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CHAPTER 5: MY REWARD
The sun declined; my shadow broadened on die waters; and now I felt that if my cockle-shell could live a little longer, why, so could I.
I had got at the fowls without further hurt. Some of the bars took out, I discovered how. And now very carefully I got my legs in, and knelt; but the change of posture was not worth the risk one ran for it; there was too much danger of capsizing, and failing to free oneself before she filled and sank.
With much caution I began breaking the bars, one by one; it was hard enough, weak as I was; my thighs were of more service than my hands.
But at last I could sit, the grating only covering me from the knees downwards. And the relief of that outweighed all the danger, which, as I discovered to my untold joy, was now much less than it had been before. I was better ballast than the fowls.
These I had attached to the lashings which had been blown asunder by the explosion; at one end of the coop the ring-bolt had been torn clean out, but at the other it was the cordage that had parted. To the frayed ends I tied my fowls by the legs, with the most foolish pride in my own cunning. Do you not see? It would keep them fresh for my use, and it was a trick I had read of in no book; it was all my own.
So evening fell and found me hopeful and even puffed up; but yet, no sail.
Now, however, I could lie back, and use had given me a strange sense of safety; besides, I think I knew, I hope I felt, that the hen-coop was in other Hands than mine.
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