« PoprzedniaDalej »
ordered an ox for our subsistence on our journey, and appointed likewise two of his own people to accompany the other two; and then we set forward.
I had yet one suspicious circumstance still to pass over, and that was to call on Rer Trimmonongarevo : this gave me no small uneasiness; but when we came near Moherbo, we were informed that he was gone to a place within an hour's walk of the seaside. As soon as I approached him, he instantly made an apology for his too warm constitution, and confessed that he had sometimes done mischief in his passion, but hoped I would excuse him for what had passed ; and said he was loth to let me go till the ship was near upon sailing, lest I should prove detrimental to the trade. I told him, I had no complaint to make, since his son had been so indulgent to me; and that if he pleased to dismiss me at my friend's request, they would take it as a favour ; but should he detain me, when they knew I was so near, I did not know what ill consequences might ensue thereupon. He kept me, however, this night, but dismissed me with his blessing the next morning ; praying that God and the demons would be my guardians, and send me safely to my native country. So I licked his feet and took my last farewell of him, and of this odd and filthy custom likewise.
When I came down to the seaside, the first man who spoke to me was William Purser, my old acquaintance in Feraignher; he came away to live in more security and plenty, as well as several others; and was at this time interpreter for the trade. Here were several houses, but such as the English call huts, erected by the inhabitants at a small distance from the factory, for the more commodious selling of milk and other provisions. There I met Mr. Hill, the steward of the Drake, captain Macket's ship, and two or three more of their crew, who took me for a wild man; and in a letter he sent off by a canoe to the captain, he told him the wild Englishman was come.
I desired William Purser to inform them that I could speak but little English ; and though by the conversation I had
with William Thornbury I had regained some, yet I was frequently puzzled for words to speak freely for several days. Captain Macket soor came on shore, and captain Bloom with him, for here were two ships, the Drake and the Sarah. I gazed at them as intently as if I had never seen a white inan dressed before; and what added to the wildness of my appearance, was, that I had nothing on but my lamber; my skin being swarthy and full of freckles, and my hair long and matted together, I really made a frightful figure; but they soon restored me to my original form, Mr. Hill cut my hair off, and ordered me to be shaved, and dressed in a neat seaman's habit, light and fit for the country. The captain asked me what ransom was expected for my freedom ? I told him nothing but a gun for a present, to be kept in remembrance of me. He thereupon picked out a handsome and very good Buccaneer gun, as also some powder, Aints, and case of spirits, as a present to Rer Moume. He gave likewise knives and beads to his two men, and a small gun to the messengers who went for me. For my own part, I presented the captain with my slave Anthony. After this he gave me the following letter from my father. “ To Robert Drury, on the island of Madagascar.
“ Loughborough, February 27th, 1715. « Son Robert Drury, “I am informed by one Mr. Thornbury, that he left you in health on the island of Madagascar, which I was glad to hear; my very good friend, Mr. Terry, hath a friend, commander of a ship, the bearer hereof, that hath promised to do all he can to get you your liberty; I therefore desire you to do the captain all the service you can in the country; and so doing you will oblige our good friend Mr. Terry, and your ever-loving father till death,
« Joun Drury." About three days after I went on board; but the sea and change of diet made me very sick for some time; after which the two captains went to Rer Trimmonongarevo, and I with them, in order to settle some matters in relation to the trade. It is a general custom all over the island for the king of each place to make terms, and settle one universal price, to which all the people are obliged to conform; and this method is, doubtless, not only very commodious, but prevents all quarrels and disorders. They presented the king with a fine gun, gilt and japanned. I was the interpreter, and though I carried on the correspondence, my dress had so altered me in these few days' time, that he had no notion who I was, till upon inquiry who that Englishman was who spake so well their language, he was told it was Robin.
A few days after, there came messengers from Rer Moume, desiring the captains to come up the river Mernee, for he had a great many slaves to sell, but being lame he could not take a long journey; however, he would come down to the banks of that river, to a town near enough for trade. It was agreed that the Sarah should go, so they ordered a long boat out to sound before them; I went on board, and we sailed with a gentle gale, but could find no convenient harbour or road in the mouth of the Mernee; however, there was a convenient place for anchoring, in a saltwater river, about three leagues on this side; from whence the two captains and myself went up in the boat a considerable way, till a canoe took us in and carried us to the town, where Rer Moume with his wives and people were waiting for us. Until I kneeled and kissed his knee, he did not know me, for my behaviour and grateful acknowledgments for his past favours, he and they soon recollected me, and were extremely glad to see me. Here we continued five days successively, bought all the slaves they had, and agreed to send our long boat once a week as long as we stayed; and then they went on board, weighed anchor, and returned to their former road at Yong-Owl, where there arrived that very day a third ship, that belonged to the same owners, called the Mercury, captain White commander; he had eight or nine natives of Dillagoe in Africa on board him, who lived very merrily; they were all freemen, and went with him the whole voyage, six of whom lived to see their native country the next voyage he took, in which I was with him. Soon after this a ketch came in, which was fitted out in order to cruise off the coast, and be serviceable in several affairs; captain Henry Macket, the captain's brother, was the commander of her; another ship was still expected, but she did not arrive till we were at Masseleege, otherwise called Munnongaro; they now agreed to separate for the more speedy despatch of business. Captain Bloom accordingly had his choice, which was to go to Port Dauphine, and captain Macket to Masseleege, where we arrived in a week's tinie, and went several leagues up a great river, called Munnonbaugher; we had a fisherman for our pilot, who informed us that the king's town was but about three hours' journey up the country. The captain asked me, if I would venture to go there; I readily answered, that I would, and that I was not apprehensive of any danger; so the fisherman setting us ashore we went forward. Before we had gone far from the shore, the fisherman told me the king was gone out to war. Whereupon I flew into a great passion, asking him why he imposed upon us ; he said the king's wives would trade with us. I told him, we did not want provisions; and as for slaves they had no authority to dispose of them. The man, however, prevailed on me to go to their town, assuring me that four white men lived there, who came from the island of St. Mary's. “Then, I presume, they are robbers of ships,” said I. No,” he replied, now, for they have lived there several years; their names are captain Burgess, Zachary, John Pro, and Nick." So I walked forwards with my gun on my shoulder, and the man carried another. I had also several knives and beads, which the captain gave me to buy provisions with, though I knew how to live without buying any victuals, yet I took them, as thinking they would be agreeable presents.
informed the king's head consort, whom I shall call queen, that a ship was arrived, and that one of the white men was coming to see her. At my arrival, a mat was ready placed for me to sit down on; no sooner was I seated, than I heard the queen ask for some of the white men to be interpreters between us, and one rạn that moment to fetch them. I soon convinced her, however, that I wanted no assistants, and delivered my message, as ambassador from the captain, saying, “I was afraid no trade could be carried on, as the king was absent.” She said, “ she expected him in a fortnight, and as there was a great number of slaves to be sold, she desired me to prevail on the captain to stay till his return." By this time, came in two white men abreast, making a formidable and hostile figure; upon which I cocked my gun, laid the other by me, and planted myself directly before them. One was John Pro, a Dutchman, who spoke good English; he was dressed in a short coat with broad plate-buttons, and other things answerable, but without either shoes or stockings. In his sash, he had stuck a brace of pistols, and held one in his hand. The other was in an English dress, and had two pistols in his sash, and one in his hand, like his companion; they spoke to me in English, with the usual compliment, which I returned; but Nick looked me wishfully in the face, and after a short pause, took hold of my hand, saying, “Robert Drury, how have you done these many years? My name is Nicholas Dove,” said he, “I am one of the four boys who were saved with you when our ship's company were massacred in Anterndroea; and the very same of whom no tidings could be given in the conference between deaan Crindo and king Samuel." Upon this, I went home with them after I had finished with the queen, in order to know whether captain Macket would think proper to stay so long or not. John Pro assured me it would certainly be well worth his while; that there were a great number of slaves whom they wanted to dispose of; that the king, deaan Toke-offu, was a very honest fair-dealing man, as well as a great prince, and would