Satan Came to Eden

Dore Strauch

Bibliography Texts
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Information about text
Illustrations by Dr. Ritter, in 1936 edition only
Part I
Foreword
I The End of One Life
II The New Life Begins
III We Find Our Eden
IV Difficulties
V Hugo
VI Mary Pinchot (1935);
Marauders (1936)
VII Mizpah
VIIIMany Annoyances
Part II
IX The Would-Be's
X The End of Captain Bruuns
XI Burro, the New House …
XII The Tug of War
XIIIWe Gain a Friend …
XIV Shadows Before
XV The “Baroness”
XVI The Baroness Takes Possession
XVIIThe Baroness Wins Me Round
Part III
XVIIIA Suspicious Event and …
XIX The Baroness is Disappointed
XX The Stage is Set
XXI Hit and Miss
XXII Deposed
XXIIIDeath in Daylight
XXIV Clues
XXV All Is Over
  Allan Hancock Postscript

These pages compare the text in the 1935 and 1936 editions. A single column displays text common to both editions, with some minor variations in punctuation ignored. Two columns display text that varies between editions. If the differences are contained within short phrases, they are {enclosed in braces/and separated by a forward slash}. If there is no phrase on one side of the slash, there is no equivalent for the phrase on the opposite side of the slash. An empty column indicates text in the adjacent column appears only in that edition. A correction is inserted on first occurrence of a typographical error, but the error is left as is thoughout the text.

Multiple-paragraph text on a white background appears in the 1935 edition only; a grey background indicates 1936 edition only. Both are spread across the page to save space.

Dr. Ritter's first name is spelled “Frederick” in both editions, though “Friedrich” in his Atlantic Monthly features and elsewhere. The author's first name is spelled “Dore” in all accounts except the 1935 Jarrolds edition of her own book, where it is Dora.


1935: Jarrolds1936: Harper & Brothers
 

My Dedication

This book, which is the story of our life together, is published to the memory of my companion, Dr. Frederick Ritter, whose grave is on Floreana, but who is with me still.

—Dore Strauch    

Foreword

While on a cruise to the South Seas on my yacht Mizpah in the winter of 1930, I put in for a day or so at Post Office Bay on the rocky coast of Floreana, or Charles, Island in the Galapagos group. This island, just a few miles south of the equator, was supposed to be uninhabited. The bay was empty. A barrel, which has served this part of the Pacific as an unofficial post-office since early whaling days, stood on the shore. I had heard of this famous barrel, so went ashore with my guests to investigate. In the barrel we found a note in German directed to the master of any vessel that might anchor. Two people were on the island, we learned from the note. They were short of food and had been forced to move inland for water. One of them was injured. They requested the master to sound his whistle or fire a gun and they would come to the shore. We blew our whistles and sirens, fired our one-pounder, and played our searchlight over the island during that first night, but no one appeared.

The following morning I organized four searching-parties made up of my guests and ship's officers and started them out in different directions to search the island. One of my searching-parties headed by Baker Brownell of the Northwestern University faculty, who incidentally was the only man among my guests who knew German, found Dr. Frederick Ritter and Dore Strauch. They were well inland, about an hour's march on a faint trail through the desert brush and over broken lava rock, but had heard our gun and were headed towards the shore. They were dressed in ragged clothes and their shoes were cut to pieces by the rocks. They greeted joyfully the little group headed by Mr. Brownell.

Mr. Brownell brought them out aboard the yacht. We had a long talk with them and got part of their story. They had come to the island five months before, well supplied with food, but they had been forced to move inland to the mountains because of the shortage of water. They had left most of their stores in a cache near the beach. These stores had been stolen by men from some vessel, perhaps a fishing-boat. Without medicines or antiseptics, with no guns, very few tools and almost no food, Dr. Ritter and Dore were in a bad way. She had fallen on the sharp lava rocks and had cut her knee to the bone. This almost disabled here. He had injured his arm and side in a fall through the branches of a tree. The red-bearded doctor, about forty years old, and the young and beautiful girl could probably not have kept going much longer. We gave them enough supplies for a year or more—food, medications, tools, a rifle, pickaxes, shovels, even dynamite, for among our other adventures we had been digging for treasure on Cocos Island; and then we sailed away.

As we left the island I sent a radiogram from my yacht to Jim Foster of the Associated Press, telling him of our experience. This was the first news that came to civilization from the Galapagos Islands about the Ritters. By giving this first news I unintentionally started the avalanche of publicity that has fallen on the Ritters through the past five years. After weeks of cruising with my six guests, U. J. Herrmann, Charles Hanna, John Lock, Baker Brownell, George Fox, and L. G. Fitzgerald, and the crew of the Mizpah among lonely islands of the Caribbean and the tropical Pacific, this seemed a bit of harmless news. Of the public attention that followed and its eventual effect on the Ritters there was no foretelling.

A warm friendship sprang up between us and the Ritters. I sent them letters and supplies whenevery I learned that a boat was calling there, and they in turn wrote me whenever a ship came by. Some of their letters to Mr. Brownell and me were edited and published by the Atlantic Monthly in the form of three articles signed by Dr. Ritter. The reports of yachtsmen and others who later visited the Ritters were worked up into innumerable feature stories in the Sunday supplements and the magazines.

Then came Dr. Ritter's tragic and still mysterious death and Dore Strauch's return to Germany. I urged her to set down the account of her experiences on the island and her brave life with the man for whom she left home and friends. She has a marvelous story to tell. It is far stranger and more fascinating than many an imagined tale of adventure.

E. F. McDonald, Jr.


Chapter I: The End Of One Life

I was a very happy child, and in everything I have since experienced, I have never ceased to thank my good parents for letting us be children so long. Although my father was a schoolmaster, he never pressed his children into a set system of upbringing, as so many educators do, and my mother has always shown me that instinctive understanding which certain people are gifted with, and which enables them to grasp with their hearts things that are often obscure to their minds.

{At all times of/All} my life I have liked to think back upon my earliest years, and if my most vivid remembrances of that time are concerned with animals rather than with people, the reason is perhaps that I have always felt a special intimacy with so-called dumb creation which is, I think, unusual in one born and brought up in cities. I remember as a four-year old spending a holiday with my grandmother on a farm, being told that the big watch-dog had to be chained up by day because he was very savage. But on the same afternoon I called upon him in his kennel and told him I had come to keep him company. We told each other many things, and spent a delightful afternoon, at the end of which I was discovered side by side with my new friend fast asleep inside the kennel. Thirty years later my little donkey friend on Floreana once reminded me of that old watch-dog, Pussel, and other animal companions of my childhood with whom I had been able to talk as I never could with human beings, and who, no matter how they often seemed to dislike other members of the human race, were always ready to be friends with me.

{I am not suggesting/It must not be thought} that I was one of those strange and solitary children who seem to adapt themselves to their environment; on the contrary, I was always glad to play with anyone of my own age, and cannot remember that I was ever very different from my playmates except in one respect, and that only as I began to grow a little older.

A feeling then began gradually to take root in me that I was somehow not like other children, and I found myself going my own way, as though I had no real part in their lives, but had to lead a life of my own. When this feeling became really strong I was no longer quite a child, but of an age when ideas acquire the importance of actions, and take up the most part of one's thoughts. A kind of conviction grew in me that there was some task which I was born to fulfill, although I had no notion what it could be, and no real understanding of what a life-work meant. I only knew that it was something great, and in a way I cannot describe I was always looking for it.

The years went by, and life was no longer a time of calm or ardent meditation. I had begun my training as a teacher. The Revolution of 1918 broke out. It had no more passionate partisan than I, then in that stage of my own personal development when all the ills of the world seemed to be solved only by violent and radical outward measures. The proletarian movement revealed to me so many things of which I had not dreamed before, that I was plunged into an extreme of zeal for contributing in whichever way I could to the amelioration of the frightful distress among the German working-classes. This socialistic phase is one that almost every person goes through, and I, like many others, enrolled myself in the voluntary service of the poor and poorest with the religious enthusiasm of my age. My experiences at that time certainly influenced me deeply, as an aspect of life was unfolded before my youthful eyes which left me gazing at it in helpless despair.

These things all turned my thoughts to the subject of the higher development of mankind, and realizing, in the face of what I had seen, that this can never come from the outside, I sought the way towards it from within. It was Nietzsche's Zarathustra that became my teacher and my guide. I set out to remake my life according to its precepts, and then began that struggle against evil instincts and passions, which I determined to wage victoriously, whatever the cost.

I finished my teachers' training course, and passed the examination, but found no immediate appointment. Having to earn my living at something, however, I accepted the offer of a post in one of the large banks.

Although I completely realized that social work was not my vocation, my desire to help my fellows rather increased than diminished. I thought that in order to achieve this ideal I might become a doctor, and, undeterred by the prospect of seventeen hours' work a day, I enrolled myself at a night-school to study for the university entrance examination. I might have stood the strain of all this better, had I not chosen that time for confining my diet exclusively to figs. It was my reading of Schopenhauer which inspired me with this idea to live on fruits, discountenancing the destruction of life for human nourishment. The year and a half of this regimen, so unsuitable considering the great strain my double work put upon me, sufficed to weaken me to such an extent that one or the other of them had to be abandoned. By this time I had arrived at the age of twenty-one.

Among our family friends was the principal of a high school, a man of forty-five, a very grave, sedate person, who had long since reached all his conclusions. Nature had blessed me with a very happy temperament, and I began to see that the cheerfulness and gaiety which my somewhat melancholy father had always treasured in me, also seemed able to charm the earnestness of this other solemn man, so much too earnest for his age, and lure him out of himself. His personality attracted me, and I thought it would be a work worth doing to thaw him out with sunshine. I never doubted but that it would be easy to overcome the deeply-rooted peculiarities which had grown upon him during his long and cheerless bachelor life, and lure him to a cheerfulness which he had apparently never known. I thought it would be splendid to make him young again, and happy.

One October day he asked me to marry him; I accepted and was very happy. It was not my parents' way actually to oppose their children's decisions, and so they brought no pressure to bear in order to dissuade me from entering into a marriage the prospect of which so obviously delighted me. But they did not hide from me their own misgivings; for not only did the disparity between my age and my future husband's seem ominous to them, but their experienced eyes foresaw that either my light-heartedness would be extinguished in his gloom, or else that the day would come when I should revolt against it. In either case they felt that this marriage could come to no good end.

The wedding was in April, and I at twenty-three became the wife of an elderly schoolmaster. My husband was, I found, extremely thrifty. For half a year we still occupied no apartment of our own, but lived in furnished rooms, I, at his wish, continuing my work at the bank. These were the years of the German currency inflation, and I received a good salary. Nevertheless it seemed strange to me that I should still be required to go to work, when I had a husband well able to support me. It was not I who rebelled, however, but my health. I broke down completely. The next seventeen months I spent in a hospital where the doctors diagnosed my illness as multiple sclerosis. The lameness which afterwards became permanent, attacked me at that time. I had greatly desired a child, but now had to undergo an operation which made this forever impossible. I do not know whether this really had to be or not, but I do know that when I learned that I could never become a mother, something inside me broke and gave up hope. I became well again, and could leave the hospital, but the doctors told me that my illness was incurable. This was a blow, but it shocked me less than the realization that my marriage was a failure, and beyond repair. Like countless other women who enter marriage in what is called a state of innocence, the conjugal relation had offended and repelled me. But I had hoped to save what there was to save of a marriage blighted at the outset, and overcame much inner bitterness and rebellion in the attempt. It was all in vain.

For it was not, as I had thought, I who was to make a different man of my husband, but he who had determined to make a different woman of me, conformable with his ideal—the petty, bourgeois ideal of the German man on which the German woman has been content to model herself down the ages—the {Hausfrau,/“Hausfrau,”} her horizon bounded by the four walls of a few stuffy rooms, her mind stunted to the scope of her husband's paltry opinions. With all the strength and obstinacy in me, I defended myself against being turned into something I had always passionately despised.

At the same time, it grieved me to think that I was as disappointing to my husband as he to me, and I did all I could to make this up to him by opposing him outwardly as seldom as possible, and in not letting him see how little of my life he really shared.

But the emptiness and frustration of such an existence poisons the spirit, however one may strive to counterbalance it. Having been so mistaken in my attempt to devote myself to one man's life only, I began to return to my former idea that I was meant to work for the general good, and decided to go on with my preparations for studying medicine.

My husband raised no objection; as a matter of fact, in spite of his deficiency as a lover and husband, he never ceased to be, in his own way, a generous and devoted friend. I appreciated this more truly in later years than at this date, but even at that time I felt grateful that he did not hinder my studies. I found respite in the fact that my illness necessitated long periods in hospitals, so that I could study without having to rebuke myself for playing truant.

My husband did not oppose me; in fact, for all his lack of skill with me, he never ceased to be, in his own way, a generous and devoted friend. Perhaps this praiseworthiness in him became more clear to me in later years than it was then, but even at that time I felt grateful that he did not hinder my studies. I found a refuge in the fact that my illness necessitated much time in hospitals, during which time my husband did not seem to mind his loneliness. I could thus use the time to study without having to rebuke myself for playing truant.

One day, {whilst/while} I was receiving a ray treatment, a young-looking doctor came through the room. He struck me particularly because of the deep furrows in his forehead and the extremely harsh expression of his eyes. It would be too much to say that he looked brutal, but there was a strange absence in his face of any trace of amiability. It went through my mind that I hoped I might never have to be examined or treated by him. This was in the Hydrotherapeutic Institute, a department of the University of Berlin clinic, where I was again a patient. This same doctor appeared frequently in the ward, among the group of assistants who accompanied the head physician on his visits, so that I had leisure to observe him closely. He was not tall, but very slender, and moved with extraordinary litheness. He had a great deal of fair, curly fair, and his eyes were very blue.

One day, during the afternoon visit, the new doctor, passing from bed to bed, asked whether any of the patients had any special wishes. He came and sat beside me, and we talked. Our talk was about the power of thought. He told me that even I need not submit to illness if I would learn to think in a way that would make me well. He spoke of certain books, and offered to lend me some. It was thus that I came to read the works of Mulfort, which have influenced me so much. I found in them to my delight a conception of life and of the world which was my very own. From this time on, Dr. Ritter came every day, and talked to me as long as he had time to spare. We felt our way carefully into each other's world, and

soon we becamse aware of our mutual affinity.

something in each of us knew that it had found its affinity in the other.

I had been ten days in the hospital when I was discharged as greatly improved. It was necessary, however, for me to continue in the care of a physician, and Dr. Ritter asked me if I would like to come to him in his private consultation hours. I did not then know that he had already detected the mental stress behind my physical sickness, but I felt a longing to talk to him, to unburden myself of all the problems and difficulties which beset me and destroyed my peace of mind. The burdens and conflicts of my life were becoming more than I could bear in loneliness and silence any longer. I said to Dr. Ritter that I should be glad to come and see him, and went, with the firm intention of telling him everything without reserve, as to a confessor. I found it a strange but delivering experience. He asked me if I were not happy in my marriage. I assured him that I was. One day he took me home, and as I said good-by to him at the gate, my husband appeared at the window, and came down to open the door to me. Dr. Ritter, who had gone a few steps down the street, turned and came back. “It would be cowardly not to show myself,” he said. I introduced him, and we went into the house.

“Is this man really so much interested in your illness,” asked my husband afterwards, “or is he in love with you?” I did not know how to answer this, so I said nothing. After this I walked with Dr. Ritter every morning through the Tiergarten to his clinic.

We had a feeling that we were intended for each other, and that there was some work we had to do together, as though we were a joint tool in the hand of a spirit using us to unknown ends.

 

One day he kissed me, and then he said to me, “I wonder that I could do this, for I love some one else.” I said, “That makes no difference,” for to me the chief thing was that he accepted the love that I now knew I felt for him. He told me that he loved a girl twenty years his junior, his own niece. This was a romantic, idealistic love, scarcely returned and certainly not comprehended by the girl herself. But I could feel no jealousy of her or any other woman, for neither man nor circumstance can come between two who have been predestined for each other.

Dr. Ritter was scarcely more than a youth when he first began to feel that the life of contemplation, through which alone the human spirit can perfect itself, could not be led in the populous places of the earth. He was not by nature a man who shunned others, that is to say, there was in him nothing of the misanthrope. But the complexity and ultimate untruthfulness of ordinary human relations seemed to him to take up too much of life and to disturb the crystallizing of that philosophy which each great thinker evolves for himself. As a physician, greatly interested in and very gifted for his work, he was forced into a continuous contact with people that could not but become increasingly irksome to a mind fast reaching its philosophical maturity. At the time our friendship began, he had arrived at the point where he was ready to make a great decision, and that I came into his life just at that moment neither of us ever thought was merely an accident.

I will not go into the details of Dr. Ritter's philosophy. He has in introductions to his own writings done this much better than I ever could. But it is necessary perhaps, in order to give a clear picture of him at that time, to say that it moved between two poles, with Nietzsche at the one end, and at the other Laotse. Nietzsche, the great prophet of the will to might, with his dynamic force and glorification of the Superman, his heroic vision of the universe and his ideal of power, could not fail to inspire a man like Dr. Ritter, himself endowed with so many of these highest qualities. It was this element of the heroic in Dr. Ritter which made the most profound impression on my mind; for as long as I can remember, I had felt drawn to everyone who seemed by nature somewhere in the neighbourhood of greatness, whether he had it in himself or only in the degree with which he reverenced it in others. Surely no mind of lesser stature than Dr. Ritter's could ever have reconciled the active ideal of a Nietzsche with the gospel of inactivity and passive contemplation embodied in the precepts of the Oriental master.

From the beginning of our friendship, Dr. Ritter had admitted me into his inner world.

 

He never made me feel that in comparison with him my understanding of all these high problems was elementary and primitive; on the contrary he took the greatest pains to develop me and show me the way along paths which he had blazed for himself.

He was never tired of telling me with what joy he had recognized in me from the very first a fellow pilgrim on the way to final wisdom. Our happiest hours together were spent in unforgettable and endless talks {/during which I sat at the feet of this man who looked on me as his disciple}.

Dr. Ritter had an extensive and successful practice in a quiet West End street, Kalkreuthstrasse. All kinds and conditions of men and women were his patients, and he was much beloved by them. During the strenuous consulting hours he would sometimes steal a little time for me, and then we would go up on the roof of the house and talk. Gradually the plan to go away took definite shape in his mind and there, overlooking the close-packed roofs of houses where human beings herded together with insufficient air and space to move and think in, he mapped out his idea of a permanent migration to some remote spot on the earth's surface, where he could realize his great ideal of solitude. We lay up there in the sun letting our fancy wander where it would, pretending that the clouds that drifted by were our remote island of refuge and the blue sky the ocean in which our earthly Eden was set.

Dr. Ritter had a little black book in which he had noted the earth's remotest archipelagos and single islands. We would pore over these and he would tell about them until we felt that we were there. But into the midst of our dreaming would come a whistle from the landlady, a signal we had improvised to announce the arrival of patients. I had now begun to share Dr. Ritter's life in every way and it was my hope that I should go on doing so {for ever/forever}.

He was actually, though not legally, separated from his wife, {whilst/while} I was by no means separated from my husband and had a difficult situation to handle at home.

 

Dr. Ritter, realizing that my domestic situation became harder, not easier, as time went on, suggested that I become his assistant so as to give respectability to our daily association. I, however, rejected this idea completely. It was not in me to cope with the deadly routine of a doctor's office, and besides this, I could see that such an arrangement would end by strangling us in bonds like those of ordinary marriage from which it is so hard ever decently to escape. If I was to do my share in making this man happy, and if I had any happiness to expect from him, then it could only be in conditions entirely different from those that I had experienced in marriage—quite free, untrammeled, and from first to last unconnected with any preconceived ideas of bourgeois home-making.

{Until/Up to} this time I had suffered great pangs of conscience even at the thought that I might leave my husband. On the other hand, it had never occurred to me to keep him in the dark as to my feeling for Dr. Ritter. In fact, as soon as I found out I loved this other man, I told my husband so. He furiously forbade my seeing Dr. Ritter any more, but when I refused to comply with his wish he quietly accepted my decision, and the daily walks through the Tiergarten were continued. There were no scenes between my husband and myself. I should have respected him more if there had been. While I despise women who regard their function as their husbands' cook and child-bearer as the whole of life, I still believe that a proper man must be the master in his own home. Women's lack of emotional control keeps them nearer the earth than men, and we can overcome our earthiness only if we have a man beside us, helping us and controlling our lapses. My experience on the Galapagos Islands with Baroness Wagner-Bousquet confirmed me in this theory. She was the archtype of a woman dominated wholly by feeling and the most primitive urges; and of the young males with whom she was surrounded, not one was man enough to make his curbing influence felt. How different was the life which Dr. Ritter and I led on Floreana! Ours was an attempt entirely to stifle the animal in us wherever it interfered, as it so often must, with mutual happiness on a higher plane; and, wherever the emotional threatened to disturb our mental harmony, to rescue this at the cost of the other no matter how hard that might be. For myself I must confess that the victories I achieved in my own struggle to intellectualize the emotional side of our relationship were dearly {purchased/won}.

It was a painful shock to me to have to admit that my legal husband's striking tolerance sprang from the fear that any action on his part would bring about a public scandal, and not from any higher or more generous {impulse. Whilst/sentiment. While} I could not accuse him of not loving me, it hurt me to think that such a purely practical consideration {as this/} could outweigh the normal resentment which must have filled him. But this is {not unusual in/the way of} conventional married life with its mean compromises and essential {insincerities/untruths}.

The fascination of Dr. Ritter's personality had caught and held me from the first. But love, in the ordinary meaning of the word, does not convey the many-sidedness of my feeling for this man with his astonishing blond mane, his youthful bearing, and his steel-blue eyes that looked out from under his furrowed forehead so compellingly. He was so vital that I never felt any disparity in our ages—he was fifteen years older than I—a thing which, in my husband, I had always been depressingly conscious of. I felt that time could have no power over such dynamic strength as that, and “age” in terms of years had no significance in the case of this truth seeker, progressing smoothly and surely by intellect along the way which I had gropingly sought, and already so far ahead of me.

I think it is quite a mistake to say that “love is blind.” I know that mine was not. I know that for the sake of his great mind and spirit I tolerated more in Dr. Ritter, I made more compromises in order not to hinder our great mutual quest, than most women would in relation to any man, and I certainly in relation to any other. For in his human contacts he was rough and unskillful, and the fact that one was a woman—perhaps the only woman he did not despise—entitled one to no special clemency or favour at his hands.

In my husband's eyes I was the victim of hypnotic suggestion. He even attributed the sudden, rapid improvement in my health to the same influence. And indeed under the spell of Dr. Ritter's powerful assurance that I could be well if I would will myself to be, my health had become incomparably better than it had been for years. It was Dr. Ritter's teaching that one of the dangers of chronic malady is that it brings about, if we allow it to, a degeneration of all healthy instincts both physical and moral, and that this is the peril every patient is morally bound to fight against. “If ever we are called to account by God,” he used to say, “He will not ask what earthly deeds we achieved, but what we made of our own selves.”

One day I hesitantly confessed to Dr. Ritter that I could never have any children, but he consoled me, saying, “Children are an extension of the personal into the world matter, a postponement of personal redemption and of the fulfillment of the ultimate duty laid upon every person to perfect himself.” Fatherhood, he said, was one of the ordinary human joys which he had long since renounced.

I recognized now that I, still bound by many ties to Earth, must overcome and sublimate the Ego, ever dominant in woman.

I recognized now that the Ego, always dominant in woman, must be overcome by me in myself, still bound by many ties to earth.

I was to find myself in self-abnegation. I prayed that my body might become the vessel of the beautiful and divine so that my life be filled and fulfilled. How few, if any, of the millions struggling along the world's ways, have ever had or sought the opportunity to find themselves. The leisure after the day's work is not devoted to this higher learning. Time that the wise would spend in meditating on these things is spent at movies, cafes and theaters, created as if by malicious design to hinder contemplation.

Frederick and I rejected all these things and were determined to fight our way to inner freedom in spite of all the hindrances of civilized life. His logical and abstract way of thinking was a revelation to me. It opened up a new world, a world which even this daring and adventurous thinker had not yet explored, and I realized from the start that unless I was prepared to impose upon myself the most rigorous self-restraint and discipline, I never could expect to keep pace with him. I felt in him the triumph of the masculine and was determined, in order not to fall by the wayside, to subjugate the eternal feminine in me as far as possible. Not that the normal relationship between man and woman should be quite rejected. It must, however, not dominate the situation.

“I cannot have a love-sick woman full of romantic notions trailing after me into the wilderness … ” Dr. Ritter used to say. This was in the early days, but gradually he saw that I was ready to take whatever the great plan brought with it, and after a while this objection disappeared and he became reconciled to the idea of my accompanying him. I often think, indeed I am quite sure, that this experiment, with the idea of which he had been dallying off and on for half a lifetime, would never really have been embarked upon but for my insistence. I felt at the time that not my will but a stronger will outside me was urging me to help Frederick to do this thing; and although in the eyes of the outside world it began in stress and ended in tragedy, I still know that it was the right and only thing for us to do.

It reconciled me greatly to Frederick's absolutism when I learned that he was as merciless a taskmaster to himself as {to/for} me. His harshness was not personal, therefore I must not take it personally. If he demanded sacrifice of me, his own life was also sacrifice. If he demanded discipline, his own self-discipline was greater than mine would ever be. He reminded me of the prophets of the Old Testament and indeed there was always about him a kind of halo that came from his unalterable and passionate beliefs. He was a John the Baptist who sought the wilderness, not in order to chastise the flesh but to illuminate the mind. His life was not bounded by its span on earth. He is as living to me now, and my belief in him is just as vivid and intense, as in the days when we were together. {Whilst/While} some have thought him an eccentric, I know that he was one of the world's geniuses, although his name may go down in obscurity.

He might have been a prophet but he was not morose—sometimes he could shed Elijah's mantle and be very human. He often enjoyed company and was much liked. I have already said that his patients were all fond of him, and they seemed to have as unbounded confidence in him as I myself. He used to tell them that he did not like sick people, and wherever he encountered a case which defeated his attempts to bring about an effort of the “Will to Mend,” he would give it up rather than nurse it along like a dead weight. He used to apply his own special method of suggestion to every case, and had infinite faith in the possibilities of will-power. It was his opinion that modern civilization had cast the wholesome will with which everybody is endowed into neglect and degeneracy, substituting money for it and bolstering up its feebleness with convenient substitutes.

A man of such productive intellect was bound to have a thousand theories of his own about everything, and to enjoy expounding these to others. Dr. Ritter was no exception to this rule, but he was indeed an exception in being at least as good a listener as a talker. His theories often seemed bizarre to many, but this was because he had the courage to push every idea to its logical conclusion, a point beyond which almost all thinkers have lacked the courage to venture. The intrepidity with which he could look things squarely in the face, utterly despising evasiveness and compromise, was perhaps Dr. Ritter's most notable quality. Among the usual run of people it is clear that a man like that would lead a lonely life, and often be forced into the belief that everything was against one who tried to live in absolutes where everything and everybody else lived solely by the grace of compromise. This had been, in a lesser degree, my own experience too, but I think that neither Dr. Ritter nor I ever tended to become melancholy for want of being understood.

It was part of Frederick's creed to lead a life of absolute simplicity, but he never attempted to make proselytes for this or any other of his ideas. Much of his medical research centered round theories of diet. He believed that the problem of dietetics once solved, one would have gone a long way towards eliminating half the illnesses human beings are heir to. He had worked out a dietetic system for various social classes. Though he himself was a vegetarian because he found that this form of nourishment was best suited to his type of labour, he included meat in all the tables he drew up for people of the working class. I quote this only as a very small example of what I think was the rather rare quality in him, of never riding his ideas like a pedant but always modifying them and adjusting them to various needs.

I sometimes look back in amazement at my life during the two years of my association with Dr. Ritter before we left for Galapagos. In my own home I was still obliged to play the model Hausfrau, appearing with my husband at social functions wearing evening dress and high-heeled shoes. With Frederick I was an entirely different being, even in appearance. The clothes I wore with him were simple in the extreme and had no regard for any fashion, but only for comfort and freedom of movement. More than almost all of what he called the evil inventions of modem costume, Frederick disliked the civilized shoe. He had a different idea of proper human footwear, and made us each shoes of soft leather without heels, sewn to the shape of the feet. We often wore these when we went on walks together.

Compared with my life, Frederick's had been rich in experience. His father had been the burgomaster of Wollbach,§ a little Baden town, and at the same time a prosperous tradesman. Frederick had a sheltered, happy youth, and all the advantages of a good education. An instinctive love of nature led him to prefer the out-of-doors, which was as great a benefit to his rather delicate constitution as to his youthful mind. As he grew up he often accompanied his father on hunting expeditions in the Black Forest. His mother was a lovable and kindly woman, and the family life was perfectly harmonious. At the University of Freiburg his special subjects were chemistry, physics and philosophy, until he took up medicine. He had married while still almost a boy, only twenty-one years old. His parents had objected to the match, but the young blond girl preparing for a singer's career had seemed like the personification of his ideal of womanhood, and he had married her. He felt that he must help her on her way to fame. He had means enough to see that she had the best masters and he saw to it also that she worked relentlessly. He was the stern overseer of her studies and very soon obtained for her an engagement at the Royal Opera at Darmstadt, where she sang Carmen, Mignon, Amneris and many other {roles/rôles}.

§ Ritter described his father as a carpenter and storekeeper, but does not mention him being a burgomaster.

The absolute diversity of temperament and aims did not make for harmonious marriage. Frederick has a character of extreme aggressiveness while his wife tended to be wholly passive.

It reacted badly on the harmony of the marriage that Frederick had a character of extreme aggressiveness while his wife tended to be wholly passive.

{Then the/The} war came and Dr. Ritter enlisted as a volunteer. When he returned to civil life he found that his wife had only one desire—to give up her career and devote herself entirely to home. Her ideal was an orderly life with regular routine, and so she managed to persuade him to continue his studies and establish himself in a profession. When I met him he had not long completed his course in dentistry and medicine, and had been married eighteen years.

It {could/would} not fail to {appear/seem} to his wife that {/in the conventional sense} I had appeared upon the scene to snatch her husband from her just as her dream of life with him was about to be fulfilled. I was extremely unhappy for her, as I was for my own husband.

{The idea then came to me/I conceived the idea} that if in some way the two people whose lives had been upset by us could be brought together, then Frederick and I would be absolutely free and unburdened by the thought that we had achieved our happiness at the expense of others' misery. Frau Ritter was a good {Hausfrau/Hausfrau} whose whole {interest centered upon/affection was for} hearth and home. Dr. Koerwin was a man whose ideal woman she certainly represented; he appreciated domestic life in every way. If these two could, by great good fortune, take a liking to each other, our whole problem would be simply and painlessly solved, and I thought that later they might even join us in our Eden. If this solution had not seemed feasible to me I think that I should never have left my husband, because I believed strongly that happiness must never be bought at the price of innocent people's suffering.

It was my plan that Frau Ritter would come into my husband's home and manage his household. This is an occupation which in Germany ladies go in for, and does not imply the social inferiority of the “housekeeper” in other countries. It was of course essential that this arrangement—which actually came to pass—be kept a secret, for the sensation mongering world, even in a large town like Berlin, is always eager to ferret out unusual situations and make a public scandal of them. But it seemed as though our secret would be kept. I had no difficulty in persuading my husband to make this attempt. However unwilling he might really have felt, he concealed this, doubtless realizing that the situation as it was was not only hopeless but full of danger—he still feared that things might arouse the notice of the neighbours. He even promised to consider the possibility of joining us later on the Galapagos, and as our plan matured, he placed two thousand marks at my disposal. It must not be thought that he did not even up to the last moment try to persuade me from what he thought a mad project. But when he saw that all his pleading was of no avail, he did a strange thing. He made me write a letter explaining why I had left him, and insisted that I write in praise of him and emphasize that we had had no quarrel, and that he had given me everything I had ever asked of him.

It was with great fear and misgiving and with a feeling of painful suspense that I left for Dr. Ritter's home in Wollbach on a May day in 1929 to meet his wife and his mother. At the same time, he and I were to discuss our final preparations for our migration.

I took along a large array of dresses but I did not wear them. It was Dr. Ritter's wish that I disguise myself as a man in order to escape identification. I was delighted at the success with which I passed for a youth, and both Frederick and I enjoyed my performance in this {role/rôle}.

The coldness with which Frau Ritter first received me wore off, and soon she was almost as enthusiastic over our plans as I myself. We even prevailed upon her to fall in with my plan that she should take over my now abandoned household and try and like my husband. I was beside myself with joy as the last obstacle to our venture seemed to have been removed. The Ritter relatives raised great objections and implored Frederick to postpone his going, at least long enough to put his ideas into writing before he left. But he paid no attention to all of this.

Frederick's mother was charming. It was quite natural that she should at first have been reluctant to have her son take me to see her, but no sooner had we met than she embraced me lovingly, and we both wept a little.

I returned to Berlin, leaving Frederick still busy packing and making final preparations to leave his home in Wollbach for the distant Galapagos. It remained to me to break the inevitable news to my own parents. They were pained and shocked. My mother, however, with an understanding for which I shall always be more grateful than I can say, promised to use all her influence to console my husband and Frau Ritter, to keep in touch with them and help them both in every way. My father suffered terribly at the thought of losing me, perhaps forever. I was his favourite child, and his habitual depression always lifted while I was within reach to smile at him and say a cheering word. I knew that it was he who, in the end, would miss me most. It was curious that he had never liked Dr. Ritter, not even in the beginning when I had once wanted the new friend to meet my people and had taken him home with me. But Frederick thought a great deal of my father.

As for the rest of the world, we rejoiced at leaving it behind. Civilization had no illusions for us. We had no interest in it, and the last thing we ever thought of was that it would ever take an interest in us. All that we both wanted was to be alone and to break free of the bonds of conventional life. We wanted to try and live a new way with neither models nor preconceived ideas to help—or rather hinder us. We wanted no advice and took none. Our work of discovery, whether it would turn out to be great or small, was to be all our own. It was my conviction that Dr. Ritter's experiment as a way of life would lack validity without a woman. But would I, as a woman, be able to rise to these occasions which I knew would come and be an acid test by which even two people who felt that they belonged irrevocably together, must prove the value of their relationship? For all the joy that filled me, I also felt a touch of fear. But I resolved that, come what might, I should be strong.

And so the die was cast and we prepared to go forth to our experiment. We had chosen a place where no other human being lived,

And so the die was cast and we prepared to go forth to our experiment of more than Puritan self-denial, of repudiation of the flesh in a search for higher spiritual values. We had chosen a place where no one was,

for we had learned that it is the contact with unlike natures that destroys the inner harmony of lives. We were to try and found an Eden not of ignorance but of knowledge. We did not know then that the world which we were leaving would pursue us there, to ruin what we made.

Chapter II: The New Life Begins

How stupid I was! While we were packing and making all our arrangements I often imagined that the time would come when I should {be bored to death.?not know what to do for boredom.} I thought that once we had established our home there, there would be nothing left to do, and I was not sure whether I had {sufficient resources/in me the power} to be happy though idle in a place where there was absolutely no kind of diversion at all. But this, like almost everything else that imagined, turned out otherwise.

I had believed, for instance, that we were just two people quietly setting out in search of themselves, neither asking nor desiring the interest of the world which we were leaving{—indeed, that/. That} we could become of interest to it did not enter our calculations. {and yet,/Yet} no sooner had we set foot upon our island than it became the stage on which a drama, so weird and fantastic that no invention could ever have created it, was enacted with us as central characters. We were, of course, not quite so naïve as not to know that if our plans were made known, the newspapers would find in them {the wherewithal/something} to feed the public's desire for sensation, and knowing this, we were most careful to do everything with great secrecy.

It was William Beebe's excellent and deservedly famous book about the Galapagos that led to our choice of these islands as our destination. The German subtitle [Verdens Ende] described them as World's End, which added to their charm for us. During the two years' friendship which preceded our decision to join our lives together, it had been one of Frederick's {hobbies/} and my chief {recreation/recreations} to plan our flight into the ideal {solitude/solitudes}.

We were agreed that the region should be tropical: the harsh, cold climates of the north with their depressing skies were not, we felt, inspiring to people whose lives were to depend entirely on {nature. We/nature; we} felt that in a paradise of sunshine our minds would be illuminated and that, in not having to spend our energy in the rough struggle against inclement weather, we should have the more left for that higher struggle in which we were engaged. Also our island must be capable of supplying us with the nourishment we needed. It would not do to be faced with periods when, owing to the unproductive condition of the ground, we should be compelled to destroy life to feed ourselves; for it was one of our most rigorous principles that the vegetarian habit was the only one conformable to our general idea of life.

It was not tropical abundance ready to the hand that we desired; our ideal was not the land flowing with milk and honey of such South Sea isles as Samoa and Tahiti. On the contrary, much as we needed sunshine to teach us what a life in nature meant, {we needed still more/so essentially did we also need} the training denied to the civilized of toiling with their hands for everything they {require/needed}.

I must again emphasize the fact that we were not in any way a pair of modem Crusoes. We have been called this so often that it is perhaps almost useless to contradict it now. Yet nothing was further from our intention than to adopt the foolish {ideas/prejudice} of certain “nature apostles” who {reject/have rejected} on principle every modem {appliance/appurtenance} and tool. We meant to take {with us/} everything that would make our {tillage/gardening} of Eden easier and more effective. {When, on arrival there/If, on arriving there}, we found that some essential tools were missing from our equipment, this was only because{/, for all our wish to take the right things,} our preparations had been in many ways both ignorant and haphazard{, so that/. As a result} we found ourselves with quite a few superfluous objects and without a great many indispensable ones.

We spent long hours in the State Library in Berlin, searching through geographical works for the island which would best suit our requirements.

I must say that Dr. Ritter, though extremely decided in his own views, gave genuine consideration to every objection I advanced as to our future dwelling-place. Perhaps he felt that this experiment would be more difficult for a woman than for a man, and therefore deferred to my views in the choice of our objective.

I must say that Dr. Ritter, though extremely self-willed in every way, showed the most touching regard for any objection I put forward as to our future dwelling-place. Perhaps he felt that this experiment would be more difficult for a woman than for a man, and therefore gave me precedence in the choosing of our actual destination.

It was pleasant to me to learn that these “Enchanted Islands,” as the Galapagos Archipelago was originally called, had not derived their enchantment from legends created by human aboriginals, for they had never been the home of native tribes. They had {only given/given only} a brief hospitality to willing or unwilling visitors, and the enchantment that {pervaded/was upon} them caused strange and often evil things to happen. I for one, having been a victim of this magic, am quite convinced that the gods or demons of Galapagos were the invisible spinners of the fate which overtook not only us, but all those who came there in our time; and I believe that these islands are in truth one of those places of the earth where humans are not tolerated. Naturally, to one brought up as I was, to an exclusively rationalistic creed, this interpretation of what happened to us all on Floreana was not the first but the last that could occur to me. The longer I think back upon it all, and remember the strange and unaccountable circumstances associated not only with our life there but with the lives of all the others whom we met and heard of, the more I am convinced that there was much more under the heaven and in that earth than was dreamt of in our philosophy.

I will not dwell upon the consternation with which the news of our decision was received by all the members of our respective families. Our depot for the things we meant to take with us was the shed in Dr. Ritter's mother's garden. Soon this was filled to overflowing. I fear that our planning was anything but scientific, and it was not until we arrived at Floreana that we discovered to what extent our foolishness had left us in the lurch. But it was too late then to do anything but repent until the ships came by through which we were able to supplement some of the things most seriously lacking. I had often been forced to realize what a poor {Hausfrau/Hausfrau} I was, but never more than on discovering in Floreana that my kitchen equipment, for example, was thoroughly inadequate.

Dr. Ritter proved himself far more practical than I, and displayed great foresight in every way. He carpentered two large boxes with substantial boards, designed for later use as a table top. All breakables were packed in two zinc bathtubs which we bought extremely cheap. Three other wooden cases were so constructed as to serve as cupboards afterwards. Our chief investment both in the way of bulk and money was an equipment of non-rusting metal ware. For a thousand marks we bought an entire set of utensils in this material, including cutlery and dishes and last, but by no means least, two full-sized dairy milk-cans. We thought that these would make an ideal larder to protect our food from invasion by ants. I suppose that this is the place for me to confess that I had overlooked the fact that one set, however complete, contained table equipment for only one person. The result was that when we found ourselves on Floreana, only one eater was provided for. We two could, of course, make shift with what there was, but when guests came the problem of what we could give them to eat out of was quite a serious one. One of the beautiful stainless-steel trays was so shiny that it could do perfect duty as a mirror. Frederick took a complete carpenter's equipment and a variety of gardening implements. I at least saw to it that there were mattresses, sheets and blankets enough for two, but failed, unfortunately, to take more than one single pillow. My sewing needles were carefully sealed into bottles filled with paraffin in order to prevent their rusting. We further bought a hundred-yard bale of calico for making bags and replacing worn-out clothes. Frederick took his medical instruments and a small supply of drugs. These were chiefly such things as aspirin and digestive tablets. He refused even to consider including morphia in his dispensary, although I urged him to. Later on we were to regret bitterly that he had not done so.

It has often been said of us that as a preliminary to our departure we both had all our teeth extracted. This is not the case. It is true that Dr. Ritter had had all his taken out, but this was some months before we left and for quite a different reason. For years he had been carrying out a system of eating which required an intensive mastication of each mouthful. The result was that he had worn his teeth to stubs, and it had come to the point where he must have them crowned if they were to be of any further use to him. He preferred to have them all removed, especially as he had a scientific desire to find out whether gums might be so far toughened as to become a substitute for teeth in chewing. My own teeth were no better than average, and had always necessitated regular visits to the dentist. On Floreana they were very soon to fail me, and it was then that we realized with sorrow that Frederick had failed to take any dental equipment with him. I had to suffer extractions made under the most primitive, excruciatingly painful conditions.

We left all our good clothes and took only our oldest things along. I took some artificial silk dresses chosen, as I thought, with great foresight, in the belief that they would be cool to wear. I did not know that they would immediately be set upon by swarms of the cockroaches which infest the island, and completely devoured. All my good clothes I left to Frau Ritter. Though they fitted her and suited her perfectly, I learned afterwards that she had never worn them.

Among the odds and ends of our miscellaneous equipment were a magnifying glass and a pair of opera glasses. We took no firearms. When I had suggested to Frederick that we take morphia and a syringe, he had become quite furious, insisting that among the things our future life would teach us was the overcoming of pain by the power of the will. When, later on, he suggested taking a gun, it was my turn to veto, insisting that to do so would be to deny our principle of peace towards all things. Floreana soon taught us how stupid both these decisions were.

Fortunately we did remember mosquito netting, but on the whole when I look back with the wisdom of experience upon our preparations, I shudder to think how inadequate, ignorant and unsystematic they were. We took, for example, only a very few boxes of matches, naively expecting that we should be able to do without fire. It was another of our delusions that we should need no lamps, expecting to go to bed at sundown. In the midst of the many things we lacked, it often amused us to contemplate a compass which we had been most careful to include, a thoroughly unessential instrument unless we should go off on some sea-adventure and become shipwrecked. Strange as it may seem, it never occurred to us to take a camera.

Our little library included my greatest treasure, Zarathustra, my Greek and Latin textbooks, and a small volume of animal stories by Manfred Kyber.

I thought that I should have a great deal of time in which to brush up my school knowledge, but in the event there never was any time at all for such pursuits.

I thought that I should have a great deal of time in which to brush up on things learned at school, but as it turned out there was never any time at all for such pursuits.

Frederick took a number of medical works and a large supply of paper, for he intended to devote his spare time to the writing of the great philosophic work which had always been his dream.

Frederick now gave up his practice; there was nothing more for us to wait for. It was the end of June, 1929. The time for the last farewells had come. A few days earlier Frau Ritter had arrived from South Germany to take up her life in my husband's household. I spent the next two days with her trying to make things easy for her, showing her the places which I had found most satisfactory for shopping and so forth.

I was grateful both to her and to my husband for the way in which, whatever they may have been feeling, they tried at this time to conceal the resentment which they must have felt against me.

I was grateful both to her and to my husband for the way in which they tried at this time to conceal the resentment against me which they must have felt.

Frederick timed his visits to coincide with my husband's absence at his school, for the mutual dislike of these two men was not, apparently, to be overcome by any such degree of goodwill towards each other as we two women had achieved.

The meeting between my husband and Frau Ritter had passed off with less tension than I had feared. One afternoon at four o'clock when he came home from school he found her there, and when I introduced them he behaved {so calmly/with much calm, so} that I could conscientiously tell myself that this experiment, too, was starting favourably. The only thing my husband objected to was {to call/calling} Frau Ritter by her married name

, so they arranged that he should use her maiden name [Clark] instead. It was natural that the name of Ritter should only call up bitter associations in his mind.

; I suppose it was natural that the name of Ritter could call up only bitter associations in his mind. They arranged that he would call her by her maiden name [Clark] instead.

Then came the supper which I had planned with great care for the introducing of Frau Ritter into my husband's intimate circle. The guests came early. There were very few: only my mother, my sister, who was then in her early teens, a colleague of my husband's with his wife, and a cousin of ours, an engineer. Dr. Ritter was not invited. There was also a woman friend of mine with whom I had quarreled some time before and had not seen since. This party, ostensibly in honour of Frau Ritter, was in reality my farewell party, though outside the actual family no one knew this. But I, now about to leave my former world forever, could not bear to go without making my peace with everyone I knew. That was why I had invited my former friend, feeling that I had judged her far too harshly and desiring to win her back again before I left. The reconciliation made her very happy, as it did me. I felt that now I could depart with a perfectly calm conscience and with the sense of wronging nobody.

A great melancholy was visibly oppressing my mother, my husband and my sister. I was not blind to this, but {I contrived to keep/still I kept the} conversation going brightly, and I knew that none of those not in the secret suspected anything unusual. I think that night was one of the happiest I had ever known. Frau Ritter sang most charmingly. The guests outside the family were told that she was staying with us on a visit until her husband returned from a professional trip. I also hinted that I was about to take a trip abroad. When the time came for everyone to go, my mother and sister, who left with the others, could hardly suppress their tears. Nevertheless my mother's last words were more prophetic than she knew. “I shall see you again,” she said, as we kissed each other good-by. The departure had been {fixed/set} for the following day, and by special request nobody was to see us off. I did not tell my mother that Frederick and I meant never to come back.

When the guests were gone, I went into my husband's study. He was quite calm but said, “If you ever do return, I wish you to promise that you will make no attempt to come back to me.” I gave this promise readily and then put on my hat, took leave of Frau Ritter, and was ready to leave the house where I had known and perhaps inflicted much pain, and break off forever a marriage and a way of life which had begun as a mistake but which I felt would be a crime to continue. My husband took me to the street-car. I had no baggage, everything having already been sent to Frederick's place. We walked arm in arm and my husband kissed me good-by. I turned back before entering the car to wave to him for the last time and saw him standing there waving too with a grave and sad expression on his face.

That night I dreamed of the Galapagos as I had dreamt of it, waking and sleeping, so many times before. I saw a beach and turtles of enormous size, and over everything a gloomy sky that gave the scene an air of indescribable desolation. I woke, devoutly hoping that this picture was not prophetic, and fortunately it was not.

Although we had planned never to return, neither Frederick nor I had made a will. The last thing I did was to burn his letters to me so that they might not fall into the hands of strangers. Three of them, however, I kept, putting them in a safe place among my luggage.

Anyone seeing us depart would have thought that we were a pair of weekend trippers. We each carried a rucksack and only the fact that we had a few suitcases between us might have suggested that we were bound for a somewhat longer journey. The suitcases were very heavy and I told Frederick that I thought we ought to take a taxi, for the walk to the street-car was a very long one. But he would not hear of this, insisting that all our theories obliged us to put our will power to this initial test. We therefore staggered under our really quite exaggerated load, and the street-car carried us to the Schlesischer Bahnhof.

As the train passed through Charlottenburg, the district where I had spent the four years of my ill-assorted married life, I looked out of the window at the street where my home had been, and felt neither sorrow nor regret. No shadow of doubt obscured my certainty that I had at last started upon the task for which I had been destined. I knew that Frederick was my fate, and was content to let it be so no matter what might come. To go out into the unknown with him was not to go into the unknown at all. I did not feel like an adventurer, nor like an exile. I was not stirred by the excitement of one about to see a world of which he hitherto knew nothing, and to set foot in places few others had seen before or might see in the future. I felt, in spite of all my deep affection for those dear to me, that in leaving them forever I was not uprooting my real self but only an outward part of me that did not count. Neither Frederick nor I had taken with us any photographs of those we loved and had left behind.

We sailed from Amsterdam on July the third, at nine o'clock at night, on the Dutch merchantman Boskoop, this being the first sea voyage that either of us had ever experienced. Arrived at Guayaquil four weeks later, we expected that we should be able to leave immediately for Floreana. Instead we found that we should have to wait a whole month, having just missed the schooner that plied between the mainland and the islands of the archipelago. This seemed to us an endless wait, but we were told that others wishing to make the same crossing had often had to possess themselves in patience three or four times as long, for the comings and goings of the Manuel y Cobos § were most erratic.

§ The ship name was actually Manuel J. [Julián] Cobos.

I shall never forget the first view of Ecuador as we sailed slowly into the deep bay of Guayaquil. The coast is fringed with dense thickets of mangrove{, broken/interrupted} by settlements where groves of cocoanut palms waved over the heads of the other trees, {and/} amidst which cows, donkeys and goats seemed to find plentiful pasture. As we landed with our {/no doubt} somewhat remarkable baggage, it was a great surprise and pleasure to experience nothing but courtesy and helpfulness at the customs. We were not required to open very much, and what we did open was hardly examined, so that this usually unpleasant prelude turned out to have no terrors at all.

We were a conspicuous pair as we wandered about Guayaquil, chiefly because of the fact that we went hatless. In those climates the uncovered head out-of-doors is a thing quite unknown—even the poorest Indios wear something resembling a hat to protect their heads from the fierceness of the sun. Frederick, however, was firm in the belief that the human hair is the best protection for the head, and was not to be persuaded to make concessions to the customs of the country. It had been Frederick's intention that we should sleep in tents while waiting for our ship, but against this I strongly rebelled, protesting that we were quite conspicuous enough already. Finally I won this point, but it was no easy victory.

We visited the German consul for information as to the purchase of land on the Galapagos Islands and learned that the Ecuadorean government had no objections to any settlers making a home wherever they wished to on the islands, but that none of the land was available for purchase. He told us that if we were in a great hurry, having missed our ship, we could be taken to Floreana by airplane, which would cost a hundred dollars{, and/;} our luggage could come after us. We naturally preferred to wait. From various people we gathered, as we thought, plentiful information about the islands, but when we got there we found that everything was very different from all reports.

The accounts which we had heard of thousands and thousands of wild asses and other livestock roaming about our island made it seem advisable to lay in a good stock of barbed wire. In addition to this we bought rice, peas, sugar beans, and several varieties of maize as well as vegetable seeds. We also added many tins of crackers, which was something we had never seen before.

 

Suffering an attack of feminine vanity, I made the rash suggestion to Frederick that we also buy a flat-iron. From his hurt expression I could see how deeply this request had disappointed him and how far I still had to go before I could really feel that I had entered upon the spiritual life with all its implications.

A few days later we beheld the Manuel y Cobos which was to take us to Galapagos. She had just come in from the islands and looked considerably the worse for wear, tired and bedraggled if ever a ship {did/was}. She had brought a cargo of fifty cows and at least as many human beings. The traces these had left had not yet been removed, so that our first visit on board was premature, and neither welcomed nor encouraging.

The story of this ship and of her captain is one of the most remarkable that I have ever heard, even in those far places of the earth where the stories of all the white occupants in permanence are remarkable. This bark, we were told, was over a hundred years old, and looking at her patched and mended hull and its rough interior, we found this easy to believe. The man whose name she bore was that extraordinary Cobos who towards the end of the 19th century assumed possession of the island of Chatham § in the Galapagos group.

§ The modern Isla San Cristóbal.

We found that the story of this self-appointed ruler, as told by the Ecuadoreans, tallied in almost all its amazing details with the account of him which we had read in William Beebe's book. His sinister personality seemed to have communicated itself to the ship, his namesake. There was something gloomy and uncanny about it which had nothing to do with its dilapidated state and present dirtiness. Later on, when the Baroness Wagner appeared on Floreana as its “Empress,” we thought that she too, waiting in Guayaquil for this same ship, and hearing, as she must have done, the story of Cobos, received much inspiration from it.

Dark stories of violence clung to this ghost-like vessel which was to be our only link with the world of men. Very often, waiting in vain for its arrival at Floreana—for it was usually unpunctual—I used to wonder what nameless errand it was carrying out. When it came, it always seemed to me more heavily laden with a cargo of secret guilt than with the innocent commodities it brought us. I never could forget, when looking at it, how many times during the long century of its existence it had been used to transport the unhappy men whom Cobos sent into exile on the other islands, to perish hideously of thirst and hunger. The whole fatal history of the Galapagos Archipelago seemed concentrated in this ancient ship, whose old planks could have told a story of human savagery and ruthlessness which never will be chronicled.

I can describe the skipper of the Manuel y Cobos {by/no better than by} saying that he was the kind of man one would have imagined her master to be. Not that he looked the part. He was a bluff and cheery individual with the ruddy blondness and the blue eyes of his Norwegian race. He was a man of about fifty-five, and had been in the service of his country's navy or mercantile marine—nobody seemed to know quite which. Captain Bruuns [sic, Bruun] had been a well-known figure in Ecuador ever since his arrival there shortly after the war. All Europeans coming to those parts as he did, and remaining, are safely assumed to have a “story.” It was a Norwegian settler on one of the islands who spread the legend about Captain Bruuns. {Quite possibly/No doubt} it was a true one. During the war he had misused his flag's neutrality to act as a spy in Germany's pay, and had surrendered secrets of the British naval campaign to the German government. Many British ships cruising the North Sea had been sunk as the result of {this information/these data}. Word of this espionage came to the ears of the Norwegian government, and Captain Bruuns was compelled to escape from the pursuit of the law.

We found that it was commonly believed along the Ecuadorean coast that Captain Bruuns' services to Germany had culminated in his betrayal of the presence of Lord Kitchener upon an English man-of-war and the route the ship was to take on the ill-fated voyage from which England's great hero never returned. Whether this was the true clue to one of the strangest mysteries of the War, doubtless no one will ever know, but there was something about {/this} Captain Bruuns that suggested a man with more than ordinary secrets locked up in his bosom.

He had arrived one day in the Caribbean Sea, having come all the way from Europe in a minute craft called the Isabella, which, with its one mast and general frailty, looked {capable of hardly/hardly capable of} more than little {coastal/} fishing trips{ /close up to the land}. He must have had either extraordinary luck or still more extraordinary skill to have navigated himself and his crew of three all those thousands of miles into the port of Guayaquil. His mysterious arrival had naturally aroused all kinds of inquiries, and he was found to possess no identification papers of any kind. He explained this lack by {/pitching} an amazing yarn about a kind of typhoon which had over-taken them at sea, and swept the contents of his cabin completely overboard. That the Ecuadorean authorities provided him with a brand-new set of captain's papers was most likely {less due/due less} to credulity than to admiration for his astonishing feat. Captain Bruuns then entered the service of Alvarado, the son of Manuel y Cobos, § who had inherited the ancient ship. During our time on Floreana, the Manuel y Cobos changed owners, being taken over by a trading company which rechristened her more non-committally, San Cristobal. When last I saw her she was all dressed up in a fine new coat of paint, and nobody who had not seen her in her natural aspect would ever have suspected the sinful soul that lurked behind that trim exterior. But I am certain that one day that soul will burst forth and astonish her confiding present owners.

§ Actually, Cobos' son-in-law, Rogerio Alvarado.

Captain Bruuns, having found his way to that region of the earth which offers such kindly anonymity to many strange {personalities/existences}, had, at the time we knew him, arranged his new life on a seemingly profitable basis. We never actually found out which of his many enterprises were his alone, or how far he had to pay tribute to Alvarado, but his trading interests were many and varied. He told us that the island offered numerous possibilities for making money, though some of the fields he had {tried to exploit/exploited} proved disappointing. I seldom met a man so full of projects. We wondered what he did with all his money, and learned afterwards that he sent it almost all back home to Norway, retaining very little for himself. I thought this a {compensating/consoling} trait in this otherwise sinister personality and sometimes wondered what kind of man he had been in the days before the great temptation overcame him.

He was very much interested in our intention to settle permanently on Floreana whence, so he told us, he drew a good part of his large supply of cattle hides. He had a Norwegian on the island whom he employed to slaughter the beasts and dry and cure their flesh for which the Ecuadorean butchers paid a fair price, also to cure their hides, which could be disposed of at considerable profit. The same Norwegian was also Captain Bruuns' fisherman, so that all in all he had a great deal to do, but not enough pay to make it worth his while. Moreover the hard work was too much for one man, with only a young boy to help him, but Captain Bruuns would not would not employ any other assistant. Captain Bruuns explained to us the great commercial possibilities offered by the very numerous herds of wild cattle on the island and the abundance of fish around the coast. He hoped to win us as employees in the discontented Norwegian's stead, or perhaps as partners, and was eloquent in pointing out to us the advantages of associating ourselves with him. Frederick, however, made it very plain that he had not been lured to the islands by any hope of material benefits, which seriously disappointed the good skipper.

 

If Captain Bruuns had lived, it is not unthinkable that the Galapagos might have become an important trading center of the Southern Ocean, but the hostile gods of Floreana, no less inimical to the seekers of material than to the seekers of spiritual riches, were to thwart him too in the realization of his plans.

On Saturday, the 31st of August, at four o'clock in the morning, we stood on board the Manuel y Cobos {bound/waiting to leave} at last for our enchanted island. But {/somehow or other} the captain was not there. In his stead, two young lads came up to us and begged us to take them with us in such a touching way that it pained us to have to refuse. It was almost two hours later when our skipper appeared, much flurried, {after/} having had a little brush with the port officers, it seemed. We saw him relating this with somewhat suspicious animation to his lord, if not master, Alvarado, with whom we also had the honour to be traveling. I dare say that little {controversies/hitches} of this kind must have been a very frequent occurrence between the skipper of this notorious bark and the defenders of the law.

A brilliant early morning sun shone down on our departure from the haunts of men, as we set out upon the final stage of our long journey to the solitudes of our desire. We thought and hoped that we should never recross the broad six-hundred miles of ocean that lay between our island and the mainland. As we moved out of the little harbour and watched it receding slowly from our sight, we felt a oneness with each other which we had never felt before, and if we thought about the past at all, then it was with an utter absence of regret, and with a feeling of deep happiness and gratitude to the fate which had permitted us to approach our goal at last.

Floreana was the third island called at by the Manuel y Cobos upon her round, before proceeding on a fishing-trip during which she would put in at other islands and then return to San Cristobal. Captain Bruuns suggested that we put our cargo ashore at Post Office Bay, as Floreana's best harbour was called, and visit the remainder of the archipelago as his guests. We accepted this invitation gladly, and so our first landing on our island of good hope was very temporary and hurried.

A copious leakage of motor-oil in the hold had ruined all our books and writing paper, all the bedclothes and at least one box of clothes. What this accident was to cost us later in labour and annoyance I mercifully did not know as we unloaded crates and cases, inspecting them superficially as we did so.

 

Former Norwegian settlers had built a solid house at Post Office beach and here their successor, referred to by the captain, had his abode. There were traces of a chicken coop of considerable size; a stone wall, almost a yard high, surrounded the house and there were also water-tanks for the storing of rainwater during the brief weeks when the island was not completely parched. There was even unmistakable evidence of a tennis and a croquet ground, though these had probably not been used for many a long year. An atmosphere of extreme desolation enfolded this scene, and was increased by the almost completely dried-up, lifeless vegetation round about it. It was impossible not to think, with a qualm of fear, of all the disappointed hopes of our predecessors on this island, who probably had come there with confidence no less than ours that they would be able to make their lives according to their hearts' desire.

There was another person on the island, an Indio lad of fourteen years of age named Hugo. The Norwegian's term of service was over, and he was returning on the Cobos when she brought us back. We interviewed Hugo, and arranged with him to work for us for a month, which he seemed pleased to do.

On {September 19th/the 19th of September}, after a fascinating trip to some of the other islands which pushed high out of the sea, huge, rugged mounds of volcanic stone, the coast of Floreana showed on our horizon for the second time—a sight which I was not to experience again until years later, when I beheld it on my homeward voyage to the Europe I thought then I had left {for ever/forever}. I came to Floreana together with my life's ideal companion and with a dream intact, and left it with the dream in fragments and the dear companion in his grave.

We landed on the island, our hopes as cloudless as the sky against which the great extinct volcano darkly rose. The landscape spread out at its feet had the gray-blue shimmer of all the Galapagos vegetation. What looked like dense thickets at the crater's edge was much greener and fresher than the growth below. Thin streamers of clouds floated low down among the smaller craters towards the interior of the island, and at the water's edge more volcanoes stood up straight out of the sea, steeply, though to no great height. Their rocky flanks were full of deep clefts which caught the incoming surf, so that the island was encircled by a tossing white girdle of {/the} breaking sea. As the waves receded they revealed huge boulders of pitch-black lava.

We anchored at Post Office Bay, and I cannot deny that I was a little nervous on landing. Frederick had to get busy as a doctor immediately, as whilst unloading one of the heavy boxes an Indian sailor had bruised his hand quite considerably.

While the others were busy with the freight, I stayed on board looking over the rail of the boat. The water was deep blue and transparent so that one could see plainly the ocean bed. Small fish were rushing fast through the clear water. Then a dark shadow appeared in the calm sea. What is that? A shark? I was frightened. If those monsters dared to come so close to shore, then bathing would be impossible.

Finally all the landing troubles were over. The anchors were lifted. With thankfulness to have reached the goal at last, we looked at the disappearing ship. For a long time people waved good-bye. I wondered whether all my hopes and longings would come true.

The soil we were standing upon was eloquent witness to disappointment and useless work and vain trouble.

There was a lonely Norwegian house, which cover should be our shelter for the immediate future, and the vestiges of a poultry yard, once built so carefully. In the yard there was a cement pond and a rather high brick wall. Near the house were standing rusty barrels, which had been used for rain water, saved from the short rainy season. With much trouble a part of the ground had been levelled and used for tennis and croquet-playing by the vanished settlers. An atmosphere of extreme desolation enfolded this scene, and was increased by the almost completely dried-up, lifeless vegetation round about it. It was impossible to suppress a qualm of fear at the thought of all the disappointed hopes of our predecessors on this island.

Should we suffer in the same way? No, we had other bases and other aims. Love, humulity and frugality should be the foundation of our future life. We wished to work no more than was necessary to satisfy the most frugal requirements. For the rest we intended to devote ourselves to the development of our inner and spiritual faculties.

The first night in our new home seemed to me significant, as indeed all my life is significant, even mysterious. Probably because, ever since early childhood, when my mother taught me that angels shielded and guarded me, I have been conscious of all that lies behind the tangible, visible world.

The night was clear. The full tropical moon painted everything in silver. The sea, the smooth Pacific Ocean, was shining fabulously. A silver street [sic, streak?] seemed to lead direct to heaven. Sublime and magical the scene appeared to me. Devout and silent we walked along hand in hand through the shimmering silence. It was very late when we retired and I hoped and wished that our life on Floreana would be as clear and calm as this first night.

I had hoped that I should set foot upon the soil of our promised land with a feeling of such peace and happiness as I had never known. Instead of this, no sooner had we landed than I was taken very ill and Frederick had much trouble in restoring me. I had not realized what toll the suspense and anxieties, the fatigue and excitement of our protracted journey, had taken of my frail constitution. But now, in a rush and without warning, I collapsed completely. The attack fortunately did not last long, and as soon as I was able to stand on my feet again Frederick and I, forgetful of all practical matters, took each other by the hand and started to go inland on our island like the two children of our German fairytale, setting forth to find the treasure at the rainbow's end.

It might have been wiser if we had not done so, for on returning to the beach we found that Captain Bruuns had his anchor up and that the Manuel y Cobos was already leaving Post Office Bay. Hugo was nowhere in sight. We went into the log house which we had inherited from the now departed Norwegian, and found to our dismay that the plentiful store of crockery which had been there was all gone. We remembered that Captain Bruuns had said that he was the owner of the house and its contents, but we had meant either to buy the dishes from him or to ask him to leave them for our use. In the emotion of our long-dreamed-of arrival we had forgotten all about it.

We were alone at last. We looked at one another and repeated these words like a magic formula. The desolation that had so distressed me at first sight, the house and the abandoned cultivation round it, did not sadden me now. I forgot the wasted hope and toil it bore witness to, and thought only, full of my own hope and assurance, that we had come to make an Eden here and that we could not fail.

The red rays of the setting sun gilded the ocean at our feet. The sharp black fins of sharks cut through the water; a thousand wild voices of unseen creatures mingled with the soft roar of the surf. With the terrifying suddenness to which I, the Northerner, never grew accustomed, the equatorial night rushed down upon us and the moon came up.

Chapter III: We Find Our Eden

We rose next morning with the sun, eager to celebrate the first day on our island.

In the bright morning sunshine the cabin and its surroundings presented a more dismal picture than in the kindlier light of the evening before. The rough house, known as the {“Casa Matrix”/Casa Matrix}, had been founded as long ago as 1922, and was almost the only one of all the Norwegians’ dwellings which had withstood the ravages of the wild weather on the coast. But even {it/it} was in deplorable condition, its roof riddled with holes. The large iron rainwater-tanks were eaten away with rust. There had been a dynamo constructed to supply the settlement with electric light, but all these modem innovations, too, had fallen into utter uselessness and dilapidation, and the rust covered them like a fungus. There was an iron crane, though what this had been used for we could not tell. It stood there idle, lifting up its rusty arm with a gesture that might have been an entreaty or a warning.

In fact, Post Office Bay was the only spot on our enchanted island that I disliked from the first. I could not tell exactly why, especially considering that its snow-white beach is by far the prettiest on the island with its long promontories of cactus-covered, glistening lava-rock. The bay owed its name to a romantic circumstance. Long before settlers had attempted to inhabit the island, whalers bound for the far Antarctic used to put in there in order to deposit in a large hogshead, mounted on a pole, letters to their home-folk. The dangers of their calling, which led them into the world's most perilous waters, might bring sudden death to them at any moment, and in those days there was little chance of help, and no means of sending either S O S or news of disaster. This cask post office, then, received their letters, which fellow whalers or other passing ships collected as they passed the island, and thus the families received news of their loved ones. It was strange to find in that deserted place something already historic like this hogshead{, and every/.Every} time we saw it I was reminded of those by-gone adventurers and often wondered what had happened to them.

To me there was something about Post Office Bay that seemed to bode or {harbour/harbor} evil. The tall cactuses standing up against the sky looked to me like weird sentinels ever on the watch for strange things about to happen. But at the same time there was something ludicrous in those imposing watchers, for impressive as they looked, I knew that the slightest push could topple them over. That is the odd thing about the Floreana soil—it can be made to bear rich life, but is so shallow that nothing can take firm root in it. Perhaps there was in that too an omen for us, but neither of us knew it then.

 

Within the smooth curve of the bay, the Pacific waters lay so calm and blue that they reminded one almost of the lakes of home. But hardly an hour would pass before the vicious wedge of a shark's fin would cleave the mirror-like surface of the ocean, followed by another and another. The delights of swimming were denied us in our beautiful retreat, and this disappointed me somewhat at first, for I had hoped to experience here that oneness with the sea which is unattainable to those whose country lies in the cold region of the northern oceans. On the day of our first landing we had ventured out to the end of the decrepit pier which the settlers had built, and I had said to the Norwegian that I should never dare to risk entering that shark-infested water. He had answered reassuringly that they were really not so bad, and often were quite satisfied to take only an arm or a leg of swimmers, not always demanding the whole man.

But on this first morning of our life on Floreana there was little time to spend in contemplation of the landscape. I was so eager to be up and going on our exploration of the island that I could hardly wait for Frederick to complete his preparations. I think I could not myself have said what magic scene I expected would be unfolded to our eyes in the interior—I only knew that I had never been more happy nor filled with such golden anticipation. The books we had read described Floreana as the most valuable of the Galapagos Islands by reason of the fact that it possessed four springs. Considering the islands’ extreme aridity, this was a comparatively good water supply, but it had apparently not sufficed to sustain the lives of a modest number of settlers for any length of time. For us, however, it would be enough.

None of the travellers’ accounts of Floreana which we had come across had run to mapping out the island with its special features, nor had they vouchsafed any indication as to where the springs were situated or how far they were from one another. In spite of having in the Casa Matrix a stout house ready to receive us, we did not for a moment consider making Post Office Bay our residence. I did not like the place, and Frederick did not want to live so close to the island's edge.

{So far/Far} from spending our first day in idle and romantic contemplation of our new domain, or aimless roaming, no sooner had we risen than Frederick was already planning the day's task—an expedition of discovery, in search of the springs.

While we were waiting to set out, I noticed how the young plant shoots that we had brought with us and left outside the cabin had all been badly nibbled by the chickens which the settlers had left behind. As I watched the half-starved creatures anxiously scratching the ground for what meager nourishment they could find there, I did not resent their having pilfered our banana and sugar cane, but resolved that wherever we lived, I should have a coop where I would keep them and give them proper food. I did not like to feel that such harmless, useful creatures should be simply neglected and left to starve.

Frederick took care that all our foodstuffs were put well out of the way of ants and other insects before we left, knowing what would happen otherwise,

The Indio boy Hugo warned us to take care that all our foodstuffs were put well out of the way of ants and other insects before we left. We took his advice, knowing what would happen if we did not,

for we had been told about the depredations caused by ants upon the island. The sugar went into a disused gasoline can which we suspended from the roof. These protective measures duly carried out, we then filled our rucksacks with provisions for three days, for we did not know how far our exploration would take us nor what adventures might prevent our returning to the house the same day. It was well that we did so.

The Norwegian {settler/settlers}, among other legacies, had left two dogs behind. These were Hugo's good friends, and they crowded barking round him now like a pack of hunters. They were a kind of setter, less wild than most of the other animals on the island which had emancipated themselves from domestication. They too were a rather hungry lot, though this surprised me afterwards when I saw the wholesale slaughter of cattle in which Hugo was wont to indulge. While we strapped our heavy rucksacks on our backs Hugo shouldered his dearest possession, an old-fashioned gun, which had been given him by Captain Bruuns, and our great trek began.

An enchantment lay upon the day; a more than natural beauty seemed to invest the whole island. The light was different from the light of other days, the air was sweet, the landscape full of more than earthly charm. The sun-parched, lifeless Galapagos brush seemed different here from the same vegetation on Isabella and Santa Cruz. There I had had no desire to penetrate the jungle that their matted thickets formed, but now I could hardly wait, while Frederick bravely hacked a path wide enough for us to push our way through. That is to say, a path existed, worn by the giant turtles in centuries of toilsome journeying between the seashore and the springs; but the turtles had long since gone away from Floreana, and the merciless tropic growth had overgrown their road, so that it was hardly even to be traced. Frederick led the way, slashing his sharp knife downwards with a strong stroke. I, pressing too close to him in my eagerness to see what lay ahead, received a cut in my finger. It was not a very deep cut, but as I took out my handkerchief to wipe away the blood, I thought how incongruous this symbol of civilization looked in such surroundings.

 

We came to the first lava field. To the eye it was small enough, certainly not more than fifty yards, but to the feet—more accurate judges—it was at least five miles.

The lava stones were sharp as knives. One felt in crossing them that they might have been invented by the designers of {mediæval/medieval} torturers, so {visciously/fiercely} did they lacerate even the shod feet. How Hugo could walk upon them on his bare soles was more than I could ever understand. The stones lay about, loose, like pebbles, so that it was all that one could do to keep one's footing. But to have fallen would have meant many and painful gashes. We picked our way with all the care we could, Frederick and I stumbling cautiously, Hugo and the dogs bounding agilely ahead, and crossed five bad stretches like this within an hour. The strips of land connecting the lava fields were hardly less strewn with fragments of the same jagged, granite-like stone, but limy earth between supported a growth of grass and scrub.

When we had gone steadily for an hour, we called a halt and looked back along the way we had come. Almost unconsciously we had been climbing uphill, and found ourselves now well advanced towards the slope of the highest mountain on the island. Its broad base loomed up before us, very near. Hugo said that we must use this peak as our guide, for we should be returning to Post Office Bay by the same route. We turned from the view of the green flanks of the volcano, whose crater now sent forth no more blasting streams of lava to destroy all the life over which they poured, and saw the five lava beds we had crossed, descending in a straight line, one behind the other, to the sea. “We have come here five hundred thousand years too soon,” said Frederick. “The few centuries since this volcano ceased to be active have hardly sufficed for life to take root here. These dull and leafless acacias and straw-like grass will give place some day to rich and abundant vegetation, if the water supply can in some way be made adequate.”

The gray-blue of the lower island lightened to a pale green towards the mountain-top, and as we ascended the path we were astonished at the difference in the vegetation. We came upon lemon trees, their branches heavily laden, and the ground around them strewn with fallen fruit. I stooped and picked the fruit up from the ground; it was the first time I had ever seen a lemon growing. We had now come high enough on the mountainside to be able to observe what differences the moister air produced in all that grew there. Not only plants, but also animals could thrive in this more favoured district, and we saw where cattle and swine had trodden trails like a snakes-and-ladders board into the earth. From a distance wild donkeys gazed at us, with a detached expression in their soft eyes.

Suddenly the dogs broke into loud barking and leaped wildly ahead, Hugo plunging after them. We heard a shot, and a few moments later Hugo came racing proudly back, with the announcement that he had killed a boar. Every German knows what boar-hunting is, how dangerous the quarry, and how nimble and clever hunter needs to be to attack these fierce beasts in an undergrowth. I could not help admiring Hugo's feat and told him so, but Frederick received the news in disapproving silence. Hugo told us that it was necessary to provide his dogs with meat, which was, he said, indispensable to them; a good store of it must always be on hand for them, he instructed us, otherwise they would become mangy. We then, though with much distaste and reluctance, helped him to dismember the creature's carcass, cutting the flesh into long strips, which we hung on the boughs of a tree, well out of reach of the other half-starved dogs running wild upon the island. It was a very lean boar, like all the abandoned livestock of the former settlers. It did not seem to have been able to find food enough for even its rough requirements, and I began to understand why Captain Bruuns' interest in the island cattle was rather on account of their hides than of their meat—there was certainly no pasture to speak of.

We found that Hugo was in the habit of killing to his heart's content, but that he never made use of more than a small part of the animals he slaughtered. Frederick insisted that this must now stop, and told Hugo that if he must continue with his shooting he should in future use up one whole beast before doing away with another. Hugo was extremely hostile to this arrangement and protested that his method was that of all the hunters who had come to Floreana, who took only the best cuts and left the rest to rot. Frederick, however, found this a most abominable practice, which he would on no account tolerate. He disapproved of all slaughter, but where it had to be, it should be reduced to a minimum.

Our unsavory task fulfilled, we then went on. We had not gone far before our ears caught the sharp yelping of wild dogs, and I thought that we must be coming to a human habitation. This was a very strange sensation, for I knew that except for Hugo {/and the old Norwegian} there had been absolutely no one on the island.

Yet the feeling persisted, and suddenly the atmosphere was full of ghostliness.

Yes, if there were other people on the island, they were there not in the living body but as ghosts. The magic sunlight of the day seemed to turn cold and paler. I repeated to myself that we were alone, that if I sensed the presence of others, it was illusion. Illusion like Frederick's love. Like a cold wind the knowledge had passed over my heart that Frederick did not love me. Ever since the early morning of this day which had begun so magically, I had been conscious of a change in him. But until an hour ago I had ascribed the strangeness of his manner to his concentration on the circumstances of our new life, the finding of a new site to settle on, the many preoccupations of the male about to found his abode, whether it be a castle or a rude shelter in the wilderness. Now something told me that he had banished love from his new life, and that I must learn to do without it.

Putting this dismaying thought out of my mind as best I could, I chatted with little Hugo, child of nature, who seemed so well adapted to the wild landscape with his animal grace, his wantonness, his simple mind, cunning with the cunning of an animal, and cheerful with an animal's unthinking acceptance of its life's conditions. In my pleasure at watching and talking to Hugo, I had not noticed Frederick's taciturnity, for he was often taciturn. But all at once I became aware of it. It seemed as if a dark cloud enveloped him, he hardly answered when I spoke to him. I went on for a while in silence, trying to guess what it was that had come over my dear companion. I knew that it would not do to ask him. Then all at once I caught a glance which flashed from his eyes to the nimble figure of Hugo, running along ahead of us with his dogs like the very spirit of that wild place. Frederick was jealous. The man of intellect, the disillusioned heir of all the centuries of civilization and culture, was jealous of a little Indio savage with his native skill, his oneness with the world he had been born into. It was resentment of the problem-ridden mind towards the problem solved.

I felt deeply hurt, but could not have told whether my pain was for the pain I knew that Frederick was suffering or for myself at glimpsing, as we all must glimpse at times, the feet of clay on which even the most exalted human gods must walk. I felt that Frederick's smouldering rage was chiefly that of sheer wounded masculine conceit, and the fear that I was silently comparing him with the wild grace and beauty of the young Indio boy, to his own disadvantage. Perhaps he thought that in his stumbling, awkward progress through this rough landscape, which seemed to offer no hindrance whatever to the lad Hugo, he might even be appearing slightly ridiculous in my eyes. Knowing him so well, I could divine all his unspoken thoughts, but it was quite impossible for me to answer them, because I felt that though I might learn that he had faults, Frederick should never doubt that he would always be for me the highest earthly being. I could never think of judging him by paltry worldly standards, or subject him to the superficial and thoughtless comparisons by which one judges ordinary people, one against the other. I had left the world for him as utterly as if we had crossed the barrier of death together and entered into another life beyond. I had done so without question and without reserve, and knew that there could be no hardship too severe, no test too arduous, for me to endure for his sake. I felt that he owed it to me to understand the absoluteness of my faith in him, and when I saw his certainty, which no shadow of doubt ought ever to have clouded in his mind, all undone by a foolish little outward thing, I was assailed by a deep distress. Feeling that worse doubts and bitterer conflicts were about to come, I was filled with anger towards Frederick, and for a moment wished poor Hugo at the bottom of the sea. But before my tears had time to overflow, I reminded myself that this was, after all, a trifling matter, and that it was my first duty and only hope of happiness to let no trifle interfere with the fulfillment of our great mission. I had fought a short, fierce battle with myself and won. And when I spoke again to Frederick, the strain had left my voice as it had left my heart, and I imagined that by some strange transference of thought I had communicated to Frederick also the serenity that had returned to me. He smiled again, and I knew that all was well. Then I forgot ourselves and gave myself up again completely to the ever-changing landscape. I looked about me, and it seemed to me once more that this island of our dream was the most beautiful island in all the world.

In a state

In this state of peace restored, and

of happiness which no words can describe, we reached our first day's destination—the caves of Floreana. Before entering the largest of these recesses in the mountainside we stood awhile to gaze upon the wild, romantic landscape of our island, which lay outspread at our feet in strange and unimagined beauty. Towards the south the ocean swept away to the distant horizon, and from the moderate elevation where we stood, we could detect no sign of any of the other islands. We might have been the only living people in the world. It was at once an awe—inspiring and delicious feeling. Directly facing us, the majestic crescent of {the pic/Naranjal} § reared its two thousand feet above the level of the blue Pacific floor. Innumerable towards the right the other craters rose like buoys out of the land. Green in the near distance, darker farther off, they stood against the clear sky or in relief against the misty blue-gray of the earth below them, a never-to-be-forgotten sight. They might have been the burial mounds of gods; they made one think of the pyramids and other man-made monuments to royal dead. We knew that on the other side of the mountain on which we stood lay the wide stretch of pampas grass with the herds of roaming wild cattle. It seemed strange to know of so much life abroad upon this island, where nothing but ourselves seemed to exist.

§ The pic is meaningless, and Naranjal is orange grove en español.

When we could tear ourselves away from the rapt contemplation of our domain, we turned our steps towards the caves. I had expected these to be of quite imposing size, but this was not the case. The largest was hardly more than three yards square and seemed to have been excavated by human hands, whereas the rest were natural. I must confess that it was not without a slight recoil that I followed Frederick in. We had heard such gruesome stories of its former inhabitant, the man Watkins, lunatic and murderer, that I could not suppress a shudder at the thought of crossing his dark threshold. I imagined him crouched within its shadow, scanning the shoreline for the hapless sailors ill-fate brought into his clutches. It was said that he would lure them onto the beach; then cut their boats adrift and make slaves of them. The story went that when he departed from the island on his final voyage to the mainland, he was accompanied by several others; but he arrived alone, and no one doubted but that he had done the others all to death. This terrible being had lived in an interior which seemed to express his personality. At least I so preferred to think, though actually our informants had not been sure whether the fearful Watkins had actually lived in this cave or in a hut now disappeared which was said to have been on the very spot where our own house was afterwards to stand.

The cave's arched entrance revealed two benches hewn into either wall and a hole which had apparently served as a hearth. The walls were black with soot and the place contained an improvised bed made of a sheet of corrugated iron with a layer of grass between it and its tarpaulin covering. Many a hunter of the wild cattle must have rested his weary bones on this unyielding couch. I bent down to pull the sailcloth straight, and as I did so a huge rat jumped out. I sprang back in horror and disgust but the creature, no less terrified than I, scurried away. A stone's throw from the mouth of the cave, we saw our first freshwater spring. It gushed down the side of the cliff like a miniature waterfall.

 

A tiny oasis of ciruela trees and a miniature orange grove had come into being within the radius of its off-flow, and a short way off stood a magnificent aguacate tree full of fruit, and a guava.

The water of the spring wandered down the wide gulley between the two volcanoes. It made a short and marshy bed between scattered lava boulders. Quite different plants grew here from any we had yet seen on the island. The richly laden fruit-trees told again of men's attempt to tame this wild nature to their needs. We caught sight of a plough half buried, like a symbol of despair, under the encroaching vines which it had been brought there long ago to keep at bay. Down on the beach beside the rusty cistern and the rusty crane we had seen another plough, lying where its owners had abandoned it. Seeing its fellow here, I supposed that they had not even thought it worth while to transport it up the {mountain-side/mountainside}.

I was enchanted by the beauty of this spot, and the reminder of others' failure, which the vine-grown plough betokened, did not seem discouraging enough to me to make it necessary to look any farther for a place where we should settle. I liked the thought of living within the protecting walls of the two volcanoes, that rose like massive ramparts on either hand, grim in certain lights, but unassailable by wind and weather. They reminded me of the tall bluffs within whose shelter many a {mediæval/medieval} castle in my own country had been built; and I could almost imagine myself as a new kind of chatelaine of another kind of “Burg.”

But Frederick, his sound good-sense not obscured, like mine, by mists of romantic dreaming, pointed out that this place was quite impossible to settle in. He showed me how the steep hillside would have to be terraced for our plantation, and made me see what inordinate labour this would entail. Of course, I had to admit the rightness of what he said and accept his objections, but it cost me a pang of disappointment, which I hoped he did not notice. Nor did I know how grateful I would be to him afterwards for having decided against establishing ourselves in this magic valley; for it was destined later to become the stage of the strange melodrama of which the Baroness Wagner-Bousquet and protagonist. The whole world knows at least a version of the story of this woman who emerged on Floreana out of an obscure Paris background and “took possession” of the island, on which she planned to raise a luxurious hotel for American millionaire yachters in those parts. This gilded plot was the one she had devised, and she had planned a happier denouement. She could not know that human beings on Floreana might dream but would never be allowed to live the dramas they invented, and that she, like ourselves, was to be merely a puppet in the real play composed, staged and directed by the island gods.

We spent the night in Watkins’ cave, lighting a fire in the primitive fireplace to drive the dampness out. We must have looked like shipwrecked folk or buccaneers ourselves, as we sat round it with our faces lit up by the flames, a white woman dressed roughly enough, a white man with already a heavy growth of beard upon his face and a wild mane of hair, and the dark-eyed Indio boy telling creepy stories of the island's history. Hugo was ardent in his assurances that the persuasions of neither gods nor men would ever have induced him to spend a night alone in that cave of evil memory. As if to heighten the atmosphere of eeriness, a wind, weird and more ghostly than a wind in Europe, had suddenly come up announcing, Hugo told us, rain for the morrow. It blew across the mouth of the cave with a peculiar moan; it was not like a wind, but like a train of specters gliding past, each uttering a sigh of sharp despair as if imploring help of the living folk within the place. Hugo, terrified in spite of our sobering presence, told us in a mere whisper of a voice how everyone who had ever heard this wind talked of it ever afterwards with shuddering fear.

The following morning we looked out on a landscape completely enveloped in the delicate mist which passes for rain at this altitude. Its season is a protracted one, from May to November, and though the supply of moisture it provides is meager, it is enough to keep the summits green even before the real rains come.

Our destination for the second day was the wide {pampas/pampa} lying to the northeast of the caves, a dry and grassy plain of surprising extent, considering the size of the whole island. If we were looking forward to seeing this new landscape, Hugo was in a state of almost wild excitement. He could hardly wait for us to be gone; all the passionate Indio hunter in him was aroused, though he had already begun to understand that there was aworld of difference between his present master and the old Norwegian, and knew that if he was to be permiteed any shooting it would be very little, and that the chase rather then the kill would be his day's enjoyment.

It had not been our intention to molest the wild herds on the island, but we needed a horse to transport our effects from Post Office Bay to wherever our future home would be. The Norwegian had assured us that this would be the easiest matter in the world, but he proved over-optimistic. Others of the settlers had had three horses regularly in their service, and we had been told that one of these was as “tame as any cab-horse.”

We turned our faces from the lovely valley and made our way to the brow of the hill. There, spread out at our feet, lay the wide {pampas /pampa.} Almost as though they had come in obedience to a call, we saw three horses moving in the tall grass. We climbed down the slope and approached them. It was our plan to come at them from three sides, and they allowed us to get quite near. Hugo, armed now not with a firearm but with a lasso, was not successful. After one abortive attempt to catch the nearest horse, he swung his thong so violently that all three tossed up their heads, snorted, and galloped away to a safe distance, where they stopped to look back at us, with what I thought an expression of polite triumph. Frederick then tried a less dashing method, with far greater success. He went up to the senior of the trio, an old stallion, and talked to him coaxingly. The horse showed no fear, and even suffered its mane to be stroked. When, however, the stroking hand turned to a grip of would-be possession, the old horse reared and struggled. Frederick called to Hugo to come over and help him before the horse could get away; but the Indio boy had no taste for attack at such close quarters, and refused to budge. Frederick's inexperience in horse-breaking rendered him helpless with this rebellious beast, which might once have been as docile as a cab-horse but had since certainly acquired a strong preference for freedom and a considerable determination to keep out of the hands of men as long as he could. Frederick was forced to let him go. But the encounter had disturbed the confidence of the peaceful three, and one of them turned and galloped up the slope down which we had come. It was old, but fear of captivity lent it speed. We followed and cornered it outside the cave. The noose of slavery enclosed its smooth, brown neck, and I saw that though its beautiful eyes were still wide with fear, it became quite calm at the touch of the yoke, and seemed to remember immediately what the demeanor of a horse that had become again a beast of burden should be. Its long previous service must have broken its spirit. It had known a brief time of freedom once again, but this was over and it was quite resigned. I patted its soft nose and it whinnied, turning its soft and limpid eyes upon me without enmity. Its fellows on the {pampas/pampa] answered it, but kept their distance.

 

We had caught our horse. As we tethered it to a tree, we felt that for two city dwellers we had done a good day's work here in the wilds. Our success encouraged us to fresh activity, and although it was not our plan to settle in this spot, we set ourselves to cutting down almost a whole thicket of a willow-like bush that grew about the cave. We finished this work by the day's end, and slept our second night under the buccaneer Watkins’ somber roof, tired and content.

The mist had long dispersed before the next morning's sun rose and we came forth again into a bright world. We had decided to go back to the Casa, for the oasis as a permanent site was hopelessly impracticable. Hugo went ahead leading our horse, we followed at a comfortable pace, enjoying the exquisite morning. Now and then we stopped to gather lemons and eat an orange from the tree. It struck us forcibly that the lemons lying on the ground had been left untouched by all the passing birds and animals, while the oranges had almost all been either pecked at or eaten up.

We distinguished, on this walk, five different kinds of birds, one little gray one very like our European sparrow. The beaks of others showed that they were insect eaters; they were to prove our valued alliest later on in a long and bitter war against the insect pests upon the island. One had a red head and breast, another was yellow and very dainty, and still another proudly showed a coat of brilliant gold. Like most birds of the southern hemisphere, these had been denied the gift of song. As on our walk in the interior of Isabella [sic, Isabela], the birds were absolutely fearless. They showed the prettiest interest in us, and followed us along the whole long route. They fluttered close, and one even settled on my head. They perched upon our arms and shoulders, inspecting with their bright eyes these strange new denizens of their wilderness.

All at once we saw the sea again; its lovely blue expanse stretched away to the remotest edge of space. Faint in the northwest rose the blue outline of Isabella. We glanced down towards the coast, expecting to see the white curve of Post Office Bay, but it was not there. We saw no sand at all, but only a black rim of lava that outlined the coast. Clearly, we had missed our way, going westward [towards Black Beach] where we should have turned off towards the north. We called to Hugo, and his answering shout came back to us from far off.When he rejoined us, we learned that we had been misled by a donkey path. He told us that farther on in this direction was another spring, and we remembered now that the Norwegian had told us of it. We thought that instead of retracing our steps and going back down to the Bay, we wold continue until we found this oasis.

But Hugo had a lot to say against this plan. Hugo had extremely definite ideas as to where we ought to settle. He had a thousand reasons why the oasis we had just rejected would be ideal for our permanent habitation, but it needed no great shrewdness on our part to detect that his preference for that site was due entirely to the nearness of the {pampas/pampa}, that happy hunting ground where he could shoot at will among the wild cattle. Seeing us now upon the way towards a spot which he knew very well we might find suitable, he put forth all his energy to dissuade us from going any farther. He said the spring itself was practically worthless and that it would take us at least another two hours along the rough and arduous donkey-track to reach it. It put him out extremely when we decided that as it was still so early in the day, we might quite safely venture on this further expedition. Hugo accompanied us with the worst possible grace, confiding his sentiments to the old horse. We laughed, but were merciless.

Another half hour brought us to an ancient barbed-wire fence. We found that this enclosed about an acre of land, more profusely grown with many kinds of plants than any we had seen before. The peace of noon lay upon the scene and in the stillness I suddenly heard the soft ripple of a brook. “The spring,” I said, and felt my heart beat faster. Somehow I knew that we had reached the place of our long seeking. Almost before I was aware of what I was doing I have found a way through the barbed-wire fence and was on my knees beside the gushing water. its cool transparency, and a kind of magic that seemed to lie upon the place and shimmer in the air, all seemed to speak to me in voices I had heard before, and as I dipped my hand into the water and drank a draught of it, it was as though I said to {someone/some one} who had long been waiting for my coming, “Yes, it is I; I have come at last.”

The rank growth round the spring, so dense and overhanging that one could hardly stand upright in it, almost hid Frederick from me. But I heard him saying to me, “This is our place, Dore, and we shall call it Friedo.” I knew what the name meant, and all my heart went out in happiness to our Eden found, and to this man whose dream was my dream also, now fulfilled. For a moment, long-pent-up feeling overwhelmed me and tears of joy and thankfulness flowed down my cheeks. Fredericks' strong hand held both of mine, and he waited, full of tender understanding, for the mood to pass.

Hugo stood by, no doubt astonished at all this outburse of emotion. One place to him was much the same as another, and he told us of the settlement that had once been on this spot. Pointing out a little floor of lava blocks, he said that it was there that Watkins’ other house had stood. It had been called Casa Piedra, he said, and Watkins had murdered {someone/some one} in it.

Ignoring this gruesome detail, we paused awhile to let the beauty of the scene pour into our souls. The water of the spring ran in a brook no more than a few yards long, then vanished into the parched earth. The thicket was so dense that the thought of ever thinning out and taming it seemed full of daring.

 

We had to crawl on all fours to keep our heads clear of the lowest branches. Hugo assured us that an evil spirit had the place in charge, Watkins' ghost, he said, and advised us strongly not to stay there. Hugo's insistence on this point interested me. His fear now turned out to be quite genuine, though I had thought at first that it might have been inspired chiefly by his desire to have us settle nearer to the {pampas/pampa}. But as time went on, and as the clouds of tragedy gathered over Friedo, I often used to wonder whether we might not have been wiser to heel the little Indio's warning.


Chapter IV: Difficulties

Frederick never told me if the name of Friedo came to him as a sudden idea in that moment of discovery. It was the perfect name for our home, bringing his name and mine together, but meaning more than this, since {“Friede”/Friede} in the German language is the word for peace. Thus it embraced, this name, our oneness and our common dream.

In the first {/burst of} enthusiasm, I fear I was much inclined to believe that the practical establishment of Friedo would more or less take care of itself. It did not immediately occur to me, so lost was I in the beauty of the place, that a cleating must be made, this alone an enormous work, for there were hardly ten yards of ground on which even a child could have walked upright. Frederick, no less in love with the place than I, did not allow himself to be so foolishly carried away, but immediately began a systematic plan of action. He measured out the probable extent of clearing necessary to contain even a most modest shack and essential garden round it, appraised the possibilities of the apparently rich soil, and estimated with surprising accuracy the time it would take for him and Hugo to clear a few square yards of jungle for a minimum garden plot.

The natural clearing around the brook was no more than twenty by thirty feet in size, and swampy with the underground brook immediately below the surface of the earth. Frederick looked round with a touch of dismay at the size of some of the boulders he would have to move, and there was one huge acacia tree which must also go.

The way to the spring bore traces of having been trodden hard by the hoofs of many animals. It was obviously a favourite watering place of the wild herds, and we distinguished treads of cattle, swine, asses and dogs. The dense brush hid the skeletons of many poor beasts, some shot by hunters, probably, as they came down to drink, some which had no doubt withdrawn to that pleasant oasis when they felt that their time had come and lain down to die.

Frederick said that one of his first tasks must be to put the fence in repair.

On our first night at Friedo we slept, not always comfortably, curled up amidst the gnarled and spreading roots of a ciruela tree. It was the first night we had ever spent out under the open sky, and was an unforgettable experience to me. The dazzling moonlight sent its shafts even through the dense tangled foliage, the jungle seemed afloat upon a sea of silver, and from far away the low voice of the ocean came to our ears. Strange sounds of unseen animals abroad intermittently disturbed the silence, and gradually I came to realize that the tropical night is never silent, but is alive with intense, vibrating life from dawn to dusk. The silent hours in those regions of the earth are noon and afternoon, when everything lies prostrate in the heat of the sun. At last I slept, and sometimes half-dreamed, half-thought, that the bush which sheltered us was full of creatures come to look at the intruders upon their domain.

When {we/I} awoke next morning, Hugo had already made tea, which he prepared out of some herb which tasted very refreshing though not much like the tea that Europeans know. We drank it with the juice of some of the lemons we had gathered. I sweetened mine with sugar and Frederick said, with serious reproach, “I see you haven't yet put European ways behind you.” In itself this was not a very cruel remark, but somehow it mortified and hurt me deeply. It seemed to imply so much more than the mere words that, if I had not feared the action would look too childish, I should have poured the contents of my mug out on the ground and drunk no more that day.

As it was, I said nothing, but determined with all my strength that I would never again let myself forget that I had gone away from civilization to start my life anew. Fervently I told myself what deep significance lies in the trifling things of everyday, and that this new everyday must have a different character from the one that I had fled from with this man who alone, I knew, could be my guide into the country of the soul's fulfillment.

I should not record this foolish little incident were it not that it was the beginning of a violent struggle which, from that day onward, Frederick and I were doomed to wage. The great crusader against the dominance of self in all men, he was determined, with all the ardor that was in him, to cast out the foe in me as in himself. He knew that I could never be what I most longed to become until this fight was brought to a successful issue. I, opposing where I should have yielded, did not understand, but often thought that he had ceased to love me. How mistaken I was, but how thousandfold has been his ultimate victory!

Now began the transport of our things all the way from Post Office Bay. Of all the hardships we endured in the ensuing years on Floreana, not one compared with this. It stands out in my memory with almost terrifying hideousness even now, for not only was the sheer physical labour more than my small strength could support, but the sharp inner conflict which had suddenly blazed up between Frederick and me made every burden many times as heavy and weighted my feet and heart alike with lead.

We had, as I have said before, an enormous quantity of things with us, which somehow or other must now be conveyed up a hillside innocent of roads, over rough lava fields and through dense overhanging bush. This feat had to be accomplished by two city-bred people, one of them a woman of no strength to begin with, the other a man enervated by civilized life and past his youth's first vigour. These ill-equipped beings had, for all aid, one Indio boy aged fourteen, thoroughly reckless and unreliable, and quite an aged horse. With so little physical strength available, the transport was a task for ingenuity. I thought with sad dismay that we should end by having to leave half our things behind, and Frederick, as if divining my thoughts, smiled ruefully and said, “Yes, for this job I should be twenty years younger, shouldn't I?” I was so touched at this, spoken with boyish charm, that all my depression flew away for a moment. I told him, with a confidence in which there was no pretense, that I knew very well that he would prove a match for this and every other difficulty we might encounter.

It was a thirsty and a hungry way, and meeting a bush whose branches were invitingly laden with nuts, we picked some. We saw that they contained much oil, and decided that we would later make a press and use the oil for cooking. Hugo was horrified to see us with these nuts in our hands, and said we must on no account attempt to eat them. We, however, ignored his warning, and found that they were very tasteful. Hardly had we gone a hundred steps before I became deathly sick, and in another moment the same fate overtook my poor Frederick. When we reached Post Office Bay four hours later, we were completely exhausted and undone. The effects of this rash indulgence in the poisoned fruit took days, in fact, to wear off.

But there was too much to do for us to spend the rest of the day tending our ills. We thought we should recover sooner if we ignored the qualms inside us and set at once to work to pickle the boar meat which Hugo had fetched down from the trees where we had hung it on the way up to the spring. He brought it slung across the horse's back. It was Hugo who showed us how this pickling process was done, and his pride in teaching us amused me, and greatly helped to make me forget my pains.

The rest of the day went by in sorting out the objects which should have precedence in the transport, and as we both still felt quite ill and weak, we were glad to retire to the Casa early and sleep.

The Norwegian had actually possessed a wooden transport saddle, and we sent a grateful message after him when we discovered this next day. We loaded it with pots and pans and garden implements, and the shoots of many of the plants which we had collected on the other islands. These shoots were an enormous weight, at least ten hundredweight in all; of course we did not even try to move them all at once. The kindly planters who had pressed these treasures on us had meant to prove their good will by giving us the largest cuttings they could take from their own plants. This was mistaken generosity, for very little ones would have done just as well, and saved us many a weary muscle. However, these were things we realized only afterwards, after we had become experienced and successful planters ourselves. To the birds, whose interest in our doings had in no way diminished, we must have seemed a strange group as we toiled along under our heavy loads.

I do not know which of us stumbled most painfully or most often, we human beings or our old prisoner, the horse El Viejo. I know that as I watched him struggling bravely onward but clearly unequal to his task, I felt that he was giving me a lesson in brave endurance which I could well afford to learn from him. Hugo refused point-blank to carry anything, and neither threats nor pleading could prevail on him to do so. He left our painful caravan to its own devices, and went off muttering something about having to look for his dogs. Now and then he reappeared, unwilling perhaps to leave us entirely in the lurch and at least keeping us on the right path. But no sooner was he come than he was gone again, for every practical purpose worse than useless.

The scorching sun beat down upon us and sometimes I was literally unable to go another step. Always, when I was tired, my knees had a way of failing me. I had never been a walker to any really great extent, although in the days when I belonged to the Youth Movement I had taken part in mild walking tours such as the young people at that time went in for. But roaming along the well-kept German roads with a light rucksack on one's back, with frequent rests and never in real heat, was very different from this Calvary of Floreana, whose jagged lava floor cut leather soles like paper, and where to stumble meant to hew a deep wound in the flesh.

I often called for help to Frederick. He ignored me. I pleaded with him to let me stop awhile, to let me go back altogether; he never even turned his head. I hope I may some day be pardoned for the thoughts I harboured against him then, and the cruel, bitter rebukes which I sent after him along that awful way. He seemed to me, in his ignoring of my plight, the most cold-blooded, harsh and brutal tormentor who had ever lured a woman to her slow destruction, and left her to her fate. I called him every name that I could lay my thoughts to. Only long afterwards I was to learn how every word I said had reached his heart. But he was teaching me the ways of fortitude, and knew that to yield, and let me yield, was fatal.

Utterly exhausted, I sank down now and then beneath my load, sobbing helplessly. A sense of desolation froze me to the soul.

 

I felt that I should go mad with joy if any other living being should come into sight, evert a cannibal, even a bloodthirsty buccaneer. I thought of all the stories we had heard of former settlers and wondered if, perhaps, some as yet unknown cave upon the island might harbour some one else who might now suddenly appear and rescue me. All kinds of wild and fantastic thoughts of this kind came into my mind, only to increase the despair with which I realized that there was no one, not a living soul, to help me. The blue outline of Isabella mocked me from afar.

Heartless as Frederick's indifference seemed to be, it was already having the effect of steeling my pride. I resolved that even if I were to die I would never let him see my weakness again or call on him for any help or mercy. I will not say that I kept this vow as strictly as I meant to, but at any rate I pulled myself together and struggled on. For later trips I devised a kind of walking-stick out of planks. The unplaned wood was rough and jagged to the touch, but its support was welcome. Before we slept that night at Friedo, we planted some of the shoots which we had brought. The next day we made the journey back again. To me it was almost incredibly easy, but I thought with dread of the next transport.

In this fashion we achieved the almost superhuman task of getting our belongs to Friedo. It took many weeks and cost one life that we could ill afford to lose.

After about a fortnight, during which we had faithfully made the dreaded journey to Friedo every other day, El Viejo succumbed to the strain. I had noticed how, each time we set out for Post Office Bay, the old horse had begun to show more and more reluctance to go with us. I used to see him looking at me with his eyes full of sad pleading, as though he knew that only I could could understand what he was feeling. I had come to love him dearly, and his increasing feebleness hurt me to the heart.

In spite of the abundant vegetation at the spring, there was nothing there for him to eat, so that he had to be taken to the pampa every day we were at Friedo. On the intervening day down below at the beach, there was enough dry grass for him to feed on. It was no short way to the grassy plain of the pampa, but Hugo, unwilling as he was to go on the slightest errand for us, went gladly with El Viejo. I liked to watch them setting out together, and when I saw the old horse come back, as I hoped, a little rested and refreshed, my conscience smote me just a little less. Still I could realize, though understanding nothing about horses, that the hard labour was beyond his strength. I felt we understood each other because of the weakness that we had in common.

One day, as we were starting back for Post Office Bay with another of those hideous trips in prospect, I put my arm round El Viejo's neck and cried. He looked so infinitely sad, it seemed as though he would have cried too if nature had allowed him that relief. I could not bear to think of him stumbling along the rough way back to Friedo under the overloaded pack saddle. Suddenly it seemed to me outrageous of us to have deprived this old and hard-worked animal of his last days of rest and freedom with his brothers. I felt that I had been party to a crime, and blamed myself bitterly for having allowed him to be caught. I took off his halter and turned him loose.

Frederick, striding on in front, was already well ahead, and did not see this act of rebellion. As for Hugo, he was, as usual, nowhere to be found. I kissed old Viejo and started down the slope, hoping that I had made good our base and cowardly deed. What was my dismay that night when Hugo appeared on the beach, leading the horse. He had found him roaming up towards the pampa and had brought him back. It was terrible to me to think that my late atonement had not been accepted. I bitterly protested against using the old horse again, but Frederick brought so many practical arguments to bear, that in the end he won, and El Viejo's last load was bound upon his back.

I tried to comfort myself with the thought that perhaps he was not really overworked, and that perhaps my ignorance of horses exaggerated my alarm. But this hardly helped me, for I knew that I was only trying to deceive myself. It took him a long, long time that day to get to Friedo, and when he got there he was so exhausted that I thought he would collapse there and then. We postponed our next excursion to the Bay on his account, in order to give him two days' rest instead of one. I watched him anxiously, but could see that he was in the last extremity. We turned him loose again.

I never shall forget how I went with him to the edge of Friedo, and watched him going slowly in the direction of the pampa. I could read his longing for it in the gentle eyes he had turned upon me as I said good-by to him and asked him to forgive us. He never reached the plain, poor thing. It was too far. The next day Hugo came and told us he had found him lying dead where the path branched off to the caves. We saw him too next day, having to pass that way, but there was little to remind us of El Viejo. The ravenous beasts and insects of the island had fallen on his corpse and devoured it clean. Only the white bones were left. I mourned him as a friend, and wrote a little epitaph for him in my diary.

Meanwhile our Friedo had begun to assume the appearance of a human habitation. Frederick and I had done some superficial clearing of brush and of the ground, but were soon forced to realize that more drastic methods than chopping and cutting were needed here. So amazing was the fertility of the ground, that no sooner was a bush cut down than it shot up again. Besides our shoots, I had also planted some seeds, and almost before they were well in the ground they had begun to sprout, needing no watering because of the moisture from the spring just under the shallow surface of the earth.

We had as yet no house, but slept in comfortable hammocks slung between the branches of our ciruela tree. Hugo had made himself a bed of slender saplings supported on a frame and uprights, so as to keep well off the ground. When the dark fell, Hugo became strangely gregarious, and was not to be induced to let us out of sight until the safe daylight came again, when we could often look for him in vain. Though I was often angry with him in those days for leaving us so horribly in the lurch, at night I always forgave him silently, touched by his need of our protection.

With our old horse no more, our labour was heavier than ever, and Frederick, though far from robust, performed sheer miracles of strength. I remembered how he brought two wooden bedsteads with springs all the way from the Casa up to Friedo on his back, hardly pausing once to rest. The load almost bent him double, so that he could not see any obstacle ahead. I walked in front of him, telling him where to bend even lower, out of the way of overhanging branches. He spent some wasted days in an attempt to find a shorter way down to the Bay. It was not until long afterwards that we discovered that had we had our things unloaded at Black Beach, instead of at Post Office Bay, we should have had but half an hour's walk to Friedo.

On the 1st of October luck was kind to us. Three Norwegians came over from Santa Cruz for cattle hunting. They took Hugo with them, and when they were ready to go away again, they turned over to us one of the horses they had captured on the pampa and used for the transporting of the carcasses. The new horse was strong and in good condition, and proved a boon to us. We were now able to move our heavy things, including the wheelbarrow Frederick had bought in Guayaquil, and some tarpaper roofing. As a result we could now begin to build our house, and lay out the garden more extensively. The Norwegians told us they were in the habit of coming to our island rather often, and promised to bring lumber and corrugated iron on their next trip, landing these things at Black Beach instead of at Post Office Bay. Captain Bruuns too had promised us a number of useful things, in fact had said that he would bring “a whole house” for us; but as I felt that he was not to be depended on, we gladly gave our order to the Norwegians.

My seeds had not been in the ground three weeks when we were eating our first crop of radishes. The almost feverish fertility of the Floreana soil had produced a radish larger than many an ordinary turnip, but it was hollow instead of solid. Both tomatoes and cucumbers were coming on with astonishing rapidity, seeming almost to shoot out of the ground. These were all grown from seeds which we had brought from home. Curiously enough some other things we put in refused to grow at all; not all our efforts ever produced either a poppy or an almond.

We were by no means dependent for our food upon our own plantation, but lived regally on oranges, lemons, aguacates, guavas and papayas from the abandoned orchard near the caves. These fruits supplemented the diet of rice and maize which we had brought with us, so that we never knew the least privation, but on the contrary had comparative luxury from the beginning. Later on, we had a fine crop of cotton from bushes planted by our predecessors, which seemed peculiarly adapted to the climatic conditions of the Galapagos. Frederick disliked my doing any of the hardest labour, and delegated the gardening to me. I could not have wished for anything more pleasant, and found no day long enough for all the work I tried to do.

If we had thought that the presence of trees in the immediate neighbourhood and the clearing of a piece of ground would make housebuilding easy, we were greatly mistaken. We found that there was not a single piece of straight tree trunk over a foot high on the entire island. Even the acacias were gnarled and twisted almost from the ground up, and how we were to stretch our tar-paper roofing over a ceiling of beams which curled and wound in every possible direction was a problem we were powerless to solve. Perhaps it is a little exaggerated to call the shelter we were planning a house, for it had no walls. The surrounding jungle growth formed such a wall about us that we needed no other to protect our “interior” from whatever weather came to Floreana. Our predecessors had thought differently and had built shacks such as were to be found on the other islands. The Casa Matrix was like many a European hut, but this, of course, had been necessary on account of its situation on the beach. Frederick, however, was convinced that, given the natural protection of the surrounding thickets, the kind of shelter he designed was the most suitable, at least on the site that we had chosen. I agreed with him in this, and must say for myself that I loved its crazy picturesqueness and would not have had it otherwise for the world.

Our aim was to lead a life of contemplation, but we soon learned that this was something we should have to earn at the expense of arduous and protracted manual toil. Our Eden was no place of rest at the beginning, as I had thought it would be. Quite the reverse. We had to labour late and early until we could rest at all. For months, if not years, one plan led to another, so that there was never any end to all the work. Perhaps this was as well, but it was very difficult.

The new life had caused a great change in Frederick. The little tendernesses, all the spontaneous expressions of love, so trifling when enumerated and yet so indispensable, had disappeared entirely from his behaviour towards me. He had become impersonal, almost cold. He seemed impatient of even the slightest demonstrativeness on my part, and so I too suppressed my warm affectionate impulses, though not easily. Perhaps no man can be expected to understand a woman's need of those tokens of affection which come so naturally to her. It is not enough for us to be told once and for all that we are loved, and then not be reminded of it for a year or two. If this is true of women living in the midst of their own world of friends, surrounded by their children and by all the familiar things of home, how much more was it true of me, exiled not only from the world I knew but from every living being in it except this one man.

But Frederick did not move in the sphere of mundane feeling or necessity. He was unconscious of everything but that it was his task to find and lead the way to the great abstract happiness that was his goal and mine. He did not even see that I needed to be loved and treated kindly. If he had seen, his answer would have been that not until I had freed myself of even these so natural earthly chains could I expect to follow him into his world. And so I lived beside him in a solitude too bitter to be described. I had forgotten that he had ever talked of love to me, and when I tried to recall the Berlin prelude to our life it seemed that I was only dreaming it. Had the remembrance of his affection and his glowing belief in me remained vivid in my mind, it might have given me the strength I needed. But I thought of it as a short and happy time past, and saw this cold, impersonal life on Floreana stretching away into an endless future.

Chapter V: Hugo

Almost everybody has had once in his lifetime the experience of coming through a rough place in the dark, looking at it the following day and wondering how he ever could have made it. This was often my feeling, as I looked back in calmer times upon me earliest clays at Friedo. And even now, with all the extenuation of time past and pain forgotten, it seems to me incredible that I actually survived the mental anguish and physical strain of that beginning. I think that I am not deceiving myself when I say that it was not the fact that the island was cut off from help that kept me from giving up. If I had sat down and refused to work, Frederick would not have let me die of starvation, that I knew. It would have been quite possible for me to go away with the next Norwegian cattle-hunters, and I had sufficient funds to pay my passage back to Europe, or even to stay on in South America, had I desired. We had brought a fair amount of money with us, part of which we had on the island, buried in the ground, and part in the safe of the German consulate at Guayaquil. Nor at that time, as I felt towards him then in the bitterness and disappointment of my early ignorance, was it my love for Frederick that kept me at his side. I have often questioned myself about this matter with all the honesty of which I am capable, and I can truly say that it was solely for the sake of my ideal purpose as I saw it that I remained on Floreana. I was so lonely in those days that nothing but a purely personal and individual reason could have held me there.

Were I a different kind of person, pride or defiance might have influenced me; many a failure has been persisted in for fear of the peculiarly painful ridicule embodied in that ready phrase of family and friends, “I told you so …”—and very often women especially, out of a feeling of defiance, are apt to persevere in relations which have become impossible. But I have never cared what people said or thought; in fact, I am afraid that neither approval nor disapproval has had sufficient influence upon me in a general way; nor am I defiant. No, I am extremely obstinate, and what I undertake I put through, or perish in the attempt. I can make no compromises, not even to save myself, and here on Floreana I refused to make a compromise between the situation as it was and what Floreana, as an ideal, meant to me. I decided that this was something of such infinite value land significance to my whole life that it could cost what it might, and I would pay the price.

One afternoon, staggering into Friedo in Frederick's wake, loaded with a pack of things brought up from the Bay, I suddenly could not make even the few steps more up to the house. Frederick this time showed some concern. On examining my feet, he found them so badly swollen and so painful that he gravely reproached himself for not having noticed their condition earlier. The shoes which we had brought from Europe had long been torn to pieces on the jagged lava fields. Almost every day since then, Frederick had spent some hours making us other shoes, consisting of flat wooden soles strapped to the feet with thongs of hide. These clogs, not giving to the foot, made going even harder than before, and besides, no matter how thick the wood, each trip destroyed them. The lava rock wore them down, their jagged splinters slit the wooden soles as though they had been made of calico. The lacerations on my feet were normal, but Frederick was at a loss to account for their swelling as they had.

Then Hugo, who, for a wonder, happened to be near by when wanted, sauntered over to look. We thought that poisonous thorns must have torn my feet or lodged in them, but Hugo diagnosed the trouble as being caused by the nigua, Floreana's special kind of sand-flea. He was right. This dreadful vermin of the wilderness is like the ichneumon fly, except that its host is not the caterpillar but the human animal. It is a vampire that burrows underneath the skin to lay its eggs, whereby it injects into the blood a poison causing infection and festering sores. On this one afternoon, Frederick removed no less than thirty-two of these disgusting creatures from my feet, and nothing can describe the excruciating pain I suffered at this operation. But there was nothing to be done. Other shoes were not to be obtained, and even if they had been, they would have been equally useless. An iron footwear has not yet been invented, and I believe that Floreana lava would cut through iron like cheese. If science knew of an antidote to the poison of the sand-flea, or herbalists had ever discovered a juice that could hold them at bay, neither Frederick, Hugo, nor I knew of any such.

Frederick's medical skill could give me some relief, but was of little real use, failing a means of protecting us from invasion. But he applied another treatment, one which had proved itself of value often to me, as perhaps to others. He told me that I could, if I had sufficient will, erect so strong a defence psychology around my feet that through sheer intensity of consciousness, I could be warned when any alien thing approached them. He said that even a creature of so infinitesimal size as these almost invisible sand-fleas could make its presence perceptible to a consciousness sufficiently aware of it. I confess that I received this advice with extreme scepticism, and heeded it all too little during the days immediately following the extraction of the creatures, as I limped about Friedo, excused from further trips to Post Office Bay. But when I had recovered sufficiently to do my share again, thoroughly frightened at the prospect of going through such pain a second time, I did begin to concentrate my whole mind on my feet, as Frederick had told me to do. To my amazement I was never attacked again, except perhaps once or twice by chance, and without serious results. The curious and pestiferous sand-flea, we were told, nests in feet only. Its carriers are the wild swine, whose cloven hoofs appear to be the insect's favourite lodging-place.

Hugo seemed to find an inexhaustible pleasure in cooking for us, and I was very glad to have him do so. I had no curiosity as to culinary matters, and neither asked him how he prepared his sometimes very palatable dishes, nor how he managed the fire. On Floreana I was as little of a {Hausfrau/Hausfrau} as I had been in Berlin, and even the oft-praised charms of outdoor cooking failed to arouse the faintest interest in me.

 

It might have been much better had I gone to school to Hugo for a while before we lost him.§

§ Sentence garbled(?) Probably should be “It might have been much better for Hugo, had I gone to cooking school for awhile before we lost him.”

Hugo was not always present at mealtimes, nor did he always clear up after meals. One day, removing the disorder he had gaily left behind him, I came to the arrangement of stones which he had made, two fairly large piles between which he built his fire. Around this elementary hearth he had left the remnants of all the vegetables he had cooked. I knelt down to gather up this rubbish, putting one knee into the soft heap of ash which looked so white and cool, as though no fire ever could have burned there. When I next regained full consciousness, I found my knee burned almost to the bone. The white ash had been but a screen for red-hot coals beneath. The bum left a fearful wound which refused to heal, and made walking an unspeakable torment. But the transport had to go on. This was a major accident among many lesser ones, but there was so much to do, and, in spite of the long days, so little time to do it in, that one had not a moment to brood over small or large mishaps.

The chronicle of those weeks reads to me now like another Book of Job. One misery was hardly overcome before another, and a worse, arrived. Our vegetarian regime had created in both Frederick and me an organic antagonism towards meat, but now Frederick began to force us to become carnivorous. He said that since we were compelled not only to suffer, but also to colneighbourate in the slaughtering of animals, we were also morally obliged to put the prey to its fullest uses. The physical result of this no doubt high moral point of view was that we were both distressed by a general feeling of acute discomfort; painful and unsightly sores came out upon our bodies and my finger tips began to fester underneath the nails. This condition robbed us of so much energy and strength, of which our normal stock was nothing like enough for the exacting labour on the island, that I pleaded hard with Frederick to abandon logic and the ethics of slaughter for the sake of our health. But I besought in vain. In my despair, I used every sane and insane argument that I could think of. In answer to Frederick's continually reiterated theory that, having implicated ourselves in the murder of these animals, we must take the consequences and regard our eating of their meat as a just punishment, I remember saying to him once that it was not, so far as I knew, required of soldiers killing other soldiers on the battlefield to eat them afterwards. Frederick made no reply to this but merely turned his back. I begged him to forbid Hugo to shoot any more cattle whatsoever, but he refused, saying that he owed it to Captain Bruuns to let Hugo do exactly as he had done before. The boy, he said, was more Captain Bruuns' employee than ours.

Frederick's attitude towards the mysterious Captain was, and remained, a mystery to me. It was not until some time later that I found out that this bad man had given Frederick to understand that he was the sole lessee of our island, and had the right of veto or approval upon any settler; also that all the buildings, such as they were, and all the livestock, wild though it was, had been legally acquired by him under a contract with the Ecuadorean government. Thus Frederick thought that we too had become in a sense the tenants, if not the subjects, of this Captain, and that is why he felt that he was absolutely bound to do whatever Captain Bruuns demanded of him, short of actually participating in the profits of the Captain's hide and meat trade.

I think that nothing Frederick ever did made me more furious than his repairing the roof of the Casa. It incensed me to see him regard himself as the Captain's {“hand,” in addition to which/“hand.” Furthermore,} the work itself was not without its dangers, and Frederick was hardly less exhausted than I with the toil of getting all our things to Friedo.

Whenever I saw Hugo setting off blithely with dogs and gun for his bloodthirsty pastime on the pampa, it enraged me afresh to think that Frederick aided and abetted him in it, when the lad's time would have been better, more profitably and more innocently, spent in helping me to make my garden. It took every scrap of my increasing self-control not to rebel, when I was called upon to help the two cure the meat which Hugo brought home with him. It was in vain that I pointed out to Frederick that he was countenancing our being drawn into a kind of meat-packing industry against our firmest principles, but he and I, both looking at the thing from a purely ethical standpoint, started out with different premises and arrived at contrary conclusions.

The first cattle I had seen on Floreana had been a small group of eight. Unlike the fearless birds and even the horses, these turned tail at the sight of us and ran away. I was astonished at this first sight of animals' fear of men upon this island which I believed so Eden-like in this respect. The fugitives left a little brown calf behind. It started to run off with its companions, but finding it could not keep up with them, it stopped as though waiting for somebody to tell it what to do. I went up to it and put out my hand, talking to it encouragingly, but it jumped away terrified and fled into the long grass. Frederick said it was ridiculous of me to expect the animals on Floreana to be friendly; since Captain Bruuns had friendly; since Captain Bruuns had commissioned Hugo to slaughter them, they had all become wary and suspicious. The longer it went on, he said, the shyer and more fierce they would become. It makes me shudder now to think how Frederick, because he felt bound by duty to the man by whose grace he believed we were allowed to live on the island, assisted him in this horrible enterprise. I blame myself no less for my own part in it, but think that I was sufficiently punished by the suffering it caused me. I thought my hands were stained with murder, as I helped clean and cure the poor things' flesh. I used to dream of it at night, and think how cruel it was that one could never make an animal understand that the harm one did it was often done unwillingly and with shame. I could not bear to meet the animals on the island any more. I felt they must have told each other what we were, and looked on us with loathing.

I was not yet familiar enough with the nature of primitive and wild folk to understand the double-sidedness of Hugo. I could not rhyme his kindness and devotion to the dogs and horses with his insatiable lust for shooting swine and cattle. The dogs adored him, and I never could forget how touchingly he had cared for El Viejo. And yet, when disaster overtook him, appalled and sorry though I was, I could not help but feel that he had received his just reward.

Hugo's skill with the old-fashioned carbine Captain Bruuns had honoured him with was quite astonishing, and one day he had the opportunity to give an unexpected exhibition of it. I remember it was the 28th of October, and arriving at Post Office Bay quite early in the morning, we saw a British man-of-war anchored in the harbour. She had put in at this quiet retreat to furbish up before proceeding through the Panama Canal. Some of the officers had landed and spent the night in the Casa, and now they invited us to go on board with them. We welcomed their appearance at the moment, for our many wounds and bruises had used up all our store of lint and we were glad of this chance to get more. Several of the officers, hearing that there was good hunting on the island, expressed a wish to make an expedition to the pampa, and we allowed them to take Hugo with them as guide. We Germans always somehow think of all well-bred Englishmen as trained shots and huntsmen. I was greatly astonished, therefore, to see these men return some hours later, looking bored, tired and woebegone, having nothing to show for their pains but two haunches of calf.

The officers wandered about the beach awhile, then went back to their ship, followed by Hugo's heartiest maledictions. We sympathized with him. He told us that they had each taken a few pot-shots at a herd they met upon the pampa's edge, but had hit nothing, not even the slowest of the cows. Not wishing to return quite empty-handed, to be laughed at by their friends, they had then given Hugo back his gun and asked him to kill something for them. This he had cheerfully done, bringing them down a good, fat calf.

Our “guests” took fairly polite leave of us, but Hugo they completely disregarded, despite all the friendly, willing service he had given them. As the last of these gentlemen was about to enter the dinghy, he turned back and took a few cigarettes out of his pocket, which he threw upon the ground at Hugo's feet without a word.

Returning to the Casa after they had gone, Hugo came storming out towards us, shouting curses and crying violently. He was beside himself with grief and fury. It was a long time before we got him calm enough to find out what the matter was. It turned out that some one had broken into his “treasure-chest” in the Casa, and had even looted some of his savings. The thief was probably a coin-collector, for the money itself could not have been the attraction. We replaced the value of the vanished wealth, and a broad grin succeeded the tears. But, nevertheless, we were grateful and relieved when these, our first visitors from far away, went back to the civilized world whence they had come, and of which we felt they were such typical examples.

One day, the Manuel y Cobos being due, we went down to the Bay hoping that Captain Bruuns had not forgotten to bring the things which we had ordered. We were beginning to feel the need of {these, especially as/many of the articles, and} the Norwegians' return could not be expected for some time. The ship had not arrived, but we did not refuse Hugo's eager request to be allowed to shoot a calf in readiness for the Captain when he landed. He set out gaily with his dogs barking round him, and we followed at a rather slow pace. It was a beautiful day, and for once we had allowed ourselves a holiday from transport labours and were actually walking for sheer pleasure. Hugo's cheery voice talking to his hounds came back to us on the still air. We were near the fork in the path which branches off on one hand towards the caves and on the other towards Friedo. Suddenly we saw Hugo dart off to the left and a moment later we heard the sharp report of two shots, and a great bellowing and snorting of cattle and yapping of dogs. After this now familiar uproar we expected to be greeted as usual by Hugo's triumphant yell of the successful hunter, but it never came. Instead, an agonized scream tore the morning, and a moment later we heard the boy cry out for us.

“El toro me mata! El toro me mata!” (The bull is killing me.) Frightened out of our wits, for we possessed no kind of weapon, not even a stout stick, we dashed into the thicket in the direction of the frenzied screams. We found ourselves in a small clearing, walled in on every side by the dense jungle growth.

In the midst of this arena we saw the furious bull stamping and plunging about the narrow lava floor, trying to keep at bay the two dogs which were still attacking him with unabated savagery. We looked about for Hugo, and found him lying on the sharp lava rocks, writhing in fearful pain and screaming out that he was dying. The ground about him was splashed with his blood and the bull's. Unable to shake off the dogs, the beleaguered beast now dashed away with them in hot pursuit, and Frederick hastened to poor Hugo and made a quick examination of his injuries. He found that he had been gored through the armpit but that luckily the main blood vessels and nerves had not been severed. The boy's back was bruised, and the bull had trampled on his left foot. By a miracle, the bones were still intact. He had apparently been thrown with great violence, because a tin can in his rucksack had been pressed as flat as a pancake. From what we could gather from Hugo's broken story, his first shot had just grazed the bull, which charged him, mad with pain; the second had only increased the trouble without hitting the poor beast fatally. There had been no time for a third. Hugo's pain now gave way to a perfect frenzy of terror lest the bull return. He pleaded piteously with us to take him away.

We looked about the enclosure, through which now not the smallest aperture was visible. It seemed incredible that Hugo and the bull and we ourselves had ever found the way through that unbroken wall of jungle; as incredible as it was that the bull had disappeared through it. Clearly the thorny branches had yielded to the pressure of the hurrying bodies and had then sprung back into a gapless wall again. But Frederck, who fortunately never went about without his knife, carefully hacked a way through the thicket.

We carried Hugo out of danger. Frederick took some fresh cartridges out of the lad's pocket and reloaded the gun. Then we went back to the clearing, thinking that the dogs, whose barking had become more distinct, had driven the bull back there. We felt that it was dangerous and inhuman not to put the animal out of the way, since it had been apparently so badly wounded. Hardly had we set foot in the place than I saw the great brute charging down upon us. I dropped, with my full weight on the knee where the recent burn was still unhealed. A huge gash opened just beneath the knee cap. Frederick knelt and fired at the bull, which was now hardly more than a yard or two away. The sheer violence of the discharge seemed to distract him and confuse his purpose, but though the bullet struck him squarely in the head, it did not kill him. He swerved, however, and rushed off into the brush with the merciless dogs after him. With merely a bit of rag tied round my leg to stanch the pouring blood, I ran the half-hour way to Friedo without stopping, terrified lest the bull might rush out at me somewhere. But Hugo's state was so bad that he could not be left, and Frederick needed medical supplies and bandages. I think I never shall know how I got to Friedo and back that time. When I returned, Frederick attended to the worst of Hugo's injuries, then left me to look after him, while he went the much longer way up to the caves, to fetch the horse which was kept tethered there to graze. It seemed an age before he returned; then we put poor Hugo on the horse's back and brought him to Post Office Bay.

When the {paralysing/anesthetic} fear for Hugo's life and terror for ourselves had cleared away from my brain, I became aware of the fearful pain that I was suffering from my own wound. The flesh was torn to the bone, and every time I bent my leg, I felt that I must scream with agony. Frederick insisted that he must sew this awful cut together,

especially as, owing to the bad condition of my blood due to the change of diet forced upon me, my cuts and scratches never seemed to heal.

especially as my cuts and scratches never seemed to heal, owing to the bad condition of my blood due to the change of diet forced upon me,

But as we had no local anesthetic nor any pain-relieving drug, I could not bear to have him perform this operation. As an alternative, he pasted a strip of adhesive plaster along either edge of the cut and sewed the two strips firmly in the middle so that they drew the skin together.

From plunging through the swampy ground about the spring, my feet were muddy,

My feet were muddy from plunging through the swampy ground about the spring,

and so hot that I could not bear the sight of feel of them. Now, as I could not bend my leg, I was not able to wash them myself, and asked Frederick please to do so. He refused. A fury, certainly no less violent than the bull's had been, and caused I do believe by a hardly lesser pain, made me rebel as he had done. Unfortunately, though, he had been able to turn on his aggressor, I only on myself. I sharply bent my injured leg; the bandage Frederick had made so carefully and with such difficulty tore away. The blood gushed out—it was a sight sufficiently alarming. It alarmed even Frederick, but I refused his further attention.

When I think back on this incident, I see in it a milestone in my progress towards the independence of my weaker self. I had taken my stand, not without risk, for to have gained a permanently crippled leg would have been no light matter on Floreana. But I know that neither the action itself nor its significance was lost on Frederick.

The children of the wilds must have nine lives, for Hugo, as early as the next day, seemed perfectly well again, except for a bad limp. Still this was enough to keep him at the Bay while we went back to Friedo, I, this time, luxuriously on horseback.

We never saw Hugo again. When he had recovered sufficiently from the first effects of pain and shock, we told him that we wanted him to go back with Captain Bruuns to Guayaquil, and give up cattle-hunting to learn the trade of mechanic, which was his {father's./father's wish.} Chastened and subdued, he answered that he too thought this would be best. On our way back to Friedo, we again discussed the lad's departure, and I was surprised to find that Frederick had grown very fond of him. Early next morning Frederick got up and went down to the Bay to look after the patient. To his amazement, he {had/found him vanished}. Two letters lay on the table in the Casa, one from the skipper of an Ecuadorean ship which had happened to put in at the Bay. He had landed and discovered Hugo in the Casa, and the boy had asked him to take him off the island, assuring him that we, his employers, had no objection to his going. The other letter was from Hugo himself. It was full of gratitude. He thanked us again and again for having rescued him from death and for all our kindness to him. {Poor boy,/Poor boy!} I learned long afterwards that his entire savings, cherished more dearly than life itself, were stolen from him aboard ship on that too hasty voyage home.

As for the bull, my conscience troubled me about him. My sense of guilt made me afraid, and I suffered an extremity of terror every time I set out alone from Friedo down the hillside to the Bay. I used to sing as loudly as I could all the way along in the hope that this would frighten off any animals who might otherwise be inclined to emerge from the surrounding thickets.

Floreana is a large island, and the{pampas/pampa} is some distance from both Friedo and the caves, but {I was fated to/fate meant that I should} meet that bull again. I was going back to Friedo from the caves alone. He was standing in the middle of the narrow donkey path; I did not see him until I was quite near. In the first shock of recognition my impulse was to turn tail and run. On second thought, however, I rejected this idea, for his four sound legs would too easily have overtaken a two-legged fugitive, lame at that, and moreover I was really much too terrified to move. I waited as in a bad dream, passively, to see his head go down to charge at me and toss me on his cruel horns. But he did nothing of the kind. He stood regarding me with something like indifference, and certainly with no hostile intent. And I realized suddenly that, since I had done him no harm he probably bore me no resentment. I decided to continue on my way, though not without a qualm of fear at the thought that the narrowness of the path would force me almost to brush him as I went by. I skirted him with circumspection, and when I had passed him I turned and looked back. I saw him looking after me, then he too turned away and trotted off. I still remember how relieved and happy this encounter made me. I looked on it as a reconciliation, and hoped that now that Hugo was away all the creatures on the island would soon forget that they had ever been molested, and remake their peace with man.

One day when Frederick was working at the fence, a young bull made its appearance. Startled, he retreated into the bush, but finding that the man did not pursue him, he came back. Frederick threw him some acacia fruit. This is not an attractive morsel, but animals enjoy it. After this first meeting, the young bull turned up every afternoon for two months. Then, the rains being too long overdue, a bad drought began to set in, so he stayed up in the{pampas/pampa}, and we only saw him now and then when we went out that way. The next year, however, in the rainy season, he came again to visit us, bringing his family with him, a {heifer/young cow} and her brand-new son. He became one of our good friends, and whenever we called him when he was with the herd, he would stand quite still or come across to us. Not only he, but many other animal friends of ours disappeared strangely after the arrival of the {Baroness/so called “Baroness”} Wagner-Bousquet. She wrought more havoc than ever Hugo had done, wounding a horde of creatures and killing many. It may be that our young bull was slaughtered by her or at her order, or it may be that she destroyed the trust that he had in all men, and made him think that we, too, were an enemy to be avoided.

Hugo's dogs were a pitiful legacy. They missed him terribly, as dogs do miss a good master, roaming disconsolately about, looking for him everywhere. They came to us as if to ask where he had gone, and we could not mistake their eagerness, perhaps their need, to be taken out hunting now and then. But this we absolutely ignored. At first we fed them with the meat that we had dried, but soon they lost their appetite for this, or possibly it disagreed with them. It may also very well have been that they missed Hugo so much that they refused food out of grief. At any rate, they became more gaunt and wretched week by week, and at last we saw that we must do away with them. It hurt us terribly to do this, but we realized that to let them live on would be a still worse cruelty. So it was done, and I believe that we did right.

But if we thought that we had expiated Hugo's ill deeds, we were much mistaken. Wild dogs now found their way to Friedo. They came and lurked about the edge of our plantation, venturing gradually nearer as they saw that we did not drive them off. They were sinister, emaciated creatures with wolfish and despairing eyes. They looked the very embodiment of Hugo's own bad conscience. Evidently these poor creatures had sustained life upon the carcasses of Hugo's kill, for we knew that he shot a great deal more than ever he brought back to Friedo. Now there was nothing for these dogs to live on, and there were nine of them. We saw that it would be hopeless for us to try to keep them alive, for we meant to have no more slaughtering while we were there. Again destruction seemed the only kind solution, and so they were destroyed. I felt that Hugo had been exorcised.

Chapter VI:

Mary Pinchot

Marauders

At last we were alone. I often found myself missing the wild lad Hugo, although I had been glad he went away. In these weeks of struggle with myself I began to learn more understanding for the strangeness of Frederick's attitude. I think I never, day or night, ceased to study him with a sort of desperate concentration, and gradually this labour of the heart and mind brought its reward. I used to watch him unobserved, and saw how unremittingly he worked, and with what thoroughness, as though each thing he did, no matter how trifling and even menial, was a complete expression of himself, and must be done as perfectly as he was capable of doing. He said so little, and yet in everything he said I came to understand that feeling for the great connection between the fragment and the whole, the reflection of the whole in all its fragments, even the least, which was the core of his conception of the universe.

Little by little I realized that the words he had so often spoken when we talked about this dream of flight together were not being translated by him into the active terms of life. It was as though, in this intensive realization of that dream he had ceased to see himself as a man any longer, but had become an instrument, a mirror, the impersonal embodiment of a philosophy. How then should I demur if, seeing in me, as I knew he did, the necessary complement of himself, he ceased to see in me the individual, the woman in the ordinary sense? It seemed, until I taught myself to realize all this, as though he had forgotten me, consigned me to an intolerable loneliness at his side. But as his vision became more clear to me through his example, I saw that in that wider sphere, in which alone this great man could freely move, there could be no such thing as loneliness, for each must be complete within himself, and companionship is only perfect when it is not dependent.

Frederick's often Herculean achievements roused my ambition to do likewise, and at first it made me horribly unhappy to find that I could not make any impression on the dense thickets with my knife, as Frederick did with his. My weakness angered me. Frederick disliked to see me even attempting to do heavy work, but never tried to hinder me, nor, when I failed, did he ever make the usual comments. In everything, he let me teach myself; that was his system of education for the human being. But work that was within my scope he expected me to do well.

I had flung myself with rapture into the plan to live my life in the midst of nature, but when I found myself faced with the actual task of doing so I had to see that I was ill-adapted to it. As a child I had had an overwhelming awareness of all natural things—I think I have told about this already—but in the intervening years that awareness had become dulled. On Floreana everything seemed new and strange, and even terrifying. I had thought that there I would have the feeling that I had reached a long-lost home, and indeed this was what I had felt at my discovery of the spring. But in a thousand ways I found that if this were the home that I had lost, I had grown alien to it in my long absence in the world of strangers. But gradually my childhood's affinity with natural things came back, intensified now, and slowly I regained my lost paradise.

The living things I raised became a part of me: my plants, my chickens, and all the other objects of my care. And every rock and stick and stone of Friedo was beginning to take on that so consoling look of deep familiarity which is the face of home. I sometimes feared lest my preoccupation with these things was taking up too much of my attention—however dear to me, they were nevertheless mere material aspects of the universe from which I had come away in order that I might learn to grasp it spiritually. Especially my chickens absorbed me. I could stand watching them for hours, touched and amused by all their different ways, and infinitely interested watching the play of one's individual character. Frederick would often remind me of my neglected duties, and tell me sternly that I was leaving essential things undone. “Come, Dore,” he would say, “you're forgetting you have work to do.”

It was the same with the birds: I never tired of observing these friendly little souls, and knew them so well that I believe I even understood their language. Sometimes, in spite of Frederick's admonitions, I could not tear myself away from them, so that by sundown the completion of more than one neglected piece of work had to be left till the next day. Since each day, at this time of settling in, brought its own work, almost always more than could be done while daylight lasted, procrastination was a serious offence. Then my shortcomings would plague my mind at night, and I would promise myself contritely to improve. Conscience-stricken at the time I had wasted, I would draw up a schedule for the next day's work, and then for a long time would follow it religiously. Frederick never scolded me, and I knew that he would not be pleased with the details of my repentance and atonement, but I determined that he should see me growing in his likeness as time went on.

My chicken-coop and its inhabitants were my chief pride on Friedo at that time. It used to amuse me there, so far away from civilization with which the chicken-coop is inseparably associated, to see mine flourishing so beautifully in the wilderness. Our predecessor at the Casa had sold us wire netting and Frederick had planted four uprights about his own height, a very difficult performance in the shallow, rocky ground of Friedo. He had been wise enough to stretch a roof over this coop, thinking the Galapagos chickens might be more active with their wings than their European cousins. The first occupants made an astonishing and impressive resistance when we had got them into their house. I had never really looked on hens as birds, and when I saw these using their wings to perform bold aerial feats, I was charmed and surprised.

The fowls were also, as I have said, a legacy from the Norwegians. Hugo had spent exciting hours in attempts, usually unsuccessful, to catch them. They were incredibly wary, and Hugo's all-too-simple snare, composed of a looped string intended to be pulled tight round the foot of any bird that stepped within its circle, seldom caught anything. These poor birds were so famished, however, that the mere sight of a human being brought them in cackling hordes around one. Even a pan of rainwater set down upon the ground would bring them all. But they had no intention of allowing anyone to lay a hand upon them. Frederick, observing our futile attempts, then came along and set a more effective trap. He found an iron hoop which had once formed part of a fishing net, and curved a dome of wire netting over it, so that it looked like a large cheese-ball. Underneath this contraption he placed a can of water to attract the game, and hitched up the front of the cage invitingly, supporting its edge upon a forked twig to which a long string was attached. He then went out of sight behind the Casa door and waited. The new edifice was curiously examined by the prospective booty, which regarded it, however, with suspicion. At last the rooster, very properly taking the lead, ventured in with a reckless air, followed admiringly, if somewhat cautiously, by six wives. The string was pulled, the trap closed. They were ours. We put them, noisily protesting, into a wooden case and nailed wire netting over the top, through which I gave them a good meal. At Friedo, when they had calmed down after their first fear of the enclosed space in which they found themselves, they seemed quite happy, and with true bourgeois adaptability immediately grew reconciled to imprisonment when they discovered that there would always be enough to eat. I gave them all names, to which in time each one learned to answer. I have an entry in my diary for the first of December which reminds me that Erna gave me our first egg.

Meanwhile our house had undergone considerable improvement. The Norwegians, as good as their word, had returned and deposited five dozen sheets of corrugated iron on Black Beach for us. The transporting of this load from Post Office Bay would have been a most dismaying task, but from Black Beach it was easy. Now, roofed with iron and floored with wood, our house began to assume an air of permanence, and with the good-sized chicken-coop behind it, it gave us sometimes the impression that we had been settlers on Floreana all our lives.

Our stores had also been supplemented. The ship on which Hugo had gone away that morning had brought stores for us, though the skipper had not found it necessary to wait until we came down to the beach to receive and check them personally. His letter told us that Captain Bruuns had been unable to come himself because the Cobos was once more laid up for repairs in Guayaquil. That ancient craft had almost got beyond the age of service.

We heard a story afterwards which confirmed my impression of Captain Bruuns. He had bought for us the supplies in question, and had gone to the German consul with the bill, asking him to pay it out of the funds we had deposited. The bill was for 22o marks plus 5o more for freight charges. This seemed to the consul a very large amount indeed, and he was most unwilling to pay it without first consulting us, but Captain Bruuns was very urgent, saying that unless we received these stores at once, he would not answer for the consequences, as we were already near starvation. When Frederick heard of this, he was furious, for the price demanded was out of all proportion to the actual cost of the supplies, and the Captain's method at the consulate enraged him too. I tried to make him see that this was an illustration of the sort of man the Captain was, but even this did not suffice, apparently, to convince Frederick. He still found excuses for the man, though I rebuked him severely for his gullibility. But he said, “Dore, these people are nothing to us. They are inhabitants of another world. They are weak and cowardly and dishonest, made so by the conditions of a life they have not the courage to free themselves from. So long as they remain bound by those chains, we must have understanding for their weaknesses. It is the chains that we must show them how to throw off, partly by precept and partly by example. But as for us, we are not on their level. We have gained the better world, or at least we are well on the way to it. That is why we must have no pity for our own weaknesses, and find no excuses for them. In leaving civilization, we left behind us our excuse.”

“Don't you believe in charity towards shortcomings,” I asked him, “I mean for us?”

“No,” Frederick answered, “for us there is only discipline. We must conquer by will.”

“And by brutality, it seems,” I said. Frederick, knowing what I meant, but ignoring the challenge, said quietly, “With brutality too, if it must be.”

“You never see the animal in man, Dore,” he went on, “and yet, there lies the root of every evil. It is the animal in us that torments us, and drives us from the path. That is the evil spirit which we must drive out, and it is all the more difficult to overcome because it appears so often in a charming mask. You think that the outward forms of kindness and humanity—your love of animals, for instance, are good and admirable. Nothing could be more mistaken. Your affection for all these wild creatures here, and for your plants and chickens, is no more or less than a flattering and cherishing of the animal in yourself.”

I was not far enough along the way to wisdom to understand what Frederick meant. I only knew that I could not yet breathe the rarefied air of his high intellectual sphere. If anything, finding myself more and more alone on the material plane, where simple affection for creature life and simple joy in nature's gifts were still my happiness, I went on tending my animals and garden, lavishing on them all the care and attention I could give. And their response, at least, was simple and spontaneous, and helped me over many a hard time.

One day towards the end of November, as we went down to Post Office Bay, where there was still a great deal left to be conveyed to Friedo, we saw a handsome yacht riding at anchor in the harbour. We saw her name, Mary Pinchot, painted on her stem. This was not the first time I had seen that name—it had been carved into the trunk of the big ciruela tree on Friedo and I had woven many a romantic story round it. I wondered whether she had been the love of one of the Norwegian settlers and thought the name was French; it suggested to me a beautiful pair like Paul and Virginia, who had come, like us, to live away from crowded places. Sometimes I thought of Mary Pinchot as the sweetheart of some poor shipwrecked sailor, wandering desperately on the island's barrenness, had come upon our beautiful beautiful oasis and had perhaps been charmed and comforted by it as I had been. I imagined him carving the beloved name into the great ciruela tree, and often wondered whether this interpretation was the true one, and whether he had ever got away and gone back home to Mary Pinchot. It was disappointing now to find she was a yacht, and not a girl at all.

We found some of the crew on the beach. One of them asked about the Norwegian and seemed dejected to hear that he was gone. It turned out that they had often met before, and were quite good friends. Somehow it seemed odd to me that people Marauders from so far away as the civilized world should be friends of long standing with anybody on this island. The owner of the yacht had not come this trip, we were told, and the skipper had stayed for a few days at Isabella, where he was visiting the padrone. They had taken him over in the dinghy and would fetch him again in a day or two. These men all showed the greatest interest in us, and were amazed to hear what feats of transporting we had accomplished. One of them made the kindly and practical suggestion that we load the worst of the remaining things onto the dinghy and take them round to Black Beach, which was much nearer to Friedo. I was infinitely relieved and grateful, and so was Frederick, though at first he protested that we were giving these strangers too much trouble. We had so much to pack that we spent hours getting everything together. Some of the dried meat which had been destined for Captain Bruuns we now decided to take back for the chickens. We packed crockery and glasses from the Casa into the wooden cases the Norwegian had left lying about. Captain Bruuns had said the things belonged to him, but offered to sell them if we wanted them. I personally doubted whether they were the captain's, or the Norwegian's either.

Meanwhile the skipper of the Mary Pinchot returned, and pressed a package of food upon us. We accepted it, of course, though not without some embarrassment, for it was partly our principle and partly, I admit, our vanity, to take care of ourselves without any outside help. Punctual to the minute, the motorboat arrived and took our freight on board. It was a short but delightful trip. From the water I could follow the line of the path over which Frederick and I had toiled so often.

One of the crew was a young Norwegian named Nelson, who asked us to let him spend a day with us at Friedo. He seemed fascinated by the whole idea of our idyllic settlement. The mate§ of the Mary Pinchot said we ought to have a boat of some kind for our own use, and not be wholly dependent on visitors to take us round the island. We made the usual answer that one makes to such impractical suggestions, but could hardly contain our astonishment when two days later we saw on the beach at Post Office Bay a trim little rowing boat, fully equipped with oars and life-belts, and a letter telling us it was for us, and wishing us luck. The Mary Pinchot had sailed, so I never knew whether our thanks ever reached these generous friends.

Nelson had told us that the Galapagos Islands were often visited by American yachts. We thought it very curious that wealthy pleasure-seekers should show such preference for so primitive a region of the world as this, but after the visit of the Mary Pinchot we knew that we should have to expect the sight of strangers often on Post Office beach, or wandering about the nearer reaches of our island. We hoped they would not penetrate so far as Friedo. Beyond this, we gave the threatened visitors no thought, and indeed there was so much to do at this time that we hardly had a thought for anything but ground-clearing and transport.

It would be quite impossible to give an adequate picture of the difficulties of clearing away that jungle with the implements at our disposal. We started work soon after dawn and not until night, when it was too dark to see any longer, did we stop, completely exhausted. The next morning, as we started to attack the thickets again, it often seemed not only as though we had made no impression whatever upon them in all the days before, but that they had grown more dense and unassailable than ever overnight. One could have walked across the acacias, so hopelessly intertwined and plaited were their branches. For this reason, little was achieved by severing a trunk from the base, for the tree could not fall. The liana vines were like cords of iron, almost impervious to the ax. The only effective method with the trees was to chop them down from the top, standing on the precarious floor provided by the tangled crest of one, to chop its neighbour free. Eventually Frederick would get one down.

It was my work to clear the undergrowth round the trees where Frederick was working. One day I heard an unusually violent crash and then a cry for help. The blood froze in my veins. For a moment I could not move. I was sure that Frederick had been killed by a falling trunk or else had got entwined in the treacherous lianas, and was perhaps strangling to death in their toils. After what seemed an hour of frozen fear I found that I could move again. I shouted to him that I was coming, and listened in fearful anguish for his answer. I did not dare to wait for it, nor could I hear it because of the noise of the crackling branches as I forced my way through to where his voice had come from.

At last I came to the place, but before I could reach him I had to climb over and through the matted branches of the tree that he had felled. Frederick was lying on the ground with his right arm caught in a wedge formed by the stump of the fallen tree and one of its powerful branches. His face was distorted with pain. He could hardly move. In a faint voice he told me to bring a crowbar which lay near and try to lift the branch off his arm. I brought the iron bar, hut my strength was hardly equal to the strain of using if. I was awkward and slow, and the more clumsy for my alarm. I could not bear to see the pain that Frederick was silently suffering, and all the time I laboured I wondered what I should do if his arm or back were really broken. Only an hour before, we had been saying how glad we were that the Mary Pinchot had gone off and left us to ourselves again, but now I would have given all I had to know that she was still lying in the bay. At last I raised the branch sufficiently for Frederick to remove his injured arm by slow and painful degrees. By a miracle it was not broken, though badly crushed and bleeding. He had been struck on the head too, and was still dazed. For a whole fortnight he was unable to use his arm.

This fortnight was like a little holiday, and I think we both enjoyed it. It was now the middle of January. We had been on Floreana almost half a year. Frederick profited by the helplessness of his right hand to learn to use his left, and wrote a long letter home in order to practice his new talent. One morning early we went down to Post Office Bay. We meant to take back a few light stores with us, and went over to the Casa to fetch them. We still had a good deal there, and some of our most valuable and necessary foodstuffs, for it was a good storehouse, safe from the inroads of the weather. We had also cleared it more or less of ants and other insect pests, which we had by no means eliminated yet at Friedo.

As we approached the house across the beach, we were surprised to notice remnants of boxes and crates, tins and litter, strewn about outside it. As we came nearer, we saw that these were our crates and that they were empty. We now ran, fearing the worst, and found, on reaching the hut, that it had been completely cleared of all our stores. Everything was gone, both our belongings and Captain Bruuns.' Even the rusty iron dynamo and other equipment had been dismantled and carried away. And almost worst of all, our charming little boat was gone. The damp sand was full of donkey tracks going in several directions. They seemed to lead away into the brush, and we decided that it was very possible that robbers had come and taken possession of the island. We were a thousand times grateful to the kind Americans of the Mary Pinchot, who had taken many of our stores to Black Beach, and hoped the robbers had not been there too. Frederick now sat down outside the Casa and wrote a long letter to Captain Bruuns, telling him what had happened and suggesting the presence on the island of a marauding band. Or perhaps pirates, such as abound in Chinese waters, had been at work here and had now sailed away again.

It looked as though the Captain's losses were greater than our own, though we could certainly afford to lose our things less than he his. I dare say that in the consternation of the moment this letter became a most alarming document. If, when we heard about it afterwards, it seemed to us rather melodramatic, it was certainly not so when we wrote it, for we were genuinely frightened. We possessed no kind of weapon since Hugo had taken his gun away with him. It had never occurred to us that this might be necessary, for the thought of our ever being in actual danger on the island was far from our minds. We realized now that we were in a perhaps fatal plight, and saw how foolhardy we had been in providing for every eventuality except the most likely one of all—that of man's ill-will towards man. For the first time, we went back to Friedo empty-handed. The sun was shining just as brightly as when we had come, but now the day was gloomy in the shadow of a sadder disappointment than that of merely losing our supplies. I think we hardly spoke a word all the way back.

Chapter VII: Mizpah

Something on Floreana had changed. There was a menace in the air, something sinister and frightening, the more so because there was no outward sign of anything amiss. We were convinced that the despoilers of the Casa were somewhere on the island, lying in hiding for the time being, but ready to continue their depredations, and attack us when they felt so inclined. Had we been armed, I think we should have gone in search of them, if only to relieve the strain of waiting, but, conscious of our utter helplessness, we could only wait for them to betray their presence. Sometimes we used to listen for tell-tale shots among the wild cattle, thinking that the unseen unseen robbers would soon go slaughtering, as Hugo had done, but we waited in vain. There was no sign of any human beings other than ourselves on Floreana, and yet the island, some nine miles long and eight miles wide, had not yet been entirely explored by us, and might well contain many a hiding-place that we knew nothing of. We knew that there were many dark, mysterious places on it that we had often meant to take a nearer look at, and the lava bed was full of clefts and crevices, forming what looked like subterranean caves into which I had thought it would be interesting to penetrate. I thought of all these now, imagining that enemies were inhabiting them. I remembered the Norwegian's having told us of one such cavern underground, only a few hundred yards behind the Casa. Frederick had even ventured a good way into this gloomy recess, whose farthest depths formed a crypt for the remains of the giant turtles which used to come up into it through a secret ocean channel. Generations of wild dogs had frightened the turtles off the island, so that they no longer landed, to come up as they had done through ages past, over the land to the freshwater springs. This cave I had always thought of as one of the eeriest of the many eerie places on the island, and now I imagined it harbouring the new enemy. I did not like to go out any more for fear of meeting the robbers, and kept as close to Friedo as necessity allowed. However, it was not to be avoided that we went down daily to Black Beach in the hope that Captain Bruuns had come at last.

But day after day passed without a sign of him, and a new depression settled down upon us. Try as we would, we could not throw it off. It was as though all our subconscious feeling about this island which had vanquished our predecessors now rose to the surface of our minds and gave us the unalterable conviction that we, like they, were intruders and would not be tolerated. We felt that unseen creatures, not the human robbers but the guardian spirits of the island, had begun to watch us. Sometimes a strange vibration in the atmosphere seemed to tell us that they were in communication with each other, round about us, invisible but ever-present. This feeling was worse in the silent day than at night, when the island was loud with voices and the tramplings of animals. Frederick and I could no longer bear to have each other out of sight. Even when we worked quite close together but hidden from each other by the thickets, we would call across for reassurance. I no longer went down to the beach alone as I had done so often before, and sometimes when Frederick went away, I suffered tortures of anxiety until he returned. So intense became my conviction that the spirits of the island had begun to resent us, that I began almost to forget the robbers, and if at that time I had been asked, I think I should have said I wished that they were there. The continued absence of Captain Bruuns began to seem more and more unnatural, and for the first and last time I found myself wishing from the bottom of my heart that we had not exposed ourselves to the resentment of strange gods.

Once more Frederick and I made our futile daily pilgrimage to Black Beach and back. We scanned the sea for a ship, but not even on the farthest horizon was there any sign of one. Isabella [sic, Isabela], mockingly near and desperately far, rose blue against the empty sky some sixty miles away, and the empty sea looked as though it would never bring us rescue from our plight.

It was January the 17th, and we had waited many a long day for the belated Manuel y Cobos. We returned to Friedo disconsolate, more than ever filled with vague alarm. We made our evening meal, I fed my chickens and we prepared to wait with what patience we might, hoping against hope that the next day would bring the missing Captain.

Suddenly a strange sound struck our ears. It was a low booming like a cannon, and yet we knew this could not be. The warships which had put in at the Bay never gave any signals, for there was no one on the island to hear them so far as they knew. The low roar was uncanny at that moment and in those surroundings, and at first neither of us was inclined to go and see what was the matter. But after a while the sound came again. I said to Frederick, “It's an eruption,” and sprang to my feet. Although it was only seven o'clock, it was already dark. We groped our way along the path, stumbling often. We did not think that one of our nearest volcanoes had awakened—the sound was too far off for that—so we had no fear of being greeted with a shower of molten lava. All at once a flash of light soared up into the air, followed by another boom. To our amazement we saw that both came from the sea in the direction of Post Office Bay. If these flares and gunshots were signals for us, we knew that they could not be from Captain Bruuns. But even if they were, there was nothing to be done till daylight. Frederick assured me that it would be madness for us to obey my impulse and try to reach Post Office Bay in the pitch dark, and I reluctantly agreed that he was right. There was no moon, and we should have had to take our ancient kerosene lantern to light our way, a perfectly foolhardy proceeding. We should most likely not have been able to get across the smallest of lava fields. While I was disappointed, I was at the same time relieved and grateful. I knew that help had come at last, and could hardly sleep all night for sheer excitement.

Dawn had hardly touched the sky the next morning before Frederick and I were on our way. We were so buoyed up that almost for the first time the path seemed easy going. We were half-way along, when to our great surprise we heard voices. They seemed to be approaching us. We stood still, waiting for their owners to emerge out of the thicket, and sure enough, a party of strangers was coming towards us. They were members of an American yachting party, and told us they had anchored the evening before in Post Office Bay. We asked them whether another boat was there too, describing the Manuel y Cobos and saying how long we had waited for its arrival. To our astonishment these men seemed perfectly familiar with our situation. They said that they could well imagine our eagerness for Captain Bruuns' arrival, but that he had not yet turned up. They, however, had been greatly alarmed for us and had set out that morning with the purpose of finding us, alive or dead. It turned out that they had landed on Post Office beach, and found our letter in the barrel. It had been read by the yacht's first officer, who knew German, and had greatly agitated everyone on board. They had realized that they could do nothing until the morning, as no answering sign had come to all their signals, and they had even thought they might have come too late to be of any help. The owner of the yacht had sent us an invitation to come on board, and this we accepted with much gratitude. As for me, an unspeakable load had fallen from my heart in the few moments' conversation with these kind men. This touch of human friendliness and sympathy dispelled the evil magic which had held us in its thrall. The search party turned back with us, and on the way we learned that one of these gentlemen was Baker Brownell of Northwestern University. To Frederick's great joy, here was {someone/some one} who could meet him on his own ground of philosophy, and as Mr. Brownell spoke German well and fluently, the two at once engaged in an animated discussion of Frederick's {favourite/favorite} themes. Meanwhile I talked with the others, answering their astonished questions in broken English with what seemed to them amazing answers. I had never thought that long and arduous way to Post Office Bay could be so easy and short.

When we got down to the shore, we found two yachts at anchor, one pitch black, the other snowy white. We learned that we were bound for the white one, a beautiful craft with the name Mizpah painted on her stern. We were introduced to her owner, Commander Eugene F. McDonald, who greeted us charmingly and told us again how our letter had alarmed them all. He was kindness itself, and we were almost embarrassed to think how melodramatic our missive must have been, though we did not think so when we had written it. The Mizpah left that night and we never saw Commander McDonald again. Almost all the other yachtsmen who came down to Galapagos once returned, so that we renewed our acquaintance with them from time to time.

I do not know whether it was because Commander McDonald happened to arrive just at the moment of our direct need, so that he seemed to me, at least, to have been sent direct from Heaven, but he left an unforgettable memory behind him. His kindness was so tactful and he showed such sincere interest for the human side of our experiment, that although we only knew him for an hour or so, we thought of him as a real friend. As time went on we came to have a considerable correspondence with the outside world, but there were no letters that we received with greater pleasure or looked forward to more eagerly than those from Commander McDonald.

Only those who believe in blind chance and accident could think that our encounter with Commander McDonald was fortuitous. I know that this was not so, but that a rôle in our strange story had been alloted to him as definitely and as clearly as to ourselves. For other visitors had come and gone without consequences of our meeting, but through this meeting with Commander McDonald we were to become known to the world. The secret of Friedo was given to the world through him, and in that moment our drama reached a turning-point, perhaps through his onconscious participation in it.

We spent the whole afternoon aboard the Mizpah, enjoying the generous hospitality of our host. When we told him of our fear of the robbers we thought were still concealed on Floreana, he showed us his own rapid-fire rifle. It looked to me so terribly efficient an instrument of destruction that I said I now could easily believe that he came from Chicago, where such things, so we had heard, were put to daily use by ordinary citizens. Commander McDonald listened with great interest to the description of our fight against the jungle, and when Frederick said it would have saved us literally months of labor if we had only been able to blast the ground clear, the Commander said that he could give us all the dynamite we needed, as well as implements which would greatly lighten our toil. He told us that he had just come down from treasure-hunting on the Cocos Island, for which purpose he had put a supply of explosives on board. Unfortunately the party had had no luck in their romantic search, but certainly the luck was ours in inheriting their surplus storage of dynamite. Commander McDonald also gave us a gun, not such a terrifying one as his, but still sufficient for our needs.

Later in the afternoon the owner of the black yacht, with his wife and several of their party, came over to the Mizpah for a visit. This was Mr. Julius Fleischman [sic, Fleischmann].§ He confirmed what we had heard before, that the Galapagos Islands were a {favourite/favorite} cruising-place for American yachtsmen.

§ His yacht was named Camargo.

That day {had been/was} a day of real deliverance and happiness. We were almost ashamed to leave the hospitable Mizpah with all the things Commander McDonald had insisted upon our taking with us—picks and shovel, all kinds of tools, the fine shotgun, soap (which was my most essential need), and any quantity of food-stuffs. As we were about to leave, the black yacht sent out a motor-boat with a further lavish supply of things for us, and when Frederick and I landed on the beach with all these gifts we felt like the children in the old fairy tale who had a dream of Christmas and woke up to find it all come true.

The first officer came over with us to show us how to discharge the dynamite with the electrical apparatus we had been given. He demonstrated the working of the machine by setting off a small charge on Black Beach, where we had been landed. It went off with a deafening report that echoed and re-echoed among the near volcanoes. I wondered if the herds upon the {pampas/pampa} had heard it and been terrified.

In the excitement and delight of being “rescued,” I had quite forgotten the extraordinary and savage appearance Frederick and I must have presented. it was not until we were back at Friedo that I thought how incongruous and awful we must have looked aboard that charming yacht, the exquisite appointments of which demanded occupants and even visitors dressed in the extreme of elegance and fashion. I looked at Frederick with his unkempt mane of hair and beard that suggested nothing so much as the jungle thickets, his torn and work-stained shirt and trousers, and felt that really he had done his host small {honour/honor in his get-up}. As for me, I blushed to think what I looked like in my old striped cotton dress the last of my Floreana trousseau, my hair bleached by the sun, and my face so sunburnt that it looked as though I had stained it with walnut-oil; and worst of all, my hands, all cut to pieces and rough with primitive toil, no longer like a woman's hands at all. If Commander McDonald's generosity and his guests' friendliness towards us had delighted me before, now I was touched to remember that they had not made us feel by a word or a glance how out of place and eccentric we must have looked to them. The ladies had especially been charming.

A few days later the black yacht returned, and Frederick and I were invited on board. For this occasion we tried to make ourselves a little more respectable, though I am afraid with indifferent success. Once more I found the ladies full of kindness towards me, and as one of them spoke excellent German our talk was not limited to the few remarks that I could manage with my poor English. We in Europe are given a very false impression of the American women of the wealthier classes. They are described to us as superficial, blasé, sensation-hunting persons, without a serious interest or a worth-while thought in all their lives. I can only say that the ladies of ths one yachting party, and others we were later to make the acquaintance of, gave the straight lie to such reports. I found them, on the contrary, at least as much concerned with the serious things of life as German women, at least as fond of their children and anxious for their welfare as every other mother in the world. Seeing in me a woman who was making a perhaps extreme attempt to solve a certain problem of life which affects all women, they talked to me more intimately than they would have done had we met in any other way, and I found them deeply concerned with basic problems such as freedom and adjustment of the inward to the outward life—far more concerned than European women I had known.

In addition, they were so natural and sponteneous, and so full of understanding, tact, and the kindliest attentiveness, that I have always cherished my remembrance of them all. Perhaps it was a momentary concession to the world that we had left that made me tell these people, when they asked, that Frederick and I were married. I hope that if any of them should by chance read this book they will forgive me for that small conventional deception.

 

Commander McDonald was putting back to Guayaquil and promised to let Captain Bruuns hear of the plundering of the Casa. He also had the kindness to take along a list of things we most required. He may have begun to suspect that Captain Bruuns was not the most reliable of friends, for instead of leaving the Captain to bring us what we needed, he said that he himself would send the articles to us.

The Commander's gifts to us had been so lavish and so many that we were no longer forced to raise the food for our immediate daily needs, but were free to give our whole time to the planning and planting of our real garden. We spend hours and days exchanging suggestions and ideas, for Friedo was far more to us than a mere plantation. It was to be the outward and visible symbol of our whole scheme of life. We could never have enough of talking about it.

On board the Mizpah, Frederick and Professor Brownell had continued the exchange of philosophies which they had begun at first sight. and in the end Mr. Brownell has said, “Yes, the solitude that is necessary for every great research into ultimate things needs courage to endure, and that is why so few have ever made the attempt. …” Now, planning Friedo so intensively, and with such confidence, I was often reminded of the almost mystical light that had come into Frederick's eyes as he had answered: “That may be true for others, but as for me, I think I shall go on to the end on Floreana. I know that I shall find here what I came to find, and this is where I hope to die.” I remember the respectful silence that had followed these words. It was I who interrupted it, saying, “Oh, Frederick, don't let us talk of dying on our island; we've hardly begun to live there yet.” This had restored the mood of pleasantness and everyone had laughed. Death seemed a long way off from both of us.

Chapter VIII: Many Annoyances

Nothing was going to be made easy for us on Floreana, and now a time began which, happy though it was, and undisturbed by greater enemies, was one long succession of petty wars agains conditions on the island.

The dynamite Commander McDonald had given us did not prove to be the help it promised. So tough were the jungle trees that sometimes a simultaneous charge of twelve cartridges failed to bring them down. I remember one of them whose trunk withstood a dynamite attack without a splinter to show for it afterwards. Later, however, we made the useful discovery, the result of much trial and error, that small quantities of explosive, when ignited, burned with a heat of more than ordinary intensity. And so we hit on the idea of clearing out the bush by burning. In our ignorance, we reasoned that this vegetation would burn easily because it was absolutely parched. But the wilderness laughs at the logic of civilization, as we were here to learn. If the bushes and trees on Friedo had been sogged with water, they could not have resisted more successfully the fire we applied to them. It was clear that they had built up within them some kind of mechanism of resistance against drought. We saw, however, that burning was our only chance of clearing out this ground, and so we set ourselves with no less obstinacy than the jungle's own to conquer it. We made fires which needed continuous stoking. This alone was work as difficult and painful as one could well imagine. We found that we must concentrate on certain strategic points, but to our dismay the fires always spread and proved most difficult to check. Wherever we needed them most, they failed to have the required effect; wherever we did not need them, they spread and blazed with devilish perversity. Branches alone were useless as fuel; these fires had to be built with coal, which was a torment to transport.

The fuel gathered, it took us a long time to get the fires properly under way, and no sooner had we turned our back on one of them, to look after another, than the first one went out, dwindling into a thin wisp of smoke. I think we left no human artifice untried to keep these fiendish fires going. My hands were torn with the thorny branches, and blistered with the heat. Every now and then a dangerous blazing splinter would fly over to where our young banana plants were just beginning to flourish nicely, and we had to leave everything we were doing to arrange a screen of three sheets of corrugated iron around the menaced spot. Also the extreme heat of our furnaces did the young plantation no good. What made everything more difficult was the fact that we had planted all our shoots in among the clumps of thicket, wherever we found what looked to be a promising piece of earth to put them in. Looking after all these scattered darlings now was a desperate job. We had to be particularly careful how and where we built our fires, for they had to remain burning all night, when there was no one to look after them, and we had to be careful that they would do no danger while we slept. We toiled at this most arduous work from dawn till far into the night. With showers of blazing sparks from falling branches, flames flaring up as fresh twigs caught afire, the glow of smoldering tree stumps and tall logs, Friedo in those days resembled an inferno rather than an Eden. Frederick and I certainly looked the part of Satan's stokers—covered from head to foot with soot and grime, we looked more diabolical than human. But we were not so satanic as not to think often and with guilty consciences of the wild creatures whose lives and homes we were destroying. Rats fled away before our fires, many of them only to fall victims to my cat. We must have destroyed hundreds of birds' nests, but I consoled myself with the thought that the island offered so much other shelter that no creature we drove off had lost its chance of home.

This cat of mine was an odd animal, so intensely domesticated that she had not been able to find her way back to wildness. When I found her, her delight at seeing a human being was touching in the extreme. After a month or two with us she clung to me and Friedo with such devotion and apparent gratitude that, while I felt sorry for the rats and birds she killed, I could not but be glad when I compared her condition with what it had been when I came upon her, an abandoned, scraggy waif, roaming unhappily about the island.

Our doings were a source of great wonderment to our fellow-dwellers on Floreana. At night we could see the shadowy forms of wild asses and cattle gathered to watch the flames. They would stand at a safe distance, and never venture very near, but one could see astonishment in their whole attitude, though not alarm. One felt that they must be telling one another that there had never been such conflagrations since the last volcano on the island became extinct.

Our primitive deforestation was brought to a premature end—premature, that is, for us—by the arrival of the rainy season. As a matter of fact, the rains were overdue, but in spite of our fears that the prolonged drought might cause our spring to dry up, we had welcomed this tardiness{./ because we were by no means far enough along with the clearing of the ground.}

We chose branches which had been left behind for use in our home and garden. Three jagged branches were fashioned into chairs and small tables. A curious, curved branch was used for a sharpening block. Two finely shaped sticks made admirable rockers for a rocking-chair. Big trunks were put aside for our future sugar press. Many curious, curved sticks were retained for our future “Museum for bizarre garden-furniture.”

 

The first {heavy/great} downfall took us by surprise. It came in the middle of the night when we had fallen into bed even more than usually exhausted by our day's work. We were suddenly startled out of sleep by a roar as of a bombardment . It must not be forgotten that our roof was nothing but corrugated iron, uncovered by grasses or any kind of thatch, and this material is the most resonant drum surface in the world. The heavy raindrops pouring down upon it were not like rain but like a veritable explosion. For a moment we thought our dynamite which we had left uncovered under a tree in the garden had been set off by some unknown agency, and rushed out, Frederick with a lantern, I with an old umbrella, to see what damage had been done. We snatched up a piece of tar-paper to lay over the dynamite boxes to protect them from being soaked, and dragging this behind us, we went investigating. Hardly had we reached the place than the rain broke off as suddenly as it had begun. We looked at each other in our nightclothes, I still dragging the tar-paper after me like a sail, and the picture we presented to each other's eyes was so grotesque that we both laughed heartily.

The rainy season was a new school for island dwellers. We found that we had not yet begun to learn some of the simplest lessons of the natural life. For example, the heap of stones which was my cook-stove lay unroofed under what had always been a cloudless sky, but now, when a deluge was likely to fall at any moment, cooking became a problem. One of our principal dishes was fried sweet potatoes. Very often in these rainy days I no sooner had the fat hot in the pan than the sky rained into it, sending it hissing out in all directions and making frying quite impossible. We saw that it would be necessary, until this season was past, to roof the stove, and accordingly we deprived our house of one of the corrugated iron sheets. This now became my kitchen ceiling.

We soon ceased to take shelter when the downpours came. Indeed, we revealed in the delicious feeling of the cool showers running down our hot and weary bodies while we worked. The rains on Floreana were not the terrific cloudbursts of the other tropics. It seldom rained with violence and often there were long gaps of days when it was quite dry. Nor did we ever once experience a thunderstorm. I thought it very curious that although Friedo was by no means high up on the mountain slope, it rained much more there than down on the beach, and sometimes we made the shore a kind of dry resort when tired of the humidity higher up. In the four years we inhabited the island it actually rained on the shore less than a week each year.

The wet season caused a great new rush of life in all the vegetation. The acacia props which held our roof and the branches which formed rough walls about the house began to put forth green shoots. It was one of the most extraordinary things I have ever experienced, to find myself inhabiting a living house. The long dry weather must have had a bad effect upon our nerves, although we were not conscious of this. Now when the rains came we felt a kind of peace and quietness within. There can be no doubt that the human mind is partially formed by the kind of climate it ripens in, and such violent readjustments as we had had to make to new conditions must of necessity have called forth a certain opposition in our minds, whether we were aware of it or not.

But there is no advantage, seemingly, that does not bring a disadvantage in its train, and we had not long to wait before the peace the rains brought our minds was offset by the torments which they unleashed against our poor bodies. Friedo became alive with a veritable plague of every kind of savage insect. There were cockroaches and beetles, a dozen kinds of caterpillars, plant-lice and ants: especially ants—the red and black varieties, inexhaustible, impossible to keep in check, let alone exterminate. The plant-eaters, unless you match their inextinguishable greed with every scrap of human cunning you can muster, will raze your hard-won plantation to the ground overnight. None of these pests, not even the mosquitoes and the grasshoppers and cockroaches, could compare for voraciousness and savagery with the ants. They came in legions, and where they touched they stung. No sweet thing and no fat was safe against them. We hung our food from strings, carefully gumming the string to catch the ants before they could reach it, but the invaders made their way over the corpses of the imprisoned and reached the booty just the same. They attacked us in our beds and drove us out many a night, so that we started our morning work worn out for lack of sleep. The only island pest from which the rainy season seemed to have delivered us was the sand-flea. It probably flourished only in dry weather, but so fearful a scourge were all the rest, and so completely did their torments and depredations occupy us, that we had no time to be grateful for the absence of the sand-flea until afterwards. We often wondered whether the mainland forests could supply us with an armadillo, but by the time we had a chance to ask about this we had forgotten the rainy season, and when the weather was moderately dry we found that we were more or less able to cope with the marauding ants.

In time we cleared a space 150 feet wide by about 120 feet long. It was an immense labour to lever out the huge lava rocks with nothing but a crow-bar to lift them from the bed where they had lain for many ages. Frederick carted more than five thousand wheelbarrows of good earth to fill up the holes that the clearing of the boulders had left. Then one day he discovered a bed of clay, and this auspicious circumstance enabled him to develop a most efficient irrigation system by lining the channels with this impenetrable material. He ran a ditch on either side of our cleared space and the water met again in a natural basin in the lava floor. From this he laid a pipe so that the overflow of the basin could provide us with a natural shower bath.

Our domain ran east and west and was shaped like a flat-iron, with the spring at the point and the house at the broad end. Along one whole side we planted a double row of bananas. We had semi-circular rows of cocoanuts next to the spring. We now began our most ambitious project, the building of a glass house on a stone foundation. It was to be circular in shape, and built so high that it would stand above the trees and enable us to gain a view of the sea below. It was to have a domed roof, glassed in, and was to be open to the sun on every side. This house was never finished, but we lavished our most intensive work upon it. The building of the pyramids was not attended by any greater labour. The foundation was formed of the largest boulders we could move. We pushed them into place up a gangway of inclined tree trunks, using all our strength, and risking life and limb in the process, for some of the boulders were so large that if they had rolled back upon us we should have been crushed. By the time the tragic developments of our life at Friedo had rendered this architectural plan impossible ever to carry out, we had at least got so far as to raise the complete foundation and build a flight of wide steps leading up to what was to have been the house.

But {other untoward/these} developments were already preparing, and suddenly the first blow fell. February, March, and April of that year were the happiest time we spent on Floreana. It was the time of our hardest work but of our brightest hope. A sense of permanence had allied itself to peacefulness, a kind of strange assurance had filled us, that we had been in some way put to a test of fitness and had been accepted.

Through the darkness the cock crowing announced the coming morning and awakened us. Quickly the night receded before the dawn. Before yet the sun rose over the mountain, we rose from our hard beds to begin our gardening. The cackling of the chickens would remind me that I had to feed them. Then we had breakfast. Our first meal consisted of fruit, melons, cucumbers, tomatoes, whatever was in season. Then each of us undertook our special tasks. These were of various kinds and relieved one another. I cultivated the vegetable garden; arranged flower-beds; planted; put seeds in and moulded the furrows of the potatoes and peanuts. From twelve to one we lunched. That was the chief meal of the day. We divided salted food and raw diet. Four days of the month we ate cooked vegetables, little salted. And on the other days we ate our favourite food, beaten eggs and nananas sweetened with our home-made sugar, and some kind of chocolate cream. We rested between two and four o'clock. Sometimes we read or wrote, or I did a little needle-work. After that I opened the door of the poultry run and the chickens would come out and scratch for food, until sunset. Then they returned home and waited for me to feed them again and finally to enclose them for the night.

At seven o'clock we ceased outdoor work, but still worked on for several hours. If Frederick did not write (he was working at his book on philosophy) he read to me aloud whilst I darned or made rugs and mats. Out of dried banana leaves I twisted rugs and upholstery for lounges and deck-chairs. Twenty rugs laid one upon another made a most comfortable mattress.

Between eight and nine I would fall asleep Then Frederick became aware that nobody was listening to his reading, he would close his book and go outside again to catch cockroaches and moths, which were bothering our plants and fruit-trees. The booty spiced the chicken food the next morning.

It was the 5th of May. We went down to Post Office Bay early in the morning and there, to our surprise, the Manuel y Cobos was just putting in. Eager to talk to Captain Bruuns, we could hardly wait till one of the life-boats {/which had been floated} arrived to fetch us. The crew told us that Captain Bruuns was not along this trip—but some one else was expecting us. The {someone else/“some one else”} was a courier specially dispatched by the Ecuadorean post-office officials to deliver our mail. To our sheer amazement he handed us a parcel of what looked like hundreds of letters. We thought at first that every member of every yachting party we had met must have written to us daily since he left, and we took out this surprising post by handfuls, counting it. There were forty-six letters. There was no tint to read them aboard the Cobos, which was waiting to sail, so when we had been landed, we sat down on the beach to look at them, turning them over to see the names of the senders. Then we realized that they were not from our new acquaintances at all, but were mostly from Germany, and not a single envelope bore a name we knew. I looked at Frederick and he at me; we could make nothing of this thing. Besides the letters, there were newspapers. Frederick suggested that we open nothing until we return to Friedo—it was as though he sensed something amiss, and I for my part was only too glad to wait. When we got back, Frederick had to look after something in the garden, leaving me alone with the mysterious mail.

The first thing I opened was a newspaper. I unfolded it with a certain apprehension, lest some new political trouble had broken out in our tormented country, but what was my dismay and consternation as I read the headlines! They told of Frederick's flight from civilization with a woman. In an instant of cowardice I prayed that my name had not been mentioned . But the next moment I was ashamed to have wished this, for if Frederick was to be criticized, then I must not shirk anything but stand by him, whatever might come. I need not have worried; my name was also there. Then I burst into desperate tears. At that moment Frederick came back.

“What has happened?” he asked. “Why are you crying?”

I was too overcome to answer and merely put the paper in his hands . “This is the end of everything,” I said.

Frederick, no less upset than I, took this unfortunate publicity more calmly. He said that we had already braved much and must be prepared to go through with the rest, and pointed out that after all this would be more easily borne now we were safely away than if it had happened by some unlucky chance before we left.

The newspaper account was written in that vein of cheap sensationalism which debases every high intention and panders to the lowest curiosity of the crowd. I felt as though the things that Frederick and I held most sacred were being dragged mercilessly through the mire. I was inconsolable. My first thought was for my people, and the new annoyance and shame to which this would expose them. I thought too of my husband, and how he had tolerated everything that had happened in order to keep his name clear from scandal. Now his tolerance and effort had been in vain, and I knew exactly how he must be suffering. Without exception the letters were from perfect strangers. Some were sympathetic and agreeable to read, but most were obviously written by eccentrics and cranks who assumed that we were like themselves. We felt that all the writers were tactless intruders upon our privacy. I was filled with cold horror at the thought that some of these people might even come to Floreana. Throughout the sleepless night that followed, the direst apprehensions filled my mind. The past surged back upon me. But when the storm was past I thought the situation over clearly and saw this untoward development in the light of a new test which fate had laid upon me. What I had done I had done for love, and had nothing to regret. If others back home were to pay the price of my action, this could not be helped, and I could only pay it back to them by making our experiment as great as we intended it to be.

{There /From now on there} was no more peace at Friedo. A radio telegram had destroyed this as surely and as swiftly as a single stroke of lightning destroys a living tree. We had become objects of sensational publicity. People in many countries read garbled and exaggerated accounts of who we were and what our aims had been in cutting ourselves off from their world. Letters and more letters were to come from now {onwards/on}. Sometimes we let them lie, but more often a horrible fascination compelled us to {read them/see what they contained}. Fortunately we had so much to do that there was no time for brooding, and when our wholesome daily toil was {over/done}, we were too tired to think of anything at all.

But a new presage of evil soon reached us.

But there was already a fresh presage of evil.