Page images

other vise than that I knew it must be part of America, and, as I concluded by all my observations, must be near the Spanish dominions. After some thought, I considered that if this land was the Spanish coast, I should certainly, one time or other, see some vessel pass or repass one way or other; but if not, then it was the savage coast between the Spanish country and Brazils, where are found the worst of savages, for they are cannibals, or men-eaters, and fail not to murder and devour all the human bodies that fall into their bands.

With these considerations I walked very leisurely forward. I found that side of the island where I now was much pleasanter than mine, the open or savannah fields sweet, adorned with flowers and grass, and full of very

fine woods. I saw abundance of parrots, and fain I would have caught one, if possible, to have kept it to be tame, and taught it to speak to me. I did, after some painstaking, catch a young parrot, for I knocked it down with a stick, and having recovered it I brought it home, but it was some years before I could make him speak. However, at last I taught him to call me by my name very familiarly; but the accident that followed, though it be a trifle, will be very diverting in its place.

I was exceedingly diverted with this journey. I found in the low grounds hares (as I thought them to be) and foxes, but they differed greatly from all the other kinds I had met with, nor could I satisfy myself to eat them, though I killed several. But I had no need to be venturous, for I had no want of food, and of that which was very good, too, especicially these three sorts, viz., goats, pigeons, and turtle, or tortoise, which, added to my grapes, Leadenhall Marketi could not have furnished a table better than I, in proportion to the company; and though my case was deplorable

enough, yet I had great cause for thankfulness that I was not driven to any extremities for food, but had rather plenty, even to dainties.

I never travelled in this journey above two miles outright in a day, or thereabouts; but I took so many turns and returns to see what discoveries I could make, that I came weary enough to the place where I resolved to sit down all night, and then either reposed myself in a tree, or surrounded myself with a row of stakes set upright in the ground, either from one tree to another, or so as no wild creature could come at me without waking me.

As soon as I came to the sea-shore, I was surprised to see that I had taken up my lot on the worst side of the island, for here, indeed, the shore was covered with innumerable turtles, whereas on the other side I had found but three in a year and a half. Here was also an infinite number of fowls of many kinds, some which I had not seen before, and many of them very good meat, but such as I knew not the names of, except those called penguins. I could have shot as many as I pleased, but was very sparing of my powder and shot, and therefore had more mind to kill a she-goat, if I could, which I could better feed on; and though there were many goats bere, more than on my side of the island, yet it was with much more difficulty that I could come near them, the country being flat and even, and they saw me much sooner than when I was on the hills.

I confess this side of the country was much pleasanter than mine, but yet I had not the least inclination to remove; for as 1 was fixed in my babitation it became natural to me, and I seemed all the while I was here to be, as it were, upon a journey, and from home. However, I travelled along the sbore of the sea towards the east, I suppose about twelve miles, and then setting up a great pole upon the shore for a mark, I concluded I would go home again, and the next journey I took should be on the other side of the island east from my dwelling, and so round till I came to my post again, of which in its place.

I took another way to come back than that I went, thinking I could easily keep all the island so much in my view, that I could not miss finding my first dwelling by viewing the country; but I found myself mistaken, for being come about two or three miles I found myself de. scended into a very large valley, but so surrounded with hills, and those hills covered with wood, that I could not see which was my way by any direction but that of the sun, nor even then, unless I knew very well the position of the sun at that time of the day.

It happened, to my further misfortune, that the weather proved hazy for three or four days while I was in the valley, and not being able to see the sun, I wandered about very uncomfortably, and at last was obliged to find the sea-side, look for my post, and come back the same way as I went: and then, by easy journeys, I turned homeward, the weather being exceeding hot, and my gun, ammunition, hatchet, and other things very heavy.

In this journey my dog surprised a young kid, and seized upon it; and I, running in to take hold of it, caught it, and saved it alive from the dog. I had a great mind to bring it home if I could, for I had often been musing whether it might not be possible to get a kid or two, and so raise a breed of tame goats, which might supply me when my powder and shot should be all spent. I made a collar for this little creature, and with a string which I made from some rope yarn, which I always carried about me, I led him along, though with some difficulty, till I came to my bower, and there I enclosed him and left him, for I was very impatient to be at home, from whence I had been absent above a month.

I cannot express what a satisfaction it was to me to come into my old hutch, and lie down in my hammock-bed; this little wandering journey, without a settled place of abode, had been so unpleasant to me, that my own house as I called it to myself, was a perfect settlement to me compared to that; and it rendered everything about me so comfortable, that I resolved I would never go a great way from it again while it should be my lot to stay on the island.

The half of February, the whole of March, and the half of April,-rainy, the sun being then in or near the equinox. The half of April, the whole of May, June, and July, and the half of August,—dry, the sun being then to the north of the Line. The half of August, the whole of September, and the half of Octoberrainy, the sun being then come back. The half of October, the whole of November, December, and January, and the half of Februarydry, the sun being then to the south of the Line. The rainy season sometimes held longer or shorter as the winds happened to blow, but this was the general observation I made.

ONE POUND AND TEN THOUSAND. THERE was a certain industrious little girl in a small country town who had learned to plait straw for bonnets. Although she was but young she did her work very neatly, and her parents, though poor themselves, allowed her to keep all her earnings to purchase her own clothes with. Rachel enjoyed this independency. It made her work with alacrity and interest, so that she might be seen early and late at her window, her little fingers moving like clock

work. And it was thought a good sign by many people, that she was not observed to lift her head from her work whenever any body passed by, which is too often the case with girls who sit at needlework at their windows; so that, on market days especially, they must lose as many as one stitch in three. But Rachel used to think to herself, what did it signify to her who was taking a walk, or how people were dressed, or who was going to buy a bun at the baker's shop opposite; whereas, it did signify a great deal, whether her task was finished at the end of the day, and whether she had got her usual week's earnings on Saturday night.

There was a young neighbour of Rachel's at next door, who lost as many pence every week by that bun and biscuit shop, as if she had been in the habit of treating herself with biscuits and buns; which, though she would have liked them very much, she could not afford to purchase. It was the case here, as in most other towns, that there were a great many idle people who had nothing to do in the morning but to walk about; and who, when they were tired, would turn into the pastry-cook's or this biscuit shop to refresh themselves with something good. Now this young girl had so much idle curiosity, that she could not refrain, or rather she did not refrain, from looking off her work all the time that any ladies or nurse-maids were there, to observe how they were dressed, how long they stayed, and then to see whether they went up town or down town, or turned into the churchyard. The foolish girl did not consider that as a penny saved is a penny gained, so, a penny not earned is a penny lost.

But to return to Rachel ; it was not long before she reaped the reward of her diligence. After having been employed about a twelvemonth at her trade, it appeared, besides having furnished herself with decent clothing dur

« PreviousContinue »