ALONE ON AN ISLAND.
HE Wolf, a letter-of-marque of twenty guns, corm
handed by Captain Deason, sailing from Liver-
pool, lay becalmed on the glass-like surface of the
Pacific. The sun struck down with intense heat on the
dock, compelling the crew to seek such shade as the bul-
warks or sails afforded. Some were engaged in mending
sails, twisting yarns, knotting, splicing, or in similar occu-
pations ; others sat in groups between the guns, talking
together in low voices, or lay fast asleep out of sight in the
shade. The officers listlessly paced the deck, or stood
leaning over the bulwarks, casting their eyes round the
horizon in the hopes of seeing signs of a coming breeze.
Their countenances betrayed ill-humour and dissatisfac-
tion; and if they spoke to each other, it was in gruff, surly
tones. They had had a long course of ill luck, as they
called it, having taken no prizes of value. The crew,
too, had for some time exhibited a discontented and
mutinous spirit, which Captain Deason, from his bad
ALONE ON AN ISLAND.
temper, was ill fitted to quell. While he vexed and
insulted the officers, they bullied and tyrannised over the
men. The crew, though often quarrelling among them-
selves, were united in the common hatred to their
superiors, till that little floating world became a perfect
Among those who paced her deck, anxiously looking
out for a breeze, was Humphry Gurton, a fine lad of
fifteen, who had joined the Wolf as a midshipman. This
was his first trip to sea. He had intended to enter
the Navy, but just as he was about to do so his father,
a merchant at Liverpool, failed, and, broken-hearted at
his losses, soon afterwards died, leaving his wife and
only son but scantily provided for.
Tenderly had that wife, though suffering herself from
a fatal disease, watched over him in his sickness, and
Humphry had often sat by his father's bedside while his
mother was reading from God's Word, and listened as
with tender earnestness she explained the simple plan of
salvation to his father. She had shown him from the
Bible that all men are by nature sinful, and incapable, by
anything they can do, of making themselves fit to enter
a pure and holy heaven, however respectable or excel-
lent they may be in the sight of their fellow-men, and
that the only way the best of human beings can come to
God is by imitating the publican in the parable, and
acknowledging themselves worthless, outcast sinners, and
seeking to be reconciled to Him according to the one
way He has appointed-through a living faith in the all-
atoning sacrifice of His dear Son. Humphryhad heard
his father exclaim, I believe that Jesus died for me;
O Lord, help my unbelief! I have no merits of my
ALONE ONV AN ISLAND. 5
own; I trust to Him, and Him alone." He had witnessed
the joy which had lighted up his mother's countenance
as she pressed his father's hand, and bending down,
'whispered, We shall be parted but for a short time;
and, oh! may our loving Father grant that this our son
may too be brought to love the Saviour, and join us
when he is summoned to leave this world of pain and
Humphry had felt very sad ; and though he had wept
when his father's eyes were closed in death, and his
mother had pressed him-now the only being on earth
for whom she desired to live-to her heart, yet the im-
pression he had received had soon worn off.
In a few months after his father died, she too was taken
from him, and Humphry was left an orphan.
The kind and pious -minister, Mr Faithful, who fre-
quently visited Mrs Gurton during the last weeks of her
illness, had promised her to watch over her boy, but
he had no legal power. Humphry's guardian was a
worldly man, and finding that there was but a very small
sum for his support, was annoyed at the task imposed on
Humphry had expressed his wish to go to sea. A lad
whose acquaintance he had lately made, Tom Matcham,
was just about to join the Wolf, and, persuading him
that they should meet with all sorts of adventures,
offered to assist him in getting a berth on board her.
Humphry's guardian, to save himself trouble, was
perfectly willing to agree to the proposed plan, and,
without difficulty, arranged for his being received on
board as a midshipman.
We shall have a jovial life of it, depend upon that "
ALONE ON AN ISLAND.
exclaimed Matcham when the matter was settled. I
inrend to enjoy myself. The officers are rather wild
blades, but that will suit me all the better." Harry went
to bid farewell to Mr Faithful.
I pray that God will prosper and protect you, my
lad," he said. I trust that your young companion is a
right principled youth, who will assist you as you will be
ready to help him, and that the captain and officers are
I have not been long enough acquainted with Tom
Matcham to know much about him," answered Humphry.
" I very much doubt that the captain and officers are the
sort of people you describe. However, I daresay I shall
get on very well with them."
My dear Humphry," exclaimed Mr Faithful, I am
deeply grieved to hear that you can give no better account
of your future associates. Those who willingly mix
with worldly or evil-disposed persons are very sure to
suffer. Our constant prayer is that we may be kept out
of temptation, and we are mocking God if we willingly
throw ourselves into it. I would urge you, if you are not
satisfied with the character of those who are to be your
companions for so many years, to give up the appoint-
ment while there is time. I would accompany you, and
endeavour to get your agreement cancelled. It will be
better to do so at any cost, rather than run the risk of
becoming like them."
Oh, I daresay that they are not bad fellows after
all !" exclaimed Humphry. "You know I need not do
wrong, even though they do."
The minister sighed. In vain he urged Humphry to
consider the matter serious!v
ALONE ON AN ISLAND.
All I can do, then, my young friend, is to pray for
you," said Mr Faithful, as he wrung Harry's hand, and
I beg you, as a parting gift, to accept these small books.
One is a book above all price, of a size which you may
keep in your pocket, and I trust that you will read it as
you can make opportunities, even though others may
attempt to interrupt you, or to persuade you to leave it
neglected in your chest."
It was a small Testament, and Harry, to please the
minister, promised to carry it in his pocket, and to read
from it as often as he could.
Humphry having parted from his friend, went down at
once to join the ship.
Next day she sailed. Humphry at first felt shocked
at hearing the oaths and foul language used, both by the
crew and officers. The captain, who on shore appeared
a grave, quiet sort of man, swore louder and oftener than
any one. Scarcely an order was issued without an
accompaniment of oaths; indeed blasphemy resounded
throughout the ship.
Matcham only laughed at Humphry when he expressed
"You will soon get accustomed to it," he observed.
" I confess that I myself was rather astonished when I
first heard the sort of thing, but I don't mind it now a
So Humphry thought, for Matcham interlarded his
own conversation with the expressions used by the rest
on board; indeed, swearing had become so habitual to
him, that he seemed scarcely aware of the fearful language
which escaped his lips.
By degrees, as Matcham had foretold, Humphry did
8 ALONE ON AN ISLAND.
get accustomed to the language used by all around,
which had at first so greatly shocked him. Though he
kept his promise to the minister, and carried the little
Testament in his pocket, he seldom found time to read it.
He wished to become a sailor, and he applied himself
diligently to learn his profession ; and as he was always
in a good temper and ready to oblige, the captain and
officers treated him with more respect than they did
Matcham, who was careless and indifferent, and ready
to shirk duty whenever he could do so. Matcham,
finding himself constantly abused, chose to consider that
it was owing to Humphry, and, growing jealous, took
every opportunity of annoying him. Humphry, how-
ever, gained the good-will of the men by never swearing
at them, or using the rope's-end : this the officers were
accustomed to do on all occasions, and Matcham imi-
tated them by constantly thrashing the boys, often with-
out the slightest excuse.
As the ship sailed on her voyage, the state of affairs
on board became worse and worse. On one occasion
the crew came aft, complaining that their provisions
were bad, and then that the water was undrinkable,
when the captain, appearing with pistols in his hands,
ordered them to go forward, refusing to listen to what
they had to say. Another time they complained that
they were stinted in their allowance of spirits, when he
treated them in the same way. They retired, casting
looks of defiance at him and the officers. On several
occasions, when some of the men did not obey orders
with sufficient promptitude, Humphry saw them struck
to the deck by the first and second mates without any
notice being taken by the captain. The officers, too,
ALONE ON AN ISLA.VD.
quarrelled among themselves ; the first officer and the
second refused to speak to each other; and the surgeon,
who considered that he had been insulted, declined
intercourse with either of them. The younger officers
followed their bad example, and often and often
Humphry wished that he had listened to the advice of
his friend Mr Faithful, and had inquired the character
of his intended companions before he joined the ship.
At the first port in South America at which the Wolf
touched, the surgeon, carrying his chest with him, went
on shore, and refused to return till the mates had apolo-
gised. As this they would not do, she sailed without
him; and although the men might be wounded, or sick-
ness break out, there was now no one on board capable
of attending to them. Such was the condition of the
Wolfat the time she was thus floating becalmed and
alone on the wide ocean.
HARRY CURTON stood gazing on the glassy sea till his
eyes ached with the bright glare, his thoughts wandering
back to the days of his happy childhood, when he was
the pride and delight of his beloved father and mother.
He had come on deck only to breathe a purer air than
was to be found below.
Soon after leaving the coast of South America a fever
had broken out on board, and several of the crew lay
sick in their berths. Their heartless shipmates, afraid
of catching the complaint, took little care of them.
Io ALONE ON AN ISLAND.
Humphry could not bear to see them suffer without help,
and from the first had done his best to attend on them.
He constantly went round, taking them water and such
food as he could induce the cook to prepare.
Tom Matcham was the only officer who had as yet
been struck down by the fever. He lay in his berth toss-
ing and groaning, complaining of his hard lot. The
officers, who were annoyed by his cries, often abused
him, telling him roughly not to disturb them.
The cruel brutes i I will be revenged on them if I
ever get well," exclaimed Matcham.
In vain Humphry tried to pacify him.
Don't mind what they say, Tom," he observed. I
hope you may get well; but if you were to die, it would
be dreadful to go out of the world with such feelings in
your heart. I remember enough about religion to know
that we should forgive those who injure us. If you will
let me, I will try to say some of the prayers which my
mother taught me when I was a child, and I will pray
with you. I have got a Testament, and I should like to
read to you out of it."
I can't pray, and I don't want to hear anything from
the Testament," answered Tom gloomily.
It would be very dreadful if you were to go out of
the world feeling as you now do," urged Humphry.
"What you don't mean to say you think I am going
to die exclaimed Tom in an agitated voice.
I tell you honestly, Tom, that you seem as bad as
the two poor fellows who died last week," said Humphry.
Oh, you are croaking," groaned Tom, though his
voice faltered as he spoke.
After talking for some time longer without being able
ALONE ON AN ISLAND. TI
to move him, Humphry was compelled to go forward to
attend to some of the other men,
In the first hammock he came to lay Ned Hadow, one
of the oldest, and apparently one of the most ruffianly of
the crew. He seemed, however, to be grateful to
Humphry for his kindness ; and he acknowledged that
if it had not been for him, he should have been fathoms
down in the deep before then.
I hope, however, that you are getting better now,"
"Thanks to you, sir, I think I am," answered Ned.
"I don't want to die, though I cannot say I have much
to live for, nor has any one else aboard this ship, except
to be abused and knocked about without any chance of
gaining any good by the cruise."
Perhaps we may do better by and by," observed
I have no hopes of that while such men as the cap-
tain and his mates have charge of the ship. Take my
advice, Mr Gurton, if you have a chance, get out of her
as fast as you can. You will thank me for warning you
-it is the only way I have to show that I am grateful to
you for your kindness."
Hadow's remarks made no deep impression upon
Humphry, but he could not help occasionally recollecting
After visiting the other sick men, he went on deck to
keep his proper watch; then, weary with his exertions,
he turned into his berth to obtain the rest he so much
He was awakened by hearing the cry of All hands
shorten sail !" He quickly sprang on deck.
ALONE ON AN ISLAND,
A gale had suddenly sprung up. The ship was heel-
ing over, and ploughing her way through the seething
waters. The crew flew aloft. The loftier sails were
taken in, and the top-sails were being closely reefed,
when another blast, more furious than the former, struck
the ship, and two poor fellows were hurled from the lee-
yard-arm into the foaming waters. There was a cry
from the crew, and several rushed to lower a boat-
Humphry among them.
Hold fast!" cried the captain; "let the fellows
drown; you will only lose your lives if you attempt to
Still the men persisted, showing more humanity than
they had exhibited in attending to their sick shipmates,
when the captain swore that he would shoot any one who
disobeyed him. Though spare spars and everything that
could float had been hove overboard, the poor fellows in
the water could no longer be seen.
The crew, with gloomy looks, assembled forward,
muttering threats which did not reach the officers' ears.
The change of weather had the effect of restoring some
of the sick men to health, though several died. Among
the first to appear on deck was Ned Hadow. He still
looked weak and ill-the shadow of his former self. He
was changed in other respects, and Humphry observed
that he was quiet in his behaviour, and no longer swore
in the way he had been accustomed to do.
Matcham remained in his berth. He seemed a little
better, though he still refused to listen to Humphry
when he offered to read the Bible to him, and when
asked the reason, replied, Because I am not going to
let those fellows suppose that I am afraid to die. They
ALONE ON AN ISLAND.
would be sneering at me. and calling me a Methodist;
and I don't intend to die either, so I don't see why I
should bother myself by having religion thrust down my
If you are not going to die, I suppose the case is
different," answered Humphry. Still, I know that it
you were, the Bible is the best book to read. I wish that
I had read it oftener myself."
If I can get hold of it, I will take care that neither
you nor I am troubled with it in future," answered
Matcham. You have teased me too much about it
already. I wish you would just try what the captain or
mates would say to you if you were to bother them."
Humphry put his little Testament into his pocket, de-
termining that his messmate should not get hold of it.
Still, much as he valued the book as a gift from his old
friend, he looked upon it, as many other people do, as a
book to be reverenced, and to be read in times of sickness
or trouble; but he had little notion of the value of an
open Bible, to be studied with prayer every day in the
week, to serve as a light to his feet and a lamp to his
path, and to guide him in the everyday affairs of life.
Humphry, wishing Matcham good evening, went on
As he looked ahead, he saw in the distance a small
island rising like a rock out of the blue ocean. The ship
was standing towards it. The sun, however, was just
then setting, and in a short time it was concealed from
sight by the mists of night. As he was to keep the first
watch with the third mate, he went down and took some
supper. When he returned on deck, he found that the
sky was overcast with clouds, and that the night was ex-
ALONE ON AN ISLAND.
cessively dark. He could scarcely distinguish the man
at the helm or the officer of the watch.
"Is that you, Gurton ?" asked the third mate. The
orders are to heave to in an hour, so as not to run past
the island we saw at sunset, as the captain wishes to
examine it to-morrow morning. Go forward, and see
that the look-outs are keeping their eyes open ; the reefs
may run further off the land than we think for."
Ay, ay, sir," answered Humphry, making his way
along the deck.
Having spoken to the men as directed, he stood for
some minutes trying to pierce the thick gloom, and as he
was sure no danger could be seen till the ship was close
upon it, he resolved to return aft, and advise the mate to
heave her to sooner than he had been ordered.
When just abreast of the fore-rigging, he suddenly felt
his arms pinioned behind him, and a gag thrust into his
mouth. At the same time a voice whispered in his ear,
which he recognized as Ned Hadow's, Do not cry out
-no harm is intended you; what we do is for your
good." The next instant he felt himself lifted off his
feet and placed in the fore-rigging, up which a man on
either side forced him to ascend. He soon reached the top.
"He will be safer in the cross-trees," said one of the
men, and he was compelled to ascend till he got there.
"We must make you fast where you are," whispered
Hadow, compelling Humphry to sit down on the cross-
trees, and lashing him to the rigging. If you will pro-
mise not to cry out, we will remove the gag from your
mouth ; if not, you must be content to bear it for some
time longer. Here, press my hand if you promise to do
as I tell you-I can trust to your word."
ALONE ON AN ISLAND. 1I
Humphry was very anxious to get rid of the gag,
which hurt him, and pressed the hand placed in his.
The gag was immediately taken out of his mouth.
"Whatever sounds you hear, or whatever you see,
don't cry out, as you value your life," whispered Hadow.
The next moment Humphry was left alone. He sat
wondering why he had been thus treated. Hadow could
certainly not have intended to injure him; at the same
time, he could not help fearing that the crew contemplated
some dreadful act of mutiny, and that Hadow had con-
ti ived to get him up there to keep him out of harm's
way. Nothing could he see but the tall mast above his
head tapering towards the dark sky, and the yard and
copes immediately below him. All on deck seemed quiet,
no voices reached his ear.
The moments passed slowly by. Suddenly a loud
shriek rent the air, followed by a heavy groan; then
came the flash and report of a pistol another, and
another followed. Now rose fierce shouts and cries
from many voices, loud thundering blows, and the clash
of cutlasses. A desperate fight was going on. He no
longer had any doubt that the officers had been attacked,
and were struggling for their lives.
Suddenly, as they began, all sounds of strife ceased,
though he could now distinguish the voices of the crew
shouting to each other.
The helm during the contest had been deserted, and
Sthe ship had come up to the wind. It seemed a relief
to him to hear the boatswain's voice ordering the crew
to brace up the yards. The ship was then hove to.
No one, however, came to release him. If his friend
Hadow had fallen in the strife, what would be his fate
16 ALONE ON AN ISLAND.
when the rest of the crew discovered him ? The dread-
ful certainty forced itself upon his mind, that the officers
had been overcome. He heard the men moving about
the deck, and talking in loud voices to each other; but
though he listened eagerly, he could not ascertain what
Hour after hour passed by. No one came aloft to re-
Notwithstanding the fearful anxiety he felt, he at
length dropped off into forgetfulness; but his dream
were troubled, and full of the horrors which had just
IT was well I thought of lashing you securely, or you
would have fallen and been killed," said a voice in
Consciousness returned. He recognized Ned Hadow.
It will be wise in you not to ask any questions,
Mr Gurton," he whispered. Just be sure that you are
wide awake, and I will cast off the lashings. I have
done the best I could for you. The men did not ask you
to join them because they believed you would not, nor do 1
either. I am too grateful to you for what you have done
for me to wish you to be among them. They have now
possession of the ship, and intend to keep it. As we
shall be at daybreak close in with the island we saw last
night, they give you your choice of being put on shore
ALONE ON AN ISLAND.
there, or taking the oath of fidelity to them, and joining
their cause. As I said before, I don't suppose you will
hesitate about the matter."
Indeed I will not," answered Humphry; whetheri
or not the island is inhabited or means of subsistence
can be found on it, I would rather be put on shore than
remain an hour longer than I can help on board the ship,
after what I fear has taken place."
"As I said, Mr Gurton, you must ask no questions,"
repeated Hadow. I wish I could go with you, but I
am sworn to stay by the rest. I would give anything to
be out of the ship, but it is too late now to draw back ;
though, as I have heard it said, that hell with sinners
often begins on earth, so it has begun with me. Yes,
Mr Gurton, I almost wish that I had been carried off by
the fever instead of living on, to become what I now
am. I was bad enough before, but I am a thousand
times worse now. There is no one on board I can say
this to, and I cannot help saying it to you."
"Surely you could manage to come on shore with
me," said Humphry. "Your messmates will probably
release you from any oath you have taken if you wish
They will not do that, sir, they will not do that,"
answered Hadow in a despairing tone. I am bound
hand and foot to them ; their fate, whatever that is, must
be mine. You must not stay up here longer. I will
cast off the lashings now, but you must take care, as your
arms will be stiff after being bound so long, that you
don't fall. I will hold you till you get the use of them."
Saying this, Ned cast off the rope, and grasping
Humphry round the body, assisted him to get on his
ALONE ON AN ISLAND.
legs; then, after he had stood for a minute or two, helped
him to descend the rigging.
On reaching the foretop, Hadow told him to wait
there till he should come for him.
I don't want you to go among the crew," he said ih
a low voice. I have got four men whom you looked
after in their sickness, who have agreed to pull you on
shore, which we hope to reach as soon as there is light
enough to land. The boat is already in the water; and
*we are stowing her with things which we think will be
useful to you. As you saw nothing of what happened,
even should you be taken off the island some time or
other, you cannot swear against any one. All you know
is that you were lashed in the rigging, and were put on
shore the same night before daybreak. If any one asks
you questions on deck, that is what you must say to
them-you understand me?"
Humphry replied that he did understand, and, sus-
pecting that his safety depended on his answer, said that
he would do as Ned advised.
"Well, then, stay here till I come for you," and Ned
disappeared down the rigging.
Harry had not long to wait when he again heard hi'
"All is ready," he whispered. We took the beat~
ings of the island before dark, and can steer a straight
course for it. Don't speak to any one. Follow
me into the boat; she is waiting under the forechains;
you will find a'rope by which you can lower yourself
Humphry followed Ned without ever stepping on deck,
and took his seat near him in the stern of the boat
ALONE ON AN ISLAND.
which noiselessly shoved off from the ship's side. The
crew bent to their oars, while Ned steered by a boat
compass lighted by a lantern at his feet
Humphry breathed more freely when he felt himself
out of the ship. Yet what a fate was to be his. To be
left alone on an island where he might have to spend
long, long years, cut off from all intercourse with his
fellow-creatures. Yet anything was better than having
to associate with the wretched men on board the Wolf
They soon lost sight of the ship, and the boat made
her way across the dark water, the island not being yet
Are they all dead, have none been spared?" asked
Humphry at length, yet half fearing to speak on the
subject which occupied his thoughts.
I told you, Mr Gurton, to ask no questions," answered
Ned in a hollow voice. "The sooner you put all
thoughts of what happened last night out of your head
the better. Just think of what you have got to do.
You will have to keep your wits awake where you are
going, depend on that. I wish we could stop to help
you, but we have promised to be back as soon as we have
landed your things. All I can tell you is, that there is said
to be water, and you will probably find cocoa-nut and
bread-fruit trees, and other roots and fruits; and as we
have put up lines and hooks, and a gun and ammunition,
and a couple of harpoons, and lines for catching seals,
it will be your fault if you do not manage to find as
much food as you want."
But how shall I be able to live all alone by myself
on the island?" said Humphry with a sigh.
"'Better to be all alone than food for the sharks, I
20 ALONE ON AN ISLAND.
have a notion," observed one of the men who overheard
Humphry made no further remark. He now felt
more than ever certain that a fearful tragedy had been
enacted, and that he ought to be thankful to get out of
the company of the perpetrators. Yet he was sorry to
leave Hadow among them, for he had observed, he
thought, the signs of something better in him than in his
companions, rough and ignorant as he was.
As day dawned the island appeared ahead, rising out
of the blue water with black rocks piled one upon
another, and some hills of considerable elevation.
Humphry observed also a deep sandy bay between the
rocks, but an encircling coral reef intervened, over which,
even on that calm morning, the sea broke in masses of
They pulled along till the bay opened out more clearly,
and just in front was a cascade, which came tumbling
down the rocks. A narrow piece of dark water was
seen between the masses of foam which danced up on
either side of it.
There is a passage," exclaimed Ned. Give way,
my lads, and we shall get through it without difficulty."
The men bent to their oars, and the boat, dashing
between the two walls of foam, was in a short time float-
ing on the calm surface of a lagoon. Pulling up the
bay, they reached a small sandy beach, though the dark
rocks which everywhere rose up around it gave the place
a gloomy aspect.
The boat was hauled up, and the men quickly landed
the various articles which Ned had secured for Humphry's
ALONE ON AN ISLAND.
He and Humphry searching about soon found'a level
spot on one side of the bay where the ground looked
capable of cultivation.
This will do for you, my lad," said Ned. And as
I found some papers of seed in the captain's cabin, I put
them into one of the casks ; though I don't know what
they are, maybe if you sow them they will come up, and
supply you with vegetables."
The men now brought up all the things from the boat.
They all wished him good luck and a happy life on the
island, and then hurried back to the boat.
I only wish I could stop with you, that I do !" ex-
claimed Ned with some feeling, as he wrung Humphry's
hand. I dare not say God bless you !' but I hope He
will, that I do with all my heart," and Ned ran down to
join his companions, who were already shoving off the
boat. He would not have been sorry if they had gone
Humphry watched them going down the bay. They
passed through the reef, and pulled out to sea till the boat
was lost to sight, though he could distinguish the ship
hove to in the offing waiting for her return.
HUMPHRY sat down on his chest, feeling very forlorn.
Here he was on a desert island, a mere speck in the
ocean, hundreds of miles away perhaps from any place
inhabited by civilized man. He might perhaps never be
22 ALONE ON AN ISLAND.
able to make his escape, or again hold intercourse with
his fellow-creatures. All alone, without speaking, with-
out exchanging an idea with another human being, he
might have to drag out a weary existence; and then,
should sickness overtake him, have to lie down and
breathe out his life, leaving his bones to whiten in the
He had read Robinson Crusoe, but then his case was
very different to that of the far-famed voyager. Robinson
Crusoe had the companionship of Friday, and his island
was fertile and smiling, and he had goats and fowls and
other animals to cheer him or to serve him as food. He
would have to go in search of fish and birds for his daily
food, and as yet was uncertain whether any were to be
found, though at present he did not fear starvation, as he
had the salted beef and pork and biscuits with which Ned
had supplied him. But then when they were gone, how
should he live ?
It won't do to indulge in these thoughts," he ex-
claimed to himself, suddenly starting up. I must
think about building a house in the first place ; and then
as soon as I can prepare the ground I will pu.
in the seed, and, as I hope, some may produce good
edible vegetables, I shall have a variety in diet and keep
myself in health."
As he began to examine the articles which had been
brought on shore, he found a large roll of canvas. It
was part of an old sail.
This Ned must have intended to serve as a tent till
I can put up a more substantial building. I am much
obliged to him, and I need not be in any great hurry
about building my house."
ALONE ON AN ISLAND. 23
He spoke his thoughts aloud on nearly all occasions.
It gave him some .relief to hear his own voice.
I must get some poles for the tent, though; and no
spars, I see, have been brought on shore."
He looked out an axe, and sticking it in his belt, set
out to search for what he wanted.
"I shall not lose my way in this new kingdom of mine,
that's one advantage in having it of moderate size; and
if I climb to the top of the hill, I shall be able to sing
with Robinson Crusoe, I am lord of all I survey,'-ah,
ah, ah !" and he laughed for the first time for many a day.
There was nothing to excite his risibility on board.
He felt his spirits rising.
Stay!" he exclaimed suddenly. What an ungrate.
ful wretch I am! Here have I been saved from a great
danger, and placed in safety, at all events for the present,
and yet I have not uttered one word of thanks to Him
who has preserved me."
He knelt down, and lifted up his heart as well as he
could to God.
Careless, worthless fellow that I have been I yet
God promises to hear all those that come to Him, not
trusting to themselves or to their own good deeds, but to
the perfect and complete atonement Jesus Christ made
for their sins on the cross, so I know that He will hear
me; and I am sure, though I am unworthy of His care,
that He put it into the hearts of those men to bring me
on shore instead of throwing me overboard, or what
would have been worse, keeping me among them."
He felt his heart much lighter when he rose from his
He then, carefully observing the appearance of the
ALONE ON AN ISLAND.
rocks, that he might find his way back without difficulty,
proceeded on his expedition. Clambering over them, he
came to more level ground covered with various bushes,
and soon reached a hill-side on which grew a number
of trees, palms and others, with the names of which
he was unacquainted. He looked in vain for cocoa-
nuts, not being aware that the trees are only generally
found on the level shore to which the nuts have been
borne by the wind and tides of the ocean from other
islands. He cut two stout poles for uprights, and a
longer one for a ridge-pole, and shouldering them, re-
turned to his camp.
I shall want a fire, though," he thought, as he got
back, and throwing them down he again set out to get
SThis he had no difficulty in finding among the brush-
wood, and with the aid of his axe he quickly made up a
number of faggots.
: I shall not be obliged to have a fire burning all
night to keep off wild beasts, that is another comfort," he
observed. "But it will be cheerful to sit by when it
grows dark. I shall not find the time hang heavily on my
hands for some days to come, that's another comfort."
His first thought was to do the most necessary work.'
Having brought the faggots to his camp, he next put up
This accomplished, as soon as he sat down to rest he
began to feel hungry. He rummaged in a small cask,
which contained a number of miscellaneous articles, and
discovered a tinder-box. He had soon a fire blazing in
front of his tent. He had prudently made it up at a'
sufficient distance to prevent the risk of the flames reach-
ALONE ON AN ISLAND. 25
ing the canvas. While he stayed his hunger with some
biscuit, he prepared a piece of beef, which he spitted and
placed before the fire on two small sticks, such as he had
read of people doing under similar circumstances. He
turned the meat on the spit, which grew blacker and
"I think it must be done now," he said at length,
taking it off.
When he cut it with his knife, he found it almost as
hard as wood. He attempted to eat a few mouthfuls,
but he could scarcely get them down.
This won't do," he said. I must get some water,
to enable me to swallow this dry food."
On searching for something to hold the water, he
tbund a saucepan, and on his way with it to the cascade
it occurred to him that he might have cooked his beef
much better by boiling. "I must try that way for
dinner," he thought.
A draught of pure water greatly refreshed him. He
returned to the camp with his saucepan filled. He put
it on at once with a small piece of meat in it, recollecting
that salted beef requires a long time to boil, and he hoped
to have better success in his second attempt at cooking.
He now made a survey of the articles his shipmates
had left with him. There was enough beef and pork to
serve him for many months, but he regretted to find that
the bread would not last him nearly so long.
D must try and find some substitute for it," he said,
and economise it in the meantime. I would rather have
had much more bread and less meat, as I hope to catch
some fish and kill some birds. However, I need not go
hunting till I have put my home to rights."
26 ALONE ON AN ISLAND.
.Then he thought of his seeds. He had no spade,
however, to dig the ground; so going to the wood he
shaped one, which he hoped would answer the purpose,
out of the stem of a small tree. It did better than
nothing, but he would have been very glad' of an iron
spade. He at once began to dig up the ground. It was
covered thickly with grass with long roots, but the soil
was rather sand than earth. I must dig all this up,"
he said, or they will soon sprout up again, and destroy
the seed." So he marked out a small plot, carefully throw-
ing the roots and grass into a heap. It then struck him
that' if they were, scattered about on the ground in the
sun they would more quickly dry, and he might then
burn them, and the ashes would contribute to fertilise the
He worked away till he felt quite weary. He then
went back to his fire to see how the beef was boiling. As
it was not yet done, after resting a short time he re-
turned to his digging. It was a very long operation, but
after labouring for four or five hours he found that he
had dug up almost ten square yards of ground. It is
thoroughly done, though there is not much of it, and
that's a satisfaction," he said. He thought, however,
even when the ashes of the grass were mixed with it, it
would scarcely be sufficiently fertile for the seeds. I
will go into the woods and collect rotten leaves, and with
the ashes of my fire I hope in time to make the soil
good." This was a wise thought, but the sun was already
getting low, and he determined to wait till the next day
to do so. It will be better to have a small piece of
good ground than to dig up the whole plot, and I will
only put in a few seeds at first, to see how they answer;
ALONE ON AN ISLAND.
so that if some fail, I may try a different way of cultivat-
ing them. I shall, at all events, have work enough.
How sad it would have been if I had had nothing to do
but to sit still and bemoan my hard fate. I may not,
after all, find my life so miserable alone as I had expected,
that's another comfort.
With these reflections he went back to his fire, and
now, to his satisfaction, he found that his beef was
thoroughly boiled. Ned had forgotten to put in any
salt or mustard, but as the beef was salt in itself, that
did not signify. It reminded him, however, that if he
shot any birds or caught fish, he should require some.
That made him resolve to try and look for it amongst
the rocks, or to try and manufacture it from salt water,
as he had read of being done. He had been accustomed
to read a good many books of travels before he came to
sea, and he now found the advantage of having done
so, by being reminded of the various ways people, when
placed in situations similar to his, had been enabled to
support existence. This contributed to keep up his
spirits, as it made him have no doubts of obtaining food.
His only dread was that he might meet with an accident,
or might fall ill, when there would be no one to help him.
Well, well, I ought not to trouble myself about that
either," he said. I must pray to God to preserve me,
and do my best not to run any unnecessary risk."
He then recollected the dreadful complaint, the scurvy,
which had already attacked some of the crew of the
That is brought on by people living too exclusively on
salt provisions. I must try to find some roots or herbs
till the seeds come up : and then, if they produce vege
28 ALONE ON AN ISLAND.
tales, as I hope they will, I need not be anxious about
Such were his cogitations during his meal. Having
finished, he hung up the remainder of his beef in his
tent, to serve as breakfast for the next morning, and then
went back to the fountain to enjoy a draught of pure
He felt but little inclined to do any more work, and
the sun had not set when he recollected that he had
not yet read from his Testament. He took it from the
pocket of his jacket, which hung up in his tent, and sat
down to read. He read on for some time, feeling his
spirits greatly refreshed, till, by the increasing darkness,
he found that the sun had gone down, and that it was time
to prepare for rest. Ned had thrown a bed into the boat
and a blanket.
Few people left on a desert island as I am have en-
joyed so luxurious a couch as this is," thought Humphry,
as he laid himself down after offering up his prayers, as
he had been accustomed to do before he came to sea.
Since then, shame, and the indifference which arises from
it, had prevented him ever kneeling in prayer. He now,
left all alone as he was, felt that prayer was his greatest
comfort; though he had no fellow-creature to talk to, he
had the privilege of speaking to his Maker. He had not
been reading his Testament without gaining enlighten-
ment. He had learned that he must come to God in
His appointed way-through Jesus Christ; that he had
no right to approach Him in any other way.
He had scarcely placed his head on the bundle of
clothes which he had rolled up to make a pillow, and
drawn his blanket round him, than he fell fast asleep.
ALONE ON AN ISLAND. 29
IT seemed but a moment afterwards that Humphry
heard some birds chirruping, and opening his eyes, he
found that it was already daylight. He instantly sprang
up, recollecting that though the days were long, le had
plenty of work to do. He first knelt down and earnestly
offered up a prayer for protection and guidance.
The water in the bay looked bright and clear. Throw-
ing off his clothes and plunging in, he enjoyed a refreshing
swim. The warm air soon dried him, for Ned, as may
be supposed, had not thought of providing him with
towels. As he sat on a rock for a few moments to rest,
he saw a dark object floating by in the water, then a tri-
angular fin rose above it, and he observed a pair of fierce-
looking eyes gazing up at him. He shuddered, for he
recognized the sailor's enemy, the shark. How merci-
fully he had been preserved Had he remained in a few
minutes longer the monster might have seized him. He
must be cautious in future how he bathed. He might
find, however, some quiet pool into which no shark could
After recovering himself he returned to the camp, and
lighted a fire to cook his breakfast, which consisted of salt
beef and biscuit. He thought he should like some tea.
He searched in his cask of stores, and to his satisfaction
he discovered a large bagful, and another of cocoa. This
showed him more than ever how thoughtful his friend
.had been. He knew, however, that he must husband it
carefully. Having brought water from the fountain, he
ALONE ON AN ISLAND.
made a little, which he found very refreshing. After
draining off the liquid he put the leaves carefully by, to
serve for another time. With this, and some of the cold
beef and biscuit, he made a hearty meal. Then taking
his spade in his hand he set to work to dig up more
ground. He enriched it also with rotten leaves which he
collected, and with the ashes of the grass and roots
which he dug up and burned.
He had already spent nearly two days on the island,
"I shall forget how time passes if I don't take some note
of it," he thought. I must follow Robinson Crusoe's
plan, and notch a stick." He at once went and cut a
long one. He made a notch to show the day he had
landed, and another for that which was then passingI
He then smoothed off the end, and carved the date-
" 2oth November 1812." I will cut a notch every
morning, directly I am up, and then I shall not run the
risk of missing a day by forgetting to mark it."
He was surprised to find how soon Sunday came
round. On board the Wolf that sacred day had only
'been observed by the men being allowed to mend their
clothes; or if they were not so employed, they used to sit
idly gambling or singing ribald songs. Humphry had
been considering all the previous day how he should
spend it. "We are told by God in the Bible to do no
work, and to make it a day of rest. I am sure that I ouglt
to obey Him, though it may seem important to me to
get my house up or to dig more ground. I will therefore
'obey His commands,'and leave tle rest to Him."
He rose at the usual hour, and went to wash at the
waterfall, where he found that he could take a showei-
bath, which was cooler and more refreshing than even a
ALONE ON AN ILA4ND. 31
dip in the sea. He came back to breakfast, and then
taking out his Testament, read for a long time with deep
interest. While so employed, it occurred to him that he
would learn portions by heart. This amply occupied his
mind, and afforded him so much satisfaction, that he de-
termined every morning to commit a verse to memory
that he might think of it while he was at work. He
began at the "Sermon on the Mount" on Monday
morning, so that by the end of another week he had
learned six verses.
While waiting for the result of his gardening opera-
tions, he began putting up his house. As he had the
greater portion of the summer of the Southern hemi-
sphere before him, he was in no hurry about this; so
during a portion of each day he went out with his gun
to shoot birds, or sat on a rock with a line catching fish.
He never failed to kill as many birds as he wanted for
food, or to catch as many fish as he could eat. He fitted
one of his harpoons, and kept it ready for use in case
any seals appeared, though he suspected that if they
visited the island at all, they would not come till the
He had gone on increasing his garden, and putting in
more seeds. Greatly to his delight those he first sowed
now appeared above ground. He watered them regularly,
and the plants rapidly increased in size. Some were evi-
dently cabbages, while others put forth roots with tubers;
others, again, greatly resembled spinach.
He had now got up his house, and had dug a garden
sufficiently large for his wants. The soil, by being
watered every day, became even more fertile than he had
32 ALONE ON AN ISLAND.
SEVERAL weeks thus passed away before he thought of
exploring his island.
His stores had during this time visibly diminished. He
therefore saw the necessity of laying in a store of food
which might serve him when he could not obtain it either
by his gun or fishing-lines.
During bad weather, when the sea breaking over the
reef washed into the bay, he was frequently unable to
catch fish. He thought over various ways of preserving
them. I might dry some in the sun, and salt others;
but I suspect they would keep better and be more palat-
able if I could smoke them."
He found salt in the hollows of the rocks as he had
expected, but it required much time and labour to collect.
One of his small casks was now empty. A fine day,
when the fish bit freely, enabled him to catch a large
number, and he made his first experiment. He had
already got a large pile of salt, though it was somewhat
sandy, but he thought that would not signify. He cut
off the heads and tails of the fish, then rubbed the salt
thoroughly into them, and packed them away in layers,
withsalt between each. It took him three-or fourdays'fish-
ing to fill his cask, when all the salt was expended. He
then stowed it away in a dry part of his hut, hoping that
he had now secured food to last him for several weeks.
He next tried drying some in the sun, but did not suc-
ceed to his satisfaction. He afterwards, however, built a
smoking-house, and cured a considerable number in it,
ALONE ON AN ISLAND. 33
though they were less palatable than those preserved
These tasks finished, one day, being prevented from
fishing by a gale of wind, he set out on his proposed ex-
pedition, taking his gun, with some provisions in a wallet
he had manufactured for the purpose.
He made his way towards the nearest hill, and then
struck down a valley which led to the sea. Between it
and the bay a high ridge of rocks extended, so he con-
tinued his course along the shore in an opposite direc-
tion. He had not gone far before he came to another
ridge which he had to surmount, the coast becoming
wilder and wilder as he advanced, instead of improving,
as he had hoped it might do. At last he reached what
he took to be the southern end of the island. Looking
back he saw the slope of the single high hill which com-
posed its chief feature. He had now great difficulty in
proceeding. The cliffs which faced the sea were almost
perpendicular, and the rocks over which he climbed were
extremely rough. He proceeded cautiously, knowing the
fearful position in which he would be placed should he
meet with an accident. He saw, however, at a little
distance off, a number of wild-fowl circling round the
cliffs. He was certain that they had come there for the
purpose of laying their eggs. Could he reach the spot,
he might obtain a pleasant addition to his larder.
After great labour he reached the spot, when he found
himself among hundreds of birds, many of them already
sitting. They screeched and quacked and scolded, peck.
ing at his legs as he got among them. Without cere-
mony he quickly filled his wallet with eggs.
"This will serve me as a poultry-yard for a long time
34 ALONE ON AN ISLAND.
to come," he thought. I will not kill any of the old
birds, but will wait till the young ones are hatched, as
they are likely to be more palatable than their parents.
In the meantime, I will supply myself with eggs."
It was now time for him to commence his return home.
He felt very tired when he reached his hut, for he had
not taken so long a walk since landing on the island. To
preserve his eggs, he covered them over with the grease
which remained in the pot after he had boiled his pork,
and then packed them away in cool, dry sand.
Every day he had reason to be thankful that he had
read so much, for recollectifig the various methods by
which others had supported themselves, he was able to
supply himself with food.
His garden yielded him a daily meal of either sweet
potatoes, yams, cabbages, or other vegetables. He now
caught more fish than at first, and also from his poultry-
yard obtained a good supply of young fowls.
His shoes were wearing out, and he was desirous of
catching some seals, from the skins of which he might
manufacture others to supply their place. At last he saw
several sporting in the bay. He at once got his harpoon
ready, and took post on a rock, expecting that one
would before long approach him. He was not disap-
pointed. Darting his weapon, he struck the animal,
which swam off, dragging out the line at a rapid
rate. .He found that he had made a mistake, and
was nearly losing his line and harpoon as well as the
seal. Fortunately, just as it neared the end, he got a
turn round a projecting piece of rock. The poor seal
plunged and tumbled, and swam back to the rock to
ascertain, it seemed, what had hurt it. He drew in the
ALONE ON AN ISLAND.
slack, and was thus able to secure it more completely.
After a time its struggles ceased, and he dragged it to the
beach. He here took off the skin, with which he hoped
to make several pairs of shoes, while the flesh supplied
him with a dinner of fresh meat for a couple of days; the
other portions he salted, in store for future use. Stretching
the hide on the ground, he dressed it with a ley formed by
mixing the ashes of his fire with water. This he found
would not answer completely, and after searching in the
forest he discovered some bark which formed a strong
The seals now came on shore in large numbers. Re-
collecting that their skins would be of value should a ship
come to the island, he determined to capture as many as
he could. Arming himself with a thick club, he attacked
them when asleep on the beach, and every day succeeded
in knocking over a considerable number. This gave him
abundant occupation; and continuing his experiments
he succeeded in perfectly preserving the skins. When
at length the creatures took their departure, his hut was
nearly filled with the result of his industry.
Day after day went rapidly by, and had he not been
careful in notching his stick, he would soon have lost
all count of time.
36 ALONE ON AN ISLAND.
THREE years had passed away since Humphry landed
on the island. He was startled one calm day, when
fishing from a rock in the bay as he caught sight of his
own countenance in the water, to observe how changed
he had become. Instead of the laughing, careless,
broadly-built boy with the ruddy face, which he once was,
he had grown into a tall, thin young man, with a sun-
burnt countenance, its expression grave and. thoughtful.
He was not melancholy, however, nor did he ever feel
out of spirits; but he had of course been thrown back on
himself, while his mind was constantly occupied. He
had but one book to read, but that book, above all price,
had given him ample subjects for reflection. "What
should I have done without this ?" he often said to him-
self, as he opened the book with a prayer that what he
was about to read might enlighten his mind.
I have heard people talk of reading their Bibles, but
though I have read nothing but my Testament for three
years, I every day find something fresh and interesting
He had often made excursions to the top of the hill,
whence he could obtain a view over the surrounding
It had been raining heavily during the previous day,
No seals were to be caught on shore, nor fish in the water.
Taking his gun, he set off, intending to go over the hill
to get a shot at some wild-fowl. The wind had greatly
increased; and wishing to obtain a view of the ocean with
ALONE ON AN ISLAND.
its huge foam-covered billows rolling around, he climbed
to the top of the hill. As he reached it, his eye fell on a
ship driving before the gale towards the rocky shore.
-Two of her masts were gone; the third fell while he was
looking at her. Nothing could now save her from destruc-
tion, for even should her anchors be let go, they were not
likely to hold for a moment. He considered whether he
could render any assistance to the unhappy people on
board. Too truly he feared that he could be of no use.
Still he would do his best. Hurrying home, he procured
the only rope he possessed, and a spar, and with these on
his shoulder he hastened towards the spot at which, con-
sidering the direction the ship was driving, he thought
she would strike the shore. He had scarcely reached it
when he saw the ship driving "on towards him on a
mountain sea. The next instant down she came, crash-
ing on a reef of rocks far away from where he stood, the
foaming sea dashing over her. Several poor wretches
were carried off the deck, now driven towards him, but
directly afterwards carried back by the retiring surf.
He could distinguish but one alone still clinging to
a portion of the wreck, all the others had in a few minutes
disappeared. As long as that man remained, he could
not tear himself from the spot.
Several hours passed by; still the man clung on, having
secured himself apparently by a lashing. The storm
seemed to be abating. Humphry took off his shirt, and
fastening it to the end of a spar, waved it, to show the
shipwrecked seaman that help was at hand if he could
reach the shore. It was observed at length. The man,
casting off the lashings, lowered himself into the water,
and struck out for land. Humphry prepared his rope
38 ALONE ON AN ISLAND.
Fixing the spar deep in the sand, and securing one end of
the rope to it, he stood ready to plunge in, with the other
end round his waist, to drag the man on shore should he
get within his reach. How anxiously he watched Nearer
and nearer the man came. Now he was seen floating on
his back, now he struck out again. A sea rolling in bore
him on, but as it receded it threatened to carry him off
once more. Now was the moment. Humphry dashed
into the surf. The man's strength had almost failed when
Humphry grasped him, and hauling himself up by the
rope dragged the man out of the surf, sinking down ex-
hausted by his side the instant he was out of its reach.
Humphry was the first to recover.
If you are strong enough to accompany me to the
other side of the island, friend, where I have my home,
we will set off at once ; but if not, I will go back and get
some food for you," he said.
"I shall soon be better," answered the man. I
think I could walk. Have you a companion with you ? "
"No," answered Humphry, surprised at the question;
"I am all alone."
That's strange What, isn't there a young lad some-
where about the island ? "
No," said Humphry. "I have been here three years
and have seen no human being."
The man gazed into his countenance with a look of
What is your name, then? he asked.
Humphry mentioned it.
"You Mr Gurton he cried, pressing his hand. I
suppose it must be ; and don't you know me ? "
Humphry looked into the man's face. It was covered
ALONE ON AN ISLAND. 39
with a thick beard, and his tangled hair hung over his
"You must be Ned Hadow; yet I should not have
known you more than you know me. I am indeed thank-
ful that you have been saved. But where have you been
all the time ?"
"Greater part of it living on shore," answered Ned.
"After we landed you, we took three or four prizes; but
not being able to navigate the ship, we put into a con-
venient harbour in an island inhabited by savages. There
we remained, living among them much as they did.
Several of our men were killed; and at last, finding that
the savages intended to cut us all off, we put to sea
again. We had been knocking about for some time, and
used up all our provisions, when we fell in with the gale
which drove the ship on yonder rocks."
Ned insisted that he could walk across the island, and
with Humphry's help he was able to accomplish the
journey, though nearly exhausted at the end of it.
Humphry then made him lie down in his bed, while he
prepared some soup and other food.
Next day Ned somewhat recovered; and in the course
of a week, owing to Humphry's constant attention, he
looked more like his former self.
It's very dreadful to think that all the others have
perished, but I am truly thankful that you have been sent
to be my companion," said Humphry. "You little thought
when you acted so kindly towards me by saving my life,
and getting me put on shore here, that I should ever in
any way be able to repay you."
I did not, Mr Gurton; but I feel that I am such a
worthless fellow that my life was not worth preserving."
ALONE ON AN ISLAND.
"1 We are all worthless, Ned : that's what the book I
read every day tells me, and I am convinced of it when I
look into my own heart, and know how people in the
world are generally acting."
"What have you got that book still, Mr Gurton ? "
Yes, indeed I have, and I shall be glad to read it
to you, Ned," said Humphry.
I shall like to hear it, sir, for I have not heard any-
thing like a good word since you used to read it to me
when I was sick. I had almost forgotten there is a
God in heaven. I remembered that, however, when I
was clinging to the wreck, and expecting every moment
to be in His presence."
"' It's the best thing to read God's Word, and to be
guided by it, when we expect to live. I hope you may
be spared many years, even though we never get away
from this island, and that book will serve us better than
any other companion who could join us."
Humphry, instead now of reading his Testament to
himself, read it daily to Ned, and even while they were
at work he used to repeat portions he had learned by
Though Ned could not read, he gained in time a good
knowledge of the book, and his dark soul by degrees be-
coming enlightened, he understood clearly at length
God's plan of salvation, and cheerfully accepted it.
"You see, Ned, all things are ordered for the best,"
said Humphry one day, and you must be convinced
that God loves us, however little we may have loved
Him. If I had remained on board the privateer, I should
have become, as I was fast doing, like the rest of the
ALONE ON AN ISLAND. 41
unhappy crew. Though I thought it very dreadful to be
left all alone on the island, I now feel that it has been
the greatest blessing to me. God in His mercy also
saved you, though you would have preferred remaining
among the savages. Now you are happy in knowing
the glorious truth that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth
from all sin; and though we may both of us wish to be
once more among our fellow-men, we can live con-
tentedly here till He thinks fit to call us out of this
I hope He may take me before any ship comes to
the island, for if I once fell among the sort of men I
have lived with all my life, I should soon again be as bad
as they are," said Ned with a sigh.
Not if you sought help and protection from God's
Holy Spirit," answered Humphry, and prayed that He
would keep you out of temptation."
Ned was surprised to find how much Humphry had
done during the time he had been alone on the island. He
assisted him in all his undertakings, and they together
caught enough seals to fill another large storehouse.
At last, after two years had thus passed away, Ned,
who had been fishing down the harbour, came hurrying
back. His countenance was grave, and he looked much
I have been watching a vessel standing in for the
island. She has hove to, and is sending a boat on shore.
The time has come, Mr Gurton, when we must part. 1
dare not go back into the world, and have made up my
mind to remain here. You are young, and have many
years before you, and I would advise you to go, and all I
ask is that you will think of me and pray for me."
42 ALONE ON AN ISLAND.
This announcement made Humphry even more agi-
tated than Ned. He hurried to the spot where the boat
could be seen.
She made her way up the harbour. Humphry and
his companion went down to meet her. An officer-like
looking man stepped on shore, accompanied by another
in dark clothes. They seemed much surprised at seeing
Humphry and Ned.
"What are you Englishmen ? asked one of the
strangers. "We only discovered the island this morn-
ing, and had no expectation of finding it inhabited."
Humphry explained that they were the only inhabi-
tants ; that he had been left there some years before, and,
pointing to Ned, said, "This man was afterwards wrecked
on the coast, and he alone was saved from his ship."
I am Captain Summers of the Hope, now lying in
the offing. This gentleman is the Reverend Mr Evans,
a missionary, whom I am conveying to an island where
he is about to settle. What is your name ?" asked the
Humphry told him.
"And my name is Tom Martin," said Ned coming
forward, greatly to Humphry's surprise.
Well, my friends, it seems but a barren island. I
wonder how you have managed to live here so long."
Humphry briefly explained the various means by which
he had procured food, and leading the way to the garden,
showed them the perfect cultivation into which it had been
brought. He then invited Captain Summers and Mr
Evans into his hut. His Testament lay open on the
table. The latter took it up, observing-
ALONE ON AN ISLAND. 43
I am glad to see, my young friend, that you have
not been deprived of God's Word during your long stay
It has indeed been my great solace and delight,"
answered Humphry. "Without it I should have been
Well, my friends, I shall be most happy to receive
you both on board my ship; and as I hope to sail for
England in the course of a few months, you will then be
able to return home."
Humphry thanked the captain for his offer, which he
gladly accepted. Ned looked very grave.
I am much obliged to you, sir," he said, and though
I shall be sorry to part from Mr Gurton, I am very sure
that I had better stay where I am till God thinks fit to
call me from this world. I have lived too long among
savages, and worse than savages, to go back again and
live with civilised people. If Mr Gurton will leave me
his Testament, which he has taught me to read, and his
gun and harpoons, it's all I ask."
"No, my friend," observed Mr Evans, "man is
not made to live alone. If, as I hope from what you
say, you have learned to love Jesus Christ, you should
try to serve Him, and endeavour to do good among your
fellow-creatures. Now, as I am going to settle in an
island inhabited by savages, I shall be very glad of your
assistance, and if you already understand their language,
which I have to learn,you may speak to them, and tell them
of Him who died for them, that they may be reconciled
to Him. You will thus be showing your love for Him
far more than by living a life of solitude, even although
ALONE ON AN ISLAND.
you spend your days in reading His Word. Remember
it is not only those who hear the Word of God, but those
who hear and do it, who are His disciples."
"You are right, sir," exclaimed Ned, brightening up
"My only fear if I left this was to find myself among
those who would lead me back into bad ways, but I will
gladly go with you-that I will, sir."
As the captain was anxious to see the island, Humphry
undertook to guide him and Mr Evans to the top of the
hill, whence they could obtain a view over the whole of
it. Before setting out, Humphry showed them the store
I shall be sorry to leave these behind," he observed,
" and if you can receive them on board, they will assist to
pay my passage."
As to that, my friend," answered the captain, I will
very gladly send my boats to take them off, and you shall
pay freight for them; but you, I am very sure, will be
able to work your passage, and I hope you will find they
will sell for some hundred pounds in England."
"Part of them belong to my companion," observed
"No, no, Mr Gurton," said Ned. "They are all
yours. Not a shilling of their value will I touch, except
enough to give me a new rig-out, as I am not fit to
accompany Mr Evans in these tattered old clothes of
Set your mind at rest about that," said the captain.
"You shall be welcome to a thorough fit out, suitable for
the task you are about to undertake, and your friend Mr
Gurton will require the money more than you will."
ALONE ON AN ISLAND. 45
Captain Summers, according to his promise, loaded
his own boat with seal-skins, and sent her off to the ship
with orders for the long-boat to come ashore and carry off
the remainder. Meantime he and Mr Evans paid their
intended visit to the hill-top.
On their return Humphry took the first opportunity of
drawing Ned aside, and asking why he had not given his
I did give my right name, Mr Gurton," he answered.
"Ned Hadow was merely a purser's name which I took
when I entered on board the Wolf, because you see, sir,
I had run from a man-of-war. Now I know better, I
would only tell the truth; and so, please, call me Tom
Martin in future, and I am ready to stand the conse-
Humphry and his companion were kindly received on
board the Hope, when the good captain supplied them
with new suits of clothes, which they indeed much re-
The Hofe continued her voyage.
How different was the life led on board her to that
on board the Wolf! Captain Summers and his
officers were Christian men. The crew were kindly
treated; not an oath escaped the lips of any of the
men, while all did their duty with cheerfulness and
The voyage was prosperous. At the end of three
weeks the Hope dropped her anchor in the harbour of a
fine island where Mr Evans was to remain.
A native missionary, who had been sent there a year
before, came off to receive him, and brought him the
46 ALONE ON AN ISLAND.
satisfactory intelligence that a large number of the natives
were anxiously looking out for his arrival.
Some days were spent in landing his property, and
assisting him in putting up his house, while an abund-
ance of fresh provisions was brought off by the natives
to the ship.
Humphry parted from his old friend with the less re-
gret from feeling sure that he would be well occupied,
and free from the temptations he dreaded.
"We shall meet again, I trust, as Captain Summers
has offered me a berth as third mate of the Hoef on her
next voyage, which he expects to make to these seas,"
said Humphry, as he bade him farewell.
'"If we don't meet here, we shall in another world, sir.
And bless you, Mr Gurton, for pointing out to me the
way to it," said Tom, as he wrung Humphry's hand,
and tears burst from his eyes.
The Hope had a prosperous voyage home, during
which Humphry did his utmost to fit himself for the
duty he was to undertake. He had no ties in Eng-
land, so he gladly again sailed in the Hofe. Captain
Summers having sold the seal-skins for a good price,
judiciously invested the proceeds for him.
Humphry had the satisfaction of meeting his old
friend Ned, or rather Mr Martin, as he was now called,
and of finding that he had been of the greatest ser-
vice to Mr Evans. He never returned to England,
but died at his post, labouring to the last in spread-
ing the gospel among the natives:
Humphry won the regard of Captain Summers by
his steadiness and good conduct, and at the end of
ALONE ON AN ISLAND.
his third voyage he married his daughter, and soon
afterwards obtained the command of a ship. When
at length he was able to quit the sea and live on shore,
he often used to relate to his children, among his many
adventures, how he spent five years of his life alone on at
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