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This set me to study how to order my fire, so as to make it burn some pots. I had no notion of a kiln, such as the potters burn in, or of glazing them with lead, though I had some lead to do it with ; but I placed three large pipkins and two or three pots in a pile, one upon another, #.P placed my fire-wood all round it, with a great heap of embers under them. I plied the fire with fresh of round the outside, and upon the top, till I saw the pots in the inside red-hot quite through, and observed that they did not crack at all : when I saw them clear red, I let them stand in that heat about five or six hours, till I found one of them, though it did not crack, did melt or run; for the sand which was mixed with the clay melted by the violence of the heat, and would have run into glass, if I had gone on; so I slacked my fire gradually, till the pots began to abate of the red color; and watching them all night, that I might not let the fire abate too fast, in the morning I had three very good, I will not say handsome, pipkins, and two other earthen pots, as hard burnt as could be desired; and one of them perfectly glazed with the running of the sand. After this experiment, I need not say that I wanted no sort of earthen-ware for my use; but I must needs say, as to the shapes of them, they were very indifferent, as any one may suppose, as I had no way of making them but as the children make dirt pies, or as a woman would make pies that never learned to raise paste. No joy at a thing of so mean a nature was ever equal to mine, when I found I had made an earthen pot that would bear the fire; and I had hardly patience to stay till they were cold, befores set one on the fire again, with some water in it, to boil me some meat, which it did admirably well; and with a piece of a kid I made some very good broth; though 1 wanted oatmeal, and several other ingredients requisite to make it so good as I would have had it been. My next concern was to get a stone mortar to ...? or beat some corn in ; for as to the mill, there was no thought of arriving to that perfection of art with one pair of hands. To supply this want I was at a great loss; for of all trades in the world, I was as perfectly unqualified for a stone-cutter, as for ai y whatever; neither had I any tools to go about it with. I spent many a day to find out a great stone big enough to cut hollow, and make fit for a mortar; but could find none at all, except what was in the solid rock, and which I had no way to dig or cut out; nor, indeed, were the rocks in the island of sufficient hardness, as they were all of a sandy, crumbling stone, which would neither bear the weight of a heavy pestle, nor would break the corn without filling it with sand : So, after a great deal of time lost in searching for a stone, I gave it over and resolved to look out a great block of hard wood, which i found indeed much easier; and getting, one as big as I had strength to stir, I rounded it, and formed it on the outside with my axe and hatchet; and then, with the help of fire, and infinite labor, made a hollow place in it, as the Indians in Brazil make their canoes. After this, I made a great, heavy pestle, or beater, of the wood called iron-wood; and this I prepared and laid by against I had my next crop of corn, when I proposed to myself to grind, or rather pound, my corn into meal, to make my bread.
My next difficulty was, to make a sieve, or searce, to dress my meal, and to part it from the bran and the husk, without which I did not see it possible I could have any bread This was a most difficult thing, even but to think on; for 1 had nothing like the necessary thing to make it; I mean fine thin canvass or stuff, to searce the meal through. Here I was at a full stop for many months; nor did I really know what to do: linen I had none left, but what was mere rags: I had fo. but neither knew how to weave it nor spin it; and had I known how, here were no tools to work it with ; all the remedy I found for this was, at last recollecting I had, among the seamen's clothes which were saved out of the ship, some neckcloths of calico or muslin, with some pieces of these I made three small sieves, proper enough for the work; and thus I made shift for some years: i." did afterwards, I shal, show in its place.
The baking part was the next thing to be cons.dcred. and how I should make bread when I came to have corn; for, hrst, 1 had no yeast: as to that part there was no supplying the want; so I did not concern myself much about it; but for an oven I was indeed puzzled. At length I found out an expedient for that also, which was this: I made some earthen vessels, very broad, but not deep, that is to say, about two feet diameter, and not above nine inches deep : these l burned in the fire, as I had done the other, and laid them by ; and when I wanted to bake, I made a great fire upon my hearth, which I had paved with some square tiles, of my own making and burning also ; but I should not call them Square. When the fire-wood was burned into embers, or live coals, 1 drew them forward upon the hearth, so as to cover it all over, and there let them lie till the hearth was very hot; then sweeping away all the embers, I set down my loaf, or loaves, and covering them with the earthen pot, drew the embers all round the outside of the pot, to keep in and add to the heat; and thus, as well as in the best oven in the world, I baked my barley loaves, and became, in a little time, a good pastry-cook into the bargain; for I made myself several cakes and pud. dings of the rice; but made no pies, as I had nothing to put into them except the flesh of fowls or goats. It need not be wondered at, if all these things took me up most part of the third year of my abode here; for it is to be observed, in the intervals of these things, I had my new harvest and husbandry to manage. I reaped my corn in its season, and carried it home as well as I could, and laid it up in the ear, in my large baskets, till I had time to rub it out; !, l had no floor to thrash it on, or instrument to thrash it with. And now, indeed, my stock of corn increasing, I reall wanted to build my barns bigger: I wanted a place to lay it up in ; for the increase of the corn now yielded me so much, that I had of the barley about twenty bushels, and of rice as much, or more, insomuch that now I resolved to begin to use it freely; for my bread had been quite gone a grea', while : 1
resolved also to see what quantity would be sufficient for me a whole year, and to sow but once a year. Upon the whole, I found that the forty bushels of barley and rice were much more than I could consume in a year; so I resolved to sow just the same quantity every year that I sowed the last, in hopes that such a quantity would fully provide me with bread, &c. All the while these things were doing, you may be sure my thoughts ran many times upon the prospect of land which I had seen from the other side of the island; and I was not without some secret wishes that I was on shore there; fancying, that seeing the main land, and an inhabited country, I might find some way or other to convey myself farther, and perhaps at last find some means of escape. But all this while I made no allowance for the dangers of such a condition, and that I might fall into the hands of savages, and perhaps such as I might have reason to think far worse than the lions and tigers of Africa; that if I once came in their power, I should run a hazard of more than a thousand to one of being killed, and perhaps of being eaten; for I had heard that the people of the Caribbean coast were cannibals, or man-eaters; and I knew, by the latitude, that I could not be far off from that shore. Then supposing they were not cannibals, yet that they might, kill me, as they had many Europeans who had fallen into their hands, even when they have been ten or twenty together; much more I, who was but one, and could make little or no defence; all these things, I say, which I ought to have considered well of, and did cast up in my thoughts afterwards, took up none of my apprehensions at first; yet my head ran mightily upon the thought of getting over to the shore. Now I wished for my boy Xury, and the long-boat with the shoulder-of-mutton sail, with which I sailed above a thousand miles on the coast of Africa; but this was in vain: then I thought I would go and look at our ship's boat, which, as I have said, was blown up upon the shore a great way, in the storm, when we were first cast away. She lay nearly where she did at first, but not quite; having turned, by the force of the waves and the winds, almost bottom upward, against a high ridge of beachy, rough sand; but no water about her as before. If I had had hands to have refitted her, and to have launched her into the water, the boat would have done very well, and I might have gone back into the Brazils with her easily enough; but I might have foreseen, that I could no more turn her and set her upright upon her bottom, than I could remove the island; however, I went to the woods, and cut levers and rollers, and brought them to the boat, resolvin to try what I could do; suggesting to myself, that if I .# but turn her down, and repair the damage she had received, ..", would be a very good boat, and I might venture to sea 1I] Iler. I spared no pains, indeed, in this piece of fruitless toil, aut! spent, I think, three or four weeks about it: at last, finding it impossible to heave her up with my little strength, I fell to digging away the sand, to undermine her, and so as to make hoals down, setting pieces of wood to thrust and guide her right in the fall. But when I had done this, I was unable to stir her up again, or to get under her, much less to move her forward towards the water; so I was forced to give it over; and yet, though l, gave over the hopes of the boat, my desire to venture over the main increased, rather than diminished, as the means for it seemed impossible. At length, I began to think whether it was not possible to make myself a canoe, or periagua, such as the natives of those climates make, even without tools, or, as I might say, without hands, of the trunk of a great tree. This I not only thought possible, but easy, and pleased myself extremely with the idea of making it, and with my having much more convenience for it than any of the Negroes or Indians; but not at all considering the particular inconveniences which I lay under more than the Indians did, viz. the want of hands to move it into the water when it was made—a difficulty much harder for me to surmount than all the consequences of want of tools could be to them; for what could it avail me, if, after I had chosen my