"Well, Tom Thumb did not manage well, and we must try to do better; we must do as the Americans always do in their woods, - we must blaze the trees."
"Blaze them! what, set fire to them?" replied William.
"No, no, William. Blaze is a term they use when they cut a slice of the bark off the trunk of a tree, just with one blow of a sharp axe, as a mark to find their way back again. They do not blaze every tree, but about every tenth tree as they go along, first one to the right, and then one to the left, which is quite sufficient; and it is very little trouble, - they do it as they walk along, without stopping. So now we'll begin: you take the other side, it will be more handy for you to have your hatchet in your right hand; I can use my left. See now - just a slice off the bark - the weight of the axe does it almost."
"What an excellent plan!" observed William.
"But I have another friend in my pocket," replied Ready, "and I must use him soon."
"Poor Captain Osborn's pocket-compass. You see, William, the blazing will direct us how to go back again; but it will not tell us what course we are now to steer. At present, I know we are going right, as I can see through the wood behind us; but by and by we shall not be able, and then I must make use of the compass."
"I understand that very well; but tell me, Ready, why do you bring the spade with us - what will be the use of it? You did not say yesterday that you were going to bring me."
"No, William, I did not, as I did not like to make your mother anxious; but the fact is, I am very anxious myself as to whether there is any water on this island; if there is not, we shall have to quit it sooner or later, for although we may get water by digging in the sand, it would be too brackish to use for any time, and would make us all ill. Very often there will be water if you dig for it, although it does not show above-ground; and therefore I brought the spade."