Charlotte Mary Yonge.

A storehouse of stories : storehouse the first online

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heavy fish up and down the rock, he fell asleep until the
next morning.

Having slept quietly the remainder of the night, he awoke
in the morning pretty fresh and hearty, but anxious about
his future destiny; for though he might for awhile subsist
upon fish, wherewith he might be supplied by the sen, yet
he could not imagine which way he could be furnished with
clothes and bed against the winter, for want of which he
must miserably perish with cold, unless supplied by some
such dismal accident as exposed him to the want thereof,
which he heartily wishes and prays may never happen.

Having made these considerations, he, on his knees, re-


turns kind Providence his hearty thanks for all its mercies
that had been extended to him, begging the contmuance of
its assistance. Then, watching the opportunity of getting
away from that melancholy place, he goes to the other side
of the rock, to try if he could perceive any shipping in sight.

The wind being pretty high, fed his hopes that each suc-
ceeding hour would gratify his wishing look with that object
the preceding could not bring forth, but he was disappointed.
The night approaching, kept back all probability for that
time; however, depending on better success the next day,
he returns whence he came; and being hungry, makes a
fire, and broils another slice of the fish, then lays the rest
upon broad green leaves, and strews salt thereon to keep it
from spoiling, and then goes to rest ; and as he lay undis-
turbed the night before under the trees, and much more
easy than at top, he ventured again, committing himself to
the care of Providence.

He slept in safety that night, but with the returning
morning all his anxieties were renewed, and he determined
to lose no time in providing as well as he could for all his
necessities. Accordingly, first he begins to think of making
himself a house to preser\e him from the injuries of the
weather; but having nothing to make it of, nor any instru-
ment but a knife, which could be of little ser^ace to him, he
resolves to go to that part of the rock where he was ship-
wrecked to see if he could discover anything among the
wreck that might be serviceable to him : and therefore
takes a branch of a tree along with him, and, coming to the
place, he strips himself, and goes into the water (the water
l)eing low, discovering the tops of several sharp-pointed
rocks), and gropes along with his staft" for sure footing,
wading as high as his chin, diving to the bottom frequently,
and feeling about with his hands. This he continued doing
for almost two hours, but to no purpose, not daring to go
out of his depth; for he well knew that he could do little
good there, because he could discover no part of the ship,
not so much as the mast, or any of the rigging, but fancied
she lay in some deep hole, where it was impossible to get
at her.


Thus despairing, and fretting and teazing himself, he calls
to mind that he had a hatchet in his hand when he was
cast away, and thought probably it might lie in that clift of
the rock into which he was thrown; thither he went, and
looking about perceived something like the handle of a
hatchet just above the surface of the water, at the bottom of
the rock ; and going down to it, took it up ; which, to his
great joy, proved to be the very tiling he wanted.

Having got his tool he dresses himself, and goes on to
the islantl again, intending to cut down some trees to make
himself a hut; looking about, therefore, for the properest
plants, and taking notice of a sort of trees, whose branches,
bending to the ground, took root and became a plant, he
thought they might be the fittest for this purpose, and cut a
sufficient parcel of them to make his barrack ; which was
full business for him that day.

The next morning, having paid his usual devotion, he
walks out again to look for a pleasant and convenient place
to make his hut or barrack upon. He walked several hours,
and could find none more sheltered from the cold winds
than that where he already lay, being in the middle of the
island, well fenced on the north and east sides with trees,
which stood very thick. The place being fixed upon, he
hews down some trees that grew in his way, and clears a
spot of ground about twelve feet square, leaving one tree
standing at each corner ; and, with the young plants he
provided the day before, filled the distance between quite
round, setting them about six inches asunder, leaving a
larger vacancy for the door. His inclosure being made, he
bends the branches at the top from both sides, and weaves
them across one another, making a cover to it, which being
something too thin he laid other branches over, till they
were grown thicker. Having finished the top, he goes
about closing the sides ; for which purpose, taking large
branches, he strips off their small twigs, and weaves them
between the plants as they do for sheep pens, then made a
door after the same manner.

His barrack being finished; which took him up fifteen
days' hard work, ' Now,' said he, ' here is a house, but where


is the furniture % This, indeed, may keep the weather from
me, but not the cold. The ground on which I do and must
He, is hard, and doubtless, in the winter, will grow damj),
which, with want of covering, may occasion agues and fevers,
the cholic and rheumatism, and twenty racking distempers,
which may cause me to repent my having escaped a milder

In this great consternation and perplexity, he goes to see
if he could spy any shipping riding within sight of the
island. As he was walking along, full of heavy and dull
thoughts, which weighed his looks to the ground, he hap-
pened to find a sort of high grass that grows but here and
there, round some particular sort of trees, of which he never
took notice before. ' Heaven be praised !' said he, ' I have
found wherewithal to keep my poor body from the ground,
whilst I am, by Providence, doomed to remain here.' So
passes on, intending at his return to cut down a sufficient
(]uantity of it to make mats that might serve him instead of
bed and bed-clothes.

Having looked himself almost blind without seeing the
least prospect of what he desired, he concludes upon going
to cut the grass which he stood in such want of, and spread
it to dry, whilst the Aveather was yet warm. That piece of
work kept him employed the remainder of the day, and best
part of the succeeding, having nothing but a pocket-knife to
cut withal. That work being done, wanting a tool to spread
and turn his grass, he takes a branch off the next tree, which,
having stript of all the small ones about it. all but part of
that at the top, made a tolerable fork. Thus being equipped
for haymaking, he went on with his work ; and as he was at
it he saw, at some distance, several monkeys as busy as
himself, scratching something out of the ground, which they
ate in part upon the spot, and carried the rest to their

His hopes that those roots might be for his use, those
creatures being naturally dainty, eating nothing but what
men may, made him hasten to the place he saw them
scratching at, that by the herb they bear (which they tore
off) he might find out the root.


Having, by the leaves which he picked off the ground,
found some of the same, he (Hgs them up, and carried them
to his barrack, where he broiled a slice of fish, and in tlie
ashes roasted them, which eat something like chesnuts done
in the same manner.

This new found-out eatable much rejoiced him, he re-
turned his hearty thanks to kind Providence that had put
him in a way to provide himself with bread, and that of a
most delicious kind. As soon, therefore, as he had dined,
he went out on purpose to dig up a good quantity; but, as
he was going to the place where he had taken notice they
grew pretty thick, he sees a tortoise of about a foot over,
crawling before him : ' Heaven be praised ! ' said he, ' here
is what will supply me both with victuals and utensils to
dress it in;' he ran therefore, and turned it on its back, to
keep it from getting away, whilst he went for his hatchet,
that he might cut the bottom shell from the top, in order
to make a kettle of the deepest, and a dish of the flat part.

Being tired of cod-fish, he dresses the tortoise, an animal
seldom eaten but upon extremity, the flesh thereof often
giving the flux ; nevertheless he ventured upon it, and liked
it extremely, some part of it eating very much like veal;
which at that time was a very great novelty to him, having
eaten no fresh meat for a long time before.

Happening to eat of that part of the tortoise which is tlie
most feeding, and less hurtful, he was in no wise discom-
posed; but, having boiled it all, he laid by the remainder
to eat now and then between his fish.

Being provided with a boiling utensil, he often had
change, by means of those admirable roots so luckily dis-
coved ; some of which he roasted for bread, others he
boiled with salt cod. This, in a great measure, mitigated
his misfortune, and softened the hardship he lay under ; so
that seeing but little prospect of changing his present con-
dition, by getting away from thence yet awhile, he thinks on
means to make it as easy as possible whilst he remained in
it; for, having projected a bed, and taking the grass, which
by that time was dry, he f dls to work ; and a mat being the
thing concluded upon, he twists his hay into ropes, the big-


ness of his leg ; then he cuts a pretty number of sticks,
about two feet long, which he drives into the ground, ten in
a row, and near four inches asunder, and oj)posite to them
such another row at six or seven feet distance from the first,
which made the length of his mat; then having fastened
one end of his rope to one of the corner sticks, he brings it
round the other corner stick, and so to the next at the
other end, till he has laid his frame ; then he weaves across
shorter ropes of the same, in the manner they make pallions
on board with old cable ends. When he had finished his
mat, he beat it with a long stick, which made it swell up ;
and the grass being of a soft cottony nature, he had a warm
and easy bed to lie on.

The comfort and pleasure he found on his soft mat (being
grown sore with lying on the ground for a space of a month
or more) so liberally gratified him for the time and labour
he had bestowed in making it, that it gave him encourage-
ment to go about another; a covering being the next
necessary wanted ; for though the weather was as yet pretty
warm, and he in a great measure seasoned by the hardship
he had gone through ; yet the winter approaching, and the
present season beirrg still favourable for him to make pro-
vision against it, he goes and cuts more grass, which being
made ready for use, he lengthens his loom, to allow for
rolling up at one end, instead of a bolster, and makes it
thicker than the first, which he intends, in cold weather,
shall lie upon him instead of blankets.

Being provided with the most necessary furniture he
wanted, he thinks on more conveniences, resolving to make
himself a table to eat his victuals upon, and a chair to sit
on. Thus, having cut several sticks about four feet long,
ne drives them in a row a little way in the ground, then takes
smaller, which he interweaves between ; having made the
top, he sets it upon four other sticks, forky at the upper end,
which he stuck in the ground at one side of his barrack, to
the height of a table ; this being done, he cuts four more
branches, such as he judged would do best for the seat and
back of a chair, which he also drove in the ground near his
table; and having twisted the branches, which grew to them,


with each other, from back to front, and across again, he
weaves smaller between, bottoming his seat ; which com-
pletes the furniture of his habitation.

That care being over, another succeeds, of a far greater
moment: ' Here is a dwelling,' said he, ' to shelter me from
the weather, and a bed to rest this poor body of mine ; but
where is food to support it ? Here I have subsisted near
one month upon a fish, which the same dreadful stonn that
took away forty lives, sent me to maintain my own. Well,
since kind Providence has been pleased to preserve my life
preferably to so many, who fatally perished in that dismal
accident, I am bound in gratitude to hold it precious; and
since my fish is almost gone, and I am not certain of more,
I must by degrees bring myself to live upon roots, which I
hope will never be wanting, being the natural product of
this island : so I must eat of the small remnant of my fish
but now and then, to make it hold out longer. Dainties or
plenty were not allotted for him that was doomed to slavery,
but labour and hard living; and, if I meet here the latter,
Heaven be praised, I have escaped the worse ; I can take
my rest, and stand in no dread of any severe inspector or

Now being entirely reconciled to the state of life Pro-
vidence, on whom he fully depended, had been pleased to
call him to, he resolves to make provision of those excellent
roots ; and with his hatchet he cuts a piece of a tree, where-
with he makes a shovel, in order to dig them up with more
ease : with this instrument he went to the place where he had
observed they grew thickest, which being near the monkeys'
quarters, they came down from off their trees in great
numbers, grinning as if they would have flown at him ;
which made him stop awhile. He might, indeed, with the
instrument in his hand, have killed several, and perhaps
dispersed the rest ; but would not : ' Why,' said he, ' should
I add barbarity to injustice % It is but natural and reason-
able for all creatures to guard and defend their own : this
was given them by nature for food, which I am come
to rob them of: and fince I am obliged to get of them
for my subsistence, if I am decreed to be here another


season, I will set some in a place distant from theirs for
my own use.'

Having stood still a considerable time, those animals,
seeing he did not go forwards, each went and scratched up
for itself, afterwards retiring ; giving him the opportunity to
dig up a few for himself: and as he was not come to the
place where they grew thick, he laid them in small heaps as
he dug them up ; while those sly creatures would, whilst he
was digging up more, come down from the trees where they
stood hid among the leaves, and steal them away ; which
obliged him to be contented for that time with as many as
his pockets would hold, resolving to bring something next
time which Avould contain a larger quantity; and fearing
those animals, which are naturally very cunning, should dig
them up and hide them, he comes early the morning fol-
lowing to make his provision; and for want of a sack to put
them in, he takes his jacket, which he buttons up, and ties
at the sleeves ; and as he had observed that every root had
abundance of little offsets hanging at it by small fibres, he
pulled off his shirt also, of which he makes another sack to
put them in.

Being naked, all but his breeches, and the day being
pretty hot, he thought he had as good pull them off too, and
fill them, his jacket being but short, and therefore holding
but few: taking, therefore, his bundle in one arm, and
having the shovel in the other hand, he goes to the place
he intended to do the day before ; and expecting to find the
same opposition as he did then, he brought with him some
of the roots he had dug up the preceding day, in order to
throw them amongst those animals, and so quiet them ; but
to his great wonder, and as great satisfaction, those crea-
tures, which the time before had opposed him with noise
and oflensive motions, let him now pass by quietly, without
offering to meddle with any when dug up, though he had
laid them up by heaps in their way, and stood at a con-
siderable distance from them.

This surprising reverence from those creatures set him
upon deep reflections on what could be the cause thereof;
whether it might not i)roceed from the proximity of their


shape and his : ' But then,' said he, 'my stature and colour
of skin is so different from theirs, that they cannot but dis-
tinguish I am not of their kind : no, it must be a remnant
of that awe entailed by nature upon all animals, to that most
noble and complete masterpiece of the creation, called
Man, which, now ayjpearing in the state he was first created
in and undisguised by clothes, renews an image of that
respect he has forfeited by his fatal transgression, which
ever since obliged him to hide the beauty of his fabric under
a gaudy disguise, which often renders him ridiculous to the
rest of mankind, and generally obnoxious to all other crea-
tures ; making a pride of what he ought to be ashamed of.
Well,' adds he, ' since my clothes bred the antipathy, I will
remove that cause, which will suit both the nature of those
animals and my own circumstances.' From that time he
resolves to go naked, till the hardness of the weather obliged
him to put something on.

Having picked up a sufficient quantity of off-sets to stock
about two acres of land, he returns home, leaving behind
him a considerable number of roots dug up for those poor
animals which attended him all the time he was at work,
without offering to touch one till he was gone.

Being come home, he fixes upon a spot of ground near
his habitation, and digs it up as well as he could with his
wooden instrument, in order to sow his seed ; which having
compassed in about twenty days, he implores a blessing
upon his labour, and leaves it to time to bring it forth.
Thus having finished the most necessary work about his
barrack, he resolves to take a more particular view of the
island, which till then he had not time to do ; and taking a
long staff in his hand, he walks to the lake, which parts the
land from the rock, and goes along the side of it quite
round the island, finding all the way new subjects of ad-
miration : on the left hand stood a rampart made of one
solid stone, adorneil by nature with various forms and
shapes, beyond the power of art to imitate ; some jjarts
challenging a likeness to a city, and clusters of houses, witii
here and there a high steei)le standing above the other
buildings; another place ckiiming a near resemblance to a


distant squadron of men-of-war in a line of battle : farther,
it bears comparison with the dull remains of some sump-
tuous edifice, ruined by the often repeated shocks of time,
inciting the beholders to condolence for the loss of its former

At some distance from thence the prospect of a demo-
lished city is represented to the sight ; in another place
large stones, like small mountains, laid, as it were, a-top of
one another, impress the mind with an idea of the tower of
Babel ; and on the right hand a most pleasant land covered
with beautiful green grass, like chamomile, and here and
there a cluster of trees, composing most agreeable groves,
amongst a vast number of fine lofty trees of divers heights
and shapes, which stood more distant, whose irregularity
added to the delightfulness of the place.

As he was a walking on, admiring all these wonderful works
of nature, having caught cold (not being used to go naked),
he happened to sneeze opposite to a place in the rock
which hollowed in after the manner of the inside of some
cathedral, and was answered by a multitude of different
voices issuing from that place. The agreeableness of the
surprise induced him to rouse those echoes a second time,
by giving a loud hem ; which was, like his sneezing, re-
peated in different tones, but all very harmonious; again
he hemmed, and was so delighted with the repetition, that
he could have spent hours in the hearing of it. ' But why
should I,' said he, ' waste those melodious sounds, so fit to
relate the Almighty's wonderful works, and set forth his
praise ? ' Immediately he sang several psalms and hymns
with as much emulation and devotion as if he had been in
company with numbers of skilful and celebrated choristers.

Having spent a considerable time there with much plea-
sure, he proceeds in his walk, being resolved to make that
his place of worship for the future, and attend it twice a day

About three or four hundred paces farther, having turned
on the other side of a jetting out part of the rock, he was
stopped asecond timeby another surprising product of nature;
a large stone, growing out of the rock, advancing quite over


the lake at the bottom of it, representing something of a
human shape, out of the breast whereof issued a fountain of
exceeding clear water, as sweet as milk ; and, when looked
at fronting, was like an antique piece of architecture, which
in old times they built over particular springs; and on the
other side appeared as if springing from the nostrils of a sea-
horse. These three so very different and yet rightly com-
pared likenesses being offered by one and the same un-
altered object, made him curious to examine what parts of
every resemblance helped to make the others ; and having
spent a considerable time in the examination, he found every-
thing, which the front had likeness of, was employed in making
the side representation, by being in some places shortened,
and others lengthened, according to the point of sight.

Being satisfied about that subject, he enters upon another
as puzzling : the basin in which the fountain ran, which was
about five yards distant from whence the water did spring,
being but about nine feet over every way, without any visi-
ble place to evacuate its over complement, and yet keeping
the same height, without dashing or running over, although
the stream that fell into it ran as big as his wrist. Having
a long time searched into the cause without any satisfaction,
he conjectures it must make its way out somewhere under-
ground ; so went on till he came to the place he had begun
his march at, which ended that day's work.

Having been round the island, which, to the best of his
judgment, was about ten or eleven miles in circumference,
of an oblong form, going in and out in several places, ex-
tending from north to south, the south end near twice as
broad as the opposite, he resolves to employ the next day
in viewing the inside.

So the next morning he walks along the land, which he
found very level, covered with a delightful green grass, and
adorned with trees of divers sorts, shapes, and height, in-
habited with several sorts of curious singing-birds, of various
colours and notes, which entertained him with their melo-
dious harmony. In some places stood a cluster of trees,
composing agTeeable and delightful groves, proceeding from
only one mam body, whose lower branches, being come to



a certain length, applied to the earth for immediate nourish-
ment, as it were, to ease the old stem that produced them ;
and so became a plant, and did the same.

Having for some time admired the agreeableness and
curiosity of the plant, by which nature seemed to give
human kind instructions, and looking about, if perchance
he could find anything in his way for his own proper use,
he took along with him a sample of every different herb he
thought might be eatable. Crossing the island in several
places, he came at a most delightful pond, about two hun-
dred yards in length, and one hundred and fifty wide, with
fine trees spreading their branchy limbs over its brink, which
was surrounded with a beautiful bank, covered with divers
kinds of flowers and herbs, so naturally intermixed, n+iich
completed it in ornament and conveniency, as though in-
tended by nature for more than mortal's use.

Having walked several times round it with much plea-
sure, he sat down awhile upon its bank, to admire the
clearness of the water, through which, to his great comfort,
he saw many different sorts of fish, of various sizes, shapes,
and colours. 'Heaven be praised!' said he, 'here is a
stock of freshwater fish to supply me with food if the sea
should fail me.'

Being sufficiently diverted with their chasing one another,
which were of many beautiful and different colours, and a
most delightful scene, he proceeds in his walk, and goes to
the south of the island, where he finds another subject of
admiration, a noble and spacious wood, whose shades

Online LibraryCharlotte Mary YongeA storehouse of stories : storehouse the first → online text (page 2 of 43)