The Baldwin Library
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THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON
IL, 8ud Om 'saV(O Sp37b t the animcii J)&hfl7p'7?1 ,/1 t//C, O(
SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
A TRANSLATION FROM THE ORIGINAL GERMALN.
W. H. G. KINGSTON.
SIX COLOURED AND SEVENTY-FOUR OTHER ILLUSTRATIONS
By H. KLEY.
Printed in Bavaria.
ANE YOI )7AK:
E. P. DUTTON & CO.
Letterpress and Plates by
E. Niter, Nuremberg,
I. W RECKED 9
II. THE NEW COUNTRY 22
III. CHANGING QUARTERS 41
IV. SETTLING DOWN 64
V. FRESH DISCOVERIES 79
VI. AN ADDITION TO OUR FLEET 91
VII. FALCONHURST AGAIN 105
VIII. THE RAINY SEASON 123
IX. WE FORM A NEW COLONY 135
X. PREPARING FOR WINTER 159
XI. AN UNWELCOME VISITOR 176
XII. EXPLORING EXPEDITIONS 192
XIII. OUR HURRICANE STEED 212
XIV. HARVESTING 224
XV. WE START A PIGEON POST 234
XVI. TEN YEARS LATER 251
XVII. A FAIR STRANGER 267
XVIII. FAREWELL 282
A SUDDEN HEAVE SENT TIHE ANIMAL PLUNGING INTO THE SEA
A SLAP FROM ITS TAIL SENT JACK ROLLING OVER LIKE A
NINE-PIN falling 102
THE NOBLE BIRD MARKED OUT THE FINEST GROUSE, SWOOPED,
AND BORE His PREY TO THE GROUND facing 140
ERNEST CALLED AND SCREAMED IN VAIN FOR A HALT. facing 1So
WE SUDDENLY ADVANCED WITH LOADED WEAPONS AND, FIRING,
BOTH BEARS FELL DEAD facilln 206
ERNEST AND JACK WERE SUMMONED TO WITNESS THE COMPLETED
VICTORY facing 264
THE YOUNG MONKEY, CATCHING SIGHT OF FRITZ, AT ONE BOUNOI
WAS ON His SHOULDERS faclillg 24
FRITZ STOOD WITH His GUN TO His SHOULDER, POINTING IT AT
A HUGE SHARK 36
THE DOGS STILL HELD GALLANTLY TO THE CALF facing 1i6
IN A MOMENT THE NOOSE LEFT FRITZ'S ADROIT HANIr AND FELL
ROUND HER NECK cing 130
MY WVIFE AND FRANZ GATHERED ITP THE PIGEONS THAT LAY ON
THE GROUND flillg 6o
WITH SHOUTS AND CRIES \VE, DROVE THEM ALONG THE STREAM
TOWARDS THE GAP facing 212
A FRUITLESS STRUGGLE ENSUED, AND THEN AT LENGTH THE
OSTRICH SET OFF AT A SHARP TROT flCillg 2[6
JACK GOT MAULED AND TRAMPLED UPON DREADFULLY facing 260
FOR many days we had been tempest-tossed. Six times had the darkness
closed over a wild and terrific scene, and returning light as often
brought but renewed distress, for the raging storm increased in fury until
on the seventh day all hope was lost. We were driven completely out of
our course; no conjecture could be formed as to our whereabouts. The
crew had lost heart, and were utterly exhausted by incessant labour.
The riven masts had gone by the board, leaks had been sprung in every
direction, and the water, which rushed in, gained upon us rapidly.
Instead of reckless oaths, the seamen now uttered frantic cries to God
for mercy, mingled with strange and often ludicrous vows,' to be performed
should deliverance be granted.
Every man on board alternately commended his soul to his Creator
and strove to bethink himself of some means of saving his life.
My heart sank as I looked round upon my family in the midst of
these horrors. Our four young sons were overpowered by terror. "Dear
children," said I, "if the Lord will, He can save us even from this fearful
peril; if not, let us calmly yield our lives into His hand, and think of the
joy and blessedness of finding ourselves for ever and ever united in that
happy home above." At these words my weeping wife looked bravely up,
and, as the boys clustered round her, she began to cheer and encourage
them with calm and loving words. I rejoiced to see her fortitude, though
my heart was ready to break as I gazed on my dear ones.
We knelt down together, one after another praying with deep earnest-
ness and emotion. Fritz, in particular, besought help and deliverance for
his dear parents and brothers, as though quite forgetting himself.
Our hearts were soothed by the never-failing comfort of child-like con-
fiding prayer, and the horrors of our situation seemed less overwhelming.
"Ah," thought I, "the Lord will hear our prayer He will help us."
Amid the roar of the thundering waves I suddenly heard the cry of
"Land! land!" while at the same instant the ship struck with a frightful
shock, which threw everyone to the deck, and seemed to threaten her
21FE SWISS FAMILY ROBLV'SO.V.
Dreadful sounds betokened the breaking up of the ship, and the roaring
waters poured in on all sides.
Then the voice of the captain was heard above the tumult, shouting,
"Lower away the boats We are lost!"
"Lost!" I exclaimed, and the word went like a dagger to my heart;
but seeing my children's terror renewed, I composed myself, calling out
cheerfully, "Take courage, my boys! we are all above water yet. There is
the land not far off; let us do our best to reach it. You know God helps
those that help themselves!" With that, I left them and went on deck.
What was my horror when through the foam and spray I beheld the only
remaining boat leave the ship, the last of the seamen spring into her and
push off, regardless of my cries and entreaties that we might be allowed to
share their slender chance ot preserving their lives. My voice was drowned
in the howling of the blast, and even had the crew wished it, the return
of the boat was impossible.
Casting my eyes despairingly around, I became gradually aware that
our position was by no means hopeless, inasmuch as the stern of the ship
containing our cabin was jammed between two high rocks and was partly
- tised from among the breakers which dashed the forepart to pieces. As
Lhe clouds of mist and rain drove past, I could make out, through rents in
the vaporous curtain, a line of rocky coast, and, rugged as it was, my heart
bounded towards it as a sign of help in the hour of need. Yet the sense
of our lonely and forsaken condition weighed heavily upon me as I returned
to my family, constraining myself to say with a smile, "Courage, dear ones!
Although our good ship will never sail more, she is so placed that our
cabin will remain above water, and to-morrow, if the wind and waves abate,
I see no reason why we should not be able to get ashore."
These few words had an immediate effect on the spirits of my children,
who had once regarded our problematical chance of escaping as a happy
certainty, and began to enjoy the relief from the violent pitching and rolling
of the vessel. My wife, however, perceived my distress and anxiety in
spite of my forced composure, and I made her comprehend our real situa-
tion, greatly fearing the effect of the intelligence on her nerves. Not for
a moment did her courage and trust in Providence forsake her, and on
seeing this, my fortitude revived.
"WVe must find some food, and take a good supper," said she; "it will
never do to grow faint by fasting too long. We shall require our utmost
Night drew on apace, the storm was as fierce as ever, and at intervals
we were startled by crashes announcing further damage to our unfortu-
nate ship. "God will help us soon now, won't He, father?" said my
"You silly little thing," said Fritz, my eldest son, sharply, "don't you
know that we must not settle what God is to do for us? We must have
patience and wait His time."
"Very well said, had it been said kindly, Fritz, my boy. You too
often speak harshly to your brothers, although you may not mean to do so."
A good meal being now ready, my youngsters ate heartily, and, retiring
to rest, were speedily fast asleep. Fritz, who was of an age to be aware
of the real danger we were in, kept watch with us. After a long silence,
"Father," said he, "don't you think we might contrive swimming-belts for
mother and the boys ? with those we might all escape to land, for you and
I can swim."
"Your idea is so good," answered I, "that I shall arrange something at
once, in case of an accident during the night."
We immediately searched about for what would answer the purpose,
and fortunately got hold of a number of empty flasks and tin canisters,
which we connected two and two together so as to form floats sufficiently
buoyant to support a person in the water, and my wife and young sons
each willingly put one on. I then provided myself with matches, knives,
cord, and other portable articles, trusting that, should the vessel go to pieces
before daylight, we might gain the shore, not wholly destitute.
Fritz, as well as his brothers, now slept soundly. Throughout the night
my wife and I maintained our prayerful watch, dreading at every fresh sound
some fatal change in the position of the wreck.
At length the faint dawn of day appeared, the long weary night was
over, and with thankful hearts we perceived that the gale had begun to
moderate; blue sky was seen above us, and the lovely hues of sunrise
adorned the eastern horizon.
I aroused the boys, and we assembled on the remaining portion of the
deck, when they, to their surprise, discovered that no one else was on board.
"Hallo, papa! what has become of everybody? Are the sailors gone?
Have they taken away the boats? Oh, papa! why did they leave us
behind? What can we do by ourselves?"
"My good children," I replied, "we must not despair, although we
seem deserted. See how those on whose skill and good faith we depended
have left us cruelly to our fate in the hour of danger. God will never do
so. He has not forsaken us, and we will trust Him still. Only let us bestir
ourselves, and each cheerily do his best. Who has anything to propose ?"
"The. sea will soon be calm enough for swimming," said Fritz.
"And that would be all very fine for you," exclaimed Ernest, "but
think of mother and the rest of us! Why not build a raft and all get on
shore together ?"
"We should find it difficult, I think, to make a raft that would carry
us safe to shore. However, we must contrive something, and first let each
try to procure what will be of most use to us."
Away we all went to see what was to be found, I myself proceeding
to examine, as of greatest consequence, the supplies of provisions and fresh
water within our reach.
My wife took her youngest son, Franz, to help her to feed the unfor-
J/lE S1,7SS IAIJlL Y RODBlISOV.
tunate animals on board, who were in a pitiful plight, having been ne-
glected for several days.
Fritz hastened to the arm-chest, Ernest to look for tools; and Jack
went towards the captain's cabin, the door of which he no sooner opened
than out sprang two splendid large dogs, who testified their extreme delight
and gratitude by such tremendous bounds that they knocked their little de-
liverer completely head over heels, frightening him nearly out of his wits.
Jack did not long yield either to fear or anger, he presently recovered him-
self, the dogs seemed to ask pardon by vehemently licking his face and
hands, and so, seizing the larger by the ears, he jumped on his back, and,
to my great amusement, coolly rode to meet me as I came up the hatchway.
When we re-assembled in the cabin, we all displayed our treasures.
Fritz brought a couple of guns, shot-belt, powder-flasks, and plenty of bullets.
Ernest produced a cap full of nails, an axe, and a hammer, while pin-
cers, chisels, and augers stuck out of all his pockets.
Little Franz carried a box, and eagerly began to show us the "nice
sharp little hooks" it contained. "Well, done, Franz!" cried I, "these fish-
hooks, which you the youngest have found, may contribute more than
anything else in the ship to save our lives by procuring food for us. Fritz
and Ernest, you have chosen well."
"Will you praise me too?" said my dear wife. "I have nothing to
show, but I can give you good news. Some useful animals are still alive;
a cow, a donkey, two goats, six sheep, a ram, and a fine sow. I was but
just in time to save their lives by taking food to them."
"All these things are excellent indeed," said I; "but my friend Jack
here has presented me with a couple of huge hungry useless dogs, who will
eat more than any of us."
"Oh, papa! they will be of use Why, they will help us to hunt when
we get on shore !"
"No doubt they will, if ever we do get on shore, Jack; but I must
say I don't know how it is to be done."
"Can't we each get into a big tub, and float there ? returned he. I
have often sailed splendidly like that, round the pond at home."
"My child, you have hit on a capital idea," cried I. "Now, Ernest,
let me have your tools, hammers, nails, saw, augers, and all; and then
make haste to collect any tubs you can find !"
We very soon found four large casks, made of sound wood, and strongly
bound with iron hoops; they were floating with many other things in the
water in the hold, but we managed to fish them out, and drag them to a
suitable place for launching them. They were exactly what I wanted, and
I succeeded in sawing them across the middle. Hard work it was, and we
were glad enough to stop and refresh ourselves with wine and biscuits.
My eight tubs now stood ranged in a row near the water's edge, and
I looked at them with great satisfaction; to my surprise, my wife did not
seem to share my pleasure !
"I shall never," said
she, "muster courage to
get into one of these!"
"Do not be too sure
of that, dear wife; when
you see my contrivance f
completed, you will perhaps
prefer it to this immove- "
I next procured a long
thin plank on which my .-
tubs could be fixed, and
the two ends of this I bent
upwards so as to form a
keel. Other two planks 7ack jumtd on t/e dog's back, (p. 12).
were nailed along the sides
of the tubs ; they also being
flexible, were brought to a point at each end, and all firmly secured and
nailed together. I felt satisfied that in smooth water this craft would be
perfectly trustworthy. But when we thought all was ready for the launch,
we found, to our dismay, that the grand contrivance was so heavy and
clumsy, that even our united efforts could not move it an inch.
"I must have a lever," cried I. "Run and fetch the capstan-bar !"
Fritz quickly brought one, and having formed rollers by cutting up a
long spar, I raised the fore-part of my boat with the bar, and my sons
placed a roller under it.
"How is it, father," inquired Ernest, "that with that thing you alone
can do more than all of us together ?"
I explained, as well as I could in a hurry, the principle of the lever;
and promised to have a long talk on the subject of mechanics, should we
have a future opportunity.
I now made fast a long rope to the stern of our boat, attaching the
other end to a beam; then placing a second and third roller under it, we
once more began to push, this time with success, and soon our gallant craft
was safely launched: so swiftly indeed did she glide into the water that, but
for the rope, she would have passed beyond our reach. The boys wished
to jump in directly; but, alas, she leaned so much on one side that they
could not venture to do so.
Some heavy things being thrown in, however, the boat righted itself by
degrees, and the boys were so delighted that they struggled which should
first leap in to have the fun of sitting down in the tubs. But it was plain
to me at once that something more was required to make her perfectly
safe, so I contrived outriggers to preserve the balance, by nailing long poles
across at the stem and stern, and fixing at the ends of each empty brandy-
casks. Then, the boat appearing steady, I got in; and turning it towards
THE S7WISS FAM4 IL Y ROBINSON.
the most open side of the wreck, I cut and cleared away obstructions, so
as to leave a free passage for our departure, and the boys brought oars to
be ready for the voyage. This important undertaking we were forced to
postpone until the next day, as it was by this time far too late to attempt
it. It was not pleasant to have to spend another night in so precarious a
situation; but, yielding to necessity, we sat down to enjoy a comfortable
supper, for during our exciting and incessant work all day we had taken
nothing but an occasional biscuit and a little wine.
We prepared for rest in a much happier frame of mind than on the
preceding day, but I did not forget the possibility of a renewed storm, and
therefore made everyone put on the belts as before.
I persuaded my wife (not without considerable difficulty) to put on a
sailor's dress, assuring her she would find it much more comfortable and
convenient for all she would have to go through. She at last consented to
do this, and left us for a short time, reappearing, with much embarrassment
and many blushes, in a most becoming suit, which she had found in a mid-
shipman's chest. We all admired her costume, .and any awkwardness she
felt soon began to pass off; then retiring to our berths, peaceful sleep pre-
pared us all for the exertions of the coming day.
We rose up betimes, for sleep weighs lightly on the hopeful, as well as
on the anxious. After kneeling together in prayer, "Now, my beloved
ones," said I, "with God's help we are about to effect our escape. Let the
poor animals we must leave behind be well fed, and put plenty of fodder
within their reach: in a few days we may be able to return, and save them
likewise. After that, collect everything you can think of which may be of
use to us."
The boys .joyfully obeyed me, and I selected from the large quantity
of stores they got together, canvas to make a tent, a chest of carpenter's
tools, guns, pistols, powder, shot, and bullets, rods and fishing-tackle, an
iron pot, a case of portable soup, and another of biscuit. These useful
articles of course took the place of the ballast I had hastily thrown in the
With a hearty prayer for God's blessing, we now began to take our
seats, each in his tub. Just then we heard the cocks begin to crow, as
though to reproach us for deserting them. "Why should not the fowls go
with us !" exclaimed I. "If we find no food for them, they can be food
for us!" Ten hens and a couple of cocks were accordingly placed in one
of the tubs, and secured with some wire-netting over them.
The ducks and geese were set at liberty, and took to the water at
once, while the pigeons, rejoicing to find themselves on the wing, swiftly
made for the shore. My wife, who managed all this for me, kept us waiting
for her some little time, and came at last with a bag as big as a pillow in
her arms. "This is my contribution," said she, throwing the bag. to little
Franz, to be, as I thought, a cushion for him to sit upon.
All being ready, we cast off, and moved away from the wreck. My
good, brave wife sat in the first compartment of the boat; next her was
Franz, a pretty little boy, nearly eight years old. Then came Fritz, a
handsome, spirited young fellow of fifteen; the two centre tubs contained
the valuable cargo; then came our bold thoughtless Jack; next him Ernest,
my second son, intelligent, well-informed, and rather indolent. I myself, the
anxious, loving father, stood in the stern, endeavouring to guide the raft
with its precious burden to a safe landing-place.
The elder boys took the oars, everyone wore a float belt, and had
something useful close to him in case of being thrown into the water.
The tide was flowing, which was a great help to the young oarsmen.
We emerged from the wreck and glided into the open sea. All eyes were
strained to get a full view of the land, and the boys pulled with a will;
but for some time we made no progress, as the boat kept turning round
and round, until I hit upon the right way to steer it, after which we
merrily made for the shore.
We had left the two dogs, Turk and Juno, on the wreck, as, being both
large mastiffs, we did not care to have their additional weight on board our
craft; but when they saw us apparently deserting them, they set up a pite-
ous howl, and sprang into the sea. I was sorry to see this, for the dis-
tance to the land was so great that I scarcely expected them to be able to
accomplish it. They followed us, however, and, occasionally resting their
forepaws on the outriggers, kept up with us well. Jack was inclined to
deny them this, their only chance of safety. "Stop," said I, "that would
be unkind as well as foolish; remember, the merciful man regardeth the life
of his beast."
Our passage, though tedious, was safe; but the nearer we approached the
shore the less inviting it appeared; the barren rocks seemed to threaten us
with misery and want.
Many casks, boxes, and bales of goods floated on the water around us.
Fritz and I managed to secure a couple of hogsheads, so as to tow them
alongside. With the prospect of famine before us, it was desirable to lay
hold of anything likely to contain provisions.
By-and-by we began to perceive that, between and beyond the cliffs,
green grass and trees were discernible. Fritz could distinguish many tall
palms, and Ernest hoped they would prove to be cocoanut trees, and
enjoyed the thoughts of drinking the refreshing milk.
"I am very sorry I never thought of bringing away the captain's tele-
scope," said I.
"Oh, look here, father!" cried Jack, drawing a little spy-glass joyfully
out of his pocket.
By means of this glass, I made out that at some distance to the left
the coast was much more inviting; a strong current, however, carried us
directly towards the frowning rocks, but I presently observed an opening,
where a stream flowed into the sea, and saw that our geese and ducks were
swimming towards this place. I steered after them into the creek, and we
THE STVISS FA~lfILY ROBINSON.
found ourselves in a small bay or inlet where the water was perfectly smooth
and of moderate depth. The ground sloped gently upwards from the low
banks to the cliffs, which here retired inland, leaving a small plain, on which
it was easy for us to land. Everyone sprang gladly out of the boat but
little Franz, who, lying packed in his tub like a potted shrimp, had to be
lifted out by his mother.
The dogs had scrambled on shore before us; they received us with loud
barking and the wildest demonstrations of delight. The geese and ducks
kept up an incessant din, added to which was the screaming and croaking
of flamingoes and penguins, whose dominion we were invading. The noise
was deafening, but far from unwelcome to me, as I thought of the good
dinners the birds might furnish.
As soon as we could gather our children around us on dry land, we
knelt to offer thanks and praise for our merciful escape, and with full hearts
we commended ourselves to God's good keeping for the time to come.
All hands then briskly fell to the work of unloading, and oh, how rich
we felt ourselves as we did so The poultry we left at liberty to forage
for themselves, and set about finding a suitable place to erect a tent in which
to pass the night. This we speedily did; thrusting a long spar into a hole
in the rock, and supporting the other end by a pole firmly planted in the
ground, we formed a framework over which we stretched the sailcloth we
had brought; besides fastening this down with pegs, we placed our heavy
chests and boxes on the border of the canvas, and arranged hooks so as to
be able to close up the entrance during the night.
When this was accomplished, the boys ran to collect moss and grass,
to spread in the tent for our beds, while I arranged a fire-place with some
large flat stones, near the brook which flowed close by. Dry twigs and sea-
weed were soon in a blaze on the hearth, I filled the iron pot with water,
and giving my wife several cakes of the portable soup, she established her-
self as our cook, with little Franz to help her.
He, thinking his mother was melting some glue for carpentering,, was
eager to know "what papa was going to make next?"
"This is to be soup for your dinner, my child. Do you think these
cakes look like glue ?"
"Yes, indeed, I do!" replied Franz, "and I should not much like to
taste glue soup! Don't you want some beef or mutton, mamma?"
"Where can I get it, dear?" said she; "we are a long way from a
butcher's shop! but these cakes are made of the juice of good meat, boiled
till it becomes a strong stiff jelly-people take them when they go to sea,
because on a long voyage they can only have salt meat, which will not
make nice soup."
Fritz, meanwhile, leaving a loaded gun with me, took another himself,
and went along the rough coast to see what lay beyond the stream; this
fatiguing sort of walk not suiting Ernest's fancy, he sauntered down to the
beach, and Jack scrambled among the rocks searching for shellfish.
I was anxious to land the two casks which were floating alongside our
boat, but on attempting to do so, I found that I could not get them up the
bank on which we had landed, and was therefore obliged to look for a
more convenient spot. As I did so, I was startled by hearing Jack shouting
for help, as though in great danger. He was at some distance, and I hur-
ried towards him with a hatchet in my hand. The little fellow stood scream-
ing in a deep pool, and as I approached, I saw that a huge lobster had
caught his leg in its powerful claw. Poor Jack was in a terrible fright; kick
as he would, his enemy still clung on. I waded into the water, and seizing
My wife established herself as cook, with little Fra-nz to hel/ her (p. 16).
the lobster firmly by the back, managed to make it loosen its hold, and
we brought it safe to land. Jack, having speedily recovered his spirits, and
anxious to take such a prize to his mother, caught the lobster in both hands,
but instantly received such a severe blow from its tail, that he flung it
down, and passionately hit the creature with a large stone. This display of
temper vexed me. "You are acting in a very childish way, my son," said
I; "never strike an enemy in a revengeful spirit." Once more lifting the
lobster, Jack ran triumphantly towards the tent.
"Mother, mother! a lobster! A lobster, Ernest! look here, Franz!
mind, he'll bite you! Where's Fritz?" All came crowding round Jack and
7HE STTISS FAMILY RODB IS7SO
his prize, wondering at its unusual size, and Ernest wanted his mother to
make lobster soup directly, by adding it to what she was now boiling.
She, however, begged to decline making any such experiment, and said
she preferred cooking one dish at a time. Having remarked that the scene
of Jack's adventure afforded a convenient place for getting my casks on shore,
I returned thither and succeeded in drawing them up on the beach, where
I set them on end, and for the present left them.
On my return I resumed the subject of Jack's lobster, and told him he
should have the offending claw all to himself when it was ready to be eaten,
congratulating him on being the first to discover anything useful.
"As to that," said Ernest, "I found something very good to eat, as
well as Jack, only I could not get at them without wetting my feet."
"Pooh!" cried Jack, "I know what he saw-nothing but some nasty
mussels-I saw them too. Who wants to eat trash like that! Lobster
"I believe them to be oysters, not mussels," returned Ernest calmly.
"Be good enough, my philosophical young friend, to fetch a few specimens
of these oysters in time for our next meal," said I; "we must all exert
ourselves, Ernest, for the common good, and pray never let me hear you
object to wetting your feet. See how quickly the sun has dried Jack
"I can bring some salt at the same time," said Ernest; "I remarked a
good deal lying in the crevices of the rocks; it tasted very pure and good,
and I concluded it was produced by the evaporation of sea-water in
"Extremely probable, learned sir," cried I; "but if you had brought a
bag full of this good salt instead of merely speculating so profoundly on
the subject, it would have been more to the purpose. Run and fetch some
directly." It proved to be salt sure enough, although so impure that it seemed
useless, till my wife dissolved and strained it, when it became fit to put
in the soup.
"Why not use the sea-water itself?" asked Jack.
"Because," said Ernest, "it is not only salt, but bitter too. Just try it."
"Now," said my wife, lasting the soup with the stick with which she
had been stirring it, "dinner is ready, but where can Fritz be?" she con-
tinued, a little anxiously.
"How are we to eat our soup when he does come?" I asked: "we
have neither plates nor spoons, and we can scarcely lift the boiling pot to
our mouths. We are in as uncomfortable a position as was the fox to whom
the stork served up a dinner in a jug with a long neck."
"Oh, for a few cocoanut-shells!" sighed Ernest.
"Oh, for half a dozen plates and as many silver spoons!" rejoined I,
"Really though, oyster-shells would do," said he, after a moment's
"True, that is an S
idea worth having! Off M .
with you, my boys, get
the oysters, and clean a"-
out a few shel's. What
though our spoons have.
no handles, and we do
burn our fingers a little
in baling the soup out!"
Jack was away and
up to his knees in the
water in a moment, de-
taching the oysters. '
Ernest followed more
leisurely, and, still un- -- .
willing to wet his feet, tc. --
stood by the margin of
the pool and gathered in '- -
his handkerchief the oys-
ters his brother threw A huge lobster had caught tack's leg i i s s
him; as he thus stood _ozverfiu claw (p. 7).
he picked up and pocketed
a large mussel-shell for his own use. As they returned with a good supply
we heard a shout from Fritz in the distance; we returned it joyfully, and
he presently appeared before us, his hands behind his back, and a look of
disappointment upon his countenance.
"Unsuccessful!" said he.
"Really !" I replied; "never mind, my boy-better luck next time."
"Oh, Fritz!" exclaimed his brothers, who had looked behind him, "a
sucking-pig, a little sucking-pig! Where did you get it? How did you
shoot it! Do let us see it!"
Fritz then, with sparkling eyes, exhibited his prize.
"I am glad to see the result of your prowess, my boy," said I; "but I
cannot approve of deceit, even as a joke; stick to the truth in jest and
Fritz then told us how he had been to the other side of the stream.
"So different from this," he said; "it is really a beautiful country, and the
shore, which runs down to the sea in a gentle slope, is covered with all
sorts of useful things from the wreck. Do let us go and collect them. And,
father, why should we not return to the wreck and bring off some of the
animals ? Just think of what value the cow would be to us, and what a
pity it would be to lose her. Let us get her on shore, and we will move
over the stream, where she will have good pasturage, and we shall be in
the shade instead of on this desert, and, father, I do wish--"
"Stop, stop, my boy cried I. "All will be done in good time.
THIE STTISS FAJ1/nZY ROBINSON.
To-morrow and the day after will bring work of their own. And tell me,
did you see no traces of our shipmates ?"
"Not a sign of them, either on land or sea, living or dead," he replied.
"But the sucking-pig," said Jack, "where did you get it?"
It was one of several," said Fritz, "which I found on the shore ; most
curious animals they are; they hopped rather than walked, and every now
and then would squat down on their hind legs and rub their snouts with
their fore-paws. Had not I been afraid of losing them all, I would have
tried to catch one alive, they seemed so tame."
Meanwhile, Ernest had been carefully examining the animal in question.
"This is no pig," he said; "and except for its bristly skin, does not
look like one. See, its teeth are not like those of a pig, but rather those of
a squirrel. In fact," he continued, looking at Fritz, "your sucking-pig is
"Dear me," said Fritz, "listen to the great professor lecturing! He is
going to prove that a pig is not a pig!"
"You need not be so quick to laugh at your brother," said I, in my
turn : "he is quite right. I, too, know the agouti by descriptions and pic-
tures, and there is little doubt that this is a specimen. The little animal is
a native of North America, where it makes its nest under the roots of trees,
and lives upon fruit. But, Ernest, the agouti not only looks something like
a pig, but most decidedly grunts like a porker."
While we were thus talking, Jack had been vainly endeavouring to open
an oyster with his large knife. Here is a simpler way," said I, placing
an oyster on the fire; it immediately opened. "Now," I continued, "who
will try this delicacy?" All at first hesitated to partake of them, so un-
attractive did they appear. Jack, however, tightly closing his eyes and
making a face as though about to take medicine, gulped one down. We
followed his example, one after the other, each doing so rather to provide
himself with a spoon than with any hope of cultivating a taste for oysters.
Our spoons were now ready, and, gathering round the pot, we dipped
them in, not, however, without sundry scalded fingers. Ernest then drew
from his pocket the large shell he had procured for his own use, and scoop-
ing up a good quantity of soup he put it down to cool, smiling at his own
"Prudence should be exercised for others," I remarked; "your cool soup
will do capitally for the dogs, my boy; take it to them, and then come and
eat like the rest of us."
Ernest winced at this, but, silently taking up his shell, he placed it on
the ground before the hungry dogs, who lapped up its contents in a mo-
ment; he then returned, and we all went merrily on with our dinner.
While we were thus busily employed, we suddenly discovered that our dogs,
not satisfied with their mouthful of soup, had espied the agouti, and were
rapidly devouring it. Fritz, seizing his gun, flew to rescue it from their hungry
jaws, and, before I could prevent him, struck one of them with such force
that hi3 gun was bent. The poor beasts ran off howling, followed by a
shower of stones from Fritz, who shouted and yelled at them so fiercely
that his mother was actually terrified. I followed him, and as soon as he
would listen to me, represented to him how despicable as well as wicked
was such an outbreak of temper: "for," said I, "you have hurt, if not actu-
ally wounded, the dogs; you have distressed and terrified your mother, and
spoiled your gun."
Though Fritz's passion was easily aroused it never lasted long, and,
speedily recovering himself, immediately he entreated his mother's pardon,
and expressed his sorrow for his fault.
By this time the sun was sinking beneath the horizon, and the poultry,
which had been straying to some little distance, gathered round us, and
began to pick up the crumbs of biscuit which had fallen during our repast.
My wife hereupon drew from her mysterious bag some handfuls of oats,
peas, and other grain, and with them began to feed the poultry. She at
the same time showed me several other seeds of various vegetables. "That
was indeed thoughtful," said I; "but pray be careful of what will be of
such value to us; we can bring plenty of damaged biscuits from the wreck,
which, though of no use as food for us, will suit the fowls very well indeed."
The pigeons now flew up to crevices in the rocks, the fowls perched
themselves on our tent-pole, and the ducks and geese waddled off cackling
and quacking to the marshy margin of the river. We, too, were ready for
repose, and, having loaded our guns, and offered up our prayers to God,
thanking Him for His many mercies to us, we commended ourselves to His
protecting care, and as the last ray of light departed, closed our tent and
lay down to rest.
The children remarked the suddenness of nightfall, for indeed there had
been little or no twilight. This convinced me that we must be not far
from the equator, for twilight results from the refraction of the sun's rays;
the more obliquely these rays fall, the farther does the partial light extend,
while the more perpendicularly they strike the earth the longer do they
continue their undiminished force, until, when the sun sinks, they totally
disappear, thus producing sudden darkness.
THE NEW COUNTRY.
W\7 E should have been badly off without the shelter of our tent, for the
night proved as cold as the day had been hot, but we managed to sleep
comfortably, everyone being thoroughly fatigued by the labours of the day.
The voice of our vigilant cock, which as he loudly saluted the rising moon
was the last sound I heard at night, roused me at daybreak, and I then
awoke my wife, that in the quiet interval while yet our children slept, we
might take counsel together on our situation and prospects. It was plain
to both of us that, in the first place, we should ascertain if possible the fate
of our late companions, and then examine into the nature and resources of
the country on which we were stranded.
We therefore came to the resolution that, as soon as we had break-
fasted, Fritz and I should start on an expedition with these objects in view,
while my wife remained near our landing-place with the three younger boys.
"Rouse up, rouse up, my boys," cried I, awakening the children cheer-
fully. "Come and help your mother to get breakfast ready."
"As to that," said she, smiling, "we can but set on the pot, and boil
some more soup!"
"Why! you forget Jack's fine lobster!" replied I. "What has become
of it, Jack?"
"It has been safe in this hole in the rock all night, father. You see,
I thought, as the dogs seem to like good things, they might take a fancy
to that as well as to the agouti."
"A very sensible precaution," remarked I; "I believe even my heedless
Jack will learn wisdom in time. It is well the lobster is so large, for we
shall want to take part with us on our excursion to-day."
At the mention of an excursion, the four children were wild with delight,
and, capering around me, clapped their hands for joy.
"Steady there, steady!" said I, "you cannot expect all to go. Such
an expedition as this would be too dangerous and fatiguing for you younger
ones. Fritz and I will go alone this time, with one of the dogs, leaving
the other to defend you."
We then armed ourselves, each taking a gun and a game-bag; Fritz in
addition sticking a pair of pistols in his belt, and I a small hatchet in mine.
THEA1 NE AI COUNTRY Y.
Breakfast being over, we stowed away the remainder of the lobster and some
biscuits, with a flask of water, and were ready for a start.
"Stop!" I exclaimed, "we have still left something very important
"Surely not," said Fritz.
"Yes," said I, "we have not yet joined in morning prayer. We are
only too ready, amid the cares and pleasures of this life, to forget the God
to Whom we owe all things." Then having commended ourselves to His
protecting care, I took leave of my wife and children, and, bidding them
not wander far from the boat and tent, we parted, not without some anxiety
on either side, for we knew not what might assail us in this unknown region.
We now found that the banks of the stream were on both sides so
rocky that we could get down to the water by only one narrow passage,
and there was no corresponding path on the other side. I was glad to see
this, however, for I now knew that my wife and children were on a com-
paratively inaccessible spot, the other side of the tent being protected by
steep and precipitous cliffs. Fritz and I pursued our way up the stream
until we reached a point where the waters fell from a considerable height
in a cascade, and where several large rocks lay half covered by the water;
by means of these we succeeded in crossing the stream in safety. We thus
had the sea on our left, and a long line of 'rocky heights, here and there
adorned with clumps of trees, stretching away inland to the right. We had
forced our way scarcely fifty yards through the long rank grass, which was
here partly withered by the sun and much tangled, when we heard behind
us a rustling, and, on looking round, saw the grass waving to and fro, as if
some animal were passing through it. Fritz instantly turned and brought
his gun to his shoulder, ready to fire the moment the beast should appear.
I was much pleased with my son's coolness and presence of mind, for it
showed me that I might thoroughly rely upon him on any future occasion
when real danger might occur; this time, however, no savage beast rushed
out, but our trusty dog Turk, whom, in our anxiety at parting, we had for-
gotten, and who had been sent after us, doubtless by my thoughtful wife.
From this little incident, however, we saw how dangerous was our
position, and how difficult escape would be should any fierce beast steal
upon us unawares: we therefore hastened to make our way to the open
seashore. Here the scene which presented itself was indeed delightful. A
background of hills, the green waving grass, the pleasant groups of trees
stretching here and there to the very water's edge, formed a lovely pro-
spect. On the smooth sand we searched carefully for any trace of our hap-
less companions, but not the mark of a footstep could we find.
"Shall I fire a shot or two?" said Fritz; "that would bring our com-
panions, if they are within hearing."
"It would indeed," I replied, "or any savages that may be here. No,
no; let us search diligently, but as quietly as possible."
"But why, father, should we trouble ourselves about them at all ? They
THE S /ISS FAMILY ROBDINTSON.
left us to shift for ourselves, and I for one don't care to set eyes on them
"You are wrong, my boy," said I. "In the first place, we should not
return evil for evil; then, again, they might be of great assistance to us in
building a house of some sort; and lastly, you must remember that they
took nothing with them from the vessel, and may be perishing of hunger."
Thus talking, we pushed on until we came to a pleasant grove which
stretched down to the water's edge; here we halted to rest, seating ourselves
under a large tree, by a rivulet which murmured and splashed along its pebbly
bed into the great ocean before us. A thousand gaily-plumaged birds flew
twittering above us, and Fritz and I gazed up at them.
My son suddenly started up.
"A monkey," he exclaimed; "I am nearly sure I saw a monkey."
As he spoke he sprang round to the other side of the tree, and in
doing so stumbled over a round substance, which he handed to me, remark-
ing, as he did so, that it was a round bird's nest, of which he had often
"You may have done so," said I, laughing, "but you need not neces-
sarily conclude that every round hairy thing is a bird's nest; this, for in-
stance, is not one, but a cocoanut."
We split open the nut, but, to our disgust, found the kernel dry and
"Hullo," cried Fritz, "I always thought a cocoanut was full of deli-
cious sweet liquid, like almond milk."
"So it is," I replied, "when young and fresh, but as it ripens the milk
becomes congealed, and in course of time is solidified into a kernel. This
kernel then dries, as you see here, but when the nut falls on favourable soil,
the germ within the kernel swells until it bursts through the shell, and,
taking root, springs up a new tree."
"I do not understand," said Fritz, "how the little germ manages to get
through this great thick shell, which is not like an almond or hazel-nut
shell, that is dividedidown the middle already."
"Nature provides for all things," I answered, taking up the pieces.
"Look here: do you see these three round holes near the stalk; it is through
them that the germ obtains-egress. Now let us find a good nut if we can."
As cocoanuts must 'be over-ripe before they fall naturally from the
tree, it was not without difficulty that we obtained one in which the kernel
was not dried up. When we [succeeded, however, we were so refreshed by
the fruit that we could defer" the -repast we called our dinner until later in
the day, and so spare our stock of provisions.
Continuing our way through a thicket, and which was so densely over-
grown with lianas that we had to clear a passage with our hatchets, we again
emerged on the seashore beyond, and found an open view, the forest sweep-
ing inland, while on the space before us stood at intervals single trees of
The young monkey, catching sight of Fritz, at one bound was on his shoulders (p. 29).
P, r, 1?.
THE NETV COUNTER Y.
These at once attracted Fritz's observant eye, and he pointed to them,
exclaiming, "Oh, what absurd-looking trees, father! See what strange bumps
there are on the trunks."
We approached to examine them, and I recognized them as calabash-
trees, the fruit of which grows in this curious way on the stems, and is a
species of gourd, from the hard rind of which bowls, spoons, and bottles can
be made. "The savages," I remarked, "are said to form these things most
ingeniously, using them to contain liquids: indeed, they actually cook food
"Oh, but that is impossible," returned Fritz. "I am quite sure this
rind would be burnt through directly it was set on the fire."
"I did not say it was set on the fire at all. When the gourd has been
divided in two, and the shell or rind emptied of its contents, it is filled
with water, into which the fish, or whatever is to be cooked, is put; red-hot
stones are added until the water boils; the food becomes fit to eat, and the
gourd-rind remains uninjured."
"That is a very clever plan: very simple too. I daresay I should have
hit on it, if I had tried," said Fritz.
"The friends of Columbus thought it very easy to make an egg stand
upon its end when he had shown them how to do it. But now suppose
we prepare some of these calabashes, that they may be ready for use when
we take them home."
Fritz instantly took up one of the gourds, and tried to split it equally
with his knife, but in vain: the blade slipped, and the calabash was cut
jaggedly. "What a nuisance!" said Fritz, flinging it down, "the thing is
spoiled; and yet it seemed so simple to divide it properly."
"Stay," said I; "you are too impatient; those pieces are not useless.
Do you try to fashion from them a spoon or two while I provide a dish."
I then took from my pocket a piece of string, which I tied tightly
round a gourd, as near one end of it as I could; then tapping the string
with the back of my knife, it penetrated the outer shell. When this was
accomplished, I tied the string yet tighter, and drawing the ends with all
my might, the gourd fell, divided exactly as I wished.
"That is clever!" cried Fritz. "What in the world put that plan into
"It is a plan," I replied, "which the negroes adopt, as I have learned
from reading books of travel."
"Well, it certainly makes a capital soup-tureen, and a soup-plate too,"
said Fritz, examining the gourd. "But supposing you had wanted to make
a bottle, how would you have set to work ?"
"It would be an easier operation than this, if possible. 'All that is
necessary, is to cut a round hole at one end, then to scoop out the interior,
and to drop in several shot or stones; when these are shaken, any remain-
ing portions of the fruit are detached, and the gourd is thoroughly cleaned,
and the bottle completed."
11/1 Xli VS 1]K'lJ/IL ]RO/]IA-SOA
"That would not make a very convenient bottle though, father; it would
be more like a barrel."
"True, my boy: if you want a more shapely vessel, you must take it
in hand when it is younger. To give it a neck, for instance, you must tie
a bandage round the young gourd while it is still on the tree, and then all
will swell but that part which you have checked."
As I spoke, I filled the gourds with sand, and left them to dry; mark-
ing the spot that we might return for them on our way back.
For three hours or more we pushed forward, keeping a sharp look-out
on either side for any trace of our companions, till we reached a bold pro-
montory, stretching some way into the sea, from whose rocky summit I
knew that we should obtain a good and comprehensive view of the sur-
rounding country. With little difficulty we reached the top, but the most
careful survey of the beautiful landscape failed to show us the slightest sign
or trace of human beings. Before us stretched a wide and lovely bay, fringed
with yellow sands, either side extending into the distance, and almost lost
to view in two shadowy promontories; inclosed by these two arms lay a
sheet of rippling water, which reflected in its depths the glorious sun above.
The scene inland was no less beautiful; and yet Fritz and I both felt a
shade of loneliness stealing over us as we gazed on its utter solitude.
"Cheer up, Fritz, my boy," said I, presently. "Remember that we
chose a settler's life long ago, before we left our own dear country; we
certainly did not expect to be so entirely alone-but what matters a few
people, more or less ? With God's help, let us endeavour to live here con-
tentedly, thankful that we were not cast upon some bare and inhospitable
island. But come, the heat here is getting unbearable; let us find some
shady place before we are completely broiled away."
We descended the hill and made for a clump of palm-trees, which we
saw at a little distance. To reach this, we had to pass through a dense
thicket of reeds, no pleasant or easy task; for, besides the difficulty of forcing
our way through, I feared at every step that we might tread on some
venomous snake. Sending Turk in advance, I cut one of the reeds, thinking
it would be a more useful weapon against a reptile than my gun. I had
carried it but a little way, when I noticed a thick juice exuding from one
end. I tasted it, and to my delight, found it sweet and pleasant. I at once
knew that I was standing amongst sugar-canes. Wishing Fritz to make the
same discovery, I advised him to cut a cane for his defence; he did so, and
as he beat the ground before him, the reed split, and his hand was covered
with the juice. He carefully touched the cane with the tip of his tongue,
then, finding the juice sweet, he did so again with less hesitation; and a
moment afterwards sprang back to me, exclaiming, "Oh, father, sugar-canes,
sugar-canes! Taste it. Oh, how delicious, how delightful! do let us take
a lot home to mother," he continued, sucking eagerly at the cane.
"Gently there," said I, "take breath a moment-moderation in all
things, remember. Cut some to take home if you like, only don't take more
THE -A/:" fV CO U7'TR J
than you can conve-
In spite of my
warning, my son cut
a dozen or more of
the largest canes, and,
stripping them of their
leaves, carried them
under his arm. We
then pushed through
the cane-brake, and
reached the clump of
palms for which we The apes sent
had been making; as down (a perfect
we entered it a troop hal oqf cocoa-
of monkeys, who had nIzts.
been disporting them-
selves on the ground, sprang up, chatter-
ing and grimacing, and before we could
clearly distinguish them, were at the very
top of the trees.
Fritz was so provoked by their im-
pertinent gestures that he raised his gun,
and would have shot one of the poor
"Stay," cried I, "never take the life
of any animal needlessly. A live monkey
up in that tree is of more use to us than
a dozen dead ones at our feet, as I will
Saying this, I gathered a handful of
small stones, and threw them up towards
the apes. The stones did not go near
them, but, influenced by their instinctive
mania for imitation, they instantly seized
all the cocoanuts within their reach, and
sent a perfect hail of them down upon us.
Fritz was delighted with my stratagem,
and, rushing forward, picked up some of
the finest of the nuts. We drank the
milk they contained, drawing it through
the holes which I pierced, and then,
splitting the nuts open with the hatchet,
ate the cream which lined their shells.
After this delicious meal, we thoroughly
77TH ST ISS FA MILlY ROBINSON.
despised the lobster we had been carrying, and threw it to Turk, who ate
it gratefully: but far from being satisfied, the poor beast began to gnaw
the ends of the sugar-canes, and to beg for cocoanut. I slung a couple of
the nuts over my shoulder, fastening them together by their stalks, and,
Fritz having resumed his burden, we began our homeward march.
I soon discovered that Fritz found the weight of his canes considerably
more than he expected: he shifted them from shoulder to shoulder, then
for a while carried them under his arm, and finally stopped short with a
sigh. "I had no idea," he said, "that a few reeds would be so heavy."
"Never mind, my boy," I said, "patience and courage! Do you not
remember the story of 4Esop and his bread-basket, how heavy he found it
when he started, and how light at the end of his journey. Let us each take
a fresh staff, and then fasten the bundle crosswise with your gun."
We did so, and once more stepped forward. Fritz presently noticed that
I from time to time sucked the end of my cane.
"Oh, come," said he, "that's a capital plan of yours, father; I'll do
So saying, he began to suck most vigorously, but not a drop of the
juice could he extract. "How is this?" he asked. "How do you get the
juice out, father?"
"Think a little," I replied, "you are quite as capable as I am of finding
out the way, even if you do not know the real reason of your failure."
"Oh, of course," said he, "it is like trying to suck marrow from a mar-
row-bone, without making a hole at the other end."
"Quite right," r said; "you form a vacuum in your mouth and the end
of your tube, and expect the air to force down the liquid from the other
end which it cannot possibly enter."
Fritz was speedily perfect in the accomplishment of sucking sugar-cane,
discovering by experience the necessity for a fresh cut at each joint or knot
in the cane, through which the juice could not flow; he talked of the plea-
sure of initiating his brothers in the art, and of how Ernest would enjoy
the cocoanut milk, with which he had filled his flask.
"My dear boy," said I, "you need not have added that to your load;
the chances are it is vinegar by the time we get home. In the heat of the
sun, it will ferment soon after being drawn from the nut."
"Vinegar! oh, that would be a horrid bore! I must look directly, and
see how it is getting on," cried Fritz, hastily swinging the flask from his
shoulder, and tugging out the cork. With a loud "pop" the contents came
forth, foaming like champagne.
"There now!" said I, laughing as he tasted this new luxury, "you will
have to exercise moderation again, friend Fritz! I daresay it is delicious,
but it will go to your head, if you venture deep into your flask."
"My dear father, you cannot think how good it is! Do take some.
Vinegar, indeed This is like excellent wine."
We were both invigorated by this unexpected draught, and went on so
THE NET COUNTRY .
merrily after it, that the distance to the place where we had left our gourd
dishes seemed less than we expected. We found them quite dry, and very
light and easy to carry.
Just as we had passed through the grove in which we breakfasted, Turk
suddenly darted away from us, and sprang furiously among a troop of mon-
keys, which were gambolling playfully on the turf at a little distance from
the trees. They were taken by surprise completely, and the dog, now really
ravenous from hunger, had seized, and was fiercely tearing one to pieces
before we could approach the spot.
His luckless victim was the mother of a tiny little monkey, which,
being on her back when the dog flew at her, had hindered her flight; the
little creature attempted to hide among the grass, and in trembling fear
watched the tragic fate of its mother. On perceiving Turk's bloodthirsty
design, Fritz had eagerly rushed to the rescue, flinging away all he was
carrying, and losing his hat in his haste.
All to no purpose as far as the poor mother ape was concerned, and a
laughable scene ensued, for no sooner did the young monkey catch sight of him,
than at one bound it was on his shoulders, and, holding fast by his thick
curly hair, it firmly kept its seat in spite of all he could do to dislodge it.
He screamed and plunged about as he endeavoured to shake or pull the
creature off, but all in vain: it only clung the closer to his neck, making
the most absurd grimaces.
I laughed so much at this ridiculous scene, that I could scarcely assist
my terrified boy out of his awkward predicament.
At last, by coaxing the monkey, offering it a bit of biscuit, and gradu-
ally disentangling its small sinewy paws from the curls it grasped so tightly,
I managed to relieve poor Fritz, who then looked with interest at the baby
ape, no bigger than a kitten, as it lay in my arms.
"What a jolly little fellow it is!" exclaimed he; "do let me try to rear
it, father. I daresay cocoanut milk would do until we can bring the cow
and the goats from the wreck. If he lives he might be useful to us. 1
believe monkeys instinctively know what fruits are wholesome and what are
"Well," said I, "let the little orphan be yours. You bravely and kindly
exerted yourself to save the mother's life; now you must train her child
carefully, for unless you do so its natural instinct will prove mischievous
instead of useful to us."
Turk was meanwhile devouring with great satisfaction the little animal's
unfortunate mother. I could not grudge it him, and continued hunger might
have made him dangerous to ourselves. We did not think it necessary to
wait until he had dined, so we prepared to resume our march.
The tiny ape seated itself in the coolest way imaginable on Fritz's
shoulder, I helped to carry his danes, and we were on some distance before
Turk overtook us, looking uncommonly well pleased, and licking his chops
as though recalling the memory of his feast.
7HE SWISS FAMILY Y ROBINSO7.
He took no notice of the monkey, but it was very uneasy at sight of
him, and scrambled down into Fritz's arms, which was so inconvenient to
him that he devised a plan to relieve himself of his burden. Calling Turk,
and seriously enjoining obedience, he seated the monkey on his back,
securing it there with a cord, and then putting a second string round the
dog's neck that he might lead him, he put a loop of the knot into the
comical rider's hand, saying gravely, "Having slain the parent, Mr. Turk,
you will please to carry the son."
At first this arrangement mightily displeased them both, but by and
by they yielded to it quietly; the monkey especially amused us by riding
along with the air of a person perfectly at his ease.
"We look just like a couple of mountebanks on their way to a fair
with animals to exhibit," said I. "What an outcry the children will make
when we appear !"
My son enquired to what species of the monkey tribe I thought his
prot6g6 belonged, which led to a good deal of talk on the subject, and,
conversation beguiling the way, we found ourselves ere long on the rocky
margin of the stream and close to the rest of our party.
Juno was the first to be aware of our approach, and gave notice of it
by loud barking, to which Turk replied with such hearty good will, that
his little rider, terrified at the noise his steed was making, slipped from
under the cord and fled to his refuge on Fritz's shoulder, where he regained
his composure and settled himself comfortably.
Turk, who by this time knew where he was, finding himself free,
dashed forward to rejoin his friend, and announce our coming.
One after another our dear ones came running to the opposite bank,
testifying in various ways their delight at our return, and hastening up on
their side of the river, as we on ours, to the ford at which we had crossed
in the morning. We were quickly on the other side, and, full of joy and
affection, our happy party was once more united.
The boys suddenly perceiving the little animal which was clinging close
to their brother, in alarm at the tumult of voices, shouted in ecstasy, "A
monkey a monkey oh, how splendid! where did Fritz find him ? What
may we give him to eat? Oh, what a bundle of sticks! Look at those
curious great nuts father has got !"
We could neither check this confused torrent of questions, nor get in
a word in answer to them.
At length when the excitement subsided a little, I was able to say a
few words with a chance of being listened to. "I am truly thankful to see
you all safe and well, and, thank God, our expedition has been very satis-
factory, except that we have entirely failed to discover any trace of our
"If it be the will of God," said my wife, "to leave us alone on this
solitary place, let us be content; and rejoice that we are all together in
711E VNEWV COUNTRY
"Now we want to hear all your adventures, and let us relieve you of
your burdens," added she, taking my game-bag.
Jack shouldered my gun, Ernest took the cocoanuts, and little Franz
carried the gourds, Fritz distributed the sugar-canes amongst his brothers,
and, handing Ernest his gun, replaced the monkey on Turk's back. Ernest
soon found the burden with which Fritz had laden him too heavy to his
taste. His mother, perceiving this, offered to relieve him of part of the
load. He gave up willingly the cocoanuts, but no sooner had he done so
than his elder brother exclaimed, "Hullo, Ernest, you surely do not know
what you are parting with; did you really intend to hand over those good
cocoanuts without so much as tasting them ?"
"What ? ho are they really cocoanuts ?" cried Ernest. "Do let me
take them again, mother; do let me look at them."
No, thank you," replied my wife, with a smile. "I have no wish to
see you again overburdened."
"Oh, but I have only to throw away these sticks, which are of no
use, and then I can easily carry them."
"Worse and worse," said Fritz; "I have a particular regard for those
heavy useless sticks. Did you ever hear of sugar-canes ?"
The words were scarcely out of his mouth when Ernest began to suck
vigorously at the end of the cane, with no better result, however, than
Fritz had obtained as we were on the march.
"Here," said Fritz, "let me show you the trick of it," and he speedily
set all the youngsters to work extracting the luscious juice.
My wife, as a prudent housekeeper, was no less delighted than the
children with this discovery; the sight of the dishes also pleased her
greatly, for she longed to see us eat once more like civilised beings. We
went into the kitchen and there found preparations for a truly sumptuous
meal. Two forked sticks were planted in the ground on either side of the
fire, on these rested a rod from which hung several tempting-looking fish,
opposite them hung a goose from a similar contrivance, slowly roasting,
while the gravy dropped into a large shell placed beneath it. In the centre
sat the great pot from which issued the smell of a most delicious soup.
To crown this splendid array, stood an open hogshead full of Dutch cheeses.
All this was very pleasant to two hungry travellers, but I was about to
beg my wife to spare the poultry until our stock should have increased,
when she, perceiving my thought, quickly relieved my anxiety. "This is
not one of our geese," she said, "but a wild bird Ernest killed."
"Yes," said Ernest, "it is a penguin, I think; it let me get quite close,
so that. I knocked it on the head with a stick. Here are its head and feet,
which I preserved to show you; the bill is, you see, narrow and curved
downwards, and the feet are webbed. It had funny little bits of useless
wings, and its eyes looked so solemnly and sedately at me, that I was
almost ashamed to kill it. Do you not think it must have been a penguin ?"
I have little doubt on the matter, my boy," and I was about to make
T7HE SVWISS FATMIL Y ROBAINSO-.
a few remarks on the habits of this bird, when my wife interrupted me and
begged us to come to dinner and continue our natural history conversation
at some future time. We then sat down before the appetising meal pre-
pared for us, our gourds coming for the first time into use, and, having done
it full justice, produced the cocoanuts by way of dessert. "Here is better
food for your little friend," said I to Fritz, who had been vainly endeavour-
ing to persuade the monkey to taste dainty morsels of the food we had
been eating; "the poor little animal has been accustomed to nothing but
its mother's milk; fetch me a saw, one of you."
I then, after extracting the milk of the nuts from their natural holes,
carefully cut the shells in half, thus providing several more useful basins.
The monkey was perfectly satisfied with the milk, and eagerly sucked the
corner of a handkerchief dipped in it. Fritz now suddenly recollected his
delicious wine, and, producing his flask, begged his mother to taste it.
"Try it first yourself," said I; Fritz did so, and I instantly saw by his
countenance that the liquor had passed through the first stage of fermen-
tation and had become vinegar.
"Never mind, my boy," said my prudent wife, when she learned the
cause of his wry faces, "we have wine already, but no vinegar; I am really
pleased at the transformation."
The sun was now rapidly sinking behind the horizon, and the poultry
retiring for the night warned us that we must follow their example. Having
offered up our prayers, we lay down on our beds, the monkey crouched
down between Jack and Fritz, and we were all soon fast asleep.
We did not, however, long enjoy this repose; a loud barking from our
dogs, who were on guard outside the tent, awakened us, and the fluttering
and cackling of our poultry warned us that a foe was approaching. Fritz
and I sprang up, and, seizing our guns, rushed out. There we found a des-
perate combat going on: our gallant dogs, surrounded by a dozen or more
large jackals, were fighting bravely; four of their opponents lay dead, but
the others were in no way deterred by the fate of their comrades. Fritz
and I, however, sent bullets through the heads of a couple more, and the
rest galloped off. Turk and Juno did not intend that they should escape
so cheaply, and pursuing them, they caught, killed, and devoured another
of the animals, regardless of their near relationship. Fritz wished to save
one of the jackals that he might be able to show it to his brothers in the
morning; dragging therefore the one that he had shot near the tent, he
concealed it, and we once more returned to our beds.
Soundly and peacefully we slept until cock-crow next morning, when
my wife and I awoke, and began to discuss the business of the day.
"It seems absolutely necessary, my dear wife," I began, "to return at
once to the wreck while it is yet calm, that we may save the poor animals
left there, and bring on shore many articles of infinite value to us, which, if
we do not now recover, we may finally lose entirely. On the other hand,
I feel that there is an immense deal to be done on shore, and that I ought
THE VNEWT COUNTRY.
not to leave you in such
an insecure shelter as this
Return to the wreck
by all means," replied my
wife cheerfully. "Pati- .
ence, order, and persever- I
ance will help us through ; .
all our work, and I agree
with you that a visit to
the wreck is without
doubt our first duty. -
Come, let us wake the .
children, and set to work '
They were soon r T
roused and Fritz, overcom- -f r --
ing his drowiness before 'lllf liiil
the others, ran out for his l!
jackal; it was cold and
stiff from the night air, The monkey sucked the corner of a handkerchief
and he placed it on its dzipfed in milk (p. 32).
legs before the tent, in
a most life-like attitude, and stood by to watch the effect upon the family.
The dogs were the first to perceive their enemy, and, growling, seemed
inclined to dispose of the animal as they has disposed of its brethren in the
night, but Fritz called them off. The noise the dogs made, however, had
the effect of bringing out the younger children, and many were the excla-
mations they made at the sight of the strange animal.
"A yellow dog!" cried Franz.
"A wolf!" exclaimed Jack.
"It is a striped fox," said Ernest.
"Hullo," said Fritz, "the greatest men may make mistakes. Our
professor does not know a jackal when he sees one."
"But really," continued Ernest, examining the animal, "I think it is
"Very well, very well," retorted Fritz; "no doubt you know better
than your father! He thinks it is a jackal."
"Come, boys," said I, "no more of this quarrelling; you are none of
you very far wrong, for the jackal partakes of the nature of all three-dog,
wolf, and fox."
The monkey had come out on Jack's shoulder, but no sooner did it
catch sight of the jackal, than it fled precipitately back into the tent, and
hid itself in a heap of moss until nothing was visible but the tip of its little
nose. Jack soothed and comforted the frightened little animal, and I then
7HE STFISS FAMIL Y ROBINSONV
summoned them all to prayers, soon after which we began our breakfast.
So severely had we dealt with our supper the previous night, that we had
little to eat but the biscuits, which were so dry and hard that, hungry as
we were, we could not swallow much. Fritz and I took some cheese to
help them down, while my wife and younger sons soaked theirs in water.
Ernest roamed down to the shore, and looked about for shell-fish. Presently
he returned with a few whelks. "Ah," said he, "if we had but some butter."
"My good boy," I replied, "your perpetual IF, IF quite annoys me;
why do you not sit down and eat cheese like the rest of us."
"Not while I can get butter," he said; "see here, father," and he
pointed to a large cask: "that barrel contains butter of some sort or another,
for it is oozing out at the end."
"Really, Ernest," I said, "we are indebted to you. I will open the
cask." So saying, I took a knife and carefully cut a small hole, so that I
could extract the butter without exposing the mass of it to the effects of
the air and heat. Filling a cocoanut shell, we once more sat down, and,
toasting our biscuits before the fire, spread them with the good Dutch
butter. We found this vastly better than the dry biscuit, and while we
were thus employed, I noticed that the two dogs were lying unusually
quietly by my side. I at first attributed this drowsiness to their large meal
during the night, but I soon discovered that it arose from a different cause;
the faithful animals had not escaped unhurt from their late combat, but had
received several deep and painful wounds, especially about the neck. The
dogs began to lick each other on the places which they could not reach
with their own tongues, and my wife carefully dressed the wounds with
butter from which she had extracted the salt by washing.
A sudden thought now struck Ernest, and he wisely remarked that if
we were to make spiked collars for the dogs, they would in future escape
such dangerous wounds. "Oh, yes," exclaimed Jack, "and I will make
them, may I not, father? "
"Try by all means, my little fellow," said I, "and:persuade your mother
to assist you, and now, Fritz," I continued, "we must be starting, for you
and I are to make a trip to the wreck." I begged the party who were to
remain on shore, to keep together as much as possible, and having arranged
a set of signals with my wife, that we might exchange communications,
asked a blessing on our enterprise. I erected a signal-post, and while Fritz
was making preparations for our departure, hoisted a strip of sailcloth as a
flag; this flag was to remain hoisted so long as all was well on shore, but
should our return be desired, three shots were to be fired and the flag
All was now ready, and, warning my wife that we might find it neces-
sary to remain all night on the vessel, we tenderly bade adieu and embarked.
Except our guns and ammunition, we were taking nothing, that we might
leave as much space as possible for the stowage of a large cargo. Fritz,
however, had resolved to bring his little monkey, that he might obtain
71/)" }'\'Il Co(Y A' '.
Our dogs were surrounded by a dozen
more large jackals (p. 32).
milk for it as soon as possible. We had not got
far from the shore, when I perceived that a current
from the river set in directly for the vessel, and, though my nautical know-
ledge was not great, I succeeded in steering the boat into the favourable
stream, which carried us nearly three-fourths of our passage with little or
no trouble to ourselves; then, by dint of hard pulling, we accomplished the
whole distance, and, entering through the breach, gladly made fast our
boat and stepped on board. Our first care was to see to the animals, who
greeted us with joy-lowing, bellowing, and bleating as we approached;
not that the poor beasts were hungry, for they were all still well supplied
with food, but they were apparently pleased by the mere sight of
human beings. Fritz then placed his monkey by one of the goats, and the
little animal immediately sucked the milk with evident relish, chattering
and grinning all the while; the monkey provided for, we refreshed ourselves
with some wine and biscuits. "Now," said I, we have plenty to do;
where shall we begin ?"
"Let us fix a mast and sail to our boat," answered Fritz; "for the
current which brought us out will not take us back; whereas the fresh breeze
we met would help us immensely had we but a sail."
THE S TISS I-FAIL Y 1 0 ROB NSON.
"Capital thought," I replied; "let us set to work at once."
I chose a stout spar to serve as a mast, and, having made a hole in
a plank nailed across one of the tubs, we, with the help of a rope and a
couple of blocks, stepped it and secured it with stays. We then discovered
a lug-sail, which had belonged to one of the ship's boats; this we hoisted,
and our craft was ready to sail. Fritz begged me to decorate the mast-head
with a red streamer, to give our vessel a more finished appearance. Smil-
ing at this childish but natural vanity, I complied with his request. I then
contrived a rudder, that I might be able to steer the boat; for though I
knew that an oar would serve the purpose, it was cumbrous and incon-
venient. While I was thus employed, Fritz examined the shore with his
glass, and soon announced that the flag was flying and all was well.
So much time had now slipped away that we found we could not
return that night, as I had wished. We signalled our intention of remaining
on board, and then spent the rest of our time in taking out the stones we
had placed in the boat for ballast, and stowed in their place heavy articles,
of value to us. The ship had sailed for the purpose of supplying a young
colony, she had therefore on board every conceivable article we could desire
in our present situation; our only difficulty indeed was to make a wise
selection. A large quantity of powder and shot we first secured, and as
Fritz considered that we could not have too many weapons, we added three
excellent guns, and a whole armful of swords, daggers, and knives. We
remembered that knives and forks were necessary, we therefore laid in a
large stock of them, and kitchen utensils of all sorts. Exploring the cap-
tain's cabin, we discovered a service of silver plate and a cellaret of good
old wine; we then went over the stores, and supplied ourselves with potted
meats, portable soups, Westphalian hams, sausages, a bag of maize and
wheat, and a quantity of other seeds and vegetables. I then added a barrel
of sulphur for matches, and as much cordage as I could find. All this-with
nails, tools, and agricultural implements-completed our cargo, and sank our
boat so low, that I should have been obliged to lighten her had not the
sea been calm.
Night drew on, and a large fire, lighted by those on shore, showed us
that all was well. We replied by hoisting four ship's lanterns, and two shots
announced to us that our signal was perceived; then, with a heart-felt prayer
for the safety of our dear ones on shore, we retired to our boat, and Fritz
at all events was soon sound asleep. For a while I could not sleep, the
thought of my wife and children-alone and unprotected, save by the great
dogs-disturbed my rest.
The night at length passed away. At daybreak Fritz and I arose, and
went on deck. I brought the telescope to bear upon the shore, and with
pleasure saw the flag still waving in the morning breeze; while I kept the
glass directed to the land, I saw the door of the tent open, and my wife
appear and look steadfastly towards us.
I at once hoisted a white flag, and in reply, the flag on shore was
-, ., ,
Fritz s/ood with his gun to his shoulder, pointing it at a huge share (p. 37).
[Li-F NE-,JVT CO UZVIRY.J
thrice dipped. Oh, what a weight seemed lifted from my heart as I saw
"Fritz," I said, "I am not now in such haste to get back, and begin
to feel compassion for all these poor beasts. I wish we could devise some
means for getting them on shore."
"We might make a raft," suggested Fritz, "and take off one or two at
"True," I replied; "it is easy enough to say 'make a raft,' but to do
it is quite another thing."
"Well," said Fritz, "I can think of nothing else, unless indeed we make
them such swimming-belts as you made for the children."
"Really, my boy, that idea is worth having. I am not joking, indeed,"
I continued, as I saw him smile; "we may get every one of the animals
ashore in that way."
So saying, I caught a fine sheep, and proceeded to put our plan into
execution. I first fastened a broad piece of linen round its belly, and to
this attached some corks and empty tins; then, with Fritz's help, I flung
the animal into the sea-it sank, but a moment afterwards rose and floated
"Hurrah!" exclaimed Fritz, "we will treat them all like that." We then
rapidly caught the other animals and provided them one after the other
with a similar contrivance. The cow and ass gave us more trouble than
did the others, for, for them we required something more buoyant than the
mere cork; we at last found some empty casks and fastened two to each
animal by thongs passed under its belly. This done, the whole herd were
ready to start, and we brought the ass to one of the ports to be the first
to be launched. After some manoeuvring we got him in a convenient
position, and then.a sudden heave sent him plunging into the sea. He sank,
and then, buoyed up by the casks, emerged head and back from the water.
The cow, sheep, and goats followed him one after the other, and then the
sow alone remained. She seemed, however, determined not to leave the
ship; she kicked, struggled, and squealed so violently, that I really thought
we should be obliged to abandon her; at length, after much trouble, we
succeeded in sending her out the port after the others, and when once in
the water, such was the old lady's energy that she quickly distanced them,
and was the first to reach the shore.
We had fastened to the horns or neck of each animal a cord with a
float attached to the end, and now embarking, we gathered up these floats,
set sail, and steered for shore, drawing our herd after us.
Delighted with the successful accomplishment of our task, we got out
some biscuits and enjoyed a midday meal; then, while Fritz amused himself
with his monkey, I took up my glass and tried to make out how our dear
ones on shore were employing themselves. As I was thus engaged, a sudden
shout from Fritz surprised me: I glanced up; there stood Fritz with his gun
to his shoulder, pointing it at a huge shark; the monster was making for
THE Sf[ISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
one of the finest sheep; he turned on his side- to seize his prey; as the
white of his belly appeared Fritz fired. The shot took effect, and our
enemy disappeared, leaving a trace of blood on the calm water.
"Well done, my boy," I cried, "you will become a crack shot one of
these days, but I trust you will not often have such dangerous game to shoot."
Fritz's eyes sparkled at his success and my praise, and, reloading his gun,
carefully watched the water. But the shark did not again appear, and, borne
onwards by the breeze, we quickly neared the shore. Steering the boat to
a convenient landing-place, I cast off the ropes which secured the animals,
and let them get ashore as best they might.
There was no sign of my wife or children when we stepped on land,
but a few moments afterwards they appeared, and with a shout of joy ran
towards us. We were thankful to be once more united, and after asking
and replying to a few preliminary questions, proceeded to release our herd
from their swimming-belts, which, though so useful in the water, were
exceedingly inconvenient on shore. My wife was astonished at the apparatus.
"How clever you are!" said she.
"I am not the inventor," I replied; "the honour is due to Fritz. He
not only thought of this plan for bringing off the animals, but saved one
at least of them from a most fearful death." And I then told them how
bravely he had encountered the shark.
My wife was delighted with her son's success, but declared that she
would dread our trips to the vessel more than ever, knowing that such savage
fish inhabited the waters.
Fritz, Ernest, and I began the work of unloading our craft, while Jack,
seeing that the poor donkey was still encumbered with his swimming-belt,
tried to free him from it. But the donkey would not stand quiet, and the
child's fingers were not strong enough to loosen the cordage; finally, there-
fore, he scrambled upon the animal's back, and, urging him on with hand
and foot, trotted towards us.
"Come, my boy," I said, "no one must be idle here, even for a moment;
you will have riding practice enough hereafter; dismount and come and
Jack was soon on his feet. "But I have not been idle all day," he said;
"look here !" and he pointed to a belt round his waist. It was a broad
belt of yellow hair, in which he had stuck a couple of pistols and a knife.
"And see," he added, "what I have made for the dogs. Here, Juno, Turk!"
The dogs came bounding up at his call, and I saw that they were each supplied
with a collar of the same skin, in which were fastened nails, which bristled
round their necks in a most formidable manner.
"Capital, capital, my boy," said I, "but where did you get your
materials, and who helped you ?"
"Except in cutting the skin," said my wife, "he had no assistance, and
as for the materials, Fritz's jackal supplied us with the skin, and the needles
and thread came out of my wonderful bag. You little think how many
THE ANE TV COUNTRY.
useful things may be had from that same bag; it is woman's duty and nature,
you know, to see after trifles."
Fritz evidently did not approve of the use to which his jackal's hide
had been devoted, and, holding his nose, begged his little brother to keep
at a distance. "Really, Jack," he said, "you should have cured the hide
before you used it; the smell is disgusting-don't come near me."
Jack scrambled u on the
donkey's back and trotted
towards us (p. 38).
"It's not the hide that smells at all," retorted Jack, "it is your nasty
jackal itself that you left in the sun."
"Now, boys," said I, "no quarrelling here; do you, Jack, help your
brother to drag the carcase to the sea, and if your belt smells after that
you must take it oft and dry it better."
The jackal was dragged off, and we then finished our work of unloading
our boat. When this was accomplished we started for our tent, and, finding
YHEII SWVISS FAM IL Y ROBINSON.
there no preparation for supper, I said, "Fritz, let us have a Westphalian
"Ernest," said my wife, smiling, "let us see if we cannot conjure up
Fritz got out a splendid ham and carried it to his mother triumphantly,
while Ernest set before me a dozen white balls with parchment-like coverings.
"Turtles' eggs !" said I. "Well done, Ernest; where did you get them ?"
"That," replied my wife, "shall be told in due course when we relate
our adventures; now we will see what they will do towards making a supper
for you; with these and your ham I do not think we shall starve."
Leaving my wife to prepare supper, we returned to the shore and brought
up what of the cargo we had left there; then, having collected our herd
of animals, we returned to the tent.
The meal which awaited us was as unlike the first supper we had there
enjoyed as possible. My wife had improvised a table of a board laid on
two casks; on this was spread a white damask tablecloth, on which were
placed knives, forks, spoons, and plates for each person. A tureen of good
soup first appeared, followed by a capital omelette, then slices of the ham;
and finally some Dutch cheese, butter, and biscuits, with a bottle of the
captain's Canary wine, completed the repast.
While we thus regaled ourselves, I related to my wife our adventures,
and then begged she would remember her promise and tell me all that had
happened in my absence.
" WILL spare you a description" (said my wife) "of our first day's occu-
pations; truth to tell, I spent the time chiefly in anxious thought and
watching your progress and signals. I rose very early this morning, and with
the utmost joy perceiving your signal that all was right, hastened to reply
to it, and then, while my sons yet slumbered, I sat down and began to
consider how our position could be improved. 'For it is perfectly impossible,'
said I to myself, 'to live much longer where we are now. The sun beats
burningly the livelong day on this bare rocky spot; our only shelter is this
poor tent, beneath the canvas of which the heat is even more oppressive
than on the open shore.
"' Why should not I and my little. boys exert ourselves as well as
my husband and Fritz ? Why should not we too try to accomplish some-
thing useful? If we could but exchange this melancholy and unwholesome
abode for a pleasant shady dwelling-place, we should all improve in health
and spirits. Among those delightful woods and grove where Fritz and his
father saw so many charming things, I feel sure there must be some little
retreat where we could establish ourselves comfortably; there must be, and
I will find it.'
"By this time the boys were up, and I observed Jack very quietly and
busily occupied with his knife about the spot where Fritz's jackal lay.
Watching his proceedings, I saw that he had cut two long narrow strips ol
the animal's skin, which he cleaned and scraped very carefully, and then,
taking a handful of great nails out of his pocket, he stuck them through the
skin points outwards, after which he cut strips of canvas sailcloth twice as
broad as the thongs, doubled them, and laid them on the raw side of the
skin so as to cover the broad flat nail-heads. At this point of the perform-
ance, Master Jack came to me with the agreeable request that I would
kindly stitch the canvas and (moist) skin together for him. I gave him
needles and thread, but could not think of depriving him of the pleasure of
doing it himself.
"However, when I saw how good-humouredly he persevered in the
work with his awkward unskilful fingers, I took pity upon him, and, con-
THE SWISS FAMILY R OBINVSON.
quering the disgust I felt, finished lining the skin dog-collars he had so
ingeniously contrived. After this I was called upon to complete in the same
way a fine belt of skin he had made for himself. I advised him to think
of some means by which the skin might be kept from shrinking.
"Ernest, although rather treating Jack's manufacture with ridicule, pro-
posed a sensible enough plan, which Jack forthwith put in execution. He
nailed the skin, stretched flat, on a board, and put it in the sun to dry.
"My scheme of a journey was agreed to joyously by my young com-
panions. Preparations were instantly set on foot: weapons and provisions
provided: the two elder boys carrying guns, while they gave me charge of
the water-flask, and a small hatchet.
"Leaving everything in as good order as we could at the tent, we pro-
ceeded towards the stream, accompanied by the dogs. Turk, who had
accompanied you on your first expedition, seemed immediately to under-
stand that we wished to pursue the same route, and proudly led the way.
"As I looked at my two young sons, each with his gun, and considered
how much the safety of the party depended on these little fellows, I felt
grateful to you, dear husband, for having acquainted them in childhood with
the use of firearms.
"Filling our water-jar, we crossed the stream, and went on to the height
from whence, as you described, a lovely prospect is obtained, at the sight
of which a pleasurable sensation of buoyant hope, to which I had long been
a stranger, awoke within my breast.
"A pretty little wood in the distance attracted my notice particularly,
and thither we directed our course. But soon finding it impossible to force
our way through the tall strong grass which grew in dense luxuriance higher
than the children's heads, we turned towards the open beach on our left,
and following it we reached a point much nearer the little wood, when,
quitting the strand, we made towards it.
"We had not entirely escaped the tall grass, however, and with the
utmost fatigue and difficulty were struggling through the reeds, when suddenly
a great rushing noise terrified us all dreadfully. A very large and power-
ful bird sprang upward on the wing. Both boys attempted to take aim,
but the bird was far away before they were ready to fire.
"'Oh, dear, what a pity!' exclaimed Ernest; 'now if I had only had
my light gun, and if the bird had not flown quite so fast, I should have
brought him down directly!'
"'Oh, yes,' said I, 'no doubt you would be a capital sportsman if only
your game would always give you time to make ready comfortably.'
"'But I had no notion that anything was going to fly up just at our
feet like that,' cried he.
"'A good shot,' I replied, 'must be prepared for surprises: neither wild
birds nor wild beasts will send you notice that they are about to fly or
"'What sort of bird can it have been?' enquired Jack.
"'Oh, it certainly must have been an eagle,' answered little Franz, 'it
was so very big!'
"'Just as if every big bird must be an eagle!' replied Ernest, in a
tone of derision.
"'Let's see where he was sitting, at all events!' said I.
"Jack sprang towards the place, and instantly a second bird, rather
larger than the first, rushed upward into the air, with a most startling noise.
"The boys stood staring upwards, perfectly stupefied, while I laughed
heartily, saying, 'Well, you are first-rate sportsmen, to be sure! You cer-
tainly will keep my larder famously well supplied!'
"At this, Ernest coloured up, and looked inclined to cry, while Jack
put on a comical face, pulled off his cap, and with a low bow, called after
the fugitive: Adieu for the present, sir I live in hopes of another meeting !'
"On searching the ground carefully, we discovered a rude sort of nest
made untidily of dry grass. It was empty, although we perceived broken
egg-shells at no great distance, and concluded that the young brood had
escaped among the grass, which, in fact, we could see was waving at a little
distance, as the little birds ran through it.
"'Now look'here, Franz,' said Ernest, presently, 'just consider how this'
bird could by any possibility have been an eagle. Eagles never build on the
ground, neither can their young leave the nest and run as soon as they are
out of the egg. That is a peculiarity of the gallinaceous tribe of birds alone,
to which then these must belong. The species, I think, is indicated by the
white belly and dull red colour of the wing coverts which I observed in
these specimens, and I believe them to be bustards, especially as I noticed
in the largest the fine moustache-like feathers over the beak, peculiar to the
"'My dear boy,' I said, 'your eyes were actively employed, I must
confess, if your fingers were unready with the gun. And after all, it is just
as well, perhaps, that we have not thrown the bustard's family into mourning.
"Thus chatting, we at length approached my pretty wood. Numbers
of birds fluttered and sang among the high branches, but I did not encourage
the boys in their wish to try to shoot any of the happy little creatures.
We were lost in admiration of the trees of this grove, and I cannot describe
to you how wonderful they are, nor can you form the least idea of their
enormous size without seeing them yourself. What we had been calling a
wood proved to be a group of about a dozen trees only, and, what was
strange, the roots sustained the massive trunks exalted in the air, forming
strong arches, and props and stays all around each individual stem, which
was firmly rooted in the centre.
"I gave Jack some twine, and, scrambling up one of the curious open-
air roots, he succeeded in measuring round the trunk itself, and made it out
to be about eighteen yards. I saw no sort of fruit, but the foliage is thick
and abundant, throwing delicious shade on the ground beneath, which is
carpeted with soft green herbage, and entirely free from thorns, briars, or
ITHE STISS FAMILY' Y ROBINSON.
bushes of any kind. It is the most charming resting-place that ever was
seen, and I and the boys enjoyed our midday meal immensely in this glorious
palace of the woods, so grateful to our senses after the glare and heat of
our journey thither. The dogs joined us after a while. They had lingered
behind on the seashore, and I was surprised to see them lie down and go
comfortably to sleep without begging for food, as they do usually when
"The longer we remained in this enchanting place, the more did it
charm my fancy; and if we could but manage to live in some sort of dwell-
ing up among the branches of those grand, noble trees, I should feel per-
fectly safe and happy. It seemed to me absurd to suppose we should ever
find another place half so lovely, so I determined to search no farther, but
return to the beach and see if anything from the wreck had been cast up
by the waves, which we could carry away with us.
"Before starting, Jack persuaded me to sit quietly a little longer, and
finish making his belt and the spike-collars for the dogs, for you must know
that the child had .actually been carrying the board on which these were
stretched all this time, so that they should get the full benefit of the
sun. As they were now quite dry, I completed them easily, and Jack
girded on the belt with great pride, placing his pistols in it, and marching
about in a most self-important style, while Ernest fitted the collars on
the two dogs.
"On reaching the shore, we found it strewed with many articles, doubtless
of value, but all too heavy for us to lift. We rolled some casks, however,
beyond high-water mark, and dragged a chest or two also higher on the
beach; and, while doing so, observed that our dogs were busy among the
rocks. They were carefully watching the crevices and pools, and every
now and then would pounce downwards and seize something which they
swallowed with apparent relish.
"'They are eating crabs,' said Jack. 'No wonder they have not seemed
"And, sure enough, they were catching the little green crabs with which
the water abounded. These, however, did not apparently entirely satisfy them.
"Some time afterwards, just as we were about to turn inland towards
the ford, we noticed that Juno was scraping in the sand, and turning up
some round substances, which she hastily devoured. Ernest went to see
what these were, and reported in his calm way that the dog had found
"'Oh,' cried I, 'then let us by all means share in the booty!' Mrs.
Juno, however, did not at all approve of this, and it was with some diffi-
culty that we drove her aside while we gathered a couple of dozen of the
eggs, stowing them in our provision bags.
"While thus employed, we caught sight of a sail which appeared to be
merrily approaching the shore beyond the cliffs. Ernest declared it must
be our raft. Little Franz, always having the fear of savages before his eyes,
CtHAN GAIG Q URTER S. .1
began to look frightened, and for a moment I myself was doubtful what
"Ay, little wife," said I; "so that is your idea of comfort and security,
is it! A tree, I do not know how many feet high, on which we are to
I own, be a capital plan.
"I will consider the idea seriously, my wife," said I; "perhaps some-
thing may come ofeded it, after all. Meantime, as we havIce finished supper,3)
and night is coming on,' let us commend ourselves to Almighty protection
toand retire to rest."nk.
owBeneath the shelastenedr of our tent wea; andll slept soundly, likt by the marmots,-
untilones, came in sight of day, whe landing-place, where we t ook counsel together.
as- to future proceedings.hin.
"Now I hope you approve of the proceedings of your exploring party,
and that to-fiorrow you will do me the favour of packing everything up,
and taking us away to live amongst my splendid trees."
"Ay, little wife," said I; "so that is your idea of comfort and security,
is it! A tree, I do not know how many feet high, on which we are to
perch and roost like the birds ? If we had but wings or a balloon, it would,
I own, be a capital plan."
"Laugh as much as you like," returned my wife, "mny idea is not so
absurd as you make it out. We should be safe up there from jackals' visits
during the night. And I know I have seen at home in Switzerland, quite
a pretty arbour, with a strong floor, up among the branches of a lime-tree,
and we went up a staircase to reach it. Why could not we contrive a place
like that, where we could sleep safely at night ?"
"I will consider the idea seriously, my wife," said I; "perhaps some-
thing may come of it, after all. Meantime, as we have finished supper,
and night is coming on,* let us commend ourselves to Almighty protection
and retire to rest."
Beneath the shelter of our tent we all slept soundly, like marmots,
until break of day, when, my wife and I awaking, took counsel together
as, to future proceedings.
THE SFVISS PA MI LY ROBINSON.
Referring to the task she had the previous evening proposed for me, I
remarked that to undertake it would involve so many difficulties that it
was highly necessary to look closely into the subject.
"In the first place," said I, "I am unwilling hastily to quit a spot to
which I am convinced we were providentially led as a landing-place. See
how secure it is; guarded on all .sides by these high cliffs, and accessible
only by the narrow passage to the ford, while from this point it is so easy
to reach the ship that the whole of its valuable cargo is at our disposal.
Suppose we decide to stay patiently here for the present-until, at least,
we have brought on shore everything we possibly can ?"
"I agree with you to a certain extent, dear husband," replied she; "but
you do not know how dreadfully the heat among the rocks tries me. It
is almost intolerable to us who remain here all day while you and Fritz
are away out at sea, or wandering among the shady woods, where cool
fruits refresh, and fair scenes delight you. As to the contents of the ship,
an immense deal has been cast ashore, and I would much rather give up
all the remainder, and be spared the painful anxiety it gives me when you
even talk of venturing again on the faithless deep."
"Well, I must admit that there is much right on your side," I con-
tinued; "suppose we were to remove to your chosen abode, and make this
rocky fastness our magazine and place of retreat in case of danger. I could
easily render it still more secure, by blasting portions of the rock with gun-
powder. But a bridge must be constructed in the first place, to enable us
to cross bag and baggage."
"Oh, I shall be parched to death before we can leave this place, if a
bridge has to be made," cried my wife impatiently. "Why not just take
our things on our backs and wade across, as we have done already ? The
cow and the donkey could carry a great deal."
"That they will have to do, in whatever fashion we make the move,"
said I; "but bags and baskets we must have, to put things in, and if you
will turn your attention to providing those, I will set about the bridge at
once. It will be wanted not once, but continually; the stream will pro-
bably swell and be impassable at times, and even as it is, an accident might
"Well, well," cried my wife, "I submit to your opinion; only pray
set about it without delay, for I long to be off. It is an excellent idea to
make a strong place among the cliffs here; the gunpowder especially, I shall
be delighted to see stored here when we go away, for it is frightfully
dangerous to keep so much as we have close to our habitation."
"Gunpowder is indeed the most dangerous and at the same time the
most useful thing we have," said I, "and for both these reasons we must
be especially careful of it. In time I will hollow out a place in the rock
where we can store it safe from either fire or damp."
By this morning's consultation we had settled the weighty question
of our change of abode, and also chalked out work for the day.
When the children heard of the proposed move their joy was bound-
less; they began at once to talk of it as our "journey to the Promised
Land," and only regretted that time must be "wasted," as they said, in
bridge-building before it could be undertaken.
Everyone being impatient for breakfast that work might be begun at
once, the cow and goats were milked, and, having enjoyed a comfortable
meal of biscuit boiled in milk, I prepared to start for the wreck, in order
to obtain planks for the proposed bridge. Ernest as well Fritz accompanied
me, and we were soon within the influence of the current, and were carried
swiftly out to sea. Fritz was steering, and we had no sooner passed
beyond the islet at the entrance of the bay, so as to come in sight of its
seaward beach, than we were astonished to see a countless multitude of
seabirds, gulls, and others, which rose like a cloud into the air, disturbed by
our approach, and deafened us by their wild and screaming cries. Fritz
caught up his gun, and would have sent a shot among them had I per-
mitted it. I was very curious to find out what could be the great attrac-
tion for all this swarm of feathered fowl; and, availing myself of a fresh
breeze from the sea, I set the sail and directed our course towards the
The swelling sail and flying pennant charmed Ernest, while Fritz bent
his keen eyes eagerly towards the sandy shore, where the flocks of birds
were again settling.
Presently he shouted, "Aha! now I see what they are after! They
have got a huge monster of a fish there, and a proper feast they are
making! Let's have a nearer look at it, father."
We could not take our boat very close in, but we managed to effect
a landing at a short distance from the festive scene; and, securing the raft
by casting a rope round a large stone, we cautiously drew near the object
It proved to be a monstrous fish, on whose flesh these multitudes of birds
were ravenously feeding; and it was extraordinary to watch the ferocity,
the envy, the gluttony, and all manner of evil passions, exhibited among
the guests at this banquet.
"There was nothing on this sandy beach when we passed yesterday,
I am certain, father," said Fritz. "It seems strange to see this creature
"Why, Fritz," cried Ernest, "it must be the shark! your shark, you
know I believe I can see where you hit him in the head."
"You are right, I do believe, Ernest," said I, "though I think your
imagination only can distinguish the gunshot wounds among all the pecking
and tearing of the voracious birds there. Just look, boys, at those terrific
jaws beneath the strangely projecting snout. See the rows upon rows of
murderous teeth, and thank God we were delivered from them! Let us
try if we can induce these greedy birds to spare us a bit of the shark's
skin; it is extremely rough, and when dry may be used like a file."
THE SWTISS FAMILY ROBINOSON.
Ernest drew the ramrod from his gun, and charged so manfully into
the crowd that, striking right and left, he speedily killed several, whilst
most of the others took to flight. Fritz detached some broad strips of skin
with his knife, and we returned towards the boat.
Perceiving with satisfaction that the shore was strewn with just the
sort of boards and planks I wanted, I lost no time in collecting them; and,
forming a raft to tow after us, we were in a short time able to direct our
course homeward, without visiting the wreck at all. As we sailed along,
extremely well pleased with our good fortune, Fritz, by my direction, nailed
part of the shark's skin flat on boards to dry in the sun, and the rest on
the rounded mast.
"Will that be a good plan, father? enquired he; "it will be quite bent
and crooked when it hardens."
"That is just what I want it to be," said I; "we may happen to find it
useful in that form as well as flat. It would be beautiful shagreen if we
could smooth and polish it."
"I thought," remarked Ernest, "that shagreen was made from asses'
"And you thought rightly," said I. "The best shagreen is prepared in
Turkey, Persia, and Tartary, from the skins of horses and asses. In these
skins the roughness is produced artificially: while the skin is newly flayed
and still soft, hard grains of corn are spread on the under surface, and pressed
into it as it dries. These grains are afterwards removed, and the roughness
imparted to the appearance of the skin remains indelibly; shagreen is useful
in polishing joiner's work, and it is made in France from the rough skin of
a hideous creature called the angel-fish."
"Angel-fish!" exclaimed Fritz, "what a name to give to anything 'hide-
ous,' father !"
"There are bad angels as well as good ones," observed Ernest, in his
dry, quiet way ; "it is better to leave people to see for themselves which
By this time we were close in shore; and, lowering the sail, we soon
had our craft with the raft in tow, safely moored to the bank.
No one was in sight, not a sound to be heard, so with united voice we
gave a loud cheery halloo, which after a while was answered in shrill tones,
and the mother with her two boys came running from behind the high
rocks between us and the stream, each carrying a small bundle in a hand-
kerchief, while little Franz held aloft a landing-net.
Our return so soon was quite unexpected, and they anxiously enquired
the reason, which we soon explained: and then the mysterious bundles were
opened, and a great number of fine crawfish displayed; whose efforts to
escape by scuttling away in every direction, directly they were placed in a
heap on the ground, caused immense fun and laughter as the boys pursued
and brought them back, only to find others scrambling off in a dozen
CHAVNGIG QUA RIERS.
"Now, father, have we not done well to-day?" cried Jack; "did you
ever see such splendid crawfish ? Oh, there were thousands of them, and
I am sure we have got two hundred here at least. Just look at their
"No doubt you were the discoverer of these fine crabs, eh, Jack ?"
"No! fancy young Franz being the lucky man!" answered he. He
and I went towards the stream while mother was busy, just to look for a
good place for the bridge. Franz was picking up pebbles and alabasters,
Some e insisted were 'gold.' 'Jack, Jack' cried e presently,
'come and see the crabs on Fritz's jackal' You know we threw it away
there, and to be sure it -as swarming with these creatures. Are you glad
,/" '**' ^ ".-*" I ... '
and some he insisted were 'gold.' 'Jack, Jack!' cried he presentl-,
there, and-to be sure it was swarming with these creatures. ,re you glad
we have found them, father ? Will they be good to eat?"
"Very excellent, my boy, and we may be thankful that food for our
wants is thus provided day by day."
When each party had related the day's adventures, and while the
mother was cooking the crawfish, we went to bring our store of planks to
YHE SWVISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
land. Even this apparently simple operation required thought, and I had to
improvise rope-harness for the cow and the donkey, by which we could
make them drag each board separately from the water's edge to the margin
of the stream.
Jack showed me where he thought the bridge should be, and I cer-
tainly saw no better place, as the banks were at that point tolerably close
to one another, steep, and of about equal height.
"How shall we find out if our planks are long enough to reach across ?"
said I. "A surveyor's table would be useful now."
"What do you say to a ball of string, father ? said Ernest. "Tie one
end to a stone, throw it across, then draw it back, and measure the line."
Adopting my son's idea, we speedily ascertained the distance across to
be eighteen feet. Then allowing three feet more at each side, I calculated
twenty-four feet as the necessary length of the boards.
The question as to how the planks were to be laid across was a diffi-
cult one. We resolved to discuss it during dinner, to which we were now
summoned. And my wife, as we sat resting, displayed to me her needle-
work. With hard labour had she made two large canvas bags for the ass
to carry. Having no suitable needle, she had been obliged to bore the hole
for each stitch with a nail, and gained great praise for her ingenuity and
Dinner was quickly despatched, as we were all eager to continue our
engineering work. A scheme had occurred to me for conveying one end
of a plank across the water, and I set about it in this way. There fortu-
nately were one or two trees close to the stream on either side; I attached
a rope pretty near one end of a beam, and slung it loosely to the tree
beside us; then, fastening a long rope to the other end, I crossed with it by
means of broken rocks and stones, and having a pulley and block, I soon
arranged the rope on a strong limb of the opposite tree, again returning
with the end to our own side.
Now putting my idea to the proof, I brought the ass and the cow,
and fastening this rope to the harness I had previously contrived for them,
I drove them steadily away from the bank. To my great satisfaction, and
the surprise and delight of the boys, the end of the plank which had been
laid alongside the stream began gently to move, rose higher, turned, and,
soon projecting over the water, continued to advance, until, having described
the segment of a circle, it reached the opposite bank; I stopped my team,
the plank rested on the ground, the bridge was made! So at least thought
Fritz and Jack, who in a moment were lightly running across the narrow
way, shouting joyfully as they sprang to the other side.
Our work was now comparatively easy. A second and third plank
were laid beside the first; and when these were carefully secured at each
end to the ground and to the trees, we very quickly laid short boards side
by side across the beams, the boys nailing them lightly down as I sawed
them in lengths; and when this was done, our bridge was pronounced complete.
CHANGING QUA TERiS.
Nothing could exceed the excitement of the children. They danced to and
fro on the wonderful structure, singing, shouting, and cutting the wildest
capers. I must confess I heartily sympathized with their triumphant feelings.
Now that the work was done, we began to feel how much we were
fatigued, and gladly returned to our tent for refreshment and repose.
Next morning, while we breakfasted, I made a little speech to my sons
on the subject of the important move we were about to make, wishing to
impress them with a sense of the absolute necessity of great caution.
"Remember," said I, "that, although you all begin to feel very
much at your ease here, we are yet complete strangers to a variety of
dangers which may surprise us unawares. 1 charge you, therefore, to main-
tain good order, and keep together on the march. No darting off into by-
ways, Jack. No lingering behind to philosophise, Ernest. And now all
hands to work."
The greatest activity instantly prevailed in our camp. Some collected
provisions, others packed kitchen utensils, tools, ropes, and hammocks,
arranging them as burdens for the cow and ass. My wife pleaded for a seat
on the latter for her little Franz, and assuring me likewise that she could
not possibly leave the poultry, even for a night, nor exist an hour without
her magic bag, I agreed to do my best to please her, without downright
cruelty to animals.
Away ran the children to catch the cocks and hens. Great chasing,
fluttering, and cackling ensued; but with no success whatever, until the
mother recalled her panting sons, and, scattering some handfuls of grain
within the open tent, soon decoyed the fowls and pigeons into the enclo-
sure; where, when the curtain was dropped, they were easily caught, tied
together, and placed on the cow. This amiable and phlegmatic animal
had stood calmly chewing the cud, while package after package was dis-
posed on her broad back, nor did she now object even to this noisy addition
to her load. I placed a couple of half-hoops over all; and, spreading sail-
cloth on them, put the fowls in darkness, and they rapidly became quiet;
and the cow, with the appearance of having a small waggon on her back,
was ready to start.
Franz was firmly seated on the ass, amidst bags and bundles of all
sorts and sizes : they rose about him like cushions and pillows, and his curly
head rested on the precious magic bag, which surmounted all the rest.
Having filled the tent with the things we left behind, closing it care-
fully, and ranging chests and casks around it, we were finally ready to be
off, each well equipped and in the highest spirits.
Fritz and his mother led the van.
Franz (the young cavalier) and the sober-minded cow followed them
Jack conducted the goats; one of these had also a rider, for Knips,* the
* German, Inir-fs, a mannikin.
IHE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSAON.
monkey, was seated on his foster-mother, whose patience was sorely tried by
his restlessness and playful tricks.
The sheep were under Ernest's care, and I brought up the rear of this
patriarchal band, while the two dogs kept constantly running backwards and
forwards in the character of aides-de-camp.
"We seem delightfully like those simple and pastoral tribes I have
read of," said Ernest, as we proceeded, "whose whole lives are spent in
shifting from place to place, without any wish to settle."
"Yes," said I. "Among the Arabs, Tartars, and some other Eastern
nations, this mode of life is natural. They for that reason are called No-
"These tribes are amply provided with camels and horses, and effect their
journeys more quickly and conveniently than we are likely to do with
these deliberate quadrupeds of ours. Whatever you young folks may think,
I suspect your mother and I will be quite satisfied with one such under-
taking. At least, I hope she will be contented with the nest she intends
me to build for her up in her wonderful trees."
With honest pride I introduced my wife to my bridge, and after re-
ceiving from her what I considered well-merited praise for my skill in its
construction, we passed over. it in grand procession, reinforced unexpectedly
on the opposite side by the arrival of our cross-grained old sow. The per-
verse creature had obstinately resisted our attempts to bring her with us,
but, finding herself deserted, had followed of her own accord, testifying in
the most unmistakable manner, by angry grunts and squeals, her entire dis-
approval of our proceedings.
I soon found we must, as before, turn down to the sea-beach, for not
only did the rank grass impede our progress, but it also tempted the ani-
mals to break away from us, and, but for our watchful dogs, we might have
lost several of them.
On the firm open sands we were making good way when, to my an-
noyance, both our dogs suddenly left us and, springing into the thick cover
to our right, commenced a furious barking, following by howling as if in
fear and violent pain.
Not for a moment doubting that some dangerous animal was at hand,
I hastened to the spot, remarking as I went the characteristic behaviour of
my three sons.
Fritz cocked his gun and advanced boldly, but with caution.
Ernest looked disconcerted, and drew back, but got ready to fire.
While Jack hurried after Fritz without so much as unslinging his gun
from his shoulders.
Before I could come up with them, I heard Jack shouting excitedly,
"Father! father! come quickly! a-huge porcupine! a most enormous por-
Sure enough the dogs were rushing round and round a porcupine, and,
having attempted to seize it, were already severely wounded by its quills.
CHAN 2GING QUARTERS.
Each time they came near, the creature, with a rattling noise, bristled up
Somewhat to my amusement, while we were looking at the curious
defence this creature was making, little Jack stepped close up to it, with a
I .., ,_
Th7e porczuine quills entered the donkey's back, causing it to kick and filunge (p. 54).
pocket pistol in his hand, and shot it dead, making sure of it by a couple
of hearty raps on the head, and then, giving way to a burst of boyish exul-
tation, he called upon us to help to convey his prize to his mother.
This it was not by any means easy to do. Sundry attempts resulted
11HE SWIJISS FAMILY ROBrINSON.
in bloody fingers, till Jack, taking his pocket-handkerchief, and fastening
one corner round its neck, ran off, dragging it after him to where his mother
"Hullo, mother here's a jolly beast, isn't it? I shot it, and it's good
to eat! Father says so! I only wish you had seen how it terrified the
dogs, and heard the rattling and rustling of its spines. Oh, it is;a]fearful
Ernest, examining it carefully, pronounced its incisor teeth, its ears, and
feet to resemble those of the human race, and pointed out the curious crest
of stiff hairs on its head and neck.
"I have read of another species," said he, "called the Tuft-tailed Por-
cupine, which must be even more curious-looking than this is. It has short
flat quills, and a scaly tail ending in an extraordinary tuft, like a bunch of
narrow strips of parchment. It cannot be such a disagreeable enemy to
encounter as this fellow."
"Were you not afraid, Jack," asked I, "lest the porcupine should cast
some of his quills like darts at you ? "
"Of course not," returned he; "I know well enough that is nothing but
"A fable!" said I, "why, look at your mother: she is drawing five or
six spines out of each of the dogs!"
"Ah, those stuck into them when they so fiercely fell upon it in their
attack. Those are the shortest quills, and seem very slightly fixed in its
skin. The long quills bent aside when Juno pressed against them."
"You are perfectly right, my boy," said I; "there is no truth in the
old idea of shooting out the spines. But now, shall we leave this prickly
booty of yours, or attempt to take it with us? "
"Oh, please, father, let us take it! Why, it is good to eat!"
Smiling at the child's eagerness, and willing to please him, I made a
somewhat awkward bundle of the porcupine, wrapping it in several folds of
cloth, and added it to the donkey's load. We had scarcely started when the
porcupine quills entered the donkey's back, causing it to kick and plunge.
This I soon altered, and our party then resumed the march, which was
continued steadily until we came in sight of our future place of residence.
The wonderful appearance of the enormous trees, and the calm beauty
of the spot altogether, fully came up to the enthusiastic description which
had been given to me.
And my wife gladly heard me say that if an abode could be contrived
among the branches, it would be the safest and most charming home in
We hastily unloaded the ass and cow, securing them, as well as the
sheep and goats, by tying their fore-feet loosely together. The doves and
poultry were set at liberty, and we sat down to rest among the soft herb-
age while we laid our plans for the night.
Fritz soon left us, but presently two shots were fired, and he appeared,
holding a fine tiger-cat by the hind legs, which, with the intensest delight,
he exhibited to each in turn.
"Well done, Fritz!" cried I. "Our cocks and hens would have had
an unfortunate night of it but for this lucky shot of yours. It is to be
hoped he has left no companion near at hand. You must be on the look-out."
"How curious it seems," remarked Ernest, "that God should create hurt-
ful animals like this."
"To our feeble and narrow vision many of the ways of the Infinite
and Eternal Mind are incomprehensible," I replied. "What our limited
reason cannot grasp, let us be content to acknowledge as the workings of
Almighty power and wisdom, and thankfully trust in that 'Rock,' which,
were It not 'higher than' we, could afford no sense of security to the im-
mortal soul. That animals should prey upon one another is a means of
preserving a due balance in the world of nature, and in many ways these
beasts of prey are also useful to man. What beautiful and warm furs are
procured by hunters just in those countries where no other covering would
defend the inhabitants from the wintry cold!-as, for instance, the skins of
bears, wolverines, and arctic foxes, wild cats, and many others."
"The skin of the seal, or sea-dog, is also valuable," said Ernest.
"It is," I replied, "and in its own element that creature preys on fish
as the dog did on land animals before his race became domesticated by man.
But now, Fritz, tell us how you obtained your prize."
"Observing that something moved among the branches," said he, "I
went softly round the tree with my gun, and, making sure the creature was
a wild cat, I fired and brought it down. It was severely wounded, but,
rising in a fury, it attempted to climb the tree, when I, luckily having a
loaded pistol, gave it a quietus. And do tell me, father, what sort of
cat it is."
"It is a mercy the brute did not fly at your throat instead of attempt-
ing to escape," said I. "It belongs to a fierce and bloodthirsty race-that
of the ocelots or tiger-cats, natives of the tropical parts of America. I should
say this was a margay, and as it would have proved a cruel foe, not only
of our poultry, but also of our sheep and goats, I am well pleased that you
have rid us of it."
"May I have the beautiful skin, father? And will you tell me what
will be the best use to make of it?"
"I advise you to skin the animal very carefully, and of the handsome
black and yellow tail make a hunting-belt for yourself. The paws-let me
see-why, I fancy the paws might be made famous cases for knife, fork, and
spoon, and look well hanging from the belt. The skin of the body you
had better preserve until you find some suitable use for it."
"Oh, father, what a splendid plan!" cried Jack; "do tell me some
good use for my porcupine."
"I think its feet may make cases also; at least, you may try. The
quills, I am sure, may be used for packing-needles, and for tipping arrows,
THE1, SlWI7SS AJILY ROBINSON.
and I should try to make defensive armour for the dogs out of the rest.
They may fall in with foes more dangerous than any we have yet seen."
"To be sure, father, the very thing !" shouted Jack in high glee. "I
have seen pictures of boar-hunts, in which the dogs were protected by a
sort of leather coat of mail. That will be grand !"
After giving this advice, I got no peace until I had shown my boys
how to act upon it, and in a short time each had his prize fastened up
by the hind legs, and, carefully slitting the skin, was stripping it from
Ernest, meanwhile, was fetching large flat stones in order to form a
fireplace, while Franz gathered sticks, as his mother was anxious to pre-
pare some food.
"What sort of tree do you suppose this to be, father ? enquired Ernest,
seeing me examining that under which we were encamping. "Is not the
leaf something like a walnut ?"
"There is a resemblance, but in my opinion these gigantic trees must
be mangroves or wild figs. I have heard their enormous height described,
and also the peculiarity of the arching roots supporting the main trunk raised
above the soil."
Just then little Franz came up with a large bundle of sticks, and his
mouth full of something he was eating with evident satisfaction.
"Oh, mother!" cried he, "this is so good! so delicious!"
"Greedy little boy!" exclaimed she, in a fright. "What have you got
there? Don't swallow it, whatever you do. Very likely it is poisonous!
Spit it all out this minute!" And the anxious mother quickly extracted
from the rosy little mouth the remains of a small fig.
"Where did you find this?" said I.
"There are thousands lying among the grass yonder," replied the little
boy. "They taste very nice. I thought poison was nasty. Do you think
they will hurt me ? The pigeons and the hens are gobbling them up with
all their might and main, papa."
"I think you have no cause for alarm, dear wife," I said. "The trees
seem to be the fig-bearing mangrove of the Antilles. But remember, Franz,
you must never eat anything without first showing it to me, never mind
how good it seems. If birds and monkeys eat a fruit or vegetable, it is
usually safe to believe it wholesome," added I, turning to the other boys,
who instantly taking the hint, coaxed Franz to give them the figs he still
had in his pocket, and ran to offer them to Knips, who was closely watching
the skinning of the tiger-cat and porcupine, apparently giving his opinion on
the subject with much chattering and gesticulation.
"Here, Knips, allow me to present you with a fig! cried Jack, holding
one out to the funny little creature.
Knips took it readily, and, after turning it about, and sniffing and smelling
it, he popped it into his mouth, with such a droll grimace of delight and
satisfaction that the boys all laughed and clapped their hands, crying, "Bravo,
CHANGING CQUAR TERS.
Knips you know a good thing
when you see it, don't you, old (
fellow Hurrah!" c
My wife, with her mind
set at rest on the question of
the figs, now continued her pre- ,*
parations for dinner.
The flesh of the margay
was given to the dogs, but part
of the porcupine was put on the
fire to boil, while we reserved i
the rest for roasting.
I employed myself in con-
triving needles for my wife's
work, by boring holes at one
end of the quills, which I did
by means of a red hot nail, and
I soon had a nice packet of
various sizes, which pleased her
immensely. I also laid plans
for making proper harness for
our beasts of burden, but could k
not attempt to begin that while .
so many wants more pressing
demanded attention. _
We examined the different
trees, and chose one which feared, ho//d/.g a /iNe //r-,/
seemed most suited to our pur- by, i/e h,/d /ki s (p. 55).
pose. The branches spread at
a great height above us, and I made the boys try if it were possible to
throw sticks or stones over one of these, my intention being to construct a
rope ladder if we could once succeed in getting a string across a strong
Finding we could not succeed in that way, I revolved other schemes in
my mind, and meantime went with Jack and Fritz to a small brook close
by, where I showed them how to place the skins to steep and soften in the
water, with stones placed on them to keep them beneath the surface.
When dinner was over, I prepared our night quarters. I first slung our
hammocks from the roots of the tree, which, meeting above us, formed an
arched roof, then covering the whole with sail-cloth, we made a temporary
tent, which would at least keep off the night damps and noxious insects.
Leaving my wife engaged in making a set of harness for the ass and
cow, whose strength I intended to employ the following day in drawing the
beams up to our tree, I walked down with Fritz and Ernest to the beach
to look for wood suitable for building our new abode and also to discover,
T7E SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
if possible, some light rods to form a ladder. For some time we hunted in
vain, nothing but rough driftwood was to be seen, utterly unfit for our
purpose. Ernest at length pointed out a quantity of bamboos half buried
in the sand. These were exactly what I wanted, and, stripping them of their
leaves, I cut them into lengths of about five feet each; these I bound- in
bundles to carry to the tree, and then began to look about for some slight
reeds to serve as arrows.
I presently saw what I required in a copse at a little distance. We
advanced cautiously lest the thicket should contain some wild beast or
venomous serpent. Juno rushed ahead; as she did so a flock of flamingoes,
which had been quietly feeding, rose in the air. Fritz, instantly firing,
brought a couple of the birds to the ground, the rest of the squadron sailing
away in perfect order, their plumage continually changing, as they flew,
from beautiful rose to pure white, as alternately their snowy wings and rosy
breasts were visible. One of those which fell was perfectly dead, but the
other appeared only slightly wounded in the wing, for it made off across the
swampy ground. I attempted to follow, but soon found that progress was
impossible on the marsh; Juno, however, chased the bird and, seizing it
speedily brought it to my feet. Fritz and Ernest were delighted at the sight
of our prize.
"What a handsome bird!" exclaimed they. "Is it much hurt ? Let us
tame it and let it run about with the fowls."
"Its plumage is much more brilliant than that of the dead one," re-
"Yes," said Ernest, "this is a full-grown bird, while yours is younger;
it is some years before they reach perfection. See what long active legs it
has, like those of a stork, while with its great webbed feet it can swim
faster than a goose. Earth, air, or water is all the same to the flamingo-
it is equally at home in any one of the three."
"Well," said Fritz, "let us take the dead one to mother and get her
to introduce it to the other element, and see what it will make of that; if
it is young and tender, as you say, it should make a delicious roast."
Fritz and Ernest then carried the birds and bamboos to the tree, while
I proceeded to cut my reeds. I chose those which had flowered, knowing
that they were harder, and, having cut a sufficient quantity of these, I
selected one or two of the tallest canes I could find to assist me in mea-
suring the height of the tree. I then bound them together and returned
to my family.
"Do you mean to keep this great hungry bird Fritz has brought?"
said my wife; "it is another mouth to feed, remember, and provisions are
"Luckily," I replied, "the flamingo will not eat grain like our poultry,
but will be quite satisfied with insects, fish, and little crabs, which it will
pick up for itself. Pray reassure yourself, therefore, and let me see to the
poor bird's wound."
So saying, I procured some wine and butter and, anointing the wing,
which, though hurt, was not broken, I bound it up, and then took the bird
to the stream, where I fastened it by a long cord to a stake and left it to
shift for itself. In a few days the wound was healed, and the bird, subdued
by kind treatment, became rapidly tame.
While I was thus employed my sons were endeavouring to ascertain
,.. -i.. ,. ".. ..-B-" .,,
'.. A G 7
^'' iT-el ^ I,'-*'
I Procured some wine
and butter and anointed the wing, which, lhoiwug
hurt, was not broken.
the height of the lowest branch of the tree from the ground. They had
fastened together the long reeds I had brought with twine, and were trying
to measure the distance, but in vain: they soon found that, were the rods
ten times their length, they could not touch the branch.
"Hillo, my boys," I said, when I discovered what they were about,
"that is not the way to set to work. Geometry will simplify the operation
considerably; with its help the altitude of the highest mountains is
ascertained: we may, therefore, easily find the height of that branch."
THE SIFISS FAMILY -ROBINSON.
So saying, I measured out a certain distance from the base of the tree
and marked the spot, and then by means of a rod, whose length I knew,
and imaginary lines, I calculated the angle subtended by the trunk of the
tree from the ground to the root of the branch. This done, I was able to
discover the height required, and, to the astonishment of the younger
children, announced that we should henceforth live thirty feet above the
ground. This I wanted to know, that I might construct a ladder of the
Telling Fritz to collect all our cord, and the others to roll all the twine
into a ball, I sat down and, taking the reeds, speedily manufactured half a
dozen arrows and feathered them from the dead flamingo. I then took a
strong bamboo, bent it and strung it so as to form a bow. When the boys
saw what I had done they were delighted, and begged to have the plea-
sure of firing the first shot.
"No, no!" said I, "I did not make this for mere pleasure, nor is it
even intended as a weapon: the arrows are pointless. Elizabeth," I con-
tinued to my wife, can you supply me with a ball of stout thread from
your wonderful bag ?"
"Certainly," replied she, "I think that a ball of thread was the first
thing to enter the bag," and, diving her hand deep in, she drew out the
very thing I wanted.
"Now, boys," I said, "I am going to fire the first shot," and I fastened
one end of the thread to one of my arrows and aimed at a large branch
above me. The arrow flew upwards and bore the thread over the branch
and fell at our feet. Thus was the first step in our undertaking accom-
plished. Now for the rope ladder!
Fritz had obtained two coils of cord each about forty feet in length;
these we stretched on the ground side by side; then Fritz cut the bamboos
into pieces of two feet for the steps of the ladder, and as he handed them
to me, I passed them through knots which I had prepared in the ropes,
while Jack fixed each end with a nail driven through the wood. When the
ladder was finished, I carried over the bough a rope by which it might be
hauled up: This done, I fixed the lower end of the ladder firmly to the
ground by means of stakes, and all was ready for an ascent. The boys,
who had been watching me with intense interest, were each eager to be
"Jack shall have the honour," said I, "as he is the lightest; so up with
you, my boy, and do not break your neck."
Jack, who was as active as a monkey, sprang up the ladder and quickly
gained the top.
"Three cheers for the nest!" he exclaimed, waving his cap. "Hurrah,
hurrah, hurrah for our jolly nest! What a grand house we will have up
here; come along, Fritz!"
His brother was soon by his side, and with a hammer and nails
secured the ladder yet more securely. I followed with an axe, and took a
C/IA XVG6 AGW QUA. R 7ERS.
" 1"'' ": **" i '
L I L
,' .0 111111 Al 11%. .L- -': '
t C,.- I LA I. 1 I .
to fasten the pulley to a H :s bro er was soon by his
that we might be able to ladder (p. o)',
should require the next ay. I then made other preparations that there
boys were not there. They had not been seen.
,-, bi~ ', -< i tl' i ".,, h. in,,_- i,: ', _l -
,. i ,u .:.l I.t". iv t, i !o ".a 1
I. L hr. 11
ido ,,n ,hil ,.l I pi ,-, '' ,
to fasten the pulley to a His brother ias soon by hi's
stout branch above merr,, al anx was d they scfr md o te
that we t might boe able to lddeo (p. 6i).
haul up the beams we
should require the next day. I then made other preparations that there
might be no delay on the morrow, and, a bright moon having arisen, I by
its light continued working until I was quite worn out, and then at length
descended. I reached the ground, but to my surprise found that the two
boys were not there. They had not been seen.
A moment afterwards, however, all anxiety was dispelled, for amongst
the topmost boughs I heard their young voices raised in the evening hymn.
THE STVISS FAM ILY ROBINASON.
Instead of descending, they had, while I was 'busy, climbed upwards, and
had been sitting in silent admiration of the moonlight scene, high above.
They now joined us, and my wife showed me the results of her labour.
She had made two complete sets of harness. I congratulated her upon her
success, and we then sat down to supper. On a cloth spread out upon the
grass were arranged a roast shoulder of porcupine, a delicious bowl of soup
made from a piece of the same animal, cheese, butter, and biscuits, forming
a most tempting repast.
Having done this ample justice, we collected our cattle, and the
pigeons and fowls having retired to roost on the neighboring trees, and
on the steps of our ladder, we made up a glorious fire to keep off any
prowling wild beasts, and ourselves lay down. The children, in spite of the
novelty of the hammocks, were quickly asleep. In vain I tried to follow
their example; a thousand anxious thoughts presented themselves, and as
quickly as I dispelled them others rose in their place. The night wore on,
and I was still awake; the fire burned low, and I rose and replenished
it with dry fuel. Then again I climbed into my hammock, and towards
morning fell asleep.
Early next morning we were astir, and dispersed to our various occu-
pations. My wife milked the goats and cow, while we gave the animals
their food, after which we went down to the beach, to collect more wood
for our building operations. To the larger beams we harnessed the cow
and ass, while we ourselves dragged up the remainder. Fritz and I then
ascended the tree, and finished the preparations I had begun the night
before; all useless boughs we lopped off, leaving a few about six feet from
the floor, from which we might sling our hammocks, and others still higher,
to support a temporary roof of sailcloth. My wife made fast the planks to
a rope passed through the block I had fixed to the bough above us, and by
this means Fritz and I hauled them up. These we arranged side by side
on the foundation of boughs, so as to form a smooth solid floor, and round
this platform built a bulwark of planks, and then throwing the sailcloth
over the higher branches, we drew it down and firmly nailed it.
Our house was thus enclosed on three sides, for behind the great trunk
protected us, while the front was left open to admit the fresh sea
breeze which blew directly in. We then hauled up our hammocks and
bedding, and slung them from the branches we had left for that purpose.
A few hours of daylight still remaining, we cleared the floor from leaves
and chips, and then descended to fashion a table and a few benches
from the remainder of the wood. After working like slaves all day, Fritz
and I flung ourselves on the grass, while my wife arranged supper on the
table we had made.
"Come," said she at length, "come and taste flamingo stew, and tell
me how you like it. Ernest assured me that it would be much better stewed
than roasted, and I have been following his directions."
Laughing at the idea of Ernest turning scientific cook, we sat down.
CHAN AGING QUARTER_.S.
The fowls gathered round us to pick up the crumbs, and the tame flamingo
joined them, while Master Knips skipped about from one to the other,
chattering and mimicking our gestures continually. To my wife's joy, the
sow appeared shortly after, and was presented with all the milk that
remained from the day's stock that she might be persuaded to return every
"For," said my wife, "this surplus milk is really of no use to us, as it
will be sour before the morning in this hot climate."
"You are quite right," I replied, "but we must contrive to make it of
use. The next time Fritz and I return to the wreck we will bring off a
churn amongst the other things we require."
"Must you really go again to that dreadful wreck ?" said my wife,
shuddering. You have no idea how anxious I am when you are away
"Go we must, I am afraid," I replied, "but not for a day or two yet.
Come, it is getting late. We and the chickens must go to roost."
We lit our watch-fires, and, leaving the dogs on guard below, ascended
the ladder. Fritz, Ernest, and Jack were up in a moment. Their mother
followed very cautiously, for, though she had originated the idea of building
a nest, she yet hesitated to entrust herself at such a terrific height from
When she was safely landed in the house, taking little Franz on my
back, I let go the fastenings which secured the lower end of the ladder
to the ground, and, swinging to and fro, slowly ascended.
Then for the first time we stood all together in our new home. I
drew up the ladder, and, with a greater sense of security than I had enjoyed
since we landed on the island, offered up our evening prayer, and retired
for the night.
N\EXT morning all were early awake, and the children sprang about
the tree like young monkeys.
"What shall we begin to do, father ? they cried. What do you want
us to do to-day ?"
"Rest, my boys," I replied, "rest."
"Rest ? repeated they. "Why should we rest ?"
"'Six days shalt thou labour and do all that thou hast to do, but on
the seventh thou shalt do no manner of work.' This is the seventh day,"
I replied; "on it, therefore, let us rest."
"'What, is it really Sunday?" said Jack; "how jolly Oh, I won't do
any work; but I'll take a bow and arrow and shoot, and we'll climb about
the tree and have fun all day."
"That is not resting," said I, "that is not the way you are accustomed
to spend the Lord's day."
"No but then we can't go to church here, and there is nothing else
"We can worship here as well as at home," said I.
"But there is no church, no clergyman, and no organ," said Franz.
"The leafy shade of this great tree is far more beautiful than any
church," I said; "there will we worship our Creator. Come, boys, down
with you: turn our dining-hall into a breakfast-room."
The children, one by one, slipped down the ladder.
My dear Elizabeth," said I, "this morning we will devote to the ser-
vice of the Lord, and by means of a parable I will endeavour to give the
children some serious thoughts; but, without books, or the possibility of
any of the usual Sunday occupations, we cannot keep them quiet the whole
day; afterwards, therefore, I shall allow them to pursue any innocent re-
creation they choose, and in the cool of the evening we will take a walk."
My wife entirely agreed with my proposal, and, having breakfasted, the
family assembled round me, as we sat in the pleasant shade on the fresh
After singing some hymns and offering heartfelt prayers to the
SEVL7ZING DO WTN.
Almighty Giver of all good, I told the children I would relate to them
a parable instead of preaching a sermon.
"Oh, that will be delightful! I like the parables in the Bible better
than anything," said Franz. When can we hear you read out of the Bible
again, father ?"
"Ah, my little boy, your words reproach me," returned I. "While
eagerly striving to procure from the ship what would feed our bodies and
provide for their comfort, I blush to think that I have neglected the Bread
of Life, the word of God. I shall search for a Bible on my next return to
the wreck : although our own books were nearly all destroyed, I am pretty
sure to find one."
At these words, my wife arose, and, fetching her magic bag, she drew
from it a copy of the Holy Scriptures, which I thankfully received from her
hand; and after reading aloud from its sacred pages, I spoke as follows:--
"A Great King, ruling in power and splendour over a vast reahn of
light and love, possessed within its boundaries a desolate and unfruitful
island. This spot he made the object of his special care; and, lavishing on
it all the varied resources of his might and goodness, it bloomed in beauty,
and became the happy residence of a band of colonists who were charged,
not only with the cultivation and improvement of the soil, but each indi-
vidually was bound to cherish in his soul the spirit of love and true alle-
giance to his Sovereign. While this faithful union was maintained, the colony
flourished; and the noblest virtues exalted and rendered happy the existence
of every member of the race. That a discontented and rebellious spirit
should ever have infected these fortunate subjects of so loving a master,
seems incredible, yet so it was; disobedience and pride brought misery and
punishment, the fair prospects of the colony were blighted, the labours of
the colonists were unblessed, and total separation from the parent kingdom
seemed inevitable. A message of pardon-of free forgiveness-was never-
theless accorded to these rebels; and to all who, humbly accepting it,
moulded their future lives to the will of the Great King (now revealed in
a character even more gracious than before), was held out the promise of
removal at last from among the ruins caused by the great rebellion, to the
glory and undimmed splendour of the realm of Light and Blessedness."
Having interested the children, I then, leaving allegory, pressed simply
and earnestly home to each young heart the truths I sought to teach; and
with a short prayer for a blessing on my words, brought the service to
After a thoughtful pause, we separated, and each employed himself as
he felt disposed.
I took some arrows, and endeavoured to point them with porcupine
Franz came to beg me make a little bow and arrow for him to shoot
with, while Fritz asked my advice about the tiger-cat skin and the cases he
was to contrive from it. Jack assisted with the arrow making, and, inserting
YIHE STWISS IFAMiILY IROBINSOAN.
a sharp spine at one end of each reed, made it fast with pack-thread, and
began to wish for glue to ensure its remaining firm.
"Oh, Jack!' mamma's soup is as sticky as anything!" cried Franz;
"shall I run and ask for a cake of it?"
"No, no, little goose! better look for some real glue in the tool-box."
"There he will find glue, to be sure," said I, "and the soup would
scarcely have answered your purpose. But, Jack, my boy, I do not like to
hear you ridicule your little brother's idea. Some of the most valuable dis-
coveries have been the result of thoughts which originally appeared no wiser
While thus directing and assisting my sons, we were surprised by
hearing a shot just over our heads; at the same moment two small birds
fell dead at our feet, and, looking up, we beheld Ernest among the branches,
as, bending his face joyfully towards us, he cried, "Well hit! well hit! a
good shot, wasn't it?"
Then, slipping down the ladder, and picking up the birds, he brought
them to me. One was a kind of thrush, the other a small dove called the
ortolan, and esteemed a very great delicacy on account of its exquisite
flavour. As the figs on which these birds came to feed were only just
beginning to ripen, it was probable that they would soon flock in numbers
to our trees; and by waiting until we could procure them in large quantities,
we might provide ourselves with valuable food for the rainy season, by placing
them, when half cooked, in cases with melted lard or butter poured over
By this time Jack had pointed a good supply of arrows, and industri-
ously practised archery. I finished the bow and arrows for Franz, and
expected to be left in peace; but the young man next demanded a quiver,
and I had to invent that also, to complete his equipment. It was easily
done by stripping a piece of bark from a small tree, fitting a flat side and
a bottom to it, and then a string. Attaching it to his shoulders, the youth-
ful hunter filled it with arrows and went off; looking, as his mother said,
like an innocent little Cupid, bent on conquest.
Not long after this, we were summoned to dinner, and all right will-
ingly obeyed the call.
During the meal I interested the boys very much by proposing to decide
on suitable names for the different spots we had visited on this coast.
"For," said I, "it will become more and more troublesome to explain
what we mean, unless we do so. Besides which we shall feel much more
at home if we can talk as people do in inhabited countries: instead of
saying, for instance, 'the little island at the mouth of our bay, where we
found the dead shark,' 'the large stream near our tent, across which we
made the bridge,' 'that wood where we found cocoanuts, and caught the
monkey,' and so on. Let us begin by naming the bay in which we landed.
What shall we call it?"
"Oyster Bay," said Fritz.
SETZT~L7NG DO Ir.
"No, no!-Lobster Bay," cried Jack, "in memory of the old fellow
who took a fancy to my leg !"
"I think," observed his mother, "that, in token of gratitude for our
escape, we should call it Safety Bay."
This name met with general approbation, and was forthwith fixed upon.
Other names were quickly chosen. Our first place of abode we called
Tentholm; the islet in the bay, Shark's Island; and the reedy swamp,
Flamingo Marsh. It was some time before the serious question of a name
for our leafy castle could be decided. But finally it was entitled Falcon-
hurst;* and we then rapidly named the few remaining points : Prospect
Hill, the eminence we first ascended; Cape Disappointment, from whose
rocky heights we had strained our eyes in vain search for our ship's com-
pany; and Jackal River, as a name for the large stream at our landing-
place, concluded our geographical nomenclature.
In the afternoon the boys went on with their various employment.
Fritz finished his cases, and Jack asked my assistance in carrying out his
plan of making a cuirass for Turk out of the porcupine skin. After tho-
roughly cleansing the inside, we cut and fitted it round the body of the
patient dog; then when strings were sewn on, and it became tolerably dry,
he was armed with this ingenious coat-of-mail, and a most singular figure
Juno strongly objected to his friendly approaches, and got out of his
way as fast as she could; and it was clear that he would easily put to
flight the fiercest animal he might encounter, while protected by armour at
once defensive and offensive.
I determined to make also a helmet for Jack out of the remainder of
the skin, which to his infinite delight I speedily did.
Amid these interesting occupations the evening drew on, and after a
pleasant walk among the sweet glades near our abode, we closed our Sab-
bath day with prayer and a glad hymn- of praise, retiring to rest with peace-
Next morning, I proposed an expedition to Tentholm, saying I wished
to make my way thither, by a different route. We left the tree well armed;
I and my three elder sons each carrying a gun and game bag, while little
Franz was equipped with his bow and quiver full of arrows. A most curious
party we formed: Fritz adorned with his belt of margay skin, and Jack,
with his extraordinary head-dress, looked like a couple of young savages.
Their mother and I walked together; she, of the whole party, being the
only one unarmed, -carried a jar in which to get butter from Tentholm;
we were preceded by the dogs-Turk armed most effectually with his
cuirass of porcupine skin, and Juno keeping at a respectful distance from so
formidable a companion. Master Knips fully intended to mount his charger
as usual; but when he saw him arrayed apparently in a new skin, he
* Horst, in German, means nest or eyrie.
THE STIISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
approached him carefully, and, touching him with one paw, discovered that
such a hide would make anything but an agreeable seat; the grimace he
made was most comical, and, chattering vociferously, he bounded towards
Juno, skipped on her back, seated himself, and soon appeared perfectly
reconciled to the change of steed. The flamingo saw us starting, and,
having been much petted during the last day or two, considered himself
entitled to accompany us; for some time he kept beside the children, following
first one and then another as they explored the wood on either side; their
irregular course, however, at length disgusted him, and, abandoning them,
he walked sedately by my side. We strolled on in the cool evening air,
following the course of the stream; the great trees overshadowed us, and
the cool green sward stretched away between them at our feet. The boys
roamed ahead of me, intent on exploration. Presently I heard a joyful
shout, and saw Ernest running at full speed towards me, followed by his
brothers. In his hand he held a plant, and, panting for breath, and with
sparkling eyes, he held it up to me.
"Potatoes! potatoes, father!" he gasped out.
"Yes," said Jack, "acres and acres of potatoes!"
"My dear Ernest," said I, for there was no mistaking the flower and
leaf, and the light clear-green bulbous roots, "you have indeed made a dis-
covery; with the potato we shall never starve."
"But come and look at them," said Jack, "come and feast your eyes
on thousands of potatoes."
We hurried to the spot; there, spread out before us, was a great tract
of ground, covered with the precious plant.
"It would have been rather difficult," remarked Jack, "not to have dis-
covered such a great field."
"Very likely," replied Ernest, smiling; "but I doubt if you would have
discovered that it was a potato-field."
"Perhaps not," said Jack, "you are quite welcome, at all events, to
the honour of the discovery; I'll have the honour of being the first to get
a supply of them." So saying, he dug up, with hands and knife, a number
of plants, and filled his game-bag with the roots. The monkey followed
his example, and, scratching away with his paws most cleverly, soon had a
heap beside him. So delighted were we with the discovery, and so eager
were we to possess a large supply of the roots, that we stopped not dig-
ging until every bag, pouch, and pocket was filled. Some wished to return
at once to Falconhurst, to cook and taste our new acquisition; but this I
overruled, and we continued our march, heavily laden, but delighted.
"How," said I, "can we thank the Giver of all these blessings suffi-
"Oh," said Franz, "we can say, 'We thank thee, O Lord, for all thy
goodness and mercy; and bless us, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.'"
"That would not be sufficient," said Fritz. "Do you think it would
be enough, just to say to father and mother: 'Thank you for all you do,'
. ..... : i
,4 ,. : ,..-'..;
S- Thy will, and to obey
T ihee in all things.'"
As we thus- talked,
is,. i I,, I.: ',, I
."he should have added,
'Give me grace to do
S-"Thy will, and to obey
Thee in all things."'
As Ave thus talked,
we reached the head
TVe formed a most curious _party (p. 67). of our streamlet, where
it fell from the rocks
above in a beautiful, sparkling, plashing cascade. We crossed and entered
the tall grass on the other side. We forced our way through with difficulty,
so thick and tangled were the reeds. Beyond this, the landscape was most
lovely. Rich tropical vegetation flourished "on, every side: the tall stately
palms, surrounded by luxuriant ferns ; brilliant flowers and graceful creepers;
the prickly cactus, shooting up amidst them; aloe, jasmine, and sweet-
scented vanilla; the Indian pea, and above all the regal pineapple, loaded
the breath of the evening breeze with their rich perfume. The boys were
THE SWISS FAMILY .R OBINSON.
delighted with the pineapple, and so eagerly did they fall to, that my
wife had to caution them that there were no doctors on our territory, and
that if they became ill, they would have to cure themselves as best they
might. This advice, however, seemed to have small effect on my sons,
and, showing Knips what they wanted, they sent him after the ripest
and best fruit.
While they were thus employed, I examined the other shrubs and
bushes. Among these I presently noticed one which I knew well from des-
cription to be the karatas.
Come here, boys," I said, "here is something of far more value than
your pineapples. Do you see that plant with long pointed leaves and
beautiful red flower ? That is the karatas. The filaments of the leaves
make capital thread, while the leaves themselves, bruised, form an invalu-
able salve. The pith of this wonderful plant may be used either for tinder
or bait for fish. Suppose, Ernest, you had been wrecked here, how would
you have made a fire without matches, or flint and steel ?"
"As the savages do," replied he; "I would rub two pieces of wood
together until they kindled."
"Try it," I said; "but, if you please, try it when you have a whole
day before you, and no other work to be done, for I am certain it would
be night before you accomplished the feat. But see here," and I broke a
dry twig from the karatas, and peeling off the bark, laid the pith upon a
stone. I struck a couple of pebbles over it, and they emitting a spark, the
pith caught fire.
The boys were delighted with the experiment. I then drew some of
the threads from the leaves, and presented them to my wife.
"But what," said Fritz, "is the use of all these other prickly plants,
except to annoy one ? Here, for instance, is a disagreeable little tree."
"That is an Indian fig," said I. "It grows best on dry, rocky ground;
for most of its nourishment is derived from the air. Its juice is used, I
believe, medicinally, while its fruit is pleasant and wholesome."
Master Jack was off in a moment when he heard of a new delicacy,
and attempted to gather some of the fruit, but in vain; the sharp thorns
defied .his efforts, and with bleeding hands and rueful countenance, he
returned. I removed the thorns from his hands, and making a sharp wooden
skewer, I thrust it into a fig, and quickly twisted it from its branch and
split it open with a knife, still holding it upon the skewer. The rest fol-
lowed my example, and we regaled ourselves upon the fruit, which we
found excellent. Ernest carefully examined the fig he was eating. "What
are these?" he exclaimed presently; "little red insects! they cling all over
the fruit, and I cannot shake them off. Can they be cochineal ?"
He handed me the fig, and I examined it attentively.
"You are quite right, my boy," I said; "there is no doubt this is the
real cochineal. However, though it is worth its weight in gold to Euro-
pean traders, it is of little use to us, I am afraid, unless any of you care
to appear in gay colours. The cochineal, you know, forms the most lovely
"No, thank you," said Jack, "but we will take a lot of it when we go
home again. Now let us find something more useful to us. And they
thereupon plied me incessantly with questions concerning every plant and
shrub we passed.
"Stop, stop," I said at length; "the most learned naturalist would be
much puzzled with many of these trees; and I, who have never seen any
The monkey followed 7ack's example, and soon
beside him (p. 68).
had a heaj of roots
of them before, and know them merely by description, cannot pretend to
tell you the names, or explain to you the uses of one quarter of them."
Discussing, however, the properties of such shrubs as I did know,
we at length reached Tentholm. Everything was safe, and we set to work
to collect what we wanted. I opened the butter cask, from which my wife
filled her pot. Fritz saw after the ammunition, and Jack and Ernest ran
down to the beach to capture the geese and ducks. This they found no
easy matter, for the birds, left so long alone, were shy, and nothing would
induce them to come on shore and be caught. Ernest at length hit upon
an ingenious plan. He took some pieces of cheese, and tied them to long
THE SI VISS FAIL Y ROBINSON.
strings. This bait he threw into the water, and the hungry ducks instantly
made a grab at it; then with a little skilful manoeuvring he drew them on
shore. While Jack and he were thus busily employed catching and tying
the rebels together by the feet, we procured a fresh supply of salt, which
we packed upon Turk's back, first relieving him of his coat-of-mail. The
birds we fastened to our game-bags, and carefully closing the door of our
tent, started homewards by the sea-shore. After a cheerful and pleasant
walk, we once more reached our woodland abode. I released the birds, and,
clipping their wings to prevent their leaving us, established them on the
stream. Then, after a delicious supper of potatoes, milk, and butter, we
ascended our tree and turned in.
Having remarked a great deal of drift-wood on the sands the preceding
evening, it occurred to me that it would be well to get some of it, and
make a kind of sledge, so that the labour of fetching what we wanted from
our stores at Tentholm might not fall so heavily on ourselves.
I awoke early, and roused Ernest as my assistant, wishing to encourage
him to overcome his natural fault of indolence. After a little stretching and
yawning, he got up cheerfully, pleased with the idea of an expedition while
the others still slept, and we made our way to the beach, taking with us
the donkey, who drew a large broad bough, which I expected to find useful
in bringing back our load.
As we went along, I remarked to Ernest that I supposed he was
rather sorry for himself, and grudged leaving his cosy hammock and plea-
sant dreams at .this untimely hour.
"Oh, father, do not laugh at my laziness! Indeed I mean to cure
myself of it. I am very glad to go with you. I intended to shoot some
more of the ortolans this morning, but there will be plenty of time after-
wards. The boys will be shooting at them, I daresay, but I don't expect
they will have any great luck."
"Why not, pray ?"' enquired I.
"I don't believe they will know what shot to use at first, and, besides,
they will most likely shoot upwards at the birds and be sure to miss them,
on account of the great height and thickness of the branches and foliage."
"Well, Ernest, you certainly possess the gifts of prudence and reflection,
as well as observation. These are valuable; but sudden action is so often
necessary in life, that I advise you to cultivate the power of instantly per-
ceiving and deciding what must be done in cases of emergency. Presence
of mind is a precious quality, which, although natural in some characters,
may be acquired in a certain degree by all who train themselves to it."
Once on the sea-shore, our work was quickly accomplished, for, select-
ing the wood I thought fit for my purpose, we laid it across the broad
leafy branch, and, with some help from us, the donkey dragged a very fair
load of it homewards, with the addition of a small chest which I raised from
among the sand which nearly covered it.
We heard the boys popping away at the birds as we drew near. They
SETTLING DO WN.
hastened to meet us, and enquired where we had been, looking curiously
at the chest, which I allowed them to open, while I asked my wife to
excuse our "absence without leave"; and after submitting to her gentle
reprimand, I explained my plan for a sledge, which pleased her greatly, and
she already imagined it loaded with her hogshead of butter, and on its
way from Tentholm to Falconhurst.
The chest proved to be merely that of a common sailor, containing his
clothes, very much wetted by the sea-water.
The boys exhibited an array of several dozen birds, and related, during
breakfast, the various incidents of failure and success which had attended
their guns. Ernest had rightly guessed the mistakes they would make, but
practice was making them perfect, and they seemed disposed to continue their
sport, when their mother, assuring them that she could not use more birds
than those already killed, asked if I did not think some means of snaring
them might be contrived, as much powder and shot would be expended if
they fired on at this rate.
Entirely agreeing with this view of the subject, I desired the lads to
lay aside their guns for the present, and the younger ones readily applied
themselves to making snares of the long threads drawn from the leaves of
the karatas, in a simple way I taught them, while Fritz and Ernest gave
me substantial assistance in the manufacture of the new sledge.
We were busily at work, when a tremendous disturbance among our
fowls led us to suppose that a fox or wild cat had got into their midst.
The cocks crowed defiantly, the hens fluttered and cackled in a state
of the wildest excitement. We hastened towards them, but Ernest, remark-
ing Master Knips slipping away, as though conscious of some misdemeanor,
went to watch him, and presently caught him in the act of eating a new-
laid egg, which he had carried off and hidden among the grass and roots.
Ernest found several others. These were very welcome to my wife, for
hitherto the hens had not presented us with any eggs. Hereafter she deter-
mined to imprison the monkey every morning until the eggs had been
Soon after this, as Jack was setting the newly-made snares among the
branches, he discovered that a pair of our own pigeons were building in
the tree. It was very desirable to increase our stock of these pretty birds,
and I cautioned the boys against shooting near our tree while they had
nests there, and also with regard to the snares, which were meant only to
entrap the wild-fig-eaters.
Although my sons were interested in setting the snares, they by no
means approved of the new order to economise the ammunition. No doubt
they had been discussing this hardship, for little Franz came to me with a
brilliant proposal of his own.
"Papa," said he, "why should not we begin to plant some powder and
shot immediately ? It would be so much more useful than bare grain for
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
His brothers burst into a roar of laughter, and I must confess I found
it no easy matter to keep my countenance.
"Come, Ernest," said I; "now we have had ;our amusement, tell the
little fellow what gunpowder really is."
"It is not seed at all, Franz," Ernest explained. "Gunpowder is made
of charcoal, sulphur, and saltpetre, mixed cleverly together; so you see it
cannot be sown like corn, any more than shot can be planted like peas
My carpentering meantime went on apace. In order to shape my
sledge with ends properly turned up in front, I had chosen wood which
had been part of the bow of the vessel, and was curved in the necessary
way for my purpose. Two pieces, perfectly similar, formed the side of my
sleigh, or sledge, and I simply united these strongly by fixing short bars
across them. Then, when the ropes of the donkey's harness were attached
to the raised points in front, the equipage was complete and ready for use.
My attention had been for some time wholly engrossed by my work,
and I only now observed that the mother and her little boys had been
busily plucking above two dozen of the wild birds, and were preparing to
roast them, spitted in a row on a long, narrow sword-blade, belonging to
one of our ship's officers.
It seemed somewhat wasteful to cook so many at once; but my wife
explained that she was getting them ready for the butter-cask I was going
to fetch for her on the new sledge, as I had advised her to preserve them
half-cooked, and packed in butter.
Amused by her promptitude, I could do nothing less than promise to
go for her cask directly after dinner. For her part, she was resolved in
our absence to have a grand wash of linen and other clothes, and she
advised me to arrange regular baths for all the boys in future.
Early in the afternoon Ernest and I were ready to be off, equipped as
usual. Fritz presented us each with a neat case of margay skin to hang
at our girdles.
We harnessed both cow and ass to the sledge, and, accompanied by
Juno, cheerfully took our departure, choosing the way by the sands, and
reaching Tentholm without accident or adventure.
There, unharnessing the animals, we began at once to load the sledge,
not only with the butter-cask, but with a powder-chest, a barrel of cheese,
and a variety of other articles-ball, shot, tools, and Turk's armour, which
had been left behind on our last visit.
Our work had so closely engaged our attention that, when we were
ready to leave it and go in search of a good bathing-place, we discovered
that our two animals had wandered quite out of sight, having crossed the
bridge to reach the good pasture beyond the river.
I sent Ernest after them, and went alone to the extremity of the bay.
It terminated in bold and precipitous cliffs, which extended into the deep
water, and rose abruptly, so as to form an inaccessible wall of rock and
SETT7IzNG DOWN. 7
/,, : ; '/ ,
SErnest. It was some time
S before I found him,' coIm-
Hastening towards the sfot, I saw Ernest lying fortably extended full
in the grass, and with all his might keeping length on the ground
hold of a rod (p. 76). near the tent, and sleep-
ing as sound as a top,
while the cow and the ass, grazing at will, were again making for the bridge.
"Get up, Ernest, you lazy fellow!" exclaimed I, much annoyed; "why
don't you mind your business ? Look at the animals They will be over
the river again "
-- O, U.,,,: I" vl ,' ,, ,
"No fear of that, father," returned he, wth the utmost composure.
" ~ have taken a couple of boards off the bridget. They won't pass the
I could not help laughing at the ingenious device I found which the boy
-astzen i z towards 1he sfol, I saw Ernest lzying fortably extended full
had spared himself all trouble; at the same time I observedngth on that it is wrong
to waste the precious moments in sleep when duty has the tent, and sleep-
ing as sound as a top,
while then bid him g cow and collect some salt will, which was wanted at home, while
I went to bathe.
"GetOn coming backErnest, much refreshed, I again missed I, mucErnest, annoyed began to
don't you mind your business? Look at the animals They will be over
wondthe river againwhether he was still gathering salt, or whether he had lain down
"No somewhere to finish his nap, when Ied he, im loudly calling, Father,
father! I've caught a fish! an immense fellow he bridge. TheyI can scarcely hold
him, he drags thelp laughing at the ingenious device by which the boy
had spared himself all trouble; at the same time I observed that it is wrong
to waste the precious moments in sleep when duty has to be performed.
I then bid him go andcollect some salt, which was wanted at home, while
I went to bathe.
On coming back, much refreshed, I again missed Ernest, and began to
wonder whether he was still gathering salt, or whether he had lain down
somewhere to finish his nap, when I heard him loudly calling, "Father,
father! I've caught a fish! an immense fellow he is. I can scarcely hold
him, he drags the line so !"
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
Hastening towards the spot, I saw the boy lying in the grass, on a
point of land close to the mouth of the stream, and with all his might
keeping hold of a rod. The line was strained to the utmost by the frantic
efforts of a very large fish, which was attempting to free itself from the
I quickly took the rod from him, and, giving the fish more line, led
him by degrees into shallow water. Ernest ran in with his hatchet and
It proved to be a salmon of full fifteen pounds weight, and I was
delighted to think of taking such a valuable prize to them.
"This is capital, Ernest!" cried I; "you have cleared yourself for once
of the charge of laziness Let us now carry this splendid salmon to the
sledge. I will clean and pack it for the journey, that it may arrive in good
condition, while you go and take a bath in the sea."
All this being accomplished, we harnessed our beasts to the well-laden
vehicle, and, replacing the boards on the bridge, commenced the journey
We kept inland this time, and were skirting the borders of a grassy
thicket, when Juno suddenly left us, and plunging into the bushes, with
fierce barking hunted out, right in front of us, the most singular-looking
creature I ever beheld. It was taking wonderful flying leaps, apparently in
a sitting posture, and got over the ground at an astonishing rate. I attempted
to shoot it as it passed, but missed.
Ernest, who was behind me, observed its movements very coolly, and
seeing that the dog was puzzled, and that the animal, having paused, was
crouching among the grass, went cautiously nearer, fired at the spot he had
marked, and shot it dead.
The extraordinary appearance of this creature surprised us very much.
It was as large as a sheep, its head was shaped like that of a mouse; its
skin also was of a mouse-colour, it had long ears like a hare, and a tail
like a tiger's. The fore-paws resembled those of a squirrel, but they seemed
only half-grown, while the hind-legs were enormous, and so long that when
upright on them the animal would look as if mounted on stilts.
For some time we stood silently wondering at the remarkable creature
before us. I could not recollect to have seen or heard of any such.
"Well, father," said Ernest at last, "I should say this was about the
queerest beast to be met with anywhere. I am glad I knocked it over.
How they will all stare when I carry it home !"
"You have had a lucky day altogether, certainly," said I; "but I
cannot think what this animal can be. Examine its teeth, and let us see
to what class of mammalia it belongs. We may be led to guess at its name
in that way."
"I see four sharp incisor teeth, father-two upper and two under, as
a squirrel has."
"Ah! then he is a rodent. What rodents can you remember, Ernest ?"
"I do not know them all, but there are the mouse, the marmot, the
squirrel, the hare, the beaver, the jerboa--"
"The jerboa!" I exclaimed, "the jerboa! now we shall have it. This
is really very like a jerboa, only far larger. It must be a kangaroo, one of
the class of animals which has a pouch or purse beneath the body, in which
its young can take refuge. They were discovered in New Holland, by the
great Captain Cook, and I congratulate you on being the first to obtain a
specimen in New Switzerland !" I added, laughing, as I extemporised the name.
I attempted to sizoot it as it passed, but missed (p. 76).
The kangaroo was added to the already heavy load on our sledge, and
we proceeded slowly, arriving late at Falconhurst, but meeting with the
usual bright welcome.
Very eager and inquisitive were the glances turned towards the sledge,
for the load piled on it surpassed all expectation : we on our part staring
in equal surprise at the extraordinary rig of the young folks who came to
One wore a long night-shirt, which, with a belt, was a convenient
length in front, but trailed behind in orthodox ghost fashion.
Another had on a very wide pair of trousers, braced up so short that
each little leg looked like the clapper in a bell.
-f *- ..p ^ ^r ^
'"' *s'"^ '^;^^
78 THE SWISS FAAMILY ROBINSON.
The third, buttoned up in a pea-jacket which came down to his ankles,
looked for all the world like a walking portmanteau.
Amid much joking and laughter, the mother explained that she had
been washing all day, and while their clothes were drying, the boys amused
themselves by dressing up in things they found while rummaging the sailor's
chest, and had kept them on, that Ernest and I might see the masquerade.
It certainly amused us, but made me regret that so little belonging to our-
selves had been saved from the wreck, in consequence of which the children
had scarcely a change of linen.
Turning now to our new acquisitions, we excited great interest by
exhibiting each in turn; the large salmon, but more especially the kangaroo,
surprised and delighted everyone.
Fritz alone wore a look expressive of dissatisfaction, and I saw that he
was envious of his younger brother's success. Vexed that so noble a prize
had fallen to Ernest's gun, instead of his own, he treated it rather slight-
ingly; but I could see that he was struggling against his jealous feelings,
and he, after a while, succeeded in recovering his good humour, and joined
pleasantly in the conversation.
"What a famous day's sport you have had altogether!" said he, com-
ing close up to me. "It will be my turn to go out with you next, will it
not, father? Just about here there is nothing to shoot, and' I have found
it very dull."
"Still you have been doing your duty, my dear boy: you were en-
trusted with the care of the family, and a youth of manly character will
not depend for happiness on mere excitement."
As the shades of night approached, we made haste to conclude the day's
work, by preparing the kangaroo, part for immediate use, and part for salt-
ing. The animals were fed, and a plentiful allowance of salt made to them.
Our own supper of broiled salmon and potatoes was despatched with great
appetite, and we retired, with thankful hearts, to sound and well-earned
NEXT morning, while the breakfast was getting ready, I attended to the
beautiful skin of the kangaroo, which I was anxious to preserve entire;
and afterwards, when Fritz had prepared everything in readiness for our
trip to the wreck, I called Ernest and Jack in order to give them some
parting injunctions. They, however, had disappeared directly after breakfast,
and their mother could only guess, that, as we required potatoes, they
might have gone to fetch a supply. I desired her to reprove them, on their
return, for starting away without leave; but, as it appeared they had taken
Turk, I satisfied myself that no harm was likely to befall Ithem, although
it was not without reluctance that I left my dear wife alone with little
Franz, cheering her with hopes of our speedy return with new treasures
from the wreck.
Advancing steadily on our way we crossed the bridge at Jackal River,
when suddenly, to our no small astonishment, Jack and Ernest burst out
of a hiding-place where they had lain in wait for us, and were enchanted
with the startling effect of their unexpected appearance upon their unsus-
pecting father and brother. It was evident that they fully believed they
might now go with us to the wreck.
To this notion I at once put a decided stop, although I could not find
in my heart to scold the two merry rogues for their thoughtless frolic, more
especially as I particularly wished to send back a message to my wife. I
told them they must hurry home, so as not to leave their mother in sus-
pense, although, as they were already so far, they might collect some salt.
And I instructed them to explain that, as my work on board would take
up a long time, she must try to bear with our absence for a night. This
I had meant to say when we parted, but my courage had failed, knowing
how much she would object to such a plan, and I had resolved to return
in the evening.
On consideration, however, of the importance of constructing a raft,
which was my intention in going, and finishing it without a second trip, I
determined to remain on board for the night, as the boys had, unintention-
ally, given me the chance of sending a message to that effect.
Good-bye, boys; take care of yourselves! we're off," shouted Fritz, as
I joined him in the tub-boat, and we shoved off.
THE SWFISS FAMILY ROBINSON
The current carried us briskly out of the bay; we were very soon
moored safely alongside the wreck, and, scrambling up her shattered sides,
stood on .what remained of the deck, and began at once to lay our plans.
I wanted to make a raft fit to carry on shore a great variety of articles
far too large and heavy for our present boat. A number of empty water-
casks seemed just what was required for a foundation: we closed them
tightly, pushed them overboard, and, arranging twelve of them side by side
in rows of three, we firmly secured them together by means of spars, and
then proceeded to lay a good substantial floor of planks, which was defended
by a low bulwark. In this way we soon had a first-rate raft, exactly suited
to our purpose.
It would have been impossible to return to land that same evening,
for we were thoroughly fatigued by our labours, and had eaten only the
light refreshment we had brought in our wallets, scarcely desisting a moment
from our work.
Rejoicing that we were not expected home, we now made an excellent
supper from the ship's provisions, and then rested for the night on spring
mattresses, a perfect luxury to us, after our hard and narrow hammocks.
Next morning we actively .set about loading the raft and boat: first
carrying off the entire contents of our own cabins; and, passing on to the
captain's room, we removed the furniture, as well as the doors and window-
frames, with their bolts, bars, and locks. We next took the officers' chests,
and those belonging to the carpenter and gunsmith; the contents of these
latter we had to remove in portions, as their weight was far beyond our
One large chest was filled with an assortment of fancy goods; and re-
minded us of a jeweller's shop, so glittering was the display of gold and
silver watches, snuffboxes, buckles, studs, chains, rings, and all manner of
trinkets; these, and a box of money drew our attention for a time; but
more useful to us at present was a case of common knives and forks, which
I was glad to find, as more suited to us than the smart silver ones we had
previously taken on shore. To my delight we found, most carefully packed,
a number of young fruit-trees; and we read on the tickets attached to them
the names, so pleasant to European ears, of the apple, pear, chestnut, orange,
almond, peach, apricot, plum, cherry, and vine.
The cargo, which had been destined for the supply of a distant colony,
proved, in fact, a rich and almost inexhaustible treasure to us. Ironmongery,
plumber's tools, lead, paint, grindstones, cart-wheels, and all that was ne-
cessary for the work of a smith's forge, spades and plough-shares, sacks of
maize, peas, oats, and wheat, a hand-mill, and also the parts of a saw-mill
so carefully numbered that, were we strong enough, it would be easy to
put it up, had been stowed away.
So bewildered were we by the wealth around us that for some time
we were at a loss as to what to remove to the raft. It would be impos-
sible to take everything; yet the first storm would complete the destruction
I5RESH DISCO SERIES.
of the ship, and we should lose all we left behind. Selecting a number of
the most useful articles, however, including, of course, the grain and the fruit-
trees, we gradually loaded our raft. Fishing-lines, reels, cordage, and a
couple of harpoons were put on board, as well as a mariner's compass.
Fritz, recollecting our encounter with the shark, placed the harpoons
in readiness; and amused me by seeming to picture himself a whaler, flou-
rishing his harpoon in most approved fashion.
Early in the afternoon, both our crafts were heavily laden, and we
were ready to make for the shore. The voyage was begun with considerable
anxiety, as, with the raft in tow, there was some danger of an accident.
But the sea being calm and the wind favourable, we found we could
spread the sail, and our progress was very satisfactory.
Presently, Fritz asked me for the telescope, as he had observed some-
thing curious floating at a distance. Then handing it back, he begged me
to examine the object; which I soon discovered to be a turtle asleep on
the water, and of course unconscious of our approach.
"Do, father, steer towards it!" exclaimed he.
I accordingly did so, that he might have a nearer look at the creature.
Little did I suspect what was to follow. The lad's back was turned to me,
and the broad sail was between us, so that I could not perceive his actions;
when, all of a sudden, I experienced a shock, and the thrill as of line run-
ning through a reel. Before I had time to call out, a second shock, and the
sensation of the boat being rapidly drawn through the water, alarmed me.
"Fritz, what are you about?" cried I; "you are sending us to the
"I have him, hurrah! I have him safe!" shouted he, in eager ex-
To my amazement, I perceived that he really had struck the turtle
with a harpoon; a rope was attached to it, and the creature was running
away with us.
Lowering the sail and seizing my hatchet, I hastened forward, in order
to cut the line, and cast adrift at once turtle and harpoon.
"Father! do wait !" pleaded the boy, "there is no danger just yet!
I promise to cut the line myself the instant it is necessary Let us catch
this turtle if we possibly can."
"My dear boy, the turtle will be a very dear bargain if he upsets all
our goods into the sea, even if he does not drown us too. For heaven's
sake, be careful! I will wait a few minutes, but the instant there is danger,
cut the line."
As the turtle began to make for the open sea, I hoisted the sail again:
and, finding the opposition too much for it, the creature again directed its
course landward, drawing us rapidly after it. The part of the shore, for
which the turtle was making, was considerably to the left of our usual
landing-place. The beach there shelved very gradually, and at some distance
from land we grounded with a sharp shock, but fortunately without a capsize.
/YHE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
The turtle was evidently greatly exhausted, and no wonder, since it
had been acting the part of a steam-tug, and had been dragging, at full
speed, a couple of heavily-laden vessels. Its intention was to escape to
land; but I leaped into the water, and wading up to it, despatched it with
my axe. Such was its tenacity of life, however, that it did not cease its
struggles until I had actually severed its head from its body.
As we were by no means far from Falconhurst, Fritz gave notice of
our approach by firing off his gun, as well as shouting loudly in his glee;
and, while we were yet engaged in securing our boats and getting the turtle
on shore, the whole family appeared in the distance hastening eagerly
towards us; and our new prize, together with the well-laden boat and raft,
excited the liveliest interest. My wife's chief pleasure, however, consisted
in seeing us safely back, as our night's absence had disturbed her, and she
was horrified by the description of our dangerous run in the wake of the
Being anxious to remove some of our goods before night, the boys ran
off to: fetch the sledge; while I, having no anchor, contrived to moor
the boats by means of some of the heavy blocks of iron we had brought.
It required our united strength to get the turtle hoisted on to the
sledge,'.its weight being prodigious; we found it, indeed, with the addition
of the sapling fruit-trees, quite a sufficient load.
We then made the best of our way home, chatting merrily about
our various adventures. The first thing to be done on arriving was to
obtain some of the turtle's flesh to cook for supper. To my wife this
appeared necessarily a work of time, as well as of difficulty; but I
turned the beast on its back, and soon detached a portion of the meat
from the breast with a hatchet, by breaking the lower shell; and I then
directed that it should be cooked, with a little salt, shell and all.
"But let me first cut away this disgusting green fat," said my wife,
with a little shudder. "See how it sticks all over the meat. No one
could eat anything so nasty."
"Leave the fat, whatever you do!" exclaimed I. "Why, my dear,
that is the very best part, and the delight of the epicure. If there be
really too much, cut some off-it can be used as lard, and let the dogs
make a supper of the refuse."
"And the handsome shell!" cried Fritz; "I should like to make a
water-trough of that, to stand near the brook, and be kept always full
of clear water. How useful it would be!"
"That is a capital idea," I replied, "and we may manage it easily,
if we can find clay so as to make a firm foundation on which to place it."
"Oh, as to clay," said Jack, "I have a grand lump of clay there
under that root."
"Well done, my lad! when did you find it?"
"He found a bed of clay near the river this morning," said his
mother, "and came home in such a mess, I had regularly to scrape his
FRESH DISCO SERIES.
clothes and wash him
"Well, mother, I can -
only tell you I should -.. '
never in all my days
have found the clay if I
had not slipped and fallen :
amongst it." -
"That I can well
believe," returned his
mother; "only, to hear .
your talk this morning,
one would have thought
your discovery of clay -
the result of very arduous _
"When you have --
ended the question of -
the clay and the turtle-
shell," said Ernest, "I
should like to show you e
some roots I found to- -
day; they are getting
rather dry now. They I despatched the turtle with my axe (p. 82).
look something like rad-
ishes, although the plant itself was almost a bush; but I have not ventured
to taste them, although our old sow was devouring them at a great rate."
"In that you did wisely, my boy. Swine eat many things injurious
to men. Let me see your roots. How did you discover them?"
"I was rambling in the wood this morning, and came upon the sow,
very busy grubbing under a small bush, and eating something ravenously;
so I drove her away, and found a number of these roots, which I brought
for you to see."
"Indeed, Ernest," I exclaimed, after taking the roots in my hand
and considering them attentively, I am inclined to believe that you
have really made a brilliant discovery If this proves to be, as I expect,
the manioc root, we might lose every other eatable we possess, and yet
not starve. In the West Indies, cakes called cassava bread are made
from it; and, already having potatoes, we shall be very independent if we
can succeed in preparing flour from these roots. Great care must be taken
in the manufacture to express the juice, otherwise the flour may be in-
jurious and even poisonous. If we can collect a sufficient quantity, we will
attempt bread-making. I think I know how to set about it."
Finding there was still time to make another trip with the sledge,
I went off with the elder boys, leaving Franz with his mother; and we
7THE SWISS FAMlILY ROBINSON.
all looked forward with satisfaction to the prospect of the princely supper
they were to have ready for us, for our day's work had been none of
"I have been thinking about my turtle, father," said Fritz, as we
went along; "is not the shell very valuable ? Surely beautiful combs,
boxes, and a number of ornamental things are made of tortoise-shell, and
if so, it seems a pity to use it for a water-trough."
"Your turtle, Fritz, is only fit for eating, its shell is worthless as
regards ornament; whereas the species whose shell is prized so much is
unfit for food. Tortoise-shell is subjected to the action of heat, the outer
layer peels off, leaving a beautifully marked, semi-transparent surface,
which is susceptible of a very high polish."
The sledge quickly received its second load from the raft. Chests,
four cart-wheels, and the hand-mill were placed on it, with all manner
of smaller articles, and we lost no time in returning to Falconhurst.
The mother welcomed us joyfully, for she said we had been regu-
larly overworked during the last two days. "However, now you are
come home to rest," said she, "and you little think what refreshment
awaits you here in the shade. Come and see my cellar!" and she smil-
ingly exhibited a small cask, half sunk in the ground, and well sheltered
with leaves and branches.
"Ah! you wonder where this came from," continued the mother;
"well, I found it myself on the sands to-day, while you were all
absent; and fancying it was wine of some sort, I got it up here on
purpose to be ready for you. The boys are most anxious to know
what sort of wine it will prove to be."
As the simplest method of ascertaining this, I inserted a straw at
the vent-hole, and presently announced that in all my life I had never
enjoyed a more delicious draught of canary sack. The mother was im-
mensely pleased to find that her exertions in my behalf had not been
thrown away, and the boys pressed round me, armed with straws, and
begging for a taste.
After so strongly expressing my own enjoyment of the wine, it
seemed unreasonable to deny them this, and I let them come in turns,
but was speedily obliged to call a halt; for the rogues got so eager
and excited that I had to reprove them for their greediness, and warn
them of the risk they ran of being intoxicated. In fact, I blamed my-
self for allowing them to have this strong wine as a beverage at all.
They were wholly unaccustomed to it, and were besides fatigued and
very hungry. Supper was more to the purpose; and, as the turtle
proved delicious, it was heartily enjoyed, and gave us strength to haul
the mattresses we had brought from the ship up into our sleeping-rooms,
so that very refreshing slumbers closed the day.
Early next morning I got up without rousing any of the others,
intending to pay a visit to the beach; for I had my doubts about
FRESH DISCO VERIES.
the -safety of my vessels on the open shore. The dogs were delighted
when I descended the ladder, and bounded to meet me; the cocks
crowed and flapped their wings; two pretty kids gambolled around; all
was life and energy; the ass alone seemed disinclined to begin the day,
and as I especially required his services this was unfortunate. I put
his morning dreams to flight, however, and harnessed him to the sledge;
the cow, as she had not been milked, enjoyed the privilege of further
repose, and with the rest of the family, I left her dozing.
My fears as to the safety of the boats were soon dispelled, for they
were all right; and, being in haste to return, the load I collected from their
freight was but a light one, and the donkey willingly trotted home with
it, he, as well as I, being uncommonly ready for breakfast. Approaching
the tree, not a sound was to be heard, not a soul was to be seen, although
it was broad day; and great was my good wife's surprise, when, roused by
the clatter and hullaballoo I made, she started up, and became aware of the
"What can have made us oversleep ourselves like this ?" she exclaimed.
"It must be the fault of those mattresses: they are delightful, but really
too lulling; see, the children are sound asleep still."
With much stretching and many yawns, the boys at last came tumbling
down from the tree, rubbing their eyes and seeming but half awake; Ernest
last, as usual.
"Come, my boys," said I, "this will never do! Your beds were too
luxurious last night, I see; in my own opinion, however, I felt there was
something else to blame besides the comfortable mattresses, and I made a
mental resolve that the captain's fine canary should be dealt with very
sparingly in future. "So now for prayers and breakfast," I continued, "and
then off to work; I must have our cargo landed in time to get the boats
off with the next tide."
By dint of downright hard work, we accomplished this, and I got on
board with Fritz as soon as they were afloat; the rest turned homewards,
but Jack lingered behind with such imploring looks, that I could not resist
taking him with me.
My intention had been simply to take the vessels round to the harbour
in Safety Bay, but the calm sea and fine weather tempted me to make
another trip to the wreck. It took up more time than I expected, so that
when on board, we could only make a further examination of the cargo,
collect a few portable articles, and then avail ourselves of the sea-breeze,
which would fail us later in the evening.
To Jack the pleasure of hunting about in the hold was novel and
charming, and very soon a tremendous rattling and clattering heralded his
approach with a wheel-barrow, in the highest spirits at his good fortune in
having found such a capital thing in which to bring home potatoes.
He was followed by Fritz, whose news was still more important. He
had found, carefully packed and enclosed within partitions, what appeared
THE SVWISS FAMILY Y ROBINSON.
to be the separate parts of a pinnace, with rigging and fittings complete,
even to a couple of small brass guns. This was a great discovery, and I
hastened to see if the lad was right. Indeed he was, but my pleasure was
qualified by a sense of the arduous task it would be to put such a craft
together so as to be fit for sea. For the present, we had barely time to get
something to eat and hurry into the boat, where were collected our new
acquisitions, namely, a copper boiler, iron plates, tobacco-graters, two grind-
stones, a small barrel of powder, and another of flints, two wheel-barrows
besides Jack's, which he kept under his own especial care.
As we drew near the shore, we were surprised to see a number of
little figures ranged in a row along the water's edge, and apparently gazing
fixedly at us. They seemed to wear dark coats and white waistcoats,
and stood quite still with their arms dropping by their sides, only every
now and then one would extend them gently, as though longing to em-
"Ah here' at last come the pigmy inhabitants of the country to
welcome us!" cried I, laughing.
"Oh, father !" exclaimed Jack, "I hope they are Lilliputians I once
read in a book about them, so there must be such people, you know,
only these look rather too large."
"You must be content to give up the Lilliputians and accept pen-
guins, my dear Jack," said I. "We have not before seen them in such
numbers, but Ernest knocked one down, if you remember, soon after we
landed. They are excellent swimmers, but helpless on land, as they can
neither fly nor run."
We were gradually approaching the land as I spoke, and no sooner
was the water shallow, than out sprang Jack from his tub, and, wading
ashore, took the unsuspecting birds by surprise, and with his stick laid
half a dozen, right and left, either stunned or dead, at his feet. The
rest escaped into the water, dived, and disappeared.
As these penguins are disagreeable food, on account of their strong
oily taste, I was sorry Jack had attacked them; but going to examine
them when we landed, some of the fallen arose from their swoon, and
began solemnly to waddle away, upon which we caught them, and, tying
their feet together with long grass, laid them on the sand to wait until
we were ready to start.
The three wheel-barrows then each received a load; the live penguins,
seated gravely, were trundled along by Jack, and away we went at a
The unusual noise of our approach set the dogs barking furiously,
but, discovering us, they rushed forward with such forcible demonstrations
of delight, that poor little Jack, who, as it was, could scarcely manage
his barrow, was fairly upset, penguins and all. This was too much for
his patience, and it was absurd to see how he started up and cuffed
them soundly for their boisterous behaviour.
FISH DISCO SERIES.
-' NC~ -
a-~ _L *1'~~-El
~. ~. II,
NJh 1 ,11i, 011-LEcl lc, dti,. L l .- k LI 'W11 II,,I
I it nt I hi I v..I t.-: It I ,at h I LV L e
of our geese and ducks, and bid
them fasten a penguin to each by the leg, thinking that it was worth
while to try to tame them.
My wife had exerted herself in our absence to provide a good store
of potatoes, and also of manioc root. I admired her industry, and little
Franz said, "Ah, father I wonder what you will say when mother and
I give you some Indian corn, and melons, and pumpkins, and cucumbers!"
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
"Now, you little chatterbox!" cried she, "you have let out my secret!
I was to have the pleasure of surprising your father when my plants
were growing up."
"Ah, the poor disappointed little mother!" said I. "Never mind!
I am charmed to hear about it. Only do tell me, where did those seeds
come from ?"
"Out of my magic bag, of course," replied she. "And each time
I have gone for potatoes, I have sown seeds in the ground which was
dug up to get them; and I have planted potatoes also."
"Well done, you wise little woman!" I exclaimed. "Why, you are
a model of prudence and industry !"
"But," continued she, I do not half like the appearance of those
tobacco-graters you have brought. Is it possible you are going to make
snuff? Do, pray, let us make sure of abundance of food for our mouths,
before we think of our noses !"
"Make your mind easy, my wife," said I. "I have not the remotest
intention of introducing the dirty, ridiculous habit of snuffing into your
family! Please to treat my graters with respect, however, because they
are to be the means of providing you with the first fresh bread you
have seen this many a long day."
"What possible connection can there be between bread and tobacco-
graters ? I cannot imagine what you mean, and to talk of bread where
there are no ovens is only tantalising."
"Ah, you must not expect real loaves," said I. "But on these flat
iron plates I can bake flat cakes or scones, which will be excellent
bread; I mean to try at once what I can do with Ernest's roots. And
first of all, I want you to make me a nice strong canvas bag."
This the mother willingly undertook to do, but she evidently had
not much faith in my powers as a baker, and I saw her set on a good
potful of potatoes before beginning to work, as though to make sure of
a meal without depending on my bread.
Spreading a large sail-cloth on the ground, I summoned my boys
and set to work. Each took a grater and a supply of well-washed
manioc root, and when all were seated round the cloth-"Once, twice,
thrice! Off!" cried I, beginning to rub a root as hard as I could against
the rough surface of my grater. My example was instantly followed by
the whole party, amid bursts of merriment, as each remarked the funny
attitude and odd gestures of his neighbours while vehemently rubbing, rasp-
ing, grating, and grinding down the roots allotted to him. No one was
tempted by the look of the flour to stop and taste it, for in truth it looked
much like wet sawdust.
"Cassava bread is highly esteemed in many parts of the New World,
and I have even heard that some Europeans there prefer it to the wheaten
bread of their own country. There are various species of manioc. One
sort grows quickly, and its roots ripen in a very short time. Another kind
FRESH DISCO SERIES.
is of somewhat slower growth. The roots of the third kind do not come
to maturity for two years. The two first are poisonous if eaten raw, yet
they are preferred to the third, which is harmless, because they are so much
more fruitful, and the flour produced is excellent if the scrapings are care-
"What is the good of pressing them, father ? inquired Ernest.
"It is in order to express the sap, which contains the poison. The dry
pith is wholesome and nourishing. Still, I do not mean to taste my cakes,
until I have tried their effect on our fowls and the ape."
By this time our supply of roots being reduced to damp powder, the
canvas bag was filled with it, and, tying it tightly up, I attempted to squeeze
it, but soon found that mechanical aid was necessary in order to express
the moisture. My arrangements for this purpose were as follows : a strong
straight beam was made flat on one side, smooth planks were laid across
two of the lower roots of our tree; on these we placed the sack, above
the sack another plank, and over that the long beam; one end was passed
under a root near the sack, the other projected far forward. And to that
we attached all the heaviest weights we could think of, such as an anvil,
iron bars, and masses of lead. The consequent pressure on the bag was
enormous, and the sap flowed from it to the ground.
"Will this stuff keep any time ?" enquired my wife, who came to see
how we were getting on. "Or must all this great bagful be used at once?
In that case we shall have to spend the whole of to-morrow in baking
"Not at all," I replied; "once dry, the flour in barrels will keep fresh
a long time. We shall use a great deal of this, however, as you shall see."
"Do you think we might begin now, father ? said Fritz. "There does
not seem the least moisture remaining."
"Certainly," said I. "But I shall only make one cake to-day for an
experiment; we must see how it agrees with Master Knips and the hens
before we set up a bakehouse in regular style."
I took out a couple of handfuls of flour for this purpose, and with a
stick loosened and stirred the remainder, which I intended should again be
pressed. While an iron plate placed over a good fire was getting hot, I
mixed the meal with water and a little salt, kneaded it well, and forming
a thickish cake, laid it on the hot plate, when, one side presently becom-
ing a nice yellow brown colour, it was turned and was quickly baked.
It smelt so delicious that the boys quite envied the two hens and the
monkey, who were selected as the subjects of this interesting experiment,
and they silently watched them gobbling up the bits of cake I gave them,
until Fritz turned to me, saying, "Suppose the cake is poisonous, what effect
will it have on the creatures ? Will they be stupefied, or will they suffer
"That depends upon the nature of the poison. Some cause violent pain,
as colchicum, hellebore, and aconite. Others produce stupefaction and paralysis,
THE SWISS FAMILY ROBINSON.
as opium, hemlock, and prussic acid; while others again, as strychnine,
are followed by violent convulsions, or, as belladonna, by delirium. The
effects, of course, vary according to the quantity taken, and such remedies
should be applied as will best counteract the effect of each poison: emetics
in any .case to remove as much as possible of the noxious substance, com-
bined with oils and mucilaginous drinks to soothe and protect the stomach
in the case of irritants; stimulants, such as spirits, ammonia, or strong coffee,
to rouse from the stupor of the narcotics; and sedative drugs, which are
perhaps in themselves poisons, to counteract the over-stimulation of the
nerves caused by the convulsant poisons. But now let us think no more
of poisons; here is supper ready, and we need not be afraid to eat roast
penguin and potatoes."
No sooner said than done; we left the fowls picking up the least crumb
they could find of the questionable food, and assembled to enjoy our evening
meal. The potatoes were as usual excellent, the penguin really not so bad
as I expected, although fishy in taste and very tough.
Next morning everyone expressed the tenderest concern as to the
health of Knips and the hens ; and lively pleasure was in every countenance
when Jack, who ran first to make the visit of inquiry, brought news of their
perfect good health and spirits.
No time was now to be lost, and bread-baking commenced in earnest.
A large fire was kindled, the plates heated, the meal made into cakes, each
of the boys busily preparing his own, and watching the baking most eagerly.
Mistakes occurred, of course; some of the bread was burnt, some not done
enough; but a pile of nice tempting cakes was at length ready, and with
plenty of good milk we breakfasted right royally, and in high spirits at our
Soon after, whilst feeding the poultry with the fragments of the repast,
I observed that the captive penguins were quite at ease among them and
as tame as the geese and ducks; their bonds were therefore loosed, and they
were left as free as the other fowls.
AN ADDITION TO OUR FLEET.
H AVING now discovered how to provide bread for my family, my
thoughts began to revert to the wreck and all the valuables yet con-
tained within it. Above all, I was bent on acquiring possession of the
beautiful pinnace, and, aware that our united efforts would be required to
do the necessary work, I began to coax and persuade the mother to let me
go in force with all her boys except Franz.
She very unwillingly gave her consent at last, but not until I had faith-
fully promised never to pass a night on board. I did so with reluctance,
and we parted, neither feeling quite satisfied with the arrangement.
The boys were delighted to go in so large a party, and merrily carried
provision-bags filled with cassava bread and potatoes.
Reaching Safety Bay without adventure, we first paid a visit to the
geese and ducks which inhabited the marsh there, and having fed them and
seen they were thriving well, we buckled on each his cork-belt, stepped
into the tub-boat, and, with the raft in tow, steered straight for the wreck.
When we got on board, I desired the boys to collect whatever came
first to hand, and load the raft to be ready for our return at night, and
then we made a minute inspection of the pinnace.
I came to the conclusion that difficulties, well-nigh insuperable, lay be-
tween me and the safe possession of the beautiful little vessel. She lay in
a most un-get-at-able position at the farther end of the hold, stowed in so
confined and narrow a space that it was impossible to think of fitting the
parts together there. At the same time these parts were so heavy that
removing them to a convenient place piece by piece was equally out of the
I sent the boys away to amuse themselves by rummaging out any-
thing they liked to carry away, and sat down quietly to consider the matter.
As my eyes became used to the dim light which entered the compart-
ment through a chink or crevice here and there, I perceived how carefully
every part of the pinnace was arranged and marked with numbers, so that
if only I could bestow sufficient time on the work, and contrive space in
which to execute it, I might reasonably hope for success.
Room room to work in, boys that's what we need in the first place !"
I cried, as my sons came to see what plan I had devised, for so great was
their reliance on me, that they never doubted the pinnace was to be ours.
THE SWISS FAMIILY ROBINSON.
"Fetch axes, and let us break down the compartment and clear space
To work we all went, yet evening drew near, and but little impression
was made on the mass of woodwork around us. We had to acknowledge
that an immense amount of labour and perseverance would be required
before we could call ourselves the owners of the useful and elegant little craft,
which lay within this vast hulk like a fossil shell embedded in a rock.
Preparations for returning to shore were hastily made, and we landed
without much relish for the long walk to Falconhurst, when to our great
surprise and pleasure, we found the mother and little Franz at Tentholm
awaiting us. She had resolved to take up her quarters there during the
time we should be engaged on the wreck. "In that way you will live
nearer your work, and I shall not quite lose sight of you!" said she, with
a pleasant smile.
"You are a good, sensible, kind wife," I exclaimed, delighted with her
plan, "and we shall work with the greater diligence, that you may return
as soon as possible to your dear Falconhurst."
"Come and see what we have brought you, mother!" cried Fritz; "a
good addition to your stores, is it not ? and he and his brothers exhibited
two small casks of butter, three of flour, corn, rice, and many other articles
welcome to our careful housewife.
Our days were now spent in hard work on board, first cutting and
clearing an open space round the pinnace, and then putting the parts
together. We started early and returned at night, bringing each time a
valuable freight from the old vessel.
At length, with incredible labour, all was completed. The pinnace stood
actually ready to be launched, but imprisoned within massive wooden walls
which defied our strength.
It seemed exactly as though the graceful vessel had awakened from
sleep, and was longing to spring into the free blue sea, and spread her
wings to the breeze. I could not bear to think that our success so far
should be followed by failure and disappointment. Yet no possible means
of setting her free could I conceive, and I was almost in despair, when an
idea occurred to me which, if I could carry it out, would effect her release
without further labour or delay.
Without explaining my purpose, I got a large cast-iron mortar, filled it
with gunpowder, secured a block of oak to the top, through which I pierced
a hole for the insertion of the match, and this great petard I so placed,
that when it exploded, it should blow out the side of the vessel next which
the pinnace lay. Then securing it with chains, that the recoil might do no
damage, I told the boys I was going ashore earlier than usual, and calmly
desired them to get into the boat. Then lighting a match I had prepared,
and which would burn some time before reaching the powder, I hastened
after them with a beating heart, and we made for the land.
We brought the raft close in shore and began to unload it; the other
AN ADDITION TO OUR FLEET. 93
boat I did not haul up, .
but kept her ready to put
off at a moment's notice;
my anxiety was unob-
served by anyone, as I
listened with strained ,
nerves for the expected
sound. It came -a flash
-a mighty roar-a grand
burst of smoke! .i
My wife and children,
terror- stricken, turned
their eyes towards the
sea, whence the startling
noise came, and then in
fear and wonder, looked I got a lanlge cast-iron mortar and filed
to me for some explana- it wisih gun111owZ'derd (p. 92).
tion. "Perhaps," said the
mother, as I did not speak, "perhaps you have left a light burning near
some of the gunpowder, and an explosion has taken place."
"Not at all unlikely," replied I quietly; "wee had a fire below when
we were caulking the seams of the pinnace. I shall go off at once and see
what has happened. Will anyone come?"
The boys needed no second invitation, but sprang into the boat, while
I lingered to reassure my wife by whispering a few words of explanation,
and then joining them, we pulled for the wreck at a more rapid rate than
we ever had done before.
No alteration had taken place in the side at which we usually boarded
her, and we pulled round to the farther side, where a marvellous sight
awaited us. A huge rent appeared, the decks and bulwarks were torn open,
the water was covered with floating wreckage-all seemed in ruins; and the
compartment where the pinnace rested was fully revealed to view. There
sat the little beauty, to all appearance uninjured; and the boys, whose
attention was taken up with the melancholy scene of ruin and confusion
around them, were astonished to hear me shout in enthusiastic delight:
"Hurrah! she is ours! The lovely pinnace is won! we shall be able to
launch her easily after all. Come, boys, let us see if she has suffered from
the explosion, which has set her free."
The boys gazed at me for a moment, and then, guessing my secret,
"You planned it yourself, you clever, cunning father! Oh, that machine
we helped to make was on purpose to blow it up !" cried they; and
eagerly they followed me into the shattered opening, where, to my intense
satisfaction, I found everything as I could wish, and the captive in no way
a sufferer from the violent measures I had adopted for her deliverance.
The boys were deeply interested in examining the effects of the
THE STWISS FAMILY ROOBINSON.
explosion, and in the explanation I gave them of the principle and proper
way to manage a petard.
It was evident that the launch could now be effected without much
trouble; I had been careful to place rollers beneath the keel, so that by
means of levers and pulleys we might, with our united strength, move her
forward towards the water. A rope was attached by which to regulate the
speed of the descent, and then, all hands putting their shoulders to the
work, the pinnace began to slide from the stocks, and finally slipped gently
and steadily into the water, where she floated as if conscious it was her
native element; while we, wild with excitement, cheered and waved enthusiasti-
cally. We then only remained long enough to secure our prize carefully
at the most sheltered point, and went back to Tentholm, where we ac-
counted for the explosion; saying that having blown away one side of
the ship, we should be able to obtain the rest of its contents with a very
few more days' work.
These days were devoted to completing the rigging, the mounting of
her two little brass guns, and all necessary arrangements about the pinnace.
It was wonderful what martial ardour was awakened by the possession of
a vessel armed with two real guns. The boys chattered incessantly about
savages, fleets of canoes, attack, defence, and final annihilation of the
I assured them that, brilliant as their victories would doubtless be, we
should have good cause to thank God if their fighting powers and new-
born valour were never put to the test.
The pinnace was fully equipped and ready to sail, while yet no idea
of the surprise we were preparing for her had dawned upon my wife, and
I permitted the boys, who had kept the secret so well, to fire a salute
when we entered the bay.
Casting off from the ship, and spreading the sail our voyage began.
The pinnace glided swiftly through the water, I stood at the helm, Ernest
and Jack manned the guns, and Fritz gave the word of command, "Fire "
Bang! bang! rattled out a thrilling report, which echoed and re-echoed
among the cliffs, followed by our shouts and hurrahs.
The mother and her little boy rushed hastily forward from near the
tent, and we could plainly see their alarm and astonishment; but speedily
recognizing us, they waved joyfully, and came quickly to the landing-place
to meet us.
By skiful management we brought the pinnace near a projection of the
bank, and Fritz assisted his mother to come on board, where, breathless,
with haste and excitement, she exclaimed, "You dear, horrid, wonderful
people, shall I scold you or praise you ? You have frightened me out of my
wits! To see a beautiful little ship come sailing in was startling enough,
for I could not conceive who might be on board, but the report of your
guns made me tremble with fear-and had I not recognized your voices
directly after, I should have run away with Franz-Heaven knows where!