His sleep, although profound for three or four hours, was subsequently restless. The mind, when agitated, watches for the body, and wakes it at the time when it should be on the alert. Newton woke up: it was not yet daylight, and all was hushed. He turned round, intending to get up immediately; yet, yielding to the impulse of wearied nature, he again slumbered. Once he thought that he heard a footstep, roused himself, and listened; but all was quiet and still, except the light wave rippling on the sand. Again he was roused by a sort of grating noise; he listened, and all was quiet. A third time he was roused by a sound like the flapping of a sail: he listened—he was sure of it, and he sprang upon his feet. It was dawn of day, and as he turned his eyes towards the beach, he perceived to his horror that the boat was indeed under sail, Jackson, who was in it, then just hauling aft the main-sheet, and steering away from the island. Newton ran to the beach, plunged into the sea, and attempted to regain the boat; but he was soon out of his depth, and the boat running away fast through the water. He shouted to Jackson as a last attempt. The scoundrel waved his hand in ironical adieu, and continued his course.
“Treacherous villain!” mentally exclaimed Newton, as his eyes followed the boat. “Was it for this that I preserved your life, in return for your attempts on mine? Here, then, must I die of starvation!—God’s will be done!” exclaimed he aloud, as he sat down on the beach, and covered his face with his hands.
now I stand as one upon a rock,
Environed with a wilderness of sea,
Who marks the waxing tide grow wave by wave,
Expecting ever when some envious surge
Will in his brinish bowels swallow him.”
The tide was on the ebb when Newton was left in this desolate situation. After some minutes passed in bitterness of spirit, his natural courage returned; and, although the chance of preservation was next to hopeless, Newton rose up, resolved that he would use his best efforts, and trust to Providence for their success. His first idea was to examine the beach, and see if Jackson had left him any portion of the provisions which he had put into the boat; but there was nothing. He then walked along the beach, following the receding tide, with the hope of collecting any shell-fish which might be left upon the sands; but here again he was disappointed. It was evident, therefore, that to stay on this islet was to starve; his only chance appeared to remain in his capability of reaching the islet next to it, which, as we have before mentioned, was covered with trees. There, at least, he might find some means of sustenance, and be able with the wood to make a raft, if nothing better should turn up in his favour.
The tide swept down towards the islet, but it ran so strong that there was a chance of his being carried past it; he therefore determined to wait for an hour or two, until the strength of the current was diminished, and then make the attempt. This interval was passed in strengthening his mind against the horror of the almost positive death which stared him in the face.