The next summer brought me a yawm,* as fair as alabaster.
My wife was delivered without the usual assistance, and had as favourable a labour as could be. The first thing I did, after giving her some fish-soup, made as skilfully as I was able, and a little cordial, was to see if my yawm had the graundee or not. Finding it had—"So," says I to Youwarkee, "you have brought me a legitimate heir to my dominions, whose title sure cannot be disputed, being one of you." Though I spoke this with as much pleasure, and in as endearing a way as ever I spoke in my life, and quite innocently, the poor Youwarkee burst into tears to such excess there was no pacifying her. I asked her the reason of her grief, begged and entreated her to let me know what disturbed her, but all in vain; till, seeing me in a violent passion, such as I had never before appeared to be in, she told me she was very sorry I should question her fidelity to me. She surprised me in saying this, as I never had any such apprehension. "No, my dearest wife," says I, "I never had any such suspicion as you charge me with, I can safely affirm; nor can I comprehend your meaning by imputing such a thing to me."—"Oh!" says she, "I am sure you have no cause for it; but you said the poor child was one of us; as much as to intimate that had it been your own, it would have been born as you were, without the graundee, which thought I cannot bear, and if you continue to think so it must end me; therefore take away my life now, rather than let me live to see my farther misery."
I was heartily sorry for what I had said, when I saw the effects of it, though I did not imagine it could have been perverted to such a contrary meaning. But considering her to be the faithful-lest and most loving creature upon earth, and that true love cannot bear anything that touches upon or can be applied (though with ever so forced a construction) to an opprobrious or contemptuous meaning, I attributed her groundless resentment to her excess of fondness only for me; and falling upon the bed by her, and bathing her face in my tears, I assured her the interpretation she had put on my words was altogether foreign from the view they were spoken with; professing to her that I never had, nor ever could have, the least cause of jealousy. On my confirming this absolute confidence in her virtue by the strongest asseverations, she grew fully convinced of her error, and acknowledged she had been too rash in censuring me; and growing pleased at my fresh professions of love to her, we presently were reconciled, and became again very good friends.
When Youwarkee had gathered strength again, she proved an excellent nurse to my Pedro (for that was the name I gave him), so that he soon grew a charming child, able to go in his twelvemonth, and spoke in his twentieth. This and two other lovely boys I had by her in three years, every one of which she brought up with the breast, and they thrived delicately.
I don't mention the little intervening occurrences which happened during this period; they consisted chiefly of the old rota of fishing, watering, providing in the summer for the winter, and in managing my salt-work; which altogether kept me at full employment, comfortably to maintain an increasing family.
In this time I had found out several new sorts of eatables. I had observed, as I said before, abundance of birds about the wood and lake in the summer months. These, by firing at them two or three times on my first coming, I had almost caused to desert my dominions. But as I had for the last two or three years given no disturbance at all to them, they were now in as great plenty as ever; and I made great profit of them by the peace they enjoyed; and yet my table never wanted a supply, fresh in the summer, or salted and pickled in winter.
I took notice it was about October these birds used to come; and most of the month of November they were busy in laying their eggs, which I used at that time to find in great plenty along the banks of the lake in the reeds, and made great collections of them; I used also to find a great many in the woods amongst the shrubs and underwood. These furnished our table various ways; for with my cream-cheese flour, and a little mixture of ram's-horn juice, I had taught my wife to make excellent puddings of them; abundance of them also we ate boiled or fried alone, and often as sauce to our fish. As for the birds themselves, having long omitted to fire at them, I had an effectual means of taking them otherwise by nets, which I set between the trees, and also very large pitfall nets, with which I used to catch all sorts, even from the size of a thrush to that of a turkey. But as I shall say more of these when I come to speak of my ward by and by, and of my poultry, I shall omit any further mention of them here.
You may perhaps wonder how I could keep an account of my time so precisely, as to talk of the particular months. I will tell you. At my coming from America, I was then exact; for we set sail the fourteenth of November, and struck the first or second day of February. So far I kept perfect reckoning; but after that I was not so exact, though I kept it as well as my perplexity would admit even then, till the days shortening upon me, prevented it.
Hereupon I set about making a year for myself. I found the duration of the comparative darkness, or what might with me be termed night, in the course of the twenty-four hours, or day, gradually increased for six months; after which it decreased reciprocally for an equal time, and the lighter part of the day took its turn, as in our parts of the world, only inversely: so that as the light's decrease became sensible about the middle of March, it was at the greatest pitch the latter end of August, or beginning of September; and from thence, on the contrary, went on decreasing to the close of February, when I had the longest portion of light. Hereupon, dividing my year into two seasons only, I began the winter half in March, and the summer half in September. Thus my winter was the spring and summer quarters in Europe, and my summer those of our autumn and winter.
From my settling this matter, I kept little account of days or weeks, but only reckoned my time by summer and winter, so that I am pretty right as to the revolutions of these; though the years, as to their notation, I kept no account of, nor do I know what year of the Lord it now is.
Wilkins's concern about clothing for Pedro, his eldest son— His discourse with his wife about the ship—Her flight to it—His melancholy reflections till her return—An account of what she had done, and of what she brought—She clothes her children, and takes a second flight
As my boy Pedro grew up, though, as I said before, he had the graundee, yet it was of less dimensions than it ought to have been to be useful to him, so that it was visible he could never fly; for it would scarce meet before, whereas it ought to have reached from side to side both ways. This pleased my wife to the heart; for now she was sure, whatever I had done before, I could not suspect her. Be that as it will, the boy's graundee not being a sufficient vestment for him, it became necessary he should be clothed.
I turned over my hoard, but could find nothing that would do; or, at least, that we knew how to fit him with. I had described my own country vest for lads to Youwarkee, and she formed a tolerable idea of it, but we had no tackle to alter anything with. "Oh, my dear," says I, "had I but been born with the graundee, I need not be now racking my brains to get my child clothes."—"What do you mean by that?" says she.—"Why," says I, "I would have flown to my ship (for I had long before related to her all my sea adventures, till the vessel's coming to the magnetical rock), and have brought some such things from thence, as you, not wanting them in this country, can have no notion of." She seemed mighty inquisitive to understand how a ship was made, what it was most like to, how a person who never saw one might know it only by the description, and how one might get into it; with abundance of the like questions. She then inquired what sort of things those needles and several other utensils were, which I had at times been speaking of; and in what part of a ship they usually kept such articles. And I, to gratify her curiosity, as I perceived she took a pleasure in hearing me, answered all her questions to a scruple; not then conceiving the secret purpose of all this inquisitiveness.
About two days after this, having been out two or three hours in the morning, to cut wood, at coming home I found Pedro crying, ready to break his heart, and his little brother Tommy hanging to him and crawling about the floor after him: the youngest pretty baby was fast asleep upon one of the beast-fish skins, in a corner of the room. I asked Pedro for his mother; but the poor infant had nothing farther to say to the matter, than "Mammy run away, I cry! mammy run away, I cry!" I wondered where she was gone, never before missing her from our habitation. However, I waited patiently till bed-time, but no wife. I grew very uneasy then; yet, as my children were tired and sleepy, I thought I had best go to bed with them, and make quiet; so, giving all three their suppers, we lay down together. They slept; but my mind was too full to permit the closure of my eyes. A thousand different chimeras swam in my imagination relating to my wife. One while I fancied her carried away by her kinsfolks; then, that she was gone of her own accord to make peace with her father. But that thought would not fix, being put aside by her constant tenderness to her children and regard to me, whom I was sure she would not have left without notice. "But alas!" says I, "she may even now be near me, but taken so ill she cannot get home, or she may have died suddenly in the wood." I lay tumbling and tossing in great anxiety, not able to find out any excusable occasion she could have of so long absence. And then, thinks I, if she should either be dead, or have quite left me, which will be of equally bad consequence to me, what can I do with three poor helpless infants? If they were a little more grown up, they might be helpful to me and to each other; but at their age how shall I ever rear them without the tenderness of a mother? And to see them pine away before my face, and not know how to help them, will distract me.
Finding I could neither sleep nor lie still, I rose, intending to search all the woods about, and call to her, that if any accident had prevented sight of her she might at least hear me. But upon opening the door, and just stepping out, how agreeably was I surprised to meet her coming in, with something on her arm. "My dear Youwarkee," says I, "where have you been? What has befallen you to keep you out so long? The poor children have been at their wits' end to find you; and I, my dear, have been inconsolable, and was now, almost distracted, coming in search of you." Youwarkee looked very blank, to think what concern she had given me and the children. "My dearest Peter," says she, kissing me, "pray forgive me the only thing I have ever done to offend you, and the last cause you shall ever have, by my good will, to complain of me; but walk within doors, and I will give you a farther account of my absence. Don't you remember what delight I took the other day to hear you talk of your ship?"—"Yes," says I, "you did so; but what of that?"—"Nay, pray," says she, "forgive me, for I have been to see it."—"That's impossible," says I; and truly this was the first time I ever thought she went about to deceive me.—"I do assure you," says she, "I have; and a wonderful thing it is! But if you distrust me, and what I say, I have brought proof of it; step out with me to the verge of the wood, and satisfy yourself."—"But pray," says I, "who presented you with this upon your arm?"—"I vow," says she, "I had forgot this: yes, this will, I believe, confirm to you what I have said."—I turned it over and over; and looking wistfully upon her, says I, "This waistcoat, indeed, is the very fellow to one that lay in the captain's locker in the cabin"—"Say not the very fellow," says she, "but rather say the very same, for I'll assure you it is so; and had you been with me, we might have got so many things for ourselves and the children, we should never have wanted more, though we had lived these hundred years; but as it is, I have left something without the wood for you to bring up." When we had our talk out, she, hearing the children stir, took them up, and was going, as she always did, to get their breakfasts. "Hold," says I, "this journey must have fatigued you too much already; lay yourself to rest, and leave everything else to me."—"My dear," says she, "you seem to think this flight tiresome, but you are mistaken; I am more weary with walking to the lake and back again, than with all the rest. Oh," says she, "if you had but the graundee, flying would rest you, after the greatest labour; for the parts which are moved with exercise on the earth, are all at rest in flight; as, on the contrary, the parts used in flight are when on earthly travel. The whole trouble of flight is in mounting from the plain ground; but when once you are upon the graundee at a proper height, all the rest is play, a mere trifle; you need only think of your way, and incline to it, your graundee directs you as readily as your feet obey you on the ground, without thinking of every step you take; it does not require labour, as your boat does, to keep you a-going."
After we had composed ourselves, we walked to the verge of the wood, to see what cargo my wife had brought from the ship. I was astonished at the bulk of it; and seeing, by the outside, it consisted of clothes, I took it with much ado upon my shoulders and carried it home. But upon opening it, I found far more treasure than I could have imagined; for there was a hammer, a great many spikes and nails, three spoons, about five plates of pewter, four knives and a fork, a small china punchbowl, two chocolate cups, a paper of needles, and several of pins, a parcel of coarse thread, a pair of shoes, and abundance of such other things as she had heard me wish for and describe; besides as much linen and woollen, of one sort or another, as made a good package for all the other things; with a great tin porridge-pot, of about two gallons, tied to the outside; and all these as nicely stowed as if she had been bred a packer.
When I had viewed the bundle, and poised the weight, "How was it possible, my dear You-warkee," said I, "for you to bring all this? You could never carry them in your hands."—"No, no," replied she, "I carried them on my back."—"Is it possible," says I, "for your graundee to bear yourself and all this weight too in the air, and to such a height as the top of these rocks?"—"You will always," replies she, "make the height a part of your difficulty in flying; but you are deceived, for as the first stroke (I have heard you say often) in fighting is half the battle, so it is in flying; get but once fairly on the wind, nothing can hurt you afterwards. My method, let me tell you, was this; I climbed to the highest part of the ship, where I could stand clear, having first put up my burden, which you have there; and then getting that on my back near my shoulders, I took the two cords you see hang loose to it in my two hands, and extending my graundee, leaped off flatwise with my face towards the water; when instantly playing two or three good strokes with my graundee, I was out of danger; now, if I had found the bundle too heavy to make my first strokes with, I should directly have turned on my back, dropped my bundle, and floated in my graundee to the ship again, as you once saw me float on the lake." Says I, "You must have flown a prodigious distance to the lake, for I was several days sailing, I believe three weeks, from my ship, before I reached the gulf; and after that could be little less than five weeks (as I accounted for it), and at a great rate of sailing too under the rock, before I reached the lake; so that the ship must be a monstrous way off." "No, no," says she, "your ship lies but over yon cliff, that rises as it were with two points; and as to the rock itself, it is not broader than our lake is long; but what made you so tedious in your passage was many of the windings and turnings in the cavern returning in to themselves again; so that you might have gone round and round till this time, if the tide had not luckily struck you into the direct passage: this," says she, "I have heard from some of my countrymen, who have flown up it, but could never get quite through."
"I wish with all my heart," says I, "fortune had brought me first to light in this country; or (but for your sake I could almost say) had never brought me into it at all; for to be a creature of the least significancy, of the whole race but one, is a melancholy circumstance."—"Fear not," says she, "my love, for you have a wife will hazard all for you, though you are restrained; and as my inclinations and affections are so much yours, that I need but know your desires to execute them as far as my power extends, surely you, who can act by another, may be content to forego the trouble of your own performance. I perceive, indeed," continued she, "you want mightily to go to your ship, and are more uneasy now you know it is safe than you was before; but that being past my skill to assist you in, if you will command your deputy to go backwards and forwards in your stead, I am ready to obey you."
Thus ended our conversation about the ship for that time. But it left not my mind so soon; for a stronger hankering after it pursued me now than ever since my wife's flight, but to no purpose.
We sat us down and sorted out our cargo, piece by piece; and having found several things proper for the children, my wife longed to enter upon some piece of work towards clothing Pedro in the manner she had heard me talk of, and laid hard at me to show her the use of the needles, thread, and other things she had brought. Indeed I must say she proved very tractable; and from the little instruction I was able to give her, soon out-wrought my knowledge; for I could only show her that the thread went through the needle, and both through the cloth to hold it together; but for anything else I was as ignorant as she. In much less time than I could have imagined, she had clothed my son Pedro, and had made a sort of mantle for the youngest. But now seeing us so smart (for I took upon me sometimes to wear the green waistcoat she had brought under my dirty jacket), she began to be ashamed of herself, as she said, in our fine company; and afterwards (as I shall soon acquaint you) got into our fashion.
Seeing the advantages her flight to the ship, and that so many conveniences arose from it, she was frequently at me to let her go again. I should as much have wished for another return of goods as she, but I could by no means think of parting with my factor; for I knew her eagerness to please me, and that she would stick at nothing to perform it. And, thinks I, should any accident happen to her, by over-loading or otherwise, and I should lose her, all the other commodities of the whole world put together would not compensate her loss. But as she so earnestly desired it, and assured me she would run no hazards, I was prevailed on at length, by her incessant importunities, to let her go; though under certain restrictions which she promised me to comply with. As first, I insisted upon it that she should take a tour quite round the rock, setting out the same way I had last gone with my boat; and, if possible, find out the gulf, which I told her she could not mistake, by reason of the noise the fall of the water made; and desired her to remark the place, so as I might know within-side where it was without. And then I told her she might review and search every hole in the ship as she pleased; and if there were any small things she had a mind to bring from it, she was welcome, provided the bundle she should make up was not above a fourth part either of the bulk or weight of the last. All which she having engaged punctually to observe, she bade me not expect her till I saw her, and she would return as soon as possible. I then went with her to the confines of the wood (for I told her I desired to see her mount), and she, after we had embraced, bidding me to stand behind her, took her flight.
The Author observes her flight—A description of a glumm in the graundee—She finds out the gulf not far from the ship—Brings home more goods—Makes her a gown by her husband's instruction
I had ever since our marriage been desirous of seeing Youwarkee fly; but this was the first opportunity I had of it; and indeed the sight was worthy of all the attention I paid it; for I desired her slowly to put herself in proper order for it, that I might make my observation the more accurately; and shall now give you an account of the whole apparatus, though several parts of the description were taken from subsequent views; for it would have been impossible to have made just remarks of everything at that once, especially as I only viewed her back parts then.
I told you before, I had seen her graundee open, and quite extended as low as her middle; but that being in the grotto by lamplight, I could not take so just a survey as now, when the sort of light we ever had was at the brightest.
She first threw up two long branches or ribs of the whalebone, as I called it before (and indeed for several of its properties, as toughness, elasticity, and pliableness, nothing I have ever seen can so justly be compared to it), which were jointed behind to the upper bone of the spine, and which, when not extended, lie bent over the shoulders on each side of the neck forwards, from whence, by nearer and nearer approaches, they just meet at the lower rim of the belly in a sort of point; but when extended, they stand their whole length above the shoulders, not perpendicularly, but spreading outwards, with a web of the softest and most pliable and springy membrane that can be imagined, in the interstice between them, reaching from their root or joint on the back up above the hinder part of the head, and near half-way their own length; but when closed, the membrane falls down in the middle upon the neck, like a handkerchief. There are also two other ribs rising as it were from the same root, which, when open, run horizontally, but not so long as the others. These are filled up in the interstice between them and the upper ones with the same membrane; and on the lower side of this is also a deep flap of the membrane, so that the arms can be either above or below it in flight, and are always above it when closed. This last rib, when shut, flaps under the upper one, and also falls down with it before to the waist, but is not joined to the ribs below. Along the whole spine-bone runs a strong, flat, broad, grisly cartilage, to which are joined several other of these ribs; all which open horizontally, and are filled in the interstices with the above membrane, and are jointed to the ribs of the person just where the plane of the back begins to turn towards the breast and belly; and, when shut, wrap the body round to the joints on the contrary side, folding neatly one side over the other. At the lower spine are two more ribs, extended horizontally when open, jointed again to the hips, and long enough to meet the joint on the contrary side cross the belly; and from the hip-joint, which is on the outermost edge of the hip-bone, runs a pliable cartilage quite down the outside of the thigh and leg to the ankle; from which there branch out divers other ribs horizontally also when open, but when closed, they encompass the whole thigh and leg, rolling inwards cross the back of the leg and thigh till they reach and just cover the cartilage. The interstices of these are also filled up with the same membrane. From the two ribs which join to the lower spine-bone, there hangs down a sort of short apron, very full of plaits, from hip-joint to hip-joint, and reaches below the buttocks, half-way or more to the hams. This has also several small limber ribs in it. Just upon the lower spine-joint, and above the apron, as I call it, there are two other long branches, which, when close, extend upon the back from the point they join at below to the shoulders, where each rib has a clasper, which reaching over the shoulders, just under the fold of the uppermost branch or ribs, hold up the two ribs flat to the back like a V, the interstices of which are also filled up with the aforesaid membrane. This last piece, in flight, falls down almost to the ankles, where the two claspers lapping under each leg within-side, hold it very fast; and then also the short apron is drawn up by-the strength of the ribs in it, between the thighs forward, and covers the pudenda and groin as far as the rim of the belly. The whole arms are covered also from the shoulders to the wrist with the same delicate membrane, fastened to ribs of proportionable dimensions, and jointed to a cartilage on the outside in the same manner as on the legs.
It is very surprising to feel the difference of these ribs when open and when closed; for, closed, they are as pliable as the finest whalebone, or more so, but when extended, are as strong and stiff as a bone. They are tapering from the roots, and are broader or narrower as best suits the places they occupy, and the stress they are put to, up to their points, which are almost as small as a hair. The membrane between them is the most elastic thing I ever met with, occupying no more space, when the ribs are closed, than just from rib to rib, as flat and smooth as possible; but when extended in some postures, will dilate itself surprisingly. This will be better comprehend by the plates, where you will see several figures of glumms and gawrys in different attitudes, than can be expressed by words.
As soon as my wife had expanded the whole graundee, being upon plain ground, she stooped forward, moving with a heavy wriggling motion at first, which put me into some pain for her; but after a few strokes, beginning to rise a little, she cut through the air like lightning, and was soon over the edge of the rock and out of my sight.
It is the most amazing thing in the world to observe the large expansion of this graundee when open; and when closed (as it all is in a moment upon the party's descent) to see it sit so close and compact to the body, as no tailor can come up to it; and then the several ribs lie so justly disposed in the several parts, that instead of being, as one would imagine, a disadvantage to the shape, they make the body and limbs look extremely elegant; and by the different adjustment of their lines on the body and limbs, the whole, to my fancy, somewhat resembles the dress of the old Roman warriors in their buskins; and, to appearance, seems much more noble than any fictitious garb I ever saw, or can frame a notion of to myself.
Though these people, in height, shape, and limb, very much resemble the Europeans, there is yet this difference, that their bodies are rather broader and flatter, and their limbs, though as long and well shaped, are seldom as thick as ours. And this I observed generally in all I saw of them during a long time among them afterwards; but their skin, for beauty and fairness, exceeds ours very much.
My wife having now taken her second flight, I went home, and never left my children till her return; this was three days after our parting. I was in bed with my little ones when she knocked at the door. I soon let her in, and we received each other with a glowing welcome. The news she brought me was very agreeable. She told me she first went and pried into every nook in the ship, where she had seen such things, could we get at them, as would make us very happy. Then she set out the way I told her to go, in order to find the gulf. She was much afraid she should not have discovered it, though she flew very slow, that she might be sure to hear the waterfall and not over-shoot it. It was long ere she came at it; but when she did, she perceived she might have spared most of her trouble, had she set out the other way; for, after she had flown almost round the island, and not before, she began to hear the fall, and upon coming up to it, found it to be not above six minutes' flight from the ship. She said the entrance was very narrow, and, she thought, lower than I represented it; for she could scarce discern any space between the surface of the water and the arch-way of the rock. I told her that might happen from the rise or fall of the sea itself. But I was glad to hear the ship was no farther from the gulf; for my head was never free from the thoughts of my ship and cargo. She then told me she had left a small bundle for me without the wood, and went to look after her children. I brought up the bundle, and though it was not near so large as the other, I found several useful things in it, wrapped up in four or five yards of dark blue woollen cloth, which I knew no name for, but which was thin and light, and about a yard wide. I asked her where she met with this stuff; she answered, where there was more of it, under a thing like our bed, in a cloth like our sheet, which she cut open, and took it out of.—"Well," says I, "and what will you do with this?"—"Why, I will make me a coat like yours," says she, "for I don't like to look different from my dear husband and children."—"No, Youwarkee," replied I, "you must not do so; if you make such a jacket as mine, there will be no distinction between glumm and gawry;* the gowren praave,** in my country, would not on any account go dressed like a glumm; for they wear a fine flowing garment called a gown, that sits tight about the waist, and hangs down from thence in folds, like your barras, *** almost to the ground, so that you can hardly discern their feet, and no other part of their body but their hands and face, and about as much of their neck and breasts as you see in your graundee."
* Man and woman.
** Modest women.
***The back flap of the graundee.
Youwarkee seemed highly delighted with this new-fancied dress, and worked day and night at it against the cold weather. Whilst she employed herself thus, I was busied in providing my winter stores, which I was forced to do alone now, herself and children taking up all my wife's time. About a fortnight after she had begun mantua-making, she presented herself to me one day, as I came from work, in her new gown; and, truly, considering the scanty description I had given her of such a garment, it appeared a good comely dress. Though it had not one plait about the body, it sat very tight thereto, and yet hung down full enough for a countess; for she would have put it all in (all the stuff she had) had there been as much more of it. I could see no opening before, so asked her how she got it on. She told me she laid along on the ground, and crept through the plaits at the bottom, and sewed the body round her after she had got her hands and arms through the sleeves. I wondered at her contrivance; and, smiling, showed her how she should put it on, and also how to pin it before: and after she had done that, and I had turned up about half a yard of sleeve, which then hung down to her fingers' ends, I kissed her, and called her my country-woman; of which, and her new gown, she was very proud for a long time.
The Author gets a breed of poultry, and by what means— Builds them a house—How he managed to keep them in winter
One day, as I was traversing the woods to view my bird-traps, looking into the underwood among the great trees on my right hand, I saw a wood-hen (a bird I used to call so, from its resemblance in make to our English poultry) come out of a little thicket. I know not whether my rustling or what had disturbed it; but I let her pass, and she ran away before me. When she was fairly out of sight, I stepped up, and found she had a nest and sixteen eggs there. I exactly marked the place, and taking away one of the eggs, I broke it, at some distance from the nest, to see how forward they were; and I had no sooner broke the shell but out came a young chicken. I then looked into the nest again, and taking up more of the eggs, I found them all just splintered in the shell, and ready for hatching. I had immediately a desire to save them, and bring them up tame; but I was afraid if I took them away before they were hatched, and a little strengthened under the hen, they would all die; so I let them remain till next day. In the meanwhile I prepared some small netting of such a proper size as I conceived would do, and with this I contrived, by fastening it to stakes which I fixed in the ground, to surround the nest, and me on the outside of it. All the while I was doing this, the hen did not stir, so that I thought she had either been absent when I came, or had hatched and gone off with the young ones. As to her being gone I was under no concern; for I had no design to catch her, but only to confine the chickens within my net if they were hatched. But, however, I went nearer, and peeping in, found she sat still, squeezing herself as flat to the ground as she could. I was in twenty minds whether to take her first, and then catch the chickens, or to let her go off, and then clap upon them; but as I proposed to let her go, I thought if she would sit still till I had got the chickens, that would be the best way; so I softly kneeled down before her, and sliding my hand under her, I gently drew out two, and put them in a bag I had in my left hand. I then dipped again and again, taking two every turn; but going a fourth time, as I was bringing out my prize, the hen jumped up, flew out, and made such a noise that, though I the minute before saw six or seven more chicks in a lump where she had sat, and kept my eye upon them, yet before I could put the last two I had got into my bag, these were all gone, and in three hours' search I could not find one of them, though I was sure they could not pass my net, and must be within the compass of a small room, my toils enclosing no more. After tiring myself with looking for them, I marched home with those eight I had got.
I told Youwarkee what I had done, and how I intended to manage the little brood, and, if I could, to bring them up tame. We kept them some days very warm by the fire, and fed them often, as I had seen my mother do with her early chickens; and in a fortnight's time they were as stout and familiar as common poultry. We kept them a long while in the house; and when I fed them I always used them to a particular whistle, which I also taught my wife, that they might know both us and their feeding-time; and in a very short while they would come running, upon the usual sound, like barn-door fowls to the name of Biddy.
There happened in this brood to be five hens and three cocks; and they were now so tame that, having cut their wings, I let them out, when the weather favoured, at my door, where they would pick about in the wood, and get the best part of their subsistence; and having used them to roost in a corner of my ante-chamber, they all came in very regularly at night and took their places. My hens, at the usual season, laid me abundance of eggs, and hatched me a brood or two each of chickens; so that now I was at a loss to know what to do with them, they were become so numerous. The ante-chamber was no longer a proper receptacle of such a flock, and therefore I built a little house, at a small distance from my own, on purpose for their reception and entertainment. I had by this time cleared a spot of ground on one side of my grotto, by burning up the timber and underwood which had covered it: this I enclosed, and within that enclosure I raised my aviary, and my poultry thrived very well there, seemed to like their habitation, and grew very fat.
My wife and I took much delight in visiting and feeding them, and it was a fine diversion also to my boys; but at the end of summer, when all the other birds took their annual flight, away went every one of my new-raised brood with them, and one of my old cocks, the rest of the old set remaining very quiet with me all the winter. The next summer, when my chicks of that year grew up a little, I cut their wings, and by that means preserved all but one, which I suppose was either not cut so close as the rest, or his wings had grown again. From this time I found, by long experience, that not two out of a hundred that had once wintered with me would ever go away, though I did not cut their wings; but all of the same season would certainly go off with the wild ones, if they could any ways make a shift to fly. I afterwards got a breed of blacknecks, which was a name I gave them from the peculiar blackness of their necks, let the rest of their bodies be of what colour they would, as they are, indeed, of all colours. These birds were as big, or bigger, than a turkey, of a delicious flavour, and were bred from turkey eggs hatched under my own wood-hens in great plenty. I was forced to clip these as I did the other young fowl, to keep them, and at length they grew very tame, and would return every night during the dark season. The greatest difficulty now was to get meat for all these animals in the winter, when they would sit on the roost two days together if I did not call and feed them, which I was sometimes forced to do by lamp-light, or they would have starved in cloudy weather. But I overcame that want of food by an accidental discovery; for I observed my blacknecks in the woods jump many times together at a sort of little round heads, or pods, very dry, which hung plentifully upon a shrub that grew in great abundance there. I cut several of these heads, and carrying them home with me, broke them, and took out a spoonful or more from each head of small yellow seeds, which giving to my poultry, and finding they greedily devoured them, I soon laid in a stock for twice my number of mouths, so that they never after wanted. I tried several times to raise a breed of water-fowl by hatching their eggs under my hens; but not one in ten of the sorts, when hatched, were fit to eat; and those that were would never live and thrive with me, but go away to the lake, I having no sort of water nearer me; so I dropped my design of water-fowl as impracticable. But by breeding and feeding my land-fowl so constantly in my farmyard, I never wanted of that sort at my table, where we eat abundance of them; for my whole side of the lake in a few years was like a farmyard, so full of poultry that I never knew my stock; and upon the usual whistle they would flock round me from all quarters. I had everything now but cattle, not only for the support, but convenience and pleasure of life; and so happily should I have fared here, if I had had but a cow and bull, a ram and sheep, that I would not have changed my dominions for the crown of England.
Reflections on mankind—The Author wants to be with his ship—Projects going, but perceives it impracticable— Youwarkee offers her service y and goes—An account of her transactions on board-Remarks on her sagacity—She despatches several chests of goods through the gulf to the lake—An account of a danger she escaped—The Author has a fit of sickness
Strange is the temper of mankind, who, the more they enjoy, the more they covet. Before I received any return from my ship, I rested tolerably easy, and but seldom thought upon what I had left behind me in her, thinking myself happy in what I had, and completely so since my union with my dear wife; but after I had got what I could never have expected, I grew more and more perplexed for want of the rest, and thought I should never enjoy true happiness while even a plank of the ship remained. My head, be I where I would, or at what I would, was ever on board. I wished for her in the lake, and could I but have got her thither, I thought I should be an emperor; and though I wanted for nothing to maintain life, and had so good a wife and five children I was very fond of, yet the one thing I had not, reduced the comfort of all the rest to a scanty pattern, even so low as to destroy my whole peace. I was even mad enough to think of venturing up the cavern again, but was restrained from the attempt by the certain impracticableness of it Then I thought Youwarkee should make another trip to the ship. But what can she bring from it, says I to myself, in respect of what must be left behind? Her whole life will not suffice to clear it in, at the rate she can fetch the loading hither in parcels. At last a project started, that as there were so many chests on board, Youwarkee should fill some of them and send them through the gulf to take their chance for the lake. This, at first sight, seemed feasible; but then I considered how they could be got from the ship to the gulf; and again, that they would never keep out the water, and if they filled with a lading in them they would sink; or, if this did not happen, they might be dashed to pieces against the crags in the cavern. These apprehensions stopped me again; till, unwilling to quit the thought, "True," says I, "this may happen to some; but if I get but one in five, it is better than nothing." Thus I turned and wound the affair in my mind; but objections still started too obstinate to be conquered.
In the height of my soliloquy in comes Youwarkee, and seeing my dejected look, would needs know the meaning of it I told her plainly that I could get no rest from day to day ever since she first went to the ship, to think such a number of good things lay there to be a prey to the sea, as the ship wasted, when they might be of such infinite service here; and that, since her last flight, I had suffered the more, when I thought how near the gulf was to the ship; so that could I but get thither myself with my boat, I would contrive to pack up the goods in the chests that were on board, and carrying them in the boat, drop them near the draught of the water, which of itself would suck them under the rock down the gulf; and when they were passed through the cavern, I might take them up in the lake. "Well," says she, "Peter, and why cannot I do this for you?"—"No," says I, "even this has its objections." Then I told her what I feared of their taking water, or dashing against the rock, and twenty other ways of frustrating my views: "But, above all," says I, "how can you get such large and weighty things to the gulf without a boat? There is another impossibility! it won't do."
Youwarkee eyed me attentively. "Pr'ythee, my dear Peter," says she, "set your heart at rest about that. I can only try; if no good is to be done, you shall soon know it, and must rest contented under the disappointment."—I told her if I was there, I could take all the things out of the chests, and then melt some pitch and pour into every crack, to keep out the water when they were set afloat. "Pitch!" says she, "what's that?"—"Why," says I, "that is a nasty, hard, black sticking thing that stands in tubs in the ship, and which being put over the fire in anything to melt will grow liquid, and when it is cold be hard again, and will resist the water and keep it out."—Says she, "How can I put this pitch within-side of the chest-lid when I have tied it up?"—"It is to no manner of purpose," says I, "to talk of it; so there's an end of it."—"But," says she, "suppose yourself there, what things would you bring first?"—I then entered into a long detail of particulars; saying I would have this and that, and so on, till I had scarce left out a thing I either knew of or could suppose to be in the ship; and for fear I had not mentioned all, says I at last, if I was there, I believe I should leave but little portable behind me.
"So, so, my dear," says Youwarkee, "you would roll in riches, I find; but you have mentioned never a new gown for me."—"Why, aye!" says I, "I would have that too."—"But how would you melt the pitch?" says she.—"Oh," says I, "there is a tinder-box and matches in a room below, upon the side of the fire-hearth." And then I let her see one I had brought with me, and showed her the use of the flint and steel.—"Well, my dear," says she, "will you once more trust me?"—I told her, her going would be of little more use than to get a second gown or some such thing; but if she was desirous, I would let her make another flight, on her promise to be back as soon as possible.
In the evening she set out, and stayed two days, and till the night of the third. I would here observe that though it was much lighter and brighter on the outside of the rock where the ship lay than with us at Graundevolet, yet having always her spectacles with her, I heard no more complaint of the glare of light she used to be so much afraid of: indeed, she always avoided the fire and lamp at home as much as she could, because she generally took off her spectacles within doors; but when at any time she had them on, she could bear both well enough.
Upon her return again, she told me she had shipped some goods to sea for me, which she hoped would arrive safe (for by this time she had had my seafaring terms so often over, she could apply them very properly), and that they were in six chests, which she had pitched after my directions.—"Aye!" says I, "you have pitched them into the sea perhaps; but after my directions, I am satisfied was beyond your ability."—"You glumms," says she, "think us gawrys very ignorant; but I'll satisfy you we are not so dull of apprehension as you would make us. Did you not show me one day how your boat was tarred and caulked, as you call it?"—"I did," says I; "what then?"—"I'll tell you," says she. "When I had emptied the first chest, and set it properly, I looked about for your pitch, which at last I found by its sticking to my fingers; I then put a good piece into a sort of little kettle, with a long handle, that lay upon the pitch."—"Oh, the pitch-ladle!" says I.—"I know not what you call it," says she; "but then I made a fire, as you told me, and melted that stuff; afterwards turning up the chest side-ways, and then end-ways, I poured it into it, and let it settle in the cracks, and with an old stocking, such as yours, dipped into the pitch, I rubbed every place where the boards joined. I then set the chest on the side of the ship, and when the pitch was cold and hardened in it, filled it top-full of things: but when I had done thus, and shut the lid, I found that would not come so close but I could get the blade of a knife through anywhere between it and the chest; whereupon I cut some long slips of the cloth I was packing up, and fitting them all round the edge of the chest, I dipped them into the pitch, and laid them on hot; and where one slip would not do, I put two; and shutting the lid down close upon them, I nailed it, as I had seen you do some things, quite round; then tying a rope to the handle, I tipped the chest into the sea, holding the rope. I watched it some time, and seeing it swim well, I took flight with the rope in my hand, and drew the chest after me to the gulf, when, letting go the rope, away it went. I served five more in the same manner: and now, my dearest, I am here to tell you I hope you will be able to see at least some of them, one time or other, in the lake."
I admired in all this at the sagacity of the gawrys. Alas! thinks I, what narrow-hearted creatures are mankind! Did I not heretofore look upon the poor blacks in Africa as little better than beasts, till my friend Glanlepze convinced me, by disabling the crocodile, the passage of the river, and several other achievements, that my own excellences might have perished in a desert without his genius; and now what could I, or almost any of us masterpieces of the creation (as we think ourselves) and Heaven's peculiar favourites, have done in this present case, that has been omitted by this woman (for I may justly style her so in an eminent degree), and that in a way to which she was bred an utter stranger?
After what I had heard from Youwarkee, I grew much more cheerful; which she, poor creature, was remarkably pleased with. She went with me constantly once, and sometimes twice a day, for several days together, to see what success at the lake; till at length she grew very impatient, for fear, as she afterwards told me, I should either think she had not done what she said, or had done it in an ineffectual manner. But one day, walking by the lake, I thought I saw something floating in the water at a very great distance. "Youwarkee," says I, "I spy a sail!" Then running to my boat* and taking her in, away we went, plying my oars with all my might; for I longed to see what it was. At nearer view I perceived it to be one of my wife's fleet. But what added to my satisfaction was to see Youwarkee so pleased, for she could scarcely contain herself.
When we came close to it, up she started: "Now, my dear Peter," says she, "torment yourself no more about your goods on board; for if this will do, all shall be your own."—She then lent me a hand to take it in; but we had both work enough to compass it, the wood had soaked in so much water. We then made the best of our way homewards to my wet-dock; when, just as we had landed our treasure, we saw two more boxes coming down the stream both together, whereupon we launched again, and brought them in one by one; for I did not care to trust them both on one bottom, my boat being in years, and growing somewhat crazy.
We had now made a good day's work of it; so, mooring the boat, we went home, intending to be out next morning early with the cart, to convey our imports to the grotto.
After supper, Youwarkee looking very earnestly at me, with tears just glittering in her eyes, broke out in these words—"What should you have thought, Peter, to have seen me come sailing, drowned, through the cavern, tied to one of your chests?"—"Heaven forbid such a thought, my charmer!" says I. "But as you know I must have been rendered the most miserable of all living creatures by such a sight, or anything else that would deprive me of you, pray tell me how you could possibly have such a thought in your head?"—She saw she had raised my concern, and was very sorry for what she had said. "Nothing, nothing," says she, "my dear! it was only a fancy just come into my head."—"My dear Youwee," says I, "you must let me know what you mean: I am in great pain till you explain yourself; for I am sure there is something more in what you say than fancy; therefore, pray, if you love me, keep me on the rack no longer."—"Ah, Peter!" says she, "there was but a span between me and death not many days ago; and when I saw the line of the last chest we took up just now, it gave so much horror I could scarce keep upon my feet."—"My dear Youwee, proceed," says I; "for I cannot bear my torment till I have heard the worst."—"Why, Peter," says she, "now the danger is over, I shall tell you my escape with as much pleasure as I guess you will take in hearing of it. You must know, my life," says she, "that having cast that chest into the sea, as I was tugging it along by that very line, it being one of the heaviest, and moving but slowly, I twisted the string several times round my hand, one fold upon another, the easier to tow it; when, drawing it rather too quick into the eddy, it pulled so hard against me, towards the gulf, and so quick, that I could in no way loosen or disengage the cord from my fingers, but was dragged thereby to the very rock, against which the chest struck violently. My last thought, as I supposed it, was of you, my dear" (on which she clasped me round the neck, in sense of her past agony); "when taking myself for lost, I forbore further resistance; at which instant the line, slackening by the rebound of the chest, fell from my hand of itself, and the chest returning to the rock, went down the current. I took a turn or two round on my graundee to recollect my past danger, and went back to the ship, fully resolved to avoid the like snare for the future. Indeed I did not easily recover my spirits, and was so terrified with the thought, that I had half a mind to have left the two remaining chests behind me; but as danger overcome gives fresh resolution, I again set to work, and discharged them also down the gulf, as I hope you will see in good time."
My heart bled within me all the while she spoke, and I even felt ten times more than she could have suffered by the gulf. "My dearest Youwee," says I, "why did you not tell me this adventure sooner?" "It is too soon, I fear, now!" says she; for she then saw the colour forsake my lips, my eyes grow languid, and myself dropping into her arms. She screamed out, and ran to the chest, where all was empty; but turning every bottle up, and from the remaining drops in each collecting a small quantity of liquor, and putting it by little and little to my lips, and rubbing my wrists and temples, she brought me to myself again; but I continued so extremely sick for some days after, that it was above a week before I could get down with my cart to fetch up my chests.
When I was able to go down, Youwarkee would not venture me alone, but went herself with me. We then found two more of the chests, which we landed; and I had work sufficient for two or three days in getting them all up to the grotto, they were so heavy, and all the way through the wood being up hill.
We had five in hand, and watched several days for the sixth, when seeing nothing of it we gave it over for lost; but one day, as I was going for water, Youwarkee would go with me, and urged our carrying the net, that we might drag for some fish. Accordingly we did so; and now having taken what we wanted, we went to the rill, and pushing in the head of the boat (as I usually did, for by that means I could fill the vessel as I stood on board), the first thing that appeared was my sixth chest. Youwarkee spied it first, and cried, pointing thereto, "O Peter, what we have long wished for, and almost despaired of, is come at last! let us meet and welcome it." I was pleased with the gaiety of her fancy. I did as she desired; we got it into the boat, after merrily saluting it, and so returned home. It took us up several days time in searching, sorting, and disposing our cargo, and drying the chests; for the goods themselves were so far from being wetted or spoiled, that even those in the last chest, which had lain so long in the water, had not taken the least moisture.
Youwarkee was quite alert at the success of her packing, but left me to ring her praises, which I did not fail of doing more than once at unpacking each chest, and could see her eyes glow with delight to see she had so pleased me.
She had been so curious as to examine almost everything in the ship; and as well of things I had described, and she did know, as of what she did not, brought me something for a sample; but, above all, had not forgot the blue stuff, for the moment she had seen that she destined it to the use of herself and children.
The religion of the author's family.
Youwarkee and I having fixed ourselves, by degrees, into a settled rota of action, began to live like Christians, having so great a quantity of most sorts of necessaries about us. But I say we lived like Christians on another account, for you must not think, after what I have said before, that I and my family lived like heathens; no, I will assure you, they by degrees knew all I knew, and that, with a little artificial improvement, and a well-regulated disposition, I hoped, and did not doubt, would carry them all to heaven. I would many a time have given all my interest in the ship's cargo for a Bible; and a hundred times grieved that I was not master of a pocket one, which I might have carried everywhere about me. I never imagined there was one aboard, and if there were, and You-warkee should find it, I supposed it would be in Portuguese, which I knew little of, so it would be of small service to me if I had it.
Since I am on the topic of religion, it may not be amiss, once for all, to give you a small sketch of my religious proceedings after coming into my new dominions. I have already told you that from my first stop at the rock I had prayed constantly morning and evening, but I cannot say I did it always with the same efficacy. However, my imperfect devotions were not without good effect; and I am confident, wherever this course is pursued with a right view, sooner or later the issue will prove the same to others as I found it to myself; I mean, that mercies will be remembered with more gratitude, and evils be more disregarded, and become less burdensome; and surely the person whose case this is, must necessarily enjoy the truest relish of life. As daily prayer was my practice, in answer to it I obtained the greatest blessing and comfort my solitude was capable of receiving; I mean my wife, whose character I need not farther attempt to blazon in any faint colours of my own after what has been already said, her acts having spoken her virtues beyond all verbal description.
After we were married, as I call it—that is, after we had agreed to become man and wife—I frequently prayed before her, and with her (for by this time she understood a good deal of my language); at which, though contrary to my expectation, she did not seem surprised, but readily kneeled by and joined with me. This I liked very well; and upon my asking her one day after prayer if she understood what I had been doing (for I had a notion she did not)—"Yes, verily," says she, "you have been making petitions to the image of the great Collwar."*—"Pray," says I (willing gently to lead her into a just sense of a Supreme Being), "who is this Collwar? and where does He dwell?"—"He it is," says she, "that does all good and evil to us."—"Right," says I, "it is in some measure so; but He cannot of Himself do evil, absolutely and properly, as His own act"—"Yes," says she, "He can; for He can do all that can be done; and as evil can be done, He can do it."—So quick a reply startled me. Thinks I, she will run me aground presently; and from being a doctor, as I fancied myself, I shall become but a pupil to my own scholar. I then asked her where the great Collwar dwelt? She told me in heaven, in a charming place.—"And can He know what we do?" says I.—"Yes," replied she, "His image tells Him everything; and I have prayed to His image, which I have often seen, and it is filled with so much virtue that it is His second self; for there is only one of them in the world who is so good: He gives several virtues to other images of Himself, which are brought to Him, and put into His arms to breathe upon; and the only thing I have ever regretted since I knew you is, that I have not one of them here to comfort and bless us and our children."
Though I was sorry for the oddity of her conceptions, I was almost glad to find her so ignorant, and pleased myself with thinking that as she had already a confused notion of a Supreme Power, I should soon have the satisfaction of bringing her to a more rational knowledge of Him.
"Pray, Youwee," says I, "what is your God made of?"—"Why of clay," says she, "finely painted, and looks so terrible he would make you tremble to behold him."—"Do you think," says I, "that is the true Collwar's real shape, if you could see Himself?" She told me yes, for that some of His best servants had seen him, and took the representation from Himself. "And pray, do you think He loves His best servants, as you call them, and is kind to them?"—"You need not doubt it," says she.—"Why, then," replied I, "how came He to look so terrible upon them when they saw Him, as you say they did? for I can see no reason, how terrible soever He looks to others, why He should show Himself so to those He loves. I should rather think, as you say He is kind to them, that He should have two images, a placid one for His good, and a terrible one for His bad servants; or else, who by seeing Him can tell whether He is pleased or angry? for even you yourself, Youwee, when anything pleases you, have a different look from that you have when you are angry, and little Pedro can tell whether he does well or ill by your countenance; whereas, if you made no distinction, but looked with the same face on all his actions, he would as readily think he did well as ill in committing a bad action." Youwarkee could not tell what to say to this, the fact seeming against her.
I then asked her if she thought the image itself could hear her petitions. She replied, "Yes."—"And can he," says I, "return you an answer?"—She told me he only did that to his best servants.—"Did you ever hear him do it?" says I. "For unless he can speak too, I should much suspect his hearing; and you being one of his best servants, seeing you love him, and pray heartily to him, why should you not hear him as soon as others?"—"No," says she, "there are a great number of glumms on purpose to serve him, pray for us to him, and receive his answers."—"But to what purpose then," says I, "is your praying to him, if their prayers will serve your turn?"—"Oh," says she, "the image hears them sooner than us, and sends the petitions up to the great Collwar, and lets Him know who makes them, and desires Him to let them have what they want."—"But suppose," says I, for argument sake, "that you could see the great Collwar, or know where He was, and should pray to Himself, without going about to His image first, do you think He could not hear you?"—"I cannot tell that," says she.—"But how then," says I, "can He tell what (if it could speak) His image says, which is as far from Him and then her own zealous application, with God's grace, soon brought her to a firm belief in it, and a suitable temper and conduct with respect to God and man."
After I had begun with my children, I frequently referred their further instruction to their mother; for I have always experienced that a superficial knowledge, with a desire of becoming a teacher, is in some measure equivalent to better knowledge; for it not only excites every principle one has to the utmost, but makes matters more clear and conspicuous even to one's self.
By these means, and the Divine blessing thereon, in a few years, I may fairly say, I had a little Christian church in my own house, and in a flourishing way too, without a schismatic or heretic amongst us.
The author's account of his children—Their names—They are exercised in flying—His boat crazy—Youwarkee intends a visit to her father', but first takes another flight to the ship—Sends a boat and chests through the gulf—Clothes her children—Is with child again, so her visit is put off—An inventory of the last freight of goods—The author's method of treating his children—Youwarkee, her son Tommy, with her daughters Patty and Hally-carnie, set out to her father's.
I had now lived here almost fourteen years, and besides the three sons before mentioned, had three girls and one boy. Pedro, my eldest, had the graundee, but too small to be useful; my second son Tommy had it complete, so had my three daughters, but Jemmy and David, the youngest sons, none at all. My eldest daughter I named Patty, because I always called my first wife so. I say my first wife, though I had no other knowledge of her death than my dream; but am from that as verily persuaded, if ever I reach England, I shall find it so, as if I had heard it from her aunt's own mouth. My second daughter my wife desired might be called by her sister's name Hallycarnie, and my youngest I named Sarah, after my mother. I put you to the trouble of writing down the names, for as I shall hereafter have frequent occasion to mention the children severally, it will be pleasanter for myself and you to call them by their several names of distinction, than to call them my second son, or my eldest daughter, and so forth.
My wife now took great delight in exercising Tommy and Patty (who were big enough to be trusted) in flighty and would often skim round the whole island with them before I could walk half through the wood. And she would teach them also to swim or sail, I know not which to call it, for sometimes you should see them dart out of the air as if they would fall on their faces into the lake, when coming near the surface they would stretch their legs in a horizontal posture, and in an instant turn on their backs, and then you could see nothing from the bank, to all appearance, but a boat sailing along, the graundee rising at their head, feet, and sides, so like the sides and ends of a boat that you could not discern the face or any part of the body. I own I often envied them this exercise, which they seemed to perform with more ease than I could only shake my leg or stir an arm.
Though we had perpetually swangeans about us, and the voices, as I used to call them, I could never once prevail on my wife to show herself, or to claim any acquaintance with her country folks. And what is very remarkable in my children is, that my three daughters and Tommy, who had the full graundee, had exactly their mother's sight, Jemmy and David had just my sight, and Pedro's sight was between both, though he was never much affected with any light; but I was obliged to make spectacles for Tommy and all my daughters when they came to go abroad.
I had in this time twice enlarged my dwelling, which the increase of my family had rendered necessary. The last alteration I was enabled to do in a much better manner, and with more ease, than the first, for by the return of my flota I had gotten a large collection of useful tools, several of iron, where the handles or wood-work preponderated the iron; but such as was all, or greatest part of that metal, had got either to the rock, or were so fast fixed to the head of the ship, that it was difficult to remove them, so that my wife could get comparatively few of this latter sort, though some she did. It was well, truly, I had these instruments, which greatly facilitated my labours, for I was forced to work harder now than ever in making provision for us all; and my sons Pedro and Tommy commonly assisted. I had also had another importation of goods through the gulf, which still added to my convenience. But my boat made me shudder every time I went into her; she had leaked again and again, and I had patched her till I could scarce see a bit of the old wood. She was of unspeakable use to me, and yet I could not venture myself in her, but with the utmost apprehension and trembling. I had been intending a good while, now I had such helps, to build a new one, but had been diverted by one avocation or other.
About this time Youwarkee, who was now upwards of thirty-two years of age, the fondest mother living, and very proud of her children, had formed a project of taking a flight to Arndrumnstake, a town in the kingdom of Doorpt Swangeanti, as I called it, where her father, if living, was a colamb * under Georigetti, the prince of that country. She imparted her desire to me, asking my leave; and she told me, if I pleased, she would take Patty and Tommy along with her. I did not much dislike the proposal, because of the great inclination I had for a long time to a knowledge of, and familiarity with, her countrymen and relations; and now I had so many of her children with me, I could not think she would ever be prevailed on, but by force, to quit me and her offspring, and be contented to lose six for the sake of having two with her, especially as she had showed no more love for them than the rest, so I made no hesitation, but told her she should go.
I expected continually I should hear of her departure, but she saying no more of it, I thought she had dropped her design, and I did not choose to mention it. But one day, as we were at dinner, looking mighty seriously, she said, "My dear, I have considered of the journey you have consented I should take, but in order thereto it is necessary that I prepare several things for the children, especially those who have no graundee, and I am resolved to finish them before I go, that we may appear with decency, both here and at Arndrumn-stake; for I am sure my father, whose temper I am perfectly acquainted with, will, upon sight of me and my little ones, be so overjoyed, that he will forgive my absence and marriage, provided he sees reason to believe I have not matched unworthily, unbecoming my birth; and after keeping me and the children with him, it may be two or three months, will accompany me home again himself with a great retinue of servants and relations; or, at least, if he is either dead or unable for flight, my other relations will come or send a convoy to take care of me and the children; and, my dear, as I shall give them all the encomiums I can of you, and of my situation with you, while I am among them, I would have them a little taken with the elegance of our domestic condition when they come hither, that they may think me happy in you and my children; for I would not only put my family into a condition to appear before them, but to surprise the old gentleman and his company, who never in their lives saw any part of mankind with another covering than the graundee." When she had done, I expressed my approbation of her whole system, as altogether prudent, and she proceeded immediately to put it in execution. To work she went, opened every chest, and examined their contents. But while she was upon the hunt, and selecting such things as she thought fit for her purpose, she recollected several articles she had observed in the ship, which she judged far more for her turn than any she had at home. Hereupon she prayed me to let her take another trip to the vessel, and to carry Tommy with her.
After so many trials, and such happy experience of her wise and fortunate conduct, I consented to her flight, and away went she and her son. Upon their return, which was in a few days, she told me what they had been doing, and said, as she so often heard me complain of the age of my boat, and fear to sail in her, she had fitted me out a little ship, and hoped it would in due time arrive safely. As she passed quickly on to other things, I never once thought of asking her what she meant by the little ship she spoke of; but must own that, like a foolishly fond parent, I was more intent on her telling me how Tommy had found a hoard of playthings, which he had packed up for his own use.
As to this last particular, I learned by the sequel of the story, when the spark, proud of his acquisition, came to me, that he had been peeping about in the cabin whilst his mother was packing the chests, and seeing a small brass knob in the wainscot, took it for a plaything, and pulling to get it out, opened a little door of a cupboard, where he had found some very pretty toys that he positively claimed for himself, among which were a small plain gold ring, and a very fine one set with diamonds, which he showed me upon two of his fingers. I wondered how the child, who had never before seen such things, or the use of them, should happen to apply these so properly; but he told me in playing with this, meaning the diamond ring, about his fingers, it slipped over his middle-finger joint, and he could not get it off again, so he put the other upon another finger to keep it company.
We watched daily, as usual on such occasions, for the arrival of our fleet. It was surprising that none of the chests which Youwarkee shot down the gulf were ever half so long in their passage as I was myself, but some came in a week, some in a few days more, and even some in less, which I attributed to their following directly the course of the water, shooting from shelf to shelf as the tide sat; and I believe my keeping the boat I sailed in so strictly and constantly in the middle of the stream, was the reason of my being detained there so long. In less than a fortnight everything came safe but one chest, which, as we never heard of it, I suppose was either sunk or bulged.
Being one day upon shore, watching to see if anything more was come through the cavern, I spied at a distance somewhat looking very black and very long, and by the colour and shape thereof I took it for a young whale. Having observed it some time making very little way, I took my old boat and followed it, but was afraid to go near it, lest a stroke with its tail—which I then fancied I saw move—might endanger my boat and myself too; but creeping nearer and nearer, and seeing it did not stir, I believed it to be dead; whereupon, taking courage, I drew so close that at length I plainly perceived it was the ship's second boat turned upside down. It is not easy to express the joy I felt on this discovery. It was the very thing I was now, as I have said, in the greatest want of. I presently laid hold of it and brought it ashore; and it was no small pleasure to find, on examining, that though it had lain so long dry, it was yet quite sound, and all its chinks filled up in its passage; and it proved to me afterwards the most beneficial thing I could have had from the ship.
I got all my goods home from the lake to my grotto, by means of the cart, as usual. My wife and daughters waited with impatience for me to unpack, that they might take possession of such things as would be needful for rigging out the family against the supposed reception of the old glumm, and had set all the chests in the order they desired they might be opened in. But Tommy running to me, with a "Pray, daddy, open my chest first! pray, give me my playthings first!" it was, to satisfy him, concluded in favour of his demand. So, he pointing to the chest which he regarded as his property, I opened it, whilst his eyes were ready to pierce through it, till I came to his treasure. "There, there they are, daddy!" says he, as soon as I had uncovered them. And indeed, when I saw them, I could not but much commend the child for his fancy; for the first things that appeared were a silver punch or wine can and a ladle, then a gold watch, a pair of scissors, a small silver chafing-dish and lamp, a large case of mathematical instruments, a flageolet, a terrella or globular loadstone, a small globe, a dozen of large silver spoons, and a small case of knives and forks and spoons; in short, there was, I believe, the greatest part of the Portuguese captain's valuable effects.
These Tommy claiming as his own proper chattels, I could not help interposing somewhat of my authority in the affair. "Hold, hold, son!" says I, "these things are all mine; but as I have several of you who will all be equally pleased with them, though, as the first finder, you may be entitled to the best share, you are not to grasp the whole, you must all have something like an equality; and as to some things which may be equally useful to us all, they must be set up to be used upon occasion, and are to be considered as mine and your mother's property." I thereupon gave each of them a large silver spoon, and with a fork I scratched the initials of their names respectively on them, and divided several of the trifles amongst them equally. "And now, Tommy," says I, "you for your pains shall have this more than the rest," offering him the flageolet. Tommy looked very gloomy, and though he durst not find fault, his dissatisfaction was very visible by coolly taking it, tossing it down, and walking gravely off. "I thought," says I, "Tommy, I had made a good choice for you; but, as I find you despise it, here, Pedro, do you take that pretty thing, since your brother slights it" Tommy replied, speaking but half out, and a little surly, more than I ever observed before, "Let him take it if he will, I can get bits of sticks enough in the wood."
My method had always been to avoid either beating or scolding at my children, for preferring their own opinion to mine; but I ever let things turn about so, that from their own reason they should perceive they had erred in opposing my sentiments, by which means they grew so habituated to submit to my advice and direction, that for the most part my will was no sooner known to them than it became their own choice; but then I never willed according to fancy only, but with judgment, to the best of my skill.
Tommy, therefore, as I said before, having shown a disapprobation of my doings; to convince him of his mistake, I took the flageolet from Pedro. "And now, Pedro," says I, "let me teach you how to manage this piece of wood, as Tommy calls it, and then let me see if in all the grove he can cut such another." On this I clapped it to my mouth, and immediately played several country-dances and hornpipes on it; for though my mother had scarce taught me to read, I had learnt music and dancing, being, as she called them, gentlemanlike accomplishments. My wife and children, especially Tommy, all stared as if they were wild, first on me, then on one another, whilst I played a country-dance; but I had no sooner struck up an hornpipe, than their feet, arms, and heads had so many twitching and convulsive motions, that not one quiet limb was to be seen amongst them; till having exercised their members as long as I saw fit, I almost laid them all to sleep with Chevy Chase, and so gave over.
They no sooner found themselves free from this enchantment, than the children all hustled round me in a cluster, all speaking together, and reaching out their little hands to the instrument I gave it Pedro. "There," says I to him, "take this slighted favour as no such contemptible present."
Poor Tommy, who had all this while looked very simple, burst into a flood of tears at my last words, as if his heart would have broke; and running to me, fell on his knees, and begged my pardon, hoping I would forgive him. I took him up, and kissing him, told him he had very little offended me; for, as he knew, I had more children to give anything to which either of the rest despised; it was equal to me who had it, so it was thankfully received. I found that did not satisfy; still in tears, he said, "Might he not have the stick again, as I gave it to him first?" "Tommy," says I, "you know I gave it to you first; but you disapproving my kindness, I have now given it Pedro, who, should I against his will take it from him, would have that reason to complain which you have not, who parted with it by your own consent; and therefore, Tommy, as I am determined to acquaint you as near as I can with the strict rules of justice, there must no more be said to me of this matter." Such as this was my constant practice amongst them; and they having always found me inflexible from this rule, we seldom had any long debates.
Though I say the affair ended so with regard to what I had to do in it, yet it ended not so with Tommy; for though he knew he had no hopes of moving me, he set all his engines at work to recover his stick, as he called it, by his mother's and sisters' interest. These solicited Pedro very strongly to gratify him. At length Pedro—he being a boy of a most humane disposition—granted their desire, if I would give leave; and I having signified, that the cause being now out of my hands, he might do as he pleased, he generously yielded it. And indeed he could not have bestowed it more properly; for Tommy had the best ear for music I ever knew; and in less than a twelvemonth could far outdo me, his instructor, in softness and easiness of finger; and was also master of every tune I knew, which were neither inconsiderable in number, nor of the lowest rate.
Youwarkee, with her daughters, sat close to work, and had but just completed her whole design for the family clothing, when she told me she found herself with child again. As that circumstance ill suited a journey, she deferred her flight for about fifteen months; in which time she was brought to bed, and weaned the infant, which was a boy, whom I named Richard, after my good master at the academy. The little knave thrived amain, and was left to my farther nursing during its mammy's absence; who, still firm to her resolution, after she had equipped herself and companions with whatever was necessary to their travelling, and locked up all the apparel she had made till her return, because she would have it appear new when her father came, set out with her son Tommy and my two daughters Patty and Hallycarnie, the last of which by this time being big enough also to be trusted with her mother.
Youwarkee's account of the stages to Arndrumstake—The author uneasy at her flight—His employment in her absence; and preparations for receiving her father—How he spent the evenings with the children.
My wife was now upon her journey to her father's; but where that was, or how far off, it was impossible for me to conceive by her description of the way; for she distinguished it not by miles or leagues, but by swan-geans, and names of rocks, seas, and mountains, which I could neither comprehend the distance of from each other, nor from Graundevolet, where I was. I understood by her, indeed, there was a great sea to be passed, which would take her up almost a day and night, having the children with her, before she reached the next arkoe, though she could do it herself she said, and strain hard, in a summer's night; but if the children should flag by the way, as there was no resting-place between us and Battringdrigg, the next arkoe, it might be dangerous to them, so she would take the above time for their sakes. After this, I found by what she said there was a narrow sea to pass, and a prodigious mountain, before she reached her own country; and that her father's was but a little beyond that mountain. This was all I could know in general about it. At their departure she and the children had taken each a small provision for their flight, which hung about their necks in a sort of purse.
I cannot say, notwithstanding this journey was taken with my concurrence and consent, that I was perfectly easy when they were gone, for my affection for them all would work up imaginary fears too potent for my reason to dispel, and which at first sat with no easy pressure upon my mind. This my pretty babies at home perceiving, used all the little winning arts they could to divert and keep up my spirits; and from day to day, by taking them abroad with me, and playing with and amusing them at home, I grew more and more persuaded that all would go right with the absent, and that in due time I should see them return again.
But as the winter set in, I went little abroad, and then we employed ourselves within doors in preparing several things which might not only be useful and ornamental, if the old glumm should come to see us, but might also divert us, and make the time pass less tediously. The first thing I went upon was a table, which, as my family consisted of so many, I intended to make big enough for us all. With that view I broke up a couple of chests, and, taking the two sides of one of them, I nailed them edge to edge by strong thick pieces underneath at each end and in the middle; then I took two chest-lids with their hinges, nailing one to each side of my middle piece, which made two good flaps; after this, with my tools, of which I had now a chest-full, I chopped out of new stuff and planed four strong legs quite square, and nailed them strongly to each corner of my middle board; I then nailed pieces from one leg to the other, and nailed the bed likewise to them; then I fastened a border quite round within six inches from the bottom, from foot to foot, which held all fast together. When all this was done, still my table was imperfect; I could not put up the flaps, having no proper support. To remedy this I sawed out a broad slip from a chest-side, and boring a large hole through the centre, I spiked it up to the under-side of the table's bed, with a spindle I contrived just loose enough to play round the head of the spike, filing down that part of the spindle which passed through the bed of the table, and riveting it close; so that when my flaps were set up I pulled the slip crosswise of the table, and when the flaps were down, the slip turned under the top of the table lengthwise: next, under each flap, I nailed a small slip lengthwise of the flaps, to raise them on a level, when up, with the top of the table. When I had thus completed the several parts of this needful utensil, I spent some time and pains by scraping and rubbing, to render it all as elegant as could be, and the success so well answered my wish, that I was not a little proud of the performance; and what rendered my work thereon a still more agreeable task, was my pretty infants' company, who stood by, expressing their wonder and approbation at every stroke.
Now I had gotten a table, I wanted chairs to it; for as yet we had only sat round the room upon chests, which formed a bench of the whole circumference, they stood so thick. There was no moving of them without a monstrous trouble every time I might have occasion to set out my table: besides, if I could have dragged them backwards and forwards, they were too low to be commodious for seats; so I resolved to make some chairs and stools also, that might be manageable. I will not trouble you with the steps I took in the formation of these; only, in general, you must know, that some more chests I broke up to that purpose served me for timber, out of which I framed six sizeable handsome chairs, and a competent number of stools.
But now that I was turned joiner, I had another convenience to provide for. I had nothing wherein to enclose things, and preserve them from dust, except the chests, and they were quite unfit for holding liquors, victuals, and such like matters, but open shells, as most of my vessels were. Wherefore, having several boards now remaining of the boxes I had broken up for chairs and stools, I bethought me of supplying this great deficiency; so of these spare boards, in a workmanlike way (for by this time I was become a tolerable mechanic), I composed a very tight closet, holding half-a-dozen broad shelves, shut up by a good pair of doors, with a lock and key to fasten them. These jobs took me up almost three months, and I thought I had not employed them idly, but for the credit and service of my family. I was now again at leisure for farther projects. I was uncertain as to my wife's return, how soon she might be with me, or how much longer she might stay; but I was sure I could do nothing in the meanwhile more grateful than increasing, by all means in my power, the accommodations of my house, for the more polite as well as convenient reception of her father, or any else who might accompany her home in the way of a retinue, as she talked of. I saw plainly I had not room for lodging them, and that was a circumstance of main importance to be provided for. Hereupon I thought of adding a long apartment to one of my outer-rooms, to range against the side of the rock; but reflecting that such a thing would be quite useless, unless I could finish it in time, so as to be complete when my guests came, and not knowing how soon that might be, I resolved to quit this design; and I fell upon another which might do as well, and required much less labour and fewer days to perfect.
I remembered that amongst those things my wife had packed up on board the ship, and which came home through the gulf, there were two of the largest sails, and a couple of a smaller size. These I carried to the wood, and tried them in several places to see where they might be disposed to most advantage in the nature of a tent, and having found a convenient spot to my purpose, I cut divers poles for supporters, and making straining lines of my matweed, I pitched a noble one, sufficient to cover or entertain a numerous company, and so tight everywhere as to keep out the weather. The front of this new apartment I hung with blue cloth, which had a very genteel effect. I had almost forgotten to tell you that I contrived (by hanging one of the smaller sails across, just in the middle, which I could let down or raise up at pleasure) to divide the tent occasionally into two distinct rooms.
When I had proceeded thus far, there were still wanting seats for this additional building, as I may call it, and though I could spare some chests to sit on, I found they would not half do. For a supplement, then, I took my axe and felled a couple of great trees, one from each side of the tent, sawed off the tops, and cut each of the trunks in two about the middle: these huge cylinders I rolled into the tent with a good deal of toil and difficulty; two of them I thrust into the inner division, and left two in the outer. I placed them as benches on both sides, then, with infinite pains, I shaved the upper face of each smooth and flat, and pared off all the little knots and roughnesses of the front, so that they were fitted to sit on, and their own weight fixed them in the place where I intended them to be. At the upper end of the farther chamber I set three chests lengthwise for seats, or any other use I might see fit to put them to.