Billeder på siden

and grease-box, I was set up, and intended to proceed to business instantly. Here my zeal had run a little before the order of things; for I found the bottom must be caulked first; so I had to return, and get a couple of handspikes, to raise and turn my punt; for although it was only twelve feet long, and five feet broad, and two feet high, I could not lift it into the proper position by strength of arm alone; but with the handspikes, and the help of my dear wife, I soon succeeded in turning it bottom up.

When this was accomplished, I then perceived that I must not only caulk, but pay the bottom with pitch, before I could proceed to work on the interior of the vessel; so back I trudged for the pitch-kettle, which was a large heavy iron porridge-pot and in the getting this on shore, and a sufficient quantity of pitch for all the purposes, nearly the whole day was consumed; so that it was not till the following I could fairly commence.

Friday, 25th.— As early as possible I set about the caulking. I first made a fire, and put on the pitch-pot with its contents, close to the rock where I was to work; but, for fear of setting my pitch in a blaze, I kept the embers low; and, while it was preparing, laboured away blithely with my large caulking-iron; driving the oakum in, between the interstices of the five planks that formed the bottom. I completed this part of the business before I was summoned to breakfast, and even payed the seams over with a good coat of hot pitch. After I had eaten this refreshing meal, by the side of my happy Eliza in the plank house, she walked down with me to the punt, and manfully wielding one of the handspikes, while I lifted by hand, we turned

our boat again over on her bottom. She was delighted with the idea of having rendered me an assistance, without which, I told her, I really could not have succeeded in this important object. I continued to work all day, but my progress became comparatively slow. I perceived I had some other carpentry jobs to execute, which I had forgotten; like the man that built his house without a staircase. I had to place a thwart, for the rower to sit on, and pins for the oars, besides a seat towards the stern : so I extinguished the fire beneath the pitch-pot; not being able to pay the seams, till all the above was done. However, I completed the whole of the wood-work by evening, entirely to my satisfaction.

Saturday, 26th. I finished the caulking before breakfast; and having put the fire again under the pitch-kettle, payed all the seams, inside and out, by two o'clock; and, while the pitch was yet soft on the interior, I threw handsfull of sand in every direction within the punt, so that the sand might mix and adhere to the pitch, which would in a great measure prevent it sticking to our clothes. I now went up to dinner; and, after our usual repose during the heat, I walked my dear wife down in triumph, to see our work completed. I brought with me a piece of rope for a paynter to our punt, which I made fast to the bow. I then took a plank for a lever, and raising the end of the little vessel next the water, requested my helpmate to shove one of the handspikes under it for a roller. That done, I elevated the other end in the same manner, pretty high; and placing the other handspike beneath it, with a necessary force applied by the plank lever, the punt went off the handspikes

cheerily into the water; and we felt great joy in seeing our little ship afloat. I wound the extremity of the paynter rope securely round a fragment of rock, and thus left our future fishing smack, exulting in our work.

"Now, Edward," said my dear wife, "you deserve a glass of good wine, and you shall have it." Indeed she had prepared me a treat, for on our return to our wooden palace, she set before me a shaddock, with biscuit, and a bottle of wine; and I enjoyed it much, until near the close of day, which her agreeable conversation quickly beguiled away. I never can forget this well-timed and agreeable feast! the recollection of which, even now, gives me more delight than, perhaps, comes to the lot of some men to enjoy from their most elaborate pleasures. Enjoyment pre-supposes a capability; and there are many requisites to constitute that capability. Our dear Mr. Goldsmith often said, that "Satan can grant possessions; but enjoyment is the gift of God; and most especially the enjoyment of retrospection." The shaddock we had cut, was as large as the best melon that grows in England; its interior was a bright salmon colour, and its flavour was that of the orange, with the addition of an aromatic bitter, which rendered it highly grateful to the palate. We preserved its seeds in a little paper bag; several of which my Eliza had made during the last week, for such a purpose. In the course of conversation, my dear wife told me she had got quite a store of eggs during the week; that all her hens were laying; but that they still continued to make their deposits in the original nest between the fragments of rock,

though as soon as she found an egg, she removed it to the hen-house above. Her store consisted of ten. "Very well," I replied; "when you have secured a dozen, let the nest below take its chance : remove no more; perhaps Fidele wont touch them; and if he should, we have some to spare !"

The week being so well finished—having, indeed, earned the promised rest, by "the sweat of our brow," we looked forward with thankfulness to the "day of rest," which the goodness of God had appointed; and without which, little as we may sometimes think of its importance, even the most diligent would become weary of the occupations of life; while a worse evil would be the such continued operation, naturally separating us, by estranging our thoughts, from that future state of spiritual existence for which man originally was created; and to secure which, our heavenly Father has never ceased to bring forward dispensations of righteousness and mercy.


Sunday, 27th.-We kept this Sabbath without intermixing with it any temporal anxieties. In sweet tranquillity of mind, we performed the service of the church in the morning; and in the evening read many chapters in Isaiah and St. John ; recreating ourselves in the intermediate time by walking the ship's deck, where we had beneath us the ark of our deliverance. When night drew on, we retired to our cabin with unusual comfort; and awoke at the dawn, quite refreshed by an undisturbed sleep, and the rest of the Sabbath-day.

[ocr errors]

Monday, 28th. Some laundry work was to be done to-day; so my wife, and I her helpmate on this occasion, repaired early to the spring, with the

clothes for ablution; and pulling off our boots and stockings, and with our battle-doors in hand, whose virtue we were now going to try, we fixed on two smooth large stones in the stream, and went to our task. The running water cleared the linen at every stroke; and by breakfast-time we had prepared a good quantity for drying; each taking an end of the heaviest articles, by twisting them contrariwise rung them well. "There, my dame," said I; "as your lord and husband could not have turned the punt without you, so you could not have rinsed these sheets without him: our situation shows how much is to be effected by mutual assistance; and that; when it is rejected or refused, many useful things must remain unaccomplished. To such a lesson, at least, is the tendency of God's providence in the order of his creation."-" God is good, and perfect in all his ways, my dear Edward," she replied; "but man is too often wise in his own conceit, and therefore proud, and ruinous of his own comforts." This dialogue was worthy of the pupil and the daughter of William Goldsmith: we did not find that the tone of our minds was lowered by the menial occupation of washing in a brook. We spread out the clean linen on the sands to dry; and then walked up to the plank house, to take our usual morning repast. That over, we returned briskly to work again, and, in a couple of hours more, finished our labour. My Eliza was then very tired: I took her arm in mine, and led her back to the plank house, and made her lie down on our friendly settee, to repose. I repaired, meanwhile, to watch the clothes, lest the sea-breeze should blow

« ForrigeFortsæt »