Charlotte Mary Yonge.

A storehouse of stories : storehouse the first online

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being disturbed, he indulges it with the thoughts of com-
pany, dreaming that the fame of his station and happy state
of life was spread about the world ; that it prompted a vast
number of people from all parts to come to it, which at last
induced several princes to claim a right to it ; which being
decided by a bloody war, a governor was sent, who laid
t-axes, demanded duties, raised rents, and warns him to be
gone, having fixed upon his habitation for himself to dwell
in. Being sadly disturbed, he cries out in his sleep, ' This
is a gi^eat punishment for my uneasiness : could I not be
contented with being lord of this island, without provoking
Heaven to bring me under the power of extorting governors ? '

There happening a great noise, he starts out of his sleep,
with the thoughts of hearing a proclamation, and cries out,
' Alas I it is too late to proclaim an e\il which is already
come : ' but, being thoroughly awake, and the noise still
continuing, he found he had been dreaming, which very


much rejoiced him, he therefore put on his clothes, and
hastens to the place he heard the noise come from.

Being within forty or fifty yards thereof, he saw a number of
monkeys of two different kinds; one sort squealing and fight-
ing against the other without intermixing, but still rallying as
they scattered in the scuffle. He stood some time admiring
the order they kept in ; and the battle still continuing as
fierce as at first, he advanced to see what they fought about,
for he took notice they strove very much to keep their

At his approach the batde ceased ; and the combatants,
retiring at some distance, left the spot of ground on which
tiiey fought clear; whereon lay a considerable quantity of
wild pomegranates, which the wind had shook off the trees
the night before, and which were the occasion of their strife.

His coming having caused a truce, every one of those
creatures keeping still and quiet during his stay, he resolves
to use his endeavours to make a solid peace ; and as that
difference had arisen from the fruit there present, to which
he could see no reason but that each kind had an equal
right, he divides it into two equal parcels, which he lays
opposite to each other towards both the parties, retiring a
little way, to see whether this expedient would decide the
C{uarrel : which answered his intent ; those animals quietly
coming to that share next to them and peaceably carrying it
away, each to their quarters. This occasioned several re-
flections on the frivolous, and often unjust quarrels that
arise among princes, which create such bloody wars, as
prove the destruction of vast numbers of their subjects.
' If monarchs,' said he, ' always acted with as much reason
as these creatures, how much blood and money would they
save ! ' Thus he goes on to his usual place of worship, in
order to return thanks, that he was free of that evil, the
dream whereof had so tortured his mind; though he con-
fessed he justly deserved the reality, for his uneasiness in
the happiest of circumstances.

Having paid his devotion, he takes a walk to see how his
peas and beans came on, which he found in a very improv-
ing disposition, each stem bearing a vast number of well


filled pods. * Heaven be praised ! ' said he, ' I shall eat of
this year's crop, and have sufficient to stock my ground the
ensuing one.'

Thus being plentifully supplied with necessaries, and in
a pleasant island, everything about him being come to per-
fection ; his dwelling, which seems intended by nature for
some immortal guest, being, by time, yearly repaired and
improved, leaving no room for care ; yet the unwise man,
as if an enemy to his own ease, cannot be contented with
the enjoyment of more than he could reasonably crave, but
must disturb his mind with what concerns him not : ' What
pity,' said he, ' so delightful a habitation, attended with
such conveniences, and situated in so wholesome an air, and
fruitful a land, should at my death lose all those wonderful
])roperties, being become useless for want of somebody to
enioy them ! What admiration will here be lost for want of
beholders % But what kind of man could I settle it upon,
worthy of so fine an inheritance ] Were it my pleasure to
choose myself an heir, such only appear virtuous whose
weak nature confides to chastity : every constitution cannot
bear excess : want of courage occasions mildness, and lack
of strength, good temper; thus virtue is made a cloak to
infirmity. But why do I thus willingly hamper myself with
those cares Providence has been pleased to free me of? '

Thus he holds the island from Providence; freely he be-
queaths it to whom Providence shall think fit to bestow it
upon : and that his heir may the better know the worth of
the gift, he draws a map of the whole estate ; and made an
inventory of every individual tenement, appurtenances,
messuages, goods, and chattels, and also a draft of the
terms and conditions he is to hold the here-mentioned pos-
session upon ; viz. :

Imprimis : A fair and most pleasant island, richly stocked
with fine trees, and adorned with several delightful groves,
]jlanted and improved by nature, stored with choice and
delicious roots, and plants for food, bearing peas and beans;
likewise a noble fish-pond, well stocked with divers sorts of
curious fish ; and a spacious wood, harbouring several sorts
of wild fowl and beasts, fit for a king's table.


Item : A dwelling commenced by art, improved by nature,
and completed by time, which yearly keeps it in- repair ; and
also its furniture.

/fern : The offices and appurtenances thereof, witli the
utensils thereunto belonging ; which said island, dwelling,
&c., are freehold, and clear from taxes ; in no temporal
dominion, therefore screened from any impositions, duties,
and exactions ; defended by nature from invasions or
assaults ; guarded and supported by Providence : all which
incomparable possessions are to be held upon the following
terms, viz. :

That whosoever shall be by Providence settled in this
blessed abode, shall, morning and evening, constantly
(unless prevented by ill weather or accident) attend at the
east side of this island, and within the alcove nature pre-
pared for the lodgement of several harmonious echoes, and
there pay his devotion ; singing thanksgiving psalms to the
great Origin and Director of all things, whose praises he
will have the comfort to hear repeated by melodious voices.

Next, he .shall religiously observe and keep a seventh day
for worship only, from the rising of the sun until the going
down thereof : therefore, he shall, the day before, make all
necessary provision for that day.

That he shall, after any tempestuous wind or storm, visit
the sea at the outside of tlie rock, at the east, south, west,
and north ends, in order to assist any one in distress.

He shall not be wasteful of anything whatsoever, espe-
cially of any creature's life ; kilhng no more than what is
necessary for his health : but shall every day examine his
nets, setting at liberty the overplus of his necessity, lest they
should perish in their confinement.

He must also keep everything in the same order and
cleanness he shall find them in ; till and manure the ground
yearly; set and sow plants and seeds, fit for food, in their
proper seasons.

Having written this at the bottom of the map he had
drawn, being .supper-time, he takes his meal ; then goes to
his usual evening devotion ; and, after an hour's walk, to his
bed, sleeping quietly all night, as being easy in liis mind.


The next morning he takes his usual walks, and visits his
nets. In that he had set for eagles, he found a fowl as big
as a turkey, but the colour of a pheasant, only a tail like a
partridge ; this having no sign of being a bird of prey, he
was loath to kill it, but having had no fresh meat for above
a week, he yields to his appetite, and dresses it, eating part
thereof for his dinner : it was very fat and plump, and eat
much like a pheasant, but rather tenderer, and fuller of

Though he was verj' well pleased with the bird he had
taken, yet he had rather it had been one of the eagles which
kept his young antelopes in jeopardy : but as he could not
destroy them with his net, which had hung a considerable
time without the intended success, he projects the pre-
vention of their increase, by destroying their eggs, leaving
his nets wholly for the use they had been successful in ; and
searches the clifts of the rock next the sea, where those
birds commonly build ; where having found several nests,
he takes away the eggs that were in them, being then their
breeding time, and carries them home, in order to empty
the shells, and hang them up and down in his habitation,
amongst the green leaves which covered the ceiling thereof;
but having accidentally broke one, and the yolk and white
thereof being like that of a turkey, he had the curiosity to
boil one and taste it, which eat much after the manner of
a swan's. The rest he saved to eat now and then for a
change, reaping a double advantage by robbing those birds;
lessening thereby the damage they might do him in time,
and adding a dish to his present fare.

In this prosperous way he lived fifteen years, finding no
alteration in the weather or seasons, nor meeting in all the
time with any transactions worthy of record : still perform-
ing his usual exercises, and taking his walks with all the
content and satisfaction his happy condition could procure ;
entirely forsaking all thoughts and desires of ever quitting
the blessed station he then had in his possession.

Thus having walked the island over and over (which
though delightful, yet the frequent repetition of the wonders
it produces, renders them as it were, common, and less


admirable), he proceeds to view the sea, whose fluid element
being ever in motion, daily affords new objects of admi-

The day being fair, and the weather as calm, he sat down
upon the rock, taking pleasure in seeing the waves roll,
and, as it were, chase one another ; the next pursuing the
first, on which it rides, when come at ; and being itself
overtaken by a succeeding, is also mounted on thus, wave
upon wave, till a bulky body is composed, too heavy for the
undermost to bear, and then sinks all together : 'This,' said
he, ' is a true emblem of ambition ; men striving to outdo
one another are often undone.'

As he was making reflections on the emptiness of vanity
and pride, returning Heaven thanks that he was separated
from the world, which abounds in nothing else, a ship
appears at a great distance, a sight he had not seen since
his shipwreck : ' Unlucky invention ! ' said he, ' that thou
shouldst ever come into men's thoughts ! The Ark, which
gave the first notion of a floating habitation, was ordered
for the preservation of man ; but its fatal copies daily
expose him to destruction.' Having therefore returned
Heaven thanks for his being out of those dangers, he makes a
solemn vow never to return into them again, though it were
to gain the world : but his resolution proved as brittle as his
nature was frail. The men on board had spied him out
with their perspective glasses ; and supposing him to be
shipwrecked, and to want relief, sent their long-boat with
two men to fetch him away.

At their approach his heart alters its motion : his blood
stops from its common course ; his sinews are all relaxed,
which entirely unframes his reason, and makes him a stranger
to his own inclination ; which, struggling with his wavering
resolution, occasions a debate between hope and fear; but
the boat being come pretty nigh, gave hope the advantage,
and his late resolution yields to his revived inclination,
which being now encouraged by a probable opportunity of
being answered, rushes on to execution. He now, quitting
all his former reliance on Providence, depends altogether
upon his getting away, blessing the lucky opportunity of


seeing his blessed country again, for which pleasure he
freely quits and forsakes all the happiness he enjoyed ;
gladly abandoning his delightful habitation, and plentiful
island. He thinks no more of Providence ; his mind is
entirely taken up with the voyage ; but disappointment,
which often attends the greatest probabilities, snatches
success out of his hand before he could grasp it, and inter-
cepts his supposed infallible retreat: the boat could not
approach him, by reason of the rocks running a great way
into the sea underwater; nor could he come at the boat
for sharp points, and deep holes, which made it unfordable,
as well as unnavigable ; so that after several hours striving
in vain on both sides to come at one another; the men,
after they had striven all they could, but to no purpose,
said something to him in a rage, which he understood not,
and went without him, more wretched now than when he
was first cast away. His full dependence on a retreat made
him abandon all further reliance on Providence, whom then
he could implore, but now, having ungratefully despised
Heaven's bounties, which had been so largely bestowed on
him, he has forfeited all hopes of assistance from thence,
and expects none from the world. Thus destitute, and in
the greatest perplexity, he cries out, ' Whither shall I now
fly for help % The world can give me none, and I dare not
crave any more from Heaven. O cursed delusion ! but
rather cursed weakness ! Why did I give way to it % Had
I not enough of the world, or was I grown wear}- of being
happy % ' So saying, he falls a weeping : ' Could I shed a
flood of tears sufficient to wash away my fault, or ease me of
the remorse it does create ! '

The pains and labour he had been at in the day, climbing
up and down the rock, dragging himself to and fro, to come

the boat, having very much bruised his limbs, and the
disappointment of his full dependence on the late pro-
misirg success, as also the tormenting remorse, and
heav\- grief, for his sinful reliance thereon, much fatiguing
his mind, rendered sleep, which is ordained for the refresh-
ment of nature, of small relief to him ; his thoughts are
continually disturbed with frightful visions ; all his past
dant^ers glare at him, as if threatening their return.


Being now awaked from his disagreeable sleep, he makes
a firm resolution never to endeavour to go from hence,
whatever opportunity offers, though attended with ever so
great a probability of success and prospect of gain ; fully
settling his whole mind and affection on the state and con-
dition Heaven has been pleased to place him in ; resolving
to let nothing enter into his thoughts, but his most grateful
duty to so great a Benefactor, who has so often and mira-
culously rescued him from death.

Thus having entirely banished the world out of his mind,
which before often disturbed it, he limits his thoughts
within the bounds of his blessed possession, which affords
him more th'an is sufficient to make his life happy ; where
plenty flows on him, and pleasure attends his desires;
abounding in all things that can gratify his appetite, or
delight his fancy : a herd of delightful anteloj^es, bounding
and playing about his habitation, divert him at home ; and
in his walks he is entertained with the harmony of divers
kinds of singing birds ; every place he comes at offers him
new objects for pleasure : thus all seems to concur in com-
pleting his happiness.

In this most blessed state he thinks himself as Adam
before his fall, having no room for wishes, only that every-
thing may continue in its present condition ; but it cannot
be expected that fair weather, which smiles on the earth's
beauty, will not change. The sun must go its course, and
the seasons take their turn ; which considerations must, for
the present, admit some small care : he is naked, and his
tender constitution susceptible of the cold ; therefore the
clothes he was cast away in being worn out, he is obliged
to think of ])roviding something to defend his limbs fVom
the hardness of the approaching winter, whilst it was yet
warm. Having considered what to make a wrai)])er of, he
concludes upon using of the grass he made mats of, on
whicli he lay, being soft and warm, very fit for that i)urpose:
of this he cuts down a sufficient quantity, which, when
ready to work, he makes small twine with, ami plaits it in
narrow braids, which he sews together with some of the
same, and shapes a long loose gown, that covered him to
his heels, with a cap of th.e same.


By that time he had finished his winter-garb the weathei
was grown cold enough for him to put it on. The frosty
season came on apace, in which there fell such a quantity
of snow, that he was forced to make a broom, and sweep it
away from about his habitation twice a day ; as also the
path he made to the places he had occasion to go to, toss-
ing the snow on each side, which before the winter was
over, met at top, and covered it all the way ; which obliged
him to keep within doors for a considerable time, and melt
snow instead of water, lest, going for some, he might chance
to be buried the snow.

The winter being over, and the snow dissolved, the gay
spring advances apace, offering nature its usual assistance,
repairing the damages the last frost had done : which joyful
tidings made everything smile. Quarll, also, finding him-
self revived, took his former walks, which the preceding
bad weather had kept him from, though there had been no
considerable storm the winter before.

He having a mind to view the sea, and being come to the
outside of the north-west end of the rock, sees, at the foot
thereof, something like part of the body of a large hollow
tree, the ends whereof were stopped with its own pitch ;
and the middle, which was sHt open from end to end, gap-
ing by a stick laid across.

This put him in mind of canoes, with which Indians
paddle up and down their lakes and rivers : and being on
that side the rock next to the island of California," he fancied
some of them were come to visit this island, though not
many m number, their canoes holding at most but two men ;
for the generality, one only : yet, as some of these people
are accounted great thieves, daily robbing one another, he
hastens home to secure what he had ; but it was too late ;
they had been there already, and had taken away the clothes
he found in the chest ; which being by far too little for
him, hung carelessly on a pin behind his door. Had they
been contented with that, he would not have regarded it ;

* The geography must be excused ! California was discovered in
1534, and if in 1727 it was not known to be part of the continent,
surely it need not have been placed in ' the southern seas of America.'


but they carried away some of his curious shells, and, what
grieved him most, the fine bird he had taken such jjains to
dress and stuff, and care to preserve ; as also his bow and

Having missed these things, which he much valued, he
hastens to the outside of the rock, with his long staff in his
hand, in hopes to overtake them before they could get into
their canoe ; but happened to go too late, they being already
got half a league from the rock. Yet they did not carry
away their theft, for there arising some wind, it made the
sea somewhat rough, and overset their canoe ; so that what
was in it was all lost but the two Indians, who most dex-
terously turned it on its bottom again, and with surprising
activity leaped into it, one at the one side, and the other at
the opposite; so that the canoe being trimmed at once,
they paddled out of sight.

Having seen as much of them as he could, he walks to
the north-east side, in order to discover the eftect of the
high wind, which happened the night before.

Being come to the outside of the rock, he perceives
something at a distance like a large chest, but having no lid
on it ; taking that to be the product of some late shipwreck,
he grieved at the fatal accident. ' How long,' reflected he,
' will covetousness decoy men to pursue wealth, at the cost
of their precious lives ? Has not nature provided every
nation and country a sufficiency for its inhabitants ? that
they will rove on this most dangerous and boisterous sea,
which may be titled death's dominions, many perishing
therein, and not one on it being safe.'

As he was bewailing their fate who he imagined had been
cast away, he sees two men come down the rock, with each
a bundle in his arm, who went to that which he had taken
to be a chest, and, having put their load in it, pushed it
away till come to deep water ; then, having got in it, with
a long staff, shoved it off, till they could row to a long boat
that lay at some distance behind a jetting part of the rock,
which screened it from his sight, as also the ship it be-
longed to.

The sight of this much amazed liim, and made him cease



condoling others' supposed loss, to run home and examine
his own, well knowing those bundles he saw carried away
must needs belong to him, there being no other moveables
in the island but what were in his lodge.

Being come home, he finds indeed what he suspected;
those villains had most sacrilegiously rifled and ransacked
his habitation, not leaving him so much as one of the mats
to keep his poor body from the ground ; his winter garb
also is gone, and what else they could find for their use.

The loss of those things, which he could not do without,
filled him with sorrow. ' Now,' said he, ' I am in my first
state of being ; naked I came into the world, and naked I
shall go out of it ; ' at which he fell a weeping.

Having grieved awhile, ' Why,' said he, ' should I thus
cast myself down! Is not Providence, w^ho gave me them,
able to give me more % ' Thus, having resolved before
winter to replenish his loss, he rests himself contented, and
gives the rufiians' evil action the best construction he could.
' Now I think on it,' said he, ' these surely are the men,
who, about twelve months since, would charitably have
carried me hence, but could not for want of necessary im-
plements ; and now being better provided, came to accom-
plish their hospitable design ; but not finding me, supposing
I was either dead or gone, took away what was here of no
use ; much good may what they have got do them, and may
it be of as much use to them as it was to me.' Thus walks
out, in order to cut grass to dry, and make himself new-
bedding, and a winter garb.

Having walked about half a mile, he perceives the same
men coming towards the pond. ' Heaven be praised ! ' said
he, ' here they be still. Now when they see I am not gone,
nor willing to go, they will return my things, which they are
sensible I cannot do without,' with which words he goes up
to them. ♦

By this time they had caught the two old ducks, which
being pinioned, could not fly away as the rest did. He was
much vexed to see the best of his stock thus taken away,
yet, as he thought they were come to do him service, he
could grudge them nothing, that would anywise gratify them


for SO good an intent. But having returned them thanks
for their good will, he told them he was very happy in the
island, and had made a vow never to go out of it.

These being Frenchmen, and of an employment where
politeness is of little use, being fishermen, and not under-
standing what he said, only laughed in his face, and went
on to the purpose they came about : then having as many
of the ducks as they could get, they proceeded towards the
house where they had seen the antelopes, some of which
not running away at their approach, they proposed to catch
hold of them.

Being come to the place where they used to feed, which
was near the dwelling, the young ones, not being used to
see any men in clothes, nor anybody but their master, pre-
sently fled : but the two old ones, which he had bred up,
were so tame that they stood still, only when the men came
to them, they kept close to him, which gave the men oppor-
tunity to lay hold of them ; when, notwithstanding Quarll's
repeated entreaties, they tied a halter about their horns, and
barbarously led them away.

Quarll was grieved to the heart to see his darlings, which
he had taken such care to breed up, and which were become
the principal part of his delight, following him up and down,

Online LibraryCharlotte Mary YongeA storehouse of stories : storehouse the first → online text (page 5 of 43)