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rigid attention to the increase,

Mark now set out, in earnest, on his travels. He wa
absent from the Reef the entire day. At one time, he
thought he was quite two leagues in a straight line from
the ship, though he had been compelled to walk four to
get there. Everywhere he found large sheets of salt water,
that had been left on the rocks, in consequence of the ca
vities in the latter. In several instances, these little lakes
were near a mile in length, having the most beautifully
undulating outlines. None of them were deep, of course,
though their bottoms varied. Some of these bottoms were
clean rock ; others contained large deposits of mud ; and
others, again, were of a clean, dark-coloured sand. One,
and one only, had a bottom of a bright, light-coloured sand.
As a matter of course, these lakes, or pools, must shortly
evaporate, leaving their bottoms bare, or encrusted with
salt. One thing gave the young man great satisfaction.
He had kept along the margin of the channel that com
municated with the water that surrounded the Reef, and,
when at the greatest distance from the crater, he ascended
a rock that must have had an elevation of a hundred feet
above the sea. Of course most of this rock had been above
water previously to the late eruption, and Mark had often
seen it at a distance, though he had never ventured through
the white water near so far, in the dingui. When on its
apex, Mark got an extensive view of the scene around him.
In the first place, he traced the channel just mentioned,
quite into open water, which now appeared distinctly not
many leagues further, towards the north-west. There were
a great many other channels, some mere ribands of water,
others narrow sounds, and many resembling broad, deep,
serpenting creeks, which last was their true character,
being strictly inlets from the sea. The lakes, or pools,
could be seen in hundreds, creating some confusion in the
view ; but all these must soon disappear, in that climate.

Towards the southward, however, Mark found the objects
of his greatest wonder and admiration. By the time he



OR, VULCAN'S PEAK. 169

reached the apex of the rock, the smoke in that quarter
of the horizon had, in a great measure, risen from the sea ;
though a column of it continued to ascend towards a vast,
dun-coloured cloud that overhung the place. To Mark's
astonishment he had seen some dark, dense body first
looming through the rising vapour. When the last was
sufficiently removed, a high, ragged mountain became
distinctly visible. He thought it arose at least a thousand
feet above the ocean, and that it could not be less than a
league in extent. This exhibition of the power of nature
filled the young man's soul with adoration and reverence
for the mighty Being that could set such elements at work.
It did not alarm him, but rather tended to quiet his long
ings to quit the place ; for he who lives amid such scenes
feels that he is so much nearer to the arm of God than
those who dwell in uniform security, as to think less of
ordinary advantages than is common.

Mark knew that there must have been a dislocation of
the rocks, to produce such a change as that he saw to the
southward. It was well for him it occurred there at a dis
tance, as he then thought, of ten or fifteen miles from the
Reef, though in truth it was at quite fifty, instead of hap
pening beneath him. It was possible, however, for one
to have been on the top of that mountain, and to have
lived through the late change, could the lungs of man have
breathed the atmosphere. Not far from this mountain a
column of smoke rose out of the sea, and Mark fancied
that, at moments, he could discern the summit of an active
crater at its base.

After gazing at these astonishing changes for a long
time, our young man descended from the height and re
traced his steps homeward. Kitty gladly preceded him,
and some time after the sun had set, they regained the
Reef. About a mile short of home, Mark passed all the
hogs, snugly deposited in a bed of mud, where they had
esconced themselves for the night, as one draws himself
beneath his blanket.



170 THE CRATER;



CHAPTER XII.

"All things in common nature should produce
Without sweat or endeavour : treason, felony,
Sword, pike, gun, or need of any engine
Would I not have ; but nature should bring forth,
Of its own kind, all foizen, all abundance
To feed my innocent people."

Tempest.

FOR the next ten days Mark Woolston did little but ex-*
plore. By crossing the channel around the Reef, which
he had named the 'Armlet' (the young man often talked
to himself), he reached the sea-wall, and, once there, he
made a long excursion to the eastward. He now walked
dryshod over those very reefs among which he had so re
cently sailed in the Bridget, though the ship-channel through
which he and Bob had brought in the Rancocus still re
mained. The two buoys that had marked the narrow pas
sage were found, high and dry ; and the anchor of the ship,
that by which she rode after beating over the rocks into
deep water, was to be seen so near the surface, that the
stock could be reached by the hand.

There was little difference in character between the
newly-made land to windward and that which Mark had
found in the opposite direction. Large pools, or lakes, of
salt water, deposits of mud and sand, some of which were
of considerable extent and thickness, sounds, creeks, and
arms of the sea, with here and there a hummock of rock
that rose fifteen or twenty feet above the face of the main
body, were the distinguishing peculiarities. For two days
Mark explored in this direction, or to windward, reaching
as far by his estimate of the distance, as the place where
he had bore up in his cruise in the Bridget. Finding a
great many obstacles in the way, channels, mud. &.C., he
determined, on the afternoon of the second day, to return
home, get a stock of supplies, and come out in tha boat,



OR, VULCAN'S PEAK. 171

in order to ascertain if he could not now reach the open
water to windward.

On the morning of the fourth day after the earthquake,
and the occurrence of the mighty change that had altered
the whole face of the scene around him, the young man
got under way in the Bridget. He shaped his course to
windward, beating out of the Armlet by a narrow passage,
that carried him into a reach that stretched away for several
miles, to the northward and eastward, in nearly a straight
line. This passage, or sound, was about half a mile in
width, and there was water enough in nearly all parts of it
to float the largest sized vessel. By this passage the poor
hermit, small as was his chance of ever seeing such an
event occur, hoped it might be possible to come to the
very side of the Reef in a ship.

When about three leagues from the crater, the ' Hope
Channel,' as Mark named this long and direct passage,
divided into two, one trending still more to the northward,
running nearly due north, indeed, while the other might
be followed in a south-easterly direction, far as the eye
could reach. Mark named the rock at the junction ' Point
Fork,' and chose the latter passage, which appeared the
most promising, and the wind permitting him to lay through
it. The Bridget tacked in the Forks, therefore, and stood
away to the south-east, pretty close to the wind. Various
other channels communicated with this main passage, or
the Hope ; and, about noon, Mark tacked into one of them,
heading about north-east, when trimmed up sharp to do so.
The water was deep, and at first the passage was half a
mile in width ; but after standing along it for a mile or two,
it seemed all at once to terminate in an oval basin, that
might have been a mile in its largest diameter, and which
was bounded to the eastward by a belt of rock that rose
some twenty feet above the water. The bottom of this
basin was a clear beautiful sand, and its depth of water,
on sounding, Mark found was uniformly about eight fa
thoms. A more safe or convenient basin for the anchorage
of ships could not have been formed by the art of man,
had there been an entrance to it, and any inducement for
them to come there.

Mark had beaten about ' Oval Harbour,' as he named



ITS TUB CRA.TBR-,

the place, for half an hour, before he was struck by the
circumstance that the even character of its surface appeared
to be a little disturbed by a slight undulation which seemed
\o come from its north-eastern extremity. Tacking the
Bridget, he stood in that direction, and on reaching the
place, found that there was a passage through the rock of
about a hundred yards in width. The wind permitting,
the boat shot through this passage, and was immediately
heaving and setting in the long swells of the open ocean.
At first Mark was startled by the roar of the waves that
plunged into the caverns of the rocks, and trembled lest
his boat might be hove up against that hard and iron-bound
coast, where one "toss would shatter his little craft into
splinters. Too steady a seaman, however, to abandon his
object unnecessarily, he stood on, and soon found he could
weather the rocks under his lee, tacking in time. After
two or three short stretches were made, Mark found him
self half a mile to windward of a long line, or coast, of
dark rock, that rose from twenty to twenty-five feet above
the level of the water, and beyond all question in the open
ocean. He hove-to to sound, and let forty fathoms of line
out without reaching bottom. But everywhere to leeward
of him was land, or rock ; while everywhere to windward,
as well as ahead and astern, it was clear water. This,
then, was the eastern limit of the old shoals, now converted
into dry land. Here the Rancocus had, unknown to her
officers, first run into the midst of these shoals, by which
she had ever since been environed.

It was not easy to compute the precise distance from the
outlet or inlet of Oval Harbour, to the crater. Mark
thought it might be five-and-twenty miles, in a straight
line, judging equally by the eye, and the time he had been
in running it. The Summit was not to be seen, however,
any more than the masts of the ship ; though the distant
Peak, and the column of dark smoke, remained in sight,
as eternal land-marks. The young man might have been
an hour in the open sea, gradually hauling off the land, in
order to keep clear of the coast, when he bethought him
of returning. It required a good deal of nerve to run in
towards those rocks, under all the circumstances of the
ca>e. The wind blew fresh, BO much indeed as to induce



on, VULCAN'S PEAK. 173

Mark to reef, but there must always be a heavy swell roll
ing in upon that iron-bound shore. The shock of such
waves expending their whole force on perpendicular rocks
may be imagined better than it can be described. There
was an undying roar all along that coast, produced by these
incessant collisions of the elements; and occasionally,
when a sea entered a cavern, in a way suddenly to expel
its air, the sound resembled that which some huge animal
might be supposed to utter in its agony, or its anger. Of
course, the spray was flying high, and the entire line of
black rocks was white with its particles.

Mark had unwittingly omitted to take any land-marks
to his inlet, or strait. He had no other means of finding
it, therefore, than to discover a spot in which the line of
white was broken. This inlet, however, he remembered
did not open at right angles to the coast, but obliquely ;
and it was very possible to be within a hundred yards of
it, and not see it. This fact our young sailor was not long
in ascertaining; for standing in towards the point where
he expected to find the entrance, and going as close to the
shore as he dared, he could see nothing of the desired pas
sage. For an hour did he search, passing to and fro, but
without success. The idea of remaining out in the open
sea for the night, and to windward of such an inhospitable
coast, was anything but pleasant to Mark, and he deter
mined to stand to the northward, now, while it was day,
and look for some other entrance.

For four hours did Mark Woolston run along those dark
rocks, whitened only by the spray of the wide ocean, with
out perceiving a point at which a boat might even land.
As he was now running off the wind, and had turned out
his reef, he supposed he must have gone at least five-and-
twenty miles, if not thirty, in that time ; and thus had he
some means of judging of the extent of his new territories.
About five in the afternoon a cape, or headland, was
reached, when the coast suddenly trended to the westward.
This, then, was the north-enstern angle of the entire for
mation, and Mark named it Cape North-East. The boat
was now jibed, and ran off west, a little northerly, for an
other hour, keeping quite close in to the coast, which was
no longer dangerous as soon as the Cape was doubled
16*



174 THE CRATER;

The seas broke upon the rocks, as a matter of course ; bvtf
there being a lee, it was only under the power of thfc
ceaseless undulations of the ocean. Even the force of the
wind was now much less felt, the Bridget carrying whole
sail when hauled up, as Mark placed her several times, in
order to examine apparent inlets.

It was getting to be too late to think of reaching home
that night, for running in those unknown channels after
dark was not a desirable course for an explorer to adopt.
Our young man, therefore, limited his search to some place
where he might lie until the return of light. It is true,
the lee formed by the rocks was now such as to enable him
to remain outside, with safety, until morning ; but he pre
ferred greatly to get within the islands, if possible, to trust
ing himself, while asleep, to the mercy of the open ocean.
Just as the sun was setting, leaving the evening cool and
pleasant, after the warmth of an exceedingly hot day, the
boat doubled a piece of low headland ; and Mark had half
made up his mind to get under its lee, and heave a grapnel
ashore, in order to ride by his cable during the approach
ing night, when an opening in the coast greeted his eyes.
It was just as he doubled the cape. This opening appeared
to be a quarter of a mile in width, and it had perfectly
smooth water, a half-gunshot within its mouth. The helm
was put down, the sheets hauled aft, and the Bridget luffed
into this creek, estuary, sound, or harbour, whichever it
might prove to be. For twenty minutes did Mark stand
on through this passage, when suddenly it expanded into
a basin, or bay, of considerable extent. This was at a
distance of about a league within the coast. This bay was
a league long, and half a league in width, the boat entering
it close to its weather side. A long and wide sandy beach
offered on that side, and the young man stood along it a
short distance, until the sight of a spring induced him to
put his helm down. The boat luffed short round, and
came gently upon the beach. A grapnel was thrown on
the sands, and Mark leaped ashore.

The water proved to be sweet, cool, and every way deli
cious. This was at least the twentieth spring which had
been seen that day, though it was the first of which the
waters had been tasted. This new-born beach had every



OB, VULAN'S PEAK. 175

appearance of having been exposed to the air a thousand
years. The sand was perfectly clean, and of a bright
golden colour, and it was well strewed with shells of the
most magnificent colours and size. The odour of their
late tenants alone proclaimed the fact of their recent ship
wreck. This, however, was an evil that a single month
would repair ; and our sailor determined to make another
voyage to this bay, which he called Shell Bay, in order to
procure some of its treasures. It was true he could not
place them before the delighted eyes of Bridget, but he
might arrange them in his cabin, and fancy that she was
gazing at their beauties. After drinking at the spring,
and supping on the rocks above, Mark arranged a mattress,
provided for that purpose, in the boat, and went to sleep.

Early next morning the Bridget was again under way,
but not until her owner had both bathed and broken his
fast. Bathe he did every morning throughout the year,
and occasionally at night also. A day of exertion usually
ended with a bath, as did a night of sweet repose also. In
all these respects no one could be more fortunate. From
the first, food had been abundant ; and now he possessed
it in superfluity, including the wants of all dependent on
him. Of clothes, also, he had an inexhaustible supply, a
small portion of the cargo consisting of coarse cotton
jackets and trousers, with which to purchase sandal-wood.
To these means, delicious water was now added in inex
haustible quantities. The late changes had given to Mark's
possession territory sufficient to occupy him months, even
in exploring it thoroughly, as it was his purpose to do.
God was there, also, as he is everywhere. This our se
cluded man found to be a most precious consolation.
Again and again, each day, was he now in the practice of
communing in spirit, directly with his Creator; not in cold
and unmeaning forms and commonplaces, but with such
yearning of the soul, and such feelings of love and rever
ence, as an active and living faith can alone, by the aid
of the Divine Spirit, awaken in the human breast.

After crossing Shell Bay, the Bridget continued on for
a couple of hours, running south, westerly, through a pas*
sage of a good width, until it met another channel, at a
point which Mark at once recognized as the Forks. Whec



176 THE CRATER;

at Point Fork, he had only to follow the track he had
come the previous day, in order to arrive at the Reef.
The crater could be seen from the Forks, and there was
consequently a beacon in sight, to direct the adventurer,
had he wanted such assistance; which he did not, how
ever, since he now recognized objects perfectly well as he
advanced. About ten o'clock he ran alongside of the ship,
where he found everything as he had left it. Lighting the
fire, he put on food sufficient to last him for another cruise,
and then went up into the cross-trees in order to take a
better look than he had yet obtained, of the state of things
to the southward.

By this time the vast murky cloud that had so long over
hung the new outlet of the volcano, was dispersed. It was
succeeded by one of ordinary size, in which the thread of
smoke that arose from the crater, terminated. Of course
the surrounding atmosphere was clear, and nothing but
distance obstructed the view. The Peak was indeed a
sublime sight, issuing, as it did, from the ocean without
any relief. Mark now began to think he had miscalcu
lated its height, and that it might be two thousand feet,
instead of one, above the water. There it was, in all its
glory, blue and misty, but ragged and noble. The crater
was clearly many miles beyond it, the young man being
satisfied, after this look, that he had not yet seen its sum
mit. He also increased his distance from Vulcan's Peak,
as he named the mountain, to ten leagues, at least. After
sitting in the cross-trees for fully an hour, gazing at this
height with as much pleasure as the connoisseur ever stu
died picture, or statue, the young man determined to at
tempt a voyage to that place, in the Bridget. To him,
such an expedition had the charm of the novelty and
change which a journey from country to town could bring
to the wearied worldling, who sighed for the enjoyment
of his old haunts, after a season passed in the ennui of his
country-house. It is true, great novelties had been pre
sented to our solitary youth, by the great changes wrought
immediately in his neighbourhood, and they had now kept
him for a week in a condition of high excitement; but
nothing they presented could equal the interest he felt in
that distant mountain, which had arisen so suddenly ia ft



OR, VULCAN'S PEAK. 177

horizon that he had been accustomed to see bare of any
object but clouds, for near eighteen months.

That afternoon Mark made all his preparations for a
voyage that he felt might be one of great moment to him.
All the symptoms of convulsions in the earth, however,
had ceased ; even the rumbling sounds which he had heard,
or imagined, in the stillness of the night, being no longer
audible. From that source, therefore, he had no great
apprehensions of danger ; though there was a sort of dread
majesty in the exhibition of the power of nature that he
had so lately witnessed, which disposed him to approach
the scene of its greatest effort with secret awe. So much
did he think of the morrow and its possible consequences,
that he did not get asleep for two or three hours, though
he awoke in the morning unconscious of any want of rest.
An hour later, he was in his boat, and under way.

Mark had now to steer in an entirely new direction,
believing, from what he had seen while aloft the day be
fore, that he could make his way out into the open ocean
by proceeding a due south course. In order to do this,
and to get into the most promising-looking channel in that
direction, he was obliged to pass through the narrow strait
that separated the Reef from the large range of rock over
which he had roamed the day succeeding the earthquake.
Of course, the bridge was removed, in order to allow the
boat's mast to pass; but for this, Mark did not care. He
had seen his stock the previous evening, and saw that it
wanted for nothing. Even the fowls had gone across to
the new territory, on exploring expeditions; and Kitty
herself had left her sweet pastures on the Summit, to see
of what the world was made beyond her old range. It is
true she had made one journey in that quarter, in the com
pany of her master ; but, one journey no more satisfied her
than it would have satisfied the curiosity of any other
female.

After passing the bridge, the boat entered a long narrow
reach, that extended at least two leagues, in nearly a direct
line towards Vulcan's Peak. As it approached the end of
this piece of water, Mark saw that he must enter a bay of
considerable extent; one, indeed, that was much larger
than any he had yet seen in his island, or, to speak more



178 THE CRATER;

accurately, his group of islands. On one side of this bay
appeared a large piece of level land, or a plain, which
Mark supposed might cover one or two thousand acres
Its colour was so different from anything he had yet seen,
that our young man was induced to land, and to walk a
short distance to examine it. On reaching its margin, it
was found to be a very shallow basin, of which the bottom
was mud, with a foot or two of salt water still remaining,
and in which sea-weed, some ten or twelve inches in thick
ness, was floating. It was almost possible for Mark to
walk on this weed, the green appearance of which induced
him to name the place the Prairie. Such a collection of
weed could only have been owing to the currents, which
must have brought it into this basin, where it was probably
retained even previously to the late eruption. The pre
sence of the deposit of mud, as well as the height of the
surrounding rocks, many of which were doubtless out of
water previously to the phenomenon, went to corroborate
this opinion.

After working her way through a great many channels,
some wide and some narrow, some true and some false,
the Bridget reached the southern verge of the group, about
noon. Mark then supposed himself to be quite twenty
miles from the Reef, and the Peak appeared very little
nearer than when he left it. This startled him on the
score of distance; and, after meditating on all his chances,
the young man determined to pass the remainder of that
day where he was, in order to put to sea with as much
daylight before him as possible. He desired also to ex
plore the coast and islands in that vicinity, in order to
complete his survey of the cluster. He looked for a con
venient place to anchor his boat, accordingly, ate his din
ner, and set out on foot to explore, armed as usual with a
fowling-piece.

In the first place, an outlet to the sea very different from
that on the eastern side of the group, was found here, on
its southern. The channel opened into a bay of some size,
with an arm of rock reaching well off on the weather side,
so that no broken water was encountered in passing into
or out of it, provided one kept sufficiently clear of the
point itself. As there was abundance of room, Mark saw



OR, VULCAN'S PEAK. 179

he should have no difficulty in getting out into open water,
here, or in getting back again. What was more, the arm,
or promontory of rock just mentioned, had a hummock



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