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work; I pretended to be very ignorant and hoed up plants and weeds together, at which they laughed heartily, and took away my hoe to prevent more mischief.
This artifice, however, proved of but little service to me, for my master perceiving that I either could not or would not work in the plantations, was determined to employ me some other way, and about such business as I could not well do amiss. Accordingly the next day he showed me his cattle, and told me I must take care of them, drive them to water, and see that they did not break either his own or any other neighbour's plantations. This business I liked much better than the other, because there were three or four lads more of this town about my age, who had cattle to attend to as well as myself. What I disliked most was, that we had a very considerable way to drive them to water, and at night to drive them back again ; besides I was obliged to drag home a long tub which held about three gallons ; for all the water we used in the house was fetched from this watering place. However we had no just cause of complaint, for we joined our herds together, and in the heat of the day, when the cattle would lie down in the shade, we had three or four hours' time to ramble through the woods and gather yains,
I had been thus long in the country, yet I never knew how they struck fire, till wanting to roast some of my yams, I asked my comrades where their fire was; they showed me their hands and laughing, said, here it is, but one of them soon informed me how to do it. He took one short round stick about half the length of a gun rammer, and another considerably thicker, but both of one sort of wood, and rubbed the former upon the latter till there came a dust from it first, then a smoke, and soon fire after.
We sometimes traversed the woods and stole people's honey, and eat it just as we found it. When we could spare time, we used to look for a creature which I call a ground-hog, and which in their language is called tondruck; it is about the size of a cat, snout, eyes, and ears are like an Englisn hog's, it has bristles on its back but no tail, the feet of it are like a rabbit's; its principal food is beetles and young snails, which they grub up with their snouts; they are very prolific, and have above twenty young ones at a litter, to all which they give suck. In the cold season of the year (for though there is no time which can properly be called winter, yet one part of the year is sensibly much colder than the other) these creatures hide themselves in the ground in a most surprising manner. They first dig a hole about two feet deep directly in the earth, and after that they work obliquely two or three feet one way, and as much another, making angles ; though they throw the earth up with their fore feet, yet they make it as firm with their hind feet as if no passage had ever been made. When they have worked in this manner for some time, they then work aslant, upwards, till they get within half a foot of the surface: there they make a kind of lodgment, just big enough for them to turn themselves round in, where they lie for four or five months successively without any sustenance whatsoever; and what is still more strange, they are as fat at the expiration of that term as when they first went in. It is no small difficulty to catch them, for when we have discovered some marks of the place where we imagine they began to burrow, we are often disappointed in digging after them; they work so artfully, that we know not which way to find out their secret recesses; but we spare no pains to take them, for they are excellent food, and their skin when dressed is as brown and crisp as a pig's. Their hedgehogs too are agreeable enough, but nothing near so delicious as their tondrucks; these conceal themselves all the cold winter in holes of trees, where they remain for some months without any visible support.
This employment of attending the cattle was agreeable to me, except in excessively hot weather, when it was a great fatigue to drive them several miles to water, at least every other day; but in the colder season we had no occasion to observe that practice, for the dew falls so plentifully in the night, that we find it sufficient to drive them into the grass about break of day; and even the inhabitants of this part of the country of Anterndroea, who have no water near them, go into the fields in a morning with two wooden platters and a tub, and in less than an hour will collect about eight or ten gallons of dew-water, which is very good while fresh, but will turn sour in a day or two, and disagreeable to the taste.
I had not followed this employment above a year, when my master went to war, or rather (as I understood afterwards) to plunder a people to the westward, whom they pursued with the most implacable hatred, they having surprised deaan Crindo's father in his own town by night, and murdered him in a most barbarous manner.
My master informed me that I must look after the .cattle no more, for he was going to war, and had other business for me of much greater importance. I offered my service to wait on him, but he answered, we shall travel night and day; it is a long and tedious journey, and you cannot, I believe, be able to undergo the fatigue, but your principal business must be to look after my wife, and act as her guardian. He gave me a strict charge to lie in the same house with her, and never to let her stir out without me. After he had given her instructions to the same effect, he took his leave, and, accompanied by most of his people, went on his intended expedition.
I now lived at perfect ease, and my mistress was very kind and indulgent to me. I went abroad wherever she went, partook of every thing she had for herself, and lay in the same house with her, both of us strictly observing our master's orders; neither could I perceive that her compliance therewith was any way repugnant to her inclinations. I was not, it is true, absolutely easy myself; for the thoughts of my friends and native country, and the improbability of ever seeing them again, made me very melancholy, and dejected me to that degree, that sometimes I could
not forbear indulging my grief in private, and bursting into a flood of tears.
My mistress would frequently ask me whether I was indisposed, or wanted any thing: I could not prevail on myself to reveal the real cause of my anxiety; however, one day I took the liberty to tell her, I should be very glad of an opportunity to see the other three lads, whose lives were preserved, and who were taken prisoners when I was. She desired me not to afflict myself on that account, for she would go with me, and should be highly delighted to hear us converse together in our own language. Accordingly, she made inquiry amongst her neighbours where they were, who informed us that they were at some distance from one another; but that the nearest to be met with was about four or five miles off. So the next morning we set out, and inquired for the white boy: we were told that he was gone to carry his fellow-servants some provisions to the plantation, but as soon as a messenger was sent to him he returned immediately, being as desirous of seeing me in particular as I was of him ; we embraced each other in a very passionate manner, and expressed ourselves at first rather in tears than words. “We had been very intimate on shipboard, and I used to treat him frequently with punch, being delighted with his company, as he had a taste for music, and could play extremely well on the violin. We condoled with each other, and observed how wretchedly we looked, all naked, except a small clout about our middles, and our skins spotted like a leopard's; for neither of us being ever before so exposed to the sun, we were scorched, and flead as it were, and our skins often rose up in blisters. After our mutual condolence we came to an agreement, that if either of us got safe to England, we would give the other's friends a particular account of all our misfortunes. We inquired of each other after our other comrades, but were equally strangers to their particular places of abode. My mistress seemed
attentive to our discourse, and showed a compassionate regard for our afflictions; but with great reluctance, and many a tear, we were obliged at last to part.
We had not been at home above two hours, before an express arrived from my master, with news of his success; and that he would be at home in a fortnight. My mistress, and all the women who had husbands abroad, expressed their general joy in large bowls of toake. In the mean time I was very much indisposed, but tolerably well recovered before my master's return.
He made his public entry in a very triumphant manner; the trumpet-shells blowing, and crowds of people dancing before him all the way, with their guns in their hands. On his first approach, the foremost men fired their guns towards the ground; which with them is the signal of a victorious return. Deaan Mevarrow, and his brother, deaan Sambo, came after them, with their attendants; next followed the cattle which he had taken from the enemy, and the prisoners of war brought up the rear. After they were seated in form before my master deaan Mevarrow's house, not only his consort, attended by the other women of the town, eame as usual, and licked his feet, but the men too, whom he left behind him when he went to war.
I stood all this time as a spectator, till he, seeing me at a distance, called me to him. I approached him in the usual form of the country on such a public occasion; that is, with my hands lifted up, and in a praying pos
When I came near him, I paid him the compliment of salamonger umba; but did not kneel down as all the others did, having a kind of conscientious reluctance to such an act, as thinking it an adoration that I ought to pay to no one but the Supreme Being; but he seemed to resent my being so over religious; for he asked me if I thought it beneath me to pay him the same respect that his own wife, (who was a king's daughter,) and his own mother too, so readily condescended to ? However, I peremptorily refused, and told him I would obey all his lawful commands, and do whatever work he thought proper to employ me