A, then, is a comfortable and picturesque four-roomed cottage. B is the stable for my noble steed, Edward. C is the store-house, with loft over for straw, etc., for said noble quadruped. In the store I keep my utensils and implements for farm work, potatoes, flour, coals, and other heavy goods. D, sheltered garden for winter crops; F, the vegetable and fruit garden, in the midst of which stands an immense and very prolific mulberry tree; it spreads its branches fifty-four feet from north to south, and fifty-one feet from east to west. The garden contains fruit trees of all kinds. E, the Seignieurie or Government House—my palace—or, in plain words, a solid stone-built four-roomed house that might stand a siege. The front windows look out over the lawn, G, to the sea beyond, and those at the back command the well-walled-in fruit garden, F. H is devoted to shrubs and medicinal herbs. J is the flower-garden with a summer-house in the corner. K, the well of excellent water. L, flight of stone steps to the lower path leading round the island. M, pigeon-tower and fowl-house amidst walnut trees. N, Plantation and forest trees. O, watch house, once used as a strong room or prison. P, an old iron gun (mounted on a stone platform, which would probably fall to pieces at the first discharge) for summoning aid in case of sickness or distress. Q, road to fishing-store and boathouse. R, path up the hill to the piggery.
I think the reader may, from the foregoing, form some idea of the island and homestead, as I have taken him all round the former, and pointed out, although very briefly, the various portions of the latter. I have wasted no time nor ink in so doing, as he like myself, will doubtless find more pleasure in the narrative which commences in the succeeding chapter. A fair idea of the island is necessary, so as clearly to understand some of the incidents which are placed before the reader, and I trust I have said sufficient to enable him to follow me in what I have to tell of my sojourn on the pretty, though solitary island of Jethou.
A glance at the accompanying map will give a good idea of the various places in Jethou mentioned in this story.
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[Illustration: PLAN OF HOMESTEAD 1890]
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FARMING OPERATIONS—I MAKE A PLOUGH AND A CART—A DONKEY HUNT—DUMB HELPERS—MY LIVE STOCK.
My first few days were spent pleasantly enough, but as soon as the sun had set my spirits would droop, and I felt anything but jolly, but like Mark Tapley, I firmly made up my mind to be happy under all circumstances.
I had a deal of unpacking to do, and determined, as my stay was to be a lengthy one, “to find a place for everything, and keep everything in its place.” My initial motto was a good one, and I worked for quite a week scheming and contriving all kinds of receptacles and appliances for my heterogeneous goods and chattels.