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Title: A Boy Crusoe - or, The Golden Treasure of the Virgin Islands
Author: Eric, Allan
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Boy Crusoe - or, The Golden Treasure of the Virgin Islands" ***

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                              A BOY CRUSOE


               The Golden Treasure of the Virgin Islands


                                   BY
                               ALLAN ERIC



                        M. A. DONOHUE & COMPANY
                          CHICAGO -- NEW YORK



                          [Transcriber’s note:
          This book was also published as "A Yankee Crusoe".]

              MANUFACTURED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA



                              *CONTENTS.*

Chapter.

      I. Early Life; Off for a Voyage
     II. Heavy Weather; the Sargasso Sea
    III. A Terrible Storm; Leaving the Ship
     IV. Cast Up by the Sea on a Tropical Island
      V. Strange Surroundings; Building a House
     VI. The Stockade; a Crusoe’s Life
    VII. A Cocoanut Calendar; Food Supply
   VIII. Thoughts of the Future; Making a Bow-Gun
     IX. Starts to Explore the Island; Turtles’ Eggs
      X. In the Folds of a Snake
     XI. The Mountain Cave; a Beacon; Attack by Pigs
    XII. Return to the Coast; a Mangrove Swamp; Fever
   XIII. A Feathered Companion; Making a Fish Trap
    XIV. Another Exploring Trip; Tropical Fruits
     XV. A Hurricane and a Ship-Wreck
    XVI. Pleasant Companions; Enlarging the House
   XVII. Building a Raft; Visits to the Wreck
  XVIII. The March Continued; Arrival on the Mountain
    XIX. An Ancient Ruin; Wonderful Discovery
     XX. "The Golden Treasure;" Its Removal
    XXI. Preparing for Departure; Death of the Monster
   XXII. Boat-Building; A Startling Sound
  XXIII. Rescue at Hand; Leaving the Island



                             *A BOY CRUSOE*



                              *CHAPTER I.*

                  _*Early Life; Off for a Voyage*_*.*


I was born in a little town in the State of Maine, near the close of the
Civil War.  My boyhood life did not differ materially from that of the
average farmer’s son in the remote country districts of New
England--except, perhaps, that I read more and thought more.  Hard work
on the rugged soil, two terms each year in the little yellow country
schoolhouse, a day’s fishing now and then filled the early years of my
life full to over-flowing.  In the winter it was work in the woods,
cutting up the year’s supply of fire-wood; and then, before the spring
ploughing time, my brother and myself found pleasant labor and
recreation combined in the maple woods, tapping the trees, gathering the
sap and tending the fire under the great kettles where the sweet product
of the maple was transformed into syrup and sugar.

I really think that I was more thoughtful than the average boy.  I know
that I read more.  I do not remember ever feeling dissatisfied with my
life or with the prospects that the future held out for me.  Probably I
was too young for these things to trouble me much; but I read everything
in the way of books and papers that I could borrow, or purchase by
saving a little money earned in various ways.  I was fond of stories of
adventure; but travel and adventure combined, interested me most.
Therefore, as I grew older, I became imbued with a passionate desire to
travel in foreign lands.  The tropics were my ideal, and this feeling
became stronger as the years went by.

When I was fifteen years of age my father removed to a large village
where there was a graded school, and I entered the grammar school, then
the high school from which I was graduated.

The passion for travel still had a strong hold upon me, but I saw no
immediate prospect of gratifying it, for I was obliged to look about for
some immediate means of earning a living for myself.  When everything
else fails, one can always find an opportunity to canvass for a
publishing house or a novelty concern; so, soon after leaving the high
school, I was trudging up and down the banks of the Penobscot river,
calling from house to house.  It was discouraging work, but I succeeded
moderately well.

Late in the fall I went up to Bangor to canvass that city, and it was
there that I made the acquaintance of a gentleman, which led to the
experiences that I am about to relate, and which changed the whole
course of my life.

Mr. William H. Sargent was a wealthy, retired merchant, with impaired
health.  His wealth had been acquired by trading with the South American
countries, and the West Indies, and he still retained large interest in
many vessels sailing to that part of the world.

It was his idea to make a voyage in one of these vessels, and the
friendship which had developed between us, mostly through meeting in the
reading room of the Public Library, caused him to suggest that I
accompany him on his voyage to the Southern seas.

I accepted only too gladly, and that very evening I wrote a long letter
to my mother, explaining my good fortune, bidding her not to worry by
exaggerating, in her own mind, the dangers to be encountered.

The next few days I spent mostly with my benefactor, for as such I
looked upon him, helping him in various ways in his preparations for the
voyage.  As for myself, I required little more than a modest supply of
clothing.

Mr. Sargent was thoughtful and considerate, however, and insisted upon
my procuring much that I deemed unnecessary for my modest requirements,
paying for the same from his own pocket.

Our craft was a trim bark called the _Ethelyn Hope_, built at Searsport
three years before. She was two hundred and fifty tons gross measurement
and sat in the water jauntily and buoyantly.  From her load water-line
to the tips of her topmast she was as trim a craft as one could wish to
see.  As she lay at the wharf ready for sea, everything on deck had been
made snug, and not a coil of rope or spare block was out of place.  Her
cargo consisted of case oil, salt fish and flour in her hold, and she
carried a good deck-load of lumber.  She was bound for Cayenne, French
Guiana, on the north coast of South America.

The _Ethelyn Hope_ was commanded by Captain Thomas Witham; and the
first, second and third mates, with nine able seamen before the mast
comprised the crew.

Nothing remained to be done except to cast off the lines, when, released
from her bonds the bark slowly moved down the river.  The sails on the
lower yards and jib-boom were set, and with a light breeze favoring her,
aided by the swift current, the city was soon lost behind High Head.

By daylight the following morning we had passed through the "Narrows",
and just at sunrise all sails were set and the bark squared away for the
mouth of the bay where she was laid on a sou’, sou’-east course as she
took her final departure.

My spirits were decidedly buoyant as the bark glided out of the bay into
the open sea, and a delicious sense of elation took possession of me as
I realized that I was really on board a ship, with the land fading away
behind me, bound for a foreign shore, the wonderful tropics, the land of
palms of which I had read so much.  I should see for myself the curious
things of the sea, strange countries and people; and perhaps encounter
fierce animals in the virgin forests, the home of birds of rare and
beautiful plumage.

With a strong northwest breeze the bark stood away on her course, with
every sail filled out and drawing handsomely.  Although the weather had
been clear and the sea fairly calm, by sunset a thin haze rendered the
outline of the horizon dimly visible, and the Captain began to fear a
blow.  His nautical instinct made him sure that there was to be a change
in the weather, and he gave orders for everything to be made secure.
And, sure enough, at dusk the wind freshened and hauled around into the
north-east.

It was about this time that I suddenly became conscious of a peculiar
feeling, a sudden dizziness, like the sensation caused by a boy’s first
cigar.  I knew well enough that I was experiencing the first sensations
of seasickness, and, suddenly losing interest in the sailing of the
ship, I went below and tumbled into my berth.

Feeling somewhat better, while I lay quiet, I had nearly dropped off to
sleep when I was aroused by a tremendous noise, which brought me to my
senses, when I realized that the vessel was rolling and pitching wildly.
I could hear the howling of the wind around the deck-houses, and the
snapping of the great sails.  Now and then I heard the sound of the
Captain’s voice on deck as though he were giving brisk orders; and I
rightly concluded that we were having it very rough.  I looked across
the cabin and saw that Mr. Sargent was in his berth, but as he was
apparently not asleep I spoke to him, asking if there was any danger.

"Oh, I guess not," he replied.  "We are having a pretty stiff blow."

Strangely enough, I suppose, I did not now feel sick, though my head was
a little dizzy, so I concluded to go on deck.  I cautiously ascended the
companion way, and found the Captain standing near the wheel, enveloped
in oil-skins, his head being covered by an ample sou’wester.

"Hello, boy," was his greeting, "what are you doing up here?  The best
place for you is below; you might get blown over-board."

But I begged to be allowed to remain a little, arguing that I felt
better on deck, and the Captain relented and found a sheltered place
under the lee of the cook’s galley, telling me not to try to move about
the deck.

The bark was rolling and tossing, but appeared to be bounding through
the water like a race-horse. Soon I heard the Captain tell the mate that
the wind had shifted around into the east, and that they were in for a
stiff blow, and rain, too, before long.

So it proved, and it was not long before the squall struck in earnest.
The ship careened, and a sea came over her weather rail, until the
lee-scuppers spouted green water, wetting me a little, even in my
sheltered retreat.

The rain began to fall, and the sailors had their hands full.  There was
a great commotion of loudly spoken orders, the tramping of feet, the
creaking of blocks, the rush and roar of the sea and the howling of the
blast through the rigging.  All hands were called to take in sail, and
the bark, soon close hauled, was lying over nearly to her lee rail.  The
heavy sea beat against her bows with all the force which tons of water
could exert, while the staunch little vessel, quivering for a moment
would seem to hesitate, and then plunge forward to meet the next
onslaught like an animate thing possessed of sensible emotions.  The
spray, flying back over the bows, drenched the deck from fore to aft.
The topsail halyards had been hauled taut, and the sails filled out and
backed against the masts with a noise like thunder.

I did not long remain in the scanty shelter afforded by the house, but
made the best of my way to the cabin.  To make matters worse, I was
again off my "sea-legs," and was getting terribly sick.



                             *CHAPTER II.*

                 _*Heavy Weather; the Sargasso Sea*_*.*


The gale continued until the end of the fourth day, and we were south of
the deep blue waters of the Gulf Stream, when it abated somewhat, and
though it continued to blow heavily, the sea was running more regularly,
in long, even swells which made the motion of the bark less
disagreeable, especially for me.

The studding sails were taken in, and the wind was hauled, in order that
the Captain might be given an opportunity to determine our longitude.

The Captain found that we were not far off the course, as the wind had
blown mostly from north, and northeast and east.  The sails were
trimmed, and, by sundown the wind veered around into the northwest and
blew steadily, while the sea gradually subsided.  We were now about two
hundred miles to the eastward of Watling’s Island, one of the Bahamas,
also known as San Salvador, the first land in the New World discovered
by Columbus.  The stars shone bright, and the bark, rolling easily,
plowed the warm waters of the sub-tropic sea.  I remained with Mr.
Sargent long on deck that night, watching the phosphorence of the water,
which in these latitudes, is sometimes very brilliant.

The morning dawned upon a tropic sea, for the bark had made good
progress during the night, and we were well abreast of the larger
islands of the Bahamas.  The breeze was soft and balmy, and the ocean a
deep, crystal blue, of a hue never seen except in these southern
latitudes.  This is owing partly to the remarkable reflection of the sky
but more to the extreme depth of the water.  Myriads of flying fish rose
in flocks from the water and fluttered away on both sides of the ship as
the bark glided through the weeds of the Sargasso Sea.  The Sargasso
weed is a genus by itself, which, thrust away to the south by the mighty
ocean currents, lies in a vast central pool, a great eddy between the
Gulf Stream and the Equatorial current; and here it revolves.  It is
ocean born, and long ages have passed since it lost its habit of growing
on the rocky sea-bottom.  Forever floating it feeds among its branches
whole families of crabs, cuttle-fish and mollusks, which like the plant
itself, are found in no other seas.

The flying-fish interested me greatly, for I had read much about them.
I noticed that their flight was as perfect as that of some kinds of
birds, and that it very closely resembled that of the swallow, in that
it was a skimming, circling flight.  I had read that the flying-fish
rarely leaves the water unless pursued by a shark or some other fish to
which it is a prey; and that, on leaving the water it does not really
fly, but, instead, emerges from the water on an upward plane, enabling
it to skim along for some distance.  I had read, also, that the fish is
unable to remain in the air only while its wings are wet.  This latter
statement is undoubtedly correct; but I observed that its flight was
perfect, the fish making use of its greatly elongated and highly
developed pectoral fins, as wings.  I saw them flying singly and in
flocks or schools, when they were not pursued by sharks and I was
thoroughly convinced that they did actually fly. They gyrated in the air
exactly like swallows, and moved their wings very rapidly like birds.
There seemed to be no limit to the length of their flight, for they
would rise from beneath the bows and fly away in a continuous line until
lost to sight in the distance.

Once one dropped upon the deck in the night and the cook broiled it,
assuring us that its flesh was very delicate, much like that of a fresh
water perch; and indeed, so it proved to be.

The Captain had taken a course much further to the eastward than he
would ordinarily. Usually, in going to the Guianas, the route is through
the Bahama group, by way of the Crooked Island Channel, thence through
the Windward Passage, between Cuba and Haiti and across the Caribbean
sea by the east end of Jamaica.  But Mr. Sargent wished to go further to
the eastward so as to pass among the Leeward Islands, perhaps landing
there to await the return of the bark from the coast.  This plan could
be followed without detriment, as a little delay in reaching Guiana was
more than likely to result in an improved market for the cargo.  This
explains the unusual course of the _Ethelyn Hope_.



                             *CHAPTER III.*

               _*A Terrible Storm; Leaving the Ship*_*.*


The weather continued fine for three days, after passing the latitude of
San Salvador, with a fresh breeze blowing from the northwest, which sped
the bark on her course so that she logged better than ten knots; but on
the fourth day the wind swung around to the north and gradually hauled
into the northeast, and the long, steady swells began to rise.

The Captain at once prepared for a gale and ordered the sails trimmed to
meet it.  That the apprehensions of the Captain were grave was proven by
the precautions taken; for not only was sail shortened to the last
extremity, but the hatches were securely battened down.

The barometer began to fall about noon, and from that time the wind
increased until it was blowing a gale; but just after sunset the wind
almost died away, though the mountainous foam-flecked seas continued.

As the sun went down the sky rapidly became overcast, and a cloud of
inky blackness appeared along the horizon.  As we stood watching it a
long line of whiteness appeared between the sea and the black cloud, and
stretched away far toward the east.  Gradually the white line came
nearer, until it proved to be a wall of foam.  It was advancing toward
the ship with great rapidity; and as it came nearer the air above it was
seen to be filled with flying spray.

The wind began to freshen, and the sailors were hurrying about in
obedience to the orders of the Captain, still shortening sail.  All the
upper sails were reefed.

Nearer and nearer came the wall of foam, and with a roar it struck the
ship, and the storm broke in a perfect tornado.

The bark was careened until the lee scuppers were submerged; and the
staunch craft shook from end to end.  For an instant she seemed buried
beneath the raging sea, and then rose and plunged into the next wave.

Mr. Sargent and I made haste to go below, where we remained holding
ourselves in our berths while the ship reeled, plunged and groaned in
every timber and plank.

A fearful report like the crack of a rifle told us that some sail had
been carried away; and then followed others.  At length, from a change
in the ship’s motion, we judged that the Captain was trying to put her
about and run before the gale; but suddenly a fearful crash which seemed
as though the bark had split from stem to stern was followed by a
terrible rolling and plunging.

Crack!  Crack! and the bark pitched and groaned worse than ever.

We heard the Captain making his way toward the cabin, and then saw him
enter.  His face wore a look of deep anxiety.

"The masts have gone," he said, "and the bark is unmanageable.  You must
prepare for the worst.  We may have to take to the boats."

"At once, Captain?" asked Mr. Sargent.

"I cannot tell until the well is sounded; but I fear that she must
founder."

At that moment the first mate entered the cabin and stated that the bark
was leaking badly.  The water was rising fast in the hold.

"We must remain on the ship to the last moment," said the Captain, "for
a boat could not live in this sea."

The Captain returned to the deck, and how long we clung to the berths I
cannot tell, for I was dazed by the peril which threatened us--Were we
to be lost at sea, drowned, all hands?

The Captain again entered the cabin.  "We must take to the boats," he
said, "and Heaven help us."

We hastened on deck just as we were, half clothed, leaving everything
behind.  Nothing could be taken.

When we reached the deck we saw the Captain standing by the starboard
boat.  The other had been launched, and had instantly disappeared in the
darkness and foaming water.

The Captain, first and second mate, Mr. Sargent and myself now alone
remained on the bark.

We hurried into the boat.  "We should not be far from one of the
outlying islands of the Windward group," said the captain; "and if the
boat can live in this sea until daylight we may reach one of the Virgin
Islands."

The tackle was let go, and a great sea caught the boat.  She was lifted
up, and up, and up, and then sank, it seemed, into a fathomless abyss.

I saw the first and second mate bend to the oars.  The Captain was in
the stern.  The boat careened and seemed to start suddenly upward on an
inclined plane.

A rush of water enveloped her.  I heard a roaring sound in my ears, and
I knew no more.



                             *CHAPTER IV.*

             _*Cast up by the Sea on a Tropical Island*_*.*


When I regained consciousness I was lying upon a sandy beach.  I was
uninjured, but rather stiff, while my body seemed to be bruised in
places.  I was, of course, wet to the skin, and I crawled up and lay
upon the sand where my clothing was quickly dried by the hot sun, now
well up.

Meanwhile I looked about me.  I had been driven ashore between two
points of land, upon a narrow beach.  The vegetation, very thick and
luxuriant, grew close to the line of sand, and all around me, beautiful
trees were waving in the balmy breeze, their shining leaves glistening
in the sunlight.

I stood up and looked behind me, but I saw nothing save lofty mountains
heavily wooded.

I had no doubt but that I was on an island, indeed I could be nowhere
else, and I judged that it must be one of the most northern of the
Leeward group.

Looking toward the sea, I saw only the broad expanse of deep blue water
stretching away to the horizon.  There was no other land in sight.

The sea had become calmer, but the influence of the storm was still
evidenced by the heavy surf which broke upon the narrow beach.  There
was no wreckage of any kind, no sign of anything or anybody belonging to
the bark.

At first the utter lonesomeness and hopelessness of my situation
depressed me; but it would not do to give way to gloomy thoughts.  I was
entirely alone, and, so far as I knew, upon an uninhabited island.  My
future was a sealed book.  After a while I began to take a more hopeful
view of the situation, and the novelty of my surroundings, and the
strange things about me, aroused my curiosity.  So I determined to
explore along the shore.

The vegetation was very dense, and appeared to be interwoven with vines
of monstrous size. One kind of tree, very tall and with a heavy long
narrow leaf seemed to be the most abundant; and from the descriptions
which I had read, and by the clusters of oblong fruit at the bases of
the leaf-heads, I knew them to be cocoanut palms.

"If I am really alone upon an uninhabited island," I thought, "at least
I shall not starve so long as I am able to obtain plenty of cocoanuts."

Slowly I walked along the shore, my face being toward the east as I knew
from the direction of the sun.  First I decided to go to the top of the
loftiest headland to see if I could obtain any trace of the bark,
although I felt sure that she had gone down, and that all but myself had
perished; still, the loneliness of my situation caused me to cling to
what I felt was but a vain hope, that some one beside myself had
survived.

With thoughts confused, and laboring under varying emotions, I walked
slowly along, keeping on the sand except when I was obliged to turn
aside to avoid a kind of dagger-like plant whose leaves were armed with
cruel points.

Reaching the headland I was obliged to go through a thicket where my
scanty clothing, as well as my hands, was torn by great thorns. However,
I reached the point of land, and climbing to the top of a high mound I
looked around.  Before me, and to my right and left, there was nothing
but the blue, heaving ocean; and behind me, I saw nothing but a dense
forest, with lofty mountains in the distance.  There was no sign of life
save brilliant plumaged birds flitting about, and bright colored
butterflies glancing in the sunshine.

Surely I was alone; but whether on an uninhabited island or not, the
future alone would reveal.  For the present it did not matter, and I
must certainly depend upon my own resources.

I returned to the spot where I had been cast ashore, meanwhile revolving
in my mind my present condition.  What gave me great anxiety just then
was my lack of clothing.  I had on only my trousers, and shirt, shoes
and stockings; and these were all I possessed in the world, but I was
overjoyed to find that my knife was still in one of the pockets of my
trousers.  It was a good one, large and having two blades.  The large
blade was long and strong, and the possession of it might mean much to
me in the future.

Reaching the place where I regained consciousness after being thrown
ashore by the waves. I began to think of finding a good place to build a
temporary shelter.  This seemed to be as good a location as any, I
thought, as I looked around.  It was in a sheltered cove, a clear,
grassy plat surrounded by trees.

"Why not make my camp right here," I asked myself; and as I reflected it
seemed to be the only place where I should locate for the present, for
here I should be in a position to watch closely in the hope that some
vestige of the bark would yet be washed ashore; for I thought that, if
the vessel had foundered, something belonging to her would very likely
come ashore, and I felt sure that some parts of the boats, and perhaps
the bodies of some of my unfortunate companions would be almost sure to
drift in.

It was, I judged, now near mid-day, and the heat of the sun upon my head
gave me some concern.  I must devise some covering for my head.  Looking
about with this object in view, I saw hanging from a small palm tree
what looked like coarse canvas.  On examining it more closely, I found
that it was really a sort of natural cloth, about the color of hemp, and
composed of fibres that appeared to be very strong, crossing one another
like warp and filling, but not interwoven.  Instead, the fibres were
closely stuck together so that a strong, pliant fabric was formed.

With my knife I cut off a large piece which I twisted about in such a
manner as to form a conical cap.  The edges I fastened together with
long, sharp thorns that I cut from some bushes near by.  This, though
rude, would protect my head for the time being.

Before proceeding to begin the construction of my place of abode, I felt
inclined to look about for some means of satisfying the hunger which I
now felt keenly, for I had eaten nothing since supper the night before
on board the ill-fated bark.

The cocoanut trees suggested the most available source of supply for the
first meal in the strange surroundings in which I found myself; so going
to a cluster of the trees near by, meanwhile wondering how I would
manage to obtain the nuts fifty feet or more above my head, I was
greatly relieved to find plenty of them lying upon the ground.  But the
nuts that I saw were not like those common in the markets at home.
Instead, they were oblong and many times larger.  I soon discovered that
to get at the meat I must first cut away the outer husk or covering with
which it was enveloped; so I opened my knife and set to work.  It was no
easy task, for the husk was thick and tough; but after much labor I
succeeded in removing it until I bared the round, hard shell of the nut,
when, with a large stone I was not long in cracking it, and laying bare
the white meat. With the nut in my hands I walked about among the trees
as I ate.  So interested was I in the beautiful, brilliant-colored
flowers, some of which were of enormous size, and in numbers of little
green lizards that hopped about over the leaves of the smaller shrubs,
that I did not at once notice, as I came into a grassy, circular plat,
that the ground beneath a compact, shapely tree was plentifully
besprinkled with golden globes, and I was in a high state of elation
when I discovered that they were oranges. The tree itself was loaded
with green and yellow fruit.  I peeled one of the largest, and found
that it was delicious and juicy, but of a rather different flavor from
those to which I had been accustomed.  But here was at least both
refreshment and sustenance, so I was in no danger of starving, and I
made a hearty meal.

Crossing the grassy plat where the orange tree grew, I descended a
gentle slope among the palm trees and soon came to a beautiful little
stream of clear water.  Having still one of the halves of the cocoanut
shell in my hand, I used it as a cup and took a long draught of the
water, which, though rather warm, appeared to be pure and wholesome.

The stream at this point was quite broad and very shallow, and though
but a few rods from the mouth it flowed quite swiftly.  Along the banks
I noticed that a certain tall, reed-like plant grew in great profusion,
and, on closer examination I discovered it to be a kind of wild cane,
with large, feathery, chocolate-colored plumes.

I followed the bank of the stream to the shore, and then returned to my
landing place, walking along the narrow beach.

Hunger satisfied for the time-being, I set about making preparations for
constructing my dwelling.  Although in no need of protection from cold
in this tropical climate, I remembered having read that it was not
advisable to be without shelter at night, so I decided that my first
task should be to construct a house, or a hut.

I first chose a clear place a little in among the palms, perhaps a dozen
rods from the beach, and, as accurately as I could by pacing, I measured
off an area ten feet square.  Each corner I marked by driving down a
short stick, and then went in search of four corner posts.  After a
little searching I found some straight trees about three inches in
diameter, having smooth bark and with but few limbs, each tree forked
about seven feet from the ground.  After an hour’s hard work, I
succeeded in cutting down four of them with my knife; and after trimming
off the branches and cutting off the tops, leaving ample forks, I
dragged them to the site of lay dwelling.  I next felled another pole
which was cut in halves, leaving the butt end about four feet long.
This I sharpened at the thickest end, and with it made holes about
eighteen inches deep at each corner of the square to be occupied by my
house.

Into each of these holes I set one of the forked corner posts, wedging
it firmly with stones from the beach, driven solidly down all around it,
filling in each with earth which I trod down firmly.  Four long poles
were now needed to rest one end in each of the upright forks, so as to
form a frame, and I started away again, this time toward the brook,
which I followed up stream.  I had gone but a short distance when I came
to a place where the stream widened into a broad pool.  The water here
was dark and apparently deep, and all around it, gracefully bending over
the still depths, I found growing tall plants having small, narrow green
leaves.  The plants grew in clusters, and some of them were very tall, I
judged from twenty-five to forty feet.  I hurried forward with a view to
ascertaining whether they would suit my purpose, when I immediately made
a discovery which at once solved the question of obtaining an ample
supply of material for building operations, both now and in the future;
for the tall, graceful plants proved to be bamboos. I knew them from the
descriptions I had read, and from the regular joints, just like those I
had seen on the bamboo fishing rods at home.

I selected several of the bamboos, each being about two inches in
diameter, and although I found them to be very hard, I managed to cut
them down, and to trim off the branches and the tops.  By making three
trips I dragged the bamboos to my building site.  Laying them along one
side of the area to be occupied by the house, I found that they were
nearly twenty feet long.  Four of them I cut off to the required length.
I then raised one on either side, one end of each pole resting in one of
the forks of the uprights.  A pole was then laid across each of the
other sides, resting upon the poles supported by the forks, so that a
sort of scaffold was formed, which needed only to be covered over to be
complete.

I had worked so busily and had become so much interested that I scarcely
noticed that the sun was already sinking behind the palm trees, and
casting long shadows across the beach; so, as I was aware that darkness
very quickly follows sunset in the tropics, I must make haste and
provide a temporary shelter for the night before suspending work.  I
therefore cut the rest of the poles in halves and laid them across the
two longer poles resting in the forks, thus forming a gridiron-like
structure.  With my knife I cut a large quantity of leafy branches from
the shrubs that grew near at hand, and then went to the brook for an
armful of wild canes.  With this material I covered a portion of the
scaffold, making quite a good shelter between myself and the sky.

As the sun sank lower and the shadows deepened, I felt a sense of
loneliness steal over me, for the idea of spending the night alone, I
knew not where, perhaps on an island, with the boundless ocean on one
side, and a deep, unknown forest on the other which might conceal fierce
wild animals, was not at all pleasing.  But I must train myself to know
no fear, and the sooner I began to school myself to this end, the
better.

Although I felt sure I should not sleep with nothing to protect me and
with no means of making a fire, I instinctively began to think of
providing some sort of couch; and again I took my knife and cut a
quantity of bushes which I piled in the form of a bed beneath the
scaffold. I next cut several armfuls of the tall grass which grew all
around and with it covered the couch of bushes.  I now had an acceptable
bed, so constructed that one end which was to serve as the head, was
about a foot higher than the other.

By the time I had finished it was quite dark; but I still stood leaning
against one of the corner uprights with my face turned toward the
forest, hesitating what to do next, and instinctively listening for some
new sound.  There was no breeze stirring, and the sea lightly washed the
sand with a low murmur which tended to increase my feeling of
loneliness. Since sunset the air had become beautifully cool.  For a
long time I stood motionless.

The sounds of the night were about me; and once I started violently when
I thought I heard a twig crack.  Then I heard, apparently only a little
distance away, a noise like a stone, thrown by some one, striking the
ground; but, after the startled feeling had partly left me I reasoned
that the noise was made by a ripened cocoanut falling from the tree.
The indistinct notes of many insects, new and strange, filled the air,
and one particularly noisy insect gave forth a sharp clipping sound like
that made by shears in the hands of a barber.  Sometimes a note like
that of a bird varied the myriads of sounds. Feeling reassured, after a
time, I cautiously lay down upon my couch, but still listening.  How
long I remained conscious I cannot say; but I must have been very weary
from the excitement of the ship-wreck, the hardship of being cast ashore
and the busy day’s work.



                              *CHAPTER V.*

             _*Strange Surroundings; Building a House*_*.*


My next sensation was that of the sun shining in my face when I awoke in
the morning. At first, as I looked out from beneath my shelter I could
scarcely comprehend where I was or how I came there; but the events of
the day before soon returned to me.  For a few minutes I lay still,
looking around upon my beautiful surroundings.  What a perfect paradise
it was, and how overjoyed I should be were I here under different
circumstances.

There was a gentle breeze stirring, just enough to move the feathery
leaves of the palms and to slightly bend the tall grass; and though I
could not see any of them, I heard birds giving forth discordant notes
in the forest around.

But I must stir myself, for there was much to do.  My house must be
finished, I must devise some articles for personal use, and the problem
of my future sustenance must be solved, for I could not long continue to
work and subsist entirely upon cocoanuts and oranges, although they
would answer well enough for the present.

So I sprang up and going directly to the stream I bathed my face and
hands.  Having no towel and seeing no substitute for one, I sat down and
dried myself in the sun.

Cracking another cocoanut in the same manner as I did the day before and
gathering some oranges, I sat down with my back against the palm tree
and proceeded with my frugal breakfast. As I had neglected to provide
myself with a meal ere I retired the night before, I was very hungry and
my appetite was not satisfied until I had eaten nearly a dozen oranges,
beside the cocoanut.  Using a half shell of the cocoanut as a cup, I
took a long drink of water from the stream and turned again toward my
embryo dwelling.

I thought it best to construct the walls first in order to provide
against the possible attacks of wild animals, and knowing this to be the
first part of the dry season which, in the latitude in which I judged
myself to be, lasts from the middle of November until May, there was no
immediate necessity for providing shelter from rain.

The necessity of devising some plan for keeping an accurate account of
each day as it passed, now occurred to me, and as I walked back to the
pool for another supply of bamboos, I revolved the question in my mind.
The record which I proposed to keep must be indestructible, and in some
compact, portable form so that I could easily take it with me in the
event of sudden departure from my habitation.  One of the halves of the
cocoanut shells which caught my eye as I passed the spot where I had
partaken of breakfast, gave me an idea which I at once adopted.

Then and there I put the plan into execution. It was this: I resolved to
use only the halves of the cocoanut shells that contained the natural
holes through which the shoots of the germinating nut emerge from the
shell.  The meat was removed from the half shell, leaving the two holes
through it.

At the close of each day, as near sunset as possible, I would cut a deep
notch in the edge of the shell, and each shell should have as many
notches as there were days in the month.  On the completion of the month
I would carve with my knife the name of the month and year; and in this
way I hoped to preserve a correct record of the time.  As each month was
finished I proposed to pass a cord through one of the holes; and for the
purpose I at once braided a strong cord from the fibres of the cocoanut
cloth from which I had constructed my head gear.

I remembered, accurately the day of the wreck, and as I had been on
shore one day, I out the first notch, and engraved on the shell:
"December 18th, 18--."

As I marked upon my calendar I wondered how many shells I should have
upon my string ere I was rescued from my lonely position. "Perhaps," I
thought, "I may never see any other place."  But I resolved not to
harbor gloomy thoughts; and tying a large hard knot in one end of the
cord, I strung the shell upon it, inserting it from the outside.
Succeeding shells strung upon the cord would fit into one another like a
nest of bowls.  Thus I would have a complete record, and a practically
imperishable one.

As I knew the day of the week on which I had commenced my lone life, I
resolved, for each Sunday, to bore a hole instead of cutting a notch,
for I intended to observe the Sabbath by abstaining from work.

Continuing my way to the pool, I set to work cutting bamboos.  I
selected only those measuring about two inches in diameter, and before
the sun reached the zenith I had thirty of them cut and trimmed, ready
to drag to my house.

I found it hot work, and I threw myself down to rest.  For the first
time I caught sight of the birds that had been making such a babel of
discordant sounds all the morning.  Several of them were flying about
near the opposite side of the pool, and I at once recognized them as
parrots.

"What a consolation it would be," I thought, "if I could capture one and
teach it to talk. It certainly would prove far better than no
companion."

Having landed the bamboos at the house, I set about cutting them into
lengths corresponding to the height of the corner posts.  These I set
into the ground at regular intervals, in line with the posts, lashing
the upper ends to the horizontal poles resting in the forks, and to the
poles across the other two sides, using for the purpose a long, supple
vine which I found growing in plenty in the edge of the woods, twisting
around the trunks of the trees.



                             *CHAPTER VI.*

                  _*The Stockade; A Crusoe’s Life*_*.*


By the time I had finished setting the poles into the ground, thus
forming the enclosure of the house, my appetite began to assert itself;
and I was again reminded that I must search for food other than
cocoanuts and oranges. More substantial nourishment I must have if I was
to continue to work and retain my health and strength.  But my extreme
anxiety to carry along the construction of my house sufficiently far to
afford a feeling of security at night, decided me to make a few more
meals of the oranges and nuts before suspending work long enough to
discover or develop resources.

Again I went to the pool and cut two more bamboos, each twenty feet
long.  I then cut them in halves, making four poles each ten feet long.
Carrying these to the house, I lashed one across the upright palings
midway between the upper pole and the ground, lashing them firmly to
each of the palings.  This strengthened the structure, and shaking it
with all my strength I was gratified to find that, though naturally
elastic, it was firm and strong.

As I now had a safe protection from any wild animal of moderate size and
strength, I felt that I should be secure at night.  I was on an island
somewhere to the northeast of the Caribbean sea, in fact, I reasoned
that I could be nowhere else; and from this, together with what I had
read, I concluded that there could be no very large or ferocious wild
animals in the forests about me.

I still had some time to work before sunset, and I therefore went to the
bank of the stream to cut a quantity of wild canes which I proposed to
weave in the form of basket work, between the palings, thus forming the
walls of my house.

Cutting the canes was easy work, and by sunset I had a great pile of
them landed by the house.

Again satisfying the cravings of hunger with oranges and cocoanuts,
washed down with water from the brook, I cut another notch in the
cocoanut-shell calendar, and after sitting and listening to the varied
insect sounds until it was quite dark, I retired, to my couch within the
inclosure.

Lying upon my couch, until I fell asleep, I revolved in my mind various
plans for the future.  The details for the construction of my house were
pretty well worked out in my mind; and the desirability of surrounding
my abode with some sort of a stockade occurred to me. I had little fear
of attacks from wild animals, but I presumed that the island was
inhabited in some part of it, by what sort of people I had not yet
considered.

Indeed, it was extremely improbable that an island in this quarter of
the world could be totally uninhabited.  Whether the islanders proved
friendly or otherwise, the idea of a stockade as a protection against
possible surprise met with my immediate approval.

Another question of extreme importance to be considered was that of a
permanent food supply.  Perhaps only cocoanuts and oranges abounded in
my near vicinity; at any rate, I resolved to carefully survey the
adjacent region for the purpose of ascertaining its resources.

Then the question of providing clothing for myself must be considered,
for, at best, my present raiment would not long survive the rough usage
which it was now receiving, and to which it would hereafter be subjected
in the bush.  I even thought it might be well to construct a suit from
the cocoanut-fibre cloth, and thus save my civilized clothes for the day
of my rescue.

Many other things passed through my mind in rapid succession as I lay
upon my couch, among them the project of starting out upon a tour of
discovery in an endeavor to ascertain the extent of my domain, and if it
was inhabited in any part of it.



                             *CHAPTER VII.*

                _*A Cocoanut Calendar; Food Supply*_*.*


The notches in the cocoanut calendar grew in number as the days passed,
busy days of hard, incessant labor, and four months of my exile elapsed
ere the house was finished to my satisfaction and a substantial stockade
erected around it.  The walls of my house were made of the wild canes
closely woven like basket-work. It had been done very carefully, and,
when completed, I had a perfect shelter, both from the sun and the wind.
The roof was made of the long grass, alternate with layers of bamboos;
and by using the larger bamboos in the centre of the roof, when by
successive layers it reached the proper thickness, I had a roof which
sloped steeply from the centre to each edge, which, carefully covered
with an outside layer of the long grass dressed from the top downward,
would perfectly shed the water during the rainy season.  The thickness
of the roof rendered it impervious to wet, and, as I soon discovered,
almost a non-conductor of heat.

I left no windows in the house, as I thought there would be sufficient
ventilation through the interstices of the cane-walls, but I constructed
a door three feet wide and five feet high, by lashing bamboos together
in the form of a gridiron, and then weaving in cane as I had done in
constructing the walls.  For hinges I made use of vines twisted
together.

The stockade surrounded the house at a distance of about six feet from
either side, and it cost me several weeks of steady work.  I had first
to cut a great number of good-sized bamboos, which, with only my knife,
was very laborious work.  I had frequently to sharpen the knife on a
piece of soft, porous rock which I found near the brook.

Each bamboo was cut off to a length of ten feet, and sharpened at the
small, or upper end. These I set into the ground at intervals of one
foot, to a depth of two feet.  Then, at a distance of one foot from the
top all around the enclosure, I lashed long bamboos, using the tough
vine which I found in abundance near the edge of the bush, winding it
around each upright bamboo, and around the horizontal poles.  Between
the horizontal pole and the ground, I wove a close basketwork of the
vine. It was harder work weaving in this vine, as it was larger than the
canes; but it was very tough, and a wall composed of it closely woven
would prove a very effective defense.

So I kept busily at work, day after day, cutting the vines, trimming off
the leaves, dragging them to the house and weaving them in around the
bamboo uprights, until I finally had a wall about me elastic but capable
of sustaining a great strain, the sharpened ends of the upright bamboos
forming an effectual safeguard against the walls being scaled from the
outside.

After the woven-work of vines was thoroughly seasoned, which did not
take long, I cut round holes six inches in diameter, four on each side,
about five feet from the ground, in order that I might command a view in
all directions without leaving the enclosure.

In the side facing the sea, I made a door, constructed in a manner
similar to that in the house; but, for the stockade door, I devised an
arrangement for securely barring it on the inside, by using two large
bamboos each two feet longer than the door was wide, held in place by
rings of the stipple vine which I twisted about the two door-posts.

These rings were made by first bending several inches of one end of the
vine in the form of a circle, and then winding the rest of the vine
around this ring.  Through these the ends of the bars passing across the
door were placed, which, if anything, made the opening, when closed and
fastened inside, stronger than any other portion of the structure.

During all this time I had lived solely upon cocoanuts and oranges,
varied with a few shellfish, somewhat resembling periwinkles, only
larger, that I found along the beach.  These I ate raw, and found them
rather palatable but somewhat tough.  However, as I continued in good
health and strength, I preferred to complete my house and stockade
before making a systematic attempt to provide other food.

Nothing now remained to be done in connection with my dwelling, but to
carry into execution an idea which I had evolved while at work, that of
transplanting some creepers from the edge of the forest and training
them along the stockade, so that, as I calculated, in a short time, in
this tropical land of rapid growth, they would completely cover the
stockade, and render my retreat more safe from observation, should my
solitude be invaded.

During all this time I had suspended work on Sundays, but I had occupied
the time in making short trips inland, and along the coast in either
direction; but finding the forest very dense as I left the shore, I
could not have gone more than four or five miles in any direction.  My
trips along the shore were without results, so far as enlightenment
concerning the extent of the island was concerned, for every bend of the
coast revealed only headlands and more coast-line stretching away
beyond.

The results of my wandering in the bush had troubled me not a little,
for I had found no new fruits and vegetables, and had discovered no
animals, or birds that I could bring myself to think edible.  There were
only parrots and smaller birds, some of brilliant plumage; and even had
I chosen to eat them I had no means of securing the game.  I was
somewhat surprised not to find more humming birds.  I saw only one kind,
a large, black species, having two tiny golden feathers each about six
inches long at the sides of its tail.  Of snakes, I had seen none, nor
land turtles.

The sea-shore, too, seemed to be as devoid of food supplies, for I had
seen no sea turtle, though I knew that they should be plentiful in this
latitude.

But I refrained from attempting a systematic exploration, feeling it
would be wise to first provide as secure a retreat as possible for my
permanent headquarters.



                            *CHAPTER VIII.*

            _*Thoughts of the Future; Making a Bow-Gun*_*.*


My house was now finished, and I began, with a light heart to think
about starting on a long exploring trip.  Before taking my departure,
however, two questions of importance must be solved, if possible,
namely, that of devising a weapon with which I could shoot game, if any
was found; and some means of procuring fire.

The morning following the completion of the house and stockade, as I was
walking toward the orange tree which continued to furnish me with an
ample supply of fruit, an idea came to me, and so astonished was I that
I had not thought of it before that I stopped short and gazed straight
ahead of me for several minutes.

My knife!

Here was steel; now for a flint, and fire would be procurable at any
moment.  I understood the use of flint and steel, for many times, in our
boyhood, my brother and I, on our excursions in the woods, had made
fires with old gun-flints and our pocket-knives as steel, for cooking
grey squirrels when we were fortunate enough to shoot any.  We did this
from choice, because of the novelty.

Without further thought of breakfast I turned toward the shore to search
for a substitute for flint, for I did not expect to find the real
article here, as I had only seen soft, calcareous rock which appeared to
be the prevailing kind.

A long search up and down the beach failed to disclose any hard rock,
not even a pebble of sufficient size.  Shells were abundant, but they
would not answer the purpose.  I next turned my attention to the brook,
and searched along the shallowest places for a hard stone.  I found one
at last, round and flat, about the size of a silver dollar.  It was very
dark, almost black, and appeared to be quite hard.  Wiping it with my
hand I laid it down in the sun and waited impatiently for it to dry.
When perfectly free of moisture, I opened my knife, and holding the
blade firmly in my left hand, I struck the stone sharply against the
back of the blade, with a quick downward stroke.  No spark appeared.
Over and over again I tried but without success, but I saw that the
stone scratched the steel, which gave me hope that the stone was
sufficiently hard.

After several more trials, a tiny spark shot downward from the blade.
My joy knew no bounds.  Tinder must be procured.  Like a flash came to
my mind the feathery heads of the wild cane.  If I could find one dry
enough I thought it would do.  I at once ran up stream to where the
canes grew, and after a little search I found a plume that was dead and
quite dry. Bending the cane down I gathered a handful of the floss from
the head, and going to the foot of a cocoanut tree, I lay the cane floss
down by the foot of the tree and once more tried to produce a spark.  I
was soon able to obtain a spark frequently, but they invariably failed
to reach the floss, or to ignite when they touched it. But I saw that I
had fire within reach, and it only required perseverance to procure it.
Holding the knife blade closer to the floss, I struck again.  This time
a shower of tiny sparks descended to the floss, and, yes, it had caught!
Quickly dropping the knife and stone I partially covered it with my
hands and very gently blew upon it.  A tiny wreath of smoke arose as the
fire spread through the wad of floss.  Blowing upon it still harder, in
short quick puffs, a tiny flame leaped up; and quickly gathering such
dry leaves and grass as I could reach, I heaped them upon the flame.
These were followed by small dry sticks until I had a good fire going.
I now only needed something to cook, and that I proposed to search for.
But fire was desirable as company at night, and to ward off wild beasts
should any be found; also in the future I might wish to make signals by
the aid of smoke.

Not wishing to injure my faithful friend the cocoanut tree, I allowed
the fire to go out, feeling full confidence in my ability to procure it
any time I wished.

I now set about preparing for my journey of exploration, meanwhile
carefully watering, several times each day, the creepers that I had set
out along the walls of the stockade, until they showed no further signs
of wilting during the greatest heat of the day.  The water I brought,
with much labor and many trips, from the brook, in cocoanut shells.

It occurred to me to plant vines in front of the door of the stockade,
so that, should I be absent for a great length of time, they would grow
up over the door and still further obscure my retreat.  Acting on this
idea, I searched about the bush for a vine less woody than those planted
along the stockade.  At length, on the further side of the clearing, I
discovered a vine, not unlike a morning glory vine, only it had larger
leaves, climbing up a tall, smooth tree, and this seemed to answer my
purpose.  So, getting down upon my knees I began to dig around the root
in order to move it without disturbing the earth immediately surrounding
it; when but a few inches below the top of the ground I came across a
round, hard object which I at first thought to be a large root of the
tree, but in digging still further around it I saw that the supposed
root moved, until finally I lifted it out of the ground.  As I did so I
noticed that it had one end attached to the vine that I was after.  The
root was fully a foot and a half long, and about five inches in
diameter, slightly rounded at the ends.  I cut off the vine with my
knife, and ran with the root to the brook and washed it clean.  I now
saw that I had found some kind of a tuber.  With my knife I cut through
the thin rough skin, disclosing a white substance beneath.  Quickly
cutting it in halves I found that the inside of the tuber was white and
starchy.  I wondered what it could be.  It was not a sweet potato, for
the latter is yellow.  Then I began to think of the roots that I had
read about in books of travel in the tropics, and the first that came to
my mind was the yam.  Yes, this must be the yam, though I did not know
before that its foliage was in the form of a vine.

Here food was in plenty, healthful and nourishing, and sufficient to
sustain life even if I found no other, it being only necessary to roast
them in ashes.

I resolved to plant yam vines in front of the gate to the stockade, for,
while the vines were growing up to conceal it, they would, in the
meantime be storing away food for me against my return.  This plan I put
into immediate execution.

My next thought was of devising a weapon for offence and defence, also
to be used in killing game.  The idea of a bow and arrows at first
suggested itself, but this was abandoned for the bow-gun, for, as boys,
we were able to do good execution with the latter as it had a stock and
breech, admitting of securing better aim.

Looking about for material from which to construct the bow-gun, the
bamboo seemed to be the most available for the barrel; so I cut down one
about two inches in diameter, from which I selected the longest and
straightest section between the joints.  Next I cut a deep notch about
four inches from the larger end, and extending to the centre of the
bamboo. From the lower end of the notch I split away the upper half of
the tube, thus forming a spout about four feet long which was to carry
the arrow.  For a breech I selected a forked stick, the butt of which I
carefully rounded and smoothed until it would fit tightly into the round
socket at the larger end of the barrel, above the notch.  This, though
crude, furnished a very fair substitute for a breech to rest against my
shoulder when taking aim, particularly as I had thought to select a
forked stick which had the butt slightly bent so that, when fixed in the
breech-end of the barrel, the proper elevation was given.

The next step was to make a bow and fix it firmly across the under side
of the barrel, at right angles to it, I searched about in the bush a
long time before I found a tree of the right size, straight and without
branches; and, on bending it down toward the ground and cutting it, I
found that it was elastic and quite hard.  From the tree I cut a section
about three feet long, which I squared for a distance of two inches in
the middle, whittling what was to be the inner side down flat from
either side of the squared part to either end, each half tapering
slightly from the middle.  I did not remove the bark from the back of
the bow.

Next I cut a square slot about the width of the squared part in the
centre of the bow, in the under side of the bamboo about a foot from
what was to be the muzzle, being careful, however, not to cut through
into the groove of the barrel.  Into this I carefully fitted the squared
portion of the bow, after which notches opening in opposite directions
were cut on the lower side of the barrel, one on each side of the bow.
With one of the supple vines I then lashed the bow firmly, drawing the
vine over the notches. When the vine was thoroughly dry the bow would be
held firmly and rigidly in place.

The question of arrows was quickly solved, for I could think of nothing
that could serve the purpose better than the long smooth stem which
supported the heads of the wild canes These were of just the right size
and length. I cut several dozens of them, sharpening one end of each,
and notching the other to receive the string.  To give sufficient weight
to the execution end of the arrow, I split a piece of the tough vine
into fine strips, with which I closely wound the arrows near the ends,
until the proper weight was secured to balance them during their flight
and thus render them accurate. For the wings of the arrows I used sprays
from the plumes of the wild cane, until I could find something more
suitable, fastening them to the string end with fibres from the ever
useful vine.

It now only remained to provide a string for the bow, before the weapon
could be tested. Carefully separating the longest fibres of the cocoanut
cloth.  I braided them into a strong cord of uniform size, which I
fastened to the bow.

And now for the test!  Drawing the string back to the notch, I placed
one of the arrows in the groove of the gun and, raising the gun to my
shoulder, I released the string with an upward pressure of my right
thumb, at the same time pointing the gun in the direction of the brook.

As straight as a line could be drawn, the arrow sped away over the brook
and was lost in the thicket beyond.  I felt confident of the success of
my bow-gun, and after constructing a quiver for the arrows from a piece
of the cocoanut cloth fastened together with thorns, and braiding a cord
with which to sling it over my shoulder, I turned my attention to the
final preparations for departure.

These consisted of providing a store of provisions in case I did not
immediately find food on the way.  I roasted several of the yams, and
gathered two dozen oranges which were stored in a bag made of the
cocoanut cloth.  I did not include cocoanuts, for I was sure to find
plenty as I went along.

I took the precaution to gather a quantity of the cane floss for tinder,
which I placed in a short piece of bamboo, which I stopped up tightly at
both ends with wooden plugs.  This was to protect it from moisture in
ease of rain. I also took the cocoanut calendar.

The morning for departure arrived.  Taking a farewell plunge in the
brook, I made a hearty breakfast of yams and oranges, after which,
closing the door of the stockade and fastening it with withes of the
vine, I slung the quiver of arrows and the bag of provisions over my
shoulder, took the bow-gun and started away along the shore, going in a
southerly direction.



                             *CHAPTER IX.*

           _*Starts to Explore the Island; Turtles’ Eggs*_*.*


I followed the narrow line of sand, sometimes having to make a detour
inland to get around a rocky point of land which jutted out into the
water, or to avoid a dagger-like plant the spike-like leaves of which
were armed with spines as sharp as needles.  This, I concluded, must be
the Spanish bayonet.

The sun shone brightly, and the sea, deep blue and calm, stretched away
toward the west, the long, gentle swells causing but a ripple on the
beach.  As I progressed, the island along the shore became less
attractive than it was in the near vicinity of my house; and in some
places it had a parched appearance.  Once I was obliged to cross a flat
area of several acres in extent, bounded by a high bluff, where I had to
make my way cautiously among cactus plants of various kinds; some low
and spreading over the ground and bearing beautiful, yellow, wax-like
blossoms, and others a great size, like trees denuded of the smaller
branches and twigs.

The sun had reached the zenith when I came to a small stream and sat
down beneath a wide-spreading tree to rest, and to refresh myself from
the provisions that I carried.  As I ate I gazed up among the branches
of the great tree, whose broad leaves furnished such a grateful shade,
when I saw that it bore fruit, round and green, five or six inches in
diameter.  This I believed to be bread-fruit, from the pictures I had
seen, and I resolved to carry two or three along with me, only obtaining
them by climbing the tree.

Although I did not intend to travel steadily in the heat of the day
during my march, I felt anxious to make a good beginning on the first
day out, so after getting cool and feeling well rested, I went on.

As I crossed the brook, scores of small brown crabs scudded away along
the bank.  They were the first I had seen during my sojourn on the
island.  Spiders, I had seen many of, some of great size with hairy
bodies and long legs; but as they showed no ferocity, I had no fear of
them.  Indeed on account of their great size I did not believe them to
be poisonous.  As a rule, the natural histories said, poisonous spiders
of the tropics are not of great size, and most of them have short legs.

Having made a long detour around a swampy place which extended to the
sea, I came out of the bush upon a wide beach shaped like a semi-circle,
or half-moon; and as I did so my attention was attracted to several
large, glossy, blackish objects scattered over the beach.  I approached
one, and found it to be a monstrous turtle. There must have been
hundreds of them, and, one by one, as I moved about, they started away
toward the water.  Some of them were very large, and must have weighed
three or four hundred pounds.  Had I been so disposed I had no means of
dispatching one for food, but I felt sure that the turtles had been
depositing their eggs in the sand, and I could easily roast the eggs in
the fire, which would form a very acceptable adjunct to my larder.

Accordingly, digging into the sand where the turtles had been lying, I
found plenty of round white eggs, a quantity of which I gathered to add
to my stores.

It was now near the end of the afternoon, as I observed by the sun, and
I decided to select a place to camp for the night.  I selected a spot
near a thicket of thorn bushes, which would form an effectual protection
to the rear, and then began collecting dry branches for a fire. The sun
was low in the sky, and the heat was greatly moderated, and, by the time
I had collected a large pile of fire wood, a sea breeze sprang up,
taking the place of the land breeze of the day, making it cool and
comfortable.

I had no difficulty this time in starting a fire, and as soon as it had
burned down sufficiently I buried a yam and some of the turtles’ eggs in
the ashes, and, while they were cooking I occupied the time cutting away
a part of the smaller thorn bushes, making a cleared place in which I
could sleep during the night, the thicket over me furnishing protection
from the dampness of the air.

By the time this was accomplished, and a cocoanut shell of water was
brought from the brook, I judged that the yam and eggs were sufficiently
cooked, which they proved to be when I uncovered them, and I at once
proceeded to eat my evening meal.  The eggs proved to be of good flavor,
but wanted salt.  This reminded me that I must provide a supply of salt,
which I could do by evaporating some sea-water as soon as I had the
opportunity.

It was now past sunset and rapidly growing dark; so I replenished the
pile of firewood, and piling a quantity of it upon the fire, I lay down
with a bunch of grass for a pillow, and in a short time fell asleep.



                              *CHAPTER X.*

                   _*Under the Coils of a Snake*_*.*


When I awoke in the morning it was with a peculiar sense of oppression.
In the first drowsiness I thought there was a great weight across my
chest; and my arms were aching.  I tried to move, but found that I could
not lift my arms.  They seemed to be pressed closely to my aides.
Thoroughly awake now, I was terrified to find that I was lying beneath
the folds of an enormous snake.

Frightened as I was beyond all expression, I maintained sufficient
presence of mind to keep perfectly quiet until I could more fully
realize my true situation--and, above all, locate the position of the
great reptile’s head.

As I gazed at the great scaly coils that enveloped me, I saw that the
snake was of a pale yellow color.  It was perfectly motionless.  By
tracing the taper of its body I saw that the head must be somewhere near
my right shoulder.

I was in a great quandary what to do.  Although still anxious for
results, I was now quite calm, and my mind was full of plans for
escaping from the terrible coils.  I dared not move for fear that the
snake would strike me with its fangs, or that it might encircle my body
and squeeze me to death.  Some snakes, like the boa-constrictor, kill
their victims by this method; and while I felt sure that this snake was
not a boa, on account of its color, I felt that it had the strength to
crush me to death.

For a long time I lay in this position, how long I could not tell; but
the sun had grown intensely hot as it beat down upon the thicket. I
heard the cries of the birds, and looked up at the blue sky with the
fleecy clouds floating across it, wondering whether it was to be my fate
to die here in the folds of a huge serpent. I wondered too, if bye and
bye my bones, bleached white, would be found in the thicket on the shore
of this lonely island.

I was gasping for breath on account of the heat, my cramped position and
the weight of the serpent’s folds across my chest, when I felt it move a
little.  I wondered if it was preparing to strike me.  I did not move,
and in a moment it began to move again, and the coils slipped across my
body.  Slowly it continued to move, until my arms were free and its tail
swept across my face.

I was now free, but I waited a few seconds to see if the snake was
leaving me.  Distinctly hearing it gliding from me, I arose quietly,
feeling stiff and sore in my arms and chest. The snake was not in sight,
but seeing the grass moving a little distance away, seizing a large
stone I sprang after it, but it escaped into the bush.

I reasoned that the snake must have crawled under the thorn bushes after
I lay down, and that it coiled upon my body for warmth, as the nights
were frequently uncomfortably cool; and so soundly had I slept that its
movements had not awakened me.

After this unpleasant adventure I felt anxious to be moving, and, making
a fire, cooked some eggs which, with oranges from the stores, comprised
my breakfast; after which I gathered a few more turtles’ eggs, and
resumed my march.

As I had done the day before I followed the coast, but instead of
keeping along the sand I followed the edge of the forest, thinking it
might prove more advantageous to do so as it would enable me to keep a
look-out for game, and perhaps discover new fruits.  My progress was
necessarily much slower, but the walking was easier as the trees
shielded me from the direct heat of the sun, which, on the beach was
terrific, the white sand producing a fearful glare which caused no
little pain in my eyes.

As I proceeded, the country became more open, and I frequently crossed
quite large treeless tracts of tall grass, or stretches which, had it
not been for the tropical vegetation surrounding might have been taken
for New England pasture land.

One morning, just after resuming my march as I was crossing one of the
latter grass tracts, a bird different from any I had before seen arose
from the ground and flew into the thicket on the opposite side.  Its
color was light drab, and the wings and under tail feathers were white.
I approached the edge of the bush cautiously, meantime, drawing back the
string of my bow-gun and fixing an arrow in place. Laying aside the bag
of provisions I crept softly along, until a sharp "coo-o-o" drew my
attention to the branches of a tree, where I saw the bird stepping
gingerly along one of the larger limbs.  Apparently it had not seen me,
so, carefully moving to one side until I had a low bush between me and
the game, I worked up a little nearer in order to make sure of being
within range of the arrow.  Then, rising quietly to one knee, I took
careful aim and released the string. The sharp "twang," much to my
surprise was instantly followed by a flutter as the bird came tumbling
to the ground.  I hastened forward and picked it up.  The arrow had
passed entirely through the neck, so that it was quite dead in a few
moments.  I saw that it was a species of wild pigeon, and therefore
edible; and I congratulated myself on securing such an acceptable change
in my fare.

I saw no more pigeons after that, but during the succeeding days I found
several orange trees from which I replenished my supply of this
refreshing fruit.

I continued steadily on, making no important discoveries, following the
edge of the brush, but always keeping the sea in sight.  Almost every
day I went to the beach to look for turtles’ eggs, which I usually found
in abundance.

The coast continued to loom up before me, head-land after head-land,
stretches of beach and rocky bay shores.  Allowing for the indentations
of the coast that I followed, I concluded that the island was a large
one; and, the fact that I was gradually turning toward the direction of
the sun convinced me that its shape was nearly round.

I always camped just before sunset that I might have sufficient time to
make, a fire, cook and eat supper before dark.

I had not kept a fire after supper was cooked, as, having neither seen
nor heard anything of wild animals of any kind, I did not feel the need
of it; and, beside, I was becoming accustomed to being alone, and to
sleeping in the open air, and the nervousness of the first few nights
after I was cast ashore had entirely left me.

At the end of the sixth day I had, in my journey, turned around so that
the direction which I followed was a little more than right angles to
that taken where I left my house.  In other words, instead of going
nearly south, my course was now nearly southeast.

At the end of the seventh day I came to a large stream which was too
wide and deep to ford.  The next day being Sunday I resolved to pitch
camp and remain there until Monday. Meanwhile I would decide whether to
devise some means of fording the stream, or follow up its course.

Although I had not, as yet, done any work on Sunday, I decided that it
would be no great violation of the day to try to evaporate a little sea
water, while I was in camp, and thus procure a little salt, which I was
craving.

That night before going to sleep, I revolved several schemes in my mind,
and, ere I fell asleep, I believed I had solved the question of making
salt.



                             *CHAPTER XI.*

    _*The Cave on the Mountain; A Beacon; Attacked by Wild Pigs*_*.*


After breakfast the following morning, I cut a large quantity of fine,
long grass, which I proceeded to make into large bunches, all I could
hold in my hands, tieing them with wisps of the grass itself.  Then I
cut two forked stakes and set them into the ground about ten feet apart.
Going a few rods up the bank of the stream where I saw some bamboos
growing, I cut one, and trimming it, carried it to the camp, and placed
it, one end in each of the forks of the stakes.

Taking the grass I went to the edge of the beach and thoroughly
saturated it in the salt water after which I carried it to the camp, and
parting each bunch in the middle, I hung them over the pole.

The idea proved highly successful, for the hot sun evaporated the water
very quickly, leaving particles of salt clinging to the grass throughout
each bunch.

I then gathered a quantity of broad leaves which I laid on the ground so
that their edges over-lapped, and by gently shaking the bunches of grass
the salt fell upon the leaves in a fine white shower.

I repeated the process several times until I must have had fully half a
pound of salt.

Preparing a short piece of bamboo by plugging one end as I had done in
making the box for the tinder, I carefully gathered up the salt and
poured it into the bamboo, enough to last a long time.

I had determined to go no further along the coast, but to follow the
course of the stream to its source which I judged must be among the
mountains which seemed to extend across the northeast corner of the
island.  This I wished to do along the opposite bank, but, as I could
not cross the stream at this point, I decided to follow the bank on
which I now was, rather than take the time necessary to construct a
raft.

If I followed the stream to its source I should reach the mountains, and
besides, have gained a fair idea of the island in all but the extreme
south-eastern part.  From the tops of some of the mountains, I believed
that I could gain a very good view of the small portion untraversed, or
rather not encircled by my route, which could not be very great.  If the
island was inhabited anywhere in that direction, I believed I should see
some signs from the tops of the mountains.

I really had no faith that the island was inhabited, for, being
comparatively small, if there were people there I must have met some
signs, ere this, to indicate it.

I had another object in wishing to reach the mountains, which was to see
if any land was in sight to the south, east and southeast.  One thing I
was perfectly sure of, that this island was near the Virgin group,
perhaps a little north of those islands, if not even one of them; so
that, if people did not regularly inhabit it, there must be islands not
far away that were inhabited, and people must, therefore, occasionally
visit my island.

I felt, moreover, anxious to reach the mountains as quickly as possible,
because, as I had calculated from my limited knowledge of the climate,
the rainy season must soon set in, which would make travel unpleasant,
if not difficult or impossible.  And besides, I wished to be away from
the lowlands of the coast during heavy rains, as I knew it could not be
so healthful as the mountains.

So, getting my effects together, I set out, following the course of the
stream.

For the first few miles the stream flowed across a flat country, which
became rocky the further I went, and the stream became more rapid in its
flow.

Several pretty cascades were passed and, in places, I was obliged to do
some sharp scrambling over rocks that were overgrown with creeping
vines, among which convolvuli were conspicuous.

For four days I continued to ascend the stream, until lofty hills began
to rise on either side abruptly from the banks; which indicated that I
was getting very near the mountains.

The sides of the foot-hills were heavily wooded, but, as I left them and
entered the mountains, gradually ascending to a higher altitude, the
vegetation grew less dense and changed in its general appearance.

The stream was now little more than a small rushing mountain torrent,
foaming over the rocks.  At the end of the fifth day, just before
sunset, I reached the source of the stream, for coming suddenly to a
wall of rock above which the mountain rose precipitously, I beheld the
brook bubbling forth from the bowels of the mountains.  I decided to
camp here for the night, and proceeded about my usual preparations for
getting supper.  I had no yams, but plenty of oranges; but presently I
saw some yam vines growing a short distance away, and it was the work of
a few minutes only to procure enough for supper and breakfast.

When I awoke in the morning the sky was partially overcast.  As I had
calculated, the rainy season was undoubtedly about to set in, and I
resolved to hasten to the top of one of the mountains as quickly as
possible, as I felt that, upon the outlook from the highest elevation
depended my plans for a considerable time in the future.

So, hastily preparing and eating my morning meal, I climbed to the top
of the rock which rose above my camping place, and saw that the highest
mountain was not more than five miles away.  I set out at once.  The way
was not difficult except where it led across a deep ravine at the foot
of the mountain, where the undergrowth and creepers formed a dense
tangle; but once through this, I found the way almost clear of low bush.
I now began a steep climb.  As I ascended, the cocoanut trees became
less plentiful, and their places were taken by other species of palm,
great ferns as large as trees, and giant cacti.

As nearly as I could tell, with the sun partly obscured by clouds, it
was near mid-day when I came upon a broad table-land of grass, dotted
here and there with groves of trees.  Beyond, rose the last peak.
Fearing rain, I pushed forward, resolving to reach the top before dark,
and camp, so as to be ready to take observations early the next morning.

It was quite dark when I came to the summit. I could see nothing, of
course, until daylight, and I searched about for a place to camp. There
was a strong breeze blowing and the air was quite cool, so I found
shelter behind a great boulder and prepared to spend the night.  I still
had a few yams with me, and three turtles’ eggs, and these I cooked and
ate.  I then proceeded to make myself as comfortable as possible by
lying close to the rock, and, having nothing else to do, I went to
sleep, the long climb having wearied me.

Once or twice during the night I awoke feeling very chilly, and I was
not sorry when the first faint gleam of dawn appeared.

The sun rose clear, but, to the south-east, fleecy clouds were scudding
along toward the land.  In all directions, however, the line of the
horizon was distinctly visible, and the peak commanded a view of the sea
at all points of the compass, and of the whole island.

I scanned the line of sea and sky all around, but saw nothing that
looked like land.  A little to the south-east there was a faint,
serrated line against the sky, but I concluded that it was only a cloud.

As I stood scanning the great rim of the ocean, there came to me a
strong feeling that I would like to establish a beacon on the summit,
one, if possible, which could be seen from a ship several miles at sea;
and the more I thought of this project the more strongly was I convinced
that it would be a wise thing to do; for, in the event of a ship’s
passing on this side of the island, a prominent structure on the
mountain might attract attention and lead to my rescue. I thought it all
over as I retraced my steps to the boulder, and resolved to look about
for a suitable place to make a substantial shelter while engaged in the
work.  I deemed it advisable to go further down the mountain where the
vegetation was more plentiful, and where I might find fruits, and
possibly game--though game did not seem to be plentiful, but brilliant
plumaged birds were numerous.

In the edge of the bush between the table land and the mountain peak, I
discovered a small grove of about a dozen orange trees, and here I at
first thought that I would make my camp; but a little further to the
south I saw a great rock, which appeared to over-hang several feet; and
the idea at once struck me that it might be wise to encamp beneath its
shelter.

So, turning in that direction I was not long in reaching the rock.  It
was at the base of a spur of the mountain; and the top not only overhung
the base considerably, but, there was a sort of natural excavation which
formed quite a large cave, open on three sides, it was true; but here I
saw great possibilities in establishing my camp while erecting the
beacon.  Besides, I fully expected the rainy season to set in almost any
day, and should I have to stay here for several months, the rock would
afford me the best of shelter.

So, having decided to make this the base of operations for the present,
I took my bow-gun and set out to forage for supplies, of which I stood
in immediate need.

I went down among the trees in the intervale between the two mountains.
The vegetation was very luxuriant, but not so dense as in portions of
the lowlands across which I had marched. I had noted that the cocoanut
palms were less plentiful here, and that there were several other kinds
of palms that I had not seen before.  One of these had a trunk covered
with great sharp spines, and from the grapelike cluster of fruit at the
top I knew it must be an oil palm; but I saw only a few of these.
Another had a bottle-shaped head of vivid green just below the leaves,
which I at once recognized as the "mountain cabbage," or cabbage palm.
These were very plentiful.

Skirting the edge of the bush, a short distance to the north, I turned
to penetrate further toward the valley, when suddenly, as I took a step
forward, I felt myself sinking downward.  I threw down my gun and tried
to save myself by clutching the creepers; but I continued to sink into a
mass of vines.  I was considerably frightened, and wondered, for a brief
moment, if I had fallen into the opening to a cavern; but suddenly my
feet touched solid earth, and I found myself standing beside what
appeared to be an old wall--about the height of my shoulder. Pushing
aside the creepers I saw that it was really a wall, built of large
stones and some kind of mortar.  I was so astonished at the discovery
that I could scarcely collect my thoughts. Looking around, I was still
more perplexed, for only a few feet away there was a rectangular
enclosure which looked like the ruined foundations of a house.  I found
that the wall extended for perhaps fifty feet in each direction, the
opposite side being flush with the rising ground above.  An examination
of the rectangular enclosure showed unmistakably that it was a portion
of the foundation of a house.

What could this mean?  It could mean but one thing; that people had
lived here.  But when, I could form no opinion; but from the appearance
of the masonry it must have been many years before.  The ruins, as well
as the wall, were thickly overgrown with creepers and other vegetation.

Still further signs of the former presence of man now attracted my
attention.  A great plant, like an immense lily, with broad leaves six
or seven feet long was growing near by at the edge of the small clear
area surrounding the ruins; and, on going nearer to examine it I quickly
recognized it from the great bunch of elongated fruit which hung from
the crown of leaves.

Banana trees!

And there were many of them scattered around.  Here was a never-ending
supply of food, of the most nourishing kind.  I walked around to the
south side of the clearing, where I found other trees, much resembling,
in general appearance, the banana trees; but the fruit was much larger,
and curved like a scimitar.

My reading of books of tropical travel stood me in good stead as it
aided me in recognizing trees and fruits that proved of great use to me.
This latter, I knew to be the plantain.  A still further search revealed
yams, and several clusters of canes, much larger than the largest
cornstalks that I had ever seen.

Here was another valuable discovery--sugar cane!  Taking out my knife I
cut one of the canes, and was delighted to see that it was full of
limpid juice.  I tasted it and found it very sweet and very refreshing.
I sucked several joints of the sugar cane dry, and then turned to gather
some of the bananas.  The bunches were rather small, but several
appeared to be quite ripe.  I also dug some of the yams, and with a
sugar cane under one arm, my bow-gun under the other, the yams and
bananas in my hands, I started back to the camp.  I could not climb the
wall, loaded as I was, so I set about to go around the end nearest to my
cave-dwelling; when I saw a pigeon, like one I had shot near the coast,
fly up and alight on the wall.  As quickly as I could I laid down my
load, and, adjusting an arrow in the bow-gun, took careful aim and
released the string.  Again my aim was true, for the arrow pierced the
neck close to the body.  It must have been killed almost instantly, for
it quickly ceased fluttering.

With this addition to my forage, I proceeded slowly to the camp.  With
food for two days at least, I now began to form plans for making the
"cave," as I chose to call it, habitable.  I proposed to close the two
ends and a portion of the front, by setting bamboo, which I had seen
growing plentifully in the valley below, into the ground, and weaving in
vines.  I only intended to make a temporary shelter against the wind,
and had no idea of spending the time and labor that I had on my house on
the coast.

It was slow work cutting the bamboos and dragging them up to the cave,
and this occupied me several days.  These had to be cut into the proper
lengths, and set into the ground, so that the upper ends would come
firmly up against the overhanging rock.  As I worked, my plans for the
future matured, so that I foresaw an extended sojourn here.  The
ultimate outcome was, that the inclosing walls of the cave were, when
finished, fully as substantial as those of my house at "Sargent" Bay, as
I had resolved to call the place where I had drifted ashore, in honor of
my late benefactor.  The paling of bamboos was closely interwoven with
vines, and I constructed a door for the front. I now had not only a
comfortable but a substantial dwelling, which would afford protection
from the wind and rain, no matter from which direction they came.

About every other day I went to the old ruins to procure bananas and
yams; and, on these trips, I shot several pigeons which proved to be
very delicate and tender.  I often roasted yams, and found them to be
very hearty food; and became very fond of them.

Frequently, of late, there had been showers of rain, which proved to me
that the rainy season had set in.  I made frequent trips to the top of
the mountain, and, each time, I saw that the peculiar serrated line
against the sky, which I at first thought must be a cloud, had remained
stationary.  This convinced me that it was land, and as it was evidently
the top of a mountain range, it must be a great distance away.

I speculated as to what land it would be.  If my suppositions were
correct as to the position of the island on which I was exiled, from the
direction it might be one of the Virgin Islands. If so, the Leeward
Islands lay beyond, further to the east and south-east.

My mind was now filled with the project of erecting a substantial
beacon, one which would be seen from some distance at sea.  Gradually I
evolved plans for the structure.  The first step was to cut the tallest
and largest bamboo which I felt capable of dragging to the peak.  I
found one that suited me.  It was a long tedious task to cut it down
with my knife, but it was finally accomplished, and I dragged it to the
front of the cave.

It was my intention to devise a headpiece to fasten securely to the top
of the bamboo in order to render it as conspicuous as possible.  This
would have to be done before the bamboo was raised and set into the
ground.

The daily showers became more frequent and more severe, and some days
the rain would sweep across the mountain in perfect torrents.
Nevertheless, I succeeded in cutting several more bamboos, of smaller
size, and I also brought several bunches of bananas and plantains, and a
quantity of yams up to the cave.

I now set to work to complete the beacon. Cutting the bamboos to the
required lengths, I lashed them together in such a manner as to form a
sort of gridiron, eight feet long and six feet wide.  This I filled in
with a basket-work of vines, woven very loosely that the wind might
easily pass through it, to prevent its being blown down when raised to
the top of the pole.

At length the beacon was finished, the gridiron being firmly lashed to
the upper end of the bamboo; and I had been on the mountain seven weeks.
The rainy season was well under way; but I worked during the intervals
when it ceased to rain, and, by means of a sharpened stick, aided by my
knife, I dug a hole fully four feet deep, on the highest part of the
mountain. I found it difficult work to raise the bamboo with the
gridiron at the top, and plant its base in the hole, but, after many
trials, I succeeded, after which I wedged it firmly with stones and
earth solidly packed.

It would be useless to attempt to leave camp while the rain continued,
and I had fully reconciled myself to remain until the close of the rainy
season; and I hoped that I could find enough to do to occupy the time.
I was obliged to go frequently in quest of food, and I set about
preparing a brief account of the circumstances of my exile in the
island, the date of the wreck and the date of the raising of the beacon;
also, explicit directions for finding "Sargent" Bay, where my house
stood.  This was carved in deep letters around the smooth surface of a
large section of bamboo, like a Chinese prayer cylinder.  This was
fastened to the bamboo signal pole, a few feet from the ground, to guide
anyone who might chance to notice the beacon and investigate its
meaning, to my rescue.

I made a coat and kilt reaching to the knees, from cocoanut cloth.  The
coat was without sleeves, but it would save my only shirt, and the kilt
would prove a great protection to my trousers, which were already
showing signs of hard usage.  These garments were sewn together with
fibres of vines, a long, sharp thorn being used as a needle.  I also
made a new hat, of more skillful workmanship than the first, which I had
worn until the present time.

Twice, each day, I went up to the beacon to scan the horizon.  I saw no
vessels, but the distant, faint outline of mountains remained in sight.
This position commanded a view of the entire island, and I studied it
with interest.  It was nearly circular in shape, and I calculated that
it was not over forty miles in diameter.  I had thought seriously of
descending to the eastern slope of the mountains, and exploring the
small portion which had not come, thus far, within my projected route.
This belt of country, between the foot of the mountains and the sea,
seemed, from my elevated position, to be very flat, and more sparsely
wooded than the other side of the mountain; but the question of its
being inhabited was settled by the torrents of rain, for, for miles to
the east and south-east the country was under water.

The rain had apparently been the heaviest on the east side of the
island, for none of the west side was inundated, as far as I could
discern; but the stream, along whose banks I had marched from the coast,
was swollen to the size of a great river.

After I had made the clothing, I searched the edge of the bush until I
found some wild canes, growing by a swampy place, from which I made a
supply of arrows.  Frequently I shot a pigeon, the birds apparently
being driven into the open by the rain.  One day when I went to procure
a fresh supply of bananas, as I extended one hand to cut off a bunch, I
sprang back and quickly retired several rods.  The cause of my
precipitate flight was nothing more nor less than a great yellow snake,
exactly like my unwelcome companion on the coast.  It was coiled among
the leaf stems of the banana tree.  I did not disturb it, not feeling
particularly curious as to its disposition under the present
circumstances; and the next time I came it was gone.  I named it the
"banana snake," in commemoration of the latter incident, and because of
its color, which was nearly that of a ripe banana.

The nights, at this elevation, and during the rain, were cold, but the
cave was quite comfortable, and I built a small fire just inside the
door each night, to drive out the dampness; having, from time to time
before the rain became too constant, filled all the available space in
the cave with dry wood, only reserving enough room to lie down to sleep.

The weeks passed, rather tediously after I could think of but little to
do, but the rain was not so steady and, almost every day, there were
several hours when it entirely ceased to fall. There being only short
grass around the top of the mountain, I utilized these intervals of the
cessation of rain by exploring the mountain to the line of the bush, all
around.  There was nothing but rocks, with occasionally a few small
shrubs.  But one day I made an interesting discovery.  Nearly down to
the line of the bush on the opposite side from my camp, I came across a
similar over-hanging rock; but on going under it, I perceived a large
crevice, which, on close examination, I found extended into the mountain
for some distance.  I had my tinder and flint with me and, gathering a
few dry leaves and sticks that lay around near the opening, I made a
fire at the entrance.  By its light I could see that I had found the
entrance to a cavern, but I could see only a few feet from the mouth.
The walls were dark and the top of the cavern was not more than four
feet from the floor.  I determined to still further explore it with a
torch.

For a week I did not again go near the cavern, but made daily trips to
the beacon for the purpose of taking observations, but all the time I
was trying to invent a torch.  Nothing suitable for the purpose, which
would burn for any length of time, suggested itself to me, until, one
morning, while at the ruins for yams and fruit, I saw some ripe
cocoanuts on the ground.

"Why not use the oily kernel of the nut?"

I at once proceeded to act upon this suggestion. Taking a couple of nuts
to the camp, I split them in halves, fastening one into a split stick,
making a sort of ladle.  Hastening to the cavern on the other side of
the mountain, I made a little fire at the end of the stick, and had the
satisfaction of soon seeing the oily meat of the nut blaze up in a
steady, yellowish flame.  Watching it for a moment, I saw that the meat
charred very slowly, while the oil was tried out by the heat to feed the
flame.

Taking the torch and the spare nuts with which to replenish the torch, I
entered the mouth of the cavern.  I was both surprised and disappointed,
for it was neither beautiful nor grand.  The roof was low, and the walls
were dirty and grimy.  The cavern was not more than six feet wide and
four feet high, and I was obliged to stoop as I moved along.  The cave
took me straight into the mountain for a few rods, when I came to what
appeared at first to be the end; but I soon discovered a small opening a
little to my right, through which, after hesitating a little, I crawled
on my hands and knees.  I went but a few feet before I emerged into a
chamber of considerable size, where I could stand erect; and here I was
greeted by a cloud of bats that flitted about as though bewildered by
the light, their wings making a curious, uncanny fluttering sound.  I
could see the roof plainly, and clinging to it, with their heads
downward, were thousands of bats. There were, depending from the
ceiling, a few small stalactites, but they were dark and grimy. I
examined the floor of the cavern, which revealed to me its true nature.
I was in a guano cave, the floor of which was thickly covered with the
guano of the bats, the accumulation of centuries, probably.

"What a fortune there is here," I thought, "if all this guano could be
cheaply conveyed to the coast and loaded into vessels."

Although the air in the cave seemed to be pure, it was not a pleasant
place, and most unattractive; so, after discovering a small passage,
like the one I had just crawled through, leading further into the
mountain, I retreated toward the entrance and was soon in daylight,
feeling no desire to further explore a cavern devoid of all the beauties
usually attributed to such natural phenomena.

The days dragged now, as I waited for the weather to clear, with nothing
to break the monotony but occasional trips to the ruins for yams,
oranges, plantains, bananas and sugar cane; and sometimes I would stalk
pigeons, when my bow-gun proved very effective, especially as I every
day became more skillful in using it, while the birds suffered in
consequence.

Several times each day I went to the beacon to scan the horizon; but I
saw no sign of a vessel.  I reasoned that my island must be out of the
regular track of vessels going to the Windward or Leeward Islands, as I
knew it to be, of ships bound to the South American coast, Central
America or any of the large West India Islands.  But the far distant
mountains still showed plainly against the horizon.

While gazing away toward the east one day, the idea came to me to try to
construct a boat, on my return to my house on the coast, in which to
attempt to reach the distant land.  I was not skilled in sailing a boat,
but I reasoned that, with a fairly staunch and steady craft, provided
with some sort of a sail, I might, when a long period of fair weather
was promised, escape to the land which I dimly saw to the eastward. This
plan occupied my mind continually for days, and, so seriously did I
begin to consider it, that I became extremely impatient to start away
for the coast.

Three weeks more of weary waiting, and the rain ceased to fall steadily,
and then the sun began to break through the clouds at intervals, but the
showers were still frequent.  From the beacon I could see that the
floods in the lowlands to the east were subsiding, and that the river
along which I had traveled from the coast, was assuming its normal
proportions.

Gradually the clouds dispersed, and whole days of bright sunshine
followed.  The rainy season was drawing to a close.  A few days of clear
weather would dry the ground and the bush so I would be able to set out
for the coast.

I felt a pang of regret at the thought of leaving my home under the
cliff; but then, perhaps I might come back.  I could not tell.  Perhaps
I should have to give up the idea of building the boat, and then it
might be years before I was rescued.  I might, indeed, spend my entire
life here alone; but this thought I put away from me.

My preparations for leaving the mountain were easily made.  I left the
house under the cliff exactly as it was, save the closing, securely, of
the door; and one morning as the sun came up out of the sea, and the
lovely island verdure lit up with a gorgeous blending of green, purple
and gold, I took a farewell look all around the horizon from the peak,
and, with my gun, arrows and bag of provisions, dressed in the rudely
made cocoanut-cloth garments, I started down the mountain, taking, as
nearly as I could, a northeast course toward the coast.

The ground was yet sufficiently damp to render it pleasantly springy and
cool to my feet, and the freshness of the verdure of the forest and bush
which I traversed imparted to the air a pleasant coolness, even though
the sun shone fierce and hot.  Birds were flitting like iridescent gems
through the trees, and tittering curious discordant cries.  Not since
the beginning of my exile had I been conscious of such cheerfulness and
light-heartedness as on this morning--and, with all, I had the feeling
of going home, as, indeed, I was.

Crossing the valley at the foot of the first mountain peak, I ascended
the lower spur and descended its side toward the level country which lay
between it and the coast.  In general appearance, the bush here did not
materially differ from that to the southwest, traversed during my march
from the coast months before.

Shortly after entering the belt of virgin forest which skirted the base
of the mountain range, I emerged into an opening, perhaps two acres in
extent.  It was covered with thick grass, green and luxuriant after the
rains.  The grass was not tall, perhaps two feet high, apparently a new
growth, and I started to cross it.  A tall cactus, a veritable tree,
stood alone near the centre of the grassland, and toward this I took my
way, thinking that I would like to examine it closely, as it was the
largest one I had seen on the island.

After examining this giant of the tropics, I continued my way across the
intervening space toward the bush on the other side.  I was nearly out
of the grass, when a strange sound caused me to stand still and look
about me.

The sound came in a series of short, angry grunts, like "woof! woof!"
and, a short distance to the left I saw the grass violently agitated,
while the noise came nearer to me.

I at once decided that some animal was coming toward me, whether to
attack me or not, I could not tell.  But I quickly decided that the most
sensible thing for me to do would be to seek safety.  Naturally I
thought of the bush, and ran toward it.  The moment I started to run the
"woof, woof!" followed me, and I increased my speed as fast as I could,
hampered as I was by the thick grass.  The terrible, guttural sound
gained upon me as I plunged on, but at last I reached the bush, and,
seeing a large tree with branches near the ground, just ahead of me, I
dropped my gun and bag of provisions, and grasped the lower limb.
Quickly I climbed up to what I considered to be a safe distance, and
then looked down to see what sort of a beast my pursuer would prove to
be.

I had but a second or two to wait, for soon, not one but three shot out
of the grass and rushed to the foot of the tree.  I could not mistake
them.  They were pigs, wild pigs.

They looked up at me with little, cruel looking eyes, and one, the
largest, which had probably led the chase, snapped his jaws, showing
long, white tusks, ran around the tree and continued the "woof, woof!"
throwing up his head and, as he apparently grew more angry because I was
above his reach, flecks of foam were flung from the ugly jaws.  This one
was, without a doubt, the boar.  The other two were smaller, and seemed
to be taking matters more coolly.

They were villainous-looking beasts, gaunt, with long legs and sharp,
pointed heads; and their color was a sort of rusty-red.  Feeling
perfectly safe, the question which naturally first occurred to me was,
"how long shall I be besieged in this position?"  There seemed to be but
one course to follow, at present, and that to await developments.  The
pigs had not appeared to notice my paraphernalia.

After a while the boar grew calmer, and finally all three lay down near
the foot of the tree.  I made myself as comfortable as possible, and
looked down at them.

The day dragged along monotonously, while I was able to change my
position so frequently that I was not cramped; but I began to get very
hungry, having eaten nothing since early in the morning.  The pigs
continued to remain on guard, the boar now and then getting up and
regarding me contemplatively, until the sun sank behind the forest.
Then the pigs moved away into the grass.  It was soon dark, and the
moon, which was near its full, came up over the mountains; but I was not
long able to distinguish the movements of the pigs in the uncertain
moonlight.

Patiently I waited, until the moon was directly over the clearing.
There was no sound of the pigs, and, after a little, I slid to the
ground and, cautiously gathering up my gun and provision bag, moved
noiselessly away into the bush.  The moonlight favored me, and I hurried
on for several miles, when I was brought to a halt by a small stream.
Feeling safe from the pigs, I decided to camp here until daylight. I did
not dare make a fire, so, after satisfying hunger with a portion of a
pigeon which I had roasted before setting out, and an orange, I sat down
by a large tree and, leaning against the trunk, was soon asleep.



                             *CHAPTER XII.*

          _*Return to the Coast; A Mangrove Swamp; Fever*_*.*


When I awoke it was morning, and the sun was fully an hour up.  Taking a
hasty bath in the cool water of the stream, and after a hurried meal,
crossing the stream on the stones that were not submerged, I set off
along the east bank.  The stream flowed in a northerly direction.  By
keeping close to the edge of the forest I made rapid progress.  Nothing
occurred to distract my attention, except the sight of a small flock of
pigeons, one of which I killed.  I encamped for the night in the edge of
a thicket, and made a fire to roast the bird which I plucked while
waiting for a bed of coals.

At daylight in the morning I continued my course down the stream which
was now much wider and deeper.  Its edge was thickly fringed with
bamboo, and the idea came to me that I might construct a raft from them,
and float down stream to the coast; but then, the stream was apt to
become suddenly shallow in places, and it contained many large stones,
and after delaying for several days while constructing the raft, it
might prove to be time and labor lost.

At the close of the fourth day, as the sun was declining behind the palm
trees, I was astonished, on emerging from a thicket, to see the ocean,
blue and calm, stretching out before me.  I had failed to note the fact
that I had followed a more direct course from the coast than when I
marched toward the interior, and that the mountains were much nearer the
north coast than the west.  For the last two days I had noticed that the
cocoanut palms were more plentiful, as were also the bamboos along the
stream, both of which should have reminded me of my approach to salt
water.  I had reached the coast sooner than I expected.

Knowing that I would probably not be able to cross the stream at its
mouth, I found a place where a few stones rose above the water, and
managed to cross to the other bank.  The mouth of this stream differed
from that of either of the other two streams that I had seen.  It was
broad and muddy, covering a wide expanse, and what seemed the strangest
to me was that trees were growing from the water, covering the entire
area of the mouth of the stream.  Each tree rested upon the apex formed
by a cluster of roots, which rose from the water, looking like gigantic
spiders or devil-fish.  I could see under the whole aquatic forest, a
tangle of slimy roots above the dark water.  The air was permeated by an
indescribable stench; and around the edge of the dark recess, black,
hairy crabs crawled about, or lay by the festering pools.  I concluded
that this was one of the famous mangrove swamps, and I decided to retire
from such an undesirable locality.

Accordingly I proceeded along the beach until I was free from the smell
of the swamp, where I made camp for the night beneath some spreading
trees near the water’s edge, making a fire and roasting yams, and
broiling a pigeon which I had killed just after crossing the stream.

When I awoke in the morning I felt that a change had come over me.  I
felt dazed, the back of my head was aching, and I had a burning fever.
After a few moments I remembered the swamp.  The air which I had been
breathing must be laden with fever.  I staggered to my feet and, without
stopping to get breakfast, I started along the beach, my course now
being toward the west.

I felt very weak and walked with great difficulty. I was obliged to stop
frequently to rest, and toward mid-day I managed to eat the remainder of
the pigeon that I had broiled the night before.  Once I saw some orange
trees, but the fruit was both sour and bitter.  I sucked some of the
juice, however.  The bitter and the acid seemed to allay my fever a
little, and I soon felt less weak.  I camped at sundown, and went to
sleep with confidence that my condition would be improved in the
morning, as I was at a safe distance from the swamp.

For two days more I marched along the shore, finding sweet orange-trees
frequently, and plenty of pigeons whenever I chose to make a short
detour into the forest.

At last a high mound appeared ahead where the shore seemed to take a
sharp sweep toward the south, and, hurrying forward, I was soon standing
at the top of it and, to my great joy, looking down upon the bay where I
had been cast ashore.

Crossing the familiar little stream, I hastened toward my house.  It was
with a feeling of relief that I saw that everything was apparently as I
had left it.



                            *CHAPTER XIII.*

            _*A Feathered Companion; Making a Fish-Trap*_*.*


Everything about my house was as I had left it.  Nothing had been
disturbed, the overflowing stream not having reached it.  The vines
around the stockade now completely covered it, and the yams that I had
planted in front of the stockade-gate were thick and luxuriant, the
great, bean-like leaves completely concealing the entrance.

The effects of the fever were fast leaving me, and I grew strong
rapidly.  There was much to do, now that I was settled down at home.  I
dug up the yams in front of the stockade-gate and stored them in the
house for future use.  Then I carried out the couch and made a new one
of fresh branches and grass, more comfortable than the first had been.

I also made two fire-places, mere enclosures for keeping the coals in
place.  These consisted of circular enclosures of stones brought from
the stream, each about three feet in diameter and one foot high, one
being in a corner of the house for use during rainy weather, and the
other in the enclosure of the stockade, near the gate.

My next thought was to plant yams by the trunks of all the trees near
the house.  This would furnish me an inexhaustible supply, and of a
superior quality, as the vines would have plenty of chance to climb, up
and around the tree trunks.

One day while walking through the bush in search of pigeons, having
succeeded in killing two, I came across several cocoanut palms of much
smaller size than any I had yet seen. They were not more than fifteen
feet high to the base of the leaf heads, and their tops were very
spreading, much more so in proportion to the length of the trunks than
in the case of the larger trees.  But these all bore great bunches of
nuts, and I began to wonder how the unripe nuts would taste, and whether
they contained more water than the ripe ones.

With but little difficulty I climbed one of them, and with my knife
clipped the stems of several of the nuts, which went tumbling to the
ground.

Descending, I cut off the husk of the end opposite the stem, until I
could make a hole through the shell.  The latter was very thin and soft,
and the knife went through it easily. My knife was always in excellent
condition, kept so by frequent sharpening on the stone which I used for
striking fire to the tinder.

Raising the nut as though it were a canteen, I drank the water.  It was
somewhat different from that of a ripe nut, much sweeter, more limpid
and very cool and refreshing.  After the water was drained from the nut
I out it open, when I found the whole inside lined with a whitish,
translucent pulp, of the consistency of solid jelly.  This I found to be
delicious, but, after having eaten a little, rather sickish.  However, I
carried several of the unripe nuts to the house, and soon became very
fond of them.  I made frequent trips to the young palms and the water
became my principal beverage, while my only dessert was the jelly, for
which I carved a rude spoon from a piece of hard wood.

I noticed that the parrots were not so noisy as they had been before I
left for the interior, and for several weeks I was at a loss to account
for it.  But one evening, while returning from the water-cocoanut palms,
I espied two diminutive parrots fluttering through the bush.  They were
young ones and not quite able to fly, though nearly fledged.  They would
launch out from a limb, sometimes falling short of their next perch, and
sometimes striking against a limb, when they would flutter to the
ground, making small, parrot-like cries.  They were a beautiful green,
with red wing feathers and red breasts and necks.  The parent birds all
the while remained near-by, as though encouraging the little ones in
their attempts to fly.

I tried to catch one of them, but they were sufficiently active to evade
me successfully.  I felt a great desire to capture one and teach him to
talk, for I sometimes longed for a companion to speak to.  Finally I
evolved a plan for catching one.  I set to work to construct a net, for
a snare would injure them.  I prepared a great quantity of fibres from
the cocoanut cloth, and with it wove a purse-shaped net, perhaps two
feet in length.  This was to be suspended to a limb of a tree, and
baited with a piece of roast yam suspended over the mouth of the bag in
such a manner that, when the young parrot reached for it, he would be
almost sure to lose his balance and fall in.  Its weight, together with
the fluttering of the bird, would draw the mouth of the bag together and
prevent its escape.

This net cost me several weeks of work, but it was at last finished and
ready to set.  This I did very carefully, selecting a low limb in what
seemed a favorite place for the parent birds to give flying lessons to
the little ones.

For several days the net remained undisturbed, and every morning I
supplied it with a fresh, white piece of yam.

One morning, just at daylight, I was awakened by a great outcry of
parrots, and, feeling sure that one of the young birds had fallen into
the net, I hastened toward it.  Sure enough, the net had done its work,
for it was bobbing about and swaying from the limb, while muffled little
shrieks came from the nearly-closed mouth; and from the trees around
there arose a perfect babel of discordant cries of parrots, old and
young.  The two parent birds were perched on the limb over the net, when
I arrived, but on my approach they flew away a short distance, hurling
cries of defiance at me. Carefully I cut the net clear of the limb and
carried it to the house, the belligerent little parrot all the time
fluttering and shrieking, and striking at my hand whenever it was near
the opening.  I reproached myself for not thinking to make a cage for it
when captured, and I was obliged to secure the opening and deposit the
net in the house, while I made a cage for my future companion.  This was
not a difficult task.  Going to the brook where the wild canes grew, I
cut a quantity of them and, cutting them to the required length, I stuck
them into the ground, leaving spaces about two inches wide.  The canes
formed a small yard about two feet square.  The top was covered with a
piece of cocoanut cloth, the edges being tied all around to the upright
canes.

How to get the fighting little bird out of the net and into the cage was
the next question.  I did not exactly relish the idea of putting my hand
into the net, so finally I decided to lift one corner of the cocoanut
cloth on the top of the cage, and, loosening the mouth of the net,
insert it under the cloth, at the same time reversing the net.  The
scheme worked perfectly and the little parrot tumbled into the cage, his
feathers all ruffled.  He was a curious little thing and I laughed aloud
as, without uttering a sound, he proceeded to smooth his feathers, and
then to circumnavigate the cage.  He then retired a little from the bars
and regarded me with the utmost seriousness, canting his head, looking
at me first with one eye and then the other.  Then he began to dress his
feathers, evidently resolved to make the best of it all, and to feel
perfectly at home from the first.

I made my pet a little run-way outside the wall of the house,
constructing it in the same manner as I had the cage, covering it half
with cloth and the remainder with canes so he could have both sun and
shade.  This enclosure I connected with the cage by cutting a square
hole through the wall of the house.

As the weeks passed, the parrot grew, his wing and tail feathers
developed, and he became very beautiful.  He enjoyed his new home,
apparently, spending a part of his time outside, and part inside.  He
enjoyed the sunshine, but would never remain long in it.  He preferred
the shade of the cloth covered portion.  Nights, he always passed
inside, and I made a perch for him to sleep on.  It was simply a cane
passing through the cage and securely fastened to a bar on each side.
Hours and hours he would spend, swinging on this bar over and over,
holding on with his claws, and then with his stubby beak. I fed him on
yams, bananas and oranges, but the banana was his favorite food.

Every day I talked to him, telling him all about the ship-wreck,
discussing with him the various tasks that occupied me, and the
probability of my rescue.  I named him Puff Ball on account of his shape
when captured, and then I called him simply "Puff."  Puff listened
patiently to all I had to say, frequently interjecting a sharp comment.
Sometimes he would interrupt me by setting up a loud screeching, and I
always had to cease talking when Puff had the floor.

For weeks he did not appear to attempt to imitate my words, and I began
to despair of teaching him to talk, when one morning, as I lay awake for
a few minutes before arising, I heard him softly chattering to himself.
I listened and heard him say "Puff," "Puff," very distinctly.  I was
delighted and, going to the cage, I complimented him on his first
attempt.

Once while bathing in the stream, I noticed, for the first time, several
fish gliding through a quiet pool.  From the momentary glance I had of
them they appeared to resemble the white perch of the lakes at home.

This opportunity to add to my larder could not be neglected, and I set
to work to devise a plan for capturing them.  I thought, at first, of
making a hook from thorns; but this idea was abandoned as not apt to be
practical, and I hit upon a plan for making a net.  The first
inspiration gradually developed into a trap, and took definite shape as
I revolved the matter in my mind.  It was a simple device, but I spent
much time and patience in perfecting it.

First selecting one of the supple vines, about half an inch in
thickness, I bent it into the form of a hoop, two feet in diameter,
uniting the two ends by lashing them with smaller vines. Then, with the
aid of a sharp thorn and thread from the fibre of the cocoanut, I sewed
together pieces of the cocoanut cloth so as to make a bag three feet
long, with an opening of the same diameter as the hoop.  Then I sewed
the edge of the opening of the bag firmly to the hoop, which kept the
bag rigidly open.

Next, from more vines, I wove a funnel-shaped basket, the larger end
fitting inside the hoop, while the smaller end, which was inserted into
the bag, had an opening about six inches in diameter.  The larger end of
this basket, which was like an inverted cone, was lashed to the hoop,
all around.

This was my fish-trap, and as soon as it was ready I took it to the
brook.  The water was normally low and, finding the narrowest place in
the current, I built across it a wall of stones, having an opening in
the centre of the wall, in width just a little less than the diameter of
the hoop.  The trap was then set into this opening, with the mouth
pointing up-stream, the gentle current keeping the bag distended, while
the hoop projecting across the edges of the opening in the wall held the
bag in position.

I expected that the fish, swimming downstream, finding no other passage,
would enter the opening of the bag and pass through the small opening in
the lower end of the cone, thereby becoming imprisoned.  From similar
devices that my brother and myself had made and used in the brooks at
home, I knew that, once inside, the fish would huddle in the lower end
of the bag and make no effort to repass through the opening in the end
of the cone.



                             *CHAPTER XIV.*

             _*Another Exploring Trip; Tropical Fruits*_*.*


The morning following the setting of the trap I removed it and, allowing
the water to drain out through the meshes in the bag, I found three
beautiful silvery fish, not unlike the white perch of the northern
waters. Cleaning them, I broiled them over the coals, and found them to
be delicious, delicate and fine flavored.  After that I had no lack of
fresh fish.

Puff, meantime, had made rapid progress in the art of talking and could
carry on quite a conversation--and many were the hours I spent assisting
him in adding to his vocabulary.  He insisted upon following me
everywhere I went, always walking and never making any attempt to fly,
his instructions in the use of his wings having been neglected since his
capture.  When walking through the bush in search of pigeons and other
provisions, I always carried Puff perched upon my shoulder, and he never
made any attempt to escape.  He seemed as perfectly satisfied with my
society as I was with his, and we kept up a continuous conversation.

My supply of salt becoming nearly exhausted, I procured a large supply,
enough to last me many months, by the same process as had been employed
on the first experiment while marching along the coast.  This I sealed
securely in joints of bamboo.

Having no particular task on hand, one afternoon I proceeded to prepare
a supply of provisions, roast pigeon, fish, yam, a few oranges and half
a dozen green cocoanuts, preparatory to setting off, the following
morning, to explore along the bank of the stream, which flowed almost by
my door, toward its source.  I knew that this was a separate stream,
independent of the other two that I had met with.  I remembered that I
had not crossed a third stream on my march from the mountains, and I was
curious as to its source.  Certainly it must be much shorter than the
other two.

Seeking my couch early in order that I might set off by daylight, before
going to sleep I remembered that I needed a new supply of arrows. This
would necessitate delaying another day, and in the morning I set to
work, and before sunset I had several dozen of much better made arrows
than the first ones.

With my quiver and provision bag slung across my back and with Puff on
one shoulder and the bow-gun on the other, I set out just as the sun was
rising above the palm trees.  I kept to the left bank of the stream, and
soon passed "Bamboo Pool" where I had first discovered these useful
plants.

I walked along rapidly, stopping only to refresh myself and Puff.  The
way was easy, for there were very few shrubs or thorn bushes along the
bank.  But I had to occasionally turn aside to avoid inhospitable cactus
plants, and the sharp, dagger-like plant which grew plentifully almost
everywhere.

Just as I was thinking about seeking a good place to camp in order that
I might make myself and Puff comfortable before dark, I was brought to
an abrupt stop, where I stood transfixed with surprise; for I had
reached the source of the stream, less than a day’s journey from my
house.

Before me there was a little pool, only a few feet across, and its
centre was bubbling and boiling.  The water which supplied the stream
flowed from the bowels of the earth.  While the pool was violently
agitated, no sound was made by the up-rushing water.  My brook was
simply the outlet of a subterranean river.

I at once made camp for the night, determining to spend a day around the
pool before returning.  I kindled a fire for the sake of its cheering
effect, and made my supper from the provision bag.  Puff was satisfied
with a banana.

After a frugal breakfast in the morning--for I had only some plantain
and a part of one of the fish left--I set out to explore the forest in
the near vicinity of the pool.  Almost immediately I came across some
banana trees, and near by a few plantains were also growing. Further
around I found a couple of orange trees.  This seemed quite a natural
garden, and it was not so far away but that I could make frequent trips
from home for bananas and plantains.

Penetrating a little further into the forest, I came to a little clear
spot, in the centre of which grew two large, handsome trees, each with
straight, rather smooth trunks, with symmetrical tops.

At first I thought both the trees were of the same kind, but I soon
noticed that the leaves of one were larger than those of the other, and
more pinnate.  I discovered that both trees bore curious-looking fruit.
The fruit, too, looked something alike.  It was large, round, and green
in color, with a pebbly rind.  Several were lying under each tree; but
that under one of the trees was decayed, and when I tried to move it
with my foot it yielded to the pressure, and as the mass parted it
looked like uncooked bread. The fruit under the other tree was firm and
hard.  I was at a loss to solve the mystery. Cutting one of the latter,
I found that it had a very hard shell.  Procuring a long pole from the
bush, I succeeded in knocking off some fresh fruit from the other tree.
On cutting this I found that the skin was thin, and that the inside had
something the appearance of a yam.

I carried one of each to camp, when it occurred to me to roast the
latter, and see if it proved good to eat.  While it was roasting in the
coals, I cut the other green globe in halves, and found that the hard
shell was very readily separated from the meat, leaving two nice bowls,
suitable for drinking vessels, and perhaps for cooking. When I thought
the other was thoroughly roasted, I took it from the ashes.  The
transformation was marvelous.  The fruit was now like light, white
bread.  Very cautiously I tasted it, and found that, while it possessed
no decided flavor, it was very delicate.  I tried some with a little
salt, and mentally pronounced it delicious.

Before going into camp for the night, I procured half a dozen of each
fruit, and, early in the morning, after adding a supply of bananas and
plantains to my burden, started to return to the house, which was
reached early in the evening.

I became very fond of the new fruit, which answered for bread; and I
made dishes from the shell of the other which served for drinking
vessels, and I even boiled some fish in one of them.

My time was now occupied by various tasks. Frequent trips were made to
the pool.  I planted more yams, and made frequent excursions hunting
pigeons.  I also made a complete suit of clothes from the cocoanut
cloth, including a hat and a pair of very substantial moccasins, for my
shoes were all but useless.  These things were varied by giving Puff
lessons in conversation, in which he proved to be an apt scholar.

I had seen no turtles on this part of the coast, and I contemplated a
journey to the cove where I had seen them months before, as soon as,
from my calendar, I judged it to be their breeding season.  I had long
craved more of their delicious eggs.

As the days and weeks passed, frequent showers came up; and after a
time, the showers of warm, tepid rain became more frequent. Some were
very violent, with high wind, and occasionally thunder and lightning.
They rose quickly and as quickly passed over, when the sun would burst
out, making the drops falling from the trees glisten like silver.  But
there came a day of almost steady rain, and, after consulting my
calendar, I found that it was about time for the rainy season to set in.

I had hardly thought of the rainy season since my return from the
mountains.  Indeed, I had intended to set to work and attempt to
construct a craft with which to try to reach the distant land to the
east.  But now I must wait for another rainy season to pass before
attempting it, for the sea would be too rough to risk a voyage in a rude
and frail craft.

I allowed gloomy thoughts to take possession of me, which I did not even
confide to Puff, who was my only comforter.



                             *CHAPTER XV.*

                   _*A Hurricane and a Shipwreck*_*.*


I strove to occupy my mind by digging a large store of yams, and
gathering hundreds of cocoanuts, and storing them inside the house for
use when the rain should prevent my going far from the shore.  I also
gathered an immense quantity of dead branches for firewood, which I
piled in the rear of the house, covering it thickly with grass and then
broad leaves and bark stripped from the trees, to shed the water.

The rain became almost constant, and after a day of hard work making
some repairs that I thought necessary on my house, I lay on my couch,
secure from the rain and wind, thinking of the past, present and future.
The wind had risen rapidly until it had become a gale.  I listened to
the rustle and flapping of the leaves of the palm trees, and to the roar
of the waves on the shore.  At length, through the crevices around the
door I could see that the night was frequently lighted up by vivid
flashes of lightning.  Heavy thunder began to rumble away back over the
forest.  The wind increased, and then came a roar which seemed to shake
the earth, and shrieks sounded above the dashing of the surf as the wind
came with terrible force.

I could hear the stockade creak, and see the walls of the house tremble.
The rain came in torrents, and swept against the enclosure. Another
blinding flash and roar, and, above the rattle of the palm leaves I
could hear the crack and crash of breaking and falling branches and tree
trunks.  A hurricane had broken over the island.  I lay appalled, and
listened to the terrible havoc of the tempest.  I could not close my
eyes.

It seemed as though the night would never pass; but after long, weary
hours, a faint gray light stole into the house, denoting the approach of
day and the end of that awful night.

The storm abated a little, but the crashing sounds continued to come
from the forest.  As soon as it was light enough to see plainly I
ventured to go outside the stockade.  The structure had withstood the
force of the wind; but what a pitiful sight greeted me as I looked
about.  Many of the tall cocoanut palms that had been my friends and
companions from the first lay prostrate, twisted and broken.  The ground
was covered with nuts, leaves and broken branches.  The little stream
was full to the very top of the banks.

The waves roared and thundered on the narrow beach.  I turned toward the
sea and thought about the night of the wreck.

But had I gone mad?  Had the horrors of the night so affected my mind?
I covered my eyes, and in a moment looked again.

Yes, out toward the bluff, only a few rods from the shore, was a vessel.
It lay as though at anchor.  I saw that it was a barkentine. The vessel
had not anchored; she was stranded. Then I ran to the shore and waved my
arms wildly.  I could not go to the bluff on account of the swollen
stream.  I saw several men walking around the windlass.  Then they ran
excitedly along the deck; and then I saw but two men on the deck.  I
gazed out at the rocking vessel and saw a boat slowly swing around the
bow.  It was filled with men rowing.  I saw the boat pointed toward the
shore.  I watched it eagerly.  The boat seemed to make no headway.  But,
yes, it was slowly making headway.  Then again my heart sank, as through
the flying spume I saw a mountain of water, a great billow many times
higher than the stranded ship, come rolling into the bay.  I stood
transfixed with horror, spellbound, as I watched the water, coming with
the speed of the wind, with a roar which every instant became more
terrific. Powerless to aid the poor souls in the boat, struggling
against a forlorn hope, in this moment of peril--of instant death, I
stood, sick and faint, in contemplation of their fate.

The great wave now overhung the vessel. Its foam-fringed crest curled
over and, with a fearful snarl of anger, like some dread monster with
jaws agape, it rushed over the vessel and obscured it from sight.

I sank to the ground and covered my face, as I wept in anguish.  I was
overcome at the awful thought of the catastrophe and by the instant, but
full realization of my great disappointment,--almost at the moment when
rescue from my long, lonely exile seemed near, every hope vanished; and
in a few moments I should see the bodies of those whom I hoped would
succor me tossed ashore, bruised and mangled. These thoughts flashed
rapidly through my mind as I sank to the earth.

Yet there was a faint hope, and the flitting thought caused my courage
to revive for an instant.

If the boat, perchance, escaped being swamped and should be borne far
enough toward the beach to ground firmly and thus escape being carried
back by the receding water, her passengers might be saved; but if not,
her fate was certain, for she would be hurled back upon upon the reef
and not a soul would escape.

I started to my feet and strained my eyes in the direction of the vessel
as the huge wave thundered upon the beach, the water rolling far up
toward my house.

Oh, the awful anguish of that moment!  At first I could see no sign of
the vessel, but as the succeeding wave subsided I caught a glimpse of
the vessel and saw that her masts, spars and rigging were hanging about
her in a tangled mass of wreck.  The hull seemed to remain in about the
same position, it only having careened shoreward.  The boat was nowhere
to be seen, though I carefully scanned every inch of the swirling water.
Perhaps it had been dashed ashore unseen by me, obscured in the cloud of
foam.

I dashed to the beach and ran eagerly along the shore, hoping to find
the boat and to rescue her passengers who, if discovered, would be in a
state of insensibility.  But my search was fruitless, and I stood again
a hopeless castaway, no nearer rescue than when, on that bright morning
after the storm which sent the _Ethelyn Hope_ to the bottom, I regained
consciousness to find myself alone at this very spot.

I returned to my house and tried to reconcile myself to my
disappointment, and to adjust my mind to the rapid succession of events
in which were mingled joy and sorrow, hope and despair, all within
little more than a half-hour.

Fortunately my house, thanks to the thoroughness with which the builder,
assisted by nature, had done his work, had withstood the fury of the
hurricane and had proved to be impervious to the rain, so I had no
difficulty in making a fire, by which I prepared breakfast, drying my
costume in the meantime.

The wind had by this time nearly all died away, though the incessant
roar of the surf continued on the beach.  Hoping still that some one
from the ill-fated vessel might escape to keep me company, I went again
to the beach, walking along toward the creek.  Seeing neither a body nor
a sign of the boat, I started to follow along the bank of the creek with
the intention of crossing it and searching along the shore in front of
the bluff; but I had taken a few steps only when I stopped in
astonishment, for almost at my feet, her shoulders upon a tangle of
reeds, lay the body of a young woman.  I thought she must be dead, for
she was very white and her eyes, while open, were fixed, turned upward
toward the palm leaves. As gently as I could I lifted her and with some
difficulty bore her to a mound at the foot of a palm tree, where I laid
her carefully down, resting her drooping head in a natural position.

Poor girl--for she was but a girl--cast up by the sea, dead; and that
was all I could ever know, about her.  How tenderly I would lay her
beneath the tropical flowers on the bluff, in a grave lined with soft
grass!--alas, all I could do.

Sadly I gazed at the still form, and was about to turn away again toward
the beach when, to my great surprise, I thought I noticed a faint tremor
on her face and a movement of her hands.  I must be mistaken; but no,
again there was a movement--no mistaking it this time--then her eyes
closed.  I knelt beside her and held her wrist.  It was cold, but I
thought I could detect a tiny flicker of the pulse.  Certain now that
life remained, I lifted her as tenderly as possible.  She was very
slight and I could easily bear her weight; but her body was so limp that
I found it difficult to carry her, supporting her head at the same time.
However, I reached the house, bore her within and laid her upon the
conch.  Then I took a piece of the cocoanut cloth, hastily twisting it
to make it as soft as possible, and went to work vigorously chafing her
wrists and hands, and I was presently rewarded by seeing her open her
eyes.  Her head was turned slightly away, but with a faint sigh she
moved it toward me.  With a wondering gaze she looked full into my face
for a moment, and then her eyes closed again. She had lost
consciousness, and I again chafed her hands and loosened her wet
garments about her throat.  In what must have been a few moments only,
but what seemed to me to be hours, she again opened her eyes and I saw
her lips move.  I bent close to her and made out to catch her words,
faintly whispered.

"Where am I?  Is papa here?"

That was all, for then she swooned away again.

Her father.  How strange it all was, and now for the first time, I
remembered that I had not noticed a woman on the deck of the ship before
the boat was launched.  Satisfied now that her life was safe, I left
her, hurried to the beach and renewed my search, when, directly in front
of my door, with the water washing partly over it, I saw the body of a
man resting upon the sand. From his appearance I judged him to be a
sailor.  I dragged the body out of the water. The limbs were rigid and
there was a deep gash on the left temple.

Feeling certain that life was extinct, I turned and continued my search.
I soon picked up an oar, and as I came to the mouth of the creek I saw
something which caused me to start back, involuntarily.  It was a hand
protruding from a pile of broken reeds.  Hastily I tore away the reeds,
revealing the body of a man, which, I noticed, was not dressed like a
sailor.  While I was moving the body away from the edge of the creek I
observed that the man was rather past middle life, well built and rather
stout, of medium complexion, with thick hair and moustache, both being
sprinkled with gray.  His limbs were not rigid, which caused me to hope
that a spark of life remained.  I therefore began to treat him as I knew
drowning persons should be dealt with, and shortly, to my great joy, he
began to revive and was, ere long, able to sit up and look about him.
He gazed at me in seeming wonder as though thinking me to be a being of
a different species from himself, which was not to be wondered at in
view of my picturesque costume.

"Oh Marjorie, my poor girl:" were his first words.

"If you mean your daughter, sir," I said, "she is safe and sound in my
house yonder."  He extended his hand to me, which I took and held while
he recovered his vitality sufficiently to go to the house.

"I fear we shall intrude greatly upon the hospitality of your
household;" he said, with a little effort.

"No fear of that, sir," I made reply; "for the company of yourself and
daughter is certainly a great pleasure to me and I am the sole member of
my household."

"Are you alone, then?" he asked.

"Yes, sir, alone on this island," I answered.

He was going to say more but I begged him to desist until he was
stronger, and until he was able to proceed to the house.

He expressed himself as being fully able to do so, and as he seemed
anxious about his daughter I assisted him to rise; and, placing an arm
about him I supported him as he walked slowly to the house.

The meeting of father and daughter was a joyous one.  The girl was able
to sit up and the color was returning to her cheeks.  I could not help
noticing at a glance that she was very pretty, tall with a slender well
moulded figure, with brown hair and blue eyes and a clear complexion.
She was, I judged, anywhere from seventeen to nineteen years old.  With
usual feminine thoughtfulness of her appearance she had already coiled
her hair neatly and rearranged her damp garments as well as she was
able.  While I stirred up the fire so that my visitors might dry their
clothes, the father related, briefly, the story of their experiences.

His name was Richard Harborough, of Halifax, Nova Scotia, from which
port the wrecked barkentine, _Three Sisters_, of which he was the owner,
hailed.  His family consisted of his wife, and three daughters for whom
his vessel was named.  He had determined to make a voyage in his vessel
for health and recreation and his daughter Marjorie, a student at
Dalhousie College, whose health had been impaired by overstudy, had
accompanied him, the family physician strongly recommending a voyage in
the southern seas as a restorative.

The _Three Sisters_ had taken out a cargo of general merchandise to
Demerara, British Guiana, and after discharging she had proceeded to
Greytown, British Honduras, where she had taken in a partial cargo of
mahogany for Boston, proceeding from the Central American coast to San
Domingo where she took on board sufficient logwood to complete her
cargo.  During heavy weather the seas that came aboard had polluted her
fresh-water casks and seeing the island just at dusk they had put in
toward it intending to anchor until morning and then to come ashore and
refill her casks.  But the storm broke upon her, the rain obscured the
island, and she would have gone ashore had she not struck one of the
hidden coral reefs.  What prevented her masts from going overboard the
men could not explain; but it must have been a miracle, they said.  As
soon as the barkentine struck, the anchor was let go, by which it was
hoped she would be prevented from drifting, until daylight.  When first
I saw the men on the deck they were hauling up the anchor, finding that
the barkentine had not drifted, with the intention of taking it to
windward and trying to work her off the reef by heaving at the windlass.
But realizing that the vessel was hopelessly aground, and fearing that
she might break up, it was decided to try to reach the shore, the result
of which attempt I had witnessed.



                             *CHAPTER XVI*

            _*Pleasant Companions; Enlarging the House*_*.*


I told them, as briefly as possible, the story of my exile on the
island, to which they listened, seemingly with the greatest interest,
refraining, on account of delicacy, I supposed, from asking about my
strange garb.

"And now," I said at the conclusion of my narrative, "you must make
yourselves at home and as comfortable as possible, while I see about
dinner"--for it was just mid-day--"and then we will attend to the poor
fellow who lies outside on the beach."

So saying I took my bow-gun, my guests watching me in wonder, and
started for the thicket behind the house.

I hoped to secure a pigeon, for my companions must be in need of
nourishing food.  I had the good fortune to spy a pigeon almost
immediately and to secure it with a single arrow.  My companions were
greatly surprised to see me return so quickly, and after placing some
yams and bread fruit to roast in the ashes, I set about plucking the
pigeon.  It was a plump bird, of the ring-tail variety.  Half of it I
fixed over the coals to roast, and with the remainder I proceeded to
make some broth, which I succeeded very well in doing, thickening it
with crumbs of cold roasted bread fruit, and seasoning it with salt of
my own manufacture, as I explained to my guests, while I prepared it.

After the repast, which greatly revived Mr. Harborough and his daughter,
we all went to the beach, I leading the way, to where the dead sailor
lay.

"Poor fellow," said Mr. Harborough, "it is the third mate.  The
barkentine carried seven men beside the captain and three mates.  We
must see if any more have come ashore."  But although we searched
carefully all along the shore up the bay, we found no other bodies. So
the dead sailor was carried tenderly to the palm grove, where he was
laid in a grave, dug after much hard labor, and lined with grass; I
promising to carve a head-piece for it, in the near future.

Then I took Mr. Harborough and his daughter around the neighborhood of
my hut, showing them where I had been cast ashore, where I had gathered
the reeds and cut the bamboos for my house, where I had discovered the
yam vines; indeed, I gave them a careful history of my doings
thereabout, which used up all the afternoon.  The sea, meantime, had
subsided and the sun had dried the bush and the grass; and after a
frugal meal from the remnants of the noonday repast, we sat long in
front of the house beneath the tropical sky, watching the moon rising
above the feathery palm tops, while we speculated regarding the future.

The situation presented few complications, for we must simply make the
best of everything until rescued, be it days, months, or years. Mr.
Harborough had most important information to communicate, namely, that
the _Three Sisters_ had a bountiful store of food supplies and cooking
utensils, as well as a rifle, shot-gun and ammunition for each.  The
rifle had belonged to the captain and the shot-gun to the mate, who,
when opportunity offered, were accustomed to go ashore for a little
sport, shooting.  To get these treasures ashore would greatly add to our
comfort, and, although we had no boat, we resolved, very early in the
morning, to set about discussing means for saving as much as possible
from the vessel.

Mr. Harborough, I was glad to see, took a cheerful view of the
situation, and was resolved not to despair; and Miss Harborough, also,
showed her bravery by taking the greatest interest in our plans.  With
some large pieces of cocoanut cloth I screened off a corner of the room,
including my couch, which was to serve as Miss Harborough’s sleeping
apartment, while Mr. Harborough and I stretched ourselves on the floor
near the door.  Before we slept I communicated to him my intention to
build an addition to the house before attempting to do much in getting
things from the vessel, in order to afford Miss Harborough privacy, by
having a room to herself.  He thanked me for all my kindness, and we
knew no more until awakened by Puff, who, while everything was damp, had
not been heard from.  Indeed, I had, I regretted to admit, forgotten
him.  But now, his feathers dry, and the morning bright and fair, he
made himself heard, indicating by all the words in his vocabulary,
interspersed with shrill screeches, that he was hungry, and would brook
no delay in having his wants supplied.

The morning repast finished, we adjourned to the beach to lay out a plan
of work for the immediate future.  We had two matters to discuss: one,
the most important, of devising ways and means of transporting the
supplies from the stranded barkentine to the shore, and the other, the
construction of an addition to the house for the accommodation of Miss
Harborough.

"It seems to me," observed Mr. Harborough, "that we should solve the
problem of getting out to the vessel as quickly as possible; for, if
there arises another great storm, she might break up."

"That is very true," I replied, "and your suggestion is a wise one; so,
as the building of the addition to the house will not be a long task if
we work together, let us set to work upon it at once.  We will construct
it in the same manner as I built this house."

It was decided that Mr. Harborough should cut the bamboos and the canes,
while I would build the house, having acquired some skill from my
previous work.

"I fear you will find it laborious work, for I have only this knife," I
observed, taking out my much-used knife.

"Ah," he replied, "I have a good knife, larger and stronger than yours;"
so saying he produced a large pocket-knife, having a broad, strong
blade.

"Capital," said I; "now we shall get on famously."

I conducted him to the thicket of bamboos a a little way up the stream,
leaving him, while I went a little further down, to cut reeds.

"Oh, but I want to do something to help," exclaimed Miss Harborough.
"What can I do?"

"You can be of the greatest assistance by carrying reeds to the house.
They are very light, and, besides, you can take small armfulls."

She was overjoyed at the idea, and she at once set to work with much
enthusiasm.  I cut a quantity of reeds and then went back to bring some
bamboos, after which I set to work cutting a door-way through the side
of the house to connect it with the extension.  I pursued the same
methods as in making the main house, Mr. Harborough cutting bamboos and
reeds, his daughter bringing all the filling material from the stream,
while I set up the frame and wove the reeds into the walls.  This
finished, grass was cut for thatching the roof.  We worked steadily,
only stopping for a bit to eat at noon, so that, by sunset, the addition
was completed. It was six by eight feet in dimensions, and it was very
thoroughly made.  After consulting Miss Harborough, it was decided not
to have a door between the two apartments, but to hang up a curtain
instead.  I suggested that the curtain be made of cocoanut cloth, and I
promised Miss Harborough to gather the cloth in the morning, and show
her how to sew it together with fine roots.

We all sat for a time in front of the house, enjoying the breeze which
blew toward the land after the sun-down, retiring early in anticipation
of the work of the morrow.  Before I slept I had formed a plan to reach
the barkentine on the reef, which I believed would prove successful.
The morning dawned bright and cloudless, and the household was awakened
by Puff, screaming for his breakfast.



                            *CHAPTER XVII.*

              _*Building a Raft; Visits to the Wreck*_*.*


We first visited the young cocoanut palms from which I cut a supply of
cloth for the curtain, to be hung between the two apartments in the
house; and while I dug some small roots for thread, to use in sewing the
pieces together, Mr. Harborough, under my direction, with his knife
shaped from a piece of hard wood, a bodkin, to be used in lieu of a
needle in sewing.

Leaving Miss Harborough comfortably ensconced in front of the house,
with the materials around her, Mr. Harborough and myself set about the
task of reaching the vessel.

"There is but one way to reach her, sir," I said, "and that is by means
of a raft.  It is the only sort of a craft that we can construct with no
tools, and, besides, I believe we can make a raft which will carry the
cargo."

"Your experience fits you to take the initiative," he replied.  "I am
under your direction. You shall lead, and I will follow and obey your
instructions."

"I am sure our combined ideas only will produce the best results," I
made answer.  "But first let us proceed to the bamboo thicket."

As we started to go up stream, Mr. Harborough turned and cast on anxious
look toward his daughter.

Noticing this, I hastened to reassure him concerning her safety.

"And are there no wild animals on the island?" he asked.

"I have seen none hereabout," I assured him. I remembered the wild pigs
that I had met on my march around the coast, but I thought best not to
unduly alarm him by alluding to them.

"And do you believe the island entirely uninhabited?" he asked.

"At the present time I believe it is absolutely uninhabited," I replied.
As we walked along I told him about the old wall on the mountain, adding
that it was evidently constructed by civilized people, long ago.  An
idea occurred to me at that moment concerning the ruined wall, but I
resolved not to communicate it at present.

As for the wild pigs, I did not believe they would put in an appearance
in this part of the island.  Reaching the bamboo thicket, we set to work
cutting a great quantity of them, selecting those from two to four
inches in diameter, I, meanwhile, explaining to Mr. Harborough how I
proposed to construct the raft.  We labored incessantly the entire day,
only stopping, when the sun stood directly overhead, to allay the
cravings of our appetites; and reaching the house, we were delighted to
find that Miss Harborough had dinner all ready for us, she having
roasted some yams and the only remaining bread fruit.  I resolved to
make a trip to the pool and procure another supply at once.

Miss Harborough had finished the curtain, and before we returned to our
bamboo cutting we hung it in place, fastening it with wooden skewers.

While we continued to cut bamboos Miss Harborough wandered about
admiring and wondering at the many tropical sights and sounds. I
continued to keep the records of the days on my cocoanut-shell calendar.
In two days we had cut what I believed was a sufficient number of
bamboos.  The following day was Sunday; and while we resolved to abstain
from working on the raft, we agreed that the time was too precious to
remain entirely idle; so we resolved to devote the day to replenishing
our larder.

We were early astir and prepared for a trip to the pool.  Before setting
out I got out the fish net, which I set in the stream, explaining that
we would remove it on our return, and hoping that it would yield a good
number of fish.  I took my bow-gun, intending to keep a sharp lookout
for pigeons, and Miss Harborough carried Puff, I having taken care to
secure him to her arm by a thong so he could not impede our progress by
flying away into the thicket.

We followed the bank of the stream and in due time reached the pool
where we set about, in the best of spirits, gathering water-cocoanuts,
bread fruit, oranges, bananas and plantains. Refreshing ourselves upon
some ripe bananas that we found scattered through the bunches, while we
sat beneath the shade of the broad leaves, we gathered up our spoils and
set out to return.

I decided to keep along the edge of the forest going back, hoping to bag
a pigeon or two; and I was so fortunate as to secure four, to the great
wonder of my companions who marvelled at my markmanship and the accuracy
of the rude bow-gun.

Arriving home the net was removed from the stream, being nearly half
filled with fish.  The question of food was settled for several days,
and we could work on the raft uninterrupted.

Miss Harborough allotted to herself the duty of preparing the food, and
well did she perform her task.  She not only had our meals ready with
unfailing regularity, but her womanly instinct enabled her to devise
dinners, dainty and appetising innovations in the simple cookery, that
were most acceptable.

The foundation of the raft was laid by placing bamboos on the beach just
out of reach of the surf, there being no discernable tide, about one
foot apart.  The poles, forming a layer, were about eighteen feet long,
and there were fourteen of them.  This fixed the dimensions of the raft,
eighteen by fourteen feet.  These were firmly lashed together with
lianas from the thicket near by, which were passed over and under each
alternate pole, across to the opposite side and back again, six times
across, with double weaving at the ends.  Next we cut a great quantity
of reeds and laid them evenly over the frame-work, to the thickness of
about two feet.  Another frame was then made the same size as the first,
which was placed over the reeds and bound firmly to the bottom frame, to
which it was firmly fastened with lianas around the edges, forming a
sort of mattress. This process was repeated until the raft was fully six
feet thick.  This work, as is to be supposed, occupied several days; but
when it was completed we had reason to feel proud of the result.
Indeed, it was the outcome of no little skill.

We expected that the buoyancy of the materials of which it was
constructed, together with its great thickness, would enable the raft to
float with its top high out of the water, which would allow it it to
support a considerable load.  And, besides, it was so light that our
combined efforts sufficed to move it quite readily.  On the morning of
the day following its completion, we launched the raft, and to our great
satisfaction saw that it floated like a cork.  We decided that a long
bamboo to be used as a scull-oar would be the best means of propelling
it.  One half of the thickness of the larger end of this bamboo was
split away the length of the first joint, which gave a flat surface to
offer resistance to the water in sculling.  Another bamboo was provided
to be used in poling.  We were now ready to set out for the wreck.  Miss
Harborough expressed a desire to accompany us, but I demurred, until we
had proved the seaworthiness and stability of the raft, in which her
father joined.  So she seated herself near the beach and watched us as
we pushed off.

Beneath our combined weight the raft did not appear to sink perceptibly,
and it promised to float a good amount of cargo.  This was most pleasing
to us for it would enable us to remove what we wanted from the vessel
rapidly. We joined in poling the raft until the water became too deep,
after which I used the scull from the end, being somewhat of an expert
by reason of my boyish practice with a punt on the pond near the home of
my childhood.  The sea was placid, and it required only a few minutes to
reach the wreck.  I propelled the raft under the bow-sprit and held it
steady by grasping the martingale, while Mr. Harborough climbed aboard,
from whence he threw a line with which I quickly made the raft fast, and
joined him on the deck.

The scene around us was one of confusion. The deck was strewn with a
tangled mass of rigging, rendering it not a little difficult to move
about.

"I think," said Mr. Harborough, "that we should proceed systematically
through the vessel, and I suggest that we first proceed to the cabin."

So we descended the companionway which led to the roomy cabin.  It was
comfortably, though not luxuriously fitted up, after the usual style of
vessels going on long voyages. Mr. Harborough proceeded to collect all
his clothing, while I, at his suggestion, gathered into a bundle all of
the wearing apparel that had belonged to the captain, to be appropriated
to my own use; and indeed, I was sadly in need of it. We did not disturb
Miss Harborough’s cabin, having decided to let her accompany us on the
next trip, when she could gather up her own belongings.

"There seems to be nothing else that can be of use to us," said Mr.
Harborough, glancing around the cabin.

"Oh, but why not take the chairs?  They are fastened to the floor of the
cabin, but there must be tools on board in the carpenter’s kit, with
which we can easily remove them.  And, then, the charts, the chronometer
and the compass.  Who knows but that they may be of great use to us?  I
am sure the compass would, at least."

"That is true," he replied; "I fear that I am not very used to being a
castaway."

"A few months will accustom you to such an existence," I replied.

So we went forward and found the carpenter’s chest, from which we took
all the tools necessary to remove the cabin chairs, and the compass.
These, with the chronometer and the clothing, we deposited together in
the cabin. Next we set about collecting all the small sized rope and all
the cooking utensils in the galley, which we placed with the cabin
crockery.  We debated whether it would be advisable to attempt to remove
the galley stove to the shore; but, because of its weight and the
consequent great difficulty in removing it, we abandoned the idea.  As
we moved about the deck we could see Miss Harborough by the beach, and
we frequently signalled to her, fearing that she might be lonesome
alone, amid such strange surroundings.

As I stood gazing at the beautiful island, densely covered t with
tropical vegetation, radiant with golden light, I made out the mountain
on which I had erected the beacon, which I could dimly see.  I called
Mr. Scarborough’s attention to it, and expressed my disappointment that
it was so dimly visible; but when I reflected that the mountain was much
nearer the east coast, I took a brighter view of it, for I believed that
the island must be one of the Virgin Islands; and, if so, it must be one
of the most easterly.  Still I could not make up my mind what the land I
had sighted far to the eastward from the mountain top might be.  If it
was one of the northern Leeward Islands, then we could not be far out of
the track of vessels.  In this case the beacon must, sooner or later, be
seen from some passing ship.

Overhauling the stores we found quantities of provisions, canned and
dried fruits, salt, half a barrel of salted beef, nearly two barrels of
flour, a great quantity of sweet potatoes and several gross of matches.
Indeed, nothing seemed to be lacking.

We now set about loading the raft, lowering the different articles over
the side by means of a rope, distributing the weight over the raft. We
loaded it until it settled to within a foot of the top, and a great
quantity of freight it took. At this rate it would require but few trips
to complete the work.  Taking the clothing aboard we started ashore,
which we reached without accident, though it required considerably more
time to scull the heavily loaded raft.  Being so deeply laden, it
grounded several feet from the beach, so that in unloading it, we had to
wade back and forth through the water.

Everything was stored snugly in the house before sundown.

On the morning following we made another early start for the wreck, Miss
Harborough with us this time.  As before, the raft was made fast to the
bow-sprit, and Miss Harborough was hoisted aboard in a bo’sn’s chair.
We proceeded to load the raft, intending to make two trips during the
day.  This was soon accomplished, and taking the compass and the
chronometer, as well as Miss Harborough’s trunk, we were about to cast
off, when, with an exclamation, Mr. Harborough grasped the chains and
disappeared on deck, presently returning with face aglow, carrying in
each hand a gun.  Such good fortune was almost overpowering, for with
guns we could not only defend ourselves effectively, if necessary, but
easily secure plenty of game.  He explained that there was a quantity of
cartridges for the rifle as well as considerable ammunition for the
shot-gun, in the cabin. Each day we continued to make one or two trips
to the vessel, the weather fortunately continuing calm, with the result
that we stripped her of everything that we could move, and that could
possibly be of use to us.  We soon discovered that we could store in the
house only such articles as there would constantly be use for, so we
proceeded to build another addition from the other side, opposite Miss
Harborough’s apartment, to serve exclusively as a store-room. Thus our
abode extended to quite a pretentious establishment.  The raft, no
longer in use, we hauled up among the cocoanut palms.  We had been so
busy since the barkentine came ashore that we had not been able to
extend the stockade around the two additions to the house. This we
proceeded to do, following the same plan of construction as I had
previously done, joining it to the main structure at the four corners,
thus making an enclosure of quite twice the area of the original
compound.  We planted yam vines all around the new stockade, varying our
labors by making trips to the pool for provisions, going on excursions
into the forest, but never far away, securing pigeons with the aid of
the shot-gun, but seeing no animals, and fishing in the stream.  We
lived sumptuously, with the fruit and the plentiful supplies from the
vessel.  At my suggestion, we planted a quantity of sweet potatoes,
selecting a sunny spot near the stream, breaking up the ground with
poles sharpened with the aid of a good axe, which we found in the
carpenter’s kit.  Indeed, we found several tools, such as a bit, auger,
two saws; and a hammer that were of great use to us; and fortunately a
few nails.  I had some doubt as to the success of our sweet potato
experiment, believing that the tropical climate would prove too warm for
them, remembering that they flourish to the greatest perfection in the
eastern-central part of our own country. However, the experiment was
worth trying in the interest of future food supplies.  We had, from the
first, kept a close watch along the shore all along the bay, in case
bodies of other members of the barkentine’s crew came ashore. But none
did, and, with the axe, we hewed a rude head-board from a hard-wood
plank which we had brought from the vessel, for the grave of the man
whom we had buried, carving thereon the name "William Clayton," together
with the day and year of his death.

We discussed the advisability of setting fire to the wreck, but after
mature consideration we decided that so long as it remained intact, it
might serve to attract attention should a vessel be passing, and thus
lead to our rescue.

We had much leisure, and I took occasion to make known a project which I
had in mind from the first, that of making a trip to the mountain.  For
one thing I wished to see if the beacon had withstood the hurricane;
and, more than all, an idea had taken possession of me, growing stronger
every day, that a careful investigation around the ruined wall might
lead to interesting, and, perhaps, important revelations.  My companions
were delighted with the prospect, and we at once set about making
preparations for the journey; and here a new idea suggested itself.  We
must carry with us as large a quantity of provisions as possible, and
how could this be accomplished?  We would make knapsacks from
sail-cloth.  Why had we not thought to bring the sails of the barkentine
ashore?  The raft was again launched, and we removed the smaller sails
from the vessel; and, by searching among the seamen’s dunnage in the
forecastle, we found several sailors’ needles and twine.  All working
together, we soon fashioned two square bags, with straps of several
thicknesses of cloth, with which to sling them upon our backs.  The next
most important thing was the selection of the articles to be carried
with us.  Provisions must form the bulk of the packs, and we made the
selection with the greatest care.  We also proposed to take along the
axe, a coil of rope, the ship’s compass, which was removed from the
gimbals, and, of course, the two guns, Mr. Harborough carrying the
rifle, while I took the shot-gun.  We made belts from the sail-cloth for
carrying ammunition.  The axe formed part of my equipment. A light
bundle of clothing was made up for Miss Harborough who also took charge
of Puff, who was made fast to her arm by a piece of twine. Everything
was made snug in the house, and the remaining sail-cloth was carefully
spread over the stores to be left behind.  The door was securely closed,
and one bright morning we were ready to start, first taking, by means of
the compass, the bearings of the mountain.  It was my intention to
proceed by a different route from those I had followed in going to and
returning from the mountain, for two reasons. One was that I wished to
further explore the island, which a new route would enable me to do, and
the other was that a direct route through the forest would be much
shorter, requiring us to encamp but one night.  My companions fully
agreed with this idea.  The stream was followed as far as the pool,
where we entered the forest.  It consisted of many varieties of trees,
one kind being of large size, with a smooth, straight trunk, towering to
a great height, without branches.  This, Mr. Harborough said, was the
mahogany tree.

Great lianas entwined the trees and many creepers, some bearing
exquisite blossoms that called forth exclamations of delight from Miss
Harborough, depended from the branches; and in some places the
vegetation was so dense that we were compelled to cut a way with the
axe. At Mr. Harborough’s suggestion and at her request I ceased to
address his daughter as Miss Harborough, and thereafter called her
Marjorie, as did her father; for, as they both said, we were exiles
together, and formality was superfluous.  We were in excellent spirits
and made rapid progress.  When the sun was in the zenith, as we could
see by an occasional glimpse through an opening in the dense canopy
above us, we paused by a tiny stream of clear water for refreshments and
a short rest.  Our repast finished, while Mr. Harborough and I conversed
concerning the present and the future, Marjorie wandered away a short
distance, searching for new and beautiful flowers.  Just as we rose to
resume the march, and were about to call her, we heard an agonizing
scream coming from the forest at no great distance away.  It was clear
that something had befallen Marjorie.  Grasping the guns, we dashed in
the direction indicated by her cries, and presently we saw her dress
through the undergrowth.  As we hastened forward a sight met our eyes
which caused us to come to a sudden halt and to gaze in horror at the
spectacle before us; for there was Marjorie, crying out no longer, her
limp body in the grasp of what looked like a dark, shrivelled-up old
man.

It seemed to be four or five feet tall, with a face almost black, its
body covered with short hair.  The limbs were long, small, and the legs
were bent.  We both shouted, at which the monster released Marjorie,
allowing her to fall to the ground, while it stood motionless, looking
at us, but making no sound.  Almost at the same instant it stooped and
grasped a huge club which lay at its feet.  We waited no longer, and
both raised our guns and fired.  Evidently our excitement disconcerted
our aim, for the monster, without giving forth a sound, sprang to the
great tree near which it stood and began to climb it rapidly, keeping to
the side opposite to us.  We hastened around, and Mr. Harborough fired
another shot from his rifle, but without apparent effect, for the
creature quickly reached the branches and disappeared.

We hastened to Marjorie who had recovered from her swoon, and was able
to give us an account of her adventure.  There was little for her to
tell.  She was walking leisurely along, stopping to admire a flower or a
brilliant butterfly, when, without warning, she felt herself in the
grasp of the horrible creature.  She screamed and then fainted.  We were
unable to conjecture what sort of a creature it might be, for we were
not aware that the tropical regions of the Western Hemisphere contained
large apes.

While we were discussing the matter, I remembered a story which I had
read years before about a creature found in the depths of the South
American forest, which was called a "Burghree."  As I recollected the
story, the description of the "Burghree" corresponded very nearly to the
monster we had just encountered.  Marjorie, having now recovered,
although she was still somewhat weak, we again went to the tree and
peered sharply among the branches.

"It seems to me," said Mr. Harborough at length, "that I see something
which looks like a great nest, far up in the tree-top."

I looked more closely and also saw it.

Clearly this was the home of the strange creature, and then I
recollected that the story of the "Burghree" corresponded almost exactly
to the present realization, for it retired to a great platform of
branches and grass, far up in the tree-top, whence it hurled defiance
and clubs at the men below, while this one uttered no sound.  Another
shot from the rifle was without result, and we decided that it would be
not only useless but folly to waste more ammunition. Resuming our march,
few words passed between us for a long time.  As for myself, I was
absorbed with my own thoughts, and Mr. Harborough seemed to be occupied
in like manner.

Suddenly I stopped and rested my gun upon the ground.

"Mr. Harborough," said I, "did you notice that the face of the creature
looked more like a human face than that of an ape, and that the feet and
hands seemed to be unlike an ape’s feet and hands?"

"I noticed the face," he answered.



                            *CHAPTER XVIII.*

          _*The March Continued; Arrival on the Mountain*_*.*


As we went on our cheerfulness returned.

We saw occasional pigeons and many beautiful plumaged birds, among which
were parrots and paroquets that kept up a noisy clatter. We also
encountered a species of brown and yellow ground-snake about two feet
long, which did not appear to be harmful, as it always seemed anxious to
get away.  Frogs, small lizards and crabs were plentiful, and I presume
some of the latter were edible.  Coming to a thicket of thorn-bush just
as the dusk began to settle across our path, we prepared to camp for the
night.  A square space was cleared in the thicket, some leafy branches
were laid across the top to serve as a roof, wood was gathered, and a
fire was built in front; and we proceeded to roast a few yams and two
fat pigeons that I had shot late in the afternoon; and opening a can of
peaches, we made a bountiful repast. We soon sought repose, and, as no
sound save the murmuring of the breeze through the trees came from the
forest, sleep came quickly to all of us.  We were aroused the next
morning at daybreak by Puff who was screaming at the top of his voice at
a flock of wild parrots in the trees above, and in an incredibly short
time we were again on the march.  We had proceeded only a short distance
when we came to a small open place covered with grass, and we were about
to skirt its edge when close in front of us came an angry "woof."

"Wild pigs," I cried, greatly alarmed, for, from my previous encounter,
I understood their savage nature.

At the moment an ugly looking boar showed his head directly in front of
us.  Mr. Harborough was about to fire, but I restrained him, knowing
that the least disturbance might bring a drove of these savage beasts
upon us.

"Let us quietly withdraw as quickly as possible," I said, "and make a
detour of the forest."

This plan was carried out, and, to my great relief, successfully, for
the boar disappeared in the grass, and we saw no more of it.

Having the compass, we were able to keep the right direction, pushing
forward rapidly, only stopping a short time at mid-day for dinner, and
the sun was yet high in the heavens when we came to the first rising
ground, and I knew that we had reached the foot of the mountain.

Presently I saw familiar land-marks, and I was able to lead the way to
the top.  The beacon was standing exactly as I had left it.  We
proceeded to my cave-dwelling, where everything was found pretty much as
I had left it, except that the barricade before the door showed some
decay.  There was still some time before nightfall, during which, after
depositing our sacks within, we cut a quantity of grass for beds and
gathered a quantity of fire-wood.  We also partitioned off one corner of
the room for Marjorie, fixing a bamboo across, to which hung cocoanut
cloth which we found in abundance a short distance away, fastening it
together with pegs, and thus we were comfortably settled soon after our
arrival; and, as we enjoyed the evening meal, we talked over future
plans.  I promised to show my companions the ruined wall in the morning,
as we retired to rest.

The orange trees and banana plants near the ruin were still thrifty and
bore abundant fruit, and we regaled ourselves as I showed my companions
the old wall.  Mr. Harborough took the greatest interest in it, and we
speculated as to its origin.  Other matters, however, engaged our
attention from day to day.  The compass was taken to the foot of the
beacon, and the bearings of the land which I had discovered in the
distance accurately determined.

It lay exactly southeast, half east, from where we stood.

"In my opinion," said Mr. Harborough, "this small island where we now
are is one of the most northeasterly of the Virgin Islands, and that
land in the distance is one of the same group."

"But," I said, "if that is the case should we not be able to see some of
the other islands to the westward?"  I was aware that there were several
islands in the Virgin Group.

"Not necessarily," he answered, "for they lie very low on the ocean."

We spent much time about the beacon, improving our habitation, in
gathering fruit and shooting pigeons for our larder; and we took twelve
days in making a trip to the low south-east coast, marching along the
shore and returning from the northeast.  We found animal life even
scarcer than on the west side.  Birds were not so plentiful, though we
found some pigeons, and saw plenty of little green lizards and crabs.
We made no discoveries that promised to be of use to us.  On our return
I took my companions to the mouth of the guano cave, but Marjorie
declined to enter and Mr. Harborough did not appear anxious to do so.
We made frequent trips to the ruined wall, and searched the enclosure
carefully.  The more we studied it the more we were convinced that the
wall had served as a foundation for some structure.

One day as we were returning with fruit, Mr. Harborough had fallen
behind to examine a spot which had escaped attention, when we were
arrested by a sudden exclamation from him. He had dropped upon his knees
and was eagerly clearing away the plants and grass with his hands.

We hastened to him, inquiring what he had discovered.  He pointed to a
square, flat stone. It was about four feet square and seemed to open
like a hatchway.  He had stepped upon it and felt it rock, very
slightly, beneath his weight, but enough to attract his attention.  Did
the stone conceal an opening, the entrance to an ancient dungeon, or a
treasure vault?  We were nearly overcome with excitement, not unmixed
with awe, and I confess to a feeling of dread as I contemplated what
might be below if the stone really covered an opening to a subterranean
chamber.



                             *CHAPTER XIX.*

             _*An Ancient Ruin; A Wonderful Discovery*_*.*


The edges of the opening, around the stone, were crumbled and cracked,
and after scraping away the accumulation of moss and mold we found that
we were able to remove a large piece of rock which left a space of
sufficient depth to receive a lever.  We hastened to the edge of the
forest, where we selected a small tree of hard wood, which we felled;
and from it we made a lever about fifteen feet in length.  The larger
end was flattened a little with the axe, in order that it should fit
closely against the stone in prying it up.

We next moved a large stone from the wall, which we placed about three
feet from the aperture which was to receive the lever, to act as a
fulcrum.  Then we lifted the great lever, placed the flattened end into
the aperture, let it rest against the stone fulcrum, and reaching up as
near the elevated end of the lever as possible, brought our combined
weight to bear upon it.

The flat stone moved slowly upward, and Marjorie, who stood near, in her
eagerness, bent over the opening.  Almost at the same moment she started
violently back, gasping for breath. The foul air, which rushed from the
opening, had nearly suffocated her.

Working together nearer the upper end of the lever, the stone was lifted
a little higher and Mr. Harborough was able to hold it while I placed a
rock under the stone, which prevented it from falling back when the
lever was released.

We now gathered around the opening which was not yet wide enough to
enable us to see far below; but to our great astonishment we saw that a
flight of stone steps led downward. Below all was dark.  Foul air still
came from the opening.

"We must wait for the air to purify before entering," I said; "and,
meanwhile, we will procure lights."

"Why in the world did we not remove the cabin lamps from the vessel?"
exclaimed Mr. Harborough, "If we only had them now."

"Come to the house," I said, "and I will show you how we will procure a
light."

Hastening to the house I opened my knapsack and held up the two binnacle
lamps for the inspection of my companions, much to their amazement.

Both were filled with oil, very little of which had escaped, as I had
wrapped strips of sailcloth tightly around them.

In answer to their inquiring looks, I reminded them that I had, for a
long time, believed that some such discovery as the present one might be
made, and that I had, unknown to them, packed the binnacle lamps which
had proved to be a fortunate act on my part.

Taking them, with plenty of matches, we returned to the ruin.  Lighting
a wisp of dry grass, I threw it into the opening.  It fell to the
bottom, where it continued to burn brightly, showing that the air was
now pure.  In the momentary glare of the burning grass, we saw that the
opening was about eight feet deep.

We now procured another stone from the wall, which we placed under the
lever, increasing the height of the fulcrum so that we were able to lift
the stone still further; and by pushing the lever around toward one side
we quickly swung the stone from the opening until it rested at one side.

Lighting the lamps, we cautiously descended the stone stairs.  They were
covered with what seemed to be finely pulverized mould which had worked
down from above; but the dampness, incident to an underground chamber
rendered the steps somewhat slippery, so we had to descend carefully.
There were ten steps. Reaching the bottom, Mr. Harborough and myself
leading and Marjorie bringing up the rear, we found ourselves standing
upon a solid floor, deeply covered with fine mould, but quite dry. The
floor of the chamber was evidently composed of stone, laid very closely,
without mortar. The roof was made of great flat stones, supported by two
rows of pillars made of square blocks of stone, extending the length of
the chamber.  The walls, roof, pillars and floor were all thickly
covered with dust.  Searching along the walls, we discovered, at the
further end, four niches sunk into the wall about five feet, and into
the rear wall of each niche, there was fixed a massive iron staple, to
which was fastened an iron chain of crude workmanship.  At the end of
each chain there was a rough iron collar which was evidently designed to
be fastened with a rivet.  Stepping into one of the niches, we
discovered that the floor of it was thickly studded with sharp iron
spikes which we found, on clearing away the dust, to be about two inches
in height.  The purpose of the niches was apparent; they were
unquestionably designed as places of torture.  Well must they have
served their purpose; for the wretched victim who, on account of the
short chain fastened to his neck, could not lie down, was compelled to
stand constantly upon the sharp pointed spikes which would pierce and
cruelly lacerate the feet.

To what period of the New World’s history this dungeon belonged we could
not even conjecture; but, judging from the style of architecture and the
cunningly devised method of torture, Mr. Harborough, who had seen the
ruined forts along the Spanish Main, had no doubt that this chamber was
connected, in some way, with the old Castilian days in this part of the
world.

The west wall seemed to be perfectly smooth and unbroken; but on the
east side of the chamber we found a square stone, measuring something
like two feet each way, being almost a perfect cube, protruding half way
from the wall. This was easily removed, and thrusting in one of the
lamps, we saw what appeared to be a square chest.  Brushing away the
dust which covered the end of the chest next to us, we saw that it was
of wood, bound with bands of iron, the whole being thickly studded with
nails.

"A treasure chest," exclaimed Marjorie; "oh, it seems like the stories
of the buccaneers."

An iron ring was fastened to the chest, but when we took hold of it and
tried to draw the chest toward us, we found it to be so heavy that we
were unable to stir it.  So I went to procure a lever which I cut from a
small tree near the wall, and returned with it to the chamber.  One end
of the lever was inserted, upward through the ring of the chest and we
lifted with our combined strength.

The chest was raised slightly, and then the iron bands, eaten by years
of rust, broke, and the chest, rotten with age, fell apart.

Marjorie was holding one of the lamps so as to illuminate the chest,
and, as it broke open, she almost dropped it, while Mr. Harborough and I
dropped the lever and gazed at the broken chest and at each other in
speechless astonishment; for the aperture seemed to be full of gold
coins.

We had discovered a treasure chest, indeed. The coins were of several
sizes, and all were covered with a brownish dust.  But gold they were,
and there were thousands and thousands of them.

We examined many of the coins, on which the legends were plainly
legible.  Each one bore a male head on one side, with dates ranging from
1517 to 1540; and on the reverse, this superscription:--"Carlos I.,
Espana: Rex"--Charles I., King of Spain.  We concluded that we had
discovered a favorite trysting place of sea-rovers who sailed these
waters carrying death and desolation afloat and ashore under the
protection of royal authority, with the understanding that the Spanish
treasury should be enriched thereby.

Here, before us, with no one else to claim it, was wealth beyond our
power to estimate.

"It is utterly useless to us here," said Mr. Harborough, as we discussed
the importance of our discovery.

"True," I replied, "but as we have no intention of always remaining on
this island, it may prove to be of great service to us.  To this end we
must consider what immediate disposal we will make of all this wealth."

"And," I continued, as we replaced the stone in the aperture and
withdrew from the chamber, "it seems to me that the first step toward
ensuring to ourselves the future enjoyment of all this wealth, should be
to transport it to the cove and store it in our house."

This proposition of mine was the beginning of much discussion and
consideration for several days thereafter, during which it was
definitely decided that the gold must be transported to our house at the
cove; and we began to consider how this task, not a trifling one, could
be accomplished.

Clearly there was but one sure and safe way, and that, to carry it there
ourselves.



                             *CHAPTER XX.*

           *"*_*The Golden Treasure;*_*" *_*Its Removal*_*.*


It was finally settled that we would transport the golden treasure to
Sargent, at the cove, in the knapsacks on our backs.  To do this would
require several journeys through the forest; but as time was no object
to us, what more could we ask than to be able, during our exile, to so
easily acquire wealth which would render us independent for life; for
rescued we must surely be, sooner or later.

We decided that no part of the walls should remain uninspected.  Every
square foot of it was carefully examined, but we found no indications of
other openings.  One day, however, while looking at the east wall, I
noticed one of the stones which seemed to be more loosely set into the
wall than any of the others; and on examining it more closely, the upper
edge appeared to be chipped as though some pointed instrument had been
inserted.  It at once occurred to me that this may have been caused by
prying the stone out--in other words, I mistrusted that the stone might
conceal the entrance to another chamber.

We examined it closely and came to the conclusion that it would be worth
while to remove the stone.  We worked at it for several days without
making any perceptible impression.

It was too heavy and we could devise no appliance to assist us
materially.  Finally it occurred to me that we might remove a flag-stone
of the floor, dig under the stone and compel it to drop from its place.
We soon discovered, however, that it rested upon the flag-stone next to
it.  Not to abandon the project, we at last succeeded in removing the
second flag-stone from the wall, which enabled us to excavate the earth
from beneath the flag-stone next to the wall.  This we accomplished
after a great deal of hard work, for our only excavating tools consisted
of sharpened and flattened pieces of wood. At last, however, the
flag-stone settled into the the excavation and the stone in this way
fell outward.  To our great astonishment this was followed by a rush of
air from the aperture.  We did not, at first, know what to make of this,
but we shortly agreed that we had found the entrance to an underground
passage leading to the open air.

Indeed this idea seemed quite reasonable, for we had often read of such
passages in connection with the strongholds of the early days; either as
a means of offence or defence, or of escape.

Taking the two lamps I preceded Mr. Harborough into the passage,
Marjorie bringing up the rear.  From the first it was evident that the
passage was not artificial, but a natural cavern. Indeed as we proceeded
it proved to be a simple guano cave, the stalactites being grimy and the
stalagmites buried beneath long years accumulations of guano.  In its
general character it did not differ materially from the cave which I had
discovered on the east side of the mountain during my former sojourn.
The ceiling of this one, however, was higher so that we were able to
walk upright; and it had no windings. Proceeding a few rods we came to a
second chamber, leading off at right angles; but the opening was so
small that we would have had to crawl through it and we did not consider
it worth while to enter it, at present, at least.  The thought occurred
to me that the passage connected this cavern with the one which I had
previously discovered; for, as I thought the matter over, I believed
that the two must run nearly parallel.  Myriads of bats flitted about,
almost flying against our faces, and several times nearly extinguishing
our lamps.  In a few minutes we came to a fair-sized chamber, nearly
circular and perhaps a dozen feet in diameter; and as we entered it we
were astonished to find that it was partially illumined by daylight.
Stranger still, mounted on two huge wooden blocks were two brass cannon,
pointing away from us.

"An ingenious fortification," remarked Mr. Harborough.

"A masked battery," said Marjorie.

We now examined the guns closely.  They were covered with a greenish
corrosion, and were, as I have said, brass.  They were of exactly the
same size, about four-inch, and on the breech of each was stamped the
following, together with the arms of Spain: "Espana: 1512."  We saw that
we had reached the mouth of the cave, which was thickly filled with a
mass of bushes and creepers.  We resolved to clear away the obstruction
at once, and I returned to the chamber for the axe.  With it and our
knives we soon cleared away the vegetable growths, and behold, we stood
on the side of the mountain a few yards from the mouth of cave,
overlooking the ocean to the eastward. The purpose of the guns was quite
apparent. They commanded the approach to the mountain, and to an
advancing enemy were utterly invisible, as a shelf of rock hid the
entrance from below.  This latter discovery did not promise to be of any
special importance to us, it was most interesting.  Our whole effort,
now, was put forth toward transporting the gold to the cove on the west
coast; and placing as many of the coins in each knapsack as we could
each carry comfortably, we packed enough provisions to last at least two
days, and set out.  As we had done on the journey to the mountains, we
followed the edge of the forest making a short detour, when about half
way, to avoid a possible encounter with the wild pigs. Mr. Harborough
and myself would have liked very much to risk an encounter with them,
but the safety of Marjorie was our first consideration, and these
animals were very fierce.  So as we had grave doubts as to their
desirability for food we decided to give them a wide berth.  Nothing
occurred to give excitement to the march and toward the end of the
second day we reached the house in the cove, where we found everything
entirely undisturbed.  We immediately set to work to make several strong
bags of sail-cloth, each being about two feet long and half as wide, in
which to store the gold.  This occupied us one full day, and after
storing the gold we had brought, in a corner of the hut, burying it
beneath the kitchen utensils, we took sufficient provisions to last us
during the return march and set out.  Numerous trips were made to and
from the mountain which consumed several weeks.  Meanwhile we had made
an additional discovery, almost as important as the first. As we
gradually removed the gold contained in the chest we saw that there was
another chest beyond it.  Like the first it fell to pieces on being
moved.  Beyond it was a solid wall of stone. But the second chest was
not so heavy as the first, and it proved to be only about half filled
with gold.  The rest was occupied with rolls of manuscript, all of which
fell to powder when exposed to the air, leaving not one scrap on which
the faded writing was legible.

At last only what gold we could carry away on one more trip remained.
During our march to and fro from the coast we had kept a sharp watch for
the "wild man," as we called him, and Marjorie always kept very close to
us while passing through that part of the forest.

But we saw no signs of him.



                             *CHAPTER XXI.*

          _*Preparing for Departure; Death of the Monster*_*.*


On the morning of the day on winch we were to set out with the last
packs of gold, the sky was partly overcast, and far down in the eastern
horizon the sky line was blended into a leaden haze, which gradually
disappeared as the sun ascended toward the zenith.  This I knew, was a
premonition of the approaching rainy season, which I knew was always
preceded for several weeks by a thin veil of clouds and the murky
atmosphere of the horizon in the morning.

This decided us to make this our last journey, and to remain at the cove
after our next arrival there; for there we were sheltered, to a great
degree, from the rain and our house was much more comfortable than the
abode beneath the rock on the mountain, which was dreary during the long
rain, as I knew from experience.  At the cove we had a substantial
house, and, with the stores and utensils from the wreck we should be
very comfortably situated.  And, beside, we had gradually, as we marched
back and forth, evolved a scheme to remove some of the deck planks of
the vessel and such lumber as we found available, and to try, during the
rainy season, to construct a substantial boat in which we might venture
to leave the island.  We planned to construct a great shed, closed in on
three sides and left open at the end facing the beach.  Beneath this we
would lay the keel of our craft and test our skill as ship-builders.

So, with our guns, clothing, such other articles as we wished to take
back with us, and of course, Puff, after closing the cliff-house we
proceeded to the chamber beneath the ruin to pack the remaining gold.
Our knapsacks were speedily filled, and we prepared to leave the
chamber.

Marjorie preceded us to the stairs, but scarcely had she reached the
first step when she darted back to us shrieking and trembling, her face
ashy pale.

She crouched between us, unable to speak, her eyes staring wildly toward
the stone steps. I sprang forward and looked up toward the opening.
There I saw, standing between us and the sky, silent as a statue, with
eyes glaring down at us--the wild man of the forest.

There was no mistaking it; but this time it looked less like an ape and
more like a human being.

Without looking around I beckoned to Mr. Harborough.  He stepped to my
side, and catching sight of the horrible thing above us, he raised his
rifle and fired.  The report roared around the chamber and the stairway
was filled with smoke.  Simultaneously a heavy body rolled down the
slippery stairs and lay outstretched at our feet.  It was the wild
man--lifeless; its limbs outstretched and its wide-open eyes staring up
at us.

Never again do I wish to look upon such a horrible object.  We shrank
back in the doorway, feeling weak and faint; Marjorie clung to her
father, her eyes gleaming with terror, a look of horror upon her face.

After we had recovered our courage and the first shock had partly passed
away, we approached closely and examined the strange being.  It was
human in every detail, the hair, arms, legs, feet, eyes and face.  It
had once been a man, but what a marvelous transformation had taken
place!  The body was entirely covered with short brownish hair which
grew several inches long on the breast.  The hair of the head was dark
brown in color, long, tangled and matted.  The nose and mouth were
regular, and the teeth were in fair condition.  The eyes were either
blue or gray, we could not tell exactly which.  The finger-nails were
long, which made the hands look like claws.

The skin was tanned by exposure to sun and rain until it was a dark
bronze hue.  We pondered long concerning the history of this strange
being; for a human being it surely was; once like ourselves.

In death it was less repugnant than in life. Now that we had become
accustomed to look at it, it impressed us only as a poor dead outcast,
of whom we knew nothing.

There could be but one solution to the mystery.  Either the wretched
person had been marooned, or, like ourselves had been cast away on the
island, and, driven mad by solitude, exposure and the contemplation of
his position had probably for several years roamed the forest as a wild
man--a wild beast in every sense, except his origin.  We moved the body
to a corner of the chamber, composed the limbs and went out into the
sunlight.

The long lever remained under the stone which had covered the opening,
and we worked it back into place--closing the treasure chamber, now a
tomb.  We covered the stone thickly with earth and turned toward the
forest.

Without further incident we reached the house at the cove and proceeded
to put everything in order in anticipation of the coming rainy season
which, we promised ourselves should be a busy one with us, between boat
building and general occupations; and we viewed the future not without
pleasant anticipations. We were comfortable, with every want supplied, a
happy family sharing a common lot.

Never was there a complaint made by any of us.  We indulged in
conversation about home, our individual lives, and discussed matters of
present and future moment.



                            *CHAPTER XXII.*

                _*Boat Building; a Startling Sound*_*.*


Out first work of magnitude was the construction of a great shed in
which to build the boat, sheltered from the weather.  This occupied us
many days; for it was of considerable size, twenty-five feet long and
about two thirds as wide.  The method of construction was exactly the
same as in the other structures and need not be described again.  It was
closed all around except the end next to the beach. This was left open
to afford both air and light.

House-building was varied by several trips to the stranded vessel which
remained on the reef precisely as we had left it.  Our raft, too, was in
a perfect state of repair.

Many of the deck planks we removed, as well as all the boarding of the
deck-house and the sheathing in the cabin.  We were careful to save
every nail, and we found a further supply in the fore-castle.  These,
though common "cut" nails, could readily be transformed into "clinch"
nails by heating, in which form they would be available for fastening
the boat together.

The heavy deck planking we proposed to use for the keel and frame of the
craft, as well as for oars and thole-pins.  All the lumber and such
small rope as we believed would be of use to us, also quantities of
sail-cloth, were transported to the shore and piled inside the shed.

These duties were varied by occasional trips to the forest to hunt wild
pigeons, fishing in the stream or jaunts to the pool for fruit.  These
were holidays to us, during which work was forgotten and we all entered
into the spirit of the occasion.

Day by day the clouds of the morning lingered longer and longer and were
less quickly dispelled by the sun’s rays.  They became more sombre as
the days went by, and sunset was preceded by fitful gusts of wind,
indicating that the rainy season was coming on apace.  So we abandoned
further work on the boat and began to lay in a supply of cocoanuts and
yams.

While returning from the pool one day, as we passed the bamboo thicket
an idea occurred to me which I lost no time in communicating to Mr.
Harborough.

It was this; to fasten bamboos, of good size, around our boat, outside,
immediately below the gunwales, reaching from stem to stern.  This would
render it more buoyant, for the bamboo, consisting as it does of hollow
joints, would have the same effect as air bags, or water-tight
compartments.  Such a device would, I believed, make it impossible to
capsize the boat, thus making it doubly seaworthy and rendering our
escape from exile more certain.

"It is a capital idea," exclaimed Mr. Harborough. "And while we are
about it," I continued, "we may as well select a bamboo for a mast."

My companions fully approved of my ideas and we at once set to work to
cut the bamboos and carry them to the boat-house.

This work occupied us a good many days, for it was slow and laborious,
even with the aid of the axe; for the outer part of the bamboo is
extremely hard.

We now proceeded to strengthen the outer part of the wall of the house,
and to renew the thatch of the roofs, all of which required several days
of labor, cutting the grass and fastening it into place.

A large supply of wood was gathered and stored in the farther end of the
boat-shed; in short we made every preparation for a comfortable rainy
season, protected from the wind and the rain.  Hurricanes could not be
guarded against, so we only hoped that they would give us a wide berth.

The first showers had set in ere we resumed work on the boat.  From one
of the best planks we fashioned the keel, which was laid with some
ceremony, Marjorie constituting the audience; after which we set about
getting out the stern-post and the frame-pieces.  While we were thus
occupied Marjorie performed the house-hold duties, and, at odd times,
busied herself heating the nails white-hot, and dropping them into
water, which process transformed them into "clinch" nails.

She also made several bags from sail-cloth strongly sewed, for the
reception of the gold. The bags were filled with the coins, securely
sewed up and stored away in Marjorie’s trunk, nearly filling it.  We
decided that this would be the safest way to dispose of it for the
present.

Work on the boat went on apace, each day being much like its
predecessor.  The daily showers became more frequent and copious and we
saw the sun less often.

At times we felt depressed and our isolation grew irksome.

One morning, having had breakfast, we started for the boat-house, when
we were brought to a sudden stand-still.

A long-drawn sound like a trumpet blown at a distance echoed and
reverberated through the trees.  It continued several seconds, during
which we remained in a listening attitude.

Neither of us spoke.

It was repeated again; what could it mean, what could it be?

Surely it could not come from any wild animal for we had seen none
larger than a pig.

Had we been believers in the existence of demons, we must have at once
decided that a demon lurked in the forest behind us.



                            *CHAPTER XXIII.*

               _*Rescue at Hand; Leaving the Island*_*.*


Marjorie had heard the sound, also, and came toward us.

Suddenly she pointed out toward the sea, uttering the exclamation,
"look."

We both turned and looked in the direction indicated.

A boat was rounding the point; a real boat.

There were men in it, four men.  The boat shot around the point and
began skirting the shore toward us.

We saw that they were black men, dressed in rough but civilized
garments.

They were conversing among themselves, speaking in a tongue which we did
not understand.

Were they friends or foes?  Stepping quickly into the house we took our
guns and waited behind the stockade, standing so we could watch the
boat.  It had the appearance of a canoe, made of wood.  Evidently the
black men had seen our house as the canoe was turned toward the shore.

She grounded in a few seconds, and the men sprang ashore.  They
cautiously approached the boat-shed peered into it, and then came slowly
toward the house.  Beckoning Marjorie to remain out of sight we grasped
our guns and stepped boldly out, resolved to meet the emergency
unhesitatingly, whatever it might be.

To our surprise the black men stopped with a shout of joy.

One a tall, fine looking negro, stepped toward us and extended his hand
to us.

"Fo’ de Lard, Marsa; Who is yo’, how long yo’ ben heah?"

I told him that I had been here many months, and that my two companions,
pointing to Mr. Harborough and to Marjorie, who now came forward, had
been here half as long.

Then he told us a strange story, one which gave us great joy.

He said that they were coming from their island to this one to hunt
turtles, at the great breeding place which I had discovered on my first
march to the mountain, and that, while nearing the east coast of our
island a steamer came along, slowed down and then stopped.

Men on the steamer seemed to be looking at the island with glasses, and
then the whistle of the steamer was blown.  This was in the late evening
before.  Presently the steamer started and when it came up with the
canoe the "cap’n" asked them if there were any people living on the
island.

The black men answered in the negative, adding that none of the turtle
hunters dared go far from shore, for a terrible savage monster half man
and half demon, lurked in the forest. The "cap’n" told them he had seen
a beacon on the top of the mountain, and that he believed some one was
signalling for assistance.  So he bargained with them to follow close
along the shore, searching carefully in every cove, while the steamer
followed slowly.

The steamer anchored during the night and the black men were taken on
board.

At daylight that morning the black men continued along the shore in the
canoe, the steamer following.  As the canoe came in sight of the cove
they saw the wreck and signalled back to the steamer, which had answered
by a blast on her whistle.

It was the sound of the steamer’s whistle which we heard just before the
boat appeared. In a few minutes a large steamer came in sight from
behind the point and anchored off the cove.  A boat was immediately
lowered and rowed swiftly ashore.  A man in uniform sprang ashore and
came hurriedly to us, extending both his hands which we eagerly grasped.

He was the second officer of the Royal Mail steamship _Dunmore Castle_,
from England for West Indian and Colombian ports.  When off the east
side of the island somewhat out of her course by reason of a heavy
squall into which she had run a few hours before sighting the island,
the first officer had seen my beacon and called the Captain’s attention
to it.  The rest had been related by the black men.

My story is nearly told.  We were transported on board the steamer, with
such of our belonging as we wished to take with us.  The great weight of
Marjorie’s trunk called forth some remarks from the men who handled it,
but we made some casual allusion to rare sea-shells and other curios and
felt relieved when the trunk was on board.

The _Dunmore Castle_ proceeded to make her ports of call, during which
we had to give a detailed account of our life and strange adventures on
the island, to the wondering passengers.

We were landed at Kingston, Jamaica, from whence we proceeded by stage
over-land to Port Antonio on the north-east coast, where we embarked on
the steamship _Sama_, for Boston, with fruit.

I have nothing more of interest to relate, unless the reader may like to
know that I see Marjorie every day still, and that her father visits us
at least once each year, when we talk over and over again, the incidents
that I have, in my humble way, tried to relate.



                                 FINIS.





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