He would not break the coral, but put it on board his life-boat just as it was.
And now he dug no more. He thought he could sell the galleon as well as the island, by sample, and he was impatient to be gone.
He reproached himself, a little unjustly, for allowing a woman to undertake the task of clearing him.
"To what annoyances, and perhaps affronts, have I exposed her!" said he. "No, it is a man's business to defend, not to be defended."
To conclude: At high tide one fine afternoon he went on board with Ponto, and, hoisting his foresail only, crossed the bay, ranging along the island till he reached the bluff. He got under this, and, by means of his compass and previous observations, set the boat's head exactly on the line the ducks used to take. Then he set his mainsail too, and stretched boldly out across the great Pacific Ocean.
Time seems to wear out everything, even bad luck. It ran strong against Robert Penfold for years. But, when it had struck its worst blow, and parted him and Helen Rolleston, it relaxed, and a tide of good luck set in, which, unfortunately, the broken-hearted man could not appreciate at the time. However, so it was. He wanted oil; and a whale came ashore. He wanted treasure, and the sea gave him a little back of all it had swallowed; and now he wanted fine weather; and the ocean for days and nights was like peach-colored glass, dimpled here and there; and soft westerly airs fanned him along by night and day.
To be sure, he was on the true Pacific Ocean, at a period when it is really free from storms. Still, even for that latitude, he had wonderful weather for six days; and on the seventh he fell in with a schooner, the skipper and crew of which looked over the bulwarks at him with wonder and cordiality, and, casting out a rope astern, took him in tow.
The skipper had been eying him with amazement for some hours through his telescope; but he was a man that had seen a great many strange things, and it was also a point of honor with him never to allow that he was astonished, or taken by surprise, or greatly moved.