Proofed and corrected from the scanned original edition.
The Jerseymen Meeting.
Chapter I.: A Phenomenon.
Chapter II.: A Legacy.
Chapter III.: Life In Lambeth.
Chapter IV.: The Phenomenon Again.
Chapter V.: An Economical Project.
Chapter VI.: Lessons In Loyalty.
Chapter VII.: Harder Lessons In Loyalty.
An excerpt from the beginning of:
The moral sense of some people is shocked by the sentiment that it is pleasant to stand in safety on the shore to watch the effects of a storm at sea; but perhaps none were ever found to dispute the pleasantness of standing idle on the heights above a shore to watch the proceedings of busy people at sea. There are parts of the coast of Jersey where this luxury may be enjoyed in absolute perfection; where not only the features of nature are full of beauty, but where the spectator is unmolested by the presence of any less happy than himself, and where the industry which he witnesses is sure of its due reward.
Such a station is the height of Anne Ville, which overlooks the thriving village of Gorey in Jersey. It is luxury to sit on the remains of the Druidical temple there, and think of nothing less animating than the congregation of objects near; the bay of St. Catherine behind, where green lanes lead from the very brink of the tide, each to its own snug farm-house and blossoming orchard on the hill-side, and the solitary tower of Archirondel, surrounded on its rocky station by the blue waters of the bay: close at hand, Geoffry’s rock, from which, instead of criminals being cast into the sea, as it is said they once were, white sea-birds take their flight, scared by the laughter of children near their haunts: the noble castle of Mont Orgueil overhanging the waters, and casting upon them the shadow of its ruined battlements, while its mantle of ivy waves in the evening breeze:—the fishing village below, sending out and receiving back the oyster boats which throng about the pier in the season;—the villages on the distant coast of France, when the western sun lights them up into brilliant contrast with the intervening expanse of dark blue; and far beyond these, on the extreme horizon, the dim cathedral of Coutances. To spend a May evening in the centre of this scene is a luxury to a stranger whose heart is not, like that of a native, in one of the farmhouses in the interior, or among the oysters on the beach below. A stranger is pretty secure, however, of having this Druidical seat to himself on a May evening. So many repairs are wanted for the boats, so much sail-cloth and cordage is called for, and so large a portion of supplies is required for the little market of Gorey, towards the close of the oyster season, that the men are more likely to be guiding their creaking carts through the bowery lanes, and the maidens carrying down the hills the produce of their far-famed cows, than to be looking abroad from the heights of Anne Ville.
On such an evening, however, a few seasons ago, some one might be seen keeping a look-out from the poquelaye, (as the Jersey people call a Druidical remain like that at Anne Ville,) whom no one could doubt to be a native. He was a young man of about twenty, whose sallow face bore testimony to his diet being that of a Jersey farmhouse, while his knitted garments pointed him out as the son of one of the thrifty dames of the island who look suspiciously on all manufactures which threaten to supersede the work of their own hands. Aaron le Brocq looked indolent enough as he leaned with his elbows upon the great stone, and his dull eye wandered over the ocean, never once lighting up when a sail caught the yellow ray which slanted from the west: but Aaron came hither on business. Never was cordage so much wanted as now; and Aaron’s stock of hemp was exhausted; and day by day he came hither to watch for the arrival of some one of the friendly vessels which must be on the way to supply his need. There were barks innumerable within sight; but even Aaron’s dull eye could perceive, almost at a glance, that none of those near were what he wanted. Besides the native-built boats, there were many English vessels sailing hither and thither. Several which had been accustomed to navigate the broad, smooth Medway, were now tossing and turning in the currents and eddies caused by the ridges of low rocks which nearly surround the island, and have proved its surest defence during the wars of the two countries between whose grasp it seems to lie. French homeward-bound vessels were gliding between the shores; and a few of other countries, bringing supplies as much needed as hemp, were crossing Grouville Bay on their way to St. Heliers. Aaron would go to St. Heliers too, in the morning, if he saw no vessel before dark which might be supposed to come from the Baltic...