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LANDING1 OF THE MUTINEERS ON PITCAIRX'S ISLANDl.
LIFE ON DESOLATE ISLANDS;
REAL ROBINSON CRUSOES,
BY THE AUTHOR OF
"TALES OF THE NORTHERN SEAS," ETc,
THE RELIGIOUS TRACT SOCIETY;
$6, PATERNOSTER Row; 65, ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD;
AND 164, PICCADILLY.
This page contains no text.
I. THE ADVENTURES OF ALEXANDER SELKIRK 11
IT. THE PITCAIRN ISLANDERS 31
III. THE DISCOVERERS OF MADEIRA . 61
IV. THE CRUISE OF A VENETIAN SHIP 76
V. THE FORTUNES OF ST. HELENA 92
VI. CAPTAIN JAMES'S JOURNAL . 107
... EVERY one who lives
in England must feel
an interest not only
in his own dear island
-home, but in those
other islands which
are scattered all over
the wide seas upon
which English ships
We are all islan-
ders in heart as well
as name; we are
proud of our sea walls, of our ships, of oue
separation from other countries, and thankful
too, let us hope, for that watery barrier which
has for so many long years kept war from our
soil. And thus it comes to pass that English
boys love to read stories of island life, love to
hear tales of the discovery of such new homes,
and dream, as their forefathers have done in
past ages, of the long roll of the wave and the
plash of the oar.
What pleasanter picture can there be than
that of some fair island where no foot of
civilised man has ever trod; where the tall
forests have never heard the ring of the axe,
nor the fall of the felled tree; where the soft
grass and bright flowers have never been
crushed by plough or spade, and where strange
birds and animals live at home amongst hills
and woods, never having learned to fear the
approach of man.
Many such islands have been discovered in
past years. Generally they have been found to
be the home of some savage tribe, who would
gather on the shore to look with wonder, too
great for words, at that strange new sight-a
ship with white sails. Often they thought it
some rare foreign bird, which, with outspread
wings, was resting on the water. Sometimes
the natives have given a kindly welcome to the
new-comers; sometimes they have been so
terrified at their strange appearance as to
greet their visitors with flights of arrows and
thrusts of sharp spears. But sometimes the
sailors who have come in sight of an unknown
island have seen a lovely shore, washed by blue
waters on which no canoe was floating. They
have landed and searched wood and brake for
some trace of man, some hut, or spear-head, or
footmark, and they have found none.
Such uninhabited islands are often the most
interesting of all, and the story of the discovery
of some few of their number is a welcome
chapter in the history of adventure. The dis-
coverer of such spots adds fresh land to man's
world, provides, it may be, a home for some
who can find no dwelling elsewhere, and does
his part in fulfilling the command which God
gave to our first parents to subdue the earth.
It seems at first difficult to understand how
any islands should remain uninhabited and
unknown through thousands of years; but, as
you will learn farther on, some of these lands
had been hidden below the sea, some even
quite unformed, while others, far out of the
track of ships and away from all other land,
have lain for centuries unseen save by the eyes
It is a beautiful thought to remember how
God thus keeps homes for man ready till the
time when he shall be guided there. For
centuries trees grow and die, flowers bloom and
fade, soft winds murmur over the waves that
wash the shore, and God sees that they are
good, as he looked on Eden before man was
formed. And all this beauty that we never
see is helping to prepare a still more beautiful
and more fertile dwelling; the leaves that fall,
the trees that decay, are making richer soil;
the forests are drawing down softer showers,
till the time comes, and the land is given into
the hands of man. Surely we have a type and
emblem here of that more beautiful World
which no eye hath seen and no ear hath heard,
whose glories have never entered into the heart
of man, which God hath prepared for those
that love him.
Some of these islands we are now going to
describe and tell how they were discovered,
and what sort of life the first inhabitants led on
their lonely shores.
/ FT was at the time Queen
Anne began to reign,
and her ships were
carrying the Eng-
lish flag into all seas,
Sfor commerce, for dis-
covery, or for war, when
one of these vessels, called the Cinque Ports,
put in to refit at the uninhabited island of
Juan Fernandez, on the west coast of South
It was but a small island, though fertile and
pleasant; it had not been tilled or planted,
neither had any place of shelter been built
upon it, but sometimes two or three sick
sailors had been left there to recover health,
and sometimes a passing ship would put in for
12 LIFE ON DESOLATE ISLANDS.
water, and departing leave one or two of'their
live-stock on the island. It had thus become
stocked with goats, which ran wild about the
hills and craggy rocks, free from any danger
of pursuit and capture.
This was not the first time that the Cinque
Ports had touched at Juan Fernandez, for not
long before she had left there two seamen who
were unable to continue their voyage, and now
she had anchored to reship these men, to take
in water, and to refit for the long and perilous
voyage to the English shore.
The two seamen, coming on board, told
strange stories to their comrades of the plea-
sant life they had led on the island, of the
hunt for goats, of the abundance of shellfish,
of the delicious fruits and vegetables, and of
the cool waters of the place.
Of all the eager listeners to these tales of
plenty and delight there was one who never
failed to fasten on each word that was said,
and by constant questioning to learn every
detail of the life on the green island which
lay before them. This sailor was a Scotsman,
named Alexander Selkirk or Selcraig. He was
of an impatient, overbearing temper, and no
favourite with his captain, who was not wise
enough to discern the good sense and honesty
ALEXANDER SELKIRK. 1I
which lay hidden under his rough and un-
courteous manner. Thus it chanced that the
Scotch sailor was often in trouble and disgrace,
'and resenting bitterly a harshness which he
did not think he had deserved, he began to
long to leave the ship at any cost.
But perhaps the beginning of his misery and
discomfort must be sought farther back in his
life. His surly speech, his unsocial temper,
spoke of a mind ill at ease,-the remembrance
of the past made the present sad.
He had been religiously and strictly brought
up by his father, a Scotch Puritan, but he had
broken loose from the restraints which his
parents sought to throw around him, and
had led, if not a vicious, at least an irreligious
life, without thought of God, or of the lessons
of truth and goodness which he had been
taught. Yet his conscience was not so har-
dened that he could be happy in this neglect
of God, and he felt ill at ease, dissatisfied
with himself, and with all around him.
He shrank, too, from the prospect of the
voyage to England in a vessel but half re-
paired, exaggerating to his own mind the perils
before him, and fearful of his own temper with
his hard and prejudiced commander.
Weighing all these things, he determined on
14 9 LIFE" ON DESOLATE ISLANDS.'
asking the captain to set him on shore, that he
fight await at Juan Fernandez the passing of
some other ship in which he might return
home. The captain agreed to his proposal-
willingly enough, glad to dismiss from his
crew so insubordinate a sailor; and just before
the Cinque torts was about to weigh anchor,
the adventurous seaman was sent on shore with
the few things that belonged to him. He
sprang from the boat almost before her keel
had grazed the sand, wishing to appear gay
and brave to his companions; but no sooner
did the splash of oars begin to grow faint and
distant, and the faces of the boatmen in-
distinct as they neared the ship, than all his
courage forsook him. With outstretched hands,
and frantic words and gestures, he implored
them to return, promising to beat everything,
to risk everything, if only he might not be left
alone on the lonely island. But he cried in
vain; the boat reached the ship, the men
climbed on board, the sails were hoisted, and
there on his sea-chest sat the lonely sailor,
gazing over the wide ocean, on which nothing
but the lessening speck of white on the far
horizon reminded him of the existence of any
human being but himself.
Days passed almost uncounted, for in hiA
ALEXANDERf SELIKIRKM 1
desolate misery Alexander Selkirk had but one
thought left-the longing desire of rescue and '
return home. He valued the daylight only
because by its aid he could watch for a sail on
the wide silent sea; he dreaded the coming on
of night, chiefly because it shut him off for a
time from his one employment. 1During these
dreary days or weeks he never tasted food, save
when driven to look for it by pangs of sharpest
hunger, and even then he would not leave the
beach, but fed on shell-fish picked up on the
rocks, or sometimes on the flesh of seals.
It was September when the Cinque Ports
sailed, and now October had come, the middle
of spring in Juan Fernandez, and, all around
him, nature spoke of hope and taught of God.
But before hope could enter into Alexander's
desolate heart, sorrow must come : sorrow for
sin, for his disobedience to the parents whom he
had made unhappy; for his reckless, godless
life ; for all the teaching of his youth forgotten,
and for its lessons neglected. Sometimes, for a
few minutes, Alexander would turn his eyes
from his eager watch over the sea, and looking
down would picture instead his Scottish home.
He would see clearly in his mind his venerable
father, with his furrowed brow, and stern, un-
smiling mouth; his mother, in her tall white
16 LIFE ON DESOLATE ISLANDS.
cap, busied at her wheel, with a far-away,
mournful look in her eyes, which told that she
was thinking of her absent son. Ah and he
saw again even his poor idiot brother, to whom
he had only used harsh words, and even rough
blows. "I would be so different now if it
should please God ever to let me see home and
my dear ones again," he thought. And so has
many a poor prodigal thought as he has been
compelled to suffer the punishment for his sins,
and found no way of escape from it.
Little by little there grew up in his heart the
purpose of beginning even now this new life.
.He would not wait till his return to England.
In his lonely island, with half the world
between him and all he loved, he would strive
to be one with them in heart, and to join with
them in prayer and praise. He would seek
pardon for the sins of his youth for the
Saviour's sake, and in his strength begin life
anew. He had a Bible with him in his chest,
and he began to read it daily, and in earnest
prayer to seek forgiveness and blessing; then,
even in his loneliness, comfort came to him.
He was no longer alone, for God was with him.
He knew that God was his Father, his Helper,
and his Keeper, and he grew calm, almost
happy, and was even able sometimes to leave
his look-out over the sea, and make little
journeys into the interior of his new kingdom.
As his mind became more peaceful he turned
his thoughts to the question of a shelter from
the storms of the approaching winter, which,
even in that mild climate, was often accompa-
nied with frost and snow.- There were plenty
of trees on the island, and with their stems and
branches he soon built for himself a rough hut,
which he thatched with long grass cut and
dried in the sun. This attempt was so success-
ful that he determined to build another hut at
a short distance, so that he might sleep in one,
and in the other prepare- his food. Now that
he had once looked in the face the thought of
spending the winter in the island, he grew,
slowly, more reconciled to it, and began to
take an interest in preparing as far as he could
for its approach.
His huts must be furnished in some fashion;
first, he brought up from the shore his sea-
chest, which contained his few clothes ; then he
cut and fastened up a shelf on which to keep
his Bible and the other books which he had
brought on shore. He had with him a large
cooking-pot in which to prepare his food, and
a smaller drinking-can which he had brought
most likely from home, and which bore the old-
18 LIFE ON DESOLATE ISLANDS.
fashioned inscription, Alexander Selkirk, this
is my one.' It was needful to make for him-
self a bed, for hitherto he had slept on the
beach, so that at the first moment of opening
his eyes he might begin his watch over the sea:
now he must sleep in his hut.
This bed he determined to make of the
skins of goats, for he had begun to hunt the
wild goats for food, having by this time wearied
of his diet of fish. At first he was able only
to overtake and capture the young kids, for he
had no gun, no bow and arrow with which to
kill them at a distance; then as exercise and
practice increased his strength, he found him-
self able to pursue and take the largest and
swiftest goats, and having killed them, to carry
them on his shoulders to his hut. But as
goat's flesh, his principal food, could only be
obtained by him while he remained in full
strength and vigour, he determined to provide
a store in case of illness or accident, and so,
catching several young kids, he slightly lamed
them so that they could move but slowly, and
then trained them to feed around his hut, and
these gentle creatures, who soon learned to know
him, brought some sense of companionship to
the lonely man.
His life began now to have its regular duties
ALEXANDER SELKIRK. 19
and interests. In the morning- when he rose
he sang one of the old Scotch psalms, after the
practice which he had been taught from child-
hood, then read aloud a chapter of the Bible,
and prayed long and fervently.
Then he betook himself to light a fire by
rubbing together two dry sticks till a flame was
produced, -and this fire he fed from time to
time with branches and logs from the woods.
He had also his food to obtain and to cook-
goat's flesh or cray-fish, which he boiled in his
large saucepan; and to gather the tender tops
of the cabbage-palm or other vegetable, for
bread. These necessary employment finished,
he would take his Bible, and, sitting in the door
of his hut, or on the-beach, would study it for
hours, finding new truths and deeper meaning
in the blessed words familiar to him from his
childhood. Or he would choose one of his
books on navigation, and study with a care
which he had never before thought it worth
while to give, hoping in this way to be a better
sailor, and be able to take higher rank in the
service, if it should please God to restore him
once more to the duties and work of life. In
this regular, peaceful, and religious life his
spirits gradually recovered; nay, he became far
happier than he had been since his childhood,
20 LIFE ON DESOLATE ISLANDS.
for something of the trust and the love of a
little child were restored to his heart.
He would adorn his hut with fragrant
boughs, and as he fed and caressed his kids,
would sing with a light heart the songs of old
Scotland. Then at set of sun he returned to
the hut in which he slept, and there once more
sang, and read, and prayed, and so lay down to
sleep in peace, because he knew that it was the
Lord only that made him dwell in safety.
"I was a better Christian in my solitude
than ever I was before, or than I fear I shall
ever be again," he said, years after he had left
the island. In this there was both truth and
error. He had been led by the merciful good-
ness of God to repentance and to an earnest
desire to escape from sin, but it was in the life
among his fellows that this repentance-these
new resolves-must be tested; it was in the
daily little trials and crosses of a life among
other men, that he must learn to subdue his
proud spirit and curb his hot temper.
Months and even years passed on, and but
little happened to vary Alexander's quiet life
in his island home. He had now a large
number of kids around his hut, and had
added to his list of favourites several tamed
cats, which he needed to protect him from
the troops of rats which gnawed his bed-
clothes, and even nibbled at his feet as he
lay asleep. He had taught the kids and
cats, too, to dance, and many a merry hour
he spent among these his daily companions
and friends. The clothes which he had
brought on shore had been long since worn
out, and he had supplied their place by a cap,
and trousers, and jacket, made of goat-skin.
His needle was a nail, and his thread thin
strips of the skin ; among his stores was a piece
of linen, and this too he had sewn into shirts,
unravelling one of his stockings for a supply
of thread. He was barefoot, and the soles of
his feet had grown so hard that he could
climb sharp crags, and run over the stony
Twice or thrice during these lonely years
he had seen a sail approaching, but on these
he looked with as much terror as hope, for
should the crew prove to be Spaniards, he knew
that he should be made a prisoner by them,
and either put to death, or sent into hopeless
Once, indeed, the crew of a Spanish vessel,
putting in for water, had caught sight of .the
strange figure in the goat-skin dress, and
had chased him, but so swift-footed was he
22 LIVE OX DESOLATE ISTANIIS.
that he soon left his pursuers far behind, and
then lay hid in terror for hours till the vessel
had departed. His life had been besides in
other danger, for once while pursuing the hunt
from crag to crag in wild and delightful ad-
venture, he had set foot on the hidden edge of a
precipice: the grass which seemed to promise
so fair a footing gave way beneath his feet, he
fell headlong, and lay hurt and senseless be-
low. He judged by the size of the moon,
when at last he opened his eyes to conscious-
ness, that he must have been lying stunned
and helpless for more than twenty-four hours,
and it was with the greatest pain and difficulty
that he could drag himself to his hut, and lie
down on his bed of skins. His tame favourites
came about him, but none of them could help
him, and he was too weak to care to procure
for himself food or water. But even in
his great distress he did not lose his con-
fidence in God, and he lay calm and patient,
satisfied that he was safe in the care of his
Heavenly Father. At last, after many days
of suffering, he recovered, and once more en-
joyed full health and vigour.
He had been alone on Juan Fernandez for
more than four years, when one evening, look-
ing out seaward before lying down in his hut,
A NARROW ESCAPE.
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he saw the sails of an English-built vessel
which was standing in very near to the shore.
Alexander could not resist the sudden and
strong desire which he felt to be once more
among his fellow-men, to hear once more
the English speech, and feel once more the
grasp of a friendly hand. Hurrying down
to the beach, he piled and lighted a large
bonfire, to carry a message to his fellow-
countrymen, but the ship, instead of sailing
shoreward, or of putting off a boat at once,
tacked and went farther from the island,
taking the fire to be the lights of an enemy's
ship at anchor in the bay.
Alexander spent the night in hope and
in doubt: he killed some goats and pre-
pared them for food, hoping the next day to
entertain some of his countrymen in his island
home, and at the first dawn of day he was
again on the beach, gazing at the now distant
but motionless ship.
Those on board were also keeping an anxious
watch, but when morning light showed them
" that there was no other ship near, the captain
determined to send a boat on shore to discover
the cause of the strange light which they
had seen the night before. As they ap-
proached the island they saw a strange figure
26 tIV~E ON D3ESOLATE ISLANDlS.
running to meet them, and by gestures and
shouts pointing out the best place for landing.
Alexander, with his long beard, his tanned
complexion, his goat-skin dress, had lost almost
all outward resemblance to a civilised man,
and they wondered much who this solitary
and friendly savage might be.
But who can describe his joy when he
heard once more the speech of his own
country, and looked on the faces of his kind.
He welcomed his visitors in the best English
he could remember, for even his speech was
half forgotten, and led them to his hut to
partake of the banquet he had prepared.
Yet in the midst of all his joy he could
hardly determine to leave his beloved island,
so accustomed had he grown to solitude, and
to his wild, uncontrolled life. At length the
remembrance of his aged parents, and of his
friends at home, made him determine to ask
a passage in the ship which had touched on
his island shore, and the captain, finding how
much he had learnt of seamanship and navi-
gation, offered to rate him as mate. And
thus Juan Fernandez was left once more in
utter solitude, and Selkirk, gazing from the
ship's deck, saw its green hills and pleasant
coasts disappear in the distance, as he left the
island and all its sad, its sacred, its happy
memories for ever. He soon grew tired of the
society of men, and when not busy about the
ship would always seek to be alone, dreaming
of the life which he had left. He found it hard,
too, to accustom himself to the salt meat and
biscuits which were sailors' fare, and to the
dress and boots in which he must now appear.
Soon every other thought was lost in his long-
ing desire to see once more his parents and
his home, for the shores of England were in
sight. It was on a Sunday morning that the
wanderer entered once more his native vil-
lage, where all seemed quiet and unchanged.
He did not turn his steps to his father's
cottage, for his parents, as he well knew, would
be at the kirk, and there would he look on
their faces once more. Would they recognize,
he asked himself, in the strong and bearded
man, the youth who had left them years ago
for the life of adventure which he loved best ?
Would they know the fine gentleman in gold
lace and embroidery to be their son Alexander,
their lost sailor lad. Pondering such thoughts
as these, he walked on almost unconsciously.
How well he knew every step of his way In
this farmhouse his sister and her husband
used to live; there was the wood where he had
28 LIFE ox FlsoL;AirE, ISLANDS.
so often gathered nuts, or climbed for birds'
nests with his boyish companions; there, its
thatched roof more lichen-covered than of old,
stood his father's cottage, at the door of which
years ago he had kissed his mother for the
last time-ah! was she still alive to welcome
the returning wanderer?
Seated in the kirk among unfamiliar faces,
his eyes sought at once the well-known corner
where, as a boy, he had been used to sit, and
with an almost overwhelming rush of thank-
fulness and joy he saw once more his mother's
face, the same yet changed, its added wrinkles
and silvered hair telling, perhaps, of many
tears and long sorrow for her lost sailor son.
There sat his father, too, the portly, respect-
able-looking elder, in blue cap and coat of
homespun tweed. In vain did Alexander
seek to join in the psalm or prayer, his looks
and thoughts were ever wandering ; and he was
not alone in this, for the dark eyes of his
old mother turned continually with an eager
inquiring gaze to the grand stranger gentle-
man, strange yet so familiar. Then her eyes
were cast down once more on her book, as she
tried to give heed to the service, till at 'last
a sudden smile which lit up Alexander's face,
showed her that she saw before her the son
for whom she had longed and prayed, whom
no doubt she had before this counted as among
the dead. In her sudden joy the old woman
forgot all else, and rising, rushed towards the
place where the returned wanderer was seated.
The whole family, with Alexander in their
midst, now made their way out of the kirk,
and returned home to talk of the great deliver- -
ance which God had given to their lost kinsman.
On this true story of Selkirk was founded
the tale of the Adventures of Robinson Crusoe.
SOLILOQUY OF ALEXANDER SELKIRK.
." I AM monarch of all I survey,
My right there is none to dispute,
,i From the centre all down to the sea
I am lord of the fowl and the
1"-- Solitude! where are the charms
That sages have seen in thy face ?
Better dwell in the midst of alarms
._..- Than reign in this horrible place.
I am out of humanity's reach,
I must finish my journey alone,
Never hear the sweet music of speech;
I start at the sound of my own.
The beasts that run over the plain
My form with indifference see,
They are so unaccustomed to man
Their tameness is shocking to me.
LIFE ON DESOLATE ISLANDS.
Society, Friendship, and Love,
Divinely bestowed upon man,
Oh! had I the wings of a dove
How soon would I taste you again!
My sorrows I then might assuage,
In the ways of religion and truth,
Might learn from the wisdom of age,
And be cheered by the sallies of yout4.
Religion! what treasure untold
Resides in that heavenly word!
More precious than silver and gold,
Or all that this earth can afford.
But the sound of the church-going bell,
These valleys and rocks never heard,
Never sighed at the sound of a knell,
Or smiled when a Sabbath appeared.
Ye winds that have made me your sport,
Convey to this desolate shore
Some cordial endearing report
Of a land I shall visit no more.
My friends! do they now and then send
A wish or a thought after me?
Oh, tell me I yet have a friend !
Though a friend I am never to see.
But the sea-fowl is gone to her nest,
The beast is laid down in his lair,
Even here is a season of rest,
And I to my cabin repair.
There is mercy in every place,
And mercy, encouraging thought,
Gives even affliction a grace,
And reconciles man to his lot,
.-y: Vou have been
told that many
_--,: islands have at
e risen above the
t.. sea, which had
for long years
There are two
ways in which
new islands are
thus born like a fresh creation from God.
You have read of volcanoes on land-of
Vesuvius and Etna and Hecla, and many
others, and you have heard of earthquakes
which shake and upheave the earth. The
32 LIFE ON DESOLATE ISALNDS.
great volcanic force which sends out flames
and ashes from the tops of high mountains, or
makes the solid earth tremble and crack, is at
work also below the bed of the sea, and from
time to time islands are raised there either
slowly or by some sudden convulsion, just as
we have also reason to believe that other islands
are even now sinking lower under the influence
of the same force, until, most likely, in years to
come, the waves will once more flow over them
again. You must not forget that when we talk
of the forces of nature we mean really the hand
of God. He it is who sends these great con-
vulsions, or who directs the slow upheaving of
new land. All is quite as truly the work of
God as when, at his word, the dry land first
appeared. Fire and hail, snow and vapours,
stormy wind," are all "fulfilling his word."
Many of these islands, when first raised
above the.sea, must have been active volcanoes,
sending out hot from their craters the flood of
lava and the heated rocks which now lie cold
and hard, and overgrown with moss, to tell us
of their past history.
Of course, while this was going on there
could be no life either of plants or animals on
the mountain, which, indeed, as yet could
scarcely be called an island, only a bare rock,
THE PlTOATEN ISLANfl)EItS.
around which the waves would beat, as if in
hopeless endeavour to extinguish the fire which
glowed deep in its caverned centre. But though
neither waves nor storms could make this fire
die out, yet there comes a time to most of
these volcanic islands when the life and energy
of the mountain seem gone, taken away, we
know not how, by the same Great Hand that
lighted it, and the lonely rock is now ready to
be turned into a home for man, for this silent
crater, this hard, broken crag, will, after a time,
become a fair island home. God does not leave
his works incomplete, and he has servants who
will change this desolate rock into a fertile
He sends the waves; they dash on the sides
of the island, which rise generally abrupt and
strong from the deep waters, and wherever they
can find entrance they wear and powder the
rock until it becomes fine soil, and a little
beach is formed. Then rains fall and fill the
clefts and hollows of the rock, and soften it at
length as they wash down its face, till here and
there patches of scanty soil are formed.
But something more than soil is needed; the
most fertile land cannot of itself produce grass
or herbs; there must be a seed before even the
smallest weed can spring up, and those which
84 LIFE ON DESOLATE IStANDS.
float about in the air with us, are not found oil
a volcanic rock far away in the sea.
But messengers are prepared to bring them.
Birds flying over the water sometimes stoop
their wings to rest awhile on the rock, and
6ften leave behind them seeds which they have
gathered in far distant lands. At first, perhaps,
only a few small weeds are seen. These,
dying in their turn, improve the soil for their
successors, until at length it can support shrubs
and undergrowth, the seeds of which are some-
times washed 'on the shore by the waves, or
found hidden in the clefts of some tree which
has floated to the island from a distant shore.
Last of all arises, like a crown of beauty, the
graceful cocoa-nut palm, spreading broad leaves
above its tall slender stem, and making the
once barren rock a shady and lovely retreat.
The island on which Alexander Selkirk lived
is considered volcanic; it was probably formed
in some such manner as that which we have
described. Madeira, too, and probably St.
Helena, are volcanic islands.
IPitcairn, the history of which you are now
going to read, is also possibly of volcanic
origin, as its high crags and sharp peaks seem
as if they must have been thrown up by some
sudden force; but as it is in the midst of a sea
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'~~i-~ ~ --C ~-.
-- ~ ~-~--- -
THE PITCAIRN ISLANDERS.
covered with coral islands, and has been sup-
posed by some to be itself partially formed by
coral insects, it may be well that you should
hear a little of the wonderful growth of coral
islands, which, though formed so differently
from those of which you have been reading,
are yet, when once their tops have risen above
the waves, clothed in the same manner with
fair growth, to prepare them for the presence
of man. Tahiti, which you will hear men-
tioned in the story of Pitcairn, is a coral
island, and they abound in groups, in pairs,
or in single islands through the wide Pacific
They are formed by myriads of tiny insects,
which are connected together, and seem to
share a common life. One of these insects
fastens itself on some hidden rock; sometimes
it may be on an extinct volcano which is not
lofty enough to appear above the waves, and on
this foundation they begin to build, the insect,
as it shapes its cells of coral, filling them with
beings like itself, so that every tiny chamber
has its inmate. Soon the whole rock is covered
Wblow the water with a fine network of delicate
coral, and from the tops of the open cells the
insects put out their delicate tentaculw, or arms,
which look like the petals of a flower. By
38 LIFE ON DESOLATE ISLANDS.
means of the food gathered from the water by
these tentaculic, all the coral insects are fed.
Thus each one does its appointed work, lay-
ing unseen the foundations of a new land,
for the coral growth is still spreading and
rising higher and higher, until at length the
waves begin to feel its resistance, and to break
in white foam around its crests.
Its history, when it has once risen above the
reach of the tides, is like that of the volcanic
islands. The insects die, and the bare grey
rock is left, that God's servants, the waves
and winds, may fulfil his will, until in his own
good time the coral island becomes lovely and
fertile, fit for the dwelling-place of those who
should be God's best servants-the men whom
he has made for his glory, and for whose re-
demption his Son came down to die. It is sad
to think how often man, to whom God has
given the most, is the least ready to use these
gifts for his Maker's glory, so that instead of
these lovely islands being always full of his
praise, they are often homes of sin and of un-
happiness, as indeed it was at first with Pit-
cairn, the history of which we now give.
Far away from any other land, in the midst
of the South Pacific Ocean, there is a little
THE PITCAIRN ISLANDERS.
island, a mere speck in the sea, for it is not six
miles across at its widest point. A passing
ship might leave this tiny island unnoticed,
save for the lofty cliffs and precipices which
guard its shores, running sheer down to the
white waves, ever curling and breaking at their
feet. Yet it is not a mere rock, inaccessible
and barren; for when once a boat has safely
won its way through the breakers, and the
sailor's footstep has climbed the rocks which,
steep above steep, stand like a wall before him,
he is rewarded by the sight of lovely valleys,
of forests of fruit-bearing palms, and of green
fresh springing plants; a little fairyland, a new
paradise seems hidden here from the eye and
the foot of man.
It is called Pitcairn's Island, and was dis-
covered more than a hundred years ago by a
passing ship. It was uninhabited, and no one
set foot on it again, till in 1789 a small ship
might have been seen approaching its shores,
as if she would seek an anchorage in that
dangerous, rocky bay.
The ship is called the Bounty, and carries
for her crew nine English seamen, and some
coloured men and women, natives of Tahiti,
an island at which the Bounty had been
40 LIFE ON DESOLATE ISLANDS.
There is no captain on board, though the
first mate, Fletcher Christian, seems to take his
place and to direct the course of the ship; but
his words are few, and his face is sad, as if
some past trouble or sin weighed on his heart,
and, when he is not obliged to be active, he sits
gazing listlessly over the water, looking for he
knows not what.
It would be a long and sad story to tell how
that ship came to be thus cruising in the wide
Pacific. Months before, Fletcher Christian
and some of the sailors of the Bounty had
mutinied; had put their captain, who by his
harsh and unjust treatment had provoked their
anger, into the ship's launch with eighteen of
the crew, leaving them thus to reach home or
to die on the ocean.
The mutineers well knew that if they re-
turned to England their own lives would pay
the penalty of their crime, and therefore they
determined to spend the rest of their days on
some one of the numerous islands scattered in
groups throughout the South Seas.
But as they had begun their course by an
act which they knew to be wrong, it was not
likely that their future would be happy and
prosperous; the sweet flowers of peace and
content do not spring from the bitter root of
THE PITCAIRN ISLANDERS. 41
sin, neither do men gather grapes of thorns
nor figs of thistles."
Thus we need not wonder that trouble and
dissension seemed to follow everywhere the ill-
fated crew of the Bounty. They quarrelled
and fought with the natives of the first island
which they chose for an asylum; they dis-
puted among themselves, suspecting and hating
each other, as partners in sin most often do.
The hearts of the leaders were full of fear also
as they thought of the laws which they had
broken, and of the fate which would be theirs
should their captain reach England, and a
ship be sent out to capture them.
At last the mutineers sailed for the Island
of Tahiti, where they knew that the inhabitants
were well-disposed and gentle, and would be
pleased to welcome the white man to live
among them. Fletcher Christian, however,
could not rest; he had been the leader in the
mutiny, he knew that he would be sought
for, and that if found he must die, and die
covered with disgrace.
Therefore he determined to seek out Pit-
cairn's Island, of the discovery of which he
had heard, and there pass the remainder of
his miserable life. Eight of his comrades
decided to 'go with him, the rest remaining
42 LIFE ON DESOLATE ISLANDS.
at Tahiti, and, as we have seen, some of the
Tahitian men and women agreed to make
the voyage with them, and join in the new
After long seeking, after cruising backward
and forward for many days in the sailless
and shoreless ocean, the island that they
sought was seen standing high above a line
of white waves, and after much difficulty the
Bounty was anchored, and her boat sent on
shore with some of her crew.
Everything of value on board was taken to
the island, even the iron-work of the ship
itself being removed, and when the Bounty
was reduced to an empty and useless hulk she
was set on fire and burnt to the water-edge,
that no passing ship might see any trace
of inhabitants on the lonely island where
these unhappy men sought to hide them-
Fletcher Christian, who had taken the com-
mand hitherto by the consent of his com-
panions, now proceeded to divide the whole
island into nine equal parts, one of which
he gave to each of the English sailors who
accompanied him, choosing for his own
portion a piece of land at the farther end
of the island, where he made for himself
THE PITCAIRN ISLANDERS.
a retreat among the steep rocks which over-
looked the sea.
But though the new colony was so small,
it had in it all the seeds of dissension and of
unhappiness. Even these nine men, though
bound together by a common fate and by a
common fear, could not agree, could not bear
with nor yield to each other in any of the
little differences or misunderstandings which
arose between them from time to time. Still
less could they live in peace with the natives
who had accompanied them. They looked on
these poor men and women as their slaves,
and treated them so unjustly that the Tahitians,
who had at first been attached and faithful,
now determined on revenge. They were so
much less guilty than the English as they
were more ignorant; they had never been
taught to be merciful, to forgive injuries, to
be patient under wrongs; the blessed name
of Jesus was not familiar to their ears, nor
the lessons of his life and death to their
hearts. They knew no law but that of
violence and might, and finding themselves
unjustly treated by those who had promised
to be their friends, they formed a plot to
put them all to death, and so to make them-
selves masters of the island.
44 LIFE ON DESOLATE ISLANDS.
Five out of the nine Englishmen were shot,
and amongst them was their leader, Christian.
Ever since he had come to Pitcairn's Island
he had appeared sunk in sorrow and remorse.
All day long he had remained hidden among
the rocks, away from his comrades, his eyes
fastened on the wide ocean, the barrier which
he knew must now divide him for ever from
his home and from all he loved. In this
solitude his only companions were his Bible
and his Prayer Book, brought on shore by
him from the ship. In these he was observed
to be constantly reading, and though we
know nothing of his thoughts nor of his
prayers, it may be that God spake through his
word to the heart of his erring child, and
bade him, not in vain, to seek his face once
Let us hope that this Bible and Prayer Book,
charged with such a blessed mission in years
to come, were sent also with a message to this
desolate heart, and that ere he died, Christian
had sought and found the forgiveness which is
given through the cross of Christ our Saviour.
Some sign of his repentance may be found in a
tradition handed down by the islanders, that
he had given orders that every one on the
island should repeat each noontide the prayer
THE PITCAIRN ISLANDERSl.
of the returning and repentant prodigal:
"Father, I have sinned against heaven and
before thee, and am no more worthy to be
called thy son."
Four white men had been saved by the
interference of the Tahitian women from the
fate of their comrades, but they did not feel
safe ; they believed that the men were still
seeking their lives, and, as they imagined, in
self-defence, they determined to put these their
enemies to death. Thus the evil begun by the
mutiny still went on from crime to crime, seem-
ing to grow ever deeper and wider. For the
dark and terrible story is not yet ended. Two
of the four remaining Englishmen soon after
came to a violent end, while intoxicated by
a drink which they had contrived to make
from some of the plants which they found on
the island, thus bringing into this lovely refuge
the vice and drunkenness which beset crowded
The sorrowful tale has hitherto been all
dark, ever growing more gloomy and hopeless;
but now for the first time a faint pencil of light,
like the first streak of dawn, marks the sky, a
ray which, like all true sunshine, comes from
heaven and from God. The great and loving
Father had not forgotten the children who had
46 LIV'E OX DESOLATE, MSANIS.
so long forgotten him; this little island, so far
from the eyes of human watchers, was not un-
seen nor unregarded by him. His messengers,
the books which tell of him, were still there,
though forgotten and unread; but the time was
now come when they were to speak again, and
were to be heard and obeyed.
The two remaining mutineers were a sailor
named Alexander Smith, or, as he now called
himself, John Adams, and a midshipman named
Edward Young. The midshipman had been
well educated, and had learnt above all, in his
childhood, the blessed lessons of God's love,
and of the grace of Christ. These lessons, too
long unremembered, now came back to him.
Perhaps he thought of the days when, a young
child, he had knelt at his mother's knee, or
standing by her chair, had read one by one, as
her finger slowly pointed them out, the words
of the Holy Bible.
The good seed had lain long in a barren
soil, now God in his mercy sent the rain and
sunshine of his grace to cause it to spring up
at last. No sooner had Edward Young begun
to desire to return to the Saviour whom he had
left, than he also wished that those around him
should be taught of his love. The helpless
women and children were, he felt, a sacred
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JOHN ADAMS AND HIS FAMILY.
THE PITCAIRN ISLANDERS. 49
charge on him and his companion, to teach
them and to guide.
Accordingly morning and evening prayers
were established in the island, and a sort of
school was begun for the children, John Adams
being partly a teacher, partlyma scholar, and so
preparing to take his comrade's work when, a
little time after this change of heart and life,
Edward Young died, and left his comrade alone
on the island with his untaught charge. He,
the only one who had the key to God's Book,
the only one in whose memory were stored any
lessons of his truth, in whose life lay, as it
seemed, the only hope that this little colony
might be saved from all the cruelty and
ignorance of savage life, and added to the
number of the servants of Christ.
Nearly twenty-five years had passed since
John Adams wags left on Pitcairn's Island, the
sole protector and teacher of the women, and
of the young children who were growing up
around him. He was himself but a common
sailor, who had enjoyed but few advantages of
education, his only acquirements the simple
lessons which had been taught him in his
boyhood, and a new but straightforward and
earnest desire to serve God in the way which
50 LIFE ON DESOLATE ISLANDS.
God should teach him, and in penitence and
faith to walk himself and to lead others to
walk in the way that leads to everlasting life.
But God does not choose only the wise and
the great and the strong for his workmen:
often the weak things of the world are chosen
to confound the mighty, and the poor and
l1wly do the work of the High and Mighty
One who inhabiteth eternity.
We have seen how evil passions indulged
were like a seed of sin, growing and spreading
into a mighty and poisonous tree. Then there
was planted by its side, through the mercy of
God, a germ of good and of life-has that too
lived and spread, or has it withered and died
beneath the shade of evil ?
Two English vessels are approaching the
island. At first the crews do not see it, but as
evening draws on, the look-out man in the larger
ship gives the signal that he has caught sight
of land. Land ho, land!" passes from mouth
to mouth among the sailors. What land can
it be ? No island, no rock even, is marked on
the chart, and the officers gather on deck to
look over the darkening sea toward that darker
point where the new land lies.
We may have discovered a new island for
King George," says the captain. We must
THE PiTCAIflX ISLAXMRS1.
lie to till the morning, and then we will sail
nearer, and see this unknown shore."
The morning comes, and almost before it is
day some of the officers are on deck with their
glasses, eagerly looking toward the island,
which they can now see far more plainly.
Even without a glass its lofty rocks and steep
precipices can be distinguished. The shys
are approaching nearer and nearer, till now
their anchors are dropped, and one of the
captains orders a boat to be prepared.
"Though I doubt how we shall get her
through the surf," he says, pondering; it is a
dangerous coast, and no pilot within hail.
People there too, I see-savages. The men
must go well armed. Peters, look to the load-
ing of the pistols."
"Ay, ay, sir," answered Peters, looking,
like the rest, towards the rocks, where groups
of people coming and going were to be seen.
There was evidently great excitement on the
island. A ship was a strange and unusual
sight, no doubt.
Before the ship's boat could be launched,
two men were seen to climb the top of the
steep cliff which almost overhung the narrow
beach. They, however, seemed to find no
difficulty in their dangerous path, though each
52 LIFE ON DESOLATE 1SLANI55.
carried on his shoulders a light canoe. The
strangers wore some kind of clothing, but even
through the captain's glass it was impossible to
tell of what race they were.
Dark against the clear sky, the two figures
were seen for awhile to stand gazing steadfastly
toward the ship, and then bounded like goats
down the rugged face of the rock, and soon
launched their canoes fearlessly in the angry
"Haul the boat up, we'll wait and receive
these natives on board," says the captain, and
in a few minutes one of the canoes was under
the bows of the ship.
Come alongside," shouted a sailor, trusting
that his signs and gestures would explain the
meaning of his English words.
We have no boat-hook to hold on by,"
cried in answer the foremost of their visitors.
No words can explain the surprise with
which the captain and the whole crew listened
to these words spoken in pure English by the
supposed savage. They looked at him and at
each other, but no one spoke till the eager
voice was again heard from the boat.
Won't you heave us a rope now ?"
A sailor seized and flung one end of a
coil of rope, and in a moment their strange
THE PITCAIRN ISLANDERS. 53
visitor had seized it and climbed fearlessly on
He was a tall man, young, and almost En-
glish-looking, save that his complexion was
tinged by the hot sun of his country; and his
whole face and bearing were those of an edu-
cated and civilised man. His dress was a light
vest and short trousers, while his palm-leaf
hat was adorned with a bunch of brilliant
"Who are you?" asked the astonished cap-
tain, gazing at this strange and unexpected
I am Thursday October Christian, the son
of the mutineer, and there," pointing to the
other canoe, now close to the ship, is Edward
The mystery was now explained: the ships
had anchored at the island where the mutineers,
long sought in vain, had taken refuge.
The officers crowded round their visitors,
asking question after question, of their age,
the number of people on the island, their habits
and mode of life.
Who is your king ?" they asked.
"Why King George, to be sure," replied
"Have you been taught any religion ?"
54 LIFE ON DESOLATE ISLANDS.
"Yes," they replied, "a very good reli-
gion ; and on further questions being asked,
they repeated reverently and perfectly the
Apostles' Creed, as giving the sum of the faith
in which they had been brought up.
The young men were led into every part of
the ship; they looked with great interest at
the many things they saw around them, the
uses and even the names of which were un-
known to them, and their questions showed
much thought and intelligence.
In the course of the morning they were led
to the stalls where the ship's cows were kept.
"What immense goats cried Christian;
"I did not know there were any of such a
Just then a little dog, belonging to some one
on board, attracted the attention of one of the
new-comers. I know what that is," he said,
"that is a dog, I have read of such things;"
and turning to his companion, It is a pretty
thing to look at, is it not ? "
When noon came, the two guests were taken
into the captain's cabin to lunch, but-before
touching the food which was spread before
them, they both folded their hands, and with-
out troubling themselves at all about the
presence of the officers, in the most simple and
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THE CAPTAIN'S CABIN.
THE PITCAIRN ISLANDERS.
natural manner asked God's blessing on all
that they should eat and drink.
Many of those who were present turned
away to hide, not a smile, but a blush of shame
that they, the sons of a Christian land, should
need to be reminded of their duty to their God
by these half-taught islanders.
Lunch over, the two captains went on shore,
rowed by their guests, to whose strong and
skilful hands they trusted to pilot them safely
through the dangerous surf.
On the beach they were welcomed by more
of the inhabitants, among the rest by a young
girl, the daughter of Adams, who had evidently
come to meet the English strangers in order
that she might learn if her father was in any
danger from them, for John Adams was the
last remaining mutineer. Her confidence was
restored by the looks and words of the two
captains, and she led them, with light step, up
the steep pathway by which alone the interior
of the island could be reached.
The captains were almost exhausted long
before the top was reached, but their guides
seemed to climb as easily as the goats of their
own island, and even the girls were so sure-
footed that they were able to help the strangers
up the difficult path. Arriving at the top, a
58 LIFE ON DESOLATE ISLANDS.
new and beautiful sight delighted their eyes-
a lovely valley, rich in fruit-bearing trees, and
in cultivated fields, in the midst of which was
built an almost English-looking village, with
its church and school-house, its cottages and
gardens, and all that could speak of a simple
religious home life. Here they were wel-
comed by the remaining inhabitants, with
Adams at their head, to whom all looked up
as to their father. Beside him stood his blind
Tahitian wife, and around him were groups of
young men and girls with bright intelligent
faces, and smiles which told of the happiness
and innocence of their hearts.
Whatever the daughter of Adams may have
feared in her love for her father, he himself
did not appear afraid to receive these English
visitors to his island refuge. For he felt that
as, in the sight of God, his sin had for Christ's
sake been pardoned, so in the eyes of men
these long years of penitence, and of honest
endeavour after a better life, would surely
have won pardon for the sins of his youth.
It was with feelings too deep for words that he
looked once more on the faces of his country-
men, and heard the English speech from other
lips than those to whom he had taught it.
All the memories of early days awoke in him,
THE PITCAIRN ISLANDERS.
and he longed to return once more and see his
native land before he died. But as soon as
those round him understood his wish, they
seized his hands, they clung around him, pray-
ing him with tears not to desert them, not to
leave his children; and Adams, much moved,
promised to remain. And indeed he would
have been sorely missed had he gone, for he
was the chief authority on the island. He it
was who each Sunday led the prayers of the
islanders, all assembled around him in the
church which they had built, thinking, as they
joined in the words of the service, of their
unknown brethren in the great country be-
yond the seas. He it was who explained week
by week the words of the Bible to his listen-
ing companions, baptized the children, and
married the young people.
It was to Adams that every dispute was
referred-all those slight disagreements which
spring up from time to time, but which with
the islanders were never, as they said, more
than word-of-mouth quarrels, and always ended
before set of sun.
The captains, though anxious to linger
awhile in this island home, were obliged to leave
next day, and they departed amid the regrets
and farewells of these simple-hearted, affec-
60 LIFE ON DESOLATE ISLANDS.
tionate people, a people Christian in heart as
well as in name,-sincere, modest, pure, and
unselfish, whose life seemed to be fashioned
on the words of God's Book, Look not every
man on his own things, but every man also on
the things of others."
And all this peace and happiness had sprung,
under the blessing of God, from the seeds of
his truth sown long long years before in the
hearts of two English sailors, and from the
power of his truth in his written word, and
in the teaching of his Spirit.
DISCOVERERS OF MADEIRA.
IT was during the
sirmerry days of the
en and- reign of King Edward
m_ il. of England, that
a little ship left the
port of Bristol, sailing
suddenly and secretly,
so that none knew to
what port she was
She was no trading
vessel laden with
English goods for
Calais, for her crew was not composed of
sailors; there were on board only a few
men, and these wore the dress of English
gentlemen. The strange crew, the secret de-
parture, all told the tale of some danger from
62 'LIVE 01.T DESOLATE ISLANIA~
which they were seeking to escape, and had we
been on board we should have seen by the
anxious faces of the crew, by the quick eager
glances with which they watched the shores as
they sailed out of the Bristol Channel, that
they feared pursuit, either for themselves or for
some one whom they had in charge. Though
not really sailors, they were doing their best to
guide the little vessel, and they had chosen for.
captain a young Englishman called Lionel
Machin, whose directions they obeyed, and in
whom they appeared to have full confidence.
Itwas for Lionel's sake that the party of friends
were now making their escape from England.
He had married a girl whom he had long loved,
but he had not gained the consent of her father
and mother. They were powerful and rich,
and he had reason to fear that his young wife
would be taken from him through their influ-
ence with the king, and therefore he had
determined to seek a French port, and to hide
himself with his wife in some French city
which did not own Edward as its king.
But, ignorant as they were of navigation, it
was no easy matter for them to direct their
course aright, and, high winds springing up,
they were beaten about for five days without
catching sight of the coast of France. They did
THIE DISCOVERERS O0 MAD1YIRA. 63
not know in what direction they were being car-
ried, and all on board, but especially the new-
made wife, were full of uneasiness and dismay.
Lionel encouraged Arabella with loving and
hopeful words, even when his own heart was
sinking low, but his friends, who had come only
for his sake, and without well considering the
dangers and risks which they might encounter,
were fast losing spirit and hope. Their merry
adventure seemed to be turning into sad
earnest, and these light-hearted lads, having
nothing to sustain their courage when pleasure
was gone, now vented their disappointment in
continual murmurs and regrets.
Arabella herself tried to seem indifferent to
their danger, and secure in Lionel's care; she
hid her tears, lest they might grieve her hus-
band; but when she thought that no one saw her,
then she gave herself up to sorrow and despair.
She thought of her father and mother whom
she had left secretly, lest they should forbid her
marriage with Lionel, and she longed with an
aching heart for one word of love and forgive-
ness. For hours she would sit, her eyes turned
toward that part of the horizon where she had
last seen the coast of England, her thoughts
busied about her old home: her father, taking
his pleasures with a sad heart; her little sister,
64 LIFE ON DESOLATE ISLANDS.
weeping for her lost playmate; and, most of all,
her mother, upright and dry-eyed, after the
stern fashion of the day, but yet, as Arabella
well knew, ever thinking of her absent and
disobedient child, ever missing the light step,
the loving smile, the tender touch of the
daughter she had loved so well.
But Lionel still kept up heart and hope, still
spoke gaily of the new home they would soon
make in sunny France-yes, even when day
after day passed by, and the watchers saw no
land, and knew that they must be drifting far
out of their course, away into the wide un-
known ocean. They had been at sea more than
a month when one morning early, Lionel, who
was pacing the deck, heard behind him a sudden
shout of joy.
He did not turn, for there were tears in his
eyes which he must hide from his companions,
for he had now, for the first time, learned from
his wife of her repentance and her grief, and
he too was sad at heart and well-nigh hopeless.
But the shout was repeated and taken up by
"Land, land at last!" they cried, and Lionel
turned to see, far in the distance, the tall sharp
outline either of a rock or of the cliffs which
guarded some unknown shore. Wind and
THE DISCOVERERS OF MADEIRA.
wave were steadily sweeping the vessel onward
towards this haven of refuge, and there was
nothing to do but to watch the sharpening
outlines, and to see, as fog and mist cleared
before the sun, the sheer dark rocks and deep
valleys of their new home.
Nearer still and nearer, till the land was full
in sight, and the famished and wearied crew
could see the green valleys and tree-covered
heights of this lovely island, could almost hear
the fall of the clear waters which they saw
glancing down the face of the rocks.
What land it was they knew not. No houses
were to be seen, no, ships or canoes flew out
from under shelter of the shore, no natives
gathered in fear or wonder on the silent silver
beach, only a number of bright-winged birds
came as if to greet the new-comers, and settled
fearless on the sails and ropes.
Quickly the ship's one boat was lowered, and
some of Lionel's companions, well armed, put
off for the unknown shore. Lionel would fain
have been of the number, but neither Arabella
nor his friends would permit him to run this
risk. Ere long the boat returned, and the
adventurers climbed on board as eager to speak
as were their comrades to hear.
"A dainty and delicious country, truly,
66 LIFE ON DESOLATE ISLANDS.
Captain Lionel, but men saw we none," said the
The beasts, thereon are tame, and have no
fear of man," continued another.
"Yea, and the land is a garden of flowers,
and the air soft, that it would give back health
to the dying; there will your fair wife recover
her bloom, and we all shall rest after our
Fruits are there in plenty, they dropped on
uts from the trees as we walked," added the
"Here at last have we found a haven,"
answered Lionel; "here, my kinsmen and
faithful friends, may you regain the strength
you have lost in my cause, yea, and win
your pardon in England by this fair news.
Arabella, you will soon be strong again,"
and Lionel, though 1e spoke confidently,
looked with evident anxiety toward the pale
face which bore the traces of sorrow as well as
Soon the whole party, save some few who
remained in charge of the ship, were on land,
wandering with the glee of schoolboys over
the green plains and wooded hills on which
they seemed to be the first to set foot. Choosing
a sheltered spot among the laurels and near to
THTE DISCOVERtERS OP MADEIRA.
the bend of the river, the new lords of the
island soon built a shelter for themselves, and
brought thither stores from the sbip
In this happy retreat the fugitives spent
nearly a fortnight, seeming to forget, in the
peace and rest of the present, their past wrong-
doing and their past disasters.
But on the thirteenth day a sudden and vio-
lent storm broke over the island. The ship
was driven from her anchorage by the force of
the wind and waves, and was carried, with
those of the company then on board, towards
the north coast of Africa, where she was at
last completely wrecked. The crew escaped with
their lives, bitt only to fall into the hands of
the Moors, who, regarding all Christian nations
as their enemies, immediately seized these poor
English gentlemen as slaves.
Lionel anA the few companions who were
left with him on the island, grieved deeply for
the loss of their companions, though they knew
not the terrible fate which had befallen them.
And mingled with their sorrow was penitence
too, for the wrong act which had, as they felt
brought on them this deserved punishment,
But Arabella's grief was deeper; from the time
when this new disaster befell them she never
spoke, but sat gazing ever over the now calm
68 LIFE ON DESOLATE ISLANDS.
sea which parted her from her home; and thus
she pined and died, too deeply oppressed with
grief to be comforted even with the remem-
brance of the pardon which Christ the Saviour
gives to all who repent and turn from sin.
Lionel could not endure without her the life
which he had sought for her sake, and ere long
he, too, died in the arms of his weeping friends,
and husband and wife were buried at the foot
of the laurels which had been their shelter.
The remaining adventurers determined at
THE DISCOVERERS OF MADEIRA.
any risk to leave the island in the little boat
which still remained to them, for the place
now became distasteful; but before they sailed
they set up over the grave of the husband
and wife a wooden cross, on which were carved
their names. Then, following the wish of
Lionel, they added below a request that if any
Christians should hereafter come to dwell in
this island, they would build over the grave a
church, in which our Saviour Jesus might be
worshipped and adored.
The little boat being now ready and stored
with birds and other food as provision for their
vogage, they set sail, but were, like their com-
panions, cast on the coast of Africa, and made
slaves with those who had gone before them.
But the poor Englishmen were not the only
captives, for in those times shipwrecked sailors
from all parts of Europe were held in cruel
slavery by the Moors.
Side by side with the companions of Lionel
worked a young Spanish sailor named Jean de
Morales, and, glad of any relief from the toil
and tedium of their sad life, he listened eagerly
to the often-repeated story of the lovely and
beautiful island. Of this unknown land he
dreamed and thought continually, longing for
freedom that he might discover and tread its
LIFE ON DESOLATE ISLANDS.
silent shores, for he was of a nation eager for
discovery, and the highest rewards and honours
were not thought too great for him who should
add a new country to the dominions of the
crown of Castile. I
At length it happened that a sum of money
was sent to Barbary, to ransom some of the
Spanish captives, and Jean de Morales was
amongst those set at liberty; but the ship in
which, with glad heart and high hopes, he
sailed for Spain, was captured on its way by a
Portuguese man-of-war, under Jean Gonsalie
Lascoe. All the captives from Barbary, who
had already suffered so much, were permitted
to continue their journey home, save only Jean
This one exception was made because the
Portuguese captain was not willing to give to
Spain the glory of the discovery which the
Castilian sailor was longing to attempt. Jean
de Morales was, however, kindly treated, and
at last took service with the Portuguese, his
attachment to his native land being doubtless
weakened by his long captivity.
Very soon, ships were sent out by Portugal
commanded by Gonsalie, with Jean de Morales
on board, to seek this new and unclaimed
island. The vessels first held their course for
VISJT1~qG THEl GR~AVES,
THE DISCOVERERS OF MADEIRA.
the Island of Porto Santo, near which the new
island was supposed to lie, for seen from Porto
Santo toward the north-east was a heavy cloud,
sometimes brighter, sometimes darker, but
never wholly dispersed.
The ignorant and superstitious inhabitants
had many wonderful stories to relate of this
cloud; they all believed that no ship could
safely approach it. Some held it to be an
island hanging between heaven and earth, in
which some Christians had been hidden by
God from the power of their Moorish foes,
some that it led into the land of spirits.
Towards this cloud Gonsalie steered his ships,
in spite of the murmurs and almost the open
mutiny of his terrified crew. The shadow is
but a mist," said he, "a cloud caused by the
heat of the sun's rays drawing the moisture
from the land beneath; have no fear, my chil-
dren, for those who do their duty will God
Through the mists and heavy clouds they
sailed on, and at last emerged into clear, pure
air, to see fair before them the island of their
hopes. The sailors who had before resisted
their captain's will, now fell on their knees
begging his forgiveness, and praying to be
allowed to land at once and wander through
74 LIFE ON DESOLATE ISLANDS
the valleys of this lovely land. Soon Gonsalie,
Jean de Morales, and some of the sailors pulled
through the surf and set foot on the island,
which they called .Madera, because it was so~well
wooded. They landed almost on the very spot
where Lionel and Arabella had first come on E
shore, and before long the new-comers stood in
reverence and in pity by the graves of the first
The island was formally taken possession of
in the name of the King of Portugal, and
before long a colony was sent thither, Gonsalic
being appointed governor.
Then the dying wish of Lionel was granted,
and over his grave was built a church, in which
the new inhabitants might worship God.
This is the story which we have received as
the history of the discovery of the island of
Madeira, now so well and so familiarly known to
us, where many of our own countrymen go year
by year, seeking to recover health and strength
amongst the sheltered and wooded vales where
the English husband and wife found their
The history was written in Portuguese by
Don Francesco Alcafarado, a noble at the court
of King John i. of Portugal. He was himself
THE DISCOVERERS OF MADEIRA. 75
one of the first discoverers. It is considered
possible that some of the details which he has
given may have been altered in his memory,
or confused by those from whom he heard the
story of Lionel and Arabella, but there seems
no reason to doubt the chief facts which he
relates. The cross erected over the graves of
the husband and wife was preserved in Madeira
till at least the early part of this century, and
very possibly is still to be seen.
CRUISE OF A VENETIAN SHIP.
- IT was late in the
-- year 1431. The
s-nport of Venice was
Filled with ships
I the world, bring-
ing to her their
choicest stores, and
their most costly
_her and from her
sions rich shiploads of wine and spices, and
bales of finest cotton.
It would have been a sight never to have
been forgotten could we have gazed then on
THE CRUISE OF A VENETIAN SHIP. 77
that city of the sea, have watched the cum-
brous barks, so unlike our light-winged mer-
chant ships, or our swift steamers, which sailed
heavily up and down the blue Adriatic, till
they came in sight of the famous city, the
resort of all nations, in whose canals, and
among whose marts and palaces, might be seen
the strange dress, and heard the mingled
speech of men from all parts of the civilised
One ship was just leaving the port. The
vessel, rather a large one for those days, seems
but poorly manned, and rocks so greatly among
the short white waves, that it is plainly to be
seen that she is short of ballast and lading.
She is a Venetian trading vessel, bound first to
the Isle of Candia, where she will complete her
cargo and add to the number of her crew.
This Candia or Crete (the very Crete by which
St. Paul passed on his voyage to Italy) was at
that time under the hard rule of Venice, and
its poor inhabitants did her service upon land
and sea. The ship stayed at Candia only so
long as enabled her to complete her stores of
cotton and spice and wine, which were destined
for some northern or western market, some
French or British port. She was deep enough
in the water now, and on her deck lay many
78 LItE ON DESOLATE ISLANDS.
an unstowed bale, many a cask of wine, for
which the sad-looking Cretan sailors, in their
tunics and short cloaks, had not yet been able to
find room. Sixty-eight men were now on board,
including the patron or owner, Master Piero
Quirini, and Christoforo Fioravanti, the sail-
ing-master. Quirini, in his quaint Italian
dress, looking strangely unlike our modern
idea of a sailor, stood amid the piles of mer-
chandise, giving quick orders for its stowage,
while the sailing-master made all ready for
the long voyage which was just beginning.
For in those days a voyage into the western
sea was counted, specially while boisterous
autumn gales made sailing difficult, as a long
and hazardous undertaking. They all knew
it must be many months ere they could hope
to see home again; but little did any of them
guess the strange sad fortunes which should
befall them. The Cretan sailors looked back
wistfully at the groups of their friends, their
wives and'ynothers and chLdren, whom they
had left weeping on the shore, but they did
not think how many there were among them
who would never return to tell the story of
their long voyage. But some at least among
them knew and felt that they were in the
hands of God for life or for death, and that
T1tE CRUISE OF A VENETIAN S9tIP.
nothing could really hurt them if they were
"followers of that which is good."
The ship at first sailed on prosperously
enough. The sea was calm, and the sky
clear above them. The sailors sang their sweet
Italian or Grecian songs, as they hurried to
and fro, or leant over the bulwarks, watching
the blue water.
Their course lay northward now, and wind
and wave were sweeping them toward the
perilous northern seas. The days had been
already growing short when the ship left
Candia, and now December, with its cold and
darkness, was upon them, and these southern
sailors shivered as they met the keen northern
The cold grew sharper than ever on one
night toward the end of the year, but on that
very night Master Piero Quirini chose to
remain on deck, braving the winter wind,
instead of taking shelter in his warm and
comfortable cabi, below. He stood looking
eastward with his keen eyes, his hand shading
Come hither, Fioravanti," he called, and
the sailing-master approached. There is a
strange appearance in the sky which affrights
me; I fear a sudden and violent storm, and
80 LIFE ON DESOLATE ISLANDS.
then what will befall our ship, thus heavily
laden?" said Quirini.
The old sailor turned towards the part of
the horizon which Quirini had pointed out;
and as he looked, his face changed. Quick,"
said he, calling to the sailors who were nearest,
" bid them draw in the sails. Let the rudder
be bound firmly, for the tempest is well-
nigh on us-alas! for these terrible northern
Before he had well finished speaking, his
Italian sailors had begun their work, the slower
and more apathetic Greeks needing, even in
that moment of danger, to be urged with many
words before they would obey. Thus it was
but slowly that the heavy sails, creaking and
swaying in the wind, were drawn in and bound
to the masts, and before half the work was
done, the storm in its full fury had struck the
ship, and each man clung for life to the nearest
support, as the reeling vessel ploughed heavily
through the swollen sea.
Master, the rudder is gone, the rudder is
lost," cried many voices, as after a sudden
lurch forward the ship righted again, and as
they cried out, a fresh blast struck her, and
the half-furled sails were torn into ribbons, and
hung useless over the ship's side.
THE CRUISE OF A VENETIAN SHIP.
The morning light found her still driving
before the wind, and deep in the sullen water
which rose almost above her sides as she flew
faster thtn ever before the fierce wind. At
length a sudden squall threw her on her side,
while the waters rushed in as if to fill and sink
her in a moment.
"Ho men! an axe, an axe!" cried the master;
"down with the main-mast!" and seizing a
hatchet which lay at hand, Piero Quirini
struck the first blow at the tall mast, whose
weight was dragging down the vessel. Others
with sword, or axe, or any tool which they
could snatch at the moment, followed, and they
were but just in time, for before another wave
could wash over the vessel, the mast was floating
free, and the ship had righted once more. The
water was baled out with every vessel on which
the men could lay their hands; and this weary
work was continued all through the cold dark
night, yet when the morning broke, hours
behind its time, as it seemed to the despairing
sailors, the water in the hold was scarcely
three inches lower.
The only hope for the crew lay in taking at
once to their boats. There were two boats
belonging to the ship-the pinnace and the
skiff; the first was a long boat, but the skiff,
82 LIFE ON DESOLATE ISLANDS.
which was considered the safer of the two, would
hold but a small number.
The master called the men round him on the
deck, and told them his decision. BWv, men,"
said he, "you shall choose your beat; there
stands the notary, Nicolo di Michiel, with his
ink-horn and parchment; he shall write down
the names of all who would fain sail in the skiff."
Master, there are forty-five for the skiff,"
said Nicolo, slowly reckoning the long list of
written names; forty-five, and the skiff, saith
Christoforo Fioravahti, holds but twenty-one."
"Draw lots, men, we are brothers now in
trouble, and none shall have advantage over
The lots were drawn, and then the master
proceeded to divide between the two crews the
stores of the fast-sinking ship. Bread, cheese,
bacon, tallow and oil, and a little wine, as much
as she could carry, were given to the crew of
the skiff, while the master, with forty-six men,
stored in the pinnace what remained on board,
and one by one the men passed over the ship's
side, and the boats dropped off into the wide sea.
It was calm, the terrible wind had sunk
down, and the keen wintry sky was clear once
more, but yet the prospect before them was
enough to trouble the bravest heart.
THE CRUISE OF A VENETIAN SHIP.
They were adrift in the bitter cold in open
boats, but ill-supplied for a long voyage, and
were, as they believed, five hundred miles from
the iey'ft shore. All night a heavy mist
hung over them, and when it was dispersed by
the morning sun the crew of the pinnace looked
round in vain for their companions,-the skiff
was nowhere to be seen.
Six days passed, and all hope of seeing their
companion boat had grown faint, when another
storm arose, and the pinnace, heavily laden,
shipped so much water over the sides that all
feared she would sink.
Men's lives before wines and spices pre-
cious and costly though they be," said the
master; we must lighten the boat of all, save
a little needful food and water; linger not, my
children, therein lies our only hope."
But the days went on, and though the storm
passed, and the pinnace still rode safely on the
waters, the hearts of the crew were heavy
within them. The boat was indeed lighter
now, for of the forty-seven who had embarked in
her, twenty-six died, and their bodies had been
solemnly committed to the deep, there to wait
till, at the voice of God's angel, the sea shall
give up her dead. Solemn indeed must have
been the thoughts of the survivors as they saw
84 LIFE ON DESOLATE ISLANDS.
one after another of their comrades summoned
from their side to stand before God; no one
of them knew but that he might be called next,
and all were sure that if help did reach
them speedily, none would return home to tell
the tale of their sufferings. Some there were
of that crew who, faint, weary, in want of
covering, tortured with thirst, yet held fast
their trust in their Father in heaven, and cried
to him with agonised prayer to have mercy on
them for Christ's sake. And the prayer for
deliverance was heard.
It was on the third of January, and the first
faint daylight was stealing over the waters,
when one of the crew, looking eagerly round as
he raised himself from uneasy sleep, saw far off
a faint line which seemed to be land. The sun
rose higher and coloured rose-red the snow-
hooded tops of lofty rocks around the unknown
coast. All the hope and desire of the ship-
wrecked crew was now to reach this shore,
fearing its unknown dangers but little, com-
pared with the terrible suffering they had long
But, alas! the wind had died away, and in
vain did they unfurl their sails, and set their
rudder. They must try the oars then, but the
arms of the starving sailors were too weak tq
THE CRUISE OF A VENETIAN SHIP. 85
move the boat, and they could do nothing but
trust to the force of the waves and the currents
which ere bearing her along. It was the
sixth January when they reached the land,
and with great difficulty drew their boat to the
beach. They soon found that they had landed
LAND AT LAST.
on an uninhabited island, which lay, as they
afterwards found, off the coast of Norway-a
strange and foreign land to the Venetians of
No sooner did the wasted remnant of the
crew set foot on shore than they rushed to the
rocks, climbing them with strength which they
had not thought they possessed, and eagerly
86 LIFE ON DESOLATE ISLANDS.
gathering the pure white snow in their hands,
bathed their parched lips and dry tongues,
drinking again and again, as if th-yv c4d never
taste enough of this delicious d ug liht.
"Now, men, draw the boat higher on shore,
ere the tide go out and float her away," said
the master; but when the pinnace was drawn
to the dry sand she was found to be so battered
and so full of holes, that they all saw at once
that it was useless to hope that they could ever
put to sea in her again. We will make her
serve for a shelter at least," said Christoforo,
and so, dividing her into two parts, they, with
the help of her sails, made two huts, in which
the twenty-one sailors, who alone were left,
might find some slight shelter from the winter
Our thirst have we slaked," said Nicolo,
" and said grace, I trust, for the draught; now,
by your leave, good master, must we seek for
food, though what food this barren island should
afford, good sooth I know not."
All the party dispersed at once in search of
provisions, some climbing the rocks, some wan-
dering along the beach, and some seeking to
penetrate farther inland. Returning towards
evening slowly and sadly to the huts, they ex-
amined the store that had been found-a few
THE CRUISE OF A VENETIAN SHIP. 87
periwinkles and barnacles and some other
small shell-fish, but a poor feast for so many
famished men. Their search, continued far and
wide over the island, discovered no other food,
save a kind of small herb which grew under
the snow. This they ate day after day, and so
were able to keep a little life in them, though
they were always faint and hungry. '
Five out of the little colony were already
dead from cold and hunger and exhaustion,
when one day a sailor wandering farther than
he had yet been, came upon a little hut, empty
and deserted, but giving a better and more
comfortable shelter than their sail-covered huts.
Six of the company determined to live in this
new home, thinking that the chances of find-
ing food for the whole would be increased when
they were more widely scattered on the island
And scarcely had they taken up their abode
in their new quarters, when they were over-
joyed by finding on the beach, close at hand, a
large dead fish. They did not know whether it
was a whale or a porpoise, but they saw that it
was quite fresh and fit for food, and every one
of them believed that God had sent this great
deliverance in answer to their prayers for help.
All hands turned out to drag the fish to their
hut, and no sooner was it safely housed than a
88 LIFE ON DESOLATE ISLANDS.
terrible storm broke over the island, which
lasted nine days. So fierce was the wind, so
pitiless the tempest, that during all that time
not one of the sailors dare set foot outside the
cottage, and had it not been for the merciful
provision which God had bidden the waves to
bring to them, they must all have perished
The fish was at length eaten, not a fin,
nor a morsel of flesh remained, and once
more the sailors were forced to seek along the
shore for shell-fish, which was now their only
food. Christoforo was one day seated in the
cottage. He had grown white and thin, and
his long lank hair looked dry and rusty, as it
hung over his sunken cheeks. He was gazing
listlessly on the dull sea, and on the distant
cloudlike lines which told of other islands, or
may be of the main land far off.
"If we could only reach those shores," he
thought, may be men dwell thereon, and we
might find food. But we have neither boat
nor wood whereof to make one, neither have we
strength to row, so seemeth there no choice
but we must all perish here; the will of God be
Raising his eyes, which had sunk while he
pursued these sad thoughts, he suddenly sprang
THE CRUISE OF A VENETIAN SHIP.
to his feet, and with a glad shout cried, Re-
joice, behold two come to seek us," and as he
spoke, his companions, looking out, saw two
shepherd lads climbing the hill-side.
The strangers turned and fled in terror at
the sight of man on this lonely island, and the
sailors following to the shore found there a
little boat in charge of an old man. They had
learnt some prudence now, and they approached
quietly, making signs of good-will and of
humility, and asking by look and gesture his
pity on their great distress. The two lads soon
came down and joined their father, and though
none of the three could understand a word of
the Italian speech, it chanced that there was
one among the sailors, Girado da Lione by
name, who had learnt a few words of Norwe-
gian, and by means of this interpreter they
managed to tell the visitors of their terrible
The little boat would hold but two besides its
owners, and Girado da Lione and Bernardo the
pilot were chosen to accompany the shepherds
to their home, and to get help to bring off all
who remained of the shipwrecked crew. On
their way they questioned the shepherd, as well
as they could, on the cause of his journey to
90 LIVE O1 tESOLA78 ISLANDS.
A strange reason was it, truly, my friends,"
answered the old man, "but my son can tell
you better than I. Speak, my son."
The younger of the two oarsmen, a lad of
about sixteen, answered bashfully: "It was a
dream, strangers, that led our boat to that shore.
My father had lost two heifers, white were
they, with black stars on their forehead, and
there were none like them in the island where
we dwell. Long did week our missing kine,
and sore was our sorrow when we found them
not; but last night I dreamed that I saw them
feeding upon this island, the cliffs of which we
can sometimes see from our home. When I
awakened I persuaded my father to take the
boat and let us row to the island."
"We found not our heifers," said the old
fisherman, smiling, but, thank the good God,
we found men. Doubtless it was God who sent
my son this dream, that so we might be in time
to save you."
They were soon received by a crowd of eager
peasants, who crowded down to the beach when
the story of the rescue spread. They were in
another id.lnd* n.w, far larger, and moreover
cultivated and inhabited, and food was given
them, and shelter offered, and clean clothes
brought to replace their own ragged and dirty
'THEI ClItJISr OP A VENETIAN SHIP.
garments. But of course the first anxiety of
the two rescued sailors was to send relief to
their companions at the hut, and to those who
might yet remain alive on the other side of the
island. The kind islanders prepared quite a
fleet of little boats in which to hasten to
the rescue of these poor deserted men, but
at the huts which they had first built but five
were found alive, and their new friends pre-
pared with sad hearts ,o bury the dead as well
as to save the living.
The eleven survivors grasped each other's
hands with feeling too deep for words; they
the only ones left of the sixty-eight. who, in
full health and strength, had left the shores of
Candia. "Truly," said one, "we had been
swallowed up of the sea, if our Lord Jesus
Christ had not been merciful to us, who for-
saketh not them that religiously call upon him."
"Now must we part," said they among them-
selves, and seek our way to Venice on foot or
by sea as we may find means. Sad news bring
we thither, and many heavy hearts must we
make. But God has spared us to our dear ones,
and let us few that remain remember that we
live only to commend to memory, and highly to
exalt, the great power of God."
THE FORTUNES OF ST. HELENA.
.--- IN the days when
voyages were more
tedious and dan-
gerous than they
are now, when steam
was unknown, and
the art of naviga-
tion little studied,
it was specially im-
portant to secure
for vessels bound on
HIalf-way ports, where the health of the sailors
might be recruited, where the ship, often
battered and leaking, might be repaired, and
stored once more with water and fresh vege-
tables, were absolutely essential to safe and
THE FORTUNES OF ST. HELENA. 93
But until about the year 1500 the Venetian
traders to India had found no such harbour
of refuge in the South Atlantic. Their ships
came and went nevertheless, and if many were
lost, yet the profits of the trade were such as
to repay the merchants for many a bale of rich
goods which lay beneath the waters, and to
lead Venice to guard as one of her most
valuable rights the trade with India.
The Portuguese also were merchants and
explorers, and had a large and important navy,
and they were not content to leave the Indian
traffic wholly in the hands of the Venetians.
Therefore about the year 1501 three vessels
were sent out to India by the Portuguese
Government. On their return voyage during
May of the following year a sudden and violent
storm overtook them.
They were in the midst of the wide Atlantic,
driven backward and forward by the furious
winds and waves.
It seems that one of the ships was separated
from the other two, and was in greater danger.
All hope of guiding her was at an end, and
the captain and crew stood waiting in despair
for the death which could not be far distant.
It seems probable from that which afterwards
happened that some at least among the sailors
94 LIFE ON DESOLATE ISLANDS.
thought, in tbL-i danger, on God, and cried to
him to save them. And we may well believe
this to have been so. There are but few who
when trouble is near fQrget God. It is in smooth
and fair water, in calm and sunshine, that we
are so ready to think that we can guide and
help ourselves. When the clouds gather, and
the storm-winds blow, then we cry unto God in
our trouble. And God is so good that he does
not turn away from those who call on him in
their need, even when in their joy they had
turned away from him.
Help came to these sailors tossed on the wide
wild sea, but it did not come in the way that
they had hoped. At first it seemed only like
greater peril, for through the haze which
darkened the sea the dim outline of land was
seen, standing high, sharp, and dark against
What land it could be they did not know. In
such rough charts as they possessed no rock
even was marked, no speck of land for many
hundred miles on either side the place where
they were now fighting for their lives.
The ship was driven nearer and nearer, and,
so far as the mariners could tell, they were
being driven to certain destruction, for what
ship could hope to avoid the terrible wall of
THE FORTUNES OF ST., HELENA. 9o
rocks before them, or live in the white seething
waters which boiled at the foot. A shout, an
eager wondering cry, from one of the sailors,
roused his comrades; he was pointing to a
narrow inlet between the rocks, on either side
of which the sand lay smooth and low-if they
could only gain that opening there might yet
be hope. But the ship was past all guidance, and
the only chance of life seemed to lie in the boats,-
which might be directed up the narrow inlet,
so that the men might land in safetyon its shores.
We do not know how this was accomplished,
but we are sure that at last the anxious, terrified
sailors stood safely on the beach, watching the
still raging sea as it washed to their feet plank
and mast and rudder of their now broken
Their first thought was to offer thanks to
God who had delivered them, and then they
began to look around at this strange unknown
land on which they had been thrown.
Let us build ourselves a shelter with the
planks of the broken ship, she will never sail
blue water again," said one sailor.
"Nay," replied another, rather let us build
a house for God, let us leave a church on this
island. We need no shelter in the warm May
weather, no rain will -fall for months yet, I
LIFE 014 DESOLATE ISLANDS.
warrant, and some of those rare trees yonder
will be our fittest roof."
"But of what use can a church be when
none dwell here to worship ? asked a third.
Doubtless many will come to dwell here
when we return home and tell the story of the
new land, and many ships will stay here to rest
the sailors and to gather stores. Were it not well
"done that they should find prepared a place
which should remind them of their duty to
their God, and of his care of them?"
"And," said the captain, speaking now for
the first time, were it not well done that we,
whom he has so wonderfully preserved, should
try even in this imperfect fashion to show our
gratitude ? He will accept even such poor
service, therefore, in my judgment, let it be
"Let it be done," cried all, and, as if im-
patient to begin, the sailors rushed knee-deep
into the sea, seizing and drawing high on the
beach the floating spars and planks, ready for
their new service.
But before such work could be begun it was
needful to explore the new land, to search for
any traces of inhabitants, and above all to dis-
cover, if possible, food and water to refresh the
exhausted and weary sailors.
THE FORTUNES OF ST. 4IELENA. 97
There was one high peak, towering above the
many hills which crowned the island, and
towards this~a party of sailors made their way,
keeping closely together for fear that the
natives of the land might suddenly attack them
from rock or thicket.
The steep, rugged, broken hill was scaled at
last, and from its suniftnit the adventurers
looked down on their place of refuge. They
were on an island, which seemed to be some
miles in length; it was thickly covered with
trees, and in one part a broad, open plain, fresh
and fertile, stretched before them. There were
many streams, dancing merrily down the broken
cliffs, or shaded by tall tree-ferns and waving
grasses. But nowhere was there any sign of
human habitation; no palm-roofed huts, no
canoes, no figures crossing the open spaces be-
tween the trees.* And not only man, but even
animals, seemed wanting here.
The place was a complete solitude; the sea-
birds had not strayed farther than the cliffs
where their nests were made, and save one
little brown bird, not unlike a sparrow, which
chirped among the boughs, the sailors neither
heard nor saw any signs of life.
Fruit there was in abundance on the trees
and with this spoil they Rastened back to their