meat for a couple of days; the other portions he salted, in store
for future use.  Stretching the hide on the ground, he dressed it with a
ley formed by mixing the ashes of his fire with water.  This he found
would not answer completely, and after searching in the forest he
discovered some bark which formed a strong tan.

The seals now came on shore in large numbers.  Recollecting that their
skins would be of value should a ship come to the island, he determined
to capture as many as he could.  Arming himself with a thick club, he
attacked them when asleep on the beach, and every day succeeded in
knocking over a considerable number.  This gave him abundant occupation;
and continuing his experiments he succeeded in perfectly preserving the
skins.  When at length the creatures took their departure, his hut was
nearly filled with the result of his industry.

Day after day went rapidly by, and had he not been careful in notching
his stick, he would soon have lost all count of time.


Three years had passed away since Humphry landed on the island.  He was
startled one calm day, when fishing from a rock in the bay as he caught
sight of his own countenance in the water, to observe how changed he had
become.  Instead of the laughing, careless, broadly-built boy with the
ruddy face, which he once was, he had grown into a tall, thin young man,
with a sunburnt countenance, its expression grave and thoughtful.  He
was not melancholy, however, nor did he ever feel out of spirits; but he
had of course been thrown back on himself, while his mind was constantly
occupied.  He had but one book to read, but that book, above all price,
had given him ample subjects for reflection.  "What should I have done
without this?" he often said to himself, as he opened the book with a
prayer that what he was about to read might enlighten his mind.

"I have heard people talk of reading their Bibles, but though I have
read nothing but my Testament for three years, I every day find
something fresh and interesting in it."

He had often made excursions to the top of the hill, whence he could
obtain a view over the surrounding ocean.

It had been raining heavily during the previous day.  No seals were to
be caught on shore, nor fish in the water.  Taking his gun, he set off,
intending to go over the hill to get a shot at some wild-fowl.  The wind
had greatly increased; and wishing to obtain a view of the ocean with
its huge foam-covered billows rolling around, he climbed to the top of
the hill.  As he reached it, his eye fell on a ship driving before the
gale towards the rocky shore.  Two of her masts were gone; the third
fell while he was looking at her.  Nothing could now save her from
destruction, for even should her anchors be let go, they were not likely
to hold for a moment.  He considered whether he could render any
assistance to the unhappy people on board.  Too truly he feared that he
could be of no use.  Still he would do his best.  Hurrying home, he
procured the only rope he possessed, and a spar, and with these on his
shoulder he hastened towards the spot at which, considering the
direction the ship was driving, he thought she would strike the shore.
He had scarcely reached it when he saw the ship driving on towards him
on a mountain sea.  The next instant down she came, crashing on a reef
of rocks far away from where he stood, the foaming sea dashing over her.
Several poor wretches were carried off the deck, now driven towards
him, but directly afterwards carried back by the retiring surf.  He
could distinguish but one alone still clinging to a portion of the
wreck, all the others had in a few minutes disappeared.  As long as that
man remained, he could not tear himself from the spot.

Several hours passed by; still the man clung on, having secured himself
apparently by a lashing.  The storm seemed to be abating.  Humphry took
off his shirt, and fastening it to the end of a spar, waved it, to show
the shipwrecked seaman that help was at hand if he could reach the
shore.  It was observed at length.  The man, casting off the lashings,
lowered himself into the water, and struck out for land.  Humphry
prepared his rope.  Fixing the spar deep in the sand, and securing one
end of the rope to it, he stood ready to plunge in, with the other end
round his waist, to drag the man on shore should he get within his
reach.  How anxiously he watched!  Nearer and nearer the man came.  Now
he was seen floating on his back, now he struck out again.  A sea
rolling in bore him on, but as it receded it threatened to carry him off
once more.  Now was the moment.  Humphry dashed into the surf.  The
man's strength had almost failed when Humphry grasped him, and hauling
himself up by the rope dragged the man out of the surf, sinking down
exhausted by his side the instant he was out of its reach.

Humphry was the first to recover.

"If you are strong enough to accompany me to the other side of the
island, friend, where I have my home, we will set off at once; but if
not, I will go back and get some food for you," he said.

"I shall soon be better," answered the man.  "I think I could walk.
Have you a companion with you?"

"No," answered Humphry, surprised at the question; "I am all alone."

"That's strange!  What, isn't there a young lad somewhere about the

"No," said Humphry.  "I have been here three years and have seen no
human being."

The man gazed into his countenance with a look of astonishment.

"What is your name, then?" he asked.

Humphry mentioned it.

"You Mr Gurton!" he cried, pressing his hand.  "I suppose it must be;
and don't you know me?"

Humphry looked into the man's face.  It was covered with a thick beard,
and his tangled hair hung over his shoulders.

"You must be Ned Hadow; yet I should not have known you more than you
know me.  I am indeed thankful that you have been saved.  But where have
you been all the time?"

"Greater part of it living on shore," answered Ned.  "After we landed
you, we took three or four prizes; but not being able to navigate the
ship, we put into a convenient harbour in an island inhabited by
savages.  There we remained, living among them much as they did.
Several of our men were killed; and at last, finding that the savages
intended to cut us all off, we put to sea again.  We had been knocking
about for some time, and used up all our provisions, when we fell in
with the gale which drove the ship on yonder rocks."

Ned insisted that he could walk across the island, and with Humphry's
help he was able to accomplish the journey, though nearly exhausted at
the end of it.  Humphry then made him lie down in his bed, while he
prepared some soup and other food.  Next day Ned somewhat recovered; and
in the course of a week, owing to Humphry's constant attention, he
looked more like his former self.

"It's very dreadful to think that all the others have perished, but I am
truly thankful that you have been sent to be my companion," said
Humphry.  "You little thought when you acted so kindly towards me by
saving my life, and getting me put on shore here, that I should ever in
any way be able to repay you."

"I did not, Mr Gurton; but I feel that I am such a worthless fellow
that my life was not worth preserving."

"We are all worthless, Ned: that's what the book I read every day tells
me, and I am convinced of it when I look into my own heart, and know how
people in the world are generally acting."

"What! have you got that book still, Mr Gurton?" asked Ned.

"Yes, indeed I have, and I shall be glad to read it to you, Ned," said

"I shall like to hear it, sir, for I have not heard anything like a good
word since you used to read it to me when I was sick.  I had almost
forgotten there is a God in heaven.  I remembered that, however, when I
was clinging to the wreck, and expecting every moment to be in His

"It's the best thing to read God's Word, and to be guided by it, when we
expect to live.  I hope you may be spared many years, even though we
never get away from this island, and that book will serve us better than
any other companion who could join us."

Humphry, instead now of reading his Testament to himself, read it daily
to Ned, and even while they were at work he used to repeat portions he
had learned by heart.

Though Ned could not read, he gained in time a good knowledge of the
book, and his dark soul by degrees becoming enlightened, he understood
clearly at length God's plan of salvation, and cheerfully accepted it.

"You see, Ned, all things are ordered for the best," said Humphry one
day, "and you must be convinced that God loves us, however little we may
have loved Him.  If I had remained on board the privateer, I should have
become, as I was fast doing, like the rest of the unhappy crew.  Though
I thought it very dreadful to be left all alone on the island, I now
feel that it has been the greatest blessing to me.  God in His mercy
also saved you, though you would have preferred remaining among the
savages.  Now you are happy in knowing the glorious truth that the blood
of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin; and though we may both of us
wish to be once more among our fellow-men, we can live contentedly here
till He thinks fit to call us out of this life."

"I hope He may take me before any ship comes to the island, for if I
once fell among the sort of men I have lived with all my life, I should
soon again be as bad as they are," said Ned with a sigh.

"Not if you sought help and protection from God's Holy Spirit," answered
Humphry, "and prayed that He would keep you out of temptation."

Ned was surprised to find how much Humphry had done during the time he
had been alone on the island.  He assisted him in all his undertakings,
and they together caught enough seals to fill another large storehouse.

At last, after two years had thus passed away, Ned, who had been fishing
down the harbour, came hurrying back.  His countenance was grave, and he
looked much agitated.

"I have been watching a vessel standing in for the island.  She has hove
to, and is sending a boat on shore.  The time has come, Mr Gurton, when
we must part.  I dare not go back into the world, and have made up my
mind to remain here.  You are young, and have many years before you, and
I would advise you to go, and all I ask is that you will think of me and
pray for me."

This announcement made Humphry even more agitated than Ned.  He hurried
to the spot where the boat could be seen.

She made her way up the harbour.  Humphry and his companion went down to
meet her.  An officer-like looking man stepped on shore, accompanied by
another in dark clothes.  They seemed much surprised at seeing Humphry
and Ned.

"What! are you Englishmen?" asked one of the strangers.  "We only
discovered the island this morning, and had no expectation of finding it

Humphry explained that they were the only inhabitants; that he had been
left there some years before, and, pointing to Ned, said, "This man was
afterwards wrecked on the coast, and he alone was saved from his ship."

"I am Captain Summers of the _Hope_, now lying in the offing.  This
gentleman is the Reverend Mr Evans, a missionary, whom I am conveying
to an island where he is about to settle.  What is your name?" asked the

Humphry told him.

"And my name is Tom Martin," said Ned coming forward, greatly to
Humphry's surprise.

"Well, my friends, it seems but a barren island.  I wonder how you have
managed to live here so long."

Humphry briefly explained the various means by which he had procured
food, and leading the way to the garden, showed them the perfect
cultivation into which it had been brought.  He then invited Captain
Summers and Mr Evans into his hut.  His Testament lay open on the
table.  The latter took it up, observing--

"I am glad to see, my young friend, that you have not been deprived of
God's Word during your long stay here."

"It has indeed been my great solace and delight," answered Humphry.
"Without it I should have been miserable."

"Well, my friends, I shall be most happy to receive you both on board my
ship; and as I hope to sail for England in the course of a few months,
you will then be able to return home."

Humphry thanked the captain for his offer, which he gladly accepted.
Ned looked very grave.

"I am much obliged to you, sir," he said, "and though I shall be sorry
to part from Mr Gurton, I am very sure that I had better stay where I
am till God thinks fit to call me from this world.  I have lived too
long among savages, and worse than savages, to go back again and live
with civilised people.  If Mr Gurton will leave me his Testament, which
he has taught me to read, and his gun and harpoons, it's all I ask."

"No, my friend," observed Mr Evans, "man is not made to live alone.
If, as I hope from what you say, you have learned to love Jesus Christ,
you should try to serve Him, and endeavour to do good among your
fellow-creatures.  Now, as I am going to settle in an island inhabited
by savages, I shall be very glad of your assistance, and if you already
understand their language, which I have to learn, you may speak to them,
and tell them of Him who died for them, that they may be reconciled to
Him.  You will thus be showing your love for Him far more than by living
a life of solitude, even although you spend your days in reading His
Word.  Remember it is not only those who hear the Word of God, but those
who hear and do it, who are His disciples."

"You are right, sir," exclaimed Ned, brightening up.  "My only fear if I
left this was to find myself among those who would lead me back into bad
ways, but I will gladly go with you--that I will, sir."

As the captain was anxious to see the island, Humphry undertook to guide
him and Mr Evans to the top of the hill, whence they could obtain a
view over the whole of it.  Before setting out, Humphry showed them the
store of seal-skins.

"I shall be sorry to leave these behind," he observed, "and if you can
receive them on board, they will assist to pay my passage."

"As to that, my friend," answered the captain, "I will very gladly send
my boats to take them off, and you shall pay freight for them; but you,
I am very sure, will be able to work your passage, and I hope you will
find they will sell for some hundred pounds in England."

"Part of them belong to my companion," observed Humphry.

"No, no, Mr Gurton," said Ned.  "They are all yours.  Not a shilling of
their value will I touch, except enough to give me a new rig-out, as I
am not fit to accompany Mr Evans in these tattered old clothes of

"Set your mind at rest about that," said the captain.  "You shall be
welcome to a thorough fit out, suitable for the task you are about to
undertake, and your friend Mr Gurton will require the money more than
you will."

Captain Summers, according to his promise, loaded his own boat with
seal-skins, and sent her off to the ship with orders for the long-boat
to come ashore and carry off the remainder.  Meantime he and Mr Evans
paid their intended visit to the hill-top.

On their return Humphry took the first opportunity of drawing Ned aside,
and asking why he had not given his right name.

"I did give my right name, Mr Gurton," he answered.  "Ned Hadow was
merely a purser's name which I took when I entered on board the _Wolf_,
because you see, sir, I had run from a man-of-war.  Now I know better, I
would only tell the truth; and so, please, call me Tom Martin in future,
and I am ready to stand the consequences."

Humphry and his companion were kindly received on board the _Hope_, when
the good captain supplied them with new suits of clothes, which they
indeed much required.

The _Hope_ continued her voyage.

How different was the life led on board her to that on board the _Wolf_!
Captain Summers and his officers were Christian men.  The crew were
kindly treated; not an oath escaped the lips of any of the men, while
all did their duty with cheerfulness and alacrity.

The voyage was prosperous.  At the end of three weeks the _Hope_ dropped
her anchor in the harbour of a fine island where Mr Evans was to

A native missionary, who had been sent there a year before, came off to
receive him, and brought him the satisfactory intelligence that a large
number of the natives were anxiously looking out for his arrival.

Some days were spent in landing his property, and assisting him in
putting up his house, while an abundance of fresh provisions was brought
off by the natives to the ship.

Humphry parted from his old friend with the less regret from feeling
sure that he would be well occupied, and free from the temptations he

"We shall meet again, I trust, as Captain Summers has offered me a berth
as third mate of the _Hope_ on her next voyage, which he expects to make
to these seas," said Humphry, as he bade him farewell.

"If we don't meet here, we shall in another world, sir.  And bless you,
Mr Gurton, for pointing out to me the way to it," said Tom, as he wrung
Humphry's hand, and tears burst from his eyes.

The _Hope_ had a prosperous voyage home, during which Humphry did his
utmost to fit himself for the duty he was to undertake.  He had no ties
in England, so he gladly again sailed in the _Hope_.  Captain Summers
having sold the seal-skins for a good price, judiciously invested the
proceeds for him.

Humphry had the satisfaction of meeting his old friend Ned, or rather
Mr Martin, as he was now called, and of finding that he had been of the
greatest service to Mr Evans.  He never returned to England, but died
at his post, labouring to the last in spreading the gospel among the

Humphry won the regard of Captain Summers by his steadiness and good
conduct, and at the end of his third voyage he married his daughter, and
soon afterwards obtained the command of a ship.  When at length he was
able to quit the sea and live on shore, he often used to relate to his
children, among his many adventures, how he spent five years of his life
alone on an island.


*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Alone on an Island" ***

Copyright 2023 LibraryBlog. All rights reserved.