Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/135

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cluded to land and buy a few tons of potatoes for the Cape market.

The artistic passenger went ashore to stroll about with dog and gun while the sailors were loading potatoes into the boat. A sudden storm swept the sea, and the boat was caught offshore, but managed to reach the sloop, which was driven far from the island and gave up trying to beat back to it. The skipper was a practical man and it was foolish to delay the voyage for such a useless creature as an author and artist. Mr. Augustus Earle was compelled to make the best of the awkward situation, and he seems to have enjoyed his protracted visit of half a year.

The village then consisted of five or six thatched cottages "which had an air of comfort, cleanliness, and plenty truly English." The young sailor Stephen White, whom the Blenden Hall had left behind with his precious Peggy, was still happy in his bargain, and their babies were playing with the lusty little flock of the Glass family. The island was no longer a hermit's retreat. The marooned artist noted that "children there were in abundance, and just one year older than another." Small wonder that he saw little of the two women, who were fully occupied with their domestic duties.