6: See Appendix—“Modern Treasures.”
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PREPARING TO LEAVE—A LETTER HOME—WE LENGTHEN AND ENLARGE THE “ANGLO-FRANC”—RE-CHRISTEN HER, “HAPPY RETURN”—LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT—VICTUALLING AND STOWING CARGO—PRETTY JEANETTE—THE LONG VOYAGE—INCIDENTS EN ROUTE—VEGETARIANS, AND THEIR DIET—YARMOUTH REACHED—FRESHWATER NAVIGATION—MY NATIVE HEATH.
After our discovery my sole thought seemed to be of home. In fact, I was now as ready to leave the island, as I was, eighteen months before to land upon it, and the last fortnight, although it could not have been pleasanter, seemed as if it would never end.
I appeared to go about my work in a mechanical way, and only three things seemed to have much joy for me—my home, parents, and Priscilla.
How should I get home was the next question? I knew my father’s vessels were all out to the herring harvest, which begins in August, and ends just before Christmas, so that it was very unlikely he would send for me. Beside this, I wanted to give them a surprise by popping in upon them when they least expected me. To this proceeding, however, there was one great drawback, for, like a true Crusoe, I lacked money, having but a few shillings to call my own. True, I had the Spanish doubloons; but then, again, they were not mine, and if they were they were foreign coins and out of date also, so that no one would have accepted them as current coin.
“What is to be done?” I asked my companion.
“Done! Why there are several ways that I can think of,” said Alec, after a pause; “but first and foremost, why not go home in the ‘Anglo-Franc?’”
“Monday, you’re joking.”
“Not at all. We have been out on several rough nights in her, and surely, Norfolk is not such a great way off, that we need fear such a voyage in early September. By your leave I will go with you and act as skipper and pilot, and then, having taken you safely home, will resume my post as King of Jethou. What do you say?”
“But the ‘Anglo-Franc’ is too small, my good sir.”
“Perhaps so; but in a week we can lengthen her, and by adding a couple of strakes to her upper works she will carry a ton more than she does now, if it should be necessary.”
“Agreed, Alec. Your hand! Good thought!”
The more I turned it over in my mind the better I liked the project. Why not lengthen and strengthen her at once?
Without delay we would set about it; but to make sure that my father would not send a vessel for me, I would write him a line. As with my former letter, brevity marked my epistle.
“August 21st, 18—.
I hope to arrive home about September 10th, and trust
to find you all well.
“Your affectionate Son,