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Angry Island

The Story of
Tristan da Cunha (1506‑1963)


by
Margaret Mackay

Margaret Mackprang Mackay was born in Oxford, Nebraska on Nov. 19, 1907, and died on Oct. 14, 1968. The book jacket has the following blurb on her:

Margaret Mackay has lived and travelled in many parts of the world and has been writing constantly "since the age of six". She was brought up and educated in America and now has dual British/American nationality and lives in London. She married (in Peking) a Scotsman whose family had lived for three generations in Tientsin and Peking and her early married life was spent amid the war lords' campaigns, guerillas, bandit scares and the long Japanese invasion of China. Her husband was killed in action during the fall of Burma in 1942. She has written several novels as well as children's stories and features which have appeared in such magazines and newspapers as Vogue, The Queen, The New Yorker, Punch, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, Saturday Evening Post, The Times, The Toronto Star and The Sydney Herald.

Many of her novels, including her first, the semi-autobiographical Valiant Dust (1941), are online at Hathi Trust, as well as The Violent Friend, a biography of Mrs. Robert Louis Stevenson.

A recent review of Angry Island, interesting if somewhat hostile, can be read online.

[decorative delimiter]

[p7] Contents

Prologue: The Loneliest Island in the World 13

Part One: Early Adventures

1

Discoverers of a Desert Isle

17
2

The Dogged Dutch and a Marooned Skipper

20
3

Swindlers, Sealers and Smugglers

26
4

A Lost Naturalist

28
5

The Pirate King of a Treasure Island

30
6

A Robinson Crusoe — and Perhaps a Murderer

33
7

'Tristan Luck' and a Modest Hero

35
8

A Romance at the Cape and an Exile on Tristan

38
9

Yo, Ho Ho, and a Pirate's Last Words

44
10

The Loss of HMS Julia

46

Part Two: Sail and Whale

1

Betrayals and Disappointments

49
2

The Castaways of the Blenden Hall

53
3

Adventures and Misadventures

60
4

A Marooned Artist

63
5

A Cargo of Wives

67
6

The Heyday of the Yankee Whalers

70
7

Refugees and Runaways

74
8

 p8  The First Missionary

77
9

The Great Exodus

80
10

The American Civil War in the South Atlantic

88
11

The First Royal Visit

90

Part Three: Shipwrecks and Flotsam

1

Five Shipwrecks

95
2

Two Hermits on Inaccessible Island

97
3

Family Rule

100
4

The Cowardly Captain, his Wife and Daughter

105
5

Cats, Donkeys and Alice in Wonderland's Uncle

108
6

The Fateful Arrival of the Rats

114
7

An Island of Widows

116
8

Clinging to the Rock

125
9

The Grand-Opera Shipwreck and the Two Italian Castaways

129
10

A Queen's Portrait and a Cargo of Whisky

134
11

An Accident and the Boer War

138

Part Four: Missionaries and Barter

1

An English Housewife on Tristan

145
2

'Hanimals' and 'Wisitors'

154
3

Feasting, Mumming and 'Dawncing'

158
4

A Business Man and the Prodigal Sons

164
5

Sail Ho!

170
6

The First World War and a Parson's Bride

174
7

The Critical Explorers from the Quest

184
8

Courtships, Weddings and Birthdays

188
9

Appling Days and Ratting Days

192
10

 p9  Luxury Liners and a Psychic Priest

196
11

Pioneers and Pilgrims

205
12

A Sociologist Sums Up the Settlers

213
13

A Sensitive Sailor in World War II

223

Part Five: Change and Eruption

1

The Post-war Boom and Another Prince

233
2

Earthquakes

240
3

Eruption

241
4

Evacuation

247
5

England

252
6

A New Life

255
7

To Stay or to Go

259
Epilogue: 'No Place Like Home' 267
Bibliography 275

 p11  List of Illustrations

Facing page

Opening parcels after the arrival of a long-awaited ship from the 'Outside World'

(Photo: S. P. G.)

48

Boats on Little Beach

(Photo: E. O. Hoppe, courtesy of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel)

48

Thatching a roof with tussock grass

(Photo: S. P. G.)

49

Oxcarts bringing stores up from Big Beach

(Photo: Camera Press)

49

Village elders at their open-air council meeting

(Photo: Camera Press)

80

St. Mary's Church, 33rd Dedication Festival. The Procession after evensong

(Photo: The Rev. Philip Bell, courtesy S. P. G.)

80

Some of the stone cottages in their tussock gardens

(Photo: C. O. I.)

81

The Potato Patches, with ancient extinct craters in right foreground

(Photo: Camera Press)

81

Two little girls in the traditional white knitted stockings and oxhide moccasins. The one on the left is wearing a Cape 'kappie' in the style brought to the island in 1816

(Photo: E. O. Hoppe, courtesy S. P. G.)

160

Spinning the local wool, which has just been carded with the implement on the beach

(Photo: Camera Press)

160

 p12  Frank Glass making oxhide moccasins

(Photo: Camera Press)

160

Panorama of the island with its continual cloud-belt

(Photo: C. O. I.)

161

The fresh eruption above one of the deserted cottages

(Photo: C. O. I.)

161

between pages 160 and 161: º

Map of Tristan da Cunha

(Photo: Courtesy of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts)

Map
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Technical Details

Edition Used, Copyright

The edition I used was the one published in the United States by Rand McNally & Company, 1964, but bearing the copyright date © 1963. The book remains under copyright in the United Kingdom and in many other countries until the end of the 70th year following the author's death (thus, at least Dec. 31, 2038); but in order for it to benefit from copyright in the United States, for 1963 copyrights, the last for which this provision was in force, American law required that its copyright be renewed with the United States Copyright Office in the appropriate year, which would have been in 1990 or 1991 — but it was not: the book has therefore been in the public domain in the United States since Jan. 1, 1992.

Illustrations

In the printed edition the 14 illustrations, all black-and‑white photographs, are gathered in signatures as can be seen from the List of Illustrations above. I've moved them to accompany the relevant text even more closely. Their original placement is given in the table above, but the links are of course to the new location.

Proofreading

As almost always, I retyped the text by hand rather than scanning it — not only to minimize errors prior to proofreading, but as an opportunity for me to become intimately familiar with the work, an exercise which I heartily recommend: Qui scribit, bis legit. (Well-meaning attempts to get me to scan text, if successful, would merely turn me into some kind of machine: gambit declined.)

This transcription has been minutely proofread. I run a first proofreading pass immediately after entering each section; then a second proofreading, detailed and meant to be final: in the table of contents above, the sections are shown on blue backgrounds, indicating that I believe them to be completely errorfree; any red backgrounds would mean that the section had not received that second final proofreading. The header bar at the top of each page will remind you with the same color scheme.

The print edition was well proofread; there are few typographical errors. These few errors then, when I could fix them, I did, marking the correction each time with a bullet like this;º or when trivial, with a dotted underscore like this: as elsewhere on my site, glide your cursor over the bullet or the underscored words to read the variant. Similarly, bullets before measurements provide conversions to metric, e.g., 10 miles. Very occasionally, also, I use this blue circle to make some brief comment.

Inconsistencies or errors in punctuation are remarkably few; they have been corrected to the author's usual style, in a slightly different shade of white — barely noticeable on the page when it's a comma for example like this one, but it shows up in the sourcecode as <SPAN CLASS="emend">. Finally, a number of odd spellings, curious turns of phrase, etc. have been marked <!‑‑ sic ‑‑> in the sourcecode, just to confirm that they were checked.

Any other mistakes, please drop me a line, of course: especially if you have the printed edition in front of you.

For citation purposes, the pagination is indicated by local links in the sourcecode and made apparent in the right margin of the text at the page turns (like at the end of this line p57 ). Sticklers for total accuracy will of course find the anchor at its exact place in the sourcecode.

In addition, I've inserted a number of other local anchors: whatever links might be required to accommodate the author's own cross-references, as well as a few others for my own purposes. If in turn you have a website and would like to target a link to some specific passage of the text, please let me know: I'll be glad to insert a local anchor there as well.



[image ALT: A low rectangular stone house with a sloping roof situated immediately in front of a fuming volcanic cone about 15 meters tall; in the background, part of a taller hill or mountain can be seen. It is a cottage at the Settlement on the island of Tristan da Cunha, and serves on this website as the icon for the book 'Angry Island' by Margaret Mackay.]

The icon I use to indicate this subsite is my cropped and colorized version of the last photograph listed above, showing a cottage at the Settlement, very close to a low volcanic outcrop of the mountain, still fuming from the 1961 eruption.

[The design of the book's dust jacket is based on a photograph of a rocky storm-lashed shore, but the landscape is not identified as being that of Tristan, and might indeed be anywhere; I've chosen to ignore it.]


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Site updated: 24 Jul 17