Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

returned to his father with eight hundred men and used his utmost endeavours to prevail on him to go out with his forces, and give deaan Woozington battle; but the old king persisted in his first resolution. So Mundumber continued at home with him, and fortified the town as well as the time would admit.

After this, deaan Frukey and Trodaugh made themselves masters of a pass between two hills, and cut down several large trees to defend them ; by which means they entirely stopped deaan Woozington's progress, notwithstanding he attacked them in the most vigorous manner, and was as gallantly repulsed : at last, Ryopheck, by the direction of a man who was well acquainted with the country, got behind them, and deaan Woozington, at the same time, with Rycopheck charged them again. Frukey, however, and his brethren, were obliged to retire, which they did with great resolution, even through Ryopheck's party. In this action Ryopheck, who was always in the hottest place, with much difficulty escaped.

Though deaan Woozington at last arrived at Fennoarevo, and attacked it in a vigorous manner, yet he was as bravely repulsed ; deaan Crindo and his sons resisting till they were overpowered, and when their enemies were got within the town, they even disputed every inch of ground, till deaan Crindo himself was obliged to cut down several trees, which are their walls, to make a way for their escape. He so much depended on his own courage and conduct, that he kept his wife and daughter in his own house, notwithstanding all the other women and children were sent away long before ; these unhappily fell into the hands of deaan Woozington, and were made his captives. The town was reduced to ashes, as soon as they had plundered it of such trifles as their treasures consist in, the principal of which are beads; these they often conceal in holes : so that there is nothing to be got but iron shovels, hoes, earthen and wooden dishes, spoons, &c. some cattle, indeed, they found, which were brought into the town for their necessary subsistence during the siege; and in such cases these cattle live well enough upon the thatches of their houses. They had also filled a great many tubs with water.

Deaan Crindo was inconsolable for the loss of his wife and daughter, and like a distracted man; when his sons told him if he would now join them, as he should have done at first, they were yet able to deal with deaan Woozington. And accordingly they mustered all their forces into one army, and made a number equal to their enemies. Deaan Woozington having no intelligence of this, was detaching a thousand men to plunder the country, and bring in all the women, children, and cattle they could find ; which is their constant practice after a complete victory. Just at this juncture deaan Crindo appeared with his potent army, and sent messengers to acquaint him that he must either deliver up the queen and princess with the other people and cattle he was possessed of, or immediately decamp and give them battle. Deaan Woozington in answer thereto, assured him he had no thoughts of detaining his wife and daughter, neither did he come for slaves or cattle, he having plenty of both; but since deaan Crindo had sent him a challenge boasting of his superior strength, and bidding defiance to all the kings on the island, on account of the number of white men that were his friends, he came to see them; but as he could find none, he hoped that the proud deaan Crindo was sufficiently mortified; so he was ready to send him his wife and daughter again : but as to the few slaves and cattle which he had taken, his people should detain them to make themselves some compensation for the robberies which Mevarrow, and some others, had committed in his country. At last

peace was concluded, and sworn to by the generals on both sides, with the usual formality of killing an ox, and eating a piece of the liver from off the point of a lance; each general wishing at the same time, that whoever first fired a gun might die upon the spot. The ceremony being over, public rejoicings were made on both sides : deaan Woozington returned into his own country, and deaan Crindo to rebuild his shattered town, which was finished with the utmost expedition, and all his chiefs with their people repaired to their respective homes.

As soon as we were well settled again, three boys who belonged to some principal men of our town, and myself, were sent some miles off with about two hundred head of cattle, to look after them and provide for ourselves. There were not above five or six of them however, which gave milk, so that we were at a short allowance : if we expected any other diet, we must search for it in the woods, and get it where and when we could find it. My mistress furnished me with an earthen pot to warm my milk in, a calabash to drink out of, and a mat to lie upon. My master gave me a hatchet to make fences with, and a lance to fight with if any body came to steal my cattle : he also gave me a new clout, to wear after their country fashion, my old one being worn out; the common people seldom wear one broader than a napkin ; they call it a lamber, and so shall I for the future ; the name of a--se-clout (by which our English seamen distinguish it by way of derision) being too vulgar an expression.

We drove our cattle to the proposed place, and the first thing we employed ourselves about was, the erection of a house, which we completed in about a day and a half. We finished our cow pen next, and made a small one for the calves, to keep them from sucking while we milked the cows. Our house, however, was but a poor little hut, and but badly thatched; and it being the rainy season, (which is their winter, and sometimes very cold,) we had but a very indifferent lodging. We kept, indeed, a fire, and happy was he who could lie nearest it; for we had no other covering than our lambers, which we pulled off to lay over

Now I began to feel the weight of my slavery, being almost famished; for all the food we could get, was a small fowl now and then, which creeps upon

the ground, and which we caught in traps.

us.

We lived in this melancholy situation almost three months, but at last we formed a project for killing one of our master's beasts, and dressing it in private. A great many schemes were offered, till at length I proposed one, which was unanimously agreed to; namely, to kill a cow by stabbing her in the side with a sharp pointed stick, and make the horn of another cow, which belonged to the same man, all over bloody, that he might imagine the misfortune came by goring. But then a debate arose, whose beast should be killed; for every one was unwilling that his master should be the sufferer. However, I soon determined that point, by drawing lots with four sticks shorter than each other ; and I so contrived it, that I kept the longest in my hand, and hy that means secured my master's.

When the job was done, away ran the boy to inform his master that one heifer had killed another; he and his family came immediately upon the news, and finding a cow with a bloody horn, they all concluded it was done by her. Though the master was sadly nettled at the disaster, yet he soon cut up the dead beast, and gave us a good large piece of it, besides the legs and the entrails; and then went home again. Thus far our scheme succeeded to our wish, but our principal aim was, under colour of having meat given us by our masters, to despatch another heifer privately; and is any person happened to see us (as we were not far from strangers, though we were from our own homes) and ask how we came by our beef, we could say our masters gave it us. But success made us too bold, for one day having killed a beast that had strayed from some other people amongst ours, our masters came to see their cattle, which they found in the cow pens, but finding none of us near them, they began to suspect us: whereupon they divided themselves, and made a more narrow inquiry; one of them heard a noise in the wood, like the felling of trees, where we were very busy; and following the sound, they soon smelt roastmeat: in short, our masters surprised us, and came at once amongst us with their guns cocked, crying out, vonne terach com boar; which in English is, kill the sons of bitches.

The reader may imagine we were frightened to the last degree, and expected nothing but immediate death; and indeed it proved almost fatal to the other three. They asked us whose beast it was? We answered, a strange one. They told us, however, that the crime was the same; for if we had practised the art of killing cattle privately, they were sensible that theirs must some time or other be our prey, when no others offered; and for that reason were resolved to punish us with the utmost severity. Hereupon each of my comrades' masters took his slave, and in an instant castrated him. 1, not relishing that sort of punishment, fell down at my master's feet, and endeavoured all I could to convince him that I had been peculiarly careful of his cattle ; and told him, moreover, that I would stand the chance of being killed, by submitting myself to be shot at, provided he stood at any reasonable distance; or run any other hazard he should think fit, rather than be deprived of my manhood. My proposition was accepted, and accordingly he took me out of the wood, and tied my arms behind me round a tree, and placed himself at about fourscore yards; then, seeming to take good aim at me, fired, but missed me: whether he did it on purpose I can't say, but I presume he did ; imagining the terror was sufficient, having seen how severely the others were punished. They went away, and told us if ever they found us at such pranks again, nothing should save us from immediate death.

They were no sooner gone from us, than I began to reflect on the injustice of our masters, who, though they had cattle of their own, would frequently oblige us to go with them on their thievish expeditions; and yet so severely punish us for one poor crime to satisfy our craving appetites. However, after all, I was forced to be doctor to my comrades in distress, for their masters took no care of them; so I warmed some water and washed off the blood, and dressed their wounds: I was

H

« PoprzedniaDalej »