ROBINSON WORKS HARD AT MAKING HIMSELF A HOME
When he had rested a little, Robinson got up and began to walk about very sadly, for darkness was coming on; he was wet, and cold, and hungry, and he did not know where to sleep, because he was afraid of wild beasts coming out of the woods and killing him during the night.
But he found that he still had his knife in his pocket, so he cut a big stick to protect himself with. Then he climbed into a tree which had very thick leaves, and there he fixed himself among the branches as well as he could, and fell sound asleep.
In the morning when he awoke, the storm was past, and the sea quieter. To his surprise, he saw that the ship had been carried in the night, by the great seas, much nearer to the shore than she had been when the boat left her, and was now lying not far from the rock where Robinson had first been washed up.
By midday the sea was quite calm, and the tide had gone so far out that he could walk very near to the ship. So he took off his clothes and swam the rest of the way to her. But it was not easy to get on board, because the ship was resting on the sand, and lay so high out of the water that Robinson could not reach anything by which he could pull himself up.
At last, after swimming twice round the vessel, he saw a rope hanging over, near the bow, and by its help he climbed on board.
Everything in the stern of the ship was dry, and in pretty good order, and the water had not hurt the provisions much. So he took some biscuits, and ate them as he looked about, and drank some rum, and then he felt better, and stronger, and more fit to begin work.
First of all, he took a few large spars of wood, and a spare topmast or two, that were on the deck. These he pushed overboard, tying each with a rope to keep it from drifting away. Then he went over the side of the ship, and tied all the spars together so as to make a raft, and on top he put pieces of plank across. But it was long before he could make the raft fit to carry the things he wanted to take on shore.
At last, after much hard work, he got on to it three of the seamen’s chests, which he had broken open, and emptied, and he filled these with bread, and rice, and cheese, and whatever he could find to eat, and with all sorts of things that he thought he might need. He found, too, the carpenter’s tool-chest, and put it on the raft; and nothing on the whole ship was of more use to him than that.
Then he set about looking for clothes, for while he had been on the ship, the tide had risen and had washed away his coat and waistcoat and shirt, which he had left lying on the sand.
Guns and pistols also, and powder and shot, he took, and two rusty old cutlasses.
Now the trouble was to reach land, for the raft had no mast nor sail nor rudder, and was too heavy and clumsy to be pulled by Robinson with the broken oars that he had found. But the tide was rising, and slowly she drifted nearer and nearer, and at last was carried up the mouth of a little river which Robinson had not seen when he was on shore.