To keep up my supply of oil I was continually on the look out for grampuses or porpoises; but I did not see another of the former, although plenty of the latter were to be seen at times—generally out of range. Two I shot, but I believe when hit they sink. Anyway I did not see either of them again, although the water was coloured with blood, shewing that my aim had been true. I doubly wished to get a porpoise, for the sake of its oil, and also to cut a steak and try its flavour, as I have heard that in some of the ports on the eastern seaboard of the United States, boats are fitted out to capture young porpoises for the hotels, as porpoise calf is considered a delicacy. If cod liver oil is good for consumptives, why not porpoise cutlets?
How I would have liked to place a porpoise in my fish pond! What a rumpus he would have caused? I might have seen him then in his habit as he lived.
My bucket pump frequently took it into its head to go on strike; that is, it would work when it pleased, and be idle if it wished; so I had to supplement it with another kind of apparatus. This contrivance was by using a nine-foot length of four-inch iron piping, which I found in the boat-store, and which had probably belonged to some vessel as the barrel of a pump, or something of the kind. To this I fitted a long wooden piston, having a wooden disk on the end, through which I cut a circular hole, and fitted over it a leathern valve. When I pushed this piston down into the water the valve would open and the water would enter the barrel, and when I drew the piston up the valve would close and draw the water to the mouth of the pipe, where it poured out of a hole a few inches from the top into a wooden trough, which conveyed it into the pool. This meant hard manual labour; but as I only had to use it about once a week it was exercise for me, and I enjoyed it. So did the fish, for they would come to the new water in numbers, either because of the food contained in the water, or because of its coolness in the hot weather, or some other reason that I am not scientist enough to fathom.
My pond was my place of meditation, and often I would dream a couple of hours away, thinking of home and those dear to me. I was like Adam, and sometimes sadly sighed for my Eve; but Eve, otherwise Priscilla, was hundreds of miles away; so I sighed and yawned, and made myself very content with my dog and gun, and other belongings.
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A STORM AND A WRECK—THE CASTAWAY—DEAD—A NIGHT OF HORROR—THE BOATHOUSE DESTROYED—A BURIAL AT SEA.
Winter was now rapidly approaching, but before its advent something of a very grave nature happened.
It had been a very blustering day, with occasional showers of sleet, when about four p.m. I found myself standing by the watch-house, holding my hat on; the sun fast setting in a very angry-looking sky.