IN WHICH THE READER HAS THE OPPORTUNITY OF BUYING AN ISLAND
"An island to sell, for cash, to the highest bidder!" said Dean Felporg,
the auctioneer, standing behind his rostrum in the room where the
conditions of the singular sale were being noisily discussed.
"Island for sale! island for sale!" repeated in shrill tones again and
again Gingrass, the crier, who was threading his way in and out of the
excited crowd closely packed inside the largest saloon in the auction
mart at No. 10, Sacramento Street.
The crowd consisted not only of a goodly number of Americans from the
States of Utah, Oregon, and California, but also of a few Frenchmen, who
form quite a sixth of the population.
Mexicans were there enveloped in their sarapes; Chinamen in their
large-sleeved tunics, pointed shoes, and conical hats; one or two
Kanucks from the coast; and even a sprinkling of Black Feet,
Grosventres, or Flatheads, from the banks of the Trinity river.
The scene is in San Francisco, the capital of California, but not at the
period when the placer-mining fever was raging--from 1849 to 1852. San
Francisco was no longer what it had been then, a caravanserai, a
terminus, an inn, where for a night there slept the busy men who were
hastening to the gold-fields west of the Sierra Nevada. At the end of
some twenty years the old unknown Yerba-Buena had given place to a town
unique of its kind, peopled by 100,000 inhabitants, built under the
shelter of a couple of hills, away from the shore, but stretching off to
the farthest heights in the background--a city in short which has
dethroned Lima, Santiago, Valparaiso, and every other rival, and which
the Americans have made the queen of the Pacific, the "glory of the
It was the 15th of May, and the weather was still cold. In California,
subject as it is to the direct action of the polar currents, the first
weeks of this month are somewhat similar to the last weeks of March in
Central Europe. But the cold was hardly noticeable in the thick of the
auction crowd. The bell with its incessant clangour had brought
together an enormous throng, and quite a summer temperature caused the
drops of perspiration to glisten on the foreheads of the spectators
which the cold outside would have soon solidified.
Do not imagine that all these folks had come to the auction-room with
the intention of buying. I might say that all of them had but come to
see. Who was going to be mad enough, even if he were rich enough, to
purchase an isle of the Pacific, which the government had in some
eccentric moment decided to sell? Would the reserve price ever be
reached? Could anybody be found to work up the bidding? If not, it would
scarcely be the fault of the public crier, who tried his best to tempt
buyers by his shoutings and gestures, and the flowery metaphors of his
harangue. People laughed at him, but they did not seem much influenced
"An island! an isle to sell!" repeated Gingrass.
"But not to buy!" answered an Irishman, whose pocket did not hold enough
to pay for a single pebble.
"An island which at the valuation will not fetch six dollars an acre!"
said the auctioneer.
"And which won't pay an eighth per cent.!" replied a big farmer, who was
well acquainted with agricultural speculations.
"An isle which measures quite sixty-four miles round and has an area of
two hundred and twenty-five thousand acres!"
"Is it solid on its foundation?" asked a Mexican, an old customer at the
liquor-bars, whose personal solidity seemed rather doubtful at the
"An isle with forests still virgin!" repeated the crier, "with prairies,
"Warranted?" asked a Frenchman, who seemed rather inclined to nibble.
"Yes! warranted!" added Felporg, much too old at his trade to be moved
by the chaff of the public.
"For two years?"
"To the end of the world!"
"A freehold island!" repeated the crier, "an island without a single
noxious animal, no wild beasts, no reptiles!--"
"No birds?" added a wag.
"No insects?" inquired another.
"An island for the highest bidder!" said Dean Felporg, beginning again.
"Come, gentlemen, come! Have a little courage in your pockets! Who wants
an island in perfect state of repair, never been used, an island in the
Pacific, that ocean of oceans? The valuation is a mere nothing! It is
put at eleven hundred thousand dollars, is there any one will bid? Who
speaks first? You, sir?--you, over there nodding your head like a
porcelain mandarin? Here is an island! a really good island! Who says an
"Pass it round!" said a voice as if they were dealing with a picture or
And the room shouted with laughter, but not a half-dollar was bid.
However, if the lot could not be passed round, the map of the island was
at the public disposal. The whereabouts of the portion of the globe
under consideration could be accurately ascertained. There was neither
surprise nor disappointment to be feared in that respect. Situation,
orientation, outline, altitudes, levels, hydrography, climatology, lines
of communication, all these were easily to be verified in advance.
People were not buying a pig in a poke, and most undoubtedly there could
be no mistake as to the nature of the goods on sale. Moreover, the
innumerable journals of the United States, especially those of
California, with their dailies, bi-weeklies, weeklies, bi-monthlies,
monthlies, their reviews, magazines, bulletins, &c., had been for
several months directing constant attention to the island whose sale by
auction had been authorized by Act of Congress.
The island was Spencer Island, which lies in the west-south-west of the
Bay of San Francisco, about 460 miles from the Californian coast, in 32░
15' north latitude, and 145░ 18' west longitude, reckoning from
Greenwich. It would be impossible to imagine a more isolated position,
quite out of the way of all maritime or commercial traffic, although
Spencer Island was relatively, not very far off, and situated
practically in American waters. But thereabouts the regular currents
diverging to the north and south have formed a kind of lake of calms,
which is sometimes known as the "Whirlpool of Fleurieu."
It is in the centre of this enormous eddy, which has hardly an
appreciable movement, that Spencer Island is situated. And so it is
sighted by very few ships. The main routes of the Pacific, which join
the new to the old continent, and lead away to China or Japan, run in a
more southerly direction. Sailing-vessels would meet with endless calms
in the Whirlpool of Fleurieu; and steamers, which always take the
shortest road, would gain no advantage by crossing it. Hence ships of
neither class know anything of Spencer Island, which rises above the
waters like the isolated summit of one of the submarine mountains of the
Pacific. Truly, for a man wishing to flee from the noise of the world,
seeking quiet in solitude, what could be better than this island, lost
within a few hundred miles of the coast? For a voluntary Robinson
Crusoe, it would be the very ideal of its kind! Only of course he must
pay for it.
And now, why did the United States desire to part with the island? Was
it for some whim? No! A great nation cannot act on caprice in any
matter, however simple. The truth was this: situated as it was, Spencer
Island had for a long time been known as a station perfectly useless.
There could be no practical result from settling there. In a military
point of view it was of no importance, for it only commanded an
absolutely deserted portion of the Pacific. In a commercial point of
view there was a similar want of importance, for the products would not
pay the freight either inwards or outwards. For a criminal colony it was
too far from the coast. And to occupy it in any way, would be a very
expensive undertaking. So it had remained deserted from time immemorial,
and Congress, composed of "eminently practical" men, had resolved to put
it up for sale--on one condition only, and that was, that its purchaser
should be a free American citizen. There was no intention of giving away
the island for nothing, and so the reserve price had been fixed at
$1,100,000. This amount for a financial society dealing with such
matters was a mere bagatelle, if the transaction could offer any
advantages; but as we need hardly repeat, it offered none, and competent
men attached no more value to this detached portion of the United
States, than to one of the islands lost beneath the glaciers of the
In one sense, however, the amount was considerable. A man must be rich
to pay for this hobby, for in any case it would not return him a
halfpenny per cent. He would even have to be immensely rich for the
transaction was to be a "cash" one, and even in the United States it is
as yet rare to find citizens with $1,100,000 in their pockets, who would
care to throw them into the water without hope of return.
And Congress had decided not to sell the island under the price. Eleven
hundred thousand dollars, not a cent less, or Spencer Island would
remain the property of the Union.
It was hardly likely that any one would be mad enough to buy it on the
Besides, it was expressly reserved that the proprietor, if one offered,
should not become king of Spencer Island, but president of a republic.
He would gain no right to have subjects, but only fellow-citizens, who
could elect him for a fixed time, and would be free from re-electing him
indefinitely. Under any circumstances he was forbidden to play at
monarchy. The Union could never tolerate the foundation of a kingdom, no
matter how small, in American waters.
This reservation was enough to keep off many an ambitious millionaire,
many an aged nabob, who might like to compete with the kings of the
Sandwich, the Marquesas, and the other archipelagoes of the Pacific.
In short, for one reason or other, nobody presented himself. Time was
getting on, the crier was out of breath in his efforts to secure a
buyer, the auctioneer orated without obtaining a single specimen of
those nods which his estimable fraternity are so quick to discover; and
the reserve price was not even mentioned.
However, if the hammer was not wearied with oscillating above the
rostrum, the crowd was not wearied with waiting around it. The joking
continued to increase, and the chaff never ceased for a moment. One
individual offered two dollars for the island, costs included. Another
said that a man ought to be paid that for taking it.
And all the time the crier was heard with,--
"An island to sell! an island for sale!"
And there was no one to buy it.
"Will you guarantee that there are flats there?" said Stumpy, the grocer
of Merchant Street, alluding to the deposits so famous in alluvial
"No," answered the auctioneer, "but it is not impossible that there are,
and the State abandons all its rights over the gold lands."
"Haven't you got a volcano?" asked Oakhurst, the bar-keeper of
"No volcanoes," replied Dean Felporg, "if there were, we could not sell
at this price!"
An immense shout of laughter followed.
"An island to sell! an island for sale!" yelled Gingrass, whose lungs
tired themselves out to no purpose.
"Only a dollar! only a half-dollar! only a cent above the reserve!" said
the auctioneer for the last time, "and I will knock it down! Once!
"If nobody bids we must put the lot back! Once! Twice!
"Twelve hundred thousand dollars!"
The four words rang through the room like four shots from a revolver.
The crowd, suddenly speechless, turned towards the bold man who had
dared to bid.
It was William W. Kolderup, of San Francisco.
HOW WILLIAM W. KOLDERUP, OF SAN FRANCISCO, WAS AT
LOGGERHEADS WITH J. R.
TASKINAR, OF STOCKTON.
A man extraordinarily rich, who counted dollars by the million as other
men do by the thousand; such was William W. Kolderup.
People said he was richer than the Duke of Westminster, whose income is
some $4,000,000 a year, and who can spend his $10,000 a day, or seven
dollars every minute; richer than Senator Jones, of Nevada, who has
$35,000,000 in the funds; richer than Mr. Mackay himself, whose annual
$13,750,000 give him $1560 per hour, or half-a-dollar to spend every
second of his life.
I do not mention such minor millionaires as the Rothschilds, the
Vanderbilts, the Dukes of Northumberland, or the Stewarts, nor the
directors of the powerful bank of California, and other opulent
personages of the old and new worlds whom William W. Kolderup would
been able to comfortably pension. He could, without inconvenience, have
given away a million just as you and I might give away a shilling.
It was in developing the early placer-mining enterprises in California
that our worthy speculator had laid the solid foundations of his
incalculable fortune. He was the principal associate of Captain Sutter,
the Swiss, in the localities, where, in 1848, the first traces were
discovered. Since then, luck and shrewdness combined had helped him on,
and he had interested himself in all the great enterprises of both
worlds. He threw himself boldly into commercial and industrial
speculations. His inexhaustible funds were the life of hundreds of
factories, his ships were on every sea. His wealth increased not in
arithmetical but in geometrical progression. People spoke of him as one
of those few "milliardaires" who never know how much they are worth. In
reality he knew almost to a dollar, but he never boasted of it.
At this very moment when we introduce him to our readers with all the
consideration such a many-sided man merits, William W. Kolderup had
branch offices scattered over the globe, 80,000 employÚs in America,
Europe, and Australia, 300,000 correspondents, a fleet of 500 ships
which continually ploughed the ocean for his profit, and he was spending
not less than a million a year in bill-stamps and postages. In short, he
was the honour and glory of opulent Frisco--the nickname familiarly
given by the Americans to the Californian capital.
A bid from William W. Kolderup could not but be a serious one. And when
the crowd in the auction room had recognized who it was that by $100,000
had capped the reserve price of Spencer Island, there was an
irresistible sensation, the chaffing ceased instantly, jokes gave place
to interjections of admiration, and cheers resounded through the saloon.
Then a deep silence succeeded to the hubbub, eyes grew bigger, and ears
opened wider. For our part had we been there we would have had to hold
our breath that we might lose nothing of the exciting scene which would
follow should any one dare to bid against William W. Kolderup.
But was it probable? Was it even possible?
No! And at the outset it was only necessary to look at William W.
Kolderup to feel convinced that he could never yield on a question where
his financial gallantry was at stake.
He was a big, powerful man, with huge head, large shoulders, well-built
limbs, firmly knit, and tough as iron. His quiet but resolute look was
not willingly cast downwards, his grey hair, brushed up in front, was as
abundant as if he were still young. The straight lines of his nose
formed a geometrically-drawn right-angled triangle. No moustache; his
beard cut in Yankee fashion bedecked his chin, and the two upper points
met at the opening of the lips and ran up to the temples in
pepper-and-salt whiskers; teeth of snowy whiteness were symmetrically
placed on the borders of a clean-cut mouth. The head of one of those
true kings of men who rise in the tempest and face the storm. No
hurricane could bend that head, so solid was the neck which supported
it. In these battles of the bidders each of its nods meant an additional
hundred thousand dollars.
There was no one to dispute with him.
"Twelve hundred thousand dollars--twelve hundred thousand!" said the
auctioneer, with that peculiar accent which men of his vocation find
"Going at twelve hundred thousand dollars!" repeated Gingrass the crier.
"You could safely bid more than that," said Oakhurst, the bar-keeper;
"William Kolderup will never give in."
"He knows no one will chance it," answered the grocer from Merchant
Repeated cries of "Hush!" told the two worthy tradesmen to be quiet. All
wished to hear. All hearts palpitated. Dare any one raise his voice in
answer to the voice of William W. Kolderup? He, magnificent to look
upon, never moved. There he remained as calm as if the matter had no
interest for him. But--and this those near to him noticed--his eyes were
like revolvers loaded with dollars, ready to fire.
"Nobody speaks?" asked Dean Felporg.
"Once! Twice!" repeated Gingrass, quite accustomed to this little
dialogue with his chief.
"That is so? No mistake?"
"For twelve hundred thousand dollars, Spencer Island!"
The waistcoats rose and fell convulsively. Could it be possible that at
the last second a higher bid would come? Felporg with his right hand
stretched on the table was shaking his ivory hammer--one rap, two raps,
and the deed would be done.
The public could not have been more absorbed in the face of a summary
application of the law of Justice Lynch!
The hammer slowly fell, almost touched the table, rose again, hovered
an instant like a sword which pauses ere the drawer cleaves the victim
in twain; then it flashed swiftly downwards.
But before the sharp rap could be given, a voice was heard giving
utterance to these four words,--
There was a preliminary "Ah!" of general stupefaction, then a second
"Ah!" of not less general satisfaction. Another bidder had presented
himself! There was going to be a fight after all!
But who was the reckless individual who had dared to come to dollar
strokes with William W. Kolderup of San Francisco?
It was J. R. Taskinar, of Stockton.
J. R. Taskinar was rich, but he was more than proportionately fat. He
weighed 490 lbs. If he had only run second in the last fat-man show at
Chicago, it was because he had not been allowed time to finish his
dinner, and had lost about a dozen pounds.
This colossus, who had had to have special chairs made for his portly
person to rest upon, lived at Stockton, on the San Joachim. Stockton is
one of the most important cities in California, one of the dep˘t centres
for the mines of the south, the rival of Sacramento the centre for the
mines of the north. There the ships embark the largest quantity of
Not only had the development of the mines and speculations in wheat
furnished J. R. Taskinar with the occasion of gaining an enormous
fortune, but petroleum, like another Pactolus, had run through his
treasury. Besides, he was a great gambler, a lucky gambler, and he had
found "poker" most prodigal of its favours to him.
But if he was a Croesus, he was also a rascal; and no one would have
addressed him as "honourable," although the title in those parts is so
much in vogue. After all, he was a good war-horse, and perhaps more was
put on his back than was justly his due. One thing was certain, and that
was that on many an occasion he had not hesitated to use his
"Derringer"--the Californian revolver.
Now J. R. Taskinar particularly detested William W. Kolderup. He envied
him for his wealth, his position, and his reputation. He despised him as
a fat man despises a lean one. It was not the first time that the
merchant of Stockton had endeavoured to do the merchant of San Francisco
out of some business or other, good or bad, simply owing to a feeling of
rivalry. William W. Kolderup thoroughly knew his man, and on all
occasions treated him with scorn enough to drive him to distraction.
The last success which J. R. Taskinar could not forgive his opponent
was that gained in the struggle over the state elections.
Notwithstanding his efforts, his threats, and his libels, not to mention
the millions of dollars squandered by his electoral courtiers, it was
William W. Kolderup who sat in his seat in the Legislative Council of
J. R. Taskinar had learnt--how, I cannot tell--that it was the intention
of William W. Kolderup to acquire possession of Spencer Island. This
island seemed doubtless as useless to him as it did to his rival. No
matter. Here was another chance for fighting, and perhaps for
conquering. J. R. Taskinar would not allow it to escape him.
And that is why J. R. Taskinar had come to the auction room among the
curious crowd who could not be aware of his designs, why at all points
he had prepared his batteries, why before opening fire, he had waited
till his opponent had covered the reserve, and why when William W.
Kolderup had made his bid of--
"Twelve hundred thousand dollars!"
J. R. Taskinar at the moment when William W. Kolderup thought he had
definitely secured the island, woke up with the words shouted in
"Thirteen hundred thousand dollars!"
Everybody as we have seen turned to look at him.
The name passed from mouth to mouth. Yes. Fat Taskinar! He was known
well enough! His corpulence had been the theme of many an article in the
journals of the Union.
I am not quite sure which mathematician it was who had demonstrated by
transcendental calculations, that so great was his mass that it actually
influenced that of our satellite and in an appreciable manner disturbed
the elements of the lunar orbit.
But it was not J. R. Taskinar's physical composition which interested
the spectators in the room. It was something far different which excited
them; it was that he had entered into direct public rivalry with William
W. Kolderup. It was a fight of heroes, dollar versus dollar, which had
opened, and I do not know which of the two coffers would turn out to be
best lined. Enormously rich were both these mortal enemies! After the
first sensation, which was rapidly suppressed, renewed silence fell on
the assembly. You could have heard a spider weaving his web.
It was the voice of Dean Felporg which broke the spell.
"For thirteen hundred thousand dollars, Spencer Island!" declaimed he,
drawing himself up so as to better command the circle of bidders.
William W. Kolderup had turned towards J. R. Taskinar. The bystanders
moved back, so as to allow the adversaries to behold each other. The
man of Stockton and the man of San Francisco were face to face, mutually
staring, at their ease. Truth compels me to state that they made the
most of the opportunity. Never would one of them consent to lower his
eyes before those of his rival.
"Fourteen hundred thousand dollars," said William W. Kolderup.
"Fifteen hundred thousand!" retorted J. R. Taskinar.
"Sixteen hundred thousand!"
"Seventeen hundred thousand!"
Have you ever heard the story of the two mechanics of Glasgow, who tried
which should raise the other highest up the factory chimney at the risk
of a catastrophe? The only difference was that here the chimney was of
ingots of gold.
Each time after the capping bid of J. R. Taskinar, William W. Kolderup
took a few moments to reflect before he bid again. On the contrary
Taskinar burst out like a bomb, and did not seem to require a second to
"Seventeen hundred thousand dollars!" repeated the auctioneer. "Now,
gentlemen, that is a mere nothing! It is giving it away!"
And one can well believe that, carried away by the jargon of his
profession, he was about to add,--
"The frame alone is worth more than that!" When--
"Seventeen hundred thousand dollars!" howled Gingrass, the crier.
"Eighteen hundred thousand!" replied William W. Kolderup.
"Nineteen hundred thousand!" retorted J. R. Taskinar.
"Two millions!" quoth William W. Kolderup, and so quickly that this time
he evidently had not taken the trouble to think. His face was a little
pale when these last words escaped his lips, but his whole attitude was
that of a man who did not intend to give in.
J. R. Taskinar was simply on fire. His enormous face was like one of
those gigantic railway bull's-eyes which, screened by the red, signal
the stoppage of the train. But it was highly probable that his rival
would disregard the block, and decline to shut off steam.
This J. R. Taskinar felt. The blood mounted to his brows, and seemed
apoplectically congested there. He wriggled his fat fingers, covered
with diamonds of great price, along the huge gold chain attached to his
chronometer. He glared at his adversary, and then shutting his eyes so
as to open them with a more spiteful expression a moment afterwards.
"Two million, four hundred thousand dollars!" he remarked, hoping by
this tremendous leap to completely rout his rival.
"Two million, seven hundred thousand!" replied William W. Kolderup in a
peculiarly calm voice.
"Two million, nine hundred thousand!"
Yes! William W. Kolderup, of San Francisco, said three millions of
Applause rang through the room, hushed, however, at the voice of the
auctioneer, who repeated the bid, and whose oscillating hammer
threatened to fall in spite of himself by the involuntary movement of
his muscles. It seemed as though Dean Felporg, surfeited with the
surprises of public auction sales, would be unable to contain himself
All glances were turned on J. R. Taskinar. That voluminous personage was
sensible of this, but still more was he sensible of the weight of these
three millions of dollars, which seemed to crush him. He would have
spoken, doubtless to bid higher--but he could not. He would have liked
to nod his head--he could do so no more.
After a long pause, however, his voice was heard; feeble it is true, but
"Three millions, five hundred thousand!"
"Four millions," was the answer of William W. Kolderup.
It was the last blow of the bludgeon. J. R. Taskinar succumbed. The
hammer gave a hard rap on the marble table and--
Spencer Island fell for four millions of dollars to William W. Kolderup,
of San Francisco.
"I will be avenged!" muttered J. R. Taskinar, and throwing a glance of
hatred at his conqueror, he returned to the Occidental Hotel.
But "hip, hip, hurrah," three times thrice, smote the ears of William W.
Kolderup, then cheers followed him to Montgomery Street, and such was
the delirious enthusiasm of the Americans that they even forgot to
favour him with the customary bars of "Yankee Doodle."
THE CONVERSATION OF PHINA HOLLANEY AND GODFREY MORGAN,
WITH A PIANO
William W. Kolderup had returned to his mansion in Montgomery Street.
This thoroughfare is the Regent Street, the Broadway, the Boulevard des
Italiens of San Francisco. Throughout its length, the great artery which
crosses the city parallel with its quays is astir with life and
movement; trams there are innumerable; carriages with horses, carriages
with mules; men bent on business, hurrying to and fro over its stone
pavements, past shops thronged with customers; men bent on pleasure,
crowding the doors of the "bars," where at all hours are dispensed the
There is no need for us to describe the mansion of a Frisco nabob. With
so many millions, there was proportionate luxury. More comfort than
taste. Less of the artistic than the practical. One cannot have
So the reader must be contented to know that there was a magnificent
reception-room, and in this reception-room a piano, whose chords were
permeating the mansion's warm atmosphere when the opulent Kolderup
"Good!" he said. "She and he are there! A word to my cashier, and then
we can have a little chat."
And he stepped towards his office to arrange the little matter of
Spencer Island, and then dismiss it from his mind. He had only to
realize a few certificates in his portfolio and the acquisition was
settled for. Half-a-dozen lines to his broker--no more. Then William W.
Kolderup devoted himself to another "combination" which was much more to
Yes! she and he were in the drawing-room--she, in front of the piano;
he, half reclining on the sofa, listening vaguely to the pearly
arpeggios which escaped from the fingers of the charmer.
"Are you listening?" she said.
"Yes! but do you understand it?"
"Do I understand it, Phina! Never have you played those 'Auld Robin
Gray' variations more superbly."
"But it is not 'Auld Robin Gray,' Godfrey: it is 'Happy Moments.'"
"Oh! ah! yes! I remember!" answered Godfrey, in a tone of indifference
which it was difficult to mistake. The lady raised her two hands, held
them suspended for an instant above the keys as if they were about to
grasp another chord, and then with a half-turn on her music-stool she
remained for a moment looking at the too tranquil Godfrey, whose eyes
did their best to avoid hers.
Phina Hollaney was the goddaughter of William W. Kolderup. An orphan, he
had educated her, and given her the right to consider herself his
daughter, and to love him as her father. She wanted for nothing. She was
young, "handsome in her way" as people say, but undoubtedly fascinating,
a blonde of sixteen with the ideas of a woman much older, as one could
read in the crystal of her blue-black eyes. Of course, we must compare
her to a lily, for all beauties are compared to lilies in the best
American society. She was then a lily, but a lily grafted into an
eglantine. She certainly had plenty of spirit, but she had also plenty
of practical common-sense, a somewhat selfish demeanour, and but little
sympathy with the illusions and dreams so characteristic of her sex and
Her dreams were when she was asleep, not when she was awake. She was
asleep now, and had no intention of being so.
"Godfrey?" she continued.
"Phina?" answered the young man.
"Where are you now?"
"Near you--in this room--"
"Not near me, Godfrey! Not in this room! But far far away, over the
seas, is it not so?"
And mechanically Phina's hand sought the key-board and rippled along a
series of sinking sevenths, which spoke of a plaintive sadness,
unintelligible perhaps to the nephew of William W. Kolderup.
For such was this young man, such was the relationship he bore towards
the master of the house. The son of a sister of this buyer of islands,
fatherless and motherless for a good many years, Godfrey Morgan, like
Phina, had been brought up in the house of his uncle, in whom the fever
of business had still left a place for the idea of marrying these two to
Godfrey was in his twenty-third year. His education now finished, had
left him with absolutely nothing to do. He had graduated at the
University, but had found it of little use. For him life opened out but
paths of ease; go where he would, to the right or the left, whichever
way he went, fortune would not fail him.
Godfrey was of good presence, gentlemanly, elegant--never tying his
cravat in a ring, nor starring his fingers, his wrists or his
shirt-front with those jewelled gimcracks so dear to his
I shall surprise no one in saying that Godfrey Morgan was going to
marry Phina Hollaney. Was he likely to do otherwise? All the proprieties
were in favour of it. Besides, William W. Kolderup desired the marriage.
The two people whom he loved most in this world were sure of a fortune
from him, without taking into consideration whether Phina cared for
Godfrey, or Godfrey cared for Phina. It would also simplify the
bookkeeping of the commercial house. Ever since their births an account
had been opened for the boy, another for the girl. It would then be only
necessary to rule these off and transfer the balances to a joint account
for the young couple. The worthy merchant hoped that this would soon be
done, and the balances struck without error or omission.
But it is precisely that there had been an omission and perhaps an error
that we are about to show.
An error, because at the outset Godfrey felt that he was not yet old
enough for the serious undertaking of marriage; an omission, because he
had not been consulted on the subject.
In fact, when he had finished his studies Godfrey had displayed a quite
premature indifference to the world, in which he wanted for nothing, in
which he had no wish remaining ungratified, and nothing whatever to do.
The thought of travelling round the world was always present to him. Of
the old and new continents he knew but one spot--San Francisco, where he
was born, and which he had never left except in a dream. What harm was
there in a young man making the tour of the globe twice or
thrice--especially if he were an American? Would it do him any good?
Would he learn anything in the different adventures he would meet with
in a voyage of any length? If he were not already satiated with a life
of adventure, how could he be answered? Finally, how many millions of
leagues of observation and instruction were indispensable for the
completion of the young man's education?
Things had reached this pass; for a year or more Godfrey had been
immersed in books of voyages of recent date, and had passionately
devoured them. He had discovered the Celestial Empire with Marco Polo,
America with Columbus, the Pacific with Cook, the South Pole with Dumont
d'Urville. He had conceived the idea of going where these illustrious
travellers had been without him. In truth, he would not have considered
an exploring expedition of several years to cost him too dear at the
price of a few attacks of Malay pirates, several ocean collisions, and a
shipwreck or two on a desert island where he could live the life of a
Selkirk or a Robinson Crusoe! A Crusoe! To become a Crusoe! What young
imagination has not dreamt of this in reading as Godfrey had often, too
often done, the adventures of the imaginary heroes of Daniel de Foe and
Yes! The nephew of William W. Kolderup was in this state when his uncle
was thinking of binding him in the chains of marriage. To travel in this
way with Phina, then become Mrs. Morgan, would be clearly impossible! He
must go alone or leave it alone. Besides, once his fancy had passed
away, would not she be better disposed to sign the settlements? Was it
for the good of his wife that he had not been to China or Japan, not
even to Europe? Decidedly not.
And hence it was that Godfrey was now absent in the presence of Phina,
indifferent when she spoke to him, deaf when she played the airs which
used to please him; and Phina, like a thoughtful, serious girl, soon
To say that she did not feel a little annoyance mingled with some
chagrin, is to do her a gratuitous injustice. But accustomed to look
things in the face, she had reasoned thus,--
"If we must part, it had better be before marriage than afterwards!"
And thus it was that she had spoken to Godfrey in these significant
"No! You are not near me at this moment--you are beyond the seas!"
Godfrey had risen. He had walked a few steps without noticing Phina,
and unconsciously his index finger touched one of the keys of the piano.
A loud C# of the octave below the staff, a note dismal enough, answered
Phina had understood him, and without more discussion was about to bring
matters to a crisis, when the door of the room opened.
William W. Kolderup appeared, seemingly a little preoccupied as usual.
Here was the merchant who had just finished one negotiation and was
about to begin another.
"Well," said he, "there is nothing more now than for us to fix the
"The date?" answered Godfrey, with a start. "What date, if you please,
"The date of your wedding!" said William W. Kolderup. "Not the date of
mine, I suppose!"
"Perhaps that is more urgent?" said Phina.
"Hey?--what?" exclaimed the uncle--"what does that matter? We are only
talking of current affairs, are we not?"
"Godfather Will," answered the lady. "It is not of a wedding that we are
going to fix the date to-day, but of a departure."
"Yes, the departure of Godfrey," continued Phina, "of Godfrey who,
before he gets married, wants to see a little of the world!"
"You want to go away--you?" said William W. Kolderup, stepping towards
the young man and raising his arms as if he were afraid that this
"rascal of a nephew" would escape him.
"Yes; I do, uncle," said Godfrey gallantly.
"And for how long?"
"For eighteen months, or two years, or more, if--"
"If you will let me, and Phina will wait for me."
"Wait for you! An intended who intends until he gets away!" exclaimed
William W. Kolderup.
"You must let Godfrey go," pleaded Phina; "I have thought it carefully
over. I am young, but really Godfrey is younger. Travel will age him,
and I do not think it will change his taste! He wishes to travel, let
him travel! The need of repose will come to him afterwards, and he will
find me when he returns."
"What!" exclaimed William W. Kolderup, "you consent to give your bird
"Yes, for the two years he asks."
"And you will wait for him?"
"Uncle Will, if I could not wait for him I could not love him!" and so
saying Phina returned to the piano, and whether she willed it or no,
her fingers softly played a portion of the then fashionable "DÚpart du
FiancÚ," which was very appropriate under the circumstances. But Phina,
without perceiving it perhaps, was playing in "A minor," whereas it was
written in "A major," and all the sentiment of the melody was
transformed, and its plaintiveness chimed in well with her hidden
But Godfrey stood embarrassed, and said not a word. His uncle took him
by the head and turning it to the light looked fixedly at him for a
moment or two. In this way he questioned him without having to speak,
and Godfrey was able to reply without having occasion to utter a
And the lamentations of the "DÚpart du FiancÚ" continued their sorrowful
theme, and then William W. Kolderup, having made the turn of the room,
returned to Godfrey, who stood like a criminal before the judge. Then
raising his voice,--
"You are serious," he asked.
"Quite serious!" interrupted Phina, while Godfrey contented himself with
making a sign of affirmation.
"You want to try travelling before you marry Phina! Well! You shall try
it, my nephew!"
He made two or three steps and stopping with crossed arms before
"Where do you want to go to?"
"And when do you want to start?"
"When you please, Uncle Will."
"All right," replied William W. Kolderup, fixing a curious look on his
Then he muttered between his teeth,--
"The sooner the better."
At these last words came a sudden interruption from Phina. The little
finger of her left hand touched a G#, and the fourth had, instead of
falling on the key-note, rested on the "sensible," like Ralph in the
"Huguenots," when he leaves at the end of his duet with Valentine.
Perhaps Phina's heart was nearly full, she had made up her mind to say
It was then that William W. Kolderup, without noticing Godfrey,
approached the piano.
"Phina," said he gravely, "you should never remain on the 'sensible'!"
And with the tip of his large finger he dropped vertically on to one of
the keys and an "A natural" resounded through the room.
IN WHICH T. ARTELETT, OTHERWISE TARTLET, IS DULY INTRODUCED
If T. Artelett had been a Parisian, his compatriots would not have
failed to nickname him Tartlet, but as he had already received this
title we do not hesitate to describe him by it. If Tartlet was not a
Frenchman he ought to have been one.
In his "ItinÚraire de Paris Ó JÚrusalem," Chateaubriand tells of a
little man "powdered and frizzed in the old-fashioned style, with a coat
of apple green, a waistcoat of drouget, shirt-frill and cuffs of muslin,
who scraped a violin and made the Iroquois dance 'Madeleine Friquet.'"
The Californians are not Iroquois, far from it; but Tartlet was none the
less professor of dancing and deportment in the capital of their state.
If they did not pay him for his lessons, as they had his predecessor in
beaver-skins and bear-hams, they did so in dollars. If in speaking of
his pupils he did not talk of the "bucks and their squaws," it was
because his pupils were highly civilized, and because in his opinion he
had contributed considerably to their civilization.
Tartlet was a bachelor, and aged about forty-five at the time we
introduce him to our readers. But for a dozen years or so his marriage
with a lady of somewhat mature age had been expected to take place.
Under present circumstances it is perhaps advisable to give "two or
three lines" concerning his age, appearance, and position in life. He
would have responded to such a request we imagine as follows, and thus
we can dispense with drawing his portrait from a moral and physical
point of view.
"He was born on the 17th July, 1835, at a quarter-past three in the
"His height is five feet, two inches, three lines.
"His girth is exactly two feet, three inches.
"His weight, increased by some six pounds during the last year, is one
hundred and fifty one pounds, two ounces.
"He has an oblong head.
"His hair, very thin above the forehead, is grey chestnut, his forehead
is high, his face oval, his complexion fresh coloured.
"His eyes--sight excellent--a greyish brown, eyelashes and eyebrows
clear chestnut, eyes themselves somewhat sunk in their orbits beneath
the arches of the brows.
"His nose is of medium size, and has a slight indentation towards the
end of the left nostril.
"His cheeks and temples are flat and hairless.
"His ears are large and flat.
"His mouth, of middling size, is absolutely free from bad teeth.
"His lips, thin and slightly pinched, are covered with a heavy moustache
and imperial, his chin is round and also shaded with a many-tinted
"A small mole ornaments his plump neck--in the nape.
"Finally, when he is in the bath it can be seen that his skin is white
"His life is calm and regular. Without being robust, thanks to his great
temperance, he has kept his health uninjured since his birth. His lungs
are rather irritable, and hence he has not contracted the bad habit of
smoking. He drinks neither spirits, coffee, liqueurs, nor neat wine. In
a word, all that could prejudicially affect his nervous system is
vigorously excluded from his table. Light beer, and weak wine and water
are the only beverages he can take without danger. It is on account of
his carefulness that he has never had to consult a doctor since his life
"His gesture is prompt, his walk quick, his character frank and open.
His thoughtfulness for others is extreme, and it is on account of this
that in the fear of making his wife unhappy, he has never entered into
Such would have been the report furnished by Tartlet, but desirable as
he might be to a lady of a certain age, the projected union had hitherto
failed. The professor remained a bachelor, and continued to give lessons
in dancing and deportment.
It was in this capacity that he entered the mansion of William W.
Kolderup. As time rolled on his pupils gradually abandoned him, and he
ended by becoming one wheel more in the machinery of the wealthy
After all, he was a brave man, in spite of his eccentricities. Everybody
liked him. He liked Godfrey, he liked Phina, and they liked him. He had
only one ambition in the world, and that was to teach them all the
secrets of his art, to make them in fact, as far as deportment was
concerned, two highly accomplished individuals.
Now, what would you think? It was he, this Professor Tartlet, whom
William W. Kolderup had chosen as his nephew's companion during the
projected voyage. Yes! He had reason to believe that Tartlet had not a
little contributed to imbue Godfrey with this roaming mania, so as to
perfect himself by a tour round the world. William W. Kolderup had
resolved that they should go together. On the morrow, the 16th of April,
he sent for the professor to his office.
The request of the nabob was an order for Tartlet. The professor left
his room, with his pocket violin--generally known as a kit--so as to be
ready for all emergencies. He mounted the great staircase of the mansion
with his feet academically placed as was fitting for a dancing-master;
knocked at the door of the room, entered--his body half inclined, his
elbows rounded, his mouth on the grin--and waited in the third position,
after having crossed his feet one before the other, at half their
length, his ankles touching and his toes turned out. Any one but
Professor Tartlet placed in this sort of unstable equilibrium would have
tottered on his base, but the professor preserved an absolute
"Mr. Tartlet," said William W. Kolderup, "I have sent for you to tell
you some news which I imagine will rather surprise you."
"As you think best!" answered the professor.
"My nephew's marriage is put off for a year or eighteen months, and
Godfrey, at his own request, is going to visit the different countries
of the old and new world."
"Sir," answered Tartlet, "my pupil, Godfrey, will do honour to the
country of his birth, and--"
"And, to the professor of deportment who has initiated him into
etiquette," interrupted the merchant, in a tone of which the guileless
Tartlet failed to perceive the irony.
And, in fact, thinking it the correct thing to execute an "assemblÚe,"
he first moved one foot and then the other, by a sort of semi-circular
side slide, and then with a light and graceful bend of the knee, he
bowed to William W. Kolderup.
"I thought," continued the latter, "that you might feel a little regret
at separating from your pupil?"
"The regret will be extreme," answered Tartlet, "but should it be
"It is not necessary," answered William W. Kolderup, knitting his bushy
"Ah!" replied Tartlet.
Slightly troubled, he made a graceful movement to the rear, so as to
pass from the third to the fourth position; but he left the breadth of a
foot between his feet, without perhaps being conscious of what he was
"Yes!" added the merchant in a peremptory tone, which admitted not of
the ghost of a reply; "I have thought it would really be cruel to
separate a professor and a pupil so well made to understand each other!"
"Assuredly!--the journey?" answered Tartlet, who did not seem to want to
"Yes! Assuredly!" replied William W. Kolderup; "not only will his
travels bring out the talents of my nephew, but the talents of the
professor to whom he owes so correct a bearing."
Never had the thought occurred to this great baby that one day he would
leave San Francisco, California, America, to roam the seas. Such an idea
had never entered the brain of a man more absorbed in choregraphy than
geography, and who was still ignorant of the suburbs of the capital
beyond ten miles radius. And now this was offered to him. He was to
understand that nolens volens he was to expatriate himself, he himself
was to experience with all their costs and inconveniences the very
adventures he had recommended to his pupil! Here, decidedly, was
something to trouble a brain much more solid than his, and the
unfortunate Tartlet for the first time in his life felt an involuntary
yielding in the muscles of his limbs, suppled as they were by
thirty-five years' exercise.
"Perhaps," said he, trying to recall to his lips the stereotyped smile
of the dancer which had left him for an instant,--"perhaps--am I not--"
"You will go!" answered William W. Kolderup like a a man with whom
discussion was useless.
To refuse was impossible. Tartlet did not even think of such a thing.
What was he in the house? A thing, a parcel, a package to be sent to
every corner of the world. But the projected expedition troubled him not
"And when am I to start?" demanded he, trying to get back into an
"In a month."
"And on what raging ocean has Mr. Kolderup decided that his vessel
should bear his nephew and me?"
"The Pacific, at first."
"And on what point of the terrestrial globe shall I first set foot?"
"On the soil of New Zealand," answered William W. Kolderup; "I have
remarked that the New Zealanders always stick their elbows out! Now you
can teach them to turn them in!"
And thus was Professor Tartlet selected as the travelling-companion of
A nod from the merchant gave him to understand that the audience had
terminated. He retired, considerably agitated, and the performance of
the special graces which he usually displayed in this difficult act left
a good deal to be desired. In fact, for the first time in his life,
Professor Tartlet, forgetting in his preoccupation the most elementary
principles of his art, went out with his toes turned in!
IN WHICH THEY PREPARE TO GO, AND AT THE END OF WHICH THEY GO
Before the long voyage together through life, which men call marriage,
Godfrey then was to make the tour of the world--a journey sometimes even
more dangerous. But he reckoned on returning improved in every respect;
he left a lad, he would return a man. He would have seen, noted,
compared. His curiosity would be satisfied. There would only remain for
him to settle down quietly, and live happily at home with his wife, whom
no temptation would take him from. Was he wrong or right? Was he to
learn a valuable lesson? The future will show.
In short, Godfrey was enchanted.
Phina, anxious without appearing to be so, was resigned to this
Professor Tartlet, generally so firm on his limbs, had lost all his
dancing equilibrium. He had lost all his usual self-possession, and
tried in vain to recover it; he even tottered on the carpet of his room
as if he were already on the floor of a cabin, rolling and pitching on
As for William W. Kolderup, since he had arrived at a decision, he had
become very uncommunicative, especially to his nephew. The closed lips,
and eyes half hidden beneath their lids, showed that there was some
fixed idea in the head where generally floated the highest commercial
"Ah! you want to travel," muttered he every now and then; "travel
instead of marrying and staying at home! Well, you shall travel."
Preparations were immediately begun.
In the first place, the itinerary had to be projected, discussed, and
Was Godfrey to go south, or east, or west? That had to be decided in the
If he went southwards, the Panama, California and British Columbia
Company, or the Southampton and Rio Janeiro Company would have to
him to Europe.
If he went eastwards, the Union Pacific Railway would take him in a few
days to New York, and thence the Cunard, Inman, White Star,
Hamburg-American, or French-Transatlantic Companies would land him on
the shores of the old world.
If he went westwards, the Golden Age Steam Transoceanic would render it
easy for him to reach Melbourne, and thence he could get to the Isthmus
of Suez by the boats of the Peninsular and Oriental Company.
The means of transport were abundant, and thanks to their mathematical
agreement the round of the world was but a simple pleasure tour.
But it was not thus that the nephew and heir of the nabob of Frisco was
No! William W. Kolderup possessed for the requirements of his business
quite a fleet of steam and sailing-vessels. He had decided that one of
these ships should be "put at the disposal" of Godfrey Morgan, as if he
were a prince of the blood, travelling for his pleasure--at the expense
of his father's subjects.
By his orders the Dream, a substantial steamer of 600 tons and 200
horse-power, was got ready. It was to be commanded by Captain Turcott, a
tough old salt, who had already sailed in every latitude in every sea. A
thorough sailor, this friend of tornadoes, cyclones, and typhoons, had
already spent of his fifty years of life, forty at sea. To bring to in a
hurricane was quite child's play to this mariner, who was never
disconcerted, except by land-sickness when he was in port. His
incessantly unsteady existence on a vessel's deck had endowed him with
the habit of constantly balancing himself to the right or the left, or
behind or in front, as though he had the rolling and pitching variety of
St. Vitus's dance.
A mate, an engineer, four stokers, a dozen seamen, eighteen men in all,
formed the crew of the Dream. And if the ship was contented to get
quietly through eight miles an hour, she possessed a great many
excellent nautical qualities. If she was not swift enough to race the
waves when the sea was high, the waves could not race over her, and that
was an advantage which quite compensated for the mediocrity of her
speed, particularly when there was no hurry. The Dream was brigantine
rigged, and in a favourable wind, with her 400 square yards of canvas,
her steaming rate could be considerably increased.
It should be borne in mind all through that the voyage of the Dream
was carefully planned, and would be punctually performed. William W.
Kolderup was too practical a man not to put to some purpose a journey of
15,000 or 16,000 leagues across all the oceans of the globe. His ship
was to go without cargo, undoubtedly, but it was easy to get her down to
her right trim by means of water ballast, and even to sink her to her
deck, if it proved necessary.
The Dream was instructed to communicate with the different branch
establishments of the wealthy merchant. She was to go from one market to
Captain Turcott, never fear, would not find it difficult to pay the
expenses of the voyage! Godfrey Morgan's whim would not cost the
avuncular purse a single dollar! That is the way they do business in the
best commercial houses!
All this was decided at long, very secret interviews between William W.
Kolderup and Captain Turcott. But it appeared that the regulation of
this matter, simple as it seemed, could not be managed alone, for the
captain paid numerous visits to the merchant's office. When he came
away, it would be noticed that his face bore a curious expression, that
his hair stood on end as if he had been ruffling it up with fevered
hands, and that all his body rolled and pitched more than usual. High
words were constantly heard, proving that the interviews were stormy.
Captain Turcott, with his plain speaking, knew how to withstand William
W. Kolderup, who loved and esteemed him enough to permit him to
And now all was arranged. Who had given in? William W. Kolderup or
Turcott? I dare not say, for I do not even know the subject of their
discussion. However, I rather think it must have been the captain.
Anyhow, after eight days of interviewing, the merchant and the captain
were in accord, but Turcott did not cease to grumble between his teeth.
"May five hundred thousand Davy Joneses drag me to the bottom if ever I
had a job like this before!"
However, the Dream fitted out rapidly, and her captain neglected
nothing which would enable him to put to sea in the first fortnight in
June. She had been into dock, and the hull had been gone over with
composition, whose brilliant red contrasted vividly with the black of
her upper works.
A great number of vessels of all kinds and nationalities came into the
port of San Francisco. In a good many years the old quays of the town,
built straight along the shore, would have been insufficient for the
embarkation and disembarkation of their cargoes, if engineers had not
devised subsidiary wharves. Piles of red deal were driven into the
water, and many square miles of planks were laid on them and formed huge
platforms. A good deal of the bay was thus taken up, but the bay is
enormous. There were also regular landing-stages, with numberless cranes
and crabs, at which steamers from both oceans, steamboats from the
Californian rivers, clippers from all countries, and coasters from the
American seaboard were ranged in proper order, so as not to interfere
one with the other.
It was at one of these artificial quays, at the extremity of Mission
Wharf Street, that the Dream had been securely moored after she had
come out of dock.
Nothing was neglected, and the steamer would start under the most
favourable conditions. Provisioning, outfit, all were minutely studied.
The rigging was perfect, the boilers had been tested and the screw was
an excellent one. A steam launch was even carried, to facilitate
communication with the shore, and this would probably be of great
service during the voyage.
Everything was ready on the 10th of June. They had only to put to sea.
The men shipped by Captain Turcott to work the sails or drive the engine
were a picked crew, and it would have been difficult to find a better
one. Quite a stock of live animals, agouties, sheep, goats, poultry,
&c., were stowed between decks, the material wants of the travellers
were likewise provided for by numerous cases of preserved meats of the
The route the Dream was to follow had doubtless been the subject of
the long conferences which William W. Kolderup had had with his captain.
All knew that they were first bound for Auckland, in New Zealand, unless
want of coal necessitated by the persistence of contrary winds obliged
them to refill perhaps at one of the islands of the Pacific or some
All this detail mattered little to Godfrey once he was on the sea, and
still less to Tartlet, whose troubled spirit exaggerated from day to day
the dangers of navigation. There was only one formality to be gone
through--the formality of being photographed.
An engaged man could not decently start on a long voyage round the world
without taking with him the image of her he loved, and in return leaving
his own image behind him.
Godfrey in tourist costume accordingly handed himself over to Messrs
Stephenson and Co., photographers of Montgomery Street, and Phina, in
her walking-dress, confided in like manner to the sun the task of fixing
her charming but somewhat sorrowing features on the plate of those able
It is also the custom to travel together, and so Phina's portrait had
its allotted place in Godfrey's cabin, and Godfrey's portrait its
special position in Phina's room. As for Tartlet, who had no betrothed
and who was not thinking of having one at present, he thought it better
to confide his image to sensitised paper. But although great was the
talent of the photographers they failed to present him with a
satisfactory proof. The negative was a confused fog in which it was
impossible to recognize the celebrated professor of dancing and
This was because the patient could not keep himself still, in spite of
all that was said about the invariable rule in studios devoted to
operations of this nature.
They tried other means, even the instantaneous process. Impossible.
Tartlet pitched and rolled in anticipation as violently as the captain
of the Dream.
The idea of obtaining a picture of the features of this remarkable man
had thus to be abandoned. Irreparable would be the misfortune if--but
far from us be the thought!--if in imagining he was leaving the new
world for the old world Tartlet had left the new world for the other
world from which nobody returns.
On the 9th of June all was ready. The Dream was complete. Her papers,
bills of lading, charter-party, assurance policy, were all in order, and
two days before the ship-broker had sent on the last signatures.
On that day a grand farewell breakfast was given at the mansion in
Montgomery Street. They drank to the happy voyage of Godfrey and his
Godfrey was rather agitated, and he did not strive to hide it. Phina
showed herself much the most composed. As for Tartlet he drowned his
apprehensions in several glasses of champagne, whose influence was
perceptible up to the moment of departure. He even forgot his kit, which
was brought to him as they were casting off the last hawsers of the
The last adieux were said on board, the last handshakings took place on
the poop, then the engine gave two or three turns of the screw and the
steamer was under way.
"May Heaven protect you!" said the uncle.
"And above all may it bring us back!" murmured Professor Tartlet.
"And never forget, Godfrey," added William W. Kolderup, "the device
which the Dream bears on her stern, 'Confide, recte agens.'"
"Never, Uncle Will! Good-bye, Phina!"
The steamer moved off, handkerchiefs were shaken as long as she remained
in sight from the quay, and even after. Soon the bay of San Francisco,
the largest in the world, was crossed, the Dream passed the narrow
throat of the Golden Gate and then her prow cleft the waters of the
Pacific Ocean. It was as though the Gates of Gold had closed upon her.
IN WHICH THE READER MAKES THE ACQUAINTANCE OF A NEW
The voyage had begun. There had not been much difficulty so far, it must
Professor Tartlet, with incontestable logic, often repeated,--
"Any voyage can begin! But where and how it finishes is the important
The cabin occupied by Godfrey was below the poop of the Dream and
opened on to the dining-saloon. Our young traveller was lodged there as
comfortably as possible. He had given Phina's photograph the best place
on the best lighted panel of his room. A cot to sleep on, a lavatory for
toilet purposes, some chests of drawers for his clothes and his linen, a
table to work at, an armchair to sit upon, what could a young man in his
twenty-second year want more? Under such circumstances he might have
gone twenty-two times round the world! Was he not at the age of that
practical philosophy which consists in good health and good humour? Ah!
young people, travel if you can, and if you cannot--travel all the same!
Tartlet was not in a good humour. His cabin, near that of his pupil,
seemed to him too narrow, his bed too hard, the six square yards which
he occupied quite insufficient for his steps and strides. Would not the
traveller in him absorb the professor of dancing and deportment? No! It
was in the blood, and when Tartlet reached the hour of his last sleep
his feet would be found placed in a horizontal line with the heels one
against the other, in the first position.
Meals were taken in common. Godfrey and Tartlet sat opposite to each
other, the captain and mate occupying each end of the rolling table.
This alarming appellation, the "rolling table," is enough to warn us
that the professor's place would too often be vacant.
At the start, in the lovely month of June, there was a beautiful breeze
from the north-east, and Captain Turcott was able to set his canvas so
as to increase his speed. The Dream thus balanced hardly rolled at
all, and as the waves followed her, her pitching was but slight. This
mode of progressing was not such as to affect the looks of the
passengers and give them pinched noses, hollow eyes, livid foreheads, or
colourless cheeks. It was supportable. They steered south-west over a
splendid sea, hardly lifting in the least, and the American coast soon
disappeared below the horizon.
For two days nothing occurred worthy of mention. The Dream made good
progress. The commencement of the voyage promised well--so that Captain
Turcott seemed occasionally to feel an anxiety which he tried in vain to
hide. Each day as the sun crossed the meridian he carefully took his
observations. But it could be noticed that immediately afterwards he
retired with the mate into his cabin, and then they remained in secret
conclave as if they were discussing some grave eventuality. This
performance passed probably unnoticed by Godfrey, who understood
about the details of navigation, but the boatswain and the crew seemed
somewhat astonished at it, particularly as for two or three times during
the first week, when there was not the least necessity for the
manoeuvre, the course of the Dream at night was completely altered,
and resumed again in the morning. In a sailing-ship this might be
intelligible; but in a steamer, which could keep on the great circle
line and only use canvas when the wind was favourable, it was somewhat
During the morning of the 12th of June a very unexpected incident
occurred on board.
Captain Turcott, the mate, and Godfrey, were sitting down to breakfast
when an unusual noise was heard on deck. Almost immediately afterwards
the boatswain opened the door and appeared on the threshold.
"Captain!" he said.
"What's up?" asked Turcott, sailor as he was, always on the alert.
"Here's a--Chinee!" said the boatswain.
"Yes! a genuine Chinese we have just found by chance at the bottom of
"At the bottom of the hold!" exclaimed Turcott. "Well, by all
the--somethings--of Sacramento, just send him to the bottom of the sea!"
"All right!" answered the boatswain.
And that excellent man with all the contempt of a Californian for a son
of the Celestial Empire, taking the order as quite a natural one, would
have had not the slightest compunction in executing it.
However, Captain Turcott rose from his chair, and followed by Godfrey
and the mate, left the saloon and walked towards the forecastle of the
There stood a Chinaman, tightly handcuffed, and held by two or three
sailors, who were by no means sparing of their nudges and knocks. He was
a man of from five-and-thirty to forty, with intelligent features, well
built, of lithe figure, but a little emaciated, owing to his sojourn for
sixteen hours at the bottom of a badly ventilated hold.
Captain Turcott made a sign to his men to leave the unhappy intruder
"Who are you?" he asked.
"A son of the sun."
"And what is your name?"
"Seng Vou," answered the Chinese, whose name in the Celestial language
signifies "he who does not live."
"And what are you doing on board here?"
"I am out for a sail!" coolly answered Seng Vou, "but am doing you as
little harm as I can."
"Really! as little harm!--and you stowed yourself away in the hold when
"Just so, captain."
"So that we might take you for nothing from America to China, on the
other side of the Pacific?"
"If you will have it so."
"And if I don't wish to have it so, you yellow-skinned nigger. If I will
have it that you have to swim to China."
"I will try," said the Chinaman with a smile, "but I shall probably sink
on the road!"
"Well, John," exclaimed Captain Turcott, "I am going to show you how to
save your passage-money."
And Captain Turcott, much more angry than circumstances necessitated,
was perhaps about to put his threat into execution, when Godfrey
"Captain," he said, "one more Chinee on board the Dream is one Chinee
less in California, where there are too many."
"A great deal too many!" answered Captain Turcott.
"Yes, too many. Well, if this poor beggar wishes to relieve San
Francisco of his presence, he ought to be pitied! Bah! we can throw him
on shore at Shanghai, and there needn't be any fuss about it!"
In saying that there were too many Chinese in California Godfrey held
the same language as every true Californian. The emigration of the sons
of the Celestial Empire--there are 300,000,000 in China as against
30,000,000 of Americans in the United States--has become dangerous to
the provinces of the Far West; and the legislators of these States of
California, Lower California, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, and even Congress
itself, are much concerned at this new epidemic of invasion, to which
the Yankees have given the name of the "yellow-plague."
At this period there were more than 50,000 Chinese, in the State of
California alone. These people, very industrious at gold-washing, very
patient, living on a pinch of rice, a mouthful of tea, and a whiff of
opium, did an immense deal to bring down the price of manual labour, to
the detriment of the native workmen. They had to submit to special laws,
contrary to the American constitution--laws which regulated their
immigration, and withheld from them the right of naturalization, owing
to the fear that they would end by obtaining a majority in the Congress.
Generally ill-treated, much as Indians or negroes, so as to justify the
title of "pests" which was applied to them, they herded together in a
sort of ghetto, where they carefully kept up the manners and customs of
the Celestial Empire.
In the Californian capital, it is in the Sacramento Street district,
decked with their banners and lanterns, that this foreign race has taken
up its abode. There they can be met in thousands, trotting along in
their wide-sleeved blouses, conical hats, and turned-up shoes. Here, for
the most part, they live as grocers, gardeners, or laundresses--unless
they are working as cooks or belong to one of those dramatic troupes
which perform Chinese pieces in the French theatre at San Francisco.
And--there is no reason why we should conceal the fact--Seng Vou
happened to form part of one of these troupes, in which he filled the
r˘le of "comic lead," if such a description can apply to any Chinese
artiste. As a matter of fact they are so serious, even in their fun,
that the Californian romancer, Bret Harte, has told us that he never
saw a genuine Chinaman laugh, and has even confessed that he is unable
to say whether one of the national pieces he witnessed was a tragedy or
In short, Seng Vou was a comedian. The season had ended, crowned with
success--perhaps out of proportion to the gold pieces he had amassed--he
wished to return to his country otherwise than as a corpse, for Chinamen
always like to get buried at home and there are special steamers who
carry dead Celestials and nothing else. At all risks, therefore, he had
secretly slipped on board the Dream.
Loaded with provisions, did he hope to get through, incognito, a passage
of several weeks, and then to land on the coast of China without being
It is just possible. At any rate, the case was hardly one for a death
So Godfrey had good reason to interfere in favour of the intruder, and
Captain Turcott, who pretended to be angrier than he really was, gave up
the idea of sending Seng Vou overboard to battle with the waves of the
Seng Vou, however, did not return to his hiding-place in the hold,
though he was rather an incubus on board. Phlegmatic, methodic, and by
no means communicative, he carefully avoided the seamen, who had always
some prank to play off on him, and he kept to his own provisions. He
was thin enough in all conscience, and his additional weight but
imperceptibly added to the cost of navigating the Dream. If Seng Vou
got a free passage it was obvious that his carriage did not cost William
W. Kolderup very much.
His presence on board put into Captain Turcott's head an idea which his
mate probably was the only one to understand thoroughly.
"He will bother us a bit--this confounded Chinee!--after all, so much
the worse for him."
"What ever made him stow himself away on board the Dream?" answered
"To get to Shanghai!" replied Captain Turcott. "Bless John and all
John's sons too!"
IN WHICH IT WILL BE SEEN THAT WILLIAM W. KOLDERUP WAS
PROBABLY RIGHT IN
INSURING HIS SHIP.
During the following days, the 13th, 14th, and 15th of June, the
barometer slowly fell, without an attempt to rise in the slightest
degree, and the weather became variable, hovering between rain and wind
or storm. The breeze strengthened considerably, and changed to
south-westerly. It was a head-wind for the Dream, and the waves had
now increased enormously, and lifted her forward. The sails were all
furled, and she had to depend on her screw alone; under half steam,
however, so as to avoid excessive labouring.
Godfrey bore the trial of the ship's motion without even losing his
good-humour for a moment. Evidently he was fond of the sea.
But Tartlet was not fond of the sea, and it served him out.
It was pitiful to see the unfortunate professor of deportment deporting
himself no longer, the professor of dancing dancing contrary to every
rule of his art. Remain in his cabin, with the seas shaking the ship
from stem to stern, he could not.
"Air! air!" he gasped.
And so he never left the deck. A roll sent him rolling from one side to
the other, a pitch sent him pitching from one end to the other. He clung
to the rails, he clutched the ropes, he assumed every attitude that is
absolutely condemned by the principles of the modern choregraphic art.
Ah! why could he not raise himself into the air by some balloon-like
movement, and escape the eccentricities of that moving plane? A dancer
of his ancestors had said that he only consented to set foot to the
ground so as not to humiliate his companions, but Tartlet would
willingly never have come down at all on the deck, whose perpetual
agitation threatened to hurl him into the abyss.
What an idea it was for the rich William W. Kolderup to send him here.
"Is this bad weather likely to last?" asked he of Captain Turcott twenty
times a day.
"Dunno! barometer is not very promising!" was the invariable answer of
the captain, knitting his brows.
"Shall we soon get there?"
"Soon, Mr. Tartlet? Hum! soon!"
"And they call this the Pacific Ocean!" repeated the unfortunate man,
between a couple of shocks and oscillations.
It should be stated that, not only did Professor Tartlet suffer from
sea-sickness, but also that fear had seized him as he watched the great
seething waves breaking into foam level with the bulwarks of the
Dream, and heard the valves, lifted by the violent beats, letting the
steam off through the waste-pipes, as he felt the steamer tossing like a
cork on the mountains of water.
"No," said he with a lifeless look at his pupil, "it is not impossible
for us to capsize."
"Take it quietly, Tartlet," replied Godfrey. "A ship was made to float!
There are reasons for all this."
"I tell you there are none."
And, thinking thus, the professor had put on his life-belt. He wore it
night and day, tightly buckled round his waist. He would not have taken
it off for untold gold. Every time the sea gave him a moment's respite
he would replenish it with another puff. In fact, he never blew it out
enough to please him.
We must make some indulgence for the terrors of Tartlet. To those
unaccustomed to the sea, its rolling is of a nature to cause some
alarm, and we know that this passenger-in-spite-of-himself had not even
till then risked his safety on the peaceable waters of the Bay of San
Francisco; so that we can forgive his being ill on board a ship in a
stiffish breeze, and his feeling terrified at the playfulness of the
The weather became worse and worse, and threatened the Dream with a
gale, which, had she been near the shore, would have been announced to
her by the semaphores.
During the day the ship was dreadfully knocked about, though running at
half steam so as not to damage her engines. Her screw was continually
immerging and emerging in the violent oscillations of her liquid bed.
Hence, powerful strokes from its wings in the deeper water, or fearful
tremors as it rose and ran wild, causing heavy thunderings beneath the
stern, and furious gallopings of the pistons which the engineer could
master but with difficulty.
One observation Godfrey made, of which at first he could not discover
the cause. This was, that during the night the shocks experienced by the
steamer were infinitely less violent than during the day. Was he then to
conclude that the wind then fell, and that a calm set in after sundown?
This was so remarkable that, on the night between the 21st and 22nd of
June, he endeavoured to find out some explanation of it. The day had
been particularly stormy, the wind had freshened, and it did not appear
at all likely that the sea would fall at night, lashed so capriciously
as it had been for so many hours.
Towards midnight then Godfrey dressed, and, wrapping himself up warmly,
went on deck.
The men on watch were forward, Captain Turcott was on the bridge.
The force of the wind had certainly not diminished. The shock of the
waves, which should have dashed on the bows of the Dream, was,
however, very much less violent. But in raising his eyes towards the top
of the funnel, with its black canopy of smoke, Godfrey saw that the
smoke, instead of floating from the bow aft, was, on the contrary,
floating from aft forwards, and following the same direction as the
"Has the wind changed?" he said to himself.
And extremely glad at the circumstance he mounted the bridge. Stepping
up to Turcott,--
"Captain!" he said.
The latter, enveloped in his oilskins, had not heard him approach, and
at first could not conceal a movement of annoyance in seeing him close
"You, Mr. Godfrey, you--on the bridge?"
"Yes, I, captain. I came to ask--"
"What?" answered Captain Turcott sharply.
"If the wind has not changed?"
"No, Mr. Godfrey, no. And, unfortunately, I think it will turn to a
"But we now have the wind behind us!"
"Wind behind us--yes--wind behind us!" replied the captain, visibly
disconcerted at the observation. "But it is not my fault."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean that in order not to endanger the vessel's safety I have had to
put her about and run before the storm."
"That will cause us a most lamentable delay!" said Godfrey.
"Very much so," answered Captain Turcott, "but when day breaks, if the
sea falls a little, I shall resume our westerly route. I should
recommend you, Mr. Godfrey, to get back to your cabin. Take my advice,
try and sleep while we are running before the wind. You will be less
Godfrey made a sign of affirmation; turning a last anxious glance at the
low clouds which were chasing each other with extreme swiftness, he left
the bridge, returned to his cabin, and soon resumed his interrupted
slumbers. The next morning, the 22nd of June, as Captain Turcott had
said, the wind having sensibly abated, the Dream was headed in proper
This navigation towards the west during the day, towards the east during
the night, lasted for forty-eight hours more; but the barometer showed
some tendency to rise, its oscillations became less frequent; it was to
be presumed that the bad weather would end in northerly winds. And so in
fact it happened.
On the 25th of June, about eight o'clock in the morning, when Godfrey
stepped on deck, a charming breeze from the north-east had swept away
the clouds, the sun's rays were shining through the rigging and tipping
its projecting points with touches of fire. The sea, deep green in
colour, glittered along a large section of its surface beneath the
direct influence of its beams. The wind blew only in feeble gusts which
laced the wave-crests with delicate foam. The lower sails were set.
Properly speaking, they were not regular waves on which the sea rose and
fell, but only lengthened undulations which gently rocked the steamer.
Undulations or waves, it is true, it was all one to Professor Tartlet,
as unwell when it was "too mild," as when it was "too rough." There he
was, half crouching on the deck, with his mouth open like a carp fainted
out of water.
The mate on the poop, his telescope at his eye, was looking towards the
Godfrey approached him.
"Well, sir," said he gaily, "to-day is a little better than yesterday."
"Yes, Mr. Godfrey," replied the mate, "we are now in smooth water."
"And the Dream is on the right road!"
"Not yet? and why?"
"Because we have evidently drifted north-eastwards during this last
spell, and we must find out our position exactly."
"But there is a good sun and a horizon perfectly clear."
"At noon in taking its height we shall get a good observation, and then
the captain will give us our course."
"Where is the captain?" asked Godfrey.
"He has gone off."
"Yes! our look-outs saw from the whiteness of the sea that there were
some breakers away to the east; breakers which are not shown on the
chart. So the steam launch was got out, and with the boatswain and three
men, Captain Turcott has gone off to explore."
"How long ago?"
"About an hour and a half!"
"Ah!" said Godfrey, "I am sorry he did not tell me. I should like to
have gone too."
"You were asleep, Mr. Godfrey," replied the mate, "and the captain did
not like to wake you."
"I am sorry; but tell me, which way did the launch go?"
"Over there," answered the mate, "over the starboard bow,
"And can you see it with the telescope?"
"No, she is too far off."
"But will she be long before she comes back?"
"She won't be long, for the captain is going to take the sights himself,
and to do that he must be back before noon."
At this Godfrey went and sat on the forecastle, having sent some one for
his glasses. He was anxious to watch the return of the launch. Captain
Turcott's reconnaissance did not cause him any surprise. It was natural
that the Dream should not be run into danger on a part of the sea
where breakers had been reported.
Two hours passed. It was not until half-past ten that a light line of
smoke began to rise on the horizon.
It was evidently the steam launch which, having finished the
reconnaissance, was making for the ship.
It amused Godfrey to follow her in the field of his glasses. He saw her
little by little reveal herself in clearer outline, he saw her grow on
the surface of the sea, and then give definite shape to her smoke
wreath, as it mingled with a few curls of steam on the clear depth of
She was an excellent little vessel, of immense speed, and as she came
along at full steam, she was soon visible to the naked eye. Towards
eleven o'clock, the wash from her bow as she tore through the waves was
perfectly distinct, and behind her the long furrow of foam gradually
growing wider and fainter like the tail of a comet.
At a quarter-past eleven, Captain Turcott hailed and boarded the
"Well, captain, what news?" asked Godfrey, shaking his hand.
"Ah! Good morning, Mr. Godfrey!"
"And the breakers?"
"Only show!" answered Captain Turcott. "We saw nothing suspicious, our
men must have been deceived, but I am rather surprised at that, all the
"We are going ahead then?" said Godfrey.
"Yes, we are going on now, but I must first take an observation."
"Shall we get the launch on board?" asked the mate.
"No," answered the captain, "we may want it again. Leave it in tow!"
The captain's orders were executed, and the launch, still under steam,
dropped round to the stern of the Dream.
Three-quarters of an hour afterwards, Captain Turcott, with his sextant
in his hand, took the sun's altitude, and having made his observation,
he gave the course. That done, having given a last look at the horizon,
he called the mate, and taking him into his cabin, the two remained
there in a long consultation.
The day was a very fine one. The sails had been furled, and the Dream
steamed rapidly without their help. The wind was very slight, and with
the speed given by the screw there would not have been enough to fill
Godfrey was thoroughly happy. This sailing over a beautiful sea, under a
beautiful sky, could anything be more cheering, could anything give more
impulse to thought, more satisfaction to the mind? And it is scarcely to
be wondered at that Professor Tartlet also began to recover himself a
little. The state of the sea did not inspire him with immediate
inquietude, and his physical being showed a little reaction. He tried to
eat, but without taste or appetite. Godfrey would have had him take off
the life-belt which encircled his waist, but this he absolutely refused
to do. Was there not a chance of this conglomeration of wood and iron,
which men call a vessel, gaping asunder at any moment.
The evening came, a thick mist spread over the sky, without descending
to the level of the sea. The night was to be much darker than would have
been thought from the magnificent daytime.
There was no rock to fear in these parts, for Captain Turcott had just
fixed his exact position on the charts; but collisions are always
possible, and they are much more frequent on foggy nights.
The lamps were carefully put into place as soon as the sun set. The
white one was run up the mast, and the green light to the right and the
red one to the left gleamed in the shrouds. If the Dream was run down,
at the least it would not be her fault--that was one consolation. To
founder even when one is in order is to founder nevertheless, and if any
one on board made this observation it was of course Professor Tartlet.
However, the worthy man, always on the roll and the pitch, had regained
his cabin, Godfrey his; the one with the assurance, the other in the
hope that he would pass a good night, for the Dream scarcely moved on
the crest of the lengthened waves.
Captain Turcott, having handed over the watch to the mate, also came
under the poop to take a few hours' rest. All was in order. The steamer
could go ahead in perfect safety, although it did not seem as though
the thick fog would lift.
In about twenty minutes Godfrey was asleep, and the sleepless Tartlet,
who had gone to bed with his clothes on as usual, only betrayed himself
by distant sighs. All at once--at about one in the morning--Godfrey was
awakened by a dreadful clamour.
He jumped out of bed, slipped on his clothes, his trousers, his
waistcoat and his sea-boots.
Almost immediately a fearful cry was heard on deck, "We are sinking! we
In an instant Godfrey was out of his cabin and in the saloon. There he
cannoned against an inert mass which he did not recognize. It was
The whole crew were on deck, hurrying about at the orders of the mate
"A collision?" asked Godfrey.
"I don't know, I don't know--this beastly fog--" answered the mate; "but
we are sinking!"
"Sinking?" exclaimed Godfrey.
And in fact the Dream, which had doubtless struck on a rock was
sensibly foundering. The water was creeping up to the level of the deck.
The engine fires were probably already out below.
"To the sea! to the sea, Mr. Morgan!" exclaimed the captain. "There is
not a moment to lose! You can see the ship settling down! It will draw
you down in the eddy!"
"I'll look after him!--We are only half a cable from the shore!"
"My duty compels me to remain here to the last, and I remain!" said the
captain. "But get off! get off!"
Godfrey still hesitated to cast himself into the waves, but the water
was already up to the level of the deck.
Captain Turcott knowing that Godfrey swam like a fish, seized him by the
shoulders, and did him the service of throwing him overboard.
It was time! Had it not been for the darkness, there would doubtless
have been seen a deep raging vortex in the place once occupied by the
But Godfrey, in a few strokes in the calm water, was able to get swiftly
clear of the whirlpool, which would have dragged him down like the
All this was the work of a minute.
A few minutes afterwards, amid shouts of despair, the lights on board
went out one after the other.
Doubt existed no more; the Dream had sunk head downwards!
As for Godfrey he had been able to reach a large lofty rock away from
the surf. There, shouting vainly in the darkness, hearing no voice in
reply to his own, not knowing if he should find himself on an isolated
rock or at the extremity of a line of reefs, and perhaps the sole
survivor of the catastrophe, he waited for the dawn.
WHICH LEADS GODFREY TO BITTER REFLECTIONS ON THE MANIA FOR
Three long hours had still to pass before the sun reappeared above the
horizon. These were such hours that they might rather be called
The trial was a rough one to begin with, but, we repeat, Godfrey had not
come out for a simple promenade. He himself put it very well when he
said he had left behind him quite a lifetime of happiness and repose,
which he would never find again in his search for adventures. He tried
his utmost therefore to rise to the situation.
He was, temporarily, under shelter. The sea after all could not drive
him off the rock which lay anchored alone amid the spray of the surf.
Was there any fear of the incoming tide soon reaching him? No, for on
reflection he concluded that the wreck had taken place at the highest
tide of the new moon.
But was the rock isolated? Did it command a line of breakers scattered
on this portion of the sea? What was this coast which Captain Turcott
had thought he saw in the darkness? To which continent did it belong? It
was only too certain that the Dream had been driven out of her route
during the storm of the preceding days. The position of the ship could
not have been exactly fixed. How could there be a doubt of this when the
captain had two hours before affirmed that his charts bore no indication
of breakers in these parts! He had even done better and had gone himself
to reconnoitre these imaginary reefs which his look-outs had reported
they had seen in the east.
It nevertheless had been only too true, and Captain Turcott's
reconnaissance would have certainly prevented the catastrophe if it had
only been pushed far enough. But what was the good of returning to the
The important question in face of what had happened--a question of life
or death--was for Godfrey to know if he was near to some land. In what
part of the Pacific there would be time later on to determine. Before
everything he must think as soon as the day came of how to leave the
rock, which in its biggest part could not measure more that twenty yards
square. But people do not leave one place except to go to another. And
if this other did not exist, if the captain had been deceived in the
fog, if around the breakers there stretched a boundless sea, if at the
extreme point of view the sky and the water seemed to meet all round the
The thoughts of the young man were thus concentrated on this point. All
his powers of vision did he employ to discover through the black night
if any confused mass, any heap of rocks or cliffs, would reveal the
neighbourhood of land to the eastward of the reef.
Godfrey saw nothing. Not a smell of earth reached his nose, not a
sensation of light reached his eyes, not a sound reached his ears. Not a
bird traversed the darkness. It seemed that around him there was nothing
but a vast desert of water.
Godfrey did not hide from himself that the chances were a thousand to
one that he was lost. He no longer thought of making the tour of the
world, but of facing death, and calmly and bravely his thoughts rose to
that Providence which can do all things for the feeblest of its
creatures, though the creatures can do nothing of themselves. And so
Godfrey had to wait for the day to resign himself to his fate, if safety
was impossible; and, on the contrary, to try everything, if there was
any chance of life.
Calmed by the very gravity of his reflections, Godfrey had seated
himself on the rock. He had stripped off some of his clothes which had
been saturated by the sea-water, his woollen waistcoat and his heavy
boots, so as to be ready to jump into the sea if necessary.
However, was it possible that no one had survived the wreck? What! not
one of the men of the Dream carried to shore? Had they all been sucked
in by the terrible whirlpool which the ship had drawn round herself as
she sank? The last to whom Godfrey had spoken was Captain Turcott,
resolved not to quit his ship while one of his sailors was still there!
It was the captain himself who had hurled him into the sea at the moment
the Dream was disappearing.
But the others, the unfortunate Tartlet, and the unhappy Chinese,
surprised without doubt, and swallowed up, the one in the poop, the
other in the depths of the hold, what had become of them? Of all those
on board the Dream, was he the only one saved? And had the steam
launch remained at the stern of the steamer? Could not a few passengers
or sailors have saved themselves therein, and found time to flee from
the wreck? But was it not rather to be feared that the launch had been
dragged down by the ship under several fathoms of water?
Godfrey then said to himself, that if in this dark night he could not
see, he could at least make himself heard. There was nothing to prevent
his shouting and hailing in the deep silence. Perhaps the voice of one
of his companions would respond to his.
Over and over again then did he call, giving forth a prolonged shout
which should have been heard for a considerable distance round. Not a
cry answered to his.
He began again, many times, turning successively to every point of the
"Alone! alone!" he murmured.
Not only had no cry answered to his, but no echo had sent him back the
sound of his own voice. Had he been near a cliff, not far from a group
of rocks, such as generally border the shore, it was certain that his
shouts, repelled by the obstacles, would have returned to him. Either
eastwards of the reef, therefore, stretched a low-lying shore
ill-adapted for the production of an echo, or there was no land in his
vicinity, the bed of breakers on which he had found refuge was isolated.
Three hours were passed in these anxieties. Godfrey, quite chilled,
walked about the top of the rock, trying to battle with the cold. At
last a few pale beams of light tinged the clouds in the zenith. It was
the reflection of the first colouring of the horizon.
Godfrey turned to this side--the only one towards which there could be
land--to see if any cliff outlined itself in the shadow. With its early
rays the rising sun might disclose its features more distinctly.
But nothing appeared through the misty dawn. A light fog was rising
over the sea, which did not even admit of his discovering the extent of
[Illustration: Nothing appeared through the mist. page 82]
He had, therefore, to satisfy himself with illusions. If Godfrey were
really cast on an isolated rock in the Pacific, it was death to him
after a brief delay, death by hunger, by thirst, or if necessary, death
at the bottom of the sea as a last resource!
However, he kept constantly looking, and it seemed as though the
intensity of his gaze increased enormously, for all his will was
At length the morning mist began to fade away. Godfrey saw the rocks
which formed the reef successively defined in relief on the sea, like a
troop of marine monsters. It was a long and irregular assemblage of dark
boulders, strangely worn, of all sizes and forms, whose direction was
almost west and east. The enormous block on the top of which Godfrey
found himself emerged from the sea on the western edge of the bank
scarcely thirty fathoms from the spot where the Dream had gone down.
The sea hereabouts appeared to be very deep, for of the steamer nothing
was to be seen, not even the ends of her masts. Perhaps by some
under-current she had been drawn away from the reefs.
A glance was enough for Godfrey to take in this state of affairs.
There was no safety on that side. All his attention was directed towards
the other side of the breakers, which the lifting fog was gradually
disclosing. The sea, now that the tide had retired, allowed the rocks to
stand out very distinctly. They could be seen to lengthen as there humid
bases widened. Here were vast intervals of water, there a few shallow
pools. If they joined on to any coast, it would not be difficult to
Up to the present, however, there was no sign of any shore. Nothing yet
indicated the proximity of dry land, even in this direction.
The fog continued to lift, and the field of view persistently watched by
Godfrey continued to grow. Its wreaths had now rolled off for about half
a mile or so. Already a few sandy flats appeared among the rocks,
carpeted with their slimy sea-weed.
Did not this sand indicate more or less the presence of a beach, and if
the beach existed, could there be a doubt but what it belonged to the
coast of a more important land? At length a long profile of low hills,
buttressed with huge granitic rocks, became clearly outlined and seemed
to shut in the horizon on the east. The sun had drunk up all the morning
vapours, and his disc broke forth in all its glory.
"Land! land!" exclaimed Godfrey.
And he stretched his hands towards the shore-line, as he knelt on the
reef and offered his thanks to Heaven.
It was really land. The breakers only formed a projecting ridge,
something like the southern cape of a bay, which curved round for about
two miles or more. The bottom of the curve seemed to be a level beach,
bordered by trifling hills, contoured here and there with lines of
vegetation, but of no great size.
From the place which Godfrey occupied, his view was able to grasp the
whole of this side.
Bordered north and south by two unequal promontories, it stretched away
for, at the most, five or six miles. It was possible, however, that it
formed part of a large district. Whatever it was, it offered at the
least temporary safety. Godfrey, at the sight, could not conceive a
doubt but that he had not been thrown on to a solitary reef, and that
this morsel of ground would satisfy his earliest wants.
"To land! to land!" he said to himself.
But before he left the reef, he gave a look round for the last time. His
eyes again interrogated the sea away up to the horizon. Would some raft
appear on the surface of the waves, some fragment of the Dream, some
Nothing. The launch even was not there, and had probably been dragged
into the common abyss.
Then the idea occurred to Godfrey that among the breakers some of his
companions might have found a refuge, and were, like him, waiting for
the day to try and reach the shore.
There was nobody, neither on the rocks, nor on the beach! The reef was
as deserted as the ocean!
But in default of survivors, had not the sea thrown up some of the
corpses? Could not Godfrey find among the rocks, along to the utmost
boundary of the surf, the inanimate bodies of some of his companions?
No! Nothing along the whole length of the breakers, which the last
ripples of the ebb had now left bare.
Godfrey was alone! He could only count on himself to battle with the
dangers of every sort which environed him!
Before this reality, however, Godfrey, let it be said to his credit, did
not quail. But as before everything it was best for him to ascertain the
nature of the ground from which he was separated by so short a distance,
he left the summit of the rock and began to approach the shore.
When the interval which separated the rocks was too great to be cleared
at a bound, he got down into the water, and sometimes walking and
sometimes swimming he easily gained the one next in order. When there
was but a yard or two between, he jumped from one rock to the other.
His progress over these slimy stones, carpeted with glistening
sea-weeds, was not easy, and it was long. Nearly a quarter of a mile had
thus to be traversed.
But Godfrey was active and handy, and at length he set foot on the land
where there probably awaited him, if not early death, at least a
miserable life worse than death. Hunger, thirst, cold, and nakedness,
and perils of all kinds; without a weapon of defence, without a gun to
shoot with, without a change of clothes--such the extremities to which
he was reduced.
How imprudent he had been! He had been desirous of knowing if he was
capable of making his way in the world under difficult circumstances! He
had put himself to the proof! He had envied the lot of a Crusoe! Well,
he would see if the lot were an enviable one!
And then there returned to his mind the thought of his happy existence,
that easy life in San Francisco, in the midst of a rich and loving
family, which he had abandoned to throw himself into adventures. He
thought of his Uncle Will, of his betrothed Phina, of his friends who
would doubtless never see him again.
As he called up these remembrances his heart swelled, and in spite of
his resolution a tear rose to his eyes.
And again, if he was not alone, if some other survivor of the shipwreck
had managed, like him, to reach the shore, and even in default of the
captain or the mate, this proved to be Professor Tartlet, how little he
could depend on that frivolous being, and how slightly improved the
chances of the future appeared! At this point, however, he still had
hope. If he had found no trace among the breakers, would he meet with
any on the beach?
Who else but he had already touched the shore, seeking a companion who
was seeking him?
Godfrey took another long look from north to south. He did not notice a
single human being. Evidently this portion of the earth was uninhabited.
In any case there was no sign, not a trace of smoke in the air, not a
"Let us get on!" said Godfrey to himself.
And he walked along the beach towards the north, before venturing to
climb the sand dunes, which would allow him to reconnoitre the country
over a larger extent.
The silence was absolute. The sand had received no other footmark. A few
sea-birds, gulls or guillemots, were skimming along the edge of the
rocks, the only living things in the solitude.
Godfrey continued his walk for a quarter of an hour. At last he was
about to turn on to the talus of the most elevated of the dunes, dotted
with rushes and brushwood, when he suddenly stopped.
A shapeless object, extraordinarily distended, something like the
corpse of a sea monster, thrown there, doubtless, by the late storm, was
lying about thirty paces off on the edge of the reef.
Godfrey hastened to run towards it.
The nearer he approached the more rapidly did his heart beat. In truth,
in this stranded animal he seemed to recognize a human form.
Godfrey was not ten paces away from it, when he stopped as if rooted to
the soil, and exclaimed,--
It was the professor of dancing and deportment.
Godfrey rushed towards his companion, who perhaps still breathed.
A moment afterwards he saw that it was the life-belt which produced this
extraordinary distension, and gave the aspect of a monster of the sea to
the unfortunate professor.
But although Tartlet was motionless, was he dead? Perhaps this natatory
clothing had kept him above water, while the surf had borne him to
Godfrey set to work. He knelt down by Tartlet; he unloosed the life-belt
and rubbed him vigorously. He noticed at last a light breath on the
half-opened lips! He put his hand on his heart! The heart still beat.
Godfrey spoke to him.
Tartlet shook his head, then he gave utterance to a hoarse exclamation,
followed by incoherent words.
Godfrey shook him violently.
Tartlet then opened his eyes, passed his left hand over his brow, lifted
his right hand and assured himself that his precious kit and bow, which
he tightly held, had not abandoned him.
"Tartlet! My dear Tartlet!" shouted Godfrey, lightly raising his head.
The head with his mass of tumbled hair gave an affirmative nod.
"It is I! I! Godfrey!"
"Godfrey?" asked the professor.
And then he turned over, and rose on to his knees, and looked about, and
smiled, and rose to his feet! He had discovered that at last he was on a
solid base! He had gathered that he was no longer on the ship's deck,
exposed to all the uncertainties of its pitches and its rolls! The sea
had ceased to carry him! He stood on firm ground!
And then Professor Tartlet recovered the aplomb which he had lost since
his departure; his feet placed themselves naturally, with their toes
turned out, in the regulation position; his left hand seized his kit,
his right hand grasped his bow.
Then, while the strings, vigorously attacked, gave forth a humid sound
of melancholy sonorousness, these words escaped his smiling lips,--
"In place, miss!"
The good man was thinking of Phina.
IN WHICH IT IS SHOWN THAT CRUSOES DO NOT HAVE EVERYTHING AS
That done, the professor and his pupil rushed into one another's arms.
"My dear Godfrey!" exclaimed Tartlet.
"My good Tartlet!" replied Godfrey.
"At last we are arrived in port!" observed the professor in the tone of
a man who had had enough of navigation and its accidents.
He called it arriving in port!
Godfrey had no desire to contradict him.
"Take off your life-belt," he said. "It suffocates you and hampers your
"Do you think I can do so without inconvenience?" asked Tartlet.
"Without any inconvenience," answered Godfrey. "Now put up your fiddle,
and let us take a look round."
"Come on," replied the professor; "but if you don't mind, Godfrey, let
us go to the first restaurant we see. I am dying of hunger, and a dozen
sandwiches washed down with a glass or two of wine will soon set me on
my legs again."
"Yes! to the first restaurant!" answered Godfrey, nodding his head; "and
even to the last, if the first does not suit us."
"And," continued Tartlet, "we can ask some fellow as we go along the
road to the telegraph office so as to send a message off to your Uncle
Kolderup. That excellent man will hardly refuse to send on some
necessary cash for us to get back to Montgomery Street, for I have not
got a cent with me!"
"Agreed, to the first telegraph office," answered Godfrey, "or if there
isn't one in this country, to the first post office. Come on, Tartlet."
The professor took off his swimming apparatus, and passed it over his
shoulder like a hunting-horn, and then both stepped out for the edge of
the dunes which bordered the shore.
What more particularly interested Godfrey, whom the encounter with
Tartlet had imbued with some hope, was to see if they too were the only
survivors of the Dream.
A quarter of an hour after the explorers had left the edge of the reef
they had climbed a dune about sixty or eighty feet high, and stood on
its crest. Thence they looked on a large extent of coast, and examined
the horizon in the east, which till then had been hidden by the hills on
Two or three miles away in that direction a second line of hills formed
the background, and beyond them nothing was seen of the horizon.
Towards the north the coast trended off to a point, but it could not be
seen if there was a corresponding cape behind. On the south a creek ran
some distance into the shore, and on this side it looked as though the
ocean closed the view. Whence this land in the Pacific was probably a
peninsula, and the isthmus which joined it to the continent would have
to be sought for towards the north or north-east.
The country, however, far from being barren, was hidden beneath an
agreeable mantle of verdure; long prairies, amid which meandered many
limpid streams, and high and thick forests, whose trees rose above one
another to the very background of hills. It was a charming landscape.
But of houses forming town, village, or hamlet, not one was in sight! Of
buildings grouped and arranged as a farm of any sort, not a sign! Of
smoke in the sky, betraying some dwelling hidden among the trees, not a
trace. Not a steeple above the branches, not a windmill on an isolated
hill. Not even in default of houses a cabin, a hut, an ajoupa, or a
wigwam? No! nothing. If human beings inhabited this unknown land, they
must live like troglodytes, below, and not above the ground. Not a road
was visible, not a footpath, not even a track. It seemed that the foot
of man had never trod either a rock of the beach or a blade of the grass
on the prairies.
"I don't see the town," remarked Tartlet, who, however, remained on
"That is perhaps because it is not in this part of the province!"
"But a village?"
"There's nothing here."
"Where are we then?"
"I know nothing about it."
"What! You don't know! But Godfrey, we had better make haste and find
"Who is to tell us?"
"What will become of us then?" exclaimed Tartlet, rounding his arms and
lifting them to the sky.
"Become a couple of Crusoes!"
At this answer the professor gave a bound such as no clown had ever
Crusoes! They! A Crusoe! He! Descendants of that Selkirk who had lived
for long years on the island of Juan Fernandez! Imitators of the
imaginary heroes of Daniel Defoe and De Wyss whose adventures they had
so often read! Abandoned, far from their relatives, their friends;
separated from their fellow-men by thousands of miles, destined to
defend their lives perhaps against wild beasts, perhaps against savages
who would land there, wretches without resources, suffering from hunger,
suffering from thirst, without weapons, without tools, almost without
clothes, left to themselves. No, it was impossible!
"Don't say such things, Godfrey," exclaimed Tartlet. "No! Don't joke
about such things! The mere supposition will kill me! You are laughing
at me, are you not?"
"Yes, my gallant Tartlet," answered Godfrey. "Reassure yourself. But in
the first place, let us think about matters that are pressing."
In fact, they had to try and find some cavern, a grotto or hole, in
which to pass the night, and then to collect some edible mollusks so as
to satisfy the cravings of their stomachs.
Godfrey and Tartlet then commenced to descend the talus of the dunes in
the direction of the reef. Godfrey showed himself very ardent in his
researches, and Tartlet considerably stupefied by his shipwreck
experiences. The first looked before him, behind him, and all around
him; the second hardly saw ten paces in front of him.
"If there are no inhabitants on this land, are there any animals?"
He meant to say domestic animals, such as furred and feathered game, not
wild animals which abound in tropical regions, and with which they were
not likely to have to do.
Several flocks of birds were visible on the shore, bitterns, curlews,
bernicle geese, and teal, which hovered and chirped and filled the air
with their flutterings and cries, doubtless protesting against the
invasion of their domain.
Godfrey was justified in concluding that where there were birds there
were nests, and where there were nests there were eggs. The birds
congregated here in such numbers, because rocks provided them with
thousands of cavities for their dwelling-places. In the distance a few
herons and some flocks of snipe indicated the neighbourhood of a marsh.
Birds then were not wanting, the only difficulty was to get at them
without fire-arms. The best thing to do now was to make use of them in
the egg state, and consume them under that elementary but nourishing
But if the dinner was there, how were they to cook it? How were they to
set about lighting a fire? An important question, the solution of which
Godfrey and Tartlet returned straight towards the reef, over which some
sea-birds were circling. An agreeable surprise there awaited them.
Among the indigenous fowl which ran along the sand of the beach and
pecked about among the sea-weed and under the tufts of aquatic plants,
was it a dozen hens and two or three cocks of the American breed that
they beheld? No! There was no mistake, for at their approach did not a
resounding cock-a-doodle-do-oo-oo rend the air like the sound of a
And farther off, what were those quadrupeds which were gliding in and
out of the rocks, and making their way towards the first slopes of the
hills, or grubbing beneath some of the green shrubs? Godfrey could not
be mistaken. There were a dozen agouties, five or six sheep, and as many
goats, who were quietly browsing on the first vegetation on the very
edge of the prairie.
"Look there, Tartlet!" he exclaimed.
And the professor looked, but saw nothing, so much was he absorbed with
the thought of this unexpected situation.
A thought flashed across the mind of Godfrey, and it was correct: it was
that these hens, agouties, goats, and sheep had belonged to the Dream.
At the moment she went down, the fowls had easily been able to reach the
reef and then the beach. As for the quadrupeds, they could easily have
"And so," remarked Godfrey, "what none of our unfortunate companions
have been able to do, these simple animals, guided by their instinct,
have done! And of all those on board the Dream, none have been saved
but a few beasts!"
"Including ourselves!" answered Tartlet naively.
As far as he was concerned, he had come ashore unconsciously, very much
like one of the animals. It mattered little. It was a very fortunate
thing for the two shipwrecked men that a certain number of these animals
had reached the shore. They would collect them, fold them, and with the
special fecundity of their species, if their stay on this land was a
lengthy one, it would be easy to have quite a flock of quadrupeds, and a
yard full of poultry.
But on this occasion, Godfrey wished to keep to such alimentary
resources as the coast could furnish, either in eggs or shell-fish.
Professor Tartlet and he set to work to forage among the interstices of
the stones, and beneath the carpet of sea-weeds, and not without
success. They soon collected quite a notable quantity of mussels and
periwinkles, which they could eat raw. A few dozen eggs of the bernicle
geese were also found among the higher rocks which shut in the bay on
the north. They had enough to satisfy a good many; and, hunger pressing,
Godfrey and Tartlet hardly thought of making difficulties about their
"And the fire?" said the professor.
"Yes! The fire!" said Godfrey.
It was the most serious of questions, and it led to an inventory being
made of the contents of their pockets. Those of the professor were empty
or nearly so. They contained a few spare strings for his kit, and a
piece of rosin for his bow. How would you get a light from that, I
should like to know? Godfrey was hardly better provided. However, it was
with extreme satisfaction that he discovered in his pocket an excellent
knife, whose leather case had kept it from the sea-water. This knife,
with blade, gimlet, hook, and saw, was a valuable instrument under the
circumstances. But besides this tool, Godfrey and his companion had only
their two hands; and as the hands of the professor had never been used
except in playing his fiddle, and making his gestures, Godfrey concluded
that he would have to trust to his own.
He thought, however, of utilizing those of Tartlet for procuring a fire
by means of rubbing two sticks of wood rapidly together. A few eggs
cooked in the embers would be greatly appreciated at their second meal
While Godfrey then was occupied in robbing the nests in spite of the
proprietors, who tried to defend their progeny in the shell, the
professor went off to collect some pieces of wood which had been dried
by the sun at the foot of the dunes. These were taken behind a rock
sheltered from the wind from the sea. Tartlet then chose two very dry
pieces, with the intention of gradually obtaining sufficient heat by
rubbing them vigorously and continuously together. What simple
Polynesian savages commonly did, why should not the professor, so much
their superior in his own opinion, be able to do?
Behold him then, rubbing and rubbing, in a way to dislocate the muscles
of his arm and shoulder. He worked himself into quite a rage, poor man!
But whether it was that the wood was not right, or its dryness was not
sufficient, or the professor held it wrongly, or had not got the
peculiar turn of hand necessary for operations of this kind, if he did
not get much heat out of the wood, he succeeded in getting a good deal
out of himself. In short, it was his own forehead alone which smoked
under the vapours of his own perspiration.
When Godfrey returned with his collection of eggs, he found Tartlet in a
rage, in a state to which his choregraphic exercises had never doubtless
"Doesn't it do?" he asked.
"No, Godfrey, it does not do," replied the professor. "And I begin to
think that these inventions of the savages are only imaginations to
deceive the world."
"No," answered Godfrey. "But in that, as in all things, you must know
how to do it."
"These eggs, then?"
"There is another way. If you attach one of these eggs to the end of a
string and whirl it round rapidly, and suddenly arrest the movement of
rotation, the movement may perhaps transform itself into heat, and
"And then the egg will be cooked?"
"Yes, if the rotation has been swift enough and the stoppage sudden
enough. But how do you produce the stoppage without breaking the egg?
Now, there is a simpler way, dear Tartlet. Behold!"
And carefully taking one of the eggs of the bernicle goose, he broke the
shell at its end, and adroitly swallowed the inside without any further
Tartlet could not make up his mind to imitate him, and contented himself
with the shell-fish.
It now remained to look for a grotto or some shelter in which to pass
"It is an unheard-of thing," observed the professor, "that Crusoes
cannot at the least find a cavern, which, later on, they can make their
"Let us look," said Godfrey.
It was unheard of. We must avow, however, that on this occasion the
tradition was broken. In vain did they search along the rocky shore on
the southern part of the bay. Not a cavern, not a grotto, not a hole was
there that would serve as a shelter. They had to give up the idea.
Godfrey resolved to reconnoitre up to the first trees in the background
beyond the sandy coast.
Tartlet and he then remounted the first line of sandhills and crossed
the verdant prairies which they had seen a few hours before.
A very odd circumstance, and a very fortunate one at the time, that the
other survivors of the wreck voluntarily followed them. Evidently, cocks
and hens, and sheep, goats and agouties, driven by instinct, had
resolved to go with them. Doubtless they felt too lonely on the beach,
which did not yield sufficient food.
Three-quarters of an hour later Godfrey and Tartlet--they had scarcely
spoken during the exploration--arrived at the outskirt of the trees. Not
a trace was there of habitation or inhabitant. Complete solitude. It
might even be doubted if this part of the country had ever been trodden
by human feet.
In this place were a few handsome trees, in isolated groups, and others
more crowded about a quarter of a mile in the rear formed a veritable
forest of different species.
Godfrey looked out for some old trunk, hollowed by age, which could
offer a shelter among its branches, but his researches were in vain,
although he continued them till night was falling.
Hunger made itself sharply felt, and the two contented themselves with
mussels, of which they had thoughtfully brought an ample supply from the
beach. Then, quite tired out, they lay down at the foot of a tree, and
trusting to Providence, slept through the night.
IN WHICH GODFREY DOES WHAT ANY OTHER SHIPWRECKED MAN
WOULD HAVE DONE
UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES.
The night passed without incident. The two men, quite knocked up with
excitement and fatigue, had slept as peacefully as if they had been in
the most comfortable room in the mansion in Montgomery Street.
On the morrow, the 27th of June, at the first rays of the rising sun,
the crow of the cock awakened them.
Godfrey immediately recognized where he was, but Tartlet had to rub his
eyes and stretch his arms for some time before he did so.
"Is breakfast this morning to resemble dinner yesterday?" was his first
"I am afraid so," answered Godfrey. "But I hope we shall dine better
The professor could not restrain a significant grimace. Where were the
tea and sandwiches which had hitherto been brought to him when he
awoke? How could he wait till breakfast-time, the bell for which would
perhaps never sound, without this preparatory repast?
But it was necessary to make a start. Godfrey felt the responsibility
which rested on him, on him alone, for he could in no way depend on his
companion. In that empty box which served the professor for a cranium
there could be born no practical idea; Godfrey would have to think,
contrive, and decide for both.
His first thought was for Phina, his betrothed, whom he had so stupidly
refused to make his wife; his second for his Uncle Will, whom he had so
imprudently left, and then turning to Tartlet,--
"To vary our ordinary," he said, "here are some shell-fish and half a
"And nothing to cook them with!"
"Nothing!" said Godfrey. "But if the food itself was missing, what would
you say then, Tartlet?"
"I should say that nothing was not enough," said Tartlet drily.
Nevertheless, they had to be content with this repast.
The very natural idea occurred to Godfrey to push forward the
reconnaissance commenced the previous evening. Above all it was
necessary to know as soon as possible in what part of the Pacific Ocean
the Dream had been lost, so as to discover some inhabited place on
the shore, where they could either arrange the way of returning home or
await the passing of some ship.
Godfrey observed that if he could cross the second line of hills, whose
picturesque outline was visible beyond the first, that he might perhaps
be able to do this. He reckoned that they could get there in an hour or
two, and it was to this urgent exploration that he resolved to devote
the first hours of the day. He looked round him. The cocks and hens were
beginning to peck about among the high vegetation. Agouties, goats,
sheep, went and came on the skirt of the forest.
Godfrey did not care to drag all this flock of poultry and quadrupeds
about with him. But to keep them more safely in this place, it would be
necessary to leave Tartlet in charge of them.
Tartlet agreed to remain alone, and for several hours to act as shepherd
of the flock.
He made but one observation,--
"If you lose yourself, Godfrey?"
"Have no fear of that," answered the young man, "I have only this forest
to cross, and as you will not leave its edge I am certain to find you
"Don't forget the telegram to your Uncle Will, and ask him for a good
many hundred dollars."
"The telegram--or the letter! It is all one!" answered Godfrey, who so
long as he had not fixed on the position of this land was content to
leave Tartlet to his illusions.
Then having shaken hands with the professor, he plunged beneath the
trees, whose thick branches scarcely allowed the sun's rays to
penetrate. It was their direction, however, which was to guide our young
explorer towards the high hill whose curtain hid from his view the whole
of the eastern horizon.
Footpath there was none. The ground, however, was not free from all
imprint. Godfrey in certain places remarked the tracks of animals. On
two or three occasions he even believed he saw some rapid ruminants
moving off, either elans, deer, or wapiti, but he recognized no trace of
ferocious animals such as tigers or jaguars, whose absence, however, was
no cause for regret.
The first floor of the forest, that is to say all that portion of the
trees comprised between the first fork and the branches, afforded an
asylum to a great number of birds--wild pigeons by the hundred beneath
the trees, ospreys, grouse, aracaris with beaks like a lobster's claw,
and higher, hovering above the glades, two or three of those
lammergeiers whose eye resembles a cockade. But none of the birds were
of such special kinds that he could therefrom make out the latitude of
So it was with the trees of this forest. Almost the same species as
those in that part of the United States which comprises Lower
California, the Bay of Monterey, and New Mexico.
Arbutus-trees, large-flowered cornels, maples, birches, oaks, four or
five varieties of magnolias and sea-pines, such as are met with in South
Carolina, then in the centre of vast clearances, olive-trees, chestnuts,
and small shrubs. Tufts of tamarinds, myrtles, and mastic-trees, such as
are produced in the temperate zone. Generally, there was enough space
between the trees to allow him to pass without being obliged to call on
fire or the axe. The sea breeze circulated freely amid the higher
branches, and here and there great patches of light shone on the ground.
And so Godfrey went along striking an oblique line beneath these large
trees. To take any precautions never occurred to him. The desire to
reach the heights which bordered the forest on the east entirely
absorbed him. He sought among the foliage for the direction of the solar
rays so as to march straight on his goal. He did not even see the
guide-birds, so named because they fly before the steps of the
traveller, stopping, returning, and darting on ahead as if they were
showing the way. Nothing could distract him.
His state of mind was intelligible. Before an hour had elapsed his fate
would be settled! Before an hour he would know if it were possible to
reach some inhabited portion of the continent.
Already Godfrey, reasoning on what had been the route followed and the
way made by the Dream during a navigation of seventeen days, had
concluded that it could only be on the Japanese or Chinese coast that
the ship had gone down.
Besides the position of the sun, always in the south, rendered it quite
certain that the Dream had not crossed the line.
Two hours after he had started Godfrey reckoned the distance he had
travelled at about five miles, considering several circuits which he had
had to make owing to the density of the forest. The second group of
hills could not be far away.
Already the trees were getting farther apart from each other, forming
isolated groups, and the rays of light penetrated more easily through
the lofty branches. The ground began slightly to slope, and then
abruptly to rise.
Although he was somewhat fatigued, Godfrey had enough will not to
slacken his pace. He would doubtless have run had it not been for the
steepness of the earlier ascents.
He had soon got high enough to overlook the general mass of the verdant
dome which stretched away behind him, and whence several heads of trees
here and there emerged.
But Godfrey did not dream of looking back. His eyes never quitted the
line of the denuded ridge, which showed itself about 400 or 500 feet
before and above him. That was the barrier which all the time hid him
from the eastern horizon.
A tiny cone, obliquely truncated, overlooked this rugged line and joined
on with its gentle slope to the sinuous crest of the hills.
"There! there!" said Godfrey, "that is the point I must reach! The top
of that cone! And from there what shall I see?--A town?--A village?--A
Highly excited, Godfrey mounted the hill, keeping his elbows at his
chest to restrain the beating of his heart. His panting tired him, but
he had not the patience to stop so as to recover himself. Were he to
have fallen half fainting on the summit of the cone which shot up about
100 feet above his head, he would not have lost a minute in hastening
A few minutes more and he would be there. The ascent seemed to him steep
enough on his side, an angle perhaps of thirty or thirty-five degrees.
He helped himself up with hands and feet; he seized on the tufts of
slender herbs on the hill-side, and on a few meagre shrubs, mastics
and myrtles, which stretched away up to the top.
A last effort was made! His head rose above the platform of the cone,
and then, lying on his stomach, his eyes gazed at the eastern horizon.
It was the sea which formed it. Twenty miles off it united with the line
of the sky!
He turned round.
Still sea--west of him, south of him, north of him! The immense ocean
surrounding him on all sides!
[Illustration: "An Island!" page 111]
As he uttered the word Godfrey felt his heart shrink. The thought had
not occurred to him that he was on an island. And yet such was the case!
The terrestrial chain which should have attached him to the continent
was abruptly broken. He felt as though he had been a sleeping man in a
drifted boat, who awoke with neither oar nor sail to help him back to
But Godfrey was soon himself again. His part was taken, to accept the
situation. If the chances of safety did not come from without, it was
for him to contrive them.
He set to work at first then as exactly as possible to ascertain the
disposition of this island which his view embraced over its whole
length. He estimated that it ought to measure about sixty miles round,
being, as far as he could see, about twenty miles long from south to
north, and twelve miles wide from east to west.
Its central part was screened by the green depths of forest which
extended up to the ridge dominated by the cone, whose slope died away on
All the rest was prairie, with clumps of trees, or beach with rocks,
whose outer ring was capriciously tapered off in the form of capes and
promontories. A few creeks cut out the coast, but could only afford
refuge for two or three fishing-boats.
The bay at the bottom of which the Dream lay shipwrecked was the only
one of any size, and that extended over some seven or eight miles. An
open roadstead, no vessel would have found it a safe shelter, at least
unless the wind was blowing from the east.
But what was this island? To what geographical group did it belong? Did
it form part of an archipelago, or was it alone in this portion of the
In any case, no other island, large or small, high or low, appeared
within the range of vision.
Godfrey rose and gazed round the horizon. Nothing was to be seen along
the circular line where sea and sky ran into each other. If, then, there
existed to windward or to leeward any island or coast of a continent, it
could only be at a considerable distance.
Godfrey called up all his geographical reminiscences, in order to
discover what island of the Pacific this could be. In reasoning it out
he came to this conclusion.
The Dream for seventeen days had steered very nearly south-west. Now
with a speed of from 150 to 180 miles every four-and-twenty hours, she
ought to have covered nearly fifty degrees. Now it was obvious that she
had not crossed the equator.
The situation of the island, or of the group to which it belonged, would
therefore have to be looked for in that part of the ocean comprised
between the 160th and 170th degrees of west longitude.
In this portion of the Pacific it seemed to Godfrey that the map showed
no other archipelago than that of the Sandwich Islands, but outside this
archipelago were there not any isolated islands whose names escaped him
and which were dotted here and there over the sea up to the coast of the
It was not of much consequence. There existed no means of his going in
search of another spot on the ocean which might prove more hospitable.
"Well," said Godfrey to himself, "if I don't know the name of this
island, I'll call it Phina Island, in memory of her I ought never to
have left to run about the world, and perhaps the name will bring us
Godfrey then occupied himself in trying to ascertain if the island was
inhabited in the part which he had not yet been able to visit.
From the top of the cone he saw nothing which betrayed the presence of
aborigines, neither habitations on the prairie nor houses on the skirt
of the trees, not even a fisherman's hut on the shore.
But if the island was deserted, the sea which surrounded it was none the
less so, for not a ship showed itself within the limits of what, from
the height of the cone, was a considerable circuit.
Godfrey having finished his exploration had now only to get down to the
foot of the hill and retake the road through the forest so as to rejoin
Tartlet. But before he did so his eyes were attracted by a sort of
cluster of trees of huge stature, which rose on the boundary of the
prairie towards the north. It was a gigantic group, it exceeded by a
head all those which Godfrey had previously seen.
"Perhaps," he said, "it would be better to take up our quarters over
there, more especially as if I am not mistaken I can see a stream which
should rise in the central chain and flow across the prairie."
This was to be looked into on the morrow.
Towards the south the aspect of the island was slightly different.
Forests and prairies rapidly gave place to the yellow carpet of the
beach, and in places the shore was bounded with picturesque rocks.
But what was Godfrey's surprise, when he thought he saw a light smoke,
which rose in the air beyond this rocky barrier.
"Are there any of our companions?" he exclaimed. "But no, it is not
possible! Why should they have got so far from the bay since yesterday,
and round so many miles of reef? Is it a village of fishermen, or the
encampment of some indigenous tribe?"
Godfrey watched it with the closest attention. Was this gentle vapour
which the breeze softly blew towards the west a smoke? Could he be
mistaken? Anyhow it quickly vanished, a few minutes afterwards nothing
could be seen of it.
It was a false hope.
Godfrey took a last look in its direction, and then seeing nothing,
glided down the slope, and again plunged beneath the trees.
An hour later he had traversed the forest and found himself on its
There Tartlet awaited him with his two-footed and four-footed flock. And
how was the obstinate professor occupying himself? In the same way. A
bit of wood was in his right hand another piece in his left, and he
still continued his efforts to set them alight. He rubbed and rubbed
with a constancy worthy of a better fate.
"Well," he shouted as he perceived Godfrey some distance off--"and the
"It is not open!" answered Godfrey, who dared not yet tell him anything
of the situation.
"And the post?"
"It is shut! But let us have something to eat!--I am dying with hunger!
We can talk presently."
And this morning Godfrey and his companion had again to content
themselves with a too meagre repast of raw eggs and shell-fish.
"Wholesome diet!" repeated Godfrey to Tartlet, who was hardly of that
opinion and picked his food with considerable care.
IN WHICH THE QUESTION OF LODGING IS SOLVED AS WELL AS IT
The day was already far advanced. Godfrey resolved to defer till the
morrow the task of proceeding to a new abode. But to the pressing
questions which the professor propounded on the results of his
exploration he ended by replying that it was an island, Phina Island, on
which they both had been cast, and that they must think of the means of
living before dreaming of the means of departing.
"An island!" exclaimed Tartlet.
"Yes! It is an island!"
"Which the sea surrounds?"
"But what is it?"
"I have told you, Phina Island, and you understand why I gave it that
"No, I do not understand!" answered Tartlet, making a grimace; "and I
don't see the resemblance! Miss Phina is surrounded by land, not water!"
After this melancholy reflection, he prepared to pass the night with as
little discomfort as possible. Godfrey went off to the reef to get a new
stock of eggs and mollusks, with which he had to be contented, and then,
tired out, he came back to the tree and soon fell asleep, while Tartlet,
whose philosophy would not allow him to accept such a state of affairs,
gave himself over to the bitterest meditations. On the morrow, the 28th
of June, they were both afoot before the cock had interrupted their
To begin with, a hasty breakfast, the same as the day before. Only water
from a little brook was advantageously replaced by a little milk given
by one of the goats.
Ah! worthy Tartlet! Where were the "mint julep," the "port wine
sangaree," the "sherry cobbler," the "sherry cocktail," which he hardly
drank, but which were served him at all hours in the bars and taverns of
San Francisco? How he envied the poultry, the agouties, and the sheep,
who cheerfully quenched their thirst without the addition of such
saccharine or alcoholic mixtures to their water from the stream! To
these animals no fire was necessary to cook their food; roots and herbs
and seeds sufficed, and their breakfast was always served to the minute
on their tablecloth of green.
"Let us make a start," said Godfrey.
And behold the two on their way, followed by a procession of domestic
animals, who refused to be left behind. Godfrey's idea was to explore,
in the north of the island, that portion of the coast on which he had
noticed the group of gigantic trees in his view from the cone. But to
get there he resolved to keep along the shore. The surf might perhaps
have cast up some fragment of the wreck. Perhaps they might find on the
beach some of their companions in the Dream to which they could give
Christian burial. As for finding any one of them living, it was hardly
to be hoped for, after a lapse of six-and-thirty hours.
The first line of hills was surmounted, and Godfrey and his companion
reached the beginning of the reef, which looked as deserted as it had
when they had left it. There they renewed their stock of eggs and
mollusks, in case they should fail to find even such meagre resources
away to the north. Then, following the fringe of sea-weed left by the
last tide, they again ascended the dunes, and took a good look round.
Nothing! always nothing!
We must certainly say that if misfortune had made Crusoes of these
survivors of the Dream, it had shown itself much more rigorous towards
them than towards their predecessors, who always had some portion of the
vessel left to them, and who, after bringing away crowds of objects of
necessity had been able to utilize the timbers of the wreck. Victuals
for a considerable period, clothes, tools, weapons, had always been left
them with which to satisfy the elementary exigencies of existence. But
here there was nothing of all this! In the middle of that dark night the
ship had disappeared in the depths of the sea, without leaving on the
reefs the slightest traces of its wreck! It had not been possible to
save a thing from her--not even a lucifer-match--and to tell the truth,
the want of that match was the most serious of all wants.
I know well, good people comfortably installed in your easy-chairs
before a comfortable hearth at which is blazing brightly a fire of wood
or coals, that you will be apt to say,--
"But nothing was more easy than for them to get a fire! There are a
thousand ways of doing that! Two pebbles! A little dry moss! A little
burnt rag,"--and how do you burn the rag? "The blade of a knife would do
for a steel, or two bits of wood rubbed briskly together in Polynesian
Well, try it!
It was about this that Godfrey was thinking as he walked, and this it
was that occupied his thoughts more than anything else. Perhaps he too,
poking his coke fire and reading his travellers' tales, had thought the
same as you good people! But now he had to put matters to the test, and
he saw with considerable disquietude the want of a fire, that
indispensable element which nothing could replace.
He kept on ahead, then, lost in thought, followed by Tartlet, who by his
shouts and gestures, kept together the flock of sheep, agouties, goats,
Suddenly his look was attracted by the bright colours of a cluster of
small apples which hung from the branches of certain shrubs, growing in
hundreds at the foot of the dunes. He immediately recognized them as
"manzanillas," which serve as food to the Indians in certain parts of
"At last," he exclaimed, "there is something which will be a change from
our eggs and mussels."
"What? Do you eat those things?" said Tartlet with his customary
"You shall soon see!" answered Godfrey.
And he set to work to gather the manzanillas, and eat them greedily.
They were only wild apples, but even their acidity did not prevent them
from being agreeable. The professor made little delay in imitating his
companion, and did not show himself particularly discontented at the
work. Godfrey thought, and with reason, that from these fruits there
could be made a fermented liquor which would be preferable to the water.
The march was resumed. Soon the end of the sand dunes died away in a
prairie traversed by a small stream. This was the one Godfrey had seen
from the top of the cone. The large trees appeared further on, and after
a journey of about nine miles the two explorers, tired enough by their
four hours' walk, reached them a few minutes after noon.
The site was well worth the trouble of looking at, of visiting, and,
On the edge of a vast prairie, dotted with manzanilla bushes and other
shrubs, there rose a score of gigantic trees which could have even borne
comparison with the same species in the forests of California. They were
arranged in a semi-circle. The carpet of verdure, which stretched at
their feet, after bordering the stream for some hundreds of feet, gave
place to a long beach, covered with rocks, and shingle, and sea-weed,
which ran out into the water in a narrowing point to the north.
These "big trees," as they are commonly called in Western America,
belong to the genus Sequoia, and are conifers of the fir family. If
you ask the English for their distinguishing name, you will be told
"Wellingtonias," if you ask the Americans they will reply
"Washingtonias." But whether they recall the memory of the phlegmatic
victor of Waterloo, or of the illustrious founder of the American
Republic, they are the hugest products known of the Californian and
Nevadan floras. In certain districts in these states there are entire
forests of these trees, such as the groups at Mariposa and Calaveras,
some of the trees of which measure from sixty to eighty feet in
circumference, and some 300 feet in height. One of them, at the entrance
of the Yosemite Valley, is quite 100 feet round. When living--for it is
now prostrate--its first branches could have overtopped Strasburg
Cathedral, or, in other words, were above eighty feet from the ground.
Besides this tree there are "The Mother of the Forest," "The Beauty of
the Forest," "The Hut of the Pioneer," "The Two Sentinels," "General
Grant," "Miss Emma," "Miss Mary," "Brigham Young and his Wife," "The
Three Graces," "The Bear," &c., &c.; all of them veritable vegetable
phenomena. One of the trees has been sawn across at its base, and on it
there has been built a ball-room, in which a quadrille of eight or ten
couples can be danced with ease.
But the giant of giants, in a forest which is the property of the state,
about fifteen miles from Murphy, is "The Father of the Forest," an old
sequoia, 4000 years old, which rises 452 feet from the ground, higher
than the cross of St. Peter's, at Rome, higher than the great pyramid
of Ghizeh, higher than the iron bell-turret which now caps one of the
towers of Rouen Cathedral, and which ought to be looked upon as the
highest monument in the world.
It was a group of some twenty of these colossi that nature had planted
on this point of the island, at the epoch, probably, when Solomon was
building that temple at Jerusalem which has never risen from its ruins.
The largest was, perhaps, 300 feet high, the smallest nearly 200.
Some of them, hollowed out by age, had enormous arches through their
bases, beneath which a troop of horsemen could have ridden with ease.
Godfrey was struck with admiration in the presence of these natural
phenomena, as they are not generally found at altitudes of less than
from 5000 to 6000 feet above the level of the sea. He even thought that
the view alone was worth the journey. Nothing he had seen was comparable
to these columns of clear brown, which outlined themselves almost
without sensible diminution of their diameters to their lowest fork. The
cylindrical trunks rising from 80 to 100 feet above the earth, ramified
into such thick branches that they themselves looked like tree-stems of
huge dimensions bearing quite a forest in the air.
One of these specimens of Sequoia gigantea--one of the biggest in the
group--more particularly attracted Godfrey's attention.
Gazing at its base it displayed an opening of from four to five feet in
width, and ten feet high, which gave entrance to its interior. The
giant's heart had disappeared, the alburnum had been dissipated into
soft whitish dust; but if the tree did not depend so much on its
powerful roots as on its solid bark, it could still keep its position
"In default of a cavern or a grotto," said Godfrey, "here is a
ready-made dwelling. A wooden house, a tower, such as there is in no
inhabited land. Here we can be sheltered and shut in. Come along,
And the young man, catching hold of his companion, dragged him inside
The base was covered with a bed of vegetable dust, and in diameter could
not be less than twenty feet.
As for the height to which its vault extended, the gloom prevented even
an estimate. For not a ray of light found its way through the bark wall.
Neither cleft nor fault was there through which the wind or rain could
come. Our two Crusoes would therein find themselves in a position to
brave with impunity the inclemency of the weather. No cave could be
firmer, or drier, or compacter. In truth it would have been difficult to
have anywhere found a better.
"Eh, Tartlet, what do you think of our natural house?" asked Godfrey.
"Yes, but the chimney?" answered Tartlet.
"Before we talk about the chimney," replied Godfrey, "let us wait till
we have got the fire!"
This was only logical.
Godfrey went to reconnoitre the neighbourhood. As we have said, the
prairie extended to this enormous mass of sequoias which formed its
edge. The small stream meandering through the grassy carpet gave a
healthy freshness to its borders, and thereon grew shrubs of different
kinds; myrtles, mastic bushes, and among others a quantity of
manzanillas, which gave promise of a large crop of their wild apples.
Farther off, on ground that grew gradually higher, were scattered
several clumps of trees, made up of oaks and beeches, sycamores and
nettle-trees, but trees of great stature as they were, they seemed but
simple underwood by the side of the "mammoths," whose huge shadows the
sun was throwing even into the sea. Across the prairie lay minor lines
of bushes, and vegetable clumps and verdant thickets, which Godfrey
resolved to investigate on the following day.
If the site pleased him, it did not displease the domestic animals.
Agouties, goats, and sheep had soon taken possession of this domain,
which offered them roots to nibble at, and grass to browse on far beyond
their needs. As for the fowls they were greedily pecking away at the
seeds and worms in the banks of the rivulet. Animal life was already
manifesting itself in such goings and comings, such flights and gambols,
such bleatings and gruntings and cluckings as had doubtless never been
heard of in these parts before.
Then Godfrey returned to the clump of sequoias, and made a more
attentive examination of the tree in which he had chosen to take up his
abode. It appeared to him that it would be difficult, if not impossible,
to climb into the first branches, at least by the exterior; for the
trunk presented no protuberances. Inside it the ascent might be easier,
if the tree were hollow up to the fork.
In case of danger it would be advisable to seek refuge among the thick
boughs borne by the enormous trunk. But this matter could be looked into
When he had finished his inquiries the sun was low on horizon, and it
seemed best to put off till to-morrow the preparations for their
definitely taking up their abode.
But, after a meal with dessert composed of wild apples, what could they
do better than pass the night on a bed of the vegetable dust which
covered the ground inside the sequoia?
And this, under the keeping of Providence, was what was done, but not
until after Godfrey, in remembrance of his uncle, William W. Kolderup,
had given to the giant the name of "Will Tree," just as its prototypes
in the forests of California and the neighbouring states bear the names
of the great citizens of the American Republic.
WHICH ENDS WITH A THUNDER-BOLT.
It must be acknowledged that Godfrey was in a fair way to become a new
man in this completely novel position to one so frivolous, so
light-minded, and so thoughtless. He had hitherto only had to allow
himself to live. Never had care for the morrow disquieted his rest. In
the opulent mansion in Montgomery Street, where he slept his ten hours
without a break, not the fall of a rose leaf had ever troubled his
It was so no longer. On this unknown land he found himself thoroughly
shut off from the rest of the world, left entirely to his own resources,
obliged to face the necessities of life under conditions in which a man
even much more practical might have been in great difficulty. Doubtless
when it was found that the Dream did not return, a search for him
would be made. But what were these two? Less than a needle in a hayrick
or a sand-grain on the sea-bottom! The incalculable fortune of Uncle
Kolderup could not do everything.
When Godfrey had found his fairly acceptable shelter, his sleep in it
was by no means undisturbed. His brain travelled as it had never done
before. Ideas of all kinds were associated together: those of the past
which he bitterly regretted, those of the present of which he sought the
realization, those of the future which disquieted him more than all!
But in these rough trials, the reason and, in consequence, the reasoning
which naturally flows from it, were little by little freed from the
limbo in which they had hitherto slept. Godfrey was resolved to strive
against his ill-luck, and to do all he could to get out of his
difficulties. If he escaped, the lesson would certainly not be lost on
him for the future.
At daybreak he was astir, with the intention of proceeding to a more
complete installation. The question of food, above all that of fire,
which was connected with it, occupied the first place; then there were
tools or arms to make, clothes to procure, unless they were anxious of
soon appearing attired in Polynesian costume.
Tartlet still slumbered. You could not see him in the shadow, but you
could hear him. That poor man, spared from the wreck, remained as
frivolous at forty-five as his pupil had formerly been. He was a gain
in no sense. He even might be considered an incubus, for he had to be
cared for in all ways. But he was a companion!
He was worth more in that than the most intelligent dog, although he was
probably of less use! He was a creature able to talk--although only at
random; to converse--if the matter were never serious; to complain--and
this he did most frequently! As it was, Godfrey was able to hear a human
voice. That was worth more than the parrot's in Robinson Crusoe! Even
with a Tartlet he would not be alone, and nothing was so disheartening
as the thought of absolute solitude.
"Crusoe before Friday, Crusoe after Friday; what a difference!" thought
However, on this morning, that of June 29th, Godfrey was not sorry to be
alone, so as to put into execution his project of exploring the group of
sequoias. Perhaps he would be fortunate enough to discover some fruit,
some edible root, which he could bring back--to the extreme satisfaction
of the professor. And so he left Tartlet to his dreams, and set out.
A light fog still shrouded the shore and the sea, but already it had
commenced to lift in the north and east under the influence of the solar
rays, which little by little were condensing it. The day promised to be
fine. Godfrey, after having cut himself a substantial walking-stick,
went for two miles along that part of the beach which he did not know,
and whose return formed the outstretched point of Phina Island.
There he made a first meal of shell-fish, mussels, clams, and especially
some capital little oysters which he found in great abundance.
"If it comes to the worst," he said to himself, "we need never die of
hunger! Here are thousands of dozens of oysters to satisfy the calls of
the most imperious stomach! If Tartlet complains, it is because he does
not like mollusks! Well, he will have to like them!"
Decidedly, if the oyster did not absolutely replace bread and meat, it
furnished an aliment in no whit less nutritive and in a condition
capable of being absorbed in large quantities. But as this mollusk is of
very easy digestion, it is somewhat dangerous in its use, to say nothing
of its abuse.
This breakfast ended, Godfrey again seized his stick, and struck off
obliquely towards the south-east, so as to walk up the right bank of the
stream. In this direction, he would cross the prairie up to the groups
of trees observed the night before beyond the long lines of shrubs and
underwood, which he wished to carefully examine.
Godfrey then advanced in this direction for about two miles. He
followed the bank of the stream, carpeted with short herbage and smooth
as velvet. Flocks of aquatic birds noisily flew round this being, who,
new to them, had come to trouble their domain. Fish of many kinds were
seen darting about in the limpid waters of the brook, here abouts some
four or five yards wide.
It was evident that there would be no difficulty in catching these fish,
but how to cook them? Always this insoluble question!
Fortunately, when Godfrey reached the first line of shrubs he recognized
two sorts of fruits or roots. One sort had to pass through the fiery
trial before being eaten, the other was edible in its natural state. Of
these two vegetables the American Indians make constant use.
The first was a shrub of the kind called "camas," which thrives even in
lands unfit for culture. With these onion-like roots, should it not be
found preferable to treat them as potatoes, there is made a sort of
flour very rich and glutinous. But either way, they have to be subjected
to a certain cooking, or drying.
The other bush produces a species of bulb of oblong form, bearing the
indigenous name of "yamph," and if it possesses less nutritive
principles than the camas, it is much the better for one thing,--it can
be eaten raw.
Godfrey, highly pleased at his discovery, at once satisfied his hunger
on a few of these excellent roots, and not forgetting Tartlet's
breakfast, collected a large bundle, and throwing it over his shoulder,
retook the road to Will Tree.
That he was well received on his arrival with the crop of yamphs need
not be insisted on. The professor greedily regaled himself, and his
pupil had to caution him to be moderate.
"Ah!" he said. "We have got some roots to-day. Who knows whether we
shall have any to-morrow?"
"Without any doubt," replied Godfrey, "to-morrow and the day after, and
always. There is only the trouble of going and fetching them."
"Well, Godfrey, and the camas?"
"Of the camas we will make flour and bread when we have got a fire."
"Fire!" exclaimed the professor, shaking his head. "Fire! And how shall
we make it?"
"I don't know yet, but somehow or other we will get at it."
"May Heaven hear you, my dear Godfrey! And when I think that there are
so many fellows in this world who have only got to rub a bit of wood on
the sole of their boot to get it, it annoys me! No! Never would I have
believed that ill-luck would have reduced me to this state! You need
not take three steps down Montgomery Street, before you will meet with a
gentleman, cigar in mouth, who thinks it a pleasure to give you a light,
"Here we are not in San Francisco, Tartlet, nor in Montgomery Street,
and I think it would be wiser for us not to reckon on the kindness of
those we meet!"
"But, why is cooking necessary for bread and meat? Why did not nature
make us so that we might live upon nothing?"
"That will come, perhaps!" answered Godfrey with a good-humoured smile.
"Do you think so?"
"I think that our scientists are probably working out the subject."
"Is it possible! And how do they start on their research as to this new
mode of alimentation?"
"On this line of reasoning," answered Godfrey, "as the functions of
digestion and respiration are connected, the endeavour is to substitute
one for the other. Hence the day when chemistry has made the aliments
necessary for the food of man capable of assimilation by respiration,
the problem will be solved. There is nothing wanted beyond rendering the
air nutritious. You will breathe your dinner instead of eating it, that
"Ah! Is it not a pity that this precious discovery is not yet made!"
exclaimed the professor. "How cheerfully would I breathe half a dozen
sandwiches and a silverside of beef, just to give me an appetite!"
And Tartlet plunged into a semi-sensuous reverie, in which he beheld
succulent atmospheric dinners, and at them unconsciously opened his
mouth and breathed his lungs full, oblivious that he had scarcely the
wherewithal to feed upon in the ordinary way.
Godfrey roused him from his meditation, and brought him back to the
present. He was anxious to proceed to a more complete installation in
the interior of Will Tree.
The first thing to do was to clean up their future dwelling-place. It
was at the outset necessary to bring out several bushels of that
vegetable dust which covered the ground and in which they sank almost up
to their knees. Two hours' work hardly sufficed to complete this
troublesome task, but at length the chamber was clear of the pulverulent
bed, which rose in clouds at the slightest movement.
The ground was hard and firm, as if floored with joists, the large roots
of the sequoia ramifying over its surface. It was uneven but solid. Two
corners were selected for the beds and of these several bundles of
herbage, thoroughly dried in the sun, were to form the materials. As for
other furniture, benches, stools, or tables, it was not impossible to
make the most indispensable things, for Godfrey had a capital knife,
with its saw and gimlet. The companions would have to keep inside during
rough weather, and they could eat and work there. Daylight did not fail
them, for it streamed through the opening. Later on, if it became
necessary to close this aperture for greater safety, Godfrey could try
and pierce one or two embrasures in the bark of the sequoia to serve as
As for discovering to what height the opening ran up into the trunk,
Godfrey could not do so without a light. All that he could do was to
find out with the aid of a pole ten or twelve feet long, held above his
head, that he could not touch the top.
The question, however, was not an urgent one. It would be solved
The day passed in these labours, which were not ended at sunset. Godfrey
and Tartlet, tired as they were, found their novel bed-clothes formed of
the dried herbage, of which they had an ample supply, most excellent;
but they had to drive away the poultry who would willingly have roosted
in the interior of Will Tree. Then occurred to Godfrey the idea of
constructing a poultry-house in some other sequoia, as, to keep them out
of the common room, he was building up a hurdle of brushwood.
Fortunately neither the sheep nor the agouties, nor the goats
experienced the like temptation. These animals remained quietly outside,
and had no fancy to get through the insufficient barrier.
The following days were employed in different jobs, in fitting up the
house or bringing in food; eggs and shell-fish were collected, yamph
roots and manzanilla apples were brought in, and oysters, for which each
morning they went to the bank or the shore. All this took time, and the
hours passed away quickly.
The "dinner things" consisted now of large bivalve shells, which served
for dishes or plates. It is true that for the kind of food to which the
hosts of Will Tree were reduced, others were not needed.
There was also the washing of the linen in the clear water of the
stream, which occupied the leisure of Tartlet. It was to him that this
task fell; but he only had to see to the two shirts, two handkerchiefs,
and two pairs of socks, which composed the entire wardrobe of both.
While this operation was in progress, Godfrey and Tartlet had to wear
only waistcoat and trousers, but in the blazing sun of that latitude the
clothes quickly dried. And so matters went on without either rain or
wind till July 3rd. Already they had begun to be fairly comfortable in
their new home, considering the condition in which they had been cast on
However, it was advisable not to neglect the chances of safety which
might come from without. Each day Godfrey examined the whole sector of
sea which extended from the east to the north-west beyond the
This part of the Pacific was always deserted. Not a vessel, not a
fishing-boat, not a ribbon of smoke detaching itself from the horizon,
proclaimed the passage of a steamer. It seemed that Phina Island was
situated out of the way of all the itineraries of commerce. All they
could do was to wait, trusting in the Almighty who never abandons the
Meanwhile, when their immediate necessities allowed them leisure,
Godfrey, incited by Tartlet, returned to that important and vexed
question of the fire.
He tried at first to replace amadou, which he so unfortunately lacked,
by another and analogous material. It was possible that some of the
varieties of mushrooms which grew in the crevices of the old trees,
after having been subjected to prolonged drying, might be transformed
into a combustible substance.
Many of these mushrooms were collected and exposed to the direct action
of the sun, until they were reduced to powder. Then with the back of his
knife, Godfrey endeavoured to strike some sparks off with a flint, so
that they might fall on this substance. It was useless. The spongy
stuff would not catch fire. Godfrey then tried to use that fine
vegetable dust, dried during so many centuries, which he had found in
the interior of Will Tree. The result was equally discouraging.
In desperation he then, by means of his knife and flint, strove to
secure the ignition of a sort of sponge which grew under the rocks. He
fared no better. The particle of steel, lighted by the impact of the
silex, fell on to the substance, but went out immediately. Godfrey and
Tartlet were in despair. To do without fire was impossible. Of their
fruits and mollusks they were getting tired, and their stomachs began to
revolt at such food. They eyed, the professor especially, the sheep,
agouties, and fowls which went and came round Will Tree. The pangs of
hunger seized them as they gazed. With their eyes they ate the living
No! It could not go on like this!
But an unexpected circumstance, a providential one if you will, came to
In the night of the 3rd of July the weather, which had been on the
change for a day or so, grew stormy, after an oppressive heat which the
sea-breeze had been powerless to temper.
Godfrey and Tartlet at about one o'clock in the morning were awakened by
heavy claps of thunder, and most vivid flashes of lightning. It did not
rain as yet, but it soon promised to do so, and then regular cataracts
would be precipitated from the cloudy zone, owing to the rapid
condensation of the vapour.
Godfrey got up and went out so as to observe the state of the sky.
There seemed quite a conflagration above the domes of the giant trees
and the foliage appeared on fire against the sky, like the fine network
of a Chinese shadow.
Suddenly, in the midst of the general uproar, a vivid flash illuminated
the atmosphere. The thunder-clap followed immediately, and Will Tree was
permeated from top to bottom with the electric force.
Godfrey, staggered by the return shock, stood in the midst of a rain of
fire which showered around him. The lightning had ignited the dry
branches above him. They were incandescent particles of carbon which
crackled at his feet.
Godfrey with a shout awoke his companion.
"Fire!" answered Tartlet. "Blessed be Heaven which sends it to us!"
Instantly they possessed themselves of the flaming twigs, of which some
still burned, while others had been consumed in the flames. Hurriedly,
at the same time, did they heap together a quantity of dead wood such
as was never wanting at the foot of the sequoia, whose trunk had not
been touched by the lightning.
Then they returned into their gloomy habitation as the rain, pouring
down in sheets, extinguished the fire which threatened to devour the
upper branches of Will Tree.
IN WHICH GODFREY AGAIN SEES A SLIGHT SMOKE OVER ANOTHER
PART OF THE
That was a storm which came just when it was wanted! Godfrey and Tartlet
had not, like Prometheus, to venture into space to bring down the
celestial fire! "It was," said Tartlet, "as if the sky had been obliging
enough to send it down to them on a lightning flash."
With them now remained the task of keeping it!
"No! we must not let it go out!" Godfrey had said.
"Not until the wood fails us to feed it!" had responded Tartlet, whose
satisfaction showed itself in little cries of joy.
"Yes! but who will keep it in?"
"I! I will! I will watch it day and night, if necessary," replied
Tartlet, brandishing a flaming bough.
And he did so till the sun rose.
Dry wood, as we have said, abounded beneath the sequoias. Until the dawn
Godfrey and the professor, after heaping up a considerable stock, did
not spare to feed the fire. By the foot of one of the large trees in a
narrow space between the roots the flames leapt up, crackling clearly
and joyously. Tartlet exhausted his lungs blowing away at it, although
his doing so was perfectly useless. In this performance he assumed the
most characteristic attitudes in following the greyish smoke whose
wreaths were lost in the foliage above.
But it was not that they might admire it that they had so longingly
asked for this indispensable fire, not to warm themselves at it. It was
destined for a much more interesting use. There was to be an end of
their miserable meals of raw mollusks and yamph roots, whose nutritive
elements boiling water and simple cooking in the ashes had never
developed. It was in this way that Godfrey and Tartlet employed it
during the morning.
"We could eat a fowl or two!" exclaimed Tartlet, whose jaws moved in
anticipation. "Not to mention an agouti ham, a leg of mutton, a quarter
of goat, some of the game on the prairie, without counting two or three
freshwater fish and a sea fish or so."
"Not so fast," answered Godfrey, whom the declaration of this modest
bill of fare had put in good humour. "We need not risk indigestion to
satisfy a fast! We must look after our reserves, Tartlet! Take a couple
of fowls--one apiece--and if we want bread, I hope that our camsa roots
can be so prepared as to replace it with advantage!" This cost the lives
of two innocent hens, who, plucked, trussed, and dressed by the
professor, were stuck on a stick, and soon roasted before the crackling
Meanwhile, Godfrey was getting the camas roots in a state to figure
creditably at the first genuine breakfast on Phina Island. To render
them edible it was only necessary to follow the Indian method, which the
Californians were well acquainted with.
This was what Godfrey did.
A few flat stones selected from the beach were thrown in the fire so as
to get intensely hot. Tartlet seemed to think it a great shame to use
such a good fire "to cook stones with," but as it did not hinder the
preparation of his fowls in any way he had no other complaint to make.
While the stones were getting warm Godfrey selected a piece of ground
about a yard square from which he tore up the grass; then with his hands
armed with large scallop shells he dug the soil to the depth of about
ten inches. That done he laid at the bottom of the cavity a fire of dry
wood, which he so arranged as to communicate to the earth heaped up at
its bottom some considerable heat.
When all the wood had been consumed and the cinders taken away, the
camas roots, previously cleaned and scraped, were strewn in the hole, a
thin layer of sods thrown over them and the glowing stones placed on the
top, so as to serve as the basis of a new fire which was lighted on
In fact, it was a kind of oven which had been prepared; and in a very
short time--about half an hour or so--the operation was at an end.
Beneath the double layer of stones and sods lay the roots cooked by this
violent heating. On crushing them there was obtainable a flour well
fitted for making into bread, but, even eaten as they were, they proved
much like potatoes of highly nutritive quality.
It was thus that this time the roots were served and we leave our
readers to imagine what a breakfast our two friends made on the chickens
which they devoured to the very bones, and on the excellent camas roots,
of which they had no need to be sparing. The field was not far off where
they grew in abundance. They could be picked up in hundreds by simply
stooping down for them.
The repast over, Godfrey set to work to prepare some of the flour, which
keeps for any length of time, and which could be transformed into bread
for their daily wants.
The day was passed in different occupations. The fire was kept up with
great care. Particularly was the fuel heaped on for the night; and
Tartlet, nevertheless, arose on many occasions to sweep the ashes
together and provoke a more active combustion. Having done this, he
would go to bed again, to get up as soon as the fire burnt low, and thus
he occupied himself till the day broke. The night passed without
incident, the cracklings of the fire and the crow of the cock awoke
Godfrey and his companion, who had ended his performances by falling off
At first Godfrey was surprised at feeling a current of air coming down
from above in the interior of Will Tree. He was thus led to think that
the sequoia was hollow up to the junction of the lower branches where
there was an opening which they would have to stop up if they wished to
be snug and sheltered.
"But it is very singular!" said Godfrey to himself.
"How was it that during the preceding nights I did not feel this current
of air? Could it have been the lightning?"
And to get an answer to this question, the idea occurred to him to
examine the trunk of the sequoia from the out side.
When he had done so, he understood what had happened during the storm.
The track of the lightning was visible on the tree, which had had a
long strip of its bark torn off from the fork down to the roots.
Had the electric spark found its way into the interior of the sequoia in
place of keeping to the outside, Godfrey and his companion would have
been struck. Most decidedly they had had a narrow escape.
"It is not a good thing to take refuge under trees during a storm," said
Godfrey. "That is all very well for people who can do otherwise. But
what way have we to avoid the danger who live inside the tree? We must
Then examining the sequoia from the point where the long lightning trace
began--"It is evident," said he, "that where the flash struck the tree
has been cracked. But since the air penetrates by this orifice the tree
must be hollow along its whole length and only lives in its bark? Now
that is what I ought to see about!"
And Godfrey went to look for a resinous piece of wood that might do for
A bundle of pine twigs furnished him with the torch he needed, as from
them exuded a resin which, once inflamed, gave forth a brilliant light.
Godfrey then entered the cavity which served him for his house. To
darkness immediately succeeded light, and it was easy to see the state
of the interior of Will Tree. A sort of vault of irregular formation
stretched across in a ceiling some fifteen feet above the ground.
Lifting his torch Godfrey distinctly saw that into this there opened a
narrow passage whose further development was lost in the shadow. The
tree was evidently hollow throughout its length; but perhaps some
portion of the alburnum still remained intact. In that case, by the help
of the protuberances it would be possible if not easy to get up to the
Godfrey, who was thinking of the future, resolved to know without delay
if this were so.
He had two ends in view; one, to securely close the opening by which the
rain and wind found admission, and so render Will Tree almost habitable;
the other, to see if in case of danger, or an attack from animals or
savages, the upper branches of the tree would not afford a convenient
He could but try. If he encountered any insurmountable obstacle in the
narrow passage, Godfrey could be got down again.
After firmly sticking his torch between two of the roots below, behold
him then commencing to raise himself on to the first interior knots of
the bark. He was lithe, strong, and accustomed to gymnastics like all
young Americans. It was only sport to him. Soon he had reached in this
uneven tube a part much narrower, in which, with the aid of his back and
knees, he could work his way upwards like a chimney-sweep. All he feared
was that the hole would not continue large enough for him to get up.
However, he kept on, and each time he reached a projection he would stop
and take breath.
Three minutes after leaving the ground, Godfrey had mounted about sixty
feet, and consequently could only have about twenty feet further to go.
In fact, he already felt the air blowing more strongly on his face. He
inhaled it greedily, for the atmosphere inside the sequoia was not,
strictly speaking, particularly fresh.
After resting for a minute, and shaking off the fine dust which he had
rubbed on to him off the wall, Godfrey started again up the long tunnel,
which gradually narrowed.
But at this moment his attention was attracted by a peculiar noise,
which appeared to him somewhat suspicious. There was a sound as of
scratching, up the tree. Almost immediately a sort of hissing was heard.
"What is that?" he asked. "Some animal taken refuge in the sequoia? Was
it a snake? No! We have not yet seen one on the island! Perhaps it is a
bird that wants to get out!"
Godfrey was not mistaken; and as he continued to mount, a cawing,
followed by a rapid flapping of wings, showed him that it was some bird
ensconced in the tree whose sleep he was doubtless disturbing.
Many a "frrr-frrr!" which he gave out with the whole power of his lungs,
soon determined the intruder to clear off.
It proved to be a kind of jackdaw, of huge stature, which scuttled out
of the opening, and disappeared into the summit of Will Tree.
A few seconds afterwards, Godfrey's head appeared through the same
opening, and he soon found himself quite at his ease, installed on a
fork of the tree where the lower branches gave off, at about eighty feet
from the ground.
There, as has been said, the enormous stem of the sequoia supported
quite a forest. The capricious network of its upper boughs presented the
aspect of a wood crowded with trees, which no gap rendered passable.
However, Godfrey managed, not without difficulty, to get along from one
branch to another, so as to gain little by little the upper story of
this vegetable phenomenon.
A number of birds with many a cry flew off at his approach, and hastened
to take refuge in the neighbouring members of the group, above which
Will Tree towered by more than a head.
Godfrey continued to climb as well as he could, and did not stop until
the ends of the higher branches began to bend beneath his weight.
A huge horizon of water surrounded Phina Island, which lay unrolled like
a relief-map at his feet. Greedily his eyes examined that portion of the
sea. It was still deserted. He had to conclude once more, that the
island lay away from the trade routes of the Pacific.
Godfrey uttered a heavy sigh; then his look fell on the narrow domain on
which fate had condemned him to live, doubtless for long, perhaps for
But what was his surprise when he saw, this time away to the north, a
smoke similar to that which he had already thought he had seen in the
south. He watched it with the keenest attention.
[Illustration: There was the column of smoke. page 152]
A very light vapour, calm and pure, greyish blue at its tip, rose
straight in the air.
"No! I am not mistaken!" exclaimed Godfrey. "There is a smoke, and
therefore a fire which produces it! And that fire could not have been
lighted except by--By whom?"
Godfrey then with extreme precision took the bearings of the spot in
The smoke was rising in the north-east of the island, amid the high
rocks which bordered the beach. There was no mistake about that. It was
less than five miles from Will Tree. Striking straight to the north-east
across the prairie, and then following the shore, he could not fail
to find the rocks above which the vapour rose.
With beating heart Godfrey made his way down the scaffolding of branches
until he reached the fork. There he stopped an instant to clear off the
moss and leaves which clung to him, and that done he slid down the
opening, which he enlarged as much as possible, and rapidly gained the
ground. A word to Tartlet not to be uneasy at his absence, and Godfrey
hastened off in the north-easterly direction so as to reach the shore.
It was a two hours' walk across the verdant prairie, through clumps of
scattered trees, or hedges of spiny shrubs, and then along the beach. At
length the last chain of rocks was reached.
But the smoke which Godfrey had seen from the top of the tree he
searched for in vain when he had reached the ground. As he had taken the
bearings of the spot with great care, he came towards it without any
There Godfrey began his search. He carefully explored every nook and
corner of this part of the shore. He called. No one answered to his
shout. No human being appeared on the beach. Not a rock gave him a trace
of a newly lighted fire--nor of a fire now extinct, which could have
been fed by sea herbs and dry algŠ thrown up by the tide.
"But it is impossible that I should have been mistaken!" repeated
Godfrey to himself. "I am sure it was smoke that I saw! And besides!--"
As Godfrey could not admit that he had been the dupe of a delusion, he
began to think that there must exist some well of heated water, or kind
of intermittent geyser, which he could not exactly find, but which had
given forth the vapour.
There was nothing to show that in the island there were not many of such
natural wells, and the apparition of the column of smoke could be easily
explained by so simple a geological phenomenon.
Godfrey left the shore and returned towards Will Tree, observing the
country as he went along a little more carefully than he had done as he
came. A few ruminants showed themselves, amongst others some wapiti,
they dashed past with such speed that it was impossible to get near
In about four hours Godfrey got back. Just before he reached the tree he
heard the shrill "twang! squeak!" of the kit, and soon found himself
face to face with Professor Tartlet, who, in the attitude of a vestal,
was watching the sacred fire confided to his keeping.
WHEREIN GODFREY FINDS SOME WRECKAGE, TO WHICH HE AND HIS
A HEARTY WELCOME.
To put up with what you cannot avoid is a philosophical principle, that
may not perhaps lead you to the accomplishment of great deeds, but is
assuredly eminently practical. On this principle Godfrey had resolved to
act for the future. If he had to live in this island, the wisest thing
for him to do was to live there as comfortably as possible until an
opportunity offered for him to leave it.
And so, without delay, he set to work to get the interior of Will Tree
into some order. Cleanliness was of the first importance. The beds of
dried grass were frequently renewed. The plates and dishes were only
scallop shells, it is true, but no American kitchen could show cleaner
ones. It should be said to his praise that Professor Tartlet was a
capital washer. With the help of his knife Godfrey, by flattening out a
large piece of bark, and sticking four uprights into the ground, had
contrived a table in the middle of the room. Some large stumps served
for stools. The comrades were no longer reduced to eating on their
knees, when the weather prevented their dining in the open air.
There was still the question of clothing, which was of great interest to
them, and they did the best they could. In that climate, and under that
latitude, there was no reason why they should not go about half naked;
but, at length, trousers, waistcoat, and linen shirt were all worn out.
How could they replace them? Were the sheep and the goats to provide
them with skins for clothing, after furnishing them with flesh for food?
It looked like it. Meanwhile, Godfrey had the few garments he possessed
frequently washed. It was on Tartlet, transformed into a laundress, that
this task fell, and he acquitted himself of it to the general
Godfrey busied himself specially in providing food, and in arranging
matters generally. He was, in fact, the caterer. Collecting the edible
roots and the manzanilla fruit occupied him some hours every day; and so
did fishing with plaited rushes, sometimes in the waters of the stream,
and sometimes in the hollows of the rocks on the beach when the tide had
gone out. The means were primitive, no doubt, but from time to time a
fine crustacean or a succulent fish figured on the table of Will Tree,
to say nothing of the mollusks, which were easily caught by hand.
But we must confess that the pot--of all the pieces in the battery of
the cook undoubtedly the most essential--the simple iron pot, was
wanting. Its absence could not but be deeply felt. Godfrey knew not how
to replace the vulgar pipkin, whose use is universal. No hash, no stew,
no boiled meat, no fish, nothing but roasts and grills. No soup appeared
at the beginning of a meal. Constantly and bitterly did Tartlet
complain--but how to satisfy the poor man?
Godfrey was busied with other cares. In visiting the different trees of
the group he had found a second sequoia of great height, of which the
lower part, hollowed out by the weather, was very rugged and uneven.
Here he devised his poultry-house, and in it the fowls took up their
abode. The hens soon became accustomed to their home, and settled
themselves to set on eggs placed in the dried grass, and chickens began
to multiply. Every evening the broods were driven in and shut up, so as
to keep them from birds of prey, who, aloft in the branches, watched
their easy victims, and would, if they could, have ended by destroying
As for the agoutis, the sheep, and the goats, it would have been useless
then to have looked out a stable or a shelter for them. When the bad
weather came, there would be time enough to see to that. Meanwhile they
prospered on the luxuriant pasturage of the prairie, with its abundance
of sainfoin and edible roots, of which the porcine representatives
showed genuine appreciation. A few kids had been dropped since the
arrival in the island, and as much milk as possible was left to the
goats with which to nourish their little ones.
From all this it resulted that the surroundings of Will Tree were quite
lively. The well-fed domestic animals came during the warm hours of the
day to find there a refuge from the heat of the sun. No fear was there
of their wandering abroad, or of their falling a prey to wild beasts, of
which Phina Island seemed to contain not a single specimen.
And so things went on, with a present fairly comfortable perhaps, but a
future very disquieting, when an unexpected incident occurred which
bettered the position considerably.
It was on the 29th of July.
Godfrey was strolling in the morning along that part of the shore which
formed the beach of the large bight to which he had given the name of
Dream Bay. He was exploring it to see if it was as rich in shell-fish as
the coast on the north. Perhaps he still hoped that he might yet come
across some of the wreck, of which it seemed to him so strange that the
tide had as yet brought in not a single fragment.
On this occasion he had advanced to the northern point which terminated
in a sandy spit, when his attention was attracted by a rock of curious
shape, rising near the last group of algŠ and sea-weeds.
A strange presentiment made him hasten his steps. What was his surprise,
and his joy, when he saw that what he had taken for a rock was a box,
half buried in the sand.
Was it one of the packages of the Dream? Had it been here ever since
the wreck? Was it not rather all that remained of another and more
recent catastrophe? It was difficult to say. In any case no matter
whence it came or what it held, the box was a valuable prize.
Godfrey examined it outwardly. There was no trace of an address not even
a name, not even one of those huge initials cut out of thin sheet metal
which ornament the boxes of the Americans. Perhaps he would find inside
it some paper which would indicate the origin, or nationality, or name
of the proprietor? Any how it was apparently hermetically sealed, and
there was hope that its contents had not been spoiled by their sojourn
in the sea-water. It was a very strong wooden box, covered with thick
leather, with copper corner plates at the angles, and large straps all
Impatient as he was to view the contents of the box, Godfrey did not
think of damaging it, but of opening it after destroying the lock; as to
transporting it from the bottom of Dream Bay to Will Tree, its weight
forbade it, and he never gave that a thought.
"Well," said Godfrey to himself, "we must empty it where it is, and make
as many journeys as may be necessary to take away all that is inside."
It was about four miles from the end of the promontory to the group of
sequoias. It would therefore take some time to do this, and occasion
considerable fatigue. Time did not press, however. As for the fatigue,
it was hardly worth thinking about.
What did the box contain? Before returning to Will Tree, Godfrey had a
try at opening it.
He began by unbuckling the straps, and once they were off he very
carefully lifted the leather shield which protected the lock. But how
was he to force it?
It was a difficult job. Godfrey had no lever with which to bring his
strength to bear. He had to guard against the risk of breaking his
knife, and so he looked about for a heavy stone with which he could
start the staple.
The beach was strewn with lumps of hard silex in every form which could
do for a hammer.
Godfrey picked out one as thick as his wrist, and with it he gave a
tremendous whack on the plate of copper.
To his extreme surprise the bolt shot through the staple immediately
Either the staple was broken by the blow, or the lock was not turned.
Godfrey's heart beat high as he stooped to lift up the box lid.
It rose unchecked, and in truth had Godfrey had to get it to pieces he
would not have done so without trouble. The trunk was a regular
strong-box. The interior was lined with sheet zinc, so that the
sea-water had failed to penetrate. The objects it contained, however
delicate they might be, would be found in a perfect state of
And what objects! As he took them out Godfrey could not restrain
exclamations of joy! Most assuredly the box must have belonged to some
highly practical traveller, who had reckoned on getting into a country
where he would have to trust to his own resources.
In the first place there was linen--shirts, table-cloths, sheets,
counterpanes; then clothes--woollen jerseys, woollen socks, cotton
socks, cloth trousers, velveteen trousers, knitted waistcoats,
waistcoats of good heavy stuffs; then two pairs of strong boots, and
hunting-shoes and felt hats.
Then came a few kitchen and toilet utensils; and an iron pot--the famous
pot which was wanted so badly--a kettle, a coffee-pot, a tea-pot, some
spoons, some forks, some knives, a looking-glass, and brushes of all
kinds, and, what was by no means to be despised, three cans, containing
about fifteen pints of brandy and tafia, and several pounds of tea and
Then, in the third place, came some tools--an auger, a gimlet, a
handsaw, an assortment of nails and brads, a spade, a shovel, a pickaxe,
a hatchet, an adze, &c., &c.
In the fourth place, there were some weapons, two hunting-knives in
their leather sheaths, a carbine and two muskets, three six-shooter
revolvers, a dozen pounds of powder, many thousand caps, and an
important stock of lead and bullets, all the arms seeming to be of
English make. There was also a small medicine-chest, a telescope, a
compass, and a chronometer. There were also a few English books, several
quires of blank paper, pencils, pens, and ink, an almanac, a Bible with
a New York imprint, and a "Complete Cook's Manual."
Verily this is an inventory of what under the circumstances was an
Godfrey could not contain himself for joy. Had he expressly ordered the
trousseau for the use of shipwrecked folks in difficulties, he could not
have made it more complete.
Abundant thanks were due for it to Providence. And Providence had the
thanks, and from an overflowing heart.
Godfrey indulged himself in the pleasure of spreading out all his
treasure on the beach. Every object was looked over, but not a scrap of
paper was there in the box to indicate to whom it belonged, or the ship
on which it had been embarked.
Around, the sea showed no signs of a recent wreck.
Nothing was there on the rocks, nothing on the sands. The box must have
been brought in by the flood, after being afloat for perhaps many days.
In fact, its size in proportion to its weight had assured for it
The two inhabitants of Phina Island would for some time be kept provided
in a large measure with the material wants of life,--tools, arms,
instruments, utensils, clothes--due to the luckiest of chances.
Godfrey did not dream of taking all the things to Will Tree at once.
Their transport would necessitate several journeys but he would have to
make haste for fear of bad weather.
Godfrey then put back most of the things in the box. A gun, a revolver,
a certain quantity of powder and lead, a hunting-knife, the telescope,
and the iron pot, he took as his first load.
The box was carefully closed and strapped up, and with a rapid step
Godfrey strode back along the shore.
Ah! What a reception he had from Tartlet, an hour later! And the delight
of the Professor when his pupil ran over the list of their new riches!
The pot--that pot above everything--threw him into transports of joy,
culminating in a series of "hornpipes" and "cellar-flaps," wound up by a
triumphant "six-eight breakdown."
It was only noon as yet. Godfrey wished after the meal to get back at
once to Dream Bay. He would never rest until the whole was in safety at
Tartlet made no objection, and declared himself ready to start. It was
no longer necessary to watch the fire. With the powder they could always
get a light. But the Professor was desirous that during their absence
the soup which he was thinking about might be kept gently on the simmer.
The wonderful pot was soon filled with water from the stream, a whole
quarter of a goat was thrown in, accompanied by a dozen yamph roots, to
take the place of vegetables, and then a pinch or two of salt found in
the crevices of the rocks gave seasoning to the mixture.
"It must skim itself," exclaimed Tartlet, who seemed highly satisfied
at his performance.
And off they started for Dream Bay by the shortest road. The box had not
been disturbed. Godfrey opened it with care. Amid a storm of admiring
exclamations from Tartlet, he began to pick out the things.
In this first journey Godfrey and his companion, transformed into beasts
of burden, carried away to Will Tree the arms, the ammunition, and a
part of the wearing apparel.
Then they rested from their fatigue beside the table, on which there
smoked the stewed agouti, which they pronounced most excellent. As for
the meat, to listen to the Professor it would have been difficult even
to imagine anything more exquisite! Oh! the marvellous effect of
On the 30th, the next day, Godfrey and Tartlet set forth at dawn, and in
three other journeys succeeded in emptying and carrying away all that
the box contained. Before the evening, tools, weapons, instruments,
utensils, were all brought, arranged, and stowed away in Will Tree.
On the 1st of August, the box itself, dragged along the beach not
without difficulty, found a place in the tree, and was transformed into
Tartlet, with the fickleness of his mind, now looked upon the future
through none but rosy glasses. We can hardly feel astonished then that
on this day, with his kit in his hand, he went out to find his pupil,
and said to him in all seriousness, as if he were in the drawing-room of
"Well, Godfrey, my boy, don't you think it is time to resume our dancing
IN WHICH THERE HAPPENS WHAT HAPPENS AT LEAST ONCE IN THE
LIFE OF EVERY
CRUSOE, REAL OR IMAGINARY.
And now the future looked less gloomy. But if Tartlet saw in the
possession of the instruments, the tools, and the weapons only the means
of making their life of isolation a little more agreeable, Godfrey was
already thinking of how to escape from Phina Island. Could he not now
construct a vessel strong enough to enable them to reach if not some
neighbouring land, at least some ship passing within sight of the
Meanwhile the weeks which followed were principally spent in carrying
out not these ideas, but those of Tartlet. The wardrobe at Will Tree was
now replenished, but it was decided to use it with all the discretion
which the uncertainty of the future required. Never to wear any of the
clothes unless necessity compelled him to do so, was the rule to which
the professor was forced to submit.
"What is the good of that?" grumbled he. "It is a great deal too
stingy, my dear Godfrey! Are we savages, that we should go about half
"I beg your pardon, Tartlet," replied Godfrey; "we are savages, and
"As you please; but you will see that we shall leave the island before
we have worn the clothes!"
"I know nothing about it, Tartlet, and it is better to have than to
"But on Sunday now, surely on Sunday, we might dress up a little?"
"Very well, on Sundays then, and perhaps on public holidays," answered
Godfrey, who did not wish to anger his frivolous companion; "but as to
day is Monday we shall have to wait a whole week before we come out in
We need hardly mention that from the moment he arrived on the island
Godfrey had not omitted to mark each day as it passed. By the aid of the
calendar he found in the box he was able to verify that the day was
Each performed his daily task according to his ability. It was no longer
necessary for them to keep watch by day and night over a fire which they
had now the means of relighting.
Tartlet therefore abandoned, not without regret, a task which suited
him so well. Henceforwards he took charge of the provisioning with yamph
and camas roots--of that in short which formed the daily bread of the
establishment, so that the professor went every day and collected them,
up to the lines of shrubs with which the prairie was bordered behind
Will Tree. It was one or two miles to walk, but he accustomed himself to
it. Between whiles he occupied his time in collecting oysters or other
mollusks, of which they consumed a great quantity.
Godfrey reserved for himself the care of the domestic animals and the
poultry. The butchering trade was hardly to his taste, but he soon
overcame his repugnance. Thanks to him, boiled meats appeared frequently
on the table, followed by an occasional joint of roast meat to afford a
sufficiently varied bill of fare. Game abounded in the woods of Phina
Island, and Godfrey proposed to begin his shooting when other more
pressing cares allowed him time. He thought of making good use of the
guns, powder, and bullets in his arsenal, but he in the first place
wished to complete his preparations. His tools enabled him to make
several benches inside and outside Will Tree. The stools were cut out
roughly with the axe, the table made a little less roughly became more
worthy of the dishes and dinner things with which Professor Tartlet
adorned it. The beds were arranged in wooden boxes and their litter of
dry grass assumed a more inviting aspect. If mattresses and palliasses
were still wanting, counterpanes at least were not. The various cooking
utensils stood no longer on the ground, but had their places on planks
fixed along the walls. Stores, linen, and clothes were carefully put
away in cavities hollowed out in the bark of the sequoia. From strong
pegs were suspended the arms and instruments, forming quite a trophy on
Godfrey was also desirous of putting a door to the house, so that the
other living creatures--the domestic animals--should not come during the
night and trouble their sleep. As he could not cut out boards with his
only saw, the handsaw, he used large and thick pieces of bark, which he
got off very easily. With these he made a door sufficiently massive to
close the opening into Will Tree, at the same time he made two little
windows, one opposite to the other, so as to let light and air into the
room. Shutters allowed him to close them at night, but from the morning
to the evening it was no longer necessary to take refuge in flaring
resinous torches which filled the dwelling with smoke. What Godfrey
would think of to yield them light during the long nights of winter he
had as yet no idea. He might take to making candles with the mutton fat,
or he might be contented with resinous torches more carefully prepared.
We shall see.
Another of his anxieties was how to construct a chimney in Will Tree.
While the fine weather lasted, the fire outside among the roots of the
sequoia sufficed for all the wants of the kitchen, but when the bad
weather came and the rain fell in torrents, and they would have to
battle with the cold, whose extreme rigour during a certain time they
reasonably feared, they would have to have a fire inside their house,
and the smoke from it must have some vent. This important question
therefore had to be settled.
One very useful work which Godfrey undertook was to put both banks of
the river in communication with each other on the skirt of the
He managed, after some difficulty, to drive a few stakes into the
river-bed, and on them he fixed a staging of planks, which served for a
bridge. They could thus get away to the northern shore without crossing
the ford, which led them a couple of miles out of their road.
But if Godfrey took all these precautions so as to make existence a
little more possible on this lone isle of the Pacific, in case he and
his companion were destined to live on it for some time, or perhaps live
on it for ever, he had no intention of neglecting in any way the chances
Phina Island was not on the routes taken by the ships--that was only too
evident. It offered no port of call, nor means of revictualling. There
was nothing to encourage ships to take notice of it. At the same time
it was not impossible that a war-ship or a merchant-vessel might come in
sight. It was advisable therefore to find some way of attracting
attention, and showing that the island was inhabited.
With this object Godfrey erected a flagstaff at the end of the cape
which ran out to the north, and for a flag he sacrificed a piece of one
of the cloths found in the trunk. As he thought that the white colour
would only be visible in a strong light, he tried to stain his flag with
the berries of a sort of shrub which grew at the foot of the dunes. He
obtained a very vivid red, which he could not make indelible owing to
his having no mordant, but he could easily re-dye the cloth when the
wind or rain had faded it.
These varied employments occupied him up to the 15th of August. For many
weeks the sky had been constantly clear, with the exception of two or
three storms of extreme violence which had brought down a large quantity
of water, to be greedily drunk in by the soil.
About this time Godfrey began his shooting expeditions. But if he was
skilful enough in the use of the gun, he could not reckon on Tartlet,
who had yet to fire his first shot.
Many days of the week did Godfrey devote to the pursuit of fur and
feather, which, without being abundant, were yet plentiful enough for
the requirements of Will Tree.
A few partridges, some of the red-legged variety, and a few snipes, came
as a welcome variation of the bill of fare. Two or three antelopes fell
to the prowess of the young stalker; and although he had had nothing to
do with their capture, the professor gave them a no less welcome than he
did when they appeared as haunches and cutlets.
But while he was out shooting, Godfrey did not forget to take a more
complete survey of the island. He penetrated the depths of the dense
forests which occupied the central districts. He ascended the river to
its source. He again mounted the summit of the cone, and redescended by
the talus on the eastern shore, which he had not, up to then, visited.
"After all these explorations," repeated Godfrey to himself, "there can
be no doubt that Phina Island has no dangerous animals, neither wild
beasts, snakes, nor saurians! I have not caught sight of one! Assuredly
if there had been any, the report of the gun would have woke them up! It
is fortunate, indeed. If it were to become necessary to fortify Will
Tree against their attacks, I do not know how we should get on!"
Then passing on to quite a natural deduction--
"It must also be concluded," continued he, "that the island is not
inhabited at all. Either natives or people shipwrecked here would have
appeared before now at the sound of the gun! There is, however, that
inexplicable smoke which I twice thought I saw."
The fact is, that Godfrey had never been able to trace any fire. As for
the hot water springs to which he attributed the origin of the vapour he
had noticed, Phina Island being in no way volcanic did not appear to
contain any, and he had to content himself with thinking that he had
twice been the victim of an illusion.
Besides, this apparition of the smoke or the vapour was not repeated.
When Godfrey the second time ascended the central cone, as also when he
again climbed up into Will Tree, he saw nothing to attract his
attention. He ended by forgetting the circumstance altogether.
Many weeks passed in different occupations about the tree, and many
shooting excursions were undertaken. With every day their mode of life
Every Sunday, as had been agreed, Tartlet donned his best clothes. On
that day he did nothing but walk about under the big trees, and indulge
in an occasional tune on the kit. Many were the glissades he performed,
giving lessons to himself, as his pupil had positively refused to
continue his course.
"What is the good of it?" was Godfrey's answer to the entreaties of the
professor. "Can you imagine Robinson Crusoe taking lessons in dancing
"And why not?" asked Tartlet seriously. "Why should Robinson Crusoe
dispense with deportment? Not for the good of others, but of himself, he
should acquire refined manners."
To which Godfrey made no reply. And as he never came for his lesson, the
professor became professor "emeritus."
The 13th of September was noted for one of the greatest and cruellest
deceptions to which, on a desert island, the unfortunate survivors of a
shipwreck could be subjected.
Godfrey had never again seen that inexplicable and undiscoverable smoke
on the island; but on this day, about three o'clock in the afternoon,
his attention was attracted by a long line of vapour, about the origin
of which he could not be deceived.
He had gone for a walk to the end of Flag Point--the name which he had
given to the cape on which he had erected his flagstaff. While he was
looking through his glass he saw above the horizon a smoke driven by the
west wind towards the island.
Godfrey's heart beat high.
"A ship!" he exclaimed.
But would this ship, this steamer, pass in sight of Phina Island? And if
it passed, would it come near enough for the signal thereon to be seen
Or would not rather the semi-visible smoke disappear with the vessel
towards the north-west or south-west of the horizon?
For two hours Godfrey was a prey to alternating emotions more easy to
indicate than to describe.
The smoke got bigger and bigger. It increased when the steamer re-stoked
her fires, and diminished almost to vanishing-point as the fuel was
consumed. Continually did the vessel visibly approach. About four
o'clock her hull had come up on the line between the sky and the sea.
She was a large steamer, bearing north-east. Godfrey easily made that
out. If that direction was maintained, she would inevitably approach
Godfrey had at first thought of running back to Will Tree to inform
Tartlet. What was the use of doing so? The sight of one man making
signals could do as much good as that of two. He remained there, his
glass at his eye, losing not a single movement of the ship.
The steamer kept on her course towards the coast, her bow steered
straight for the cape. By five o'clock the horizon-line was already
above her hull, and her rig was visible. Godfrey could even recognize
the colours at her gaff.
She carried the United States' ensign.
"But if I can see their flag, cannot they see mine? The wind keeps it
out, so that they could easily see my flag with their glasses. Shall I
make signals, by raising it and lowering it a few times, so as to show
that I want to enter into communication with them? Yes! I have not an
instant to lose."
It was a good idea. Godfrey ran to the end of Flag Point, and began to
haul his flag up and down, as if he were saluting. Then he left it
half-mast high, so as to show, in the way usual with seafaring people,
that he required help and succour.
The steamer still approached to within three miles of the shore, but her
flag remained immovable at the peak, and replied not to that on Flag
Point. Godfrey felt his heart sink. He would not be noticed! It was
half-past six, and the sun was about to set!
The steamer was now about two miles from the cape, which she was rapidly
nearing. At this moment the sun disappeared below the horizon. With the
first shadows of night, all hope of being seen had to be given up.
Godfrey again, with no more success, began to raise and lower his flag.
There was no reply.
He then fired his gun two or three times, but the distance was still
great, and the wind did not set in that direction! No report would be
heard on board!
The night gradually came on; soon the steamer's hull grew invisible.
Doubtless in another hour she would have passed Phina Island.
Godfrey, not knowing what to do, thought of setting fire to a group of
resinous trees which grew at the back of Flag Point. He lighted a heap
of dry leaves with some gunpowder, and then set light to the group of
pines, which flared up like an enormous torch.
But no fire on the ship answered to the one on the land, and Godfrey
returned sadly to Will Tree, feeling perhaps more desolate than he had
ever felt till then.
IN WHICH SOMETHING HAPPENS WHICH CANNOT FAIL TO SURPRISE
To Godfrey the blow was serious. Would this unexpected chance which had
just escaped him ever offer again? Could he hope so? No! The
indifference of the steamer as she passed in sight of the island,
without even taking a look at it, was obviously shared in by all the
vessels venturing in this deserted portion of the Pacific. Why should
they put into port more than she had done? The island did not possess a
Godfrey passed a sorrowful night. Every now and then jumping up as if he
heard a cannon out at sea, he would ask himself if the steamer had not
caught sight of the huge fire which still burnt on the coast, and if she
were not endeavouring to answer the signal by a gun-shot?
Godfrey listened. It was only an illusion of his over-excited brain.
When the day came, he had come to look upon the apparition of the ship
as but a dream, which had commenced about three o'clock on the previous
But no! He was only too certain that a ship had been in sight of Phina
Island, maybe within two miles of it, and certainly she had not put in.
Of this deception Godfrey said not a word to Tartlet. What was the good
of talking about it? Besides, his frivolous mind could not see more than
twenty-four hours ahead. He was no longer thinking of the chances of
escaping from the island which might offer. He no longer imagined that
the future had great things in store for them. San Francisco was fading
out of his recollection. He had no sweetheart waiting for him, no Uncle
Will to return to. If at this end of the world he could only commence a
course of lessons on dancing, his happiness would be complete--were it
only with one pupil.
If the professor dreamt not of immediate danger, such as to compromise
his safety in this island--bare, as it was, of wild beasts and
savages--he was wrong. This very day his optimism was to be put to a
About four o'clock in the afternoon Tartlet had gone, according to his
custom, to collect some oysters and mussels, on that part of the shore
behind Flag Point, when Godfrey saw him coming back as fast as his legs
could carry him to Will Tree. His hair stood on end round his
temples. He looked like a man in flight, who dared not turn his head to
the right or to the left.
"What is the matter?" shouted Godfrey, not without alarm, running to
meet his companion.
"There! there!" answered Tartlet, pointing with his finger towards the
narrow strip of sea visible to the north between the trees.
"But what is it?" asked Godfrey, whose first movement was to run to the
edge of the sequoias.
[Illustration: "A Canoe!" page 181]
"Yes! Savages! Quite a fleet of savages! Cannibals, perhaps!"
Godfrey looked in the direction pointed out.
It was not a fleet, as the distracted Tartlet had said; but he was only
mistaken about the quantity.
In fact, there was a small vessel gliding through the water, now very
calm, about half-a-mile from the coast, so as to double Flag Point.
"And why should they be cannibals?" asked Godfrey, turning towards the
"Because in Crusoe Islands," answered Tartlet, "there are always
cannibals, who arrive sooner or later."
"Is it not a boat from some merchant-ship?"
"From a ship?"
"Yes. From a steamer which passed here yesterday afternoon, in sight of
"And you said nothing to me about it!" exclaimed Tartlet, lifting his
hands to the sky.
"What good should I have done?" asked Godfrey. "Besides, I thought that
the vessel had disappeared! But that boat might belong to her! Let us go
Godfrey ran rapidly back to Will Tree, and, seizing his glass, returned
to the edge of the trees.
He then examined with extreme attention the little vessel, which would
ere then have perceived the flag on Flag Point as it fluttered in the
The glass fell from his hands.
"Savages! Yes! They are really savages!" he exclaimed.
Tartlet felt his knees knock together, and a tremor of fright ran
through his body.
It was a vessel manned by savages which Godfrey saw approaching the
island. Built like a Polynesian canoe, she carried a large sail of woven
bamboo; an outrigger on the weather side kept her from capsizing as she
heeled down to the wind.
Godfrey easily distinguished the build of the vessel. She was a proa,
and this would indicate that Phina Island was not far from Malaysia. But
they were not Malays on board; they were half-naked blacks, and there
were about a dozen of them.
The danger of being found was thus great. Godfrey regretted that he had
hoisted the flag, which had not been seen by the ship, but would be by
these black fellows. To take it down now would be too late.
It was, in truth, very unfortunate. The savages had probably come to the
island thinking it was uninhabited, as indeed it had been before the
wreck of the Dream. But there was the flag, indicating the presence of
human beings on the coast! How were they to escape them if they landed?
Godfrey knew not what to do. Anyhow his immediate care must be to watch
if they set foot on the island. He could think of other things
With his glass at his eye he followed the proa; he saw it turn the point
of the promontory, then run along the shore and then approach the mouth
of the small stream, which, two miles up, flowed past Will Tree.
If the savages intended to paddle up the river, they would soon reach
the group of sequoias--and nothing could hinder them. Godfrey and
Tartlet ran rapidly back to their dwelling. They first of all set about
guarding them selves against surprise, and giving themselves time to
prepare their defence.
At least that is what Godfrey thought of. The ideas of the professor
took quite a different turn.
"Ah!" he exclaimed. "It is destiny! This is as it was written? We could
not escape it! You cannot be a Crusoe without a canoe coming to your
island, without cannibals appearing one day or another! Here we have
been for only three months, and there they are already! Assuredly,
neither Defoe, nor De Wyss exaggerated matters! You can make yourself a
Crusoe, if you like!"
Worthy Tartlet, folks do not make themselves Crusoes, they become
Crusoes, and you are not sure that you are wise in comparing your
position with that of the heroes of the two English and Swiss romances!
The precautions taken by Godfrey as soon as he returned to Will Tree
were as follows. The fire burning among the roots of the sequoia was
extinguished, and the embers scattered broadcast, so as to leave no
trace; cocks, hens, and chickens were already in their house for the
night, and the entrance was hidden with shrubs and twigs as much as
possible; the other animals, the goats, agoutis, and sheep, were driven
on to the prairie, but it was unlucky that there was no stable to shut
them up in; all the instruments and tools were taken into the tree.
Nothing was left outside that could indicate the presence or the passage
of human beings.
Then the door was closely shut, after Godfrey and Tartlet had gone in.
The door made of the sequoia bark was indistinguishable from the bark of
the trunk, and might perhaps escape the eyes of the savages, who would
not look at it very closely. It was the same with the two windows, in
which the lower boards were shut. Then all light was extinguished in the
dwelling, and our friends remained in total darkness. How long that
night was! Godfrey and Tartlet heard the slightest sounds outside. The
creaking of a dry branch, even a puff of wind, made them start. They
thought they heard some one walking under the trees. It seemed that they
were prowling round Will Tree. Then Godfrey climbed up to one of the
windows, opened one of the boards, and anxiously peered into the gloom.
However, Godfrey at last heard footsteps on the ground. His ear could
not deceive him this time. He still looked, but could only see one of
the goats come for shelter beneath the trees.
Had any of the savages happened to discover the house hidden in the
enormous sequoia, Godfrey had made up his mind what to do: he would
up Tartlet with him by the chimney inside, and take refuge in the higher
branches, where he would be better able to resist. With guns and
revolvers in his possession, and ammunition in abundance, he would
there have some chance against a dozen savages devoid of fire-arms.
If in the event of their being armed with bows and arrows they attacked
from below, it was not likely that they would have the best of it
against fire-arms aimed from above. If on the other hand they forced the
door of the dwelling and tried to reach the branches from the inside,
they would find it very difficult to get there, owing to the narrow
opening, which the besieged could easily defend.
Godfrey said nothing about this to Tartlet. The poor man had been almost
out of his mind with fright since he had seen the proa. The thought that
he might be obliged to take refuge in the upper part of a tree, as if in
an eagle's nest, would not have soothed him in the least. If it became
necessary, Godfrey decided to drag him up before he had time to think
The night passed amid these alternations of fear and hope. No attack
occurred. The savages had not yet come to the sequoia group. Perhaps
they would wait for the day before venturing to cross the island.
"That is probably what they will do," said Godfrey, "since our flag
shows that it is inhabited! But there are only a dozen of them, and they
will have to be cautious! How are they to know that they have only to
deal with a couple of shipwrecked men? No! They will risk nothing
except by daylight--at least, if they are going to stop."
"Supposing they go away when the daylight comes?" answered Tartlet.
"Go away? Why should they have come to Phina Island for one night?"
"I do not know," replied the professor, who in his terror could only
explain the arrival of the blacks by supposing that they had come to
feed on human flesh.
"Anyhow," continued Godfrey; "to-morrow morning, if they have not come
to Will Tree, we will go out and reconnoitre."
"Yes! we! Nothing would be more imprudent than for us to separate! Who
knows whether we may not have to run to the forest in the centre of the
island and hide there for some days--until the departure of the proa!
No! We will keep together, Tartlet!"
"Hush!" said the professor in a low voice; "I think I hear something
Godfrey climbed up again to the window, and got down again almost
"No!" he said. "Nothing suspicious! It is only our cattle coming back to
"Hunted perhaps!" exclaimed Tartlet.
"They seem very quiet then," replied Godfrey; "I fancy they have only
come in search of shelter against the morning dew."
"Ah!" murmured Tartlet in so piteous a tone that Godfrey could hardly
help laughing, "these things could not happen at your uncle's place in
"Day will soon break," said Godfrey, after a pause. "In an hour's time,
if the savages have not appeared, we will leave Will Tree and
reconnoitre towards the north of the island. You are able to carry a
"And to fire it in a stated direction?"
"I do not know! I have never tried such a thing, and you may be sure,
Godfrey, that my bullet will not go--"
"Who knows if the report alone might not frighten the savages?"
An hour later, it was light enough to see beyond the sequoias.
Godfrey then cautiously reopened the shutters.
From that looking to the south he saw nothing extraordinary. The
domestic animals wandered peacefully under the trees, and did not appear
in the least alarmed. The survey completed, Godfrey carefully shut this
window. Through the opening to the north there was a view up to the
shore. Two miles off even the end of Flag Point could be seen; but the
mouth of the river at the place where the savages had landed the evening
before was not visible. Godfrey at first looked around without using his
glass, so as to examine the environs of Will Tree on this side of Phina
All was quite peaceful.
Godfrey then taking his glass swept round the coast to the promontory at
Flag Point. Perhaps, as Tartlet had said, though it was difficult to
find the reason, the savages had embarked, after a night spent on shore,
without attempting to see if the island were inhabited.
IN WHICH PROFESSOR TARTLET'S GUN REALLY DOES MARVELS.
But Godfrey suddenly uttered an exclamation which made the professor
jump. There could be no doubt that the savages knew the island was
inhabited, for the flag hitherto hoisted at the extremity of the cape
had been carried away by them and no longer floated on the mast at Flag
Point. The moment had then come to put the project into execution, to
reconnoitre if the savages were still in the island, and to see what
they were doing.
"Let us go," said he to his companion.
"Go! But--" answered Tartlet.
"Would you rather stay here?"
"With you, Godfrey--yes!"
"Come along then!"
Tartlet, thoroughly understanding that Godfrey would not alter his
decision, resolved to accompany him. He had not courage enough to stay
behind at Will Tree.
Before starting, Godfrey assured himself that the fire-arms were ready
for action. The two guns were loaded, and one passed into the hands of
the professor, who seemed as much embarrassed with it as might have been
a savage of Pomotou. He also hung one of the hunting-knives to his belt,
to which he had already attached his cartridge-pouch. The thought had
occurred to him to also take his fiddle, imagining perhaps that they
would be sensible to the charm of its squeaking, of which all the talent
of a virtuoso could not conceal the harshness.
Godfrey had some trouble in getting him to abandon this idea, which was
as ridiculous as it was impracticable.
It was now six o'clock in the morning. The summits of the sequoias were
glowing in the first rays of the sun.
Godfrey opened the door; he stepped outside; he scanned the group of
The animals had returned to the prairie. There they were, tranquilly
browsing, about a quarter of a mile away. Nothing about them denoted the
Godfrey made a sign to Tartlet to join him. The professor, as clumsy as
could be in his fighting harness, followed--not without some hesitation.
Then Godfrey shut the door, and saw that it was well hidden in the bark
of the sequoia. Then, having thrown at the foot of the tree a bundle of
twigs, which he weighted with a few large stones, he set out towards the
river, whose banks he intended to descend, if necessary, to its mouth.
Tartlet followed him not without giving before each of his steps an
uneasy stare completely round him up to the very limits of the horizon;
but the fear of being left alone impelled him to advance.
Arrived at the edge of the group of trees, Godfrey stopped.
Taking his glasses from their case, he scanned with extreme attention
all that part of the coast between the Flag Point promontory and the
north-east angle of the island.
Not a living being showed itself, not a single smoke wreath was rising
in the air.
The end of the cape was equally deserted, but they would there doubtless
find numberless footprints freshly made. As for the mast, Godfrey had
not been deceived. If the staff still rose above the last rock on the
cape, it was bereft of its flag. Evidently the savages after coming to
the place had gone off with the red cloth which had excited their
covetousness, and had regained their boat at the mouth of the river.
Godfrey then turned off so as to examine the western shore.
It was nothing but a vast desert from Flag Point right away beyond the
curve of Dream Bay.
No boat of any kind appeared on the surface of the sea. If the savages
had taken to their proa, it only could be concluded that they were
hugging the coast sheltered by the rocks, and so closely that they could
not be seen.
However, Godfrey could not and would not remain in doubt. He was
determined to ascertain, yes or no, if the proa had definitely left the
To do this it was necessary to visit the spot where the savages had
landed the night before, that is to say, the narrow creek at the mouth
of the river.
This he immediately attempted.
The borders of the small watercourse were shaded by occasional clumps of
trees encircled by shrubs, for a distance of about two miles. Beyond
that for some five or six hundred yards down to the sea the river ran
between naked banks. This state of affairs enabled him to approach close
to the landing-place without being perceived. It might be, however, that
the savages had ascended the stream, and to be prepared for this
eventuality the advance had to be made with extreme caution.
Godfrey, however thought, not without reason, that, at this early hour
the savages, fatigued by their long voyage, would not have quitted their
anchorage. Perhaps they were still sleeping either in their canoe or on
land; in which case it would be seen if they could not be surprised.
This idea was acted upon at once. It was important that they should get
on quickly. In such circumstances the advantage is generally gained at
the outset. The fire-arms were again examined, the revolvers were
carefully looked at, and then Godfrey and Tartlet commenced the descent
of the left bank of the river in Indian file. All around was quiet.
Flocks of birds flew from one bank to the other, pursuing each other
among the higher branches without showing any uneasiness.
Godfrey went first, but it can easily be believed that his companion
found the attempt to cover step rather tiring. Moving from one tree to
another they advanced towards the shore without risk of discovery. Here
the clumps of bushes hid them from the opposite bank, there even their
heads disappeared amid the luxurious vegetation. But no matter where
they were, an arrow from a bow or a stone from a sling might at any
moment reach them. And so they had to be constantly on their guard.
However, in spite of the recommendations which were addressed to him,
Tartlet, tripping against an occasional stump, had two or three falls
which might have complicated matters. Godfrey was beginning to regret
having brought such a clumsy assistant. Indeed, the poor man could not
be much help to him. Doubtless he would have been worth more left behind
at Will Tree; or, if he would not consent to that, hidden away in some
nook in the forest. But it was too late. An hour after he had left the
sequoia group, Godfrey and his companion had come a mile--only a
mile--for the path was not easy beneath the high vegetation and between
the luxuriant shrubs. Neither one nor the other of our friends had seen
Hereabouts the trees thinned out for about a hundred yards or less, the
river ran between naked banks, the country round was barer.
Godfrey stopped. He carefully observed the prairie to the right and left
of the stream.
Still there was nothing to disquiet him, nothing to indicate the
approach of savages. It is true that as they could not but believe the
island inhabited, they would not advance without precaution, in fact
they would be as careful in ascending the little river as Godfrey was in
descending it. It was to be supposed therefore that if they were
prowling about the neighbourhood, they would also profit by the shelter
of the trees or the high bushes of mastics and myrtles which formed such
an excellent screen.
It was a curious though very natural circumstance that, the farther they
advanced, Tartlet, perceiving no enemy, little by little lost his
terror, and began to speak with scorn of "those cannibal
laughing-stocks." Godfrey, on the contrary, became more anxious, and it
was with greater precaution than ever that he crossed the open space and
regained the shadow of the trees. Another hour led them to the place
where the banks, beginning to feel the effects of the sea's vicinity,
were only bordered with stunted shrubs, or sparse grasses.
Under these circumstances it was difficult to keep hidden or rather
impossible to proceed without crawling along the ground.
This is what Godfrey did, and also what he advised Tartlet to do.
"There are not any savages! There are not any cannibals! They have all
gone!" said the professor.
"There are!" answered Godfrey quickly, in a low voice, "They ought to be
here! Down Tartlet, get down! Be ready to fire, but don't do so till I
Godfrey had said these words in such a tone of authority that the
professor, feeling his limbs give way under him, had no difficulty in at
once assuming the required position.
And he did well!
In fact, it was not without reason that Godfrey had spoken as he had.
From the spot which they then occupied, they could see neither the
shore, nor the place where the river entered the sea. A small spur of
hills shut out the view about a hundred yards ahead, but above this near
horizon a dense smoke was rising straight in the air.
Godfrey, stretched at full length in the grass, with his finger on the
trigger of his musket, kept looking towards the coast.
"This smoke," he said, "is it not of the same kind that I have already
seen twice before? Should I conclude that savages have previously landed
on the north and south of the island, and that the smoke came from fires
lighted by them? But no! That is not possible, for I found no cinders,
nor traces of a fireplace, nor embers! Ah! this time I'll know the
reason of it."
And by a clever reptilian movement, which Tartlet imitated as well as he
could, he managed, without showing his head above the grass, to reach
the bend of the river.
Thence he could command, at his ease, every part of the bank through
which the river ran.
An exclamation could not but escape him! His hand touched the
professor's shoulder to prevent any movement of his! Useless to go
further! Godfrey saw what he had come to see!
A large fire of wood was lighted on the beach, among the lower rocks,
and from it a canopy of smoke rose slowly to the sky. Around the fire,
feeding it with fresh armfuls of wood, of which they had made a heap,
went and came the savages who had landed the evening before. Their canoe
was moored to a large stone, and, lifted by the rising tide, oscillated
on the ripples of the shore.
Godfrey could distinguish all that was passing on the sands without
using his glasses. He was not more than two hundred yards from the fire,
and he could even hear it crackling. He immediately perceived that he
need fear no surprise from the rear, for all the blacks he had counted
in the proa were in the group.
Ten out of the twelve were occupied in looking after the fire and
sticking stakes in the ground with the evident intention of rigging up a
spit in the Polynesian manner. An eleventh, who appeared to be the
chief, was walking along the beach, and constantly turning his glances
towards the interior of the island, as if he were afraid of an attack.
Godfrey recognized as a piece of finery on his shoulders the red stuff
of his flag.
The twelfth savage was stretched on the ground, tied tightly to a post.
Godfrey recognized at once the fate in store for the wretched man. The
spit was for him! The fire was to roast him at! Tartlet had not been
mistaken, when, the previous evening, he had spoken of these folks as
It must be admitted that neither was he mistaken in saying that the
adventures of Crusoes, real or imaginary, were all copied one from the
Most certainly Godfrey and he did then find themselves in the same
position as the hero of Daniel Defoe when the savages landed on his
island. They were to assist, without doubt, at the same scene of
Godfrey decided to act as this hero did! He would not permit the
massacre of the prisoner for which the stomachs of the cannibals were
waiting! He was well armed. His two muskets--four shots--his two
revolvers--a dozen shots--could easily settle these eleven rascals, whom
the mere report of one of the fire-arms might perhaps be sufficient to
scatter. Having taken his decision he coolly waited for the moment to
interfere like a thunder-clap.
He had not long to wait!
Twenty minutes had barely elapsed, when the chief approached the fire.
Then by a gesture he pointed out the prisoner to the savages who were
expecting his orders.
Godfrey rose. Tartlet, without knowing why, followed the example. He did
not even comprehend where his companion was going, for he had said
nothing to him of his plans.
Godfrey imagined, evidently, that at sight of him the savages would
make some movement, perhaps to rush to their boat, perhaps to rush at
They did nothing. It did not even seem as though they saw him; but at
this moment the chief made a significant gesture. Three of his
companions went towards the prisoner, unloosed him, and forced him near
He was still a young man, who, feeling that his last hour had come,
resisted with all his might.
Assuredly, if he could, he would sell his life dearly. He began by
throwing off the savages who held him, but he was soon knocked down, and
the thief, seizing a sort of stone axe, jumped forward to beat in his
Godfrey uttered a cry, followed by a report. A bullet whistled through
the air, and it seemed as though the chief were mortally wounded, for he
fell on the ground.
At the report, the savages, surprised as though they had never heard the
sound of fire-arms, stopped. At the sight of Godfrey those who held the
prisoner instantly released him.
Immediately the poor fellow arose, and ran towards the place where he
perceived his unexpected liberator.
At this moment a second report was heard.
It was Tartlet, who, without looking--for the excellent man kept his
eyes shut--had just fired, and the stock of the musket on his right
shoulder delivered the hardest knock which had ever been received by the
professor of dancing and deportment.
But--what a chance it was!--a second savage fell close to his chief.
The rout at once began. Perhaps the savages thought they had to do with
a numerous troop of natives whom they could not resist. Perhaps they
were simply terrified at the sight of the two white men who seemed to
keep the lightning in their pockets. There they were, seizing the two
who were wounded, carrying them off, rushing to the proa, driving it by
their paddles out of the little creek, hoisting their sail, steering
before the wind, making for the Flag Point promontory, and doubling it
in hot haste.
Godfrey had no thought of pursuing them. What was the good of killing
them? They had saved the victim. They had put them to flight, that was
the important point. This had been done in such a way that the cannibals
would never dare to return to Phina Island.
All was then for the best. They had only to rejoice in their victory, in
which Tartlet did not hesitate to claim the greatest share.
Meanwhile the prisoner had come to his rescuer. For an instant he
stopped, with the fear inspired in him by superior beings, but almost
immediately he resumed his course. When he arrived before the two
whites, he bowed to the ground; then catching hold of Godfrey's foot, he
placed it on his head in sign of servitude.
One would almost have thought that this Polynesian savage had also read
WHICH TREATS OF THE MORAL AND PHYSICAL EDUCATION OF A
SIMPLE NATIVE OF
Godfrey at once raised the poor fellow, who lay prostrate before him. He
looked in his face.
He was a man of thirty-five or more, wearing only a rag round his loins.
In his features, as in the shape of his head, there could be recognized
the type of the African negro. It was not possible to confound him with
the debased wretches of the Polynesian islands, who, with their
depressed crania and elongated arms, approach so strangely to the
Now, as he was a negro from Soudan or Abyssinia who had fallen into the
hands of the natives of an archipelago of the Pacific, it might be that
he could speak English or one or two words of the European languages
which Godfrey understood. But it was soon apparent that the unhappy man
only used an idiom that was absolutely incomprehensible--probably the
language of the aborigines among whom he had doubtless arrived when very
young. In fact, Godfrey had immediately interrogated him in English,
and had obtained no reply. He then made him understand by signs, not
without difficulty, that he would like to know his name.
After many fruitless essays, the negro, who had a very intelligent and
even honest face, replied to the demand which was made of him in a
"Carefinotu!" exclaimed Tartlet. "Do you hear the name? I propose that
we call him 'Wednesday,' for to-day is Wednesday, and that is what they
always do in these Crusoe islands! Is he to be allowed to call himself
"If that is his name," said Godfrey; "why should he not keep it?"
And at the moment he felt a hand placed on his chest, while all the
black's physiognomy seemed to ask him what his name was.
"Godfrey!" answered he.
The black endeavoured to say the word, but although Godfrey repeated it
several times, he could not succeed in pronouncing it in an intelligible
fashion. Then he turned towards the professor, as if to know his name.
"Tartlet," was the reply of that individual in a most amiable tone.
"Tartlet!" repeated Carefinotu.
And it seemed as though this assemblage of syllables was more agreeable
to his vocal chords, for he pronounced it distinctly.
The professor appeared to be extremely flattered. In truth he had reason
Then Godfrey, wishing to put the intelligence of the black to some
profit, tried to make him understand that he wished to know the name of
the island. He pointed with his hand to the woods and prairies and
hills, and then the shore which bound them, and then the horizon of the
sea, and he interrogated him with a look.
Carefinotu did not at first understand what was meant, and imitating the
gesture of Godfrey he also turned and ran his eyes over the space.
"Arneka," said he at length.
"Arneka?" replied Godfrey, striking the soil with his foot so as to
accentuate his demand.
"Arneka!" repeated the negro.
This told Godfrey nothing, neither the geographical name borne by the
island, nor its position in the Pacific. He could not remember such a
name; it was probably a native one, little known to geographers.
However, Carefinotu did not cease from looking at the two white men, not
without some stupor, going from one to the other as if he wished to fix
in his mind the differences which characterized them. The smile on his
mouth disclosed abundant teeth of magnificent whiteness which Tartlet
did not examine without a certain reserve.
"If those teeth," he said, "have never eaten human flesh may my fiddle
burst up in my hand."
"Anyhow, Tartlet," answered Godfrey; "our new companion no longer looks
like the poor beggar they were going to cook and feed on! That is the
What particularly attracted the attention of Carefinotu were the weapons
carried by Godfrey and Tartlet--as much the musket in the hand as the
revolver in the belt.
Godfrey easily understood this sentiment of curiosity. It was evident
that the savage had never seen a fire-arm. He said to himself that this
was one of those iron tubes which had launched the thunder-bolt that had
delivered him? There could be no doubt of it.
Godfrey, wishing to give him, not without reason, a high idea of the
power of the whites, loaded his gun, and then, showing to Carefinotu a
red-legged partridge that was flying across the prairie about a hundred
yards away, he shouldered it quickly, and fired. The bird fell.
At the report the black gave a prodigious leap, which Tartlet could not
but admire from a choregraphic point of view. Then repressing his fear,
and seeing the bird with broken wing running through the grass, he
started off and swift as a greyhound ran towards it, and with many a
caper, half of joy, half of stupefaction, brought it back to his master.
Tartlet then thought of displaying to Carefinotu that the Great Spirit
had also favoured him with the power of the lightning; and perceiving a
kingfisher tranquilly seated on an old stump near the river was bringing
the stock up to his cheek, when Godfrey stopped him with,--
"No! Don't fire, Tartlet!"
"Suppose that by some mishap you were not to hit the bird, think how we
would fall in the estimation of the nigger!"
"And why should I not hit him?" replied Tartlet with some acerbity. "Did
I not, during the battle, at more than a hundred paces, the very first
time I handled a gun, hit one of the cannibals full in the chest?"
"You touched him evidently," said Godfrey; "for he fell. But take my
advice, Tartlet, and in the common interest do not tempt fortune twice!"
The professor, slightly annoyed, allowed himself to be convinced; he
threw the gun on to his shoulder with a swagger, and both our heroes,
followed by Carefinotu, returned to Will Tree.
There the new guest of Phina Island met with quite a surprise in the
habitation so happily contrived in the lower part of the sequoia. First
he had to be shown, by using them while he looked on, the use of the
tools, instruments, and utensils. It was obvious that Carefinotu
belonged to, or had lived amongst savages in the lowest rank of the
human scale, for fire itself seemed to be unknown to him. He could not
understand why the pot did not take fire when they put it on the blazing
wood; he would have hurried away from it, to the great displeasure of
Tartlet, who was watching the different phases of the cooking of the
soup. At a mirror, which was held out to him, he betrayed consummate
astonishment; he turned round, and turned it round to see if he himself
were not behind it.
"The fellow is hardly a monkey!" exclaimed the professor with a
"No, Tartlet," answered Godfrey; "he is more than a monkey, for his
looks behind the mirror show good reasoning power."
"Well, I will admit that he is not a monkey," said Tartlet, shaking his
head as if only half convinced; "but we shall see if such a being can be
of any good to us."
"I am sure he will be!" replied Godfrey.
In any case Carefinotu showed himself quite at home with the food placed
before him. He first tore it apart, and then tasted it; and then I
believe that the whole breakfast of which they partook the--agouti soup,
the partridge killed by Godfrey, and the shoulder of mutton with camas
and yamph roots--would hardly have sufficed to calm the hunger which
"The poor fellow has got a good appetite!" said Godfrey.
"Yes," responded Tartlet; "and we shall have to keep a watch on his
"Well, Tartlet! We shall make him get over the taste of human flesh if
he ever had it!"
"I would not swear that," replied the professor. "It appears that once
they have acquired this taste--"
While they were talking, Carefinotu was listening with extreme
attention. His eyes sparkled with intelligence. One could see that he
understood what was being said in his presence. He then spoke with
extreme volubility, but it was only a succession of onomatopoeias
devoid of sense, of harsh interjections with a and ou predominant,
as in the majority of Polynesian idioms.
Whatever the negro was, he was a new companion; he might become a
devoted servant, which the most unexpected chance had sent to the hosts
of Will Tree.
He was powerful, adroit, active; no work came amiss to him. He showed a
real aptitude to imitate what he saw being done. It was in this way
that Godfrey proceeded with his education. The care of the domestic
animals, the collection of the roots and fruits, the cutting up of the
sheep or agouties, which were to serve for food for the day, the
fabrication of a sort of cider they extracted from the wild manzanilla
apples,--he acquitted himself well in all these tasks, after having seen
Whatever Tartlet thought, Godfrey felt no distrust in the savage, and
never seemed to regret having come across him. What disquieted him was
the possible return of the cannibals who now knew the situation of Phina
From the first, a bed had been reserved for Carefinotu in the room at
Will Tree, but generally, unless it was raining, he preferred to sleep
outside in some hole in the tree, as though he were on guard over the
During the fortnight which followed his arrival on the island,
Carefinotu many times accompanied Godfrey on his shooting excursions.
His surprise was always extreme when he saw the game fall hit at such a
distance; but in his character of retriever, he showed a dash and daring
which no obstacles, hedge or bush, or stream, could stop.
Gradually, Godfrey became greatly attached to this negro. There was only
one part of his progress in which Carefinotu showed refractoriness; that
was in learning the English language. Do what he might he could not be
prevailed upon to pronounce the most ordinary words which Godfrey, and
particularly Professor Tartlet tried to teach him.
So the time passed. But if the present was fairly supportable, thanks to
a happy accident, if no immediate danger menaced them, Godfrey could not
help asking himself, if they were ever to leave this island, by what
means they were to rejoin their country! Not a day passed but he thought
of Uncle Will and his betrothed. It was not without secret apprehension
that he saw the bad season approaching, which would put between his
friends and him a barrier still more impassable.
On the 27th of September a circumstance occurred deserving of note.
If it gave more work to Godfrey and his two companions, it at least
assured them of an abundant reserve of food.
Godfrey and Carefinotu were busied in collecting the mollusks, at the
extreme end of Dream Bay, when they perceived out at sea an innumerable
quantity of small moving islets which the rising tide was bringing
gently to shore. It was a sort of floating archipelago, on the surface
of which there walked, or flew, a few of those sea-birds, with great
expanse of wing, known as sea-hawks.
What then were these masses which floated landwards, rising and falling
with the undulations of the waves?
Godfrey did not know what to think, when Carefinotu threw himself down
on his stomach, and then drawing his head back into his shoulders,
folded beneath him his arms and legs, and began to imitate the movements
of an animal crawling slowly along the ground.
Godfrey looked at him without understanding these extraordinary
gymnastics. Then suddenly--
"Turtles!" he exclaimed.
Carefinotu was right. There was quite a square mile of myriads of
turtles, swimming on the surface of the water.
About a hundred fathoms from the shore the greater part of them dived
and disappeared, and the sea-hawks, finding their footing gone, flew up
into the air in large spirals. But luckily about a hundred of the
amphibians came on to the beach.
Godfrey and the negro had quickly run down in front of these creatures,
each of which measured at the least from three to four feet in diameter.
Now the only way of preventing turtles from regaining the sea is to turn
them on their backs; and it was in this rough work that Godfrey and
Carefinotu employed themselves, not without great fatigue.
The following days were spent in collecting the booty. The flesh of the
turtle, which is excellent either fresh or preserved, could perhaps be
kept for a time in both forms. In preparation for the winter, Godfrey
had the greater part salted in such a way as to serve for the needs of
each day. But for some time the table was supplied with turtle soup, on
which Tartlet was not the only one to regale himself.
Barring this incident, the monotony of existence was in no way ruffled.
Every day the same hours were devoted to the same work. Would not the
life become still more depressing when the winter season would oblige
Godfrey and his companions to shut themselves up in Will Tree? Godfrey
could not think of it without anxiety. But what could he do?
Meanwhile, he continued the exploration of the island, and all the time
not occupied with more pressing tasks he spent in roaming about with his
gun. Generally Carefinotu accompanied him, Tartlet remaining behind at
the dwelling. Decidedly he was no hunter, although his first shot had
been a master-stroke!
Now on one of these occasions an unexpected incident happened, of a
nature to gravely compromise the future safety of the inmates of Will
Godfrey and the black had gone out hunting in the central forest, at the
foot of the hill which formed the principal ridge of Phina Island. Since
the morning they had seen nothing pass but two or three antelopes
through the high underwood, but at too great a distance for them to fire
with any chance of hitting them.
As Godfrey was not in search of game for dinner, and did not seek to
destroy for destruction's sake, he resigned himself to return
empty-handed. If he regretted doing so it was not so much for the meat
of the antelope, as for the skin, of which he intended to make good use.
It was about three o'clock in the afternoon. He and his companion after
lunch were no more fortunate than before. They were preparing to return
to Will Tree for dinner, when, just as they cleared the edge of the
wood, Carefinotu made a bound; then precipitating himself on Godfrey, he
seized him by the shoulders, and dragged him along with such vigour that
resistance was impossible.
After going about twenty yards they stopped. Godfrey took breath, and,
turning towards Carefinotu, interrogated him with a look.
The black, exceedingly frightened, stretched out his hand towards an
animal which was standing motionless about fifty yards off.
It was a grizzly bear, whose paws held the trunk of a tree, and who was
swaying his big head up and down, as if he were going to rush at the two
Immediately, without pausing to think, Godfrey loaded his gun, and fired
before Carefinotu could hinder him.
Was the enormous plantigrade hit by the bullet? Probably. Was he killed?
They could not be sure, but his paws unclasped, and he rolled at the
foot of the tree. Delay was dangerous. A struggle with so formidable an
animal might have the worst results. In the forests of California the
pursuit of the grizzly is fraught with the greatest danger, even to
professional hunters of the beast.
And so the black seized Godfrey by the arms to drag him away in the
direction of Will Tree, and Godfrey, understanding that he could not be
too cautious, made no resistance.
IN WHICH THE SITUATION ALREADY GRAVELY COMPROMISED
BECOMES MORE AND MORE
The presence of a formidable wild beast in Phina Island was, it must be
confessed, calculated to make our friends think the worst of the
ill-fortune which had fallen on them.
Godfrey--perhaps he was wrong--did not consider that he ought to hide
from Tartlet what had passed.
"A bear!" screamed the professor, looking round him with a bewildered
glare as if the environs of Will Tree were being assailed by a herd of
wild beasts. "Why, a bear? Up to now we had not even got a bear in our
island! If there is one there may be many, and even numbers of other
ferocious beasts--jaguars, panthers, tigers, hyŠnas, lions!"
Tartlet already beheld Phina Island given over to quite a menagerie
escaped from their cages.
Godfrey answered that there was no need for him to exaggerate. He had
seen one bear, that was certain. Why one of these animals had never been
seen before in his wanderings on the island he could not explain, and it
was indeed inexplicable. But to conclude from this that wild animals of
all kinds were prowling in the woods and prairies was to go too far.
Nevertheless, they would have to be cautious and never go out unarmed.
Unhappy Tartlet! From this day there commenced for him an existence of
anxieties, emotions, alarms, and irrational terrors which gave him
nostalgia for his native land in a most acute form.
"No!" repeated he. "No! If there are animals--I have had enough of it,
and I want to get off!"
He had not the power.
Godfrey and his companions then had henceforth to be on their guard. An
attack might take place not only on the shore side or the prairie side,
but even in the group of sequoias. This is why serious measures were
taken to put the habitation in a state to repel a sudden attack. The
door was strengthened, so as to resist the clutches of a wild beast. As
for the domestic animals Godfrey would have built a stable to shut them
up in at least at night, but it was not easy to do so. He contented
himself at present with making a sort of enclosure of branches not far
from Will Tree, which would keep them as in a fold. But the enclosure
was not solid enough nor high enough to hinder a bear or hyŠna from
upsetting it or getting over it.
Notwithstanding the remonstrances made to him, Carefinotu persisted in
watching outside during the night, and Godfrey hoped thus to receive
warning of a direct attack.
Decidedly Carefinotu endangered his life in thus constituting himself
the guardian of Will Tree; but he had understood that he could thus be
of service to his liberators, and he persisted, in spite of all Godfrey
said to him, in watching as usual over the general safety.
A week passed without any of these formidable visitors appearing in the
neighbourhood. Godfrey did not go very far from the dwelling, unless
there was a necessity for his doing so. While the sheep and goats grazed
on the neighbouring prairie, they were never allowed out of sight.
Generally Carefinotu acted as shepherd. He did not take a gun, for he
did not seem to understand the management of fire-arms, but one of the
hunting-knives hung from his belt, and he carried an axe in his right
hand. Thus armed the active negro would not have hesitated to throw
himself before a tiger or any animal of the worst description.
However, as neither a bear nor any of his congeners had appeared since
the last encounter Godfrey began to gather confidence. He gradually
resumed his hunting expeditions, but without pushing far into the
interior of the island. Frequently the black accompanied him; Tartlet,
safe in Will Tree, would not risk himself in the open, not even if he
had the chance of giving a dancing lesson. Sometimes Godfrey would go
alone, and then the professor had a companion to whose instruction he
obstinately devoted himself.
Yes! Tartlet had at first thought of teaching Carefinotu the most
ordinary words in the English language, but he had to give this up, as
the negro seemed to lack the necessary phonetic apparatus for that kind
of pronunciation. "Then," had Tartlet said, "if I cannot be his
professor, I will be his pupil!"
And he it was who attempted to learn the idiom spoken by Carefinotu.
Godfrey had warned him that the accomplishment would be of little use.
Tartlet was not dissuaded. He tried to get Carefinotu to name the
objects he pointed at with his hand. In truth Tartlet must have got on
excellently, for at the end of fifteen days he actually knew fifteen
words! He knew that Carefinotu said "birsi" for fire, "aradore" for the
sky, "mervira" for the sea, "doura" for a tree, &c. He was as proud of
this as if he had taken the first prize for Polynesian at some
It was then with a feeling of gratitude that he wished to make some
recognition of what had been done for him, and instead of torturing the
negro with English words, he resolved on teaching him deportment and the
true principles of European choregraphy.
At this Godfrey could not restrain his peals of laughter. After all it
would pass the time away, and on Sunday, when there was nothing else to
do, he willingly assisted at the course of lectures delivered by the
celebrated Professor Tartlet of San Francisco. Indeed, we ought to have
seen them! The unhappy Carefinotu perspired profusely as he went through
the elementary exercises. He was docile and willing, nevertheless; but
like all his fellows, his shoulders did not set back, nor did his chest
throw out, nor did his knees or his feet point apart! To make a Vestris
or a Saint Leon of a savage of this sort!
The professor pursued his task in quite a fury. Carefinotu, tortured as
he was, showed no lack of zeal. What he suffered, even to get his feet
into the first position can be imagined! And when he passed to the
second and then to the third, it was still more agonizing.
"But look at me, you blockhead!" exclaimed Tartlet, who added example to
precept. "Put your feet out! Further out! The heel of one to the heel of
the other! Open your knees, you duffer! Put back your shoulders, you
idiot! Stick up your head! Round your elbows!"
"But you ask what is impossible!" said Godfrey.
"Nothing is impossible to an intelligent man!" was Tartlet's invariable
"But his build won't allow of it."
"Well, his build must allow of it! He will have to do it sooner or
later, for the savage must at least know how to present himself properly
in a drawing-room!"
"But, Tartlet, he will never have the opportunity of appearing in a
"Eh! How do you know that, Godfrey?" replied the professor, drawing
himself up. "Do you know what the future may bring forth?"
This was the last word in all discussions with Tartlet. And then the
professor taking his kit would with the bow extract from it some squeaky
little air to the delight of Carefinotu. It required but this to excite
him. Oblivious of choregraphic rules, what leaps, what contortions, what
And Tartlet, in a reverie, as he saw this child of Polynesia so demean
himself, inquired if these steps, perhaps a little too characteristic,
were not natural to the human being, although outside all the principles
of his art.
But we must leave the professor of dancing and deportment to his
philosophical meditations, and return to questions at once more
practical and pressing.
During his last excursions into the plain, either by himself or with
Carefinotu, Godfrey had seen no wild animal. He had even come upon no
traces of such. The river to which they would come to drink bore no
footprint on its banks. During the night there were no howlings nor
suspicious noises. Besides the domestic animals continued to give no
signs of uneasiness.
"This is singular," said Godfrey several times; "but I was not mistaken!
Carefinotu certainly was not! It was really a bear that he showed me! It
was really a bear that I shot! Supposing I killed him, was he the last
representative of the plantigrades on the island?"
It was quite inexplicable! Besides, if Godfrey had killed this bear, he
would have found the body where he had shot it. Now they searched for it
in vain! Were they to believe then that the animal mortally wounded had
died far off in some den. It was possible after all, but then at this
place, at the foot of this tree, there would have been traces of blood,
and there were none.
"Whatever it is," thought Godfrey, "it does not much matter; and we must
keep on our guard."
With the first days of November it could be said that the wet season had
commenced in this unknown latitude. Cold rains fell for many hours.
Later on probably they would experience those interminable showers which
do not cease for weeks at a time, and are characteristic of the rainy
period of winter in these latitudes.
Godfrey had then to contrive a fireplace in the interior of Will
Tree--an indispensable fireplace that would serve as well to warm the
dwelling during the winter months as to cook their food in shelter from
the rain and tempest.
The hearth could at any time be placed in a corner of the chamber
between big stones, some placed on the ground and others built up round
them; but the question was how to get the smoke out, for to leave it to
escape by the long chimney, which ran down the centre of the sequoia,
Godfrey thought of using as a pipe some of those long stout bamboos
which grew on certain parts of the river banks. It should be said that
on this occasion he was greatly assisted by Carefinotu. The negro, not
without effort, understood what Godfrey required. He it was who
accompanied him for a couple of miles from Will Tree to select the
larger bamboos, he it was who helped him build his hearth. The stones
were placed on the ground opposite to the door; the bamboos, emptied of
their pith and bored through at the knots, afforded, when joined one to
another, a tube of sufficient length, which ran out through an aperture
made for it in the sequoia bark, and would serve every purpose, provided
it did not catch fire. Godfrey soon had the satisfaction of seeing a
good fire burning without filling the interior of Will Tree with smoke.
He was quite right in hastening on these preparations, for from the 3rd
to the 10th of November the rain never ceased pouring down. It would
have been impossible to keep a fire going in the open air. During these
miserable days they had to keep indoors and did got venture out except
when the flocks and poultry urgently required them to do so. Under these
circumstances the reserve of camas roots began to fail; and these were
what took the place of bread, and of which the want would be immediately
Godfrey then one day, the 10th of November, informed Tartlet that as
soon as the weather began to mend a little he and Carefinotu would go
out and collect some. Tartlet, who was never in a hurry to run a couple
of miles across a soaking prairie, decided to remain at home during
In the evening the sky began to clear of the heavy clouds which the west
wind had been accumulating since the commencement of the month, the
gradually ceased, the sun gave forth a few crepuscular rays. It was to
be hoped that the morning would yield a lull in the storm, of which it
was advisable to make the most.
"To-morrow," said Godfrey, "I will go out, and Carefinotu will go with
"Agreed!" answered Tartlet.
The evening came, and when supper was finished and the sky, cleared of
clouds, permitted a few brilliant stars to appear, the black wished to
take up his accustomed place outside, which he had had to abandon during
the preceding rainy nights. Godfrey tried to make him understand that he
had better remain indoors, that there was no necessity to keep a watch
as no wild animal had been noticed; but Carefinotu was obstinate. He
therefore had to have his way.
The morning was as Godfrey had foreseen, no rain had fallen since the
previous evening, and when he stepped forth from Will Tree, the first
rays of the sun were lightly gilding the thick dome of the sequoias.
Carefinotu was at his post, where he had passed the night. He was
waiting. Immediately, well armed and provided with large sacks, the two
bid farewell to Tartlet, and started for the river, which they intended
ascending along the left bank up to the camas bushes.
An hour afterwards they arrived there without meeting with any
The roots were rapidly torn up and a large quantity obtained, so as to
fill the sacks. This took three hours, so that it was about eleven
o'clock in the morning when Godfrey and his companion set out on their
return to Will Tree.
Walking close together, keeping a sharp look-out, for they could not
talk to each other, they had reached a bend in the small river where
there were a few large trees, grown like a natural cradle across the
stream, when Godfrey suddenly stopped.
This time it was he who showed to Carefinotu a motionless animal at the
foot of a tree whose eyes were gleaming with a singular light.
"A tiger!" he exclaimed.
He was not mistaken. It was really a tiger of large stature resting on
its hind legs with its forepaws on the trunk of a tree, and ready to
In a moment Godfrey had dropped his sack of roots. The loaded gun passed
into his right hand; he cocked it, presented it, aimed it, and fired.
"Hurrah! hurrah!" he exclaimed.
This time there was no room for doubt; the tiger, struck by the bullet,
had bounded backwards. But perhaps he was not mortally wounded,
rendered still more furious by his wound he would spring on to them!
Godfrey held his gun pointed, and threatened the animal with his second
But before Godfrey could stop him, Carefinotu had rushed at the place
where the tiger disappeared, his hunting-knife in his hand.
Godfrey shouted for him to stop, to come back! It was in vain. The
black, resolved even at the risk of his life to finish the animal which
perhaps was only wounded, did not or would not hear.
Godfrey rushed after him.
When he reached the bank, he saw Carefinotu struggling with the tiger,
holding him by the throat, and at last stabbing him to the heart with a
The tiger then rolled into the river, of which the waters, swollen by
the rains, carried it away with the quickness of a torrent. The corpse,
which floated only for an instant, was swiftly borne off towards the
A bear! A tiger! There could be no doubt that the island did contain
formidable beasts of prey!
Godfrey, after rejoining Carefinotu, found that in the struggle the
black had only received a few scratches. Then, deeply anxious about the
future, he retook the road to Will Tree.
IN WHICH TARTLET REITERATES IN EVERY KEY THAT HE WOULD
RATHER BE OFF.
When Tartlet learnt that there were not only bears in the island, but
tigers too, his lamentations again arose. Now he would never dare to go
out! The wild beasts would end by discovering the road to Will Tree!
There was no longer any safety anywhere! In his alarm the professor
wanted for his protection quite a fortification! Yes! Stone walls with
scarps and counterscarps, curtains and bastions, and ramparts, for what
was the use of a shelter under a group of sequoias? Above all things, he
would at all risks, like to be off.
"So would I," answered Godfrey quietly.
In fact, the conditions under which the castaways on Phina Island had
lived up to now were no longer the same. To struggle to the end, to
struggle for the necessaries of life, they had been able, thanks to
fortunate circumstances. Against the bad season, against winter and its
menaces, they knew how to act, but to have to defend themselves against
wild animals, whose attack was possible every minute, was another thing
altogether; and in fact they could not do it.
The situation, already complicated, had become very serious, for it had
"But," repeated Godfrey to himself, without cessation, "how is it that
for four months we did not see a single beast of prey in the island, and
why during the last fortnight have we had to encounter a bear and a
tiger? What shall we say to that?"
The fact might be inexplicable, but it was none the less real.
Godfrey, whose coolness and courage increased, as difficulties grew, was
not cast down. If dangerous animals menaced their little colony, it was
better to put themselves on guard against their attacks, and that
But what was to be done?
It was at the outset decided that excursions into the woods or to the
sea-shore should be rarer, and that they should never go out unless well
armed, and only when it was absolutely necessary for their wants.
"We have been lucky enough in our two encounters!" said Godfrey
frequently; "but there may come a time when we may not shoot so
straight! So there is no necessity for us to run into danger!"
At the same time they had not only to settle about the excursions, but
to protect Will Tree--not only the dwelling, but the annexes, the
poultry roost, and the fold for the animals, where the wild beasts could
easily cause irreparable disaster.
Godfrey thought then, if not of fortifying Will Tree according to the
famous plans of Tartlet, at least of connecting the four or five large
sequoias which surrounded it.
If he could devise a high and strong palisade from one tree to another,
they would be in comparative security at any rate from a surprise.
It was practicable--Godfrey concluded so after an examination of the
ground--but it would cost a good deal of labour. To reduce this as much
as possible, he thought of erecting the palisade around a perimeter of
only some three hundred feet. We can judge from this the number of trees
he had to select, cut down, carry, and trim until the enclosure was
Godfrey did not quail before his task. He imparted his projects to
Tartlet, who approved them, and promised his active co-operation; but
what was more important, he made his plans understood to Carefinotu, who
was always ready to come to his assistance.
They set to work without delay.
There was at a bend in the stream, about a mile from Will Tree, a small
wood of stone pines of medium height, whose trunks, in default of beams
and planks, without wanting to be squared, would, by being placed close
together, form a solid palisade.
It was to this wood that, at dawn on the 12th of November, Godfrey and
his two companions repaired. Though well armed they advanced with great
"You can have too much of this sort of thing," murmured Tartlet, whom
these new difficulties had rendered still more discontented, "I would
rather be off!"
But Godfrey did not take the trouble to reply to him.
On this occasion his tastes were not being consulted, his intelligence
even was not being appealed to. It was the assistance of his arms that
the common interest demanded. In short, he had to resign himself to his
vocation of beast of burden.
No unpleasant accident happened in the mile which separated the wood
from Will Tree. In vain they had carefully beaten the underwood, and
swept the horizon all around them. The domestic animals they had left
out at pasture gave no sign of alarm. The birds continued their frolics
with no more anxiety than usual.
Work immediately began. Godfrey, very properly did not want to begin
carrying until all the trees he wanted had been felled. They could work
at them in greater safety on the spot.
Carefinotu was of great service during this toilsome task. He had become
very clever in the use of the axe and saw. His strength even allowed him
to continue at work when Godfrey was obliged to rest for a minute or so,
and when Tartlet, with bruised hands and aching limbs, had not even
strength left to lift his fiddle.
However, although the unfortunate professor of dancing and deportment
had been transformed into a wood-cutter, Godfrey had reserved for him
the least fatiguing part, that is, the clearing off of the smaller
branches. In spite of this, if Tartlet had only been paid half a dollar
a day, he would have stolen four-fifths of his salary!
For six days, from the 12th to the 17th of November, these labours
continued. Our friends went off in the morning at dawn, they took their
food with them, and they did not return to Will Tree until evening. The
sky was not very clear. Heavy clouds frequently accumulated over it. It
was harvest weather, with alternating showers and sunshine; and during
the showers the wood-cutters would take shelter under the trees, and
resume their task when the rain had ceased.
On the 18th all the trees, topped and cleared of branches, were lying
on the ground, ready for transport to Will Tree.
During this time no wild beast had appeared in the neighbourhood of the
river. The question was, were there any more in the island, or had the
bear and the tiger been--a most improbable event--the last of their
Whatever it was, Godfrey had no intention of abandoning his project of
the solid palisade so as to be prepared against a surprise from savages,
or bears, or tigers. Besides, the worst was over, and there only
remained to take the wood where it was wanted.
We say "the worst was over," though the carriage promised to be somewhat
laborious. If it were not so, it was because Godfrey had had a very
practical idea, which materially lightened the task; this was to make
use of the current of the river, which the flood occasioned by the
recent rains had rendered very rapid, to transport the wood. Small rafts
could be formed, and they would quietly float down to the sequoias,
where a bar, formed by the small bridge, would stop them. From thence to
Will Tree was only about fifty-five paces.
If any of them showed particular satisfaction at this mode of procedure,
it was Tartlet.
On the 18th the first rafts were formed, and they arrived at the barrier
without accident. In less than three days on the evening of the 25th,
the palisade had been all sent down to its destination.
On the morrow, the first trunks, sunk two feet in the soil, began to
rise in such a manner as to connect the principal sequoias which
surrounded Will Tree. A capping of strong flexible branches, pointed by
the axe, assured the solidity of the wall.
Godfrey saw the work progress with extreme satisfaction, and delayed not
until it was finished.
"Once the palisade is done," he said to Tartlet, "we shall be really at
"We shall not be really at home," replied the professor drily, "until we
are in Montgomery Street, with your Uncle Kolderup."
There was no disputing this opinion.
On the 26th of November the palisade was three parts done. It comprised
among the sequoias attached one to another that in which the poultry had
established themselves, and Godfrey's intention was to build a stable
In three or four days the fence was finished. There only remained to fit
in a solid door, which would assure the closure of Will Tree.
But on the morning of the 27th of November the work was interrupted by
an event which we had better explain with some detail, for it was one
of those unaccountable things peculiar to Phina Island.
About eight o'clock, Carefinotu had climbed up to the fork of the
sequoia, so as to more carefully close the hole by which the cold and
rain penetrated, when he uttered a singular cry.
Godfrey, who was at work at the palisade, raised his head and saw the
black, with expressive gestures, motioning to him to join him without
Godfrey, thinking Carefinotu would not have disturbed him unless he had
serious reason, took his glasses with him and climbed up the interior
passage, and passing through the hole, seated himself astride of one of
the main branches.
Carefinotu, pointing with his arm towards the rounded angle which Phina
Island made to the north-east, showed a column of smoke rising in the
air like a long plume.
"Again!" exclaimed Godfrey.
And putting his glasses in the direction, he assured himself that this
time there was no possible error, that it must escape from some
important fire, which he could distinctly see must be about five miles
Godfrey turned towards the black.
Carefinotu expressed his surprise, by his looks, his exclamations, in
fact by his whole attitude.
Assuredly he was no less astounded than Godfrey at this apparition.
Besides, in the offing, there was no ship, not a vessel native or other,
nothing which showed that a landing had recently been made on the shore.
"Ah! This time I will find out the fire which produces that smoke!"
And pointing to the north-east angle of the island, and then to the foot
of the tree, he gesticulated to Carefinotu that he wished to reach the
place without losing an instant.
Carefinotu understood him. He even gave him to understand that he
approved of the idea.
"Yes," said Godfrey to himself, "if there is a human being there, we
must know who he is and whence he comes! We must know why he hides
himself! It will be for the safety of all!"
A moment afterwards Carefinotu and he descended to the foot of Will
Tree. Then Godfrey, informing Tartlet of what had passed and what he was
going to do, proposed for him to accompany them to the north coast.
A dozen miles to traverse in one day was not a very tempting suggestion
to a man who regarded his legs as the most precious part of his body,
and only designed for noble exercises. And so he replied that he would
prefer to remain at Will Tree.
"Very well, we will go alone," answered Godfrey, "but do not expect us
until the evening."
So saying, and Carefinotu and he carrying some provisions for lunch on
the road, they set out, after taking leave of the professor, whose
private opinion it was that they would find nothing, and that all their
fatigue would be useless.
Godfrey took his musket and revolver; the black the axe and the
hunting-knife which had become his favourite weapon. They crossed the
plank bridge to the right bank of the river, and then struck off across
the prairie to the point on the shore where the smoke had been seen
rising amongst the rocks.
It was rather more easterly than the place which Godfrey had uselessly
visited on his second exploration.
They progressed rapidly, not without a sharp look-out that the wood was
clear and that the bushes and underwood did not hide some animal whose
attack might be formidable.
Nothing disquieting occurred.
At noon, after having had some food, without, however, stopping for an
instant, they reached the first line of rocks which bordered the beach.
The smoke, still visible, was rising about a quarter of a mile ahead.
They had only to keep straight on to reach their goal.
They hastened their steps, but took precautions so as to surprise, and
not be surprised.
Two minutes afterwards the smoke disappeared, as if the fire had been
But Godfrey had noted with exactness the spot whence it arose. It was at
the point of a strangely formed rock, a sort of truncated pyramid,
easily recognizable. Showing this to his companion, he kept straight on.
The quarter of a mile was soon traversed, then the last line was
climbed, and Godfrey and Carefinotu gained the beach about fifty paces
from the rock.
They ran up to it. Nobody! But this time half-smouldering embers and
half-burnt wood proved clearly that the fire had been alight on the
"There has been some one here!" exclaimed Godfrey. "Some one not a
moment ago! We must find out who!"
He shouted. No response! Carefinotu gave a terrible yell. No one
Behold them then hunting amongst the neighbouring rocks, searching a
cavern, a grotto, which might serve as a refuge for a shipwrecked man,
an aboriginal, a savage--
It was in vain that they ransacked the slightest recesses of the shore.
There was neither ancient nor recent camp in existence, not even the
traces of the passage of a man.
"But," repeated Godfrey, "it was not smoke from a warm spring this
time! It was from a fire of wood and grass, and that fire could not
Vain was their search. Then about two o'clock Godfrey and Carefinotu, as
weary as they were disconcerted at their fruitless endeavours, retook
their road to Will Tree.
There was nothing astonishing in Godfrey being deep in thought. It
seemed to him that the island was now under the empire of some occult
power. The reappearance of this fire, the presence of wild animals, did
not all this denote some extraordinary complication?
And was there not cause for his being confirmed in this idea when an
hour after he had regained the prairie, he heard a singular noise, a
sort of hard jingling.
Carefinotu pushed him aside at the same instant as a serpent glided
beneath the herbage, and was about to strike at him.
"Snakes, now. Snakes in the island, after the bears and the tigers!" he
Yes! It was one of those reptiles well-known by the noise they make, a
rattlesnake of the most venomous species: a giant of the Crotalus
Carefinotu threw himself between Godfrey and the reptile, which hurried
off under a thick bush.
But the negro pursued it and smashed in its head with a blow of the axe.
When Godfrey rejoined him, the two halves of the reptile were writhing
on the blood-stained soil.
Then other serpents, not less dangerous, appeared in great abundance on
this part of the prairie which was separated by the stream from Will
Was it then a sudden invasion of reptiles? Was Phina Island going to
become the rival of ancient Tenos, whose formidable ophidians rendered
it famous in antiquity, and which gave its name to the viper?
"Come on! come on!" exclaimed Godfrey, motioning to Carefinotu to
quicken the pace.
He was uneasy. Strange presentiments agitated him without his being able
to control them.
Under their influence, fearing some approaching misfortune, he had
hastened his return to Will Tree.
But matters became serious when he reached the planks across the river.
Screams of terror resounded from beneath the sequoias--cries for help in
a tone of agony which it was impossible to mistake!
"It is Tartlet!" exclaimed Godfrey. "The unfortunate man has been
attacked! Quick! quick!"
Once over the bridge, about twenty paces further on, Tartlet was
perceived running as fast as his legs could carry him.
An enormous crocodile had come out of the river and was pursuing him
with its jaws wide open. The poor man, distracted, mad with fright,
instead of turning to the right or the left, was keeping in a straight
line, and so running the risk of being caught. Suddenly he stumbled. He
fell. He was lost.
Godfrey halted. In the presence of this imminent danger his coolness
never forsook him for an instant. He brought his gun to his shoulder,
and aimed at the crocodile. The well-aimed bullet struck the monster,
and it made a bound to one side and fell motionless on the ground.
Carefinotu rushed towards Tartlet and lifted him up. Tartlet had escaped
with a fright! But what a fright!
It was six o'clock in the evening.
A moment afterwards Godfrey and his two companions had reached Will
How bitter were their reflections during their evening repast! What long
sleepless hours were in store for the inhabitants of Phina Island, on
whom misfortunes were now crowding.
As for the professor, in his anguish he could only repeat the words
which expressed the whole of his thoughts, "I had much rather be off!"
WHICH ENDS WITH QUITE A SURPRISING REFLECTION BY THE NEGRO
The winter season, so severe in these latitudes, had come at last. The
first frosts had already been felt, and there was every promise of
rigorous weather. Godfrey was to be congratulated on having established
his fireplace in the tree. It need scarcely be said that the work at the
palisade had been completed, and that a sufficiently solid door now
assured the closure of the fence.
During the six weeks which followed, that is to say, until the middle of
December, there had been a good many wretched days on which it was
impossible to venture forth. At the outset there came terrible squalls.
They shook the group of sequoias to their very roots. They strewed the
ground with broken branches, and so furnished an ample reserve for the
Then it was that the inhabitants of Will Tree clothed themselves as
warmly as they could. The woollen stuffs found in the box were used
during the few excursions necessary for revictualling, until the weather
became so bad that even these were forbidden. All hunting was at an end,
and the snow fell in such quantity that Godfrey could have believed
himself in the inhospitable latitudes of the Arctic Ocean.
It is well known that Northern America, swept by the Polar winds, with
no obstacle to check them, is one of the coldest countries on the globe.
The winter there lasts until the month of April. Exceptional precautions
have to be taken against it. It was the coming of the winter as it did
which gave rise to the thought that Phina Island was situated in a
higher latitude than Godfrey had supposed.
Hence the necessity of making the interior of Will Tree as comfortable
as possible. But the suffering from rain and cold was cruel. The
reserves of provisions were unfortunately insufficient, the preserved
turtle flesh gradually disappeared. Frequently there had to be
sacrificed some of the sheep or goats or agouties, whose numbers had but
slightly increased since their arrival in the island.
With these new trials, what sad thoughts haunted Godfrey!
It happened also that for a fortnight he fell into a violent fever.
Without the tiny medicine-chest which afforded the necessary drugs for
his treatment, he might never have recovered. Tartlet was ill-suited to
attend to the petty cares that were necessary during the continuance of
the malady. It was to Carefinotu that he mainly owed his return to
But what remembrances and what regrets! Who but himself could he blame
for having got into a situation of which he could not even see the end?
How many times in his delirium did he call Phina, whom he never should
see again, and his Uncle Will, from whom he beheld himself separated for
ever! Ah! he had to alter his opinion of this Crusoe life which his
boyish imagination had made his ideal! Now he was contending with
reality! He could no longer even hope to return to the domestic hearth.
So passed this miserable December, at the end of which Godfrey began to
recover his strength.
As for Tartlet, by special grace, doubtless, he was always well. But
what incessant lamentations! What endless jeremiads! As the grotto of
Calypso after the departure of Ulysses, Will Tree "resounded no more to
his song"--that of his fiddle--for the cold had frozen the strings!
It should be said too that one of the gravest anxieties of Godfrey was
not only the re-appearance of dangerous animals, but the fear of the
savages returning in great numbers to Phina Island, the situation of
which was known to them. Against such an invasion the palisade was but
an insufficient barrier. All things considered, the refuge offered by
the high branches of the sequoia appeared much safer, and the rendering
the access less difficult was taken in hand. It would always be easy to
defend the narrow orifice by which the top of the trunk was reached.
With the aid of Carefinotu Godfrey began to cut regular ledges on each
side, like the steps of a staircase, and these, connected by a long cord
of vegetable fibre, permitted of rapid ascent up the interior.
"Well," said Godfrey, when the work was done, "that gives us a town
house below and a country house above!"
"I had rather have a cellar, if it was in Montgomery Street!" answered
Christmas arrived. Christmas kept in such style throughout the United
States of America! The New Year's Day, full of memories of childhood,
rainy, snowy, cold, and gloomy, began the new year under the most
It was six months since the survivors of the Dream had remained
without communication with the rest of the world.
The commencement of the year was not very cheering. It made Godfrey and
his companions anticipate that they would still have many trials to
The snow never ceased falling until January 18th. The flocks had to be
let out to pasture to get what feed they could. At the close of the day,
a very cold damp night enveloped the island, and the space shaded by the
sequoias was plunged in profound obscurity.
Tartlet and Carefinotu, stretched on their beds inside Will Tree, were
trying in vain to sleep. Godfrey, by the struggling light of a torch,
was turning over the pages of his Bible.
About ten o'clock a distant noise, which came nearer and nearer, was
heard outside away towards the north. There could be no mistake. It was
the wild beasts prowling in the neighbourhood, and, alarming to relate,
the howling of the tiger and of the hyŠna, and the roaring of the
panther and the lion were this time blended in one formidable concert.
Godfrey, Tartlet, and the negro sat up, each a prey to indescribable
anguish. If at this unaccountable invasion of ferocious animals
Carefinotu shared the alarm of his companions, his astonishment was
quite equal to his fright.
During two mortal hours all three kept on the alert. The howlings
sounded at times close by; then they suddenly ceased, as if the beasts,
not knowing the country, were roaming about all over it. Perhaps then
Will Tree would escape an attack!
"It doesn't matter if it does," thought Godfrey. "If we do not destroy
these animals to the very last one, there will be no safety for us in
A little after midnight the roaring began again in full strength at a
moderate distance away. Impossible now to doubt but that the howling
army was approaching Will Tree!
Yes! It was only too certain! But whence came these wild animals? They
could not have recently landed on Phina Island! They must have been
there then before Godfrey's arrival! But how was it that all of them had
remained hidden during his walks and hunting excursions, as well across
the centre as in the most out-of-the-way parts to the south? For Godfrey
had never found a trace of them. Where was the mysterious den which
vomited forth lions, hyŠnas, panthers, tigers? Amongst all the
unaccountable things up to now this was indeed the most unaccountable.
Carefinotu could not believe what he heard. We have said that his
astonishment was extreme. By the light of the fire which illuminated the
interior of Will Tree there could be seen on his black face the
strangest of grimaces.
Tartlet in the corner, groaned and lamented, and moaned again. He would
have asked Godfrey all about it, but Godfrey was not in the humour to
reply. He had a presentiment of a very great danger, he was seeking for
a way to retreat from it.
Once or twice Carefinotu and he went out to the centre of the palisade.
They wished to see that the door was firmly and strongly shut.
Suddenly an avalanche of animals appeared with a huge tumult along the
front of Will Tree.
It was only the goats and sheep and agouties. Terrified at the howling
of the wild beasts, and scenting their approach, they had fled from
their pasturage to take shelter behind the palisade.
"We must open the door!" exclaimed Godfrey.
Carefinotu nodded his head. He did not want to know the language to
understand what Godfrey meant.
The door was opened, and the frightened flock rushed into the enclosure.
But at that instant there appeared through the opening a gleaming of
eyes in the depths of the darkness which the shadow of the sequoias
rendered still more profound.
There was no time to close the enclosure!
To jump at Godfrey, seize him in spite of himself, push him into the
dwelling and slam the door, was done by Carefinotu like a flash of
New roarings indicated that three or four wild beasts had just cleared
Then these horrible roarings were mingled with quite a concert of
bleatings and groanings of terror. The domestic flock were taken as in a
trap and delivered over to the clutches of the assailants.
Godfrey and Carefinotu, who had climbed up to the two small windows in
the bark of the sequoia, endeavoured to see what was passing in the
Evidently the wild animals--tigers or lions, panthers or hyŠnas, they
did not know which yet--had thrown themselves on the flock and begun
At this moment, Tartlet, in a paroxysm of blind terror, seized one of
the muskets, and would have taken a chance shot out of one of the
Godfrey stopped him.
"No!" said he. "In this darkness our shots will be lost, and we must not
waste our ammunition! Wait for daylight!"
He was right. The bullets would just as likely have struck the domestic
as the wild animals--more likely in fact, for the former were the most
numerous. To save them was now impossible. Once they were sacrificed,
the wild beasts, thoroughly gorged, might quit the enclosure before
sunrise. They would then see how to act to guard against a fresh
It was most important too, during the dark night, to avoid as much as
possible revealing to these animals the presence of human beings, whom
they might prefer to the flock. Perhaps they would thus avoid a direct
attack against Will Tree.
As Tartlet was incapable of understanding either this reasoning or any
other, Godfrey contented himself with depriving him of his weapon. The
professor then went and threw himself on his bed and freely
anathematized all travels and travellers and maniacs who could not
remain quietly at their own firesides.
Both his companions resumed their observations at the windows.
Thence they beheld, without the power of interference, the horrible
massacre which was taking place in the gloom. The cries of the sheep and
the goats gradually diminished as the slaughter of the animals was
consummated, although the greater part had escaped outside, where death,
none the less certain, awaited them. This loss was irreparable for the
little colony; but Godfrey was not then anxious about the future. The
present was disquieting enough to occupy all his thoughts.
There was nothing they could do, nothing they could try, to hinder this
work of destruction.
Godfrey and Carefinotu kept constant watch, and now they seemed to see
new shadows coming up and passing into the palisade, while a fresh
sound of footsteps struck on their ears.
Evidently certain belated beasts, attracted by the odour of the blood
which impregnated the air, had traced the scent up to Will Tree.
They ran to and fro, they rushed round and round the tree and gave forth
their hoarse and angry growls. Some of the shadows jumped on the ground
like enormous cats. The slaughtered flock had not been sufficient to
satisfy their rage.
Neither Godfrey nor his companions moved. In keeping completely
motionless they might avoid a direct attack.
An unlucky shot suddenly revealed their presence and exposed them to the
Tartlet, a prey to a veritable hallucination, had risen. He had seized a
revolver; and this time, before Godfrey and Carefinotu could hinder him,
and not knowing himself what he did, but believing that he saw a tiger
standing before him, he had fired! The bullet passed through the door of
"Fool!" exclaimed Godfrey, throwing himself on Tartlet, while the negro
seized the weapon.
It was too late. The alarm was given, and growlings still more violent
resounded without. Formidable talons were heard tearing the bark of the
sequoia. Terrible blows shook the door, which was too feeble to resist
such an assault.
"We must defend ourselves!" shouted Godfrey.
And, with his gun in his hand and his cartridge-pouch round his waist,
he took his post at one of the windows.
To his great surprise, Carefinotu had done the same! Yes! the black,
seizing the second musket--a weapon which he had never before
handled--had filled his pockets with cartridges and taken his place at
the second window.
Then the reports of the guns began to echo from the embrasures. By the
flashes, Godfrey on the one side, and Carefinotu on the other, beheld
the foes they had to deal with.
There, in the enclosure, roaring with rage, howling at the reports,
rolling beneath the bullets which struck many of them, leapt of lions
and tigers, and hyŠnas and panthers, at least a score. To their roarings
and growlings which reverberated from afar, there echoed back those of
other ferocious beasts running up to join them. Already the now distant
roaring could be heard as they approached the environs of Will Tree. It
was as though quite a menagerie of wild animals had been suddenly set
free on the island!
[Illustration: Of lions and tigers quite a score. page 252]
However, Godfrey and Carefinotu, without troubling themselves about
Tartlet, who could be of no use, were keeping as cool as they could, and
refraining from firing unless they were certain of their aim. Wishing to
waste not a shot, they waited till a shadow passed in front of them.
Then came the flash and the report, and then a growl of grief told them
that the animal had been hit.
A quarter of an hour elapsed, and then came a respite. Had the wild
beasts given up the attack which had cost the lives of so many amongst
them? Were they waiting for the day to recommence the attempt under more
Whatever might be the reason, neither Godfrey nor Carefinotu desired to
leave his post. The black had shown himself no less ready with the gun
than Godfrey. If that was due only to the instinct of imitation, it must
be admitted that it was indeed surprising.
About two o'clock in the morning there came a new alarm--more furious
than before. The danger was imminent, the position in the interior of
Will Tree was becoming untenable. New growlings resounded round the foot
of the sequoia. Neither Godfrey nor Carefinotu, on account of the
situation of the windows, which were cut straight through, could see the
assailants, nor, in consequence, could they fire with any chance of
It was now the door which the beasts attacked, and it was only too
evident that it would be beaten in by their weight or torn down by their
Godfrey and the black had descended to the ground. The door was already
shaking beneath the blows from without. They could feel the heated
breath making its way in through the cracks in the bark.
Godfrey and Carefinotu attempted to prop back the door with the stakes
which kept up the beds, but these proved quite useless.
It was obvious that in a little while it would be driven in, for the
beasts were mad with rage--particularly as no shots could reach them.
Godfrey was powerless. If he and his companions were inside Will Tree
when the assailants broke in, their weapons would be useless to protect
Godfrey had crossed his arms. He saw the boards of the door open little
by little. He could do nothing. In a moment of hesitation, he passed his
hand across his forehead, as if in despair. But soon recovering his
self-possession, he shouted,--
"Up we go! Up! All of us!"
And he pointed to the narrow passage which led up to the fork inside
Carefinotu and he, taking their muskets and revolvers, supplied
themselves with cartridges.
And now he turned to make Tartlet follow them into these heights where
he had never ventured before.
Tartlet was no longer there. He had started up while his companions were
"Up!" repeated Godfrey.
It was a last retreat, where they would assuredly be sheltered from the
wild beasts. If any tiger or panther attempted to come up into the
branches of the sequoia, it would be easy to defend the hole through
which he would have to pass.
Godfrey and Carefinotu had scarcely ascended thirty feet, when the
roaring was heard in the interior of Will Tree. A few moments more and
they would have been surprised. The door had just fallen in. They both
hurried along, and at last reached the upper end of the hole.
A scream of terror welcomed them. It was Tartlet, who imagined he saw a
panther or tiger! The unfortunate professor was clasping a branch,
frightened almost out of his life lest he should fall.
Carefinotu went to him, and compelled him to lean against an upright
bough, to which he firmly secured him with his belt.
Then, while Godfrey selected a place whence he could command the
opening, Carefinotu went to another spot whence he could deliver a cross
And they waited.
Under these circumstances it certainly looked as though the besieged
were safe from attack.
Godfrey endeavoured to discover what was passing beneath them; but the
night was still too dark. Then he tried to hear; and the growlings,
which never ceased, showed that the assailants had no thought of
abandoning the place.
Suddenly, towards four o'clock in the morning, a great light appeared at
the foot of the tree. At once it shot out through the door and windows.
At the same time a thick smoke spread forth from the upper opening and
lost itself in the higher branches.
"What is that now?" exclaimed Godfrey.
It was easily explained. The wild beasts, in ravaging the interior of
Will Tree, had scattered the remains of the fire. The fire had spread to
the things in the room. The flame had caught the bark, which had dried
and become combustible. The gigantic sequoia was ablaze below.
The position was now more terrible than it had ever been. By the light
of the flames, which illuminated the space beneath the grove, they could
see the wild beasts leaping round the foot of Will Tree.
At the same instant, a fearful explosion occurred. The sequoia,
violently wrenched, trembled from its roots to its summit.
It was the reserve of gunpowder which had exploded inside Will Tree, and
the air, violently expelled from the opening, rushed forth like the gas
from a discharging cannon.
Godfrey and Carefinotu were almost torn from their resting-places. Had
Tartlet not been lashed to the branch, he would assuredly have been
hurled to the ground.
The wild beasts, terrified at the explosion, and more or less wounded,
had taken to flight.
But at the same time the conflagration, fed by the sudden combustion of
the powder, had considerably extended. It swiftly grew in dimensions as
it crept up the enormous stem.
Large tongues of flame lapped the interior, and the highest soon reached
the fork, and the dead wood snapped and crackled like shots from a
revolver. A huge glare lighted up, not only the group of giant trees,
but even the whole of the coast from Flag Point to the southern cape of
Soon the fire had reached the lower branches of the sequoia, and
threatened to invade the spot where Godfrey and his companions had taken
refuge. Were they then to be devoured by the flames, with which they
could not battle, or had they but the last resource of throwing
themselves to the ground to escape being burnt alive? In either case
they must die!
Godfrey sought about for some means of escape. He saw none!
Already the lower branches were ablaze and a dense smoke was struggling
with the first gleams of dawn which were rising in the east.
At this moment there was a horrible crash of rending and breaking. The
sequoia, burnt to the very roots, cracked violently--it toppled over--it
But as it fell the stem met the stems of the trees which environed it;
their powerful branches were mingled with its own, and so it remained
obliquely cradled at an angle of about forty-five degrees from the
At the moment that the sequoia fell, Godfrey and his companions believed
"Nineteenth of January!" exclaimed a voice, which Godfrey, in spite of
his astonishment, immediately recognized.
It was Carefinotu! Yes, Carefinotu had just pronounced these words, and
in that English language which up to then he had seemed unable to speak
or to understand!
"What did you say?" asked Godfrey, as he followed him along the
"I said, Mr. Morgan," answered Carefinotu, "that to-day your Uncle Will
ought to reach us, and that if he doesn't turn up we are done for!"
WHICH CONCLUDES BY EXPLAINING WHAT UP TO NOW HAD APPEARED
At that instant, and before Godfrey could reply, the report of fire-arms
was heard not far from Will Tree.
At the same time one of those rain storms, regular cataracts in their
fury, fell in a torrential shower just as the flames devouring the lower
branches were threatening to seize upon the trees against which Will
Tree was resting.
What was Godfrey to think after this series of inexplicable events?
Carefinotu speaking English like a cockney, calling him by his name,
announcing the early arrival of Uncle Will, and then the sudden report
of the fire-arms?
He asked himself if he had gone mad; but he had no time for insoluble
questions, for below him--hardly five minutes after the first sound of
the guns--a body of sailors appeared hurrying through the trees.
Godfrey and Carefinotu slipped down along the stem, the interior of
which was still burning.
But the moment that Godfrey touched the ground, he heard himself spoken
to, and by two voices which even in his trouble it was impossible for
him not to recognize.
"Nephew Godfrey, I have the honour to salute you!"
"Godfrey! Dear Godfrey!"
"Uncle Will! Phina! You!" exclaimed Godfrey, astounded.
Three seconds afterwards he was in somebody's arms, and was clasping
that somebody in his own.
At the same time two sailors, at the order of Captain Turcott who was in
command, climbed up along the sequoia to set Tartlet free, and, with all
due respect, pluck him from the branch as if he were a fruit.
And then the questions, the answers, the explanations which passed!
"Uncle Will! You?"
"And how did you discover Phina Island?"
"Phina Island!" answered William W. Kolderup. "You should say Spencer
Island! Well, it wasn't very difficult. I bought it six months ago!"
"And you gave my name to it, you dear Godfrey!" said the young lady.
"The new name is a good one, and we will keep to it," answered the
uncle; "but for geographers this is Spencer Island, only three days'
journey from San Francisco, on which I thought it would be a good plan
for you to serve your apprenticeship to the Crusoe business!"
"Oh! Uncle! Uncle Will! What is it you say?" exclaimed Godfrey. "Well,
if you are in earnest, I can only answer that I deserved it! But then,
Uncle Will, the wreck of the Dream?"
"Sham!" replied William W. Kolderup, who had never seemed in such a good
humour before. "The Dream was quietly sunk by means of her water
ballast, according to the instructions I had given Turcott. You thought
she sank for good, but when the captain saw that you and Tartlet had got
safely to land he brought her up and steamed away. Three days later he
got back to San Francisco, and he it is who has brought us to Spencer
Island on the date we fixed!"
"Then none of the crew perished in the wreck?"
"None--unless it was the unhappy Chinaman who hid himself away on
and could not be found!"
"But the canoe?"
"Sham! The canoe was of my own make."
"But the savages?"
"Sham! The savages whom luckily you did not shoot!"
"Sham! Carefinotu was my faithful Jup Brass, who played his part of
Friday marvellously well, as I see."
"Yes," answered Godfrey. "He twice saved my life--once from a bear, once
from a tiger--"
"The bear was sham! the tiger was sham!" laughed William W. Kolderup.
"Both of them were stuffed with straw, and landed before you saw them
with Jup Brass and his companions!"
"But he moved his head and his paws!"
"By means of a spring which Jup Brass had fixed during the night a few
hours before the meetings which were prepared for you."
"What! all of them?" repeated Godfrey, a little ashamed at having been
taken in by these artifices.
"Yes! Things were going too smoothly in your island, and we had to get
up a little excitement!"
"Then," answered Godfrey, who had begun to laugh, "if you wished to make
matters unpleasant for us, why did you send us the box which contained
everything we wanted?"
"A box?" answered William W. Kolderup. "What box? I never sent you a
box! Perhaps by chance--"
And as he said so he looked towards Phina, who cast down her eyes and
turned away her head.
"Oh! indeed!--a box! but then Phina must have had an accomplice--"
And Uncle Will turned towards Captain Turcott, who laughingly
"What could I do, Mr. Kolderup? I can sometimes resist you--but Miss
Phina--it was too difficult! And four months ago, when you sent me to
look round the island, I landed the box from my boat--"
"Dearest Phina!" said Godfrey, seizing the young lady's hand.
"Turcott, you promised to keep the secret!" said Phina with a blush.
And Uncle William W. Kolderup, shaking his big head, tried in vain to
hide that he was touched.
But if Godfrey could not restrain his smiles as he listened to the
explanations of Uncle Will, Professor Tartlet did not laugh in the
least! He was excessively mortified at what he heard! To have been the
object of such a mystification, he, a professor of dancing and
deportment! And so advancing with much dignity he observed,--
"Mr. William Kolderup will hardly assert, I imagine, that the enormous
crocodile, of which I was nearly the unhappy victim, was made of
pasteboard and wound up with a spring?"
"A crocodile?" replied the uncle.
"Yes, Mr. Kolderup," said Carefinotu, to whom we had better return his
proper name of Jup Brass. "Yes, a real live crocodile, which went for
Mr. Tartlet, and which I did not have in my collection!"
Godfrey then related what had happened, the sudden appearance of the
wild beasts in such numbers, real lions, real tigers, real panthers, and
then the invasion of the snakes, of which during four months they had
not seen a single specimen in the island!
William W. Kolderup at this was quite disconcerted. He knew nothing
about it. Spencer Island--it had been known for a long time--never had
any wild beasts, did not possess even a single noxious animal; it was so
stated in the deeds of sale.
Neither did he understand what Godfrey told him of the attempts he had
made to discover the origin of the smoke which had appeared at different
points on the island. And he seemed very much troubled to find that all
had not passed on the island according to his instructions, and that the
programme had been seriously interfered with.
As for Tartlet, he was not the sort of man to be humbugged. For his part
he would admit nothing, neither the sham shipwreck, nor the sham
savages, nor the sham animals, and above all he would never give up the
glory which he had gained in shooting with the first shot from his gun
the chief of the Polynesian tribe--one of the servants of the Kolderup
establishment, who turned out to be as well as he was.
All was described, all was explained, except the serious matter of the
real wild beasts and the unknown smoke. Uncle Will became very
thoughtful about this. But, like a practical man, he put off, by an
effort of the will, the solution of the problems, and addressing his
"Godfrey," said he, "you have always been so fond of islands, that I am
sure it will please you to hear that this is yours--wholly yours! I make
you a present of it! You can do what you like with it! I never dreamt of
bringing you away by force; and I would not take you away from it! Be
then a Crusoe for the rest of your life, if your heart tells you to--"
"I!" answered Godfrey. "I! All my life!"
Phina stepped forward.
"Godfrey," she asked, "would you like to remain on your island?"
"I would rather die!" he exclaimed.
But immediately he added, as he took the young lady's hand,--
"Well, yes, I will remain; but on three conditions. The first is, you
stay with me, dearest Phina; the second is, that Uncle Will lives with
us; and the third is, that the chaplain of the Dream marries us this
"There is no chaplain on board the Dream, Godfrey!" replied Uncle
Will. "You know that very well. But I think there is still one left in
San Francisco, and that we can find some worthy minister to perform the
service! I believe I read your thoughts when I say that before to-morrow
we shall put to sea again!"
Then Phina and Uncle Will asked Godfrey to do the honours of his island.
Behold them then walking under the group of sequoias, along the stream
up to the little bridge.
Alas! of the habitation at Will Tree nothing remained. The fire had
completely devoured the dwelling in the base of the tree! Without the
arrival of William W. Kolderup, what with the approaching winter, the
destruction of their stores, and the genuine wild beasts in the island,
our Crusoes would have deserved to be pitied.
"Uncle Will!" said Godfrey. "If I gave the island the name of Phina, let
me add that I gave our dwelling the name of Will Tree!"
"Well," answered the uncle, "we will take away some of the seed, and
plant it in my garden at 'Frisco!"
During the walk they noticed some wild animals in the distance; but they
dared not attack so formidable a party as the sailors of the Dream.
But none the less was their presence absolutely incomprehensible.
Then they returned on board, not without Tartlet asking permission to
bring off "his crocodile"--a permission which was granted.
That evening the party were united in the saloon of the Dream, and
there was quite a cheerful dinner to celebrate the end of the adventures
of Godfrey Morgan and his marriage with Phina Hollaney.
On the morrow, the 20th of January, the Dream set sail under the
command of Captain Turcott. At eight o'clock in the morning Godfrey, not
without emotion, saw the horizon in the west wipe out, as if it were a
shadow, the island on which he had been to school for six months--a
school of which he never forgot the lessons.
The passage was rapid; the sea magnificent; the wind favourable. This
time the Dream went straight to her destination! There was no one to
be mystified! She made no tackings without number as on the first
voyage! She did not lose during the night what she had gained during the
And so on the 23rd of January, after passing at noon through the Golden
Gate, she entered the vast bay of San Francisco, and came alongside the
wharf in Merchant Street.
And what did they then see?
They saw issue from the hold a man who, having swum to the Dream
during the night while she was anchored at Phina Island, had succeeded
in stowing himself away for the second time!
And who was this man?
It was the Chinaman, Seng Vou, who had made the passage back as he had
made the passage out!
Seng Vou advanced towards William W. Kolderup.
"I hope Mr. Kolderup will pardon me," said he very politely. "When I
took my passage in the Dream, I thought she was going direct to
Shanghai, and then I should have reached my country, but I leave her
now, and return to San Francisco."
Every one, astounded at the apparition, knew not what to answer, and
laughingly gazed at the intruder.
"But," said William W. Kolderup at last, "you have not remained six
months in the hold, I suppose?"
"No!" answered Seng Vou.
"Where have you been, then?"
"On the island!"
"You!" exclaimed Godfrey.
"Then the smoke?"
"A man must have a fire!"
"And you did not attempt to come to us, to share our living?"
"A Chinaman likes to live alone," quietly replied Seng Vou. "He is
sufficient for himself, and he wants no one!"
And thereupon this eccentric individual bowed to William W. Kolderup,
landed, and disappeared.
"That is the stuff they make real Crusoes of!" observed Uncle Will.
"Look at him and see if you are like him! It does not matter, the
English race would do no good by absorbing fellows of that stamp!"
"Good!" said Godfrey, "the smoke is explained by the presence of Seng
Vou; but the beasts?"
"And my crocodile!" added Tartlet; "I should like some one to explain my
William W. Kolderup seemed much embarrassed, and feeling in turn quite
mystified, passed his hand over his forehead as if to clear the clouds
"We shall know later on," he said. "Everything is found by him who knows
how to seek!"
A few days afterwards there was celebrated with great pomp the wedding
of the nephew and pupil of William W. Kolderup. That the young couple
were made much of by all the friends of the wealthy merchant can easily
At the ceremony Tartlet was perfect in bearing, in everything, and the
pupil did honour to the celebrated professor of dancing and deportment.
Now Tartlet had an idea. Not being able to mount his crocodile on a
scarf-pin--and much he regretted it--he resolved to have it stuffed. The
animal prepared in this fashion--hung from the ceiling, with the jaws
half open, and the paws outspread--would make a fine ornament for his
room. The crocodile was consequently sent to a famous taxidermist, and
he brought it back to Tartlet a few days afterwards. Every one came to
admire the monster who had almost made a meal of Tartlet.
"You know, Mr. Kolderup, where the animal came from?" said the
celebrated taxidermist, presenting his bill.
"No, I do not," answered Uncle Will.
"But it had a label underneath its carapace."
"A label!" exclaimed Godfrey.
"Here it is," said the celebrated taxidermist.
And he held out a piece of leather on which, in indelible ink, were
written these words,--
"From Hagenbeck, Hamburg,
"To J. R. Taskinar, Stockton, U.S.A."
When William W. Kolderup had read these words he burst into a shout of
laughter. He understood all.
It was his enemy, J. R. Taskinar, his conquered competitor, who, to be
revenged, had bought a cargo of wild beasts, reptiles, and other
objectionable creatures from a well-known purveyor to the menageries of
both hemispheres, and had landed them at night in several voyages to
Spencer Island. It had cost him a good deal, no doubt, to do so; but he
had succeeded in infesting the property of his rival, as the English did
Martinique, if we are to believe the legend, before it was handed over
There was thus no more to explain of the remarkable occurrences on
"Well done!" exclaimed William W. Kolderup. "I could not have done
"But with those terrible creatures," said Phina, "Spencer Island--"
"Phina Island--" interrupted Godfrey.
"Phina Island," continued the bride, with a smile, "is quite
"Bah!" answered Uncle Will; "we can wait till the last lion has eaten up
the last tiger!"
"And then, dearest Phina," said Godfrey, "you will not be afraid to pass
a season there with me?"
"With you, my dear husband, I fear nothing from anywhere," answered
Phina, "and as you have not had your voyage round the world--"
"We will have it together," said Godfrey, "and if an unlucky chance
should ever make me a real Crusoe--"
"You will ever have near you the most devoted of Crusoe-esses!"