Charlotte Mary Yonge.

A storehouse of stories : storehouse the first online

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seemed to be made for the abode of peace and pleasure.
He walked round it with much delight, which made the
time seem short ; yet he could guess it to be no less than
two miles about.

Having viewed the outside, whose extraordinar}'- agi'ee-
ableness incited in him an insurmountable desire to get into
it, but where he was afraid to venture lest there might be
destructive creatm-es ; yet, having recommended himself to
the care of Providence, he ventured into it, finding several
pleasant walks, some straight, edged with lofty trees, as
though planted for pleasure; others crooked and winding,


bordered with a thick hedge of pimentoes, which cast a
most fragrant smell ; here and there a large cluster of bushes
and dwarf trees, wherein sheltered several different kinds of
wild beasts and fowls : ' Sure,' said he, ' this island never
was intended by nature to lie waste, but rather reserved to
be the happy abode of some for whom Heaven^ had a pecu-
liar blessing in store. Here is ever}'thing sufficient, not
only for the support, but also for the pleasure of hfe:
Heaven make me thankful, that I am the happy inhabitant
of so blessed a land !'

Being hungry, and tired with walking, he goes home in
order to get some victuals, and having made a fire, he boils
a slice of his salt fish with some roots, and then the herbs
he brought with him, which proved of divers tastes, and all
excellent ; some eating like artichokes, others like asparagus
and spinach. ' Now,' said he, ' what can I wish for more !
Here I possess a plentiful land, which produces both flesh
and fish ; bears excellent gi'eens and roots, and affords the
best of water, which by nature was ordained for man's drink.
Pomp and greatness are but pageantry, which oftentimes
prove more prejudicial to the actor than diverting to the
beholder; ease and indulgence are apt to breed the gout
and various distempers, which make the rich more wretched
than the poor; now these evils, thanks to my Maker! I
stand in no danger of, having but what is sufficient, which
never can do any harm.'

Thus thoroughly easy in his mind, he proposes to spend
the afternoon at the outside of the rock, in viewing the
sea, and looking for oysters ; so takes in his hand his
long staff to grapple in holes ; and his breeches, which he
ties at the knees, to bring them in. Being come to a place
of the rock he never had been at before, he sees at a dis-
tance something like linen hanging upon it, which, when he
came at, he found to be the main-sail of a ship, with a piece
of the yard fastened to it: 'Alas !' said he, ' a dismal token
of insatiable ambition ! which makes men often lose their
lives in seeking what they seldom find ; and, if they e\cr
do, 'tis commonly attended with a world of care. Hap])y
is he who limits his desires to his ability, aspiring not above

c 2


his reach, and is contented with what nature requires.'
Then he falls a ripping the sheet from the yard, which he
finds in one place tied with one of his garters (having him-
self made use of it for want of another string), ' Heaven be
praised!' said he, 'this is no effect of another shipwreck,
but a fragment of the unfortunate ship whose loss was my
redemption;' which reflection made him shed tears.

Having ripped the sail in pieces, he rolls them in such
bundles as he could conveniently carry, and lays them down
till he had got a few oysters, proceeding to grope in holes
with his stick as he went on.

About forty paces further, he finds a chest in the clift of
the rock, which had been washed up there by the violence
of the late storm : ' Heaven ! ' said he, ' more fatal effects of
fate's cruelty and man's temerity ! Was the sea made for
men to travel on % Is there not land enough for his ram-
bling mind to rove % Must he hunt after dangers, and put
death to defiance % What is the owner of this the better for it
now ? Or who can be the better in a place so remote, and
the access to it so difficult ? being not to be approached
but on the wings of Providence, and over the back of death.
Now, was this full of massy gold, or yet richer things, I
thank my God, I am above the use of it ; yet I'll take it
home ; it was sent hither by Providence, perhaps for the
rehef of some so necessitated and destitute.' Then going
to lift it, he could not ; therefore was obliged to fetch his
hatchet to beat it open, that he might take away what was
in it by degrees. Having taken as much of the sail-cloth as
he could conveniently carry, with the few oysters he had
got, he went home and fetched the tool, wheremth he
wrenched the chest open, from which he took a suit of
clothes and some wearing linen : ' These,' said he, ' neither
the owner nor I want,' so laid them doA\"n \ the next thing
he took out was a roll of several sheets of parchment, being
blank indentures and leases : ' These,* said he, ' are instru-
ments of the law, and often applied to injustice ; but I"ll
alter their mischievous properties, and make them records
of Heaven's mercies, and Providence's wonderful libera'' '
to me; so, instead of being the ruin of some, they may


chance to be the reclaiming of others.' At the bottom of
the chest lay a runlet of brandy, a Cheshire cheese, a leather
bottle full of ink, with a parcel of pens, and a penknife :
' As for these,' said he, 'they are of use; the pens, ink, and
parchment have equipped me to keep a journal, which will
divert and pass away a few anxious hours : as for the cheese
and brandy, they will but cause me new cares : before I had
them, I wanted them not ; now, the benefit and comfort I
shall find in them, when gone, wall make me hanker after
them more ; I wish I had still been without them ; but now
they are here, it would be a sin to let them be lost. I'll
take them home, and only use them at my need ; which Avill
both make them hold out the longer, and me grow less fond
of them.'

So, by degrees, he takes home the chest and what was in
it; and now having materials to begin his journal, he imme-
diately fell to work, that for want of other books he might,
at his leisure, peruse his past transactions, and the many
-mercies he had received from Heaven ; and that, after his
decease, whoever is directed thither by Providence, upon
reading his wonderful escapes in the greatest of dangers;
his miraculous living when remote from human assistance ;
in the extremity might not despair. Thus he begins from
his 'being eight years old (as well as he can remember, he
heard an old aunt of his say) to the day of his being cast
away, being then twenty-eight years of age, resolving to con-
tinue it to his death.

He now resolves to make provision against winter, and
the season being pretty far advanced, he gathers a good
store of fuel and roots ; begins to line the outside of his
ban-ack with a wall of turf, and lays the same at top, to keej)
out the wet. And as he now and then found small shell-
fish and oysters upon the rock, he makes a bridge over the
lake, which in warm weather he used to wade, that in the
winter he might go over dry. So, having completed his
bridge, which was made of two strong jjoles, which reached
from the land to the rock, and several lesser branches laid
a OSS pretty close, he retires home, the day being far spent.
The following night there arose a violent storm, attended


with dreadful claps of thunder, ^yhich the many echoes from
the rock rendered more terrible; and lightnings flashing in
a most frightful manner, succeeding each other, before the
preceding was well out of the sky, which put poor lonesome
Quarll in such a consternation, that, notwithstanding his
reliance on Heaven's protection, he would have given the
world (had it been in his possession) to have been within
the reach of human assistance ; or at least to have some
company; solitude adding much to his terror and affliction.

The glorious rising of the next morning's sun having laid
the mortifying rage of the blustering winds, Quarll, whose
late alarm was hardly quelled, still suspecting its most
reviving rays to be terrifying glances and flashes of light-
ning ; but having lain awhile, and hearing no noise but that
which still raged in his mind, was at last convinced the
storm was over; and so gets up with a resolution to go and
see if he could discern any effect of the late tempest.

Being come at the other side of the rock, he saw indeed
surprising objects, but not afflicting; the mischief that was
done being to the inhabitants of the sea only, a vast number
of which had, by the wind, been diselemented ; a quantity
of stately whitings fine mackerel, large herrings, divers sizes
of codlings, and several other sorts of fish, with a great
number of shells, of different shapes and bignesses, lying up
and down upon the rock. ' Heaven be praised ! ' said he,
' instead of damage to bewail, what thanks have I now to
return for this mighty benefit ! Here the powerful agent of
mischief is, by kind Providence, made a minister of good to
me : make me thankful ! I am now provided for all the next
winter ; and yet longer ; by which time I am certain to have
a fresh supply.'

Thus having taken up as many fish as he could hold in
his arms, he carries them home, and brings his shirt, which
he used instead of a sack ; so, at several times, he brought
away all the fish, and as many of the shells as he had occa-
sion for ; of some of which he made boilers and stewpans,
of others, dishes and plates : some he kept water in, and
others fish in pickle ; so that he was stocked with necessary
vessels as well as provision.


Being very weary with often going backwards and for-
wards with lais fish, which took up all that day to bring
them home, he sits down to rest himself, and the runlet of
brandy lying by, he was tempted to take a sup, which was
at that time very much wanted, his spirits being very low ;
but was loath to taste it, lest he should grow fond of the
liquor, and grieve after it when gone : some moments were
spent before he could come to a resolution ; at last, having
considered the use of it, which suited the present occasion,
he concludes to take a dram, and to use it like a cordial,
which it was first intended for; but the vessel out of which
he drank being at his mouth, the cordial turns to a nectar;
one gulp decoys another down, so the intended dram be-
came a hearty draught. The pleasantness of the lifjuor
made him forget its nature; so that poor Quarll, who had,
for the space of near three months before, drank nothing but
water, was presently overcome with the strength of the
brandy, and fell asleep in his chair, with the runlet on his
bare lap, from whence it soon fell to the ground, and, being
unstopt, ran all out.

Being awaked with hunger, having slept from evening till
almost noon of another day, which he knew not whether the
succeeding or the next to it; seeing what had happened, he
was sorely vexed, and could have w^ept at the accident ; but
considering the liquor which occasioned it might perhajis
in time have caused greater mischief, he was soon recon-
ciled to the loss, but could not with that of the right order
of the days, which having entirely forgot, hindered the going
on of his journal; so was obliged to make only a memorial.
That damage being repaired, another ap])ears of a far
greater consequence ; the Sunday is lost, which he had so
carefully observed to that time : how can that be made up ?
' Now,' said he, ' shall I daily be in danger of breaking the
sabbath, knowing not the day. O fatal liquor ! that ever
thou wert invented to cause so much mischief! But why
should I lay the blame upon the use, when it is the abuse
that does the hurt % and exclaim against a thing, which
being taken in moderation is of so great a benefit, reviving
a fainting heart, raising sinking spirits, warming cold and


decayed nature, and assuaging several pains.' So blames
himself highly for gratifying his appetite with that wherewith
he only ought to have refreshed nature ; and since that often
misguided faculty had prompted him to commit the fault,
he dedicated that day, in which he became sensible of it, to
prayers and fasting; and every seventh from that he sets
apart for divine worship only, which he hoped would keep
him from breaking the commandment for keeping holy the
sabbath day : so went to the place where the echoes, in
many different and melodious sounds, repeated his thanks-
giving to the Almighty, which he had fixed upon to pay his
devotion, and there spent the rest of the day in prayers and
singing of psalms.

The next morning, having breakfasted with some of his
usual bread, and a slice of the cheese he found in the chest,
he goes about curing his fish, in order to salt them : having
laid by as many, for the present use, as he thought he could
eat whilst fresh, he improves the fair weather, to dry one
part of the remainder, and keeps the rest in pickle.

The winter being near at hand, and the weather growing
damp and cold, hinders him from taking his walks ; so
being confined within doors, he employs his idle hours in
beautifying his utensils, which were not to be used on the
nre ; and bestowed some pains in scraping and polishing
the rest of his shells, some as fine as though they had been
nakers of pearl ; which made them not only more fit for
their intended uses, but also a great ornament to his barrack,
which he shelved round with plaited twigs after the manner
of his table, and so set them upon it.

Thus he spent the best part of the winter, making no far-
ther remarks but that it was very sharp, attended with high
winds, abundance of hail and snow, which obliged him to
make a broom to sweep it away from about his hut, which
otherwise would have been damaged by it.

But shivering Winter having exhausted his frosty stores,
and weary with vexing Nature, retired ; Boreas also, grown
faint with hard blowing, is forced to retreat into his cave ;
gentle Zephyrus (who till then kept up in his temperate cell)
now comes forth to usher in the blooming Spring; so mildly


slips on to inform Nature of her favourite's approach, who
at the joyful news puts on her gay enamelled garb, and out
of her rich wardrobe supplies all vegetables with new vesture,
to welcome the most lovely guest. The feathered choristers
also receive new strength ; their tender lungs are repaired
from the injuries the foggy and misty air did occasion; and,
thus revived, are placed on every budding tree, to grace her
entrance with their harmonious notes.

Quarll also, whom bad weather had confined within
doors a considerable time, which had in a gi-eat measure
numbed his limbs and dulled his senses, now finds himself
quite revived : he no longer can keep within, the fair wea-
ther invites him out ; the singing-birds on every side call to
him ; Nature herself fetches him out to behold her treasures.

Having with unspeakable pleasure walked some time,
diverted with the sweet melody of various singing-birds, and
the sight of abundance of difterent sorts of blossomed trees
and blooming flowers, all things within the island inspiring
joy, he had the curiosity to go and view the sea, so goes
over his bridge, and then, at the other side of the rock,
where he finds more objects, requiring as much admiration,
but affording a great deal less pleasure ; vast mountains of
ice, floating up and down, threatening all that came in their

These terrible effects of the winter, which to that time he
was a stranger to, occasioned his making these reflections :

He who on billows roves, riches or wealth to gain,
Is ever in danger, and laboui"s oft in vain ;
If fortune on him smiles, giving his toil success,
Each day new cares arise, which mar his happiness.
The only treasure then worth laying up in store,
Is a contented mind, which never leaves one poor ;
He is not truly rich who hankers after more.

So, having returned Heaven thanks for his happy state,
he creeps to the north-east side of the rock, at the foot of
which lay an extraordinary large whale, which the late high
wmd had cast there, and died for want of water. ' If this,'
said he, ' is all the damage that has been done last winter,
it may be borne ; ' so went down and nieasured the length


of it, which was above thirty yards, and proportionable in
bigness : there were shoals of small fishes swinuning about
it in the shallow water wherein it lay, as rejoicing at its
death. ' Thus,' said he, ' the oppressed rejoice at a tjTant's
fall. What numbers of these have been destroyed to make
this monstrous bulk of fat ! Well, happy are they, who, like
me, are under Heaven's government only.' So with his
knife, which he always carried in his pocket, cuts several
slices of the whale, and throws them to the small fishes,
saying, ' It is but just ye should at last feed on that which so
long fed on you;' as oil ran in abundance from the places
he had cut the slices out of, it vexed him to see that wasted
which might turn to good money: 'But why,' said he,
' should I be disturbed at it ? What use have I for any ?
Providence takes none, it gives me all gratis.' So goes on
feeling for oysters with his staff, which he always walked

Having at last found a hole, where, by their rattling at
the bottom with his staff, he judged there might be a pretty
many, he marks the place, and goes home to contrive some
instrument to drag them up, being yet too cold for him to
go in the water ; and as he had no tool but his knife and
hatchet, both improper to make a hole in a board, as requisite
to make a rake, which was wanting for that purpose; he
beats out the end of his chest, in which there was a knot ;
so having driven it out, he fastens the small end of a pole to
it. Thus equipped, he went and raked up oysters, which
added one dish to his ordinary, and sauce to others ; yet at
length his stomach growing qualmish with eating altogether
fish, and drinking nothing but water withal, he wishes he
could have a little flesh, which he might easily, there being
animals enough in the wood apparently fit for food ; but
then he must deprive them of their lives, barely to make his
own more easy.

Thus he debates with himself for some time, whether or
no it would not be injustice for him (who only by a provi-
dential accident was brought thither to save his life) now to
destroy those creatures, to whom nature has given a being,
in a land out of man's reach to disturb : ' Yet nature requires


what seems to be against nature for me to grant : I am faint,
and like to grow worse, the longer I abstain from flesh.'

Having paused a while ; ' Why,' said he, ' should I be so
scrupulous % Were not all things created for the use of man %
Now, whether it is not worse to let a man perish, than to
destroy any other creature for his relief 1 Nature craves it,
and Providence gives it : now, not to use it in necessity, is
undervaluing the gift.'

So, having concluded upon catching some of those animals
he had seen in the wood, he considers by what means,
having no dogs to hunt, nor guns to shoot. Having paused
awhile, he resolves upon making gins, wherewith he had
seen hares catched in Europe: thus, taking some of the
cords which he had found with the sail at the outside of
the rock, he goes to work, and makes several, which he
fastens at divers gaps in the thickset within the wood,
through which he judged that sort of beast he had a mind
for, went.

Impatient to know the success of his snares, he gets up
betimes the next morning, and goes to examine them; in
one he found a certain animal something like a fawn, the
colour of a deer, but feet and ears like a fox, and as big as
a well-grown hare. He was much rejoiced at his game,
whose mouth he immediately opened to see if he could find
out whether it fed upon grass, or lived upon prey : the crea-
ture being caught by the neck, and strangled with struggling,
before it died, had brought up in its throat some of the
greens it had been eating, which very much pleased him ;
accounting those which lived on flesh as bad as carrion.

Having returned thanks for his good luck, he takes it home
in order to dress part of it for his dinner; so cases and
guts it : but it proving to be a female, mother to three young
ones, grieved him to the heart, and made him repent
making those killing nooses. ' What pity,' said, ' so many
lives should be lost, and creatures wasted ! One would
have served me four days, and here are four killed at once.
Well, henceforth, to prevent the like evil, I will take alive
what I just want, and save all the females.' So, having
stuck a long stick at both ends in the ground, making a half


circle, he hangs one quarter of the animal upon a string
before a good fire, and so roasts it.

His dinner being ready, having said grace, he set to
eating with an uncommon appetite ; and, whether it was the
novelty of the dish, or that the meat did really deserve the
praise, he really thought he never eat anything of flesh, till
then, comparable to it, either for taste or tenderness.

Having dined both plentifully and deliciously, he most
zealously returns kind Providence thanks for the late and
all favours received; then, pursuant to his resolution, he
goes to making nets, in order to take his game alive for the
future ; and, as he had no small twine to make it with, he
was obliged to unravel some of the sail which he luckily
had by him ; and with the thread, twisted some of the
bigness he judged proper for that use.

Having made a sufficient quantity, he makes a couple of
nets, about four feet square, which he fastens in the room
of the killing snares ; so retired, and resolved to come and
examine them every morning.

Several days passed without taking anything, so that he
wanted flesh for a whole week, which did begin to disorder
his stomach, but not his temper; being entirely resigned to
the will of Providence, and fully contented with whatever
Heaven was pleased to send.

One afternoon, which was not hi^ customary time of day
to examine his nets, being too visible in the daytime for
game to run in ; he happened to walk in the wood, to take
the full dimensions thereof, so chanced to go by his nets ;
in one of which were taken two animals, as big as a kid six
weeks old, of a bright dun, their horns upright and straight,
their shape Hke a stag, most curiously limbed, a small tuft
of hair on each shoulder and hip. By their horns, which
were but short, they appeared to be very young, which re-
joiced him the more, being in hopes to tame those which
he did not want for present use; so carried them home
joyful of his game, depending upon a good dinner; but was
sadly disappointed : the animals he found were antelopes
(calling to mind he had seen them in his travels), which
proving both females, he had made a resolution to preserve.


Though they were too young to be with kid, and he in great
need of flesh, yet he would not kill them; so with cords fastens
them to the outside of his lodge ; and with constant feed-
ing them, in two months' time made them so tame, that they
followed him up and down, which added much to the plea-
sure he already took in his habitation, which by that time
was covered with green leaves both top and sides; the
stakes it was made of having struck root, and shot out
young branches, whose strength increasing that summer ; to
fill up the vacancy between each plant, he pulled the turfs,
wherewith he had covered the outside and top of the hut
between them, to keep the cold out in the winter.

His former hut, being now become a pleasant harbour,
gave him encouragement to bestow some pains about it
towards the embellishment of it, which seemed to depend
on being well attended. He resolved upon keeping it
pruned and watered, the better to make it grow thick and
fast, which answered his intent; for in three years time, the
stems of every plant that composed the arbour, were grown
quite close and made a solid wall of about six inches thick,
covered with green leaves without, which lay most regular
and even, and within had a most agreeable smooth bark,
of a pleasant olive colour.

His late arbour being, by his care and time, and nature's
assistance, become a matchless lodge, as intended by nature
for something more than human guests, he now consults to
make it as commodious as beautiful. ' Here is,' said he, ' a

Online LibraryCharlotte Mary YongeA storehouse of stories : storehouse the first → online text (page 3 of 43)