“Now, Harry, I will relieve you of the whole of the doubloons, but at the same time I will ask you to put this in your pocket, as a settlement of what you might easily have taken for yourself, had you been anyone but the honest lad you are.”
Here he handed me a cheque for a thousand pounds, which I sincerely thanked him for. Then turning to Alec he said:
“Young man, I believe it is your wish to live upon Jethou, and such being the case I shall allow you to retain possession so long as you choose to live there, and in addition to this, in lieu of the bag of doubloons you selected, and which I shall retain, I purpose giving you a sum of fifty pounds per annum, so long as you remain on Jethou.”
We all thanked him again and again for his generosity; but he would hear nothing of thanks, as he said the goods belonged to me as much as to him, and in giving away the greater portion he was only acting in a just spirit, in which he declared generosity had no part. “Beside,” said he, “I shall leave your hospitable roof with a good slice of the treasure trove, which, although found on my island, was (all but the lace) left by will ‘to the lucky discoverer of Barbe Rouge’s hoard.’ All round, I trust we may say we are satisfied. And now to the church.”
In the afternoon I and my bride left for Hastings. Next day M. Oudin, with his heavy packing case of doubloons, bade farewell to my parents to return to Paris, where he had a very large leather business, and was accounted a wealthy man, as his brother had left him his whole fortune.
Alec, in a few days, set out on his return to Jethou, compassing the distance as far as Dover in the “Happy Return,” which I had presented to him, but could get no further in her, as a gale from the south-west set in, and further attempt at crossing would have been suicidal. He therefore waited a few days for a stone steamer to take both him and his boat to St. Sampson’s Harbour, Guernsey, from which he crossed to his island home.
I may add that as a wedding gift my father presented me with two new fishing smacks, complete with trawl net, herring nets, and other gear. On my part, to Priscilla I handed over Walter Johnson’s cheque for a hundred pounds, which was duly honoured by his father.
I think I have now spun my yarn to a finish, and if my readers have been interested in my narrative, I shall, with the sense of conveying pleasure to others, never regret the happy hours I myself spent while enjoying a Crusoe’s life in the Channel Islands.
At St. Peter’s
Church, Guernsey, on New Year’s Day, ALEXANDER
DUCAS, of Jethou, to JEANETTE GRAVIOT, of Herm.
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A FEW WORDS ABOUT THE CHANNEL ISLES.