Charlotte Mary Yonge.

A storehouse of stories : storehouse the first online

. (page 4 of 43)
Online LibraryCharlotte Mary YongeA storehouse of stories : storehouse the first → online text (page 4 of 43)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

delightful dwelling, warm in the winter, and cool in the
summer; delightful to the eye, and comfortable to the body;
pity it should be employed to any use but repose and
delight!' So resolved upon making a kitchen near it.
Thus having fixed upon a place convenient at the side of
his lodge about six feet from it, twelve in length, and eight
in breadth, which he enclosed with the turfs that covered
the outside of his arbour, before it was sufficiently thick to
keep out the cold ; then having laid sticks across the top of
the walls, which were about eight feet high, he lays turf
thereon, and so covers it, leaving an open place for the
smoke to go out


The outside being done, he goes about inside necessaries,
as fireplaces to roast and boil at ; thus cuts a hole in the
ground, at a small distance from the wall, after the manner
of stew-stoves in noblemen's kitchens ; then, at another
]jlace he sets two flat stones, about eight or nine inches
broad, and one foot long, edgeways opposite to one another,
near two feet asunder; then puts a third in the same
manner at the end of the other two; so makes a fire-place
fit to roast at : then, for other conveniences, he weaves
twigs about sticks, stuck in the wall on one side of the
kitchen, where he lays the shells fit for utensils, which both
adorned and furnished it.

Having completed that piece of work, he goes and visits
his plantations, which he finds in a thriving condition ; the
roots being, in six months time, grown from the bigness of
a pea (as they were when first set) to that of an egg : his
antelopes also were come to their full growth and complete
beauty, Avhich exceeded most four-footed beasts, having a
majestic presence, body and limbs representing a stag, and
the noble march of a horse : so everything concurred to his
happiness. For which having returned his most liberal
Benefactor his grateful acknowledgements, he thinks on
means to prevent' any obstructions that may intercept the
continuation thereof; and as the want of clothes was the
only cause he could think of to make him uneasy, having
but the jacket and hose, which were given him on board to
save his own clothes, which when worn out he could not
recruit ; therefore, to accustom himself to go witliout, he
lessens those he had, and takes away the lining from the
outside, in order to wear the thickest in the coldest weather,
and so thins his dress by degrees, till at last he went quite

Having thus concluded, as being the best shift necessity
could raise him, he falls to ripping his jacket, in the lining
whereof he finds seven peas and three beans, which were
got in at a hole at the corner of the pocket.

Those few made him wish for more, which he had no
room to hope for, they being raised by seed, which tlie
island did not produce: 'These few,' said he, 'which at


present are hardly sufficient to satisfy a woman's longing,
may, with time and industry, be improved to a quantity
large enough to serve me for a meal;' then lays them u])
against a proper time to set them ; so spent the remainder
of that summer in walking about the island, watering his
lodge, weeding his root-plantation, attending his nets, whicli
now and then supplied him with an antelope or goat, to eat
at intervals between fish he commonly found on the rock
after high winds and storms ; never failing to visit the sea
three or four times a week, according as the weather did
prove ; thus diverting many anxious hours with variety of
objects that element affords. Sometimes he had the plea-
sure of seeing great whales chasing one another, spouting
large streams of water out of their gills and nostrils ; at
other times, numbers of beautiful dolphins rolling amongst
the waves ; now and then a quantity of strange monstrous
fish playing on the surface of the sea, some whereof had
heads (not common to fishes) like those of hogs; others not
unlike those of dogs, calves, horses, lions, bulls, goats, and
several other creatures : some chasing another sort ; which,
to avoid being taken, would quit their element, and seek
refuge in the air, and fly some yards above the water, till
their fins, being dry, obliged them to plunge in again.

These pastimes being generally succeeded with bad
weather, and dreadful storms, checked the pleasure they
gave, with a dread of the evil that tlireatened to follow.
Thus commiserating the case of those whose misfortune is
to be exposed to them ; having spent some time in reflec-
tion, he goes to his usual devotion, and calling to mind,
that in all that time he never saw a young fish in the pond,
he conjectured that something might destroy the small ones;
and as he imagined so it proved, for at his approach, a
large fowl flew out of the pond with a fish in its bill, being
too large for it to swallow.

At that distance, the bird being also upon the wing, he
could neither discern colour nor make ; but he had the
satisfaction of discovering the cause why the fishes did not
increase, they being devoured when young by that creature;
which to prevent for the future, he studies means to kill the


destroyer, nets not being proper instruments; it being re-
quisite, for that purpose, to have one all round, as also to
cover the pond, which was impossible by reason of its
largeness ; and a less being of no use, the birds probably
not coming to one certain place. He wished for a gun and
ammunition fitting, as being the most probable things to
succeed ; but no such instrument being within his reach, he
ponders again ; during which time, a crossbow offers itself
to his mind, but it is as distant from his reach as the gun.
It is true, there was stuff enough in the island to make
many, but no tools but a hatchet and pocket-knife, where-
with, if he made shift to cut and shape a bow, he could not
make a latch and spring necessary to it ; so he must not
think on it : yet, a bow being the only thing he could apply
to, he goes about one forthwith. Thus having picked a
branch of a tree, which had the resemblance of yew, and as
tough, of which they are sometimes made, he, Avith the tools
he had, made a shift to make one about six feet long, and
arrows of the same, which he hardens and straightens over
the fire, then having slit them at one end, about two or
three inches, he slips in a bit of parchment, cut sharp at one
end, and about three inches at the other, then ties the end
close to keep it in, which served for feathers ; and, with the
ravelling of some of the sail, he makes a string to it.

Thus equipped for an archer, wanting nothing but skill,
which is only to be gained by practice, he daily exercises
shooting at a mark for the space of a fortnight ; in which
time he made such an improvement, that at three shoots he
would hit a mark of about three inches square, at near fifty
paces distance.

Being sufficiently skilled, he goes and lies in wait for his
desired game; so placed himself behind a tree, as near the
pond as he could, whither the bird came in a few hours after.

The creature being pitched upon the bank, never stood
still, but kept running round, watching for a sizeable fish fit
to swallow, so that he had no opportunity to shoot ; till
having, at last, espied out one, it launched itself into the
pond, but rose more slowly, which gave him time to take
aim; nevertheless, he missed it, being in motion; but when


come to the top, he struck it through the body as it opened
its wings, and laid it flat on the other side of the pond.
He took it up, wonderfully pleased at his good success
the first time of his practising his new acquired art ; yet,
having taken notice of the bird's beauty, he had a regret
for its death, though he might in time have rued its living;
the stock offish weekly decreasing, by his own catching one
now and then with a small net he made for that use, when
short of other provisions, and their recruiting prevented by
that bird's daily devouring their young.

The inexpressible beauty of the feathers, which were after
the nature of a drake, every one distinguished from another
by a rim round the edge thereof, about the breadth of a
large thread, and of a changeable colour, from red to aurora
and green ; the ribs of a delightful blue, and the feathers
pearl colour, speckled with a bright yellow; the breast and
belly (if it might be said to be of any particular colour) was
that of a dove's feather rimmed like the back, diversly
changing; the head, which was like that of a swan for
make, was purple also, changing as it moved ; the bill like
burnished gold ; eyes like a ruby, with a rim of gold round
it ; the feet the same as the bill ; the size of the bird was
between a middling goose and a duck, and in shape resem-
bling a swan.

Having bemoaned the death of that delightful creature,
he carefully takes out its flesh, which, corrupting, would
spoil the outside ; then fills the skin with sweet herbs, which
he dried for that use ; and having sewed up the place he
had cut open to take the flesh out, he set it up in his lodge.

His good success in archeiy made him love the exercise ;
so that what odd hours he had in the day (besides those he
set apart for his divine worship, and those necessary occu-
pations about his lodge, plantations, and making remarks)
he bestowed in shooting at the mark, which in time made
him so expert, that he hardly would miss a standing mark
the bigness of a dove, at forty or fifty yards distance, once
in ten times; and would shoot tolerably well flying, Jiaving
once occasion to try it upon a monstrous eagle, which often
flew round over the place where his antelojies and goats fed

* D


near his lodge, which he shot at, fearing it would damage
them, and killed it with the second arrow.

The summer being over, during wliich, having been much
taken up about his habitation and plantations, he had neither
time nor opportunity to make remarks, farther than it was
some days very showery, and for the most part generally very
hot ; but now the weather being grown something cold, and
the wind pretty sharp, he must be obliged to put on some
clothes to keep it off, being as yet too tender to go any
longer without ; next to provide for his antelopes against the
apiiroaching winter; so makes a lodge for them, at the
backside of his kitchen, with sticks, which he drove into the
ground, about two feet from the wall, and then bends them
about three feet from the ground, and sticks them in the
said wall, and smaller branches he interwove between them :
he shuts up the front, and covers the top, leaving both ends
open for the antelopes to go in at ; then lays grass (which
he dried on purpose) in the said lodge, for them to lie on.
Thus, having dug up a considerable quantity of roots, and
being already stocked with salt fish, both dry and in pickle,
he was pretty Avell provided for his cattle and himself,
against the ensuing winter, which proved much like the
preceding one, only not so stormy.

The succeeding spring having awaked slumbering nature,
and revived what the preceding hard season had caused to
droop, every vegetable puts on new clothing and recovers
its wonted beauty; each animal assumes fresh vigour; the
beasts in the wood leap and bound for joy, and each bird
on the trees sings for gladness. The whole creation is, as
it were, repaired, and every creature decked with new life.
Love by Nature's direction, for the increase of every kind,
warms their harmless breasts ; each animal seeks a mate ;
our tame antelopes quit their abode, and range the woods
for the relief ordained to quell their innocent passion ; which
being assuaged, tliey return home, pregnant with young,
to their master's great satisfaction ; who, having given them
over, was doubly rejoiced to see them come again in an
increasing condition. 'Heaven be praised!' said he, 'I
shall have a stock of my own, and will not fear wanting.'


So, having made fitting preparations against their kiciding,
he goes and examines the improvement of his new plantation,
where he found his roots grown full as large as any of those
that grew wild. ' Make me thankful ! ' said he, ' I am now
provided with all necessary food. I shall no more need to
rob those poor creatures of that which Nature had provided
for their own proper use.' Next he goes and views his
small stock of peas and beans, which he found in a verv
promising case. So, whilst the weather was fair, he falls to
clearing a spot of ground to set them in, as they increased.

Turning up the ground he found several sorts of roots
that looked to be eatable, some whereof were as big as a
large carrot, others less. He broke a bit of every one,
some of which breaking short, and being not stringy, he
judged they must be eatable; then he smells them, and
finding the scent not disagreeable, he tastes them. Some
were sweetish, others sharp and hot, like horseradish ; and
those he proposes to use instead of spice. ' Suie,' said he,
' these being of a pleasant scent and savour, cannot be
offensive to nature.' So having manured his ground, he
takes a sample of every root which he judged eatable, and
boils them, as the surest way to experience their goodness.

Most of them proved not only passable good, but extra-
ordinary ; some eating like parsneps, others almost like
carrots, but rather more agreeable; some like beets and
turnips ; every one in their several kinds, as good as ever
he ate in England, but of different colours and make ; some
being bluish, others black, some red, and some yellow.
These though not wanted, having sufficient to gratify a
nicer taste than his, were, nevertheless, extremely welcome,
being somewhat like his native country fare and product.
So having returned thanks for this most agreeable addition
to his ordinary, he sets a mark to every herb which those
roots bore, in order to get some of the seed to sow in a
ground he would prepare : so, being provided with flesh,
fish, herbs, and several sorts of roots, he goes and examines
what improvement his peas and beans have made, which he
found increased to admiration ; the seven peas having pro-
duced one thousand, and the three beans one hundred;

D 2


having returned thanks for that vast increase, he lays them
by, in order to set them at a j^roper season, as he had done
the year before.

By this time his antelopes had kidded, one of them having
brought three young ones, and the second two. This vast
addition to his provisions very much rejoiced him, being
sure now not to Avant flesh at his need, which before he was
in danger of, finding but seldom anything in his net; so
makes account to live upon two of the young bucks whilst
they lasted, killing one as soon as fit for meat, and so now
ancl then another, saving only five to breed ; one whereof
should be a male to keep the females from the wood ; lest
at one time or other they should stay away for good and all.

The old ones being well fed, as he always took care to
do. providing for them store of those greens he knew they
loved, as also boiled roots for them now and then, of
which they are very fond, the young ones throve apace,
and grew very fat ; so that in three weeks time they were
large and fit to eat. He killed one, which being roasted,
proved to be more delicious than any house-lamb, sucking-
pig, young fawn, or any other suckling whatever.

Having lived upon that, with now and then a little fish,
about one month, which was as long as he could keep it
eatable, having dressed it at two different times, five days
interval, eating the cold remains in several manners ; re-
serving one of the other two males for a time he should
be scanted, and in want of flesh ; but was unluckily dis-
appointed by a parcel of large eagles, which flying one
morning over the place where the )-oung antelopes were
playing, being of a gay, as well as active disposition,
launched themselves with precipitation upon the male he
reserved for time of need, and one of the females which he
kept for breed : seeing his beloved diverters carrying away
by those birds of prey, he runs in for his bow, but came too
late with it, the eagles being gone.

Having lost his two dear antelopes, especially the female,
having doomed the male for his own eating, he hardly could
forbear weeping to think of their being cruelly torn to pieces
by those ravenous creatures : thus having for some time


lamented the loss, and bewailed their hard fate, he thinks
on means to prevent the Hke evil for the time to come ; and
as his bow was not always at hand, he resolves upon
making a net, and fastens it between the trees he saw them
come in at.

The succeeding winter proving very wet and windy, gave
him but little invitation to take his usual walks ; so having
everything he had occasion for at hand, he kept close to his
net-making; for which having twine to twist, and thread to
ravel out, to make the said twine, kept him employed till
the following spring, which came on apace.

Having finished his net, and everything which belonged
to it, he goes and fastens it to the trees, as he had pro-
posed ; then takes a walk to his new plantations, which he
found in a thriving condition ; for which, and other benefits
already received, he resolves, as in duty bound, to attend
at his usual jilace of worship, and sing thanksgiving psalms,
which the hardness of the weather had kept him from all
the late winter; but it now coming into his mind, that
whilst he was at his devotion, returning thanks for the fair
prospect of a plentiful crop, his antelopes would break into
the close, the hedge being as yet but thin, and devour the
promising buds, which are the principal occasion of his
devotion; this not altogether improper consideration puts
a sad check to his religious intention, and though there was
a vast obligation to prompt him to the performance of that
part of his duty, yet he could not, with wisdom, run the
hazard, out of mere devotion, to lose so promising a crop,
which he should never be able to retrieve; all his stock of
seed being then in grass.

As he was debating in his mind between religion and
reason, whether the latter ought not to be a director to
the former, he perceived his antelopes making towards the
peas, to which they doubtless would have got in, had he
not returned, and driven them another way, which accident
convinced him he might find a more proper time to go about
his devotion, no man being retiuired to worship to his i)re-
judice; so, having put off his religious duty till he had better
secured his peas and beans, he cuts a parcel of branches,


вЦ†wherewith he stops those gaps to prevent the creatures
going in ; and having completed his work, he goes to his
devotion, adding to his usual thanksgiving a particular
collect for his luckily being in the way to prevent his being
frustrated of the blessing Heaven so fairly promised to
bestow on his labours.

Having paid his devotion, he walks about the island,
being all the way delighted with the birds celebrating their
Maker's praise, in their different harmonious notes ! ' Every
thing in nature,' said he, ' answers the end of its creation,
but ungrateful man ! who, ambitious to be wise as his
Creator, only learns to make himself Avretched.' Thus he
walks till evening, making several reflections on the different
conditions of men, preferring his present state to that of
Adam before his fall, who could not be sensible of happiness,
having never known a reverse ; which, otherwise, he would
have been more careful to prevent. Being come home and
near bed-time, he first ate his supper, and then, having per-
formed his customary religious service, he goes to bed.
The next morning, after paying his usual devotion, he takes
a walk to his plantations, on which he implores a continua-
tion of the prosperous condition they appear to be in ; next,
he goes to examine his nets, in which he finds a brace of
fowls like ducks, but twice as large, and exceeding beautiful ;
the drake (which he knew by a coloured featlier on his
rump) was of a fine cinnamon colour upon his back, his
breast of a mazarine blue, the belly of a deep orange, his
neck green, head purple, his eyes, bill, and feet, red ; every
colour changing most agreeably as they moved. The duck
was also very beautiful, but of quite different colours, and
much paler than the drake's.

The disappointment in catching those delighful fowls,
instead of ravenous eagles, as he had purposed, no ways
displeased him, but he rather was rejoiced to have such
beautiful fowls to look at ; yet it went much against his
mind to deprive those creatures of their liberty (the greatest
comfort in life) which nature took such pains to adorn:
' But,' said he, ' they were created for the use of man : so,
in keeping them for my pleasure, they will but answer the


end of their creation. Their confinement shall be no
stricter than my own ; they shall have the whole island to
range in.' He then pinions them, puts them in the pond,
and makes baskets for them to shelter in, which he places
in the branches of those trees that hung closest to the water,
taking particular care to feed them daily with roots roasted
and boiled, and the guts of the fish, and other creatures he
used for his own eating; which made, them thrive mainly,
and take to the place ; so that they bred in their season.

The five antelopes had by this time kidded, and brought
ten young ones ; his peas and beans also were wonderfully
improved, having that season enough to stock the ground
the year following. Thus he returned kind Providence
thanks for the vast increase, and concludes to live upon the
young antelopes as long as they lasted, reserving only one
for suck of the old ones, to keep them in milk, of which he
had taken notice they had plenty, designing to draw it daily
for his own use; so that in a little time he had enough to skim
for cream, which he used for sauce instead of butter, and
made small cheeses of the rest. Now having a pretty store
of daily ware, he resolves to make a place to keep it in ; the
kitchen wherein he was obliged to lay his salt fish (which
commonly smells strong), not being a proper place for
cream and milk : for which end he makes a daiiy-house at
the other side of his dwelling, with branches of trees, after
the manner of a close arbour, and thatches it over with
grass; which answering the kitchen in form and situation,
made uniform wings, that added as much to the beauty as
conveniency of the habitation.

Having completed his dairy, he proceeds in his resolution
of making cheese, having learned the way in Holland ; and
for want of rennet to turn his milk, he takes some of the
horseradish seed, w'hich, being of a hot nature, had the
same effect : having curd to his mind, he seasons it to his
palate ; then with his hatchet, he cuts a notch round in
the bark of a tree, about eighteen inches in circumference ;
and a second in the same manner, six inches below that,
then slits the circle, and with his knife gently opens it,
parting it from the tree; thus he makes as many hoops as


he judged would contain his paste, which, being girded
round with cords to keep them from opening, he fills with
the said paste, and lays them by, till fit to eat.

This being done, which completed his provisions, he
returns thanks for those blessings which had been so libe-
rally bestowed on him : ' Now,' said he, ' Heaven be
praised ! I exceed a prince in happiness : I have a habi-
tation strong and lasting, a beautiful and convenient free-
hold, store of comforts, with all necessaries of life free cost,
which I enjoy with peace and pleasure uncontrolled : yet I
think there is still something wanting to complete my happi-
ness : if a partner in grief lessen sorrow, certainly it must in
delight augment pleasure. What objects of admiration are
here concealed, and like a miser's treasure, hid from the
world ! If man who was created for bliss, could have been
completely happy alone, he would not have had a companion
given him;' thus he walks about thoughtful till bed-time.

In that disposition he goes to bed, and soon fell asleep :
the night also, being windy, added to his disposition; but
his mind finds no repose: it still runs heavy upon the sub-
ject that took it up the day before, and forms ideas suitable
to his inclination ; and as solitude was the motive of its

Online LibraryCharlotte Mary YongeA storehouse of stories : storehouse the first → online text (page 4 of 43)