A boy and a girl are shipwrecked on an island with a sailor who soon dies. They are found by a shipwrecked captain and taught to speak and read and write. After many adventures, including the defeat of a pirate city-state, they are reunited with their relatives. However, circumstances lead the group to have to leave Europe, and form a group of colonists to exploit the island of their former residence.
A clear sky, and prosperous gales, announced a happy voyage to the vessel in which Colonel Carlton had embarked for England; it was returning from Jamaica, leaving on the left the Isle of Cuba, and on the right the superb forests of the ancient Bayti. (1) The pilot steered towards the Bermuda Isles; and the Colonel in a few weeks hoped to embrace a wife and child, endeared to him by an absence of twelve months; but these delightful prospects soon vanished; the rolling of the vessel increased, a tremendous water-spout approached, and threatened instant destruction. This being, by the advice of the pilot, broken by a discharge of cannon, all that remained to be done was to lower the sails, shut the hatches, and abandon the vessel to the mercy of the waves. The Heavens were soon filled with flashes of lightning; thick darkness succeeded day; the thunder rolled, and the vessel, the sport of all the various revolutions of the boisterous waves, presented only to the unfortunate passengers shipwreck and death; this soon followed, for the point of a rock forcing an entrance into the vessel, in a few minutes, precipitated it into the bosom of the vast ocean. In this moment of danger, the Colonel, ever calm and collected, seized a plank, upon which he committed himself to the waves: his example was followed by a few others, and by his faithful domestic, Peter.
Having long floated at random, and contended with the fury of the waves, the Colonel found himself near land; but such was the violence of the sea, that at the moment his hopes were strongest, he was frequently carried by an overwhelming wave to the greatest distance: at length, after various efforts, he gained a coast covered with rocks, over which he with difficulty climbed to an extensive plain, where he suck down, wholly deprived of sensation. In this state he remained nearly two hours, when his senses by degrees returning, he discovered two children, half-naked, on their knees, at his side, who, by their innocent gestures, expressed the most lively interest in his situation. One of them perceiving that he breathed, exclaimed in a jargon he could just distinguish to be English, "He is not dead, sister; he is come to take us home -- are you not father!"
His first questions were, "Where am I? What country do you inhabit?" But finding that he was not clearly understood, he looked round for some person to whom he might address himself. Not seeing any one, he attempted to rise; but exhausted with fatigue, sunk down, uttering involuntary sighs and groans, forced from him by the weakness of his condition.
"He is hungry, brother," said one of the children, "I will go and fetch him some food;" and immediately she fled across the plain.
"Who do you belong to?" said the Colonel, recovering himself, "have you no friends? no father, no mother?"
"Are not you our father?" asked the boy.
"I! my child," said the Colonel, "I do not know you."
"Yes; but are you alone?"
"O yes," returned he, "we are all alone; nobody but Eleanor and Ambrose; we see only the great beasts, and they frighten us very much."
"And who brought you into this country, Ambrose?" said the Colonel.
"A great house," replied the child, "that went upon the water."
"And have you never seen one like it touch here?"
"O never," said the child; "there are only great men, all black, that come sometimes in little boats. When we see them we hide ourselves for fear they would eat us."
"Well!" said the Colonel with a sigh, "I am then lost without resource! I must end my days here, far from my wife, my friends, my country."
"You will stay with us, will you not?" said the boy.
"Alas, my child! I have no choice."
"Oh," returned he, "we will love and caress you, as we used to do Derley."
"Derley! who was he?"
"Our good friend," answered the child; "but he is dead; we have wept a great deal for him." As he said this his sister returned with some tortoise and colibri eggs; she brought also some dates and a large shell filled with liquor, which to the taste seemed that which flows from the palm tree. This simple repast proved very salutary to the Colonel; his strength returned, he thanked his little hosts for their solicitude, and reflecting a-new upon his adventure was astonished to conceive it possible for two children, so young and so delicate, should provide for all their wants at an age when others scarcely know how to walk or think: he wished to discover by what means it had been effected, but they expressed their ideas very imperfectly; he could only guess at their little jargon, and judge from it that they were English. He resolved, nevertheless, while he awaited the return of day, to interrogate them, that he might, from their answers, form some conjectures upon their condition, and the cause of their being deserted at so early an age. "How old are you?" said he. "We do not understand you," replied Ambrose; but when he repeated, "I ask how many times have you seen the cold and the hot seasons?" Eleanor said, "We cannot tell; but since the time our good friend died, we have at every sun made a mark with a stone on that great tree you see there.
The Colonel admired the ingenious expedient the children had employed, and going towards the tree, by the light of the moon added all the marks, and counted 1528, which made four years two months and eight days since they had lost Derley.
"But," said he, "did he die as soon as you came here?"
"O yes," replied the children, "his blood flowed like the spring at which we drink."
"He was wounded then?" said the Colonel.
"Very much," they replied.
"But," said the Colonel, "who brought you hither in the wooden house?"
"Mama, with a great many men; one of them was a very bad man; he beat Derley, and gave him a great many cuts with a knife, and then put him with us into a little boat that brought us here."
"And do you," said the Colonel, "recollect where you lived before you went into this ship? (for the wooden house you speak for is called a ship.)"
"Yes, in great houses, where there were many fine things; then we used to see our dear father sometimes, and he used to kiss and love us."
"And was your father in the ship?" said the Colonel.
"No; before we went into it, he and mama cried very much; and then we saw him no more?"
"In what place," said the Colonel, "was the great house in which you lived?"
"In a place where there was a great many others," replied Ambrose. "Do you remember, sister, that a woman used to carry us often into a fine garden, where there was a great river, and rows of trees, where fine women and men used to walk, while we played upon the grass with little girls and boys?"
"Yes," said Eleanor, "I remember it very well."
From these answers the Colonel could draw little information; all that he conjectured was that his little hosts were the victims of some sort of treachery, and that Derley was their friend; and he thought it was possible that the fine garden of which they spoke might be St. James's Park; but all this was not sufficiently clear; he hoped that time, by strengthening their reason, would afford him a more satisfactory explanation.
No sooner had the morning sun inflamed the horizon, that he arose, and taking the young pupils of Nature, who were henceforth to be his own, by the hand, set out to take a view of the land which providence had destined, for some time at least, to be his abode. He discovered that it was an island, surrounded by steep rocks, and accessible only on one side to vessels; it was not very extensive, but was covered with mountains, woods, little hills, and cool and fragrant valleys; here an embowering forest invited the traveller to taste in its religious enclosure the sweets of solitude: there a mountain slowly rising covered with fern, discovered from its top an extensive ocean, strewed with an infinity of little islands, which appeared only like the points of so many rocks. Farther on a spring of water escaped trembling from the hollow of a cave, and ran meandering over beds of reeds to water a smiling plain, enamelled with all the various beauties of vegetation. A thousand succulent vegetables and blooming flowers, as thousand fruits and odoriferous trees, contended for the shade and land; the cocoa, the cafia, the palm and banana tree, the leaves of which were, according to the Indians, the vestments of our first parents; the fig, the white cotton tree, in a word, all the most curious and useful productions of America. No traces of men were, however, visible, but those of different animals, such as otters, stags, goats, and the anta, a small animal which resembles the elephant, though much smaller, and is common in Peru. Among the birds was the fou, a little inoffensive fowl, which has the habit of clinging to the masts of vessels; the edolio, so called from its repeating, without ceasing, in a low melancholy tone, edolio; and the foken, a bird of an exquisite flavour.
"Well," said Ambrose, having led the Colonel over the island, "do you find all this so frightful? Eleanor and I sleep when it is no longer light, and when the sun shines, we run into the woods to seek food. We throw stones at the high trees, and the fruits fall, and we eat them."
"But you had not always the strength to do so," said the Colonel.
"No," replied Eleanor, "it is only since the dry weather that Ambrose thought of it. O me! before we were not tall enough, and we only eat the fruits that the trees let fall, or some eggs that the great fish brought to the side of the water: but we are near our cabin; come in father, you shall see it; take care you do not hurt your head." It was a kind of subterraneous cave, at which they arrived through a deep valley, overgrown with palm-trees. The Colonel readily entered; but was instantly alarmed by a fútid smell, that nearly stifled him: he advanced to discover the cause; but what was his horror and astonishment, when, at the further part of the cave, he saw a disfigured corpse! it was partly dry, and putrefied, and was covered with different aromatic leaves: "Do not be frightened," said Eleanor, observing the impression it made upon the Colonel, "it is he!"
"He! my child, who!" "Poor Derley," she replied, "who fell dead in this corner." -- "And have you, my children," said the Colonel, "inhabited a cavern where --" "Oh, we never left it," interrupted Eleanor, "that we might be always with him." "Yes," said Ambrose, "we look at him every sun, and cover him with fresh leaves." "Good creatures!" exclaimed the Colonel; "but, my little friends, he can no longer hear you." "Oh, we know very well," said Ambrose, "that he cannot hear us; for if he could, he would speak to us, but we would not part with him for all that." "But, my dear children," said the Colonel, "you expose yourself to the danger of becoming sick, and dying likewise."
"Ah," said Ambrose, having remained thoughtful a moment, "once as we were looking at Derley, Eleanor's face turned quite white, and she fell upon the ground. I thought she was going to die; for I called, and she did not answer me; 'Eleanor' I said, 'My dear Eleanor, will you leave Ambrose all alone?' but she did not speak. Then I turned to the Sun, and begged he would give me back Eleanor, or burn me with his fire. He heard me, for she got up and walked."
"Not the Sun, my child," said the Colonel, "but God heard you."
"God? Who is God?" "That Great Being, my child," said the Colonel, "who has placed you upon the Earth; who watches over you, who has miraculously preserved your life: but I shall explain this hereafter, at present we must think of taking hence this inanimate corpse."
"Oh, no," exclaimed the children at the same instant. "Suffer me to remove it," said the Colonel, "I know where God would have it put."
"Pray, pray," said Eleanor, holding her little hands towards him, "do not take it away, we shall die if we do not see poor Derley."
By dint of argument and entreaty, the Colonel, however, at length prevailed; he drew from them a reluctant consent, and drawing the corpse of the unfortunate Derley from the cavern, he began to examine it, hoping to form from it some conclusions relative to the fate of the two little strangers. Disfigured as it was, it appeared to be that of a man about thirty years of age, tall and well made: his clothes, upon being touched, fell into rags; but the Colonel picked up a watch, set with diamonds, and a gold snuff box, in the inside of which was set the portrait of a woman: the damp had almost wholly defaced it, but it was easy to distinguish that the principal features were handsome. The box, he observed also, had a double bottom, in which he found a letter, which he opened precipitately, but it was so macerated, that among others entirely defaced, he could only distinguish the following words --
"I have only ---- to depart ---- your children ---- of Derley ---- Dep
---- four years that ---- union, this ---- the first ---- God ----
óó in Piccadilly, at twelve --
Finding nothing more upon the corpse, excepting some guineas, a knife, scissors, and a pocket-book absolutely in ashes, he resolved to inter it. "But," said he to the children, who, with eyes bathed in tears, and fixed upon Derley, seemed buried in the most profound apathy, "how was it that you did not touch the jewels your unfortunate friend possessed?" "Oh," they replied, "we loved him too much to take anything from him, and then we did not know he had all these pretty things."
"You have never then searched him?" said the Colonel."
"Never," said Ambrose, "we only looked at him, and then wept."
"What respectful tenderness!" exclaimed the Colonel. His thoughts then reverted to the interment of the corpse. He had observed in an adjacent vale, a little mount which rose covered with myrrh trees, and overshaded by four palms. To this spot he immediately repaired, and having with a branch of the Bischalo, the hard wood of which the negroes use for the construction of their cabins, dug a grave he deposited in it the remains of the unfortunate Derley, which his two little friends beheld the mournful ceremony bathed in tears.
He then stuck fire from a neighbouring rock, a wonder which much surprised the children, and burnt upon the grave the clothes of the deceased, adding a quantity of mint, cloves, and other fragrant herbs that grew near, to purify the air. Ambrose and Eleanor could not depart without casting many a lingering glance towards a spot which contained in their eyes an inestimable treasure. They walked -- stopped -- walked -- and would again retrace the same steps to bid an eternal adieu to their good friend.
In the mean while the sun inclined toward the West, and the sea, as they ascended the valley, reflecting his crimson rays, appeared a vast plain of fire. Arriving on the shore, the Colonel stopped to admire the glories of the scene, and the children, forgetting their grief, walked hand in hand toward the rocks, and amused themselves with collecting shells and sea-weeds. For some minutes the Colonel lost sight of them, but Eleanor soon returned out of breath, to tell him that her brother and she had discovered a great thing which they believed to be a fish. "Come and see it father," said she; "it is dead, so do not be afraid." Saying this, she led him among the rocks, where they found Ambrose attentively examining something which the Colonel soon discovered to be a large bundle of hammocks which the returning tide had driven on shore. This suggesting to him the idea of recovering from the wreck some articles that might soften the severity of his misfortune, an idea which had not till this moment occurred to him: he began to search diligently among the rocks, and with inexpressible joy, discovered two large chests, three small casks of brandy, and some tubs of salt provision, besides several copper utensils and other articles. These treasures he by degrees conveyed from the rocks, and deposited in a subterraneous cave which the children pointed out. The Colonel then impatient to examine the contents of the chests, forced one of them open, and found in it several suits of clothes, a quantity of shirts, stockings, handkerchiefs, and some gold and jewels. The other which was the carpenter's chest, contained a variety of different tools, and was considered by the Colonel as a greater treasure than all the rest.
The fatigues of the day at length rendering rest and refreshment necessary, he kindled a fire, and roasted some pieces of salt meat. Then seating himself with his young companions on the sea beech, he shared with them a meal of which hunger made the chief dainty: and he was not a little diverted to see them, with sparkling eyes, palate the flavour of meats, the relish of which they had long lost, and tenderly incite each other to partake of a feast which to them appeared delicious.
"You do not eat, brother," said Eleanor; "nor you, sister," returned Ambrose; and then they both fell greedily upon their meats, which presently disappeared. Their good friend smiled; and congratulated himself upon the power of contributing to their happiness. The repast being ended, they all three repaired to the cavern, where Ambrose and Eleanor soon fell asleep. It was not so with their friend: a thousand painful reflections kept him long from tasting the same refreshment. He could not forbear contrasting his situation and prospects the preceding day with those of the present moment. What a change had a few hours wrought! Flushed with hopes he was returning to his country to enjoy with a wife and child, whom he tenderly loved, all the conveniences and the elegancies of life. He now saw himself the solitary inhabitant of an unfrequented tract, obliged to renounce his wife, his friends, all he held dear. These reflections, in spite of his fortitude, bedewed his cheek with tears; but when he called to mind the dangers from which he had escaped, that his life, among numbers the waves had swallowed, had been preserved, he acknowledged the goodness of the Being who had protected, and with cheerfulness and resignation committed his fate into his hands. His thoughts then turned upon his little companions in whose fate it was impossible not to be interested, abandoned to themselves on an uninhabited island, at the early age of three years and a half; for the marks upon the great tree forming four years two months and eight days. Their preservation, he thought, could have been effected by little less than a miracle, and viewing them as the objects shipwreck, he resolved henceforth to be to them a father, guide, and friend.
The rising sun awoke him from a short repose, and he looked round to salute his fellow-citizens; but he was surprised to find that they had left the cave: at first he concluded they would soon return; but an hour nearly elapsing, he grew alarmed and having sought them without success in the utmost anxiety, calling them repeatedly by name. He knew not what to think, and began to form a thousand horrid conjectures concerning wild beasts, that for anything he knew to the contrary, might inhabit the island, when the idea occurred to him that they might be at the place where Derley was interred. To this spot their affectionate hearts had in truth conducted them; he met them returning through the wood, their eyes still wet with the tears they had shed upon the grave of their friend. The Colonel chid them gently for the alarm they caused him, and taking them by the hand, "I am pleased my little friends," said he, "at the gratitude and affection you discover towards your unfortunate good friend; it convinces me that your hearts are good; nevertheless you must cease to regret him; God has, I doubt not taken him from you to bestow on him a happiness that noting can interrupt."
"How is that father?" said the children, "we do not understand you."
"I will explain it to you my little friends," said the Colonel, "I ought to do so, but necessity engages me at present to defer this duty. We cannot inhabit the gloomy cave we now occupy; we must endeavour to construct a more agreeable retreat; a cabin that will shelter us from the injuries of the air, and serve us as an asylum against all alarms. The children were delighted; they jumpt round their good friend, exclaiming in an ecstasy, "We will help you father! we will help you!" He resolved, however, before he began his operations, to visit the rocks, judging that the influx of the tide might, during the night, have brought other articles from the wreck on shore. Nor was he deceived; he found a cask of oil, a second tub of salt provisions, and a chest containing, besides linen, a variety of books, among which were some of the best Latin and English authors. It contained also a cafe of mathematical instruments, and a small marinerís compass. The books ere damaged by the wet, but he hoped soon to dry and render them fit for use. Besides, these he found several other articles scattered along the shore.
Having secured these new treasures, he turned his thoughts upon the grand work of constructing a cabin. Between two hills that rose near the sea coast, was a cool valley, in the midst of which a spring of water gushing from a rock, formed a basin, bordered with a thousand odoriferous flowers. This valley was shaded by palm-trees, and exposed to the rising sun, was a stranger to the burning heats of noon. It offered an agreeable retreat to the philosopher, and was on one side bounded by the whole extent of the ocean, and on the other by an embowering forest. Here, at the entrance of the forest, the colonel resolved to erect his new habitation, and with this design collecting the precious instruments he had taken from the wreck, hewed two of those trees called Bischalos, and shaped four stakes fifteen inches thick, and eight long; these he drove into the earth at the distance of twenty feet from each other, planting between each six smaller: this done, he filled the intermediate space with flints, cementing the whole with a whitish sort of earth, very much resembling that in Europe called marne, and which mixed with water formed a cement to which the rays of the fun soon gave a hardness equal to stone. He did not forget previously to leave in this little edifice a door narrow, that he and his companions might the better defend themselves, in cafe of an attack, against the wild beasts. A large chimney was also formed, and two windows to establish a current of air necessary in so confined a place occupied by three persons. The lateral parts thus finished, a covering was next to be thought of, and this did not a little puzzle our architect, who having neither tiles nor the tools necessary to saw planks, was embarrassed how to defend his house against the rain and hail, the size of which is prodigious in North America. At length calling to mind the manner in which the Africans roof their dwellings, he placed seven or eight joists horizontally upon the building, and then having raised others into a point, he formed the whole into a carcass, with tenons and mortices, and covered it with the leaves of the palm-tree interwoven into a sort of mat, in the manner of the negroes on the gold coast; he next made a partition, which separated the interior of the cabin into two parts, and formed for Eleanor a little chamber, about eight feet square, the entrance of which communicated with that which he designed for himself and Ambrose. Three stools and a billet, serving for a table, were next produced; also some plates, spoons, and drinking cups, made with the leaves of a tree called the Balizeir, which are used by the natives of Madagascar for the covering of their houses, and which, if well dried, will remain. It is impossible to describe the zeal and activity of the Colonel; alternately carpenter, mason, tiler and joiner, he pursued his operations with a degree of vigour and perseverance that removed every obstacle. Ambrose and Eleanor, on the other hand, assisted him as much as their strength would permit; they went in search of the earth of which their cement was formed, moistened it, presented the tools, carried away the chips, gathered the palm leaves (for they climbed the highest trees with the greatest agility) joined them together under the conduct of their friend; in a word, united all their endeavours to alleviate his fatigue, and accomplish a work of which they felt, as they did, all the utility. At the end of a month, the little edifice was completed, and all that he had gained from the wreck, chests, tools, linen, clothes, &c. conveyed into it: as for beds, he made three very commodious of some hammocks, spread with mats composed of palm leaves dried in the sun. The chimney concealed his kitchen utensils, which were hung on hooks, driven into the wall for that purpose; in short, everything was complete, and the Colonel and his little friends took possession of their new habitation. The children knew not how to express their joy; they ran, wept, laughed, examined all, and leaping by turns on the neck of their friend, called him repeatedly their father, their dear Carlton, for he had taught them to express his name: then, suddenly quitting him, they re-examined all, seated themselves twenty times upon the benches, touched, and removed all the furniture, and then returning, again threw themselves into his arms. The Colonel made them, at length, sit down, recommended silence, and spoke to them in these terms. "It is time, my children that I think of the great work to which God has appointed me; that of your education: the forming of your hearts will not I think, cost me much trouble; they are good and susceptible: with respect to your intellects, I believe them to be sound and comprehensive; but I shall form a better judgment when I am more particularly acquainted with the manner in which you have conducted yourselves since your residence in this island: it is necessary, therefore, Ambrose, before I detail to you my plans, that you recount to me in the most exact manner that your memory will permit, what you did upon first coming out of the ship that brought you hither, and acquaint me with the means you have employed since that time to preserve your existence, and to provide for all your wants; arrange your ideas, my child, as well as you are able, and do not omit the most trivial circumstances: the detail will be more interesting to me than you may suppose."
The Colonel ceased, and Ambrose, who during a month had learned to reflect a little, and to express his ideas in a more intelligent manner, was silent a few minutes to recollect himself, and then gave without interruption, the following recital.
"We lived, as we told you, father, in a wooden house that went upon the water: we had slept in it a great many times, and every morning Derley used to come and take us up, and carry us to mama, who used to kiss us and cry, this made us cry too. Once as she was kissing us and crying, a man came into the cabin, and talked a great deal to her; it was that naughty man I told you of: mama cried very much, and would have taken us in her arms, but he took us away from her and threw us upon the ground. Then Derley was very angry, and seized that naughty man by the throat, but he drew a very long great knife, and run it into his belly. Then several ugly men came in, and put us and Derley into a little boat, that went upon the water much faster than the wooden house. Derley groaned very much, and we were all covered with his blood; but the men in the boat laughed, and set us all three upon this land, father. Then Derley fell down, and lay a long time upon the ground: at last he got up very softly, and took us by the hand, and walked to the cave, where you know we lived, father, till you came; but as soon as he got in he fell down again, and dragged us upon him. We cried, and spoke to him, but he did not answer, he only groaned. He groaned all night, and we cried, and when the sun came again, he breathed no more. We took him by the hands, but they were quite cold; then we spoke to him again, but finding he did not answer, we went out of the cave crying, and running about upon the sea-shore. Eleanor soon fell down; I ran to her, and fell too, for I felt as if I was going to fall asleep. While we were sitting, a goat passed by with a young one sucking: at that moment it came into my mind to drive away the young one, and suck some of the milk; so drawing myself under the goat, the good creature let me drink as much as I would, without going away or hurting me. This gave me strength; I got up, and led her to Eleanor, who sucked some of her milk, smiled, held out her hand to me, and got up; but the goat was going away, and we were afraid she would not come back to us. 'What shall we do?' said I to Eleanor, 'Let us lead her to Derley,' she replied: so we took her by the horn, and led her to the cave, the young one following all the way. Still Derley did not speak, so we began again to cry, and call him: 'Derley!' we said, 'Derley, speak to us, are you angry? We will do so no more. Answer us, Derley, it is Ambrose, it is Eleanor; do you not love us?' Our uneasiness encreased [sic] every instant, we were so happy with mama! And now we were in a frightful cave, all dark! This made us of a sudden thoughtful; we ceased crying, and looked at each other, without speaking or stirring at all. In this time we forgot our goat, till seeing she was gone, we run out of the cave to seek her. In our way something fell from a high tree as we passed it, and frightened us very much: we ran away as fast as we could, but at least venturing to look back, and seeing nothing to alarm us, we returned on tip toe, to see what had fallen from the tree, and found a fruit shaped like a very large green pear: I was so hungry, that I could not help tasting it, and found that it was very good: so I gave it to Eleanor, who eat half, and left me the rest. We then went again in search of the goat, but seeing as we passed, a great tree that water came out of it, being very dry, I put my mouth to the tree, and sucked some. Eleanor did the same, and we both thought it was much better than the water we had before drunk. At last, thinking we should not find the gentle beast which had given us her milk, we went back to the cave, which we were a long time in finding. The sight of our good friend made us again cry very much till no longer seeing any light, we fell upon the ground, and slept until a new sun. When we awoke, we kissed Derley, and being very hungry, ran to the tree at the foot of which we had found the great pear; but there were no pears; so we run to the sea shore, crying, and repeating the prayers mama used to make us say morning and night. -- O, Eleanor, do you remember how frightened we were! -- There was a great beast upon the sands, just like a spider; Eleanor, who saw it first, screamed out, and taking me by the hand, ran to our cave where we hid ourselves; for we thought the great beast was coming after us. We staid there till the heat of the day, crying and screaming dreadfully; but finding it did not follow us, we grew calm, and I began to think of the great pear which had frightened us, and afterwards proved so good; so I said to Eleanor, 'Let us go and see if the great beast is there.' 'Ah!' she replied, 'it will eat us.' 'No,' said I, 'if it wants to eat us, I will throw a great stone, and kill it.' -- Eleanor consented, and we went softly to the place where we had seen it, and in its room found several yellow eggs. We did not much like the look of them, but I was so hungry, that I soon took courage to break one. Eleanor and I swallowed them one after another, and found them nicer than the eggs we had eaten with mama. It was very lucky, father, that we found them, for we felt as if we should fall and die for want of food; but after we had eaten the eggs we grew strong again, and began to speak of what had happened to us. Still we called upon Derley, hoping in time to awake him, and at least got so weary and sick, that we lay ourselves down to sleep till another sun. This two we spent in crying, and seeking food. A very pretty little bird, with a long beak, and black and blue feathers, let its nest fall from a tree, and we found in it some eggs, whole and broken, but much smaller, and more yellow than those which the great beast had left on the sands. We divided them, and at the same time, I saw lying on the ground two of the same large apples which had before fallen from the tree. 'Here sister,' said I, 'is one for you and one for me.' We ate them, and then went to the tree which gave water, and sucked till we were no longer dry. In this manner, father, we lived for several suns, and were only sorrowful when we entered the cave where poor Derley continued to sleep without speaking: still we hoped he would awake, and a thought one sun came into my head, as we stood on the sea-shore, looking at the great fire which shines in the heavens. 'What shall we do sister?' said I, 'to count the suns Derley shall have slept, that we may tell him when he awakes?" We both thought a good while; but at last, Eleanor took a flint and said, 'Let us make a stroke upon this great tree every time the sun comes back to us; Derley knows how to read, and he will tell when he awakes.' Since that time we have not passed one sun without making a stroke on the tree; you have read them, father, and know how many there be."
Here the Colonel could no longer retain his admiration: he embraced his two little friends, addressed some exclamations to Heaven, and desired Ambrose to continue his recital, which he did in these words. --
"We every day found food, and began to forget our griefs, when I thought to myself, if these trees should not let fall any more apples, nor these birds their nests; if those great beasts should not bring us any more eggs, what must we do? We must try to get something to eat, if all this should happen. Then I took some stones, and threw them with all my strength at the trees, and a great many apples and nests fell at our feet. Eleanor and I gathered them up, and carried them to the cave, where we hid them under some leaves of the same trees, which are very large. We did this every sun, and were never in want of food; but sometimes we were very much frightened indeed! for those great beasts you have seen, father, in the woods, would come by night almost into our cave; but we always hid ourselves behind Derley, and they went away without biting us. One night there came a horse that had a long neck, and a great lump upon its back; the sight of it frightened us so much, that we fled out of the cave, and ran screaming violently, till coming to a tree, I set my feet and hands against it, and grasping it very close, climbed quite to the top, calling to my sister to do the same. She followed my example, and the crooked horse finding he could not get at us, went away directly, and when he was a good way off, we came down. Ah, father, we should have been very glad, if we had known the secret you have shown us, of getting fire out of the stones, for we were sometimes cold. Our clothes got torn, and when they were very bad, we threw them away, and for some suns remained quite naked; but at last, we found the skin of a beast, which we divided between us: here it is still; what do you call it?"
"It is the skin of an otter," replied the Colonel. "Well, then," continued Ambrose, "this country is full of these otters. We will try to get a skin for you when your coat is worn out."
"Is this all that has happened, Ambrose?" said the Colonel. "Yes," said Ambrose, "all." -- "But," returned the Colonel, "you have not yet spoken of the large black man you saw." "Oh," said Ambrose, "I forgot: in truth, we must take care of them." "Well," said the Colonel, "but how came you to see them?" "Why," said Ambrose, "one day when it was very bad weather, I left Eleanor in the cave, and went out to seek food, and when I came back, she came running to me quite frightened, crying, 'we shall be eaten, -- we shall be eaten -- I have seen --' I asked her what? 'Great ugly black men,' said she, 'there -- look -- do you not see them?' ---- While she was speaking, I saw afar off a great many black men, running one after the other. I directly let fall all that I had brought, and taking my sister by the hand, we both ran to a dark cave that is under ground: if you stand where I do, father, you may see it: there, on that side where the sun appears: we hid ourselves at the bottom of it, very much terrified: but not hearing any thing, came out from time to time, to see if the black men were still there; at last we did not see them at all, and running to the side from whence they came, we saw them a great way off, in a little boat that went very fast upon the water. They have been here since, but we saw no more of them than we did at first; they never come this way, it is only in the great gardens which you call woods, that we see them; when they are gone, we find large animals there skinned, trees quite destroyed, and the feathers of birds, which make us think that these black me come here to kill the beasts, and to take the birds and apples. This, father, is all I can recollect: we have lived, as I have told you, from the time you see the marks upon the tree, without doubt through the goodness of the God whom you tell us of: till now we have said the prayers mama taught us to the sun, who walks in the heavens, thinking he was God; but if you have another, we will pray to him, and be very good, that he may love us."
Ambrose ceased speaking, and the Colonel was silent for a few minutes, to admire the hand of Providence in the preservation of these innocents! The green pears of which they spoke, he found no difficulty in judging to be Carasols, a fruit common to North America; the great beast on the shore a tortoise, the eggs of which are delicious, and commonly deposited by this creature in the sands: the bird with the black and blue feathers, he determined to be the colibri, and the water which flowed from the great tree, the sap of the palm; but more especially did he acknowledge an over-ruling Providence in the succour they had received from the goat: he had read of bears, and even lionesses, having suckled infants, but till now had justly considered such stories as fabulous. At length, taking Ambrose by the hand, "The desire you express, my son," said he, "of knowing that powerful and beneficent Being, who has miraculously preserved you amidst these deserts, shall be gratified: too great to render himself visible to his weak creatures, know, my child, that, from the heights of Heaven, he watches over the conduct of all men: nothing escapes him, he knows all, sees all, hears all, and with a glance of his eye, comprehends the whole Earth." "The Earth!" interrupted Ambrose, "do you mean the country where we live?" "The Earth, my children, I need not tell you," said the Colonel, "is the ground on which we tread, but it consists not only of this island, it extends beyond the seas, and contains four great countries, which are called EUROPE, ASIA, AFRICA, and AMERICA, which last is the part of the world we are now in."
"Then this island," said Ambrose, "is America?"
"No," replied the Colonel, "but it makes a part of it."
"We do not," said the children, "understand you." "When you are further instructed," said the Colonel, "when I shall have taught you to read and write, you will perfectly comprehend all this: at present it will be sufficient to acquaint you that this great Being, who is called God, created all things: the Sun, which has hitherto been the object of your adoration, and which communicates light and heat to all nature, was formed by his word; he has furnished the Earth with thousands of beautiful plants and animals: we can behold nothing that does not speak his praise and almighty power: to him, my children, you owe your being: his word called you into existence, and his mercy renders that existence a blessing: you must look up to him as the author of all good, and to please him, be humble, meek, and endeavour to imitate his perfections, by diffusing happiness to every creature around you."
Ambrose and Eleanor listened to this discourse with an attention from which their friend drew the happiest presage: the day passed insensibly away; they supped in the new cabin, and afterwards prepared to occupy their hammocks. Eleanor busied herself for some time about her chamber: she walked in it a great while, and did not go to sleep till she had twenty times examined and changed the place of the little furniture it contained. The Colonel and Ambrose, neighbours to each other, discoursed for some time: then resigning themselves to the powers of sleep, they enjoyed an uninterrupted repose. The rising sun at length enlightened the cabin, when the Colonel, finding that his pupils were still buried in a profound sleep, took them gently by the hand, and with pleasure saw them open their eyes, stretch first one arm, then the other, raise their heads and smile on him with an inexpressible grace, "You should give an example to your sister, Ambrose," said he, "and be before hand with the Sun." "Forgive me, dear father," said Ambrose, but we have slept in such a good bed!"
"It is enough, my son," replied the Colonel, "but to morrow, and every future day, you must at day-break repair both of you to the sea shore, and offer your thanks and prayers to the Being who has preserved you during the night." This the children assured him they would not fail of doing.
Having erected and furnished his little dwelling, the Colonel was resolved to visit the interior part of the island, that he might more particularly examine its vegetable productions, and execute the projects he had formed: he accordingly set out, and had not advanced far before he discovered plants covered with rice and maize, and manioc. These were the principal objects of his pursuit: with the assistance of the children, about two bushels of maize was gathered, and conveyed in hammocks to the cabin. Some handfuls of this was spread upon the turf, and exposed to the scorching heat of noon, which soon dried it sufficiently to grind. The Colonel then made, in a rock, a hole in the form of a mortar, and with a pestle of wood broke the grains, and reduced them to powder. It was then necessary to winnow it, that the chaff might be separated from the grain, and this he performed by shaking it violently in a cloth, which Ambrose and Eleanor held extended: afterwards it was ground into flour between two stones, and diluted with water. A little brandy being mixed with this paste, by way of leaven, it was put to bake upon flints strongly heated by the fire, and thus a bread, very light and agreeable to the palate, was made. While the children watched the bread, the Colonel returned to make fresh discoveries: he found, as he proceeded into the island, a great deal of millet, but different from that of Europe, and fine potatoes, which he knew would afford them excellent nourishment; he discovered also some green figs, and a variety of wholesome and delicious fruits common to America; but for these it was necessary to go far into the island, which became an inconvenience: to remedy it, therefore, with the assistance of his little pupils, he dug up and sowed a piece of land, near the cabin, which extended from the sea shore to the forest, which served as its boundary. This sort of orchard in the end, furnished them with maize, rice, millet, potatoes, and all the most useful and delicious productions of the soil.
The Reader having now seen our islanders furnished with the first necessities of life, will not, perhaps be displeased to learn in what manner they employed their time. In the morning the Colonel took Ambrose into the woods with him to hunt, having for this necessary purpose fabricated a bow about three feet and a half long, the string of which was a gut twisted, and the arrows a stick furnished with two feathers, and terminated by a flint sharpened: with these they killed the different animals that inhabited the woods, such as stags, goats, does, and among the birds, the duck and the foken, which furnished them with excellent food. During this time Eleanor was employed in baking the bread, or in other little offices of domestic economy. On returning, they busied themselves in collecting the eggs which were deposited by different fish upon the sea beach, but especially by the tortoise and alligator: the last mentioned is so singular that a short description of it may be deserving the attention of the Reader. The alligator is a sort of crocodile common to America: its head is large, and its jaws furnished with strong teeth, two of which especially are extremely long; it has four legs, which are very short, and terminate by large feet, and its back from the head to the tail is covered with strong scales, as also two large lumps which are over the eyes; its stomach is furnished with four glands and its tail always drags on the ground. This animal lives indifferently on land or water, and is not mischievous but when provoked: its eggs are esteemed a great dainty. The cultivation of their field next engaged the attention of the Colonel and his pupils, after which they dined, and spent the afternoon in study or in gardening.
Nothing could exceed the attention of Ambrose and Eleanor to the lessons of their friend, who had found the means of teaching them, not only to read, but to write. He had discovered in the woods a tree much resembling the simpi of the Isle of Madagascar: its bark, after being exposed to the sun, became as white as paper, and though it smelt a little of musk, this was easily weakened by exposing it to the fumes of aromatic herbs: at the foot of this flowed a sort of gum, much like that of the Indian fig-tree, the sap of which is used by the Indians to colour their vessels black. Being thus furnished with paper and ink, he soon added pens; he shaped them with his knife, and put them into the hands of his young pupils, who were soon able to write and read, and consequently to feel the value of those books (for among them were some of the best authors) which had been taken from the wreck. "Pray, father," said Ambrose one day, laying down a book, "explain to me why they have kings in the countries I read of." "Men living in society, my son," said the Colonel, "in which there are good and bad, it is necessary to establish rulers, that order and peace may be maintained."
"I do not understand you," said Ambrose. -- "I will endeavour," replied his friend, "to explain myself more clearly; suppose, now, for example, there were in this island a great many men and women who lived together in common, can you not conceive that one would wish for the field of his neighbour, that another would cut the throat of his enemy without pity; that this man would enter our cabin to seize upon our food, and that drive us from it to establish his own residence in it?"
"How!" exclaimed the children with astonishment, "are men capable of this?"
"I am ashamed, my children," said the Colonel, "to reply that they are; and that unfortunately, the number of the wicked surpass that of the good." "Ah, Eleanor," exclaimed Ambrose, "let us stay in our isle!"
"Hear me to an end," interrupted the Colonel; "what I have said granted, you will see that it is a necessity to establish laws to render our habitations and property secure, and also to invest certain individuals with a power to enforce those laws: this power is not, however, always invested in one man, but sometimes in a certain number chosen by the body of the people; this form of government is called a republic; the other, where a king governs, a monarchy."
"I comprehend very well what you say, father," said Ambrose, "but is it not strange that men should be so wicked as to render these laws necessary?"
"It is a melancholy proof, my son," replied the Colonel, "of the depravity of human nature: from pride, envy, ambition, and avarice, vices, which are the most dangerous in community, as opportunities of calling them forth more frequently occur, spring all the various evils and miseries of life."
"Pray, father," said Ambrose, "what is avarice?"
"An inordinate desire of possessing more than we can enjoy," said the Colonel: "you will scarcely believe, my child, that there are beings who possess great wealth, and bury, without employing it."
"In what then," said Ambrose, "consists the riches of your country, Father?"
"Alas, my son!" returned the Colonel, it is those miserable pieces of gold and silver which constitute all the happiness and misery of life."
"What! those!" exclaimed the children, "that you found upon Derley?"
"The same," replied the Colonel; "those pieces stamped with the image of the ruling power, are divided into small and great coin, each of a proportionate value, and with these are procured all the commodities of life."
"What," said Eleanor, "do men agree to pay one another for things that belong alike to everyone? I do not understand --"
"Oh, I understand very well," interrupted Ambrose, "and I could willingly pardon them for selling the works of art; if one man is wiser, or more skilful than another, he deserves a recompense: but to assume a right over grain, wood, and all the common productions of the earth, that is indeed unreasonable."
"You do not reflect, Ambrose," said the Colonel, "that all these productions of the earth require culture, conveyance, and a thousand little cares, which equally deserve reward: is the man who tills a field, sows it, and watches the vegetation of its produce, who gathers and carries it afterwards into cities, obliged to take upon himself this trouble? No, surely: if he considers gold an equivalent, has he not a right to receive it? These are the people, my child, who deserve payment, and not those who by their multiplied depredations ruin and oppress their country."
"Your observation, my dear father," said Ambrose, "is very just; I did not consider,"
In this matter the Colonel endeavoured to inform the minds, and rectify the judgment of his young pupils: towards sunset, they were at liberty to run, jump, and take the exercise necessary to strengthen their constitutions, and render their nerves supple: but in the evening, rational and attentive, they listened, on the sea-shore, to the lessons of their good friend on morality, physic, or religion. One evening when the sky was clear, and strewed with stars, Eleanor observed that phenomenon which we generally express under the name of a falling star. "What is that father?" said she, "I have many times forgotten to ask you why we see the stars fall so often?" "That, Eleanor," said the Colonel, "which appears to you a star, is not one; it is a spark of elementary, or rather electrical fire, which shines in the ethereal region, and evaporates by the shock of a current of air."
"I do not," said Eleanor, "understand what you mean by electricity."
"Be attentive then," said the Colonel. "Electricity is a matter of fire invisible to our eyes, but which nevertheless exists; penetrates all bodies; gives to one vegetation, to another trepidation, to another impulsion, &c."
"Explain this more clearly, dear father," said Eleanor.
"Electricity," continued the Colonel, "causes the vegetables to grow, agitates the air we breathe, drives the wind with more or less violence, penetrates our bodies, and gives them strength, nay, health; fortifies, and even preserves in us the vital principle; it render our blood active and warm, quickens, and is perhaps, the cause of its circulation."
"I understand this very well," said Eleanor.
"Well then," said the Colonel, "this electrical matter, the element of every thing that exists, opposed by a current of air, kindles itself, and produces the appearance you have observed: (2) from this cause also proceeds those spontaneous fires which we often see on the banks of morasses or lakes."
"I comprehend this very well," said Eleanor: "so then all those stars that we see in the heavens are sparks of electrical fire."
"No, Eleanor," replied the Colonel, "those stars are bodies of surprising magnitude; they are globes like the Earth we inhabit, but much larger; it is their distance only that makes them appear less. Among an infinity of others, there are six called planets; which revolve, without ceasing, round the wonderful body of light, the Sun, which is computed to be upwards of a million of times as large as the Earth. The distance of these globes from the Sun, which dispenses light and heat to them all, is so immense, that numbers can scarcely convey an idea of it, and their velocity is no less amazing. Mercury, which is the planet nearest to the Sun, is about thirty-seven million of miles distant from it, and moves at the rate of a hundred and five thousand miles every hour, completing his course round the Sun in less than three months. Venus, which is the next planet above Mercury, is sixty-eight millions of miles from the Sun, and by moving seventy-six thousand miles every hour, performs its revolution in twenty-three days and twenty-two hours. The next planet above Venus is the Earth upon which we live: its distance from the Sun is ninety-five millions of miles, and by travelling at the rate of fifty-eight thousand miles every hour --"
"How!" interrupted the children, "does the Earth move?"
"Yes," said the Colonel, "it turns once in twenty-four hours quite round; and by this motion occasions the apparent motion of the Sun and all the heavenly bodies, from east to west, in the same time; its revolution round the Sun is completed in three hundred and sixty-five days, and something less than six hours, or the space of a year, which causes the variation of the seasons: but I shall explain this more fully hereafter.
"Above the Earth's orb is Mars, whose distance from the Sun is a hundred and forty-four millions of miles; it travels at the rate of fifty-five thousand miles an hour, and goes round the Sun in something less than two of our years.
"Jupiter, the largest of the planets, is still further removed from the Sun; it is twenty times the size of our Earth, and travels at the rate of twenty-nine thousand miles an hour, completing its journey in something less than twelve years. Still higher in the system, about nine millions of miles from the Sun, is Saturn, who, by travelling at the rate of twenty-two thousand miles an hour, finishes his course in about twenty-nine of our years and a half.
"Besides these which are called Primary Planets, there are in our system others, called secondary planets, which move round the planets in the same manner as their primaries do round the Sun. The first of these is the Moon, which accompanies the Earth in its annual progress around the Sun, completing its circuit round the Earth in the space of twenty-nine days and twelve hours. As the moon receives its light from the Sun, and presents only one side to us, in the course of its monthly journey, we see more or less of its enlightened side, according to its different position with respect to that part of the Earth we inhabit, and hence arises the different appearances which we express under the name of a new and full moon, &c. Four of these satellites or moons attend Jupiter, and five (3) Saturn; besides these five moons, a broad flat luminous circle called his ring, encircles without touching the body of Saturn at a distance nearly equal to the breadth of the ring, which is about twenty-one thousand miles. Some astronomers have thought, that this ring is composed of a vast number of moons or satellites, which being seen at such an immense distance, may, by means of their blended light, give the whole the appearance of one continued body; upon this an eminent astronomer, whose works I lament not being able to put into your hands, says, 'when we consider the remote situation of Saturn, and consequently how much the Sun's light must be weakened before it can reach him, such a glorious assemblage of moons does not appear an unnecessary appendage to this planet."
In this manner the Colonel began his astronomical lectures. The two children looked up astonished at the prodigious magnitude of those globes he had been describing, and were desirous of travelling into the planets, especially into Saturn, whose ring and five moons astonished them; but when in due time their worthy instructor spoke to them of the fixed stars, each of which he told them was a Sun supposed to enlighten other systems of worlds, they were lost in the stupendous contemplation, and could only in silence adore the great Being who formed and animated the whole. The Colonel was delighted to see their young minds gradually expand, and was studious to render even the most trifling incidents subservient to their improvement. One day as Eleanor entered the cabin, she exclaimed in an ecstasy, "Oh father! if you had but seen what I have!"
"What was it, Eleanor?" said her friend, smiling. "As I was gathering vegetables," she replied, "upon the great rock, I saw two of those little creatures you, I believe, call lizards, crawl to a hole in the rock, each bearing a small stalk full of seeds. They laid down their provision at the entrance, and went in, but directly came out accompanied by an old lizard, much larger than they were; he began to eat the seeds, and the two little ones looked at him without stirring; but the noise I made frightening them all three, the old one, in attempting to get away, fell down. I took it up, and was surprised to see it was blind. While I was examining it, I observed that the two little ones were searching for it with the greatest uneasiness, so I put it on the edge of the hole, and directly they all three went in, as if they were rejoiced to have escaped so great a danger. The little lizards must certainly have been the children of the great one."
"Perhaps they were," said the Colonel.
"I was quite delighted," said Eleanor, "to see them carry food to their poor blind Father, who could no longer seek it for himself."
"You see, Eleanor," said the Colonel, "that the pure sentiment of filial tenderness is given alike to animals and to men."
"Animals have then a soul?" said Eleanor.
"Why do you presume that they have?" returned the Colonel.
"They have, at least, reflection," said Eleanor.
"Upon what do you found your conclusion?" said the Colonel.
"Why," said Eleanor, "is it not evident that the lizards must have reflection? They, without doubt, say to themselves, our father is blind and old, he cannot seek food for himself; it is, therefore, our part to carry it to him, that he may live the longer."
"I am pleased with your argument, Eleanor," said the Colonel, "as it springs from the goodness and simplicity of your heart; but I will teach you to account more rationally for what you have seen; many celebrated naturalists have given examples equally striking of the seeming rationality of animals. The intellectual faculties may be divided into two kinds, soul and instinct. The soul is that portion of us, which reflects, foresees, examines and compares. Instinct is that natural sentiment which leads us to preserve our being, to tremble at the sight of a wound, and to compassionate an unfortunate being. Some philosophers have given to this last faculty the name of Sympathy. Whatever it be, it is that alone which animates animals, and dissolves with their machines. Instinct serves them instead of reflection. The lizards do not, as you imagine, say, 'Let us comfort our father.' They do not know him under that character: they are ignorant that they owe their life to him, but they love and comfort him because nature prompts them to it. Do you think, my child, that ferocious animals reflect when they fall upon you? No; neither, by the same rule, would those that are gentle, should you treat them ill, resolve to retaliate. They have passions, but they owe them only to the organization of their machine, and to the nature of their instinct. Had they reflection, they would feel grief, inquietude, and melancholy sensations, which they experience only when sick or wounded. Sufferance is the only sentiment they prove, and this alone can affect their spirits or their faculties. So you see, Eleanor, that animals have no soul; but they have an instinct so acute, so subtle, that it is easy mistaken. There are, my children, three sorts of existence. The first passive and insensible; the second active and sensible; and the third, active, sensible, and rational. A celebrated naturalist said formerly, (4), "That stones grew, vegetables grew and lived, and that animals grew, lived, and felt."
"How!" exclaimed Eleanor, "have trees life?"
"Undoubtedly," replied the Colonel, "the sap is their blood, and the elementary or electrical fire, the principle of their life."
"They must then," said Eleanor, "feel pain when we cut them."
"No," said the Colonel, "their life is only passive; they have neither passions nor affections; but in other respects, they are subject to the same vicissitudes that animals are; they exist, they grow, they decrease, and are subject to sicknesses, as we are."
"It is very singular," said Eleanor.
"The more you study nature, my child," said the Colonel, "the more will it exalt your ideas of that great Being, who with a single word created so many wonders."
"We will never," said the children, "cease to adore him, we will love, obey, and pray to him that our soul, which you have taught us is immortal, may live with him for ever, when our bodies are like poor Derley's."
This conversation led to digressions on morality and metaphysics, which furnished discourse for more than eight days.
During four years which the Colonel had now resided in the island, he had had time to make observations on its soil and temperature. By the help of his compass, and knowledge of physics, he discovered that it was situate near the 22d degree, 30 min. north latitude, and about 304 degrees W. longitude. The air was extremely mild, ice and snow being equally unknown. During summer, which began about November, and continued till April, neither clouds, vapours, nor exhalations were to be seen. The atmosphere was so clear, that not only the rising and setting of the sun, but the increase and wane of the moon might be seen even in full days. As this season the drought was so great that the leaves fell from the trees, every plant drooped, and even the animals withdrew into the woods or the hollows of rocks to seek the coolness necessary to their preservation; but when the sun approached the tropic of Cancer, the vapours it exhaled from the sea and marshes, condensed into thick clouds, from whence issued lightning and thunders, accompanied with torrents of rain, which continued during eight or ten days: these rains which cooled the air, induced the Colonel to distinguish this season by the appellation of Winter: though very different from the Winters of Europe it produced in Nature the most favourable change. Scarcely does the month of May diffuse her salutary coolness through the air, when the trees recover their former verdure. The forests exhale a thousand odours; the animals, more agile descend from the mountains or issue from the holes of rocks; the birds seem to revive to a new being, and renew their concerts; testaceous animals change their shells; reptiles their skins; and the fish, quitting the open sea, enter the rivers, and seem to present themselves an easy prey to the fishermen.
There was in the island a sort of tree from which flowed a whitish gum so ductile that it might be drawn out into threads: of this Eleanor made nets, with which they caught the most delicious fish, such as thornback, mullet, doree, &c. Tortoises of all kinds were so abundant during Winter, that they furnished our islanders with food for the Summer, a season when these amphibious animals do not appear, on account of the aridity that reigns. In the course of May, large yellow and red serpents, eight or ten feet long, were found in the morasses: the heads of these creatures were in the form of a triangle, and their jaws furnished with long sharp teeth; but they were not dangerous. About this time also, large grey snakes, tufted, and spotted with black, descended with a great noise from the mountains; their heads were about the size of one's hand, flat, and armed with eight teeth about an inch long. These reptiles were perfectly inoffensive, and having no sort of venom, made war only upon the ants, which surprising their enemies when asleep, came in battalions to prey upon their eyes.
The Colonel, who was formed equally for the pleasures of a contemplative as he was for the active scenes of a military life, spent the Winter in studying nature, and the summer, when the heat was intense, in philosophical reflections; but these could not banish from his remembrance a wife and child, who possessed his fondest affections, and to whom he had now lost all hope of returning; their image was present in every pursuit; and in spite of his fortitude, he was at times melancholy and dejected. On these occasions Ambrose and Eleanor endeavoured, by their innocent caresses, and a thousand little tender cares, to dissipate his sorrows and restore him to cheerfulness: their affection called forth on his part an equal return: with delight he saw their susceptible hearts expand with every virtue: then calling to mind the hopeless state in which he had first discovered them, and beholding himself in the hand of Providence, an instrument of their happiness he lost, in the pleasing contemplation, the remembrance of his sorrows: nay, hope itself once more revived, and flattered him with one day restoring them to society, and being himself reunited to all he held dear. He was one day indulging these pleasing reflections, when the children, who had been in the wood amusing themselves with a thousand little games, returned to him, pale, trembling, and scarce able to speak.
"What is the matter Ambrose?" said he: "Speak, Eleanor; what has happened?"
"They are come!" faltered the children; "they are in the island!"
"Whom do you mean?" said the Colonel.
"The great naked men," they replied.
"Well" said their friend; do not alarm yourselves; we must retreat to some place of safety."
"They will not come on this side," said the children.
"No matter," said the Colonel, "it is necessary that we conceal ourselves:" saying this, he began to strip the cabin, and assisted by Ambrose and Eleanor, carried the most precious movables to a subterranean cave, the entrance of which was accessible only to those acquainted with its windings. Here they remained some time, when the Colonel, not hearing anything, and wishing to see the extremity of the danger which threatened them, as also whether the savages bent their steps towards his beloved cabin, went out, accompanied by his little friends, who refused to be left behind, and lying flat on his stomach, on the summit of a mount that overlooked the isle, beheld the savages, to the number of about forty or fifty, quit their canoes and advance into the island. Their skins were painted of such a deep red, that being almost naked, in the sun they more nearly resembled boiled lobsters than men; and to add to their grotesque appearance, round their bodies on all sides, hung plates of metal, the form of which the Colonel, however, could not perfectly determine. The women, distinguishable by their children, which they carried on their backs, wore a pagne or camisa round their waist, closer than that of the men, and about two or three inches deep. Having taken from their canoes, hammocks, arms, and different utensils, they penetrated further into the isle, entered the forest, and began to hunt. This exercise continued the whole day and part of the night, during which the Colonel and his pupils, not daring to descend from the mount, were witnesses to all that passed. They saw them towards morning issue from the wood, carrying with them the beasts they had slain, goats, otters, antas, and a great number of parrots and other birds. Immediately the quadrupeds were skinned, the flesh cut up, and the bones separated. A fire was then kindled, in the manner of the negroes, by rubbing two pieces of wood violently together, and they set about dressing their meats. A large vessel, containing a quantity of crabs, was then brought, and smaller ones of palm wine, brandy, camphire, &c. after which they began their repast. It was a sight truly comic, to see all these coloured savages squatted like so many monkeys, in a circle, devouring with an excessive appetite, and picking with as much agility as eagerness, even the smallest claws of the crabs, which are considered among them as a great dainty. Having drank repeated draughts of palm wine and brandy, they began to shout, sing, and burst into fits of excessive laughter, opening an enormous mouth, and discovering the whitest and most elegant teeth in the world: but soon growing intoxicated, they rose, leaped, gambolled, and committed a thousand extravagancies; till this noisy feast being ended, they on a sudden overturned their utensils, carried them away, and ran half mad to their canoes, which, swift as am arrow, conveyed them from the island. When they were at some distance, the Colonel and his two pupils descended from their mountain, and replaced in their cabin the movables they had for safety deposited in the subterranean cave, exhausted with fatigue and hunger, they did not that night go to reconnoitre the place where the savages had been feasting, but the next morning early they set out, and arrived at the field of action. They found there baskets, knives, and wooden cups, which the savages, in their haste and intoxication, had left behind them, besides plenty of good cheer. They took from among the utensils such as appeared to them the most useful and curious, and having rested and refreshed themselves, again set out for their cabin. Their way ran through a wood, which they had hitherto little frequented, and they stopped to admire a grot upon which nature seemed to have lavished all her beauties. Concealed by cotton shrubs, and bananas, the shade of which gave a religious aspect to the place, they gained the entrance by a path hollowed out of the rock, and bordered by a thousand aromatic plants. The entrance, arched and ruinated, was enlightened only by a reflection which the light threw on a rivulet that issued from the grot; the banks of this stream being more elevated, formed a natural footway through the grot, at the bottom of which our travellers observed a faint light, which appeared to shine through the chinks of the rock. This induced them to enter, but scarcely had they advanced many paces, when deep groans seemed to proceed from the further part of the grot. The Colonel stopped: -- and the children alarmed, in vain endeavoured to articulate sounds which fear froze upon their lips. They advanced a few paces farther; the groans, became more distinct, and in a few minutes they heard these words repeated in a melancholy voice: -- "Oh Death, when wilt thou come to my succour." -- "Heavens!" cried the Colonel, "what prodigy is this? The accents are English!"
"Whosoever thou art!" returned the voice, "in pity --"
"Where are you!" interrupted the Colonel, still advancing; "who are you?"
"An unfortunate dying man," returned the voice.
The Colonel still proceeded: the voice seemed familiar to his ear, but he could see nothing. At length, his eyes becoming more accustomed to the gloom, he discerned on the ground a body almost naked, which, on closer view, he found to be wounded. Shocked at the sight of so much horror, he knelt down, and taking the hand of the stranger, "Unhappy man," said he, "what barbarian has treated you thus inhumanly?" -- He was continuing, when the stranger grasping his hand to raise himself a little, on a sudden exclaimed, "Merciful Heaven! do I deceive myself -- that voice -- my honoured master -- Colonel Carlton ----"
"What do I hear?" cried the Colonel. "Peter! Is it possible, can it be?"
"Thank Heaven!" said the dying man, "I die content: my dear master lives! --"
"Talk not of dying, my faithful Peter," said the Colonel, raising him, and endeavouring to staunch the blood with his handkerchief, "Providence has not restored you to take you from me so soon. Eleanor, Ambrose, run to the cabin, refreshment is necessary." -- The children disappeared in an instant, and presently returned with some goatís milk, tortoise eggs, and palm wine. The stranger took a little of this nourishment, and was much revived; but the Colonel found that he was not in a state to be removed: he conveyed therefore to the grot, hammocks, mats, and such things as were necessary to render it commodious, and attended him there, till finding in the course of a few days, that his patient had gained a little strength, he determined to remove him to the cabin. It was an interesting sight, to see this worthy man bearing his old domestic upon his shoulders, Eleanor and Ambrose holding each of them a leg, to ease the sick man, and lighten the burden of their protector. The cabin was at some distance from the grot, but at last, they arrived at it, and Peter, being laid in a hammock, enjoyed soon after a comfortable repose. The Colonel, during his abode in the island, had had sufficient time for the study of botany, to know thoroughly the properties of the different samples it produced: this knowledge he applied so successfully, that in less than eight days Peter was out of danger, and at the end of the month was perfectly restored to health.
The reader will conclude that the Colonel, during this time, had put many questions to him concerning his misfortunes, the particulars of which he now wished to hear in the order as they had occurred: Peter, one day, therefore, gave his master the following recital.
"At the instant Sir," said he, "that the vessel foundered, I followed your example: seized a piece of wood to assist me in swimming, and threw myself into the sea. I struggled long against the violence of the waves, but at length my strength failed me: I swooned, I believe, and let go the friendly oar that supported me, for I remember no more till I found myself stretched in a canoe, and surrounded by five or six naked men of the most frightful colour. My ideas were confused: I knew not what to think: I cast my eyes on the vast plain of waters, enlightened by the moon: then I looked round for you, my dear master, but not seeing you, and recollecting the fatal events that had happened, my heart sunk, and persuaded that you were swallowed in the waves, an involuntary cry of horror and grief burst from me; this terrified the savages who surrounded me, so much, that they would have thrown me in the sea, had I not, seeing their design, softened them by my prayers and tears. One of them at length addressed me in a jargon, composed of English, Dutch, and French, of which I comprehended, 'From whence come you, White?'"
'A vessel,' I replied, 'in which I sailed has been wrecked, and I should without doubt have perished, had you not preserved me.'
'What is your name, White?'
'Have you any knives or scissors about you, Peter?'
'I have only a knife.'
'Give it me, White.'
'There it is,' said I, giving it to him.
'Come,' returned he, 'I will love thee: thou shalt be slave to the Grand Cacique.'
'Oh Heaven!' I exclaimed, 'where do you mean to take me?'
'To Friz,' answered the negro, 'and you will be very happy.'
"I now felt the full extent of my misfortune; I was condemned, I saw, to serve the negroes, who, from their ferocious aspect, I doubted not were cannibals; but lamentations were vain! Our canoe rapidly cut the waves, and at break of day we arrived at the port of our destination. My guides showed me in triumph to an innumerable tribe of inhabitants, who bursting into fits of laughter, presently surrounded me, and increased my distress by their importunities. One cut my coat, another tore my waistcoat; in short, they divided my clothes among them, and in a few minutes I was naked as my hand. In this situation I was conducted to the Grand Cacique, who is Governor of the Island. He was seated with great state upon a hammock, in a cabin raised above the rest, and having, as I found, heard my story, received me with much kindness. 'White,' said he, 'thou shalt be my slave; serve me faithfully, and the soul that is in thy heart (5) will enjoy in Heaven all the happiness that awaits those who have done well; I forbid thee to do three things, White; to drink my brandy, to rob me, and especially to see my wives. If thou dost any of these I shall kill thee, and they great soul will float upon the ocean, and mix with the spirits who diffuse evil upon the earth.'"
"The Cacique ceased, and I, surprised at this singular harangue, could only bow in sign of submission, shedding abundance of tears. His greatness then took me by the hand, and ordered one of his attendants to fill me a cup of brandy to dispel my sorrow."
"The next day I began my labour, which was to turn up the savannas, to plant, weed, clear, and cultivate them: these, and a thousand other services which were added, I performed without intermission during four years that I remained with these barbarians, known in Europe by the name of Carribes, or Cannibals."
"How?" interrupted the Colonel, "are these the Carribes, inhabitants of the Antilles?"
"The same, Sir," said Peter, "I was myself ignorant of their name during a year, but I learnt it after from a French slave who lost his life in their service. The isle we now inhabit, Sir, is no other than one of the Antilles, which apparently has not yet been discovered."
"Ah my good Peter," said the Colonel, what do you tell me? Am I so near Cuba, St. Jago, St. Domingo, Porto Rico?"
"You undoubtedly are, Sir," said Peter, "but you must observe that the islands of which you speak form the Great Antilles, whereas this we now inhabit is in the Little Antilles. There are also other countries of the Carribes; but that I have left is so savage and barbarous, and so little commercial, that it is to be presumed it has little connexion with the Europeans established in the Great Antilles."
"Your observation is just, Peter," said the Colonel; "but gracious Heaven! a possibility remains -- Hope once more revives -- I shall again see England! Yes, my children, I shall conduct you to the abodes of men -- to the bosom of my country." ---- Such was the flattering prospect with which the vicinity of cities inhabited by civilized men, furnished Colonel Carlton; he did not reflect that he was, nevertheless, separated from them, and that during four years which he had resided in the island, he had never seen a human being except the Carribes land upon it. The transports to which these hopes gave birth, being at length, somewhat calmed, Peter, at the request of his master continued his narrative.
"The Carribes with whom I lived, Sir, have very little commerce with the Europeans; they put to sea every year, and come into this island to kill buffaloes, otters, birds, &c. after which they go to the coasts inhabited by Europeans, and barter the skins of these animals, baskets, lizards, and different sorts of eggs, for knives, scissors, hatchets, arms, European linen, and especially brandy. The day fixed upon for their last voyage, my mastered ordered me to bring into the canoe his hammocks, arms, and household utensils: then having, according to the custom of these idolaters, made libations to the good spirits, we embarked to the number of fifty, as many women as men, and at the end of two days arrived at this island. As it was the first time during four years, my master had made me the companion of his voyage, I drew from it the happy presage of soon seeing an end to my captivity: for I doubted not meeting, on some of the coasts at which we should touch, Europeans whom I should find means to soften in my favour, and prevail on to assist me in my escape. Alas! I foresaw not the issue of that unhappy day. At the end of their brutal repast, my master, intoxicated with brandy ordered me to fill him another glass: I imprudently ventured to represent to him mildly the injury he would do himself; but instead of taking this as a mark of my good-will, he seized me by the throat; 'Ah, dog of a white,' said he in a rage, 'thou hast without doubt robbed me -- Die, and may thy thousand souls go to the seas, to increase the storms, and form the fires of Heaven!' Saying this he gave me several stabs with a knife; but none of them were unhappily directed to the heart. I had sufficient strength to retreat: and notwithstanding the effusion of blood, gained a cave, in which I sink down exhausted, and must have perished, had not Heaven in mercy conducted you, my dear master, to the spot."
Eleanor and Ambrose, who had listened very attentively to Peter's narrative, were highly incensed against the Cacique, and expressed their indignation in very forcible terms; but Peter endeavoured to moderate it, by observing that the Carribes, though capricious and cruel, were only so when contradicted. "They cannot," said he, "bear to be dictated to; their pride upon this point is inconceivable: but they are humane, and have great compassion for women and children."
This led the Colonel to make some enquiries concerning the laws and manners of the Carribes, and, especially, whether they were as sanguinary and fond of feeding upon human flesh, as they were represented by Europeans,
"Nothing, Sir," said Peter, "can be more false; they are certainly anthropophagi, or man eaters, but it is from accident, not national taste; if they devour their enemies, it is the transport of fury, in the heat of conquest, and even upon the field of battle. They do not like to be called savages; -- this name, they say, belongs to the beasts of prey: they equally detest that of a cannibal, which is with them equivalent to man eater; but they are very fond of the title of Carribes, because this in their primitive language, this word signifies a good warrior, a courageous man. The Carribes are in general tall and well proportioned; they have agreeable features, except the forehead, which is flat and much sunk, a defect which gives them a ferocious air, and arises from a custom they have of pressing the heads of their infants with a little board, tied fast behind, and left there till the forehead has taken the form they wish, and is become so flat, that without raising the head they can see almost perpendicularly above them."
"This custom," said the Colonel, "is not peculiar to the Carribes; it is common to the savages in other parts of America, and it is said to render the skull so hard, as frequently to have broken the swords of Europeans when they made the conquest of Peru."
"The Carribes, Sir," said Peter, "dye their skins red, not only for ornament, but to preserve them from being injured by the intense heat of the sun, and also, to defend them from the mosquitoes and other insects, which have an antipathy to the smell of the oils, and different mixtures they use. The women, who are shorter than the men, and have a more sprightly air, decorate themselves with bracelets, earrings and necklaces of glass beads and blue stones; from the age of twelve they wear also a sort of cotton buskins, which reach about five or six inches above the ankle bone, and are wrought so closely to the leg that it is impossible to take them off. -- The ornaments of the men are feathers and small plates of a metal they call caracoli; these they wear at their ears, noses, and under lip. The houses of the Carribes are called carbets, and like those of the Indians of Guiana, are of a singular form; the lateral parts are of reeds, and the covering of palm leaves: the roof descending to the rafters, gives to the whole the form of a hive. At the distance of ten paces is another carbet, half as large, separated into two parts by a palisade of reeds. The larger carbet serves to lodge the chief of the family, and the small one as a kitchen, and for the accommodation of the women and children, who never enter the great carbet but when the master wishes to receive them. The furniture of the woman's carbet is baskets and hammocks; of the men's, bows, arrows, zagayes, tied to the rafters, and hammocks; near which is generally a coffer, musket, sabre, pistol, and cartouche, effects which they exchange with the Europeans for the productions of their country. The women are very dextrous in a sort of wicker work, of which they make their hammocks, and very curious caskets. In these caskets, which are so neatly wrought that no water can enter, they enclose their jewels and attire, and when they go to sea, fasten them to the edge of their canoes, that they may not lose any thing should they turn over, which very frequently happens. The Carribes, who took me out to sea, had encountered, as we had, all the violence of the tempest, but without any alarm, tied like their caskets to their canoes, they follow the revolutions of the waves, turn with them, and continue their rout[e] until the danger is past. They have among them a sort of religion; the sun and moon have all their adoration, but they have neither temple nor form of worship. Some of their laws announce very good sense; such, for example, as the not electing a grand Cacique, till he has distinguished himself in war, and is chosen by a plurality of voices; he must also have borne away the prize in swimming, strength, and fortitude. Surely, Sir, such a people ought not to be compared to savage beasts."
The Colonel, agreed with Peter, that such a comparison was by no means just; and then added; "It has often surprised me that the children should, upon their arrival in the island, have found otter skins, nay, I myself," said he, "found some very fine ones when I made my researches the day after the Carribes had been feasting."
"Do not the Carribeans," said he, "carry them away, or is it an act of forgetfulness?"
"The latter, Sir," said Peter, "appears to be the reason. A minutia would divert a Carribe from the most important occupation: they frequently take a deal of trouble to accomplish an enterprise, and if they are attracted by another object, abandon the former, often at the moment in which they are on the point of succeeding."
Peter had nearly completed three-score years, but he was still active and vigorous; his health being perfectly re-established, he assisted at the tillage, grinding of corn, and at the most laborious occupations. He was extremely attached to the Colonel, in whose and his father's service he had passed his youth; he was therefore treated by him rather as a faithful friend, than a domestic, especially now that one common misfortune united them. Peter soon became attached to Eleanor and Ambrose: he would sometimes take them upon his knee, and give them lessons of morality which experience alone had taught him; and sometimes he would play with them like a little child; sing them Carribe songs, and gambol in the manner of the savages. In the mean while, under their indefatigable preceptor, they made a considerable progress in history, geography, the mathematics, poetry, and even music. The description which Peter had given them of a musical instrument called the balafo, used by the Carribes, had excited their industry: they had invented and executed under the direction of their friend, one less complexed and barbarous: upon this they accompanied songs, of which they had composed both the words and music themselves. The subjects were either their gratitude to the Supreme Being, their affection to each other, or the beauties of their island, and the happiness they enjoyed in it with their dear Carlton and honest Peter.
Three years had revolved since the arrival of Peter, and seven since his shipwreck, when the Colonel was one night alarmed by confused cries or rather shouts near his cabin. He started from his hammock, opened the door softly, and went out, but the night being extremely dark, he could not see any thing. The shouts still continued, but seemed at a much greater distance: he knew not what to think; but unwilling, till urged by necessity to alarm Peter or the children, who were all three buried in sleep, he ascended a hill that bounded his enclosure to the north, and looking down, perceived an enormous cloud of smoke through which flames of every colour soon found a passage. The forest that bounds his enclosure is on fire! "Oh heavens!" exclaimed he, seeing the sparks, carried towards his cabin, "my children -- Peter -- " and suddenly darting from the hill he awakened Peter, took Eleanor in one hand, Ambrose in the other, and flew with them to the sea shore, while Peter, informed of all by the flames and smoke he saw in the sky, carried a few of the most valuable effects of the cabin. He would have returned for what remained, but the wind blowing from the north, carried so many lighted brands upon the little dwelling, that wholly dried by the Sun, it became in a few minutes a prey to the flames. It is impossible to form a just idea of the grief and consternation of the Colonel and his three companions: the children ran -- screamed -- and seemed ready to throw themselves into the flames to preserve their precious abode, while the Colonel and Peter beheld the final catastrophe buried in a stupid dejection. The Colonel, however, at length recovering his usual firmness, bent his steps, followed by his little friends and Peter, toward the summit of a neighbouring rock, from whence, casting his eyes round, he endeavoured to divine the cause of the conflagration so fatal and unexpected. On one side they beheld only a vast plain of fire, but looking towards the sea, they saw a crowd of Carribes carrying off their effects, and embarking precipitately in their canoes. The flames threw a reddish reflection upon the savages, and rendered them visible at the distance of half a league on the sea, their arms extended, and their eyes fixed upon the burning forest. Little doubt remained but that the disaster originated with them, and Peter, somewhat recovered from his terror, suggested a very probable cause. "It is evident, Sir," said he, "that the Carribes have, as usual, landed to hunt in the forest, and it appears to me very probable that this accident may have happened through the stratagem they make use of to catch the parrots, which, among other things, they barter with the Europeans."
"Why," said the Colonel, "do they use fire?"
"Yes, Sir," said Peter, "they observe in the evening the trees upon which these birds perch, and when it is dark, tie to some of the lower branches an earthen pot in which they put lighted wood, and upon it gum and pimento; the thick smoke which rises, renders the parrots so giddy, that they fall down intoxicated, and become an easy prey to their pursuers, who immediately seize them, tie their feet and wings, and recover, them by simply throwing water upon their heads."
The mystery was now unravelled; it was no longer difficult to account for an accident which had proved so fatal to our islanders; but alas! the discovery of the cause did not diminish the calamity.
At break of day they descended from the rock, and returned to the spot where once their beloved habitation had stood. Instead of it they beheld a heap of smoking ashes! no furniture! no book! no shelter! they must forego all.
In the mean while the fire raged with violence in the forest; at the end of the twelve days it was not extinguished, and would undoubtedly have consumed the whole island, had the forest been adjacent to others; but it was absolutely alone, forming a sort of thicket in the midst of an immense plain: besides, the wind blowing from the north, carried the flakes of fire upon the cabin only, and consequently towards the sea.
During these twelve days, the Colonel was resolving in his mind different plans, and was undetermined which to pursue. He saw plainly that he must build another habitation if he remained in the island: but he did not stop here: the idea of making his escape from it had long been the favourite subject of his meditations; he had conceived a project which he believed to be practicable though hazardous, and nothing had prevented his putting it into execution, but his affection for Eleanor and Ambrose, whose extreme youth had hitherto rendered them less able to encounter the dangers and fatigues that must unavoidably attend the enterprise; but now that he was stripped of all, that he found himself once more on the island without habitation, without furniture, without any thing to render his abode in it desirable, he began to revolve his favourite project. "If it were possible," said he to himself, "to construct a canoe. My tools cannot be consumed, I shall find them among the ashes. If, I say, it were possible in this canoe to gain the islands inhabited by Europeans! The Antilles form a half circle, so that if we missed one we should unavoidably arrive at another; Cuba, St. Domingo, Jamaica, any of those islands would facilitate our return to England. What a delightful reflection! But, may we not," said he recollecting himself, "fall into the hands of the Carribes, by whom we are to all appearances surrounded? My own life I have a right to risk, but ought I to expose to slavery, to the dangers of shipwreck, two unfortunate children, for whom Heaven has rendered me responsible?" The Colonel rested some time on this idea; but the hope of seeing England, and of restoring to society two beings whose hearts and manners he had formed, in the end prevailed, and he resolved to hazard all rather than give up an enterprise that flattered him with such pleasing prospects.
His plan was well digested, he communicated it to Peter; but this wary domestic, far from approving, remonstrated with his master upon the danger of the enterprise. "Ah Sir," said he, "reflect, consider, I beseech you, what will be the consequence, should we again expose ourselves to the fury of an element, that has already proved so fatal to us."
"But, Peter," said the Colonel, "you have seen the construction of a canoe; you have even guided one?"
"I agree, Sir," said Peter, "that I have; I know very well how to work a canoe; I hope I should not sink you: nay, I could perhaps shun the rocks -- but still it is necessary to know where to steer to."
"Do not be alarmed about that, Peter," said the Colonel: "we can steer towards St. Domingo, or should we miss that, we shall find other of the Antilles inhabited by Europeans."
"But the Carribes, Sir," said Peter, "think, should we fall into their hands!"
"True, Peter," said the Colonel, "but you know the Isle of Friz: we can avoid that."
"But, Sir," said Peter, "we are undoubtedly surrounded by the Carribes."
"Heaven," interrupted the Colonel, "will protect us; deprived of all that has hitherto rendered our abode in this island tolerable, we have only a melancholy alternative." More he said to this purpose, till Peter, overcome at length by arguments and importunities, consented to embark in an enterprise of which he clearly foresaw all the dangers; -- more perhaps than really existed, for being himself ignorant of geography or navigation, he beheld the success of the voyage as much more uncertain than the Colonel.
The children leaped for joy; the pleasure of going on the sea, of seeing strange countries, rendered them blind to the perils they were to encounter; they saw only the end of the voyage, without bestowing a thought on the accidents that might interrupt it.
The enterprise being resolved upon, they began to remove the ashes, and seek for their tools, which they happily found in a state fit to make use of, excepting that it was necessary to whet them, and to make new handles, which was the business of three days. The next object was to fix on a tree calculated for the purpose of constructing a canoe; and after much deliberation, the cocoa-tree, of all the island produced, was preferred; not only on account of its enormous size, but the nature of its wood, which is soft, porous and easy to work. One of those trees was without loss of time rooted up, the trunk cut to about the length of fifteen feet, and the bark stripped off. It was then put on the stocks, and with the help of fire and hatchet hollowed, a work that was long and laborious. The bottom remained flat, and the sides four feet high and fifteen inches thick, inclined rather inward. The two extremities, lengthened to a point, turned up a little, that the vessel might the more easily tack about. Our workmen then scraped the surface with flints, and thus completed their canoe, which when finished was fifteen feet long, six wide, and four deep. A mast and rigging was next to be added, but this was not the most difficult part of the work: a strong branch was the mizzen mast; rushes woven into a mat made sails, and the leaves of the palm tree twisted became strong and solid cordage. As our carpenters had neither iron nor nails, the whole was joined with tenons and mortises, and fixed with wooden pegs. Peter did not forget to remind his master that the negroes fasten to the sides of their canoes strong cables, that they may be stretched horizontally in case of need. "To these, Sir," said he, "as I have before told you, they tie themselves, that when the tempest agitates the canoe, or causes it to turn over, they may follow the revolution of their barks. The Colonel took the same precaution, and at the end of a month the little bark was finished, and nothing remained but to launch it: a work which was performed with great ease: for the Colonel, having taken care to fix rollers under his stocks, by means of a capstan the whole was gradually moved to the sea, where the rollers were lost and the bark swam.
Destitute of tools necessary for the undertaking, our reader must judge of the activity that was employed to root up, cut, shape, hollow, and polish a tree of an immense size. The possibility of effecting it might even be doubted, were it not known that diligence and resolution are great masters which surmount obstacles, smooth difficulties, and render every thing possible to the man who is enterprising and persevering.
Their departure was fixed for the 8th day of the month of May. On the evening that preceded it, the Colonel made the two children sit down at his side, and spoke to them in these terms.
"To-morrow, my dear pupils, we shall leave our island: to-morrow we shall resign ourselves to a capricious element in the pursuit of man: alas! you may, perhaps, one day regret the peaceful country in which you have till now lived so happy. You may one day reproach me with having caused you to forsake it. No matter: I do my duty, if, as I trust, my confidence in this enterprise is a secret counsel of that benign Being who has hitherto watched over you. Man, my children, is not formed to live alone; he must carry his imperfections into society, that he may feel them, and learn that humility which can alone arise from a sense of his weakness. Excluded from the world, we are apt to ascribe to ourselves a perfection which does not belong to human nature, and forget that we are called upon by the great Author of our being to combat and to conquer passions, of the influence of which we are alone insensible, because strangers to the objects that would excite them. Can we, for example, assure ourselves that we are exempt from the sordid passion of avarice, when no object is present to excite our cupidity? Can we ascertain the conquest we have gained over ourselves, our progress in patience and forbearance before we are contradicted? No, my children; it is in society alone that we can form a just estimate of ourselves: self-love may indeed delude us, but a cool and impartial examination of our actions, and the motives from whence they spring, will secure us from yielding implicitly to its dictates. In society, my children, you will meet with contradictions, anxieties, and a variety of cares from which a life of solitude would exempt you; but you must not be discouraged: you will experience equivalent pleasures: your hearts will dilate in the thought that you do not exist for yourselves alone: they will expand in love to all around you, and in proportion as your opportunities of communicating happiness increase, your own sources of enjoyment will multiply: but let me not, while I draw this inviting picture, forget to remind you, that the success of our purposed voyage is uncertain: we are on the point of committing ourselves to the caprice of the ocean, in a bark, the work of our unskilful hands: -- our rout[e] is by no means certain. The Antilles, 'tis true, are numerous: if we miss one, I trust we shall arrive at another: but many of them are inhabited by the Carribes, and I need not repeat the consequence, should we fall into their hands. I do not make these observations, my children, to discourage you: no, my own hopes are strong: they are besides founded upon rational and solid grounds: but I would recall to your young minds, too soon elated with the prospect of success, the necessary reflection, that our enterprise is in the hands of God, to whose decrees, whether they tend to prosper or frustrate it, 'tis our duty to submit with pious and cheerful resignation."
Ambrose and Eleanor listened with attention to the discourse of their friend, and in silence lifted up their hearts to the Supreme Being, and implored his protection. They then with renewed vigour set about conveying on board their little bark, the few articles that had been preserved from the conflagration. Among these were the tools, and a Carribe casket, containing some jewels, and the letter and articles found upon Derley. These last the Colonel had so much to heart, from the hope that they might one day lead to a discovery of Ambrose and Eleanor's parents, that he secured them about his own person, in case of shipwreck or other accident. They laid in also a store of rush matting and cordage made of palm leaves, and thus having completed their little cargo, retired to rest in expectation of the next day, which was to be that of their departure. The Colonel could not close his eyes all night; the success of his approaching voyage, which at a distance hope had represented nearly as a certainty, now appeared doubtful; he feared, not for himself, but for those who were to accompany him, especially for the children; "they," said he, "have scarcely entered the morning of life, and I presume to expose them to the caprices of the waves! to the dangers of shipwreck! Gracious God," said he, looking with fervour towards Heaven, "protect them! but if they must perish, suffer me to perish with them; let me share the punishment of a crime of which I alone shall be guilty." These reflections were nevertheless counterpoised by others more pleasing: he still flattered himself with arriving at a port of safety, and the thought of returning to England, once more lulled him in a pleasing delusion. From this he was, at length roused, by the return of light: the Sun gilt the tops of the mountains, and he arose in haste; but the children and Peter had been beforehand with him and were amusing themselves with carrying into the vessel different sorts of grain, salted fish, and other provisions that were previously prepared, and, undoubtedly, very needful to undertake a voyage, the term of which was uncertain. One thing, however, which had till now escaped their recollection, caused some embarrassment: this was equally necessary as the other part of their stores. The difficulty was, however, soon surmounted by Peter, who presently formed with planks, in the bottom of the vessel, a reservoir for the purpose. To prevent the filtrations, he stopped the joints with leaves dipped in a sort of resinous gum, which had the property of being impenetrable to the water, and when filled, closed it very exactly, to defend it against the motion of the bark, which he feared might drive out the water.
In two hours all was ready, and nothing was thought on but setting sail, when on a sudden, Ambrose seeing to recollect himself, entreated the Colonel for a few minutes to delay their departure.
"With all my heart. Ambrose, " said the Colonel; "but tell me do you leave your island with regret?"
"No, father," said Ambrose, "we have nothing to regret, since we take you with us; but we have forgotten -- Eleanor, you know what I mean -- come with me -- quick, quick." Saying this, he took her hand, and without further explanation, set off across the plain, and was out of sight in an instant. If the Reader is desirous of knowing wither Eleanor and her brother were running with so much precipitation, he need only ask his heart, and he will strongly suspect it was to the tomb of their good friend Derley. "Oh yes," said Eleanor, as they ran across the plain, "indeed, we forgot; it was very ungrateful in us not to think of taking a last farewell of him." They presently arrived at the grave, upon which, as a small memorial, they had placed large stones something in the form of tomb. Here, with full hearts, they prostrated themselves, hand in hand, and began several phrases which they could not finish. "Farewell, farewell, Derley," said they. "Poor Derley! we shall never see you more, but we will always think of you. Poor Derley! There he lies, sister." -- "Yes, brother, he will be always there" -- "Farewell, Derley, farewell, we will always remember you." -- "Yes, Eleanor and Ambrose will keep you always in their hearts!"
Having thus given free course to their gratitude, they arose to return to the sea shore, when on a sudden they started back, struck with a noise entirely new to them, they looked at each other; the noise was repeated: "It is only a clap of thunder, brother," said Eleanor. "No," returned he, "it is not thunder." The noise was repeated a third time; their knees bent under them, and Eleanor sunk without sense or motion on the turf. While Ambrose was supporting her, and endeavouring to recall her senses, confused sounds of distant voices caught his ear, "Ambrose, Eleanor," was repeated more than once: he knew not what to do: he would have run from the spot, but affection to his sister withheld him. "Rise, rise, my dear Eleanor," said he, "we are called, it is the voice of our father;" but some time elapsed before her senses returned. At length, supporting her as well as he could, he ran precipitately to the sea shore; but instead of going to that side from whence the voice proceeded, by a natural impulse he took a path that led to that part of the shore where they had left the Colonel and Peter. They arrived at the spot, but they were not there; their vessel was still on the waves, but no other trace of their friends remained. Ambrose and Eleanor were too much alarmed to form any settled ideas; they ran here and there, repeatedly calling "Father! Peter!" and invoking Heaven to hear and pity their anxiety. A cluster of rocks at length set some bound to their despair. "Brother," said Eleanor, "it strikes me that we shall find them among these rocks." "Heaven grant that we may," said Ambrose. The path they took winding, by degrees brought them to an eminence, from whence their view comprehending a larger extent of the ocean, they discerned a small vessel sailing from the island with the greatest rapidly. This sight increased their grief: they doubted not but that their friends were in the vessel, and that the Carribes, or other enemies, had forced them from the island. Immoveable with grief, their eyes swimming with tears, they remained upon the rock till the bark had totally disappeared, and then bursting a new into a flood of sorrows, descended with heavy steps by a winding path, which brought them imperceptibly to a part of the shore at some distance from that where they had ascended; but what a spectacle of horror struck their sight! a disfigured corpse, covered with blood, lay on the sands! the upper jaw and skull had been carried away; but the height and clothes corresponding, they doubted not but their generous protector lay extended before them. Eleanor shrieked, and again fell senseless on the ground, and Ambrose reduced almost to the same state, had scarcely strength or courage to search for proofs to destroy or confirm their dreadful suspicions. His heart revived, upon observing that the hands of the unfortunate victim were small and soft, whereas those of his friend were hard, and much sun burnt; the Colonel wore no stockings, the deceased did; and upon close examination, he found that their clothes in many particulars differed. As for honest Peter, he had no fears on his account, as besides being much smaller, he was habited in skins. Convinced that it was neither the Colonel nor Peter, he flew to Eleanor, who began to revive, and communicated they joyful intelligence: but the idea of its being their friend, had so strongly impressed her mind, that it was not till after she had repeatedly questioned her brother, and examined the proofs, that she could be persuaded her suspicions were unfounded. For further satisfaction, Ambrose searched the pockets of the deceased, and found in them a pocket-book, knife, pipe and other articles, which they well knew their friend did not possess. This removed every doubt: tears of joy mingled in those of woe, were shed on both sides: it was not their friend -- the dreadful certainty of his being no more was removed: and hope, if it did not speak peace to their hearts, at least suspended the violence of their grief. They began to discourse with more calmness on what had happened, and attempted to form some conjectures on the cause of their misfortune. At the side of the deceased they found a weapon, which, by the description they had heard, they judged to be a pistol. This they concluded had deprived him of life, but all beyond was a mystery they could not penetrate. Tired with conjecture, they were turning from the melancholy spot, when Ambrose observed to his sister, that it was necessary, in some way or other, to dispose of the unfortunate man before them. Whether he were a friend or an enemy. "Eleanor," said he, "we owe him the duties of humanity: this was a lesson taught us by our dear father, and shall we neglect to practice it?" He then went in pursuit of a wooden spade, and presently returning, dug a hole in the sand, in which, assisted by Eleanor, he with infinite toil and difficulty deposited the corpse. They then, hand in hand, took their way along the shore: the sight of their little bark, at length, recalled the remembrance of their friend, and renewed the violence of their grief; they stopped to give vent to their tears, and then sitting down on the point of a rock, they for some minutes were lost in melancholy reflections: at length Eleanor broke silence: "I am persuaded," said she, "that the Carribes have forced them from the island." "There is more reason," returned Ambrose, "to think that it was other enemies; the man whom we have just buried is not a Carribe; he is dressed like our father."
"True," said Eleanor, "but a thought has struck me; perhaps, like Peter, he has been made prisoner by the Carribes; it is very possible that he may have lost his life in the defence of our dear father."
Ambrose paused for a moment, upon this idea. "What you suggest, sister," said he, "is certainly possible: the unfortunate man we have seen may have lost his life in defence of our father; but the vessel we saw was certainly very different from the canoes of the Carribes." "It certainly," said Eleanor, "appeared very different: but the distance was great, our eyes might deceive us; for my part, I scarcely knew what I felt or what I saw."
"That is true," said Ambrose; "but yet I am satisfied, from the description I have heard from my father that what we saw was a European vessel."
"But the Carribes," said Eleanor, "are so accustomed to land upon this island" --
"Well," interrupted Ambrose, "Carribes or Europeans, would to Heaven they had taken us with them! For my part, I would rather have endured slavery, nay, death itself, than what I now feel."
"And so would I," said Eleanor. "Oh, Ambrose, our dear father! can we ever forget him! Peter too ----"
A burst of sorrow concluded. The day was spent in lamentations and vain conjectures, and at night they returned with slow and heavy steps to the cave, which, since the conflagration had served them as an abode. Here every object reminded them of their loss, and renewed the violence of their grief; here their dear protector had discoursed with them; here they had partaken with him the last meal; they wept, the recollected a thousands instances of his kindness, which did but aggravate their sorrow. At length, nature exhausted, called for repose; Eleanor sunk into an uneasy slumber: Ambrose did the same, but presently started from it, and began again to ponder upon the dreadful events of the preceding day: his thoughts hurried from one thing to another, till an idea occurred which fixed effectually his attention, and revived his hopes. He impatiently waited for the return of day, that he might communicate it to his sister, who no sooner awaked than he addressed her in these words: "What can it avail us, sister, to remain in an island where every object reminds us of the happiness we have lots? Our bark is, you know, ready, it is rigged, stored, every thing is complete. What hinders us from putting to sea? If we remain here, we must for ever give up hope of seeing our dear father again; whereas, if we venture to sea, it is possible we may arrive at some island, where we may hear tidings of him."
"But," said Eleanor, starting at so daring an enterprise, "we do not know how to guide a canoe -- and then the Carribes ----"
"As to the guiding of a canoe," said Ambrose, "I have heard Peter describe it so often, that I have no fears upon that head; and as to the Carribes, we must avoid them; we, as well as my father, know the islands that are inhabited by the Europeans, and can easily steer toward them."
"Yes," said Eleanor, "we know them very well upon the map, but when one is upon the great ocean" ----
"Well, sister," said Ambrose, I do not desire to force you, but for my part, as I have told you before, I would rather endure slavery, or even death, that this dreadful uncertainty upon our dear Carlton's fate."
"I would risk every thing," said Eleanor. "were there a hope of discovering him; but our success is very uncertain; we may never reach the islands inhabited by Europeans, and if we do, may not ----"
"Well," interrupted Ambrose, provoked at the obstacles his sister raised to a project upon which his imagination, already began to be much heated, "I see that you are averse to what I propose."
"You cannot surely think, brother," said Eleanor, "that I am averse to any thing that can afford a reasonable hope of seeing again our dear father. But we incur certain danger in this enterprise, and after all, our success is very uncertain; if we escape the Carribes, and the dangers of the sea, we may not gain the information we wish. ----"
"I agree, my dear sister," said Ambrose, "that it is possible our enquiries may not prove successful: but on the other hand, there is rational grounds to suppose they may. The vessel which conveyed our friends from the island, was undoubtedly European; it is therefore highly probable, that among Europeans we may find them. Cuba, St. Domingo, Porto Rico, and the other islands inhabited by Europeans, lie near to, and without doubt, have a communication with each other; if we reach one, we shall easily extend our enquiries to others, and it will be hard indeed if we do not somewhere gain the intelligence we seek. Courage and perseverance, sister, are necessary to every enterprise; without these, our dear father has often told us, nothing can be effected, and with them, that few things are impossible. ----"
"And do you really think, brother," said Eleanor, half persuaded to listen to a project, which though it at first alarmed her, held out the soothing hope of recovering their lost friends, "do you really think we may reach the islands you speak of?"
"I am persuaded that we may," said Ambrose, "I do not pretend to suppose that we are not to encounter dangers and difficulties: but, my dear sister, had circumstances been reversed, had my father's fate been ours, and he left to lament our loss, do you think dangers or difficulties would have retarded his pursuit? No, be assured his affection would have surmounted every obstacle; and shall we, who owe all to his goodness, fear to encounter the perils of the sea, or, perhaps, slavery, (for this is the worst that can happen) when the delightful hope, however distant, is afforded of seeing him and sharing, if we cannot alleviate, his misfortune? Recollect, my dear sister, with what tenderness he has watched over our infancy, how studious he has seen to cultivate our minds, and train our hearts to virtue! Reflect upon the many ----"
"Say no more, brother," interrupted Eleanor, upon whose feelings this last argument operated more powerfully than all the rest. I am ashamed of my fears, and will from this moment be wholly guided by your advice. God will, I trust, grant us his protection, and guide us to our dear father, our best, our only friend."
Such was the discourse of Eleanor and Ambrose before they left the cave. They then fell upon their knees, implored the protection of the Supreme Being, and walked towards the sea shore, discoursing upon their project. The Sun was by this time risen, and the sea calm, and reflecting, in its various undulations, the purple colours of the firmament, seemed to invite their confidence, and engage them to embark. They stopped a few minutes; entered the vessel, and cut the cable that fastened it to the shore. In an instant it shot away like an arrow. Eleanor, seeing the shore fly from her, shrieked, and would have returned to the island; but Ambrose, affecting the greatest fortitude, employed all his eloquence to encourage his sister, and at last succeeded. A wind presently arising from land, drove them into the open sea, and their beloved isle soon vanished from their view. The sun, in the mean while, had run more than half his course, and the weather, which had till now been favourable, on a sudden changed: thick clouds obscured the air, the sea ran high, and some drops of rain threatened an approaching storm; all nature seemed to prepare for a great revolution. Ambrose, though alarmed, endeavoured by every argument he could suggest, to encourage and persuade his sister there was no danger, but the horror, which, in spite of his efforts to appear serene, was impressed on his countenance, and the gulf which from time to time opened and threatened to swallow them, spoke too forcibly not to be understood. Eleanor, nevertheless, encouraged by the example of her brother, summoned all the resolution she was mistress of, and resolved if it were the will of God that they should perish, to meet death with fortitude. The weather, however, which continued foul till the middle of the night, at length cleared, and gave place to the moon, which reflecting her silver disk upon the waves, somewhat reanimated the courage of our poor voyagers, more embarrassed on the liquid element, than were, heretofore, the first navigators. But on a sudden a new object excited their terrors. On top of their mast shone a light, which to their troubled imagination, seemed fire descending from heaven to consume their vessel. This though an appearance familiar to mariners, and the natural consequence of a heated and damp atmosphere, struck them with inconceivable horror. They clasped each other closely, and fixing their eyes upon the electric flame, had neither power to weep nor to speak. Nor was this all; the sea ran high. Sometimes their little bark rose upon the billows, and then again seemed to sink, never to rise into the depth of the vast ocean. Death every instant presented itself to their view, and they could only wonder that they had not already met it in the waves.
Thirty hours they remained in this anxiety, scarcely daring to stir, and only from necessity taking a little of the nourishment their vessel afforded. At length, near the close of the day, the wind changing carried them towards a coast, which, on the first view, appeared to be desert; but on approaching it they distinguished men running on the sands to examine their bark. Their hearts rebounded at the sight of land; they perceived by the dress and colour of the islanders, that they were not Carribes, and far from being alarmed, were inspired with the greatest confidence. They rejoiced at the prospect of being once more safe upon land, and hoped soon to hear news of the Colonel and Peter, as if, (such was their simplicity) all the world was obliged to know them.
When they were near land, a little boat took them on board, and carried them on shore; but the astonishment of the islanders upon finding two children habited in skins, alone, in a bark ingeniously constructed and furnished with different sorts of provisions, is not easy to be described; a thousand questions were in an instant put to them, to which they answered in English, "have you see Colonel Carlton or Peter? Where are they? In pity tell us, we are seeking them, &c."
The islanders, who were Spaniards, understood nothing of all this: but one among them, who knew English, acted as interpreter, and answered by assuring them that they knew nothing of the persons of whom they spoke.
The noise of their arrival, and the singular circumstances that attended it, soon reached the ears of the Governor, to whose palace they were conducted amidst a crowd of people, whom curiosity had drawn together.
The Governor viewed them with surprise, put several questions to them, and seemed to be much pleased with their youth and simplicity. Ambrose and Eleanor, giddy with all they saw and heard, answered only in monosyllables, or by something in which the Colonel or Peter always made a part. The Governor, who spoke English, in vain assured them he did not know their friends: solely occupied with the idea, they would absolutely insist upon his knowing them, and giving them the information they wished. At length, after repeated questions, the Governor made them sit down, and addressed them to this effect. "My children, you appear to me to be amiable and wise: I am a sovereign of this island which is called St. Verado, one of the Lucaye isles: I made a discovery of it twelve years since, and have established in it a colony, of which I am chief. You shall remain at my Court, and shall have no reason to regret the country you have left. As for this Colonel, who seems to interest you so much, I will cause him to be sought? Do not make yourselves uneasy, you shall have news of him shortly. Poor children! how old are you? Do you know?"
Ambrose replied, "We are almost fifteen."
"And what is your name?" said the Governor.
"I am called Ambrose."
"Well, Eleanor," said the Governor, "come near me: are you afraid? have I an ill look?"
"No," said Eleanor. "Well then," continued he, "draw near: you will be very happy here, and you too, Ambrose."
A superb supper was now served up, during which the governor lavished on his young guests the most flattering attentions, especially upon Eleanor, with whose beauty and artless graces he appeared much delighted. Eleanor and Ambrose eat but little; though much comforted by the governor's promises in behalf of their friend: they could not forget that they had lost him: besides, their attention was wholly engrossed by the objects that surrounded them: the wax lights, the plates, the meats, the furniture and then the clothes of the islanders! all struck them with wonder and delight. They could only gaze and admire, they had not leisure to eat, and scarcely to attend to the questions of the Governor. Supper being at length ended, and a few hours having in some measure familiarized the surrounding wonders, the Governor requested Ambrose to acquaint him more particularly with his adventures. He complied, and acquitted himself with the best grace imaginable: omitted no circumstance that was in the least interesting; spoke in the highest terms of their obligations to Colonel Carlton: extolled the fidelity of Peter, and concluded with describing the manner in which they were deprived of their friends, their grief, and the happiness they should experience could they be restored to them.
The Governor thanked Ambrose for his narrative: and observing that rest was necessary after the fatigues they had undergone, ordered each to be conducted to a separate apartment. The thought of a separation, situated as they were among strangers, and in a strange land, excited a painful sensation, but propriety rendered it necessary, and they submitted. In the morning, however, at day beak, Ambrose hastened to his sister's apartment! she was already up, and when she saw her brother, melted in tears!
"What is the matter, my dear sister?" said he; "why are you in tears?"
"I don't know," replied Eleanor; "but every thing here alarms me: I am afraid we shall be very unhappy."
"Why do you think so?" said Ambrose.
"I don't know," replied Eleanor; "but there is something in this Governor that terrifies me very much. He is not like our dear Carlton."
"True, Eleanor," said her brother; "but what do you apprehend?"
"I don't know," said Eleanor; "but whenever he speaks, or looks at me, I cannot help trembling."
"Nay, my dear sister," said Ambrose, "that is absurd; there is at present no cause for alarm; the Governor treats us with kindness, and gives us hopes of seeing our dear father; what can we desire more? Besides, let the worst happen, if we are not happy here, we can embark again in our vessel."
"I am, indeed, very foolish," said Eleanor, drying her tears, "but you must allow that there is something very forbidding in the countenance of his Governor."
"I agree with you sister," said Ambrose, "that Don Lescar has neither the countenance nor manners of our dear Carlton; but we are not on that account to conclude that he is base or treacherous; how often has our father described to us the diversity which reigns throughout human nature; he has told us that a corrupt heart is frequently hid under a pleasing set of features; and may we not equally infer, that a good one may be concealed by an unpromising countenance?"
In this manner, though himself not prepossessed in favour of their host, did Ambrose endeavour to calm the fears of his sister. While he was thus engaged, a servant came to conduct them to Don Lescar, who received them with great kindness, and excited their confidence by a thousand flattering promises: Eleanor's tranquillity was restored; but the Governor observing on her's as well as her brother's countenance, the traces of melancholy and dejection, ordered one of his officers to show them the city, wishing to dissipate their sadness, and at the same time to impress them with an exalted idea of his magnificence. They accordingly set out under the conduct of their guide, and were much amused with observing the vanity which reigned in the persons, dress, and buildings of the islanders: every thing was to them new and interesting. The houses, only one story high, were built with wood and bricks made of a sort of reddish earth found in the mountains? the streets long, spacious, and regularly built, formed a star, the centre of which was a spacious square, describing an exact pentagon. No shops were to be seen in the island: the inhabitants, to the number of about four hundred, as many men as women, lived upon the produce of a little field, which each cultivated behind his house. At the side of Don Lescar's palace was a chapel, in which was an old Dominican, who was held in great veneration by the whole island, presided. With respect to the morals and customs of this Baytian colony, the reader will soon learn them from the mouth of an inhabitant, who will play an interesting part in the sequel of this history.
The island was situated about the 25th degree 15 minutes north latitude, and 57 degrees 11 minutes west longitude. It might be in length about six leagues, and in breadth three: nothing was wanting to neatness, convenience, or utility: the houses were built along the sea-coast to the east, where a port was formed, well fortified with a tower and ramparts. Here Eleanor and Ambrose stopped, while the officer, their guide, withdrew to converse at some distance with a friend whom he had met. They sat down, and fixing their eyes upon their little bark, which remained chained in the basin, began to call to their remembrance the happy hours they had spent with their protector, when a little old man with a long white beard, came and seated himself beside them: he looked steadfastly on them for some minutes, and then broke silence. -- "Amiable, interesting children," said he, "suffer an old man, whose head is white with age, to behold and converse with you: from the first moment I saw on the port, your youth, your innocence, your misfortunes interested me: As I view you, my heart expands: speak, amiable children, who gave you birth?"
"We are ignorant," replied Ambrose; "in our infancy we were deserted in an uninhabited island: God sent us a father, a protector; he brought us up and instructed us; but we have just lost him, and set out determined to seek him all over the world, when chance brought us to your country."
"How I pity you, my good children!" said the old man, "how lament that you must reside among men so wicked as those which inhabit this island!"
"What do you tell us!" exclaimed Eleanor and Ambrose, alarmed.
"I tell you, my children," replied the old man, "a melancholy truth; nothing but unbridled licentiousness reigns here? V(?)ice and folly divide the wretched inhabitants of St. Verrado."
"But Don Lescar" -- interrupted the children: he has loaded us with kindness -- he has promised us his protection."
"Ah! my children," said the stranger, "his promises are made but to deceive and entangle you in his snares; fatal experience has rendered me wise; suffer me then to warn you of your danger; it was for this I watched a favourable moment to accost you."
Ambrose and Eleanor thanked the old man for the friendly interest he took in what concerned them, and assured him of their readiness to attend to his counsels: at the same time they could not forbear expressing their surprise that he should continue to reside among such wicked people. "Alas! my children," said the stranger, "necessity, not inclination detains me: would to Heaven I could abandon this detested place! but fate has rendered it my prison." -- Here the old man seemed for some moments overwhelmed with grief; then recollecting himself, and observing by the intelligent countenances of his young auditors, the impression his discourse made upon them, he resumed: "I see, my young friends, that my discourse surprises you: you know not what to think of it; but the history of our Governor, with which a residence of some years in this island has fully acquainted me, will throw a full light on my subject. Don Lescar was born of a good family at St. Domingo: being destined from his youth to the service of his country, he was sent by the Governor of the island upon an expedition, in which he disgraced himself by the most unheard-of excesses; nothing withstood his rapacity; unawed by any principle of justice or honour, by nature avaricious and cruel, he preyed upon the substance of the people he was sent to defend: his depredations were at length made known to the Governor; he was tried, and condemned to pay the forfeit of his life: but before the sentence was executed, George Blake, the captain of an English vessel, one of his most zealous partisans, and some others, partly by force and partly by bribery, found means to set him at liberty. They sailed for South Carolina; but near the lake of Bahama were encountered by a violent tempest, which continued eight hours. Then they hoisted sail, but the winds proving contrary, and their yard and top-mast being broken, they were obliged to abandon themselves near an island, which the pilot assured them was one of the Lucaye or Bahama Isles, which was probably yet unknown to Europe: for though Christopher Columbus discovered forty, it is well known that more exist. While the carpenter pursued his work, Don Lescar, with his friend Blake, and a few others advanced into the isle, which he found to be fruitful, but entirely unfrequented, and wild; immediately the singular idea of founding a colony struck him; he communicated it to his friends, and to the whole crew, who having left their country to escape the punishment of their crimes, or upon different discontents unanimously approved it: in short, they took possession of the island, tilled the land, and built commodious habitations: but they had among them no women, and they wanted wives. In this dilemma, Don Lescar, ever fruitful in expedients, recollected the stratagem made use of by the Romans to carry off the Sabine women -- but I forget, my children, that you are unacquainted with the history of civilized nations ----"
Eleanor and Ambrose here interrupted him to observe, that though they had been brought up on a desert island, their kind friend had taught them that they were not the only beings existing in the world, and had acquainted them with the history of other countries.
The old man then continued: "Don Lescar proposed to his comrades to make use of the same stratagem, and they accordingly set sail for Cuba, an island inhabited by the Spaniards. There feigning themselves travellers come to see the country, they one night gave a fete on board their vessel to the women, who assembled to the number of sixty, with some gentlemen: I was unfortunately among the latter, for in the midst of our gaiety, our perfidious hosts weighed anchor. The wind was favourable, and the vessel departed, while the people on the shore gazed on us with the utmost unconcern, thinking Don Lescar's design was merely to afford us the pleasure of a little excursion on the sea; we too at first believed his intention to be no other, but fatally were we undeceived! The vessel, which was a swift sailer, in spite of our prayers and tears, conveyed us to this island, never to return. The men, myself only and a few others, from whom they judged they had nothing to fear, excepted, were all massacred; the women alone, who were the objects of their treachery, were preserved, and those assembled at the fete, being for the most part dissipated and abandoned, easily accommodated themselves to the terms offered by Don Lescar. A few, however, preferred death to becoming the wives of their base enslavers; and these drag out a miserable existence in the prisons of St. Verrado."
"When the inhabitants were furnished with the necessaries, they began to think of the luxuries of life, and George Blake, at the head of an hundred men, put to sea to pillage merchant-men and other vessels; when he meets one superior in force to his own, he hoists the white flag, salutes it with three fires, and passes as a friend; but if it has suffered from the tempest, or is inferior, he attacks it, throws out his grappling irons, and brings it in triumph into our port, taking always the cruel precaution to massacre all the men from whose courage or address he thinks he has any thing to fear: he acts the same with respect to vessels which unfortunately put in here for repairs, or to take in water: violating every law of justice and hospitality; he murders the men, and seizes upon the women and cargo. By such means he has collected this little fleet of twenty sail, which you see in the basin, and has procured for the colony in profusion, all that is necessary to encourage, luxury, and secure the establishment of his colleague. It is seven days since he set out on one of these expeditions; he is not yet returned, and his absence so much longer than usual, begins to alarm the whole colony. It is not improbable but that this villain may have met the just punishment of all his crimes."
"With respect to the Verradians, there is scarcely an excess to which they are not carried; drunkenness reigns indiscriminately amongst them. As the prizes made by their vessels are divided in the public square among the inhabitants, each had a profusion of brandy, and other spirituous liquors, which they employ to their own destruction: even children are infected with this dreadful vice; there are already in the island upwards of two hundred, who, corrupted by the example of their parents, before they have attained the age of reason, lose the little they possess in draughts of brandy. The inhabitants are in continual strife, and sometimes kill each other, but this crime is punished with death. They know here no other employment than dissipation, no other God than voluptuousness, and no other restraint than liberty. Thus enervated by idleness and excess, they are not in a state to resist the slightest attack: a hundred men, could they discover and surprise it, would be sufficient to subdue the whole colony; but Don Lescar has prohibited any one under pain of death, leaving it without his order or permission. Nor is this all; the vessels you see here, are with their boats chained in the basin, and he alone has the key of the chains. These strong palisades, those guards ready to fire upon the first who shall dare approach, render all access to the port impossible, and when once you set foot in St. Verrado, it is for life."
Ambrose and Eleanor trembled at these dreadful words, which the stranger observing, hastened to divert their attention.
"Don Lescar," said he, "notwithstanding these precautions, is sensible that other chains than those of force are necessary to bind his subjects; he labours to render their state agreeable, that he may add those of inclination; with this view he permits an unrestrained licence, which he judges alone capable of attaching them. To confess the truth, all are satisfied with their condition, and among them there is not a single inhabitant, myself excepted, desirous of quitting St. Verrado to inhabit another country. Every day there are superb entertainments at the palace of the Governor, balls, concerts, and assemblies, they love riot and dissipation; what would they more? they have it to their wish. Such, my children, are the laws of the Verradians; such their manner of life; endeavour to bear with, and to accommodate yourselves to it, without wandering from the principles of virtue: live here, since Heaven has sent you, wise, gentle, modest, temperate, and do not imitate the odious companions with whom you must associate. I will from time to time see, and advise you: persuaded that you will be secret, and set some value of my lessons."
Eleanor and Ambrose astonished and shocked at all they heard, thanked the old man for his information, and expressed their readiness to be guided by his advice. Then seeing their guide, he bade them farewell, telling them at parting, that he was called the Count d'Oresty.
Don Lescar upon their return, inquired how they liked the city? But observing the impression of melancholy, which notwithstanding their efforts to appear cheerful, the discourse of the Count d'Oresty had left upon their countenances, he expressed his displeasure. Eleanor and Ambrose excused themselves, attributing it to the concern they could not help feeling for the loss of their protector. This was the first time they had ever known dissimulation, or felt the necessity of it. "And wherefore," said the Governor, "this unavailing sorrow? This Carlton was your friend and protector: well, I will be so; I will love and protect you as well as he did: I will do more; I will cause all my subjects to honour and respect you. Besides, a thought has struck me concerning your friend: the manner in which he and Peter disappeared, is singular; I have reflected upon it, and do not think that it in the least improbable but that you may, in a very short time, see him land in this island." Eleanor and Ambrose exclaimed in an ecstasy, "How? Where? My Lord ---- do you know? ---- Is there any hope of --"
"Have patience," interrupted Don Lescar, "and be not so elate; what I suggest, is merely conjecture; I will tell you upon what grounds: My subjects frequently make short trips upon the seas, for the purpose of taking prizes; it is not eight days since one of my captains sailed with about a hundred and fifty men: now as the time agrees with that in which, by your account, your friends disappeared, it seems very probable that he may have touched at the island, and borne them away to increase the inhabitants of my colony. Can you describe the corpse you found lying on the ground?"
"No," replied Ambrose, "it was too much disfigured; but we found about it some papers and other articles which I will show you." Saying this, he searched his pocket, and produced them; but no sooner had Don Lescar examined the papers, that his countenance changed; "Heavens!" exclaimed he, "what do I see! 'tis the hand writing of my friend! 'tis he himself; the hand of an assassin has divided us for ever." With these words he darted a furious glance upon Ambrose, grasped the papers, and went out of the apartment, without pronouncing a single word. The children looked at each other amazed: "What have we done?" said Eleanor.
"He thinks," said Ambrose, "that the man who was killed upon our coast is his friend."
"Let us fly," said Eleanor, alarmed, "perhaps he will revenge his death upon us."
"And why fly?" said Ambrose, "were that even possible, when we may expect soon to see our dear father; he will counsel and defend us."
"Ah, no," said Eleanor, "he is without doubt murdered; we can no longer entertain the hope of seeing him."
A deep silence ensued, and they remained overwhelmed with the bitterest reflections. Two days elapsed before they saw the Governor; on the third he sent for them into his apartment; his countenance was gloomy and morose; but he received them with his former kindness. "I have suffered much, my young friends," said he, "since I saw you; I have shed many tears and it is this Carlton whom you regret so much, who has caused them to flow; banish him, therefore, from your remembrance, as the enemy of one whom you must henceforth learn to honour and obey."
"Ah, my Lord," said Eleanor, falling upon her knees, "pardon our dear protector -- the injury he has done you was involuntary: in his own defence -- Pardon him; Eleanor on her knees entreats it. As a favour ----"
"As a favour, sister," interrupted Ambrose bluntly; "as justice you mean; had Don Lescar been in the place of our Carlton, would he have done the same?"
"Young man," said Don Lescar, incensed at the oblique reproof that was conveyed to him in these words, "moderate your impetuosity: remember that you are in the presence of your King."
"I respect your title," said Ambrose, "though I know not what is due to it: but I appeal to your heart, to your probity: you believe that our Carlton has destroyed your friend, admitting it to be so, you know not the provocation: -- we are assured it was in defence of his life or liberty, and in this case, is he not justified? The man of honour should approve the actions that honour justifies."
"And do you," said Don Lescar, "bred in the depths of forests, pretend to talk of honour? Do you pretend to know its laws?"
"I know the rights of man towards man," said Ambrose, "they are equal to all beings, common to all States."
"And so," said Don Lescar, "with a sarcastic smile, knowing natural laws, you pretend to judge of those prescribed by civil society and religion? Are these the fine maxims your friend has taught you?"
"He has taught me at least," said Ambrose, "to despise irony, and to brave pride."
Don Lescar was incensed: "Ungrateful wretch," said he, "is this the return for all my favours? Tremble at the effects of my displeasure."
It must be owned that the sentiments of Ambrose were uttered with an asperity and confidence that cannot be justified: Don Lescar was his superior in years; had hospitality entertained him and his sister, and though the Count d'Oresty had destroyed the confidence they might otherwise have reposed in him, no personal injury had yet been offered; some respect was, therefore, due to him; but bred in unfrequented wilds, accustomed to combat the beasts of the forest, and hardened by labour and fatigue, Ambrose has contracted a certain roughness of character, which rendered him a little savage? he had never been contracted [sic]; on this occasion he was; his heart, replete with the noblest sentiments, could not brook the pride of a man, whom he not only considered as the enemy of his dearest friend, but degraded by his vices beneath the lowest of his species. Eleanor possessed equal strength of mind with her brother, but she was more timid; every thing alarmed her, because she more quickly foresaw the consequences. Terrified at the scene that was taking place between her brother and Don Lescar, she endeavoured in vain to sooth[e] them: "Be calm, my Lord," said she, "Brother, do not vex him."
"It is for your sake alone, Eleanor," said Don Lescar, "that I can forget the insults and arrogance of a youth, who is unworthy a sister so beautiful and interesting: my heart is already weighed down with care; the hand of an assassin has bereft me of a faithful friend and a valuable subject: it is you only who have power to console me: I love you, Eleanor, you shall one day be Queen of St. Verrado -- Do you understand me? You are at present young; I will be your guardian and protector, but at last you shall be my Queen."
It is impossible to express the astonishment of Eleanor; the idea of ever becoming the wife of Don Lescar, however distant the period might be, struck her with a horror which she could not conceal: he observed it, but not thinking it a time to enter further upon the subject, he left the apartment: but with a look which taught his young guests they had every thing to fear if his will was resisted.
"Oh," said Eleanor, what will become of us!"
"Fear nothing, sister," said Ambrose, "God will protect us; I trembled on the waves, I wept at our separation from our dear father and Peter, but I will never weep or tremble at the threats of a tyrant: we will endeavour to see our good old man; he will console and advise us. Saying this, they took their way towards the port, in the hope of meeting the Count d'Oresty, but they were that night disappointed; in short, several days elapsed before they saw him, except in the presence of witnesses, before whom it was impossible to discourse of any thing interesting. During this time, Ambrose and Eleanor had the mortification of hearing the most horrid execrations bestowed upon the name of Carlton; he was now universally believed to be the assassin of the naval Chief, and the arrival of the Verradian vessel was awaited with impatience, to sacrifice both him and his accomplice, Peter, to the vengeance of the people. Eleanor and her brother, therefore, far from looking with joy, as formerly, to the moment of his arrival, prayed fervently to Heaven that it might be retarded. In the mean while, a delay so unusual began to alarm the inhabitants, from the supposition of their vessel being captured, and a discovery made of their retreat. The port was doubly guarded, and the whole colony put into a state of defence; but in a short time their fears insensibly decreased, and lulled into indolent security, they returned to their former course of luxury and dissipation.
Eleanor and Ambrose continued to be treated as the distinguished guests of the Governor; but under this mask of kindness, it was easy to discern that he concealed an implacable hatred to Ambrose, he could not, without indignation, behold the pride and firmness of a youth whom he considered a savage: the strictness of his principles, and the solidity of his arguments, always on the side of virtue, incensed him: the unshaken attachment too, which he at times discovered to his dear friend, and the freedom with which, even at the peril of his life, he expressed his sentiments on this subject, was another cause of his disgust: in short, his hatred arose to such a pitch, that had it not been for Eleanor, it is probable he would have sacrificed him to his resentment. She, however, more soft and gentle, mediated between her brother and Don Lescar, and thus warded off the blow that might otherwise have proved fatal. As observed before, Eleanor was now nearly fifteen: she was tall, and well made: her sun-burnt complexion was fresh as the dew: he teeth were white and regular, and her large dark eyes sparkled with intelligence and vivacity: he hair flowed negligently in natural curls upon her shoulders, and there was a gentleness in her manners, and a grace in her least motion, that tendered her whole figure inexpressibly interesting. Don Lescar was struck with her innocence and beauty, and from the first moment of her arrival conceived the idea of making her one day his wife. From this cause had arisen the favours he had bestowed on her and Ambrose; favours which they might justly have claimed from humanity and hospitality: but Don Lescar was a stranger to both, and was too depraved to bestow upon other grounds than those of self-convenience or self-gratification.
Ambrose and Eleanor had now more than once seen and communicated with their griefs to the Count d'Oresty: the good old man sincerely sympathized in their sorrows, and by his counsels endeavoured to confirm them in the principles of virtue: he often pointed out to them, in the wretched inhabitants of St. Verrado, the fatal effects of luxury and intemperance: "Behold," said he, "their features distorted, their constitutions undermined, their reason obscured, their faculties decaying even before they have attained their due maturity, and their whole frame convulsed with passions which degrade them far beneath the beasts which they despise; such my children, is the price of pleasures which cloy in the possession, and which are pursued more, perhaps from habit than from inclination." He then set before them the superior advantages of a life of virtue and moderation, and thus strengthened them against the temptations to which their innocence was exposed among the dissipated companions with which they were daily constrained to associate. One day, as they were as usual, discoursing upon their misfortunes, and lamenting the cruel necessity which doomed them to live under a tyrant whom they abhorred, having remained a few minutes silent, the Count addressed them in these words: "When I reflect, my children, upon the dangers to which your innocence is exposed, and that your lives are scarcely safe in the place where you are beheld as the friend of one who is universally believed to be the assassin of a man, who, though stained with the blackest crimes was nevertheless the idol of his comrades, I feel an irresistible desire to deliver you from so many perils: my own life is of little importance; in a few years I shall be removed to a country far beyond this circumscribed spot of earth. I had resolved to wait for this happy release in St. Verrado, since a whimsical destiny had made it my abode; but your misfortunes, my children, the perils to which your innocence is exposed, has showed me the possibility of an escape, which would otherwise have remained undiscovered, as unsought."
"But," said Eleanor, "our dear Carlton; we must stay and take him with us."
"Yes," said Ambrose, "we must take him, or stay and die with him: while a hope remains of our dear father's arrival, we cannot leave St. Verrado."
"My dear children," said the Count d'Oresty, "your affection and gratitude charms, and interests me still more in your behalf: but rest assured, whatever may be the cause, that the vessel which you have reason to suppose deprived you of your friends, will never more return to St. Verrado. Don Lescar himself, nay, every inhabitant of this island, has relinquished all idea of it: who knows, therefore, Heaven may have preserved your friends; and that misfortune (if, as is generally believed the vessel has been captured) which may end in the destruction of the colony, may have brought life and liberty to them: but however this may be, you are as likely, if God permits, to meet them in other countries as in this."
Eleanor and Ambrose acknowledged the force of this argument, and were soon persuaded to enter into a measure, which the Count assured them afforded a much greater probability of discovering their friends than remaining at St. Verrado. They expressed their readiness to be guided by this advice: and enquired how he proposed to effect their escape?
The Count d'Oresty did not think proper at this time to disclose his plans; he only counselled Ambrose to moderate his impetuosity, and keep up a friendly intercourse with Don Lescar; on which he told them the success of their enterprise would in great measure depend: he then departed, telling them to attend every morning at the port, and that when he had digested his plan, he would talk more to them on the subject.
Eleanor and Ambrose exactly followed the instructions of their friend; they attended regularly at the port, but a week elapsed before they saw the Count d'Oresty; at length he accosted them: "Well, my children," said he, "do you think you will have the courage to trust yourselves once more on the seas in your little bark?"
"Ah, father," said Ambrose, "we commit ourselves wholly to your guidance; we have lost our dear Carlton, and think ourselves beyond measure happy in meeting a friend to supply his place. We are very simple -- we know nothing of the great world -- It is you who must advise and direct us."
"Well, my children," said the Count d'Oresty, "God, who sees the purity of my intentions towards you, will, I hope, direct me; we must encounter perils ----"
"Talk not of perils," interrupted Ambrose, "tell us only what we must do -- deliver us from Don Lescar -- from this wicked place, since we must no longer indulge the hope of seeing our dear father."
"It is in your little bark, my children," said the Count, "that we must attempt our escape; I have examined it, and find it solid and well built; if we can once embark, I doubt not but I shall be able to steer so, as to land you on some shore inhabited by being[s] less cruel than those among whom you now reside: from thence, if God spare me so long, I will convey you to England, where you may perhaps, hear tidings of your friend; but much before remains to be done; your little bark, you see, is chained in the basin; the keys of the port must therefore be obtained or we cannot proceed in the enterprise. Do you think, Ambrose that you would have the courage to enter the apartment of Don Lescar, and get possession of them?"
"I could have courage," said Ambrose, "to do any thing rather than live under a tyrant whom I despise and abhor -- but how ----"
"You must take them," said the count, "from under the head of Don Lescar while he sleeps."
"Oh Heaven!" exclaimed Eleanor, "should he awake! my brother's life -- "
"Be not alarmed, Eleanor," said the Count d'Oresty, "follow exactly my directions, and all will be well. If the wind, Ambrose, continues in the same quarter as at present (for this will be necessary to observe, that it may blow us swiftly from the coast) towards evening feign an excuse to withdraw, and steal privately into the chamber of Don Lescar, where you must conceal yourself till he retires to rest."
"But," said Ambrose --
"Hear me to an end," interrupted the Count; you, Eleanor, take this powder, and when Don Lescar has drunk a few glasses, watch a favourable opportunity, and drop a pinch of it into his wine. It will first cause a drowsiness, which will probably induce him to repair to his chamber, and throw him into a deep sleep, during which Ambrose may without danger of awaking him, take possession of the keys, which, when he retires to rest, are always placed beneath his pillow. Now, my children, if you have address and courage to execute this, you must immediately haste with the keys to this place, where I shall expect you, and be ready to perform what is farther necessary to the success of the enterprise."
The attempt was bold and hazardous; the execution of it, if not impossible, seemed difficult and replete with dangers; but Ambrose, transported with the hope of escaping from a country which he had in horror, and also with the thought of visiting England, where a probability remained of one day seeing his dearest friend, if he was still an inhabitant of the earth, promised every thing. Eleanor, though alarmed for the safety of her brother, consented to perform her party, and after some farther arrangements concerning the execution of the plan, they returned to the palace of the Governor.
Early in the evening, pursuant to the instructions of his friend, Ambrose, alleging indisposition, withdrew from the presence of Don Lescar, and watching an opportunity, slipt privately into his chamber, and concealed himself behind the hangings. He left Don Lescar, as usual, carousing among a number of his comrades, but as if Heaven favoured the enterprise, on account of a slight indisposition which had afflicted him for some days, he dismissed them at an early hour. Eleanor watched a favourable opportunity, and, with a beating heart, dropt the powder given her by the count d'Oresty into his glass. Don Lescar soon was sensible to its power, and rising, retired to his chamber. Let the reader judge if possible what were the feelings of Eleanor at this moment; the idea of her brother being concealed in the chamber of Don Lescar, of the dangers to which he was exposed, of the double part she had been acting, which obliged her to smile with pretended sincerity on the tyrant she was deceiving, all rushed forcibly on her mind; she threw herself into a chair, and bursting into an agony of tears, "Oh!" said she, "what is to be compared with sincerity and truth! What advantages can be equivalent to the loss of it! Better were it to have borne all the malice Don Lescar could have inflicted, than have entered into this labyrinth of deception; gracious Heaven! should Don Lescar awake ---- should my brother be discovered -- what will be the consequence -- I tremble -- merciful God protect him -- save him -- if we have done wrong, forgive us -- Oh save him, save him, let not Eleanor lament her last, her only friend."
In the mean while Don Lescar entered his chamber, and was scarcely stretched upon his bed, before, as the Count d'Oresty had foretold, he sunk into a deep sleep, and gave Ambrose, who boldly advanced to the bed, an opportunity of seizing the keys, which, at this moment seemed to him a greater treasure than the wealth of the Indies. He then, as it had been agreed, stole to the apartment of his sister, who was ready to expire with joy upon seeing him safe out of the chamber of Don Lescar. Little passed; he took her hand, and they escaped together by a private door, of which Eleanor had the key: they flew immediately to the port where the Count d'Oresty anxiously expected the success of the undertaking. He no sooner beheld the keys, that without staying to accost them or to disclose his intentions, "Run, run, my friends, " cried he to the guards, "the prison is on fire, and all the prisoners will escape." While he was speaking, a frightful volume of smoke arose to the clouds: he had found means to set fire to a neighbouring arsenal in which the pirates kept all their powder. The guards alarmed, quit their posts, run to the conflagration, and afford the Count an opportunity of opening the palisades. Accompanied by his young friends, he precipitately enters the little bark, unchains it, and rows from land. It was not very long before the Verradian Arsenal blew up, and made the Count easy respecting the pursuit, which he was sensible would be made after them, should his absence or that of his young friends be discovered; but the universal alarm and confusion occasioned by the unexpected event, precluded all idea of an immediate pursuit.
A brisk gale blowing from land, our navigators lost not time in spreading the sail of their little vessel. Eleanor, her eyes fixed upon the island, motionless with terror and astonishment, could not utter a single word: the Count d'Oresty and Ambrose, mute also, busied themselves with stowing some provisions which the Count, a short time before he set fire to the arsenal, had found means to conceal in a retired spot at the foot of the palisades, and with the assistance of Ambrose, had conveyed, after the retreat of the guards, into the vessel. Ambrose first broke silence, "Whither are we going father?" said he.
"Can I tell, my son;" said the Count, still confused with the events that had occurred in such quick succession to each other. "Let us get clear of this hated land, before we talk of our rout[e]."
"Our island," said Eleanor, "cannot be far from hence."
"And what do you infer from that?" said the Count.
"I do not know," replied Eleanor, "but somehow I have an idea that we should find our dear Carlton there."
"Mere chimera, my child," said the Count: "No, we must not quit an inhabited for a desert land: we will direct our bark towards Cuba."
The bark rapidly cut the waves, and in a short time they lost of sight St. Verrado: the night was dark, and neither moon nor stars were to be seen, but in a few hours the sun began to enlighten the east, and the Count perceived a number of small islands, which he had apparently coasted during the night without knowing it; but the waves seeming to drive the bark with more violence, he was fearful of being driven into the canal of Bahama (not doubting but that he was near it) the rapidity of which is so great, that it threatens instant destruction. In consequence of this, by dint of oars and sails, they worked the vessel, and the next morning found themselves near a coast, which, from the form of the buildings, and the colours of the vessels that were in the port, the Count judged to belong to the English. How great was the joy of our voyagers! The vessel made into the port, and they landed amidst a crowd of inhabitants, who put a thousand questions, which the singularity of their dress, and the peculiar form of their vessel, naturally excited; they soon, in their turn, learned that they were in the island of Providence, one of Lucay isles, situated upon the canal of Bahama, that it belonged to the English, that Sir James Corpley was the Governor, and that they might expect from his humanity all the succour they could desire. This was joyful information; the islanders readily conducted them into the presence of the Governor; but what was the astonishment, the joy of Eleanor and Ambrose, when, upon entering the apartment, they beheld their lost, their lamented friend, Colonel Carlton! In an instant they were in his arms. "My children -- my father -- my protector," was alternately repeated.
At length, becoming more calm, "to what unforeseen event, my children," said the Colonel, "do we owe this unexpected, this unhoped for happiness?"
"Oh, my dear father," said Ambrose, "if God had not sent us this good friend (pointing to the Count d'Oresty) who has risked his life for our sakes, we should never have been blest with beholding you; he has ----"
At this moment, Peter, informed of what was passing, rushed precipitately into the apartment, and overcome by the excess of his joy, sunk, half fainting, at the feet of his young friends. Ambrose and Eleanor were rejoiced at the sight of the good old man, and were not a little affected at seeing tears (though of joy) roll down his furrowed cheeks. They supported him in their arms, and endeavoured to calm his agitated spirits by a thousand tender expressions, which the gratitude and affection of their hearts dictated.
Sir James Corpley the Governor, seemed sincerely to participate in their happiness, and invited the Count d'Oresty and his young friends to remain his guests during their residence in the island. The Colonel expressed his acknowledgement to the Count d'Oresty (whom he recollected formerly to have seen in England) for the attention he had shown to his young pupils, and they all sat down to an elegant repast, during which they had leisure to converse, and recover from their fatigues. What a happiness to be thus re-united after the dangers they had encountered! They could not eat, they looked at each other, questioned, and made such a confusion of the adventures, that the Governor requested they would recount them in the order they had occurred, assuring them that he was already much interested in their fate, and wished only to know in what he could be serviceable to them. The request was no sooner made than complied with; the Colonel began first, and related the circumstances of his shipwreck, and all that had happened during his residence in the uninhabited island; but as the Reader is already acquainted with these particulars, we will take up his narration only at the moment in which Ambrose and Eleanor left him to visit, for the last time, the tomb of their friend Derley. "The children, " said the Colonel, "had scarcely left me, when Peter, who was employed in stowing the provisions in our little bark, suddenly cried out, 'a vessel, Sir! a vessel!'"
"A vessel," I replied, "do you say?"
"Yes, Sir," said he, "it approaches, it makes rapidly for land."
"I immediately turned my eyes toward the sea, and saw a ship making towards us full sail. I cannot exactly describe my sensations at the sight of an object so unexpected: my heart seemed to sink at the moment I was transported with joy; and, as if I foresaw the consequences, this event, so long and ardently wished for, disquieted, and even alarmed me. 'Friends or enemies,' said I to Peter, 'let us meet them.' Accordingly I walked to that part of the shore to which I saw the vessel making. In proportion as it approached my fears diminished, and the Spanish colours which were hoisted, entirely removed them: I thought we might expect every necessary succour from a civilized nation of Europe; probably, in alliance with ours. The Spaniards soon came upon deck, and shortly after descended from the vessel, headed by their captain. 'Is this island inhabited,' said the chief, in a surly tone of voice?"
"'No,' I replied, 'this is the first vessel we have seen touch here.'
"'And who are you?' said he, 'what --'"
"He was continuing, when one of his own people, animated by a motive to which I was then a stranger, fired a pistol, which grazed his shoulder. 'Ah traitor,' said the chief, drawing another, 'is it thus? -- die villain!' -- Saying which, he fired upon the assassin, who escaped by turning aside his head, and was preparing to draw another pistol, (for they each had two at their girdle) when I, thoughtless of the consequences, imprudently snatched an iron crow from one of the men, and felled the assassin to the ground; I was immediately seized, while a ball from another of the conspirators dispatched the unfortunate Chief."
Here Ambrose interrupted the Colonel, by exclaiming, "I was sure he did not kill him --"
"What do you say, my child?' said the Colonel.
"Oh nothing," said Ambrose: "go on father, we will explain this afterward."
"The confusion," said the Colonel, resuming his narrative, "immediately became general; myself and Peter, who had attempted to defend me, we conveyed on board the vessel: in vain we called on you my children, and entreated the pirates at least to join yours to our unfortunate destiny; solely occupied with the desperate act they had just committed, they embarked precipitately, without paying any regard to our prayers, inhumanly put us in irons, and confined us with a dozen unfortunate women, prisoners like ourselves. I need not describe the horror of our situation, separated from you, my children, and slaves without knowing our masters. Toward the middle of the night, some coarse food was thrown into our dungeon, and in the morning six sailors handcuffed, were added to our miserable society: from these we learned the motives that had given rise to the horrid scheme transacted on the island, and also the cause of their own detention. The prisoners confined with us belonged a few days before, to a French merchant-man, which had been attacked and taken by the pirates. George Blake, the late commander, being dissatisfied with the little courage shown by his comrades in the action, reproached them severely, and formally signified to them that they should not have any share of the booty: this highly incensed them, and one of their number, named Burney, formed a conspiracy with the others to assassinate their Chief on the first favourable opportunity that should offer, to go to St. Domingo or Cuba, sell their booty, and return to England, there to live quietly on their ill-gotten wealth. The plot was ripe for execution, when Blake, struck with the unexpected sight of our island, either from curiosity or he hope of booty, descended upon it. The rest explained itself, the unfortunate Chief was assassinated, and we made prisoners: 'But,' said I to the sailor who gave us this information, how is it that you are handcuffed and confined? are you not their friends?' 'No,' said the sailor, 'we refused to join in the conspiracy against our Chief, who was a generous, brave man, undeserving the fate he met with: they are afraid lest we, in our turn, should form a conspiracy against them, and it is on this account they confine us.' 'And to what port,' said I, 'are we now going?' 'It is of little importance to us,' said the sailor, 'for a council has this day been held in which it was probably agreed to massacre us all.' 'Barbarians!' we exclaimed with one accord. 'It is their custom,' said the sailor, 'the French merchant ship they took yesterday was sunk with all the men it contained, after they had pillaged the cargo, and taken out these unhappy women, whom they will now probably sacrifice, as they do not return to the colony to which their vessel was bound.'"
"The women, upon this horrid recital, broke into violent lamentations: as for me, I patiently waited for death, which no longer appeared unwelcome, after I had lost all that could render life desirable."
"The vessel continued its course till towards the middle of the next day, when it was on a sudden violently agitated, and we judged from the noise of cannon which assailed us on every side, that the pirates were engaged with another vessel, which; by the size of the balls that struck us, some of our companions judged to be of superior force. I need not describe our anxiety during the engagement, which lasted about two hours; hope and fear alternately possessed us; at length our trap opened, and a strange voice exclaimed, 'You are free!' immediately our irons were taken off, and we were put on board another vessel, which proved to be English. The pirates had attempted to give chase to the English, but the Captain had made use of his superiority to attack them; they had fought, it was said desperately, and did not strike to the English till the greater part of their men were killed. We learnt farther that the Captain was charged with dispatches from the English government to its American possessions, and that he would first touch at the Isle of Providence, to the Governor of which he had letters of recall. Thus from slavery and death were we unexpectedly restored to life and freedom: I made myself known, and communicated my story to the Captain, who, upon our arrival at the Isle of Providence, presented me to Sir James Corpley, the governor, with whom I had been formerly intimate in England: his reception was such as might have been expected from the most generous of men, he was interested in my misfortunes, and since that time has detained me his distinguished guest: but an important expedition is now in agitation; six of the Verradian prisoners, intimidated by the threats, and allured by the promises of the Governor, have confessed the situation of the island they inhabit, and in a few days, four hundred men, of which Sir James has given me the command, will embark, to extirpate this horde of robbers, and take possession of the island in the name of the English Monarch: but do not think, my children," said the Colonel to Ambrose and Eleanor, "that I was unmindful of your situation; I had permission from my friend to touch at our island, little suspecting that you had ventured to abandon it."
The Colonel thus terminated his recital, and received the thanks of all present. Ambrose then recounted all that had happened since his separation from the Colonel; and his recital was continued by the Count d'Oresty, whose courage and exertions in behalf of the amiable orphans were universally applauded. The Colonel again thanked him in the warmest terms, and a friendship from that moment took place between them, which continued to the end of their lives. The generous Governor congratulated his guests in the most polite and friendly terms upon their re-union, appointed by Providence to take place in his island, which on this occasion, he observed, justified its name.
The happiness of Eleanor and Ambrose would have been complete, had it not been embittered by the thought of a second separation from their friend, on account of the expedition to St. Verrado; Ambrose earnestly entreated to be permitted to accompany him, but the tears of his sister, and the commands of the Colonel, to which he had been accustomed implicitly to submit, at length prevailed, and he relinquished his request. The Count d'Oresty, notwithstanding his age, made one in the expedition, justly considering that his knowledge of the island might forward the success of the undertaking. Eleanor and Ambrose accompanied their friends to the port, and with their eyes followed the little fleet (consisting of three ships) till they could no longer distinguish it: they then returned with heavy hearts to the Governor, who used all his arguments to mitigate their fears for the safety of their friends, and to inspire them with the hope of their safe and speedy return.
It seemed as if Heaven favoured the expedition against St. Verrado; the weather continued favourable, and at the end of three days, towards midnight, the little fleet arrived before the island; the whole colony was buried in sleep, except the guards, who watched before the palisades, to prevent any one mounting the bank, and entering the vessels.
The six Verradians (who, by the promise of liberty and a high reward, had been prevailed upon to enter into the plot) were dispatched in the long boat, and having entered the port, made themselves known to the sentinels, whom they amused with a false recital of their adventures, while the Colonel and his men, favoured by the darkness of the night, scaled the palisades, fell upon, and cut them to pieces before they had time to sound the alarm or to defend themselves. One of the guards, however, escaping, ran to the city, rang the alarm, and roused the inhabitants, who scarcely awake, knew not what they meant, nor what enemies they had to encounter. The English dispersed in the streets, attacked the Verradians, as they came out of their houses, and lighted brands soon set fire to the four corners of the city. Don Lescar astonished, thunderstruck at this sudden attack, at length assembled about two hundred men, and advanced in order for battle: the slaughter soon became horrible; on one side, the English armed with swords and bayonets, on the other, the Verradians vigorously defending themselves with enormous masses of bamboo, (6) presented a scene of the utmost horror and confusion. In the mean time, the besieged, little formed for combat, enervated by luxury and pleasure, first gave ground; and to render their defeat complete, a hundred men, which were left for that purpose in the ships bombarded the city, and razed the citadel, the construction of which was not very solid.
In this expedition the English lost twenty men, and the Verradians nearly three hundred men and women; for the women, laying aside the timidity of their sex, armed with bamboos and stakes, rushed in the midst of the battle, and fell fighting besides their husbands. In the midst of the carnage fell the proud Don Lescar, by the hand of the Count d'Oresty; the rest of the inhabitants having demanded quarter, the English chiefs caused the slaughter to cease, and stopped the progress of the fire. Day, at length returned to discover the disasters of the night, and the Colonel satisfied with his expedition, thought of re-imbarking with his prisoners: but what was his consternation! not a single vessel, not a single boast was to be seen in the basin. The men who were left with the little fleet, had dispersed themselves over the city to assist the people, and the treacherous Verradians had seized this unguarded moment to set fire to the ships, as well to their own as to those of the English. Both Colonel Carlton and the Count d'Oresty had heard the explosion caused by the blowing up of the magazines of powder: they had distinguished the Heavens red with the reflection of the flames; but in the heat of combat, in the confusion that universally reigned, they had attributed all to the conflagration of the city, which made a rapid progress. An event so unexpected, did not a little embarrass and mortify the Colonel: he saw himself deprived of means to return to the Isle of Providence, where he had left his beloved pupils, and from whence he hoped shortly to embark for England. Besides this, he was wholly destitute of shelter, or any thing necessary to feed and lodge nearly four hundred of his own men, and upwards of three hundred prisoners. He was constrained, however, to accommodate himself to these difficulties, and as the only part there remained for him to take, ordered the houses that were saved from the flames to be searched for sail cloth, cables and tools necessary to construct a vessel. These were happily found, and the carpenters immediately set to work. They laboured without intermission day and night, and at the end of six weeks launched two little barks, unworthy the name of ships, sufficient to contain the Colonel and about two hundred of his men, with whom he resolved to embark, leaving the residue to guard the Verradian prisoners. He took with him also twenty-five unfortunate women, who had long groaned in the prisons of St. Verrado. But before we take leave of St. Verrado, we must acquaint the reader with an interesting event that occurred during the Colonel's continuance in the island. One day having visited different parts of the city that had escaped the ravages of the flames, a Verradian, who was with him, pointed to the house of their old commander, George Blake, as the largest and best built in all the colony, excepting the Governorís Curiosity induced the Colonel to enter it; he ascended into an upper chamber, and observing a small cabinet, forced it open to examine the contents. These were a few jewels, and several parcels of letters and papers, which he perused with little attention, till the following attracted his notice.
Why, my dear Eleanor, must I deceive the best of fathers! Why is he blinded by ambition? Are not virtues, titles of nobility, and the qualities of the heart, inestimable treasures? Oh, my wife, my children, why must I not own you? Why must you not find shelter in the arms of my venerable, my much respected father! But it cannot be. Make every thing ready for your departure; I confide you to safe hands; Derley accompanies you, and my heart is easy; kiss my Eleanor and Ambrose a thousand times for me: how young they are to encounter the fatigues of so long a voyage! But Heaven and the tender cares of a mother will protect them. I shall find you all at Charles Town. Adieu, embark without uneasiness, assured that nothing but death shall prevent an affectionate husband from soon joining you.The Colonel did not, the Reader will conclude, unmoved peruse a letter, which, upon a comparison, evidently appeared to be written by the same hand as that found upon Derley; the date was nearly the same, but it had not signature. He now searched every part of the cabinet with the minutest attention, and at last drew from a private drawer a picture of the most interesting nature: it represented a beautiful young woman holding two children; It is Eleanor! It is Ambrose! The Colonel called to mind their features at the time he first entered the uninhabited island, and traced the resemblance undiminished by the years that had then elapsed. Eleanor was the exact resemblance of her mother; Ambrose, more masculine, was building a house of cards, upon which was written, "telle est la vie." What an interesting discovery! The features of the woman (though fresh and lively) upon a comparison, evidently resembled those delineated in the gold box of Derley; but still it threw no light upon the birth of his pupils. As he viewed the interesting miniature, a thousand different ideas rushed upon his mind: By what means did these precious deposits fall into the hands of the pirate? Could it be possible his amiable pupils were the offspring of a wretch so depraved; or had he plundered and destroyed their unfortunate parents? His mind floated between these two ideas, when a letter, written in a woman's hand, presented itself, and threw some light upon the matter: it was as follows:
At length, barbarian, I break the bonds in which you have for six months held me, and return to my country; but, alas! I return desolate and wretched, deprived by thy merciless hand of all that could render life desirable. Detested wretch! where are my poor children? My Eleanor, my Ambrose? in what corner of the earth hast thou concealed them? Derley, the friend, the confident of my husband, the only support of an unfortunate woman, is no more - - - - - - Ah, without doubt, my children sleep with him in the night of the tomb. Oh, insupportable reflection! I can no more; the moment is favourable, and I depart: but tremble, villain, the vengeance of a just God will pursue thee, and deliver the Earth from a monster who contaminates it.This letter evidently had a correspondence with the former; the names and date were the same, and upon a calculation, the Colonel found the time nearly approached the period in which his pupils were left upon the island: he no longer doubted, though ignorant by what means, but their misfortunes originated from this villain, to whom it appeared, by the superscription, the letter was addressed. Hoping to make further discoveries, he enquired very particularly among the Verradians concerning their naval chief, hoping from thence to draw some conclusions, but he was disappointed; all that he could learn was, that George Blake was the captain of an English vessel, who upon some misdemeanour had been outlawed; that having rendered services to Don Lescar, and, at last, assisted him in making his escape, the closest intimacy had existed between them, and that he was considered as the most daring and enterprising of all the pirates. Not being able to gain any further information, the Colonel secured the letters and picture, and embarked for the Isle of Providence. After five days sail they arrived there, and were received with universal joy by the Governor and the whole island, but especially by Eleanor and Ambrose, who, alarmed at an absence so much longer than was expected, began to fear both the Colonel and Count d'Oresty had fallen victims to the fury of Don Lescar; but their friends were returned, and all sorrow was banished.
The arrival of the Colonel with his suite, and the news of the victory, was celebrated with universal demonstrations of joy; the brave soldiers who fought under him were generously recompensed, as well as the six Verradians who had been instrumental to the victory. The three hundred prisoners taken at St. Verrado were sent to the Governor of the Spanish island of St. Domingo, as also a particular account of the expedition.
Sir James Corpley, who was fond of splendid entertainments, gave one at which the soldiers who were sent on the expedition to St. Verrado, and the unfortunate persons released from its prisons were present; not could a sight more interesting be conceived than this social union of the heroes and the unfortunate persons delivered by their valour. The reader will recollect that the vessel which delivered Colonel Carlton from the hands of the pirates bore letters of recall to the Governor of the Isle of Providence. As soon, therefore, as he had settled the affairs of the island, as appointed by Government, he embarked for the British Isles, accompanied by Colonel Carlton, the Count d'Oresty, Eleanor and Ambrose, and the faithful Peter. With respect to the prisoners released from the dungeons of St. Verrado, some of them settled in the Island of Providence, and the rest returned to their different countries.
What now could exceed the happiness of Eleanor and Ambrose! returning to their country under the conduct of their dear protector and the Count d'Oresty. The weather was favourable; the vessel arrived happily in port, and our voyagers being furnished with clothes and every thing necessary to make their appearance as natives in England, set out post for the metropolis. It is not easy to form a just idea of the sensations of Colonel Carlton upon his arrival in a country which he had not seen for more than twelve years, and which contained treasures, to him of inestimable value. The different revolutions that might have occurred in so long a space of time naturally presented themselves to his mind, and alternately agitated him with hope and fear: he had left a wife and child whom he tenderly loved -- but death might long since have consigned them to the grave; or a second marriage, upon the supposition of his death, might have embittered the remainder of his days. As he drew near London his fears increased, and while every one was elate with joy and gladness, he was melancholy and dejected. Upon his arrival, he went immediately to the house of a relation, where he was informed that since his supposed death, Mrs. Carlton had retired to a villa a few miles from the metropolis, where, with her son, she lived totally secluded from the great world. How grateful was this to the heart of the Colonel! Accompanied by his two pupils and the Count d'Oresty, he immediately set out for the village, and towards evening arrived at an inn about a mile from the house where Mrs. Carlton resided. Here he alighted and remained with Ambrose and Eleanor while the Count d'Oresty took upon himself the necessary office of preparing Mrs. Carlton for his reception. He introduced himself to her as a friend of the Colonel, and mentioned at a distance a report of a few having been preserved from the wreck; then having inspired her with hope, he ventured to tell her that letters had been received from some of the crew; but when he announced the certainty of her husband's safety, and, at last, that he was actually in England, notwithstanding the caution with which it had been revealed, her surprise and joy was so great, that the Count did not think it prudent to acquaint her he was so near, but contented himself, as the day was far advanced, with promising her an interview the next morning. The description he gave the Colonel, on his return to the inn, of his Lady's emotions on the unexpected news of his arrival, afforded him heartfelt pleasure.
The next morning early, the whole group was assembled at the mansion of Mrs. Carlton, who was already up, and, with her son, a promising youth of sixteen, impatiently awaiting the arrival of her husband. The meeting was too affecting to admit to description: the Colonel alternately pressed to his bosom his wife and son, and in the excess of happiness he enjoyed, forgot the years of anguish that were passed, or remembered them only to heighten his present joy. The first transports of meeting being over, the Colonel presented Eleanor and Ambrose to his lady, telling her with a smile, they were his adopted children, and that he hoped and trusted she would not find them undeserving her protection. The esteem of the Colonel was a sufficient recommendation to Mrs. Carlton; though unacquainted with their story, she cordially embraced, and presented them to her son Charles, who assured his father he should from that moment consider them as his brother and sister. In her turn, Mrs. Carlton introduced to the Colonel, by the name of Millar, a worthy clergyman, who had undertaken the care of their son's education, as also a gentlewoman, about the age of thirty five, as the companion of her widowed hours. "Had it not been for my worthy friend," said she, "I must have sunk under the weight of my affliction; but her example taught me fortitude and resignation; I looked for consolation to religion, and to a happy eternity, for the felicity I despaired of tasting here."
The joy of Eleanor and Ambrose, on seeing their generous protector thus happily re-united to his family, was such as might be expected from the susceptibility of their hearts: their eyes were alternately fixed upon the Colonel, Mrs. Carlton, and Charles, never wearied with contemplating the happiness that was expressed in the countenance of each. The Count d'Oresty, and all present, shared in the general joy; and it was not, perhaps, possible to find a happier group than that assembled at the breakfast-table of Mrs. Carlton. The adventures of the Colonel, at length, became the topic of conversation, and at the request of his Lady and friends, he recounted the principal events that had occurred since he left England; he mentioned his shipwreck on the uninhabited island, his discovery of Eleanor and Ambrose, and did not forget the many little incidents that occurred to illustrate the goodness and simplicity of their hearts. This part of the narrative seemed to make a singular impression on the Lady, whom Mrs. Carlton had introduced as her companion and friend during the absence of her husband; she lost not a word, and more than once her eyes were observed to be dim with tears; but when the name of Derley was mentioned, her countenance underwent a total alteration; she grew pale, and casting her eyes around with a wildness that alarmed every one present, requested to see the letter and box found upon him. The Colonel produced them; and the stranger immediately exclaimed, "My children!" and fell back senseless in her chair. All arose in a haste to give the necessary assistance; she revived; and Eleanor and Ambrose, no longer doubting but they had found their mother, threw themselves on their knees before her: "Yes," said she, bending on them an eye of tender scrutiny, "it is my Eleanor -- my Ambrose too! the living image of his lamented father: my heart from the first moment I beheld him, pointed out the resemblance; but could I think!" ---- and here she stopped, overcome with sensations too great for words to express. Ambrose and Eleanor, while alternately embraced by their mother, mingled tears of gratitude and affection with those she shed over them. The striking resemblance (allowing for the difference of years) between Eleanor and her mother, was now universally observed, and every one wondered it had not before struck him; yet an event so far exceeding the bounds of human probability, could scarcely obtain credit from any, excepting Mrs. Carlton, who, being acquainted with the story of her friend, entertained no doubt but that Providence had re-united her to her children. To remove every doubt, the Colonel produced the letters and picture he had found in the house of George Blake; these were immediately known by Mrs. Carlton's friend, who being sufficiently recovered, satisfied the company, by relating the particulars of her history. Her words were as follows: --
"I am the daughter of an officer: my father was descended from an ancient family, but inherited only a small patrimony: he had served many campaigns, but soon after the death of my mother, retired from the army in disgust upon a small annuity: this, from the embarrassments of the person in whose hands it was placed, after a few years ceased, and my father, at an advanced age, found himself reduced to a poverty, his high spirit was ill formed to brook.
"Our support depended chiefly upon a young man, an orphan, whom my father in happier days had brought up, and placed with a jeweller: forgive the tear I shed in his memory; to me his affection was that of the kindest brother: to my father, of the most duteous and affectionate son. Derley shared with us the pittance he obtained by industry, which, joined to the little I gained from my needle, preserved us from the extremities of want. But greater distress soon followed: Derley, from a variety of incidents too tedious to relate, and some debts he had contracted on our account, was thrown into a prison, and my father who was reduced by a long illness, grew so bad, that his life was despaired of. Overwhelmed by this accumulated distress, I was one evening returning with some work from a shop that employed me, when in passing through a retired street, I could not forbear giving vent to my tears, which in the presence of my father I felt myself obliged to suppress; but I cannot describe to you, how much I was humbled and confused, upon observing that my grief had drawn upon me the notice of a young man, who, as I afterward found, had for some time followed me. He addressed me in the most respectful terms, and enquired into the cause of my grief, adding, 'Do not suppose that any other motive, than concern for the unfortunate prompts my curiosity, perhaps I may alleviate your distress.' I replied, that my grief was not of a nature for him to alleviate, and that the only favour he could do me, was to suffer me to pass unnoticed. Saying this, I quickened my pace; but the stranger still following, urged me, though in terms of great delicacy, to accept his friendship, at the same time offering me his purse. Great as our distress was, I was not yet sufficiently humbled to accept of pecuniary relief from a stranger, not indeed, would prudence have permitted it; I returned the thanks due to his generosity, but refused to accept any thing, and being arrived at our own door wished him a good night. Upon entering, I found that an alarming change had taken place in my dear father, who survived only till the next evening. You who have hearts alive to the feelings of humanity can better imagine than I can describe my situation: deprived of a father whom I regretted, not only as a parent who had given me birth, but as the friend who had guided my youth; Derley, my only remaining friend, absent, languishing in a prison, unable either to console or advise me! I was overwhelmed with the weight of the afflictions, when the unexpected entrance of Derley, for a moment, suspended my grief: my heart gathered strength, from the presence of my best friend, and I arose to communicate, in terms of as much gentleness as my own grief would permit, the loss we had mutually sustained. Derley was shocked and affected to tears; for some moments he gave vent to the emotions of his grateful heart, and then turning to me, endeavoured to give me the consolation he himself wanted: at length we became more calm, and I enquired by what unexpected means he had obtained his release? He replied that a generous stranger, of whose name and quality he was ignorant, had by some means gained intelligence of his misfortunes, paid the debt, and enclosed for him a bank note of ten pounds. The idea of the stranger who had accosted me the preceding evening, immediately rushed upon my mind; I communicated to Derley what had passed between us, and agreed with me that it might be the same, though we were at a loss to conceive how he had gained the knowledge of our situation."
"Having performed the last melancholy duties to my dear father's remains, I began to think of looking out for a situation in which I might provide for my own subsistence, sensible that I could not long with propriety remain under the protection of Derley. About a week after the funeral of my father, the generous stranger introduced himself to Derley, as a friend willing to render him any farther services his situation might require: I was present, and knowing him to be the same that had accosted me, could not do less than express myself obliged by his civilities, Upon enquiring, we learnt that he had obtained knowledge of our situation from a woman in whose house we lodged. From this time he called often, and his visits at last became so frequent, that Derley, the watchful guardian of my youth, was alarmed, and would absolutely have forbidden them, had not the stranger, foreseeing his intentions, professed his views to be honourable. Young and inexperienced, I too readily listened to his addresses, thoughtless of the obstacles that must attend our union, for we soon learnt that our benefactor was the only son of the Count d'Oresty, the Ambassador from France."
The Colonel and his pupils at this moment turned his eyes upon their venerable friend with surprise and enquiry; nor was the Count himself unmoved. The mother of Eleanor and Ambrose stopped -- but the Count looking significantly at the rest, and making a sign that she should go on, she continued. "Thoughtless of the consequences, instead of restraining my inclinations, and setting before M. d'Oresty the duties he owed his father, and the evils that must attend his disobedience, I listened to his addresses, and consented to a private marriage, foolishly amusing myself with the hope that he would find means to reconcile his father to the imprudent step he had taken. A house was hired in a retired part of the town, and we lived together in mutual harmony; but happiness was far from being our guest; the idea of the troubles in which I was sensible I must involve my husband, should his father, who I now understood inherited all the pride of high birth, and designed him for another, prove inflexible, continually alarmed, and made me wretched. These reflections, which I ought to have made before it had been too late, undermined my peace, though they did not repair my errors. A few months after our marriage, I observed a gloom on the countenance of my husband, and enquiring the cause, he told me that his father, having learnt that a connexion existed between us, had declared that if it tended to marriage, he would certainly disinherit him. This entirely frustrated his design of disclosing his marriage, which he now thought it necessary more closely to conceal: our residence was changed, and soon after I brought into the world twins; my Eleanor and Ambrose were born. More than three years elapsed, and all suspicion of our union had died away, when my husband one evening returned with the dreadful tidings, that his father had ordered him to embark in a few weeks for France, to forward his nuptials with the daughter of the French minister, for whom he had from his infancy been designed. I need not tell you the anguish this communicated to my heart, nor was poor d'Oresty less affected: I wept, and my husband, who well knew the inflexibility of his father, had scarcely a word of consolation to offer me. We parted that evening without resolving upon any thing, but the next, he met me with the appearance at least of more serenity; he told me that finding it impossible without the utter ruin of us all to discover his marriage to his father, he could think of no way but to embark immediately for South-Carolina, and solicit the interference of an uncle who resided there, and who had great influence with his father. The tender age of my children, made me alive to all the perils and fatigues they must encounter: I represented these to M. d'Oresty, and endeavoured to dissuade him from the voyage, especially as I conceived the interference of his uncle might be equally as well obtained by letter: but poor d'Oresty thought otherwise: he imagined that his uncle, and every one must see with the eyes he did, and thought the presence of his wife and children, would plead more powerfully than volumes. His first design was to embark with us, but the difficulty he found in disengaging himself, without creating suspicion which he wished to avoid, made him relinquish the idea, and it was determined that I should embark with the children and Derley, and await his arrival at Charles-Town. Finding that his heart was set upon the voyage, I submitted and in less than three weeks set out under the conduct of Derley, with the children and a female servant, for Plymouth, from whence we were to embark with the first fair wind. The letter you found in the pocket of poor Derley I received from my husband the day before we left London.
"As the winds were contrary, upon our arrival at Plymouth, we took up
our residence at the inn, where we remained above a week; during this time
we had frequent visits from the Captain of the vessel in which we were
to sail; indeed, he intruded oftener than was agreeable to me, but attributing
all to his wish of obliging, and the partiality of a mother being flattered
by the attention he paid the children, I passed it over in silence and
embarked without suspicion of danger. We had not been many days at sea
before I observed a familiarity in his manners that disgusted me; but judge
what was my indignation when he had the presumption to profess a passion
for me. I retorted in the language my wounded pride dictated, and the insult
deserved; to which he, with the utmost coolness returned that the offer
of his hand, which he freely made me could not be construed into an insult,
especially as I must consider that he was sole master of the vessel, and
consequently that I was in his power. I now saw the villain I had to deal
with, and profiting by the hint that I was in his power, I endeavoured
to remonstrate with less hauteur, representing to him, that being
already the wife of another, I could not listen to his proposals, however
honourable or advantageous they might be. I had no sooner said this, than
he drew from his pocket a letter, and putting it, with a sarcastic smile
into my hand, told me that I should see he wished to exact nothing inconsistent
with the strict rules of honour. My eye glanced upon the superscription,
which I immediately knew to be the hand-writing of my husband: I opened
the letter trembling, and read these terrible words."
My dear Eleanor,I will not attempt to describe what I felt upon reading this letter; my anguish arose to a pitch that bordered upon madness. When I cast my eyes round, and saw myself shut out from the possibility of flying to my husband, and learnt, that had it not been for the blackest treachery, I might have arrived time enough to have taken a last farewell of him; for Blake made no scruple of confessing, that though I was on board when the messenger arrived, we had not weighed anchor, attributing what he had done to the violence of his passion, as he understood from the messenger whom he had accosted upon the beach , that it contained an express for me to return to London. For some hours I actually lost the use of my reason, which so alarmed the wretch who persecuted me, that he left me to the care of Derley, who in vain strove to soothe and reconcile me to my misfortunes. Time, however, and the tender cares of a mother, affected what argument could not; my reason returned, and the innocent prattle of my children diverted my thoughts from a calamity, the recollection of which drove me almost to frenzy; but I had more yet to endure. I was again persecuted by the odious addresses of Blake, from which Derley in vain endeavoured to defend me. He grew impatient, and to entreaties added threats of the most horrid nature, Alarmed at my situation, I endeavoured to dissemble, thinking, that when we arrived at Charles-Town, the place to which the vessel was bound, I should easily rid myself of his importunities. He, however, more skilled in artifice than I was, saw through my drift, and finding that Derley would ever remain an obstacle to his views, he resolved to be rid of him at the first opportunity: nor was this all; my innocent children became the objects of his detestation, from the supposition, I conclude, that they kept alive in my heart the remembrance of their father; at least I can assign no other reason for the dreadful scene I am going to relate. We had been at sea about seven weeks, when one morning as I was sitting with my children, one on one knee, and the other on the other, weeping, and talking with Derley on the events that were past, Blake came into the cabin: he renewed the usual theme, mingling threats with promises, till finding I paid no attention to his discourse, but still wept on, and embraced my children, he suddenly started up, and snatching them from my arms, threw them with violence on the floor. Derley, who was attached to the children, incensed at this act of brutality, yielding to the impulse of the moment, seized him by the throat; an affront which Blake revenged by drawing a short sword, and stabbing him, as I thought, to the heart. At the instant, five or six men came into the cabin, and at a signal given, seized Derley, while others, notwithstanding my prayers, and frantic endeavours to prevent it, bore away the children. What were all my former troubles to the anguish of this moment! I fancied I heard the cries of my children under the hands of their murderers, yet was unable to fly to their rescue; I endeavoured to force the door of the cabin, but finding my efforts vain, I sunk down insensible and remembered no more till I found myself on my bed, my servant sitting by me. I called aloud for my children, My Ambrose -- my Eleanor, and was in vain assured that they were in safety -- that they were left with Derley on an island we had coasted; I gave no credit to the tale, believing it fabricated merely to amuse me, especially as I found my servant was in the interest of Blake. I will not trouble you with all I suffered during the voyage; suffice it to say, that we arrived at Charles-Town, where I hoped to escape the tyranny of my persecutor, but I was mistaken; under the pretence that I was his niece, and deranged in my intellects, he conveyed me to his house, and committed me to the care of my treacherous servant, whom he had suborned to his interest. Six months I was closely confined, but at the end of that time, through the assistance of an honest labourer who worked in grounds adjacent, I effected my escape, and having fortunately concealed about my person bank notes to the amount of a hundred and fifty pounds, engaged for my passage in a vessel that was on the point of sailing for England.
All our plans are frustrated -- I am mortally wounded -- if this meets you, lose not a moment -- set off instantly for London, (the bearer will conduct you) that I may have the satisfaction of leaving you under the protection of my father. -- There is no time to dissemble. God grant you may not arrive too late.
"You will, perhaps, think that my first step ought to have been that of communicating my story to the magistrates of the town, and claiming their protection; but if you knew what I had suffered, how much my spirits were depressed, and what reason I had to dread the machinations of the wretch by whom I was persecuted, you will cease to wonder at my conduct. My sole object was to return to England, either to meet my husband, (which seemed within the bounds of possibility) or to die there in obscurity. "With these ideas I embarked; but on my arrival soon learnt, as I had reason to presage, that my husband was no more. He expired, as far as I could judge from the vague information I collected, a few hours after the messenger was dispatched to me; even before the arrival of his father, who set off for Bath on the morning on which the duel was fought. I learnt also, that the Count d'Oresty, in consequence of his affliction, had solicited his recall, and had returned to France a few weeks after the death of his son.
"All my hopes of happiness were now at an end, and I resolved, in some quiet family, to seek an humble establishment, where I could perform the duties of my station, and prepare for the quitting of a world which had for me no longer any charms. The person at whose house I lodged, understanding my intention, mentioned a lady, who she said was on the point of retiring into the country, and wanted a person capable of being a companion, and at the same time of assisting in the management of her family. Need I say that it was my dear Mrs. Carlton? I was introduced to her and immediately engaged. In due time I related to her my unhappy story, and experienced her generous sympathy: she treated me with the affection of a sister, and could I have forgotten my children -- my husband -- my friend -- torn from me by the most perverse and cruel destiny, I might have been happy. She pressed me to make myself known to the family of my husband, offered me money for the purpose, nay would have accompanied me to France; but I declined her generous offers; I knew not whether the father of my husband was acquainted with his indiscretions, and as I had not children to prompt my ambition, or to call forth my exertions, I wished not to sully his memory with the revival of follies which originated only in his too great partiality for me. Twelve years have passed, not unprofitably away; religion has taught me to moderate both my griefs and my resentment, and reconciled me to a life which I once thought insupportable."
Here Madam d'Oresty ceased -- and the Count, rising from his seat, looked with reverence toward Heaven, and exclaimed, "Wonderful are thy works, Oh God, and thy ways past finding out." Then taking Madam d'Oresty by the hand, "What a train of interesting events," said he, "have you unfolded! In me behold the father of your husband; in me, my children," turning to Ambrose and Eleanor, "behold your grandsire."
The Colonel, his pupils, and indeed the company in general, had been prepared by the aspect and gestures of the Count, to expect something extraordinary; but Madam d'Oresty, absorbed in the recital of her calamities, and commanding only a side view of him from the seat she occupied, heard this declaration with inexpressible wonder. She viewed the Count a moment in silent astonishment: but soon recollecting the character in which she stood before him, she covered her face with her hands, and bending forward, seemed to await the reproaches she considered due to her from the father of her husband.
The Count was affected by this interesting, too expressive to be misunderstood, and taking her hand, assured her he should henceforth consider her not only as the widow of his son, but as the daughter of his affection. "You appear," said he, "too sensible of your errors to permit me to animadvert upon them; we have none of us been blameless; myself not the least; the reserve and severity with which, from his infancy I treated my son, repulsed rather than invited the confidence of friendship, while the authority I assumed over his inclinations made him lose the respect due to me as a parent; but his errors have been signally punished; let the grave cover them, and may they prove a useful lesson to his children. Early my dear Ambrose, and you, my sweet Eleanor, learn to restrain your inclinations, and to keep them within the bounds of moderation; remember, my children, that the gratification of a moment may be followed by years of anxiety and pain."
The count them embraced Eleanor and Ambrose, who threw themselves upon their knees to implore his blessing. The conversation then turning upon past events, the Count confirmed what Madam d'Oresty had heard concerning the death of her husband. "I unfortunately," said he, "set out for Bath the morning on which the fatal duel was fought; an express was dispatched for me, but before I arrived my son had breathed his last. I will not attempt to describe my grief; he was my only child, and Heaven is witness how dear! The country became hateful to me: I solicited my recall, and returned to France. It happened soon after that I had letters from Cuba, acquainting me with the death of an old friend, who had left me his possessions there: I prepared for the voyage, thinking an entire change of objects might dissipate the melancholy which since the death of my son had taken possession of my soul. I arrived, and remained there some months, when Blake, as the Colonel has before related, descended upon the island, and bore me, among the number assembled in his vessel, to St. Verrado." Here the count ceased, and joined with every one present in admiring the wonderful chain of events by which Providence had united them.
The Count had passed about a week at the mansion of his friend, when he began to think of embarking for France, to see after his estates. The prospect of so early a separation cast a gloom over the whole party; but when the Colonel proposed to his Lady a trip to the continent, cheerfulness was universally restored. Charles and Ambrose, between whom a friendship found upon mutual virtues had already taken place, looked at each other and smiled, while the eyes of Eleanor met those of her mother and Mrs. Carlton sparkling with pleasure; in short, the proposal was universally relished, and in less than a month they all embarked for France. The Count upon arriving found that his estates still remained in the hands of his agent: for as no certain tidings of his death had transpired, no claim had been made. The Reader need not be told that the Colonel and his family were the guests of the Count d'Oresty; during three months which their visit continued, he spared no polite and friendly attention to render it agreeable; they made an excursion to Paris, from which the Count's seat was a few leagues distant, and were gratified with the view of every thing that celebrated city contained deserving the attention of the curious. They visited the Louvre, the Tuilleries, the palace of Orleans, celebrated for its valuable collection of paintings, and the Gobelines, a famous manufactory of tapestry, which takes its name from one Goblie, a noted dyer of Reims, who lived in the reign of Francis the First. Ambrose and Eleanor were interested in every thing they saw; the perfection to which the arts had arisen struck them with wonder and delight; for though acquainted with the principles of each, they had formed no idea of the powerful effects produced by them when applied by genius and industry: in the mean while, they conciliated the affection of their mother and grandfather by a thousand instances of their docility and the goodness of their hearts; the Count became daily more attached to them, and they in return omitted nothing that might express their gratitude and affection. After three months spent in the pleasures of social intercourse, the Colonel prepared to return with his family to England, when an unexpected event retarded his departure, and plunged every one in the deepest sorrow. This was the death of the Count d'Oresty, who was seized with a complaint of which he died in three days. His loss was sincerely regretted by every one, but especially by Ambrose and Eleanor, who had flattered themselves with long enjoying his paternal care, and showing by their conduct the grateful sense they entertained of his kindness. Nor was Madam d'Oresty less affected; she regretted him with all the warmth of gratitude and friendship his generous conduct towards her and her children merited: indeed his attachment to them was manifested to the last act of his life: for being alarmed at the symptoms of his disorder, he sent for a notary and in the presence of the Colonel and Mrs. Carlton made his will, in which he nominated Ambrose his heir, and provided amply for Eleanor and her mother: but this acquisition of independence, far from mitigating, increased the grief they felt for the loss of their friend, by adding another to the proofs they had already received of his friendship and affection.
As the Colonel was nominated executor to the Count's will, as also guardian to Eleanor and Ambrose, his presence was necessary to arrange their affairs: he remained, therefore some time longer in France, till having settled every thing to his satisfaction, he embarked for England, accompanied by Madam d'Oresty and his pupils, who joyfully accepted the invitation he gave of passing the ensuing winter in England. After a pleasant voyage they arrived; and in the society of their friends began to resume their wonted cheerfulness, when an event the most distressing and unexpected, turned all their joy to the bitterest anguish. The Reader must recollect that Sir James Corpley had sent the prisoners taken at St. Verrado to the Governor of the Spanish island of St. Domingo, with an account of the expedition, and his reasons for undertaking it: these reasons, however, did not satisfy the court of Spain; the destruction of the colony was construed into an infringement upon the rights of the Spanish Crown, and remonstrances made to the British cabinet. The inhabitants of St. Verrado were in vain represented as (banditti is plural?)banditti, to whose depredations all Europe was subject; the honour of the Spanish court was thought to be concerned, and satisfaction demanded, In short, after various negotiations between the Courts, it was at last settled to punish the aggressors, viz. Sir James Corpley and the Colonel, with exile. This was an unexpected stroke: the joy which had for some months before enlivened the mansion of the Colonel was no more. Eleanor wept; Ambrose inveighed loudly against the sentence, which, notwithstanding the representations of the Colonel, he could not help thinking unjust, and both declared they would follow their protector to the end of the earth. Madam d'Oresty said the same to her friend Mrs. Carlton, who felt rather on her husbands, than her own account, observing that it was of little importance what country she inhabited, if she had the society of her husband, son, and friend. "Ah," said Eleanor, "would to Heaven we were all together in our little isle!" This exclamation, uttered without a design, gave birth to an idea in the mind of the Colonel, which soon became the favourite topic of conversation: this was not other than the founding of a colony in the island which had so long served him and his pupils as a retreat. He mentioned it to Sir James Corpley who immediately entered upon it, and pointed out the probability of government approving and encouraging such a plan; in short, they united their interests, obtained the permission and encouragement they desired, and began to arrange every thing for the founding of a new colony. Madam d'Oresty and her children still expressing their resolution of joining their fate with that of their friends, the Colonel thought proper to set before them the advantages they would forego by quitting a civilized country, where every enjoyment affluence could purchase, awaited them, for one unfrequented, in which they must wait some years, for even the conveniences of life; he said all that the most generous and disinterested mind could dictate upon the subject, but Madam d'Oresty to the inexpressible joy of Ambrose and Eleanor, declared, that as it coincided with the inclinations of the children, her resolution was fixed, and that she had no higher ambition than to live and die with her friend.
I about six months all was ready for their departure, and Sir James Corpley, the Colonel, Mrs. Carlton, Charles, Madam d'Oresty, her children, the worthy Mr. Millar, and honest Peter, embarked at Portsmouth, with about six hundred persons, men and women, who willingly followed as settlers in the new Government. The voyage was favourable; after a few weeks sail they drew near to the Antilles, and Ambrose and Eleanor began to search with wishful eyes for the island which had been the asylum of their youth: at length, the vessel directing its course eastward of Jamaica, they discerned from far the point of a rock which seemed familiar to them; the vessel approaches: it is the same; it is their beloved isle. They behold the melancholy vestiges of the forest destroyed by the conflagration; the shore where they had fabricated their little bark in which alone and unprotected they had tempted the dangers of the sea: they land, and feel a thousand pleasing sensations on finding themselves again in an island in which, though they had experienced some painful moments, they had passed years of peace and tranquillity. Every spot is visited; the place where their cabin stood; the cavern in which Derley expired; the grot where Peter was preserved; nor will it be asked if they visited the little mount covered with myrrh trees; they are already with their mother at the foot of the monument erected with their own hands to the memory of Derley, shedding with her the tear of gratitude and affection.
In a short time the ground was cleared, and broken up; buildings arise; fortifications, even a port issues from the hands of the new colonists, and in less than four years they had shelter, cultivated fields, in a word, all the conveniences of life. Sir James Corpley and the Colonel, who were nominated joint Governors, in conjunction formed a code of laws, which were tendered to, and universally approved by the people: they governed the Colony with that justice and moderation which formed the basis of their character; and the same of their wisdom, and of the happiness enjoyed under their new administration soon reaching England, they had the pleasure of seeing the new Colony daily increase, and at length became one of the most flourishing; it was called the Isle of Twins, in memory of the desertion of the children, and the signal protection afforded them by Heaven. Not long after the arrival of the new Colonists, some Carribes, according to their usual custom, landed on the island: at the sight of the Europeans they embarked precipitately in their canoes, but the Colonel wishing to put some questions to them, ordered several of them to be detained: the account they gave of their expedition into the island, once in three years, was nearly the same as that given by Peter: but they added, they often stayed several days in the island, during which they planted maize and other grain, in the hope of finding it multiplied at their next visit. This singular custom explained to the Colonel what he had till now considered as a mystery, viz. the finding on his first arrival in the island, entire plains of maize and a variety of vegetable productions, which required the pains of culture, and consequently not to be expected in an uninhabited land: but to return. A few years after their arrival in the island, the Colonel and Mrs. Carlton had the satisfaction of seeing their son Charles united to Eleanor; and soon after, Ambrose made choice of a young lady, the niece of Sir James Corpley, universally esteemed for her amiable disposition and personal accomplishments. Honest Peter enjoyed the tranquillity his years required and his services merited; he died at an advanced age, a few years after their arrival in the island, and was buried at the side of Derley, to whose memory a superb monument was erected. The worthy Mr. Millar lived universally respected, and by his virtues did honour to the religion he professed and maintained in the Colony. Madam díOresty and her friend Mrs. Carlton had the pleasure of seeing their friendship perpetuated in their children, who by their conduct, daily rendered themselves more worthy their affection. In short, all these worthy characters in this delightful retreat, enjoyed the tranquillity which is the result only of virtue.
Ambrose and Eleanor through life entertained for their preceptor that tender respect and gratitude his conduct toward them justly merited, and their hearts were so well formed to pay: they looked up to him as to the parent who had fostered, and to the friend who had guided their youth, ever bearing in remembrance, that the happiness they enjoyed in society was the fruit of those precepts they had imbibed from him in solitude.
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