But I broke in, “Where was the water?”
“Well, you see,” said Alec, “being her only means of escape, she had swallowed it, as your priest did the wine, which accounted for her swollen condition. So now, Mr. Thirteen Pints, I think we are about quits.”
We were; Alec scored a point.
[Illustration: Decorative scroll]
[Illustration: Decorative chapter heading]
THE WILL AGAIN—SEARCHING FOR A CLUE TO THE PAPER—BARBE ROUGE’S WILL—A PROBABLE CLUE—HOPES AND DOUBTS—PERPLEXED—A MEMORABLE TRAWL BY MOONLIGHT—A REAL CLUE AT LAST—THE PLACE OF THE SKULL FOUND.
As soon as I was able I went out walking each day, and so rapid was my convalescence that in ten days I was quite myself again. Alec had during my enforced idleness been extra busy, and had made both house and garden look very trim. He had not been able to go far away, for fear I might want him, and thus had spent his time near home.
From joking in the first instance we had now become quite familiar with our new appellations; thus I was Crusoe, and Alec was Monday, that being the day on which I saved him. For the sake of being as near like the hero of Juan Fernandez as possible, I should have liked to call him Friday; in fact, Good Friday, but as he came on the wrong day, Monday had to be his name.
As I write these pages, I can, in fancy, hear his voice shouting to me on the island,
“Crusoe! Crusoe! where are you? Rob—in—son Cru—soe, ahoy!”
Being August, the fruit was ripe and very plentiful; in fact, it seemed a sin to see it hang on the bushes and trees till it dropped upon the ground, simply to serve the purpose of manure. To obviate this we made a whole copper full of jam, and in making it we got into a pretty pickle, both of us being up to our elbows in stickiness, but the jam was prime!
Whatever I did, or wherever I went, the paper I had found in the old leathern cup always haunted me. Moreover, when it did not haunt me, I haunted it; for I took it to various parts of the island, and taking my stand in a certain place, would represent the spot shewn by the skull in the drawing. Then Monday would measure in various directions to see if he could get the measurements correct to certain rocks or tree stumps, to see if they tallied with the paper, but it was no use, nothing would coincide with that faded paper.
We tried the Crevichon, but nothing there agreed; then La Fauconnaire, but could make nothing of that either, so we had again to let the matter rest.
One day, however, it suddenly struck me that as none of the trees on the island were one hundred years old, I might have spared myself the trouble of attempting them when making my calculations and measurements.
By the way, perhaps it would be as well to state what the precise contents of my document were. Here is a copy:—