I had still several pounds of gunpowder left, and with part of this we constructed some long thin cartridges for blasting. With these, a pick-axe, and some long iron stanchions, which we used as levers, we obtained a good supply of stone. The little quarry may still be seen, so I am informed, although it is greatly covered with furze and weeds. It is situated on the hill side, midway between the homestead and the ruins of the boathouse. We chose an elevated position for our quarry, so that we could roll the huge stones down the hill to the pathway below, where we levered them up into the sledge, and dragged them to what we were pleased to term “the works.” Let it suffice to say that about the middle of May our task was completed, and to commemorate the event we gave a grand banquet on the pier head (for we called it a pier now, as it sounded more dignified) to commemorate the event. Four of us sat down to the banquet, or rather two stood and two sat. As architect I took the head of the table (a wine cask), and Alec, as engineer, the foot; while “Eddy,” the donkey, as contractor, supported me on the right (dining luxuriously on a bunch of carrots and some hay), and on my left was dear old “Begum” as clerk of the works, enjoying two whole rabbits as his share of the entertainment.
We drank “Success to Jethou Pier,” and trusted it would take every care of the “Anglo-Franc,” which we now placed within its encircling arm for the first time.
At low water we removed all the big stones from the little haven in which our boat was now moored. This was for fear she might hurt her bottom (as the tide left her careened half an hour before dead low water), and thus made everything snug for her. At half-tide she floated, so that for six hours out of every twelve we could go off just when we liked, without any pushing or hard work of any kind; while to assist her to her moorings, if we wished to bring her in at low tide, we rigged up the windlass which we brought from the wreck, and thus we could at any time haul her bodily out of the sea.
Now, having given up a whole chapter to hard work, we will proceed to something a little more interesting and exciting.
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TRAWLING FOR FISH AND DREDGING FOR CURIOS—SOME REMARKABLE FINDS—A GHASTLY RESURRECTION—THE MYSTERIOUS PAPER—THE HIEROGLYPHIC—A DANGEROUS FALL—HORS DE COMBAT—ATTEMPTS TO UNRAVEL THE PAPER.
As there were now two of us we occasionally had a turn at trawling, and usually caught some fine flat fish, turbot, soles, and plaice. Our net was a very primitive one of our own manufacture, and had to be handled very gingerly, as the netting was old and the ironwork very fragile, but knowing this we did not put undue strain upon it.
The curious fish, marine plants, and odds and ends of all kinds that we brought to the surface would have done a naturalist’s heart good, for there were frequently objects brought to light that were quite out of the common.