M. Oudin was pleased, and I was supremely delighted, but my good old father was quite dejected, and frankly avowed that it was like sentencing me to twelve months’ imprisonment. So it was, but what a delightful imprisonment I anticipated it would be!
However, in a day or two he came round, and as he could not well alter the turn circumstances had taken, he endeavoured to ameliorate them. He made me write down a list of what I thought I should require, and to this list he added a long supplement; and after mature consultation with M. Oudin, another list was added as addendum; in fact, the articles were so numerous that they filled four huge packing cases.
These cases were zinc-lined to keep the goods dry, as some of them were perishable, and no one can tell with what pride I gazed at these boxes, and thought of the glorious life I was about to lead. No thought of any accident, or other drawback, even entered my head; in fact, as I sat on the top of a case, swinging my legs and counting the hours which had to pass before the day arrived when I was to take possession of my island home, I was most consummately happy, being naturally ignorant of what was to befall me.
At length came the day for launching the “Kittywich,” at which I assisted to my utmost; for I knew that any hitch with her meant further detention in Guernsey for me. All went well, and as she slid off the stocks (like a duck entering the water) without a splash or jar of any kind, a ringing cheer went up, and then I knew that I should soon bid farewell to picturesque St. Peter Port, one of the finest harbour towns of Great Britain.
A few more days and the “Kittywich” had received her cargo for home, and with it a new name, for in consideration of her additional carrying capacity, we rechristened her the “Cormorant.” Then came the day on which the Blue Peter was seen at her masthead, but what was even better in my eyes, was my own outfit packed in the four huge cases which stood so prominently on her hatchway amidships.
M. Oudin hobbled down to the harbour to see us off, and in doing so handed me a long heavy case as a parting gift, with instructions not to open it for a week, by which time he hoped to be far away in Paris.
We unmoored, left the harbour, and in an hour were laying at anchor off the north end of Jethou.
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I TAKE POSSESSION OF THE ISLAND—LANDING STORES—A GRAND CAROUSAL—FAREWELL—ALONE.
The 2nd March, 187—, was a bright mild day, with but little wind and a quiet sea: just the day for landing my stores. The goods I had selected, and those added by my father and M. Oudin, were of a very miscellaneous kind, and included provisions, farm and garden seeds (and a few implements), a canoe, a gun, clothing, fishing gear, oil and coal, cooking apparatus, and a score other things. As I knew the island was devoid of animals except rabbits, I asked for, and obtained some live stock—in fact, quite a farmyard. There were a goat, a dog, a cat, six pigeons, two pigs, six fowls, and last, though by no means least, a young donkey.