« PoprzedniaDalej »
At this the cap
were under no apprehensions of danger from the whites notwithstanding this disturbance, for they knew them; and, besides, were well acquainted with their manners; so they went on board, and asked what the captain's demands were of the king? He said satisfaction for the loss of his white man. They returned, and in the name of the king's two sons, asked what satisfaction he required? The captain insisted on their sending him the man who killed the Englishman and ten oxen as an equivalent. The fishermen had no more wit than to deliver their message in the hearing of the murderer; whereupon, he fed directly into the woods, so that when they sent to secure him, he was not to be found. The fishermen returned to the captain, and assured him that they had made strict search for the criminal, but could not find him; however, if he would be contented with a slave or two in his stead, or with twenty oxen, they were willing to give him them. tain was very angry, and peremptorily insisted on their producing the same man; for he had murdered his man in a most barbarous manner, and unless they found him, he would keep their father; but, notwithstanding, he would allow them ten days' time to make their farther search for him.
During all that interval, my grandfather's legs were loaded with irons, in order to prevent his making his escape; however, he eat and drank with the captain all the ten days' time, and was treated in a very courteous manner. When the term granted was expired, and the captain was fully satisfied they had done all they could to find out the murderer, though to no purpose, he took the irons off the king's legs, and asked him if he would enter into a solemn oath, never from that hour to do any act of injustice to an Englishman, or suffer any of his people to do it, if he could possibly prevent it. To which my father readily consented. When he had dined with the captain, they came on shore together. What! says deaan "Crindo, do you and your family eat with white men? Yes, say3 deaan Trongha, we Andry Voler, for that is the surname of the family, not only eat out of the same dish, but drink out of the same cup too, and look upon them as a part of our own family. We never attempted to assume any authority over them; they come when they please, and go where they please with us; and if any idle fellows do what they ought not to do, their captain never hinders their being punished. These white men are very advantageous to us, and they would not come amongst us, if we did not treat them with civility; besides, our grandfather has laid us all under a solemn oath, with a curse annexed to all our posterity, who shall treat an Englishman with severity ; for, as soon as he and the captain came on shore, the owley was brought out, and they entered into a solemn and perpetual friendship, which all of us strictly observe, and imagine that God will not prosper us should we break it.
My grandfather hereupon gave the captain twenty oxen, which, though he received, he would return an equivalent in guns and other things; and had we this white man amongst us, we should give him such clothes as his countrymen have left who died there. He will never wear any of his own country clothes again, says deaan Crindo, I believe. Better you were hanged, thought I, though I durst not say so.
The next day we marched to the borders of Merfaughla, and there encamped. I lay always in deaan Afferrer's tent. The next morning, however, we shifted our quarters and marched a great way into the country towards Manner-ronder, a small river passing through several small towns, but found the inhabitants had abandoned them, and from the dung of the cattle, which was very dry, we judged they had been gone aboul a fortnight; for Woozington was a politic man, and would leave nothing for us to subsist on; neither would he weaken his army by fruitless skirmishes and unnecessary attempts, but wait till he was fully apprized of our strength by his spies, and had collected all the force he could to oppose us.
A man came to me from deaan Trongha, and told me privately that his master desired to speak with me, to which I answered, I would wait on him, as soon as I could possibly contrive to come without being observed. Accordingly, in about two or three days, I found a proper opportunity, and told deaan Afferrer I was going to see deaan Sambo. You need not ask me leave, said he, but don't go any where else; by which I knew his meaning, and found he was jealous of me. However, I returned, and by private ways, and in the dark got to deaan Trongha's tent, where was a numerous assembly. He spoke to me in English, and asked me how I did ? I was obliged to answer him in the Madagascar language, for I had forgotten I told him my mother tongue. This, and my being naked withal, moved his compassion to that degree, that he spoke as indulgent things to me as my own father could ; and assured me, that if he could find any means to take me with him, he would send me home in the first ship. Whilst we were talking, Rer Befaugher came in, who shaking me hy the hand, said, Brother, how do you do? I answered very well, but could speak no more English, without a mixture of this country language. They informed me that there had lately been some English men of war in quest of pirates; and that they had directed them to St. Mary's, and Mattatanna, which are situate on the other side the island; and that there was but one white amongst them, and he a Dutchman; and moreover, that an Englishman had been killed not long since in the wars. I told him I was determined, at all adventures, to escape and follow them, but they said they would purchase me, though they gave six slaves for me. After thanks for so courteous a promise, and a mutual agreement not to take any public notice of each other, I took my leave of them and went to deaan Sambo's tent, who also treated me in a very handsome manner. He told me he was going to live by himself, and asked me if I would come to him? and I promised him I would. I took my leave and returned to our tent. The next morning we held a consultation, in which it was determined to throw the army into three divisions and march abreast, but at a quarter of a mile distance from
one another. We saw nobody all this time, till we were near the capital town, and then we perceived their spies that observed us, but the inhabitants were all fled. We passed the river Manner-ronder, and encamped upon the plain; we had not been long there before three men called to our people, and desired them to acquaint deaan Crindo that deaan Woozington proposed to
pay him a visit next morning. Now he was an artful man, and full of stratagems, so they knew he would endeavour to surprise or overreach them. Upon which, we went hard to work to fortify the camp, which was thrown in a circular form. We cut down several trees and set up forked limbs ;
spaces were filled with great pieces of wood, piled one upon another lengthways, at least four feet high, and as they joined close, they made a wall of it. In the next place, we dug the ground about a foot deep, and about seven feet wide, and threw up the earth against the wooden pile to make the wall still stronger; we left only two narrow entrances. The loose small boughs, with the leaves, were thrown carelessly, as it were, without side to hide the fortifications, so that it looked like nothing but a common method they observed, in order to conceal their numbers. When our camp was made secure, some few cattle were killed and we all went to supper, and then laid us down under our tent clothes, for we did not set our tents up, neither did we pull off our lambers, but lay close under the fortifications, prepared for an attack; the slaves that carried the provision were planted in the center.
We arose by break of day, putting our guns through little holes which we had left in our wall on purpose, and kneeled to fight with the more ease, and to take the better aiin. We had not been in readiness above ten ininutes before we saw them coming down with fury upon us. Whilst we were preparing to receive them, another party appeared on the contrary side, and proposed to have come upon our backs, but as we were in a circle we were all front. Our shells were inime. diately sounded, and our drums beaten, but we soon altered this for another kind of noise. When they came within thirty yards of us, they fired briskly, still approaching, and having no notion of our wall, expected we should soon retreat from behind the boughs. I observed their eyes red with smoking jermaughla, which made them more resolute than usual. Of this I shall give a particular description after the account of the engagement. Ry-Opheck, with a body of men, attacked one of our entrances; he came skipping along, his eyes glowed like fire; he had a lance in one hand, and a gun in the other; his people ran after him in so furious a manner, that Trodaughe and his people, who should have defended the passage, gave way. We were employed on our side, and knew nothing of it till he had got within our camp; at which time one of our chief men turning about and seeing Ry-Opheck stabbing our men, fired at him, and shot him in the belly. When he found himself wounded, he retreated, and fell about thirty or forty yards from the place: his people, instead of revenging his cause, turned backward when he did. How common men will sometimes mimic a general's behaviour! But when they saw him fall, they returned to bring off his body, and this brought on a warm engagement in the open field; for deaan Afferrer jumped over the works, and most of us, who were his people, after him, and forced them to retreat. Here one, who was distinguished from the rest by his yellow com. plexion, and who seemed of superior rank, took aim at me, but luckily missing me, I wounded him in the thigh and ran up to him. I found his hand was full of powder, in order to charge again, and he threatened me hard, but I snatched his lance from him, and prevented him from either doing me any farther mischief, or hurting any body else. Another such push on the contrary side so totally defeated the enemy, that they few for it; and we pursued them, but not indeed very far; because we were unwilling to divide ourselves, lest Woozington should have turned and taken the ad vantage of our confusion, which he certainly would have done, had an opportunity offered.