THE next and following days were spent in removing our furniture and property,
particularly our poultry, which had multiplied greatly. We also constructed _oultry-yard, at a sufficient distance from our house to save our sleep fro_isturbance, and still so near that we could easily tend them. We made it as _ontinuation of the colonnade, and on the same plan, but enclosed in the fron_y a sort of wire trellis-work, which Fritz and Jack made wonderfully well.
Fritz, who had a turn for architecture and mechanics, gave me some good hints,
especially one, which we put into execution. This was to carry the water fro_he basin of the fountain through the poultry-yard, which enabled us also t_ave a little pond for our ducks. The pigeons had their abode above the hen-
roosts, in some pretty baskets, which Ernest and Francis made, similar t_hose made by the savages of the Friendly Isles, of which they had see_ngravings in Cook's Voyages. When all was finished, my wife was delighted t_hink that even in the rainy season she could attend to her feathered famil_nd collect their eggs.
"What a difference," said she, admiring the elegance of our buildings,—"what _ifference between this Tent House and the original dwelling that suggeste_he name to us, and which was our only shelter four years ago. What _urprising progress luxury has made with us in that time! Do you remember, m_ear, the barrel which served us for a table, and the oyster-shells fo_poons, the tent where we slept, crowded together on dried leaves, and withou_ndressing, and the river half a mile off, where we were obliged to go t_rink if we were thirsty? Compared to what we were then, we are now grea_lords_ "
"Kings, you mean, mamma," said Jack, "for all this island is ours, and it i_uite like a kingdom."
"And how many millions of subjects does Prince Jack reckon in the kingdom o_is august father?" said I.
Prince Jack declared he had not yet counted the parrots, kangaroos, agoutis,
and monkeys. The laughter of his brothers stopped him. I then agreed with m_ife that our luxuries had increased; but I explained to her that this was th_esult of our industry. All civilized nations have commenced as we did;
necessity has developed the intellect which God has given to man alone, and b_egrees the arts have progressed, and knowledge has extended more perhaps tha_s conducive to happiness. What appeared luxury to us now was still simplicit_ompared with the luxury of towns, or even villages, among civilized nations.
My wife declared she had everything she wished for, and should not know wha_ore to ask for, as we now had only to rest and enjoy our happiness.
I declared against spending our time in rest and indolence, as the sure mean_f ending our pleasure; and I well knew my dear wife was, like myself, a_nemy to idleness; but she dreaded any more laborious undertakings.
"But, mamma," said Fritz, "you must let me make a mill under the cascade; i_ill be so useful when our corn grows, and even now for the maize. I als_hink of making an oven in the kitchen, which will be very useful for you t_ake your bread in."
"These would indeed be useful labours," said the good mother, smiling; "bu_an you accomplish them?"
"I hope so," said Fritz, "with the help of God and that of my dear brothers."
Ernest promised his best aid, in return for his brother's kind services i_orming his grotto, only requesting occasional leisure for his natural histor_ollections. His mother did not see the utility of these collections, but,
willing to indulge her kind and attentive Ernest, she offered, till she coul_alk well, to assist him in arranging and labelling his plants, which were ye_n disorder, and he gratefully consented. In procuring her some paper for th_urpose, of which I had brought a large quantity from the vessel, I brough_ut an unopened packet, amongst which was a piece of some fabric, neithe_aper nor stuff apparently. We examined it together, and at length remembere_t was a piece of stuff made at Otaheite, which our captain had bought of _ative at an island where we had touched on our voyage. Fritz appearing muc_nterested in examining this cloth, Ernest said gravely, "I can teach you ho_o make it;" and immediately bringing _Cook's Voyages_ , where a detaile_escription is given, he proceeded to read it. Fritz was disappointed to fin_t could only be made of the bark of three trees—of these our island produce_nly one. These trees were the mulberry-tree, the bread fruit, and the wil_ig. We had the last in abundance, but of the two former we had not ye_iscovered a single plant. Fritz was not, however, discouraged. "They ought t_e here," said he, "since they are found in all the South-Sea Islands. Perhap_e may find them on the other side of the rocks, where I saw some super_nknown trees from the height where we discovered the grotto; and who know_ut I may find my pretty gazelle there again. The rogue can leap better than _an over those rocks. I had a great wish to descend them, but found i_mpossible; some are very high and perpendicular; others have overhangin_ummits; I might, however, get round as you did by the pass, between th_orrent and the rocks at the Great Bay."
Jack offered to be his guide, even with his eyes shut, into that rich countr_here he conquered and captured his buffalo; and Ernest begged to be of th_arty. As this was an expedition I had long projected, I agreed to accompan_hem next day, their mother being content to have Francis left with her as _rotector. I cautioned Fritz not to fire off his gun when we approached th_uffaloes, as any show of hostility might render them furious; otherwise th_nimals, unaccustomed to man, have no fear of him, and will not harm him. "I_eneral," added I, "I cannot sufficiently recommend to you to be careful o_our powder; we have not more than will last us a year, and there may be _ecessity to have recourse to it for our defence."
"I have a plan for making it," said Fritz, who never saw a difficulty i_nything. "I know it is composed of charcoal, saltpetre, and sulphur—and w_ught to find all these materials in the island. It is only necessary t_ombine them, and to form it into little round grains. This is my onl_ifficulty; but I will consider it over; and I have my mill to think on first.
I have a confused recollection of a powder manufactory at Berne: there wa_ome machinery which went by water; this machinery moved some hammers, whic_ounded and mixed the ingredients—was not this the case, father?"
"Something like it," said I; "but we have many things to do before makin_owder. First, we must go to sleep; we must set out before daybreak, if w_ntend to return to-morrow evening." We did indeed rise before the sun, whic_ould not rise for us. The sky was very cloudy, and shortly we had an abundan_nd incessant rain, which obliged us to defer our journey, and put us all i_ad humour, but my wife, who was not sorry to keep us with her, and wh_eclared this gracious rain would water her garden, and bring it forward.
Fritz was the first who consoled himself; he thought on nothing but buildin_ills, and manufacturing gunpowder. He begged me to draw him a mill; this wa_ery easy, so far as regards the exterior,—that is, the wheel, and th_aterfall that sets it in motion; but the interior,—the disposition of th_heels, the stones to bruise the grain, the sieve, or bolter, to separate th_lour from the bran; all this complicated machinery was difficult to explain;
but he comprehended all, adding his usual expression,—"I will try, and I shal_ucceed." Not to lose any time, and to profit by this rainy day, he began b_aking sieves of different materials, which he fastened to a circle of plian_ood, and tried by passing through them the flour of the cassava; he made som_ith sailcloth, others with the hair of the onagra, which is very long an_trong, and some of the fibres of bark. His mother admired his work, which h_ontinued to improve more and more; she assured him the sieve would b_ufficient for her; it was useless to have the trouble of building a mill.
"But how shall we bruise the grain, mamma?" said he; "it would be tedious an_ard work."
"And you think there will be no hard work in building your mill?" said Jack.
"I am curious to see how you will contrive to form that huge stone, which i_alled the millstone."
"You shall see," said Fritz; "only find me the stone, and it shall soon b_one. Do you think, father, that of our rock would be suitable?"
I told him I thought it would be hard enough, but it would be difficult to cu_rom the rock a piece large enough for the purpose. He made his usual reply,—
" _I will try_. Ernest and Jack will assist me; and perhaps you, papa."
I declared my willingness, but named him the _master-mason;_ we must only b_is workmen. Francis was impatient to see the mill in operation. "Oh!" sai_ack, "you shall soon have that pleasure. It is a mere trifle; we only wan_tone, wood, tools, and science."
At the word " _science_ ," Ernest, who was reading in a corner, withou_istening to us, raised his head suddenly, saying,— "What science are you i_eed of?"
"Of one you know nothing of, Mr. Philosopher," said Jack. "Come, tell us, d_ou know how to build a mill?"
"A mill?" answered Ernest; "of what description? There are many sorts. I wa_ust looking in my dictionary for it. There are corn-mills, and powder-mills,
oil-mills, wind-mills, water-mills, hand-mills, and saw-mills; which do yo_ant?"
Fritz would have liked them all.
"You remind me," said I, "that we brought from the vessel a hand-mill and _aw-mill, taken to pieces, to be sure, but numbered and labelled, so that the_ould be easily united: they should be in the magazine, where you found th_nvil and iron bars; I had forgotten them."
"Let us go and examine them," said Fritz, lighting his lantern; "I shall ge_ome ideas from them."
"Rather," said his mother, "they will spare you the trouble of thinking an_abouring."
I sent them all four to seek these treasures, which, heaped in an obscur_orner of the store-room, had escaped my recollection. When we were alone, _eriously besought my wife not to oppose any occupations our children migh_lan, however they might seem beyond their power; the great point being, t_eep them continually occupied, so that no evil or dangerous fancies migh_ill their minds. "Let them," I said, "cut stone, fell trees, or di_ountains, and bless God that their thoughts are so innocently directed." Sh_nderstood me, and promised not to discourage them, only fearing the excessiv_atigue of these undertakings.
Our boys returned from the magazine, delighted with what they had found, an_oaded with work-tools. Those of the masons,—the chisel, the short hammer, an_he trowel, were not to be found, and rarely are taken out to sea; but the_ad collected a great number of carpenters' tools,—saws, planes, rules, &c.
And now that Fritz was a smith, he had no difficulty in making any tool h_anted. He was loaded on each shoulder, and in each hand he brought a specime_f gunpowder; one sort was in good condition, and they had found a barrel o_t; the other was much damaged by the water. Jack and Francis were als_ending under the weight of various articles; among which I saw some pieces o_he hand-mill Fritz wished to examine. Ernest, always rather idle, cam_roudly on, with a leather belt across his shoulders, to which was suspended _arge tin box for plants, and a leather portmanteau for stones, minerals, an_hells. His brothers, even Francis, rallied him unmercifully on his immens_urden; one offered to help him, another to go and bring the ass; he preserve_is grave and thoughtful air, and extended himself on a seat near his mother,
who was occupied with his specimens of natural history. Jack deposited hi_oad in a corner, and ran out; we soon saw him return with a huge screw-
machine on his head, which he placed before Ernest, saying, with an air o_espect,—
"I have the honour to bring for his Highness the Prince of the Idle Penguins,
the press for his august plants, which his Highness doubtless found too heavy;
and, truly, it is no little weight."
Ernest did not know whether to thank him or to be angry, but he decided t_oin in the jest, and, therefore, answered gravely that he was distressed tha_is Highness the Prince of the Monkeys should have taken so much trouble t_blige him, that he ought to have employed some of his docile subjects to d_t; after all, he confessed that the press, which he had not noticed, gave hi_reat pleasure, and he placed some plants in it immediately, which he ha_ollected the evening before.
The rain ceasing for a short time, I went with Fritz and Jack to examine ou_mbankment, and to open the sluices of the pond. We found all right, and ou_arden looking beautiful after the rain. On our return, we looked in at th_Grotto Ernestine,_ which we found inundated from the opening above. W_roposed to make a trench, or little channel, to carry off the rain-water fro_t. We returned home, and retired to bed, in hopes of being able to set ou_ext morning. We were, however, again disappointed, and for a longer perio_han we expected. The rain continued some days, and the country was again _omplete lake; we had, however, no storm or wind, and our possessions did no_uffer; so we resolved to wait patiently till the weather would permit us t_o. My wife was delighted to be in her comfortable abode, and to have us roun_er; neither did we waste the time. Ernest finished the arrangement of hi_ollection with his mother and Francis. Fritz and Jack prepared the tools tha_ould be wanted in their great undertaking—the first attempt was to be a saw-
mill. In order to prepare the planks they wished, a very large saw, which the_ad found amongst the tools, would serve their purpose; but it was necessar_o set it in motion by water, and here was the difficulty. Fritz made severa_odels from the thin wood of our chests, and the wheels of our guns, but the_ere too small. In the mean time, the mind of my young mechanic was exercised,
his ideas were enlarged and improved; and, as this science was so necessary i_ur situation, I allowed him to go on with his experiments. Notwithstandin_he rain, protected by my cloak, he went several times to the cascade to loo_ut for a place where he should place his mills to the best advantage, an_ave a constant supply of water. Ernest assisted him by his advice, an_romised his labour when it should be needed. Jack and Francis were helpin_heir mother to card cotton, of which she had made a large collection,
intending to spin it for our clothing; and I exercised my mechanical talent_n turning a large wheel for her, which it was necessary should revolve ver_asily, her leg being still stiff; and a reel, by which four bobbins wer_illed at once by turning a handle.
These different occupations aided us to pass the rainy season, which visite_s earlier this year, and did not remain so long. My wife knew something o_yeing cloth; and, some of the plants she had helped Ernest to dry having lef_heir colour on the papers, she made some experiments, and succeeded i_btaining a very pretty blue to dye our clothes with; and, with the cochinea_rom our fig-tree, a beautiful red brown, with which she had dyed for hersel_ complete dress.
Thus passed several weeks. Ernest read to us from some amusing or instructiv_ork every evening; and, when his collections were all put in order, he worke_t his lathe, or at the business of weaving. At last the sun appeared; w_pent some days enjoying it in our delightful colonnade. We went to visit th_rotto and the garden, where all was going on well—the embankment ha_revented the inundation. Satisfied with our work, we now fixed our departur_or the next day, once more hoping the rain would not come again to disappoin_s.