Our animals were impatiently expecting us; they had been neglected during th_torm, and were ill-supplied with food, besides being half-sunk in water. Th_ucks and the flamingo liked it well enough, and were swimming comfortably i_he muddy water; but the quadrupeds were complaining aloud, each in his ow_roper language, and making a frightful confusion of sounds. _Valiant_ ,
especially,—the name Francis had bestowed on the calf I had given him to brin_p,—bleated incessantly for his young master, and could not be quieted till h_ame. It is wonderful how this child, only twelve years old, had tamed an_ttached this animal; though sometimes so fierce, with him he was mild as _amb. The boy rode on his back, guiding him with a little stick, with which h_ust touched the side of his neck as he wished him to move; but if hi_rothers had ventured to mount, they would have been certainly thrown off. _retty sight was our cavalry: Fritz on his handsome onagra, Jack on his hug_uffalo, and Francis on his young bull. There was nothing left for Ernest bu_he donkey, and its slow and peaceful habits suited him very well.
Francis ran up to his favourite, who showed his delight at seeing him as wel_s he was able, and at the first summons followed his master from the stable.
Fritz brought out _Lightfoot_ Jack his buffalo, and I followed with the co_nd the ass. We left them to sport about at liberty on the humid earth, til_e removed the water from their stable, and supplied them with fresh food. W_hen drove them in, considering it advisable to pursue our expedition on foot,
lest the bridge should still be overflowed. Francis was the superintendent o_he fowls, and knew every little chicken by name; he called them out an_cattered their food for them, and soon had his beautiful and noisy famil_luttering round him.
After having made all our animals comfortable, and given them their breakfast,
we began to think of our own. Francis made a fire and warmed some chicke_roth for his mother; for ourselves, we were contented with some new milk,
some salt herrings, and cold potatoes. I had often searched in my excursion_or the precious _bread-fruit_ tree, so highly spoken of by modern travellers,
which I had hoped might be found in our island, from its favourable situation;
but I had hitherto been unsuccessful. We were unable to procure the blessin_f _bread_ , our ship biscuit had long been exhausted, and though we had sow_ur European corn, we had not yet reaped any.
After we had together knelt down to thank God for his merciful protectio_hrough the terrors of the past night, and besought him to continue it, w_repared to set out. The waves still ran high, though the wind had subsided,
and we determined merely to go along the shore, as the roads still continue_mpassable from the rain, and the sand was easier to walk on than the we_rass; besides, our principal motive for the excursion was to search for an_races of a recent shipwreck. At first we could discover nothing, even wit_he telescope; but Fritz, mounting a high rock, fancied he discovere_omething floating towards the island. He besought me to allow him to take th_anoe, which was still where he left it the preceding night. As the bridge wa_ow easy to cross, I consented, only insisting on accompanying him to assis_n managing it. Jack, who was much afraid of being left behind, was the firs_o leap in and seize an oar. There was, however, no need of it; I steered m_ittle boat into the current, and we were carried away with such velocity a_lmost to take our breath. Fritz was at the helm, and appeared to have n_ear; I will not say that his father was so tranquil. I held Jack, for fear o_ccidents, but he only laughed, and observed to his brother that the cano_alloped better than Lightfoot. We were soon in the open sea, and directed ou_anoe towards the object we had remarked, and which we still had in sight. W_ere afraid it was the boat upset, but it proved to be a tolerably large cask,
which had probably been thrown overboard to lighten the distressed vessel; w_aw several others, but neither mast nor plank to give us any idea that th_essel and boat had perished. Fritz wished much to have made the circuit o_he island, to assure ourselves of this, but I would not hear of it; I though_f my wife's terror; besides, the sea was still too rough for our frail bark,
and we had, moreover, no provisions. If my canoe had not been well built, i_ould have run great risk of being overset by the waves, which broke over it.
Jack, when he saw one coming, lay down on his face, saying he preferred havin_hem on his back rather than in his mouth; he jumped up as soon as it passed,
to help to empty the canoe, till another wave came to fill it again; but,
thanks to my out-riggers, we preserved our balance very well, and I consente_o go as far as _Cape Disappointment_ , which merited the name a second time,
for we found no trace here of the vessel, though we mounted the hill, and thu_ommanded a wide extent of view. As we looked round the country, it appeare_ompletely devastated: trees torn up by the roots, plantations levelled wit_he ground, water collected into absolute lakes,—all announced desolation; an_he tempest seemed to be renewing. The sky was darkened, the wind arose, an_as unfavourable for our return; nor could I venture the canoe on the waves,
every instant becoming more formidable. We moored our bark to a large palm-
tree we found at the foot of the hill, near the shore, and set out by land t_ur home. We crossed the Gourd Wood and the Wood of Monkeys, and arrived a_ur farm, which we found, to our great satisfaction, had not suffered muc_rom the storm. The food we had left in the stables was nearly consumed; fro_hich we concluded that the animals we had left here had sheltered themselve_uring the storm. We refilled the mangers with the hay we had preserved in th_oft, and observing the sky getting more and more threatening, we set ou_ithout delay for our house, from which we were yet a considerable distance.
To avoid _Flamingo Marsh_ , which was towards the sea, and _Rice Marsh_ ,
towards the rock, we determined to go through _Cotton Wood_ , which would sav_s from the wind, which was ready to blow us off our feet. I was still uneas_bout the ship, which the lieutenant had told me was out of repair; but _ndulged a hope that they might have taken refuge in some bay, or foun_nchorage on some hospitable shore, where they might get their vessel int_rder.
Jack was alarmed lest they should fall into the hands of the _anthropophagi_ ,
who eat men like hares or sheep, of whom he had read in some book of travels,
and excited the ridicule of his brother, who was astonished at his read_elief of travellers' tales, which he asserted were usually false.
"But Robinson Crusoe would not tell a falsehood," said Jack, indignantly; "an_here were cannibals came to his island, and were going to eat Friday, if h_ad not saved him."
"Oh! Robinson could not tell a falsehood," said Fritz, "because he neve_xisted. The whole history is a romance—is not that the name, father, that i_iven to works of the imagination?"
"It is," said I; "but we must not call Robinson Crusoe a romance; thoug_obinson himself, and all the circumstances of his history are probabl_ictitious, the details are all founded on truth—on the adventures an_escriptions of voyagers who may be depended on, and unfortunate individual_ho have actually been wrecked on unknown shores. If ever our journal shoul_e printed, many may believe that it is only a romance—a mere work of th_magination."
My boys hoped we should not have to introduce any savages into our romance,
and were astonished that an island so beautiful had not tempted any to inhabi_t; in fact, I had often been myself surprised at this circumstance; but _old them many voyagers had noticed islands apparently fertile, and ye_ninhabited; besides, the chain of rocks which surrounded this might preven_he approach of savages, unless they had discovered the little _Bay of Safety_here we had landed. Fritz said he anxiously desired to circumnavigate th_sland, in order to ascertain the size of it, and if there were similar chain_f rocks on the opposite side. I promised him, as soon as the stormy weathe_as past, and his mother well enough to remove to Tent House, we would tak_ur pinnace, and set out on our little voyage.
We now approached the marsh, and he begged me to let him go and cut som_anes, as he projected making a sort of carriage for his mother. As we wer_ollecting them, he explained his scheme to me. He wished to weave of thes_eeds, which were very strong, a large and long sort of pannier, in which hi_other might sit or recline, and which might be suspended between two stron_amboo-canes by handles of rope. He then purposed to yoke two of our mos_entle animals, the cow and the ass, the one before and the other behind,
between these shafts, the leader to be mounted by one of the children a_irector; the other would follow naturally, and the good mother would thus b_arried, as if in a litter, without any danger of jolting. I was pleased wit_his idea, and we all set to work to load ourselves each with a huge burden o_eeds. They requested me not to tell my wife, that they might give her a_greeable surprise. It needed such affection as ours to induce us to th_ndertaking in such unpropitious weather. It rained in torrents, and the mars_as so soft and wet, that we were in danger of sinking at every step. However,
I could not be less courageous than my sons, whom nothing daunted, and we soo_ade up our bundles, and, placing them on our heads, they formed a sort o_mbrella, which was not without its benefits. We soon arrived at Falcon'_est. Before we reached the tree, I saw a fire shine to such a distance, tha_ was alarmed; but soon found it was only meant for our benefit by our kin_riends at home. When my wife saw the rain falling, she had instructed he_ittle assistant to make a fire in our usual cooking-place, at a littl_istance from the tree, and protected by a canopy of water-proof cloth fro_he rain. The young cook had not only kept up a good fire to dry us on ou_eturn, but had taken the opportunity of roasting two dozen of those excellen_ittle birds which his mother had preserved in butter, and which, all range_n the old sword which served us for a spit, were just ready on our arrival,
and the fire and feast were equally grateful to the hungry, exhausted, and we_ravellers, who sat down to enjoy them.
However, before we sat down to our repast, we went up to see our invalids,
whom we found tolerably well, though anxious for our return. Ernest, with hi_ound hand, and the assistance of Francis, had succeeded in forming a sort o_rampart_ before the opening into the room, composed of the four hammocks i_hich he and his brothers slept, placed side by side, on end. Thi_ufficiently protected them from the rain, but excluded the light, so tha_hey had been obliged to light a candle, and Ernest had been reading to hi_other in a book of voyages that had formed part of the captain's smal_ibrary. It was a singular coincidence, that while we were talking of th_avages on the way home, they were also reading of them; and I found my dea_ife much agitated by the fears these accounts had awakened in her mind. Afte_oothing her terrors, I returned to the fire to dry myself, and to enjoy m_epast. Besides the birds, Francis had prepared fresh eggs and potatoes fo_s. He told me that his mamma had given up her office of cook to him, an_ssured me that he would perform the duties to our satisfaction, provided h_as furnished with materials. Fritz was to hunt, Jack to fish, I was to orde_inner, and he would make it ready. "And when we have neither game nor fish,"
said Jack, "we will attack your poultry-yard." This was not at all to th_aste of poor little Francis, who could not bear his favourites to be killed,
and who had actually wept over the chicken that was _slaughtered_ to mak_roth for his mother. We were obliged to promise him that, when othe_esources failed, we would apply to our barrels of salt-fish. He, however,
gave us leave to dispose as we liked of the ducks and geese, which were to_oisy for him.
After we had concluded our repast, we carried a part of it to our friend_bove, and proceeded to give them an account of our expedition. I then secure_he hammocks somewhat more firmly, to save us from the storm that was stil_aging, and the hour of rest being at hand, my sons established themselves o_attresses of cotton, made by their kind mother, and in spite of the roarin_f the winds, we were soon in profound repose.