Robinson was now very comfortable, and as he had saved from the wreck two cats and a dog, he did not feel quite so lonely. He had got, also, ink and pens and paper, so that he could keep a diary; and he set up a large wooden cross, on which he cut with his knife the date of his landing on the island—September 30, 1659; and every day he cut a notch on the post, with a longer one each Sunday, so that he might always know how the months and years passed.
As for food, he found that there were many goats on the island, and numbers of pigeons, and he had no difficulty in shooting as many as he needed.
But now he saw that his tent and cave were too small for all the things he had stowed in them, so he began to make the cave bigger, bringing out all the rock and soil that he cut down, and making with it a kind of terrace round the inside of his stockade. And as he was sure that there were no wild beasts on the island to harm him, he went on tunneling to the right hand till he broke through the rock outside his fence.
Then he began to hang things up against the side of the cave, and he even made shelves, and a door for the outside entrance. This was a very difficult job, and took him a long time; for, to make a board, he was forced to cut down a whole tree, and chop away with his axe till one side was flat, and then cut at the other side till the board was thin enough, when he smoothed it with his adze. But in this way, out of each tree he would only get one plank. He made for himself also a table and a chair, and finally got his castle, as he called it, in very good order.
With all his care, however, there was one thing that he forgot, and that was, when he had made the cave so much bigger, to prop it, so as to keep the roof from falling in. And so one day he got a terrible fright, and was nearly killed, by a huge bit of the soft rock which fell and buried many of his things. It took weeks of hard work afterwards to clear away the fallen rubbish, and to cut beams strong enough to prop the roof.
Every day, all this time, he used to climb up the hill and look around over the lonely waters, hoping, always hoping, that some morning he might see the sails of a ship that would take him home. But none ever came, and sometimes the tears ran down his cheeks because of the sorrow he felt at being so utterly alone. At times even, he thought in his misery that if he only had any kind of a boat, it would be better to sail away, and chance reaching other land, rather than to stop where he was. By and by, however, he grew less unhappy, for he had plenty of work to do.
THE EARTHQUAKE AND HURRICANE; AND HOW ROBINSON BUILT A BOAT