Bob the Castaway
Frank V. Webster
Part 3 out of 3
Bob was tired after his long swim and stretched out under the trees
on the grass to rest. It was already beginning to get much warmer,
though the sun was only just peeping up, seemingly from beneath the
"Wonder if I'm going to find anything to eat here," the boy
thought. "Doesn't look as if any one lived here. I'll have to
take a look around. It's going to be very lonesome here. I wonder
if any ships ever pass this place?"
There were so many questions that needed answering he did not know
where to stop asking them of himself. But he decided the first and
best thing to do would be to get off his wet clothes. Not that he
was afraid of taking cold, but he knew he would be more comfortable
in dry garments.
So, taking everything out of his pockets, which was no small
operation by the way, as Bob was a typical boy, he stripped himself
of his heavier garments and hung them on tree limbs to dry.
"Now if I could find something to eat I'd be right in it--at least
for a while," thought the castaway as he walked around on the warm
grass. "And I need a drink, for I swallowed a lot of salt water
and I'm as dry as a powder horn." He looked out on the ocean, but
not a trace of a boat was visible.
Bob walked some distance from where he had landed, keeping a sharp
lookout for a spring of water. Ail the while he was getting more
and more thirsty, and he began to think he would have to dig a
little well near shore with clam shells, as he had read of
shipwrecked sailors doing. But, fortunately, he was not forced to
this. As he penetrated a little way into the wood, he heard the
gurgle of water.
"That sounds good," he remarked.
Stepping cautiously, because of his bare feet, he went on a little
farther and presently saw a small waterfall, caused by a stream
tumbling over a little ledge of rocks and splashing into a pool
"That looks better than it sounds," thought Bob. And a moment
later he was drinking his fill. "Seems as if there might be fish
in there," he went on, glancing at the pool. "Guess I'll try it."
Bob was fond of hunting and fishing and knew considerable about
wood-lore. Searching under the stones he soon found some worms,
and, tossing one into the middle of the pool, he saw a hungry fish
rise to it.
"Now if I had a pole, hook, and line I'd soon have a breakfast," he
went on to himself. "I have the line, all right, and I ought to
have a hook in one of my pockets. I generally do. As for a pole I
can easily cut one."
Bob hurried back to where he had piled the things he took from his
pockets. It did not take him long to discover that he had a stout
cord that would answer for a line, while he also had several hooks.
With his knife he cut a pole, and baiting the hook with a worm, he
Probably no one, unless it might have been some unfortunate
castaway in years gone by, had ever angled in that pool. The fish
at once rose to the bait, and soon Bob had several beauties on the
grass beside him.
"Now to cook them," he said to himself. "Lucky I bought a
water-proof match box before I started on this voyage. I can now
make a fire."
Bob went back to the place he called "home"--where he had first
landed--and looked in the water-tight match box which he always had
carried since he had come aboard the _Eagle_. To his delight the
little fire-sticks were not harmed by his bath. He only wished he
had more of them.
Finding his clothes were now nearly dry, he put part of them on and
proceeded to kindle a fire. Then he cleaned the fish and set them
to broil by the simple process of hanging them in front of the fire
on a pointed stick, one end of which was thrust into the ground.
"That smells good!" exclaimed Bob, as the fish began to brown.
"But, I almost forgot. There's plenty of fruit to be had." For he
had noticed several trees well laden as he passed through the
woods. "I'll not starve here as long as I have fruit and fish."
He gathered some things that looked a cross between an orange and a
tangerine and ate several, finding them delicious. By the time the
fish were well done Bob, preparing to eat his odd breakfast, was
suddenly startled by a groan. It seemed to come from behind a pile
of rocks off to the left.
"I wonder what that was?" thought Bob. "An animal or a human
being? I wonder if there are any South Sea natives on this island?"
He put down his fish on some big green leaves he had plucked for
plates and went toward the rocks. As he approached, the groans
became louder. Peering cautiously over the stones, Bob saw the
figure of a man lying on the sand, as if he had managed to crawl
out of the water.
[Illustration: "Bob saw the figure of a man lying on the sand."]
For an instant the boy could scarcely believe his eyesight. Then,
with a cry, he rushed forward.
"It's Mr. Tarbill!" he exclaimed. "He, too, must have fallen
overboard and been washed ashore. But he seems to be hurt."
The man's eyes were closed and he was scarcely breathing.
"He's dying!" thought Bob, his heart beating hard.
Then, thinking perhaps the man might be partly drowned, the young
castaway began to put into operation as much of the directions as
he remembered for restoring partially drowned persons to life. He
had not worked long before he saw Mr. Tarbill's eyes open. Then
the nervous passenger began to breathe better.
"Where--where am I?" he asked faintly.
"You're safe," replied Bob. "On an island with me. But where is
the captain--and the others?"
"Boat foundered. Wave washed over it--soon after you fell
overboard. No chance to get life-preservers. It was every one for
"Are they drowned?"
"I don't know! Oh, it is terrible! I swam as long as I could,
then I seemed to be sinking."
"You're all right now," said Bob cheerfully. "You're just in time
to have some breakfast."
He helped Mr. Tarbill to his feet. The nervous man seemed to
recover rapidly, and when, at Bob's suggestion, he had taken off
most of his wet clothes and was drying out near the fire, his face
took on a more cheerful look.
"Those fish smell fine," he said. "I'm very fond of fish. Are you
sure those are not poisonous?"
"I'm not sure," replied Bob, "and I'm too hungry to care much.
They're a sort of big sun-fish, such as I used to catch at home.
The meat looks nice and white. Better have some. I'll warm them
He put them once more on the pointed sticks near the fire, and when
they were sizzling he laid them on the green leaves. Then, with
sticks for knives and forks, the two castaways made a fairly good
"I thought I never would see land again," said the nervous man, as
he began to dress in his dry clothes after the breakfast. "This
has been a terrible experience for me."
"I guess it has," admitted Bob. "And for all of us. I wish I knew
what has happened to the captain and the others."
"Our boat was swamped by a big wave," said Mr. Tarbill, "and
suddenly we were all thrown into the water. That is the last I
remember. Perhaps the captain and some of the crew may have swum
ashore on another part of this island."
"I hope so. We'll search for them. I guess we're in for a long
"Have we got to remain here?" demanded Mr. Tarbill.
"I don't see what else there is to do," replied Bob. "We haven't
any boat, we can't walk on the water, and we'll have to stay until
a ship comes and takes us off."
"Oh, dear!" exclaimed the nervous man. "I wish I had stayed at
Bob thought he might at least be thankful that his life was spared
and that he was not where he would starve, but the lad concluded it
would be wise to say nothing.
"If you like we'll take a walk around the island, see how large it
is and if there's a place where we can make a sort of shelter,"
"I guess that will be the best thing to do. I leave it all to you.
My nerves are in such shape that I can do nothing."
Bob felt not a little proud of the responsibility thus thrust upon
him. He resolved to act wisely and cautiously, for there was no
telling how long they would have to live on the island.
With the boy in the lead the two started off. The sun was now hot
and strong, and they found it advisable to keep in the shade of the
woods as much as possible.
Bob saw a big turtle crawling down the beach toward the water, and,
knowing the flesh was good for food, he ran forward to catch it.
He was too late, however, and when he turned, with a feeling of
disappointment, to catch up with Mr. Tarbill, who had continued on,
Bob was surprised to hear the man utter an exclamation. He had
come to a halt near a pile of rocks and was looking over the tops.
"What's the matter?" asked the boy.
"There are two men down there on the beach! Perhaps they are
cannibals! We had better go back!"
"Let me take a look," proposed Bob.
Cautiously he went forward, gave one glance at the figures to which
Mr. Tarbill pointed, and then he uttered a cry.
"Hurrah!" he shouted. "They are Captain Spark and Tim Flynn, one
of the sailors! They've managed to get to shore! Ahoy, captain!
Ahoy! Here we are!" and he ran down the beach toward them.
MAKING THE BEST OF IT
Captain Spark and the sailor turned at the sound of Bob's voice.
The captain gave a joyful cry and started forward. But Tim Flynn,
the sailor, with a yell of fear, ran off down the beach in a
"Here! Come back!" cried the captain, pausing. "What's the matter
with you, Tim?"
"Sure I don't want to meet no ghost!" exclaimed the man.
"Ghost? What do you mean?"
"Him," replied Tim, pointing a shaking finger at Bob. "Didn't we
see him drown, an' now ain't he here ahead of us to haunt us? Let
me go, cap'n."
He was about to run off again, but Bob, who began to understand the
superstitious rears of the man, called out:
"It's me, Tim! I'm alive, all right!"
The sailor paused, turned, and, after a long and rather doubting
look at the boy, came slowly bade.
"Well, maybe it's all right," he said, "but it's mighty queer.
How'd ye git here?"
"Swam until I struck land. But how did you get here, captain?" and
Bob clasped his relative warmly by the hand.
"Our boat must have been close to the island when it capsized,"
replied the former commander of the _Eagle_. "A big wave did the
business for us, and then it was every man for himself. Poor
Tarbill, he's lost, and so is Pete Bascom. We'll never see either
of 'em again. And I'm afraid the rest of the crew are gone, too.
No boat could live long in that sea."
"Mr. Tarbill is alive," said Bob.
"How do you know?"
"He's right behind those rocks. He didn't come on because he
feared you were cannibals. I'll call him."
Bob set up a shout, and in a few seconds the nervous passenger came
cautiously over the top of a pile of stones. When he saw Captain
Spark he was reassured and advanced boldly. There was a general
shaking of hands, and then the captain remarked:
"Well, now we're here we'll have to sec what we can find in the way
of food and shelter. I don't believe this island is inhabited. I
didn't know we were so near one. It isn't down on the charts."
"There is plenty of fish and fruit," said Bob, telling how he had
used his hook and line to advantage.
"Good!" exclaimed the captain. "I could eat a fish raw, I believe,
and my mouth is dry for need of some fresh water."
"Then come on to my camp," said Bob, proudly leading the way,
The captain could not but note the change in the boy. He had a
confident air about him now, as if he could take charge of matters.
The experience of the shipwreck, terrible as it had been, had
taught Bob some needed lessons. But he had yet more to learn.
While Captain Spark and Tim Flynn were wringing the water out of
their heavier garments Bob replenished the fire and soon had some
fish broiling, for he had caught more than he needed. It did not
take long to finish the simple meal, and then the captain spoke.
"We'd better take a survey of the island," he said, "to see what
sort of a place we've landed on. If there are any natives here we
want to know it. We also want to know what we can expect in the
way of things to eat and if there are animals on it. I don't
believe there are, however, as the place is too small."
"Let's start right away," proposed Bob. "Perhaps we can find some
driftwood, or something to make a hut of, though it's warm enough
to sleep out of doors without shelter."
"But not exactly safe in tropical countries," objected the captain.
"I hope we can construct some kind of a house. If we can't we'll
have to make the best of it, though, for we haven't any tools to
work with, except knives."
They started to make a circuit of the island. It was not very
large, being about two miles across. The center was thickly wooded
with tropical growth, and the captain was glad to note that there
were several varieties of good fruit, including a number of
"If worst comes to worst we can make a hut of cocoanut leaves," he
said. "The natives often do that."
"Oh, dear! I hope there are no cannibals here," said Mr. Tarbill
at the mention of the word natives. "Suppose they should eat us
"They'd have to fight first," observed the captain grimly. "I'll
not be eaten without a struggle."
"But I never fought a cannibal in my life," objected the nervous
castaway. "I shouldn't know how to go about it."
"No more would I, but I'd soon learn. But don't think about such
things, Mr. Tarbill."
"I can't help it. I wonder how long it will be before we are
"That is a grave question," said the captain slowly. "I fear this
island is too far out of the regular course of ships to hope that
we will be picked up soon. We must make some kind of a distress
signal and hoist it where it will be seen. We'll do that as soon
as we have completed the circuit of the island."
It was long past noon, to judge by the position of the sun, when
they had circled the island and again reached the place where Bob
had built the fire. They had seen no signs of natives, nor any of
animals, though there might be small beasts.
"Well, we know what to expect now," said the Captain, as they sat
down under the trees to talk matters over. "We'll have to depend
for a living on fish, turtles, and fruit. We have no natives to
fear, and our situation is not so bad as it might be. Now we had
better set about matters in a shipshape and orderly fashion. In
the first place we will name our island. There's nothing like
having an address where your friends can write to you," he added,
with grim humor.
"Let's call it 'Lonely Land,'" suggested Bob.
"I have a better name," said the commander. "It is the custom to
call islands and mountains after the person who discovers them. I
propose that we name this 'Bob's Island,' for he discovered it
"Aye, aye, sir!" cried Tim Flynn heartily.
Bob blushed and was about to protest, but, to his surprise, Mr.
Tarbill joined in and favored the proposition.
"That's settled, then," spoke the captain. "Now you needn't say
anything, Bob, we're three to one, and we're going to have our way.
So far so good. The next thing is to rig up our distress signal.
I'll leave that to Flynn. Tim, climb the highest tree you can find
and run up a signal."
"Aye, aye, sir," replied the sailor, saluting and starting off.
"Now then, we'd better catch some more fish for dinner," the
captain continued. "I'll leave that to you, Bob, and I'll build
another fire, for this one is out. Mr. Tarbill can go and see if
he can't catch a couple of turtles."
"Turtles! I never caught a turtle in my life!" exclaimed the
nervous man. "I'd be afraid to!"
"Not the least danger," the captain assured him. "All you have to
do is to get between them and the water as they're on the beach
sunning themselves and turn them on their backs. They'll stay
there until I can come and get them. It's time you learned to
"Oh, dear!" sighed Mr. Tarbill. "I wish I was safe home!"
But the captain paid no attention to his protest.
"It'll do him good," he murmured, as the nervous one walked
dejectedly off. "He'll not have any nerves left when we get
through with him."
Bob had good luck with his hook and line and soon returned with a
dozen fine fish. In the meanwhile the captain had built a big fire
and had a bed of red coals ready to broil the fish over, for he
knew just how to do it.
When the dinner was in process of cooking Tim returned.
"Did you hoist the signal?" asked the captain.
"Aye, aye, sir."
"What did you use for a flag?"
"My shirt, sir."
"Aye, aye, sir. You see I had two on, an outer shirt and an inner
shirt. I didn't need the outer shirt as it's so hot here, so I
hoisted that on top of a tall tree. It's flying in the breeze now,
sir. You can see it from here."
He led the way down to the edge of the water and pointed inland.
Sure enough, flying from a tall cocoanut tree was a white shirt.
It could be seen for a long distance.
"That's a fine idea," complimented the captain. "I forgot when I
sent you off that you hadn't any signal flag. But here comes Mr.
Tarbill. I wonder if he turned any turtles? Any luck?" he called
as the nervous man approached.
"No, sir. The turtles all ran when they heard me coming. Some of
them left a lot of eggs behind."
"Did you bring any?"
"No. I didn't think they were good."
"Good? Of course they're good! We'll gather some later. But come
on. It's long past dinner time and I guess we're all hungry."
Every one proved it by the manner in which he ate. The meal was a
primitive one, with sticks for forks, though they all had
pocket-knives, which answered very well to cut the fish. For
plates Captain Spark substituted large clam shells, in place of the
leaves Bob had used.
"Now I think we had better rig up some kind of a hut for shelter
against the night dews," proposed the captain, when they were done
eating. "Gather all the cocoanut leaves you can and I'll make a
sort of framework."
Bob started up, ready to go off into the forest after leaves, with
the sailor and Mr. Tarbill. As he gazed out to sea, where the big
waves were still rolling, he saw something that caused him to utter
a cry of astonishment.
"What is it?" asked Captain Spark, hurrying to Bob's side.
"There," replied the boy, pointing to some dark object that was
rising and falling on the swell.
"It's a boat! A boat capsized!" exclaimed Captain Spark. "We must
secure it. It's one from the _Eagle_. Probably the one we were
"Shall I swim out to it?" asked Bob. "Perhaps I can tow it in."
"No, the current is setting toward the beach. It will drift in
All interest in building a hut was temporarily forgotten as the
four castaways watched the slow approach of the boat. As it came
nearer it was seen to be the captain's gig, in which Bob and his
friends had left the ill-fated _Eagle_.
"Do you think there'll be anything left in her?" asked Bob.
"There will, unless she is smashed," replied Mr. Spark. "The
lockers, in which most of the supplies were packed, are water-tight
and securely fastened. This is a piece of good luck, if the boat
is not stove in. She has turned bottom up, but she may still be
sound. She'll soon be here."
When the gig was close enough so that they could wade out to it,
Bob and Tim Flynn rolled up their trousers and went through the
shallow surf. The beach gradually shelved at this point and they
could wade out nearly a quarter of a mile at low tide.
"She's all right, cap'n!" called the sailor, when he and Bob
reached the small craft. "Sound as a dollar, and the lockers are
closed," he added as the boat rolled partly over.
"Good!" cried the commander. "Pull her in as close as you can and
we'll unload her. Then we'll get her above high-water mark. This
boat may save our lives."
"How?" asked Mr. Tarbill.
"Why, when the sea goes down we can leave the island in her."
"Leave the island? Never! I'm on dry land now, and I'm never
going to trust myself in a boat again."
"Maybe you'll think differently after a bit," said the captain.
By this time Bob and Tim had the boat in very shallow water. They
managed to turn it on the keel, and the first thing they saw was
the sail in the bottom. Ropes, fastened to various projections,
had prevented the canvas from floating away.
"There!" cried the captain, when he saw it. "That solves our
shelter problem for us. We'll make a tent. Oh, we're in luck, all
right. 'Bob's Island' isn't such a bad place after all."
Bob blushed with pleasure. Then and there he made up his mind that
his foolishness should be a thing of the past. He was of some
importance in the world now, and it would not do to be playing
But if the captain was delighted at finding the sail, he was much
more so when, on opening the lockers, which fastened with patent
catches, everything was found to be as "dry as a bone," as Tim
Flynn expressed it.
"Now we can have a change from the fish and fruit diet," said the
captain, as he showed where the canned food had been stowed away.
There were tins of ship's biscuits, some jars of jam and marmalade,
plenty of canned beef, tongue and other meats, rice, flour--in
short, a bountiful supply for the small party of castaways.
Captain Spark had ordered the boats to be well provisioned when he
knew the _Eagle_ was doomed, and his forethought now stood them in
In another locker was a kit of carpenter's tools, which would come
in very handy if they were to remain long on the island, and in
another water-tight compartment the captain had stowed his
chronometer, his instruments for finding the position of the ship,
and some charts.
Owing to the fact that the lockers remained tightly closed when the
boat capsized, nothing had been lost out of them, and they had also
served to make the gig more buoyant. Practically nothing was
missing from the boat save the personal belongings of Bob and the
others--their clothing in the valises, the mast which had floated
away, and some of the captain's papers relating to the ship. But
this did not worry them, as they were now in good shape to live on
the island, at least for several weeks.
"All hands to lighten ship!" called the captain, when he had looked
over what the boat contained. They made short work of carrying the
things from the lockers well up on the beach. With the boat thus
made lighter, it was pulled out of reach of the waves.
"Now for a shelter!" the commander called, when the gig had been
safely moored. "This sail will make a fine tent."
So it proved when it was set up on some poles which Tim Flynn cut
with a light hatchet found among the tools. Mr. Tarbill could not
be depended on to do anything, and he was so mournful, standing
around and lamenting the fact that he had ever undertaken the trip,
that, to get rid of him, Captain Spark sent him off once more to
catch turtles, or, if he could not do that, to gather some of the
eggs. This last Mr. Tarbill was able to do, but he was not
successful in turning any of the crawling creatures over on their
The tent was erected before dark, and, with a cheerful fire burning
in front of it, supper was prepared. This time they had tin dishes
to eat from, as a supply was found in the gig's lockers.
Tired out with their day's work, and by the struggle with the sea,
the castaways all slept soundly. Nor was there any need to stand
guard during the night. On beds of palm leaves, under the tent,
they slumbered undisturbed until the sun, shining in on them, awoke
"Well, I'm beginning to feel quite to home," remarked the captain,
who could be cheerful under misfortune. His good spirits should
have been a lesson to Mr. Tarbill. That gentleman had lost nothing
but what could be easily replaced, but the captain had lost his
fine ship. Still he did not complain, and Bob, seeing his demeanor
under trying circumstances, resolved to try and be like the stanch
After breakfast Captain Spark looked carefully over the gig to see
if the craft was seaworthy. He decided that it was, and he sent
Tim to look about for a suitable small tree to be cut down as a
mast for the sail.
"Are you going to sail away?" asked Mr. Tarbill nervously.
"I don't know. I want to be all ready to do so in case we find it
necessary. This noon I will work out our position and locate this
island on the chart. Then I can determine how far it is to the
nearest mainland, or to a larger island."
"I'll never go in a small boat on this big ocean," declared Mr.
Captain Spark, who had completed his examination of the gig, was
standing near it, idly gazing off across the waste of water, which
had greatly subsided since the storm, when he caught sight of some
small object about two miles off shore.
"Bob!" he called, "bring me the binoculars," for a pair of marine
glasses had been found in one of the lockers.
The captain gazed through the glasses for several seconds. Then he
"More arrivals! Prepare for company, Bob!"
"There's a boat off there and in it are Mr. Carr, the first mate,
and Ned Scudd! But they seem to be in trouble, for they are
bailing fast. Their boat must have a hole in it. We'd better go
to their rescue!"
AFLOAT ONCE MORE
Captain Spark laid aside his binoculars and began shoving the gig
down toward the line of surf. The tide was about half in.
"Lend a hand!" cried the commander to Mr. Tarbill. There was no
need to urge Bob, who had already grasped one side of the gunwale
and was helping to push the boat down the beach.
It was almost too much for the captain and Bob, as Mr. Tarbill,
however willing he was, could not bring much strength to the work.
Fortunately, however, Tim Flynn came from the woods at that moment,
dragging after him a long thin pole to serve as a mast. He saw
what the captain wanted and ran up to help. Between the three they
managed to get the gig afloat.
"Now then! Lively!" cried the commander. "Their boat is settling
Tim did not need to be told what the object was in launching the
gig. Fortunately there had been a spare pair of oars in the craft
when she came ashore, the big blades being fastened so they could
not float away. With these the captain and Tim began to propel the
boat toward the sinking craft in which were Mr. Carr and Ned Scudd.
The two latter were bailing so fast that they had no chance to row.
Bob also went in the gig, but Mr. Tarbill remained on shore,
nervously running up and down, wringing his hands and uttering vain
wishes that he had never undertaken a sea voyage for his health.
It was not long before the gig was close to the other boat, and
Captain Spark called out a glad greeting to his first mate and the
"What happened?" he asked.
"We hit some floating wreckage last night," explained Mr. Carr.
"Stove quite a hole, but I managed to stuff part of a sail in it,
and we did very well until early this morning. Then some of the
seams began to open, and we're filling fast."
"I'll take you aboard," said the commander. "We've got a nice
little island waiting for you. Where are the other men?"
"Drowned," replied Mr. Carr solemnly. "That is, those who were
with me. When we got the hole in us they became frightened and
leaped overboard--that is, all but Ned here. I tried to make 'em
stay in, but they wouldn't. That is the last I saw of them. The
other boat, with Sam Bender and his crew, we lost sight of."
"Poor fellows," murmured the captain.
The first mate and Ned were soon in the captain's gig, and shortly
afterward the boat with the hole in her filled and sank.
"Never mind," consoled the captain. "It's shallow here and at low
tide we may be able to get her. Anything left in her, Mr. Carr?"
"Considerable provisions in the water-tight compartments. Also
"Very good. We'll need 'em all. We're quite a party of castaways
"How did you find Bob?" asked the first mate, for his boat had been
near when the boy fell overboard.
"Oh, Bob discovered the island for us," replied the commander, and
he explained the various happenings.
Shore was soon reached, and then Mr. Carr and Ned, neither of whom
had been able to eat much because of the necessity of bailing to
keep from sinking, were given a good meal.
The two latest arrivals looked with interest on what had already
been done to form a camp. When their wet trousers were hung up to
dry in the hot sun, they rested in the shade of the tent and Bob
explained his adventures on first reaching the island.
"Have you any idea where we are, captain?" asked Mr. Carr, after a
mutual exchange of experiences.
"Only a slight one. I'm going to take an observation this noon.
Fortunately, my chronometer did not stop and I can get the correct
But the captain was disappointed. At noon the sun was hidden under
a dense bank of clouds, and, as "dead reckoning" would have been of
no avail, since they had no previous record to go by, he had to
However, there was plenty to do. When the tide went out late that
afternoon they saw that it would he possible to get most of the
things from the wrecked boat. This kept them busy until dark.
Then a big campfire was lighted, and, though the tent was rather
crowded with six in it, they managed to sleep fairly comfortably.
The next day it rained, and the castaways put in rather a miserable
existence. Fortunately, they had carried the food into the tent,
where it was protected from the terrific tropical downpour. The
rain kept up for three days, and during all that time Mr. Tarbill
never ceased complaining.
As for Bob and the others, they did not mind getting wet through,
for the weather was very warm. Under the captain's directions they
had built a sort of screen for the fire at the first sign of a
storm, making it of green cocoanut tree leaves on slanting poles
like a "lean-to," and this kept the blaze going in spite of the
wetness, as plenty of dry wood had been gathered before the rain
On the fourth day the sun shone brightly, the downpour had ceased,
and they rejoiced in the beautiful scenery around them, even though
they were shipwrecked and on a strange island.
"We must build a more substantial shelter than the tent," Captain
Spark decided that morning. "We may have to stay here for several
months, and the tent is not large enough. Besides, we must keep
our supplies dry."
They decided to make a small log cabin, and, with this end in view,
Bob, the two sailors, and Mr. Carr set off into the woods to hew
down trees for this purpose.
Captain Spark and Mr. Tarbill remained behind to get the camp in
better shape after the storm. The commander also wished to take a
sun observation that noon and work out the position of the island,
As Bob and his three companions were going through the wood, they
were surprised to see several birds of brilliant plumage. Some of
them sang sweetly.
"That's a good sign!" exclaimed Mr. Carr.
"Why?" asked Bob.
"Because if there are birds on this small island, it shows that
there must be a larger island not far away. Birds of this kind
live in large forests, and as there are none here, on account of
the size of this island, that shows they must come from some other
one, or from the mainland."
"I hope you're right," said Bob. "We might be able to get to some
other island in the gig, and then we would stand a better chance of
When the little party got back to camp, carrying a number of poles
for the beginning of the hut, they found Captain Spark preparing to
take an observation, as it was nearly noon. He asked Mr. Carr to
In a few minutes, after taking the altitude of the sun through the
sextant and working out a calculation from his table of figures,
the captain was able to announce the result, giving the latitude
and longitude of the island.
"Why," exclaimed Bob, "that is about the location of the island
shown on the parchment map that Captain Obed gave me."
"So it is!" cried the captain. "Where is the map, Bob?"
"Lost overboard with the rest of my things, I suppose, when the
boat capsized," was the rueful answer.
"That's so. Now we'll never know whether there was any treasure or
not. However, there's no use worrying about that. The best news
is that we are not far off from a very large island, at which ships
frequently touch for water and provisions."
"Good!" cried Mr. Carr. "About how far off, captain?"
"Not more than two hundred miles."
"But how can we go two hundred miles?" asked Mr. Tarbill.
"In the small boat--my gig--to be sure. We have sufficient
provisions for twice that journey, and the boat is large enough,"
"I'll never venture to sea in a small boat!" declared the nervous
The others paid little attention to him, being too much interested
in what the captain had to say about the other island. He had
never been there, but he had heard of it. It was inhabited by a
tribe of friendly natives.
"Shall we start soon?" asked Mr. Carr.
"I think we'll wait a week or two and see what turns up here. We
are very comfortable, and I don't want to undertake the voyage in
the small boat if there is any chance of a ship taking us off from
The thought that they were not so very far from an island, where
the chances of rescue were most excellent, put every one in good
humor, save Mr. Tarbill. He remained gloomy and nervous.
It was decided to proceed with the building of the hut, and in a
few days it was finished and thatched with thick green leaves, that
were almost as good as shingles.
"There, now let it rain if it wants to," said Mr. Carr. "We'll be
good and dry. The tent can be used as a storehouse for what the
hut won't hold."
It seemed as if the rain was going to take them at their word, for
there came a steady downpour the next day, and it lasted a week
with but few intermissions. They were very weary of it.
Yet through it all Bob kept up his good spirits. He was a changed
boy, and though, once or twice, the spirit of mischief seemed about
to break out in him, he restrained it, to the secret delight of
"I was right, after all," he said to Mr. Carr, one day when the
rain had ceased. "It needed a sea voyage to straighten Bob out,
but I didn't figure on a shipwreck doing it."
The boy was very helpful about camp. No task was too hard for him,
no labor too much, and he never grumbled. He had grown almost used
to life on the island, as had the other castaways. But Captain
Spark had not given up the plan of sailing for the large island.
He waited until he thought the weather had settled down and then,
one fine morning, he gave the word to load the small boat with all
"Do you think we can make it?" asked Mr. Carr.
"I think so. We can try, at any rate. We'll have this island and
the log cabin to return to in case we have to turn back."
"Are you really going to put to sea in that small boat?" asked Mr.
Tarbill nervously, when the time for departure came.
"That's what we are," replied the captain.
"Then I'm not going."
"Very well. If you want to stay we'll leave you some provisions,
and perhaps, in six months, a ship may pass here and see the shirt
"Well, maybe longer; maybe a shorter time."
"And I'll have to stay here all alone?"
"That's what you will," answered Captain Spark shortly, for he was
beginning to tire of Mr. Tarbill's cowardice.
"Oh, dear! What shall I do?" exclaimed the nervous man.
"Come along with us," suggested Bob.
"Then stay on the island. That won't sink," said the captain.
"I'm afraid of that, too."
"Well, we're going," announced the commander, preparing to aid in
shoving the boat down to the water's edge.
"Oh! Don't leave me behind! I'll go! I'll go! But I know I'll
be drowned! I'm sure of it!"
"You're a cheerful passenger," murmured the captain, as Mr. Tarbill
got into the boat. "Let her go, boys!"
A few minutes later they were afloat once more, leaving "Bob's
Island" behind. Would they be able to reach the other one! That
was the question in every heart.
A SERIOUS LOSS
Under a bright blue sky, with the sun shining down almost a little
too warm for comfort, and with the sea very calm, the voyage that
meant so much to all of them was begun. They looked back with a
little regret at the small island they were leaving. There, at
least, they knew they would be safe, but unless they desired to
risk the chance of staying there many months, they must make this
"Well, it was a fine little camp," murmured Bob, with a tone of
sorrow in his voice.
"Indeed it was," declared Mr. Tarbill. "I wish I was back there
"Perhaps we all will be," said Captain Spark gravely, "but there is
no use discovering a leak in your boat until it's actually there,"
which was his way of saying that it was bad luck to cross a bridge
until you came to it.
"Now we've got to have some system about this voyage," went on the
commander. "We've got enough provisions and water to last us for
the trip if we are careful of them. We'll not be able to have any
banquets, and I depend upon every one--in which I include
myself--to be sparing of the food and drink. There is no telling
what may happen."
"I have a very good appetite since taking this sea voyage,"
murmured Mr. Tarbill. "I can't bear to think of being hungry."
"Well, perhaps there'll be no need for it. I only wanted to warn
you. Now I propose to take command of this gig, for it is my
property, and I'm going to be obeyed, just as if we were on the
"Aye, aye, sir," replied the sailors promptly.
"I'll do my best to bring the craft to the larger island as soon as
possible. We'll have to depend somewhat on the wind, for we can't
row all that distance in time to make our provisions last.
Fortunately, I have a reliable pocket compass, so I can lay our
course fairly accurately. Now, Ned Scudd and Tim Flynn, step the
mast and hoist the sail and we'll see how our craft behaves under
The two sailors soon had the sail hoisted, and under the influence
of a stiff breeze the gig shot rapidly ahead, the oars being
shipped. They had two pairs now, one the spare lot from the gig
and the other from the boat Mr. Carr had commanded.
Captain Spark arranged his pocket compass on the stern seat near
the tiller, and sitting there he directed the course of the small
boat as nearly as he could toward the large island. He and Mr.
Carr were to divide the watches of the day and night. There would
be four, of six hours each. That is, Captain Spark would be in
charge of the boat for six hours, and then Mr. Carr would go on
watch for the same length of time, until it became the captain's
turn again. In this way each one could get sufficient rest.
The two sailors, Bob and Mr. Tarbill were divided between the two
heads of the watch, Bob and Tim Flynn being chosen by the captain.
The food had been carefully stowed away in the lockers, the
captain's charts, chronometer and sextant were put where he could
easily get at them, and as they had breakfasted before they set off
on their voyage, there was nothing to do for several hours but to
make themselves as comfortable as possible in the boat.
Had it not been for the worry over what might be the outcome, and
had not the dreadful memory of the shipwreck been in all their
minds, they might have enjoyed the sail. As it was, no one felt
very jolly. Mr. Tarbill was particularly miserable, and was
continually finding fault.
"Oh, dear! It's dreadfully hot!" he exclaimed when they had been
sailing for several hours and Bob's Island was out of sight. "I'm
afraid I shall be sunstruck."
"Get in the shadow of the sail. Go forward," advised Captain Spark.
"I'm afraid to move for fear I'll slip overboard as Bob did."
"Well, if you do we can see to fish you out. It's daylight now."
"Oh, I'm miserable! I wish I had never come on this trip! I know
I shall never live to see home again!"
"I, too, wish you hadn't come," thought the captain, but he really
felt sorry for the nervous man.
Finally it grew so hot that Mr. Tarbill could stand it no longer.
He decided he would make his way forward, where he could be in the
shade of the sail. The others were very warm also, but they did
not complain. Even Bob, who was not used to roughing it as were
the sailors, stood it bravely, though the hot sun made his head
Mr. Tarbill, who was in the stern, near Captain Spark, arose and
started forward. As he did so a wave, larger than any that the
boat had previously encountered, careened the craft a bit.
"Oh, I'm going overboard!" exclaimed Mr. Tarbill.
He made a frantic clutch at the air, and really did almost go over
the side, but it was due more to his own awkwardness than to
anything else. Then he slipped down into the bottom of the gig,
but as he did so his arm shot out and something bright and shining
was knocked from the after locker over the gunwale into the sea,
where it fell with a little splash.
"Now you have done it!" cried the captain, standing up and making a
"Done it? Done what?" asked Mr. Tarbill.
"You've knocked overboard the only compass we had! How we're going
to find the island now is more than I can tell! This is a serious
DAYS OF HOPELESSNESS
The captain's announcement struck terror to every heart. Even Bob,
with the little knowledge of the sea he possessed, realized what
that meant. They would have to "go it blind" now, and the chances
of finding a comparatively small island in that vast ocean were
"Did I knock the compass overboard?" asked Mr. Tarbill.
"You certainly did," spoke the captain grimly.
"I--I didn't mean to."
"No, I don't suppose you did. Still, it's on the bottom of the
ocean by this time."
"Oh, dear! What shall we do?"
"The best we can. Fortunately, I have a general idea of the
direction of our course, and at night I can make a shift to steer
by the stars, but it's going to be pretty much guesswork."
"If we can't find the big island, can't we go back to the small one
where we were?" asked Bob hopefully.
"It would be about as hard to find that as it's going to be to
locate the other now. Still, we'll have to do the best we can.
It's your watch, Mr. Carr. Keep her as near as you can about as
she is while this wind holds. We'll have a bit to eat now."
The captain dealt out the food and the supply of water. The amount
of the latter was very small, as they did not have many casks in
which to store a supply for their voyage. Still, no one
complained, even Mr. Tarbill being too stunned by what he had done
to find any fault.
The day passed slowly, and the breeze kept up. But whether they
were being urged on toward the island, or whether the wind had
shifted and was bearing them in another direction, was something no
one could tell. A deeper gloom than any that had prevailed since
the shipwreck fell upon them all.
When it got dark and the stars came out Captain Spark was able to
direct the boat to a little better advantage, but when morning
came, after the long darkness, during which no one had slept well,
they found themselves on a vast, heaving expanse of water.
"Where are we?" asked Mr. Tarbill. "Is the island in sight?"
Captain Spark swept the horizon with his glasses.
"There's not a sail to be seen," he said, "and no sign of land. I
thought we would raise the island by this morning."
"Then don't you know where we are?" asked the nervous man.
"I haven't the least idea, except that we are somewhere on the
The captain spoke rather hopelessly.
"Never mind," said Bob cheerfully. "We've got food enough for a
week, and by that time something may happen."
"Yes, something may," said Mr. Carr, with a gloomy look.
"That's the way to talk, Bob," exclaimed the captain. "Never say
die. We'll cheat old Davy Jones and his locker yet."
Indeed, Bob's cheerfulness under trying circumstances was something
that the captain had marked with satisfaction. The very character
of the boy had undergone a change because of what he had been
through. He seemed to have grown older and to have a fitting idea
of responsibility. Bob was beginning to realize that life was not
It was rather hopeless sailing now, not knowing whether they were
headed right or not. Still they kept on. They ate all they
wanted, for the food was more plentiful than water, and they knew
if worst came to worst they could live for several days without
victuals, but not without water.
Slowly the time dragged on. Nobody aboard the craft knew what to
do. Once Bob tried to cheer up and hum a ditty, but the effort was
a dismal failure.
"Bob, I reckon you are sorry now that you left home and came with
me," observed the captain soberly.
"I'm not sorry that I left home," answered the lad promptly. "But
I must confess I am sorry that all of us are in such a pickle as
"If I had known my ship was going to be wrecked I'd not have taken
you on this voyage."
"It is an awful loss."
"Yes--but I sha'n't mind it so much, if only we reach a place of
"Oh, if only I was home!" sighed Mr. Tarbill. "If only I was home!"
"Wouldn't just dry land suit you?" queried Bob, with a bit of his
"I--I suppose so, but I'd like home best."
"Any land would suit me just now," put in the captain.
"Supposing we should land among cannibals!" murmured the nervous
"I don't believe there are any around here," answered Captain Spark.
"But are you sure?"
"No, I am not sure."
"I knew it! Oh, if the savages got us it would be terrible!" And
Mr. Tarbill shuddered.
"Well, he's a wet blanket, if ever there was one!" declared Mr.
Carr, in deep disgust.
"I am--er--a wet blanket?" demanded the nervous passenger.
"Yes, you are!" declared the other. "And I, for one, am tired of
hearing you croak."
"Hum!" murmured Mr. Tarbill, and then, for the time being, he said
no more. The constant rocking of the boat made him somewhat sick
at the stomach, and he was anything but happy.
Bob could not help but think of home, and of his dear mother and
father. If he was lost, what would they say and what would they do?
"Dear folks at home!" he murmured. "If I ever get back you'll find
me a different boy, yes, indeed, you will! No more silly tricks
for Bob!" And he shut his lips with a firmness that meant a great
The boy had just closed his eyes to take a nap when a loud cry from
Tim Flynn awoke him.
"What's the matter?" he questioned.
"What do you see, Tim?" asked the captain.
The sailor was at the bow, standing up on the seat and gazing far
across the rising and falling waters. He did not answer until the
craft was on the crest of a high wave.
"A ship!" he exclaimed.
"Where?" came from all of the others in concert.
Both the captain and Mr. Carr looked and saw that the report was
true. Far, far away could be seen a low-lying dark object, with a
trail of smoke behind it.
"It's a steamer," said Captain Spark.
"Is it headed this way?" asked Bob, eagerly.
"I believe so."
"Are you sure, sir?" came from Mr. Tarbill. "Please don't make any
"No, I am not sure. Tim, what do you think?" went on the captain.
The sailor shrugged his shoulders. He was too anxious to even
venture an opinion.
How eagerly all on board the little craft watched that dark object
so far away! One minute they felt certain the steamer was headed
toward them, the next they were afraid it was moving off to the
"Let's sail after the steamer," suggested Bob.
"It won't help us much," answered Mr. Carr.
"Never mind, it will help some," came from Captain Spark, and they
sailed and rowed with all the skill and strength they possessed.
"Are we closer?" asked Mr. Tarbill.
"Not yet!" answered the captain.
"Can't we call to them?"
"No--but we can fire a shot," answered Captain Spark, and not one
shot but half a dozen were discharged.
"If only the lookout sees us," said Bob. "I wish we could hoist
some big signal."
But they had nothing larger than the sail and a shirt. Mr. Carr
furnished the garment and it was tied to the masthead. But if
those on the steamer saw the signal they gave no sign.
"She's goin' away!" wailed Tim Flynn at last. "Bad luck to her fer
"Going away!" ejaculated Bob, and his heart sank like a lump of
lead in his bosom.
"Don't say that!" wailed Mr. Tarbill. "Shout--fire a
gun--anything! They must come and rescue us!" And in his
nervousness the man began to caper about wildly.
"Look out, or you'll go overboard!" shouted Captain Spark.
Scarcely had he spoken when the boat was caught by a big wave and
stood up almost on end. With a yell Mr. Tarbill slid to the stern,
clutched at the gunwale, and disappeared with a splash.
"Of all the fools!" muttered Mr. Carr. "Why couldn't he sit still
and behave himself?" His patience, so far as the nervous passenger
was concerned, was completely exhausted.
Bob reached for the boathook, and as soon as Mr. Tarbill came up,
he caught the iron in the man's coat and hauled him to the side.
Then the captain and Tim Flynn hauled him back on board.
"Help! I am drowning! Save me!" spluttered the nervous passenger.
"I'll go to the bottom of the Pacific!"
"No, you won't," answered Captain Spark. "But after this you had
better sit still."
"Oh, what a trying experience!" wailed the unfortunate one. He
cleared his mouth of water. "Why did you let me go overboard?" he
demanded. "Why didn't you stop me when you saw me slipping?"
"Didn't have time," answered the captain. "You ought to thank Bob
for hooking you."
"He tore my coat sleeve," said Mr. Tarbill, examining the garment.
"And it's the only coat I have now," he added mournfully.
"Never mind, maybe you won't need a coat soon," put in Mr. Carr,
who was more disgusted than ever.
"If we go down the fish won't care if we have coats on or
not--guess they'd rather eat us without coats."
"Oh dear! Oh dear!" gasped the nervous passenger, and then he all
"The steamer is turning!" cried Tim Flynn, who had climbed up the
mast to obtain a better view. "Good luck to her if she comes this
"If only we could send her a wireless message!" said Bob.
"Yes, here is where that newfangled telegraphing would come in
handy," returned Captain Spark. "But we ain't got no apparatus, so
we can't do it."
With anxious eyes all watched the big steamer, which looked to be
steering almost for them. The craft was a long way off, so they
could make out nothing distinctly.
"It's clouding down--we are going to have a squall!" cried Captain
He pointed to the eastward and the others saw that he was right.
As if by magic dark clouds were rolling up from the horizon. The
wind died out, and then came in uncertain puffs.
"The steamer is leaving us!" cried Mr. Carr.
"Oh, don't say that, please don't!" wailed Mr. Tarbill.
"Here comes the squall!" cried Captain Spark, and he was right.
Soon a sudden gust of wind struck the sailboat, almost keeling her
over. As quickly as it could be done, the sail was lowered and
The squall was of short duration, lasting all told not more than
ten minutes. Only a few drops of rain fell. Then the clouds
rolled off to the westward and it became as clear as before.
"The steamer! It's gone!" shouted Mr. Carr.
"What!" cried Captain Spark.
"Gone, I tell you!"
With great anxiety all strained their eyes to catch some sight of
the large craft. At last Tim Flynn pointed with his finger.
"There she is--sailin' right away from us!" he said bitterly.
The words of the Irish tar proved true--the steamer had again
altered her course. In a few minutes her dark form was swallowed
up in the distant haze.
It must be admitted that all were much cast down by this happening.
When the steamer had headed directly for them they had thought sure
they would be rescued.
"They must have done it deliberately," said Mr. Tarbill. "Oh, the
villains! the scoundrels!"
"I don't believe that," answered Captain Spark. "More'n likely
they didn't see us. No captain would be so inhuman as to pass us
Two hours dragged by slowly. Tim Flynn was tired out with much
watching and had lain down and Ned Scudd had taken his place.
"I see something," said Ned, presently. "Don't know what it is."
He pointed to the southward. There was some low-lying object, with
the waves dashing against it.
"Perhaps it's a ship with the masts gone," said Mr. Carr.
"Or a dead whale," suggested Bob.
"It's too big for either a ship or a whale," said the captain.
"Let us sail toward it and make an inspection."
"Don't--don't run into any new danger!" pleaded Mr. Tarbill.
"Anything is better than to remain out on this dreary waste of
waters," answered Mr. Carr.
The castaways turned their boat in the direction of the distant
object. It was further off than they had anticipated, and as they
slowly approached they made out a long, low-lying island, covered
with bushes and grass. Over the island hovered myriads of birds.
"An island!" cried Bob. "Now we can go ashore anyhow!"
"Not much of a place, I am afraid," answered Captain Spark, slowly
taking in the spot from end to end with his sharp eyes.
"Well, it's better nor nuthin," came from Tim Flynn. "Sure, an'
some av thim burds will make good eatin', so they will!"
"We want to be careful how we go ashore," cautioned the captain.
"We don't want to damage our boat."
They approached the new land cautiously. The water all around it
seemed to be deep, so there was no danger of striking a hidden reef.
Presently the captain espied a sandy beach, and straight for this
the craft was headed. As the boat struck, Bob, Tim and Ned leaped
out, followed by Mr. Carr, and, aided by the swells, pulled her
"Am I--er--to get out?" asked Mr. Tarbill timidly.
"As you please," answered Captain Spark, grimly. "I am going
"Then I'll go, too--I don't want to be left alone," said the
Soon all were on the beach, and then the boat was dragged higher up
still, and tied to several of the low trees near by.
"Let me shoot some birds--they will make fine eating," said Bob to
the captain, and permission being given, the young castaway went on
a brief hunt. The birds were so thick that he had little
difficulty in bringing down several dozen.
"Now we can have a bird pot-pie for supper," declared Mr. Carr, and
he looked greatly pleased, and so did the others.
All realized that the island upon which they had landed was not to
be compared to that upon which they had previously been cast. The
trees were of small account, none of them bearing fruit fit to eat.
Some of the bushes contained berries, and Ned began to gather a
"Go slow there, Ned," said the captain. "They may be poisonous."
"They can't be--for I saw the birds feeding on, them," said Bob.
"Oh, well, then it is all right."
But the berries proved rather bitter to the taste and nobody felt
like eating many of them. Tim started a fire, and over this they
broiled and roasted the birds, each fixing the evening meal in the
way that best suited him.
"Are there any cannibals here?" asked Mr. Tarbill.
"I don't believe there is a soul on the island besides ourselves,"
answered the captain.
"I can't go to sleep if there are cannibals," groaned the nervous
As late as it was, Bob, Ned and the captain took a tramp around the
island. It was not over a quarter of a mile long and an eighth of
a mile wide. There was fairly good walking close to the shore, but
the interior was a mass of stunted trees, thorny bushes and long
trailing vines, to get through which was impossible.
"I haven't seen what I'd like most to see," said the captain, after
the walk was ended.
"What is that?" questioned Bob.
"A spring of good, fresh water."
"That's so--we didn't see any spring at all!" exclaimed Ned Scudd.
"Too bad! We need water."
The castaways were thoroughly tired out, and that night all went to
bed and slept soundly. Nothing came to disturb them, although at
daybreak Mr. Tarbill leaped up in alarm.
"Hark!" he cried. "Somebody is coming! It must be the cannibals!"
"What!" exclaimed Captain Spark, and he jumped up, followed by the
Then all listened. From the interior of the little island came a
most unearthly screaming.
"Somebody is being murdered!" gasped Mr. Tarbill, and sank on his
knees. "Oh, oh, why did I leave home!"
They listened intently, and then Mr. Carr set up a laugh.
"What is it?" asked Bob, curiously.
"Parrots, my boy, nothing but parrots."
"To be sure--I should have knowed it," came from the captain.
"They allers screech like that in the morning."
"Are you sure they are parrots?" asked the nervous passenger.
"Dead certain," answered Mr. Carr. "If you don't believe it, just
go over to yonder trees and shoo them up into the air."
"I--I don't think I care to do that--they might fly at me and peck
"Well, they are parrots--and they won't hurt you if you leave 'em
During the morning the search for a spring of water was resumed.
At last they found several pools, the water coming up in them from
underground. But the birds used the pools for drinking places and
they were consequently far from clean.
"How long are we to stay on this island?" asked Mr. Tarbill, while
they were eating a breakfast of broiled birds, fish, and crackers.
"Not very long, I'm thinking," answered the captain. "In a storm
it wouldn't be a very safe place. The water must sweep the land
pretty well, and our boat would be stove to pieces."
"But where are you going?"
"We'll try to make that big island I spoke about," went on the
captain. Then of a sudden, he bent closer to the nervous man.
"What's that on your watch chain?" he demanded,
"My watch chain?"
"Yes. It looks like a tiny compass to me."
"Why--er--it is a compass," stammered Mr. Tarbill.
"And you never told us that you had it!" roared the captain.
"I--I forgot it!" stammered the passenger. "I--I was so upset, you
"Let me see it."
Captain Spark took the compass and examined it with care. It was
small, but of good manufacture, and looked as if it might point
"Not near as good as the one we lost," he said to Mr. Carr. "But
it is better than nothing."
"Indeed it is," was the reply.
"I thought that was a locket," said Bob. "I noticed it on the
watch chain several times."
"It was given to me by my uncle, years ago," said Mr. Tarbill.
"Please don't lose it."
"I'll keep it safe, don't fear," answered the captain. "Reckon it
is safer in my keepin' than yours," he added.
With the discovery of the tiny compass the hopes of the castaways
revived. All felt that it would be a waste of time to remain on
the small island, and accordingly preparations were made to leave
on the following morning. To add to their stock of provisions the
men and Bob brought down a large quantity of birds and also caught
a lot of fish, and these were broiled and cooked, to keep them from
spoiling. They also got what water they could and stored it in a
cask, and Bob picked a capful of berries.
"Some of the parrots are beautiful," said the boy to the captain.
"If I was sure of getting home again I'd like to take some of the
feathers along, for my mother's hat."
"Better not bother, Bob."
"I'll not. I was only thinking, sir."
"I have great hopes of reaching that large island," went on Captain
Spark. "But, when we embark again, we'll have to take what comes.
That little compass will help us some, but it may not be as
accurate as is necessary."
"Why not stay on this island till a ship comes along?"
"I don't consider this as safe as the other island was."
That night Bob went to bed early. He awoke in the middle of the
night to feel somebody or something pulling at his foot.
"Hi! who is there?" he shouted, sitting up. At the same moment
came a wild yell from Mr. Tarbill.
"The cannibals have come!" yelled the nervous man. "One of 'em has
me by the throat!"
"Stop that row!" came from Captain Spark. "There are no savages
"Maybe he's got the nightmare," suggested Mr. Carr.
"No, no, I am attacked!" bawled Mr. Tarbill.
"I know what they are!" shouted Bob. "Get out of here, you imp!"
And he struck something with a stick that was handy. There was a
wild chattering and off into the darkness stole several impish
"What were they?" asked Ned, who was still sleepy.
"Monkeys," answered the youth, "Pretty big ones, too."
"Are you sure they weren't cannibals?" queried Mr. Tarbill. "Some
of the wild men are very small, you know. In Africa they are not
over three feet high."
"Monkeys, true enough," said the captain. "I saw some of 'em
watching our camp when we had supper. They were afraid to come
close when we were stirring, but I suppose when we were quiet their
curiosity got the best of them, and they had to come and feel of
"Ugh! I don't want any more of them to come near me," said Mr.
Tarbill, with a shudder.
The weather was all that could be desired, and the captain
determined to make the most of it. An early breakfast was had, and
then the things were taken back to the boat.
"All aboard!" shouted Captain Spark. "And may we now locate that
large island without further trouble."
"Oh, I wish I was home!" groaned Mr. Tarbill.
The boat was floated without difficulty, and the castaways got
aboard. They rowed for some distance and then the sail was
hoisted. Inside of an hour the little, island faded from their
view and once more they found themselves alone on the bosom of the
The captain had great hopes of the small compass, but he and the
others were doomed to disappointment. The compass proved
unreliable, as they discovered that night, when the stars came out.
"It's no use," said Captain Spark. "We have got to sail by our
wits, if we ever expect to reach a place of safety." And all that
day they kept on, not knowing if they were heading in the proper
direction or not.
It was just getting dusk of the second day of their voyage, when
Tim Flynn, opening a forward locker to set out some things for the
evening meal, made a startling discovery.
"The gig has sprung a leak!" he exclaimed.
"A leak!" cried the captain.
"Yes, this locker is half full of water, and all the stuff in it is
It was true enough. The salt water had come in through some
opening of the seams of the previously tight compartment and had
done much damage. The victuals were only fit to throw overboard.
"Half rations from now on," said the captain sternly.
"Half rations!" repeated Mr. Tarbill. "Why, I'm awful hungry!"
"And you're liable to be for some days to come," answered the
commander. "We'll share and share alike, but every one will have
to curb his appetite."
"Oh, this dreadful shipwreck! I wish I had stayed home!"
The others wished the same thing.
It was a night without hope, and the morning broke dull and gray,
with the promise of a storm. The wind shifted from point to point
until the castaways did not know in which direction they were
going, for there was no sun to guide them. The leaky locker was
tightly closed, so that there was no danger of the boat filling
The amount of breakfast seemed woefully small to Bob, and he
recalled with a start the wish Dent Freeman, the hired man, had
expressed, that the boy who tormented him would have to eat seaweed.
"Perhaps I shall before we're through with this," said the lad to
himself. "There isn't much more food left."
Still he did not complain, setting a good example in this respect
to Mr. Tarbill, who did nothing but find fault, until Captain Spark
ordered him to take an oar and with one of the sailors aid in
propelling the boat, for the wind had suddenly died out.
For two days more they sailed or rowed on.
The weather continued unsettled, but fortunately not breaking into
a storm. Sometimes there was a breeze, and again there was a dead
calm, when they took turns at the oars. It was all guesswork as to
whether or not they were headed for the island.
The food became less and less, until finally they were living on
three dry biscuits a day each. The water, too, was getting lower
and lower in the one cask that remained, and it had a warm,
brackish taste. Still it was the most precious thing they
More and more worried became the look on Captain Spark's face. How
anxiously each morning and a dozen times a day did he scan the
horizon with his glasses for a sight of the island or a ship! But
nothing was to be seen save the heaving billows.
Mr. Tarbill became weak-minded, and babbled of cooling streams of
water and delicious food until Ned Scudd, losing all patience,
threatened to throw the nervous man overboard if he did not cease.
This had the effect of quieting him for a while.
The faces of all were haggard and thin. Their eyes were
unnaturally bright. Poor Bob bore up bravely, though tears came
into his eyes as he thought of his father and mother, and the
pleasant and happy home now so far away.
"Bob's as good as a man," whispered the captain to Mr. Carr, and
the first mate nodded an assent.
It was the third day of absolute hopelessness. The water was
reduced to so little that only a small cupful could be served to
each one as the day's supply. Enough biscuits for two days
remained. They had lost all sense of direction, for a fog obscured
On the morning of the fourth day Bob awoke from a troubled sleep to
find Mr. Carr dozing at the helm. There was no need to steer, for
there had been a dead calm for many hours, and they did not row
during the night.
Bob's tongue felt like a piece of rubber in his mouth. His throat
was parched and dry, and his stomach craved woefully for food. He
stood up on a forward locker, and, taking the captain's glasses,
slowly swept them around the sky-line.
Was it imagination, or did he really see some small black object
off to the left? His heart beat fast, and his nerves were
throbbing so he could not hold the glasses steady.
Captain Spark roused himself from a brief nap. He saw what Bob was
"See anything?" he asked listlessly.
"I don't know--I'm not sure--there's something off there that looks
"Let me take the glasses!" cried the commander.
He fairly snatched them from the boy. With his trained vision he
looked long where Bob pointed. Then he cried:
"Thank God! There's a boat coming toward us. I think we're saved!
There are natives in it, but they don't seem to have any weapons!
I believe they're from the big island. Row, men, row as hard as
you can and we'll meet them the sooner!"
Tim and Ned caught up the oars and sent the gig over the calm water
at a fast rate of speed.
Before an hour had passed the oncoming boat was in plain sight.
Then the castaways could see it contained four brown-skinned
natives. But, though they were savages, they were not warlike. In
fact, they waved their hands in welcome, and called encouragingly
to those in the gig.
"I hope they have some water aboard," said Mr. Tarbill. "I'd give
anything for some right off the ice."
"I'd be glad of some out of a tea-kettle," said the captain, for
the last in the cask had been dealt out some time before.
A little later the commander was exchanging a few words with the
natives, as he found he could speak a little of their language.
"We're within a few miles of the big island," he told his anxious
companions. "This is a fishing party in one of their big native
canoes. They'll show us the way back, and they have plenty of
The parched throats and swelling tongues of the castaways were soon
relieved by a fairly cool drink from the filled skins in the native
boat. Then the brown men passed over some cocoanuts and other
fruit that were grateful to the palates of the half-starved ones.
Captain Spark conversed a little longer with the friendly savages,
and some news they gave him seemed to give him great satisfaction.
"There's an American ship in port at the island," he said, "and
she's homeward bound around the Horn. We can take passage in her.
Hurrah, men, our troubles seem to be over!"
"Thank God!" said Mr. Carr fervently, and so great was the strain
on Mr. Tarbill that when it was relieved by the good news he cried
like a child. Nor were Bob's eyes altogether dry.
A little breeze had sprung up, and, guided by the natives, the
castaways were soon at the island. It was a large one, and the
first sight they had of it showed them a big ship in the harbor.
At this they set up a cheer.
It did not take Captain Spark long to arrange matters with the
American skipper. He agreed to let the sailors, Bob and Mr.
Tarbill work their passage home, and Captain Spark was to give his
services as assistant navigator in lieu of passage money.
As the ship was taking on part of a cargo of native produce from
the island she was not quite ready to sail, and in the meanwhile
Bob and the captain went about the island a bit, Bob collecting a
number of curiosities. The natives treated them kindly, and the
four who had saved the lives of the castaways by appearing in the
nick of time felt well repaid by the present of a few trinkets
which Bob and the sailors had in their pockets.
Finally the time came for them to take passage on the _Walrus_,
which was the name of the American ship. They sailed one bright
morning, and under a spanking breeze the big island was presently
low down on the horizon.
Bob was soon a favorite with every one on the ship, he was so
anxious to learn and so ready and obliging. He never grumbled,
even when the work was hard. But Mr. Tarbill never ceased
lamenting the fact that he had ever left home.
As for our hero, he seemed to have settled down in life and was
fast learning to become a good sailor. The pranks he used to play
were now a thing of the past, and he fully justified the good
opinion Captain Spark had of him.
It was a six months' trip home, for they were delayed two weeks or
more by contrary winds, and several days longer in making the
passage of Magellan Straits.
As the Walrus was to put in at Charleston, South Carolina, it was
necessary for Captain Spark, Bob and Mr. Tarbill to make the rest
of the journey home by rail. Mr. Carr and the two sailors secured
berths in the _Walrus_. Though Captain Spark had lost all his
money in the shipwreck, he was able to borrow enough for the fares
of himself, Bob and Mr. Tarbill.
Bob reached home a little short of a year from the time he had
left. He was a much better boy than when he went away. His father
and mother did not need to be told of the change in him. They
could see it for themselves.
"What did I tell you?" asked Captain Spark triumphantly of Mrs.
Henderson. "I said the voyage would make a man of Bob, and it did."
"The voyage or the shipwreck?" asked Mrs. Henderson.
"I guess it needed both," ventured Bob's father.
Of course Bob was the hero, of all his associates, and they never
tired of hearing his stories of what had happened. Later it was
learned that Second-Mate Bender and his men had been picked up by a
passing vessel and saved. As for Captain Obediah Hickson, when he
heard that Bob had returned, he hastened to see him, took him off
into a corner and whispered:
"Did ye git th' treasure, Bob?"
"No, captain. I don't believe there was any. We didn't have a
chance to look for the island before the shipwreck, and after it
the map got lost."
"Well, maybe it's jest as well, Bob," said the old man with a
philosophical air. "I'm gittin' too old to need so much money
anyhow, an' you're young enough to earn what you need. I reckon
it's jest as well," and with a chuckle he shuffled off.
As for Bob, he had such a liking for the sea, in spite of the
terrors of the deep, that when he completed his education he became
mate on a vessel, and finally captain, and now is in a fair way to
become part owner of a big ship trading between New York and South
American ports. And here we will say good-by to Bob Henderson, the
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