Ready had cut out and prepared the door-posts and window-frames from timber which he had towed round from the cove. He now fixed four poles in the earth upright at each corner, and then, with the assistance of Mr. Seagrave, notched every log of cocoa-nut wood on both sides, where it was to meet with the one crossing it, so that, by laying log upon log alternately, they fitted pretty close, and had only to have the chinks between them filled in with cocoa-nut leaves twisted very tight, and forced between them: this was the work of William and Juno when no more logs were ready for carrying; and, by degrees, the house rose up from its foundation. The fireplace could not be made at once, as they had either to find clay, or to burn shells into lime and build it up with rocks and mortar; but a space was left for it. For three weeks they worked very hard: as soon as the sides were up, they got on the whole of the roof and rafters; and then, with the broad leaves of the cocoa-nut trees which had been cut down, Ready thatched it very strong and securely. At the end of the three weeks the house was secure from the weather; and it was quite time, for the weather had begun to change, the clouds now gathered thick, and the rainy season was commencing.
"We have no time to lose, sir," said Ready to Mr. Seagrave. "We have worked hard, but we must for a few days work harder still. We must fit up the inside of the house, so as to enable Madam to get into it as soon as possible."
The earth in the inside of the house was then beaten down hard, so as to make a floor; and a sort of bedstead, about two feet from the ground, running the whole length of the house, was raised on each side of the interior: these were fitted with canvas screens to let down by night. And then Ready and William took the last trip in the boat to fetch the chairs and tables, which they did just before the coming on of the first storm of the season. The bedding and all the utensils were now taken into the house; and a little outhouse was built up to cook in, until the fireplace could be made.
It was late on the Saturday night that the family shifted into the new house; and fortunate it was that they had no further occasion for delay, for on the Sunday the first storm burst upon them; the wind blew with great force; and, although they were shielded from it, still the cocoa-nut trees ground and sawed each other's stems as they bent their heads to its force. The lightning was vivid, and the thunder appalling, while the rain descended in a continual torrent. The animals left the pastures, and sheltered themselves in the grove; and, although noonday, it was so dark that they could not see to read.
"This, then, is the rainy season which you talked about, Ready," said Mrs. Seagrave. "Is it always like this? If so, what shall we do?"
"No, madam; the sun will shine sometimes, but not for long at a time. We shall be able to get out and do something every now and then almost every day, but still we shall have rain, perhaps, for many days without intermission, and we must work indoors."
"How thankful we ought to be that we have a house over our heads; we should have been drowned in the tents."
"That I knew, madam, and therefore I was anxious to get a house over your head; let us thank God for it."