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dinner for us, and we want it." "I am not hungry," she replied; "yet you must be so: but how can we make a fire?" Here I was at a stand. There were fire-arms in the cabin, unloaded, and consequently useless: I had pistols in a trunk, blocked up in the state-room by an accumulation of things against the door, and which, therefore, I could not get at. I then bethought myself of the ship's spy-glass, and found it hanging safely in its bracket. "This will do," said I; "the great lens is a burning-glass; I will step on shore with it, and kindle a fire: you and Fidele shall go with me."
We put up a couple of the dead fowls into our bag, with the remains of the biscuit, and the bottle of wine; and, by a little help, my dear wife and her faithful dog, both overjoyed, once more trod the welcome earth again. We looked on the vessel with deep emotion, and on the strange land we were now for the first time treading together the probable residence of our future life, whether long or short. We did not proceed far along the sand under the rocks, among the fragments of which were thorny bushes, without picking up some dry branches and dead leaves; but being under the shadow of a high precipice standing directly south, (and therefore intercepting the sun's rays to a considerable distance, nearly from his rising, even until his setting, at this season of the year;) I carried some of my fuel to a place where the sun shone; then unscrewing the top of the spy-glass, took out the large lens; with which in a short time converging his rays, I ignited the leaves, and thus a fire was instantly kindled. My dear helpmate set to work
plucking the fowls, while I removed the fire closer to the rock, into the shade; and, by the aid of plenty of dry sticks, made a large blaze there, on the embers of which the fowls were to be dressed. "We have no water," she said, " and I am indeed very thirsty." I did not know where to find water on board the brig, and therefore proposed to walk along under the rocks, and look for a spring. She did not like me to go out of her sight, fearing I should be surprised by savages, who might be somewhere about, although we had not seen any. This idea had never yet crossed my mind; but now it was suggested, I confess it made me very uneasy: but the apprehension regarded her, not myself. In consequence, we agreed to dress the fowls as fast as we could, and return on board to eat them, where, perhaps, I might obtain some water. To hasten this project, I stopped her in the process of plucking them, and taking my penknife from my pocket, contrived to skin them with great dispatch; and in half an hour they were both broiled. The poor dog, being half famished, ate up the liver and gizzards with great avidity; while the cooking necessary to our stomachs, under our present feelings, seemed to go on but slowly. As soon, however, as we thought them eatable, I put them into the bag with the biscuit, and retraced our steps hastily to the brig, fearing every moment to be surprised by some of the natives.
On our return into the càbin, I was fortunate in finding water in a tea-kettle; which had slid into a corner to leeward, under some other things, without having been upset. This was a great boon in
our present straits, and we drank of it greedily, and then partook of our proposed dinner with thankfulness.
My first attention was directed to repel any attack from the natives, and I lost no time in getting down the three muskets, which had hung securely in their fastening. I knew where the captain kept the ball cartridges, in his state-room; which, being on the weather side, when the vessel struck upon the rocks, was not blocked up at the door. I tried the flints, and loaded the muskets, and placed them on the after-lockers in the cabin: with this preparation for our defence, I was at present satisfied.
We now set to work to put the wreck of furniture, and other things, in their places, which were heaped up in one corner of the cabin, close to our state-room door. I say we, for my delicate little Eliza put out all her strength to help me. very soon accomplished our task; and I was glad to find that there was little damage done to the things, so tossed together. Before evening, the cabin looked much as it used to do: and the vessel being in a perfectly safe and quiet inlet, we felt much comfort in the possession of so desirable an asylum.
We again went upon deck, to look around for the boat and our companions; but they were not to. be seen. To have a more extended view, I went up the fore-rigging, and had not ascended far, when I was enabled to see over the sandy beach, which seemed about half a mile broad; and I was delighted to behold an extensive lake or fine harbour, surrounded by land, immediately on the further side. Eliza had followed me to the forecastle, to
be my guardian angel, as I went on this, to her mind, perilous expedition. At the first moment of seeing over the sandy isthmus, I made some exclamation of surprise, and then endeavoured to explain what I saw. A confused idea crossed my mind, that we were somewhere on the Spanish Main; and, on coming down, I told her what I thought. "Well, be it as it may," said she, "we have felt that God is gracious, and we will rest entirely upon his providence." I wished her to land again, as I had fire-arms; saying, we would walk under the rocks, to the further side of the isthmus. " I will do so, if you wish it," she replied; "but I think it were better to defer it until the morning; and in the mean time we can do something for the poor goat that has broken its leg; and make some other arrangements here, for which there is much need.” I instantly acquiesced, perceiving at once the reasonableness of the suggestion; for I had been impelled to make the proposal, by some indescribable curiosity, and nothing more.
I got the poor goat upon deck, and bound up its broken leg in the best way I could; then, bringing up the other, gave them half a dozen plantains, which they eat eagerly. All our vegetable stock, brought from Kingston, had been put into the steerage in hampers: into this place there was a door from under the companion ladder, but there was also a small hatch over the steerage, which had been battened down during the gale, and I was obliged to remove it before I could make my way to any thing below. Here were the sailors' berths, and
chests, and a few yams and plantains, which they had provided to eat with their salt meat: they also kept a bag here for biscuits, and supplied it at their pleasure. Our former discovery of biscuit, was nearly exhausted; but, on finding this new store, we gave the remainder in our bag, which was almost dust, to the few fowls and ducks that had survived the storm; their feathers were now dry, and they looked quite cheery. The sun being set, the evening came on apace; we therefore retired to our cabin, closing the companion door after us. Hitherto we had been satisfied with occasional bursts of gratitude to our heavenly Father, for his providential care of us; but now we went upon our knees, and with our whole souls, rendered to him the due sacrifice of praise and prayer.
We lay down in peace and thankfulness; but notwithstanding this happy frame of mind, our slumbers were disturbed, by the noises of the preceding night yet ringing in our ears. We arose with the dawn, the cool freshness of which was truly delightful: a couple of oranges, with biscuit, was our breakfast; and, still finding water in the tea-kettle, we drank some of it, mixed with a little wine. "Now, my Eliza," said I, “will you venture on shore, and let us explore the other side of the isthmus?"—"Yes," she replied, "I will go cheerfully now." I took two of the muskets, and gave to her a boarding-pike to carry as a staff, and to have recourse to for defence, if necessary; and, with our faithful little dog, we descended at one step from the brig's side to the rock. I shouldered both the