THE DESERT ISLAND.
A MORAL TALE.
'--i-",.. ... .-.= ".^ =-" -.---.-- -
With ,.. om ',, ..-i .
Pi-i L. C LPill I
JAMES KAY, JtIN. & BROTHER, 122 CHESTNUT STREET.
PITTSBURGH: C. H. KAY & CO.
Entered, according to the act of congress, in the year 1839, by JAMES KAY, JuK. &
BRoTHER, in the clerk's office of the district court of the eastern district of Pennsyl-
OUR Readers are not to consider the :..!!i- ini historiette as
an effort of the imagination merely. Most of the statements which
it contains are founded in fact. It presents us with a striking ex-
ample of the sad consequences of giving rein to the temper, and of
permitting the germs of passion and hatred to grow up in the mind
unchecked. Reflections, it is hoped, will arise from its perusal
which will fix the attention of the youthful Reader on a point essen-
tial to his peace and happiness in life.
This little work was handed to the Publishers in manuscript by
a gentleman now deceased, who translated it from the FRENCH
with a view to republication. It has been perused by several friends
in whose judgment the Publishers place reliance ; and in accordance
with the testimony unanimously borne to the interest of its nar-
rative, and the excellence of its moral, it is now presented to the
THE ARIEL- FRONTISPIECE . ... .. 16
BLIND MARIA, . . . . 22
WRECK OF THE LONG BOAT . . ... 55
THE DESERT ISLAND- VIGNETTE,. ........ 83
THE TIMELY VISIT . . . 106
THE SHIP IN SIGHT, ... . ... 141
THE UNEXPECTED RETURN, ...... 164
Effects of Passion The Young Seaman The Ariel, 11
Philip Merville, the Sailor Blind Maria Forgiveness of
'Injuries -Death of Maria, . . .. 19
Fit of Temper Origin of Hatred A Fiery Character, 28
Count CI'I 1!.: D'Estaing, Lieutenant on board the Achilles -
Departure of his Ship- Unexpected Rencounter Schemes
of Revenge -The Blow, . . .. .36
Sea Fight Pardon achieved by Valour Stubbornness of
Character, ................. 42
Storm at Sea Critical Situation Noble Devotedness -
The Wreck, ...... ..... .... .47
The Desert Island- The Faithful Dog- The Two Ene-
mies Difficulty of Self-Conquest, . .. .57
The Cavern of the Rock The Valley of Lindens, 66
Industry and Activity Incapacity and Awkwardness Al-
tercation Menaces,. . . .72
Return to the Cavern Remorse Bodies of the Wrecked, 79
The Young Marine The Boatswain's Corpse Revenge-
ful Feelings- The Burial--Inward Struggles- Power of
SelfLove, ........... ..... 84
The Fever Melancholy Reminiscences Thoughts on
':. ....... ... .... 90
Horrors of Night to the Guilty- Dismal Images- The
Choir of Angels, and the Blind Girl, .. . 97
The Dying Enemy Hatred Subdued Repentance, 102
Delirium of Fever The Grapes Lethargy First Words
of Reconciliation, . . . .. 11
Forgiveness Preparation for Death The Embrace, .115
Reciprocal Apologies- Services -Attendance on the Sick-
Friendship, . ...... .. 120
The Trunk washed ashore-The Books--Pious Reflec-
tions Resignation, .. . . 127
Peace and Happiness The Firmament of Heaven Music
in the Desert Sickness Affectionate Solicitude, .133
A Ship in Sight Fear of Separation, . 141
Departure from the Desert Isle Nothing Degrading but
Vice, . . . . .144
Generous Self-Reproof--The Achilles -The Baron D'Er-
mincourt, .............. .148
Acknowledgement of Faults- The Promotion, 154
Delicacy of Friendship Return to France Arrival at
Home Future Career, .... . 159
Moral of this Narrative, . . 168
THE DESERT ISLAND.
Effects of Passion The Young Seaman The Ariel.
GEORGE Robert! hurry, you lazy fellows," said the
haughty young Count D'Estaing, throwing the reins of his
horse to the grooms, and hastily ascending the grand stair-
case of the chateau, with his face partly hid beneath his
What ails his lordship to-day ?" said Robert, "he seems
to be mightily vexed at something."
"I suppose," replied the other, he has been quarrelling
again with Philip Merville: did you see the blood on his
That Philip is a consummate rogue," rejoined Robert;
"but before long he will find out whom he has to deal
with; the count will not forget him, 1 can tell you; no
one ever yet insulted him without receiving twenty fold in
The first time they meet," said the other groom, I'll
warrant they'll have it out: the count is so.used at sea to
domineer over men twice as old as himself, that he is be-
come the most imperious master I ever lived with. I
wonder that any body can put up with his whims and
notions. If my young master, his elder brother, was half
as ready with his hand or as cruel with his tongue, he
would n't have me long to practise on; but it is some com-
fort that he is soon to be off again."
The grumbling groom condescended, at last, to remem-
ber that the poor horse was yet fasting, and he led him
ill-humouredly to his manger. The fact is, Count D'Es-
taing had surprised Philip Merville. strolling through the
park, as he was in the habit of doing, and had undertaken
to drive him out of it by dint of sheer bodily strength; but
the result was rather humbling to his self conceit. The
count, though young and courageous, was tumbled from
his horse by the sturdy peasant, and in falling, bruised
and mangled his face severely. Nor did Philip achieve
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
the victory unharmed ; his eyes and nose bore evidence of
the skill of his noble antagonist. But the count was glad
enough to remount his steed, and wend his way as nimbly
as possible from the field of battle. Mortified and enraged,
he hurried to his apartment, washed the blood from his
face, and assumed as great an air of tranquillity as if nothing
had occurred to ruffle his temper. At the hour of dinner
he softly descended to the dining hall, and, to his great
vexation, found it crowded with company. His mother
instantly inquired how he came to bruise and disfigure his
face so shockingly; he returned an evasive answer, inti-
mating that he met with a fall in the park. No more was
said about it, save that a few jokes were passed on sailors
on horseback; the company all agreeing that, when prac-
tising horsemanship, our jolly tars should be indulged with
a clear coast and plenty of ship-room.
Whilst the dessert was being served, the marquis, his
father, handed him a letter. "'Tis from Baron Henry,
your uncle; see what an agreeable surprise he has pre-
pared for you. He is spoiling you, my son I fancy you
would be less petulant and imperious were his affection for
you not to outstrip the wishes of even your capricious and
The count was so eager to read his dear uncle's letter,
that he hardly heard the reproach which, however calm
he might have been, would, at any other time, have suf-
ficed to extort a blush from him.
Captain Henry, Baron D'Ermincourt, had just written
to his brother-in-law that he would sail from Brest, in less
than a month, in command of the Achilles, a hundred gun
ship; and that he hoped his brave nephew, the young
Count Charles D'Estaing, would once more accompany
him to victory. I am impatient to be off," he wrote,
"and doubtless my dear nephew is as anxious for it as
myself. Meanwhile, to prevent the interim from hanging
heavy on him, I send him a little pleasure boat, as well
built as it is in my power to get. He may amuse himself
in manoeuvring with her on your quiet little lake : not
that I approve of smooth water navigation, but because,
for a sailor, it is better than chasing with dogs and horses
some poor innocent hare or fox."
Count Charles was then told that his pretty boat was
already at the nearest landing on his father's domain, and
that a wagon had been sent to transport it to the chateau.
At this very moment a servant entered, and announced
that the boat had arrived, and was now on the shore, so
placed that it might be launched into the water without
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
difficulty. The young count set off at full speed, to enjoy
the pleasure of launching it himself.
It often falls out that pleasure is not the exclusive heri-
tage of the child of prosperity. Unforeseen disappointments
disquiet and torment the proud and rich, and often mingle
briars and thorns with the sweet roses which deck and de-
light their pillows. But if the morning had proved so
inauspicious, the joyful amusements of the evening made
full redress for all the grievances our young seaman had
encountered. This enjoyment was no sooner promised
than realized. The jolly boat darted into the tranquil
water; she bounded over its tiny waves with all the grace
imaginable; and received her name amidst the acclama-
tions of the village peasantry, whom the novelty of the
spectacle had drawn in crowds to the vicinity of the cha-
Count Charles went to his bed, that night, filled with
anticipations of the pleasure that he should enjoy the next
morning, in sailing about in his charming Ariel; for thus
had she been christened.
Before the morning sun had gilded the horizon, Charles
had quitted his couch; but what was his indignation,
whilst hastily dressing, to see at a single glance from his
window his darling Ariel stretching her snowy sail to the
early breeze, and gliding along the smooth surface of the
lake as swiftly as if her own master himself were at her
helm Who had the audacity to unloose her and take her
from her place 1
Charles [the reader would be wearied by the constant
recurrence of his title] though scarcely half dressed, hur-
ried down stairs : the domestics were summoned, but no
inhabitant of the chateau stood guilty of such unparalleled
At length the thought struck him that it could be none
other than Philip Merville himself-that contemner of all
Charles hastened along the shore, and soon beheld his
youthful enemy, negligently reclining on board his galley,
navigating her at his ease, and coasting near enough to
the land to afford the young nobleman a fair chance of
witnessing how calmly and composedly Philip Merville
could contemplate the mighty whirlwind of his furious
indignation. He continued to manceuvre the Ariel with
the same tranquillity as if her legitimate master were not
regarding his motions with the most burning anger.
Charles could no longer contain himself when he saw
that there was no possibility of his getting at his enemy.
Is there no batteau here," he cried out, that I may
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
pursue this insolent Merville, and compel him to give me
up my own property?"
"No, my lord," replied the old gardener, "there is no
batteau on the whole water within three miles of the cha-
teau in any direction; your lordship may remember, that
when you were quite small, and loved every thing in the
shape of a vessel, the marchioness, your mother, caused
all the skiffs and batteaus to be broken up, for fear you
might endanger your life in paddling about the lake."
"And have none been built since ?" said the count.
"No, my lord; we had two little barks and a small
canoe to fish with, and her ladyship had them burnt.
Perhaps your lordship does not forget the scolding you got
for going on the lake next day in a big tub 1"
Charles could not restrain a smile at this ludicrous re-
miniscence: "On my honour, Peter, I would embark in a
tub at this very moment if I thought it would answer my
Oh I think of it now," said the gardener, Captain
Monmort has a little skiff on the river, about a mile and a
half from here."
"Run, make my compliments, and ask the captain to
lend her to me for an hour."
Two or three valets started directly; but to bring a boat
over land requires time, and, before their return, Philip,
probably fatigued with his amusement, directed the Ariel
towards a remote part of the lake, and landed behind some
bushes that hid the boat from the sight of its owner. He
walked across the park at his leisure, and was snugly
seated in his father's cottage before Charles discovered the
place in which he had left her.
Burning with rage, he returned to breakfast, and al-
though he had hitherto, for some reason best known to
himself, concealed his hatred towards Philip Merville from
his father, his ungovernable resentment now compelled
him to disclose it. He informed the marquis of all the
outrages practised upon him by Philip, adding that the
origin of their quarrel was owing to Philip's poaching pro-
pensities, which he had endeavoured in vain to coun-
The marquis was a kind and humane man; but the
complaints of the young count greatly exasperated him.
He was not disposed to suffer a young vagabond to poach
on and skulk about his lands with impunity, and seize
upon every opportunity of meeting and insulting his own
son, and finally go so far as to make a brutal attack upon
him in his own park.
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
Philip Merville, the Sailor--Blind Maria -Forgiveness of Inju-
ries Death of Maria.
THE war between England and her American colonies
was now at its meridian, and recruiting parties were every
day visiting this part of the country in search of sailors for
the French navy. The marquis let them know how de-
sirous he was to remove from his neighbourhood a certain
individual who annoyed him excessively, and they took
their measures accordingly.
Philip loved the sea: he could manage a boat admi-
rably, and was wont, from time to time, to make sundry
little aquatic excursions in company with a few sailors
whose friendship he possessed. He was disposing himself
for one of these trips when he was met by a recruiting
party, that forced him to put on a sailor's jacket, and then
cruelly hurried him off, without even permitting him to bid
farewell to his family. Indeed, it was with extreme diffi-
culty that he got them to promise that word should be
sent to them respecting his situation. The first news his
relatives had of his fate was, that he was aboard a man-of-
war, and that he would sail with the first fleet that should
Up to this period the conduct of Philip Merville speaks
little in his favour. The best idea we can form of him is,
that he was really a sorry fellow; yet the people of his
neighbourhood, who had known him from infancy, thought
that bad treatment alone had changed his character, and
that he must have been provoked most undeservedly and
bitterly to induce him to perpetrate so many mischievous
Before the return of Count Charles from his late voy-
age, Philip Merville was esteemed as a young man of
excellent character, full of courage and daring, and withal
of a most mild and obliging disposition. He was then in
his sixteenth year, and was beginning to be very useful to
his father, who exercised the trade of a carpenter.
The business of his father was going on well; and his
family, consisting of two children, Philip our hero, and an
interesting daughter who was unfortunately deprived of
her sight, formed his whole consolation. With angelic
patience the afflicted Maria supported herself under her
misfortune; and Philip, who donated on her, his only sister,
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
and younger too than himself, consecrated to her amuse-
ment all the hours he could spare: in return, she cherished
towards him the most sacred affection. The cottage in
which they dwelled faced the west, and could be plainly
seen from the grand road to Paris. Maria was accus-
tomed to seat herself at the threshold of the door, each
evening, to enjoy the cool air, and to have the pleasure of
her brother's company, as soon as his day's work was
finished. Her modest and striking countenance portray-
ing at once innocence and intelligence, her curly flaxen
ringlets and rosy cheeks, and her delicate, well-propor-
tioned form, rendered it impossible for her to be seen
without feelings of deep interest and compassion.
Philip owned a large spaniel, one of the most beautiful
of that noble breed. He had taught him to obey his sister;
and, in his absence, Valiant was the sole amusement of
little Maria. Faithfully devoted to the service of the
family, this sagacious animal served both as a guard and
a guide. Maria sometimes sauntered along the lane that
passed nearest to the cottage, holding in her hand a silken
cord, by which her favourite spaniel was reminded that
his young mistress was under his special guidance: the
intelligent creature would then immediately repress his
sportive tendencies, and with the utmost vigilance would
discover and keep the best path the road could afford.
Sometimes, when the sun was shining too intensely, Ma-
ria, guided by Valiant, would resort to the soft and ver-
dant sward that adorned the environs of the garden, and
there beneath the cool shade of the lofty oak, would de-
light herself with the playful gambols of the vivacious
spaniel, till the approach of evening recalled her to meet
her brother at the cottage door. He tenderly loved his
suffering sister, and was strongly attached to his faithful
dog, especially because he was her guardian and amuser.
Maria was an angel of peace and mildness. The sad
infirmity she had suffered from infancy had not altered the
benevolence of her character, but, on the contrary, had
added more'energy to her virtue and to her piety. Always
of an equal, placid disposition, she never complained of her
hard lot, she never murmured against heaven, nor ever
rendered her presence painful to those who kept her com-
Her attachment to her brother knew no bounds; she
had occasion, at times, to perceive, in the interior of the
household, how impetuous his temper was, and with what
difficulty he brooked contradiction; then, by the mildest
words, she would pacify him, and by an ingenuous and win-
ning smile re-establish peace in his troubled and too irasci-
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
ble breast. Philip knew his weakness, and the power his
sister had over him. When he found his patience begin-
ning to yield; when the tumultuous movements of his
soul warned him of the danger he was in of surrendering
to the fury of his passions, he cast his eyes on this youth-
ful blind one, and in contemplating the resignation and
serenity depicted on her countenance, he found himself
insensibly restored to his usual calmness and moderation.
One day he met with unjust treatment from one of his
companions, who seized on something belonging to him,
and refused to surrender it. Determined to maintain his
rights, he made use of all his strength in order to reclaim
it; but he met with powerful resistance, and received an
injury, which he was resolved on retaliating. His sister
was, as usual, awaiting his return without the cottage
door, and, as he stayed very late, she began to pray for
him-that God would vouchsafe to keep her dear brother
from all evil, and preserve him from every accident. The
longer Philip staid, the more fervently Maria prayed; and
when at length he came, he saw her with her countenance
bathed in tears, and her hands elevated to heaven, and
heard her addressing the most tender supplications in his
behalf to her Creator. All his wrath vanished at the sight,
and taking his sister in his arms, whose appearance alone
had conquered all his revengeful thoughts, he embraced
her with tearful eyes, and confessed with candour the true
occasion of his delay.
"Philip, how happy your return has rendered me! Let
us together return our thanks to God."
After saying these words, Maria recited aloud that beau-
tiful prayer, Our father who art in heaven; and when she
came to this part-forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive
those who trespass against us, she turned towards Philip with
such an expression of fervour and benevolence, that her
brother repeated with her, Forgive us our trespasses, as we
forgive those that trespass against us.
Like the rose, parched and withered by the burning sun,
or like some limpid stream which, emanating from an
abundant source, promises to become a majestic river, but
suddenly loses itself in Ihe arid sand-so too the youthful
Maria had hardly placed the cup of life to her lips, before
the end of her term approached. Her eyes were closed to
the light of I-eaven; the beauties of nature and the mag-
nificence of the universe were hidden from her contempla-
tion, but her soul, instructed and formed to piety, was ever
elevated to her Creator, whom she never ceased to love
and bless. The thought of evil had never, as yet, found
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
entrance into her pure and innocent heart; and Divine
Providence wished to recall her from her exile before the
tempest should arrive.
Afflicted with a disease that appeared a slight, but was
in reality a fatal one, she quickly winged her way from
this world of sorrow, in which suffering and privation had
been her whole inheritance.
During the time of her sickness, Philip never quitted the
bedside of his beloved sister: every attention, every care,
in his power to bestow, was lavished upon her; but all in
vain: she died, and left him inconsolable at the loss.
His ardent mind fully comprehended the magnitude of
this afflicting dispensation : he was sensible that the impe-
tuosity of his character would no longer have that resource
which so long had served as its grand corrective ; and he
had not energy enough to form one of those generous re-
solutions which religion alone inspires and alone enables
us to accomplish. Sad and silent, he walked alone with
his faithful Valiant, who seemed to share the grief of his
master; nor did lie remember, that if he on earth had lost
a beloved sister, heaven had gained a pure inhabitant.
Fit of Temper Origin of Hatred A Fiery Character.
THE death of Maria happened but a short time pre-
vious to Count Charles D'Estaing's return to his father's
mansion, after an absence of more than two years. The
young lord had promised himself an abundance of pleasure
from a hunting excursion; but in this, as in all other
sports, he was too much inclined to get angry at trifles,
and to become violent and unreasonable.
One October evening the count was returning with his
gun and his dogs, accompanied by a gamekeeper, and was
crossing the park on his way to the chateau.
He had been hunting all day with no success; every
thing had gone wrong; the dogs had been at fault, and his
new and costly fowlingpiece had repeatedly burnt prime,
whilst game was passing before him within half distance.
He had encountered so many disappointments, that he
would have been extraordinarily patient not to have felt
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
them severely. Philip Merville was just then crossing
the park by a public pathway that led to the village. It
was the first day he had begun to work since his sister's
demise. He was walking along in a mournful manner,
carrying on his back his basket of tools, his eyes fixed on
the earth, and his attention abstracted from all that was
passing around him. Valiant was following him, when
unluckily, just as the count was passing near him, a hare
started from some brushwood and Valiant set off in pursuit
"See how the game disappear from this park !" cried
the count in an angry voice; and, yielding to his bad
humour, he took aim at the dog. The gun which had
that day so often failed did not miss fire this time: the
faithful spaniel fell mortally wounded, and, dragging him-
self painfully to his master's feet, expired there. Philip
expressed so much grief at the death of his favourite, that
the count himself could hardly remain unmoved ; but, dis-
sembling his feelings, "What a fool he is," said he to his
valet, "to show so much regret for a dog!"
Philip took the mangled body of poor Valiant in his
arms, and passing by the young count, he darted upon
him a glance of mingled indignation and contempt.
"'Tis the dog that used to guide blind Maria," said the
humane gamekeeper; "she has not been dead long."
"Was that Maria's dog?" said Charles: "had I known
it, he might have destroyed all the game in the park, be-
fore I would have dreamed of killing him."
If Philip had only heard this acknowledgement, many
evils would doubtless have been prevented. But senti-
ments of hatred and desires of vengeance had now taken
possession of him. The first time he met the young count,
it was with a heart bitterly exasperated. He reflected
that Charles had slain the innocent companion of his
sister, and all his grief turned to rage. Injuries succeeded
looks of contempt, and it was not in Charles's haughty
nature to brook them. He would freely have given half
his fortune to atone for the past; lbat he could not bear
the reproaches of Philip. Mutual insults led to violence;
and their encounters became more and more serious; for
Philip neglected no occasion of avenging himself. He
defied, insulted and attacked Count Charles, and their
enmity soon changed into the most ferocious hatred-a ha-
tred that led to the results we have already related. Of
the origin of the quarrel Philip however had been wrong-
fully accused; for it was not his custom to provoke or
injure others, unless retaliation in his eyes demanded it.
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
On the other hand, Count Charles was fully aware that
although Merville's dog had pursued the hare, it was not
at the bidding of his master, but absolutely against his
wish; and that he had scarcely time to recall the animal
ere it was killed.
This recollection was 'exceedingly painful to the count.
He was as angry with himself as with Philip; he could
not bear to think how foolishly he had acted, nor would he
suffer the least allusion to be made to it; the mere men-
tion of Philip Merville's name put him in a fury. Yet he
never for a moment reflected, that this unhappy affair owed
its entire origin to one hasty thoughtless moment, during
which he had left the reins of reason to the command of
his impetuous passions : for it was neither Philip nor his
spaniel that had offended or irritated him ; but accidental
and antecedent circumstances had soured his temper, and
he discharged the overflowing of his ill humour upon the
first objects that crossed his path. He had in this instance
committed an act of cruelty absolutely foreign to his cha-
racter, and which had wounded most grievously the purest
and best feelings of a fellow being already borne down by
the weight of his afflictions.
If young persons were to look into the recesses of their
hearts they would find that the passions are often held ac-
countable for follies and crimes generated entirely by their
capricious and licentious tempers. It not unfrequently
happens that objects or persons, free from the least thought
or desire of doing or saying any thing offensive to them,
fall innocent victims to their unreasonable, undiscerning
whims and caprices. Some poor friendless servant, or
some poor relative still more dependent, becomes too often
the subject on which the bad tempered and the capricious
inflict the venomous wounds of a blind and unjust angel;
that must inevitably fill their own bosoms with subsequent
and most bitter remorse.
And yet the heart which thus suffers itself to become
the slave of its unpremeditated impulses is not necessarily a
bad one. Its faults and its errors are oftentimes the con-
sequences of total inconsiderateness-of not saying to itself,
"I am now tormented by inward troubles, by such and such
unforeseen contingencies, or by some painful disease; but
why shall I therefore render myself odious to this or that
person by gratuitous insult or ill-natured treatment. Will
not a little patience and self-command suffice to dissipate
those mental clouds, and leave me in possession of the
triumphant and joyful consciousness of having conquered
myself?" Self-examination and an humble and generous
avowal of one's infirmities, would preserve the health of
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
the mind, and sweeten and tranquillize the most irritable
of the ill-humoured.
Unhappily, Count Charles was far from being in a dispo-
sition favourable to such salutary reflections. He had re-
ceived, what the world calls, an accomplished education;
from his tenderest infancy, the principles of Christianity
had been familiar to him : but his mother, who would have
deemed no sacrifice too great to insure his faithful adhe-
rence to his religious duties, and to render him conspicuous
for his virtues, was without that energy of character ne-
cessary to enable her to restrain the impetuosity of his
temper, and counteract the stubbornness, the caprices and
the resolute self-will of her fondly cherished son. Thus,
that habitual haughtiness, and extreme irritability of dis-
position, for which the young Count was by some detested,
and by the many despised, were the legitimate fruit of the
foolish tenderness of his mother, and the pernicious indul-
gences he had continually extorted from the blindness of
Even in the family circle, Charles spurned the least sha-
dow of restraint: not a day passed without witnessing
some domestic quarrel, some household disturbance, of
which he was the prime author. Yet he undoubtedly pos-
sessed a good heart. The recklessness with which he
abandoned himself to the transports of his temper, was
strangely contrasted with his fits of immediate repentance;
sometimes he was even generous enough to make a more
than ample compensation for the wrongs he had done: but
at length, the servings of his character so multiplied, the
tone of impatience became so habitual to him, that the
blush of shame no longer apologized for his extrava-
The presence of his father was the only curb he cared
for; but even this was not sufficient to control his angry
pride, and frequently the constraint under which filial
respect placed him only impelled him to torment more in-
sufferably the poor domestics of the chateau.
Young as he was, the charms of his home were to him
insipid and monotonous. His heart thrilled with delight
at the sound of the war trumpet. Battle, blood and car-
nage were his favourite perspective-the only scene that
delusive hope could place between him, and the disgusting
wearisomeness of rural amusements. Fearless and brave,
proud and impetuous, the first invitation of his uncle D'Er-
mincourt was eagerly accepted. His courage and intre-
pidity soon gained him an enviable reputation among his
OR THE DESERT ISLAND. 35
naval compeers; but his temper was far from being sweet-
ened by the subordinate authority he exercised on board a
ship of war; and on his return to the chateau, he was less
capable than ever of submitting to parental restraint, or of
suffering the least opposition to be made to the most silly
of his wishes or caprices.
Count Charles D'Estaing, Lieutenant on board the Achilles De-
parture of his Ship Unexpected Rencounter Schemes of Revenge -
THE month that he was yet to pass at home, seemed to
Count Charles the longest one of his life. But the longest
month, like the longest life, is soon finished; and Charles
took leave of his parents with little of regret, impatient as
he was to be at sea, and to drown in the noise and bustle
of an active life the recollections of his errors, and the in
quietudes of his remorse.
He had passed his examination as lieutenant with the
most brilliant success; and in a furious engagement be-
tween his uncle's ship, and an English man-of-war of su-
perior force, in which the latter was forced to strike her
colours, he had given proofs of a courage so uncommon,
and of a knowledge of nautical science so extraordinary,
for one of his years, that he was regarded by all as a young
officer of the highest promise.
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
Yet, as he was then only sixteen, he had no expectation
of immediate promotion. In this, however, he was agree-
ably disappointed: before the Achilles set sail, he re-
ceived a commission as lieutenant. Count Charles was
earnestly attached to his profession, and this preferment,
which he knew merit rather than favour had procured him,
appeared to him as the first fruits of an honourable career
in legitimate warfare.
His uncle, Captain Henry D'Ermincourt, himself one
of the brightest ornaments of the French navy, who hoped
that his darling nephew would, at some future day, equal
the great Forbin or Duquesne, received him with open
arms. The Achilles having orders to sail, Charles, who
saw nothing in the future but glory and victory, was one
of the most joyous of the crew, when a boat, crowded with
recruits, approached the vessel.
"D'Estaing, do you feel unwell?" inquired a young offi-
cer, with whom the count was gaily conversing, as the
latter suddenly assumed the paleness of death. Charles
heard him not; he was too intently occupied in observing
a young sailor who was mounting the ship.
Lieutenant Saint Ague repeated the question ; but still
no answer was returned. Supposing that the count was
in one of his proud fits, a disorder he was often troubled
with, Saint Ague withdrew, and left the count to his contem-
plations. These, however, were any thing but agreeable.
The young sailor, now standing on the deck, was slightly
made, and negligently and somewhat raggedly dressed,
and in other respects seemed as if he were not accustomed
to his present situation. It was Philip Merville. The
count felt that his hatred was yet as violent as ever; he
cursed the chance that had thrown his enemy again across
his path, and he was on the point of entreating his uncle
to remove Philip Merville to some other vessel, but he
feared that he might be called on for explanations he would
not wish to make, and also leave room for his enemy to
suppose that his presence or his absence was a matter of
consequence to Count D'Estaing.
"No," said he, "let him stay the discipline of a man-
of-war will perhaps cure him of his audacity, and teach
him to submit to authority."
Such was the result of the secret cogitations of the
count. At first the paleness and subdued expression of
Philip's countenance had moved him to compassion ; but
finding that his enemy had recognized him, by the con-
temptuous and defying glances he from time to time di-
rected at him, he soon resolved to break down the fiery
haughtiness of this insolent seaman.
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
Alas! poor Philip was always his own worst enemy. In
lieu of resigning himself with fortitude to what he knew
must be inevitable, and of fulfilling his duties in such a
manner as would secure him the esteem of all his ship-
mates; instead of seeking to soften by his good conduct
the hatred of the count; he suffered his mind to become so
exasperated by desires of revenge, that neither fear nor
threats could either affright or mollify him. Pains and
privations served only to render him more furious and des-
perate, and his indomitable obstinacy made him pass the
three first months of his service amidst punishments and
chastisements of every kind.
If, recalling to his heart the religious sentiments of his
infancy, the young Merville had extinguished the venom
of his hatred ; if he had only made use of the many talents
with which nature had gifted him; and if, applying him-
self with diligence to the duties of his new profession, he
had proved to his superiors that, young as he was, he could
perform his various duties as adroitly as the oldest seaman
aboard; if, in fine, to an education and morals superior
to those of his own standing in life, he had added that
circumspect and regular behaviour which had character-
ized his early years, all would have respected him, and no
one more than his captain. His persecutor then would not
have dared to maltreat him at pleasure, and perhaps the
burthen of odium would have rested on the count's own
shoulders. But far, very far from such a line of conduct,
Philip seemed insensible to every pleasure, save that of
vexing and mortifying the count incessantly. Forgetting
the native generosity of his character, Charles tormented
in a thousand ways this miserable sailor, who was entirely
at his mercy; and he even resolved that he would never
relent, till he had forced Merville to bend his stiff neck,
and submit himself in every thing.
"What shall I do with that Philip ?" said the Lieutenant
Saint Ague to Count D'Estaing, as the boatswain was
untying him from a cannon at which he had suffered, with
the fortitude of a Spartan, a cruel and ignominious chas-
tisement, which his inflexible obstinacy had drawn upon
him: "he is neither a drunkard nor a blasphemer-he
shuns the company of the dissolute part of the crew; and
yet he alone gives us more trouble than all the rest to-
gether. He seems to me to have merited a higher lot in
Saint Ague had pronounced these words for the encour-
agement of the unfortunate young man, whose calm
composure under the severest punishment had touched his
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
Oh!" replied the count in a tone of contempt, in-
subordination and mutiny are his best virtues-he has
always been just as you see him now."
"'Tis false 'twas you that made me what I am," said
Philip, regarding him with a stern countenance.
"You tell me I lie !" cried the count, at the same time
giving Merville a severe blow in the face.
"Yes, cruel oppressor, I tell you it is false !" instantly
returning the blow.
Saint Ague had, for humanity's sake, endeavoured to
arrest his arm ; but it was too late. Miserable wretch !"
said this kind officer, in a tone of compassion, do you
know what you have done ? your life must atone for that
"Let them take it then!" answered Merville; "it will
be the last outrage they can make me submit to ;" and he
stretched out his hands, without murmuring, to the irons
that were already brought to be put on him.
Sea Fight Pardon achieved by Valour Stubbornness of Character.
So desperate a mutineer was Merville adjudged to be,
that it was thought necessary to chain him to the deck,
for fear that, in a fit of rage, he, who thought so little of
his own life, might fire the vessel, and blow himself and
the whole crew up together.
The Achilles was engaged in escorting fleet of merchant
vessels to Rio Janeiro. As they were making the coast of
Brazil an English man-of-war hove in sight. A few mi-
nutes afterwards, another ship, apparently her consort, was
described. They were cruising about in search of the fleet.
The merchantmen, carrying no guns, steered in different
directions, leaving the Achilles to sustain a most unequal
For Merville this engagement was a happy occurrence;
as at sea, before a battle, the prisoners are commonly set
at liberty. Lieutenant Saint Ague unlocked his chains.
"Philip," he said, "you have shown courage in a bad
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
cause; let us see now what you can do for your country.
I am to command the sailors. Let me find you near me."
"You shall see me near you," replied young Merville,
seizing the hand tendered him by the lieutenant-" you
are the only one on board from whom I have received a
kind word ever since I was dragged away from my home.
Rely upon my promise."
All was ready for action. The enemy approached with
the confidence that superior force inspires. At this terrible
moment some of the boldest could hardly refrain from
shuddering; as it was not for riches, but for life and
liberty they were about to fight; the honour of their flag
was in question-that same flag which had made the tour
of the world: but among them all there was one who
longed for the battle to commence ; who was resolved to
conquer or die, that he might blot out the remembrance of
his misconduct, and prove that he merited a better lot
than the death of a rebel.
The combat was long and bloody; and victory seemed
to hang by a single thread; sometimes the English were
certain it was theirs; but, by skilful manceuvring and
prodigies of heroic valour, the French at last carried the
day. The hostile vessels were forced to retire in the most
pitiable condition, and the Achilles herself was left a mere
hulk, her decks deluged with the blood of her brave men.
The enemy's retreat, however, was glorious for France,
and the brave officers and crew of this noble vessel : they
had done their duty, and had saved the fleet their country
had confided to their protection.
After all was again put in order, and the officers had
congratulated their captain on his noble defence, the Baron
D'Ermincourt ordered the young mutineer to be brought
before him. Philip approached pale and besprinkled with
blood, but with a countenance undismayed.
Young man," said the captain, you have done your
duty to-day. I have to thank you for having twice saved
the life of my friend, Lieutenant Saint Ague. His ac-
count of your behaviour is truly satisfactory. Your faults
are pardoned; you may return to your duty; and I trust
that from this day forward you will make yourself as re-
markable by your submission as you have hitherto been for
your obstinate indocility."
Philip cast his eyes on those of the captain, and saw in
them compassion and generosity; touched by conduct so
unexpected from the uncle of his enemy, he confessed with
tears that he had done wrong, and assured him that he
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
would give his heart's blood if necessary to expiate his
Ask pardon, then," said the captain, of Count D'Es-
taing for the outrage you committed on him, persevere in
your good resolution, and all shall be forgotten."
On my knees I ask your pardon, generous captain, for
having mutinied against so kind a commander; but I
cannot solicit Count Charles D'Estaing's forgiveness, be-
cause he insulted me first, and that long before I had ever
seen this vessel."
The count, who was standing at the side of his uncle,
looked down upon him with contempt; but Philip in-
stantly returned his haughty look.
"No conditions, sir," said the captain; "they do not
suit you. In what has my nephew been able to offend
"I leave it to himself to tell," replied Philip.
"I see," said the captain, "thatthere has been some
misunderstanding between my nephew and you, before
you joined the Achilles; but that cannot excuse your dis-
orderly conduct. Had you done your duty, as every French
sailor ought to do, you would have been encouraged, and
treated with mildness. Whatever affection I have for my
46 THE SHIPWRECK,
nephew, I would never, on his account, commit an act of
injustice against any of my subordinates. Go, get the
surgeon to dress your slight wounds; and let me after this
have good reason to praise your conduct."
Philip, bowing respectfully and gratefully to his cap-
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
Storm at Sea Critical Situation Noble Devotedness The Wreck.
THE merchantmen weye re-assembling, and the Achilles
repairing as well as she could the damage she had sus-
tained, when suddenly a furious tempest arose, which
threatened entire destruction to this shattered and crippled
Towards midnight she had made so much water that
the whole crew were employed at the pumps; about two
in the morning the wind fell, hope returned to all, and
they flattered themselves that the storm was over. But
an hour afterwards the tempest recommended, accom-
panied by thunder, lightning and rain; the wind blew so
strong a gale that the mainsheet first, and the other sails
in succession, were obliged to be furled. A fierce squall
struck and nearly capsized the unfortunate ship. The
decks, the hold and the cabins were inundated by the
waves. The vessel lay motionless, and to all appearance
a hopeless wreck; and the water was making headway with
a frightful rapidity. The captain ordered the mainmast to
be cut away-then the foremast, in order to right the ship
if possible. The mainmast fell, and carried off with it the
mizenmast and the bowsprit. The vessel righted, but
with great violence; and there was such confusion that
the pumps became almost useless. Every thing was
knocked about, broken or injured.
Ten minutes after the masts fell, the tiller of the helm
broke, and before the sailors could repair it, the helm itself
floated away. Every moment their situation was becom-
ing more critical; the water was gaining upon them fast.
Their provisions, liquors, wood, coal, were all either swept
overboard or spoiled by the salt water. They managed
however to save a few bottles of wine and brandy, a few
barrels of biscuit and beef, and two or three casks of fresh
water; which were barely enough to save the crew from
All the men that the pumps could spare were kept busy
the whole night in patching up a few sails; false masts
were got ready ; and as the following day was somewhat
calm, they determined to make the best of it. The crew
were divided into companies: some to raise the masts and
sails; some to ease the vessel by throwing overboard a
part of her great guns; and others to prepare a new helm,
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
and work at the pumps. By night, all the leaks were plug-
ged, the water in the hold pumped out, and ten bushels of
coals got up from it.
The broken ribs of the ship, and an immense quantity of
staves, planks, casks and hogsheads were thrown into the
sea, to clear the hold in case of fresh leaks.
The Achilles was now a sad spectacle: a man-of-war
without sails, masts or helm ; a mere shapeless mass in the
midst of the ocean. Barrels, boxes, provisions, rigging and
canvass were seen floating on all sides of her.
The mizenmast and helm were soon set right; and the
crew began to hope that the next day they would resume
their route to Brazil, from which the storm had driven
them a considerable distance.
During these hours of peril and fatigue, Captain D'Er-
mincourt could not forbear remarking, with satisfaction,
the change in the conduct of young Merville, who dis-
played activity and courage that no difficulty could van-
quish nor any mishap dishearten. Philip owed much of
this energy to the kind and encouraging deportment of his
captain, who never neglected to notice favourably every
man that did his duty faithfully. The young mutineer
had now become a general favourite among the officers;
no trace of his former irregularities remained, save his in-
extinguishable hatred to Count Charles. But he no longer
sought to retaliate the affronts put upon him by that offi-
cer. Confiding in the justice of his captain, he suffered
all in silence, but, within his heart, the desire of future
revenge reigned supreme. The hazardous situation to
which they were reduced would have softened the impla-
cable hatred of almost any two of the ship's company but
Philip and Charles; a severer remedy was necessary to
purge from their hearts the revengeful spirit which was
The Achilles, in her present deplorable condition, was in
the middle of the treacherous Atlantic, almost under the
line, without water; so that ere they could succeed in
making the coast of Brazil, the crew would find themselves
the victims of thirst, at all times most tormenting, but
wholly intolerable in those burning latitudes.
An island, in the midst of all these perplexities, was hap-
pily discovered, at no very great distance ahead : they flat-
tered themselves it might be one of those little islands
where the Portuguese kept settlements for the purpose of
revictualling such of their ships as trade with Africa. Like
St Helena, or Ascension Isle, this one too appeared crowned
with rocks or volcanoes. But, at all events, they might
probably obtain a few casks of fresh water from some little
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
rivulet or spring, if perchance any of the crew should be
daring enough to attempt to land on such a forbidding
coast; for, although the wind had fallen, the waves were
still rolling mountain high, and there were furious breakers
between the ship and the desired shore.
Courageous and enterprizing, and preferring any dan-
ger to the cruel thirst tormenting him, Count Charles
offered to take the long boat, if some of the sailors would
accompany him. Three of the most experienced stepped
forward; but five, at least, were necessary. The count
promised to guide the helm himself, if a fifth man could be
found willing to share their danger. Philip Merville of-
fered himself. Any one but him," muttered the count,
enraged that his enemy could display courage equal to his
own. However, as his services were offered for the common
good, he thought fit to accept of them, although with a
very bad grace; and the long boat was quickly lowered into
Captain D'Ermincourt, with a melancholy foreboding,
bade farewell to his nephew; yet he would not attempt to
dissuade him from an expedition which, however hazard-
ous, the necessities of his crew required. As the boat
neared the breakers, the danger seemed so terrific, that one
of the oldest of the sailors proposed that they should return
to the ship. The count, reflecting that he was responsi-
ble for the lives of the men confided to his command, did
not wish to oblige them to greater exertions. Compa-
nions," he cried out, "if you think the undertaking a des-
perate one, I will not force you to continue it; but if my
own life were sufficient, I would willingly sacrifice it to
purchase a little water for our suffering comrades."
The words of their commander reanimated the men;
the torments they had suffered from thirst were recalled to
mind; and after a desperate effort they landed and unship-
ped their water casks. They were not long in finding a
spring. It was gushing from a rock, on whose summit
stood a large wooden cross. But they did not meet a Por-
tuguese guard, which it is customary with that people to
place at all their settlements; and from this they inferred
that the island was uninhabited. The land looked sterile
and waste ; but after some search they discovered a deep
valley, in which grew a profusion of linden and cocoa trees,
doubtless planted by some humane navigator.
To gather cocoa nuts is not an easy task, as this fruit is
attached to the trunk of the tree by extremely tough liga-
ments. But young Merville, who had taken with him his
hatchet and saw for the purpose of cutting some wood,
climbed the trees, whilst the others were filling the casks
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
with water, and soon procured a large quantity of cocoa
nuts-an agreeable refreshment these for the poor sufferers
he had left aboard ship.
Whilst thus occupied, Charles summoned them to the
shore, where he had remained watching the boat.
Hurry, comrades," he called out to them, i' the wind
is freshening; let us push off, or we shall not reach the ship
The sailors got the casks and fruit speedily aboard,
and once more ventured among the breakers. Theystrug-
gled against them with all their strength. The wind blew
from the shore, and became every moment more and more
violent. At length the billows became so powerful, that,
notwithstanding their efforts, an enormous wave broke over
the boat, and buried her and her unfortunate crew be-
neath its weight.
The ship's company were witnesses of this 'awful catas-
trophe; but it was not in their power to afford their com-
panions any succour, the storm having left the Achilles
in the most destitute condition. Shortly afterwards the
wind drove her out to sea, and they, lost sight of this fatal
The boat's crew contended manfully for life, but three of
the five that formed it were old men worn out by recent
56 THE SHIPWRECK,
fatigues ; these soon perished. Philip was no where to be
seen: as to Charles, his youth and vigour enabled him,
with great difficulty, to reach the shore in an exhausted
and almost dying condition. As soon as he regained his
breath and strength, he ascended the rock on which stood
the above-mentioned cross. He directed his eyes towards
the Achilles. He perceived her the sport of the winds,
beaten by and engulfed in furious seas, and on the brink
of the same destruction from which he had just escaped.
Wholly absorbed in the contemplation of his beloved uncle's
danger, he forgot his own miserable condition, until, the
vessel disappearing entirely from sight, he perceived that
he was alone.
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
The Desert Island The Faithful Dog The Two Enemies Diffi-
culty of Self-Conquest.
OPPRESSED with frightful ideas, the count stood contem-
plating the merciless ocean, over whose vast bosom the
shades of darkness were now hovering. He looked around
him for some spot on which he might linger out this sad
and terrible night, and soon perceived, in an adjoining
rock, something that resembled a cavern. Thither he
gladly retreated; for since sunset the waves had greatly
increased and were rapidly approaching the rock where he
He tried to sleep, but it was impossible; the wounds
and bruises he had received whilst struggling for his life,
now began to pain him excessively. Not until the morn-
ing beams had silvered the surface of the Atlantic, did a
single recollection of his unfortunate companions harass
his memory, most of whom now, without doubt, must have
met with a watery grave. He could not bring himself to
utter a single word of thanksgiving to heaven for his mar-
vellous preservation, and in the madness of his grief he
envied the lot of those who had perished. To be for ever
separated from his fellow beings; never again to hear a
human voice other than his own; to find himself con-
demned, in the very meridian of his youth, to drag out a
miserable existence on this barren rock; seemed to him a
curse so heavy and terrible, that he searched into his heart
to know what crime could have brought it upon him.
Conscience sometimes sleeps, but never dies. She now
sternly upbraided him with faults and follies on which he
had never spent a moment's thought; she reminded him
vividly of the cruelty and injustice of his conduct towards
poor Philip Merville. Bitter remorse now filled his breast;
he remembered that, merely to glut his unjustifiable hatred,
that unfortunate youth was torn from his humble home,
from his innocent occupation, from his beloved relatives,
and exposed to a continued series of punishments, fatigues
and dangers, till at last a miserable death had delivered him
from a life still more miserable. These thoughts so har-
rowed up his soul, that he could remain no longer in his
dark and gloomy cavern, and passed the ensuing night in
wandering about the island, plunged in the deepest melan-
choly and tempted to self destruction.
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
At the earliest approach of day he returned to the shore,
in order to ascertain whether any of his unfortunate com-
panions had escaped the fury of the tempest. He had
heard his uncle giving orders to get ready the small boat
and the pinnace, in case the desperate state of the ship
should make it necessary to abandon her.
With a heavy heart he pursued his solitary walk,
whilst at every step the foaming billows rolled to his feet
the fragments of a wreck; but what wreck? Perhaps
his dear uncle was now numbered with the dead. The
sun, which was pouring over the surface of the tempes-
tuous ocean its streams of light, discovered to him some-
thing far from the shore, struggling with the greatest ex-
ertion to reach it. The feelings of the count were rendered
still more agonizing at the thought of his utter inability to
render the least assistance. He mounted a lofty rock,
and with his handkerchief stretched out, he called with
all his strength.
At that very instant a tremendous wave buried from his
view the object of his solicitude-again it appeared, ap-
proaching somewhat nearer the shore-but its efforts ap-
peared all in vain. The count, fearing that it was totally
exhausted and must inevitably perish notwithstanding
its proximity to the shore, threw himself into the midst of
the breakers, without a thought of his own security. At
the sound of his voice the drowning animal (for it proved
to be a dog) seemed animated with new vigour, and ma-
king one last effort, reached the feet of the count.
My poor Neptune! is it you ?" exclaimed the count,
in a tone of joy mingled with sadness. Alas !" continued
he, "the Achilles is lost. 0! my good, my generous uncle."
But, recollecting that a part of the company were probably
saved by means of the pinnace, and chiding the excess of
his own grief, he arose and pursued his researches, accom-
panied by his faithful Neptune, who was leaping with joy
at having found his master.
Proceeding slowly along, he beheld some cocoa-nuts
scattered on the sand. Burning with thirst he raised one
to his parched lips; when calling to mind that they were
some of those which young Merville had collected, and
which had fallen from his arms whilst he was carrying
them to the boat, he threw the yet untasted fruit to the
ground, exclaiming, No, it is impossible for me to taste
He was now standing on the very spot where he and
his unhappy companions had disembarked. The view of
this place filled his eyes with bitter tears. He continued
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
on, doubled a little promontory, and saw the remains of
the pinnace, upside down, drifting near the shore.
To a seaman this indeed was a most afflicting sight,
and he yielded for some moments to the grief that op-
pressed him ; when the joyous barkings of Neptune broke
in upon his mournful reveries. He raised his eyes, and
beheld a young sailor sitting with his back to the shore on
the floating bark, seemingly as sad as himself. Probably
he was the only one of the ship's crew that had escaped the
terrors of the storm, and the count, with open arms, ran
towards him, exclaiming with great emotion, 0 what
a happiness, my dear companion !"
At the sound of his voice the youthful mariner slowly
turned towards him ; and his pale visage, impressed with
the marks of contending passions, disclosed at once to the
count the presence and existence of Philip Merville.
The two foes regarded each other in gloomy silence,
each astonished that heaven had saved the life of his ene-
my, and each exhibiting on his countenance the deepest
ravages of grief and utter hopelessness.
This was the moment favourable to a reconciliation. A
compassionate look, a friendly smile, would have sufficed
to extinguish their mutual hatred : the words of reconcili-
ation were on their lips; but false shame and detestable
of all his follies and regrets, had rendered him more mise-
rable by far than the victims of his cruel injustice.
Unfortunately Philip's own character was in too many
respects similar to his antagonist's. Never had young
Merville given himself the trouble to inquire from his own
heart, whether he was not, at the least, quite as much in
the wrong as he knew the count to be. If Charles was
haughty, Philip was insolent; if the former was prone to
provoke, the latter was ever ready to repel injury by insult.
If Philip had but reflected for a moment on that maxim of
sacred writ-a soft answer turneth away wrath, if he had
been courageous enough to have practised it but once; the
count would have been pacified, and numberless grievances
and sufferings, and much bitter remorse would have been
avoided by both of them.
When Philip beheld the eyes of Charles bedewed with
tears, his first emotion was one of surprise. "And can
so harsh and proud a tyrant know how to weep?" said he
to himself. "Does his heart still retain some latent sparks
of sensibility ?" Philip was sincere; for he now remem-
bered how often he had thrown himself in the way of the
count for no other purpose than to insult and provoke him.
For the first time in his life he put himself in the place of
his enemy, and inquired if under such circumstances he
OR THE DESERT ISLAND. 65
would not have acted precisely as Charles had. But he
did not enter deeply enough into the sinful labyrinth of his
own heart to be able fully to appreciate his misconduct;
and even though he pardoned the count, he was yet pro-
bably ignorant that he himself stood in as much need of
pardon, whether from the count or from Him who enjoins
us to forgive as we hope to be forgiven.
The Cavern of the Rock The Valley of Lindens.
THE count returned to his gloomy cavern, and there
gave himself up to the most harrowing and heart rending
reflections; but hunger soon called upon him to supply
the necessities of a life that Providence had yet spared him.
Perhaps, however, he would have yielded to his apathy
and spurned the voice of nature, if the speaking looks of
his faithful dog ha'd not aroused him from his torpor and
insensibility. Neptune was a beautiful greyhound, a pre-
sent from his elder brother. The count, who had long so-
licited the gift, was extremely attached to the noble animal:
he fed him from his own table; and even shared with
him his scanty ration of biscuit and water, when the
Achilles was in her most distressed condition. Neptune,
who had been keeping a long fast, raised his paws to his
master's knees, and with the most hungry look imaginable
intimated his wants. The count arose and departed in
search of some nourishment for him.
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
He was not apprehensive of dying from hunger; for he
knew that in that latitude he could always find on the
beach either turtles or the eggs of that animal. Whilst
he was rambling along the shore, occupied with a multi-
plicity of thoughts and forgetful of his hunger, Neptune
discovered in the sand a superb turtle. His master killed
it, threw a large portion to the faithful animal, and set
about collecting some remnants of the wreck in order to
kindle a fire. He found a pebble which, when struck with
his pocket knife, readily emitted sparks of fire; but all his
ingenuity could not enkindle the wood, whilst he succeeded
however in scorching the skin of his hands and lacerating
his fingers. This vexation enraged him; and he continued
striking the pebble and knife together, until the former
split into a thousand pieces. He sat down in the worst
possible humour, glancing his eyes sorrowfully over the
pile of chips and the raw meat of the turtle. He at last
recollected that if he could not cook his food, he could at
least allay his thirst at the delicious spring of pure water
which the ui, ilculuiu el. ,rii'! crew had discovered on their
disembarkai ioi. He soon round it, and refreshed himself
at his ease. At some distance from the spring was the
valley where the cocoa and the linden trees were in full
bloom; and it was not without something like envy that
he perceived Philip near a brilliant fire cheerfully cooking
his evening meal. He immediately removed from this
delightful spot, and returned to the shore, where he picked
up some turtle's eggs (which may be eaten raw), and with
these he appeased his hunger. Once more in his cavern,
he extended himself on its flinty floor with Neptune for
his pillow, and despite his distress and sorrow, he fell,
overpowered by fatigue, into a profound sleep.
Next morning his perplexity was redoubled; for, al-
though he had with heroic patience endured the fatigues
and privations incident to naval life-though during the
famine on board the Achilles he was content with the
same allowance that was distributed to the lowest of the
ship's crew, and had even willingly shared that little por-
tion with his faithful dog, he could not now see himself
obliged to procure by his daily vigilance a mere sustenance
for his miserable life, without yielding almost to despair.
During his childhood he had been incumbered with
waiters and valets, who were ever on the watch to divine
and gratify his every whim and caprice ; so that at the
age of seventeen years the count, though already a brave
officer and well skilled in his profession, was totally igno-
rant of many things which every child is familiar with-
or if not ignorant of them in theory, he was undoubtedly
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
very awkward in their performance. In this conjuncture
his good sense made amends for his want of experience:
for, after a little consideration, he set about gathering the
dry moss from about the rocks ; and collecting the rays of
the sun in the focus of a telescope glass that he found in
his pocket, he procured himself fire, and roasted enough of
the turtle's meat to last him for several days.
The sun, which for several days had been for long in-
tervals hid behind masses of dense clouds, now burst forth
in his fullest splendour, and seemed to presage a long
drought-that dread scourge so common to these latitudes.
Charles, to avoid the sun, now darting its burning perpen-
dicular rays on his bare head, took refuge in his cavern,
the temperature of which was about that of a half-heated
Nearly stifled by the closeness of the air, he thought of
the valley which Philip had taken in possession, and thither
he directed his feeble steps ; but he found it not extensive
enough in his conceit to afford shelter to two hostile indi-
viduals. Returning to his rocky den, he resolved to make
that very evening the tour of the island, in hopes of finding
some shady vale, like that of Philip's, in which he might
rest his wearied limbs.
But what was his despair when, after a most tiresome
walk, he succeeded merely in ascertaining the limits of
his prison ground In vain had he sought for a shaded
spot; his eyes encountered nothing save arid rocks and
burning sands. He ascended a conical hill that com-
manded a view of the whole horizon, and whose summit
was capped by the crater of an extinguished volcano.
Thence he beheld the whole island beneath him-in cir-
cumference not more than five or six miles, and covered
with heaps of sterile rocks, piled one upon another in the
most fantastic and disorderly manner: not a tree, not a
single blade of grass, not a verdant spot was to be seen.
The little wooded vale inhabited by Philip presented an
extraordinary contrast to the calcined rocks every where
The count fixed his longing eyes on this favoured spot,
and seeing the distant smoke of Philip's fire curling and
playing round the tops of the loftiest trees, he could
not forbear exclaiming aloud, "Yes in spite of my anti-
pathy, I must share with him that sole habitable spot: it
would be impossible for me to endure such another day as
yesterday. That grove was surely planted by some be-
nevolent navigator; and, as his intention was to bestow a
favour on his fellow beings, I have as much right as
another to profit from it."
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
Thus he spoke; and the moment afterwards he was
toiling his way down a narrow and precipitous path-a
task that required all his activity and attention. After a
fatiguing descent he entered the valley. There, on the
green and tender sward, beneath the shade of an odorife-
rous linden, he stretched his tired limbs; and, until the
beams of the morning danced upon his eyelids, nothing in-
terrupted his profound and balmy repose.
He was hardly awake before he fancied he heard some
sweet and melodious voice. Raising his head from his
grassy pillow, he saw, not far from him, Philip Merville
busy already at his daily employment. He was not a little
astonished at the promptitude with which his enemy had
fashioned for himself a snug little cabin. In fact Philip
had availed himself of the wreck of the pinnace, which
the sea had thrown on shore, to build quite a comfortable
residence. He was now finishing the roof, merrily sing-
ing to the sound of his hammer. His hut was located in
the thickest part of the grove, at the foot of a young and
superb vine-the only one on the isle. As he covered the
roof, he extended across it the luscious branches, carefully
avoiding to bruise the almost ripened grapes, insomuch
that his cabin, though hardly completed, presented already
the charming aspect of a verdant bower.
Industry and Activity -Incapacity and Awkwardness -Alterca-
EXHAUSTED and overpowered by the heat of the climate,
Count Charles recruited himself for a couple of days be-
neath the sweet shade of his favourite linden, amusing
himself with Neptune's playful tricks, or, when he thought
himself unseen, examining the progress his enemy was
making in his labours, without however addressing a single
word to Philip, who, on his side, maintained the same
The count could not imagine how Merville had come by
the hatchet and the saw which he was handling so
adroitly; but he would not demean himself so far as to ask
him the question. The fact was simply this-Philip,
being in haste to return to the long boat, had left these
tools at the foot of a tree, where he had been cutting cocoa
nuts for the crew of the Achilles, and had subsequently
recollected and recovered them. In possession of these
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
treasures, he soon made himself a hammer out of a stone
hollowed in the middle-pulled out all the old nails from
the wreck of the pinnace, and was now giving the last
stroke to the new building. When Philip had begun to
make a table and a chair, the count thought that if he
could only frame something of the sort to set under his
linden, he would no longer look with a covetous eye on
the rough cabin his enemy seemed so greatly to pride
himself on. He went therefore along the shore and ga-
thered up some pieces of plank, with the intention of trans-
forming them into a breakfast table and a three-footed
He would rather have worked at them on the beach
out of view of his antagonist; but the insupportable heat
compelled him to take refuge within the delicious shade of
the grove, where perpetual zephyrs seemed to fan each
leaf. Followed by his canine companion, and loaded
with the timber he had collected, he returned to his linden
tree, though not without a deep feeling of disgust. At the
sight of the haughty young count stooping to so mean an
employment, Philip's malignant curiosity induced him to
pause from his work, to contemplate the manner in which
Charles would accomplish his undertaking.
The first thing he attempted was to break off two or
three branches from a tree in order to form legs for his
chair. It was a species of iron wood, the hardest in exis-
tence. The count cast a longing eye on Philip's saw,
which would have been so useful to him; but he disdained
to ask him for the loan of it.
He sat down on the grass, and began to cut out the legs
of the future chairwith his pocket knife, the only instrument
in his possession. This was a work of very great labour.
He next selected a square piece of board, and traced on it
with his crayon the holes he deemed it proper to make
through it. He then went over to Philip's fire, and took
out of it a burning stake, the end of which he pressed on
the places marked out for excavation, until the holes were
completely opened. He now, with a large stone, drove in
the legs, and placed his chair upright; but, the legs being
of unequal length, the poor chair was not able to maintain
its erect position, and fell over.
Philip, who had foreseen this result, was inwardly de-
lighted at the awkwardness of the count; yet, dissembling
his emotions, he called out, The middle leg must be
shortened, or your chair will never keep its feet," at the
same time pushing towards him with his foot the hatchet
The count with a disdainful air rejected them.
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
Do you think," said he, "that I will ever degrade my-
self so far as to make use of your tools ?"
Indignation -flushed the face of Philip Merville.
Perhaps," he replied in an ironical tone, your lord-
ship will not be long in discovering from experience
whether your dignity or my skill has the preference in this
part of the world."
The count with a haughty air hurled to a distance the
saw and the hatchet, and with his knife resumed his task.
But this was a work of time and trouble. The knife,
itself unfit for such labour, could hardly be in more clumsy
hands. To add to his mortification, he saw Philip looking
on and laughing at his miserable workmanship.
The sight was enough to confuse him entirely, and in
the effervescence of his anger the knife slipped and cut his
fingers. He looked towards Philip, and beheld him laugh-
ing. Exasperated beyond measure, he darted at him a
most furious glance ; while the other calmly but insolently
continued to stare at him. Unwilling to be longer the
subject of Philip's malicious pleasure, which he seemed to
relish extremely, Charles redoubled his efforts, and buried
his knife so deeply in the wood that it was impossible for
him to withdraw it.
Merville laughed louder than ever; and the count, no
longer able to contain himself, made so powerful an effort
to disengage the knife, that the blade broke off near the
handle. Furious, he seized the luckless chair, and dashed
it to the ground violently. At this silly freak, Philip
roared with laughter.
"Insolent wretch !" cried the count, "dare you insult me
in this manner ?"
My Lord Count Charles D'Estaing," replied Merville,
in his cruel ironical manner, I would wish you to remem-
ber that you are not now either in the park of the marquis
your father, or on the quarterdeck of the Achilles, where
you were at liberty to give full scope to your frensies.
Here we are equals; and every outrage, whether by word
or deed, shall instantly receive condign chastisement. I
therefore advise your lordship to have a guard on your
tongue, or very disagreeable consequences, may be the
result to your lordship."
Infamous monster, do you forget that I am your com-
No," replied Philip, in whose breast certain remem-
brances were at this moment causing him great agitation,
" no, you have made it impossible for me to forget that it
was once in your power to gratify your savage hatred
towards me You basely persecuted me when you knew
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
that it was not in my power to resist the authority you
were so shamefully abusing. I was your victim-I am so
no longer; and," continued he, advancing up to the
count, "beware of obliging me to take, for all the outrages
and injuries you have done me, such vengeance as will
compel your proud heart to curse the fatal hour which
made Philip Merville the companion of your voyage."
The expression of Philip's eyes, as he uttered these
words, exhibited something so terrible, that the count,
brave as he was-and never was there a braver officer,
changed colour; but, instantly resuming his intrepidity, he
put himself in the posture of a man ready to repel an at-
tack on his person.
"That is unnecessary," said Philip, in a voice of insult-
ing superiority; "I am not going to attack you. You
have already several times felt the weight of this arm: I
need not tell you that you are no match for me. Do not
imagine that your tyranny on board ship has weakened
my strength; but so long as your conduct towards me
shall be inoffensive, and provided you do not molest me
with insulting language, you shall have nothing to fear
from my blows."
To fear !" repeated the count, think you that I could
ever fear such a thing as you ?"
78 THE SHIPWRECK,
"Perhaps not; but I tell you again, do not attempt to
molest me without cause."
So saying, he retired into his cabin, leaving the count
to his reflections.
The brief but fierce altercation which had just termi-
.nated greatly disturbed the count's equanimity. He
thought of Philip's physical superiority-of the worthless-
ness of his own rank in this desert isle; his conscience too
reproached him with the injuries and provocations he had
inflicted upon this poor young man; and then he would
wonder at Merville's forbearance, in not availing himself
of his superior bodily strength to take revenge for all that
he had suffered from him on board the Achilles, and even
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
Return to the Cavern- Remorse Bodies of the Wrecked.
THE high minded count could not endure the idea of
remaining within sight of his enemy : his dismal cavern,
the heat and sterility of the island, seemed preferable to the
delicious grotto that now sheltered him, infested as it was
by the presence of his bitterest enemy.
Charles was sensible that hecould never bend his haughty
temper to that degree of moderation and civility which
Philip required; he moreover feared that so sudden a refor-
mation would be considered as the offspring of fear. On
the other hand, he knew that if he should continue to com-
port himself as imperiously as in times past, so as to pro-
voke his enemy to combat, he would infallibly be the
sufferer. The heat of the climate had so weakened his
constitution, that for him to think of attacking such an
adversary as young Merville, or even of repelling his ag-
gressions, would be to expose himself to the contempt'and
continued insults of a justly irritated enemy.
To avoid these consequences he deemed it more suitable
to his birth and professional station to withdraw himself;
and, followed by Neptune, he slowly and sadly walked
back to his cave, leaving Philip the undisputed monarch
of the valley.
Exasperated by the remembrance of the numberless and
long continued wrongs that Count Charles had made him
endure, Philip could not hear without irrepressible indig-
nation the proud and contemptuous expressions of his
former commander. He had given way to threats which,
in their mutual situation, should never have fallen from
his lips : but he had not the slightest thought of ever car-
rying them into effect ; for, in spite of his failings, Philip
was naturally too generous to take advantage of the cir-
cumstances which placed the count at his mercy. Nor was'
it his intention to drive his unfortunate companion in exile
from the only spot on the isle that could afford him protec-
tion from the heat; and he therefore hoped that the count
would revisit his darling linden tree as soon as a solitary
walk should have dissipated his resentment.
Other considerations also claimed his compassion. He
began to think how delicately that young nobleman had
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
been reared from his infancy ; of what cares and solicitudes
he had been the beloved object; and how severely he must
feel the cruel privations that had at length befallen him.
Philip's heart now tormented him-something like repen-
tance had entered it, and he regretted that he had pro-
voked a quarrel which had forced his enemy to abandon
the only part of the island in which probably existence was
Full of these sad thoughts he often left his work and
rambled round the precincts of his dwelling, anxiously
looking on all sides for the return of the count. But the
latter was nowhere to be seen.
Merville was now experiencing all the tortures of self-
condemnation. Perhaps, had he perceived Charles, his
smothered hate would have again blazed forth from his
fiery and impetuous breast; yet, owing to one of those
contradictory and inexplicable feelings of which man is
so often the sport, he sincerely regretted that he was the
cause of the count's absence.
The stings of remorse hindered him, the ensuing night,
from enjoying that serene repose which is commonly the
reward of a well-spent day; and this remorse was the
more intolerable, inasmuch as he could not close his eyes
to the facts: That although he had been maltreated by the
count, yet something was due to his rank and his birth,
and that in this last quarrel the blame had been entirely on
his own side. That it was he who had provoked the hasty
expressions of the count, by making his misfortune the
subject of his mockery. That the loss of his knife would
be an irreparable and grievous calamity, since it would
thenceforward deprive him of the means of providing for
his most urgent necessities. Philip would readily have
gone to the shore in order to ascertain what had become
of the count; but he dreaded lest a fresh altercation might
be the result. However he was obliged to go thither,
after his dinner, to gather up some additional remains of
Having reached the shore, he found that the tide had
been extremely high the preceding night, and that it had
thrown on the sand a plentiful supply of plank and cor-
dage, and even the broken masts of the ship. He eagerly
collected them together on an elevation beyond the reach
of the tide.
When he had finished, he walked towards the cavern,
in which the count had taken up his residence. The rays
of the setting sun, reflected by his epaulette, enabled Philip
to discern him at a distance. He appeared to be engaged
in some kind of labour.
OR THE DESERT ISLAND. 83
To avoid the suspicion of hostility, Philip cautiously and
gradually approached him. When sufficiently near, he
found that the count was opening a ditch in the sand by
means of a board. Near him were lying the bodies of five
men which the tide had left at the very entrance of his
At the sight of the lifeless remains of his unfortunate
shipmates Philip could not refrain from tears. Seizing
a plank, and placing himself opposite to the count, he
shared with him the labour of this mournful duty. But
both observed a rigid silence.
The Young Marine The Boatswain's Corpse Revengeful Feel-
ings- The Burial- Inward Struggles Power of Self Love.
AMONG the bodies Charles discovered one that he could
not look at without the most heart-rending emotions.
It was the corpse of a young marine. Charles had loved
him as a brother-indeed his mild, generous and coura-
geous disposition had endeared him to every officer on board
the Achilles. At one time when D'Estaing had surren-
dered himself to the madness of his impetuosity and had
grossly insulted a fellow officer, this young marine had in-
terposed with such prudence and effect, that an immediate
reconciliation, instead of a deadly contest, between the two
Thenceforward Charles, who had previously disdained
to notice him, became attached to his society, and spent
nearly all his leisure moments with him. The young
marine in return opened his heart to the count, and made
him the sole depository of his most secret thoughts. His
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
father was an old officer, revered for his virtues and his
merit, but unblessed with fortune's gifts, if such gifts de-
serve that name. His anxious desire was that his son
should imitate his own and the example of his ancestors,
by consecrating the most valuable years of his life to the
service of his king and his country.
Brave and intrepid, the youth fulfilled his parent's wish;
but the voice of nature could not be stifled-tlie harassing
thought that death might strike his father before his re-
turn could soothe his declining years was continually pre-
sent to him. Before the engagement with the British
vessels he had taken young D'Estaing aside, and in the
most moving tone addressed him thus: You have shown
so much regard and affection for me, that I am encouraged
to beg of you a great favour. Our enemy is close at hand-
the signal for action has been given-I expect to do my
duty. If I fall, before my corpse is thrown to the waves
take off from this finger, I entreat you, the ring that is
now upon it: it once belonged to my mother. When you
return to France, send it to my poor old father, and tell
him that his son's last request was for his blessing."
This ring was yet encircling that same finger. The
count, touched to his very soul, religiously unloosed it, and
fastened it to his bosom. When he had deposited the body
of this noble youth in the narrow couch he had prepared
with so much toil, his tears could no longer be restrained,
his strength failed him, and he was unable to finish what
he had commenced. Philip saw this, and hastened to
finish the sad duty. The count did not reject his volun-
tary aid, nor did he even once raise his eyes from the grave.
In silence they had entered upon this melancholy office,
in silence they continued it.
The moon had now risen, and the last grave was yet
unopened. Philip cast his eyes on the livid countenance
of the unburied corpse : it disclosed to him the well known
features of the boatswain. All his hatred was aroused at
the sight. 'Twas by the hand of this very man that a
most severe and ignominious punishment had been in-
flicted upon him but a few days before his death, and that
too by Count Charles's special order.
A deadly paleness overspread his face, and his eyes be-
trayed his bitter fury. Yet he forgot not that this man
was but the passive instrument of another's hate.
Yes !" said he to himself, it was thy hatred, tyrant!
which added that indignity to so many others ;" fixing at
the same instant on the count a look expressive of the
vengeance he was now thirsting for. The count could
not mistake the meaning of the glance, but he misinter-
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
preted the cause of it. Whilst employed in the perform-
ance of so awful a duty, that Philip should have sought an
occasion of insulting him, appeared to the count an un-
He stood, and sternly surveyed his enemy as contemp-
tuously and insultingly as he could.
Merville, forgetting that he had been the first to violate
the truce he had himself made, cried out in a furious voice,
"Reserve your proud looks for those who care for them, if
any such there be on this whole island ; and believe that
I hold you beneath the dignity of revenge."
The count loftily replied-" Go seek then one base
enough to brook your insolence-but meddle not with me;"
and then, in an affected tone of calmness-the irony of des-
pair, he added, Mr Merville, you will excuse my rude-
ness in intimating how greatly I should be favoured by
your absence. You have taken possession of the only ha-
bitable spot on the island ; and I have not objected to it,
nor disputed it with you. In return for my moderation,
the least you can do is to leave me to my own society-
alone and tranquil, on my own sterile domains."
"Were my only security," rejoined Philip, with a sar-
castic smile, to be found in the moderation of my lord
the Count D'Estaing, it would not be very long before I
should be driven from my present dwelling, as I was
dragged from my father's. But here I shall assert my
rights; and he who shall be rash enough to violate them
shall live long enough to repent it."
At the conclusion of this menace young Merville re-
sumed his task, and soon filled with sand the grave of the
Charles spoke not another word. Faint and exhausted,
he sat down on the elevated sand. The sight of these
bodies had reminded him of the probable fate of his be-
loved uncle, and a flood of scalding tears rolled from his
The tears of his enemy, the sorrow and despair impressed
on his visage, made their way to Philip's heart. The
remorse he had himself experienced only the preceding
night was now remembered; and he thought that if he
himself could now so abuse his mere physical superiority,
it was not to be wondered at that Count Charles, on board
a man-of-war, and clothed with official authority, should
also have played the tyrant.
He paused, and fixed his eyes again upon his enemy.
The silvery moonbeams illuminated his visage. His
squalid, pale and haggard appearance, the deep grief and
despair he read in his eyes, so wrought upon his better
feelings, that Philip was on the point of soliciting his par-
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
don, and of conducting him to his own cabin. Whilst he
was yet hesitating, Count Charles, raising his eyes, signi-
fied to Philip, by a haughty motion of his hand, that he
wished him to withdraw. Philip had not moral courage
sufficient to seek a reconciliation, and he returned home-
wards with an upbraiding and sorrowing conscience.
Charles, like one broken down by the weight of his own
insupportable afflictions, remained sitting on the boat-
swain's grave, his head resting between his hands, igno-
rant that he was now alone, and seemingly lost to all self-
The languor and melancholy which had enervated his
mind, rendered him averse to answer Philip's menace:
and although it was still ringing in his ears, the confusion
and trouble of his spirits compelled him to silence ; and,
for the first time in his life, he was the first to retreat from
a war of retaliation.
In extreme need of repose, and probably forgetting that
his enemy cared nothing for his orders, he had commanded
Philip to retire with that gesticulation of authority which
had been so long familiar to him.
Philip, however, for this once, had yielded obedience to
his imperious mandate. Long after he had departed, the
count raised his head, and, looking round, felt himself less
miserable in finding that he was alone.
The Fever-Melancholy Reminiscences- Thoughts on Eternity.
THE naturally robust constitution of Count D'Estaing
had been greatly disordered since his sojourn in this isle,
partly by the mental trouble arising from the too probable
loss of his uncle and many dear friends who were with
him in the Achilles, partly by the remorse his past follies
had given birth to, and partly by the impatience that he
indulged at finding himself in a situation rendered so much
the more intolerable by the almost effeminate indulgences
to which he had been from his infancy accustomed. His
excessive fatigues and exertions had, moreover, contributed
greatly to his now most wretched condition. The dews in
that climate often prove fatal to those who are even once
exposed to their pestiferous influences : and yet Charles's
only bed had been the arid rock, or the damp grass that
grew beneath his favourite tree.
He had lost his hat when the long boat had been en-
gulfed in the tempestuous waves, and however trifling such
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
a loss may appear to those who live in a more salubrious
clime, to Count Charles the consequences were indeed se-
rious. For, exposed to the piercing rays of a burning sun,
every walk he was forced to take was followed by a severe
pain in his head.
After quitting the valley, the hatred that was burning
in his bosom made him forget, for hours, that a tropical
sun was pouring its fiercest rays directly on his uncovered
head. He had passed the night without sleep, and the
next day he had found, at the entrance of his cavern, the
dead bodies of some of his shipmates. It was with great
difficulty that he could animate himself sufficiently, sick
as he was, to the performance of a duty so sad and so ne-
Notwithstanding the heat of the day and the labour of
the task, he was visited by frequent shivering fits; and the
scorching rays of the sun gave him intense pain, and
finally produced delirium.
He had spent considerable time in digging the first grave,
when, exhausted by his exertions, he sought repose in his
cavern. But the sight of his comrades stretched on the
naked sand roused him from his apathy, and he returned
to his melancholy and difficult undertaking. Hardly had
he dug the first grave, and whilst he was despairing of
ability to open the others, Philip came and lent him his
assistance. That assistance was too precious to be rejected.
He had even felt a kind of gratitude for the silence his
enemy observed, and was about to thank him for his ser-
vices, when, lifting his eyes, he noticed that revengeful
look of Philip, already alluded to. Absorbed in his sad
reflections, he had not penetrated into the motive of it : if
he had observed that the corpse he was interring belonged
to the boatswain, perhaps he would have understood Phi-
lip's sentiment. But, ignorant of what had led to this
renewal of hostilities, he could not forbear from retaliation.
Count Charles had not strength to remove himself from
the boatswain's grave, until that night's sleep had re-
stored him to a slight degree of strength. In the morning
he returned to his cavern. His thirst was excessive, and
he could not quench it but by going either to the valley or
to the spring.
Although the distance to the valley was far shorter, yet
the remembrance of Philip caused him to decide on going
to the spring. Having drunk abundantly, he filled a
large shell with the water, apprehensive that he would not
be strong enough to repeat the journey; and he walked,
or rather crawled back towards his solitary abode.
The chills that had attacked him the preceding evening
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
had now changed into a burning fever. With slow steps he
traversed the parched sand. Encompassed by the barren
and frightful rocks of which the isle was almost wholly
composed, he could not forbear contrasting them with his
father's park, and the verdant and flowery meadows and
fields which environned his magnificent mansion.
I shall never again see them," he murmured; I shall
die on the flinty rock, without solace from any living crea-
ture." A thousand agonizing reminiscences rushed into
his imagination : the brilliant fetes at his father's chateau;
the numerous retinue of servants; its sumptuous apart-
ments ; the horses and equipages ; that eagerness of all to
satisfy his every wish. "All this," said he, "is but a
dream, and a frightful one too, leaving nothing behind it
but gloomy and afflicting thoughts."
Suddenly the image of his mother appeared to his fancy,
and inflamed his imagination yet more. "And you, my
tender mother, you whom I have so often beheld carrying
to the bedside of the poor and the sick both the comforts
and the delicacies of life, what would be your feelings,
could you but see that son, you once too dearly cherished,
on this burning and desolate coast ? What enormous crime
have I perpetrated, that I should be left to die without the
presence of a human being to comfort me ? Never again
shall the hand of friendship be extended to me; never
again shall these eyes behold my dearest mother. Yet
there is one here who dwelled in the land of my childhood-
who reposed under the same delicious bowers. 0 my
mother, he has seen you; he knows you : why does he not
come to receive my last wish-to tell you one day-to tell
my father too, that I did not die without thinking of you ?
But he-no, never !-I have no friend but my dog: poor
animal! your fidelity, what avails it ? you can do nothing
The count, oppressed by the intensity of the heat, and
totally unable to drag himself any further, entered his
cavern, and would have quitted it at the same moment, so
dense and suffocating was its atmosphere, but his limbs
were no longer obedient to his will, and he fell to the
ground in a state of utter helplessness. Considerations of
the most solemn and awful nature began to affright him.
He felt that he was about to die, and he knew that he was
unprepared to meet death. The consoling truths of Chris-
tianity, which from his early childhood had been deeply
impressed upon his understanding, now absorbed his reflec-
tions. If not impious, he had been, like the generality of
the young, the thoughtless and the vain, indifferent, at
least, to the observances of his religion. But at this de-
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
cisive moment the fear of God's judgments, which had
hitherto been forgotten, overwhelmed him with the most
He recalled to mind his numberless transgressions, the
enormity of his sins; and had all the riches and dignities
and empires of the world been at his disposal, freely would
he have given them in exchange for a few more hours to
live-hours that for so many years he had squandered and
abused as if his Creator had fixed no term to his earthly
pilgrimage. His pride, his haughtiness, his implacable
resentments, and more especially the cruel and unjusti-
fiable persecutions to which his capricious hatred had sub-
jected the innocent Merville, were now weighing most
heavily upon his conscience: earnestly did he desire to
revoke the past-but this was impossible; of the future he
almost despaired. The present moment was all he could
dispose of; and most diligently ought he to have em-
ployed it in seeking reconciliation with his God.
But, alas the violence of his fever had disordered his
senses; and although he was conscious of the necessity of
repentance, his troubled memory could not enable him to
frame or recite the shortest supplication. He knew that
he was on the threshold of eternity, and yet minute after
minute was rapidly passing and leaving his thoughts the
96 THE SHIPWRECK,
sport of alternate reason and delirium. He knew the
danger that was before him; he shuddered as his imagi-
nation placed him before the tribunal of the most high;
and yet his lips refused to invoke that mercy promised to
all who sincerely petition for it. "Eternity Eternity!
Eternity !" he slowly and solemnly repeated ; and fell at
length into a fit of utter delirium, followed by long intervals
of deadly stupor, from which his faithful Neptune vainly
endeavoured to awake him by his mournful howlings and
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
Horrors of Night to the Guilty--Dismal Images-The Choir oi
Angels, and the Blind Girl.
PHILIP, meanwhile, had returned to his delightful valley;
and, fatigued by the excitements of the day, he sought to
enjoy the sweets of a profound repose. But the image of
Count Charles-pale, haggard and emaciated, just as he
had beheld him seated on the boatswain's grave, inces-
santly haunted him. He was well aware that it was but
the phantom of his own creation : and yet he could not
sleep; he could not quiet his upbraiding heart; he could
turn his eyes in no direction without encountering the
At the earliest dawn of day he hastened to his accus-
tomed employment, in hopes of ridding himself of these
gloomy imaginations. He had observed on the opposite
side of the isle, growing in the clefts of the rocks, a spe-
cies of moss very suitable for the purpose he had in view.
He collected a large quantity of it, and fabricated for him-
self a soft and comfortable maltrass, which he spread on
his newly made bedstead. By doubling the upper end of
this mossy couch he supplied the want of a pillow.
Busily occupied with a variety of little matters, Philip
gave himself no time to think about the fate of Charles.
Towards evening he saw Neptune making for the valley:
the sagacious animal quickly devoured the morsel that
Philip threw him, and immediately hurried back.
Reminded of Charles by the visit of the dog,he exclaimed,
" What has become of the count ? Perhaps he is dan-
gerously sick ? How barbarous was it in me to insult,
provoke and threaten him as I did? Surely his proud
heart will break, rather than brook my presence. I need
never expect to see him again at the foot of his favourite
linden tree." And Philip chided himself severely for his
But the novelty of his bed-the delicious and undis-
turbed slumbers it promised him, and the soothing fra-
grance of the balmy air, calmed his self reproach. He did
not reflect that a troubled conscience can find no repose-
that neither roses nor down can render the pillow soft to
him on whose vitals the vulture of revenge is feasting.
A few short hours sufficed to dissipate the delusive tran-
quillity that was so gently beguiling him. Again the hour
OR THE DESERT ISLAND.
of repose had returned; and Philip, elated at his own inge-
nuity and industry, betook himself to his mattress. Di-
verting his mind from all serious thoughts, slumber soon
closed his eyes.
But when frightful dreams infest our sleep the empire of
conscience even then is fearful. His enemy seemed again
present: ghastly and melancholy he stood by Philip's bed,
upbraiding him for his inhumanity. Sometimes fancy
would change the picture; and stretched on the barren
beach Charles was seen expiring from hunger, heat and
thirst, or lying on the graves they had both prepared, a
lifeless, hideous corpse.
Tortured by such gloomy imaginings, Philip at length
awoke ; but the impressions they left could not be so soon
effaced. The more he strove to banish all remembrance
of Charles from his mind, the more hideous his conceptions
became : sad, livid and stained with blood, the count
seemed again at his bedside, accusing him of hatred, re-
venge and murder. The miserable Merville found not the
promised repose; a cold sweat bedewed his forehead, his res-
piration was almost choked, and this decisive night was to
him a night of horrors and sufferings more real and intense
than any lie had ever before experienced.
Completely exhausted by this moral fatigue and torture,
if we may so term it, Philip towards morning sunk into a
profound sleep. And now another scene, and one de-
lightful to contemplate, was conjured up by his fertile
fancy. The heavens appeared open to his view; melo-
dies the most ravishing enchanted his ears; he seemed to
behold a band of blessed spirits, whose dazzling splen-
dour surpassed the brightness of the sun. In the midst
of them a virgin of angelic mien was seen. The tunic
that hung from her shoulders was whiter than the moun-
tain snow. In her hand she held a palm, and her head
was adorned with a radiant crown. She looked down on
Philip with a countenance expressive at once of reproof
and consolation. With transports of unspeakable joy Philip
recognized the features of Maria-of that fondly cherished
sister whose unexpected death had filled his heart with the
most inextinguishable grief.
At the same instant, among a crowd of other thoughts,
his memory recalled that day of their early childhood when
this beloved sister had, by the ardour of her prayer and
the sweetness of her speech, calmed his resentment and
appeased his anger.
Choirs of angels were now singing, Glory to God in the
highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. But
a voice yet sweeter and louder sang, The Lord has par-
OR THE DESERT ISLAND. 101
doned our offences as we pardoned those who had offended us.
And the angelic chorus repeated, Glory to God Peace to
men That sweet and heavenly voice was Maria's; she
who on earth blessed God for all her afflictions-even for
the blindness that hid from her contemplation the magni-
ficent spectacle of the universe. She who had so often
soothed the fierce passions of her darling brother was now
chanting the mercy of God among those whose good works
follow them-the just made perfect.
Philip, unable to support the excess of his happiness,
suddenly awoke-his imagination teeming with the mar-
vels he had seemed a spectator of. Quitting his bed he
fell on his knees, and with tearful eyes recited his morning
The Dying Enemy Hatred Subdued Repentance.
THE heart of man is an abyss. To the good thoughts
which had occupied Philip after his rising, a revolting and
impious struggle succeeded. The motives that urged
him to forgive and forget were opposed by others that urged
the continuance of his hatred. Never had his passions
suggested so many pretexts in justification of his revenge;
never had his memory displayed in such strong relief the
wrongs that Charles had done him. Now he would think
it despicable cowardice on his part to make the first ad-
vances, and to ask the pardon of one so arrogantly in-
solent and so exceedingly unjust; and now the idea of the
death of his enemy would strike terror into his soul; and
again he would seek, in the remembrance of the count's
cruelty, to pluck pity from his heart, and to justify his im-